Category Archives: Discipline

focuses on the spiritual disciplines

Setting the ground work for 2021

Well Happy New Year! 

It’s Monday and we have a service call lined up for our fireplace, I have already made a call to the Village Hall with a water consumption question and some Santa figurines are begging to be hauled back down to their boxes. The washer and dryer have been humming since 6 A.M. and Russ is back in his at-home office. 

Anybody else ready for a little routine again?

We really did enjoy the holidays. Even though they were different with family and friends not able to gather like we used to, it was restful and joyful in many ways. A respite from the craziness of the world. We watched some sports and documentaries. Russ had a couple of movies he wanted to see and we read and napped and goodness…we ate. 

As we head into 2021, I am not feeling called to make any attempt at resolutions.

I instituted one last year where I would try a new habit each month and that was fun until the pandemic hit and just figuring out how to safely navigate that with my mental and physical health in tact was enough of a “new habit.”

So today, I am just going to let you know my plans for my daily quiet time as of right now and share some tidbits gleaned from both a documentary and a ten day devotion I signed up for.  There will be a list of resources at the bottom of the post.

For quiet time I am reading through The Message this year. It works out math wise much like last year. Using the Eugene Peterson The Message Study Bible, I will be able to read about 5 – 6 pages a day to make it through the whole text. This includes some of his mediations and contemplative studies so I decided to set my beloved My Utmost for His Highest aside this year. 

I have a daily devotional that was gifted by my friend who has been prayerfully selecting an annual devotion book for me for more years than I can even remember. They are lined up on my shelves and are a reminder of her faithfully holding my arms up in love and prayer every day of the year for a very long time. This year’s selection is Jesus Centered Daily by Rick Lawrence. 

In addition, I received a Threadbare Prayer book from another friend and the author is doing a 100 day prayer commitment. Which coincided nicely with my decision to use yet another gift, a journal with personalized Scripture verses on each page, to journal my prayers for our family this year. 

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of committing to a daily time of intake of God’s Word, study and prayer. We simply cannot subsist on a weekly visit to our local church, a sermon, a couple of inspirational Bible verses posted on Instagram and be fed and grow and really follow Jesus. I couldn’t have made it through 2020 intact and thriving if I had just snacked on the Bread of Life when convenient. 

My second little item so share is from our viewing of the Social Dilemma on Netflix. It confirmed some of my suspicions and it definitely explains how we are seeing more and more conflict, confusion and conspiracy theorizing.

Money talks and fuels all manner of sin. Which brings me to the ten day devotion. I am receiving ten days of meditations and questions from Well Watered Woman that center on using Instagram for Jesus. The articles have been convicting as the attractions and pitfalls of social media are universal. 

Both The Social Dilemma and these writings (the Social Dilemma is not a Christian effort, but as a Christ follower I can appreciate the ethics and moral issues at risk with our current lack of standards for the internet market place), remind us that we don’t have to play into the hands of those who would use a wonderful tool like the internet for greed and profit only. 

Some of the reminders at the end of the documentary are reinforced in the study I am doing. 

  • Monitor your time – budget how much time you spend on social media. 
  • Live in the real world, not scrolling through a fake one. 
  • Fact check what you share and post.
  • Disable notifications and don’t let a social media platform choose what you watch, follow interact with. 
  • Make the choice to set limits on when you will check your social media and discipline yourself to stick to it. 
  • Put the phone away during times at the table or when with people. 
  • Recognize where you are replacing finding your comfort, guidance, peace in God with a means that will never satisfy your deep needs. 


Lecture over. 

Have a blessed day! 


Threadbare Prayers:

Jesus Centered Daily

The Well Watered Woman website http://well watered woman

Personalized Scripture Journal

The Eugene Peterson Study Bible is sadly out of print and available from used book places for a rather hefty price…sorry

The Social Dilemma on Netflix

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Happy New Year and one last glimpse to what I want to take with me into 2021

Happy New Year! 

This past week I have been sharing some positives from 2020. Things like surprising benefits of mask wearing beyond slowing the spread of germs, the way small businesses got creative and our communities took ownership of our local merchants and restaurants, and how we grew into deeper relationships as isolation stripped away surface level living with our people. 

Another thing we seemed to figure out this past year is that professional sporting events, the world of eccentric celebrities and their over the top shenanigans…these are not essential to us. We finally acknowledged that the real heroes of our every day lives don scrubs and have been wearing masks for far longer than any of us ever gave a thought about. Additionally, teachers, parents, care givers, first responders…these were the people who rose up and took care of what really needed to be done while the rest of us tried to figure out how to navigate life in a new normal. I think we finally got a wakeup call to the underpaid and under appreciated people whose daily work is serving others. 

There was all kinds of rhetoric about if church is essential and I finally just tuned out all sides of that discussion, but I can tell you that for me, the Church of Jesus Christ is essential to me. Fellowship with body of believers is essential to my life and I am thankful beyond words for the technology and efforts made by my local church and by the church around this country and the world for those who rose up and have continued to creatively lead us in worship and teaching throughout this pandemic. 

As we enter into 2021, there are many good things gleaned from this trial that I hope have changed and transformed me. In my thinking I don’t see that we are magically over the struggles and “going back to normal” is in my estimation not going to look a whole lot like what we remember normal to be. Just like 911 forever changed the way we traveled, I am sure moving forward from this will be a landscape full of all of us adapting to a life we never pictured as our future. 

I will say one of the greatest positives of 2020 is my prayer life has ramped up, been revitalized and overhauled to a new level of passion. 

I pray for our cities and states to seriously be looking into the reforms in law enforcement rather than settling back into old patterns until the next incident reveals how much effort was put into making sure racism is not an issue in pursuing justice and promoting safe neighborhoods. 

I join my prayers with the voices that are rising up in our black communities urging young people to stop using guns to settle disputes. I pray this movement will grip the hearts of those who have seen no way out but through belonging to a gang and I pray for a transformation of hope and purpose in the efforts of the leaders who are trying to get the attention of our young people. 

I am concerned for the economy of our state and nation. You cannot continue to pump out money you don’t have. It’s a lovely thought, but at some point we all know if you are spending money on credit…the results are disastrous.

So I pray for what the future will look like for our young people and children when it all comes to a head. I pray in earnest for the Church of Jesus Christ to harken back to His teachings regarding the role of government, economics and moral living.

I pray we will not miss the wakeup call for the people of God. I pray we would revisit the things He had to say about how we are supposed to live in a world that will be hostile to His teachings. 

I pray that as we have laughed when we could about the rough year, we would deep in our souls recognize that our eyes have been opened to the injustices of this world to so many. I pray that we would cling, not to our political parties, our wealth, our rights…but to the Cross of Jesus Christ. 

I pray that we would walk away from 2020, in our sweat pants and masks, with a renewed love for Him and for an increased understanding that this world will pass away. I pray that we would daily remember we are a tiny dot on the grand scheme of time and we have only been given today to share the Gospel that saved our sorry souls. l pray that we will pour our time, thought, energy, gifts and resources in 2021 into furthering His Kingdom that is built through us but whose foundation is the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

I pray for you and for me, to live with purposeful and intentional actions, the Good News every day in 2021.

God bless you and yours. You are loved more than you could ever know 


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And so that was Christmas <3

I contemplated taking this week off from posting, but realized that it was not a good idea for two reasons. One is my concern for you and one is my concern for me. 

Throughout this past month-plus as we seemed to embrace the holidays in a new and powerful way, I have wondered if the renewed gratitude for the joy of the season due to the past year of isolation and pain would also mean an enhanced post holiday let-down for many. 

We have done 2020 in an odd kind of camaraderie with each other on social media or via text messages and zoom calls. Every country around the globe has been affected and it has been quite a ride of upheaval and angst and sorrow and yet sharing laughter and ways we see God at work. 

So as we move from the lights and anticipation of what Christmas 2020 looked like, I want to share my own place of temptation. It is not sorrow that would be my fall back emotion after I take the trim down and resume trying to figure out this pandemic/politically devisive/economically shaky world we still have as we usher in 2021. 

No, the telltale sign of a dangerous spiral for me is a numbness.

A spiritual and emotional numbness.

I have felt too much in 2020. And while I have enjoyed feeling hope and joy and anticipation of Christ’s return to the full extent of Advent….while I have enjoyed the happiness of actually seeing all three of our children in various settings with masking and social distancing where needed and not all together at once but at least once each…piled on top of my realization of how many are hurting and how much this year has taken from so many, I am sensing a shutting down. 

All the feelings of this past year have crowded together in a culmination of too much of everything and for someone who has experienced a couple of bouts of depression, the concern is not grief that it is over but a kind of flat line of the soul. 

I am speaking to just a few, I know. There are many who are busily taking down the trim and moving on to the typical purging and reset of a new year with purpose and efficiency. 

Good on you. 

You keep the world moving and those of us who struggle to keep their footing in change are grateful for you.

No, today I speak to those who are feeling like you could cry and yet no tears fall. The reservoir of deep feeling has been hit hard. And it might seem a relief to not be feeling, but I urge you to take this as an alert that you need to develop some healthy habits right now so your soul can heal and your heart can feel appropriately as we enter into the new year. 


Eat well. 

Nourish your mind with God’s Word. 

Don’t escape to entertainment or scrolling to fill the void. Our books and viewing should be icing on a cake, not our main diet. 

When the dark thoughts start, truly force your mind to think of all the things you are grateful for. 

Get outside even for a few minutes. Bundle up and get some fresh air and fill your vision with God’s beautiful creation. 

Reach out to others, prayerfully ask God who you can serve with a phone call or a card.

Practice breath prayers – simple sentence prayers that can refocus your mind. 

I am using one I picked up in our church sermon a few week’s ago from our associate pastor, Brian Talty.

“Change our minds, so Jesus can change our hearts, so we can, with Your help, change our direction.” 

Brian Talty, sermon “Overflow”, November 8, 2020

It is a short prayer and one I can remember when my mind is starting to spiral away from healthy thoughts. 

Continue to do the disciplines that you know promote health in your mind, body and spirit. 

May God bless you today, my friend. 

The world needs your whole self doing what God placed you here to do.

Whether this spoke to you or not, I hope you will return for the remainder of the week. I want to share some positives from 2020 to brighten your day and remind you of the good God has done for us <3

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