Category Archives: Encouragement

The beginning was rough and chaotic, so we knew it was perfect timing …it’s how we roll <3

Today I am reflecting on the miraculous events surrounding what pushed me into taking a leap of faith and purchasing a domain, working with our tech guru, Fred, to get it all set up and entering the world of internet blogging. 

I am not sure how many years I sent my weekly Sunday school email out to encourage people but over time it grew to over a hundred people. Russ kept telling me I should write more and get it out there more and asked if I wanted to attend a writer’s conference. 

So in 2013, I did a search of them and found out that Proverbs 31 Ministries held one called “She Speaks” (ironic name since we all know I speak a lot of words without help) so I registered for their summer gathering and Russ arranged for hotels and travel and all the things that he is so good at. 

As the months began to count down, our son John, who was graduating and going to be a new hire in the fall, received news that the chronic back pain from an old injury could only improve with surgery. It was recommended that he do laser surgery as it is less invasive. I had a check in my spirit and so I prayed and prayed and asked every physician that had been involved in John’s care here in town and out in Tulsa, researching this laser surgery center in Oklahoma City and prayed some more. John pursued the screening appointments and yet I hesitated and asked questions and prayed more and more and more. 

I even called this big old machine that was The Laser Spine Institute and spoke with the surgeon who would be in charge of it all. As we talked and neared the end of our conversation I did something I never do as I agreed to the surgery, I asked him if he was a Christian. He paused and quietly said yes. I said then I would ask him as brother to pray for our son in the days leading up to the appointment and surgery and that I would be praying for him as the surgeon. He agreed he would.

We were responsible for the downpayment, which was hefty – trust me – and our insurance would cover part of the rest. We also wanted to get the surgery done on our insurance and give John time to heal and not be a bill on his new company. We also wanted him to finish school and have his graduation. 

So the date was set for summer and guess when it would fall. 

Yes. The day my conference started. 

I immediately told Russ I would have to cancel and my husband immediately told me I would do no such thing. He would arrange a change in flights so I could leave from Oklahoma City. I struggled deeply. I wanted to be with John. There was no way I would be worth my weight in mom-ness to leave as he was finishing back surgery, no matter how non-invasive they promised it would be, and head off for a writer’s conference. Not only was my heart wanting to be there, another part of me was imagining the conversations of all the good moms who would say how they would NEVER do that. 

Except I did. 

As I prayed, I knew that my wanting to be there was because I wanted to be there. John was fine with his dad and the girls thought he would do fine and by golly, that man I married and had children with is a wonderful, kind and compassionate father and would take such tender care of our boy. So I honored my husband and swallowed my own wants and pride and let him arrange all the changes. 

The day of John’s pre-surgery appointment came and when we got there, our Christian doctor was gone on a mission trip…of all things. His replacement doctor wanted to get familiar with John’s case. John had been evaluated by the other doctor so this seemed over-doing it as he had all the records and x-rays in front of him…except he wasn’t convinced the surgery would help John. 


He ordered another painful test for John to endure and determined that the first doctor had missed something significant. He regretfully and gently and kindly told us that the surgery would not relieve the pain. The institute refunded our money and paid for the additional testing. However, no money in the world could alleviate the heartache and disappointment of our son as he walked out, still in pain and tossing away the promise that had been birthed that this surgery would free him from his chronic pain. 

We had a day before my flight left and we spent it together and then they put me on the plane. His dad went back to Tulsa with him and helped him visit doctors again and put a plan in action. And I boarded a plane free to bawl my eyes out and first thank God for sparing him a useless surgery that would have caused more scar damage but also asking Him what on earth had just happened here and please to heal our boy somehow. 

And thus I went to She Speaks with a roller coaster of emotions and a heavy heart, but God ministered to me while my husband ministered to our son. I can tell you the road to his healing has been diligence in exercise, regular chiropractic treatment and an acceptance of what he can do to keep healthy and strong. He bikes, swims, plays softball, basketball and tennis, hikes and stands tall again. God has healed him as John has fully cooperated by doing the hard work and discipline that keeps him healthy. 

At the conference, I felt alone and silly for thinking I was a “writer”. I had even made an appointment with a publisher! Can you imagine. No book idea to present, just a handful of my devotions. I sat across from one of the kindest women I had met at the conference to that point. She looked through them and asked me about my audience. I told her I just send an email out every week to a hundred or so people and I apologized for wasting her time. 

And she looked at me and said a hundred people could be considered a nice sized church attendance. She told me to keep doing what I do and to remember who I do it for and pray for God to show me the next steps. 

I took her words to heart and as I went to various workshops the idea of a blog seemed to be my next step. 

Seven years and over 1600 posts later, I still ask God every time I sit down to type what He would have me say and to send whoever needs to read it.

This has been a long story and if you are still with me, God bless you for your patience. 

My point is that the ministries and ways of serving that God calls us to will be birthed out of the stuff of life that would threaten to sideline us. It is in the challenges we face with what life on planet earth gives us that God shows up in His amazing, beautiful and creative ways. 

Covid, the political scene, the economy, the wild weather, the brush fires….God is at work over and in and through it all. 

Hold fast to Him, my friends. Hold fast and do not think little of what He has called you to do. 

It, and you, matter much <3

Share and Save:

Apples don’t fall from trees, you know <3

Over the years I have asked some friends and family who are also gifted in putting words on paper to write a guest post for this little Journey.

As I looked back over those looking for one to share with you during this anniversary week celebration of the seven year mark for the blog, I found one our Rachel wrote that I posted during the first Christmas Countdown I did. Which also happened to be in 2013…so happy Christmas Countdown to us as well!

Here are the words she shared on December 20th of that year.

They have added two more little birds to their nest and her “free time” to be able to write is rather limited. I urge her constantly to keep jotting down her thoughts because they will make a treasure as you will see when you read this one <3

Shaping by Rachel Maxwell

My mom has graciously allowed me to guest-post on her blog. I am not a writer by trade and truth be told, I adore the thesaurus feature on Microsoft Word. I am humbled she would ask me to share some of my thoughts and His word with you!

Let me introduce myself. I’m the eldest daughter, Rachel. I would be the one with the two young boys that provide much of her material or humorous anecdotes. (And, all of her stories are true.) Graham (our 2 1/2 year old) keeps us on toes, wears us out, and loves us unconditionally.

It’s a beautiful combination I pray he never loses. Emmett (our 6 month old) is following right in big bro’s footsteps – absolutely delighting us, already moving everywhere, and just enjoying watching his hero brother at play!

A couple weeks ago as the boys napped and my husband was at work, I decided to tackle the basement tree. A 6.5 foot, artificial, pre-lit, three-piece tree seemed pretty simple to me, so I went for it.

Don’t worry, the tree is up and I am unharmed! But it’s in the process, the ‘simple steps’ is where Christ likes to speak to me the loudest.

You may have your qualms about an artificial tree, and I would have whole-heartedly agreed as I pulled these three pieces out of the box and set them on top of each other. The branches are all twisted and bound close together making it painfully obvious this tree is fake. It’s just ugly coming out of the box.

There are gaping holes where branches aren’t there and you can see the plastic ‘trunk’ that the makers have twisted a fake piece of garland around trying their best to conceal the plastic, the fake-ness of this tree. Being the mature mother of two, I rolled my eyes and got to work.

I went through each branch and started shaping and spreading out each one. After an hour of labor, I had cuts on my hands to prove I had done my best to shape the tree. I turned on the lights, backed away, and admired my work. That tree had gone from an eye-sore to a delight.

And then I cried.

You see, I am that tree.

I am ugly out of the box and I need lots of work.

Every sin like a branch where you can see straight to the trunk of my heart. Every argument, every quick tempered response, every muttered word, every part of my sinful nature is a branch on my tree. But thankfully, my tree doesn’t stop there and it is not finished.

Christ works on me shaping each branch with His scarred hands, removing the ugliness and creating me into something beautiful – His image.

His work in me doesn’t stop with one branch, He continues to shape and reshape me until I’m closer to perfect than I was before.

And then when His light shines in me…I am now beautiful.

You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.

2 Samuel 22:29

He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light.

Job 33:28

We are all works in progress.

What a beautiful reminder back in 2013 and today <3

Share and Save:

Looking back for the fun of it <3

I thought it might be fun to share the very first post in case you all had better things to do than scroll back through 1,691 posts.


I can’t believe how many that is.

I am not bragging, I am seriously laughing at the thought of the sheer number. And that’s just the ones I published. Apparently there are twelve drafts lurking out there somewhere to be revisited some day.

So for a little stroll down memory lane, here is my first one published. I didn’t even know how to insert pictures back then, but they have become as much a part of my journal as the words…so here we go…

Post #1 from October 12, 2013

I hope your day is going well. Mine started a little earlier than planned. Apparently, the coffee clock is set ahead an hour and the call of caffeine beat out my alarm.

The extra time is great because it allowed me no excuses to head to the Y. Turns out the place is pretty empty at this hour. This works for me as I am a little intimidated by the whole workout thing.

By the time I had made my way through the machines and headed to the free weights part, the late crowd was filtering in. As I pumped iron, my core pulled in and my lip curling in agony with each repetition, I took in the scene around me thanks to the big old mirror we have to face.

To my right was a guy with 40 pounds in each hand, doing some kind of bicep thing with the same amount of ease that I flick my curling iron. He had a spider tattoo on his arm that was roughly the size of my upper torso.

Behind me and to my left was a young man that I think should have been at school today. He couldn’t have been more than 15. He was doing push ups. A lot of them. And with his legs not only straight out but one crossed over the other. Seriously.

I considered asking Spider Man to help me carry my 5 pound weights back over to the rack and calling it quits, when another gym rat rolled by in her wheelchair. Her weights were resting on her one and only leg as she maneuvered into an empty spot next to me. As she began her exercises, I put on my big girl pants and finished my work out.

We are all at different levels based on our abilities and limitations, and the amount of time we have devoted to the discipline of exercise. As I walked to the car, I remembered that a year ago I was sitting on the couch recovering from a surgery, which worked well since I was unable to walk on a foot plagued by plantar fasciitis. Progress.

It’s like that in our faith walk as well. We have a mixture of abilities and disabilities, a life that has dealt us some great things and some tough things. But with discipline and diligence, we apply the tools of training – reading and study of the Word, prayer, worship, fellowship, obedience – and we grow and prosper in the Spirit. We are all at different places with varied levels of progress. But we are working toward the common goal of bearing the image of Christ.

 I pray today you are encouraged by those around you who are seeking to grow in the Lord; not comparing yourself to others. Sense the joy of growing in God’s timing as you rejoice in what He has done in you and look forward with great expectation to what lies ahead. Keep at it and don’t grow weary! Stretch and strengthen and grow!

Share and Save: