Category Archives: Mile Markers from the Journey

Anniversary marked and a flash back post <3

I’m celebrating the six year anniversary of starting this blog. The dates are all mingled in and around the middle of October when I finally had our amazing Tech guy at church help me get it launched and I tentatively put posts out there…and didn’t tell anyone I was doing it…sigh.

So in honor of it, I have been doing random drawings of people who support it by subscribing to the email list, follow/like the page on Facebook and follow my Instagram posts.

Today I went back to the first posts and read a few and here is one of my earliest ones for a flashback…still love drawing with chalk with the band of brothers and little sis….

As much as I enjoyed the rain on Tuesday, I thought about our grandson and his chalk drawings with a bit of concern. A few week’s ago when I went to see him, he came running out of the house chattering for me to come see the “ewwa-phant” and “why-on” his new babysitter had drawn for him. Anytime he says why-on, it is followed by hands raised in fists and a ferocious ROAR!!! I can tell you that I could watch him do this for years and never get bored.

His excitement was short lived as he rounded the corner and hit the bare concrete of their driveway. In stunned silence, the fists dropped and the bright eyes began to mist. He was baffled. An overnight rain had erased every stroke of his beloved pictures. He looked to me, but I was no help. As far as I am concerned, nothing in all of life should take away this little guy’s joy. Ever.

I was about to puddle up myself as I fumbled for some kind of wisdom to help him deal with his loss. Just in time, his mommy appeared. True to the nature she thankfully inherited from her father, she responded quickly and calmly and with great confidence. “Oh Graham! The rain washed it away. It’s ok! We’ll make some more pictures. God washed the driveway so we can make more pictures” Suddenly the loss of the pictures was replaced with the promise of more to come.

After checking several times to make sure the bright colored critters had really disappeared, and getting an extra reassurance of more chalk art in the future, the crisis was averted. He led me into the house, where I was shown even more amazing wonders including a few more ROARS’!!!!

I am a lot like Graham. I have a hard time with the temporal nature of life’s chalk drawings. I could stand for hours bawling beside empty driveways where in times past great fun was had. Letting go of that which no longer exists is an art I have not managed well. But if I don’t let go, how can God make room for new memories?

And so my prayer as an adult has become: Lord, help me to distinguish between the temporal and the eternal.

Rain will wash away chalk drawings, but the wise and loving teachings of a mother about hope and adapting to change will build character.

Paul teaches in Romans 5 that we are to glory in erased chalk drawings, or tribulations, as he calls them. He says that such things produce a cycle of growth that includes building perseverance, character and hope. And he reminds us that hope does not ever disappoint because God has poured His love into our hearts through His Spirit. Now that is something no rain can take away.

original posting October 2013

May God bless each of us to enjoy and cherish each moment, but to know how to let go of the chalk drawings and hang on to the real treasures of life.

Wednesday check in <3

I didn’t show up here yesterday because I had an aggressive to do list and a lot of that Fall energy and adrenaline I spoke about on Monday. 

I managed to stay on task for two solid days and I am hoping to have a three-peat today. 

I’m telling you…Fall is my season. 

When Russ got home I made him walk around the house so I could show him all the things I accomplished…it’s like living with a kindergartner…bless him <3

I have so many thoughts bubbling around in my head so today I am just sharing a couple of them and then we can move on with our day <3

October is the anniversary month for starting this blog. In the summer of 2013 I attended a writer’s conference even though the only writing I did was in spiral notebooks like you buy at the start of the school year (wide rule please, to accommodate my messy handwriting.) I also sent out a newsletter to about a hundred people and had the audacity to schedule a meeting with a publisher who was so very kind, she looked at my material and smiled sweetly and said the most amazing thing. A hundred people is a good-sized church, you know. I have kept that in my heart. One person encouraged on a given day is enough in the Kingdom. One weary saint who feels understood. One person who doesn’t feel alone that can be reached through this…it’s amazing. 

I am getting so much out of the Kelly Minter study “Finding God Faithful” and one of the aha moments from this week came from a new look at 1 Peter 1:3-9. Looking at this passage through the lens of Joseph’s struggles and heartache when he was unjustly imprisoned gave me a new perspective. 

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 3:7 NIV

It occurred to me as I read these passages that I have misconstrued this in my life.

I thought my trials were a pass/fail and after I go through them, God will look at my faith and see if it was the real deal and either give me a thumbs up or a thumbs down and the whole thing probably developed early in me from a works-based type of religion that I refuse to blame anyone for. 

The process of learning about Jesus and what He did is a lifelong process…and yesterday some more scales fell off these blind eyes. 

I realized that the “faith” that is in me is the faith given as a grace gift from God when I received Christ as my Lord and Savior. 

When I go through trials and testings, that faith IS gold. That faith makes it through because it is indestructible. And when I get to the other side, I can clearly see that the faith in me is the real deal.

So every time I endure a trial or a testing, as I lean hard into God and seek Him in the midst of it. As I struggle with my old fleshy-selfish-idolatrous nature and with His help overcome it….that faith that was given to me comes through unharmed. 

And the result of it is – beautiful and pure worship and praise of God because that faith was a GIFT from Him!!!

Something I cannot attain when I am full of myself and my worth. 

Here is what I wrote in my study page:

I am seeing this verse from a new perspective. Is it that the faith given me can only be shown its true value and character in times of suffering and trial – stripped bare of all that I thought was blessing and favor? In the heat of loss, betrayal, doubt – the faith that comes as a gift of grace its shown for what it is: an underserved, unearned gift. And then I see with clear eyes how great our God is. And my worship of Him grows more pure and deeper because of my own sin and self burned away in the fire of trial. This is why I rejoice greatly in my trials.

I am forging ahead today with another Facebook live and sharing some other things gleaned from the study. If you do Facebook – check it out. If you don’t, carry on with your day blissfully free of all that is social media.

I pray today in whatever you are facing, you can begin to see that the faith that is in you IS pure gold…you are not being tested to fail.

You are being tested to be proven genuine. There is a world of difference <3

Happy Anniversary to us <3

I held my breath this week, just like I have from the first day I sat in the Mosaic Coffee shop at our church and Fred, the FCC tech genius, helped me set up this website.

Every year I frantically log into the server that backs up and runs the innards of Journey Onward multiple times to make sure all the domain registration and site fees are going through, even though I marked the auto-renew option years ago.

And yesterday, just like every year since I tapped out my first post on October 11, 2013, I sat here with tears in my eyes and hands lifted that the hosting company knows what it’s doing…because….five years later…I still don’t have a clue.

I just know that God has called me to head in here as many of the Monday through Friday’s as I can and send out something.

Something silly…something serious…something fun…something about our life…something about what God whispered or shouted into my heart…some quirky observation.

I am so thankful to the people God has sent over the years to help me:

First off…Russ for encouraging me to do this and for believing in me when I sure don’t believe in myself.

For Fred and Robin to help me along the way with some of the more difficult aspects of running a website.

For She Speaks in 2013 and 2014.

For Declare Conference in 2017 and 2018.

For so many of you who like, share, comment – but most of all…when you just come up and tell me you read this stuff…you bless me more than you could ever know.

I often wonder why I do this…like daily…but I can’t not do it so…there is that.

Every year God has shown me next steps and I am sitting quiet as we finish our fifth year journeying onward.

I am listening to where we will head…what we could do to make this more of what He wants it to be.

And now…in honor of the day…here is a repost of my very first blog entry <3

Original posting October 11, 2013 <3

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!

Redefining blessings <3

Hello and happy Thursday!

We have officially had our first full year in our new home.

We pinched ourselves several times this holiday season looking back over where we were a year ago and how everything fell into place.

Sure we worked like war horses all through the fall to get our house ready to sell and purging and setting up home inspections and bank arrangements. But it all went super smoothly right down to our other house selling quickly and both closings within a few days of each other.

Now before you think how you wish stuff worked like that for you, perhaps you didn’t know us back when we moved into our last home.

Back when we moved right after Christmas and our other house didn’t sell. Not even an offer.

For three years.

Back when we went through several realtors and two sets of renters and I started subbing after years of being a stay-home mom.

Back when we wiped out our savings and shoveled two driveways the first winter without a renter and it snowed a ton every other week.

Back when I began to think that maybe we would always have two houses and we wondered if we had made the biggest mistake ever.

And I can tell you having been through two very different moves that while the second was a piece of cake and we tout it as a blessing as we thank God for answered prayers, the first was no less a blessing.

We can trace much spiritual growth to those years.

We drew closer as a family and learned about what really mattered most of all.

We found out that our provision and security were in something greater than a bank.

We learned that He can be trusted and that He is Sovereign and that His timing is always, always perfect in all ways.

God showed up in amazing ways, some we couldn’t see during the harder days mind you. But looking back, His fingerprints are all over those years.

Oh I am thankful for the easy times, make no mistake. And we can definitely raise the roof with the best of them when God does a suddenly.

But He is no less faithful, no less kind, no less loving and caring and near in the darkest and hardest of times.

Whatever your season, my friends, I pray you know His Presence in real and powerful ways through each and every step.

I pray you, like us, are finding love and support within the Body of Christ and if you are high-fiving Jesus these days or on your knees crying for mercy….I pray you are knowing His tangible touch in every moment.

I pray for you to learn all you can about Him in all the seasons and that you cling to Him as desperately in the easy times as the hard.

There is no other way to fully live than this.


As a special treat tomorrow on the blog we have a guest blogger who has some further words of encouragement to share. You won’t want to miss it <3


A Valentine’s Re-post…and re-freshed from 2014 <3

Ahhhhh……Valentine’s Day…and I am at a loss what to write you sweet people who are in all kinds of stages of life right now.

So I looked back at some old Valentine posts and discovered this one from 2014 that maybe someone needs to hear today…

VaLeNtInE’s DaY….

The holiday that is so great because you do not have to decorate your house and chocolate is just expected to be on the menu somewhere during the day.

Does anyone remember making a “mail box” of construction paper and taping it to your school desk back in the day when we didn’t send greetings by our Facebook and Twitter?

My mom would buy me a box of those Valentine cards and sit me at the table with my class list.

I carefully selected one for each of my classmates and scribbled their name in pencil on the little white envelope.

It was such fun delivering them around the room.

Until the year when kids’ moms quit monitoring the list, or kids chose to discard a few from their stash.

I learned the first lessons of rejection watching my desk get passed over by classmates to whom I had delivered my own offering of a cartoon greeting, complete with matching pun.

That was back in the day when political correctness and self esteem took a back seat to character training by fire.

No teacher interceded.

You lived with the Valentines you were dealt.

As you get older, you learn, everybody isn’t your “friend” and cliques form early.

For a second child/baby of the family/everything I did was adorable girl…this was a sting of reality that I found most unsettling.

As in, WHATTTTT???? Not everyone loves me? ME????

And thus began my launch into all sorts of behavior patterns of people pleasing, rejection angst, and psycho babble that we all encounter in life and react to in various ways.

As a Christian, I always knew God loved me.

But sadly for much of my life, I used that as a fall back.

Like it was a consolation prize.

So I didn’t get a Valentine from you, at least God loves me.

So I didn’t get asked to your party, at least God loves me.

So you rejected my attempts to start a friendship, at least God loves me.

This opened the door to a protective shell that often expressed itself in cynical and critical thought patterns.

The worst part of this rotten mind set is that when I WAS included, when my Valentine mail box WAS full; well, that was all I needed.

God’s love took second place.

Until the next hurt feeling rolled in.

But thanks be to God, there is a maturing in the walk of faith!

Slowly and surely, God has gotten through this blonde brain and battered heart to show me that I had it backwards.

He is teaching me that if I will let Him fill my “Valentine mailbox” with His love FIRST, then all the other love that is extended to me is just overflowing blessing.

How about making a special effort today to put out a beautiful heart on the desk of your life for God to fill with His love?

It does not compare with any other gift of love, because His love alone will not only fill your heart, but change it, forever.

As we are filled full with His love first, we can finally fulfill His command to love one another.

Happy Valentines Day! I do love you – and I am thanking God for each one of you!

Now let’s eat some chocolate!