Category Archives: Refined by the Word

A thought to end the week….<3

It looks the sun is going to shine on this cold day and that always makes everything better, doesn’t it?

We have had a rather full and busy week so on Monday I jotted down some ideas for thoughts and today’s may be a stretch for some of you, but hang with me please. 

I was pondering Philippians 2:3 one day and we can just start with the passage that was running through my mind. 

Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. NET

I just grabbed that translation, feel free to use any one you prefer or several. 

The part that got me thinking was the “treat one another as more important than yourself.”

And I thought about how twisted our thinking can get in the prosperity and luxury of living in this country with all the rights, privileges and stuff that we forget is completely uncommon in the majority of the rest of the world. 

We, here in America, are often so busy being caught up in the comparison game that we assess our own current “importance” by what we lack based on what we think others around us have. 

(This is the part where you are going to have to just stick with the flow of my thoughts for a moment…please….)

So we look around and we compare ourselves to others and we fail to be thankful and grateful and acknowledge not only the physical blessings but MORE IMPORTANT…the spiritual blessings we have and so we undervalue ourselves in our own eyes and then…when we go to apply a verse like this…we have a lowered standard of our worth and so to esteem someone as better than us is really not to esteem them very much at all.

By putting ourselves down, we can be lazy about how much we put others before us… in a resentful and bitter kind of way. Not all the time, I understand that…but it does happen. 

I realized as I mulled this over that my own tearing down of myself then bleeds over so that even a minor nod towards another person’s value and worth IS a step up. 

If we are berating ourselves (and I am NOT talking about repentance that is necessary before God….I am referring to when we sit on the judgment seat of our own frail selves and deem ourselves to be worthless…based on error in our thinking) by comparing ourselves to the highlights of other people’s lives…we will be looking around at others with a skewed mindset and we will not be IN HUMILITY…counting them better than us. 

We have to respect who we are in Christ and get a right mindset about that before we can esteem others and honor them with our actions, words and attitudes. 

Focusing on what God says about Himself, us and others is the best place to start if we want to realign our thinking into proper perspective. 

Just another reason why comparison is not a good idea…at all. 

Something to ponder…would love to hear your thoughts <3

Lucky Charms are really not magically delicious <3

I have miles to go before I sleep today. 


I have about 34 minutes to get my face and hair looking presentable and head out the door for a full 14 hours of travel and hangs with the Fab Four…so knowing this on Monday I had mapped out what I would write each day. 

If you know anything about me, you know that I have been riddled with doubt each and every morning as I followed through with the outline but I am forging ahead in faith that this is a word for someone, even if it is just for me <3

In dealing with my various levels of trying to figure myself out over the years, I have uncovered a strange motivator for my “worry and anxiety” tendencies. 

At some point as I prayed to have God remove this from me and was blaming it on my own mom’s extreme cases of getting herself worked up to the point of needing bed rest and meds…I came face to face with the reality that while yes, I had learned some of it…I needed to own some of it too.

So as I thought back through the years to my childhood, I began to wonder when I went from the wild child with off-center pig tails who played til she dropped into exhaustion and morphed into someone who manages to drum up all the possible ways things could go wrong even if all we are doing is making plans for an outing to the zoo. 

As I prayed it through and asked God to help, I began to realize that at some point in mid-grade school I began to develop a theory that seemed to prove true all the way through my high school years. 

If I was off somewhere having fun and enjoying myself, somehow when I got home I would have forgotten the time or to check in or my mom didn’t know where I was and had been calling out for me for quite a while. 

She would be worried sick. 


And it heaped guilt on me for my thoughtless and careless ways.

However; if I worried and kept nagging doubt hanging over me whilst playing in the creek down the street or riding my bike to friends in the next neighborhood or taking an extra long time to get home because I had crammed 10 high school kids in the gray Nova and was dropping them off one by one around town…(there were pre-cell phone; pre-seat belt days my friends)…it seemed she hadn’t even given a thought to it and was surprised I was home so soon. 

So I started to equate “worry” with being in good graces with my mom. 

It’s weird, I know. 

But we do this.

We establish a pattern of the lesser of two evils and lock ourselves into a prison that Jesus blasted the door off of when we received Him into our hearts. 

We live like we are chained when we are free. 

Not free from responsible behavior. 

But free from the binding laws we have made up in our own minds that we think will keep us safe and comfortable. 

What is freeing is realizing that I will encounter trouble, but He is with me. 

That I will not be able to avoid the pitfalls of this world by following some sort of five step plan. 

I will pray and think He’s not  hearing, but He is.

I will feel alone and confused and there will be times when the rut of worry, fear, dread and anxiety will look familiar because I have run the wheels of my life down that road many a time. 

But each and every time, as I acknowledge that I am back in those well-worn tracks and I cry out for help to rise again, I will. 

That’s freedom for me. 

My mom also experienced freedom in the last five years of her life. 

Somehow in the midst of her physical and mental breakdown after caring for my Alzheimer-ridden dad for far too long, she met Jesus face to face. 

In her delirium, He broke through and she finally knew the One she had given her life to as a little girl. 

The change in her was dramatic and marked and incredible. 

I am so thankful for the kindness of God that sets us free.

Now I must be off, but I pray you know His freedom in your own areas of lock-down today <3

Be careful little feet <3

This is going to be quick because I need to leave and to add to my sense of urgency, my phone timer is going off giving me my fifteen minute warning. I apologize up front for typos and ask you to read for sense.

I love Instagram. I love the photos and the brief posts and the humor and the inspiration. 

I found a writer I enjoyed very much. She speaks to the 50 and over population with words of truth and encouragement and acknowledging that agism in our culture is a thing. 

Youth is king and getting old is the new evil we all want to avoid and I found her writing to be just the shot in the arm I needed. She wrote with a measure of wisdom and common sense and it resonated with me. 

Most of the time. 

Because I do live with the reality that what is unseen is more powerful than what is seen, and I do believe that the physical world is just a manifestation of what is happening in the spiritual realm.

And that realm is ruled by the Sovereignty of One God – Jehovah, I Am, Yahweh, God Almighty; through the Trinity of One God in three persons – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

This is the firm foundation of all my life and is unmovable. 

So when this writer referred to spiritual things, I applied my faith beliefs to that word and all was well until she shared some references to spiritual practices that I know do not line up with what I know of the teachings of Christ. 

And I had to confront that, while I agree with so much of what she says, she follows a god that I do not and in reality…all of the “wisdom” that I liked so much to read can be found in the teachings of the God I follow. 

She did speak some truths, but why not just read the Truth?

I was drawn to it because it was well done, pretty, appealing and easy to just read, feel affirmed in my personal beliefs, nod my head and move on.

Digging into Scripture for wise counsel can mean I have to work hard. I have to face the messiness and ugly of who we are so that I can uncover the beauty of who God is and who He made us to be and how we die to self to become what He intended us to be. I have to let His Word work on me and in me and through me.

So there you have it. 

I unfollowed her because I felt the conviction of the Spirit in me.

Be careful who you are following out there. Be wise and discerning of the path your feet are walking. 

I love each of you. 

I hope you are growing in the knowledge of the One who made YOU. 

So much in my heart but only one thing matters <3
Thank you Auntie Lisa for telling us about this find at TJ Maxx…huge hit!

I am writing to you this morning raw from the start of my day because I pray and ask God what to say, and this morning I am led to just share straight from the reality of what living in 2019 can look like for one like me. 

As I was measuring beans into the coffee grinder, Russ and I listened in horror as the news told of the tragic death of a 19 month old, apparently at the hands of his mother. I can’t imagine what desperate state of mind she was in and how little we regard the sanctity of life in increasing measures. 

On the counter is a stack of pictures of our little bundle of energy and love and enthusiasm rolled into a three year old who I knew was waking up extra early. Today is his preschool birthday celebration. He will get to bring a special snack and be the line leader and his “Show and Share bag” has been packed since Tuesday. He has carried it with him everywhere and I know the contents represent the love of his Tia and his Uncle John. And even though you are only allowed one item, his mommy has figured out a way to attach the Longhorn hat to the stuffed monster and make it work.

Two ends of the spectrum of emotion filled me as I stood in our kitchen and poured my coffee while Russ did what he has done every work day morning for 38 plus years and the tears came with no hope of holding them back. 

My heart is full. 

Full of grief for this little life that has ended so abruptly and in such a cruel way. 

Full of love for our family. 

Full of gratitude to God that He would allow me live the life I live. 

Full of sorrow for mothers and fathers and siblings who are without one or more of their precious ones. 

Full of joy at the thought of that one-tooth-missing boy who gives hugs away as freely as he takes in and breathes out oxygen. 

Full of disbelief that we can see how wrong killing a child is but have no problem killing an embryo. 

Full of compassion for children and adults who do not know how much they are valued by God. 

Full of wonder at the patience of God with the likes of us all. 

I don’t know where you are on the fullness scale. 

We can become overwhelmed at times by too much grief, but we can also become overwhelmed by too much happiness. Both extremes can harden us to the full range of what life is like on planet earth for our fellow humans.

Our cups can be so full of the earthly rewards that we forget to empathize with others or so drained that we are unable to lift our heads from the pit…and that is why it is so important to stay in God’s Word. 

It is in the Scriptures that we encounter who God is and He is the only one who can help us balance the joys and sorrows of experiences. 

I am sharing a passage I found strength in this morning to raise my perspective to His thinking and ways:

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us because God’s LOVE HAS BEEN POURED OUT IN OUR HEARTS through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  Romans 5:1-5 CSB

Whatever state your heart is in today – too empty…too full….too worried…too preoccupied….let His love be poured into your heart. It is the only filling that matters <3   

Rocky Road makes a great ice cream but a lousy way to travel….<3

Good morning and yes, this is a day early so don’t forget to show up for any Friday commitments tomorrow! Ha!

I am sending this out today because we are leaving super early in the morning to catch a flight to Dallas and then drive on to see John for the weekend. I may be just a tad excited…as in whhhheeeeee!!!!!!

Since I will be struggling to get out the door looking presentable, I figured I would just write you all a day early so here is the thought for this week. 

This summer Russ decided it was time for a new vehicle for me and he purchased a really pretty blue car. Like I have no idea model numbers, makes, style names or any thing but this car is such a beautiful shade of deep dark blue it makes grown men weep. Not kidding. I had one this color a number of years ago and people noticed it and would comment on the color and this happens now with the new one. 

And I guess God wanted to keep me from the sin of idolatry over it because we have had several run ins with rocks that have already caused some deep nicks in the paint and now a crack in the windshield. 

It’s the latter that I want to discuss with you today. 

It happened on the interstate as I moved over into the left lane to allow a car entering from a ramp to merge into the flow of traffic. 

I don’t understand this behavior of a fellow traveler, but it happens from time to time that you move over to make room and then find yourself driving in tandem with the other car. It’s like they speed up immediately and then drive alongside you at the exact rate you are going. 

In my mind it would seem appropriate that a car who has been given room to enter the highway would allow the other car to get back in the lane by either really speeding up or slowing down enough to allow that to happen. But instead this car matched my speed and stayed even with me for quite some distance. I was going as fast as I felt comfortable to go (I know my speed never varied since it was on cruise control the entire time)….so I canceled the cruise and dropped back behind in order to re-enter into the right lane. 

And just as I did, a rock flew off of this driver’s tires and hit square and hard into the windshield leaving a bullet hole effect a few inches below eye level. 

I was sick and angry all at the same time. He drove off oblivious to what he had done and I was fuming. 

We took the car to a wonderful place here in town and they did a patch for $65 leaving only the tiniest little mark and I am amazed that we didn’t have to have the whole windshield replaced but I want to address something with you about this incident. 

There is something raw about how it went down that I think may speak to some of you all and frustrations that may wear on you. 

I didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, I was doing the right thing. 

I was being courteous to another driver.  I could have remained in my lane and forced him to slow way down on the entrance ramp to merge. 

I didn’t accelerate over the allowed speed limit to get in front of him, but instead decreased my own speed to get back in the appropriate lane. 

But I suffered injury anyway. 

Let me say that again in a more general way. 

Have you experienced injury or hurt after extending courtesy and doing what is right to someone? 

It hurts deeply, doesn’t it? 

Suddenly instead of being “rewarded” for doing good…you feel like you have been punished for doing good and it brings up something inside of us that is a mix of anger and indignation. 

It is in these moments that I have to remind myself all over again that my motivation for doing right and being courteous and kind to others is NOT so that I will be rewarded. My motivation goes much deeper than that and should not hang tentatively on the responses of those who benefit from my actions or even those who never even notice or are aware of them or my existence. 

Building character is a constant work in progress for us all and these kinds of insults and injuries are ways God uses to continually refine you and me. 

That flash of anger that came up was a reminder of the entitlement that lives deep in me. The thought of “I didn’t deserve this or that…” is an indication that I still hold on to the capacity to believe that I could ever  “earn” mercy and grace. 

I want you to know that our God is compassionate and I do believe He holds us when we are treated poorly or we get slapped in the face after we have done a good thing…but He also is very interested in our becoming more like His Son. 

I think there is no better example for us to model our lives after than how we find Him described in Philippians 3:5-8

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death – and the worst kind of death at that – a crucifixion. The MSG

Something to think about as we may encounter those who might kick up a rock or two along the journey today <3