How blessed we are to have friends who lift us up, who speak truth to us, who listen, give advice, encouragement and their constant prayers. This is richness; this is true treasure to have such wonderful women in your life.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Why, My Soul, Are You So Downcast?

"Why, my soul, are you so downcast?  Why are you so disturbed within you?"  This morning...I could feel soul downcast and disturbed.  At first I just felt it...the lump rising in my throat...the heaviness as I walked through my empty house doing the mundane.  Then I remembered...ask your soul...why?  And the answers came…

Why?  Because my heart is heavy for a friend whose two year old grand niece, Anna Mae, is suffering from an incurable and devastating disease.  I watched the video, “Judson’s Eyes,” about  Krabbe Disease—a rare, genetic, incurable leukodystrophy and through streams of tears, thought of the family who is facing this heartbreaking journey.   I especially thought of the mother, the grandmothers, the aunts, because I can relate to them.

Why so downcast and disturbed, O my soul? Because I have a sweet young friend who waits...praying with all her heart for an unborn baby whose life hangs tenuously in her womb.  She hopes for the little one within and dreams of a life that could be, but the dark clouds of "what if" hover over her and she cannot get away from the truth that this precious life is tenuous.  I feel her pain...I've been there.

 What disturbs me?  The news that a pregnant Sudanese woman, Meriam Yeyha Ibrahim, who has been jailed along with her 20 month old son, was sentenced to death for apostasy...she will not recant her Christian faith.  She is scheduled to die by hanging after her baby is born.

And again...why?  Because my heart is broken for the over two hundred young girls in Nigeria who have been kidnapped and sold into slavery.  I grieve as I look at pictures of the families and their signs begging “Bring Back Our Girls!”  I think of their mothers and sisters, their aunts and grandmothers…their friends.  I think of my own daughters and granddaughters, my nieces and sisters...and just for a moment empathize with the horror in the thought, “What if?”  In that split second, I feel the unbearable, the unthinkable and I realize with tears in my eyes as I type this…these sisters of mine…of yours are living it…right now.  And I want to DO something.

 I love women and working in "women's ministry."  Women’s ministry, put simply, is ministering and serving women.   So which women am I called to serve?  Only the women in the Bible study on Tuesday nights?  Or the women in my church?  Or the women in my community?  This country?  Or maybe only Christian women?  How about you?  Are you a woman?  Do you have women you care about and love?  We are…everyone of us…”in women’s ministry,” and God’s scope on HIS women’s ministry is global and all inclusive.  Here’s how I know this:

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intersessions and thanksgivings be made for all people…”  I Timothy 2:1.

Pray.  Here’s the irony about prayer…It many times has one small four letter word in front of it…"just.”   All we can do is "just" pray…  Nearly every time I have heard this or said this myself…it is with resignation.  After a long conversation detailing the trouble or pain..."Well, all you can do is just pray."  We are finally left, after all else has failed, to “just pray."  Really?  Talking to the Creator of the Universe is "just" conversation?  Can I throw something out there for you to consider?   Prayer is powerful because it makes you immediately “present” in a situation or with someone.  You can be present with Anna Mae and her reeling family.  You can be present with those girls in Nigeria and their grieving families. You can be present with Meriam, her unborn child, and her son in their jail cell.  You can be present with an expectant young mom as she anxiously waits and hopes for a safe birth and healthy baby.  You can be present with a son or daughter in distress or wandering.  Prayer makes us present in the midst of those who are suffering even if they are a world away…even if you have never met them. Actually, if prayer is what God's Word says (And I believe it is), then we can't be MORE present or MORE useful.  A young mom put this up on her status on Facebook one morning and I have never forgotten it:  “When we get to heaven, we will wish we had prayed MORE.”  "More" is the exact opposite of "just." 

God's Word tells us to "trust in the Lord and do good."  My sister, Joni, is an example of this.  She prays for others then she waits...trusting the Lord is at work, but in the meantime, she writes cards, makes phone calls, bakes cookies.  She does "good" while she prays, trusts and waits.  So absolutely do  something while you pray for people and situations: sign petitions, #Bring Back Our Girls on Twitter, "share" articles and videos that will raise awareness for those in need, give what you can in whatever way you can, write letters and e-mails on behalf of our Sundanese sister and all our young sisters in Nigeria or any friend in need, bring meals and encourage.  You can keep up with Anna Mae and her family at: and add them to your prayer list.  This is what we are called to do as Christ followers, so by all means do good,  but for cryin’ out loud…Cry out loud to God on behalf of those who suffer.  In this way, we all minister and serve others wherever they might be.

The way I read the Bible, it seems that a praying people is a force that can't be reckoned with.  Prayer can bring the miraculous...peace, joy, restoration, redemption, counsel, wisdom...hope.  The end of the verse "Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?"..."Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and God."
Oh, I love you, my sisters...thank you for allowing me to "think" things out on the pages of this blog.  Please share how you work out this praying, trusting, hoping and doing good by leaving a comment or a prayer to encourage us all.
Hoping in my Savior and my God,

Monday, May 19, 2014

And The Winners are...Maureen and Marisela!!!!

Woo-Hoo!!!  Congratulations, Maureen and Marisela!!!!  Your copies of A Million Little Ways will be in the mail on Tuesday!  My granddaughter, Brenda, was my lovely assistant in choosing the names out of the bowl.  This was so much fun, I think I will have to do it again with something "artsy" during the blog:)  Thank you, girls, for all the comments.  It looks like commenting on the blog has gotten easier!!!  That money I spent on a "social media specialist" was well worth it!!! 

For those of you who have not gotten a book yet, they are available at:




To make your time even more "artful,"  get some highlighters, a pack of colored pens or pencils and a fun journal to write down notes, draw pictures, write poetry or whatever your little heart feels as you read through this book. Have fun with this study as you learn the "million little ways" you can be the unique and creative person God created you to be!!!!!
Blessings to you, my friends, and congratulations, Maureen and Marisela, on winning the books!!!

Love to you all,


Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Million Little Ways Book Giveaway in Three Days!!!!

Summer is coming, Girls!!!

The start-up of the Summer Bible Study Book Blog is right around the corner, and I have TWO copies of A Million Little Ways to GIVE AWAY!!!  In a few days, on Sunday night, May 18, I will draw two names from those who have left comments on the "Together We Are One Wise Woman" Blog the past few weeks.  It's not too late!!!   There is still time to put your name into the drawing!  Simply make a comment on any of the blog posts and you're in!!! Recently, I spent some time with a very gifted "social media specialist."  Following some of her suggestions,  I have made a few changes to the blog with goal of making it more "user friendly." I hope this helps with posting comments.  However, if you have problems leaving a comment, you can email me using the "contact" form on the right side of this page. I will do my best to make this as "frustration free" as possible. 

 I am looking forward to getting this summer blog going this summer and am really excited to have friends joining us from all around the states and from Nicaragua as well!  Isn't it cool that we can stay connected with sisters from around the country and world? 

Please know this is not "my" blog...this is OUR blog, so your comments are very important...after all, TOGETHER we are one wise woman:).  I wouldn't want to live this adventure without you:)

Love you blogging girls and I can hardly wait for June!  


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Lessons From Wildflowers

Four months in and already this year has been an eclectic mixture of joy and sorrow…of the Lord’s supreme beauty and the crushing ugliness of living in an imperfect, fallen world.  But right now…at this moment, the Lord has been absolutely ridiculous about His show of beauty in this desert. 
The wildflowers, especially the poppies, have been beyond spectacular.  One week ago people were saying this was close to the most beautiful showing of wildflowers this valley had ever seen.  Just as the show began to ebb, we had a small rainstorm and the valley rebloomed with more orange and then just to show off, He added purple and blue and shades and shades of yellow.  I told you He was ridiculous this year.  Here’s the wonder…in January the talk was all about the poor showing the wildflowers would make this season and then He brought the rain…again and again.  We can talk and predict all we want but in the end, He gets to do what He wants. 

I posted pictures of the wildflowers on Facebook.  Honestly, it was just too beautiful not to share.  Peter and I would look around our hilltop home the Lord so graciously provided for us, and we would stand in awe of the gorgeous sight.  We took picture after picture because to NOT share felt like we were “hogging” this spectacular beauty for ourselves.  One day I was surprised to see a comment made by a friend of a friend… "Too bad it’s all going to be brown and ugly in a week.
He spoke the truth.  All this beauty and vibrant, living color will be gone in a few short weeks.  Poppies will recede back into the earth and this year will only be a memory of what once was, and in future years the “2014 wildflowers” will be talked of and used as the new standard of flowering beauty.  I know someday there will be a better year because that’s the way our God is…He likes to outdo Himself just to bless us and prove that He can.

I’ve been thinking a lot of about the flowers that surround me this year, and I don’t think it has been a coincidence that the year they are at their most beautiful, I have lost dearly loved women in my life.  Over the months on this blog, I have introduced you to two of them: my Aunt Delores and my friend, Elaine.  Then recently another beloved friend left us…sweet Tara, who was a faithful morning Bible study girl for years.  None of these three had “charmed” lives, in fact, each one endured difficulties that were painful physically and emotionally.  My Aunt Delores in her lifetime grieved the loss of two of her children, her sister, a daughter-in-law and her husband.  Elaine and Tara endured chronic and painful illnesses for years.  And yet, when I look at their lives, I see great beauty.  I witnessed it.  Each wore their suffering and pain with grace, faith, kindness and selfless love.  Others say the very same thing about these three: they left a legacy of beauty behind. 

Let me tell you a little something about poppies I learned from a wise, old rancher who lives up the road from me.  Mr. Barnes has lived in this valley his entire life.  His family homesteaded the property he lives on to this day and he has seen many, many wildflower seasons.  Some decades back, there was a decision made to create a Poppy Reserve at the west end of the valley, so they fenced off a fair amount of land to protect and preserve the poppies for future generations.  Mr. Barnes made an effort to tell the Poppy Reserve people that though it sounded like a great idea, poppy seeds need stressful, adverse conditions in order to bloom to their best potential.  I don’t know when shepherds began grazing their sheep across the valley floor, but they have for as long as I can remember and evidentially for as long as Mr. Barnes can remember as well, because he told them there is a reason why poppies bloom best where the sheep are allowed to graze.  The seeds are mashed up between sheep teeth and then conveniently “exit” the sheep complete with fertilizer just waiting to be watered the next year.  To this day, the most beautiful poppy fields are the ones where the sheep are allowed to graze.  Probably the most convincing sight I saw this year of this truth was the patch of poppies growing under an electric power line that had been erected in the past few years.  All that movement to set the tower created stress on those seeds and though not many poppies grew in the field around the tower, it bloomed like a garden underneath.
My friends, Tara and Elaine and my aunt lived the life of a poppy field.  They endured pain, more pain than most, but they had spirits that overflowed with loving-kindness, selflessness and more than anything else, humility.  The seeds of their lives have blown into mine…they have blown into yours as you read this.  They just keep blooming on in bigger and better displays of beauty because that's the way it works with lives like theirs....they multiply and magnify.

My brother told me this year he had a pilot flying over the valley who came back and told him she wished everyone could view the valley from her vantage point.  She was in awe of the sight below her that was beyond description.  From above she could see the entire vista of what those spring rains had brought to the valley.   I believe that is the view God has of our own lives.  We see the here and now of our lives as we go through the joys and sorrows, as we endure the difficulties, as we choose His way rather than our own.  He knows what we can’t see, that the future is transformed into beauty because of a life lived well in the midst of an imperfect, and many times, painful world.

Many people think of death much like the person who posted the comment on my pictures of wildflowers…a beautiful life is lived and then death shrivels it up and it is swept away in the months and years that follow by the winds of forgetfulness that blow across our lives.   If that were it, ALL we could feel is sadness at the loss of something so beautiful.  But then there is Jesus who visited this fallen world with a perfect life and He changed everything by living and dieing and then living True, human lives might be “grass that withers and flowers that fall,” but for faithful servants of the Lord, the beauty of their lives keeps on producing...keeps on living in those of us who remain and we, as good stewards of such preciousness, have the opportunity to add to the beauty with our own lives.  

Remembering the beauty...with love,