How To Have Unspeakable Joy


After years of working at a job I loved, I was anxiously looking forward to retirement. For me, retirement meant traveling to exotic places and seeing the world, sleeping in until the sun came up, having quiet, blissful mornings, and enjoying the great outdoors. These long-anticipated events were soon to come to pass, but not without some trials.

The first trip my husband and I took after my retirement was to Denver to ski. We’re not great skiers, but we enjoy the winter sport and the snowy mountain atmosphere. On our fourth and final day, as I went to lift off the chairlift, this excruciating pain shot into my lower back. I skied down the hill, which seemed to loosen it up a bit. Thinking of the spasm might have worked out, I got back on the lift. But the same thing happened when I got up from the chair the second time, only worse. We were there to ski and have a good time, and I didn’t want to disappoint my husband by telling him I couldn’t ski anymore so I tried it again. This time the pain was so unbearable that I was in tears and by the time I got down the hill and I let him know that I was done for the day.

When we got home I made an appointment with the back doctor and, thankfully, x-rays showed nothing was wrong with my spine. “It’s just weak back muscles,” he told me. Evidently, years of sitting at a desk had weakened my back, and I needed to strengthen it. Some medications and therapy were prescribed and it gradually got better over the next few weeks.

Just as I started to feel normal again, my feet started killing me. The pain was so excruciating that at times I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom without holding on to the wall. I sought out a foot doctor and learned that it was plantar flagitious. A common foot ailment brought on by inflammation from overworking the muscles and tendons. All that extra walking I had been doing was causing my feet to rebel. It turned out to be a pretty easy fix with some shoe inserts, stretching, and an occasional shot of cortisone. I also backed off the walking just a bit to allow my feet to heal.

But then about mid-summer, my legs started aching. I couldn’t get comfortable anywhere and couldn’t sleep at night without pain medication and sleep aid. It was so painful in the mornings that I could barely move my legs to get out of bed. Thinking I must have something terribly wrong with my legs, I made an appointment with a leg specialist and he told me it wasn’t my legs at all, but my back again. That was weird because my back wasn’t even hurting! A strong steroid pack was prescribed and more therapy worked very well in relieving the pain. After an MRI which showed everything was good with my back and it was feeling better, I told him about another issue that just crept up.

I had woken up a few mornings prior and the tops of both my arms were hurting so badly that I couldn’t hardly move them. Even though I was an early riser, it would be around 11:00 a.m. each morning before I could move well enough to get on with my day. He referred me to the shoulder doctor where I learned that it was impingement from inflammation and overuse. I guess I shouldn’t have been lifting all those weights so soon. More steroid shots, therapy sessions, exercises, and medication were then prescribed for my shoulders.

I’m still dealing with some back and shoulder pain today, but it is manageable. I’m faithful to doing my back and shoulder exercises which the doctor said I could never stop doing and I continue to take anti-inflammatory medications. The issues are still there, but much better, and, thankfully, it’s more of a morning issue than an all-day issue. I keep doing what I now know to do and trust one day the pain will go away completely.

The cause

I’ve asked myself many times. Are these long-lasting trials an attack from Satan to steal the joy I was looking forward to in retirement or were they brought on by God who wanted to humble and strengthen me? Or was it simply a physical reaction to a shift in my lifestyle? I’m not sure. I’m still trying to figure that out. Maybe it’s a combination of all three. My body was re-adjusting, Satan saw this as an opportunity to steal my joy, and God allowed it because I need to learn to depend more on Him.

Joy in trials

One thing I do know is that God intends for us to have joy amid our trials. James instructs us to “Count it all joy when you fall into various temptations, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” (James 1:3)

There are roughly 200 verses in the Bible about joy that tell us we should have it and how to obtain it. Joy is a trait God wants for His children even while living in this fallen world.

Pain and sickness are things that can certainly steal our joy. My husband said that my personality even changed during my worst bouts of pain. I’ve always been a cheerful person, but constant, intense pain can quickly change you from a cheerful person to someone who no one wants to be around.

Despite all the pain I lived in during that first year of retirement, however, I was still able to enjoy my life and had a great year traveling, spending time with family, and doing many of the things I love. Granted, it would have been much better if it had been totally pain-free, but in reality, is life ever totally pain-free? If we’re not dealing with physical pain, we may be experiencing emotional pain.

The antidote

So how do we have joy amid our trials? These three things helped me to continue living a joyful life amid the pain.

A painting that says "choose joy" in bright colors.  Paintbrush included.
Photo by Bekka Mongeau on

Joy is a choice

I’ve seen people battle months of horrid treatments for cancer and still retain their joy. How do they do that? They did it by drawing closer to the Lord. Joy is a fruit of the spirit and the closer we get to the Lord and allow His spirit into our lives, the more this fruit will be manifested. I’ve heard many people proclaim that they wouldn’t take anything for the hard trial they went through because it brought them so much closer to God. We always have a choice when going through trials to either wallow in self-pity and dwell solely on our misfortunes or decide to be thankful for the numerous blessings we have. The latter attitude will always produce joy no matter what circumstance we are facing.

Hope breeds joy

Sheer hope brings joy, as well. Paul mentions this in Romans 12:12 where he says “Rejoicing in hope, enduring in troubles, continuing steadfastly in prayer.” I have lots of people praying for my pain and that gives me hope that eventually, it will subside and I will move past this trial. That hope causes me to rejoice. I refuse to believe that things will not get better.

Faith ingites joy

With over 200 verses in the Word of God about joy and how to have it, we can get our joy back by simply reading and accepting those words.

There are numerous promises there, but here are just three:

Those who sow in tears will reap in joy.”

Psalms 126:5

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved in various trials.

1 Peter 1:6

Not only this, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance.

Romans 5:3

Faith and hope are intertwined. Faith in God produces hope in our situation which brings forth joy.

Other joy stealers

Pain in our bodies isn’t the only thing the thief uses to steal our joy. Betrayal, sin, unbelief, and unforgiveness are some of the tools Satan uses against us. Each of these can also be overcome as we will explore in the coming weeks.

A woman by a lake hands up in the air showing joy and praise.
Photo by Eneida Nieves on

The Joy of the Lord is your strength.

Nehemiah 8:10

Covid Comes Home

Covid -19 has taken a lot from me. The loss of my brother, most of my income from my work, my freedom to go to church, visit my favorite restaurants, travel or simply get a massage or pedicure. At one point I was even afraid to hug my grand kids! But I’m not alone. We’ve all suffered loss from this pandemic.

But Covid has given me some things as well. It’s given me the gift of time. Time to slow down and reflect on what’s really important in life. Time to grow closer to God and seek more clearly His direction. More time to spend with my husband and plan the awesome trips we’re going to take when we’re set free to do so.

Four Important Lessons

Coronavirus is a serious illness. After all, it took the life of my brother. However, I can’t blame Covid entirely. He had many underlying conditions that are common in most of the Covid deaths. His death has reiterated in me the importance of taking care of my body by eating right and getting exercise. Our bodies need to be strong and healthy to fight off diseases.

It has also taught me that you can get people to do just about anything if you put enough fear in them. We all willingly shut down our businesses and locked ourselves in our homes for weeks. “If you don’t, millions of you will die” we were told. Shutting down for a few of weeks may have been the right thing to do; After all, millions of us didn’t die, but I’m sensing that there may be more fear at play now than facts now that the curve has been flattened.

I’ve learned that some people just can’t handle power. State governors were given power to oversee the proper shutting down according to the specifics of their region, and rightly so. Yet to see governors telling people which items they can buy in the store and how to walk on the beach or fining churches for having services has been very eye opening. Thank God we have a system of government that doesn’t give all the power to one branch.

Finally, I’ve learned that circumstances can turn on a dime. Just because we have a thriving business and are healthy and alive today is no guarantee that everything will be the same tomorrow.

The Bible tells us in Thessalonians to be thankful in every situation. It doesn’t say we have to be thankful for every situation, but in every situation. Frankly, there is a lot going on in America and around the world today that I’m not thankful for, but I can still find plenty for which to be grateful. Gratitude is a choice. And as tough as things are right now, the good still outweighs the bad by a long shot!

I’d love to have my brother back, but I know he is at peace and in a much better place. I’d love to have my business back, but as a Christian, I know that God has a plan for my life and I have to accept the situation He has now placed me and simply trust Him for what he has next. (Lord, help me here.) I know whatever it is, though, it will be good for He has never failed me yet.

Times of loss, struggle and trials always bring a lessons if we look for them. Our plans and desires may have been disrupted, but God’s has not been.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. – Proverbs 16:9

Things I’m thankful for during coronavirus outbreak

We’re living in a very scary time right now. Everyday life that we took for granted just a few weeks ago, such as going to work or school, the gym or even the grocery store can now prove fatal. We wake up every day to a new Coronavirus death toll and the leaders are warning us that it’s not over yet.

I’ve always coped with loss, uncertainty, or depression by practicing gratitude. I find it lifts my spirits even when circumstances don’t change. Here’s a list of just a few of the things I’ve made a point to be grateful for today.

A Safe Place

I’m thankful for my beautiful home. It’s not a mansion but it’s plenty big enough for my husband and I. It’s a safe place to retreat, refresh and renew, and now to even work. It’s decorated to my taste and I love just being here. Working full time and being on the go the way many of us normally are, we sometimes don’t have enough time to enjoy the homes that we’ve worked so hard to build. During this time of isolation I’m thankful to have time to enjoy it. Some people lost their home just recently in tornadoes that swept through our city. Mine is still standing. I am blessed.

A Venue to the outside

I’m thankful for the internet. Up until this crisis hit, we were all feeling guilty for spending so much time on our screens. Now this technology has become our best friend. It’s allowed all of us to stay in touch with our family and friends, allowed students to continue their education, and many people to keep working and even have church! Through this medium we can shop and have our purchases delivered to our front door. The internet has been a total game changer for all of us during this outbreak and I’m grateful for the opportunities it has offered.

Able Bodies

The Lord has kept my husband and I, our children and grandchildren safe so far. We done our part by practicing social distancing and while I miss being with my family terribly, I have some assurance that those times will return soon. Unfortunately, not everyone can say this. The thought of thousands of people dying alone is almost too much to bear. Today, I’m not alone, I’m not in the hospital and I’m not dying. How can I not be thankful for that?


I’m thankful for the spirit of the America people that I see on display during this time. Although we are physically apart we are more united than we have been in a long time. Oh, there are a few small people with big microphones still trying to divide us by somehow trying to place blame on this horrible virus on one person or another, or by sitting on the sidelines and pointing out every small mistake or miscalculation made by our leaders during this crisis, but by enlarge the real patriots, the common everyday people, are giving and doing what they can with whatever they have available to serve their fellow citizens.

Everyone in sacrificing something to help bring this crisis to a halt. Our health care workers are putting their lives on the line every day to take care of the sick, business are shutting their doors to the very public that provide them their livelihood, parents are teaching their children at home while keeping up with their own work responsibilities, government leaders are working overtime to gain information, make critical decisions and keep us informed on best practices. Pastors have willingly relinquished their church services even though the gathering together of the saints is the strength of their church. People are praying for each other more than in a very long time. It’s heartwarming and I’m extremely grateful.

While at times I’m fearful and extremely sad, and never want this to happen again, I refuse to live in fear and sadness alone. A little gratitude goes a long way in helping me to keep perspective and bring joy into my life.

Take a moment to thank God for the good you still have in your life. Then feel your spirit soar.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

When bad things happen

Things started to go sour while I was at the dentist. I had to have two crowns. The receptionist had previously told me how much each crown was and how much my insurance would pay. She had given me a sheet of paper with my portion of the cost written on it.

For those of you fortunate enough not to have had a crown, its a 2-step procedure; one appointment for the drilling and putting on a temporary crown and another once the permanent crown comes in from the lab. I had paid for my portion for both crowns at the first appointment and this one was just to get the permanent crowns put on. Therefore, I was under the assumption that everything had been paid for and got ready to leave. That’s until she told me that I owed $400 that the insurance didn’t pay. That was 40 percent more than I was quoted!

She didn’t have any explanation other than the insurance just didn’t pay it. In my mind I begin to question the integrity of the office. Previously one of the crowns had to be sent back to the lab because it was defective. Were they secretly charging me for that?

Driving home that night still numb in the mouth and angry inside my head, a deer runs right in front of my new car. There was no missing it! It was a dark night on an unlit road and there it was suddenly right in my lane. My front bumper just brushed him as he flew by.

I make it home, break the bad news to my husband, we assess the damage and call the insurance company.

Wow, this has been a trying day! At least tonight is bible study night! I love getting together with our small group of friends for bible study and prayer every other Wednesday night. It’s comforting, encouraging, and exhilarating to spend time with them studying and discussing Gods word.

In the middle of the study I get a call from my daughter who lives out of town. They are in another time zone and she never calls that late at night so I take the call. She sadly informs me that her husband’s father has just passed away!

That night my husband and I got in bed and just held each other. Completely wrung out and saddened by the events of the day, yet still so incredibly thankful for all that we realize we have.

Sure it’s irritating to be charged more than you were planning to pay for something, yet we have to be thankful to have access to fantastic health and dental care, even though it’s almost always overpriced. And we can afford to pay the extra $400. Paying that is not going to cause us not to eat and I know that is not the case for everyone on this planet.

The car can be fixed. We’ll be out a little for the deductible and a some inconvenience taking it to the shop, but that’s it. I wasn’t hurt and at the end of the day that’s what is most important. I’ll have my car back soon and life will go on. When you think about that, it’s hardly worth getting upset over.

As for Mr. Goolsby, while it’s a terribly sad loss for the family, we know he is in heaven now. He loved and served God all his life through humanitarian missions work all over the globe. A life well lived and, though so terribly hard on his family to let him go, there is comfort in knowing he is in Gods presence. For a Christian death is not the end. The family will grieve through the loss knowing that one day they will be united with him again.

We all have rough days, but when you’re a child of the King you just can’t stay down for very long. There is always hope, joy and comfort even when things go terribly wrong.

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

When Mother is Lost

There are some instances in our life where the memories are so vivid that we can even remember what we were wearing.  This is the case back in December 1968.  I was 15 and my father had picked me up from school that day.   I had worn my favorite khaki colored wool jumper with pleats and a grey and khaki sweater underneath.  “Your mom isn’t doing well and we need to run down to the hospital,” he said.  I didn’t think too much about it.  She  had just had surgery and I figured she was just having a little setback.

When I got there, however, I began to realize that she was much worse off than I thought.  She was  lying in bed with ice packs all around her.  A huge green oxygen tank was beside her bed with a tube hooked up to her nose.  She was non-responsive.  The lovely plants that were just brought to her room yesterday were now limp and wilted as if they were crying out that something  is terribly wrong here.  “That’s from so much oxygen in the room,” the nurse told me, obviously noticing my bewildered look.

”Squeeze her hand and she will squeeze it back,” my father said gently.    I walked over and took her hand and gave it a squeeze and she did squeeze it back.  I was confused.  Why could she squeeze my hand but not speak?  What happened next was like a car speeding out of control and there was nothing to do to stop it.

The nurse must have been sensing that I was in denial as to what was happening, because she took Mom’s temperature and made sure that I knew it read 106 degrees.

Then those in the room began telling stories about when this person died or that person died and I became very angry.  I was raised to never yell at or question adults but I was angrily thinking to myself why are you people giving up so easily?

I spent the rest of the night in the waiting room right outside her door trying to process what was happening.  Then around 2:00 in the morning there was a lot of commotion around her room.  A few minutes later, the doctor came and got my dad for a short conversation after which dad came back out shook his head and said “She’s gone.”

The nurse asked me if I wanted to go back into the room to see her one more time and I declined.  We stopped by an office where my dad filled out some papers and then we went home.

I lost a lot that day.  I would never know what is was like to have a relationship as a grown woman with my mother.  She would not be there to help me when I brought my first newborn home or the three that followed after that.  She wouldn’t even be there when I graduated  high school.  As a teenager, I had been worried about having to take care of her post-op, now I was going to have to cook meals for my dad and two brothers practically every night.  I was to grow up perhaps sooner than I should.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Even as a young Christian this verse kept me going during this time.    There was so much that I didn’t understand but through all the painful grief I found comfort in trusting that somehow God was going to make good come from this.

The year that followed was hard.  I didn’t know how to cook as all I had ever done was bake cake from mixes, so I just opened can of beans and heated them up for dinner many times.   But slowly I got a little better and sometimes my aunt who was an amazing cook would bring us dinner which was a real treat!

A year later my dad remarried and that brought both blessings and curses.  I no longer had to be the chief cook and could go back to being a teenager; but along with the marriage came a step-sister.   While thrilled to have a sister, our up bringing was very different which caused a lot of friction in the house.

I left home at 17 to go to college and never moved back.

So what good came from all these trials?  My step mother and I gradually became closer through the years and when my children were born, she loved each of them as if they were her very own grandchildren. The man I married is one of the godliest on earth and his mom treated me from day one the same as her own daughters.  In fact, years later when she got dementia, I was the very last person whose name she forgot.

I was given four of the greatest children to raise.  They are all healthy, talented, hard-working, successful, God fearing adults of whom I couldn’t be more proud.  My life has been so blessed in every way and even though I never knew either of my grandmothers.  (They died before I was born,) and I knew my mother for a very short time, this Mother’s Day I choose to dwell on not what I have lost, but what I have gained and the multitude of blessings I can be truly thankful for.  I hope you can do the same.

My Blessings

Why Pray Anyway?

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Why does God asks us to pray?  After all He is all powerful and can do as He pleases.  Why doesn’t He just do what He wants in order to accomplish what He wishes in the earth?  He certainly doesn’t need our permission. God knows our heart.  He could always  just do for us what He knows we need or want, couldn’t He?

The truth is that God wants a relationship with us!   God who thought us up and created us actually loves us and desires to be in communion with us and you can’t have any kind of meaningful relationship without  communication.  Prayer is that avenue of communication.  God speaks to us through His Word and the Holy Spirit and we commune back to Him in prayer.

While some say we shouldn’t be asking God for things all the time, that instead we should be asking Him only what He would want from us,  I believe that we should ask God’s will for our lives daily, and also ask Him for anything we need, too, no matter how small and trivial.

Here’s why

God is not too busy to be bothered by our trivial requests.  Saying that He is too busy is putting a limit on Him and God has no limitations.

Small requests build faith.  Some may think it selfish to ask God to help us find our car keys or a parking spot, but in reality those quick answers to trivial needs actually build faith and when we need something bigger from God that is really important, we remember His faithfulness in those small day to day prayers.

God tells us to pray about everything.  Philippians 4:6 say “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

When God doesn’t answer

God is not a genie in a bottle.   He doesn’t give us everything we ask for when we ask for it.  He answers according to His will in His timing because He knows more what’s best for us than we do.  However, we should never let an unanswered prayer be an excuse to stop praying.

Research shows that those who pray are more at peace, have less depression, and bond better with others, Thankfulness and gratitude prayers have been shown to increases the serotonin and dopamine in our brains —those feel good hormones that lift our spirits.  Prayer makes us happier, healthier and able to tackle life’s problems better than those who try to do it on their own.

So pray in faith believing that God will answer (or not) in the way that is best for both you and His Kingdom and the world.   Big or small, He cares about them all.

“Cast all your anxiety on Him for He cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7

Grateful Opportunities

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It’s the time of the year that we tend to focus more on gratitude. Gratitude is a fantastic virtue and people who are grateful tend to lead happier, more productive lives.  We have so much to be thankful for, especially in America, where we have  an abundance of variable resources. As my pastor says, most of our problems come from having too much stuff!  We have so much food available to us that we are constantly  trying to avoid the temptation to not over eat.   So many clothes  cram our closets we have trouble deciding what to wear.  The many options  available to us of things to do and entertain ourselves cause us to run ourselves ragged just trying to keep up with our ever increasingly busy schedules.

While I’m so thankful for material possessions, nice homes and transportation, good health care and access to plenty of nutritious food and so much more, what I’m really focusing my gratefulness for this year are opportunities provided to me by others.   A couple of incidents have occurred this fall that have me peeling back this gratitude layer a little further.

First, my former choir director died.  Landy was a huge personality in so many ways.  One of Nashville’s top interior designers, he also was a choir director practically his entire life.  I was privileged to sing under his direction at Christ Church in Nashville for 25 years.  During that time, he taught me along with everyone else under his lead to sing and worship God to the best of our ability.  We all learned techniques that brought our voices to levels we never imagined and then he showed us  how to give  our best efforts to God for Him to add His blessing.  That brought an Holy Spirit anointing that took us right to heaven’s door every Sunday.  Landy worked hard  with the choir, band, and arrangers to produce the beautiful music he heard in his head.   We singers as well as the audience were the benefactors of his passion, talent, and tireless efforts.

We sang at music and worship conferences across America.    He took us on four mission trips to Ukraine where we did concerts up and down the Nipper River as the very first Christian group to go into that country after the breakup of the Soviet Union, singing every song in the Ukranian language.   In America we did concerts every year where we packed out our church of 2500 for 2 or 3 nights or venues like the Grand Ole Opry house and were even invited to sing on the Dove Awards and Country Music Awards.  We sang with artist like Dolly Parton, Reba McIntyre, Glen Campbell, the Judds and many others.   Yet, we were just ordinary people, not professional singers.  Sure we worked hard and put a lot of  time and energy into the choir,  but none of it would have ever happened had it not been for Landy Gardner.   I’m eternally thankful for his passion, leadership, and willingness to bring me and my fellow choir members along on a journey that never could have been possible on our own.  He allowed me personally to reap countless blessings that I never would have otherwise never experienced.

Right after Landy passed, I had eye surgery.  Cataracts had invaded the lens of both my eyes and had to be removed.    Upon a visit to the eye doctor he told me he could not only removed the cataract, but also replace it with a lens that would give me virtually 20/20 vision in both eyes.   After surgery I was amazed at the brightness of the colors and the rooms.  I could see clearly in the distance and everything was sharp and clear.  I had not been able to see that well without glasses in years! How thankful I was to be able to not have to wear glasses to see and even read. Sure it cost a lot of money, but no amount of money would have been able to restore my eyesight if no one  had not been willing to undergo years of training and expense to learn the tedious procedure and become qualified to do eye surgery.   Additionally,  someone, somewhere  developed the artificial lens that make seeing possible.    I’m extremely thankful to all of them, even though I don’t even know them.

This Thanksgiving, take a moment to go beyond just being thankful for the obvious.  When you count your blessings, think about how many  are available to you  because of the sacrifice of others.  I want to be thankful for the contractor that built my house, the engineers and workers that built the roads I travel to work on every day, my boss, whose passions and expertise have provided a job for me to earn a living year after year, government officials who keep order in our society, teachers who gave me an education and my pastor and thought leaders who speak into my life every day.  The list seems endless when you stop to think about how many people help us each and every day just by doing what they do.

Things just don’t happen in this world.  Everything worthwhile comes by sacrifice and hard work from someone.   When we stand on their shoulders and reap the benefits of what others have done,  it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on how they have enriched our lives and  to be grateful for them even if they are no longer here.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. Ephesians 1:16

Inevitable Change


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Embrace change!  We’re encouraged to do this in today’s fast-paced, ever developing, technology driven society.  If we don’t change and continually learn, we will be left behind and eventually get to the point where it is hard to even function.

While God remains the same, His world is always changing.   Each rotation of the earth around the sun brings a host of distinct challenges, opportunities, blessings, joys, trials, and sorrows.  Every day people are born into life here and every day some leave.  Plants appear in the spring and then begin to die out in the fall as the trees go bare, only to be replaced by new buds the next spring.  Most animals appear for just a few short years before they die and are replaced by their offspring.

A few decades ago,  most of the people we care about and spend most of our time with today didn’t even exist.  A couple of decades in the future and our family will look totally different than it does today.

Remember when we were very young we though we will be on this earth for what seemed like an eternity. Then suddenly in early adult hood the stark reality hit us that life is going by much faster than we ever imagined.

With each passing day we become a little different.  We are a little older, a little fatter or skinnier, depending on what we ate, a little wiser or dumber, depending on what we allowed into our minds.  A little richer or poorer depending on what economic decisions, good fortune or trouble we happened to experience that day.

No two days will ever be the same and neither will we be the same tomorrow as we are today. Therefore, embrace change and embrace this day.  In a way It will be our last for there will never be another one exactly like it. Besides, it’s the only one we are guaranteed to have!

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Family Ties


Every year my husband and I, along with our four children and their spouses plus all the grandkids, take off for a winter get-a-way in the smoky mountains on MLK weekend.  We’ll get a large five bedroom cabin in the woods, hang out, play games , hike, ride go-carts (the grand-kid’s favorite) see some of the attractions and cook and eat some delicious family meals.  It’s my  favorite weekend of the year!

After our last trip I posted a picture on Facebook that we took with the entire family–all fifteen of us. One of my friends commented “I love that you do that, don’t ever stop!” I love that thought, but the truth is that, unfortunately, we will stop one day.  Not because we want to but because nothing on this earth last forever, especially people.

Most of us have a very small nucleus of people that we get to go through life with in a tiny window of time allotted us on earth.   While we may have lots of acquaintances, we have very few family and friends that we can always count on in life, no matter the circumstance.   Those who will be there in good times and bad.  For me, these are those people.

I heard a pastor once say that when you die, there will be room around your bed for approximately eight people and those are the eight people you should always make a priority in your life.   I think that is good advice.  Of course, even those eight will change through the years.

My dad’s favorite saying whenever I was fretting over some teenage drama was “Don’t worry about it.  In one hundred years it won’t make any difference.”  While his statement frustrated me at the time, now remembering that helps me keep a lot of things in perspective.

Looking at the picture of my family, the fifteen people closest to me in the world,  I know that in one hundred years, we will most likely all be gone from earth to our new home in heaven.  One by on, we will each pass away.  Even the cute little babies will have died of old age by that time and their sons and daughters will be the patriarch and matriarch of their own families.

But right now, I’m not worried about 100 years from now.  I’m enjoying this present time that God has graciously given to me and my family on this earth and am looking forward to next year when, if all goes well, there will be sixteen of us in that picture as my youngest daughter and her husband are expecting their first child in June!

Keep ‘um coming, folks!

There is a time for everything, and a season for everything under the heavens.  A time to be born and a time to die.  Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2a

How Gratitude affects attitude




Gratitude makes for a great attitude

Last year I made a commitment to stop whining about winter.   I dreaded winter every year because I don’t like the cold, dark days it brings.  I prefer the warm, long, sunny days of summer.  God began to convict me of my sour attitude and I vowed to change.  After all, He made winter and it has its purpose.  Who was I to grumble about it?  So I made a list of everything that was special about winter and even blogged about it here on my site.

This year, as winter rolled around, to my surprise,  I wasn’t dreading it!  While in years past, I became depressed because of the approaching winter, this year I’m naturally accepting it and am even looking forward to those cozy evenings by candlelight.

What a difference a change of attitude makes

By forcing myself to think about and appreciate the wonderful attributes of winter, my mindset has changed and now I naturally appreciate it – without a struggle! I’m no longer dreading the cold or even the sometimes endless gray days that December through February bring.

I wonder where else in my life that I need to make the mental change from complaining to appreciating.

If you find yourself constantly complaining or dreading something or someone in your life, especially if it is something you cannot change, try listing out all the good that that situation or person brings to your life and focus on that instead.  Be grateful and thank God for those things.  Perhaps you too will be surprised at how much your attitude will change toward that person or situation.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  Philippians 4:8