Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Back to School

With July coming to a close, I want to announce my devotional called, We are a Fragrance, guest-published for the month of August. Patty Mason invited me to share with her readers and I want to invite you to stop in. Everyone who comes back and leaves a comment for me will be entered to win one of two gifts. I have handmade a beaded bookmark to give away. I also have a set of four 5X7 photo notecards with photos I have taken on the New England coastline.

5x7 Notecards
Bearing Fruit that Remains

Here's what you need to do:

Visit Patty's site during August to read my guest blog.

Leave me a comment here to be entered in the drawings. Tell me how the devotional spoke to you personally. Please be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you're a winner.

There will be two winners chosen on September 1st. Open to residents of the USA only. I'm looking forward to sharing these gifts with you.

School has started in so many states. Here in Connecticut we have a few more weeks before classes begin but the
back to school sales are in full swing.

I love to stock up on paper, pens and other supplies. As a writer, one of my favorites is a spiral bound legal pad with a double thick backing for extra support—I like them because it's like having a built in desk surface; I can write anywhere. The other favorite tool on my desk is my Dr. Grip pen, made for a comfortable grip.

Do you have a favorite office tool that you recommend?


A Fellow writer, Gloria Ashby also wrote a blog about fragrance and shared the link.

31 Day Blog Challenge - Finish Line

Image Courtesy of
It's finally here!

The final day of the 31 Day Blog Challenge!
I MADE IT to the finish—I didn’t think I could do it. How’s that for faith?

Will you allow me to coast today?

And, later I will plan to take a wordless rest!

I promise I will be back to my weekly posts—unless you enjoy seeing them a little more often.
While we're celebrating the victory-
Will you tell me something?

Of the daily posts during the July challenge, did one touch your heart in a special way?

Were you encouraged, challenged, convicted, blessed….

…Enough to share what you read with someone else?

I would love to know how you were impacted during this 31 Day Blog journey. You can post a comment or email me privately at

Hard to believe July is gone, 


Monday, July 29, 2013

A Serving of Streams in the Desert

I  shared my love for the devotional, Streams in the Desert yesterday and would like to share a few servings of its wisdom. Every entry is filled with Scriptural insight that prods my heart to seek more of Him.

From July 27 Entry:
“Prove Me now” Malachi 3:10
“What is God is saying here but this, “My child, I still have windows in heaven…the bolts slide as easily as of old. The hinges have not grown rusty…..I opened them for Moses, and the sea parted. I opened then for Joshua and Jordan rolled back….I will open them for you—if you will only let me. On this side of the windows, heaven is the same rich storehouse as of old. The fountains and streams still overflow. The treasure rooms are still bursting with gifts. The lack is not on MY side. It is on yours. I’m waiting. Prove me now…..bring in the tithes. Give Me a chance.”  Selected

From July 28 Entry:
“Have you asked to be made like your Lord? Have you longed for the fruit of the Spirit, and have you prayed for sweetness and gentleness and love? Then fear not the stormy tempest this is at the moment sweeping through your life. A blessing is in the storm, and there will be a rich fruitage in the “afterward.”    Henry Ward Beecher

From July 29 Entry:
“Our trials are great opportunities. Too often we look on them as great obstacles…If we look back upon the past, many of us will find that the very time hour heavenly Father has chosen to do the kindest things for us, and given us the richest blessing, has been the time we were strained and shut in on every side. God’s jewels are often sent us in rough packages….” 

This rich work is filled with blessings and touches the hard places right where we live.  Along with a copy of the Scriptures I am nudged closer to the Lord, being transformed to be more and more like Jesus.

He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I am learning to look for His work around me every day. He is there. His fingerprints are the signature of His working in us and through us. He is longing to work miracles in your life just as He did in the lives of those we read about.

I hope you see Him working today, 


Quotations are taken from Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles Cowman, published Zondervan Publishing House ©  1965
Images courtesy of
31 Day Blog Challenge


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Streams in the Desert - A Review

I enjoy using a daily devotional as part of my personal time with God each day. The best one I’ve found, and have been using since 1997 is, Streams in the Desert, by Mrs. Charles Cowman. This devotional classic was first published in 1925.

Letty Cowman and her husband were missionaries to China. Her husband was diagnosed with cancer and they returned to the United States where she cared for him six years until his death.

Streams in the Desert is the result of that difficult period. Letty’s rich wisdom and a compilation of the many encouragements received during that time, speaks to the depths of what every person struggles with when walking through the hard places.

My copy of The Stream’s Edge is underlined, highlighted, dated in the margins and falling apart in the binding—A true testimony of its value in my walk with the Lord.

I highly recommend this timeless resource. It will add a rich dimension to your discovery of God’s presence and work in your own life’s journey.

Do you have a source for daily devotional reading each day? How has it encouraged you during a difficult time?

Order your copy here:

Easy Bible Reading Plan

Have you ever read the Bible all the way through from Genesis to Revelation? Not in one sitting of course, but say over a year or two? Ever thought about it?

There are different ways to rise to the challenge but the simplest is by using the One Year Bible. Daily readings are laid out for you with portions from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. They are dated so you can begin anytime during the year and read your way through the whole of Scripture.
The daily readings take about 15 minutes a day.

The benefit lasts a lifetime.

The Bible consists of 66 books inspired by the Holy Spirit and they are meant to impact our lives with radical living and produce even more radical faith. And, the Bible is full of crazy characters to discover.
In my own reading journey, I’ve discovered the rich connections in the Old and New Testaments. I have grown both in my knowledge of Scripture and my relationship with my Heavenly Father; the Bible is His word—His message of love to me.
The One Year Bible is inexpensive. It’s a great investment in your personal growth as a seeker of Him.
You can find The One Year Bible in different formats, even large print and Kindle editions.

Will you take the challenge to discover the whole of God's Word this year?


To Blog Or Not To Blog?

There are millions of blogs buzzing though cyberspace shouting every topic, with every slant, in every language—there is a message for everyone available at the click of a button. Reasons for writing a blog vary. Some want to share an opinion. Others want to join a crowd and connect with like interests. And still others want to make a difference. Whatever the reason, blogging is a way to communicate your message and connect with the world.

What types of blogs do you follow?

What do you like about them?
Have you ever thought of joining in and launching your own blog?
What topic would your choose?
Blogging is easy. Being read is a bit more difficult. Being shared is the goal.
keyboard enter key
Your message can have an impact. A phrase rings in my ear from my friend, Marlene Bagnull who is the director of two wonderful writing conferences. She calls writers, “literature missionaries” because we may not travel all over the world, but our writing certainly can, especially now in the age of computer communication.
So, if you have a desire to get started, here are a few ideas and guidelines:
Keep your blog to 300-500 words. Online followers want something quick to read.

Know your audience and keep your posts narrowed to your message and platform

Keep your posts focused – write tight

Be consistent with your postings

End with a challenge or a question to encourage comments

Be sure to reply to your reader's comments

In my hands-on blogging workshop, I teach you how to design and maintain your own blog using Demystifying Blogger will give you the courage to jump into the world of blogging so you can get your message to a reading world.
I am available to teach my hands-on blogging workshop to your writer’s group, civic group, or to individuals.  For more information, you can contact me.
How can I help you get started with your own blog?

31 Day - Blog Challenge
Images courtesy of


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Creative Outlets - Putting A Spark In Your Life

No, not like electric outlets—other that creativity can revive our energy and put a spark in our daily lives. We are wired to be creative and discover contentment when we create beauty and utility around us.

It’s no secret; I enjoy writing and photography. Another way I create beauty is using beads. I love designing jewelry, especially earrings and bracelets.

But recently, I discovered the art of making beaded bookmarks. I combine beads and charms to communicate a message while creating something useful.

The seed beads nestle between the pages of your favorite book.

Like these:
Believing is Key

Bring Forth Fruit

Holy Ground

Trust is the Key

Don't Forget Me!

I’m a list maker—why?

I need reminders!  

I set reminders in Google calendar; I put them in my phone. I write them on my calendar hanging on the refrigerator. I have sticky notes, non-sticky notes and a To-Do file on my desk. I’ve thought about tying a string around my finger, but am not quite that dexterous. But, I have set kitchen timers way too many times—much to the humor of my siblings and family.

There are many ways to remember things; maybe you have a favorite to share. The truth is, I need constant reminders because I am very good at forgetting.

I’ll have to admit, one thing I haven’t tried--I have never written anything on my hand. I’ve seen kids do it all the time: A friend’s phone number; homework assignments, even cheat notes for a test. They swear to the effectiveness—until you wash your hands for dinner.

This made me think of the verse in Isaiah where it says, God will never forget us. He inscribes our name on the palm of His hand, right next to the nail print scars. He knows everything about us because He made us—we are the work of His hands.

So, when you’re tempted to think that God doesn’t care or at the very least, too busy to be concerned, remember your name is right where He sees it—every moment of the day. He remembers you. He will never forget you belong to Him.

What do you hope God remembers about you?


Isaiah 49:15-16 says, “…I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands…”


Love Sonnet - I Chose You

I chose you before the world began because I love you. I made you and long for you to see who I Am.

You are beautiful and I’ve given you incredible gifts. I want to spend time with you—there are so many things I want to tell you. I want to be the one you run to when you face things that scare you or things you don’t understand. I have prepared opportunities to use your gifts and talents to touch the people you meet every day. And, when you’re not sure you can do it—you can’t, not without my help. I am your strength. I am your hope. I am the One who saves you.

I know you mess up. I am the One that forgives. I know you have questions. I am the One who can answer them.  And, you know that others mess up—you can forgive them too, with my help. I see your heart. I want your heart to beat with my love.

 So when you are alone—remember I am with you. When you are afraid—I will fight for you. I will cover you with my hand of protection and watch over you because I am your Abba, Daddy. I have written your name on the palm of my hand because I will never forget you. I will never leave you. So when you have trouble trusting others—remember that I am trustworthy. I will go before you and prepare the way where you walk.

When you face tough days, remember that I am there. I will meet you in the midst of your pain. I will be what you need every moment of the day. I will fill your heart with treasure that no one can take from you. I will satisfy your hunger and thirst from My well that never runs dry.

I will seek you and call to you—and continue to show myself to you in your everyday things. I Am in the kind word spoken. I Am in the understanding ears of a listener. I am the One who gave my life for you so that we could be together forever.

Call unto Me, and I will answer and tell you great and mighty things that you don’t know. I will tell you of an everlasting love—the love I have for you; A love that never changes because I never change. I am the same today that I was yesterday—and I will be the same tomorrow. You can depend on Me and My love. You can trust me.

I love you enough to wait for you to draw near,

                                     Your Heavenly Papa



Images Courtesy of
Day 27 - 31 Day Blog Challenge

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Worn Out?

Courtesy of
Come away by yourselves and rest awhile… Mark 6:30-32

Have you ever felt worn out?

We run the race in a fast paced world and often are forced to wear many hats. The demands we face can deplete us unless we have a plan to rejuvenate from time to time. The trick is to plan time to refresh ourselves before we begin to experience the burn-out so prevalent in our culture.

I’ve been on the brink one too many times. I don’t mean to let it get that far, but in my own strength I think, ‘just one more day’. But, one more day can mean the difference between strength and weakness. I’ve found it to be a false economy because once I burnout, it can take weeks or even longer to regain my strength.

Jesus tells the disciples in this passage, they need to rest. If you notice the events leading up to this statement, they had been ministering non-stop to the crowds—feeding, healing, delivering. And, it’s notable that though Jesus was God in the flesh, He still took time to get away alone with the Father to pray. He spent time alone before making big decisions. And, He was alone before beginning His ministry.

It’s easy to fool ourselves that we can do it alone. We can’t. John 15 tells us that we can do nothing apart from Him. Because of this, He sent His Spirit to give us power to be the witnesses He calls us to be (Acts 1:8). We need time in His presence to fill our cup with the power He provides. We can’t give from an empty vessel. It’s like letting our well run dry. It takes time to prime it again so it can work to capacity. Jesus says He is the Source of Living Water that will overflow our lives as we stay close to Him.

Jesus said, Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

I suggest a Getaway with God from time to time. A getaway is easy to plan and it will restore your soul and your strength.

Have you struggled with burnout? How have you regained your strength?
For more information about burnout: signs, combating, take a look at his informative article. 


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Are You Losing Hope?

Your life needn’t feel hopeless. Despite what you are feeling or going through, there is always a glimmer of hope if you know where to look.

Are You Facing Rejection? 

Courtesy of
Jesus was rejected by the same people who crowded around Him. He was rejected by the ones who cried Hosanna waving palm branches and laid their cloaks down for Him to walk on. He knows how you feel: The emptiness, betrayal, loneliness, the feeling of being unloved and uncared for, He gets it. Because of this, He has promised to never leave you or turn His back on you.

Are You Facing a Diagnosis?
Jesus encountered a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. She spent everything she had on doctors. She was isolated from her community because of being ‘unclean’ due to the bleeding. She felt hopeless until she heard Jesus was coming by her village. A spark of hope burned as she did the unthinkable—she joined the crowd so she could touch the edge of His cloak. That simple act brought healing to her—body, mind and spirit. She was able to join her family again. Her hopelessness was transformed into hope because of Jesus. (Matthew 9:20-22, Luke 8:43-48, Mark 5:25-34)

Are You Facing Financial Problems?
Image courtesy of Idea go at
There was a widow who gathered sticks to make a fire to prepare a last meal for herself and her son. Elijah told her to make a small cake for him first so that her oil and flour supply would never run out. Out of her desperation, hope clung to the possibility that the prophet’s words were true. So, she took her last bit of ingredients and in obedience prepared the meal. His words held true and her food supply lasted through the time of drought in the land. God cared for her needs even when it didn’t make sense. (1 Kings 17:9-16)

God is able to accomplish everything that concerns you…Psalm 57:1-2, Psalm 138:8. And He will do more than we can think or imagine possible.

Reading the encounters of those who met Jesus, gives insight into His hope, given to everyone He met.

Have you met Jesus? He has hope for you too!

Do you have a favorite story from the Bible? How did it speak to you in the midst of your own situation?

31 Day Blog Challenge

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Right Tools

I just got my first opportunity for using a senior discount. AARP has been sending me membership cards for six years. I’m saving them to make a full deck (you never know, they might come in handy someday). Colonoscopies have become part of my preventative schedule. Hot flashes replace my once cold hands and feet. And, I’m not happy about it!

Shape Up With Shannon
I’ve been fighting the good fight—I exercise, eat right, and highlight my hair on a consistent basis. But gravity is happening with or without my permission so I need a new strategy.

My niece is a personal trainer and I just asked her to get personal.
I sent her a list of my equipment, you know, balance ball, five and ten pound weights—I’ve got some tools; I just need to know how to use them more efficiently. I will probably never be svelte, but I can at least lose my fluff. It’s not enough to have all of this equipment—I need to use it, right?

Now I know what you’re thinking. My outer self is decaying but my inner is being renewed day by day. Could we agree on weakening instead of decaying? At least that leaves room for hope.

courtesy of
I spoke with Shannon today and she got me set up with weight work four days a week. She mentioned she struggled several months ago too.

Shannon says: 

If we think fitness is something we need to take control of all on our own, we are so wrong. It's true; God can't put our fork down, say no to cheesecake, or make us move our bodies. But He says He wants to be in all things. This message rang in my head at one point this winter after my workouts, I was laying on the floor exhausted and crying after two months of killing myself with diet and exercise with no results. And, I just kept hearing, "I want to be in all things." I finally gave it up to Him.

That's me, folks—tired of diet and exercise with no results. So, I have begun to take steps. The first of which was to contact Shannon for her help.

Shannon is starting a group at her church called, In His Image. Tell us Shannon, how did this come about?

After surrendering, I continued my hard work, but I would listen to devotionals on the elliptical. Go to prayer about my diet and exercise and for a little needed motivation on those tough days. He lifted my heart, and oddly enough, my body began to change. I realized the connection between body, mind and spirit, so In His Image will address the whole person.

I need to flex both my physical muscles as well as my spiritual ones—Might as well go for the package deal so when this goes down, I go down stunning!

Seriously, though. I do need both the tools and the instructions to use them. My fit ball and free weights can help me in the physical realm. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God can take the spiritual. And, I need accountability. God is interested in our wholeness—body, mind and spirit. And, He provides the right tools to get them in shape.

I'm very excited for Shannon's new venture!

What are you doing for your whole-self these days? 

You can join Shannon for In His Image:

August 3rd at 1 pm.

Calvary Bible Church

348 South Hiram Rd.

Hiram, Maine

Find Shape Up With Shannon on Facebook 

31 Day Blog Challenge

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Year of Changes

L-R Heather, Alicia and Brad

With three children all close in age, we went through the stages of childhood together.  All three of them in diapers; potty training; learning to read… you get the idea. I even taught the three of them to drive a car within a year (I get a prize for that one).

So, though it doesn’t surprise me—it surprised me. They are all interviewing—changing jobs—and moving cross country—at the same time. And, that includes my new daughter-in-love. This is a year of change for all of them.

Brad & Kristin 2012
My children have been spread out across the country since my son joined the air force eleven years ago and my daughters headed off to college about two years later. But, the deck just got shuffled again. I am thankful for cell phones, texting, email and Skype. Now if I could just get the secret to being ‘beamed-up’ to a new location on demand, that would be something!

And, the funny thing…all three of my girls are teachers. It’s like hitting the slot machine with three apples—ching, ching, ching; except, I don’t gamble.  I couldn’t have planned that if I tried.

We’ve prayed through selling a house, lining up long distance jobs, air force transitions, interviews, second interviews, finances, third interviews, Skype interviews, face-to-face interviews, flying cross country interviews. I’ve about worn out my knees. But, I can tell you, God has been faithful.

There are few more details to iron out. But He’s got those under control too. And, I’m excited to see what this season holds for my kids. I am so proud of each one of them. They are gifted, smart, funny, and focused on what’s ahead. In the midst of the changes I pray they will find God faithful.
John, Heather, Brad, Alicia, and Moi  in 2011

I’m looking forward to where they all settle (Looks like Georgia and Colorado so far). One thing is certain; I need to start racking up some frequent flyer miles.

I love you Brad & Kristin, Heather and Alicia!  And proud of who you are becoming!
School is starting for my girls soon and I'm sure you are getting ready to do your school shopping too. These Amazon links can help get you started.

31 Day Blog Challenge

Friday, July 19, 2013

Under Wraps - Wisdom from My Memere

My Memere lived during the Great Depression.

Going through times like that has an impact on a person. Everyday items were rationed so she received amounts of sugar, coffee, meat and other foods; this amount depended on how many were in the household. Recipes were altered to use less sugar and God forbid, you didn’t throw anything away. Was it any wonder that when my children were young, if they only took a bite of their bread and butter, Memere would cut off the part they’d bitten and save the rest?

They weren't able to get nylon stockings because they needed to make parachutes during the war. We think nothing of this today but, women didn’t go bare-legged back then. It was a cultural thing. Ladies wore stockings.

Memere is also a wealth of ideas for recycling. Like, using empty toilet paper rolls to keep your scarves from getting lost in your drawer and for keeping extension cords from getting tangled together. Her favorite thing to read is the Hints from Heloise column in the newspaper. She loves sharing her findings with anyone who will listen.
Living in 2013, we have no idea about these things. Everything is disposable. Food is wasted by the ton. Thriftiness is a skill we may need coaching in if we continue to see job loss and inflation taking away our buying power. So if you see a “My Memere says…” column pop up on social media, you’ll know you can trust the advice.

Another thing my Memere does, is to save the “good” things for company. The nice towels are wrapped in tissue paper in a box under her bed. She has nightgowns and robes with the tags still attached. Instead, she uses her elbow patched sweater with the holes in the pockets because it’s “just fine”. And, if the gift box is just too pretty, she won’t open it. I think that goes for the two-year old Panettone with the tulle bow I saw in her room last week.
At age 95, she isn’t about to change. But, sometimes I think there may be glimmers of hope. Like last week when she asked to eat dinner in the dining room with the candles lit. That’s called living in the moment. It’s enjoying the gift of today. She probably came to the table in her old comfy sweater, but changes happen one step at a time.  Dinner by candlelight is a great start.

Thomas Jefferson said, don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today (No, I don’t think my Memere ever met him). I think that applies to candlelight dinners and taking tags off the new towels. That goes for our eternity too. The closer we get to death the more we realize the importance of facing our mortality. Settling that now frees us up to enjoy today with no regrets.

I think I’ll serve tea with my china set today—why keep it under wraps? When else am I going to enjoy it?

Happy 95th Birthday, Memere!!

Love you forever,


Do you have any questions for Memere?
And, I know she would love to get your birthday notes, so leave a message and I will deliver them to her.


Discover recipes and ways of life during the Depression years and Hints from Heloise: 

Day 18 - 31 Day Blog Challenge

Thursday, July 18, 2013

New Beginnings

I’d like to introduce you to Jan, and have her tell the story of her New Beginning. As I mentioned in my last Blog, Knocked for a Loop , life can bring hard things that sock us in the gut.

For Jan, The End came in early 2010. With a divorce after 27 years of marriage, Jan was feeling pretty defeated. She tells it like this:
 I felt lost, defeated and worthless. I didn’t have any confidence.  Not only did I lack confidence in my abilities, but in myself as a person. I felt like a failure—like I had nothing left.
Later that year, my sister, Kathy asked, “If you could do anything, what would it be?
I’ve always wanted to own a consignment shop. Kathy asked if I was willing to invest my tax return money. Her philosophy was, if it didn’t work, I hadn’t risked much. I would have another tax return the following year. So, with that seed money I purchased clothing racks, found upscale clothing at yard sales, and bought out two shops that were closing. Then, the store in Limington Meadows came available and I rented it.

The name of your shop is New Beginnings Resale Boutique.  There is a story behind the name isn’t there—you found inspiration and hope in a particular Bible verse.
Yes, a verse I’ve clung to during this time is 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away, behold all things become new.
To me this verse touched many aspects of my life starting over. I am a new creature: I rededicated my life to the LORD. The old things passing away and things becoming new -- this was my marriage ending and my new life beginning. It is also your old clothes becoming new clothes for someone else.
Sounds like a step of faith! I’m sure there have been ups and downs along the way. How has God provided your needs? What special blessings have you encountered?
God provided  in many ways since being on my own and opening the shop. In the last three years I haven’t been able to find a full-time job. But, He has met all of my needs. We have never done without. It came by way of extra hours at work, tax return money—anytime there was a financial need, the money or the opportunity to make money showed up. I have also learned to live my life claiming God’s promises. He promised to provide all my needs—I only need to be faithful to Him.
One of the biggest blessings for me is being able to provide clothing to the Veteran’s Home, Teen Challenge and the women’s crisis shelter.
It sounds like this brings you a lot of satisfaction. Tell us about that.

I love having people come into the shop. There are some return customers that I truly enjoy—Lindsay, Lisa and Mary are just a few. I love to watch them shop. They get so excited. They talk from the dressing room. Sometimes I get worried that other customers will think I planted them to get people to shop there.
Sounds awesome—like the beginning of a new community.  So, tell us, where are you today—It’s been three years.  Do you see yourself differently?

Definitely! I am more confident. I think I am stronger and my relationship with God is growing daily. .  I like who I am becoming.  I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish, and I owe all of it to Christ!
What would you like to tell other women who might be where you were three years ago?
Starting over truly is a new beginning—A fresh slate. Allow yourself to grieve, but don’t let it dominate your thoughts. Is there something you have always wanted to do? Having a goal is good therapy. And, surround yourself with a good support system—this is vital.
Jan's story is inspiring! I can attest to the amazing way God has led and blessed her during this journey. Because you see, I am her big sister. I have watched her New Beginnings and seen her emerge as a beautiful butterfly.
I hope her story will encourage you too,
Update on June 20, 2015: New Beginnings Resale Boutique is no longer in operation. The Lord has brought even more new beginnings for Jan. She is doing wonderfully in her new location. Feel free to contact her via this post and I will pass it along.
Resources you may find helpful: 

One of Jan's favorite songs by Laura Story: BLESSINGS

Day 17 - 31 Day Blog Challenge