Category Archives: Life lessons

December 11, 2018 God with us

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Good morning, DearHeart.

We are always growing.

Ever-changing.

Through difficult times, scanning our environment to decide whether or not this is a safe place … choosing our response … ‘will I exercise my right here to fight or will I take flight?’ Recently, I was thrilled when asked how I successfully made it through a difficult conversation. I shared:

I planned for it.

I knew the agenda.

I walked in prepared.

My preparation included inviting Christ into the room with me. Into the very chair in which I would sit. Asking His Holiness to meet me there, to be waiting for me as I entered,

as I sat down,

to weave through my thought process,

to guide the words I heard,

and to be in the words I spoke.

“God, be with every part of this process. Be with me. Be with us.”

And, He was.

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.”   (Matthew 1:22-23 NIV).

Sometimes I can read the Christmas story & miss things due to the familiarity that has grown over the years.

Immanuel.

A single name that means so much. ‘God with us.’

After the resurrection, Jesus is commissioning the disciples & says to them:

“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”   (Matthew 28:20 NLT).

Immanuel.

‘God with us.’

Again we are told in Hebrews 13:5:

“God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (NLT)

‘God with us.’

Wake up.

Invite Him in with you.

Never will He leave or forsake you.

Go.

December 10, 2018 JESUS

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“…he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.” Luke 2:21 NIV

Good morning, DearOne.

It doesn’t happen often, but I inherited a soapbox gene from my dad. You really haven’t heard anything til you’ve seen Verle Coon completely wound up and making his point. You know you have witnessed pure passion when you witness it. He’s mellowed a lot in recent years so instead of daily bouts of frenzy, we only get one or two a year. A few of his grandsons let that same strand of DNA loose occasionally, too. When it happens, even if it is a touchy subject … just knowing it’s origin always makes me grin a little inside.

I’m a little worked up this morning. If you were here, I’d probably climb on my platform and slather you with a soapbox rant. Here’s my plight: why is it Christmas and we aren’t hearing the name “Jesus” at every turn?

Could it be that the Christ Child has been pushed out?

Could it be we have no room?

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was NO ROOM for them in the inn.”  (Luke 2: 6,7 NIV)

A birth.

A manger.

No room.

Funny that we know that. Yet – my racing thoughts are wondering … are we really any different today?

Cards to write.

Parties to attend.

Gifts to buy.

Baking to be done.

Cleaning the house.

Wrapping the gifts.

Decorating the house.

Relatives to visit.

Lights to be hung.

Meals to be prepared.

Stockings to be hung.

Well, you get point. Still no room. We must choose to make room for Christ in our lives.

Let’s go on this mission together. Let’s see how many times we can say the name “JESUS” each day through this season. Let’s truly get passionate about bringing Him into absolutely every minute of our days. Oh, the thrill of honoring Him by bringing Him into every talk. Let His presence bless you and me and everyone each day as we meet folks on this Jesus journey. May each soul walk away from us lifted by the presence of Christ from our talk.

Wake up.

Count how many times you say “Jesus” today.

Go.

December 6, 2018 lead

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Good morning, DearHeart.

As our sons were growing up a common talk we’d have with them was that others … especially younger folks were always watching them. The power of their words, influence, attitude, work ethic, relationship with Christ, was always on display. And, even as young boys, they were leaders with followers.

They also decided along the way … well, to put it simply … and blunt … leadership is messy. And we all interact with leadership in some way.

Whether it is at school, work, church, with family, or relationships, our lives are impacted by leadership. If our desire is to lead well, we must continually develop and our leadership will require everything of us.

Great leadership is rare because it takes work. And, it is ever-changing.

It takes intentionality.

It requires sacrifice.

It takes resolve.

It involves heartaches,

disappointments,

and mistakes.

It requires apologies.

It entails a daily dose of humility.

It means relentless growth and

frequent failure. (sigh).

Extraordinary leadership isn’t easy, but it is possible.

I’ve always thought the secret to extraordinary leadership lies in this verse, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all you strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31, NLT)

When you operate from a point of loving your people well, you get to witness little victories trickling from the people you lead as they lead others. You also gain courage to grow your skills through the challenges.

Notice today those who are following – intentionally, and unintentionally – those who are watching from a distance. Notice the power of your influence.

May we be committed to our growth because our God is committed to us through the long haul.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
(Philippians 1:6, NLT)

Wake up.

Continue growing.

Go.

November 30, 2018 disappointment

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Good morning, DearOne. This little fella really wanted us to share our chips and salsa yesterday. He was disappointed when the waiter ran him off.

The other day I read a quote about disappointment that stuck with me by Ann Voskamp:

“God appoints people who do disappoint – to point to a God who never disappoints.”

Who of us has not been disappointed by those we thought would always stand by us?

And who of us has not disappointed others?

Yet I do not think I have ever thought in terms that they were appointed to disappoint. Since reading this quote, I have not been able to stop thinking about it.

The statement is so true. There has not been a time in my life when disappointed by a person that I have not turned to God. In my hurt & woundedness, there was no other place for me to go but to God. Why? Because He & He alone will never disappoint me.

He will never let me down.

I think the psalmist, David, expressed is so beautifully…

“Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced.”

Psalms 22:4-5

We need to let those who have disappointed us, off the hook. Seriously.

And quite frankly, I want to be let off the hook.

I want to be forgiven for disappointing my friends & family. Can it be that disappointment is a gift that is disguised?  Perhaps in disappointing us, they have done exactly what God called them to do … they pointed us to Him. And He will never disappoint.

Wake up.

Let it go.

Go.

November 29, 2018 leap

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“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven.” (Matthew 5:11-12, NLT)

Good morning DearHeart.

People are, in fact, getting ruder and more sarcastic. They are shooting their mouths off. They just plain are. It should not come as a shock to me. Jesus warned that many will turn away and betray and hate one another. He said hearts would grow cold towards Him and to one another (Matthew 24:9-12).

We are further told what will become characteristic of people as time marches on …

lovers of themselves

and their money,

boastful,

proud,

scoffing at God,

disobedient to parents,

ungrateful,

unloving,

unforgiving,

counting nothing as sacred,

slanderous,

no self-control,

betraying their friends.

Ugly list, isn’t it? But check it out for yourself as I did not write the list (2 Timothy 3:1-5, NLT).

In order for our hearts to remain soft and feeling, we are surely going to need to do a better job of guarding our hearts. We are going to need to be deliberate if we are going to be counter-cultural and remain polite and kind and sensitive to one another.

I’ve noticed people who seeing nothing wrong with being sarcastic or making a rude comment to each other. They seem to think as long as they put “LOL” or a smiley face, the sting is lessened or made less offensive. We slap each other down or talk demeaning without a thought of how it may affect another person. For days.

And, thinking on this scripture, I did a commentary search on this part … –  “God blesses you.., Be happy about it…. Be very glad!” (and yes, the exclamation point is there in the NLT).

One says we should react with leaping and unbridled joy (!). Really. What is my response to be?

Am I truly being told to be happy at being hurt?

Jumping up and down with joy that words have stung?

No, rather I think this is what my response should be …

He blesses me at those times when words have stung deeply. As I respond in a way to please Him, somehow He steps in and brings healing to the sting. As He heals my heart, He refills it with compassion and understanding. He blesses me with more of Himself. And in that I experience unbridled joy. To retaliate and sting back would be to miss the blessing He has for me. The blessing which brings joy is in remembering –

He has called me,

I am His, and I

am fully and completely loved.

“Blessed are you when people insult you.”

Don’t miss His blessing.

Wake up.

Bless the sting.

Accept His healing blessing.

Go.

November 28, 2018 32nd

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Good morning, DearOne.

Today, Dale and I have been married 32 years.

I don’t mention Dale much in my writings. He is not a social media fan. So, it is intentional that I low-key him as I post, out of the purest respect.

He is an intentional soul.

He seldom even responds to a text message. When he does the answers are usually short and no nonsense (unless it’s to zinger back to our daughter-in-love, Dani Gayle because … those two 😂❤️). His mode of operation is face to face, or at the very least phone call, voice to voice. Another reason I don’t write much about him is simply that there are no words that can measure up to his loyalty or intensity

He’s a business-man.

Brought me a plan in our early 20’s on how we would buy 8 heifers and over the next 30 years grow a herd. He did it.

Told me about a truck driving operation at his school that was losing money, he was being given the opportunity to turn it from loss to a profit center.

He did it.

He starts with a plan each day. By the time he comes in about 30 minutes after dark,

He did it.

He is intense.

A wrestler mindset.

Wrestling people know what I mean. Successful wrestlers have a very unique frame of reference.

They win.

In a media-drenched world that calls us to move us further and further from our Holy core, Dale is a constant reminder that the most potent way to make an impact is face to face.

And, he makes an impact.

It is his nature.

We’ve shared enough battles and blessings to know that ‘together’ is a basic necessity of daily life . . . not just for new joys, new ventures, new projects, new jobs, our growing family, new babies/grands, and such, but for the problem times, too. For the changing direction times, the caregiver, and the caretaker times, the feelings hurt, and times of loss.

We’ve learned new blessings are released when we take the care of each another into our own heart. A certain challenge happens in that tiny space between a blessing and looking hardship in the face. No matter how dark alleyway, we’ve learned that standing together there’s a place where our losses will be made do-able,

where our blindness focuses to vision,

where damaged goods are made whole,

where the questions asked through clenched teeth and sliding tears open to a barn full of surprise,

where the travails of the seasons have a homecoming.

God shares with us people for the purpose of “together”, where His hand delivers exactly what we need in His perfect timing.

‘Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage’.(Ephesians 5:25 MSG)

Wake up.

Notice your intentional people.

Go.

November 27, 2018 bigger

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Good morning, DearHeart.

How many times in life do you scratch your head and go “hmm”?

You ask, “where did this even come from?”

Do you ever say, “God, help me to move forward even when my legs get cut out from under me, when the supports feel gone?”

God has a plan, I know that as truth … but what is it?

Then, you blame yourself for this deal (and, really, it’s just a deal) and blame anyone else you can … because the thoughts can spin off like that. Especially when the circumstances just don’t make any sense. But … when the thoughts come … and they will, we must make a choice about who we will be from this day forward, supported or not. Either we will go through life as bitter servants, or we will continue making our Creator famous with our love. I want Him to be famous.

I want Him lifted up, where all men are drawn to Him. My 3 AM thoughts woke me again, and I began flipping through random books of hope where a couple of quotes hit home, restoring my confidence. I can feel the Holy Spirit breathing these truths into me …

There is no conceivable situation in which it is not safe to trust God.

(J. Oswald Sanders)

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. (Corrie ten Boom)

DearSoul, may we simply and humbly cling to Him and keep His truths close in our hearts ….

May the words of my mouth, Father, and the meditations of my heart be found acceptable in Your sight, my Strength and my Redeemer (Ps 19:14). Keep me, Father, gripping tightly to Your truth … keep me digging in expectation for the mighty revelation of Your witness. Keep my focus steadfast on You. Forgive me when I settle for less – for the lies that camouflage as truth and bring destruction rather than promise. In your cross, I anchor my hope and my sleep as well.

Even so,

breathe on me,

breath of God,

I need You,

and carry me again through this day. Amen.

Wake up.

Press on.

Go.

November 26, 2018 still

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Good morning, DearOne.

Our place was filled with little loves this weekend. Nephews and nieces scattered everywhere, and boy did they have fun. It reminded me of being at my Dad’s Aunt Edna’s house as a child and kids were everywhere. She had fiery red hair and the most unique, joy-filled, eclectic sense of humor. I vividly remember playing the game called “statue” in her yard and a peacock was strutting all through the yard around us. You probably played that game, too. A bunch of kids full of energy and movement. One kid calls out stop and everyone has to stay still in the position they are in. The one who stays still the longest, wins.

It was never easy. Being still, motionless for a long time, does not come easily.

And life is like that at times. So much to do. It all needs to get done and it all seems to be on your shoulders. So you keep on moving. At times you make progress. Other days, it seems like you moved quickly and went nowhere.

As women and wives and moms, we want to have it all ready. Make things right. Have all the solutions. I think at times, I have thought this was my job in life even.

Yet for the last few weeks, He has called me to be still. It’s not coming easy. For in being still, I am discovering – I am helpless to change or fix every circumstance in our lives. I would feel hopeless except in being still, He has brought this confidence ….

I may be still.

But He is not.

“But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Exodus 14:13-14 NLT

“But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” 2 Chronicles 20:17 NLT

Wake up.

Be still.

Know He is working on your behalf.

Go.

November 23, 2018 lazy eye

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Good morning, DearOne.

Our sweet Baby Liv is two. She has an eye issue commonly referred to as “lazy eye”. It has a medical name that is long and intimidating. It’s not noticeable until she is tired, and one eye drops. When this happens we’ve learned that it she has double vision. Her mom and dad are working with a specialist toward options for treatment and it can be fixed, but … you know … these decisions can be serious and scary and stressful. Especially when it is your baby girl. When it is the love of your life.

We all face difficulties, don’t we? Life gets full of stressors … trying our strength and abilities to cope on a daily basis.

As I listen to friends and loved ones I hear about

fragmented relationships,

financial woes,

growing pains,

job searches,

sick children,

workplace crap,

and physical exhaustion.

Thankfully, not all from the same person or that truly would be more than any one person could bear!

I hear through loved one’s stories they are at the edge sometimes.

Life gets heavy.

One hurdle, then another.

And just like that thoughts begin to click ….

Hurdles, as defined in an old English dictionary, is “one of a number of light barriers over which runners leap in certain events; an obstacle to be overcome.”

But notice – it is “ONE of a number of light barriers”.

It is “an obstacle to overcome.”

Do you see it?

It is a singular barrier or obstacle.

Our trouble seems to come when we make it plural. When we’re jumping through multiple hoops, juggling several balls, or jumping over all the hurdles. Here’s what it comes down to … hurdles are meant to be jumped one at a time.

Like eating an elephant, one bite at a time.

As long as we keep pushing forward to do the next right thing with the God of the Universe, do you really think He would land you or me in a mess that can’t be handled together?

That is not my God.

My God never leaves.

Never forsakes.

He is with us always, even to the end of the world … and, even through all of the decisions between now and then.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:34 MSG

Wake up.

Take one step with God.

Trust His ways.

Go.

November 22, 2018 gratitude

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Good morning, ThankfulHeart.

I started this month with a mindset to notice my gratitude and to give thanks always. It’s funny how once I started, I began seeing connections through a fresh lens.

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:7, NLT)

Working this backwards, I realized if I want to overflow with thanksgiving, then my faith needs to grow. For my faith to grow, my life needs to be built on Him. And for that to occur, I need my roots to grow deeper still. Roots matter … especially when the surprises come out of left field and slam you.

-Through roots water is absorbed. As our roots go deep in Him, we are promised, “whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14, NIV).

-Roots are the means by which we are anchored to the ground and supported. “Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls” (Hebrews 6:18-19, NLT)

-Roots are the storage place of food and nutrients. “When I discovered Your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight” (Jeremiah 15:16, NLT)

-Roots are the means by which fruit is produced. “But they [those with deep roots] are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (Psalm 1:3, NLT)

Root development is important so that faith and gratitude will flourish in our lives. Deep roots of faith are evidenced by gratitude for all God has done and continues to do for us each day.

Wake up.

Gratitude always.

Go.