this is where i leave you

Yesterday I noticed a commercial on TV for a new movie. My breath caught when I heard the title, This Is Where I Leave You. How often over the past few weeks have I thought about the void of an empty room, the hollow feeling a trailing wave, the finality of a closed door. Have you ever spent time with someone you love, seizing every moment before their journey takes them one direction while yours takes you another? Have you known the words were coming but didn’t want to hear …

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Relief and joy from whole hearted trust in God

“It’s hard being so far away when things like this happen.” Those words have been on repeat this last week. When someone we love is thousands of miles away and we can’t go to them, helplessness is its own form of trauma. Waiting through a medical procedure, wondering but hoping the prognosis isn’t as bad as once thought. Standing by while decisions are made about ‘what happens now’. Fearing the outcome of attempts at reconciliation. I don’t know about you, but I feel pretty powerless when I want to do …

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Let’s Talk

Once Upon a time – and the story has a beginning. Do you ever wish for a place to let down all your defenses, a place where every curtain could be opened, a place where you could say whatever is on your mind, a place to be at peace? Where is that place for you? Where would you begin to pour out the contents of your soul to someone who listens at heart level? Walking the trail in my neighborhood is a lovely, tranquil escape. It winds four miles alongside the Thornapple river …

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The Standard for Extraordinary

I regularly receive email messages announcing events designed especially for women. There’s one that catches my attention every time. It isn’t that the organization is authentic and reputable, it’s the label. This label: Extraordinary Women represents ministries to women through conferences and Bible study resources.  The women of this network are extraordinary, gifted speakers, singers, and facilitators. I know a countless number of women whose gifts are in areas unlike those of notoriety, yet are truly extraordinary. I attend a women’s Bible Study with Extraordinary Women from my home church. Together …

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Sleep on it! Who said that?

In the morning during my quiet time, just me and God, I write out at least one verse that spoke to me. Sometimes I write a story around them, other times I just tuck the verses into my stack of index cards to read again in the future. Today I chose Psalm 16:7. “I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.”  Have you ever had a perplexing situation that needed to be resolved but no answers came to you? Maybe, like me, you thought …

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15 minutes is nothing . . . or everything

Sometime around 4:00 am I woke up and realized I hadn’t heard my opportunity clock that goes off at 3:43. Oh no. 15 minutes of my morning routine lost! And I can’t get it back. But it’s only 15 minutes … that made me think about what can happen in 15 minutes. I live in Michigan. What do they say about weather in Michigan? “If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes.  It will change.” When we’re trying to lose weight, what does the nutritionist say about gauging hunger? …

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Let's play a game: Fresh Look Friday

OK! Everybody up! Rise AND Shine!  It’s Friday – Let’s play a game. Come on. You know you want to. We’ll call it Fresh Look Friday. Have you ever heard of Pay-It-Forward? How about Random Acts of Kindness? And here’s one. Have you ever heard someone transform the words of Luke 6:31 which clearly says “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” so they become “Do unto others before they do unto you?” I know. Those play on words usually projects a negative connotation, and that’s …

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Learning from highlights of the past

I have a rule which I follow pretty diligently. Protect the first hour and last hour of the day – no televised news shows and no talk shows. They plant seeds of negativity that have to be weeded out before the roots take hold. If you’re into gardening you know how pesky those insidious little strands can be. I don’t advocate cutting off awareness to current events or living without a shred of knowledge about what’s going on in the world, but you can set the tone and make peace …

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Refining Grace