Wednesday, November 7, 2012


“I will lift my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber” (Psa. 121:1-3 NIV).

We all have times when we cry out for help. It could be we need help with our health, a relationship, finances, decisions, things that are out of our control and we need to accept, or just to get through a difficult day. I don't know about you, but when I need help I usually go to someone close to mea family member or close friend. But I'm reminded today that this is not where my help comes from. 

Who is my helper?
The One who made heaven and earth.

How does He help me?
He will not let my foot slip.

What does He do for me?
He watches over me and does not slumber.

Take heart my friends, and remember the One who made all we see and can't see is available to help us through our most difficult trials. He loves us and watches our ever step. And He won't miss a single step we take because He never sleeps. Matter of fact, when we sleep He not only watches over us, He sings over us.  

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; . . .will rejoice over you with singing." (Zeph. 3:17 NIV).

When you cry out for help, lift your eyes and listen closely with your heart . . . you may actually hear the lullaby of love that God is singing over you. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wit's End

I think we all have that place we call our "wit's end" and we have been there numerous times.

When I reach my wit's end, I think of it as just that -- wit's END. I'm at the end of my wits, my patience, my rope, my faith, or my control. An end with no where to go.

What I'm finding out, the hard way, is that when I reach that place, it's not really the end, but the beginning. The Psalmist wrote "Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble (their wit's end), and he brought them out of their distress" (Psa. 107:27).

I, like the Israelites, need to cry out to the Lord when I find myself at my wit's end because he will bring me out of my distress.

Now I try to look at my wit's end differently. I try to consider that maybe I'm at this particular place because God wants to:

  • Get my attention
  • Allow me to look at my circumstances and then to Him
  • Realize I'm never alone
  • Expose my need for Him
  • Turn me towards another direction

So how is that going to sound now?  . . . "I'm at my wit's BEGINNING."

I'll certainly give it a try. What about you?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

1-2-3's of Prov. 27:17

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” (Prov. 27:17,  NIV).

The Oxford Dictionary says iron is “a strong, hard magnetic silvery-gray metal, the chemical element of atomic number 26, much used as a material for construction and manufacturing, especially in the form of steel.” 

Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” (NIV). We need each other and God’s Word gives us an example, so we should take notice.

 First let's look at the 3 phases used to sharpen iron:
  1. Filing – The blade needs to be held at an angle while filing the edge with a metal file in slow measured strokes.
  2. Polishing – The filing phase leaves rough edges on the iron, therefore oil needs to be applied to a whetstone and rubbed back and forth to leave a smooth, sharpened, polished edge.
  3. Sanding – Heavy-duty sandpaper is rubbed carefully along both sides of the blade edge to blend the edges with the rest of the blade which adds an extra touch of sharpness.

So, if Prov. 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” what does this look like?

  1. Filing – It takes an intentional effort to hold a blade and slowly file with a metal file. It’s the same with friendships and relationships. We must be intentional, taking time to get to know each other so we can help, challenge, and encourage each other.
  2. Polishing – A true friend is one who will see the rough edges on us that others won’t. Whether the rough edges are issues with family, friends, co-workers, or some issue of sin we are dealing with, the Holy Spirit – the oil, along with strong love and commitment from a friend can help smooth, sharpen, and polish these rough edges. 
  3. Sanding – Sounds painful, however by being a close friend and spending time together, we share and rub along both sides of the blade of life – the good times and the bad – helping each other as we add a touch of sharpness.
The results? We become stronger so we are more useful to serve God and serve others. Iron can't sharpen itself, and neither can we. 

Think about the friendships and relationships that are in your life at this moment. Be open to these 1-2-3's of Prov. 27:17 and where you are in the process AND where God may be using you in someone else's process. Either way, we need each other.

Now, thank God for those friendships . . . I already have!

photos courtesy of

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Staying Focused

On my writing/speaking journey, I've had the pleasure of meeting and being under the teaching of some wonderful mentors. One such mentor, Carolyn, recently opened my eyes to the Purpose Board. What began as a solid black board eventually became a visual tool to keep me on track to what I feel is my purpose at this moment.

I began by thinking of the things that are important to me or that I enjoy . . .

  • Living Life (my marriage, my family, my friends, my writing, my speaking ministry)
  • My faith and God's Word
  • Health
  • Fitness
  • Gardening . . .

My desire is to use writing (articles, stories, books, greeting cards), speaking, blogging, teaching, and mentoring to encourage others.

The words I placed on my Purpose Board keep me focused as I weave in and out of each day -- words I want to remember as I try to always be an encouragement to others.

  • It's Never too late
  • Reaching Your Potential
  • Friendships
  • You Can Do It!
  • Feeling God's Love
  • Direction
  • Grow
  • Branch Out
  • Encouragement
  • Cultivating
  • Count it all Joy
  • Hope
  • Healing
  • Connect
  • Significance
  • Doing Life Together

What's your purpose as you weave through each day? Would you like something visual to help you stay focused? Try making your own Purpose Board. Take those magazines you have around the house, purchase a board or poster, and start cutting out pictures and words that have meaning to you. Before you know it, you will have your own board. And . . . what began as a visual tool to keep you on track will actually end up being . . . a snapshot of the desires of your heart.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Runaway Bunny

One of my favorite books that I read to my daughter when she was young was “Runaway Bunny” by Margaret Wise Brown. As we read together, the story unfolded as the little bunny kept threatening his mother that he was going to escape and run away. But, the mother spends time explaining to him the LENGTHS she will go to find her baby. One line in the book is “If you run away, I will run after you.” The baby bunny imagines all kinds of ways to escape, but realizes (with much comfort) he will never be able to leave his home or his mother. What unconditional love! What comfort!

We as adults have our very own “story” that can be read to us about our loving Heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally. Our “story” is found in Psalms 139.
     Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit 
          To be out of your sight?
     If I climb to the sky, you’re there! 
          If I go underground, you’re there! 
     If I flew on morning’s wings 
          To the far western horizon, 
     You’d find me in a minute –
          You’re already there waiting! 
     Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! 
          At night I’m immersed in the light!” 
     It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; 
          Night and day, darkness and light, they’re all 
          the same to you.
                                         Psalms 139:7-12 (The Message)

As adults, we do not have to fear being alone either. No matter what we are going through, trying to escape from, or run away from, we cannot go anywhere that the Spirit of God can’t find us. Actually, as the Psalmist writes . . . He is ALREADY there!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The One Who Waters

"So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth," (I Cor. 3:7 HCSB).

I love to water my plants. Even in the summer when it is a never ending job, I love it. It's not as easy as it seems and I have posted some watering tips in my article "Watering 101" on my gardening page.

Before one waters they must first:
  • Check out the moisture in the soil so a person will know how much to water, if any at the time.
  • Know your plants.
  • Water deeply.
  • Watering once isn't always enough.

These are just a few watering tips. It is the same when we are sharing the message of Jesus Christ to someone.
  • We must see how much the person we are ministering too already knows about Jesus and see if they are ready to go to a deeper place in their relationship. A new Christian needs to be treated differently than a mature saint.
  • We must know the person and their background as much as we can. This too will help us know how much we need to "water" with the Word.
  • We need to water deeply. Just like I don't throw a little water on a plant now and then and expect it to grow, it is the same with sharing God's Word. We need to share from our hearts the Words God gives us and we a need to be a constant presence in that persons life if possible.
  • Sharing our faith with someone once isn't always enough. We may need to gain their friendship, trust, and respect before we can share God's love. We may need to give them God's truths, and then come back again and give it to them another way, using another example.

Most of all we need to remember that God is the one who gives the growth to a person. We may be the one who plants or we may be the one who waters, but "only God who gives the growth," (I Cor. 3:7).

Next time you are watering your garden, or container plants, ask God to show you ways you can "water" the spiritual heart of others. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Don't Count Me Out!

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jer. 29:11). 

I move alot. Not bragging or complaining . . . only stating a fact. The thing is, not only do I move, but my garden and plants move also. Why, I can't leave my grandmother's peonies and snowball viburnum, my great-grandparents iris, my mother's daylilies, or my daddy's hosta. They have to stay with me. Not only the sentimental plants, but I have other favorites I have to move too. The mystery bush with little pink flowers my grandmother gave me, the perennials that I can't leave behind, the gift plants like my new ever blooming hydrangea. Yes, all must go.

How do I "pack" and move these special belongings? Many of them get planted back into pots but there are others I dig up and drop down into plastic grocery bags. This "bag method" of moving plants works well for my smaller plants, especially perennials. Sometimes my plants get replanted at their new home as soon as they arrive but there have been times when they sit patiently in the containers and bags for months -- waiting.

This last move I once again dug up plants, however they didn't have to wait long to be replanted. I spent an afternoon placing them in their new spots and then a couple of weeks later, as I was checking on them, I realized I had left a couple of the plastic bags in the flower bed. As I lifted the bags, a clump of dirt fell to the ground. In the middle of the clump was a small, anemic daylily. As it was trying to unfurl it's stem and leaves to get through the soil and plastic bag toward light, it was as if it was saying "Don't Count Me Out!" Needless to say I found a special place for this plant that was determined to make it no matter what the circumstances.

Hmmmmm . . . determined to make it no matter what the circumstances. As I looked at this struggling, but determined plant I saw myself -- for I too have been planted only to be dug up time after time and replanted and replanted. At times I have also gone through difficult circumstances where I felt I was left alone in a bag full of dirt, thrown away in a garden and presumably forgotten. Oh, but I too cry out "Don't Count Me Out!" For as small and anemic as I may feel, I continue to get through the circumstances and toward the "Light." I know I have not been forgotten and there is still a place for me to grow, bloom, thrive, and be used of God. For His word tells me, and tells you too, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jer. 29:11). 

"Bloom Where You're Planted" . . . 
Well, I say . . . 
"Bloom Even If You Aren't YET Planted!!!"

And never forget -- GOD HAS A PLAN.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cracked Pots

When I think of potting plants, I immediately think of using terra cotta pots. With all the plastic containers, glazed pottery, and baskets available for plants, I'm still drawn to the brownish-orangy, yellow clay pots.

I especially love aged clay pots -- the ones in which moss has begun to grow over the surface. Such character this lends to the container as well as color and soft texture.

New or old, these are my favorite. The only problem is they have a tendency to break easily. Many a spring I have sorted through containers to find broken clay pots nestled among the new and not so new. I also find them around the house, cracked but with the soil and sometimes even the plant, captured inside.

I recently found a couple of uses for the broken pieces of these earthen vessels:
  • use small pieces in the bottom of a larger container to provide drainage 
  • place the container on the ground - broken side down - and place a plant in the ground giving the illusion of a plant growing out of the container
  • Take larger pieces of the pot and place strategically in the flower bed to add interest
It's so difficult for a gardener to throw anything away!

I would like to think I have aged with grace and have a soft layer of beautiful moss that adds character, but I feel more like a cracked pot. In the pile of old and new, useful and aged pots, I show up as broken pieces of an earthen vessel. But I have found that I'm under the care of a loving Gardener and He too finds it difficult to throw anything away!

Under His care, He takes my brokenness and makes it useful for His Kingdom and His Glory. I may not be the most magnificent pot in the pile, but God still loves me and has a purpose for me. AND . . . He has one for you too.
 "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
(Psa. 147:3 NKJV).

Friday, April 6, 2012

God's Potting Bench

"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord." (Psa. 139:1-4 NIV).

It's humbling to know that before I wrote the first word on this blog, God knew it completely. He not only knew the word before it came off my tongue (or my thoughts onto a keypad), He is familiar with all my ways -- my going out and my lying down, when I sit and when I rise. He has already searched me and knows me.

Why can't I remember these words written by the Psalmist when I am discouraged, downtrodden, or distressed?

Why can't I remember the many truths found in Scripture?

Why can't I take hold of the promises that are written for me?

Why . . . because I don't take the time to read, re-read, and meditate on them. God's Word is full of truths and promises that are waiting to become a part of my spiritual existence.

So . . . I plan to spend time at God's Potting Bench -- a place where I can allow God's Word to till my heart the same as when I run my hands through potting soil before planting. Where I know I can trust God's Word to be the light, water, and food I need to grow, just like a plant. I want to go deeper in His Word so I can have a strong foundation, like the strong roots of a healthy plant. The results of my time at God's Potting Bench -- encouragement, peace, and deep roots and good fruit.