This post was written for Five Minute Friday.
Word prompt--CONCLUDE
Five minutes to free write about it.
It's been a while since I've written a blog post or participated in the FMF challenge. I seem to have lost my desire to write, and was about to skip this last week as well. And then the Lord lifted my spirits by way of a special gift to conclude the year on a happy note with.

I had been looking forward to seeing the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction today and had gone to great lengths to find an unobstructed spot to view it from. My daughter was going to come with me and do the driving, but then the forecast predicted clouds and rain.

Many times the forecast is wrong, but not today. The sky was heavily overcast and we considered calling it off. My daughter laughed when I told her miracles do happen.  

Well, a miracle did happen. At about the time she would have started out, the sky started to clear, and stayed clear long enough for us to get to where we were going and get a good view of the planets before the skies clouded up again.



This post was written for Five Minute Friday.
Word prompt--GRATEFUL
Five minutes to free write about it.


Ever since reading Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts, several years ago, I have been writing long lists of things I am grateful for, and the more I look for the gifts around me, the more I seem to find. And yet, even though my heart overflows with thanksgiving for my many blessings, as well as for the things I have been spared from, I've been having an ongoing struggle with depression.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the restrictions did not get me down. I have a virtual job, so work was not affected, and I was quite happy to stay home and use Zoom or Livestream to attend church or meetings. In fact I preferred it, and was actually excited about the new doors technology had opened. However, after months and months of no human contact other than the occasional socially distant kind, isolation started to get to me and bring out the worst. Ugly feelings I wasn't even aware of started surfacing, and hurtful, alienating words were spoken that led to regret and self condemnation for falling so short.

However, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1-4), and no matter what, my God will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5)

I'm grateful that God loves me unconditionally and that He does not get upset by my rants (Romans 8:38-39).

I'm also grateful that He is longsuffering (a King James word I love that means slow to anger), compassionate, gracious, and forgiving (Numbers 14:18; Psalm 86:15; Psalm 103:8). 

I'm grateful that God's mercies are new every morning, and that great is His faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23). 

I'm grateful for Jesus, who after ascending into Heaven became our high priest, interceding for us before the Father. Because He was tempted in every way just as we are (even though He did not sin), He is able to empathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:14-15).

There is so much more I could write, but I'm running out of time, so let me end by saying that I am very, very grateful that God does not treat me the way I deserve, and that He never gives up on me, even when I'm ready to give up on myself (Psalm 103:6).



This post was written for Five Minute Friday.
Word prompt--GRIEF
Five minutes to free write about it.

There used to be a tree across the way that served as a meeting place by day for a variety of birds. At dusk, the smaller ones would flock to it and settle in for the night.

One day some men came to chop it down. I wondered if the birds would be confused when they discovered their hangout had disappeared. What would they do? Would they be grieved at the loss of their haven? 

Apparently not. 

The sight that greeted me this morning brought Matthew 6:26 to mind--Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 

The birds were sleeping just as comfortably on the ledges of the towers as they used to on the branches of the tree.

No tree? No problem. No grief.



This post was written for Five Minute Friday.
Word prompt--CANCEL
Five minutes to free write about it.


The word CANCEL means different things to me at different times.

When it's associated with something I was looking forward to, or when it disrupts my plans, my emotions tend to run the gamut from disappointment to frustration to upset. 

Other times it's a reassuring word, like in the cancelled check that proves a disputed charge has been paid.

It has even brought welcome relief in the case of something I committed to do, but hadn't really wanted to. Or when I'm torn between not wanting to disappoint anyone by canceling at the last minute, and finishing a project that I've become engrossed in before I lose momentum or my train of thought. 

Most importantly, though, it reminds me of what Jesus did for me on the cross "by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross" (Colossians 2:14 ESV).



This post was written for Five Minute Friday.
Word prompt--AHEAD
Five minutes to free write about it.

Before the pandemic, I thought of myself as a pretty adaptable, go with the flow type of person, but long months of restrictions, isolation, and the upsetting of plans have taken their toll. I do not know what lies ahead. 

It comforts me to know this world is not my home. I'm just passing through. In the midst of chaos and uncertainty, I choose to cling to the truths in God's Word, trusting that He is in control, and that everything is unfolding according to His plan. 


The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. 
(Isaiah 40:8)

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.
(Proverbs 27:1)

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
(Revelation 21:4)



For many years I've refrained from chewing gum or eating caramels for fear they might dislodge a filling. It never occurred to me that ginger chews, could do the same. 

I was soon to find out though that they could, when one of the chews managed to lift a crown off my tooth. 

At first this looked like very bad news, but there was a silver lining.

The dentist was able to see a small cavity that would otherwise have gone undetected until it started festering and causing greater problems down the road. He was able to clean it out and then cement the crown back on the tooth.

Good reminder to trust God in any situation, and know that He is in control. What may seem bad in the moment, could really be a blessing in disguise.



This post was written for Five Minute Friday.
Word prompt--VOTE
Five minutes to free write about it.

This year, like many others, I chose to vote early, but voting means so much more than just casting my ballot in an election. It's the choices I make in my daily life--choices to do what is right and pleasing in the sight of the Lord, or choices to give in to the desires of my flesh.

As I struggle daily to overcome gluttony and slothfulness, I think of the words of Paul in Romans 15-18--I do not understand my own actions. ...  I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep doing. 

Jesus has the answer: Watch and pray so that you will not enter into temptation. For the Spirit is willing, but the body is weak.

LORD, be glorified in my life. Help me to stand strong, and to vote for the things that honor you.



Took a little walk around my neighborhood to see the fall decorations. Some focused on the harvest season, and some on Halloween.

These were my favorites.


This post was written for Five Minute Friday.
Word prompt--DISAPPOINT
Five minutes to free write about it.

It's easy for me to feel disappointed when things don't turn out the way I expect them to, but sometimes there's a silver lining.

For instance, there's a field in town that used to have horses and donkeys grazing on it, always good subject matter for a photo shoot. My visits, however, ended with the pandemic. It didn't even cross my mind until a few days ago when I had a sudden yen to walk over and take pictures. Fully expecting to find the animals there, I was both shocked and disappointed to discover they were not.
As I stood stupefied, a rustling sound caught my attention and I saw a large family of squirrels scampering across the fence, leaping up into the tree, and skittering across the branches. Disappointment quickly turned to delight as I watched their antics for a while. 

They moved so quickly I was only able to capture these two babies who trailed the pack. I was, however, able to get lots of shots of the beautiful roses and flowers growing near the fence.

My walk may not have been what I expected it to be, but it certainly had a happy ending.



My original plan had been to vote at the polls on election day. However, being unexpectedly awakened in the wee hours by the worst toothache I've ever had, got me to thinking of the unpredictability of life, and how it might be more prudent to vote early just to be on the safe side.

The next unexpected was of a much brighter kind. An angel in the parking lot, disguised as a masked senior, told me my left front tire was looking soft, but not to worry. He would take care of it. And so he did.  

Using his pressure gauge, he determined that the tire was five pounds lower than what was recommended on the sticker inside the door, and since he just happened to have a portable air compressor as well, he was able to inflate the tire for me.