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

My mind is full of jumbled emotions. I've been feeling stuck, tired, and overwhelmed, and very down on myself for feeling this way. My cares seem so petty in the big scheme of things, it shames me to even think of them as such. This morning's devotion from Streams in the Desert could not have been more timely.

"'Why must I go about mourning?' (Psalm 42:9)

"Dear believer can you answer the above question? Can you find any reason why you are so often mourning instead of rejoicing? Why do you allow your mind to dwell on gloomy thoughts? Who told you that night will never end in day? Who told you that the winter of your discontent would continue from frost to frost and from snow, ice, and hail to even deeper snow and stronger storms of despair?

"Don't you know that day dawns after night, showers displace drought, and spring and summer follow winter? Then have hope! Hope forever, for God will not fail you!" -- Charles H. Spurgeon

Good questions to focus on as the battle rages in my mind and I try to focus on my many blessings. God has never failed me yet, and I am grateful beyond words for His mercies that are new every morning, His unconditional love, and that He never gives up on me--even when I would long ago have given up on myself. I am also grateful for my amazing daughter who is one of the most caring people I know, as well as for the good friends who check in on me and encourage me even when I'm in isolation mode.

"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God." (Psalm 42:5 ESV)



This post was written for Five Minute Friday
Word prompt--PURPOSE
Five minutes to free write about it
This week's prompt made me think of Proverbs 19:21 and the many times I've allowed my faith to waver because things didn't turn out the way I anticipated they would. It wasn't that I was out of God's will, but rather that He had a different agenda in mind, which down the road would prove to be much better than mine. 

I don't know if any of you have been following singer/songwriter Jane Marczewski (aka Nightbirde) on the news, but in addition to being the epitomy of faith and courage in the midst of adversity, she is an amazing testimony to how much grander God's purpose and plan can be than anything our finite minds can imagine or think. 

During the audition for this season's America's Got Talent show, she received Simon Cowell's golden buzzer for her performance of "It's Okay," a song she had written for herself in the middle of her own dark storm. However, she had to withdraw from the competition when her cancer took a turn for the worse.

On the night of the AGT finale, she posted on Instagram, "I bet you never saw someone win so hard and lose so hard at the same time. This isn't how the story was supposed to go."

The story may not have played out the way Nightbirde wanted it to, but in no way was she a loser. The Lord just had a different purpose and plan than she expected. Once the door had been opened with her golden buzzer performance, He used a much more powerful agenda to create a greater win than she ever dreamed of.

To date, Nightbirde's song, "It's Okay," has been viewed 200 million times, and the numbers keep climbing. More hearts have been touched by its message of hope and encouragement than just being an AGT winner could possibly have done.



Ser-en-dip-ity -- noun -- the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way -- "a fortunate stroke of serendipity" -- a word of English origin, first introduced in 1754 by Horace Walpole in his fairy tale, Princes of Serendipity, where the heroes were always making discoveries by accident and sagacity of things they were not in quest of. (Google English Dictionary)

Since childhood, I've always loved doing jigsaw puzzles. There's always been one in progress somewhere in my home. These days, it's on a table in my living room, and is one of the first things people notice and make a beeline for as they enter the apartment.  

My "fortunate stroke of serendipity" came in the form of an unexpected delivery of two stacks of jigsaw puzzles sent over by a friend. They arrived just as I was finishing up the last one in my stash. Thanks to her, I'll have plenty more to keep me busy for a very long time.




This photo was taken by my grandson on a recent trip to Rendezvous Park in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Hard to believe this gigantic interactive sculpture is supposed to be a troll. I think she's way too pretty.

Mama Mimi, a she is called, is the work of Danish sculptor, Thomas Dambo and his crew. Built out of recycled materials such as discarded wooden pallets, and driftwood roots found washed up on the banks of a nearby river, she sits overlooking the pond, in a spot that was once a gravel pit. One of her legs extends over the water to rest on a little island, and serves as a bridge to cross over.

Using this example of turning trash into treasure, Dambo's intent is to get people to think differently about conservation and recycling. (Jackson Hole News and Guide)


Today is Day 1 of a five day Instagram challenge initiated by #hopewriterlife. The word prompt is QUIET.

Using my cellphone to write a post directly on Instagram is a novel experience. Quite a challenging one at that, as I try to type the words on a small on screen keyboard.

My first thought was, where does one go to find quiet? A library? A cemetery? A monastery? The great outdoors? Even my empty home is a quiet place, but not so my mind. 

My mind, of late, seems to be in constant overdrive. It's like a sponge absorbing all the drama surrounding me and adding it to my already turbulent thoughts.

Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still, and know that I am God!" The closest I've come to that exhortation is on the rare occasion I'm up early enough to witness the break of dawn.



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

Years ago I took part in a time of cardboard testimonies at our church. 

At first I didn't think I had a testimony to share. My conversion experience had been less than dramatic. Nothing like what people who have hit bottom experience when they come to know the Lord and their lives are miraculously transformed. However, during a discussion with friends, I was struck by how great a miracle it was that I found the right path at all, considering I believed I had already found it and was no longer searching.

My memoir, Sincerely Wrong: An Improbable Journey, tells the story of how the LORD rescued me from the darkness that was blinding me. If you would like to read it, you can download a free PDF file to your computer by clicking on the image of the book cover on my blog's sidebar. The short version, however, is that I grew up with a desperate need to feel significant, and after a long quest for  roots and purpose, thought I had found them in New Age and occult doctrines. My vulnerability led me to believe a lie that I persuaded others to believe in as well. It was never my intent to deceive anyone. I was just sincerely wrong.

Don't be deceived as I was into thinking that there are many paths to God, or that we get to Heaven by being good. That is the biggest deception of them all.

Although we were created to have fellowship with God, Adam and Eve's sn caused us to be born into a fallen world. The Bible tells us that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), and that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Because of this, a vast gulf separates us from our Heavenly Father, and there is no way we can cross it through our own efforts. Only one path can lead us there, and that is through Jesus (John 14:6).

The good news is that "God so loved the world [you and me included] that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). It is a gift that can only be received by grace, through faith. It cannot be earned by good works (Ephesians 2:8-9), and as much as it is not God's will for anyone to perish, He will not impose His will on you or force you to accept it. The choice is yours.

Jesus stands at the door of your heart knocking and waiting for you to answer (Revelation 3:20). I implore you to open the door before it is too late. Accept His invitation to enter your life, forgive you of your sins, and make you a new creation.



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

My first thought was city lights. The way they welcome a traveler home.

I haven't traveled for a very long time, but still remember the sight of them out of my plane window as it got ready to land. Much further back even than that, I remember, as a six-year-old, standing amidst an excited group of passengers crowded around the deck rails of a freight ship entering New York Harbor after two months at sea. 

Those memories trigger emotions I have no words to express