is post was written for Five Minute Friday
Word prompt--BE  
Five minutes to free write about it
Two thoughts popped into my mind--the opening line to one of Hamlet's soliloquies in Shakespeare's play by the same name, and the thoughts that infiltrate my mind condemning me for not being all the things I feel I'm supposed to be. 

The answer to both is Jesus!

In his "To be or not to be" speech, Hamlet was trying to decide whether to live or die. Life was so full of trouble and pain, but would death be any better or might it be worse? Thankfully, that's not a question anyone who has put their faith in Jesus Christ needs to ponder.

God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us on the cross so that we could be forgiven of our sins and receive the gift of eternal life. Romans 8:1 tells us that there is now no condemnation for those who belong to Jesus.

I'm so grateful that no matter how things may be looking around us, we can find peace and joy in Jesus. I'm also grateful for His unconditional love, His mercy and grace, His faithfulness, His longsufferingness (is that a word?), and that He never gives up on us. 

God knows my strengths and weaknesses and He does not condemn me for just being me. 


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. -- John 3:16, NIV

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. -- Ephesians 2:4-5, NIV

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. -- Lamentations 3:22-23, NIV

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. -- 2 Peter 3:9, KJV

The LORD is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. -- Psalm 28:7, NIV

Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. -- Psalm 55:22, NLT

I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid. -- John 14:27, NLT



is post was written for Five Minute Friday
Word prompt--CHANCE  
Five minutes to free write about it
Is it chance when you get a Yahtzee right at the beginning of the game? Is it chance when your great-grandson whose turn follows yours gets one too? Is it chance when you proceed to get two more?

Is it chance when you give thanks for a blessing and it gets taken away? The latter is something I've been pondering these last several months. 

I am a grateful person and love nothing better than encouraging others by sharing what the Lord has done, but so often that sharing has been followed by the loss of what I gave thanks for that more and more I've felt reluctant to do so.

As a Christian, there are several things I know. I know there is no such thing as chance. I know that God is good and in control, and that He loves me--no matter how things may be looking in the natural, or what my intellect tries to tell me. I know there is so much I will never have an answer to in this world, and that I need to keep trusting Him anyway.

These last several months I've been struggling with so many issues that it's been tempting to just throw in the towel, but I know that's not an option, so I keep pressing on. It's not the issues themselves that are so discouraging, but that every time there seems to be a breakthrough it never lasts. It seems that as soon as I share about it and give thanks, it's gone. Maybe the lesson here is not to let my emotions be swayed one way or the other in the face of ups or downs? I don't know.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to "Always be joyful, never stop praying, and be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 

My friend, Lara Love, has repeatedly reminded me of this through the pages of her journal, 100 Days of Thanksgiving, which I just happened to be reading during my struggle (I don't think by chance).

I may never know the answer to my question this side of eternity as to why so many of the seeming breakthroughs that I've been blessed with disappear soon after I share my gratitude for them, but I can still be thankful that I got to enjoy them for whatever time they lasted. One thing does not cancel out the other.




Perfect day for a small-town parade. Blue skies, low humidity, a gentle breeze, meeting up with a good friend who saved me a shady spot and provided a chair, and a very kind police officer who guided me into a parking spot even though the road had already been blocked off and traffic was being re-routed.




How did this great-grandson grow so tall so fast? (He was six in the top two pictures, and about to turn 14 in the bottom two.)

How did I manage to get three yahtzees in one game when in all the years I've been playing it I've rarely gotten even one.

How did this one lone dandelion manage to pop up after the clover flowers in our courtyard had crowded out all the others?

Why a door at the back of this house where you'd expect to see a window? Had they originally planned on building a deck?

I'm wondering what these grassy mounds are that I saw bordering a parking lot I was in. Maybe touching them would have given me a clue? Anyone have any thoughts?

How did I not notice that the yellow puzzle piece I was convinced was missing wasn't really yellow, and therefore not missing? It has only a very subtle sliver of yellow at the top and the piece it goes with has an equally subtle sliver of green at the bottom, each so minute that I couldn't see them until I downloaded the shots to my computer.

I was pondering my unexpected good fortune at finding this bunch of organic carrots with so many greens on it. Usually I have to buy two or three bunches to get that amount when I'm in the mood for sauteed carrot greens.

These are some screenshots I took while watching a livestream of Shadow Mountain Church's special Celebrate America Independence Day celebration. I'm wondering how this parachuter managed to twist and turn and make all those colored smoke patterns in the air before unfurling an American flag and gracefully floating down to the ground. 

Happy 4th of July!