THANK YOU to all the men and women who have served our country. Your sacrifice of time and life is remembered and appreciated!


A Sunday Psalm

Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.
I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods,
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
   --Psalm 63:3-5


The Summer of Schedules

Today marks the beginning of summer. Last son takes last final exam this morning, and then we’re done. Usually this means the onslaught of schedule-less days, which I hate. But as I’ve previously stated, we are in a season of life where everything is in a constant state of change. Summer is no exception.

The boys will have football and basketball workouts. One son will work at a nearby camp. The other will do his music lessons and care for his grandparents’ lawn on a weekly basis. Our daughter will work a corporate internship, with a rush-hour commute on both ends of her day. Last summer I spent my days writing a book. This year, I’ll spend my days researching one. And we’ll all continue to adjust to the ebb and flow of my husband’s new job.

So while former summers have been “sans schedule,” this summer will fall into the “uber scheduled” category. Hopefully we can still find a few open time slots here and there to take in a ball game together or sit by a pool. Because before we know it, one schedule will give way to another and we’ll find ourselves back into the swing of another school year. 


The Dinner Dilemma

Dinner is still my nemesis. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t get into a groove. I’ll latch on to some new way to plan ahead for dinner, but invariably our schedule gets crazy and the new way goes the way of the old ways.

It isn’t just the picking of recipes. It’s also the endless grocery shopping for ingredients I thought I had and didn’t, the stopping of whatever other thing I’m doing in time to fix whatever recipe I’ve finally chosen, and the task of figuring out something to go with the main dish (which, again, I probably don’t have ingredients for or time to make!).

If it were up to me, I’d snack on fruit, cheese and crackers or eat a bowl of cereal. Every night. Unless I went out somewhere. But in a house full of men and almost men, that just won’t cut it. So I continue to try. And fail. I guess I should take heart. Soon all of the children will be out of the house and we can completely rethink our dinner routine. The biggest question, then, is can I survive from now until then!


Walk Worthy

I been fascinated lately by the number of times the apostle Paul, in his New Testament letters, encourages his readers to “walk worthy.”

Ephesians 4:1 says “Therefore I implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.”

Phillipians 1:27: “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that . . . I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

Colossians 1:10 follows the same theme, explaining why Paul continues to pray for them. “so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in every respect, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.”

And I Thessalonians 2:12, which clarifies why Paul continually exhorts, encourages and implores them: “so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”

Walk worthy. In none of these cases does he implore us to “walk worthy” in order to become saved. This command to “walk worthy” is given to those who, in their state of unworthiness, were saved by grace through faith. After we have accepted that gift of life, we are to make it our goal to “walk worthy” of it.

Of the gospel. Of His calling. Of God himself.

Yet the only way I can walk worthy of Him, is to live each day in Him. Isn’t God good? He requires something of us that only dependence on Him can fulfill. I think that’s pretty amazing. And it sure makes me want to “walk worthy” of all He has done and is doing in me!


A Sunday Psalm

For You are great and do marvelous deeds; You alone are God.
Teach me Your ways, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth;
Give me an undivided heart that I may fear Your name.
I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart.
I will glorify Your name forever.
For great is Your love toward me,
You have delivered me from the depths of the grave.
    --Psalm 86:10-13


Racing Through May

I’m hanging on by my fingernails as May races to a close. Four days of school. Three additional mornings for final exams. Graduation and all its accompanying parties. A wedding reception. One more piano lesson, then a recital. Lifeguard training. (My son, not me.) 

I’m looking forward to the relative calm of Memorial Day. How about you?


Strange, New World

In the years of younger children, it’s the monotony you must get used to. Now with teenagers and young adults, it’s the constant change. Seems like lately everything in our lives is a “new phase.” We just brought our daughter home from her first year of college. Another “first” thing—reintegrating a child into the household. She’ll be working and going to school for the next three months. Meanwhile, our eldest son, looking forward to soon having the designation of senior, will also have a job for the summer, along with football and basketball workouts. So day-in, day-out, it’ll be me and the youngest, who will be working to finish his driver’s ed while also attending workouts and continuing piano lessons.

A strange, new world, that’s for sure. I’m accustomed to summer meaning kids underfoot and no schedules, which usually drives me crazy. Now it will be everyone going in a different direction, spending the days away from home more often than not.

It’s not a bad phase of life, just a different one. One that I think will take some getting used to. And just when I get used to it, I’m sure it will change again.


Saturday Psalm

Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
--Psalm 73:23-26


Too Many Books, Too Little Cash -- Answers

The answers you were waiting for:

I’ve read and want to own The Help and The Pastor’s Wife

Two of my favorite authors have new books: Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs and Her Mother’s Hope by Francine Rivers. Can’t wait to dive into those!

The four debut novels by authors I know: Rooms by Jim Rubart, Code Blue by Richard Mabry, The Pastor’s Wife by Jennifer AlLee, and Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes.

So if you are looking for a summer read you might want to pick up one of these. And if you do, I might ask to borrow it if I haven’t managed to get it myself!


Too Many Books, Too Little Cash!

The more writers I know that get published, the more books that end up on my “to buy” list. I always have good intentions of buying my friends’ books the week they are released, but, alas, that rarely ever happens. Things like field trips and school dances and new shoes (for the kids, not me) interfere.

Seven books make up my current list. Of those, two I have already read (either a borrowed copy or a pre-release version) and want to own them for myself. Four are debut novels by authors I’ve known since they were pre-published. And two are new books by well-known Christian authors. So here’s the list of titles. Can you guess which ones fall into which of my categories? (Hint: one overlaps into two categories!) 

The Help
Her Mother’s Hope
The Pastor’s Wife
Code Blue
Crossing Oceans
Here Burns My Candle

I'll tell on Thursday. And I do have a bookstore gift card to spend, I just have to figure out which ones to spend it on!


Look Ma, No Strings!

Through every stage of my own life as a mother, I’ve come to appreciate my mother more. While lots of reasons to praise her come to mind, the one that has been more glowingly illuminated over the past few years is her lack of apron strings.

As my children and my friends’ children are growing up and leaving home, I’m realizing how much freedom my mother gave her children. Freedom to choose. Freedom to fail. Freedom to live their own lives, in their own ways. Freedom to hear from the Lord—or not.

Not that she didn’t give advice or help—and not that she didn’t pray!—but she didn’t expect to be the only voice in our lives—or even the first one. She didn’t try to manipulate our decisions to fit her needs or desires. She let us spread our wings and fly—even if it meant flying away from her for a while in order to discover ourselves. She didn’t demand relationship; she adjusted it. Her expectations took a back seat to reality. She revels in whatever opportunities work out for us to be together, whether a planned celebration of some sort or a spur-of-the-moment gathering.

And you know what? Because she didn’t try to tie any of us to her apron springs, try to keep us within her grasp, none of us chafe against her requests now. We all like to come home, simply because she respects us enough as adults—and has since we left home—not to demand it of us. We have grace to say “no, it just doesn’t work in my schedule right now” or “I have other plans.” And we know in the saying that we won’t have to endure sulking or punishment or reproach.

My mother holds her grown children loosely, and because of that, she holds our hearts more tightly than if she gripped with both hands.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!


Saturday Psalm

We wait in hope for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.
May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You.

--Psalm 33:20-22


Inkwell Inspirations

I'm over at Inkwell Inspirations today talking about historic houses! Come on by!


Look to the East by Maureen Lang

I don’t generally do book reviews because I’m not very good at them. I even hated book reports as a child, although I loved to read. But I thought I’d stretch myself, so here I am!

Today I want to tell you about a wonderful book by a wonderful lady. Look to the East by Maureen Lang tells the story of Julitte Toussaint, an outcast of sorts in a small French town torn by a longstanding family feud. But a fight far bigger rocks their world: The Great War. A young woman of great faith, Julitte sees that faith stretched thin by German occupation, even as the bounds of her heart are stretched by her friendship with a man hiding from the Germans.

This is a great era of history often overlooked—and Maureen tells a great story that incorporates the time period as well as one filled with characters who grip your heart and won’t let you go. But that doesn’t really surprise me. Maureen has done this before in books like The Oak Leaves and On Sparrow Hill.

I met Maureen several years ago at one of the ACFW Conferences held in Dallas. I paid for a critique with her after reading her first book, Pieces of Silver. I think her books have become better and better over the years, which makes each new release exciting.

And speaking of new releases, run out and read Look to the East so you can be ready for the next book in The Great War series Whisper on the Wind. If it is half as wonderful as Look to the East, it will be worth the wait!


Lessons for Life

My husband and I have always said, to our children and to others, that playing sports teaches our children many life lessons. But this spring season, their sports activities illustrated lessons for me!

Our older son ran track. Now track is not his favorite. In fact, he really doesn’t enjoy it much. He ran long distances his freshman and sophomore year because his friend did. He managed to make it to the regional meet both years in those events. This year, he was ready for a break when basketball ended. But his football/basketball coach told him he needed to run track to get ready for next year’s football and basketball seasons. Being the dutiful child that he is, he complied. And then my lessons started.

The coach asked him to switch races, from the one-mile and two-mile to the half-mile. Now the half-mile race (or 800 Meter race, as it is called these days) is really a very long sprint. And my son is not a sprinter by any stretch of the imagination! But again, if there is one innate character quality this child possesses, it is obedience to authority. So he did it. And he gave it all his effort, in spite of it not being a sport or a race he would choose. He ended up making the regional meet by a hair and bringing up the rear (almost) in that race. But here’s what I learned: the coach was very proud of my son because he ran the race he’d asked him to run and did it with his whole heart.

Isn’t that how it is with God? Doesn’t he sometimes ask us to run a race not of our choosing? Do we still put our all into it, just because He asked? I’m afraid my answer is not always a yes to that question. But hearing my son’s coach basically say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”, even when he didn’t come close to finishing first, made me realize again that the Lord isn’t concerned about the results that appear before the world. He’s concerned with how we run the race He’s asked us to run.

In a similar vein, I sat through a dismal baseball season with my younger son. We had snagged a new coach, an older man who knows baseball and loves to teach it. So it was a learning year. The biggest thing these boys had to learn? Listen to the coach! When they were on the bases, if coach said run, you were to run, not worry whether or not you thought you’d be out. Your job was to obey. The responsibility for the outcome then lay with the coach.

Isn’t that how the Lord desires us to be? To have our eyes fixed on Him and our hearts so set on obedience that when He says run, we run. When He says stay, we stay, even if it looks to us like we could have safely make it to the next base. I admit, I often stop when He says go and go when He says stop. But I’m learning to trust His voice and obey, for it is obedience He desires, not sacrifice—and not necessarily a “safe” arrival. Just obedience.

So while we had little “success” on the track or the diamond this season, we all learned lessons for life this season.


A Sunday Psalm

Righteous are you, O Lord;
and Your laws are right.
The statutes You have laid down are righteous;
they are fully trustworthy.
--Psalm 119:137-138