• January 2023

    Carry On

    My mother is of a generation that puts much stock in stoicism. Striding forward while putting up with all manner of inconveniences and tribulations. One day, several years ago, mom said to me, “I’ve decided I’d rather be endearing than enduring.” This made me smile because she actually is rather endearing without even trying. But I did understand what she was trying to process. She wanted to apply her will to intentional kindness rather than getting on and getting through with a “stiff upper lip.” The truth is, you can’t be anything, in the end, without being enduring. Perseverance in any direction requires endurance. When I titled this website “Cultivating…

  • January 2023

    Discovery

    My dad used to say, “You never know what a day will bring.” And that is true. When we open our eyes to the new day, we are awaiting an unfolding of events. We usually have plans, even an expectation of scheduled appointments. But, with any of them, the unexpected can change things in a moment. We’ve all experienced a need to be flexible, even fluid. What is the saying? You can bend, or you can break. There’s another element of the unexpected to be considered, too, and that is discovery. This journey of life is one of adventure and discovery. Have you considered approaching your days as doorways into…

  • January 2023

    Rooted

    I like to draw trees, especially bare winter trees. Looking through spires of trees whose leaves have fallen is mesmerizing and fascinating. And finding an old gnarly fellow with bent and crooked branches is particularly captivating. There, in a forgotten clearing, he stands, seemingly endless and timeless. What stories could he tell? What wildlife has he sheltered during his more well-dressed seasons? How patiently he waits for his fruit-bearing time. I’m not completely sure why I love bare trees, but they do speak to me. It’s as though their strength, structure and character are fully revealed by the hard winter days. They may seem to some to be diminished without…

  • January 2023

    Face to Face

    Fasting is a time of redirecting and recalibrating. Having given up something good (and it could be anything that I would typically turn to for consolation) for something better, I refocus on the giver of all good things, God Himself. We humans are prone to settle into routine, and even the routine can become a consolation, especially if that routine helps us feel good about ourselves. So, initially I must be truly honest with myself and with God about my desperate need of his saving grace. I need so much more than his help along the way. I need to be rescued. As the Psalmist prayed, “Preserve me, O God,…

  • January 2023

    While He May Be Found

    Today is the first day of the new year, and there is a sense of purpose and energy in the newness of it. This is that time during which we typically feel like we have an opportunity for a fresh start. The turning of the page, as it were, and setting goals with all the hope that anything might happen and so much is possible. I’m so grateful not to be dependent upon my own resolve. Having been through enough failed starts in the course of my life to convince me that my determination is not enough, I am at rest in the conviction that God alone is my source,…

  • December 2022

    Behold His Glory

    For the first time in three and half years, I am a day late posting here. Yesterday was Christmas Day, and our house was full of joy and people until well after sunset. My husband and I sat in front of the fire last night in the glorious afterglow of sweet fellowship with family and dear friends, and I was not inclined to interrupt that moment by hopping on the old laptop. I implore that you, my friends, will allow me that moment of respite. We have come to the end of Advent remembering the humble birth of Christ, our Savior. That night when the angels sang, “Glory to God…

  • December 2022

    Surrender

    Last night we took our ten-year-old grandson out to a Japanese hibachi restaurant. Our cook was particularly entertaining, and at the end of the meal he asked the children around the table if they wanted to play catch. They shared grins and shrugged shoulders and nodded. He proceeded to chop some scrambled egg into small bites and, one by one, lofted those tidbits into their open mouths. To everyone’s delight most of them were caught quite easily, and there was laughter and cheering for each success. Obviously, the cook’s skill was required, but the young ones also had to watch carefully and move their heads to make the trick work.…

  • December 2022

    Preparations

    I spent most of the day yesterday in the glorious afterglow of a really good party. The night before my husband and I hosted our annual Christmas gathering and gift exchange for some of my co-workers and their spouses and friends. Good food, laughter, and genuine care for each other makes for a grand time. One of the things we enjoy most about this event is having each guest take a look back at the year and come up with a word that succinctly describes their personal experience. This has proved to be a rich time of acknowledging God’s goodness, faithfulness and mercy in the midst of our human journey.…

  • December 2022

    A Will And A Way

    “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” This well-known comment upon the human condition is typically referenced amidst the challenge of getting what one wants in spite of difficulty or opposition. It indicates that strength and focus of desire can overcome almost any obstacle. In our everyday lives, it typically comes down to what we give first priority. If it’s important enough to us, we give all our energy and resource to making it happen. When we live only for ourselves, we cajole, manipulate, dismiss opposing opinion, and neglect responsibility in order to realize a momentary gratification. This kind of desire ultimately implodes, leaving a wasteland in the heart. When…

  • November 2022

    Beauty Realized

    I was sitting on the patio and looking into the wooded area at the side of our home. The grey and brown and gold of the autumn hardwoods were complimented by the emerald of the evergreens. A pleasant and quiet beauty drifting toward the barrenness of winter. As I let my gaze penetrate the depths, there was a flash of brilliant color: bright cherry red. I leaned forward to see what lovely growth might be nestled among the trees, wondering at its appearance here in the late and chilly fall. I was astonished to realize it was a plastic bag caught up in the undergrowth and trembling in the slight…