Advent – Joy

I know this post is a little late. Christmas is done, and the tree and lights are coming down today. But Joy… I pray joy will remain in 2019 for you and for me.  ____________________________________________________________________________________________



My joy,

Not the presents under the tree

nor the Christmas cookies

nor all things temporary

But Jesus,

lasting joy,

despite trouble, hardship, and loss

Not happiness bubbling over

but deep contentment





Advent – Love



love incarnate bent low,

left glory

for earth and dust

no thought of himself

only mankind

for whom He gave His all.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 (NLT)


Advent – Peace



Prince of Peace,

whose coming brought

peace to men,

stirred angels to worship and declare,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)

whose leaving brought

peace again,

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

that we might breathe,

breathe in and breathe out,

all is well

all is well.




Advent – Hope



the seed of hope

planted in our hearts

tended by the Father, creator and gardener,

watered by His Spirit, God’s wisdom and love,

sprouted and grown in the soil of our lives

its light,

spread to those around us –

a seed of hope in the very darkest of nights.

“The People walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of shadow and death, a light has dawned… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:2,6

“May the God of HOPE fill you with all JOY and PEACE as you TRUST in him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13




Not too long ago, my older daughter and I were out college shopping. We had barely hit the “back to school” aisles when my husband called frantically.

“You have to come home right away. Your bike was stolen,” he said out of breath.

Our Neighbor saw two young boys riding a bike and when they got to our house, the one boy jumped off, ran up to our carport, and grabbed my bike. My mind flashed back to that morning after my bike ride. We were storing our bikes in a trailer, and I was too lazy to unlock the trailer and put my bike back after my morning ride.

I felt my heart sink. I thought for sure, I would never see the bike again. Despite the fact that a couple of years ago my husband had his bike stolen in the exact same fashion and he recovered his bike (with God’s help:) How quickly I forget what God is capable of.

I take comfort in the fact I am not alone in my forgetfulness. There is a pattern in the Bible of a God who performs miracles and His people the Israelites, His disciples, and we still today, find it difficult to believe in His miracles or remember what He has done for us.

Join me at (our church blog) to read the rest of the story.

Bears and Fears


A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took a trip to visit friends in North Idaho and then traveled on to the YWAM base in Lakeside, Montana. Our daughter participated in a DTS (discipleship training school) there the year before, and we wanted to see the base and experience Glacier National Park.

Before we left, the topic of bears seemed to weave itself into many of my conversations. When we arrived out West and made our way from Spokane, Washington, to Sandpoint, Idaho, and finally Glacier National Park, I noticed my fear of bears had grown as large as the Glacier mountains themselves.

I am not usually a fearful person. Yet, in the last year or so, I found myself worrying at times about various things, and my latest fear was the possibility of meeting bears on this trip.

The day came for us to explore Glacier National Park, starting with Two Medicine Lake on the East side of the park. We were armed with bear spray and Anton revealed he had also checked out some Youtube videos on interactions with bears.

According to the videos, we were to make loud noises such as clapping, carrying on conversations, and shouting, “Hey bear!” every so often. Shouting, “Hey bear!” to me sounded a little too nice, like an invitation to a meet-and-greet with a Grizzly.

However, as we trekked along, it was not long before a lone girl in her twenties came hiking along, clapping and shouting, “hey bear!”

Anton smiled, and I just stared in admiration of the brave girl, walking alone.

We did not see a bear that day, nor did we see much of any wildlife. Still, I carried this fear with me.

The following day we headed to the Many Glacier Hotel, where our friends had seen a Grizzly bear the year before. I would later find out, Many Glacier was a popular place to see Grizzlies. Our friend had carefully omitted this detail when he raved about this part of the park.

We started and picked a trail we knew would be heavily populated with humans to ease my fear. After maybe ten minutes on the trail, we met a group of people who had just seen a bear 200 yards or so from where we were. Despite my nervousness, we decided to keep going. As we walked closer, there was a family on the opposite side of the trail watching a black bear, about my height, dig in a tree for some sort of goodies. We made sure the bear was aware of us, and then made our way higher above the trail so we would not disturb him. Even in my fear, I managed to grab my phone and snap a picture.


After seeing him, I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue. If we were 10 minutes into our 12-mile hike, how many more bears might we see? We continued to walk with the family we had met, talked about the experience and then continued on with the normal national park questions – where are you from, what do you do, how long have you been at the park? Soon enough I had forgotten about the bear, and as we met person after person along the trail, my fears lessened.

The hike itself was incredible: mountain peaks, turquoise lakes, snowfields, rock edges, and finally the glacier and glacial lake at the top. The view was definitely worth the trek.

As we made our way back down the mountain, we walked with a woman from Poland. Hiking is an incredible way to meet new people and hear their stories.

After one turn down the mountain, we saw a park ranger holding out his can of bear spray, talking to another couple. As we approached him, he shared they had just seen a Grizzly down in the brush. Our new Polish friend and I didn’t hear much more than the word Grizzly before we took off down the path in the opposite direction of the bear.

My husband stuck around with the park ranger, and sure enough, was able to catch a glimpse of the bear.

Twice that day, I was forced to face my bear fear and yet both of those times, it was the best possible scenario to face those fears, with others (community) and with a park ranger (one who had experience and authority).

What a picture this was for me, of how it should be to face our fears and struggles in life. We should face them together with other believers, and with those who have gone before, and who know and understand the terrain.

Despite those bear sightings, I continued to hike and was drawn day after day back to the beauty of Glacier National Park.

Towards the end of the week, I hiked another trail with friends. I knew this trail was less populated and the chance of seeing bears was greater. Yet my fear was no longer the focus; instead, the focus was on the beauty and adventure that awaited us. Something had shifted in me.

What started as an overwhelming fear at the beginning of the week, lessened as the beauty of the park became greater than the fear.

“Fear precedes beauty – beauty overcomes fear.”

As I later reflected on this idea, I wondered if this is how it is with God’s love. As we are drawn, covered, and surrounded by the love of God, our fears lessen/diminish and His love is all we want and see. The fear might not totally be gone, but the desire for more of God, more of His love, and more of His beauty diminishes the fear holding us.


“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:18-19

As we are drawn into the beauty and love of God, may He diminish or lessen the fears holding us today.


Why I write

Today, October 20th, is National Day of Writing.

For one of my English classes at Millersville, we were asked to write about why we write. Although there are many reasons why I write, here are a few of them below:

Why I Write

Writing slows my

world down,

causing it to move

in slow-motion.

It causes me to see the details, I would otherwise miss.

Writing is my



life into focus.

Thoughts once blurry, now becoming razor sharp.

Writing is an

act of faith




It is trust,

that words will make their way

from head and heart

to paper.

Happy National Day of writing. May you find space to write today, whether it be a grocery list or the beginnings of a novel. Your words are sacred and give life to others.


In the valley

I know it has been a while…

stone flower

This past semester at college I took an English literature course that focuses on the bible. I so enjoyed this class that combines two of my favorites subjects.

To look at the bible in the light of literature was eye-opening, and the verses came alive in a new way. If you ever get the chance to take a class like this, I highly recommend it.

The first week of class, we looked at the story of the Good Samaritan and Psalm 23. Growing up in the church, both of these stories were very familiar.


the bible never grows old.

It is living and breathing, waiting to share new thoughts.

As I read through Psalm 23, I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before.


In the first part of Psalm 23, David writes in 3rd person. He is describing God.

He makes, he leads, he restores, he guides…


Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,

For you are with me, your rod and staff, you prepare, you anoint…

In the midst of the valley, David begins to write in 2nd person instead of 3rd. The text suddenly becomes more intimate, and instead of speaking about God, David speaks directly to Him.

The same thing happens in the book of Job…Job loses everything and at the end of his story, he says,

“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Job 42:5

When we walk through the valley, wade through difficulties in life, or lose everything, this is the place where God becomes real. He moves from 3rd person to 2nd.

Out of pain, comes intimacy with Jesus.

Out of pain, comes knowing, instead of simply hearing about…

It doesn’t make me love the valley anymore, but it does give me hope that God can bring good out of it.

I saw God today,

in the valley.



“Noble” faith


I watched a movie the other evening I had been wanting to see for some time. It is called,


after the main character’s last name. It is the inspiring story of Christina Noble. The movie weaves together Christina’s past as an orphaned child with her work later in life to help orphaned children in Vietnam. There were many parts of the movie which stirred me, and I knew they would. But because I knew little about Christina before watching this movie there was one aspect of the story I was not expecting.

It was one of faith.

I do not want to give pieces of the movie away, because I think you should watch it, but this much I do want to share. Christina did not have an easy life. Anything but. Time after time, she experienced pain, loss, hurt, and disappointment. And time after time the movie shows her walking into church, lighting a candle, and talking to God. She was honest about her pain, her doubts, and whether she could even follow him. But she did not walk away. In her honesty, she continued to go and look for God, and she continued to talk to him. In fact one of the last lines in the movie was…

“She still talks to God…”

And this made me stop and think, maybe the most incredible act of faith is not the kind which moves mountains, or raises the dead. Maybe it is simply the kind that will come back, time after time and talk to God, sharing each hurt and disappointment.

“Though He slay me, yet will I hope in him;” Job 13:15

I saw God today, in faith.

“She still talks to God…”

What does faith look like for you today?


I am not sure when or how this practice started.

Choosing one, new little word for the year.

For this girl who is easily distracted and often wonders about the meaning of life, it brings a little bit of focus and meaning to the new year.

This year rather than searching for a new word, It seemed as if my word found me. As I was writing my advent series this year, the word


continued to roll around in my thoughts long after I was done writing. I felt like I was not finished with joy or it was not finished with me. In any case it is a fitting word for this glass half empty girl.

So in saying farewell to the old year and welcoming the new,

I am welcoming joy…

choosing this one little word to journey beside

as I continue to look for God in the midst of each day.

Will you join me?

(with joy, or another word of your choosing)