• Judge Not: A Hard Lesson Learned

    “Thou Shalt Not Judge” is a lesson I tend to learn over and over again.   The following experience happened to our family last year and still weighs on my mind: “Here’s my money, Mom,” my daughter said, smiling as she handed me two large bills, “I want to give it all.”“All of it?” I questioned, wondering if she wasn’t being too generous.It was a lot of money to give a homeless person on the street corner, but who was I to say how she could or could not spend her allowance money.My three kids and I were in a frenzy as our truck rolled to a stop at a red light, for there standing on the corner was a…

  • Safe and happy neighborhoods

    Safe and Happy Neighborhoods

    Some time ago I sat with a city councilman and other members of the community to discuss how we might improve our neighborhoods.   “We need more police presence in our neighborhoods,” someone suggested right away. Most everyone agreed. I sat back in my seat and listened to their argument. When they were finished discussing the idea of increasing the police force in an effort to curb the crime, speeding, and other safety issues in our community, I sat up in my seat as someone said, “That’s an interesting perspective. What if, however, we were to approach the problems in our community from another angle.” All eyes were on this person. I mean, what other angle could there possibly be,…

  • Hope for the downhearted heart

    Hope For The Downhearted: A Story Of Life, Loss, and Hope

    The Downhearted   “What’s going on?” I asked my neighbor, startled at the sight of emergency vehicles lining our street. “It’s Bob,” he said, shuffling his feet in the grass.My heart fell to my stomach like an anchor in the ocean. My head, my heart, my stomach suddenly felt heavy, so heavy. “Oh, no, not Bob.” I thought to myself. “Not Bob,” I repeated in a whisper.The heavy feeling intensified, as a tear slipped down my cheek.I felt like I was drowning. Life Memories of the past 10 years swirled around in my mind and, like an undertow, pulled me into a seemingly endless abyss of heartache and regret.Bob had lived in our neighborhood for as long as I could remember. He…

  • An Adventure Awaits Taj Majal

    An Adventure Awaits

    **This page contains affiliate links. You can view my full disclosure HERE. Each day is an adventure waiting to be discovered.   It was a hot afternoon when my children and I stepped outside our house, flyers in hand, and peered down the street.   “Which houses should we visit?” I asked. Our first choice was an easy one–the house across the street. Charles and Judy, our adopted grandparents, are some of our favorite neighbors. We invite them to everything. They never come, but they always appreciate the invitation. This time was no different. They were gracious when we presented them with an event flyer, but really came to life when we accepted their invitation to come inside for a visit.…

  • Seeking common ground airplane

    Seeking Common Ground

    Opportunities for seeking common ground often present themselves in unexpected ways.   Recently, I flipped through the pages of a religious magazine that was hiding in a stack of magazines in our living room and was stunned by what I read. The pages were filled with scripture, inspiring words, and eternal truths. I was so moved that, several days later, I finally asked my husband, “You know that religious magazine in the living room? Where did it come from?” “Oh…that? he replied. “I got it from a guy on the plane. On my return flight home a few weeks ago, I sat next to a guy who was returning from some kind of religious convention. I think he was Protestant…

  • child swing a child shall lead them

    And A Little Child Shall Lead Them

    **This page contains affiliate links. You can view my full disclosure HERE.   …and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)   It was getting late, it was uncomfortably warm outside, and I was tired, but that didn’t stop them.   “May we PLEASE stop at the park and play for a few minutes?” the three of them begged, ganging up against their dad and me. We had gone on a last minute family walk around the block and I was anxious to get home and start our bedtime routine. “Fine,” I relented, “you can play for ten minutes.” The kids cheered and ran for the playground equipment; my husband smiled and followed me to a bench. As my…

  • Open Doors

    The Day I Decided To Keep The Doors Open

    Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev 3:20)   Sometimes it’s difficult to keep the doors open.   “Make sure the doors remain closed.” It’s a thought that runs through my mind often, and one I share with my children on a regular basis, especially when we’re expecting guests in our home. Some messes are best hidden behind closed doors. At least, that’s what I used to think. I tend to keep the front rooms of the house clean and orderly, welcoming all to see them in their state of near perfection. But the clutter, the untidiness,…

  • Neighborhood sunset senses

    My Neighborhood: A Feast For The Senses

    My afternoon walk around the block was a feast for the senses.   After working on my to-do list all morning, I decided to take a quick walk around the neighborhood. The weather was so beautiful, and the neighborhood so still, that I slowed my pace and began noticing the things around me.   Perfectly clear blue skies. The warmth of the sun on my face. The sound of birds chirping. The smell of fall in the air.   Sight. Touch. Sound. Smell.   “What about ‘taste’?” I wondered. One glance at the homes around me provided the answer. Let me explain. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 17 years. These days, it’s rare to live in a neighborhood for…

  • Finding Yourself in nature

    Finding Yourself In Nature: When Nature Comes To The Rescue

    When the hustle and bustle of daily life starts to wear me down, it’s nature that comes to my rescue.   Whether it’s reading in the backyard hammock, digging my hands in the garden soil, taking a quick jaunt around the block, or spending the weekend at a cabin, I find it helpful to submerge myself in nature on a regular basis. Growing up, I lived at the mouth of a National Park. Every Sunday after church our family would pile into the car and go for a drive through the park. My dad would drive a slow and easy 15 MPH as we listened to the quaking aspen trees, whose multi-colored leaves would rustle in the breeze. We kids would…

  • Enjoy the little things

    Enjoy The Little Things

    Happy.   It’s a word we each hope will describe our life. Fortunately, happiness is within the reach of each one of us if we’ll but take hold of it and refuse to let it go, regardless of our current circumstances. I recall a time many years ago when I was going through a difficult time. Periodically, I’d call my mom to discuss with her my current set of challenges and express how unfairly life was treating me. She would listen patiently and then ask the question she always asked,   “Have you served anyone lately?“   I knew she was right, that serving someone else and focusing on their needs rather than my own would bring me closer to…