Category Archives: personal

Senior Recital

In the past five years, I’ve learned a great deal about music.

As our daughter has been working toward her degree, I’ve been impressed.

There’s so much to music beyond knowing the notes and reading the music.

God has stretched and grown our daughter in amazing ways.

These have been very memorable years, especially since she’s gotten married and had two children during it all. (She’s expecting their third baby in December! Squeak!)

Tomorrow is her Senior Recital.

It’s the culmination of all her years of study jammed into one night’s performance.

She will be singing in different languages.

The program is varied to give us a feel for her range.

I’m thrilled that she will be playing both her guitar and her ukulele.

Her guitar was a Christmas gift we got her many years ago with the help and expertise of our brother-in-law, Jon.

The ukulele was a recent graduation gift from her grandmother.

The one she’s always played is an antique from my aunt and does not have the ability to be plugged into the sound system and thus cannot be used.

There’s a ton of last minute things to see to today.

I’m praying for God to be glorified in all this.

Because He is the One who gave her the gift and the calling.

I know He is the reason she is able to do it.

I recently ran across a note in my Bible.

This note was to remind me to pray this verse for my daughter.

I’m praying again for her and will be tomorrow.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your gifts. Thank You for all Your provision for our daughter and her family. Lord, thank You for this opportunity. Please, help her to continue to give all glory and praise to You. Lord, please help her to worship You in the beauty of holiness. Thank You so much for Your faithfulness. May Your name be glorified. Amen.

Gifts of love

Something truly enjoyable to watch is the little ways people speak love.

With our granddaughter, it’s a tight hug or arms stretched out, lips calling the name of the person she wants to hold her.

Recently, it was our son cutting the crust off a piece of toast he made for his sister.

My husband seeing a need and purchasing an item to bless another.

Or at another moment it was Faye gently caressing her brother’s head while softly saying in her two-year-old speech, “Ahhh, Bubba!”.

This weekend it was a vase of roses and flowers from the garden placed in my room by our youngest daughter.

The gifts of love are so much more than material things.

They are lasting, cherished moments, where one person gives of themselves.

The true gifts of love are pure, never doing to be repaid, never looking for advantage to self.

They are things done in the pattern of Christ.

1 John 4:7 NKJV — Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your love. Thank You for being our perfect sacrifice and for rising from the dead to give us hope of heaven, all because God loves the world so much He sent You to save it! Lord, please continue to teach us how to love as You do, how to walk in Your Word daily. Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness, mercy, and grace. It is in You we learn what true love is. Thank You! Amen.

God’s ways are perfect

For so many years the Lord has asked me to surrender everything to Him.

Not to spend time worrying about the “needs”, not to make long lists of things required, but to just surrender.

Last fall, He took me through another season of surrender.

Each morning, the Lord would speak to my heart about material things, stuff which hold a value or are special in some way.

Then He’d ask.

Are you willing to give it up if I ask you to?

I’m well aware that all I think of as mine is really His and therefore, I would respond with a “yes”.

Some days, it was easier to say than others.

I honestly began to think we were going to move again, the way God was asking me to surrender everything.

It was even down to family heirlooms, items which wouldn’t mean anything to most people, but are precious to me.

At times, I had to work at not letting my mind begin to expect some major change, because God has asked me to get rid of everything before, to let go of all personal property and simply trust Him for the future.

But God wasn’t preparing me to move.

He was making sure my fingers were not grasping the things He’s placed in our care.

Because in October He had us start a small furniture business.

Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with things.

I had to spend a lot of time praying about what God wanted me to do with each thing.

Find places to store all the things until they could be sold.

It’s been an interesting journey since then.

We’ve been blessed to pass on some things to others who need them.

We’ve enjoyed restoring many items and getting them back into usable condition.

We’ve learned a great deal about furniture, as well as great deal about ourselves.

There’s been times when we acquired an item and I’d want to keep it.

But, God had already laid the groundwork, nothing belongs to me, so I’m able to do whatever God leads.

Nothing is more important to me than Jesus.

Sometimes, His will is for an item to stay with us.

At least for now.

But through it all I’ve been so blessed to be able to “let go”.

For nothing on this Earth is permanent.

Nothing material will make it into heaven, only the souls of those who put their trust in Jesus Christ.

Paul said it best:

Philippians 4:11-13 NKJV — Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for all Your blessings. Thank You for teaching me how to trust You and not to put my expectations into stuff. Lord, thank You for walking with me, Your patience is amazing! I know You hold me in Your hands and are with me at all times. Lord, please never allow me to be choked and distracted by the cares of this world, but instead to use all You have placed in my hands for Your kingdom. Jesus, I want my treasure to be in heaven. You know that sometimes I forget and struggle with trying to treasure things here on Earth. Please guard my heart from that snare. Thank You again for Your faithfulness and patience. Thank You for Your incredible ways! You truly are great and greatly to be praised! Amen.

The kindness of a stranger

It was later in the evening when my husband looked at me and said,

“Let’s go buy the babies a kiddy pool.”

The day had been warm and their little faces had been rosey when he arrived home from work.

He wasn’t wanting them to have another warm afternoon without the opportunity to cool off.

I agreed and we drove to where we thought we might find a kiddy pool.

It was after 7pm so some stores were already closed.

Home Depot was open and although they didn’t have kiddy pools there were some other items we needed.

I’ve been planning to paint furniture and needed paint.

As the paint was finished, my husband was concerned if I’d like the color and showed it to me.

I signed that I had a good feeling about it, I liked it. (My voice had disappeared during our walk around the store.)

He placed it in the cart and began to move toward the check out.

I had noticed another employee looking in my direction previously and had nodded a “hello”.

As I looked up from the cart she was looking at me again.

So, I didn’t look away, nor walk on.

She carefully signed to me a nice greeting and wished me a good day.

I smiled behind my mask and signed back: “Thank you, same to you”.

As I walked after my husband I thought about how this lady’s kindness blessed my heart.

She didn’t have to sign to me, but she did.

She was reaching out to speak to me and it blessed my heart.

I’m not deaf, but when I can’t speak ASL is the easiest way for me to communicate.

When others see this, it’s understandable they assume I’m deaf.

I’ve been truly blessed at different times when people who saw my signing responded with an effort to communicate.

Sometimes it’s by a simple “thank you” in ASL.

Sometimes it’s looking me in the eye or trying to point to things to help me understand.

I praise God for these moments of kindness in others.

I’m so thankful for their efforts.

I often pray for them afterwards.

Because it’s difficult to deal with someone who doesn’t communicate the way you do.

Unfortunately, some people become so uncomfortable, they react in ways which make it more difficult to communicate.

There’s been a few moments in stores when we left feeling very stressed.

But these are rare and God has taught us something each time.

It was a stressful moment several months ago when shopping with my husband that he said, “I have to get better at ASL” and he has been practicing ever since.

Another time Jase and I were shopping together and several unfortunate circumstances caused us a great deal of stress.

Days later we talked about it and both of us were able to see things we should do differently in the future.

Something a young man said to me recently has been the point of truth in this part of our journey.

“Everyone learns at their own speed.”

He was referring to learning ASL, but of course the truth is far more applicable.

For me, I’m not just learning ASL, I’m learning a new way of thinking, along with a new way of communicating.

I’m learning to keep my eyes upon the face of the person I’m dealing with.

Because people often think I’m deaf if I look away they think I no longer care or that I’m not paying them attention.

To look away means “not listening”.

I’m learning to plan ahead.

I’ve been stranded on my own with no one to speak for me and no one who reads ASL, so I carry paper and pencil now.

I’m learning that many people want to communicate and try hard to do so.’m learning to read sign better, which wasn’t something I’d worked on as I was the one signing, my family just speaks back to me.

I’m learning to read sign better, which wasn’t something I’d worked on as I was the one signing, my family just speaks back to me.

A couple of times I couldn’t always understand someone who stopped speaking and only signed.

I’m learning to be patient.

My voice disappearing is a response my body is having to triggers, often fragrance or chemicals in the air.

Sometimes my chest begins to hurt and I find it difficult to think clearly as my body is struggling.

To combat this I have to focus on breathing calmly, walking at a normal pace, and thinking about opening my airways.

Trying to communicate while all this is going on can make me want to rush, to just “be done” and not even try, but that never works and it’s not what Jesus would want me to do.

And if I were to simply “give up” I would miss all these moments of blessing.

For God has something good in all these things and I don’t want to miss a single one.

James 4:6 NKJV — But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your faithfulness! Lord, thank You for Your help, love, and lessons. You have taught me so much and Your blessings have been incredible. Lord Jesus, thank You for walking with me through this. Thank You for walking with our family through this. Thank You for all the people who have tried so hard to reach out to me. Thank You for the kindness of strangers. Lord, please continue to teach me how to live daily unto You. Thank You for all Your wonderous works. I love You. Amen.

P.S. We went to another store and bought the kids a pool. I had to laugh when I woke up to it raining!

Psalm 124

If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say; If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us: Then they had swallowed us up quick, When their wrath was kindled against us: Then the waters had overwhelmed us, The stream had gone over our soul: Then the proud waters, Had gone over our soul. Blessed be the LORD , Who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: The snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD , Who made heaven and earth. Psalm 124:1‭-‬8 KJV

In the past two weeks we have had two family members visit the ER, our last daughter leave home to help family, our neighbors have a scare, and a few other “unexpected” moments.

Today, I am exhausted.

And overwhelmed by God and His love.

Through it all we have had peace.

Not always calm, but always peace.

Because our help is in the name of the LORD.

Truly, there is no security like the security our souls find in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He is so good!

He is so faithful!

Hebrews 13:5-6 NKJV — Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You. Your faithfulness is incredible. No matter the circumstances, You have walked us through. How my heart is overflowing with gratitude. May others see Your mighty works and praise Your holy name. Thank You, Lord for all Your faithfulness! Thank You for Your Word and Your direction. Thank You for Your blessings. May the whole Earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of You. Amen.

8th grade Promotion

I was surprised and blessed to be asked to share something at the ceremony.

The students who were promoting had been in my class years ago and I love them.

When I realized that I would not be able to attend my heart thanked God for being asked.

But God…

Another adult involved in the ceremony asked me if I’d like to write down what I wanted to share and she would stand in for me.

Talk about a blessing!

The following is what I wrote and she shared.

To begin I am deeply blessed to have the honor to send you not only my prayers, but also a word of encouragement as you take part in stepping into the road that leads to adulthood. Not many young people realize that the four years of high school are literally the last years of learning how to hone your skills, thoughts and habits, to introduce you into adulthood.

Many people use the four years of high school to live for themselves, to indoctrinate themselves into habits and activities that are not only harmful for them, but instill abuses and addictions into their future as adults.

It is my prayer for each of you that you do not follow the wide path of the world, but that instead you look to scripture and listen and most importantly apply God’s truth to the next four years of your life and continue that habit into adulthood.

With that being said I asked the Lord what verse would crystallize what His plan for each follower of Christ is, where we could find it simply and directly lined out. He led me to Micah 6:8.

Oftentimes, when a scripture is familiar we begin to disregard it’s important especially when we have grown up from childhood hearing it quoted and not really understanding how to apply it.

I know this was true with my own childhood. I didn’t understand the importance of many scriptures that I had been raised with and memorized, but as an adult the Lord began to open my understanding and to help me learn how to apply these things to my everyday. The truths, the blessings, the direction, and the very gifts of life have been granted to me through that and I’m so thankful to my parents, my teachers, and my Sunday school for having me memorize so much scripture.

With that being said, let’s look at Micah 6:8.

Micah 6:8 NKJV — He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

Although these are simple words, the first thing it begins with is to show you what is good. Many things in this world try to tell you they are good, they are right, they are true, but we only find those things in God’s Word. Nowhere else is there true goodness without God. We must understand, that God is good and in Him we find goodness.

The Lord requires of us to do justly. That isn’t a sometimes thing and it’s not a when you want it. Simply and straightforwardly it tells us that we are to do right at all times.

Often people, become confused as to what is correct, right, and just. Scripture again is our guide and should always be the first place we look for answering questions.

To do justly is not an option with the believer. The follower of Christ should always look to do what is right in every circumstance, never compromising, never wavering, never being lukewarm.

Next we see that God wants us to love mercy. To truly understand that, we have to realize that it is because of His mercy that we have salvation. We can see throughout scripture times that God chooses to show His mercy to those who least deserved it. For if we all wanted to be honest, no one deserves God’s mercy. But He gives it and we need to as well. That means loving others the way God loves us, not holding bitterness or resentment. Leaving no room for offense, but choosing to love as God loves. If anyone has the right to be offended, it is our righteous God and He chooses not to. Instead He gives mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

Lastly we are to walk humbly with our God. We know through scripture that it is because of pride that Satan fell. We know that it is because of pride that Eve chose to eat the forbidden fruit: she wanted to be like God. We know that throughout man’s history pride has caused people to harm others, to live selfishly, to spread abuse, pain, and injustice. And it is still wreaking havoc on the human race today. But the Bible also tells us that God resists the proud. Humility is truly something we have to work at putting on, because pride came with our sinful natures and we can hardly get away from it. Unless we are purposeful in keeping our hearts humble before God, pride will grow, hiding under a myriad of excuses.

We must realize that we are no better than any other human created, and we are far less than God Himself. Yet, He made each and every one of us in His image, in God’s likeness, and Jesus Christ died and rose again to save our souls. Those two things: being made in God’s image and being bought by the blood of Jesus Christ, makes us more valuable than we can ever imagine. Because of these things we can be humble, as well as thankful, to the Lord Almighty for His great gifts and His endless love.

It is through a truly humbled heart that we can actually find the answer to walking justly and loving mercy. It’s the final key to how we are to follow Christ daily. Surrendering our own wants and desires before Him and choosing to live for those He has placed around us every single day.

As you embark on the next 4 years, which begin right now, I pray that you will live for Jesus Christ and not for yourselves. I pray that you live for Jesus Christ and not for academics or achievements, whether it be in sports or intellectual things or even just enjoying the world that God created. Those things are good and He gave them to us, but they should never be what we live for. I pray that each of you today realizes the importance of the place in life that you are at and that you will choose to surrender each day forward into Jesus’s hands and serve Him as the bond servant that Paul spoke of in the scriptures. One who does not worry about his life, but only concern is in being an excellent servant of the Master. I love you and I thank you for this wonderful opportunity to speak into your lives. Again, I’m sorry I was unable to be there in person, but God knows what is best and I trust Him. I’m sending you each my love. God bless you.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Please bless these young people with wisdom and let their hearts be opened to Your Word. Lord, thank You for allowing me to have an opportunity to reach out to them. Thank You for the blessing of my friends. Lord, You have all things in Your hands and Your ways are perfect. I praise and thank You for all Your wonderous works. May You be glorified throughout the whole Earth. Amen.

All we like sheep

Isaiah 53:6 KJV — All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Unless you’ve actually raised sheep, these words really don’t hold the same understanding.

As a young teen, my parents bought a very run down property in the country, in another state, and took this city girl and my sister, to a whole new way of life.

I didn’t have a clue about anything which I would need to know, but God is gracious and He teaches.

We didn’t have proper fencing, so moving the flock was always an adventure.

(In case your wondering why we were moving them, it’s because sheep need a rotation of pasture or the fields die back and the sheep don’t have good forage. In fact there is a whole science to field rotation and proper care so that the animals get the nutrition they need.)

We didn’t have a sheep dog.

We didn’t have four-wheelers.

We had my mom, my sister, and me.

The system was one person, no body liked this job because it meant getting trampled, had the large bucket of grain.

That person was responsible to call the sheep, wait for most of them to gather (there’s always at least a few who refuse to come when called), then open the gate, and head toward the new field.

The other people are in the field and ready to “encourage” all the sheep to follow the one with the bucket.

(Sheep startle very easily and you have to be careful how you handle them, as a sheep can literally die from fright.)

As the person leading, you have to continue to call the sheep and shake the bucket.

Even with calling and shaking some sheep will bolt out the gate, nearly knocking down the person opening it, and run as fast as they can.

Where?

Anywhere.

They have no sense of what they are doing, they just know the gate is open and they are “free!”.

Others will follow the one calling only until they spy a weedy plant growing along the road.

They’ll stop and block the road with their bodies because the weedy tough thing isn’t a quick grab a mouthful and keep walking, which causes others behind them to stop and loose sight of the one calling.

Those who are stopped will then become confused and loudly protest their distress, at times turning around to head back and other times running back and forth along the road.

Some sheep will be late coming to the gate and when they see it open will bolt as fast as they can.

They will over take and pass the one leading only to find themselves lost, without any others around them.

This can be terrifying for the sheep, who will then bolt back down the way they just came.

They will even pass the one leading the sheep and will return to the field if it were not for the two people who follow at the far back.

Their job is to get the sheep out of the field and close the gate.

Then to follow the one calling the sheep and encourage those who are lost to follow the leader.

But there were some sheep who would come when called.

They knew the person calling had fed them before and would feed them again.

They knew there’s grain in the bucket and they never take their eyes off the leader.

They knew they need what the leader has, they want what the leader has and they follow, no matter what.

When the sheep are all in the new field the grain is set out, normally more than one bucket worth, for we always had more in the new field waiting.

Of course they would push and shove each other, like we didn’t know how much grain was required to supply each one the proper amount.

Afterwards, they’d start grazing, as if they never noticed the new field was lusher, more abundant than the old.

I can easily see myself in those sheep.

How many times did I hear the Lord call and instead of keeping my eyes fixed on Him, my excitement sent me dashing ahead only to find I’d taken His call and applied my own ideas and plans to the execution of it?

It always left me confused and lost as to where to go next.

How many times have I felt “comfortable” unwilling to make a change, not wanting to hed the call, not willing to leave what I was used to?

Only to find that being slow to respond to Him and having to experience the consequences of not obeying were actually hindering what He had in store.

I still reached the new place, it still held all He had for me, but I brought along regret from my disobedience.

I’ve prayed and will continue to pray that God helps me to be the sheep whose eyes are on the Shepherd.

That I will stop wasting my time, energy, and strength in “bolting” in every direction, but instead to listen for His voice, to answer His call, and to always remain beside the One who calls me to follow.

John 10:27 NKJV — “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for loving us so much more than anyone can possibly love. Thank You for creating sheep, that we might see a small portion of ourselves in them. Lord, thank You for teaching me so much about Your patient endurance and Your faithfulness. Thank You that You are caring for me and all I need to do is follow. Thank You for Your provision, Your salvation, and Your grace. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Planting faith

We finished setting seeds yesterday morning.

I took this picture because I don’t want to forget what it looks like.

I’ve found in the past that I often grow impatient with the growth of the garden and it’s wise to take pictures of each stage.

It helps me see where we’ve been and be thankful for where we are.

These sorts of “reminders” are useful in growing faith as well.

No, it’s not a photo moment, but there’s many ways to remember where God has taken us and to be thankful for where we are.

In scripture we see God instructing Joshua to build a monument.

Joshua 4:3 NKJV — “and command them, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’ ”

Joshua 4:5 NKJV — and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel,

Joshua 4:7 NKJV — “Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”

The monument was to leave a legacy, a physical reminder of God’s faithfulness.

Because we need reminders.

Without them we grow careless and forget God.

When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.
Judges 2:10 NKJV

Thus, God instructed the children of Israel:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:5‭-‬9 NKJV

Let us love the Lord with our whole heart, soul, and strength.

Let us find ways to teach them to our children, to decorate our home, to wear them as a continual reminder.

For God is faithful, just, loving, patient, kind, good, true, and in Him is life eternal.

Plant seeds of faith today, so our future generations can grow up in the knowledge and goodness of God.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You that You command us to pass on the truths of scripture, because it sets us free from sin and death. It’s a gift too valuable to be forgotten. Lord, please help us to be creative and purposeful in planting seeds of faith. Lord Jesus, shine Your truth into our hearts and minds that we might weed out anything which would seek to choke our faith. Lord, teach us how to be diligent in following You and steadfast in Your Word. Lord, please keep us from evil, help us to walk straight, not turning to the right or the left. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for salvation. May our lives be fruitful for Your kingdom. Amen.

A walk in the park

It was one of those blessings which God surprised us with.

Anne, now a graduate with her diploma, wanted to get her announcement pictures in a scenic area.

As we discussed this desire, we both felt a little concern.

“Mom, I don’t know any places around here.”

Of course I don’t either.

Anne loves flowers and we both thought a garden would be great, but we didn’t know if there were any in our area.

Our photographer has lived in the area for a while, so I texted her our concern.

She too was unsure where a garden could be found, but promised to look into it.

Anne’s internet search turned up an answer to the scenic views which was nearby.

I contacted our photographer and she knew the place, said it would fit the scenic part perfectly, but didn’t remember any flowers.

She encouraged us to go ahead of our scheduled shoot and explore.

Then it rained for two days.

Friday was a beautiful day, perfect for a walk in the park, but…I had a migraine.

It lasted until Monday.

With our lives focused on house guests, we forgot to go that evening.

The shoot was scheduled for Wednesday, so we had to go Tuesday.

Life got very full, and we left half an hour after we were supposed to, so lighting wasn’t the same.

Anne and I were a bit discouraged, but determined to look at the area.

We parked the truck and found there were several flowering trees.

There was even one which came down close to the ground and gave a lovely back drop.

I was snapping pictures on my phone to send to the photographer.

The road turned sharply to reveal a logged area, it held beautiful views.

The road rose dramatically and I found it difficult to make it up the hill.

However, time and persistence equalled success.

Upon reaching the top, we were delighted to find two trails gloriously decorated in trees and tall ferns.

The trail we choose had two natural arches and Anne loved it.

I began texting pictures to our photographer.

To my surprise, she asked me if I had seen the field with a barn in it.

After a little discussion with Anne and some texted questions to the photographer, we walked back to the truck.

There’s two places people park, so I figured we’d gone to the wrong one.

We drove just a bit down the road and started walking again.

Anne mentioned pictures of a bridge over water she’d seen on the internet.

“I’d love to take some pictures there, do you think we can find it?”

I told her I was hopeful.

This road was larger, there were more cars.

The hill wasn’t as steep as the last one, but I was wearing out quickly.

As we walked, still surrounded by trees and under growth, we kept looking for a break in the cover, expecting the barn and field.

Anne decided to jog farther down the winding road and look for the field.

She returned looking concerned, there was no signs of a break in the trees.

We were running out of time, the park would be closing soon.

We tried looking at the internet map again to discover where we were, but without success.

The location wasn’t working.

I texted our photographer, asking how far down the road we should go.

When she responded with driving to the extra parking lot, I knew something was wrong.

Where we were had a tiny space people used for parking, but there was certainly no other parking lot connected to this one.

We walked back to the entrance and I sent her a picture of the gate and bulletin board which held lots of instructions.

Her response was immediate.

We were not in the park we were supposed to be, we’d found an area of State lands.

“Well, no wonder we can’t find the barn!”

Anne and I packed up and drove home.

We knew our schedule for the next day wouldn’t allow time for us to explore.

“We will just have to trust the Lord.”

That evening we packed up into the car, had a bouquet of flowers, two pairs of shoes, a hat, and cardigan.

We drove farther down the road than the night before.

I got a little turned around at the entrance, I’d forgotten to read the directions first.

We met up with the photographer shortly afterwards.

Just around a softly sloping turn in the road we walked up to the field with a barn in it.

And there were wild daisies!

Anne got to take pictures surrounded by flowers.

As I stood out of the way, I praised God.

This was the perfect spot and exactly what Anne wanted.

After many pictures in the field we returned to the parking lot, and then decided to take a different path.

It led to the bridge and water.

My heart over flowed.

Anne had surrendered all her desires for this to the Lord and we were both blessed by how God arranged it all.

He gave us this moment and it will be a precious memory.

Because we both know pictures for a Graduation Announcement are not really important in the scheme of life.

But we can and are praising Him.

For He is amazing and worthy of all our praise, in the smallest and the largest of things.

Psalm 104:33 KJV — I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your faithfulness. Lord, when we walk with You in all things, our lives are full. Lord, Your love, compassion, and patience are incredible. Your truth is life. You sustain us throughout. Thank You for all Your wonderous works. How great and awesome You are! Please, let our lives bring glory to Your name. Thank You! Amen.

In all things…

It’s best to just praise the Lord.

Because today has been an unusual morning already.

Our daughter and grandbabies are here.

I was surprised by my husband bringing our nine month old grandson to me before I’d gotten out of bed.

He smiled and explained that our daughter was busy with her daughter and he needed to leave for work.

Upon reaching the down stairs, I realized our family was experiencing stress.

Just adding three people brings change, but a toddler and baby bring a completely different dynamic.

It’s wonderful, but requires a great deal of energy.

Does it really matter if you have baby food on your shoulder because your shirt became a napkin?

Is there anything as sweet as a little girl cuddled in loving arms experiencing complete contentment?

How is it that after running the dishwasher three times yesterday, there’s still dishes?

What heart can resist little chubby arms raised in request to be held?

How can little lips slurring a song with the wrong words rival a choir’s beauty?

These moments are brief and will pass with lightning speed.

Through it all, I am praising God.

Because He is faithful and He gives good gifts.

Deuteronomy 7:9 KJV — Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

James 1:17 KJV — Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

No circumstance changes the goodness of God.

Therefore I can praise Him in all things.

Philippians 4:4NKJV — Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

He is worthy of all honor, glory, and praise.

Revelation 4:8 KJV — And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for today. Lord, thank You for walking with me through these things. Thank You so much for our family. Thank You for children and the incredible things we can learn from them. Thank You for Your gifts. APlease continue to teach and guide me as I walk in today. Please help me to be creative and flexible, understanding that You have a perfect plan and all I need to do is listen and obey. Thank You for Your goodness, faithfulness, grace, mercy, truth, and love. Thank You for being holy. I love You, Jesus. Amen.