Tuesday, November 3, 2015

There is so much more . . .

November - one of my favorite months.  I love the fall and we are having an extraordinary fall here in NYC.  God's majesty is on display and I am awed by it daily.  



With Thanksgiving approaching, I have been doing a scripture writing challenge this month.  It is simply a list of passages for each day that I write down in my journal and then follow that by writing down what God is speaking to me in that passage.  I really loved today's verses and they truly spoke to my heart.

2 Corinthians 4:15-18The Message (MSG)

13-15 We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!
16-18 So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

That passage is so full of good news.  Good news in the midst of hardship.  Is that where you find yourself today?

Right now, I know of a man who is a quadriplegic, who is recovering from a recent surgery.  It has been such a struggle but he still brings joy to others and holds on to Jesus.  I know of a one year old who just had surgery for a cancerous tumor that was wrapped around his spine.  It has been 9 months of pain, struggle, fear, doctors, hospital stays and finally, this successful surgery.  He is recovering slowly and in that hardship, there is such joy over this miracle.  I know a woman who just had a baby girl after years of infertility, a miscarriage and great sorrow.  She now holds a new baby girl and the joy on her face is priceless.

Isn't that the tension of life here on this earth?  

Joy and Sorrow  

Miracles and Heartaches 

Faith and Doubt

Healing and Pain

New life and grief

Jesus lived in this tension.  As fully human and fully divine, He relied on the Father in the midst of these very same tensions that we feel.  As this passage in 2nd Corinthians says:
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

Our stories - our lives - are part of a much bigger Story that God is writing.  I can't see how it all fits together, but I trust the Author.  I'm puzzled at times.  I have felt a broken heart over things that have happened.  

I look to these verses and take heart.  

Each day does bring unfolding grace.

These struggles are small in comparison to what is ahead.

These things are temporary.

We reach our weak hands toward the Eternal.

I'm thankful for each step of this journey.  

I am thankful for my Faithful, Good, Good, Father.

I am thankful for so many of you that walk alongside me in this journey. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Life in the Big City

I have had a lot of people ask me how things are going here and what it is like to actually live here. 

 I thought I would give you a few descriptions and stories to answer those questions.





honking horns


sirens blaring

interesting smells

walk/don't walk flashing

strollers and walkers coexisting on the same sidewalk

the homeless

the mentally ill

the wealthy

the famous

and everyone in between


Central Park




farmer's markets





friendly and grumpy






lincoln center

summer nights




I am always learning

always being challenged

The Lord is rooting out things in me that are not like Him

I am thankful.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Won't you be my neighbor?

Good morning!  It is a beautiful morning here in NYC - 73 degrees with the bluest skies framing all these fabulous buildings.  There is such a beauty to this concrete jungle and I am so privileged to be here at this time, in this place for His purposes.

If you know me at all - you know that I love to get to know my neighbors.  Well, living in a high rise on the 44th floor presents it challenges.

There are 12 apartments on our hall.

12 closed doors.

12 potential apartments full of friends.

12 apartments that are not too sure about this crazy lady that moved in.

12 apartments that I am determined to love and care for.

At Easter, I dropped off cookies to each apartment.  
I had to leave them at the door with a note.

A few doors cracked open to the possibility of being a friend.

Last week, I invited everyone on my hall to brunch on Saturday.

I got emails with regrets - one after another.

I got two emails that said they would try to stop by.

Well, I got up Saturday morning and began to prepare the food, fully aware that I might just be cooking for Alan and I.

10 am came and I had everything set out on the table.

Just waiting for a knock on the door but at peace with no attendance.


A bit after 10, there was a knock!!  YAY!

It was a sweet family down at the other end of the hall that I had been reaching out to since they had their first baby in May.

They are from Belgium and their sweet baby boy 
is 3 months old.

I invited them in and we began to talk.

In another 10 minutes or so, 
another knock at the door!

Our across the hall neighbor (whom I had actually never even seen!) had decided to stop by before he left for the weekend.

We all sat around the table and shared brunch.

I got to hold the baby and get him to sleep.

His parents actually got to eat some food in peace!

We all talked, laughed, got to know one another and just enjoy the morning.

The brunch officially ended at 11:30 but they did not leave until 12:15.

It was that much fun!

Our across the hall neighbor told me that he really enjoyed this time - that no one really makes an effort to know anyone on the hall because there is always turnover.  I said "let's change that" and he said "OK!"

And just like that, a few doors are swinging open and I'm sure there are more to follow.

Where do you need to take a risk?

What is holding you back?

Go for it!

Join me in the ranks of the ridiculous.

It is so much fun.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Restoring the soul

I have just completed nearly a month of time in Colorado.  It was filled with family and fun as we celebrated my parent's 80th birthdays.  We also had time with friends, neighborhood gatherings, a few hikes, fishing and relaxation.

We were tired.

I mean, DOG TIRED.

We didn't even know how tired we were until all the family left and we found ourselves sitting on the couch, staring at the wall.

These past 6 months have been busy.  

They have been great, as well as, emotionally and physically exhausting.  

Leaving Chicago was hard.   HARD

Embracing NYC was easy.

We miss dear friends and we are enjoying the process of making dear friends.

But let me say it again -- we were tired.

When you are exhausted in every way, the only true remedy is restoration of the soul.

It isn't something that we can do for ourselves.

We are gasping for spiritual breath and the only source for resuscitation is God Himself.

He restores the soul.

He brings peace into the chaos and purpose into the plans.

He says, "Sit here and rest."

And even if you could still use a little more sleep, He brings a healing balm and a gentle breeze your way.

He gives you beautiful things to look at that point you to Him.

He reminds you of such great love.

The kind of love that sustains you, energizes you and propels you forward into the newness of life.


Soul mending.

Even if another storm is brewing, there is the stillness of the water with its glassy reflection of His majesty.

The Psalmist tells us that "He restores my soul."

He reestablishes that perfect balance of soul health.

How is your soul these days?

Are you trying to mend your brokenness even though you are broken?

Brokenness can't heal brokenness, but our Mighty God can.

Allow Him to restore your weary soul.

He delights in it.

Monday, June 8, 2015


Laundry  . . . who loves it?  There are those few who love to do laundry, but truth be told, it is one of those necessary but not fun tasks.  Gathering laundry is not so bad.  Putting it in the washer is rather easy.  Switching it to the dryer is not half bad.


You have to fold it and put it away.


Isn't it nice for everything to be clean and smelling fresh and wonderful?!?

I live in a high rise in New York City and one of those perks is that I do not have a washer and a dryer.

WHAT?  A perk?

Well, it is because I can send out our laundry and it comes back to me washed, dried and folded. 

There are times that I need something quickly or over the weekend and I use the laundry room in my building.

It is full of machines and for a price, you can wash and dry to your hearts desire.

It smells like detergent and dryer sheets and all things clean.

I was waiting on some sheets and towels to dry one day and I started thinking about our bigger heart desire to be clean.

We can scrub and wash our clothes and our bodies, but the true desire of every human heart is to be clean on the inside.

We all have dirt.  It may be dirt of the past that hides in the tiny crevices of our hearts or it may be dirt of the present that is splatted all over the front.

It might be a dusting that you don't mind talking about.

It might be such grime that you wouldn't dare tell anyone about it.

It might be obvious to others or it might be so hidden and secret that no one knows and you would be horrified if they found out.

What do we do with all that dirt?

The good news is this ~ Jesus is in the business of cleansing hearts.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

King David penned these words during one of the lowest points in his life. The dirt and mud were caked around his heart in such a way that he could not ignore it anymore. We are still crying out to God with this same desire and He is still answering.

You don't have to hide your dirt.

You don't have to just accept it and learn to 
live in the dust.

All of our dirt and the shame that comes with it was taken care of on the cross.

When God sees you, He sees Jesus and His righteousness.

So, if there was ever a place to bring all your dirty laundry . . .

It is at the feet of Jesus.

He cleanses, forgives, covers and restores.

We can be clean because He paid the price.

And oh how He loves us.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Grieving . . .

A friend, Hatch Bailey, posted a quote on his facebook page and it rang so true.  Hatch's wife, Yvonne, died from cancer a number of years ago.  He is very honest about his grieving and I have learned a great deal from his willingness to be so.  I have had several close friends die as well as family members over the years and my grandmother just passed away.  Grief is just part of this journey.

Of course, there are other kinds of grieving as well.  Loss comes in many different forms.  

the death of a dream

the death of a plan

the death of a job

the death of a relationship

Perhaps you have moved or someone dear to you has moved away.

Perhaps you have someone in your life who is physically present but can no longer emotionally connect.

Perhaps you are dealing with a health issue that has altered your daily life.

Perhaps your life just doesn't look like you imagined it at this point and you grieve what might have been.

Here is the quote:

Grief never ends . . . but it changes.
It's a passage, not a place to stay.
Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor lack of faith.
It is the price of love.

I'm going to add that it is the price of living!  Loss and grief are as big a part of living this life as gain and joy.  I found this quote encouraging because it reminds me that there is healing and life beyond our grief.  It reminds me that the ever changing face of grief is not a betrayal but rather another stop along the journey.

Through our grief, if we allow the Lord to be ever present, we will find strength.  

Our faith will actually increase rather than decrease.  

We can afford to pay the high price of life and love because ultimately, we pass along the bill to the One who can pay it in full.

In Revelation 21, we find these amazing promises.

"Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, 
and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,  
and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; 
and there will no longer be any death; 
there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; 
the first things have passed away.”
And He who sits on the throne said, 
“Behold, I am making all things new.” 
And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

I don't know where you are on this journey.  I don't even know why this struck me this morning.  There are just some days when the emotion of loss bubbles up unexpectedly. 

Be encouraged.

Your grief does not go unnoticed.

You have taken account of my wanderings; 
Put my tears in Your bottle.  
Are they not in Your book? 
 Psalm 56:8 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Just around the corner . . .

Don't you love how the Lord can use anything and anyone to teach you spiritual lessons?  I laugh out loud at the things He teaches me in the most unexpected ways. 

So lately, He has been teaching me some lessons through Quincy.

Moving here has been an adjustment for Quincy.  We had a little tiny yard space in Chicago so Quincy could go out whenever he needed to.  Now, we are on the 44th floor with no outdoor space.  We have gone from Quincy initiating going outside to putting him on a schedule.  He is doing great!  I walk him in the morning, late afternoon and late evening.  He is a champ.

We live about 2 blocks from Central Park.  Between our apartment and Central Park is a lot of sidewalks, light poles, fire hydrants, bike stands and edges of buildings.  Quincy wants to linger in the concrete jungle.  He is smelling all the messages and leaving his mark wherever he can.

What he doesn't know is that Central Park is just around the corner!  

It offers him wide open spaces, unlimited trees and actual grass!  There are still multiple messages and more than enough opportunities to leave his own mark.  There are cool breezes, sunshine and places to stop, rest and linger.

I try to tell him that if we just keep moving, we can get to the park and he can take care of all his business in a much nicer, dog friendly spot.  But no matter how much I tell him about the promise of green grass and tall trees, he just doesn't seem to get it.  Maybe he isn't sure that he believes me.  From what he can tell, the concrete jungle is pretty spectacular.

As I was trying my best to hurry him along, it dawned on me that I behave in exactly the same way!  I get focused on what is right around me when the Lord is trying to get me to look in a different direction.  I'm trying to get comfortable with my surroundings while He is trying to show me something different.

The Lord will say to me, "This is good, but I have something different, even better, that I want you to experience."  There is risk in that.  I can't see what is ahead and I KNOW what is here right now.  I'm pretty happy in the concrete jungle but the Lord has lush gardens and wide pathways for me if I will just trust Him.

Are you content in your concrete jungle?

Is the Lord gently tugging on you and trying to lead you somewhere new?

Do you really believe that He always has your best interest in mind?

Do you trust Him to use everything in your life to make you more like Jesus?

I am learning to listen to the whispers and the shouts.  I am learning to trust the Lord's leading, even if I can't see what is ahead. 

He is good.  

He will only lead me to places that will play into the process of sanctification.  

He is trustworthy. 

"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.  
He makes me lie down in green pastures.  
He leads me beside still waters.  
He restores my soul."  
Psalm 23:1-2