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Showing posts from 2015

When All is Calm

The song, "Silent Night," has intrigued me for years. Just consider these words:

Silent night, holy night 

ALL IS CALM...

Is "calm" a foreign word? Let's define it:
"Undisturbed by passion; not agitated or excited; quiet; tranquil; as the mind, temper, or attention."

All is calm...

Maybe "calm" is plain English, but the concept is rare. How do we get to that place? God knows the way, but we may have become too busy to allow Him to show us how to get to calm. After all, we have cookies to bake, gifts to wrap, cards to send, concerts to attend...

All is not calm under these conditions. Calm doesn't like crazy.

Christmas is the only birthday celebration known to man where the Guest of Honor is so steadfastly ignored. During this season of run-run-go-go-do-do-do, Christ is often forgotten, and the calmness that comes from time in His Word is forfeited. 

A starved soul is an agitated soul. The solution? Feed your soul as you do your body: regularly. D…

Our Children Are Surrounded

At a recent ladies' conference, I made this statement in a workshop on parenting adult children: 

"Stop apologizing for the spiritual condition of your children. This is unnecessary. If their relationship with the Lord is off course, that's between them and God." 

This statement was prompted by the frequent times ladies would tell me about their children being "away from the Lord," often with a tone that seemed confessional. While completely sincere, this is a practice that really serves no purpose. I'm not sure where we got the idea that we need to explain our children to others, but it's a mistaken notion.

If you have multiple children, you will have multiple outcomes. If you have only one child, you may still have multiple outcomes as behaviors and choices fluctuate over time. Doesn't anyone else remember making some of the grandest mistakes during the younger years?

People talk as if spiritual warfare, including trials raising children, is somet…

My Eye is Consumed with Grief

Do you talk to yourself? Many people do. I just said this to myself today when I was thinking about writing this blog:
"Oh Francie, nobody wants to read about your lingering grief."
And then my self said to self,"Well, they don't have to read it."
So, if you don't feel like reading yet another article  about the grieving process and how it leaves a person feeling disoriented, pass. But I can tell you this: grief is a graduate course in life studies, and everyone takes the class at some point. The education earned in this course is invaluable, and yet if we could, many of us would opt out. 
Wisdom comes in the strangest gift wrapping.
"The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth." (Ecclesiastes 7:4)
Grief makes us wiser, but this kind of wisdom hurts, because it is only gained by loss.
I complained to my sisters of a stomach ache and digestive problems that have been plaguing me since our Mom passed t…

Gardening Therapy

When I go into my garden I work hard, but it doesn't feel like work; it feels like therapy. I often end up with sweat drops inside my eyeglasses, and I look like I've run a marathon. Sometimes I'm tempted to hum the tune, "If They Could See Me Now," as I am normally picky about being well groomed, but in the garden all grooming is off.

Sometimes I'm just enjoying the beauty of each unique plant and praising the Lord for providing such bounty. Other times, my heart is heavy, and I may be laying my burdens down as I'm on my knees, weeding and weeping. Sorrows could be rolling over me like sea billows, but after a session in the garden, I can agree with the songwriter of that popular hymn: "It is well with my soul."

I am no master gardener, but God certainly is, and He patiently teaches me life lessons as He cultivates my heart while I'm tending my little plots and pots:


Dead-heading: If I'll clip the spent and faded blooms, most plants will r…

Oh You Beautiful Doll

When I was a little girl, I had a doll with a adjustable hair. Push the button on her tummy while pulling her hair and the hair would suddenly "grow." I don't remember the name of the doll, but I do remember wishing I could push a button on my tummy and pull on my hair to make it longer. The image of long hair was a status symbol for women, and even as a little girl, I got the message that my short, fuzzy hair wasn't meeting the movable standard of beauty.

I had quite a doll collection, and while the "grow-hair" doll as I called her was one of my favorites, the prize-winner was my talking doll. I could pull a string and she'd talk (although her mouth didn't move). Did anyone else own a "Chatty Cathy" doll? She was so cute, but she was plastic. With batteries.

Have we become plastic Christians? Are we just beautiful dolls?
Plastic Christianity happens when the public person and the private person aren't merging. In other words, the person …

Silver Linings

Mom was playing an Oldies station on the clock radio on a recent family vacation. You know the sound: tinny music coming through crackly static, but recognizable tunes. "Look for the Silver Lining" was playing on this particular morning, and it made me pause and pay attention:

A heart, full of joy and gladness
Will always banish sadness and strife
So always look for the silver lining
And try to find the sunny side of life...


Hmm. This woman was singing about silver linings, but I heard this: The condition of my heart will affect my outlook on life. We can't completely avoid the rounds of alternating gladness and sadness, but we don't have to stay stuck in the sadness time zone. I've never wanted to banish gladness, but sadness can feel like wearing dumbbells around the neck, so it makes sense to want to shed those weights eventually.

How can we find the "sunny side of life" when the storm seems to be parked directly over our house?

1. Thank God for the good…