Courage to be Perfectly Imperfect You

Courage is not the absence of fear … it’s the presence of hope. Check out Shelly Beach’s latest blog. You’ll be blessed by it.

Healing with Screviner by my Side

Because I’ve been under the weather a bit, I skipped writing a blog post this week. Instead, I’ve been concentrating on getting better … and spending time with my new tool, Screviner.  I’m working on something totally out of my wheelhouse and need all the help I can get. But looking through some of my past posts, I thought I’d bring back one of my favorites from the past year. Just click on the link:

And if you have any suggestions on Screviner, please offer a hand up.

Happy trails.

A Reminder of a Father’s Love

J. G. Gilbert & Robin Gilbert Luftig at Lake Lavine, MI, Summer 1958

J. G. Gilbert & Robin Gilbert Luftig at Lake Lavine, MI, Summer 1958

To celebrate Father’s Day, I’m re-posting a blog I shared that exemplified my relationship with my father. I’d love to hear stories from you about the relationship you have (or had) with yours. I pray it was as loving as mine was …

Seize 2015

clapping handsWatching the calendar change into a new year can be miserable if there instability surrounding your life. In fact, it can be down-right debilitating. But you can do it! You’ve left dark days and situations behind. Circumstances may follow you into the new year, but you have an opportunity to control your attitude.

Celebrate! You’ve survived 2014, so take a bow. Now is your challenge. Make 2015 your year. Set a plan—your plan.

If you need to bring a fresh look into your world and don’t know how to find one, I suggest you look at Reading plans are available for your needs—a scratch for every itch.

May 2015 be filled with wonder and purpose for you. If you’re here to experience 2015, you’ve a reason to practice gratitude.

Mason Jar, 2015

good deeds jar

good deeds jar

I love keeping a Mason jar on a table on the edge of our family room; located at the hub of all the house’s traffic. It isn’t at all fancy. I’ve been asked more times than I can count why it’s there. But it’s purpose is powerful. I wrote about the Mason jar before and thought I’d share again …

You may want to consider having a Mason jar–a good deeds jar–on a table in your house.

Breaking the News About Grandpa’s Suicide

J. G. Gilbert & Robin Gilbert Luftig at Lake Lavine, MI, Summer 1958

J. G. Gilbert & Robin Gilbert Luftig at Lake Lavine, MI, Summer 1958

As some of you may know, my father committed suicide at the age of 51. My oldest child was only a baby. I could deal with the tragedy without trying to explain it in details to my son.

With the cheer of the Christmas holidays also comes clouds of depression. Suicide is most prevalent during of after holidays. With that in mind, please check out this series of posts by Ryan Haack.


Practicing Gratitude During the Thanksgiving Season

2012-12-23 18.07.14

From left: Lew, Tyler, me, Angel, Erin (daughter-in-love), & Given

You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.   Khalil Gibran, “The Prophet”

Since my brain tumor was found April 2, 2011, I strive to look at life with more gratitude. Here’s a list of examples of gratitude that held my focus after surgery:

The feel of fresh pajamas after a shower
Walking without assistance
Having the ability to feed myself
Hugs from relieved family members
Promises, like Hebrews 13:5*

What helped me through one of the darkest seasons of my life was to take inventory of the blessings around me. I understand how difficult it is to be grateful in the midst of loss.  But give it a try. You may be filled with anger, questions and uncertainties.

Still try.

Add to this list. What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving season?

*”… be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”


Why Wasn’t It Me?

no one fights alone pinI find myself drawn to others who I share a common bond with. Mommihood is an easy bond. Or standing shoulder-to-shoulder with anyone who has pulled themselves through dark times to see a brighter day is rewarding as well. I feel welcomed in both of these circles.

A few years ago I became a member of another group: the brain tumor survivors group. Members of this tight-knit community come in all shapes and sizes, ages and socioeconomic classes. Within our differences, we still have one thing in common: survival. We each have our own story of frustration that comes with healing. We are represented with symbols (like gray ribbons) and cute sayings (“Gray Matter Matters,” for example). These reminders make me smile and appreciate my victory. But sometimes I forget the seriousness within all the cuteness. Continue reading

What’s Your Responsibility at Thanksgiving?

picture from

picture from

This is the season where families get together; celebrating the special closeness that you share. Yet so many families are splintered … feelings have been hurt over forgotten issues … that wearing a painted smile and staying close to the liquor cabinet are the best ways to deal. There’s more to Thanksgiving than sharing turkey. It’s time to make amends with one another; it’s a time for families to heal.

It wasn’t an accident that you were placed with your family. God’s plan put you there. Yet so many think they can improve that plan by putting walls of unmet expectations and hurt feelings around their hearts.

“I don’t want to be hurt anymore.”  “You don’t know what they did to me.”  “We have nothing in common; it’s best we just keep our distance and live our lives apart.”

All those sound good, right? But these statements are all self-serving … and wrong!

If you have hurt someone, apologize. If you have been hurt, forgive. It wasn’t suggested by God, it was what he told us to do:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13: 34-35 (NIV)

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matt. 5:23-24 (NIV)

“… If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Luke 17:3-4 (NIV)

Did you get it? Did you see? Jesus died for the person you’re upset with or the person who’s upset with you. They have value. You have value. That value isn’t about you; it’s about our Heavenly Father. How would that Thanksgiving meal be if we sat at the same table as our Lord and our estranged family members?

Think about it, and don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Have a Happy … and Healthy … Thanksgiving!

Life to the Fullest

A guest blog I posted that didn’t make it to my own blog … how did I miss that? I hope you enjoy it.

clapping hands“And then … and then …,” Sadie’s words tripped over her tongue. Her mind was moving faster than her lips could keep up.

I love listening to children tell stories. They become so animated; experiencing each and every syllable as they speak it. Their eyes become so expressive. They giggle and their hands can’t hold still. They bounce as if there are ants in their pants when they share. Kids … I just love them and their energy. They’re full of life, expression, and excitement.

What would happen if I shared that same type of excitement when I talk about my Lord and what he’s given me? Maybe bouncing and shaking my hands when I share the story of how God’s grace and mercy (grace being what God gives that we don’t deserve and mercy being what God doesn’t give that we do deserve) filled my heart. It’s even more exciting than the story my little friend Sadie tried to tell.

Paul’s excitement is shared with the Ephesians in his letter to them. Ephesians 3:17b-19 reads:

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

I can’t remember the last time I had to gasp for air from being so excited sharing the Good News with other. I need to re-evaluate what really excites me. How about you?

Father, stir a fire of excitement in my heart for what excites you. Help me remember all that you have given me. Remind me of the price Jesus paid for my salvation. I have done nothing to earn your gift, yet it is the sweetest gift I could have ever received. Help me share your goodness with enthusiasm. I pray this in Jesus’ holy name, Amen.