Archive for January, 2022

Ever since that first moment my eyes caught sight of them, I knew that they were coming down.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a strong believer in if it works for you, then you live and love your kitchen cabinets hanging from the ceiling.

But me … not so much … especially when they are blocking my view to a beautiful big sky which provides simply spectacular sunsets.

So, the other day, when the ‘guys’ left me home alone for a couple of hours or so …

First was to figure out how to remove the cabinets without destroying them (because I have plans for these cabinets). Then to see what was attached to what and where. That provided me knowledge as to what to remove in what order.

The outer (far right cabinet was first down).

Then the ‘trim’ piece of hefty melamine that covered the backs of the two cabinets, giving the illusion of one. I didn’t want it to drop fast and hard, so I got our my duct tape and taped it to the remaining cabinet so that I could have time to grab it, after the final screw was removed.


Then I detached the remaining cabinet from the ‘valence’ over the sink (that will be coming down, as soon as I figure out the electrical above it) then from the wall and voila … a clear view out my window!

The most challenging were the two hanging braces (I am certain there is a better name, but it is not retrievable in my head currently) in the ceiling. Their heads were coated in what seemed like silicone caulking. So, I did what any broadly-thinking handy person would do … I looked in my kitchen utensil drawer. There it was, a fondu fork, aka the ‘silicone-removal tool’.

Once these braces were down, so was I. Just sitting in my kitchen, enjoying the view (which I could also now see, for the first time while standing in my kitchen). It was a glorious view … it IS a glorious view!

I did lose just over ten square feet of storage, but I expected to lose it. So, when I unpacked two months ago, I didn’t use that space at all.

Let me tell you, the view was worth any extra storage space!

As I sat in my kitchen that evening, enjoying the beautiful view of the sunset, I was thinking about how open, how free my view has gotten, since unloading that storage space … since deconstructing what has been there from the beginning, but which was obstructing the view …

I hold onto things … do you?

I make space for stuff, simply because I always have … you?

There is something about being over the 50 year mark in life that has me purging of ‘stuff’. I am starting to see that if it doesn’t have purpose, or if it isn’t beautiful to me maybe I am better off, maybe my view is clearer, by clearing it out.

What I am seeing is that … well, I am seeing more. More time, more freedom, more clarity.

Some of the stuff in our lives is stuff that is physical. Maybe something bought on sale, or not. Maybe it’s stuff that someone special gave you, or was handed down from people who came before you. Maybe it is stuff that you only used once … or never used at all. It all requires space and maintenance. It all steals time from other things, more important things.

The thing is this stuff can also be stuff that isn’t physical. Maybe it is the beliefs you hold, the truths you believe. Maybe these have been handed down in the form of messages that play in your head, or words you parrot just like you heard them all of your life. These non-physical things also requires space and maintenance, they also steal time and energies from more important things.

These things can, quite simply, slow us down.

Like Hebrews 12:1 (God’s Word Translation) tells us:

“Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up.”

A runner doesn’t carry anything. The clothing they wear is minimal, light and even their bodies are lean. These athletes know that to run the race, whether short or long, you have to ensure you are not carrying anything more than what is needed to get to the finish line a winner.

Maybe, I need some personal deconstruction, a removing of that which has been obstructing my view, the view that God ordained for me, his servant and child, since the beginning.


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Once again the stalking has been happening.

I go about my days, minding my own business, when, out of nowhere, there it is … a theme that has been popping up lately, again and again and again.

daily bread

well, actually, it’s more like

DAILY bread!

(because we all know that when something is written capitalized, it is being yelled loudly).

I blame God.

I know it is him, because he is, quite simply, relentless in his stalking.

It might be a verse, lyrics in a song, something said by another person, a portion of a sermon … praying the Lord’s prayer.

That is where it got me (again) yesterday.

give us this day our DAILY bread …

Over, and over, and over again, God has been stalking me with the idea, the message of DAILY bread.

not bread for the week ahead,
not storing it for a rainy day
not investing in it

but DAILY bread …

coming to him,
each and every day,
to ask for enough bread,

just for today.

It is a flashback to those wandering Jews … 40 days of daily bread in the form of manna, from heaven. It is what Matthew Henry says, “to be content with enough” … ah, contentment … that is a hard, life-long, lesson … one we must learn and then learn again each and every day.

This DAILY bread reminds us that we need to ask for it … every day. That we need to acknowledge that he give us just what we need.

Tomorrow’s bread is yet to be seen.
Yesterday’s bread is not longer fresh.
Today’s bread … that is what we live on.

Bread … it’s food, sustenance. We need it every day … like the one who is what bread symbolizes in the Bible … the body of Jesus. He too sustains us. He too is needed every single day.

And … he is enough for today.

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The night is lit by the stars and moon and my how they put on a stellar show sometimes. The night sky is not static, it changes with the days and seasons providing an original performance every. single. night.

“When I observe your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars …”

Psalm 8:3

I find it impossible to look up at the dark night sky, illuminated by the moon and stars, and not thank God who created it all. It is an unnecessary beauty, for beauty is not needed for it to fulfill its function. Yet, God, in his wisdom and grace gives us this nightly display.

You know what I find interesting?

The light display is more glorious when the backdrop of the night is more inky black. It is, in actuality, the inky darkness that enables the moon to shine most bright.

And so it is when darkness seeps into our souls and minds. When sorrow, or grief, or sadness, or fear, or anxiety, or depression, or loneliness, or heartbreak or … you name it, for we have all been visited by a time of darkness … when the dark stops by and stays, when the shadows cast eerie images and feelings … that is when the little glimmer of light shines brightest, in the forms of connection, hope, delight, beauty, joy, good news.

While watching an episode of Call the Midwife (season 9, episode 8), recently, the monologue caught my attention … stayed with me into the next day :

Welcome the darkness, embrace it as a canopy from which the stars can hang, for there are always stars when we are where we ought to be, amongst the faces we love best, each with our place, each with our purpose, as fixed and familiar as the constellations.
The darkness is beautiful, for how else can we shine?

Ecclesiastes 3:11 reminds us that God makes everything beautiful in it’s time.

As we look up to the night sky, as we are treated to the beauty, may we not just thank God for the moon and stars, but also for the dark backdrop, from which their beauty shines best.

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I find that I am like that dog in the Disney movie, Up. I am completely focused on a task (or really, really wanting to be focused on a task), when my attention is diverted by some sort of ‘squirrel’ which completely sidetracks my original intent.

This seems to be the worst when I pick up my phone to do a specific task. Maybe I want to send an email, but, when I turn the phone on, I see that I received a text, so I open that app. Then I remember that I hadn’t posted anything on Instagram, so I open that app. Then, I see a product advertised that looks interesting, so I click to see the cost (then I go to my Amazon app to see if I can get it cheaper there. Then I remember I was looking for one of those garlic crushers that look like a pastry blender. Then I remember the email, so I open that app to see another email, with a word I am not sure of it’s meaning, so I open Safari to google it …

Two hours later I put my phone down with the prevailing thought,

what did I pick my phone up for?

This is often what it is like when I try to spend time in prayer.

I read the words of the Psalmist (42:1):

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.”

and I think, yes, that is how I feel. Yet, when I sit alone in prayer, it is often more like:

As a deer (oh, I should go put water in the dog’s dish) pants (hum, I wonder why there’s a rattle when I breath … I should Google it now, so I don’t forget) for flowing (do I hear a faucet dripping? I better go check) streams (I better go to the bathroom, because if God gets comical in my prayer time … well giggling with a full bladder can be catastrophic), so pants (ugh! These pants have dirt on them, I better go change them now, because I know that if I don’t do it now, I will end up showing my dirt all over town later) …

and so ends my prayer time, because I went into another room, only to find metaphorical squirrels everywhere!

So, what does one who has the attention span the size of a gnat do? How does one have prayer time when every single thought, every single word diverts our attention away from the one to whom we are praying?

I have picked up the Lord’s Prayer as a regular intro to my prayer time.

It is rote. I learned it in memorization when I was young, so it is something I do not have to consciously think about to pray. Squirrels don’t enter in at all, for my ritual of recitation needs to come to it’s expected end.

I repeat it, sometimes multiple times, until I have firmly got the blinders on to ward off the distractions.

I concentrate on it. Once I have slowed my brain, so that is void of distractibility (this doesn’t always happen), I focus my thoughts on the words I am praying, changing words like ‘we’ and ‘us’ to ‘me’ and ‘I’.

Somedays, this little ritual prepares me for concentrated time in prayer with God. Time when I am completely focused solely on that one thing. Sometimes, this prayer is all I get to … and that is okay, for it is dense in meaning and relevance … remember this is the prayer taught to us by Jesus himself!

Remember too that God hears our hearts, even in the rote words. That he wants to hear from us. That we need to connect with him.

So, if you’re fighting to keep your focus on Him, if there is a squirrel infestation in your mind, give this a try.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed (honored) be your name;
your kingdom come;
your will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses (sins),
as we forgive those who trespass (sin) against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.

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It’s risky … trying to be real, telling the truth, showing weakness, being vulnerable … not saying “fine” to most asked question (how are you?).

And, let’s face it … we cannot be that real, that risky, with just anyone. For not all souls are comfortable, ready to hear and see and feel for themselves, the truth within another.

Last week I agonized about sharing a realty for me. Would it be

too much?
too whiny?
too downcast?
too … real?

I agonized to the point of praying about it for a significant amount of time.

But, in the end I kept coming back to the same small voice in my head,

if it is something you struggle with, Carole,
maybe there is someone out there with the same struggle
and …
to know we are not alone can be the most encouraging message to hear.

So, with an ample amount of chagrin, I wrote and posted Cry Me an Atmospheric River.

And the pms and dms and emails began to pour in …

messages of encouragement, understanding, but also of common experience with the dark days of winter. Some stated they didn’t share the same winter blues, but that they were praying. Another asked my mailing address and then proceeded to mail to me a lovely note that brought me to tears.

It reminded me that I am so blessed by the women who I call friends. It reminded me to that it is the simple, easy and inexpensive efforts that mean the most. That I need to remember to send messages that simply say, thinking of you, for, doesn’t it just send a shockwave of joy through our souls to know that we are being thought of? prayed for? appreciated? that someone cared enough to take the five minutes (tops) to send us a reminder that

we. are. not. alone.

May we support each other, holding each other up as we sag under the weight of life’s gravity. May we be the hands and feet of God himself, in watching over each other.

I wish for my children
friends like the ones I’ve collected:
flawed and forgiving,
braced for laughter,
good huggers
whose words roll like water
to the places in me
I didn’t even know
were dry.

Samantha Reynolds

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As I listened to a reading of a text on Sunday, I was startled with a new realization.

If you are one who has reads the Bible you know, like me, that there will be epiphany moments like this one. Moments when a familiar text will suddenly pop with understanding, meaning and perspective that you have never understood before.

That was the case when John 2:1-12 was read.

This text is John’s telling of the miracle of water being turned into wine. It is the first recorded miracle that Jesus performed, so it is often looked at, studied in depth … for we humans know that firsts and lasts hold great value and meaning.

So, there is this wedding that is attended by Jesus, his disciples and Mary his mother. The wedding celebrations are going on for days as this is a middle eastern wedding.

At some point Mary comes to Jesus, alerting him to the fact that the wine had run out. Jesus responds as one might expect any son to his mother … “so, why are you telling me this?” But then he continues, and I love how the Contemporary English Version puts it,

Jesus replied, “Mother, my time hasn’t yet come! You must not tell me what to do.” (v.4)

I don’t know about any of you who are also mothers, but I can almost hear an eye roll in that response!

Then, without any further interaction between mother and son, Mary just makes a decision in her next words …

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

She didn’t wait for her son to give in, didn’t wait for him to take the first step.

In my minds eye, when I read this passage, I see her standing beside her son, bending down to his ear, letting him in on the news of the wine being used up. As he speaks to her, telling her that she musn’t tell him what to do … I see her stand, walking directly to servants, who were standing on the periphery of the room. As she reaches them, she looks directly into their eyes, with the force and confidence that might normally be unseen in such patriarchal society, by a woman, a guest …

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

And so they do. And so Jesus instructs them on the making of a miraculous recipe for the best of wine.

Do whatever he tells you

These are the last recorded words of Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the Word of God. Though we know she is present at numerous other events written in the Gospels, not once, not even at the cross, do we read her words.

These words, spoken to servants at a wedding … they are the big idea, her main message … to US.

She is telling us, today, wherever we may live, Do whatever he tells you and …

he will do miracles

he will turn ordinary into extraordinary

he will create the best things ever made

he will use you to do his will

This is her message, to us, today. It is not just a message at a middle eastern wedding many years ago. For, if it were, I am not sure that her words would have been recorded. No, they are there, within the Word of God because the message still has relevance today. These words still speak … to us.

So, today, as we go about our servant work, as we go about the mundane in our life and living, remember Mary’s message to you (and me),

do whatever he tells you

and await the miracles.

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“Relying on God
has to begin all over again
every day
as if nothing had yet been done.”
-CS Lewis

The saving grace that God offers and gives is once for all. Once we open the door to his presence in our lives, He is present.

Yet within that irrevocable oneness is a human challenge … to awaken each day as if it were the first day of our saving, our redemption. To awaken fresh, not carrying the baggage of the night before, but awakening to newness … as my hero Anne Shirley has said, “a new day, with no mistakes in it yet.”

For, if we perpetually take the sins, the wrongs, the heaviness of one day into the next, it is as if we are rejecting the freedom, the redemption that has been bought and offered to us. It is as if we are not trusting him in his most gracious gift to us.

Right now, this very moment,

exhale yesterday

inhale today


  • the sins
  • the worries
  • the massive missteps
  • the tears
  • the yelling
  • the silence
  • the anger
  • the resentment
  • the guilt

of yesterday, and yesterday’s yesterday.


  • Him
  • His love
  • His forgiveness
  • His goodness
  • His persistence
  • His pursuit of your soul
  • His goodness
  • His grace

that is today. Start right here, today, with Him … let Him be enough, be so enough that we do not need the past, yesterday. Depend on Him.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

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Until a few months ago, I had never heard of an atmospheric river. Apparently it is a narrow stream of a huge amount of water that travels through the sky … basically a river in the sky.

In my neck of the woods, such a river ran through my week and it brought with it the seasonal blues of the bleak winter season.

After more than a generation of life in the Pacific NorthWET, one would think that I would expect it, be prepared for it. And I am. I have had my ‘happy lamp’ plugged in and sitting on the floor by my desk since early December in anticipation of this annual crash … but have I turned in on yet?

As every year in January, every dark season, I simply awaken one morning and know that it is here, that the fight for joy is on. It is not the season to ‘keep calm and carry on’, but to

  • feel the heaviness, acknowledging it is real
  • tell those closest to you (for support and so they don’t feel they are to blame)
  • consciously put what believe into practice
  • repeat the promises
  • remember God’s presence
  • pray without ceasing … like all day, everyday

For those who might need it, take a sick day from work … sick isn’t just a fever. Health is much broader than that. Do something that makes you feel good … buy a new book, get your hair done, book a massage, go for a walk, pick up your favorite bevy, run a bubble bath, pick up your paints … do something that externally brings you joy … the internal will come!

For those who need them, here are a few verses, promises I go to (in my mind and out loud, ALL DAY LONG):

I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

“Trust in the Lord. Have faith, do not despair. Trust in the Lord” Psalm 27:14

As the dark day was coming to a close, the atmospheric river dried up, the clouds parted as the setting sun peeked out, bringing light and colors across the sky in a most glorious display.

Though the dark, seasonal cloud still settled over my being, this display of light brought the hope I’d been whispering through the Word all day long. Though these inner atmospheric rivers will continue to rain down on me for days and weeks to come, I was reminded that joy is not the absence of trouble, but real joy is found in the midst of it. That is the promise, that is the difference when walking in the dark with the light of the world.

You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!

I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me.
 I could ask the darkness to hide me
    and the light around me to become night—
  but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.

Psalm 139:5-12

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The great Greek storyteller, Aesop, has said,

“united we stand, divided we fall.”

Wise, if not simple words. Words that seem to echo in our ears and minds a bit more during this season as this current history is being written, lived. For, has it not felt like division has taken over is so many facets of our lives, from within society as a whole, to workplaces, to schools, to churches and within our family units as well?

The pandemic of the past two past years has interfered with our normal lives, hindering our travel, our social, recreational, educational, business lives, leaving the lonely even more alone, but also leaving families and loved ones to grieve separation … even separation that goes beyond walls and right to the grave.

Beyond the restrictions and vaccinations and documentations …

Beyond the illness, threats to illness and death …

Beyond the physical separation …

Beyond even loss of physical life …


has had a profoundly negative effect on us all these two years …

and it has spilled into every people group of society, from families, to work places, to circles of believers and into our churches.

Of division, the Bible does speak, but what it speaks more often of is unity, with an an emphasis on unity as believers.

It would seem that there is only one unity that matters, only one common thread that is woven into the lives of believers … and it has nothing to do with what many of us are speaking most often about these days …

that of our unity in Christ

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

1 Corinthians 1:10

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2:1-5

These passages speak of unity in Christ.

So, here is a question for you, for me …

what do we spend our time with other believers speaking about?

Do we spend the majority of our time speaking about what is going on in the world of or do we spend our time speaking of what Christ is doing in our world?

Do we speak of what we have heard on the news, or what we have read in the Word?

Do we discuss those who are, or are not vaccinated … or do we unite in prayer for those who need the inoculation of the Spirit of God in their lives?

We, who are Christ-followers, have the Good News, the best news that world needs to hear. It is news that can heal, soothe, strengthen. It is news that we are commissioned to share with the weary world. News that changes lives.

The world will see Christ in us, how we live and talk, how we spend our money and in what we post on social media. It, they, will see Christ in how unified we are, as believers, in the things that matter … the matters of the soul.

May we, in these unprecedented times, not allow ourselves to lose each other over the things of earth, when we have been given the One who brought us the best news of all.

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The Light of the World
William Holman Hunt

Jesus is standing at the door …

A common message of those who follow the teachings, life and person of Jesus. For those of us who know him well, in our hearts, in our very souls that we have handed back over to him.

It is the message of life of Jesus, recorded in Revelation 3:20:

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

In the mid 1800’s, William Holman Hunt created an allegorical painting of this passage, called The Light of the Word (above). The story it tells is fascinating and requires more than a mere passing glance.

We first see the image of Jesus, indicated by the halo or nimbus surrounding his head. He is carrying a lit lamp or lantern in one hand … reminding us that he is the light of the world (and in him no darkness). The light he carries only illuminates he and the door, only that which in his view, not behind him. With his other (right) hand, he is knocking on the door. A gentlemanly act, for one who could do away with the door with the flame he carries.

He knocks … he waits. Eyes off to the side, as if listening for footsteps approaching the door.

The door is covered with growth, brambles, weeds. It has not been opened for a long time. The resident has not emerged from this residence in years … why does Jesus knock? It would appear that no one is home. He knocks because he knows someone is inside (surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life … Psalm 23:6), as long as a soul lives, he pursues.

The door … notice anything? Anything important? Anything important that is missing?

A door knob … Jesus knocks as the door cannot be opened from the outside, from his side. This door can only be opened from the inside … and the overgrowth would indicate that the resident has not even peeked outside for a very, very long time.

Yet, despite the passage of time, despite the disinterest of the resident of this house for he who is knocking, Jesus waits …

I love how Isaiah 30:18 describes his waiting of the resident, of us:

“… the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore
He waits on high
to have compassion on you.”

His pursuit of us is endless, eternal. As long as we have breath in our lungs to say,


he knocks, he waits.

The light of the world is just outside our doors. And he is knocking. He desires nothing more than to be invited in, to share his light. Yet, we have a part to play, we have to open the door … just




In opening the door we find repentance, redemption. Not because of our opening the door, but because of the one who knocks, who waits for the key to unlock the door that sin has bolted.

Yet, we still need to respond to his knock.

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