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Simplify 2018



  1. to make less complex or complicated; make plainer or easier

For the last couple of months I have felt the Lord telling me to simplify.  Sounds heavenly, right?!  My life is crazy and it seems to get crazier by the day.  It’s not that the things filling my life are not important.  I can justify everything that is causing the craziness.  So what am I supposed to give up?  What am I supposed to stop doing?

Over these months of asking these questions, I think I finally have an answer.


Say what?!

Yep. Nothing.

But, wait.  There’s more. Not only am I not supposed to give up anything, I am supposed to be adding to it.  You know, sometimes the Lord makes no sense!  How do I simplify my life when I have to keep doing everything I’m doing plus add more to my plate?  Really, Lord?!  Could you give me a little more direction, please?

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”  Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

I still don’t know how this is going to work, but I have come to a few realizations…


I need more time with God. I need more time in prayer, more time in study, more time sitting in His presence.


I have to re-evaluate, re-examine, and re-organize.  My two top priorities (after time with God) are taking care of my family and homeschooling my daughter. Everything else has to revolve around those two.


My focus has to change.  Changing my focus will change why I do things.  Changing my focus will change how I do things.  Changing my focus is where I simplify.

By definition, simplify means to make it less complicated; make it less complex, plainer…easier.  But let us not confuse easier with easy.  Making things easier or simpler, can actually be very hard.  Making my life less complicated and less complex, is going to take a lot of work. I may have to do more to make something simpler, because my focus is on the why not the how.  Decisions are going to have to be made.  Some of those decisions are going to be hard.  Some are not going to be popular, even with myself. Some are not going to make sense to anyone else or even to me.

But spending time focusing on the One who determines my priorities and my focus

that makes life less complicated, less complex, plainer, a little easier…


Living thru faith,



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Joy for the Journey

As we continue our Advent Study, this week we are looking at Joy.

“You will teach me God’s way to live.  Being with you will fill me with joy.  At your right hand I will find pleasure forever.”  Psalm 16:11 (ICB)


“….Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

Oh, the Joy of the Lord! It’s that Joy  which gives us the strength to keep taking one more step when the journey gets hard.

The Joy that fills us with hope that all will be right again.

The Joy that causes us to smile in the midst of pain and brings us peace in the midst of chaos.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ” Romans 15:13

True, deep, hope-filled joy only comes from God.  How amazing that even when our hearts seem to only be filled with sadness, God’s joy remains!

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”   John 15:11

I think Sarah summed it all up well…

“It is saying that if we follow God he will teach us the right way to live so he can give us the joy that comes from him and us being with him!  And, as the scripture says, we will find all the pleasure we can ever have just by being at his right hand!  Not to mention, I think that it’s also saying that is all the joy we will ever need!”

May you be filled with Joy of the Lord this Christmas season and all the seasons to come, the only joy that is all we will ever need!

Living thru faith,




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The Heart of the Matter

Every year, especially during football season, my kids will ask me why I am not rooting for a certain player or team.  And I usually get a few eye rolls when I tell them it is because of their character.  How they play the game means more to me than their stats.  How they treat their opponent or the officials, how they respond to a bad call or botched play, how they walk off the field shows me a glimpse of their true character.  It shows me a glimpse of their heart.

I’m not looking at their outward appearance.  I’m not looking at the color of their skin, the tattoos on their arms, or the jersey they wear.  I’m looking at their heart.  I’m looking at their heart because my kids are looking at the person running those plays, making those choices, and setting examples whether they own up to it or not.  I’m looking at their heart because it is my job to help form the hearts of my kids.

One part of helping to form the hearts of my kids is to teach them to look past what someone looks like on the outside and to look at the person on the inside.  In light of recent events, that means teaching them that…

Just because someone is black doesn’t make them a criminal.

Just because someone is white doesn’t make them a racist.

Just because someone wears a uniform doesn’t make them a bad cop.

Just because someone goes to church doesn’t make them a Christian.

As parents it is our job to help our kids learn to make decisions and judgments on their own.  It is our job to teach our kids what to look at and consider when making those judgments.  It is our job to give our kids the tools they need to make those decisions.

We all have kids in our lives whether they are ours or not that look to us for examples on living life.  We even have kids we don’t know watching us.  The kid down the aisle in the grocery store is watching and listening.  They are watching how you react to the person blocking the aisle or listening to the words you are saying over the phone.  Even if you aren’t paying attention, they are.

So, do you want to make a difference in this world today?

Do you want to do something to counter act the evil like we’ve seen lately?

Then let’s get to the heart of the matter.

And while we are at it, let’s teach our kids how to get there too.

Living thru faith,



This last week a friend’s daughter, Emily, reminded me in one of her Facebook posts of these verses in the book of Habakkuk.  As I read them, I thought how these words of old have never rung more true in my lifetime.

How long, O Lord, must I call for help,

but you do not listen?

Or cry out to you, “Violence!”

but you do not save?

Why do you make me look at injustice?

Why do you tolerate wrong?

Destruction and violence are before me;

there is strife, and conflict abounds.

Therefore the law is paralyzed,

and justice never prevails.

The wicked hem in the righteous,

so that justice is perverted.

Habakkuk 1:1-4

In these days where politics has sunk to new lows, where hate appears to justify killing, where fear rules people’s lives and darkness invades where light once shone brightly, we cry out to the Lord and ask “Why do you not listen?  Why do you not do something to stop this evil?”

But hear the Lord’s answer:


The good news is that the Lord does hear our cries.

He will answer.

In Habakkuk 2:3b the Lord continues His answer by saying of His revelation,

“Though it linger, wait for it;

it will certainly come and will not delay.”

God will answer.

In His perfect timing.

Until then, we will continue to cry out in the faith and knowledge that He is Lord.

He is on the Throne.

He has overcome the world.

He wins!

Living thru faith,


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The Tomb is Still Empty

This week is Holy Week.

This week we remember Jesus’ walk to the cross.

This week we remember the pain and the suffering.

This week we remember the love and the sacrifice made for us on Good Friday.


But after Friday comes Sunday…

Sunday we will celebrate Easter!

Sunday we will celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead!

Sunday we will celebrate that we no longer have to be separated from our Father!

Sunday we will celebrate that the tomb is still empty!

But, oh there is more good news!

We do not have to wait till Sunday to celebrate.

Because we know the One who paid the debt we could never pay, we can celebrate every day!

Let us always remember the sacrifice that was made for us and celebrate the joy that comes with knowing that the tomb is still empty!

Living thru faith,


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Faithfulness Like the Mighty Mountains

In October, Brian and I had the opportunity to travel to the beautiful state of Washington. It was my first time in the Pacific Northwest so we took a few extra days to spend some time with his dad’s cousins near Olympia before heading back to Seattle for a conference.

We were able to experience God’s awe inspiring creation of Mt. Ranier.

The views were breathtaking!


I began this post soon after Brian and I returned from that trip.

But life suddenly changed directions.

Right before the trip my dad had a stroke and then within two weeks after we returned we received the word of his cancer diagnosis.  Four weeks later he passed away.

Life can change in a moment.

It usually happens when we are not expecting it – when we are looking in one direction and never expecting to have to change that direction.

But isn’t it wonderful to know that in the midst of all of life’s changes one thing will never ever change?

One thing stays constant.

One thing is steadfast.

One thing stands tall and strong like the mighty mountains.


Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep.  Psalm 36:5-6

God’s love.

His love never fails.

He is always faithful.


He is our Father, our Savior, our Redeemer.

He is our strength when we are weak from all of life’s twists and turns.


 Just like the mighty mountains, His love cannot be moved.

His love endures forever and ever and ever.

For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. Psalm 117:2

Living thru faith,


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Just Be Held

I remember when my children were little and had gotten some kind of boo-boo, they would come running to me with arms stretched up wanting to be picked up and held.  They would sit in my lap and cry while I held them.  Soon they would stop crying and wriggle their little bodies back down.  Boo-boo forgotten and ready to tackle the world again.  They just needed to be held for a few minutes to set the world right again.

I also remember holding those little hands while walking in parking lots or through stores.  I held on tightly to keep them safe.  They held on because they knew it was what they were supposed to do; however, there were times I remember those little hands wriggling to get free, but I just held on tighter.  I loved them too much to let go.

So many times we say to just hold on to God.  And there is so much truth in that.  We have to hold on, even when we want to wriggle out of that hold to rush on to something grand and exciting.  But then God holds on tighter because He knows what is better for us.  And just like there were times my children ran off when they knew they were supposed to stay with me, sometimes we let go of that hold of God and run off without Him.  He doesn’t leave us.  We leave him, even when we know we just need to keep holding on.

But then there are those times, when life is unkind and unfair and hurtful.  Those are the times when we need to run to Him with our arms stretched up.  We need to let our Father pick us up, place us in His lap, and let Him just hold us tightly.  Those are the times when we sit and cry until we are ready to wriggle back down and tackle the world.

My family is going through a very sad time right now.  All is not right in our world.  I am walking through this time, holding on tightly to my Father as He guides me through each day.  And then there are those times when I have to climb up and cry and just be held for a little while.  Then I am ready to move forward, tackle the mountains, deal with what is unkind and unfair and filled with hurt while holding on to His hand.  And when it gets too much, I know I can let go of His hand, stretch up my arms, and just be held.

Living thru faith,