The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree – Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today my Mom is celebrating her 98th birthday in Heaven, as we remember her special day with a mixture of joy and sadness here on Earth. I was looking in the mirror this morning, and I saw my Mom’s features in my own face – the way her face would crinkle with lines etched by life’s trials complemented by the wrinkles engraved from a lifetime of smiles. How her eyes would squint a bit when she smiled – one more than the other and with a twinkle in her eyes. I felt joy shoving my grief back into its corner. I am my Mom’s legacy!

Funny thing about the aging process. I am finding this season of life has challenges my younger version could not begin to fathom, but also blessings that I am very grateful for. I remember Mom’s jovial disclosure of her age on every birthday – “I’m 29!” I have chosen to keep my hard-earned wisdom highlights visible, whereas she had chosen to keep her red hair for several decades before letting go of her fiery crown. Either way, she was, and is, beautiful.

Mom had a hearty laugh and a great sense of humor. She lit up any room she was in and she took much joy in music. I love this video of Mom singing while Phil and I dance in our kitchen after coming home from a Christmas eve service.

When I look back on the impact she had on my life and her steadfast love, I feel so grateful that God gave her to me to be my Mom. Cheerleader, teacher, confidante, nurturer, she was always there with a smile, a hug, and a word of wisdom. She was also there through every bump I experienced, even when they were the results of my own poor decisions.

Mom had a strong influence in my life. She would often say: “You have to have trust and faith,” “Don’t worry twice,” “Take some honey,” “Think happy thoughts,” and always in times of trouble – “It’s not a forever thing,” and “Lord, grant me the serenity…” So when asked to speak at a ladies ministry event at Living Word Global Church last year – Mom came to mind and I knew it was a great opportunity to share with others the wisdom my Mom had garnered throughout her life. She leaves a beautiful legacy in all of the lives she has touched, which I was able to share in the video below:

Our time on Earth is short, and while we think we will have the opportunity to be with our loved ones, the truth is, the day the Lord calls them home will always be sooner then what we would want, even if we know that day is coming. Romans 14:8, “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” gives me much comfort – but I do miss her daily.

Don’t neglect time with your loved ones – because tomorrow is not promised to any of us. The cherished memories of our many times together provide comfort until we are reunited again in Heaven. I also hope you can find time to listen to Mom’s wisdom – her words have carried me through some difficult times and I think they will bless you, too. And when you are going through those hard times, tell yourself an important truth that I know my Mom would tell you: “It’s not a forever thing.” You will get out the other side to a place of blessing. It might take awhile – but stay strong and hold onto your faith. You will get there. And when you do that, I am quite certain my Mom will be smiling down from Heaven.

Happy Birthday, Mom! Love and miss you so much!!

Something Special Happened at the Library Today

Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money, but my Mom gave me a wonderful gift that surpasses any of the toys we couldn’t afford – she gave me the gift of a love for reading. Every night she would sit on my bed with me and my brother, and read to us from Babar the Elephant. She took us on adventures and nurtured in us a love for books.

When I was in elementary school I couldn’t wait to get my report card because if I got all As and Bs, I could count on Mom taking me to Kmart to pick out a Nancy Drew mystery. Evenings were spent in the living room with my family. We each had our “spot” and mine was the green chair next to the lamp. I would sit cuddled up and reading while my Mom, Dad, and brother watched T.V.

When bedtime arrived – I would say my good nights, and I couldn’t wait to get to bed. Hiding under my blanket with my flashlight, I was transported to other worlds. My stack of library books were a free ticket to wondrous adventures. I would keep half an ear listening for Mom’s footsteps, so I could shut off my flashlight before she saw me. Looking back, I am quite sure she knew I was reading and smiled as she checked on me while I did my best imitation of being asleep.

I remember when my Mom took me to the library and got me a library card – I thought I was in heaven. She would drop me off at the library in our community and I would lose myself there for hours. When I came outside of its doors at our agreed upon time for Mom to bring me back home, I would be carrying a huge stack of books that I could barely see over, threatening to topple out of my arms as I made my way to the waiting car. Which is why TODAY IS SO SPECIAL!!!

There is something absolutely magical about seeing a book you have written made available in your local library 🥰

If you would like a copy in your local library – be sure and request it from your local librarian. Alien Neighbors is in the IngramSpark catalogue and they can order it from there for your library. Happy Reading!!

A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven

Today is Palm Sunday – the beginning of Holy Week recognized by those, like me, who are followers of Jesus Christ. As excited as we all get about Christmas (the birth of our Savior!!) it runs second to the most exciting holiday of all in the Christian calendar. In the secular world it is known as Easter Sunday but to understand the meaning of Easter in all its glory – Christians refer to it as Resurrection Day – the day that Jesus conquered death after bearing incredible torture on our behalf – and all of this driven by His love for us. The Bible tells us in Romans 10:9-10, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Easter commemorates God raising Jesus from the dead. Palm Sunday is the day Jesus arrived in Jerusalem – knowing what was ahead, yet still choosing to do so.

May be an image of text that says 'everytbing tbere 1S a aиA a time to every pиoe ИИAeΥ heaven. -Ecclesiastess:'

We have all been living in tremendous tension for the past two years, as the world remains in a constant state of chaos and uncertainty and there seems to be no end in sight. This plaque hangs in our kitchen, bringing comfort even when the unfathomable happens. It reminds me of God’s purpose through His Son Jesus Christ for humanity: John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” We have a hope that is enduring, a Lord who loves us, and a purpose ordained by Him for our time on earth. Holy Week is a special reminder that God’s love for us is relentless, incomprehensible, sacrificial, and unconditional. Perfect and without sin, yet willing to die for us – that is the amazing love that God has for us.

You may hear a Christian exclaim, “He is Risen!!” on Easter Sunday – we just can’t contain our excitement. It really is an emotional time of gratitude for us and we are overflowing with joy as we contemplate the sacrifice of our Lord and how He overcame death so that we can spend eternity with Him. The usual response is just as enthusiastic: “He is Risen, Indeed!!”

What we find so amazing is that God is faithful even when we aren’t. The Bible tells us in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He doesn’t wait for us to clean up our acts – He loves us exactly where we are at, with a fierce love that knows no bounds. The baby born in the manger on Christmas Day is God’s greatest expression of love – His provision to deliver us from our sins so that we can spend eternity with him. He tells us in John 16:33, “‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.'”

I take tremendous comfort in this. My last blog post was titled “What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do.” It was helpful to be sure. But yesterday after a stressful week of having surgery, a minor reaction during recovery, and starting a new position at work, I found myself in need of more. I needed to be still. I needed Jesus. So I found myself crying out yet again, and again, Jesus met me at my point of need.

As we begin our journey towards Easter Sunday, and we focus on the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, it is good to remember to not only keep Jesus in Easter, but to also invite Him into our lives throughout the year. Jesus came down from heaven to save us from our sins. When we call out to Him, not only do we receive eternal salvation, we receive His peace on earth. Putting Christ in the center of our lives changes everything. Gaining the eternal perspective of heaven helps us walk in this world with all of its pain and suffering, and enables us to do so with joy. The joy we have in Christ overflows into our relationships and our daily lives, touching others even as it touches us.

God’s love for us is beautiful, extravagant, and unforgettable. Each one of us has a purpose under heaven and we are each given a season to live out that purpose. Our ultimate purpose is to love God and to love others. That looks different for each one of us because we are all unique, but the end result is the same: In whatever we do, let us honor God and seek to please Him, and love one another in both our words and actions. Life here on earth is both precious and short – Let’s remember to do that each and every day ❤️

If you would like to learn more about Jesus – I will be glad to send you a copy of an Advent Devotional I wrote (available on Amazon) for free. While it is directed towards the Christmas season it can be read any time of year and will give you a better understanding of who Jesus is and why Christians get so excited about Easter 🙂 Just message me your email address and I will gift you a free Kindle version. I promise not to contact you or use your email address for any other purpose. May you enjoy a blessed Easter season!