God is My Refuge



I’ve had an interesting and challenging few days, with little time to do anything but care for others.  Our autistic granddaughter has been here for two weeks, just going back home today.  Her departure was bittersweet since I needed a break from caring for her, but wee had really bonded this time and I cried when she had to leave.  She is a real sweetheart, but she does require a lot of time and attention.  It was my pleasure to take care of her; she has an honest love for anyone whom she trusts to care for her.  She even says now without prompting, “Love you!”

Yesterday, we ended up at the local doctor’s office because my husband had slipped and hurt his foot.  Who in the world ever heard of a torn arch?  I spent an hour after we left the office trying to find a pharmacy that sold a compression brace which is whaat the doctor said he needed to wear.  No such luck!  So, I called the doctor’s office back and asked for an alternative.  Unbelievably, he could wear the ankle boot support that was at the first pharmacy we went to.  Thirty some dollars later, he was set.  The really stressful part was that we have a planned trip and he is our driver.  We are hoping to still be able to go since it is our trip to see grandchildren.  We will see about that one.

Finally, I got a notification from Facebook that I was hacked.  Aaarrrrggg!  So, after changing all of my account settings online, I am just now getting around to writing a post.  You will notice, I think, that my settings on WordPress have changed so that I have to approve you.  I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but I don’t know where the hacking came from, so I’m suspicious of all of my online accounts.  Goodness!  It’s a sad world that we live in, isn’t it?  I’m glad that I can totally trust God to take care of details and be my refuge and strength when I am just tired of it all.  That’s where I am now, just happy to run into the arms of God and feel His love and support through it all.  I hope you have found that comfort, too.

A Pleasing Smell

I asked my husband for a hummingbird feeder for my birthday, and he pleased me with a beautiful one right outside the window of the chair in which I spend so much time.  It is late in the season for hummingbirds to appear, so not one has come by yet.  But it is still there, reaching out to them.  I think the nectar that is in the feeder must have a scent that attracts them, and I am hopeful that next year when we put it up early in the spring, many hummingbirds will find it and be blessed with that nectar that nourishes them.

Did you know that we all give off a certain scent that either attracts or repels others?  I am not referring to the odor we have when we haven’t showered yet or when we forget to put on deodorant.  I am talking about the smell that we have because we are the Lord’s children and have spent time in His presence.  People should be able to tell that you are a Christian because you give off a certain smell…the smell of serenity, of thankfulness, of praise, and of the hope of eternal life.  Sounds weird, right?  But that is what the Bible says.


We are a pleasing aroma to God.  If you recall, there are Scriptures in the Old Testament in which sacrifices were made, and God called them a pleasing aroma.

6F105DB2-0A45-45C6-A8C7-375FFD11D48C.jpegIn the New Testament, God calls us to present ourselves as a living sacrifice.  Thus we are a pleasing aroma to Him.

BF580660-F9BC-48BF-BBA8-FFA38FFD281D.jpeg(Photo from willroku at tumblr)

If we are a living sacrifice, then we give off a pleasing aroma to God.  Don’t you think that those around us should be aware of that scent?  There should be something so different about us that, like the hummingbird feeder attracts hummingbirds, we will attract other people to us.  And what do we do when they get there?  We share Jesus with them, of course!  Like me, you are probably saying, “No way! I can’t do that!”  Well, you aren’t alone in your quest to be a pleasant smell, attract others and share Jesus with them.  God has called you and He equips you.

4522A3E5-B5B5-439D-91DB-2231E9771792.jpegThrough the sacrifice of Jesus, we become a living sacrifice, a pleasing aroma to God.  We attract others and all of our confidence to share this new life comes from God.  Awesome, huh?  In my devotional this morning, Nicki Gumbel said that we don’t need self-confidence to share; we already have God-confdence.  So, go out and share your smell with others who need the Lord in their lives.  Plant seeds.  Attract others to your pleasing aroma just by being the person God sent you into the world to be.  Please Him and just see what God can do through you!  I’m picturing fields of flowers now.  What a cool visual image of a pleasing aroma!  I’m one of those flowers and so are you.   Be a pleasant smell, for God and for others.

The Kind of World I Would Like to See

I am using Sarah’s writing prompt to launch my blog today.  Her whole prompt is “Close your eyes and imagine the kind of world you would like to see.  What is it like?”  I just shortened it for my title, but the idea is all hers.

I want to see a world in which life is valued, all life.  I am one of those radical pro-lifers.  I always vote for the candidate who is pro-life and if there is no such candidate in the race, I don’t vote.  You see, I believe that life starts at conception.  No, I am not from a religion who taught that as a truth that had to be accepted or you couldn’t join the church.  I came to this conclusion all on my own because I have read God’s Word and believe that it means exactly what it says.

56DE56C2-6E10-45AB-96C3-3B3584222400.jpegI believe that God is the Creator of all life, and we can neither create it nor destroy it and be following His Word.  If God told the prophet Jeremiah that He knew Him before He formed him in the womb, then to me that means He also knew me.  He knew you, your children, your grandchildren…all the people on earth.  God causes that sperm to meet that egg and create a new human.  He is involved in the conception of all mankind.

53E77FCD-649B-4081-A259-485901B307A6C6AFF0C9-F1D5-4EDD-9892-96BC3CAB6A1FFor those of you who cry out:  “But it is the mother’s choice.  It’s her body, after all!”  No, wrong!  Your body belongs to the Creator who created it. And it is my belief that the choice was made when the mother decided to have a sexual relationship with someone and get pregnant.  “Wait,” you say.  “What about rape and incest and other horrible sex crimes that end in a pregnancy?”  Again, my reply is that God created and it is not up to us to decide to kill because of the way the pregnancy happened.  There are so many people who want to adopt children.  Yes, it would be difficult, heart-wrenching and painful to carry a baby to term if your body has been violated, but that innocent baby inside you did not choose to be there.  Your violation was the result of the sin in the world, and those who would abort that child are compounding the sin.  That’s just my take…abortion is murder, period.  It seems strange to me that if you kill a child outside of the womb, it it murder.  But if you kill a child forming in the womb, it is not.  I know that Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, but I don’t think for one minute that God was a part of that decision.  This issue is a hot-button topic and I know it.  I have one child who agrees with me and two who do not.  That doesn’t change my opinion, nor the expectations of a loving God who wants what is best for us always. That being said, if you are one who has had an abortion, you can be forgiven, just as God forgives other sins.  I understand from much reading that women who have had an abortion suffer great guilt for a long time afterwards, even perhaps as long as they live.  Guilt is not from God, so you should not accept that burden.  Give it to Jesus, along with all of the burdens you carry, and let Him show you His free love and forgiveness.

When I was a young mother and living in South Carolina, I had a friend whose daughter got pregnant at the age of fifteen.  I was Bobbi’s teacher and her confidante, so she told me first about her pregnancy and her plan to have an abortion so her parents would not find out.  I counseled her about the worth of the innocent child and how much God loved her and this new life.  She was terrified to go to her parents and admit her sin, but I went with her and we talked to them together.  They promised to support her and encouraged her to keep the baby.  The father ran out of the picture as soon as he found out she was pregnant.  So Bobbi was on her own, except for the support of her parents and me.  She gave birth about seven months later.  That is the only birth room in which I was on the end of the table watching the birth instead of pushing out a new baby myself.  What a blessing!  Louis was born, healthy and wide-eyed, ready to take on the world.  That was about fifty years ago.  I have moved many times since then, but I have stayed in touch with Bobbi and know that Louis serves in the U.S. Army and has been to Afghanistan numerous times.  He is married and has children of his own.  So, a legacy continues because of a young girl who made the choice for life.

I am unapologetically pro-life.  That is the world that I want to see…one in which all life is precious, all life is valued, from the very young to the very old.  We need to get God’s perspective on life.  And that is my two cents.  I hope that it made you think and consider the wonder of life!

Review of BEAUTY IN THE BROKEN PLACES by Allison Pataki

This was a heart-wrenching true story of what a family goes through when there is an unexpected illness.  Allison and her husband were on the way to their baby-moon, only thirty years old, when Dave suffered a traumatic stroke.  As a stroke survivor myself, I could really relate to many of the details about Dave’s rehabilitation and his basically coming back from the dead.  My heart ached for Allison, six months pregnant and dealing with one problem after another with Dave’s slow recovery.  Sometimes Dave seemed to take one step forward and two steps backwards.  A brilliant young man on the cusp of becoming an orthopedic surgeon required all kinds of treatments and therapy after he awoke from his coma.  Ms. Pataki treats Dave’s stroke with a compassion and tenderness that can only come with true love.  That’s what this really ended up being, a love story of a couple attempting to overcome overwhelming odds.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although non-fiction is not usually my book of choice.

Disclaimer:  I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library on my Overdrive App.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I was not required to provide a positive review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with CFR 16, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



In the Garden

As we were loading the car yesterday to travel to church, I went by my rose bush and I was delighted at what I saw.

I saw dew on my roses!  Such a beautiful sight!  Why?  Because they reminded me of an old hymn that I used to sing long ago just after I became a Christian.  I was alone a lot because my husband was deployed, so I spent a lot of time listening to albums.  We even had a state of the art (at the time) stereo from Radio Shack.  One of my favorite hymns was by Jimmy Swaggert. I know, I know…he was disgraced and needed to repent.  Well, don’t we all?  Anyway, I listened to his album frequently, and I learned this one song by heart, singing it when I was driving in the car, cleaning the house or taking care of the children.  I couldn’t find the Jimmy Swaggert version, but I hope these words will minister to you as they have for me for over four decades.

Yesterday, after church service, we went to the nursing home and sang some old favorites there.  One of my other favorites that I used to sing all the time was Lee Castro’s “Because He Lives.”  When I was feeling really alone and like I just could not take another nine months without a spouse, this is the song that God sent to me to renew my soul, to encourage me.  Please let it encourage you, too.

It’s a special time for me to see these elderly people who love the Lord so much that they come to a small church service to worship the Lord with us.  So many of them were singing along with the chorus on this one.  Is this a song that you are familiar with?  I know…it’s old, but then, so I am, and I love the old hymns that remind me of how much Jesus loves me and wants to spend time with me.  I hope that you spend some time today just basking in the Savior’s love.  Let Him touch you wherever you hurt and whisper to you that He cares what you are going through.  He did that for me over forty years ago, and He still speaks to me today.  He is the same:  yesterday, today and forever.   He wants you and me to know that He does not change and He loves us.

My Favorite Sunday Ritual

This is Sarah’s writing prompt for the day, so I want to remember to give her credit.  I neglected to do so when I wrote the other day about my favorite toy.  Anyway, I don’t like to call it a ritual, but I enjoy teaching Sunday school every Sunday.  I have been teaching at my church for almost two decades, so I have had the privilege of watching some of my students grow up into young adults and still be attending the church.  I started teaching grades 5-6.  Then, the church lost members, so I taught a combined class of grades K-6.  For the last year, I have been teaching grades 6-8.  So, I am flexible about my teaching, but no matter what group I am engaged with, I enjoy seeing their curiosity.  I am really excited about my current curriculum.  I am teaching from Anwers in Genesis, a set of studies that helps students to answer their own questions as well as the questions of others who attack their faith.  As I prepare today for tomorrow’s lesson, I know that I will find myself learning and exploring new things from God’s Word.  It’s exciting to me to let the children know that evolution is a THEORY, not an absolute truth of science.  It’s exciting to explore the real dimensions of Noah’s ark and how it was even possible to fit all those animals on board. Although many teach that this is a fictional story in the Bible, I teach that everything in the Bible is real and true.  If you really want to explore the Bible, I can highly recommend Answers in Genesis.  Their motto is “believing it, defending it, proclaiming it.”  If you need to defend your faith, I have found no study that is more sound and Biblically based than this one.  So, to summarize, my favorite ritual is teaching Sunday School…and each week I learn more about myself, my faith and that of my students.  I hope that you will share your Sunday “ritual” and I hope it has something to do with worshipping our Creator on a day set aside for Him.



Merci Suarez is a delightful book for middle school students that deals with the changes and challenges of being a tween.  Merci and her brother Roli are scholarship students at a posh private school in Florida, a situation that includes its own challenges, including extra community service hours.  The author has done an outstanding job of depicting life in middle school and in a multi-generational family.  Merci has to try to fit in, has her first crush, and has to deal with her beloved grandfather’s health issues.  Other themes that the author dos a good job of addressing are the idea of rich versus poor and how important family is.   Edna Santos is the bully in the novel and is portrayed realistically, as are the teachers in the book who touch Merci’s life.  The Spanish language is used throughout the book, in a descriptive and natural conversational style.  Merci is a likable young lady with a lot of challenges and a message for other tweens during puberty and  facing the regular problems in middle school.


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions that are expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use off Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Keep on Keepin’ On

The title that I am using today is what an elderly pastor in South Carolina used to say to us.  It was his instructions for when the times got hard.  Well, I have to say that when I hear the news and read the headlines, I am discouraged by all of the evil in the world.  A young college student attacked and killed when she was jogging, a mother kills her infant, a father kills his entire family.  The world has gone crazy!  What is God’s instruction for me?  I am to “keep on keepin’ on”, doing what I have been doing:  telling others about Jesus and His free gift of salvation, praising, and praying.


Do you see the word ALWAYS in this scripture verse?  Always does not mean sometimes or just when we are feeling like it, or even when things are going well in the world.  We are always to be faithful and have a heart totally dedicated to God.  We are here to fulfill a purpose.  God knows the big picture.  Don’t you think that He is concerned about what is going on in the earth?  I know that He is because He created us and doesn’t want us to destroy each other.  One of His commandments was “Thou shalt not murder.”  He knows the hearts of men are evil so He instructed us how to follow His way and His plan.  His way leads to life; choosing your own way leads to death and destruction.  Many in our world have chosen to go their own way, so there is chaos all around us, death and destruction.  However, their doing bad does not eliminate God’s instructions for us to serve Him faithfully and with a whole heart.  He knew that we would get discouraged at times and sends words to encourage us.

We are to stand firm and keep on working for Him.  What we do for Him is eternal.  How do you stand firm when all around you there is chaos?  Sometimes, I don’t really know the answer, but I do know that He said to stand firm.  It is God’s way of saying to “keep on keepin’ on.”  We are not to be distracted by what is happening in the world.  Politics, murders, gangs…they will still be there when we arise from our prayer and Bible reading time, but we will be stronger and more able to stand firm for Him, no matter what is happening in the world.  


So, as I meditate this morning, God speaks and tells me that God is with me.  He will be with me in the bad times when the news on the media overwhelms me.  God has not changed.  He is the Mighty Warrior who saves.  I pull that truth deep into my soul and I praise His Name, knowing that all is not lost because He still saves.  The Good News is still true.  The innocents who are killed are resting in the arms of the Mighty Warrior, and the evil in this world will one day be totally destroyed.  I will probably not live to see the return of the Lord and His victory over sin in this world, but I have lived long enough to proclaim the truth of His love and victory over the evil that is so prevalent in the world.   I am one person; I cannot do all things, but I can do one thing.  I can “keep on keepin’ on” until the Lord calls me home or until His glorious return.    I have read the end of the Book and we win!  Do you want to be on the winning side?  Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior today!  Then,  you can work for the winning side…the side of the Mighty Warrior, the One who will help you to stand firm.  

Favorite Toy as a Child

I think that everyone has a lot of good memories of childhood.  After my stroke, I have a few memories that I can call on, and one of them is my favorite toy.  I used to play this game daily, alone or with my sister or with friends.  I wasn’t great at it, but I was good enough that it didn’t embarrass me to play with others.  Today, I look back and know that the game required a little dexterity, so I’m pretty happy that I could play it at all.  It could be an outdoor game, played on our front porch, or an indoor game, on the kitchen floor.  We had to have a hard surface to play so that the ball bounced straight up and we could catch it.  I have since tried to play the game with my grandddaughters and I’m not very good at it now.  Arthritis in the hands has a tendency to make it difficult to move your fingers quickly enough for this game.  But I am delighted that my grandchildren have this fun and cheap tool for entertainment and they still play it.  Bounce, pick up; bounce, pick up, repeat.  What game is it? Jacks!   Did you have one?  Do your children play it?  You can still buy a set on Amazon, pictured below.