Here in This Moment

Often, when I write these posts, I have a million things on my mind. Right now, I also have a never-ending list of tasks, such as going through mail, reading a mountain of books, and putting away the dishes. Most of the time, I get started…and then get interrupted.

For example, I might process half the mail, read half a book, and/or unload half the dishwasher…and then I’ll remember I still have the other half of the laundry to finish!

But don’t worry! I will get back to these tasks soon enough…

For now, however, I am enjoying this moment.


Currently, it’s so quiet I can hear a clock ticking in the bathroom down the hall. In my home and in my heart, I can feel God’s presence. I’m grateful for His peace.

While I have many things I could do, I am simply sitting still…taking it all in. Everything else can wait. I’m grateful for God’s grace.

As I look all around, I see many blessings. There are blessings in the form of mail from friends and family, and books inviting me to go on a journey. There are dishes from a delicious meal. I see boxes that held Lydia’s birthday gifts. I see bills reminding me of warm water, clean clothes, and electricity. I’m grateful for God’s provision.

Like most people, I have several ongoing decisions to make. Most are routine responsibilities, like monthly budgets, meal planning, and managing our schedule. Sometimes there are bigger decisions, too, that require more prayer. But I won’t worry. Here in this moment, Jesus leads me to Victory! I am grateful for His wisdom and direction.


As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.’”

“But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her’” (Luke 10:38-42, NLT).

Yes, instead of thinking of all that needs to be done, I’m going to stay in THIS moment.

I am not procrastinating. Before long, the ‘busy-ness’ will begin again. Something or someone (Lydia) will beckon me. But, for now, this moment is the best place to be!


As I rest, I relinquish any unreasonable expectations for the day. God knows just what I need to accomplish and He is more than able to help me!

As I relax, I release heavy burdens and place them at Jesus’ feet. I realize I don’t have to do ‘everything’ on my own. There is freedom in His love and mercy!

As I relish the calm, I am restored. Jesus renews my energy. He refreshes me with His everlasting strength. His grace is sufficient!

As I refocus my attention and readjust my thoughts, I reconnect with my Heavenly Father who loves me dearly. His Truth is what I need!

Sometimes we all need a quiet moment (or two) to catch our breath. Even when chaos and noise surrounds us, God is always with us morning, noon, or night. So wherever you find yourself today, you can breathe in God’s grace in each moment!


Father God, in this moment, I turn to You. Draw me close, Lord, and let me feel Your warm embrace. Give me strength as I go about my day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: How long has it been since you were still in the presence of God?

Tasks: Take a short break and reconnect with God! Enjoy solitude if possible…or pray, journal, listen to soft music, or take a walk if you need. If you have difficulty being still, review and reflect on God’s names and attributes.

Finding Grace #38

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!


Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • We’ve had the best week celebrating Lydia’s birthday and Thanksgiving! In fact, this has been memorable in many ways, since my parents visited us this week. They have not been to North Dakota for Thanksgiving since the week Lydia was born! My mom and dad brought Lydia lots of small gifts and we celebrated her birthday again… We had a yummy cake and played several rounds of Go Fish!
  • My dad was able to help me out with several little house projects this week. I have friends who help with other tasks, on occasion, but some of the little ones add up. Dad fixed several drawers in three dressers, so now we can open them all the way! He also hung up my bike and a hose, and made us all breakfast on a couple mornings.
  • My mom, Lydia and I went thrift shopping one afternoon. We didn’t need any Black Friday items, but we got some really good deals and had a relaxing time together. Other than that, we’ve had fun touring the Fargo area, reading a multitude of books to Lydia, and decorating for Christmas!
  • We’ve been watching ‘The Crown’ on Netflix. It’s been fascinating to watch and a good history refresher (with creative licensing, of course). We didn’t watch the new Gilmore Girls show, ahem, but perhaps I will do that another time. 😉
  • God is always so good to us. Psalm 68:5 always comes to mind, where it says God is “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows.” This week, celebrating Lydia’s birthday and Thanksgiving with my parents was just what we needed!


These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

Birthday Blessings and Beyond

Lydia and I have enjoyed celebrating her birthday over the last few days!

I gave her two gifts—a Chicago Cubs t-shirt and a new razor scooter. Having grown three inches this last year, her hand-me-down scooter is almost too small!

Still, Lydia received many gifts, cards, calls and texts for her birthday. Because people in six different states remembered her birthday, we spread out the celebration!


Since Saturday, Lydia has been opening a couple gifts each day, with a few more later this week. This girl is very-well loved.

We played multiple rounds of Hello Kitty Bingo and Go Fish. We made treats and Skyped with family. We went out for a birthday lunch, and Lydia took Popsicles to preschool on her special day. (Never mind that it was freezing outside!)

Thanks for all the birthday wishes—Lydia will be making several thank you cards!


Of course, Lydia loves all the gifts and attention. But really, it’s not about the gifts. (She doesn’t “need” anything.) No, for me, it is different. Each time a gift comes in the mail, or someone remembers us, I am prompted to recall God’s goodness.

Again, it’s not about the token itself, but the love it reflects.

While we have many friends and family around the world, we don’t talk to everyone regularly. But each time someone reaches out to us, I am reminded of the magnitude of encouragement and support we have received over the years. Wow!

God has taken such good care of us. Thanks for being a part of that!


“What if you woke up today with only what you thanked God for yesterday?”

Last night, I gained yet another perspective from Lydia. She is my greatest blessing. Instead of reacting to my frustrations (below), she kept her cool and was a real trooper.

Here’s the recap:

After doing a little research and considering a few options, I decided to upgrade my old router. To do this, however, I had to undo quite a few cords and other parts downstairs. One by one, I disconnected Dave’s speakers, a surge protector and an old computer. Probably about twenty (gazillion) cords…

I called both of my brothers for help, and they each talked me through a few key points. I also disconnected the printer, modem, and old router before reconfiguring the new. Long overdue, I also vacuumed the entire area!

Lydia was eager to “help” so I had her running all over the house for flashlights and such (to keep her busy, and out of the way). Though, she WAS the perfect size to squeeze in between the wall and table to grab a few loose cords!

These techy things always take me so much longer than I expect. So, I knew it would take awhile, but it seemed fairly straight forward. Well, it was more challenging than I thought and I was beyond frustrated. After about 2 hours, I decided to walk away for a much needed “break” (you know, right before I actually broke something!!).

Lydia wanted to watch a movie and have a picnic, but I kept stalling, telling her, “Ok, but just wait. Go play, and I will be done soon.” I didn’t realize so much time had passed, but that sweet girl made herself dinner and got mine ready, too! I made Lydia’s sandwich, but she got herself an orange, some chips, and even scooped out yogurt without making a mess! (Praise God!) She got my fork, spoon, and plate too. That was so kind of her!

Well, everything took so much time we didn’t get to watch the movie. Lydia was a trooper though. At one point, with mixed emotions, I apologized, “Sorry it took me so long. Your dad wouldn’t have had this much trouble.” (It was all his stuff and system.)

Thankfully, my sour attitude went over her head. Lydia quipped, “Yeah! It took me AND your two brothers to help you figure it out!” She was pretty proud of herself, and all the help she provided, along with dinner. 🙂

There’s never a dull moment around here! And sometimes, our deepest griefs, frustrations, and struggles end up making us the most grateful.

I am so thankful for my sweet girl. She always keeps me on my toes!

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1).


Father God, thanks for your constant help and presence! Thanks for bringing us this far! Thanks for all your blessings. Help me not take them for granted. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: What are you thankful for? What is something that frustrated you at the time, but you were eventually grateful for? How does the above quote (enlarged) impact you?

Tasks: Write down a list of blessings in your life. Write a thank you note to someone!


Finding Grace #37

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!


Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • This has been a fun week! A friend from Illinois stopped by to visit on Tuesday. She was in town for a few days, and we were so glad she made the effort to see us.
  • On Wednesday, we discussed the power of forgiveness at church. Per brain researcher, Caroline Leaf, when we forgive, endorphins and other chemicals are released in our brains. The effects of forgiveness are then carried all throughout our bodies. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). Science shows what we already knew from the Bible…forgiveness is healing!
  • Lydia and I had a great day on Thursday. We took some treats and a handmade thank you card to our favorite drop-in daycare, since they are closing next week. We’ll miss those ladies, who have been a big part of our lives these last few years! Then, we had about an hour before preschool, so went to read books at the bookstore. As we were leaving, a man sitting nearby said thanks for the story time. We reminded him of several missed opportunities over the years with his kids, when he traveled long distances for work. Now that he has a little grandson, he’s happy to have another chance. (As a result, Lydia and I promptly decided we should do that more often!) 🙂
  • We had our first snowfall of the season early Friday morning. We only got a couple inches, perhaps, but it was a wet, heavy snow. Our temperatures should be in the 30s for a few days, so it is likely to stay. Thankfully, my driveway and the local roads weren’t too bad! I think Fargo was on the edge of a big snow storm in Minnesota!


These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

Work In-Progress

Lately, I have been reading several articles and opinion pieces about the election. Although, it seems everyone has a slant these days. There is much ‘passion’ on every side.

But, I have to remember: There are opinions… and facts. And then, there’s the Truth!

If I were to put too much stock in it all, it could be easy to give in to fear of the unknown. But change does not have to mean doom-and-gloom.

Despite the craziness of the election and its aftermath, God’s power, grace, and love for us are not diminished. Indeed, God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (see 2 Timothy 1:7)!


And while I see the big picture, I am also reminded that our corporate responses do not negate our personal responsibilities. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

In other news, Lydia’s birthday is less than a week away. She’s excited for her special day! Of note, I am using this ‘opportunity’ to reevaluate what I am teaching Lydia. I think it’s wise to do this from time to time, anyway! 🙂

After all, I am her ‘first’ teacher!

While Lydia was interested in the election, I felt it was still important to maintain the same boundaries I always do when discussing adult topics. (We’ve already dealt with some pretty heavy topics—such as death and cancer—these last few years.)

I always tell the truth, but I don’t share details that are beyond Lydia’s age and comprehension. I don’t want to confuse her, burden her, or make her needlessly afraid.


Someday Lydia and I will talk about bigger, more complicated concepts. Sure thing. But some issues can be broken down into smaller ones right now. These topics include the power of our words, not gossiping or blaming others, and not taking offense.

It can be overwhelming at times, on top of our other daily tasks. But lessons on character, friendship, and serving others are always appropriate. We read books on a variety of topics, role play certain scenarios, and talk about life together.

As a single mom, I do the best I can each day. We are all a work in-progress, and of course, I don’t have all the answers. But I rely on God’s help through it all.


I pray Lydia will truly understand God’s love for her. I pray she will love God and walk her unique path with Him all the days of her life. I pray Lydia will be compassionate, that she will put God’s love in action as she seeks to help others.

Of course, I want Lydia to know that she is capable of doing many wonderful things, if she is willing to work hard. We each have an advantage area, but success is never guaranteed.

Regardless of what life throws at us (fair or not), we don’t have to have a victim mindset. With Jesus, we are more than conquerors. I encourage Lydia that she can do all things she is called to do, because Jesus will give her His strength.

I’m teaching Lydia to be responsible for her choices. Oh boy, this is a tough one to teach, day in and day out. Currently, this means reinforcing first-time obedience and some daily chores. Little by little, she’ll get there.

Lydia’s also learning what gratitude is, and attempts to write thank you notes. At this point, this typically means a hand-drawn picture with stickers and her name on it. 🙂


Slowly but surely, I am teaching Lydia to master her emotions. A life-long challenge, this goes beyond simple optimism or having a good attitude (though, that always helps). Feelings can change in the matter of a few minutes, but harboring negative emotions won’t resolve anything.

Ultimately, we are blessed to be a blessing. We are called to love others and be respectful, even if we don’t always agree with someone. What I teach Lydia at home, will have lasting impact not only in her life, but also those she connects with.

One by one, we each have the opportunity to serve others and make a difference.


Heavenly Father, thanks for being with us in the daily struggles of life. Please give us wisdom. Help us to love and honor each other, despite our differences. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: Have you learned anything ‘new’ lately by watching current events? Are there any changes you will make in your personal life as a result?

Tasks: For the next news article or opinion post you see, look for the original quotes, facts, or figures. Compare the conclusions!

Finding Grace #36

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!


Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • Wow, what a week this has been! Many people thought the outcome of our US election would be different. Watching the news and social media has not been helpful; I feel it has only built strife. For every article I read on one view, there is one to refute it. For every opinion piece, there’s another angle to consider. People are upset and afraid, for many reasons. Still, my eyes are on Jesus. Only He brings real and lasting change! I have previously spent years dealing with fear, and I refuse to live that way anymore. I will not worry, knowing that the Lord can turn anyone’s heart. I will pray for our leaders, and lovingly support those who need it.
  • Thank you to all the veterans, and our current military men and women, for your service. Thank you for fighting for our freedoms with your lives. The sad irony of our current political situation happening in the same week as Veteran’s Day is all the more poignant. We wouldn’t even be here without the personal sacrifices of our military families!
  • On a more personal note, I am aware that only Jesus never changes. Nothing in life stays the same. This week, I was sad to learn that our favorite drop-in daycare is closing in two weeks. The ladies there have been a huge part of my support system in the last 5 years. Lydia has been going there since she was six weeks old! While we have found other places, this is still Lydia’s favorite. All good things come to an end, or so it seems. I am viewing this as another opportunity to trust the Lord and let Him provide for us. He won’t let me down!
  • Finally, we got to spend time with several neighbors OUTSIDE this week. It was sunny and warm, and then grew cooler as the skies grew dark. It was great to catch up with some of them, as we took advantage of weather that was 16 degrees warmer than usual at this time. Praise God!


These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

In God I Trust

I stayed up late into the early morning hours, watching the US election results! Whoa.

I’m not quite sure what to say. Regardless of the outcome, the nation remains divided.

I voted early last week, and felt comfortable with my decisions.

Yet, I am still trying to wrap my mind about What. Just. Happened.


I have mixed feelings. I’m glad the election itself is over, because it was a long time coming. At the minimum, it is a big turning point for America.

As a parent, I want to put on a brave face. Lydia was very interested in learning about the election and who I might vote for. I didn’t want to alert her to the craziness, but did explain a few key issues in kid-friendly terms. Of course, I want to protect her innocence.

I’m still not sure how to explain democracy to my preschooler.

As with any election, the economy, environment, judicial system, and many key social issues are at stake, for better or worse. We’ll see what happens, domestically and internationally. This election took a toll on personal relationships, too… I am sad for my friends, family, and so many others who were depending on a different outcome.

But I think we can all agree on this:

Either way, our new leader needs our prayers. Now more than ever. I can’t even imagine the mind-boggling stress, temptations, flack and chaos that comes with being President of the United States.


I wonder what the next few months and years will hold. But I don’t have to worry.

In God I trust.

We will always be disappointed if we place our hope and expectations on people, no matter how ‘qualified’ they might be. Our leaders will rise and fall, but Jesus is still in control. He is trustworthy, faithful and just. He will make all things right, in the end.

Thankfully, no matter who is in the White House, Jesus remains on the eternal throne. He is the soon-returning King, and the only One Who Saves! God, we need you!

My eyes are on Jesus. He loves us, and His plans for us are good.

We can have peace right now, because He’s not surprised or put-off by our current events. Despite all odds, we can stand firm. He will not leave or forsake us. He’s got this!


No matter what happens next, here are some things that will not change…

I will not tolerate hatred, blame, or ill will. Never have, never will. But I will always be gracious to those who look, think, or act differently than me.

I will not give up hope. But I will continue to pray about the future of America.

I will not get weighed down or caught up in the drama. But I will be cheerful, kind, and respectful to everyone I meet.

I will not gripe, groan, or gloat. But I will live at peace with others, as much as it depends on me (Romans 12:18).


And I will be grateful for the opportunities given to me.

Thanks to those who have gone before me, I can vote and use my voice wisely.

I can pray… and use the freedoms I have to make a real difference.

So I will not give in to fear. I will focus on unity, not division. And, I will be loving, encouraging and supporting to those who need it most.

Ultimately, my citizenship is in Heaven (Philippians 3:20). In God I trust. He’s got this!


God, You reign over all. Thank You for your continued grace and mercy on our nation. Please help our leaders seek Your wisdom. Bring Your Peace, and help us live peaceably with one another. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: Did you vote in the election? Was it an easy decision or challenge for you?

Tasks: Pray about how you can promote peace and good-will in your relationships.


Finding Grace #35

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!


Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • This week was intense. I mentioned feeling a little under the weather at the beginning of the week. It might sound silly, but in hindsight, I think it was nerves and adrenaline from watching the Chicago Cubs in the World Series! The Cubs’ history, reputation, and generational appeal made for a great storyline. Looking back, we often see God’s grace in the way something works out so perfectly. For example, winning in the 7th game, late game with a rain delay, 10 innings, close score, great plays…all made for an EPIC headline with maximum glory. If it had happened any other way, the impact would have been different.
  • For me, the Cubs winning represents hopes, dreams, goals, and discipline paying off. All the effort, time, tears, trials, and setbacks are rewarded. I see how the concept of #FlyTheW applies to other areas of my life. In those moments when I feel like giving in, I am reminded that with Jesus, we have already won the final Victory! So, I will raise the “W” banner and hold my head high, knowing that despite the overwhelming odds, God makes all things possible. To Him be the glory!
  • As a result of not feeling well due to the adrenaline rush, late nights, and early mornings, I did not have any extra energy. I was wiped out! 🙂 So instead of working on my normal projects this week, I finished little ones. I voted early, did laundry, shopped for Lydia’s birthday and Christmas gifts, had an impromptu dinner with our neighbors, and made a couple car maintenance appointments. I took it easy, and decided to rest! Now that’s evidence of God’s grace! Historically, I would’ve pushed harder without acknowledging the benefits of taking a break!
  • Lydia received a surprise gift in the mail this week! It’s a My Little Pony zip-up hoodie and with matching headband. Rainbow Dash, of course! Pretty cool! It came from Amazon, but there was no gift note inside the box. I did a double-take, questioning if I had ordered it… Nope! So, we are very thankful for the thoughtful gift. God always has a way of blessing us in the best ways! (But if you are reading this and are the sender, please let me know so we can properly thank you!) 🙂


These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

A Shield Around Me

Welcome to November! I can hardly believe we are two months from 2017!

This week I have been feeling a little under-the-weather. I’m not sure if it is allergies, or not getting enough sleep, or planting 50 flower bulbs on Sunday for next spring. The tulips and irises should be beautiful if they come up, but the digging and planting left me sore!

It probably doesn’t help that I’ve been staying up late watching the Cubs in the World Series. Wow, it’s been a historic run on several levels! But, it certainly has been a little stressful at times! 🙂 Go Cubbies!


Halloween was fun, but I have mixed feelings about this holiday, and am usually glad when it’s over. I don’t like the scary nature of it, and hate seeing ugly creatures everywhere. But I do enjoy when the kids dress up. And, it’s always fun to see neighbors and greet people!

Candy or not, we should do that more often!

Indeed, I was extra proud of Lydia on Monday night. She dressed up as a fairy this year, and we trick-or-treated with neighbors on our block. Lydia was eager to pass out candy at home, as well. In fact, she was so generous that she worried we’d run out. My little problem solver, she added her own stash of candy… and nearly gave it all away! I had her keep some of her favorites (pictured above), but was glad to see her giving heart!

This week, we’ve had a few more back-to-back early mornings and late nights. All good things, but it does add up. Thankfully, each morning is a new start!

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life” (Psalm 143:8).

I’m also aware of the fact that the holidays are fast approaching. Last year this season was pretty rough for me (emotionally). I think there were a unique set of reasons it was difficult, and I am hoping this year is better. Thanks for your prayers!


I love what Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” I think of this verse often. When I am tired or stressed, or not feeling well physically, my thoughts and emotions can quickly become off-kilter.

So, with all the above, I have been drawing closer to the Lord. When I need a little boost, the best thing I can do is come to Him. His grace is sweet and His love has no bounds!

Lately, I have been taking mini-breaks from whatever I am doing, just to sit and be with Jesus. In these moments, when I am prone to doubt or discouragement, I need extra doses of His love. I might just sit and soak up His word. Or, I might pray, write, cry, or sing.

But one thing is clear: I need to reconnect with the Lord! Jesus comforts and encourages me. He restores and protects my wayward heart. He leads me and gives me peace.


I have found The Secret Power of Speaking God’s Word, by Joyce Meyer, to be helpful. This little book has scriptures organized by about fifty topics. There are many categories, like anxiety, worry, stress, or determination, etc.

A book like that makes scripture verses easy to find and meditate upon.

“Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!”

–Psalm 27:14

The sooner I come to Jesus, the faster I am able to refocus and regroup. He is the only thing that does not change in this unpredictable world.

He is my Anchor, my Shield and my Strong Defender! Praise the Lord!


Lord Jesus, thanks for all You do for me. Please help me rest in Your love and grace. Remind me to come You for refreshment, and seek You first. In Your Name, Amen

Question:  What is your go-to response to stress?

Task: At the very first sign of distress, stop and seek Jesus!