Finding Grace #47

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 was a full but good week! Thankfully, the ‘extra’ activities were fun. 🙂 I found myself trying to figure out certain decisions this week. I’m taking it easy today, because I am exhausted from all the processing of options. God reminded me that His timing is perfect… some of the decisions are just not ready to be made yet. And, I want to praise God instead of worry about the unknowns. He always takes such good care of us!

Our extra activities this week included getting together with several friends. I’m thankful for friends who listen and pray with me. I’m thankful we can encourage each other despite life’s uncertainties. I’m thankful for wise counsel and laughter!

We’ve had warmer temperatures this week, in the mid-thirties. We still have a fair amount of snow, but most of the ice has melted off my driveway now. Lydia enjoyed helping me clear it all away with her shovel! And, it is nice to see the grass where small sections of snow have melted! Praise God for the changing of seasons!


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)!

7 Steps to Making Wise Decisions

It’s only January, but so far I have already made some big decisions that will have impact on the rest of the year. It has been fun to see all the possibilities! But it can also be challenging with all the unknowns. I don’t like a lot of risk!

Of course, in a perfect world, I would love to know all the details and have all my plans figured out in advance. But for me, that’s where faith comes in!

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1, NLT). In the midst of Life’s uncertainties, we can trust God’s plan.

God already sees the end from the beginning. His plan for you is GOOD and He’s given you everything you need to follow that plan. Yes, He’s got you covered!

Those who know me well would say I am a thorough decision-maker and planner. But some choices are worth more than others. And at times, I have two options that appear equally beneficial. Occasionally, I have the luxury of putting off a decision; I can delay making a choice until I have more details.

While that stability is great overall, it can also make me slow to make changes. Sometimes big decisions won’t wait that long! My ‘strength’ can become a weakness when I really should jump… instead of stall!

Thankfully, I have several steps to help me decide faster when I need to!

It’s not a formula, but it does help me avoid regret!

1.     First, I pray for wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it! I picked up this phrase from a friend, but I like the dual purpose. I usually remember to pray for wisdom, but sometimes I can still be afraid to do what I need to do. I cannot make wise decisions if I am not seeking the Lord. At the same time, I cannot move forward without courage. More often than not, this means doing it afraid!

2.     Next, I make a pros and cons list. This seems obvious, but once I get all the information down on paper, it stops swirling around in my head. As the fog of indecision lifts, I gain clarity on what really matters.

3.     Then, I consider my feelings and motivations. While I can’t make decisions based on feelings alone, I do gather input. Am I excited about this opportunity? Do I feel strongly that it is important? Why do I want to do this?

4.     Taking it one step further, I separate my passion from my feelings. Each of us was born for a unique, God-given mission. Our passion can point us in the right direction. That doesn’t mean it is easy, however! In fact, it can be tempting to give up or walk away when challenges come. The danger is that we may not fulfill God’s call on our lives. Often, those tough moments are what God uses to refine us. So, I discern whether I need to stick with the commitment…and lay aside my feelings…or forgive someone…or make other changes. If God leads me to something, I can trust Him for the next steps in His timing. I don’t want to quit when God wants me to stay and grow!

5.     I also review some lessons learned from Lysa TerKeurst’s book, The Best Yes. In brief, this includes counting the personal cost. Do I have the time, resources, and energy for this? How will it affect my family and other commitments? (and much more!)

6.     I consider the long-term impact of my choice. How will I feel about this in 6 months? 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? (You get the idea.) If we are not careful, we might make decisions too quickly without considering the sustainability of the choice.

7.     Last but certainly not least, I seek wise counsel. When weighing every option is too much for me on my own, I need help. This is NOT rehashing my problems with everyone I meet. This is intentional discussion with those who love me enough to tell me the Truth. I present the facts, concerns, pros and cons to those I trust so they can give me feedback. Typically I ask for input from godly people who are older and wiser (or, someone who has been through something similar). I regularly ask my parents, aunts/uncles, pastors, and other friends who have insight to share.

For me, many of these steps are fluid. I may go back and forth between them until I have peace. If I don’t have peace, I hold off until I do. This has saved me so many times!

Praise God…Jesus is the Prince of Peace!

Then, I sit back and have confidence. I know I gave it my best shot. And, if for any reason I was wrong, God still has my back. It might be a learning experience or a blessing in disguise. He will work it out for my good and His glory!


Father God, thank You for grace and love! Thank You for providing peace and joy as we serve You. Please give us courage as we make wise decisions, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: How do you make decisions? Do you have anything to add to the list above?

Task: Identify one or two trusted friends or advisors the next time you make a big decision!

Finding Grace #46

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 felt like a blur! Lydia and I had a full week, with our normal activities, but also had some extra events too. This week, I needed some wise counsel before making some decisions. I had the sense these decisions would dictate other important choices and events this year. (Don’t you love all the unknowns in Life’s adventures?!) Praise God, everything went well! Thank You, Lord for wisdom, peace, and clarity as I make decisions and plans!

By Friday night, I was mentally drained from a week of meetings, deciding, and planning. I was exhausted as I drove to a women’s event at church. But since I invited a friend, I knew I needed to go. I’m so glad I did, because I was refreshed as I sang praises to God with so many wonderful ladies. I was encouraged as I listened to three ladies share their stories of God’s faithfulness. I was energized by connecting with old and new friends. It was just what I needed. What grace!

This week I’m extra thankful for Lydia. Everyday, she has used her manners before I reminded her. She has done well entertaining herself without prompting. We’ve had less whining and more cheerfulness. And like her Daddy, she is a great little organizer. Thank You, Jesus! As I decluttered two bathroom drawers, Lydia tossed old items and sorted like-items. I’m proud that she came up with several good ideas on her own!

Today, Lydia and I Skyped with family in Illinois. They were gathered for a belated Christmas party. We didn’t make it home, but are thankful for technology so we could check in! As I hung up, I thought to myself, “I have the best family! Thanks, Lord!”


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)!

Building Solid Habits

I heard a report this week saying that most people have already given up on their goals and resolutions for the year. Only three weeks in, old habits are creeping back in. I get it. I have been tempted to give up too!

For me, my only real goal was to get up earlier. And on a couple occasions, even that has been a struggle! 🙂 As such, I’ve also had to make a commitment to go to bed earlier…

One thing is clear: I can’t have a strong commitment without a strong conviction.

A few years ago, I joined a group called HelloMornings. I love the idea of waking up FOR your kids, instead of waking up TO your kids. Of course, even without kids, you can wake up early for other awesome reasons!

This year, I decided to step it up with the HelloMornings ‘3 Minute Morning’ challenge to help me rebuild my morning habit. I used to be good at this, but over time the habit, like many others, has fallen by the wayside.

I have been waking up early to get a few key things done before Lydia wakes up. I typically do light exercise while listening to the One Year Bible (via the YouVersion app on my phone). Then, I stretch or do yoga, followed by coffee with Jesus. I use that time to journal, read, pray, and power up my day.

Pretty simple, yet rewarding!

I enjoy each of these tasks and have done them successfully over the years. But, I haven’t done them in this order…or all in the morning! Still, I am finding my day goes much better when I do those things first.

Basically, I get as far along in that routine as I can before Lydia joins me. Then, I finish up and get her breakfast. It’s a work-in-progress, sure! And, it will have to be flexible enough to survive all the bumps of daily life.

But, I am enjoying the routine so far…and the quiet “thinking time” too! Eventually, I’d like to work on a few other goals as well before the day gets away from me. Though, if I try to start too many things up at once, I won’t be able to maintain any of them.

Yes, even rebuilding habits can be difficult at times. Maybe you have had a couple make-or-break moments, too. Remember, God is your Sustainer. He will help you fulfill all of His plans, if you seek Him first.

Many people set new goals for food or fitness in the new year. These types of goals can be difficult to maintain because it can take awhile to see results.

So, as a Registered Dietitian, I want to encourage you to keep it up!

Here are a few of my favorite websites to help with any nutrition goals you may have.

(FYI: There are no affiliate links…I don’t earn any money off these sites.)

I find it helpful to track the foods you eat on a daily basis. It’s like giving yourself credit for what you are doing right! Or, if you are making changes, it’s good to see the impact of your choices so you can self-correct. Check out MyFitnessPal and Nutrition Data.

For meal planning help, check out Plan to Eat and Eat Real America. (These are paid membership sites…though they do have great free trials).

If you are trying to eat more fruits and veggies, you gotta check out  and Fruits and Veggies More Matters (I can’t get enough of these two!)

If you have an Instant Pot, check out Pressure Cooking TodayHip Pressure Cooking, and This Old Gal. Lots of good recipes!

If you love chocolate and other sweets (like me!!), but want to make healthier desserts, check out Chocolate Covered Katie. She has some main dishes too, as does Angela at Oh She Glows. (These ladies make some very creative vegan options…and I’m not even vegan!) 😉

If you want to get your kids cooking, check out these Kids in the Kitchen sites!

I also love just about anything by these dietitians: Zonya Foco or Dawn Jackson Blatner.

Clearly, I could spend all day perusing nutrition and foodie sites…the bright colors, recipes, and flavor combinations always capture my attention! 🙂 So this is certainly not an exhaustive list. But, hopefully it encourages you and helps you keep at your goals!

Let me know if I can help or pray for you!


Father God, thank You for being my Sustainer. Thanks for Your strength as I make positive changes. Help me listen as You direct me. Give me courage as I walk this path with You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: Do you have a nutrition-related goal? What is it? Do you have an early morning music playlist? (Please share…I could use some ideas!)

Tasks: Pray when tempted to stray off your new habit. Use a journal to record your thoughts and emotions…see if you can detect a pattern in relationship to your new habit. Ask a friend to keep you accountable.

Finding Grace #45

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?

I hope you’ve been staying warm this week! I always appreciate those days where we can stay home when it’s cold, snowy, and blowy. But each day this week, Lydia and I needed to be somewhere (work, school, errands, etc). I’m thankful for my reliable car with all-wheel drive…and for all the years I spent commuting to work during Illinois winters! Praise God for His safety and protection!

I can already tell this is going to be an interesting year. I’m excited for all the possibilities, but know I will need to keep a prayerful attitude. Already this week, I have had to make some small, but impactful decisions. Like always, I’m praying for wisdom and clarity, along with courage to do whatever I need to do (depending on the decision). I’m thankful for God’s input and His provision.  I also appreciate my family and friends who sometimes act as “sounding boards” and help me filter my thoughts! Thanks!

On Thursday evening, I babysat for a family across the street while the parents went to a show. We had a blast! The boys and Lydia were all well-behaved, despite the late night. It was fun to observe their interactions, while playing with stickers, the Light Brite, etc. They even let me play Go Fish and watch their dance party! I was glad to help, and the next evening we were invited for a visit (and dinner!) at their house. I’m thankful for great neighbors!

Today, on our way home from the store, it was about 11 degrees above zero. Heat wave! The sun felt so warm, I nearly had to take off my heavy winter coat while driving. It was wonderful! This next week should be warmer still (in the twenties and lower thirties). I hope to get more time to play in the snow. We have a to-scale version of Mt. Everest just beyond the backyard that keeps calling my name!


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)!

Winter Reflections

On a recent afternoon, Lydia and I saw ‘sun dogs’ in the sky after school. It was one of those bitter-cold days and they had been evident all day. But on our way home, this ‘ice halo’ was brilliant! It was a beautiful reflection of the winter sun.

I tried to take a picture, but it was too bright! Later, I noticed someone posted the exact picture of those sun doggies online…click here and look at the second picture down!

Yes, I’m really enjoying this winter season so far. Snowy and blowy, there’s nothing like a good blizzard to make you thankful for a warm, safe house with plenty to eat!

Last year, I only used the snow blower a few times all season. This year, I’ve already used my snow blower several times in the last couple weeks! On the other hand, my back and shoulders are loving this weather because I have not had to shovel as much.

Believe it or not, I actually enjoy snow removal. It gives me a sense of accomplishment!

Plus, I’m often reminded of how God used the crazy long winter we had when Dave was sick. Back then, I often shoveled snow twice a day because the snow blower we had at the time was too large for me to push safely and comfortably. It felt like that winter would never end. And, shoveling foot-high snow drifts brought out many ugly emotions I would have rather ignored!

God loves us just as we are, but He loves us too much to leave us like that. That year, the brutal weather was just one of the tools He used to shape my character. Looking back, I gained some pretty awesome skills and a much better perspective. For that, I am grateful.

Now, I have a joyful attitude as I seek God’s sweet and refreshing grace!

This year, more than ever, I’m thankful for the longer Fargo winters. Not only do I crave the slower pace that winter brings, but I’m also aware that my ‘free time’ with Lydia will be limited as she grows. She has been going through a cuddly, goofy phase lately, so I’ve decided to roll with it. Of course we have good and bad days, but right now Lydia and I can watch movies, play games, and read books together. We can play in the snow, drink hot chocolate, and snuggle. Thank You, Lord.

I’m also thankful for my flexible schedule, where a random ‘snow day’ doesn’t throw us for a loop. Someday soon, that may change. I will likely have to make adjustments down the road. But for now, I am grateful.

I’ve seen a few people counting down the days ’til Spring. I totally understand that Winter can be a doozy. Years ago, I traveled long distances for work. I commuted one hour, one way, each day to a job I loved. It was worth it at the time, but challenging and scary at times. These days, I am grateful for mostly in-town driving.

Once I bust through a few snow drifts, that is!

Perhaps you are one that dislikes Winter. I get it. It’s cold, snowy, and blowy. But, consider taking a different approach. Find the beauty and good in each season…even Winter…because there is a time, season, and purpose for everything.

I am using this current life season to pause and rebuild solid morning habits. My entire day goes much better if I get certain things done before Lydia wakes up (more on this, later).

We have a tendency to want to rush through life and move on to the next event, the next season, the next opportunity or challenge. But let’s pause and experience all God has for us NOW. Each season has it’s own perks and challenges! God knows the plans He has for us, and He will lead us there…in His timing, and if we let Him.

His love never fails!


God, thank You for Winter. Each season displays Your magnificent glory! Thanks for Your protection and provision. Help us have the right perspective in every season. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: What is your favorite winter activity? Have you tried any new activities? Is there something God is teaching you in this current life season?

Tasks: Make a list of 5-10 special activities you can do this season. Go do them!

Finding Grace #44

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 had a great first week of 2017! Lydia started her second ‘semester’ of preschool, and I had a normal work week. I also enjoyed meeting with a friend and praying for God’s work in this new year. Despite the frigid temperatures, we still had a full week of activities. It didn’t stop us from enjoying God’s ever-present grace!

We had a little health scare in our neighborhood this week, complete with two police cars and two ambulances. Everything is fine now, but one of our little friends had a bad reaction to his nebulizer breathing treatment. The medical team was unsure of why that happened. I reached out to see if I could help, but it was under control. Our little friend enjoyed the ambulance ride so much he wanted to do it all over again! We are getting together tonight for dinner, and by God’s grace, he is doing well!

Today, I am celebrating 9 years since Dave and I got married. We only made it to 5+ years, but I am thankful for the time we had together.  On this 4th anniversary without him, we just enjoyed a relaxing day. Lydia and I went to story time at the bookstore. Also today, a friend helped me replace and reinstall rope lighting above the kitchen cabinets. And, of course, tonight we are hanging out with our neighbors.

Dave and I were married on the cruise ship, Majesty of the Seas (pictured above). We had a wonderful time with about 40 of our closest friends and family (at the time). This year, I am not sad, but instead am treasuring all the memories. God has been so good to me!

It’s a beautiful day, 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)!

Good Goals, God’s Grace

Happy New Year! I hope your 2017 is off to a good start.

Do you make any New Year’s resolutions? Or do you choose ‘a word’ to mark your year?

When considering options for this year, I thought about making changes, choosing a word, or trying something new. But in the end, nothing really resonated with me.

So maybe I will just keep on my current path! That’s a good thing because I don’t think I could appreciate 2017 without my focus from last year.

2016 became a year of rest for me. I felt the need to apply more grace and more space to my everyday life. Once more, I realized I can only do so much. If I don’t remember to take care of myself, I won’t be able to take care of anything (or anyone) else.

Last year, I focused on getting adequate sleep, taking breaks, and keeping a restful mentality. It sounds fairly simple, but it required some effort! The hardest part was cutting out extra activities and distractions. I had to decline many new activities (even some really good opportunities).

I said “no” to finishing my to-do list every day (even when it kept calling my name!). I pushed back deadlines when necessary, instead of trying to push myself to reach an unreasonable goal.

With that restful attitude, I redecorated my house and make it a better representation of our life now. I’m so thankful I did, because now I have a better perspective going forward.

In terms of goals and growth, I don’t like to make drastic changes (though, sometimes I probably should!). Instead, I’d rather adjust my habits. It’s not rocket science, but it does take some determination. Because, of course, I like to take my sweet time

This year, I am developing more self-discipline and consistency in my life. Nothing really new—just less excuses and procrastination! I am not adding any new tasks, but I have tweaked my routine—the timing and structure of it all!

Not super glamorous, but necessary.

Sure, I have specific goals for sleep, exercise, reading, water intake, and more. The common theme, however, is waking up early to accomplish these goals before Lydia wakes up. Or, at least as many of them as possible!

I could go on and on about SMART goals, accountability, or setting up a tracking system. I will spare you all that—but I am amazed at what I can do with a proper bedtime!

By simply readjusting my timeline, I’ve been getting enough sleep and using my time more wisely. I’ve had more energy early in the day, and sometimes can cross off a few more tasks. Generally, I have more wiggle room in my day…and a better attitude all around!

Of course, theres always something to potentially derail me. Even this morning, I have had to switch things around and save them for later. Ill always be a work in progress…

Thank God for His sweet and refreshing grace!

Still, I have a feeling that 2017 is going to be our most exciting year yet. There will be challenges, important decisions, and transitions. Lydia will start Kindergarten and we may try to squeeze in a trip or two. We have lots of options ahead!

But, truthfully, I can’t do it on my own.

I cannot maintain any level of success in my own strength. Trust me, I’ve tried and failed many times! A (recovering) perfectionist’s worst nightmare! 😉

Yes, the only way I will be successful is if I seek the Lord’s input first.

If I am too busy, always running around, I can’t ‘hear’ from the Lord. A slower pace and a more open schedule means less stress and more ‘listening time.’

God created me to do good things and He has the best plan for my life! So it’s wise to check in with Him before setting my schedule (see Ephesians 2:10).  A huge timesaver!

My victory comes from the Lord. My help comes from Him, too! Jesus sustains and defends me. His grace is more than enough to meet my need. I place my trust in Him!

So set goals. Yes, absolutely! But pray too. Ask the Lord for help.

Life is short. Don’t waste time on things that don’t matter. Only Jesus brings real, lasting change. Commit yourself and your plans to Him. Then you will have true success!


Father God, thank You for the gift of Today. Thanks for new mercies, grace, and opportunities. Show me the path to take. Help me accomplish the tasks You have for me. I trust You, Jesus. In Your Name, Amen.

Questions: Are you trying anything new this month or year? How is it going?

Tasks: Commit your tasks and plans to the Lord. Trust Him to help you accomplish all He has for you!