Valentine’s Victories

A couple weeks ago, I was discouraged when I received some not-so-great feedback on a writing project. My writing coach thought I could do a better job. I was rather disheartened until a friend popped into my office unexpectedly and encouraged me.

So imagine my relief on Monday of this week when I received positive feedback instead! I had revised the same material from before and my writing coach was pleased with the improvements.

As we talked, I explained how frustrated I was previously and how difficult this task had been for me. We discussed how our most challenging work often happens to be the most important.

Sometimes the ‘edits’ are easy—like grammar and punctuation—and don’t affect the overall content. But other times, the edits are tough. Content revisions are more important structurally, and in my case, lay the foundation for the next round.

There will be a bigger payoff later if I do the hard work now.

As I realized the significance of the work I had done, I was excited. I had pushed through this perceived setback, and to me, it felt like a breakthrough.

The victory made we want to celebrate! Soo, on a whim, I decided to go to the movies!

On my way to the theater, I praised God for the writing victory and thanked Him for the movie, too. It almost felt like a Valentine’s date because God blessed me so much that day.

I used a gift certificate to buy my ticket and also bought a kid-sized popcorn (not wanting to over-do it!). I even shared some “snack cash” coupons with the couple in front of me.

I watched ‘The Greatest Showman’ and I’m so glad I did!

The movie was fabulous and I highly recommend it! The music (soundtrack) was also so inspiring. Without giving too much away, I loved the overall message about being yourself and appreciating each other’s differences. It makes you consider what is really important.

Most—if not all—of us have felt like we don’t belong at times. There are days when we struggle with feeling like we don’t measure up. Or, maybe we have been rejected and treated poorly… Sometimes, it’s totally unfair!

Some people feel down on Valentine’s Day if they don’t have a ‘special someone.’ I can understand that perspective. But, don’t be discouraged. Turn those feelings around and make someone else feel special.

Sometimes, we overlook how powerful it is to love people and show kindness every day. Even just a little note or phone call can have great impact.

Remember, whether or not you have Valentine’s plans is not a determination of your worth. You are so very loved!

In Christ, we have infinite value. If we have that perspective, we see that with Jesus, we can thrive. When we keep our eyes on Him, we see His grace and blessings—not our lack.

In Jesus, we have Victory! We are MORE THAN CONQUERORS!

 My little girl, Lydia, reminded me of this Victorious perspective in a recent drawing.

I asked her to explain the picture, which to me, looked a little like four people at a disco party… 😉 Lydia explained, “This is a picture of my family. The first person is my daddy, then you and me, and then God.”

Lydia is starting to understand the difference between immediate and extended family…

I loved that she drew what was in her heart, including both her daddy, Dave, and her Heavenly Father, God. And, the disco figures made me smile. 

I see Lydia’s confidence in God’s love for her as a huge Victory!

Nothing can compare to God’s love for us! He is soo good!


Heavenly Father, thanks for taking such good care of me. Thank you for leading me to Victory. Help me stay close to You and keep the right perspective. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: Have you had a personal breakthrough recently? Have you seen any good movies lately? How can you show God’s love to others today?

Tasks: Write down your victories in a journal so you can remember them. Celebrate your successes and thank God for all He has done.

Filled with Joy

This week, in addition to Thanksgiving, we are celebrating Lydia’s birthday! Regarding gifts, Lydia only requested one thing: a little toy bird. Of course, I bought it and kept it as a surprise. Actually, I bought her two because I couldn’t decide between them…

Then, a couple weeks ago, we were discussing her birthday. On a whim, I jokingly asked, “Well, what if I don’t get you a gift? Would that be okay?”

To my surprise, Lydia didn’t even blink. Immediately, she cheerfully replied, “That’s okay, Mom! You could just draw me a picture instead.” She went on to explain, “That’s what I do for you since I can’t go and buy you gifts when it’s your birthday or Christmas.”

While I was touched by her response, Lydia probably figured she would get gifts from other people… So perhaps she wasn’t concerned with missing out on a gift from me.

In the past, Lydia has gotten cards or presents from friends and family in several states. A good Father, God always makes sure she is taken care of. She is well-loved!

On her birthday, Lydia took popcorn for a snack at school. Then, at lunchtime, I joined her class for their meal. I also saw most of our little neighborhood friends. It was a fun experience! The kids were so excited to have a visitor.

 Overjoyed, the kids wiggled as they stood in the lunch line. They each wanted to sit next to me, show me a trick, or tell me an interesting story. The principal read a special Thanksgiving story, and I enjoyed talking with Lydia and her classmates.

After school, we went to Cherry Berry for frozen yogurt. Then, we came home to open presents. Lydia was happy with my gifts—a puzzle and two little birds that sing and can repeat what you say. (I may be regretting that soon!) She also received gifts from friends and family. Thank you!

Over the years, I have learned so much while watching Lydia learn and grow. She loves to read and do math! It is amazing to see her become who God intended. Indeed, she has many of Dave’s best qualities. I know he would also be so proud of her.

This season (and birthday) is our fifth time celebrating without Dave. Sometimes it can still be a little bittersweet. Each year has been so different, yet the Lord has been so kind and generous to us. The joy of the Lord is my strength!

Nothing can replace Dave, yet while we miss him, we keep moving forward. God loves watching His children grow through trials and walk in Victory. We can always celebrate His goodness and grace because God’s love never fails.

These days, I don’t often cry because of grief. Instead, if I am teary-eyed, it is usually because I am so thankful for all the Lord has done for us!

This week—and through this season—we will celebrate our many gifts, new milestones, and our dear friends and family… This year, our hearts are filled with joy.

Thanks to all who continue to encourage us and check in on us from time to time. Thanks for all your prayers and support! It means so much to us. We are truly blessed.


Father God, You are so good and gracious. Thanks for taking such great care of us. Help us remember just how much You love us. Let us share Your love with those around us, especially during this holiday season. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: What are you thankful for? How have you grown this year?

Tasks: Call a friend who needs some encouragement during this season. Take them a meal or invite them over to visit. Be a blessing to them!

Rainy Days Won’t Last Forever

Recently, Lydia found a show on Netflix that I can only describe as an animated reality show, filled with bad humor, clichés, and blonde jokes. Not quite my cup of tea, but Lydia liked it! It’s called “Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse.” Yes, you read that right! 😉

On Monday, I was cooking dinner and half-listening to the show to determine if/when it should be turned off. It was rather cheesy, but I decided wait and see… From what I can tell, the episode was about a camping trip gone awry, thanks to the rain.

It’s been rather dry here lately, but I know others have been dealing with flooding. So perhaps I was just more aware… when to my surprise, one of the characters actually had a good point: Rainy days won’t last forever.

The show went on from there, with Barbie and her friends going with Plan B. Even so, as I stood in the kitchen, I gained a deeper perspective. It’s not a new concept, really, but quite often rainy days do parallel grief!

When rainy days come, we find indoor activities. We might read, color, play board games, watch movies, do puzzles, cook, or clean. Grief also tends to separate us from the outside world. It can affect our schedule and even our motivation. But find joy. Rainy days won’t last forever.

Yes, on rainy days, we might be limited in what we can do. But some people are not hindered by the rain. They are the ones stomping and splashing in the puddles! The grief process is a series of emotional challenges and victories. Each stage may look different from one person to the next. Disappointment may settle in. But take comfort and push forward. Rainy days won’t last forever.

Rainy days are valuable. Rain, of course, renews the earth and is just as important as sun to make plants grow. Each has a special role. Grief also has value, though most people would prefer to rush through it. But if we allow grief to run its course, we will be changed for the better. We somehow grow stronger and learn to appreciate what is good around us. Yes, find the good. Rainy days won’t last forever.

Just like there is no real substitute for a good rain storm, there is no quick solution for grief. We cannot bypass the rain, and we cannot bypass grief. Sometimes, it feels unbearable, like the gale of emotions will never end. But hold on. Rainy days won’t last forever.

When it rains, the atmosphere changes. The temperature often decreases as a front moves in. Darkness comes and everything looks different. Grief sure can change the horizon too. Nothing looks the same as before when everything was sunny and well. Yet, we don’t need to feel disoriented for long. Stay grounded. Rainy days won’t last forever.

Rain can bring fear and anxiety for some people, especially when accompanied by thunder and lightning. Grief, too, can bring a wide variety of emotions. Jesus is King of both kinds of storms. Let His love displace fear and anxiety. He loves you. Rainy days won’t last forever.

Rain showers can appear out of nowhere. Grief also can catch us by surprise. I do not consider myself in the midst of active grief these days. Thank God! But, on certain occasions, I still deal with it. Cling to the Lord. Rainy days won’t last forever.

It may be raining at my house, but not yours, even if we live close. I’m always amazed that even within a neighborhood or small community, the rain totals can vary. Grief is also like that. Each person’s experience is different. What triggers one person to grieve may be a non-issue for someone else. Be gracious. Rainy days won’t last forever.

Similarly, it can rain while the sun is still shining. It is interesting to watch, and often, we might see a rainbow in the mix. If we can also see the silver lining even in moments of grief, loss, or doubt, we will find a blessing. Praise God! Rainy days won’t last forever!

I doubt we will keep watching ‘Barbie shows’ much longer. Ahem. But, we can find God’s grace in the least likely places. Barbie, rain storms, and even grief.

Life is beautiful. God is good. Thank You, Jesus.

God, thanks for being with us in the good and bad, whether it is sunny or rainy. Thank You for giving us Your strength and for leading us to Victory. May we trust You to help us walk with grace, even when it is difficult. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: Do you like rainy days? Do you have special activities for when you have to stay inside?

Tasks: Journal about how rainy days affect you. Reach out to help someone who could use some support….due to grief or other reasons.

Finding Grace #50

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 great week! SO many good things happened, I’m not sure I can adequately describe them all. I had many uplifting and encouraging conversations this week. I talked with my boss about some job-related questions. While we didn’t come to any solid conclusions, I was glad to be moving in the right direction. There are good transitions coming and I want to ‘figure it all out.’ Instead, I’ll trust the Lord’s wisdom and timing!

I had some new insights on my volunteer role at church, which made me so happy. I have a lot of passion for that ministry. Interestingly, I’ve seen my skills as a dietitian support my role there! At work, I discuss nutrition, health, and wellness for individuals and corporations. At church, I help people discover where they fit in the Body of Christ (that is, the church) and then I make sure they are spiritually fit and able to keep contributing. So, as the corporate Body, we all thrive, grow stronger, and serve each other, functioning as a whole unit! (I am still in awe of this!)

Tuesday was Valentines Day. Lydia had just about the best day ever, in that she received a few little gifts from me, plus was the class leader at school, had a party there, and won the guessing game! 🙂 I also had a wonderful day. After work, I went to the movies and saw Hidden Figures. I would highly recommend it! I also talked with family and many dear friends throughout the day. I felt very loved!

Last night, Friday, Lydia and I went to a kids’ game night at church. She’s currently one of the youngest and sometimes is a little shy in crowds. So, I was happy to go with her and see things from her perspective. I taught her the basics of foosball, air hockey, and carpet ball. She played with other kids and I met some new families as well. We had a lesson about God’s unfailing love, a snack, and prizes. It was fun!

We had beautiful, sunny, and warmer weather most of the week. I switched seats on Lydia’s bike to prepare it for the next season. She tried it out and was pedaling through puddles from the melted snow! Praise God, Spring is nearly here!

Another bright spot included meeting a writing deadline for a personal project and receiving good feedback on it. I also had good, lengthy ‘God conversations’ with a friend going through a difficult time. We both benefitted that day. Oh, how He loves us!


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)!

Radio Reminders

On Sunday night, Lydia and I listened to the radio while making dinner. This time, the radio was backdrop to our conversation. But, as usual, Lydia was still in tune to the words. “Mom, did you hear that?! Jesus’ love is agape love!”

Surprised, I replied, “Yes, Lydia! That’s right… What does agape love mean?”

I had no idea how she would try to explain God’s unconditional love…

“God’s love never fails!” she proudly exclaimed.

Lately, I’ve had several ‘radio reminders’ of God’s unfailing love, too.

Sometimes, I have moments where I feel a little out of place or somehow “disconnected” from everyone else. I might start to feel lonely or sorry for myself…or focus on my faults.

(Surely, I am not the only one who feels that way occasionally!)

On Sunday morning, as we drove to church, I suddenly had that feeling. I had an unexpected change in my schedule that day and I was lethargic from a late night. It was a good change, really, but for a moment, I started feeling incapable.

I quickly lost sight on how much God loves me…which in extreme cases feels like nobody loves me. Of course I know that’s not true… Hi Mom! 😉

Then, a song on the radio reminded me that I can draw near to Jesus. I knew I needed to see things from His perspective! My trajectory was way off.

Remembering God’s love infinite for me, I shouted out, “Thank You, Jesus. You created me on purpose and love me no matter what. You understand me! I am found in You!”

Immediately, I felt better and rejoiced in the truth of God’s love for me. Hallelujah, my feelings and failures are no match for his UNfailing love!

As I walked into church, I saw several dear friends. Throughout the morning, I had meaningful conversations, received a couple hugs, and met some new friends. The rest of the day went really well, too. I felt loved and valued by everyone I talked with.

God knew just what I needed that day!

His love never fails!

Yes, God’s love meets every need I have! I just have to listen!

Thanks to yet another radio reminder, I thought of these lyrics yesterday morning.

There’s no one like God, no one at all

He gave His Son for us, Jesus our Lord

Who can love us like He does, no one at all

Oh, how we love You, Lord”

This is an older song, but it hit me with new meaning:

There is no one like God—so no one can love me like He does!

I am loved because He loved me first. He is always near. His love never fails!


Heavenly Father, there is NO ONE like You! Thanks for Your unfailing love and grace. May we grasp how wide and long and high and deep is Your love for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: Have you noticed any special reminders of God’s love or grace lately?

Tasks: Write down at least one reminder of God’s love every day for one week.

Finding Grace #49

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, I am extra thankful for God’s grace. One day, I found myself focusing on various problems…and worrying about some decisions that are not ready to be made. I talked with two dear ladies about this. They listened and helped me discern what is most important. One lady also encouraged me to REST and let God take care of it in His timing. He cares so much about me. It was just what I needed to hear!

This week, I had an all-day work training, which yielded challenges with Lydia’s schedule. Normally, I work part-time hours so it’s not a problem. On Wednesday, two different friends watched Lydia throughout the day, took her to preschool, and picked her up for me. Praise God for my dear friends! Without their help, it’s possible Lydia would have had to skip preschool for all-day daycare. We’re both glad that didn’t have to happen!

I received beautiful flowers from my mom and dad as an early Valentine’s day gift (pictured above). Flowers were a lovely idea, and these roses are especially pretty! I bought Lydia an “I Love You” balloon and it was fun to see her joy as well! This is probably the first year she really understands the concept of giving Valentines. She made one for me at school, and I received it today in the mail. I think it’s the first one she’s every made for me!

Today, Lydia and I met some friends for a fun outing. We planned on bowling, but at the last minute decided to go to SkyZone, a trampoline park, instead. We all jumped on-an-off for about an hour. Then, Lydia and I finished off a gift card at Panera for an early dinner. It was great to see friends and spend some extra time with Lydia, too!


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)!

When Love Doesn’t Make Sense

Kids often have a way of shining light on what is important, through their unique grasp on life. Earlier this week, Lydia and I were driving home late one night after a meeting. We were listening to the radio as we often do.

“Mom, why are they singing about God’s heart being broken…because He loves us?” Lydia sighed, “That doesn’t make sense!”

I hadn’t been paying much attention to the lyrics. Instead, I was thinking about getting Lydia to bed two hours past her normal bedtime. I wish I knew what song she was referring to, but I don’t. I’ll have her tell me next time she hears it.

I wasn’t sure exactly what Lydia meant. Usually, she is so practical…so it was intriguing to think about when love doesn’t make sense. I thought it was quite profound!

“You are right, Lydia. God loved us so much that it broke His heart when sin separated us from Him. That’s why Jesus came!”

I explained that Jesus came to save us and restore our relationship with God. “And for our sins!” Lydia chimed in. I explained that nobody is perfect; we all need Jesus.

You know, sometimes love doesn’t make sense. Sometimes, love hurts. I suppose each person might interpret ‘acts of love’ based on their own needs, love languages, etc.

But God’s love is different. His love is strong and good! 

Indeed, we can only love others to the extent that we have experienced His perfect love. When we experience His love and forgiveness, we are changed forever! What grace!

These verses are always a good gut-check for me.

Do I love people with God’s love? Is it for His glory or my own benefit? Do I always believe the best of the person, giving them the benefit of the doubt?

Am I patient and kind? Or am I thinking of myself first, through envy, boasting, and prideful arrogance?

Do I honor others, including their preferences? Do I value their input or do I just want my own way?

Do I celebrate the truth, even when I need to do some soul-searching or make changes?

Am I protecting the reputation of others? Am I full of trust, goodwill, and perseverance? Or am I in it just for what I can get out of the person or situation?

Am I committed long-term or only as long as it puts me in a good position? Am I willing to stick with someone or something without recognition?

Yes, sometimes LOVE does not make human sense! It can be challenging at times. Sure, it would be a lot easier to love people who are kind and patient with me. It would be a lot easier to only love people who treat me like I think I deserve. (Ahem.) It would be a lot easier to love people when it is convenient.

But, praise God that’s not how Christ Jesus loves! His love for us cost Him everything.

 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” (John 3:16, NIV).

Loving others is not about me. I want to share the love of Jesus, so that lives are changed. It doesn’t make “sense” why He would give His life for mine, but I am so thankful He did!


Jesus, thanks for loving me more than Life itself. Thanks for Your merciful sacrifice. Your grace know no bounds. Help me love others the way You do. In Your Name, Amen.

Question: Did anything stand out as you read this post? Have you accepted Jesus’ love into your life?

Task: Using 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (above), put God in place of Love. Example: “God is patient, God is kind…” consider how much He loves you!

A ‘Life Vest’ Kind of Love

Earlier this week, I completed a thirty day early morning challenge. The goal was to rebuild my morning habit, which has been off-track for some time. I find my day really does go better if I get started early. So, I decided to try it once more…relying on the Lord to sustain me. I’ve focused on tracking progress, not perfection.

Each morning of the challenge, a moderator posted a question on social media. Liking it or commenting was our way to check in for accountability. My favorite questions involved our daily verse, Psalm 143:8. One day, the moderator asked us to describe God’s unfailing love.

Participants listed some of these adjectives: inexhaustible, limitless, unending, eternal, always, forever, continual, secure, dependable, reliable, steadfast, sure, complete, active, competent, constant, persistent, solid, never gives up, perfect, trustworthy, sufficient, unchanging, non-judgmental, and unconditional.

Some of these, of course, have similar meaning. But, I was impressed how one word can mean something slightly different to so many people. And that’s just one of God’s many attributes! It’s amazing to think that while God is so big, He cares so personally about each of us.

Another person wrote that, to her, God’s unfailing love is like a life vest. I love the idea of being safely wrapped in His love. To that, I added God’s unfailing love is ‘timely, as in right there with no delay’… when you really need it!

Indeed, I cannot do anything in my own strength. More than once, I have prayed through the verse… God I need your unfailing love so I don’t climb back into bed! 😉

Since that morning, the Lord has showing the pervasiveness of His unfailing love. It’s 24/7! I keep seeing the words ‘unfailing love’ as I read. I’ve also heard stories or songs on the radio with those words, reminding me of just how much He cares.

God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Every morning brings the wonderful news of God’s unfailing love! No matter how bad or good yesterday might have been, today is a new day full of His grace and love. Praise God!

Because of my renewed habit, God’s unfailing love is the first thing on my mind each day. Despite what else may happen, my focus is on the Lord.

In the midst of stressful decisions and transitions, God’s unfailing love is an anchor.

When I receive bad news unexpectedly, His love brings hope and strength.

When I just don’t know what to do, I know He is trustworthy.

When confusion comes, His love is reliable. He brings clarity and keeps me steady.

Jesus is my helper and my sustainer, my rock and my refuge. He protects, comforts, and delivers me. His love knows no bounds.

His love IS inexhaustible, limitless, unending, eternal, always, forever, continual, secure, dependable, reliable, steadfast, sure, complete, active, competent, constant, persistent, solid, never gives up, perfect, trustworthy, sufficient, unchanging, non-judgmental, and unconditional. 🙂

Nothing catches God Almighty off guard. My circumstances are no match in comparison to how much He loves me!! With a heavenly ‘life vest’ kind of love, He hugs me close and carries me to safety. Despite challenges and setbacks, I know with God’s powerful strength, abundant grace, and unfailing love, I have Victory!

And, the more I think about His unfailing love, the more I am changed.


Awesome Father, I love you! Thank You for loving me so much! Help me remember to turn to you all throughout the day. Help me rest in your unfailing love and extend your wonderful grace to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: What does ‘unfailing love’ mean to you? Have you put on your ‘life vest’ today?

Tasks: Think about or pray through Psalm 143:8 and see how it impacts your day. Or, join the next HelloMornings challenge!


The Greatest Gift

After Lydia’s birthday in November, we sent out around ten thank you notes. Her job was to decorate each card with stickers. So when she started grumbling, I told her, “Well, if you aren’t grateful, I’ll just tell everyone NOT to send you gifts next year. Then, you won’t have to worry about saying thanks.” That seemed to do the trick!

Then, on Monday night, we read the Nativity story at bedtime. We’ve been reading the Jesus Storybook Bible. I love how each story ends by pointing back to the Lord!

I usually ask Lydia questions to see if she can recall the main points.

Lydia has been interested in the night sky for several months. So the other night, we discussed the special star God placed in the sky at Jesus’ birth. She asked about the gifts Jesus received from the wise men. We chatted about frankincense, gold, and myrrh.

I also asked, “Did you know Jesus is the greatest gift we could ever receive?!”

Naturally, with Lydia’s birthday not too far from Christmas, this intrigued her. “So then, why do we give each other gifts?” She wondered out loud.

“Well, we show God’s love through our gifts.” I replied, in awe that she even asked. “It’s one way to celebrate what Jesus has done for us.”

When it comes to Christmas, I’ve been upfront with Lydia about Santa Claus. I have nothing against Santa, but I prefer to focus on Jesus and teach Lydia about Him.

And yes, Lydia knows not to tell her friends about Santa! Though, it is a little funny when an adult asks her, “So, what’s Santa bringing you for Christmas?”

In those moments, Lydia looks confused and concerned…like she’s thinking… “Wait, they don’t know about him?! …Well, I’m not going to tell them. Hmm…but what should I say?”

Up until last year, Santa wasn’t an issue for us. But then Lydia’s imagination kicked into high gear, and she started asking what was real and what was pretend. It became difficult to explain the nuances of make-believe cartoons versus shows with real actors.

Lydia questioned, “Is the person in that movie real?” I didn’t think much about it at first. “Well, yes. The person really exists, but he’s an actor who is pretending.”

Before long, Bible characters were examined, too. “Mom, was Jonah real?” … “Hey, my Daddy’s name was David! … So was King David real too?”

I answered Lydia’s questions, but was unsure if she understood.

When the holidays came, Lydia quickly applied the same ‘logic’ to Santa. “Why does the Santa on tv look different from this one in the book…and the one at the mall?”

I felt the need to address Lydia’s confusion in a truthful, yet sensitive way.

I decided to tell her the truth about Santa using a familiar example. “You know how Daniel Tiger (a PBS cartoon) is not REALLY real? He’s make-believe. Well, Santa is not REALLY real either. It’s fine that everyone talks about him, but he is just pretend.”

(Yes, St. Nicholas was real, but Santa has become quite different in our culture.)

Lydia took it fairly well. For about ten seconds, she looked a little surprised. “Oh.” And, then she asked about Rudolph, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. “Yep, their pretend too.” Twenty seconds later, with a quick, “Oh, okay,” she was onto the next thing, unfazed!

For me, this all is pertinent because there are bigger concepts at stake. Dave died when Lydia was not quite 18 months old; therefore, she doesn’t really remember him. So, over the years, I’ve done my best to answer questions about Dave and Heaven. Still, she occasionally she gets fuzzy on the details.

But whenever her thoughts drift toward Dave, I don’t want Lydia to ever doubt that Dave—and his love for her—was real! He loved her so very much!

Similarly, I never want Lydia to be confused about Jesus, because He is our only true hope in this chaotic world. Jesus and His love for us are most certainly real!

Last night, as I wrote this post, I asked Lydia, “Does it make you sad that Santa isn’t real?” To my surprise, she shrugged and answered, “No.”

Curious, I asked, “Really? Why not?” Lydia didn’t hesitate in her answer. “I’m not sad, because I still get gifts!” I laughed at how simple it is for her. Lydia isn’t going to sweat Santa; she knows she is loved. And to her, the gifts are evidence of that love.

Clearly, each child and each family is different. Therefore, everyone should handle these topics in their own way. But as Lydia reminded me, when talking about Santa and gifts: “Mom, Jesus loves me MORE than that!” Yes, Jesus truly is the greatest gift ever.


Father God, thank You for the gift of Jesus! In Him, we have everything we need. Help us be generous with others and spread Your love in all we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: How do you handle Santa in your home? What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

Tasks: Consider ways to highlight Jesus this season. Check out Because of Bethlehem by Max Lucado. For kids, check out Star from Afar!

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.