You are very beautiful, always well put together, well spoken, and have a great sense of humor.  I love you for all those traits.  You are a delight to be with and around.

You are the perfect child.  Well mannered, focused, successful, well liked, respectful, and a beautiful person inside and out.  I love you and you have made me so proud.

You are the perfect friend.  We love all the same things-long bike rides, swimming, workouts, running, and those trips to the gym.  The icing on the cake are the adventure trips we take.  We have a perfect friendship.

Did you notice the common thread running through all this?  The perfection is always contingent upon performance.  Our Small Group Study Search for Significance devotes a great deal of verbiage to the "Performance Trap".  We are only worthy of love and acceptance IF we perform up to snuff.  There has been times in my life when I felt mired in that trap.  The sad thing is--even if I could perform as expected--the aura of success was short lived.  The burning question quickly became--what can I do next to keep your esteem?

The world values performance and beauty.  Guess what---Mother Nature wins--and you cannot keep all these balls in the air forever.  Look to The Word--beauty is fleeting and aging is inevitable.  Our children, unlike puppets become teenagers and rebellion is the norm of the day.  The body is one accident or illness away from decline.  If we are performing to maintain our relationships--they are shallow and doomed to failure.  

How many people love us unconditionally?  Who looks at us without expectations?  There are examples of this unconditional love, but I dare say, they are the exception not the norm.  Who loves us in spite of our warts, wrinkles, and failures?  Sometimes our parents, but not always.  Sometimes our spouse, but not always.  Sometimes our friends, but not always.

There is only one who loves us in spite of who we are---God Almighty.  He not only loves us, in spite of, but because of who we are.  His unique creations--made in His own image---flawed--yet perfected through Jesus.  He loves us--if our reflection would break a mirror; He loves us if we are bound and determined to make a mess of our lives.  He loves us even when we fail to perform to our friends' expectations.  He loves us --no strings attached.  Perfection! His acceptance is never contingent--His love is always present--and He never withdraws or fails us.  He loves us--no strings attached.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!


At those special moments of spiritual highs--it is so easy to say
"God Is Good"  and yes, indeed, He is good.

When that long anticipated baby makes his first lustful cry,
and tears of joy threaten to leak down your face-
God is Good.

When a loved one in need of a medical miracle,
turns the corner and returns to good health-
God is Good.

When the last day of cold turns to the first glimpse of Spring,
and the glories of new growth shine all around-
God is Good

When the early days of infatuation leads to until death parts us,
and you step off side by side to a lifetime journey-
God is Good.

When laughter springs from tears,
and joy comes from despair-
God is Good.

When all is right with the world,
and the sun warmly shines upon your head-
God is Good.

But-when things go wrong--horribly-terribly--wrong
And all seems lost-
God is Good.

When we say goodbye to those we love,
after begging for them to be spared-
God is Good.

When nature turns lethal,
And disaster and destruction rule the day-
God is Good.

When a lifetime partnership becomes broken at some point,
by death or simply walking away-
God is Good.

When tears fill your days and laughter disappears,
and your faith is tested to the breaking point-
God is Good.

So often I see or hear the comment, "God is Good"-
yes, He is.  Goodness is one of the attributes of God
which cannot be changed or questioned.
Seldom though do I hear of God's goodness
when the world has turned upside down.

When the world is at its worst--He is still good.
Though we do not understand the why's
We Do know He loves us beyond our capacity to understand.
He is faithful
He is our provider
He is by our side--omnipresent.
He is God and He is Good.
On the best day of your life
and the very worst day you can imagine,
God is Good.

And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
Luke 18:19









I am learning a great deal about myself during our small group study of Search for Significance.  I am going out on a limb here and telling you if you have never read this book--PLEASE consider doing so.  It has been one AHA! after another as the study has progressed.

One of the worldly traps to which I have fallen victim is the Performance Trap.  Here in the final chapters of my life, I discover there have been many a goal I have chased--for temporary gain.  When we begin to place our self worth on our next achievement, we begin the slide down the slippery slope to despair.  For you see, there is always one more hurdle to jump, one more golden ring, one more award, one more achievement in the never ending treadmill leading to absolutely nowhere.  I have allowed man's approval to become my drug of choice to which I am addicted.  No matter how much approval I get, I always want more. "When we evaluate ourselves by our performance, we're ultimately going to lose, no matter how successful we are at the moment."

It has not been enough to chase the elusive laurel wreath of victory in one area, I have turned virtually every area of my life into a competition against myself.  Whatever I have achieved today is soon over shadowed by the next one more thing.  Putting all my apples in the performance basket has lead to a basket full of rotting apples destined for the garbage heap of forgotten ribbons, trophies, and medals.   

Bottom line, my quest for man's approval has become my golden idol.  "Consciously or unconsciously, all of us have experienced this feeling that we must meet certain arbitrary standards to attain self-worth.  Failure to do so threatens our security and significance."  I have lost my way as I aimlessly stroll down the path in search for acceptance and significance.

  I have forgotten The One to whom I am most significant.  God's truth is reliable and His Word is filled with the assurance of His love for us.  "God's truth is the only reality that can help our thinking to be conformed to His, so that our self-esteem is based on how He values us."  In layman's terms, God loves us first and best.  Man's approval is fleeting and temporary, but God's approval is eternal.

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? 
Or am I striving to please men?
 If I were still trying to please men,
 I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10


We are hearing a series of lessons at the church I attend on "Fountains".  Today was the second in the series and I would love for you to go HERE and listen to last Sunday and yesterday's message.  I have been challenged and moved by what our pastor is teaching.  Last week he gave us a quote from Ernie Johnson, "I want to be a fountain, and not a drain."

This is a beautiful imagery of how we all should look.  Pouring out the love God has so lavishly blessed us with on those in our world.  Being the hands and feet of Christ here on this earth.  What a blessing to be allowed to serve others in His name.

Perhaps it comes with the season of life I find myself, but there seems to be a world of hurt and pain all around me.  Death, illness, loss of job, economic failings, loss of all kinds---the list goes on and on.  The list is long and the needs are great.  It is always a privilege to be asked to pray, but it also can become quite over-whelming when the needs are so great.   

After visiting with a sweet friend last week, I tweeted what God had laid on my heart after our conversation.  "Sometimes we are so deep in the trenches of spiritual warfare, we cannot see the vast army of praying Saints surrounding us.  God is our defender!"  AND as I blogged last week, do not be shy about asking God for BIG things.  I am not speaking of earthly riches, I am speaking of big things in God's economy.  

There are times of great loss, great stress, great pain, and great despair when the pump on our fountain slows and sometimes stalls.  And our drain--the drain is stuck in full open.  We are clinging to the lifeblood of truth and unable to pour ourselves out on anyone else.  Life is sucking the very well spring of truth from us.  THAT is when the army of Saints steps up and steps in and pours out over us.  We are covered in the prayers of the righteous who come forward to refill our fountain when we are wounded and drained.  The Saints pour out on us the Balm of Gilead and He hears and works to heal.

What a beautiful vision---surrounded by Saints filling our fountain--faster than the world can drain it---they stand in the gap and fill it again.  

So thankful to be used by God to pour out on His Beloved.  What joy to pour His love upon those who are hurting.  

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Ephesians 6:18


Recently two dear friends were sitting in their swing, passing the time together, when he had a small stroke.  For a brief period of time, he was out, but he never knew it.  When she finally roused him, he did not realize he had been zoned out at all.  If she had not been sitting there, they would never have known to pursue what was wrong.

The doctor confirmed what the wife already suspected and it was determined he had 100% blockage of one of his carotid arteries.  The really scary thing about 100% blockage is you are not a candidate for surgery.  The friend had additional tests run a couple of days later that showed the other carotid was 90% blocked.  This is NOT good news.  They were referred to a specialist to potentially have surgery on the 90% artery.

The surgeon determined he was not a candidate for surgery due to other prior health conditions.  This left the only viable option of a stent--which carried its on risk.

At the end of that week, they put him in the hospital for a dye test to see what they could do.  All the family came and a couple of us friends went as additional support.  The doctor told them the 90% blocked artery was totally clear that day.  WOW!  And then the daughter told her mother, that is what I was praying for--it to be gone---totally clear!  I am embarrassed to say though I prayed for a safe procedure and good news, it never occurred to me to ask God to clear that gunk out of that artery.  YE-OF LITTLE FAITH!

Another test is run and the doctor sees the possibility of putting a stent in the fully blocked artery, if the plug has not hardened.  Fast forward a couple of days and we are back in the waiting room while the procedure is done.  It turns out the artery is not 100% blocked but 80% and he is able to get a stent in.  PRESTO--we go from a waiting sentence to when is he going to throw a clot and have a stroke ~to both arteries being open and pumping life giving blood to the brain.

As My Friend and I sat and discussed all of this after her husband went to ICU, she told me something I will never forget.  When I shared I was disappointed in myself for not asking God what her daughter did ~ a miracle, she understood.  She told me the daughter told her a long time ago, we put God in a box when we don't boldly ask for BIG THINGS!  He is the Creator, the Great Physician, the Giver of Life---WHY would we think He is not capable of miracles?  Why do we limit what we ask for?  

Reflecting back on this, if the wife had not witnessed the stroke, they may have never known to pursue this.  And though many were praying, the daughter had the faith to pray specifically for a clear artery.  A few days later the doctor is able to restore full blood flow to his brain.   BUT GOD!  What a Great God we serve!  

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
Ephesians  3:20


I vividly remember one of my Aunts using the phrase, "SHAME ON YOU, MISS! "
as a tool for discouraging bad behavior.  ALL these years later, and I have this etched on my memory.  Some days I can't remember what I had for lunch the day before, but THIS from sixty years ago is permanently planted in my psyche.

Here we go again, I have started the playing and re-playing of this blast from my past through the juke box in my head.

There sure is PLENTY of junk crowding my memory bank!

Perhaps at times, I did not realize I had done something wrong.  The Crown Of Shame placed upon my head permanently embedded that wrong.  Shame always lead to guilt.  For certain, I would more than likely commit the same offense.  I can be a slow learner!  So the guilt I felt KNOWING I had crossed the line was soon followed by the shame of being discovered.  Without discovery, at times, I was let off with only the mantle of guilt.

At some point, guilt and shame became lead players in the drama I call life.  I could not let go of mistakes I had made--could not forgive myself.  The world around me continued to turn, but I found myself dragging along all the mistakes of my past.  It became a heavy load.

What I did not stop to consider was how I had always forgiven my children their mistakes.  I did not keep a record and once the consequences were paid, they were forgotten. We often read the analogy of God to our father.  If our earthly father loves us, how much more does our Heavenly Father love us?   What caused me to believe my sins were not forgivable?  

WHY was I unwilling to understand The Cross covered it all?  Why had I allowed myself to be convinced I was not forgiven?  OH, I give great lip service to understanding Jesus was the answer, but the bottom line is I had not removed my sin after my repentance, as far as the east is from the west.  Somehow, I had swallowed the enemy's lie that it was so bad--I could not be forgiven.  So shame and guilt became the driving force behind many of my decisions.  I allowed the enemy to take precious time and energy re-hashing that which God had forgiven.

This book, The Search for Significance has reminded me I have a choice to trust God and what He says about my sin, or refuse to let go of the life draining guilt and shame the enemy prefers.  Praying I can finally come to grips with The Truth.  Praying I refuse to feel guilt and shame for that which is forgiven.  Praying I understand Jesus covered ALL my sin and NONE of it is unforgivable.

Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
    be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
    and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
Isaiah 54:4


Hero, The Wonder Dog, is always teaching me.  I suppose anything we watch and observe a great deal would naturally be a great learning tool.  Hero is a needy--neurotic little guy and he is always by my side or the side of one of his humans.  (Remember he doesn't realize he is a dog--thinks he is one of us.)

As I have told you before, I take The Wonder Dog almost everyday to the Parish Park for a walk.  We make one loop around the lake (a mile and a quarter) and head back home.  That's a LONG way for his little legs.  I happened upon a conversation recently while walking him with a fellow who walked up while Hero was sniffing the green off a blade of grass.  After a brief conversation, I left the path, I told the man we only made one loop since Hero's legs were so short.  He told me I would have to make 6 loops based upon the difference in our leg length to equal his efforts.  I DIGRESS!

We occasionally make the big loop around the perimeter of the park.  It had not rained for all of two days this week when I decided I needed a change of scenery and we would walk the perimeter.  Hero is good to go when we first start this route.  The beginning of the path is a fire break and wide enough to drive a car on.  The first right angle turn we make though soon has us on a narrow path through the woods.  Hero immediately clues in to the fact that he has been duped.  He comes to a dead stop and turns his head back to the way we came from.  NO amount of coaxing can get him moving forward which necessitates me picking him up and carrying him for a while.  (Seriously-I am out to walk the dog and end up carrying him--WHAT is wrong with this picture!)

Hero is a city dog.  He was found wandering the city streets of Fort Worth  He likes sidewalks and paved roads.  This strolling through the woods is completely out of his comfort zone.  I have to force the issue from time to time.  BUT if Hero had not gone with me on the stroll through the woods that day, he would have missed a big thrill.  Trying to avoid the water on the trails, we cut through the woods to hit a dryer trail.  Low and behold, we spooked four or five deer,.  He JUMPED into action convinced he could chase down the biggest four legged creatures he had ever seen.  His tail waved in the air and he snorted and blew with all his might.  And those big creatures ran from him. HE LOVED IT!  Had we NOT gotten out of Hero's comfort zone and taken the trail less traveled he would have never seen them and missed thinking HE scared the big guys off!  The deer do not come out in the open when folks are walking around the lake, so there is no chance we will run up on one walking around the lake.  He had a new spring in his step (well except for when I had to carry him up the hill he thought too steep) for the rest of the walk.

The book our small group is studying Search of Significance addresses the lies from Satan we have believed and the impact they have had on our lives.  One of these lies produces "The Fear of Failure".  We become so fearful of the pain of failure that we withdraw and refuse to try.  What wonders have we missed when we don't even attempt things?  The very first hiking trip I went on, within a few hundred feet I was defeated and thinking I can't do this.  The acclimation to high altitude is tough--even if you are in great shape, especially for a flat lander.  If I had accepted the message of the voice in my head--the wonders I would have missed!  There are times, My Friends, it is better to try and fail than to take the safe route of never attempting.  If you never walk into that crowd of strangers, who might you miss?  If you are afraid of getting hurt, what thrills might you miss?  And if you are unwilling to share the story of God in your life, who might be eternally impacted?

I have cried many a tear over loosing pets.  I swore I would never have another one, with the cost of caring for a dog, the fact they tie you down and then you love them and they die some day.  What lessons I would have missed had I not taken Hero in when he became injured!

9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
 Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,
 for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9


There is a string of loose association going on in my head that includes using song titles and lyrics which coordinates with a life occurrence.  It is a lifetime collage of song titles at this point.

We will skip all the baby songs, since honestly I do not remember being a baby~much less if here were song titles that named this period.  I was only the baby of the family for three and a half years, before Mama's favorite came along.  He was really a beautiful baby--beauty was important to Mama.  The oldest was really brilliant--brains were really important to Mama.  And then there was me---the song that comes to mind "Stuck in the middle".

Then there were all those middle years.  The Beatles had a plethora of songs which described these years including "Here Comes the Sun" and "All You Need Is Love".  Let's not forget The King and "Fools Rush In" and "All Shook Up".  

One of my all time favorites is "I've buried the hatchet, but the handle is still sticking out."  There is nothing to add to this lyric!

Here I am, somehow in the waning years---the final chapters.  Toby Keith describes it perfectly, "Not As Good As I Once Was."  And NO song is truer to real life than "I Can't Sleep"!  Once again, The Beatles capture the spirit of what I am trying to say with "Yesterday" and "The Long and Winding Road."  Let's face it The Beatles were great philosophers without realizing it.

WHERE am I going?  What brought all this to mind is the song title that popped in my head for the Bible Study we are currently doing.  The book Search for Significance was obviously written with me in mind.  In the first chapter the song that hit me and keeps replaying is "Looking for Love in All The Wrong Places."  There will be more on the book in future posts, but suffice it to say I have been convicted.  My life long search for love has lead me down many a trail, when ALL the time God was right there by me--Loving Me!  

 The LORD your God is in your midst, 
a mighty one who will save;
 he will rejoice over you with gladness;
 he will quiet you by his love;
 he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah  3:17


It's not EVERYDAY you witness a miracle.  But HERE YOU HAVE IT, Friends, PROOF!  As I walked the Wonder Dog around the park lake, I witnessed a turtle walking on water.  It was truly amazing!  AND, he was walking so slow--it was almost as if he were standing on the water--not walking.  Miracles NEVER cease and wonders are all around us before our very eyes! 

OKAY--perhaps Mr. Turtle was sitting on a branch which was just below the surface of the water.  It DID look like he was standing on water-especially without my glasses on!  

Some of the great minds, declare the day of miracles is over.  Miracles only happened during the time of Jesus to show us Who He was.  And then there are those who declare we lack faith and there is the possibility of miracles even today.  I confess, I am getting in WAY above my head here!  I do know the apostles performed miracles after the resurrection of Jesus as recorded in the Book of Acts.  

In my mind, some days it is an absolute miracle I get out of the bed.  I would tell you the mind is willing, but the body is weak, but the truth of the matter is there are days I am exhausted--physically and mentally.  No matter how tired I am though, my internal clock rings and I manage to throw the covers off and get out of the bed.  And the real miracle-once I get up --I am ready to go!

Watch the birth of a baby---TELL me there are not miracles!  Having been a part of this miracle three times--let me tell you of the wonder of a baby growing inside your abdomen.  How could anyone see a baby being born not believe in miracles?  The only thing to compare to seeing the miracle of my own babies was the birth of my grand babies.  I have no words to describe the depth of that miracle.

We are about to witness one of my favorite miracles--the arrival of Spring.  It is truly amazing--here we are in the last day of February and there are signs of Spring all around.  This is a hydrangea bush which will produce beautiful blooms this summer.  After the first killing frost, I cut it back and here are the new leaves budding out already.

The human body is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and amazing miracles.  When you think about the intricacies of how we work--it is beyond our comprehension. There are 27 bones in the human hand--TWENTY SEVEN! An absolute engineering miracle to watch it work.  We obviously cannot create an android to match it--man could never replicate the complexity of human emotions.  None of us are exactly alike--there is always something unique--even about identical twins.  What a miracle!

How could you look upon this earth, this universe, the nature that surrounds us, the complexity of all creation and not believe in a Living God.  How could you think it all JUST evolved.  There are miracles--everyday there are miracles.  Who is to say God is not still in the business of performing miracles?  The God I worship--He is a God of miracles--day in--day out--there are miracles all around us!  What a MIGHTY GOD we serve!

And awe came upon every soul,
and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.
Acts 2:43