Category Archives: Inspiration

Sound Bites

shattered heart

chamomile yellows low to the shifting
ground, another boot is keeping toes
from knowing what grows below.

the rain is washing blood
the sun wasting time on fresh graves
the wind is way ahead of soundless music.

sirens, bulletins, bullets;
new vocabulary words
at the kindergarten.

smiling through scars
shared meals prepare
to heal survivors

families break bread
stones break windows
poems break into silence.

Dandelion Bouquets

Photo courtesy of starblue at

Oh how thankful I am for grubby little boy hands filled with clumps of wilting dandelions.

The Stargazer Lily

Of all flowers

Reigns supreme

On my list


Not for its beauty

But for its meaning


‘Twas the first blossom

                        Given me by the man

                                                I will forever love


Placed on my pillow

By the gentle hands of

The thief of my heart


But the Dandelion

Oh the Dandelion

Follows close behind


Not for its beauty

But for its meaning


‘Twas the first blossom

                        Given me by three little men

                                                I will forever love


Presented in dirty fistfuls

By boys with beaming faces

The thieves of my heart


Surely my days of dandelion bouquets are coming to a close.


For beaming little boys

Do not stay little

And in growing awareness

Of the world


They learn

Dandelions are weeds

Of little value


What they do not comprehend

Is the value lies not in the bouquet

But in the giver of the gift


A beaming dirty-fisted boy

Eager to show his mama his love

November pic 2

Thankfulness in the Mundane Leads to Rest in the Sublime

Learning to Rest in the Sublime

Thankfulness, for the child of God, doesn’t come from a place of circumstances – it comes from a place of sheer trust. Sincere thankfulness is rooted in a deep knowledge of the God in whom we have believed. Sincere thankfulness rejoices in the mundane because it rests in the sublime.

This sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?

sublime 3But God instructs His child to be thankful in all things because this is “the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning me.”

All things.

Not just those things that cause our hearts to smile.

All things.

Even those things that shatter our hearts into a million pieces.

All things.

I’m learning to do this, but it’s not easy. I’m learning to rest in the knowledge that the Creator of the Universe knows me by name and nothing takes Him by surprise. I’m learning that He is for me and because He is for me, who can dare to be against me? And I’m learning that He really does love me – not just in rhetoric and timeless tradition, but He loves me with an everlasting love. From a Father’s heart.

And He loves you.

sublime 4For every ounce of sorrow, He fills me with overflowing streams of joy.

When despair consumes me, He sets me free with hope.

When anger seeks to destroy me and peace evades my spirit, He breaks every chain with forgiveness and compassion – He restores my soul.

Yes, I’m learning to rest in the knowledge of who He is. And in that knowledge comes thankfulness. Deep, sincere, heartfelt thankfulness.

I want to challenge you to do the same. I won’t pretend that it’s easy, especially in the beginning, because it’s not. But I will promise you that if you will take God at His Word, trust Him with your heart and life, and thank Him in all things, you will find His peace that passes all understanding.

And when your heart expresses thankfulness in the mundane, You too will rest in the sublime.

What else?

"But it's on sale!"

“But it’s on sale!”

More. I need more. Not sure what, but I’m sure there’s something out there calling my name. Could be clothes, something for my kids, maybe home décor. I just know I need something. But I don’t spend money recklessly. I won’t pay full price for it. I’ll buy on sale, used, or even at a garage sale.

That was me a few years ago. I felt this inexplicable need to get more. And when we moved into a bigger house with a lot more space, I went wild, even filling the basement. I wasn’t a hoarder, just an accumulator.

But still I wasn’t satisfied.

Then I met Bryan. He was quiet, strong, and happy with what he had. His house wasn’t huge, but it was comfortable and paid for. His cars weren’t the newest, but they ran and were in good condition. I didn’t understand his contentment, but I wanted it. Now!

When we talked about his sense of satisfaction, he said he learned to just be thankful for what he had. That made him content with his possessions and not want more. Huh? That’s too simple. There had to be more than that, or I would have figured it out by now.

After we married and combined households, there wasn’t room for me to bring home a lot of new things. I was itching to get out and buy something – anything.

Then we moved into a larger house to make room for all of us and our “stuff.” Finally! I could start shopping. But when I mentioned to Bryan something I thought of getting, he asked me why I needed it. He wasn’t telling me not to buy it, just asking me to think about it first. When I considered it and took time to ponder why, I couldn’t come up with a good reason.

When I wanted a new mixer, he asked what was wrong with the one we already had.

My old yellow mixer

My old yellow mixer

It was a Oster and worked fine. But it was old and yellow and didn’t match the kitchen, so I just wanted a new one in red. No other reason than I wanted it. Well, he didn’t say that I couldn’t buy one, but his question kept me from running out to spend money on a whim.

Then I discovered the phrase that kept me shopping. And buying. And eating.

What else?

Okay, I have the blouse I was looking for, so what else does this store have that I might want? I got everything on my grocery list, so what else is there that I’d like? And I cleaned my plate at dinner, so what else is there to eat? That’s when my discontentment took over. I wasn’t satisfied with what I had, so I continually looked for something else.

When I stopped asking what else? I learned to be content.

Chances are, I don’t need everything that catches my eye. If I just look around and thank God for what I have, I’ll save time, energy, and money I used to spend getting more and more.

My new -- cheaper -- mixer!

My new — cheaper — mixer!

It’s now 20 years later, and the Oster finally died. I decided long ago that it was just fine, and I preferred having money in my pocket to purchasing a mixer that matches my kitchen décor. Since I used it infrequently, it didn’t really matter that it was yellow and old. It worked and I was thankful for it. Its replacement isn’t another high-priced model. It’s a national brand, but only cost $50.

And I’m just as thankful for the new one.

That’s the clue to having enough – being thankful, and not always seeking more.

It’s that time of year. First, we give thanks, then the next day we buy things we really can’t afford to give people stuff they really don’t want. Instead, let’s take a minute to just be thankful for what we already have. It may not be much, but if we don’t keep spending money, our belongings will be paid for and we can give thanks that we don’t have outrageous credit card bills.

That’s something to be thankful for!

One Life Can Change Everything

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iafpostonelifeTwenty-six years ago, I was directed to a newly formed “New Beginnings” Sunday School class. My wounds, still fresh from a punt kick to the heart, made me wonder if I’d ever fit into a Southern Baptist Church.

I dropped the boys off at their classrooms and nervously proceeded to a little brick house perfectly situated on the church campus. I couldn’t help but wonder what or who awaited me behind the six-paneled door. Could there really be other young divorcees in this church who might relate to my circumstances? I inhaled as much courage two lungs would allow, turned the knob, and slowly opened the door.

A quick survey of the room left me both stunned and delighted as I noticed the majority of the group were older men and women who had been widowed.

Immediately, a woman who’d agreed to co-lead the new class stepped up, wrapped her arms around me, and welcomed me with a warm smile that could melt any barrier guarding the heart. Her name was Lavana Pitts.

Over the next few months, I attended a masquerade for our group at Lavana’s home and hopped on the church bus for a local fish fry, among other things. This group of men and women embraced me despite my sinful past. Unconditional love defined. The love of Christ fleshed out.

One life can change everything.

This past Sunday, I drove back to that church in my hometown to attend Lavana’s visitation services.

As I made my way home, I couldn’t help but wonder how things might be different for me today had she not stepped up to help lead a new class so many years ago. What if she’d been too busy or too timid to step out on faith?

Lavana loved well. Served well. Prioritized well.

And as a result, many will be forever grateful. Who will say the same about us?

Lavana Pitts

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 
Matthew 25:23 ESV

God Sparkles in Our Darkness



While in Dallas, Tx attending the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference in the Fall of 2007, God set something in motion that I would have never imagined.

The final night culminated at the ACFW Banquet. As my fellow writers and I found our table, Janet Richardson walked past me. The “Idaho” on her name tag shined like a bright light. I touched her arm, and introduced myself. We were both a far cry from our mountain homes. And, even though Janet lived 10 hours from me in Bonner’s Ferry near the Canadian border, we became fast “conference friends.” The Idaho on each other’s tags made us feel immediately at “home” with each other.

Yet, like God, He had something so much more.

As I limped around that conference, Janet learned that I’d hurt my knee while stocking shelves at the local health food store about a month prior. And, when we parted ways, she promised that both she and her husband, Del, would pray for me.

Following the ACFW Conference in the Fall, Janet would email or give me a call for updates. She and Del prayed me through surgery in December, and I had significant improvement. But, by March of 2008, my life took a drastic turn. My surgeon decided to give me a series of pharmaceutical injections into my knee. 

What happened in the following months and years could be viewed as nothing more than a nightmare for me.

A devastating wave of adverse reactions ripped through my body, as they ripped apart my life. I went from hiking up mountains in the Northern Rockies to ski down them—several times in a single day, to not being able to get out of bed.

When the symptoms first came on, I thought, “This will pass in a few days, or a week at the most.” And, “Certainly the doctors or the pharmaceutical company would have a solution to what I experienced?”

Yet, months, and what eventually turned into years later, I spent most of my life in bed.

An intense burning sensation moved from the injection site, into another joint, and down my leg. It then traveled up my leg to my spine, and like a powerful electrical volt, zipped up into the base of my brain. As tremors vibrated throughout my body and my brain, I experienced systemic numbness, random body jerks, difficulty breathing, a racing heart, leg cramps, loss of coordination and balance. My whole body trembled, and my skin, including the inside of my mouth, stayed sticky, no matter how many showers I took or water I could drink. And living alone in in a mountain cabin, I’d often wake up on the floor, surrounded by vomit and more.

And, to make living even more challenging, I developed severe, life-threatening chemical intolerances. This meant that contact, whether smelling or touching or consuming, anything artificial put my life at risk.

Fragrances—lotions, candles, perfumes, laundry detergence, fabric softener, air-fresheners. Off-gassing of anything “new”—buildings, carpet, clothing; chlorinated anything, and a long list of other etc.

All of these modern-day products make me very sick.

The injection overloaded my detoxification system, and my body could not handle anything more.

This was pure hell!

Heaven sounded so much better than what had turned into “my life.” During this time, I prayed for God to deliver me from it all, and just take me to heaven to be with Him.

All the while, I’d get emails or calls from Janet, checking on me. Assuring me that she and Del prayed for me daily. Her calls and care helped me through the pain, the isolation, the lack of understanding, the rejection, that only added to the darkness of it all.

b&w clouds

By, the Summer of 2008, Janet asked if they could come visit me. She and Del wanted to check on me in person and pray for me, and simply visit.  When they arrived at my door a week or so later, Janet’s sweet smiling face filled my heart. And, I finally met Del in person.

Following dinner, Del began to share what had brought them 10 hours from their home to mine.

Del took regular morning prayer walks in his own mountain town. One particular morning, as he lifted me up to God like he’d done many times, he said that God gave him a vision of me. And, Del made sure to tell me that he wasn’t one to see or get visions often, but this one was clear.

“You were flying over Teton Valley, spreading God’s love and light, and the enemy of God shot you down. You lay wounded on the ground.”

He hurried home to share what God had shown him with Janet. They then went about their day, as they planned a dream trip to Alaska. They would leave in a few weeks.

Del went up to his home office, and Janet busied herself in their living area. Later that day, Janet hollered for Del to come quickly. A bird had flown into their window and dropped onto their deck. Janet pleaded for Del to pray for the bird.

Del admitted that after he saw the bird laying on the deck, he thought, “Okay, honey, I’ll pray for this dead bird.”

But, to please his wife, Del lifted the bird into his hands, and began to pray. To his surprise, the bird then opened its eyes and lifted its head. And, as he watched the bird fly away, Del looked at Janet and said, “Honey, we can’t go to Alaska. We need to go pray for Jennifer.”

Janet agreed. They cancelled their trip to Alaska. They began to make plans to travel hundreds of miles to pray for a mere acquaintance who God had placed on their heart … for such a time as this.

While at my cabin, they prayed for me. We visited some more. And, the next morning they began their journey back home.

My heart filled up amid their presence, God’s presence in them. My eyes welled up with tears knowing that God knew I needed His touch through this “something more.” He knew these two vessels would answer His call to minister to me at my darkest hour(s) of need.

In need of hope. In need of knowing that God never leaves me, nor forsakes me. (Duet 31:6) In need of experiencing something that could ONLY come from Him.

Did I miraculously get up off of the floor and fly away that summer day?


But, what I did do is trust God even more. I stopped praying to leave earth. I gained more faith as I recalled all of the prior times of suffering that God had allowed, and He showed up. All of the gifts that flowed from the times when my heart was broken, or my body survived a snowmobile accident, or the time He met me in Tijuana, Mexico for life-saving treatments.

These are the times He builds testimonies of more than being physically healed, but being healed to stand spiritually stronger, in spite of our flesh.

I knew that when God was ready, I would be healed.

One can merely reflect on the story of Jesus and Lazarus to see that timing is everything. That it’s a journey for the glory of God.

Mary, the sister of Lazarus, had pleaded for Jesus to heal her brother in John 11. This was a close friend of Jesus who he loved.

Instead of acting on Mary’s initial plea—which was filled with much faith, he waited two more days to even start the trip to Bethany. This was the town where Lazarus lived, and at that point, where he lay dead in a tomb. Jesus knew this. His disciples begged him not to go, because what would be the point? And, the people of Bethany would stone him to death.

Yet, Jesus followed the direction of his Father. He knew that what God had planned something far greater than being healed of an illness.

He would raise Lazarus from the dead.

As I journey through this life, still experiencing many ups and downs due to chemicals all around, I know that God’s timing for His glory is perfect in all areas of life.

My life. Your life. The life that is a gift to us all.

To those who walked alongside of me through that dark valley back in Idaho for 3.5 years, I am HEALED. They saw the depths of what had occurred, and the height of where I am today. To those who walk with me today in South Louisiana, they want me healed even more.

And, I do, too.

Yet, I will not complain about “manna”, or wanting more of something physical! I walk in thankfulness as I recall where I’ve been.

I focus on the gifts along the way. The wisdom my Father has revealed to take better care of this temple He entrusted to me. The knowledge to share with others to prevent sub-thriving health. The way God’s Light continues to shine upon each step that I am to take.  The boundaries established by this condition that keeps me on a different path than what I would have chosen the past decade of my life. And, the gifts that have come along the way.

I may not be free of chemical sensitivities and detoxification issues at this time, but five years later, God’s miracles took me to places I’d never dreamed I could go. While laying on that cabin floor, all alone in Idaho the thought of going to Africa never seemed possible. Yet, God took me to Swaziland, to Mozambique, and to South Africa to meet His children in a vulnerable world. He took me back to my home state of Louisiana to do a deeper work than I could imagine within my heart.

And, I look forward to where He takes me even more!

Boys in Swaziland

I may not be able to handle the chemicals of this world, but God handles my life in the most fulfilling ways. By letting me know that it’s ALL Him, and ALL for Him. And, that’s the greatest purpose for my life. Nothing else compares!

Water Line

Photo courtesy of & Foundry

Raindrops connect us to the clouds,
sometimes in whisper, sometimes
in a bullhorn from the balcony,
getting wet is getting the message.

Like love, at the border of a family,
there’s always never enough to go around
unless we stand in it, faces up,
hands outstretched like pails and a chalice.

It’s up there, what we need down here.
Balloons, kites, and prayers know this;
the falling down, the coming to terms,
is the simple miracle of our blue planet.

Wet back, dry throat,
the clouds migrate across oceans of sand.
A cup of water to the least of these
is grace breaking open the damned.

I Love to Explore New Trails

I’ve always loved to explore. How about you? I think my love of wandering through the woods began as a child. Behind the home where I grew up was “a valley” as we called it, with trees and a little stream. It was the perfect place to wander and imagine.

I guess not all trails are happy ones. I do remember an adventure with my own children. We were on vacation at a state park. It second trail picturewas lovely, and there were definitely lots of trails to explore. So, we picked one. The only problem was that somewhere along the path we lost our way. The trail wasn’t as clear to us. After walking and walking AND WALKING, we came to a road. I assured my kids that we could follow the road (although not as lovely) to get back to the lodge. I also explained that no one we knew would see us. There was no embarrassment about losing our way. Yes. I did say that. It was just before a car zoomed past us with a family from our own town, including several teens who attended school with my children. Sigh.

trail to sunny placeNonetheless, I am still drawn to trails. One thing that I love about the trail in the picture is the promise of a sunny, happy place at the end. I hope that my books are like that, places of adventure that lead the reader to a new place.

Are you an author? What do you dream for your books? Are you a reader? What trails of exploration do you like in books?

Why Discernment Is Inspiring


IAFdiscernDiscernment isn’t a comfortable word, and some might even venture to say it’s not all that inspiring either, but I believe it to be one of the most uplifting words in the Bible.

If you’ve turned on the TV in recent months, you know how vital discernment is if we’re to live not only live inspiring lives but moreover, truth-based ones. False teaching is prevalent in today’s society but thanks be to Christ and His Word, we as His followers, have the ability to discern truth from error. This sets my heart ablaze knowing I don’t have to, nor should I, be led astray.

Discernment basically means having the ability to recognize the difference between truth and error.

“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them — bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” 2 Peter 2:1-3

I love that the word “false” in this text is the same word we get the English word “plastic” from! Think about it. When plastic is heated up you can do practically anything with it. Bend it, shape it, mold it. Many times, false teachers try to get their crowd emotionally charged because while emotions can be a beautiful part of God’s design, the enemy can also use them to make us vulnerable. Once false teachers have us “hooked” during those moments they can say practically anything they want (always mixing in a bit of truth), and have many receive all they say as truth. They are master manipulators. But if we practice discernment, we will be able to recognize error.

Do you know what you believe? It’s an important question for us all if we’re to live truth-based, inspiring, and abundant lives because if we don’t know for ourselves what we believe (by studying the Word, praying, surrounding ourselves with biblical community) then someone else will decide it for you, and for me.

During this month of tricks or treats, let’s ground ourselves in truth like never before. After all, what’s more inspiring than seeing others living out what they truly believe?


Featured image courtesy of Tall Green Grass

Cusp Overflows


She caught the last of summer
by the sleeve, granddaughter born
two days before the Fall change.

Easy to predict strawberries
and melons, both parents are gardeners,
the dirt will turn up.

Newest human I ever met
forty five minutes in,
pounds, ounces, inches, stretch our hearts.

The light in her eyes
lights the room. Lighting
the world, starts tomorrow.

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