Category Archives: Inspiration

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.

Back-to-School Sacrifices

school supplies

It happens every year…

Back-to-school time sneaks up on me.

Before I know it, I am in the aisles of Walmart looking for notebooks, pens, and maybe some cool sticky notes. (Authors love those kind of things, you know.) Of course, I’m not alone in those aisles. The space is usually packed with parents and grandparents and their school-aged children. Someone has the school supply list in one hand and a pencil in the other. Someone is looking for the designs that will impress their friends or for the folders with cute puppies and kittens to cheer them up during classes.

Someone is looking for the best buy on those supplies.

Who can blame the bargain hunter? After all, I am THAT person, or I wouldn’t be so excited to get a good deal on the tools of my trade.

But this year, I heard something a little different. I heard more than one parent explain that part of the purchase would need to be made next time.

Times are hard for lots of folks.

school suppliesI went home feeling sad that I didn’t offer to help buy supplies for those families. I went home feeling blessed, too. I know that I was blessed with parents who always put my needs before theirs. Because of them, I never had to worry about having the right school supplies.

Maybe you are THAT parent or grandparent. Maybe you have been blessed to take care of the needs of your family, even if it means not having something you want.

Maybe you are the other parent or grandparent. You sometimes need to spread out the purchases.

And that’s okay.

Somewhere in the town where you live, a child is learning because you have made sure he has the tools he needs. I believe that he is learning so much more. I believe that because of your sacrifices of love that child is learning to love sacrificially, too. I’m thinking that Jesus kind of loves that.

Many blessings to you and the children in your family at this back-to-school time.





What Will it Cost — REALLY?

“Honey, I found one!” my husband Bryan exclaimed. “It’s a ‘67 Mustang Fastback, just like I’ve always wanted. It’s 850 miles away and needs a little work, but it’s only $7,000.”

“Well, how much would it take to restore it?” I asked.

“Not much. I’ll do most of the work myself.” (I should’ve laughed at that!)

Image courtesy of Surachai at

Image courtesy of Surachai at

Bryan had dreamed for years of owning a beautiful, restored Mustang with a souped-up engine, and now that he was retired, he had time to work on the car in our garage instead of paying a professional. What could it cost for a little paint and upholstery? I would soon learn. And learn. And learn some more.

First, we drove to St. Louis to buy the car. Expenses included gas, meals, and hotels. Then, the owner insisted that the price was higher than the agreed-upon amount. The only option Bryan had was to walk away, which he wasn’t willing to do. So a trip to an ATM covered the extra. And after we stopped at a gas station to fill up, the Mustang wouldn’t start. We had to have it shipped to Denver.

So far, the project cost several hundred dollars more than we anticipated, and we didn’t even have the car home yet!

Over the next six and a half years, Bryan bought, restored, cleaned, painted, fitted, and replaced just about every square inch of that car. It was his passion, and he worked on it faithfully every afternoon.

Image courtesy of ponsulak at

Image courtesy of ponsulak at

I wish all it cost was time, effort, and money, but there was much more involved. In addition to the usual mashed fingers and scraped arms, Bryan’s back screamed at him every once in a while, keeping him from everything, not just the Mustang.

And Bryan’s estimate of the financial cost was low. He knew I would never agree to that purchase if I realized it would cost several years and thousands of dollars.

But was it worth it? You bet.

Not only did the Mustang provide Bryan with something of value to work on, but it became a connection to get him out of his shell. When neighbors or the UPS delivery guy would drive by and see the open garage door and that gorgeous bright yellow car, they’d stop and chat. Bryan became the local “car guy,” which he loved.

He lost a lot of sleep, thinking about what needed to be done and what parts to order. But he was wide awake when it came time to actually do the work. He seemed enlivened by assembling, painting, and sanding.

When the car was completed enough to drive, he enjoyed taking it for a spin and watching heads turn as he passed other drivers. He finally had the car he wanted.

Bryan had found a larger engine, then reconditioned and installed it. The purr under the hood and the “rumpety” in the rear were music to his ears. Unfortunately, that engine proved too much for the standard radiator, so he ordered a larger one.

Then, Bryan was diagnosed with cancer. He was in severe pain and unable to work on his beloved Mustang. He would sit by the garage door and just stare at the car, but there was nothing he or anyone else could do.

Our son-in-law and a friend installed the new radiator so Bryan could hear his engine one last time. When they turned the key and the “rumpety” echoed through the garage, he smiled larger than I had ever seen. Pure joy radiated from his face.

He really DID smile when he heard the engine!

He really DID smile when he heard the engine!

A month later, Bryan was gone.

But he had the chance to realize a dream. It was worth all that it cost: all the time, effort, frustration, and money, not to mention blood, sweat, and tears.

This summer, our daughter took the car to the Rocky Mountain Mustang Roundup show in Steamboat Springs, where it won several awards.

Actual photo of Bryan's car at Mustang autocross

Actual photo of Bryan’s car at Mustang autocross

Bryan would be so proud. I know I am.

Yes, it was worth all that it cost.

Bryan painted this of his car.

Bryan painted this of his car.

Why Receiving Forgiveness is As Vital as Giving It

Piper's hand on mine.

Piper’s hand on mine.

The mark of a true disciple is joyful and consistent acceptance of God’s gracious gift of forgiveness.

With each grandchild, I’ve patiently waited for the most blessed word God ever created to be uttered from his or her tiny lips: Grammy. Let’s just say it didn’t take long for me to realize another name should’ve been chosen—an easier name, like Mi-Mi or Moo-Moo, but I couldn’t convince my husband to be Poo-Poo so I had few choices left in the matter.

Our oldest grandchild, Piper, has finally honed her Grammy-calling skills, especially when she wants gummy bears from the pantry. One thing is for sure. I never tire of hearing those whom I love call my name, but I admit there are times when one call isn’t enough to catch my full attention. As children of God, however, not one moment of our lives escapes his notice. Not one! At the whisper of His name, His love leans down as He draws closely to His child. He longs to listen, forgive, and cleanse those who are repentant of their sins and need a fresh start.

When I consider the cost required for true discipleship, the act of receiving and walking in that kind of forgiveness isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. It’s those who’ve been martyred or bullied for their faith that takes the lead.

And yet, I know, unfortunately from learning the hard way, when I refuse to receive what Christ is offering, for whatever reason—unforgiveness towards myself, guilt, shame, stubbornness, etc.—my life is left empty of divinely-driven power and authority. And the cost is excruciatingly high! Not only for myself but for everyone around me, as well.

Hearing my grandchildren call my name often remind me of the tender relationship I have with my heavenly Father. It is an active, selfless, kind of love that I cherish. This is the mark of a true disciple, but so is receiving God’s forgiveness and living—no, thriving—in the light of it.

Jesus paid the ultimate cost for the joy of discipleship. Receive it fully, and others will be changed as result.

“For those who feel their lives are a grave disappointment to God, it requires enormous trust and reckless, raging confidence to accept that the love of Jesus Christ knows no shadow of alteration or change. When Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened,” He assumed we would grow weary, discouraged, and disheartened along the way. These words are a touching testimony to the genuine humanness of Jesus. He had no romantic notion of the cost of discipleship. He knew that following Him was as unsentimental as duty, as demanding as love.” Brennan Manning

Baby Blanket


The dream fogs forward.
We’re weeks away
from grand baby to be,
plums barely clinging to the branch.

The ocean, a little further than
the next door rooster, breaks on the beach
morning after morning, anticipating footsteps
as our family strolls.

The math of compassion adding up,
the little ones make us larger.
Passing down humor, songs,
and curls, decades away from going grey.

God has no grandchildren, the one thing
we can pity. The smallest finger
He’ll ever feel in His hand
is ours.

Awaken Dry Bones In The Name of The Lord

Awaken Dry Bones

My dry bones lay on the battle floor.


Inside of me.

After the fire. The war.

That burned away the flesh.

Laid on God’s altar.

The test.


Submission requires so much rest.

To die. To surrender.

Peace, at best.

White-flagged, bones, stripped of my flesh,

finally yielded to the war inside.

And, out.

Picked, finely clean by the buzzards,

God allowed.

Removing what’s not of Him.

You know, pride. Ego. The hardness inside.

All that it entails.

Pecking through the shell that blocks what God speaks,

from Him, through others, through the winds,

please, never cease.

The winds wax, they wane,

blowing through, then pulls away,

the debris that no longer has a place to cling.

‘Til nothing remains for my flesh to sing.

The rains follow.

Drops, showers, quench the pain.

My tears attest.

Yes, the rain, the storms, cleansing what tries to remain.

Awaken Dry Bones

Cross Amid the Clouds

The Son reigns, He shines above it all,

as I rest, squirming at best,

beneath the Son. The beaming Light.

Whitening the stains,

the scars from too much flight,

from His path.

Barren bones lay dead,

awakening through His grace.

The voice calls beyond the dessert.

Surrounding my soul.

“Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these dry bones,

that they may live.”

Oil, sweet oil, flows from the mantle above,

as the vase breaks–


The anointing.

The fragrance of God, leaving nothing to expose.

It’s revealed.

Polishing the bones with the oil of grace.

Awaken me back, more broken, yet more whole,

for your Holy Spirit to live.

To thrive.

Not merely survive.

My bones start to rattle against the ground where I lay,

from the battle around, He chose me to raise.

Up from once ashes, heaped here, around

The breath of God calls to me,

the dry bones

–dead upon the ground,

Waiting for His hand to fasten these bones as He desires.

Waiting, waiting, for the pieces to reveal.

In the waiting, the real work is sealed.

A Voice calling beyond the wilderness,

once crowding out my soul,

“Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our Lord.”

These bones rise up, fastened back for Life.

A fresh wind is moving,

lifting me up,

stronger for the war.

All for Life!

Abundant Life!

Found surrendered to the Lord!

Awaken Dry Bones

Warrior Princess Awaken For The War

The Horse Trade

photo credit Ari Bronstein

I never thought this day would come. Nor had I expected the heartache to be as intense. The feed bin was empty. The water bucket was gone. Everything had been cleaned and swept away. The only trace that there had ever been a horse inside this stall was the name plaque still on the stall door.

I was fifteen when a girl, a few years older than I, opened up the door to her grandfather’s barn and two of the fattest horses I’d ever seen bulged against the doorway to greet me.  Before I knew it, I was on a trail ride with baler twine holding the saddle on a horse that looked like a Quarter horse but had the mentality of her Tennessee Walker companion.

It never occurred to me how that girl may have felt selling her horses, until this day when I stood in the empty stall of that same Quarter horse I’d loved for six years.

It was for the best, or at least that’s what I tried to convince myself in order to ease the pain of losing my best friend. Soon, I would move away with my new husband, a man allergic to horses.

I hadn’t been home when my dad sold my horse. He thought it was best for me not to be there when my horse left. I never got to say that final goodbye. I never got to meet the person Dad entrusted my horse with.

I’ll never be sure which I regret more – having to let go of my horse or not being given the opportunity to say goodbye.

Over the years, I’ve kept my saddle. It reminds me of all those races and trail rides and memories I have of my horse. It also reminds me of a promise my husband made to me just before we married. A promise I’ve held onto in my heart that he would keep – one day I’d have a horse again.

As I look back fifteen years later, I know it couldn’t have happened any other way. I may have had to let go of my horse in order to marry a man allergic to animals, but God has blessed us in so many ways over the years.

While my husband may not have fulfilled his promise of a horse yet, I wouldn’t trade our life or three kiddos for anything in the world.

So when people ask me about that saddle sitting in the corner, I tell them, “I traded my horse for my husband.” Because sometimes in life we have to choose to give up one thing in order to gain something greater.  (Please click to Tweet this.)


Feature image credit: Ari Bronstein

A Hill of Beans

photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of “I don’t like beans.”

My son and daughter swore they did not like beans of any kind as kids. Green beans. Navy beans. Pinto beans. I reasoned, “How can you know whether you like a food until you try it? The next time we have beans, you will taste them.”

Resolved to have a taste test, I simmered a pot of pinto “soup” beans. With Sprite in one hand and a spoon in the other, ever so carefully, the kids put one pinto bean in their mouth.

Chewing and swallowing with unpleasant faces, gulping a drink lickety-split. “I don’t like beans, Mom.” Well then. Now I know that Megan and Caleb do not like pinto beans.

I realized there are types of beans I do not like. Things bringing unpleasant faces, hard to swallow.

I have bickered about issues that amount to a hill of beans. Anxious thoughts filled my mind with problems I discovered were not worth a hill of beans. Equating to virtually nothing in the grand scheme of life. Time wasted.

My friend Debbie teaches at a university. Insightful, she was relaying how people in the academic world have letters of abbreviations that follow their name. College degrees, titles, Photo courtesy of certifications in a field of study or credentials indicating the position they hold.

MD, PhD, RN, CPA, MBA and CEO bring well-deserved merit to names and recognition to people. The background of such achievements is hard-working and diligent people.

Because it is a great deal of time and effort, I want the full credit for holding a bachelor’s degree in communications. In writing, if one day I am blessed to list a book title after my name, I will be grateful for the honor. Like most aspirations, writing is hard work and takes a substantial amount of time.

The pursuit of academic studies and credentials is commendable. While they are honorable in this life, they are temporary earthly accolades.

This life quickly fades. Our time on earth is short. In our last moments of life, titles that follow our name in the present will fade ever-so-quickly in the future.

My sister-in-law, Michele, reminds friends and family to consider all things in an eternal perspective. Does this really matter in light of eternity? Sometimes it does, often it does not.

Time spent on things with eternal value equate to a significance in this life and in the next life.

I aspire to reach all degree levels of study from the University of Eternal Significance.

  • Associate’s Degree: an Associate of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God.
  • Bachelor’s Degree: BA, graduate of the Blessed Assurance Program. Jesus is mine.
  • Master’s Degree: MA, graduate of the Master’s Advancement Program. Christ becomes greater, I become less.
  • PhD: A doctoral study in the existence of heaven and relaying the philosophy of truth to others. A recruiting program for the university.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.comI’m learning to spend my time and focus in life on things worth more than a hill of beans. Not bickering over the unimportant issues. Not spending precious time in worry and anxiety. But giving these areas to the Lord.

We have a hill country awaiting us with much richer and exquisite delicacies.

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you will eat food without scarcity, in which you will not lack anything. Deuteronomy 8:7-9

Friends, the time is now. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8


Images courtesy of


Mrs. Rabb and the High School Mutiny: Regret and Thanks

Sorry Pixabay

The roomful of freshmen was unusually attentive as Mrs. Rabb praised the class on their creative writing assignment. “I was pleased with each of your efforts,” she announced from the front of the room, “but there was one story that was especially well-written.”

My heart fluttered and I repositioned in the wooden desk carved with the writing efforts of previous Hillcrest High School students. Could she possibly be talking about me?

No, she couldn’t. After all, she knew I had been a leader in the classroom mutiny staged only weeks before. We had planned for the day and watched with anticipation as the clock’s second hand danced around the bold black numbers. At exactly 9am, in the middle of freshman English, a group of us simultaneously dropped our English books on the floor.

The room echoed with insult.

Mrs. Rabb didn’t say a word. She didn’t have to . . . her face said it all. I watched as her good morning smile gave way to the heaviness of undeserved contempt. Her eyes, once bright with anticipation of the day’s teaching, now wounded by unilateral attack, searched my eyes and begged to know why. Why had her kindness resulted in such mockery? I had no answer.

To this day, I don’t know why we chose her. Mrs. Rabb hadn’t done anything to prompt such treatment. But at that time in my life, it was all about the dare. It was all about making a statement, following students across America in defying authority and standing against the Viet Nam war.

Not that I had any particular interest in the war or why we should or shouldn’t be there. For me, it hadn’t been about the war. It was all about the dare to step out in rebellion.

So I knew she couldn’t be talking about me. Not after the way I had treated her.

Mine was a dark story. A story of violence and welcomed death. Even the single-word title had set the mood of my teen angst and all its hormonal disdain: Requiem.

But as she read the opening line, I knew. I knew she had seen past my disrespect, past my youthful ignorance, and—in front of my peers—had celebrated the budding possibilities of a future artist. One who painted with words.

Decades later, after my fourth book came out, I searched for Mrs. Rabb and eventually found her. But I was too late. Her response, spoken through the veil of dementia, walked a convoluted path of confusion. She didn’t know who I was. She didn’t understand how her praise led to a life of writing.

It was too late to thank her. Too late to ask her forgiveness. My regret could not be soothed by her forgiveness.

So today I pronounce publicly, “Thank you, Mrs. Rabb. Thank you for looking past my ugliness to the beautiful possibility of written words. You validated the worth of my writing and altered the direction of my life. You made a difference.”

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