Wednesday, January 25, 2023

What will you read and listen to this year?

While I’m not someone who makes new year’s resolutions, I do think the new year is a good time to consider what I’d like to do differently or accomplish this year. 

For me, a big part of that happens through reading. Books can be informative, entertaining, encouraging, and transformative. My goal last year was to read four non-fiction books each month. I didn’t quite meet that goal, but I did read a lot of good books. 

I’m happy to recommend some of the books that were my favorites last year. And feel free to leave a comment with some of your favorites as well! 




“The Magnolia Story” by Joanna and Chip Gaines


“Shaken” by Tim Tebow 


“Suffer Strong” by Jay & Katherine Wolf


“The ‘Do What You Can’ Plan” by Holley Gerth 


 “Entreleadership” by Dave Ramsey 





“The Lady Emily Capers” series by Regina Scott – lighthearted, Regency mystery


The “Poppy Creek” series by Rachel Bloome – clean, modern-day fiction


The “Paige Alder” series by Erynn Mangun – clean, funny, relatable Christian fiction


The “Class of Their Own” series by Jen Turano – lighthearted fiction set in the gilded age in New York


The “Hearts on the Heath” series by Kristi Ann Hunter – Regency fiction (includes race horses!) =)



If books aren’t your favorite media, perhaps podcasts are. I found several podcasts last year that I’ve enjoyed. Feel free to share some of your favorites in the comments as well. 




Your Move podcast with Andy Stanley – biblical wisdom and practical spiritual truths


Novel Marketing podcast with Thomas Umstattd Jr – great for authors!


Equip & Empower podcast with Christine Caine – spiritual encouragement 


The Alli Worthington Show podcast – interviews with different guests on various topics 


Joseph Prince podcast – messages from the pastor of New Creation Church 


I’m so thankful for the easy access we have to wonderful resources these days! These are some I’ve enjoyed, and I hope one of these recommendations will bless you as well. Let me know what resources you recommend for this new year. =) 


Friday, December 23, 2022

Why did He come?

I love Christmas! Sometimes I wish we still did things like they did in England long ago, where the celebration continues through Twelfth Night. There is so much we can celebrate as we remember Jesus coming to earth as a baby.

This Christmas I was reminded again of the question: Why did He come? 

John 3:16 says that God gave His Son because of His great love for the world of sinners. But why did Jesus choose to come? He actually answered that question Himself in John 10:  

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” -John 10:10b (NIV)

“I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.” -John 10:10b (NASB) 

Jesus came so that we could have eternal life, and I am soooo grateful for that! But He also said in this verse that He came to give us abundant life, or life to the full. I’ve contemplated this verse for years, and continually asked, what is life to the full?  

A lot of people today think a full life means fulfilling, productive, having more than we need, seeing our dreams come true…but I don’t think that’s what Jesus meant. I still don’t have a complete answer, or a learned theologian’s answer…but lately I have sensed Jesus whispering truth to my spirit that has helped me understand this idea of abundant life a little bit better.  

I think Jesus came to give us life to the full – 

full of peace

full of joy

full of hope

full of courage

full of grace

full of love…

full of all the things that only come from Jesus! 


That’s the kind of life I long for in the here in the now – in the midst of trials and suffering, of injustice and tears, of weakness, doubts and fears…. Because Jesus came, I don’t have to live under the oppression of those things. Yes, they still exist and are still part of life on earth, but in Jesus I have something greater! I have fullness…I have an unending supply of peace, joy, hope, courage, grace, love...and everything I need. Even if my dreams aren’t coming true, if my life doesn’t feel productive, if trials never seem to end…I still have a life full of beauty that only Jesus can give. 

Jesus came both to give us eternal life and to give us fullness of life while we’re on earth. What better gifts could there possibly be? 

This Christmas and every day, may we remember that we are eternally and daily blessed, because He came!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The Gift of Forgetfulness

I know November is usually focused on thankfulness, but I’ve realized that one thing I’m very thankful for is forgetfulness. If you don’t already, I have a feeling you’ll soon agree with me. 

For example, let’s have some fun…

Remember that awful season in junior high when there was so much insecurity, relational stress, and piles of homework? You don’t remember? Oh good. 

Remember that year you had the flu so bad you weren’t sure you would make it, and frankly you reached the point where you didn’t care anymore? Remember how you felt? Oh, it’s coming back to you vaguely now? 

Remember when you were so stressed out and worried about that one situation, that you lost sleep, you couldn’t focus, and then it all worked out in the end? Oh, you only remember that it worked out well? Yeah, I understand. 

Ok, I’m being a little silly, but the reality is that as humans we have the ability to forget. Most of the time we complain about this – forgetting the keys, forgetting someone’s birthday, forgetting where we’re going tomorrow…. But there’s also a time where forgetfulness is the blessing we need. 

We all go through hardship, trials, pain, suffering, and grief. If we remembered every painful moment, every unkind word, every fearful emotion…it would be so awful! 

That’s not to say we forget all of the bad things that happen to us. But time has a way of softening so much of the difficult, stressful or painful things we go through. Even better than time, is God’s healing touch. Whatever we bring to Him, He can heal. Then, even if we remember the circumstance, the painful emotions are no longer there. He’s done that for me many times. 

In recent years I’ve learned to pray, “Lord, help me to remember what you want me to from this situation/trial/experience. And help me to forget the rest.” He has answered that prayer, for which I’m very grateful!

And as my friend Kati says, when you’re in the middle of a new trial, just tell yourself, “I can’t wait til I’ve forgotten about this.” 

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Whose voice are you listening to?

I confess, I enjoy watching Hallmark movies. Even if you don’t enjoy sappy, predictable, happily-ever-after movies, I bet you’ve seen enough other kinds of movies to agree with my next statement.

The main character always seems to struggle with listening to the wrong person. 

Have you noticed that? For example, the brave heroine, for some reason, listens to the gossip/slander/lies of the “mean girl” who’s trying to get the hero or beat the heroine somehow. Or the noble hero makes progress on his quest until he listens to the lies of his rival/negative friend/critical parent. As a result, he makes a bad choice and has even more difficulties to overcome. 

As outside observers of the characters, you and I feel compelled to say, “Stop being an idiot! Don’t listen to that person!” 

Why listen to someone who has proven they are untrustworthy? And yet, how many of us have done the same thing? How many times have we listened to someone and acted according to their words, even though we knew they weren’t trustworthy? 

In this crazy, mixed-up, sinful world, it’s vital that we listen to the right voices – the voices of those we know we can trust. And there’s one voice we can trust 100% of the time. 

When Jesus declared, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6), He gave us a solid foundation to build upon. Jesus is the Truth. He always speaks the truth. He is always trustworthy. 

When I look at it logically, I’m astounded at how easily we doubt God and believe other people’s lies. Doesn’t that seem crazy to you when you think about it?  

The reality is that our lives are also full of emotions, not just logic. It’s the emotions that often cloud our perspective. In the movie example, there’s always a strong emotion involved that causes the character to listen to the wrong person and believe the lies. I think it’s similar for us as well. The difference for us is that while with people, it’s hard at times to tell who is trustworthy and who isn’t, we already know God is trustworthy – no matter what. 

For me, this reflection isn’t as much about which people I should be listening to, as it is a reminder that God’s voice is the one I can always trust. 

Unfortunately, the enemy will always be whispering his lies to us – through friends or enemies, family or strangers, media or circumstances…he never quits trying to intimidate, discourage or deceive us. 

But the good news is we have a constant source of truth! The Holy Spirit, called the Spirit of truth, lives in us. The Bible is available to us, so that every day we can fill our minds with what is true and compare what we hear to unchanging truth. And God always provides people in our life who are trustworthy and will speak His truth to us in love. 

Yes, it’s a battle. No, it’s not fun. But we do have a choice. And we have a trustworthy God. 

So the question remains – whose voice will we listen to? 

“The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.” –Psalm 145:13b 

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” –John 8:32 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Thankful For “Messiology”

Several years ago, someone loaned me a little book called “Messiology” by George Verwer. The subtitle of the book is long but interesting: “The Mystery of How God Works Even When it doesn’t Make Sense to Us.” I had been noticing more often how God was at work in my life, even when I messed up, so I was intrigued by this subtitle. I started reading the book, and I discovered a profound truth put so clearly into everyday words. 

“Put simply, messiology is the idea that God in His patience, mercy, and passion to bring men and women to Himself often does great things in the midst of a mess…I sometimes refer to it his as ‘radical grace.’…no matter how filled we are with the Holy Spirit, we are still human. Our humanness has its beautiful side and its messy side.” (George Verwer) 

I used to see life choices as mostly good or bad, right or wrong, God’s will or not God’s will. And I was afraid of making a wrong choice, of not following God’s will. Looking back, I think it was an unhealthy fear. Yes, I still want to do what is right. But somehow the fear of doing anything wrong actually kept me from trusting God and seeing Him more clearly. 

Ironically, after I had lived through a season of my life being a mess (and after reading this book), I saw so clearly that “messiology” is a beautiful truth that frees us in many ways. 

*When I know God will be faithful to work all things for my good, even my sin and mistakes, then I can let go of guilt and regret. 

*When I see God as always at work, even in my utter mess, I can have peace knowing that nothing is wasted. 

*When I have confidence that God’s grace, sovereignty, and power is greater than my own human frailty and failings, then I don’t have to fear failure or be paralyzed by not wanting to make a wrong choice. 

*When I believe God is working out His greater purposes no matter what, then I can forgive others and trust Him when I don’t like what’s happening. 

*When stop pressuring myself and others to always “get it right,” then I can both receive and give grace, as I walk this journey with others and Jesus. 

Is any of this resonating with you? I hope it is! I wish I could go back 15 years and live with this beautiful understanding. It would have saved me so much stress, anxiety, fear, guilt, grief, etc. 

Life is hard. We are imperfect humans. That’s the reality. But at the same time, God is greater! He is always at work. He keeps His promises, and He remains who He is, regardless of what we do or what happens to us. 

Yet one more reason why He is so worthy of our praise! 

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” –Jeremiah 32:27 

“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.” –Ephesians 1:11-12

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

A Tribute

Several years ago, I “met” a fellow missionary through some mutual friends. We never actually met in person, but through sharing emails and messages, it was easy to see she was a kindred spirit. She was a missionary to her home country and people of Colombia, the same country I had grown to love as a teenager when my family lived there as missionaries. And while my Spanish wasn’t great, Martha’s English was quite good, and we were able to communicate and build a sweet friendship.

Martha had been blessed by reading my blog, and one day she offered to translate my blog posts into Spanish, so that more people could read them and be encouraged. I was so happy and grateful for her kindness and willingness to do this! She happily gave her time and energy to translate all my posts after that. 

Then a few years ago, Martha had a severe stroke, and we didn’t know if she would make it. So many people were praying for her, and miraculously God brought her through! However, she had months of intensive therapy, and never regained full function. Even after all of that, she told me she wanted to keep translating my blog posts, that it was a privilege for her. So I started sending them to her again, and she kept on translating them faithfully and joyfully...until recently. 

Earlier this month Martha went to be with Jesus. While I knew she was still dealing with complications from the stroke, it was surprising news to hear she was no longer fighting the earthly battle. 

I’m no stranger to grief. And yet, somehow it takes me by surprise every time. I thought Martha and I still had plenty of time to encourage and cheer each other on. Now she is Home, and I’m processing the loss of her presence on this earth. 

I rejoice that she is with Jesus, and she is completely healed and whole! 

I miss her already, and wish we could have one more text conversation, full of her faith-filled words and cheerful encouragement. 

I’m sad that her translated words will no longer grace future blog posts. 

I’m so grateful for all the posts she did translate, which will hopefully continue to encourage Spanish-speaking readers for many years to come. 

I pray that her friends and family will find comfort in knowing she ran her race well and is now enjoying eternity with her Savior. 

I know her life’s impact will continue to bear fruit and bring glory to God. 

I honor her for a life well-lived, for letting Jesus shine through her so brightly, and for being a blessing in the lives of so many!

I wish had more eloquent words to give tribute to my friend, my sister in Christ, this beautiful daughter of the King…but since I’m feeling at a loss today, I’ll just say this – 

Martha, you are missed. You are loved. You made a beautiful difference in this world and for eternity. Until we meet again my friend, enjoy the glorious life you have graduated to…and give Jesus a hug for me!