A Room With a View

This post is a part of the Five-Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt and see what happens. No heavy editing allowed. Today’s word is “view.” Check it out.

I’ve just spent the last three days at the beach. By myself.

I’m an extrovert who gets my energy from being around people. So even before I left I thought to myself Is this a good idea? But I went anyway. I didn’t have big plans, I just wanted to be somewhere other than home, and try as I might, organizing something for the whole family was draining me.

So, I spent the big bucks and got a room with an ocean view at a hotel about an hour and a half from home. I planned on working, but not being on any kind of schedule. I’d get up when I wanted, work when I wanted, go to the beach (when the temperature dipped into the 80s), and figure out what else as the days went along.

Things at home had been a bit stormy, not because of anything anyone had done, but just because of some things my husband and I are digging into that are hard and for which we haven’t yet seen the beauty.

So I wanted beauty.

But I didn’t expect the storm

Now, I live in Florida, and summer thunderstorms are normal, so I’m not quite sure why I thought they wouldn’t come here at the beach, but last night, a large thunderstorm came right up on me.

But today the clouds are wispy again. People are enjoying the beach—it’s a cooler 79º as I write this, and I’m getting ready to head back home. I will miss the view I’ve had, but I’ll be glad to get back to my peeps.

About 4 years ago I wrote this reflective piece that I wanted to share here. It helped me gain perspective for what I’m returning to: a storm not yet passed us by, but an encouragement to find the beauty in the midst of it all.

In the past several days I’ve had a Redbud friend whose husband had a brain aneurysm and is unresponsive in the hospital and had to be medically paralyzed so his body could heal and he wouldn’t fight the ventilator.

And another Redbud friend who has a 5-year-old son who had to start chemotherapy today for a cancerous tumor.

And we will say goodbye tomorrow to our friend Elizabeth who passed away after triple bypass surgery.

And I think, life sucks, man. And my kids know I don’t even use that word. I don’t like the way it sounds. It’s ugly to me in the way it’s used. But somehow it seems fitting.

And then I see rain falling in the sunshine.

I look out my front window in the morning light and see a steady but soft rain coming down surrounded by sunshine.

It reminds me that my tears, like that rain, can fall even if there is an unshakeable joy in my life. I know that my Redeemer lives, but that there is heartache in this life.

I know that God is in control and that He is good, even if the outcome of my circumstances isn’t what I hoped for.

I hope in God.

The author and perfecter of my faith.

My circumstances aren’t perfect and they never will be.

The people around me aren’t perfect, and they never will be either.

But God is perfect, and since He’s the one in charge, I can rest.

And you know, that rain falling in the sunshine is beautiful, if I can look between the drops and see His grace and mercy like the rays of the sun.

“Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got Nobody”

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt without heavy editing and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “another.”

I don’t think Sam Cooke, the writer of “Another Saturday Night,” had our current situation in mind when he wrote the song. If you’re not familiar with it, the lyrics go on, “I got some money ’cause I just got paid. How I wish I had someone to talk to. I’m in an awful way.”

My husband’s 76-year-old mother with COPD lives with us, so we have been strict about anyone coming in the house who doesn’t already live here. We make an exception for my sister-in-law who has taken on the task of buying her groceries. That means that my sons and my grandson have not been here in at least 3 weeks.


My mother in law feels badly that we’re making these sacrifices of having long-distance relationships during this time because of her, but that’s just what you do with a loved one. You do what’s necessary. You exercise caution. You spend another Saturday night (or Thursday, or Monday. Really, any night will do) watching a movie or doing a puzzle or playing a game. You turn to virtual venues like FaceTime or Zoom or Facebook Messenger or Google Meets to do what you need to get done.

Zayne and I have tried virtual story time with Nana, but he’s not much to sit in one place for very long. He just looks at the phone, looks at his dad and says, “I ready go Nana’s house.”

Breaks my heart.

But it’s not forever. Even though he’s used to spending 5 days a week here since he was 5 weeks old, he won’t forget we exist. I hope.


Hang in there, bud. We’ll be back together again soon.

Who are you missing in your time of sheltering in place?


FMF button



What Do Now?

This post is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “now.”

I have a 26-month-old grandson who was an early talker, so by now, he’s really got a grasp on the English language. When he was coming to our house 5 days a week (which he’s not now thanks to the stay-at-home orders and the job losses of both his parents) he would often finish doing something, or just tire of the activity he was engaged in, and he would come to me and say, “What do now?”


It was so cute. He got that from us because we would often say it to him when he looked like he was moving on from whatever he was doing.

It occurs to me that we’re often like that with God. We always want to be doing something. But in this time of pause in the world, it seems like we shouldn’t be asking that question. Maybe the right question to ask is not “what should I be doing?” but rather “Who am I becoming”?

FMF button

Perspective Adjustment

This post is a part of the five-minute Friday link up. We write for just five minutes on a one-word prompt and see what happens. I cheated a bit this week because I started this post several days ago and didn’t get to finish it then. Today’s prompt is “adjust.”

Being socially distant used to be something that was frowned upon, wasn’t it? Parents worried about their children’s mental health if they spent too much time alone. Now, suddenly, kids are being encouraged to be online with their friends, spending lots of time in front of a screen, interacting at least, and learning virtually.

It’s a whole new world, and I gotta say, not one I’m particularly fond of. I’m not sleeping well, but not because I’m worried about getting sick. And not because I think that God is in heaven wringing His hands saying “Oh, my! Oh, my!” It’s just the thoughts that come rushing in every time my mind is conscious.


But here’s a small but powerful practice I’ve been using lately to calm my mind and bring my focus back to where it should be: I’m turning my “what if’s” into “even if’s.”

Here’s an example: about 2 weeks ago I was diagnosed with melanoma. Nobody wants to hear the word “cancer,” so of course my mind went to worst-case scenarios. What if it’s traveled beyond this one spot? What if it’s gotten into my lymph system?

Those thoughts can be crazy makers, especially when I didn’t even know anything beyond the diagnosis. And so I turned those “what if’s” into “even if’s.” Even if it is worst-case, God is still good. He still sees me. He still loves me. He will not leave me alone. He will work all things together for my good. (It wasn’t, by the way, worst-case. This week the tumor was removed from my right arm and the doctor thinks that’s all that will be necessary. And I’ll have a really great scar for my efforts.


Another example: what if my son, who works at a restaurant as a server, loses his job because of this Covid-19 pandemic? He just moved into an apartment with his 2-year-old son. What will happen to them? (And yes, he is out of work temporarily, and getting about 1/3 pay from his company’s emergency fund, which is at least something, but he’s currently applying to grocery and hardware stores that are still hiring.) Because of God’s grace to us, we are able financially to help him during this time. Maybe this will be the push he needs to start walking with Jesus again.

We don’t any of us have guarantees about tomorrow. We’re doing what we can today to try to “flatten the curve” in the U.S., and we are living with a lot of uncertainty, but God is always certain. He never changes. He is still sovereign and he can be trusted to walk with us through this.

Recently, that aforementioned 2-year-old grandson took my iPhone 11 and started taking pictures around the yard (included in this post are some of his shots.). His usual MO is to hold down the button and so take 100s of shots of whatever the camera is pointing at. But this photo shoot was different. He purposely pointed and then pressed the button for just one shot.


We have some pretty purple flowers on a line of bushes around our pool enclosure, and Zayne went right up to one of those, putting the phone almost right on top of the petal to take a picture. Of course, all he got was a screen full of purple. I told him to pull it back a little and so he did. The resultant photo was a beautiful image of the full flower and even some of the wood walkway near it.

Perspective. That’s what he needed to see the beauty and not just a purple blob. It’s what we all need in this trying time. Pull back and see what God is doing in the world. Yes, there are some things that are really terrible, but we can be assured that this will not last forever, because forever is way longer than this.




FMF button



No Experience Necessary

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “experience.”

I have a college-aged son who is looking to graduate in December. He is currently looking for internships for the summer, but is running across a lot of positions where he has to have previous experience. Well, when you’re a college student looking for work in a national or state park, experience is hard to come by. (If you have any connections, hit me up!)



It can be discouraging when you’re looking for a job, but when you’re talking about a relationship with Jesus, it’s a really good thing.

He doesn’t ask us to be religious. He doesn’t expect us to have our act together (whew!) He wants us to come as we are.

“Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Yep, that would be the kind of experience we all have, wouldn’t it?

There’s a song playing on Christian radio these days called “Church (Take Me Back)” by Bryan Fowler, Michael Cochrane and Micah Kuiper. The words are very poignant when you’re talking about someone who has wandered away and just wants to get back to the faith that is in their bones. A place they can call home. A place where they are known.

“It’s not a trophy for the winners
It’s a shelter for the sinners
And it’s right where I belong.”

They just want to go to church.

church in flowers

That’s how it should be with all of us. Church is not supposed to be a haven for the righteous. It’s supposed to be a hospital for the wounded.

Can we just get back to that? Can we be welcoming of everyone who walks in the doors? Because they’re not looking for a place where they have to be perfect; they’re looking for a place where they can be accepted. People just need to heal. Let’s give them that chance.

FMF button