The Lunchroom

I avoided the high school lunchroom at all costs. I was afraid of figuring out who to sit with. Would I be accepted? Would they like me? All of these thoughts kept me from wanting to sit in the lunchroom. Often I would get permission to eat by myself in the choir room so I could practice piano. Much of the time I skipped lunch all together.

Today was different though. I thought, I’m going to step out and eat with everyone else. I have no idea what I had even brought for lunch that day. All I remember was sitting down across from Pauline. She had been with our class for years, maybe since elementary school.

Pauline opened up to me about how she was doing. I thought she might share about one of her classes, friendships, or even her family. Well instead, she shared something deep, painful, and hard with me. Pauline shared that she had anorexia. Her weight was low, like somewhere in the 80’s. Her parents were really worried and concerned for about her health situation. I immediately felt compassion for Pauline. I didn’t know what brought her to this point, but I knew it was painfully difficult.

I wish I knew then what I know now about anorexia. Too bad I couldn’t have googled about anorexia back then. You see, I was struggling with anorexia too. I was only 92lbs when I graduated from high school in 1989. My parents were going through a great deal of difficulty. They separated and divorced during my high school years. Life felt completely out of control to me back then. The only way I knew how to cope with it was to control the amount of food I ate. This went on for a number of years, even into college. The reality is, so many people suffer in silence. They try to cope the best they know how to in storms of life. Often though they need real help beyond themselves by seeing a doctor, counselor, or therapist.

Is this story familiar to you in anyway? Were you the girl or guy avoiding the lunch room at any cost? Did your parents struggle to get along? Did you or any of your friends have eating disorders? Think back on those days. What did you see, learn, or experience back then? What do you know now that sheds light on your past struggles?

It’s good to reflect on days past. We do this so we can see the days to come with eyes of perspective, wisdom, life, and hope.


Stress. How do we live with it?

We all live with stress in this crazy world. There’s childhood stress, teenage stress, young married life stress, stress as a mom, stress at work, and stress in our relationships or in a long term marriage. At each stage of our lives we encounter stressors that can make day to day living a bit harder than normal.

The most recent stressor that the whole world has been experiencing is the pandemic. It’s been about a year now of working remotely, connecting with people on zoom and limiting face to face connection. This has impacted everyone immensely. It’s even been very difficult and sometimes impossible to travel whether it’s in country or overseas. So seeing family in another state or region is next to impossible.

Realizing that people everywhere are dealing with the stresses of the pandemic has made me think more deeply about how stress over the years has impacted me. In my teenage years I had panic and anxiety attacks in high school. In my 20’s I released stress through tears. I saw stress my 30’s in night terrors, panic attacks, depression and anxiety. In my 40’s anxiety attacks, acid reflux, terrible headaches, digestive issues, depression and anxiety. I’m turning 50 in March so I have nothing yet for the 50’s.

As I looked at the ways stress played itself out in my life over the years, I see that the physical effects increased.

So what do we do with all of the stress we have in our lives? How do we cope with stressful situations that come at us unexpectedly?

Here are some things I’ve found helpful to do to relieve stress.

1. Journal daily. Even if it’s a paragraph. Write out how you are doing and how you’re feeling.

2. See a therapist or counselor. Talk to someone who is trained in helping others with the challenges they are facing.

3. Take a walk. Long walks in the morning and evening have been extremely therapeutic for me. I tend to walk my dog and listen to music that will lift my spirit.

4. Connect with a friend. Even if it’s over the phone or online. We need interaction with others who can relate to how we are feeling.

My encouragement to you today is to take a stress inventory. Look at the decades of your life. Write down some stressors you remember and ways those stressful things impacted you physically. Then think of things that relieve stress for you. Make sure you put them into your schedule on a daily basis. As you may know already, self care is really important. Let’s be proactive in caring for ourselves so we will live happier and fuller lives today and in the days to come.


Alone in a Boat

Have you ever had that picture come to your mind that you were alone on small row boat? You didn’t want to be alone, but you were. You desperately wanted people to hop into your boat with you, but they couldn’t.
This is how I felt when our family moved and took only some of our very special belongings in six to eight large rubber made containers to the Philippines.
God gave me the picture of me being in a row boat alone in the dark. I didn’t want to be alone, but there was no one there who was in our stage of life when we moved to Manila. We were different than all the people on our team. We were American and had two young children. The three other American team mates we knew had been in the Philippines for decades. It had been a long time since they were new to the Philippines. They knew the language, culture and had adjusted to living in a mega city. We on the other hand were newbies.
Adjusting to a new culture, way of life and language is tough when you feel like you are doing it alone. As much as some team mates tried to fill us in on the ways of life in Manila, it hit tired ears. This is because as I adjusted to a completely different way of life, I just needed someone to understand and empathize with me. I longed to hear these words. It’s hard coming to a new place so foreign to what you have ever known. Wow, having little ones in a new culture must be hard for you. I’m sorry it’s been so difficult to adjust to so many people when you came from a much smaller city in the United States.
When you are going through a crazy adjustment like we were, you don’t always know how to express what you need. So others didn’t know how to really help us. We had our office mates that we worked with, a large group of people in the U.S. that were praying and financially supporting us, and then we had an international missionary school that our kids went to for our 9 year stay. This was our only support system until we found a good international church and then got connected with a Filipino house church a few years into our stay.
Feeling like we are not alone is a big thing for everyone in the world. It’s a natural human need to feel understood when you go through difficulties. We were never meant to walk through life alone. We weren’t plopped down on earth with no one else there. We have family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and sometimes we have a church community.
Are you feeling lonely today? Do you feel like no one really understands what you are experiencing or going through? When no else seems to be there or understands you, know for certain that God does. He knitted you together in your mother’s womb. He knows all about you. When you lie down. When you get up. What you think. How you feel. God really cares for you. You are precious to him.
Go to him today. Tell him how you feel. Tell him what you need. He will meet you in a special way. Whether it’s in nature, a card in the mail from a friend or through a book you are reading. God always cares! He is always with you!


What Is Love?

In this world, we grow up learning much about love by watching our parents, tv shows and movies, and also by the books we read.

I think I was disenchanted and confused about love as a young girl. I didn’t see my parents show much love and affection in front of me. They struggled like many marriages today to communicate well with one another. Often hurtful words were said to wound the other. Though I knew they loved me.

My parents often showed love to me through quality time. I can remember many nights before I went to bed, I would ask my Dad if he wanted to play a game with me. Many times he said yes and we’d play a game of Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land. This ministered to me deeply and made me feel loved.

One day, I came home from elementary school with a bad grade. My Mom could tell by my long face that I wasn’t doing well. That afternoon she sat me down at the kitchen table and gave me a cookie. Then she listened to me share about my sadness. My Mom wiped my tears and and consoled me. This communicated a great deal of love and care.

Time went on and I saw many movies and shows that displayed affection and love. One particular movie that spoke to me positively as a teenager was called, The Karate Kid. It’s about a boy who is uprooted from his home. He moves to California with his mom. He is bullied and treated poorly by other teens. The boy meets an older man who maintains and fixes broken things in the apartment complex. This man takes a special interest in the boy who is struggling with transition, friendships, and feels like his life is threatened by bullies. He becomes his friend, a Father figure, and his karate teacher.

Years passed and I turned 20. This is when I first began to comprehend God’s Love! It was a game changer. Before that time, I didn’t understand that God loved me unconditionally. I didn’t have to be perfect or do or say all the right things. I finally grasped for the very first time that God loved and accepted me no matter what. He was for me, had great plans for me, and knew me better than even those very close to me. God accepted all my flaws, inadequacies and bad days. This was life altering for me. Remember, no one can love us better than God!! Knowing His great love for me drew me to want to commit my life to God.

What views have shaped your thinking about love? Do you look longingly for love from the world? Have you met God, the lover of your soul? The One who knows you intimately, loves you deeply, and accepts all your flaws and bad days? He is always there waiting for you to accept His free gift of salvation and love. “For God so LOVED the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” God is a giver! He gave us His one and only beloved Son so that we could have a love relationship with Him, a meaningful life on earth and a forever life with Him in heaven. Wow!!! Let’s not only receive God’s love but give His love away freely without charge or expectation of any return. LOVE is an extravagant gift!! ❤️



Our dog Daisy hates rain and stormy weather. She responds by going under our bed or in the corner behind our end table. She barks in fear and shakes uncontrollably. I try to hold her and tell her it’s going to be okay but she continues to shake. Even hours after the rain has stopped she has serious fear and anxiety.

God reminded me that I have been much like Daisy in the past with my anxiety. Granted I didn’t respond exactly the same, but I’ve been inconsolable. God has tried to comfort me through His Word. Doctors have tried to diagnose my condition. Friends have said words of love and care. Though, when you are in the midst of anxiety and fear, you have no idea how to stop it and make yourself feel better again. It’s as if your fear and anxiety take over and rob you of truly living a joyful happy life.

For those who may have never experienced anxiety, these are some things that can happen to a person when they feel anxious over a period of time.

1.) They sometimes feel like they can’t get a full breath, which is scary. I went to the hospital quite a few times because I couldn’t breath well.

2.) They have racing thoughts that keep them from resting at night.

3.) They feel like their life is out of control. So they begin doing things to try and gain control.

The times in my life that I experienced the most anxiety were when we first moved to the Philippines. We were only there three weeks before my husband Wade began traveling for work in South East Asia. My children were 5 and 7 at the time. We were all trying to adjust to a new culture, language, a huge city, and extremely crazy drivers.

In the first year there, we experienced a bombing five minutes away from our home. This shook our home and terrified us all. Wade was traveling at the time, so it was even more scary.

We found out that the main road we lived off of was nicknamed, “The Highway of Death”. There were many car accidents and deaths that took place of this road. This made me feel afraid to get in our Toyota Revo and drive even close by.

I began to realize that we were really alone and stuck on an island half way across the world. No one really wanted to visit us because it took 24 hours or more to get to Manila. Wade’s sister Donna was the only visitor from the US we ever received in our 9 years of living overseas. I found out over time how much loneliness isolates you.

I care about how anxiety has effected your life. When have you felt the most anxious? How did you try to console yourself? How did others reach out to you at that time?

Let me leave you with this quote. “Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it, we will have to learn to live with it—just as we have learned to live with storms.” Paulo Coelho


Amazing Power 🕊

I love that God’s Word is “living and active”. I’ve been reminded of that truth time and time again. I was working on a Bible study that focused on the Apostle Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21. It’s a very beautiful prayer written to Ephesians fellow believers some 2,000 years ago. Though, as I read it, I’m reminded it’s for you and I too.

One thing I noted as I read this passage was the word power. In the 8 verses, Paul used that word 4 times.

  1. He (God) will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. (vs.16)
  2. The power to deep His love is. (vs. 18)
  3. Made complete with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (vs. 19)
  4. Through His (God’s) mighty power. (vs. 20)

The first time Paul uses the word power was through it’s derivative empower. The word empower means ‘to give power or authority, to enable or permit”. Paul prays “that from God’s glorious unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit”. The power Paul refers to comes from God’s amazing Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit is given freely as a gift by God to His beloved children. John 14:16 & 18 says, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth”. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” In the surrounding verses, Jesus told His disciples He needed to leave but wouldn’t be leaving them alone. He prayed God would give them the Holy Spirit. If you read Acts chapter 1, this is exactly what took place! God deposits His Holy Spirit into each heart that believes. Those who believe Jesus is the Son of God and that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins receive His Spirit when they ask God to come into their life.

Let’s go back to the Ephesians 3:16 verse. Do you need inner strength today?! Are you weary, worn out, and tired? Have the cares of this world depleted you of the inner strength you once had? Well, God has the answer for you and I today. That answer is the unlimited power through the Holy Spirit. God longs and desires to empower you today and in the days to come with His Spirit. Go to Him today. Tell Him what you need. He will meet you by supplying you with His amazing power!! 🕊


The Persistent Widow

One day Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!”

Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to the quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”(Luke 18:1-8)

The widow in this parable is a picture of the poor and oppressed. We see her in this story not giving up but going continually to the judge seeking justice in her situation. Judges in this time were supposed to be unbiased, judge justly and fear God. This judge though doesn’t fear God or care about others. The only thing that makes him act on her behalf is her persistence in asking for justice. The judge is worn out by her constant requests. How much more will our Heavenly Father respond to our own prayers?

Jesus has something for us to learn from this story. He states it at the beginning of the parable. We need to be persistent in our prayers and not lose hope or give up. Effective prayer requires faithfulness and a firm steadfast determination. We are called to as Matthew 7:7 put it, to keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking. I am learning more about this in my own prayer life. I have been keeping a prayer journal of prayer requests and answered prayers. My goal is to pray daily for about twenty different requests and petition the Lord for those needs. I have been greatly encouraged to see answers to some of those prayer concerns.

How about you? What are you learning about persevering in prayer?Do you get tired of praying for the same thing day in and day out? Have you given up on praying for some of your requests? I would encourage you today to write down your requests and persevere in praying. “When Jesus returns He will be looking for those who are praying and watching.” Let’s be those who whole heartedly pray believing that He will answer. “For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matt. 7:8)


The 10 Lepers

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem on the boarder between Samaria and Galilee. Ten men with leprosy came to meet him as he entered a village. “They stood at a distance and called out on a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” As Jesus saw them, he said “Go, show yourself to the priests.” As they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed. came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise except for this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19)

Jesus meets ten lepers one day as he crosses the boarder of Samaria and Galilee. Leprosy in that day included a variety of skin diseases. In Leviticus 13:45,46 tells us, “Those who suffer from serious skin diseases, must tear their clothing and leave their hair uncombed. They must cover their mouths and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean! “As long as their serious disease lasts, they will be unclean. They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp.” We see from Leviticus how difficult it was to be a leper. They were not accepted in towns because they were seen as unclean. They were separated from loved ones too. I can only imagine how difficult and lonely their lives must have been.

As we imagine them crying out to Jesus we hear their desperation as they sought His mercy and His help. Jesus responds with love and compassion on these men. He tells them to go and show themselves to the priests and as they walk, they were healed. Though only one comes back a says thank you to Jesus. Of all the men that could have come back, it was a Samaritan. Samaritans were seen as half breeds: half Jew and half Gentile. Jews did not like the Samaritans because of this. As soon as the Samaritan man saw he was healed he came back to Jesus. He did four things to express his thankfulness. 1. He came back. 2. He praised God in a loud voice. 3. He fell down at Jesus’ feet. 4. He thanked Jesus.

Jesus is surprised that the other nine men who have been healed aren’t with him. Of all the people who came back, it was a foreigner. Then he says, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

What has been your experience when Jesus has healed you of sickness in the past? Did you humbly return to him praising and thanking him for what he had done? Or were you like the nine other men that had nothing to say. Jesus is actively at work in our life. He is at work healing and renewing us. Our response should always be gratitude and thanksgiving for the way he works and moves in our heart and our life. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his love endures forever!” (1 Chron. 16:34)


The Rich Man and Lazarus II

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ” (Luke 16:25-31)

In the second half of this parable we see a conversation between Abraham and the rich man. Abraham was a man of great faith and the patriarch of Israel. He is the one God chose to become the Father of many nations. The rich man, who lived an opulent lifestyle ends up in hell. We know that in his life he ignored the needs of the poor man, Lazarus, who sat at his gate. He also must have neglected God and a relationship with him through his Son. “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son does not have life.” (1 John 5:12)

While in hell, the rich man pleads with Abraham. He wants him to have Lazarus go to his brothers and warn them. I wonder if they lived a life of luxury like the rich man and lacked a relationship with God. Abraham responds and says they have Moses and the Prophets. They should listen to them. God’s word would have pointed them to the Messiah, Jesus. The rich man is convinced instead that if someone would come back from the dead, then his five brothers would believe. The rich man was thinking that a miraculous sign would cause his brothers to have faith. Abraham then tells him if they won’t listen to the testimony of Moses and the Prophets, then they won’t believe even if someone comes back from the dead.

This parable was directed to the hard hearted Pharisees. They put their trust in money and were not convinced that Jesus was the Messiah.(Luke 16:14) They were always trying to prove him wrong. The Pharisees were also prideful and thought they were better than the poor.

This is a sobering parable. The issue was not one of not enough evidence, but of the heart. Once someone passes from this life to the next without a changed heart through faith in Jesus, their destiny is fixed. There is no changing it. We need to be diligent to share our faith with others while there is still time for them to believe. Take time today to pray and reach out to someone who is still on the fence of unbelief. Today could be the day of their salvation!


The Rich Man and Lazarus

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ (Luke 16:19-26)

We see two very different men in this parable. One is very rich and one is extremely poor. I was struck by the location of the poor man. He was at the gate of the rich man. He was hoping for a bit of mercy and care on behalf of the rich man. It says that he even longed to eat the food that fell on his floor. Though he received no help or care. The rich man actually had the power to change this poor man’s life if he truly wanted to. Scripture teaches us to have compassion on the poor. Proverbs 22:9 tells us, “A generous man will himself be blessed for he shares his food with the poor.” We are called to share what God has so richly blessed us with.

In Matthew 25:35-36 reminds us, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.. I was sick and you looked after me.” We find out in this passage when we show love and mercy to the poor, we are actually doing it unto Christ! Isn’t that beautiful! If you are a believer, then you are known by the good fruits that you bear.

We also see in this passage the stark reality of heaven and hell. In heaven you will be comforted and have your needs met. In hell, you will be filled with eternal suffering and separation from God.

This section of this passage reminds us to care for those who are in need while they are still on this earth. What do you and I have that could be shared with someone in need? How can we be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world around us? You are the light of the world! “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14,16)