It’s a Marshmallow World


It’s just one of those marvelous ironies of nature that the biggest snowfall of the year should come on the first day of Spring. And that it should actually feel like Spring – birds chattering, greens popping, and the glorious light kissing each fragrant bough. The snow continues to fall, against all odds, since the temps are now rising above freezing. Hiked through this wonderland today at Rocky Gap State Park, in a foot of the white stuff! Enjoy!



Creature Comforts


How we love a holiday! St. Patty’s Day, with its lush promise of Spring, has always been associated in my home with good cooking and even better drinking.

But as I served this year’s confection over tea, my sweet, devout friend shared the man behind the legend. Were he to stop in to my present-day merrymaking, what would St. Patrick have to say?

Born to wealth and privilege in England in the Middle Ages, the patron saint of Ireland was not an Irishman at all, but a British aristocrat. So life was very cushy for his first couple of decades. And then one day it all changed.

At 16, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish invaders and conscripted into service as a shepherd in Ireland. Stripped of wealth and title and held captive as a slave, he turned to God for comfort, and his ardent faith grew. After six long years, God called him to escape his captors and return to England, where he gave his life to the church.

In a subsequent vision, an angel came to Patrick and bid him return to the land that had held him captive, to bring a message of hope and light to Ireland. Following his orders from the church, he served as a missionary there, travelling throughout the country for 40 years to share the good news of the gospel. He died on this day in 461, clinging to this: “Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me.” His was a life of sacrifice and confession, yet characterized by joy and humility.

“I am exalted above measure by the Lord,” wrote Patrick, “since I know most surely that poverty and affliction become me better than delights and riches.”

Though I did not choose poverty and affliction like this man of God, it is so comforting to find the Everlasting Arms receiving me when hard times hit. Recently, my husband and I returned home to the mountains of western Maryland to rebuild after a series of trials. Here in my morning room, with a light snow falling just beyond the bay window, I find a very personal peace in St. Patrick’s words. Not the revelry of Mardi Gras, but the joy of Easter, following Lent.

Quietly celebrating my newfound knowledge that St. Patrick’s Day is indeed a holy-day.

I’ll be sharing healthy recipes in upcoming blogs, like my Chocolate-drop Slaintes (in the pic)! Per my last installment, I’m choosing more wholesome treats and fresher eats. Enjoy!

Brave New World


Starting over isn’t for sissies. Whatever you’re attempting, change is hard work.

The hardest part, for me, is getting unstuck. Just when I think I’m moving forward, I find I’ve really only been treading water, deceiving myself. Happens all the time.

But something new is at work here, and I don’t want to miss it. It’s one of those cosmic shifts, like when you wake up one morning in late August, and the light is inexplicably altered. You can’t pinpoint exactly how it’s different. But as you’re driving down the road, the yellow line suddenly pops out at you. It says fall is on the way.

A while back, some one sent me a copy of Celeste Owen’s Surrender Fast, and I thought, hey, here’s a program that will kick start my devotions again. Celeste asked an important question: what did I need to surrender in order to draw closer to God? I came up with lots of good options: sugar? a critical spirit? junk food? television? my job?

Mostly good choices, but I was stuck. What if I couldn’t stick with it? So, I procrastinated. For a year.

Then one day, I dove in. Frankly, I don’t know what took me so long. I actually dreamed this very thing more than a decade ago. In my dream, I dove in from the shoreline of our favorite camping lake, and I began to glide through the sparkling water – executing the freestyle to perfection and moving along at a clip toward the center of the lake. And then it happened. This inflatable kiosk burbled up from somewhere beneath the surface, took shape, and became a hot dog stand. Now while I am not sorely tempted by hot dogs, this little stand carried hamburgers too. And french fries, of course. And milkshakes – chocolate, vanilla strawberry. And there was someone there hawking these items, reaching out and trying to lure me in to buy them.  But I just kept on swimming.

Then it happened again, only this time, the new kiosk was a bakery. Every sweet known to man was on display and an even more urgent voice begged me to come and eat, sending out the fresh-baked fragrance of brownies. But I just kept on swimming. And it felt good. Really good.

All that to say that when I dove in to this surrender fast, with that same determination to remain focused, to shoot for the mark and not let myself get sidetracked – to seek God’s face rather than the hundred things that are constantly luring me away, He gave me strength. Strength to say no to sugar AND to my unhealthy eating habits. Just like in my dream!

Since the end of August, I have been learning to prepare delectable foods that satisfy me without the white stuff! And though the victory has seemed in some ways to propel me past my temptations, I know they are still out there waiting for me. So I feast every morning on an extra helping of His Word.

The Scripture reads, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.” I was stuck in my fear, in myself, all alone, but when I gave it to God, He renewed my desire for good things and brought me victory and abundance!

Here’s the cra-cra-crazy that circles around my head: “I can’t give up x! [fill in the blank here with your own obsession]. I just can’t, because there is nothing that will make me feel as good as x will.”

God’s Book tells a different story. In Ephesians, Paul writes, “All glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we could ask or imagine.”



We shimmer shine, aglow within.
Oblivious that what we bring
Drives darkness out, the cursed thing.
And opens eyes and makes us sing.

A holy flame, this tiny spark
Stands vigil in the darkest hour
Humble wick with warming power
Lodestar to the dying day.

And when the wax is all consumed
This sacred fire will ever burn
True nature to the source return
And love ignite and light empower.

Isaiah 42:3 – A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.

Sweet Surrender


There is no contentment like the contentment of a cat. Queen Bella, the reigning lioness in our home, recently briefed me on her taxing daily agenda:

  • yawn, stretch and slip on ostrich feather slippers (5 minutes)
  • vociferously whine until the wait staff brings breakfast (10 minutes)
  • meddle in others’ affairs and garner lots of attention (30 minutes)
  • preen (3 hours) – Bella insists that spa is a verb. She also indicated that God’s highest purpose for a cat is to adorn her surroundings by being, in very essence, beautiful.
  • snoop for a comfortable chaise, in the sun, preferably with a water view (5 minutes)
  • collapse, exhausted from the effort, and luxuriate – also known as napping (5 hours)
  • repeat as necessary

Would it be overstating the obvious to say that I am not a cat?

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Consider the birds of the air – they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than them? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your lifespan?” – Matthew 6:25-34

Yes, I have scars.


Since we’re being honest… here is a marvelous picture of wholeness from Abbie!

Abbie In Wondrland

When you think of scars, do you consider them flaws, or signs of damage or vulnerability?

I did for most of my life. I have some scars that are quite apparent, and more which are not. One of the more obvious (to me) would be the scars from where my ear was re-attached when I was about 18. Yet, in reality, I wear my hair up most of the time and I can recall literally no one noticing it. The closest I’ve come was recently when a co-worker mentioned that I had only one earring in that ear. She hadn’t noticed that it was because the other earring hole was too close to the edge of my lobe, due to the scarring, to realistically put in an earring; just that there were 2 earrings in one ear, and only one in the other.

I read a post recently that talked…

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On the Water


Water draws me. Having grown up along the shore, my eyes are trained to notice the subtle mood swings in its undulating expanse. I love the way that sunlight glitters and trips off the waves. Cantankerous and changeable, spirited and flirtatious. Or utterly tranquil. Perhaps you feel the same longing when you face the sea and witness its ceaseless roar?

When I was a girl, we were lucky enough to sail. Many weekends, our family would ply the briny waters of the Chesapeake, full tilt at 15 knots. And just as many days, our vessel would bob listlessly under windless skies. While the rest of the crew was pulling down sails to head home, I would plead with my father to stay, to remain cradled in its shimmering tide.

Though I moved away from the coast after college, I never stopped searching for open water. Recently, our family relocated from the mountains, and I am home once more, barefoot on the beach! Since we are between boats, my perspective is now bound by my view from shore.

Yet even from land, hemmed in by the boundary of the waves, that familiar longing – eternal thirst – still beckons. There are lessons to be learned here. I wonder sometimes if God is made of water.

He has made everything beautiful in its time and has set eternity in our hearts [that mysterious longing which nothing but God can satisfy] …”  -Ecclesiastes 3:11 (Amplified Bible)

Worlds Unknown


3 for 3. Last installment on the 3-Day Quote Challenge! Thanks again to Scribbled Dreams for the nomination – I’ve made new friends along the way and enjoyed myself immensely.

C.S. Lewis is my final choice in the quote challenge – his words have taken me to new places and are ripe with symbolism. Writer, poet, critic, philosopher, this great man humbly recognized the Eternal in his purpose, his writing, his life.

How many lives has Lewis touched with his writing? How many will you? Take heart, dear writer, your words matter. And like Lewis, you will go on touching lives long after you’ve put down your pen. We speak from what we know, what we believe. What story will your life tell?

Stay tuned for final nominations in this challenge 😀


Word Power


Hello, friends! Day #2 in the 3-Day Quote Challenge. Today’s sentiment stems from the statesman and sage Sir Winston Churchill. He’s more quotable than most. May we remember that our circumstance does not define us, but our determination often will!

Grateful to be named a nominee in this challenge by Tanya over at Scribbled Dreams! Thanks, Tanya! I’m having fun tracking down my favorite quotes and mashing them up with compelling pix (check out a free site called pixabay, just brimming with beautiful images). Quick work in photoshop and voila! Quotable images.

Today, I nominate these wonderful writers for inspiring us with their work:

  1. Mehumm, for candor and spice!
  2. Jay at Nourish’D Life, where you’ll find motivation for healthier living; and
  3. Nikki at A Kinder Way, reaching out with the words of grace we all need in our day.

Here are the rules:

  1. Three quotes for three days.
  2. Three nominees each day (no repetition).
  3. Thank the person who nominated you.
  4. Inform the nominees.

Congratulations, bloggers! You’re it 😀

Dream a Better Dream



“Do NOT wake her!” Somewhere far off I hear this vaguely familiar voice. Then footsteps receding, and a click of the door, closing.

And then slowly – which is the way consciousness always catches up with me – I become aware that a recurring dream has been playing on my inner eyelids. Maybe it’s the only dream I’ve ever dreamed. Alone downtown. Walking in the evening, I begin to notice that the buildings are disconnecting. Pulling apart like taffy. The physical world is coming unhinged and a crazy white light is streaming in through the cracks. And when I look up, I see that the stars are just pin pricks in a purple velvet fabric that holds back the light.

When I wake, I lie there perfectly still for a moment, staring at the tall ceiling and drinking in the peculiar sensation that remains. Is it longing? Yes, and wonder. That I’ve been let in on such a big secret. Maybe the first to know that all throughout our busy days, just beyond this material world, we are completely and perfectly engulfed in light.

I hear little padded feet scampering down the hall again and smell the bacon frying. Shadows flit across the wall, light chasing away the darkness. And I smile, so utterly grateful for Saturday.

photo courtesy power of positivity