Before and after

Our deck had become treacherously slippery, and so this past weekend, I borrowed a power washer from my dad. My husband got started, and I stared out the back door, mesmerized by what I was seeing: years’ worth of dirt and algae and grime stripping away like green paint, revealing the beautiful wood grain of the deck underneath.

Before  …………………………………………… and after

I was amazed at how dirty the deck had become without our even noticing it (and even after we saw the algae begin to appear, it took a long time for us to act on it). What I had thought of as merely grayed and weathered turned out to be filthy and gross.

Pretty soon, I went outside and asked for a turn at cleaning. For a brief moment, I was afraid it would be like Tom Sawyer and the white-washed fence, that I would soon regret asking for a turn at the work that looked like fun. But it was a cool, overcast day, and the work was so satisfying in an immediate way that I power washed the deck longer than I expected. My husband and I agreed that the work offered a zen-like quality that many chores do not. Continue reading

The small fire that sets the forest aflame

When you think of weather headlines so far this summer, the most prominent in your mind might be wild fires. Colorado’s wild fires grabbed headlines in June when they forced massive evacuations. NOAA’s June wildfire summary says the Colorado fire was the most destructive in that state’s history.

My husband and I were driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway this weekend and noticed a small fire:

Smoke in the distance (top right)

Because North Carolina has had plenty of rain this summer, we didn’t worry about this particular fire spreading and getting out of control. But seeing the fire did make me think of the work I’ve been doing on one of my book’s chapters.

James 3 talks about the fire our tongues can start:

So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of
great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!
And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set
among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets
on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. … But no one
can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who
have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come
both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be
this way. – James 3:5-6, 8-10

Can any of you relate? Ever had words fly out of your mouth that you immediately wished to take back? Ever kill a friendship with your words? Or had one killed by the words of another? I have. Continue reading

Elevenses … or why am I always hungry?

Elevenses: (n) A for a snack or light meal, so named for the time of day, typically including tea or coffee, and cake or biscuits (sources: and Wikipedia)

A typical elevenses? Don’t worry. I didn’t eat everything pictured here. At least, not yet.


Do you take an elevenses during your day? And then follow it up with lunch and an afternoon snack and then dinner? More and more these days, I find myself adding in snack times such as elevenses to my day.

You may recall that I’m training for my first marathon, now three and a half weeks away. Two weeks ago, I did my longest run ever: 20 miles. Yes, all at the one time. And, no, nothing was chasing me. Continue reading

The ray of sunshine never lost

Update: In this blog post, I mention a Webcast that was aired for just a short time on Lysa TerKeurst’s Web site. Unfortunately, that Webcast was not archived, but you’ll still find great resources on her site. I just didn’t want you to spend a lot of time looking for a Webcast that’s not there anymore.


Hi, Friends,

I’m posting a bit earlier in the day than usual so you can jump on a limited-time opportunity to see two of my favorite Christian authors in a replay of a Webcast they aired last night. From noon today (Wednesday, 9/7/11) through the end of tomorrow (ET?), you can tune in to learn from Lysa TerKeurst and Ann Voskamp about saying yes to God. And really, who can’t benefit from a reinforcement of that message?  Continue reading

Words on doors?

“You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart … You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:5-6, 9

Writing on your doorposts
A few weekends ago when my husband and I were in the mountains, we strolled through a little art gallery, and there I saw a stunning mezuzah case. Mezuzot came about to fulfill the requirement in Deuteronomy 6 to write God’s words on a house’s doorposts, and as you might imagine, there are lots of rules about who writes the parchment and where the mezuzah goes. And while the words on the parchment are the truly important part, mezuzah cases come in many different shapes, sizes and styles.

Not being Jewish, I passed up the mezuzah case at the gallery, but I haven’t stopped thinking about that beautiful little case and what it will someday contain. I also keep wondering what words my friends and family might say I would be most likely to write on my doorposts.

There’s a growing trend in home decorating to put up words as art on your walls. You can even stop by your local Target and pick up some stick-on words that’ll go up with ease: big, small, curly or simple, whatever suits your decor. But what words would you choose to put on your doorposts, especially the front door where your friends, family, guests, and even a stray salesman can see? I’m talking about the words that you live by.

What are the words that truly represent what’s most important to you? Now: where will you write them?  Continue reading