Simple yet Profound

I turned the door knob and opened my bedroom door this morning.  A bit surprised, I was immediately and delightfully hit by brightness. So much light streamed into my kitchen windows. The sunshine was like a congenial greeter at a fancy hotel welcoming me to a brand new day.  Aw! It’s a beautiful day. I’m a huge fan of light and sometimes it’s the little things that help us enjoy the journey, right? This was true for me today.


Here are a few simple things which filled me with joy today:

  • Waking up from a great night’s sleep in a bed with newly changed clean sheets. (Heavenly)
  • Eating a piping hot blueberry waffle made by my honey! (Delicious and thoughtful)
  • Breakfast enjoyed together with him and not alone. (Important)
  • The crisp March air filling my lungs as I walked outdoors with a friend. (Invigorating)
  • Praying as we walked and enjoying God’s presence. (Vital)
  • A friendly reminder text on my phone “Good morning Ms.Blogger today is blogging day!” (Needed)


As I started to write today, I had so many things in mind and I couldn’t get my mind to land on anything. Then when I finally sat down to write all thoughts and ideas that had been ping-ponging around in my head vanished. “POOF!”

Shocked by my mind’s completely blank canvas, I sat.  What? My mind is NEVER blank. I’m always thinking about something. Why am I at a loss for words? Well, Rachel if  you don’t know what you’re thinking how are you going to articulate any thoughts to anyone else?  Oh, just grab the laptop and get started anyway. 


I opened my laptop and entered the password, but something caught my eye beyond the screen. I saw a small stack of verse cards with a green bow tied around them. These verse cards we had used when our three children were tiny. I found them in a cabinet months ago and have used them from time to time. I flipped through a few again today. Maybe I was stalling or looking for inspiration. I ‘m not exactly sure. But I landed on one. It hit my spirit today.  It was a zinger!  In quietness and trust is your strength.


This set is called “Foundation Verses” It contains a note to the parents on the first card. Here’s part of the note:

(Children are never too young to begin memorizing Bible verses! Although their minds may not understand every word, our prayer is that their spirits will be touched. As their life experiences add to their understanding, these verses will come to mean even more to them. Foundation Verses are intended to be used with preschoolers but may also be used by others. These verses have been chosen for the basic truths they contain. God bless you, David and Sally Michael.)


Sometimes it’s the little things that matter. These simple truths are so important not only for the preschooler but to ME. They may be short enough for the pre-schooler to memorize but that doesn’t mean they are any less profound. (As their life experiences add to their understanding, these verses will come to mean even more to them.) That sentence in the note to parents rang true in my mind. It was incredibly impactful to me.

My life experiences have taught me the importance of these verses and do mean so much to me. This is exactly the lesson I am learning. I’m learning to trust God in many situations and quietness is a great companion for trust.  In quietness and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15


 Here are a few “Foundation Verses” I’d like to share:

  • The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10


  • And do not forget to do good and share with others. Hebrews 13:16 a


  • What is impossible with men is possible with God. Luke 18:27 * I needed this one too!


  • I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 411 b


  • This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24


  • Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:17


And I’ll repeat and conclude with the simple yet profound verse I needed today:

  • In quietness and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15


Maybe you needed one or more of these above mentioned foundation verses today. Select one and say it aloud because as I mentioned in last weeks blog post, it’s good to talk to yourself.

What verse or passage has been helpful to you recently? Do share!



Do you talk to yourself ? Try it!

I talk to myself a lot. Many years ago I attended a photo scrap book workshop with my friend Caroline. She looked at me from across the table filled with photos, scissors, colorful papers, stickers, and trims and said, “Rach do you know you talk to yourself while you’re working?”


“Do I? I’m sure you’re correct.” I nodded.

She went on to tease me as she gave her best impression of my logomania. “Oh, I could use this photo over here and that would make room for these two right here. Or I could put a piece of red paper underneath this one to tie in the photo of Michael’s red shirt on the right. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that would balance nicely!”

She clapped her hands together rapidly the way I do when I’m excited and continued. “Yay! That looks great. Boom!” She crinkled up her nose as she snickered to herself because of her good impression of my diarrhea of the mouth.

Caroline hit the nail on the head. I do talk to myself. I heard it was a sign of intelligence. Hey, I’ll take that. Do you talk to yourself? Try it!

I talk to myself in the car too. If  I go that way it will be quicker. The light is turning red I should turn right here and go to the grocery store. Today I did a bit of talking to myself in my journal. I guess that’s called writing.


Thank you God for being:

  • My Strong Tower
  • Deliverer
  • Shelter
  • Way-Maker
  • Shepherd
  • Guide
  • Rescuer
  • Friend
  • Wonderful Counselor
  • Almighty God
  • The Lover of My Soul

Then I went on to talk to myself through a few of His promises.

Promise: God plans good for you:

  • For the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him. Isaiah 30:18.


  • I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. Jeremiah 32:40

Promise: God will be with you in hard times.

  • When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. Isaiah 43: 2a

Promise: God will not bring any unnecessary suffering into your life.

  • Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. Lamentations 3:32 – 33


I also talked to myself with this list:

  • The LORD will work it all out.
  • God loves me.
  • Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.
  • His grace is sufficient for me.
  • Everything works out for good in the end – so if it’s not good it’s not the end.       ( Romans 8:28 loosely quoted by Kris Vallotton)
  • God is for me – he’s not against me.

Faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17. When we hear ourself talk we are able to build our faith in the unfailing and faithful God. Do you talk to yourself? It’s key. Say a few of the the promises above aloud. Talk to yourself. Try it!




Pick and Save

I’ve had a radical change of habits. “What’s changed?” you may ask.  I’d answer, “I’m frequently walking with a dog!” It has become a norm for me because my friend Jeanne and I walk regularly and she brings her precious and friendly dog Gabe along. (Gabe recently had his 12th birthday. Happy Birthday Gabe!)

I’ve noticed something about Gabe’s behavior when he needs to go poop. This playful  golden retriever will sniff around for a while. Then he’ll circle around and around, chasing his tail a few times and vacillates back and forth, while his head swings left and right. Finally, he sort of marches up and down until he finds a place suitable to “do his business.”

The weather has changed recently here. It’s actually become balmy.  It was in the upper 50’s° the other day. Yay! Spring is on it’s way. It is no longer all snowy and white outside.


The snow has become icy like pellets of ice so when Gabe does his famous bathroom dance the trampled snow makes crunch crunch sounds. When the noise stops, it’s a signal that Gabe’s about to poop.

This poop march, coupled with the response of my friend, Jeanne is like a well choreographed dance. After Gabe squats to poop and finishes, Jeanne removes a plastic bag from her right coat pocket. Swish. She places the bag over her hand for protection,  claws up the dog poop, inverts the bag and ties a knot in the plastic bag in one fluid motion and we all go on our merry way.

Recently, I noticed she used a tan plastic bag from our local grocery store called Pick-n-Save. The green store logo was written on the bag as clear as could be.  As I witnessed Jeanne’s poop removal skills in operation I laughed, “Well now, that gives a whole new meaning to PICK-N-SAVE.”

Jeanne gazed directly into my eyes, puzzled and asked, “What?”

I repeated, “That gives a whole new meaning to Pick-n-Save. Get it? You gotta pick up the poop and save it until you get home to throw it away.” She marched forward, the poop sack dangling from her right hand and swinging like a pendulum. 

“Oh, Rachel! You crack me up!” She said. “I will never think about Pick-n-Save the same way again.”

I slapped my leg laughing. I got to thinking about pick and save and my silly pun. I thought I was so clever in the moment. Honestly, there have been a few times on our walks when I am able to smell the poop even in the sealed bag.

I often say. “We’ve got to mind our minds and think about what we’re thinking about. Sometimes we have stinkin’ thinkin’. When it comes to our thoughts I have to ask myself and I ask you too, “What do we pick and save?”

Go ahead! Yes, do pick up things that are the things we should think about and save them safe in our minds. However, other things we need to not pick up at all.


Consider this verse from Philippians. It comes on the heels of Paul telling his listeners not to be anxious then he wraps up with this:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8 

So, let me ask you, what are you thinking about? I always say… “mind your mind and think about what you’re thinking about.” Have you picked up a poopy thought today or recently? Do you have stinkin’ thinkin’?  Let me implore you, DO NOT SAVE IT!

Remember…We don’t even need to pick up the poopy thoughts that come our way and try to enter our minds to pollute us, make us anxious or attempt to steal our joy. LEAVE THE POOP ALONE.  JUST LEAVE IT THERE.

The kind of thoughts we want to pick and save are the kind we should grab on to. Think about what God instructs us to dwell on. Let me encourage you to pick and save only things that are true, noble, right, lovely, admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about (“pick and save”) these things.

*I hope I’ve not offended you by the amount of times I’ve had to talk about 💩 in this post. But it is what it is. So there ya go! That’s my fresh perspective for everyday life.


No Citation…Released.


My friend Jeanne is a gift to me and she possesses the gift of laughter. She giggles at all of my jokes. (It’s not the only reason I enjoy her, but it does top the list.)

She lives nearby but today I drove to her house. We planned to take a walk then  wanted to run an errand afterwards so I knew I would need my car. We finished our normal trek in less time than usual. We were glad because we still had full days ahead.

We stepped inside briefly and unbundled ourselves. “Whoa, that was a pretty good workout!” Jeanne said.

“Yeah and we finished quickly. We were booking it! It’s chilly and my nose is running. Let me blow my nose, use your bathroom and I’ll be ready to head out.” I said.

I emerged, “Oh, man! I really am kind of sweaty now.” I admitted.

Jeanne agreed, “Yeah, me too, but we already decided we’re just going like this.”

“Yes, for time’s sake. Although, you know I don’t like to go out dressed like this.” I explained.

We embarked upon “the hunt.” I wanted to try to find a particular item at Goodwill. As we exited the house, I was thinking. I am breaking my own cardinal rule – or clothing commandment!

Here’s the background. I don’t usually wear athletic clothes out and about. I think it is partly a shoes thing. It’s been a weird deal of mine probably since high school. I’m more of a costumer. When I select a piece of clothing I think about the setting I’d wear it in. Well, maybe not EVERY piece but most clothes and shoes, I do.

For me, certain garments and shoes have particular purposes and should fit the scene. So If I’m wearing walking or running shoes I feel like I NEED to be out for a walk or run.

Anyway, Jeanne knows I have a rule about that. But each day only has so many hours in it and I was in a time crunch. She talked me into it. “You can handle being seen in workout clothes today Rachel”

“Okay, Fine!” I said.

We both hopped into my car. The one with the newly installed driver’s window. (See  my last blog. “Oh no! Plan B)

“How’s the window working?” She immediately asked,

“Like a charm!” I replied.

“I’m glad.” She commented. “I read your blog about it. I think I should read it to my neighbor Bill since he was featured!”

While, I didn’t find what I was hunting for, we had a good time looking. On our way back home, we passed the school yard. There was so much activity. Cars and buses were parked in front of the elementary school and lined the streets. Children streamed out of the building as crossing guards lead them safely across the intersections.


“It must be an early release day. It’s only 1:50.” Jeanne said.

I pointed out the window. “I’m glad that’s just a crossing guard and not a policeman.”

“What?” she asked. “Why?”

“Maybe I’m going to get a citation for wearing this outfit on this outing.”

First he blows his whistle and hollers, “Hey, lady! Pull over, I need to issue you a citation.  Excuse me ma’am. Do you know why I pulled you over?”

“No, not really,” I would admit. “Is it this outfit and shoes I’m wearing? Is that it?”  Ugh! I KNEW IT! This was a poor fashion choice.

” Really Jeanne can you picture it?”


Jeanne laughed at me, sighed and said. “Oh, Rachel!”

Actually, I felt released and a bit liberated from my own silly fashion rule.(commandment)

  • It saved us time
  • was quite painless to endure
  • was done without any repercussions or citations
  • was a giftpexels-photo-842876.jpeg

The Greatest Commandments

Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” Mark 12:28b-31

Now that’s a true commandment to follow.





Oh, No! Plan B

I’ve heard Kris Vallotton say, “Adversity introduces a man to himself.”

The plan was set! I grew more and more excited as the minutes ticked byThere was the threat of a winter storm making our plan a bit iffy. The morning proved we did have added snow coverage, but not enough to interfere with the plan. My car trunk was packed to the gills  and so was the back seat.


I gave him a kiss and hopped into the car. “Thanks Babe for loading all this stuff. You really are my forerunner.”

“Have a great time! See you when you get back.” He waved as I drove away.

Man, I really love my guy!

As I pulled into Jeanne’s driveway, I noticed all the snow was cleared. Hmm? She told me she needed a bit of extra time to clear her drive. It really looks good. She’s been a busy beaver.

We loaded Jeanne’s things in my already full car. I had that “an adventure’s about to begin” feeling. I backed out of the beautifully cleared driveway. We hadn’t even gone two houses when she said, “That’s my neighbor Bill who came over with his snowblower this morning to finish clearing my driveway. He’s so good to me.”

Oh, it makes sense now. She had a neighbor’s help. I’m so glad. It was a lot to shovel. 

I looked to the left and saw Bill. He pushed his big orange snowblower proudly out in front of him. His heavy black coat stood out against the all white winter backdrop. Black earmuffs protected his ears either from the cold or the noise, I’m not sure which. He approached the end of the drive.

I lowered my window and hollered, “Thanks Bill for clearing the snow! Have a good day!” I raised my chin up and smiled. I wasn’t sure he heard me above the hum of the snowblower.

“Yikes! It’s so cold.” I squeeled.

Surprised by the cold’s forceful tumble in my warm car, I desperately wanted to put my window up to protect myself from the elements. I reached for the button to power the window up. Then, there was a clunk sound and an noise after it. It was an ineffective hum. I sat frozen for a moment, frozen in time. Crud! 

“Jeanne, I can’t get the window back up.” I admitted as she sat in the passengers seat unaware.

“What?” She replied.

“Seriously! I can’t get it to go back up. And it’s freezing!”

We just sat in the middle of the street. I tried to push the button but it still wouldn’t work. I tried various other things too. Nothing worked.

I called my husband. He had a few suggestions and a question. I tried them immediately.  He’d already been so helpful to load my car, but one question he asked during our brief conversation ticked me off.

“Did you really have to roll down the window? You couldn’t just wave and smile at the neighbor?” He asked.

How is that question helpful? Why are you shaming me? Yes, I MEANT to lower the window. It was intentional so I could say, “THANK YOU!”

I didn’t truly hang up on him. I just said. “Okay. Bye!” I knew he was in a hard position as he was half way to work.  BUT I was in a pickle of a situation too. His hands were tied.

BUT my front driver’s side window had sunk to the bottom of the driver’s door and was not coming up at all. I was not too happy about it. (First world problems, I know.) But adversity introduces a man to himself.  RachelDon’t loose your joy! You’ll figure something out. God knows all about your weekend and every need.


Wow!  Oh, how the imagination runs wild.I  pictured traveling 90 minutes in the frigid temperatures with wind-blown hair and icicles hanging from our nose hairs. Next, I could see a good thing happening. I envisioned us getting the window up. YAY!  Only to have it fall back down again during the drive. BOO- HISS!  I could also see the forecasted snow we were supposed to get on Sunday all coming in my open window. As it sat abandoned in the parking lot for the weekend I pictured a foot of snow on my seat.

Neither Jeanne nor I are incredibly automotive savvy. “We can’t stay here in the middle of the road. Just back up.” She instructed. “Rachel, We can take my car if we need to.”

We both waved at Bill, like goofballs and drove back to Jeanne’s driveway. I did NOT want to unpack all of the stuff we had just packed. (Although Michael loaded most of it.) There was SO much!

I suggested we try to get the window up by reaching into the door and pulling it up. We tried with our fingers. Index and thumb weren’t small or strong enough to hang on. I couldn’t keep a good enough grasp. My hands were so cold and stiff.

“Do you have a set of  piliers or something?” I inquired.

“I’ll see what I’ve got inside.” Jeanne said as she walked away.

When she went in,  I called Michael back. I knew I needed to.”Babe, I know you are on your way to work and I’m sorry. I was short with you, but your question didn’t feel helpful.

“I know.” he said. He too apologized.

Jeanne emerged with some sort of tool that was too flimsy for the job. I suggested a piece of rubber to hold the grip.

“You know like what you use when trying to remove a lid from a glass jar?” She had a rubber piece and we tried it next, but it didn’t do the job..

Jeanne also handed me a small red bag clip. The kind you seal a package of  potato chips  with. It was way too flimsy and was plastic. Why did she give me this? What in the world good will this baby do? I’ll give it a try I decided. As Jeanne walked back inside to find something, I broke the bag clip in two seconds flat.

I just stood there. I had a busted window, a broken bag clip and no way to get the window up. We did some jockeying of  position with cars. She pulled her car out of the garage and I drove mine in. Next, we unloaded ALL of the items I had in my trunk and transfered them into her car:

  • cooler
  • guitar
  • suitcases
  • hanging bags
  • Baskets of T’shirts
  • Luggage of product and jewelry.

It was quite an ordeal. But we did it! Adversity introduces a man to himself. I kept thinking. Plan B wasn’t really that bad. It truly all worked out.  We had overcome adversity and we didn’t allow it to rob our joy.

The rest of the morning and afternoon was smooth and went according to plan. Actually, it went better than planned because God had His hand on the plans. He planned good things for the weekend and for all the women in attendance including Jeanne and me!


PLan B included:

  • Fantastic weather with sunny skies
  • Everything fit into Jeanne’s vehicle
  • No problem with directions- until the very end. No biggy!
  • Loaded everything in the conference center early
  • A beautiful restaurant available without leaving the resort
  • Salads and butternut squash soup
  • The waiters undivided attention because it was so early and not busy






Where could they be?

“Honey, have you seen my sunglasses?” I asked reluctantly one December day.

“No. Which ones?” my husband inquired.

“My, Revo’s! I can’t find them anywhere. I’m just sick about it.  The weird thing is I have the case, but it’s empty.” I reported.

I closed my eyes and thought about when I had last seen them.  I pictured my Bible and a pair of red mittens with my REVOS sitting on top, the way a cherry sits on top of the whipped cream on a hot fudge sundae.

That was my last recollection of them. So I said, “Michael, I do remember having them at church. They were with my Bible and mittens in the pew.” I told him.

Days and weeks past and I searched, like a mad man, through everything to find them: coats, purses, both cars and their glove boxes. But none of my searching produced the lost sunglasses. I even stopped at church to check the lost and found for a few weeks.


Like many of my stories, there is a back story here. TRUE CONFESSION- I’ve had, in the past, a habit of misplacing or losing my sunglasses. Many years ago, probably 25, my husband bought me this pair of Revo sunglasses when we were shopping in Chicago. They were expensive. At least in my view they were. I mean they weren’t from a dollar store, a gas station, a womans’ fashion store or boutique.

When Michael bought them for me he looked me in the eyes and in a very particular way, he said, “Rachel, don’t lose these!” It wasn’t that he didn’t love and trust me. (He probably didn’t trust me) Anyway, I know he didn’t say it to shame me. He never said, “Listen woman, you better not lose these!”

Nevertheless, the way he said it, coupled with the way he looked directly at me, made me accept the challenge seriously. I’m NOT going to lose these sunglasses. I am not!

I’ve kept track of those sunglasses for years! I really loved them and they can’t be replaced on-line. So, naturally I was pretty bummed and upset about losing them.

The longer they were missing, the more I grew sick about it. I journaled about the loss. During one of my prayer times I shouted, “I WANT MY REVOS BACK!” It was the oddest scream-type prayer. “God would you reveal them to me? If they were stolen, have the thief be as sick as I am and return them! You can do this God. I WANT MY REVOS BACK!”


On Sunday night, January 14, 2018 I went to a prayer gathering. I pulled into the parking lot and parked my car. I decided to take my snow scraper in with me because snow had begun to fall. I reached behind my seat to grab the snow scraper, I don’t feel it. 

I raised myself up a bit in my seat to make sure the scraper wasn’t in the car. Then I  reached all the way behind the driver’s seat with my right arm extended and felt around for it a bit.

With my head swiveled is far as it could go, I peeked behind to the backseat floor mat. There, delicately placed in folded and in an upright position, sat my Revo sunglasses! What? Oh, my word!  I”ve found my sunglasses. Thank you Lord! Just in time for my Florida vacation. You are so good God!

The truly miraculous part was that just a week before we had taken a road trip to Iowa. My husband and I in the front seat, son and daughter-in-love in the back. All four of us were in our relatively small car. We traded seats half way through the trip and shifted our things too. So if they were there someone would have noticed.

Plus, we had all sorts of stuff down by our feet: backpacks, laptop bags, snacks and water bottles. If my sunglasses had been there they would have been completely crushed. At one pit stop, in frustration and as a release, I even bought a new pair of sunglasses.  Upon our return, I cleaned out the car. So this was amazing!




Back to the night of the prayer meeting and the snow scraper. I immediately sent a text to my family members because I was so thankful and wanted them to know I had found my REVO sunglasses.

Group text message: I found my Revos sunglasses! I know God delivered them to me. They were in the back of the CC on the floor! That’s the car we recently took to Iowa and all of our bags and laptops were at our feet. I’m soooooooo excited and wanted you all to know I found them!

Whether or not you believe God transported my sunglasses to the backseat or not, doesn’t really matter to me. I know full well my heart was opened to a very personal God who cares about every little detail of my life. He hears my prayers. He hears yours too.

I heard a pastor say once, “If it concerns you, it concerns God.” My heart was touched and ready to receive from Him that snowy January night. Later one member gave a word of knowledge. The word pierced my heart in a very personal and much-needed place. I believe the recovered sunglasses opened me up for a personal deposit from the LORD.


The Parable of the Lost Coin
 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10



Don’t freak out!


I prayed, “God, would you use me to carry your Spirit and the revelation that your perfect love casts out fear?He answered quickly and people came out of the woodwork like ants to a picnic after my prayer.


I have met with many women lately. Not even aware of their stories, I learned they are riddled with fear, depression and anxiety. The voices in their heads and the lies swirling around seem to constantly bombard them. Have you been in their shoes? Are you now?


I’d like to make it clear, I’m not a counselor. But I do know the wonderful counselor and He is always available and his calendar is never too booked to meet with us so we meet together with him. For months now I have asked God to make me an “anxiety free” zone.

I sensed God wanted me to carry a no anxiety zone and release His peace and joy instead. (See previous blog post, “Discouragement Gives Way to Prevailing Peace”) 

Let me liken it to this: you know how it is to be around someone who has recently eaten garlic, right? You don’t even need to get close to them to smell it on their breath because is seeps out of their pores. I want to “SMELL” too, not like garlic, but like joy, peace and rest. A NO ANXIETY ZONE!

Most things that we find ourselves worried about or anxious over, never come true. You’ll see what I mean in the example below. We are NOT to be destroyed by speculations and lofty thoughts, rather we are to destroy them.

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB

(Speculations – NOUN. The forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence.)

Speculations can wind up affecting our thoughts negatively. Let me give you a few examples. This happened years ago to me – My husband Michael was late coming home from work. When I let speculations take over, it went like this:

  • He’s probably late because he had a motorcycle accident.
  • Any minute now I’ll hear the ambulance.
  • I just heard an ambulance siren. See!
  • If he dies, where are all the important documents?
  • I will need to find a black dress for the funeral! 

When my husband was late, why didn’t I think these thoughts:

  • He probably stopped at the florist to get me a bouquet of roses.
  • His boss delayed him in conversation about the great job he’s doing
  • He needed gas for his motorcycle so he’ll be here in a bit I’m sure!
  • He stopped to pick up Chinese carry out for a surprise dinner.



Oh, and here’s another one for you. Before Christmas two of my friends were to meet a group of us at a ballet performance. The four of us arrived early to secure seats. We sat in the auditorium caught up and visited and took our photo together. We had such a good time we didn’t even check our cell phones. We knew the others planned to join us closer to the start.


I wonder if they’ll arrive on time?  I kept my eyes peeled on the look out. Meanwhile, they had arrived but were seated in a different section.  They waited and wondered where we all were.

We finally met up. My friend Mary said, “Oh,my I was so worried, I even called Jeanne’s husband because no one answered my calls. He said you had left over an hour ago. I freaked out! I just knew you were all dead in a ditch!”

What is this? You got it…NEGATIVE SPECULATIONS!

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB

Lofty thoughts are things that seem bigger than God. One thing I’ve noticed is if we carry a REALLY BIG GOD mind-set then our problems and circumstances come into proper perspective. So when speculations or lofty thoughts and are raised up against the knowledge of God, I’ve learned to review some promises and what I know about God:

  • God is for me he is not against me.
  • No weapon formed against me will prosper.
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  • The joy of the LORD is my strength.
  • God protects me.
  • God will be with me wherever I go.
  • I can cast my cares on the LORD – He promises to sustain me.
  • God will strengthen me and help me; he will uphold me with his righteous right hand.
  • The LORD makes my steps firm.
  • God is the lifter of my head.

Any thought or reasoning of mine that sets itself up against this knowledge of God must be destroyed, pulled down and replaced with truth.

Let me encourge you. Don’t freak out! Mind your mind and think about what you think about. Don’t be anxious, pray!

I release peace over you now in Jesus name.

Do not be anxious/worried about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7







He uses it all and nothing is wasted!

I listened to the swish, swish, swish of my slippers shuffle on the kitchen floor as I opened the microwave to warm up a cup of coffee. I drank a few sips and headed to make the bed. Later, I searched for my coffee mug and spun around a few times looking for it. Oh, found it! By then it was cold again. Yikes! I should just get started. I appeared busy, but I was simply stalling. I didn’t want to face what I had on the docket for the day.


I then received a text from my cousin Annie. I’d asked her to hold me accountable to blog and organize things so I can start the potentially painful and much-needed process of writing another book.

She’s excellent at reminders, better than any phone app could ever be. She regularly notifies me about each resolve I have declared. Today was no exception. Good morning Sunshine! It’s blogging day! And start making a pile of all the things you’ll need to dig into in a few weeks.

I delayed the inevitable task long enough. Just get moving! I rummaged through a few baskets and boxes for past calendars, my journals and the cards I’d received. I climbed up and down steps repeatedly during my search. I looked in coffee table drawers and on bookshelves as I gathered my journals from the last 4-5 years.


I opened each one, looked at the handwriting and began to read a few of the sections. Some sentences instantly brought me back to the preserved moment. I noticed the writing was indicative of the condition of my heart. Sometimes I wrote over the pages in all different random directions. It was as if my thoughts couldn’t land in any order on the page. It was chaotic writing, but it was a chaotic time.

It was a difficult time for me and my family. This trial felt like it came out of nowhere and hit me like a MAC truck. Grief related to loss had thrown me off. These points of confusion were now preserved on paper and demonstrated through my own troubled handwriting. Sometimes large scribblings filled the pages. Each notebook contained a mixture of the following:

  • personal journal
  • sermon notes
  • song lyrics
  • my response to Bible passages
  • prayers to God
  • personal reflections
  • questions and confessions.

No, stop reading! Just look for the start and end dates! Then collect them and put them in chronological order. I reached in the kitchen drawer and drew out a black Sharpie marker and began to label each journal with a sticky note near the top.



I marked them all. Phew! Progress. I read a few of the cards I’d received. Next, I glanced at the calendars where I had recorded something I’ve prayed about each day. I came to a circled date in mid September 2014. This calendar entry noted a phone conversation I had with my daughter Grace.

The conversation occurred while I was speaking at a retreat in northern Michigan. I immediately envisioned the step on which I sat in the sun. I  could feel the breeze on my face. I remember I was outside my cabin when this call came in. This memory was both precious and painful to recollect. I stopped.

I had to stop and cry out to God. The memory was so vivid. It was beautiful and absolutely precious. In the “time warp thing” it felt as if it had just happened yet it seemed extremely distant like it were decades ago.

The pleasure and pain I experienced caused fresh tears to flow. I miss her! I just miss my daughter Grace! God, I know you are good and you are in charge but it still hurts and I don’t know if I can write about it today or anytime soon. 


I’m not certain how long I sat there crying but eventually I did get up. I was hungry and  needed to eat some lunch and possibly exercise too. I descended the stairs still in my pajamas and slippers. The familiar sound of my slippers shuffling rang in my ears. Okay, it’s no longer breakfast and coffee time. You, my dear, had better make yourself somethin’ to eat.


As I assembled a salad of fresh greens, beets, olives and chopped celery, I reached for the few remaining salt and pepper cashews I had in a cabinet. Only a handful… Well, that’ll do. Perfect! I wouldn’t want to let these babies go to waste! 

I tugged on the refrigerator door and opened it with a grin. Yay! That yummy zesty dressing I made yesterday is in here. I had a jar of horseradish pickles, which no longer had any pickles in it, just juices, so I spooned out stone ground mustard and added it, whisked both together and poured the mixture through a funnel into a glass dressing bottle.

Fabulous! I chuckled as I exclaimed, “I’ve used whatever is available today to make my lunch and along with yesterday’s concoction, I haven’t wasted anything!” What’s true in the natural is true in the spiritual! I heard my spirit agree with the Spirit of God which said, You know Rachel God doesn’t waste anything either. I mused. Yeah, yesterday I thought, I can’t throw away this pickle juice…it could be used for something!

I believe God doesn’t waste one day of my life, one hard thing in my life, or one tear shed during my life. He uses it all and nothing is wasted.

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. Psalm 126:5 –6

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8(NLT)



I finished eating my delicious salad. These thoughts came to me. I’m glad I started organizing my journals and looking through things. You know Rachel you aren’t the same person your were when you wrote on the pages of those journals all those years ago. You have been beautifully changed and shaped by God through the hardest of times. THIS IS NOT WASTED IN YOUR LIFE.

As I rose, so did my hope.  You see, I know God:

  • is for me not against me.
  • causes all things to work together for my good. (So, as Kris Vallotton always says,” If it’s not good- it’s not over!”)
  • is with me in hard times.
  • is close to the broken-hearted.
  • saves those who a crushed in spirit.
  • is near.
  • is good.
  • loves me.
  • is a restorer and reconciler.
  • keeps my tears in a bottle.
  • is a way maker.
  • is a rock on which I can stand.
  • has already won the battle. I fight from victory not for victory

I had to remind myself today and now I’ll remind you. No matter what you’re facing, no matter how long your trial or season of difficultly may be, no matter what wilderness you are walking through, remember He uses it all and nothing is wasted!  Not even your tears.






Dread & Discouragement Lifted-Perfect Peace Prevailed.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 ESV.  I spoke the lasts few days about “Parenting with Perfect Peace.” Not about perfect parenting, that is impossible and I would have been disqualified.

Because I shared about God’s peace and the authority believers have to release peace today the enemy tried to rob my peace. I should have known he’d be up to some devilish tricks. I’ve been warned, have your prayer team pray for you after you speak. (NOTE TO SELF…implement this plan.)

This attack wasn’t… BOOM! right off the bat.  Nope, the enemy waited, sutdied me first as I went about my day. Nevertheless a gloomy FEELING of discouragement crept in like an unplesant odor as he tried to play a “movie trailer” of my future.



You know what I’m talking about, right? Can you relate? He plays a “movie trailer” of your future for you… These things aren’t real. He manipulates your imagination so you believe these things are CERTAIN to happen. This creates dread.

That was his tactic of choice today, to spread dread and discouragement about the future of my family. He tried to get the best of me. But I resolved discouragement would NOT win. This will not take over! You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. 

I texted a friend. “We need to pray I’m  feeling weary and discouraged.” Sometimes just getting it out is helpful and I know I must take authority of the thoughts and not allow them to ping-pong around inside my head. Thanks God for my friend’s prayer.  I reminded myself… I can’t lose my peace when my mind is stayed on Jesus. I decided to do what I told the audience members to do. “I release peace in Jesus name!” I said aloud.



Later, I texted a friend.  It was quite warm outside and I wanted to invite her on a walk. You may wonder why I decided to walk when I was feeling attacked and a bit discouraged? Because it is a PERFECT time to take a walk! I know exercise is a big way to lift my spirits, so I do it. Thanks God for my healthy body and the ability to walk and exercise.

While out I reviewed the verse. You will keep in perfect peace… I passed the school yard with active children playing during noon recess. Those wonderful sights and sounds caught my attention. These elementary aged kids yelled and giggled. Their chasing around was a wonderful sign of life. Thank you God for small children, laughter and life!


It lifted. My emotions were no longer in control and the atmosphere was shifted. I don’t know what you are facing today. Whatever it is, remember…don’t let your emotions and feelings run the show! I heard a pastor, Kris Vallotton say, “Emotions are my slave not my master!” Feelings are not what run my life, remember that!  

If you FEEL like things aren’t going to turn around for you even in 2018, don’t trust your feelings. Trust God! I believe 2018 will turn around and be the exact opposite. It’s called faith:

  • Being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you cannot see.
  • God is able to turn things around.
  • What is impossible with man is possible with God.
  • He is always doing something new. (Isaiah 43:19)

Remember we can’t lose our peace when our minds are stayed on him. The outcomes that we experience and the future we possess are based on the word of God not the words floating around in our heads. So we can’t let any nasty thoughts rob our peace or steal our joy. Instead, let’s say, “I release peace. In Jesus name.”

Let’s keep these things looping in our minds:

  • You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.
  • Joy is rooted in Jesus and found in His presence.
  • Joy has a companion – thankfulness.
  • God is good. He is for me not against me. He’s a good father.
  • Joy is filled in trusting God and is a promise even in hard times.



The enemy wants us to suffer in silence, but let’s release peace and soak in the truth of God’s word…

Promise: God will not reject His people. “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10

Promise: If you persevere under trial, you will be rewarded. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4: 17-18

Promise: God will deliver you from all your troubles.  If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us. 2 Chronicles 20:9



Pregnant With Expectancy

As I drove home from a birthday party, I had a message on my phone. It was from a Marco Island friend. It read:  Just driving by Meadowbrook Road, Aunt Rachel! Sad I couldn’t see you.  
She’s talking about my exit! I wonder how long ago her message came in? What? This means she passed my exit? Now? I’m confused. Is she here in Wisconsin? I was bummed that I had missed my opportunity to connect. RATS! I would love to have seen Autumn. 
I came inside and immediately put on my “stay at ‘home in the cold’ clothes.” You know what I mean. They’re the warm and cozy and loose kind. I pulled on a sweater and grabbed my laptop and began to write a blog post about the party. A few minutes later I heard, DING DONG! Who could that be? Christmas is over so it can’t be a delivery man with a package… 
I descended the stairs and opened the door to find an unexpected surprise!  Autumn stood before me, her bright eyes twinkled and she joyfully beaming.  “I just wanted to say a quick ‘Hi’ and get a hug from you.” She said. “I have my sister and friend in the car so I can’t stay.”
“Can’t stay? Bring them in here!” I protested.” I have to say hello. I promise not to hold you long, but you must at least come in!”
Autumn quickly checked with them. Then, with a scarf over her nose and mouth for protection from the elements, she made a beeline for my front step and flew through my front door followed by her sister Anna and friend Adriane.

Anna, Autumn and Adrianne!

I knew they shouldn’t stay too long. They needed to get back on the road as it would soon be dark and the cruddy weather of spitting rain could turn to ice.
“Can you come up for a cup of tea?” I asked.
 I set out tea cups when Anna said, “Mama Inouye, you’ve taken out six cups and there are only four of us! Can’t you count?”
I giggled. Yes, I can, but I wanted you to have a bit of a choice as to which cup you select.”
“See, I knew as I removed cups from the cabinet that Autumn would choose the silver one!” I stated proudly.
“Yep, this says a lot about the two of us as sisters.” Anna agreed.
Tea time in my loft area is one of my most treasured times. We talked about:
  • the weather
  • the LORD – His ways, His teaching, His goodness
  •  family

Next, out of my mouth pops this question, “So, what are you each expectant about?”

They looked at me for a moment, thought for a while, pondered then answered. “Well, that’s a good question!” Anna said.

I replied. “Well, we know it’s going to be something good… Cuz He’s good.  We took time to pray together. I prayed we would be “pregnant with expectancy.” 

THE QUESTION STUCK WITH ME.  IT WAS MY OWN QUESTION.  But asking it and praying about it had caused me to resolve more fully to live pregnant with expectancy.


 I am very aware of how I frame my thoughts. I must ask:

  • Have I let random thoughts of negativity creep in?
  • Who told me that?
  • Where is this thought coming from?
  • Do I grab a hold of my thoughts?
  • Am I living pregnant with expectancy?
  • Am I expecting God to do good things?

When my answers to the last few questions are yes, I find his faithfulness and can record his goodness. I watch as he repeatedly surprises me because I’m expectant. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Instead of writing my goals this year, I’ve just reviewed my dreams. I want to live with expectancy that he will blow me away. How did I come to this conclusion?

I see what he says in his word: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20, 21.  
 I believe God wants us to live in expectancy because he has plans for us. His plans are good. He doesn’t change and he cannot lie so these verses he has given can guide our thoughts about the future. Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18,19 (I feel like God’s saying, “Go ahead and be excited ahead of time. Be expectant!”)
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6  
Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of Justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
Isaiah 30:18 ( I want to wait…Pregnant with expectancy!)
Do you live pregnant with expectancy? Although unexpected things may throw off a PLAN for the day, the surprise itself can MAKE the day! That was my experience anyway.  Our tea cups were set on my kitchen counter. I left them there for a bit because they were a precious reminder of how God had answered a prayer to surprise me. I looked at the cups, then took these photographs. Hmm? I wonder who will drink from these tea cups next? Who will God send my way? Even then, with that query, I was pregnant with expectancy!