Toothpaste and Workouts

There is more in you than you know. I heard God tell me. You’ve got more and more is required because you rely on me and I am in you. You may be wondering, Rachel, when did you have this thought? Let me give you the back story.

We were headed to Marco Island, Florida my bag was packed, except for the toiletries. I knew my toothpaste was almost gone. The tube was getting pretty empty but I held it in my hand and thought, I’ll probably run out, but it’s better than taking a new, heavier tube, in my checked bag. But it was amazing, it never ran out! I even had more left when I returned home.

One morning just before tossing it in the garbage, I decided to employ the method my husband uses to get at the last little bit. I used the edge of the vanity and I pulled the tube along to force the tooth paste to the end. Next, I used my toothbrush handle and slid it down the tube a second time to ensure I’d get all the remaining paste out. It worked like a charm! It lasted a for a few more days. It was a tube that kept on giving.

IMG_2461At my next brushing, I squeezed again and I heard His voice again, There’s more in you too. I’m never pushing you to hurt you, but for you to know more fully what you contain. You contain me and the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. You are a container of me – the hope of glory. I know! Those profound encounters happened in the bathroom, for goodness sake! Hmm? I chewed on the thought awhile.

Later, I was at the gym working out doing some strength training, a new thing for me this year. Even there I felt the same message was being confirmed and impressed on me. You’ve got more in you.

I’m working with a coach, Chelsea, who is excellent, she both pushes me and is encouraging. One time she gave instructions while demonstrating, “What you’re going to do here is you’re going to walk up these steps, holding a kettle ball weight in each hand.” I looked up at the significant number of steps and watched her climb her way up.

IMG_2481As she climbed, she continued the instructions,”Step by step all the way to the top, engaging the glutes and quadriceps and pushing through the big toe as you climb. Once you reach the top, turn around at the landing a then come back down slowly.” I watched as she demonstrated and then it was my turn. (Side note: I did it! Alternating with another exercise, which I don’t remember and repeating each station three times.)

Later, Chelsea instructed as she laid face-down on a weight bench, bar below. “This time we work to fatigue.  Pull up like you are rowing. You need to give me six, but you may even get up to ten.” I got into position…then, while I’m breathing and lifting she’d ask, “What number are you on?” I replied, “Six!”  She said, “Rachel, you’ve got another, or two more in you!” I would do it!  Then the same message repeated “you’ve got more, there is more in you.

Let me ask you, “Do you know how much you’re capable of? Do you know how strong you are? Do you know the one who meets you even in your weakness? Do you know that you too have more in you?”  Well, let me tell you, you do!

A few reminders:

  • But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. 1 John 4:4 NLT
  • For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13NLT
  • But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
  • The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun- scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11 NIV

Those waters that never fail are better thantoothpaste that never runs out. May God strengthen your frame today. I bless you and remember: “There is more in you, because of who you contain.”

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Freedom on the Other Side!

It bugged me for months yet I just couldn’t seem to get past it, tackle it, become motivated. I was stuck! I knew I needed to face it, but I felt powerless. In the midst of remodeling our master bathroom, my husband kept the tools he needed close at hand in our bedroom, it makes sense, I know.

But chaos and clutter in the bedroom became the norm… it wasn’t just the tools. It was the level, T-square, step ladder, sponges, paint cans, copper pipes along with an original pile of junk I hadn’t dealt with from months earlier. What originally needed to be addressed, because of neglect, was now complicated by the bathroom’s remodel spilling over! Dealing with all this JUNK became so daunting that I didn’t want to do the task at all, or ever! I was busy with other things and embarrassed and paralyzed. I was baffled by my own indifference yet I was disgusted at the same time.

The one small pile grew and took on a life of its own. In the end, it had taken up the floor space of about 1/3 of our bedroom’s square footage. There was no way for me to open the sliding glass door to get onto the deck. Because it’s winter and I don’t use it very much in the cold weather, it seemed to be no big deal which perpetuated the mess being tolerated.

Every morning, I woke up with a voice,”You know you should tackle this today. What’s your problem? Just do it!” I lived with the knowledge that I should get after it yet every evening I went to bed with the sense of disappointment that I still didn’t get it done. But enough is enough and the time finally came. Dun, dun dun, dun DUNNNNN!

I have a friend who is an accountability partner for what we’ve fondly referred to as our “Purging Days.” You may be wondering. What’s that? It’s when I go to her house to tackle an area she has become overwhelmed or discouraged by and we purge, pitch and organize. Then she comes over to my house and returns the favor.

Recently, we worked in her basement. She planned to go through things and purge. Her goal: properly put away the Christmas decorations. She was a motivated woman! Oh my goodness! My quadriceps were quivering and completely taxed from going up and down the steps, but we cleared out so much stuff it was worth it! It was unbelievable the amount of clearing out and purging that was accomplished. Yay! Yippee! Yahoo!

We loaded up her SUV, filled to capacity, and I watched her drive away as she took the stuff to Goodwill. She also had multiple bags of trash and some things she recycled. As the day progressed, she’d say through her laughter, “Oh, my gosh! Rachel look how much we’ve cleared out! How many empty bins do I have now? This is so exciting! Let’s work over here now.”

She had moved from disturbed, to encouraged and was finally elated and grateful. In the end, we both had a huge sense of accomplishment. It was such an exciting day. We both put the date to tackle things in my house on our calendars.

Sometimes you just need to sew a seed and that is how I viewed the day spent in her basement. I knew my house was next. Between clearing out her basement and the “purging day” at my own, my husband had nearly completed our bathroom’s remodel. We took away all the tools that were no longer needed. I appreciated his help because it seemed to jump start my energy-level and began to give me hope for the room.

I knew my turn would come…and it did. The following Monday, my friend came over and we tackled the dreaded area. We scratched our heads for a few minutes, then said, “How ’bout we just start over there by the bookshelves?” We cleared off every shelf, dusted the books and I decided whether to keep, donate, or sell each book. You have to start somewhere. Next, we sorted through papers AAAANNNNDDD the ball was rolling!

I was invigorated. It was like somebody shot the gun off for a race. I was able to run, stay in my lane, while being cheered on to the finish line. I don’t know about you, but for me, sometimes the gun just has to go off! And hearing the BANG is when I start running.

Clear path, junk is gone! I can actually walk out onto the deck if I want to.

Let me ask you a few questions that might get you unstuck and help you move forward:

  • What is it that you need to do to hear the gun go off? (Set a date, time, call someone?)
  • Is there something that accountability or a partner could help you do? (Reach out and ask to be held accountable or ask for help…period.)
  • Do you work best with a partner or alone?

Maybe you don’t need to be near ANYONE, quite the opposite, you may be the type of person who just needs to have time ALONE to accomplish tasks. If that’s the case, I suggest you write down a day and carve out the time to do it solo. (Write it down is key!)

Either way, I believe it’s important to “sew a seed then proceed.” Here’s what I mean by that, when I went over to my friend’s house to work in the basement that was a seed sown. My master bedroom got tackled for me later.

Here is another example of sewing a seed. Let’s say you want to have a date night with your husband, but you don’t have someone to watch your children. How ’bout you first, sew a seed. Perhaps you could offer to watch someone’s children so they could have a date night. Then later, they watch your kids so that you can get away.

Being generous with your time, resources and availability will boomerang back to you. You sow the seed. It’s not the only reason you do it, but I’m telling you, it is a blessing when it comes back to you. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25

There is a residual effect too. You know what? After working in my bedroom, I now feel like I can tackle other areas in my house. There is a spill over affect. I’m more able to take on messes in my emotional life and headspace that need to be purged and cleared out. I’ve noticed when we do something in the tangible physical realm it affects us in the emotional and spiritual realm too. I feel lighter, less cluttered, and invigorated to go after clutter in other areas in my life.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily in tangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31, 32

So whether you need to purge and get rid of things that are physical items, like my dreaded pile of junk, or whether it’s more emotional and spiritual trash that needs to go… I would encourage you to find a partner or even carve out the time alone to “Get ‘er done!” Let me tell you…If I can do it, you can do it! I’m rooting for you and freedom is on the other side.

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We still have room for a few more people. It’s going to be amazing!

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New Mirror and Better Vision-2020!

I bought a new mirror the other day. It has one side with regular vision and the other has five times the magnification. You know the kind, right? I needed to replace a broken mirror because it had no handle, but I also liked the fact that the handle on the new one could be bent and folded to set on a counter and stand alone.

It is a bit ironic that at the start of the year 2020 I purchased something to give me better “vision” while tweezing my eyebrows or smoothing out my foundation. I’ve been struck by the year “2020” and I’ve been asking God to give me his vision for: my life, my situations, my circumstance, my future, my goals, my paths and my decisions.

I don’t think I’ve sat long enough to get complete answers to all of the above mentioned, but I do know He gives me answers and enlightens me along the way as I spend time in His presence. Then things are revealed bit by bit as I gain clarity and sharper focus from Him.

As I focus on Jesus, other things become clearer too. This is contrary to the way it works in the natural, there you can only focus on one thing at a time. However, in the spirit realm, the more I focus on Him other things gain sharper focus. This year instead of making a New Year’s resolution, I am asking for New Year’s revelations from God. (I hope I’m ready for what He’ll reveal!)

I have my yearly eye exam today and I find it interesting that I would be thinking about this topic of clarity and focus when I’m about to get my eyes checked. I go every year and I kind of know the drill. One thing I’m pretty sure of though, my eye doctor is NOT going to ask me questions like, “Rachel, do you have the eyes of Father God towards other people?” Nor will he ask, ” Do you know how much I love you? Are you aware of how delighted I am in you? Is your own identity in the kingdom clear and in sharp focus?”

I know my doctor won’t ask me, but these are the questions I am asking myself and God is asking me them too. I want these things to define my life this new year. My “eye sight” to be clear and see God, myself and others the way He sees. I want new and better vision. I’m asking God because He is the one who made both my “natural and spiritual” eyes. “God please reveal the answers to me and help me make adjustments for the best and clearest vision possible.”

Photo by Raphael Brasileiro on Pexels.com

Back to the new mirror…The side with the 5X magnification really does work to see those nasty rouge eyebrows, the ones that need to be plucked, because everything is so large! Also, good lighting helps a great deal too. Have you ever noticed you know you need to tweeze your brows whenever you’re in the car? Outdoor natural lighting makes me think I should really keep an extra tweezers in the car.

When it comes to the things of the heart, it works well under both of those variables, magnification and light. So my prayer becomes, “Lord make me see what I need to see about me and about you and about other people too. God, please make it large enough for me not to miss what needs to be changed or altered and shine the light of who you are on me so I can allow the junk in my life to be plucked away too. In Jesus name, amen.

God, I invite your searching days into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways – the path that brings me back to you. Psalm 139:23,24 TPT

This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.

“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”

2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT

You reflect the LORD’s glory and are being transformed into his likeness. You go from glory to glory…So rejoice!

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Thanks everyone for listening. “the real deal” Podcast had its first birthday! One year old January 8th woo hoo!

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Christmas Nostalgia.

The holidays seem to bring a sense of nostalgia, don’t they? Christmas time can immediately bring us back to our childhood with distinct memories we are fond of replaying in our minds for comfort or for the poignant moments to ponder in our hearts, just like Mary the mother of Jesus did.

As I walked today, I was reflecting on my Christmas Eve memories both as a child and young mother. I was the youngest of four girls and our house was just the perfect size. As we grew older and married, we began to have our own children too. That same house, at Christmas time, became jam-packed with people, food, music, packages and laughter. It was just as packed as my grateful heart is now reflecting about it.

Yes, our Christmas Eve celebrations were a bit loud and even chaotic but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It was lots of people, and loads food and tons of dishes to wash and too many sugar treats. Mix all that with young children, mostly boys, all running around and wrestling and sweating. The windows even steamed over from all the body heat but inevitably, someone would open the front door and allow the late December frigid air to cool down this precious packed house.

Golly, I remember those Christmas Eve nights so well. After our Christmas meal, desiring to all be together, we’d pile into as few cars as possible and head up the street, just a few short blocks to the church. Our entire crew would descend upon the church’s sanctuary for the yearly open-communion service. We’d park our cars and make a mad dash for the door. Gladly escaping the winter’s cold and trading it for the warmth within those hallowed walls.

It took us a few moments, but we’d shed our coats and help the young ones near us, it was all part of the process. We spoke in hushed tones as we made sure we were all accounted for. “Okay, kids come with me. Let’s stay together. Sure, I’ll hold your hand.” Then we processed into the sanctuary like a long Heggen family parade.

I remember how magical it was to open the center isle doors and all walk in without any talking. The place was aglow! It was fully illuminated with only white candles which lined the isles and multiple candelabras strategically placed throughout the room. It was breath taking! Such beauty to behold. The candle’s flames each flickered slightly, dancing to the simple reflective music playing in the background.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Each person or family group could come and go as they pleased, not led or prompted by anyone. Everyone was welcome to sit in a pew for as long or briefly as they desired. A long wooden altar lined the entire front section of the church. When we were ready to to receive it, we walked to that altar, knelt down and were served communion without using words. It was quiet and reflective. It was holy.

This is the first time I’ve thought about those still moments in a long time. It was unique unlike any other time in the calendar year. It was special to me then and is a fond memory now which I’ve pondered because it represented such blessing and family unity. It was a time of togetherness, it was sacred and I’m tearing up even while I type. I believe my tears are like liquid gratitude flowing freely down my thankful face to my fully jammed packed heart.

After the time of candle lit communion. We always had the same routine. It became a tradition.

No matter what, we’d pile in the cars again and tour around the neighborhoods to look at the houses and all the Christmas lights. As the years marched by and many of us moved away, we’d wonder if a particular property was still owned by the same family. “Mom and Dad, do the “SMITHS” (NOT the real name) still live on the corner over by the school?” we asked.

“Hey, do you guys want to go swing by there on our way back to Mom and Dad’s?” It was always unanimous. “Let’s drive by their property just to see if they still have all of the same lawn decorations along with the hundreds and hundreds of stringed lights!” Each time I’d think, this isn’t going to be a big deal. Yet when we’d wind our way around the corner, catch a glimpse of that house we’d all begin to belly-laugh, usually my oldest sister would start it while someone else would exclaim, “YEP! It’s still the same things only they’ve even added to their displays!” Another would ask, “Did they always have the Choo-Choo train?” We thrived on the evening’s routine. It was a tradition. It was great fun.

When it came to gifts and opening packages, we’d start from youngest to oldest as we went around the room. I was the youngest of the four girls and therefore so were my children when they came on the scene, they liked that too. It was such a treasured time for me. Our Christmas Eve celebration seemed to go late into the evening each year as we all lingered and enjoyed one another’s company. I never wanted it to end. I loved it!

I realized this year, that TOGETHER is my primary love language. I really don’t care what it is we are doing… we could be eating, singing, worshiping, doing the dishes, reading the Christmas story from Luke chapter two, driving around the town gazing at lights or laughing, I just simply like that we were doing it together.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity. – Psalm 133:1

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“Who Told You That?”

I’ve felt very distracted today and wasn’t able to focus enough to write. After writing an instragm post, I was waylaid by social media and was glued, mindlessly, to my phone. Oh, it’s getting late and I’m still in my robe! So I decided to go outside, get some fresh air and take my daily walk to clear my head. It helped for awhile.

Then I made myself a delicious lunch and cleaned up the kitchen. Both making lunch and doing the dishes were a bit of a stalling tactic because I still wasn’t FEELING it yet, writing I mean. But I climbed the stairs and chose to start. It’s a matter of the will Rachel. So I sat down beside my Christmas tree to gather my thoughts and begin to write. I love this spot beside my tree.

I’ve enjoyed sitting in my upper loft area with my Christmas tree lit, for weeks now. It is peaceful and tranquil and once I sit down, I never want to get up. I put the tree up early in November because I knew my December was filled with the normal activities and additional speaking engagements. I’ll admit I had a little battle in my mind over whether or not I should put up the tree so early. It went something like this.

Rachel you usually wait until after Thanksgiving to put up the tree. You should get the most out of the season of thankfulness without moving on to the Christmas season. But I am thankful always no matter what month it is. Don’t rush into it. It’s too early, you can’t have people over in November, before Thanksgiving, with a tree up! You really can’t put it up yet it’s too early.

Then I heard myself ask aloud, “Who told you that?” What? Who told you that? YEAH, who? I’m free to do it if I want. NOW is when I have time. Besides, it isn’t a God commandment, Rachel it is only your own thoughts and the influence of others around who may wonder about it… but I decided…I’m going to put up the Christmas tree. SO WHAT? I’m a free agent.

Even though it took me two or three days to put up the tree this year, I had a wonderful time. The outcome was splendid. A few years ago the “pre- lit” tree was no longer “lit,” so I had to put all new lights on this year, 2,300 of them! But Im glad I did it in November because had many free days and I had a few gatherings in my home. I knew it would be good to have the warmth and the festive atmosphere for these things:

  • My parents visit and “Sisters Weekend” (See past blog: Push Past Disappointment- Onward )
  • Life Group
  • “Salad supper and share your testimony” with ladies from Bible Study
  • Prayer times with friends
  • House Guests for four nights
  • Family Christmas
  • Morning coffee with my husband before work

Let me turn a corner and have you read these words from Genesis 3:8-11a

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called the man and said to him, “Where are you? “And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked?

One time I heard a pastor say, “Ask yourself, “Who to you that…”

Who told you that:

  • You can’t put up your Christmas tree yet!
  • You won’t be able to concentrate long enough to get it done.
  • You’re not smart!
  • You’re too short!
  • Your situation will never change!
  • You don’t have a bright future.
  • You aren’t able to do/become/have_____________(fill in the blank)

Word for the wise…It might be good to ask yourself, Who told you that?

Yeah, who told you that you were too distracted and wouldn’t finish a blog post?

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Push Past Disappointments -Onward!

I was about to burst with excitement as I expectantly prepared for my parents and sisters to come to town for a visit. I love “sister weekend” it’s going to be so much fun to have them all here! I cleaned and fussed about plus, unlike my general rule, I decorated my Christmas tree to enhance the atmosphere.

Next, I looked at possible menu items and made a brief list so I could run to the grocery store. I was also about to make reservations for dining out for our big celebration.

But I quickly found myself operating in “Plan B Mode” after I received word my mom wasn’t feeling up to traveling. My head knew it was all going to be fine, but my heart sunk and sat stuck in disappointment.

Then it hit me like a tidal wave as I began to spiral into a saddened state. I didn’t stay there long, but I cried and went to God in prayer and reached out to friends to pray about it.

So, instead of hosting visitors from Iowa, I traveled to Iowa for a visit. It was a quick switch-a-roo and I began to move ONWARD with the new plan. This view, from my sister’s window, is what delighted me this morning.

Wow! I need to grab my camera!

“Good morning LORD! Thanks for the sunrise. It’s a beautiful crisp day in Iowa. I’m glad to be here visiting my parents and my sisters. Who knows what’s lies ahead for this ‘sister’s weekend.’”

As I reflected on our past times together and previous “Sister’s weekends” I began to visualize…


I can bank on these things: there will definitely be giggling and story-telling. We’ll all talk at the same time and the volume will increase. I suspect we will make something/ a craft or project as well. And then there will be food, both going out to eat and eating in.

I am extremely blessed!
I’m blessed this very weekend to celebrate my parents’ 68th wedding anniversary, my mom’s 88th birthday and mine as well…notice how I left the number off that one!

I sat still this morning and thought about the goodness of God. Thanks for the day ahead LORD you are a master painter and planner and I know you have good plans for me, I’m forever grateful.

As I moved ONWARD, I began to count my blessings and concentrated on them versus my concerns, worries or disappointments. (We move in the direction of our most dominant thought.)

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Let me encourage you to push past disappointments-ONWARD!

I’m counting my blessings and I’m truly thankful! Onward, Rachel, onward! .

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Contact me: Rachel@rachelinouye.org

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No Device Detected


I’m one of those who likes to manage my time well and be efficient. I have AirPods I wear in my ears when I am on a phone call with my cousin, one of my children, my sisters, my husband or even friends. I do this so that my hands are free and I’m able to do any number of tasks while still talking. 

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Recently, I used my AirPods talking to a friend about the details of a bridal shower we are planning. She talked while I set things out on the counters, made a grocery list and washed a few of the serving dishes. It was helpful that I had my AirPods in but an important key when using this hands-free method is you need to be near the iPhone.


The funny thing is, I needed to go to the store so I went to my car and could still hear her but then I pulled out of my garage and made it most of the way down the driveway without realizing she cannot hear me nor could I hear her. 


My Bluetooth read…no device detected. “Oh, may sakes! I’m driving away!” I started giggling, put the car in park, ran inside the house and grabbed the phone I had left on the kitchen bar.
“Can you hear me now or have I lost you?”

“I can hear you now. But I lost you a while ago.” She said.
“You won’t believe what I just did!” I informed her, “I left my phone in the kitchen and drove away from my house. Completely losing my signal with you. Oh, my word!”

 
I got to thinking about this later and I realized it has a spiritual comparison as well. Often, we want to hear God and want to make sure He hears our prayers…funny thing is he is always near. How do you get away from the very one who inhabits you? So YES, He’s always with us, He’ll never leave us, will never forsake us but we are the ones that walk away either intentionally or out of apathy or laziness. Sometimes we wonder why we don’t feel close. He says draw near to me and I will draw near to you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8a It’s a promise.


I don’t ask this as a shame statement, I just think it’s really true. So, are you close to God?  Are you walking away?  Or are you leaning in and getting close?  

Residual Jet Lag, but Fond Memories Remain!

I had the privilege of returning to speak in Muscat, Oman. My husband, Michael and I spent a few days in Germany before the conference and after lingered and explored in Oman, too.

I’m not a travel blogger and I don’t pretend to be but I wanted this post to include a few photos of some of the places we visited. While away, I experienced so many new things, each an adventure in itself. I will mainly be posting the photographs with a few captions here and there.

I have a habit of taking photos of doorways and doorknobs and bathrooms and flowers and things I don’t see often. (I won’t include all of those) Certain things catch my eye, then I cry, “Honey, will you take a photo of that?” I took some of these photos myself and some were blurry. I think it is because I simply snap away and say things like:

Oh, look at that! Wow! I’ve never seen something like that.

We don’t have these back home!”

Yep! I’m now in Germany, apparel is apparently different.

We had already made arrangements to tour a couple of castles and Michael had purchased our tickets on-line before we left the states. I was prepared, with many layers in case it was cold or rainy. I wish I could say we were prepared for the drive, but that proved to be very interesting.

Suffice it to say, we found ourselves in quite a pickle, but we were determined to get to the castle in time for our tour. We tried our best but understanding the detour in another country with unfamiliar signage proved an epic fail and hilarious. We had to “off-road” it for a stretch in a manual rental car and finally figured out it clearly wasn’t a frontage road as we drove up behind a woman on the path strolling along with her coat zipped up and her three dogs on their leashes. A bit embarrassed we waved and smiled and made it to the actual highway.

Yep! This was the road that was closed but we took it thinking we could use the “frontage road…”
Let the touring and exploring begin!
Here we go…Let’s go look inside. Thankfully, our tour was in English!
We are going to tour inside this one too.
What a spectacularly stunning view from the castle!

A spectacularly stunning view from the castle! This would make a great jigsaw puzzle.
We hiked an optional path which led to a high place with this view of the castle.
These window boxes and spiral staircases caught my eye as we hiked back down.
Quite a beautiful hotel and those plants on the balcony, oh, my!
Definitely not a castle… these vines though!

We sure had a wonderful time exploring Munich and the surrounding area, and resting at an adorable bed and breakfast type hotel, but we soon headed to the airport for our final destination of Muscat, Oman. I knew it would be a great conference and the anticipation of what God was about to do made me eager to go do what I had come to do… As a pastor and friend, Stuart Briscoe says, “Preach the word, love the people, pray the Spirit moves.”

Stop! We must take a photo in this place. I should have taken photos of the food too.
View from my hotel window in Muscat, Oman.
Rats! It’s blurry, but the time with the Muscat Women’s Fellowship ladies was wonderful.
The conference committee with Shanthini and me.
Exploring the Nizwa Fort… I loved the heat!
Up, up, up we go! A four wheel drive needed to make the climb. This is a wadi.
This is the view from our lunch table! All I could do was giggle with joy.
Pinch me. Delightful vistas, food, tastes, treats and company.
My date for life taking in the view, but creeped out by heights. He’s so cute.
For real!?!
The hotel where we were having lunch, come on now! God is good!
Rocks a combination of grays and oranges – Unplanned matching but serendipitous!

There was such a great mixture of the unfamiliar and familiar along with adventure and relationships with precious friends and new people. It had all the ingredients I enjoy, it was such a great trip. It has been said a picture paints a thousand words so I guess that means this was an extra WORDY blog. So I’ll conclude…I am only a bit jet lagged, but I’m glad in a way because otherwise it feels like it was all a dream. A really good dream I might add.

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It’s the Little Things

You know how it can be the little things that tick you off, tip you over, rob your peace, or frustrate you, spoil your mood, the moment or the day? I mean it can be the tiniest thing sometimes, right? But what if that’s not really the best way to live. What if there is another option out there… What if those things weren’t allowed into our life or when they do make their entrance we get after them licklity-split, pronto, right away!

Scripture says in Song of Songs, Oh catch for us thee little foxes for it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine. If a little fox is allowed in the vineyard and he even nibbles a bit on the vines it can have a great impact, a devastating one.

You see if the little foxes come in…Somethin’ dies. Because when the little foxes eat the vine or even nibble at it for awhile there will be no grapes in the vineyard, there will be no profit and there will also be no wine produced.

I’d like to present this fresh thought today. How ’bout we ask God to help us FLIP THE SCRIPT, let’s catch the little foxes but instead let different little things have great impact and delight your heart. I like to call it “the treasure hunt with God.” The small little things that are all over all the time every day if we have vision to see them. Do you see them?

If we slow down and hunt for them with expectancy, we will find them and won’t be concentrating on any little annoyances because our vision is dialed into and focused on other good little things instead. Do you see them? They really are all around you. It is the little things that could go unnoticed but don’t need to if we are tuned into the winks and kisses of God’s goodness and grace in our everyday lives. I want to highlight just a few examples.

Sometimes it is as simple as:

  • a flower in bloom
  • a sunset at night
  • a call from a friend or relative
  • a new friend who gives a gift
  • getting to be with someone you love or admire
  • meeting an interesting or intriguing individual
  • being reunited with friends
  • delighting in a good meal or food your enjoy.

This sight grabbed my attention. These flowers were in bloom in my yard when I returned from ten days of being away.

This was a WOW moment for me. A wink from God the master painter!

This beauty, whom I had met days earlier, made these new earrings for me.

I adore my friend and mentor Jill Briscoe and we were ministering separately, but at the same location. A little serendipity for sure!

I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Walk over and see what she’s up to.” ( I’m so glad I did! ) I will write a blog about this wonderful woman Janice.

We met years ago, maybe five, and there is a beautiful connection along with respect and love and a huge dose of laughter thrown in as well. Being reunited in heart and in ministry was fabulous for me last week at Forest Springs Camp and Conference Center during their “Ladies Day” event.

A friend’s fresh produce from her garden made for a wonderfully yummy lunch for me it was a delight to the eyes and taste buds too. God gives us al things to enjoy.

So let’s catch the little foxes before they spoil the vine and instead let’s hunt for a see more readily all the little things which are simple blessings and allow these little things to build up and then let’s give Him thanks.

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Trash or a Treasure?

She was crouched down, low to the ground, her index finger and thumb made her own set of human tweezers as she searched through the pile on the dirty concrete floor. Her hair hung from her head as she carefully examined the small areas where paper clippings and other craft supplies had fallen to the ground. She was a tiny but very determined “treasure hunter.”

Earlier we had completed a craft project that included gluing little round gem stones on top of a hand painted box. The young people in the program were allowed to select 7 gems each. (I can’t really remember the number each child could grab) We brought plastic bags from America full of craft gem stones…ruby-red, sapphire-blue, emerald-green, topaz-yellow and clear ones glistened like diamonds. They loved these special gems. Even the boys in the group were excited about this craft project and topping the box with colorful eye-catching gems was the icing on the cake so to speak.

Let me give a bit of the back story. We were in Guatemala City working along side a ministry called Potter’s House. The staff at Potter’s House tirelessly love and serve these kids whom they refer to as “TREASURES.” We were volunteers who provided/staffed a time away at CAMP for some children from the community. It was an amazing experience!

So I was about to sweep the floor as it was clean up time and we would soon be headed outside for games. That’s when I saw her, this precious small black eyed beauty low to the ground. She smiled as she saved a few fallen gems from being thrown into the trash and carefully placed them securely in her dusty cupped hand.

I held a dustpan in my left hand, ready to seep up the trash with the right when I heard in my spirit, she’s My treasure and she is looking for treasure too. Let me ask, do you know what a treasure you are? God got my attention that day in Guatemala as I heard him ask the question.

So I’ll ask you the same thing-Do you know what a treasure you are?

I read an article, years ago that stated we are doing people a disservice telling them that they are special. I couldn’t disagree more. I believe God made people on purpose for a purpose and He sees each one of us as His very own masterpiece- His TREASURE.

While at “CAMP” that summer in Guatemala each child got their photograph taken so that it could be glued inside the lid of the craft treasure box when opened. My hope is even today those children remember they are truly treasures. I really have no idea exactly what those kids lives are like.

I have no idea what your life is like either. I don’t know whether you think of yourself as TRASH or TREASURE. But it doesn’t matter what you think, it matters what God says. He says you are a masterpiece. His poem, his workmanship created in Christ Jesus.

I agree with God.

Say these things aloud…declare them. Allow your ears to hear what your mouth is proclaiming. This can unlock something inside you. It may also unlock and open something else…perhaps you’ll see your face, like the small glued photo, inside on the lid of God’s treasure box, filled with real gems.

Come on, let it out. Let me hear you, now!

  • I am a special treasure, one the world needs to see on display.
  • I shine like the stars in the universe as I hold out the light of life.
  • I am an unstoppable force– God’s power is in me.
  • I have been made on purpose for a purpose!
  • I am God’s masterpiece!

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians‬ ‭2:8-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

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Guatemala City Dump- most of the children live nearby and their parents work there.
Treasures each one!

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