hope in His presence

Only the forgiven and loved can help others be forgiven and loved. Only the free can free others. Don’t be talented, be free. Write on, friend.

Those words jolted me wide eyed and bush tailed right out of a lull the other day.

And I realized something about myself.

Its not my talent that makes me any different from anyone else.

Because we are all talented.

Its not my looks that separates me from the crowd.

What a giggle writing that line was. I am a normal gal with the same issues other gals wrestle with: post deliveries, post injuries, post 40 🙂

Its not my voice, sung or written, that attracts people to me.

Its the message of freedom God has given me to share.

To sing hope into the spirits of those who are broken, hurting and lonely.

To write hope for those who need the reminder, or need to hear the truth for the first time.

Freedom is waiting for all who pursue Him.

After one particularly hard season of being broken down and painfully rebuilt, God impressed on my heart that HOPE is now a part of me.

Like an identifying factor, I am recognized for the hope I have.

The hope that grows when I am in His presence.

The hope I hope I share when I communicate.

The hope i hold dear in my heart.

The hope I walk in each day.

I am free.

And God’s not finished with me yet.

I know the hope I have.

Do you?

(Quote from: You Don’t Need More Time)

when you are asked to flee…Joseph

After the wise men were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.” Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.”

-Matthew 2:13-15

Joseph was likely thinking now that Jesus had been born, things in his family life would settle down for a while. They would have Jesus named on the way home, Mary would spend her time recovering and they would begin their new life together. It is possible Joseph may have rented a place in Jerusalem and found some work as a carpenter while Mary finished her purification period after giving birth, as traveling too far with a newborn was not the best idea for everyone’s sanity.

So we pick up the story Joseph may have believed finished and discover Joseph to be the feature again.

We know that Herod flew into a rage when he realized the wise men were not coming back to betray the new born King, but there is no sign that Joseph or Mary knew of the danger until the angel appears to Joseph again.

Humble, faithful Joseph has now seen an angel twice in his dreams.
Both times, he is informed of news no one else knew by the angel.

Interesting to note, he clearly recognized the angel in his dreams, and believed the words spoken enough to life alteringly act upon them.

The first time, Joseph was told Mary was carrying Messiah & to marry her, raising the child as his own.

This time? He is told to wake up, take Mary & the child and flee to Egypt, for Herod wants to kill Jesus.

I am guessing this was an early enough warning timing wise to get them to safety before Herod’s horrible plan began.

I know that the gifts Jesus had been given by the wise men were no accident, as all three were hot commodities to trade with, and would likely have been enough to cover all their expenses while in Egypt. Because God would certainly have provided for Jesus again. Note it mentions that this would be a fulfillment of calling His son out of Egypt in verse 15.

As Egypt was not likely on the best of terms with Israel over the whole escape from slavery issue, Joseph may not have been able to get work there as an immigrant.

God would have taken all of this into account to get the Carpenters ready for their sudden trip & extended stay in Egypt.

The other noteworthy point to observe? Joseph immediately woke up and while it was still dark, had the family well under way to Egypt by daylight.

Simply put, his obedience saved Jesus.

Not sure about you, but I would have been more than a little freaked at a second angelic visit while I was sleeping. I wonder if it took Joseph just that bit longer every night for a while to fall asleep. Tentatively wondering if an angel would speak to him yet again.

So how does this impact us, the readers of the Advent story?

I see three clear ways.

1. When God sends an angel to speak to us, we should do what it says.

2. God can speak to us while we are sleeping, not just while we are awake!

3. Some times its the right time to just pick up and go.

We leave today’s continuation of #AdventuresinAdvent with the Carpenters fleeing to Egypt, as Herod’s horror is unleashed on the families of Israel.

Image from: http://jlgragg.org/2011/01/05/beyond-the-season-celebrating-christ-after-christmas/nativity-2/

when the road seems too long…the wise men

As long as the road would have seemed to Joseph & Mary, there were those on a quest who took even longer to arrive in Bethlehem.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.”

Matthew 2:1-2

Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.

Matthew 2:9b-11

There are a lot of different interpretations of these verses.

Some say there were likely only three wise men, as could be assumed based on the number of gifts they gave. We know there were there gifts, hence the three wise men. However, I am guessing with the long hike they underwent, they had to have had extra supplies, camels and servants, so I would not have been only three camels carrying three men.

Some say they must have followed the star to Jerusalem, or even Nazareth, for two reasons:

1. Jesus was named at the temple in Jerusalem on His eighth day (Luke 2:21-38). Not sure the Carpenters would have returned to Bethlehem after heading there, so it is likely they stayed at a B&B/hotel or possibly with family at Jerusalem.

2. Herod was the appointed King over the whole of Israel. I believe the coming slaughter of the male babes2 and under may have had a larger scope….not just limited to Bethlehem, as it clearly includes ‘and surrounding districts’ in the passage (Matthew 2:16-18) So Jerusalem might have also fallen under the target range, as all infants were named at the temple.

So, I think Jerusalem was more likely if they arrived with a younger Jesus as a newborn to two month old. Mary would have had to wait a certain amount of time after giving birth before traveling (her purification period), so after three months away from home, they either were met by the Wise Men in Jerusalem, or were back in their home in Nazareth.

(Either way, in order for the Word to have written in a warning, they were within the danger zone. More on that tomorrow…)

Now, the star heralding Jesus’ arrival & birth has been traditionally called the star of Bethlehem, but was in fact not called that in the Word. Rather the ‘star in the eastern sky.’

I think God aligned the planets to ignite the passion in these wise men’s hearts to find Him, in the form of Jesus, through this star.


The argument over the when and where of this part of the story some times misses the point.

When God is calling, our response is what matters. It may take longer for many of us to hear, or see or sense Him reaching out to us.

Like the wise men, the first important part is to never stop seeking Him.

The second important part?
Follow Him.

There is one more third element to the wise men: they brought gifts indicative of who they had come to worship.

They didn’t bring baby clothes, or infant toys to Jesus, although in the earthly side of things they would be most appropriate.

They brought Kingly gifts that recognized three major characteristics of the King they had come to worship.

Gold- to represent His Heavenly Kingship & acknowledge His royal claim to the throne of Israel.

Frankincense- to represent Jesus as our High Priest. This was an aroma offered up in worship at the temple, incense which was used at the time.

Myrrh- to represent both His Kingly Anointing, as it was used as anointing oil for kings in those days, and His impending Sacrifice, as myrrh was also used in the embalming process when one died.

These gifts were not only spot on in their recognition of who they were being given to, they were costly.

The gifts represent a great journey and effort of time, resources and money. Not just a nice present, they were major offerings being laid before Jesus.

We too need to be mindful of what we offer Jesus. We need to look past the physical baby to see the Holy God inside, and adjust our offerings accordingly.

The wise men knew only their best would do to offer the king.

The shepherds did the same, as all they had to offer was spreading the good news.

May we too never stop seeking Jesus, and offering Him our best in worship.


Note: image from the Nativity Story

in Your eyes


My best is just that.
My best effort, filled with all the passion, skill and gifts I have to back it.

I have a hard time letting myself down, let alone people.

And God.

But I know myself. I have the tendency to see if I am pleasing those around me, family, friends & coworkers with my offerings.

While it is important to get feed back when I miss the boat, I am not to base my best upon their view point.

I am to do my best as an offering to the God I serve, in appreciation for who He is, all He has done & continues to do for me, and because it honors how He made me.

God put His best into our creation.
He doesn’t make second rate, its not in His character.

If I am made by Him, as the Word reminds me, I was well made. One of a kind, uniquely me, handcrafted with care.

His best.

And when, like all of us, I strayed and needed a shepherd to bring me back to safe luscious pastures to feed & grow, He gave His best to us in Jesus to make that happen.

Only the best will do when it comes to defeating evil.

God wins, every time.

I had a very long unexpected few work days. Technical glitches hit right after my weekend away, and I have been catching up ever since.

This time, however, I am not stressing about it.

I am doing my best.

I love all the hats I wear, but they are just that, temporary wares.

Who I am matters more than what I do.

My best is listening for what God has to say to me, who He says I am, what He has to teach me, the guidance and love I have longed for in the secret place from even before words.

When He gets my best, the rest becomes the best I am capable of.

Keeping my eyes fixed on the Best that has ever happened to me?

I see my reflection in His eyes.

I find rest, so I can offer my best.

And I am complete.


In Your Eyes: Peter Gabriel
(awesomely sung by either Peter Gabriel, or Nichole Nordeman)

love I get so lost, sometimes
days pass and this emptiness fills my heart
when I want to run away
I drive off in my car
but whichever way I go
I come back to the place you are

all my instincts, they return
and the grand facade, so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside

in your eyes the light the heat
in your eyes I am complete
in your eyes I see the doorway to a thousand churches
in your eyes
the resolution of all the fruitless searches
in your eyes
I see the light and the heat
in your eyes
oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light
the heat I see in your eyes

love, I don’t like to see so much pain
so much wasted and this moment keeps slipping away
I get so tired of working so hard for our survival
I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive

and all my instincts, they return
and the grand facade,
so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside

in your eyes the light the heat
in your eyes I am complete
in your eyes I see the doorway to a thousand churches
in your eyes
the resolution of all the fruitless searches
in your eyes
I see the light and the heat
in your eyes
oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light
the heat I see in your eyes



Tonight I saw a movie that rekindled my passion.

(It was about cooking, before you gasp with disapproval!)

The Hundred Foot Journey.

The passion of three characters that cross paths is inspiring:

The young man whose passion is taste, exceptionally flavoring the food he cooks.

His father, passionate about family (and being thrifty).

The restaurant owner across the road, who is passionate about achieving the goal she has- another Michelin star.

The integration of these three passions, and a few others along the way, left me reminded how pale and drab life is without passion.

What are you passionate about?

What irks you when someone puts it down?

What makes you excited to do during the day?

I have a few main passions, and a few lesser ones.

I am passionate about God.
His love, mercy, grace.
The Hope He offers us all.

I love to create, with words.
I love to worship, in song.  I deeply appreciate other authors, song writers, worship leaders & singers who are passionate about what they do too.

I am passionate about people becoming free, who they were designed to be. Leaving their pasts behind them, and running full tilt towards a life they never dreamed possible.

I am passionate about family.
I am quieter about this one in words, out of respect for them, but what happens to them matters deeply to me.
My husband, children, parents, relatives.
My best friends.
My coworkers.
My church family.
I try to show each that I value, honor and respect them.

Hobbies i am passionate about? Tea, silver, Nordic Pole Walking, the color moss green, reading and watching good movies. All things vanilla, coconut, caramel, pecan, maple, bacon.

I know what I am passionate about, after many years of fighting how I was hard wired.

What God places in us desires to be birthed.

Passion unfulfilled is heartbreaking.

Not only the person who never let it out, but for the Giver of our gifts, God.

Take a few moments.
Close your eyes.

Ask yourself ‘What do I most want to do with this life I have been given? What brings me to life?’

The answers you get are likely a clue to your true passions.

Beyond romance, there is a world just waiting for each of us to live our lives to their fullest.

The scientist who may discover the cure for cancer, who might have been inspired by the ones who went before… who discovered insulin, the cure for leprosy.

The many artists who capture their world in picture, painting, clay, song or words…and remind us how much we have to be passionate about.

The builders- carpenters, electricians, contractors, roofers. Without their passion to tinker and connect things together, we wouldn’t enjoy the homes we do.

Take stock of your passions.

Write them down, pray over them and invite God to grow them in you.

One passionate person can inspire a nation, or leave a lasting impact on the world.

Jesus is one such person.

His passion for each of us lead Him to put on skin & bone, and live among us. He loved deeply. Showed His care towards the downtrodden, broken, homeless, hurting, mismatched, the young, the old. Those who needed to know how much God was thinking of them.

His passion for us held Him on the cross, and kept Him there as His life drained away, for you and for me.

His passion for us caused Him to come back to remind us He was fully God & man all rolled into one. How much He is passionate about His children closely knowing and walking with Him.

Its time to take the passion God gave you to help you do the task He has for you.

We need you to, not just leave it on your bucket list.

All of us are blessed when we all live the lives we were meant to live- following the Passionate one.

when is more enough?

Why do we always want more?
To do more?
Be more?
Acquire more?

When does NOT desiring more,
being content with:
who we are
what we do
what we have
become enough?

My husband is brilliant in his chosen field. He cares for each client in such a way that years later, these clients or their family members eagerly greet him to tell him how much his  compassionate care meant to them in their hard times.

My husband is a registered nurse, who works in the community in clients’ homes. He sees all sorts of conditions, from minor surgeries to cancer to palliative end of life situations.

He truly is amazing at what he does, and not just because he is my husband.

He reminds me each day that where he is working is where he is meant to be, not with his words or pay cheque, but with the compliments and thanks he is always somehow surprised by.

When you are exactly where God wants you, using the gifts He has given you to the best of your ability to bless others, you have more than enough.

For many years, being in a field primarily female based, my hubby has struggled with maybe he should have become a doctor/nurse practitioner- become more than he is.

How he is is pretty amazing, right where he is at.

We all need to be reminded
that who we are,
when we walk in what we were made for,
is more than enough.

I truly believe God blesses those who use their gifts & talents wisely with more:

More of His presence.
More of His strength.
More growth.
More of Him.

This is a lesson we see many people excelling or failing at in the Bible:

Abraham’s firstborn from Hagar, Ishmael, was the result of Abraham taking his eyes off of God’s promise to come, Isaac.
The brothers have been at war ever since, because the firstborn does not know God is enough, he has the desire for more yearning within without knowing where to find it.

Noah placed his trust in God, and his family saw first hand how God was more than enough in their rescue.

David let his eyes stray where they shouldn’t have, and ended up causing a death to cover his sin. David knew God to be more than enough when he was on the run, but lost sight of it momentarily.  His firstborn from Bathsheba did not survive.

Solomon, son of David & Bathsheba, had more wives and concubines, riches and power than almost any other king on earth… and at the end of Ecclesiastes realized that life without God want worth anything.

Jesus demonstrated God to be enough to help Him every step of the way…and changed the world as a result.

Paul encountered God so powerfully, He intimately knew God to be enough no matter the circumstance.

Mother Theresa walked this out as well caring for the unloved orphans.

Many many authors have been learning this first hand…Max Lucado, Ann Voskamp to name a few.

When we become content with what we have, somehow God makes it more than enough for us.

When we accept who we are, somehow our offering, our walking out our calling and using our gifts becomes more than enough for God to use.

God’s More Than Enough
is more than enough
for me.



God is patient transfiguring all the notes of my life into the song of His Son. – Ann Voskamp

As His child, my life has a purpose beyond the ordinary.

I don’t state that to claim I am special, as each and every one of the people who ever have, do or will walk the earth has the same possibilty- a purpose prepared just for them by God.

The same God who is waiting to take their/our ordinaryness and make it/us extraordinary.

Because of what He will do through and in us.
Not just because He made us, but because He wants to keep making us into our best us.

When we surrender our all to God, to Jesus, He begins to whispers His plan for our bring made new to us.

Ultimately, we are the clay, waiting on the shelf or wheel to be spun at exactly the Potter has planned:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

-Eph 2:10 ESV

The next time you are having s particularly bad day, remember to keep your eyes on Jesus and the fact that God isn’t finished with us yet!

He is patiently waiting. 😉
To make something even more beautiful than we can imagine!!

its time to bloom


Photo by @khjlees

Its time to bloom.

There is only so much watering, feeding, sun & deepening we are meant to experience before we are to show the inner qualities meant to be shared with those around us.

Some are meant to help in practical ways: fire, police, armed forces, EMR staff. Doctors, nurses, dentists, physios, chiropractors. Childcare workers, teachers. Taxi, bus & train drivers.

Some are meant to help support in sometimes less obvious ways: pastors, counselors, volunteers, receptionists, baristas & wait staff. The friend who brings a meal when you have lost a loved one. The person who pays a bill for you when you lost your job. The drive to the appointment when you don’t have a car. The loved one who let’s you cry on their shoulder, not saying a word but comforting you with their presence. When you forgot your wallet or your bank card, and they say don’t worry about it, the coffee’s on me.

Those who create beauty to bless us: in word, created images, photography, music, dance, craftsmanship, gardening, landscaping.

Those who inspire us to dream big and aim high:
The athletes, the inspirational speakers, the people who come to the aid of their neighbors in emergencies, those who seemingly start out with less who remarkably  end up with more despite their lack.

Whatever your gift may be, the world needs you to know three things about it:

1. You were intended.
God designed you to have exactly what you will need to offer in the right time.

2. You are needed.
Your part added to the mix can never be duplicated by any one else.

3. Your contribution will, and does, matter.
Whether you feel its small or not, somehow as you offer it, God grows your part to become exactly what is needed.

The Son is calling you. Its time to be the you God designed, and bloom wherever you are planted.


Oh my.

There was a huge battle waging within me as we began to rehearse for last night’s Downpour service. Singing with new people, in a new situation, and new songs aside, inside I was on edge. I knew something was going to happen.

Didn’t know God was preparing to rock my boat.

As a paid social media & web content writer, I battle with “Will this person like it when/if I do…” And when I work, that is something I need to keep in mind, but not obsess over.

Jumping in over my head last night musically caused two things. One, the mental battle to heighten, and for me to briefly take my eyes off the reason for my singing (He is Worthy) and onto the gift He gave me (my voice) and how it would be received.

Then, in one sweet moment of surrender to God and whatever He wanted to do with and through and in and around me last night, it got wild within me. God let loose, in fact, in all of us at almost the same time across the room.

His Presence became so thick, present, sweet and holy awesome all rolled into one.

People were changed.

Hearts were stripped bare for God to see.

Freedom from the way it has been and what God has done moved some into the Right Now where God was moving right now in this moment.

A new song was birthed about the One who overcame.

There were tears of joy, yelps of gladness, laying on of hands and release all around.

I knew it was God, as one of the first forms of attack I get when I am singing is against my throat. I claimed the fact that God was moving in me right now so I was not going to be hindered, and kept on singing. God took care of the voice coming out. My left hip also reverted to a previous injury. And I refused to stop. If God is for me, no one can stand against me.

Because if its for the weight of His glory, God will enable us to stand.

The One who has overcome helps me to do the same in His strength.

Last night was one of those nights where some moments seemed to creep forward painfully slow, while others seemed to hang on an exquisite moment with a glimpse of forever.

When He enters the room, everything changes.

Heaven comes down to earth, with forever impact.

He rained down His mercy, grace, love and joy in us, on me.

He kept pouring out onto His people through our gifts.

Once you have jumped into the river, with no holding back…tasted and seen that He is good…felt His presence flow through you like a heavenly jolt of electricity….you are never the same.

For He doesn’t just come and be when He encounters us. We are changed. He can’t help Himself, He loves us with such abandon and passion and zeal and holy wildness that He heals, loves up on us, makes us whole where we are needing His touch, wraps His Presence around us in an embrace that our soul is longing for but cannot quite put into words.

If you have a chance to encounter God, run for His downpour. It isn’t about the people there, its about the God who is waiting to pour out into you.

Its gonna rain….

fashioned with care


We were fashioned with care.
Hand made by God.
Planned out.
On purpose.

Crafted in the secret place.
On display as His handiwork, for all to see.

We are each a walking creation, made in the image of our Creator.

God took what He wanted us to have from each of our contributing parents, added His sweet purposeful touches to the DNA- our talents, gifts, dreams- and with a spark we came to be in the secret place within our mothers.

But God didn’t leave it there.

We are not only made with care.
He cares for us.


And with one seemingly reckless act, God paid the outstanding account, in the enemy’s log book of our wrong doings, with the spilled blood & the offered body of Jesus- the son of man & God.

Love with a passion we can barely comprehend, that such a God would wrap Himself in flesh, live among us and make a way for us to reconnect with God, and join His family, forever.

We are each His beloved.

Psalm 139 includes fascinating account of how you and I were fearfully & wonderfully made by God.

The rest of the bible is His love story, written for us, of how God cares for those He has handcrafted with such purpose and care.

Each and every one of us.
Who has ever been, is or ever will be on this earth, in all of history.

Take a look around you. The similarities and differences make each one of us unique yet stamped with the same Creator’s handiwork.

Made by the Master craftsman.

For His glory.


May you start the day knowing you are here on purpose, made exquisitely with love by your Creator.

It is no accident you are alive.

Don’t miss the rest of your story by not knowing the Author.