Welcome

Welcome! I'm so glad you stopped by today! If you're inspired by what you see, I invite you to follow along via one (or more) of the options on the side bar below.

Did you know?

Did you know?

Saturday, December 31, 2016



I waited until we were well into Autumn before finally opening the pages of Christie Purifoy's gem, Roots & Sky. Partly because her story begins with Autumn and partly because I sensed her words would speak deeply to me and I needed to be ready for them.

I'm reading slowly. Savoring. Meditating on the truths and emotions evoked by her words. Taking what fits and leaving the rest. I just closed the book on December. All of January, Spring and Summer lie waiting quietly between the pages.

As I look back over 2016, Christie's words from the fourth chapter keep coming back to me:

"We live so much of our lives with our hands tied behind our backs."
"Some days we have more freedom than others, but we are always, to some degree, hemmed in by weakness, by need, by lack, or by loss."
These words define much of my past year. It's true, the struggle Christie talks about has always been there - will always be there this side of heaven. Yet, I seem to be feeling the weight of it more acutely these days.

You may remember that last December I shared that I felt as if 2015 was more of an ending and that 2016 was the start of something new. Indeed, there have been many changes and new experiences this year. Some more difficult to embrace than others.

These images, my year in review, tell only part of the story.



The top image, the view from my Dad's final resting place, holds a bittersweet memory. Yet, our month-long trip to bring him home includes some of our happiest memories from the past year. It was a welcome respite after eight long months of enduring tests and finally receiving a challenging medical diagnosis. Not all new experiences are welcome.

Another new experience in 2016 was giving up our cottage to live in temporary quarters while we build a new home. A mixed blessing.

I faced 2016 like a person might face the waves coming into shore. As I stood still, they hit me one by one. The roar of their coming will forever echo in my memory.

Looking back, I feel like I could have done better. So in 2017 I want to do more than just stand against the waves.

I want to embrace them.


I want to know more days of freedom than of weakness.

More days of freedom than of need.

More days of freedom than of lack.

More days of freedom than of loss.
"If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (Joh 8:31-32)
Abiding in Him is the key to freedom. It is the key to embracing the waves of this life.

I've thrown a lot of potential words out there: stand, embrace, freedom, abide

The bottom line to being able to do all these things is spending time with Him. Real time. There is no short cut, no gadget, no app to make it time with God easier or faster.

Just do it.



My one word for 2017.

Wishing you all
JOY in 2017
Happy New Year!




Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty

Monday, December 26, 2016

Inspired by . . . an announcement

In all the busyness of the holidays, I forgot to let you all know that No Tomorrow has finally been released in paperback!



It is available for purchase on Amazon. Or, if you would like a signed copy, send me an email with your shipping information.

If anyone is interested in receiving a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review posted on your blog (if you have one) or Amazon, send me an email with your shipping information.




Just as Petra and Tony learn to trust God with their future, I pray that this is something we can all do with more consistency in 2017!

Thank you to all who read, comment and support the ministry of Inspired By . . .


With Appreciation,





Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Inspired by . . . His birth



Wishing you and your family
a Happy Christmas
and all JOY
in 2017!

Christmas Blessings,

Thursday, December 22, 2016


This, on sitting in the presence of Jesus:
And if you hear nothing, let it be for now.
We can't rush the birthing process. Maybe it just needs a little more time in the darkness before pushing its way into the light.
Wise words from Emily P Freeman.

Today is the Winter Solstice. The shortest day of the year. The longest night.



I would not do well in the long winters of Alaska or Antartica. I crave the Light.

This year Advent has taught me that I'm in a season of darkness.

Yet Emily's words give me HOPE.

While I may not like the season I'm in, her words tell me it's okay.


The Light will come.

God has also been speaking this truth to my heart. Most recently through a small part of the Christmas story.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby moved within her. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and said in a loud voice, "You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the Child you will bear! Why should this great thing happen to me, that my Lord's mother comes to visit me? For as soon as I heard your greeting, the baby within me jumped with gladness. How happy you are to believe that the Lord's message to you will come true!" (Luk 1:41-45)
There is all joy radiating from the passage above! But Elizabeth's life had not been characterized by joy. Joy had come into her life but a short six months before. Prior to that time, Elizabeth had been barren. In that day, in that culture, children were a sign of the Lord's favor. But Elizabeth had not been favored.

The scriptures don't tell us but we can imagine that Elizabeth sought the Lord daily in prayer, asking Him for a child. Was her life filled with divine whispers of "wait" or was God silent? 

We don't know. But we can feel Elizabeth's pain.

We all experience times of barrenness. Real or figurative. 

We all have seasons of darkness.

But here's the thing: God has an amazing, life-changing, joyful plan for humanity! And Elizabeth played a vital role in that plan. God blessed Elizabeth's obedience and faith with a baby boy who would baptize the very Son of God.


Elizabeth didn't know or understand all of what God was doing. But she was going to have a baby! And after 400 years of silence, an angel had appeared bringing God's message of a Savior!

Her hope and joy were overflowing.

How long have you been waiting to hear from God?

However long, I encourage you, do not lose HOPE. For we walk by faith, not by sight.

God has a purpose for your life. He has a plan for the redemption of His people and we, as believers, play a vital role in His plan.




Christmas blessings,






Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 51:52

I've been wanting to play around with some black and white edits for awhile now. I'm a novice and not every image lends itself to black and white. But I'm pleased with how these few turned out. 


I'm always intrigued over the result when color is removed from an image. It's like looking through a different lens. You see things you didn't notice before and some of the things you did notice fade away.



Sometimes we can benefit from applying this process to our lives. Changing the lens - removing the color and studying the black and white that remains.

Advent gives us an opportunity to pause and study the picture. 



Whether you're waiting for Him or you're just waiting for a new start and a new year, this is a time of slowing and introspection. 

Advent is also a time of darkness. We sit quietly in the dark, waiting for the Light.



If you're seeing more darkness than light in your picture, I encourage you to hold it up against the light of His word.

The sacred scriptures will reveal El-Roi, the God Who sees you. The One True God Who created you and knows you intimately.



Each of our pictures is different, each of our stories is unique. But they all have a place in HIStory. Because there is one thing that is true for each one of us:


He came for you.

He cometh still.


Blessings,




Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Nature Notes, Through My LensSaturday’s Critters,
Life thru the LensOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Inspired by . . . the Ultimate gift




There will be less someday -
much less,
and there will be more:
less to distract
and amuse;
less to burden
and confuse;
more, to undo
the cluttering of centuries,
that we might view
again, that which star
and angels
pointed to;
we shall be poorer -
and richer;
stripped - and free;
for always there will be a Gift,
always
a Tree!

~Ruth Bell Graham

Christmas blessings,




Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 50:52

It's been a while since I've done a LTML post. The weather has been rainy and cold. A combination that tends to keep me indoors. 

With that in mind, here is what I've been seeing through my window these past few weeks.

Birds really thrive on suet during the colds months. It attracts quite a variety! 

Dressed in the colors of Christmas, the cardinal pair enjoy hiding in the persimmon tree outside my window. Sometimes, if there is not a lot of activity around, they will stay around for the entire day!



She's quite the lovely lady, isn't she?



He's a little harder to capture!





Always the clown, the Gold-fronted Woodpecker announces his arrival.



These little guys create quite a ruckus as well. As fast as they are, I have only a few clear pictures!



Bye for now!




Blessings,



Sharing inspiration here:
Nature Notes, Through My LensBird D’pot,
Saturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Wild Bird WednesdayOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Inspired by . . . Advent: smile after smile

What is this "feeling" of Christmas? and why do people seem to smile more this time of year?

I freely admit that Silver Bells is one of my favorite Christmas carols. Despite the fact that it doesn't mention the Reason for the season, I think it's lyrics and soothing melody point to the unique spirit that diffuses the air this time of year.

Whether or not you Believe, whether or not you celebrate there is a magic and mystery this time of year that touches even the coldest of hearts.

Do you sense that the veil between heaven and earth is thinner this time of year? Could that be because more people are focused on Giving and Goodwill toward their fellow man?

Could it be that His presence is felt more acutely in the world this time of year because more of His people are focused on His Person?

The city's busy sidewalks and strings of streetlights may be Santa's big scene, but even this jolly old elf bows his knee at the cradle of the King.




What might happen if we met each and every day with the expectancy of Advent?

Blessings,



(Image of silver bell by PaulR at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Inspired by . . . Advent: prepare Him room



Joy to the world! the Lord is come: let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.



I can remember the first time I heard this song. I mean, really heard it; with my spiritual ears.

Let every heart prepare Him room,

I love the hymns because they speak Truth and are grounded in theology. Few churches even sing them anymore . . . except at Christmastime. When we do sing them, I often look around and wonder, "Do they hear what they're singing? Does it even register? Do they believe it?"

Imagine what our world would be like if every heart prepared Him room?

That's part of what Advent is; a time of preparation.

So how do we prepare our hearts for Jesus? It's a little bit like preparing the ground for seed.

We want our hearts to be tender toward Him, free of the sin that entangles us. Repent. We want our hearts to be fertilized by His Word, ready to receive. Read.  Most of all, we want to be awake to His presence. Receive.

Being awake and receptive to His presence often means that we have to clear some of the noise out of our lives. While fasting is typically associated with Lent, Advent was often a time of fasting as well.

This year part of my preparation is going to be fasting from the busyness of the season. I'm going to purposefully slow down and savor each moment. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Laura Boggess' book, Playdates with God:
Every moment is sacred when you pay attention to it.
I cannot be reminded of this enough. The Sacred is here with each of us right this very moment. No matter what you're doing. Immanuel is God with us.

The world would not have us see or experience this truth. The enemy will always try to make secular the sacred.


But when we shut out the noise, when we purposefully pause and open our eyes, our hearts to Him - in that moment we will know . . .



the wonders of His love, and wonders of His love,

and wonders, wonders of His love.




Blessings,



Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty

Monday, November 28, 2016

Inspired by . . . Advent: the waiting




O Come, O Come, Immanuel . . . 

Advent, I'm realizing, is a bit of a paradox. 

He has come. 

He is coming. (As in, His presence is constantly with those who believe. And He is coming, into hearts and lives every moment of every day as they welcome Him anew.)

And He is coming again.

So what, exactly, are we celebrating?

What are we waiting for?

All of it.

All of Him.

Immanuel: God with us

O Come, O Wisdom from on high . . .

Lord, show us the path to knowledge. Teach us the way to go. Give order to the chaos of our lives.

We ask. We wait.

O Come, O Come, great Lord of might . . .

When the Lord descended upon Mount Sinai the people were so afraid, they wouldn't even go near the base of the mountain. To the Lord Who is majestic, fierce in power, and awe-inspiring, may we humbly draw near.

We pray. We wait.

O Come, O Branch of Jesse's stem . . .

During Advent, we read the genealogies. We learn where Jesus came from. We watch God's mysterious plan unfold. Only Jesus gives victory over the grave. Only He can save us from the penalty of death.

We repent. We wait.

O Come, O Key of David, come . . .

Only Jesus can unlock for us the way to God. Only by His death on the cross was the veil torn giving any and all who proclaim His name access to the God most High.

We rejoice. We wait.

O Come, O Bright and Morning Star . . .

He is our Comfort. Only Jesus dispels the dark shadows of our fear and shame. Only His great Light can turn our darkness into light.

We receive. We wait.

O Come, O King of nations, bind . . .

Peace. Isn't' that what we all want? Isn't that what we're all truly longing for? Not just for ourselves, but our world? Only Jesus, the King of Peace, can bind in one the hearts of all mankind. Only by His bidding will these sad divisions cease.

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

We wait.




I pray for us {all}, as we travel together this Advent season, that our hearts would be further opened to the Holy Spirit and that in the deliberate rejection of the hurried, harried, frenetic cadence of the Christmas season we would encounter Christ in our midst– right here among us even as we wait for Him. Camealy, Kris. Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting  



Shalom,


Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty,
Life thru the Lens

Friday, November 25, 2016

Inspired by . . . anticipating Advent

I am so very eager for Advent this year. Eager to focus on something greater than this world, greater than myself.

Eager for the enchantment of the season to find us all.

In a year that has been so focused on negative things, I'm looking to end on a positive note.



For me, Advent begins with an exhale. A release. An emptying.

Doesn't that sound wonderful?

It all begins this Sunday.

There are many wonderful resources available for Advent. I've chosen two:

The Women of Advent: a Gathering of Scattered Hearts, Past and Present by Sheila Atchley
Sheila has a created a beautiful offering here. Through her words and artwork, she explores the lives of the women in the genealogy of Jesus.

Come Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting by Kris Camealy
Looking forward to this quiet reflection, daily prayer and contemplative questions from this author. I haven't received my copy yet, but several blogger friends have recommended Kris' offering.

And for a bit of fun, the season wouldn't be the same without Jacquie Lawson's annual Advent calendar on my desktop. It's a daily delight!



For many, the next few weeks are some of the busiest of the year. I hope you have a plan for tapping into the quiet and reflective side of the season. Please feel free to share in the comments.


Shalom,


Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Inspired by . . . Thy comforts


When the cares of my heart are many, Your consolations cheer my soul. (Psalm 94:19ESV)
My heart is hurting, friends. On a week when we should be giving thanks for abundance and blessing our country is starkly divided.  There are riots with people shouting alarming edicts, senseless shootings, and senseless loss of life. My heart aches for those who have lost loved ones, especially the children. And, yes, my heart aches for those who now have to live with the consequences of their actions.
Whenever I am anxious and worried, You comfort me and make me glad. (Psa 94:19GNB)
In the pages of my prayer journal I cry out to God. I tell Him how weary I am of all the hate, how much I long for peace. But I know peace is a long way off.

But I also know that peace will come.

In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul. (Psa 94:19KJV)
I cling to this Truth, the return of the Prince of Peace, I cling to His word. Because the fact is, the Truths of God (His comforts) will only bring us comfort if we allow them room in our hearts.

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy! (Psa 94:19ERV)
It's not easy, friend. The world and its cares can seem louder than His voice sometimes. Honestly, I've struggled to hold on to His comfort this week. I'm apprehensive about sitting down together with mixed minds over a plate of turkey tomorrow afternoon. I'm trying to be brave, but the thought of a political conversation erupting already has my stomach in knots.

You, too?

Or maybe for you, a tense political discussion would be welcome compared to the usual drama.

When my anxious inner thoughts become overwhelming, Your comfort encourages me. (Psa 94:19ISV)
Either way, it's clear the enemy has a strong foothold. And I know of only one way to set him back on his haunches; GRATITUDE

No matter what happens tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that we can be grateful. We can give God the glory and praise and honor He deserves because He hath done wonderful things. We can know, without a shadow of a doubt, that justice will be done and peace will reign.

We can bear out this truth in our lives today because He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (Joh 14:18)
As He promised Joshua:  I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. So His promise belongs to all His faithful servants.

If you're struggling to be at peace this week, struggling to focus on being thankful, I urge you to remember Psalm 94:19. Repeat it as you go about your preparations. Make it the prayer of your heart.


God's word is stronger and louder than any dissent of the enemy. Make room in your heart for the blessed comforts of God and they will come in and transform your soul.

Blessings on your
Thanksgiving!







Friday, November 18, 2016

Inspired by . . . anointing the dirt


We live so much of our lives with our hands tied around our backs.
~Christie Purifoy (Roots & Sky pg. 37)

Autumn has been a series of starts and stops and back-agains. We've been gone and back, and gone again. Now back. 

I'm longing for routine. Same old, same old sounds like heaven to me.


My blogging has suffered along with all the irregularities and I miss all of you.

Not writing has left me feeling dry and brittle. My mind is constantly stringing words together but with every break in routine, my thoughts scatter like windblown leaves.

I was beginning to identify with my front yard.

Barren. Nothingness. Dirt.

From our temporary dwelling, that is all we see.



When I wrote that last line I was referring to where we are currently living, my Dreamer and I. But there is a deeper, more profound meaning.

Trapped in these earthly bodies our perspective can often become focused on the dirt. The barren parts of our lives that seem to produce nothingness. 

It's easy, for me at least, to get caught up in the hamster wheel. To feel unproductive and out of focus. To feel guilty over everything I'm failing to accomplish. But our perspective is often not the reality. 

And sometimes it takes a special sign from God to show us what is real. To remind us of how He works.

Sometimes, He sends us butterflies.



For several days the butterflies came. 



Flitting from here to there on the dirt. Not a flower or bloom in sight.


Beauty attracted to ugliness.


Tiny feet anointing barren ground.

The butterflies are gone now. In their place is a bounty of winter rye.

It is often in the periods of in-between when we're waiting on God that the Holy Spirit comes. 

He anoints the barren, dusty places. The hard places that we've stopped trying to navigate. He gives feet to our faith and voice to our deepest prayer.

And when we respond with obedience and joy He produces in us a bountiful harvest.




We all have dry and barren places in our lives. Some may be tucked away and nearly forgotten. I encourage you to bring them before the Lord in prayer today.

A tiny seed of faith, when anointed by the Holy Spirit is a beautiful thing.


Shalom,









Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Nature Notes, Through My LensSaturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Our World TuesdayCommunity Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday