Sunday, October 7, 2018


Consider it pure joy, my brothers and
sisters, whenever you face trials of
many kinds, because you know that
the testing of your faith produces
perseverance. Let perseverance 
finish its work so that you may be
mature and complete, not lacking 
anything.  -- (James 1:2-4 NIV)

It's been almost a year since my last post, and when I looked it up to check the format, I was surprised to see the same verse prefacing it as the one above.  "Trials of many kinds" seem to have been a recurring theme. even then

Those of you who know me, or who have read my book, Oil of Myrrh, are probably familiar with the severe  needle phobia that plagued my early years, as well as the unexpected crash course I was subjected to during a lengthy hospital stay in January. Now it's exam time, and I wonder if I'm ready to pass it. How will I handle the hurdle of back to back trips to frustrated phlebotomists trying unsuccessfully to draw blood from collapsed veins? Will I be able to keep my focus on the Lord and trust Him to the end?

I re-read Oil of Myrrh, zeroing in on the chapter, "Night of a Thousand Needles."  I think of how God was with me as I hovered between life and death, and through everything else I endured on the road to recovery. I remember the revelations and insights that only an incident such as this could have provided, and how it gave me confidence to fearlessly opt for open heart surgery a couple of months later. However, I also remember the way I wavered when faced with an unexpected bump in the road while being prepped for surgery. Neither the prepping nurses, nor the anaesthesiologist, were able to find a vein to start the intravenous drip going, and even after a pediatric nurse with a perinatal needle came to my rescue and spoke words of encouragement to me, my faith felt shatered.

So far I have made it through two trips, to two different phlebotomists in two different facilities, and tomorrow I will be making a third trip. As I write this post, I try to take my focus off of what will happen if they still can't find a blood yielding vein and, instead, place it on how God has had my back every step of the way. Even when things didn't play out the way I expected them to, He has never failed me. I choose to trust Him and leave the outcome in His hands.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Consider it pure joy, my brothers and
sisters, whenever you face trials of many
kinds, because you know that the testing
of your faith produces perseverance. Let
perseverance finish its work so that you
may be mature and complete, not lacking
anything. -- (James 1:2-4 NIV)

First a flood, followed by a week of noisy fans blowing under ripped up carpet while drainage tubes ran from holes in the wall to the bathroom sink. Then another week waiting for a carpenter to fix the drywall, and for someone to come replace the damaged vinyl.

I thought of a Scripture, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, that exhorts us to give thanks in all circumstances. Although I was not thankful for the flood or the upheaval it created, it was easy to find things to be thankful for.  For one, I was very thankful this all happened before my scheduled paint job. For another, had I not followed an inner prompting to go down for my mail late that afternoon, instead of just waiting until the next morning to get it, the flood in progress would have gone undetected and the results could have been catastrophic. Focusing on these blessings made me feel surprisingly patient and calm.

Finally the day came for the vinyl to be laid, and with it, a test of my ability to count it all joy. I failed the test miserably.

The sight that greeted my eyes looked like something out of the fun house at a carnival. My reaction was not joy.

After the initial shock and disbelief came the pity party, and the questions--why can't anything in my life ever turn out perfect? Why do even the best things always have to be flawed?

The answer comes from a friend who had an experience--funny now in retrospect--but that might also have produced similar feelings of shock and disblief. He and his wife had won an all expense paid trip to a vey expensive, fancy resort. When they got there, just about everything that could go wong did. The jets in the jacuzzi didn't work, the pool was out of order, there was no volume on the TV in their room, the restaurant was closed, the shower in their bathroom didn't drain, the building fire alarm went off while they were geting a massage and they had to evacuate, and the cleaning lady walked in on them when they were in bed. What was supposed to be a relaxing, romantic holiday that sounded heavenly, was actually filled with one problem after the other. In his words, "The truth is, this world ain't heaven. We live in a fallen world, and as good as it sometimes is, it will always have its problems. It won't be heaven until heaven!"

Thursday, February 23, 2017


Though I can't remember which devotional those words came from, they've stuck with me, reminding me, when things look particularly dark or discouraging, not to judge the end of a book by the chapter in its middle.  This amaryllis is a wonderful illustration why.

My friend gave it to me in a starter kit for Christmas, and after carefully following the instructions on how to plant the bulb, I put it on my windowsill in the same spot where the one she had given me the Christmas before had thrived and grown tall.

Before long, a single stalk emerged and started to grow, but unlike its predecessor, it did not shoot up or grow tall.  Nor did a second stalk appear.  I watched and waited with great anticipation, but it stopped growing at about half the height I expected it to reach, and it's top, where the buds should be, looked frayed and brown around the edges.  I continued watering it and turning it towards the sun, but as more and more days went by with no sign of change,  I gave up on it and declared it dead.

One evening, shortly after that declaration, I noticed that the stalk seemed a little taller, and its frayed top had opened slightly.  Was it my imagination? But no. A few days later, buds started to appear, and my heart sang a song of joy as I realized my "defunct" plant was not dead at all.  It was starting to bloom. Right on time. God's perfect time.

Before long, those buds turned into four stunning flowers.  and as if that weren't enough, when those four flowers faded and died, two more buds popped up to replace them.

How often have I been ready to give up on something because it seemed hopeless, walking away before it had a chance to come to fruition; or been convinced that I had reached a dead end and come face to face with something too impossible to be turned around.  And yet contrary to what my natural eyes or intellect may try to tell me, nothing is impossible with God. The story is never over until He finishes it.

                                         "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and
                                          lean not on your own understanding."

Monday, January 9, 2017


"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and 
wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your 
works,And that my soul knows very well."
(Psalm 139:14)

"Overlooked by others; hand picked by God," was a phrase, on the back cover of a book, that caught my eye. Though I no longer remember the name of the book, those words have stayed with me. They are a comforting reminder when I feel passed over or left out. 

For as long as I can remember, I've had a deep desire to make a difference, to feel significant, to leave my mark on the world, but instead, more often than not, I've felt rejected and "less than." Now, as a member of my church's prayer team, I'm seeing an increasing amount of prayer requests from or for people battling similar feelings, who have turned to destructive behavior patterns in a futile attempt to numb the pain.  I'm also seeing an alarming increase of drug overdose deaths and teen suicides in our community.

I know this is not a widely read blog, but it is my prayer that at least one lonely, hurting person will see this post and be uplifted by its words. I pray that it will convince you of your infinite worth, and lead you to the foot of the Cross where you can be healed and made whole.

No matter how things may be looking to your natural eyes and intellect, or what lies Satan has tried to flood your mind with, the truth is that your Father is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and your identity lies in Him alone--not in how you feel you measure up to others, or what others might think of you. You were not an accident. God knew you long before you were conceived, and created you for a special purpose no one else can fulfill (Psalm 139:15-16). You are a Divine original, a masterpiece, wired and gifted according to the strengths and weaknesses needed to fulfill His pre-ordained plan (Romans 12:4-6; 1 Corinthians 12:14-24). 

There is no sin so great it cannot be forgiven, or life so broken it cannot be restored. God loves you so much that He sent Jesus to die for you on the Cross, so you could be forgiven and set free (John 3:16). However, the gift of salvation is a free gift you can only receive by grace, through faith. It cannot be earned by good works (Ephesians 2:8-9). God will not impose His will on you or force you to accept it. The choice is yours.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


An original song performed by father and daughter, Steve Haupt and Becky Kelley
Recorded at Shock City Studios, Saint Louis, MO
Produced by Chris Loesch
Video by Robbie Haupt and Greg Haupt

The story behind the song, as told by Steve Haupt, is as follows:

"While at the mall last year, my 4 year old grandson saw kids lined up excitedly to see Santa Claus. Having been taught as a toddler that Christmas is the holiday that Christians celebrate the birth of God's son, with the innocence of a child, he asked his mom, 'Where's the line to see Jesus? If Christmas is Jesus' birthday, why don't we see Him more?'

As his grandpa, I was so happy that little Spencer understood the meaning of Christmas at such a tender age, and then the words for a song were jotted down in just a few minutes. The song was inspired by my grandson, and the message was inspired by my Savior.

Out of the mouths of babes come profound truths that many adults can not understand. Hopefully Spencer's observation and our song will cause people to reflect on the love of Jesus, and the certainty that one day we will all stand in line to see Jesus."

(Reposted from Christmases past)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and
wonderfully made... Your eyes saw my
substance, being yet unformed,  And in
your book they all were written, The days
fashioned for me, When as yet there were
none of them." - (Psalm139:14a, 16)

This post is a reprint of something I wrote many years ago on my first blog, which is now defunct.  I came across it the other day, and wondered what it was I was reminding myself of.  Turns out it was something I still need to be reminded of today -- BEWARE OF FALLING INTO THE TRAP OF COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS.


There were several reasons I started blogging.  Some personal, but it was also my hope that in some way I could brighten at least one person's day, or perhaps offer encouragement to another.  Lately, though, there's this little voice in my head that keeps saying, "What's so special about you that makes you feel you have something to offer?  What do you have to say that hasn't already been said by someone else, and said better?"  At the same time, there's a warning light flashing off and on: BEWARE OF FALLING INTO THE TRAP OF COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS.

To confirm the above warning, I came upon a very timely devotional during my quiet time this morning.  It happens to be a January devotion, which I would not have seen on this particular February day, except that it's in a book, Streams in the Desert, that I just purchased a few days ago and decided to start reading from the beginning.  No such thing as coincidence!

Anyway, this particular devotional tells the story of a king who goes into his garden one morning and finds everything withered and dying.  He starts asking the plants what the problem is. The oak says it doesn't want to live any more because it's not tall and beautiful like the pine tree, the pine tree is upset because it can't bear grapes like the grapevine, the grapevine bemoans the fact that that it doesn't produce fruit as large as the peaches on the peach tree, the geranium is disheartened because it's not tall and fragrant like the lilac, and so on it goes throughout the garden until the king gets to the little violet and and comments on how happy he is to see at least one flower bright and perky.  To which the violet responds, "I know I'm small, yet I thought if you wanted an oak or a pine or a peach tree or even a lilac, you would have planted one.  Since I knew you wanted a violet, I'm determined to be the best little violet I can be."

What a great reminder that God loves me just as I am, and that I'm a Divine original (which you are too) created for a special purpose that no one else can fulfill.  Summed up so beautifully in the little poem at the end of the devotional:

                  Others may do a greater work,
                   But you have your part to do;
                 And no one in all God's family
                    Can do it as well as you.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, 
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son
of man that you care for him?"
(Psalm 8:3-4)

This collage doesn't really have anything to do with anything, except that it's one of my favorites. There is something about it that fills me with both awe and gratitude. Awe of the beauty of God's creation, and gratitude for the eyes that enable me to behold it, the digital camera that allows me to capture the moment, and the software on my computer that helps me process it.

 My first IT job--long before the term IT even existed to describe it--had me working, standing up, on a huge IBM 360/20 computer that took up almost a whole cubicle. I loved my job, and wished they made computers small enough so I could have one at home. Never did I dream that a day would come when computers the size of a tablet or smartphone would fit in your pocket. Who would have thought?

The pictures in this collage were taken from my balcony, which has an amazing view. It's the spot from which I have taken many pictures of the changing seasons, as well as the spot from which I watched a nestful of baby ravens living atop the local water tower learn how to fly. Observing them play and learn together inspired me to turn my pictures into a book, and thus, in my senior years, I embarked on a new career as a writer of nature related picture books for children. Who would have thought?

On this Thanksgiving day, as I reflect on my many blessings, a couple of other "who would have thoughts," for which I am truly grateful, come to mind. I remember how as a suddenly single mom of a seven-year-old and a nine-year-old, I was struck with fear that I might not live long enough to see them grow up. That fear never came to pass, and the Lord has blessed me with seven grandchildren and three great-grands. Who would have thought?

After the death of my husband, I dabbled in many things as I searched for roots and purpose. I  believed I had found them in the New Age and occult doctrines I embraced. But then came a day when my eyes were opened and I discovered I had been sincerely wrong.  Turning my life over to Jesus when I was on a path I was convinced was the right one, and at a time when I was no longer seeking answers, was the biggest "who would have thought" of them all.

If you are interested, you can read the short version of my improbable journey that is posted on this blog by clicking here, or you can download a free copy of my book, Sincerely Wrong, by double clicking on the cover of it on the sidebar.

Saturday, September 10, 2016


"But Jesus looked at them and said to them,
With men this is impossible,  but with God
all things are possible." - (Matthew 19:26)

The title of this post was inspired by a song that came on the radio this morning as I contemplated the sorry looking circumstances of my life and felt convicted to look at the things I am thankful for, instead of focusing on the disappointments and frustrations.  One of my "miracle plants" caught my eye.

Over the years, the Lord has used my gardening attempts to teach me many lessons.  Usually it's through my tomato plants, and it's something like how at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Witnessing a Miracle, and More Lessons from the Tomato Plant).  But then there was also the beautiful geranium that miraculously survived an almost fatal stinkbug infestation (Feeling Thankful).

This year's lesson was a bit different.  The Lord used a seemingly dead indoor plant to teach me volumes about His grace.

All the leaves were gone, the branches had turned brown, and there were no signs of life my eye could detect, and yet I didn't have the heart to throw it out.  Instead, I put it on the balcony and told the Lord it was all His to do with as He pleased.  It could always be discarded at summer's end.

A few weeks later, much to my delighted surprise, I noticed a bit of green on some of the branches, and the tiniest of shoots starting to emerge from the soil.

The plant continued to grow and thrive, and before long, had been restored to its former healthy self.

Just one more example for me to document of how it is never too late, or too seemingly impossible for God to turn things around.


**The song, if you are interested, is "Mended," by Matthew West -- and you can listen to it by clicking on the link.

Monday, February 15, 2016


"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is
God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Trying to walk in an Air boot with a fractured heel has been limiting and uncomfortable, but I'm learning that blessings can be found even in the most trying circumstances. For instance, I am very thankful that it's my left foot that's affected, so I can still drive my car, and even more thankful that it has entitled me to a Handicapped Parking permit. Not having to worry about finding a good spot to park in is an amazing luxury that will be hard to give up.  

Saturday, February 13, 2016


"Let us then approach God’s throne of grace
 with confidence, so that we may receive mercy
 and find grace to help us in our time of need."
(Hebrews 4:16)

None of us were accidents. God's knew us long before we were conceived, and created us for a special purpose no one else could fulfill (Psalm 139:15-16).  Each one of us is a Divine original, wired and gifted according to the strengths and weaknesses needed to fulfill His pre-ordained plan (Romans 12:4-6; 1 Corinthians 12:14-24).  

My wiring seems to have included wimpiness, and though it's not a trait that makes me proud, the inordinate fear of pain, discomfort, or loss of control it created, so far outweighed any possible enticement, that it safeguarded me from many a harmful behavior I could easily have become addicted to in my youth.

So now fast forward half a century to a severe case of plantar fascitis.  I still do not like pain, but this time around, what others think of me outweighs the pain.  I know so many people who live with pain and manage to function despite it, I feel too ashamed to stay home and rest my foot. Instead, I try to tough it and force myself to walk on it so no one will think I'm a wimp.  The result?  My concern about what others might think led to very unnecessary, undesirable consequences--a stress fracture of my heel necessitating six weeks minimum in an Aircast boot.

Now, under doctor's orders, I do have to take it easy and rest the foot, and while I rest, I think of how we live in a society where self sufficiency and independence are applauded.  No one wants to seem weak or needy.  "God helps those who help themselves," is a much quoted verse many people believe is from the Bible, but nothing could be further from the truth.  What the Scriptures do say, is that God wants us to lean on Him (Psalm 145:18-19; Isaiah 40:29-31; Matthew 11:28, to name a few).    The people God helps are those who know they can't help themselves and cry out to Him for help. 

Friday, January 15, 2016


(This post is from my personal blog, Glimpses of God's Grace.)

Today I was feeling discouraged about the pain in my heel, the doors that have unexpectedly closed in my face, and all the things in my life that aren't the way I'd like them to be.  It was also the day God cheered me up by sending me flowers.

 You see, last October, when a friend's daughter was recovering from serious surgery, I was able to lend a helping hand by driving her son to school, and my God who sees the end from the beginning, knew way back then that a January morning was coming when I could use a happy surprise.  And so it was, that on this particular day, instead of any other, He laid it on my friends' heart to bring me a beautiful bouquet of roses to thank me for what I had done. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


"The thief comes only to steal and kill
and destroy;  I have come that they 
may have life, and have it to the full."
(John 10:10)
Between the ending of one year and the beginning of the next, things happened that made me sad, things happened that made me mad, and I allowed a run of frustrating events to divert my focus from the many things that made me glad.

Today I choose to let go of the things that offended me or caused me to fret, and dwell, instead, on the promises of God and my identity in Christ. No matter how things may look or seem, I choose to trust that Jesus has my back every day, in every way.  Today I choose joy!