Sweeter with God

Help When You Need It

A few weeks ago God gave me an assignment. Not one that I didn’t have experience for. But one that required the best of me–or, better than my current best. Even better said, I needed help and all God could give for me to complete it well. The assignment? Enter a writing contest. The prize? A scholarship to a premier writers conference. Writing the article was not horribly scary, but the thought of winning terrified me. Because that would require even more of me–my abilities, my time, my courage–than I possess. At first I wondered if participating in this writing contest was… Read More ›

How To Keep Focused On Christ This Christmas

Several years ago our family took a Christmas trip to New York City … Wow. New York is an incredible place to visit. But during Christmas—it is magical. We immersed ourselves in the city. We rode the subway, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, and ate from food trucks. Our kids ice-skated in Bryant Park on Christmas Eve. We visited Ground Zero on Christmas Day. During the most wonderful time of the year, our eyes were on a million wonderful things—but we missed THE most wonderful thing. It wasn’t intentional, but in the midst of the magic, we missed Jesus.   Today is a redux… Read More ›

A Not-So Silent Night

Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright. Sounds a lot like most of the nativity sets I have in my home. Beautiful, breakable. Set just so. I do love this old, German/Austrian Christmas carol. It’s a favorite of many. As a young girl, I remember trying to slide into that high note at the end–not so beautifully–as evidenced by the adults staring and winking in my direction. Yes … favorite, tender lyrics. But are they an accurate depiction for the night of Jesus’ birth? It most certainly was a holy night. But it I don’t think it… Read More ›

When You Find Your Lost Treasure

Recently I read a story about a woman who lost one of her ten silver coins. Today, an ounce of silver is worth about the cost of a moderately priced meal. For this woman, each coin was worth about a day’s wage. She had lost 10% of her savings. The story says that she lit a lamp, swept the entire house, and searched carefully for it. When she finally found it, she invited her friends over and had a party (Luke 15:8-10)! I see myself so clearly in this parable. Maybe because I’m a woman and the story is about a woman. But… Read More ›

Freedom in Wide Open Spaces

For many years I traveled Houston freeways to and from work–eighty miles round trip. I was good at it, too–fearlessly and seamlessly moving in and out of traffic with the best of them. I still drive in Houston, but not usually during rush hour. But when traffic gets snarly, I put on my “Houston driver hat,” and get down to business. Over the last several years, however, I have developed an unhealthy fear of freeway driving. (Given the state of today’s drivers, maybe it isn’t so unhealthy!) I hate being boxed in. There is a particular stretch of freeway I try to… Read More ›

The Perfect Gift

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes].” (James 1:17 AMPC) I love this verse, and am always comforted in knowing that God never changes. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is the Giver of every good, perfect gift. As is always the case, there is so much more to this Scripture. It is rich in truth…. Read More ›

Your Guide On The Unlit Path

Our family did a lot of camping when our kids were young. Yep. Real tent camping. We usually arrived at our destination in the late afternoon and quickly set everything up. Tent, food, chairs near the fire pit. As darkness descended, it was important for everyone to keep a flashlight in their pocket. Even in state parks the terrain is not smooth. Large rocks, protruding tree roots, and all kinds of other things are in the way. And bugs! It seems like each park has its own unique … uhm … tiny wildlife. These obstacles quickly become stumbling blocks in an… Read More ›