Believing and Grieving

Finding Hope Even in Grief

When our hearts ache at loss, injustice, disease or betrayal, how can we experience joy? Is it impossible? For me the words of Matthew 28:6 hold the ultimate answer. For those who agree, please read on. I find this truth valuable for those searching for answers, and for those of us who have chosen to believe in Jesus Christ.

Some religions offer good advice and positive principles. Many (though not all) teach kindness and love. Jesus Christ taught and modeled the attributes he called spiritual fruit, the results of becoming “better people” as we trust and yield our sinful ways to God. Yes, Christians also believe in goodness, kindness, love, patience, gentleness, and self-control among many other attributes. To be sure, the Bible is a wealth of truth a person can spend a lifetime learning how to apply. Yet there is one major distinction between other faiths and Christianity.

Only Jesus Has Risen from the Dead

No other faith has a solution for the inevitable gap between a Holy God and sinful humanity! Christianity is set apart from all other religious faiths for this reason: Jesus is the only human (God-man) to have died and risen from the grave. This gift of Jesus’s sacrifice creates a bridge so we can have relationship with a perfect God.


I have HOPE because Earth is not my forever home! This makes me smile even writing it now. Ever since Satan (Lucifer) defied God, in a foolish attempted-coup, Earth has been plagued with his evil influence. Scripture tells us this will be so until Jesus Christ returns to gather his believers. We have the promise that in Heaven there will be no evil. No more tears. No more sorrow. No more disease. NO MORE DEATH!

We Are Not Defenseless.

As one who believes in the resurrection of Christ, can I thrive in the chaos here on Earth? Or just survive? In Romans 15:13, it declares we can have hope here and now. God did not abandon us or leave us alone in this swamp. I’m not suggesting we won’t have times of sorrow, disappointment, or grief. But, God didn’t abandon us either.

Tools for living in victory include the spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, given to us after Jesus returned to Heaven. The Holy Spirit lives in me. Yes, God in me, not to be confused with me being God, or even a little “g” god. God imparts his spirit for my blessing, for my understanding, so I can grow in my likeness of Christ.

We have also been given spiritual armor (Ephesians 6) so we can withstand the spiritual war we face with our enemy, Satan. There is nothing he can do to destroy us when we wear our shield of faith and use our sword of the Spirit (words of truth from Scripture). Turn to Ephesians 6:10-18, and learn the ways God has provided for us. Do not neglect to put on your spiritual protection to face the challenges of each new day. Read the Bible, pray daily, keep your mind focused on God, not man, and stand firm in the Good News of the Gospel!

SO … “May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the HOLY SPIRIT.” (Romans 15:13)



Photo by Jill Wellington on


Don’t you love the idea of turning to a new chapter in your life story? It’s a new beginning for everyone as we rolled in 2023–our nation, our states, our cities, families and you personally. In Lamentations 3:22-23, we are reminded of God’s compassion. It goes on to say his compassions are new every morning. Breathe that in and let it settle over your troubles. The final statement is “great is your faithfulness.”


Therefore, knowing we have a God who cares about us so deeply, we can trust and look with expectation to the future. I see strife and confusion. He sees order, purpose, and a future outcome we cannot.


In Isaiah 41:13 (MSG), I read, “I, your GOD, have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go. I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic. I’m right here to help you.” I am thankful I have a God to turn to when life gets confusing, or as a friend says, “when life gets ‘lifey.'”

A biblical scene – of Jesus Christ landing a hand for help with the sun shining near his face


I have been locked out of my newsletter email site since way before Christmas! If you follow me on both the blog and the newsletter, I do hope to return. However, I traded in my phone in November, and the two-factor authenticator device has now locked me out. Dare I mention how this email platform does not have tech support, and especially during the Christmas and New Year holiday? I was disappointed and had no way to reach those followers of my newsletter. My contact list is not available to me except through this blog platform. I’m still waiting for someone to HELP! Praying about all of that!


I wanted to say “HAPPY NEW YEAR” and tell you why I had not written.

May God bless you all in this new season of life!

With love,


Christmas Peace – Attainable or Not?

Silent Night. Holy Night. All is calm. All is bright.

Christmas peace? Have you figured out how to attain peace in the flurry of America’s holiday? Most people I know are racing the clock trying to get their to-do list done! Check. Check. Check. Food planning, shopping, and preparing is a top consumer of our energies. But, then, sadly, we have many who are not even sure if they will have food to eat or where they will lay their heads. Our attention is drawn to their needs as well. We also have the special events to add to our calendars. All good.

But, many folks are tired, while praying to experience a few “Hallmark moments” with their families and friends before all is done. How do we lay hold of this Christmas Peace? Is it even possible … ?

Was the First Christmas Silent?

Thinking on a descriptor of the historic first Christmas, the word “silent” might be a stretch. Without doubt, it was a holy scene as the newborn Christ child entered our world. Who would have imagined God would send his Son in the form of a human baby?

But, when the angels sang the night Jesus was born, they boldly proclaimed the good news from the starlit skies. In addition, it was probably not silent as Mary delivered God’s son. There were birth pangs. Her body was fully human as was the child she carried. She no doubt cried. Baby Jesus must have cried with his first breaths to exercise and clear his lungs. Were the animals so dumbstruck they stood without a single moooo or baaaa? Not likely.

“Silent Night” Calls My Seeking Heart

What does your heart yearn for? What does my heart seek? I long for God’s presence in my busyness. I hunger for those moments when my heart is undistracted. God calls me to sit with him and listen. He desires me to know His peace, the one that passes all human understanding, (Philippians 4:7).

Therefore, in reflecting on the reason my favorite church service is Christmas Eve, I believe it reveals my heartfelt desire. Christmas eve (as celebrated in my church) reveals my quest for peace. As we sing “Silent Night,” candles flicker, illuminating the sanctuary with a soft light. Everyone’s face is aglow. The familiar Carol resonates in its simple truth as we give thanks to God for His wonderful gift of Christ.

“Silent Night” – a Glimpse of “Heavenly Peace”

This “Silent Night Moment” is a glimpse of God’s greatest gift – his presence in the midst of it all. On a personal level, my life can get over-booked and over-committed. Necessary responsibilities remind me of all that is yet undone on “my lists.” I don’t see much peace in our chaotic world.

However, it is not SILENCE I crave. It is God’s PEACE. The definition of peace is “a state of tranquility or quiet.” It is God with us — Immanuel! “Sleep in heavenly peace …” the refrain sings out.

My Prayer for You

This Christmas I send my prayers for you to embrace this beautiful peace God has for each of us. Think on the wonderful gift of Jesus, and how He is WITH you whenever and wherever you are.

May He lift your burdens as scripture says in Matthew 11:28-30: “I will give you rest.” What a promise to our world-weary hearts. Merry Christmas and peace to you in this holy season.

Until we meet again …

Listen and watch this beautiful music video to calm your spirit.

DECEMBER 3rd – International Day of People with Disabilities: EVERYBODY DANCE DOCUMENTARY

Dan Watt and His Creative Project

I am excited to share a creative venture, not mine, but a filmmaker named Dan Watt from Los Angeles, CA. Dan found me through some writing I had done for, a faith and family site for reviews of today’s media. Dan was always fascinated by true stories and desired to see how the determination, dedication and commitment to studying the arts could be applied to everyday life. I was drawn to Dan’s project because I believe in inclusion and the positive impact it makes. I have two beautiful grandchildren in my life who have grown in incredible ways through their studies and pursuits in the area of dance.

Dan’s Story

As a former dancer and dance teacher, Dan had a dream about two girls he taught a number of years ago. The girls both had autism, but other than relying on their mother’s input regarding a sensitivity to touch, he used very similar teaching techniques. Then Dan met an amazing teacher named Bonnie who owns All Kids Dance Studio. It’s an all-inclusive dance program to teach children with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and more, alongside typical students. He realized this story needed to be shared with the world. Dan wanted these stories to come to light so he took a leap of faith to produce and direct a documentary about this topic.

Providentially Equipped

Dan worked for five years at Columbia Pictures in development and then worked with SYCO, Simon Cowell’s production company as the coordinator for his scripted, TV, and film department. Now he has taken the leap to become an Independent Producer. Everybody Dance, once a mere seed of an idea, is a reality. It has already received five stars and a ribbon from Common Sense Media who reviews films for families. []

Everybody Dance – Family Friendly Documentary

EVERYBODY DANCE is a touching and uplifting documentary about the power of artistic expression and why we all benefit from opportunities to learn an art form. Everybody Dance offers information about disability and neurodiversity that may encourage empathy for some viewers and provides a lot of food for thought about a wide range of subjects like arts education and being a more inclusive culture. In this film you can follow five kids, their families, and teacher on their journey through life as they prepare for their dance recital. Here is the link to the movie trailer:

Where to Watch Everybody Dance

This documentary is appropriate for the whole family. It is streaming on Prime Video, Apple TV, iTunes, Vimeo, and Google Play. To learn more about the film and these amazing kids, follow @EverybodyDANCEdoc on Instagram and @EverybodyDANCEdoc on Twitter.

Let’s CELEBRATE and raise awareness of the disability community. Inclusion is important and you’ll see the children blossom before your eyes. Contact Dan at

Can You Live in the World as a Christian without it Overpowering You? Does it Matter?

Good seeds or “weeds”?

Weeds in your flowers or grass? Oh, my goodness! Do I ever know. I transplanted this beautiful decorative grass a year ago along with some of its “brothers and sisters.” But, look what happened? It must have had weeds sown into the dirt when I moved it. I kept pulling the weeds out as they emerged for awhile. But, unlike the other plants, this one soon became engulfed. Now I cannot pull up the weeds without destroying the plant with them. Hmmm … I think there is a Bible truth in there. Remember it?

Matthew 13:24 “The Good Seed” Parable

Indeed, Jesus taught about the wheat and the tares (weeds). Jesus often told parables (stories) to help us understand the truths he taught. In Matthew13:24, he tells a story about a farmer who planted “good seed” with diligence. Yet, his enemy sowed thistles in the wheat at night. When this was discovered, the farmhands asked about weeding the thistles out, but they were told no. If the weeds or thistles were pulled up, the wheat could be pulled up too. The farmer explained how things would be rectified at harvest with the thistles being bundled up for the fire while the wheat would be gathered for its good purpose.

As I reread this story and thought about my ugly ornamental grass, I was reminded of my own life, my “story.” It is being read by those around me daily. If I am not careful, I may let “weeds” grow thick. What I mean is, I can take on the appearance and sounds of those who do not follow Jesus Christ. I can choose to live without spiritual “fruit” (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control — Galatians 5:22-23) while still believing Christ is the Son of God. Or can I?

Why does it matter? Aren’t we forgiven?

I might believe it doesn’t matter, especially if my choices (sins) are unintentional. “Oops! I didn’t mean to!” I know none of us are perfect and I am here to declare I am not! I could believe no one would dare cast stones because we all are vulnerable to do things which are contrary to God’s plans. God’s love and forgiveness are handed to us as gifts of his mercy, undeserved favor. All true.

The Book of Hebrews

Hebrews is an eye-opener for those who think their life choices don’t matter. God has something better for us. He is the better sacrifice for our errors, our sins, our willful ways unlike the sacrifices the Hebrews had to make under the codes of biblical law. With such a wonderful God-sent gift, how can we strike out on our own to make deliberate, ongoing choices contrary to God’s best? I know I don’t want to be one who received the knowledge of truth, but deliberately goes on sinning. Someday I’ll stand before Jesus and will have my life play before my eyes at the judgment. I don’t want to disappoint him. I want to hear him say, “Well done!” Even though I know we have a loving, forgiving God, He is also just.

Therefore … draw near.

Therefore, let’s stir one another to love and good works, encouraging one another as we wait for the Day of His return. (Hebrews 10) I can’t wait to see God’s justice return to our world. I can’t wait for the returning Christ who comes to take up his children once and for all. Be encouraged. He loves you and wants you to draw near even now as we wait for the promise. (James 4:8)

usa flag on gray metal pole


Debbie Wilson framed our upcoming election in concrete and understandable terms. I just returned from a family wedding trip, so I haven’t posted my own thoughts this month. With permission, I share this from a reputable Bible teacher and author. I hope you are stirred to action, and please share it on, directing people to Debbie’s Blog.

God bless, and please vote!

american flags and pins on white background
Photo by cottonbro on
view of a beautiful sunset

What Makes a Friend a Friend?

Photo by Saeid Anvar on

Losing a Close Friend Is Not Easy

A few weeks ago I had been inspired to write on God’s faithful love to pursue us no matter what we do or wherever we go. But life happened, as they say, and now I must write from a new perspective.

“This” happened: We lost a very close friend–sooner than we thought we would. At our mature ages, loss happens more often than we’d like. I have found we must hold close what we have while we have it, yet freely release our loved ones into God’s hands when it’s time. This is not profound, but it can be forgotten in our hectic daily responsibilities. So simple. So true. Yet so often forgotten.

Loss can happen anytime, but sometimes it catches us by surprise. Even when we expect someone may beat us to Heaven, the loss for our day-to-day living remains. It can hurt even when we know our dear one is rejoicing, healed and whole, in Heaven.

Acquaintances come and go in our lives, but friends are different. I believe most people realize how friendships enrich our lives. I pray you have had the joy of knowing at least one true friendship in your lifetime and maybe many more.

Yet we are mortal, and we don’t always have the privilege of living all of our days with a dear friend, who sticks “closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 promises our true friends do not leave us, even in difficult times. This kind of friendship comes with a commitment and an agape love — higher than human friendship based on common interests. Also, in Proverbs 17:17, we read how a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. The only way this can be true is when the relationship is Christ-centered, not based on a common interest. Why? Our interests and desires will change over time and then friends often drift apart.

What exactly is a friend? I’ve pondered my friendships as I look back over the years. Some elements remain the same. When I was little, I played and laughed and sometimes even cried with my best friends. When I became a teenager, I also played and laughed and sometimes cried with my friends. Oh, yes, we did experience emotional bonding in those days.

Photo by on

As a mature adult, my friends share more in common with me than how well we “play” together. Sometimes that means we have common interests or hobbies, but that is not the glue that binds us. The truest of my friends and I share a similar worldview. That also means our motives are similar, which tends to drive our choices in life.

A true friend will love in all situations, even if it means having that difficult talk–the “speaking the truth in love” talk (Ephesians 4:15)–perhaps the you-have-strayed-from-God’s-path-talk. Even when we don’t share the same joys and interests, we hold fast to even more vital, eternal perspectives. When the love of God is a part of this friend equation, then we can experience true Christian fellowship, even in adversity.

Our dear friend, Wayne Parrish, was an overall “good person,” but that’s not why we were friends. He was not perfect, any more than the rest of us. However, we had the privilege of sharing life from its highs to its lows, from the most enjoyable times to the direst of circumstances. We shared our faith in Christ, which was the glue that held our friendship together. We laughed, we loved, we respected one another. His passing will leave an empty place in our lives. Thank God we have memories of all the times we shared, and a present joy for his eternal reward in Heaven. I have no doubt he is worshipping his Lord and Savior now and is fully healed with a heavenly body. I can’t wait to join him one day. What a grand reunion it will be.

If we can learn anything from this little post, it would be to never take a single day for granted. Cherish life, serve those God puts in our paths, and never miss the opportunity to tell someone you love them.

May the Lord bless you week ahead, and show you who He has given you to cherish daily.

Rewriting Truth, Revising History: Scripture through the Lens of Communism

I am the way, the truth, and the life Bible text from John 14:6, the Bible. Visual effects to emphasize the message. Macro
A well known psalm on a page in the Christian Bible. A light pink daisy is in the upper right corner.

Imagine a World Where Truth Has Been Replaced

The eeriness of deception and distrust is unsettling at best. Who can we trust? Who do we believe? Many years ago, I had a young friend who spent the summer as a language student in what was then-communist Soviet Union. Her emotional reserves were stretched, and by the time she returned to the United States, she needed time to reflect, pray, and regroup. What hit her the hardest was the deception – everywhere. She recalled how you couldn’t believe anyone. If you chose to trust someone, they might be masquarading as a “friend” while operating under the guise of the KGB, the main security agency.

China Rewrites the Christian Bible – Replacing Truth

Today the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) has a stranglehold on Christian believers. They must believe there is something powerful about our Bible. I agree. It is a powerful gift God has given his children, filled with truth, inspired teaching, and foundational principles. Why else would the CCP tackle a ten-year project to REWRITE scripture “through the lense of Communism”? Hmmm. They know how revising the words will change the original intent, and ultimately control what people believe. Interesting. Many Chinese Christians are working on memorizing scripture in order to guard against this attack on God’s truths. It is their only hope against such a diabolical intrusion into their faith. What will happen after another generation or two if truth is truly left behind. “Lord, Jesus, Come.”

America’s Shaky Footing – Do We Know the Truth?

Not long ago, I had the privilege of hearing the author and social critic Os Guinness. He compared the condition of America’s spiritual “soul” to that of Europe’s. Having immigrated to America from Great Britain, Mr. Guinness knows the condition of Christianity in Western Europe. The light of Christ has been flickering dimly in that region for a few years now. Once active sites of worship sit like museum pieces. Beautiful and majestic pieces of architecture dot their landscape, once built to honor and glorify a magnificent all-powerful Creator God. Now they are open for tours so people can enjoy the beauty of their statuary, stained glass, and amazing architecture. Mr. Guinness believes America is following in their footsteps. I believe we are.

You may wonder what could be a concern here in America. We have Bibles everywhere in America. Many homes have multiple Bibles in them. What good is truth if it is unread, unabsorbed, and unapplied? Are young Americans reading the Bible and teaching the profound truths God has conveyed to their children? Today’s young families are often trapped in a whirlygig life with two parents working and important children’s pursuits scheduled even on the weekends. Many do not take time for church. They live a breathless pace barely having time enough time to refuel and sleep – living the basics.

In the Absence of Truth, What’s Next for America?

We can watch as the media pummels the airways with half-truths and slanted pieces of information. The cultural ideologues tell us what we once thought was uncontroversial is wrong. Once respected values (like the Ten Commandments) had been accepted by our social structure. Today the beliefs that Creator God values human life, that people were made in God’s image (unlike the animals) is not held by many. Now everything “traditional” is brought into question. \

A west coast school district has recently revealed a curriculum to teach youngsters how people who say there are only two categories of gender, boys and girls, are just wrong. The curriculum states there are many options. Whatever you feel like being should be regarded as true, and if we “sort” people by male and female biological factors, we are discriminatory.

Therefore, I must ask, will our children know the truths and values God has revealed in Scripture? Even if we have Bibles sitting all over our bookshelves, if they are unopened, the truth will not be revealed. America will be no better off than China whose people will soon be reading biblically distorted teachings.


If you believe God has revealed standards for living, you need to make certain you don’t blissfully ignore them. This is the era Jesus warned about … wrong will be called right, and right will be called wrong. Don’t let your light be hidden, but speak into this darkness. Study and show yourselves approved. Boldly contest the foolishness of those who mock biblical truth.

I pray our next generations will know there is a God, and there is such a thing as TRUTH.

BE the light in this dark world.

Speaking Light into Darkness

A biblical scene – of Jesus Christ landing a hand for help with the sun shining near his face

An Aching America – A Hurting World

As I listened to the words of a new (to me) song this morning, I found my heart in the lyrics. I have to be honest, tears flowed from my eyes as I heard it. Have you ever had music speak to you like that? Here’s a taste: “I just want to speak the name of Jesus over every heart and every mind ’cause I know there is peace within your presence–I speak Jesus. I just want to speak the name of Jesus ’til every dark addiction starts to break, declaring there is hope and there is freedom — I speak Jesus.

Good News

Here’s what I see. There is sooooo much going on, and the pandemic accentuated what was already hurting. I could make a list of the “things gone wrong,” but I won’t. You have eyes, ears, and you are walking in this messed up world like I am. So I am going to speak truth to brokenness, bring Good News to seeking hearts.

The Deep Stuff

Yes, folks. There is good news! But, in my heart of hearts, I believe the choices for finding answers, real answers to what hurts so bad, is found not in fixing things. “Fixing” always makes us feel victorious for a short time. It could eliminate a source of aggravation, frustration, and even raw physical pain if we need healing. But, it’s the deeper hurt of which I speak.

Need Inner Healing?

How do we find the source of healing for the wrongful things other broken people have imposed on us? Maybe we were little innocent kids when it happened. Maybe we were impressionable teens who needed a positive influence, but found none. Maybe we were adults trying our best to make a life for ourselves and our children, and we experienced rejection or loss. Heart pain. Trying to figure out how to live life with joy?

Answers with Eternal Consequences

Oh, how I would love to carry a light into your life, even if only a spark the size of a match. But, much more is available! I would give you Jesus. We may grieve, but we do not grieve without hope. God never tells us not to grieve, but not to grieve like those without hope. We have answers beyond the grave! No one will ever find the body of Jesus because his tomb is empty – he was raised from the dead. And, he is coming back for us. “So you must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him,” Matthew 24:42-44 (NIV). He WILL come. Look up and be encouraged. Be ready.

Here’s the link to this beautiful song:

child ballerina standing on a stage in a large auditorium

When the Music Stops …

All ready for the big day and then ….


My granddaughter is an advanced competitive dancer and has been for a number of years. To prepare for a recent regional competition, she and her duet partner had practiced and practiced and practiced. At last, the day had come for their evaluation. They entered the stage as their chosen music played, but suddenly, it stopped. Surely just a glitch. The judges asked them to go back and begin again. They started over, but the music stopped once more! They went offstage hoping for the recording to work on the third try. Hearts beating and frustration mounting, the two young thirteen-year-old girls entered with great expectation and energy. Unbelievably, the music stopped.


I was blown away by what happened next. Those two young girls knew what they had been taught. They had rehearsed every fine detail with precision. So, they kept on dancing their duet–without any music! I was so impressed by their poise and grace at such a time of potential defeat. After they continued on, the audience began keeping the beat for them by clapping. What a beautiful example of carrying on with perseverance. Also, this is an illustration of how we need the Body of Christ, other supportive people around us to help us with the “beat” when our music stops.


What do we do in times like these? Have you ever experienced a disappointing change in plans when all your expectations have been wiped off the table, so to speak? I have. I might guess you have too. Sometimes, it can be something out of the blue. Something unexpected or unimagined. Sometimes, there are ways to recover the plan and keep on going. Other times, there is a loss, and you wonder what God would have you do next.


The Bible has many examples of persevering in trial. We have godly examples of not losing faith like Job. He proclaimed: “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him” (Job 13:15). He had a good ol’ heart-to-heart conversation with God about justice though. God asked Job to consider some compelling questions. “Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons – or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?” (Job 38:32-33). I’m sure when Job spoke back to the many questions asked, he was speaking with humility. “I am unworthy–how can I reply to you?” (Job 40:4).

We also have the life of Abram, later called Abraham, to examine. Though he was a flawed human, as we all are, he stuck with God’s plan. Except when he didn’t. Smile. God asked him to move his family to a new land, leaving all that he knew behind. He did. That was a daunting task in itself, though it was filled with the hope of God’s promises for his future–a promised land, descendants as many as the stars in the sky, and the promise of making Abram the beginning of a new and great nation. If you read the whole story in Genesis 12-15, you’ll find all the times when Abram’s music stopped. A few times when he didn’t follow God’s plan at all, but did his own thing, he experienced some unintended consequences.


I could write volumes of stories of people written about in the scriptures who persevered in trial. Perseverance is a cornerstone to growing in faith. Romans 5:3-5: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”


Consider a few of your own stories when you had the courage to keep walking, running, or dancing when the “music stopped.” If you know you’re doing what you believe God has called you to or gifted you to do, be confident to keep on with the plan. I pray you will also have some “balcony people” there to cheer you on, clapping the rhythm you need to keep going “when the music stops.”