Sunday, September 26, 2010


Baggage … it’s not only something that we pack and carry with us when traveling.  It is often what we carry around with us day after day, year after year.  It’s that aggravating burden, thought, worry, guilt, shame – whatever – that chips away at our peace night and day.  We ignore it, or at least we try to, but it keeps popping up its ugly head.  We bury it, or so we think, and it suddenly is uncovered again.  We beat it down until there couldn’t possibility be a shred of life in it anymore, and yet it shows up time and time again when we least expect it. 

It hinders our relationships, our fun, our growth, our happiness and it’s heavy to carry around.  It often makes us who we are, not what we’d like to become.  What to do?  Paul said in Romans (chapter 7, starting with verse 15) that even though he knew to do the right thing, he still did the things he did not want to do and was sometimes unable to do the things that he knew he should do or even those things that he wanted to do.  After consideration he said that there was a war going on between his mind and his reason.  His conclusion was that God could do in his life what he could not do on his own.

How many times do we battle our battles alone without the help of our Lord who desires to be strong for us, to relieve us of the things we cannot handle by ourselves.  But we just continue to plod along carrying our old heavy burdens that keep us from developing and growing into the person that He has planned for us to become.  Why do we find it so hard to part with our old problems?  Could it be a sense of security that comes from dealing with the familiar no matter how difficult and our fear of the unknown, the new, and perhaps the exciting adventure that awaits us if we were to let go of the things that are weighing heavy on us? 

Why not make the decision now to seriously consider giving up some of the old baggage in our lives, turn it over to the “Conductor” who has already paid the price and is more than willing to carry it for us?  Food for thought … maybe life could be a little brighter and the load a little lighter if we would just let get of some excess baggage.

Blessings, Ann

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Packing … ugh!  But if we’re going to take a little vacation I have to pack.  I always take too much – well, not quite always.  One time many years ago I arrived at our destination with everything for everybody (I did all the packing) except for my underwear!  Now, how does one forget to bring your own underwear?  Off to the store I went.  Another time in the winter we were going from Boston to Vermont where my parents lived and where there was a lot of snow and I forgot my boots!  Another trip to the store.  So now I make a list and check it twice and three times and on and on.

It’s frustrating to try to decide today what I want to wear 10 days from now.  I have enough difficulty deciding today what I want to wear.  And how do I really know what the weather is going to be for the next week?  And what exactly am I going to be doing?  Women have way too many choices to make when choosing what to wear on any occasion.

Since we live in Arizona the dress code is pretty casual.  My husband either wears jeans and a knit shirt or khakis and a sport/dress shirt.  Either sneakers or casual dress shoes and he’s all set.  I have to decide whether a skirt or pants; and if I choose pants, then I have to decide shorts, capris, cropped or slacks.  Then come the shoes  -- sneakers, sandals, closed toe, casual or dressy – and of course, then there is color.  That’s a story by itself.  The only time I have managed to have a completely color-coordinated wardrobe with appropriate shoes, etc. is when we lived on our sailboat in San Diego for five years.  I didn’t have any choice then … space was at a premium and everything needed to go together to make different outfits or I was going to be pretty bored wearing the same thing day after day.  It was an interesting experience … and I survived.  Actually it was my idea to move on board … that is another story.

The handbag used to be a dilemma too.  I need to bring one big enough to hold everything I need but not so big that I can’t carry it around if we’re doing a lot of walking.  I think I’ve found the solution to this one.  I bring a good sized purse and my “wallet” is a small clutch type purse that holds a wee bit of everything I need on a jaunt and that’s what I carry when I’m shopping the mall or sightseeing.  Much easier on the back and the arms.

The bags are packed and sitting in the family room; tomorrow I’m off to Phoenix to meet my husband (he lives and works in Phoenix during the week and I live in our home in Tucson) and we’ll be on our way to Lake Havasu and Laughlin for a few days of rest and relaxation. 

I wonder what I forgot … hmmm.

Blessings, Ann

Monday, September 20, 2010


Food … for the body and for the spirit.  How much we take for granted in our abundant lives.  For most of us we have a never-ending supply of food on our tables … and so far, there is a never-ending supply in our stores.  Our physical bodies require food if we are to survive; it provides energy for our muscles (like the heart!) and our brains (hmmm).  Without food we would cease to survive in eight to twelve weeks.  We are physical human beings and food is an absolute necessity for our life. 

So we plan our menus and shop for groceries so that we can provide healthy, nutritious meals for our families thereby ensuring that we and they have the necessary nutrients to face our days and accomplish whatever we set our hands to do.

In the same way our spirit needs food if we are to survive and grow spiritually.  There is a never-ending supply of spiritual food available to us as well, but do we make it a priority to search it out and partake of it?  God has made available to us His own Word as food for our souls to enrich our lives and show us how to live in a way that will bring us joy and peace and glory to Him. 

Why do we instinctively know that we require physical food but do not have that same instinct toward our spiritual needs?  The physical is real to us – we get a headache, our stomach growls to let us know it’s empty, our blood sugar drops and we get a bit shakey and lightheaded … we just don’t feel very good.  But what about our spiritual barometer … do we notice when we’ve lost a bit of our joy, when our mood is dark, our temper is short, our patience is thin?  We need to be as aware of these signs of spiritual hunger as we are of our physical hunger.  And we need to make time to feed ourselves from our spiritual pantry in the same way that we regularly feed ourselves from our kitchen pantry.  

May all your meals be blessed!  Ann

Monday, September 13, 2010


Pruning … The hot Arizona summer has taken its toll on my flower garden and it shows its wear. The last few mornings have been in the mid 60’s when I first awake and take my tea outside … chilly enough that I put a sweatshirt on! If you live in a cooler climate, as I did for most of my life, that seems strange; but if you spend your summer in temps of 100 – 110 for days on end, your body reacts to even the 70’s with a shiver. However, it’s a very welcome and refreshing shiver!

I took a look about the garden this morning and realized that some of the plants needed cutting back or they were going to die, so out came the shears and a few of the plants got a rather severe pruning. Since I’m one of those people who talk to my plants, especially when they’re not doing well, I unconsciously said to one of them as I finished cutting and was picking up the dead pieces, “I hope that helps you grow now”.

It reminded me that the Master Gardener does the same thing in my life. There are periods of time when He is at work pruning and cutting out the dead stuff in my life that is preventing my growth in Him. It’s not an easy process for me – or the plant – but one that is necessary if either of us is to put forth new growth.

So as you clean up your backyard garden, look for the things in your own life that God is at working pruning out so that you, too, can make more growth in Him and become all that He designed you to be. Be receptive to the Holy Spirit moving in you and respond to it with acceptance and look forward to seeing what new and exciting things are coming your way.

Happy Gardening and Blessings on your day, Ann

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just Do It

Just do it … Sometimes God asks us to do something we would humanly rather not do.  Our first instinct is “no way – that’s not fair.”  But the fact remains that He asked.  He will never force us to do anything we do not want to do but He will give opportunities to “put our money where our mouth is” (so to speak).

If we claim to be led by the Spirit, God will test us to see if we really will respond to His Spirit at work in our lives.  There is a blessing that comes with added years and that is experience.  Previous experiences have taught me that resisting the call of God through His Spirit does not bring peace in my life.  When I know to do good and do not do it, I lose my joy.

So now, a bit wiser, I try to listen more carefully to the proddings of the Spirit and respond more positively and quickly to God’s requests and then enjoy the blessings of peace and joy that follow.

Blessings on your walk, Ann

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Morning Joy

Morning Joy … comes when I sit with my cup of tea and God’s Word.  All through the hot Arizona summer He has blessed me in the cool of the morning with a soft breeze in this quiet spot.  I hear the birds greeting the dawn of a new day and the soft cadence of water coursing through our garden fountain.  It’s a perfect setting for acknowledging the beginning of a new day.

This spot has been here for the last four years with the rose bush fully grown yet this is the first time I’ve discovered it as my own.  I wonder why it took me so long.  Are there other places of peace and joy that God has prepared for me but which I do not see?  Perhaps I should sharpen my senses and allow His Spirit to show me more of what He has available to make my journey more enjoyable.  

Do you have a special place of joy in your life?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

God Looks After the Small Things

God looks after the small things … Our lives are so precious to God and he desires that we should have an abundant life. To that end He is involved with every aspect of our lives especially if we allow Him access to our innermost needs and desires. Nothing in our lives is inconsequential to Him … He is our creator, our Provider, our Sustainer, our Comfort, our King and He knows us better than we know ourselves. Nothing in our lives is hidden from Him. He knows our needs and our desires and He will fulfill those that are good for us. It’s difficult but we have to come to the point where we are accepting and comfortable with whatever God provides and realize that He sees the big picture and we only see this little place where we are struggling right now. Then we will have peace knowing that our God is in control.

It’s taken me a long time in my life to let go of some things … humanly I like to do things my way in my time frame; but my oldest son taught me a few years ago that “God is a God of the last minute”. Or at least that’s how it appears to us … we think we just can’t take anymore or go another mile or handle any more crises and we forget (or refuse to understand) that God is in control. We are not! Yikes! That used to cause me no end of upset, but after seeing His intervention just in the nick of time over so many incidents, I’m beginning to realize that I can just bring it to Him, do whatever I can and leave the rest to Him. After all, He is God – and can do all things. I am not.

That’s not to say I find it easy or comfortable, but I do have many wonderful interventions to look back upon and they help me to look forward to the one I need today with more faith than I had before. That helps me be more positive about the outcome and I am learning to wait with less apprehension than I had before … to trust more fully in the One to whom I bring my problems and look forward to seeing His hand at work once again.

Blessings, Ann