Dec 05

One Word for 2017—Part I


Several years ago I cleverly adopted someone else’s clever idea to select a single word to help me focus my thoughts and actions throughout the coming months. Previous focus words for me have included courage, firm, Nike and legacy. Soon I will be selecting a new one to help me focus in 2017.

I haven’t decided yet which of the hundreds of thousands of wonderful words to pick. Maybe you haven’t either, or maybe you have never tried selecting a word to help you focus. So over the next few weeks I will share some thoughts about a few of the words I’m considering. Maybe one will resonate with you. I’d love to hear if you decide to have a focus word for 2017 and what it will be.

Here are six of the words I’m considering and in what ways I imagine they might be helpful. Of course, as in all things that relate to God, He always has new and amazing lessons and directions for me that I would never consider on my own. But here are my imagined insights, feeble as they may be.

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Victory: The first way this word inspires me is to think about the victory I have over sin and death because of Jesus. But also, the word would inspire me to look daily at little victories and be grateful for them. I would also be inspired to actively look for ways other people have victories in their lives and encourage them by reminding them of those victories or encourage them to keep moving forward in view of God’s promised victory.

Grace: This word would of course inspire me to remember that I am saved, not by anything I have or might ever do but only through God’s grace, undeserved though I am. This word would further inspire me to remember God’s grace when I am dealing with other people in my life and in the world—even if I do not have personal contact with them. The word would help me live in better peace with others by reminding me of the peace I receive through Jesus.

Humility: This word is probably one most of us need to focus on. It’s natural to think first of ourselves and take pride or at least satisfaction in our accomplishments. This word would help me focus better on having a servant’s heart, putting others’ needs and desires ahead of my own, and remind me that Jesus loves me even (and in fact maybe more) when I’m not waving my flag and cheering for myself.

Generosity: Although I think I’m a fairly generous person, many people in my life are so overwhelmingly generous that I feel like Scrooge in comparison. Having this as a focus might change my life in a way that I could similarly make a difference in the lives of others. The focus of generosity could encompass not just material things, but generosity of time, encouragement, mentoring and physical assistance.

Glory: Having this as a focus word would help me look more closely to see God’s glory around me. Although I often stop and praise God for His world, what would life be like if I saw glory every moment of every day because not only was I looking for it but I was expecting to see it and appreciate it?

Gifts: A focus word of gifts would inspire me to take account of the talents and personality characteristics God has given me and to determine how to proceed to use those gifts for God’s glory. This word would also help me think about talents and characteristics I may not have but would like to develop as part of the way God might be growing me into the woman He has in mind. Additionally, this word would help me see the gifts other people have and help me encourage them to develop and use those gifts also.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do any of these words strike a note with you? Or does one of them bring a different word to your mind that might be better for you?

Nov 28

Legacy: Heritage from the Lord


Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him (Psalm 127:3 NIV)


I am still happily hanging out with brand new grandbaby, Kaiden. I am still in awe of how God has blessed this world through him. I am still amazed that a wee little thing has the potential to change the world in dramatic ways.

He has already changed my world for the better!

No, this isn’t Kaiden’s actual feet. In deference to the privacy of Mommy and Daddy, this photo is courtesy of pixabay. But just so you know—yup—I’ve done this very same thing with Kaiden’s wee tiny toes. Grandmas do that kind of stuff.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Who in your life are you especially glad is part of the Lord’s heritage? How can you tell them today how much they mean to you?

Nov 15

Praying Names: Kaiden Alexander


Names are important. They have meaning. And the names of God’s children who love Him are written in Jesus’ book of life.

Each month I research the meaning of two names and create prayers that we can pray for people we love to live the meaning of those names.

This month (last night in fact), God blessed me with a brand new grandson. In honor of that wonderful miracle, here are two boys’ names and prayers—which happen to be the first and middle names of my precious grandson, Kaiden Alexander.

Kaiden; Caden: friend, companion

Dear Jesus, we pray that Kaiden will live the meaning of his name. We pray he will recognize the friend he has in you, Jesus and that you, Holy Spirit will be his constant companion, giving him strength, courage and guidance. Amen.

Alexander: defender of the people

Dear Jesus, we pray that Alexander will live the meaning of his name, defending what is right and looking to you, Jesus, as the One who defends us from and provides every good thing in life. Amen.


*Note: I create  “Prayer Plaques” with the meaning of names and prayers like the above. They make lovely gifts to celebrate births, birthdays and other reasons to celebrate our life in Christ. Go to for more information.  The one above I created as a gift to my new grandson to hang in his room.

Nov 07

Lady in Waiting


I am here in California with my daughter and son-in-law, prepping for the arrival of grandbaby boy. He might arrive any day.

The crib has been made. The itty bitty clothing has been washed. The nursery is decorated with woodland animals smiling down from the walls.

The wait begins. It is a good wait.

Oct 31

Holy Evening


We’re putting up a few decorations, stocking up on bags of sweet stuff and looking forward to meeting miniature super heroes and princesses at our door—because all of it reminds me of Jesus.

Halloween began as a Christian holiday (holy day). Throughout the history of the early Church, various days of the year were set aside to honor specific people who had died for their faith. Later, the Roman Catholic Church set aside November 1 as a day to honor all Christians who had died. They named it All Saints Day.

People who are Christians are referred to in Christian lingo as saints—not because any of us are better than anyone else but because God has declared us to be His and thus we are holy in His sight.

Since November 1 became the holy day known as All Saints Day, the evening before that day was referred to as All Hallows (holy) Eve. It was later modernized to All Hallowed Eve or All Holy E’ven (as in evening). Ultimately it was shortened to Hallow-een.

Just as the evening before Christmas—Christmas Eve—is holy; so too is the day before the holy day of All Saints Day. In fact, every day is holy because every day has been made by God.

So while we’re trying to avoid thinking about how many grams of sugar we’re ingesting as we wait for the next goblin to ring the doorbell, we can ponder the truth that—no matter what the evil one may do to direct us away from what is holy—today, just as every other day is holy.

Thank you, Jesus! Happy Halloween, folks!

Oct 24

Legacy is a Word



Legacy has been my focus word for 2016. The word has helped me keep my mind open to how I might live in order to leave this world a teensy bit better for me having lived in it.

By focusing on the word legacy this year, it has inspired me to write books, to pray in new ways, to look around at who might need my help and to think more deeply about the ongoing genetic legacy happening within my very family.

The idea of a one-word focus each year isn’t my clever idea. But I have been clever enough to adopt it as my own now for several years.

I have found the having a focus word is so helpful though that I want to encourage you to adopt a word too. Later this year, I will write about several words I’m considering of adopting for 2017. Maybe one of them will hit a note with you and you’ll adopt it yourself.

Meanwhile, here are a few thoughts I’ve had over the years about my specific focus words. Maybe one of these would help you. Or maybe one will spark a different word you will want to adopt for 2017. Clever you!


Courage whole  image copy

2013 Focus Word: Courage









2014 Focus Word: Firm









2015 Focus Word: Nike (just do it)



Be thinking, friends.

Oct 17


Life at my end of the screen is pretty great, but still this verse holds truth for those who may need to hear it today.




Which then reminds us of another verse from Psalms:

This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24 NIV).

Rejoice, friends!

Oct 10

Of Pastors and Zombies


Those two words don’t generally go together. But in October, they do.

October is traditionally Pastor Appreciation Month—the month of the year us church folks delight in telling our pastors how awesome they are, how much their leadership means to us and how much we appreciate everything they do.

Thank you, pastors!

In addition, the U.S. Government Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has declared October “Zombie Preparedness Month.” The image up top came from the CDC official website. Here’s a link to their zombie page.

But when you think about things a bit deeper, it’s not so odd that an observance of Pastors and zombies should be put together in one month. Because they both remind us of Jesus.

  1. Jesus died to overcome death. He died to give us eternal life in heaven with Him. Basically, if we believe in Jesus, we have overcome a future afterlife as zombies (Revelation 1:18).

  1. Without Jesus we are the walking dead. When we surrender to Jesus, we are reborn into true life with Him. (1 Corinthians 14:55-57; John 3:1-21).

  2. Zombies are eternally hungry—which is why they are always trying to eat us live folks. Sounds a bit like Satan, who prowls around seeking to devour us (1 Peter 5:8).

  1. Jesus tells us, however, that when we turn to Him, He alone will satisfy our hunger for righteousness and we will be blessed (Matthew 5:6).

One more point. After October, the church enters the Advent Season of the liturgical calendar, starting this year on Sunday, November 27. Advent/Christmas is the very busiest time of the year for pastors and church staff.

It’s therefore our duty as church members to encourage them now as they prepare for the end of the year festivities. Otherwise, we may find our pastors walking around moaning, red eyes blank and arms outstretched. Nope. We don’t want any zombie pastors this year.

Thank you pastors (and their families), ministry leaders and support staff for all you do for the church body!

Oct 03



This writing year has been uber productive for me. I began with January goals of releasing two books and working on one more throughout the year. Then I allowed God to revise my writing goals and they suddenly morphed to 8 and then ten books to work on throughout the year. Some of those books I have been plugging away at for years but needed momentum to spur me forward. Other books were brand new titles that needed developing.

Now we are heading into the final quarter of 2016. It is time for the big push to complete my remaining goals. (And for you to complete yours.)  Here’s what is left for me:

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Atop the Mountain: The basis of the book is Scripture where Jesus was on mountains. The theme is taking our “mountain top” experiences with Jesus back down with us into the Valley of Death (aka life).

Q4 goal: to begin writing a book proposal and sample chapters for submission to agents/editors 2017.

For the Love of Shoes: applying what Scripture has to say about our feet (and shoes). I intend to pursue traditional publishing but am also considering indie publishing. So I am drafting up the whole book to get a better feel for it. My goal was to complete the “horrible first draft” by end of 2016. The horrible first draft is done and it is indeed horrible, but is in condition now to be able to write a book proposal from it.

This goal is complete for 2016. The project will be on my 2017 goals to complete a book proposal and begin submitting to agents/editors mid 2017 or deciding definitely to indie publish in 2017 or 2018.

From “What if” to “Whatever”: applying one of Philippians “whatevers” (whatever is true, whatever is noble, etc.) to our most pressing worries. I am working on fleshing out the lessons.

Q4 goal: to begin writing a book proposal by end of 2016 and start submitting to agents/editors 2017.

Jesus Wants Me to Do WHAT? The book about baby-step evangelism is fleshed out and most of the book proposal is done.

Q4 goal: to complete three sample chapters by end of 2016 and start submitting to publishers/agents in 2017.

I am Rahab: This is the sixth character study in the With Faith Like Hers Bible study series. The book is in its second revision.

This goal is complete for 2016. My 2017 goal  will be to complete final revisions and release the book mid or late 2017.

Clover’s Pot of Gold: This is presently a picture book manuscript but it might actually be a magazine story in disguise with a bit of fixing.

Q4 goal: to definitely decide whether to submit to book publishers or Christian children’s magazines in 2017.

The end of 2016 for me will include a month away from home when my first grandbaby arrives. That and Christmas will leave very little time for actual bottom-in-chair writing. Since I have worked to complete as many goals ahead of time as I can, I am left with only two book proposals and several sample chapters to address this year. Having a clear vision of what needs to be done is big-time motivating.

How about you? Have you made forward progress on your 2016 goals? How might you push forward during these last 3 months?

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To help you set, review and revise your own goals, I regularly share my personal process. Here’s how I went about working on my goals in 2016. Consider how you might do the same for 2017.

Setting 2016 goals back in 2015.

End of Q1 2016 goal review and revision. 

End of Q2 2016 goal review and revision. 


Sep 28

Legacy: Sharing Delights

This year, the one word God gave me to help me focus on faith was legacy. Early in 2016, the word legacy became more personal when our daughter and son-in-law announced the coming birth of their first child and our first grandchild. Was the first thing I did to go out and ooh and ahh over itty bitty baby clothes? Well, yes, it was.

But not surprisingly, the second thing I did was write a book.




This book is not for publication. If you want to buy a copy, you can’t. This book is a personal collection of memories of when I was mommy to my baby girl—passed on to my baby girl who is now becoming a mommy herself. It was my gift to her.

But writing the book was also a gift to me. It was an opportunity to look back on those first days as the mother of a precious daughter; to remember what it was like for me and for her and for us together. To take those memories out from where they were being treasured in my heart and cherish them openly with gratitude for the gift from God that my daughter has been.

Since I began writing the book, friends and colleagues have asked me create a book that other women could personalize in a similar way as a gift to their own daughters or loved young women becoming mothers for the first time. Maybe I’ll find a way to do so in the future. Or maybe not.

But whatever happens with or without a book to personalize, my encouragement today to moms (and dads) is to share your joys and trials and observances of the delights and struggles of parenthood with the people you love who are now going through it for the first time ever.

It will be a gift to them. It will also be a gift to yourself.

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