On Willy Wonka, My One Word 365 Project And Returning to 1000 Gifts

It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation….I Peter 1:3

Is this the way I have chosen to live?

Am I peeking around the corner with great expectation?

or am I waiting, crouched, arms over head, for the next blow?

I want to unfold the paper of life like Charlie unwrapped the silver from his Wonka Bar…



fully expecting to see that bit of gold.

I want to believe against hope like Abraham and Sarah,

and when hope seems bankrupt, I want to use my resources for others

like Charlie.

To buy someone else a candy bar.

And then when hope is replaced with a gift of giving

anticipation arises for what God can do.

and will do.

and has done.

And what I’ve got is much better than a golden ticket.

Because… I temporarily gave up on my list.

and the picture of beautiful expectation I had experienced dribbled cloudy like a watercolor painting being rained upon.

So I begin again,

a little more humble,

a lot more wise.

Expectation comes in that

His beauty and love chase after me

every day of my life.

Now to pen these moments

with expectation in community with dearest Ann:

91. For the always thought provoking writing of Madeleine L’Engle. “How marvelous is the ritual of the Holy Mysteries, the Eucharist, where we joyfully eat love.”

92. Flourescent ribbons unfurled across the sky.

93. Giant crunch hamburgers.

94. Laughing birds.

95. Chocolate pudding treat, unexpected in my bag.

96. A novel in my heart…

97. A daughter who says that everything is more fun with her brother around.

98. Neighborhood mysteries.

99. Big answers to small prayers.

100. New job opportunities.

101. Sand between my toes…in January…in the Chicago area!

102. A magical day of mystical findings for my book! Pioneer Chapel.

103. A packet of goodies from a stranger!

104. Hearing sandhill cranes a mile high in the sky.

105. Glitter in an old woman’s hair.

106. Buying a brand new $200 sportscoat at Penney’s for my husband for only $10!

107. Writer’s Calendar and day planner at the Dollar Store.

108. Daughter gets the coveted part of Elizabeth Bennett at Youth Theater!

109. Guest posting at my dear friend Renee’s!

Sharing with Michelle:

…sharing a playdate with Laura:

….finding heaven with Jen:

…hanging out with L.L.: On In Around button

Supernatural Resolution

I woke up with supernatural resolve this morning.
Resolve to hope against all hope.
Resolve to be a finisher.
Resolve to speak positive words.
Resolve to find beauty.
Resolve to do the laundry.
Resolve to…
…and then…
I screwed up.

And normally I would crumble with embarrassment,
crawl in my hole and believe all the fears that come my way
“You hypocrite!”

But instead,
His kind hand lifted me up from the ashes of my self-created disaster,
and gave me fightin’ words.
His Words.

and I am resolved against all hope.
Resolved to be a finisher.
Resolved to speak positive words.
Resolved to find beauty.
Resolved to do the laundry.
Resolved to…

What are you resolved to do? Let me know in the comment section, for I would dearly love to hear from you.
sharing with dear Emily…

I. Am. Expecting.

Artwork by Emily Wierenga

An expectant mother strokes her bulging belly,
Hopeful, wistful and dreaming of the future.
She dreams of the day when she will hold this creation of love.
And experience firsthand, his first words, first steps and a whole new world of firsts.

And though a portion of her life is spent,
she feeds off of the fact that this new life
growing inside her still has his whole life ahead.
A life she can help shape and mold into the man God wants him to be.

Anticipation builds along with a little fear.
There is so much to do to prepare, to get ready.
Books to read. Nursery painting to be done. Classes to attend.
…and then the thought of the birth. Oh my! Will she be able to do it?

This impossible feat of pushing a life from complete dependency
into the air of a world that insists that you learn to do for yourself.
This flesh splitting, every muscle contracting hard work of birth?
Fear creeps in….until….carrying the weight of this love child

seems too much to bear and pushes her toward anticipation again.

I. am. expecting.

Pregnant with ideas that love for my Savior has conceived.
and He has caused a miracle. A new life to grow inside of me.
I have prepared. Painted the nursery, in a way.
I’ve been afraid, will I be able to do this? Bring forth this life inside of me?

But then, the weight of carrying this idea around
has finally gotten to me, “When am I going to finish this book already?”
and the labor is hard.
Encouraging words and ice chips don’t help, and no amount of pushing seems to get the words out.
And I scream, sweat on my brow, “Get this baby OUT!”

It’s about to happen.
Because I really can’t hold it in anymore.

Pray for me friends, this is harder than I expected…

The artwork used for this post is done by my beautiful blogging friend Emily Wierenga. Her blog is incredible! You can check it out here. She is one of the reasons I love this new blogging world of mine. Her writing is rich and digs deep. Her paintings are vibrant and alive…there’s just nothing not to love about her!

Sharing with Michelle:

…sharing a playdate with Laura:

….finding heaven with Jen:

…hanging out with L.L.: On In Around button

Grace Like A Snowflake… Day 11 Photo Scavenger Hunt

Snowflake 1

full of grace. Hail Mary full of grace.

i feel grace-depleted. what little i had left
has melted on my nose tip like a lone snowflake
this warm winter season.

my husband needs grace. i have none.
my children need grace. i’m empty.
no. more. grace.

an angel came to Mary.
with a proposition and a plan.
she said yes.

God’s Word comes to me
with a proposition and a plan.
i say no.

Mary said yes.
she was full of grace.

i say no
i am replete of it.

awake. repent.
say yes.


1. The Journey Advent photo comes to us from Dana at DRGT/Just Wondering. Her beautiful calendar comes from Ann Voskamp’s 15 year old son, who made these beauties so that he’d have money to donate to Compassion.

2. The Jesse Tree Advent photo comes to us from Blue Cotton Memory. She writes of raising Boys to Men.

3. The Traditional Advent photo comes from Christina at To Show Them Jesus. She writes about her experiences as a home schooling mom.

4. The German Advent calendar photo comes from me. 🙂

Thanks everyone for your participation!

I know that this week will be busy for all of us, so I’ve decided to post the week’s photo prompts:

Wednesday – Advent Calendar
Thursday – Snowflake
Friday – Nativity

The linkup will be through Friday. I will go through the posts and gather the pics for the correct days. Thanks so much for your participation, this has been fun! Link up your post featuring a photo with a theme listed above. Include my blog button, and visit other “hunt” blogs. Stop by tomorrow to vote for your favorite “gift” picture. Have fun! (Blog links must be provided before 7:00 AM CST, in order to be voted on 🙂 ) I have no idea why the number of links doesn’t update…There are participants!

Linking with my dear Emily:

and with the amazing poets at dverse

Oh Come Let Us Adorn Him – Day 4 Photo Scavenger Hunt

Today’s prompt? Christmas ornament

There are many literary references to our life as a tree. Psalm 1, for instance, says we are to be like a tree planted by rivers of living water. This time of year, many of us decorate trees. We do so because trees are a symbol of life in the midst of a lifeless winter. We do so because the One Whose birthday we celebrate died on a tree to bring us everlasting, evergreen life. And we adorn these trees with beautiful ornaments. With splashes of red and the glimmer of silver and gold, we celebrate all that a tree of life in the midst of death signifies.

I guess it goes back to the Garden. We, like that first man and woman search for the tree of life, in the midst of a desert barren from all green….and now we find it because He has come!

As I decorate my tree this Christmas season, I’m asking myself, “How do I adorn the tree of my life? Does my tree bear fruit? Does my tree bear love, joy, peace, faithfulness, gentleness, meekness, self-control? Ga. 5:22-23. Or, do I bear such little fruit that I am cursed and die?” Mark 11:20.

Lights are the foundation of my tree, I always start with them first. To be quite honest, there are many years when I’m tempted to stop there. The tree with lights alone is a beautiful sight. But how much more beautiful it is, when I begin to adorn her with ornaments…Ornaments with significance. Each one has a memory, and remembers a significant time and place. And such is the case with our own lives. Will we allow ourselves to have the ornament of wisdom? Pro. 3:22. Of meekness and grace? Let His character adorn the tree of your life and shine the light of His love everywhere you are today and this holy season.

Congrats to Amy from Make Me A Mary who won the wreath contest with the Book Lover’s Wreath.

There were no entries for the candy cane prompt.

Link up your post with a picture of an ornament! Include my blog button, and visit other “ornament” blogs. Stop by tomorrow to vote for your favorite “ornament” picture, and find out what tomorrow’s photo hunt will be! Have fun! (Blog links must be provided before 7:00 AM CST, in order to be voted on 🙂 ) I have no idea why the number of links doesn’t update…There are participants!

The Significance of the Candy Cane – Day 3 Christmas Photo Scavenger Hunt

Congratulations Kristin Bridgeman from Ponderings! Your Christmas Tree for the Homeless won yesterday’s voting poll!

And now for today’s prompt: Candy canes

Candy Cane Lane

There are many legends about the origin of the candy cane, and all of the legends are full of meaning. Some say that they are shaped like a shepherd’s staff, others believe that the candy cane is shaped like a “J” for Jesus. Candy canes were originally pure white. It wasn’t until after 1900 that the candy cane was shown with its now familiar striping. The red stripes are said to represent Christ’s blood, while the pure white represents the purity of the Christ child. If you look closely, most candy canes have three red stripes. Tradition cites that these stripes are to remind one of the Trinity. The confection is said to have been made hard in order to symbolize the Church as the Rock, and peppermint flavoring was used in order to remind the Christian of the use of hyssop in the Old Testament.

The first record of a candy cane being used as a decoration here ,in America, is by a German immigrant living in Wooster, Ohio.

If you are interested in learning more about the candy cane, click here.

Take a moment to vote for your favorite wreath!

Today’s voting:

A little bit about today’s participants…
1. Kelli’s Wreath is over from Racing For God where Kelli chronicles her journey as a marathon runner and Christian mama.

2. Roseanne Elliott provides the Baby Shower Wreath in her blog Turning My Heart. What a cute idea for a Christmas-time baby shower, huh? Check out her lovely blog. She writes about homeschooling and having a heart for God.

3. The Book Lover’s Wreath is provided by Amy from over at Make Me A Mary.
Believe it or not she threw this wreath together during her lunch break! Wouldn’t it be a cool addition to a library? Amy writes beautifully, and she encourages her readers to be Mary’s rather than Martha’s!

4. The lovely handmade Cranberry Wreath is submitted by Frances. Named for the adorable badger in children’s books, Frances shares all kinds of things over at her place, including some lovely pictures of the Christmas decorations at her house.

Link up your post with a picture of a candy cane (real or giant decoration)! Include my blog button, and visit other “candy cane” blogs. Stop by tomorrow to vote for your favorite candy cane picture, find out who won the Christmas Wreath Photo contest and find out what tomorrow’s photo hunt will be! Have fun! (Blog links must be provided before 8:00 AM CST, in order to be voted on 🙂 ) I have no idea why the number of links doesn’t update…There are participants!

Joining with Ann today:

and with Jennifer:

Making Room For the King

Advent Calendar for an Artist Tag

Advent is a little different for me this year.
There are no children rushing to the calendar for a piece of candy.
No one to help me decorate the house.
And no one with which to read our advent family devotional.

I have three grown and busy children,
and although two of them are still living at home,
they are fighting hard enough to balance their crazy, upside-down lives
without pressure from me to deck the halls.

It is two days after Thanksgiving,
By this time, I usually have the tree up and decorations abounding,
but this year I’m having a difficult time being motivated.
I’m finding out what traditions will remain with the two of us,
my husband and I,
when we are truly empty-nesters.

And depression tries to sneak in…
until…I hear eighteen year old son whistling Silent Night
in the bathroom while shaving before beginning his day.

It’s then that I remember what I’d forgotten.
Advent isn’t about preparing an aesthetic atmosphere for myself and others,
it’s about preparing an atmosphere in my own heart for the coming King…

A King is on His way to my home.
What shall I do? How shall I prepare?
What shall we eat? What will I wear?
It’s because He is coming, not because company is coming.
And it is in this moment of my Journey Toward Epiphany that I search for Him,
because wise men (and women) still seek Him.

Linking with dear Ann:

My Salvation Army Heritage

Salvation Army worker
There’s nothing more “Christmasy” than hearing a Salvation Army bell ringer. I wonder if you’ll take a look at my past with me? A stroll down memory lane if you will…

I had the most beautiful upbringing in the whole world. Part of this heritage includes a family with its roots entrenched in the Salvation Army. My father, the eldest son of Salvation Army officers started his young family where his foundation lay…at the SA. My mother had her life changed when at 15, after a Billy Graham crusade, she filled out her followup paper work with SA for Saint Ann’s Catholic Church, and the Salvation Army showed up at her door. I have a plethora of family members that has served as officers of the Army and are now retired. As someone who has had the pleasure of watching their lives from the inside, let me tell you, they do the most good.


My own spiritual formation took a turn when I was 14. An uncle from my mother’s side started a non-denominational church and we began attending there. However, there have been key moments in my life when I have found myself right back where I started…at the Army. Two times stand out in particular. Once was the… Please click here to read the rest of my story…

sis button 2

Disbelieving Divorce – New Glarus Series- Saturday Morning Serial Linkup

As I lived alone in shame and pain, I cried out to God…Who am I? If you need to catch up on the New Glarus series, click here.

Broken beyond belief…

Useless damaged goods.

Where do I go from here?

If I am not Mrs. then who am I?

If I’m not Christian married mother

What. Am. I?

My mother always said my mouth would get me into trouble someday.

These are those days.

I could not stay silent.

Stay silent when he turned his back on me, on us, on God.

I paid the price.

Discarded like a piece of trash,

Crumpled like a written mistake.

Hurt. Alone. Frightened.

Strong hands pick me up.

A few people look past my shame.

They risk their reputation

To uphold mine.

The sun still shines but it is dark

and I wonder if I will ever see light again.

Thirteen years of precious life.

Gone. Spent. On the wrong person?

Perhaps.  In the wrong way?


I. Don’t. Believe. in Divorce.

But Divorced I Am.


Linking with
storytellers button blue

Welcome to the Saturday Morning Serial Linkup! Here’s what you need to do to participate. If you have a weekly series you post, whether fiction or nonfiction, please feel free to join our community. First, you’ll need to fill out the form below. Then you’ll need to add our Saturday Morning Serial Linkup Button to your series blog post. Lastly, you’ll need to visit some of the fine writers who will be adding their posts here. It would also be great to hear from you! So comments here would be appreciated!!

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