A blog about finding God's way on the journey with our children, our family, our jobs and our community.

Friday, December 14, 2012

God Uses Broken Things

Recently one of my girls hit a road barrel in my car coming home from church. She wasn't hurt (other than her pride), but it damaged the passenger mirror.    I noticed today that the broken pieces are shaped like a heart - a perfect heart-shape that is broken into many pieces. This morning God spoke to me through that broken mirror!
Notice the bright light - His light, shining brightly from its center. See it? His message came through loud and clear.   Deep within my spirit, I heard God say,  "I am still at the center of the brokenhearted. I am still shining through. I have not left you and I am still magnified through the broken pieces."
I began to wonder why it had taken me six days to notice the broken mirror was shaped like a heart.  Curious because I have driven my car every day since the accident, and I have struggled to see out of that mirror a lot.  But I had not noticed this amazing heart shape before today. 
So I came back home after taking the grandchildren to school and I pondered it.  And, God brought to my remembrance that on the Sixth Day, He created people.  People in His image!  (image, broken mirror, people, GET IT?)  And He spoke again and said, "I do my best work through people.  My people, who are called by My name are called to shore up the brokenhearted.  I can't do it without you.  I need you to be my arms and legs, to go where the broken are, to BE ME.  How else will they know I love them through their broken heart?"
Oh my.  WOW!  Only God can use a broken mirror and speak so lovingly and strongly through its cracks.  I love how God uses broken things to speak to us His broken people, don't you?
Love to you this day and always,

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Wrap Up of 7 Days of Gifts!

On day two, I wrote about a simple way you can share the joy of Giving with your children, grandchildren or any child.  Check it out here:  We All Live Off of His Generous Bounty...  This post is full of photos of how you can make an adorable "Kindness Calendar" for under $10 - something you can keep for many years.  Our grand-girls are enjoying taking down a little coat hanger and reading the little card each morning.  It is working - they are learning that it truly is more important and blessed to give than receive!

And then on day four, I wrote about an amazing experience I had with this beautiful, young girl name Maleka, who showed me the gift of really Seeing Jesus!  See it here  The Indescribable Gift.

May you learn how to give more than you receive this Holiday Season.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 3: More Joy for Your Journey

I love what Rhonda wrote today.  She shares something a bit nasty, that quite honestly, we have all done.  And God, who is always faithful to expose those nasty dark areas of our heart, comes in - just like a window washer - exposing the streaks and allowing us to have them washed by THE ONLY ONE who can get them clean.  Hope you will take three minutes to read all about it HERE

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 1: More Joy for Your Journey!

Click here for the first day of how to bring MORE JOY into your already very busy life.  More Joy For Your Journey!

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Be sure to go over to our NEW blog site, where Rhonda and I will be posting, "17 Days of More Joy for Your Journey." 

Recently a friend was excited to tell me she was making a few changes in her life. The thing that she was so thrilled to mention was how she was giving up sugar for 17 days. She proceeded to tell me that the experts are now saying you can form a new habit in seventeen days instead of twenty-one. Well I had not heard that, but if seventeen days sounds more attainable to make some positive adjustments in our lives, I'm personally all for it!

Tracy and I decided that in the crazy busy days that lie ahead, we could all use some more joy. And we thought the number seventeen is the perfect number of days to slip some joy and encouragement into your lives. Please join us!

Visit The New Site Here

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hormones Raging or a Tug From Heaven?

I don't know about you, but my life is such an interesting dilemma most of the time!  I question my intentions of the heart - maybe all too often.  Come into my crazy life for just a few minutes as I opine about how this question (Hormones raging or a tug from Heaven?) might be asked.

After a busy day in ministry work, you arrive home to a house FULL of activity.  Yeah, your dinner entree that you put in the slow cooker at 6:30 a.m. is bubbling away (because you still haven't gotten that new fangled Cuisinart slow cooker you eyed at Williams-Sonoma.  You know the one - the fancy one that is on your dream list, the one with about four hundred settings, auto-off, fully programmable with a price tag that is WAY out of your reach right now).  Your 13 year old and 8 year old granddaughters are at the dining table with homework spread out from one end of the room to the other.  Funny thing about that is that neither are actually working on that stuff, they are drawing on whiteboards with markers and pens, laughing and texting and arguing in between swipes on the board.  Your 16 year old daughter is strumming on her guitar that she taught herself to play via You Tube, working on a new little ditty with the amplifier turned all the way up to 'obnoxious.'  Your 19 year old daughter is on her way out the door - saying 'love you Mom, late for work" as she scoots by blowing you a kiss. Your husband is firmly planted in front of the Golf Channel with the remote in one hand and a bag of chips in the other - television is 'turned up' because he can't hear GOLF over the loud roar of the guitar lesson in the adjacent room.  The dog is pacing back and forth in front of an empty water dish with his tongue hanging out, as if to signal he is in the last stages of dehydration and no one has noticed.  The 'boyfriend' is on the computer in the den working on his online class, because he failed it last semester and doesn't have a choice but to take the entire course over.  And for some strange reason he just can't seem to use his computer at home (but you suspect he is here for dinner - again.)

Avery, Olivia and Riley take time out to pose after
the silly string fight that helped solve another crisis!

In superhero fashion, you dash to your bedroom, change your clothes, hang up everything neatly while going through the mail of the day.  On your way down you water the dog, start the carrots, put the rice in the saute pan, turn on the oven for the bread and begin to unpack and clean the four lunch bags that you gathered up from the book bags in the hallway.  You get the little ones back on track for homework completion, help them clear the dining table and begin to set the table for dinner.  Ice tea levels are checked, table is set, chicken is removed from slow cooker and forks are checked for cleanliness before they get lovingly thrown on the place mats for dinner together.

I think you get the picture.  This goes on until 8:45 p.m. when bedtime rituals begin and you actually have a moment to realize you haven't called your Mother to check on her today.  And you take your cell phone to your little bathroom and you close the door, and you just sit there in a daze.  The tears start to fall.  And they won't stop.  Thoughts begin to flow again through your very tired brain and you ask God, "What's wrong with me, Lord?  Why am I crying and why am I so tired? Are my hormones that out of whack?"

I think God's response is, "What's wrong with you?  Really?  Are you serious?" 

Women are amazing creatures.  We abuse ourselves with taking on the world while not taking care of ourselves.  Then we ask ourselves why we feel so sad and so emotional.  Recently, God revealed to me that the madness of life gets in the way of a healthy relationship with Him.  That sometimes we just need to have some God time and give ourselves a great big break. 

So, in an effort to bless you and share with you some of the compromises that God has shared with me that are 'okay' to make, and some suggestions that just might help you maneuver through another day without killing someone:

a.  Paper plates are okay during the week if you need them.
b.  Kids can help you clean up after dinner - even if they have homework, there is something they can do to pitch in.
c.  Super Hero's are NOT real.  They are made up characters with unrealistic expectations and abilities.
d.  Turn off the television and turn on some peppy Christian tunes while finalizing dinner.  It's a sure way to get you calmed down and working to the tempo of the Lord.
e.  Engage in dinnertime table talk.  Talk about your day - go around the table and share.  Rule #1 - you can only talk about the BEST parts of your day!
f.  You are not in a contest for 'who packs the most unique and interesting Martha-Stewart-style lunches.'  Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches are okay!
g.  Shoes left in the great room will NOT evaporate overnight and they will NOT put you on the "10 Worst Mothers in America" list.
h.  Don't discount the kids and their abilities to be self reliant.  They can pack their own lunches in the evening (or at least help) and they can be trusted to lay out their own clothes, brush teeth, shower, etc.
i.  Silly string and pillow fights are great tools to eliminate pressure and get the family laughing again.
j.  Lighten up and live - that is God's desire for you as His child.
k.  And...(drum roll please)...it is perfectly acceptable to politely say NO sometimes.

At 50 something, this isn't the life I envisioned having.  With six sets of hormones raging under one roof, it can sometimes seem overwhelming.  But it's my life, and I must be reminded by God that He is always there to gently tug me back to the path set before me.  Priorities put in perspective by the Creator of the Universe in the most loving ways.  The pressures of this world will nudge their way right into your home if you let them.  So don't get sucked into wanting to live a "Pinterest" lifestyle but concede to the Christ who gives you permission to sit down, open the Word and relax at His feet for just a little while each day.

Be blessed!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Seasons by Rhonda Quaney

It's Finally Here - Join us!


A blog about finding God’s way on the journey with our children, our family, our jobs and our community. Tune in for daily updates of inspirational devotions!  Join us through the link above for inspirational wisdom that is sure to help you through your day.

Designed to encourage women everywhere, we are delighted to have you join us! 

Unlikely comrades who have never met in person.  Two women separated by 950 miles and over 15 hours by car from Tennessee to Nebraska. Nothing in common but the tie that binds us through our relationship with Christ.  But during our first telephone conversation we both felt the connection and knew God was up to something!
Together  we represent over 100 years of living and life experiences.  While totally different lives in two different situations, we represent women in a season of our "Jesus journey" which must be made available to the younger generation of women who have yet to come through the storms of life. 
We are two women who love our husbands, love our children and our grandchildren and love serving others.  We are both displays of His splendor, yearning to encourage the hearts of women everywhere!

Visit us at the link above to join in the conversation!  We will be praying for you, and look forward to what God has on this amazing journey called life.  After all, we are all simply displays of His splendor.

Be blessed,


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Lessons from the Kitchen

Sometimes God speaks through situations and circumstances where He is least expected to show up.  At least that is how He works in my life, maybe yours, too!  Lately, He has shown up in my kitchen and this week was no different for me and God.

I was in the kitchen working on a sauce for dinner (nothing fancy mind you) and as any 'good' mother would do, I was also doing about three other things at the same time - homework helper, dog waterer and shoe picker-upper - readying our time at the dinner table.  In the great room, about 10 steps from the stove eye, I would pick up a pair of shoes or a backpack, and then run back to the stove to give the sauce a 'mini' stir.  Hopping back and forth like this for some time, I found that I could do both jobs at the same time - even though it took a tole on my energy level!  But it all worked out and the sauce was just fine for dinner.  "Mini-stirs" seemed to keep the sauce from sticking, broke up the lumps and made it very tasty, even though this wasn't following the recipe directions to 'stir continually.' 

In my quiet time with God, He showed me that ministry work is often accomplished through 'mini stirs' as well.  He said, "sometimes the demands of this life won't allow you to fully focus on encouraging someone in a deep or personal way every day.  But keeping your spiritual 'eye' on them, through 'mini stirs' often keeps the life-flow of my Word moving, changing and encouraging them enough to keep them from getting stuck!"  "After all," He said, "you could interpret the word 'minister' into the 'mini stirs' that bless others to keep moving forward!"

Don't you just LOVE IT when God talks to you like your best friend or next door neighbor?  I do!  I love it when me and God have a great laugh together.  I think He knows how very simple-minded I am, and so He and I just have conversation about things - everyday things - and He teaches me so much through those little lessons in the kitchen!

Today, ask yourself what kind of 'mini stirs' you have time for.  Can you send a quick text to a friend who is feeling sick with an encouraging scripture?  Can you write a silly note and put it in your daughter's lunch box?  Can you compliment or encourage the checkout clerk at the pharmacy or grocery store (you know, that kid with green hair and big gauges in their ears) by telling them what a nice smile they have?  Can you tell the mailman to have a blessed day?

I am convinced that all of us - no matter how busy our day, or how deeply engaged in full-blown ministry work we are - have the time to multi-task by giving a quick 'mini stir' to keep others moving toward Jesus.  Little is much when God is in it! 

           Zechaeriah 4:10 says, "For who has despised the day of small things?"

May you multi-task with purpose this day!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

God Is Up To Something!

It was a Monday evening, the southern sun setting over the hills of Tennessee.  Almost cloudless skies dotted with a white spot here and there.  I was 15 minutes late with my phone call that was scheduled, but hurriedly scooted off to a quiet corner of the house (my little bathroom, where else?) and dialed the number to Nebraska.  No answer.  But I left a voice mail message and took a long sigh. 

Before I could swing the bathroom door open, the phone range back!  Knowing it was my scheduled phone call, I expectantly answered in my Tennessee dialect.  "Well, I can certainly tell that I am speaking with someone from the south," said the sweet-sounding voice on the other end!  And from there, the journey with Rhonda Quaney begins.

You see, Rhonda and I have never met.  Our first phone conversation EVER was just this week.  With nothing more in common than the tie that binds us to Jesus, Rhonda and I began a partnership journey of encouragement for women everywhere.  We ended the call by praying with and for one another, and I felt in my spirit that my life as a woman of God would never be the same.

Both chosen to represent inCourage as a community inCourager (blogger, writer, supporter, leader) we were 
unlikely comrades connected by only thing we have in common - the love of Jesus!

Immediately, we felt a connection in our kindred spirits and we are off on a new road - a road less traveled - two women from different situations, different backgrounds, different experiences, different wounds and different joys; but together wielding over 100 years of experience in navigating this stormy journey called life.  One from Nebraska, one from Tennessee - more than 930 miles and fifteen hours by car span the distance between us.  Held together by the deep desire to encourage the hearts of women everywhere.

So.....we are off!  Working on our description of our blog/website and FB page.  Praying for each other and our respective families.  Asking God to touch and bless the life of someone we don't even know - but have entered into a partnership with that is sure to bring glory to our Father in Heaven.

Displays of His Splendor.  Yup.  That pretty much sums up Rhonda and Tracy.  And I, for one, look forward to this new bend in the journey called life!  Thank you Lord!

Do not lose your courage, then, because it brings with it a great reward. You need to be patient, in order to do the will of God and receive what he promises.  Hebrews 10:35

Monday, September 10, 2012

Health or Death? What are you speaking?

Proverbs 16:24 says, "Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  When I read this last evening in my "Devotions for Busy Moms" little book in my bathroom, tears welled up in my eyes.  Not just small tears, but those big tears that you know exclaim, UH OH!!

Earlier in the day I had snapped at a few people around the house.  Using the ultimate excuse (again) that I am, at 52, raising grandchildren, children of my own, a full time job that seems to never end, and being active in church, I simply was ugly to the most important folks in my life - my family.

As I stood in my little bathroom with that book in my hand, I could envision Jesus saying, "now Tracy, where did I display that attitude in my life? You know, that attitude that is - well, let's just say - far less than gratitude?"  I can see him saying, "I was here on this earth in an earthly body, and I experienced what you are experiencing right now.  I understand being overwhelmed.  I understand being tired.  I understand being frustrated.  But I want you to follow my example if you will.  When my emotions (because all of those things above are led by emotion) were swallowing me chin deep, I went to the Father and I stayed in His presence a while.  Yes, I got away from the world - all by myself - and I related to Abba a while.  Just me and Him."

Wow.  The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are full of Jesus retreating from the world and communing with God!  It sounds simple, almost trite now, but at the time, when you are in the heat of the battle, we just can't seem to say, "OK.  That's it.  Let's stop right here.  I have to go talk to God a little while or you won't like me very much."

But after my tears were dried by Jesus last night, and after I completely understood how to do it better next time, and after He told me that He forgives me (once again), I resided that I will, from now on, take time to talk to God before going a step farther down the road of unkind words.  I want to take the Proverbs 16:24 road - always.  Though I know I'm not Jesus, I am sure trying to be 'as like" Him as I possibly can.

Ok.  Gotta go now.  Back into the heat of the battle.  So I will finish with this prayer for you:  May your words always be like honey - for tomorrow (like me) you may have to eat them!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Not Good Enough?

Satan tries to convince us that we have made far too many mistakes for God to want to have anything to do with us.  But God wants us to get in the habit of running to him for His grace.  He wants us to rely solely on Him.  The enemy continually tells us that we simply aren't good enough for God.

But the beauty of what God does, and how He does it, is that "while we were yet sinners (not good enough), Christ died for us."  Isn't that amazing?  The truth is, we will never be good enough, and despite that, God still loves us.

Instead of saying, "I don't think God loves me" we need to boldly exclaim that "God loves me and nothing can separate me from His love!"

I need to remember this every moment of every day.  Sometimes I fail.  Miserably.  But I love it when God takes the time - through a special moment - a word of confirmation - a word from a friend or family member - that despite my sinful nature, despite my fleshly emotional reaction, He is STILL GOD and I am STILL HIS CHILD WHOM HE LOVES.

What a lesson in being a great parent He gives us every day.  Thank you Lord for your wonderful reminder and example of unconditional love.  May I always look to your example in my daily dealings with family, friends and those in my life.