Sweet, Sweet Summertime


At the end of May, Brendan and I celebrated our twelfth anniversary with a lovely dinner at Trattoria Mangia in Naples, followed by an airboat ride the next day and a trip to Seed to Table where we enjoyed browsing their massive market/food court and eating a farm raised lunch. Call me crazy, but I thought my “raw lasagna,” which was completely plant based, would still be cooked. It was delicious, but hard to fully appreciate since it was cold. I couldn’t get past the mental expectation of a hot dish. But in spite of that surprise, we had a wonderful time.

With June arriving in Southwest Florida, we’ve seen flowers and produce take off and summer afternoon rains return. A baby mockingbird sat at our front door the other day, pecking at his reflection in the little window next to the door.

Hello, summer!

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” Genesis 8:22

We can be sure that our God is faithful in every season of physical and spiritual growth, whether circumstances are pleasant or challenging. His timing is perfect and steadfast. And it definitely has been a season of God growing us and preparing us for exciting things to come.

Summer also welcomes vacation days with time for book lovers to indulge!

My NEW RELEASE, Where Blows the Wind, is available! Starting JUNE 15th in time for your summer reading, and to celebrate summer, the e-book will be FREE through JUNE 19th! That alone is something to celebrate. The paperback version will soon follow.

In case you have yet to check it out, Where Blows the Wind is book 2 in the Winds of Redemption series and follows the story of Tyrina Louise Duval whose tragic, shameful past keeps her from searching for her siblings who were all separated in childhood. But, when author Dylan Davis shares his miraculous story of reconnecting with his missing daughter, Tyrina begins to hope for a similar miracle. She also learns to trust God and care for Dylan. But will his new book be the catalyst for betrayal or redemption?

Can You See His Beauty?


Today is a little stormy in my town in Southwest Florida. Not really cold, but with gusty winds, grey clouds crawling across the sky, and temperatures in the mid-sixties, I’m reminded that we’re in the middle of winter. I know it’s snowing in other places, but here in our tropical paradise I forget. Looking at the sun streaming intermittently between the clouds today, it’s hard to believe it’s a frigid winter elsewhere, and we’re already half-way through the first month of 2021.

Thankfully, due to our warmer weather, there is a tree in the area behind our townhouse that spans the view of my patio and living room window. The elongated, dipping branches stretch out a handful of magenta blossoms as if it’s handing me gifts. A blanket of fallen blooms covers the ground beneath the tree. I watch as the wind scatters a shower of them to add to the carpet covering the grass.

Beauty.

In the midst of a dark world, beauty still reigns. I’m grateful this morning for the view. Grateful for the sporadic rays of sunshine and the blustery winds. Grateful that God is on his throne seeing everything, knowing all, and in control.

Time doesn’t exist within his realm. We live according to the clock, but he has already been here this day. Already seen the events still to play out. Nothing surprises him. So I can rest and revel in the beauty he offers us.

When I sit in this place of peace, listening for God’s whispers in the wind, I am transported into his kingdom. He placed man in a garden, after all, didn’t he? His desire was for us to walk and talk with him in the beauty of nature. And God doesn’t change. That’s still his desire today.

I know evil in the world rages. Our voices have been silenced by media, social sites, and masks. Lies are being called truth, and truth is repelled as a lie. Children are discarded through abortion and trafficking. Various religious groups persecute those who choose to follow Jesus in his way of love. Political tempers flare. Those who claim tolerance are intolerant of anything having to do with God. Even those who say they love God, show hate across various platforms. As the Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:1-3,

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good…”

Sounds like our world.

But God still offers us beauty. Beauty for ashes, the Bible tells us.

God’s grace and mercy reach far past our sinful, prideful ways. His peace reaches out to us when we’re harried, hassled, fearful, and anxious. He longs for us with the love of a perfect father who wants our company, our input, our devotion, and our good. His call to us is to see him, know him, and love him in response to his immeasurable love for us.

He offers us so much. For so little.

Jesus paid such a great price so that we could belong and be with him forever.

Today, when a bit of beauty crosses your path—when the color of a flower, the majesty of a sunset, a blanket of newly fallen snow, the wave of the mighty ocean, or the towering of stately trees shows up—when the hand of God strokes his paintbrush across your landscape, will you take a moment?

Whisper a thank you. Consider the God in heaven who you may have overlooked, ignored, or forgotten? Recognize that in Jesus, you can live in a place of perfect peace in spite of the crazy ways of the current world. It only takes a moment to reach out in response to God reaching out to you. Quicker than typing out a text, we can say,

“Thank you for all you’ve made. Thank you for your love. Thank you for dying on the cross for me, Jesus. I’m sorry I’ve sinned against you. Please lead me into your kingdom today. I believe you. I trust you.”

Will you join me in beauty today?

If you say, “yes,” I’d love to know. Will you give me a thumbs up in the comments, or tell me your story? Or even just click like. I pray for my readers, and we all need prayer in these times, don’t we?

Hurricanes (Hardly Ever) Happen


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Hurricanes (Hardly Ever) Happen

The region where I live is all aflutter.

Hurricane Irma has been assaulting innocent islands in the south and is headed our way. For the past five days, Southwest Florida has purchased more gas, water, batteries and boards (no, not surf or paddle) than probably have been sold in the past five years.

People are literally running for their lives.

I don’t blame them. I’ll confess it’s a frightening situation, this first hurricane of my life. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories of the ones that ripped us apart in the past, but to be here first hand, stocking up on canned foods and looking at empty shelves in grocery stores is a bit daunting.

Then there are the news reports.

Trees bent over in winds whipping San Juan. Cars crawling along like…well not like ants because ants move faster—more like snails taking naps. Buildings decimated with roofs scattered. The pictures say a thousand words and more.

But the tone of it all is fear.

And I hate fear. While healthy fear can be a good thing causing us to be diligent in preparation, fear can also cripple us into immobility. Or avoidance which keeps us from facing the storm until the very last devastating moment when disaster is upon us.

Fear grips us in ugly claws until our hearts pound in panic.

In the midst of this stormy circumstance, I think fighting fear may be a bigger issue than the pending potential destruction. The actual fight for our lives happens in our minds. And fear is like a monster demanding to be fed.

If we fuel it, it will grow.

I don’t know what will happen in the next few days. I’m sure numerous people will lose some if not all of their belongings. I grieve with Houston’s residents. Some may lose their lives or someone they love. I could be one of them.

But fear will not help me weather the storm well.

Preparation, peace and confidence in my God who created wind, rain and oceans will set me up to endure this storm. No matter what happens, He will be there with us to guide, protect and comfort us. He can turn any tragedy into something positive or helpful.

Already we’ve seen people reaching out in kindness.

Kindness is a characteristic of God. A man giving up a generator for a woman in need is laying down his life and looking to another person’s interests instead of his own. Another man volunteering his time to make sure people get water is giving of himself. We may think of those stories as sweet or nice, and they are, but really they are examples of God’s love.

I don’t know if those men know God personally.

But I do know that God is blessed when we exhibit his character. Serving, helping, giving all equal loving. God is love. And when we point to him as the source, he is pleased because he longs to see his love displayed to every single person.

Perhaps this post seems a bit random.

But as you read about kindness, did you forget I started with fear? Yeah, that’s what I though. When God’s love gets involved, fear gets pushed away. The Bible puts it this way,

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…     I John 4:18

If I know God loves me, then no matter what my situation, I don’t have to be afraid. He will bring the best for me even in the worst of circumstances. I know that’s easier to say than to experience all the time, but that has been my goal during this hurricane.

If it’s time to go, I will be with Jesus. If I get hurt, he will heal me at some point. If I am safe, I can help someone else. And in any case, I can trust him to hold me in the storm if I keep my eyes on him.