What’s So Exciting About 2020??


My word for 2020 was EXCITEMENT.

The end of 2019 promised new vision, strategies, success, and growth. My husband and I looked forward to exciting experiences the new year would bring. Only it didn’t come like we expected. Instead it came with grief.

God’s grief for the brokenhearted of the world—those who are weary in their perseverance through loss. His cries for those who have gone their own way into hurt, hatred, violence, and division—his children whom he loves that don’t want to have anything to do with him. I feel his grieving heart as I pray for our community, our nation, and our world.

I believe this year has allowed us to see and know who God is, and what’s important. Being forced to be at home, we’ve had time to spend time with God. We’ve been given a chance to reconnect with our spouses and children. Maybe we’ve learned how to work from home, setting our schedules to adapt to higher priorities. Conversation replaced hours previously spent watching sports or sitcoms. Many families have grown closer to God and each other.

Granted, nothing is what we expected. Disappointment and despair over job and family losses is real. But maybe the 2020 turmoil is what we needed to wake up to a different perspective. What if this year has actually brought more benefit than what we expected? When I choose to look at each day with gratitude, I’m suddenly aware of all we do have; all we’ve learned; new opportunities and strategies for change and growth. Maybe that’s what God has in mind. He’s our hope. Nothing but Jesus can bring us peace in the midst of these terrible storms. That’s what I’ve learned to cling to even more this year.

And that has brought excitement.

Looking forward with excitement as we celebrate Jesus in the weeks to come!

LAURA’S BOOKS

If you’re a book reader or have one on your list, you might be excited to hear of these Christmas deals!

My contemporary fiction, A Deadly Silence, is on sale now through December 15th. In it, Sara Maree Matley unpacks a box that challenges her family with the hardest decision she’s ever had to make. You can get the paperback version here. Kindle version will be FREE for a limited time this Saturday and Sunday December 12 & 13th by going here.

I also have a limited supply of paperback copies of my newest release, When the Wind Blows, that were slightly damaged in shipping. You can receive a signed copy for only $7! That includes media mail shipping in the US. (takes about 7-10 days). These copies have minor flaws such as a bent corner or page or marks on the cover. Use the contact form to order. While supplies last.

AND as my Christmas gift to you, my biblical fiction, Rachel’s Son, about a woman named Rachel who’s son is killed in the Bethlehem massacre, will be FREE in Kindle version from December 23-27th for some Christmas reading. You know how the day after Christmas you don’t know what to do? Now you do! Merry Christmas to you.

I think that’s pretty exciting news! Enjoy!

A New Thing


For the past fifteen years, I’ve held a vision in my heart for a new kind of educational experience. Over the years, I’ve added notes, quotes, ideas, and cost analysis scribbles to the folder housing this dream. I’ve pushed it aside as life interrupted, picking it up again only to find the timing wasn’t right. But life is changing – has changed – now, right?

I believe God is doing a new thing.

For many of us, dormant dreams are awakening in us as God breathes on us with new life. The shaking of the world as we’ve known it has caused us to sit up and take notice. Are we going to keep living in the old ways, or will we shake off the dust and arise to something new?

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

For me, while I’m still writing books (When the Wind Blows is coming in September!), and my husband and I continue to help people plan their financial journey, God has also downloaded this exciting educational project called Discovery House.

You can learn about it at www.ourdiscoveryhouse.com and if the idea interests you, you can learn more and support us on our GoFundMe page.

But what about you?

What new thing is God doing in your life? Even if you’ve battled with health, loss of a loved one, or a job change, what new approach can you take? What new thing can you learn?

Maybe you haven’t thought about this season being a time of good things, but what if beyond all the chaos there’s a new path that God has ready for you?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

What’s God’s Vision for You?


20160309_102709Sometimes you see more with a camera and sometimes you see less.

The other day I went walking through a nearby park where I’ve taken some wonderful pictures of birds, alligators and flowers. But this time I opted to leave the camera behind. As I strolled along, I took in the expanse of scenery. The panoramic view, if you will.

Stunning blue skies, a few wispy white, feather clouds and new blossoms in rainbow variety painted a pastoral landscape. I took it in while the sun warmed my back and the wind teased my hair around my face.

I found a new little alcove hiding a covered bench that overlooked a portion of the lake. The path was new to me, and a smile rushed out of me at the treasure I’d discovered.

Peering over the railing, I rested in the shade and a small movement caught my attention. An orange and green shelled turtle, skirted its way around some cow lily leaves. The surrounding leaves and yellow flowers camouflaged the tiny swimmer.

It was in that moment that I realized sometimes I see more with my camera and 20170816_200512sometimes less. It all depends on what I’m looking for or at. My camera allows me to zoom in from far off and look at things more closely, but I then miss everything in the peripheral.

Had I been looking through the camera lens, I may have missed the tiny turtle hidden among the leaves. I was glad to have been taking in the scene without it.

Later, I spied a white headed bird perched on a tree in the distance.

I live in one of the areas fortunate enough to house bald eagles. We see them more than occasionally. They are a wonder to watch and for a moment, I wished I had my camera so I could zoom in across the lake and see if the bird in question was indeed one the those magnificent creatures. (Eventually, I discovered it wasn’t.)

It all depends on what you’re looking for.

Sometimes I take my camera to my kids’ sports games. I love catching them in action and having a snapshot memory of the event. But when I’m focused on them, I miss the game. Most days, I’d rather see the DSC_0263entire picture than simply one specific scene.

I believe life with God is like that.

I’ve written about looking ahead to the vision, but keeping our eyes on today so we don’t get overwhelmed by the longevity of the road ahead.

But I also see how sometimes we can get so focused in on something that we miss what’s going on around us. Our journey may be centered on a particular path, but there is an entire landscape surrounding us on that journey.

Both are valuable.

Each day, I ask God

“What do you want me to see today?”

“What is your vision for me?”

“What is your plan?”

He may want me to embrace the bigger picture of my life and all that’s happening.20170720_195840 He may want me to see something closer – a trait he’s working on in me, or a way I handled something well, or a hurting neighbor.

God’s vision encompasses past, present and future so he sees far beyond anything I can imagine. With him, I can take in the entirety of a day, a week, a year or a life purpose. If I tune into him, he can point my vision in the best directions. And like a camera zoomingDSC_0141 in to see beauty up close, God also directs me to see things I may miss.

What’s God’s vision for you today?

“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord God Almighty is his name.” Amos 4:13

How to Keep on Track


DSC_0012Biking to work this week revealed more insights for moving ahead.

My path to our new work office stretches over a variety of sections of roadway. I travel through a quiet residential area to a busy road, a roundabout, another street without a bike lane, a private, peaceful gravel road and finally a long highway with a wide biking path.

It was on that last stretch that I had an “ah-ha” moment.

At every quarter mile, written in spray paint on the asphalt path, were fractions marking off the measurements. I assume the mile markers were created by a surveyor.

And was I ever grateful.

Because when I rode over the first one, I felt a glimmer or hope. I had ridden a quarter of a mile on that long stretch of highway. I looked up, but the scenery held only trees–no hint of the buildings that would promise my destination.

But before I knew it, I’d passed the next marker.

Half a mile, then three quarters of a mile and finally a mile and a quarter. I kept my focus on the road just ahead and with each marker, encouragement grew in me and so did a sense of accomplishment.

The next time I looked up, I saw my office building in the distance.

It amazed me how much shorter that ride seemed when I looked at small increments of progress rather than keeping my focus in the distance hoping for a glimpse of my future goal.

Isn’t life like that?

I believe God gives us a vision for what he has planned for us. I believe he has good things he created for us and created us for. And he gives us a sense of what those plans are. Maybe a desire in our heart or a passion for a vocation, helping a group of people or creating a solution to a problem.

But in my experience, those plans rarely happen within my time frame.

More often, I end up in what seems like a detour in my life. Writing books has taken years. Speaking to groups has been sporadic. My financial business is on hold. I was forty-seven when I finally met my husband, the man my heart adores. And now it is taking far longer than I ever imagined to work out some issues in our marriage.

Taking my life forward has starts, stops and twisting roads.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve heard God clearly. Or maybe I made a wrong turn and it’s taking longer because God is trying to get me back to where I took a path I thought was the only way to go.

Or maybe he’s developing me for the plans he has.

But what this week taught me, is that while it’s good to keep looking up and making sure I’m heading in the right direction to the vision or goal, I’ll make better progress if I’m focusing on what is right in front of me. One step at a time, one day at a time, one quarter of a mile at a time.

It’s the eating an elephant thing.

Tackling a five mile ride (okay, so I’m a little wimpy you pro-cyclists) happens each day in sections. When I get through one, I can focus on the next one. As I pass each marker, I’m that much closer to my destination.

Life is a journey.

Each plan or vision God has for us is tackled daily or sometimes hourly. Whether it’s a career choice, a relationship, or overcoming an addiction, each small step adds up to making it to our goal. And along the way, we’re being equipped to handle the challenges of that future vision.

Just like my wimpy muscles are getting stronger each day. Eventually five miles will seem like a ride around the block.

At least I hope so!

What’s a vision, goal or destination you feel is taking longer than you hoped? What can you focus on that will make the journey more hopeful and enjoyable? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or email me at laurabennet14@gmail.com