Hope is Coming!

Hello, Thursday Morning!

In the beginning, I thought it would be easy to write one post per week. Just three hundred words or so. What could be hard about that? At first, it was easy.

Until the year 2020.

Week after week passed, and I had nothing to say.


At first, I tried to force it. I hunted for verses, poems, or photos to fill the page. I even tried to be funny.

Then I realized, I was just filling a page. Maybe, in these overwhelming times, it was better to leave it empty.

You know those front porch moments when you’ve exhausted all the words that can or should be said, so you just sit together in quiet companionship?

They say we’re all in this together. Well, yes, we are but we all handle it differently. Some are strengthened by time alone. Others need fellowship and communication just as much as they need food and water.

I’m a borderline introvert, so I’m usually content being alone. For a while, but not forever. Weeks pass, and I miss my friends. I miss gatherings and visits and dinners out. Phone calls, texts, and online meetings just aren’t quite the same.

Hope is coming.

In the darkest days, hope stirs in my heart. I choose joy. Joy is not necessarily laughter and merriment. It can be—but most often for me—it is quiet exultation blooming in my soul. It feeds hope and keeps it alive. Sometimes the best way to keep it going is to share it. Talk about it with someone.

Let’s talk.

I’ll start the conversation. It can be short, that’s okay. For these last three or four weeks of the year, I’ll end my post with a question. I hope you’ll play along, and please consider sharing so others can join in.

What is the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received, and why is it your favorite?

Joy in the Morning

Joy. I just can’t seem to drop that theme.

Hello, Thursday Morning guests! It’s a fresh start moment. A new day. Glory awaits you.

Maybe it comes in the sunrise. Maybe in the first smile from a precious infant. For me, it’s the glow inside my heart. I can’t lose this feeling, and that’s a good thing.

It started with, “and when they saw the star…”

That was enough to get me started because I knew what followed. They rejoiced with great joy!

The coming of the Savior resulted in joy filling those who understood. Even before His birth, His presence within Mary’s womb filled the unborn John with such joy, he leapt in Elizabeth’s womb.

Okay, that’s joy, pure and simple.

Though our observances of Christmas can result in a temporary joy, gift-giving is a small part of the true celebration.

It’s the gift that has already been given that results in true joy.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” [1 Peter 1:8-9]

This is the season for joy. Maybe it keeps popping up for me because I was struggling. I dreaded the season. I wanted it over. You may feel that right now.

But when I saw the star…

When I read the scriptures and listened to my favorite Christmas songs, joy stirred within my heart. If you concentrate on you and your feelings, you’ll be depressed, plain and simple. So bundle up and step outside on a clear night. Look for the star.

Look within your heart. Lift a prayer to God. Read scriptures that instill joy and peace. Find a devotional to help prepare your heart for the holiday and beyond. These are things I did to get past the “woe is me.”

Once I stirred up the joy—true joy in my heart—peace followed. My prayer for you is that you will find that same peace and JOY and comfort. You are loved.

Note: Check out these devotionals in YouVersion (an online Bible app): A Jolt of Joy, (Carol Mcleod) and Ann Graham Lotz’s Jesus in Me. Or, you can find full versions of these on most bookstore sites.

The Road to Ecuador – Trip Update

calendar-660669_1280We’re counting down the days here! We’re about thirteen weeks out. It’s been a lot like a jigsaw puzzle when you empty the box onto the table. Just a heaping jumble of cardboard. But, the pieces are starting to come together.  We’re seeing a picture now and it’s starting to look really good. We’re getting excited!

20160326_125256The passports are in. The tickets are purchased. Two huge hurdles behind us. Now for the elemental stuff.  After a long flight with longer layovers, we’ll arrive in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where we’ll be spending the night before taking the beautiful drive up, up, and up into Cuenca. I’ve added a couple of miles to my workout to prepare myself for the high altitude and thin air.

Hey, are you lighter in high altitude?

writing-923882_1920We’ve also added a workshop on novel writing to my speaking schedule. That should be fun. And the guys will be working, too. I know they’re looking forward to it. We’re not sure what they’ll be doing yet, but they’ll be up for it.

I hope you’ll add our team to your prayers. We have a lot to do to prepare for this trip. We still need funding, so that means activity on our parts to raise the necessary money to pay for our expenses.

11110509_10204170624365310_3489856107082246488_oWhen God lays the plans for something, He doesn’t leave you on your own. You are filled with the knowledge, the desire, the energy to complete what He’s placed on your heart to do. Whether you’re building a tabernacle or temple for His use (Exodus 25), or buying groceries for a sick neighbor, you’ll have what you need when you need it. This is how it’s done. This is how missionaries can go into foreign countries and live and work. He provides for those who give their lives for His work.

He often uses the unlikely. I’m one of the most unlikely, in so many ways. But His call is planted deep in my heart.

  • Forgiveness
  • Restoration
  • The peace of God

This is the message I carry. What I have received in such abundance. This is the calling.

This is why I desire your prayerful support of our journey to Cuenca. If you’d like to help, please use the contact tab above to send me an email. Besides prayer, we need financial support. There are links listed below for you to explore a few of the places we’ll go and the other in-country ministries.

The translation of Annabelle’s Ruth is underway. We hope to have this book ready. There’s a cost involved for printing the Spanish translation, so that the proceeds from the sales will benefit the ministry in Cuenca. Here’s the link to help with the printing costs: (please reference “Annabelle’s Ruth” in the comments) https://giving.ag.org/Give/Details/600001-693941?MinistryName=unsion&Page

Dios los bendiga! God bless you!


Other news – I have a book releasing in the near future. Carlotta’s Legacy, Book 2, Legacy series, is nearly ready for it’s debut. The cover is not yet available, but I’ll keep you posted. Here’s a bit about the story:

Carlotta’s Legacy — After the stock market crash of 1929, Rebecca Lewis learns her family has lost everything, and her long engagement to an Italian count seems in jeopardy. When the count assures her of his continued affection, her parents urge her to follow through with the marriage. But Rebecca has serious doubts–though the marriage will secure her future–does she love him enough to spend the rest of her life with him?

As the Great Depression bears down on the world’s economy, and war in Europe threatens, Rebecca learns there is nothing more important than faith, love, and family.

If you’re interested in learning more about the missions in Ecuador…

11406481_10204566542023004_1656763691042702276_oUnsion Foundation, a Christian World-View television network is actively “Engaging the culture with the gospel.”
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lacworldmissions
Ecuador Hope House
Joil & Leah Marbut, Jungle Missionary

Sobre Cuenca (about Cuenca): http://www.ecuadorexplorer.com/html/cuenca.html