Thursday Thoughts

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! Here I go, thinking again!

Sometimes those moments come out of nowhere—blank ones with actual time to think. Oh, our brains are in constant motion, even when we sleep. But actual thinking is a process that takes time.

In my mind, I see this cute photo of Pooh Bear thumping his head with a stuffed paw and saying, “Think, think, think.” Yeah, my brain works that well, too.

I’m forever amazed at the capacity we have for thought and engagement. I am constantly bombarded by…well, stuff for lack of a better word. Yesterday, I completely forgot what week it is and set out on a shopping adventure. Big mistake!

Why? Well, it’s Derby Week in Louisville, Kentucky. There are a gazillion cars on the road and the sky is filled with private jets arriving hourly. Noise.

So, the actual shopping was a pleasure because it was still early enough that the stores were empty, but getting there and back again. Super stressful!

On another note, it’s May and the locust trees are blooming in my backyard. The air is filled with their sweet aroma. Locust trees are common in Kentucky. They’re actually invasive, tend to be quite tall and skinny. Not really all that attractive, except when they’re covered in Wisteria-like blooms.

And then the white rain begins as the bloom petals fall. It’s really enchanting.

Last night, I was privileged to sit in a Bible study being taught this week by a missionary from Spain. I’ve known Tom Cook and his wife, Beth, for many years. His words last night were simple, but profound as he taught us how to pray the will of God. When you pray, and you have total confidence that what you’re asking is God’s will, you can expect an answer.

I am blessed to have such a fine couple as dear friends. Thank you, Tom and Beth, for your continued service.

So, that’s what I’m thinking about this morning. Very low-key and keeping it simple. May your day be blessed with joy and peace!

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15 ESV

Life Minus Stuff Equals Simplify

Hello, Thursday Morning friends! I’m off coffee for a few more days, so have a cup for me. I am enjoying a cup of green tea, however. It’s not quite the same, but better than hot water.

This week, I’m making plans to simplify my life. No, I haven’t been watching that popular show. We had to make room for some repairmen to come and when we did that, I decided that stuff is not going back. Some of it hadn’t seen the light of day in years. Obviously, I don’t need it.

In ancient times, when I was still at home with the parents, my mom kept me always de-cluttering. I didn’t understand the need. I could still stuff things in my closet and they didn’t fall out when I opened it. Not usually, anyway. She was such a tyrant. She even made me change my sheets every week. EVERY week. And my bed had to be made every morning. She could’ve been a drill sergeant.

Today, if you pop in for a visit early in the morning, my bed is made. Well, unless someone is still in it. He tends to sleep late on weekends. And every Friday morning, the sheets come off and the clean ones go on. I still hear Mom’s voice in my head. “You’re not going anywhere until that bed’s made.”

Why did the uncluttered closet not stick so well? I look at that empty cardboard box and think, “Hey, I might need that.” In it goes. Those ancient magazines filled with outdated recipes and whatnot—you know as soon as I toss those out, I’m going to need whatever it was inside, even though I have Google. I can look up anything on there. And all those old recipes? Someone has kindly loaded them on Pinterest.

My husband is a fool for tools. He has everything you can think of stuffed away in there. The trouble is, when he needs a particular tool, he can’t find it, so goes out and buys another one. So, we have multiples. We found those while moving things for the repairs. We had to laugh about it, but when does it stop?

So, simplification. It makes perfect sense. Give it away, throw it away. Pack it in a box and see if you can do without it. If so, give it away.

My clothes closet is a good example. I have a pair of jeans in mint condition that I haven’t been able to wear for fifteen years. But I might someday. I love those jeans. They’re probably gonna stay. 🙂

I took a gander at the things hanging in my closet and realized I’ve been uni-color for too long. Everything in there is black. Or very dark. It’s like my closet is in mourning! A shopping trip is long overdue. But first, I need to clear out all those dark things. Because it’s spring and we need color!

I don’t have an abundance of cabinet space in my kitchen, so I keep those cleaned out. At least I feel they are. Somewhat. And our refrigerator’s recent near-death experience left us with a sparkling, clean fridge with no ancient unidentifiable blobs in the freezer. So, we’re good in the kitchen. Until you get to the china cabinet. The part underneath, hidden behind cabinet doors. So that’s on my list. Scary place. ⇒

Now you know one of my darkest secrets. I’m a mini-hoarder of things I may someday need. Spring is time for renewal and junk off-loading. It’s amazing how good I feel, having rid myself of too much baggage. And that was just my junk drawer. Closet, here I come.


Life Minus Stuff Equals Simplify – It makes perfect sense. Give it away, throw it away. Pack it in a box and see if you can do without it. If so, give it away.

Spring Busy-ness

Near the end of March, things get really busy around here. I’m busy judging various writing contests and acting like I know something. I’m an officer of a couple of organizations, one of which requires several hours of work per month.

My house is in dire need of a good Spring cleaning, and my yard…don’t even get me started. I need to schedule my schedule. So my blog posts have been a little skimpy lately. I doubt anyone really noticed, because everyone is so very busy. After all, it’s Spring.

So, since I really need to be cleaning and reading and writing, etc., this post will end with a couple of announcements and a meme. Well, maybe not a meme, because I forgot to make one. Anyway, I hope you’ll bear with me through all this busy-ness, because in a short few weeks, I have another book coming out. I’m so excited! And…there will giveaways! So watch this space.

Short, short stories!

Do you like to write really, really, really short stories? Like, for instance, six-word stories? Quite a challenge, I know.

During the month of April, at Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My! we’re having a little fun with six-word story prompts. Each of our Monday and Friday posts will offer a 3-word prompt for you to finish as a six-word story. That means you only have to come up with three words to finish the story. The best of those entered will be publicized on Facebook and Twitter on a weekly, or even bi-weekly basis (if we have enough entries). Then the Writing Prompts crew will vote on their favorite. The winner will receive a gift card and even more publicity!

Sounds like fun, huh? You might want to click on over there now (here’s another link) and follow the blog so you’ll get an email when we post. This month, we’re talking about our favorite modern authors. Next month, it’s tips on cleaning (Ugh–just in time for spring cleaning).

One other really cool thing about the Writing Prompts blog–every Wednesday–we feature a different writer in a post called “3 Questions Wednesday.” Those writers almost always give away a book to one reader. All you have to do is leave a comment on their 3 Questions Wednesday post. But pay attention to the interview date. If they’re giving a book, it’s usually the next week after their post runs.

So that’s all my important news for now. I have to get back to my work-in-progress. I left my protagonist in a mess!

The Winter That Almost Wasn’t

This is my usual stance in Winter, waiting for that first glimpse of Spring!

But this year, the first glimpse of Spring happened in … December! When we should’ve been shoveling snow, we were worrying over sprouts.


Here we are in mid-March with buttercups, crocuses, and forsythias blooming.

We’ve already had high seventies and sunshine.

And then, today … snow flurries and twenties … but we know it won’t last. You can’t hold back the Spring.

Forty years ago, we had two of the coldest winters on record. In 1978, the Ohio River froze over. I’d never seen anything like that. And now, the 2016-2017 winter almost wasn’t. Not complaining.

I’m even looking forward to these guys. ⇒⇒

I’m planning new ways to outsmart them.

What’s the weather been like in your area?

Coming up: Exciting News!

See you back here next week.

Couragious Forgiveness

background-1135051_1280Sometimes, it takes raw courage to forgive.

This is an ongoing theme in my life. Forgiving, even when it hurts (me). Looking back, I see a line of courageous forgivers. The Amish families who lost their children. Corrie Ten Boom. And further back in history, Stephen (early church deacon who was stoned to death for his faith).

The troubles of my past pale in comparison. But they still hurt. The human reaction for most of us is to hold on to them. To hate the one who hurt us. To punish the perpetrator through our ongoing hate.

Deep inside, I know that kind  of possessive unforgiveness hurts me more than anyone else. Those who committed the worst things that ever happened to me are dead now. They’ve met their fate, and they met it without my spoken forgiveness. I came to this knowledge too late. But I have now forgiven them. Their slate is clean with me.

flower-946502_1280Why does it matter? I no longer suffer under the weight of holding on to someone’s guilt. I’ve been spiritually healed of the pain inflicted on me, because of this passage of scripture… “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (John 8: 14-15 NIV)

Pay close attention to verse fifteen. It holds a devastating truth. Don’t overlook it.

Forgiving others sets you free. When I let go of the pain of my past, something died inside of me. But it was a good death. No longer would I be in its death grip. I am free of the pain. And those who caused that pain are in God’s hands. I am completely free.

Here’s another life-giving realization that came to me when I pondered my freedom: Unforgiveness is one of the strongest tools of the enemy. Satan uses unforgiveness–in your life–to steal your joy, your health, happiness, peace. He uses it to kill, and to destroy. With it, he destroys families…lives. Yours. Not the one who sinned against you.

death-1013386_1920I held my hurt and pain in a tight fist for so long, I couldn’t enjoy life. If anything in my life reminded me of what happened, I curled up in a fetal position (inside, if not physically) and felt dead. Others were hurt and confused by my attitude. Until the day I discovered these scriptures and decided it was time to let it go.

It wasn’t easy. Even after the initial spoken forgiveness, I was reminded throughout the day, every day, of what had been done to me. I’m not exaggerating. So I faced it with courage. I took every thought captive. When the thoughts came, they brought pain with them. I forgave all over again. I took a step further and replaced feelings of hurt and pain and hate with love. But not in my name. “Father, forgive me. Replace the hateful memories. Heal my heart and help me love.”

1-Passion FlowerYears have passed since that time. The hurtful thoughts came less and less. My heart gradually healed. Some babies are born with a hole in their heart. Most are healed naturally, as they grow. The hole closes. Their hearts are healthy. That’s what happened to me, but spiritually. The hole in my heart closed up. It’s sealed and strong. It took courage. I would like to take all the glory for that, but I can’t.

It was God’s love. I am so loved by God. “For God so loved the world, He gave his only Son…” As a believer, my faith has made me whole.

I share this so perhaps you can be whole also. If you suffer under the weight of unforgiveness, consider what I said in the paragraph above. How much joy have you allowed to pass by, so you could hold on to this pain? How much peace?

Take a chance. Be courageous. Forgive, that you might be forgiven.