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I was pretty stuck when thinking about what to blog about today. Most of the day I was nursing a bad attitude. I was irritated about almost everything, spinning anything to my “Poor me” perspective.

Then…I received a very nice surprise. My favorite (and only) sister walked into my office. She had come to town unannounced to get some freelance work done and suddenly, my gloomy, rainy, crappy day got a ray of sunshine. 

Isn’t it cool how God knows what we need when we need it? Many of you will call it a coincidence that my sister just happened to surprise me on a day when I was feeling blue but I’m not one who puts much stock in coincidences. I believe God cares about me, and desires to send “suddenlies” into my life. I believe God wants to show me His love, His grace and His favor in the everyday circumstances of life, even to orchestrating surprises to lift my spirits. 

My beautiful sister surprised me with her visit today, but she didn’t surprise God. He knew how blessed I would be to see her face, feel her hug and of course, listen to our laughter together. And now I have some together time to look forward to. No more gloomy day – now all I feel is warm and cozy. 

Do you have a favorite promise from God?

Maybe you are like me and have a new favorite every day.

Today, my go-to promise is:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deut 31:6

Tomorrow I may grab onto:

“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.” Psalm 27:5

I could go on and on…

God promises to keep us secure and safe (Job 11:18) with unfailing love (Psalm 52:8). He promises to protect us (Psalm 12:7) and provide for us (Psalm 65:9)…and not just food and water.

God tells us not to worry because He provides everything we need.
If the flowers in the field are small_purple_flowersclothed in beauty, how much more He will do for us, His children. God says we only need to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) God also provides us a way out of temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13) and strength when we are weak (1 Peter 4:11).

However, we can believe all of this because of Jesus. According to 2 Corinthians 1:20, “…no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.”

Because God sent Jesus as the Promised Messiah, we can believe every single one of His promises.

Jesus is our refuge in times of trouble…God will pour His Spirit upon our children…The Lord will fight for you and save you from your enemies…God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory.

Help – I can’t stop. There are soooo many!

“You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
    abounding in love to all who call to you. Psalm 86:5

“ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Take a moment and find a promise from God to hang onto for whatever you are going through today.

He will not fail you – He promised!

Chapter 1 *Chapter song: Sleepy Hollow (The Pines)* It was a warm autumn night when the boy named Brown stood atop the rocky cliff. He cried out in the night, hoping to hear more than an echo that trailed off into the dark canyon. As he looked down he could see the flickering of the candles in […]

via Boy Named Brown — Sean McGarvey

Sundays are my rest day. Kinda of. After making pulled pork, hauling it all to church, making endless pots of coffee, Sunday School, church and fellowship including cleanup, I’m exhilarated and exhausted at the same time. Thus, rest day is really more like rest afternoon. 

But after a week of rain behind me and the potential of more this week, I thought I’d get in a short trail walk before tackling the last of my taxes. Truly – anything is better than taxes. 

Instead of staring straight ahead, I noticed little things off the trail as I stepped along.


Majestic oaks in natural black and white against a gray sky. 


A homemade hobbit home a few steps into the wood.


A classic slowly becoming part of the forest. 


The thorn tree at the trail entrance, quietly waiting to impale an unsuspecting coat sleeve (or worse).

I captured each picture by noticing my surroundings, taking time to step off my path and moving into the unknown…over partially buried fences, through scrub and wet leaves, under low-hanging branches. 

Rarely do I find hidden treasure until I get out of my comfort zone – decide to step off the safe road and take a risk. 

Now – back to the taxes. Ugh. 

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my five favorite national or international missions or charity groups. I promised to follow up with local charities, but life happened…

However, I remembered this week, so here, in somewhat alphabetical order, are my #FiveForFriday favorite local missions or charities in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, area. I’ve linked each one to their website so you can learn more.

Bridgehaven

Any charity or missions organizations I support with resources of any kind would have to pass the pro-life test – a deal breaker issue for me. Bridgehaven (formerly known as Aid to Women) was one of the first pro-life ministries I supported when we moved to Cedar Rapids. I knew many of the directors and volunteers – women (and men) who spend hours of personal time so young women are offered an opportunity to give life to their babies. The ministry has grown exponentially in the last few years, but as always, they offer free pregnancy testing and now, confirmation ultrasounds even for women who have taken a home pregnancy test. Bridgehaven has services that support young families, not just single women, including classes on life skills, family, relationships and spirituality…even post-abortion recovery and support.

They always have volunteer opportunities available, from cashiering at their second-hand shop (Treasures Quality Resale Shoppe) to client advocates and children’s ministry.

His Hands Free Clinic

Cedar Rapids is blessed to have many sources of free medical care but my favorite is His Hands Free Clinic. Started in 1992 (by my general practitioner Dr. James Bell), this particular clinic seeks “to honor God by helping the uninsured and underinsured in our community.” Check out their website to read their Statement of Faith. Volunteer opportunities include areas for medical professionals such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurses. They offer dental services so dentists, dental hygienists and assistants are needed as well. If you have no medical background, but still desire to help, His Hands uses volunteers as administrative assistants and prayer support.

House of Hope

Encourage. Equip. Empower. The mantra of House of Hope is near and dear to my heart. A number of years ago, when House of Hope was first getting started, I was privileged to serve on the board of directors. The founder was a close friend whose vision for a home for women who struggled with life issues quickly caught on with many people in the community. Though those first years were very lean (financially), we saw miracle after miracle as the House on 2nd Ave SE was transformed into a home. Now House of Hope offers life-changing and affirming classes, retreats, professional counseling, and even guest stays in their beautiful Victorian home. As always, volunteers are needed and appreciated in several areas including house management, hospitality and class facilitators.

Wind and Fire Ministries

Another ministry very close to my heart, Wind and Fire (or WFM) was birthed in the hearts of Ric and Christy Lumbard (who just happen to be the parents of my beautiful daughter-in-law) and is located on the WFM Missions Base on County Home Road in Robins, Iowa. WFM operates under three mandates: night and day prayer and worship; equipping forerunners and a place of refuge and restoration. WFM is also a leader in human trafficking restoration internationally. You can experience and participate in powerful prayer and worship at the main Saturday evening event called Encountering God Services (EGS).

Local church

Lastly, but probably most importantly, I love and support my local church. I won’t tell you about mine (though it is fantastic)…but urge you to volunteer your time and financial resources first in the church that feeds you God’s Word.

We should ALL volunteer outside of our regular work. Volunteering can give you confidence and help you learn new skills. If you struggle with self-esteem, volunteering for an organization makes you part of a larger community and helps you meet new people (all kinds of new people).

And of course, volunteering at an organization that supports the convictions of your heart will help you make a difference…which is what all of us want, right?

Pride.

It’s a nasty thing. Pride keeps me from trying new things, meeting new people, and praying fresh prayers. I don’t want to look foolish or feel uncomfortable. I want people to think highly of me or more accurately, not find fault with me. So I try to be perfect. And fail miserably.

Within the last few years I’ve come to accept my shortcomings a little more. I know now that I’m missing out on fun adventures and amazing friendships. I’ve attempted to live a little bigger and give silliness a try once in a while. As I’ve grown older (and grayer), I’ve tried to see the world through new eyes. Instead of wasting time criticizing others’ looks and behavior, while trying to appear “exactly right,” I’m letting go of pride and embracing who God made me to be. Sometimes silly. Sometimes adventurous. Always less than perfect.

Kris_Morgan_dancing

I still fail. Often.

I still struggle with pride every. single. day.

But I will not give up. Life is too short to give in to an issue that has no place in my life. Or yours. Let go of pride and pick up your dancing shoes.

“Pride leads to destruction.
    A proud attitude brings ruin.” Proverbs 16:18 (ICB)

Every day we wake up to choices. Get out of bed or stay in? Bath or shower? Coffee or tea or water or…? Read my Bible or watch TV? Workout or sleep longer? Go to work or call in sick? 

Each choice brings a set of consequences, some immediate and some we won’t feel for a long time. Some consequences are the result of years of choices, made well or made poorly. For instance, the dark chocolate M&Ms I’m currently munching on give me short term happiness, but long term weight gain issues. Obviously I’m choosing instant gratification over long term consequences. 

View from a Cedar Rapids skywalk


Despite the rainy, gray spring day in Iowa, I chose to take a long walk today. I knew I may be uncomfortable in the short term, but glad for my choice later in the day when my Fitbit celebrates 10,000 steps. 

Tonight our children’s midweek church program ends until September. Though each adult helper I’ve talked to seems glad for the break in activities, I know each made the choice to serve in this area because of the long term consequences in the lives of these precious children. They know their choice to help in music or crafts or youth may not reap rewards today, but each child encouraged or fed or loved on will benefit for years to come. 

How are you doing on your choices today? Settling for the short term, or banking rewards for the future gain? 

Choose well. 

“I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.” Psalm 119:30