Scripture Motto

"Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." Matthew 5:16

Thursday, December 19, 2013

All Christmas glitter does not bring joy

Cookies, Cards, Caroling

Snow, sleigh rides, sledding

Santa Claus

Trees, Poinsettias, Wreaths
Lights, Ornaments, Tinsel
Stockings hung, Gifts under the tree

Fruit cake, Pumpkin pie, Divinity
Get-togethers, Banquets, Dinners

                                                                         Candlelight worship services
The star, Shepherds, Three kings,
A man, a woman, a stable
The Baby in a manager

HE, Jesus Christ, is the reason Christians celebrate this joyous season... and it is a season. It's more than a day. Churches rehearse sometimes for months for Cantatas, musicals, and candlelight services. We put trees in our homes as soon as the turkey carcass is in the trash. Wreaths hang on our doors, and candles in the windows. Children anticipate—touch, shake, look for a torn corner of paper—unwrapping the gifts in pretty paper with shiny bows. And it’s all to celebrate the birth of our Savior in a manager a little more than 2000 years ago.

However, this season also comes with conflict...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Short and Sweet

I'll keep this short and sweet…

Today, my husband helped me set up the Christmas tree, get down the decorations, and gave me moral support as I hung strings of beads, angels, reindeer, and glass bulbs of red, green, and gold while Christmas CD’s filled the air.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Holiday Confessions

I confess…

As the dust settles on the craziness of the year’s long move…as the boxes disappear from every room in the house… thoughts of my favorite time of the year is knocking on my heart’s door. The sense of holiday urgency for turkey dinner to decking our new walls with boughs of holly for the season nibbles at my core.

However, I confess to new anxieties.

Monday, November 4, 2013

From details to disruptions...

"We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God who will thwart our plans and frustrate our ways time and again, even daily, by sending people across our path with their demands and requests. We can, then, pass them by, preoccupied with our more important daily tasks, just as the priest--perhaps reading the Bible--passed by the man who had fallen among robbers (Luke 10:31). When we do that, we pass by the visible sign of the cross raised in our lives to show us that God's way, and not our own, is what counts." 
~ DietrichBonhoeffer, 1906-1945, pastor, theologian, spiritual writer, musician, author

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A grateful heart is a gratified heart

In April of this year I accepted the challenge of blogging every day of the month using the alphabet as my guide. But if you’ve followed me at all, you know our move took precedence over all of my life. Nevertheless, I continued to blog through the alphabet with my most recent letter being “S” for Settled.

Fast forward to today and new challenges to make me write—daily blogging for November and writing devotionals with the intention of publication submissions…

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Psalms, Proverbs, Planks, Prose...and a Hail Mary Pass

Happy is the person
    whose sins are forgiven,
    whose wrongs are pardoned.
Happy is the person
    whom the Lord does not consider guilty
    and in whom there is nothing false.” Psalm 32:1-2 ncv

Day 2 of my November challenges has been challenging. Being a Saturday means my husband desires my time and attention, while these challenges require my time and attention, too. However, I did survive and check marks of completion have been applied to each.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Month of Challenges

"You know that in a race all the runners run,
but only one gets the prize.
So run to win! 
All those who compete in the games
use self-control so they can win a crown.
That crown is an earthly thing
that lasts only a short time,
but our crown will never be destroyed.
 So I do not run without a goal..." 
1 Corinthians 9:24-26

Today, November 1, 2013, I accept the challenges thrown down before me - body, spirit, and soul...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Interview with the author of "Fields of the Fatherless"

Recently I had the privilege of receiving a pdf copy of Elaine Marie Cooper’s most recent book, Fields of the Fatherless, and posted my review last week. Today, I have the privilege of sharing my recent interview with the Elaine about the book and her writing journey.

Meet Elaine
Novelist Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of The Road to Deer Run, The Promise of Deer Run and The Legacy of Deer Run. Her passions are her family, her faith in Christ and the history of the American Revolution, a frequent subject of her historical fiction. She grew up in Massachusetts, the setting for many of her novels, including Fields of the Fatherless released this month. She is also a contributing writer to Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home by Edie Melson, and I Choose You, a romance anthology.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

“Fields of the Fatherless” by Elaine Cooper

 “Remove not the old landmark; 
and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:
For their redeemer is mighty; 
he shall plead their cause with thee.”
Proverbs 23:10-11 kjv

Wow! That’s all I really want to say about this book, but I won’t.

If you enjoy learning about American history or if you love historical fiction, I highly recommend “Fields of the Fatherless” by Elaine Cooper. This is a fictional account of a true event and real people of the American Revolution—a piece of history of which has me itching to take a trip to the Boston area even more than I had wanted before.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

“Where Hope Starts” by Angela D. Meyer

“A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick 
He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.” Isaiah 42:3 nasb

“Where Hope Starts” is a book of betrayal, anger, rejection… pornography, dysfunctionality, secrets… reconciliation, forgiveness, and transformation.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Do all things without grumbling…” 
Philippians 2:14 nasb

Oh to be settled…for all the boxes to be unpacked…a place for everything and everything in its place. Oh to have a schedule to do the humdrum daily household chores like laundry, cleaning, cooking, and bill-paying, so that I had real time to creatively write.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Missouri River, eastern border of Ponca State Park, NE
Rest, Refreshment, Restoration—
Body, Spirit, and Soul

“‘…you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me! I will let you find me,’ says the Lord. Jeremiah 29:12-14 nasb

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Interview with Angela D. Meyer, author of "Where Hope Starts"

Today, it is my privilege to interview good friend, fellow Wordsower, and co-contributer to “The Benefits Package,” Angela D. Meyer about the release of “Where Hope Starts” on September 14;  a story full of dreams derailed by heartache, and hope restored through redemption, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Quiet, Be still, Shhh...

“Be still, and know that I am God!...” lvb & ncv
“Cease striving and know that I am God…” nasb
Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God…” amp
Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God…” msg
(Psalm 46:10)

As the dust settles on emptied boxes and things find their places in our new home, the silence brings me peace and an uncanny awareness of God’s presence. The quiet also makes me aware of my alone-ness and my vulnerability to the enemy’s attacks.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Plan and A Purpose

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord.
‘They are plans for good and not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11 nlt

Over the past seven months my husband and I have frequently been asked… “Why are you moving again?” “Why did you move to Montana?” On the surface, the move is because my husband accepted a new job position in a new city and state. But deep down, we both know it’s because God has a plan and a purpose for us in this place.

So, what is God’s purpose and plan for my husband and me at this time in this particular place? We don’t know yet, but we are certain we will eventually know. Why am I so confident of this?

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Old is Gone...

“…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.
The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17 nlt

The old is gone…the new has begun

From lawn chairs, office equipment, pots and pans to keepsakes and pictures, much of our old life arrived in a big truck 10 days ago to our new house and into our new life. It took 4½ hours to unload the all of our earthly possessions. Yet, much of our old life didn’t arrive…like the safety and comfort of familiar faces and places.

This certainly hasn’t been our first move away from our childhood upbringings, but it has been the hardest.

Monday, July 15, 2013

New and Renewed Hope

“…I have hope when I think of this:
The Lord’s love never ends; His mercies never stop.
They are new every morning; Lord, your loyalty is great.
I say to myself, “The Lord is mine, so I hope in him.”
Lamentations 3:22-24 ncv

New house, new neighbors, new city, new state, new church…new beginnings with renewed hope

Friday, June 28, 2013

Merrie’s Moving to Montana Madness

Finally, a letter in the A to Z blog challenge that fits me to a T (a tittle)…
For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, 
not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen,
will by any means disappear from the Law 
until everything is accomplished.” Matthew 5:18 (niv)

It has taken me more than two months and three previous attempts to write this, but if you’ve followed any of my 2013 A-Z blogs or Facebook posts, I hope you see God’s fingerprint leading my husband and I in this move. His handiwork has been everywhere, in every tittle—the smallest, minutest detail—to accomplish His plans for us.

Mid-April: Mountains of boxes grew in our Nebraska home as we prepared for our move to Montana.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Living in Limbo

I haven’t blogged for a few days because living in limbo distracts my thoughts. I’ll admit that my *walk-by-faith-not-by-sight shoes are pinching my toes and blisters are forming, but *I press onward to the goal of God’s call upon my life.

The pain is temporary, but the blisters remind me that the journey with the Lord is not an easy path. We’ll get there. *God has a perfect plan and *purpose for His glory.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

K is Killing Me

The letter K has been elusive for me. On Friday, I sat in the hospital with my mom and sister-in-law, chatting, silently praying, and attempting to read—but not a conducive setting for writing or focusing on the letter K. However, I did text my Kansas kids.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

From doing a Joy Jig to Praying for Jim

As I approached the wooden box, visions of my boys’ toys of all sizes and shapes jammed into it filled my heart with dread. The chest has sat untouched since we moved into this house almost eleven years ago, so there was no telling if "jack might jump out of the box."

The wooden chest holds memories near and dear to my heart. My husband designed it to store our camping gear inside and serve as our new baby boy’s bed on top. As our first son grew and a second one joined the family, the box became a jumble of trucks, balls, Legos, transformers, and more. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Illusions of Innovative ideas

 I begin each day with illusions of innovative ideas of being industries. My imagination runs wild as I imagine each room packed and ready for the movers. The energetic initiative to invent illusive plans soon fails when unexpected issues arise.

Interruptions like phone calls, emails; even needing to give my diabetic cat her insulin stops my incentive to complete the tasks.

Incidentals like sorting through my kids’ school papers, vacation pictures, random notes…make my mind drift of course.

Idleness like Facebook, television, playing solitaire on this laptop, breaks my steps toward reaching my goals.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hassles of Living Between Two Places

Hassle: aggravation, annoyance, bother, disruption, frustration, inconvenience, stressor

In February, as I hurried to clean out our huge office desk we were about to sell, the organized me hung folders in a portable file cabinet, packed away envelopes, staples, paper clips, and misplaced securely hid our boxes of checks. I don’t know how many years I stored the checks in the same desk drawer along with a file system for bill paying. Now, the desk was sold…taken away…and my system was scattered among several boxes.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Gear-switching (this was supposed to be “F”lexibility but…)

(continued from Friday) …simple, logical solutions.

Simple is an understatement, but sometimes the brain just doesn’t go where it should. We don’t see the forest for the trees. Fast and furious, racing against the clock makes things fuzzy.

Via cell phones, we put our heads together, me in Nebraska, and my husband in Montana.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Family, Friends, Files, and Focus

Okay, I apologize for leaving you waiting for the “rest of the story,” but I must ask you to wait another day. Yesterday, one of my many nephews also came with his pickup and a two-wheel dolly to remove the 6-foot credenza we needed hauled to the Salvation Army. Also, a wonderful friend—whom I met last September in bell choir—came and lent me her moving and packing expertise. And, then my husband, who is in Montana became responsible for filing an income tax extension and the legwork for securing a loan to purchase our next home, called me several times for passwords and directions with my filing system. You see, I’m the family bookkeeper and all of my tools—PC and files—are not here but there.

I greatly appreciate all of my family and friends who have helped us with this move in s-o-o many fantastic ways. I also greatly appreciate my husband stepping out of his comfort zone to do the bookkeeping tasks. But once again, I lost focus with my writing. Losing focus is a regular occurrence around here with all the boxes, clutter, piles of this-n-that, and nothing where I’m used to it being. Moving is not the greatest atmosphere for stimulating the creative writing side of my brain.

I promise I’ll finish the rest of the story.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Eleventh-hour Extension

The hours ticked away. Another day flipped on the calendar. And then, the clock stopped and the pressure of the calendar ceased. Like He’s done before, God swooped into the situation at the eleventh-hour to save the day

My urgent race to remove the excess of our home came to a unexpected slow down. The boxes stopped spinning. The dust-mites froze in midair.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dirt, Dust-mites and Determination

I write this piece—hours after “D-day” began—with determination.

My body is achy, my brain is disoriented; I feel like I’m coming down with a cold. It might just be muscle ache from the work I’ve been doing plus a severe case of allergies from the dirt and dust-mites I’m stirring up.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Culling the Clutter Creatively turns the Chaos into Calm

After a couple of cups of coffee, I tackled the craziness of another day of culling through the clutter. I began in the crawl space, where I don’t actually have to crawl but rather lean over in the 4 foot high space. I can stand almost erect between the floor joists but lean lower under the duct work…but wished I’d have had a hardhat.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Boxed In

Big, little, medium, short, flat, tall, stout, flimsy. From the moving store, the grocery store, even the shoe store. Boxes, boxes, stacked here, there, and everywhere; creating overwhelming chaos…

Sort, pack, stack. The process goes on and on, from room to room, from corner to corner. No time to dwell on the memories. Need to keep going.

But the tears come. Laughter erupts. Pain causes me to take a break.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Anticipating our Next Adventure

“Go. Stop. Wait.”

“Everything has a purpose, and if we don’t want to miss that purpose and the adventure along the way, then we must be conscious, alert, curious, open-hearted.” Lucy Swindoll, (I Married Adventure, 2002)

I’ve always been curious about what's around the next corner; but life has taken the most unexpected turn for my husband and me.

On backpacking treks, we follow blazes—markings on trees, rocks, and posts. However, on this journey, the blazes only appear when we move slowly and keep seeking the Lord. We stop, watch, and wait…like waiting for the red light to turn green.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Just the Two of Us

The idea of starting over again—just the two of us, no kids, no family, just the two of us—has been incomprehensible.

Let me back up a bit. 2012 ended with my participation in the annual Christmas musical at our church—13 performances in two weeks—followed by a trip to Montana and then Kansas.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Become a Thought Cop

If Fear has disrupted your Faith, become a Thought Cop.

"We do live in the world, but we do not fight in the same way the world fights. We fight with weapons that are different from those the world uses. Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places. We destroy people’s arguments and every proud thing that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ. We are ready to punish anyone there who does not obey, but first we want you to obey fully." 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 nlt

Identify them. Name the perpetrators. Put out an APB for their capture.

Chase them down and make an arrest. Make them surrender.

Then, drag them kicking and screaming into the Courtroom of the Supreme Judge, Jesus Christ

He will Renew your mind—return it to His original design—by filtering out the world’s garbage and transforming your thinking to what is pleasing & perfect.

“Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.” Romans 12:2 ncv

“…Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 nlt

When doubts flood your mind, God’s comfort will renew your hope and cheer. (Psalm 94:19 nlt)

It is said that we should “Starve a cold, Feed a fever.”
Similarly Max Lucado says,