Late afternoon sunset over parking lot

When We Want to Ask Why

This post is written for the link-up at Five Minute Friday, where this week’s word prompt is why.



Late afternoon sunset over parking lot


In this week’s devotional reading, author & speaker Jennie Allen is speaking to me about suffering. It is a deep and painful topic, but something with which we all must come to terms.

She says,

“I am a big believer in Christian counseling, and that may be an important step in your healing, but no study or counselor can do what Jesus can do. He suffered and wants to walk with you through your suffering as the open wounds heal into scars, leaving a memory and a mark but losing their sting.”

That last sentence reminds me so much of the outcome of my younger sister’s suffering as her first husband went through four years of fighting with Hodgkin’s disease. He had good seasons and bad and even underwent a bone marrow transplant, but in the end, God chose to take him home at a very young age.

Not too many years after that, on one particularly significant date in their relationship, I asked her if the memory was still painful. I’ll never forget my sister’s answer to me at that time. She told me that with the passing of time and the healing she had worked through, it was as if the experience was tucked into a folder, which she could pull out when needed, but it no longer caused her daily hurt. She could use her experience as a tool to help others, but it no longer had to live in her heart.

I also think way back to when my grandfather passed away early on the morning we were supposed to leave for our family vacation. As I awoke as an 11-year old with the anticipation of leaving on our trip, I immediately sensed that something was wrong. My parents explained that Grandpa had suffered another heart attack and had gone on to be with the Lord.

Of course I was sad and would work through my own grief as I watched the pain of my grandmother and mother, but in that childish moment, the first question I tentatively asked my parents was if that meant we weren’t going on our vacation. I knew the answer, but my heart still felt disappointed in the moment.

I don’t even remember exactly how my parents answered (except that we would go later on), but I clearly remember that even though my mom had just lost her father, she understood my question and allowed me to first grieve the loss of a vacation before I processed the greater loss of our loved one.

These experiences are two of many times of suffering we have known, but they teach me something about pain, suffering and loss.

I think it’s OK to ask God the question, “Why?”, as he understands our frail human emotions. It’s only natural to ponder the reasons for hard experiences, and we’d be lying if we pretended everything was just fine. After all, the Bible speaks of many people of faith who asked God these hard questions.

But in the end, it’s a matter of the heart.

Do I trust God enough to believe, even in my questioning, that he loves me and is faithful?

I have a choice when it comes to my times of pain and suffering.

I can choose to dwell in the hurt and questions, or I can allow myself to grow, stretch and heal, until one day the experience is there only as a testament to his faithfulness and a reference to help others.

Jennie Allen also states,

“Out of our pain we could heal our world. Fires are lit in our lives through our suffering and they can burn to shine light or cause destruction; we get to decide which purpose they will serve.”

So go ahead and ask the hard question, “Why?”. I’m sure that God’s shoulders are big enough to handle it.

Then make a choice to allow your why to become a part of the greater purpose that God has for your life.








Sunny winter sky over buildings

Being Intentional with our Intentions

Sunny winter sky over buildings


Today’s post is written for the Five Minute Friday link-up, and the word prompt for this week is intentional.


Can I let you in on a secret?

Being more intentional has been on my thoughts and mind for some time now. It’s an area where I feel like I need a great deal of improvement in my life, although in some areas I am very disciplined. When I was naming my blog, I originally wanted to use the words simple or simply and intentional. They were both thoughts that I believed to be important areas for myself and other women (or men) to implement in our daily lives to live successfully (flourishing).

On my childhood report cards, I generally had really good grades often accompanied by the negative (constructive) comment that I needed to work on being self-motivated. As an adult, I’ve still had trouble with time management. I seem to be able to be quite disciplined in some areas, but lacking greatly in others.

And so I want to be more intentional with my intentions. 

You’ve heard it said that as individuals we generally judge ourselves by our intentions (what we mean to do) and others by their actions (what they actually do). Apparently this idea was originally quoted from Stephen M.R. Covey,  He is well known for his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, so his wisdom in this area is not surprising.

So just how can we accomplish more of what we desire, and better yet, what God desires of our lives?

That is something that in middle age I feel like I’m just starting to really learn. I’ve been actively taking some steps to make better use of my precious time. So at least I know where to start.

I know that my goals or intentions, if you will, will only come to fruition if I take practical, measurable steps. It will require some planning and ideally a good deal of praying, but in the end I just need to move forward with discipline, one baby step at a time.

Being intentional requires planning and action.

The first definition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary for the word intentional reads,

“done by intention or design”.

Won’t you join me in designing a more intentional life?

My good intentions can only come to be when I learn the discipline of being intentional.




Herbs in the Snow

A Year to Simplify

Today I’m writing again to join some friends over at the Five Minute Friday link-up. Things have been sparse for me with blog posts these past couple of months, first with my husband’s surgery, then the full-on rush of the wonderful holiday season, complicated with a bit of sickness. But I’m dying to write and today’s word prompt simplify has special meaning for me this year.


Herbs in the Snow

As the old year quickly came to a close and a new year dawned before me, I started to think about a word to be my focus for this year. This is a habit I did not adhere to the first time I heard about it, but it has grown on me and become my new norm.

It’s hard for me, as a naturally logic and facts-based person, to feel like I can hear God speaking to me. Most often I plan, trust and pray and then do what seems like the right thing. It often feels as if I am making my own practical decisions, but I know that in many ways God is always directing my steps.

I’m also learning not to ignore those fleeting thoughts that seem like I just “made them up” or that seem to have come at random, and realize that often they are indeed from my heavenly Father. If we’ve given our lives to God and are attempting to follow him, I believe that he will direct even our passing thoughts. He will also use our circumstances to help direct our decisions.

So as I began to mull over thoughts of rest and the phrase, “let it go” came to mind, I wondered if maybe I had hit on something.

Then in an (In)Courage post a link was given to a short quiz at Dayspring to help determine our word of the year. It’s kind of interesting that the post spoke of just needing “simple” sometimes, and after completing 7 quick questions, the word simplicity was chosen for me. I knew that it seemed awfully simple, and almost seemed too easy, but the more I thought about it, that is precisely the point.

You see, I naturally tend to over-complicate things. It seems to be a by-product of the cautious, detailed, often perfectionist part of my personality. I’ve been attempting to simplify in many areas of life over the past few years, so much so that I named my blog Simply Flourishing Home.

So I’ve decided that SIMPLIFY will definitely be my word for 2018.

What could I intentionally simplify in order to live a more flourishing life of joy, peace and productivity?

I can simplify tasks and projects instead of putting them off due to overwhelm.

Cleaning and organizing my home in a more simple, if imperfect way would still bless my family and those who enter.

When I feel hurt or wronged by others, sometimes I can simply choose to forgive and let the offence and pain go freely.

If I make simple meals of real foods, we will eat meals that are healthy and less stressful.

When I have a decision to make, I can consider my options, do a little research if necessary, ask advice where appropriate, and then simply ask God to show me the best choice, without laboring unnecessarily.

My exercise will remain more consistent and enjoyable as I continue to use a simple plan, rather than feel a need to push myself so hard that I am filled with dread.

I hope to more easily let go of things to declutter my home and make it a place of peace and simplicity.

I can employ my right to say a simple “no” more easily, so that my “yeses” will be more filled with joy and conviction.

This Christmas, I decided to embrace simplicity and do a lot less, which felt less stressful and more joyful.


When it comes down to it, most of the time doing something simply is better and more satisfying than trying to do things perfectly, then either failing or not getting around to them at all.

So this year with God’s help, I will endeavor to simplify my life.

And in return, I believe I will simply be more joyful, less stressed, and more able to do the things that are important to me. I may simply become more of who God made me to be.








various miniature winter trees

When Christmas Feels Different

I am happy to link this post with many others at Five Minute Friday, and today’s prompt is, different.


various miniature winter trees

This Christmas feels a little different.

It’s been an interesting year. I started the year sensing the word, “cherish”. But as the year progressed, it felt less like a year to cherish and more of just getting through.

In the spring, I accidentally cut my finger while slicing watermelon and severed the tendon, which resulted in surgery and a surprisingly long recovery time. Loss of the use of my finger set me back in many household responsibilities, but in the end, I am mostly healed (still needing to do a bit more strengthening as of yet!).

In October, after feeling signs of something being not quite right in his chest, my husband was scheduled to have stints put it to open blocked arteries, but was kept in for bypass surgery instead. Thankfully, things went extremely well, and he is well on the road to recovery.

While I am so thankful that things didn’t turn out worse (believe me, it could have been much worse!), I also have had to grieve the loss of time and order in my home and life that just hasn’t been the same. I have felt overwhelmed and behind in so many areas for most of the year, although we have survived quite well.

So I come at this Christmas from a slightly different perspective.

I love all things Christmas, so giving up some of my long-held, much-loved traditions to care for myself, my home and my family has been a sacrifice. It doesn’t feel quite the same.

But of course, it has been feeling different all along, as time and age and memories rush past in what seems like ever-increasing speed.

For those of us who cherished the childish sensations of the holidays, it’s a bit difficult to grow up, be responsible, and enjoy the holiday without all of the same feelings.

And this Christmas has come all too fast for my liking (although a touch of snow on the ground doesn’t hurt), but has it really?

I’ve read and heard it said that if the meaning of Christmas doesn’t affect us all year long, then it isn’t the real thing. I’ve heard of more than one friend who actually decided to leave up their nativity sets all year to be mindful of this fact.

I will probably always love the sights, sounds, emotions, traditions and memories of this special time of year. As long as we keep these good things in perspective, I’m sure God doesn’t mind our celebrating his birthday too much.

But let us remember that Christmas really doesn’t come just once a year. Rather, it comes and is here with us always in the form of God’s only Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit whom he left to stay with us.

His presence is ever real, and if I can really begin to understand this timeless truth, then Christmas really isn’t that different this year after all. Some things never change.

I have and will celebrate the important things in life: my faith and God’s special gift to the world, my family and loved ones (whether near or far), our health and strength, a warm, happy home and so much to be thankful for, the countless blessings that grace my life each day even when they go unnoticed, the festivities and fun that the holidays bring, and yes, even the hard stuff that causes us to stretch and grow.

So eat a cookie, listen to some holiday tunes, enjoy those you find around you, sit in the stillness, ponder the gift, enjoy the candles and Christmas lights, but most of all, be thankful.

This Christmas may be different, but the gift is the same.

And if we choose to embrace Christmas in whatever form it appears, perhaps we will look a little different, too.


St. Elizabeth's Hospital window view

What I Learned this Fall



St. Elizabeth's Hospital window view

It’s one of the times I look forward to each quarter when I pause to look back and share what I’ve learned with you. I’m especially thankful to be linking up to Emily Freeman’s What We Learned post along with many other bloggers.

Life has been a bit crazy around here, what with the almost sudden need for my husband to have bypass surgery just over a month ago. Thankfully he’s recovering nicely and we’re getting a little closer to “normal” again, but needless to say many things have been shelved for the past few weeks. I’ve so wanted to write on my blog so many times and only managed once.

I’ve probably learned more in this intense time than I’ve had time to record, but perhaps this will help me to process some of my experiences as I write.

And so I’m thrilled to be able to share with you today some of the things I’ve been learning this fall, whether serious or silly.


 homemade iced coffee

1. Iced coffee was NOT invented in the US (or New England, for that matter!).

For how much folks around here love  are utterly devoted to their iced coffee, I thought for sure that it was invented in the US, and surely somewhere in New England, but it isn’t true.

The first “iced coffee” beverage was probably invented in Algeria, and the iced coffee we know and love today in the United States came much later.


2. I will usually fit an activity or responsibility into whatever time-frame I have available.

I guess I’ve been learning this my whole life.

It started back in college when I would stay up some nights and write (freehand, of course; computers were rather new and hardly used), a term paper in one copy, because I had left it until the last minute, forcing me to get the job done in the most efficient manner.

Recently, I’ve been cranking out my quarterly posts in record time, causing this “recovering perfectionist” to throw caution to the wind and just do it, as life has been full these past few months.


3. I’m learning how to brew good coffee in a french press.

With the sudden “death” of our Kuerig coffee maker, I temporarily used my French press to make coffee several times. While I am certainly not a pro, I found some good help and succeeded in making some decent coffee before purchasing our new coffee system. My French press skills may still come in handy when we are without power or a decent machine.

I found an article containing a great detailed description of French press coffee brewing methods, and for a more simple approach, I found a handy guide. I used both in my quest for good French press coffee.

Bodum French press

4. I learned the difference between licence and license. 

“Licence” is a noun, while “license” is a verb. According to this article, it’s very similar to the difference between practice and practise (although not in the USA, where “practice” is used for both noun and verb). I feel like I must have been taught this in English grammar class at some point, though I don’t claim to remember.


5. I knew that almonds were good for you, but now I understand why.

In this article, Dr. Axe shares the details of why this nut is such a popular healthy snack. Almonds contain healthy fat and boast many other significant health benefits. Raw almonds (and almond butter) are probably my favorite snack along with an apple or some dried fruit.


6. I learned about wheat pellets.

I had never heard of this popular Mexican snack food, but something caused me to look it up online. It is made of puffed wheat and often flavored. I have yet to try such a snack, but if so many people like it, it might be worth trying. This blog post contains some helpful information along with some personal experience if you’d like to learn how to prepare this interesting snack.


Boat in the golden hours

7. The best lighting for most outdoor photography takes place during the Golden Hour.

I’ve been taught years ago that the best lighting for outdoor picture-taking is just after sunrise or just before sunset, but just recently learned that photographers have given it a name: the golden hour. Bright sunlight looks nice in real life, but it can be difficult to get a nice photo in such harsh, bright light. In the golden hour, the light is softer and warmer, and you’ll find it easier to get beautiful photographs in this light.

Pumpkins in the golden hours

8.  I was 10 when “Slime” was invented.

In 1976, Slime was born. This sticky, slimy, fun substance was thought up by some brilliant mind at Mattel, and was originally green in color and sold in a little green trash can. Over the years many variations were invented (such as Slime with worms), and people have even figured out how to produce their own Slime.


9. Jon Bryant is a Canadian musician I’d like to listen to.

I heard this song by singer and songwriter Jon Bryant, and learned he’s a Canadian based in the Maritimes.

From the sounds of this lovely piece, I think I’d enjoy listening to more of his music.


10. I researched a little more about the health benefits of oats.

I also learned the differences between some of the different types, such as steel cut and rolled oats. This page from LiveStrong contains several posts explaining everything from the different forms of oats, to health and nutrition benefits, to how to prepare them. I have been including oats in many of my breakfasts and enjoy eating them in many different forms, such as baked oatmeal, overnight oats, and breakfast cookies.


11. Here’s the “miracle” method of removing clear oil/grease spots from clean laundry.

In a recent phone conversation with my dear sister, we got on to the topic of laundry, more specifically those pesky little “grease” spots that seem to appear on too many freshly laundered items. I’m still not sure exactly where they all come from, but now I know one solution! (Thanks, Becca!)

Simply take an old (cleaned) toothbrush and gently work a little baking soda into the clear grease stain. Leave it in for about five minutes. Then brush out the powder with your toothbrush and either shake to remove more particles (or rewash if it’s hard to remove).

That’s it! I’ve tried this several times since she shared this simple trick, and am happy to say that it works like a charm. Good-bye you greasy little spots!


12. You can make decent mashed potatoes in a slow cooker.

On this year’s unique Thanksgiving Day celebration I was commissioned to make mashed potatoes for about 30 people. Since this year the job would fall mainly to me (with help from my sons while my husband was recovering from surgery),  I began to search the internet for ideas for making potatoes for large crowds and/or in advance, and came across several methods for making them in a crock pot.

The beauty of using a slow cooker is that you can make them ahead of time and they’ll stay nice and warm. The other big draw for me was that they can all be made in one pot, without the need to drain and wash multiple pots and sieves.

So I pulled out my two trusty slow cookers and set out to cook about 15 pounds of potatoes.

After perusing and pinning several recipes to consider, I finally settled on this more basic, but good slow cooker mashed potato recipe.

Making mashed potatoes in the slow cooker

Making mashed potatoes in the crock-pot

13. I finally learned the history behind why (my) part of Canada (and a few other parts of the world) enjoy their milk packaged in bags.

For a good part of my growing up years in Canada and to this day on our visits to Canada, I’ve had milk served from a plastic bag in a little plastic pitcher.

It wasn’t always this way; I do remember having a milk box for delivery of jugs (plastic, I think), but later it was mostly sold in bags. I don’t remember the change and certainly hadn’t thought up why this practice began. I guess it had mostly to do with converting to the metric system (which also happened in my growing up years).

I did always wonder if it was a practice for all of Canada, or more limited to the area where I grew up (in the Niagara Peninsula). Since my sister posted about this on Facebook, we were able to glean responses from many folks from all different locations. We discovered that it is not used in all of Canada, but even more surprisingly, that some rare parts of the United States and even different countries such as South Africa sell milk in bags as well!

I guess it’s really true that great minds think alike! 😉


14. I really can depend on my GPS and drive in difficult places.

Since my husband’s bypass surgery “adventure”, I’ve had to learn to depend on my GPS and drive where I’m not comfortable. I had friends go with me and even drive me on hard days, but am proud that I progressed beyond my driving comfort zone.


15. God provides the people we need just when we need them.

You can read more details in my last post, but it was confirmed to us again and again through this traumatic event that friends, family, acquaintances, and medical staff come through when you need them. We had such support in both prayer and practical ways all along this interesting journey. My natural family is far away so they could only pray and chat with me, but those who are near us surprised us with their love and help. We are truly thankful.





St. Elizabeth's - Brighton, MA

In Our Time of Need

Today’s post is written for Five Minute Friday, and the word prompt for today is need.


St. Elizabeth's - Brighton, MA


One week and a day ago my husband was admitted to the hospital to have a stint put in place to open blocked heart arteries. He had had some symptoms checked out by his primary physician and in the course of tests, doctor appointments and the all-telling stress test, his procedure was scheduled and then moved to the very next day.

It was a big deal to us, since we’re both only 51 and in relatively good health. Although it’s considered minor and would only require an overnight stay, it felt a little scary, as anything to do with the heart does.

But low and behold, when the heart doctor went in with the camera to begin the procedure, it was determined that my husband in fact would need heart surgery. There were just too many blockages and bypass surgery would definitely be the best option for his long-term health. He was not allowed to return home because he was at too great a risk for heart attack.

So after adjusting to this news, we simply began the long plod through information, emotions, and the day to day necessities that would be required to make this happen.

It’s only two days after this difficult and frightening surgery, but he came through fine and improved rapidly, despite looking and feeling like he had been hit and run over by a truck the next day. In fact tomorrow, just four days after this invasive, but life-saving surgery, he is looking forward to being discharged and coming home.

In all of this, it has been strongly confirmed to me how real friends come through in times of need.

I truly believe in the all-knowing wisdom, never-ending love and faithfulness of God, and have had my faith and trust tested probably even more this time than in all of my half-century of life, and I don’t know how I could go through hard times without him.

But in the day to day harsh realities and moments where I feel too much or nothing at all in our time of crisis, those who truly love and care for us come through and are invaluable.

These people come in all shapes and sizes:

  •  family who live near and far
  • church friends and even just acquaintances
  • community/small group friends with whom we’ve developed deeper and more personal relationships
  • “old-time” friends whom we haven’t had the chance to spend time with recently but will always care in a deep way
  • far-away family, friends and loved ones, connecting through social media, telephone and text
  • medical personnel of all sorts – skilled and caring surgeons and knowledgeable doctors, nurses in ICU and hospital rooms who act as ministering “angels”, and random hospital personnel who help with a smile, by answering our many questions, or even by just leading the way to the correct corridor in the maze of hospital hallways.

I can’t thank God enough for sending us these people. They have helped in invaluable ways, from the very practical to the very real spiritual.

These are some of the gifts they have given us already in this time of need:

  • prayers, prayers and more prayers, whether in person, on the phone, or promised through texts and Facebook comments
  • encouragement in the form of a hug, a positive comment, simply listening and letting us vent or ask questions, or sharing valuable insight from their own experiences
  • meals for my family, so at the end of a long day when all I have left is nothing, I can still have good food to nourish myself and my older sons at home
  • rides to the hospital when it was just too much for me, or company driving to and from and providing a “secondary brain” for me there
  • finding practical solutions and helps for us and delivering them to our door with love
  • passing along updates and information when I don’t have the energy to make one more call or answer one more text
  • providing pleasant distraction, providing us with small, happy breaks in what is otherwise a long, exhausting and unpleasant journey
  • sending cards and flowers to add a bit of cheer to our crazy days

I have gone some over my five-minute mark today, but needed to express my thankfulness and deep gratitude in this small way to those who have blessed us and continue to do so.

I pray that one day we may pay it forward and provide some of these same helps and show God’s love to others in their time of need.

We will be forever changed by the words and actions of all these wonderful people.

We couldn’t do it without you.












close-up of grasshopper eating my mums


close-up of grasshopper eating my mums

I’m writing this post (actually on Friday, no less!), for the link-up at Five Minute Friday, and today’s prompt is discover.



The word evokes feelings of adventure, of something exciting or unknown; not generally something I find or experience every day.

And why not?

Have I become so busy doing the mundane tasks of life that I won’t allow myself the simple joy of discovery?

The answer, sadly, is mostly yes.

My personality tends towards thinking about what has to be done, what I should do in a given situation, the responsibilities that are so necessary, yet don’t often provoke wonder.

I so love that there are times to purposely observe something new or different or exciting (like on vacations, on a simple walk in the woods, or in the middle of an inspiring worship service), but I realize that most of life is not lived this way. We are simply trying to get by and sometimes just get through a day.

But what if our views were bigger?

What if even in the midst of busyness and responsibility and “to-do’s” we would choose to stop, take a moment to breathe, look up and see the wonders that are all around us?

What if I were to awake with the attitude that this is a new day, full of wonder and awe, even to be found in the middle of loads of laundry, piles of dishes, family discussions, organizing and cleaning, or going to my average job?

I pray that I will take the time, change my perspective, and look for the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Because all of life is to be lived to the full.

All of my days were planned before I was even born.


You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.” – Psalm 139:16, NLT


Even on a hard day or in difficult circumstances, I have a choice to look up and trust that God is for me and my good life.

And that brings me gratitude, hope and joy.


“…singing a song of thanksgiving
    and telling of all your wonders.” – Psalm 26:7, NLT







looking up giant tree trunk

The Gift of Being Able to Depend

looking up giant tree trunk


This post contains my brief but deep thoughts today, and was produced to add to the link-up at Five Minute Friday, where the word for the week is depend.


Another shooting on the news this morning.

And this trailing shortly behind natural disasters that have affected so many.

When will it ever end?

There is trouble in this world, to be sure. Every day brings more confirmation, whether it is broadcast from the news or I feel a discord deep inside my heart.

I almost didn’t write on this link-up. When I saw the word prompt, “depend”, I thought it was too similar to the last post I wrote for this link-up on the word, “support“.

But after listening to details of a new (and possibly the worst) shooting on the radio while driving today, my thoughts, emotions and determination turned back once again to my utter dependence on God.

I can’t do this life alone. I just can’t.

But neither could my relatives long ago who followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit and left the Ukraine for North America. If they didn’t listen, I probably wouldn’t be here today.  My grandmother from that same family depended on God her whole life, from the painful loss of my grandparents’ six-year old son (my mother’s young brother), through an early death of my grandfather to a heart attack (yet still managing to live a full and joyful life in the midst of hardships), to a difficult, yet victorious end at the ripe age of 93.

On my father’s side of the family, my grandfather became blind as a young man. Despite the fear and frustration of having to depend on his wife for support (in a time where this was contrary to society), he embraced his condition in time and was one of the most happy (even silly!) people I’ve known. My grandmother became the provider for the family for many years. They both depended on their faith in a God in whom they chose to trust.

My mother, grandmother, father-in-law and my sister’s first husband all fought cancer. There are those in the family who are fighting today, but not without dependence on their faith to see them through each day. There are many different outcomes to their unique struggles, but what they had in common was they all chose to depend on God and trust him to use their circumstances for their ultimate good.

I have seen and felt joy, peace, blessing and extreme happiness, and have lived through pain, hurt, fears and disappointment.

And through it all, I am not ashamed to say that I depend on a faithful God who loves me, even through the hard times.

I admit my absolute need to lean on those around me whom he provides for my support, help and pleasure.

I desire to be one on whom others can depend.

I’m so thankful that often dependence is a happy thing, but grateful also that it is there when I simply cannot.

My life will continue to depend on more than just myself.

And that’s OK.

It is a gift.





Oxtongue Lake bridge at sunset

Support is NOT For the Weak

Today’s post is written for the link-up at Five Minute Friday, and the word prompt for the day is support.


Oxtongue Lake bridge at sunset


As I ponder the word support, the first thing that comes to mind is how our culture teaches us to be independent. We are often told how strong we are and that we can find all we need deep inside us somewhere.

While I agree with this to a point, the longer I live, I realize my many weaknesses.

Yes, I believe I have been uniquely created with many gifts and strengths, but the reality is, I am only human. As much as we need a certain degree of autonomy to survive as a responsible adult in this world, I was not made to do life alone.

I need support.

When you think about it, support is really important. In so many aspects of life we recognize this, but why then is it so difficult to admit our need of others?

Think about large buildings and bridges.

They may be made of strong concrete, but inside there are iron supports that hold the structure together. This rebar is necessary for the concrete to be strong and durable.

The Bible speaks about our need to depend not just on ourselves.


Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NLT


Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NLT


So rather than viewing my imperfections as making me weak, I choose to use them as opportunities to grow through leaning on, learning from and enjoying the comfort and strength of others. I’m also thankful for a God who gives me power and wisdom to help me through this demanding life.

I don’t need to walk alone to be strong. It takes a certain courage to recognize that we need to lean on someone else.

Support is not for the weak.





tree branches in silhouette with sun and sky

To Speak or Not to Speak …

tree branches in silhouette with sun and sky

… That is the question. 

I’ve always liked to talk…a lot.

But I’ve also needed to learn along the way to talk less, or when it is appropriate to hold my tongue.

There are many Bible verses about our speech. It is clear that too much talking, or not speaking in an encouraging and positive way is damaging both to ourselves and others.

Consider James 3.

I also tend to be a bit “shy” when I’m in the presence of those I’m not as close to or don’t know as well. So while I may talk a blue streak in a group I’m comfortable with, or even speak in front of a crowd, I am naturally repelled by making others feel uncomfortable.

In short, I care too much what others think about me. So there are times I should have spoken up but chose to be quiet.

The tongue is a powerful little tool.

It can drive the course of one’s day or even one’s life.

It strongly affects our own thoughts and actions and is keenly felt by those around us.

Words spoken in anger, frustration, fear or haste can be damaging, while words spoken with love, wisdom, thought and guidance can bring life.


“Those who control their tongue will have a long life;
    opening your mouth can ruin everything.” – Proverbs 13:3, NLT

Gentle words are a tree of life;
    a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” – Proverbs 15:4, NLT


It may not come naturally, but my goal is to speak less, think more before I speak, and be more purposeful about how and when and what I speak.

I want my words to be a positive force in my own life and all those I come into contact with.


Today’s post has been written for the Five Minute Friday link-up word of the day, speak.