“Would you pray for Lauren*?” a friend anxiously asked me.
Lauren just wasn’t happy, and often she complained to my friend about all the lousy stuff going on in her life.
You see, Lauren had money problems, health problems and pet problems and just listening to all of them was bringing my friend down too.
And so I prayed, but when I did – I began to wonder about Lauren.
I mean, yeah, the events in Lauren’s life were not good, I got that. But if her outlook
on life was dependent on what happened to her, well, I could see a downward
spiral hitting some pretty high speeds.
In my dictionary, I see that one of the definitions of “happy” is: “delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing.”
So when things go bad in our lives as they tend to do and we experience problems like Lauren’s, I guess that gives us good enough reason to be unhappy people right?
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The fat, juicy tomatoes beckoned me from the garden in my backyard.
And even though some were finally ripe, it was taking me a while to get out there to
“Pick me, pick me!” their chubby selves would have chanted if they had
It was a wet day when I finally found the time. I donned my yellow slicker and braved the elements dropping glistening tomatoes into my collection bags.
We were into September already with our first frost quickly approaching. And less than half my crop was what I’d call “harvest ready.” This season has been a slow one for ripe tomatoes -- even for me.
You see, I’m used to late tomatoes. ...
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When we were first thinking of buying the house we now live in, I found
myself liking it more and more each time we visited.
I yearned to fit our family into it, to pick apples from its fruit trees, and to enjoy looking out to its “Christmas card” view of snow-laden trees framing an old horse barn.
But in addition to all that, there was something I had discovered about the “spirit” of the place that I just couldn’t shake.
When we toured the house and walked around the property, I felt something good and right in the air that resonated with my own spirit.
You see, the house we now live in was previously owned by an elderly woman who spent many long years serving Jesus. She and her husband had raised their six kids here, housed Sunday School classes for their church and provided a soft bed for many a missionary.
Even after her children were grown and gone, the woman opened her doors
for a female youth pastor to live here with her.
This was a place where the Spirit of God had been welcomed to dwell.
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Hoards of people milled around our outlet mall a few weekends ago looking for some back-to-school bargains.
It was tough to even find parking, and I realized that I wasn’t alone in putting off this shopping trip to the last minute.
It seemed like half of my state had the same idea.
Stores like Nike, Children’s Place and American Eagle beckoned us to come in and join the crowd that was looking for "just the right look."
With the shoppers, I braved the blinding patterns of preteen neons, the intoxicating, rubbery smell of new sneakers, and the crazy lines in the food court.
And all the while, I tried to be mindful of my budget.
But as I made my way through the Nike store with my kids, the pile of shoes, T-shirts and sweat pants in my son’s arms seemed to grow higher and higher with each bin we passed.
When we finally made it through the weaving checkout line to our cashier, my eyebrows must have raised up a couple of inches at the price.
That’s when the check out machine asked me the “question.”
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