A Glorious Glimpse

A Glorious Glimpse

My dogs and I take a walk in our neighborhood every day.

Our route is familiar as is our path down the street and around the pond. In the cattails that encircle the pond, distinct calls from red-winged blackbirds welcome us without fail. 

One bright and beautiful morning I gasped as I neared the water. “Am I in Heaven?” I pondered. For a second or two, I felt I was.

A peaceful, foggy mist rose just a few feet away. I stood, transfixed on the path that now seemed to be paved in gold. Although it lasted mere moments, just long enough for me to photograph, it was a holy sight that continues to stir my soul.

I haven’t seen anything like it again. Yet, when I walk by that special spot, I smile and continue on, forever grateful for that glorious glimpse.

“…And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Rev. 21: 21-27

Lessons from a Vacuum

It’s What’s On the Inside That Counts

I was reminded of a great truth recently when I picked up our vacuum at the repair shop.

The repair man said “Well, we got this old thing is in pretty good working order but don’t forget to clean your filters.” He continued, “You know, we do a good job making these machines look shiny and new on the outside but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. If you don’t take care of the filters you end up with a mess.”

We’ve had our vacuum for a long time and I hadn’t thought about the filters in years. Of course that was part of the problem. As I drove away from the shop, I thought of how I can be like our vacuum cleaner.  My outside can look okay, but when my inside is dusty with discouragement and clogged with my need to control, I’m a mess.

It’s only when I deep cleanse my core and ask my heavenly Father to fix my filter, that I work well. Thankfully, my repairman is a prayer away.

Tumbling and Trusting

Lessons Learned From Rock Polishing

“Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.” Isaiah 26:4 NLT

I’ve been in a rocky place. Receiving a new health diagnosis, an auto-immune disease, has ushered in some dark days.

Oh, how I wish I could say that upon receiving the news, I forged ahead with great faith and trust. The truth is, I’ve been angry, confused and frustrated. “Why God?” I asked, and often for many days. I remained stagnant for a while – physically, mentally and spiritually.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) shut me down, zapped my strength and, some days, causes immobility. It effects my ability to type and write and that’s beyond hard. “I’m a believer, your servant, Lord. Why me, why now?” I lament.

On one particularly rough day, I ventured outside to sit in the sun. Warmth and heat feel good to me. Inflamed and in pain, sitting in my chair, I spotted some weeds and grass sprouting in my little rock garden, just below the bird feeder. The mixture of small and medium-sized rocks covers the soil and are meant to prevent the bird seed from germinating.

Because I live on a pond, ducks sometimes visit the rocky area under the feeder, eating the stray seeds that fall. They also scatter the rocks which can get caught in the lawn mower if I don’t throw them back.

Barely able to bend down due to severe inflammation, I was determined to do something useful and began pulling weeds. The Holy Spirit met me in a mighty way in those scattered rocks. “Remember your rock tumbler?” He whispered. I smiled and said “Yes!” Oh, how I loved my rock tumbler as a young girl. “Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.” (Isaiah 26:4) He whispered.

As I tossed the dusty rocks back under the feeder, I fondly remembered the process of polishing rocks. My father and I so enjoyed purchasing the tumbler, finding rocks in the creek behind our home and learning about the process of rock polishing. It’s simple, really. You need a tumbler, an electrical outlet and a place somewhere out of the way as the machine is LOUD.

First, you wash the rocks and fill the tumbler with water. The rocks need to be about the same size so one doesn’t overpower and nick the others, Next, you add the grit. The sandy grit, mixed with the water, slowly begins to polish the rocks as they churn and churn in the tumbler.

The process takes time, often weeks. Then, one day, after much tumbling in dirty, dusty and muddy water, the most beautiful rocks of all colors are revealed. It’s magical, and especially was for me as a little girl.

“You are a rock,” the Spirit whispered to me as I tossed those dirty rocks. “It’s a bit dark and dusty right now but…with time, and a bit of grit and grace, you’ll get through this…and I’ll help you.”

As I held a rock, close to my heart, I saw myself in the hand of The Father. The arthritis plaguing me was and is in His hand too. My days of immobility and pain are gritty yet, they are polishing me. I remember that “He is The Rock of my salvation.” 2 Samuel 2:22. Psalm 71:3 says, “He is my rock and my refuge.”

I know I’ll have other hardships besides RA. More rocky times will come. Perhaps, If I envision the Father, tumbling them, dust, grit, mud, dirt and all…you can too. We don’t have to understand disease or illness and the hard times of life. If we give them to The Rock, He’ll tumble them for us. The process takes time and, often, it’s messy but…if we trust Him and the tumbles, the end result is shiny and beautiful.

Unpolished Peter first was known as Simon, which means “reed”. Jesus was with him in his messes, fumbles and tumbles. In fact, Jesus renamed Simon as Peter which means “rock” and used him to start the church.

A simple, plain rock has glory just waiting to be seen. If we hold His hand in the tumbles of life, the messy, dusty, gritty times will, indeed, polish us.

Jesus, almighty Creator of rocks, mountains and seas, thank you for holding us in the palm of your hand. You are our eternal rock. We praise you for polishing us. Help us trust you in the tumbles. Refine us, uncover us. May your glory shine through.

Walking & Whispering with Pearl

Walking and Whispering With Pearl

By Charlotte Guest

“…but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and  after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper…” 1 Kings 19:12

Our girl, Pearl, is a blue Shar Pei. She’s stubborn and sweet, feisty and fun. Pearl is gregarious yet she can be a bit timid at times. We take a walk every day, a walk that blesses us both in countless ways. When I ready her leash and harness, she’s eager to go. We both know a little sunshine and blue skies await us. The fresh air and sometimes blustery Oklahoma breezes encircle us as we listen for the songs in the sky. Red-wing blackbirds call out from the marsh, keeping time with faint croaks from the pond frogs. We love the routine, the route and greeting our friends along the way. Two white Pekin ducks and their mallard friends are a welcoming site on the water that reflects the clouds. Sometimes, we spot the blue heron who makes surprise visits. When we amble around the bend, near the barn in the distance, I’ve learned to slow my steps and speak softly to Pearl. She’s still young and isn’t quite yet sure how to behave near the horses that desire to be her friend. As we walk closer, my voice lowers. Pearl’s glances reflect her uneasiness and, almost always, she leans into my leg, barely peeking out from behind me. The majestic horses tower over her, unlike our feathered friends who remain at her eye level. Pearl looks intently at me and then at the horses. “It’s okay, Pearl,” I whisper as she inches ever so closer to bottom of the white fence. The nut-brown horse usually is the first to lower his head, softly snorting, nudging his nostrils to greet Pearl. I speak softly, assuring Pearl that all is well, as she moves closer. I’ve loved watching her confidence grow with each walk. I treasure her soulful eyes, searching mine for reassurance and remember that I, too, hear a bit better in the Holy Spirit’s gentle whispers. Sometimes, we can hear in the fires and earthquakes of life. I thank God for reminding me that there is much to learn while walking and whispering.

Lord, help me listen to your whispers. Thank you for teaching me how to trust You and your voice in my life.

Pop-Tarts® and Prayers

The first car swerved into the adjacent lane, narrowly missing the two dogs on the busy street. The second car careened even closer. The third car, my car, stopped abruptly. “Those dogs aren’t going to make it,” I thought “unless I get them out of this traffic.” 

I slammed on my brakes, jumped out of my car, into the middle of the street, waving my arms frantically as cars swerved around me. “C’mon puppies, this way!” I yelled loudly, running at them to redirect their path. Thankfully, they responded and headed into the yard of a nearby house. “Bless their hearts!”, I said to my own dog, a blue Shar Pei named Pearl, in the front seat of my car. We had just left her vet for a check-up and were running an errand. 

The elderly golden retriever with a bright blue collar was panting heavily. The younger, shorter mixed breed, a black and white pup, had a bit more energy yet stayed by the retriever’s side. Both were hot, tired and disoriented. It was almost 96 degrees on this steamy, sweltering summerday in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The air was heavy, oven-like and oppressive.

“Lord, please help! It’s just too hot” I said. Thankfully, I had some dog treats with me that I’d packed because of the vet appointment. “C’mon puppies, here’s a treat.” The golden, with his warm, browntrusting eyes looked relieved and tentatively ambled forward. He gobbled them up. His side-kick, following the older dog’s lead, ate a few. 

“Maybe they live here, I thought.” With treats in hand and the dogs nearby, I rang the doorbell. “I’ve never seen them,” said the timid voice behind the door…which quickly shut as I asked, “Do you have any water?” I rang again but no luck. After all, I was a stranger and those were not her dogs. “Lord, please help…send me help,” I said. 

Just then, a car entered the neighborhood. I flagged it down. “Ever seen these dogs?” The young girl replied, “I haven’t, but my mom works nearby, maybe she has.” Thankfully she parked nearby. 

With the last of my dog treats, I tried, unsuccessfully to get the dogs in my car. Having had a neck surgery, I simply wasn’t as strong as I used to be. Lifting the golden felt impossible. When I tried to catch the black and white pup, it ran off. With sweat pouring from my brow, I asked the young girl, “Can you help me?” She replied, “I’m not good with dogs, but I’ll say with you.” 

The dogs were panting heavily by now. We had no water and it felt like I was losing their trust. Another car came from the other direction and I flagged it down. The dogs had run off, heading down a nearby street. “I’m a dog-sitter,” said the driver, another young girl, and “I’m good with dogs,” she said enthusiastically. Off we went. “Do you have any food?” I asked as I had used the last of my treats. 

“I have some Pop-Tarts®” said the first girl who had indeed stayed. Handing me what was probably her breakfast she said, “Use these – it’s all I have.” Together, the dog sitter, named Bri, and I coaxed the almost exhausted dogs closer to my car. “Can you help me lift the big one?” I asked. “I just had my appendix out,” Bri said but maybe we can do it together.” As the smaller dog ate some of the Pop-Tart®, I grabbed him first and put him in my back seat. Together, Bri and I got the big golden in next and closed the door. The dogs were a bit scared but, in the cool air conditioning, they were content. I have some water bottles Bri remembered and we gave them a drink from our hands.

“Now what?” I thought. Maybe back to the vet? Hopefully they will take them. But…if not? “Lord, please show me what to do next.” Anothercar came near us and, without thinking, I flagged it down. “Ever seen these dogs? I asked and then, recognizing the driver said, “I know you, right?” He replied, “I’m Tom, Jennifer’s husband.” Relief! Jennifer is my new friend I met playing golf. “Call Jennifer, she’s home and we live next door to a dog rescuer,” Tom shared. 

“Please answer,” I prayed as I dialed Jennifer.” She did and shared her neighbor’s number, named Amy, who also answered. “I’m home now…bring the dogs to me.” Off I went, filled with hope and two tired dogs. 

Amy, equipped with a microchip reader in hand scanned the golden. “He’s chipped!” she said and, thankfully after a few minutes, learned his name and address. “I can take them from here” she said and loaded them in her car. The smaller dog was not chipped. We did not know at that time if he was from the same home. 

As Amy drove away, I remained in awe. How was it that I had dog treats, a sweet girl with Pop-Tarts® shared her breakfast, a dog-sitterarrived on the scene and someone I recognized who knew a dog rescuer with a microchip reader were on the same street at the same time when these dogs needed us. 

“Isn’t that just like God?” I thought, as I drove away, thankful for a happy ending to this almost tragic tale. I’ll always remember this story and especially the girl who stayed, whose name I did not get. Sometimes, offering what you have, like Pop-Tarts® and prayers are all you need. 


*P.S. After this story was written I felt led to purchase some Pop-Tarts®and try to find the owner of at least the golden retriever. I went to the location the dog rescuer shared with me and knocked on one door. That neighbor pointed me to a house a bit further down, across the street. Guess who greeted me at the door? Hooray! There was the golden retriever. Turns out, he’s 11 years old, is named Parker and his new side-kick, the elusive puppy named Buddy, did live with him. The owner, named Shawn, was so grateful. A gate had been left open by mistake and curious Buddy took off to explore. It was heartwarming to see two happy, healthy dogs who seemed excited about the pop tarts. Shawn and I talked about the importance of micro-chipping your pets and how thankful we both were that he was reunited with his dogs. I love the title of this magazine: All Creatures. It was amazing how, that hot summer day in Tulsa, God did useall kinds of “creatures” – post-surgery, dog loving people, a girl I’ll probably never see again who had pop-tarts, a friend’s husband and a dog rescuer to help two sweet creatures in the middle of a busy street. 

With permission, here are photos Bri took of Parker and Buddy in the back of my car. Bri is a dog-sitter affiliated with, Rover the dog-sitting service and app which I highly recommend to find excellent dog care.

Precious Parker
A hot little Buddy
Patient Pearl who seemed to know we were helping the dogs.
Thank you Bri!
I’m headed here! I can’t wait to learn from others. I’d appreciate your prayers.

You Were Born To Fly

Today, I find myself in beautiful Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’m on a fun, yet long adventure and am driving a 10 foot U-Haul across the country. Our youngest daughter, Cambri, needs some of her things for her senior year at USC in Los Angeles and I’m the deliverer. It’s actually been a fun and inspiring journey as I have never done anything like this by myself.

I awoke this morning to this beautiful sunrise:

It’s the Sandia mountain range and they are especially beautiful this morning.

“Oh how I’d love to fly close to that majesty!” I thought when I saw that glorious sunrise unfold. I was then reminded that eagles can and that perhaps many do soar near these mountain tops daily to take in the grandeur.

My dear friend and mentor, Shirley Staires, shared a story with me years ago that I remembered this morning as I imagined an eagle, soaring over the mountains.

It’s called: The Chicken Eagle and I’ll summarize it for you:

A naturalist was visiting a farmer one day and was surprised to see a beautiful eagle in the chicken coop. “Why in the world do you have an eagle living with chickens?”

“Well,” answered the farmer, “I found him when he was little and raised him here with the chickens. He doesn’t know any better; he thinks he is a chicken.”

The naturalist was dumbfounded. The eagle kept pecking the grain and drinking from the watering can, keeping his eyes on the ground, scratching around in circles.

“Does he ever try to fly, try to spread his wings and soar?” asked the naturalist.

“No,” said the farmer…I doubt he even knows what it means to fly.

The naturalist asked the farmer if he could take the eagle out of the coop and spend some time with him.

“Sure,” said the farmer but I think you’re just wasting your time.

The naturalist took the eagle and lifted him to the top of the chicken coop fence. “Fly!” he said, to the frightened eagle who fell to the ground.

Next, he took the eagle to the top of the hayloft and spread its wings before tossing it high in the air. “Fly!” he said excitedly, hoping to see the eagle take flight on its own.

Again, the eagle crashed to the ground and resumed scratching and pecking the ground.

Then, the naturalist took the ruffled eagle out, away from the chicken coop. He set the docile bird in the front seat of his pick up truck next to him and headed for the highest butte, away from the farm.

He tucked the bird under his arm and spoke gently: “Friend,” he said to the eagle, “you were made to soar.”

After a lengthy and sweaty climb to the crest of the butte, he lifted the eagle up and, once more, said “FLY!”

He tossed the eagle out and, this time, much to his relief, it opened its 7 foot wingspan and flew gracefully into the sky. The eagle slowly climbed in ever higher spirals, riding unseen thermals of hot air until it disappeared in the glare of the morning sun.

The naturalist watched as the eagle flew over the chicken coop, perhaps bidding farewell to the farmer and his chicken family.

The naturalist smiled and thought how satisfied he was with his days work. Like the eagle, he had for many years, let other people define his worth and direct his path. Yet, with a change of environment, hope in his heart and faith to try something new, he found his self-worth and real calling.

The moral of the story, of course, is to not let other people define you or limit your influence and purpose.

You were created to fly!

If you find yourself in a “chicken pen” environment, it’s time to get out of that coop.

What some peck away at throughout life is not part of your purpose. If you choose chicken feed you will miss out on magnificent morsels. You were made to soar on wings with eagles.

We all are children of God with unimaginable potential. Our Heavenly Father knows our purposes and has given us individual missions and special, unique gifts needed to accomplish them.

Isaiah 40: 31 reminds us of this: “ they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

This promise should become more and more enticing to us. But, sadly, like the eagle in the chicken pen, surrounded by others with downcast eyes, most people lack the desire to discover their God-given abilities and talents.

It is when you get out of the coop, look up to your Creator and seek His counsel, that you become all that you are meant to be.

So…start today! Venture away from familiarity. No more chicken feed. Fly high with your Creator. Seek His path for your life and enjoy a heavenly vision of purpose.

* For those of you who are following my U Haulin’ adventure, I’m exploring Albuquerque today, then am off to Arizona tomorrow. Thank you for your prayers. I feel and treasure them and you!

Recovering Joy 🌻

Feeling blue?

Down? Depressed?

Ever heard of the term “acedia?”

Acedia s from Latin acedĭa, and this from Greek – “negligence”, ἀ- “lack of” -κηδία “care”).

This term has been defined as “a state of listlessness or torpor” of not caring or not being concerned with one’s position or condition in the world.

Felt this way lately?

SO many have and still do.

In ancient Greece akidía literally meant an “inert state without pain or care.”

Early Christians used the term to define a spiritual state of listlessness and from there the term developed a markedly Christian moral tone. In modern times it has been taken up by literary figures and connected to depression.

I felt this way last week.
So have some of my friends.
It’s hard not to.

Covid days, a polar vortex storm, days on end of passions and purposes thwarted leads to downward spirals.

Countless days have been downers.

We’ve lost people we cared about to Covid – great people.

The power outages and ramifications of the recent snow storm seem unending. A friend in Texas said “well, our power stayed on but I feel I’ve lost all MY electricity and energy.”

So. Much. Awful.

I get it. It’s everywhere.



Depression, malaise, the blues, anxiety & acedia need to be exposed and banished.

You CAN do that.
Together, WE can do it.

Gordy Guest and I prayed that feeling of acedia away on Saturday and, within a few hours, joy was back. Literally, a heaviness over and in our home lifted. We felt it leave.

Friends, these are tough days.

We can be tougher. 💪🏼🙏🏼

We MUST chose to go after the negativity and get. it. OUT.

We were SO encouraged today, at Asbury, our church in Tulsa by our Sunday School class, by Pastor Tom’s awesome message (go to Asbury on Facebook and tune in) and by one worship song in particular called “King of Kings,” by Hillsong.

My favorite lyrics in that song are these beautiful words:

“In the darkness we were waiting
Without hope, without light
‘Til from Heaven You came running
There was mercy in Your eyes
To fulfill the law and prophets
To a virgin came the word
From a throne of endless glory
To a cradle in the dirt”

We can combat acedia through tapping in to the love of Christ.

Talking about this “acedia” feeling with those you trust, praying with others, PRAISING in the midst of pain and being with the body of Christ all help.

Because we are empty nesting, we worship at both Asbury & at Life.Church. We love both places and are grateful for encouraging people and wonderful pastors & messages.

Tap in, friends.

Don’t stay down.

Choose joy.
Choose joy TODAY.

Choose to go after joy, hope and let’s collectively wake up.

Tough times call for us to arise in Whose we are and who we are.

We were not made to stay down, to live with the blues or in a state of “not caring”.

On a wonderfully encouraging Empty Nest Guests podcast, I interviewed Michelle Van Loon, author of Becoming Sage. She’s awesome and taught me about the term “acedia”.

Acedia is gripping our society…even the most positive people and it’s time to expose it and rise against it.

It’s time to recover joy.

May the song King of Kings bless you.

May Pastor Tom’s message bless you.

Turn on praise music.
Call a friend.
God wants so much more for His people.

The snow will melt and the sun will emerges this week. Praise Him for that.

As power is restored to homes, may His power be restored in you.

“CHOOSE this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will choose to serve the Lord.”
Josh. 24:15

Together, let’s battle the blues wreaking havoc on our world.

Here’s the song we loved:

And, to listen to the podcast with Michelle Van Loon, go here:

Thanks for reading the blog. May you be blessed today and know how special you are. 🌻

The Gift of Growth During Covid

As I begin this blog post, I am thinking about the ways I have grown during this crazy Covid pandemic and the beautiful growth I have witnessed in people and in creation.

It’s been almost a year since the pandemic infiltrated our country and our communities. A year ago, no one used the word “Covid” unless you were, perhaps, a doctor and used that word in a chart documenting a strain of the common cold.

I recently stayed with my Aunt Harriet, in Denver, as she began recovery from ankle surgery.

We discussed that COVID-19 is much different. It has infected people, our livelihood and, for many, it has been deadly. We are in the middle of making history and hopefully will be on the other side of this horrible plague soon.

Aunt Harriet and I talked about the beginning of the pandemic and how we all sort of enjoyed staying home and cleaned out every drawer, pantry, nook and cranny. We productively re-organized our homes and lives.

I remember walking through our neighborhood and seeing almost every garage door up. Neighbors smiled and waved as they threw out clutter.

We all thought this pandemic would be “over” in a couple of months. I also remember being extremely concerned. We needed to get our youngest daughter, Cambri, home from Los Angeles. Things felt a bit safer in Tulsa and we wanted to get her home as, at the time, we were not experiencing as many cases as Los Angeles.

Cambri drove to meet me in Phoenix. I flew one way, on one of the last flights out of Tulsa, (thank you Southwest) to meet her there. We would make the rest of the drive back to Tulsa together.

One thing that has grown inside of me, during this pandemic, is the ability to hear the voice of God. Not audibly but, deep in my spirit. I feel the Holy Spirit guiding me now more than ever before.

I knew that I would be all right, on that airplane, and that we would make it back home safely. I felt an overwhelming sense of trust and gratefulness as I walked through an empty airport and boarded an airplane with just two other passengers. It was one of the strangest experiences I have ever been through…yet I felt His assurance.

This Southwest plane was virtually empty. I was one of three passengers. It was wonderful to talk with these two stewardesses who were strong Christian women.

In my life, God always has spoken to me through other people, His people, in the body of Christ. I certainly saw growth in this area escalating all through the pandemic as believers became even more outspoken about their faith.

I know I grew, personally, in this area as I believed the one thing I could offer, in the mist of fear and uncertainty, was positivity.

Cambri and I ended up staying in Carefree, Arizona for eight days. Covid-19 cases began to grow in Tulsa and Arizona was more open at that time so we stayed. Our almost empty timeshare property offered the ability to soak up the sun in a very special patch of green grass.

Cibola Vista will forever hold a special place in my heart as, there, we were surrounded by bright, vibrant flowers, sunshine and a very special horse stable across the street.

Snow and her little one, Arizona.

As Covid days lingered on, noticed the beauty of creation even more. I’ve spoken with others who have shared that they too, paid attention to things they never would have without the pandemic.

Sunrises and sunsets became topics of conversation. Flowers blooming and birds singing blessed my heart.

Seeing those horses simply living was comforting.

My husband Gordy and I returned to Cibola Vista about 10 months after Covid began.

What a joy it was to see little Arizona all grown up. He was strong, frolicked about and carried his head held high.

Covid has left so many discouraged, disheartened, depressed. Some we know, have lost a family member and the death toll rises.

Little Arizona reminded me, to hold my head up, and to keep living and trusting. As I witnessed his growth, I felt encouraged.

I have grown in many ways over this past year. I have found myself slowing down, taking the time to go deeper in many ways.

I have grown closer to many, many people that I love and for that I am thankful. I’ve learned to really let go of little things that don’t matter. I’ve learned that the days and nights are much better when I give them over to the Lord and to trust Him along the way.

My love of art and painting has grown and I’ve gained confidence to paint larger pieces. I treasure hearing the Lord speak to me, even just a while back, telling me to just paint for pleasure and to encourage those who like my work to donate to a charity instead of pay me. That was definitely His idea and it will be fun to see whom I can bless as He continues to whisper me along.

Our home in Broken Arrow.
A painting for a friend.
They donated to First Tee.

I’ve realized that Covid has allowed me to grow deeper and some purposes I already have. One of them is working in the therapy dog world. I have served for several years with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs.

During Covid, I decided to grow deeper in this area as well and became an area tester. Now, I am helping certify other people who would love to serve with their dogs to bless others. This growth has been especially rewarding.

As I wrap this blog up, I’m thankful for growth and I’m prayerful. Many family friends are Covid positive and continue to battle on.

It’s my goal to stay positive, to remain encouraging and helpful and to continue to grow, spiritually, physically, and mentally.

Mother Theresa said, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”

For me, meaningful growth has come from enjoying, noticing and doing small things with love and a joyful heart.

I encourage you to seek growth opportunities that are both around you and also within you.

John Maxwell said “If we are growing, we always are going to be out of our comfort zone.” Let’s live there and continue to grow each and every day.

2021 – A New Year, Passions & Purpose

A New Year is a wonderful time to begin many things and return to things you love. I’m returning to this blog, the first blog entry in a while.

2020 was full of many things but mainly Covid, cautions that come with an unprecedented pandemic and, for me and many others last year, many things seemed to stand still.

I learned at the end of last year, after much time to ponder, that much of what I feel led to do begins with the letter P.

Peace, Prayer, People, a Podcast, Painting & Puppies.

I clung tight to prayer & my faith and certainly tried to keep the peace in 2020…and stay positive (another great P word). Being in the midst of this continuing, strange pandemic is just awful.

As I write today, it’s hitting closer to home as we have lost some we know and love. Our thoughts are with many who are mourning those they love and others who are fighting on.

I will forever remember going to Arizona in the beginning of Covid last year to meet our youngest daughter who needed to get out of Los Angeles. The pandemic swept through there in a fury and shut LA down before it hit other parts of the country. It’s still shut down and I admire our daughter as she maintains positivity and pursues her education, still out there, online.

In 2020, Cambri and I stayed in the Scottsdale area for eight days. Flying to and from Tulsa was so strange as hardly anyone was on the airplanes.

So many planes were grounded and I realized then that so much of what I love to do in life was grounded as well. A lot of my passions were grounded. The days all ran together and malaise and heaviness was everywhere. It still is as Covid lingers.

Thankfully, devotional readings and staying grounded in the word kept (and still keep) hope alive for me. I realize that desperate times to call for desperate measures and positivity. I want to be an ambassador of joy and peace and hope in the midst of the pandemic and always.

I read of others in the Bible who continued to press on knowing that the Lord was using them to be a positive influence. People like Esther, Paul, and all of the disciples knew their purposes and, despite hardships, pressed on with their passions. Mainly, the passion of Christ.

Christ is my number one passion too (a great P word) and secondly my family. My friends and the hobbies and things I love follow behind.

Last year, as I found myself home more, digging into the word and praying I did become encouraged. This time led me to have a new love in a different way for the passions I have enjoyed for a long time. I am painting more and learned of a way to use that gift to bless others by painting for “causes”. Now, I paint and share my gifts. Those who commission me donate to a charity. My podcast, Empty Nest Guests was born and has been such a blessing, offering hope to others in the encore years. I have learned so much from some amazing people.

Find this podcast on Spotify, Podcasts and other platforms. Thanks for listening! 🌻

Much was put on hold for me in the “puppies” world with my therapy dog work but, we got a new puppy, named Pearl and she has taught us so much.

I mainly have learned patience (a great and hard P word) and what childlike faith looks like through her playful offerings snd stubborn spirit…so reminiscent of my own early walk as a Christian.

As I watched our puppy grow and mature and learn from working with me and my husband several times a day, I have certainly seen the value of discipline and the rewards of training. Isn’t that true in our own lives?

I laid this blog down for a while last year which gave birth to other purposes and passions. I decided it was time to pick it back up though and will use this venue to summarize notes from others who have been such a blessing on the podcast. One thing I know for sure is I have been blessed tremendously from others during this time.

I appreciate you following this blog and hope that this coming year will be a blessing for you and yours. I hope to share some things I’ve learned from some really great people and wish you a healthy and hopeful 2021.

As you ponder a new year, a new word or phrase perhaps, may the Lord reveal your purposes to you.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matth. 7:7

I believe the Lord is desiring for all of us to ask Him what we are to do during these very strange days. Lean in to Him, ponder your purposes and embrace your passions and the people around you.

Stay tuned here, on this blog, for encouragement each month from others, who’ve appeared on Empty Nest Guests. I look so forward to sharing their wisdom with you!

Until then, enjoy this great advice from my favorite coffee mug of the moment:”God is using you to SHINE His love, SHARE his love & to SHAPE His people.

“God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things at all times having all that you need you will abound in every good word.” 2 Corinth. 9:8

Here’s to 2021 and finding purpose, passions and learning from great people.

Happy 2021 from my family to yours.
Stay healthy & hopeful!

Lessons Learned from St. Patrick

I’m so grateful a friend wished me happy St. Patrick’s Day. The day might’ve just slipped right on by as I continue to flip back-and-forth between news channels learning about hourly updates regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Inspired by my friend’s text, (thanks Joan) I found a few readings about the life of Saint Patrick and especially appreciate a blog by Kelsey McCain from 2019. Here’s what we can learn from this great saint:


McCain reminds us that St. Patrick was an English priest who, after being kidnapped at age 16, was held as a slave in Ireland, escaped home to England only to hear God calling him to go back and share the gospel with his former captors. He didn’t just forgive his captors, he prayed for them, chose to love them And saw them as brothers and sisters in Christ who needed to hear about Jesus. Today, Let’s forgive someone.

Perseverance & Faith

Saint Patrick spent most of his life persevering. As a young slave, he held onto the hope and promise of Christ. After he escaped, he chose to return to Ireland to share Christ with his captors. St. Patrick said: “Daily I expect murder, fraud, or captivity but I fear none of these things because of the promise of heaven.” May we not give in to fear. We, too, have the promise of heaven. Today, may we persevere & have faith.

Calling Over Comfort

Despite his calling, backed by even a heavenly vision from the Lord, St. Patrick was insecure because of his education level. He was self conscious and said “ I am unable to explain my mind to learned people.” Yet, choosing calling over comfort, St. Patrick obeyed God and started one of the largest church multiplication movements in history. Where God calls you, He will equip you. During these uncertain pandemic days, ask the Lord, “what’s my calling?” We have more opportunities to “Be still and know.” (Psalm 46:10) He will tell you as you lean in to hear His voice. Today, may we choose calling over comfort.

We’re Better Together

Rather than “go it alone” getting overwhelmed and exhausted by work, Saint Patrick chose to travel in a team and relied on others. He knew that having an extra support system was imperative to his mission. We all need a team. During this difficult time in history, family, friends, neighbors & community keep us connected. For those living alone, connectivity is critical. During this period of “social distancing,” we can encourage through texts, phone calls and FaceTime. We can take groceries to those who need them, drop off supplies and share what we have. We can pray for Team USA and all our leaders (in our own country and throughout the world). We can pray for those on the front lines, those sick and infected. We can encourage the faithless with our friendship and faith. We’re all in this together. Today, may we connect and support each other.

Yes You Can

The story of Saint Patrick is a blessing for all of us. May his life be a reminder for us to forgive others, to persevere and choose calling over comfort and support others well.
Today, we can make a difference, right where we are. Just like Saint Patrick, we live in uncertain times. The only thing certain is the promise of eternity for those who believe. May we cling to the words of St. Patrick as we honor his life and ministry today: “…I fear none of these things because of the promise of heaven.”

“…but perfect love drives out fear…” 1 John 4:18