The sky is always blue beyond the clouds. There is always hope and encouragement here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Words of my mouth

Bill and I made a commitment to ourselves when we took this job that every penny of our tithe would be sent home to our home congregation. We believe in this verse:
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. (Malachi 3:10 NASB)
And we believe that it means your home congregation when it speaks of "storehouse."
And God does truly bless us. And from these blessings we try to share blessings with others as we can. 
We have given donations to organizations, offerings at the churches we visit, people that needed things done, food to the hungry, all of which was above and beyond our tithe. And the best part of that is, as we bless others, we, too, receive more blessings.
We realize that many organizations depend on pledges and promises for support. And we understand that they must be able to depend on people's promises. They have to know that their funds will be there.
When you make a pledge or you promise someone something, you are giving your word. What is the value of your word? How much is your promise worth? 
Are you one that can be counted on? Do you often disappoint by not keeping your word?
I remember once when I was a little girl, hearing my dad tell someone, "I give you my word, that's the best I can give you."
Is your word the BEST you can give? 
A lot of people make promises with good intentions but then don't follow through. Do you know someone like that? I do. There is one person that when they tell me they will do something, It really takes restraint on my part to keep from rolling my eyes right in front of them. Their word has no value to me.
Then there are those that I know will keep their promise to me no matter whatever obstacles get in the way.
Which person do you prefer? Which are you?
Lord, I pray to be a person of my word. Build in me the character I need to be a loyal, faithful, person of integrity. Lord, I know that you will hold us accountable to the words we speak, and I want to be pleasing to You in this, as in all matters.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Take heart

Bill and I are very discouraged. We try not to be, but sometimes it just comes out no matter how hard we try to remain positive and upbeat.
We are truck drivers. We leave our home, our family, our beloved home church, and everything we own. I give up the desire of my heart to have a dog. We sacrifice all of that for our job. 
Mostly we like our job and see the best in all circumstances. We have made it our service to be the encouragers for so many other people. We see and experience so many things. We have attended over 200 Christian churches. We have met countless wonderful people. 
But Since we left home, right after Christmas, we have only worked 2-3 days a week. Then we sit for 3-4 days waiting for another load. 
We have spent time in weather 25 degrees below zero. We have driven through horrible blizzards. I am only saying that to point out that we aren't sitting because we are afraid of bad weather. No, we are sitting because we aren't getting the load offers that we used to get. 
We hate sitting around so far from home. We begin to have negative attitudes. We begin to get irritated with each other. We start to think that we want to give it up and go home. 
We do plan to do that soon, just not quite yet.
Right now we are sitting in Atlanta, GA. We have been here since Thursday morning. There are, at any given time, 20-30 other trucks just like us, waiting for a load too. We have been offered loads. But our company is trying to take advantage of all the trucks here. So our load rates are very low.
We understand the concept of supply and demand. However, we are out here to make a living and will not buckle to the pressure to take cheap loads just to move. So we wait. And get more and more frustrated.
We take turns reminding each other that we have had to wait patiently in the past. We go back and forth trying to lift each other's spirit by remembering how God has always provided our needs and often has blessed us beyond what we might have hoped for. We need to take heart and be strong. The Lord takes care of us.
We need to count our blessings. We also should continue to encourage others to look to Jesus.
God is enough. His love is good. His provision is sufficient. His refuge withstands. His patience is enduring. His mercy lifts my soul. His kindness is tender. His forgiveness is amazing. God is so good, He's so good to us.  
I hope that reading my circumstances do not bring you down. I would rather you see that even in discouraging situations I look to God and others for encouragement.
We all need encouraged. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Winter Storm

Bill and I had 3 loads this week which is one more than the past two weeks. Our last load now leaves us sitting near Atlanta, GA. 
It has been pouring down rain here and the temps are in the 40s. Most of the eastern half of the United States is bracing for a massive winter storm. 
I am watching the posts on Facebook as schools are getting out early, it is snowing a little already here and ice has begun there, stores are selling out of bread, milk, eggs and water. 
Forecasters are predicting 1 inch to 3 feet depending on where you live. This storm is dominating everyone's minds. 
Well, it interferes with our plans. It changes our routines. We may have to alter how we do things.
Bill and I are no different. We have scanned the nations weather. We have to know where or where not to go when accepting a load. 
We already went to the grocery store instead of waiting until Sunday as usual. 
We have a church already picked out in case we are still here and have already contacted them and heard back.
We have several unwatched movies waiting to be viewed.
Our tv reception has been tested and we are set for watching football. 
We are hunkered down. It is supposed to snow 1-3 inches here during the night. It will probably be gone by the time we wake up. 
It is a little amusing seeing what people do to prepare for the storm, a storm that will come and be gone in just a few days.
Jesus is coming! 
What are you doing to prepare for that? When He comes it will change everything for ever. When He appears in the sky, eternity begins. There will be no more preparation, no more planning, no more getting ready, and no hunkering down. 
"Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; Because I will do this to you, Prepare to meet your God, O Israel." (Amos 4:12 NASB)
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NASB)
Lord, help me to always be watching and waiting for You to return. I pray that you send those to me that will encourage me to remain fixed in You. I thank you for Your word which is my forecast and helps me to know to stay alert and ready. Lord, I long for the day when You come and we go home with You. 
In the meantime, use me as your instrument to help others to be ready and watching. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


A little less than 200 miles to get to our destination and we have a flat tire, on the front. So we aren't going anywhere for a little while. 
We make some calls and someone tells us that they will come right away. 
We have 6 1/2 hours to make our delivery today, otherwise it will hold over until tomorrow. 
So, let's think this out... The service tech will locate a tire of the right size and load it onto his truck. Then he will gather any tools he might need. Maybe he better go to the bathroom before leaving the garage. And oh yeah, better grab a cup of coffee to keep warm. It is only 7 degrees. Maybe he better run back in and grab his other gloves and another jacket, only he doesn't run. He walks, slowly, after all he's not really awake yet at 7:55 am.
Now he has to drive to the place on the turnpike where we are. 
Our truck must be jacked up, the old, very frozen, blown out tire must come off. He gets out all his tools, he gets out a piece of cardboard to kneel on. He decides to put on the second coat. He climbs up on the back of his truck to get our new, very heavy tire down and closer to our truck.
He must have said his prayers and be living right because everything went smoothly (how often does that happen?)
Our tire is off, now he removes the bad tire from the rim. It takes a sledge hammer. Can you imagine the shock of each hit on your cold arms and shoulders? The tire is off the rim. He rolls it to his truck, picks it up and tosses it onto his truck. 
The new tire is on the rim and he airs it up.
It is going onto our truck. 
I feel the jack lower us.
Now he begins to gather his tools and put them back into his truck.
Then he comes to us for payment. We give him our credit card and he has to go do our paperwork and run the credit card. 
After a while he returns for us to sign the receipt. 
We talk a moment but I see icicles in his mustache. He returns to his truck and drives away. 
We now have 4 1/2 hours to drive 200 miles and make our delivery in downtown DC, just 2 blocks from the Capitol Building. 
Ugh! We would be cutting it close. 
You see, as most of you know, my husband and I are truck drivers. We drive for FedEx but more specifically, Custom Critical. Our freight is always something very important that has a very critical time frame for delivery, think: donated organs, very needed medications, we even delivered a machine that keeps a heart alive outside a body during surgery just minutes before the scheduled surgery. The surgeon was waiting on the docks as we backed in. 
Anyway, we are always in a hurry. A big hurry! So we were chomping at the bit, so to speak.
The tire man was faster than what we thought he would be but his timing was different than ours. We were just customer #1 of his long, cold day. 
Do you understand what I'm getting at? 
All of this reminds me of 2 Peter 3:8-9. God's timing is different than ours. Sometimes we get so anticipatory that we want Him to come for us right now. We long to go home. 
But we are child # ??? In God's eyes. He wants all to long to go home with Him. So he is patient. He waits. He's not in a hurry.
But one day, that day will come. It will. 
I can hardly wait.
“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
2 Peter 3:8-9 ESV

Monday, January 18, 2016


Bill and I got into the cold weather yesterday about 4pm. The temps began to drop rapidly. We had looked ahead and tried to stay in the warmer temps until the last minute. We put fuel conditioner into our tanks to keep our fuel from gelling. We ran our bunk heater and opened the cabinet door where our water tank is to allow heat inside. We made sure our winter parkas, hats, gloves and warm shoes were handy. 
We live where you learn to be prepared for anything in the winter so we know. 
I am so glad that we planned ahead. The temps got down to -29 degrees, and for most of the day the average was -11. We never saw the temps rise above 0 degrees until near sunset, then they fell again.
We saw many many trucks sitting along the highways with their hoods up. I'm guessing they had frozen fuel. Oh, what a horrible situation in which to find yourself. Frozen fuel means that you can't move your truck and you have no heat. Diesel fuel will gel easily in cold weather.
We survived well. We were warm, as long as we stayed inside. Our water did not freeze. We had a nice warm meal cooked in the crockpot. 
We made our delivery, another pickup and we are now heading to somewhat warmer temperatures.
I did feel really bad for all those truck drivers that were stranded in the cold. I wonder why they did not think to prepare for the cold. Maybe they didn't look at the weather forecast. Or maybe they just didn't think it would happen to them. I don't know.
But all of that reminded me of the Bible parable of the 10 virgins.

"Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him. ' Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the prudent answered, 'No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.' But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.' Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour. (Matthew 25:1-13 NASB)

Being ready and prepared is the key. Would you want to be found unprepared?

Saturday, January 16, 2016



Bill and I ran hard on Monday, Tuesday and into Wednesday. But then we stalled out. We had 3 loads cancel on us. We have sat without working since then. It isn't easy to sit and not work when the whole point of being on the road is to haul loads. 
Two of the loads that cancelled on us were headed to Texas, our favorite place. So our excitement soared then plummeted as we got the load and lost the load within minutes, twice.
I felt like a mouse in the paws of a cat. 
And although our cab is super and much bigger than most trucks, it feels pretty small after a few hours of being in it with another person who may or may not be feeling pleasant. And it was pouring down rain, so neither of us could even get out and go for a walk. 
Besides that we each have some other stuff that is eating away our emotional health. 
We watched movies and more movies. We played games on our IPads. 
We made the best of it. We love and understand each other. So we both know when and what and how to speak to each other when circumstances are like this. Can you imagine spending 24/7 with your marriage partner, the only time you are apart is when you go to the bathroom? I am not trying to be unpleasant, just honest.
So Saturday a load came, picking up in North Carolina and going to northern Wisconsin. It is winter there. It IS January. The temperatures are -7 degrees. And it could snow. When it snows there, it could be feet.
Do we want the load? 
No! I don't. I don't. I do not want to go THERE. I want to go to Texas. Please, send us to Texas.
Then I hear Bill say, "We have no choice. We have to work."
I know this. My head knows this. But I don't want to be cold, drive in the snow, or run over the weekend. Oh, well, like he said we have no choice, it's our job.

We are created to move. We are not meant to stay still or remain idle. Yet often when told to go, we are reluctant for what reason. 
However very often, those that go are the very ones that find favor with The Lord. 

Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; (Genesis 12:1 NASB)
"Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me." (Jonah 1:2 NASB)
Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him." So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. (Matthew 2:13-14 NASB)
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20 NASB)

Lord, I hope and pray that wherever I am that I can be used by You in some way. And help me to trust that wherever I am is exactly where You would have me to be as long as I am obedient to You and Your word. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016


J o y 
Joy- I have chosen this small 3 letter word as my word for 2016. 
The dictionary defines joy as a noun, a feeling of great happiness, or the source of great happiness, or success in doing, finding or getting something.
Well, here I am, just barely starting the brand new year and I do not have "a feeling of great happiness." Does this mean that I have lost my Joy?
Someone told me that Satan is trying to steal my Joy. But does he really care if I'm happy or not? Many people living in sin are very happy and Satan doesn't try to steal their happiness. 
So Joy has to be something more, even more than happiness. And furthermore, if Satan wants to steal it, than it must be of God. Satan only steals from God or from those that belong to God.
So then, back to what Joy is. 
If Joy is of God or of those belonging to God, and the dictionary says it's a source of great happiness or success in finding something, then to me joy means: the great wonderful happiness that I have in being a child of God.
So, even though today may not be filled with smiles, flowers, puppies, butterflies, and rainbows, I am in God. Even though there may be tears, loss, troubles, sickness, and worries, I am still a daughter of the King. I choose to be joyful. I choose joy. 
The only way that Satan can steal my Joy is if I take my attention and focus off of the Lord. 
Lord, I want to choose You in the good days and the bad days. I want to follow Your ways at all times. I know that no matter what comes my way, You are bigger. You are in control. In You I place my trust. You are my source of everything. Knowing that, I can have great happiness. Joy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Stepping Stones

All around my house back home is a stone pathway. It is made from flagstone and is embedded into white gravel. When it was first done it was so pretty and served the purpose of guiding you to our doorways without walking in wet grass or dirt. But as the years have past and winter after winter have frozen and thawed the ground, some of the flagstone has heaved and shifted. So now if you aren't watching, you very well may trip over one of the stones.
What was intended as a help in the beginning has over time, and without correction and attending to, has actually become a liability.
I told my husband that it must be one of the first things we take care of this spring. We sure wouldn't want anyone to fall.

I have a good friend from my home church. He is the husband of our Whew sister, Cindy Ashley. His name is Kenny Ashley. He says a beautiful prayer. And for as long as I can remember he always includes these words, Let us be stepping stones and not stumbling blocks. 
In much the same way as my path stones, a well meaning "Christian" can shift, heave, be left without correction or attending to and become a stumbling block to someone else. They no longer are the pathway away from "dirt." And they no longer have the purpose to lead and guide.
God gives very harsh warnings to those who cause someone else to "fall."
But whoever causes one of these who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:6 NASB)
I hope and pray that I never think so highly of myself as to think that I can't or shouldn't be corrected by another. I hope and pray that I am always willing to be "realigned" so as not to trip someone up.
Lord, please help me to be a stepping stone and not a stumbling block.
I imagine all of us as a line of rock jumpers, holding hands and helping and encouraging the others, both those ahead of us on the path and those behind us. 

Speak softly

I just had a conversation with someone the other day who suffers from the same problem that I have, footinmouth disease. Yep, I am always saying exactly what I think. Blunt! Yep, that's me. If you ask my opinion, beware. I don't always tell you what you want to hear.
And since I also love teaching, I very often lecture.
The other person was telling me that they have even hurt people unintentionally by speaking truth. Yep, I've done that too. 
But, who hasn't said something at one time or another that you wish you hadn't?
Do you say legal bad words, little slang words that are substitutes for the real bad words?
Do you ever find yourself telling a little joke that might not be entirely clean?
Ever participate in gossip? Listening qualifies as participation.
Have you ever called someone a name? No? Really? Well, let's ask your back seat passengers.
I am sure that if we are honest we all can think of one time. 
I just hope and pray that if you hurt or offend someone with your words, that you are just as quick to say the words, "I'm sorry, please forgive me. I misspoke."

Speak softly, yes. But boldly and truthfully when you proclaim Jesus.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


I am not much of a baker. I loved homemade baked goods, but do not care to do the baking myself. 
You see baking involves chemistry and fractions and attention to detail and precise timing. I am good at attention to detail but the rest, not so much. 
When baking you have a list of ingredients, each must be added at just the right time, in just the right way, in just the right amounts. That is chemistry. And it must be ideal if the finished product is to be just right.
I tried to bake bread a few times. It's the yeast that will make or break your end product. Yeast is the catalyst in the recipe.
Yeast that is too old, too warm, or too cold will cause your product to fail. However if the condition of the yeast is good, it won't take much and your bread will raise and turn out so good. 
In Galatians 5:9, Paul talks about leaven (yeast.) in the context of this scripture, the leaven that permeates the whole lump of dough IS NOT an ideal situation. In fact, the "yeast" here is a bad thing that infects a spiritual event. 
One person can be a catalyst in another person's coming to the truth that leads to salvation. And one person can be a catalyst in another person NOT coming to the truth that leads to salvation. 
A bitter root, a hindrance, bad leaven can be a spoiler. 
The Bible warns against these and even goes so far as to tell you how to identify them. By their fruit you shall know them.
Bad fruit and good fruit lists are found in Galatians chapter 5. 
I hope and pray that I/we are walking by the Spirit. I hope and pray that I/we are bearing the fruit of the Spirit. And I hope and pray that I/we are a catalyst for good.

ˈkad(ə)ləst/ noun
  1. a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change.
    • a person or thing that precipitates an event.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Fallen Countenance

Have you ever had to discipline children? Maybe in a daycare setting or school classroom, in the Sunday school at church or even in your own home?
If you have then you know that you get one of two reactions. You will get a sorry, a penitent heart or you will get defiance and rebellion.
This morning I was reading from the Book of Genesis, the account of Cain and Abel's offerings. I came to the place where God accepted Abel's offering but not Cain's. Scripture says that Cain's countenance fell. 
Now I have read this accounting many times before. I have been in many discussions on these scriptures. Yet this morning the words, "his countenance fell" really stood out to me.
I had to look up the word. And the definition said, 
Countenance, noun, meaning long face.
The scripture says that Cain became angry and his countenance fell.
I try to envision in my mind someone who looks like that, Long in the face because of anger. I even had to try it out on my own face. I smiled, then made an angry face. I imagined what expression I might make if I was angry or jealous of another. Smile, anger, smile, jealousy. I COULD actually feel my face drop. 
But I thought to myself why does God care if Cain's face fell? Why does God care if his expression be lifted up?
Then I dug a little deeper into the meaning and got this.
Middle English: from Old French contenance ‘bearing, behavior,’ from contenir (see contain). The early sense was ‘bearing, demeanor,’ also ‘facial expression,’ hence ‘the face.’
So, could it be that Cain's behavior, his demeanor had fallen as well as the look on his face? 
Yes, because God also warns Cain about his angry feelings.
Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." (Genesis 4:6-7 NASB)

I can almost hear the gentle teaching voice of God as He spoke to Cain. I think I can almost see Him place His hand on the back of Cain's shoulder as He tries to tell him to choose to do well. 

We know how it ends. We know that Cain did not choose to do well. 

I have been practicing my smile, angry, smile, angry, smile, angry faces. I want to know that feeling of fallen countenance when it shows on my face. I want to recognize it immediately. Then I want to imagine a gentle teaching voice as I feel the loving hand on my shoulder, say to me, "If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up?"
How about you? Will you go practice those faces in front of your mirror? 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Lambs sent out

Look at the sweetness of this little lamb. You can see the innocence. You can see the gentleness. You can see the purity.
But do you notice the trepidation? Can you see the lack of trust?
As he walks out into the field, maybe he doesn't see danger. Can he smell it? Can he sense it? Is he even aware that it is there?
As Christians we are sent out. There is danger out there. We are told in 1 Peter 5:8 that the devil is prowling, looking for someone to devour.
Yet we are sent. "Go." Jesus said.
"Do not be afraid, do not fear, be courageous" there are many words of encouragement in God's word.
So, my question for you:
How do you, personally, prepare yourself to go?

Running like Jonah

Have you ever run from God? Did you ever shrink back in fear? Did you ever miss out on an opportunity to speak out for God because you were afraid or lacked the confidence?

I have.  

I am not proud of it. I wish that I could honestly say that I have made the most of every opportunity.
Sometimes I know that speaking of God will not be readily received. A time or two I have stayed quiet because I thought I might not have the proper knowledge of the scripture. Another time I just didn't feel that it was worth the debate.
But who am I to decide who is worth hearing the message, Grace is for the unworthy. 
God's word says that speaking His message will not always be popular. He says, do it anyway.
We are told too, to study to show ourselves approved, able to accurately handle the word of God. 
The world needs to hear the message of God's love. I pray that each of us will be bold in our work of going out and making disciples. Let us not run from our work.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Years Day

Today is the start of a New Year. It is a brand new start, just as each new day is a clean slate and another chance to begin fresh.
My prayer today comes from Psalm 51:10, Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

The whole Chapter, Psalm 51 is a very good prayer of a contrite heart. Are you familiar with the word? It is an adjective, a descriptive word. It means feeling or expressing remorse or penitence; affected by guilt.
Today, on this clean slate, start with a clean heart. Ask God (and others if need be) to forgive you.