my 48th year

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I’m turning forty-eight this week … again. Let me explain. For the past year, I’ve been telling folks that I’m forty-eight. I’m not kidding. Somewhere in the madness of this last year called My Life, I lost a year. So when my birthday rolls around on Thursday, really I’ll have gained a year. Make sense? Me neither. Safe to say, I have another twelve months of being forty-eight, and it’s likely to be my most productive year ever since I’ve been granted these extra 365 days of fruitfulness.

Ah . . . the blessedness of an extra year! I know. Not really, but it’s a delightful consideration, is it not? To wake up and realize you’re not as old as you feel?

Somewhere along the way, I stopped counting my years. Candles on the cake (after nearly five decades) don’t garner as much enthusiasm as they once did. Turning double-digits and turning twenty-one were milestones met with eagerness. Back then, I had an entire world in front me. At forty-eight, there’s a whole lot of world behind me—a lot of life lived, enough experiences had, mistakes made, memories collected, and highlights celebrated to fill several dozen scrapbooks.

How much more can there be?

So much more.

Consider the possibilities of an extra year. With an extra year I’ll be able to . . .

  • Have the conversations I meant to have.
  • Write the letters I meant to write.
  • Make the calls I meant to make.
  • Pray the prayers I meant to pray.
  • Give the love I meant to give.
  • Send the gift I meant to send.
  • Drive the miles I meant to drive.
  • Invest the time I meant to invest.
  • Do the work I meant to do.
  • Pursue the dreams I meant to pursue.
  • Speak the truth I meant to speak.
  • Plant the seeds I meant to plant.
  • Share the fruit I meant to share.
  • Afford the grace I meant to afford.
  • Offer the apologies I meant to offer.
  • Extend the kingdom I meant to extend.
  • Enlarge the Jesus I meant to enlarge.

Indeed, a delightful consideration. With all of these extra days added to my year, I’ve been granted the rich benefit of more—a second chance of sorts, a way to re-invest my energies and my heart in the right and good direction. There’s nothing to dread. There are only opportunities to embrace. Another year, when cast in the light of sacred potentialities, is the gift that keeps on giving long after the cake has been eaten and the balloons have deflated.

This is the blessed do-over of my 48th year. I’m so grateful for another opportunity to live the life that I meant to live last year and to do so alongside the Giver of Life who graciously grants me this privilege.

Don’t dread the candles, friends. Instead, count them. Remember them, and then get busy living the life you mean to live. I’m so honored to share my 48th year with you . . . again. As always …

Peace for the journey,

Image credit: zerbor / 123RF Stock Photo

when God drops diamonds . . .

diamonds on lake“Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.” –Rev. 4:6

Every now and again, God drops diamonds from the sky, dressing his earth with a glimpse of heaven. He did so today, right around dinner time.

I wonder if anyone else noticed the brilliance as they dashed past me on their way home after work. Likely, they didn’t. Busy days make for tired evenings, and when a soul is worn out—overexposed to the duty and function of everyday living—diamonds often go undetected.

Oh the many ways the Father adorns his earth! The heavenly dressing room is overflowing with enough baubles to accessorize an entire world without duplication. Today, he adorned the neck of my neighborhood in diamonds. Tomorrow, perhaps rubies or sapphires. The possibilities are endless because the Artist is endless, and he likes nothing more than to surprise his children with jewels from his heavenly treasure chest.

I pray that God awakens your spirit and opens your eyes to catch a glimpse of eternity today. Push duty and function aside (if only for a few minutes) and pull up a chair to watch his show. God has something more for you than currently meets the eye.

Diamonds really are a girl’s best friends, especially the ones God drops from his heart into ours. May you find yourself so lavishly adorned, friends. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

A Harsh Splendor – a Lenten thought (guest post by Chuck Killian)

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The Gospels make it clear—you can’t make the ‘Lenten Journey’ without the desert and wilderness. That forty-day trek is rough terrain. All that stuff about wild beasts, temptations, and hunger, we’d rather not talk about it. And the cruelty of it; “Lord, can we do an ‘end run’ around the wilderness? We can meet you in forty days and celebrate.”

I never go through Lent without thinking of the Harsh Splendor. That is how Death Valley, California, is described. It is three thousand square miles of desert. The weather is hot and dry, reaching 134 degrees. The rain turns to steam before it hits the ground. Yet, in this place, stories abound about eager and greedy miners, who came in search for gold and silver. Instead, they found borax, and with mule teams made their way to the railroad 160 miles away.

Upon closer examination, some other amazing facts are known about Death Valley. Over 1000 different varieties of flowers grow there. Sheep graze atop Cottonwood Range, and the mesquite bush sends down a single tap root 100 feet in search for water. In spite of the fierce landscape, abundant life goes on; even the bristle cone pine has made it for more than 3000 years.

So, I ask, where is this Lenten Journey going to end? We know—the Cross! It is hard to find water there. Where is life amidst a grizzly death? In our Lord’s ‘death valley’, where is the splendor?

The harshest thing you can say about it all is that once this trip is over, it is death for Jesus. But, the splendor of that is there must be death before there can be a resurrection. And for that, there will always be ‘streams in the desert’.

It is recorded that an old pioneer once said, “Someday folks won’t have to make excuses or have a reason to come to Death Valley; they’ll just come because they like it and it’s good for their souls.”

Can it be that the wilderness is rich and verdant in its promise of healing and transformation? What is Lent but getting ready for the feast! Yes, come to the desert—it’ll be good for you soul!

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DSCN0253PS: So honored to have my dad guest posting today. He was the first man to ever hold me in his arms and to teach me about my heavenly Father. His walk with Jesus continues to radically shape mine. Love you, Daddy.

 Photo Credit

One of the great people of Garner – aka “my dad”

Garner, NC. That may ring a bell for some of you; it’s the hometown of American Idol winner, Scotty McCreery. I like it for two other reasons – my mom and dad. They moved there several years ago to be nearer to their grandkids. Not long ago, my dad sat down with the Mayor of Garner to talk about life in this beautiful city. I want to share his interview with you. After watching it, you might just want to relocate to Garner! Garner, NC, is not my hometown, but my parents? Well, they’ll always be my home. Wherever they lay their heads, my heart rests there as well.

May the peace of Christ rest upon you this weekend, friends.

PS: The winner of one of Leah’s books is Sonja! I’ll be contacting you privately to secure your choice.

Lent … It’s Killin’ Me (Guest Post by Leah Adams)

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Having come from a Baptist background the only thing I knew about Lent was that it was probably a misspelling of the stuff that you clean out of the dryer. It was not until I went to Young Harris College that I even heard the word, much less had it explained to me. Consequently, I never partook in the Lenten celebration. Even as an adult, I have never felt the urging to participate, until this year.

For those who are not exactly certain what Lent is, allow me to offer the definition from Dictionary.com:

“An annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches.”

Fasting and penitence … sounds fascinating, huh? Well, fascinating or not, it seemed the Lord was calling me to participate this year. As I pondered the matter on Ash Wednesday, I tried to decide what I would give up, or fast. I’m not a chocoholic, so that never crossed my mind. I don’t spend inordinate amounts of time on social media, so I didn’t feel led in that direction. What would it be?

I asked the Lord what I should fast during Lent, and the Holy Spirit plastered Philippians 2:14 (NIV) on the walls of my mind. I could do nothing but follow His lead.

“Do everything without complaining or arguing ….”

Well, alrighty then! If I want to focus on Jesus and His work on the cross, and be more like Jesus, then I need to stop complaining.

“Hmmmpfff! I don’t do a lot of complaining,” my smug self told the Holy Spirit. “This should be pretty easy.”

I think in the distance I heard Almighty God laughing out loud.

About twenty-four hours in, I realized I might have been a bit too smug about the level of my complaining. Forty-eight hours in found me ‘telling’ our Australian daughter, Bree, about something someone else had done that had not pleased my heart. Suddenly, she looked dead-on at me, and in her most charming Australian accent said, “Weren’t you giving up complaining for Lent?”

BUSTED! I had not even realized I was complaining. Oh Sweet Mercy! I still had thirty-seven days left. This was going to be much more difficult than I had anticipated.

The next morning I spent time repenting of my spirit of complaining, and asking the Lord to help me be aware of when I complain. I’m certain He has a mind to answer that prayer. Probably I should just go ahead and duct tape my mouth closed for the next thirty something days. Alas, there is the pesky problem of my thought life. I may not voice my complaints, but I sure think them. Perhaps a long acting sleeping medication is what I need. You know, Rip van Winkle-ish for the next forty days.

What about you? Are you pegging your complaining meter out like I am inclined to do? It is a huge issue, friends. Are you doing everything without complaining?

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untitled-65Leah Adams describes herself as the “prodigal son’s sister” after spending several years walking far from the Lord in her twenties. Helping others understand the grace that is offered by Jesus to anyone who will accept it is the passion of Leah’s heart. In a works-based and failure-prone society, grace is a concept that many people have difficulty grasping, and Leah’s speaking and writing ministry, called The Point Ministries, seeks to point others straight to Jesus and his amazing grace. Although her ministry is to all women, Leah has a heart for reaching those who are part of the Generation X and Millennial groups with the love of Jesus.

An author and communicator, Leah lives in northern Georgia with her husband, Greg, who is also her dentist. She holds a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from Mercer University School of Pharmacy. Leah is a CLASS certified speaker and is the author of a Bible study entitled, From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest: Creating a Godly Legacy, as well as a devotion book entitled, When Words Won’t Come. Her second Bible study, HeBrews: A Better Blend, will be released by Warner Press in the summer of 2014. In her free time, Leah enjoys reading, cooking, camping and sharing girlfriend time. You can visit Leah at her website, www.leahadams.org. She can also be found on Facebook (Leah Adams – The Point Ministries) or Twitter (@PointMinistries).

PS: Leave a comment today to win a copy of one of Leah’s books – your choice. I’ll pick a winner with my next post.