My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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Tender Hearts & Thick Skins

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Janet and I were neighbors and all around best buddies, our closeness evident by the telltale photo of the matching outfits we sported on our grade school field trip to OMSI.  We completed our wardrobe down to the lucky rabbits foot dangling from our Levi belt loop’s.  Really, how lucky could that poor rabbit have been?  When I think of Janet my mind is flooded with happy memories and funny stories, they are like brilliant stars nestled in a night sky of gratefulness.  A treasured childhood friend to share silliness and secrets, whether walking to school, playing together, or during sleepovers; experiencing laughter till our sides hurt brought on by our countless goofy ways we could amuse ourselves.

One of our favorite games was playing Montgomery Wards catalog, in our day (which sounds incredibly old ) you could pick up and return your orders to the Mall 205 Ward’s store. During that age they relied on employee customer service and good old fashion handwritten files to keep track of it all. What fun it was to play after school, setting up shop downstairs on my parents covered pool table.  A toy pink phone for imaginary calls… check, a Ward’s catalog… check, files made up with fake names like Frank Frone… check, all the proper tools to ignite our wild imaginations. Why we never worked at Montgomery Ward’s when we got older I will never know. We had serious mad skills I tell you!

Some of our other memories were going door to door collecting money for the Christian Children’s Fund. One time, we chose to clean the handwritten graffiti from bathroom stalls during recess just for fun!  Each school week was occasionally mingled with some mischief… at times less than angelic.  Rounding out our Friday’s with our hit single we belted out our song, “We’re going home today, today, today!! ushering in our weekend.  It makes me giggle at the very thought of it.

One moment we walked to grade school as children, next thing you know we were catching the bus to Junior High with the first stroke of blush applied to our cheeks. Time flew by but the memories linger remaining a steady source of joy.  Recently,  while at the check stand I was gazing at the outrageous tabloids that slander and exploit people without grace or kindness. I wondered how does one being attacked handle such lies, falsehoods and slander without being able to tell their side of the story? A two sided coin only baring one side oblivious to the other side’s details.

We have all struggled with hurtful and untrue stories told that slammed against the walls of  our integrity. Casting suspicion on our foundation we hold so dear.  Sometimes, I am guilty of setting my eyes on only one side being represented, believing that to be the whole truth without hearing the other side.

As I wrestle with my own personal pain from untruthfulness spun against me, it presses me into seeking endurance for the injustices. Causing me to mumble this question to myself as I unloaded my shopping cart ”  How do they do it God?  I gently   heard the words “thick skin” rise up in my spirit, and the memories of how Janet and I had a pre-summer ritual.

Before summer arrived we would prepare our tender feet for the freedom of barefoot days by toughening them up.  Our solution: A “foot boot camp” without boots.  These tender feet that were previously cradled in warm socks and comfortable shoes, barely seeing the light of day, would be exposed not only to the sunlight but the dark hard asphalt and rough cement, going… “all natural”.  Quickly acclimating our tender soles to lessen the nuisance of feeling every poke and jab of the harsh ground beneath.  Thus, giving way to a foot loose and fancy free summer!

It made so much sense to me back then, and it so applicable to me now. My tender heart and thin skin feels every poke and jab of harshness and disapproval of others toward me, focusing my attention on my wounded soul.  Instead, I want to use these opportunities to develop a thick skin of grace foregoing being callous to their deep woundedness.  This allows me the freedom to enjoy the green pastures the Lord leads me to. His endless glory stretched out beneath my eager feet.  His glowing canopy of  approval and forgiveness gives me the strength to say, *1  “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  *2  “Being able to throw open our doors to God and discover at that same moment that He has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand–out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praises… with our Tender Hearts and Thick Skins.

1*  Luke 23:34 NIV

2*Romans 5 1:2 The Message Bible


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You’ve Got Mail

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When our boys were 5 and 7 yrs old one of my prayers for them was to have a dog. Growing up my brother and I had a lot of fond memories of Herbie our little poodle mix.  As parents my husband and I wanted our children to have some special moments similar to ours growing up.  Although we now wrestled with the fact our money was tight and our cottage home small… a tight situation on both ends. I began praying asking God with these specifications….for a little dog that was also CHEAP.  Trusting in a God who loves to  give us the desires of our heart.

One day while answering the phone I was delighted to hear my bubbly friend and mentor, Michelle on the other end. In her trademark cheerful tone mixed with  passionate zeal, she exclaimed… “Guess what Lisa !?”,  to which I replied,  “What”  trying to reach her level of enthusiasm. She chimed in with such exuberance it could have motivated a failing football team into the state championships.
“God says you’ve got mail” she said eagerly making me laugh at her perky statement. Being a routinely self confessing Eeyore from time to time, I greatly appreciated having a Tigger bouncing around to lift my occasional drooping spirits.

After our conversation ended there was a new found spring in my step faintly resembling that of “T  I  DOUBLE  GER” throughout my day’s errands. Finishing up that afternoon with a trip to our neighborhood post office, I amused myself while waiting in line by reading the signs below the counter. An unfamiliar sign was posted that caught my eye which  simply read “Lost dog ask clerk”.  When it came time to step up to the counter my casual statement to the clerk was , “Oh how’s the lost dog doing?” trying to engage her in a brief exchange of pleasantries, She didn’t miss a beat by saying, “Would you like us to bring her over to your house today?” I’m like whoa!.. that was not what I was expecting to hear, neither was I expecting  to hear myself blurt out an unwavering “Yes.” Walking away from the counter wondering what just happened.

That same day at 3.00 p.m a sweet lady mail carrier brought over a puppy cute as a button. A Blue Heeler–Boarder Collie– with a splash of Corgi in the mix.  All dressed in a striking black and white coat.  Upon opening the front door she wasted no time cleaning up a bounty of cheerios the boys had spilled the living floor.  This act alone sealed the deal for me, her efficient clean up worked better than any vacuum cleaner I ever owned… making Kerby, Hoover, or Dyson completely fitting names if my husband agreed to keep this loveable pooch. A petite four legged creature she  became fast a friend with the boys and I,  waiting only for a quick nod of my husband’s approval… and that is exactly what he did.

Within  24 hours we had our little, cheap (free!), and I might add, cute dog I had  been praying for. God is so good, He gives us exceedingly, abundantly more than we could think or ask for. When petitioning for a family pet my prayers never included asking for a new collar, or for our new dog to have all its’ current shots from the vet.  However, the kind woman that brought us our new doggie, provided both as a gift.  Through the generosity of this woman God added in all the bells and whistles for good measure.

I Corinthians 2:12 God says He wants us to realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly bestowed on us.   More appropriately than naming her after a vacuum cleaner we decided to name her Buttons because she truly is as cute as one.  Currently we have had our precious little dog for over 14 years. She has been sweet and dear companion to all of us.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”  Ephesians 3:20

Today, God is saying to each of us,  “You’ve got mail”,  and we can be sure it’s definitely not junk!


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This Little Light

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Through the years during Christmas time my mom would buy me a special ornament, a little something that caught her fancy, which in turn hoped to catch mine. Whether it be whimsical, or festive, they were always tokens of her love.  At times those tokens where presented by hand, lightly wrapped in tissue, tied up with a bow of mother’s excitement. On other occasions, I would find them lying on my canopy bed concealed in the small bag that they were purchased in….eager to surprise me. These memories sparked a fondness for ornaments that carried into adulthood, kindling a desire to continue this tradition with our own children.

Each year we would add to our family collection through  thrift store finds or clearance bins, being continually delighted in each new addition. However, regardless of this vast assortment to chose from  when it came time to decorate the tree only one out shined them all.  One small golden  house with intricately cut out windows and doors, all in all, a rather simple ornament with no grand history to tell of its’ origin. Somehow it became their most coveted treasure. The boys were always eager to awaken it from the slumbering storage box that had kept it safe….then with even greater anticipation they beamed with honor to nestle it among the tree boughs.
From day one I marveled at their exuberance over this seemingly less than showy bobble. For when surrounded with an array of grander, glitzier ornaments it appears to be completely obscure; easily overlooked and underrated by the average curious onlooker.  Nevertheless, our boys  immediately recognized its’ hidden potential at first glance. Their tiny hands cradling the small delicately crafted ornament and with their help, would soon place a miniature bulb inside causing luminous light to spill through each opening.  Thus, this once dark vessel was now aglow with warm splendor.

Though that was many years ago, seeing through their eyes this uncovered gem made me see its’ worth to a greater depth. Still to this day, this jewel  continues to shine brightly, faithfully stirring our hearts with it’s simple wonder. Recently while thrift store shopping our son Trent found by chance the exact same ornament.  With great joy he purchased it to give to his brother Derek to celebrate his first Christmas in his own home.
Besides all the warm memories that flood my thoughts as I gaze upon that wondrous ornament,  Matthew Chapter 5 comes to mind which states:

“You are the light of the world a city on the hill cannot be hidden”, Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house”.  Matt. 5:14

You my friend are a light !…esteemed with value which you have been  curiously and intricately wrought from the hands of your adoring creator Almighty God. You have not been overlooked, rather uniquely fashioned  to shine brightly and with purpose. The Message says ” Shine ! , Keep open house; be generous with your lives . By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in Heaven.”

Today and everyday I pray you’ll see all God’s glory and  know you have been personally handpicked to shine …..
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven “.   Matt.  5:16