Category Archives: Motivation and Encouragement

Second Chances

I made my bed this morning.

Not a big deal.  Anyone with a bed and a blanket and the ability can make up a bed.

As I was drinking a morning cup of coffee, I watched as a robin gathered strands and stems from my flower bed that I haven’t cleaned up yet.  That robin was making the bed, too.

It occurred to me, that very same robin likely worked this very same task last spring.  The nest was built, the eggs were hatched, the young fledglings took wing, the nest was abandoned, and the ravages of winter storms destroyed that small carefully constructed home.

Sometimes, it can feel as if this scenario is played out in our own lives as a dream we have cherished since childhood, so carefully constructed in our hearts and minds, skips the steps of being hatched and taking wing, and these dreams are simply abandoned and destroyed by life’s storms.

Thankfully, we get second chances.  Sometimes, we even have third or fourth chances.  Another chance to follow a dream, another chance to build a life, another chance to see fruition.  Every morning that we awake, we receive a new beginning of a new day.  This day is ours to do with as we please.  This day and every day is a second chance to make something beautiful happen.


The way I see it, by making my bed, I am accepting that challenge to take hold of that second chance, to do what I can with what I am given to make that dream come true, each and every day.

So, how does your bed look?


All Things New

It seems that Spring has finally arrived here in Indiana!  After a relentless “bi-polar vortex” Winter, the sound of birds singing and green sprouts pushing upward bring an even greater appreciation of warm weather than usual.


(photo by Heidi Jasper)

I think Isaiah was prophesying for Hoosiers when he wrote: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:18-19 

Sometimes a celebration of beauty is a struggle.  It can be difficult to find and appreciate beauty around when you feel like you are sinking in despair and depression.  This is when you need to seek out beauty the most!  Do something for yourself:  Go for a walk, go for a drive, go for a coffee – just go!  Now find one small thing that turns up the corners of your mouth.  For me, it was the buds on my lilac bush that, no matter how my husband tries to bring about its demise, still holds on and buds out every year.  No flowers yet, mind you, but at least bits of green and eventually glossy leaves appear.

Day to day life will have its ups and its downs; there is no denying that fact.  Some days will be mountaintops, and some days will be deep valleys, and some days will be deserts.  But most days will be somewhere in meadows, or rolling hills, or calm forests.  Claim these middle-ground days for when you are struggling through the valley or desert.

The battle of life is, in most cases, fought uphill; and to win it without a struggle were perhaps to win it without honor. If there were no difficulties there would be no success; if there were nothing to struggle for, there would be nothing to be achieved.

-Samuel Smiles

Perfectly imperfect

Perfectly imperfect

I like my mashed potatoes lumpy.

If you are offended, feel free to leave now.  I won’t judge.

I tend to find beauty in places that many do not.  I find beauty in a character-filled and not-quite-perfect table that has been left on the curbside, abandoned and seemingly futureless.  A chandelier, missing some baubles and no longer lighting the night, will find its way out of the trash, into my heart, and onto my Christmas tree in the form of ornaments, into my jewelry box reborn as earrings, and gracing my holiday table as a candlelit centerpiece.

wabi sabi

The Japanese hold a philosophy of “wabi-sabi”, embracing the imperfections of daily life.   The old, the timeworn have a beauty that no new “perfect” object can match.

wabi sabi 2

This attitude can be transferred to our own history, our own imperfections, our own experiences.  In Isaiah 61, we see that God will “comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

Your life – the good, the bad, the ugly – can become a beautiful thing, IS becoming a beautiful thing.

So if your home is not perfect, if your hair is drooping along with your body, if you make lumpy mashed potatoes, you still have a purpose, you are still useful, you are still beautiful.

And I’ll be right over to share the potatoes.

…everything beautiful in its time…

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Ecclesiastes 3:11a

What is beauty?  What makes something beautiful?

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  While this adage is true, I believe that beauty is also in the ears of the beholder, the mouth and nose, the sensation of touch, in the mind of the beholder.  Think about it.  You have heard beautiful music, but you did not see it.  You have felt beautiful emotions, like love and friendship.  You smell certain scents and beautiful memories come flooding your thoughts.  All of these are beauty that are not in the eye of the beholder.  Beauty is most often beheld in the heart of the beholder.

I find beauty everywhere I go, whether in a sunset, a child’s face, a completed craft project, music, a gentle touch, an embrace, even in a well-organized pantry!  My goal is multi-faceted:  I want to help you find beauty in your everyday life and help you to appreciate it, no matter what form it takes; I want to share ways to incorporate beauty into your home, your relationships, your world; I want to encourage you to share the beauty you have discovered.  Raising a family, painting the walls, growing flowers, continuing education, whatever is it that can bring beauty to this world – if I can share it, it will be shared.

I am a wife, a mother of six, and a grandmother of seven and counting!  I am a college student/graduate, a trainer and workshop teacher, an early childhood education professional, a children’s ministry worship leader, a camp director, and an artist/musician/writer.  I am your everyday, somewhat “normal” woman who cares deeply for those around me, and who wants to make every life I touch better in some small way.

My ultimate goal is to be an encourager to you.  Join me on this journey to beautiful, and see what we can discover together!