People often ask me about the name of my blog... click here to read the story.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


"Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?
The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him." Proverbs 20:6,7

Dear Dad,
"Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?" Anyone who knows you, Dad, finds faithfulness in you;
faithfully loving mom,
faithfully loving us, your children and grandchildren,
faithfully seeking God,
and faithfully serving and ministering to each person you meet.

Your children and grandchildren are blessed by you, Dad;
by your faithfulness,
by your love,
by your righteousness,
and by your blamelessness.
Each person who has contact with you senses
your caring heart,
your keen intellect,
your gracious spirit,
and your unabashed love for God.
You encourage and build up friends and strangers alike;
where ever you go, Dad, you're an offering.

May you be blessed today
as you celebrate
72 years of life...
72 years pf blessing...
72 years of God's hand ever present in your life!

I love you, Dad! Happy Birthday!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Clear Blue

Sunrise by Brandon Heath
You wanna sound off you can't find the words to
Nothin' makes sense in the way that it used to
Can't find the plus in the positive thinking
The well's run dry and you're not done drinking

Clouds start comin' and the sky will fall
Clock stares back from the bedroom wall
Now you're breathin' just to make it through the night

All you need is a sunrise
Just a moment of dawn
If you're lost in the twilight
Close your eyes and move on
When you're tired in the waiting
Even though it's gonna take you
A little more time
Just a little more time the sun's gonna find you

Holding your days like a stack of paper
Then you're chasing the wind as the pages scatter
You can save a few but you can't get 'em all back
So get out fast with your heart in tact

Find yourself on the very edge
Lying awake in an empty bed
Now you're breathin' just to make it through the night

All you need is a sunrise
Just a moment of dawn
If you're lost in the twilight
Close your eyes and move on
When you're tired in the waiting
Even though it's gonna take you
A little more time
Just a little more time the sun's gonna find you

Looking out on a clear blue Iowa sky without a cloud in sight, I'm reminded once again that there's always hope for a sunrise...always hope.

"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you...The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end." Isaiah 60: 1, 19-20

I don't know your past hurts, present sorrows, or future fears...but I do know there is always hope...He who is calling you is faithful...

Monday, February 9, 2009


On FB (face book) I have access to both my son's & daughter's sites (that's part of why I have fb). When I checked my MB's last week I noticed she'd changed something....she'd put her "life verse" right under her name.
When each of the kids were born, Brad & I picked out a life verse for them; I also prayed (and have continued to pray) that God would "write His name on their heart"...or become real to each of them personally. The life verse isn't something we've made a huge deal about, but obviously it's impacting MB.
I wasn't given a life verse when I was parents were not Christians yet. But in the last ten years, God's given me many life verses...words that make an impact on my heart and leave an indelible impression.
One night, in the midst of my darkest depression, when I didn't think I'd make it until morning, God gave Brad the insight, wisdom, and strength to step in and intervene on my behalf. Psalm 40 became very real to me: "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." Brad was God's physical presence to me, taking my hand and lifting me. That wasn't the end of the struggle, but it was yet another evidence of God's faithfulness to me.
I've thought alot lately about this verse...and the firm place to stand. I have no doubt that I'm on a solid rock; The Solid Rock~ Jesus.
I guess, growing up, I pictured true, solid faith, or someone standing on the rock, kinda like a cartoon: confident Super Faith Girl, with hands on hips, chin up, cape & hair blowing in the breeze, boldly going wherever God wanted her next.
But, as I wrote in a collective journal that a few close friends and I have, the truth of my faith is more like someone shipwrecked on the rock. Pulled from the dangerous seas, I lay, sprawled out, desperately hanging on while the wind & waves threaten and even the rock seems slippery. Most days it feels too risky to actually stand...I more like cling for dear life, afraid at any moment of being swallowed by the sea. I don't feel like a confident Super Faith Girl with my cape flapping in the wind.
The reality of life is that people die--children & loved ones, churches needlessly split, people screw up and sin, they get divorces, they intentionally and unintentionally hurt others, parents abandon their children, mental illness & depression are real...and we all end up shipwrecked. And even after we're rescued, all of the above still doesn't go away.
As this movie (of me on the rock) was playing in my head and I was praying and telling God all this, He, for a brief moment, pulled back the camera for a wide angle shot. The shipwrecked girl clinging for dear life on a little outcropping of rock wasn't what I thought. I could see that I wasn't clinging to a tiny piece of rock, but firmly planted on a huge bed rock foundation.
I realized that, as I wrote in my last blog, God's got me. I don't have to be Super Faith Girl...I just have to be me. With all my doubts, insecurities, short comings, questions, failures and yes, with depression, He's got me. Through the crap, He's got me.
Continuing to live life in faith, not giving up, not giving in, is standing on the Rock even when it seems like there's no standing involved.

Some of you reading this have never struggled with depression, or your faith. Praise God! That's wonderful for you.

Others of you are more like me. Faith is a challenge. Following & trusting God involves labor.

Some of you maybe think I'm crazy, talking to God and're not sure what you believe or if you believe anything.

If you're part of the first group, praise God and please realize that every one's faith story is different.

If you're part of the second group...well, I don't know what to say because it's a daily battle and although I know I'm safe on the rock, I often don't feel it.

And if you feel like you're shipwrecked and clinging to a plank ready to drown and there's no rocks in sight, please contact me.*


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Oh For Goodness Sake!

"It doesn't always have to be about you, ya know!" Kronk in The Emperor's New Groove

Standing at the sink, doing dishes I realized that I'm doing it again. Obsessing about people, situations, and circumstances over which I have no control. For what seems like the millionth time in the last week, I prayed, trying to turn my worries into prayers.
As I stood there, praying, God said in His still, strong, yet quiet voice "I got this, Patty. I'm on it."
So now what? How do I engage my mind if I'm not supposed to be taking on these burdens?
"Praise me!" came His quick answer.
The line I quoted above from Emperor's New Groove went through my mind, and as God & I shared the joke, it was obvious to me yet again, that it is all about Him.

It's all for His sake and renown and glory:

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 60:3

For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own. I Samuel 12:21

he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake Psalm 23:3

For the sake of your name, O LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great Psalm 25:11

Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me Psalm 31:3

Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name's sake Psalm 79:9

Yet he saved them for his name's sake, to make his mighty power known Psalm 106:8

But you, O Sovereign LORD, deal well with me for your name's sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me Psalm 109:21

For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble Psalm 143:11

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more Isaiah 43:25

For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another Isaiah 48:11

Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith Romans 1:5

Through him and for his name's sake...
I really, really want it to be about comfort, my ease, my plan, in my time; but it's just not. I want relationships to be okay and everybody to be happy and understand each other and say the right things in the right ways and at the right times. And for tons of reasons, it doesn't happen that way.
But it doesn't mean it's not going to be okay or used for good or part of His plan.
It just means that once again, I don't understand what He's up to AT ALL.
"My ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts declares the Lord for as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are my thoughts above yours" Isaiah 55 (boy, ain't that the truth).
Whatever crap you're facing...
whatever uncertainties in your future...
whatever the heart ache...
He's got it. He's on it.
I don't know what that'll look like for you, but, for His sake and plan and purposes, for His renown, He's got you covered.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I reading...

When MB was little (less than two, I'm sure) she was perched on a chair on top of our bed with an upside down book in her hands. When I asked what she was doing, she innocently replied "I reading."
I don't know how or if you read the Bible. But I've been reading it for a while now and it pretty much always surprizes me. How can a book you've read for 30 years still be fresh and new? Maybe I used to read it upside down and now it's right side up...I don't know.
I do know that I read it differently than I used to. Read in bits & pieces, with someone elses opinions about it close at hand, I'd pour over it underlining phrases. Then I went through a "read the bible in a year" phase and felt so guilty that I couldn't keep the rigid schedule I just about gave up on reading it altogether. For a while I'd read a Psalm and a Proverb each day.
Now, when I have time and am compelled, I'll sit down & read it like a novel...that's probably my favorite way. But I also take passages and read & reread them for days.
This morning I opened up to Psalm 25 (which was heavily marked up, meaning it's been read lots) and started reading, again (italics and unending questions mine)...

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
in you I trust, O my God.
ahhh, trust, it always comes back to trust...

Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me. hmmm...I don't have enemies...but I guess I have an Enemy...
No one whose hope is in you

will ever be put to shame, is that true?? do I really believe that? that anyone who hopes in you will NEVER be put to shame? Why, then, does it seem that godly people are shamed for what they believe or shamed because of others sins? hmmmm...
but they will be put to shame
who are treacherous without excuse. but I see evil succeed every day...
Show me your ways, O LORD,

teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,

for you are God my Savior, You are...
and my hope is in you all day long. it has to's survival...
Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love,

for they are from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth
this always hits much shame in my past...

and my rebellious ways; "prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love"...
according to your love remember me, your love is the only thing that saves me...
for you are good, O LORD.
Good and upright is the LORD;

therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. I need instruction...
He guides the humble in what is right I need humility, a teachable spirit...

and teaches them his way.
All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful
ALL the ways...all...

for those who keep the demands of his covenant.
For the sake of your name, O LORD,

forgive my iniquity, though it is great. there it is again...for YOUR sake, not mine, forgive me for Your sake, for Your name, not for my own...
Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD ?

He will instruct him in the way chosen for him. way chosen for, I spend a lot of time thinking people in my life should be instructed a certain way, my way, according to what I think is best...but you'll instruct according to the way chosen for each individual...
He will spend his days in prosperity, so, if I'm good, faithful and filled with hope I'll spend my days in prosperity? what kind?

and his descendants will inherit the land. hmmm, real if I'm good, faithful etc, I'll get more property? pretty sure that's not what that means...but what do I know...
The LORD confides in those who fear him; I love that about you, God, that you choose to confide in us...that you share parts of your plan with wouldn't have to but you do...I wonder why?

he makes his covenant known to them. I always feel greedy for more...more knowledge, more confidences...more trust...more...
My eyes are ever on the LORD,

for only he will release my feet from the snare. whom have I in heaven but you...
Turn to me and be gracious to me,

for I am lonely and afflicted. lonely, alone, afflicted, pathetic...
The troubles of my heart have multiplied; heart troubles are the worst...

free me from my anguish. ahhh, sweet freedom...
Look upon my affliction and my distress

and take away all my sins. all my sins...there are so many...and so many that I hold onto and don't want taken away...
See how my enemies have increased

and how fiercely they hate me!
Guard my life and rescue me
; "I need you Jesus to come to my rescue..."

let me not be put to shame; there's that word again...
for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness protect me,

because my hope is in you. hope, healing, life, freedom, grace,'s all in you...
Redeem Israel, O God,

from all their troubles.

Well, thanks for reading along with me. If my side notes were distracting, go read it for yourself and see where He takes you...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


"Make good choices!" ~Jamie Lee Curtis to Lindsey Lohan in Freaky Friday

I love that line. I say it to my kids all the time.
Talking with a friend from high school yesterday, we were discussing choices you make and how they effect your life.
Some of our decisions are thoughtless or automatic: get up, go to work, eat, sleep. Some are very intentional: who we marry, where we live, what job we do, who our friends are...a thousand choices each day. Some are little, some big, but each significant in it's own way.

"You did not choose me, but I chose you..." ~ Jesus (John 15: 16a)
Jesus made choices too. How he spent his time, who his friends were, where he stayed. He chose His disciples. He chose people--picked people to follow Him. Conventional wisdom would say that he didn't choose too well...common laborers, hated IRS workers, women with questionable pasts... Rob Bell called his followers "the B team".

Why did he choose them?

Why did he choose me?

Because of my achievements?... minimal. My education... ordinary. My athletic prowess?... laughable. My intellect? limited. My moral code or ability to follow rules?...doubtful.

So why? Why did he choose me or you, if you're a Christ follower?

The fact is, he didn't choose any of us for any merit or strength of our own and he didn't choose us for our sakes.

He chose me and you "and appointed [us] to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last..." ~John 15:16

So it wasn't for our merits and wasn't so we could be forgiven and saved (yet we are) but he chose us to "bear fruit--fruit that will last".

He chose us so we could feed others with the fruit of the we could bless others with more of Him.

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galations 5:22,23