Thursday, January 29, 2009


He was born in 1915. He grew up in the Great Depression, served as a medic in World War II and earned a Purple Heart. He married, bought a small home and spent many years as a foundry worker before retiring. He and the Mrs. never had children. She passed away a few years ago; he lived alone in the house they bought after the war. His memory was slipping. He seldom left the house. He did not see the note the electric company left on his door weeks ago.

On January 17, ninety-three-year-old Marvin Schur was found in his Michigan home, frozen to death. The temperature in the house was thirty-two degrees. On the kitchen table was a pile of cash to pay the stack of bills that lay beside it. That's as far as Marvin got paying the electric bill before his power was turned off for nonpayment.

Marvin Schur earned a Purple Heart decades ago, but in the end, he gave his life for his fellow elders. His death has elicited outrage and will surely result in changes to "the system". Last week, many of you responded to my news of lobbying for the elderly. I was so encouraged by your sincere concern. Sadly, the bill was shelved under the dark shadow of budget cuts. But God is in control. We will mount a longer, stronger campaign next year.

In the meantime, I urge you to pray for positive change. Look around your neighborhood. Is there someone whose life would be changed by the smallest bit of your attention? God always uses what Satan meant for evil to create good. Rather than simply be saddened by Marvin Schur's death, let's pray that God would open our eyes to the least of these our brethren.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.
Photo Credit Here

The last Word:
This is why He said, "Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light." So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.
Ephesians 5: 14-17, NLT.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Thanks for stopping by! We continue in Jennifer Rothschild's book Self Talk, Soul Talk. Lelia is hosting this study as part of her "Yes to God" series. Today's chapter is entitled, "Speaking Truth to Your Issues." What issues? I don't have issues; do you have issues? Yeah, right. As surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, we all have issues. And since issues breed issues, I think of a sea of rabbits stretched out across a large field. It may have started with only two rabbits, but boy, have they multiplied! That's what my "thought closet" can look like on any given day.

Jennifer's advice for dealing with issues echoes the Truth of God's Word. She encourages us to rely on the Holy Spirit to direct our thoughts and actions. As Jennifer writes, "My intention is to have self-control, but the reality is that I often don't. I have learned over the years to rely instead on the Spirit's control in my life - God's Spirit" (p. 52). YEAH, BABY!

One of my greatest battles is with self-reliance. I was thrilled Jennifer took this chapter to remind us that changing our thought life is not a do-it-yourself project. Nothing that needs to change in me is a do-it-yourself project. I can repeat affirmations 'til the cows come home, but only the Holy Spirit can create lasting change in me.

I was also taken by Jennifer's story of the little girl playing "I Spy" with her father. Out of the mouth of this babe came, "I spy something good." Dad was left to guess what she might be looking at. Jennifer immediately followed this story by referencing Paul's instructions to the Philippians to fix their minds on certain things.

Today, I choose to look at the landscape of my life and play "I Spy" to guess the answers to Paul's exhortation. Feel free to play along! Looking at your world, how would you answer:

  • I spy something noble.

  • I spy something right.
  • I spy something pure.

  • I spy something lovely.

  • I spy something admirable.

  • I spy something excellent.

  • I spy something praiseworthy.

Let's spend some time thinking on these things!

May you feel His grace today,

Gail W.

The last Word:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Phillipians 4: 8, 9, NIV.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Ladies, you are in for a treat today. Hop on over to Pam's place and ENJOY! (You might want to empty the bladder before you go).

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
A merry heart does good like medicine.
Proverbs 17:22, NKJV.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Today, I am catching up on our study of Jennifer Rothschild's Self Talk, Soul Talk: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself as hosted by the lovely Lelia for Yes to God Tuesdays.

In Chapter 3, "Choosing Wise Words," Jennifer focuses on the core beliefs that drive our emotional responses and behavior. She terms our core beliefs as roots and our reponses as the fruit of those roots. She rightfully asserts that only by addressing our roots can we see change in our fruit. As Christ said, "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:24 and Luke 6:45),

For example, as a child I observed that when I showed sadness by crying, my parents became very agitated. This was quite a problem as I was born with a bent to melancholy. So I concluded, "Emotions are dangerous". For many years, I worked very hard to keep my emotions out of sight. I carried this pattern well into adulthood.

We who believe know my parents' agitation was part of living in a broken world. It is here that Satan entered my heart and inserted his distorted version of the truth. As long as I embraced Satan's lie that emotions are dangerous, I continued to invest my energies in keeping them well hidden.

It was only through embracing God's truth that I was able to dislodge Satan's lie. When I called on God to renew my mind, He gave me new fruit. He gave me freedom and a healthy regard for my feelings. This was NOT an overnight process.

In our reading, Jennifer describes the path that worked for me. My freedom came as a result of doing three things: requesting wisdom, revering God and receiving counsel. I had to desire and ask for a new way of thinking. I had to humble myself to believe God knew more about the world than I did. I had to seek out truth-speakers in my life, because I often hear better from what I call "God with skin on".

Satan is a busy little cuss; I have to practice requesting wisdom, revering God and receiving counsel on a daily basis. I find God's wisdom in His Word and through the precious believers He has placed in my path. It's a simple process, but remember, simple does not always mean easy. Today and every day, I must lift up my eyes to the Source of my strength, the Maker of heaven and earth. Mercifully, I know that He will never disappoint me.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12: 2, NIV.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I'm sure it was an oversight. Somehow, Malia and Sasha forgot to let me know the plan for tonight. While Mom and Dad are out tripping the light fantastic, the girls are parked at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for movie night with their friends. Bolt and High School Musical 3 are on the marquee.

My guess is that ten-year-old Malia and seven-year-old Sasha won't make it past the opening credits. What a day it must have been for these beautiful children! They draw my imagination tonight.

To all the calls for prayer for America's new president, I add a special request for these two little girls. It is hard to imagine the challenges they will face growing up in a world-wide spotlight. So as they struggle to keep those peepers open tonight, let's pray that God would give them a special grace to meet the days ahead. May He work in their lives in a way that brings Him glory. Sweet dreams, little ones!

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.
(Stop by tomorrow for a stretch of Yes to God Tuesdays into the day after).
Photo Credit:

The last Word:
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6: 24-26, NKJV.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Tomorrow morning at the ungodly hour of 7:30am, I will show up at the state capitol building to testify on financial exploitation of the elderly. Don't be impressed - I have exactly one minute to state my case. The proposed legislation stiffens penalties on the bottom-feeders who prey on lonely elders.

I have worked as a geriatric care manager for several years. This gave me a front-row seat to the evil used to relieve elders of their hard-earned dollars. Victims are invariably sufferers of the three plagues most common in elderhood: loneliness, hopelessness and boredom. Enter Satan's mignons with promises of companionship and excitement. Exit sound judgement on the part of the elder, followed closely by money the victim needs to live on but willingly gives up.

Paul warned that in the last days, people would be lovers of themselves and lovers of money (2 Timothy 3:2). Sound familiar? One glance at today's headlines should be proof enough that things are getting worse, not better. But we are not called to sit by and wring our hands as the world deteriorates. Today, I ask you to pray that our attempts to speak the truth will be met with softened hearts and willing action.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.
Photo credit: Jenny Andre

The last Word:
Find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them . . . for everything exposed by the light becomes visible . . . . Be very careful, then how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5: 10-215, NIV.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Paying It Forward

It finally happened. No longer will I look wistfully at those awards on other blogs and sigh that my sidebar bears no such honor. I am almost embarassed by how thrilled I am. In theory, I should be past needing recognition from my fellow travelers, but I guess it is good to be human after all!

So I am very grateful to my friend Denise who blessed me with the Emblem of the Helping Hand award. This award, sponsored by Sojourner's Place, is to thank our online mentors and (as in my case) to encourage up and coming bloggers that one deems worthy. Each person who receives the award is asked to "pay it forward" to bloggers who've encouraged us along the way and to newer bloggers that show great promise.

How much fun is that? So without further ado (drum roll please), I want to present the Emblem of the Helping Hand to these amazing women:

Angie: what a precious encouragement she has been to me! She was the first woman who really reached out to me in the blogosphere; my life has been richer for it.

Denise: I don't know if you're supposed to ricochet the award back to the one who gave it to you to start with, but this awesome woman of God means the world to me.

Amrita: From the other side of the globe, she always lifts my spirits and gives me new courage to keep on writing.

Elaine: This is another generous spirit who has taken the time and trouble to stop by my place often, always with just the right dose of cheerleading to spur me on.

Sita: With a passion for all things godly, she keeps me focused on our King. She truly "wears her heart on her sleeve" and to me, that's what blogging is all about.

Liz: Ever meet people out here in Blogland and know instantly they were cut from the same bolt of cloth? That's how I feel about my recently added friend, Liz.

Lidj: Her story of grief and courage gives me goose bumps. She is a shining light, not just in the Philippines but here in the good ol' U.S. of A.

Be sure to visit each of these extraordinary women - I promise they will bless your socks off (how's that for Suuuuuuuuuuthern)!

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
Encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord's work. They work hard among you . . . think highly of them and give them your wholehearted love because of their work.
1 Thessalonians 5: 11-13, NLT.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Memory Verse, January 15

Over at Beth Moore's blog, two thousand women have posted verses they will meditate on for the next two weeks. That blows my mind. I've chosen the verse below to mull over the next few weeks. It speaks to me about the importance of prayer in these last days. I often need to be reminded that there is never "nothing I can do". God is always willing to hear the prayers of His people.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
The end of all things is near. Therefore, be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.
1 Peter 4:7, NIV

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I recently discovered an awesome online study of Jennifer Rothschild's latest book, Self Talk, Soul Talk: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself. This book addresses our thought life. So I am casting my lot with my friends at for "SAY YES TO GOD TUESDAYS" for the next ten weeks. Be sure to visit Lelia for more information. Grab a copy of this book. Each week's chapter is a very quick read. I promise you will be richly blessed.

In Chapter 1, Jennifer introduced the idea of the thought closet saying, "I seem to have a secret closet tucked somewhere in the hallways of my mind. A thought closet. And what I had been storing in that closet wasn't good at all: shelves and racks and bins full of hidden thoughts, secret insecurities, lies, illusions, and reminders of past failures" (p. 14). Sound familiar? It certainly did to me!

In Chapter 2, "Renewing Your Thought Closet," we begin our journey to right what is wrong with our internal conversations. No field of endeavor has yielded greater gains in my life than addressing my thought life. Regarding Satan, Christ warned, "He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44). Satan came shockingly close to ending my life by embedding his lies in my thought life. But I have been redeemed, primarily through the strategy Jennifer describes of replacing Satan's lies with God's Truth.

Every word of this chapter spoke to my thirsty heart. The passage that most made me want to shout AMEN was this: "We probably never completely erase old memories, forget old thoughts or wipe away former self talk. . . you can't remove those hurtful thoughts, words and memories, but by the power of God, you can drain them of their potential control over you" (p. 29, emphasis added).

Can I get a witness? The power of Satan's lies in my life was (and potentially still is) formidable. But just as God raised Christ from the dead, He longs to resurrect our thinking so we can bask in His love. Join me again next Tuesday as we consider Jennifer's strategy in Chapter 3 of Self Talk, Soul Talk, "Choosing Wise Words." And get this book!

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10: 9, 10, NIV.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Eye of the Beholder

On Friday, Clint Eastwood's newest movie Gran Torino opened with a bang. My twenty-year-old daughter could not understand my anticipation of this event. She was baffled by my downright giddiness at the mention of the man's name. What my daughter did not understand was that when I see Clint's new movie, I'm not seeing a seventy-eight-year-old actor. I am seeing Rowdy Yates of "Rawhide" fame. I am thirteen years old again and struggling with my thought life. It wasn't until I found this photo of Clint in his heyday that my daughter got it. "Wow," she said, "He looks like Hugh Jackman!" My point exactly.

It made me think of one of my favorite fantasies of heaven. I love to play with the thought that when we meet loved ones in heaven, we will see them as they looked in our most precious memory. When I see my Nanny, she will be wearing a pale green shirtwaist dress, cat-eye glasses and a smile. But when my grandfather sees her, she will appear to him as she did on their wedding day. I don't know the state of Clint Eastwood's eternal soul, but if he makes it to heaven, I'll be seeing a sweaty young cowboy fresh off the trail.

I realize this theory has a few theological holes. But you know, I don't think God minds one little bit when we dream of the life to come. He knows we're dust and that our notions may be closer to a two-year old's scribblings than to what we will actually find there. But like any two-year-old, I delight in getting out my crayons and letting my imagination soar.

So tonight, I will dream of loved ones long gone. I will see them as I most fondly remember them. I invite you to do the same, to walk back through the albums in your mind and anticipate that glorious day when we will all be together again.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
We speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began . . . as it is written, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him."
1 Corinthians 2: 7, 9, NIV.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Double Talk

You could see the sign from three shops down. “Now that’s more like it,” I thought. That’s a real after-Christmas sale.

As I got a little closer, the small print at the bottom of the sign came into focus. “Select Styles Only,” it read. As a card-carrying member of the "easily amused" clan, I laughed the rest of the day when I thought about that sign.

The world abounds with double talk. My car's "complete professional oil change" advertised at $24.99 somehow added up to $54.82. Apparently, it's extra if you actually want the oil put into the crank case.

This sign in front of the local WalMart still makes me chuckle despite my having seen it a dozen times before. Examples of man's duplicity are not that hard to find these days. They simply remind me that this world is not my home.

Thankfully, we follow the One who has always said what He meant and meant what He said. While this might be cause for terror on occasion, mostly it is bedrock on which you and I can conduct our lives in peace. With God and His Word, there is no fine print. What He feels, what He asks, what He desires is never a shell game. He has laid it all out for us with a sincerity of heart unknown to man. Thank God, indeed.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?
Numbers 23:19, NIV.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mending a Broken Heart

Now the Lord observed the extent of the people’s wickedness . . . and the Lord was sorry He had ever made them. It broke His heart (Genesis 6:5, 6, NLT).

This was the state of the world in pre-Noah days. When I came across these verses last night, I wondered, “Mustn't God feel the same way now?” I’ll leave God's experience of regret to the theologians. The phrase that filled my eyes and blurred my vision was, "It broke His heart."

If you are old enough to read this, you know full well what it is to have a broken heart. Failed marriages, wayward children, poor health, departed loved ones. The possibilities go on and on. I think about the darkest times I have lived in despair. Then I think about my loving Lord feeling that much pain and more.

But you and I are not powerless to affect the Lord's heart. Yes, His heart must be broken by the state of the world today. But He also takes great delight in those of us who bow before His throne. These verses in Genesis focused my mind on God as Someone who could be hurt, Someone who could use all the comfort I might offer.

I have a friend who often says, "Don't you know that just blesses God's heart?" I adore that possibility. There is more we can do about shocking headlines than to wring our hands; we can praise the One whose heart is breaking in the process. So today and every day, I invite you to join me, to look to the heavens and offer faith and solace to the One who loved us first. We love you, Daddy . . . and we always will.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

Image Credit:

The last Word:
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
Isaiah 53:3, NIV.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Challenge for 2009

Take heart. A simple concept. I learned long ago that simple does not always mean easy. When I ordered these plates, I was talking to myself as much as to anyone. I need to be reminded every day that Christ tells us to take heart.

It takes no effort on our part to lose heart. Each day’s headlines are a little more shocking than the day before. Depression is known as the modern day common cold. Christ warned us, “In this world you will have trouble.” That’s right! I have trouble. Everybody I know has trouble.

It takes discipline to focus on what else Christ said in this passage, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He HAS overcome the world. He told us of trials to come so we would know He is with us, so we would know how the story ends, so we could lift up our heads and walk on with hope and joy.

As the blogosphere lights up with new goals and studies for the New Year, I long to carry Christ’s message of hope into 2009. I pray the Holy Spirit will strengthen us to view living not as a crushing burden, but as a chance to honor the One who placed us here. In 2009, may we live with a lightness of heart that draws others to the Source of our hope.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
Even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience.
1 Peter 3: 14-16, NIV.