“God will fulfill His purpose for me.” Psalm 138:8

I’ve been taking great comfort in a simple truth from scripture. In Psalm 138, David claims, “God will fulfill His purpose for me.”

It’s true. I don’t have to worry. As I think about all the times in the Bible that “purpose” occurs, I remember that nobody can thwart God’s purposes.

Nobody. And nothing.

The Lord’s purposes prevail.

They do.

In another translation, I read that “God will accomplish all that concerns me.”

When I think about all that comes against the child of God–rejection, discouragement, disappointment, suffering, death, depression, and every terrible thing–I remind myself that God fulfills His purposes for us.

Isn’t it comforting?


Regardless, Just Bloom

Reports have come in that the weeping cherries bloomed early this morning.

Last night, nothing. Today, everything.

The children proclaim:

“It’s like popcorn!”

“It’s like fireworks!”

Technically speaking, it’s not a beautiful day outside. Far from it.

It’s dreary, cloudy, and dark. There’s hardly enough light to take photos.

The trees pay no mind.

They just bloom.

Regardless of the atmosphere around them, they bloom.

So shall we.



Saving a Baby Squirrel (Video)

My daughters hear the sharp cries of some tiny thing in the yard by the big oak tree.

“It’s a baby squirrel! She’s fallen from her nest!”


Indeed, the little squirrel cries and cries for a mother who never arrives.

Our town has an emergency service for wildlife. In particular, we have specialists in squirrel rehabilitation. These specialists know how to feed orphaned or injured baby squirrels and train them how to find food and build their nests. Once healthy and trained, the squirrels return to the wild.

The rehabilitation expert tells us that mother squirrels sometimes push sick or injured babies out of a nest when they think they might die anyway. They don’t want to waste resources on a dying baby or spread sickness to healthy babies.

How terrible! How cruel nature can be! This tiny thing doesn’t have a chance on her own.

Thankfully, those skilled in squirrel rehabilitation come to our aid. There’s hope after all for the abandoned, pushed out, and left for dead.

I know it’s just a squirrel, but I want to teach my daughters that everyone deserves a chance.

You can even call the rehabilitation center to check on the injured or abandoned baby. I want to know how in the world they get their stores of squirrel milk! Have you rescued and rehabilitated a wild thing?


“Let me help somebody in a tangible way. . . “

I read a firsthand account of someone inside the medical tent at the Boston Marathon. Tyler Dodd, with medical training in trauma, crossed the finish line and went to help victims. He says this: 

I’m a recovering alcoholic. I wake up every morning and I pray for God to guide me through my day, and I asked for Him to let me help somebody in a tangible way. I had no idea this is what He had planned for me.

All day, I’m struck by the simple prayer to “let me help somebody in a tangible way.” Can you imagine living a life like that? Where every day was shaped by God’s guidance and the goal of helping somebody else in a tangible way? Tyler Dodd’s prayer inspires me. 

So simple. So right. 

Later, I’m reading Paul Miller’s Love Walked Among Us: Learning to Love Like Jesus, and the following words sink down deep: 

When we confront a new or difficult situation, we can become confused and overwhelmed. Often we don’t even know how to begin. But we can look. We might not feel compassion, but we can concentrate on the other person. By keeping the other person in front of us, we are opening the door to compassion.

We can look. We can open the door to compassion. 

I leave my home on a mission to look and help in tangible ways. The day shines with a new purpose and a new beauty. 

Did you look and help today? What happened? 


Taking a Mr. Rogers Quote to Heart

I didn’t talk to my children about Boston this morning because I didn’t know how.

Then, back in my office on campus, I view a quote from Mr. Rogers on my twitter feed.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.”

I’m comforted all of a sudden. I find that I’m a child inside, too. I want someone to talk to me about Boston. Sad things happen every moment–some very sad right here on campus today–and I remember these words.

I’m looking for the helpers.

Look for the helpers. Good coexists with the terrible if you look.

Praying for Boston today.


Who Can Do It First?

Sometimes, on the most monotonous of days, I challenge myself to find the flair in the most ordinary of tasks.

My most ordinary task today? Probably lugging the garbage cans and recycling bins back to the garage since Monday is garbage day in our town. Rallying to do this task, I prepare myself for squeezing by the minivan, upsetting neat rows of shoes, and knocking over some gardening tool as I huff and puff my way to the back of the garage with the cans.

Well, I’m going to do it, and I’m going to find some flair. 

It’s not actually my job to do this. It’s my husband’s job; he handles trash. After work, he gathers up the cans, lids, and bins.

One day this year, I decide to surprise him and bring the cans back in. I imagined him driving in from work and breathing a happy sigh of joy that at least one little task was finished. As just a tiny love expression, a ridiculous symbol, on my part, I do this every Monday now. And every Monday, he says with surprise, “You brought in the trash!” like I’m the greatest wife in the world.

So I’m off to express my love to him, and as I open the garage door, I peer out only to find that he’s somehow done it first (maybe between meetings?).

Just a tiny love expression on his part, it’s a symbol that warms my heart.

He did it first today. I’ll get him back next Monday.

Sure enough, I found it: Living with flair means you do it first.

Is there a tiny expression of love you offer to a loved one?


Advancing Through Levels: Back to the Pond

We travel once again to the secret pond.

Little Girl in the Woods

At first, you don’t see anything but a reflection.

So you look deeper until you see. Salamanders and frogs blend in by design.

Stay still and watch, and soon nature rewards you.

We find more frog eggs to observe, and my daughter asks if she can touch just one very gently.

“It feels like jelly,” she says, comparing it to something–anything–she already knows.

Meanwhile, we begin our journey back, and I note how all the vines and thorns carefully guard this secret place. You must advance through so many levels just to arrive. And then, you battle with your own perception just to see anything.

In this game, the prize is observation and experience. You return with the spoils of wonder.

I love this game.

Enjoy Sunday! I wish you were here with me to travel to the secret vernal pond!


To the Cynic

I’m studying cynicism. It’s the philosophy of the day amongst many college students, and I wonder how to combat it. Cynicism is trendy. It’s so very sophisticated to be detached, sarcastic, pessimistic, suspicious, negative, and bitter.

It seems so intellectual. The cynic recognizes the fake because it’s all fake to her. It’s all hopeless and pointless. The best the cynic can do is to detach and complain. She pretends she’s outside of the system so she can criticize with supreme arrogance. 

When the cynic meets me–in all my flair–she finds I’m naive, pollyanna, and filled with false hope. She can’t believe I actually believe the Bible or in any type of God for that matter. She rolls her eyes at my optimism and my sincere hope. She’s angered by my unshakeable belief in beauty, wonder, and joyful living.  

She hates me. I remind her of something she wants to forget. 

It’s called hope. 

The author Michael Crawley wrote this: “A cynic is a coward ….  Cynicism always takes the easy way out. It is a form of laziness that provides someone with an excuse for not making any attempt to change the world. . . Cynicism is a way to hide. . . Cynics are afraid . . . So, instead, they pass judgment on anyone who is trying to make a difference. They ridicule the efforts of individuals and organizations that are working hard under incredibly difficult circumstances . . . Being cynical is often thought of as being composed and detached. It is considered to be a sign of sophistication. Cynics are mistakenly given credit for possessing a deep awareness regarding the limits of what humans can accomplish which is somehow lacking in those who spend their time in passionate efforts to change the world …. Being filled with cynicism is indeed a cowardly and sad way to go through life.” 

I want brave. I want to change the world. I press on into the hope even more. Maybe the cynic will give hope a chance today. Besides, today already has too much wonder and joy to fill a million blog posts. Don’t get me started.

Give hope a chance today.  


Just Afraid

I ask students to characterize themselves by completing the sentence, “I’m the type of person who. . .”

Sometimes students finish the sentence and then offer the story behind how they developed that particular personality trait.

Once a student read her sentence about how mean, abrasive, and dominant she was. She was fully aware of how she came off as a bully and someone you simply didn’t want to cross. She paused and then explained, “It’s because I’m shy. I’m just scared and don’t know what to do.”

She’s just afraid. 

I realized then that when we look at a person’s negative and abrasive personality traits, it just might be fear we’re seeing.

She’s just afraid. 

Once we heard this, we all softened towards her. We saw the fear, so we moved towards her and not away.

When I want to move away from someone because of negative personality traits, I’m starting to see the fear underneath and soften.

“She’s just afraid.” I love remembering this when I’m dealing with a difficult person.


Was It You?

On the walk to school this morning, during the hardest uphill climb, everyone stops to notice a row of tulips.

They mysteriously appeared to line our path some time in the night.

Was it you? Was it you? We ask and accuse one other of guerrilla gardening.

Somebody bothered to do it, and for that, we are thankful. Somebody knew it would delight, mystify, and beautify.

That’s living with flair.

Was it you?