Dreaming Something New

I love to keep dreaming of new, creative, challenging projects. When August hits, it’s time to wonder about what the new academic year will bring. What will challenge me? What can I accomplish? What can I study? What expertise might I develop? Is this the autumn of homemade bread and pasta? Is this the time for new book proposals, new house designs, new fitness goals? Is this the year where our family learns a new game or establishes a new tradition?

New. Fresh. Creative. I’m stirring the inside juices. What about you? When August comes, it’s time to put legs to a dream.


New Discoveries: Some Kind of Cricket Frog

Tiny creatures jump along the wooded road beside me. Smaller than a watermelon seed, they hop like little crickets. When I look closer, I see tiny frogs.

Tiny frogs!

(They might be toads. I’m not sure, but I take a picture and set my mind to wonder.)

After researching a bit, I think I’ve happened upon southern cricket frogs. 

Now I think about all those tiny things on my path that I hardly notice. I think about frogs and turtles and the joy of childhood exploration and discovery. Today, I’ll look for turtles.


A Little Bakery with a Coconut Cake

We’re celebrating a birthday for Grandpa, and we need a coconut cake. It’s his favorite! I doubt I’ll find one in this small town, but I do.

In a little bakery, we find a perfect coconut cake just waiting for us to purchase. I forgot that in the south, you’ll most likely find little bakeries with coconut cakes just waiting for you. So along with the fried chicken, green beans, fresh corn, ripe peaches from the roadside stand, and deviled eggs, we’ll have a southern crown jewel: coconut cake.



Sandwich Flair

I have learned with great delight that the toasted pimento cheese BLT stands as one of my favorite Southern Sandwiches. Gooey, crispy, joyful.


When It’s Enough that Jesus Died for You: The Story of Lidie Edmunds

I’m sitting in a small church in the country–the kind with an entryway large enough for four people, the kind with a congregation of thirty faithful souls, the kind that stands by the side of the road that makes you wonder what goes on in that beautiful little place. It’s the kind of place where you want to sit and listen to the stories of all who come in the doors. How did they come to this church? Why do they stay? What is life like here in this small town? Can we be friends? You in this town and me from my town?

It’s time to sing the final hymn. We all turn to the page, although most people, I imagine, know the words by heart.

I find myself so curious about what kind of person could write, “I need no other argument, I need no other plea. It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me.”

I discover something precious about the life that penned these words that Jesus was enough. 

Lidie Edmunds, also known as E.E. Hewitt, wrote many poems and hymns about Jesus in the midst of great personal pain, loss, and disappointment. Her vibrant life suddenly changed when she endured a spinal injury that kept her bedridden just as her wonderful teaching career started.

Instead of bitterness and sadness, Lidie studied literature and wrote beautiful hymns to the Lord. She wanted to make a difference in the lives of others even from her bed of pain. I think of her life in Philadelphia in the mid-1800’s and how different her future became from the one she must have imagined when she graduated as valedictorian of her high school.

But her injury taught her what we all will indeed come to know at some point: it is enough that Jesus died. Her hymn to the Lord fortifies me against an unknown future where I’m uncertain of what kind of pain, loss, or disappointment awaits. I know God holds my life in His hands, and I’m beginning to finally learn that this is enough.

My faith has found a resting place, not in device nor creed;
I trust the ever-living One, his wounds for me shall plead.
I need no other argument, I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died, and that he died for me.
— Lidie H. Edmunds, c. 1891



Asking to Experience God’s Presence

I understand that we might endure any trial if we know God is with us. When I think of Jesus as Emmanuel–the Lord with us–I remember that my primary goal as a human is to experience this Emmanuel presence in deep friendship with a living Christ.




Morning Pep Talk: Something Just Might Happen

This morning I remember the wonderful transformation in my heart and mind when I began blogging daily at Live with Flair. After a few weeks, I noticed something astonishing:

I woke up joyful and hopeful.

I woke up waiting for something to happen. 

Instead of the depressed, bored, anxious, and half-alive person I was becoming, I morphed into someone trained in the fine art of hope. I can promise you that if you begin to believe that each day holds a gift to unwrap, a wonder to behold, a moment of mystery, and something to help you know God more, the day will shimmer.

Here’s the Morning Pep Talk for you and the children in your life:

Good morning! Welcome to today! On this very day, something just might happen to you. I don’t know when it’s coming, or how it will arrive, but it’s coming. A blessing might come disguised as something else–something not so lovely or interesting–but I know you: you’re the type of person who can see beneath the surface of things. You’re the type of person who can look for evidence of God’s love for you.

You might be bored today or sick or mad or lonely or depressed or anxious. That’s OK. But if you spark a tiny bit of curiosity and expectation that something just might happen today, maybe you’ll begin to feel a little better. And, if you’re feeling particularly excited for this new training in hope, you can start your own Live with Flair blog, either online or in a new journal, to record your moments of wonder, whimsy, and wishes-come-true. It’s so fun to share your discoveries with other people. You can even write to me if you like. (Helpful hint: Remember to look into nature if you don’t know what else to do first. Find something and ask how? why? what? when? You might just find yourself amazed at raspberries, robins, and radishes of all things.) 

So today is a treasure hunt. 

And don’t forget this marvelous truth: You might be the moment of joy for someone else’s hunt. You might be someone’s answer to prayer! 

And, a few days into this project, you’ll find it doesn’t matter where you are or what’s happening. You live in expectation of joyful things.