Monday, June 25, 2012


Today I am overwhelmed by gratitude, by God's grace in my life. Right here. Right now. I just read the blog post of a friend who is going through chemo. Was she whining about having cancer? Nope. Was she lamenting the loss of her health? Not a chance. Was she expressing anger at her situation: 5 kids and cancer? No way. She was thanking God for the blessings in her life.

Now, I'm not really a whiner, either. I am content with life, even in our waiting mode. I haven't let a leaking ceiling in our bedroom (yes, really!) color my days gray. But, am I really, truly, grateful? How do I show it?

This piece is created for the blessing of twin boys!

I often say "Thank you, God." Thank you for my children, all five of them. Thank you for the two attending school and working, and for the two working, and for the one that is with us every day. Each is a blessing!

Thank you, Holy Father, for my marriage. For the Godly man you dropped in my lap when I decided I was never going to marry again. For his faith, his love, his support and his kind spirit. Thank you for the daddy he has turned out to be, when neither of us expected to parent again.

Thank you, Jesus, for my faith. For the fulfillment of promises made. For working in me to remake me every single day. For the grace poured out on my life, which has been filled with mistakes and sin.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the gift of being able to work with glass. It brings me great joy, and You are glorified in it.

As I write, it seems a little like writing a list for Santa or something. A litany of my blessings. Not nearly important enough for how very much the Lord has blessed me. Each of these things on my "list" is important, but just listing them and saying "Thank You" doesn't seem like enough.

This enormous appreciation for all the good in my life (and even the bad) is part of what spurs me to live a life that pleases God. I am so grateful for the blessings of faith, love, family, hope, gifts, etc. that I have to seek God's will in my life! I cannot imagine how empty life would feel if I wasn't amazed at all the good God has given me and done for me.

 Even in the most horrible parts of my life, I see God's hand. In the darkest of my days (which as many of you know, were very dark indeed), I heard God's voice very clearly. I was sustained by Him in my weakness and fear. He promised me a marriage relationship beyond anything I'd ever imagined, and he has provided more than I could ever have anticipated.

I know without a doubt that there are dark days ahead of me, as well as behind me. I am not expected God to remove all difficulty and obstacle from my path, but I know that whatever I face in the future, He will sustain me through it. That surety is one of the greatest blessings of all. Nothing is too big or too bad for God.

What more could I want?

The glass piece above is a sample baby gift for twin boys. I can make it for a single baby, too. Both boys and girls, of course! It's 9x9 inches, framed in zinc with rings for hanging. For a single baby, it's $45.00; for twins it's $50.00. Order this unique gift via email (, telephone (507-292-7202), or on my Facebook page (A Glimpse of Grace).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


When I hear the words "this day" I usually think of Psalms 118:24, which I must have memorized from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible: "This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." This verse has helped me through many a troubling day and has focused my joy on many a happy day.

I found another way to think of "this day" this morning. I was walking, listening to Christian music on my iPod, when a song by Matt Redman came on. "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" has this line: "What am I going to do with these days You've ordained?"

Whoa. That's a paradigm shift for me! God ordained THIS day for me to be here on Earth. This struck me as beyond being glad and rejoicing that God gave me a day to live. This thought is that God has something for me to do today... beyond enjoying the weather and my activities, beyond changing the lightbulb and making lunch for my 5-year-old... It's amazing!

Of course, this begs the question, "What IS it I am supposed to do today?" I don't know yet! But you can believe I will spend my day looking for whatever it is... and THAT will change my day in unforeseen ways, all by itself. So, I'm off to start my day, searching for God's will! Have a great day looking for what God has planned for you!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Avoiding pain is an almost universal thing. Who would seek out pain?! I suppose it's a survival instinct. My OT husband who works with spinal cord injury patients talks about pain as a necessity, a message that is essential to our well-being. Once I told him that I thought a lack of pain would be just fine with me, but I was wrong.

I have a finger that doesn't feel pain. I damaged the nerves in an accident with a knife when I was thirteen. (Maybe some of you remember that trip from my party to the emergency room in our Halloween costumes!) It's never really caused me any problems, except that I can't trill very well on my flute.

This week, however, that lack of pain caused me a problem. I got a sliver of glass in the finger and didn't know about it at all. Not a clue, until it festered enough to burst open when I slid my finger along a book. Yuk.

Needless to say, the mess drew my attention to the injury, and I cleaned it out so it could heal. Okay, I thought, so physical pain is a necessity, but I can certainly do without emotional pain! But then I thought about that...

I don't think so. I think I need emotional pain, too. I think God uses it to guide me. His Holy Spirit speaks to me from my heart, and sometimes that comes out as emotional pain. When have I grown the most? In the midst of emotional pain. In the times of my life that hurt.

When I hurt, I notice what I'm doing wrong and clean it up so I can heal. I can think of many times this has been true in my life, but none more powerful than the weeks leading up to my current marriage. I had been dating a guy, a nice-enough guy who clearly wasn't Mr. Right for me. Nor was I Ms. Right for him, but being together was better than being lonely.

I didn't feel right dating him, though. It was emotionally painful to consider breaking up because I didn't want to be alone. I prayed to God, "Please, God, if this is NOT your will for my life, make it clear to me. Then I'm done dating until you drop the right man in my lap, and I will do it your way."  Four days later, Not-Mr.-Right dumped me.

Pretty clear.

So I proceeded with my life, assuming I would be alone. My heart hurt a lot, but I was determined I was going to do this God's way, not mine. Mine didn't work! (Obviously! I'd been divorced twice, I'm sorry to say.) I was committed to changing the way I dated and built relationships.

 About 3 weeks later, on a Friday night, I was doing a web search for a project at church. Up popped an ad for I was intrigued; maybe a Christian site would produce a better quality of guy than I was watching my single friends meet online. On a whim, I filled out my profile and did a single search. Off this nationwide site, the FIRST man on my "matches" was from MY city. I clicked on it, and found the man who became my husband. We met a few days later, and prayed together on our first date. Within a week, we had established parameters for our relationship before marriage, not knowing how long that would be. Within three months we were married. It's coming up on five years later, and neither of us has regretted our relationship and marriage for a nanosecond.

The emotional pain I had been in was the motivation for changing my life, which led to a marriage that is right in every way. I guess we need emotional pain, too. Not that we should seek it, but that we should see it and change our lives to align with God's will.


This is the wedding gift I made for my husband. Our faith is central to our marriage.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


"It's NOT a competition!" I said to my five year old for the millionth time this week. Lately, EVERYthing is a competition for her. Who connects their seat belt fastest? Who can run to the door faster? Who can jump higher, yell louder, build a higher tower... you get the idea.

I truly don't remember my two older children going through this. I'm sure we had many competitions, but I don't remember it being soooooo important. I found myself seeing this as a "fault" in this five-year-old, something flawed that causes so much emphasis on competition. Surely, it can't be normal to make everything into a competition with a winner and a loser.

Then I went swimming.

As I swam my laps, I realized there was a faster swimmer in the lane next to me. That almost never happens! I ramped up my speed and effort to match the other swimmer and quickly passed him. Whew! I almost lost my status as the fastest lap swimmer....

Uh, oh.

Yep. That's ME, turning it into a competition. The guy in the other lane wasn't racing me; he was exercising. Like I was supposed to be doing. Except that it really mattered to me that I was the fastest in the pool (at least at the time I swim). IS life a competition??

It's a hard call. We want our kids to succeed, to do well, to accomplish all they can. If they run a race, which our wee one does regularly in the summers, we want them to TRY to be first. I certainly want to make my glass pieces the BEST I can imagine them being.

Pride comes in here, too, I think. Maybe it depends on why we want to be first or best. If the reason is so we can feel superior (like me with swimming), it's a sin. If the reason is because we want to do our best for God (like I try to be in my glass work), it's a virtue. I feel like most of the time, I fit in the middle somewhere.

So what do I teach my five year old? It seems hypocritical to say, "Do your best! Go! Succeed! Win!" and then expect her to forgo the pride. It also seems wrong to tell her that doing well doesn't matter at all.

As usual, the Bible has the best advice I've found. Colossians 3:23 says, "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." This is in the midst of instructions for Christian households, giving advice for persons of each role in a household.

If we honestly work willingly at whatever we do, as though we are working for the Lord, I don't think we can go too far wrong. At my best, I certainly try to honor God in my glasswork. Can I swim for the Lord? I don't know. One thing I have done lately (since my realization that I am so competitive about it) is pray for the people swimming and aqua-cizing around me.

 I hope and pray that we, as parents, can find ways to help our young child understand why she shouldn't put herself (or anyone else) on a pedestal OR in the trash heap, win or lose. We are each God's miraculous creation, precious to Him, not to be belittled or idolized. Competition often does one, the other, or both. I want her to know that God expects her best for Him, not in relation to how well others perform, but her very best. And that He is worthy of it... and more.