Barking Dog

#God, #inspiration, SatanWe planned to stop for gas in a more populated area. However, when the gas light came on, we knew this wasn’t going to be an option and took the exit for the next small town.

The first thing we saw as we entered the quiet street were two dogs were running down the middle of the road.

When we drew nearer, one of the dogs moved to the left shoulder. The other stayed on the centre line. We slowed down to pass this animal but it had other ideas. The dog stayed close to the front wheel, barking as if it were chasing us out of town.

This dog was fearless and kept up with us for several blocks. We didn’t want to risk hitting it and it quickly became clear the animal and not the vehicle was setting the pace.

The dog did not give up until it was satisfied we had been chased far enough away. Only then did it stop.

I wondered about the times I have been on my way to a calling the Lord has given me, only to encounter a version of this barking dog. The obstacle could be disguised in many forms. The only certainty was the desire to change my direction. How did I react?

Did I slow down, unsure if I should keep going? Perhaps I turned around, thinking I might be on the wrong road. Or, maybe I prayed for guidance and kept moving forward.

My friends, we face an enemy who doesn’t want to see us succeed in the name of the Lord. He has already been defeated but does his best to convince us he is in control. This is only the case if we believe the lie.

He would not be nipping at my heels if I weren’t a threat to his plans. When I remember this I am not easily chased away. Instead I increase my focus on the Lord, knowing I am definitely on the right road.

“Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 NLT)

Gotta Keep Moving

#inspiration, comfot zone, keep movingThe air was warm and the sky a clear blue when my husband and I attended an outdoor concert. A crowded venue left us no choice but to stand in order to see the musicians. We didn’t mind and soon I was swaying to the beat and singing along softly with the lyrics.

After an hour I knew I needed to go for a little walk. Standing in one spot for an extended period was starting to hurt my back. If I didn’t move soon my movements would become painful. Turning to Brian, I said, “I can’t stay in one spot any more, I have to move.”

The words were barely spoken before I saw the analogy to my life. When I enjoy where I am and what I’m doing, I want to stay there. If I stay in one spot too long I get stuck and it becomes difficult, if not painful to move.

Life is not about finding a comfortable rut and settling in. It is about exploring, adventure and reaching for my dreams. None of that is possible if I am stuck in one spot.

Moving is good for my well-being. Not just for my body but also for my mind. When I think I’ve stretched as far as I can it’s time to remember the words of Paul Brandt; “Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”

Clearing the Clutter

#God, #inspiration, focus, clarityI had done a good job of ignoring it – or so I thought. The need to do some decluttering could be pushed to the back recesses of my mind. The problem was it kept resurfacing.

The longer I waited, the more monumental the task became. As much as I hated to admit it, something had to be done.

With my husband’s help, I started with a few boxes in the basement. Much to my amazement most of the contents were no longer needed. We started piles for recycling, donating and keeping.

It felt good to start eliminating and I moved on to more challenging areas. At the end of the day we loaded the donations in the car and took them away. This process was repeated over the next several days.

For the first time in months, the area around my desk was clutter free. Unnecessary papers went to the recycle bin and others were filed away where I could easily access them.

I expected the area to look better, and it did. What surprised me was my mental state. Peace and happiness flooded over me as I entered my work space.

I hadn’t realized the clutter was holding me back. Once it was cleared I became more focused and productive.

The same thing happens in my spiritual life. When my mind is cluttered with unimportant things, there is less room to focus on God. I don’t intend to crowd him out, but that is exactly what I am doing. The only treasures worth pursuing are found in the word of God and my relationship with Jesus. These are the ones guaranteed to last for eternity.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21

Blanket of Love

#inspiration, love, blanket,The heating system in the seminar room began to have problems. As a result the room was too cool to be comfortable. Trainees put jackets on to stay warm. The helpers needed to keep their professional demeanor so this was not an option.

The majority of the helpers stayed in the hotel so only had access to the clothing they brought with them. I was one of the few fortunate to live close enough to travel home each night and planned to wear a warmer sweater for the following day.

The next morning I also brought a blanket shawl with me and offered it to a friend. After she had a chance to warm up, I asked that it be passed on to someone else. The shawl gave much needed warmth to many as it was passed around that day. In fact, it warmed me just to see how others were enjoying it.

Later, my friend referred to this as a blanket of love that I freely shared with all who needed it. Her lovely words reminded me how easy it is to wrap those around us in love.

When I not only see your discomfort, but do what little I can to show you I care, I am wrapping you in love. It may be a physical blanket, such as this was. It may also be a smile, an encouraging word, a hug, or a home-made brownie. Love comes in many forms. We all need the opportunity to give and receive it.

Let’s encourage each other with our stories as together we share a blanket of love with the world. Let me know what you do and you just may receive a surprise gift of love from me!

One at a Time

#inspiration, love, Please welcome Kim Louise Clarke as my guest blogger today. Kim and I met through Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship. Her first book came out in 2016, a devotional travel memoir, entitled The French Collection – Moments with God in Paris.

Outside my friends’ house, I waited for her in my car. Across the street, the movement of a swinging birdfeeder suspended from a tree caught my eye. It was a simple design: an open tray suspended by ropes from a branch about a metre above the snowy lawn.

The cause of the movement came, not from a bird, but from a squirrel rummaging around in the feeder. Nearby on the ground, a bird—a magpie as big as the squirrel—seemed to be pacing as if waiting its turn. No sooner had the squirrel hopped off the feeder to scamper down the road, than the magpie jumped up to see what it could find. And no sooner had the magpie flown away, than a tiny bird that had been waiting on its perch high in the tree, darted in to have its turn.

Because I’ve seen how magpies can torment squirrels, with three of them squawking and hounding one poor squirrel fleeing along a fence, this was like a peaceful scene out of Narnia. It was a short animal dramatization of I Corinthians 13, focusing on love. “Love is patient, love is kind. … It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered” (verses 4, 5).

How appropriate for February, the month of love, to see this reminder of how we should treat others. Even doing the little things, like patiently standing in a cafeteria line, waiting your turn, and letting others go first does not go unnoticed by God. It is by our loving behaviour that He is glorified.

My friend arrived and got into my car. We drove away with me chatting about squirrels and magpies. Having been exposed to one sermon, we drove off to church for another.

You can find out more about Kim through her website:
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Road Sign Advice

inspiration, signs, lessonsWhile driving in an unfamiliar area we saw a sign that said, Rough Road No Turn Around. I have encountered phases in my life where this could apply.

Maybe it was because I either missed or chose to ignore an earlier warning sign; the one that said Wrong Way. In some cases I wasn’t paying attention but in others I felt it didn’t apply to me. After all, I knew where I was going and this was a short cut to get there.

Except, this route lead me to the rough road I then had to travel. Once I realized my mistake, I was too far in to turn around. No matter how rough it got, I had to keep going. My errors in judgement couldn’t be erased. They had now become part of my story.

All I could do was put one foot in front of the other as I trudged forward, hoping to find the smooth road once again. Since turning back wasn’t an option, the only thing left was to find some value in this uncomfortable area I found myself in.

When I pay attention, there are lessons to be learned. I now know to watch for the signs and to heed the advice they give.

Dance Lessons

God, inspiration, guidance, following“We’ve signed up for ballroom dancing classes,” some friends said. My husband and I exchanged knowing glances. Many years ago we had done the same thing and their comment brought the experience to mind.

It wasn’t totally unpleasant but certainly had its challenging moments. We had a great deal of difficulty in co-coordinating our steps.

Other couples were gliding across the floor and we remained in our little practice box, unable to master the basic steps.

Part of the problem, OK, most of the problem, was with me. I kept trying to take the lead. As long as I struggled for control, no progress could be made.

We didn’t know what to do to improve the situation. I tried to follow, But soon found myself fighting for control again. Our instructor could see what was happening and gave us a simple solution to this problem. I needed to keep my eyes closed.

As strange as that seemed, it worked! When I couldn’t see where I was going I had to trust my partner to guide me. Soon we were out of our self-imposed practice box and moving across the floor.

Can this lesson translate to my walk, or dance with God? Do I trust God’s leading and willingly follow or do I question where he is taking me?

if I’m not willing to trust him with small steps, how will I ever be able to take on the bigger things he has planned for me?

i sometimes forget God is my leader in the dance of life and attempt to take control. Maybe I need to close my eyes in order to fully trust.  Better yet, I can keep my focus on the Lord. He knows where he is taking me and the best route to get there.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do and he will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

Making a Difference

Please  welcome Lynn Simpson as my guest blogger today.  After you enjoy her words and her photographs you can find out more about Lynn in the brief bio at the bottom of the post.

inspiration. make a difference
Lynn Simpson Photography

Lifeless leaves in colours of blood and coffee on a dusty footpath crush beneath my worn hikers. I pull my wool hat lower over my ears with one mittened hand, the other grips my camera. Ahead, I know, is a low lying

make a difference, inspiration
Lynn Simpson Photography

bridge, over a cheerless pond, just four steps wide and seven steps to the other side.

I’ve been here before, on this trail in this national park close to my home. Been here too, during the times of chirping frogs and singing sparrows.

But today, under a silvery sky, the life sounds seem hushed. And this feels right. As my brother of only a few years longer in life than me, was recently stilled and silenced. His path moved now beyond this world.

My downcast eyes wander to lanky, burnt mustard grasses. I halt, grasp my camera in both hands, adjust the dials, kneel and frame the scene. Click. Reframe. Click. Capture a moment. Now. And then gone.

#inspiration, make a difference
Lynn Simpson Photography


And I wonder, in this moment, what is the point really? A captured moment just changes in time. And is lost. Gone.

Does it make any difference, to do this or that in this moment?

Do I make a difference?

I shake my head, try to clear of it of this melancholy. Fingers seek for tissue in my coat pocket.

Crush of lifeless leaves interrupt, from steps that are not mine.

You must be a pro, he says. I unbend my knees, stand. No, I reply. He is tall, slender, like my brother (my late-brother) with midnight black hair that matches the camera he clutches in bare hands. My friend gave me his camera to try for a day and I don’t have a clue what I’m doing and my pictures look terrible, he tells me, his face crimsoning. Can I see yours? he asks. I show him, am warmed by his delight. How did you capture that from that? He points to the field of littered grasses. It’s about the angles, and the scene, and the light, and the imagination, I tell him. I show him a few tools, a few features and simple ways to set the light, to frame the scene.

He clicks. Reframes. Clicks. Captures a few shots with the new settings.

Wow, he says, his grin infectious. That totally made a difference! Thank you!

There is a wooden bridge that crosses marsh-like waters just up ahead, I tell him. You may want to try there too.

He takes a few steps backwards, on this ginger path, waves a free hand. Great! I want to be able to show my friend later what moments I captured here. Thanks so much! he says.

I watch him turn away and move on. I look down. Auburn and chestnut coloured leaves stir from a light wind. I kneel, position my camera. And click, capturing a new moment.

Lynn J Simpson understands the need for creating spaces for rest, renewal, and transformation both personally and as a Professional Life Coach. Her own journey is rarely without a camera in hand, capturing breathing spaces to share. Her recent publication, Breathing Spaces-a 21 day journal of rest, reflection and renewal is used by individuals and groups to help create healthy mindsets. You can read more of Lynn’s musings on faith, hope and love at Inspiring Hope (, and connect with her on Facebook and YouTube.