New Memories and Fresh Mercy

Tom took me away for the month of October to see something I’ve never been able to see before…we watched the leaves turn from dark green to various hues of red, orange and yellow in the mountains of North Georgia. It was a magnificent display of God’s glory in creation.

While we were there we had two full moons, a meteor shower, a visit from hundreds of ladybugs who swarm this time of year, visits from family a friends for a few days here and there, visits from all kinds of birds including a brown hawk who swooped on our deck, great food, lively farmers markets, crowded flea markets, three winery tours, cool picnics and  a hikes to a waterfall and mountain peaks and the outer remnants of a massive storm, Sandy. It was a perfect time away where we marveled at the gift God has given us in each other and in Himself.

The changing seasons are always refreshing when they first arrive, aren’t they? We long for the cooler temps of fall after a long, hot summer. We pray for snow in December to make our Christmas feel more Christmassy. We watch for the first buds of spring telling us the winter has passed at last. And then, when Memorial Day arrives we celebrate the time for barbecues and pool parties. But in the middle of a season it is easy to grow discontent. We no longer appreciate the newness of the season, but long for what we don’t have.

Let’s ask God to help us be grateful for our current season of life. He wants us to discover new mercies each day, not just when passing from one season to the next.

In what ways is God helping you appreciate TODAY?



From My Journal

From time to time, I’m going to share with you some of my personal journey as I record in my journal. My hope is that this will help you as God is helping me, and that it might encourage you to start journaling your own thoughts and prayers.

Journal entry from October 15th:

My Bible verse for today is Deuteronomy 7:7-8 ESV:

“It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set His love on you, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that He swore to your fathers.”

Thank you, Father, for Your faithfulness to keep Your promises. You promise and You never forget. We benefit from the promise You made to Abraham thousands of years ago. I’m sure I’m benefitting from promises You  made to my grandmother–Grace Stella–and my great-grandfather–“Uncle Bud” Oswalt. Thank You.

Thank You for choosing to place Your love on me and on my children. I believe and pray my grandchildren will grow to love You as well. Set Your seal upon their heart, Lord. May they learn of Your grace at an early age. I love You and can’t imagine my life apart from Your love. Thank You that I will never know.


Do you keep a journal? If so, what is God currently saying to you? If not, have you considered the blessing this would be for your family in the years to come?

All I Can Say Is…Wow!

Stella Grace at 4 months

This week I am more and more aware of God’s kindness to have brought me this far in the writing process. I have heard from dozens of people as they’ve read Through The Eyes Of Grace, and it brings tears to my eyes. Grace’s story is affecting others for good. I have heard moms tell me they are going to have their daughters read my book in hopes of inspiring them to know their own grandparent’s stories. I have had people stop me to tell me their story of regret towards their parents or grandparents who are no longer around to ask. I have even had some tell me of their dream to write a similar story to honor their family legacy.

All I can say is, Wow!

God is taking my little mite and using it for His purposes. If you’ve read my book and found it enjoyable, would you take time to write a review on Amazon about it for me? Your words will help others decide if they would enjoy it as well.

I must say that what I love most is hearing from you. Your words of encouragement are washing away years of disbelief that I could ever accomplish such a feat. Now that I have, the temptation is even greater to discount my work, which I’m sure saddens the Lord who is the One who enabled me to do it in the first place. I want to be quick to give Him the glory for the big picture story of His grace that He weaves into each of our lives.

How has your family impacted your appreciation of God’s grace at work in you?

Big Mama’s Chili

I’ll never forget the time 34 years ago when I was making plans to go visit my fiance’, Tom, for the weekend. He lived 2 1/2 hours away before cell phones or e-mail. We relied on land line phone calls to communicate with each other and it wasn’t cheap. We also wrote letters–lots of letters to each other.

As I was packing, my grandmother whom we affectionately called Big Mama, let me know she was making Tom her homemade chili. She wanted to make sure I didn’t forget to take a quart to him. Somehow in the four months Tom and I had been dating he managed to win her heart. She loved Tom, and she showed her affection for him by doing what she did best–cooking for him.

We didn’t know then that it would be our last Fall with her for she died the following June, only four months after our wedding.

Tonight I made Big Mama’s Chili for the first time this Fall.

It was delicious as usual. Somehow having her story, Through The Eyes Of Grace, read by friends, family and those whom I’ve never met makes this year’s chili even more special. I loved her chili then, and I still do, but I love the heart she had for Tom and me even more. Our love is richer because of her blessing. Now I’m the one who shows my affection for Tom by cooking for him, and I’ve loved doing it for 34 years. 🙂

If you would like to try her recipe, you can find it under the Through The Eyes Of Grace tab above. I hope you’ll like it as much as we do.

Do you have special family recipes that have been handed down to you in a special way? Won’t you share the story and the recipe with us?

The Scents of Familiarity

When I walked into the old house I was greeted with the warmth of familiarity, yet I had never been here before. This was my second visit to Oklahoma to continue research and actually begin writing the book I had talked about for years. I knew the title and the concept, but I had yet to meet my grandmother as my peer.

I was in for the journey of my life!

As I sat in the upstairs bedroom overlooking the landscape the locals called Turkey Mountain, I began writing. This would not be easy, but I was compelled to do something beyond my own ability. I felt God’s help to capture this story for my own family’s benefit as well as those who were yet to be born.

What special places in your family evoke sweet memories? Why?