September 1st approaches, the time I always think of as the real New Year. School terms are starting. Church programs begin. We buy fresh clothes, shoes, pencils, and backpacks. We adjust to changing schedules and expectations. Fall is a busy time, a final flurry of activity before the holidays and then settling in for a long winter’s rest.

Each season promises an exciting new beginning. Every new start gives an opportunity to learn and grow. A change in the weather brings a chance for building friendships and exploring ideas.

This September I pray you welcome the new season. I hope you receive the inspiration and experiences to propel you into a time of expansive growth and understanding. Know God is with you always, through every season of your year.

What are you looking forward to this fall? How do you greet the start of a different season?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

One day last spring I discovered these two guests visiting my patio – young crows who rested from their flight lessons by perching on my air conditioner and outdoor loveseat. I studied the crows from my window and snapped a few photos while their parents squawked overhead, then I left the crows alone to complete their important work while I considered how we all learn to fly.

Leave the nest (or you will be pushed). To discover anything new, we have to move out of our comfort zones and explore dangerous, unknown areas. If we linger in one place too long, we outgrow our safe surroundings and find ourselves forced to change our perspective.

Let go. We can’t learn to fly while clinging to the past. We have to release those burdens that hold us back and make an effort to propel ourselves forward.

Expect to fall. Often we find ourselves moving downwards before we can rise. Sometimes we have to hit the ground before finding the way to lift ourselves up again.

Keep trying. Regular practice builds strength and power. We may have to make several attempts before we develop the stamina we need to succeed.

Encourage others. While baby birds struggle, their parents perch in the trees overhead, calling to their offspring on the ground. When we gain knowledge and understanding, it is important to offer encouragement to those who are still learning to pick themselves up.

These plaques hang on my office wall, reminders that to reach our dreams, we need courage to leave our safe spaces, commitment to do the hard work, and vision to reach heights we’ve only dreamed of before. This week I hope you take a leap and find yourself able to fly.

Where are your dreams leading you now? How can you step out and learn something new?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

After a long and dreary winter, spring has finally arrived. With the start of a new season come many changes: days are longer, the sun is brighter, and I find that many new activities are demanding my time and attention.

 

I’ll be posting less frequently over this spring and summer to allow me to focus hours and energy on some other important areas now. I will be traveling and exploring our beautiful country, volunteering at a friend’s charity event, spending special days with friends and family, discovering new neighborhoods while walking the dog, and completing my book manuscript.

 

 

I’m looking forward to checking in here periodically to share what I learn on my adventures and hear how others are spending their time this summer.

Know that God is always with you through every season of the year. I hope you spend your summer doing everything you enjoy.

What is on your list of things to do this season? How will you spend your summer days?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

It has been a month for staying indoors. Winter storms and freezing rain made driving dangerous. Streets and parking lots became icy pools. I’ve enjoyed the warm and safe confines of my cozy home, but I look forward to spring when the sky grows warm and the world feels welcoming again. I’m excited to greet the new experiences that present themselves with sunny days and balmy nights.

But in truth, every morning of any season presents an opportunity to try something new. Each day is a chance to begin a different journey. We don’t have to wait for a date on a calendar or a change in the weather to begin again. God gives us many occasions to open the door and follow the path he has planned for us, and each morning we are free to step out and explore a promising future.

Why are you waiting to begin something new? This morning, I pray you strike out for a changing horizon. Remember God is always with you on your travels.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

“Are you awake?”

Some mornings I find it difficult to drag myself out of bed at 5:00. I shuffle to the sink to brush my teeth, then pull on yoga pants and tie on running shoes. When I open the front door and step outside, the sky is just beginning to brighten beyond the trees.

Despite my reluctance some days, I enjoy these early morning summer walks when the air is still cool and most of the world sleeps. Our path takes us on three winding miles over tree-lined trails and past still-snoozing suburban housing. Wildlife occasionally wanders in our way. We’ve seen opossums, raccoons, and rabbits too numerous to count. Once a deer watched us warily as we strolled by.

My morning walks all seem the same: the smooth and slowly unfolding trail, the peaceful and slumbering houses, the sheltering and whispering trees.

Yet every morning walk is different.

The wind constantly changes directions – cool and rushing one day, heavy and clinging the next. The light changes by the minute, bringing brightness and clarity to areas that were wrapped in shadow. I never know what four-footed creature may choose to cross my path. Every walk is an adventure. Every step outside explores a new and altered world.

Like early morning light, our lives are always changing. Every sunrise is different, and each day is the start of a new journey. Every moment offers the chance to choose our next move differently, and each step we make may lead us in a new and unexpected direction.

The only way to fail is to stop moving. Only when we refuse to step forward do we get left behind. If we choose to stay safely behind our locked doors and curtained windows, we miss the changing sights just beyond our point of view.

After the three-mile hike, I’m ready to return to my safe and welcoming home, but I am never the same when I unlock and enter the door. My day lies ahead, filled with opportunity, and I am awake to a new beginning.

This morning I encourage you to greet your day as the start of a new adventure. I pray you step forward in faith that God is with you on your walk.

How will you choose to begin your morning? What do you hope to discover on your journey?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Who am I now? What should I do with myself?

Moms facing an empty nest when their children leave home may ask themselves these questions. These moms may find the answers in the book, Barbara and Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest, written by Barbara Rainey and Susan Yates, and produced by Bethany House Publishers.

The book describes the premise of the Season Principle: our lives naturally move through different seasons of experience and development. The newlywed season is different from the new parent season, which is different from the parenting teens season, and the empty nest season is different from them all. Throughout these changing seasons, it is natural for moms to experience various and changing emotions. We have to give ourselves time and permission to experience our feelings and grow into our changing roles.

To help women make adjustments and experience healthy growth, the book offers many tools and techniques readers can use. Women are encouraged to build strong relationships with their husbands; nurture friendships with other women; turn to God through scripture study and prayer; assess their strengths, values, giftedness, and priorities; and develop mission statements to guide each new season of life. The book offers many practical resources to assist this process, including: suggested books and websites, Bible verses for reflection, a values assessment exercise, and a small group study guide which includes discussion questions and prayer prompts. All these resources may be helpful to moms who are adjusting to changing roles and developing relationships.

All women occasionally need support as we experience life changes. Barbara and Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest provides resources and encouragement that many women will find useful.

I received a free copy of Barbara and Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest from the publishers in exchange for writing a review.

How do you feel about facing the empty nest years? What techniques do you use to adjust to the changing seasons of your life?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail