Thoughtful Thursdays

Musings on faith, family, & fiction

Update on Roseanna
Well, here I am, 10 days after my first infusion of chemotherapy. So many of you have reached out privately to say you're praying and ask how I'm doing--and many just say you're praying and don't want to be a bother so say I don't have to reply, LOL. So I thought I'd...
These Bodies
Crucifixes used to creep me out. I admit it. Probably because I grew up in a faith tradition that put a lot of emphasis on "He's not on the cross anymore!" as a way of deliberately frowning upon any cross that had a representation of Christ on it. That's wrong was...
The Passover Seder
Today I’m talking about what the Jewish Passover Seder was in the time of Christ, and how it had evolved out of the instruction given to Israel at the first Passover…and more, how that was the perfect backdrop to the ultimate work of salvation—Jesus’s institution of...
Jesus and Traditions
We’ve been talking about the really cool lessons I’ve learned through the reading of a book called Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Brant Pitre.* First I talked about the Daily Bread, and then last week about why the Passover was the perfect backdrop for...

Though a novelist by trade, one of the trademarks of my books is the spiritual depth and exploration I includes as my characters work through what it really means to walk out their faith. Faith, in fact, is one of the things I like to ponder most. In these once-a-week articles, I gets thoughtful at the crossroads of faith, family, and fiction.

The Darkness in the Light

The Darkness in the Light

We are the light of the world. We know it's true because Jesus, the true Light, told us so. We know it's true because He gives us His light. Why? To shine it. To scatter the darkness. To light the Way to Him, to the Father. To guide the people stumbling around in the...

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The Beloved Charter

The Beloved Charter

I hope everyone has enjoyed the other Spiritual Formation exercises I've shared, courtesy of Laura Heagy and her insightful direction. The most recent exercise she's shared with the Patrons & Peers group is called "Drafting a 'Beloved Charter.'" She sent us a...

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The Poor in Spirit

The Poor in Spirit

I've always found the Beatitudes--the Sermon on the Mount beginning in Matthew 5--to be a beautiful redefinition of what life should be about. What we should be striving for. There are so many lines in it that make me pause and reflect and ask myself, "Am I doing...

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The God of . . .

The God of . . .

There are some phrases we're all familiar with if we read the Old Testament of the Bible... The God of IsraelThe God of JacobThe God of Jerusalem We're told that Jerusalem is "His holy city," especially in the Psalms. So much of the poetry and songs revolve around...

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Love on Repeat

Love on Repeat

We can never hear "I love you" enough. Right? Well, we may need to add a little more--we can never hear "I love you" enough when the person saying it means it. We can never hear it enough when it's given as a gift, not meant to manipulate. We can never hear it enough...

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God of Eternal Promises

God of Eternal Promises

It's winter in the northern hemisphere. January has turned to February, February will soon be March, and we'll start looking for the first signs of springs. Daffodil greens ... buds on the trees ... the return of birds that migrated south. We'll start looking, but the...

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He Called Me by Name

He Called Me by Name

God knows us. He calls us by name. We know this. We can point to Scriptures that say it, we can recite it to each other. For that matter, I even sign each copy of The Nature of a Lady with "He knows your name." I've printed it on tote bags. I've put it in a pretty...

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Whose Sins You Forgive

Whose Sins You Forgive

Forgiveness. We know it's important. We KNOW that. It's a key line in the Lord's Prayer--forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. It's not only something we're commanded to do, we confess in that prayer that we will only expect forgiveness in the...

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A Year of Patrons and Peers!

A Year of Patrons and Peers!

A year ago, I made an announcement here on my blog in a post called "Introducing Patrons & Peers." I was launching a direct-support, Patreon-style membership group here on my website. In that initial post, I explained the concept--you could join at two main...

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2022 Word of the Year Reflection – Devotion

2022 Word of the Year Reflection – Devotion

As December, and hence 2022, draw to a close, it's that time when I pause to reflect upon the twelve months that have just passed, especially in light of my Word of the Year. In January of 2022, I chose the word "Devotion" to guide me into the year to come. As I...

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How to Choose an Intentional Word of the Year

How to Choose an Intentional Word of the Year

For well over a decade, I’ve been doing the “word of the year” thing. In 2021, my word was “Intentional,” and a funny thing happened…I was getting a lot of hits on that post. But not (sadly) because people were so interested in my word. No…people were interested in...

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The Babe, the Son of Mary

The Babe, the Son of Mary

View the Video Podcast of This Post! I've just started recording my posts not only as podcasts, but as videos! You can watch it here, or you can go directly to my new channel on YouTube. If you do, be sure to subscribe! And keep an eye out for my future posts as...

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Righteous but Dangerous

Righteous but Dangerous

This month, our Spiritual Formation exercise (assigned by our fabulous Spiritual Director, Laura Heagy) is "Psalm 23 Reloaded." It involves memorizing the psalm, dwelling on it, and reframing it in other terms. Really great, if you want to play along at home! 😉 As I...

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Giving Thanks through the Years

Giving Thanks through the Years

This year, I thought it would be fun post a round-up of all my Thanksgiving posts through the years. Now, sometimes I took the week off and other years my post simply said "Happy Thanksgiving!", and there have even been a few times when I re-shared a post from...

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Throwback Thursday – My Unceasing Thanksgiving

Throwback Thursday – My Unceasing Thanksgiving

As we draw ever closer to Thanksgiving, my thoughts go not only to where I am this year in terms of my own attitude and state of thankfulness, but also back over where I've come from. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays--I love that we have a day...

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Dancing with God

Dancing with God

The other day, my husband and I were talking about the challenges of following God, of growing in Him, even of spiritual warfare. “It’s hard.” That’s what so many people say. That’s what I’ve said many times. And it’s true, isn’t it? Being a good Christian is hard....

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A Challenge: No More Complaining, All Gratitude!

A Challenge: No More Complaining, All Gratitude!

It's November. Every November, as I scroll through social media or blogs, I see people posting about what they're grateful for. Thankful for. People taking the whole month to appreciate all they've been given from the Lord. Beautiful, obviously! But you...

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Festooning the Lord’s Prayer

Festooning the Lord’s Prayer

A month ago, I blogged on Colossians 3, inspired by the spiritual formation exercises that we're doing in the Patrons & Peers group. This month, our lovely resident spiritual director, Laura Heagy, sent us a great exercise on "Festooning the Lord's Prayer." The...

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A Walk Before Daybreak

A Walk Before Daybreak

We stepped outside, the warm light from the kitchen glowing behind us, nothing but darkness before us. The air carried an autumnal chill that stung our cheeks, filled our nose, and cut right through our exercise clothes. Silence permeated the landscape. I pulled out...

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Belief and Truth

Belief and Truth

Back in the days when I spent an hour of every weekday reading aloud to my kids for school, it was no great surprise to me which books from our reading list my kids loved best: the novels. We always had a novel going, and they were usually classic (often Newbury Award...

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Gone Writing!

Gone Writing!

It's that time of year again! The time that I and my best friend/crit partner head out of our towns (1,000 miles apart), meet up at a cute little AirBnB somewhere or another, and do nothing but WRITE for a long weekend! That's write, it's Writing Retreat time! What is...

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Where We Look

Where We Look

I am under deadline...and on vacation (my goal was not to make those two overlap, but alas! We were hit by sickness, so I now get to finish my book at the beach.) So in short, you're getting some short-and-sweet musings today. One thing I'm doing in September is going...

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Throwback Thursday – Written On Our Lives

Throwback Thursday – Written On Our Lives

Original post published 12/9/2019 A couple weeks ago, my church watched Mom’s Night Out–a rather hilarious Christian movie that we all thoroughly enjoyed. In one scene, the heroine’s little girl is drawing on the walls with markers–Mommy ends up putting frames around...

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Reflections

Reflections

My summer, especially the second half of it, has been insane. And as I sit down at my computer to write out this week's blog post, I feel a bit low on insight and inspiration. My mind and body and spirit are all longing for the vacation coming up in a few weeks...but...

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True Community, Wherever You Are

True Community, Wherever You Are

We live in a kinda weird world, don't we? We are so connected, with the advances of technology. And we are so disconnected, living such busy lives that we rarely pause to just be with each other anymore. I confess that I struggle with this. I want community. I long...

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40 Things

40 Things

We're somehow to the middle of August again ... which means at my birthday again. Which, in turn, means time for another post reflecting on the year--on things learned, things discovered, things loved, things hated. And of course, this is a milestone year. Forty! (Cue...

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Throwback Thursday – The Power of Words

Throwback Thursday – The Power of Words

Original post published January 30, 2020In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the...

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Throwback Thursday – The Revealer of Secrets

Throwback Thursday – The Revealer of Secrets

Original post published 9/12/2019 “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,For wisdom and might are His.21 And He changes the times and the seasons;He removes kings and raises up kings;He gives wisdom to the wiseAnd knowledge to those who have understanding.22 He...

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Throwback Thursday – The Difference We Can Make

Throwback Thursday – The Difference We Can Make

Original post published January 24, 2019 When God created the earth, what did He say? That it was good. What do we yearn for at the end of our lives? That He’ll say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Not only in the Bible, but in pretty much every piece of...

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What Does “Repent” Really Mean?

What Does “Repent” Really Mean?

If you're anything like me, you've heard the word "repent" so many times that you never really thought to look too deeply at what it means. You know what it means. To regret. To regret your actions so deeply, that you change your actions in the future. This is, in...

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Nevertheless, Rejoice

Nevertheless, Rejoice

The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and they said, “Lord, in your name even the demons are subject to us.” 18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 19 Behold, I have given you the power to tread upon snakes and scorpions and all the forces...

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First Say Goodbye

First Say Goodbye

In I King 19, we get the story of when Elisha is called to follow Elijah: So Elijah left that place and found the son of Shaphat who was plowing with twelve yokes of oxen preceding him (he was driving the twelfth pair himself), and he tossed his mantle on him....

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Blessed Is She Who Believed

Blessed Is She Who Believed

"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?For behold, when the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy!Blessed is she who believed, for...

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Journey Through Prayer

Journey Through Prayer

One of my goals for the year was to spend more dedicated time in prayer. So every morning, I've been doing my Bible reading and then taking about half an hour to focus on communing with God. Not just the on-the-fly prayers I send up through the day, but time when I'm...

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Pearls Before Swine

Pearls Before Swine

Do not give to dogs anything that is holy.And do not cast your pearls before swine,lest they trample them under their feetand then proceed to tear you to pieces."~ Matthew 7:6 This verse came up in a conversation lately...a conversation about the place of Christians...

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My Peace I Leave You

My Peace I Leave You

“Peace I leave with you,my peace I give to you.Not as the world givesdo I give it to you.Do not let your hearts be troubled;be not afraid. ~ John 14:27 What is peace? Jesus promises to leave us with it--not just any peace, but His peace. It's something we all know we...

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You called me, Master?

You called me, Master?

I've always loved the story of Samuel. In fact, as a writer, I've claimed the verse about none of his words falling to the ground as what I should be striving to live up to. There are so many lessons we can glean from this wise prophet who heard directly from God. But...

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Return to Default

Return to Default

I don't know about you, but I love it when I see people in Scripture behaving like...well, like people. Like I would do. I love seeing how they were humans just like me. They mess up, they say the wrong thing--sometimes the stupid thing--and sometimes...sometimes they...

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Shining Light and Casting Shadows

Shining Light and Casting Shadows

Many signs and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the apostles. They all used to assemble in Solomon’s Portico. 13 No one else dared to join them, but the people esteemed them highly. 14 More believers, men and women, were constantly being added to...

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The Cup of Christ

The Cup of Christ

Today is Holy Thursday, Maundy Thursday. The day when Christ celebrated the Passover with His disciples--the Last Supper. Tonight He instituted what may be the most sacred of the sacraments--Holy Communion, the Eucharist. He took bread, took wine, and declared them...

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Save, We Pray – Hosanna!

Save, We Pray – Hosanna!

"Hosanna!" It's an interjection that we shout as praise in the Christian church. "Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" Hosanna. I've sung songs with that proclamation since I was a child (I still...

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Something from Nothing

Something from Nothing

We serve a God who makes something out of nothing. He did it in creation, taking the blank canvas of space and turning it into an ever-expanding network of galaxies, planets, suns, wormholes, black holes, supernovas, matter, energy, light, and life. In that moment...

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His Kingdom and His Will

His Kingdom and His Will

Don’t you love those occasions when you’re reading multiple things at the same time and they all coalesce? That’s what happened to me this week, as I was reading the Gospel of Mark and meditating on the Lord’s prayer. Let’s start with Mark 13:30. Jesus is telling His...

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An Untamed Faith

An Untamed Faith

I've been a C.S. Lewis fan for decades. I, like most kids, started out reading The Chronicles of Narnia, and when I reread the books to my own kids a couple years ago, I realized how much of my faith life was formed by those books--especially by The Last Battle. In...

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While We Sleep

While We Sleep

Have you ever paused to think about all the things God does while we sleep? The Bible is full of examples of dreams and visions that come to people while they're in their beds. From Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph to the prophets like Isaiah and Joel; and then of course,...

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Ripping Our Hearts to Pieces

Ripping Our Hearts to Pieces

Yesterday was the official start of Lent. Depending on your faith tradition, perhaps you marked it with ashes and fasting...perhaps you took some special time for prayer...perhaps you decided to give something up for the next 40 days, or add something into your faith...

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Throwback Thursday – Soul-Tidying

Throwback Thursday – Soul-Tidying

Original post published 9/19/19. I’m not the world’s best housekeeper. This is no secret–I mean, I put it right in my official bio. 😉 Yes, “pretending my house will clean itself” is part of my charming naivete. Ahem. Or at the very least, keeping everything put in its...

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Throwback Thursday – The Inspiration

Throwback Thursday – The Inspiration

Original post published January 10, 2019 We serve a gracious God, don’t we? Not only has He given us His Son, His Word, but He continues to speak and minister to us today. As a creative, I can tell you in all honesty that there are many days when I just have to...

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Unworthy but Willing

Unworthy but Willing

 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”~ Isaiah 6:8 We all know that verse, right? There are songs about it. It's a key verse for missionaries around the world. It encapsulates the...

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Who Are Our Enemies?

Who Are Our Enemies?

In our family devotional time, I've been noticing a trend in many of the psalms and canticles . . . there is a lot of talk about enemies. It's in the songs . . . it's in the prophecies . . . it's in the praises. The writers of both Old and New Testaments talk a lot...

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