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Friday, March 30, 2012


Remember ‘way back to January and those goals you set?  It’s time for our first quarterly review—to see how we’re doing; where we still need to go. It’s time to review, revise and renew our enthusiasm.

How do we do that?

The goals we set were SMARTER GOALS Take each goal one at a time. Did you set out a time frame to achieve it? Did you make forward progress? If not, why not? What do you need to do differently in order to pursue this goal during the next three months?

Is each goal still important? If not, why not? If yes, how do you need to commit in order to get back on track? Do you need to revise the scope of any goal? How will you do so?

What unexpected experiences have you had during the process of pursuing your goals?

I set three types of goals: spiritual, writing and personal.

The spiritual goals were daily goals. I have generally been on track, except that I forgot to practice my new breath prayer: Je-sus. The good news is that I’m still generally using a breath prayer of “Thank you, Jesus.”

So, I am deleting the goal of a new breath prayer and will simply continue with my old one. For the other goals, I will continue at my present pace. 

I have reviewed each of my writing goals and my personal goals in the same way. A few goals have changed; some I’ve completed; a couple I’m behind on and need to revise for Q2.

Meanwhile, I’m praising God for the encouragement He gives to grow in faith and in the gifts He has entrusted to my care.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for making us teachable. Help us see the ways you would have us grow and change. Help us, Holy Spirit, follow your leading to do so. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? How did you do in Q1? Are you ready to embark on tackling them in Q2?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Today’s post is part of the Christian Writer’s blog chain. This month, our theme is “Savor.” Please visit my friends’ blogs by clicking on the links in the right-hand column.

April 1 is the one-year anniversary of From Carol’s Quill. Here are the stats:

1 year of blogging
158 posts
Six pages to the site
88 prayers based on the meaning of names
8,482 hits to the site
 + + +                 
The more important stats are not quantifiable. The goal of this blog is to encourage others in their faith in Christ. Whether I have done so is up to God to determine.

As I set out to encourage others in their faith, though something amazing happened. Writing about my faith has encouraged me.

  • Preparation for blogging requires me to look around each day for parables about Jesus. When I look for Jesus, I find him.

  • Preparation for blogging requires me to research and meditate on scripture. More head knowledge results in more heart knowledge.

  • Preparation for blogging requires me to pray and allow the Holy Spirit to guide my hands. More prayer and more attuning to the Spirit is always good.
Blogging has grown my faith; brought me closer to my Savior; helped me savor time spent with Him.

Is that not the way it is when we first set out to encourage others? We find ourself encouraged, stretched and strengthened through the process.

A few thank you's are in order:

  • To my readers for your faithful reading and commenting.
  • To the Christian community for letting me join in the blog chain fun.
  • To my Heavenly Father for using me in this one and only life He’s given me.
  • To my Savior for the reason for my faith.
  • To the Holy Spirit who has guided my hands this past year.

I look forward to another year of savoring the way God plans to use me for His good purpose. And savoring the friendships I make along the way.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunities you give us to share your love with others. Thank you for showing us ways to use technology for this sacred purpose. Holy Spirit, please give us words to express your love in this world. Let it always and only be for your glory. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? How do you use technology to encourage others?

Monday, March 26, 2012


This week is spring break for many colleges and universities. That means it’s time for a light-hearted post with deep spiritual meaning hidden just behind the smile.

We can learn about God’s character from the world around us—in the majesty of a mountain, the gentleness of a field of daisies, the strength of a redwood tree. I’d like to share with you three spiritual truths I’ve learned about God's character from Popeye.

1. Popeye’s name tells me about God, the Father

We know that the cartoon character, Popeye, is named because one of his eyes bulges. Still, if we  break down Popeye’s name, we can think:

Jesus taught us, in Mark 14:36,  that God is “Abba Father.” Abba Father is an intensely personal, loving, and tender reference that can be translated as Daddy or Papa. Taking us back to the 1950s, Papa was frequently shortened to Pop.

Abba Father—translated as "Pop"—is an intensely personal, loving, and tender reference to our heavenly Daddy.

The second part of the name, Popeye, focuses us on the eye. Scripture tells us, despite the fact that God is holding the universe together, He still has his eye on us. Cilvia D. Martin wrote the words to the wonderful gospel song “His eye is on the Sparrow” to show God’s watchfulness. The refrain from that song says:

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

2. Popeye is strong and rescues the weak.

In every cartoon episode, at some point, a bully is out to get Olive Oyl or baby Sweat Pea. It is therefore up to Popeye to make sure the weak are protected and saved from harm. 

Jesus is the savior of our souls; our ultimate rescuer and redeemer.

3. Popeye is what he is

We all know what Popeye sings:

I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.
I’m Popeye, the sailor man.

What does God say about himself?

“ I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14)

A cartoon character doesn’t come close to the Holy God of the universe. But when we think about Popeye, perhaps it will remind us to think about the character of God. God is our Abba Father. He has His eye upon us. He is our savior. And He is the great I AM.

And here’s an extra: Think about the time in the boat, when Jesus calmed the waves. Jesus is a mighty “sailor man” too!

PRAYER:  Dear Abba Father, thank you for who you are and all you do for us. Thank you for loving us enough that you sent Jesus to save us. Thank you for being everything, always and forever. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What other ways might Popeye remind you of Jesus?

Friday, March 23, 2012


Every month I create prayers based on the names of people we love. This ongoing list of names and prayers can be found at the top of this blog, on the tab titled, “PRAYING NAMES.”  

If you would like me to create a prayer based on a specific name, please leave a comment below. I’ll research the name and include it in a future month.  

David: beloved 

Heavenly Father, I pray that David would live his name. I pray that he will know at a heart level that he is one of your beloved children. I pray also that he will live his life as King David lived—with a heart after yours. Amen. 

Jaclyn, Jacqueline, Jackie: to replace one thing with another 

I pray that Jaclyn will live her name. I pray that she will spend her life becoming more Christ-like. I pray that bit by bit, she will replace earthly ways with your heavenly ways, growing stronger in her faith. Amen. 

Samantha: Listener of God 

I pray that Samantha will live her name. I pray that she will listen to your voice and hear your words speaking to her heart through scripture. I pray that she will take your truths into her heart and grow in her relationship with you, Jesus. Amen. 

Samuel, Sam: God has heard 

I pray that Samuel will live his name. I pray that he will know the power of prayer. I pray that he will understand that to you, his prayers are like a bowl of incense burning in heaven. I pray that he will know that you hear each word he whispers in prayer. Amen.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Today’s post is part of the Christian Writer’s blog chain. This month, our theme is “Savor.” Please visit my friends’ blogs by clicking on the links in the right-hand column.


Yesterday was the first day of Spring. The time of renewal.

Isn't spring everyone's favorite time of year? Even here in California, the shift from a 65-degree winter to a 75-degree springtime brings with it a happier heart; an easier mood; and lighter clothing.

With spring comes possibilities, plans and projects and the sense of pent-up energy and gotta-do’s, wanna-do’s and am-gonna-do’s that we call "spring fever."

But it’s also time to savor.

So…allergies allowing…we leave the house and step into God's spring-filled world and begin the savoring.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for seasons. Thank you for springtime that reminds us that you are the living God who renews all things. Please renew our spirit by showing us how to savor the natural beauty you created. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What’s the best part of spring?

Monday, March 19, 2012


Today’s post is the eighth and final in a series about putting on the full armor of God

Ephesians 6:18: And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Now that we’re armed, how do we battle as a soldier in God’s army? We pray.

We pray in the Spirit—in the name of Jesus; led by the Spirit living in us; focusing on how Jesus taught us to pray and with God’s good will in our hearts.

We pray on all occasions. Throughout the day and night. Every day and every night. When we are quiet. When we are worried. When we are in crisis. When we are thankful. Whenever.

We pray for all kinds of things. For the necessities of life; we pray for health for ourselves and others. We pray for protection from evil and from harm. We pray for circumstances and crises and trials. We pray in thanksgiving. We pray for ourselves and we pray for others.

We stay alert to what needs to be prayed about. We don’t just bring to God the same things every day we have always prayed about. We also bring to Him things He has brought to our attention; people He has placed in our lives.

And then we keep on praying. Clothed in righteousness; clothed in the light of Jesus. Armed by God.

That’s the true description of a prayer warrior. Onward into battle!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for prayer. Holy Spirit, please open our hearts and eyes to what needs prayer. Please remind us that our will should be your will and that if we ask for what is your will, it will be granted. Please keep us praying in all circumstances and for all of your children. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Are you a prayer warrior? What does that mean to you?

Friday, March 16, 2012


Grab your shillelagh and dance a jig. Tomorrow we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! 

That reminds me of Jesus. 

Amid the hoopla, few of us stop to remember that St. Patrick’s Day is first and foremost a Christian Holy Day, set aside to honor a Saint of the Roman Catholic Church. 

Although some details of Patrick’s life have been lost over time, we know he was born in the fifth century, the son of wealthy Roman citizens in Britain, Scotland or Wales. He was kidnapped as a youth and taken to Ireland where he lived as a slave.  

Patrick later escaped to the European continent, where he became a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. He then returned to Ireland to convert the pagans to Christianity. 

Because Patrick had lived in Ireland, he knew the language, the culture and the ways of the Irish people. He therefore was able to share Christ in ways they could understand—explaining the Trinity, for example, as similar to the way the three leaves of the shamrock were separate and yet still part of the same plant.  

Patrick was much loved by the Irish people. After his death, the local Catholic Church cannonized him as a Saint. St. Patrick remains the Patron Saint of Ireland.  

Tomorrow when we don our green (and pinch our friends who aren’t wearing any), search for lepruchans, and simmer our corned beef and cabbage, let’s not forget to praise God for the way He can use us wherever we are; how He can turn even kidnapping and slavery into something that glorifies Him.  

Let’s celebrate St. Patrick’s day by dancing a jig, because the day reminds us of Jesus.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please use us today for your plan. Take even the bad things in our lives and use them for your good and for your glory. Thank you for using other people to bring us to you. Amen. 

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What’s your favorite way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Are you really Irish?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Today’s post is part of the Christian Writer’s blog chain. This month, our theme is “Savor.” Please visit my friends’ blogs by clicking on the links in the right-hand column.


When was the last time you were thirsty? Really thirsty? Dying-man-in-the-desert thirsty? 

You grabbed hold of a glass of cool, clear water and chug-a-glugged.  

Then most likely you doubled over and moaned. It was too much, too fast.  

How much better to sip it slowly; to savor the refreshment it brings. 

God has given us a spiritual thirst to know His character. This deep thirst can be quenched by drinking in the living water of Jesus.  

But just as a dying man in the desert who finds water, must sip it slowly, so is scripture better, sipped slowly, steadily, over time so that the cool, thirst-quenching quality of the living water can be savored; drawn into our cells completely. As we are refreshed. 

Yes, there is urgency in knowing God because we don’t know how much time we have on this earth. But there is no reason to rush through our understanding of God or our relationship with Jesus.  

God was, is and will be forever. He desires us to know him fully. And that takes time and depth.  

As with all beautiful, magnificent, awesome and wonderful things, God wants us to appreciate His gifts fully. He wants us to savor them completely. Including our understanding of him—the most beautiful, magnificent, awesome and wonderful God He is.  

Whether we complete our understanding in this life…or the next. 

We savor every moment we spend with God. Which means every moment because He is with us  always. 

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for being present in our lives every moment of every day. We do want to know you more. Show us ways to savor each moment so that we can glimpse a bit more of your glory in everything we do and see. Amen. 

WHAT ABOUT YOU? How can you savor more of your time with God?

Monday, March 12, 2012


Today’s post is the seventh in a series about putting on the full armor of God. Ephesians 6:17 Take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The pen is mightier than the sword.  

There is power in words. The universe was spoken into being by God. How much mightier is His word than a mortal sword! 

A stick of iron that is sharpened becomes a sword. A blunt sword is still a valuable weapon—good for hitting and whacking. But a sharp sword is better. We can sharpen our swords (understand the Word of God) better when we sharpen them in the company and with the help of other Christians.  

Proverbs 27:7 tells us: As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. 

We can gain better understanding when we read, meditate on, study and discuss God’s word in communion with other believers. Our swords—whether blunt or sharp—can be made sharper and therefore more powerful—when sharpened at the local sword sharpening shop of believers. 

We do this not simply to be able to spout scripture. But because an understanding and application of God’s truth at a soul level, builds us up, fortifies our faith and guards our minds and hearts in a proactive way. And perhaps builds up, fortifies the faith and guards the minds and hearts of other believers also. 

  • When feeling afraid, we can recall: Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. (Psalm 23:4) 
  • When we are in despair, we can recall: Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Isaiah 51:11) 
  • When we need protection and safety, we can recall: You, LORD, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked. (Psalm 12:4) 

The photograph of the sword at the beginning of this post is one of several “fantasy” swords hanging in my daughter’s room. It’s a thing of beauty.  

When I imagine the sword of the Spirit, I don’t think of a heavy, bulky club. I imagine a sword—intricate in detail, carved with depth of beauty, elegant in its enormous power.  

Except that God’s sword isn’t a “fantasy” sword. It is real. Grab hold. 

PRAYER: Thank you God for your Word. Thank you Jesus for leaving the Holy Spirit to live in us, allowing us to equip ourselves with your armor. Holy Spirit please protect us inside as well as out. Please help us dive into your Word to better arm ourselves against evil. Amen. 

WHAT ABOUT YOU? If you were making a movie, what would the sword of the Spirit look like?

Friday, March 9, 2012


“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:14 NIV)

God made this world so amazing. He filled it with marvelous things and interesting people. Then He placed us here—His precious children—surrounded by the beauty and the people—and the evil.

Paul reminded us that although we live in the world, we should not be of the world:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)

In other words, while we’re spending our earthly lives here, we need to make sure not to let the world corrupt us. It sure is hard sometimes to stay on Jesus’ narrow road that leads to heaven, our true home.

Jesus’ narrow road reminds me of The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy was dropped into a world that was not her home. As beautiful as the flowers were and as delightfully as the colorfully-clad munchkins could sing, she longed to go home. Because there was no other place like it; home was where her heart longed to be.

And so Dorothy set out on a journey, following the yellow brick road. Her yellow brick road was long and winding. And narrow—barely wide enough for her and her three friends. The road was also surprisingly similar to John’s description in Revelation of the streets in heaven—paved as they are in gold.

As Christians, we know that heaven is our eternal home and there is no place like it. During our earthly lives, we long for the heaven that is our heart’s true home. But we struggle to stay on the narrow road that takes us there. We struggle to live a life that honors our savior.

In the end, Dorothy learned she had within her the power to take her home. We, too, have the power within us—the Holy Spirit, coupled with Jesus’ teachings and the Father’s promises. They can keep us on the narrow road that leads to our eternal home.

When I doubt if I can stay the course; when I think the world is set to corrupt me; when I have asked the Holy Spirit to keep me on the narrow road, I start singing. Praise songs usually. But sometimes, the song turns out to be this one from the Wizard of Oz.

You’re out of the woods,
You’re out of the dark,
You’re out of the night.
Step into the sun,
Step into the light
March up to the gate and bid it open, open.

Imagine that at the end of the narrow road—just like in Oz—stands a set of enormous, beautiful gates. Not green gates like in the movie. Pearly ones.

We can refuse to let the world corrupt us if we stay on the narrow road. Because as twisting and narrow as the road is, it leads to eternal life. We can’t stay on the narrow road alone. But, as Christians, we don’t have to. The narrow road is wide enough for two—if one of the two is Jesus.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we thank you for your plan and for including us in it. Jesus, we thank you for your words that direct us to the narrow road. Father, we thank you for creating a road in the first place and for calling us to walk on it with Jesus. Holy Spirit, thank you for being our guide and our friend, so that we can walk the road with reassurance that you are there, should we stumble. Help us, oh, Lord. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you picture walking through life on Jesus' narrow road with him at your side?

Today's post is a reposting from on the theme of "The Narrow Road."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Today’s post is part of the Christian Writer’s blog chain. This month, our theme is “Savor.” Please visit my friends’ blogs by clicking on the links in the right-hand column.


Today Jews around the world celebrate Purim—God’s deliverance of His people through Queen Esther. That tragedy in history began because of the royal advisor Haman’s thirst for power. What Queen Esther did to counter his evil was to be gracious to her husband the King; bringing him relaxation and comfort where he could savor food and drink and find restful moments in her company and beauty.  

When that banquet was done; she gave him another. She did not rush through her request. As she encouraged her husband the King to savor his time with her, she showed him that what she would be asking was not something trivial.  

The savoring ensured that the King understood its importance. It was important enough to make him think and wait for her request.  

I am in the midst of writing a bible study about how God sees his women of faith with lessons learned from Queen Esther. I struggle with my desire to be obedient in writing the book and getting it out into the world. Yet, the book appears to want to be written at a slower pace. Why? 

Is it fear that once I finish the writing, I will have to face the tremendous work and anxiety of pursuing publication—agents and publishers and rejections?  

Is it a lack of passion for the subject? Although I thought this was a good idea at one time, does my interest no longer compel me forward? 

Is it a sense that there’s not enough meat in the subject as I have presented it? That there are not enough lessons to share with others? Or that I’m not the right person to share them? 

Or is it that the Holy Spirit leading me in the writing, is taking me at a slower pace—perhaps so I can learn the lessons more fully myself; accept them at a deeper level and thus share them more passionately and without fear—thus overcoming all those other concerns? 

No doubt there are more lessons for me to learn. I am meant, not just to read and understand and share. I am meant to savor the reading. I am meant to savor the understanding. And I am meant to savor the sharing.

There is a time element to the word “savor”; not just a depth of effort. We are not meant to rush through life. Nor are we meant to rush through understanding and sharing.  

In all things, God has given us this one and only earthly life and He means us to fully live in it. He means us to savor, not just the beauty and wonder; not just the pleasure and joy; but also the work—and even the burdens he places before us. So that by savoring, we can get the most from each moment He has gifted us with. 

Today, the Jewish people celebrate the holy day of Purim, God’s deliverance from Haman’s planned destruction. It is a day to praise God for his hand in our lives today. 

And for me, it is a day to remember to savor the lessons I can learn from a beautiful queen who lived several thousand of years ago.

PRAYER: Lord, please help us slow down when you want us to savor something important. Help us learn every lesson you want us to learn. Help us to live fully in each moment you give us today. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What do you need to savor today?

Monday, March 5, 2012


Today’s post is the sixth in a series about putting on the full armor of God.

Ephesians 6:17: Take the helmet of salvation

When he was 16, his motorcycle was barely tapped by a car. The cycle tipped over; his head landing on a curb.  

Today he’s a 50-year old man. If only he’d been wearing his helmet, who knows how bright his future might have been?  

When we think of the day we leave this earthly life; will we say “If only I’d worn my helmet of salvation”? 

The helmet of salvation is the fifth piece of God’s armor Paul tells us to put on. It protects our “right thinking” and helps us take every thought captive, to focus not on earthly desires, but on the things of God.
That’s hard, trying not to look at things that tempt us in the world. There are lots of types of helmets, but when I think of the helmet of salvation, I picture one like this replica from the Crusades []. The cross of Christ is front and center; bolted in place from the top of our head to the bottom of our chin.

More than that, the only way to see is directly through the center of the Cross; where our vision cannot be distracted. Like blinders for a horse running a race.

We, too, are running a race. That race Paul talks about, running a race of faith with Jesus.

If we wear, not blinders, but a helmet of salvation—focusing fixedly on Jesus’ saving grace and on where he leads us, how much easier will the race be? How less distracted will we be by the people around us; the crowds; the hot dog stands and ice cream vendors?

I, too want to see the world with the focus of Jesus. Through the cross of redemption. My throughts protected. My mind armed with the salvation that comes from Christ. 

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we love you so. Thank you for the protection you give us through your salvation. Please protect our minds and remind us that—whatever comes—we ultimately have salvation through Jesus. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you wear the salvation of Christ like armor?

Friday, March 2, 2012


There’s a farm in the foothills of Northern California called Daffodil Hill. Each spring thousands of people drive to the farm, park and stroll through the fields, thrilling in the sight of acres of yellow daffodils dancing happily in the spring breeze.

The daffodil (and its cousins jonquil and narcissus) is the flower for the month of March. And it reminds me of Jesus.

The daffodil grows from a bulb. When the blossoms above ground die, the bulb below goes dormant throughout the fall and winter, returning to blossom again in the springtime. It is one of the first flowers to bloom in spring, signaling the end of the dead season. It is therefore a classic symbol of rebirth, the resurrection of Jesus and our being born again in Him.

The daffodil is also a symbol of friendship. It reminds me of the song: What a friend we have in Jesus. And then it reminds me of one of the last things Jesus said before returning to heaven: that he was leaving the Holy Spirit to be our guide, our counselor and our friend.

The daffodil is also a symbol of domestic happiness. Philippians 3:20 says: But our citizenship is in heaven. Earth is our temporary home. Our true and eternal home is heaven. And when we get there, we’ll have true domestic happiness.

Every spring I think about planting daffodil bulbs. But by the time I’m reminded by seeing the happy yellow blossoms in our neighbor’s yard—it’s too late to plant them. So once again, those delightful yellow blossoms sitting on my counter come fresh from the grocery store. Reminding me of Jesus.

Happy birthday to everyone born in March!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the beauty of springtime and the reminders of rebirth and of our eternal home in heaven. Every time we look at a flower, please remind us that it is a gift from you and a reminder of your glory. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Of the daffodil, jonquil and narcissus, which is your favorite?

November Chrysanthemum
September Asters and Morning Glories

August Gladiolas and Poppies

July Larkspurs and Lilies

June Roses