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Monday, April 30, 2012


This morning I was asking the Spirit to guide me in the various projects I’d planned to work on. I started listing them and as I did, my brain took charge of my prayer. Before I knew it, I was counting all the “major projects” I wanted to do well.

Carol! My brain shouted. You know you can only ever do one thing at a time if you want to do it well!

But I wanted to do all of those projects well and I wanted to do them well for God's glory. So I settled back into prayer. Not prayer of me working my brain; but prayer in the Spirit. And I prayed:

Lord, help me stretch and grow; and then expand and—Go! Wherever you lead me. Help me not be afraid of stretching. Help me not be afraid where you are leading me. 

That done, I opened my daily devotional and read:

Stop judging and evaluating yourself, for this is not your role…The only source of real affirmation is My unconditional Love.


My Bible reading for the day: Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do. (Genesis 29:9)
I then began writing this post and clicked on because it’s cool to have God’s Word open in the same screen as my Word document. As if His words will infuse themselves with mine.

The “Verse of the Day” at the top of the page on was 2 Timothy 1:7:

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Got it Jesus. I will endeavor to persevere in all of these projects you are leading me to complete. Because you strengthen me in all things. 

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for your plans to stretch and grow us; to expand us and then to use us. Please help us be attuned to your leading, Holy Spirit, so that we are empowered—and feel empowered—to do all things for you. Thank you Jesus for the Word of God—which is you, that helps us see, understand and sometimes confirm your direction for us. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Is there an area in your life where God is urging you to stretch and grow and then expand and…GO?

Friday, April 27, 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.

Allison, Alison, Alice: of nobility

Heavenly Father, I pray that Allison will live her name. I pray that she will be reminded that because of Jesus, she is an adopted daughter of the King. I pray that she will live her life, knowing that the King of the Universe died because he loves her. I pray that others will see her life as an example of Christ, the King. Amen.

Brooklyn: one who lives near a brook

Heavenly Father, I pray that Brooklyn will live her name. I pray that she will seek the living water of Christ and that she will be a source of Jesus’ love to everyone around her. I pray that, like the deer who panteth for the water, her heart will thirst for you. Amen.

Israel: God prevails

Heavenly Father, I pray that Israel will live his name. I pray that he will understand the greatness that is you; that you will prevail in all things and that Israel, too is strengthened when he relies upon you.

Shayla, Sheila: her gift

Heavenly Father, I pray that Shayla will live her name. I pray that she will recognize the gifts you have blessed her with and that she will use them to their full potential and for your glory. I pray also that her life will be a gift of joy to those around her. I pray especially that she will understand the depth of your gift of love, grace and mercy and will share the knowledge of that gift to others. Amen. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


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

If I could paint "joy" it would look like this

Several times a year I clean out my Bible. Out come the 3-month old church bulletins, the unused attendance cards and the slips of paper filled with prayer requests long since answered.

Also get peeled off are the post-it stickers marking verses that have spoken to me at various times.

For the last half dozen times I have cleaned out my Bible though, I have left a single post-it attached. By now, the purple post-it has faded to a light pink and has rolled onto itself so that it no longer flaps happily out the side. It marks Psalm 30:11:

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.

We all face moments of despair, depression or anxiety. Those moments when what we want most to do is wrap ourselves in a blanket and wail. At those times, I remember this psalm and watch as releasing my cares to Jesus results in throwing off the blanket and wanting to dance with joy.

I’m thinking about replacing my worn out post-it with a fresh one. Then again, by now my fingers can find Psalm 30:11 on their own. In fact, I no longer even need to read it for it to speak to my heart.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, you know our needs. You know our moments of despair and you love us through them. Thank you for the joy we find in you. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What verse speaks to your heart about joy?

Monday, April 23, 2012


My bible reading today ended with Genesis 29:29.

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever; that we may follow all the words of this law.

Saturday I attended a wonderful conference of our local chapter of the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators. In attendance were many wonderful authors and illustrators; agents and editors. And many writers, struggling to become published.

All of us there were passionate about creating books that will speak to the hearts of children.

That is an awesome responsibility—to create something to help children see the world in a new light; that will open their eyes to new possibilities; that will help shape their hearts and minds.

God has given us an awesome responsibility to train our children in the way they should go so that when they are grown they will not turn from it.

The challenge for Christian writers is to teach children through our words in a way that will not sound stern or preachy.

The challenge is also to create books that editors will be able to sell to a public that resists Christianity.

The challenge is to speak the truth in love.

The conference was filled with jewels of encouragement and gems of knowledge intended to spur us toward assembling sparkling words to create brilliant books. I returned home, inspired to persevere in using God’s gift to help children see Him in the world around us…

…even children who long ago stopped counting the candles on the cake.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we are your children and we want to see the beauty and majesty of your world through open eyes of wonder. Help us see and share your world with our children and each other. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What special responsibility do you have to share with the children in your life?

Friday, April 20, 2012


Tomorrow I’ll be hanging out with other children’s writers and illustrators at a full day SCBWI conference (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators). There will be editors, agents, writers, illustrators and a whole lot of talented wanna-be’s.

We’re all wanna-be’s—whether we’re published or not.

We wanna be more published.

Wanna have a larger body of work.

Wanna have more inspiration for more forward progress in our craft.

So today I’m preparing to be inspired. Researching the background of the speakers. Setting out my most comfortable slacks and slip on shoes; locating my therapeutic seat cushion; checking that my ink pens are filled to the brim and adding a second pad of paper for the reams of notes I’ll be taking.

Because you can never know it all; can never know enough; can never have too much inspiration.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us gifts and a desire to use them for your purpose. Thank you for placing people and occasions in our path to inspire us to use those gifts for your glory. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What inspires you in your craft?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


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


If I could paint "joy" it would look like this

Have you followed along as I’ve added prayers each month to the PRAYING NAMES tab at the top of this blog? 

The burgeoning list encourages people to pray that their loved ones will live the meaning of their names. It’s an easy way to remember to pray for others. We think of them; say their name and pray its meaning.  

One of the names in the list is mine. When we hear the name “Carol,” usually we think of Christmas songs. I wasn’t born at Christmas time. I was born on Easter Sunday. My parents named me Carol because they liked the meaning of my name.

Carol means “song of joy.” That’s the kind of song we sing at Christmas—songs filled with joy because Jesus came to earth as a blessed babe, and then to die so that we might be allowed to spend eternity with him.

When I ask God to help me live the meaning of my name, I pray that I will live with joy; that I will understand and share the true joy we have because of Jesus. I pray that my life will not only be filled with joy but that I will be a source of joy—or at least of encouragement—to others.

Come to think of it, that’s a really good thing to pray for everyone.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I pray that everyone will live the meaning of my name. I pray that we will learn to live with the true joy found only in you. Please show us more of your glory so that we can live more joyfully and be a source of joy to others. We ask this in your name, Jesus. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Click on the PRAYING NAMES tab above and find out if your name and the names of your loved ones are listed. If not, leave me a comment with a name you’d like me to research and pray for. New names are added each month.

Monday, April 16, 2012


<insert sounds of creepy organ music here>

Tomorrow is tax day. The day no one can avoid. Because the two things in this world you can count on are death and taxes.

Jesus pointed out that eternal truth when he said: "Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s." Mark 12:16-18 

So tomorrow we give what is due to our 21st century Caesar; aka the Internal Revenue Service. From there it will be dolled out to the myriad of governmental agencies we have empowered.

What remains is for us to give to God what is God’s. Fortunately, everything already belongs to God. Including us. For those of us who follow Christ, that means when that other unavoidable event occurs—death—we get to spend eternity in paradise. It’s unavoidable. And it’s good! We give back to God the things that are God’s—us.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we recognize that everything in this world belongs to you. We are especially grateful that we belong to you; that you call us your children because of Jesus. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Is tax day especially painful for you?

Friday, April 13, 2012


Today is Friday the thirteenth. In 2012, we have three of them: January 13, April 13 and July 13. It’s unusual to have three Friday the thirteenths in one year.

It’s especially lucky.

If you didn’t read my post before, here’s a link to learn about Friday the thirteenth—why some people considered the day unlucky; but why it’s extra, super lucky to me. 

Jesus died for us on Friday. Lucky us!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


If I could paint "joy" it would look like this

We’ve heard the acronym before. But it’s time to revisit it. It says that our focus should be:

  • Jesus
  • Others
  • You

In that order.

Jesus. Jesus set aside his divinity for my sake. Gave up his glorious place in heaven temporarily to come to this small blue planet twirling in the dark sky. He became a helpless infant in order to share in our experiences and teach us how to live. He suffered a horrible death and took upon himself the full wrath of God so we don't have to.

Others. Jesus’ second commandment is: love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus showed us how to love others. By spending time with others; giving them our ears, our hands and our hearts, sharing Jesus with them.

Paul reminds us of this focus in Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all.

You. It’s easy to put ourselves first. Not so easy to put ourselves last. Often our frenzy is fueled by fear—of feeling overwhelmed and under prepared. Luke 2:8-10 reminds us of the very first Christmas.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”

When we become fearful; feeling like we’re never going to get it all done; when the joy starts slipping away and the gotta do’s poke their way to the front of our brains, it’s time to stop and fear not. Then it’s time to do what the angels did: sing a song of joy.

Once we focus on Jesus first and others second, we may be surprised how the third slips silently into place...

...enabling us to sing a song of J.O.Y.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please remind us that when we want JOY in our lives, we must put Jesus first. Help us to find the only true joy that is because of you. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? How can you find joy today?


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

Monday, April 9, 2012


Each Easter, a prestigious university in this state, hosts an “Easter Egg Hunt” for children. In addition to eggs and candy, there are arts and crafts, fun and games and readings by local children’s authors.

Each year a call goes out to our local members of the Society of Book Writers and Illustrators, inviting authors to submit their picture books to be read at the “Easter Egg Hunt.” The caution however, is that the books “may have no religious connotation.”

Easter. All the secular dictionaries I search, I can find but one meaning:

an annual Christian festival in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ

As a writer myself, words have specific, almost sacred meanings. How can writers—especially successfully published writers—not recognize this? How can you hold an Easter event yet exclude religion from it?


Alas, any books I write about Easter that become published will go unread at this event. They will be filled—page-by-page; margin-to-margin with my Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for Easter and for giving us ways to celebrate your gift of salvation. Please help us share your gospel with others; please open their eyes and hearts to your gift, so freely given. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What was the best part of your Easter?

Friday, April 6, 2012


Holy week. It begins for Christians on Palm Sunday. It follows with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and culminates in Easter Sunday—the Lord’s day, when Jesus was resurrected and proved his authority over death and our salvation through him.

Palm Sunday marks Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, cheered on by his followers and hailed, “Hosanna to the son of King David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Maundy Thursday marks the day Jesus was arrested and put on trial—beaten, scourged, tortured and taunted.

Good Friday is the day Jesus was hung on the cross and died an earthly death as a criminal.

Holy Saturday marks the day Jesus’ body lay in the tomb.

Easter Sunday celebrates Jesus’ resurrection and our salvation through his blood sacrifice.

So if Jesus died on Friday, why in the world do we call it “good”? Because if he hadn’t died, he would not have provided the blood sacrifice to cover our sins—all sins, for all people, for all time.

His death was horrible, but the reason and the results were very, very good! It was the best Friday ever.

Services at churches throughout the world today are filled with solemn prayers and reflection. This reflection helps us meditate on the understanding of what it was all about. It was horrible for Jesus. But it was really good for us.

“Good Friday” blessings to all.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for your plan of salvation through Jesus. We don’t fully understand your plan but we know it is good because you are good. And today—as we remember Jesus’ horrible earthly death and the immense sacrifice he made in taking upon him your wrath so that we wouldn’t have to—please remind us that this day marks something very, very good. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? How do you observe Good Friday?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


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


This past Sunday was Palm Sunday—a remembrance of that joy-filled day when Jesus entered Jerusalem; met by crowds of followers who understood that he was their source of joy. They celebrated his entry by waving palm branches (think flags and pom-poms) and shouting “Hallelujah! Hosanna!”  

They, as yet, did not understand the full extent of the joy to come.  

Tomorrow as we eat dinner, we can remember Jesus and his disciples partaking together in the Passover meal. We can remember them going to Gethsemane where Jesus prayed over the ordeal he was to endure.  

We can look back to the joy that was about to fill heaven and earth because of the events that took place that night and throughout the days leading to Easter Sunday. 

  • Tomorrow, Maundy Thursday: the day Jesus was arrested, tried, and tortured
  • Good Friday: the day Jesus died a criminal’s death on a cross
  • Holy Saturday: the day Jesus’ body lay in a borrowed tomb
  • Easter Sunday: the day Jesus was resurrected, ensuring that we could spend eternity with Him

Joyful, joyful, we adore Him!  

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the joy we find through Jesus. Thank you, Jesus for becoming human and being a sacrifice for our sake. Holy Spirit, please fill us with the joy we can have through you. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Share a thought about this Easter week.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Every month has a birthstone. Every month also has a birth flower. April has two flowers: the sweat pea and the daisy. And they both remind me of Jesus.

I’m an April baby. I’ve always preferred the sweet pea as the flower for April. It is sweet-smelling, colorful and lacy as it dances in the spring breeze. And because it symblizes happiness, it reminds me of Jesus, who is the source of our true joy.

But as much as I like the sweat pea, the daisy reminds me more of Jesus.

The daisy symbolizes innocence and certainty. No matter my past. No matter my sins. No matter my struggles; when I repent and receive Jesus, I am purified. His forgiveness washes me clean; purifies my soul. I am born again; innocent in his eyes.

I have this understanding as a sure certainty. I know through faith that Jesus died to redeem me; to make me acceptable; to purify me through and through.

I like to imagine sitting with others at Jesus’ feet as he holds an enormous bouquet of daisies. He would pick each petal and drop it softly on our heads, repeating, “I love you. I love you. I love you.”

Because he does not know how to say, “I love you not.”

Happy birthday to everyone born in April. 

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the reminders in nature of your character and your love for us. Thank you that every petal on every flower tells us of your love. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Who do you know who has an April birthday? Would they enjoy this post?

See the links to the left for other posts about past flowers of the month.