Inspiration

When the Wind Changes

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.  Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  Harriet Tubman In my book, A Joy Filled Life, I have a chapter titled “Follow Your Dreams.” It is one of the “Seven Pillars” that I highlight when I travel around the country to speak. it is a concept I heartily believe in, one that I can attest can make or break your spirit when it comes to living a thriving and joyous life. Too many people lose sight of their dreams. Some people can’t even remember what their dream was in the first place. The lack of a dream leaves people discouraged, depressed and often resigned to living out their life feeling as if they have missed out on something better. I had a dream as a little gi...

Christmas Reflections

It was a strange place to seek for a King – In a stable, lowly and bare. But shepherds from Judean hills Found the little Lord Jesus there. ~Poem by Mrs. Roy L. Peifer This afternoon, as I was watching the twinkling, white Christmas lights transform our yard into a fairy land, I suddenly had a flashback. It was a snowy, cold Christmas during my junior high school years. The holiday spirit was in the air and sleighbells jingled on the horsedrawn sleigh, as our youth group traveled to sing Christmas carols for “shut ins.” It was my first experience as a caroler. As we stood in the snow, wrapped warmly with scarves, hats, mittens and boots, we sang the carols of old. My heart leapt when the door opened and smiling faces greeted us. Often, we were asked in for hot chocolate or wassail or popco...

But What of Texas

This is a subject that is so serious, so tragic, it’s difficult to sit down in front of a computer screen to “get started”. I will say that “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I wandered, weak and weary…..” doesn’t even come close to a beginning statement. You can’t have missed the news reports on TV and radio, newspaper front pages, the streaming on computers, the constant coverage on cable channel TV – and if you’re anything like me, the images are so stark and devastating to watch, the television at my house doesn’t stay on very long after days 1 through 4….. Full disclosure time: I am a native Texan, born in HOUSTON, my parents lived in a tiny post-WWII house on Tangley Street, a few steps from Rice University. I was a “student” at the Tiny Tot Kindergarten, attended Condit Elementary ...

Live to be 100!

I want to live to be 100 because I love this life and I am far from finished. With the passage of each year, new paths open up for me to serve as a channel of God’s love, and for making a difference in this world. While I understand that we can never know for certain what God has in store for us, I also know that so much of our health and wellbeing is within our hands. As I see it, sharpening my focus on being strong and healthy for the final leg of my journey is an act of love. It’s an act of love for my family who want me around and who don’t need to be burdened with any sort of worry or frustration as to whether I am taking care of myself as I should. It’s an act of love for my beloved circle of friends who count on me. It’s an act of love for the company that I have helped to shepherd ...

Gratitude’s Grace

My Dear Friends, I have recently been collecting my thoughts on gratitude – I must admit that given the devastating natural disasters we face year after year; the fact that so many of our precious, courageous service men and women will once again be away from the warmth of their families and homes; and the unsettled state of the world in general, my heart is indeed heavy.  And, as a result I think to myself, “Where exactly does gratitude fit into this current picture?”    It is then that my faith combined with my years of life experience nudges me, reminding me that gratitude’s grace is in the midst of it all – we just might have to dig a bit deeper – look a little closer — to reveal it. “Sometimes our light goes out, but it is blown again into flame by an encounter with another huma...

New Year / New Day

It was around my 50th New Year’s celebration that I actually got it. As I was entering my life’s second half, I realized that this annual exercise of making resolutions, possibly breaking resolutions, and doing it all over again the next year was a luxury that was not going to go on forever. I realized that I needed to get far more purposeful than I ever had before about what I wanted my life to be. I determined that every day that lie before me in the year ahead was going to be precious beyond measure.  Every single day. New Year’s Resolutions are good. Writing a letter to oneself on the first of the year, to be opened on December 31, congratulating oneself on achieving, becoming, doing and giving all that you planned is better. What’s best is knowing and believing at your very core that ...

Good Grief

I slept until noon or after. Me! The one who never sets an alarm, not even on Sundays. My resistance was way down! I had no immune system – I didn’t eat right, didn’t drink enough water; I took antidepressants and antianxiety drugs. I finally asked my doctor if we could just set up a standing appointment, and I would always be there. He laughed out loud but didn’t realize that I was truly serious. I didn’t clean house, I let dishes stack up for days at a time in the kitchen sink. I didn’t wash my hair, didn’t put on my makeup – well, I guess I have to confess that I didn’t do anything of any consequence. I sat and stared into space – pretty much all day, every day. Nothing motivated me. Friends called to check on me, asking, “How are you doing?” And my answer was always the same: “Oh...

A Heart of Gratitude

Gratitude affects our entire life – from the time we rise in the morning, to the evening hour when we close our eyes in sleep. I recently read (and believe) that in general, grateful people are more compassionate, merciful, generous and forgiving. And I am certain that we all believe these elements are sorely needed in today’s challenging world. Once we become accustomed to practicing gratitude in all circumstances, the benefit of compassion will take root in our lives, leading to being more merciful toward others, more forgiving and intrinsically trusting the blessings hidden within the challenges we meet. This is not the art of escaping reality – it is the art of trusting through gratitude. It happens to all of us – we find ourselves embroiled in a challenging situation that we hadn’t pl...

So Much Love, Just Enough Time

  By Kellie Clark   My little girl started 5th grade this week. It is her last year of elementary school, as she will begin junior high next year. With a mixture of pride and melancholy, I hugged her goodbye and walked her to the bus; after all, it is no longer “cool” to have Mom bring you to school on the first day!   As I drove to work that morning, a poignant memory replayed in my mind, as if I was watching a movie of my little Savanna’s life. Shortly after she was born, during my maternity leave, I was grocery shopping with my tiny newborn daughter cuddled snuggly in a sling across my torso. As I pushed the shopping cart down an aisle, feeling my warm baby curled up next to my heart, I noticed a very elderly woman in a wheelchair being pushed by her nurse. Like a lightni...

Life’s Seasons: Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring

  By Linda Paxton   The changing of seasons always brings to my mind a “Season-Based Life Lesson” our family experienced many years ago; one that remains a family favorite.   It involved a homework assignment given to my 8th grade daughter’s Sunday School class. It began with the pastor asking the class, “What has been the unhappiest you have felt so far in your young lives?” Students were invited, if they desired to do so, to share the incident that came to their mind. One young girl whose parents were in the midst of a divorce sadly responded that it was when her father moved out of their home. Another student spoke of an illness in his family. My daughter knew immediately that it was a point a few years earlier when she thought her beloved hospitalized Grandmother was goi...

Miracles

  By Mo Anderson   I received a beautiful letter from a colleague, Jen Mains, which made me think of the many miracles we witness in life every day. Jen and I have something in common – we both lost our homes to fire. Often, when faced with tragedy and tribulation, life’s little miracles are like a dusting of diamonds across an otherwise inky black landscape. Jen writes: Dear Mo,  My family and I are truly humbled and deeply touched by the overwhelming expression of love and support from you and our KW family.  While it is true we have lost almost all of our earthly possessions, God’s hand protected my husband and our children from a most certain death had things gone differently.  He is a good and faithful God.  Sometimes it does seem silly to mourn a physical structure, yet our...

The Story of the Lepers

I want to share one of my favorite Bible stories because it so deeply touches my heart: Jesus was traveling between Samaria and Galilee. These countries were bitter enemies. During His journey, He came across ten lepers. Some of these suffering, ill people were from Samaria and others were from Galilee. Having mercy upon these wretched, shadows of men, He healed them. Once they were all well and able to return home, only one of them said, “Thank you,” to Jesus.   There are three points about this story that I find intriguing.   The first is that common misfortune had broken down racial and national barriers between these suffering people. It is as if the leprosy had caused them to forget what country they were from! They knew only that they were in need – in need of God, fa...

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