What Will You Dow with an Extra Day today?

Gratitude Day 414

Sat., Feb. 29, 2020

Psalm 19:2: One day gushes the news to the next, and one night informs another what needs to be known.

It’s not too often that we get to type “Feb. 29.” Or say “Feb. 29.” Today is one of those very unique days that we have every four years. The extra leap-year day.

We have a friend Stan whose birthday is today. He can officially say that he is 17 today … although we all know otherwise!

Since it’s not very often that we have another Feb. 29, what are YOU going to do with an extra day this year? Will it be another regular day? Or will it be just a little different? Think about it. An whole extra 24 hours. How will you embrace it?

Will you …

Spend extra time with loved ones?

Sleep more?

Catch up with those projects that have been looming for days or weeks or months?

Spent extra time outside enjoying God’s creation?

Will you embrace extra time to do one of your favorite hobbies?

Or will you pretend it’s just another day?

I’m hoping to do some and all of these things. Spend time with loves ones. Work on getting closer to getting our taxes pulled together. Take in some extra time with Hubby Rick. Love the life that we have together.

Just a few other thoughts for the weekend.

If you want a simply wonderful book to read, literally RUN to the library or the bookstore or download it now:  The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I’ve shared repeatedly about loving to read historical fiction. While I have read (or more accurately listened) to lots of historical fiction books in the last year, truly, my favorite is this book.

It’s a story about two sisters set in France during World War II. Hannah’s writing style if superb. She includes just the right amount of detail to draw you into the story and make you yearn for more and more. She crafts a heart-wrenching story that makes you cry and cheer for the main characters at the same time. It’s currently being made into a motion picture. Do yourself a favor. Read the book now.

So, go make today a great day. It will be awhile before there is another Feb. 29. Make the most of today!

For an extra day to love life, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Dear God – in our unique way to tracking time, we get an extra day today! May we love it and live it fully. Amen.

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Worship in a Different Way

Gratitude Day 413

Fri., Feb. 28, 2020

Deuteronomy 13:4: You must follow the Lord your God alone! Revere him! Follow his commandments! Obey his voice! Worship him! Cling to him — no other!

It was a day that I had been so looking forward to. And it did not disappoint.

Yesterday, I had a planned event in the afternoon in Boscobel, WI. Years ago, I heard of an orthodox place outside of Boscobel where icons are made. It’s a place that I longed to visit. It made sense to visit the orthodox place in the morning before the book study in the afternoon.

I asked my friend Mary Ann to tag along. This was her first visit there as well.

The place is called St. Isaac of Syria Skete. It is located off the beaten path. We took a lovely country drive off the beaten path to get there, following a GPS. Good thing we did as I’m not sure we would have realized that we had arrived without GPS.

Upon arrival, we parked in front of an Orthodox church. Mary Ann and I ventured inside where we found oodles and oodles of icons. Quickly, I remembered how this church would worship God in a very different manner than I am accustomed to.

Let me explain. In 1054 AD, schism upset the Christian church. Until this time, all Christian churches were held loosely together. In 1054 AD, for various reasons, the “east” churches or Orthodox churches split from the “west” church which became known as the Roman Catholic Church. This was a watershed moment for the church. Excommunication between the two groups lasted until 1964.

Worship at an Eastern church vs. a traditional Western church are different. When you walk into an Eastern church, the first thing that you notice are the many icons scattered throughout the worship area.

My first experience of an Eastern church happened over 20 years ago when I lived as a missionary in Kazakstan. Kazakstan was part of the former Soviet Union. Russian Orthodox churches had been built in Kazakstan; however, they were basically closed during communist rule. After the break-up of the Soviet Union they were eventually reopened, and worship celebrated once again.

There was a beautiful Russian Orthodox church just a few blocks from where I lived in Kazakstan. I usually walked by the church on my way to work and would venture inside. It was the first time I had ever seen icons.

Icons are pictures of Jesus and other holy figures from the Christian church. Typically, they are painted or reproduced onto wood. Icons are not worshipped but used to aid people in their devotion to God and worship.

When I saw the icons at St. Isaac, it took me back to the days I lived in Kazakstan. While this church is considerably smaller that then church I would stop by when I lived overseas, both churches had a panel of icons in the front of the church. Mary Ann and I found lots of different people represented in the icons. Some we could quickly figure out. Some were bishops or other holy people from the Orthodox church that we were not familiar with. Their names were written in Greek or Russian. Sometimes we could read the names; sometimes we couldn’t.

Currently, St Isaac has two Fathers who are their order. We met both of them and discovered more about the church and their order. Their monastery makes Orthodox Byzantine Icons which they sell around the world. We poked through their store, looking at the various icons and saw just a bit of where they make the icons.

Traditionally, icons were painted. Today, most icons are made via reproduced pictures that are laminated and secured to wood. With only two priests, people are hired to aid in the production of icons at St. Isaac.

For me, visiting St. Isaac was a wonderful way to begin this Lenten Season. It brought back memories of when I went to the Russian Orthodox church in Kazakstan for Easter Vigil. I remember the Russian grandmothers who were sitting either inside or outside of the church. The icons reminded me of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem which is considered as the crucifixion site of Jesus by many.

Lent is a time of personal growth in our faith. This can happen many different ways. Yes, we can and should spend time in prayer and meditation with God. We can read a meaningful book and challenge ourselves to look inward. And, we can visit places that maybe celebrate the Christian faith differently from how we do and discover and explore a little bit about their faith traditions.

I encourage you to find a place that would be interesting and meaningful for you to visit during this Lent. Maybe worship at a church different from your tradition. Visit a church different from your experience and drink in their faith traditions. When we do these things, it provides an opportunity for us to become clearer about what we believe and how we celebrate our faith. Possibly through such an experience, you might meet God in a slightly different way than you are used to. Let this touch your heart and soul and bring you closer to God and faith this Lent.

For on opportunity to celebrate faith at an Orthodox church, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – It becomes so easy for us to assume that our way of worshiping You is “right.” Yet, you celebrate and encourage many different ways to worship You. May we honor and see these various faith traditions as ways to grow deeper with You. Place it upon my heart a way that I can experience a tradition different from my own this Lent. Amen.

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Lenten Prayer Guide

Gratitude Day 412

Tues., Feb. 25, 2020

Romans 8:26: And in the same way—by our faith—the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying. For we don’t even know what we should pray for nor how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words.

Tomorrow – Wed., Feb. 26 – is a special day.

Special maybe not in the normal sense of the word. But special to me because it is the first day of Lent 2020.

Lent is a part of the Christian calendar. A setting apart of the 40 days before Easter as a time to look inside of ourselves. See what we like. What we don’t like. How we can walk closer with God. Challenge ourselves to make tweaks towards becoming the best version of who God created us to be.

Each Lent, I challenge myself to practice my faith in a deeper and personally more meaningful way. For 40 days, I commission myself to be more intentional. Thoughtful. Purposeful. These Lenten practices have focused on a variety of things. Sometimes, I fast from things and try to remove them from my life. Other times, I add in something, a practice that is designed to draw me closer to God.

For Lent 2020, I’m adding in intentional prayer. Yes, I pray every day. It’s a part of who I am. I try to make prayer the first thing I do in the morning before my feet hit the group. I close the day reciting the Lord’s Prayer after I have climbed back into bed. And yes, there are other prayers throughout the day.

As part of this 40 Days of Praying for Lent 2020, I’ve put together a little chart to help me focus daily prayer. Each day (minus the Sabbath), there’s a specific topic of sorts that to use in prayer. Sometimes, the daily prayer affirmation encourages you to pray for yourself. Some days, it’s looking at people or the world around you. It’s a little way to help you be intentional and focused on prayer throughout the 40 days of Lent.

On page two, there is a chart where you can write down ideas related to the specific prayer affirmation for the day. This is a way for you to record what you’ve prayed for on a specific day. I encourage you to use this chart as a way to continue praying for each of these daily prayer affirmations throughout Lent.

Sometimes, it’s hard to know exactly what to pray for. People have shared this with me consistently over the years. My prayer is that this chart will provide you specific ways to focus your prayer during Lent 2020.

To print off a copy of the 40 Days of Prayer for Lent 2020 guide, either click on the photos above or download this PDF:

Will you join me in this special 40 Days of Prayer for Lent 2020?

For the desire and encouragement to focus prayer during Lent this year, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Dear God – As Lent begins this year, place it upon my heart ways that I can look inside of myself and grow spiritually. Together, may we discover ways for You to speak more clearly to me throughout these next 40 days of Lent. Encourage me to be more specific about prayer during this time. May I find a time of focused prayer personally enriching this Lent. Amen.

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The Bane Between “Today” and “The Good ‘Ole Days”

Gratitude Day 411

Sat., Feb. 22, 2020

Romans 12:2: Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.

Yesterday, Hubby Rick and I stopped a visited his 101-year-old Aunt Mil. Mil never married and never had children. Her mother, Rick’s grandmother, immigrated to the United States as a young woman from Czechoslovakia. In 1911, Grandma Vielhuber had a ticket for the Titanic. Circumstances happened and she did not get on the ship. Later, she came to American with her sister. Their goal was to make enough money to return to the old country and open a bakery.

Grandma Vielhuber never left the United States. Instead, she was married twice. After her first husband died a mysterious death, she married the man who was Rick’s Grandpa Vielhuber. She gave birth to six children; one which died as an infant. She worked hard and raised a family. Later in life, Grandma Vielhuber built a house in Madison, which is where Mil lived until she moved into an assisted living a couple years ago.

Mil still speaks with a broken old country accent. Her room is intentionally sparse, with only the absolute necessities. As frugal as the day is long, Mil has lived a life focused on finding pleasure in the simplest of things: a beautiful flower garden, lunch with those she cares for and recording the weather EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Imagine a person who has never had a cell phone. May not know what the internet is. (Mil worked for the University of Wisconsin-Madison but retired before e-mail and the internet were necessities within the workplace.) Facebook and Instagram are as foreign to her as an African safari. She does not need 144 characters on Twitter to let anyone know how she feels about something. Just ask her and she will tell you. Point blank.

Yes, Mil is old fashioned. Set in her ways. Opinionated. Yet, she can recall events at 101-years-old that most of us have only read about. Not in an encyclopedia but on Google.

It is amazing to watch a woman who has lived her life basically the same way for decades … and is completely comfortable with it. Does she know what she is missing out on because she doesn’t have a smartphone … let alone any phone? Nope. Is the value of what she feels is important to her influenced by those who purposefully try to influence trends and stances by social media? Absolutely not. Will what she value today be any different today than it was tomorrow? A most certain and emphatic, “No.”

As I sit at my laptop and type these words, I am very much aware how technology, the internet and social media are tools that I depend upon. Tools that I have embraced and utilize and leverage. Yet, I hope and pray that I see them purely as “tools” and not the “end all” for what is important to me.

Yet, the question begs to be asked: “Is there a point when all these ‘tools’ that we embrace, and use become counter-productive to our culture?”

You bet.

I get tired of the fake news that is quickly re-posted and repeated without any vetting or discernment. I know that I spend too much time on social media and let it pull me away from nurturing deeper and more meaningful real-life relationships. Do I enjoy seeing what is going on in other people’s lives? Yes. But do I need to scroll through more sponsored posts and ads than actual real-life content to find those few valuable nuggets of content that comes from real people that I know?

There’s a bane between today and yesterday. A struggle between how much technology/new-fangled stuff/screen time/the latest and greatest with a simpler, more wholesome time when people had real conversations and didn’t depend upon text messages. Too often, I see us hiding behind our safe and comfortable screens rather than making an actual phone call to a person and have a real-life conversation. I know that I am as guilty as the next person and that I am calling the kettle “black” right now.

The Apostle Paul wrote about this nearly 2,000 years ago; long before we relied upon things held in a person’s hand for a barrage of information. “Be careful,” Paul said. “It’s easy to conform to what the world says is important rather than challenging your mind to dig a little deeper and see what God says.” It’s not just the source of our information that Paul is challenging us on. It’s the depth of what we ponder and think about that Paul wants us to explore as well. Will our faith and interaction with culture be an inch deep and an ocean wide … or are we willing to look deeply into our souls, relationships, minds and experiences and see where God is leading us? Do we take time to really listen to God, explore God’s word and see where we are being led? Or do we depend only upon what culture says?

Personally, I do not think Paul says we should ignore culture and what is happening in the world around us. Theologian Karl Barth explained it this way: hold the newspaper in one hand and scripture in the other and make sure one influences the other. With fewer actual newspapers being read these days, maybe our 2020 interpretation of this might go something like this: it’s OK to have a smartphone with lots of access to news and information and Google. But let’s not forget to run all of this information through a lens of God’s priorities as well.

Some may say Aunt Mil is living in a time and place that is no longer relevant for today. And they may be right. Yet, there is a poignant lesson for the rest of us as well. When technology/the internet/social media/search engines/platforms become the center of our focus and universe, then it’s time to re-evaluate. We can have quality time with each other and leave our phones behind. We don’t have to have immediate access to information and entertainment and what is going on in everyone else’s lives that we forget to live our own life.

Yes, I will be using technology today. I’ll check e-mail multiple times throughout the day. I’ll post something on social media and smile when someone else thinks the content I post is worthwhile. Yet, I hope that I also am fully aware that there is more to my life than staring at a screen. I pray you know and embrace this today as well.

For opportunities to learn from our elders and embrace culture with our faith, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – it seems that Paul’s words to keep culture and faith in the appropriate tension are even more appropriate than when he wrote them nearly 2,000 years ago. May we not see the tools of today’s culture as a means to an end. May we embrace knowing You as the center of our faith and life. Amen.

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When Relationships Are Important

Gratitude Day 410

Fri., Feb. 21, 2020

Ephesians 4:2: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Most days, I take relationships for granted. While I like to think that I know today is called a gift for a reason, it is also very easy to just assume those people who are so important to us will always be there.

So, we become complacent. Take the day for granted. Promise ourselves that “tomorrow, we’ll make time” for an important relationship.

Folks … let’s not wait until tomorrow. If a relationship IS important, allow for this TODAY!

Whether the relationship is a partner, a child, a grandchild or a friend … it’s worth the extra time in effort.

Hubby Rick and I have been married for nearly two decades. Sometimes, we’re super good about making sure each other knows how important this relationship is to us. Other times? We fail to do so.

But when we take time to bear one another in love, it is amazing how special we both feel.

Would you like a couple examples of how we bear each other in love and make our relationship important? Good! I’m ready to share a few simple ideas.

Small expressions are deeply meaningful. Neither Rick nor I would consider gifts our main love language. We do not get gifts for each other on a regular basis. So, when a gift shows up? It’s kind of a big deal.

Even when the gift seems like such a simple thing.

Hubby Rick likes to “surprise” me at holidays. Often, I won’t receive a card or some other indication of a holiday until, well, a few days or a week or two later. Imagine my surprise on the most recent Valentine’s Day when I discovered this little gift sitting on the kitchen island. Rick works nights. He put out this little gift for me before he went to bed.

But it goes beyond candy and a card. Reese’s cups are my FAVORITE candy. Hands down. Rick knows that I’ve been carefully observing what I eat these days. So, he gave me a box of candy with just a few Reese’s. If I’m going to indulge, then best I indulge with what I really like!

And the card? Well, I didn’t realize how cool this was initially! For the past number of years, Scrabble has been my go-to game. I love the challenge of coming up with words and finding ways to get more points with a word. So, when I opened the card and saw this, my heart simply melted. (NOTE: the letters for WIFE are ACTUAL Scrabble letters! How cool!)

My guess is Rick stopped on his way to work at Walgreens or some other store, ran in and in five minutes, was back in the car. BUT what we picked out for me? Things he knew would be something I would love and appreciate.

Gifts do not have to be large. Big. Out of this world. Reese’s cups and a Scrabble card? What is a girl not to love!

Compared to Rick’s little treats for me, how did I do? Well, it took me a couple days to fully get my gift to Rick together. He is not a big sweet person. If there is one sweet he likes, it’s a lemon meringue pie. Yep, that’s what he got. The entire pie.

Prioritize time with those who you love. Rather than gifts, quality time is more of Rick and my love languages. When we make time to do something fun together, it really is a home run.  

For a few weeks this winter, there was an ice castle exhibit a couple hours from our house. I thought this would be a fun date night for us. Rick took a night off of work and we spent the afternoon and evening in Lake Geneva, culminating by going to the ice castles. The temperature was about 30 degrees, which made for a love night. Snow fell while we were there which made it almost seem magical. Built into the ice castles are lights which change colors. There are places to sled, fire pits with benches around them, water fountains and just a great event for the entire family.

We took our time and enjoyed the evening. We had opportunity to talk about various things, people watch and just be together. We agreed this was a great night.

Now, if getting away for an evening isn’t possible, find a way to do something at home that becomes quality time. Sometimes, we go for a bike ride together (yes, even in the winter!) or a walk. Rick likes it when we bike to a hill not too far from town, walk up and down the hill and then ride our bikes back home. When we choose to do something that the other person enjoys do, we make significant deposits into their love banks. Highly recommended.

Focus on a project that the other person would love. For the past year, Hubby Rick spent countless hours remodeling an old apartment-sized kitchen in the upstairs of our house into a master bathroom.

The space had a complete overhaul. Right down to the studs.

He spent hours and hours getting things just right. When we realized that installing a shower this big was a larger project than he anticipated, he watched hundreds of YouTube videos for suggestions on how to do things right. And when I say hundreds, I’m not exaggerating.

Rick knew this bathroom was something I was looking forward to. While it took awhile to get everything completed, it turned our gorgeous. It truly is a wonderful example of how remaking something can be amazing.

The project does not need to be a bathroom overhaul. It can be a 10- or 15-minute job that simple says to the other person, “I care for you and I want to give something to you just because.”

When I think of all the hours Rick spent getting the bathroom right, I feel loved and appreciated. You can do this same thing for someone else.

Ephesians is clear: be patient, humble and gentle. When we embody these characteristics, we speak loudly to those we love how important they are to us. Yes, we can say the words, “I love you” to someone regularly. And we should! But our actions towards another always speaks than our actual words. This is how we bear one another in love.

For opportunities to honor an important relationship, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Dear God – too often, the people who mean the most to us get our leftovers: whatever is left over at the end of the day. Encourage us to prioritize those most special relationships in our lives and make them a priority. Amen.

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Embrace of Life of “Do’s” Rather than ” Don’ts”

Gratitude Day 409

Thurs., Feb. 20, 2020

1 Thessalonians 2:12: We appealed to you, encouraged you, and pleaded with you to live lives worthy of the God who is calling you into his own kingdom and glory.

It is SO. EASY. TO DO.

When I’m with our grandkids, I often hear myself saying, “Don’t do that!”

And I feel like an old lady. A cackling hen. The type of person I prayed that I would not become.

Yet, sometimes, she comes screaming out: “Don’t …”

Don’t pick on your sibling.

Don’t burp.

Don’t use that word.

Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.

On a really good day, I may throw in, “Please don’t …” But those are the rare days.

This same thing happened to Jesus one day. A very rich man came to him and said, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus reminded the man that he knew the commandments. Don’t murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t bear false witnesses. Don’t be dishonest.

The rich guy told Jesus that he had no problem doing these. In fact, he had been doing them for as long as he could remember.

Jesus gave him one other thing to do. Do go and sell everything you have. Do give everything to the poor. Then, your reward will await you in heaven.

Do one simple thing. Just one thing.

But it was too much. The rich man was shocked. Dismayed. Overwhelmed. There was no way that he could sell everything. He just couldn’t do it.

While we often look at this story and question whether or not we must give all we have away to the poor, there’s really more to this story. Too often, we think of our faith in terms of don’t do this or don’t do that. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.

But when it came down to what was really important, most important, Jesus didn’t use the word, “Don’t.” Jesus implied the word, “Do.”

Do. Do. Do.

Like the rich man, we applaud ourselves for following the don’ts … when what Jesus really wants us to embrace are the do’s.

Do help the poor.

Do wash each other’s feet.

Do give all that we can.

Do love your neighbor.

Do love your enemy.

Do. Do. Do.

Why is it that we often want to put up walls and borders and boundaries that embrace the don’ts while ignoring or overlooking the do’s Jesus highlights throughout his ministry? I think we would be amazed at what would happen in our communities, our country and our world if we put half as much energy into the do’s of this world rather than focusing so much energy on the don’ts.

Do clothe others.

Do feed the hungry.

Do embrace those who are different from you.

The do’s of God’s kingdom are worthy of God’s calling. The do’s are worthy of God’s kingdom and glory. The do’s seem to be pretty important to Jesus. Maybe, just maybe, they should be important to us as well.

When we focus on the do’s, we stop being the cackling rooster or hen that we pray we would not become. It allows us to be our best energy into the areas of God’s kingdom that are deeply meaningful and important.

I pray that we can embrace God’s kingdom as a place where we focus on what do’s God yearns for us to embody. And leave the don’ts behind.

For a God who focuses on the do’s rather than the don’ts, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Lord God – Why is it that we too often focus on what don’ts we want in your kingdom rather than embracing all the do’s you lay before us? Inspire us to leave the don’ts behind and become people who focus on the do’s of your kingdom. Amen.

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Make Today Amazing!

Gratitude Day 408

Tues., Feb. 18, 2020

Psalm 145:6: They will tell about the amazing things you do, and I will tell how great you are.

Did you know that today will be amazing? Yes, it will … because you simply are an amazing person! You are amazing because you were created by an amazing God. I pray that you will be blessed all day long.

Today, I’m sharing a mishmash of things that have been speaking to my life lately.

This book. When reading for fun, I am terribly into historical novels. The Tattooist of Auschwitz clearly fits into this category. The storyline is inspired by true events. Lale Sokolov. A Jew, Lale went to Auschwitz with the hope that if he went to a concentration camp, the rest of his family would be sparred. Because he knew multiple languages, he is put to work marking people when they arrive with the number they would be known by.

Because of his unique position, Lale sees and experiences a different type of life at the concentration camp. This includes risking his own life to provide food for other prisoners to keep them alive. Lale falls in love with Gita and hopes for the day when he and Gita can live as husband and wife.

The author, Heather Morris, met the true-life Lale and captured his story in this book. It’s a gut-wrenching, lovely example of how people endure the most difficult of situations. I just became aware that there is a sequel called Cilka’s Journey. I have this book on hold through the library and can’t wait to read/listen to it!

This music. When I’m working at my computer, I often yearn for some quiet, background music that won’t distract me. I’ve tried a variety of YouTube videos, which are also free. I’ve tried lots of these videos. This is one that I adore because it is real Christian songs played on the piano with no music. You can listen quietly to the music doing a variety of things … and no one has to know its Christian music.


This bread. I LOVE quick breads, muffins, and such. Lately, I’ve cut back on carbs. But on Saturday, I just like I wanted to make something. So, I made this apple fritter bread. It’s intended to taste like an apple fritter but without the deep frying.

I would say it’s quite successful. I was even more happy that I made it when a friend popped in for a spontaneous visit! We had cups of coffee and thick slices of this bread and agreed it tastes quite nice. It’s easy and with no special ingredients, easy to make. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of my loaf before it was all gone. (P.S. – Marci – here’s the recipe!)

The Mary Experiment. Several people have shared that they are working through the book with a small group of people. This truly warms my heart!! This is EXACTLY what I hoped people would do! I hope many of you will find a couple people to discuss the book with. Use the questions at the end of each chapter. Or download the full study guide, available here for free: https://app.convertkit.com/forms/designers/1110952/edit

If you live within in a few hours of Madison, WI, I will happily come and join in your group for an evening. It would be very rewarding for me to meet with and hear what others are discovering about themselves as they read this book. Just send me an e-mail (dideaton@hotmail.com) or contact me on Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook … if you happen to follow me there, would you be so kind as to leave a review? You can either do it on the Simple Words of Faith page or the Dianne Deaton Vielhuber Page. When people visit my sites for the first time, they often look at reviews written by other people. If you find benefit from either the blog posts or the daily text message prayers, please mention this in your review. Thanks in advance for providing these!

And if you know someone who might enjoy reading these blog posts, please refer them! I know many of you read these off of social media. I encourage you to sign-up through simplewordsoffaith.com to receive the blog posts as an e-mail as well. Not receiving the daily text prayers? Just text simplewordsoffaith to 33222.

No matter what is going on in your life today, God and I both think you are AMAZING! Go make it a great day!

For a God who created each of us as amazing people, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Hi God – You truly are amazing. When I see your fingerprints in my life, the lives of others and in the world around us, I pray that I will never stop being amazed as well. Thank you for always being with me. Amen.

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Knowing Your “Why”

Gratitude Day 407

Mon., Feb. 17, 2020

Jeremiah 29:11: I say this because I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.

It was a very spontaneous dinner. Hubby Rick and I went to a high school basketball game. While there, we ran into our friends Bob and his daughter, Sarah. After the game, we decided to stop and have a bite to eat.

We covered a variety of topics: work, personal things, what is next in our lives, etc.

The conversation made me stop when Bob said to me, “Dianne, what is your “why?”

It was such an interesting question. It’s something I had been thinking about; contemplating and wondering. You see, I’m thinking about what some of the great and wonderful things are I see myself doing. Rather than just rushing into the doing part (I really AM trying to take my own advice from The Mary Experiment: When DOING and BEING Collide), I’m being thoughtful. Intentional. Reflective. I’ve prayed about this, consulted with others and been working through a couple helpful books as part of this process.

Rather than answering Bob’s question directly, I did what I prefer others would not do to me: I answered with a question. I asked Bob’s his why. He quickly repeated his why, using a sentence that was easy and memorable and concise.

One day last week, I think my “why” came to me. Or at least I’m rolling it around for a few days to see how it feels. It uses words that I repeatedly used in my recently published book … but takes it a bit further. Right now, I see my why as:

Finding Joy, Peace and Contentment in my daily living. And then, to inspire others to do the same.

Why is it so important to know your why? Because this becomes the benchmark by which you guide and direct your life. The things that fulfill this statement become the things that you focus your life around. Yes, there are things that we must do that will not necessarily fall into our why statements. Laundry still needs to be done, bills get paid and gas put into the car. I’m not sure any of these things bring me joy, peace and contentment. Yet, they are necessary.

Nonetheless, I CAN choose to do things each and every day that fit into my why statement. In fact, if I’m not choosing to do things that support my life mission, then either I need a new life mission OR I need to re-evaluate my choice.

Do you have a life mission? Do you know what is the benchmark by which you want to examine and determine what is most important to you? It’s not necessarily tied to our “work” job, although it may. Your why is what drives you to get up in the morning, where you get lost in your work and gives you the feeling that you are in your wheelhouse.

Your why should be very different from my why. It should reflect who you are and what is important to you. It should be as unique to you as your fingerprint. Your why is something that you discover for yourself and then choose to follow in your life.

Whether you are 14 or 90, you can and should have a why. It may have evolved over time … and this is OK. Your why helps you focus your time, energy, talents and resources into where you can get the most bag for your buck; impact with energy; opportunity to make effective and long-term impact.

Just how will I live out my why? Well, this is what I’m still working on. One small way I can fulfill my why today? By showing just a few photos from our recently remodeled bathroom. We’ve worked on it for months and months. It’s been basically ready for awhile but there were just a couple details that I wanted to finish out. Finally, … they are done and I’m so happy with the result.

When I walk into this bathroom, I feel joy. It brings me peace because of the coloring and style. I find so much contentment in knowing that this bathroom will add value to our home. More importantly, it reflects who Hubby Rick and I are.

A why statement may seem not important. I’m feeling that it is. I’m feeling that it will help me get this next stage of my life more right than without such a statement. I’m know that just how I live out this statement needs lots of time and attention. Yet, it is also a wonderful feeling to have a starting place.

Can you take a few minutes this day or week and think about your why statement? What were you put on this earth to do? What can you do that no one else can do? What gifts and talents did God bless you with so that you can share them with someone else?

Take the time. YOU are worth it. God longs for YOU to be clear about this. I pray you discover a why statement that is deeply meaningful for you.

For a God who gives each one of us a why for us being here, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Dear God – Thank you, God, for putting a person into my life to challenge me to think about my why. I pray that as I continue to think this through, continue to bring people into my life who speak to me and help me determine who best to live out my “why.” Amen.

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When But Is Hard

Gratitude Day 406

Fri., Feb. 14, 2020

Psalm 86:15: But, Lord, you are a God who shows mercy and is kind. You don’t become angry quickly. You have great love and faithfulness.

Ever hear the words, “I love him, but …”

Or, “She is nice. But there is no way …”

Where God often puts and “and,” we want to put a “but.”

But, I’m too busy.

But, I don’t have the skills.

But, I’m tired.

But, can’t someone else do it?

But … but … but.

We through “buts” around so quick and easy. We are so CERTAIN that our thought deserves a “but” we fail to contemplate if there is another option.

Like “and.” Or, “also.” Or, “potentially.”

We just get stuck on “but” because, well, we know best. We are right. There is only one option.

Thank goodness we can know a God that is not the God of “but” but the God of “and.” As well as “also.” And this God is not afraid of lots of potential options.

In Psalm 86, the writer feels attacked by a ruthless gang. He’s had enough. He is ready to be done.

But then, he remembers one important thing: God only shows mercy and kindness. God is so slow to anger because God has unless amounts of love and faithfulness.

What a refreshing attitude! One with endless possibilities and lots of potential futures with oceans of acceptance and love. No “buts” here.

Today, let’s be agents who decide not to let “buts” slow us down. Narrow our thoughts and feelings. Limit our possibilities.

Let’s use “but” less and even contemplate letting it go. If only for one day.

Just try it. See what happens. Is there even a slight shift in your attitude? You may be pleasantly surprised.

For a God who is not limited with “buts,” I am grateful.

Blessings –


Dear God – so often, we look for every reason to but a “but” into a situation rather than being open to more than one option. Challenge us to see less limits and only more possibilities in the world around us. Amen.

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