"Welcome to my blog space. I believe that God has carefully placed gems in our paths to fill our days with joy. The challenge for us is to take the time to notice them. My desire is to share the gems in my life so that, hopefully, you will see the ones He's placed in yours. I hope what you read here will be worth your time and you'll want to return often." - Cathy

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I Think I Can do it Myself!

Morgan today with
her brother, Matthew
“I think I can do it myself.” “I think I can do it myself.” We heard this over and over as we headed up the mountain to go snow tubing with our not-quite-three year old granddaughter, Morgan. This would be her first experience on the slopes and we didn’t know for sure if the rules would allow her go tubing once we got there. We told her numerous times she would probably have to ride with one of us, and every time we did, she repeated her mantra, “I think I can do it myself.”

We arrived, bundled her in her snow suit and set off to hear the good or bad news, wondering what we were going to do if they turned her away. The slope wasn’t busy so they approved her if she rode with an adult. She loved every minute of the speedy rides to the bottom and yet we still heard, “I think I can do it myself.”

On our last trip down the steep hill, we put Morgan in her own tube. I held the handle on one side and my daughter held the handle on the other side of Morgan’s tube and down the hill we flew. She loudly cackled in delight all the way down the slope, so loud that even the echo was loud. And she was finally satisfied because, “I did it myself.”

When I search my heart I see that I have that same “I can do it myself” attitude. During a recent study of Revelation, I found that during the thousand year reign when satan is locked up and not able to deceive or tempt people, God has to rule with an iron rod and settle disputes among peoples and nations. Except for those born during the Millennium, only Christians populate the globe at this time.

I know you’ve heard the statement, “The devil made me do it.” I had an epiphany that day when I figured out the devil didn’t make me do it. It was my own sinful nature that was my undoing. “I did it by myself.”

A soloist at church last Sunday was introducing the song, Benediction. She made a profound statement when she said, “I don’t need help falling. I can do that by myself. What I need is God’s hand in mine and His benediction over my life every day. I need His help to stand.”

So today I issue a proclamation to satan: “Satan, get away from me. I can fall all by myself. And to God I say, “Father, thank you for holding my hand in yours, helping me balance and stand firm in You. Thank you for Your face that shines on me and fills me with Your joy.”

Singing joyful praises to my Father-


Benediction: Words and music by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Billy Simon

© 1991 Emily Boothe, Inc./Riveroaks Music Co./Locally Owned Music (BMI)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Vision or Venom?

              “*WARNING* This book contains offensive language not necessary to the story. Other than that the writing is good. The plot moves at a nice pace, the characters feel like real people and the descriptors make you feel like you are part of the story. Sad that such good writing is tainted with bad language.” So reads my review of the latest book I read.

My Unread Books Shelf
              I don’t remember how I acquired the book. I found it buried in a stack of books I had not read as I was trying to organize some books a while back. Week before last as I was looking for something to read, I plucked it off of my Unread Books shelf.

              I don’t ordinarily read fiction that isn’t recommended by someone I trust or comes from the Christian book store. I once picked up a book at Wal-Mart in the religious section only to find that the story about a murder in an Amish family contained horrible language. I will give the author credit for only having the lawyer and police detectives talk that way.

              When I ran into the first curse word on page seven of the book I just finished, I was surprised and then I had a dilemma – do I continue reading (I was already involved in the lives of these characters) or do I throw the book away (I couldn’t pass it along to any one in my circle of book-swapping friends) and hope no one sees it in my trash at the Convenience Center and takes it out to read it? What a pickle.

Worst two page spread
in the book
              I decided to do an experiment. Every time I ran across one of those blights on the page, I blacked it out. Did the loss of those words change the story? Not at all. Did the sentences read any differently when it contained a blacked out word? Not at all. Did the pace of the story change because I deleted the vulgarity? Not at all. Did the story have the same punch of emotion without them? Yes, definitely. So why were they there?

              I had a discussion via e-mail with the author of the Amish mystery. I asked why a writer of her caliber included such language. Her response was that she wanted it to represent real life. All the lawyers and detectives she knew talked like that. It made me sad for her. And for me. She is an excellent writer, far above most I’ve read, but I won’t get to read any of her other books because I’m not willing to compromise on bad language for a good read.

              Throughout history, there have been writers who were positive influencers on society. What if we writers don’t accept “real life” as our benchmark? What would happen if we penned vision on our pages instead of venom?

              Jesus tells us that at judgment we will answer for every careless word we’ve spoken. I wonder if that includes the careless words we’ve written as well.

Going out with joy today, pondering life-



I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” Matthew 12:36 ESV

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Have You Got Plans for Me?


I’ve worn many labels over the years since my birth - daughter, big sister, church member, student, Girl Scout leader, wife, mother, homemaker, employee, teacher, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, Christian clown, writer, speaker, singer, prayer warrior and all the roles that go along with each of these titles. It makes my head spin when I see it on paper but each of these labels defines a part of me and the mission God has for me while I call this world my home.

Now that I am retired from my public job, I am busier than ever.  Numerous people have told me they didn’t know how they ever had time to work because retirement found their days busier than ever. I can say that has been true for me as well, but the busy-ness of retirement is lots more fun than the busy-ness of my work life.

There are seasons in our lives that call for an assessment of where we’ve been and where God’s leading us next. Retirement is one of those times. “What would You have me doing with my time, Lord?” has been my recent prayer.

God reminded me of a scripture passage in the second chapter of Titus. Paul’s letter to Titus, a preacher in Crete, advises him on what to teach the churches in that area. Part of the letter tells Titus to remind the older women to teach the younger women the skills they need to lead a God-honoring life. The things we older women have learned in the College of Hard Knocks can serve as valuable lessons for younger women.

 For the past nine months I have been part of a wonderful Bible study on the book of Revelation through Community Bible Study International. Each week a hundred and twenty women gathered on Wednesday morning for a time of worship. Then we split off into small groups (called core groups) to review and discuss our homework and any resulting questions or insights. At the end of our morning together we reassembled for a teaching time which tied everything together and gave Biblical principles to apply to life today.

Last week I was asked to pray about becoming a Core Group Leader for next year’s study.

Can you see a plan forming here as an answer to my prayer?

Going out with joy today, knowing God still has plans for me-



Guidelines for Christian Living

2 Tell believers to live the kind of life that goes along with accurate teachings. 2 Tell older men to be sober. Tell them to be men of good character, to use good judgment, and to be well-grounded in faith, love, and endurance.

3 Tell older women to live their lives in a way that shows they are dedicated to God. Tell them not to be gossips or addicted to alcohol, but to be examples of virtue. 4 In this way they will teach young women to show love to their husbands and children, 5 to use good judgment, and to be morally pure. Also, tell them to teach young women to be homemakers, to be kind, and to place themselves under their husbands’ authority. Then no one can speak evil of God’s word.

6 Encourage young men to use good judgment. 7 Always set an example by doing good things. When you teach, be an example of moral purity and dignity. 8 Speak an accurate message that cannot be condemned. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed because they cannot say anything bad about us.

9 Tell slaves who are believers to place themselves under their masters’ authority in everything they do. Tell them to please their masters, not to argue with them 10 or steal from them. Instead, tell slaves to show their masters how good and completely loyal they can be. Then they will show the beauty of the teachings about God our Savior in everything they do.

11 After all, God’s saving kindness has appeared for the benefit of all people. 12 It trains us to avoid ungodly lives filled with worldly desires so that we can live self-controlled, moral, and godly lives in this present world. 13 At the same time we can expect what we hope for—the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Yeshua Christ. 14 He gave himself for us to set us free from every sin and to cleanse us so that we can be his special people who are enthusiastic about doing good things.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Are You Hiding?


 “Are you hiding?” I asked my almost two year old great granddaughter. Her face lit up as she nodded yes. My thirteen year old granddaughter was teaching McKenna how to play Hide and Seek with her two five year old cousins. Much laughter poured out as little feet ran to hide, giggles from behind chairs gave away hiding places, and the pure delight of this ages old game triggered memories of younger years for the adults present.

              Hide and Seek nearly gave me heart failure twenty-five years ago. I was shopping with my three year old son and he decided to hide from me. I was frantic by the time I found him hiding under a rack of clothes. He was standing on the base of a round rack surrounded with dresses. Even moving the dresses to the side didn’t disclose his hiding place.

When he finally came out, all smiles I might add, and the scolding began he said, “I was just playing hide and seek.” I know you can imagine how upset I was when I couldn’t find him – upset enough to remember it all these years later.

Do you play an adult version of hide and seek? I’ve known people who join a large church so they can hide among the members. Others hide from relationships. Some try to hide life events or aspects of their personality because they fear rejection if exposed. Many try to hide from an all-seeing, all-knowing God.

Feel like you have to hide something or hide from something? Scary feeling, isn’t it? But I have good news. I made an awesome discovery last week while studying the book of Revelation in the Bible. Ready? Everything in the New Jerusalem is transparent.

The New Jerusalem
The gold paving stones used on the streets are so pure they are clear as glass. The twelve gems used to build the twelve layers of the walls of the city are so exquisite they are transparent.  There is nowhere to hide.

If that thought scares you, there is more great news. By this time God has sent Jesus to bring His children home. He has dried all our tears, calmed all our fears, and healed all our pain. The things of earth have passed away and all who have asked Jesus to be their Savior are living in peace and harmony with Him and other followers.

There is nowhere to hide, but there is no need to hide. Halleluiah! 

The only thing left to do is to make sure you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior (see below). This act has long-range, eternal benefits.

I’m living a life of joy and expectancy. What about you?

The A B C's of Salvation
Admit to God that you are a sinner. Repent (turn away from) of your sin.
Romans 3 : 23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"
I John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness."
Trust that Jesus is God's Son and that God sent Jesus to save people from their sins.
John 3 : 16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever
believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
Give your life to Jesus. Ask Him to be your Lord and Savior.
Romans 10 : 9-10 That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord', and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Rags for Old

Walter Wangerin, Jr., a Lutheran Pastor, has been one of my favorite authors for many years. I've read just about everything he has written. I was pleased to find a you tube video of him reading one of his most popular stories. I couldn't wait to share it with you.

He has been a professor at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana since 1991, where he teaches literature, theology, creative writing, and is writer-in-residence. Wangerin is the author of over thirty novels, numerous children's books, plays, and holds many awards for his short stories and essays.

Click the link below to hear the story of "The Ragman" as told by Walter. I hope it touches you that way it touched me when I first read it.


Blessings of joy to you and yours today-