Thursday, August 18, 2016

Hidden Bonus

A recent Associated Press article grabbed my eye. It was titled, "Sit All Day? Find Time for an Hour's Walk."
See, the thing is, I'm whatever the step is beyond ADD and am afflicted with a sitting attention span of about 20 minutes. Not really a good thing for a writer.  
After a while, my large muscle twitches begin to contort my body into a sort of macabre computer chair dance that makes bystanders think I'm petitioning for rain. 
So I get up, go wash some dishes, put on a load of laundry, do a lap or two around my writing cave and get back to the keyboard for another 20 minutes. 
After a few rounds of this, I'm ready for a change of scenery so I take my first prayer walk of the day. One of many. 
What a pleasant surprise it was to see this article that reinforces that prayer walks are not only good for you spiritually and emotionally, but physically too.
According to a 7/27/16 paper published in the medical journal Lancet, "It takes about 60 to 75 minutes of 'moderate intensity' exercise to undo the damage of sitting" for long periods of time. "Being sedentary is known to be a risk factor for problems including diabetes, heart disease and cancer."
Studies show that brisk walking "helps prevent insulin resistance, keeps the brain active and strengthens the heart, muscles and bones."
And if you add prayer to the mix, walking helps strengthen the heart in more than one way; it floods the darkest chambers with light and droughts of fresh air as Papa God blows out the cobwebs with His sweet, refreshing presence. 
Can't beat that for a bonus round!
So I encourage you to join me today in at least one prayer walk. We can put our twitching muscles to good use, retire the rain dance and maybe even avoid a flood.   

Thursday, August 11, 2016


It was Thanksgiving.

My extended family had gathered from far and wide around the food-laden table: grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, my dear husband and our own beloved children.

The souls most precious to me in all the world.

Noisy, messy, hungry, healthy, happy.

The fact that we were all there together went straight to my heart. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to Papa God for this incredible blessing.

As conversation swelled during the passing of food and heaping of plates, I quietly fled. The lump in my throat threatened to suffocate me and I simply had to find an isolated spot in a back bedroom where I could let loose and weep a little weep (one of my fave lines from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women).

Can you recall a time when you, too, were overcome by emotion?

I came across such a scene in scripture recently ... it was the story of Joseph, when his treacherous, treasonous brothers from his painful past had suddenly reappeared around his own table, not recognizing him, and bringing with them a multitude of conflicting feelings and the little brother he didn't know he had.

"Joseph made a hasty exit because he was overcome with emotion for his brother and wanted to cry. Going into his private room, he wept there" (Gen 43:30, NLT).

I found this passage very confirming and even comforting. We don't always have to be strong ... stoic ... appearing to have it all together. Being overcome with emotion is a good thing sometimes. It cracks the plaster wall of self-confidence we've erected to protect ourselves from wounded feelings.

But when we filter out hurt feelings, we risk forgetting how to feel at all.

So Joseph's plaster cracked. The dignified, game-faced ruler of Egypt, felt that day. He felt deeply. And he wept.

It's okay for us to feel too, dear friends. Weeping a little weep can cleanse the soul.

One parting observation about this passage - I had to LOL at verse 31, which occurred immediately after Joseph's secret purge of erupting emotion:
"Then he washed his face, got a grip on himself, and said, 'Let's eat'" (MSG).

HaHaHa! It's good to know that somebody else is governed by his stomach just like me. How about you?  Does a growling tummy trump your need for a Kleenex?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Collared by Choice

To tug or not to tug ...
My pooch Fenway wears a - wait for it - Boston Red Sox collar.  Bet you didn't see that one coming, huh?
He didn't choose this particular collar, in fact, he much prefers a nekked neck, But because his human daddy is a diehard Sox fan, Fenway received, for his first Christmas in our fam, an official handy dandy Red Sox logo collar. 
The catch: it didn't fit. Fenway has a S neck and the smallest size in the store was M. But because Fenway's human mama is a theme fanatic (and more to the point, the pricey collar was unreturnable), onto his skinny little neck it went.
Our first foray into the neighborhood with the new collar revealed a problem. With a duck of his head just so, Fenway could easily shuck the collar to pursue a taunting squirrel or passing bicycle or whatever captured his fancy at any given moment. 
After the tenth screaming-meanie pursuit of said escaping dog by Alpha Mama (me), Fenway finally caught on that although he could buck the system at will, he shouldn't if he wanted his yummylicious peanut butter & apple flavored doggie treat when we got home.
For him the reward was pure heaven. 
So Fenway made a choice. He stopped ducking his head just so and opted to remain within the parameters imposed by his collar and leash. He wanted to run free, sure, but he wanted something else more.
You know, at some point in time we'll all be treading in Fenway's boots (or should I say paws?): we want to run free, but we want something else more. We crave Papa God's smiling approval. Not His love, mind you, for we'll have that anyway no matter how many squirrels we chase.
Yet we - as a child of God - yearn to feel our Papa's pleasure when we make good choices.  Choices resulting from our decision to delve into, hear and obey His Word.
So the next time a temptingly fuzzy squirrel whizzes by, I need to remind my trembling self of the thing I want even more: a proud pat on the head from Papa God.
For me the reward is pure heaven. 
How about you? 

Friday, July 29, 2016


Just keep going!
I get God-bumps every time my friend Rachael tells me about the miracle in her son Javin's life.

Thirteen years ago, Javin was born deaf.

Rachael, a single mom, first noticed that something was wrong with her baby when he was an infant. Very wrong.

Medical and hearing tests by various specialists at two months and four months confirmed that Javin had no hearing in either ear. Zero. The results were well documented: profound hearing loss.

After many hot tears, Rachael finally accepted her son's handicap, took a shaky breath and began learning to use sign language. The wee fella picked it up quickly and by the time he was nine-months-old, was fluent in over 100 signs. He was a happy little guy and was functioning well. Rachael began looking at special schools and programs for the deaf.

Then something incredible happened.

The day before Javin was scheduled with an audiologist to see if he was a candidate for a cochlear implant, Rachael felt compelled to ask her pastor to pray for Javin.

This was a mainline denomination, mind you, and a regular, run-of-the-mill Sunday morning church service. No special "healer" was present, nor did anyone shout, chant, lay hands on Javin or do anything out of the ordinary. Just before dismissing the congregation, the pastor simply called Rachael up front with her baby and asked everyone to remember them and tomorrow's appointment in prayer. Heads nodded all around.

Believers agreed to join in prayer; many expecting nothing, some were hopeful but unconvinced, and a few diehards were confident that prayer is the nerve that moves the hand of God.

"Lord, please help Javin." Short. Simple, To the point. Just like you and I have prayed for people a hundred times in our own churches and Bible studies, hoping against hope that Papa God will respond.

So it shouldn't really have been to anyone's astonishment that He did.

The next day, after repeating tests for hours, the stunned audiologist pronounced, "His hearing is perfect."

Rachael wept tears of joy. And thirteen years later, her boy still hears the cry of a hawk, the crack of a baseball bat, and the sweet sound of his mother humming in the kitchen. I call that a major grace note.

So BBFF (Blessed Blog Friend Forever), what gives you God-bumps?


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Multitasking Master

The other day in my backyard I was wiping sweat out of my eyes, a filthy hand spade in one hand and muddy phone in the other, as I simultaneously weeded my garden and participated in a live computer program tutorial.

Everything was just peachy until a dadgum bee decided my face resembled a chrysanthemum and stung the bejeebies out of my nose. Fire in the hole!

For some reason, the guy on the other end of the line (my tutor) seemed surprised when I called him back after retrieving the phone I'd flung into the shrubbery as I fled into the house, screeching, in a crazed search for Benadryl and a cold compress.

Why on God's green earth had I ever attempted to do all those things at once, he pondered aloud.

Didn't I know how much more efficient I could be if I systematically tackled one task at a time, he queried in a low, calm voice.

Wouldn't I be interested in his excellent tutorial on time management, he wondered. Listen, bub, why don't you blow it out your kazoo, I wondered back. Have you ever tried making dinner, shaving your legs and feeding the dog at the same time? Has your baby ever spit up all over your church dress as you were herding three stray people into the ninety-degree car while scarfing down your cold, hard Pop-tart? Do you know what it's like to plan a dinner party for 12 of your husband's co-workers while scheduling Junior's dentist appointment and trying frantically to get to your own job on time?

Well, women do it every day.

I'll bet we could teach YOU a few things about time management, Sparky.

Okay, rant's done. No, I didn't say any of it out loud but Lordy I was tempted! Pretending to be nice is such a burden.

Yes, I'd go so far as to say that 80% of women are Multitasking Masters. Black belts. Make that black sequin belts with silver buckles and matching heels.

We're experts out of necessity, not because we like going in forty directions at once. We do what we have to do to keep our families, our homes, our jobs, and ourselves running smoothly.

And I've got the bulbous red nose to prove it!

What do you think, girls? Post a comment below and tell me about your personal training regime for your multitasking black belt.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sizzling Summer Give-Away

Just released!
Just released
It's summer and look what's Hot Hot HOT off the press!

My brand new Too Blessed to be Stressed 2017 Planners have just exploded onto the scene and they're cuter than ever! Want a Free one? Read on ...

TBTBS 3 Minute Devotions for WomenThese purse-perfect planners feature month-at-a-glance calendar pages + nice large individual day spaces + more of the inspirational verses and Deb Coty book excerpts you told me you loved in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Planners.

I have a feeling these hot lil' tomales are gonna disappear fast (my publisher completely sold out before December the last two years) so order yours early.

To give you a jump start, I'm gonna GIVE AWAY 5 Too Blessed to be Stressed 2017 Planners in a random drawing on August 26, which also happens to be my 38th wedding anniversary. We can celebrate together!

Just drop me a line to count you in or comment on this post and you'll be cropped-TBTBS-Coloring-Book.jpgentered in the drawing.
And guess what else? For one too blessed grand prize winner, I'll add a bookshelf-melting, oh-so-fun Too Blessed to be Stressed Coloring Book ... 

PLUS my sizzling new Too Blessed to be Stressed: 3 Minute Devotions for Women ...
Fear, Faith and Chocolate
PLUS a hefty fistful of my ultra fave choco-treats (actually I'll send a whole package but it suddenly seemed fitting to reference another of my book titles, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate). Hey, I'll even throw one of those in too!
Winners will be announced right here and remember, it's up to you to contact me to receive your prize (I need to know where to send your loot!).

So you won't forget to check and miss out on your prize, be sure you've subscribed today (so stinkin' easy to do - the box is on the right of this screen!)

Hope you win, my Hot Hot HOT BBFF!!! 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hard to Swallow

Tree swallow in flight
Last week while staying with friends at their beautiful Alabama lake house, I felt my way in the 5 a.m.darkness onto their dock to try to snag a picture of the sunrise.

I'd already missed it that week. Twice. I wasn't about to miss it again.

So I got out there early, granola bar in hand, camera ready, and waited. Patiently at first. Then ... not so much.

Surprise, Deb. The summer sunrise isn't until 5:48. Aargh.

So I grumped around a bit, complained to the fish, argued with the turtles, did a few angry calisthenics and paced the dock. Oh well, at least I could drink in the early morning peace and quiet as the sky gradually lightened.

Suddenly an incessant screeching noise assaulted the silence. I could barely see a black dot in the sky, but there it was off toward the east, circling high over the water. It just kept circling round and round and round for the longest time, squawking constantly. I had nothing else to do but ponder: What was this crazy bird doing? Who was it shrieking to? What was it trying to accomplish?
A swallow doin' my thang

It wasn't fishing or even scoping out breakfast - it flew way too high for that. It's actions seemed to me to be completely illogical and totally unproductive.

I decided it had to be a girl bird because she was acting an awful lot like me: going around in circles for no apparent reason, getting nowhere, complaining the entire time.

I could tell by her cry she was a swallow, but I'd never seen one so persistent. Or quite so verbal. That silly bird kept it up - circling and screeching - for the next 20 minutes. Then as if to make sure I'd had all I could stand, she moved directly over my head and continued for another 20. I took a video clip and will try to add it here, but I can't promise it'll play.

STOP already!

Why on earth wouldn't she change her game plan, her redundant route, or at least shut her beak?
When I finally got so annoyed I could spit, it hit me: Hey, that's me up there. Papa God's showing me a mirror of my worst self: going around and around in circles, getting nowhere, complaining the entire time.

I had to laugh. It was so true.

How so like Him to use his marvelous creation to point out - in a gentle, palatable way - something I really need to work on. My complaining. My grousing. My squawking.

So okay. I get it. That's my next goal. To become less of a grouse and not so hard to swallow. And I don't mean the feathered kind.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Perfect Fit

Underwear Evolution
My friend Marianne was sweating out her options.

Her husband had died unexpectedly less than a year before, and finances were so tight, she wasn't sure she'd be able to keep her home.

Marianne had always trusted God to take care of her, and He always had. But this time, things looked pretty grim.

She needed to find a boarder ASAP to share expenses; she'd lost most of her eyesight to macular degeneration and couldn't drive, so the only work she could find was part-time babysitting in her home, which didn't provide enough pennies to stretch.

She hadn't been able to buy new clothes in years and only owned two bras, both purchased so long ago that their elastic had given up the ghost. Her panties were just as raggedly pathetic, but even WalMart underwear was an expense she couldn't justify when keeping a roof over her head was top priority.

So Marianne prayed.

But she couldn't help wondering if Papa God truly cared about minutia like Fruit-of-the-Loom. I mean, really, when there were famines to resolve,wars to prevent, and diseases to heal, what was a saggy bosom and droopy drawers?

But she soon found out how very much He did care.

Our of the blue, a bare acquaintance called asking if Marianne happened to need any clothes. They were in good shape, she said, but she just needed to clean out her overstuffed closet and bulging bureau. She admitted to having a big of a  ... well, shopping ... um, affinity. It was time again to purge and start over. If Marianne didn't want the items, they were headed to the thrift shop.

"Well, sure!" Marianne replied and almost busted a gut when the woman brought over twenty-seven bras, fifty-seven pairs of panties, plus huge piles of blouses and pants that all fit perfectly. They were excellent quality - much better than Marianne could have possibly afforded, even buying them piece by piece.

Thank heavens (literally) one woman's addiction is another woman's addition.

As if that weren't enough of a miracle, Marianne then received a call from a widow she'd never met looking for a room to rent. It, too, was a perfect fit.

What everyday miracles have you experienced lately, BBFF? I'd love to hear!

(*This is one of many grace notes I share in my book, Too Loved to be Lost, available at Amazon.)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Climbing Chimney Rock

Only 36,425 more steps to go
I'd heard of it all my life - North Carolina's Chimney Rock - but never had the opportunity to go there. Until last week.

What an amazing experience! Climbing 26 stories of oh-so-steep stairs was actually worth it (although I wouldn't admit that while doing it!) to soak in the 1,200 foot high view of the Blue Ridge Mountains that extends 75 miles.

But you know what? I spent the nearly two hours lifting one weary leg above the other on the gazillion steps considering the similarities between ascending this rock and taking my spiritual life to the next level in ascending toward THE Rock. You know, the one that is higher than I (or you).

Achieving closeness with Papa God.

Yep, climbing both rocks entail:

1. Set your goal. Aim high. Otherwise you just keep sitting on your tushie looking up, wondering what the incredible view looks like from up there. "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus," (Phil 3:14, NASB).

Whew! Grandbuddy Blaine takes a break
2. Do the journey with others. No one should attempt either climb alone ... the physical or the spiritual trek. Papa God doesn't want us to live isolated existences. He's into life and health and heart connections and belly laughs and soul sisters. "If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble," (Ecc, 4:10, CEV).

3. Take rest breaks. Yes, YOU. I know, I know. I'm the world's second worst at making myself stop and regroup; you're the world's worst. But we need those little slices of heaven that revive our energy, clarity, and motivation. Rest stops are our front line of defense against temperament-ravaging fatigue and acute nastiness. "You were tired out by the length of your road, yet you did not say, 'It is hopeless.' You found renewed strength, therefore you did not faint," (Isaiah 57:10, NASB).

4. Persevere. Pray not that the Lord would lessen your load, but that He would give you a stronger back. Keep moving forward. Lift one foot in front of the other. Again. And again. I had a hard enough time getting myself up that mountain, but my daughter and her husband somehow managed to do the same climb each carrying a 20-lb baby (their 10-month-old twins). Shut my whining mouth, right? Keep your eyes on the prize - your goal - and not on your sagging self. "Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus ... so that you may not grow weary and lose heart," (Heb. 12:1-3, NASB).

WooHoo! We made it! 
5. Celebrate when you finally get there. I believe we don't celebrate near enough in this life - especially when we achieve physical or spiritual goals, some that we've been working toward for a l-o-n-g time. Go ahead, grab your party horn and tiarra. Papa God loves to see us rejoice! "Let your living spill over into thanksgiving," (Col. 2:7, MSG).

So at the risk of turning this post into a commercial, I highly recommend you get up, get out, and climb something. Even if it's up to your roof to lie back and watch the stars.

Set a goal to achieve something you've never done before. Something different. And then write and tell me all about it - I want to rejoice with you!  

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Fickle Faith

What will I do at the end of this path?
Eddie, one of my favorite girlfriend-senseis (hey, didn't you see Karate Kid?) said something recently that stopped me in my tracks.

It happened at our women's Bible Study, a close-knit group of 6 longtime heart-buddies plowing through this life in Christ thing together.

We'd been discussing the downright density of the Israelites after Yahweh had just just parted the Red Sea - an incredible miracle - so they could escape utter destruction at the hands of the Egyptians pursuing them. They hooted and hollered and pranced their gratitude, praising the Almighty God who could perform this marvelous intervention. Yay God! You go, Jehovah!

Next thing you know, as soon as Moses went up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments, they started looking for something tangible upon which to redirect their faith. Something - anything, it seemed - besides the Mighty Deity who'd already proven Himself.

O ye of fickle faith.

They chose a golden calf. A cow. Formed by human beings. Are you ever-lovin' kidding me? I mean really, how dense can you be?

Eddie had just finished telling us about her recent revelation that Papa God had healed her years ago when medical tests first revealed a frightening problem and then suddenly, inexplicably they didn't. New x-rays revealed that the problem was gone. Gone.

Not unlike the waters of the Red Sea ... there one minute, and gone the next.

Eddie is now facing another possible medical crisis and as the temptation to search out possible ways to fix the problem herself assaults her, she's struggling to keep her faith locked on the One worthy of it. Here's what she said that rocked my world:

"My Red Sea was parted and here I go looking for cows to worship."

Wow. BIG wow. Don't we all do that in our own way? I know for a fact I do.

O me of fickle faith.

I believe every one of us can look back in our lives at some point and see the undeniable fingerprints of Papa God moving in a miraculous way. Maybe not a life-or-death miracle ... perhaps something more subtle - what I call a grace note, or everyday miracle (lots and lots and lots of example in my books).

When [if] we recognize His intervention, we're so grateful! Yay God! You go, Jehovah!

But then when the darkness comes (as it inevitably will) and we're facing a faceless, terrifying monster completely out of our control, instead of defaulting to trust in Papa God, we start flailing around, searching for a stupid cow to worship: Medical science; new drug regimes; laser treatments; breakthroughs in research.

We're as dense as those dang Israelites.

As Eddie concluded, and all sincere Christ-followers must: Power is not in the tangible; everything you can hold in your hand can be stripped away.

Power is in the intangible ... the Spirit of the Living God. He is ultimately in control. Not us, the rate our heart beats, the texting driver that cuts in front of our car, the state of our bank accounts, when our livers wear out, or even hunks of metal shaped like cows.

Eddie and I choose to forgo fickle faith; we choose firm faith. Even in the darkness. How about you, BBFF?