how to turn 40

The thing is, I wasn’t really sure about this whole turning 40 business.  A couple months ago I felt sure I wanted to celebrate, and that if I was going to age, I wanted to do it right. But, I really didn’t know what that meant.

I recognize that I’ve been aging all along, but 40 seems to be a hurdle.

At any rate – what I realized this past week more than ever is this: I wanted to celebrate this life I’ve been given.  There is a significant amount of goodness and it is easy to move about my days without recognizing it all.

The good things in my life largely revolve around the gifts of fellowship and relationships – my husband, my children, my parents,  and my in-laws, my sister and her family, my husbands’  siblings and their families, and my dear friends.  These are the gifts from God that I do not celebrate enough!

This morning twelve friends converged on my home for a birthday brunch.  As we sat in a circle in my living room and shared our favorite things with each other, I had to really make an effort to not be tearful.  These women are such a large part of my heart and life.  Some I talk to weekly, if not daily.  Some, I’m only able to visit with once every couple months.

But, I see each one of them and the friendship we share as God’s gracious, beautiful gift to me.    This morning that goodness soaked into the very deepest places of my heart and I was reminded that I am greatly blessed.  Indeed, I am a very rich 40 year old.    If that’s not worth celebrating, I don’t know what is.

So in case, you don’t know, I’ve decided to turn 40 by celebrating God’s gracious gifts in my life!  It is really the only way to go, no matter what age you are!




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the spider


He’s been there at least a week now, maybe two.   The guest on our back deck is big.  really big.  And he makes me uncomfortable.  At first I didn’t like it at all that he had taken up residence. But, I’ve become accustomed to his presence in a “wincing when I slide open the glass door” kind of way.

That web he perches in is amazing.  His designs are unmatched, catching anyone’s attention who sets foot out my back door.  I suppose it is what he’s supposed to do, but it is still remarkable.

It is interesting how something so small can make me nervous and uneasy, creeped out, even jittery.  At first I didn’t even want to go near it.

So, the other day, I finally went out and stood right in front of the web to get a closer look and snap a photo or two.  And do you know what happened?  He ran, and fast.  He skittered right up that web and into the gutter.  I didn’t know spiders could move that quickly.  And I didn’t know he was afraid of me.

You know what this reminds me of?  Well, I’ll tell you.  For a few days I tried and tried to write about this spider and sin and how we need to be weary of it; be concerned, be watchful.  Because after all, the Bible says the devil is like a roaring lion trying to devour us all.  And my heart agrees with all of that.  My sinful nature can be devastating and I  must be vigilant.

But guess what?!?  That’s not what I need to write today, after watching that big ol’ spider retreat!  Nope.  I’m here to say that we don’t need to be AFRAID!  Sin and death are conquered!  We have true and complete victory in Christ!

Often I find myself fearful of the world and the moral and sinful failures we see on every hand.  The way sin seems to be running rampant can be completely overwhelming.   However, the truth remains that this is not a shock to our Heavenly Father.  All of this has been overcome by the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  And there is coming a day when Satan will be nothing more than a fearful, cowering, villain – afraid of his own shadow- just like the spider on my back deck- and he will be defeated!

These words from I Corinthians 15 sum it up, pretty well, giving the confidence to live without fear:

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

55 “O Death, where is your sting?  O Hades, where is your victory?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.


Since my folks have moved here recently, I’ve been having all these little snippets of memories from my childhood play through my mind.  One such memory is a hymn we sang in church regularly, and I can’t help but sing it in my heart today:

O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.



precious moments

A few weeks ago my folks moved south.  They packed up their belongings and left their home of 15 years and came to a new place.  I know they had a few good reasons to do something so crazy;  their names are Emily, Mackenzie and Isaac.   and my sister’s kids, Maggie, Max and Miles, are three more really good reasons who only live a few hours away.

But, I’m not fooled.  Leaving behind their friends who had been like family for more than decade was not a breeze.

At any rate, one afternoon once all the boxes arrived, I went over and helped mom unpack a few of her boxes labeled “breakable”.  That involved handling my mom’s very valuable collection of precious moments.  Each figurine holds a memory, and I loved reviewing my parents’ timeline as I pulled each one from the box.

but, this one:


I may be wrong, but I believe my Mom received this Precious Moment as a gift when we moved from Danville, Illinois to London, Ontario.  Yep, that was five moves and 33 years ago.   My folks aren’t new to this crossing-the-country gig.   Back then – the move was monumental – at least that’s how my “little girl memory”  remembers it.  A lot of trust was required on my parents’ part in order to move our little family to a new place so far away .  It was a beginning; a journey in learning to believe God will keep his promise to provide every need.

How does one learn to trust in God’s provision, without being in need?

This question makes me think of the account in the Old Testament of the Israelites’ exodus.  Even though God promised a land of milk and honey, it took faith for them to leave Egypt, believing God was going to keep his word.   And even then, step by step they struggled to remember His provision, despite His intervention all along the way.

Honestly, I can’t say I’m any different.  Often my belief is mingled with doubt.   But, its also true that every promise kept, every need met, is another step away from that unbelief.

Okay, so back to those precious moments I was putting in my mom’s curio cabinet.  That little figurine which pictures the young couple moving is priceless, not just because it is an old collectable.  It is a valuable reminder for me.  For many moves, and many of life’s adventures God has proven himself faithful.  Again and again he has paved the way, leading them, always providing.

I’m so thankful for the tangible ways my parents have fleshed out their own faith.  It is His gift of faith to me, helping me believe this truth: He will be faithful to all of His children.  always.



sweet sixteen


Friends.  When you’re a kid, waiting for that 16th birthday to roll around, those years can take forever.  Seriously, I remember.  Waiting to grow up is torture sometimes.

But, when you become a grown up, sixteen years can fly by like you’re in some kind of time-warp machine, especially when times are good.  and they are!

People used to tell me that’s how it would be, but I never believed them.  (I guess the fact that I’m even writing these words in a blog post means I have to admit that I also am an adult now. )

Well, let me tell you – the past 16 years have passed by on hyper drive.  I feel like my wedding to Michael Day was just yesterday.  Our honeymoon to Naples, Florida should be happening.   But, I blinked and here we are, with three children, careers, and the crazy life that goes with all of that; our hopes and dreams have melted together into a life that we love.

I never could have imagined I would love Michael so much more now than the day we got married.  I had no idea just how sweet our life together would be.

My heart is so grateful for this man I married.  Michael Day- I love you with my whole heart and can’t wait to see what the coming years will bring!  Happy sweet sixteen, baby!


the good work


Philippians 1:6 –  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Not too long ago,  well, about 35 years ago, I began the journey…   Danville, Illinois was the place where I crossed the starting line.  I was five.

At age five, I found myself (pictured above, front row, first on the right, yellow frilly dress) in a children’s choir.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love music, singing, or being a part of a choir.   Even then I sat in the choir loft while my dad conducted rehearsals for the youth choir or the adult choir.  My place was in the alto section – always trying to fit into the harmonies.

I can’t remember what we are singing in this photo; possibly “I’ll be a Sunbeam for Jesus.” (And, even tho’ she says she doesn’t remember it, I think that’s my mom directing us.  I’d know the back of that head, or that red blazer anywhere…  )

Over the next few weeks I’ll be preparing to work with the children’s choir at my church.  Just the thought of it makes me smile, those sweet faces, their tender hearts and sometimes squeaky voices.   I can’t wait to get started.

Back then something was begun in me – a love for God and the fellowship of worshiping Him, voices united with others in singing.  It is unlike anything else.  The bonds that are formed when our hearts join together this way is unusual;  bonds with fellow believers, and a stronger love for our Savior.   What He began so long ago, He is still working in me – it is a big part of who I am and He is still making me into the worshiper He’s called me to be. If I had time or a scanner, I could show you photos from all along this musical journey, how He’s shaped me and molded my talents to be this very specific musician-worshiper-pianist-singer-violinist-conductor – all a part of His design.      I’m grateful for this calling that He is fulfilling in my heart and life.  I’m thankful, too, that I get to see the children in my choir cross their starting line, believing this Scripture for them too: “that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  May He continue this good work until He returns and we all worship Him for eternity.  


Give Me Jesus


This afternoon I sat at beautiful Baldwin grand, in the Marr Chapel on Signal Mountain, prepared to play for a funeral.

Just this week, leading up to the event, a lot had happened.  Michael turned 40.  My folks moved here from Michigan, a family member had surgery – and then this:  a close friend of the family, Michael’s life-long neighbor, passed on to glory.

So, you’ll understand when I tell you that I arrived at the chapel, with quite a bit of emotion churning on my insides.     I was stepping off a roller coaster, just in time to sit at the keys and play.

But, I was blessed as the moments passed and the congregation arrived,  not just to play, but to worship.  Many old hymns flowed from my fingertips, just the way I imagine Ray would have enjoyed, and my heart swelled praising God; the same God who just days ago welcomed Ray home.

Life moves forward, faster, beyond my control, every day. And sometimes I’m not sure how to keep up.  I suppose it is just a new stage of life I’m entering, but it all feels new and the future seems a bit uncertain.    But, no matter what comes, there is one thing that is more important than everything else.  It is Jesus.   He is the one I must cling to;  He is the one who was in the beginning, and He will meet me at the end.     All else pales in comparison.

My friend, Michael (not to be confused with my hubby) sang a song that is still resonating in my mind.  I’ve known the words for quite some time, but truly, they meant so much more to me today.   I welcomed the opportunity to slow down, rest in the truth of this prayer and make it my own…

Give Me Jesus

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
Give me Jesus

And when I am alone
Oh and when I am alone
And when I am alone
Give me Jesus

And when I come to die
Oh and when I come to die
And when I come to die
Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus, give me Jesus
You can have all this world
You can have all this world
You can have all this world
But give me Jesus


living ink

from 2Corinthians 3:

You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.


I read this passage a lot last week – with the desire to write about it.  I love how Paul gave such a clear picture – that the Corinthians were to being a living epistle of Christ- not just in word as Paul taught them, but in deed.

And every time I sat down to put my thoughts in writing, you know what I realized?

Last week was full of my very own personal examples how NOT to be a living epistle.  seriously.  I won’t even begin a list because I failed big time.  As a Momma, Teacher, Musician, Runner, you name it – I blew it!  And that’s too depressing for everyone to read.

Truly, I find myself at the beginning of this week, grateful for His grace and for a Monday morning that gives me a fresh start.

At any rate, there is one place I can look and see the example that Paul describes. I can see it right out my kitchen window, in my backyard.

remember this?


That’s our workshop.  My husband’s been in the process of building it for three years, with the help of his dad.  Over the last two weekends drywall has been going up inside.  This. is. big.  He is on the home stretch and we are closer than ever to guitars being made.  right here.  on Logger lane.DSC_0500


His patience, dedication, perseverance, and wisdom over time is remarkable.  And – shall I say it?  I believe it is the result of the Holy Spirit in him, giving him every ability, whether physical, emotional, mental, financial – everything necessary to continue, even when he’s been discouraged or defeated.

The longer we move forward in this journey, the more I see my husband and this shop as a living and breathing picture of God at work! He is calling, equipping and producing at every step.  And someday, hopefully soon, music will be played on guitars my husband has made-  an authentic, living epistle to the glory of God!

And here’s my trip down memory lane…