Plans and Planners, Part 2: Gutters, Salad Plates, and Extra Baggage


Another thunderstorm is rolling through our city. We certainly don’t need any more rain. Our lakes and ponds are full.

As I sit at the kitchen table, laptop open, I hear the pelting rain on the skylight and my attention is drawn away from my writing to the storm outside. I gaze out the window and see water gushing from the downspout. In fact, so much rain is falling that the gutters are splashing water on the porch in a couple of places. If this were a contest, the rain would be winning.


Rain is vital and necessary, but too much rain is too much of a good thing.

Earlier today I had joined a friend for lunch. We both ordered grilled chicken salads. When our food arrived, each of our huge dinner plates was piled high. Lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, all kinds of delicious veggies spilled onto the table.

Pile of salad

Everything in the salad mix was good. But, it was too much salad.

Sometimes life’s plans can spill out and overflow. Much like rain and salad, the busyness of life can sometimes become too much.

Yes, I know that I over-schedule and over-plan with a desire to participate in oh, so many wonderful events at breakneck speed. Whew!


“…Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus…”—Hebrews 12:1-2 (CEB)

When I need rest, even good endeavors can become “extra baggage” and I don’t accomplish anything well. I’m simply rushing…

• From one very good event—
• to the next expected role−
• to another admirable duty−
• to some volunteer activity.

Tired, empty, flustered, frustrated.

Pursuing everything and yet not giving completely of myself to anything.

I know this is not what Jesus expects of me.

A few weeks ago when I turned the calendar from August to September, I sensed Him whispering to me to choose more carefully. To be less busy and more focused to His direction in my life. The noise of all that dances to a school calendar shouted; He whispered for me to join Him.

So this autumn, as the familiar upswing in activities started and when the calendar began to fill, I decided to take a step back. I said “no” to some requests in the hope that I can give more of myself to those things to which I say “yes.” More attention to Heavenly whispers—to the few yet important callings.


I pray for just enough rain, moderate amounts of fruits and veggies, a suitcase of basic needs.

Most of all, I pray for my heart to be open to God’s Whispers.

How about you? How do you “throw off extra baggage?”

Blessings and serenity,


Gutter, salad, suitcases images courtesy of
Photos: 173189, 212102, & 255250

Grandma’s Interpretation of the 23rd Psalm

23rd Psalm

This past Sunday, Rev. Dan Johnson preached to the third graders. It was the Sunday that our Children’s Ministries presents each third grader with a Bible. Pastor Dan’s sermon that morning was on the Twenty-third Psalm. He referenced each verse of this beloved Psalm with scripture from the New Testament along with what this means in our lives today.

 He brought examples of how God provides, leads, guides, protects, fills, and gives eternal life. He called it the Perfect Psalm for our whole life long.

 Pastor Dan’s words might have been directed at this group of children. However, his sermon was actually for everyone—all of God’s children.

 My maternal grandmother, Amanda A. Treat-Mayer, helped me memorize verses, passages, and Psalms. She never handed me a scrap of paper with Scripture to memorize. Instead, she had me repeat God’s Word with her while we made a lemon meringue pie or as we worked on a jigsaw puzzle. It was in her kitchen and living room that I learned not only these beautiful words, but how these words give a sense of peace.

 Today when I repeat this wonderful Psalm of promise, my words spill out in the King James Version. It really is the perfect Psalm for our whole life long.

 My grandmother loved the Lord, loved reading the Bible, and loved to write. Tucked inside her Bible were many writings she had completed as she made God’s Living Word part of her daily life. One such writing is her personal translation of the 23rd Psalm.

 I thought I’d share this wonderful piece with you. Here is Grandma’s Interpretation of the 23rd Psalm.

 Blessings and serenity,


 Family Bible

As the faithful shepherd lovingly tends his flock, so the Lord watches over me. His love never fail me—nor does it ever change. Never need I worry nor fret about material needs, for He has promised to supply all of them—therefore I shall never want.

 Sometimes the path seems rugged and hazardous, but He provides me with all the strength I need; so, I rest in complete ease and abandon, even as the tender lamkins trustingly lie down upon soft, green pastures, beside a quiet brook, under the ever-watchful eye of the shepherd.

 Oftentimes my faith wavers and my spirit falters as I am confronted by seemingly unsolvable problems. It is then that I am ready to be led to the Source of the clear, still Stream, the Water of Life, which is none other than the Word of God which alone quenches my thirst and satisfies my hunger, for it also is the Bread of Life, and it restoreth my soul.

 The Road we travel together, my Lord and I, is straight and narrow and sometimes thorny, but it is the one I will choose because He has assured me that it is the Path of Righteousness. His Words are true. He is The Way, the Truth, and the Life.

 Heartaches and disappointments may come, or I may walk over dark, threatening paths, even though it be through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but I will fear none of these evils, for my Shepherd will walk beside me.

 Once more He leads me by the hand. His words of love and assurance fill and satisfy my soul. He spreads His strong and loving arms about me—they strengthen and comfort me.

 Friends may forsake me; enemies oppress me, yet my Lord reveals Himself before them in ways they do not understand. There before their wondering eyes He invites me to feast upon the riches of His Love as though it were a sumptuous banquet table prepared and spread before me.

 He anoints my head with the Oil of Gladness—the Joy of His Salvation—until my cup is full to overflowing.

 Of a truth, His wondrous goodness and abundant mercy shall follow me for as long as life endures, and one day I shall enter His Heavenly Home, there to dwell with Him throughout all Eternity.

Plans and Planners

My new planner arrived last week.


The book contains 18 months: the final four months of this year, all of next year, and two months after that. It’s an organizer’s dream. There are month-at-a-glance pages. Days divided by AM and PM. Places for prayers, priorities, notes, and goals.


And all of the pages are interspersed with Scripture and quotes.


All good, right?

Plans and Planners 1

My planner, along with my husband’s planner and our kitchen calendar, keep track of people, places and time.


Admittedly, my hubby isn’t quite as excited as I am. In his planner, he writes down one or two words next to a specific time, and he’s done.


I, on the other hand, use my paper tools to fill in prospects for new adventures.


So, with colored pens in hand, I penned information in my new planner. Sometimes I used complete sentences and drawings. Yes, even arrows, circles, hearts, and exclamation points.


I recorded meeting dates and times of organizations along with hosting and speaking duties.




I added recurring events such as bell choir rehearsals and ministry training.


More plans.


I gathered together slips of paper of already-scheduled dental appointments, luncheons, travel, family visits, and upcoming conferences. All this, neatly transferred into daily squares, mapped out my coming days.


Even more plans.


Yes, those squares denoting future time were filling up. I used a lot of ink on some weeks.


Something. Every. Day.


All good and worthy activities, my busyness is. But …


As I hold the beginning of next year’s plans in my hands, am I offering my schedule to God? Am I planning time to pray and time to listen to God? Am I open to His appointments as well as to Him cancelling my plans for His plans?


Do I make God first?

The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad

While I do spend my first hour with Him, and even turn over my to-do list to Him, am I willing to listen to my heart telling me to…


  • Spend time with my next-door neighbor?
  • Call a friend that’s been on my mind a lot lately?
  • Visit a shut-in, a new mom, or someone in rehab?


The will of God for your life is simply that you submit yourself to Him each day and say, ”Father, Your will for today is mine. You lead me today and I will follow.”

—Kay Arthur


I must remember that His cancellations and last-minute appointments are more important than anything written or drawn in my planner with colorful pens.

God never guides us at some time in the future, but always here and now. Realize that the Lord is here now, and the freedom you receive is immediate. −Oswald Chambers

I need to make time, every day, to meet God throughout the day.


What about you? How do you schedule your time with God in planning your days?



Blessings and serenity,



When Life Gets Tough

When Life Gets Tough

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion.

Lately, I’ve read some Facebook posts sharing concerns about inner struggles. I marvel at the transparency you reveal. I admire the loving-kindness you show one another. And I love the way you ask for prayers.

And yet, my heart aches for you during the times your hearts are aching. I know I can’t erase your pain. So I join you in prayer and hope that tomorrow will allow you to take a deep breath.

A blister will heal. A scraped knee is helped by a colorful bandage. Not so with the heart.

When my heart has been scraped or torn or even broken—it’s those times that I’ve learned some of the toughest lessons in my life.

Several weeks ago I swallowed the acrid, unpleasant taste of resentment when someone was asked to complete a project that I wanted. Oh, how I wanted it.

But, in all this I hadn’t once asked the Lord if He had something else in mind for me. I never bothered to inquire of Him if I should take a step back and simply rest. Never mind that waiting has never been my strong suit.

Then early one morning during prayer time, God reminded me that my plate was filled with His blessings and gifts, and that I already had abundant opportunity to be heard. Ouch! And, honestly, He told me to get over my self-perceived slight and pay attention to what He’d already allowed me to have and do. Yep, that’s what He whispered. Double ouch!

God's 3 answers to your prayers: Yes. Not Yet. I have something better in mind.

You’d think that at this point in my life, six-plus decades of living, I’d have this lesson down pat. I don’t.

Note: there have been times when I begged Him so much He actually granted me my heart’s desire even when it wasn’t my best decision. I got the promotion, the pay raise, and my name plate on the door. I worked really hard to get my worst job ever. (That’s a story for another day.)

A few times I’ve been able to see why something wasn’t right for me. There have been more times that I don’t know or understand the big WHY question. Questions about miscarriages, for example.

Maybe someday I will know, this side of Heaven. Maybe not.

I used to say that, God willing when I sat at the feet of Jesus, I’d have my list of “whys” ready for Him.

But I don’t say that much anymore. What I’ve come to believe is this: either I’ll instantly know and understand, or it won’t matter. Heaven’s Glory will erase my earthly emotions.

But that’s someday.

Today I’m left to deal with my emotions. Good and bad. So I turn to His Word. The Word that’s given comfort to lonely, disappointed, angry, sad, broken-hearted children of God for centuries.

These are a few scriptures that I pray when I’m struggling for answers to my whys.

  • 1 Peter 5:8-9
  • 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
  • Romans 8:18-21
  • Galatians 5:16
  • James 4:3
  • 1 John 2:15-17
  • Philippians 4:11-13
  • 1 Timothy 6:6-8
  • Hebrews 13:5-6

What about you? How does God help you to become centered? How do you heal when life becomes just plain hard? What steps do you take when you’re broken-hearted?

Blessings and serenity,


Seeds or Weeds

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 13:1-8 NIV