Creating Your Legacy

Have you ever wondered how you’ll be remembered? What type of legacy you’ll leave behind?

I have …

Forever, I’ve had a strong desire to make a difference in the world. That yearning has been accompanied by wondering what that’s supposed to mean for me.

As a teen, I dreamed of being a missionary in Africa or part of a ministry reaching out to runaways on New York’s city streets. Instead, I followed my parents’ wishes that I attend college before making any decisions. While in school, I fell in love, got engaged, and was married three weeks after graduation. My life took a drastically different path than what I’d thought.

Although I loved being a wife and mother, I still struggled for years with the same question. What was I supposed to do with my life?

Of course, over the years I was involved with different ministries and community outreach programs. But I still felt like I was missing the mark.

Then, through a variety of circumstances, I was drawn back into writing—something I’d always loved—and I discovered my calling. I found I could touch people’s lives through the written word.

That led to discovering a knack and enjoyment for editing other people’s work and helping them grow in their craft so they do a better job of conveying what they have to share.

But I still have to work through some things … You see, I’m quite driven and goal-oriented. First born—overachiever. Throw in a profession where there is always more that could be done! I could easily work seven days a week. Yeah … ask my husband about that. He’s always encouraging me to take time out for rest and play.

One day I made a promise to myself. Unless it was absolutely impossible, I would always try to put other people and their needs first. Because I’ve stuck by that promise for years, God has opened my eyes …

I may never have a million dollars to donate to charity. I may never write a best-selling novel. But that’s okay, because some of the most important things I can do to make a difference are to listen to, pray for, and encourage those around me.

Now that I have a grandson, I’m very much aware of the opportunity I have to influence his life and those of future grandchildren. I want to share so many things with him—my faith, love of books, a hunger for knowledge, and an appreciation for nature and creativity. I want to be a role model of kindness and patience.

Maybe the only legacy I leave behind will be how I love people … And that can be enough for me.

What about you? What will your legacy be? What do you want it be?


A Blessing for YOU!

“The Lord bless you and keep you: the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Num. 6: 24-26 NKJV)

Growing up, I heard this blessing spoken by the pastor at the end of every church service. Even as a child, the words felt special.

I no longer attend traditional services, opting for contemporary worship and music. Hearing this blessing is probably the one thing I miss . . .

Why? How could so few words make me feel so wrapped up in God’s love?

The Lord bless you . . .
All good things come from God. But this means more than physical blessings, the ability to pay our bills, or having awesome careers. It includes being in relationship with him in order to not to feel spiritual hunger or thirst.

. . . and keep you:
The idea of “keep you” is divine protection—spiritual protection. He keeps us safe. There are unseen forces in the world who will do everything they can to stop us from living happy lives and fulfilling God’s purpose.

the Lord make His face shine upon you
Imagine it. Doesn’t that bring the image of warmth and caring? Awareness of God’s presence brings comfort to the faithful.

and be gracious to you
Our God is merciful and compassionate. He desires to forgive us when we mess up. And we will mess up!

the Lord lift up His countenance upon you
This means . . . may the Lord look upon you with approval. We want the Lord to be pleased with how we’re using our talents, opportunities, and lives.

. . . and give you peace.
In this crazy, hectic, stressful world, who doesn’t want and need assurance? Jesus can give the kind of peace that passes all understanding.

Having this blessing said over me gives me a sense of comfort, warmth, and peace. I’ve also discovered that by slightly changing the words, I can also say them as a prayer.

The Lord bless me and keep me: the Lord make his face shine upon me and be gracious to me; the Lord lift up his countenance upon me and give me peace.


What does this blessing say to you? Do you feel comfortable inserting your own name into that Scripture?


Ways to Give Joy to the Lord

Do song lyrics or Bible verses float into your thoughts from who-knows-where?

One day a song with the words, “the joy of the Lord is my strength,” popped into my head. I’ve always valued music’s influence on memory, but wasn’t sure if those words were actually included in the Bible. I found them.

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10 NIV)

To me, the words had always meant that if I stayed close to the Lord I would be okay. No matter what struggles, challenges, or heartbreak I faced. With the joy given me through just knowing him and having him in my heart, I would have enough strength to get through tough times.

My original interpretation only focused on what I got out of it.

It was all about ME.

But the verse stayed with me and began to take on additional meaning . . .

I began to wonder … what if we turned it around? What if we could also be strengthened by giving HIM joy? What would that look like?

Here are some ways I think we can start.

Spend focused time with him. Our God loves relationship. But it’s pretty difficult to have one without spending time together. (Doesn’t it bring you joy when you know someone is excited to see you?)

Speak to him throughout the day and acknowledge his presence. Let him know he’s important in our life. Prayer doesn’t need to be confined to a set time of day.

Care for his other children. We’re supposed to be a family. I believe it gives God great joy when we help others through sharing our resources, talents, or time.

Be thankful. In good times, praise him for our countless blessings. In bad times, instead of whining or complaining, thank him for his promises, and trust that he has our backs.

Take care of our own bodies. We are wondrously made, and we shouldn’t take our health for granted.

Enjoy and honor nature. He created this wonderful, beautiful world, and it must delight him when we not only appreciate, but also take care of this gift.

I believe that by embracing and doing these things, we’ll become better, happier people. The joy of the Lord can be our strength.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think brings the Lord joy?


Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!

Do you have a fun day planned with friends or family? It’s a great time to kick back and enjoy good food and the company of loved ones.

My oldest daughter and her husband will be here from out-of-state, and we’re looking forward to extended family gathering at our house for a barbecue. What’s the Fourth of July without hamburgers, hotdogs, and potato salad? Hmmm … I wonder if anyone will bring apple pie.

Whether you’re at home, a park, or on the beach … may you experience joy at celebrating the freedom and opportunities we have in this country.


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