Say It! Three Reasons to Praise God

If someone knew God based solely on what you said about Him, what would they know?

He’s put it on my heart lately that too often I’m silent about Him–His work, His worthiness, His love and care for us.

Can you relate? It’s not that I’m mute on the subject on purpose. It’s that a day, a week, can go by and I don’t realize that ears around me haven’t heard two words from me that praise Him specifically.

David didn’t have that issue. The Psalms bulge with his specific praise of God. Here are just two:

I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.  ~Psalm 34:1

We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds.  ~Psalm 75:1

And did you notice something about these verses? Verse one, both of them. David kicks things off with praise of God. It’s not an afterthought. How often do my friends and family hear God’s praise first from me, not last?

But it can be a win-win for God and for us:

1. God deserves our praise and acknowledgment, period. When we speak highly of Him, it blesses Him.

2. It’s gets us outside of ourselves. Have you ever noticed that it’s easy to focus on ourselves and our problems? Telling about what God has done gives us the gift of perspective. We’re reminded that God is faithful and loving. It’s hard to wallow or be negative when we look up at Him.

Not only that, but…

3. Praising God in our everyday life holds out hope to those who need it. You never know when something seemingly insignificant that we mention is just what someone needed. It may even point them to Jesus for the first time.

I think it’s high time I loosen my lips and invite God into the conversation.

How about you? Do you find it easy or challenging to bring God into your daily conversations?





Speaking out loud about what God is doing.

Why? God commands it, it blesses others, it blesses us

How? Awareness, then everyday conversation


Time Travel: VE Day!

“Germany Surrenders”

“It’s All Over”

“It’s V-E Day!”


The headlines and crowds shouted the good news. The war in Europe was finally over! This week marks the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day.

Only in my imagination can I guess what that felt like the world over–the joy that came at a staggering price. At least we have pictures, recordings, and some precious folks who lived through it to tell us. Here are a few of those reminders.

VE group

New York City, May 7, 1945--The end came rapidly. On April 30, with Russian troops on his doorstep, Hitler killed himself in his bunker in Berlin. On May 4, German forces in Holland, Denmark and northwest Germany surrendered to British Field Marshal Montgomery. On May 7, Germany signed an unconditional surrender with the Allies in Reims, France. Here, looking north from 44th Street, New YorkÕs Times Square is packed with crowds celebrating the news. (AP Photo/Tom Fitzsimmons)

New York City, May 7, 1945  (AP Photo/Tom Fitzsimmons) I’ve stood in Times Square, but it was nothing like this day! -Alison

VE 1Video: The History Channel’s World War II in HD

How about you? How do you think you would’ve celebrated? And if you remember that day, tell us about it!




“But I Don’t Have Time!”: 3 Ways to Fit More Bible into Your Day

Do you wish you had more time to read your Bible? Okay, let me flip that around: Do you know anyone (who’s a Christian) who doesn’t wish they had more time for the Bible?

Decorative clock faces above a clock shopfront in Vannes, France

Photo by Brian Smithson

We’ve been in youth ministry for 21 years next month. At the mention of reading the Bible and spending time with God, almost on cue one of  the teenagers pipes up in a sincere voice, “But I don’t have time to read my Bible or pray every day!” I’m sympathetic, but I also suggest that if they don’t make time now, they won’t have time as adults, either.

At least they’re honest. And if we’re honest, it’s easy to find ourselves at the end of a hectic day and realize we didn’t so much as give God a “What’s up?” nod. Here are some simple ideas to add more Bible to your day.

1. Bedside Bible. Keep your Bible, or your Kindle/reading device with the Bible loaded, by your bed. Having it close will make it easier to read before your go to bed or, my preference, as soon as you wake up. Nothing starts the day like laying eyes on scripture as soon as they open.

2. Take advantage of throw-away minutes. Read during pauses in your day–the ATM line, the doctor’s waiting room, or the checkout line at the store. So often it’s easier to do mindless things like catch up on Facebook or browse magazines. We do need those mental breaks, but try using one of those times each day to read the Bible instead. See how it affects your outlook.

3. Post verses somewhere visible. Think about your daily routine. Where does your gaze land each day? The bathroom mirror, your car, your phone, the medicine cabinet? Try posting a verse each week in one of those places. Once, I took a picture of a passage with my phone and made that the “wallpaper” photo. I saw it each time a picked up my phone.

A long time ago I told my dad, “But I don’t have time for [some task I’ve now forgotten].” He shared this wisdom: “You’ll make time for the things that are important.” That stuck with me. Spending time in the Bible each day is crucial, and we’re blessed when we take advantage of reading God’s messages to us.

How about you? What tips do you have for adding more verses to your day?

Sad Review Week

As you may know, I post a review the second Monday of each month. Anne of Green Gables (both books and the TV miniseries) starred in this month’s review, and I began writing the post early last week.

Millions of readers and fans of the miniseries have loved Anne, Diana, Marilla, Gilbert and all the rest for over a century. I started rereading the books recently. They’re even better now than when my dear friend, Courtney, introduced me to the miniseries and books back in the 80s.

But late last week came shocking news: The iconic Gilbert Blythe actor, Jonathan Crombie, died unexpectedly of a brain hemorrhage last week. It’s so sad for his family, friends, and Anne fans the world over.

So, I’ll suspend the usual review format this week in remembrance of Mr. Crombie. Thanks for the memories.

Related link: Jonathan Crombie


Got Fear? Three Ways to Handle It

What are you afraid of? What makes you worry?

Josie, the heroine of my current novel-in-progress, wouldn’t admit it, but she fears a lot of things. The very flying that she adores, letting her family down, loving again… I’d best shush from telling all her secrets or else she won’t speak to me for awhile.

The truth is, most of us carry more anxiety than we realize or care to acknowledge.

I know I did.

Few people know this, but, for a couple of months many years ago, anxiety trapped me in its web.

Maybe it was the newness of working with a local hospice and the realities that come along for the difficult ride. Maybe it was other things. Either way, those were some of the longest weeks of my life. Every little physical “symptom” became something to worry and obsess over. Twice I ended up in the ER with tangible symptoms that my anxiety created.

I prayed. I prayed a lot. That helped, but then something else happened.

A godly woman who’d been through something similar recognized what was going on. She sat me down and gave me my diagnosis: “You have anxiety.” The worry itself had become the problem, rivaling any real boogey man. Over the next half hour she shared her story. The light bulb went off in my head, and the peace flooded my heart.

Yes, I did have anxiety, and I also had God. It was going to be okay. And it was. Exposed and robbed of its power, the anxiety slinked away.noun_4619_cc

I’m glad I had that experience. I can say that honestly. God used it to bring me closer to Him. I came out stronger and wiser, and it has served me well.

That’s not to say that I’m immune to relapse or am a mental health professional, but God taught me a thing or two about dealing with anxiety. Perhaps there’s a nugget of helpfulness here for you or someone you care about.

1. Nip it in the bud. Spending time with God each day–real, quality time–helps head off gripping anxiety. Praying, reading the Bible, and sincerely giving over the day’s worries keeps our eyes on Him and keeps us from relying on our own strength.  Yes, bad things may happen still, but which way would we rather face challenges: with God or without?

2. Set an alarm clock. Do you ever not even realize you’re worrying excessively about something? It can be easy to ignore the soundtrack of anxieties that’s set on repeat in the background of our hearts. Ask God to alert you, like an alarm clock, to anything that fuels anxiety. This can prevent the worry from accelerating into a runaway train.

3. Nurture relationships. Anxiety festers in isolation. The worrier might feel embarrassed or ashamed of their anxiety. Godly friends and loved ones who care and hold us accountable can help deflate the worry. They can also throw that lifeline of objectivity and perspective.

The world is a scary, wonderful place. There’s a lot to worry about if we allow ourselves. Anxiety itself doesn’t have to be one of them.

Related verses:

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:8 (NIV)

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18