But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

I finally grasped the difference between busy and fruitful at some point in the last few years. I once ran myself ragged trying to do far too much and none of it to my satisfaction. I now realize fruitful doesn’t equate to a steady stream of productivity coming off a line.

As in my garden, there are times in the process of bearing fruit that seem barren. It looks like nothing is going on. There are dry patches and periods of dormancy. Then there are times when the storms of life inundate us, and we feel like we will never feel the warmth of the sun (or Son) again. Yet, it is all part of the process.

Few things of any substance grow without considerable changes to their environment and a substantial amount of time.

Some things sprout overnight, like the weeds I’d rather be rid of. I’ve grown wary of anything that offers instant gratification. Things that are truly valuable like fulfilling relationships, accomplishing goals and realizing our dreams tend to take time and attention to not only develop but to also keep those things alive.

  Thankfully, God rewards faith and patience as evidenced by Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Moses and a slew of other flawed yet willing figures in the Bible. And God rewards us as well.

If we do not give up on those dreams God plants within us, we can eventually yield the promised harvest if we trust and obey. This also means keeping the faith when we are pruned (as were our heroes of the Bible) so we can eventually produce something good!

Pruning is painful and leaves lasting scars. But it is necessary. God would have us reach for the new things He wants to give. Instead, we often hold fast to dead dry things. When we are stubborn, God simply rips away the very things (or people) we are clinging to for our own good.

Left to ourselves, we can produce a lot of different things.

Doubt. Fear. Worry.

But that is not what God ever intended. Our Father wants more for us in this life.

From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,
and the work of their hands brings them reward. Proverbs 12:14 NIV

So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ,
that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead,
in order that we might bear fruit for God. Romans 7:4 NIV

I’m striving to produce those things our Father desires, not just whatever happens to come to mind.

I’ve also learned that becoming fruitful means enduring temporary pains to produce long-term gains. I’ll admit that lesson probably took a lot longer than it should have to learn.

Thankfully, God is patient. God’s power working in and through us can produce a harvest that truly glorifies Him and even allows us to love one another in the process.

What are you bringing forth?


“Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted” Matthew 5:4 NKJV

This week I lost something very dear to me very unexpectedly. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve handled it well. I realized that today when I showed up for an appointment that isn’t for another two weeks!

We all lose things in life. Some major, some minor.

Some losses signify a chapter is closing. When we move beyond our grief we can see the beginnings of another.

Others losses are harder still and hurt to our very core.

LOSS B IS FOR BLESSED DEVOTIONA 7-15 We rarely appreciate our blessings in their entirety. We take people and things for granted. We often don’t appreciate our “headaches” until they are snatched away. We often look elsewhere for the very blessings we have right at hand but are too blind to see.

Some losses make us reevaluate ourselves. Others are a wake up call to get back on track. Some losses we bring upon ourselves. Others hit hard without warning or fault of our own.

Living “blessed” is learning how to weather the bad as well as appreciate the good. Ideally, our losses would make us grateful for what we have instead of fixating on what is gone. I don’t know many people who always do that, myself included.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15 NIV

We all grieve differently.

Some things insignificant to us are a matter of life and death to someone else. Simply listening to someone for a moment or two can mean the world to someone in pain.

Now I’m sure some of you who have read thus far are wondering just what did I lose?

I lost Lucky.

photo_1 (6)  Lucky was a stray cat who arrived at my back door over a decade ago. His arrival prompted my four-year old to begin talking. For a child diagnosed with autism, this was a very big deal! We never imagined a stray cat would become the answer to our prayers.

Sometimes our blessings come in the least likely packages. My husband and I were never cat people. But this black tuxedo cat won us over. He must have really been Heaven sent as we had two unruly dogs at the time. However, it wasn’t long before Lucky would rule our roost, dogs and all, until his death a few short days ago.

I have no doubt God has a sense of humor. He does use the foolish to confound those of us who would think ourselves wise. I’m grateful I grudgingly accepted this gift even as I dreaded something else to feed and clean.

In the end, we were the “lucky ones.” Lucky chose us and gave far more than we would ever imagine.

Sadly, God’s blessings don’t always last forever. Just as seasons change, so can our circumstances.

When we find ourselves at cross roads or lost because of our losses, we would do well to realize there is more to be grateful for than to mourn. There is always hope for the peace and joy only God can provide when we allow Him to fill our voids. 

If you are grieving a loss, no matter how large or small, you don’t have to do so alone. Our God is waiting to comfort you with open arms.  

LOSS 3 b is for blessed devotiona 7-15  To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;  Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 NKJV

**Rest in Peace, “Lucky” Raphael. You loved us well! 


“Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; In You I take shelter”
Psalm 143:9 NKJV

My “yard cats” know exactly where to go in times of trouble. I’ve watched them hightail it up this tree in mere seconds. Unfortunately, we aren’t always as quick to run to our safe haven.

Some of us are quick to turn to friends. Friends who often offer a wealth of advice even while struggling to manage themselves.

Others prefer to “Google it” and see what can be found on that world wide web. It can certainly draw us in, sometimes tangled and deceptive, offering as much misinformation as good.

If only we were as quick to seek our Father/Shelter in times of trouble what angst we would spare ourselves!

As we go through life’s trials and unexpected turns, we can choose to rely on ourselves and other people. Both are imperfect choices.

Or we can turn to God. sanctuary 2 cats blsd 15

God’s Word holds the answers we seek.  Only God can provide peace and protection. Come to Him all who are weary and heavy laden.

Some of us are so accustomed to running, we don’t know how be still. Instead of running away from your problems run to God. Trust Him to take your burdens, whatever they are, in exchange for the peace and refuge only He can offer.

Never underestimate God’s love for you!  Run to Him and be blessed!

From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah

Psalm 61:2-4 NKJV




Pretty Girl!

Last night I lost my pretty girl.

One moment she’s clearing her throat. The next, she is gone.

She was not a young dog. A cataract was slowly growing in one eye. I suspected her hearing might be waning (though she could hear a bag of chips opened in the kitchen from the second floor!)

She woke me each morning with her “dog breath” and tail wagging. She slept in our bedroom, often annoyed when we turned on the lights after she had retired for the evening. She faithfully greeted me when I came home, giving me a look that the “guys” had forgotten to let her out!

I knew she would not live forever. I thought I would have time to mentally prepare.

That did not happen.

A couple of minutes of increasingly labored breathing followed by a trip to the doggie ER would reveal cancer. Her lungs were full of it. By the time the vet could figure it out, she was leaving us.

I bawled like a baby.

A very ugly cry I’m sure. My husband held me tight through his own tears. The people in the waiting room probably thought we were crazy.

Or not.

Anyone at a Vet ER in the wee hours of the morning probably “gets it.”  In our waiting, another pretty girl came in. A black Chow. Within minutes her owner was told she wouldn’t survive the necessary surgery. She was fifteen. They had to put her down.

The tough guy owner cried. I cried. Again. I suspected we’d be next.

For about an hour it looked like she was “recovering.” It gave me and my husband time to hold her. Hug her. Love her. One last time. She had our undivided attention, just as she liked.

The labored breathing began again. And then I knew.

Really knew.

I read somewhere that the most important lessons in life you can learn from a dog. She taught me much.

The value of a nap. Unconditional love.  God’s love for me even in the “smaller things” in life.

You see, we lost her once. She got spooked and took off running.

She was gone for nine days.

We put up fliers. Put ads in the papers.  Offered a reward. Searched shelters.

My prayer was that she’d been picked up by some nice family and not hit by a car.

We got phone calls of sightings. We just missed her several times. Even customers from my pharmacy searched for her.

One night it stormed terribly. My girl was out there. I lay in bed sobbing.

Just weeks prior, we received news that my oldest son had a clean bill of health. We had gone back and forth to the Aflac Cancer Center after receiving a very rare diagnosis. So grateful, I figured I shouldn’t mourn my dog because God spared my child.

Grace came via a local mail carrier. She saw our dog and knew she didn’t live at that house. The mailman called the number on our flier. My husband rushed over.

I waited. No phone call. I resigned myself that she was gone. The garage door went up and my hubby came in holding the most beautiful, matted, tick infested bundle I had ever seen.

God gave me my dog back.  last happy Noel picture This picture was taken just last week.  She never liked having her photo taken. I guess she decided to humor me one last time.

Two wags of a tail and her smile made all her bad deeds go away.

She stole the cat’s food. Ripped napkins on the floor. Dumped her food out so she could pick out the prime pieces she wanted!

Noel, was my Christmas gift in 2004. I’ve been blessed with many gifts in my life. Many “expensive” gifts.

But she by far, was one of the best.

That day we rode to Ball Ground, Georgia and she let my young boys love all over her, I knew she was The One.

My pretty girl. Sabrina Noel. We love you. You Blessed Us!

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 NKJV