- The Unexpected Gifts in Your Life ~ Echoes of the Spectacular
I stumbled across a real-life Spectacular Spectacular in India, from January 23-27! It’s more formally known as the Jaipur Literary Festival — also dubbed “The Greatest Literary Show on Earth” and a “sumptuous feast of ideas.” My travel guidebook says it’s the “world’s biggest free literary festival.”
- Your Mom Wants to Talk to You ~ Echoes of Self-Compassion
“A mother, when her baby is crying, picks her up and holds her tenderly in her arms,” says Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. “Your suffering is your baby. Your pain and anxiety is your baby. You have to take care of her. You have to go back to yourself, to recognize the suffering in you. You have to be kind and gentle to yourself.”
- How Many Beats Do You Have Left? Echoes of Uncertainty
I found out what I already suspected: I’m exactly halfway to my death date. That’s why I’m going on a spiritual pilgrimage to Nepal and India! I want to wander God’s earth, reflect on my past and wonder about the future. I want to heal. I want to be a healing presence. I want to die knowing I followed Jesus all the way home.
- What Are You Waiting For? Echoes of Anticipation
Sometimes waiting is good and healthy — a time of preparation and anticipation. But sometimes waiting is an excuse to passively accept a hopeless situation or life of quiet desperation. We say we’re waiting and even praying, but we’re really just stuck.
- You Are More Good Than You Realize ~ Echoes of the Cradle
She’s wearing a Sherlock Holmes hat, the lady sitting next to me. A tweed coat all buttoned up and a fuzzy pink scarf. Her name is Eileen. She’s a tall, skinny Brit with wiry corkscrew curls and thick glasses. She reminds me of a long-legged, long-necked stork. An eccentric, kind, curious bird.
- It’s OK That You’re Not OK ~ Echoes of Imagination
Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person who doesn’t like the idea of a “Celebration of Life” after a death or loss. I need to grieve, mourn and lament what I lost…otherwise my heart and spirit doesn’t heal.
- What is Lectio Divina? Meeting God in Scripture
How do you experience God’s presence or hear His voice in Scripture? What is lectio divina, and how do you practice this type of prayer in a group or by yourself? These five steps of lectio divina are clear and simple. They’ll help you hear the Holy Spirit, meet God in Scripture, and discern the presence of Jesus Christ in your life.
- Finding Your Way Home ~ Echoes of the Moon
This morning I was walking backwards up a hill near my house. It was 5:45 am and still dark…except for the big bright full moon. What a clever moon! Last week it was just a crescent, rising and shining above the stained glass windows during Sounds of Silence (Do You See What I See? Echoes of Pleasure).
- Do You See What I See? Echoes of Pleasure
My weekly Sounds of Silence contemplative prayer group meets in the sanctuary of an Anglican church. The other night, I looked up…up…up…way way up to the top of the tall, faintly glowing stained glass windows. There was a pane of clear glass. Directly in the middle of that window pane was the crescent moon, shining as bright as the sun in the dark night sky.
- Like a Happy Cat – Echoes of Contentment
I don’t know about you, but my time and energy is too valuable to spend focusing on things I can’t change, dwelling on the past, or regretting stuff I said or did. Instead, I’m meowing and purring like a happy cat basking in the sun, licking the last of the fish from my paws and whiskers.
- Color Yourself Happy – Echoes of Connection
Last week the editors of alive magazine sent me an assignment — and the topic is the most interesting one I ever received from them! There’s a message in this for you, too. An echo of connection, a reminder that everything in your life is happening for a reason.
- Freedom From Your Pain – Echoes of Prayer
My newest, most favorite way to pray is to hold a situation or person lightly in my hands. I gently cup it and sit beside Jesus. Shoulder to shoulder. I lean against Him, feeling His solid warmth and powerful presence. I don’t ask for a specific outcome or pray for anything in particular.
- Laying Down Your Burden – Echoes of Rest
Simply noticing your thoughts and returning to God is the thing that makes the difference. That’s what changes your brain: the act of noticing of your thoughts and turning back to God. It’s not about “succeeding” or “doing it right.” And that’s why meditation and contemplative prayer is a practice. You are literally practicing God’s presence, peace and joy…and He then naturally spills over into your daily life. He changes who you are and how you carry your burdens.
- Your List of Misdemeanors – Echoes of Forgiveness
Did I tell you I joined a “Sounds of Silence” contemplative prayer group? It’s through an Anglican church; we meet in a holy little enclave just off the main sanctuary for two hours on Monday evenings. Lots of silence, reflection, and simply being still. Listening.
- The One You’ve Been Searching For – Echoes of Belonging
The belonging I’m talking about surpasses anything this world has to offer. It’s a sense of belonging to God, of knowing how much you matter — and believing that He has never, ever stopped searching for you. Jesus knows your name; you are not a “Missing Person” to Him. No matter how you feel or what you’re battling, you are not alone.
- How You Blossom – Echoes of Inspiration
The story you’re currently caught up in isn’t the true story. There is another, greater, more real story. God is the author of that story, and His fingerprints are all over your life — even when you can’t see them. If you slow down and let Jesus catch up with you, you will start to see those fingerprints.
- At Least It’s Not Rats – Echoes of Peace
“There was a bat in our house!” I told my neighbor Jo as we walked our dogs through the forest. “At about 5 am, light was just dawning, and a little black bat with big wings clumsily fluttered over my head. It disappeared for a minute or two, then flew by me again. I had to duck!”
- Not What You Expected – Echoes of Healing
Maybe you feel stuck…but maybe the truth is that you really are growing forward. It just doesn’t look or feel the way you expected. This is good news! Because maybe all you need to do is tweak the way you look at yourself, your life, and the world around you.
- Reviving Your Spirits – Echoes of Life
I missed writing to you yesterday! I had to take my dog to the hospital. Poor little Tiffy (our 7 pound bichon/poodle mix; her picture is below) has been struggling with intestinal issues for several months. After lots of tests, bloodwork, medication and money we think it’s maybe possibly pancreatitis. My spirits need a little… Read More »Reviving Your Spirits – Echoes of Life
- Free Ice Cream and Jesus in Quebec City – Echoes of Comfort
Last week I asked a few random questions (What is Your Advice? Echoes of Mystery) — and I loved hearing from you! I’m still getting responses; you’ve been such a blessing. I’ve read every email, applied much of your advice, and hope to respond to individual emails today. A few people asked me about the… Read More »Free Ice Cream and Jesus in Quebec City – Echoes of Comfort
- 4 Ways to Talk About Faith With Your Boyfriend
You’re a Christian woman who wants to follow Jesus, but your boyfriend doesn’t believe in God. How do you share your faith with your boyfriend naturally, without forcing conversations or conversions? Even more importantly, how do you stop your relationship from weakening your faith and bringing you down spiritually?
- What is Your Advice? Echoes of Mystery
I’m back from my six-day Silent Retreat and Contemplative Prayer Seminar in Squamish, BC (where I encountered the same big black bear three times within 12 hours! We were on the same schedule until he decided enough was enough, and moved on).
- Mary Didn’t Look Up to See What They Thought
Mary didn’t look up to see what people thought when she finished anointing Jesus’ feet. Scripture doesn’t tell us what she did when she was done, but I doubt she looked at the disciples for approval.
- When You Get Homesick – Echoes of the Past
In Quebec City I stayed for six days at The Monastère des Augustine, a restored monastery started by the Augustinian sisters 325 years ago. Talk about “all-inclusive” — it’s a church, nave, museum, archive centre, wellness resort, historical hotel and functioning hospital (which I wandered into accidentally while lost in the maze of vaults, tunnels, glass breezeways and ancient wooden staircases).
- 5 Ways God Answers Prayer – Echoes of Trust
But wait, it gets better! This preacher — who is fighting joyfully, deeply, faithfully fighting cancer — shared five ways God answers prayer. Luis Palau was talking to Canadian pastor and bestselling author Carey Nieuwhof on this episode of Carey’s leadership podcast: Luis Palau on His Friendship With Billy Graham, How Evangelism Has Changed, and How to Be More Alive At Age 84 Than Most 24 Year Olds.
- How I Found My Life Verse – and How You Can, Too
“How can you not have a life verse?” asked the pastor at Lynn Valley Full Gospel Church. “A life verse is crucial! It’s an anchor in the storm, a lighthouse in the dark, an embrace on the long, lonely, cold nights of the soul. If you don’t have a life verse, you don’t have life… Read More »How I Found My Life Verse – and How You Can, Too
- When You’re Lukewarm for the Lord – King Josiah
You’re dealing with the trials and troubles of daily life…and your problems are not trivial. They’re important, and they require your time and attention! But if you feel lukewarm for the Lord and wish you felt His presence more, perhaps you’re giving the problems of daily life more attention than they deserve.
- Deciding Where to Live in a New Stage of Life – Matthew 4
You’re making one of those big life decisions: “Where should I live?” You’re already following Jesus Christ — but God hasn’t dumped an apartment, neighborhood, or city in your lap.Yet. Luckily, I’m reading Matthew 4 and learning how we disciples can follow Jesus everywhere…and that includes deciding where to live. How do you choose where… Read More »Deciding Where to Live in a New Stage of Life – Matthew 4
- Christ the Key – Book Review
This book review — Christ the Key (Current Issues in Theology) by Kathryn Tanner — is part of my coursework for my Master of Theological Studies degree. I’m studying at Regent College in Vancouver, BC; this summer I took a week-long intensive course called THEO 500: Theology Overview.
- The Owl Whisperer — Echoes of Jesus
Did you know I live on a cliff, across the street from a forest? I wander the woods daily, always expecting to see a big or little critter. I’ve see bears, bobcats, coyotes, deer, snakes, shrews, squirrels, owls and tourists — and yesterday I imagined seeing monkeys swinging from tree to tree, high above my head,… Read More »The Owl Whisperer — Echoes of Jesus
- Healing the Guilt and Grief of a Past Abortion
Whether you had an abortion ten years ago or yesterday, you’ll find hope and healing in this Christian counselor’s advice on how to deal with the guilt and grief of a past abortion. These words of wisdom are actually from a Bible-based counselor and a Christian author. Both have helped many Christian women heal spiritually… Read More »Healing the Guilt and Grief of a Past Abortion
- What to Remember When It’s Hard to Follow Jesus – Matthew 4
Are you reluctant to admit that being a Christian is harder than you thought? My husband was once chided at a Bible Study for saying he was having a hard time following Jesus. “No, no, no,” said our fellow believer. “If following Jesus is hard, you’re doing it wrong.” My husband wrestled with this idea… Read More »What to Remember When It’s Hard to Follow Jesus – Matthew 4
- How Do You Treat Yourself? Echoes of Love
Early this morning I started writing an Echoes newsletter called “How Do You Say Goodbye? Echoes of Freedom.” But then suddenly I felt incredibly dizzy and started swaying. I thought I was going to pass out! Since I write standing up and my husband is at work, falling down and hitting my head on the… Read More »How Do You Treat Yourself? Echoes of Love
- How Jesus Might Pray for Healing After Surgery – Matthew 4
These aren’t your typical prayers for healing after surgery because: 1) They’re inspired by Jesus’ temptation in the desert (Jesus wasn’t praying for healing from shoulder surgery — but I sure am! And I’m slowly walking through Matthew, so my tips for healing prayers are woven into the tempter’s attempts to destroy Jesus Christ); and… Read More »How Jesus Might Pray for Healing After Surgery – Matthew 4
- How to Fight the Lies Satan Wants You to Believe – Matthew 4
Scary, but true: Satan is constantly lying to you about yourself, others, and God. If you want peace and joy, you need to know how to fight the lies Satan wants you to believe. Knowing how Satan attacks is crucial to fighting his lies — and so is remaining true to Jesus Christ, God the… Read More »How to Fight the Lies Satan Wants You to Believe – Matthew 4
- 3 Tools to Help You Obey God’s Call – Echoes of Delight
“I delight in disobedience,” laughed a young woman at a Christian women’s retreat. The leader of the session gently chided her, saying, “No. You delight in obedience.” The idea of delighting in obedience — not just learning how to obey God’s call — was foreign to me back then, a hundred years ago. And it’s… Read More »3 Tools to Help You Obey God’s Call – Echoes of Delight
- What Does Baptism by Immersion Do for You? Matthew 3
When my husband and I were in Israel last year, he wanted to be baptized by immersion in the Jordan River. So we went — towel, swim trunks, a change of clothes in hand — to the official Jesus Baptismal Site Qasr al-Yahud, on the Jordan River. Qasr al-Yahud is a national Israel park with… Read More »What Does Baptism by Immersion Do for You? Matthew 3
- How to Find the Timeless Truths in the Bible
Some Bible verses have “timeless truths” that are applicable to Christians today. Other Bible verses are descriptive, which means they describe a specific situation, person, or event that happened more than 2,000 years ago. The descriptive Biblical insights aren’t timeless truths for Christians today — though they are valuable for mediation, reflection, and learning about… Read More »How to Find the Timeless Truths in the Bible
- 3 Easy Ways to Stay Focused When You Pray
You try to pray to God but you get distracted, your mind wanders, and you lose focus on your prayers. Welcome to the club! Sometimes I wonder if Jesus himself had to learn how to stay focused when he was praying. He was fully man, after all, and experienced life as we do. If Jesus… Read More »3 Easy Ways to Stay Focused When You Pray
- 3 Signs You’re Running Away From God – Matthew 3
Imagine meeting God face-to-face at the end of your life. After you get up off the floor and gather your wits, you may have a gazillion questions about Him, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. What if God has a few questions for you, too? “Why did you run away from me?” Jesus might ask. “I… Read More »3 Signs You’re Running Away From God – Matthew 3
- How to Adjust After a Rocky Start – Echoes of Faith
You’re starting fresh, hooray! But you’re having trouble adjusting after a rocky start, boo. Maybe you want to quit because it’s too hard. Don’t give up, my friend. A rocky start after a new beginning means you’re on the right track. And you’ve come to the right place. My tips on how to adjust to… Read More »How to Adjust After a Rocky Start – Echoes of Faith
- What Does Jesus Say About Divorced Christians and Remarriage?
Surviving a Christian divorce is painful and difficult — but what about getting remarried? What does Jesus say about divorced Christians remarrying? Imagine asking Jesus Christ, “Can I as a divorced Christian get remarried?” I take that back. Don’t imagine asking Jesus if divorced Christians are free to remarry. Instead, clear 30 minutes from your… Read More »What Does Jesus Say About Divorced Christians and Remarriage?
- 3 Simple Ways to Talk to the Holy Spirit
Following Jesus is richer — and more alive! — when you sense God’s presence through the Holy Spirit. But how do you talk to the Holy Spirit? What do you say or do in response to His still small voice? How do you know if you’re actually communicating with the Holy Spirit, or if it’s… Read More »3 Simple Ways to Talk to the Holy Spirit
- Your Purpose as a Child of God – Echoes of Dawn
When I call you a “child of God”, I tell you the truth: He is your Holy Father and He created you on purpose. You are here for a reason. Your life has a purpose and meaning. You matter more than you know. We need you. The world would not be the same without you. Your… Read More »Your Purpose as a Child of God – Echoes of Dawn
- How Do You Grieve With Hope and Faith?
Grieving loss is hard and it hurts, even if you’re a Christian who believes you’ll be reunited with your loved ones in the new heaven and earth. Worse than grief, for me, is learning how to actually live without the person I loved and lost. The emptiness and loneliness feels more real and painful than… Read More »How Do You Grieve With Hope and Faith?
- 3 Ways to Stay Hopeful When You’re Starting Over
No matter how you feel about starting over — whether you’ve been pushed into a fresh start or you’re eagerly chasing something new — you’ll need buckets of hope, inspiration, and faith. And if you don’t have an ocean of God to draw from, you’ll drown in setbacks, disappointments, and frustrations. This is my first… Read More »3 Ways to Stay Hopeful When You’re Starting Over