Discerning Whether Or Not To Give Empathy…


We should be careful not to choose to give a mini-sermon to a friend or family member when they are longing for a kind word.  People sometimes share incidents that discourage or upset them. While they may be hoping for an understanding response,  sometimes we hit them with a totally unsympathetic response.  They then feel even more discouraged.

It may very well be that the painful incident was brought about because of their own careless words or behavior. A gentle word brings healing. At the right time, a word of advice may be welcomed and even appreciated.

Often, well meaning family members or friends are too quick to point out a fault of yours that they believe caused the incident.  Right or wrong, it doesn’t help a bit but actually causes deeper pain and discouragement.  Recently a very painful situation came back to my mind, not because of the hurt but because a person in my aerobic dance class said a simple but kind thing to me. Here it is, thirty five years later and I still remember it as a healing balm that brought tears to my eyes. It restored my soul.

So, next time we are tempted to react to someone’s report of a disappointment, let our first words be kind and gentle.   We can later help them sort out the situation.  It is always possible they were unfairly accused or lost a promotion through no fault of their own.   And if it was due to their own attitude or negligent behavior, there are ways to help them figure it out for themselves.  Or perhaps they already know but are upset and frustrated with their own mistakes.

If we take a few minutes to meditate on this, chances are an incident will come to  mind.  I doubt the woman in my aerobic dance class remembers her kind words, even though several times in the next few weeks I did tell her how they helped me.

We tend to focus on the negative rather than appreciate the “good advice” we have received. Therefore I have made up my mind to keep my comments encouraging.





Are you happy. . . or contented? Or still seeking?

What makes you happy?  Is it a momentary feeling or a state of mind?

Some experts describe happiness as a decision, while others say  it is well-worth

a determined search, no matter how long it takes.

“I have decided to be content in every situation”.  This takes concentration

and deliberation.   And it wasn’t my idea, it originated with someone who

suffered a lot, including surviving a shipwreck and enduring unfair

beatings.  But it works!

Yes, it takes a lot of practice and beginning again and again.  In time, it even

gets a little easier.

The best part is, happiness frequently drops in and real joy overcomes us.


Lincoln Said It Right!

Celebrate Lincoln Today!

Heres Your Hope

At the end of the devastating Civil War, Lincoln called for a spirit of reconciliation and an end to animosity.

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”                                   Second Inaugural Address (delivered March 4, 1865).

Hopefully, we as Americans can listen to his wise counsel and find ways to stop the violence.   Listening, learning and loving . . .may be good for starters.

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Here Is An Old Favorite Worth A Second Read. ” The Playground Of The Mind”

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Part of preparing for being “snowed in” when my family and I lived up in
the North Woods of Wisconsin included a visit to the public library. We
all stocked up on books, including three-year old Timmy’s favorite, “Mop Top,”
and ten-year-old Pammy’s favorite, “Little House on the Prairie.”
Two books I selected were “Beyond Ourselves” by inspirational author, Catherine
Marshall, and “Psycho Cybernetics,” by surgeon Maxwell Maltz. Both were so good
I didn’t mind a bit when we were snowed in. A crackling fire in t our
heatilator fireplace, a cup of hot chocolate and the sight of snow falling out the
window set the right mood for my mind-boggling books
Plastic Surgeon Maxwell Maltz made strong and memorable points . . . these two
quotes can influence many of us as we achieve our goal of holding on to hope.
“This is where you will win the battle –in the playground of the mind.”
“Accept yourself as you are! Otherwise, you will never see opportunity. You will not feel free to move toward it; you will feel you are not deserving.”
For years after reading this book, its various strong points crossed my mind.
The other book I read that winter had an equally powerful impact on me.C


Catherine Marshall became a widow suddenly, when her
husband, Peter, died of heart attack. Writing her first book, A Man
Called Peter, which later became a motion picture, helped restore her hope.
Then she began an intense study of spiritual renewal and wrote the book
Beyond Ourselves.
I am sharing these two books because in the years to come they helped
me get through very difficult times.
Sometimes reading and embracing inspirational material makes the difference in our
ability to hold on to hope…it works for me, and I hope it does for you too!

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Lincoln Said It Right!

At the end of the devastating Civil War, Lincoln called for a spirit of reconciliation and an end to animosity.

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”                                   Second Inaugural Address (delivered March 4, 1865).

Hopefully, we as Americans can listen to his wise counsel and find ways to stop the violence.   Listening, learning and loving . . .may be good for starters.


Living the Wet Life

One of my favorite pastimes is swimming laps at our nearby community pool.  Early morning is my favorite and when possible bringing an inspirational book and a cup of coffee or water.

woman swimming

After swimming a few laps and treading water, as well as greeting other swimmers, relaxing in a comfortable lounge chair and reading is delightful.  Usually it is easy for me to shut out the activities and conversations of those around me. But not always.

Kids playing “Marco Polo” and other water games often get a bit rowdy until told by parents to “calm down”.  Conversations between youngsters and their siblings can be interesting, as are interactions between children and parents.  Most children especially enjoy playing in the water with their mom and dad.  Some children wistfully watch as parents of other kids join in the fun, while theirs do not.

After finding a set of 5 squirt guns on sale, I offered them to my granddaughters.  Three brothers arrived at the pool and noticed the squirt guns.  “Wow, first time I ever saw girls with so many squirt guns,” the oldest loudly said.  Soon all had one to use and they played well for a long time at the end of the pool.

kids at pool

One warm evening last summer, a large family including a mom, dad, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins played energetic games of volleyball.  All the other swimmers at the pool were invited to join in. It was very inter-generational, as well as inclusive. Surprisingly, not even the oldest people at the pool complained.  It was refreshing to see such fun among several ages. It doesn’t happen often enough.

pool volleyball
I live two blocks from the beach and one block from our pool, and have found being near the water soothes my soul.  It is a good place to pray and think.

Jesus often walked along the Sea of Galilee as he taught his disciples. He even prepared a breakfast of fish and bread for them.

Once when His disciples thought they were lost in a sudden, strong storm, Jesus walked across the sea to help them.

Jesus taught us how to live ‘the wet life.

woman by ocean

Whats Your Bottom Line?

One thing leads to another.  After I posted about hearing Maria Von Trapp speak, then I remembered hearing Corrie ten Boom speak.  Finally, I remembered briefly meeting Joni Eareckson Tada, so I decided to write about her on the 50th anniversary of her diving accident.

What came to my mind is how distinctly each of these wise women communicated a strong Biblical principle they chose as their personal bottom line.

Also amazing is how clearly I remember their bottom lines,  a lesson to me in my own communicating.  But, what is my bottom line, my take home message?  Several Biblical principles quickly come to mind, yet if I had to choose the most important, what would it be?

Then I remembered a poignant book I read as a young girl.  It was The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.  In fact, I read it several times.  Anne’s short but intense life was memorable because she wrote down her feelings as she described her difficult situation.   She had been given an autograph book with a small lock on her 15th birthday, shortly before her family went into hiding.  She used it as a diary which was discovered in the attic of the home where they had been hiding.  It was given to her father, Otto Frank.  His wife and two daughters died in Aushwitz concentration camp.

When Otto Frank read the diary his younger daughter kept and realized she wanted to be a journalist, he decided to get it published. Her writings have educated and inspired countless readers.  From Anne we learn it is good to put our thoughts and ideas in writing.  Anne kept her faith in God and believed most people were “good at heart.”

As I put in writing my strongest beliefs, I am centering on the love of God and the inner peace of trusting in His Son, Jesus, as my Lord and Savior.  To clearly define my own bottom line, since the name of my blog is “Heresyourhope,” it is essential to begin with “hope.”

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone.  My hope comes from Him.”  Psalm 62:5



An Amazing Woman of Faith

My young sons and I stepped into an elevator and realized we were sharing space with Joni Eareckson, whom we had just heard speak.  Although I only had a minute, it was long enough to tell her what an inspiration she was to our family.  She smiled and said she was happy to hear that.  Then the door opened and away she rolled.

It was July 1976, and we were at a Successful Living convention in Snow Bird, Utah. Joni was a featured speaker.  Her biography, Joni, had just been published.  In July of 1967, at the age of 17,  Joni dove into a shallow spot in Chesapeake Bay, and broke her neck. When we met her, she had been in a wheelchair for nine years.  Her beautiful smile and attitude were delightful.  Her smile and attitude are still delightful today.

Joni has a daily 5 minute radio program which airs early each morning,  Her messages are so inspiring as she delivers them in an upbeat tone.  Sometimes she sings a few lines of a sweet song with her lovely voice. Listening to her always brightens my day.

joni quote

Whenever my life faces difficult challenges, thinking of the countless obstacles Joni bravely faces helps me get a better perspective.  She and her very dedicated husband, Ken, were married in 1982, so recently celebrated 35 years together.                                             joni and ken

If being a quadriplegic isn’t difficult enough, Joni was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2010.  It was a very difficult time, and her body limitations complicated her treatment.  But she was very determined to eat right and pray even more fervently.    Joni is an avid Bible scholar and has written many book discussing suffering and even Heaven.

We live in a time when we have access to many inspiring speakers and preachers.  As grateful as I am for their ministries, no person on earth has inspired me more.

At the end of her first book, written only eight years after her diving accident, Joni wrote, “I will be pleased if only one person is drawn to Christ. . .”  (as a result of hearing her testimony).  She said it would make being in a wheelchair worth it.

July 30. 2017 marks 50 years since her life changed when she dove into Chesapeake Bay.  During fifty years in a wheelchair, Joni has shared her inspiring story with people of all ages, all over the world.  She directs ministries to disabled children and their families.   And she is still going strong.


Another Wise Old Lady

After the movie, “The Hiding Place,” had poignantly portrayed the true story of the life of Corrie ten Boom, and how she, her father and sister had been captured and tormented in a Nazi Concentration Camp for hiding their Jewish friends and neighbors, Corrie traveled around giving inspirational talks.

A friend and I thought we were going early to get a good seat, but it turns out we barely got inside.  Actually we were the last two to be admitted.  Corrie was amazing, and she was no young chicken, but “wow” what a message.  Her Dutch family had been arrested for hiding Jews and she was put into Ravensbruck, along with her sister, Betsie.   Betsie died fifteen days before Corrie was released.  Their father, Casper, had died ten days after he and his daughters were taken captive.

One of many powerful incidents Corrie shared was how, after the war, she was speaking at a large meeting on the subject of forgiveness.  Who should come up to her and warmly extend his arm to shake hers but the meanest prison guard from the camp.  He had become a Christian.  Corrie described how her right arm seemed to freeze at her side and she struggled to forgive this man whom she had seen be so nasty to her fragile sister, even as she was dying.  Finally, with the help of the Holy Spirit,  Corrie managed to shake his hand and accept his apologies. And forgive him.

The scripture Corrie emphasized so strongly the night I heard her, was Micah 7:19: “He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast out all our sins into the depths of the sea.”  As she repeated it with her strong Dutch accent, it resonated firmly in my heart and spirit.                             She closed with this; “And God Puts Up A No Fishing Sign!”                                               d.m.

no fishing sign



corrie train