Tag Archives: Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Need a Gift Idea? Grab “Ordinary Graces—Word Gifts For Every Season” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell (Releasing 10/17!!!)

Friends!  In need of a gift idea?  Or any of you early birds already Christmas shopping?  (Do not tell me if you are.  A grocery bagger at Kroger this week reported there are only eleven Fridays ‘til Christmas arrives the following Monday…I will not fret. I will not fret. I will not fret. Savor the season. Savor the season. Savor the season. Tra-la-la-la-la) All good..

This new book we’re about to discuss would make a wonderful birthday gift or  Christmas gift. It’s also for guys and gals, of all ages.

I’ve been blessed to be on the Launch Team of this new devotional, getting a sneak peek. It releases next Tuesday, 10/17.  While you may already have other devotionals, I maintain “variety is the spice of life”, and like shoes, one can never have too many. Yes!

I’ve devoured nearly all of the one hundred and twenty entries. I’ll be sharing a couple of my favorites with you in just a minute.  Honestly, they’re all my favorite, but I’ll just show you a few.

The book?  Ordinary Graces—Word Gifts for Every Season by Lucinda Secrest McDowell. (I call her Cindy.)

A true wordsmith, Cindy flat amazes me for many reasons.  First of which is how she comes up with so many wonderful words, and secondly, how she ties each word in with a Scripture, a pertinent story and a closing prayer. She also quotes other excellent authors. You will highlight until you need another highlighter!

She tells us, “‘Ordinary graces’ are surprising gifts that come to me while simply living my story. They are gifts I discover in ordinary places, like the people who touch my soul because of their courage, kindness or self-sacrifice. I even find them in the challenges that simultaneously turn my world upside down and change me from the inside out. If I’m in a hurry, I will miss them. If I am distracted, I will ignore them. But for anyone who is attentive and seeking, these ordinary graces abound.” This book will help us readers do exactly that.

The book’s theme centers on John 1:16, “From His fullness we have all received grace upon grace.”

Cindy’s devotional that came out last year, Dwelling Places, uses words to draw us closer into the presence of God—words that focus on peace, serenity, refuge, and hope. I couldn’t begin to pick a favorite, so I’ll just say you “need” both of them!

This new devotional, Ordinary Graces, introduces us to grace gifts from God to strengthen our soul and offer courage to live adventurously. Each entry is only two pages long, making for a quick, daily read.

The book is divided into four sections:  Grace, Strength, Gratitude and Life. Each section has thirty entries.  Pick a word and dive in. Or, follow the numbers.

Cindy’s easy-to-read writing style is open, honest, relatable, funny, and sometimes causes you to pause and say, “Wow, the Lord is so gracious.”  The entries are reminders to us to focus on Him and recognize snippets of grace throughout our day.

Cindy dedicates her words to us readers.  Savor this a minute:

In the Grace section, my favorite words and devotions are:

Also in this section, Cindy gives us a quote by Charles Spurgeon, “The clock is to go all day, but there is a time for winding it up. Regular communion with God winds us up for the rest of the day.” 

 A timely Scripture from the “Say No” entry is Titus 2:11-12 which says, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” (NIV)

Cindy then poses a thought provoking question: “What do you need to give up in order to receive a gift?” She shares about a season where she had to say “no” repeatedly because of being under a book deadline. While difficult initially, it ultimately helped her remain settled in her soul.

In the Strength section, my favorite words and devotions are:

In the “Pilgrimage” entry, Cindy gives us a quote from Macrina Wiederkehr in Behold Your Life that blew me away:

“A pilgrimage is a ritual journey with a hallowed purpose.
Every step along the way has meaning.
The pilgrim knows that life-giving challenges will emerge.
 A pilgrimage is not a vacation;
 …It is a transformational journey during which significant change takes place.
New insights are given.
Deeper understanding is attained.
New and old places in the heart are visited.
 Blessings are received
 …and healing takes place.
On return from the pilgrimage, life is seen with different eyes.
Nothing will ever be quite the same again.”

In the Gratitude section, my favorite words and devotions are:

Additionally, in the “Burden” entry, Cindy shows us Psalm 68:19, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior who DAILY bears our burdens.”  These frequent reminders from the Word of God are also a gift and a grace.

In the Life section, my favorite words and devotions are:

The word “Descendants” piqued my curiosity now with our new granddaughter in our life.  Cindy says, “I prayed a dedication over each of my children—that they would know God and that He would always guide and protect them throughout life.” Early each morning she prays for her four children and now two sons-in-love and grandchildren.  I love this and am endeavoring to do this for all of our family.

Let’s close now with Cindy’s beautiful closing prayer in “Descendants”:

Friends, run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab Ordinary Graces—Word Gifts for Every Season. You and your friends will be beyond blessed!

‘Til next time!






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Guest Post from Author Lucinda Secrest McDowell, of “Dwelling Places”…When Will You Finally Slow Down? (Plus Q and A’s…)

Friends! This week we’re in for a real treat. We’ll be hearing from an author friend of mine, Lucinda Secrest McDowell (Cindy) who seems to have a “word” for us all, namely yours truly on a regular basis. I’ve written about a couple of her beautiful, inspirational books in previous posts:

One Word That’ll Make Your Day

When Was the Last Time You Took a Bath?

And Don’t Allow Distractions to Derail You

Cindy is a gifted writer.  She’s been mercifully gracious to me and our Tuesday Bible study group recently when we had the privilege of studying her book Refresh!


This week we get to hear straight from Cindy, gleaning inspirational words from her newest devotional, Dwelling Places.


Please join me in reading Cindy’s post we can all relate to as I rush out the door…:


When Will You Finally Slow Down?
Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Driving through Pebble Hill Plantation I saw the road sign that caused me to grind to a halt.

“Slow Down. I Mean It!”

And Pansy Poe, the owner of this beautiful estate outside my Georgia hometown, had signed her name to give it more authority.

Actually, God could have authored that sign as well.

I believe He sends signs warning me to “Slow Down” all the time, but I’m usually running by too quickly to notice. Missing what God has for me – “My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” (Isaiah 32.18)

Or, as one seasoned pastor advises, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry.”

When was the last time you really rested? Hard to do, isn’t it? Our environment is constantly depleting us with noise, distractions and the compulsion to always be in a hurry. We are just too busy to rest.

“Busyness does not mean you are a faithful or fruitful Christian. It only means that you are busy, just like everyone else,” claims Kevin DeYoung, a pastor and father of six who struggles with finding true rest. “It’s not wrong to be tired. It’s not wrong to feel overwhelmed. It’s not wrong to go through seasons of complete chaos. What is wrong – and heartbreakingly foolish and wonderfully avoidable – is to live a life with more craziness than we want because we have less Jesus than we need.”

Do you want more of Jesus and His rest?

I believe our greatest threat is distraction. Did you know the root of this word is the Latin word distractus which literally means “to draw or pull apart?” No wonder we feel torn in every direction!

The author of “Sanctuary of the Soul” says that we have noisy hearts. “The fact that our schedules are piled high and we are constantly bombarded by multiple stimuli only betrays that we have succumbed to the modern mania that keeps us perpetually distracted. The moment we seek to enter the creative silences of meditative prayer, every demand screams for our attention.”

How can we quiet our hearts and discover these “undisturbed places of rest?”

Unplug. Sign out. Turn off. Hang up. Be ‘Closed for the Weekend.’ Clean up your surroundings so fewer projects call out your name. Put sleep and ‘nothing’ on your agenda and then keep those appointments. Determine your greatest distractions and energy-drainers and decide to be proactive about curbing their power over you.

And then go to Jesus and rest in His care. “Faith means resting – relying – not on who we are, or what we can do, or how we feel or what we know. Faith is resting in who God is and what He has done. And He has done everything.”

Slow Down. I Mean It!

©2016 Lucinda Secrest McDowell Excerpted from “Dwelling Places” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell (Abingdon Press)


Lucinda Secrest McDowell is passionate about embracing life — both through deep soul care from drawing closer to God, as well as living courageously in order to touch a needy world. A storyteller who engages both heart and mind, she offers “Encouraging Words” to all on the journey. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, Cindy is the author of twelve books, including Dwelling Places, Live These Words, Refresh!, Amazed by Grace, Quilts from Heaven and Role of a Lifetime. Whether co-directing the “New England Christian Writers Retreat,” mentoring young moms, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. Cindy’s favorites include tea parties, good books, laughing friends, ancient prayers, country music, cozy quilts, musical theatre, and especially her family scattered around the world doing amazing things. She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at EncouragingWords.net



Thank you, Cindy! Wonderful words of encouragement…


Finally, let’s ask her a couple of questions:

How did you come to write this book?

LSM: So…. how did I come to write a book called “Dwelling Places?”  Honestly, this one-word-a-day devotion (meant to both inspire and teach) came out of my own need to know. And to grow.

Every year I choose a “word from the Lord” and find myself marinating in what it means to my life on all levels — spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Last year the word was DWELL and as I explored the many facets of DWELL, I recognized my own desire to learn how to dwell in peace and serenity and joy and hope; rather than spend my time in exhaustion and hurry, chaos and confusion.

Turns out God’s Word is full of dwelling places – those sanctuaries of refuge and abiding. In my new book “Dwelling Places” I offer 130 of those words and unwrap their meaning through storytelling, biblical teaching and hundreds of quotes from hymns and godly people who are my own teachers.

There are actually four sections which can be read at any time, but they include 30 days for Advent and 40 days for Lent if you’re interested in trying out that special discipline during the church year. DWELL (Fall) SHINE (Advent) RENEW (Lent) GROW (Summer) OR just read any word, any page at any time.

I loved writing this book and felt each word and verse were truly given to me. I absolutely know the benedictions at the end came straight from God through my pen. I am humbled and grateful to be able to share these words. 


Why should people read Dwelling Places?

LSM: My observation is that people everywhere are hungering for refuge. A safe place. A true home where they can live authentically. Ask the hard questions, and receive all the grace and mercy needed after devastation. In my speaking and writing I long to help show that all throughout God’s Word the precious concept of “dwelling in His constant presence” is lifted up. In the Old Testament we are directed to sanctuary, refuge, and called to Be Still. In the New Testament we are encouraged that Christ wants to make His home in our hearts.

So I decided to write a devotional that lifted up these concepts – each day based on One Word in a key verse. My goal is that throughout the stories that are shared, the biblical and historical profiles mentioned, the hymns, poetry, and even children’s books will all work together to help teach the reader how to live the deeper “with God” life. But at the same time enjoy the process of knowing where to find hope, grace and mercy. In other words, these are words that touch a hurting world. Everything I do must have a practical aspect so I hope there is a takeaway each day on how to live the word you have just been reading about. Also, I felt compelled to offer a short benediction, as though God were now giving His blessing and charge on your going forth, now strengthened with His Word in your heart and mind.


Will you share some favorite quotes from Dwelling Places?

 “So I embraced both meanings of dwell: 1. To live 2. To focus. It soon became obvious that all too often I live amid hurry and obligation, dwelling in anxiety and surrounded by noise. And where was my default focus – circumstances, lists, self-preservation, tasks, things? No more.” Lucinda Secrest McDowell in “Dwelling Places” (from “Dwell” p. 2)

“We all carry soul wounds. Scars from childhood family skirmishes. Scratches from professional rejection. Scabs from physical trauma we never saw coming. Limps from having fallen one time too many. What are your souvenirs of suffering and what will you do with them?” Lucinda Secrest McDowell in “Dwelling Places” (from “Wounds” p. 144)




 ‘Til next time!

P.S.  Don’t forget about Book Club, next Monday night, September 26th, with author Kristy Cambron coming to discuss her book The Ringmaster’s Wife.  6:30-8:00 p.m., at Middletown United Methodist Church, in Louisville, KY. Bring a friend and join us!

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When Your Soul is Crazy-Cluttered…(With Help from John Ortberg)

“You’re not listening to me.”

“Yes, I am.”

“No,… you’re not. Your mind’s going in a million directions.”

“Is not.”

“Is too!”

Background concept wordcloud illustration of mental clutter

Such was a recent stand-off between Hubster and me. Guess who was saying what?

For the past two weeks, I’ve been sharing about our trip to South Carolina. Confession: the weeks prior to our departure were wild. (You may recall the flood in our kitchen the week of John Jr. and Diana’s wedding for starters…) To say our escape was much-needed is the understatement of the month.

As God would orchestrate, I was reading Soul Keeping—Caring for the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg. I was dumbstruck to discover I was in no way, shape, or form caring for my soul. DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!


Clearly the Lord was trying to get my attention. I can only imagine His frustration at my little auto-pilot self. Gracious.

Praises be sung for the gift of John Ortberg’s book. His close relationship to Dallas Willard blesses us readers with Dallas’ insight too. He builds around this inspirational quote from Dallas:

“Our soul is like a stream of water, which gives strength, direction, and harmony to every other area of our life. When that stream is as it should be, we are constantly refreshed and exuberant in all we do, because our soul itself is then profusely rooted in the vastness of God and His kingdom, including nature; and all else within us is enlivened and directed by that stream. Therefore we are in harmony with God, reality, and the rest of human nature and nature at large.”

Young Children Exploring Nature On Wooded Path

Let’s look at the benefits a healthy soul has:




Constantly refreshed,

Exuberant (Anybody felt exuberant lately?) and

In harmony with God

Note this happens when we’re profusely rooted in the vastness of God and His Kingdom.

Here’s where we’d best plant our faces in God’s Word every day. Savoring scripture prevents our souls from crazy clutter.

But… (You knew that was coming!), if we allow ourselves to spin multiple plates, our soul will shrivel, becoming choked from clutter, blocking ways for God’s light, hope, and peace to shine thru’ us.

BEIJING, CHINA - JUNE 4: Balancing the spinning plates performed

Good news! John Ortberg serves up seventeen sensational chapters, each one dealing with different ways to nurture our souls, protecting them from our culture’s chaos.

Pictured below with our author, John Ortberg, are two of my very dear friends, Nancy Tinnell on the left and Kelly McDonald on the right.  In 2013, these gals attended the Leadership Institute at Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, KS where John was a presenter.  Nancy is the Women’s Ministry Director and Associate Pastor of Discipleship & Spiritual Formation at Middletown United Methodist Church.   Kelly works at the Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and is Engineer Extraordinaire of this blog.

nancy and kelly with ortberg

You can find out more about John on his website, www.johnortberg.com, or from the church where he’s the  pastor, at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church at www.menlo.church

This week we’ll address three temptations to watch for that can cripple our soul:

#1 – HURRY:

Dallas Willard once said,

“You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.

Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day.”

As a new Mom, one thing I vowed I’d never utter to our boys was, “Hurry up!” That lasted until our firstborn was being a slowpoke for preschool, at the ripe age of two. Sigh…


This section stopped me cold. Look at the below:

“The CLUTTERED SOUL becomes choked by worries, deceitfulness of wealth, and desire for other things.

When you’re so busy, your soul will shrivel…

The busy soul gets attached to the wrong things, because the soul is sticky.

The VELCRO of the soul is what Jesus calls ‘desire’. It could be desire for money, or it could simply be desire for ‘other things’.

We mistake our clutter for life.”

Oh, friends, if that’s not enough, there are more slap-you-silly sections : The Hardened Soul and the Shallow Soul. Advice? Read ‘em cuz we all need ‘em.

Bottom line: We must quit buying into our culture which applauds busyness. Our culture equates success with production, eighty-plus-hour workweeks, running circles around ourselves, burning the midnight oil for those it-seemed-like-a-good-idea at the time to-do’s.

Scarier…, John adds, “A person preoccupied with externals–success, reputation, ceaseless activity, lifestyle, office gossip—may be dead internally AND NOT EVEN RECOGNIZE IT.” Any alarms going off?


Another soul disintegrator is dishonesty. Thankfully John’s humor in this section comes as a blessed relief:

Dan Ariely, author of The Honest Truth about Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone—Especially Ourselves, admits he’s “astounded by how widespread people’s tendency is to cheat, be self-centered, lie, and be deceitful.”

Honest Truth About Dishonesty

If you’re a grandmother of a college student, listen up:

Research shows “grandmothers are ten times more likely to die before a midterm and nineteen times more likely to die before a final exam.”

“Students who are failing are fifty times more likely to lose Grandma than nonfailing students…..the greatest predictor of mortality among senior citizens in our day ends up being their grandchildren’s GPAs.” (Please join me in laughing out loud. Are you following?)

young pretty female college student sitting in a classroom full

During Woody’s freshman year at the University of Kentucky, we experienced this scenario. First, he made the grave error of playing intramural football. Early into the season, he broke his collarbone. Badly. Required surgery in Louisville, and lots of time off from school. I prayed he’d pass his first semester.

Right on the heels of his return from surgery, my Mother died. That meant another trip to Louisville and two more absences. One of Woody’s professors found that hard to believe. I had to email her and tell her where to read the obituary in the Lexington Herald Leader.

Needless to say when I read about this research in Ariely’s book, I cracked up. However, cynicism had already slithered into my brain.

Case in point: Our recent bathroom remodeling project underwent multiple, bang-your-head-against-the-wall-delays. Last Monday our plumber couldn’t come because his grandmother died. Immediately I said to myself, “Oh sure, his grandmother died.” I know! Pitiful. Forgive me, Lord.

Good news: Our Good and Gracious God has knitted our souls to seek Him. When we’re sin sick, our souls still crave and need the right relationship with our Savior.  More grace.

Let’s return to God’s Word and claim what the psalmist says in Psalm 84:2

Psalm 84 2

Let’s hear from Isaiah in Isaiah 26:9 –

Isaiah 26 9

Webster tells us, “To yearn is to have an intense longing, or craving, or desire, or appetite, or hunger.” May we truly yearn for the Lord.

Bottom Line:

When facing a decision, ask yourself:

**“Will this situation block my soul’s connection to God?”**

I believe the Holy Spirit will give us the answer.

Cling to this:

Psalm 19 7

And hold fast to:

hebrews 6 19a

May we prioritize care for our soul.

‘Til next time!

P.S. Another excellent book on soul care is a new release by Lucinda Seacrest McDowell (Cindy) called Refresh! A Spa for Your Soul. Our Tuesday Bible study group recently studied thru’ it with “Spa” (Spiritual Personal Assessment) as our theme.


The homework is the best: Cindy recommends all kinds of things to pamper yourself. It was just what the doctor ordered for our spring time study and could be perfect for you this summer or fall.


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One Word That’ll Make Your Day…(With Help from Lucinda Secrest McDowell)

Question from our author: “Where do you dwell—in hurry and exhaustion, or in grace and gratitude?”

Think on that thought-provoking question a minute while I share some good news for all of us:

Friends, between now and June 7th, Lucinda (Cindy) Secrest McDowell’s brand-new devotional, Dwelling Places, is ready for release! Run to your nearest bookstore and grab it!

Cindy encourages us: “A thriving, active faith is as simple as reading one word a day!” Here’s the beautiful cover of Dwelling Places—Words to Live in Every Season:


While I have a collection of devotionals, to me, they’re like purses, you can never have too many. Smile. (I can see Hubster rolling his eyes after that little comment.)

This new book is set up in a very time-efficient manner. Dwelling Places includes, “one word a day (found in a Scripture) on just a two-page spread, with a lesson—usually via an anecdote, concluding with a benediction as though God were speaking directly to you about what we studied.”

Short and sweet.   Cindy adds, “My goal in writing such devotionals, is not to just inspire, but to teach….”

The book’s divided into four seasons: Dwell (Fall), Shine (Advent/Winter), Renew (Lent/Spring), and Grow (Summer). Each section is excellent. You can read them at any time. (Don’t get caught up in the seasons, just pick and choose pertaining to a word that catches your eye.)

So far, I’ve been hanging out in the  Dwell section, even tho’ it’s about to be summertime! It’s all about abiding with the Lord. Here are a few of the one-word lessons:

Dwell Lessons

This is just half of the lists of words in Dwell Cindy gives us. So far, they’re all my favorite!!!…Here’s another one which really grabbed me:

What do you think of when you hear the word, “refuge”?

Here are a few ideas which immediately pop in my head:

A hiding place

A safe haven

A place where all is well


No stress

no stress or pressure free of stress test trough stress manageme


Cindy gives us four fabulous Scriptures to meditate upon. Note where the “refuge” is in each:

psalm 36 7

Psalm 91 34

Psalm 61 4

Proverbs 18 10

Aren’t those beautiful? We learn that “in the original language of the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for ‘to dwell’ sometimes translates as ‘to nest’.” Let’s rest and nest under the shelter of the Lord!!!

In her book, The God of All Comfort, Hannah Whitall Smith sums up this whole concept from Cindy’s teaching:

“The secret of His presence is a more secure refuge than a thousand Gibraltars. I do not mean that no trials come. They may come in abundance, but they cannot penetrate into that sanctuary of the soul, and we may dwell in perfect peace even in the midst of life’s fiercest storms.”

Woman Relaxing Lying On A Couch At Home

Cindy is a supremely gifted writer and storyteller. She’ll grab you from the first page and you’ll be challenged to only read one entry per day because you’ll want to keep reading!

Her passion for words and for studying God’s Word is contagious. This book includes over one hundred and thirty different words and lessons! You will be blessed!

This book would make an excellent gift as well. Graduations are upon us, so grab more than one when you shop!

Thank you Cindy! Great job! Keep writing!

‘Til next time.


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When Was the Last Time You Took a Bath? (Spring Cleaning Series- Part 1 of 4)

Growing up a lonely only, my Mom would sometimes ask a tell-tale question: “Young lady, when was the last time you took a bath?”

Uncertain of her reasoning, it never ever occurred to me I may have shown a petite resemblance to Pig Pen from Charles Schulz’ Peanuts comic. Could there have possibly been a veritable, odorous cloud hovering over my universe?


Fast forward many moons to today’s world, when there’s hardly time for a quick shower: Taking a bath is a huge luxury. Are you a bath person? I have a handful of friends who take a bath every night to relax. Never occurred to me. (Am I repeating myself????)

In our current home, we have the biggest bathtub you’ve ever seen. In the six years we’ve lived there, I’ve only used it about four times. Well, that is about to change…

The newest Bible study our Tuesday group has started, this very week, actually suggests soaking in a tub for part of our homework. I kid you not. And, I have so much respect for this excellent author, I’m not about to disobey.

The book? Refresh! A Spa for Your Soul by Lucinda Secrest McDowell (Better known as “Cindy”.) The end of Chapter One suggests we take a hot bath, perhaps with some scented bath oil, listen to soothing instrumental music, light a scented candle, and “soak up the serenity”. Ahhhh…Sign me up.


In the Prologue, Cindy tells us her book is “part of my journey which I offer to you as a tool for examining areas of balance in your own life

My prayer for both of us is that we drink deeply of that living water Jesus offers. You, too, can experience a refreshing – SPA– as you walk thru’ each chapter and do your own Spiritual Personal Assessment activities.”

You can bet I’ll be talking about this book more in the future as our group dives in. Stay tuned…

El Nicho Waterfall In Scambray Mountains. Cienfuegos Province, C

While we’re on the subject of water, let’s look more at this living water. There’s a hugely upbeat song out right now by Jordan Feliz. I heard him interviewed on the radio recently about his song, The River.

He said he wrote it around John 7:38.  Look how The Message expounds on this in verses 37-38: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.”  Here’s the NIV:

John 7 38 a

I pray we’ll all be blessed by the below lyrics, and take the three minutes to listen to the song ( Just click on the YouTube link.) and let the words wash over you, soaking them up:

Lyrics to The River by Jordan Feliz:

“I know a place
where we can go
to lay the troubles down eating your soul.
I know a place
Where mercy flows
Take the stains make you whiter than snow

Like a tide it is rising up
Deep inside
A current that moves and make you come alive
Living water
That brings the dead to life


We’re going down to the river
Down to the river
Down to the river to pray
Let’s get washed by the water
Washed by the water
And rise up in amazing grace
Let’s go down, down, down to the river
You will leave changed
Let’s go down, down, down the the river
Never the same

I’ve seen it move
In my own life
Took me from dusty roads into Paradise
All of my dirt
All of my shame
Drowned in the streams that have made me born again…”

This beautiful, grace-filled living water, from Jesus, and flowing water, from our soothing soak in a tub are Part One of our Spring Cleaning Series. The whole overwhelming concept of “Spring Cleaning” usually causes me to groan…Take heart, it’s my goal over the next few weeks to give you some ideas to make you smile.


‘Til next time!


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Don’t Allow Distractions to Derail You…(One Solution: Spa for the Soul—Rejuvenate Your Inner Life by Lucinda Secrest McDowell)

How do you handle distractions? 

This past week produced interminable distractions. They surfaced day by day, hour by hour, severely scrambling my brain…

At the end of the week, like a train wreck, my poor, pitiful self ran head on into my poor, unprepared husband. God Bless him.

John innocently walked thru’ the back door that afternoon and I commenced to share what kind of killer week I’d had, akin to a rapid firing machine gun, foghorn in hand…

Problems In Relationships

The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back happened in the morning of day five-for-five of frenetic faux pas. Consumed with concern (close cousin to worry) all I really needed was time to recharge.

We have recently finished our porch and I decided with such a pretty day, this was the perfect place to do just that, RECHARGE. Armed with books, laptop, and a steaming cup of coffee, I dumped said pile in a chair. At that very moment, a large red blur blew by the window.

retro red truck headlight

“Please tell me that is not our painter!” I said to myself. Sure enough, it was and he was going to paint, you guessed it, all around the porch. Busted.

I retreated to John’s office and set up again.

The phone rang.

The mailman made a delivery.

The dog needed walking.

The dryer was beeping…while a pesky partridge sang The Hallelujah Chorus while perched in a pear tree. (Slight exaggeration…)

Partridge in a Pear Tree

Like a doctor writes out prescriptions, my favorite pastime is recommending books. One resource I’ve come across is Spa for the Soul: Rejuvenate Your Inner Life by Lucinda Secrest McDowell. It literally rejuvenated my about-to-blow-a-gasket soul.


Lucinda says, “We need rest for our souls as well as rejuvenation of our bodies…Most women go to a spa for physical refreshment, we must recognize our NEED for spiritual renewal in the inner person…our soul.”

Alice Gray, who co-wrote The Worn Out Woman: When Life is Full and Your Spirit is Empty, said, “Soul nurturing is NOT OPTIONAL. It’s not a luxury, but a necessity. I could almost define the worn-out woman…

… as a person who has allowed her soul to parch and wither because, for one reason or another, she has not been able to spend time beside still waters.”

Mountain River with, forest landscape. Tranquil waterfall scener

Lucinda then teaches us the word spa is an acronym coming from the Latin Salus Per Aquam which means “health by water.” At the end of each chapter, she also gives us a different “spa”: Spiritual Personal Assessment. These are excellent.

Jesus is called the Living Water in Scripture. Remember in John 4 when Jesus offers living water to the Woman at the Well? And if we believe in Him, out of our hearts will flow rivers of living water? (John 7:38)

I recently learned that trees are many times used metaphorically in the Bible for us humans. We’re called to put down our roots by the life-giving water. (Jeremiah 17:7-8 and Psalm 92:12-14, for example.)

Why do I forget the very same rejuvenation by still waters is right in God’s Word?

Satan is at the helm of driving distractions our way. Be aware! He can scramble us into a frustrating froth exactly as he did to me all week long–to the point I had to ask my friends to pray for unscrambling. God Bless ‘em. The power of prayer did indeed bring clarity.   We praise you, Lord.

Praying Hands

Next time you’re derailed by a distraction, retreat into God’s Word. 

Put on the Armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Put down your roots in the life-giving water to soothe your soul. And while you’re at it, treat yourself to a glorious bubble bath. A petite spa is better than no spa at all, right???!!!

‘Til next time!


Filed under Book Reviews, Scripture