Living in God’s Eternal Kingdom

We walk through the gate, hand-in-hand. It’s our fortieth anniversary, we’re celebrating by returning to where I first realized I loved him. Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom. It promises a world of wonder. To be a place where everyone who’s young at heart thrives. Where dreams come true. It claims you enter with a spring in your step and a smile on your face. Just the thought of spending a day in the Magic Kingdom causes you to twirl and dance.

And we come here for a little of that. Time to enjoy each other. Reflect on forty years of laughter woven in with mundane and some sorrow. As always for me, Disneyland lives up to its hype. We enjoy a barbershop quartet while licking ice cream cones for lunch. Chat with the artist who deftly cuts our silhouettes adding to the ones we already have of our two daughters and three grandchildren.


We reminisce about the tomato I accidentally squirted in Van’s eye during our date forty years ago, Van continuing to insist I did it on purpose. All throughout the park, we hold hands. It is magical.

For a few hours.

When I walk back to the car, feet aching, there are new memories to cherish. But the magic of Disneyland doesn’t follow me into reality. Disneyland, with all its magic, is temporary. Its happily ever after is a fantasy I can’t bring home in a souvenir bag.

Once I step back into the reality of bills to pay, teaching seventh grade, meals to plan and cook, never-ending-laundry, I look back at the magic and wonder how to get more.

The answer is not the fantasy of Disney’s magic kingdom, but to live fully in the eternal Kingdom-a Kingdom not of this world. The Kingdom of God.

Continue reading “Living in God’s Eternal Kingdom”

7 Steps for a Lasting Marriage

Forty years ago, we said, “I do.”

7 Steps to a Better Marriage
January 15, 1977

Some people took bets we wouldn’t make it a year, but we never doubted. Not because of us. Because of God.

In July, a #love your spouse challenge on Facebook and Instagram invited people to post a picture of their spouse every day for a week. That gave me pause to reflect on seven things I’ve learned in the forty years we’ve spent walking together.

I’m sharing “7 Steps for a Lasting Marriage” over at The Consilium. To read the rest of my post, join me here.

He is Greater than I: My One Word for 2017

Words circle in an unending loop in my brain. Forward. Next. Worship. Content. Be. Free. Which one should be My One Word for 2017. I’ve researched each one. Written dictionary definitions. Found Bible verses that match. Prayed over each. But none of them click.

Every time someone posts their One Word for 2017, I think, Oh, that’s a good one. But I don’t want someone else’s word. I want my word. My focus for this new year that looms before me, full of promise and hope.

Yesterday, while out and about, I noticed a bumper sticker: HE>i. I’ve seen it here and there for several months, but it’s been a while. When I saw it yesterday, on a car parked next to mine in the Von’s parking lot, I knew I’d found my word.

OK-so it’s not one word. It’s a phrase. He>i. He is greater than I. Oh, how I need to remember. HE is greater than i.

He is God. I live to serve Him. Love Him. Worship Him. Seek Him in all I do. Trust Him. All. The. Time. Even when I am frustrated, irritated, unsure.

He>i.

Isaiah writes,

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways

And My thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 AMP)

God is everything I am not. Good. Kind. Loving. Holy. Patient. Wise. Faithful.

He loved me so much, He gave His Son to die in my place so I could have a relationship with Him.

He never, ever gives up on me.

I have seen Him work, over and over again, despite me. Even when, with my limited human perspective, I don’t see how or why the circumstances of my life could possibly be good, I cling to the promise, He works all things for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

So this year, in 2017, when I have a decision to make, I will pray first. And then I’ll listen. When the answer doesn’t come as quickly as I may like, I’ll remember, H>i. I can trust Him. Whatever happens, He is there. He has a plan. It’s much better than my plan.

Because in all things, HE>i.

My One Word 2017

If, like me, you too need to remember HE>i, you can find the story of the bumper sticker and other products at http://hegreaterthani.com/

I Adore God-Lessons My Husband Teaches

My husband, Van, adores me. How do I know? He shows me every day in a multitude of ways.
He says, “I love you,” throughout the day. When he walks by my office or through the kitchen. When he kisses me hello or good night. In texts. While we watch TV.

He insists on “face-time.” Just the two of us, sitting across from one another, talking about our day, hopes and dreams, disappointments. His attention is on me. Phone put away. TV off. It’s just Van and Debbie, talking and sharing from our hearts. He listens and he shares what’s on his heart too.

Some days I get a text or a call, “Hey Sweetie, I stopped at the market and got some stuff for dinner. Punctuated by emoji hearts.

Or that chore I don’t want to do is magically done when I get home.

Whenever we’re out together, he holds my hand.

I’ve overheard him brag about me to his friends when he doesn’t know I’m listening.

Those are just a few of the ways Van shows he adores me.

I can learn a lot from Van about how to treat the God I adore. Continue reading “I Adore God-Lessons My Husband Teaches”