From Surviving to Thriving: Slowing Down (Comfort: Psalm 139: 7-8)

“Where can I go from your spirit?
    Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
    if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.”
Psalm 139:7-8

When my youngest son started Kindergarten his wise teacher shared a beautiful and simple handout comparing children’s growth development to a carefully tended flower.  The underlying message was that each flower unfolds in its own time.  Though my son started middle school this fall and that message has stuck with me over the years.

In our fast paced culture it is easy to skew our caregiver lenses.  I have been guilty of looking at other families sharing their list of activities and have felt the creep of inadequacy.  Like somehow, if I do more, my child will turn out better.  And if I don’t I have failed in some way.  

Perhaps we try to escape God through the busy-ness of daily activities and ever lengthening to-do lists.  Somehow trying to earn our way to grace, to earn our way to perfect parenthood and care-giving, and maybe, at the same time, avoid pressing issues of the soul.  But, God is with us wherever we go, so what’s the hurry anyway?

God who unfurls each flower at its own pace, we place our lives in Your presence.  Help us to slow down and see more clearly each person in our path today.  Help us to be patient enough to wait for the fragrance of blooming flowers  . . .and people.  AMEN


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Some Comfort and Joy was developed as a devotional resource that follows the rhythms and seasons of the liturgical year from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective.

From Surviving to Thriving: The Joy of Life-giving and Anxiety Reducing Routines (Psalm 139: 5-6)

You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.” 
Psalm 139:5-6

I’ll admit I’m not the best at routines, but I have learned that some daily rituals can be life-giving.  For me, having a clear morning routine that allows time to sit quietly and to walk outside provides a healing rhythm for both my body and my soul.  In this sense routine isn’t about treating myself strictly or being hard on myself, but instead taking care of myself with compassion.

My dog, Macy, and I enjoy relaxing on the couch each morning for bit before the day begins in earnest.

And, of course, routines help us to care for others around us.  Not only because it helps us care for ourselves.  Consistent rhythms are a gift to children whose schedules are often not under their control, but under the direction of adults around them.  Daily schedules can provide support for older adults as well, since positive mental health is tied to predictable routines.

What routines could you put in place that would be life-giving for you? 

What routines would be helpful for loved ones around you?


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Some Comfort and Joy was developed as a devotional resource that follows the rhythms and seasons of the liturgical year from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective.

From Surviving to Thriving: Battling Anxiety (Comfort: Psalm 139:5-6)

You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.”  -Psalm 139:5-6

Crawling into bed at night is probably my favorite time of day, but in the summer or on the weekends (whenever I don’t have to prompt little people to get out the door for school) first thing in the morning comes a close second– a few quiet moments to set things up for the day ahead; small joys and rituals that help me engage well, no matter the day’s agenda.

Whether we are intentional about it or not, most of our time is structured around some kind of routine- waking, eating and sleeping; weekdays and weekends or work days and sabbath rest; months, seasons and holidays all provide signals and patterns that order our time and relationships. 

Just as the world was formed within the movement of night and day so too our lives find order and meaning within that rhythm. No matter what the day holds, the sun will set and rise again. 

Faithful and Everlasting God, may I find peace in the ordinary and comfort in the ordering of my days. Amen.


We hope this brings you some comfort and joy! You can spread the joy by liking, commenting and sharing this post with others. Be sure to subscribe and never miss a post.


Some Comfort and Joy was developed as a devotional resource that follows the rhythms and seasons of the liturgical year from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective.

From Surviving to Thriving: The Joy of Adulting

I’ve been early for most everything in my life. I entered the world six weeks ahead of the appointed time. I started kindergarten before my fifth birthday. I begged to have a summer job despite my dad’s (wise) admonition that I should enjoy my summers because I had “my whole life to work.” I got married young. I went to grad school on the heels of graduating college early. I could never wait to be more grown up! 

While the responsibilities and realities of adulthood certainly bring challenges I couldn’t even begin to imagine as a child, often I get so caught up in my limitations, I forget my freedoms and opportunities. 

This week, treat yourself to a perk of adulthood. Perhaps it’s taking a personal day from work (for no particular reason), staying up past your bedtime, or having strawberry shortcake for dinner. What gift from this season of life could you joyfully embrace today? 

We hope this brings you some comfort and joy! You can spread the joy by liking, commenting and sharing this post with others. Be sure to subscribe and never miss a post.


Some Comfort and Joy was developed as a devotional resource that follows the rhythms and seasons of the liturgical year from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective.

From Surviving to Thriving: Adulting is Hard (Comfort: Psalm 139: 3-4)

You search out my path and my lying down,
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,    
O Lord, you know it completely.

Psalm 139:3-4

“Sometimes you just have to pull up your big girl pants and get on with it!”, my teaching colleague reminded me.  It is true that life can dish up some pretty hard circumstances.  

Being an adult working out God’s call here on earth, involves hard work, tough choices, and frequently, self-sacrifice. If you are a parent you know, no matter how much fuss they put up, our kids need us to get them to bed on time.   Children need sleep every night in order to be successful tomorrow.  Taking care of others means stepping up and sometimes speaking the truth, even when it’s not well received.  

God knows how hard this is for each of us.  God knows our paths, our daily routines, and our bedtimes.  God is acquainted with how hard it is for us to say “no” (to our children) or maybe “yes” (to added responsibility).  God knows us and is calling us forward, with love, toward maturity. Adulting is hard, as they say, but God, who knows and loves us, is with us as we journey.

God, You are with us in all life stages.  As we care for ourselves and for those around us.  Thank you for knowing us so well. AMEN


We hope this brings you some comfort and joy! You can spread the joy by liking, commenting and sharing this post with others. Be sure to subscribe and never miss a post.


Some Comfort and Joy was developed as a devotional resource that follows the rhythms and seasons of the liturgical year from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective.

From Surviving to Thriving: The Joy of Knowing Yourself (Psalm 139: 1-2)

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me. 
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.” 
-Psalm 139:1-2

People sometimes say, “If I had known that I would have done things differently.”  The same thing can be said about ourselves.  “If I had known that about myself I would have done things differently.”  Getting to know our own selves and our strengths and weaknesses can be a bit of a slough.   It can also be an excellent tool for self-awareness, self-compassion, and growth.

Try out a personality typing tool to help you get to know yourself better.  Or pull out an old personality test you have taken in the past.  Does it hold true?

This week try taking an online personality test from your favorite tool.  Or read a book about different personality types.  Another idea would be to subscribe to a podcast about personality types.  Listen in and see what you can learn about yourself.  

Knowing your good qualities and your stumbling blocks is a gift to yourself and to those around you!


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Some Comfort and Joy was developed as a devotional resource that follows the rhythms and seasons of the liturgical year from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective.

From Surviving to Thriving: Know Thyself (Comfort: Psalm 139:1-2)

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me.  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.”  -Psalm 139:1-2

When my mother-in-law received a terminal diagnosis, my enneagram one self began to make lists. I efficiently packed our family for weekend visits. I carefully scheduled our hours together trying to squeeze in all the help, conversations and memory-making we could. 

And I was exhausted. 

And frustrated. 

So I resumed counseling and spiritual direction, and I realized I can only do my work. 

No matter how thoughtfully I planned or prepared, it would not change the outcome. I could not protect us from the pain of loss, nor could I control how others processed the experience. 

While I still made lists, I began to release my expectations and instead supported my mother-in-law’s priorities and preferences, allowing her to do the work only she could do, in the ways she knew how. 

Our life experiences, wounds and dreams shape how we show up. Just as the Psalmist reminds us that God knows us intimately, being in touch with our own needs and desires, and tending to those, is the greatest gift we can give our communities.

God, open my eyes to what is mine to do, and tenderly teach me to release the things that are the work for others. Amen.


We hope this brings you some comfort and joy! You can spread the joy by liking, commenting and sharing this post with others. Be sure to subscribe and never miss a post.


Some Comfort and Joy was developed as a devotional resource that follows the rhythms and seasons of the liturgical year from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective.

From Surviving to Thriving Introduction

“I’ve heard that the key to aging well is to have a daughter living nearby.”, a colleague commented when he heard my parents were moving next door to me.  I think the words were shared with the sentiment of how good it will, hopefully, be for my parents to be living next door as they age.  And he was acknowledging the gift of care that we can offer each other as families.

I have to say though that the comment landed with a bit of weight on my shoulders.  Will I actually be able to make a difference in my parents’ aging process?  What if they don’t like living next door to me and my family?  These questions and other insecurities bubbled up as I pondered my friend’s observation on aging.

Similarly, in my career as an educator I have heard teachers with years of experience comment on how important the mother is in the happiness and success of their children.  “As long as they have a mother who is stable, they’ll be alright.  It’s the children who don’t . . .”.  I recently read a blog about mommy-guilt.  The pressure to perform isn’t always easy to shed when we arrive home or as we take care of loved ones.

How do we find peace in our familial and caregiving roles, whatever they are?  

In our upcoming series we will be using Psalm 139 to provide some touchstones as we look at life through the lens of caregiving.  We hope these reflections will provide a firm landing place as we each walk through various caregiving situations. 

We hope you will join us over the next ten weeks as we reflect on Psalm 139, with “Comfort” posts on Mondays and an invitation to practice “Joy” on Thursdays.


We hope this brings you some comfort and joy! You can spread the joy by liking, commenting and sharing this post with others. Be sure to subscribe and never miss a post.


Some Comfort and Joy was developed as a devotional resource that follows the rhythms and seasons of the liturgical year from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective.

New Series: From Surviving to Thriving

Anxiety and exhaustion can plague us when our resources are in high demand. Using Psalm 139 to guide our reflections, we will explore grounding practices that nurture our wellbeing in the midst of the many caregiving roles we fulfill.

Join us as we consider ways to move from surviving to thriving this fall.

Series Conclusion

God of the past, present and future,
Today we lift our lived moments before You
You are the Author and Perfecter of our days
We know You are attentive to our thread of time.

Grant us wisdom as we look back 
Gently learning
And see your hand holding us fast

Give us peace in the present moment
That we would not miss Your wondrous gifts
Discovered each day before us

Help us to release the future
Into Your Holy Presence
Abiding in Your Love.

AMEN

Thank you for reading and reflecting with us this month seeking God in our pasts, in the present moment, and in the future.  We hope each of you has an enjoyable summer vacation.  We look forward to sharing more reflections with you in the fall.

Sunrise