It’s OK That It’s Not OK

crying eye

One of the terms my grandfather used for this world after my grandmother passed away was “This vale of tears”. Gramps was a pretty cheerful and easy-going guy but Grams passing knocked a lot of the wind out of his sails. He didn’t curl up and die exactly but he just wasn’t the same after her death.

I think there are few who can relate to the pain of losing a spouse after 61 years of marriage but each of us have life events that rock our worlds in foundational ways.

I remember during one of my own earth shaking events a well-meaning brother walked up to me in church and asked, “How are you doing J?”

“I am OK.” I answered ( I wasn’t really but then the moment wasn’t right for a sit-down-and-cry).

His response was to wrinkle his nose and say, “Just OK? Not fantastic?”

The brother knew what I was walking through at the moment and I was a little… no a lot flabbergasted by his insensitivity. But I didn’t haul off and clock him, Pastors aren’t supposed to do that.

Instead I simply said, “Sometimes, brother, OK is good enough.” Then I went to my office and had a sit-down-and-cry.

Can I just say that sometimes it’s Ok not to be “good” or “fantastic” or even “OK”. There are life events that are just so wrong or hurtful that it is OK to not be OK for a bit. Further it is OK to think and feel that your situation is definitely not OK. While God may work all things together for good not every situation is good, in fact some situations just suck.

We have had four deaths connected to our church in the last week-and-a-half, six in the last month. Today I prayed with two  men in church who wept through the entire service. What they are walking through is definitely not OK and I wouldn’t be OK if I were in their shoes.

Hope isn’t found in pretending that everything is coming up roses while your really sitting under a pile of manure. Hope is found when we realize that though we may be walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, God is with us through all of it.

Brother…Sister, It’s OK to admit that it’s not OK right now. In fact admitting that to yourself and others is the first step in moving to a better place. Being honest about where you are now is part of figuring out how to move beyond it. Here’s a song to help you in your meditation this evening.

C.cadaOur Current Projects

C.cada is an artist’s collaborative based out of Cornerstone Church in Winchendon MA. Our mission is to help people discover, develop and deploy their artistic gifts to build the church and their communities.

Every month we meet together for one whole Saturday to practice our art. The church becomes an art center for a day and we spend it practicing music, learning to paint, crafting, writing and even clowning around (one of our newest artist’s is a Christian clown). We also spend time every month trying out different group art projects to expand our artistic horizons. To see a list of our monthly group projects go to our website

Beyond that C.cada  is constantly encouraging each artist to find a God project on which to use their God given abilities. Currently we have:

five artists working on a design they created for our local hospital’s pediatric playroom (pictures above).

The Prayer Shawl Ministry is getting ready to  host prayer and distribution booths for their healing shawls at both the Relay For Life and our town’s annual Solstice Festival.


Two of our artist’s are creating monthly newletters the first for distribution in church and the second via mail to supporters of Special Needs programs.025

Two of our bloggers have just finished reviews for a new Christian book just hitting the market. You can find those reviews


And Here

And finally our choirs, poets and artists are preparing for an outdoor art expo in town to promote God in the arts and for three services to be held at local dayhabs throughout our region.

What I have found is that there is no shortage of work in the Kingdom of God. If we desire it we can always find something to put our hands and our talents to that will reap an eternal rerward.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: New Pics

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So Cee has told us only pictures two weeks old and younger for this challenge.

This first photo was taken last Friday night at the Old Mill in Westminster where my daughter Amanda and I attended a Daddy-Daughter Date Night, hosted by our church’s MPACT Ministry.


I have pictures of Amanda from that evening but I think I’ll save them for a future blog. 😉

This last photo was taken at our last artist’s day apart. The afternoon group project was nature photography. You can see one of our artist’s working behind the ferns.


Check out Cee’s blog at

Cee’s Black& White Challenge

Fearless In Euroclydon by Jacqueline McDougall

Recently I had the pleasure of reviewing Jacqueline McDougall’s first offering to the literary world, Fearless In Euroclydon.

Jacquleine’s  Booktrope publishing manager sent this bio along so my reader’s might get better acquainted with the author:

Jacqueline McDougall is a Christian daughter, sister, wife, mother, and grandmother of five beautiful grandchildren. She and her husband live in a tiny town of just 300 residents, many of whom are her relatives, in central Illinois. 

In the past fifteen years, Jacqueline has experienced a series of turbulent life events including divorce, suicide of her father, and cancer, and has emerged an overcomer with God’s help. 

In her spare time, Jacqueline’s hobbies include reading, playing the piano and singing, gardening, and dreaming over and designing floor plans for homes. 

Fearless in Euroclydon is her first book.

I was so excited to have the opportunity to review this book and to share my thoughts.

Jacqueline has offered a first person memoire of her walk through the storms of life (Euroclydons) as a woman of faith. Her language is encouraging and filled with hope while at the same time being straightforward about the moment to moment struggles that come with walking out the real challenges this world offers to the faithful.

While J.M. is bold in her proclamation of faith her prose are neither stilted nor preachy. For women struggling through difficult circumstances I would highly recommend a read through of Fearless In Euroclydon. 

Further Jacqueline offers some very personal thoughts concerning the battle many in our culture face with weight loss. For anyone struggling with this topic Jacqueline’s journal section will offer an affirming nod about staying on the path through the daily ups and downs.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book were:

I am a farmer’s daughter. A farmer’s daughter! So why did it take 35 years to come to this

realization?  Although the soil can’t do a thing to change its character, it does not have to stay hard or

rocky or thorny-p.15

Praying for others always takes one’s mind off her own troubles.  This is a truth.  Lois knew this. I did too, I had just temporarily forgotten.  If you are having difficulties of any type, particularly depression or other emotional issues, give it a try.  You will see what I mean.- p. 119

In your studies, you may come across other words and phrases such as “taking up one’s cross daily,” “living in Jesus,” “walking the walk,” “crucifying one’s flesh,” etc., being used to describe this concept. These are all Biblical and, as such, the truth. They all also describe an action which cannot be performed just once and then you’ve arrived. And they cannot be done without the help of Holy Spirit. –p. 166

Fearless In Euroclydon is not a how to book. You won’t find three steps to liberation or seven steps to happiness in any of its pages. It is a testimony about the power of God which can flow through any life facing any difficulty no matter how severe. Please consider giving it a read through, particularly if you are facing a Euroclydon of your own.

Here is the link to buy the book from Amazon

Share Your World 2015 Week 21


Last week was absolutely massive! With our Fellowship Network Council Sunday through Tuesday, teaching on Wednesday and speaking engagements Friday and Sunday, add in a wedding, visitations and pastoral appointments and I come to this Memorial day pretty knackered but very happy to be participating in week 21 of Share Your World! Check out how others spent their weeks by clicking the icon above and going  to Cee’s site.

Our hostess addressed the questions a little differently this week. Cee says :

 I came up with a new way of doing Share Your World for this Week.  Begin making four lists and have at least four items on each list.  You can choose your lists out of the ones I have listed below.  Have fun.

  • Favorite Songs
  • Favorite flowers or plants
  • Favorites types of tea
  • Favorite types of animals
  • List of favorite blogs
  • Stuff that makes you laugh
  • Movies to cheer you up
  • Favorite actors/actresses
  • Good restaurants to eat at
  • Best desserts
  • Games to play with friends
  • Fun things for a rainy day
  • Books I want to read
  • Things I want to have in my home (paintings, hot tubs, book cases, big screen tv etc)
  • Places worth shopping

Favorite types of tea:

We were actually discussing this just this evening. Summer is upon us and most of my family switches over to ice coffee in the heat but I just can’t do it. Coffee should be hot! But I can do iced tea. I especially like herbal sun teas. My favorites are:

Lemon Balm or Lemon Grass


Lavender (although you should not drink this very often as lavender can become toxic in the body)

And Chamomile

List of favorite blogs:

This is a really hard one. I read so many blogs and each for different reasons. I will pick four this week and if we ever do it this way again I will pick four more. I suppose I could just list them all but that would be a veeeeeeerrrrry long list.

I love Cee’s Photo Blog. I participate in so many of her challenges and they do really challenge me.

One of my favorite haunts in the blogosphere is Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Addicted To Purple. I especially love her Friday Fictioneers segments.

For devotional reading two of my favorites are Another Red Letter Day and Tom Raines, Affirmations of God.

My favorite dessert:

I love a homemade cheese cake anytime.

And in the fall there is nothing like pumpkin roll.

One of my all time summer favorites is Orange fluff

And at Christmas, Shtollen or fruit cake!

Movies that cheer me up. 🙂

I love movies that inspire heroism and teamwork. I also have a thing for superhero movies.

I loved Avengers: Age of Ultron. When the Scarlet Witch made her choice to be part of the team and to  help Hawkeye, I shed a tear.

I laughed a lot through Guardians of the Galaxy. “We are Groot!”

Sahara doesn’t qualify as a superhero flick exactly but what a rollicking ride that was

And I think National Treasure has to make this week’s list.


Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for so many wonderful opportunities to preach and teach last week. I am also grateful for the many wonderful connections I made at Network Council. This week I hope to get some time to work on the gardens and to start my next writing project in earnest.

The Great Vowel Debate

Keep the main thing the main thing.


Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. (II Timothy 2:23)

Image result for arguments                   Image result for arguments about god's existence

Inn 325, one of the biggest theological battles in the history of Christianity was over a vowel.  Is the Son of God of “similar substance (homoiousios) or of the “same substance” (homoousis)?  The argument threatened to divide Christianity.  Roman emperor Constantine brought 220 of the chief bishops in the church to meet as the Council of Nicaea.  The ensuing argument was so passionate that there were actually fights that broke out between supporters and opponents of this question.  The Council eventually decided that the Son was the “same substance” as the Father.  The council lasted for nearly a month.  Was he “like” or “the same as ” God?  What a waste of time!

When we of the “modern” age look back as this, the whole issue seems ridiculous.  Yet how many of us…

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The Forever Space

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Linger.”

The Post has asked us to Tell us about times in which you linger — when you don’t want an event, or a day to end. What is it you love about these times? Why do you wish you could linger forever?

I love to linger in the place of prayer. To find that space where the troubles of the day just melt away in the sweet presence of Jesus, is to find life’s greatest treasure.


While all prayer must eventually lead to action, I think most of us act to quickly and pray to hesitantly. It is not until I have refreshed my harried soul that I can safely come out of the place of prayer and into the fray of ministry.

It is not just the unburdening of my soul that draws me to this place. It is not just that I can freely express myself without fear of judgment or retribution; It is that even as I speak, He answers. Prayer is not a monologue shouted into an empty universe. It is a dialogue framed in the intimate whispers of lovers.


I do not hesitate to leave the place of prayer out of fear of losing my space in line at the throne of God. Prayer is  an unending connection, a communion that always is and always shall be for the believer. It is the place in this world where we touch forever, where time and need are all washed away in the flow of the river of God. The thread of that tributary can be found in every moment and in every place. In one sense I never leave prayer or at least I am never more than a stone’s throw away. Yet even knowing I can always come back  I hesitate to step away from prayer because in that place I know forever and I understand grace in ways my time in this world makes me forget.



Keep your conscience clear!


According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the expression either or is used to refer to a situation in which there is a choice between two different plans of action, but both together are not possibleToday’s world has become a place of countless decisions for each of us. 

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       Image result for either or

I remember that as a child there always seemed to be that there were only two possibilities for each decision;   right or wrong, black or white, in or out, yes or no, hungry or not hungry, good or bad, behave or misbehave.  It was easy to know the difference by how my parents reacted to whatever I said or did.  That was the beginning of developing my conscience–that little voice inside my head that reacted positively or negatively to what I did or said.  Now it even influences what I think.  Or at least it’s supposed to.

As an adult, we face…

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