Those Little Blessings


I am so not a morning person. I am not a person who looks at a sunrise in wonder, unless I’ve been up all night and wonder how it happened :), and I wake up and plead with my family not to speak. Please be quiet, please. My husband wakes up and smiles and asks how I am. My normal response usually is, “I don’t know”, while the filter that keeps me from speaking the rest of the statement, “how do you think I am? I’m tired, I’m cranky, leave me alone” kicks in and I leave the room.

So this morning when I woke up for the second day in a row to kids fighting and yelling, I was not a happy camper. I had a full day ahead of me with work and the TLC meeting and I did not need this. I got up, got dressed, took a moment to make my to do list and out the door I went. Once a week I hit Starbucks. I used to go everyday but at 3 bucks a pop, it becomes an expensive habit so I treat myself once a week, with the agreement, in my mind of course, that if someone buys me a Starbucks during the week, I don’t refuse it, but I don’t go back to buy one. Today I decided was the day for this week. I needed a coffee fix.

I wait in a forever drive-thru line, listening to cheery Christian music, but not feeling it. It is so slow that I could have brewed the coffee myself. I get up to the window and a guy with a tongue ring that is annoyingly clicking on his teeth, asks me what I ordered. He explains that he “literally” just got there and is totally confused. I tell him I ordered a black coffee and a scone. I think to myself, a fellow non-morning person! He looks around confused, grabs a cup and my scone and says, “You know what? Forget it! I seriously don’t know what is what yet, so I am not going to ring you up. It’s on us this morning, have a great day!”

Suddenly, I am awake and happy! I give the guy a tip and drive off. I don’t believe in accidents, I don’t believe in coincidence or by chance moments. I believe my day is ordered and designed by God when I allow it to be. Even though I had only had a brief conversation with God that morning, seriously brief and terribly lacking I must confess it was pretty normal and typical for our relationship. In fact, my first words to God was when I was in my car and I noticed my rose bushes were blooming beautifully.  I said, “Thanks God for a beautiful home and a beautiful life. Help me today.” THAT WAS IT! It was a typical Susan speaks to God first thing in the morning conversation. He knows I don’t really speak until after 10 am and it wasn’t even 9 yet. Today He decided that I needed to see the beauty in the world first thing in the morning, and honestly for me to notice anything in the morning is truly THE MIRACLE today.

So he gave me a little blessing here and there. Beautiful blooming roses, red, white and pink and free hot black Starbucks coffee and a scone, which by the way, I rebuked the calories, not sure if that works or not but I do it all the same.

I was smart enough to see his hand in it and I am praying that you see the little blessings he brings your way daily and are wise enough to acknowledge them. Don’t miss the beauty of the Lord. I went straight to the office and turned on the old Desperation Band CD I’ve been listening to and forwarded to Amazed whose lyrics I post here as I sat down and drank my free coffee and scone and quietly woke up to a beautiful day and those little blessings.

You dance over me

While I am unaware

You sing all around

But I never hear the sound

Lord, I’m amazed by You

Lord, I’m amazed by You

Lord, I’m amazed by You

How You love me

How wide, how deep, how great Is your love for me

A Day Off


Yes, I get ONE! Despite what most people think about those of us who work in ministry,  we don’t just hang out all week and preach for an hour on Sunday, there is lots of church work to do. Plus, I have mom duties and daughter duties and wife duties and church duties and me duties and household duties. All in all, I am a typical American Woman! But this week! Yes! It paid off. I haven’t done this ever, but I woke up and checked the temperature for Monterey Bay. It’s usually cold and foggy there but I was hoping to play hooky there on Friday and go for a few hours and get some (maybe) sun and some quiet time with the Lord. I checked the weather and today it was going to be in the 80’s and sunny but the rest of the week it was going to be in the 50’s and cloudy.

SO! My husband was sleeping and I thought but didn’t say out loud, “Please wake up! PLLLLEEEEEAAASSSE!” and VIOLA! his eyes opened and he smiled, because he is a morning person, not because I was so close to his face he could feel my breath! I said, “Let’s get out of here!” He looked wide eyed, like you do when you first wake up and you don’t know where you are, and I said, “C’mon, take me to the beach.” So off we went. By 11 am we were sitting on the beach, bottled water and book in hand and as promised it was a warm day there. We stayed there until 3 pm then rushed home to get the kids fed and to a recital and then I had some cleaning to do. Yep, even though I played, I still had work to do!

I’m happy today for the blessing of a surprise and a break from the norm. I’m happy to be in love with my life and the Lord whom I joyously serve (most days). Yes, there are problems and yes, there are things that are hard in my life but God knows just what I need, when I need it. I looked out at the water and the waves with tears streaming down my face today for the gratitude of a gift for no reason. Profoundly happy for a true day of rest because you just don’t get enough of these (or at least I don’t). Thankful for a world created today just for me because my God loves beauty and he loves to see me happy. Digging my feet into the grains of sand, knowing that the Lord created each one for this moment in time, knowing I would be there in that moment. I sat still and raising my face to the sun with a cloudless sky and a breeze coming in because He knows I like it warm and breezy but not hot, I sang this song by Desperation Band, which I’ve dusted off the cover of and began to listen to again;

The whole earth is full of your glory

The whole earth is full of your glory

And you reign victorious

You reign victorious over all

For great is the Lord and worthy of praise

Lift up your voice and lift up His name

The heavens declare our God is the King

We join in the song that the angels sing

The nations will praise you forever

The nations will praise you forever

For you reign victorious

You reign victorious over all

You have to recognize those beautiful moments and give thanks. They didn’t get here by accident they got here because there is a God, whether you know it yet or not, who loves you and loves to see you smile!

Addicted To Chaos

We all know that person, it’s not any of us reading this today, but we all have that friend……yeah, that’s it, that friend who is addicted to chaos. They aren’t happy unless there is drama. If you ask them how they are, you had better be prepared for the dramatic answer. They are always fighting with their boyfriend because if there isn’t the fear of breaking up at any moment, well then it’s just boring and that boredom may be the thing to break them up. If they aren’t fighting with their spouse and can’t take another minute in their marriage, then life would not be worth living.  Only they’ve been telling you that for 10 years now. If they weren’t in turmoil at work, then they wouldn’t be worthy of a paycheck. If they weren’t gossiping about a friend, then they would have nothing to talk about. They fight with their parents, their friends, their boyfriends or husbands, their co-workers, their children and any other relationship you can think of because, if there isn’t constant chaos then there is no reason for life. They live in constant stress and pressure but this is where they get their kicks. See, just as we get addicted to coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, food, video games, gambling or whatever we can get addicted to  the feeling of chaos. Chaos causes its own sensation of turmoil and worry. If a person addicted to chaos can’t find any in their own life, they’ll produce it. A person addicted to chaos, likes to see things turned up on edge, they get high off that feeling of living on that edge of emotional danger. They SAY they want PEACE but they don’t work towards it, they only work towards stirring the pot. They like for things to be stressful, they feed on that stress like a junkie.Peace makes them nervous.

Peace in your life is a simple way to live. It doesn’t bring all the drama and effect but it’s an easy, more creative way to live. To look at things simply and take moments to breathe is healthy. Doug and I started out our marriage with anything but peace. If I told you that for us it was what we imagine hell would be like, it would be a poor description of how we felt. We had a lot to work out but we did it and we’ve enjoyed our life together since. It’s not without it’s arguments, which Doug says are discussions.We now go weeks without miscommunication and we both love and thrive in the peace. For some people the peace we so love would be the hell we felt in the chaos.

Just as with any addiction you have to decide that you no longer want to live like that. Today, I pray that as you read this blog if there are things that are sticking out to you that make you wonder if you are addicted to chaos or if you are a co-dependent of someone who is addicted to chaos that you make a decision to leave this lifestyle behind. That you decide that this does nothing for you and that you can find peace to live a beautiful life without all the drama.

Finding help to deal with the chaos in your life is a very smart idea. Often there are triggers that you can learn to avoid. Don’t put it off. Believe it or not, living peacefully is easier and will increase your clarity and creativity.

Fat Dumb and Not So Happy


I was listening to Dr. Oz today on Alzheimers and its correlation to obesity. It seems that according to his radio program about 50% of all Americans over the age of 85 will have this disease. 50%. Half. That number seems incredible. The fact that we are living longer means we want to have more quality of life. 85 when you’re living to be 100 means 15 years of not knowing what is going on in your life.

They are finding that obesity and lack of exercise are a direct link. Bottom line, we’ve got to take more control of our health. We’ve got to know about the hormones that are in our meat. We’ve got to get more concerned about our kids reaching puberty at younger and younger ages. We’ve got to learn to cut back or eliminate soda and processed sugar and dairy. Do you realize what a strong lobby these industries have in Washington? It’s big business to keep you unhealthy!

Meanwhile, I see obese children at younger and younger ages. They break my heart. They wear clothes are way too old for them because nothing in their age group fits and they can’t move the way other children do. Morbid obesity is anyone with a BMI index of 40. We overfeed ourselves, our kids and our pets. Let’s informed and let’s get moving.

Also, don’t let your brain go to mush. Read! Do puzzles, get a hobby, challenge yourself! Let’s be healthy, smart and happy.

The Military Channel

As much as I try to understand the male mind I don’t always get the stuff that comes into their mind. My husband watches The Military Channel all the time while he’s working late nights on his sermons. So the other night I was looking great. I am not one of those wives who wears the old t-shirt to bed and thinks it’s a turn-on. I like the cute stuff. That may be too much information but I think women need to put a little more effort into their sex lives and your husband being visual,  needs to see your interest. So here I am, trying to get his attention and my husband looks lovingly over at me and smiles (I’m thinking, Yeah, this worked!) and says,

“Baby, did you see that?!! That right there, is a fine piece of machinery!”

I was reminded of my friend who went away for a romantic weekend with her husband. She said the day had been perfect and as the sun was setting they were walking along the beach. He pulled her close to him and just stared into her eyes. She said she got goosebumps because the moment could not have been more perfect when out of his mouth comes,

“Wow, in this light, your mustache looks especially dark.”

How Can A Woman Not Love The Lord?

My friend Cynthia (hi Cynthia!) sent this email to me and it was powerful. I’d like to take each point once a week and expand on it. As I do, first think about how much God loves you. Next, for you who are single, pay attention to God’s attributes. After that, each time you date a guy, put God’s attributes up against the attributes of the man you are dating. If he has them, he’s a keeper.


* He is a gentleman
* He is a confidant
* He is a provider and protector
* He is rich and powerful
* He owns everything, there is nothing He wouldn’t do for me
* He perfects all things concerning me
* He anticipates my wants and needs
* Every day He tells me and shows me how much He loves me
* I don’t have to perform in order to earn His love
* He keeps all of his promises
* No one can influence His opinion of me
* He is the ultimate intimate partner
* He can’t “disown” me because I am a part of Him
* He prepares a table before ME (Selah)
* He covers me and doesn’t expose me
* He wrote his loving words down so that I’ll never forget how He feels about me!

If The Shoe Fits photos/mjeppsen/ 2548484655/ photos/mjeppsen/ 2548484655/

Ah, shoes and me go together! Except for bed I wear them all the time. There is a shoe store that has rows and rows and rows of shoes and I like to go through each and every row, try shoes on and walk around. Right now, me and a pair of Carlos Santanas have a thing going on but my eye is always roving so that may change. I’m a very loyal friend but loyalty ends at my shoes.

I justify my shoe habit quite well thank you very much. You see, God is concerned about soles! I need shoes I don’t just want them. See, I use shoes for occasions; there are shoes that I wear to workout, they are two pairs of New Balance light blue and dark blue and they work perfectly at the gym. My Santanas would never do at the gym. There are casual shoes like my Sketchers or church shoes like my Via Spigas. All kinds for all different things, hey I even have bowling shoes for my annual voyage to the alley. And of course there are my flip-flops!

When I was a kid I clomped around in my mom’s shoes and my grandma’s shoes. I liked wearing them but they didn’t fit. It wasn’t time for me to wear them yet and they weren’t for me in the first place. I clomped around in them pretending that they fit and believing that they made me grown up.

I wear a size 7.5 shoe. I always try them on at the store because sometimes they run a little small and I have to get an 8, other times they fit but are uncomfortable and other times, they looked better in the box than on my feet. I buy them to fit me. I am not trying to be anyone else in them. I buy the ones I like and I don’t worry about other shoes that other women pick, their style isn’t necessarily mine. I am comfortable in my own shoes and I know what is for me and what isn’t. I am getting decidedly better at weeding out those yesterday shoes and giving them to Goodwill rather than hanging onto them knowing I will never wear them again.

So, tell me great women, what things in your life have you been wearing because someone else told you it looked good but you aren’t quite convinced that you’d pick on your own? What things do you wear because it’s tradition passed on from your mom and you clomp around in it but it doesn’t fit, possibly because it was never for you? What things do you wear that are uncomfortable? What was a great fashion, YES, at the time, but is a great fashion, NO, and you just can’t seem to part with it? Have you figured out that we aren’t talking about shoes anymore? Do you have options as your life transitions from situation to situation or do you stand in the gym wearing the heels?

I Don’t Know


“Mommy can I have a cookie?” Casey came running to ask me one day when she was three years old.
My answer: “Not right now, because it’s too close to lunch. After lunch you may have one.”
“Okay”, she answered.

I remember this day clearly; I was busy changing sheets on all the beds at the time. As I was coming down the hall to the laundry room with a basket full of dirty bed sheets, I see Casey with Oreo crumbs all over her face and her shirt.

“Casey, did you get a cookie?”
“Then how come you have Oreos all over your face?”
“I don’t know.”

I walked over to the kitchen and there is a chair by the counter that wasn’t there before. So she had asked the question, received the answer and clearly gone ahead and done it anyway. She had to have thought it through, grabbed a chair from the dining room, climbed up on the chair, climbed up on the countertop and opened the cabinet door, grabbed her cookies and ate them. She had decided the cookie was worth the consequences.

It reminds me of what we do so often in that we hear the no and do it anyway. Those who follow Christ say things like; it was the devil who made me do it! Let’s be honest though, most of the time the devil doesn’t even have to work that hard. We can do bad all by ourselves, to coin a phrase by Tyler Perry. So often if we look back on the things that we know we weren’t supposed to do, we did the thing, with full knowledge that it was wrong. The question then becomes, why do we act shocked when we get caught in our situations?

That day, Casey got a time out for her disobedience and she cried and said sorry. More often than not though, what I see in adults is a tendency to look around in shock and wonder how they got into their situation.


I think I would fall out my counseling chair if just once I heard, “I know exactly how I got into this situation, I knew better and instead I did …….” Instead I hear, “I don’t know how this happened to me.” As if trouble was a deep pit in the road and as you were walking a giant magnetic force pulled you into the pit and.. okay, that’s crazy enough, let’s just be honest.

Our relationship with each other deserves more than a pat answer of I don’t know. Our relationship with God deserves more than I don’t know. Knowing ourselves deserves more than I don’t know. The only way to have a positive future is to examine ourselves on a regular basis. Don’t procrastinate from these regular assessments. The longer between each one, the more rationalization happens and the less we are aware that we are heading down the wrong path.

The BP Guy

The Back Pew Guy, Jeff Larson, is a daily read for me. He’s a great writer, he’s funny and has the best cartoons! He sees things from a different perspective and that always makes me think and smile. Today I have posted one of his articles, as well as the link to sign up to receive his email. I think you’ll like him and I think you’ll agree with his perspective.

Getting what I DESERVE!

Simply I deserve the BEST. I deserve all that life can offer, and more! I
deserve a wonderful wife, kids that make me smile, dogs that don’t eat food
off my kitchen counter, and a cat that does NOT hack up hair balls. I
deserve true friends, a healthy family, a rich church heritage, and I
deserve HEAVEN.

You may be wondering if have been sippin’ on the ‘Name It, Claim It’
koolaid. Hmmm maybe I am… and maybe I am a ‘Prosperity Gospel’ believer
too. I have never spoke in tongues, but who knows.. I might give it a

So while I have never been on TV, and I live a quiet existence on the
frozen tundra of Maple Grove Mn. But.. I want to get what I deserve!.

I do work hard though I continue to make mistakes daily.. maybe on the
hour, BUT I DESERVE God’s grace and blessings in my life in a way that are
BEYOND MY DREAMS. This means I don’t have to live in regret of past
mistakes, and what the devil (there really is one) plans for bad in my

God can use and bless in ways that I never saw coming.

I deserve God’s grace because He says I do, and because He is good and
kind, and PERFECT.. my sins are forgiven and are only the past, and the
past should be a memory free from pain that can now encourage me about this
complete forgiveness, and this grace realized for myself and others.

No more hiding of sins.. no more hiding my faults.. I DESERVE better than
this. So when I fall, and I might just fall again this very hour.. I will
get up.. I will do my best, and I will trust in God while motivated by my
desire to Love God with all my soul, heart, and mind, and to love others as
I love myself.

You see I DESERVE a life uncluttered by thoughts and worries focused on
me. I DESERVE a life free from guilt, and not reluctant to ask for

I DESERVE the very best in life.. PROSPERITY measured in service..
HAPPINESS uncluttered by circumstances, a CLEAR CONSCIENCE because of God’s
limitless grace.

Now most of you probably do not let your mind wander in circles like mine
obviously does like a hamster in a wheel, but for those who are tired,
depressed, sick, burdened with the weight of the world.. YOU DESERVE
MORE. You deserve the best that God has to offer. His best for you may or
may not be fame and fortune, health and adventure… but HIS BEST which you
deserve is the peace and perspective that passes all understanding or any

They say money can’t buy you happiness, but it helps calm the nerves… BUT
whether rich or poor, famous or obscure, fat or skinny, or any other nook
or cranny of this world’s class system.. we can be content… and living
unafraid, and enjoying the lives we have in ways that are beyond what we
have yet to experience. I forget (ironically) but there was some study that
says we use a very miniscule part of our brain.. well I believe we as
believers experience too often only a fraction of the blessings God wants
us to experience… and only a fraction of the blessings WE DESERVE.

May God bless each of us with lives blessed by God in ways that are NEVER
limited by our abilities, but are truly BLESSED BEYOND OUR DREAMS and as
God intends, and what WE DESERVE as his children.


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