It’s 7 A.M. I have spent time: in the presence of God, walked played with and fed the dogs, finished my Bible reading, made myself a tea and now I am catching up on writing both blogs and Storyworth.

For those who might not be familiar with STORYWORTH here’s a link. I purchased the program as a Christmas gift for my mother. As many of you know she is walking the pathway of vascular dementia. As the disease slowly takes pieces of her mind and body from us, her world becomes smaller and smaller.

One of the things she still has is her past and so Storyworth is helping me to preserve that for her in a story book we are creating together through the weekly question/ conversation starters the website offers. The questions open discussions which lead to other questions the answers to which sometimes take a day or two to ferret out, but I am learning a lot about my mother and her family which I never knew. One of the chief things I have learned is that stories were not often told in her house and so this experience is new for her.

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I guess as I think about it even I did not grow up in a house that told many stories. But my father did. It is through his parents that I know a lot about the history of the Lillie side of my family. Growing up I spen Saturdays at my grandparents house. Each Saturday I spent was well scheduled. I was allowed to watch a cartoon in the morning with breakfast, Then I was sent out to play for a bit. At ten A.M. or so we went grocery shopping. After that we would take a ride in which my grandparents would use the journey to share a story about the history of their family or the town they grew up in. Then we would go back to the camp where they lived, on Packard’s Pond, and have lunch. While my grandfather watched bowling, Gramma and I would play a game and she would share with me more of the stories of their life.

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It was from here I drew my love for writing and creating stories. As I think on this, I am fascinated by the idea of how people become storytellers.




I was up well before sunrise this morning.

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I am many mornings but particularly on Sundays. I NEED to get at least two hours of prayer in before I preach at church. I find that Sunday mornings are one of the most productive periods of my week. This morning I:


read thirty pages in one of the books I have assigned myself ( I actually finished HEY KIDDO, by Jarret J. Krosczka which I am reading along with many citizens of out town in the ONE BOOK ONE COMMUNITY PROJECT sponsored by our local library)

read the Bible

Made my bed (if you want to be a success start by making your bed)

washed the dishes (I should not have left them in the sink last night

Did about 40 minutes of filing and cleaning

Fed the birds

Emptied the dehumidifier

Filled the furnace with water for the day

Had breakfast with Amanda

set up Mom’s pills and gave her her morning pills

Got myself ready for church

And now I am getting the writing done in “NOTES”!

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Maybe I didn’t scale Everest, but I feel accomplished.

I was with a friend at breakfast yesterday and we were talking back to the ATOMIC HABITS class we took last year. We were talking about how making small changes really had revolutionized our lives. I am not yet at the point where every morning is like this, but at least four or five mornings a week are. That is a huge change for me and it has upped my feeling of well-being. I was going to say my productivity but as I think about this, this whole atomic habits thing has not been about productivity though I think it is definitely affecting it. It is about helping men change how I view myself and the potential God has put in me.

As I finish up this morning Mom is sitting on the couch with the cat. Mom is really frustrated with her life and what she cannot do anymore. She often gets upset about the fact that she can no longer walk much farther than the front hall. She feels less than because she sometimes needs help changing her clothes. I have praying about her quality of life and God has shown me that I might try some small things for her that can restore some of her confidence and some of her joy. I think that is why I felt so strongly about STORYWORTH this year. The weekly questions have been good to open up conversations about more than the weather. I have been jogging her memory daily and taking her back through the life she has lived. I am wondering what other small things we can do to give her more of a sense of life and hope.



Today was day one out of quarantine. I still have to wear the mask for a few days in public, but I am feeling almost 100%.

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Truth be told I am feeling better than before I got COVID.

I have been struggling with significant joint and muscle pain in my left hip and knee for about six months. The week before I got COVID I had begun preparing for our church’s 21 Days of Fasting and prayer. This prep called for a draw back on caffeine and processed sugar. This week as I got COVID I launched fully into the Daniel fast which is a vegan fast which I will be on until the end of January as our church seeks God for spiritual breakthrough.

I have noticed each day my muscle and joint pain has been decreasing! I have less pain and less swelling leading to greater mobility. Greater mobility has not meant much since I have been stuck in my house for the last week, but today when I had to start taking appointments again it meant the world to me.

I started with a breakfast meeting, which consisted of fried potatoes and gluten free toast and herbal tea. Then at 11 A.M. I attended a seminar being sponsored by our town library on the subject of domestic violence. The seminar was soooo…. informative and the feedback I have gotten from congregants who attended with me is showing me that God is about to open up some powerful doors in the area of community involvement. That said, the stools we were given to sit on at the event I think were originally some kind of torture device. Some of our church members actually didn’t make it through the event in those stools. They had to move to other chairs at the back of the room or to a standing position. Honestly, I was a little worried at the end that I may struggle unfolding myself from the child size pizza pies. A week ago I would have probably needed help getting up from that stool after two hours of sitting in it. But today not only did I get up under my own power, but the pain in my knees didn’t last more than five minutes as my muscles readjusted to being straightened out!

It was a great day of learning and of discovering that my injury may not be an injury as much as it is a food sensitivity!


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2020 COVID brought more than disease and quarantine to our house. It brought rats. My family has lived in The Vicarage for something like 45 years and up until pandemic I never saw a rat in the neighborhood. Then in 2020 they were everywhere. I started seeing them on the side property. I would meet them on walks at dusk or dawn with the dogs over by the Catholic Church. Then I started noticing their leavings in our cellar. I put out poison in the cellar. Bought sonic deterrents. Filled in holes where I thought their dens might be. Cleaned out the cellar and sprayed strong fragrances.

The rats went away and I have not seen them again ….until. Today.

You may remember we had the old stone porch taken off the house this past summer. It was falling down and had become a hazard.

We also had to dig up all the pipes in the side yard and have them replaced. Some of the rock that was in the stone porch got buried in the refilling afterwards. Also a couple of larger stones (boulders really) got left in the front by the flower garden. I thought they Made a great lawn ornament. That is until this morning when I noticed that something has taken up residence under the boulders.

I waited to see what would come out of the hole and wouldn’t you know the rats are back. Or at least rat is back. But with Spring coming on I don’t want to have rat babies so…..it’s time to prepare for rat battle again!


Here I am convalescing through COVID. 

I had two days of real sickness where I didn’t get out of bed. The rest of the week the sickness has been pushed back to a stuffy nose and a sometimes tickle in the throat that makes me cough. 

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My energy level feels good today and for that I am very happy.

However, Mom tested positive for COVID this morning . She is asymptomatic so I am praying that she stays that way.

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I am still in quarantine for two more days; So Amanda has been holding down the church and doing all the errands and housework. I so appreciate this daughter of mine who is such a talented pastor and who can run things in my absence. Most of the staff also has COVID so she has been the only one in office a few days this week.

This week has also been the beginning of our church-wide 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer…. 30 hours a week of church prayer scheduled and I haven’t been able to make one session in person. 

I am so grateful to Jon Bauver and his team for running these sessions with their ministry, The Worship Room.

Jon’s ministry is a missionary prayer movement dedicated to bringing twenty-four-seven prayer to our region. They opened about two years ago and they are up to twenty hours of regular prayer every week. For the next twenty-one days they have really stretched themselves towards thirty hours a week to partner with us and I so appreciate it.

Of course when the plan was laid to let The Worship Room take the lead on this year’s 21 days I had no idea I was going to be out of commission for the first whole week of the fast. BUT GOD DID!

So here I stand or sit as the case were and instead of leading prayer meetings I get to bask in the radiance of the Son of God as a long distance participant rather than a leader. I am taking these moments to listen deeply and breathe in the grace of God for all the ministry that lies ahead. I am intensely aware that these moments of quarantine without strong sickness are a gift from God to help me prepare. Sometimes God needs to force us to our necessary rest.


I got home from church and deacon board meeting on Sunday and started feeling sick. By Sunday night I had full on COVID symptoms. I tested, but the test came back negative. By Monday morning I was pretty much relegated to bed. I slept away most of that day. On Tuesday after my second COVID test , which came back positive I slept most of that day too.

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By Tuesday I had gotten word that three more of my staff had come down sick and today a fourth member messaged to say she had tested positive. That leaves my daughter (who has just come out of quarantine) and my personal assistant who had COVID in November running the church.

We have just begun 21 days of fasting and prayer with 30 weekly prayer meetings and the church staff is pretty much in quarantine. My daughter was asking God about this and the answer she got was, “This movement is about the church not about the leadership. The church must rise up and the staff must be put in a position to let them.”

apparently that position is COVID POSITIVE.

So I am joining the prayer meetings remotely and am watching as my parishioners rise up to lead this prayer movement for breakthrough! It is POSITIVE indeed.


Morning’s are my best time. I find the hours between 5 A.M. and Noon to be my most productive. Something about the first rays of morning light (even when the sky is gray) just fills me with energy to get up and get going.

Don’t get me wrong a good cup of coffee helps too.

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But since we are at the beginning of our church’s yearly 21 days of fasting and prayer coffee is off the table. So the morning sun will be enough along with my herbal tea to get me going in the morning’s.

This morning I have done morning devotions walked the dogs, played with dogs, fed the dogs, made breakfast, read the first ten pages of my daily reading regimen and finished up the second chapter in Storyworth. This week my mother and I conversed about her father. Busyness is coming forward as the chief theme of my mother’s early life. I get the sense she understood the busyness but resented it as a dynamic in her family’s household.

I am finding for myself, busyness is a cautionary theme. I also think that there is a pendulum in my life that swings between busyness and lassitude.

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I think I am looking for a happy medium somewhere between hyperactivity and complete indolence.

Maybe the morning light is my answer. Perhaps the balance is a morning of great productivity and afternoon of slower more concentrated work and the evening of recovery.

I am not sure exactly how that works with my schedule but it surely is something I am going to be praying into in the next 21 days as I seek greater breakthrough.



Finding time….finding time….finding time. It’s one of the hardest things to do. I seem to get sidetracked so easily. I get worn down too quickly. I too willingly push aside the important for the urgent.

I am asking myself a lot of questions lately.





Yesterday was one of those straight out days. I was on the phone, in meetings, writing e-mails and filling out paperwork until 9 P.M.

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I mentioned to my sister, when I spoke to her this morning, that my eyes hurt, and when she asked me how much screen time I had yesterday I suddenly realized why.

It also made me realize why I feel at this particular moment that I don’t have enough time. Surprise phone calls, unexpected e-mails that led to necessary urgent paperwork gobbled up my time yesterday and spilled over into today. These things made it impossible to complete my to do list. That made me feel like a failure. That caused me to eat extra candy which in turn caused me to feel groggy and less energetic.

So today I am making a new choice. I finished the calls. I answered the e-mails… and I filled out and mailed the urgent paperwork.

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JOB DONE! Now I can stop thinking about it, move on and refocus.

I can look back and celebrate the fact that I did not entirely sabotage myself yesterday in what I realize now was a stress storm.

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I may have had four pieces of dark chocolate. But I didn’t eat four Swiss Rolls! Go me!

Even though I missed writing yesterday I still got most of my essential reading done, my devotional video completed and posted. Even though

I did not do the filing I had on my schedule, but I did get the nursing home paperwork done and I still went through my financials.

And today the stress storm has passed.

I am back following my schedule.

I have logged my meals. I am back counting my steps

The regular house chores have been done: Dishes are done; Kitchen is cleaned; Roast is in the oven slow cooking; furnace has been filled with water; dehumidifier has been emptied; and the birds are fed

I have gone back to prepping for the fast which starts in two days (I had my last cup of coffee this morning).

And now I am writing A note to the Vicarage before the dogs start barking for their afternoon walk.

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I guess I have to realize that there will always be those days that go off the rails and no amount of planning is going to salvage them. That said I am seeing that something has changed. Last year at this time when my days started getting hectic I just gave up:

I stopped writing.

I stopped counting my steps and fell off the diet going on to gain an additional twenty pounds by summer.

I just decided that since we were moving out of the house in May any way for renovations: sweeping the floors, cleaning the kitchen, bathrooms or shower were sort of unnecessary.

It’s a whole new year and my perspective has changed…grown.

I know the dogs will bark again soon I know another day off the rails is going to happen. But I think I am ready this time.


Once again, the pandemic has come to visit the Vicarage. Amanda has just tested positive for COVID;

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So, she has been sequestered to her room. I am getting ready to super sanitize the bathroom and then I am going to mask up and head out to do the necessary errands in case, you know, I have it.

It’s strange to think that the last time this happened to us we were actually quarantined indoors for 14 days and had to have groceries delivered to us.

My biggest concern now is making sure Mom does not get it. Chances for that are relatively small as she and Amanda have had no physical contact because of Amanda’s schedule and Mom’s living quarters lending themselves so well to social distance. Still I will be doing everything in my power to make sure that we keep this bug shut out.

Mom and I just got word that we are due for our next booster by the end of January so we are at the end of the range of immunity (if such a thing even exists). I have actually been wondering if I can get someone to come in and give her the booster as she really…really hates going out. We have managed to get many of the other medical services mom requires to be in house so… who knows? Anyway I was just thinking about all this the other day and wouldn’t you know COVID puts in an appearance once again. It’s a funny coincidence.



Yesterday we received a powerful prophetic word that was brought forth by two of our prophetic people and the preacher, all in line with one another in their messages.

Basically the idea put forward was that a storm was upon us, no avoiding it now. God won’t take away the storm. He will walk with us in it and give us power to walk through it miraculously, As we keep our FOCUS ON HIM. Here is one of the Scriptures Carrie Hackett, our guest preacher, used.

 “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’ ” Ma. 14:22-33

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Today, I began preparing for the 21 day fast which starts next week. I am weening myself off of caffeine and processed sugar to begin with. I will be doing the Daniel fast which is a vegetarian fast with no caffeine, sugar or processed flours. The purpose of this fast is going to be for a release of personal growth in our congregation through a process of breakthrough in areas where we are stuck.

Of late I have felt my vision was stuck. So I will be praying for a release of my prophetic vision.