BLOGS

Blueberry Muffins, anyone?

Blueberry Muffins, anyone?

Meredith and her boyfriend, Eli, had a 7 AM flight out of DC this morning to come home for a visit. Knowing they would not have time for breakfast before leaving, I put out a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread, a pumpkin-chocolate chip pound cake, and some of my homemade...

read more
God’s Plan

God’s Plan

Some days we are reminded that God is in control, and we are better off to just trust and accept what comes our way. For me, today was one such day. More accurately, this afternoon was. My wife was planning on going out for a birthday celebratory dinner with her...

read more
A story of faith

A story of faith

One of my favorite Bible verses regarding our faith consists of a prayer of the Lord Jesus Himself. In Luke chapter 22, Jesus and His disciples are around the Last Supper table and Jesus addresses the apostle Peter:       “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for...

read more
Louder Than Words

Louder Than Words

On my last trip of the summer, I traveled to Japan with my parents and brother. Speaking about it after the fact, I’ve described it as more of an adventure than a vacation. Between the extreme travel time, the daily exploration of the cities, and the non-stop learning...

read more
Save the Bahamas

Save the Bahamas

I woke up to this reading on Tuesday morning, after going to sleep the night before with images of destruction in the Bahamas etched in my mind. "Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written for you. For you...

read more
Thoughts on Grief – Part 2

Thoughts on Grief – Part 2

“My heart was racing so fast it jerked me up off my pillows as I gasped for air in my sea of uncontrollable panic. Fear flowed through my veins warning me something horrific was about to happen, but it already had. My consciousness was out of sync as it dashed between...

read more
Faith that doesn’t fail

Faith that doesn’t fail

The religious author, Søren Kierkegaard writes: “When in the dark night of suffering sagacity cannot see a handbreadth ahead of it, then faith can see God, since faith sees best in the dark.” Friends, True heroes of faith are those whose suffering has no appreciable...

read more
Is God “mad” at me?

Is God “mad” at me?

A friend once asked, “Do you think God is mad at me”? Bryan felt that God was calling him to change some destructive behaviors in his life, and he was hearing but not acting on God’s call. It was a question I took some time to think about, and while I was thinking, I...

read more
“swiftly fly the years…”

“swiftly fly the years…”

by Donna Marie Berger The Bible tells us that ‘children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3 NLT), and Jesus says, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me.” (Mark 9:37 NLT) It seems like yesterday my husband and I welcomed Laura...

read more
Act With Mercy

Act With Mercy

by Will Searcy This past Sunday, we heard the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). This beautiful teaching is not only inspirational, but is also Jesus's parable that summarizes God's law and reveals the key to eternal life. In it, Jesus affirmed the scholar's...

read more
A weekend meditation

A weekend meditation

by Meredith Berger This was the first official week of my new position at work, and I started Monday coming off of a 4-day road trip with seven friends. While it’s been very exciting, it’s also been a whirlwind, and sitting down to write hasn’t been so easy. Do you...

read more

The freedom to be free

This week we celebrated Independence Day, a holiday commemorating the day that the thirteen American colonies declared themselves a new nation free from British rule. The colonists fought for freedom from being ruled by a government that had become oppressive. After...

read more
Try something new

Try something new

photo by designecologist from Pexels by Donna Marie Berger Last week I attended an acting class at the Burt Reynolds Institute in North Palm Beach, Florida. I am working on upcoming speaking engagements and wanted some feedback on my presentation. My dear friend,...

read more
Living in Summer for Winter

Living in Summer for Winter

photo by Chris Lawton/Unsplash With the official beginning of summer and the transition from the Easter season into ordinary time, I began thinking about the seasons of our lives. I think of myself as being in the summer of my life, God willing, and in thinking of...

read more
Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day

by Donna Marie Berger Proverbs 22:6 tells us, “Teach your children in the way they should go; and even when they are old they will not depart from it.” Today I would like to celebrate all the dads out there who give of themselves in so many ways on a daily basis...

read more
Faith in Peru

Faith in Peru

By Meredith Berger & Eli Newschaffer We recently returned from Cusco, after 9 days in Peru. It was a beautiful trip and we were impressed by the stunning views, delicious food, and especially the strong link between the city, its historical roots, and faith....

read more
A son of God

A son of God

by Will Searcy On May 30, God blessed my family with the addition of a baby boy. Luke Anthony Searcy was born at 8:06 a.m. and weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces. To try to summarize or characterize the emotion of a new child is a task that is well beyond my ability, but I...

read more
Jesus took the wheel

Jesus took the wheel

Photo by Iván Rivero from Pexels by Donna Marie Berger It’s a fourteen-hour drive from Charlottesville, VA to our home in Florida. Halfway home we stopped in Charleston for the night. After that much needed rest, we started out on the home stretch. John...

read more
Blessings on your graduation

Blessings on your graduation

To our son on his graduation By Donna Marie and John Berger May 19, 2019 Dearest Christian, As you graduate, our hearts are overflowing with joy for the person you have become and what you have accomplished. We are so very proud of you! You already know that life is a...

read more
Margin Living

Margin Living

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash by Jennifer Deinard, ACC True love is found at the margins. I know this to be true. I was never a margin girl until I was twenty-three years old. Before then I was an only daughter of two loving parents, well educated in private...

read more
Hallelujah!

Hallelujah!

Photo by Hugues de BUYER-MIMEURE on Unsplash by Will Searcy As I sat with my family in our pew on Easter Sunday, I was truly happy. It has been three years since my mother passed, and sitting with all my siblings and father, our family felt as close to whole as I have...

read more
Dominion over the fish

Dominion over the fish

by Meredith Berger Last Sunday I celebrated Easter with my boyfriend Eli’s family in Westchester, Pennsylvania. Moments after getting out of our car, Eli’s uncle motioned for us to follow him into the backyard. There, in a muddy runoff stream, was a great big Koi...

read more
A tale of two umbrellas

A tale of two umbrellas

by Donna Marie Berger I was getting out of my car at Publix, when a bolt of lightning, followed by a crash of thunder literally shoved me back into the car. Those who are familiar with the tropical climate of south Florida are used to the whimsy of the weather here....

read more
Cross equals love,               love equals Cross

Cross equals love, love equals Cross

by Will Searcy We are already halfway through Lent, which means Easter will be here before we know it. While our minds may wander to thoughts of food and family, parties and planning, we must also focus on what makes this joyous occasion possible. Without Good Friday,...

read more
Stomach bugs and God’s love

Stomach bugs and God’s love

by Meredith Berger Last week I fell extremely ill very suddenly. I woke up a little shaky with a slight fever, but made it into my office. Then things began unraveling quickly. My fever spiked, my chills grew, and nausea hit. I went home with flu medicine and didn’t...

read more
The “mix-up”

The “mix-up”

by Donna Marie Berger One day last month my son called to say he was sick and had run out of his vitamin supplements. Having been a nurse practitioner, I have a company I order supplements from, and I told him I would place an order for him. I ordered him Vitamin C,...

read more
A St. Patrick’s Day Prayer

A St. Patrick’s Day Prayer

“What a friend we have in Jesus…What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! Listen here by Donna Marie Berger An acquaintance of mine presented me with a whole new perspective on prayer today. I have known Eileen for about six months. I had seen her often...

read more
Finding Heaven in Lent

Finding Heaven in Lent

photo by Ahna Ziegler/Unsplash.com by Will Searcy This past Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, and aside from being that one day a year when conspicuous smudges on people's face often go unmentioned, it marked the beginning of Lent. The confusion over Lent, its practice,...

read more
Kindness or Honesty,    finding the balance

Kindness or Honesty, finding the balance

by Meredith Berger I have had anxiety lately about the difference between being kind and being honest. This is something I’ve thought about a lot over the years (after I dabbled with moral philosophy back in college.) More recently though, in frustrating situations...

read more
Be A Blessing!

Be A Blessing!

by Donna Marie Berger A few days ago, I called a restaurant in Charlottesville, VA to make a dinner reservation for the evening of my son’s graduation. The mention of graduation sparked a conversation with the man who answered my call. He related to me that his son...

read more
Turning sorrow into healing

Turning sorrow into healing

by Donna Marie Berger On February 11th, my precious son, Michael would have been 33 years old. Last week, my first-cousin, Frank, buried his beautiful 31-year-old daughter, Monica. This month will mark the first anniversary of the death of my nephew, Al. With life,...

read more
What’s your love language?

What’s your love language?

by Meredith Berger Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us, and most people I know have little prepared. Perhaps they’ve brainstormed, waivered on a few options, but just can’t seem to commit to a gift. It’s a lot of pressure to prove your love in one day, and after all, we...

read more
Reflecting ‘His light’

Reflecting ‘His light’

by Donna Marie Berger The news cycle is 24 hours a day of unmitigated misery. We are constantly bombarded by negativity, hatred and disrespect. And, then comes a ‘random act of kindness’ that breaks through the darkness reflecting the light of God…. I have a dear...

read more
Will it take another 20 years?

Will it take another 20 years?

by Donna Marie Berger I have begun preparing our Bible Study of the First book of  Samuel which starts up soon. Some of the early chapters record the history of how the people of Israel turned away from God and how their faith eroded. The elders had failed to...

read more
Evaluating our Heart

Evaluating our Heart

Photo by Malcolm Garret from Pexels by Will Searcy Next time you’re out driving and you are stopped at a busy intersection, I want you to try something. Without getting too distracted and missing the green light (I don’t want to advocate reckless...

read more
Resolute Resolutions

Resolute Resolutions

by Meredith Berger 2019 is here! Did we achieve everything we wanted to in 2018? Probably not. Did our previous resolutions last more than a few months? Also no. Last year I wrote my New Year’s blog on seeing resolutions as a way to challenge yourself to do more...

read more
Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Stephen Michaud 12/31/1982 - 8/12/1989 Holidays with family and friends can create the moments that memories are made of. But the many faces of loss can rub the shine off those special times. The holiday can become a time of sadness instead of celebration when it...

read more

Grow Our Hearts Three Sizes

by Will Searcy We are well into the Advent season, and as with every year, we celebrate both a mixture of our faith and the secular customs of Christmas. I think for most of us, especially if you have small children like me, it can be tempting to get so caught up in...

read more
Through It All

Through It All

Dear Friends, That greatest love that was poured out for us so long ago unceasingly calls us to prepare our hearts for the Lord. Bing Crosby once crooned, “the secret of Christmas [is] not the things you do at Christmas time, but the Christmas things you do all year...

read more
I ruined the cookies

I ruined the cookies

by Meredith Berger ~ Reading my Mom’s blog last week reminded me how important is it to find a reason to be thankful even when it feels like everything is falling apart. This mentality of giving thanks is not isolated to Thanksgiving, and we are called to live it...

read more
Do you know…?

Do you know…?

by Donna Berger ~ Do you know that thankful people are happier and healthier? Scientific studies actually show that thankful people are happier, have stronger relationships, and have higher functioning immune systems. “Be thankful,” or “Give Thanks,” this holiday...

read more

Saved?!

by Donna Berger During a dinner conversation a while back, a long-suffering friend of mine commented that he wasn’t sure he was ‘saved’ and questioned, “how do I know if I am saved?” The question needed to be answered, but the conversation moved on. The apostle Thomas...

read more

Hope Personified

by Will Searcy This past weekend, I was scrolling through Twitter to get updated on the day's news when a video caught my eye. It showed a boy receiving a football jersey as a gift, and his reaction was not what you would...

read more
Burning the candle at both ends

Burning the candle at both ends

by Meredith Berger Do you ever feel like you’re trapped in a loop? Like one of those scenes in a movie when the sun sets and the moon rises and then the moon sets and the sun rises, and so on, in rapid succession? Your weeks blending together, the hours in the day...

read more

Saved by grace through faith

by Donna Berger This fall our Bible group is studying the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians. The letter is highly regarded as Paul’s greatest work and has been called among many praises, “the holy of holies of Paul’s writings.” It is cleanly divided into two part:...

read more

Thy Will, Not My Will

Recently, I've been thinking about the situation Mary found herself in when the angel Gabriel came to her with great news (or what we all now know to be the greatest news this world has ever or will ever receive). I try to put myself in her shoes, a young, likely...

read more

Live in the light

by Donna Berger Last weekend, I was in Gainesville (FL) at the Senior Games. Adults 50 years and older can compete in athletic events such as archery, bowling, golf, pickle ball, swimming and more. At the track and field events, I was inspired by the dedication of...

read more
Conquering Fears

Conquering Fears

This weekend I went to Richmond, VA and visited my friend Anna who is a talented rider. I've been afraid of horses my entire life (they are HUGE!), but she taught me how gentle and obedient they are, and by the end of the day I was comfortably riding and feeding them....

read more

I Want to Get Better

This past Friday, I went and visited my childhood nanny in the hospital. "Lee Lee," as my siblings and I called her, was like another mother to us. She fed us, taught us, and disciplined us far more than she should have needed to, but never more than she should have....

read more

A chance encounter

by Donna Berger Recently I was on my morning walk, when I noticed a woman up ahead of me wearing jogging clothes but walking in a pair of dress sandals. As I closed the gap between us, I wondered about the unusual combination. Unless you are headed down to the beach,...

read more

God’s Plan

by Meredith Berger There are times we reflect back on, in which we thought we knew best, when, in fact God’s plan was much better than our own. Situations where we perhaps inserted ourselves, confident we were right, only to find the Lord saw us somewhere else....

read more

Judas Among Us

Last weekend, I celebrated a joint birthday party for my two boys, who turned three and one years old. It was a time for celebration and also a time for reflection. Particularly with my oldest, I cannot believe where the time has gone. I remember him being like his...

read more
How do you do it?

How do you do it?

By Donna Berger This past week marked twenty-nine years since my husband, Gerry, and our three young children, Dawn, Stephen and Michael were killed in a tragic car accident. Throughout those years people have often said to me, “I don’t know how you do it.” How do I...

read more

Are we only good when things are bad?

by Meredith Berger I was on a drive back from a beautiful small town in Virginia where my boyfriend and I had spent the weekend. It was so relaxing, driving the lush Blue Ridge Highway and stopping at overlooks to take in the mountain air. As we headed to D.C., I...

read more

Faith when the unimaginable happens

by Donna Berger When Tia Coleman got on the Branson Duck Boat two weeks ago with her ten family members, she never dreamed she would be only one of two members of the Coleman family to survive the trip. It was a heart-breaking tragedy for everyone involved, but I...

read more

“I Love You Just the Way You Are”

by Will Searcy This weekend, when flipping through the channels looking for something to watch, I stumbled upon a documentary entitled "Mr. Rogers and Me." Admittedly, I do not recall watching "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" as a child, though I'm sure I did, but I...

read more

What do you really need?

by Meredith Berger The topic of “need” came up this week a few times, and has had me thinking about what is truly essential to my life. It started with an anecdote from Church, where the priest told us about a trip where he and his entire group lost their luggage....

read more

Let’s Pray

by Donna Berger  Why do we pray? God certainly does not need us to tell Him what the desires of our heart are or what our needs are. He knows them even before we do. He can set our table each night at 6pm and lay out a feast for us. But the Lord loves us too much to...

read more

Land of the Free

As we celebrate the freedom our country enjoys, and as we reflect on the sacrifices to preserve the freedom that many men and women have made over the centuries, I also wanted to reflect on our own personal freedom. We are free people with the free will to do as we...

read more

Relationships

by Meredith Berger For my birthday, my friend gave me a very thoughtful gift - “Heart Talk” by Cleo Wade, and an invite to go see her speak in DC. This gift was perfect, since my friend and I are both constantly discussing emotional intelligence, especially in...

read more

OMG!

by Donna Berger ~ The third of the ten commandments says, "Don't take the name of the Lord your God in vain."  For as long as I can remember, and now with increasing frequency, references to God are commonplace. “OMG!” “God!” “Jesus!” And, what seems to be a favorite...

read more
Why don’t we listen?

Why don’t we listen?

by Will Searcy I'm typing to you amidst hour-two of my two-year-old refusing to chew and swallow the food in his mouth. My wife and I have tried everything. We've enticed him with promises of chocolate, books, and playtime after he finishes the food in his mouth,...

read more

What Lies Beneath

Recently, I noticed a friend getting frustrated at seemingly insignificant things. I noticed another retreating to be alone and pulling back from social life, and yet another struggling to focus on work. It can be difficult as a friend or a colleague to deal with...

read more

Deliver us from evil

by Donna Berger ~ Most people have not read through the entire book of Daniel in the Bible. Surely many have heard the story of God delivering Daniel from the lion’s den or saving Daniel’s friends from the fiery furnace. We recognize familiar verses from it such as...

read more
Prayer works

Prayer works

by Will Searcy ~ Last week was a trial, of sorts, for me. It began on a high note, with my wife and I celebrating an early anniversary. We had received a free night's stay at a local hotel, so we spent Saturday relaxing in the hotel pool before coming home to our...

read more

Would you say something?

by Meredith Berger ~ This week I’ve had a few out of the ordinary experiences that have really tested my faith. For my commute to work, I use a ride share service that places me with different drivers each day. It’s convenient, and usually causes no issues – on the...

read more

The valley of vision

Will was away this week, so in lieu of his blog, I would like to share a meditation with you. There is a book entitled The Valley of Vision which is a collection of Puritan prayers. These beautiful seventeenth century prayers are meditations that inspire our faith. I...

read more

Pepperoni Pizza

by Donna Berger -  I am so filled with joy when I see young people who are faith-filled and trust in the Lord as they face challenges in life. This week’s blog, with his permission, is written by one such young man. My cousin, Chris, is a smart and personable...

read more

Honor Thy Father and Mother

This past weekend my parents came to visit me in D.C. I don’t see them very often because they live in Florida, so it’s special when we have a few days together. We planned meals and activities (including the Museum of the Bible, which was extraordinary), and tried to...

read more

All Authority Over Heaven and Earth

by Will Searcy - This past week, I was listening to EWTN radio, and the hosts asked their listeners to share an experience with a piece of nature or creation that revealed God to them. There were some very good answers, ranging from animals to the Holy Land, and I...

read more

Death by Suicide – Part II

by Donna Berger - Last month in my blog, Death by Suicide – Part I, I spoke of the challenges of having a loved one suffering from the depression and despair that can lead to suicide, and, the complicated grief of survivors that follows when a loved one dies by...

read more

Can A Religion Exist without God?

I was recently having a conversation about the merits of human-led religion, and if man is willful and powerful enough to lead one successfully. As a Christian, I don’t know how one could have a religion without a God, but those I spoke with seemed to think it was not...

read more

A Better Plan

by Will Searcy March Madness is my favorite sporting event each year. As Christians, we are meant to hope, and nothing breeds hope quite like the opening long weekend of the college basketball tournament. About three-quarters of the field of 68 teams is comprised of...

read more

Death By Suicide – Part I

Losing a loved one breaks our heart, but when that loved one has taken his or her own life, their death presents a unique set of challenges in grieving for those left behind. The ‘complicated grief’ of suicide can leave family and friends feeling weakened and even...

read more

Put aside your pride

by Meredith Berger Every Wednesday I teach English to adults at the Ethiopian Community Development Center near my home in Arlington, VA. It is both exciting and challenging to be the sole instructor for 10 students, teaching complex sentence structures,...

read more

Back to Basics

by Will Searcy Our world has a lot of trouble right now. You can hardly turn on a television or look at your phone or tablet without seeing another example of death, destruction, and discouragement. While we must fight these evils in our world, I also think that we...

read more
Got Joy?

Got Joy?

by Donna Berger How are you feeling today? Does the weight of the world have your shoulders sagging? Or, is there a spring in your step because you have the ‘joy’ that lightens your load? The dictionary says joy is “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” But...

read more

Was God in Parkland?

“Where was God?” In the aftermath of the Parkland school tragedy, this question has been asked over and over in print, on television and on the internet. There have even been t-shirts printed up with a “Where was God?” logo. Our culture increasingly subjects God to...

read more

Lost and Found

I had a plethora of topics to choose from for this week’s blog. I considered writing a piece on Ash Wednesday, Mardi Gras, Lent, or even Valentine’s Day. However, (sorry to disappoint) I had something happen to me recently that I felt many could relate to, and I...

read more

Are We Irredeemable or Immortal?

Nick Foles, the Super Bowl winning MVP quarterback, had far from a smooth ascent to his current position atop the football world. Just a year and a half ago, he was released (or fired) over the phone on the reality show, "Hard Knocks." Before deciding to sign with the...

read more
Surviving the fire

Surviving the fire

Some of us hope and even pray to escape life’s trials and tribulations. As Christians we believe that God is always with us, holding us up with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10) - and He is. But if we live long enough, something eventually falls apart. Loved...

read more

Faith and Football

Competitive. Aggressive. Physical injury. Heightened emotions. Dangerous loyalty. Those are descriptions that come to mind when I think of the sport of football. Words that don’t immediately come to mind are Christian community, team bible study, and faith. Yes, there...

read more

Thank you for your dream

Thank You for your Dream Monday, we celebrated Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and as I listened to the radio in my car, the host decided to play the most famous portion of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Many of us have heard these inspirational five...

read more

Daniel’s God

It’s 2018! Most of the decorations are snug in their boxes and the last of the Christmas goodies have been polished off. I pray that everyone has a heart full of the miracle of Christmas that will last all the year through. The kids have headed back to work and...

read more

A New Year Purpose

Well, it’s 2018 now and you probably saw the title of this blog and thought, “oh no, not another person trying to guilt me into keeping my New Year resolutions…” I assure you, I’m not here to tell you to cut those carbs or stop that spending. Instead, I’m writing this...

read more

The Dream We Dream

One common trait across all mankind is the propensity to dream. Our dreams aren't all the same, and what some long for may be foolish to another, but from the time we are children, we have dreams for how our life will go. Even the most cynical people in the world have...

read more

Trust in Your Safety System

John and I had just finished up some Christmas shopping at the mall and were headed home. Taking the left on Center Street, we were almost back when an alarm in my car sounded and the screen on my dash flashed bright red with large white letters that said, BRAKE. My...

read more

The pain and joy in waiting

It’s the first week of December, which means it’s officially socially acceptable to start stringing lights, donning your favorite seasonal sweater, and drinking hot chocolate by a fire. Or, if you’re like me, you began your dive into the ‘holiday spirit’ a little...

read more

Does It Actually Work?

We live in a results-driven world. Most endeavors we entertain are weighed with the benefits in mind as opposed to the costs. Is the weight I'll lose worth the pain and time of that workout program? Is the deliciousness of that cookie worth the extra calories? Will...

read more

Something we can all be thankful for

Homes are filled with the fragrance of roasting turkey and pumpkin pie and the hustle bustle of the holiday season is upon us. As I write this blog, I am thankful. This Thanksgiving our family is healthy and happy and we will be able to gather together to celebrate...

read more

A Baptismal Wish

This past Saturday was a wonderful day. My second son, Bennett, was baptized into Christ's church, and we spent the day celebrating with family and friends. With the birth of my first child, I had considered what I wanted for him. After going through all the typical...

read more

Never stop praying

Psalm 55:17 says, “Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the LORD hears my voice.” And, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 reminds us to, “Never stop praying.” So, when I read comments after the Texas Church tragedy that said, “Enough with the ‘thoughts and prayers...

read more

Embracing My Inner-Kid

Nothing brings out the inner-kid in you quite like having a two-year-old. It is a special age in which the child learns and grows at such a torrid pace that every day is full of new discovery. If you take the time to live vicariously through (scratch that) engage with...

read more

Brittney M. McBath 5/14/1990 – 10/5/2017

I never met Brittney McBath, but I feel like I have always known her. This past summer when my friend Cindy called to ask if our Bible study would pray for Brittney, none of us knew the journey we would be embarking on together. Brittney was Cindy’s daughter,...

read more

In the midst of chaos

It has been a difficult month. From Barbuda to Las Vegas and far beyond in every direction, natural and man-made disasters are overwhelming us. The sharp knife of death and destruction is cutting deeply, leaving many if not most, stressed, depressed, anxious and numb....

read more

A Modern Day Miracle

Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. But, it’s not always about us. Sometimes God uses ordinary people who love and obey Him, to accomplish His purpose...

read more

The Heart of the Lion of Judah

This past Friday, I attended the funeral services for John Paul George. John Paul was not supposed to survive longer than a few days after birth, but through prayer and God's grace, he grew into a fine young man, a story the George family recounted in their book,...

read more
Your Will Be Done

Your Will Be Done

My friend Carolyn called me up yesterday and we were discussing the state of our world: floods, fires, threats of war, and social and political upheaval, when she said listen to this: “Violence is everywhere…Must [we] forever see these evil deeds? Why must [we] watch...

read more

28th Anniversary

This week last year, my blog was a remembrance of my husband Gerry and our three precious children, Dawn, Stephen and Michael, who were tragically killed in a car accident 27 years ago.  Year 28 whispered by this past weekend and again I am so very grateful for the...

read more

Hall of Fame Dad

When we think of the Hall of Fame, we usually think of great accomplishment. It’s a term most often associated with sports, where the best athletes compete with the best athletes and only the very cream of the crop is remembered for all-time. But, the same can be...

read more

That Good-Bye Hug

My alarm went off at 4:30 this morning. I pulled on some clothes and headed downstairs to pack a cooler with bottles of water along with the turkey sandwiches and chocolate cookies I made last night. My son, Christian, was getting an early start on the 14 hour drive...

read more

Such As These

"13 Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these...

read more

Playing the Hand We Are Dealt

Last week on TV, I heard a professional player at the World Poker Championship paraphrase a quote from Randy Pausch, saying, “I can’t control the cards that are dealt, but I can control how I play the hand.” The actual quote from Randy’s book, The Last Lecture, reads...

read more

Pain Is a Blessing

There is logic behind the title to this article, and I promise to do my best to articulate it for you. This topic has been on my mind since last week, when my Bible Study referenced 2 Corinthians. Paul begins this chapter by speaking of his vision of heaven in the...

read more

Love Offerings

Last month I posted a mini-message on Facebook about how the simplest things in life can be seen as displays of love and service in the eyes of the Lord. The next day, a close friend said, “Wow, I really needed to hear that!” In her role as a mom, wife, daughter,...

read more

Humble Moses Wins NBA Rookie of the Year

Malcolm Brogdon, nicknamed "Humble Moses" by his family and "President" by his college and professional teammates, won the NBA's highest honor for rookie players on Monday night. As a second round pick, Brogdon was the lowest drafted player to ever win the award....

read more

To the Parents of Otto Warmbier

My blog this week is in response to the recent release by the North Korean government of imprisoned University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier. Otto, who arrived home on June 13, passed away Monday afternoon. This is an open letter to Cindy and Fred Warmbier, Otto’s...

read more

God Loves You

"I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least." -Walt Whitman This past Sunday, I had one of those moments that cannot be defined with words. My wife, child, and I arrived to church a little early, and so we had a few minutes to spare...

read more

Make Room

With one child studying abroad and the other working full time, the task of driving the twin’s car back home fell on me and John. So last week we headed up to Virginia and began the trek back to Florida. We had to first make a stop in D.C., so by the time we reached...

read more

Great Marriage Quotes

My wife and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary a few weeks ago, and now we are heading off to see some of our best friends get married this weekend. It's springtime, so I guess it's fitting that love and marriage are in the air. In reflecting on my own...

read more

Finding Joy in the Desert

Recently, with stinging tears running down her face, a dear friend of mine revealed that she had been trudging through a ‘desert of faith’ for some time. Most of us have been there. We have experienced those times in life when the flow of grace in us seems to diminish...

read more

Desert Fun

Warmest thanks to everyone for your prayers over Meredith's trip. It has been going well and as you can see in the picture it has not been all work!! She did admit that getting off that camel was "really scary"! The group has left Dubai and they are now in Mumbai,...

read more

Immediate Answer to Prayer

This past Sunday was Mother's Day, so before I get into it, I'd like to wish a happy belated Mother's Day to all the mothers out there, in heaven and on earth. For me, the most significant women in my life represent both categories. It was the second Mother's Day I...

read more

Letting Go

Like the silky sand of the beach sifting through my fingers, this school year has slipped away. Whether you are a parent of a child who has finished kindergarten or one who has finished college, I am sure you can relate to how quickly the school years seem to fly by....

read more

Tenderness In “You” and “Us”

Last week, "Ted Talks," the popular platform for spreading inventive, revolutionary ideas, had a surprising guest speaker. World-leaders in areas such as science, politics, business, or global issues customarily provide the guest speeches, but this day, Pope Francis...

read more

Reserved for Florida Girl

Atop a small hill on the grounds of the University of Virginia, a red brick home has been keeping watch over almost a century of students who have worn the paths and etched their mark. The house that my co-author Will's family owns celebrates the proud history of the...

read more

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts

Forgive me for borrowing this line from the show "Friday Night Lights," but I couldn't think of a better way of expressing the sentiment. This past week, I saw a video on Facebook that truly struck a chord. It was Holy Thursday, so my heart and mind were set on Easter...

read more

He Is Risen!

Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection reconciled us to God the Father His love opened the gates of heaven for us He is our salvation and, Today He sealed the promise of eternal life with Him onto our hearts   Alleluia!   From our families to yours, we wish...

read more

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday is the last day of Holy Week and ends the season of Lent. It commemorates the day that Jesus Christ's body lay in the tomb. After His crucifixion, Jesus was laid in a nearby tomb, and His body remained there the entirety of Holy Saturday. 50 Now there...

read more

Good Friday

Good Friday is a day Christian’s observe as a solemn commemoration the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ and His death at Calvary. It is observed during this Holy Week on the Friday before Easter Sunday. The term ‘Good Friday’ is thought to be an early...

read more

The Commemorations of Holy Thursday

Among other names, the Thursday before Easter Sunday is called, Holy Thursday, Maunday Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday and Covenant Thursday. There are four main events that are commemorated on this day: The Last Supper or the Lord’s Supper/The Institution of the...

read more

Moving with a Toddler

My wife and I have been blessed enough to move into a new home. While we're thankful for the luxury of a roof over our heads that so many go without, the actual moving part is a strain. Fortunately (or not), we've moved enough that we've found a bit of a rhythm. We...

read more

Try God!

…I expected to die…as a result I stopped relying on myself and learned to rely only on God…2 Cor 1:9 Last week I read a passage from Philippians about letting go of what is behind you and moving forward to what is ahead. It reminded me of a time, years back, when not...

read more

You Are Loved

Today marks one year since my mother passed. It's still early, so I can't express all the emotions I feel today. In many respects, it feels as if she just left. I can remember her funeral like yesterday, the years of struggle with her illness, and more than that, my...

read more

The Hope of a Lifetime

This past Sunday was a day of both realized hopes and dashed dreams, but it served as a mere preview of what's to come the rest of the week. Young men have spent lifetimes working towards this ultimate goal and have ascended to the precipice, where in less than a...

read more

You are too busy not to pray!

I tucked a new and revised copy of a twenty-year-old book entitled, Too Busy Not To Pray, by Bill Hybels into my carry-on bag this morning on my way to the airport. Halfway through Chapter One, I decided it was too good not to share.  In it Bill tells us, “God’s...

read more

What Are You Being Called To?

We are two weeks into Beth Moore’s study of 2 Timothy, and some lights are coming on! Paul tells Timothy, and by extension each of us, to “fulfill your ministry,” or as Beth says, our calling. We are put on this earth to fulfill our calling, but we can have a great...

read more

Birds of a Feather

In my small men's group, we've been going through Jeff Kemp's book, "Facing the Blitz." Kemp is a former NFL Quarterback who currently serves as Vice President of FamilyLife where he counsels married couples. As such, the focus of his book is on relationships and...

read more

It’s Up to Us

February 11th whispered softly by. There was no birthday cake or fun celebration. Only a few silent tears for a precious little boy who for three years was a twinkling light on the path of those around him. Michael would be thirty-one years old. I will never forget...

read more

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is a wonderful celebration of love. I have to admit that Valentine's Day played a crucial role in the love of my life. In our first year of college, I was pretty certain very early on that my now-wife was the girl for me. She, on the other hand, took a bit of...

read more

Unity in the Spirit

What is the definition of the word “church?” Generally we define it as a building used for worship. It is also used to describe organizations such as the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church, or the Southern Baptist Church. But the real essence of a “church” is...

read more

Live With Purposeful Urgency

There are two facts on which just about every reasonable person can agree: we will all die and one day the world will end. Perhaps the latter is more debatable, but the world's current scientific understanding, outside any belief in God, holds that the sun, as with...

read more

Just Sing!

There was such an enthusiastic response to my Facebook post of Michael W. Smith’s song, Breathe that I was inspired to write about music this week. Lyrics and melody have the power to lift us up, bow our heads in tears of sadness, and tease out every human emotion in...

read more

Recognizing the Enemy

 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” The fact is the physical world we live in is part of a much greater spiritual world where the enemy roams freely doing...

read more

A New York Icon

There were thirty minutes left before we had to catch our cab to the airport for a flight back home from New York. Meredith and I decided to walk over to the Bouchon Bakery for cappuccinos and some of their mouth-watering macaroons. As we headed up 45th street from...

read more

Focus on Jesus

Recently, I've found myself following a spiritual rabbit hole, of sorts. In my love for and desire to live for Jesus, I've been trying to study His Word and decipher His will. I've studied more of the law to determine what sin is so that I might avoid it, but in...

read more

One Step Away

Ephesians 5:19 says, “Speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart”. Through song, we praise God and are lifted up. Songs of worship also have a way of touching our heart and drawing us closer - or...

read more

Looking for Good

One of my favorite Bible verses is Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” (KJV) In this chapter, Paul celebrates the new life of the Spirit that we as Christians enjoy...

read more
Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

To our family and friends, Will and I took this week off from blogging to spend time with our families. We hope you had a blessed Christmas, and pray you have a healthy, Happy & faith-filled New Year! xox Donna

read more

Preparing a Thankful Heart for Christmas

It's crunch time. Christmas is less than a week away. Most of us are frantically making last second preparations. We're rushing to malls, ordering and returning packages on Amazon, wrapping, decorating, cooking, and the list goes on. It's easy with so much busyness to...

read more

The End of an Era

In reflecting on this Christmas season, I happened to be struck with a thought - we celebrate the coming of our Savior at the end of the year. At first, that seemed ironic. How could we be reaching the end when our redemption is just beginning? Then, I considered it a...

read more

Advent, Week 2: What Do You Worship?

As a few of my friends and I enter into week two of Max Lucado’s online Advent study, Because of Bethlehem, we found an interesting question: what do you worship? Max defines worship as ‘trusting in an object or activity to give us life or meaning.’ So what do you...

read more

Advent, Week 1: Time For A New Perspective

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” This past Sunday marked the beginning of Advent – the four weeks before the commemoration of the birth of Christ. Advent was designed to be a time of preparation and anticipation for that great season of Hope and Love. It...

read more

Prayers for Oakley

Thanksgiving is a time for family, for love, for reflection, and of course for a large, hot meal. It is a holiday in which we take time to appreciate all these blessings and the many more in our lives. Sadly, for one local family, a tragedy marred their Thanksgiving....

read more

A Thanksgiving Prayer

On this day designated to give thanks to God for faith, family, friends and abundant blessings, I would like to share a prayer of thanks from The Valley Of Vision, a collection of elegant Puritan prayers. Generations have passed, and yet our prayers remain consistent....

read more

What about the rest of us?

This past weekend my husband, John, and I were out to dinner with some friends. Afterwards, we were sitting by the fireplace in the lounge savoring the close of a wonderful evening, when a woman bumped into me as she took a seat nearby. She was carrying a unique and...

read more

Give the Gift of Today to God

As with many of you, I say my prayers before going to sleep. I'll say The Lord's Prayer, a Hail Mary, and then, depending on my level of drowsiness, a few personal prayers that are on my heart. I have to admit that since having a child, making it through those...

read more

A Heavenly Birthday

This week, my daughter Dawn, would be thirty-six years old. I’ll never know if she would have become the Olympic ice skater or hand surgeon that she dreamed of becoming, or if she would have a family of her own and I would be a grandmother several times over by now....

read more

A Simon Opportunity

This past month, I reconnected with a college friend. Michael and I commuted to Fairfield University and spent what free time we had between classes in the campus center lounge grabbing coffee or a greasy hamburger and fries. There are fond memories of the time we...

read more

Have Faith In God

Reading through Will’s blog this week led me to reminisce about the inspiring faithfulness of his beautiful mom, Priscilla. Often, times of trouble can be true tests of one’s faith. When Priscilla first was diagnosed with cancer, she didn’t say “why me?” She said,...

read more

Love Is Not a Victory March

My mother's favorite song was a 2007 Virginia Gentlemen recording of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." So when my wife sent me a video of Pentatonix, another a capella group, performing this song, their beautiful rendition was bittersweet. In listening to it, the line,...

read more

Homecoming

John and I spent last weekend visiting the kids and enjoying some fall color at UVA. It was Homecoming Weekend, and the excitement in the air was palpable. Friday night traffic was thick, and restaurants were packed. On Saturday, passions ran high for the football...

read more

The Power of Music

St. Augustine once wrote, "He who sings, prays twice." David, a man after the Lord's heart (1 Samuel 13:14), sang and danced with all his might before the Lord to the point of making a fool of himself (2 Samuel 6:14-16, 20-22). There is something about music that...

read more

Hurricane Matthew: Preparing for the Worst

In a crisis, I fancy myself a take-charge kind of guy. So, when I awoke early Tuesday morning last week to the news that Hurricane Matthew would be the worst storm since Andrew to hit south Florida, I knew it was time to prepare. Since my house is being renovated,...

read more

The Heart of the Matter

My Bible study group, Sisters in Faith, has begun its fall session. We are using The Gospel of Mark by Lisa Harper and are enjoying the crisp, no-nonsense approach of Mark in telling the story of Jesus’ ministry. One of the first parables we landed on is the story of...

read more

Happy Birthday!

Did you ever wonder why we celebrate our birthday? Some historians report that when the pharaohs were crowned in ancient Egypt, the people believed them to be transformed into gods and it was considered their “birth-day”. So for instance, where Genesis 40:20, speaks...

read more

Dee Gordon: Believe through Mourning

"If you don't believe in God, you might as well start." That was Dee Gordon's response to his first home run of the season. But, this was far from an ordinary at bat or a casual comment. Gordon was the Marlins' first batter of the game, and according to him, he had...

read more

Faithfulness in the Storm

Traveling back from Gainesville this weekend, my husband and I drove into some heavy rain. Now, I am the first to admit that, like driving in a snowstorm in the northeast, there is a definite learning curve to driving in a Florida rainstorm. But having lived here for...

read more

Freedom through Forgiveness

Last week an acquaintance of mine passed away. Karen was an unyielding person who died having not spoken to most of her family for years. Her death made me think of so many broken relationships where family members or friends no longer talk to one another. The Bible...

read more

I’m Like a Baby In My Grief

In the past year since my son was born, there have been several moments a day when he just doesn't get it. Whether it's trying to stick his finger in a power outlet, to play with the toilet bowl cleaner, or to grab for his dirty diaper while I'm changing him, his...

read more

How to fail

This is my inaugural blog (yippee!). I could be jinxing it by writing on failure, but I’m willing to risk it to share my recent insights with you. You may have read in the ‘About Us’ section that I’m in graduate school and that I'm getting my Masters in Commerce. I...

read more

Where Were You on 9/11?

Like many, I can remember exactly where I was when the first plane flew into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. When I think back, all the feelings of shock, horror, and sadness return, and I am also reminded of a haunting premonition my husband, John, had. On...

read more

Call to Christian Community

I must confess from the very beginning that community is not one of my strengths. Writing and reading are both solitary practices, and with the amount of time I spend doing both, I find myself becoming increasingly introverted. It is far easier for me to sit behind a...

read more

A Storm’s Coming

This past weekend a tropical storm was bearing down on south Florida, so we dutifully prepared for the possibility of high winds and heavy rain, which made for a busy weekend. It was too short notice to get the coconuts, that can become cannonballs in high winds,...

read more

An Exercise In Loving Your Neighbor

Next time you're out driving and you are stopped at a busy intersection, I want you to try something. Without getting too distracted and missing the green light (I don't want to advocate reckless driving - so do this only for a few moments while stopped at a red...

read more

Back to School

It’s that time of year when so many of us are busily getting our children off to school, like my neighbors' son Jake (pictured). Whether it’s nursery school or graduate school, parents dutifully schedule physicals, fill out endless forms, and hit the stores for...

read more

My Last 10 Minutes on Earth

I travelled this past weekend, so I brought a few books to read should I actually have both the patience and focus to do so on the plane or while on vacation. It just so happened that I did crack open one of those books, entitled "Love Is Stronger Than Death" by the...

read more

Thinking of you

We grieve deeply, when we love deeply. Grief, like the love that is the foundation of our grief, never fades. We just learn how to live with it. No amount of healing can replace the piece of our heart that our loved ones take with them. But as we go through the grief...

read more

The Olympics and why we love sports

The Olympics are one of the greatest displays of faith in action that the secular world has. For four years, athletes all over the globe dedicate every second of their lives to training for one moment in time when their dreams will either be fulfilled or destroyed....

read more

Falling short and forgiveness

We don’t need to be told we all mess up, make mistakes, and well, flat out sin. The good news is that our failures need not define us. David committed adultery, Moses had anger issues, Rahab was a prostitute, Peter denied Christ, and Paul persecuted Christians. Each...

read more

Since my mother passed away

Today, Thursday August 4, 2016, marks 158 days since my mother passed away. Stated another way, it has been four months, two weeks, and one day. It has been even longer since her cancer diagnosis, which was in January of 2013, but I digress. This is a significant day,...

read more

The whole earth is full of His glory

One of my favorite Bible passages is Matthew 6:25-34. It is my go to passage to share when a friend or relative tells me they are anxious or worried about their life. This weekend I was in Atlanta with my daughter Meredith and we spent two hours wandering through the...

read more

Am I like Red Dog?

About four years ago, my wife and I adopted a Redbone Hound from a local shelter. His alleged age was six years old, but he easily could've been ten. He appeared to have lived a hard life, with scars on his face and a rib that stuck out as if it had been cracked and...

read more

Living with the unimaginable

I recently saw the Broadway show Hamilton. As I enjoyed this fresh and exciting view of a slice of US history, an unexpected emotional turn brought me to tears. Alexander and Eliza Hamilton’s oldest son, Philip, was killed in a duel. As Philip breathes his final...

read more

Peace in times of trouble

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 Jesus is speaking these words to His disciples and to each of us who follow Him. In the midst of...

read more

“Will, do the dishes.”

One thing I learned in having my first child was that there wasn't time to be selfish anymore. That's not to say that you can't spend time with friends, exercise, or go on a date with your spouse. But, when you feel like just being lazy and not doing anything, well,...

read more

Put On Your Hat!

Yesterday I left for a walk ... without my hat! Almost every morning, my husband, John, and I take an hour-long walk, and because we live in a warm, sunny climate, we never leave without our sunglasses and our signature hats. They are made out of SPF 50 fabric and...

read more

Prayers in Difficult Times

In my daily reading, I came across a couple prayers that are truly beautiful and speak to the heart of someone going through adversity. The first is a prayer from St. Teresa of Avila. For those that don't believe in canonization, I would ask that you not focus on her...

read more

The Freedom To Be Free

Today is Independence Day, a holiday commemorating the day that the thirteen American colonies declared themselves a new nation free from British rule. The colonists fought for freedom from being ruled by a government that had became oppressive. After Adam and Eve...

read more

Risen – Christian Film or False Prophecy

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE FILM RISEN When I first saw previews for the film Risen, I was beyond excited. It appeared to be beautifully filmed with excellent acting and the production value of a Hollywood blockbuster. It is rare to see a Christian film...

read more

Understanding Grief- Part Two

"My heart was racing so fast it jerked me up off my pillows as I gasped for air in my sea of uncontrollable panic. Fear flowed through my veins warning me something horrific was about to happen, but it already had. My consciousness was out of sync as it dashed between...

read more

Understanding Grief – Part One

When we are coasting along a smooth, straight road and the sun is shining, it is so easy to say, “Praise God!” We thank Him and trust Him and love Him for all the good things in our life. But what happens when dark clouds roll in bringing job layoffs, a cancer...

read more

Tripp’s First Word

As with most parents, since the day he was born, I've been dreaming of all the things my son could grow up to be. I'm not sure it's been healthy, like it might be borderline obsessive. When he throws something, I think, "He'll be a great quarterback or pitcher!" When...

read more

Is God Mad At Me?

Recently a friend asked, “Do you think God is mad at me”? Bryan felt that God was calling him to change some destructive behaviors in his life, and he was hearing but not acting on God’s call. It was a question I took some time to think about, and while I was...

read more

Blessings for a New Day

Each dawn ushers in a fresh opportunity for a new beginning…just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4). Hi! I am so happy you dropped by to say hello and share in my new beginning. About four...

read more
Graduation and the Gospel

Graduation and the Gospel

Commencement is a ceremony or a day when degrees are conferred upon students who have completed a course of study. It is the time when the individuals are deemed ready to begin to take the knowledge they have gained and share it in a meaningful way in their lives....

read more

A Bittersweet Mother’s Day

This was the most challenging Mother's Day of my life. On the happier end of things, it was my wife's first Mother's Day and a long overdue day of appreciation for her, one I wanted to spend dedicated to recognizing everything she does for Tripp and myself. However,...

read more

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Don’t miss out on any posts, news updates, event announcements and new book offerings from Donna. Sign up now and get the Part 1 of my free guide to "Living Through Loss".

Pin It on Pinterest