January Hope Whispers

❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎
“And my God will supply all your needs
according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19 NASB
❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎
 “He who did not spare His own Son,
but delivered Him over for us all,
how will He not also with Him
freely give us all things?”

Romans 8:32 NASB

What Is Empathy?

🦋 “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” – Harper Lee

🦋 “An exchange of empathy provides an entry point for a lot of people to see what healing feels like.” – Tarana Burke

🦋 “Empathy has no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone.’” – Brene Brown

Truly, no one can show perfect empathy like Jesus, but through Him we can empathize more with others. “The Gift of Presence” by Linda Stoll is a great example of empathy!
“No judgement. No opinions. No pontificating.
I felt validated. Heard. Safe to be myself, all kinds of messy, imperfect, and flawed.”

Nature Retreat

All my life through,
the new sights of nature
made me rejoice like a child.“
~ Marie Curie ~

Thank you to my brother John
for views of unique species
and to our son Glen
for the beautiful sky views.
🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂

Unique Species

Out of 750 butterfly species in North America, the Western Pygmy-Blue is the smallest. Only 3/8 to 3/4 of an inch!
The underside of the Western Pygmy-Blue
Can you believe this is actually a butterfly? A Western Giant Swallowtail can disguise itself as bird poop! (Correction: This is actually the Swallowtail still in its caterpillar stage. Still amazing though!)
Chalky Bird Dropping Moth

Spectacular Sky Views from the Dominican Republic

2021 Reflections on the Grace God Still Gives Us

2021 has been a tough year, hasn’t it? Most likely, for all of us in one way or another. Physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing. Losses of different kinds. Deep hurts in so many hearts. Uncertainties and fears about the future.

But God… Yes. But God is still with us and is giving us grace to survive. Even when we feel forsaken. Even when we feel weary, troubled, and sorrowful. Even when events in our lives or in the world have crushed us. He is still holding us up with His faithful love and compassion that will never, ever leave us.

This year God is teaching me on a deeper level how crucial it is to:

🦋 Remind my fainting heart to keep my eyes fixed on God’s unchangeable character. All the heartaches and changes in our world may disorient us or depress us, but God will never change and His love will never abandon us.

🌈 “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10 NIV

🦋 Let go of my tight-fisted grip of “needing to fix” situations out of my control. This is so hard to do, isn’t it? But God longs for us to leave these anxieties in His Almighty hands and to believe in His power to heal, redeem, and bring justice in His time and way.

🌈 “This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15 NLT

🦋 Diligently seek, pay attention to, and thank God for the beauty and the blessings still surrounding me. There are so many blessings right in front of us that we take for granted each moment, right? The beauty in God’s creation, the strength we’re given with each breath and step we take (whether emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually), the kindness and love many people still do show. And on and on it goes. Even in the midst of chaos and heartaches, God still heaps on the invaluable gift of His grace so freely.

🌈 “And from the overflow of His fullness we received grace heaped upon more grace!” John 1:16 TPT

What has been the toughest trial to you personally this year? What special grace have you been given even in the midst of it, whether in the moment or in hindsight?

November Hope Whispers

The Serenity Prayer

“God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Amen.”

(prayer attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr, 1892-1971)

God’s Unfailing Love

“For even if the mountains walk away
and the hills fall to pieces,
My love won’t walk away from you,
my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.
The God who has compassion on you says so.”

Isaiah 54:10 MSG

❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎

I cried out, ‘I am slipping!’
    but Your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.

Psalm 94:18 NLT


❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎

“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world,
that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son,
so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] 
shall not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:16 AMP

Hang Onto Hope

🦋 “If you feel stuck in a hopeless place today, I don’t want to rush you to joy. Maybe you need to spend a little time letting the darkness do what darkness does—nourish, strengthen, and hold. The darkness can invite us into a mystery, a place where we don’t know the answer. We know that seeds need to bury down deep in the ground, sometimes for a long, long time. Eventually, those seeds will break open and take root. But first they have to settle into the darkness. Still, that seed carries within it a narrative of hope. It just hasn’t lived into the whole story yet.” ~ Emily Freeman in The Next Right Thing

🦋 “Without dark clouds in our lives, we would never know the joy of sunshine. We can become callous and unteachable if we do not learn from pain.” ~ Billy Graham

🦋 “Hope is like the Sun. When it’s behind the clouds, it’s not gone. You just have to find it!” ~ R.J. Palacio

Nature Retreat

There is not one blade of grass,
there is no color in this world
that is not intended to make us rejoice.
~ John Calvin ~

Though my photography isn’t as professional as my brother’s is, capturing nature photos is relaxing for me. This past summer was a tough one and I didn’t have the privilege of going out to some of my favorite nature spots as often as I would have liked. As I was looking through some of my old photos, I decided to share some photos of my own this month. 🙂

“Just a reminder in case your mind is playing tricks on you today: You matter. You’re important. You’re loved. And your presence on this earth makes a difference, whether you see it or not.” ~ Anonymous