The Key to Joy

I walk briskly to the post office a block away and deposit an envelope into the drop box before l find the golden key on my key ring as I walk through the post office door. I find box 71, slip the key into the lock and find (another) Cresco Shopper curled inside my box. And that’s all. Disappointed, I step back and notice again these little old boxes that have faithfully served the LeRoy post office for many years. I’m intrigued by their ancientness and I quickly glance around making sure I’m the only one in here before taking a picture.

I get the picture and leave before someone abruptly walks in on me.

Once home, I look at the picture again editing it to add just the right effect and thinking that maybe I could draw a life application for myself here.

Does our unthankfulness in everyday living keep our joy securely locked away from us? If we intentionally used the key of thankfulness more, what would we find? Would I then come to the point of joyfully extracting a lone Shopper from my box and thanking God that there’s mail in the first place?

As the Thanksgiving season is upon us I want to be more thankful in the little things of day to day life. Not only now but into the coming year I want to carry this key of thankfulness with me and unlock joy in the least expected places.

Will you join me in finding joy in the mundane?

Are You Always Happy?


4:51a.m  “Why didn’t my alarm go off yet?” I wonder as I notice it’s one minute past the time I usually set my alarm for the morning when I work.

After a quick glance at my phone to be sure an alarm was set I remembered that I had granted myself 10 more minutes of extra sleep after being out late last night. I thought I’d appreciate those precious minutes of  sleep! So much for that!

Knowing we’d be short-staffed today I was mentally preparing myself to work alone or mostly alone for the shift.

This morning I just prayed for strength to face the day and that things would go well.

I grabbed my coffee, purse and lunch and walked the short distance from my car to the facility. I didn’t know what the next 8.5 hours would hold but I knew there’s nothing as wonderful as experiencing a calmness only God can give in the midst of the craziest hour.

It did appear slightly overwhelming when I considered the 11 residents I’d have to get ready for the day plus one shower to do all before 8 but I was also sure an aide from the other side would give me a hand. With another sip of coffee I was ready .

I had help for most of the morning and things went well. After things quieted down a bit after breakfast I was kept busy with charting, answering call lights, and getting the last two people ready for the day . It was a comfortable busy; not  crazy or overwhelming. Just busy.

” I like your outfit!”

His passing comment in the hallway caught me off guard. You see,this man rarely speaks, seemingly indifferent to what goes on around him, and here he complimented me on my outfit!

” Well, thank you!” I replied with a (big) smile as I paused for a moment giving him my attention. A slight smile played at his lips and as he shuffled past I noticed his clear blue eyes. He made my day with that simple compliment. It was like a gift from God. And those eyes? I think they might say more than his words.

That would have been enough but as I was nearing the end of my shift I was surprised by a comment from another resident.

“You have such dancing brown eyes,” the small wrinkled woman before me said with a sweet almost toothless smile as I entered her room.

 “Where did that come from?!” I wondered. 

After refusing the help I offered her, we had a very nice visit instead. This kind of thing rarely happens with this dementia resident and I felt that being granted the privilege to visit with her was a wonderful gift.

A few minutes later after she learned a little about my family  I returned to her room with her chocolate milk and  more prepared for the unexpected.

” You have such a nice smile! Are you always happy?” were the words that greeted me this time.

Am I always happy? I was challenged by that question. No, I’m not always happy but what is it then that robs my happiness at times?

The moral to all this is to….

Compliment freely

Be kind!

Learn from people!

And smile! It doesn’t go unfelt or unnoticed by the recipient.

Also, look for God in the little things of your day!


photo of woman standing in front of mirror

Photo by Luizmedeirosph on


Today I learned that when we allow “inconveniences ” we can more fully appreciate and witness the little ways God shows his care and works in our days.


God Will Make a Way

“God will make a way 

Where there seems to be no way

He works in ways we cannot see

He will make a way for me…..”


This song began playing in my head several days ago and I was blessed as I listened to Dan Moen‘s full version of it.

God will make a way when it, whatever it may be, seems huge and impossible to us….

He works in ways we cannot see but then we might later learn more of that way as we hear the back story from another person perhaps. For me, that would look something like me sitting next to my boyfriend as he tells his side of the story of how God worked in  his life in the years before we began dating. That in itself showed and is still showing me that God was already writing our love story when we were still much too young to date.


“He will be my guide

Hold me closely to His side

With love and strength for each new day

He will make a way, He will make a way….”


He will be my Guide as my fiance and I prepare for and anticipate our wedding and the future beyond.

He will hold me closely to His side when the future looks intimidating and frightening.

With love and strength for each new day, He will make a way for us to live victoriously and joyfully even in the overwhelming or difficult moments.


“By a roadway in the wilderness, He’ll lead me

And rivers in the desert will I see

Heaven and Earth will fade but His word will still remain

And He will do something new today…..”

When the road gets long and lonely and change becomes uncomfortable, like a river in the desert, He will be there providing us with strength and renewed courage. His Word will remain steadfast and He Himself will do something new today to show you that He is real and that He cares.

Remind me of this when I’m in the midst of change.

Remind me that God will do something new today.


God will make a way. Believe that and trust Him. Take the impossible to Him and let Him take care of it. Watch Him do something new today.



Sincerely, Audrey

“Thank You for Their Stories”

4639F2BB-6EBA-4489-869B-254A3A9B45A5Choir tour was in full swing and once again we were standing before a congregation of worshippers prepared to lead them in worship with the songs we’ve been singing for nearly 2 months.

Before we began with our first song “Come Thou Fount” a brother from the congregation came front and welcomed us there and lead us in prayer. Although I had heard many prayers on this tour, one specific phrase from this man’s short prayer grabbed my full attention.

Thank you for each of their stories.”

This man is thanking God for my story. But he doesn’t know me at all!

He’s thanking God for the stories of the 37 other choir members of whom he probably doesn’t know either.

My story isn’t glamorous. It’s not exciting. I don’t even think it’s worth telling but here I hear a man saying:

~Thank you for each of their stories.~

That short sentence has changed the way I view my own story. It has opened my eyes to notice the beauty of other people’s stories that I may not even know. It has challenged me to appreciate the stories, yes, even the ‘usual,  undramatic’ stories, of the people I do know. It has encouraged me to discover more deeply the stories of those people closest to me.

But why are each of our stories important enough to own and share unashamedly?

For one reason

His name is Jesus.

His Story did not end with the grave and that’s what gives our stories HOPE and VALUE.

Try to imagine what it would be like to read the story of Jesus’ life for the very first time and come to the part of His crucifixion. Can you feel the disappointment? What about the grief? A good man who did no wrong is cruelly murdered at the hands of savage Romans. Death has defeated Him. The Man you have come to love by reading His story now lies dead in a cold tomb sealed from the grieving friends. Sadly you read the final chapters and it’s with unexpected joy that you read the verse, ” He is not here; for he is risen as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. ” Matthew 28:6

Two thousand years later and that story is still giving our stories hope. We see the reoccurring theme of God’s redemption and the power of Jesus’ resurrection woven tightly into the fibers of the smallest details of our days and in the darkest nights.

In the deepest valleys and in perplexing mysteries of life that characterize our personal stories we find Hope. Hope that spurs us on and gives us purpose to press on.  It’s not in or of ourselves but only in the power of our Living Savior, our Risen Lord!

Have you thanked God for your story? Do you thank Him when hard lessons are being taught and added to your story? Maybe your story has had some hard chapters you don’t want to talk about or revisit. Your story is still so important ! Allow God to use your story. You never know how many people will pray;

Thank you for their story.”  





Snowy Roads and Little Miracles

I clocked out at 9 pm and braced myself for the drive home in the blizzard like conditions. The wind blew furiously whipping  fluffy snow into the air and glazing the roads in ice.

“Come in 890th. 270th street will probably be drifted pretty bad.” Dad’s text read.” Let me know if you get stuck and I’ll bring the pickup out.”

With a prayer for safety I began the 15 mile drive home. I blasted drifts at 40 mph wondering if there’s a safer and more ‘proper’ speed for doing such things. After one especially hard  drift my car began making a strange noise but I wasn’t stopping as long as the car kept going.

Two and a half miles from home, on a stretch of  icy road in the dark, blowing snow by myself I suddenly felt very lost. I wasn’t recognizing places when I thought I should be passing them and I nearly panicked when I thought of how easily I could  miss the road I wanted. With relief I recognized a neighbor’s place and then the substation and carefully made a left onto 890th St.

One and a half miles to go and I’ll be home! Home! That word never sounded so wonderful before.

“God just help me to see and get home okay. ” I prayed as I started down the badly drifted gravel road.

Whoosh! I hit a tall snowdrift and snow sprayed up onto my windshield. The snow completely covered the passenger’s side then blew off the top corner of my side leaving me a small circle of windshield to see out of. It happened three times and each time I could still see out as right where I was looking remained clear. A miracle.

Thank you, God! 

I never was so glad to be home as I was that night. My car, well I didn’t care anymore. I was home and I’d deal with it the next day. My bumper was still attatched and everything seemed fine at a quick glance.


About a week later I was once again coming home from work in terrible conditions. It wasn’t dark yet but the blowing snow created whiteout conditions and slick roads. I didn’t think our gravel road would be that bad but I was mistaken. The fields were white, the ditches were white, the road was white and all I could see was white blowing snow.

Where was I on the road? How close was I to the ditch? Was someone coming towards me? I had no clue.

” God, I hope no one is coming towards me and just help me to see!” My eyes scanned the road again searching for something to go by. Anything! Then I noticed for the first time a strip of grass bordering the road. I had to focus to see it because as soon as I allowed the streaks on my windshield to become my focus I lost sight of it.

“Focus, Audrey, focus!” I told myself as I more confidently puttered the last mile home taken abruptly by surprise only once or twice as I blasted through drifts I wasn’t prepared for.

Winter is beautiful despite the dangers and challenges it brings. God is real and hears the prayers of his children driving in the dangerous conditions.

I praise Him for the little miracles He performed!








Don’t Settle for Garbage


I was thrilled when Logan took my suggestion to write a story for another post. Within several minutes he had the following 2 paragraphs written and ready for editing.

 I believe I was about two when this story took place. One day our German Shephard, Betsy was eating chicken scraps. For some reason I went out to where she was eating and as I went to grab a chicken bone from the garbage, Betsy bit my cheek which resulted in a trip to the ER for stitches. 

Maybe that’s how our life is sometimes. We are so caught up in our job, hobbies, or anything we start pushing God out of our lives and begin reaching for the ‘chicken bones’. Maybe we want to do something more on top of what we are trying to accomplish. Sometimes God will put something in our path like sickness, a car accident , death of a loved one, etc to make us realize we are missing the most important piece of our life, God. 

~Logan -13

Undeserved Rewards



” Here, Mason.”

*crunch *crunch *crunch

“Amber?” I question from my post at the kitchen counter,” Why are you feeding Mason those treats? You shouldn’t just give him treats unless he did something first.”

” He did already,” Amber defended.” The other day I told him to sit and he did and I didn’t have any treats in my hand. When I gave him a treat then, he laid down. ”

Okay, but how does (very) obediently coming into the entry from outside earn him a treat? I wonder.

” From now on, Amber don’t just hand out a treat for no reason, okay?” It doesn’t seem right to reward a fat, old dog for blocking the entry door. Then again, he does get up and move if we aren’t trying to force him back outside. Whatever.

Amber returns to the entry and I resume my kitchen duties.


*crunch *crunch *crunch

” Amber?! He’s had enough!” I call from the kitchen trying to ‘save’ the treats for a more noble command, a greater accomplishment.

*crunch *crunch *crunch

” Well, he’s already eating this one but that’s all for now,” Amber replies as she returns the box of treats to their place in the closet and goes outside leaving Mason indoors to savor the rewards of his obedience.

Mason didn’t really do anything to earn a treat; he sat mainly because there was that little bone dangling before his nose.  Could Mason ‘earn’ his treats by doing something anymore? I doubt it. He’s too old and fat to learn anything new; therefore, he benefits from the generosity of my siblings and will continue sitting on command when there’s a treat involved.

Now if we take this situation and apply it to us humans, how many of us are like the dog wanting the reward without the work or doing the work just for the reward?

Sometimes we are asked or will be asked to do something with no known reward. How will you respond? Will you do it anyway?

Often it’s the most difficult things in life that have the biggest rewards. For example, assisting a screaming dementia resident to bed while dodging the fists, but then once they are all tucked in and safely in bed they quietly say ” Thank you” before dozing off to sleep. When a ‘thank you’ is  least expected, it’s twice as rewarding.

Maybe it’s been a tough day with a difficult child but at the end of the day they slip you a sweet note, give you a big grin, or say ” I love you” and suddenly you feel God reassuring you that you’re doing okay and the battle is worth fighting.

Are rewards as appreciated or rewarding without hard work, long hours, sweat and tears, or challenging situations? Embrace todays challenges and remember that the privilege to serve and live for God each day should be reward enough.


What’s been the greatest reward you’ve received and what led up to it? Share your experiences in the comments 🙂




The Power of Light

Our plane slowly made its decent into the Minneapolis airport.  The night sky was clear  and I could begin to see the city lights below. As I scanned the countryside beyond the city, there were fewer and fewer lights and darkness blanketed most of the land. I began thinking about Jesus’ words, “Ye are the light of the world”. The view from the airplane window portrayed a very clear picture of that. Each light below could represent a Christian in the darkness of this world. Where there are many Christians, like the lights in the city,it creates a light so bright that it can be seen a long way off. Darkness can’t hide it or extinguish it. The light penetrates the darkness of the night sky. The light has power over the darkness. Further out in the country the lights became fewer. Those lights could represent those Christians faithfully serving Christ on the mission field, in the cities , or where ever God has called them to spread His Light. I continued searching for lights. How far can I look until I can’t see any more lights? Then I saw it. One lone light in the midst of the darkness away from any other lights. That lone light reminded me of a person who might be the only Christian in their family surrounded by the sin and darkness they were delivered from and now  pressured by their family and friends to stifle their flame and return to darkness. Or maybe it’s a struggling person feeling all alone and wondering if the Christian life is worth it.  ” Don’t give up, Christian! Keep shining brightly! Don’t let darkness steal your light!” These lights were no longer lights in my mind. They were people living for God in a dark world. My heart went out to that person, those people, who are bravely shining alone, who are fighting the fight of faith without supportive friends or family. To the person who’s about ready to through in the towel, don’t. Please don’t and remember the Light that is within you is greater than the darkness around you.


photo credits: Roderick


I paused before entering the house and looked up. The sky was dark and clouds obstructed the view of the starry heavens. I smiled when I once again witnessed the power of light. A little to the east there was a small gap in the clouds and it was through that little opening the moon shone what light it could. It was a clouded light, not very bright or clear but it was light! It was like God whispering,” The world is dark and only getting darker but no matter how dark, I will still shine! I will always be there for my Children. I am not overcome by darkness, but the darkness is overcome by me! Take heart , my Children. I will guide you and I will prevail this darkness!”  Thank you, Father for overcoming this darkness!


The lights blinked off then flashed on again. Another flash and the chapel was left in semi-darkness. The short sermon was over and we were about to begin the communion part of our church service when the lights went out for no apparent reason. We continued with the service using only the light that was let in from the windows. It was a very impressionable service and various spiritual applications could apply. *Without Christ in your heart it’s dark and shadowy. *  Where there is Light, darkness disappears. We didn’t have lights in the church but the light from outside came through the windows and we were still able to see well enough to continue the service and read the words to the songs. The darkness (Satan) did not keep us from commemorating what Jesus ( the Light) did for us.

How is the Light shining in your life? Can people tell without a shadow of a doubt Whose you are? To our shame we Christians sometimes are more comfortable with shadows in our hearts. We’re reluctant to allow God to inspect each corner with His search light but why? Do we not want Christ to radiate from our lives? Then let’s allow Him free access into our hearts and reveal to us what’s keeping us from Himself, what’s standing in the way of a closer, brighter portrayal of Him.

Thy sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.        Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. 

                                                    Isaiah 60:19&20

For-Granted or a Gift?

         ⇒ The things we take for granted someone else is praying for.⇐

A friend shared this quote on social media last week and unlike some quotes it has stuck with me for more than a brief minute. As I  ponder how much of my life I take for granted the more I’m discovering how graciously and abundantly blessed I am. But it doesn’t stop there. It can’t. It leads to the question ‘Where do these blessings come from?’ and ‘ Am I thanking the Giver of these everyday gifts like I should be?’

When I really think of what I have and begin to count my blessings I’m overwhelmed. I have so much and I did nothing to deserve a single one of them. Instead of trying to count each blessing and thank God for each one of them I have found it refreshing and wonderful to thank God for blessings in the moments of remembering. It takes but 5 seconds to breathe a sincere prayer of thanks.

The things we take for granted someone else is praying for. 


Someone is praying for a family.  I get caught up in my own little world and take for granted that my family will always be there for me. I love my family but when was the last time I stopped and thanked God for each of them? When was the last time I showed love instead of annoyance or indifference? We aren’t promised tomorrow or every family member for the rest of our days. Someday will we wish we would have done more, loved more, and invested more into the lives closest to us?


There are souls searching for the meaning to life and praying for someone to bring them the Truth and tell them of the saving power of our Saviour. I was raised in a Christian home where I learned of God from a young age. I meet with a group of fellow believers every Sunday and hear God’s Word preached by His faithful servants.  I read God’s inspired Words every day from one of the numerous Bibles in our home and I go on with life planning to do the same tomorrow and next Sunday almost more like a routine than a privilege.

This past Sunday I was reminded of so many blessings I take for granted.  I sat in an air-conditioned gym (on a chair) beside my wonderful boyfriend surrounded by friends and  family after safely driving an hour and a half to meet with another church group. We were free from the worry of being found out by the authorities while being captivated with the powerful message of God’s Word for an hour and 15 minutes. Someone is praying for just one of those blessings. I don’t give them much of a second thought. After being spiritually fed we filed past 4 tables laden with many food choices to get physically fed. I don’t know if anyone gave it a second thought. We always have a delicious meal after the service. Would we have been content with just the spiritual food?


Later in the afternoon the youth group made the trek up to the top of the Elba Fire Tower. It took strength and a good deal of leg muscle to climb those 600 steps to the top to enjoy the view from the fire tower. I have the health and strength that someone is praying for.  Do I thank God enough for the health I too often take for granted?

selective focus photography of left hand on top of right hand on white pants

Photo by on  

I recently started a new job as a CNA in a nearby nursing home. I have a job that I’m going to love!  It’s been great to get trained in by kind and patient CNA’s. You see, I was hired as uncertified but I’ll be doing the work of a CNA until I get certified in November so because I knew practically  nothing about CNA work I know it took more explaining ,patience, and training to get me to the point of going on my own.



I’ve barely touched the tip of the iceberg of this topic but I hope it will remind us to be more mindful of the blessings God showers us with every day and to thank Him for them no matter how small or great they may be.

Even in the midst of the worst of days there is something to thank Him for.


Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.  Psalm 106:1



Good -bye Maryland

Quite a bit has happened over the past couple months and I realize I’ve been pretty quiet on here for a while. I have no excuses so today I bring to you a brief update on my life .

School has been dismissed for the summer five weeks already but I’m going to take us back to the final months and days of the 2017-2018 school term.

April 28, 2018

Because it was my final term teaching these guys, I decided it would be fun to take them to the beach! One gorgeous Saturday a few friends and I took my students to Delaware Seashore State Park for a few hours of cold, wet fun! It was colder than I was expecting it to be but that didn’t keep the children from getting drenched within the first 10 minutes of arriving.



Seeking warmth by getting out of the cool wind.

May 4 

After practicing for several weeks, the students were ready to present the Spring Program!


They did super and I was so proud of them all! It wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the dedication of the music teacher, Meredith Miller, and the A+ effort of the students. After the program  one of my students surprised me by suggesting we do another program again soon. I was glad to hear that their first program to participate in  was fun for them and hope they save their enthusiasm for next terms program!



A few days before school was out the neighbor man, Teddy, stopped by school to give the children a gator ride. They were thrilled about the opportunity but one of the boys made the comment afterwards,” Yeah, it was fun but he drove so slowly.” Teddy has been a great neighbor to the school. No matter what vehicle he was driving he would blow his horn and wave to whoever was outside at the time! Before we knew his name we called him the Dr. Pepper man because he supplied the church families with ample supply of rejected Dr. Pepper that lasted months. It was such a blessing to have nice neighbors near school.

May 29,2018

And before we knew it we were down to our last days. For the students it meant tests, cleaning and a more relaxed schedule. For me it meant report cards, awards, transcripts,  cleaning, taking things off the walls and packing. Thanks to the help of one of the mothers, games were planned for the second to last day of school.




Watermelon was a refreshing snack after the games.

Smithson’s Christian School~2017-2018DSC_1068

I was privileged and so blessed to be the teacher for these 6 first and second graders this past term. And how 2 terms of teaching are already history, I don’t know. Two years ago I was excited and apprehensive at the change and new responsibility looming in front of me as I moved to Maryland and took on the challenge of teaching a (small) classroom full of 5 energetic kiddos. Now looking back over those two years of experience I can say that I am so glad I consented to come to this community on eastern shore Maryland and learn to know and teach these dear children and work with the amazing church families there.  I had come to teach and ended up being taught. The children came to learn and taught without realizing it. Yes, there were those days of frustrations and discouragement ( also the most learning days for me) but God was faithful and it’s the good days that I recall with fondness. Saying ‘Good-bye’ was hard knowing I won’t be back in September as their teacher but I know they’ll be in great hands and I know where to find them when I want to see them again 🙂


*Another school term in the books*paperwork and organizing completed *classroom walls bare and white* the room too silent and echoing …. It was with mixed emotions that I closed the door for the final time; the close of this chapter of my life.

I needed to get home and finish packing for my move back to the flat country of Minnesota. Thursday ,the day after school was dismissed for summer break , my brother Austin and boyfriend Roderick flew in so they could make the drive home with me . We spent Thursday touring the Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.  and afterwards walked to the Capitol Building several blocks from the museum.


Austin and I on the steps leading to the Capitol Building.         ( photo credits: Roderick Wenger)

Friday we spent most of the day by the water. I mean, how can you be so close to the ocean and not go see it?


A tower used in WWII    ( photo credits: Austin)


We were delighted to spot Porpoises near the beach.  (photo credits: Roderick)



We ran across real live horseshoe crabs and nabbed them right out of the water for a closer look.

We took a relaxing cruise on the  Lewes/ Cape May ferry from Lewes, Delaware to Cape May, New Jersey Friday afternoon. We had about an hour to spare afterwards before we needed to head back to MD so we stopped at a different beach where we found the waters infested with horseshoe crabs. It was mating season for them and they were buried in the sand just yards from shore since they come to shore at night to lay their seed-like eggs on the sand. I was told by a fellow beach goer that you could pick them up by the front of their shell and the little tail was just that, a tail . ( I was afraid it was a stinger. Goes to show how much I know about the beach and its creatures.) So that’s what we did! We dug them from the sand, brought them to fresh air, observed these interesting creatures, then put them back in the water to watch them charge towards shore or someone in the water and burrow again into the sand further out in the water.

A stop at Vanderwendes for ice cream was a perfect way to  top off our afternoon. That evening we went to family night with the church folk and played a good game of kickball. Farewells were said this time with a sense of finality that wasn’t there last spring.

We went to my apartment where Roderick expertly packed my stuff into the car trunk. Towels, dresses, and shoes were stuffed in the random spaces between the boxes so we’d have room for everything. Amazingly he was able to fit everything in leaving a small corner in the back seat for the third person to ride. Feeling awake, the guys decided to strike out at 11pm instead of early the next morning. We drove through the night and got home around 5:30 Saturday evening. We had good travels and Roderick and Austin did an awesome job at putting many hours behind the wheel to get us home.

I’m home a month now and feel like I am settled in. It’s been great to be home but I’m greatly anticipating a trip to MD again, hopefully sooner than later!