As the sun made its appearance this morning, a song I hadn’t heard in years came to mind. I tried to remember the words . . . The sun shines bright on the old Kentucky home.

I left my Kentucky home in 2004 and moved farther south. The culture and people were not that different. The dialect was basically the same other than a few words here and there. Y’all quickly became part of my vocabulary instead of you all.

After living in East Tennessee for eleven years and embedding myself in the community, our family picked up and moved far north to Alaska. Being four thousand miles from the south meant everything was different. The weather, the food, and the dialect.

We have been here almost five years now, I have adapted to the culture. I eat differently, think differently, and live differently. Survival is at the forefront of my mind more than ever before. You don’t live in -60 temperatures without survival instincts kicking in.

According to my Alaskan friends, the one thing that hasn’t changed would be my southern accent.

It’s often they try to imitate me. Sometimes it comes out pretty good, other times not so much, but I laugh – thrilled at their attempt.

When my native friends occasionally sing or speak in their native tongue, I don’t always know what they’re saying but I think it’s beautiful.

Something I have found to be the same, wherever my journey has taken me, is the language of love. Love is universal and has the same characteristics wherever you are in the world. If I’m in a fly-in village far away from everything or in a bustling city, God’s love is present in a  warm embrace, spending time together, helping out a friend in need. Love is only a feeling until it is put into action. When we come together in unity and love we all speak the same language.

Guest post by Shelly Sulfridge

To leave a comment, please click on the title in bold above, THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE, and scroll down.  Thank you!  🙂


The Rising Sun

Living in Interior Alaska gives those of us crazy enough to call the subarctic terrain home many lessons on the character of God. I was recently reminded of such while chatting with a friend. I told her how excited I was to see the sunbeams peeking over the treetops. While we don’t have as much dark in Tok as the folks up in Utqiaġvik (formerly known as Barrow), if you aren’t at the crossroads between a certain time of day during November and December, you won’t be seeing the sun. Daylight, yes, but the actual sun barely rises above the horizon during these two months.

My friend chuckled. “The sun always rises, even if it takes a few months.”

That little statement said in jest got me to thinking about how our lives can sometimes look like an Alaskan winter … dark. Sometimes our struggles and circumstances can seem never-ending, like we may be stuck in them forever. It’s important to remember, the Son always rises.

Yet, it’s deeper than that. The longer I pondered, the more I realized just how much I could learn from the dark days of winter. The thing is, the sun doesn’t shine on us living up here at the top of the world until the Earth tilts back towards it. The sun doesn’t move. It stays constant, unwavering in its providing for the earth. It’s the earth that tilts away.

God is always constant, never-wavering, “the same yesterday and today and forever.” All we have to do is tip our focus to Him. He’s there, waiting to shine upon us.

I pray you tilt your face to the Lord in trust. He promises He will not fail to rise.

Guest blog post by Sara Blackard

To leave a comment, please click on the title above, The Rising Sun, and scroll down.  Thank you!  🙂


A few weeks ago, I added some potting soil to one of my houseplants. As I used my hands to spread the dirt evenly among the plant stems, dirt granules stuck to my skin. My fingernails, hands, and both arms (from wrists to elbow) were dirt spattered. And the feeling was uncomfortable. I felt the dirt ‘crawling’ up my skin. I could no longer concentrate on doing my best with the plant. I sprinted to the bathroom sink, and washed away every granule of dirt.

As I did, I thought about how that dirt compares to sin in our lives, when The Holy Spirit convicts our hearts. We are burdened until we confess our sins to our Father who forgives us. HE cleanses us from all our unrighteousness.

Because we’ve been washed in The blood of the Lamb, we are saved, sealed, and delivered!

What a powerful statement of unconditional, sacrificial love . JESUS who had no dirt (literal or sin wise), came down to earth to save us.   From the cradle to the cross, Jesus mission was to wash away the dirt of our sins with His cleansing blood.

He took our sins on Himself as He was crucified on an old rugged cross. Why?

Love and obedience to ABBA FATHER.

Love for you and me.  (1 John 1: 7-9, John 3:16, Romans 5:6-10)

Thank you Father!

Guest post by Sharon Simms

(Please see Sharon Simms’s encouraging posts on Facebook)

To leave a comment, please click on the words above, Washed Away, and scroll down.  Thank you!  🙂


The night of my seventy-eighth birthday, I lost my phone.

Half a mile from Walmart, I searched my pockets, the seat, and the floor. Twenty years ago, when people picked up a cell phone to say, “We’ll be there in ten minutes,” I scoffed. “Why don’t they plan ahead?” Yet I felt naked without mine.

Back at Walmart, I patted down the carts where I had parked. I went in and I asked clerks. I looked on, under, behind, and beside the check-out counter.

I went back out and asked people by my car. “Can you call my phone? Maybe it’s hiding here in my car.” Three persons were too busy, but a kid called my phone three times. No ring from inside the car.

He said, “Pray.”


“Pray. Ask the Lord to find your phone, and He will.”

So, while he gripped his steering wheel, I said, “Lord, please find my phone for me.” He drove on, and I went home.

I emailed Kari, our daughter in Virginia, to please tell my wife, at a funeral in Michigan, not to expect a text from me. I listened inside the car again while Kari called my number. Then she called my Walmart in Alabama and asked them if my phone had showed up. Ten minutes later, they called back. A cart pusher had turned in my phone. She emailed me.

I went into Customer Service. “Our daughter says you found my phone.” Faces lit up, and a clerk dove for a filing cabinet. She came up smiling and handed me the phone. Three of us tried an over-the-counter hug.

The next morning my phone showed forty-three calls from Kari and three from an unknown number. I texted, “The Lord found my phone like you said.”

In Customer Service, the clerks’ faces were new to me. “Do you know which cart pusher found my phone?”

Blank looks. “We don’t know that kind of thing. Sorry.”

I stopped the cart pusher in the parking lot. “Did you find my phone?”

“Not that I recall.”

No answer has come from my text, but I started my seventy-eighth year with a phone in my hand, so I, too, can schedule things at the last minute. Life is good.

Guest post by Dave Parks

To leave a comment, please click on the above words “LOST PHONE FOUND” and scroll down.  Thank you.  🙂



 In our women’s Bible study, we are exploring the book of Hebrews. The portion dealing with sacrifice is particularly eye-opening.

Until Jesus laid down His life, God required animal sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people. To understand some of the challenges this presented, we need to remember the Israelites were on the move. Specifically, they had just begun their forty-year journey through the wilderness.

Can you picture the scene? More than two million men, women, and children left Egypt to travel to the promised land.

Imagine how difficult it had to be to get that number of people up and on the road each morning!

Then there was the tabernacle and all the furnishings used to offer sacrifices. Setting aside the sewing nightmare, think about the effort it took and how many times during those forty years the tabernacle was set up and torn down. Historians say once the temple was disassembled, a minimum of six covered wagons pulled by a pair of oxen lugged those skins and poles through the desert while on this extended excursion.

In the Holy of Holies, priests sacrificed bulls, goats, sheep, and birds. To accomplish that, these desert wanderers had to breed, feed, restrain, and slaughter some of the most unruly animals. Only unblemished (perfect) animals could be sacrificed. There were grain offerings too. Since the Israelites had no time to plant and harvest, perhaps they obtained wheat through trade or as spoils from their defeated enemies.

And yet, grain and animal offerings could never accomplish what Jesus’s death and resurrection did for us. Because He gave His life’s blood, “. . .we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10, NIV).

Jesus, the Lamb of God, the purest one-time sacrifice. When we accept Him into our hearts, He cleanses us of all our sins. He is our High Priest, our Advocate with the Father, and secures our names in the Book of Life. And, unlike the Israelites of Moses’s time, we have unlimited access to God our Father.

No more herding bulls, no more priestly go-betweens, and no waiting in line for limited visiting hours. Jesus died to make us right with God so that we, ordinary people, can . . . “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, and receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV).

In this new year, this season of new beginnings, the book of Hebrews declares another reason to thank the Lord for His sacrifice for us.

By Amre Cortadino

Facebook page:  From My Window

To leave a comment, please click on the above title in bold,  The Perfect Sacrifice, and scroll down.  Thank you!  🙂


Patience is a virtue, one God seems intent on imparting to me despite my frequent misuse of free will. Yes, I’m guilty of fighting God’s plan. Who isn’t? We say we’re inclined to listen, to yield, to submit, but do we? Really? No is my answer if I’m being honest. At least when it comes to me.

As time goes by, however, I hope to improve. I’m trying. (The best one can do in light of fallen human nature.)

And God in His wisdom, like a master gardener, a seasoned parent, and He who knows how everyone’s story will end, provides the means for me to grow in this virtue daily despite my plans. Getting up in the morning is often difficult as old bones get older. The cold weather is killer, much like old injuries. But, hey, having to roll over gently in order to stand is a great way to begin the day with patience. Forgetting to put the coffee grounds in the coffee maker may flip my trigger when I make it downstairs. The reminder of forgetfulness can be a bitter pill. But if I want that shot of caffeine—and I need it!—patience is the way.

So it goes every day with opportunity coming in one form or another. Around every turn.

The latest turn, one for which I am profoundly grateful, is the opportunity to mend family wounds. I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say that those who love us the most can often wound us the most effectively. The personal nature of personal relationships lends itself to being vulnerable, and sadly, in some cases, the attempt to manage others and forget that God is in charge. The best of intentions can see us misstep and cause great gulfs of woe that can only be crossed by way of grace.

This Christmas, God, in His mercy, visited a miraculous healing in our family. One that has been aided by the confident prayers of a great many to whom I owe the world. Some of my prayer warrior friends have passed during our 7 year sojourn in the desert. Passed too soon by my way of thinking—but God’s ways are not mine. Thank goodness too. These friends, I know, still pray for my family. And I am forever grateful. But will we take this gift and pursue the path of patience? I pray so. I hope so. But with God all things are possible. And if I’ve learned that, then maybe, my impatience was part of God’s designs all along.

In having allowed me to fall, God has taught me a great deal that I would have never suspected. Top of the list is letting Him do with me—and others—as He sees fit, for He knows how best to make me strong. Or leave me weak so I’ll have to turn to Him.

Clever that. Happy New Year!

Guest blog post by Ann Malley

To leave a comment, please click on the title above, God’s Time, and scroll down.  Thank you!  🙂

 Time is Valuable

“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Luke 12:25 (NLT)

God blesses us with relationships, work, play, and ideas, but somehow, we run out of time to accomplish all we have planned in our daily schedule. Where does the time go?

Rick Warren, pastor and author of The Purpose Driven Life says, “Time is our most precious gift because we only have a set amount of it.”

We can optimize our day by reflecting on God’s goodness, as David did in Psalm 23 and allowing the Good Shepherd to restore our souls. If our workload becomes too heavy, placing ourselves under the covering of the Shepherd makes the day more effortless. Spiritual refreshment is a conscious choice that generates better performance. “The Lord is my shepherd.” The Shepherd loves His sheep. Embrace His love throughout the day to survive what might come against us.

Our best requires rest. Schedule what matters most and take breaks in between. The Lord desires for His people to “lie down in green pastures.” Take a few minutes in the day to reflect on God’s provision for each family member and friend.

The Shepherd “leads us beside calm, quiet waters.” Welcome His Spirit to lead us through the day. Experiencing peace requires a calm mind. God provides spiritual strength to those who seek Him. In the quiet pastures, “He restores our souls.” Recharging our souls raises our energy level for added playtime.

During stressful times refresh in His presence. Personalize this beautiful Psalm to provide spiritual renewal. It comes with a guarantee to add value to time.

Guest post by Linda Ray Center

To leave a comment, please click on the title above, Time is Valuable, and scroll down. Thank you!  🙂



The big day is over, it came and went so fast.

The gifts have been opened, the kids had a blast.

The decorations still shine and glimmer.

Tinsel and ornaments on the tree yet shimmer.

But the stores shout out their post-Christmas sale

Shoppers rush to buy on a buck-saving scale.

The Christmas carols sung in joyful refrain,

Their frequency now begins to wane.

Credit card bills are awaited with dread.

Again, this year, we’re in over our head.

And the gifts that we so thoughtfully planned

Perhaps were not accepted as all that grand.

As family members part, it’s common to hear

We’ll do this all over again next year.

But is it really true that Christmas is over with

Because a date has passed – December twenty-fifth?


Let’s think back to that first Christmas Day

When a child slept fitfully on a bed of hay.

Angels sang great tidings of joy,

At the birth of this extraordinary boy.

His mother, Mary, for three decades after,

Reveled in His growth, His wisdom, His laughter.

He shared the truth of the Father above

And showed mankind the meaning of love.

He offered freedom from death and sin,

If only we’d open our hearts and let Him in.

The world has never been the same,

Since the Savior’s birth, Jesus by name.

Did Christmas arrive only to depart?

No, for it exists to change every human heart.

Christmas abides daily as does God’s only son.

Who will keep the message alive? –

Each of us, you and I, must be the one!

Guest post by Patti Shene

To leave a comment, please click on the above words “Is Christmas Really Over” and scroll down.  Thank you!  🙂



After creating the Heavens and the Earth, the Bible tells us God spoke light into existence. And He separated the darkness from the light.

The saying goes that a little light dispels the darkness. Jesus’s birth happened that way more than 2,000 years ago.

Several historians record that Shepherds at that time were thought of as a low-class, unclean, and lazy group of people. Some said their testimony wasn’t accepted as evidence. We might characterize shepherds as perhaps not the brightest bulbs in the box. However, they knew where to find water for their flock, when to drive them home before winter, and lead them into the hills during the summer heat. And they were known to defend their flock against predators.

So, why entrust the message of the King of Kings birth to these questionable types?

Let me set the stage. . .

A group of shepherds were hanging out with their sheep in fields where David, former shepherd, boy King and forefather to Jesus, once tended his flock. It’s just another ordinary night. They rub their hands by the fire and take turns keeping watch, their ears tuned to jackals who would snatch away unsuspecting sheep . . . completely unaware of the long-awaited, imminent divine appointment.

In a noiseless moment, an angel joins them, and their flatbread and dried fish drop to the ground. God’s glory splits the sky and shines around them. A sudden, serious case of knee-knocking, heart-hammering, pulse-jumping, merciless fear riddles the shepherds.

The stranger in their midst calms them with light and words thieves would never speak. “Fear not.” Good News is proclaimed to them. To the people whose words are deemed least credible. Yet they become the first messengers to carry tidings of great joy—for all people.

Light has come! Jesus’s departure from Heaven is heralded by light! The heavenly host fills the sky, voice their praise to God, and announce peace between God and man.

Jesus is the light that bursts through the darkness of our world. The only light that shines good news.

Praying your Christmas is truly Merry and Bright!

By Amre Cortadino

On Facebook @ From My Window

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Our family has five birthdays in December. One is on December 13th. The other four happen right at Christmas time, on the 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 26th.

The celebration of Christmas and birthdays presents a unique challenge every year. And every year, I make a daily decision, sometimes even hourly, not to be overwhelmed. We’ve tried different options throughout the years, but nobody is content with an early birthday celebration. Thankfully, my husband, whose birthday falls on Christmas day and our daughter, the day after, are both easy-going individuals who don’t mind sharing and don’t meltdown if candles go missing off their joint birthday cake. And our oldest granddaughter’s birthday, on the 24th, is nestled between her two grandpa’s birthdays. Nobody but God could have arranged that one. Another granddaughter whom we thought would be a November baby, came late to us, but right on time in God’s eyes.

What I have learned is cultivating a thankful heart is a much better way to approach the holidays than throwing a pity-party. When I remember to be grateful for these special people in my life, the extra shopping and preparations aren’t a big deal. I have to ask the Lord to help me with a “get ‘er done” attitude, because procrastination doesn’t help either.

But most of all, I need help not to forget the reason Christmas is special. And truly, I’m so thankful that Jesus Christ came. He did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. He saved us from eternal separation from God. Forever.

When I remember His precious love and care for me, that He truly paid my ransom in full, the added birthdays just seem like more grace and blessing. That’s the worthy thought I hang on to  throughout the season.

Guest post by Mary Pat Johns
Faith-filled Stories of Hope and Redemption

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