Discovering unexpected treasures in our life stories.

 Welcome! I’m Marilyn

and so glad you stopped by.

My grandmother had a beautiful lilac tree in her yard. Occasionally, she would snip a few stems, place them in a jar of water, and set it on her kitchen counter. Even now, if I close my eyes and inhale, I smell the sweet fragrance.of the flowers and her home.

Lilacs are a treasure and a trademark of my hometown, Rochester, New York. Colonists brought small slips of these beauties to the new world and later, varieties were developed by horticulturists. Today, thousands of people from around the world, visit Highland Park, where over five hundred breathtaking and colorful lilac varieties cover twenty-two acres. As a child, I went there to see an array of trees on Lilac Sunday in May.

A simple gesture of lilac cuttings on the kitchen counter, the tenancy of horticulturists, and acres of varieties of lilac trees on display for the world to see-each is an extraordinary treasure–much like life: small moments and big ones; challenges and ordinary times; personal moments and shared experiences.

For me, the simplicity of growing up in an Italian family and gathering for “spaghetti on Sunday” with endless conversation, moving several times in my married life to unique areas, and the greatest challenge of my husband’s sudden fatal heart attack, have shown me the treasure of God’s faithfulness in all seasons. You can read more on my About page.

If you’re looking for encouragement, you’re at the right place. Together, we can find peace during pain, wisdom for a decision, learning through waiting, hope when grieved, and even joy when circumstances say otherwise. Meet me at my blog and join the conversation where together we’ll encounter treasures in unexpected places.

Marilyn

A Morning Walk: Backwards, in a Circle, and Landing in Hope

A Morning Walk: Backwards, in a Circle, and Landing in Hope

Join me today for another in a series of Morning Walks. “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness, ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him’.” Lamentations 3: 21-24 NIV In...

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When Walks Become Part of Our Story

When Walks Become Part of Our Story

Today I welcome guest blogger Cathy Baker, a friend and fellow writer, to be part of our Morning Walks series. Read how her walks led to deeper places. Growing up, my family owned a little piece of heaven cradled between mountain peaks. Those five acres surrounded by hundreds, began at the edge of a spring-fed lake and shot straight up the...

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Taking Slow Walks: Open Eyes and Open Heart

Taking Slow Walks: Open Eyes and Open Heart

Note: this is the second in a series of Morning Walks. Click here to read #1.             Walking has become my favorite form of exercise. Transparency here--I had no other forms of consistent exercise. Walking rose to the top with no competition. I developed my regimen when I moved to North Carolina and a neighbor was my walking partner for...

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Morning Walks: Once in a Lifetime

Morning Walks: Once in a Lifetime

Image by Ashish Bogawat from Pixabay My Facebook memory popped up reminding me three years ago, people in the US were buzzing with anticipation of the solar eclipse. Our city of Greenville hosted over 400,000 visitors to view a once in a lifetime event. The August 2017 eclipse was the first since 1918 with a path of totality-- a total solar...

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New Year for Teachers: New Ways to Pray

New Year for Teachers: New Ways to Pray

One look on social media shows back to school photos of children and teachers in a different place from this time last year..Created spaces in homes have been dedicated to learning centers with desks and bookshelves. Meet the teacher for those heading to "in person school" is by appointment with a limited number of students in time slots. Two...

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Back to School: New Steps and Prayer

Back to School: New Steps and Prayer

( Photo: Innviertlerin from Pixabay) Change. Different. Uncertainty. That’s the way we felt in March when schools shut down and learning moved from school to home via computers. If we were to take a poll today, results would probably show we thought the virus would have diminished by now and we’d be back in school and back to normal. Recent...

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Lesson From a Closed Fitting Room and a Line: An Open Invitation to “Come”

Lesson From a Closed Fitting Room and a Line: An Open Invitation to “Come”

When I went shopping with my daughters and granddaughter last week, I knew it would be a different kind of outing. As we entered the mall, we put on our masks-a requirement for that location. We stayed close by each other, often repeating ourselves as a mask interfered with speaking and understanding each other. Unlike other times, we were not...

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Unsettled or a Firm Foundation? The Treasure of Peaceful Perspectives

Unsettled or a Firm Foundation? The Treasure of Peaceful Perspectives

Here we are. 2020 is half over and some feel as if they haven’t lived much of it. One social media post lamented a most wasted purchase was a 2020 planner. It has been an unsettling few months. Children completed school at home; graduations didn’t happen or were in shifts of limited number; weddings were postponed; and grievers didn’t receive...

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How Far Has Distancing Taken You?

How Far Has Distancing Taken You?

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a rule follower, or because I’m in the “risk” category, or both, but I’ve kept the six-foot distance-or the “two supermarket carts apart” in stores-rule for weeks. Most friends in my age bracket have done the same and I haven’t had a hug or kiss from my grands since mid-March. The...

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Hope Is Not Under Quarantine

Hope Is Not Under Quarantine

While walking toward my mailbox, my neighbor called to me. As I crossed the street, she reassured me we would keep social distance, but wanted to show me something. My curiosity was peaked. I saw nothing except her beautiful azaleas and flowers, an art gallery for me with free admission each time I head out my front door. “Look at my Easter...

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Refresh Your Faith: Guest Lori Hatcher

Refresh Your Faith: Guest Lori Hatcher

Several years ago, I met Lori Hatcher at a writers’ conference. She’s become a dear friend and I’m delighted to have her as my guest today. Today she's launching her new devotional book, Refresh Your Faith. Lori wrote sixty-devotions as the result of looking for something more. “I was frustrated by many of the devotionals I read, that seemed...

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Unexpected Treasures: Journey Through a Most Significant Week

Unexpected Treasures: Journey Through a Most Significant Week

For the past few weeks, we discussed the “one anothers” in scripture. We began with loving one another and the last post shared supporting one another. During our unexpected health crisis, we have had opportunities to express love, care, and support for many. We have reached out to offer prayer support for people in our country and around the...

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A Gallery of Encouragement: Treasured Words in Challenging Days

A Gallery of Encouragement: Treasured Words in Challenging Days

The past two weeks have seen a dramatic change in life as we knew it. I've been fortunate to communicate via technology with friends and family, and heard phrases, "cabin fever" "new normal", and "children are restless." One Mom told me she hasn't left the house in twelve days. Another is concerned with school assignments. Supermarkets have...

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From the Beach to a Treadmill: Life and Hope in Social Distancing

From the Beach to a Treadmill: Life and Hope in Social Distancing

“I like your shirt.” That’s what I told a college student walking the beach last week. My friend Peggy and I stopped to chat with the young man, whose shirt read, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you”. He and another student were on spring break, then heading back to clear their dorm rooms, move home, and complete college courses...

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How Heavy Is It? “One Another” -Part 4

How Heavy Is It? “One Another” -Part 4

It was seven years ago, but I remember as if it happened yesterday. I attended a large gathering with friends to hear a well-known speaker. Before he began to teach, he invited us to close our eyes so he could pray for us. I thought it would be a short prayer, but instead, he began to name difficulties, and asked us to raise our arm if that...

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Valentine’s Day: One Another

Valentine’s Day: One Another

Before Christmas supplies reached 50% off sales, the next consumer event appeared. Pink and red decorations covered shelves, and card displays reminded us of Valentine’s Day. A day designated as an opportunity to show love, affection, and friendship sees excited children write cards and place them in handmade boxes to exchange at school....

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Second Sight for 2020 Vision

Second Sight for 2020 Vision

This past summer and early fall, I was hooked on a murder mystery series, received several novels to load on my Kindle, and participated on book launch teams. At one point, my eyes were dry and fatigued from reading. The print began to blur. I took off my glasses, rubbed my eyes, and blinked. It took a while, but the lines on the screen...

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“Knows” and “Nos” for 2020

“Knows” and “Nos” for 2020

Today I welcome Jeannie Waters as my guest blogger. Jeannie and I met at a writers’ conference several years ago. We continue to connect each week to pray together and share our writing journeys. I appreciate her wisdom and heart and share it with you today. You can read more about Jeannie at the end of her post. Sometimes we overlook what’s...

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A Tea Caddy and Keys for a New Year

A Tea Caddy and Keys for a New Year

My friend seated with her feet curled up, took another sip from her floral china mug and turned toward me. “This is what I love.” “What’s that?” I asked. “A beautiful fire, safety in the presence of a dear friend, and holding a cup of hot tea.” I agreed. Warmth came in many directions–heat from the fireplace, a trusted friend, and the comfort...

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Restless Holidays?

Restless Holidays?

Counting down to December 25, are you among those with more on your to do list today than when you started? We may describe ourselves as tired or busy, but would we would also say, “restless”? Restlessness implies being perpetually in motion; constant activity and moving to the next perceived important or urgent thing to do. Ironically, the...

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“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Psalm 16:11 (NIV)

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