Category Archives: Spiritual Growth

Walk Like Nik Wallenda?

devotion Jesus walking on water and Nik Wallenda walks across gorge

It is old news, but if you saw it you will never forget it? Did you like Nik Wallenda walk?  I couldn’t watch it until the event was completely finished–too nerve racking for me. While 1400 feet isn’t a record-breaking distance across, I was scared for him. Because the 1400 feet was stretched across a gorge […]

Pentecost Sunday Morning in Guyana

I finally have an Internet Connection! I have to make this quick everyone is waiting. No time for pictures. Just a quick hello. I wrote the blog early Pentecost Morning. This is the first time I have been able to post. Thank you for your prayers. We have felt them! God has done awesome things. Tell […]

Relationship- The Main Thing

Relationship- The Main Thing   The rain had washed the pollen out of the air leaving the sweet fragrance of spring in its place. The azaleas were glorious pink balls of blooms as we drove onto the property! The naked landscape of winter was finally dressed in the splendor of spring and dark forest emerald […]

Growing Grass 101- Light

Growing Grass 101- Light

Wayne and I love trees. When we built our home, we were careful to leave every tree possible on the lot. We wanted lots of trees and we got them! Huge live oaks, bay trees, I hate those huge rubbery leaves, loquat, fig, orange, lemon, pine, hickory and scraggly scrub oaks.   But what we […]

Done with Easter- Ready For the Next Holiday!

The last scrap of meat has been carved off the end of the ham bone. The last deviled egg was gobbled, so the plate could be washed. All that’s left of Easter is  the two malted milk ball eggs in the bottom of the bag that the kids didn’t find. It’s almost the end of […]

Sweet Orange Blossoms-Fragrance of Praise

Sweet Orange Blossoms-Fragrance of Praise

Like a bee, he followed his nose to the source of the sweet fragrance. The bushy-like orange tree was almost as glorious as the fragrance from the blooms. Vibrant orange balls hung like ornaments on the branches covered with emerald green leaves and beautiful white flowers.Wayne brought a fresh orange inside and handed it to […]

Essentials For the Journey

Essentials For the Journey

Essentials for the JourneyThere are all kinds of packers in this world. Heavy packers, light packers, immature packers and even the Green Bay Packers make my list. I’ve noticed that if you travel a lot and have to carry your own bags you have a tendency to pack lighter. I’ve noticed that last minute packers tend to plan less and carry more. Women almost always carry more stuff than they need, again, unless they have to carry it themselves. Immature packers pack their teddy bear and they are ready to go. They cuddle their teddy bear happily until they reach their destination, then wish they had done differently. The light packer is typically the business traveler, that travels enough to know where they are going, what they will need when they get there and they don’t want to be bothered with excess. And the Green Bay Packers, only one comment; can Aaron Rodgers lead them to victory this Saturday?


If you’ve ever lost your bags on an airline or arrived at your destination with only one shoe or without a hair brush you know the frustration of not having what you need and I can tell you first hand it’s VERY frustrating. So over the years I have become a great packer. I’m a great packer because before I pack anything I answer three questions.

1. Where am I going?

2. What will I be doing?

3. What are the essentials?

As you travel through 2013 you need to answer those three questions. I realize you’ve already walked through many minutes and hours and even several days into 2013. Maybe enough hours and days have passed to clear your head from the sugar high of the holidays and the emotional high of a New Year to answer the questions with clarity. Where are you going this year? What do you want to accomplish for God this year? Remember the Bible says, Ecc 9:10a NKJV “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might;” Colossians 3:23 “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”


Life is more than entertainment, yet while entertainment should be part of your life-it should not be your whole life. Life is meaningful, when it is filled with purpose, people and purposefully accomplishments. So set some goals. Write them down. What do you want to do? What do you want to learn? Who do you want to help?


Man stomping on suitcase lg clrThe essentials are the things that I carry no matter where I go, deodorant, aren’t you glad? A tooth brush, hair brush and clean underwear are a few items that are always in my suitcase. So I always double check my suitcase for the essentials.


And the essentials for 2013? In my quiet time I’ve been mediating over what are the essentials that I need to take with me into 2013. I want to pack the right things so I will be equipped for the journey. You see life is a journey, not a destination! If my journey is going to be savored and not just spent, then I must identify and value the essentials. I want my life to count. I want to live it in such a way that God will be pleased. And I don’t want to be frustrated as I travel. I want to be equipped, so my time is well spent making me more productive and more effective.


For that to take place, first, I need to take wisdom into my new year.

My mother used to say to me regularly, “Pat, there’s a wrong way, a right way and a hard way. You always pick the hard way.” And the truth is…she was right. But when I take wisdom with me, I learn how to choose the right way. Wisdom doesn’t fall in my lap or jump out to grab my attention. It must be sought, secured and valued. It must be pondered and understood. It demands that I apply it’s principles and stretch and grow. It requires me to move beyond the way I’ve always done things to carve my path with ingenuity and creativity. Wisdom causes me to reach for better, to dream for bigger, to rejoice when I’ve done it well. It causes me to sidestep evil and avoid needless troubles and turmoils.


I also need God’s Love. I’m glad it’s not heavy, because I have to carry a lot with me. I need His love personally and I need some to lavish on others. It is life’s sweetest dessert. Without love, life’s journey becomes a drudgery and a difficult and painful climb. It casts out fear. It is a magnet that brings out the best in people, those that receive it and those that give it. It makes the bitter taste sweet. It brings hope. It encourages. Everything is better with love!


I haven’t always carried the last item on my 2013 essential list. And sometimes, even when I carried it, it was always slipped into the side pocket and I didn’t even use it. But this year I’m going to use it diligently. That life essential is gratitude.


I’ve discovered gratitude is an attitude that goes beyond excitement over a gift I’m given or a place I get to enjoy. Gratitude is more than a passing feeling. Gratitude is a heartfelt realization that i have been given more than i deserve. Gratitude is a song that reverberates from a humble heart that is truly thankful. Gratitude sees more than the gift, it sees the giver and responds from the heart. Gratitude is conceived in the heart, but is not birthed until it is expressed, first to God, then to others. First to God because I understand the reality that He is the given of every good and perfect gift. Gratitude can only be cultivated and honed from a heart that loves and receives love. Gratitude is both emotional and intentional. Gratitude makes the ordinary extraordinary. Gratitude clothes the simple things in regal robes. Gratitude blesses me and those to whom I express it!


And while I’m on the subject. I want to tell you that I appreciate you. Sincerely, from a humble heart, thank you for reading my blog. Many of you read all my posts. If you are reading my blog you are interested in the things of God, you have a heart for God. We have that in common. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to speak into your life. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share with you what God is sharing with me.


I pray for my readers often. Today I pray that God will bless you, that He will expand your territory and love through you, speak through you and transform you into the image of His dear Son! I pray that your 2013 will be enriched with wisdom, love and gratitude and that you will love God and obey Him deliberately like never before.


I’d love to hear from you. What are some essentials that you are packing for your 2013?


Links You Might Like

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Make Your Minutes Count- Accomplishments

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We began our journey into a new year just a few hours ago. Whether you slammed the door on 2012 with relief that it was finally over or you wanted to linger to enjoy its treasures and your accomplishments, 2012 has ended. That door is forever closed. We can gild 2012 or wrap it in […]

Jehovah is a Gracious Giver

Jehovah is a Gracious Giver

Jehovah is a gracious giver

The temple ministry of the priest was done on a rotation basics and it was Zechariah’s turn to minister. Tradition tells us that all the priests that were on active duty gathered in a circle to draw lots, which is kind of like drawing straws, to determine their responsibilities for that week. There were many tasks that could be done only by the priests. The lamps had to be filled with oil. The wicks needed trimming. The ashes had to be removed. What a messy job that was! Included in that list of responsibilities was burning the incense on the altar in the inner court. Burning the incense was an amazing opportunity and Zechariah chose that lot. I can only begin to imagine how exciting that must have been.


Most people would be anxious to tell their wife and kids, but Zechariah didn’t have kids. Elizabeth was barren. In the Jewish culture of that day, it was a disgrace to be childless. Elisabeth wore the emotional shroud of barrenness and shame. Empty arms…empty dreams….


But I don’t think that was even on Zechariah’s mind as he made his way into the inner court. The Bible doesn’t give us a glimpse of his emotions at this point. Was he filled with praise as he removed the old incense ashes and piled the special mixture of aromatic spices into a mound and lite them? As the smoke began to ascend heavenward and a wonderful fragrance filled the room, an angel appeared to Zechariah.  Suddenly he was overwhelmed with fear. Most people in Scripture responded that way when they had a heavenly encounter.


Luke 1:13 “But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! For God has heard your prayer, and your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son! And you are to name him John.”


Then the angel begins to paint a glorious picture for dear old Zach. The angel describes the joy that this little guy would bring into their home. Then he explains  what an awesome man his son would become and how he would prepare the way for the Messiah that they had been looking for so long.


Can you picture this scene?  A bearded, white haired man standing there totally stunned–dazed eyes –his mouth hanging open and then finally muttering something like, “Yeah, right? Impossible! I’m old. She’s old. Old dream. It’s impossible! He couldn’t wrap his head the promise.  His Elisabeth…have a…as old as they were. How? Why now? Why not then?


I think the angel was as shocked at Zach as Zach was at the angel. The angel assured him that they would have a baby, and then continued, ”but because of your unbelief, you will  not be able to speak until it happens!” The people waited for Zechariah to come out and when he did, they realized something extraordinary had happened that day. But Zechariah couldn’t share it, because he was literally speechless!


Elisabeth did conceive…just like the angel said. I wonder how much Zechariah shared with her about  his heavenly encounter in the inner court of the sanctuary. He couldn’t talk, but he could write…did she know about the angel? Did she know before she conceived that she would conceive? When I get to heaven, I want to hear Elisabeth share her story.


The Bible tells us she hid herself. Why ? Did she want to savor the preciousness of that season that she had dreamed of for so long? Was it to protect her joy from crude comments? Was it a sequestered time to pray over that little promise that was growing in her womb? As a mother I know the utter joy she felt as she watched her tummy grow plump and round. She was experiencing a miracle. She was experiencing a gracious gift of Jehovah. She must have said in her heart over and over again…Jehovah is a gracious giver, as she rubbed her stomach. Then moments  later she would again reflect Jehovah is a gracious giver…JEHOVAH is a gracious giver.


Not only was new life growing in her physical womb, I believe something was happening in the womb of her spirit. I believe as  she rehearsed the words ”God you are a gracious giver” again and again  her image of God was changing.  She knew she was going to have a boy,even without the aid of an ultra sound and she knew his name would be John which means “Jehovah is a gracious giver.”


Her friends argued, “Where’d you get a name like that? That’s not a family name.”


But when they asked Zach, he wrote it down for them, “His name is John.”


Jehovah is still a gracious giver. Do you know Him as gracious giver? Do you realize that God has gifts for you…gifts that can only be received when you discover Him as gracious giver? Recognizing that facet of His nature causes you to open your heart to receive from Him.


He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. But our image of God is so blurred and smeared by what we’ve heard about Him that we don’t recognize Him as a giver.Our enemy, satan, has twisted and lied to believers, even as we’ve prayed desperate, sincere prayers. He has whispered and screamed lies  that have distorted  our image of God to the point that many believers hardly know Who He is. But Jehovah is a gracious giver.


For many years audience members dreamed of being on one of Oprah’s “My Favorite” Shows, so they could be on the receiving end of the lavish out pouring of Oprah’s extravagant generosity. We are not shocked by the gifts of generous philanthropist, but our picture of God isn’t always so generous.  We often feel that our long prayers just might pry a little something out of God’s clenched fist. But God is nothing like that. Our limited vision of Him limits our faith.


Bruce Wilkerson explains in his book “Beyond Jabez,” that some people are shocked and even alarmed at the lavish outpouring of blessings on their lives after they began to pray  “The Prayer of Jabez.” He shares that some people were so overwhelmed with blessings that they stopped praying that prayer, because they thought it was wrong to be so blessed. That is an example of people with a wrong image of who God is. God is a gracious giver. In “The Prayer of  Jabez”, p.21, Mr. Wilkerson said,”When we seek God’s blessing as the ultimate value in life, we are throwing ourselves entirely into the river of His will and power and purposes for us. All our other needs become secondary to what we rally want—which is to become wholly immersed in what God is trying to do in us, through us and around us for His glory.”


The Prayer of Jabez 1 Chronicles 4:10 “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.”


Elisabeth and Zechariah’s gift—John, was a blessing to them, but he was also a blessing to people, both then and now as we see him in the role as the forerunner of Christ. That’s how God’s gifts work. His gifts bless us so we can bless others. God wants to give you good gifts. God wants to bless you, but the rules of the kingdom require that we ask. When we understand His gracious gifts enable us to be equipped to give, serve and bless other, it changes our motive behind the prayer, “Bless me, Lord.” We become a conduit for His blessings to flow through, rather than a container that hoards them selfishly!

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 Great Family Devotions at Focus on the Family or


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His Name Is…Jesus

His Name Is...

I had a sense of pride about it. I felt that it made me special…having four names. If you asked me I would tell you proudly, “My name is Patricia Anne with an e, Patricia Anne Pat Batley.” I thought I was so special because I had more names than anyone else. I had four names. I didn’t realize Pat was a nickname and almost everyone has a nickname, they just didn’t wear it as proudly as I did mine. Then when I started school, I could never decide what I wanted to be called so every year I rotated it;  Pat one year and Patricia the next. I’m still known by both. Patricia is a fancy name, not nearly as fancy as Victoria or Elisabeth, but Pat really fits me better.


Now my list of names is longer and far more precious than the name my parents gave me. Wayne, my precious sweetheart, calls me Baby. Kimberly and Jason call me Mama. And those Grandbabies, that I never ever get tired of talking about, call me Nana. Nana is a very precious name when it’s used by any of them.


His name shall be called Emmanuel God With Us My Grandchildren love me, but they “really” love their Papa. When Brayden was learning to talk I offered him a banana. He said, “No, Papa. I pointed at a banana and repeated, “Brayden, its a banana…do you want a banana? He reached for the banana—no, papa. Brayden, you really know how to hurt your Nana!


I know names are important and through the years I’ve really tried to remember them. Sometimes I have messed up royally. Once two boys visited my children’s church the same day. One was Snapper and the other was Kevin. One boy and his family came back and began to attend our church. I was so proud of myself for remembering the quiet, adorable little guys name, so I used it often. “Good Morning, Snapper. So nice to see you, Snapper.”

For two months I used and perhaps, overused his name, until one day, two months later by the way, his mom corrected me. “His name is Kevin.” All I could think about was all those times I had called that poor child Snapper. Imagine what he must have been thinking? And why would anyone name their child Snapper. I won’t go there, but I’ve heard worse.


Names identify us and reflect who we are that's why Jesus was given a name above every name. Names are important. Some are family names and we pass them down, even though some sound old and mildewy. Some come from weird places and sound just as weird. Some names are chosen because they are rich with meaning and a parent wants them to be like their name. I guess every parent has a reason.


God has lots of names. Each of which reveals and describes who He is accurately. He shares and reveals and uncovers each name like we open a beautifully wrapped present so we can glimpse another facet of who He is and what He is like.


God shared a special revelation with Isaiah about a special baby that would be born, even going into details about His name. He gave adjectives that described His nature that we would use as proper nouns. Rich, pregnant words that describe His nature, His personality and some of His attributes.


Isaiah 9:6 nlt  “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  More than a mindless nickname; titles that describe His nature. Attributes that can be accessed and enjoyed by believers.


Matthew 1:23 nlt “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and he will be called Immanuel (meaning, God is with us).” This is the most amazing title of them all—Immanuel—God with us. God is so big and yet He wants to live with us. In spite of our finiteness. Amazing! Only God would think of that! As I reflect on all that that means I must respond in praise. I must respond in awe to the beauty of Who He is and Who He wants to become in my life.


His name is powerful. There’s healing in His name. There’s victory in His name. At His name every knee will bow. Man’s rebellious cursing and blaspheming His name doesn’t dent it or void it of its power. His name is above every name. His name is the only name that can save us from our sins. His name is Jesus. Immanuel. Savior. Healer. Lover of my soul!


I wear His name when I’m called a Christian. I bear His name when I follow His commands. I reflect His name when I love the unloveable. I speak His name instead of fear. I whisper His name in worship. I worship His name in deep adoration. I bow to His name in surrender. That name that is above every name!


Thank you God for sending Jesus. For giving us the opportunity to know you and walk with you and to enjoy your presence. Your presence brings peace. It brings the influence of all you are into our lives. Let us live our lives under the influence of your peace, your joy, your love. Reflecting your nature, your name into our circumstances, into our homes and neighborhoods, so that Jesus will be exalted and glorified in our lives! Let your name be magnified everywhere I go!


I’d love to hear from you. What does His name mean to you.


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Carry Your Camera- Gratitude

While the Thanksgiving holiday is behind us, it’s warmth and essence are more fragrant today that they were Thursday. Let me explain.


When I discovered that Kimberly’s three fledglings would be out of school on Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I asked if I could borrow them. I had been planning crafts and things we could do together for several weeks. While none of my pictures come close to Pinterest quality, the memories we made were awesome. They made popsicle stick puppets, then moved from one craft to another where they painted and glued and created. It was messy. It was wonderful.


We made Indian Teepees from Pinterest. I should have read the directions more closely, because the cones tipped and leaked into my oven. (No, the smoke alarm didn’t go off, because I took it down. I’m tired of being the Smoke Alarm Queen.) Sorry, Kimberly, I know that doesn’t make you too happy. But think about it this way, they made it safely home…so no worries.


Karyn made her first pie crust all by herself from scratch! Way to go, girl! It was flakey and delicious!




Brayden and Ashlyn helped me arrange flowers for Kimberly’s table.

2012-11-21 arranging-flowers-together


It was sooo much fun! They cleaned up behind themselves.It just doesn’t get any better, but then it did.  Ashlyn came up to me and asked, “Would you mind if I vacuumed your floor?” I though I heard the Hallelujah Chorus right then and there! Hallelujah! Yes, baby, you just have at it!


We decided to go for a walk.I didn’t know God was going to use Ashlyn again, as He has on so many occasions to talk to me. They had been inside all day, so it was time for some exercise. Ashlyn handed me the camera as we put on our shoes to go outside with the instruction, “Here take this.”


“Why do I need the camera?” I asked. “We’re just going to walk down the street. We’re not going anywhere except right here in the neighborhood!”


Her twinkling smile was convincing,”In case we see something special,Nana.”


We walked a few houses down the street, “Show me something special,” I asked Ashlynn.


She flashed that big grin at her Nana and pointed to the mailbox. “Take a picture of the mailbox, Nana.”



So I did. It’s a beautiful mailbox. I’d never seen it before. I chuckled; because all these years that I’ve lived in this house, I’d never noticed that beautiful mailbox.



Again, she pointed and I clicked. “Look Nana, see the flower…


and the fountain ….


By this time, Brayden had joined the search…is the fruit ripe yet? …referring to the loquat tree at the entrance of the neighborhood.


“Take a picture of the roses, Nana.”look-nana-roses


She was right my neighborhood was filled with special things! Thank you, Ashlyn for helping me to see them. They are special. Gifts of beauty–from God–there for me to enjoy, but I hurry past without even noticing until with tiny fingers she points them out to me. Pleasures, simple pleasures, but I have to see them, to enjoy them. 


I respond with heartfelt gratitude and glee (Does that sound like too strong a word for such little things? Not when you’re seeing the beauty through the eyes of a child! Or when you see every little thing as a gift from God.), “Thank you God for sweet smelling velvet roses on a late November day. Thank you God for a childish reminder to notice special things, so I can savor them. Thank you a little hand inside mine, skipping alongside me as I tried to remember how to skip…and I did. Thank you God, for Brayden racing ahead, you know he’s our miracle boy, jumping across the drain grate at the pond and calling to Ashlyn to do the same—and she did!



Then Ashlyn’s words were driven home again Saturday evening when I started reading Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts”. I read it aloud to Wayne all the way to church and then he finished it aloud to me later. She shares her story of counting…of finding God in the moments and finding His grace everywhere. She says, “There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up.”


In her journey to stop, see and savor one thousand gifts she discovers that thankfulness is the seed of miracles and joy. This book helped me see a different side of Jesus; a different side of Daniel–the thankful side. As I ran with her through the wheat fields to watch a harvest moon, sort the laundry and wash sinks full of dirty dishes I wept tears of gratitude for the ordinary. For God’s love gifts that turn my ordinary into a cathedral of praise and worship.


Yes, the Thanksgiving holiday is behind me. We polished off the last bite of turkey and dressing.The only thing left is some sweet potato pie, but thanks giving isn’t over at the Holland House…thanks to Ashlyn and Ann it just got ramped up! And yes, Ashlyn, I’ll remember to take my camera because there is something special everywhere I go!


 Points to ponder:

Gratitude opens the heart to receive God’s love gifts. But you have to see them before you can be thankful for them.



This really is an awesome book and would make great gifts too! One Thousand Gifts one-thousand-gifts 3

Ten Warnings that Could Save Your Thanksgiving or Christmas for that Matter

Experiencing His Glory


Think Missional! Pass this on to someone you think may enjoy it or need it.


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