Annie Mae’s Essential Carry-On

For my Carry-On, regardless of trip length – be it a day trip or 3 week trip abroad – I have a variation of the following:

Backpack: Orange Osprey

Puffy Vest: Coral Eddie Bauer

Beanie: Purple Cashmere

Klean Kanteen: Filled with water shortly before boarding the plane

Winston the Cow – Travel buddy & neck pillow

Macbook Air & Cord

iPhone & Cord

Wallet: extra check & emergency cash


Snacks = something sweet & something salty: fruit leather, smokehouse almonds, Theo chocolate, an apple, gum and extra Starbucks Vias


Pens & pencils


Book: “The Princess and the Goblin”)

Headphones, earplugs, and case



A bandaid

A comb

A hair tie


What do YOU consider your travel essentials?



Far too often real, God given rest seems to be beyond our reach. Life is distracting and no amount of T.V., exercise, or ice cream will help. So here is my practical way of approaching rest.






In walking with Jesus, He wants us to REST. When life is full of worries, concerns, uncertainties, disappointments, or anything else that robs us of peace – where do you turn for rest?

Here is my practical personal exposition on REST =

Reason = Wisdom can be found, sometimes in surprising places. Read a book. Listen to a podcast. Phone a trustworthy friend. Go for a walk.

Experience = God has brought you through a lot of life situations. Maybe this one is entirely new, however, your past experience has prepared you… at least in small ways… to deal with whatever it is you are currently dealing with.

Scripture = OPEN YOUR BIBLE! Read it. Listen to it. Find comfort in the poetry and prose. Look for the experiences in the narrative. Jesus has given us amazing examples of people who failed big and managed to over come impossible situations. (Daniel, Manasseh, Mary, Joseph, Paul…) And while your reading – try a biography of someone who had the courage to share their faith journey!

Tradition = Look to what is special and why it is important… these milestones, holidays, rituals, and traditions have been put in place in order to continually remind us of God’s power, provision, and faithfulness in our lives. (The books of Deuteronomy Joshua, and Judges help show this if you want more.) I will expound on reclaiming holidays and traditions in a future blog, for now I leave you to ponder on your own.

(You should know… I stole this entire concept from Anglican and Wesleyan Theology – known as the “Evangelical Quadrangle”  – then I personalized it. Reason, Experience, Scripture, and Tradition is the foundational  platform for our church services, styles of worship, as well as, the spring board of our theological platforms.)

However, I want us to focus – this is about us taking Jesus’ promises literally. I believe it was Oswald Chambers who said something along the lines of “My life an act of Worship…” This is what real REST is – recognizing our need for Jesus in EVERY aspect of life and then believing He really cares.


The Passionate Pursuit of Contentment ~ New Year’s Day Reflection

Truth is arrived at by examining what IS rather than what is NOT. (Paraphrase; George MacDonald)

January the first in the year of our Lord Two -Thousand and Fifteen. (Admittedly that was fun and pretentious to write out in in its entirety.)

Confession: I am often discontent. Happy as I am in my circumstances, I find myself more often than not wishing for more… different… new… something other than what I have. Don’t get me wrong, I am truly grateful for what I have and so thankful for many aspects my life… I just want more. Which is the George MacDonald quote provoked such reflection. It is a very logical statement – focus on what IS not on what is NOT. Too often I focus on what isn’t and what I don’t have… I think this is the root of discontentment.

2015 goal… The Passionate Pursuit of Daily Contentment.

I am going to purposefully seek contentment in the details of my day, what I have, and what is – then trust God with the changes.  bible coffee

Other goals include finishing and publishing my book, traveling to the wilds of Ohio and England, refreshing my French and studying Greek, reading through the Bible a couple of times along with all of  books hiding in my room… However, I’ll save these goal details for other blog posts.

4 Days Until Christmas… Anticipation

What are you anticipating?

Advent means anticipation.

We are anticipating the celebration of the coming of Jesus.

We have all anticipated events that have resulted in disappointment and broken dreams. Christmas is the exception! It is the yearly reminder of God’s promises and restored glory to us.

The birth of Christ Jesus brought about grand fulfillment of long awaited hopes and dreams. Jesus never disappoints.

Anticipate with me this Advent season the coming of Hope Fulfilled.


New Mercy

Have you ever been so annoyed-irritate-angry by your circumstances that you would rather revel in the muck of your own disappointment than have anyone or anything make you feel better?

Its like wanting to live in Mirkwood (for those of you who haven’t read Lord of the Rings, trust me, its not a very nice place to live, unless you are an elf). Gollum felt relatively comfortable there! So as I sat momentarily indulging in my self-inflicted wallow… my Bible was staring at me – promising comfort and conviction – neither of which I particularly wanted.

I am of the opinion that great relationships only become great when you are able to communicate openly and honestly. God has been working on this with me for a while…

With red eyes and a spiteful heart, I violently grabbed my Bible off the table and yelled at the Lord, “Fine! But I’m going to play the silly game and let it open wherever it wants to… then You can speak to me through it.”

God must laugh at us. Over the fact that I yell in my momentary light affliction, and then presume that my spite could challenge God. At this moment it merely opened the door for God to speak in to my life – I opened my Bible to Lamentations 1. I couldn’t help but smile at the irony – I was lamenting and God chose to remind me that He is good and faithful and understanding and compassionate.

So I began reading and was forced to recognize the truth – I am loved and my life is blessed. Even though there is great moments of pain and sorrow… God’s Mercy is new everyday. His Light shines into the darkest corners of my soul – reclaiming every corner of my life. New Mercy… its what we need.

Here is a song that speaks to my soul and expresses exactly what I mean… (the youtube is a little funny, but the song sounds great.)

“New Mercy” by Phillips, Craig, & Dean

I thought that I had crossed the line
Walked away from love one time
Too many
I thought I’d used up all the grace
Set aside for my mistakes
So many

On my knees I found to my surprise
That your mercy renewed with the sunrise

You make Your mercy new every day
You change my life in so many ways
You cradle me in Your sweet grace
You fill me
Yesterday, today, forever more
There’s one thing I know for sure
Fresh as the morning dew
You make Your mercy new
Every morning

Oh the wasted times that I have known
A prodigal away from home
Not knowing
Every day Your grace was multiplied
With forgiveness waiting to provide
To save the entire world
How much grace would it take
When the sun comes up
There will be enough

This song is performed by Phillips, Craig & Dean and appears on the album Where Strength Begins (1997).

“And… sleep!”

I wish I were more obedient.

Perhaps then I could tell myself to stop worrying – quite being anxious – rest.

And sleep!

But do I listen?

So I turn to the one book guaranteed to bring comfort, conviction, questions, and truth in the same binding – my Bible.

I memorized this verse when I was a kid – Philippians 4:6,7

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

And this one later on – Psalm 4:8 (From Uncle Eugene’s the Message paraphrase)

 “At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep, 
   For you, God, have put my life back together.”

Rest well, digital friends.

House Guests of the Heart

Restless discontent

Stands on the threshold of my heart

Threatening to stop in and make itself at home

I have a good broom and I will keep my doorway clean

Unwelcome emotions are swept away by the Word

Faith’s window lets in Divine contentment

The Spirit wind refreshing the soul

Peace is restored for today

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.

Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~ Matthew 6:34