A Cloud of Goodness

“In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b NIV

The brightness of the sun was almost blinding. Its beams brought heaven to earth as I lifted my head and closed my eyes. Silence surrounded me, and I let myself enjoy this rare opportunity of tranquility. Unfortunately, it didn’t last.

Out of nowhere dark clouds moved in from the left and the right, the blue sky vanishing in an instant, darkening not only the sky but my mood. It was as if the sun from a moment ago was just a tease. I frowned and prayed, asking God to bring back the warm sunshine. I still needed it. He spoke to my spirit, what I have to admit, I didn’t really like His reply.

He said, “Sometimes we need the rain.”

I pondered this, not at all what I expected. “Sometimes we need the rain.” Things of the earth popped into my head. Flowers, grass, animals, people, me. Where would we be without rain? First Kings tells us of a drought that lasted for three years, causing a severe famine in the land. The day Elijah sent his servant to look for a sign of rain and he saw the small cloud that was the size of a man’s hand, was a day of rejoicing for the people. They knew the cloud was a sign of the beginning of the end of their trouble.  Then I understood what God meant. As much as I loved the feel of the warm sun on my face, too much of it can be dangerous. While I wished for the sun to return, I thanked God for sending the rain.

Does It Matter What We Think? My first instinct when the cloud covered the sun was to whine and complain. In fact, I think my prayer came out more like a complaint. And it hadn’t even started to rain!

At the first sign of trouble, what is your instinct? Do you whine or complain (even to yourself) like I did if something doesn’t go exactly the way you planned? In the verse above, Jesus promised us we would face trials in our lives. The clouds will come. But do you want to know the great part? Just before He spoke these words, He said, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.” (John 16:33a NIV) Peace during the storm. Rest during the unrest.

The clouds come to bring rain, something the earth needs to survive. We may not always know why trials come in our lives, but we can rest assure God does know, and He has a reason for them. Believe it or not, they will bring something good to come to pass in your life. The next time a cloud covers your sun, think about the drought and thank God for the rain.

Squashed Like a Bug

Weary. That’s what I was. Have you ever felt weary? I was weary from fighting in the same battle over and over, winning a small victory only to find myself defeated a minute later. The battles would conclude at the end of each day, but the war raged on the instant I’d open my eyes in the morning.

You might be wondering what I’m talking about. A battle? War? What battle? It’s a battle we all must face, unfortunately. However, maybe you don’t even realize you’re in the same battle as I am, fighting right alongside each other. The battle is in our minds. In simple terms, what are you thinking? Are you leaving the door open to wrong thoughts? What are you allowing to pass over the threshold into the open door of your mind?

Paul warns in Ephesians 4:27 (Amplified), “And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness].” How do we give the devil an opportunity? By entertaining wrong thinking. By allowing ourselves to focus just a second too long on the feelings of jealousy over someone else, or the feelings of rejection and anger when we don’t feel loved like we think we should. If we’re not careful, before we know it we’ve given the devil a real foothold in our minds, and this is the worst place to allow him. Once he has us feeling sorry for ourselves, or entitled to receive something, it’s hard to break the cycle because it feels good to our flesh.

Like I said, I was tired. I kept letting myself think a second (or a minute) too long on a very familiar, yet toxic thought and before I know it I’d welcomed back those yucky feelings. But no more. I was on a run one morning, and those same nasty thoughts knocked on the door again. That time, however, I didn’t answer—regardless of the heavy breathing and sweat oozing through my pores. Nothing could stop me from entering into battle. And this time, I possessed the confidence to win because I reminded myself how the war ends.

The Bible tells us in the book of Revelation what happens to Satan at the end. He will be, “Cast into the lake of fire and brimstone…tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Rev. 20:10) Why did I keep allowing him win the battles when I knew his destiny? Because he fights dirty.

Does It Matter What We Think? So, what happened on that run that changed me? How was I able to start winning the battles? I consciously changed my thinking. It started with a picture. Often God does this, He allows me to see in my mind a picture that can help or teach me or someone else. This particular picture was of a small bug. One of those ugly bugs with a hard, crunchy shell. I saw myself squashing the bug with my foot. Smash! One stomp and that bug was history. Then I saw people dancing together, crushing the bug into the ground.

The bug was Satan—the devil himself. The people dancing were the saints, or people who love God. God was showing me that I had the power to crush the enemy under my feet, and so do you. It was the easiest thing in the world! All we need to do is say, “NO!” to those negative thoughts, and instead allow ourselves to think thoughts that contradict them. Then we’ve won! And what a sweet victory it is.

A Prison of Victory

“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs…” Philippians 1:27

Picture this: Scars cover your entire body, constant reminders of your dedication and devotion. The air holds such a stench that you can taste the mildew, stale waste, and odor of weeks without a shower. The verbal insults hurled at you hourly try to strip you of any dignity you have left. You haven’t been outside in, hmm, you can’t remember, but you know it’s been just as long since you’ve had a good meal and a nice, hot shower.

How would you be feeling? Better yet, what thoughts would be racing through your mind each day? Would you be planning revenge on those who caused you pain? Maybe you’d feel like giving up, a “what’s the use of living, anyways,” attitude. Or maybe, you’d be on your knees praying for those whom you love, turning the focus off of you and onto others. Wait, what? You might be asking, “How can you expect me to expend the energy on others when I’m barely surviving, here?” Am I right?

Because that’s exactly what Paul did. Even from jail, Paul’s heart was for the saints, his brothers and sisters in Christ. Because of the help from the Holy Spirit, He was able to turn his focus away from his own hardship and to helping his friends who were struggling with issues of their own. “Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” And not to be afraid of their adversaries. He told them he prayed for them to, “be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.” (Phil. 1:27, 1:10) I believe letters like this one kept him going each day. He wasn’t consumed with his circumstances, but on how he could help his friends.

Blog prison credit to Denny Müller

Does It Matter What We Think? What better model for us to follow than the lives of Jesus and His disciples? While you might not currently be in Paul’s predicament, are you in a spiritual prison? Does it feel like the walls are closing in around you with no way out? You are NOT alone. God is with you, just like He was with Paul. He will help you.

How? We can start by praying a prayer of thankfulness to God every time we think of our brothers and sisters, “making request for (them) all with joy.” (Philippians 1:4)

What else? When we are tempted to fold our minds in on ourselves, ask God to put one person on your heart. Then reach out. Encourage them through a text or phone call, letting them know you think about them and pray for them.  It is only when we turn our eyes away from ourselves that we can truly have the victory. Remember, if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

Hiking Out Life Lessons

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” I John 5:4

“You have to go through the muck.” Behind me, Michelle was of course speaking about the spiritual parallels for the current situation we found ourselves in—specifically, my two dear friends and I were going through, well, the muck. Literally.

Our families recently visited Vermont for a long weekend, staying in a house together that sat nestled in a community filled with trees, dirt roads, and, to our joy, hiking trails. This particular morning all twelve of us decided (well, ok, the moms kinda made an executive decision) that we would spend an hour or two hiking the four-mile trail to the top of a mountain.

Within minutes the kids had disappeared, leaving the six adults in their dust. As the adults journeyed, we commented on the change in the terrain the further we walked. Slowly the wide path narrowed. Slowly the small rocks and graveled path grew large roots and sprung ginormous rocks right in the middle of the path. What was that about!? There was no sign posted that said, “Warning, this path will become dangerous.”

We made it pretty far successfully, but then the men decided they’d had enough and would meet us at the bottom. We were about a quarter-mile to the top—or so we had been told. As the three of us brave women continued, the path turned mucky. Hence, the beginning of our spiritual parallel inspirations.

“You have to go through the muck to get to the end, and the end is glorious.”

“We all fall down (ok, none of us actually fell, but admittedly, there were slippings and three pairs of wet feet), but we have to pick ourselves up and stay on the path.”

“Keep going because there’s a great reward at the end.”

“There will be roots that pop up and the rocks will make you stumble, but press on.”

The parallels were endless. Michelle and Jill began to spew them out one after another. It was just enough for me to keep up with them as I typed my notes into my phone (thank God for cell phones). This continued until we found ourselves making references to the straight and narrow path that was not very well traveled. Because, uh, well, that’s just where we realized we had landed. The first indication was the overgrown ferns that our legs swished through. But it wasn’t until the “no trespassing” signs posted to trees that we really knew we were on the wrong path—another spiritual parallel!

Fortunately, it was easy enough to retrace our steps, and, with the help of one of our teenagers (thank God again for cell phones), we made it back to where we had missed the turn-off. A little late, but after more climbing and huffing and puffing, we made it to the summit. Exhausted, we grabbed a quick selfie and rested on the rock, soaking in the breathtaking view of God’s creation.

View from the top 2

Does It Matter What We Think? I have a T-shirt that displays a mountain, and the words “You Claimed the Victory” are written across it. I got it for free last year at a Christian music festival to support a band (I’m embarrassed to say I don’t remember who, but I am eternally grateful, for this is one of my faves). The shirt is a constant reminder of what happens when we persist through the muck. On that mountain, we persisted through the muck, the annoying flying bugs, the steep rocks that required support from nearby trees (I am so thankful those roots remained deep in the ground), and getting lost. But as we kept our mind on the reward, ignoring the wet feet and mucky pathway, our spirits remained high. We knew what awaited us at the end. We claimed the victory, and saw it! And let me tell you, it was worth every hardship.

What about you? Has God shown you a spiritual parallel somewhere in nature? Drop me a comment. I’d love to hear it!

A Life of Rocks

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

My son was helping me in the garden one morning, transplanting a very large, not-yet bloomed hydrangea. As he dug, the shovel would often clink against a rock. “I love New England,” he said, sarcastically, after one such clink. It’s true, our yard is full of rocks—large ones, medium ones, and small ones. As I dug up another smaller one, leaving the larger ones to my brawny son, the rocks in my garden took on a different meaning. My poor boy, I started to gush out everything God showed me about the rocks. Hoping it wasn’t just for him, my son replied, “You should put that in your blog.” I guess he didn’t think it was something he needed! Or maybe he did and thought others should hear it too. So, here it is.

Our lives are filled with “rocks.” The rocks symbolize the trials we encounter along the path. Just as the rocks in my garden varied in size and shape, so do our trials. Sometimes it seems I’m hit with something out of the blue and at the time it seems insurmountable, like my husband needing a kidney transplant. Those are the times we may need a little extra help. I wasn’t strong enough to pull some of the rocks out from underground, but thankfully my son was there to help me.

Sometimes the rocks can be flatter but cover a large area. Can you remember a time when you went through something that wasn’t terrible, but enough of a burden on you? How long did it last? In my experience, they can seem to last forever. It wasn’t life or death, manageable, but definitely not enjoyable.

On that day we worked in the garden, most of the rocks sat just slightly below the surface. A few times, however, we hit the deep ones. It took my son a lot of digging and hard work to scoop those out with the shovel. Most of the time they were large, too. We may encounter small bumps in the road of life but other times we might feel like something slams us so deep into our core that we wonder how in the world we’ll be able to heal.

life of rocks pic 2

Does It Matter What We Think? There’s no doubt about it, life is going to have its troubles. Just like my yard is going to have its rocks. My question for you is, how are you going to handle those rocks? Maybe you’re going to ask someone stronger and more capable to help you when you stumble upon a large boulder. Or maybe you’ll keep some where you found them, digging around them, pretending they aren’t there as you hide them under heaps of dirt. Jesus tells us we will face trials. But he then goes on to encourage us to take heart, because He has overcome the world. As long as we find our rest in Him, we can be assured that when we stumble upon the rocks of life, we can deal with them by removing them and continuing on, stronger, and more mature than before.




Photo by Josh Gordon on Unsplash

Overcoming Fear During Times of Trouble

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely…if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8

“The death toll has risen to …”. “Over a thousand new cases since yesterday.” “Stay home.”

How do you feel reading those statements? Yucky? Depressed? Anxious?

Me too. There’s a reason Paul encourages us to think about certain things. And not just think about them, but the New King James Version uses the word “meditate.” What does it mean to meditate? The Strong’s Dictionary defines it as, “to attend to, practice” or “be diligent in.” In other words, consistently practice, focusing all your attention on something.

When we practice something it’s so we can improve. When we study, we are diligently reading the material or practicing math problems. I can tell you it probably won’t be easy in the beginning. You might have to think about what you’re thinking. But over time, as we practice and purposefully think about the good things, those things that are praiseworthy, the feelings of fear and worry will be replaced with peace and joy, even as we continue to go through a difficult situation.

Blog pic lovely

Does It Matter What We Think? If I’ve learned one thing during this time, it’s how utterly important it is to take each and every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. When I allow myself to meditate on the statistics and what the media is bombarding us with, fear quickly pushes itself in. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

So, what can we think about when there’s a pandemic surrounding us? How can we meditate on good things when all we see are bad things? Here are a few suggestions. First of all, turn off the news. Stop Googling every ache and symptom you feel. Think about the goodness of God in your life. Are you healthy? Is your family healthy? Do you have a job or are you receiving an unemployment check? Do you have food on the table? If you said no to all of those, look outside and it won’t take long to find God’s love and mercy all around. Is the sun shining? Is the rain watering our earth? Are the trees budding and flowers beginning to bloom? Do you hear the birds singing? God created these for our enjoyment as well. If you still find it difficult to meditate on any of these things, call a friend or family member just to say hi. You will be amazed at how good it feels to let someone else know you’re thinking about them.

What are you doing to meditate on the good things? I’d love to hear from you!



Photo by Alan Emery on Unsplash

You Are What You Think

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

This month I really felt I needed to go back to the very beginning. Back to the reason why I started this blog in the first place. Read the verse above again. It’s not difficult to understand, the words are simple (don’t let the old “eth” scare you-the word is simply, “thinks”). Simple words, possibly a bit of a complex deeper meaning—or is it?

“I want a job that makes me feel like I’m doing something useful.” “My mother makes me feel like crap.” “My spouse makes me feel like crap.” “I’m just a nobody and don’t matter.” “I’m too shy.” “I’m too out-spoken.” Any of these hit a nerve? If not, can you think of one that does?

Today I want to tell you that we need to stop saying and thinking these things! Right now. Believe it or not, the damage they’re causing in you is more than you can imagine. It’s time we take charge of our feelings and emotions. After all, they’re our feelings, and our emotions. Not our boss’s, spouse’s, or anybody else’s. That means we have a say as to how to control them. Isn’t that great news?

If you’re like me, you might be thinking, if that person just stopped, I’d be fine. Or, if I just had a job that appreciated me, I’d be happy. Truth, honey? No, you wouldn’t. You’d find something else to complain about and to make you feel just as miserable.

There is only one thing that can change this around, and, believe it or not, it’s not our circumstances. It’s our thoughts.


Does It Matter What We Think? The Bible says so. Members of the medical profession have also found it to be true. And I believe it. Problem is, sometimes—okay, often—it’s hard for me to do. It’s almost as if there’s something physically preventing me from thinking good thoughts. Are you with me?

That’s the enemy trying to keep us whining and complaining, feeling miserable about ourselves as we develop ulcers and headaches. I don’t know about you, but I’m done with letting the enemy rule my mind.

Do this with me, if you dare. I don’t normally do this in my blogs, but I’m going to provide a list of a few confessions for you below (all right, probably more than just a few). This will only work if you actually take the next step, but I want to help you. I want you to have victory over your thoughts, and live the way God created you to live happily and at peace even in the face of our mountains. Hebrews 10:23 encourages us to, “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (italics mine)

What do you need to do?

First, write down the pertinent ones for your life. Hang them or post them somewhere visible. You can also put them in your notes on your phone, just be careful because that’s not always as visible as somewhere like your bathroom mirror, car visor, or kitchen window. Also, find more promises in the Bible that relate to what’s going on in your life. Remember, this is just a small sample.

Second, speak them out loud—that’s what a confession is. Daily. Multiple times a day, in fact.

Third, sit back and watch your life turn around. The circumstances might not change, but your attitude and outlook on them will, and you will begin to find happiness, no matter what falls down around you. Simple, right? Here’s the list.

  1. I am strong and courageous. (Joshua 1:9)
  2. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
  3. Everything I lay my hand to prospers. (Deuteronomy 28:8)
  4. My spouse (name) loves me and praises me. Ephesians 5:28, Proverbs 31:28)
  5. The Lord is my shield and the lifter of my head. (Psalm 3:3)
  6. My heart is cheerful, which is good medicine. (proverbs 17:22)
  7. I have the peace Jesus gave me. I will not be afraid. (John 14:27)
  8. God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
  9. In God I live and move and exist. I am His child. (Acts 17:28)
  10. Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:18)
  11. I have a friend who stays with me closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)
  12. I am in perfect peace because I am focused on You, because I trust in You. (Isaiah 26:3)
  13. I am loved. God has inscribed me on the palms of His hands. (Isaiah 49:16)

That’s it!! I’d love to hear your testimony as you begin to be transformed by the renewing of your mind!

First Test of the New Year—Choose Obedience

When was the last time you picked up a used cigarette off the ground to throw in the trash? Too gross? Ok, how about a smashed soda can? Old twist tie? Piece of Styrofoam?

Within the first few days of the new year I had my first test. I was coming to the end of my run and I happened to look at the side of the road, (isn’t it funny how sometimes things “happen”?). A small piece of paper (or Kleenex) lay there staring up at me as I passed. That little voice inside my head started talking and told me to turn around and go back and pick it up. Ew gross. After inspecting it for grossness, it looked clean enough so I obeyed. I felt good. Until two seconds later, my eye caught another piece of garbage. “Pick it up.” This happened several more times, until finally, I attempted to maintain eye contact with the road far ahead of me, just in case there might be something more to grab. At this point, I already had a flattened soda can that acted as a tray for all my other “collectibles.” It didn’t work, as the voice, which I knew to be God’s, told me once more to look down and gather the rubbish.

Arriving at my driveway balancing the little sculpture, I hustled up the slight incline, focused intently on the garbage can. I had never been so happy to see that big, green can. After dumping the trash, anxious to wash my hands, that little voice spoke again. Really? I looked down and saw small pieces of broken wood and other bits that had for whatever reason missed the garbage can, which sat, I might add, only inches away. Okay, God, I understand. I’ll pick them up. All of them.

During my clean-up time God showed me something. He showed me that this test was to see if I would be able to take care of the small things in front of me, before giving me anything larger. He very clearly asked, “how can I trust you with people’s souls if I can’t trust you to take care of the garbage right in front of you.” Ouch.

Blog Choose Obedience Garbage pic

Does It Matter What We Think? God has a plan for me, just like He has a plan for each one of us. But are we willing to deal with the messy stuff of life in our everyday paths? Or, to put it the way Lucinda Secrest McDowell asks in her book Life-Giving Choices, “Is God worth our obedience, even in the toughest of times?” If the answer is no, or not sure, how can we be ready to fulfill all the other great things He has waiting for us?

After cleaning up my yard, I did a little celebration dance. Yep, I did. Why? Because I passed my first test of the new year and it felt so good. God is worth our obedience, even when cleaning up garbage. I encourage you today to join me and focus on being obedient—then wait and see God move!

Thankful For The Not-So-Thankful

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I pulled the door shut and dropped my head against the seat. Taking a deep breath, I started the engine and sat for a moment, letting the cares of the day roll away like the waves at low tide. What was the problem? I wanted this. All of it. And yet, here I sat, complaining.

As I drove home, the Lord whispered into my heart a request for thanksgiving. Not just for anything, but specifically for that place I had just left in my dust. From past experience, I knew that I could either resist His request and continue feeling sorry for myself, which would do nobody good especially when I arrived home (you know that saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”), or give myself a quick pep talk and pull my thoughts out of the gutter. I chose the latter.

“Thank you so much, Lord, for this wonderful opportunity. Thank you for the time it has given me to grow and prepare for the next season you have waiting for me. Thank you for the things I will continue to learn from this experience. I know it will make me to be a better person, and for that reason I am grateful for this time.” Immediately my mood shifted and peace filled me.

There are times of sowing, and times of harvest. Times to travel through the wilderness, fully relying on God, waiting for Him to lead, and times of rest in the Promised Land of a situation. Blessings overflow and it’s easy for our joy to be full because of all we have at that time. Right now, God has brought me into the wilderness, for a time of “preparation.”

Any waiting time can be difficult. I remember my wedding day, anxiously awaiting the evening hours when I could finally walk down the aisle. I remember waiting forty weeks for both my children to arrive into this world. Why does it take that long till birth? Preparation. Doctors have spent countless hours preparing for their medical exams. I wonder how many hours law students actually spend studying to pass the bar. Life is filled with times of preparation in the wilderness and times of bounty. But what really matters is when God calls us to the wilderness, will we accept it with joy or with complaining?


Does It Matter What We Think? I know without a doubt God is preparing me for the next step. Don’t ask me what that next step is. I couldn’t tell you. Is it always fun? Nope. Do I ever want to cry? Heck yeah. Do I trust Him? For certain. And that’s what I will focus on. I trust the Lord with all my heart, and I can rest in the fact that He knows what’s best for me. If I waste time whining and complaining, anxiously longing for the blessings at the end, I will miss the journey. And you know what? I’ve come to realize that God actually wants us to enjoy the journey too. Let’s not waste another day wishing for something to come in the future. Live for today, filled with thanksgiving, and enjoy the journey by fully resting in Him. I can promise you it’s absolutely worth it!

A Warrior’s Hands

“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.” Psalm 127:4

“Mom, check out this hotel.”
I stopped mid-step on my way by and admired my son’s handiwork. “Oh cool, is that a pool?” For the next five minutes I watched and listened as he took me on a virtual tour of his new hotel. My son is fourteen, not forty.  His hotel was created in Minecraft, not on a professional architectural website. Why would I care about something he made in a video game?

Because I believe it’s important to be an involved parent. Do I sit and play a video game for hours, or watch intently someone else play? Of course not! Then why did I interrupt my agenda, again, to express interest in his game? That’s exactly why—it’s his game. I want to take an interest in the same things my kids are interested in, whether it be a video game, who’s dating who, or even their social media.

Recently we encountered a little snafu with one of our kids and social media (I wasn’t even looking for it but thank God, He dropped it right in my lap). It had to do with certain followings and posts that others were posting. Let me tell you, this was almost the last thing I wanted to do that night, right up there with kissing a snake. But if I didn’t, who would? Thinking about the lasting effects on my kids if I don’t play an active, engaged role now is enough to motivate me into trying to be the best parent I can. Even if it means at the time, I seem like the worst parent.

After this social media incident, we had a long talk with our child. It was amazing. They agreed, understood, had not intended any harm but saw our perspective, and in fact the next day had already made changes to that account. I shudder to think if I hadn’t checked the feed, what kind of attractive garbage would still be filling that young soul.

archer shooting arrows

Does It Matter What We Think? I’ve been reminded to ask myself the question, “Am I focusing my thoughts more on the things that don’t matter, earthly things, or the eternal things like being a good steward of the treasures God gave me to care for until they’re ready to spread their wings and fly away?” (Okay, so I don’t think about it quite in those words, but you get my point). All too often I think we, as parents, want to give our kids privacy—to foster independence. And, we don’t want to be seen as the meddling parent. I want to encourage you, it’s not meddling! You’re doing something much more worthy and rewarding. You’re parenting! My kids expect random checks of their cell phones. I ask them questions about social media posts. And I expect open lines of communication in return. At the end of my short time of (hopefully) great influence, I want to be like the warrior in Psalms and shoot my bright arrows into a dark world, confident they will soar.