1. New Beginnings

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
        Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

817 Schenck Avenue, East New York, Brooklyn. There it was right before my eyes. My childhood home. Well, not the first. That would have been on Hinsdale Street. My family moved to Schenck Avenue in time for me to start kindergarten. 817 was a six floor apartment building, one of several that comprised what’s known as “The Projects.” A young family, we were not on welfare, yet though my father was a hard worker (he owned a luncheonette and worked seven days a week) we did not have the means of home ownership. But this was my beginning, stamped in my mind. And just yesterday I stared at this photograph on a website, visiting the place I haven’t seen in so many years, so many that I don’t want to admit.

I’ve scoffed at all past attempts at making resolutions. Nope, not happening. Part of me didn’t want to box myself in with obligations or pressure. Part of me—the independent little girl who never wanted to do what anyone else did—just rolled my eyes. Now, in 2013, I’m full of reflection and full of hope. I may die next year, or ten years down the road, or may have another half of a lifetime to live out. I’ve seen too many loved ones perish before me, as well as loved ones slip away while still alive, to spend too much time worrying about that time.

What do I want for this new year? For the rest of my life? Whatever God wants. He knows me better than anyone else. He knows my needs . . . though I confess I do remind Him perhaps a tad too often.

But, can I do nothing while life passes me by? Am I chasing my dreams like a fool, or is it that God has planted within me a desire that grows and burns in an intensity that I can no longer be a passive participant?

I don’t have the answer.

However, I am making some changes in my life, though not extreme, that may give me a wee bit more discovery room.

I’m looking forward to the future my Lord and Savior is going to give me.

From 817 Schenck Avenue to now, He has never steered me wrong.

How about you? Are you daring to move forward too?

January 3, 2013 Elaine Stock


The cold wind brushes her cheeks, stings her eyes, quiets her thought
With mittened fingertips she tucks back the wisps of loose hair
Her gaze follows the tiny prints in the snow of the critter that fought
The wintry conditions that pushed away any trace of summer.

A dart, a dash, paw prints aflutter
The woman follows the animal’s path
Pushing back bitterness and a mutter
Oh how she wishes that she could head toward a secret stash.

Oh, God, have mercy
She wonders: may I see your intervening hand?
Can you let me be, set me free?
No more snow in life but perhaps warm sand?

Mind still, heart calm
She listens to what You have to say
Be grateful, she hears, she has You to chase away the harm
You’re with her each and every day.
                       --Elaine Stock 1/19/13

Courtesy Google Images

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

God Signs

Confession time: I now accept that there are indeed “generation gaps” between the different ages of people. Did this just provoke a duh exclamation from you?

Let me explain.

I was baptized and confirmed into the Christian faith at the age of 22. Eager to meet new people and expand our Christian family, my husband (who is just a few years older than I) and I started to socially connect with other members in the church. At least, we tried. We attended quite a few couples- dinners, rotating between other members’ homes. But, we were the only couple in their 20s. The others were in their 40s, 50s, and older. Oh, these people tried their best to make small talk with us: do you have any pets (while they talked about their children), how is business (while they talked about their upcoming retirement), or assuming we liked certain things like rock music (while they chatted about a classical music concert at Tanglewood).  My husband and I were at a loss back then. What was wrong with these people? Why couldn’t they see us as adults and interact with us as adults?

Years have past. And to use a tired cliché, now the tables have turned. The two of us are amazed at what twenty-year-old-somethings are interested in.

Looking back at my life in my 20s one major difference between now and the present is that back then, I may have believed in God but I did not believe in God signs. Now I do. Now I have my eyes open.

I believe one sign appeared to me recently this past Christmas Eve in an email I wasn’t expecting. I’m interpreting that as a God Sign that He wants me to continue in my writing, as well as make more time to write.

Other signs occur. Sometimes big ones. Sometimes small. Doesn’t matter. It’s whatever He wants to say to me.

And this morning another one appeared. Upon starting my day, thoughts about pressing matters crowded my mind. I whispered a prayer. Please God, help me. My boat is too small in the oceans of life. I can’t do it alone.

He replied by shining a lighted cross that shone on the hallway floor via catching the sun’s rays just right. Or, could it only be reasoned by saying it was a natural force like the sun? I believe it was His cross, His reminder, that He is with me.

As He is with you.

--Elaine Stock 2/4/13

Courtesy Google Images

I'm Stoked

Today, because of a storm, I slept later and awoke refreshed
Today, I saw my old, healing cat run in full gallop throughout the house, friksy
Today, a customer said he almost went home because I wasn't at work earlier
Today, a stranger complimented my appearance
Today, I encouraged others
Today, I received a good review at work
Today, my co-workers and I worked well with each other
Today, I enjoyed no tension, any where
Today, I came home to a warm house
Today, an agent emailed to say I'm still under consideration
Today, I have enjoyed many blessings

Thank you my Lord and sweet Savior Jesus for loving me
And I love You.

--Elaine Stock 2/27/13


Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (NIV)

Look at you, Ma,
You’re smiling.
You look radiant surrounded
By your sisters and brother.
I know some of your past,
Losses, broken dreams,
Watching others get what you wanted.
I know too what waited ahead for you:
Marriage, a daughter, a son,
And losses in-between,
More tears; some laughter,
Controlling fear,
Ghosts chases
Living nightmares.
But that day on the rooftop,
You beamed.
You looked loved,
And accepted.
Now, in eternal peace
I pray you have no regrets
And, that I too helped to take away just
A little of your heartache.

--Elaine Stock 3/19/13 

Courtesy Google Images
Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. Luke 23:46 NIV

Remember the Hagar The Horrible cartoon? I love that wily Viking--he always makes me smile. I have a small clipping of that cartoon from a newspaper from years ago that hangs by my kitchen calendar. It's of Hagar shaking his hand at the heavens asking "Why me?" And then in the next scene you see the heavens opening up and this thunderous voice bellows down "Why not?"

I've asked so many why me's during the years. I've received just as many why nots. Yet, I believe this is no cold shoulder from God. He loves me. I will go to my grave with that stamped across my heart... not that the human in me appreciates any kind of testing. However, what I've been learning more than not is that God has His reasons and His timing. A beautiful lesson I learned today in my readings is that if I question God--even by comparing myself to others (what others have, when they have it, etc. well, you get the picture, I'm sure) I am actually doubting that God has a perfect plan for me. 


For me. Just for me. And of course for me. 

Because He loves me! And He's always right.

And He has a perfect plan for you, because He loves you!

We are all unique and special in His eyes. Is it any wonder He has a specially designed package of life, tailored to fit, each one of us?

Yes, I admit I humanly get tired of waiting. Impatience is often my middle name--not Wendy. And yes, I do covet. Ah--there's that nasty word. But, with God's grace, I'm working on that.

I'm really, really trying to listen to what He has to say. And a recent Sunday School lesson of throwing all of myself into God's capable hands and committing all of me to Him that loves me and commits to me, is freeing and brings me a lot more peace than I've had before.

Try it. You will like it.

--Elaine Stock 4/8/13

Courtesy Google Images

As part of an Adult Sunday School Lesson yesterday, I wrote these thoughts:

Oh God, your love for us
Is like the vapors of incense
Scattering through our hearts
Our minds
Our human fibers.

You clothe us in this love
We are safe

You feed us
Take care of our needs.

In only our human desire
Do we want more.

Help us to set our eyes on you
Every day, every hour, every minute
You are all we need.

--Elaine Stock 4/22/13


Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.
                            --John Wayne

Is this really a photo of John Wayne that I posted? And I quoted him? Me, who walked away bored each time my father tuned into an old Wayne movie on the TV back when I was a kid that wanted nothing to do with cowboys or blood or war movies? Yes, is my answer.

July is my birthday month, and it seems appropriate this particular month that a John Wayne quote is on my "The Art of Success" picture wall calendar (I always look for motivational material and choosing a new calendar during the cold days of December is as good as time as any). This month finds me a bit saturated in fears that want to take charge. Both good and bad: balancing on the highest precipice (so far) of possibly publishing; working with a very blessed and determined agent; being stretched financially between paychecks; facing major dental work; fighting physical exhaustion and other side effects from the day job; and having to drive a long distance to happily attend a conference.

These, praise God, are okay things. Not life-threatening. So, why is anxiety dancing an odd tango with me? Can you relate?

Yesterday I began to ask others for their sustaining prayers. This was something I should have done a while back, but my human mind buried this need under day-to-day living. I began to feel a bit better yesterday... until last night. You know what happens during evenings, right? The goblins of doomsday come out to play. One problem spirals into everything else that may happen during the whole rest of my life. I couldn't even let my poor ancient cat sleep well... until I started to think about God and relaxed a bit.

And then I received a lovely email reminder this morning that really put things into perspective: I am praying to a God that is so incredible that He has made man and woman and loves us. He can therefore bring me peace when I ask Him... and here's the kicker... not because of who I am but because who He is.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
John 14:27

--Elaine Stock 7/30/13


As originally appeared on author and dear friend Christine Lindsay's blog:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

(funny how I keep coming back to this verse!!)

I have an old Hagar The Horrible comic hanging up in my kitchen. Hagar stares up at the sky and shouts “Why me?” A clap of lightning barrels down from the heavens, accompanied by a booming voice saying “Why Not?” I can so relate to this perplexed Viking. Can you?

We all want a nice life. Who doesn’t want a new car, a large house, a comfortable-salaried job/career, and for those living in cold areas, even a taste of summer in the cold days of winter? In short, we want the key to Easy Street.

Life is often rough. Perhaps that’s why, in preparation of this piece, I referred to one of my favorite Bible quotes, from Jeremiah. But what happened God? Did you stop noticing the route my life took many years ago? My mother grew increasingly mentally ill until her wayward thoughts fueled her feet and she fled the home scene. Did you not notice, God? My small family fell apart through the years by the hands of estrangement and death. Did you not notice, God? My marriage hit a few icebergs in the first few handfuls of years. Did you not notice, God? Childless, will I have someone to watch over me during my elderly years, God? Have you noticed?

Oh, yes. God has noticed. I’m convinced of that, especially because of where I came from in those darker days. I embraced Christ in my early 20s and since that day when I accepted Him into my heart I see daily signs that my life is in His hands. I’m not walking on Easy Street. I still have my humanly wants and daydreams. I still flinch when hitting life’s speed bumps. But, it is easier now that I know God is holding my hand. He has already been preparing for me a life that He alone has intended for me to live because life is not an existence of time when only randomness and coincidences occur. Life is living in the spot where God wants me to live. He has me interacting and influencing others. And He has others who will influence me. Life is about blessing others and receiving a blessing from them. Life is not about Easy Street or envying others who temporarily live on this pretend street. Know what I’ve been learning lately? That many of these residents on Easy Street suffer many agonies: an ill and dying child; bankruptcy; sudden unemployment; divorce; cancer; the unexpected crippling accident.

Bad happens. Good happens. And sometimes, the wonderful happens.

I know God loves me. He knows the plans He has for me even before I was born and He will carry them through for my welfare. Why? Because my God does not plot misery. He blesses with hope. And a future.

What street are you living on these days?

Elaine Stock

#10  Standing Sure-footed In a Tilted World

Courtesy Google Images
He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. Psalm 18:33

Have you ever had one of those weeks when the whispered words that brush your ear come often enough that you know without a doubt that something outside and beyond life on earth as we know it must be occurring?

Patience. I know it's not your strength, but it's mine.

I've never misguided you.

What doesn't make sense now will make sense shortly.

My time. Not yours.

Yes, I've had one of those weeks and am thankful for it. It's not that I've been unusually impatient this week, or in "one of those moods," but it's safe to say that bumps both in the middle of the night and midday have occurred. For me. And I'm sure for you. That's what life is about.

But those messages that come from various Christian blogs and websites I visit or e-letters I receive? Or from personal messages? What about hearing about the hardships others are going through?

And then comes the timely message from church today, learning from the book of Habakkuk that God always, always helps me to stand upright on the tallest of mountains. He helps me to stand sure-footed like a deer.

Okay. Let's forget the mountain, since likely I'm not going mountain climbing.

But, I am living in a very tilted world. Sure, there's gravity that holds me in place but that doesn't account for the ability to stand upright while maintaining a minuscule of sanity while lately this tired old world seems to be imploding upon itself in craziness.

And that's why I'm convinced that there is God and He loves me and is making sure I won't get flung off the planet as if I'm riding on one of those unsafe/tampered with amusement park rides that has also been making the rounds of news amongst the assorted scary stories.

Elaine Stock 11/3/13

#11 Dreaming And Believing

Courtesy Google Images

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
    --from Dreams by Langston Hughes
Part of me wonders if I should join--or create?--a 10-step Achievers Anonymous group. I love to dream, followed by rolling my sleeves up and achieving my goal. Satisfaction to me is the sweet feel of accomplishment. It doesn't have to be *big.* I'm okay with reading a great book and having a light-bulb moment of learning, what I think of as ah-hah explosions over my head. And yes, I dream of the day when my writing will see the light of publication . . . followed by actually being read by others. And yes, many others. Why not dream big, right?
If I wanted to be Freudian in my wonders I could trace this back to my childhood. I was a dreamer of a girl, dreaming of what little girls usually dream of. However, I was raised in a household of high expectations. I was not praised for my B+'s or my A's but was told to do better come next report card period. Mix dreams with high expectations, sprinkled liberally with society bombardment of do-this-and-life-will-get-better and what do you get?
I'm still trying to figure that out.
Here's the bottom line of high-achievers: if there's no accomplishment we keep going until we do achieve. Why? Because our reward is spelled PROGRESS. And there's nothing better than progress.
I don't know about you, but God has a fascinating way of sending me a message I need to learn. Usually it is in the form of a person--He likes the visual, I guess. Then, it's backed up with spiritual reinforcements. This past week I received one moving, extraordinary lesson I'm burning to share.
Some years ago I was very active in my community in opposing a mining company from blowing up and carting away two prominent hills, the southern one located about a 1000 feet from my front door. Instead of praying to God to move mountains I asked Him to keep those hills right where they were planted by Him. It took 10 years of praying, a lot of hard work by all of the community, and a God-blessed miracle, but we won and the mining company lost, and on the state level, which was a first.
Last week Susan came into the cafe where I work. I hadn't seen Susan in a long time, from back in those anti-mining days. I admit, before I saw her that day I was falling into the trap of despair, focused way too much on dreams that seemed to be the right ones for everyone else but me. In the 2-minute conversation with Susan my despair grew to outright envy: she had 2 grown and loving sons and moved down south to live, apparently, happily ever after. And me? I chased my dreams daily and seemed to be watching everyone else accomplish. Ah--that instigating word for those of us who love to achieve.
But, it wasn't until our conversation drew to a close that I realized God was teaching me something He knew I needed to learn. After Susan told me all that seemed wonderful, she asked me how I was. I mumbled and grumbled: "Oh, still the same. Nothing ever changes here." Susan--really, a virtual stranger--looked into my eyes and said, "I'm sure you've made more progress than you realize."
Progress. Her word choice. Interesting.
So, God doesn't have me on the fast-track, as viewed by "human" eyes. But what happened since I'd last seen Susan? My community is enjoying relative peace. I've taken a job that not only provides the needed benefits that was stressing out my husband and I, but has placed me front and center in customer service and robbed me of my crutch of shyness (well, most of it) and low-self-esteem. I turned my writing over to God and am now writing for the Christian fiction market and am seeing changes like placing in contests and obtaining a literary agent. And I'm learning how to cope with a loved one's mental illness while patching up an estranged relationship with another loved one. 
As was preached in church today: My God is with me in this.
I am thankful. Maybe then, instead of a 10-step group to overcome dreaming and achieving, I will seek His progress.
Elaine Stock 11/17/13

#12  My Christmas Non-Check List

Courtesy Google Images

Ho ho ho. Hmm.

I've decided to compose a non-check list for this busy holiday season. See how yours compares:

  1. Christmas cards written and addressed?   Un-checked
  2. Christmas tree up?   Un-checked
  3. Christmas tree up and decorated? Un-checked
  4. Cookies baking?     Un-checked
  5. House tidy for the holidays?    Un-checked
  6. Presents bought?     Un-checked
  7. Presents bought and wrapped?  Un-checked
  8. Christmas dinner planned?     Un-checked
  9. Greens added to the door wreath?   Un-checked
  10. Clothes selected for Christmas day?  Definitely un-checked

So, am I ready for Christmas? You bet. This holiday season, more than any other year that I've celebrated this joyous blessing, I've rediscovered the meaning of Christmas:

God. Loves. Me.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.   John 3:16 ESV

Friends, Christmas is that easy, that simple. God loves each and every one of us.

May His peace be with each of you.    

Elaine Stock 12/8/13

#13 Arm-Wrestling

Courtesy Google Images

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:12-13 NIV

This morning I awoke to the news on the radio alerting of yet another public shooting, this one in a mall in Columbia, Maryland. I gulped. Wasn’t this near the home of a dear friend? I contacted her and fortunately her family and dear ones are fine, though the entire area was under a “lock down” for a while on Saturday. Sadly, there were two innocent people who were killed by the crazed gunman before he killed himself. If I’m not mistaken, the killer was nineteen years old.

This news came on top of the news not too long ago about a school shooting. New Mexico? I think it wasn’t too long ago.

These horrific killings are becoming blurred, aren’t they? Why? Because they’re one after another. Because the human good heart can’t cope with statistics lumping evil into figures and locations, into broadcasted news blurbs.

After an exchange with a handful of fellow writers and learning of the numerous hardships that have plagued us in 2013, our group leader led us to pray to keep the evil one from attacking us. And that’s exactly what is happening to each one of us, worldwide. My husband came up with a brilliant analogy this morning: the devil is the Suicide Bomber of today. He is possessing teenagers to kill classmates, a young adult to walk into a shopping mall and kill two others before pointing the gun on himself, and let alone the more targeted massive killings in other countries in the guise of “faith.”

It took me years to publicly declare my faith in Jesus Christ. Daily, I cannot live my life without My Lord and Savior.

But, I’m now realizing that daily I must also declare how very real the devil is and the slightest bit I let my guard down how the evil one is waiting to prey on me.

My defense? Praying daily for God’s love and protection. As it says in the Bible, evil will happen. And it is. But as He also promises in His Word, God will be the Ultimate Winner.

I want to be chosen to be on God’s team!

And when someone blames God for an illness, a disaster, financial woes, don't keep quiet but gently, with love, remind this person that it's not God at work (or lack of) but the work of the evil one. And then pray for that person.
Elaine Stock 1/27/14

#14 My Name Isn't Janice

Courtesy Google Images

Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. Isaiah 49:16 ESV

She stood before me while I waited on her, taking her lunch order and offering a smile. That was supposed to be me.

See, her name is Janice (she’s the wife of my husband’s childhood friend). My parents had chosen to name me Janice until a long-lost relative stepped out from seemingly nowhere and, well, story made short, I was renamed Elaine. Like many, it took many years to appreciate my name, but quite a bit more to stop strumming the blues over all of the supposed-to-be pieces of my life that were meant to surely happen.

The Janice I waited on in the café where I work has my supposed-to-be’s: tall, slim, blonde. A husband who provides an excellent income. Children. A dream-house. And from the little I really know of this Janice, she comes from a Christ-centered childhood.

However, God didn’t want me to be Janice. He had me born to the parents He chose for me, and at the time and place He wanted me to be. I am learning day by day to praise God for what He has given me and not fret over the things He hasn’t given me. It is only when I fumble—hey, I am so very human, after all—tripping over the American Dream and wishing this or desiring that, that tension stirs in me and I swear, it’s like I can feel every cell of dissatisfaction in my body knot up and twist. And that’s how I should feel when I wonder why I’m not Janice instead of Elaine because it is I AM, my loving God, that has created me and the life He wants me to have.

And, I am grateful. Praise God. He is good; He is great.

Elaine Stock 3/23/14

#15 The Day The Clowns Visited

Courtesy Google Images

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put 
you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:21 (NIV)

Like any other mystery to the human eye, they were suddenly there. I watched the four clown couples from my vantage point behind the counter while waiting on customers during one of our busiest lunch rushes since the winter slump. What caught my attention weren't their surreal makeup or oversized shoes but instead, these eight twenty-or-so-year-olds wore stunning well-tailored, colorful, and professional costumes. Later, when I'd mentioned this to a manager, she remarked that one of them had Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus on the back of his top. Ah.

Throughout history, clowns, for right or wrong reasons, have either represented fun or fear for many. These clowns were in town for a circus performance and happened to choose our cafe for a bite to eat, bringing to mind the separation between fantasy and reality. 

Their visit brought to mind two things for me. First, as a young child, my mother had taken my brother and I to Madison Square Garden in Manhattan to see this very circus. If my father were there, I do not recall. In fact, the only thing that I do remember of the circus was how much it smelled like animal stench, how thick the webs of vast amounts of people were, and the fear of possible separation from my mother if the masses worked their black magic to come between us. Yes, in hindsight, I'm sure Freud could have had a field day and a half with my memories, but let's jump back to the present.

Clowns. Happy times. Be happy no matter what. Life is a bowl of sweet cherries. Always smile no matter how much rain comes down upon your head.

Where would we human beings be without our maxims?

Maybe, a bit happier and less likely to reach for the aspirin bottle?

What do those who are barely "hanging in there" do when others--the well-meaning concerned or those who toss out axioms like free political campaign buttons--say to smile? Or the ones who continue to wait against all odds for a difficult situation to improve? Or those fighting illness or watching loved ones… This list can go on for page space that isn't available.

I choose to set my eyes on my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is my balm. He will soothe me and heal me of whatever life sprinkles or storms upon my head. Yes, I will smile here and there throughout my lifetime, and enjoy earthly things--I am human. Yet, I set my heart on God. He is the wide smiling non-clownish face I want to see one day. His is the voice I want to hear forever in eternity.

Elaine Stock 5/3/14

#16 Wishing For Sunny Days
Courtesy Google Images

 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
                 2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)

They've found me, those not so wily spammers. For quite some time now, the contemporaries to telemarketers, with an often gruesome twist, have attempted to leave spam messages on my blog. Some have tried flattering: you have the best blog ever…do you use Blogger of WordPress…but if you click onto my website I'll give you more tips. Hmm. Really?

Then there are those spam emails that reach beyond my ISP's mail filter and land in my inbox. A want to vacation in Costa Rica add greeted me minutes ago. I marked it as spam, moved it to my Trash, and then deleted all my trash, hating the thought it was even on my computer.

My husband suggested that spam may originate by a struggling person (I'm trying to be P-C kind here) in a worn-torn country needing an income. Maybe. Or perhaps, I think, it's more the weed-patch variety from a person trying to lure an unsuspecting fool to a pornographic, or worse, a human trafficking site for unsolicited business.

I've been thinking lately about what bothers me most about these spam messages: it's that these spammers are thinking that most Americans are flush with disposable income and can never have too many vacations or wall-to-wall TVs or… uh-hum… let's just say, extra-curricular activities.

Is that the stereotype of us Americans? That we have so much money and extra time, let alone lack of morals, that we gobble this nonsense down our throats like candy?

I definitely don't fit that proverbial bill. 

I do admit praying for sunnier days. Again, I'll repeat. Praying. I've been praying and praying that brighter days may occur for us all.

And I know I am praying to a loving God who is not forgetting about me, and One who won't send me spam about liking my site but that I should check out his website to

Elaine Stock 7/14/14

#17 Six Seasons of 2014

Courtesy of Google Images

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven     Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

As I write these thoughts Christmas is nine days away. While Christmas to me has always been more about the gift of Christ to us mere human beings from our loving Father than what’s under the Christmas tree, these past few days I can’t help but think about what follows Christmas: the end of the year and the beginning of a new one.

I’m a believer that God gives me the days of my life to learn the lessons He wants me to absorb. How can I summarize my lessons for 2014? Everything truly has a season . . . and God, I believe, wants me to trust Him. He knows His stuff. He’s never wrong. His timing is always right. And He has far more patience than I can try to muster.

So, what seasons have I experienced this past year?

1—I was baptized. Again. The first time was when I was 22 as a new Christian. That was baptismal by sprinkle. This past January I was baptized by immersion, accepting that if it was good enough for Jesus than it’s certainly right for me. But God’s timing in this, several decades later in my life? While I know I have much more maturing and learning to do in my faith walk, it evidently took all these years to embrace my faith on the level where God has journeyed with me.

2—Yet, God has taken once again my husband and I by our hands and led us to another church. Why, and why so abruptly? The two of us are still trying to figure things out but have come to accept that He wanted us out of a certain environment and into new one.

3—The last of a trio of our beloved cats passed on in early October. Wild Cat—may she rest in peace—was nineteen. Though a bit of our hearts was chinked away, we’ve accepted this as another season in our lives. Nineteen years is a long time for an adorable companion to cuddle with. We miss her so much, but are grateful for the gift of joy she’s given to us.

4—This year I’ve prayed for many friends and acquaintances of friends and co-workers who have either been diagnosed with cancer or have been treated for cancer for some time. Praise God for I have learned of a dear friend’s cancer as being “gone,” have learned of others receiving clean bills of health, and of others who though they’re still receiving treatments seem to be coming along nicely. I’ve also just learned today of someone, though not being treated for cancer but for another painful ailment, has had a reversal of health and has improved despite the odds. She credits this all to the prayers of others for her being answered by God.

5—After many ups and downs of many years of marriage, I’m thankful that my husband and I have reached a comfortable state of true friendship and peace. This I also attribute to my prayers being answered.

6—I’ve had my prayers answered with my writing. Two different short stories have been published in two different anthology collections. While I await news on my novels I am grateful for these blessings of publication.

Each of these listings happened in God’s timing, in God’s appointed season for me. I’ve learned—am still learning—that what I’ve been disappointed in, dipping pretty close to self-pity, are the human things I think I need. Perhaps God still has these things lined up for me . . . in His time. And if not? Well, let me conclude by saying that whatever He has blessed me with has never been a disappointment.

My aim for 2015: to continue to keep my eyes and heart on Him. While humans and human things can sometimes prove to be a trap, God is my true strength.

Elaine Stock 12/16/14

#18 Who Am I, and does it matter?

Courtesy Google Images

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.   Romans 8:16 (NIV)

You know how you start off reading one blog or a Tweet and you're led to another site that leads you to yet another site? Of course you do--welcome to the golden era of Internet Addiction.

Yet, I wonder if this time it was a matter of blind happenstance or if I was led to this one site by a more powerful Hand that has gotten me thinking?

I'm referring to Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.'s The Story of Your Life in Six Words on PsychCentral. I read this a few days ago and was so moved by it that the day after, when I clocked in at work at my usual 5 AM, a time when brain cell activity is at a minimal, thoughts by the dozen didn't trickle in but came by a landslide. 

Here is my 6 Word Memoir:

Loving daughter who wants God proud.

I don't know how I'll live the remainder of my years, although I have my preferences and hopes. Who knows if I'll be penniless or rich, be known by many or forgotten about, be a beloved author or a person who reads the comics out of a desperate need for a laugh.

I'm in God's capable hands.

It's not a case of that He will figure it out, but He already knows. And, He wants  good things for me, as the Bible reminds us.

But me? When I meet Him one day--as we all will--I want Him to recognize me as a daughter who loves Him so much. I want to make Him proud of me.

What will your 6 word memoir be?

Elaine Stock 3/14/15

#19 Am I A Proud American?

"If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." Revelation  22:18-19

Know who this guy is? He's the 19th century French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville. No, I'm not a sudden expert on philosophers, French or otherwise, from days gone by or current, but what I am is alarmed.

We Americans just celebrated our 239th year of being a free country. I am thankful. My family barely made it to this country, escaping from Europe on the fringe of World War I. Yet, during the past two weeks this country has seen extreme changes. While some will say that change is acceptable in this country because it's all in the name of pursuing one's rights and liberties, and I won't debate the philosophy of what is freedom, what has me upset and frightened is that Christians worldwide are beginning to be questioned and condemned for their faith, and now the American government is making it easy for its citizens to brush faith aside, while it is this very Christian faith that this country was founded on. I wonder whether there is truly any separation between government and the church when many churches are saying the Bible is obsolete since it doesn't take into consideration modern lifestyles.

I am not condemning one other person. Yet, I don't want to be condemned myself because I am a Christian, know who my Father is, and am not about to challenge His ways. And back to Tocqueville: he observed and published in his 2-volume work Democracy In America:

I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors...; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.

Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.

America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

Publicly, what I'm saying is 1) I will not change God's words to accommodate me and my needs and 2) I will be praying for America; may God bless us all.

And yes, I was inspired by the sermon I heard today at church.

Elaine Stock 7/5/15


  1. Wonderful, thoughtful thoughts. I too look forward to your discovery of what the Lord has in store for you.

    1. Thanks, Christine. And thanks for always being there for me.

    2. Thank you for sharing, Elaine. As I've grown older, I don't let the past define me, and live for the future that God has in store for me. I know that I really should live in the present, and try, but the future gives me the hope to go on. You have a bright future!

    3. Nancy, I so appreciate your visit today--you brightened my day! I think of myself as evolving, yet it gets to the point in one's life that one has just got to stop watching everyone else seek joy... yet, I'm really trying to be alert for what God wants me to do things, and when He wants me to do things. I'm thinking He's now telling me to take this next baby step in life.

  2. How fun to read about you, Elaine!
    I'm doing my best this year to pay attention to the direction He is leading me. So it's only been a few days and already I have pulled ahead of Him and had to come back oto his side.

    1. Diana, isn't it wonderful He lets us fumble but is always there to make sure we don't completely fall flat on our faces?

  3. I have always felt that you had a wonderful gift of insight. You not only "talk the talk" but you "walk it too" Happy New Year to you. May the little changes you make, bring about peace, happiness and satisfaction. Lots of love, your cousin Felicia

    1. Felicia, I so appreciate your visit here! Fascinating timing that we're both making positive changes in our lives. You will do well. It will all work out. Thanks for your encouragement.

  4. God will use you in mighty ways, Elaine. Keep moving with your dreams!!!

    1. Connie, what strong uplifting words. Thank you so much, my friend.

  5. Elaine,

    I loved this blog....going back can only help us to move forward. All our experiences help us to make future decisions. Who we are today stems from what we were yesterday and who we'll become tomorrow.

    1. Roberta, thanks for your visit and for your encouraging words. You always warm my heart.

  6. Love it that you are so real, Elaine :-) Thanks for sharing your story and for noticing God signs in everyday moments :-) It's so encouraging when God does that!

    1. Lorna, I am so touched that you visited my Thoughts page. God does speak to us in so many, many ways. And am I ever thankful.

  7. Isn' it funny how we want to guide and make our lives what we want of them, or to be who we think we should be. The divine plan that God has for you and us each lets us grow and handle things as we are able. Often times when we want or covet .. yes we all do at times, when we get what we seek, it never fills us, or completes us .. that is really the lesson. You are so genuine with your thoughts and I love that you share them so freely with us. Our class is very special I think, and I am finding comfort in that phrase as well, and great Peace. Also, my Emmaus journeys, when looked at in the rear view mirror .. have always been a blessing I just didn't know it at the time. Hummmm... maybe a lesson there for me for the future. Thanks Elaine, I love what you wrote, keep sharing!!

    1. Thank you, Lynne, for these words, and for all the encouragement and direction you've given me. I surely needed it!

  8. Thanks for the insight and inspiration this morning, Elaine! Great words to jump start my mid-morning, already been up five hours funk. The Lord does bring peace - - even amidst death, funerals, financial struggles and major life changes. Spending time in the Word in the mornings, especially this summer, has helped to keep me centered on the God's promises and the sureness of joy coming in the morning. Thanks for being a blessing!!

    1. Lisa, thanks for your kind words and an extra boost in spirit. Have a joyous day.

  9. Heart touching and inspirational. Thank you. and

    1. Lisa, actually, you've just inspired me by your sweet words and return visit. Blessings.

  10. Elaine, I love your transparency, and such beautiful words. I didn't know you were a poet! One Q--have you considered turning your mining story into a novel? What an endearing story! (Of course, you'd absolutely have to add a romantic thread. :) ) But I am being serious, the plot of a small town (or large town with a small town community) fighting to keep it's roots is a timeless one that I believe we all could relate to on some levels!

    1. Jennifer, thanks for your sweet words. You're such an encourager to me.

      As for the re-telling of this mining story, I'm not sure. There's a lot of legality fights and town-board fights that I'm not sure I want to "go there again" yet strangely enough, I am currently working on a story where the heroine fights the town board of her small town… so maybe that's how it's playing out in my mind, at least for now. Plus, my WIP does have love story elements, so there you go!

      I won't rule your suggestion out, though. I certainly have enough "stuff" saved for research notes.

      Thanks, my lovely friend, for taking the time to read my Thoughts and comment. You're a joy to know.

  11. Enjoyed reading your thoughts. And your poetry. That's where that lovely cadence your writing comes from! I have one more scripture for you. "For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." Romans 11:29 God hasn't given you the gift of writing to snatch it from you. Even today He is preparing someone to hear the message in your story one day in the future.

    1. Thanks, Pat. Were you referring to the poem quote from Langston Hughes I'd shared and cited? His poetry is stirring!

      I love that scripture passage you've shared. Thanks. I'm learning to look forward to what God has in mind for me in the future!

      Thanks for visiting. You're such a dear friend.

    2. No, I was talking about your poetry in several of the Thoughts. Very touching.

    3. Thanks, Pat. I'm delighted you've read those poems. That really means a lot to me. Blessings.

  12. Wow, what a deep, thoughtful set of posts. I hope I'm commenting in the right place. I love the picture of being "sure-footed in a tilted world." I wrote a song about that once, too. It's such a great assurance to know Who keeps us sure-footed, isn't it?

    1. Karla, yes, you're in the right spot. Heartfelt thanks for your visit and for taking the time to share my thoughts. I'm glad these posts resonated with you. Blessings.

  13. What a beautiful testimony of your life. Me being a little older and a senior adult (though I don't necessarily like to admit it), I mentally did some thinking as I read it about the the changes, trials and blessings in my life and how God has worked through it all to bring me where I am today. God Bless and thanks for sharing.

    1. Ann, as always, I'm so pleased that you've visited and have taken the time to share some of your thoughts. My heart is stirred that I've inspired you to review this past year and how God has blessed you and walked with you during both good and difficult times. Christmas blessings, my sweet friend.


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