The Ultimate Fresh Start

New Year
A time of reflection seems to naturally accompany the end of each year. This year is no different. Many are glad to part with 2014 because it was difficult at best. Others don’t know how 2015 could possibly be better. I imagine the bulk of us have more ambivalent feelings regarding the new year.

We often think of a new year as an opportunity for a fresh start, a new beginning. This causes me to think of the fresh start we are granted the moment we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5‬:‭17‬ NLT)
This is a fresh start that far exceeds the changing of the calendar. Instead of a new year, you get a new you!! At conversion, we are no longer slaves to our sinful ways, but are made new through the shed blood of Christ.
New life—now THERE’S something to celebrate!!
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (‭John‬ ‭10‬:‭10‬ NIV)
Praying that each of you experience the abundant life that He came to give in 2015 and beyond—Happy New Year!



My pastor urged the church not to skip from Palm Sunday right to Easter and participate fully in the remembrance of Christ’s last days and subsequent crucifixion during this Holy Week. As it turns out, remembrance became the overarching theme of the week. With my daughter’s senior year of high school winding down, there has been a need to go through all our photo albums searching for pictures for a few projects that are in the works. As I told a number of people, I now have a steady stream of Throwback Thursday pictures to share! With each turn of the page memories flooded my mind from days gone by. Also this week, a friend and mother of another CDH baby posted a link to an article about congenital diaphragmatic hernias that took me back 18 years to a time of waiting and wondering what God had in store for our daughter who was diagnosed with CDH while in the womb. Throw in the movie “God’s Not Dead” and the death of a cousin as well as two powerful church services for Holy Thursday and Good Friday and one might say it has been a week of emotional overload. It seemed at every turn God was telling me to remember.

On Thursday evening we took communion around a table just as the disciples did. And we remembered…

He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. (Luke 22:19-20 NLT)

On Friday morning I gathered with many relatives to celebrate the life of one of God’s good and faithful servants. And we remembered…

Friday evening was spent reflecting on Jesus’ crucifixion and death. The reading of Scripture was so powerful that in my mind I really could do as the choir sang and “hear the nails, feel the pain.” He subjected Himself to that horrendous death for you and for me. He redeemed us by paying the penalty for our sins–past, present and future—so we could be in relationship with the Father. And we remembered…

On Easter morning, we will arise to the Good News—

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. (Matthew 28:5-6 NIV)

And we remember once more…

The tomb was empty. He is risen indeed! Christ has defeated death. Through faith in Him we, too, can have the last word on death. We won’t get a better offer!

Wishing you a most blessed and joyous Easter!

Dedicated to Beverly Hoover (3/10/39 – 4/16/14) and remembering all loved ones who have passed on to their eternal home.

The Unexpected

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog—The Ultimate Gift.  After numerous excuses on my part—too busy, not the right time, etc.—I decided it was time to follow Nike’s advice and “just do it.”  The ‘it’ I am referring to is answering the call to use my written words to glorify God by pointing others to Jesus, our true hope.

I really don’t know exactly what a blog is, but I found out that it’s a good place for an aspiring writer to start. The first step in setting up a blog is to come up with a domain name.  Of course my first choice,, was already taken so I had to choose an alternative. The math teacher in me jumped all over replacing ‘ate’ with 8!

As we close in on the end of November many of us are starting to think about Christmas and the preparations that come with it, myself included. I was doing some online shopping shortly before I decided to plunge into the blog arena. That could have played a role in my title selection.  I had gifts on my mind.  I am wondering how many people might stumble onto this site because they are searching for ‘the ultimate gift’ this holiday season and find something completely unexpected.  Divine intervention perhaps?

Whether you found this site on purpose or by accident,  I have good news.  The pressure to find the ultimate gift is off. Our Heavenly Father took care of that over 2000 years ago when He descended from heaven and came to earth in the flesh of a baby named Jesus. Talk about unexpected!  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17 NLT) Here’s the deal though—WE can’t give this gift, we can only receive it and share this Good News with others. Jesus can fulfill the deepest desires of our hearts, but we must invite Him in first. God won’t force us to unwrap the gift.  Having already opened it myself, I would ask, “What are you waiting for?”  There will never be a gift that will top it!

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV)