Adventuring On

January brought some exciting adventures to the Schell household.

We have journeyed to places we have never been, doing things we have never done. It has been a wonderful experience.

Our year started off with the purchase of a second home in Oklahoma. It was one of those things we knew was right even when we couldn’t imagine how everything would fit together. But there is no adventure in standing still, so we jumped it, and the result was perfect. It’s just down the road from our girls. We have land to grow things on, woods to explore, and a roomy house we hope to welcome lots of friends and family into. To top it all off, our new town, Guthrie, was named the cutest small town in the state.

So what does any sane individual do . . .

when in the middle of negotiating prices, ordering inspections, and signing papers to purchase a home do? They set sail for Central America where they will be totally out of reach, of course. And that’s just what we did. When we planned to travel in January, we had no idea we would be purchasing a house, but the thing of it is—all went on as planned without us. We relaxed and enjoyed our time exploring places when had never been. We met new people and learned of their stories, enjoyed some good food, and saw many interesting things, some of which I’m sure will find their way into future posts on this blog.

Life has a way of surprising us sometimes.

We found that to be very true over this last month. When we headed for Oklahoma to spend Christmas with the girls, we had no idea we would be buying a house, too. And even the plans we had made for our travel were greatly enhanced by the unknown. It was the people and places outside our expected itinerary that made the trip memorable.

We, humans, tend to map out our lives in our perfectly devised plans and expectations, but God often has a very different course that will really wow us. It makes me think of the Yiddish proverb “Man plans and God laughs.” I think He chuckles at us simply because He knows what’s coming and He can’t wait to see our reaction. I imagine our look of awe and wonder please Him much like the pleasure we receive when our children discover something new.

I have said it before and I will now say again—

God has the best adventures.

Everyday contains something He wants us to see and experience. There is something truly amazing about walking with God. He has a way of giving us the best views that have the potential to bring the most impact to our lives. Whether or not it has any effect will depend on our willingness to trust and follow Him. What can we lose? Nothing, and what will we gain? Just an amazing journey through life with the Creator of the Universe.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
“1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT

Keep watching for the adventures as they come. You never know what you might experience. Follow me. I’m happy to share mine.

Cheerful Satisfaction

I meet with a group of wonderful women to study the Bible. We are currently looking into the book of James and his advice on how to live a successful life following Jesus.

James wastes no time getting right to the point—

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” James 1:2NIV

I have to admit, this verse makes me cringe a little every time I read it. Perhaps it does the same to you. It’s a good thing it is followed by verse 2 and 3 which tell us—

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (NLT)

Here is a short devotion I wrote a while back on finding joy in our trials. I hope you enjoy it.

 Cheerful Satisfaction

Groans could be heard throughout the airplane as it bounced and dipped. Turbulence. It was going to be a long flight. Each jerk of the aircraft caused a new round of complaining from its passengers with one exception. From seat 27D could be heard squeals of delight. A small, blue-eyed, blond-headed mite of a girl cheered with joyous abandon. To her, this flight was more than she could hope for. Her ‘sit in your seat and just be quiet’ ride had turned into an exhilarating experience. I couldn’t help but smile at her happiness. In the midst of a less than satisfactory situation, this little one had found great pleasure.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 Galatians 5:22-23


Greek: chara khar-ah

Meaning: Cheerfulness, Calm delight

Joy’s very definition can make us smile. The idea of being full of cheer lightens our mood. But there is one more definition we should consider.  Delight means an extreme level of satisfaction, and satisfaction means a source or means of enjoyment: Contentment

Ahhh. . .Who knew that joy bubbles up right from satisfaction and is quickly followed by contentment. Out of the list of attributes of the Spirit found in Galatians 5, joy is the one that shouts out “This is pretty great!” If this were fruit we were eating, joy would be the part that would make us want to take another bite, savoring every bit of its lip-smacking goodness.

Joy is the optimist, bringing with it the knowing that hope is still alive. Joy is the spark of a smile mingled with tears as we remember God is near and He has a plan. Joy is the light that brings new perspective.

So when you feel joy slipping away, just think of little Miss 27D and her infectious giggles. No matter what you are facing, God is in it with you and that is cause for celebration.

“A cheerful heart brings good healing. . .”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:22‬ ‭NET

I hope joy finds you today wherever you are today.
Do share.

Christmas Cross


As we pulled into a small village on the Baja peninsula in Mexico, there was a car coming in the opposite direction with a lop-sided cross mounted to its roof. I thought it a bit odd, but I have seen stranger things tied to cars south of the border. As we pulled past I could see that the cross was actually the wooden base nailed to the bottom of the Christmas tree.

I was struck with the juxtaposition of these two items—the tree and the cross. Both were symbols of peace and goodwill. One represented the season when God made His way to earth to dwell among men. The other, God making a way for man to reach heaven to dwell with Him.

I love when God uses seemly obscure moments of life to bring His story of hope to mind. It was but a brief sighting of something so ordinary, but the message behind it will last an eternity. I pray as we enter into the festivities of the Christmas season, we will keep the entire of the story in mind.

For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 NET

Gazing with Wonder


Over and over, my husband and I both used this word as we traveled around the countryside this past summer. We saw mountains to deserts, farmland to forests, and everything in between. But the most impressive sights perhaps were rocky cliffs where colorful bands of stone had been revealed through fractures deep under the surface of the earth.

One such place we visited was Capital Reef, a national park in Utah. This was one of those lucky discoveries. We had not planned to stop in the area but with all campgrounds full of the more popular destinations for the holiday weekend, we took what we could find. We were very happy with the outcome.

Capital Reef has what they refer to as a wrinkle in the earth’s crust. Ha! Wrinkle, indeed. This uplifted landmass soars 7000 feet into the air. An ancient fault beneath the earth’s surface that caused the ground to be thrust upward is the most likely explanation for its creation. Whatever the reason, when we gazed at the outcome, we remarked on its beauty.

God Sighting

Most people, including myself, tend to want their lives to resemble gentle-rolling, grass-covered hills rather than exposed rocky outcrops. We prefer to keep anything negative hidden deep under the surface. Nobody wants their faults on display, but often times, it is God’s work through those faults that bring the most beauty to our lives.

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:6

This verse found in Second Corinthians is a reference to the beginning of time when God created the world. In Genesis 1:3, a world that was formless, dark, and void began a process of change when God brought light to the situation. The focus wasn’t the dark, formless, empty earth, it is what God created out of it that gets our attention.

Even though there were places where the actual fault could be seen, it was not what drew your eye. It was the beauty of the layers of exposed rock that displayed their history in vibrant bands of color. The same can be found in our lives. Rather than our weaknesses, it will be God’s extraordinary work in us that is seen.

For instance, check out what Second Corinthians 4:7-12 has to say about it.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

Not crushed even when hard pressed, not in despair even when perplexed, not abandoned even when persecuted, and not destroyed even when struck down—These show the layers of God’s faithful work in our lives. Where we saw weakness and failure, God’s light reveals something completely the opposite that draws people’s attention. It’s our transformation into the likeness of His Son, Jesus, that is revealed. His strength and majesty on display in our lives will bring hope and life to others. And to this, we must gaze in wonder and remark— “Beautiful!”

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 4:15



Things You Learn While Wandering

“Not all who wander are lost.”


It’s amazing what you can learn while traveling down the road.

Yes, you will view beautiful scenery and meet interesting people, but one thing I love the most is when my husband discloses something I did not know before. It seems that discovering new places and people have an added effect. It also brings on the recollection of adventures from the past

We have been married for going on forty-five years, and the chance of uncovering something new would seem very slim I suppose. Add our long history together with a man who is reserved with his words, and the odds of learning something new just aren’t good. But the exact opposite has happened. I have learned some details about his life that were previously unknown to me.

During a trip to Big Sur, Paul told me about camping there as a boy. He was friends with the neighbor’s son and they had invited him. He had spent a lot of time with the family at their farm on the central coast of California, helping to pick the crops they raised. Another place reminded him of the time his dad took him to see a car race. Then on a recent road trip through Iowa, he talked of the time he visited his uncle’s farm and he was given permission to ring the dinner bell to let them know it was meal time. He was good at it, except when he rang it at the wrong time. He smiled as he told of the big ruckus he had caused and how much trouble he had been in from his ‘innocent’ mistake.

These tiny glimpses into my husband’s boyhood made me love him even more. I could picture a small bit of this little boy who grew up to be the man I know. It’s a treasure to peek into a time that was previously a mystery to me.

God Sighting

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed it to us by the Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

 When Jesus was giving His last instructions to the disciples, they were disheartened. What would they do without Him? Who would be their Teacher? Jesus told them not to worry. Good things were coming. Then He tells them of someone who would come and be with them forever—the Spirit of Truth

This Advocate or Holy Spirit, as Jesus calls Him, whom God will send “will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26) “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” He says it again in John 16:12-13 “I have so much more to tell you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.

I am so glad that we, too, are recipients of the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13) We will know Him, for he lives with us and will be in us. (John 14:17) It is He who is constantly pointing out new things to me as we travel through the Scriptures. He also reminds me of things I already know in the moment I need them. Whether to apply to my life or to lend to someone else, He whispers, “Remember that verse or story we saw in the Bible? That applies here in this situation, too.

But the best thing about having the Holy Spirit is the constant glimpses of God along the way. The little mysteries He uncovers for me to draw my heart closer and give me a better understanding of the God who has allowed me to walk through life with Him. I cannot be silent about what I discover along the way. I write in the hope that others will embrace this journey with God for themselves. They will never regret what they discover when they go a-wandering with the Holy Spirit

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.

Jeremiah 33:3


Something to Ponder: Glorify God

You cannot glorify God unless you consider His ways and follow them.

Hands Full

I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.

 Psalm 119:48 ESV


Hands raised in worship.

I have been part of it when a song strikes a chord in my soul. the action of lifting my hands in worship acknowledges a longing for my whole being participate with a heart that is lifted to the throne room of God. You, Lord, have done great things is usually the reason for my hands to reach out in a worship service.

Other images come to mind when considering “lifting up my hands”. Hands over our heads can be a sign of surrender. We raise our right hand and swear we will tell the whole truth, while volunteers show their eagerness to serve with hand stretched high. Hands thrown upward can also be a sign we’ve simply had enough of how something is going.

But when we look at the Hebrew word for hand—kalf— in the Psalm 119 verse above, we see something else. It describes the palm or hollow of the hand. The hollow of the hand is made for scooping, holding, or carrying things. Combined with the word nasa’ I shall lift up—it gives the idea of picking something up and carrying it in your hand.

Now, doesn’t that give us a different picture?

We lift our hands to receive from God who is the Giver of good gifts. His Word certainly qualifies as one of those good gifts. In receiving it, we can move on to touching it and allowing it to touch us.

Let’s not stop there. Our hands can do so much. How about cradling the word as you would do something precious? Grasping it as in never letting go, and sometimes even hanging on for dear life. Feeling it as you would when gliding your hand over something of beauty, feeling its texture. All these actions further expand my view of my hands coming in contact with God’s Word.

I pray that I follow the Psalmist’s actions. . .

and continue to reach out towards the very thing that allows me to know God and His ways. When my hands are full of His words, they are always at my fingertips to be used in my actions or offered to others who seek to know God, too. What better way is there to live than having one’s hands full of God’s precious words?

So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

Psalm 63:4


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