Monthly Archives: May 2015

Spring In The North Woods


by Lydia Floren

Spring is different in the North Woods, more than any other place I have lived.  It is greatly anticipated by all who live here (especially a southerner like me) but still arrives unexpectedly.

One day it is winter.


The next day, spring.


Overnight—or so it seems–tulips bravely push past the cold. Green grass peaks through melting snow.


The woods blush with leaf-buds.


And then apple trees blossom.

Apple Blossom

And lilacs.


Wisconsin spring is beautiful.  And brief. Almost in the blink of an eye the flowers fade, the woods unfurl a startling array of greens.

Green Trees


Wisconsin summers take my breath away.  The days are warm, but not scorching. The grass is a lush carpet, caressing my bare feet.  The cool evenings stretch until 9:30 or 10, inviting me to linger on the back porch to watch the dusk settle, feel the breeze, listen to the fading echoes of children at play.

I am ashamed to say that even in summer, I can become inured, and then immune to the season’s magnificence. But the change of seasons in the North woods stops me in my tracks. Every year. Every season. The shifts–winter to spring to summer to fall–shout God’s greatness, His creativeness, His startling sense of beauty.

I can’t help but wonder. And awe. And give thanks, not only for the beauty surrounding me, but for the God who made all of this—who made each of us, His pinnacle creations.

I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.

Happy summer!







Big Decisions, No Regrets


Big Decisions, No Regrets:  10 steps to make a thoughtful God-guided decision with confidence

 by Lydia Floren

Have you ever noticed that spring tends to be a time when people make big decisions? You may be graduating from high school, and figuring out where you should go to college, or maybe even if you should go to college at all. You may be pondering a job change, or a move to a new city, or wondering if you should get married, or start a family. You may be facing a decision about your health, or what house you should buy, when to retire, or even what relationships to invest in.

Decisions, especially big decisions, form the framework of our lives. These choices have major impact on each of us, and so it behooves us to make these decisions deliberately and prayerfully.

These proven steps will give you confidence in making a big decision.

Key steps in making a big decision

10 steps in making a big decision

This is an excerpt from the article Big Decisions, No Regrets.  To get the complete piece, click here.






NOMB Part III: Curbing the Impulse to Fix Myself

NOMB 3 curbingNOMB (None Of My Business) Part III: Curbing the Impulse to Fix Myself

by Lydia Floren

One time, when I was particularly aware of my failures and inadequacies (this happens a lot to perfectionists, BTW), I decided I would make a list of of each of my faults. It took awhile. It was quite a list. Finally I finished, and then wrote this prayer in my journal:

“OK, God, here are all the things that need changing in me. Where do you want me to start first?”

Here was His answer: “Why don’t you start with the perfectionist part?”

I was stunned. And then I laughed.

Perfectionism wasn’t even on my list. But once I thought about it, perfectionism, in a sense, WAS my list. The very act of writing down that string of deficiencies was my attempt to perfect myself, albeit with God’s blessing. But God had different ideas of what needed fixing. He knew I needed to change my tendency to perfect myself at all, and the audacity, in fact, to think that I could. Suddenly, I saw how prideful and foolish it was to attempt any self-improvement on my own.

I not only need God’s strength to carry out any change in myself, I need His wisdom about what really needs changing. His words, His wisdom, didn’t come from within me, it came from Him, and it is changing my life. Slowly. Recovering from perfectionism is a long process.

Not only are we unable to fix others’ problems, we are not even very good at fixing our own. We are quite blind to our blind spots. We don’t perceive the fixed false beliefs deep in our psyches that are obstacles to freedom and joy. And when God shows us one of those blind spots, only He can help us navigate the complicated path needed to free us from the lies and lead us into truth.

This is why Paul says, “I don’t even judge myself.” God is The Master Physician. He alone sees the big picture of my life, the unseen pain and distorted misinformation that unconsciously drives destructive thought and action. He alone knows the best way to blast me out.

God has serious skills.

Recent Series: NOMB Part I: Letting God Be The Fixer, NOMB Part II: Curbing The Impulse To Fix Others