Quilting Encouragement with Mary Tatem


Lifting her feet high in order to run through the loose sand, the five-year-old girl’s face broadcast her delight in seeing me. She threw her arms around my legs. I bent to plant a welcoming kiss on her blonde curls, my heart awash with love for this precious child. Our faces beamed with smiles, and both of us laughed out loud at the joy of being together. In a moment she was back playing with her beach toys, but the bond between us was reinforced by that enthusiastic greeting. Her zeal wasn’t always so exuberant, when she was younger, there were times she clung shyly to her mother’s skirts.  We grandmas love regardless of the ability of the little one to respond.

If we faulty humans can love while we wait for our grandchildren to discover we are worthy of their trust and time, how much more patience does our heavenly Father, who embodies perfect love, possess? It’s easy to run with eagerness to embrace Him with praise when He delights our heart with successful undertakings. However, sometimes we are burdened with disappointment and we fail to seek Him out or even turn away from Him. I believe God’s smile is even broader than a grandma’s when we run to Him is those times of rejection and setbacks, even in writing. Better yet, He has the power to set things right when He bends to kiss our life. He’s always ready to receive us in good times and bad.


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Mary Tatem is an author of story based devotional books which boost your spirits. Each devotion uses the craft of quilting or scrapbooking to touch the reader’s heart and show the love of God. Her every day examples of God’s involvement in our lives provide encouragement to rely on God.  She enjoys speaking to women and inspires them to trust God and His warm love. Currently, she is using her love of story to write historical novels.

As the mother of four and grandmother of fifteen, she finds life full of inspiring stories. Join her to read about God’s work in His people.




Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs. It may be hot but as we say, “It’s a dry heat.”

Do you want to see Jesus’ compassion and patience in action? It’s in Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler, even though the young man worships his “to-do” list.

In one way or another, we’re all like the rich young ruler of Matthew 19:16-22. We just each have a different sinful strategy to cope with life. The young ruler’s sinful strategy was self-sufficiency through keeping the law and commandments. And when he talked to Jesus, he most likely expected Jesus to suggest he follow those rules for gaining eternal life. And Jesus at first stayed at the level of the Law by challenging him, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (verses 18-19). Evidently the young man thought that was the easy answer on the quiz because he claimed he had done those things.

He had no clue that Jesus was referring to that “to-do” list as a barometer of the heart. This young man’s behavior seemed obedient but evidently, he hadn’t attended the class entitled “Sermon on the Mount” (Matt. 5-7). Because there Jesus explains it’s all about the heart not just the behavior. Jesus in his compassionate way was gently guiding this young man toward truth, even knowing he would walk away.

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DianneBarkerDianne Barker here confessing that I sometimes struggle with discouragement. One day while talking with the Lord, I caught myself pouring out my heart about my miserable condition—plagued with a multitude of flaws. I stopped with a jolt. Read More →


0098_MillerGreetings from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palms Springs.

Have you had your eyes examined lately? The last time my eyes were examined, I felt tense having that puff of air come toward my eye to test for glaucoma. I knew it was coming and the longer I waited for it, the more tense I became. I knew it wouldn’t hurt me, but it still scared me. I wanted to push the machine away and protect my eye.

Do you feel like your eye is one of the most sensitive parts of your body that you want to protect? I do. It just feels so scary and dangerous to have anyone pointing something close to my eyes. There’s an automatic reflex that says, “Get away! I will protect my eyes!”
Do you know that God feels the same way about you? He will protect you just like you and I want to protect our eyes. How do I know? That truth is found in Zechariah 2:8. You’ve heard the verse before: “for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye–” (NIV). But maybe you’re like me. I didn’t really understand what it meant.

In this verse, the word “apple” refers to the pupil which is the opening of the eye allowing rays to reach the retina. It is the tenderest, most vulnerable part of the eye. The slightest injury can bring huge problems, the worst being blindness. No wonder God has designed us to instinctively protect our eye. He knows the consequences are serious.

The NLT words it this way: “For he said, ‘Anyone who harms you harms my most precious possession.'”

Clarke’s Commentary offers this fascinating insight:

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Author, Dianne Barker

Dianne Barker here with a few words of encouragement. Are you tired of jumping hurdles and pushing past obstacles that seem to impede every step? Here’s an idea. Launch out into the deep and let down your nets!

The Lord told Simon Peter after a disappointing fishing trip, “…Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch” (see Luke 5:1-11).

A crowd had gathered around Jesus by the Lake of Gennesaret to hear his teaching. He got into Peter’s boat and asked him to take it out a little further from the shore. Then he sat down to teach the people.

When he’d finished he told Peter to take the boat out to the deep water and do some more fishing. Peter and his friends were already washing their nets—done for the day.

“Master,” he said, “we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.” He didn’t argue. He simply stated a fact. His diligent labor had produced nothing.

Go fishing again? The plan seemed absurd…the situation hopeless. With nothing to go on except the word of the Lord, Peter made a decision that, to onlookers, might have seemed irrational.

“Because you say so, I will let down the nets.” He’d try again. Attempt something that appeared unfeasible and impractical. Just because Jesus said do it. He and his buddies caught so many fish that their nets began to brake!

“So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.”

That’s the amazing outcome of obedience.

Are you frustrated, worn out, and downright discouraged because you’ve fished and caught nothing? You’ve trudged through years, devoted to the call of God on your life. Looking back you see little to show for your investment.

Someone whispers, “You’ve done your best, but your work has been unfruitful. Why keep wasting your energy? It’s time to quit.”

I’m familiar with that one-way conversation. It sounds so rational…so convincing. But the one speaking is our enemy—a confirmed liar! Do not give him the time of day!

This place of despair is just the right place for something amazing to happen. Jesus said, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets” (King James Version). Before pushing away from shore…

  • Pray about your dreams—those far-fetched plans of your youth, as yet unfulfilled. Ask the Lord what to pursue to bring him honor. Let his peace guide you.
  • List “starter” steps. And then move forward, one step at a time.
  • Focus on the future, not the past, relying fully on the word of the Lord.

Many years ago the Lord gave me a promise—his plans for my writing and speaking ministry. He didn’t say when this would happen, but the dream kept my faith strong. Life brought so much reality that it seemed my boatload of dreams might sink.

Struggling to keep believing the promise, I looked toward heaven one day and said simply, “What’s next?”

Someone whispered…a plan…specific steps toward the promise he had given long ago! I wrote them down and launched out into the deep–with nothing to go on except the word of the Lord. My boat overflows.

How will you invest the rest of your life? You’ll never know the amazing outcome of obedience until you launch out into the deep and let down your nets.

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s a member of Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Christian Women in Media. Visit www.diannebarker.com.