"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

January 2, 2019


I have to be honest; with the holidays and things not going as planned last week, I lost track of what day of the week it was and completely forgot to write this weeks newsletter. Then this week, I spent all day Monday hanging out with my great-niece which was what she wanted as my gift to her for her 5th birthday, which was on January 30th. Then we went to Arkansas for New Years day. I realized that it was the day for Jon to edit and publish the newsletter, and I had nothing for him to read and put online.

Sometimes I have great inspiration and writing the devotional comes easily, and other times it's a struggle. There are weeks when I'm excited about what I'm sharing, and other times when I wonder if what I write is of any benefit to anyone.

This week's devotional will be short and sweet, but this is what is on my heart for the new year.

Last week went nothing like Jon and I had planned! On Christmas Eve morning I woke up around 4:30 with horrible diarrhea.... eww, gross! As soon as Jon got up, I asked if he would mind going to the pharmacy to pick something up for me to take, since nothing I had here at the house seemed to be doing the job. He came home and we sat around watching a little TV. He asked if it was cold in the house, and I told him no. Jon decided to take a nap, and woke up feeling really bad. He was chilling and his body was aching so badly that it was painful.

We had made plans to go to Jon's mom's house at noon to eat lunch and spend the day with family. Due to both of us feeling bad, we had to cancel. I didn't get nearly as sick as Jon did. But Jon spent Christmas Eve, Christmas, and the rest of the week sick. For about three days he couldn't keep his eyes open and slept for hours. Finally, after five days, he began feeling normal and the sickness went away.

This was not how we were planning on spending our week; especially Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!

There are times when things go as planned, and times when they do not. Most times when things go awry, it's not anything that we could have done to have prevented it. It can be frustrating and sometimes even heart-breaking. Whether it's something big or small, we can become irritated and upset when life throws us curve balls and plans are changed.

When I picked Jovie up on Monday morning we were riding in the car and she asked what we were going to do that day. We discussed it and came up with what we wanted to do. Jovie's very exuberant response was, "That's a plan! Let's do it!!"

As we enter a new year, most of us think about the past year we just left behind and wonder what the new year will bring.

The truth is, God has a plan for each of us for 2019. He already knows what each day will look like for us all. He knows our frustrations, our heartache, our irritations, our sorrows; but also knows our joys and blessings.

Psalm 139: 14-16 says, "Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous -- how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed."

Nothing about our lives surprises God. Before we were ever born, He recorded every day of our life in His book. Every moment was laid out before a single day of our life had passed.

Regardless of what happens, God promises to never leave or forsake us. He is there watching us, caring for us, and surrounding us with His presence every single moment.

So let's make our response to God's plan for each of us for 2019 enthusiastically be, "That's a plan! Let's do it!!"


Not all our plans match up with God's plans. So, not all of our plans work out right. But not having our plans work out isn't always bad.

When I moved back to Tulsa, I didn't plan on finding someone to marry so soon. But that didn't go as I had planned. That's good.

Even plans that go completely against God's plans can be changed. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph spoke to his brothers many years after they had sold him into slavery, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good."

Our best course is to keep praying, and seeking after God's plan, and cooperating. It goes much more smoothly that way, and can save a lot of drama.


7 Can Soup

1 can meat-only chili

1 can kidney beans

1 can pinto beans

1 can black beans

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can corn

1 can Rotel

Velveeta, cubed

Without draining the cans, empty them all into a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes to bring all the flavors together. Dice the Velveeta and stir it into the soup until melted. Serve immediately.

**You can change up the ingredients, swap, sub, switch.. whatever cans you'd like to use.


I pray that each of you will experience God in a deeper way this coming year. I pray that your life will be filled with great joy and overwhelming peace. Regardless of what happens, keep your focus on Jesus! I pray that you will find ourself surrounded by loving family and friends. Say "I love you" unashamedly and be an encourager. May you be filled with great contentment. Laugh, find joy in each day of your journey, and know that God is always with you!


"I want to encourage you to make God bigger than your what ifs.

Don't focus on the mountain that's in front of you.

Focus on the God who can move the mountain (Matthew 17:20)." - Christine Caine


We love you!

Loretta & Jon