Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!

Encouragement and Inspiration for the Next Two Weeks!

Authors Harriet E. Michael and Shirley Crowder are so generous in sharing their wisdom over the next couple of weeks. CLICK HERE TO GET ALL OF THEIR DEVOTIONS THROUGH NOVEMBER 6!

Here’s their first installment.


Life’s Ripples
by: Harriet
Read: Psalm 74:13-17

The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon. It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.

Psalm 74:16-17 (NIV)


Autumn was once an enigma to me. As a little girl growing up beneath the hot tropical sun, I had no memory of autumn. Oh, I had experienced it when my parents were in America on furlough but I was too young to really remember what it was like. And furlough, when you are only five years old, is a year of so many new things, that it is hard to process and remember.

But nonetheless, even in tropical Nigeria, I learned to love the autumn season. Why did I love it as a child when I had not experienced it? Where did I get my love for this season of cooler weather, colorful scenery, scurrying squirrels, crunchy leaves, and frosty mornings? I think the credit goes to a missionary aunt who taught both Shirley and me in school–our Aunt Lil Wasson.

Because she had a teaching degree and several children of her own in need of an education, Aunt Lil bravely took on the job of elementary school teacher to all the missionary kids on the Ogbomoso compound. Ogbomoso, the Nigerian town where we lived, had both a hospital and seminary with about a half a dozen missionary families working in each. All together these missionaries had at least a dozen or more elementary-age children depending on who was on furlough in any given year. Aunt Lil taught all of us in her garage which had been made into a one-room schoolhouse. She taught every child in grades kindergarten through the fourth grade in one room. She was a brave woman, indeed.

Aunt Lil loved autumn. She grew up in Arkansas where trees are abundant, and autumns are glorious. Of course, Nigeria had only two seasons–rainy and dry. Half the year it rained some every day and the other half it did not rain at all. America’s autumn months fall right at the end of the rainy season in Nigeria.

Yet, Aunt Lil always decorated her schoolroom with pictures representative of autumn in America and had her American citizen students learn about their homeland. I can still remember sitting in her garage classroom looking at the decorations all around me–bright orange pumpkins, brown squirrels with nuts in their mouths, and trees with red, orange, and yellow leaves.

She had one large poster-size picture of Jack Frost painting a leaf with an artist palette of fall colors which always intrigued me. One hand was under the palette and the other held a paintbrush. Of course, we all knew Jack Frost was not real, but my imagination went wild just the same with thoughts of a magical place where the world turned bright with colors, where shiny, frosty crystals formed on the ground, and a little elf painted the leaves when children were not looking.

I think of Aunt Lil every fall. I thank God for her enthusiasm over the world He made, both tropical and temperate. And I realize how everything people do can have a lasting ripple effect on those around them.

Prayer: Gracious Heavenly Father, creator of this vast and beautiful world, thank You for the exquisite beauty that surrounds us whether we experience colorful autumn foliage or lovely tropical blooms. Make us mindful that our lives affect others in so many ways. May we impact them for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thought for the Day: Others are watching you!

Get all of Harriet’s and Shirley’s devotions through November 6 in your email box by clicking THIS LINK and signing up on the form. No strings attached. This email list will be discarded when the devotional serial ends on November 6, 2019.


Philadelphia Freedom

I’m so blessed to have been able to help sponsor our your choir’s mission opportunity last week! What am amazing time full of challenges and blessings! You can see from the pictures (in chrono order) that we did a little touring early in the week. The students even sang in Lancaster County – LOVELY! They also sang Sunday morning at Olney Baptist Church, one of the sites for our morning VBS activities. Each evening had a different event: visiting the Rocky Steps and the Reading Terminal Market, canvassing a large neighborhood to share about VBS and visiting a Liberian church, singing and cleaning at the Salvation Army, and hosting two block parties in different neighborhoods to stir interest in a church and a church plant. Busy week, but most satisfying to see the Lord move.

Happy Fourth!

EagleflagI’m so thankful to the Lord for the blessings He’s give our country. Oh, how He’s shown His love. In fact, when I hear the song, “God Bless America,” I always think of a bumper sticker I saw that said “America bless God.”

If only we, as a country, would unite ourselves to this purpose as we once did.

What else should we ask from Him? What other blessings are we entitled to?

And yet, He is so gracious and adoring. He lavishes His love on His people. How great is our God. May America come to realize His greatness again!

3 Reasons to Love an Ugly Stepsister

StepsisterLast weekend I got to have the most fun doing something really strange – hating. Not real hating of course, but acting the part of the bad guy – not a role I usually play on the stage, and I hope very rarely in real life as well. But this was so much fun! “What is this Feeling?” from the musical Wicked, was not only great to sing, but physically showing “loathing” was probably easier than it should have been. LOL!

But the experience got me started thinking about the Ugly Stepsisters that I encounter. People who Continue reading

A Look Ahead

2016Last week, I set my Word for the Year and took A Look Back at what I’d been able to accomplish during 2015. You can find both of those articles at the underlined links. Now, on the first business day of the year, I’m down to business!

Have you set your goals for the year yet? Of course, it’s hard to look 12 solid months ahead, but setting goals will get you closer to achievement even if you don’t completely meet all of them. Like I said before, I break mine into Continue reading

A Look Back

January 1Have you looked back at 2015? What did you accomplish? What goals did you fail to achieve?

I’ll tell you mine, if you’ll share some of yours! I break my goals into business, family, and personal ones.

This year actually proved rather successful as far as business goals went. I didn’t set them until a workshop in early March, but they still spanned the entire year. In my business, I intended to Continue reading


Word for the Year

word for 2015I really like the tradition I learned about a few years ago. The words that have been impressed upon me have stayed with me throughout the year. Two years ago, I lived with the word ANTICIPATION. I thought I’d be anticipating traditional publishing for my novels. That wasn’t the case, though. God revealed several other opportunities and surprises.

Then last year, I realized that I needed more Continue reading

Wonder of Christmas

Christmas TreeThe lights on our family  Christmas tree twinkle non-stop, and I find myself mesmerized by them from time to time. Even when I’m supposed  to be working. And I heard something about Christmas lights the other day which I adapted into a little Christmas Tree Personality Quiz. Did you know your tree speaks volumes about you?  Continue reading

Minis Make Things Excellent!

IMG_0264Okay, I bet you’re thinking, by the title, that this is a recipe post. It is. But there is more too it than that.

It has become clear to me that our God is in the detail business. Minis are important to Him. I’ve heard the concept disregarded and set aside most of my life, but He’s shown me in so many ways that He doesn’t do Continue reading


Day #30 – 30 Day Challenge

c28We made it! Everyday devotions for the entire month of September! This challenge certainly helped me. I know I missed my quiet time on one morning, but for the others, I enjoyed prayer and Bible study in addition to reading and discussing Thirty Days of Devotion with y’all.

I have found toward the end of the month that my normal Bible study hasn’t been enough. Most days, I’ve been doubling my study time and enjoying every moment of it. And that’s Continue reading