Best. Thank You Note. Ever.

Best. Thank You Note. Ever.  Lucinda Secrest McDowell Mama taught me that when given a Gift, the only proper response is to say “Thank You”… then immediately write a Thank You note.  So, today as I write some thank you notes, my heart is full of gratitude  – to God, family,  friends,  readers… This week I am overflowing with THANKS for…. The milestone of My Birthday this week and God giving me Life and Health and…

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The Original ‘Old Faithful’

The Original ‘Old Faithful’ Lucinda Secrest McDowell The park ranger promised me it would happen at this exact moment. And as I stood with hundreds of people from all over the world, our long-awaited anticipation was rewarded with a true spectacle.             Old Faithful.             The famous geyser at Yellowstone National Park that erupts about every ninety minutes, shooting up as high as 184 feet, lasting as long as five minutes. Without fail. As I…

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Where are the Spiritual Mamas Out There?

Where are the Spiritual Mamas Out There? Lucinda Secrest McDowell While still in my thirties, I realized I was an ‘older woman.’ I had stumbled upon the mandate in Titus 2 about older women living in a way that honors God, “They should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women…” It was easy to dismiss this as something for my mother’s generation, until the Spirit spoke into my heart.…

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Resilience

Resilience by Lucinda Secrest McDowell We only have one small tree in our front yard.  By choice. When we downsized from a five bedroom colonial parsonage to a much smaller Cape Cod cottage, we deliberately chose a yard that requires little upkeep. But this pink dogwood sits right outside the bay window of our porch and is a beautiful focal point throughout each season. Back in October 2011, it was laden with gorgeous autumn leaves…

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Because Everyone is Wounded 

Because Everyone is Wounded  Lucinda Secrest McDowell “Just assume that everyone within the reach of your words is wounded.” These were my words to the writers and speakers attending my seminar entitled “What Your Audience Desperately Needs.” Because it’s true. We all carry soul wounds. Scars from childhood family skirmishes. Scratches from professional rejection. Scabs from physical trauma we never saw coming. Limps from having fallen one time too many. What are your souvenirs of…

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Holy Week ~ Experience the Wounds and the Wonder

Holy Week ~ Experience the Wounds and the Wonder  Lucinda Secrest McDowell  I still cannot believe what He did. For me. This is Holy Week. It began as Christians all around the world celebrated Palm Sunday – a commemoration of that day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to the cheers and adulation of crowds waving palm branches and singing “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.” In…

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Reminders from Gethsemene

Reminders from Gethsemane  Lucinda Secrest McDowell A decade ago I had the great privilege of spending time during Lent in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem. In the Easter story, Jesus’ time in the Garden is one that pierces my soul every time I think of all He encountered. So it was especially poignant to be there amongst the olive trees and in the shadow of the Church of the Agony.  Gethsemane means ‘pressed down’ and…

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Is It Time to Return?

Is It Time to Return? Lucinda Secrest McDowell Christina couldn’t wait to leave home and see the world. Though she had a loving mother, life in her poor Brazilian village provided only a pallet on the floor, a washbasin and a wood-burning stove. Christina dreamed of more. And she expected to find it in the Big City – Rio de Janeiro. It broke her mother’s heart. Maria knew that her beautiful daughter had no way of…

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When It’s Hard to Put Others First

When It’s Hard to Put Others First Lucinda Secrest McDowell People came from many nations and backgrounds to the Lausanne Committee 1980 Consultation on World Evangelization, held in Pattaya, Thailand. I was the communications editor for the event and my exposure to these servants of God from so many different countries changed my world view immensely. But it was a simple story of two Americans that fleshed out humility in a very real way. Our…

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Is God Big Enough to be in Your Church and Mine?

Is God Big Enough to Be in Your Church and Mine? Lucinda Secrest McDowell The smells were different. The sights were different. The music was different. And even some of the words were different. But it was the Same God. I recently attended worship  in a Christian church culturally not my own. In such a situation, often the differences are what initially bombard the senses. Incense and icons. Chanting of unfamiliar music. Robes of gold…

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Why I Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Why I Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by Lucinda Secrest McDowell What if evil hijacked your youth and held you captive for years and years? When escape to a new life was finally achieved, you would vow to stay as far away from your former captors as possible, right? Well, maybe not. Maybe you would choose to return and “conquer evil by doing good.” (Romans 12.21) Patrick was a sixteen-year-old teenager when he was abducted. There…

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Lent ~ It’s Not Just Giving Up Chocolate

Lent ~ It’s Not Just Giving Up Chocolate  Lucinda Secrest McDowell When I was growing up in south Georgia, my Episcopalian friends Mercer and Lisa always proudly announced this time of year that they were “giving up chocolate for Lent!” I never really knew what that meant. All I knew is that they didn’t seem any holier after doing this, so I kept eating chocolate… Now, I not only know what “Lent” means, I embrace…

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