The Power of a Decision

Growing up, my mother made sure we got to visit all our relatives on a regular basis. Every once in a while Dad would come too.

I didn’t know it then, but family ties have a great deal to do with how we live our lives, whether it is immediate family or extended. As a youngster I looked up to a lot of cousins, and aunts and uncles, especially those who emulated Christ’s character.

I’ve always wondered what the phrase “family ties” means. At first glance you might visualize all your first and second cousins tied to each other, and to you with one big long invisible thread. Or you may think of the less literal interpretation, the genealogy connection.

Lately I’ve been thinking of “ties” in terms of how our decisions affect the ones we love. Our decisions resemble a rock falling into a pool of water. The circular ripples echo outwardly and touch everyone from our inner circle onward. We forget about how people watch and learn from one another.

I believe that is why Jesus taught us so much about love. If we act out of love for God, for ourselves and others, our ripples are going to create joy, encouragement and generally build one another up (in the faith I hope). If we act out of selfishness our ripples can cause pain, concern and genuine discouragement.

What decisions are you making today that will spur your family on to greatness of character? What choices have you made lately that will strengthen your faith and your family’s?

We cannot hope to be the best we can be for ourselves, and our family without help from God. He gives us grace as we grow, and we must extend that same grace and patience, and prayer generously.

Making sound decisions (based on biblical principles) is a challenge. It is easy to give into status quo.

May I conclude with a sincere warning to those people who are near and dear?

Please watch what you say and do, someone’s future faith depends upon it.


When We Choose Love (in memory of Kayla and….)

W020080520589007879218I was in an uber taxi in Washington D.C. when I heard of Kayla’s death.  I did my best to find a news clip or paper to read about who she was, and how and why she died.

When I got home from our trip of visiting our son, I stayed in my pyjamas all day long and wrote and recorded this song in memory of Kayla (whom I don’t know personally), and all the others who readily give their lives on the battle front, for the innocent.



When We Choose Love – by Cindy Palin ©February 15th, 2015

Everyone has heard your name, your cruel claims to fame

Can’t hold a candle to, the lights who dare defy you

Headlines used to fuel your fear, intimidation’s here

But when the body dies, love cannot help to shine brighter

I am unafraid to leave this place, at the hands of those who choose to hate

The blood of innocents has seen enough – to know that life is lived when we choose Love.

Underneath the battle cries, something louder comes to life

The power of a prayer, the victory is here

You can draw the border lines, emancipation’s mine

‘Cause when the body dies, love cannot help but shine brighter

I am unafraid to leave this place, at the hands of those who choose to hate

The blood of innocents has seen enough – to know that life is lived when we choose love.



A Mystery Miracle of Love – the soldier, the preacher, the prayer.

Last night I had to sleep on the couch propped up with pillows, because I am getting a bad cold.  I fell asleep rather quickly only to wake up in the middle of the night to a song lyric running through my heart “Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world”, which is actually from 1 John 4:4. I took that as a signal from the Lord, to pray for my children.

There have been nights where I’ve been in a worried state, but last night was different. Very peacefully I whispered each of their names to Jesus, in faith – that He would accomplish, and complete what he began in them.

Then a strange realization came to me, a memory from the past.  There was an elderly man, and his wife that came over from England and moved in across the street from us.  He told me one afternoon over tea that he and his wife prayed for our children regularly. I could see the snow that day, and the window they looked out that framed our front yard, where our children played.   He told me of when he was a soldier.  He took messages to the front lines in World War II.

Suddenly, propped up in the dark, in the middle of the night, in a small humble living room, I felt like royalty.  I felt so loved, that God would choose to put my children’s well-being, on the heart of a soldier and his wife.

Just as soon as I had thanked God for that memory, another couple came to mind. The man had told me of how when he was a teenager, he agreed to take his mother to an evangelical tent meeting, and there he accepted Christ.  He had been part of a gang and was in deep trouble, but once he accepted Christ his life was changed. He grew up to be a preacher and fell in love with a nurse who originally came from Canada.  She was in love with him too, but felt called to Africa. He followed her to Africa, where they married.  Eventually they moved to Canada, near my hometown.  One night they went to a banquet at a country school and saw one of my children’s names on a book mark at their place setting.  From that time on, nearly twelve years ago, they began praying for my son everyday.

There in the dark I saw an ancient yellowed map of England.  My husband’s grandparents came from England, and a red dot appeared.  My mother’s Grandmother came from England, another red dot appeared.  I wasn’t sure of my father’s ancestry, but know that his name, (my maiden name) – is English and means shelter.  I could see red dots all over the map, representing families, strangers unaware of the other, and yet through accepting Christ, over time, across an ocean, through a window, at a table, spirits converged.

“What a heritage we have through you O Lord” I whispered.  “Who am I that You are mindful of me, and my children?” I asked him in the dark.

As I chose to pray for my children in faith, He chose to show me His handiwork, and how He too pursues them, and prays for them.  And it isn’t that he needs to use us to accomplish His will.  He could accomplish what He wants on his own, but he involves us in one big mystery miracle of love. I saw His love in the middle of the night, the soldier, the preacher, the prayer.

The map faded, my breathing became louder, and my eyelids grew heavy again.  Sleep returned, but not before I whispered “You are great indeed O Lord!”

While Waiting in Line at the Store

I didn’t have much time before I had to be back at work, but that didn’t seem to be as pressing as I thought, because I saw a man’s face in the crowd, and uncontrollably blurted out “hello”, followed by his name.  I hadn’t seen him in years, and yet I somehow knew his name.

He looked straight at me and spoke my name too, which was equally as strange.  I had a hat on my head to hide by messy hair. The brim was pulled down quite low.  I had hoped I was unrecognizable, but then why would I be saying hello?  What was God up to?

The fellow left the line up at the till and walked over.  We went to High School together, he was in my sister’s grade.  Our conversation was as if we knew each other well.  It only took seconds to discover the reason for our familiarity.

“I’ve been a Christian for about six years now” he confessed.  I smiled, “how wonderful” I replied.  He knew I was a believer too.  Ah hah!  We were one in the spirit, brothers and sisters in the family of God.  We shared a powerful bond.

He spoke about his Dad, who had just died recently, and I shared of how my husband and I had just said goodbye to our Mom. I warmly offered my sympathies and raved about how God can help us through even the darkest of times.

He shared about his recent separation, counseling, and the Bible studies he was attending.  I gently reminded him we are all on a journey, and we all make mistakes.  But it is the humble and courageous who recognize their need for help, and their need of God – in order to change.

He told me he had a home church he was attending regularly.  I commended him for not trying to “go it alone.”

I invited him to a monthly community dinner we have for single parents, widowers, the divorced.  “It’s just nice not to have to cook.  By dining together we learn more about that journey we are on, and how we need each other, most importantly how God can help.

We went our separate ways back to our work, but it was evident God had planned another one of His moments.  Life had just gotten a little less lonely.  The world in all it’s frenzy, and indifference had just gotten a little warmer, and made more sense.

I worked that afternoon under a special glow.  We might have a thousand things to do, but none more important than making personal contact.  When we dare to make time for one another, we get to see Jesus in a brand new light.  We get to live on purpose.



…..raking leaves

My plan was to use the treadmill and have breakfast before starting work in the studio.  That plan changed when I walked out into the unusually mild fall weather and saw the dancing leaves.

Many of my neighbors had been sweeping the leaves off their driveways and raking them off their yards, while I had left them carpeting our property with their festive yellow hues.  I marveled at their color and the sound of their voices whispering to me as I swished through them ankle-deep.

The forecast for the next day was rain.  Dry leaves are a joy, wet leaves get really messy.  My morning plans shifted.

As I swept large piles of my yellow friends from the sidewalk into the gutter, I noticed a lady out walking her dog.  To my surprise she waved and crossed the street towards me.

She called out to me by name, and I nodded.

She had seen me leading worship on Thanksgiving Sunday, and recognized me from across the street.  She and her husband were new in town and were attending our church.  She was very pleased about living in the area.

While we chatted she noticed a bird, a white breasted nut hatch, is what I think she called it.  The bird was peeking at us from a nearby branch.  As I listened further, I learned they can go backwards down a tree, and their call sounds like a “sick duck”.  Her words, not mine.

Our conversation shifted to her family.  Sadly her adult sons had suffered issues at Bible School.  Her children shared the same gift and love for music I did.  One of her sons was finding life quite difficult, in a city nearby.  I asked for his name.

I briefly told her about a pattern that had been developing as of late.  I pray for one of my framing customer’s sons, and she prays for mine.  All young people experience challenges as they move out into the world and find their place and purpose.  If it was alright with my new neighbor, I would pray for her son as well.  She nodded and commented on the importance of prayer.

We both embraced on the end of my driveway, and waved goodbye.

I didn’t tell her how my Grandmother’s prayer had saved my life thirty-three years ago on Thanksgiving day.  That’s another major God moment story for some other time.

….at the bank

Returning from a week break, I began to prepare for our worship team practice among other things.  I decided to rally the troops and call in extras in case my voice did not return in time for Thanksgiving Sunday.  After calling a couple of friends and finding out they were going to go home for the Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to leave things as they were.  I had done everything in my power to be responsible, the rest was up to God.  I wasn’t the first worship leader to sound like a croaky frog recovering from an illness, and I wouldn’t be the last.

I put away the church phone directory and whispered a small prayer of trust to Jesus, then off to the bank to run an errand for our daughter.

As I explained to the teller that I was depositing something for my daughter, she made conversation by asking where my daughter was.  Briefly I explained that she was away in another country studying the Bible.  The teller beamed and relayed that she had just finished Bible School in a nearby town.  I was delighted to hear that the new young woman at our bank was a believer, and newly married.  I asked her if they had a home church.  In no time we both found out we were attending the same one!

I croaked out that I would be seeing her the next day, as I was leading worship.  Excitedly she asked about choir.

“Could it be she liked to sing?” I asked myself.

“Would you be interested in singing on the worship team tomorrow?” I asked without hesitation.  In the same spirit, she responded with a jubilant “yes!”.

It never even dawned on me that she might love to sing but not have the ability at all.

“I love hymns!” she chirped.

She didn’t have a problem with the 8:00 a.m. practice either.

I leaned across the counter and said “two strangers in a bank, who’d have thought?”

She leaned in closer too and replied “we’re not strangers anymore.”

I walked out of the bank feeling as if it was meant to be, and do you know why?

Because it was.




…on the street corner

Recently my husband and I decided to take one week away from it all.  We arrived in a city after our eight-hour journey and asked the hotel clerk for restaurant recommendations.  After we dropped off our suitcases we took her advice and enjoyed gourmet at its best and an all around class act at RauDZ in Kelowna, B.C.

After finishing our dinner we intended to go right to our vehicle and go back to the hotel.  Leaving the restaurant we noticed a motley crew to our right, and turned left instead.  As we rounded the corner I saw a young man bending over a tri-pod.  Rather than walk by, I felt as though I should stop.  Seconds later the photographer lifted his head.

I came face to face with a young man I’ve been praying for, for over a year.

When you pray for someone you become connected.  I had forgotten that the young man had moved to Kelowna, but God hadn’t.  And that is the whole point, when he puts someone on our heart, and asks us to pray, he also orchestrates surprise updates, so we can see for a fact He is answering prayer!

Thanks Jesus, you’re the best!