{ The Resurrection of Gavin Stone ~ Movie Review }


I headed into the Family Video store, looking for…something.  This film was playing on the monitors. I perked up, surprised to hear ‘the gospels’ uttered by a character.  It might be a good film…

The story revolves around a shallow, narcissistic character (Gavin Stone). After some law-breaking-party-mischief, he is rewarded with community service. This sentence returns him to his hometown in the Midwest. He is forced to reconnect with his father after many years, since he needs a cheap place to stay.

His community service duties: janitorial detail at the local (mega) church.

Because Gavin is an actor, he wants to work out some of his 200 service hours by participating in the church Easter production. He wants the part of Jesus. Since each actor is required to be a Christian, he pretends to be one. At tryouts, his acting skills are comparatively excellent, and his audition is applauded.  He got the part.

Then, Gavin shows off his acting skills still more by continuing the pretense of being a Christian.  He Googles: What do Christians wear to church?  What bumper stickers do they apply to their vehicles? How do they pray? What words do they use?

(Guess what overused Christian word becomes his favorite?  Yep — BLESSING.)

The movie was too true.  There are lots of fakers sitting in pews. Christians are nice people, and folks like to hang around. But, not all church attenders want to surrender their own life to the Lord Jesus.  Some just want to play the game and enjoy the benefits of church life & fellowship.

People are often duped, but God isn’t fooled.

Gavin eventually admitted that he wasn’t a Christian.  And he was amazed that people hadn’t figured him out.

Reminded me of Judas, who walked, talked and ate with the other eleven disciples for three years. Right before betrayal, they didn’t guess who the traitor was in their midst. (Matthew 26:22) Which reminds me…I just bought a new book with an intriguing title: What Would Judas Do? (More about that soon!)

Besides the excellent spiritual lessons, the movie was funny and well-acted. And, it had a great ending.

I hope you see it and enjoy as much as we did 🙂

Word Prompt of the day: “shallow”



{ Supernatural…or Stinky }


I walked up to my Christian college p.o. box as usual– hoping for some “good mail”.

That day, I found a simple, unsigned note that said:

2 Corinthians 2:15

“For we are a fragrance of Christ to God…”


I don’t remember exactly what I did next, but I’m pretty sure that a silly smile spread over my face and then I probably looked around, hoping to spot the anonymous sender….

Two amazing things:

  • Why was that note written to me? (I didn’t deserve it)
  • Decades later, I haven’t forgotten it.

Fragrance is hard to explain to someone.

You can say things like “it has light flowery notes, with a splash of citrus and overtones of verdant breezes”, but there’s nothing like taking a whiff of the real thing.

The Fragrance of Christ is like no other. It’s hard to explain, but you know something powerful is in the air. You can’t put your finger on just why you love it. It makes you say *awesome!* or it leaves you speechless, just thinking about it.

It’s not overpowering, but it holds you in its grip.

So...what does the “Fragrance of Christ” smell like? Here are two thoughts:

1. Love

It is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. —I Corinthians 13: 4-7 

2. Humility

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. — Philippians 2:3-8

When we exhibit these things as Christians, we are exuding an aroma that is Christ-like and supernatural.

In contrast, consider this verse in Ecclesiastes 10:1 —

Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.

We spread a spiritually “unpleasant odor” if we get foolish and selfish, forgetting to be doers of the Word.

Before being with a group of people (especially female, fun-loving kindred spirits), I like to stop and ask the Lord to control my mouth. The verse above reminds me that a lovely perfume can go bad when foolishness takes over.

The next time you get ready for your day, making yourself look and smell nice, consider asking God to make you “smell like Jesus.”

Just what does that smell like, you ask?


It has rich and varied overtones of true, unselfish love….a highly aromatic and clear essence of joy….undertones of peace, coupled with a clean bouquet of honor and humility.

It’s hard to describe…. but impossible to ignore.

(c) Lisa M. Luciano 🙂


{ My Favorite Hymn }


  1. May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
    Live in me from day to day,
    By His love and pow’r controlling
    All I do and say.
  2. May the Word of God dwell richly
    In my heart from hour to hour,
    So that all may see I triumph
    Only through His pow’r.
  3. May the peace of God my Father
    Rule my life in everything,
    That I may be calm to comfort
    Sick and sorrowing.
  4. May the love of Jesus fill me
    As the waters fill the sea;
    Him exalting, self abasing,
    This is victory.
  5. May I run the race before me,
    Strong and brave to face the foe,
    Looking only unto Jesus
    As I onward go.
  6. May His beauty rest upon me,
    As I seek the lost to win,
    And may they forget the channel,
    Seeing only Him.


~ Words by Kate B. Wilkinson

Word Prompt of the Day: harmonize


{ Jello & My Mother-in-Law }

colorful jello
Multi-colored, layered jello.  One of my amazing Mother-in-Law’s edible specialties.

A few days ago, I wrote the post Moxie & My Mother-in-Law.

I promised some ideas for sweetening your relationship with your mother-in-law. They are listed below. Sometimes it helps to have a new perspective. Please add your excellent ideas in the comment section 🙂

So, if you’re wondering how to love your mother-in-law (or maybe just start liking her), here are some ideas:

  1. Do you know what pushes your buttons? Plan for the encounter before she walks in the door.  Practice receiving her ideas. Make it clear when you have a different way of doing things, but say it kindly.
  2. If you occasionally seek her advice on issues and follow it appreciatively, it may give you more space when your way isn’t Mom’s way.
  3. Set boundaries as graciously as possible, such as: “We want to spend time with you; let us know you’re coming so we can plan ahead.”
  4. Attack any problem issues when you and your husband are alone. As a team, work out a plan to improve things for the future.
  5. Mention what you like about your mother-in-law — to your husband. Complaining about his mother may only motivate your husband to defend her.
  6. Praise her sincerely. Praise her often.  Tell her what you like about her as a mother-in-law or a grandmother.  Speak of the excellent habits or qualities that she taught your husband when he was young. Show gratefulness for the sacrifices she made.
  7. Love her, forgive her, speak of her strengths and overlook her offenses. Don’t ever criticize her in front of your children. Extend understanding to your mother-in-law and speak the truth graciously. She will see your love for her…. as well as your firm resolve to create an entirely new household.

Finally, treat your mother-in-law with love, honor and respect – just like you would want a future daughter-in-law to treat you.

(c) Lisa M. Luciano 🙂



{ Savor }

hands-600497__480“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”– E.B. White

Oh, let me feel Thee near me;
  The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle,
  The tempting sounds I hear;
My foes are ever near me,
  Around me and within;
But, Jesus, draw Thou nearer,
  And shield my soul from sin.

–verse two from the hymn “O Jesus I Have Promised”

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”– I John 2:15-17

“Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” — John 5:5


{ Moxie & My Mother-In-Law }

The Hibiscus: one of Mom Z’s favorites

I was hired recently to write a short article for a family blog.

I was given the topic, “How to Deal With Your Mother-In-Law.”

And, wouldn’t you know it — the day after I submitted my lofty, theoretical essay on “how to interact harmoniously with your mother-in-law,” she arrived for a rare visit. And, she didn’t just pop in; she stayed overnight.

This was not an accident; it was God’s way of allowing me to practice my written theories.

Mom Z has faith and moxie.

She grew up in another culture; oceans away from my stoic Scandinavian-German upbringing. She is a feisty, persistent gal, which is fortunate, considering her amazing life story and widowhood. She is also a terrifically thorough housekeeper and talented seamstress.

When she arrived last week, she pulled out a tiny mountain of post-season baseball shirts with patches. Nobody wants 2016 promo sport shirts in 2017, but Mom’s friend gave her a bunch free. So, while holding a blue shirt in her always-beautifully-orange-polished fingernails, she whispered:

“You just take the patch off and put something else there – whatever you want. Turn it over – see? And, stitch by stitch you can pull it out. Have a little patience.”

I nodded and smiled, inwardly knowing that I would never attempt this.

She tells what is on her mind– I never have to wonder. And, if we don’t have a chance to talk at the end of her visit, I will know what she thinks by the gifts she gives me the next time I see her:

  • She will give me bathroom towels (mine were too ratty?) or
  • Some room freshener (guess our home smelled stinky) or
  • Canned goods (our refrigerator must have looked a little empty.)

 (She is a generous giver.)

In earlier years, I was slightly offended when she:

  • Told me that I “shouldn’t dress like a nun”
  • Cleaned out my crumb-filled toaster with a toothpick
  • Mentioned after cleaning the dirty highchair that it smelled like “parmesan cheese”

Little things like that can either annoy me, or (calling upon my sense of humor) endear me to this mysteriously unique character.

I have a choice.

Just because she loves in her different way, doesn’t mean her different way is wrong.

So, if you’re wondering how to love your mother-in-law (or maybe just start liking her)…

…I will share some ideas in a future post!

(c) Lisa M. Luciano



{ Tailor-Made Training }

hamburger-494706__340Cooking isn’t my strength, favorite pastime or talent. I have friends that embrace and enjoy cooking like it’s fun. If they could choose an afternoon of creativity, it would be laboring in the kitchen, creating edibles that would be devoured and disappear within one hour.

Our creative bents twist uniquely–not everyone likes to slave over a sewing machine or work barefoot in the garden as I do.

If you are in earshot of my kitchen at 5:00 p.m., you can hear me start reluctantly and noisily pulling out pans and sighing into the refrigerator.

Part of what makes cooking a challenge is that I have raised daughters who seem to delight in cooking and culinary education. They read blogs and books by chef wanna-be’s.  They follow and save recipes. They place themselves on voluntary food restrictions, ie: “I’m cutting out sugar for the summer”; “I’m giving up dairy”; “I’m going plant-based.”

Me? I just eat. 🙂

We have resorted to a serious amount of tailor-made meals.  For a family of thirteen, this gets pretty crazy.

For a woman like me that prefers cooking briskly, solo, and tidying as I go, a busy kitchen is challenging.  And refining.

So, you might feel God speaking to you in your prayer closet, or convicting your heart while you’re sitting in a pew.

But God does a lot of His work on me… in the kitchen.

Word prompt of the day:  tailor


{ Miraculous Marathon }

Legs are shaking
I am sick to my butterfly stomach
Thrills speed up my spine
This is it…..here we go
Plod on, breathe, press on
I am cheered on.
Plod on, breathe, press on
Progress marked
Can’t look up
I cannot….do….this
Annoying spectators. Irritating chatter.
I am going to die
Keep going
A l m o s t ….. t h e r e

There she is
My baby girl
It’s over
It was worth it

Word prompt: grit