{ It’s 4:30 a.m. }

I set the alarm for 4:30 a.m. this morning.

I can sew, cook, walk and eat with wordy, happy people surrounding me.

But, I cannot write in that busy atmosphere.

Mrs. M asked my husband and I to give a little speech at the family bridal shower tomorrow.  I am supposed to condense 27.5 years of marriage wisdom–my trials and errors and occasional victories–into a concise little devotional talk.

My husband suggested we tag-team. I will speak to the groom, and he will announce to the bride what makes men happy.

It’s a FAMILY bridal shower and all will be G-rated.

In one early tiptoeing trip, I brought everything I need to the kitchen table.

Lots of extra noise and movement would wake people up. 

I don’t want little bodies stumbling into the room, thinking that kitchen noises and illumination equals breakfast time!


At 4:30 a.m. in a quiet house, I feel like I have all the time in the world.

As pictured above, my table is covered with items for the speech-writing plus enough to fill up a day’s work.

So here I sit with coffee at my fingertips and a library of resources within reach:

  1. The Elements of Style (thanks, Sara.) I finished the foreword by Roger Angell and the introduction by E.B. White — surprisingly entertaining!
  2. Hymnal.
  3. Belated birthday card for Sally, ready to write and send.
  4. Springs in the Valley, daily devotional book.
  5. Writing journal.
  6. ESV Bible.
  7. Journible: Psalm 119. (Thanks, Brenda.) 
  8. Cell phone.
  9. Laptop. (Oh yeah….that’s what I’m doing here.  Supposed to write the speech.)

I hear someone stirring.

I’m going to ignore it for now.

© Lisa M. Luciano

Inspiring quotes:

"Purpose is an incredible alarm clock." --unknown

"The early morning should be dedicated to praises; do not the birds set us the example?" --C.H. Spurgeon

"An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day." --H.D. Thoreau

"Early morning cheerfulness can be extremely obnoxious."-- William Feather

"The early morning hath gold in its mouth." --Benjamin Franklin

Word prompt of the day:  ATMOSPHERIC






{ Honking for God }

I was cruising along the open highway after a gentle summer rain, and I was enjoying the journey. Suddenly, I saw a masterpiece in the sky — a rare triple rainbow. The huge, spectacular arc was flanked by another adjacent band of color. With tears in my eyes and hands on the steering wheel, I honked the horn repeatedly to celebrate God’s amazing creation!


Rainbows turn my heart to the Creator in a unique way.  They remind me of His goodness and His promises.  They remind me that He is still the unchanged, faithful God. Faithful is not a common word these days.  It’s more typical to hear stories of the unfaithful. Definitions of faithful include:

  • Devotion to duty
  • Loyalty to vows
  • Constant, not fickle


“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations.” Deuteronomy 7:9

This Bible verse reminds me that –unlike people– God is ever faithful. I see His unchanging love as recorded in the Bible. His faithful words and actions woo me to love Him and keep His commandments.  May they also summon me to reflect my Creator as I grow in faithfulness towards God and others.


 “The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of his promises.” -- A.W. Pink

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊


Word prompt of the day:  HONK

Photo credit:Richard Horne


{ Dubious?}

willian-west-324562People doubt Christianity.

But…what if it’s true?

Start with Jesus.

He can’t just be a good teacher, a respected healer, a wise prophet and only that.

He claimed to be God.

He’s either God… or a liar.  Or he’s crazy.

I recently viewed the 2017 true story film “The Case for Christ.”

The story: Lee Strobel  was a successful journalist who decided to examine the facts of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Christianity hinges on the Resurrection of Jesus.  If that’s debunked, everything else about this faith falls apart.

Strobel’s journey was personal.

His fact-digging was professional.

His goal was to disprove the Resurrection of Jesus and show that it was all a fairy tale or a cover-up.

After interviewing experts in fields of medicine, psychology, theology and archaeology, he was utterly convinced.

Lee Strobel became a believer; a follower of Jesus Christ.

Other famous people who examined the facts and found truth:

Are you doubtful?  Perhaps you think Christianity is a fairy tale?

Maybe you are searching for truth.

Possibly, you don’t care.

Insert joke here:

Q: Which is worse, ignorance or apathy?

A: I don’t know and I don’t care.

I would encourage you to examine the facts.  You may want to start your journey by watching the film or reading the book The Case for Christ.


© Lisa M. Luciano 😊

Photo credit: Willian West

{ Poem: Black }

Black rolls slowly over a dirty world,

A merciful covering.

Black is a velvety backdrop

For stars and moon

Black is --

Chunky, ribbed licorice

The best jelly beans

Dark holes

Slick ice

Black was a cloud of deep nothing

Before God filled it up

With creation.

Black is color's friend

And night’s blanket.

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊
Inspired by Hailstones and Halibut Bones, by Mary O-Neill

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Word prompt of the day:  Black


{ Hors d’œuvres & Honor: An Evening at Hope Academy }

Last night, we attended a fundraiser for a school located in the toughest part of Minneapolis. It’s an unlikely place to find a treasure, but Hope Academy is a gem.


I was welcomed by a young student who escorted me—yes, he held out his elbow and ushered me—into the school building. The entryway and halls were decorated with first grade art, smiling faces and glimpses of engaging classrooms.

Under the sparkling lights that crisscrossed the gym ceiling, I listened to the student choir sing and sipped my sparkling water. Finishing my plate of hors d’œuvres, I gazed up at the screen, which read: IMAGO DEI – image of God.

Founder Russ Gregg took charge of the microphone and explained the IMAGO DEI model at Hope Academy. Recognizing that every person is made in the image of God–IMAGO DEI– it’s important to honor each other.

When we do, we uplift the God who created each of us.

Then Gregg revealed the touching birth story of Hope Academy.

Russ and his wife Phyllis are devoted Christ followers.  When they started house-hunting, they knew they wanted to live where they could reach out to their neighbors.

They bought a house in the Phillips neighborhood – and got lots of neighbors.  They chose to plant themselves in the neediest neighborhood in Minneapolis, where they could generously give away God’s love and grace. They got to know and love their neighbors.

When their kids got older, they looked past the local public schools, and opted for a ten-minute drive to a private Christian academy.

Russ explained how he would drive past neighborhood schoolkids each day, waving good morning on the way to his kids’ private school.

“I’d pray: God, can’t You send somebody to help them?”

God smiled and said, “I have—and that person is you.”

So, in response to God’s prompting and providing, Hope Academy was born.

It’s a unique inner-city school, and I felt privileged to learn what makes Hope Academy special.

Uniformed, but beautifully diverse, Hope’s students radiate enthusiasm and love for their teachers. Hope Academy urges both students and parents to take responsibility for education. Teachers discuss educational and character progress with parents. Each family pays a portion of school expenses; donations provide the rest. Churches, businesses and families can sponsor individual students, tour the school and read to their sponsored student. It’s another way to connect, thank and encourage; another way to remind everyone of the IMAGO DEI mindset.

Students receive a quality education at less than half the cost of what the local public school uses to educate a student.  Sports, mission trips and other enriching activities are part of the package, and the common thread in everything is the honor-giving IMAGO DEI worldview.

As I funneled out with the happy crowd, I reflected:

  • The transformed lives, dedicated staff and noble school mission inspired me.
  • The radiant students, quality education and financial stewardship impressed me.
  • And, as I walked out the door, I felt involved.

Involved—not only in the mission of Hope Academy, but in the larger, awesome task of honoring the IMAGO DEI in everyone I encounter.

“…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”—Luke 10:27

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊



Word prompt of the day: neophyte –a beginner, a learner…

{ Mittens and Brownies and Writing. }


I sat in the bedroom last night, sewing.

My three youngest children were draped over a bed littered with markers and colored pencils. We were listening to the audio book: You are a Writer. (So Act Like One), by Jeff Goins. The young artists created art and listened quietly. They would stir and look up when I nodded or grunted in agreement.

Note: some bribery was in play here. I promised them brownies and ice cream when the clock reached 8:30.


This is a stock photo. Ours didn’t look this good.

So here are a few takeaways from the first part of the book:

Claiming the Title: I am a writer — even if I don’t feel it yet.

Writers write: Just begin.

Practice makes habits: do it every day.

De-clutter: get rid of the distractions (like social media) that prevent me from writing.

Good writing is in the editing. Don’t expect good writing in the first…or second…or third…? draft.

Practice in public: (So here I am.)

After finishing this audio, the next book on my list is also by Jeff Goins:

Real Artists Don’t Starve.

I’ll read it with, or possibly without, a room full of young artists. But definitely with the brownies.

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Here is my Etsy shop address. This is where I sell the mittens that I sew whilst listening to audiobooks and juggling children with markers: 


{ A Prayer }




May my attention be focused on things that are important

And may my time be spent giving to

Precious souls that will last forever.

And help me remember this.


Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ. - from Ephesians 5:15-21 The Message

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time…Ephesians 5:15-16




{ Dancing with Refugees }

I learned the cha-cha in the strangest place.

It was the end of the 1980’s and I was working in Hong Kong.

Each muggy morning, I walked out of my high rise apartment building with two American co-workers.

We traveled by double-decker bus to Argyle Street Refugee Camp. The cement expanse was surrounded by barbed wire and looked like a concentration camp, inside and out.

I’d give my number at the guarded door and say “thank you” in Chinese.

Argyle Street Refugee Camp was managed by the Hong Kong Government, and Mr. Singh was in charge.

The Vietnamese refugees lived in barracks.  Their spaces were like what groceries are stacked on at the supermarket: wooden boards on a metal frame two or three stories high.

Most of them were hopeful; waiting to be resettled by a European or North American country.

We taught them English there, and occasionally field-tripped together around Hong Kong.  We ice skated, visited landmarks, scaled Victoria Peak and shopped.

I had brought along my new cassette tape “Stand By Me” and I taught them to sing the song as part of the English lessons. We sang it line by line and I explained what each part meant.  They never forgot it; years later Anh sent me letters ending with “Stand By Me.”

I learned part of their Vietnamese National anthem and a few of their folk songs –I can still sing parts of them.

They loved to dance.  Somebody organized dances in the one-room schoolhouse that doubled as a chapel. They were thrilled to teach a stumbling American beginner — like me– how to dance.

Sitting here in the Midwest thirty some years later, I can’t believe that the adventurous relief worker who danced the cha-cha with Vietnamese friends was really me.

We held a drawing contest for the children in the refugee camp.  Most of them drew boats. This picture is one of the entries.
During my year-long adventure in Hong Kong, my dad (pictured) and my mom came over to visit me. Here I am with my dad in my 80’s garb.  I think we were in the Hong Kong subway.

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊

Word prompt of the day:  dancing


{ A Tribute to My Dad }

My dad liked to visit the hardware store, build fires and barbecue steaks.  He labeled things thoroughly with our names, made lots of lists, and didn’t like cats until we got one.

I will always remember the way his face lit up when he laughed, how he was gracious to everyone, and that he gave away many, many smiles.

My dad liked to work with wood, and he made beautiful keepsakes for us that reflected his love of creating.

He gladly labored to raise a crop of tomatoes, or patiently sand a wooden table.

He took no less care with his children.

I don’t ever remember that he spoke an unkind word to me, or lost his temper.  I always sensed from him something of what my Heavenly Father’s love is like:  kind and patient,  faithful and unconditional.

When my pilgrimage on this earth is over, I will eagerly look for my dad in the Celestial City of heaven, where I wonder if he will be talking over project ideas with the King.

Today was my dad’s birthday.  He passed away in 1996 when he was 61 years old.

I wrote this back then (to be read by someone else) at his funeral.  I resisted the temptation just now to fix and edit it — it was written from the heart.  And, it’s all true.

Thomas J. Falstad  — November 7, 1935 – November 14, 1996