{ Yesterday at Church…}

“Everyone from church is in Florida,” my children announced yesterday morning, as our slush-encrusted van dutifully hauled us to church.



There were several brave souls who apparently got left in Minnesota.

They were there, filling up rows and singing hymns with us.

The lively verse that begins: “I sing the mighty power of God, who filled the earth with food…” set my stomach growling, because it was also potluck Sunday, and Melanie’s aromatic chicken drummies were calling my name from the kitchen.

Hearing about Jonah put me and my stomach back on track.

  • There are several historical accounts of people having been swallowed by sea creatures – and surviving.
  • The culture Jonah ran from (Ninevah & the ancient Assyrians) happened to worship a merman-like fish god. That’s ironic.
  • I marveled at Jonah’s selfishness – not going, not doing what God clearly asked. If God clearly tells you something, you should do it, right? God’s words to me are in His book. Do I listen?

And Jonah’s pity-party at the end of the book. The account of Jonah is so…me.

Other highlights:

  • The potluck was grand. I avoided its desserts, but made up for that later at home.
  • I had meaningful conversations with a few friends, learning something new about two of them.
  • Free day-old bread on the back table is a happy thing.
  • Vivian brought us our weekly 4 dozen blushed brown farm eggs.
  • Simon’s family brought a new outdoor game that will go viral — at least at church graduation open houses.

Looking back, it was a pretty good day to not be in Florida.

© Lisa M. Luciano

Photo credits:


{ Parliamentary, Purposeful & Paid }


U.S. Major Henry Martyn Roberts graduated near the top of his West Point class. He became an engineer and eventually a brigadier general.

Ironically, it was a difficult leadership experience that contributed to his most famous achievement.

He was chosen to preside over a church meeting, but it didn’t go well. This prompted Henry to write a “how to” book for leading an assembly.

Originally published in 1876, Roberts Rules of Order has become the standard manual for governing a wide range of gatherings in an orderly way.

Speaking of order, God’s created world also follows a predictable plan. From the tiniest cell to the orbits of the planets, the universe obeys His fixed and orderly rules.

Besides science and nature, there is an order to the spiritual things in life. If someone is seeking a rule book for how to get to heaven, God has written it. It says that heaven isn’t attained haphazardly, earned by a nebulous list of good deeds and the absence of bad ones. Soul salvation happens when God enables a spiritually dead person to respond to the gospel message. The person accepts by faith Christ’s payment for sin and becomes saved. (Romans 10:9,10)

Thankfully, this orderly and amazing message is within our grasp.  It is given in God’s manual for living – His holy, timeless and effective Word.

 “Let all things be done decently and in order.”—I Cor.14:40 

“Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of liberty.”–Henry Martyn Robert

Photo credit: M. Ali

{ Wonder }


Wonder is a unique book and movie.

I first read the book a few years ago in audiobook form.  Hearing the book made a big impact and I highly recommend the audio.

I saw the film recently in the local (cheap) theater with my children. Here are the reasons why I liked both the book (written by R.J. Palacio) and the movie version of Wonder:

  • The writing of the book was prompted by a true-life encounter by the author.
  • In both book and movie, we get to peer into the inner thoughts and feelings of the main characters.
  • The story of Wonder displays how ugly it is to be unkind.
  • There are sequels to the first book that go delve into the supporting characters. I especially liked The Julian Chapter, the book written from the bully’s point-of-view.
  • The movie stayed true to the book.
  • The acting in the movie was excellent.  Owen Wilson played Auggie’s dad perfectly and Julia Roberts’ mom vibe was spot on.
  • The movie (and the book) didn’t force you to cry.  It just told you a story….and the tears flowed naturally.


“You can’t blend in, when you were born to stand out.” –R.J. Palacio



{ Late-Night Lullabye }


Our nocturnal friend was out again last night, waking me up at 2:21 a.m. with its haunting croon. Normal birds chirp all day long and I hardly notice the background noise.

But that owl. Its uncompromising dirge cannot be ignored.

“Owls are wise. They are careful and patient. Wisdom precludes boldness. That is why owls make poor heroes.” –Patrick Rothfuss


There are around 200 different owl species.
A group of owls is called a parliament.
Owls can turn their heads as much as 270 degrees.

Photo credit:Philip Brown


{ The Potter’s Print }


“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter:

we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

When potters create, they often sign their work. The identifying mark could be a studio imprint in the clay, or it could display the potter’s name. Ancient pieces of pottery occasionally bear preserved fingerprints as well. These prints show how many people worked on the pots, and who crafted which parts.

God, as the Master Potter, has signed His work. He has created people with the mark of His own image. “…God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” – Genesis 1:27. 

Here is the good news: although sin has defaced God’s creation, He can renew His image in us through salvation: “…and [we] have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.” –Colossians 3:10

When we grasp this fact — that we are all made in the image of God — it will change the way we look at ourselves. It will change the way we look at humanity, all bearing God’s image.

We worship an endlessly creative God

whose thumbprints are reflected everywhere we look.”

–Luci Shaw

(c) Lisa M. Luciano

Photo credit: Krys Alex


{ What If ? }

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” — Isaiah 55:8,9


A baby boy was born into a loving family we know.  His first year was a roller coaster ride of surgeries and hospital stays. When he arrived home, each family member played a role in his everyday routine – and they served with joy.

This special~needs baby, with his explosive smile and simple cheerfulness drove any selfishness out of the home. What felt at first like an overwhelming challenge…had now become a blessing.

When unexpected circumstances surprise us, we often cringe and fuss. But what if we saw circumstances, events, and people – as God sees them?

  • What if the weakness of one child brings strength to the entire family?
  • What if, in serving an elderly parent, we have a taste of serving Jesus?
  • What if the most fragile members of the body of Christ show us God’s power?

We often see our loved ones, our neighbors, and other church members through our own limited eyes, and with our own sin-tainted, limited frame of reference. 

The way God works is far above our own plans.  His ways are higher.  His eyesight is better. 

“God sees hearts as we see faces.” –George Herbert

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. — 1 Samuel 16:7 


Photo by: https://unsplash.com/@marcojodoin



{ Love is Like Water }


Love is like water

Flowing free

Or scarce —

Sourced in Someone.

Gushing past you

Sometimes sprinkling its spray

On passers-by.

Ignore it —

Or drink up,

Bottle and


In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 

--I John 4:10

Photo credit: didin emelu


{ God’s Valentine }

renee-fisher-494610But now thus says the Lord,
He who created you, O Jacob,
    He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine!

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.


Isaiah 43:1-3

photo credits:

rapids:James Mertz

fire:Matt Howard

hearts:Renee Fisher


{ Tending Life’s Garden }

Picture and poem by Beatrix Potter


We have a little garden

A garden of our own

And every day we water there

The seeds that we have sown.

We love our little garden,

And tend it with such care,

You will not find a faded leaf

Or blighted blossom there.


When I sow pumpkin seeds, I harvest pumpkins.  When I cover the garden with dandelion-infested mulch, I find lots of dandelions growing later in July.

We know this about gardens, but sometimes forget about the law of sowing and reaping in life. When I sow bad seeds, I will reap bad fruit:

  1. When I gorge on chocolates, I will reap extra pounds.
  2. When I harbor bitterness against someone, I will reap an injured relationship and stifle forgiveness.
  3. When I allow my children to read or watch foolish things, we will reap more foolishness.

And then there are weeds….

  • Weeds grow faster than anything else.  Pull, uproot and destroy before they get so big you need an ax to chop them down.
  • Weeds are tricky.  They can grow and network underground where you can’t see them.  Little sins in the thoughts left unchecked turn into big problems later.
  • Weeds rob the good stuff.  Weeds in a relationship drain us.  We cannot enjoy each other when the annoying, prickly weeds of bad habits are bugging us.


Gracious God,
We want to have good soil in our souls,
show us how to tend to our spiritual gardens.
Thank you for the Master Gardener!
In Jesus’ name,

“Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds.  The harvest will bring either flowers or weeds.”

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” –Robert Louis Stevenson

Prayer from http://www.flowingfaith.com/2013/03/tending-your-spiritual-garden.html




{ My Bio }

I am collecting information on how to write a creative, professional bio.

I thought I’d start by writing my own…

Lisa Luciano is a wife, mother of eleven and licensed educator.

Besides the obvious, she has spent the last 30 years learning how to cook, craft, and juggle words with her ears.

Her first journal was a five-year diary.  Here she chronicled her numerous daily snacks and boy crushes.

Though she still snacks often, Lisa now prefers penning witty poems and thoughtful devotionals.

Lisa says, “I became inspired to write poetry when a family friend invited me to collaborate on a book of limericks. It didn’t get published, but the process was exciting.”

Lisa’s talented younger sister, Sara Matson, has also inspired her to pursue freelance writing.

“Sara and I work as unofficial members of the apostrophe police.  We snap photos of misplaced apostrophes and send them to each other.”

A graduate of Wheaton College, Lisa holds a B.A. in elementary education.  This has taken her to an Asian refugee camp, the St. Paul Public Schools, and back home again. As a homeschool educator, she is finally learning world history and can locate Qatar on a map.  She enjoys creating her own unit studies, spelling lists and worksheets.

Among other things, Lisa writes blog posts, rewrites articles, and adapts stories for young readers.

“A writer is just someone who writes.  I am learning what I can do. I may never master certain types of writing, but I just want to enjoy writing and keep learning.”