The Next Ten Minutes

What are you doing for the next ten minutes?

ten minutes

I mean, the ten minutes after you read this short blog post.

The next ten minutes.
I’ve heard that phrase several times in the past few days.
Enough to know I’m supposed to be paying attention.

“Our spiritual formation simply happens within the next ten minutes. What would it look like to trust Jesus, or be patient, or be content, or choose connection with God for the next ten minutes?” Jan Johnson

“At what point in your day is there some sacred space? You’ve got to push back ten minutes. I’m not talking about 40 days of fasting and prayer. Just some space to allow your soul to experience God.” John Eldredge

Ten minutes praying is better than a year’s murmuring.” Charles Spurgeon, on Twitter

“Will you share your life with me for the next ten minutes?” from The Last Five Years

“When I’m training, I tell myself to just go for the next ten minutes and then I’m free to stop if I want to. I never want to.” Kikkan Randall, gold medalist

See what I mean?

So, what are you doing for the next ten minutes?

“My times are in your hands.”
Psalm 31:15

What We Didn’t See


When athletes step up on the podium and a gold medal is draped around their necks, I can’t help but wonder — what is behind that one moment of glory?

When I watch a competitor twist and turn in midair and land right side up, I pause and ask, “What didn’t I see that led up to this?”

All of the Olympians were inspirational, but the women’s pairs cross country skiing really grabbed me. This event is called “the most grueling sport in the winter games.” I watched Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall gut it out on the course and I thought, “That looks horrific. That looks painful. Why would anyone want to do that?” And then, “What did they have to do to get here?”


Three thoughts:

Kikkan Randall skied in her first Olympics in 2006 and came in 44th.
In 2010, she finished in the top 10.
Four years later she missed a medal by five one hundredths of a second.
She had a baby in 2016, but kept training.
As the only mom on the USA Olympic team this year, she won gold.

Back in 2006, she told her coaches and trainers she wanted a medal. They told her it would take 10 years of intense training. Ten years. Kikkan said, “I’m all in.”
It took twelve.

Would I stick to something that demanding for that long?

Six days a week, twice a day, for twelve years, these are the things we didn’t see:

  • Core training — exercises from the pull-up bar. Oh, and with a 45 lb. weight chained to her waist. Ten reps of bringing her knees to her chest, 10 reps of bringing her toes to her hands, 10 reps of swinging her legs back and forth like a windshield wiper. Over and over. Add various squats with a weighted bar.
  • Endurance training — Roller skiing uphill for an hour.
  • Interval training — Ten minutes of roller skating at racing pace followed by three minutes at a slower pace. Repeat for two hours straight.
  • Speed training — Pushing the limits every day. “On a scale of 1-10, where 10 is dying or passing out, I rate a 9 fairly often.”
  • Strength training — Lifting weights for 1.5 hours.

She follows a very controlled diet and sleeps for 10 hours every night. Olympic athletes endure all that for one event, on one day, every four years.

Would I find that much dedication within me?

Champions are made in the things we don’t see.
The daily workouts, the daily reps, the daily pull ups.

Life is built on the dailies.

Even for us average, unathletic, non-YouTube worthy people (speaking for myself here) who will never stand on an Olympic podium, life is made up of unseen, unheralded and seemingly unimportant dailies.

As a child of God, the questions remain:
Can I stick to something as demanding as consistently living for Christ?
Do I have enough dedication to take my faith seriously every day?
Are my daily reps helping or hurting my spiritual life?

Of course, it’s more than a gold medal or a place in a record book that motivates us. As Paul said, “For it is Christ’s love that fuels our passion and motivates us, because we are absolutely convinced that he has given his life for all of us.” 2 Cor. 5:14.

there will be gold crowns (Rev. 4:4)
for those whose names are written
in the record Book of Life (Rev. 20:12).
Instead of raising our arms in victory
on a podium
while the national anthem is played,
we will be on our faces in worship
at the throne of God
while angels sing, “Holy, holy, holy.”

Juicy Fruit

My first Sunday school teacher was named Blondie and she always had Juicy Fruit gum handy to give out to her students. I don’t remember one lesson, but the smell of Juicy Fruit always takes me back to the Methodist church basement and little red chairs and a flannel board.


Blondie gave me a good start in a life of faith and fruitfulness.

From beginning to end, fruit shows up in scripture, starting with “Be fruitful and multiply” in Genesis and going all the way to the heavenly Tree of Life in Revelation that “yields its fruit every month”. Unfortunately, there was that fruit-eating incident in Eden that kicked off the whole sin-nature thing. But later, the apostle Paul crafted a beautiful picture of what holy fruit looks like: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22-23)

On His last night with His disciples, Jesus laid out the plan:
“Abide in Me and I will abide in you.” (John 15:4)
The result: Fruit.

My job isn’t to produce the fruit.
My job is to stay connected to the vine.
Juicy Fruit will grow naturally.

“A branch cannot produce any fruit by itself.
It has to stay attached to the vine.”
John 15:4



I’m not opposed to prunes. Those mega-raisins taste pretty good. In fact, I think we have some in the top shelf of the upper cabinet, back in the corner, behind the seasoned bread crumbs and cocoa powder.

Have you seen the TV commercial where the lady is looking all snappy and happy and her friends say, “Wow, you look goooood”? And she says it’s all because she’s been eating prunes? Then she pulls them out of her purse?


I don’t carry prunes in my purse.

I don’t know anyone who carries single pack servings of prunes in their tote bag.

Where was I going with this? Oh, yes.

The prune commercial reminded me of pruning, as in, “to cut or lop off undesired twigs or branches; to remove anything that is considered superfluous or undesirable.” (Superfluous: “excessive, unnecessary, needless”)

In a few days we will enter into the season of Lent.

“Lent is about
thinning our lives
in order to
thicken our communion
with God.”
Alicia Britt Chole

Our God is a Master Gardener who would like to do some work in our hearts in the coming weeks. Maybe some thinning here, some pruning there. It could be painful, but the reward is a higher, wider, longer, deeper, thicker sense of His presence in our lives.


I just might carry a package of prunes in my purse during Lent. It will remind me to let the tender hand of the Gardener remove anything superfluous in order to make more room for Him.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit,
while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes
so that it will be even more fruitful.
John 15:2

Birthday in the Bathroom

This morning I asked the Lord for something special.

Just a little love verse, or inside joke, or whispered song,
commemorating my entrance into this world on
Sunday, November 1, 1959 at 4:34 p.m.

I flipped open the Bible and searched for a word,
but there were no goosebumpy moments.

I picked up a pencil and wrote the date in my journal,
but no wise contemplation broke forth.

I sat in my chair, listening in the silent, dark morning,
but I didn’t hear a thing.

I gave up on a “special something” and got on with my day.

Little did I know,
the birthday party was waiting for me in my bathroom.

As I stood in front of the mirror looking at my year-older self,
I saw something in the reflection — gifts galore.


That Psalm I’ve been living with for ten months,
the one I can almost recite all the way through without peeking —
called to mind my 21,000+ days and my future, better Day to come.
“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.”

Those two toothbrushes standing at attention,
brought to my attention that thirty eight years and three bypasses later,
I still get to see two toothbrushes in my mirror every day.
“I am my beloved’s and he is mine.”

The straightener that I use every day but have never noticed,
says Nu-Me, and I am reminded that I am
renewed daily by His mercies.
“They are new every morning; great is his faithfulness.”

Those little pearly earrings, cheap imitations of the real thing,
speak of the real thing — the kingdom pearl of such great value
that everything is worth trading for such a gift.
“When he found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had,
and bought it.”

All my birthday gifts were hiding in the bathroom.

Party on.



This is my favorite picture of my grandpa.

He loved the feel of an ear of corn in his hands.

I wrote about him last spring. (Find it here.)

It only seems fitting to write about him now, at harvest time.

I have fond memories of late fall evenings in the seed house, watching my grandpa and my dad fill bag after bag of dried seed corn. Those kernels had soaked up sun and rain all summer long. The cobs had been picked and shelled, and mountains of corn had gone through the drying process. The fields had done their job, producing hundreds of kernels from every single seed planted. Father and son had done their job, cultivating and reaping. They poured in the produce, weighed each bushel and sewed every bag shut. In the spring, those bags of Trelay corn would go out on trucks to waiting farmers.

I wish we could see a turn-around like that for every spiritual seed that was planted. The truth is, we might not see any harvest for all our efforts. We simply do our best and have to leave the rest to God.

Paul gives us an encouraging word in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

    Don’t give up.
    That’s the key.

Don’t give up on studying the Bible.
Don’t give up on meeting together.
Don’t give up on praying.
Don’t give up on loving people.
Don’t give up on living for Jesus.
Don’t give up on believing.

“The harvest is great, but the workers are few.”
Luke 10:2

Let’s get to it.


I’ve heard lots of rustling in the woods lately.


Maybe it’s because the leaves on the forest floor are crispy and crunchy,
skittering and tripping over each other.

Maybe it’s because the woodland creatures are getting ready for winter,
digging holes and burying acorns.

Maybe it’s because the wind is rattling the trees while leaves hold on,
shivering together.

Or maybe I’m just listening harder.

Something is happening out there in the woods.
There is movement.
There is activity.
There is life.


I’ve heard lots of rustling in my heart lately.

Maybe it’s the hint of a change of seasons.

Maybe it’s a reminder to prepare for what’s next.

Maybe it’s a whisper to hang on, or let go.

Something is happening.

Movement, activity, life — I’m listening harder than ever.

The Wind of the Spirit is out there.
And in here.

You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that.
You hear it rustling through the trees,
but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next.
That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’
by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.” (John 3:8)