Posted on 9.23.2019 by Jody Noland

In the midst of the Great Depression, attending college was not a possibility for most teenagers. And for the oldest son of a poor immigrant family, it wasn’t in his wildest dreams. The thought had literally never even crossed my father’s mind.

His plan was to finish high school and then to find a job doing manual labor. Perhaps he could join his beloved father shoveling coal on the railroad or find construction work and utilize his natural athletic abilities.

Posted on 9.15.2019 by Jody Noland

Every morning, I walk by a small, tranquil lake. And every morning, I see six ducks grouped closely together, either swimming or resting on the banks. Five are white Peking ducks, and the sixth is a lone, female mallard. Quite an odd combination.

I’ve often wondered why that solo mallard would choose to hang out with a completely different breed of duck, and I've been curious about what happened to Mr. Mallard. 

Posted on 9.08.2019 by Jody Noland

There are 15 exquisite minutes every morning that I have come to cherish. Right now, they occur between about 6:48 and 7:03 a.m.,  the current transition time from the darkest of night skies to dawn’s early light. 15 sacred minutes when the sky turns magnificent shades of sapphire blue.

Get distracted, brew some coffee, look at social media, and the color is gone. And I’ve missed a blue so beautiful that it almost takes my breath away.

Posted on 8.25.2019 by Jody Noland

Who doesn’t love the film “Finding Nemo?” My favorite scene occurs when Dory encourages Nemo (whom she dubs “Mr. Grumpy Gils”) by singing: “When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do: Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, What do we do? We swim, swim, swim!”

Posted on 8.18.2019 by Jody Noland

Allergy season must have started early this year. Or maybe that’s not the real reason behind all of the red-eyed parents that I’ve seen recently. Yes, the red eyes are the symptom of a changing season…just a season of life, not the weather.

Posted on 8.11.2019 by Jody Noland

Think about the best fathers you know. What do they have in common? The predominant thread is not net worth, good looks or athletic prowess. Nor is it professional success, pedigree or academic achievements.
One consistent quality is woven through the character fabric of every exemplary father I know: he is intentional about investing in his children. Intentional with his time; intentional with building character; intentional with authentically living out the faith he is teaching. 

Posted on 8.04.2019 by Jody Noland

I’m not sure why I picked up pen and paper that day. I think it was because my heart was so full of love, I felt like it could burst. I needed an outlet to express my wonder. There I sat, in a bed in Piedmont Hospital, and my life had just changed forever.
A few hours earlier, I had given birth to my first (and only) child. 5 pounds, 13 ounces of a precious baby girl.  She was born quickly, just 30 minutes after our arrival at the hospital. (Please, don’t hate me.)

Posted on 7.28.2019 by Jody Noland
Do you ever feel invisible? As though no one really “sees” you or understands the challenges and discouragement you are facing? I think we’ve all been there, sometimes even wondering if God hears our prayers or is listening to our cries for help.
No matter how alone or isolated you might feel right now, I want to encourage you. You do have a God who sees you, who knows your name, who cares about every struggle in your life. In fact, one of the names of God in the Old Testament is “El Roi,” which means “the God who sees me.”
Posted on 7.21.2019 by Jody Noland

Many of us were not able to have closure with a loved one before they died. We did leave things unsaid, and they did too. We might have a wide range of unexpressed emotions running the gamut from gratitude, love, regrets, guilt and even anger. So what do we do with all of those emotions? How do we release the things that are still bubbling under the surface and how do we move forward?

Posted on 7.13.2019 by Jody Noland

Simply put, my mission in life is to "encourage people to encourage people." And when I lead a letter writing workshop, I love to inspire participants with simple examples of ways to be encouraging and affirming in addition to writing letters.

Recently, I was sharing a "Word Cloud" that I had created for my daughter's 21st birthday. I recounted how I had asked friends and family for one word to describe my daughter, and then assembled the collage of words into my own little work of art. The hostess of the event enthusiastically snapped a few photos of my illustration.