Greetings and Welcome!

My goal is to share encouragement, grace, and hope from God’s Word, and to brighten your day. Mission trips abroad have enlarged my heart and reminded me once again that regardless of our skin color or location we all need a savior, and His name is Jesus. I pray that my articles will lift your spirits and point you to the One who loves you most.

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May God bless you in your journey of faith.
Warmly,
Fran


This Month's Message

Simply Go Lightly
By Fran Caffey Sandin
Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my load is light” (Matt. 11:30 NASB).

“Me? Accompany you to the medical conference in London? I’m so excited–it’s like a dream come true.” My husband, Jim, and I planned sightseeing adventures so I chose lots of clothes in case I changed my mind. Then I added an umbrella, extra shoes, and, as a caring nurse, I threw in hot packs, cold packs, pills, and powders—everything short of a bedpan—and it just wouldn’t fit. : ) (I had a few lessons to learn about packing but didn’t find out until the trip home).

When departure time came, I sat on my huge, bulging suitcase—the unsinkable Molly Brown—while Jim struggled to close the latches. Sweat beaded on his forehead as he moaned, “What do you have in here anyway—bricks?”

“Honey,” I said, “we’re crossing the ocean, and you never know what we might need.”

Jim grunted as he heaved Molly off the bed onto the floor. I watched with satisfaction and proudly announced, “Look, I got everything into one suitcase!”

With a pained expression, my long-suffering hubby placed one hand on his aching back and groaned, “That’s amazing.”

We whirled off to the UK and old Molly held together until the last day. When I braced myself to pick her up at the airport, she didn’t budge. There I stood HOLDING ONLY THE HANDLE! Old Molly was beyond repair, so Jim and I took turns shoving her to the car. The unsinkable Molly Brown had finally sunk. The aroma of perspiration filled the air as we laid her to rest.

As I mused about our trip and later smiled about the Molly episode, my delightful memories were sprinkled with nagging reminders of all the time I wasted packing, unpacking, and repacking all the unnecessary stuff we never used or needed. Now I check out the activities planned, select a few appropriate items. Then I pack and go. If it won’t fit in my small rolling bag and tote, I don’t take it. If I forget something, I do without or buy a substitute. Traveling light is definitely more carefree and fun.

Through the years I’ve had a tendency to let my thoughts be cluttered with regrets and guilt over past sins and failures. Then one day I read the words of a pastor: “When we concentrate on our failings instead of the Lord’s power and grace to free us from the guilt of having failed, we’re helping Satan. After all, as long as we’re beating ourselves up, he doesn’t have to!”

Ouch! I knew I didn’t want to be on Satan’s side. Then the pastor reminded us of God’s forgiveness. “The Lord is compassionate and gracious; slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness…As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”/ (Psalm 103: 8, 12 NASB). Because I had asked His forgiveness and claimed His sacrificial love through Christ, I tossed out that brick of guilt. Because He has forgiven me, I can forgive myself and look ahead with much more strength, energy, and confidence.

Then bricks of pride and selfishness had to be pried from my heart. It has taken years for the Lord to help me unpack that junk and replace it with trusting love for Him and genuine concern for others. Jesus invites the weary and heavy-laden to grasp the truth of His unsinkable love for each of us.

When we do we can traverse the road of our lives and travel lightly because He has promised, “My yoke is easy, and My load is light” (Matthew 11: 30 NASB).

Dear Father, You have told us that if we confess our sins, You are faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Please help us to remember that when you forgive you wash us whiter than snow. We do not have to carry the burden of guilt because You have wiped it out. Thank you for that life-giving truth. In Jesus’ name--A-men.


FRAN’S PACKING TIPS

My husband and I have traveled extensively. Regardless of where I am traveling or length of stay, I take a rolling bag (that will fit in the overhead compartment) and a tote bag that slides on the extended handle of the rolling bag. I usually check the rolling bag and carry the tote; but if not, the two smaller items are easier to manage if flight connections are tight or when running to board a train. Now that I have learned to travel lightly, I can joyfully share some of my favorite packing tips. Check out the itinerary and note the activities. Then choose appropriate clothing from an array of knits and wrinkle-free fabrics.

Will you need casual, dressy, or sporty?

  • Decide on a basic color (black or navy works well). Mix and match brighter colored blouses, tops, scarves. Take a pair of jeans (roll them) or work-out clothes, or swimsuit if applicable.
  • Place tissue paper between layers of dress clothes to minimize wrinkling (cottons or linens) or pack in plastic cleaner’s bags. Remember slips or other special undies.
  • Try different combinations and include jewelry/accessories as needed for each outfit.
  • Plan to wear things more than once, depending on the length of the trip.
  • Take one pair of comfortable flats or sandals, one pair of heels, and one pair of walking shoes/socks/stockings, etc. as needed.
  • When traveling to a colder climate, take long silk underwear for extra warmth.
  • Plan to layer clothing off and on for comfort. Always include a light jacket or sweater, regardless of the season. In the summer, a pashmina is also nice and easy to pack.
  • Keep a make-up kit ready to go. I use mine every day, so I know it has everything I need.
  • Replenish your toiletry kit when you come home from a trip, so it will be ready for the next one.
  • Take disposable washcloths for make-up removal. I always take a bar of soap in a plastic bag.
  • Use self-closure bags to separate lingerie, etc. and squeeze the air out to maximize space.
  • Place vitamins and medications in a plastic case ready to go in your carry-on tote.
  • Include a soft nylon duffle bag for day trips and possibly bringing home gifts.
  • Use a cross-the-body purse and wallet. Carry only the cards, ID, and travel documents you need. Leave valuable jewelry at home.
  • Make a copy of your passport ID page and leave it with your family.
  • Traveling, especially long trips can be exhausting. Get plenty of rest before leaving.
  • Pack toiletries in your checked bag to eliminate the hassle about liquids at security.
  • Buy a bottle of water before boarding a long flight. Stay hydrated.
  • On a long flight exercise feet, ankles, and legs while sitting. If possible, occasionally get up and walk in the aisle of the plane.
  • Remember your camera, take a small notebook to make daily notes. It helps explain the photos.
  • Take glasses, sunshades, hat, sunscreen as needed, and small binoculars for wildlife viewing.
  • Take a book, Kindle, and/or phone. Remember to include the chargers in your tote bag.
  • If going to a rainy area, pack a travel umbrella or lightweight, hooded rain jacket in your tote.
  • Traveling requires flexibility. A good attitude, sense of humor, and a smile will enhance every trip. Have fun!