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My Prayer Couch

I’m honored to be a guest at Scripture Dig today sharing a glimpse of my morning time in a feature called My Time to Dig. Here’s a teaser, but be sure to check out the full post over at Scripture Dig.

The Schell Café is more than my little nook in the blogosphere, it is quite literally my kitchen. By day, the command center bursts with activity generated by our family of six – meals, snacks, homework, crafts, home office, portal to the backyard and catch-all for backpacks, Legos and tutus.

In the pre-dawn hours of the morning, this normally chaotic space is a quiet refuge. It is my meeting place with the Lord.

For my 40th birthday Husband gave me a prayer couch for the kitchen. Before you google ‘kitchen prayer couch’, rest assured it’s just a regular old sofa I placed in the kitchen, but it is special. This is where I meet the Lord in the throne room of grace.

What does my morning couch time look like?

Head on over to Scripture Dig to find out.

Thank you to my friends at Scripture Dig for the opportunity to share today. If y’all haven’t already subscribed to this amazing site, please do so. You will be very blessed by the teaching and encouragement of these wise and godly women. I know I am.


4:47 am

The first hint of light bounces across the Olympic Mountains, reflects off the blue of the cold waters and stirs my sleep as early as 4:45 am. By five o’clock it is bright enough to read by natural light, although I pull the covers over my head and snuggle deep in the warmth of the bed. I justify thirty more minutes of sleep because I am on vacation, after all.

The sun doesn’t set until nearly 10:00 pm which makes for very long days, especially for the Littles. I couldn’t sustain these hours for very long, but during our vacation, the change in light patterns has been a welcomed surprise. Although waking up in the 4’s is too early by any standard!

We left on vacation the same day I began the Bible in 90 Days Challenge. I was concerned I wouldn’t find time, or have the discipline, for my daily readings. But, so far, so good. I began Genesis on the long plane ride and have found ample chunks of time to read during our adventure-filled days. I even completed one of my readings on the ferry. I’m not sure I’ll ever know if my queasy tummy was caused by the rough crossing across Puget Sound or the explicit instruction the Lord gave Moses for burnt offerings!

This early morning quiet time on vacation is different than my usual morning routine at home. The brightness of the dawn and the cadence of the sea set a simply glorious backdrop for morning prayer and reading. Even for Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers! At home, darkness hovers as I make my way downstairs to my prayer couch. Sometimes I pray in the stillness of the dark morning before I switch on the lamp beside my perch. Other mornings, especially when I wake up already distracted, I jump right into The Word, praying for focus and direction for my study.

As our vacation time dwindles, I’m looking forward and wondering how my morning routine will adjust to the 90 Day Challenge. Because I’m not sure Husband will accept my proposal that we should remain seaside for the duration of my Bible read-a-thon.

Silly man.


Somewhere in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, just past Lopez Island, we shifted our gaze from the boundless ocean horizon skyward. We expected a day of whale chasing and were surprised by the siting of a Bald Eagle majestically soaring over sea.

Close enough to follow its path, we kept our eyes fixed on the Bald Eagle’s graceful dance with the towering trees. Perhaps in search of prey or merely protecting, the eagle never soared far from its nesting eaglet.

The Bald Eagle, of course, is the national emblem of the United States of America, synonymous with freedom. In scripture, more is said about eagles than any other bird. As I watched the eagle tend its nesting, I was reminded of the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy. Moses’ song tells a story and issues a warning, yet he gives particular instances of God’s kindness and concern for His people.

11 like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them on its pinions.

Deuteronomy 32: 11

I like Matthew Henry’s commentary.  Henry explains, “The eagle’s care for her young is a beautiful emblem of Christ’s love, who came between Divine justice and our guilty souls, and bare our sins in his own body on the tree.”

I saw the beauty of Christ’s love for us soaring towards the heavens today. It was a holy and glorious site. I set out in search of whales, but the Lord had a different viewing in mind for me today.

Praise Him!


On Monday I started the Bible in 90 Days Challenge. A few hours after reading the first day’s scripture I took this photo at the International Fountain in Seattle. As I watched my Little delight in the magnificent fountain, a rainbow appeared in the mist of the waters and I remembered God’s word to Noah.

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

Genesis 9:12-16

His Word is alive.



P.S. It’s not too late to join the Bible in 90 Days Challenge. There are over 500 participants! Click over to Mom’sToolBox for more information and join this amazing community of women gathered for the challenge.

Thank you! An update on Littlest

Thank you, dear ones, for praying for Littlest.  Her MRI last Tuesday showed no significant change in the curves of her spine. Surgery can wait! We’ll go back to the doctor in September or October.

While Husband & I were waiting, I strolled aimlessly through the gift shop of Children’s Hospital. As I was leaving a group of children ranging in ages from toddler to teen came into the shop. They were all wearing identical t-shirts which read:

Got Curve?

Conner doesn’t!

Luke 13:13

If I had been elsewhere, I might have scratched my head wondering what curve meant. But in the gift shop of a children’s hospital curve has a singular meaning. I approached two of the teenagers in the group and asked them about their t-shirts. With bubbly and enthusiastic responses I learned that Conner, 15, underwent major spine surgery the day before and was recovering upstairs.  Her entourage donned the t-shirts as encouragement for their daughter, sister, cousin, and friend. During the course of our conversation, I learned Conner and Littlest share the same surgeon. I met everyone in the group and even got a hug from Conner’s grandmother who promised to pray for Littlest. I believe her.

After the family returned upstairs to Conner’s bedside, Husband and I looked up Luke 13:13.

Then he put his hands on her,

and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Tears of comfort, hope, and praise flowed from my tired eyes.

Isn’t it just like God to show up like that?

Thank you friends for your prayers. God hears them and He answers them in His perfect timing and way. Sarah still needs surgery, but His timing is perfect. Rest assured when the day comes, we’ll all be wearing Got Curve? t-shirts for Sarah. And, we’d be honored for you to wear one too.

No Junk in the Trunk Here

The older Littles have already gone to and returned home from camp. For the record I was going to write every day while they were away. For the record, I did not.

If you ask the Littles their favorite part of camp, answers range from the blob, FOB (feet on bunk), yellow food (mac ‘n cheese, chicken tenders…), friends, and being away from the tyranny of home. Ok, I made that last one up.

My favorite part of camp, aside from the abundance of free time for me to write, is cabin closing time. After greeting stinky campers, parents gather to hear about the week from counselors. During this time, each child is presented with a certificate including two characteristics their counselor observed in them during the week. Along with these characteristics are bible verses.

I love having these verses to pray over the Littles and I encourage them to pray each verse daily too. One over-acheiving Little actually turned the memory assignment into an art project and decorated cards to remind her of God’s word.

I’m sure St. Peter has this duly noted in her file.

Kidding aside, the verses from camp provide us an opportunity to discuss why it’s important to know God’s Word. It’s not to test our memory (although most days that is my personal challenge) or to keep score of who can recite the most verses. It’s to know God more fully! We are called to hide God’s Word in our heart (Psalm 119: 11) and to talk about His commandments at home, along the road, in the evening and the morning (Deuteronomy 6: 4-9).

Here are the verses from camp we are hiding in our hearts and the characteristics the counselors observed in the Littles. Look them up! And if you haven’t already, ask God to show you verses for your Littles and loved ones too.


Matthew 7: 7


Philippians 1:9


James 1:2-3


James 3:17


Proverbs 22:17-19


Philippians 4:13

On a personal note, I’ve claimed perseverance as the characteristic I need this week as I tackle the aftermath of camp. If I’m not back by Friday, send reinforcement!



Bible in 90 Days

Have you ever read the Bible, cover to cover, in one sitting? I’m kidding, of course, about the in one sitting part. Over the years I’ve managed to work my way through almost all sixty-six books, but never Genesis to Revelation. Lest you worry I am some kind of Bible smarty pants, I only recently (as in about a month ago) realized there was a Book of Nahum. I’m not sure how I missed an entire book of the Bible, but the pages of Nahum, all two of them, eluded me.

I’ve contemplated reading the Bible, beginning to end, before, but the timing just never seemed right. Lately I started thinking the timing was nothing more than an excuse. Like starting a diet, is there ever really a perfect time? Last week, with a what-in-the-world-am-I-waiting-for enthusiasm, I picked up a copy of The Bible in 90 Days and dove in head first.

Why did I buy a new Bible? First, I am encouraged by the divisions in The Bible in 90 Days with clearly marked stop and start points. More importantly I want to read God’s Word fresh, anew.  The margins of my beloved NIV are filled with notes and prayers I’ve scribbled over the years. Rather than rely on previous commentary and study notes I’ve made, I want to be able to read the Bible as one complete story.

A few days into my Bible read-a-thon, my friend Teri Lynne posted on facebook that Amy at MomsToolBox was kicking off a new 90 Day Challenge on July 5th. My first thought ‘Yahoo! I’ll be ahead of the game’ was quickly interrupted by ‘Rotroh, now I have to be accountable!’. But, I signed up for the challenge anyway.

So, tell me. Have you read the Bible cover to cover? Will you join me? Leave a comment or email me and we’ll get started on July 5th.

I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for us.