Today Was A Fairy Tale

IMG_0226This week my family and I are licking up the last sweet drops of summer like a quickly melting cone. We’re swimming, grilling, and garage sailing to our hearts content. I”ll be back next week with a fresh post and an exciting GIVEAWAY you won’t want to miss. In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy this post from my archives…

Once upon a time there was a caterpillar…

Towards the end of summer my daughter and I found a caterpillar crawling on a long stem of Queen-Ann’s-Lace.

Fascinated, we took him inside, found an empty glass jar, filled it with leaves, and made a new home for our friend.

My daughter has been a long time fan of the Eric Carle classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and I was hopeful that she would be able to watch the process of the worm to butterfly transformation unfold before her eyes.

Within a few days we were excited to watch our caterpillar friend weave himself into a delicate cocoon. We placed him in the windowsill by our kitchen sink and waited to see what would happen next.

As we watched and waited I was struck by the ways this caterpillar symbolized the truth of God. While snuggled away in his cocoon, this caterpillar looked absolutely dead. I mean it, no signs of life anywhere. Yet on the inside a miracle was happening; our caterpillar was being transformed into something alive and beautiful.

Who but God can do this? Who but God can take something dead and transform it into life and beauty?

In Isaiah 61, God tells us that His mission is to make captives free. To make beauty from ashes. To turn mourning into joyous blessing, and despair into festive praise.

No matter whom you are or what you’re facing this day, no matter what seems dead, destroyed, or hopeless in your life, take heart! God is at work in your life and in you, because our God is a God who transforms, our God is a God of miracles, our God is a God of beauty and life. The fullest life. For you.

In the end, I’m sad to say our caterpillar never hatched, but even still, I do not doubt God’s miracles. Butterfly or not, this caterpillar and his cocoon brought beauty and life to my heart by reminding me of God and His truth.

In his book, Walking With God, John Eldredge writes:

“Now, if Christ takes it upon himself to lead, then our part is to follow. And you’ll find that it helps a great deal in your following if you know what God is up to. True, we may not know exactly what God is up to in this or that event in our lives. “Why didn’t I get the job?” “How come she won’t return my calls?” “Why haven’t my prayers healed this cancer?” I don’t know. Sometimes we can get clarity, and sometimes we can’t.

But whatever else is going on, we can know this: God is always up to our transformation.

God has something in mind. He is deeply and personally committed to restoring humanity. Restoring you.” (Walking With God, pg. 19)

Sweet friends, may you wake up this day to the fairy tale found in the ways He transforms, in the ways He works miracles, in the ways He makes butterflies from caterpillars and beauty from ashes.

~ From the Archives 

Today Was A Fairy Tale


IMG_2116Once upon a time there was a princess and her King Papa…

 “One splendid sunshiny day, about an hour after noon, Irene, who was playing on a lawn in the garden, heard the distant blast of a bugle. She jumped up with a cry of joy, for she knew by that particular blast that her father was on his way to see her. This part of the garden lay on the slope of the hill and allowed a full view of the country below. So she shaded her eyes with her hand and looked far away to catch the first glimpse of shining armor. In a few moments a little troop came glittering round the shoulder of a hill. Spears and helmets were sparkling and gleaming, banners were flying, horses prancing, and again came the bugle-blast which was to her like the voice of her father calling across the distance: ‘Irene, I’m coming.’ On and on they came until she could clearly distinguish the king. He rode a white horse and was taller than any of the men with him. He wore a narrow circle of gold set with jewels around his helmet, and as he came still nearer Irene could discern the flashing of the stones in the sun. It was a long time since he had been to see her, and her little heart beat faster and faster as the shining troop approached, for she loved her king-papa very dearly and was nowhere so happy as in his arms. When they reached a certain point, after which she could see them no more from the garden, she ran to the gate, and there stood till up they came clanging and stamping with one more bright bugle-blast which said: ‘Irene, I am come.’

By this time the people of the house were all gathered at the gate, but Irene stood alone in front of them. When the horsemen pulled up she ran to the side of the white horse and held up he arms. The king stooped and took her hands. In an instant she was on the saddle and clasped in his great strong arms. I wish I could describe the king so that you could see him in your mind. He had gentle blue eyes, but a nose that made him look like an eagle. A long dark beard, streaked with silvery lines, flowed from his mouth almost to his waist, and as Irene sat on the saddle and hid her glad face upon his bosom it mingled with the golden hair which her mother had given her, and the two together were like a cloud with streaks of the sun woven through it. After he had held her to his heart for a minute he spoke to his white horse, and the great beautiful creature, walked as gently as a lady — for he knew he had a little lady on his back — through the gate and up to the door of the house. Then the king set her on the ground and, dismounting, took her hand and walked with her into the great hall, which was hardly ever entered except when he came to see his little princess.” (From The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald)


When I was a little girl my daddy traveled a lot for work. But when he came home, always with kisses, always with hugs, I felt a delight like none other. My king-papa had come.

When first I read this passage from The Princess and the Goblin these childhood memories came to mind, but what also came to mind was a picture of the father-daughter relationship I share with God.

I know Father’s Day can be hard. As I type this post I can think of three close friends who have recently lost their dads. I also know friends who grew up without a dad and those who struggle beneath the burden of a strained and broken relationship with a dad who was supposed to love them, a dad who was supposed to be so much more.

My heart breaks for the hearts that break whenever Father’s Day rolls around, and while I can’t relate from a level of personal experience, perhaps I can offer some hope.

We all, like Princess Irene, have a King-Papa who longs to pull us close, who longs to come for us, who longs to fill and heal the gap left by death, destruction, and broken relationships.

As the princess delighted in her papa, so we can delight in Him. Because He loves us. Oh, how He loves us.

Brave Prince, Lovely Princess, may you wake up this day to the fairytale found in God, your King-Papa. In the pain and brokenness of this world’s relationships may you know His fatherly love and find yourself clasped in His great strong arms.

Today Was a Fairy Tale


Photo by Landon Brown

Once upon a time there was a UPS commercial…

While watching college basketball during the NCAA tournament a certain commercial caught my attention. It was an ad for UPS and throughout the sixty second spot the voice-overs gave a list of all the things UPS was inviting their potential customers to bring to them. 

“Bring us your bafflings

Bring us your audacious

We want your daydreams

Your ‘ahas’

Your ‘easier said than dones’

We want your sticky notes


And scribbles

…Bring us your ‘need it done yesterdays’

Your impracticals

Your ‘how do we do that’


Your ‘what do we do nows’

Your down right inaccessibles

Bring us those things you’re not sure how to pull off

And you’re even less sure whom to ask

…Because we’re in the problem solving business”

While watching this ad it occurred to me that this list is right in keeping with the invitation God gives us each and everyday…this and so much more.

At the end of the commercial UPS declared themselves the “United Problem Solvers.” And this, too, made me think of God in new and different way. Instead of United Problem Solvers, God is our Ultimate Problem Solver and Easter is a reminder that none of our problems are greater than Him.

In addition to the big and little problems of our daily lives God has solved the unsolvable problems of sin and death. What else could be beyond Him?

The answer is, nothing. 

I replay the commercial in my mind, this time picturing the cross, this time hearing His voice over all that troubles my heart. 

“Bring Me your wounds

Bring Me your regrets

I want your fears

Your losses

Your ‘I can’t do this anymores’

I want your hopes


And desires

Bring Me your ‘I need helps’

Your worries

Your ‘I feel so alones’


Your ‘I don’t understand whys’

Your down right impossibles

Bring me those things that keep you up at night, that break your heart, that scare you to death.

Because I’m in the good news business. The bind up the brokenhearted business. The set the captives free business.

With Good Friday He solved the problem of sin. With Easter He solved the problem of death. With three words He solved the problem of the human condition as He clung and bled and died. As He poured out the solution of perfect love He spoke the answer: ‘It is finished.’

It is finished. All our problems are finished in Him. Today. Everyday. Forever.

And I see it again and again. Those three yellow letters. The UPS logo on TV, in the mail, on the truck. The reminder of fairy tale love and the answer to all my problems.

Cinderella had her Fairy Godmother. Frodo had Gandalf. The children of Narnia had the great lion, Aslan.

And we have the Great I AM.

Brave Prince, lovely Princess may you wake up this day, this Easter sunrise, to the fairy tale found in UPS, in the Ultimate Problem Solver, Jesus. May you take your problems big and small, bring them to the cross, and leave the business of problem solving with no one and nothing but Him.

Today Was a Fairy Tale

100_2033Today I’m welcoming back my friend and fellow writer, Jessie Heninger, to Once Upon A Writer. I hope you enjoy her beautiful account of finding fairy tale magic in everyday life as much as I have…and then…go for a walk in the woods!

~Post by Jessie Heninger~

Monday is my favorite day. The kids go back to school, the crazy, that is our life on Sundays, is over and it’s Brian’s day off. An entire school day to spend as we please… wonderful.

Autumn in Michigan is spectacular, a color extravaganza before the dreary months of winter. So this week we dropped the kids off at school and drove to Holland. We stayed off the highway, and for once the weather cooperated. It was gorgeous! We did a little window shopping (seriously $80 for a baby outfit!) dreamed about retiring to Lake Michigan, ate gluten free pizza for lunch. It was lovely, but oh it gets better…

I was under the impression that downtown Holland went right up to the lakeshore, it doesn’t. So we asked Siri to take us to the beach (which she did not do, she hates me). Eventually we made our way to Saugatuck State park. There were two trails leading into the woods and we chose perfectly. It was a golden trip that wound through trees alight with color and a forest that was practically dripping with magic.

Jessie Headshot

Author Jessie Heninger

For me in a forest like that, smelling the wonder of the woods, I feel a presence. It’s so strong it almost feels tangible. Everywhere I looked I saw what my imagination is trying to do for the characters in my novel. Only it was better. I pointed to a spot and told Brian, “Giants, right there, I mean that’s exactly where they’d come through.” He laughed at me good naturally. (Thank God that man thinks I’m quirky in a charming way and not just completely nuts). We continued to hike through shadowed forest and then suddenly the woods brought us to the beach. Dark grey, cold waves practically touching the majesty of that forest.

Lake Michigan is really special to me, and being there with my husband on a kind of unexpected trip…there is so much wonder and magic in this world. Sometimes all we see is the darkness and the sadness but there is so much color just blazing and waiting to be discovered. I love it when my eyes are opened to that. When the sacred comes and touches us in a moment of beauty and awe. Pure wonder when the heart feels something we can never put words to. Bliss.

To read more of Jessie’s writings please visit her blog Confessions of a Housewife at

Today Was A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was a summer evening alight with the glow of fireflies…

I love fireflies. I love to watch them on a warm summer night as they light up my back yard. I love the joy they bring to little girl faces and the way they bring back memories of jars on the sill and my own childhood.

There’s something about the magical appearance of fireflies that makes me think of God. That God would see fit to create such an insect. An insect that shines light in the darkness, an insect that makes even the most ordinary night in summer seem like something from a fairy tale speaks to His unrivaled creativity and His passionate love.

My girls have a book that we love to read at bedtime. It’s titled, Sleep Baby Sleep, by Maryann Cusimano Love. My favorite verse in the story goes like this:

Shine, baby, shine,

Graceful child of mine.

Be like the firefly who glows

No matter how the darkness grows.

Shine, baby, shine.

When God made the firefly He didn’t just give us beauty He gave us a picture, a reminder of life.

This world, it’s full of darkness but we who know Christ have a light inside us. A beautiful light, a magical light. And we are at our best, and our brightest, and our most beautiful when we shine that light in the darkness.

Most of the time we long to shy away from the dark, but this is not what God has for us. Instead, He longs for us to shine in the dark, in the black of night, when this world needs His light the most. He longs for us to enter in, to take on the messy, to take on the shadow, and make a difference by offering beauty, by offering hope, by offering light and life.

Brave Prince, Lovely Princess may you wake up this day to the fairy tale found in the magic, in the beauty of fireflies. May you look out your window or stand on your lawn and revel in the truth of their light.

In light that glows in the darkess, in hope that beams in the night, in Christ who shines in us.