One moment in time…. A dear lady at our church sang in the Christmas music special last Sunday.  On the way home she was in a car accident and is still under observation in the hospital.  Her Christmas plans have been changed and rearranged this season, all in one moment in time. 

In one last moment, a saint draws their last breath and in the next moment they are with the Lord. In one fleeting, sad, tumultuous moment, a decision is made to take the pill, pull the trigger, draw the knife over the wrist or pick up the phone and call for help. 

We live our lives one moment at a time and life can go from happy to horrible in one short moment; from health to pain, from the heights of joy to the depths of despair.  That one moment in time is how life happens…. At one moment birth is imminent and the next moment the babe arrives.  

Some 2020 years ago, in one awesome, redemptive, transformative, life changing moment a new life began.  And from that life, and subsequent death and resurrection has flowed faith, healing, salvation and new life for millions who choose to believe. 

As Christmas Day comes closer, day by day and moment by moment, through all the heartache, loneliness, death, disease, pandemics, hunger, thirst and suffering…. Only one thing is sure….  To me: God is real, Jesus was born and Christmas is his day of birth. 

God’s word says, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and stars, which thou hast ordained; … For thou has made him a little lower than the angels and hast crowned him with glory and honor.  What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” Psalm 8:3-4 

God visited and abides.  Nothing happens without his knowledge and concern. Nothing.  Not a car accident, a death, a pandemic, a hungry child, and he knows you, your thoughts, hopes, dreams, sorrows and each moment of your time…. Do you know Him?  

Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?  Where are you going to spend eternity?  If you are not sure, please read below: 

1. Romans 3:23- The Problem “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” All men are sinners when measured against the standard of a holy God.

 2. Romans 4:4-5 The Predicament “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly his faith is accounted for righteousness” There is nothing a person can do to earn or merit forgiveness and a right standing before a hold God.  He loves us so much that He provided Jesus Christ, His Son, to take our place on the cross and pay the penalty for our sins. 

3. Romans 5:12- The Penalty “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because all sinned” Sin demands a penalty, and that penalty is physical death (where the soul is separated from the body) and spiritual death (where the soul is eternally separated from God) 

4. Romans 5:8- Provision “But God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” 

5. Romans 6:23- Pardon “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God, in grace is freely giving eternal life to every person who receives forgiveness for their sins through Jesus Christ. 

6. Romans 10:9-10- Process “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” People must turn to the risen Lord Jesus Christ in faith, trusting Him alone, a part from any human merit, to deliver them from their sins and bring them into a relationship with God. 

You can pray the prayer of salvation  today:

 “Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of a savior. I ask you to forgive me of my sins. I believe that you died on the cross to save me from my sins. I now ask you to be Lord of my life, and I promise to commit my life to you.” 

If you have prayed that prayer today, please send me an email at ldougherty@shilohba.org.  I would love to hear from you and provide some study material and a Bible if you do not have one.


Make Time and Choose Joy

We all have the same amount of minutes, 1,440 minutes, in a twenty-four hour period.  How we choose to allocate that time is largely up to us as individuals or families.  The idea of “finding time” doesn’t work but “making time” does.  If you are brutally honest with yourself, you can admit that you can usually make time for things you really, really want to do.  Sometimes you have to give something else up or postpone an activity or chore.  It’s hard to find time to do something but if you intentionally schedule the time into your day or night or weekend, it then becomes a proactive choice where you have made time for your activity.

The same is true about joy.  We choose joy.  We choose to find joy in our lives, even when happiness is not present.  Think about it this way….

We cultivate joy internally, and it is an individual quality that intensifies as we learn and accept who we are, how we got there and how we can improve.  Joy gives us the motivation to serve others and strength to get through hard times.  Happiness is external and fleeting, dependent upon experiences, possessions, other people and circumstances.  Happiness is temporary and easily lost.

A child is happy with their new toy but it soon loses its luster, they get bored and toss it aside.  The ratty old blanket, full of comfort, memories and the smell of mom and the dog… that cultivates comfort and joy in the child.  They seek it out and grasp it for dear life. 

I’m disturbed and uneasy with all of the turmoil and hatred being displayed right now during the election cycle.  I’m definitely not happy right now but I am still joyful.  I have a fulfilling job, as a people helper, and it is my sweet spot of strength, knowledge and ability.  There is great contentment In my life and joy in knowing that no matter what happens, my final destination is already arranged and the reservations are made.  Heaven is waiting and eternity is secure; how great is that joy!

Psalm 118:24 tells us to choose joy:  “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  We can choose joy and I hope you do!


Keep your eyes on the goals!

We can get very busy and distracted and sidetracked by our lives and the things we think we need to do.  The truth is... we always have choices on how we can prioritize our tasks and rearrange those things that need be elevated on our "to do" list.  Many busy, successful people have a list of short term and long term goals and adjust their daily lists to make steady progress toward those goals.  A family member is currently working on a degree, has a family, a job and a busy life.  She is constantly juggling time and tasks to keep all those plates spinning, especially in light of unexpected things that we all run into.... temporary situations that need immediate attention.  

The secret is to always keep your eyes on the goal and never lose sight of where you are going.  We all have to pull over to get gas, an oil change and the occasional repair to the car but we keep driving toward our destination.

Ask yourself the following questions when you are looking at a jam packed day and all the things you have to do:

Is this something I have to do or could another family member more easily and competently do it?

Does this have to be done today or could I schedule it when I am in the area or working on similar things?

Do I have an absolute deadline for this assignment, phone call, bill to be paid, etc?

Do I have to do this task?  Is it really essential for me and the family?

How does this help me move toward my goals?

By stripping away the imposed obligations (by others) and being true to yourself, your values and your family, you can prioritize your daily list and remove some stress and anxiety from your day.

Only you can choose how you will spend the minutes and hours of each day.



The Good Neighbor NextDoor

September 2, 2020

NextDoor is a social networking service that provides “trusted connections and the exchange of helpful information, goods, and services.”  I am connected to our local NextDoor hub which links 37 neighborhoods within about a five-mile radius.  There are always posts about a missing dog or a found cat, inquiries for a good lawn service, handyman, pet sitter, roofer, plumber and so on.  Recently however, there was a real outpouring of neighborly love, concern and action and it appears that some of these folks did not even know the elderly lady who was the recipient of the good will gestures.

Apparently this dear lady had air conditioning problems and called a repair service that did not fix her unit properly but still charged her about $1,000 to work on it.  She was still very hot and uncomfortable and one of her neighbors found out.  She jumped to action and found a service to go out and fix the air conditioner and began to raise funds through the people connected on NextDoor.  Incredibly, she was not only able to muster up the funds for the second repair, but most of the first repairs are also paid for by individuals pledging money in mostly $100 increments. 

These good folks, neighbors all, took care of their elderly neighbor just as we are prompted to do in the Bible book of James.  Pure religion is to look after widows and orphans in their distress; we are told this is pleasing and acceptable to God.  (James 1:27)  It was so wonderful to see neighbor helping neighbor, the strong advocating for the frail, the ones who could taking care of those had did not have.  

There may be cities and communities where folks are disagreeing with each other, protesting and committing mayhem, but not so here.  Not once did any of these kindly folks mention their political party, social status, or other point that could divide them.  They all focused on the problem and being part of the solution, even as they were going about their lives that are sorely impacted by the Covid-19 virus.  I doubt this is the first time they have helped a neighbor with a meal, repairs, a kind smile or an encouraging word. 

My neighbors are doing well and fulfilling the law, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” James 2:8.  And they will be blessed because they gave freely and with love. “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”  

A good neighbor increases the value of your property.  ~ Czech Proverb

I'm grateful for good neighbors.


The "55 Things I’m Grateful For" Challenge:

My first 30 listed here:

  • Time to pray and reflect before falling asleep
  • Freedom to pray, read my Bible and other books of my choice
  • As one of my older clients says, “waking up on this side of the dirt!”   Blessings!
  • A good nights’ sleep on clean sheets with two pillows
  • A good sturdy house with air conditioning
  • Steady barometric pressure so my shoulder isn’t sore
  • Vitamins, Aleve and Sudafed PE
  • A few minutes of quiet time before the busyness of the day
  • Being physically and mentally able to perform the busyness of the day
  • Hot, fresh, delicious coffee with cream and sugar
  • Ezekiel bread toast with deli peanut butter
  • A nice kitchen to fix the coffee and peanut butter toast in
  • Hand lotion and Q-tips
  • Clean, comfortable clothes I like and feel good in
  • A recent “good” haircut (sometimes they are not good haircuts!)
  • Toothbrush (medium bristles) and toothpaste 
  • A clean comb and brush, hair dryer and gel
  • Hot shower with soap and shampoo (God please show us more about how to help our homeless friends and neighbors and let us be willing to do it)
  • The feel of freshly washed tile floor on my bare feet
  • Thinking of a really good friend always willing to make time to listen
  • A car that is paid for and runs well
  • The car that runs well and has the capacity for many more miles
  • Being able to pay for oil changes, new batteries and other maintenance
  • The ability and opportunity to earn money to pay for those things
  • A job I enjoy and that is fulfilling and hits my “sweet spot”
  • Discovering the color “greige” and what I might do with it
  • Being able to march in place or briskly walk several miles on any given day 
  • Sunshine, blue skies, fresh air, green grass and flowers  
  • Dental insurance and overcoming sticker shock on re-treatment of a root canal
  • Planning to schedule said root canal next week (blessing in progress)

To be continued……


You and I are probably a lot alike; we both are feeling a lot of “stuff” right now.  Negative “stuff!!” Frustration, fear, impatience, and a general sense of “will this EVER be over?” meaning, the Covid-19 virus, the effects of it on our family, friends, livelihood and life.  Where is normal?

Combined with the turmoil and chaos going on in some areas of the country, the rising prices of food, housing and medical and dental care……  back some years ago we used to express frustration and irritation by yelling “AARRGGHH!!!”  (out loud this sounds like something between a bear with a sore toe and a swashbuckling pirate yelling “Ahoy matey”)

When we lift something heavy, most of us grunt or make a guttural noise of some kind.  When we are agitated, we may go to the gym and lift a few more pounds, run a few more feet, kick the bag more forcefully as we cry out, howl, grunt or exhale deeply.  For me, cleaning is my emotional clearing house.  The more frustrated and irritated I am, the cleaner the baseboards may be and the thinner the paint covering them. 

Anything like cleaning, dancing, running or other forms of physical activity that is healthy and appropriate is great to help clear out some of the pent-up emotion and frustration.  Nathaniel Thom, a physiologist who deals with stress and its effects on the body writes, "exercise, even a single bout of it, can have a robust prophylactic effect" against the buildup of anger.  Physical activity can even help make us happy.1 

Sometimes it is hard to deal with the anger, fear, frustration and other deeper and darker emotions some of us may feel.  The Insider website reports:

  • 11% of American adults reported seriously considering suicide in June, about double the percentage who did so last summer, a new CDC report finds.
  • Rates of suicide ideation were highest among 18- to 24-year-olds (25%) and unpaid caregivers for adults (30%).
  • The report also found that the prevalence of symptoms of depression and anxiety quadrupled and tripled, respectively, compared to last year.
  • In total, 40% of Americans reported some mental health issue or substance abuse related to the pandemic.2

Call immediately if you or someone you know is in need of talking, counseling, assistance or call 911 if it is a medical emergency.  Don't wait and don't hesitate!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline                          


Hours: Available 24 hours. 

Languages: English, Spanish. 

Click here for website 

Remember God loves you.  He made you and values your feelings, your life, your dreams and your hopes. Deuteronomy 30:19-20  – “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life.” 

Choose life and call for help!

1Reynolds, Gretchen.  New York Times. “Well:  Phys Ed: Can Exercise Moderate Anger?” 15 Aug 2010.  https://archive.nytimes.com/query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage-9B02EED61539F936A2575BC0A9669D8B63.html

2 Miller, Anna Medaris.  The Insider.  CDC:  11% of US adults seriously considered suicide in June.  13 Aug 2020.  https://www.insider.com/cdc-11-percent-us-adults-seriously-considered-suicide-in-june-2020-8


One definition of a Portmanteau is "a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms" 1  (such as smog from smoke and fog.)  Another is a large suitcase, high quality, vintage, bearing the treasured memories of travel and adventure.  In the case of the word we look at today, the idea of a large suitcase carrying lots of meaningful content is quite appropriate. One of my favorite portmanteau words is "gratitude" made from combining parts of "attitude" and "grateful."  It is a great way to inspire hope, keep us motivated and combat anxiety.  There is a lot of anxiety in our lives right now:

  • Am I going to catch the coronavirus?
  • Am I going to keep my job?
  • Are the children going back to school so I can go back to work?
  • How am I going to feed my family?
  • How do we pay our rent or mortgage?
  • My car needs repaired; how do I afford that?

There seem to be no solid answers about when or if this crisis will be over.  We hope for a vaccine or a great treatment to prevent death or serious harm to our health, but this is being handled by scientists and other professionals.  It seems as though we just have to wait and wait and wait.  This causes stress, anxiety and turmoil in our daily lives.

To combat anxiety and stress, mental health professionals recommend cultivating gratitude for a number of reasons, which include the fact that gratitude releases toxic emotions, reduces pain, promotes better sleep, aids in stress regulation and reduces anxiety.  Cultivating gratitude also fosters "adaptive coping mechanisms. By managing positive emotions like satisfaction, happiness, and pleasure, gratitude enhances our emotional resilience and builds our inner strength to combat stress." This is supported by scientific evidence, clinical studies and many testimonials.  It is supported in scripture, philosophy and can be self administered.2

The late Billy Graham wrote an article about thankfulness and gratitude; he had 90 years worth of life experience to reflect upon. His life was blessed but it was not stress free by any means.  As a human, he suffered the same temptations, sadness, grief, uncertainty and stress as we all do.  But it is how we approach and deal with anxiety that makes the difference.  He says, "And yet in the midst of those trials we can thank God, because we know that He has promised to be with us and that He will help us. We know that He can use times of suffering to draw us closer to Himself: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2-3, NIV)."3

Interrupt your anxiety today and cultivate gratitude as a tool and a strategy for a better outlook on life!  It's simple to start by listing ten things you are grateful for.  Write them down and read them.  See if you can add more.  This is an exert from my upcoming book:

"Gratitude can change your perspective about everything. This situation occurred in 2006 and I have used the strategy numerous times to shake off the mullygrubs. One time, I changed it up a little and started to count comfort and personal hygiene items in my bathroom.  

I wrote them all down and thanked God out loud for each item, for toothpaste, a toothbrush, soap, shampoo, toilet paper, petroleum jelly and so on until the count reached fifty-five items. It does change your perspective when you stop to think that we may have fifty-five items in our bathrooms that we take for granted every day.  These are things that are so lacking in other people’s lives all over the globe. It is a real eye opener and a cure for the blues!"4

My challenge to you is to find fifty-five things in your life that you count as blessings and that you are grateful for.  Please comment and let me know what you discovered.


1.  “Portmanteau.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/portmanteau. Accessed 15 Aug. 2020. 

2.  Chowdhury, Madhuleena Roy.  Positive Psychology.  "The Neuroscience of Gratitude and How It Affects Anxiety and Grief."  12 May 2020.  https://positivepsychology.com/neuroscience-of-gratitude/

3.  Graham, Billy.  BGEA.  "How to be Thankful in All Things."  21 Nov 2017.  https://billygraham.org/story/how-to-be-thankful-in-all-things/

4.  Dougherty, Linda.  Knowing and Leading Yourself First.  Lakeland.  2020.  Pages 83-84.



Welcome to People's Life Institute.  In this current time of turmoil, unrest and financial hardship, everything in our world has been turned upside down.  Every part of our lives has been impacted by Covid-19; our daily lives are uncertain and it's almost impossible to plan or schedule anything.  We don't know for sure when schools can and will open back up or how long they will stay open.  This affects our livelihood, peace of mind, causes emotional turmoil and stress on relationships and especially damages our children and their well being.  

Our clients have seen uncertainty in how they will provide the basics, such as food, shelter, utilities, transportation and medical care for their families. There are obstacles and challenges to survival as never before. While we do not have the answers to everything, we are here to help in any way we can.


I'm Linda D. serving as the Executive Director of People's Life Institute.  I'm obviously a fan of roosters and I will tell you straight up, I love coffee, Jesus, my husband and my job.  

I was born in Florida and my husband came here 37 years ago from the Appalachia Mountain area of SE Virginia.  We attend a local church in the Plant City, FL area and have been involved with ministry for over 20 years. We both have a heart for those who are suffering from adversity and misfortune.  

Together with our volunteers, donors, prayer partners, ministry partners and other kind heart folks, PLI serves individuals and families in this area.