Showing posts from 2017

Beside Restful Waters

I have always loved Psalm 23, the green pastures and restful waters. Those have taken on new meaning in our new home. A few steps in any direction and I can sit beside gurgling creeks or still ponds, surrounded by verdant pastures.

However, even in Idyllic surroundings, life can become complicated and worrisome.

Since the year 2009, I have been without health care insurance and have put off preventive exams due to the expense. Since turning a certain age and I now have insurance, my doctor has scheduled the tests. My brain went into overdrive. What if?

Streams in the Desert quoted 1 Samuel 7:12: “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

He has helped through financial struggles, health issues, and personal challenges. He has provided compassion, strength, wisdom, and a miracle or two. Will he not continue? 
“For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me.”

Christmas Optimist, Pessimist, Idealist, or Realist?

We idolize the holidays, believing this special season changes the entire world and everything and everyone in it. Like Chuck Griswold, we become overly optimistic, believing in the ideal of the perfect family Christmas. Life is built on the imperfect, and we are usually greatly disappointed for one reason or another when our expectations are too high or unrealistic. Then we become pessimists at best and Scrooges at worst. I suggest something else - a true Optimist. An idealist who recognizes and acknowledges flaws, but chooses to focus on what is right, rather than what is wrong.
In the well known story, two boys were placed in separate rooms. One filled with every imaginable toy, the other with manure. After an hour observers went to each room to see the boys' reactions. Sure enough, the Pessimist could only complain. Nothing was right. Every toy had a flaw or defect. Noting this, the observers moved to the next room. To their amazement the Optimist was busy digging in the manu…

What Would You Have Me Do, Lord?

Every so often we writers get into slumps and question why we write. Does it matter?
I fell into this trap yesterday. Re-editing the three books in my series for inclusion into a set, has been more daunting than I expected. It has also been humbling. How could I publish such drivel? Who would want to read it? So, why bother?
Unlike other times these thoughts have plagued me, I turned to prayer, asking God what He would have me do. He answered.
As has happened before, I have confused my listed readings and read one meant for another date, and there was my answer.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. How then shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe him, of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach if they have not been sent, as it is written: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things? B…

Holding Tighter or Letting Go?

“The first author of beauty made all things,” Wisdom 13:3.Author, that caught my attention. This theme continued in the rest of my devotions. 
Psalm 19: “There are no speeches nor languages, where their voices are not heard. Their sound has gone forth into all the earth: and their words unto the ends of the world.” Verses 4 and 5.
What author doesn’t hope that will happen to them? 
Then came the words, “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life, will save it.” Luke 17:33
I am wallowing in grand dreams of becoming a best-selling author, and God brings me up short.
In my devotion, Living Faith, Author Amy Welborn, asked how we intend to lose our lives for God. This isn’t meant in the literal sense, as in physically dying, but in what we are asked to lose in order to follow God’s plan for our life.
Writing takes tremendous sacrifice. We spend hours in solitary confinement sitting at a desk with pen and paper, laptop, or computer. One of my former cowork…

Lighting Our Lamps

Now that the days are shorter, I take Cooper, our little Brittany, outside in the dark, morning and evening. My flashlight is a necessity. So, it was appropriate that my Gospel reading for today told the story of the virgins and their lamps waiting for the bridegroom.

In my devotional, Living Faith, author Patricia Livingston suggested a new twist. She used the imagery of faith. We can run out of oil, wearied by too much responsibility and not enough quiet time. Rather than being selfish, it replenishes, allowing our light to burn brighter.

Streams in the Desert, also had an excellent example. Our spiritual life is like a garden. The more we tend it, the more beautiful it becomes. Perhaps our neighbor will decide to improve his own. Frantic busyness doesn’t accomplish anything other than to prevent refilling our spirits.

As I walked out in the country dark this morning, the stars were a brilliant canopy of light. I even saw a meteor. Later, while back inside my warm house, dawn shimme…

The Best Fix for a Broken Heart

God did not promise us a life without suffering. Quite the opposite as he commanded that we take up our cross and follow him.
However, he didn’t leave us alone to flounder in our agony. He gave us the blueprint for joy amid our sorrows. This popped up in my memories on Facebook this morning.  It seems life often spirals in circles with old wounds reopened long after you thought they had healed. In truth, we bear the scars of many wounds, and the right circumstances can open them again. I had already vowed to put others before myself before I read this reminder. God merely confirmed my plan in His usual manner, a personal message where and when I least expect it. So, in response to a fresh wave of sorrow, I am doubling my efforts to be a better wife, mother, and friend, putting others first. It will work. When we focus outside ourselves, our sorrows fade to the background. Isn’t this what Christ told us to do? “For the first will be last and the last will be first.” “Love your neighbor …

Lions and Unicorns

In other words, save me from my enemies, both physical and imaginary.
Our imaginations can sometimes do far more damage than real enemies, creating scenarios that will never happen, tainting our days with fears and anxieties that never materialize. Small hurts and injustices become massive pits of sorrow, books of over the top self-sacrificing scenarios which will never (and should never) be written. Thank goodness. Who would want to read an epic sob story? Whereas, stories of heroic self-sacrifice lift our spirits and encourage us. The difference? In the inspiring stories, the hero’s goal is to overcome the difficulty, not wallow in it.
At least my imagined scenarios only go so far. After conjuring up the lowest possible point my life could reach, my faith kicks in. God will preserve and rescue me. Always.
If only God and I remained, it would be enough. I do believe that. And so, faith pulls me back from the brink, spins me around, and shows me how much I have to be thankful for.
I d…

If I Knew Then What I Know Now...

Some have posed the question, “If you could go back to high school, would you?”  For myself, no. I don’t want to go back and live my life over. Once is enough.  Another popular question, “If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be?” I would tell my younger self, “Don’t be anxious over things not in your control. Everything will work out one way or the other. If it is the other, you’ll survive.”  Oh, but would she listen, even to that? I doubt it. I have let go most of my worries only because I have walked through the fires and experienced God’s miracles. Had I not suffered and God had not rescued me, would my faith have grown? Would I be able to give my troubles to God and leave them there, along with the anxiety and fear?  I still fall now and then into that dark abyss, but not as often or for as long. Most dismal circumstances can lead to immense good. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. And I believe.  No wonder Jesus said, “Blessed are they who have not seen, and have belie…

Money, Money, Money

For the first time in my life, I feel wealthy. I know the few thousand we garnered after selling our home is not real wealth, but it sure feels like it. For the first time in my adult life I need not count every penny, or wonder if I can buy toothpaste before payday.

However, it’s a fleeting security. I am only one disaster away from losing it all.
But, I am not worried, nor am I fretting. God has rescued me from financial catastrophes, health crises, and other troubles when there didn’t seem to be a way. Why should He stop now? It is Him I need to trust, not a savings account. Yet, it could be easy tofixate on that number, coveting it above all other things.
People often misquote St. Paul. He did not say money is the root of all evil. In 1 Timothy 6:10 he states, “For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith and have entangled themselves in many sorrows.”
Psalm 48:7,8,11-12 continues with this: “They that trust in their own strength …

When a Planner Marries a Panster...

These two personalities pose a few challenges in a marriage, or any close relationship. A planner likes things, well, planned. They like to know what to expect, stay organized, and be prepared. They can be rigid and stuffy if they don’t allow some flexibility.
A panster likes to swing it, be spontaneous, go with the flow, fly by the seat of their pants. They are usually easy going and fun to be around, until their lack of planning leads to a crisis or disaster.
One case in point, a wedding. Spontaneity is great until other people’s schedules (like magistrates) don’t match up with the panster’s scheme. My panster husband almost blew the wedding by not mentioning it to our travel agent until almost too late. Bless the woman, after her initial heart attack, she managed to get it arranged.
On the other hand, a planner tends to over plan, over schedule, and end up frustrating herself and her partner.
Compromise is the key. The planner agrees to ditch the schedule, except for important thin…

Closed Hearts

Although  I have encountered some who seem to flit through life without a scratch, their worst experiences being small inconveniences and annoyances (compared to financial crises, health issues, and the deaths of loved ones), most of us have been in that dark place Saint John of the Cross called, the black night of the soul, at least once, if not more.
A dear friend wrote about this condition in her new novella, Ice Melts in Spring (soon to be released). I won’t give away any spoilers, but will say only this, Linda Yezak hit the essence of these dark moments right in the heart, literally.  Her heroine doesn’t see God’s hand in her suffering because anger and bitterness have closed her heart to His presence.  She is spiritually blind. The key to opening her heart? Forgiveness.
The author describes the moment God lifted those burdens from her character, nailing the weightlessness and the joy.
My heart goes out to all those with closed hearts. May they see God's hand in every aspe…


Right on schedule, three years after purchasing what we thought was going to be our last home, I caught my husband looking at houses for sale.
To be honest, I understood why he was house hunting again. The traffic on our street quadrupled after Wal-Mart built a Neighborhood Market a half mile down the street, and the area has grown to the point a two-mile drive takes ten to twenty minutes, depending on the time of day. Still, I dreaded the nightmare of another move — until my husband showed me pictures of the house he was interested in.
We scheduled a viewing.

The moment I stepped out of the car, I knew we had found, home, the place where we could set down roots.
The half-acre property sat alone on a small hill overlooking the Snake River Canyon, rolling hills, and farmland. Fully landscaped in lawn, trees, and shrubs, it was like standing in the midst of a private park.
He didn’t have to convince me to put in an offer.
Yes, it was a nightmare selling our other home, applying for…

The Fourth Watch

Selling a home, buying a new one, and moving is a nightmare of huge proportions. No wonder it is the third most stressful life event. If I had more faith, the process would not be so heart wrenching, but like Peter walking on water, I looked at my circumstances, doubted and sank beneath the turbulence of documents and time restrictions.
I failed to trust God.
He gave me a promise the first time I stood in the new house.  He swathed in a blanket of warmth and I heard the word, home. We would live in the house for the rest of our lives. Whatever challenges lay ahead were only bumps along the way. All I had to do was trust.
I was like Peter starting out strong, then succumbing to fear. Then, during the fourth watch of the loan process, Matthew 14:22-23 was listed among my devotions. Yes, the story of Peter walking toward Jesus on a stormy sea.
Jesus’ words echoed in my heart. “Oh, you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
In my weakness, I let circumstances overrule my faith.
However, …

What the Devil Doesn’t Want Us to Know

The Devil encourages us to cling to this life with a ferociousness capable of hurting, maiming, or even killing others. Even if we aren’t harming others to survive, we are praying fiercely to preserve our lives and those we love.
God answers our pleas to heal and protect, but selectively. Not everyone wins the heavenly lottery. We mourn for ourselves and for them. They will miss the family gatherings, watching loved ones grow, sunsets and sunrises, walks along the beach, Christmas and the Fourth of July. 
Or will they?
Last Christmas, God granted me a vision. As our pastor read the Gospel, I saw angels surrounding him with Jesus in their midst. The Church disappeared, replaced by my living room. I lay on the floor, dying. Jesus took my hand, lifted my spirit from my body, and with his arm around me, escorted me into Paradise.
I cannot describe what I saw, except to say there are wonders beyond our earthly senses waiting for us. 
With each exclamation of delight, Jesus responded with…



The Other Woman