Contact Me

If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email:

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Naughty Words

No, I am not talking about the four-letter kind.
I am talking about the words that lounge around in my mind, bored, idle, just itching for mischief.
Then the summons comes.
"Word, " I say, "come forth."
I was sitting at the computer, my fingers poised over the keyboard, waiting for my brain to summon the word I've requested.
The word I required yesterday was "valet."
It's not a difficult word. It's an everyday sort of word.
Nothing obscure.
But just like a naughty child, when called, he ran from me.
I grabbed for him, but he dashed away and snickered at my feeble attempt to corral him.
For half an hour I called to him in vain. He would not reveal his hiding place.
And so, frustrated and dejected, I returned to my computer and typed in "xxxx" in place of the long-sought word.
The naughty word's plan is, -- like all the others who've baited me in the past -- to wait around until about two o'clock in the morning, then jump on my bed and shake me until I crack one eyelid and say, "Oh, there you are, you bad word. No, I'm not going to get up and play with you now. I'll deal with you in the morning."
The next day, another of "valet's" cohorts takes his place. Today, I am searching for the word that means "present everywhere."
As usual, the word that means "present everywhere" immediately runs out of the office, then peaks his head in as if too say, "care for a game of hide 'n seek?"
But today, I've come up with a mode of dealing with my naughty words: just don't play the game. As soon as the word starts to hide around the corner of my office, I'll say, "I don't really need you, word. So you can hide all you want, but I'm not going to come looking for you."
I go on with my typing.
Then, slowly, creeping nearer, barely stifling a giggle, my word approaches. I hear him breathing behind my back. I know he wants to tap me on the shoulder, then dash away.
I whirl around and seize him. "Aha! Ubiquitous, I've caught you! I slam my prize onto the keyboard. "Ubiquitous" is now displayed on line four, second paragraph of page forty-six.

And so, my writer friends, when your own words turn naughty, don't despair.
But don't play their game. Don't let them bully you.
They want to take your joy away.
But don't you let. Don't you let them.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Heaven: I'd sure like to know more about it.

I'm looking forward to reading the book, Heaven is For Real, the story of the little boy who died and went to heaven for a while before returning to his family on earth.

Can you imagine being in heaven?
Yes, beautiful, glorious, never-ending blessed state of completed salvation.
No worries, no strife, no illness.
And all in the glorious presence of the One you've been longing to meet since you responded to Him in faith.

But, imagine also all the things you've left behind.

It seems amazing that all of the things we found so urgent, so terribly important, have now vanished.
You no longer glance at your emails. Emails? What are emails?
Your unfinished projects are back there, on earth.
The manuscript you hurried to finish so you could submit it to an editor, still in your computer.
The song you planned to sing at church, un-sung.
The worship piece you've practiced, unplayed.
The meeting you planned, the party that you invited 25 people to. . .
All left behind.
You've accomplished all that you're going to accomplish on earth.

What must that be like?
You won't even bring your clothing, your makeup, your hairpiece, your false teeth?
Will you arrive naked?
No. But how does that work in heaven?
Do you line up at the uniform door and get your heavenly issue of white robes?
And then, do you form another line to receive your housing assignment and your meal ticket?

And how do you find your way around? Are there angels standing on ever street corner, ready to direct you?
Do you sleep? Do you work? Do you know people you've only read about: Moses, Peter, Mary?
Are we with Jesus every second of this eternity? Or does He go off to do important things and leave us for a while?
Gosh, I'd sure love to know what heaven is like.
I only know it's real.
Because Jesus said so. And He doesn't lie.
Jesus must really love us a lot, a whole, whole lot to prepare a place so incredibly wonderful that we can't even conceive of it.
He said, "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2)

I know I won't get any closer to knowing what heaven is like if I keep thinking and wondering.
But it sure helps me keep all these earthly things in perspective.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Big John and My Cable Crisis

Last Saturday night, the wind blew so strong that I thought our roof would blow off.
I had just posted about the power and mystery of the wind, how it resembles how the Spirit of God operates.
But Sunday morning, we discovered just how powerful that Saturday night wind had been.
Our cable that connects our technology to the rest of the world, had been ripped from our house.
No cable connection: no internet, no phone, no mail, and no access to my blog.
So that's the reason for the slight delay.
Fortunately, our local guy, John, came right out on Monday morning and ran around my backyard, re-connecting things.
I followed him around like an apprentice baker, asking him questions, peering at the confusing box on our back deck, generally getting in his way.
For a while, it looked like we weren't going to get things going.
He replaced the modem, tested it and announced that all was right.
But it wasn't right.
I couldn't get onto FB and Twitter. We're definitely not "right" if I can't access them!
So, there we were:  this big, weathered, cable worker and little 'ol me, climbing around the bottom of my computer desk, him showing me which cable or wire goes where, which is output and which is input, and why this fitting is red and the other is blue.
An hour later, after a valuable lesson in internet connections, modems and routers, the computer screen announced, "You are connected."
"Yay!" I exclaimed with glee. John gave me a shoulder hug, had me sign on the line, collected his paraphernalia, and headed for the front door. He promised that he'd be back if I had another problem.
And a felt as if I and John had survived a great crisis and I'd made a new friend in the process.
I'm sure John, the cable worker, has no idea that some things about the way he worked reflected the character of God.

John responded to my cry for help.
Something about John's imposing size and manner gave me more confidence.
John assured me that all would be well.
John operated both outside and inside to fix the problem.
John didn't just fix my problem; he established a good relationship.
John was kind about my obvious ignorance about techie things.
John rejoiced with me when the problem was solved.
John assured me that he would return if I had another problem.

And, just like John, my heavenly Father helps me to know that my problem is important and that He won't rest until I am "fixed."

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." (1 Peter 5: 7 NIV Bible)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Wind Bloweth!

I live up in the Colorado Rockies.
Many of you have visited my area in the summer.
It's incredibly beautiful here, with majestic mountains, crystal clear lakes and streams, ponderosa pines, lodgepole pine, spruce. And of course, the plentiful wildlife.
It's still beautiful in the winter. Except that it's terribly windy.
If you live on the flat lands, don't try to complain to me about your wind.
Oh, you get wind, and it can be quite powerful down on the Front Range.
But we high mountain people (8000 feet in elevation) have wind ALL the time.
Today, it's blasting us at 100 miles per hour, with gusts in excess of 120 mph.
It rips at my house like a ravening wolf.
Don't try to take a walk when the wind blows like this. It will whip sand and grit into your eyes and sting any exposed flesh.
Funny thing about wind.
You can't see it.
It's not like the other earthly elements.
You can certainly see water and fire.
But wind: gentle summer breezes, light spring winds, drafts, zephyrs, puffs, gusts, blasts.
All invisible.
What you see, or hear, is the effect of the wind.
The wind sculpts trees, grinds rocks, shifts the topography, melts snows.
It accomplishes much.

God is like that.
When my faith is tested, I sometimes wish fervently that He would show Himself in some tangible form.
But I experience, instead, the effect of His movement through my soul.
Sometimes He is like the hurricane blasts that whip and roar from the heights.
Sometimes, He is a bracing chill of the current of air that parallels the river on its course through the canyon.
And then sometimes, He is the tropic caress that cools my skin when the high sun rages.
I cannot resist Him.
He will have His way with me no matter how I twist or bend or crouch or sway.
In whatever direction He decides to blow, He will travel from here to there.
Whether He blows big, or blows small, He will be felt.
And He will accomplish what He has set out to accomplish.

"Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless He is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying,'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
(John 3: 5-8 NIV Bible)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

How God Comforts His Child

I know you can relate:
You've worked really hard at your assigned task.
Many people are relying on you.
You've made all your phone calls and sent your emails.
You've made sure every single thing that could go wrong has been taken care of.
You sigh with relief at a job well done.
Then the big day arrives and things completely out of your control conspire to make it look like you haven't done your job.
Your co-worker, who has no idea how hard you've worked on this project, expresses her dissatisfaction.
How did this happen?
What began as a great day has now left you feeling frazzled, embarrassed and defeated.
You go home to your spouse and pour out your heart.
Your spouse tries to give you advice about how you could have avoided these problems if you'd just. . .

God, on the other hand is silent.
He knows your heart.
He knows you're feeling overwhelmed and tired.
He gives you space.
He knows, when you're ready, you'll come to Him.
He is not at all surprised about how things went this morning.
He's already been there, remember? He's the First and the Last.

You feel like crying, but you don't because you're not a crier. (Well, maybe you are.)
Then, out of the blue, God speaks. Very softly. Very gently. Without any accusation or "you should'ves". . . . . . . . . .

"Oh Lord, you have searched and known me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue, You know it completely, O Lord.
My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!" (Psalm 139: 1-4 and 15-17, NIV Bible)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Is Your Reality Real?

Writer, Phillip K. Dick said," Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

In religion and politics, this is a valuable quote to remember.
For example, just because you don't want to believe that hell exists, doesn't make its reality go away.
And in politics: just because you want to believe that our country can fund every good thing, doesn't make the reality of limited resources a thing that can be ignored.

But whose reality really counts?
Unfortunately, those who hold power in society often dictate just whose reality we will live by.
If God has been reinvented by these people so that He wields only limited power and is uninterested in truth (just so long as one is sincere), then I must live my life looking only to government for my sustenance and standard for conduct.

But what if this government fails?
What if my current religion or philosophy proves incapable of providing me with peace and spiritual security based on true reality?

I'm sorry, but I refuse to be tolerant of my friend's truth just because she sincerely believes it.
Oh, I'll love her and be her friend, but I will not agree that her truth (whatever that is) is TRUTH.
If her truth is true, then it must also be true for me. It she says the sky is pink, it better be pink to me, too. If her reality only works for her, then where does that get me?
My friend cannot say, "I follow Jesus," and then say in the same breath, "But I also believe that there are many roads to heaven."

A truth cannot be true and false at the same time.
Like the old conundrum:
Both of statements are true: I tell the truth 100 percent of the time. I'm lying right now. How can that be?
Answer: these statements add up to a lie.
If you state that you always tell the truth, but are lying right now, then you are lying about telling the truth 100 percent of the time. Hence, you are a liar.

Reality is truth.
Truth is reliable.
But if your reality is false at any time, then I cannot rely on your reality at all.

Every statement that you make is suspect.

What does God's Word say about truth?

Jesus, speaking to His heavenly Father said: "Thy Word is truth." (John 17:17)
Jesus, speaking of Himself said: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
"I, the Lord speak the truth; I declare what is right." (Isaiah 45:19)
"God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:6)

Truth must be true all of the time. It cannot be relative truth. Or I cannot trust it.
After all, would you base your life on a "could be, but not necessarily," or on
an "absolutely 100 percent reliable"?

That is reality that can be trusted.

Monday, January 9, 2012

So We Don't Forget

Two miles east of the city of Estes Park, on Highway 36, is a turn-out for slow drivers, and for those who want to record on camera or video their first glimpse of the majestic mountains surrounding the city.
The turn-out is rarely empty of cars.
Whether I'm heading out of Estes or returning, I invariably spot a couple or a family at the turn-out, posing in front of the big flat rock where the name, "Estes Park" has been inscribed.
The rock has been there for years. We've lived in Estes for 6 six years. I wonder how many tourists have had their picture taken at that exact spot in front of the rock.
Thousands. Maybe millions by now.
It always makes me smile when I see the tourists with their cameras.
Why do we humans find it so important to record our journeys, our experiences with photos and written records?

So we do not forget
They say the ancient Sumerians came up with the first printed language.
But before that, perhaps for thousands of years, cultures have recorded their  histories and their stories through oral tradition.
So they did not lose the knowledge of who they were as a culture and a people.

I'm so glad I've captured the images of my children on camera.  Funny or poignant stories about my family. Road-trip journal entries about where we stayed overnight and the restaurants, good and terrible, where we ate along the way.
All of these records serve to connect us emotionally to each other. These shared memories say, in effect: you are all Nethertons.
I can say to my husband, "remember the road trip of '86?" That's all it takes to conjure up three week's worth of wonderful memories of the kids when they were little, my parents and siblings, and the gorgeous scenery of the California coast.

So we do not forget our God
The Bible records wonderful words from God. It reminds me over and over how much He loves me, all that He did to protect and preserve His people, what He plans to do for me and you.
Every time I open His Word, He draws me into an emotional and spiritual connection with Him.
I do not want to ever forget His Words. Or to lose the joy of intimacy with my Eternal God.
So I open my Bible every day.
I also record my thoughts and prayers to Him.
Lest I forget.
Because if I forget my God, I do not know who I am.

"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (Deut. 11: 18-19 NIV Bible)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ach! The World We Live In!

For the past three weeks I've been embroiled in a frustrating back-and-forth between my doctor's office and our medical insurance company.
All I want is my prescription re-filled.
It's one I've been taking for awhile, and it's very effective and safe.
Now, all of a sudden, the insurance company wants to deny me. They want a "prior-authorization."
So, each day, I call one or both of these entities. And, of course, these phones calls take up loads of time.
Both claim to have taken care of their end.
One says, "A fax has been sent." 
The other says, "no, Ma'am, we never received a fax."
Another day goes by.
After a couple of weeks of these going-nowhere phone calls, my prescription has run out and I'm losing my patience. I need my medicine!
Good grief, giant Insurance Company, you take so much out of our paycheck each month. Surely, you can afford this one prescription.
How I wish I could reach through the telephone line and place myself right in front of the computer screen that the customer service employee is looking at.
Also, I'd like to station myself in front of the fax machine at my doctor's office to shout, "It's here! The fax is here! Would somebody please do something, anything, with this fax so I can get my medicine?!!
The time, and distance between the two entities, not to mention the fallibility of all the people involved in my little prescription problem have made me the loser.
I feel ignored, helpless, frustrated, and insignificant.
Welcome to the world that all of us in the U.S.  live in.
I know you can relate to my story in some way or another.

But isn't it a comfort to know that our heavenly Father operates outside of time and space?
He is not limited by the physics of the created world.
He is the Great I AM.
He is in control.
He knows all.
He really does care about me.
He knows about my little situation and He will take care of me.
I've done all that I can do. So now, I sit and raise my hands upward and say, "Lord, please help me."

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." (1 Pet. 5:6-7 NIV Bible)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Which Smith is the Right Smith?

During one of my college breaks, I flew from Cleveland to Boston to visit a friend. When I arrived (this was back in the days before cell phones) I rummaged through my purse for Sandra Smith's number.
I panicked when I couldn't find the slip of paper where I recorded her information. Stupid me, I'd neglected to get her address, as well. If you know Boston, you know it's a huge city. The phone book would doubtless display tons of Smiths. Which Smith could possibly be the right Smith?
It took me an hour, with the help of a sympathetic airport employee (try finding one of those nowadays!) to narrow the field of Smiths down to two. Fortunately, the first one I called was indeed Sandra's number.

The Right Smith
Imagine my embarrassment if I'd called the wrong Smith.
Even worse, what if I called the wrong Smith and he or she pretended to be the right Smith?

In the world of Faith, I wonder if there are lots of people like that. You know, the ones who say they know Jesus Christ but their lives sure don't reflect that they really know Him.
I wonder if these people made a big mistake and called the wrong Jesus.
Just because a person is called Jesus, doesn't make him the right Jesus.
There are lots of faiths that claim to be the right one.
How do you know?

The Wrong Smith
Remember the young man I wrote about in an earlier blog? the one who said he'd received Christ and that was all he needed? He didn't need to hang out with Christians or go to church or study the Bible or pray.
Shortly after he made that statement, his life skidded down a slippery path of drug addiction and run-ins with the law.
I wonder if he'd received another "Christ,"  a counterfeit, who promised good things but who didn't really love him like the real Christ, or possess the transforming power of the real Christ.

If the wrong Smith had answered my phone call and come to the airport to pick me up, what would my visit to Boston have been like that week? What if, instead of going to concerts and museums and near-by friends and relatives' houses, we'd hung out at dives with pimps and drug-dealers?

Not just any Smith -- or Jesus Christ -- will do.
It has to be the right one.

How can you distinguish between the real Christ and the counterfeits?
1. Draw near to God in prayer,
2. study His Word,
3. learn from other solid Believers,
 and especially. . .
4. ask the Holy Spirit to grant you His "wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better." (Eph. 1:17)

"We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands." 1 John 2:3 NIV)

"No good tree bears bad fruit, not does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit." (Luke 6:43 NIV)