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)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thank You!

"I always thank God for you." (1 Cor. 4)
"I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers." (Eph. 1:15)
"I thank my God every time I remember you." (Phil 1:3)
"We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you. . . " (Col. 1:3)

Wouldn't you love to receive a letter beginning like that?
Wouldn't you love to hear that someone is not only praying for you, but thanking God for you?

What incredible affirmation. And how we each need that. I thank God for you.

I wonder how God feels when we thank Him. He must be delighted.

Can you remember a time that someone said you were their answer to prayer?
Weren't you  extremely blessed and privileged to hear that expression of thanks.

But think about the "thanker."
He or she is equally blessed by doing the thanking.

Thankfulness is a truly wonderful thing.
The act of thanking lifts one out of a state of gloominess, or uncertainty, or grouchiness.
It's hard to remain negative once you begin to thank God for someone or something.
The act of thanking causes the mind to focus on God, His character, His power, His love, His generosity.
Then the heart follows.

This "sacrifice of praise" unleashes God's Spirit within the believer.
God delights to work in and through the heart of a thankful believer.

Try this: stop whatever you're doing for about ten seconds. Say, "Lord, thank you so much for. . . . "
Try to do this at least three times a day.
You'll be amazed at how the trials of the day shift perspective, as you recognize God's hand in your everyday experiences.

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." (Col. 3:15)

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Col. 3:17)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Zoos and a Sea of Humanity

We went to the Denver Zoo yesterday.
Man, was it crowded. We had to park about a mile away from the zoo entrance.
And, once inside, one had to possess the skill of a ship's captain, trained to navigate through cutting rocks, narrow channels, icebergs and nearly impenetrable fog.
That's what the sea of humanity looked like to me.
We patiently made our way through slow-moving hoards of strollers, darting children, promenading couples, and families trying to corral multiple kids, ranging in age from crying toddlers to whining second graders.

A funny thought occurred to me while we were standing in front of the feline enclosures. Here, we'd all come to see the animals. To see them do what each species does. Prowl, play, chase, stalk, communicate with each other. But we humans are far more interesting than the animals we'd come to view.

I thought about Jesus. During His earthly ministry, He traveled from town to town, looking for people.
He could have stationed Himself in one spot in Israel and had His disciples announce:

"The King awaits all interested persons. If you wish to see or speak to the King, come to the east gate of Jerusalem between the ninth hour and noon."

But no, Jesus got up, put on His traveling sandals and went in search of people.
They are the reason He came to this earth.
He was and is intensely interested in people.

We drove about 75 miles round-trip to do the Denver Zoo thing.
I looked at a map of Israel during the time of Christ.
Those were some miles Jesus put in to get from Jerusalem area all the way up to the towns around the Sea of Galilee. (close to a hundred miles one way as the crow flies)Then back.
And on foot.
Our God/man must have been supremely motivated to have made such arduous journeys.
And all to see people.
Next time I face another crowd of people, I'm going to remind myself that these crowds of humanity are what is most interesting to God.
And so should I be.

"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." (Matt. 9:35-36 NIV Bible)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Need Help to Help

I've blogged more than once about "God-appointments."
These are the unexpected turns of events that wonderfully disrupt the Christian's day.
Most of my God-appointments have been immediately apparent:
  • A stranger's car goes off the icy road, and she's stuck. We stop to give her a ride.
  • A phone call from a friend that unexpectedly reveals a great spiritual or physical need.
  • A frenzied knock on my front door and suddenly I'm taking in and shielding an entire family from the physical threat of another family member.
  • I go to a conference, eager to receive, but instead, spend most of the conference listening to and trying to comfort several upset writers.
God appointments are almost never expected. 
The Lord almost never gives me a heads-up about the little crisis that is headed my way later in the day.

(Why is that?)

Years ago, I was in the middle of one of the greatest challenges of my life. I called a friend on the phone and simply said, "help!"
My friend drove over and sat with me. Just sat, wrapped her arms around me, and cried with me.
She didn't preach or quote scripture or offer platitudes.
I was her God-appointment for the day.

How can you be ready for that?

I often wonder if perhaps God doesn't give us a heads-up about our impending "appointment" because He doesn't want us to spend time preparing our human intervention. You know, preparing our studied and learned discourse. Then dispensing great founts of our own wisdom. And perhaps saying way too much.

Instead, when these crises arise, we throw ourselves on God's mercy and cry out to Him, "Lord, please help me help my friend. I don't know what to say, or do. Please work through me!"

And that feeling of helplessness and inadequacy frequently leads to the best response for your friend in need.
(Assuming you're a Christian who's always listening to God, learning from Him, keeping His Word in your mind and heart, confessing your own brokenness, submitted to whatever He's planned for you to do, and mindful that tomorrow it may well be you who's in need of mercy.)

It's a great feeling to know God placed you near your phone, or on the road, or in your home so that you "just happened" to be there when your friend or neighbor needed you.
We'll never be fully prepared to meet each challenge.
But we can be armed with God's power when we admit our own weakness, and cry out:
"Lord, help me help!"

"Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2, Gideon Bible)
 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil 4:13, Gideon Bible)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Being There

Last week I drove down to the Rocky Mountain town of Breckenridge, Colorado, to do some research about the area, take pictures and notes and fill my mind and senses with the town and its flavors.
I've just started writing a new novel, set in the Breckenridge area and I want to make sure that my characters and the events surrounding them seem completely authentic.
I've been to the beautiful ski town of Breckenridge (about 10 miles south of Frisco and I-70) many times before.
But this trip was different. I wanted to know the town, see the place as if I were my heroine, just moved here, just starting a new life. She wouldn't be looking at Breckenridge as a place to visit for a few hours. No, this young woman would be seeing Breckenridge with a mind that asks:
Where will I shop?
Where is the post office, the bank, the hardware store, the computer store?
The doctor, the dentist?
Places of worship?
What will these mountains look like to me when I'm unsure of my future? 

With every shop or place of business I noted, I tried to imagine my heroine coming and going, tried to imagine her thoughts and feelings as she parked her car, conducted her business, drove back to her job or her apartment.
I read books my heroine would read. I played guitar music my guitar-playing heroine would read.
I got into her head. Entered her world.

After my visit to Breckenridge, having entered the world of my characters, their back stories and their personality profiles suddenly became amazingly clear. Once I knew my heroine's history and her personality, everything else -- her motivation, her goals, her fears, her passions --presented themselves.

I am ready to write the story now.
I know that my readers will believe my story.
Because I've been there, so has my character.

So what's the Life Application?

I recently told someone at church, it's a good thing that I didn't start writing when I was much younger. Oh, I could have learned the craft of writing. But I lacked experience. I wasn't there yet. I needed time to learn, then reflect upon my life lessons.
I needed time to see the world, to get to know people, to serve and be served.
I'm glad I've experienced hurt, repentance, failure and success, forgiveness, illness, unanswered prayer, perplexity in many places, grief, frustrations, great joys, great loves.
Most of all, I've had time to experience God's indescribable goodness, even when times are bad.

So now, when I speak or write about some painful or poignant subject, my listeners believe me.
Because I've been there.

There are still "places" I haven't been to yet. I hope I have the strength to resist the temptation to write about them.

"I've been things and seen places." (Mae West, early 20th century actress)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What a Mess is Me!

Yesterday I was on my way to Highland's Ranch, south of Denver. I decided to take the scenic route through Boulder, then Golden, and then onto C-470 around the metropolitan area of Denver.
Most of the drive during rush hour was pretty smooth. But once I got into down-town Boulder, I drove smack-dab into some  serious road construction.

Cars got stuck in between lights because of the road congestion.
Because of the drivers' confusions, pedestrians piled up on street corners, unwilling to risk crossing.
Roads were re-routed. Lanes shifted.
Cars sped, or crawled, or jockeyed for position.
Red construction cones lay everywhere.
Construction vehicles clogged lanes. All during rush hour.

What a mess!

Oh well. This can't last forever. Sooner--probably later --the construction crews will complete their project, and then cars and pedestrians will resume their usual routes. Hopefully, the way will be smoother, more efficient, safer. Fit for humans again.

I thought about myself. . . my inward self.
How like road construction is my spirit. I'm getting ripped up each day, re-routed, shifted, scraped, smoothed.
God has to tear me up to get to the root of my ill-constructed roads. For a while, my spirit-road will be confused, inefficient, slow (or too fast), maybe even dangerous.
I hope travelers will be patient with me as the work continues.

I hope that as I travel other peoples' roads, I will also show patience and grace for their own "road-construction."

One day God will complete the work.
I will be useful and safe and orderly.
I will be beautiful.
I will be a grand route, fit for the King!

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10 The Gideon Bible)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Please, May I Enter Your Brain?

When I was a little girl, I used to wish I could have been born a bird rather than a human. I'd look up in high trees, or in the sky and see those winged creatures soaring free, going wherever they liked, unfettered by the pull of gravity. Oh, to be a bird.

I was too young to think about the negative aspects of being a bird: dangers from predators, the competition with other birds for food and shelter, the uncertainty and brevity of their lives, and that instinct alone governs a bird's life, so it is not really as free as I imagined.

When I grew older, I remained fascinated with animal life. I wished (still do) that I could experience an animal's life just for one day. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to enter the mind of a selected animal --say, a wolf or an eagle or a cat --and share consciousness with it for a twenty-four hour period?

After my mind returned to my own body, I'd be to comprehend so much of that animal's motivation for food and shelter. I'd understand its particular manner of communication, its physical signals to others of its kind, or to predators or competitors. I'd understand to what extent this animal is able to think or reason. What an amazing experience that would be.

Now that I'm an adult, I sometimes wish I could share consciousness with other people for a short time. Especially with my husband. I'd love to know more of his mind and heart. I'd also love to understand his masculine mind without him having to try to explain in mere words.

And now that I've been a Christian for over forty years, my passion for knowing the mind of God continues to grow. But I don't have to wish in vain to share consciousness with God.
He, in His amazing condescension has entered my mind and heart.
He has done everything to make it possible for me, with my limited mind, to know Him:
  • He stepped into history and spoke through prophets and people of faith.
  • He left us historical evidence of His dealings.
  • He's given us communications of His Mind and Heart through His Word.
  • He sent His Son to speak directly to us.
  • What Jesus  Christ accomplished on the cross made it possible for His Spirit to enter and make his habitation within our spirits, and commune directly with each of us.
  • And we have the assurance that one day we will see Jesus face to face and know Him to an extent we can only imagine on this side of heaven. 
Science may eventually yield the mysteries and secrets of the animal mind. But the Mind of God can only be accessed through His Holy Spirit. I'm so grateful that He wants me to seek Him and to discover more and more about Him each day.

 "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (1 Cor 13:12 NIV Bible)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Are You Thick-Skulled?

To be called thick-skulled is usually not a good thing.
It means things don't penetrate. You're clueless. You just don't get it.

But in the animal world, being thick-skulled can be a life saver. It might mean that you get to pass on your thick-skulled genes to the next generation.

Take the musk ox.

The bull musk ox can weigh about 900 hundred pounds. (That's heavier than most bull elk.)
This guy has horns and a bone that extends horizontally across his forehead.
The bone is about eight inches thick, and underneath, contains tissues that act like shock absorbers.
So at mating time, when the bull sees another bull and rushes across the field to challenge him, their skulls collide at about twenty-five miles per hour.
How would your skull fare if you did that?
The musk ox's thick skull saves his life and gives him the opportunity to live and fight another day.

What about us?

We humans need protection for our heads, as well.
But the danger to our skulls is what can penetrate into our thoughts and cause us to stumble in our Kingdom walk.
Fortunately, the Lord has provided us with a thick helmet.
And a breastplate, and a belt and a shield and a sword.
We just have to remember to put them on!

"Stand firm then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." (Ephesians 6: 14-17 NIV Bible)

Monday, March 5, 2012

How to Remove God

I think it's interesting how certain politicians try to suggest to Christians that, if they wish to participate in politics they'll need to check their faith at the door first. After all, they say, faith has no place in the public discourse on policy and legislation. Faith might unduly influence Christian politicians toward making decisions based on morality!
These secularists believe that nothing should influence our political decisions.
How can that be?
How does one make decisions based on nothing?
Our culture, our upbringing, our experiences, our personalities, our schooling, our --dare I say --religious instruction --all influence our political viewpoint.
It's more correct to say that these secularists want only Christians to check their faith, or better still, to 'sit down and shut up.'

The Miracle of God's Entrance

Only a person who has never encountered the Most High God, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, fails to comprehend what happens when a man or woman responds to The Lord in faith.
Have you ever mixed a drop of food dye into a dough or lump of butter?
At first, the drop sits, dark and opaque on top of the dough. Then, as you mix and incorporate the
dye, the dough begins to turn a lovely shade of whichever dye you've selected.
Once incorporated, the dye is there to stay. You cannot over-mix and somehow remove the dye.
That's how it is when God, on our invitation, comes to reside within us. His blessed Spirit infuses our very DNA. Of course He must go that deep and that minute; that's where sin originates!
There is no place within us that He does not now inhabit.

He is in the believer (me) and He's there to stay. The Spirit of God begins immediately to begin His work of transformation. His influence spreads over my heart and mind, slower if I resist Him, faster if I submit to Him and give Him the reins.

Refuse to Remove God

So for secular politicians to suggest that Christians need to "remove" God when participating in politics is tragically ignorant, and simply ridiculous. The true believer cannot shed God at will and then put Him back on when it's convenient. All of the believer's decisions will be informed by his new way of viewing the world.

The only way to forever silence a true Christian when he or she will not stop standing up for all things right and good, when he will continue to try to influence our society to turn back to high standards of morality. . .
is to kill him.

It's happening in other parts of the world.
Why not here?

Let's all speak up for Christ and His Kingdom while we're still allowed to mention His name.
Don't be afraid.

"Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His anointed One. 'Let us break their chains, 'they say, 'and throw off their fetters.'" (Psalm 2:1-3)

"The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble;
He sits enthroned between the cherubim,
let the earth shake." (Psalm 99: 1 NIV Bible)