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)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Ten Ways to Keep Your Memory Sharp

Okay, this being the last day of 2012, I thought I'd do another out-of-the-box post. Well, out-of-the-box for me.
My last blog post was about remembering my seventh grade year. I put out a question: what do you remember from seventh grade?, and got a number of wonderful responses.

Seems most of us oldsters can recall lots of old things.
It's remembering the recent past that becomes difficult as we get older.

I used to go to nursing homes to sing. Afterward I'd listen to some of the women (it was almost never men—most of 'em they didn't survive long enough to be in a nursing home) as they waxed sentimental about growing up on a farm, or taking the streetcar to see their Aunt, or just-married memories.
The women recalled these memories with pristine clarity.
Yet they had trouble remembering that their family had visited them just yesterday.

So here are my top ten ways to keep your memory sharp. Do these daily:
  1. Exercise.
  2. Stop eating junk. Instead, eat lots of raw things: apples, carrots, celery, red peppers, etc.
  3. Don't sit around.
  4. Learn new skills: a new card game, a new video game, a new musical instrument, a new language.
  5. Force your brain to work on solutions to everyday problems but in novel ways.
  6. If you're right-handed, use your left hand; if you're left-handed, used your right.
  7. Work out a math problem in your head each day.
  8. Compose a short story and tell it to someone.
  9. Stay socially connected.
  10. Meditate on God's Word and talk to Him about it.
Most of these tidbits of advice have to do with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and forcing your brain to keep learning. For example: if you always play bridge, learn chess!

Have a wonderful  NEW YEAR!

Friday, December 28, 2012

I'm Old, But I Remember

I just turned fifty-nine.
No way!
I can't be that old. Next year, the big 6..0..!
Uff da.

The other day I was sitting in church choir next to an adorable thirteen-year old.
She started telling me about her school and the classes she was taking. I could tell by the way she tried to explain things that she thought I couldn't remember what school is like.
Finally I told her that I clearly remember seventh grade.
The year was 1967. Jim Morrison yelled "Come on baby, light my fire," on the radio.
I read some wonderful books that year: The Great Escape, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Gone With The Wind.
I remember the kids in my classes, I remember my teachers.
I remember that I had secretly begun to shave my legs and wear just a smidge of makeup.
There was a boy I had a crush on but he was way older  and I knew he'd never look twice at me.
I played the violin in the school orchestra, studied piano at home and had started to develop my singing voice.

 I remember that I could run the 440 in 55 seconds and do fifty men's push-ups.
I hadn't yet reached my glorious height of five foot one inch but that didn't keep me from sprinting faster than any girl in my class...except for Jeanie Walton whose speed ran in the family. Her brother later went to State in track and field.

Mrs. Yamaguchi taught us English and tried to stay just one lesson ahead of us in Spanish.
My history teacher had heart trouble and so we got a long-term substitute by the name of Yerger.
Loved him. He was tall and black and super smart and had the best sense of humor. I wanted to have a crush on him, too, but being that he was so old (at least thirty) I wouldn't let myself fall for him. We studied European History and learned all about Charlemagne, the Great Plague, and the English and Spanish explorers. I wrote one of my best term papers about St. Patrick.

Then I caught whooping cough and had to stay home for several weeks.
I tend to bisect my memories of my childhood by that great illness:before the whooping cough and after the whooping cough.
After I recovered, it still took me a couple of years to stop feeling the urge to vomit every time I coughed.
It also took a long time before I could run the 440 without collapsing at the 400 mark in a fit of coughing.

I remember my locker was stubborn and sometimes I got to class late because that darn thing "just wouldn't open." I was mortified when Mr. XXX, the vice-principal had to come and help me open my locker. He was big and strong, and forced the locker open with his enormous, meaty hands. Then he proceeded to tell me—me, all five foot, eighty five pounds— to just give the locker a little extra muscle and it'll open, no sweat.
Then there was the little twirp who used to sneak up behind me when I was struggling with that same locker to smack me on the fanny. I never did find out who he was. He did it a lot. My twin brother Royce knew, but he wouldn't tell. Said the guy had a crush on me.

So darling thirteen-year old in the church choir, don't for one minute think that just because I'm fifty- nine I can't remember things that happened forty-six years ago.
I remember it like it was yesterday.

Now, if only I could remember what I fixed for lunch today.

What do you remember from seventh grade?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tuesday through Wednesday, the wind howled,
 snow blew,
and the sky remained murky.
It's a good thing we have shelter from such blizzards.
We got two feet of snow.

But by Wednesday afternoon, the sun reappeared and glistened on the smooth white landscape.
After the storm, a small bird tried to fly through our sliding glass window, perhaps to find a haven from the frigid temperatures outside.
She gave up and flew into the protective snow-covered bows of the big ponderosa tree just off our deck.
Besides the bundled-up school children waiting for the bus, the only live thing I saw yesterday were flocks of crows and ravens, congregating on the white driveway across from us.
By the way they seemed to frolic in the cold, I think if they had hands they would have built a snowman.

Outside, it looks like a Christmas card.

So here is my Christmas card to you:

This Thursday morning, the 20th of December, I sit at my desk with a hot mug of tea.
Our central heating whirs unobtrusively as I click away at the keyboard.
The news anchorman reading his sound bites from the other room keeps me company.
The dishwasher chugs peacefully, disinfecting my morning breakfast dishes.
On my desk, my Bible is opened to the second chapter of Luke:

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.'"

My soul is filled with the joy of this message:
 'Fear not,
I bring you good news.
Christ the Lord has been born for you.'

That is the good news for us all: We do not have to try to reach heaven on our own power.
Christ has come.
He did the work.
We can rest and rely on Him.
And God will be satisfied with us...
not because we reached perfection, but because we trusted in Christ's perfection.

A Merry, Merry Christmas to you, my friends!

Monday, December 17, 2012


After horrible tragedies like the shootings at the Portland Mall and the awful mass murders of precious little children at the Newtown school, I've heard some people ask, "How could a loving God allow such tragedy?"

Let's remind ourselves of the truth:
"God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all." (1st John 1:5)

God cannot think evil.
He cannot be tempted to do evil (because in Him there is no darkness at all).
He does not do evil.

His Ten Commandments make it clear that murder (sixth Commandment)  is evil.

  • God does not plan murder, 
  • He does not condone murder, 
  • He does not cause evil.
Although men do horrific acts—as a result of their free will to choose good or evil— that does not mean that God is any less good.

What then do we say about the horrific crimes of shooting shoppers at a mall, or murdering little, helpless children?

Murder is evil
Anyone who murders is evil.
This does not conflict with the medical or psychological determination that the two perpetrators may have had serious mental illness at the time of the murders.
They are still guilty of murder. ("If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." 1st John 1:8)
Whether crazy or sane, the amount of rage and hatred in the soul of a man or woman who murders must be staggering.
Where does that rage and hatred come from?

1st John chapter 2: 11: "But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded him."

Where does this darkness comes from?
From God?
Absolutely not. We already know from the Bible that there is no darkness in God.

Darkness originates from our separation from God.
When we choose— notice I said "we choose"— to live independent of God, we walk away from God's light and into darkness.
Away from God's light, we no longer listen to or submit to God.
We become lawless.
And this lawlessness is not necessarily the lawlessness of breaking civil rules or laws.
For there are many law-abiding people who are nonetheless their hearts and minds.

Evil, murder, sin—call is what you will— is lawlessness.

Back to Portland and Newtown: With no loving Lord God to enlighten them, to counsel them, to restrain them, to convict them of their hate and rage-filled thoughts, these murderers of children and adults have carried out the end result of darkness.

One day, the Lord will put an end to sin and will judge those who have rebelled against His goodness.
But until that time, we all have a choice:
to walk in darkness...
or to walk in the light.

The light is found in Jesus Christ:  "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."( John 8:12)

Let's remember this: those who do evil are walking in darkness because they have rejected the loving God Who created them.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Gospel In Christmas Carols

Bruce and I had lunch in downtown Estes Park the other day. Afterward, we window-shopped. All along the main shopping street, beautiful Christmas music played: pop Christmas songs, classical music, Christmas carols.
I'm so glad our little town has not banned the playing of such music as other towns have.
Of course I'm not so naiive as to suppose that the town plays Christmas music just because it's the Christian thing to do at this time of year.
I'm sure the music evokes happy childhood memories in most shoppers. This probably makes them want to shop and thus spend money.
Happy shoppers =happy and prosperous store owners.

Whatever the motivation of the town of Estes Park Chamber of Commerce, no one complains.
People from the lowlands come up here to view the majestic Rocky Mountains, the beautiful light displays along the streets, the Holiday decorations, to spend their money on a good meal, and to pick up some souvenirs and gifts.

I love this time of year.
Mostly because of the Christmas music.
When I was a child, I didn't read the Bible.
The only facts I knew about Jesus came from Hollywood-ized Biblical movies
and Christmas Carols.

Christmas Carols taught me that Jesus Christ is the King of heaven and earth:

"Who is He in yonder stall?...Tis the Lord, O wondrous story, tis the Lord, the king of Glory."
"Hark the herald angels sing, 'Glory to the new-born King.'"

Carols taught me that Jesus Christ came from Heaven:

"Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy Kingly crown when Thou camest to earth for me." 

They taught me that Jesus Christ came to earth to set us free from our fears and sins:

"Come, Thou long expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free. From our fears and sins release 

Christmas Carols taught me that Jesus Christ came to die for us:

"I wonder as I wander out under the sky, how Jesus the Savior did come for to die for poor onery people like you and like I..."

That Jesus Christ casts out our sin and longs to live within us:

"O holy Child of Bethlehem descend to us, we pray. Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today."

And finally, that He is the Word of the Father:

"Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing."

"Oh come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore him,
O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord."

Christmas carols may be the only Bible most people "read" during this time of year.
I sure hope we keep playing them in our streets!

Carols quoted:
Who is He in Yonder Stall? (Hanby)
Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus (Wesley/Pritchard)
Thou didst Leave Thy Throne (Elliot/Matthews)
Hark the Herald Angels Sing thou Didst Leave Thy Throne (Wesley/Mendelssohn)
I Wonder as I Wander (Niles)
O Little Child of Bethlehem (Brooks/Redner)
O Come all ye Faithful (Wade)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sweet Agony

This past week I've listened to three friends all describe their struggle to surrender some precious loved one to God.
In one case, my friend struggled with surrendering his "right" to feel angry at God for taking his mother home to heaven.
My other friend watches his precious wife battle cancer. He said learning to trust God to do the best for her, and for him and for his children is about the hardest thing he's ever done.
This morning, during a ministry meeting, my third friend shared her challenge at trusting God to do what's best for her child.

Such a universal struggle for the believer.

To be able to say to God:
  • I trust You. 
  • I relinquish my right to hold onto my loved one. 
  • As much as I love my child, my parent, my husband, I know that You love him/her much more than I could ever conceive. 
  • I believe that Your best is better than my best.
  • I testify that You are good. Always good.

I call this struggle between my flesh and my spirit
Sweet: because there is nothing sweeter than God.
And to be able to rest in Him brings a peace that the World cannot ever know.
Agony: because my flesh wants what it wants...
and because I must ignore what my physical eyes perceive. With each decision to relinquish my will to God, I feel as if I am leaping into space, trusting that He will catch me.

The other day my husband and I discussed a difficult decision.
A "yes" decision wasn't very difficult for my husband.
But for me, it would mean putting aside something I yearned and prayed for.
Later that day, our decision to say "yes" became God's answer to me about my long-standing prayer: 

  "No. No, Sweetheart, you may not have the thing you want so very much."

Sweet agony.

Because my flesh wants what it wants.

But it is sweet to know that, with every "no," from Him, the Holy Spirit communicates this assurance:
"Trust Me, My child. I love you more than you can know, and I am working out your best for eternity."

"All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all."
 (I Surrender All, by J. VanderVenter/W. Weeden)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My "Joy" Ornament

My favorite Christmas ornament is one that my son made when he was in grade school.
It's a piece of thick paper, about four inches long, painted red and green and dusted with glitter. The word "JOY" is printed across the length of the paper.
I always hang it about eye-level where its message cannot be missed by anyone who happens to examine my Christmas tree.

Is there a better word to describe the emotion we feel at the advent of Jesus Christ?

Out of darkness comes the
 light of God
 in the form of a baby.
What joy to be able to know God.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light,
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." Is. 9:2

Not only does His advent bring us light,
To know that Jesus Christ makes it possible for you, for me to get right with God.
What joy!
"Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him!" Romans 5:9

To know God, to be reconciled to him...yes!
But not only that:
to receive an
eternal inheritance
 that can never be taken away.
"the Father...has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light." Col. 1:12
Nothing can separate me from His love. Ever.

My son's "JOY" ornament reminds me each year to focus on the incredible gift God has offered...and that I have accepted.

  1. To know God,
  2. to be at peace with Him,
  3. to know that nothing—ever— can separate me from His love.

Mankind's greatest needs answered by Christ's advent.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Help! I Need Your Advice

I'm tempted to get a fake Christmas tree.
It would be so much easier to set up and tear down.
Not to mention that the pine needles don't need to be vacuumed.
Oh, but I'd miss the real-ness of the Christmas tree that we usually pick up from the Boy Scouts' lot.
I think it's the scent.
There's nothing like it to tie one to the Christmases of the past.
Every year Bruce and I finally get that fresh tree to stand up straight.
Then we add the lights. I decorate.
When it's complete, we step back and exclaim, "it's the most beautiful tree we've ever had."
But...I don't know. Is it worth all the trouble?
What do you think?

Then there's the age-old question (at least in my family): what am I gonna serve for Christmas  dinner?
I'm sick of Turkey; we just had that for Thanksgiving.
My grandmother used to make a Roast Beef. We kids, fresh from an annual reading of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,  called her big hunk of meat, "the roast beast."
My mother used to make a ham loaf. Hated it when I was a kid, but it's sort of grown on me.
If you have a menu suggestion, I'd really appreciate it.

Shall we take the long drive down to our church for Christmas Eve service?
Or shall we hunker down with a nice fire, comfy Christmas music, family, and food?
Should we let the grandkids open a couple of their gifts before Christmas?

Some of my friends are trying to organize a giant caroling party. We'll probably sing Christmas Carols around one of the neighborhoods in Longmont.
Most of the people in the neighborhood really appreciate it when we come through.
A couple of the neighbors turn off their lights when we meander by their houses, singing. But that's okay. Free country, right?

Free country.
I still have the freedom to buy a Christmas tree.
I have the money to choose which menu I'll serve on Christmas.
I still have the freedom to attend my church and worship Christ.
No one drags me off to prison if I proclaim Christ in song.

Thank You, Lord, for the blessings of freedom and choices.
That I can still tell my grandchildren about Jesus and what Christmas is really about.
That I even have the freedom to write about Christmas and Jesus, and no one has attempted to shut down my blog.
What blessings.

What joy!

"Joy to the world, the Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room,
and heaven and nature sing!" (Joy to the World, Issac Watts/G.F. Handel)

By the way, I really am serious about the menu suggestions. If you have a great meal suggestion, please send it my way.Thanks.