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, June 27, 2013

Wednesday's Word (June 26)

Wednesday's Word:
I apologize for being late with Wednesday's word. I simply forgot to do it yesterday!

The word for today is:
vacuous, adjective
Pronounced vak-u-us
Definition: lacking expression, unintelligent, empty

Last week's word was umbrage.
"I take umbrage at your suggestion that I murdered my husband!"

Book Suggestions

I don't do this very often, but I've recently read three very interesting books from three very different genres.
If you're looking for some summer reading, may I suggest:

The Snow Child,
 by Eowyn Ivey, published by Little Brown and Company

If you love literary fiction, this fairy-tale take-off will captivate your imagination and your heart.
Set in 1920s Alaska, The Snow Child is about a childless older couple who are homesteading. Isolation, grief about losing a child years ago, dreary weather and the challenges of farming nearly crumple Jack and Mabel. But one evening they fashion a beautiful child out of snow. The next morning she is gone, but they begin to see a little girl running around near their cabin. Who is she and why does she seem to appear and reappear magically?

The Gift of Fear,
 by Gavin De Becker, published by Dell

This non-fiction book held me spellbound. It begins with the case study of a woman who'd been raped by an intruder but managed to escape being murdered by following her inner warnings.  De Becker says that we all have amazing powers of observation about our environment and the people in it which tell us to beware. But since we humans tend to ignore or rationalize away the signs, we fail to avoid dangerous circumstances.
Gavin De Becker is one of the nation's leading experts on violent behavior. In this book he will show you how to spot even subtle signs of danger before it's too late.

Candle for a Corpse, 
 by Marilyn Leach, published by Pelican Group
This is cozy murder mystery with Birdie Elliott (a kind of Murder She Wrote sleuth) as the adorable British vicar's wife/murder investigator. Leach's writing ensconces you within a charming English village populated by all sorts of unique and peculiar characters. As you turn the pages you'll feel as if you've been transported into Birdie's very British world of constables, vicars, lavender gardens and afternoon teas.

If you read one of these books, I'd love it if you would comment on my blog afterward!
Have a great day, and enjoy some time each day for reading.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday's (June 25) Thought

Tuesday's Thought:

"It's not the will to win that matters—everyone has that.
It's the will to prepare to win that matters."
Bear Bryant, football coach

What do you think?
I strongly agree with Bear.
As a music teacher, I see lots of students who want to sing or play like a superstar. But it's the rare student who has the discipline to prepare, practice, sacrifice leisure times, and study in order to really succeed as a performer.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Dust Yourself Off

I received scores from three judges for a writing contest I'd entered recently.
The first two judges loved my excerpt and gave me glowing scores and remarks.
The third judge hated everything about my piece. He/she couldn't even muster any constructive comments.
Third judge's score was a whopping 40 points (out of 100) lower than the other two judges.
If her low scoring had followed with constructive suggestions such as: "this paragraph needs an action beat," or "add more description of the environment in this section," I'd have received her evaluation with appreciation.
But, nothing.

So, I will chuck her unbelievably low scores.
I'll push my jaw back in place after it dropped to the floor for ten incredulous minutes while I perused this judge's low score.
And I'll dust myself off and "get back on the horse," so to speak.
I'll study what the positive judges said and put their advice into practice.

If I were a new writer, this negative and (non-constructive) evaluation would have really messed with my mind and heart.
I wonder if judges realize that their comments have the power of life or death over aspiring writers, even established authors.
This judge wrote his/her comments with a kind of "got-you" attitude.

But I've already published lots of articles and stories and devotions.
And last year I semi-finaled in a national writing contest.
I've got more publications coming out in the fall
and my literary agent is shopping out one of my novels.
And I have four more novels waiting in the wings.

I've experienced both rejections and acceptances and I'm getting used to the idea that the writing industry, just like the music world I used to live in, is fraught with emotional upheaval.
There's nothing new under the sun.

So it doesn't shock me so much when I see how subjective the evaluating of manuscripts can be.
And I don't take it personally. Well, not as much as I used to.

And the main reason I don't get so bent out of shape by a lousy evaluation is that God has called me to write.
So what is one fallible judge's opinion compared to the Lord of the entire Universe? 
Of course I have much more to learn in my craft. What writer doesn't?
But I won't let one little, negative evaluation thwart the plan that the Lord has for me to write stories that glorify Jesus and comfort and encourage readers.

So if you're reading this, still smarting from a similar negative evaluation at work, at church, in sports or the arts, at home, wherever, please don't let it stop you.
Get back up, take a big breath and ask God how this experience might teach you and make you a better person.
Only small people stay down.
Be big.
For God's sake, be big!

"Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still;
teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning." (Proverbs 9:9 NIV Bible)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I Want Cherries!

On my last evening in San Diego, we went to Anthony's. It's a nice fish restaurant right on the wharf, sandwiched between tour ships and museums.
My almost four-year-old granddaughter, Kaya, especially enjoyed the little bowl of cherries that the waiter brought to help keep her from squirming as we adults finished our meals.
Actually, the cherries were supposed to be for everyone, but Kaya didn't know that.

 I savored the last spoon-fulls of chocolate mousse, and Wayne and Kiri shared a lemon cake that was supposed to have a bit of rum in the batter. I couldn't taste any rum in it at all, but Kiri insisted she could.
The waiter brought the check and while Wayne pulled out his charge card, we ladies took the two girls out to the front of the restaurant.
All of a sudden, Kaya began to wail, "My cherries, my cherries! I left my cherries in the restaurant."
By this time it was simply too late to go back to reclaim her remaining two cherries. We tried to explain to Kaya that after you leave the restaurant, the workers come to your table and quickly remove all the dishes and food that we left.

But Kaya wouldn't be reasoned with. She kept wailing about her cherries.
By this time, Wayne rejoined us and we walked along the sidewalk enjoying the sights and listening to the waves lap against the ships lining the wharf.
And still, Kaya kept up her lament. She sobbed, "I want my cherries," sniff, sniff, "I want my cherries."

Wayne and Kiri and I all tried to distract Kaya by pointing out interesting sights and by talking about plans for going to Disney Land.
I don't know what Kaya will grow up to be. But I do know that whatever it is, it will be the kind of job that requires intense focus and persistence.

My granddaughter kept up her plea for cherries all the way home, up the stairs, into the house, and even while being tucked into bed. "I want cherries."
What should have been a pleasant drive home became an exasperating half hour of listening to a alternately whining, then sobbing preschooler.

After the kids had been put to bed, we older folk chuckled about Kaya's persistence.
My granddaughter's intense pleas for "cherries!" reminded me of Jesus's parable of the unrighteous judge and the widow who kept coming to him for justice. (Luke 18:2-5)

Because the widow refused to give up and kept crying out to the judge, she eventually wore him down and he gave her what she sought.

Kaya didn't get her cherries, but she had the right idea about not giving up.
She's figured out what a lot of us grown ups haven't learned: don't give up.
If you want something enough, keep asking for it, or working for it, or pursuing it, and most of the time you'll get it eventually.
It may not be today, or tomorrow.
Eventually you'll get your "cherries."

But first ask yourself, "Is this "cherry" that I want a good thing?
If you're not sure, go to the Lord:
  • Ask the Lord to help you discern if the thing you are focused on getting or achieving is pleasing to Him. (Sometimes, the "cherries" you desire are not what is best for you.
  • Study the Bible so you know God's mind and heart.
  • Commit your life to pleasing God. Submit to His answer even if the answer is 'no.'
  • Pray every day and often..not just for what you want, but for God's blessings on others.

"In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'

For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!'" (Luke 18: 2-5 NIV Bible)

Monday, June 17, 2013


Kiri and I and the girls went to the beach yesterday.
It was the perfect San Diego beach day: 74 degrees, slight breeze, just enough to keep one from getting overheated under the bright sun, and not crowded.

Once settled on our plot of sand, the surf beckoned. Three-year-old Kaya and I frolicked in the waves, moving further and further out till the waves swooshed over our shoulders. ( Never fear, moms, Kaya was in my arms the whole time.)

Little Kira was more content to stay close to her mother on the beach towels.
Kaya and I returned, dripping and goose-bumped.
Then Mom took Kaya back toward the shore to look for sea shells.

One thing about sand: it gets everywhere.

No matter how careful a beach-goer is, those little grains get in your hair, your clothing, your food, your shoes, and onto your towels.

Some people don't like going to the beach for this very reason.

I say, go for it. Get as sandy as you want for a couple of hours. Immerse yourself in the sandy experience. Let the waves knock you over while tiny grains of sand invade your bathing suit.
Pour a bucket of water onto a patch of sand. Mix it in and then use your shovels and kid molds to make sea turtles and castle turrets.

Sand get in your mouth? Wash it down with a swig of bottled juice.
Under your fingernails? Run on down to the waves and scrub the sand out.
Sand in your ears? Well, you can shower it away when you get home.

the sand is like us

Whenever I sit in the sand and play with it I think of the Old Testament verses where God tells Abraham He's going to make Abraham's descendants as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore.

I pick up a few grains and rub them between my fingers. They're rough and scratchy. But just one grain can irritate your eye and get in your mouth and set your teeth on edge.
Just one grain of trillions can do that.
Let that be a reminder to me that if I am one of Abraham's descendants, even I, a single grain of sand, can influence the world.

Just one tiny grain of sand.
Not that I want to be an irritant, like a grain of sand.
But sometimes, especially in these days of affluence and apathy, our culture needs an irritant—a tiny grain of sand—to spur us into movement.
To start being effective.

Do you think, when God spoke of Abraham's descendant, that He was already picturing each one of us, His children, and the role that we would play in our designated times and places?

"The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said. 'I swear by Myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore.'" (Genesis 22:15-17 NIV Bible)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sea Dragons and Knees

My visit to San Diego is nearing the end.
I'll be flying home to the Denver area in a few days.
It's been very satisfying to see my daughter recover from her knee surgery.
She's looking forward to resuming her active lifestyle and competing once more in jiu jitsu.
She limps slightly, but that will end once her repaired ACL completely heals.
The scars will fade.

A few days ago we went to an aquarium where I saw a nursery of sea horses at various stages of development. In the same room were the horses' cousins, the leafy sea dragons and weedy sea dragons.
If I hadn't read the info underneath the tanks where these creatures floated, I would have passed, never noticing them.
Only the eyes, swiveling to take in their environment give the creatures away.
The "weeds" and "leaves" that surround the sea dragons are actually appendages.
God, in His creative glory, has bestowed on these little sea creatures the ultimate camouflage.
Sea horses can't move very fast. They have tiny dorsal fins that wave rapidly to propel them from place to place. And tails that wrap around sea plants to help anchor them.

Amazing! God is truly amazing.

When I see a tiny creature so blessed by God, I remind myself that if my Heavenly Father can put such care and thought into the creation of a sea dragon, then He certainly can devote care and thought to my many concerns and requests.
Right now, one of my prayer requests is that Kiri's knee heals so completely that she will not re-injure it.

When Kiri tells me about the complexity of her knee surgery and how the doctors took part of her hamstring to fashion it into a makeshift ACL, I praise God because she is fearfully and wonderfully made.

Doctors, God bless them, have learned how to cut and suture.
Then they wait for nature (God)  to heal the wound.
But no doctor could create a human body, no matter how much scientific knowledge and advanced technology he or she had.

Only God could fashion a sea dragon, or a human knee!

"For You created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
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. " (Psalm 139: 13-16 NIV Bible)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wednesday's (June 12th) Word

Wednesday's Word:
Umbrage, noun
Pronunciation: um-brudge
Definition: offense, sense of slight or injury

Are you skillful enough to use this word in a sentence?

Last week's word was taciturn.
"Judy's talkative nature starkly contrasted with her husband's taciturn ways."

Tuesday's (June 11) Thought

Tuesday's Thought:

"Notice the difference between what happens when a man says to himself 'I have failed three times,' and when he says, 'I am a failure.'"
S. I. Hayakawa, U.S. Senator and sematicist

Monday, June 10, 2013

Road Trips

My daughter and I were discussing travel plans. She and her husband and two daughters are planning to come visit us later this summer.
They'll fly out to Denver. Which is a good idea because their girls are very young and very restless.

On the other hand, I love road trips and always have.
My daughter shudders when I express my love for the open road.
I say there's so much freedom when you're in a car.
You can stop and get out when you feel the need. You can't do that in a plane.
You don't have to sit next to a NRS (not-recently-showered) passenger or listen for hours to a squalling baby.
If you see something of interest, you can pull over to investigate.
I love to see the geography change as the miles unfurl.
I love to race the sun toward the finish line when we're driving west.
I love to read the license plates on cars and make funny words out of them.

Bruce and I keep a travel journal in the car.
When we go on a road trip, I pull it out and log all the interesting things we see and all the restaurants, convenient gas stops, and tourist spots we visit.
We even write about rest stops so we remember which ones are awful, or well cared for, and which ones offer museums or playgrounds or gorgeous vistas.
We time how long it takes to get from Loveland to Casper, or Billings to Bozeman so we know next time.

In Washington state we admired miles and miles of a beautiful yellow crop. Never did find out what it was because the lettering on the sign was too small to read. But I appreciated that Washington farmers post signs to inform passing motorists what the crops are along I-90.

As we drove along the Columbia River I tried to imagine how Lewis and Clark had built makeshift boats to carry them downstream toward the Pacific.

I miss the days when we took our first road trips with our own kids and witnessed their delight in Yellowstone's geysers or viewing bison up close through the car windows.

I suppose that most die-hard road trippers love the process of getting "there."
And most flyers either don't have the time, or would rather skip the stuff along the way.

Like the road trip experiences, I'm learning to enjoy the process of "getting there" in my writing profession,
as well as journeying toward emotional and spiritual maturity.
There are times when I'd like to just get there quickly.
But then I'd miss experiencing hills and valleys, deserts, and beautiful vistas, places of refreshment.
I wonder what Jesus saw and experienced along the way as He traveled the dusty roads of Nazareth?

Are you the get-there-quick type or the enjoy-the-journey type?
Or are you a combination of both?
Leave a comment about your travel preferences.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Flight Delays

My husband dropped me off at Denver International Airport with plenty of time to spare before my flight to San Diego.
That's okay.
An airport is a great place to people-watch.
It also has long stretches of space perfect for walking.
Lots of tourist type stores for browsing.
Book and magazines.
Chairs for lounging.
An uninterrupted time to read my email or ebooks.

After two hours of doing all of these things, the time came to board my flight.
The important people boarded first.
Finally, we peons lined up and shuffled forward, dragging our chains—er, carry-ons.

The airline representative at the gate, who'd spent the last hour intimidating and snapping at anyone who dared to request an upgrade or seat change, now had to pick up her microphone and explain to a hundred and fifty irate passengers that a mechanical malfunction would delay us for an hour.

I sighed and headed down the hall to get another iced coffee.

Later, another unfortunate announcement made us wait an additional two hours.

I really don't like delays.
Who does?

An airport delay is annoying, but at least we know it will usually only last a few hours.

The delays I struggle with are the ones that I know God has to power to stop, but He doesn't.
Why do I have to pray for years and years for a loved one to be healed, or for another come to faith in Jesus?
Why, when I'm praying for a really good thing, does God not answer right away?

(Rhetorical question here, folks! Please do not attempt to answer this question for me.)

A friend once said to me, "God tends to answer prayers at the eleventh hour. He seldom answers prayers before we're played out!"

Who knows what the Lord is doing behind the scenes to make the "rough places plain."
Just like those airline mechanics: I'd like to get going right away, but not at the expense of my and the other passengers' safety.

Would I be safe in the air if the plane was not properly prepared?
Would I be safe if God answered my prayer before I was properly prepared?

Delays always cause me to to have to readjust my expectations.
Not pleasant.
Very inconvenient.

But necessary for me as a child who continues to learn that God can be trusted, even during delays.

"Bessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway." (Proverbs, 8:34 NIV Bible0


Wednesday's (June 5th) Word

Wednesday's Word:

taciturn, adjective
Pronounced: tass-i-turn

Definition: uncommunicative, saying little.

Would you like to try using this word in a sentence?
Leave your sentence in the comment section of my blog.

Last week's word was saccharine.

"The woman's saccharine smile and tone of voice led me to believe that I was the most special of all her boyfriends."

Monday, June 3, 2013

Let Us Love

I'm in San Diego helping my daughter, Kiri, care for her two little girls.
Kiri is a brown belt world champion jiu-jitsu competitor.
I'm so proud of her. She's worked very hard to achieve this dream.

Two years ago she felt something in her knee pop as she competed in the World Championship.
She says her knee felt very unstable, but it never got very inflamed or especially painful.
Then, this past season as she trained for June's World Championship her knee began to bother her a lot.

She saw an orthopedist who sent her in for an MRI.
Sure enough, her ACL was completely torn away from her knee.
Apparently, she'd been competing and training for the past two years with this condition.

So, a couple of weeks after knee surgery to repair the ACL (they took some of her hamstring and fashioned it into a new ACL) she's hobbling around not listening to her husband's advice to use crutches.

Kiri is so used to being physically tough that it's very hard for her to let someone else take care of her.
I'm more than willing to help with most things, but Kiri jumps up and gets to it before I can.
So I'm learning not to wait for her to ask me for help.

My granddaughters are learning that I can be trusted to make them breakfast, get them dressed, and even draw some pretty neat pictures for them to color.

I treasure these few weeks that I can leave memories of me with my granddaughters.
I brought them both luggage tags that look like animals. Kaya's looks like a horse and Kira's is a little green frog. This morning I wrote their names on the tags with indelible marker.
I explained to Kaya, "Now, when you come out to see me and Grandpa, you can attach your luggage tag to your bag and everyone will know who your bag belongs to."

Later in the day, I will drive them all down to Kiri's physical therapist so she can do her strengthening exercises. While she's in treatment, Kaya and Kira will play blocks with me.

I love being a part of my children's and grandchildren's lives.
I also hope that my activities with them will plant some special memories.
I pray that I can build a special bond with my two precious granddaughters.
So that they know that I love them, think about them constantly and that they are being prayed for each day.

I want them to know that, just as I am willing to drop my usual life to come out and spend three weeks with my daughter, that I would do the same for them.

Then, when they are a little bit older they will begin to understand that this is how God operates: that He invests constant care and vigilance for His children, too.

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for loves comes from God. " (1st John 4:7 NIV Bible)