Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year's Resolution

Trust God to help you deal with offenses

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Christmas program

Presentation shows how life doesn't always go as expected

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snow lesson

The snow is blowing and drifting outside.
It's 10 degrees, but the windchill factor is 36 degrees below zero - not exactly warm, balmy weather!
Earlier today, BeBe, our little Boston terrier wanted to go outside. Now, BeBe hardly has any fur - not like Buzz, our Shelti-cross who has a much thicker coat.
So I decided to put the warm-looking pink coat that Chuck bought for BeBe onto our bouncing little dog before she headed outside.
This isn't the first time I've tried to bundle her in the coat, but each time I get the same result.
She jumps around and paws at me as I sit on the floor and try to get one of her skinny little black legs through the hole of the vest-like garment. Sometimes, she yelps as I try to get her leg in. I usually manage to get in one leg and then the other and quickly fasten the Velcro sides under her belly.
The last time I didn't even manage to do that, before she darted out the door.
BeBe runs like the wind when she gets outside. It's not hard to miss her with that bright, pink coat. When it's cold, she doesn't stay out very long.
I'm guessing that cold weather isn't her bag.
But it amazes me that she seems to fight something that can keep her warm - something that's meant for her own good.
You'd think she'd get a clue.
Yet, I guess, we as humans can be pretty clueless when it comes to God and his word.
God gives us commands in the Bible for our own good. His word is filled with direction and guidance.
So you think we'd be set, right?
Maybe not.
Sometimes, I think we're a lot like BeBe - pawing wildly, or at least not paying attention very well, when God is trying to help us.
In the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Proverbs, the writer urges his readers to embrace wisdom.
In verse seven, we read: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."
Throughout the book, we find so many words of wisdom.
For instance:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight:" Proverbs 3:5.
And how about this:
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:24.
And then there's this:
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1
And what about this:
"A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much." Proverbs 20:19
Oh ... and here's one that I need to remind myself of often:
"He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity." Proverbs 21:23.
Here's one of my personal favorites:
"Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passerby who meddles in a quarrel not his own." Proverbs 26:17.
And here's more good advice:
"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." 19:11.
As I page back and forth through the Scriptures, I recall times when the Holy Spirit reminded me of these things.
I know I've kept out of a lot of trouble by not meddling in quarrels. I've worked to let things go, because the words about overlooking offense came to mind. And I've prayed many times for the Lord to guard my mouth. ("Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14)
I certainly haven't done everything perfectly, but as I recall BeBe pawing at me while I try to get that coat on her, I know I must yield more to the Lord - even when it's not easy.
It's a matter of trust. It's also wise to let the Lord envelop us in things that can help shield us from life's storms. That doesn't mean we can avoid every storm, but we can face them with the help of a loving God.
And come to think of it, I might have a better time of getting that coat on BeBe if I prayed about it first.
That's probably one of the best thoughts I've had all day.



Friday, December 10, 2010

Our shield

God protects us as we face life's rough battles

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What if

Last night, I gave a program at the library.
I talked about my book, "Real Spiritual Spinach - Faith for the Journey," and read excerpts from it.
Four people showed up.
Two of those included the library director and another employee.
Under other circumstances, I might have been discouraged.
But I wasn't.
Well, partly because it was such a good experience. I had the chance to share things God has taught me. I got the opportunity to talk about my columns to a receptive audience. I was very comfortable around kind, friendly people who supported me. And the local director for a Royal Family Kids Camp in our community also had the chance to talk about the August camp that took place in our area.
Best of all, I know God was there.
I sold eight books, double the number of people who attended. Not a bad deal at all.
But more than that, I think I'm re-evaluating this thing we call success.
If my main intent is only to autograph and sell books - and I don't have time to talk to someone who's really hurting - then what have I accomplished?
Oh, I believe the books can really help people. After all, they contain some of God's word and Bible stories. Yet if I get so wrapped up in selling books so I can buy more books to sell and don't minister to people, am I really fulfilling what God has for me to do?
It takes time and patience to listen to people sometimes.
Even so, I think God has given me some wonderful experiences.
Chuck and I went to Altoona, Iowa, for a book signing on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Business was slower in the pharmacy/bookstore that day. The manager said the store was swamped the day before - Black Friday. I may have been able to sell a lot of books that day.
We sold 10 on Saturday, not bad at all.
But that's not necessarily what I'm going to remember from that day.
What I will remember is the joy of reading some of my stories aloud to the manager and the clerks when customers weren't coming in the door.
And I hope I never forget how - at the end of the signing - the pharmacist came from the back of the store and bought a book for his wife. He had been listening while I read the stories. I have a good, loud voice and he could hear them in the back of the store, while I sat near the front.
He walked up and told my husband, "Your wife is a good reader," right before he had me autograph a copy.
That was a wonderful moment.
Also wonderful was hearing a couple of the store clerks sing. And after the store closed, the owner and his wife took us to a very, large, modern church - complete with theater-style seating and cup holders for cappuccino sold in the large foyer. The church had a worship band and words to songs were projected onto two very large screens. It was Saturday night and one of the pastors, decked out in a T-shirt, jeans and headset, sat on a stool and preached, while images of some of what he talked about flashed on a screen overhead.
After the service, the manager and his wife took us, and some of their family members, out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. That was a treat.
We went back to our hotel (the store had put us up in a nice hotel for two nights). We left five extra copies of the book on consignment at the store. We got up and had breakfast, compliments of the hotel for the second day in a row, and then headed home.
In October, Chuck and I went to a bookstore in Des Moines, Iowa, for the day. The owner and clerks were great.
One elderly woman came in to buy a book. She said her sister-in-law was dying in a hospital and that Saturday probably would be her last day on earth.
But the woman wanted to get an autographed copy of my book. She and her husband came and were so kind and friendly.
And I was touched.
The store owner fed Chuck and I lunch and gave us a coupon to buy something at the store.
That was great, too!
We sold 14 books, not bad at all since we're not known in Des Moines.
But the kindness of the people in the store was what I'll remember most. Once again, it was a lovely experience.
In the Bible, there's a verse that, in part, talks about not despising the day of small beginnings.
I think there's a lot of truth to that.
I don't know where God will take us on this journey, but I'm determined to enjoy the journey and not only be focused on the destination - whatever that might be.
And perhaps that's one of the greatest gifts of all.



Saturday, December 4, 2010

Room in the Inn

Nebraskans show kindness to weary travelers

Friday, November 12, 2010

Trusting God

Local woman learns to step out in faith

Friday, November 5, 2010

Holy GPS

God provides direction along pathways of our lives

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Karate kids

Some time ago, Hollywood decided to put out a new version of "The Karate Kid."
My husband is watching it on Pay Per View tonight. This new version features Jackie Chan and Will Smith's son - whose name escapes me.
Anyway, it's the story of an older man who helps a young man learn to defend himself against a bunch of bullies.
I really hate the early scenes where the kid gets picked on.
It reminds me a little too much of school years when I spent a lot of time trying to avoid people who wanted to beat me up.
God really protected me from actual abuse, but the emotional stuff lasted for years.
Even so, the Lord has brought so much healing into my life. He's brought many things full circle. A few years ago, the Lord allowed me to help a woman who probably would have been the type to pick on someone like me had we been schoolmates. I felt compassion for her as she opened up and told me what her home life was like and how she'd been so angry - mad enough to start fights at school.
As time progressed, the woman seemed to sink into an even tougher situation - one I was unable to help her from anymore.
I grieved, wondering where we all went wrong in trying to help her.
One Sunday, I was praying for her, when the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme came to my mind.
You remember it: "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; All the kings horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again."
I began to think that this poor woman was like Humpty Dumpty. She'd fallen and all the pieces of her life seem shattered around her.
And none of the king's horses or men could help her.
Then I believe the Lord gave me a thought: No, neither the king's horses nor his men could help her.
ONLY THE KING could help her.
I became aware that only God could truly help her at this point.
Even today, I believe there are many battles in life that only God can help us win.
But that's the marvelous thing about God.
He's our defender, protector, guardian and friend. He's with us in those dark times when we feel so very alone. He's there when we think no one cares. He's there when we wonder if life will ever get better.
May I tell you a secret?
Life can get tremendously better. It may take awhile, but I know from experience that God is faithful.
And I can agree with David who wrote: "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 34:4.
And: "This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles." Psalm 34:6.
And: "A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all." Psalm 34:19.
And: "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped." Psalm 28:7.
I know from experience that the Lord is faithful and trustworthy and loyal and good.
I also know that he will be with me in any battle I face.
And while I may not be a karate kid - in the physical sense - I know how to put up a good fight spiritually and in prayer.
Because, after all, I've had the best teacher.



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day after elections

It's the day after the elections.
And I'm tired.
It's not that I had so many stories to write. I only wrote one election story. The problem was that I didn't get to bed very early and when I did, I couldn't go to sleep right away.
I spent from 8:30 to 11 p.m. on Tuesday waiting for results from another county's race. I went home after I found out that they weren't going to be in until after midnight.
I headed to work today, got the results and quickly called the candidates for their reactions.
It could have been a daunting task, but I'd prayed for help from the Lord.
And God is so faithful.
I prayed that everything would just fall into place - and the Lord made it work out just fine.
I need to remember that for other stories and tasks.
Actually, I think God has been working with me in the last few months, teaching me not to worry so much about what could - or might - happen.
Instead, I think he wants me to rest in him.
Tuesday night wasn't a total waste of time.
The Lord helped me write a Spiritual Spinach column for next week. I was amazed by how tired I was, but how working on that column seemed to invigorate me.
I'm tired as I write this, but I know I can depend on God for energy.
He really does supply all my needs and repeatedly shows how faithful he is.
I can trust him when I read verses like: "...those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:31).



Sunday, October 31, 2010

Time well spent

It's important to spend time alone with God

What it means to worship

Writer gains new insight on importance of praising God

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The pork shoulder

A year or two ago, my husband, Chuck, got a meat smoker.
He likes to put special wood in the thing to get just the right flavor for the meat, which he injects with a mixture of apple juice and brown sugar before cooking.
Just a little bit ago, Chuck pulled this big, black thing that looked like a small boulder out of the smoker.
It's a smoked pork shoulder. I have to admit that it looks kind of strange, but when I jab a fork into the underside of the shoulder I can pull up some really flavorful meat.
I guess you can't just a pork shoulder by its cover.
Actually, you really can't judge people that way either and the Bible even speaks to that.
Don't believe me?
Then look in 1 Samuel, chapter 16.
Here, we find a priest named Samuel who made a house call.
At that time, Israel wanted a king. God had Samuel anoint (pour oil on) a man named Saul, thus making him king. But Saul was a bad leader. So God picked someone else to be king and sent Samuel to anoint him. God had Samuel go to the home of a man named, Jesse, who had eight sons.
When he reached the man’s house, Samuel saw one of the sons and figured that he surely must be the next king.
Not quite.
In verse 7, we read where Lord told Samuel: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Seven of Jesse’s sons passed in front of Samuel.
None of them would be the future king. Finally, Samuel asked if Jesse had any more sons.
“There’s still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he’s tending the sheep.”
Samuel wanted to see this boy, so they sent for him.
The son came in.
“Rise and anoint him; he is the one,” the Lord told Samuel.
So Samuel anointed a young man named David.
Name sound familiar? This David went on to kill a giant named Goliath. And while the road to the throne was long and difficult, David eventually became king of Israel.
Now I would guess that when David came in from tending the sheep, he probably didn't look too great. Maybe he had to clean up before seeing the guest of the day.
But underneath that shepherd's garb was a heart that would beat for the Lord. In fact, he would be called a man after God's own heart.
I guess you can't just a shepherd or a king by his cover either.
All this makes me think about how we may judge people by appearance before we ever get to know them. We may not mean to do it, but sometimes our past life experiences can creep into our modern-day life.
I think we all need to be on guard for that. Now I've said before that it's probably wise to avoid a man, who's wearing a ski mask and running out of a bank.
We have to be wise.
But I think we all need to remember the words of Jesus who said "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
In other words, treat other people the way you want to be treated.
You and I don't want someone judging us by our appearance - especially if we've been working around the house and yard and don't look so great when we make a quick run to the store for toilet paper or bread.
And if you're like me, you've gone through tough times in life when appearance wasn't necessarily your first concern.
So as I'm looking at this pork shoulder I'm reminded of what a sweet surprise can lie under a less-that-pretty cover.
And I'm thinking that I'm so glad a loving God is able to look past my bumps, blemishes and bad hair to the heart beneath.



When confronting lions

Well-known Bible story shows importance of prayer

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rest for the weary

Do you ever become weary of spirit?
Not necessarily physically tired - although that can play a part - but just weary of other things?
It's easy to get weary of housework and laundry - which has a way of piling up when neglected. But I think we also can become weary of routines, everyday job tasks and even volunteer responsibilities.
That's when I like to read some Scriptures that infuse me with a little energy and a much better outlook.
Those well-known verses are from Isaiah 4o: 28-31 and they read: "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired and weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
"Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
Now back up a verse.
Have you noticed what precedes this?
I didn't until today.
Verse 27 reads: "Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain O Israel, "My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God?"
When I read that I get the picture of people who are frustrated. They don't think God realizes how tired out, worn out, and put out they are.
I think we all can feel like that sometimes even though we know God is good and faithful and merciful.
So maybe that's when it's good to remember that the Lord does renew our strength and gives us power when we feel weak.
And taken advantage of.
And forgotten.
The Lord doesn't forget us and he's concerned about what concerns us.
As it says in 1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your cares upon him, because he cares for you."
Did you notice the word "all"?
I think it's important to talk to God and let him know what's bugging us - even though he already knows. There's something therapeutic about getting everything out in the open with God.
Then we need to listen and let him speak to our hearts.
That's not easy for me, mostly because I always have so much to say!
But I think that God refreshes and renews us by speaking to us through his word and through the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit.
He has a way of restoring a sagging spirit.



Monday, October 4, 2010

If only

Small lies can have big consequences

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New life

Today, I'm on vacation and I've had the wonderful opportunity to see professional photographs of our new little grandson, Matthew David.
Now, I know that I'm a proud grandma, but if you want to see God's marvelous handiwork take a look at these photos:
There are photos of a closet project at the top of this file and then down below are photographs of Matt and his mommy and daddy.
I'm amazed as a look at the tiny fingers and toes and at his wide-eyed expression. He has the whole world ahead of him now. As he grows and learns about the world around him, I pray that I'll be a good grandma who will help point him toward a relationship with God.
I'm looking forward to many fun days.
At the same time, I'm reading about the death of schoolteacher Jill Richardson. She lost a tough battle with cancer. She was a lovely Christian woman and we know she's in a better place, but my heart goes out to her husband and three young children.
Life is short and fragile.
We are so blessed to have our God, who is faithful and guides us through all the phases of our lives. He is true to his word. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He is our comfort and strength.
So as we navigate through this obstacle course we call life, we should hold tight to the hand and listen for the voice of the only one who really can get us through - and take us to our eternal home.
I think I know one thing I will need to make sure and help teach little Matthew: About how very important it will be for him to love and trust his God.
"All things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28.



Friday, September 24, 2010

Fathers and Sons

Read my latest Spiritual Spinach column in the Fremont Tribune

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fears and furnaces

These men stood strong even amid trials

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our new grandson

After what seemed like a very long time (well ... 9 months) our first grandchild, Matthew David, was born on Sept. 14.
Naturally, I think he's absolutely adorable! He's got the cutest little upturned nose and brown hair that's as soft as peach fuzz. He's a good baby. Doesn't cry much. Makes cute, funny little faces when he's sleeping.
He was born at the new Methodist Women's Hospital and I'm just amazed by all the technology and monitors. We're so blessed to be in a country with so many medical advances.
And did I tell you how much this baby is loved?
He has two sets of grandparents and three sets of great-grandparents and three uncles and an aunt. Our kids also have lots of friends.
I don't think this child is going to want for much - which is wonderful!
But then I think about all the little children born into the world without hardly anyone to care for them. It makes me sad.
One thing I know - God loves them dearly. They are precious in his sight.
After all, he made them.
Which reminds me of something else: Bible verses in the Old Testament book of Psalms. They're found in chapter 139, starting with verse 13.
They read:
"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."
Welcome to the world, little Matthew.
Your grandma loves you!
Dear Lord,
Please guard and guide and protect my grandson, Matthew. Lord help him to grow up to be a Godly man who loves you with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. Please let him be a happy child with a great sense of humor and a sunny disposition. Let him be a thankful and joyful person who loves to walk with you - pray to you, read and study your word and who listens to your voice. May he be an obedient person who loves to do your will.
Lord please let him marry a Godly woman and let them have Godly children and grandchildren who will love and serve you all the days of their lives.
May Matthew David - your beloved gift to us - serve you all of his days and may he dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.



Saturday, September 11, 2010

Standing firm

It wasn't the assignment I asked for.
Not really.
Years ago, I opted to be an editor - perhaps more out of pride than anything. But when I started in journalism, I figured I'd stay a reporter until I retired.
Anyway, I've certainly discovered the ups and downs of being an editor. It can mean really long hours, stress and lots of responsibility.
I've often said that much of my character has been formed in the fiery furnace that is a newsroom.
Now, it's not that a newsroom can't be a fun place. Reporters and editors are well-read, knowledgeable, fun, smart people. But there are deadlines and pressure and equipment that doesn't always work and sources who don't call back when you need them to.
And when you're working with people, you're working with different temperaments, backgrounds, philosophies and stress-tolerance levels.
Sometimes there are fireworks in a newsroom even when you have the best people to work with and managing a group of intelligent, talented people can be a challenge at best.
Trust me when I tell you that the long hours, larger workload and potential for all kinds of "stuff" isn't something I look forward to when my boss is gone and I'm in charge.
I've been in charge for the last two weeks and after my boss was injured in a fall, it looks like I'm going to be at the helm for a while.
Knowing this, I've been doing a little reading.
The other day I paused to re-read a segment in "Front Line - A Daily Devotional Guide for Christian Leaders" by Carolyn Tennant, a teacher, preacher, administrator and writer.
The segment is called "Tea Bags."
In this segment, she compares leaders to tea bags and says that their true strength comes out under hot water. She basically says that we don't know how strong we are until a crisis occurs and then we find inner strength from God who gives us what we need to lead people.
She directs her readers to the story of Moses and the Israelites at the Red Sea. It's found in the book of Exodus, chapter 14. In this account, the Israelites and their leader are in a really tough spot. On one side of them is a sea and on the other is the Egyptian army which is bearing down hard on them. The Israelites become terrified and start asking Moses the "What have you done to us" question.
But our God-following leader stays steady and tells his people to do the same.
"Do not be afraid," he says. "Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring to you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." (Exodus 14: 13-14.)
Carolyn talks about what a brave promise this was. At this point, Moses didn't know what God was going to do.
Just continue reading the passage. It's after Moses makes his brave statement - and not before - that God tells him to raise his staff and stretch out his hand over the sea and then it will part so the Israelites can go through on dry ground to the other side.
Carolyn says how leaders often stand by themselves against incredible odds.
And like Moses, they don't have all the answers.
Yet she encourages us to stand firm (like Moses) and not give up. She also urges us not to forget God's power, creativity and ability "to perform the impossible in the face of unbelievable odds." She states how critical it is that we take a stand and know that what we need will be there in the midst of pressure - and that the people will place their trust in God and their leader.
I love Carolyn's writing and I think I need to start reading more of her devotional and to review what I've already read.
Carolyn has a great way of reminding me that leaders like Esther, David and Nehemiah faced great odds, but overcame them.
Because God was their strength.
And he's our strength today, too.
We just need to lean on the God who parts seas and commands us to stand firm and trust him.



Songs of Grief & Songs of Praise

Here's my Spiritual Spinach from this week.

Friday, September 3, 2010


I've been caught!
I recently wrote this on my Facebook and Twitter:
"Ask God for peace and then let him give it to you. Quit rehearsing those worries in your mind. Concentrate instead on his love and goodness."
My pastor then asked if I was preaching to myself.
He sure caught me.
When I wrote that I think I was talking to myself as much as anybody. I have a habit of praying for peace and then worrying afterward. It's not that I can't feel the peace that God gives, but then sometimes I really have to work hard to keep other thoughts from creeping in. I have to make a conscious decision - sometimes more than once - that I'm not going to worry about something that "could" happen in the future.
Lately I'm having to remind myself to concentrate on Jesus (certainly to pray to him) and then not to lose that focus and start looking at whatever storm may - or may not - be brewing around me.
I need help with this, because it doesn't come naturally. So I need to pray:
"Dear Lord,
Please help me to keep my focus on you and your word. Help me to concentrate on you. Help me to pray BEFORE I let myself get caught up in a whirlwind of worry. Please give me the peace that passes all understanding and guard my heart and mind in you."
Thank you Lord for your many blessings!
In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:2.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7.



Friday, August 27, 2010


One dog's tenacity provides can provide hope for downhearted folks

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I recently sent a sympathy card to a dear woman who just lost her father.
I signed it, saying how sorry I was for her loss. I mentioned that I'd lost both of my parents years ago, but that God has been faithful in providing comfort. I sealed the envelope and put it in the mail at work. I walked away wondering if I'd written too much.
Experts in grief counseling will tell you that the best thing you can do for the bereaved is to just be there and tell them that you're sorry.
Grieving people typically go through the stages of shock, denial, anger, depression and finally acceptance.
I know, because I've been there.
My mom, Evelyn, died in 1993. My dad, Glenn, died in 1996.
I'm an only child.
I am blessed to have a wonderful husband and children, but the loss of my parents still hurt like crazy.
I don't say that to try and discourage people, even though people who've lost dear ones know that I speak the truth.
But I do want to say how faithful and loving God is and how much comfort he provides.
I didn't write this in the card, but if I were going to tell someone what grief was like I'd mention some of the same things that were told to me and which I experienced:
1. The first year is the hardest. The first holidays - Mother's Day, Father's Day, the dates of your loved ones' birth and death won't be easy. However, sometimes the dread that you experience in the days beforehand is worse than the actual day.
2. You need to cry. I read a Guideposts magazine story in which a missionary went to an African village where he saw men wailing over the death of their father. An old man there noticed the missionary's rather surprised response and explained: "It is good to cry over the deaths of our fathers, for the tears help wash the pain out of the heart."
I know from experience that if you have a lot of pain, you need a lot of tears.
3. You need to give yourself a break. Grieving people sometimes forget things and get distracted. That's natural.
4. Seek support. The Lord blessed me by guiding me to a grief support group. It was encouraging to see how much the deceased had been loved. I bonded with the other people in the group and still appreciate that time today.
5. Grief comes in waves. It rolls in and out like the tide. You'll be going along, thinking you're doing pretty well, and then something will hit you and you'll cry. That's normal. It should lessen with time.
6. Know that well-meaning people will sometimes say things that hurt your feelings or upset you. They don't mean to. They're just trying to help. Forgive them. And if anything I say here upsets you, please forgive me. I just want people to know that while they'll go through some tough times, there is hope.
7. Know that Jesus understands grief. Remember how he wept over the death of Lazarus - before he resurrected him? Jesus has compassion for the grieving.
8. Trust God to steer you through the loss. At one point, I'd cried so much that I wondered what I was still crying about.
That's when I really understood what it meant to have a loss.
I wanted the very thing I couldn't have: I wanted my dad back - not sick like he was before his death - but healthy and funny. I wanted him to be able to see my sons graduate from high school and get married and have children - and I'd never have that.
Now I look forward to the day when I'll see my parents - healthy, happy and well - in heaven. I think about all the people I'll be able to introduce them to and all the things we'll have to talk about.
We'll have all eternity to talk and laugh and make new memories - and nothing will ever tear us apart again.
Best of all, we'll be with the true lover of our souls - our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - in a very wonderful place.
As it says in the Bible: "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Rev. 21:4).
9. Know that time will go faster than you think. Life on this earth is short. Just wait. You'll be with your loved ones in due time. In the meantime, make the most of every day. Love those around you. Do good to your fellow believers in Christ. Cherish your family and friends. Help those in need. Leave a legacy of love.
Remember what a dear young 4-H'er shared with me recently. After years of fairs, she could tell me this: "It's what you do before the fair that counts."
It's the same here on earth. It's what we do beforehand that counts - not that we earn our way to heaven by works. We can't do that. We're saved by grace through faith, lest any man should boast, but faith and actions work together. (Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. James 2:18).
We exercise our faith muscles by helping others and we please our Lord.
And I want to please God.
At the end of my life, I want so much to hear him say: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
10. Maintain your relationship with God. Pray. Read your Bible. Seek comfort through the word of God. Talk with fellow believers. And know that "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18.



Thursday, August 12, 2010


Our new little Boston terrier, BeBe, was stung by a bee or wasp or something earlier today.
I'd only let her outside for a moment when I heard this high-pitched yelping. I ran outside and she, at first, seemed to be lying in the grass and then stood with a front paw in the air.
It didn't make sense. I couldn't see a puncture wound or a sticker. Our son, Zach, came outside with a blanket and picked her up and carried her inside. He put her on the bed.
She didn't want a drink of water.
I called the vet, who thought she'd been stung by an insect. I was told to give her a baby aspirin and a half of benadryl, so I hurried over to the store.
When I came back, she appeared to be walking, although favoring that leg. I gave her the baby aspirin (they have these bubble-gum-flavored-melt-in-your-mouth kind).
Everything seemed like it was going to be OK.
I was going to get a knife to cut the benadryl tablet in half when I noticed the bumps.
She had them all over her head and on her affected leg.
I called the vet and was told to bring her in. So Zach put BeBe in the car and away we went.
By the time Zach, BeBe and I reached the vet's office, the little dog was covered in bumps.
And with such thin fur, the bumps gave BeBe a reptilian appearance. Imagine Yoda in a tuxedo.
The vet said she'd had an allergic reaction to the sting. He planned to give her a shot and watch her for a few hours and told me to come back.
Poor puppy.
She was yelping and all wound up.
One of the vet's assistants said that the little bumps probably hurt and I prayed that our dog would just be OK.
Now, Chuck plans to pick up BeBe on his way home from work. In the meantime, I've looked up the word "sting" in my Bible's concordance. I found this verse:
"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"
It's 1 Corinthians 15:55.
This portion of Scripture is talking about eternal life - something Christ purchased for us when he died on the cross.
Travel further up through the passage and you'll read that "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
Before that you can find the verse: "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet."
The Apostle Paul, who wrote this text, is talking about the day when Christ returns to earth for his church.
What a wonderful, glorious day that will be!
And what a marvelous place heaven will be!
It won't be a place of suffering or pain.
Or bee stings.



Monday, August 9, 2010

House cleaning

I'm on vacation this week and I plan to do some cleaning.
With all the work on the book, my house has been suffering. Chuck tries to help some, but he cleans for a living so he's pretty swamped at the end of the day - as am I.
Needless to say, the house has paid the price.
A couple of friends suggested that I do the 15-minute-a-day thing - just spend those brief moments trying to do whatever I could in that time. It wasn't easy getting started, but once I did I began to notice a change after awhile.
And that was nice!
Then I filled in for somebody at work, who was taking a well-earned vacation, all while trying to do my regular stuff.
God was more than faithful and really helped me accomplish a lot at work.
It was amazing.
Yet I was really tired when I came home from work and the 15-minute-a-day routine fell by the wayside.
Now, I'm trying to pick up the pace again.
You know the saying: "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."
Well, that's become my slogan in recent months.
So as I start in on the house again - after this little blog break - I'm reminded of the elephant analogy and something else:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
I'm also looking ahead to the future. My boss will be gone from Aug. 30 through Sept. 10. That means a lot of responsibility falls on my shoulders. (I covet your prayers.)
Yet as I was reading my Bible this morning, I believe the Lord gave me this: "....Be strong all you people of the land, declares the Lord, and work. For I am with you, declares the Lord Almighty ... And my spirit remains among you. Do not fear." Haggai 2:4-5.
I love the part where it says "Be strong .... and work .... Do not fear."
I love the Lord. He is so strong and gentle at the same time.
Well, it's time to get back to housework.
May the Lord bless and keep you. May he make his face shine upon you and give you peace!



Friday, August 6, 2010


This week, we brought a new dog into our home.
Her name is Betty Boop, but we call her BeBe for short.
She's a Boston terrier and a bundle of energy.
With her extra-short nose and big, bulging eyes, she looks a little like Yoda in a tuxedo. She's wild and in your face - snorting and trying to lick your checks and nose. She paws at your hair.
It's a little much.
This morning, I was trying to get her to go outside. When she wouldn't, I reached down to get her collar - not to be mean, but like I would have for my old hounds.
But unlike them, she didn't decide to head for the door.
Instead, she let out an extra high-pitched yelp and jerked and growled (I think it was a growl. I'm still trying to tell those from her snorts.)
I jumped back in surprise.
It's funny, but Chuck or our son, Zach, can reach down and pet her. When I put my hand out, she ducks away.
People at work think that her previous owners, who had four kids and other pets, probably weren't too nice to her. She seems to really like men, so folks at work think that the kids or the mom might not have treated her so well.
They say it will take time, but they think we can work with her.
My husband, Chuck, absolutely adores our new dog.
I'm still adjusting.
I miss Abby and Jughead. I grew up with a beagle named, Trixie, and I think I'm partial to hounds.
But I did pray that God would give us the right new dog.
So I'm taking this day by day.
And I'm thinking about how God works with us after we've had bad experiences in life.
He's good and patient. He gently guides us and looks for the best us.
"Love is patient, love is kind. ... It is not rude, it is not self-seeking; it is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs ... it always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Cor. 13:4-7
Maybe God is trying to teach me something through BeBe.
Maybe I'll go sit down and pet her and remind her, if necessary once again, that my nose doesn't need washing and my eyeglasses don't need re-adjusting.



Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Her name is Betty Boop

We have a new addition to our family.
No, our grandson hasn't yet arrived. Little Matthew David isn't due until Sept. 16 and naturally we want his mommy to go full term.
But we have a new dog.
We lost our beloved beagle, Jughead, in March and our spaniel-basset cross, Abby, a couple of weeks ago. Jughead was 13. Abby would have been 14 if she'd lived until September.
Both had tumors and died of cancer.
That's been tough.
We have our little, 10-year-old, Buzz, who's part Sheltie and part Welsh corgi.
He's a joy.
Yet the house seemed kind of empty with only one canine. It had been so long since we'd only had one dog.
That was about to change.
Yesterday, I walked in the door and was greeted by a Superball on steroids.
She's a little Boston terrier, who's about 1 1/2 to 2 years old.
My husband, Chuck, who has wanted this type of dog for more than two decades adopted her from the humane society in Omaha.
Chuck decided to name her Betty Boop and call her BeBe for short.
Or maybe it's B.B.
I personally like Betty or Boop, but since Chuck and I both have Aunt Bettys we probably shouldn't call her the former.
Now, I'm still grieving the loss of Abby. I'm starting to heal from Jughead.
I'm just beginning to warm to BeBe.
At first, I wondered if she really was a dog or if she was part kangaroo and part chipmunk. She jumps like a would-be basketball player. I took her to work and she nearly jumped up this woman's smock top!
And she snorts like a pig. (The dog, not the woman.) Sometimes, BeBe sounds like a rumbling, old car.
People get a charge out of her snorting and they seem to be taken with her friendliness.
I'm sure I'll come to love her very much.
After all, she is a dog.
And I've been a crazed dog lover since I was little.
She's a blessing from God and I know it.
Chuck got her for a great price and she just happened to be available the day he stopped in the humane society.
So, thank you Lord, for our new friend.
I have a feeling that she's going to give me a few things to write about in the future.



Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Losing Abby

We lost our beloved dog, Abby, on Saturday.
That was hard.
She would have been 14 years old if she'd lived until September. One of our other dogs, Jughead, died in March of cancer.
He had a tumor.
Abby ended up having two tumors. She seemed so spry after Jughead's death that I thought she might last awhile. Then she started having trouble going up steps. I noticed that her belly started looking a little big.
Chuck took her to the vet on Saturday. He told me that they'd probably just give us some medicine for her hips. He suggested that I go to the church meeting, so I went.
When I returned, Chuck said that an X-ray had exposed the tumors and that the prognosis wasn't good. So he had the vet give Abby the shot that would end her pain.
I don't know how dogs do this, but Chuck said she died with a smile on her face.
It's tough to lose two dogs within a four-month time period.
We still have our little dog, Buzz, but it seems strange to only have one pooch in the house.
I rely on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and on our heavenly father for strength and comfort.
I love you, Lord, and I thank you for the gift that Abby has been to our lives.



Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rebounding from disappointment

Here's a Spiritual Spinach column that I wrote for Friday's Fremont Tribune. I know it's a little long for a blog, but I hope you like it.
To read more Spiritual Spinach columns, just visit and type the words, "Spiritual Spinach," into the little, white, rectangular search box at the top of the home page, then click on the magnifying glass icon and that should take you to a listing of them.

Ever hear of Johnson Oatman Jr.?
Nope, neither had I - until I looked up an old-time gospel song.
The song is called "Count Your Blessings."
Maybe you know the chorus, which goes like this:
"Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done."
The lyrics are pretty nice, too. Some talk about doubts flying off when we count our blessings. Others talk about angels attending us and rewards in heaven.
I read that Oatman published this song in 1897.
Wow. I didn't know the song was that old, but I noticed that the chorus kept filtering through my brain when I was struggling with some discouragement recently.
Actually, the discouragement puzzled me. I have much for which to be thankful, but I think we all can get bummed out sometimes.
It could be because life didn't quite turn out like we expected.
We thought we'd be married and have a child or a house by now.
Or we figured that after years of hard work, we surely would have gotten that promotion.
Or we would be more financially stable and would have accomplished more by this time in our lives.
Maybe this is when we need a little encouragement from the Scriptures.
Remember this verse: "Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart"? (Psalm 37:4)
Or how about this one: "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not"? (Galatians 6:9)
Another translation of the Bible says we'll reap a harvest if we don't give up.
The Bible has many stories of people who faced big obstacles and became discouraged, then took the God-given courage they had and accomplished amazing things.
One of my favorite "rebound" Bible stories is found in 1 Samuel, chapter 30. This Old Testament account involves a man named David.
Many of us know that a shepherd boy, named David, killed a giant called Goliath.
But the acclaim that David later received after that victory aroused the jealousy of King Saul, who sent David fleeing for his life.
Other men - those in distress or in debt or the discontented - joined David, who became their leader.
What a group.
Now, many things will happen, but at one point David and his men go off to do battle, leaving their wives and children behind in a place called Ziklag.
The Amalekites then attack and burn Ziklag and capture the women and children. David and his men come back, find Ziklag destroyed, and cry until they don't have any strength left.
And as if things aren't bad enough, David's men start talking about stoning him to death.
Here's the part of the story that I love.
In verse six it says: "But David found strength in the Lord his God."
Then David does something that I think is really smart.
He asks God what to do.
"Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?" David asks.
And God answers. He lets David know that he'll succeed in the rescue.
So David and his men head out. They find a slave abandoned by one of the Amalekites. The slave takes them to the bad guys' camp. David fights them from dusk until evening the next day and recovers everything the Amalekites have taken.
Verse 19 of chapter 30 says: "Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back."
I think we can learn a couple of things from this story.
First, when he was disheartened, David found his strength in God.
How did he do that? He probably prayed. He might have stopped to remember all the times that God had helped him before. Maybe he did a little singing.
Next, David sought God's counsel.
It's important to ask God what to do when we're facing those difficult times and tough decisions. I also believe we need to seek him for direction when considering whether to take a new path in life.
"Lord, should I stay at this job or seek another?"
"Should I look into buying a house or wait?"
"Should I go back to college? Lord, please show me what you want me to do."
With God's guidance and support, David won his battle. And so can we, when we lean on the one who loves us and sees the future that we can only imagine.
We need to trust God and remember verses like: "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord of hosts, plans to prosper and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
And I think sometimes we need to take Oatman's advice and count our blessings. Years ago, when I was very disheartened, I made a list of 50 things for which I had to be thankful. I wrote down even the little things and posted that list on my refrigerator, making sure to look at it each day.
I don't know what happened to that list, but I think it might be time to make a new one.
I think Oatman would be pleased.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

In a hot place

It's been so hot here in Fremont!
I drove past a bank today and the sign read "101 degrees." All I wanted to do after church was come home and stay in my air conditioned house.
The whole thing, however, reminds me of three guys who really were in a hot spot. They were among Israelites taken into captivity. Their names were Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.
We know them better by their Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. As the story goes, the king has built a 90-foot-tall gold statue, which he orders everyone bow down and worship.
Those who don’t will be thrown into a fiery furnace.
Guess who won’t bow down? Yep, those three stubborn Israelites. And when brought before an enraged king, they even say “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.”
Then our non-compromising friends say something that I consider the epitome of God-fueled faith.
Immediately after making their first statement, they follow up with: “But even if he does not (rescue us), we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Did you catch that phrase “even if he does not….”
How many of us can say, “Even if God never heals me on this earth, I will remain faithful”?
“Even if God never brings along that mate I’ve prayed for so long….”
“Even if God never lets me have a child….”
“Even if…..”
The king doesn’t take this response very well.
He orders the furnace heated seven times hotter than normal.
Next, the king has some of his strongest soldiers tie up the three men and throw them into the furnace. The furnace is so hot that it kills the soldiers. So you’d think our three friends would be gone, right?
Suddenly, the king leaps to his feet.
“Weren’t there three men we tied up and threw into the fire?” he asks.
Everyone agrees that the king’s math is correct.
“Look,” he says, “I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods!”
The king orders our three fellows to come out of the fire, which they do. They’re not hurt, their clothes aren’t scorched — and they don’t even smell like smoke.
We don’t like those furnace times — the times we hear about layoffs at work; or that our loved one was in a bad accident; or that the doctor wants us to come back because something on our test doesn’t look quite right.
Suddenly, we can start to feel our faith evaporating faster than the sweat on our brow. But it’s at these times that we have to remember who’s with us in the furnace. Bible scholars tell us that the fourth man in the furnace could have been an angel or the preincarnate manifestation of Christ.
Either way, those boys weren’t alone.
And neither are we.
God is faithful and he has protected me throughout my life — like the time my car hit a slick spot on a bridge and the back end hit a sign; or the time I nearly drove off a bridge that was under construction (that's a whole other story); or one time I was riding with a friend who hit a rainy slick spot while driving and took out a section of grass in a hilly park area.
Yes, God's had to keep an eye on me.
But then, he does that with everyone.
I'm so grateful to the Lord, who as the Scriptures say never sleeps or slumbers, and who can get us out of some really hot situations in life.
And while I wish he'd cool down these hot summer temperatures a bit, I know that I all have to do - if I want some real refreshment - is to open my Bible!



Friday, July 16, 2010

When in crisis

I'm getting ready to speak at a women's event this weekend.
Basically, I'm talking about trusting God through the tough times and giving Biblical examples.
I also want to give people a few tips.

When you're facing a crisis:

1. Pray. Ask God to help you. Ask him to give you peace, strength, courage and hope. Then wait on him.

2. Read your Bible. Ask God to speak to you through the Scriptures. Ask him to direct you where to go. Spend as much time as you can reading.

3. Underline comforting Psalms in your Bible. Look at those when you're in a hurry. Ask God to help you remember them. Repeat them to yourself.

4. Write down favorite Bible verses and post them where you can see them. Write Scriptures on index cards. Say them once aloud every day - so you can hear them with your heart and your ears. After about a week or so, you should be able to remember them.

5. Memorize Scripture. We memorize phone numbers, passwords and other things, so why not Scriptures? Make up a song for them and sing them. These are like bullets in a gun. When sad, scary or tough thoughts come at you, fire off a Scripture - repeat it over and over if necessary.

6. Never compare your insides with somebody else's outsides. Remember - we all have problems. We all go through different seasons in our lives. You may be going through a tough time now, but later you may be going through a good time while someone else is going through a rough time.

7. Seek Godly counsel. After you've gone to the Lord first, you may want to seek some Godly counsel for support or suggestions. Pray and ask God to direct you to the person you should talk to.

8. Trust God. Remember that he is faithful. He loves you. Ask him to guide you and calm you.

9. Write a list of things that God has blessed you with. Try to list 50 or as many as you can. Post that on your refrigerator and review it.

10. Have fellowship with other believers. Read stories of how God has helped other people. Remember that God doesn't love them any more than you. He has a good plan for you.

Please pray that I totally rely on the Holy Spirit when speaking and that God will use this time to bless those who come to my breakout sessions.



Monday, July 12, 2010

Waiting for the harvest

It's funny how God can lead you, if you let him.
About a year ago, I was covering county fairs after not having done so for years. After years of editing, my newspaper has me doing more writing, which I really do enjoy.
Anyway, I went to this fair and simply prayed and asked God to show me who to talk to - and to sort of bring them to me.
He was so faithful. I got good stories from all those with whom I came in contact. At one fair, I talked to a girl who told about trying to give her cat a bath before the event. At another, I visited with a boy who'd lost his dog for quite awhile. The dog wandered off, but came back. The boy nursed his dog back to health and was showing him at the fair.
I just love a good dog story.
Anyway, I decided to pray that God would direct my steps when Chuck and I went to the International Christian Retail Association Show in St. Louis.
I met lots of people, but the results of those meetings haven't been as immediate as what I found when interviewing people for newspaper stories.
So, I wait.
And like a farmer plants seeds, I pray and trust that God will make them grow.
We planted a lot of seed and some appears to have been scattered far away.
Three books went to South Korea. One went to Bermuda. One went to Haiti. At least two went to Nigeria. One went to Finland.
People ask if I've heard anything yet.
Well ... sort of.
I did have one woman, who has an on-line bookstore, say that she'd put my cards in with book orders that she mails out.
That sounds like a start.
Now, I'm still waiting for the little green shoots to start appearing out of the ground. I keep remembering what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, some of whom were saying they followed him and others Apollos. Paul reminded them that he and Apollos were only servants and that the Lord had assigned each to his task.
"I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow."
Now I'm praying that God will make this project grow. I've prayed quite a bit that this book will go and help millions of people around the world.
I suppose that will take some time, but I'm wanting to see it happen right away.
I guess that's where I have to stop and remember that some things - like plants and faith - can take a little while to grow.
So I must wait and pray and trust.
God is faithful.
And I have to remind myself that the main point of this isn't just to sell a lot of books, it's to win the lost.
The hurting.
The fearful.
Dear Lord - Please help these seeds I've planted to take root and grow for the glory of your kingdom. And please help me to have the right heart attitude. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.



Saturday, July 3, 2010

Re-thinking St. Louis

Chuck and I just returned from a whirlwind business trip/vacation to St. Louis and then Kansas City.
We went to St. Louis for the International Christian Retail Association event. During that time, I ended up having two book signings - autographing and giving away (yes, giving away) about 150 copies of "Real Spiritual Spinach - Faith for the Journey" to retailers and even some authors.
It's called marketing.
We're hoping and praying that these retailers will like the book and order copies for their stores. We also paid for an ad that was placed in a catalog and handed to retailers.
It's a risk - and not one that comes without a price.
But it's a risk we've been willing to take.
And it's kind of been fun.
We have books going to Haiti, Bermuda, Finland, Nigeria, South Korea and Brazil. I gave one of the cool cards that our publisher printed about the book to a distributor from London.
Lots of books went to stores in the South.
Now, it's a wait-and-trust-God process.
Earlier, I wrote that I was going out into the deep and fishing and praying to God for a big haul - like what Peter got when Christ told him to go out into the deep.
But now I think the process is more like planting seeds and praying for a bountiful harvest.
I'd appreciate prayers from any of you who'd like to pray.
I also must say that I've learned how much competition there is out there. Lots of authors from lots of companies have written and published books. Many companies had catalogs.
I did get a few cool, autographed copies of books from authors.
And I met a couple of authors who are already on my Facebook. If you notice Gwen Moore's name, you need to know that she wrote the book, "An Usher and Greeters Guide to the True Heart of a Servant Inspired by God."
Gwen had a bad experience with an usher when she visited a church years ago. Later, she became the head of the ushers group for her church. Now she leads a group of 20 ushers and greeters - ranging from teens to adults.
She knows how vital it is to welcome people properly into God's house and to make them feel welcome.
She's a fun person and she is already a friend.
And there's Mary Schrock, who wrote "The Greater Inheritance." Mary and her husband, John, left an old order Amish community when they came to know that we're saved by grace not by works or lifestyle.
Unable to remain in a religion that denied salvation by Christ alone, they left that lifestyle. It meant that they were rejected by family and cut off from their inheritance.
But if you read the back of Mary's book, you'll see that they now anticipate "The Greater Inheritance."
I read this 149-page book while on vacation. I could hardly put it down. Mary really gives readers an inside look at the Amish. She doesn't put them down; they're human beings with faults and frailties like all of us. She just tells about what it's like to live among this group of people. Mary also talks about the culture shock that she and her family had after leaving the Amish.
Some of that is kind of funny - like the trouble they had trying to match clothes!
It's a great book. I'd recommend it.
You may find it at:



Saturday, June 26, 2010

Goin' fishing out in the deep

Do you remember a Bible story about Jesus telling Peter where to cast his nets?
Actually there are a couple of those accounts, but the one I'm thinking about occurs in the New Testament book of Luke, chapter 5.
It involves Peter, a fisherman. On this particular day, Christ is preaching by the Lake of Gennesaret when he gets into Peter’s boat and asks him to put out a little way from shore. Then Jesus sits and teaches people from the boat.
When he finishes, Christ tells Peter to go out into the deep water and let down the nets for a catch.
I can just imagine the astonished look on Peter’s face.
“Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets,” Peter says.
When Peter and those with him follow Christ’s direction, they catch so many fish their nets start to break. Fishing partners in another boat come to help and they fill both boats so full that they begin to sink.
It's a marvelous story that can teach us many lessons about trust and faith.
I've been thinking a lot about this story for the past several months and I need to tell you that Chuck and I will be going fishing this next week - not for real fish, but for people who can distribute our book to the lost and hurting.
We're going to the International Christian Retail Association trade show in St. Louis. There, we hope to meet up with retailers who might carry our book in their stores and media who might spread the word about it.
It's a costly risk, but we're willing to take it.
Many months ago, I recalled the story of Jesus and Peter and the fish and I started praying and asking God to show me where to go out into the deep and cast my nets.
Our publisher/printer JaNell Lyle suggested this show. I'd heard her talk about it before, but wondered if this was something we should check out. I prayed about it and asked others. People seemed to think it would be a good idea. God seems to have been opening doors for it.
So, here we go, out into the deep.
Please pray for us. I'm praying for a really big haul. I dream of this book going all over the world and helping millions of people. And I pray that the Lord will allow me to write more that will do the same thing!
I know that many of you have your own concerns, but I covet your prayers.
Thank you so much for reading my posts and being supportive.
May God bless and keep you and supply all your needs (and maybe some wants, too!)



Friday, June 25, 2010

Meet me in St. Louis

Decades ago, actress Judy Garland was in a movie called "Meet Me in St. Louis."
I never saw the film, but I recall hearing her sing a song from it.
Well, guess what?
Chuck and I are headed to St. Louis, Mo., for the International Christian Retail Association trade show next week.
Please join us in prayer that LOTS of retailers will like our book, "Real Spiritual Spinach - Faith for the Journey," and order it for their stores!
I'm praying that this book goes all around the world and helps millions of people. I don't know if it's selfish or ungodly to pray that it sells millions of copies.
I've prayed that a little.
More than that, I pray that God will use it to reach out to lost and hurting people and to strengthen and encourage those who are already believers.
For a long time, I've imagined sad, discouraged people, sitting alone in a house or apartment and wondering why they're even on this earth or if anybody cares about them. Then I imagine them picking up this book and reading it, feeling God's love and knowing that he cares about them and has a plan for their lives.
I dream of them gaining hope and joy, wanting to dig into the scriptures for themselves, and even seeking out a church where they can go - not just out of routine, but to hear God's word and to unite with other believers who truly seek to live for their Lord and do his will.
This book is already being sold in our local hospital's gift shop. I'd like to see it in other hospital shops.
In the meantime, I trust God and wait.
Please pray that he guides our every step and directs us to the right people just at the right time.
I really believe God can use this book to help many people.
I pray that God will use me to help spread his word.
And I trust in something else for myself and other Christians:
"...that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6.)



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Marvelous works

This evening, it seemed like our dog, Abby, wanted to go outside.
But when I went to let her out, she appeared to have changed her mind.
Looking out the doorway, I wondered if she heard distant thunder.
Then I paused for a moment.
Fireflies in the backyard seemed to be doing a little dance for me - appearing and disappearing.
How long has it been since I've stopped to watch fireflies?
Then lightning etched squiggly lines in the sky and lit up otherwise dark clouds. It made me think about how much I love to see a full moon surrounded by clouds or a dark sky filled with stars.
I looked in another direction and saw a bunch of smaller clouds. It looked like God had dumped a bunch of cotton balls out across the sky.
Sometimes, I think I get so busy that I forget to look at the wonders of God's creation.
David, the shepherd boy who became a king, must have spent lots of nights looking at God's handiwork.
Consider what he writes in Psalm 8:3-9: "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
"You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
"You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!"
Dear Lord,
You are great and marvelous.
Thank you for the works of your hands! They are truly wonderful!
In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.



Friday, June 11, 2010

Wrestling alligators

I spent a chunk of this week working on a good-sized story for the newspaper.
It was a lot more time than I'd normally spend on an article, but it's a pretty important story.
The story had multiple sources with very different opinions and I had lots of statistics tossed at me.
As I worked to put the story together, it began to feel like I was wrestling with an alligator.
The Lord - as always - was faithful and helped me finish the piece.
Something else interesting happened.
Just the other night I found myself nosing through the book of Job and I meandered over to chapter 41.
In this chapter, God asks Job if he can pull a leviathan with a fishhook or tie his tongue down with a rope. By the time we get to verse 21 we learn more about the leviathan as we read: "His breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from his mouth."
What's a leviathan?
In my Bible's study notes it says that scholars often identify the leviathan as a giant crocodile or a whale. The Full Life Study Bible says that by these illustrations, God is emphasizing that if Job couldn't subdue such a great creature of the world (along with another thought to be a hippopotamus) he was in no position to question and counsel God.
I guess God was trying to tell Job that he needed to trust him - no matter what.
Boy, that's a big order - especially in light of everything Job lost (all his children and livestock).
But if we read the end of the chapter, we learn that the Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first and that Job died "old and full of years."
I guess this could be considered a lesson in trust for all of us. I don't know how many of us will die old and full of years.
But the years we live can be full if we live them in Christ - our Lord and Savior and Redeemer and Friend.
And someone who's there - no matter what kind of alligator or crocodile or leviathan we're wrestling.



Thursday, June 3, 2010

Where's your focus?

I have a hard time taking a compliment.
That probably started when I was a kid. I'd draw a picture. Someone would say it was a good drawing and I'd deny it. I guess that seemed like the thing to do - the thing I saw modeled.
As I've grown older, I've noticed that my brain seems to go on autopilot when someone gives me a compliment and later I find myself trying to recall what that person really did say.
Oh, but a criticism?
I seem to recall those for years.
Today, someone gave me a lovely compliment about an interview for a story I recently conducted. I deflected the compliment.
Later, someone else brought up a small point about a different subject.
I went home fighting discouragement and prayed for the Lord to encourage me.
A thought hit.
Maybe I just need to change my focus. Instead of focusing on the small point - about which I can't do anything - perhaps I should focus on the compliment - or what I remember of it.
I think the Lord provides us with encouragement each day. We just need to make a point of looking for it.
Years ago, I had a friend who'd call occasionally. Whenever that person called, I was supposed to tell about 10 good things that had happened that day.
At first, it was hard. I was a single mom struggling in my job and to make ends meet.
But after about the second call, I was prepared. By the third call, I had no problems telling about good things that had occurred.
At one point, I even wrote a list of 50 blessings and posted it on my refrigerator.
I eventually met and married a wonderful man. We have two great sons and groovy daughter-in-law with a grandbaby on the way.
I have much for which to be thankful.
Even if I didn't have all of this, I'd still have the love of Christ and our Heavenly Father and the comfort and counsel of the Holy Spirit.
I still live in what I believe is the greatest country on earth. I have a loving church family.
I could go on and on.
And maybe that's what I need to do later: Count my blessings and post them on the refrigerator.
Sounds like some good spiritual nutrition to me!

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 118:1.



Saturday, May 29, 2010

Looking forward to the finish

Recently, I've read some blogs of people who are going through tough stuff.
One particular creed - found on the body of a confederate soldier during the Civil War - has greatly encouraged me throughout the years.
I hope it encourages those who read it:

A Creed For Those Who Have Suffered
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do great things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing I asked for - but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among men, most richly blessed!
- unknown Confederate soldier.

This verse also has filtered through my mind recently:
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith,
who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12: 2-3.
The part about "scorning its shame" always made me do a double take.
But the Message Bible talks about this verse and says Jesus
put up with anything - even the cross and shame - because
he never lost sight of what was ahead: "that exhilarating finish
in and with God."
May we never lose sight of our exhilarating finish!



Friday, May 28, 2010

Where does my help come from?

Years ago, I wrote a story about post-vacation blues - those down-in-the-dump feelings that people can get after a fun time off.
I think those things can happen after holidays and other special occasions - including graduations.
We had such a fun time when our youngest son, Zach, graduated. Getting ready for it was crazy, but the party at church and graduation - even in the heat - was very enjoyable.
Now, I'm kind of in that O-zone layer time - realizing how much housework and laundry lie ahead.
I also realize, of course, how very blessed I am in so many respects. And one of the best is being a child of God.
Tonight, a verse has been filtering through my brain. It's Psalm 121: "I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth."
That's a verse I most often associate with people going through desperate times, but I think it can apply to those of us who find ourselves in a slump or down in the dumps.
The Lord is our help in all sorts of situations. He's with us in good times and bad times and all the in-between times.
How blessed we are to have a God who knows us better than we know ourselves and who brings us little bits of encouragement - through a Bible verse or song or a kind word from someone.
Notice the next verses in this marvelous Psalm.
Verses three and four say: "He will not let your foot slip - he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over you Israel will neither slumber nor sleep."
How wonderful it is to have a 24/7 God!
Just thinking and writing about God is enough to raise my sagging spirits. Maybe that's why pastors and Christian speakers advocate praising God and counting our blessings when we're having a down time.
Concentrating on God's grace and goodness really is uplifting.
Where does my help come from?
The Lord - who made heaven and earth and me.



Monday, May 24, 2010

The Reset Button

I'm so amazed at the way God works.
On Sunday, our air conditioning appeared to be on the fritz - not a good day considering that Sunday was when our youngest son, Zachary, graduated from high school!
Now, we'd had a party for him at church the day before so it wasn't like we had a household full of guests. But my husband's parents were here and we were all getting a little uncomfortable as we waited to head over to the football stadium for commencement ceremonies.
I tried not to worry as I wondered what this would cost. My husband, Chuck, did heating and air conditioning as an apartment maintenance man for years so he could do the labor, but what if we needed a new unit?
It was a hot day as we sat on metal bleachers in the stadium. We were proud of our son and our family yelled, clapped and cheered as he got his diploma that afternoon. We went out to a restaurant afterward, then my hubby and I headed over to a graduation party. My husband used to work with boy's parents so we really wanted to attend this celebration.
While there, the boy's dad, Vince, introduced my husband to another guest. Vince told how someone he knew was having air conditioning problems. Vince called Chuck who suggested that the guy hit the reset button on his unit.
That was all it took.
Vince figured my husband saved his other fellow about $45.
It was an easy fix.
After that I started praying that our air conditioning unit would only need an easy fix as well. We got home and my hubby crashed on the couch. He was tired. I fell asleep, too, but awoke to a miserably hot house.
Chuck woke up and then started to putter around. He'd figured out what was wrong. He'd shut off some switch for whatever reason I can't remember, but when he turned it on we started getting cool air into our house.
I love the Lord. I love how he brought us to a graduation party where a man happened to recall how Chuck had found a simple fix for someone else years ago.
I love how I was able to pray for a simple fix, which the Lord readily supplied.
And I love how God gives me the opportunity to write about these things.
Last night, I was listening to Joyce Meyer on my computer and she was talking about times when she wrote about God's blessings in journals. I think she called them "books of remembrance." She says that God also has a "book of remembrance" in which he keeps track of good things we've said about him.
I don't have a book, but I sure want to remember this experience: The day that God took a story about a reset button and turned it into a little miracle for our family.
Thank you Lord for your continuing faithfulness to us!



Wednesday, May 19, 2010

No Second-Hand Faith

I just finished reading a wonderful devotion on the Our Daily Bread Web site.
It was about "second-hand faith."
Actually, it was about how we really can't have second-hand faith. We need to have first-hand experiences with God. The devotion pointed to a generation of Israelites who grew up after Joshua and his generation had died.
This second generation didn't know about God's wonders or what he'd done for them. Consequently, they forsook the Lord.
My first question is "how did this happen?"
OK, these folks obviously didn't witness the Red Sea parting, but was there no one to tell them about it?
Or did they just not listen or believe? Did it seem like an old history lesson with no relevance to their times?
How sad.
The whole thing makes me think about how vital it is that we teach our future generations of the goodness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and what he did for us. We need to model his love and forgiveness - even when it's hard. We need to tell about what he's done for us and how he's always with us.
Some of us may not have biological children, but I can tell you as an aunt and longtime Sunday school teacher that many children out there need the love and Godly encouragement of a mentor.
I believe God gives us spiritual children if we will have them. They may be little children or they may be young adults, who simply need some Godly examples and kind words.
Now, I know from experience how tired a person can get when he or she works all day and then finds a young one in need of attention.
It can be downright draining.
I also have discovered that God can give us pockets of time and periods of respite and that we really have to lean on him for guidance when dealing with mentees of any age. I've sought out Godly counsel and have worked to implement boundaries.
I'm still working on that.
My point is that we all can encourage the next generation in various ways. And I believe it's so important that we do so.
I know that in the end times, the love of many will grow cold. But I want to do everything I can to keep as many of this next generation from following the path of those wayward Israelites.
How about you?



Saturday, May 15, 2010

What a difference a year makes

Where does the time go?
I looked at my last blog and it was dated for last Saturday.
Between being busy at work and getting ready for Zach's graduation, life has been a little crazy lately!
Actually, the craziness started a year ago in May after Zach got a severe steam burn down his whole right side at work. God was so faithful. It was first and second degree burns (instead of third) and none of the steam touched his face or eyes.
He had quite a recovery, but the people at the University of Nebraska Medical Center's burn unit were great. And so were friends and family.
I kept working on my book, "Real Spiritual Spinach - Faith for the Journey," and got the first 150 copies the day after Labor Day.
Book signings started after that. I also sold books at a women's retreat in October.
Our oldest son, Mike, and his fiancee, Rachel, got married Nov. 14. Rachel has been such a blessing to our family! She's a wonderful person and we had lots of fun activities related with the wedding!
Then came Christmas and lots of snow. More book stuff followed and we got our Web site up and running.
My work is always busy, but we had a couple of big projects after the first of the year.
Our 13-year-old beagle, Jughead, died March 11.
That was really hard for me.
We still have Abby - our basset-spastic spaniel cross - and Buzz - a little sheltie-Welsh corgi cross - but I still find myself accidentally calling one of them Jughead sometimes.
I had lots of book-related stuff in March.
I'm trying to remember April.
My boss was gone the last week of that month. That's always extra responsibility for me. My friend, Marie Larsen, got married April 30. I should say that we had a nice Easter with our kids and Rachel's grandparents.
We've spent May getting ready for Zach's graduation. My friend and marvelous photographer, Becky Novacek, really baled me out by making Zach's graduation invitations. I'm trying to get photos scanned for a Power Point-type slide show and get the CD over to Mark Mason, our church's tech guy.
Church buddy, Theresa Inman, has offered to bake Zach's cake. Our good friend, Suzy Wess, baked Mike's graduation and wedding cakes, but with her talented son, Keith, graduating this year, we didn't want to ask for yet another favor.
All in all, I guess I could say that my family and I have just been "doing life." We have had good and bad times, but never boring times.
Praise God. He is so faithful.
Oh did I tell you?
We are awaiting a great blessing scheduled to arrive Sept. 16.
His name will be Matthew David.
Yes, Mike and Rachel are expecting. I'm told that they picked the name because Matthew means "Gift of God" and David means "Beloved."
So I guess we have a "Beloved Gift of God" on the way.
And you wonder why I'm never bored!
God bless each one of you!


Saturday, May 8, 2010


I've been praying this week for God to give me a Spiritual Spinach column.
Today, I've been praying that he will give me columns that are powerful and beautiful. He's given them to me in the past.
I love it when he gives me a seed of an idea and then the rest of the column just comes on like a flood.
It's wonderful.
Is it wrong to say that it's almost addictive? I long for it.
Ever since I was a kid, I've wanted to feel God. I hear people talk about feeling God's presence and hearing his voice.
I've always wanted to feel what I see on their faces.
I think God talks to me, but I think I hear him best when I'm writing. I love it when I get to the end of a column and find myself getting choked up by what I'm writing. It's not that I'm some great writer. I really believe he's giving me the words and they're flowing so smoothly and wonderfully.
I have sensed strength in his beauty.
Oh dear Lord,
Please open up your word to me. Please give me new and fresh revelation. Open my eyes. Raise up the Holy Spirit within me and speak to me.
Please help me to write columns that will speak to your people's needs. Please let these columns strengthen and encourage them. Help me not to be afraid to write anything you want me to write.
Please give me the peace that passes all understanding.
And thank you Lord for allowing me to do this.
In the mighty name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

I hope you all have a great weekend!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

The God who works things out

I've been crazy busy at works during the last two or three weeks, but I have to say that God has been faithful.
It's reached the point where I've prayed something like this: "Lord please just direct me every moment and at every turn let me know what to do."
And he's been so faithful!
My days have been jam-packed, but he's helped me get things done.
For quite a while now I've also been praying: "Lord please help me get everything done tomorrow that I need to get done and not fret about the rest."
Guess what?
God's been faithful with that, too.
When I've had uneasy situations with people, I've prayed: "Lord please show me how to act and react" and before I know it that once-tense situation has been defused. When I've felt as if I was out of sorts with someone, I've prayed: "Lord please help us to get back on track."
And the Lord has been faithful to do that as I wait on him.
The Lord has been helping me at every turn!
He is my peace and my strength!
The whole situation reminds me of Scriptures like: "Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me." Psalm 54:4.
Or: "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him and I am helped." Psalm 28:7.
Or: the first part of Psalm 118, verse 7: "The Lord is with me; he is my helper...."
Who would think that the God of the Universe would want to be my helper? Who would think that the God who created the sun and stars and mountains would find it important to assist me?
It boggles my mind.
Thank you Lord for being so faithful and for loving me!
I love you - not just because you are the God who works things out - but because you are wonderful!



Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Lord who helps us defeat giants

The good Lord really helped me make it through a couple of really busy two weeks.
I worked every day the first week and then three nights. I spent two of those nights training our new night clerk, who has been a blessing! I covered an event for the paper on another night.
Last weekend, I had the awesome privilege of speaking to a group of women in Taylor, Ne. They were so nice.
My lesson was about trust. I talked about Daniel and the lions den. Do you remember the verse from that story which reads "No wound was found on him because he had trusted in his God"? Next, I talked about David and his bout with Goliath. The Lord prepared David before that young shepherd ever put his sandaled feet on that battlefield. (I'm guessing he was wearing sandals. Maybe he went barefoot.)
Anyway, David had found his confidence in God. He knew he could trust our heavenly Father. Do you remember how David said "The God who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine"?
God had shown himself faithful on two previous, and obviously, powerful occasions. With those experiences under his belt, how could David hesitate to trust his God?
I need to remember that when I face my own "Goliaths." I need to recall how many times God has helped me defeat the giants in my life.
This last week was very busy, too. I was filling in for my boss. We have a really good staff, but even so the workload and accompanying stresses can be challenging - even when things go well.
Our staff really pulled together and I'm grateful for them, but I have to admit that I'm looking forward to what hopefully will be a calmer week.
I do have a busy Sunday. We have church. My husband, who's a deacon, and I will be attending a leadership training meeting and then we have graduation parties to attend.
It will be fun, but busy!
Our son graduates this month. We need to make our invitations and I need to scan photos for a slide show .... More busy times lie ahead.
Even so, I know that God is faithful. He carries us when we're weak. He gives us strength right when we need it.
He is good.
May we never forget that!



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The way things work out

On Sunday, I already had begun to dread the next couple of weeks.
I have a jam-packed schedule this week - working all week, plus three nights. I speak on Saturday and have an open house on Sunday and that's before the next week when my boss is gone. (And that involves lots of hours and added responsibility.)
Guess what?
So far this week has gone pretty nicely - one snafu, but nothing I couldn't handle.
Which makes me think that I need to rest more in the Lord.
Here are some verses that have brought me comfort amid hairy schedules:

"They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings as eagles, They shall run and not be weary; They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28.

Many times, I've simply prayed "Lord, please carry me" and he has always been faithful to do so.
I think I just need to remind myself of those times.
We serve a loving, faithful God!
We can trust him!



Friday, April 16, 2010

When it's OK to say "no."

Overly busy people will say they have too much on their plate.
The other day, I felt like my plate was a casserole dish and it was overflowing!
And I was angry and resentful. I felt trapped.
I wrestled with cutting some volunteer duties out of my schedule, but that was difficult. My husband told me to cut back. Friends said the world wouldn't end - and I wouldn't cease to be a team player - if I said "no."
Still, I struggled.
I prayed. Sought Godly counsel. Read the Scriptures.
When I came across verses in Romans 12, I felt guilt rising up inside of me. The verses tells how we who are many form one body and that each member belongs to the others. It talks about honoring others above one's self.
So shouldn't I agree to go ahead with these other projects even if I am feeling overloaded?
I don't think so.
I don't think that honoring others above myself means that I take on so much work that I'm angry and resentful.
How then can I show the love of Christ?
I read Romans 12:6-8 which tells how we're each given different gifts.
The verses, from the New International Version, say: "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully."
I stopped a moment.
Was God telling me that I needed to go ahead with this volunteer work - even if I was tired - and use my teaching and mercy gifts?
I wondered.
Then I noticed something.
The word "let."
The verses say that if a person's gift is teaching, LET him teach.
It didn't say MAKE him teach.
The verses say that if a person's gift is serving, "let" him serve - not "make."
I finally reached a point where I knew I had to do something and I prayed that I would be understood.
I made a phone call and explained my overloaded feelings. By then, my fears about my news not being well received had reached an out-of-portion peak.
But the person understood.
All the worst-case scenarios that had tormented me never happened. The person promised to pray for me and was very loving.
I was relieved. A burden had been lifted.
Now, I'm looking forward to some rest from my volunteer duties - which may be good, because I anticipate that my work responsibilities (and hours) will be increased during the next couple of weeks.
I'm not looking forward to the next two weeks, but I know that I must rely on God for strength, energy, patience, endurance and peace.
He is faithful. I just have to remember that and dump my burdens at the foot of an old rugged cross.
And trust.



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Help for overload

Ever feel like you're burned out?
Stick a fork in you - you're done.
There are hamburgers that are less fried than you.
That's when you - and all of us - need to turn to the best source of energy and strength - our Lord.
The Scriptures say he never sleeps or slumbers.
And he cares about the things that matter to us.
Feeling used?
Jesus knows what that feels like.
Feeling isolated and like nobody understands?
Yep, he's been there, too.
Maybe that's why the Scriptures say "Cast all your cares upon him for he cares about you." 1 Peter 5:7.
The New International Version uses the word "anxiety."
Sometimes I think we carry a load of anxiety like a big duffel bag jam-packed full of rocks - then we add stuff like resentment, weariness, regret ....
It's time to dump the load and run to the cross.
Run to the Savior who understands burdens, who can handle them and who cares for you.