Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Little changes

Lately I've been looking at a few minor changes.
I was visiting with a friend who suggested that I try a new hairstyle.
Now you have to understand, I've basically had the same hairstyle for about the last 30 years.
Hey, what can I say?
I realize the curly, puffy, big hair look has been out for some time, but it's seemed to work for me.
Then awhile back I went to the home of a very nice, young couple. When their little boy answered the door he said, "Oh you're a clown."
The mother must have noticed my startled expression and explained that she'd hired a clown for her son's birthday party.
The clown had poufy hair - like me.
Move over Ronald McDonald, Bozo and Blinky, you've got competition!
Seriously, though, as I work at promoting my book, I'm thinking that maybe I need to modernize my look.
My dear friend also suggested new eyeglasses. Now, I personally like big round frames, but I guess that look is out, too.
I suppose polyester, pin-stripe suits are out, as well?
Anyway, while thinking about how I'm going to update my look, I'm reminded of how often we can stay in the same rut when we study God's word and pray.
I've been trying to work on that a little.
I've been journaling my prayers - kind of like writing letters to God. I've found that helps me focus and I'm able to get all my thoughts and concerns on paper.
The other day I just sat and asked God questions while I meandered through his word and read different passages. I'm also working with a Beth Moore devotional book called "Jesus - 90 Days with the One and Only."
It's great, because you read the passage, answer a couple of life-application questions, read her devotional text and then write a prayer based on Scripture - like praying God's word.
I have to admit that when I write the prayer, I page through the Psalms and write some of what I read there.
Can we ever thank God enough, because his mercies are new every morning?
I think it's good to try new things. I still love reading the "Our Daily Bread" devotionals on line. I still work through a Beth Moore Bible study when I can.
But I think that adding something different to our quiet time can be just the thing we need to get out of a routine.
God isn't boring. Neither is his word.
So by getting in a rut, I think we kind of cheat ourselves.
Now, if I can just find a flatter, but still flattering hairstyle, I think I'll be on my way to some good changes!



Monday, January 25, 2010

What's my motivation?

Lately, I've been a little concerned because book sales have slowed down.
Actually, I was kind of planning to take off January and February and really hit it hard in March, April and May.
But I know I need to sell more books to be able to buy more books _ and we want to give more proceeds to Royal Family Kids' Camps, a program that provides weeklong summer camps for abused, neglected and abandoned children in the foster care system.
Some women from my church are planning to have a camp here next August and they need to raise $25,000!
Please let me explain that the foster care system doesn't have money to put on special camps for these kids ages 7-11. And many of these kids don't get to go to camp, perhaps because of behaviors or medications that regular camps don't want to deal with or because their foster parents may not have the funds for them to go.
These camps are special because kids can be themselves and be shown the unconditional love of God via camp counselors and other personnel.
Anyway, we want to give some more money toward the cause, but it seems like every time we get ahead we have some other expenses and then need to have money for more books.
My husband never worries. He's incredible in that area!
I know I need to rest in the Lord.
And examine my motivation.
Have the books become the means or the end?
If the end is that I sell books, then I've lost focus.
They should just be the means by which I point people to Christ and help provide a few proceeds toward the camp.
My pastor reminded me of a Scripture that I clung to years ago while I was hoping and praying for Mr. Right.
It is: "Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4
And there's: "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well." Matt. 6:33.
I hung onto those verses, trying to do what they said, and eventually the Lord brought me my beloved husband, Chuck.
We've been married almost 20 years!
Such things remind me of God's faithfulness and unfailing love.
It's a matter of priorities.
When I seek the Lord and (with his help) strive to do his will, then I can rest in his care, knowing that he has a plan.
"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, then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you and you will seek me and find me when you seek me with your whole heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13.
O Dear Lord, please show me how to take delight in you. Help me to put you first in everything I do.
And please let me always seek you with my whole heart.
Because then, I know that I'll find you.
In the name of your precious son, Jesus, Amen.


Tammy M.

P.S. You may learn more about Royal Family Kids' Camps by visiting
Or you also may copy and paste this into your Web browser to learn more about the Fremont, Ne. efforts:

Friday, January 22, 2010

A new life

Just last week I learned that I'm going to become a grandma!
How exciting!
It came sooner than I expected, but it's welcome news. My son, Mike, and his wife, Rachel, are having a baby.
This will be a first grandchild for my husband, Chuck, and I.
Chuck has been grinning like a Cheshire cat. Our son, Zach, hasn't said too much, but I think he's pleased.
Already I've been praying that the baby will be healthy, will be able to see and hear and will have a strong heart and lungs.
And I'm reminded of some 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."
Wow. Imagine that.
All of our days have been written in God's book before they ever come to pass.
So there must be a page telling about a tired, fuzzy-haired grandma-in-waiting who sits in front of a computer and writes a blog about a baby who's on the way, right?
What other chapters lie ahead?
What chapters will comprise the life of my grandchild?
I wonder.
I pray they will be good chapters, rich with stories of faith and love.
And I know that for me, the best chapter will be the one where I meet my God face to face and begin the story of my time in eternity with him.


Tammy M.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

When life is a deadline

Does life seem like one big deadline to you?
I think I can relate.
I've worked at a newspaper for the last 28 years - more than half my life.
I remember when our deadline was 10:30 a.m. We had to write our stories and type any obituaries that came our way and have it all done by then. Gradually, the deadline crept up through the morning as circulation directors sought to get papers out early for the lunchtime crowd.
Now, it's best if we can have stories written the afternoon before so they're ready for 7 a.m. editing.
Oh, I have other deadlines, too.
We have special project stories due by 5 p.m. Friday. Contest entries are due Monday. Personally, my husband and I have our own deadlines.
So what helps with deadline pressure?
The peace of God.
There's nothing like praying and resting in his peace, knowing that he's faithful to help. And having your mental Rolodex filled with a few scriptures is very helpful, too.
One of my favorites is: "Surely God is my help, the Lord is the one who sustains me." Psalm 54:4.
The Lord has sustained me through many a deadline. Even when I didn't meet a deadline, he provided help and comfort and hope.
God is good all the time. May we learn to rest in him.



Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lord help me today

Are you like me?
At the end of the day, you think about all the things you have to do the next day?
That can be overwhelming. Suddenly, it seems like a swarm of bees made it into your head and it's hard to get to sleep with all those bee-like thoughts flying around.
For the last several months, I've been praying a simple prayer: "Lord, please help me get everything done tomorrow that I need to get done and not fret about the rest."
The Lord has been faithful.
I've been amazed at how he's helped me to get things done at work.
Psalm 37:8 talks about the trouble with fretting or worrying. It says: "Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret - it leads only to evil."
I think that's true. When we're worried about how some person is going to treat us, we can overreact and often cause ourselves more headaches than when we rely on God to work things out.
I'm forever praying: "Lord please show me how to act and react" and he's been amazingly faithful.
We can also overreact and cause ourselves more headaches when we stress out about how much we have to do and then snap at someone else.
All at once, we have two things to fret about in place of the one.
Psalm 62:5 offers some good advice. It says: "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him."
Deuteronomy 33:12 says: "Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him for he shields him all day long and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders."
Can you just picture yourself as a lamb on the shoulders of Christ?
How carefully do you think he carries you? How much do you think he loves you?
May you rest in the love of your Lord as you go through today and all the days to come.



Thursday, January 14, 2010

Is anybody listening?

Do you ever wonder if anybody is listening to you?
Or really hearing you?
I've been wondering if anybody has been reading this blog.
I'm reminded of that movie "Julie & Julia" about a young married woman, named Julie, who lives in New York City and handles insurance claims after 911. She gets yelled at by unhappy policy holders and is in tears after hearing some of the heartbreaking stories of others.
To keep her sanity, she decides to cook every recipe in Julia Child's book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."
She also opts to write a blog about it. At first, she wonders if anybody is reading her blog.
I kind of know how she feels.
As a former reporter, now editor, who still writes, I'm used to having my stuff read.
But Blog World has become a whole new story.
Is anybody reading?
I pray so. I pray that people will start reading this blog and then go back and read previous ones.
Writers want to be read.
And people, in general, want to be heard - by God and others.
For example, take a look at what David the Psalmist wrote: "Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress, be merciful to me and hear my prayer." Psalm 4:1.
I know God hears the prayers of his people. So it's right that we should keep praying.
Even if we don't think that anybody else in the world listens to us or hears us, I know God does.
He is faithful.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

In the Lion's Den

Do you ever feel like you're going into a lion's den?
When you walk into work or a meeting you know won't be good?
When you enter an uncomfortable home situation?
Or, heaven forbid, even in church?
I think many of us have faced our share of lion's dens. They may have been a classroom when we were a kid.
Maybe it was gym class.
But whatever the situation, we know what it is to feel very alone in a situation where we picture ourselves being ripped up - if not physically - at least verbally and emotionally.
That's when I think about a man named Daniel who actually was thrown into a lion's den.
Do you remember the Bible story?
Daniel was a favorite administrator under King Darius' rule. Other became jealous of Daniel and schemed to have him thrown into the den.
Many of you know the story. When the den was opened the next day, Daniel was still in one piece.
"My God sent his angel and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight...."
Daniel was pulled from the den. Look at what Daniel, chapter 6, verse 23 says next "And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God."
The evil officials who sought harm for Daniel then met their own horrible end at the jaws and the paws of the lions.
May all of us trust the power, protection and love of God whenever we face a lion's den.



Monday, January 11, 2010

Reflections on half a century

Tomorrow, Jan. 12, 2010, I will turn 50 years old.
Hard to believe.
Some friends are planning a lunch for the day after and my husband says he'll take me out to dinner. I do appreciate those things.
Yet I also know that every year, in itself, is a gift - even the bad ones, the ones we hate to go through.
Because we learn from them.
Years ago, I read an Ann Landers column. Apparently, a woman had written in because she was depressed about turning 50.
In this particular column, Ann ran the letter of a young mother of three children. The woman, who was in her 30s, had cancer. She wrote about how she'd never see her young children graduate from high school or get married. She'd never see her grandchildren.
Oh how she wished she could live to see her 50th birthday.
I think I was in my 20s or 30s when I read that column. I can't remember how old I was, but I remember that letter.
It has since shaped my thinking.
I may not be happy about an achy knee or thinning hair or weight that seems to cling a little too easily these days, but I am so grateful for what I've learned during these last five decades.
I'm closer to God and more at peace than I've ever been. I have a confidence founded not in myself, but in the Great I Am, the Most High God, the Creator of the Universe. I can rest in hands of a God who sees the future that I do not and loves me for who I am, despite my flaws.
Better yet, I know that the Lord doesn't play favorites. He doesn't love me any more than he loves you and I know with all my heart that he wants to shower you with the same blessings.
So as I so quickly approach this 50th birthday I want to say "Thank you Lord for being so good to me - for teaching me through trials and lavishing me with blessings. I love you Lord."
And if you haven't already, please reach out to the Lord.
Years ago, man shared the plan of salvation with me. He told me that none of us are perfect. We all mess up, but if:
1. we repent of our sins (that means to be so sorry that we never want to do them again);
2. and believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead to save us from our sins;
3. and ask him to come into our hearts and be our savior, we will be saved. That means we get to go to heaven when we die.
The Scriptures say that if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth you will be saved.
Plain and simple.
I prayed that prayer when I was 16 years old. My life has never been the same. Oh, I've messed up and suffered the consequences and then come back to the Lord.
He's always been faithful and I know he always will be. And as I look back on my life, I can agree with the Psalmist who wrote: "Be at rest once more, oh my soul, for the Lord has been good to you." Psalm 116:7.
I pray that God blesses each and every one of you who read this.

Tammy M.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Good listening

I wish I could get everybody to copy and paste this address into their Web browser

It's the address for the Life Today site that includes broadcasts of "Wednesdays with Beth" on the Life Today program with James and Betty Robison.
Beth is Beth Moore, an incredibly gifted Bible teacher, whose lessons cross denominational lines.
My faith began growing dramatically in 2005 after I took her "Believing God" Bible study. It a combination of weekly, hourlong video programs, a week's worth of workbook lessons and then group discussion.
I still remember the first video I ever saw with her. Nothing so completely and absolutely captured my attention. I knew I wanted to come back.
Since then, I've taken several of her studies either at church or on my own. They say it's better to do it in a group and that's probably true. But if you don't have that opportunity, you can buy the books from the Lifeway Christian Resources Web site (or at some Christian bookstores) and then download the videos onto your computer from that site. You don't have to buy them all at once. I buy them after I've finished a week's worth of lessons. Each session costs about $5.50 or less. I put it on my bank card.
I've loved her studies. I think her study on Daniel was my favorite. The first half of that book of the Bible contains stories we loved as a child or young adult - stories like Daniel and the Lions' Den or the three men who were thrown into the fiery furnace.
Beth has a way of helping me look at those stories in a way I never have before. She brings new insights.
The second half of Daniel contains prophesy, much of which has been fulfilled.
I have to admit that I never understood that second half. It was so full of symbolism that I felt like I was trying to read a foreign language.
Beth provided the Rosetta Stone I needed. In her study on Daniel, she explains what the symbolism means.
It opened up a whole new world to me.
I really would like to encourage you all to check into her work. She continually amazes me with her teaching.
I've included some of what I've learned from Beth in my book "Real Spiritual Spinach - Faith for the Journey."
I hope that someday she'll read a copy of the book. If I could inspire or encourage her even half as much as she has me ... well, I'd be thrilled to bits!
In the meantime, please keep reading God's word and praying!

Tammy M.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Brrr it's cold outside!

Sometimes it's tough to "feel" grateful when it's snowing outside and the wind is blowing - and your town already has had a bunch of snow.
Tonight, however, I'm reminded of the Apostle Paul's exhortation to the Philippians in which he said: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your witness be evident to all. The Lord is near."
How many times do we forget how near the Lord is?
To me, he's as near as my heart.
I have to remember how many times of the day he helps me. I had to cover a meeting the other night. I knew there were going to be government officials - probably with lots of facts and figures. I really believe the Lord prompted me to call ahead and get them to send me some background - something the proved invaluable when I was writing the story.
Some people might argue that it's just common sense, but I can tell you that I've gone to lots of meetings without background. The Lord's always been faithful and I've always received the information I needed.
This time was different and I appreciate what I believe was a gentle nudging from the Holy Spirit.
I believe the Holy Spirit reminds me of God's word - right when I need it.
As it says in John 14:26: "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."
But I also think that sometimes the Holy Spirit simply reminds me of very practical things:
like calling ahead to get background for a story:
or remembering to get some dog food;
or to tell my husband something.
I'm interested to read what other people think.
So if you read this blog. Let me know.
In the meantime, rejoice in the fact that God loved you so much that he sent his one and only son to die for you - so you could spend eternity with him!

Tammy M.
P.S. Please, please visit my Web site at

Sunday, January 3, 2010

More of Beth's Seduce-Proofing the Godly Life

I'm still working on the Beth Moore Bible study called "When Godly People Do Ungodly Things."
It's really good and like all of her studies, I'd recommend it to anyone.
Some more of her tips include:
* Allowing God to sanctify you through and through. I've learned through her study that sanctify just means set apart. What I read in Beth's study that also means letting God invade our lives with nothing off-limits.
To me that means that I think twice about what movies I go to see, what shows I watch on television, what books I read. I've become a lot more careful about what I let filter into my brain. Our brains are like little video cameras that record information that can be played back.
And sometimes played back at the worst times - times of temptation, fear, etc. So I think we have to be careful what we let our brains record.
I know I've personally regretted reading or watching some things that really bugged me later and certainly didn't enrich my life. I think others have had the same experience.
So I don't mind if God wants me to be set apart in this area.
* Knowing that we need prayer. We may think this, but I don't think we always follow through. Beth is right when she says that we need others to pray for us.
I think, however, that a lot of us have trouble asking someone to pray for us. We think we need to be facing a major crisis, first. Or we'll seek prayer for some little thing, because we don't want people to know what's really going on.
The problem, though, is that we can become isolated. We may feel like nobody understands us and they may not - because we haven't let them close enough.
May I tell you something?
When you get in a Bible study where you can trust people, it's wonderful to be able to share what's in your heart and to hear others pray aloud on your behalf.
I've had people pray some amazingly wonderful, comforting prayers for me. And, in turn, I've just shared simple observations with people in prayer and later noticed that they seemed to be very grateful.
I think one of the best ways that husbands and wives can share their love for each other is to pray together aloud. I've been so blessed by hearing some of Chuck's prayers for me.
Some couples may not feel so comfortable. It takes time. Even a simple little prayer is a start.
Again, I'd really advise looking into the Beth Moore Bible studies.
Just visit - her name can be found in small letters in the top lefthand corner. Click on that and scroll down the page and you can find out more about her studies. I can't tell you how much my faith has grown since I've started doing her Bible studies.
You can buy the workbooks online and download the video sessions - week by week if you'd like. It's really probably better if you can do them in a group - because the group discussions are wonderful for bonding with other women.
But not everyone has that option.
Beth also has written various books and she has a Personal Reflections Series like "Jesus - 90 Days with the One and Only" that's published by B & H Publishing Group in Nashville.
You might be able to find copies at your local bookstore.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Seduce-Proofing a Godly Life

I've been working through a great Bible study by Christian author Beth Moore.
It's a study called "When Godly People Do Ungodly Things."
Years ago, I committed my life to Christ, then fell away big time. It was a long, hard road back, but the Lord has blessed me tremendously since then.
Anyway, I didn't know if I wanted to do this study until I learned that Beth uses it to help teach people how to avoid getting in a tough situation in the first place.
So I bought the book online and have begun downloading the weekly sessions. The material is published by Lifeway Christian Resources.
I'm up to a chapter called "Seduce-Proofing Our Lives."
She says seduce-proof Christians are those who:
*Are happy in their faith (It's OK to be a Christian and be happy).
* Abstain from evil.
* Prays without ceasing (I've learned to do some of this: Thank God for simple things like a beautiful sunset; Ask him to open up a parking place for you; Tell him on the way to the bathroom how someone hurt your feelings by the last thing he/she said; Ask him to show you how to handle a situation before going into a meeting.
A lot of times, I just pray and ask God to show me how to act and react. I know that's saved me from a world of pain.)
* Is thankful and gives thanks.
* Doesn't quench the spirit. (I think we do that when we get that gentle nudge from the Holy Spirit not to say something - and then we do it anyway. I try to quickly tell God that I'm sorry when I do that.)
I'm certainly not perfect. Like my pastor always says, "I'm a fellow struggler."
I'm trying to learn like other people.
I'm certainly open to suggestions! I'm open to reading about other people's journeys.
Stay warm!

Tammy M.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Wondering about blogs

Do many people read these?
I wonder.
I hope so. I hope my very first blog entry wasn't too long or choppy. I did my best to compile several years of happenings into a concise account.
By the way, do people care that I love chocolate pie? Or don't like cherries? Do they care that I have a wonderful husband? Two great kids and a very fine daughter-in-law? Three spoiled dogs?
Does it sound like I'm bragging?
I don't mean to.
I just want people to know how good God has been to me.
Times haven't always been easy, but the Lord has been faithful.
He really is a rock and a shield.
I love the verse: “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” (Psalm 116:7).
I think that says it all!
Happy New Year!

Tammy M.