Friday, December 6, 2019

A Christmas Prayer

I found this from a couple years ago and decided I wanted to remind myself of it again.

Father God, at this precious season, your children want to celebrate the joy of the gift you gave us, your son to pay the price for our biggest need.

But many families are filled with heartache at this time of year, for sorrow and loss, for terrifying disease, with many fears and uncertainties.

Thank you, Father, that you are the God who cares about our daily sorrows, who comforts our hearts in ways our minds do not understand. Lord, please wipe our tears this Christmas.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34: 18

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46: 1

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; Psalm 103: 13

Friday, November 29, 2019

Thank You, Lord, For Being My Father

There is a phrase which has become important to me: “I need holding.”

Maybe it’s something one of my kids said when they were small; I don’t know. But I often find myself saying it to God.

God says he cares for us as a father cares for his children.

And yes, he holds us, but he doesn’t stop there as a father. He challenges us to do our best, promising he will help us. He saves us when we’re in trouble. How I thank him

Psalm 103:13: As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Matthew 11:28-30: “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.”

Psalm 86:5: O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.

Joshua 1:9: This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged.
For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Isaiah 41:13: “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you,
‘Do not fear, I will help you.’”

Lamentations 3:57-58: “You came near when I called you, and you said, ‘Do not fear.’
You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life.”

So this is the gift I want to give to my Father:

Psalm 95:1-2: Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Sweet Memories; Sometimes I'm embarrassed to Remember My Part But...

January 2, 1997: This afternoon Rebecca asked me, "Mommy, were you born in 1927?" I said no, and she asked, "Before that?"

Sarah got some more birthday money today, and excitedly she said that it could be for Ping-Hwei.

January 4, 1997: Yesterday Rebecca told me, "Today is a yesterday and a tomorrow and today."

January 5, 1997: Caleb came in to my room to comb his hair tonight, and he said, "Feel my furry feathers."

The kids wanted to try to brush their teeth with baking soda tonight. Rebecca hated it, and Sarah wouldn't even try. She said, "I don't like it." Murray asked her, "Have you ever tried it?" To which Sarah said, "Well, I just believe I won't like it." Caleb liked it; he said, "It tastes like fried rice."

January 7, 1997: Sarah was playing very nicely with her doll house yesterday, making up little stories about the people. I pointed it out to Murray and he asked her if she was having fun playing by herself. She said, "I'm playing by myself, but I'm not lonely."

I gave Sarah a chocolate cinnamon roll for lunch, and as soon as she knew what it was, she said, "I don't want all this other food on my plate."

A little later Sarah said, "Mommy, I love you." "Because I gave you cinnamon rolls?" I asked. "Well, I can't just love you because you gave me cinnamon rolls," she said, and thought a minute. Then she said, "I love you all the time, and because you gave me cinnamon rolls."

January 12, 1997: We have a little musical button we give the kids to play with on their birthdays that plays the tune to happy birthday. Both Caleb and Sarah asked this time when they had it and listened to it, "How does the button know my name?"

January 14, 1997: When we told Caleb tonight that Daddy really had broken his right foot last night (after he broke his left ankle last August), he said, "He broke two feet! That's kind of silly."

January 15, 1997: This morning Sarah told me, "Once in awhile, I wonder how God made us, so I look at my body to see."

Yesterday Sarah went with Murray to the doctor. One of the young ladies who helped with his foot told them she had a three-year-old and a baby ten weeks old. Sarah asked if she had a husband. The lady said no, and Sarah asked why not. The lady said she hadn't found anyone she wanted to spend her life with yet. Sarah asked Murray if he'd ask the lady a question, and he said not a chance, worried she was going to say something more about the husband situation. So Sarah asked the lady herself, "Do you love Jesus?" The lady said sure she did; didn't everybody? Sarah shook her head negatively and said, "No. Some people don't."

January 17, 1997: Someone called yesterday while I was vacuuming, and Sarah answered the phone, then accidentally hung it up. She said she didn't know who it was and didn't understand everything he said. I asked, "Did you hear anything he said?" She said, "I heard it all; I just didn't understand everything."

Last night we found bumps on Caleb and thought he might have chicken pox. Murray was talking with Rebecca about it in the car later, just the two of them. Rebecca said he shouldn't talk to Caleb about it, because it made him nervous. Then she said, "And you're still talking about it!" Murray said that Caleb wasn't there, so he couldn't hear. She said, "I could tell him."

January 20, 1997: Last night Rebecca was getting ready for bed, and I said something to her, maybe grumpily, and she did the same thing, then said, "I'm going to be just like you when I grow up." I said, "You probably will." She went on, "Grouchy all day long."

January 22, 1997: A week or so ago, Murray and the kids were listening to a tape of music Ping-Hwei got at the library. A song played for only four or five seconds when Caleb said, "That's from the Nut Cracker." Murray took the tape out and read it, and it was from the Nut Cracker. Caleb went with his class from school to see the Nut Cracker before Christmas.

This morning, the girls were wanting to do something quickly, and kept saying, "Hurry! Hurry!" Caleb told them that if they kept being so excited, he'd have to use an exclamation point.

The other night we were struggling with Sarah at supper, trying to get her to eat some beans. Finally she got a spoonful into her mouth. In a second she said, "Daddy, I can't swallow this."

A few weeks ago the kids were in the car with Murray, and he said something about some kind of ceremony. Delightedly Rebecca said, "He said Sarah-moanee!" They have decided that a "moanee" was a person's tummy, and they often talk about their "Caleb-moanee" or "Rebecca-moanee." The other night a friend with a baby was over. Sarah said happily, "I see her moanee."

Friday, November 15, 2019

May Today Be Your Isaiah 43

Have you sat in a church service and said about the sermon, “This message was specifically meant for me today?” That’s what happened to me this week.

Our church closed in August, and we’ve been looking for a new church home. We’ve been meeting with a launch team for a church which plans to start in February.

In the meantime, we’ve been visiting different churches around the area. My husband Murray is having fun, getting to visit churches we might otherwise never go to. I’ll be happy to get settled again.

This was an excellent week. We visited a church in Cleveland which has some great history. The current building is from the 1870s. In the 1850s, James Garfield, later President of the United States, sometimes preached there.

This week they studied from Isaiah chapters 42 and 43, and it’s what I needed to hear.

Recently, I’ve been allowing the devil to bring me down by reminding me of my past. I believe I’ve been forgiven, but…

Isaiah 42: 9: See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”

Chapter 42 tells of times of Israel’s sin and their consequences. The former things have taken place. We cannot deny that.

But then comes chapter 43.

Isaiah 43:1-2: But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

God says we are his. For those of us who have asked God to be our Savior, He promises to be with us. We may pass through sweeping rivers and flaming fires of trouble, but we are not alone.

Verses 18-19: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

No, I cannot deny the former things of my past. But God says not to dwell on it. He will make a new thing for my life, like a path through the wilderness, streams in a wasteland. What an amazing promise from a loving God.

Verse 25: “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

Because of who God is, he forgives us.

At the end of the service, the minister said, “May today be your Isaiah 43.” I pray that for you as well.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Millie's Christmas was a Gift to Me

My children’s Christmas storybook, Millie’s Christmas, was released on October 22.

This story was a surprise gift to me several years ago.

I wanted a project to force myself to write every day. It was December, so I decided to write a Christmas story.

I normally write women’s fiction for adults. But years ago, I’d written a story about a family of dogs, and my daughter Rebecca liked it. I decided to write a story told from the point of view of a kitten.

When I started, I had no plan of how the story would go. Each day, I just wrote what popped into my head. Soon, God gave me this sweet family story which has become one of my favorites of my own writing.

Ruthie says Millie will love Christmas. Ruthie is Millie’s best friend, so she’s sure Ruthie’s right, but why does Millie keep finding Ruthie and her brother Jake crying?

Millie, an orange kitten, shares about her first Christmas. Her best friend Ruthie, six years old, teaches Millie about Christmas—food, decorations, music, presents, and Jesus!
Millie’s friend Bruce, the family dog, also helps her celebrate Christmas, and sometimes gets her in trouble.
When Ruthie’s big brother Jake breaks his ankle, Millie learns about sad things, like divorce, when Jake can’t visit his mommy for Christmas. Millie watches Ruthie’s family love each other through the sadness, and find joy in Christmas.

I believe people of any age can enjoy this story. Children and adults can laugh at the funny dog and cat hijinks. The family is easy to love.

Millie’s Christmas might be read to children who are facing sadness at the holidays, to remind them that Jesus is always close to us.

I hope you will enjoy my story. Remember that Christmas is all about Jesus and the love he provides us with each day.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Psalm 119:97-104 Mem

מ Mem
Oh, how I love your law!
    I meditate on it all day long.
Your commands are always with me
    and make me wiser than my enemies.
I have more insight than all my teachers,
    for I meditate on your statutes.
I have more understanding than the elders,
    for I obey your precepts.
I have kept my feet from every evil path
    so that I might obey your word.
I have not departed from your laws,
    for you yourself have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth!
I gain understanding from your precepts;
    therefore I hate every wrong path.

Father God, I ask you to help me grow to be able to claim this prayer. Remind me to keep your word close to me, so I can stand against my enemy the devil. Thank you that your teachings show me the wrong paths and how to avoid them. Thank you for your words which do become sweeter to me each day.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Road Trips!

Yes, road trips. We made two in September and October, and Murray and Ping-Hwei and I are so easily entertained, we came away with many fun memories.

In September we took our trip west, first to Iowa to visit Rebecca, then to visit my mom and brothers in Missouri.

I enjoy Rebecca so much. I told Murray I wish I could see her more than two days twice a year, and then I realized that’s how often my mom gets to see me too.

Visiting the animal shelter where Rebecca volunteers is always a highlight. When we come in, we’re greeted with a cacophony of dogs barking and cats meowing at us. Rebecca brought me two dogs, one fluffy and bouncy and happy.

The other she said was a long dog. And truly he was, but even better than that--his ears were eight inches long and opened up like an umbrella.

I played with cats in cages who loved to lick and bite. They licked a lot. First I thought they could still taste the orange I’d had for breakfast, but after I washed my hands, they still continued to lick, so I figured they just thought they were dogs.

Rebecca and Steve took us to see their garden, lots of hot peppers and tomatoes, a really tall sunflower, green onions, herbs, a watermelon the size of a basketball.

We brought home some of their homemade salsa, some made with tomatoes and peppers, others made with watermelon or pineapple. Pretty good stuff really, although most of the time I needed lots of water while I ate them.

In Missouri, even in the middle of September, we had weather in the 90s. We had such a short summer in Ohio, I actually loved standing outside in the hot weather. For short periods of time.

We went to Mom’s quilting group, mostly retired women. But one lady comes with her five year old daughter, who is a delight. One of the ladies told me, “She’s put some life into this old place. Never boring around here now.”

Murray told people at quilting that he found out there’s a knitting-quilting group at our library, and he told someone there that he quilted. They asked how much, and he said, “Oh, about twice a year.”

My brother Jim had newborn twin calves right at the time we visited. That’s rare; Mom said she thinks they’d only had twins once in all the years she and Dad raised cows. So that was fun, getting to hear about Jim bottle feeding them until the mama and calves all got used to each other.

We visited Sarah in Wisconsin this past weekend.

It’s almost embarrassing the things that can please us as we drive along. When Murray refused to take the exact directions of his phone’s GPS, it would beep and say, “Make a U-turn; make a U-turn!” Almost frantic. Ping-Hwei and I always laugh at this; Murray is not so amused.

When the GPS mentioned how heavy the traffic was and that there was roadwork up ahead, I started considering other things they should be able to do. “If they can do that, they should be able to say when to stop and go at traffic lights. That would be so helpful for blind drivers.”

Passing by one of the lakes in Madison, Murray told Ping-Hwei, “Look at that big lake.” I said it wasn’t as big as our lake. Murray said no, it wasn’t a Great Lake. I said no, but it was an Okay Lake. Murray said it was a perfectly Decent Lake.

Another time as we drove through Madison, Murray, Ping-Hwei, and Sarah noticed people fishing in a boat on the lake. Ping-Hwei said he’d like to go fishing and wondered about cooking the fish. Sarah said no, you’d release them again after you caught them.

I talked about when I was a kid, and Daddy and my brothers went fishing, and brought the fish home to clean and eat. I remembered how Daddy would give me the lungs of the fish to play with. “They were slimy, but they were like little bubbles I could pop.” Sarah was disgusted. “Oh, Mom, did you wash your hands?” “Never since then,” I replied.

Sarah had a lot of school work to do while we were there, so boring people that we are, we were perfectly happy to just sit around her apartment, on our computers or kindles, chatting on and off. She said she liked having us around to chat at. For the first day anyway.

We went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. When the host asked how many were in our party, we spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to figure out if there were four or five of us. With that, plus our normal loudness, Sarah will probably never go to that restaurant again.

So many smiles I brought home from these trips.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Remind Me of What I Need to Know

Proverbs 4:20-22:
“Pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them and health to one's whole body.”

When I was in college, more than 35 years ago, I was part of a campus ministry, Christian Campus House, on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus, with church services, bible studies, ministries, and fun!

I thank God for the friends I made there, and all I learned about his word.

One habit I learned was memorizing Scripture.

So many good reasons. It puts things into our minds to think about that are good. It helps us bring up the verses we need about a certain subject, to talk about, to write about, when our daily troubles need certain comfort.

I did memorization for years. At one time I memorized the book of James.

Then I used the excuse of raising a family and working to keep me from memorizing.

After my accident seven years ago, when I no longer worked outside the home, and my children were grown and didn’t need my moment to moment care, so that I had plenty of time, I used another bad excuse. I was brain injured. I wouldn’t be able to memorize the bible anymore.

A couple years ago, God was generous enough to teach me otherwise. I went to a women’s retreat where memorization was again recommended. I thought, “Well, I guess I could try.”

What a glorious couple of years it has been.

I’ve remembered verses that I had memorized before, and, surely more slowly, I’m learning new ones. And the truth still remains. It helps me as I go through the day, God bringing to my memory reminders of how I can obey him in this situation, comforts for my problems and other people’s as well, answers to questions about faith.

I’ve started working on memorizing James again.

Some other gems I’m feeding myself:

John 3:30:
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Psalm 139: 23-24: 
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any wicked way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

Psalm 86:5:
O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.

Philippians 2:3-5:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Joshua 1:9
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged.
For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Friday, October 11, 2019

Lamentations, A Beautiful Kernel of Hope

The older I get, the more the Old Testament of the Bible is opening up to me.

I’ve just finished reading the book of Lamentations. Such a writing of sorrow.

It’s a short book, just five chapters written mostly in poetic verse.

I’ve always been glad to find Psalms with David’s cries of pain and anger. It reminds me that I can take anything I’m feeling to god.

But when I started reading Lamentations last week, I was so brought down. So much pain and horror. Because of their sin, Israel had been crushed by their enemies. They’d been crushed by God.

Lamentations 1: 4-5: 
The roads to Zion mourn,
    for no one comes to her appointed festivals.
All her gateways are desolate,
    her priests groan,
her young women grieve,
    and she is in bitter anguish.
Her foes have become her masters;
    her enemies are at ease.
The Lord has brought her grief
    because of her many sins.
Her children have gone into exile,
    captive before the foe.

Lamentations 4:13:
But it happened because of the sins of her prophets
    and the iniquities of her priests,
who shed within her
    the blood of the righteous.

Yet, in the middle of this writing of desolation, are some of my favorite verses of hope.

Lamentations 3:21-23:
But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

As I understand better God’s hatred for sin, I am filled with more wonder at his amazing love.

John 3:16-17:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Forever and Ever Amen by Randy Travis

Forever and Ever Amen, a beautiful memoir by Randy Travis, published 2019.

I’ve been a fan of Randy Travis for many years. The winter after Murray and I got married in 1987, Randy was in concert in Columbia, Missouri. Murray’s brother Morgan was visiting us right then and went to the concert with us.

I remember that Randy was somewhat hoarse during the show that night, but I still loved it. It’s not unusual even now to hear me singing his songs around the house from time to time.

In this book, Randy talks frankly about his life from childhood. You get to meet a good number of country music stars you’ll recognize. Randy talks about his road to success, and also honestly tells of things he did that he is sorry about.

He discusses his Christian faith, how he’s walked away, how he’s come back to God, about the forgiveness he’s received.

He also discusses the stroke he had—I believe and 2013—and all the struggling he’s gone through since then. He tells of how his wife Mary has stayed by him and loved him through his recovery and rehabilitation.

And he told of the successes he’s made during his recovery. I felt like my own story was similar to his, with my recovery from brain injury, and my walking away from and back to God’s forgiveness.

My mother also likes Randy Travis and has told me about times she’s seen him on TV since his stroke. Fortunately, I was able to give her a copy of the book before she bought one for herself.

If you’re a country music fan, I am sure you will love this book. Even if you’re not, it is a beautiful story of struggles and growth and joy from the grace of God.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Lamedh Psalm 119:89-96

ל Lamedh
Your word, Lord, is eternal;
    it stands firm in the heavens.
Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
    you established the earth, and it endures.
Your laws endure to this day,
    for all things serve you.
If your law had not been my delight,
    I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget your precepts,
    for by them you have preserved my life.
Save me, for I am yours;
    I have sought out your precepts.
The wicked are waiting to destroy me,
    but I will ponder your statutes.
To all perfection I see a limit,
    but your commands are boundless.

Thank you, Father, for giving me stability. I am so tempted to let this world toss me about. Thank you for your word which touches me with comfort, gives me direction of how to go, fills me with purpose, gives me joy. I love you, Lord.

Friday, September 20, 2019

I Want to Hug You, Lord

I want to hug you, Lord,
For the great start you’ve given me this morning,
For the new things you’re teaching me about your word,
For the happiness you give me with my husband, my children, my friends,
For all the new things you teach me about Jesus,
About your love,
For the times when I can feel you hugging me.
Help me today to hug you back.
Help me to hug those around me.
I love you, Lord.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

My Voice rises to God, and He Will Hear Me

I recently read a book by Brandilyn Collins, Over the Edge. This book impressed me in so many ways.

Janessa has Lyme disease. Her body is weak and filled with pain. Sometimes she feels as if she’s being suffocated.

Her husband leaves her and takes their daughter with him. Her best friend wants to help but has her own family to care for.

Janessa craves comfort from somewhere.

She makes her way with difficulty to the kitchen where her bible is in a drawer. She struggles to get it to the table and sits down.

The Bible opens to the Psalms, and she is glad. She wants to read David’s prayers of rage and his demands for God to help him.

Psalm 77:1: My voice rises to God, and I will cry aloud;
My voice rises to God, and He will hear me.

Though she is still sick, and her circumstances have not changed, she chooses to believe this.

I have been in this kind of position, looking for comfort, finally turning to God.

As a writer, I often find myself examining books I read for pleasure, noticing techniques and writing skills. Sentence structure, word usage, scene description.

I am impressed by the skills Ms. Collins uses to describe a scene and create a mood which draws the reader into the story. As I read OVER THE EDGE, I found myself trying to breathe, feeling weak, having difficulty forcing my mind to find the words I want, struggling to move forward in whatever I am doing, as though I had Lyme disease.

I pray that God will help me grow in this skill as a writer, to be able to capture my readers that much.

Plus, OVER THE EDGE is a great suspense story, with excellent twists and surprises.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Day of Reckoning by Valerie Goree

I’d like to introduce you to author Valerie Goree.

Her latest book, Day of reckoning, delivers fast-paced suspense, faith, romance, and a glimpse into a family who deals with disabilities in healthy ways.

Thank you for hosting me today, Kathy. Day of Reckoning is my latest romantic suspense novel. It is a stand-alone sequel to Weep in the Night. Both stories feature agents who work for the International Retrieval Organization. Lela was introduced in Weep, and now she has her own story in Day of Reckoning. One aspect I love about writing fiction is creating my story world. The IRO—a top-notch detective agency of sorts—has unlimited resources, and therefore my agents have everything they need to accomplish their tasks.

As a seasoned operative, Lela is assigned the kidnapping case of businessman, Chuck Davenport. When her boss allows Jay Vashon, Chuck’s brother-in-law to assist, Lela accepts the help with reservations, especially when Jay prays at the most inopportune times.

Jay would do anything to help bring Chuck home, even work with feisty Agent Ortiz. As Jay and Lela decipher clues Chuck sends to his son with special needs, they are forced to work in close proximity.

Can Jay break through the barrier Lela has constructed around her heart? Will Lela be able to overcome her distrust of men and God?

And Chuck? Can the pair locate him before the ransom deadline?

American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award winner Valerie Massey Goree resides with her husband on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.

After serving as missionaries in her home country of Zimbabwe and raising two children, Glenn and Valerie moved to Texas. She worked in the public school system for many years, focusing on students with special needs. Now retired, Valerie spends her time writing, and spoiling her grandchildren.

Novels include: Deceive Me Once; Colors of Deceit; Weep in the Night; and stand-alone sequel Day of Reckoning.

Check Valerie’s website to learn more about her books:

Valerie loves to hear from her readers.


Purchase links:

Friday, August 30, 2019

Sweet Memories, Old and in the Making

December, 1996:
We left the three little kids with our friends the Cowans the other night while we went to an adult church dinner. Murray tried to pay Brenda for taking care of the kids, but she gave him the money back. I didn't know this, and I asked Rebecca the next day if she knew if Daddy had given Brenda any money when he picked them up. "No, I think SHE gave HIM some money."

I was reading to Sarah the other day about how King Herod killed all the baby boys in Bethlehem, trying to kill Jesus. Sarah said, "But he didn't get Jesus, because he went to Egypt. But if he did kill Jesus, Jesus could make himself back alive again, because He's God."

Sarah has memorized Philippians 1, 9-11 a long time ago, which is our church's prayer. The other day she said that for our lunch-time prayer, and then said, "Mommy, I want you to tell me what all that means."

Murray called home the other day, and when Kathy hung up from talking with him, Sarah said, "I knew that was Daddy because you talked in your normal voice. Why do you talk like a lady when other people call?"

December 13, 1996: Sarah was in the car with Murray, and she likes to put the keys in the ignition. She was having trouble figuring out which key, and she said, "Now, be patient, I'll get it."

December 23, 1996: The other day at lunch, I put my hands on the sides of Sarah's head. Sarah said that we should do that from now on when we pray. She said, "Let's hold the ears instead of holding hands when we pray."

Today at lunch, I was reading the kids stories about when God created the world. They were asking all sorts of questions about how He did it. “How did He do it?” “Did He just say it and it was done?” “Did He make it up out of His imagination?” “Where did He get the seeds for the plants?” We read a little more about it, and Sarah said, "He made a miracle!"

The other day at breakfast, we finished reading a passage from Mark, and Kathy said that tomorrow we would read about when Jesus was arrested. Rebecca said, "Oh, good!" Kathy said we shouldn't be happy about that, we should be sad because Jesus would be hurt and then die. Sarah said, "But I'm a teentsy bit happy because we don't have to be punished."

December 25, 1996: Today Caleb had hot chocolate for breakfast. He took a swallow and said, "Mommy, I drank a baboon."

December 30, 1996: The kids stayed at three different homes this weekend while we went to Colorado. We heard that they called each other while we were gone, and discussed what they each had to eat.

Sarah received a monetary gift from Grandma Brinkmann for her birthday. When she opened the envelope, she exclaimed, "I got $100!"(or whatever). She danced around excitedly and said, "I can give it to Jesus!"

And let’s make a new sweet memory. My children’s Christmas book, Millie’s Christmas, comes out on October 22.

Ruthie says Millie will love Christmas. Ruthie is Millie’s best friend, so she’s sure Ruthie’s right, but why does Millie keep finding Ruthie and her brother Jake crying?

Millie, an orange kitten, shares about her first Christmas. Her best friend Ruthie, six years old, teaches Millie about Christmas—food, decorations, music, presents, and Jesus!

Millie’s friend Bruce, the family dog, also helps her celebrate Christmas, and sometimes gets her in trouble.

When Ruthie’s big brother Jake breaks his ankle, Millie learns about sad things, like divorce, when Jake can’t visit his mommy for Christmas. Millie watches Ruthie’s family love each other through the sadness, and find joy in Christmas.

Share this story with a child you love, struggling with sadness at Christmas. Jesus’ love and truth remain solid.

Friday, August 23, 2019

What's So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey

What’s so Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey. I read this book years ago, and again recently. I wanted to share some of the ideas here.

Is grace the aroma our church gives out to the world? Is that what they think of when they think of Christians?

Remember how much Jesus loves you. Like a shepherd who would leave ninety-nine sheep alone to look for the one who was lost. He is the doctor come for the sick, not the well; for sinners, not the righteous.

There is nothing I can do to make God love me more. There is nothing I can do to make him love me less. He already loves me as much as an infinite God can.

What is so amazing about grace? It’s unfair, unnatural, scandalous. Yet it heals. And the wounds that grow in us when we do not offer forgiveness to others who have hurt us sour and crush us.

In the Lord’s prayer, Matthew 6, Jesus says we must forgive as God has forgiven us. That’s not as scary as it sounds. Because truly, we can only forgive with his help, and he will help us if we ask.

God requires us to forgive, not just to benefit the person who wronged us, but because when I forgive another, I let myself out of the prison of bitterness I’ve kept myself locked up in. God wants that peace for us.

On the cross, Jesus forgave people who had not asked for forgiveness, who had not repented. That is a beautiful example for us.

Philip Yancey told many stories of unbelievable, scandalous forgiveness.

He gives an excellent chapter about how Christians who Scripturally disagree with homosexuality still show love to the people they disagree with. He talks about repentance and forgiveness for racism and other deadly sins against whole peoples.

In this world, we may not see large amounts of forgiveness happen in our lifetime. But we can let it happen one person at a time with those we’ve wronged and with those who have wronged us.

Forgiveness for personal one to one sin may take years, but God is patient and gentle in how he deals with us.

Grace abuse. Romans chapters 6 and 7.

Should we sin more to make grace abound? No, we died to sin. So we should no longer give it life.

Romans 7:24-25: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Legalism. He talked about how through the years, believers have added extra rules to God’s laws and rules. Jesus spoke much against this hypocrisy. The alternatives to hypocrisy are only perfection and honesty. Since we cannot be perfect, our only hope is honesty, being honest with God about our sin, repenting, and finding his grace.

Matthew 23:23: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

Legalism has always been a struggle for me, using rules to pressure myself and also others.

Over the years, I have caused myself so much pain from trying to be perfect with the rules I set for myself to be right with God. Reading this book reminded me that I also laid that kind of legalism on others, including my children. I pray now that they will learn more of how much God loves them, and that they will find that love and grace as the way to direct their lives.

The highest duty of Christians is to give grace. Because we have received, and still receive daily, so much grace.

As the church, Jesus’s body on earth, people in need should gather to us, just as people in need, sinners, hurting people, gathered around Jesus when he lived on earth.

Jesus, who never sinned, never treated sinners with disgust. Instead he welcomed them and offered them grace. Like the woman at the well in John 4, instead of turning from her or treating her with disgust, he treated her as a person who was really thirsty.

Yancey suggests we might do the same with those we have trouble with or disagree with. I pray this will become a natural part of my life.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Healer of My Heart

Though my heart is torn, it’s white again.
Though I sank to the depths of hell, you lifted me up.
Though I failed you again and again, you forgot it all.
And when my heart aches,
And my eyes flow with sorrow,
You wipe them dry and tell me,
“Beloved child, I would have come just for you.”

Isaiah 1: 18:
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Psalm 103: 12-13:
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

Friday, August 9, 2019

Lost in the Storm, Tamera Lynn Kraft

Will war bring them love or will they be Lost in the Storm!

Lavena, a journalist during the Civil War, wants to become a war correspondent. She finally gets her chance, but there’s a catch. She has to get an interview from a war hero who has refused to tell his story to every other journalist, and she has to accomplish this impossible task in a month or she’ll lose her job.

Captain Cage, the war hero, has a secret that will destroy his military career and reputation. Now, a new journalist is trying to get him to tell what he’s been hiding. He wants to ignore her, but from the moment she came into camp, he can’t get her out of his mind.

Leading up to the turbulent Battles for the city of Chattanooga, will Lavena and Cage find the courage to love and forgive, or will they be swept away by their past mistakes that don’t want to stay buried?

Meet the Ladies of Oberlin, the causes they're willing to fight for, and the men who capture their hearts.

Ladies of Oberlin, Book 2   By Tamera Lynn Kraft

  About the Author   Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest.    Tamera’s been married for forty years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and three grandchildren. She has been a children’s pastor for over twenty years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire for Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist. She has written children’s church curriculum. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.   You can contact Tamera online at her website: 

I loved this story.

A beautiful picture of bravery of both women and men. A story of forgiveness, an unexpected love story. Great history.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Happiness is Scriptural

This Sunday will be the last meeting of our church. We’re having a celebration, sharing time with each other, remembering good things, praising God. I know we’ll cry, but we will find joy.

For our last month together our pastor Todd used the time to study two very important Bible topics, humility and happiness.

Happiness is Scriptural, spiritual. It’s okay for us to desire to be happy. God is happy, with himself, his creation, his people. He is the source of all happiness.

Todd said there are at least two thousand times happiness or a synonym is mentioned in the bible—pleasure, contentment, satisfaction, well-being, joy.

People need to see a smile on our faces, hear it in our voices. We don’t need to be so serious.

Happiness is not shallow.

Of course there are hard times, but Paul wrote about joy from prison in Philippians, and Zephaniah did during hard times for Israel. We can be happy because of our knowledge of God and what he’s done for us. We need to let what we know in our hearts show up on our faces as a witness to people in the world.

Zephaniah 3:17: The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

Genesis 1:31: God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Psalm 4:7: You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.

Todd said the word for happiness in that verse was like a festival!

We need to stay close to God, the source of happiness, like backing up to a fire to keep warm. Todd told a funny story about that, but I won’t share it. You’ll have to ask him.

Psalm 16: 11: You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Fullness of joy, not just a little bit.

Philippians 4:4: 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Paul thought it was so important, he repeated it. In this verse and throughout Philippians.

1 Timothy 6: 6, 17: But godliness with contentment is great gain. Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

Be careful not to let the devil steal our joy.

John 10:10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 15:11-12: I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

Psalm 32:1 Blessed (Happy) is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

Another thief of happiness is worry.

Matthew 6:25: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

Todd told us about happiness habits.

Thanking God. Specifically about the things around us, in our house, in our days.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Stay in God’s word daily; stay close to the source of happiness.

Giving to others; encouragement, financially, everyday help.

Acts 20:35: In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

Friday, July 26, 2019

Thank You Dialogue

I started writing stories when I was about ten. In my teen years, I had two poems and ten short stories published in magazines. Nine of those short stories were published in DIALOGUE Magazine.

DIALOGUE has been running for 57 years. On the front cover, it says, “A world of ideas for visually impaired people of all ages.”

It contains personal stories from blind and visually impaired people, special equipment which might interest them, career information, news tips, recipes, and more and more.

In the 70s, they published fiction short stories, and that’s where I first was published.

Forty years later, I still remember one lesson I learned about writing from DIALOGUE.

When they returned one of my short stories, they told me that other people solved the main character’s problems, instead of her figuring out any of it on her own. That is a story technique I have always remembered and tried to use.

As I’ve said before, for 30 years, I almost never wrote, because of work, school and family. I also stopped reading braille magazines.

Seven years ago, since I stopped working for health reasons, I started reading and writing again, thank God.

I read Dialogue again, and they published eleven articles from me, about being a blind Mom and wife and employee; about being a more mature blind person than I used to be; about braille; about writing; about dealing with new disabilities after brain injury.

As of June of this year, DIALOGUE Magazine is suspending publication due to financial reasons. I will miss them. I thank God for them.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Three Smiles


God has given me another precious gift. I’ve been enjoying new memories with my kids as adults. Now my prayer is that god will help me remember to bite my tongue on advice unless I’m asked. And maybe even then. I’ll share some of those new memories in the upcoming weeks.


In June of this year, my friend Nina in Arizona sent me this lovely message. With her permission, I am sharing it:

“Hi Kathy, It's quiet here. We are waiting for the monsoons to come and the days are hot and dry.

“Ravens built a nest on an electrical power line scaffold and we watched them from afar as they tended to the chicks. And then one day, they were out of the nest and two of the youngsters spent their first day as grownups hopping around on our back porch.

“Big as chickens they were. The poor things looked confused, hot and thirsty with their bills wide open and their wings trailing on the ground. I tossed some cooked chicken bits outside and they ate a few but mostly they hopped awkwardly on and around chairs, a table and two loungers.

“Evening came and we could hear the parents calling with their raspy croaks to come home for the evening. The two youngsters tried to fly- one took off and sailed across the wash and up again into the scaffolding to join mom and dad. The other one appeared completely lost and he banged against the windows, only getting aloft for a few seconds.

“He tried again and again and finally, he managed to glide off and away but never managed to get up to the top of the scaffolding in the evening gloom.

“I thought about how much raven children are like human children, wanting to leave, unsure of their independence and how good parents try and keep a watchful eye. The day the two ravens were in our tiny yard, the parents could see and hear them. Perhaps they considered our place to be a safe spot, much like parents dropping off young teens at the mall for the first time.”

And the third smile?

I’ve received the book cover for my children’s story, “Millie’s Christmas,” which will be released by Mantle Rock Publishing on October 22.

I will share more about that soon also.

Friday, July 12, 2019

A LOST MELODY: A Book I Will Definitely Read Again

A LOST MELODY by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith.

I thank God for the gifts he gives me each day, including books which touch me in new and wondrous ways. As I’ve said before, God still has many surprises for me.

Jill is dealing with her lost career as a concert pianist because of an injury. Her fiancé, Greg, is trying to start his lifelong dream of serving in politics.

Then, to save hundreds of lives, Jill follows her instincts and changes both hers and Greg’s futures.

Jill wonders if she’s going insane. Greg’s supporters tell him to distance himself from Jill, that she’s ruining his career.

Both have to stretch their faith in God, pray to Him, and ask for his wisdom and will in their lives in a way they’ve never done before.

Well-written; excellent story pace, fun characters. Amazing ending.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Pop My bubble

At church last Sunday we discussed humility. Our pastor Todd passed out bubblegum as a little prop and invited us to pop bubbles during the rest of the service if we liked. I tried to pop one at Murray, but I’ve never been good at that.

Humility is like popping our bubble that the world is all about me; the world revolves around me. How many times have I heard that before? But it popped my bubble in a new way this week.

Why does my family talk to me while I’m working? Why did someone leave the door half open? Didn’t they know I might run into it? Why won’t my family come closer to me when they speak? Don’t they know I can’t hear well enough to understand them otherwise? Why isn’t everybody’s first thought always about what I need or want?

Todd said C.S. Lewis said that pride is a spiritual cancer. Wow. Isn’t that true? Pride in myself, centering my thoughts on me, keeps me from being the wife and mother and daughter and sister and friend I need to be to the people I love. It halts my ability to give them the attention they deserve and need. Thinking about myself first keeps me from being the daughter God has created me to be.

And our greatest example is Jesus. He did think the world revolved around us instead of him, so he came down to take our punishment.

Philippians 2: 5-8: In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Eight Things Christians Can Do Each Day

Recently I mentioned that I try to remind myself to sing “Jesus Loves Me” each morning. The following was shared with me online recently, and I believe it’s another good everyday reminder.

8 Statements Christians Should Make Each Day

If you are a Christian, you can start each day by telling yourself these wonderful truths. You might want to memorize this list or run it off and keep it by your bed to read each morning!

1. I am God’s child.

John 1:12: To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

1 John 3:1: See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

2. Although I deserved death, Jesus forgave my sins and promises me eternal life!

Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

3. Whatever happens today, I will not be alone.

Romans 8:38-39: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor
any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

4. Not only is God ever-present, He is my Helper. 

Hebrews 13:5-6: God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

5. I can obey God’s commands today because He gives me His power.

Philippians 4:13: I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

6. I can resist the devil today and he will flee from me.

James 4:7: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

7. God has purposes for me today and I long to fulfill them.

Ephesians 2:10: For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

8. As I walk with God, He will use even the worst things in my life for my good today and every day!

Romans 8:28: We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.   

Friday, June 21, 2019

Thank God for the Father of My Children

My husband Murray is a happy guy. Sadly, I’ve always been more on the sour side.

After almost thirty-two years, fortunately, he seems to be wearing off more on me than the other way around.

And hopefully on our children too. I’ve been told that my sons all smile a lot. They get that from their father.

Murray constantly tells jokes. Once a lady we knows said to him, “Murray, you amuse yourself.”

And he does, even if we don’t always laugh at his jokes, he does.

I’m trying to be more like Murray, smile more, laugh more, take things less seriously, make more jokes, sing more songs.

He is fascinated by people’s stories that he finds on podcasts, Facebook, people he meets in grocery stores. Like a child, he sees everything as new. Murray says, “Everyone has a great story.”

When I go a little crazy, he is stable. He sticks with me and helps me figure out what to do next once I calm down. The longer I know him, the more I love him.

He seeks to do nice things for me—making me a strawberry tinged water with a new fruit infuser cup we have; typing up the handouts I got from the writers’ retreat we went on; bringing me a cup of coffee; reminding me that he loves me.

A prayer I’ve heard Murray say many times is, “Help me be more like Jesus every day.” I see this in him.

My prayer for my husband and adult children is that they grow to learn and enjoy more every day the incredible and delightful people they all are.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Sweet Memories, what I could Learn From these Kids

October 29, 1996: The other night, we were praying before we went to bed, and Caleb was making up a prayer song, and we were all repeating after him. He said, (about God) "We always take care of Him." I felt like I had to correct this impression, so I said that well, we don't really take care of Him; He takes care of us. Rebecca said, "But it says that when we help someone else, we help Him." I had to admit that she was right, and let her straighten out my faulty theology.

October 30, 1996: I was reading some Bible stories to Sarah at lunch. I read to her about how Solomon was building a temple for God. She said, "Then he's going to come in and praise the Lord!"When I told her I was going to read the story about the three men in the furnace, she said, "But then there was four, and one of them was God!" Then when I read about Daniel being thrown into the lions' den, she said, "But Jesus shut their mouths!"

October 31, 1996: Sarah was talking today about how Ping-Hwei is speaking English better and better every day. She said, "He's doing weller and weller."

November 13, 1996: I was trying to explain to Rebecca today a little about genetics, how she got her nose and ears and hair from Mommy and Daddy. She asked, "So when you picked me up, did I get hands?"

November 16, 1996: We're having a wind-rain-thunder storm right now, so I was listening to the weather radio. The kids asked if the man and lady talking on the radio were real. I think sometimes they have the idea that the people are right inside our radio. So little as I know about radio waves and so-forth, I tried to explain it to them, how there are tiny waves in the air that we can't see, and our radio antenna picks them up, etc.  After I was finished explaining, Rebecca asked, "Are that man and lady married?" "Do they love Jesus?"Caleb wanted to know. I guess I wasn't explaining exactly what they were looking for.

December 2, 1996: Sarah and Murray left the orthopedic doctor, on Wichita Clinic's ground floor. Sarah said, "Aren't we going on the alligators?" pointing to 3 metal doors. "Oh, I mean elevators."

December 3, 1996: The other day Caleb asked Murray, "What would happen if you cut off your knees?"

December 5, 1996: We asked our friends John and Stacy to take the kids to the swimming party at the Y the other night, because Murray was afraid he might fall on his crutches around the pool. The kids were talking about that to Stacy, and she, teasing, said she thought it would be funny if Murray fell into the pool. The kids got indignant with her and rebuked her. Sarah said, "You have to understand, Daddy has a broken foot. It wouldn't be funny if he fell in the pool."

Friday, June 7, 2019

Grace. Rejoice!

In church this week we talked about Luke 10, where Jesus sent out seventy-two of his followers to heal and to teach about him. When they returned, they told him of their success, with joy.

Verses 17-20: The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Our pastor, Todd, reminded us that we should not count on joy from our daily lives, our relationships, our success at work or school. Because there will be days when those things will fail to give us joy. Instead, rejoice because our names are written in Heaven.

So often Christians do not appear joyful to the world. I’m talking about me. I have a frown on my face. I am discouraged.

God has given us grace. We should rejoice!

John 16: 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We can have joy even when we have trouble. Jesus has overcome all the filth of the world, and he invites us to stand with him.

Tod has said more than once that we should begin each day by singing “Jesus loves me.” I am working on practicing this. Sadly, I often wake up feeling depressed, disappointed in myself.

How can I show God’s love to others feeling that way? Instead, if I remind myself Jesus loves me, and teach my heart to believe that, then I will have joy to share with those around me.

We sang a song Sunday, too, which touched me, “True North.” Such a joyful piece.

This song reminds me that I do not need to let my failures bring a curse to me. I can stand solidly in God’s love, changed, redeemed. I have chosen not to be condemned by my sin. I have chosen God’s forgiveness and grace. My name is written in God’s book of life. I can choose to be delighted. I can rejoice!

Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Psalm 32:1: Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

Psalm 37:4: Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Wagon West

Last week, my husband Murray got a reminder of what he’d posted on Facebook six years ago.

We drove with our daughter Rebecca for her summer internship, from Cleveland to Phoenix, Arizona. Along the way Murray shared our adventures with his Facebook friends.

We've started out for Arizona Territory. Pa said we'll provision up again at St. Joe, Missouri. Ma and Sister are in the wagon but Pa said I had to walk.

We had our first river crossing. The horses are the only ones who liked it. Pa shot some rabbits this morning. It will be great having meat in the stew tonight.

We met some indigenous persons this morning, and Pa swapped them some tobacco for deer hides, to make shoes. I wish I was indigenous so I'd get my own horse.

We reached the first settlement and laid over 3 days for repairs. Pa said I had to help Ma the first day, but then I got to help him. Lot of wagons going thru.

Outlaws! Real outlaws! They were getting after the wagon in front of us, and two of the settlers chased 'em off! I'm not worried - Pa said they won't bother us.

Made it to Illinois. The grass is beat down from wheels, it's an easy road. Ma made me work on reading for 2 hours tonight. She cuffed me when I complained.

In Missouri, headed for St. Joe, overland because Pa said the boat trip up the Missouri is too dear. Rafting the Mississippi was fun, but Ma and Sis cried out.

We made it some ways across Missouri. We're camping tonight near a country saloon. Ma didn't want to but Pa looked around and couldn't find any other water. Ma washed some of our pots tonight and that will help the taste. Hoping not to run across any of them angry indigenous persons tomorrow.

We got up before the sun. Pa said we're not going to St. Joe, we’re going to Springfield, Missouri to provision up. He said there are alarming tell of natural covering fires and outlaws along the Missouri, so we're headed south. Ma said she wasn't sure she wanted to meet southerners, and Pa quick looked around to see who might of heard, and asked her to hush.

We are stuffed full! Came across settlers driving some cows. One broke its leg, so they shot and cooked it. Twas more'n they could eat or cure, so they fed us!

Pa is irked at me! We met settlers headed for Oregon, and I told them Arizona is better. He said the best Arizona land's limited, and not to add folks after it

Made Springfield, took longer than I thought she ought. At the mercantile, my eyes near popped out when I saw the cash money Pa had. No wonder he feared outlaws.

Pa don't smoke, he don't gamble, he don't drink, he don't curse, he don't cheat - I always wondered how me and Sis was born.

Today got to Oklahoma Territory. Pa said the whole place is set aside for indigenous persons. That seems fair. He said they'll leave us be if we do the same.

It's hard to get our wagon across Oklahoma. Going around hills and going around the creeks and rivers as the trail do, it seems what we go 10 miles to get 5.

Poor pa. At a provision station, he came out yelling they's crooks, that we'd starve afore he paid their prices. Ma made him go back in and get us some stores.

We stopped to water the horses, and Sis fell in the creek, I expect this is a sin, but I sorta wish they hadn't a fished her out.

Mostly across Oklahoma, should make Texas in the morning. I'm hoping maybe Pa will let me join up with a cattle drive if we meet one. Always wanted to see Kansas.

This is the worst night of the trip by far. We're camped in a field with 8 or 10 other wagons full of settlers. And I do believe every adult is snoring. I'm sure the sound will draw dangerous critters.

I will never understand folk. Getting to leave this morning, I saw the Ma in another wagon, and she was a scared. Told this to a boy in the wagon and he got mad.

Texas! So far I seen a Ranger arresting a drunk cowboy, windmills, indigenous persons in a teepee, 2 cattle drives (Pa said NO!), a shootout, an a bat ball game

Got to Conway, Texas. 3 houses, a blacksmith, and a deputy. Pa aimed to barter for beans and fat. Ma said one day a singer should name hisself after the town.

Into New Mexico, last step before Arizona. Ma made me work on reading last night. I told her cowboys didn't need book learning, but she didn't mind, she just smiled.

Pa decided to make camp early tonight, in Gallup, New Mexico Territory before our push into Arizona Territory come morning. There are settlers and wagons everywhere, and too many townspeople to count. Seems like most are indigenous persons or Hispanic (non-white). We ate a meal that someone else cooked up! Pa said we have spent less on provisioning than he expected, so we could afford the occasion. On a scary note, we encountered but had no physical contact with a wagon where the folks had or were suspected that they had the typhus.

I asked Pa this morning how long we been traveling. He thought and said that, if we'd been on the trail just days, this'd be our 4th and last. Oh, so looking forward to seeing Arizona Territory, our new home.

Pa wanted to take a small jog in our trip, he heard tell of a bunch of logs that are as stone, we went there and it was true. Pa didn't know how it happened.

Pa said I have to cease my jottings now that we're arrived, so this will be my last. It was an exciting, tiring trip of many weeks, with just enough danger to make it worth my while. Pa said the hard part starts now. We have to build our cabin, improve our fields, and I heard him and Ma talking about school, but I'm hoping they forget that, once they see how much of a help I can be on the farm. I've been hearing a lot about Montana Territory. If they really take that school foolishness seriously, maybe I can slip on out one night and head on up thatchers a-way.