Friday, December 25, 2020

Amazing Gift

John 1:1-4: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.


Verse 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


Jesus, you are God everlasting, all powerful and all holy. And you loved us so much you endured the lowliness and filth and cruelty of humankind for us. You became flesh, one of us, so you could understand our shame and pain and take our punishment.


Lord, I cannot understand this kind of love, but I believe it. Thank you, God. 

Friday, December 18, 2020

A Favorite Story

Luke 2:1-20. This is often the passage my family reads before Christmas dinner.


Verse 4-7: So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.


How many times have I heard this story? And it still makes me teary. A simple couple. A precious baby. Birth in a stable.


Verse 8-9: And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.


Oh, surely terrified. I cannot begin to imagine.


Verse 10-11: But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.


Did the shepherds have any real idea what all this meant? But they believed, and they went to see the young family, and they began to spread the good news.


Verse 14: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”


Praise you, Lord! Thank you. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Sweet Memories, With All Five Kids Now

November 8, 1997: Murray was getting ready to go somewhere with Caleb and Rebecca, who were playing with Legos on the dining room table. When Murray said, "Okay, let's go," Caleb looked reluctant to leave his building. Sarah tried to be helpful, and told Caleb, "I'll play with that for you."


November 19, 1997: Kathy was cooing and gooing to little Benjamin. Caleb told her, "Other moms don't talk like that to their babies."


November 21, 1997: While searching for a space in the parking lot at the grocery store, Sarah unbuckled her seatbelt and stood up. "Go slow, because you don't want me to get killed."


November 22, 1997: Last night Sarah hugged me tight and said, "I heart you so much!"


On the way home from the public library today, Sarah repeatedly yelled out the car window, "Hello, partner!"


November 24, 1997: At supper tonight, Caleb asked, "What if my school was built out of onions?"


November 29, 1997: Murray and the kids were getting ready to go out this evening, and Rebecca had put on shoes but no socks. Murray yelled in her direction as he went up the stairs, "You, if you wanna go, socks." While he took off his work shirt in his room, Rebecca looked in and said, "You, if you wanna go, shirt." A few minutes later, as he prepared to put on his shoes, Rebecca said, "You, if you wanna go, shoes.”


Ping-Hwei's new nickname is Boss. The other day we were calling him Boss, and he said, "Benjamin, Little Boss."


December 13, 1997: Yesterday I couldn't find my hair brush, and I asked Sarah if she knew where it was. She asked if I'd asked Daddy. I asked why he should know. She said, "He could know. Daddy knows everything."


December 22, 1997: The other day Sarah was noticing how many fingers and toes she had, five on each hand and foot. After she'd added them she said, "We have twenty things we can wiggle."


Sarah was playing with Benjamin's little musical bunny this morning, and noticing that its hands and feet and ears moved, She said, "He's moving his arms like he's praising the Lord."


Last week, Murray took the kids to see a Christmas musical. As soon as they came in the door afterwards, Sarah said, "It was fun! It was about Jesus!"


December 25, 1997: The other night we had vegetable juice to drink for supper, but for simplicity sake, we told the kids it was tomato juice. Caleb picked up his glass and said, "I smell celery." Sure enough, when Murray checked out the ingredients, one of them was celery.


Last night we went to Shoney's, and Rebecca said, looking at the sign, "In the daytime, it says Shoney's, and it's for people. At night, it says Honey's, (she had seen the "S" burned out several days before) and it's for bears."


I gave Murray a giant chocolate kiss for Christmas this morning, and Sarah said, "That's a nice gift to give your husband."


Sarah didn't give us anything for Christmas, and she was a little sorry about that. So she said, "I'll give you your present right now. Are you ready?" And she gave us a big hug.


December 29, 1997: We were marking the kids’ growths on the wall in the laundry room tonight. We showed each of them how tall they were one year ago, and two years ago. Caleb said, "Now I'm taller than myself." 

Friday, December 4, 2020

Immanuel, God With Us

Matthew 1:21-23: She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”).


What an amazing story we have in Matthew chapters 1 and 2—of men and angels and a star and visitors from far away and wicked rulers—to safely bring God to be with us.


First, Joseph, who would be Jesus’ adopted father, must have been so hurt when he learned Mary, his fiance, became pregnant before they were together. Yet, he was kind and did not want to publicly shame her, and when God sent an angel to explain to him the miracle of the child Mary was carrying, Joseph obeyed and took her to be his wife.


Visitors from far away believed what they’d heard about a coming king of the Jews, and they followed a star to bring them to worship him.


Herod was so outraged, he caused a disturbance for everyone in Jerusalem and brought tragedy to the families of Bethlehem.


Joseph again believed the angels sent to him and moved Mary and Jesus first to Egypt, then Nazareth, keeping the child Jesus safe.


A breath-taking story of obedience and sorrow and joy, to bring us Immanuel, God is with us, Jesus, the Lord who saves. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Thank You, Lord


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.


A couple weeks before thanksgiving, I started writing down things that came to me, that I am thankful for.


Thank you, Father, that as I sit alone in my chair in the morning, I can hear noises in the house of the family you have given me waking up, those who still live in my house.


Thank You for technology. So that I can have contact with the family who do not live in my house; to remind me of the things I forget; Truly, I am thankful for technology. Truly.:)


Thank You for the friends I can depend on.


For a call from my daughter in Iowa.


For the handful of lovely days in November when I sat on my front porch and worked or read.


For coffee, which makes me smile.


For the lovely house you’ve gifted us with.


Cinnamon tea.


Your church, Lord.


Our crazy cat.


The uncountable worlds I can visit in books.


The gifts of the senses, especially smell and taste. You could have created a way for us to have nutrition without the enjoyment we get from food.


Monkey bread; comfortable jeans.


Favorite Christmas songs, Like “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night.”


Bible verses with promises of hope.


Hebrews 7:25:

Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Voices of Freedom


Recently, I re-read a book which was important to us over 25 years ago.


Voices of freedom: an oral history of the civil rights movement from the 1950s through the 1980s By: Fayer, Steve; Flynn, Sarah; Hampton, Henry.


When Congressman John Lewis died earlier this year, a friend wrote to me, talking about Lewis’s heroism.


I knew I should know him, but I couldn’t remember. My daughter Sarah told me, “A famous leader in the civil rights movement.”


My husband Murray reminded me of the book I’d read and bought for him over 25 years ago, VOICES OF FREEDOM.


I remembered the book and decided I’d like to read it again. It was published in 1990, but it is still available as a kindle book.


This book is an oral history of the civil rights movement, taken from interviews for the TV show “Eyes to the Prize.” The book covers mostly the 1950s through the 80s, but it goes back to the beginning of the United States, disagreements over slavery from the beginning, and those who fought for rights of Black people throughout the country’s history.


Some storied included:


The Montgomery bus boycott, 1955-56. School desegregation in Little Rock Arkansas, Central High School.


In 1959-60, student sit-ins for lunch counters. They had workshops to prepare for this with non-violence, how to protect their heads from beatings, how to protect each other, how to not strike back when they were hit, how to show respect for the workers in the restaurants. This is where I first heard of John Lewis, in 1960 when he was a twenty-year-old college student in Nashville.


The Freedom Ride of 1961, where we again met John Lewis. Both blacks and whites joining together on interstate bus rides.


The beginning of SNCC, Student Non-Violent Coordination Committee.


James Meredith, the first black student to attend Old Miss in 1962, the University of Mississippi.


In 1963, the March on Washington, with speeches from both John Lewis and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


1963, the bombing of a church in Birmingham with the death of four children.


1965, Selma, Alabama bridge, marching from Selma to Montgomery.


The Voting Rights Act, signed in August, 1965.


1967-68, Dr. Martin Luther King’ Jr.’s last work and assassination.


1970-71 prison uprising in New York State, call for reform.


In 1972 Gary, Indiana, they held a Black Political Convention—Unity Without Uniformity.


Other issues discussed were bussing, affirmative action, Equal Opportunity, better housing, better education.


This is a book of history, but recent history, and I believe, a very important issue for us to think about right now. It’s important to remember these people who worked so hard and gave so much. I pray and ask God for wisdom to help us to find peace in our own times.


Others mentioned in the book: Emmett Till; Ralph Abernathy; Daisy Bates; Medgar Evers; Fred Shuttlesworth; A. Philip Randolph; Fannie Lou Hamer; Bob Moses; Amelia Bointon Robinson; Stokely Carmichael; Huey Newton; Sonia Sanchez; Roger Wilkins; Paula Giddings; Marian Logan; William O’Neal; Elliott James Barkley; Jesse Jackson; Ben Chavis; Richard Hatcher; Ron Walters; Phyllis Ellison; Ethel Mae Matthews; Maynard Jackson; Yusef Hawkins. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Psalm 119:145-152: Qoph

ק Qoph

I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord,

    and I will obey your decrees.

I call out to you; save me

    and I will keep your statutes.

I rise before dawn and cry for help;

    I have put my hope in your word.

My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,

    that I may meditate on your promises.

Hear my voice in accordance with your love;

    preserve my life, Lord, according to your laws.

Those who devise wicked schemes are near,

    but they are far from your law.

Yet you are near, Lord,

    and all your commands are true.

Long ago I learned from your statutes

    that you established them to last forever.


Father God, help me trust that your promises never change. Teach me how to obey you more every day and believe that you are always near. Thank you for your precious love and that you always invite me to call out to you. 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Guest Author: Valerie Goree

Author Valerie Goree tells of her journey as a writer and introduces her latest story, which is placed in a fascinating setting.


Forever Under Blue Skies

Valerie Goree


My latest novel, Forever Under Blue Skies, is very close to my heart. It is based on the first novel I ever wrote, way back before everyone had a computer. Not to give away my age, but I bought a word processor back then and decided to write a story using details of my mother’s family roots in Australia.


I don’t remember how long it took since I was teaching fulltime and had two teenaged kids at the time. Although I had participated in a few mini workshops, I didn’t attend a full-fledged conference until my book was finished. I chose Mt. Hermon Writers Conference as the venue to present my masterpiece.


Well, the multi-published author who gave me a critique said I had the bones of a good story, but I needed to learn a whole lot more about the craft of writing. My first sentence had three adjectives describing the weather. Reminded me of Rudyard Kipling’s description of a river that forms the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa. In his book The Elephant’s Child, Mr. Kipling called the river the ‘Great Grey-Green Greasy Limpopo River’. I grew up in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and crossed the Limpopo River many times to visit South Africa. The river is great during the rainy season, it is grey-green, but it is definitely not greasy!


Back to the basics. I set aside that novel, but kept on writing and attended as many workshops as I could. I also joined American Christian Fiction Writers, probably my best writing related decision.


After publishing five novels, I decided to go back to my first. Oh, my. I read my printed copy and was embarrassed at my purple prose, head hopping etc., and understood why the novel was not an instant hit at Mt. Hermon. But I stuck with the basic premise and found that my original research from library books was spot-on as compared to recent internet information and details gathered when my husband and I visited Australia.


I relied on details from my great-great-grandparents’ family tree for my story, even to using the town of Bendigo. Now, my family never lived on a sheep station, but that’s where the fiction part came in.


What was life like on a sheep station in 1983? Follow Marlow’s journey to find out.


“Travel to Australia to solve a family mystery? Sure, Marlow could do that. But she didn’t take into consideration the vast outback, nor the owner of the sheep station. Widower, Jake Barclay, is everything her late husband was not—honorable, considerate, a pure gentleman. She came prepared with sunscreen, but hadn’t built a high enough screen around her heart.


Jake was dubious about Marlow’s reason for visiting his station and thwarts her plan at every turn. Until he sees how she interacts with his vulnerable, young daughter.


If they solve the coded message, can Marlow return to Texas, or will Jake offer her a forever home in the outback?”





Purchase link: 

Friday, October 30, 2020

Jesus Loves Me, Jesus Loves You

I’ve been feeling on edge, depressed, lately. As have a lot of people


I tell myself that I really shouldn’t. My family and I are healthy. We are not having financial trouble.


But many people are sick. Many have died.


The coronavirus. Financial hardships. Americans fighting Americans because of racial issues, because of politics.


It is a sad time.


I’ve been a Christian for over forty years. I’m not giving that up. But it’s hard to find hope, for myself, to share with others who aren’t sure they believe in God.


Recently,, in a book I read, I was reminded how writers can be encouragers. The father in this story told his daughter not to give up on God. He said if she did, then Satan wins.


I’m going back to the simple truth to find my hope, and then the strength to share it with others. Jesus loves me. Jesus loves you.


Jesus did everything that was needed to meet our greatest need. He is alive again, and he promises to walk beside us every day.


John 19:30: When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.


Mark 16:6: “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”


Matthew 28:18-20: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


Jesus loves you. Jesus loves me. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Guest Author: Tori Higa

 I want to share another great author and fun book with you.


Inspiration can be fickle.  It never seems to strike when you are looking for it.  It can come at inconvenient times.  But what do you do when inspiration strikes?  Do you ignore it or do you listen to it? If you choose to listen, it might take you to some uncomfortable places. In my case, inspiration came in the form of a poem.  I never considered myself to be a writer so taking this step was a leap of faith.  But in the end, I had no choice but to create. 

I was sitting in church one Sunday morning during the Christmas season when something was triggered inside of me.  After the sermon that day, I told my husband I wanted to write a children’s book about the meaning of the color red at Christmastime to help point kids to Jesus.  I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I was going to make it happen.  I was an artist by nature but writing was way out of my comfort zone.  Despite all the doubts, I knew I had to try.  I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that entire day.  Early the next morning while I was lying in bed somewhere in-between being asleep and awake, the words of a poem came to me and I started writing on the notepad I keep at my bedside table. I was in the flow and I couldn’t stop.  Before I knew it, I was finished with a draft of The Christmas Color.  It was a strange but amazing feeling because I had never experienced anything remotely like that before.  At the same time, I felt like it was a gift and meant to be.  Like so many times in life, I had to get through the “uncomfortable” to get to the good parts.  But in the end, I feel truly blessed to have gone through that process.


Tori Higa is inspired by her faith, family & friends, coffee shops & people- watching, and all things vintage. She has always loved making art and recently began pairing her hand-crafted pictures with the stories she writes to share with young kids. She considers it a high honor to make books to inspire kids and encourage their faith journey. She currently lives in California with her husband, two kids, and a puppy named Edie. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Guest Author: Janet L. Christensen


Christmas, the Messiah, and an Adorable Little Cricket

I have always loved Christmas.  Tiny twinkle lights, the smell of homemade caramel corn, and Christmas carols have a way of imparting a special kind of joy that fills my spirit up to the very brim.  But it is all just icing on the cake compared to the most wonderful gift of all.  The Messiah.  The newborn babe.  Hope for a troubled world, sleeping in a manger.  Of all of the gifts we receive, this is the one to cherish and share with everyone we meet.  That is why I wrote my book, Cairo’s Christmas Journey…to share the story of God’s presence and help for us on our journey with the youngest generation.

Cairo the Cricket is a gifted musician and his friends, the shepherds, love his music.  His lullabies can relax even the rowdiest sheep.  But on that special Christmas Eve, he has been given a very different job from one of the angels that visited his shepherd friends in the field—to play a lullaby for the newborn King.  How can a tiny cricket make it all the way to Bethlehem, when dangers lurk around every corner?  From irate birds to a sticky situation with an ant hole, Cairo’s journey seems impossible.  But nothing is impossible with God.

Along the way, Cairo learns that God is with us in our toughest journeys, sending helpers to share their gifts with us along the way.  But can Cairo’s new friends help him get all the way to Bethlehem in time to play his special song?  This is a sweet story with an amazing message of God’s presence in even the toughest journeys.

2020 has been a tough journey for a lot of us.  New uncertainties and processes for us all create special challenges for our kids, grandkids and great grandkids.  What better time than now to reassure them all that God is with us all on every journey we take, sending helpers to assist us along the way.  What a precious message and reminder for us all!

Cairo’s Christmas Journey releases on October 27.  It will be available online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and most of your favorite booksellers.


Janet L Christensen is an award-winning writer, speaker and encourager that loves to captivate audiences with inspiring stories.  Whether it is with the stories she writes or with the stories she tells with the help of one of her puppet friends, Janet is sure to deliver an entertaining message of hope and love.

Janet was born and raised in rural South Dakota and after spending some time living and adventuring in Idaho and Wyoming, she and her family have returned to the place of their roots.  When she is not writing, she enjoys living the life of a pastor’s wife and leading children’s or women’s ministry projects.  She is the proud mother of two teenage sons and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Sully.




Friday, October 9, 2020

Sweet Memories, I Needed These Smiles

September 11, 1997: Rebecca was complaining about her leg hurting tonight. I told her it was growing pains. Frustrated, she said, "Well, this is the one that always hurts. Is it going to be bigger than the other one?"


September 14, 1997: Last night Rebecca said, "When I grow up, I'm going to kill a big bug and cut off its face and save its eyes for a treasure."


September 18, 1997: Rebecca said that Sarah wanted to sit with her friends on the bus instead of with Rebecca. She said, "Sarah never sits with me. It breaks my heart when she won't sit with me."


September 19, 1997: As usual, the girls were fighting tonight after they went to bed. Sarah came and told me something Rebecca did to her, and then Rebecca came and told me something Sarah did to her. I told Rebecca to be quiet and go to bed, and as she went she said unhappily, "She got to tell on me, and I don't get to tell on her -- that's not fair!"


September 30, 1997: When Murray and the kids are driving, sometimes they see and count horses. Murray likes to tease them by pointing to any other object -- a cow, a house, a hay bale, etc. -- and say, "Let's count that as a horse, too." The other day the kids were getting ready for school. I told Sarah something to do that she didn't want to do, and I had to keep telling her, so she was upset with me. Finally she said, "Mom, I'm going to count you as a horse."


October 6, 1997: Whenever I ask Rebecca if she doesn't think Benjamin is the cutest baby in the world, she replies, "The baby across the street is cuter."


Murray told the kids all about the Promise Keepers assembly in Washington, D.C., from the meals to the music to the subway ride. He asked, "Does anyone have any questions?" Caleb said, "I have a question. How fast do the trains go?"


October 10, 1997: While we were waiting for the bus this morning, Caleb said, "Sometimes I can feel myself grow if I stand really still."


This morning the three little rascals were playing while waiting for the bus. Caleb was Sarah's son, and she left him with Rebecca at church, because Rebecca was his Bible Schoolteacher. Later Rebecca was going to visit Sarah and Caleb in their home. She called them for directions. Sarah said, "Go straight on the street from the church and--" Rebecca said, "I'm not at the church; I'm at my house." Sarah didn't miss a beat. "Go to the church. Take the road straight, turn left, then right..."


October 23, 1997: Murray was cutting fingernails and toenails tonight. Caleb, when he was referring to getting his toenails cut, said, "Daddy, hang me upside down and do it."


Tonight we gave Ping-Hwei the car keys, and asked him to put something in the car. He walked toward the door, jingling the keys and said, happily, "Good-bye!"


October 25, 1997: Tonight at supper, I asked Ping-Hwei to help me carry the plates to the table. For some reason, I had it in my mind that he should only carry one at a time. I noticed that he had two, and I asked, "Ping-Hwei! Do you have two plates?" "I have two," he replied reasonably, "I have two hands."


Later at supper, Caleb said, out of the blue, "What?" I asked what he was talking about, and he answered, "I'm not talking to you; I'm talking to somebody in my head."


November 3, 1997: The other night, we stopped by the grocery store, and Sarah asked, "Do the people who work here at night get to sleep?"


The other morning, Sarah told me, "I had a dream that Daddy bought a can of soup, but when he opened it, frogs jumped out instead."


November 5, 1997: At a party last week, Rebecca won for a prize a model of an eye, with wiggly parts inside. She asked Murray what the parts were, including the iris, retina, etc. Last, she asked, "What are these veiny things?” When she practices the piano, Murray usually sits with her and watches to help her. This afternoon, I asked Rebecca to practice her piano lessons. She said, "I need someone to watch me while I practice, so I'll get my eyeball."     

Friday, October 2, 2020

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus


When my daughter talks to me about her fears for her future in our current world, I feel at a loss at how to comfort her.


Of course, the coronavirus. Natural disasters. Politics. The economy. Fighting, verbally and physically, between many groups in our country. As well as our nation’s place in the world.


So much to fear.


I’m afraid too.


I strive to cling to my faith in God’s protection. And that’s what I want to share with my children.


Though things may get worse or better in our world, we will never be satisfied by the hope we can find here. As Christians, we should always be good citizens of the world, but it can never fully give us peace.


I want to say, “Draw closer to the Word of God, and find his immeasurable hope there. Put your trust in Jesus first always.”


He does not promise us an easy time in this world, though he often gives us great beauty and joy here. But Jesus does promise to stand with us and help us if we will turn to him.


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.”


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.’”


1 Peter 5:7:

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.


Psalms 40:1-2:

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.



Friday, September 25, 2020

Live Forgiven

God is teaching me to live like I’m forgiven.


I recently read a book by Max Lucado in which he said because of Calvary, we can make choices. He reminded me that I can choose to live forgiven.


I struggle to leave behind the things I did in the past. I sorrow over them. How can I share with others the joy of god’s mercy this way?


I have begged for forgiveness, and God promises to forgive. This is a promise I can accept.


1 John 1:9:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 


God’s Word commands us to forget the past so He can do something new and wonderful in our lives.


Isaiah 43:18-19:

“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.”


Philippians 3:13-14:

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


I can’t forget my sins, but God promises that He has.


Isaiah 43:25:

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


Psalm 103: 12: 

as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.


This is a battle against Satan which God yearns to help me win.


1 Peter 5:8:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.


Psalm 51 is such a comfort to me.


David committed adultery, then tried to cover it up by committing murder. He and his wife had to suffer the loss of a child through all of this.


But David didn’t give up. In Psalm 51, he writhes over sin he has committed. He pleads for God’s help, His forgiveness, and to have the joy of his salvation restored.


Psalm 51:1, 12-13, 17:

 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.


David knew that God would accept the plea of a truly repentant heart. And he knew that forgiveness was the best motivation for him to share God’s love with others.


And what wonderful grace God shows David.


Acts 13:22:

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’


Father, I pray for the trust of David. Help me to accept Your mercy and joyfully share Your love with those around me.                 

Friday, September 18, 2020

Psalm 119:137-144 Tsadhe

צ Tsadhe

You are righteous, Lord,

    and your laws are right.

The statutes you have laid down are righteous;

    they are fully trustworthy.

My zeal wears me out,

    for my enemies ignore your words.

Your promises have been thoroughly tested,

    and your servant loves them.

Though I am lowly and despised,

    I do not forget your precepts.

Your righteousness is everlasting

    and your law is true.

Trouble and distress have come upon me,

    but your commands give me delight.

Your statutes are always righteous;

    give me understanding that I may live.


“Father, I can never express enough how thankful I am for your word. Through all my hard times and sorrows, through every struggle and uncertainty, I find hope from you in the pages of my Bible.                                     Strengthen me, Lord, and use me to bring hope to others.” 

Friday, September 11, 2020

Sweet Memories, Made Me a Little Teary

July 22, 1997: Sarah cleaned up all the toys in the basement by herself, and then told Kathy, "I'm so proud of myself."

July 25, 1997: Last night Sarah said, "I love Jesus so much, I just can't say how much."

The other day, in the midst of our ant infestation, Ping-Hwei was filling some ice trays at the sink. With disgust in his voice, he cried to Kathy, "What! Counter! Animals!"

August 1, 1997: When Sarah's not having a fun time, she says, "I'm a little bit boring." When Rebecca thinks a day is not fun, she says, "This day is bored."

Sarah asked to have some of Murray's exotic mocha coffee, and Murray said she could have a little. Sarah told him, "I'll be sorry if I forget and drink it all."

Caleb had a hamburger with the works for supper, pretty potentially messy. When Murray handed Caleb the sandwich he told him not to put it down until he was done eating it. Caleb replied, "Look, Daddy, I'm going to throw it up in the air!"

August 20, 1997: Yesterday, Ping-Hwei asked why our cats have four feet. I said that they're animals, and many animals have four feet. He said, "I want four feet."

Sarah just asked me to get her the toy dishes to play with. As I walked with her to get them off the shelf, she said, "I'm smiling, because I'm a cute little girl."

August 24, 1997: In the car the other day, we were eating bagels. Rebecca looked at her cherry bagel and said, with serious intent, "I like the ones with hair all over them."

August 25, 1997: Rebecca stayed with Grandma this week. On the way home yesterday, Sarah said a little sadly, "Benjamin looks sad; maybe he's missing Rebecca playing with him." I thought maybe Sarah was missing Rebecca too.

August 29, 1997: Sarah had an ouchy which was irritating her, and she said in frustration, "I wish we were in Heaven!" Caleb agreed, "No crying, no sad, no mad, no dying."

Today was a freshman orientation day at Ping-Hwei's high school. I asked him what he did at school today, and he replied, "I had ice cream.”

September 1, 1997: Sarah was saying that at school, she was going to remember to pray to herself at lunch, and Caleb said, "Last year, I'd start to open my lunchbox, and God would remind me, 'Don't forget to pray.'"

September 3, 1997: Last night, Sarah said that a little boy named Caleb in her class was singing Celebrate Jesus, and I said he probably loves Jesus. She said, "Well, I asked him, and he didn't say anything." Last week she told me that in a doctor's waiting room once, she asked a little boy if he loved Jesus, and he told her not to talk about that sissy stuff. I told her she's a good missionary.

In a long line of traffic, Sarah said, "Why do you stop if there's no stop light?" Murray said, the light is way up ahead, but what would you want me to do with the cars in front of me, anyway? She said, "You could go, bump."

September 6, 1997: Sarah is talking a lot like us. Today she was talking to Ping-Hwei, and said, "Caleb, Ping-Hwei, whoever you are..."

September 7, 1997: Murray is making sub sandwiches for supper. He asked Rebecca what she wanted on hers, and she replied, "I want everything but onions and ointment." Murray asked, Ointment? "Yeah, like catsup." Ah, condiments.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Cry Out To Jesus

There was a song a few years back called “Cry Out to Jesus.” I was reminded of this song recently.

When I’m feeling down, not about any one thing in particular, but just about many things, I want to cry.

My husband wants to comfort me. I feel ashamed to share it with my children or my friends. I want to weep and sob, but what can they do for me? What can they say?

I’m a mess, and I fear sharing this depth of sadness with people.

But I can cry out to Jesus.

God invites me to share the depth of my pain, even if I don’t understand it, with him. He can take it. He wants to. He cares for me.

Hebrews 4: 16:
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Psalm 56: 8:
You keep track of all my sorrows.
    You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in your book.

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

Third Day - Cry Out To Jesus (Official Video) – YouTube

Friday, August 28, 2020

Let Us Listen

Micah 6:8:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

One thing I’ve heard more than once, when the problems of racial injustice in America are discussed, is that the church has not stepped up and helped as we should.

After the horrible things that have gone on this summer, I wanted to be a part of the church that would help. An important step, I believe, is to listen to what people have to say. Below is a note from my friend Stats Ky Bey.

We have more in common than we realize. We share the anatomy of eyes, fingers, toes. We share the desire for family, friends, home. We share the need for a father, protector, provider. And, most importantly we all need a Savior.

So, let’s think about these common needs as we think about that a man was shot seven times in the back. And, before we add the imaginary differences found in our psychology, what do we think about the fact that a man was shot seven times in the back.

If you are like me, you may be thinking, “Why wasn’t one shot enough?” And, if you are like me, you may be wondering, “Why wasn’t two times enough?” And, if you are like me, you may be wondering, “Why wasn’t three times enough?” And, if you are like me, you may be wondering, “Why wasn’t four times enough?” And, if you are like me, you may be wondering, “Why wasn’t 5 times enough?” And, if you are like me, you may be wondering, “Why wasn’t 6 times enough?”

And if you are like me, you may be wondering “Why was this man shot seven times in the back?”
We have more in common than you think.

Now, if you are not like me, you may be thinking, “That man should have been shot more than seven times in the back, good riddance!” And, if this is the case, let’s add in the biases of race, status, education, position, authority, and everything else that will stop us from asking the hard question of, “Why was a man shot seven times in the back?”

Key words to consider here? They are man, shot, seven, times, and back.

Is the issue with the word man? Maybe not every man, or every life, is seen as equally valuable? What do you think? Is every man, life, valuable?

Is the issue with the word shot? Does everyone who can shoot have the right to shoot? Does the freedom to shoot outweigh the responsibility to shoot? Do those who have the freedom also realize that they have the responsibility of acting in good conscience?

Is the issue with the word seven? Can we not see how much seven is? Do we not realize seven means, I intend to do this not once, not twice, not three times, not 4 times, not five times, not six times; but, I intend to do this seven times. If someone does something 7 times you would begin to think that it is no accident.

Is the issue with the word times? How many times does this have to happen? How many times do we have to hear the same story? How many times do we have to say this is not right before someone hears us? How many times?

Is the issue with the word back? Are we just going to turn our back? Are we just going to go back to the way things were? Are we just going to go back and forth and make no progress? Are we just going to go back to the question, “Why was a man shot seven times in the back?"

We have more in common than you think. We can change, we can speak, we can care, we can share, we can behave differently. We can pray, we can stay, we can teach, we can reach, we can be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding, in the work of The Lord!

It is easy to be discouraged by what is going on. It is easy to ignore what is going on. It is easy to dismiss the way things are and hope that someone else deals with it. But, we all, in our own garden where The Lord has placed us, can be the voice of change and continue to speak truth about what is going on. Ecclesiastes 3
To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under
heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a
time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A
time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time
to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away
stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to
refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to
keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A
time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time
to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Habakkuk Questions God

I love reading in the Old Testament when people were willing to argue with God. I think that shows a level of trust—they trusted that God would listen and not reject them because of their confronting him. I find this in Habakkuk.

Habakkuk complained to God because of the evil in Israel. Why did God ignore it?

Chapter 1:2:
How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?

God said he would use the wicked and fierce country of Babylonia as a punishment, but Habakkuk couldn’t believe that was the right thing to do.

Verse 13:
Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?

God responds that in the end, he will judge wrongdoing.

Chapter 2:16,20:
You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed! The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory.
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.

Habakkuk is humbled, but still he prays for mercy.

Chapter 3:2:
Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.

In the end, Habakkuk knew, whatever trouble there may be, he had hope with God.

Chapter 3: 17-19:
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Ane Mulligan, Southern-fried fiction

My guest this week is author Ane Mulligan. Enjoy.

When people learn I’m an author, they want to know what kind of books I write. My brand is Southern-fried fiction. In all my books, no matter what era they’re set in, you’ll find an ensemble cast of strong women, facing life’s issues together.

I grew up wanting sisters. I only had a brother; both of us were adopted. While we had an idyllic childhood, I longed for sisters. I gathered girl friends around me in place of nonexistent sisters. That continued into adulthood, and those friendships influenced my writing. Of course, little did I know what God had in store for me. The story of my discovery of my birth sisters is here, on my website:

In High Cotton is the first in my Georgia Magnolias series. It’s probably my favorite of all the books I’ve written. I love this story of a young widow, raising her small son during the Depression. I also grew to love the other characters, who took on life as Maggie gathered them around her.

Sadie Moreland, half Yamasee Indian, who became a mentor to Maggie. Duchess Alden, Maggie’s sister, who arrived in Rivers End without any skills other than being a good hostess.
Then there’s sweet Pinkie Yates. Maggie’s little boy found her beaten and battered. He told his mama he’s like the Good Samaritan in the Bible, and they had to take her home. Maggie’s mother-in-law, Faylene, is a tower of strength.

I’ve had a lot of fun researching and writing this series. One of my favorite aspects of this was the Depression era recipes. Southerners used peanuts as a staple protein in their family meals, and I tried a few out on my family. I share several recipes in the book, and I thought y’all might enjoy seeing one of them.

Macaroni Papoose
1 package macaroni, broken in ¼-inch lengths
1/3 c milk
grated cheese
small amount horseradish
thin slices raw smoked ham

Cook macaroni until tender, spread slices of ham with macaroni, horseradish and cheese.
Roll slices and skewer or tie together. Place in shallow baking dish with milk.

Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) for 35 minutes. Serve hot with dish of crushed pineapple to sprinkle over each “papoose” as desired.

If you’d like to read the first chapter of In High Cotton, go to and scroll to the DOWNLOADS

Ane Mulligan has been a voracious reader ever since her mom instilled within her a love of reading at age three, escaping into worlds otherwise unknown. But when Ane saw PETER PAN on stage, she was struck with a fever from which she never recovered—stage fever. She submerged herself in drama through high school and college. One day, her two loves collided, and a bestselling, award-winning novelist emerged. She lives in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler. Find Ane on her website: 
Amazon Author Page:
The Write Conversation: 

In High Cotton
Southern women may look as delicate as flowers, but there’s iron in their veins.
While the rest of the world has been roaring through the 1920s, times are hardscrabble in rural South Georgia. Widow Maggie Parker is barely surviving while raising her young son alone. Then as banks begin to fail, her father-in-law threatens to take her son and sell off her livelihood—the grocery store her husband left her. Can five Southern women band together, using their wisdom and wiles to stop him and survive the Great Depression?

Available online at
and in bookstores.

Mulligan pens a story full of southern charm with a cast of characters in a cute Georgia town you won't easily forget. Makes me want to sit down with the lot of them for a glass of sweet tea. — New York Times Bestselling Author, Rachel Hauck

“What was the last book that kept you up until the wee hours of the morning? Last time I looked at the clock it was almost 2am and I was reading Ane Mulligan's "In High Cotton" which comes out Aug 3, 2020! I had to force myself to put a bookmark in my Kindle.” Mimi Noble on Avid Readers of Christian Fiction

Friday, August 7, 2020

Pe Psalm 119:129-136


פ Pe

Your statutes are wonderful;

    therefore I obey them.

The unfolding of your words gives light;

    it gives understanding to the simple.

I open my mouth and pant,

    longing for your commands.

Turn to me and have mercy on me,

    as you always do to those who love your name.

Direct my footsteps according to your word;

    let no sin rule over me.

Redeem me from human oppression,

    that I may obey your precepts.

Make your face shine on your servant

    and teach me your decrees.

Streams of tears flow from my eyes,

    for your law is not obeyed.



Father, your word brings so much comfort to me. With you, Father, I weep for those who do not obey u, because of the loneliness and sorrow which that brings to their lives. Thank you that your desire is     to be merciful to us, to teach us your way. Help me show the glory of your love to others.                 

Friday, July 31, 2020

Sweet Memories and Giggles

                                                            June 15, 1997: Sarah, our picky eater, was unsure about her vegetable soup, a new experience for her. "What is this?" "A green bean." "Take it out ... take this out, too ... take everything out!"


We went to Shoney's this morning and, as we were paying the bill, Sarah tried to get a balloon that was tied in a group of four to a rail. She untied them, and they all went to the ceiling. We laughed, and she said, "I don't like people laughing at me. I especially don't like my family laughing at me!"


June 18, 1997: Kathy was busy this morning when the phone rang, so she asked Caleb to answer it. He picked up the phone and said cheerfully, "Who are you?"


June 19, 1997: We were picking up a new kitten today at some friends', to go with our older two cats. The man said that the older two wouldn't like the kitty at first. Rebecca said, "No, Deborah (our 1-year old cat) will like her. She's always wanted a kitty."


June 27, 1997: Sarah was trying to tell me something this morning, but Benjamin was crying loudly. Frustrated, Sarah shouted, "How can we quiet him down?"


June 29, 1997: Rebecca just saw a spider, and asked Murray to get rid of it. Caleb said, "Get a bug spanker." (Flyswatter?)


Murray and the kids were looking at a cartoon in the paper with a grandfather looking down from Heaven. Sarah was wanting to look at the picture, and know all about it, and Murray said it was supposed to be the grandfather in Heaven, pointing out the heavenly clouds and the gates and the angels. Sarah looked and, getting to the thrust of the issue, asked, "Where's Jesus?"


June 29, 1997: Rebecca asked what a "step-sister" is, and Murray tried to explain. "Suppose I died and went to heaven. That would leave mommy with you kids. Then, suppose Mrs. X died. That would leave Mr. X with all those kids. Then, if mommy married Mr. X, all you kids and all those kids would be step-sisters and step-brothers." Caleb, voicing his true concern, asked, "Who would drive us to the wedding?"


July 3, 1997: This morning Caleb made an airplane out of Legos. He was telling me about it, and he said, "The pilot, SHE" did something, very naturally calling the pilot a "she.”


July 10, 1997: Benjamin was having a loud crying spell yesterday, and Sarah said in frustration, "I didn't know babies cried so much!" I said I didn't know it either, and she said, "Yes, you did, because I did. Did I?"


July 13, 1997: When Kathy said that we might take a trip sometime to the place in Kansas where Laura Engels Wilder lived, Sarah said, "My heart is full of joy, because every day I'm learning new surprises."


We were at Olan Mills, waiting to get our pictures taken today, when the three middle kids were playing in a play area. Rebecca, being Miss 911, said, with a chuckle, "Well, no, I don't take care of fires. I guess you can talk to my friend here," and Sarah spoke with that caller. Sarah got another call in a few minutes: "No, I don't take care of old people, I take care of fires. You can talk to the lady who does that. Here's my friend."


July 20, 1997: Tonight at supper, Rebecca asked Murray and me, "Why don't you both have the same color hair, since you're both from Missouri?"


Last night we had pizza and salad for supper, and Rebecca pointed out that Sarah got some "crew-cuts" from the salad bar -- you know those small, square, hard cracker-like things.


Ping-Hwei told me yesterday that when he was forty-five, he wanted to get married. He said he wanted to find a wife who loved Jesus, and he said, "Babba help me." Murray assured him he would.


We've read all the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and talked about how she really lived, and a few weeks ago, we went to visit her home and museum in Mansfield, Missouri. Sarah said yesterday, "You know how I know Laura was real? Because she had houses. And mostly because I saw the chair and desk where she wrote."

Friday, July 24, 2020

Authors I've Discovered

Most of these authors are new to me; all of them write with faith.

Irene Hannon writes about Missouri, where I grew up, so that is a delight to me. Her stories include mystery and suspense.

Tessa Afshar writes Biblical fiction, including stories about Priscilla and Aquila, Paul, and Rahab.

Books I’ve read from Karen Barnett take place in National Parks in the 1920s and 30s.

So far I’ve only read one book by Rachel Hauck, The Fifth Avenue Story Society. This is a literary book of modern-day New York City with a variety of people. They are strangers who are mysteriously brought together and become important in each other’s lives.

Terry Blackstock, not a new author to me, excellent suspense.

Lauraine Snelling shares stories of immigrants from Norway who settle in Minnesota in the early 1900s, looking for hope and a new home. Beautiful stories of lives of settlers.

I have added all of these authors to my to-be-read-again list.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Hope in These Times

I’ve been thinking I should write about our time during the corona virus.

But what should I write about? Things aren’t that much different in our lives.

We did have to stop our braille teaching at the correctional center, and my husband only worked from home for a while. Both our sons who live with us are unemployed during this time. We are having virtual church, and I didn’t leave the house for more than three months.

Other than that, my life is much the same. I already did work from home. Our finances have been fine. My husband and sons take safety measures seriously when they leave home.

I live with three men, so I’m not at all lonely. Truthfully, we’ve all gotten along pretty well being shut up at home together most of the time.

So what to write about?

I finally decided I should talk about the concerns of my heart during this overwhelming, frightening time in our nation, in the world.

Listening to the news makes my heart heavy—about the virus, about the horrid racial problems, about the economy, about so much division in our country.

What are the long-range consequences we face? How are our futures, mine and my children’s, going to change?

When will our sons be able to go back to work? Our daughter just finished graduate school. Will she be able to find a job?

When can we travel in the community again without fear of illness? When will schools be able to operate safely?

When will we stop hearing of so many people getting sick and dying from the corona virus? When will all of us in our nation have more peace among us?

When will I have a true moment of joy without feeling a prick of guilt?

I’ve heard many opinions, read many devotions and articles about these times. I want to share some of the hope and encouragement I’ve received from others.

Psalms 68:19:
Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms.

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.’”

Romans 8:35,37:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

What I’ve heard repeated most: None of this was a surprise to God. He knew it was going to happen, and he knew where each of us would be.

Psalm 139:16: 
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

In Genesis chapter 16, Hagar calls God the God who saw her.

Verse 13: She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

God sees us. He is always with us. He helps us. And he has work for us to do.

God wants me to focus on being part of the solution, not the problem. This gives me such hope.

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.”

Ephesians 2:10:
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Father, thank you for this hope, for this reminder. Help me to see those near me who need help, and give me the strength and courage to do what I can.