Friday, November 25, 2022

Travel Mercies

 

My friend, author eMarie, https://www.merryheartink.com/, shares reasons for thanksgiving to God.

 

TRAVELING MERCIES

By Erma M. Ullrey

 

As we buckle into our seats, my hubby Bert prays before even starting the car. After two near collisions in the past two weeks, neither of us will go anywhere without asking the Lord for His divine protection. Here’s why:

 

We were driving home from our annual family retreat in Sunriver, OR, when our first near collision occurred. We’d spent five wonderful days playing games, sitting in a hot tub, taking long walks, and catching up while stuffing our faces. All of it our idea of a relaxing family time.

 

On the two-lane road that takes us home to Idaho, we listened to a favorite pastor’s sermon. The beautiful autumn leaves, the crisp air, and two hot coffees to-go always make the six-hour drive enjoyable.

 

About four hours into it, we began the descent from the steepest point of our drive. There isn’t a guard rail or much shoulder between us and a beautiful valley below.

 

“Oh, Lord,” we breathed. Coming up the hill from the opposite direction, a sedan decided to pass a semi-truck in front of it. At that moment, it was as though the Lord created a median. Our car passed within inches of that sedan.

 

Neither of us could ever recall passing so close as to see a driver’s eye color, hair style, or clothing. God performed a miracle that day, and we thank Him that His hand is never short, and always outstretched toward His children!

 

The next collision occurred one week later. We were on our way to a prayer meeting that began at 8:45 a.m. at our church. In typical fashion, I was running two minutes late. I announced, “We should’ve left the house at 8:30. It’s 8:32.” My long-suffering husband said nothing, dutifully started the car, and we were on our way.

 

I looked at the dashboard clock. 8:45. We had another two streets and two more 4-way stops before we’d arrive at church. “Lord, I promise to get up five minutes earlier next Sunday.” That was my prayer when I heard Bert say, “Oh, God.” Mind you, he never says, “Oh, God.” Gosh or goodness, yes. But he sincerely meant, Oh, God!

 

An SUV in front us had turned left at the intersection. A car from the opposite direction broadsided the SUV at full speed. That driver hadn’t seen his stop sign. The SUV hit one of the stop signs, preventing it from going into a ditch, and rolled over onto the other driver’s car.

 

By God’s grace, both drivers walked away from the accident! Bert helped the woman in the SUV, who had minor cuts and scrapes. The other driver’s airbag had deployed, and other than shock and sincere sorrow, he was fine. I called 9-1-1, and then directed traffic through the 4-way stop.

 

Yes, that SUV could’ve been us. But the moral of the story isn’t – Don’t be late for prayer meeting/church! It is, however, to pray and praise the Lord. Whether we feel or see it, He is always working for our good and for His glory. 

Friday, November 18, 2022

Books for Christmas Gifts?

If I Were You by Lynn Austin. The most detailed book of World War II I’ve ever read about people in England surviving the German bombings, both in London and in the country and villages. Two young women become volunteers to help with the war effort, then join the army and drive ambulances. Through all the hard times and sorrows, they struggle to find their faith in God and accept his and each other’s forgiveness.

 

Sworn To Protect by DiAnn Mills. This is a novel of suspense, a story which gives a careful look at border patrol and immigration law.

 

Gold Rush Prodigal by Brock and Bodie Thoene. From Hawaii to whale boating to prospecting for gold in California, this story introduces us to fascinating characters and adventure.

 

Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon. A heart-twanging story of a number of people who need God’s grace for themselves and to offer to others.

 

The Gift: a horse, a boy, and a miracle of love by Lauraine Snelling. A lovely Christmas story, including fun descriptions of training a small boy on care for and riding a horse, and hope for three hurting people.

 

They can't kill us all: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a new era in America's racial justice movement by Wesley Lowery. A journalist’s honest and heart-felt look at loss of life of Black people at the hands of police. Including the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri; the death of a twelve-year-old boy with a toy gun in Cleveland; incidents in Charleston and Baltimore. Also looks at the church massacre in Charleston and vigilante killings of Black people. the protests that follow, fights with police, and how young people started new activist groups. Lowery asks the question, “What does the loss of any one life mean to the rest of the nation?” 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Guest Author, Angela D. Shelton

 Enjoy this interview with Angela D. Shelton. I want to visit her ranch.


 

Faith & Fellowship Book Festival announced The Angel Book Awards for 2022 on November 4th and we’re pleased to interview Angela D. Shelton, author of the Collapse series. The first of the three books, Collapse, won second place in the middle grades/young adult category. Angela shares the story behind the series.

 

What made you want to write in the young adult, post-apocalyptic, Christian genre?

My parents raised me in a church that preached a LOT about end times. That left me with a fascination with post-apocalyptic tales, so writing one came naturally to me. Going through the teenage years was a painful experience for this shy gal and being a young adult has gotten more difficult every year. I can’t imagine how much more challenging teenage life is with social media running our lives. I hope my stories provide an escape and an encouragement when needed.

 

How does your everyday life show up in the novels?

Three years ago, my husband and I bought a ranch and started raising beef cattle. It’s been an adventure from day one. Working with animals provides plenty of fodder for stories. You’ll see a lot of what has happened to me in my stories. One example in my first book is where the heroine’s mother suffers from heat exhaustion. I’ve come so close to this frequently, especially when I’m determined to get a job done outside in the heat and work too long. 

 

How does your faith show up in your novels?

My goal has been to write stories with a lot of tension, but with a positive message in the end. Tension, or stress as it’s often called, is part of life. I want my narratives to reflect the realities that none of us are perfect, but that isn’t the end of the tale. The challenge is to share a positive message with lessons learned—without preaching. I think I’ve managed that in this series. That way, they make splendid gifts for young people, without the risk of coming off preachy yourself.

 

The three-book series is available on Amazon now.



After a global catastrophe wipes out millions and devastates global resources, three teens must navigate a new life.

In book one, Collapse, Jan learns the hard lesson deception serves up. She trusts the wrong person and brings even more hardship to her family. Can she rally behind the right people before the battle for their ranch begins?

In book two, The Death of Honor, Caleb’s haunted past comes back with a vengeance. He hides the truth from those he loves, making him the perfect target for blackmail. Will he confess before his family pays the price?

Book three, The Death of Independence, follows Olivia after her father abandons her. Stuck with incompetent relatives, she struggles to eke out a life for herself and them. When a man makes her an offer she can’t turn down, will he pull her into a life she never wanted?

The Collapse series is a young adult, post apocalyptical alternate reality by Angela D. Shelton. Explore these tales of survival in a shattered world.

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BKYPCM87 

Friday, November 4, 2022

Psalm 11, God Keeps Us in His Sight

Psalm 11

For the director of music. Of David.

In the Lord I take refuge.

    How then can you say to me:

    “Flee like a bird to your mountain.

For look, the wicked bend their bows;

    they set their arrows against the strings

to shoot from the shadows

    at the upright in heart.

When the foundations are being destroyed,

    what can the righteous do?”

The Lord is in his holy temple;

    the Lord is on his heavenly throne.

He observes everyone on earth;

    his eyes examine them.

The Lord examines the righteous,

    but the wicked, those who love violence,

    he hates with a passion.

On the wicked he will rain

    fiery coals and burning sulfur;

    a scorching wind will be their lot.

For the Lord is righteous,

    he loves justice;

    the upright will see his face.

 

Lord, David shared about times when he was not upright. But he begged for your forgiveness, and he excepted it. I want to be loved by you like David.

 

Father, we know you are just. You have told us what to do when the foundations of our world are being destroyed. Remember that you are on your throne, in charge, and you keep us, every one of us, in your sight. 

Friday, October 28, 2022

The Cattle Truck Miracle

My friend Author Sharon Connell (http://www.amazon.com/author/sharonkconnell) shared a travel miracle story.

 

Kathy, I have a travel story that involves my move from Des Plaines, IL to Pensacola, FL when I went to Bible school there.

My son and his wife traveled from Pensacola to Des Plaines to help me move. We loaded the cars with my daughter's bicycle mounted on top of Ron's vehicle (fortunately, he was an avid bicyclist at the time and had a rack). 

 

We took off in the wee hours of the morning, a fourteen to fifteen hour journey to Pensacola. I followed Ron's vehicle from the start. If I wanted to stop somewhere, I'd flash my lights and he'd pull off the road to see what I wanted. All went well as we traveled from Illinois, through Indiana, to Tennessee, until dusk. 

 

We'd been following a cattle trailer pulled by one of those heavy-duty pickup trucks for many miles. If I remember right, there were about six to eight head of cattle in the trailer. It was as if we were playing leapfrog. He'd pull around us, and a little while later, we'd pull around him. We stopped at the same place for lunch and dinner that the cattle hauling pickup did each time.

 

After our last stop, my vehicle started to act up. We were in the middle of the Smoky Mountains, up and down the rolling hills, when my engine began to lose power. I also lost the lights. Ron apparently was in a conversation with his wife and hadn't noticed our car falling behind, nor did he hear the weak horn when I blew it. I told my daughter, Heatherlyn, then ten years old, to start praying because we were never going to make it up the next hill.

 

I'd been watching the reflectors on my daughter's bike spin as Ron traveled ahead of us. Now the reflectors were barely seen as my headlights dimmed to almost nothing. There were no other cars around, and the truck with the cattle trailer had passed us and moved on a little while ago. I prayed that my son would notice we weren't behind him anymore, but I had no idea how he'd find us unless he got off the road, entered the other direction, and then retraced the journey. I also had no idea how long it would be, and it was getting dark.

 

As my car started up the last hill, I pulled off onto the shoulder, and the engine died. My daughter and I prayed and asked God for His help. I was at the point of tears, but didn't want to cry and scare Heatherlyn. When I lifted my head, I saw Ron's car, driving backward on the shoulder, coming over the rolling hilltop in front of us, bike pedal reflectors spinning like mad. Praise God!

 

After I told Ron what happened, he tried the starter on my car, and it started right up. Huh? Lights came on, and everything seemed normal. He got out of the car and said he had no idea what was wrong. I said, I didn't either. He suggested we get off the highway at the next exit so he could find some light and check the engine. We did that, but he still couldn't find anything wrong, and the car didn't slow down again or lose the lights.

 

We decided to proceed with our journey to Pensacola and trust God to get us there. Ron said he'd follow us for the rest of the journey, and we took off. 

 

About half an hour later, what little traffic had accumulated on the road since we reentered had stopped. When we neared, we saw the highway patrol blocking everything in both directions, and some of the officers trying to round up cows in the median strip. The truck and trailer we'd been playing leapfrog with earlier was also in the median strip, the trailer on its side. Apparently, the driver had swerved to miss something running across the road, and the trailer toppled over onto the median strip in the process. No one was hurt in the accident, and all the cows were uninjured. Another praise God.

 

Not only had God kept us from being involved, and possibly injured, in this accident by giving my car a hiccup, but He protected the driver and the animals. 

 

I'll never forget that night. I used this incident in one of the scenes in my very first published novel. Another blessing. And a miracle. 

Friday, October 21, 2022

Grace and Truth, To Be United with Christ, John 15:1-8

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

 

Of course, a branch lying on the ground, not connected to the vine, will bear no fruit. Yet, Jesus says that if we sign on to be in his vineyard, we can bear much fruit and give glory to God.

 

Some of these words may sound harsh, but Jesus’ deep desire is that we stay with him.

 

Lord, prune me so that I will be more effective for you. Thank you that you allow me to ask you whatever I want. 

Friday, October 14, 2022

Walking in New York City

After my family trip story last week, my friend Nina shared her and her husband’s recent trip with me.

 

Dave and I went to New York City for a few days. It had its glitches-

 

Dave was impatiently waiting in the taxi queue at JFK airport and I was on my phone when he suddenly said, “Quick, I got us an Uber!” And before I could say anything or ask questions, a man was loading my suitcase into the back of an SUV.  It was.... a fake Uber and it was quite the harrowing trip to our hotel.

 

Traffic was at a standstill so our driver pulled onto the shoulder and raced past everyone on his illegal lane.  Yikes.  I texted Dave- "We are in a FAKE UBER." Texted him NOT to pay by credit card, and that one should always, always use the Uber app.  Now we were in a stranger's car, illegally speeding towards Manhattan. It cost more than a cab, too. But, we survived.

 

We took a train from Grand Central Station one morning, up to Connecticut just so I could add one more state to my list.  Greenwich, CT is a pretty, tidy town but very, very wealthy.

 

How wealthy? Oh, we had a laugh later after we stopped into a second hand clothing store.  I wouldn't dare call it a thrift store because I picked up a used designer purse and looked at the little paper sales tag. $1559.  For a little pink purse. Gulp.  The gently used blouses started at $270.... and we said Good Day and walked quickly out of there!

 

We did get sandwiches for lunch and thankfully, those were not designer sandwiches, but it was a good fresh mozzarella and ripe tomato sandwich on crusty French bread.  Then we walked back to the train. I like that public transportation is so easy there- a train every 20 minutes back to the city.

 

I like to collect scents and smells and I'm glad my sense of smell is back. The smell of rain, of hot dogs and pretzels and the smell of horses and grass in Central Park. And often, the smell of weed.  It's legal and everywhere, more so than the occasional whiff of cigarette smoke on city streets.  I don't think we could go a block without the smell of pot coming from some corner or next to a shop or alleyway.

 

We got a lot of walking done, went to a few museums, and went to a musical- Six, about the six wives of Henry the eighth, told by six women in modern, diva pop style. Dave chose it and it was lively and fun and we were able to walk back to our hotel afterwards.

 

We were walking in the rain, single file, on the crowded sidewalk on the rainiest of Wednesdays when I had something odd happen. A man, coming in the opposite direction, grew frustrated by the slower people in front of him. He crossed to our side of the sidewalk and struck my umbrella as hard as he could, causing me to stumble.  Dave and I were stunned. Why would he do that? I wasn't in the way, wasn't stopped on the sidewalk. We chalked it up to him having personal problems and went on.  Then, on Friday, we were eating take out Cuban sandwiches at a little table on a sidewalk quite close to a city intersection. An older lady was getting ready to step out and across at the signal when a man came flying along on his bicycle in the wrong direction in the bike lane. The lady called out, "Hey, you almost hit me! You are going the wrong way!" And at hearing that, the man dismounted his bike, flung it down into the bike lane and stormed over to the woman. Swore and screamed at her. Spat on her. And then gave her a tremendous shove and stomped back to his bike. Bystanders and the woman and her husband were all stunned.

 

He rode off. The woman stared at him for a minute and continued on her way. Wow, I said to Dave, things could have been a lot worse for me.  Out of all the pleasant memories, the show, the walking to Grand Central Station, Central Park and the many thousands of perfectly decent people we passed and sometimes talked with, those two guys stick in my mind.  They are now part of the story of the trip, as much as the pilot in uniform who sat between us on the flight to New York, telling us wistfully that he was retiring at the end of the month, having reached the mandatory age limit for pilots.  I asked him what his favorite place to fly into was. “Aruba,” he said with a smile. 

Friday, October 7, 2022

First Family Trip since 2020

The last time we went on a family trip was in early March, 2020, right as things were closing down because of covid.

 

My mother recently moved into a senior living center, so we decided to go see her a couple weeks ago, and Caleb and Sarah said they wanted to go too.

 

We got a minivan, so we could be more comfortable. Sarah and Caleb, with his guide dog Hammy, sat in the back, Ping-Hwei in one of the middle seats, and Murray and I in the front.

 

Hammy is a very good dog, but he did sneak forward a few times, to just sit and watch Murray drive. Sometimes he moved forward with his head and shoulders between Murray and me, until Murray said, “The dog just licked my arm.”

 

After we’d traveled for a few hours and stopped, Sarah told me indignantly, “Caleb fed Hammy back there, and he slobbered all over me.”

 

As we got to Mom’s place Ping-Hwei said happily, “There’s the big dummy.” He and my brother Rodney have affectionately called each other that ever since they first met. I think it comes from the old TV show “Sanford and Son.” I was so glad the big dummy came to visit Mom while we were there.

 

It was often a crazy trip, trouble with the tail lights on the car, so that every time we started up again, Murray had to get out and make sure they were on. Trouble with the heat being on in the very back, even when Murray had the air conditioner on. Crazy hilly curvy country roads, busy city streets, trouble ordering food, no signs to be found on Mom’s building or our hotel.

 

We got up at two o’clock Saturday morning to leave early, so by the time we went to bed that night, we’d been up for twenty hours, and some of us were getting pretty grouchy. Yes! Me. I’ve got my hand up! But I was better the second night, and we had great hotel rooms with lovely breakfast provided, another thing we’d missed since we hadn’t been on a trip.

 

When we checked out Monday morning, the manager talked with us, just being polite, and Murray told him that Caleb used to work for another hotel chain. Caleb and the manager spent some time discussing how things had been different for both hotels for a while when covid was severe.

 

On our second day with Mom, we played two games of Scrabble. Sarah said she’d just watch, and Ping-Hwei did, too, but Caleb, Murray, Mom and I played. Murray kept getting a lot of points for each turn and Sarah said “What!” then, “You’re cheating,” and Ping-Hwei said, “Cheating.”

 

Another time, Sarah seemed to be trying to help Murray, and she said, “I don’t know why, but this time I’m rooting for Dad.”

 

Once Mom had to leave and go back to her room for a minute, so she told Sarah to play for her, and Sarah and Murray managed to get a triple word score for Mom. Murray won both games, but Mom was in second place at least once.

 

On Sunday night we visited Murray’s brother Myles’s and his family Heather and Melissa, and Murray’s brother Aaron came too. We had a lovely visit. Pizza dinner. And, happily, Melissa made a pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing from scratch. We were kind of full, but I said, “Oh, we’re definitely staying for dessert.”

 

Melissa has two six month old puppies, half poodle and half schnauzer. “Schnoodles,” Myles said. They were very excited, and wanted to play with Hammy. Even when Caleb let Hammy loose, he didn’t spend much time with the puppies, but when one of the puppies put his feet on my leg, Hammy quickly stood up and shoved his head on my lap, reminding me who was the dog I was supposed to be paying attention to.

 

I brought one of my braille Bible volumes to read along the drive, to help keep Murray up to date with his reading through the Bible in a year. Once when we stopped Caleb asked, “Was that Isaiah you were reading earlier? I thought it sounded like Isaiah.”

 

It was Isaiah.

 

It was so good to see Mom and Rodney. And even though we had some craziness on the trip, I love the people I got to share it with. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Guest Author, Kathy Cretsinger

 Kathy Cretsinger is a good friend and a wonderful story-maker. I am loving this series.

 


Thank you, Kathy, for inviting me to be on your blog. I love this book, but I say this about each book I write.

Several years ago, I began writing a series set in Shady Valley, Tennessee. This is my husband’s home community. It is not a town with only around 800 residents, five churches, one caution-light, one general store, one Dollar General Store, and one restaurant. There’s not much there, but the people are wonderful.

I decided to bring people into the valley instead of writing about the people in the valley. The series title is Nothing Shady Ever Happens in Shady Valley. The first book is Bogged Down by Murder. It’s available on Amazon. You can also purchase it from my website, www.kathycretsinger.com/books.

Bobbed Down by Murder introduces us to some of the crazy characters we’ll see in the remaining series. With that book finished, I decided to bring gold doubloons into the land-locked valley. The title of the book is Death by Doubloons, and the main characters are Liberty Garcia, Matt Sluder, and the cast from the first book. The book releases October 5, 2022, and you can also order it from my website, www.kathycretsinger.com/books. When you click on the book cover, you will go directly to Amazon. Both the print book and the eBook are on pre order now.

The next book will release in 2023 and the name of it is Dead Ringer. I’m working hard to finish it asap. My plans are to complete the manuscript by the first of the year because there is another one after it, Murder and Goat Yoga. Kathy will know the release date of these later.

My husband and I have been married for almost 60 years. We live in Kentucky, but we were both born and raised in the hills of Tennessee. We’ve lived in Kentucky for several years. We have two grown children, four grandchildren, and maybe we’ll have great-grandchildren soon. Who knows?

For several years, I owned a publishing company. I loved working with writers, but macular degeneration kept me from seeing well enough to do all the computer work. I still enjoy working with promising authors.

Several months ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It is not an aggressive cancer, and it was found early. Ladies, please do a yearly mammogram. That’s how mine was found. I am looking forward to my last radiation treatment. I have a good prognosis. I am so thankful for that.

Enough about me. I love talking to people about my writing. My email is kathycretsinger@gmail.com. You can also reach me through my website. I do a monthly blog, “Eighty and Loving It.” Life is too short to be sad about your age. Admit it and enjoy it.

Thank you for reading my wanderings. I do that a lot. I hope you will purchase the book and give a nice review on Amazon. Reviews mean a lot to a writer.

Thanks, Kathy for letting me bend the ears of your readers.


Death by Doubloons




Cuban-American Liberty Garcia is a recipe creator for Smart Living Enterprise. Someone wants the gold doubloons she received from her father, a treasure hunter, after his murder.

Liberty escapes to Shady Valley, Tennessee, and meets Matt Sluder, a server at the town’s one and only eatery, the Raceway Restaurant. When the person pursuing her comes too close, Matt is hired to protect Liberty.

How many times can a murderer try to kill Liberty? How badly do they want the gold? Liberty is determined to keep her father’s doubloons. But will she?

After all, nothing shady ever happens in Shady Valley.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Psalm 10, God Cares

The writer of this Psalm knows God hears when his people call out to him, yet he is willing to cry out with doubts in time of trouble.

 

He talks with the Lord, telling him of the terrible things the wicked are doing to the weak and how the wicked care nothing for God. And, in the end, he knows the Lord will help those who cry out to him.

 

1: Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

2: In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.

3: He boasts about the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.

4: In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

5: His ways are always prosperous; your laws are rejected by him; he sneers at all his enemies.

6: He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.” He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”

7: His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue.

8: He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent. His eyes watch in secret for his victims;

9: like a lion in cover he lies in wait. He lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.

10: His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength.

11: He says to himself, “God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.”

12: Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.

13: Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”?

14: But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.

15: Break the arm of the wicked man; call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out.

16: The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land.

17: You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

18: defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.

 

Lord, help me to daily commit myself to you. Thank you that you care about what I care about, that you encourage me, that you are my Father. 

Friday, September 16, 2022

Sweet Memories, Made My Lips Twitch

January 19, 1999: Murray told the kids this morning that he has an interview this week, and Rebecca seemed concerned. She said, "Good." Then she said, "Maybe they'd like you better if you didn't tease so much." Then she thought some more and said, "What are you going to wear? I don't like when people wear a tie with a shirt that doesn't button."

 

January 22, 1999: I was writing on the braille writer the other day, and from upstairs I heard Caleb say excitedly, "Hey, Mom's writing on the braille writer almost as fast as Mrs. H.!" (She is his special teacher for visually impaired kids at school.)

 

The other night Rhoda got outside. Ping-Hwei told Murray, "Baba, Rhoda is in out."

 

February 2, 1999: This morning Sarah told Murray, "Every day I try -- I don't always remember -- but I try to have a long talk with Jesus."

 

Later Sarah was talking about giving prizes to kids in her class, talking in many fast sentences. Murray told her he hoped he got a prize, and in the middle of her explanation she stopped to say, "I'm your prize," then continued.

 

February 6, 1999: Rebecca was looking at her new spelling list last night, which were mostly with prefixes. "They're all perplexes," she told me.

 

February 9, 1999: Last week, Angel (the youngest cat) was licking Ping-Hwei, and he said, "That is tickle!"

 

February 11, 1999: A week or so ago the kids were talking about when Murray had an accident once in Alabama. Caleb told Rebecca that Daddy had accidently pulled out in front of another lady and she'd run into him. Rebecca asked, "Didn't the lady mind?" Caleb said thoughtfully, "Well, I don't think she liked it."

 

The other night Sarah told me and Caleb that there were some kids in her class at school who knew she had blind people in her family, and she said that they didn't think blind people could do anything. Indignantly Caleb asked, "Well, Sarah, did you tell them?"

 

Yesterday Sarah was taking a shower in the morning, and suddenly she called for Murray to come up to her. What did she need? "Daddy I hope you're not mad, but we had a wrapped sucker at school yesterday." (We have a rule that if the kids get wrapped candy at school, they're supposed to bring it home and we will dispense it or eat it ourselves, as we see fit.) Sarah went on: "I forgot the rule, and I ate it." "What color was it?" Murray asked. "Red," she answered. "Oooooh, I hope you enjoyed it!" Murray said, closed the door and left.

 

February 17, 1999: The other night Sarah was waiting in the hall for Murray to carry her to bed. Ping-Hwei went upstairs and said to her, "Sarah, tell me good-night."

 

The other day Rebecca was getting ready to take a shower. She asked me to get her a new towel. "Get me a big furry one," she said. 

Friday, September 9, 2022

Grace and Truth, Jesus Comforts His Disciples, John 14:15-31

Though Jesus knew his time of suffering was coming, he wanted to leave his disciples with hope. Jesus comforted them about when he would no longer be with them physically. The Holy Spirit would be with them and instruct them. In that way, Jesus would still be with those who loved and obeyed him.

 

Verses 15-18: “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

 

Jesus extended this promise to us today as well as to his disciples.

 

Verses 21-27: “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

 

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

 

 “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

 

Father God, I am sure Jesus was afraid then, and he knew his disciples would be going through terrible things. But he offered them peace anyway. Help me to find your peace in my days. 

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Guest Author, Ken Tatum

 

I found this book insightful and interesting.



Devotions With a Friend



Devotions With a Friend contains 21 devotionals on topics ranging from basic Christian doctrines of grace and love to spiritual growth to seeing God through our tools to how we see those people around us.  Each one is connected to specific verses of scripture.  But, since God inspired ALL the Bible, connections are often made to other verses which provide additional insights.  A prayer emphasis concludes each devotional to guide the reader into personal conversation with God.

Many of the thoughts related in these articles came from specific events I have lived through, or from snippets of sermons, lectures, or readings which God has led me through.  They came to me as I was going about daily life, trying to be a good witness to others of God’s work in my life.  Not necessarily because I was doing that so well and deserved special insights from my Lord, but rather because He loves me and wants me to learn from Him and grow in Him.  I know God has spoken to me, not in audible words, but through hundreds, if not thousands, of little experiences.

Earthly family conversations can be brief snippets as we grab a coffee and Danish dashing out the door.  They can be long discussions over the state of the nation and world that extend through the evening.  But often they are discussions of varied topics while eating dinner.  In healthy, vibrant families, those are the conversations that draw people together.  We find out how another person’s day went, hear what their desires are, and share things we have learned from the day’s events.  For me personally, those are the most meaningful times of inter-relating simply because our relationships grow stronger through them.

This book of devotions is intended to be like those casual “meal-time” conversations among friends and family. My suggestion is to read these brief notes sitting at the breakfast table with a favorite coffee or tea beverage in-hand or in the evening in the easy chair while resting from another busy day. Think of them as having a conversation with a close friend or family member who is going through similar experiences.  I hope readers feel like they are talking with a friend.

However, the greater goal is to have the readers talk with their Lord, their Father who loves them deeply and has adopted them into His family.  The writings included herein reveal times in which God has spoken to me, a lowly sinner redeemed by His grace.  I pray that others will allow their Master (and Friend) to speak to them also through these writings, just as He has to me.

Christians need to realize that God will, and wants to, speak to them.  Again, maybe not through audible words, but more likely through any of the millions of activities that they are involved in daily.  We all need to be listening for our Father’s voice.  God IS trying to speak to us!

I did not write this book to give all the answers that other Christians need.  I am sometimes criticized because I ask a lot of questions in my writings and do not provide enough direct statements of what I want understood.  But I do that on purpose; the real answers to our life’s events must come from God, not me.  And to hear those answers we must spend time with Him.  I want these articles to lead people to spend more time with Him.

I chose the book title to emphasize that all Christians are to be family and friends, and we should be able to share with one another in our Christian walk.  But, long after I chose the title, I realized I had created a double entendre.  When we study His Word we are also talking with another Friend: our heavenly Father and Lord!

 

Purchase Link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BBQB5WLP/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3SJ7LO67ZS4H4&keywords=kenneth+e+tatum&qid=1661424023&s=books&sprefix=kenneth+e+tatum%2Cstripbooks%2C84&sr=1-1

Friday, August 26, 2022

Psalm 9, the Lord Reigns Forever

During David’s life, he knew much sorrow. Some from his own sin, and some which he did not deserve.

 

He did not always see God justly punishing his enemies in a hurry. Yet, he knew to praise God and tell of God’s wonder, even as he suffered.

 

For the director of music. To the tune of “The Death of the Son.” A psalm of David.

1: I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;

    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

2: I will be glad and rejoice in you;

    I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

3: My enemies turn back;

    they stumble and perish before you.

4: For you have upheld my right and my cause,

    sitting enthroned as the righteous judge.

5: You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;

    you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.

6: Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies,

    you have uprooted their cities;

    even the memory of them has perished.

7: The Lord reigns forever;

    he has established his throne for judgment.

8: He rules the world in righteousness

    and judges the peoples with equity.

9: The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,

    a stronghold in times of trouble.

10: Those who know your name trust in you,

    for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

11: Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion;

    proclaim among the nations what he has done.

12: For he who avenges blood remembers;

    he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.

13: Lord, see how my enemies persecute me!

    Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death,

14: that I may declare your praises

    in the gates of Daughter Zion,

    and there rejoice in your salvation.

15: The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;

    their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.

16: The Lord is known by his acts of justice;

    the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.

17: The wicked go down to the realm of the dead,

    all the nations that forget God.

18: But God will never forget the needy;

    the hope of the afflicted will never perish.

19: Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph;

    let the nations be judged in your presence.

20: Strike them with terror, Lord;

    let the nations know they are only mortal.

 

Father God, we see so much sorrow and trouble around us. Sometimes in our own lives. Prod us always to seek you. Hold us close, Lord, and remind us of your constant care for us. 

Friday, August 19, 2022

Seven Around the Dinner Table, Again

Christmas 2017 was the last time my husband Murray and I and all five of our children were last together. This Monday, we were all seven able to get together for lunch. A comedy of errors? Of course.

 

This week, Rebecca came to Ohio to be in a friend’s wedding. The rest of the kids all live nearby here in Cleveland, so we made reservations to meet Rebecca for lunch in Columbus at 11:30.

 

We had plans to leave early enough we could stop along the way, maybe arrive early.

 

Murray first picked up Caleb and Sarah and dropped them off at home so he could be to the car rental by 8:00.

 

A few minutes after 8:00, he called me. His driver’s license was torn, and the people at the car rental agency said they were legally not able to accept that for identification. If he went to DMV right then and brought back a paper temporary license, that would be good enough.

 

No problem. He was close to DMV, not many people ahead of him, everything went smoothly. He was back at the car rental place by 8:40.

 

There were six of us traveling, plus Caleb’s guide dog Hammy, so we’d asked for a minivan. They’d had a minivan returned last night, but unfortunately, the person who dropped it off forgot to leave the keys. They were calling, trying to get the keys. Murray waited. Caleb and Sarah waited with Ping-Hwei and me at home. I called Benjamin several times, to give him a possible time to leave update.

 

No keys came in, so they finally gave Murray an SUV. When we picked up Benjamin and started the drive, Ping-Hwei asked, “Why are we going to Toledo?”

 

We just needed to turn around, and we were finally on the way.

 

Did we bicker? Very little. From past years, I can remember how loud our family always was. All the kids are adults now, and even Murray and I have mellowed some.

 

I did give them one mother-lecture though, saying they should be willing to stop listening to their music or books or whatever long enough to have a conversation with us. This was a family trip after all.

 

I was excited about a road trip. We usually listen to books, and I’d surprised Murray with an audio book of interviews and music with Paul Simon, Miracle and Wonder.

 

Unfortunately, my book player doesn’t have Bluetooth, and we’ve finally reached the time when the new car we rented didn’t have an auxiliary plug to connect to my player.

 

We did have some fun music to listen to though—Bob Dylan, John Denver, and a Christian singer we used to listen to when the kids were younger, Carman.

 

The music wasn’t loud, and Sarah had her earphones on—listening to “Phantom of the Opera,”—but suddenly she said, “Is that Carman?”

 

Besides gentle songs of worship, he also has many talking pieces with drama, and we were listening to “Satan: Bite the Dust.” Sarah said even with her music on, she heard “authorized, deputized,” and knew it was Carman.

 

Columbus is a large city. We knew that, but why didn’t we think that there might be trouble finding parking? Both Rebecca and we were finally able to park, several blocks apart, and we met in front of the restaurant. Murray said when he first saw Rebecca, he almost didn’t recognize her.

 

We’d been traveling for several hours—we finally sat down to eat at 1:00—so we needed a bathroom break. We walked downstairs to find the bathrooms, but, of course, the women’s was locked.

 

This will probably be the last time we’ll just have seven around the dinner table, since Rebecca is marrying Steve in April. Benjamin asked her if they fought like many couples do while planning the wedding. Rebecca said, “Yeah, I don’t even want to marry him anymore. I’m done with it.”

 

Then she said, “No, we hardly ever fight. I just tell him how he’s wrong, and he apologizes.” I asked if Rebecca would take her engagement ring off so I could look at it, and soon we were passing it around the table for everyone to see. Her birthstone is a sapphire, so it has a large sapphire surrounded by many small diamonds.

 

After lunch, we all walked to see Rebecca’s new car. Rebecca stopped a man walking down the street and asked if he’d take our picture. She said she trusted him, because he had a shirt on from OU, where she went to college.

 

Along the way we passed some scooters, which are popping up a lot these days. People can rent them, then just leave them parked anywhere. I asked to see one, because I didn’t know what they looked like.

 

Murray and Rebecca showed me one, and Rebecca suggested I try to climb on. I did, and wondered how in the world people can get their feet on such a small surface and trust that they’ll drive on it safely.

 

Rebecca got a 2020 car last year for a cheaper price, because it was scarred by hale. It’s a cute car, pretty small. Rebecca told me, “Her name is Haley, short for Hale Damage.”

 

On the drive home, Rebecca texted Sarah to say she should tell whichever boy who’d asked how many diamonds were on her ring that there were 38.

 

We drove through a downpour part of the way back, and when Murray stopped to get gas, Ping-Hwei asked, “Want me to show you how to use the gas cap?”

 

What all did we talk about at lunch?

 

Sarah told Rebecca about a music program Benjamin has written for the computer. We discussed the stock market, IRAs, and Bitcoins.

 

The kids talked about their jobs. Caleb said he’d go through more training this fall so he could do additional work. They talked about books they were reading, and Benjamin told about the book he’s writing.

 

Rebecca brought Sarah a coffee table book and magazine about her favorite music group, BTS.

 

We talked about fast cars and travel the kids have done—Airbnbs in Denver, when Rebecca went to school in Spain, roller coaster rides. About Benjamin’s adoption and his birth parents. About the smell of marijuana. About what a good dog Hammy was being in the restaurant.

 

Then one of my children asked another one a question I’m not going to repeat here today. But I can’t remember the last time I laughed as hard as I did at that moment.

 

I still felt so at home with this precious family God has gifted me with.

 

James 1: 17:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 

Friday, August 12, 2022

Even More Salads From Kathy's Kitchen

I  got some great responses to my salad blob last week, and I decided to share them.

 

From my friend Nina:

 Salads are so good and one that has been my favorite is only as good with fresh summer garden produce.  Tomatoes and basil grow well in Tucson (though the tomatoes need some shade cloth) so I like lots of chopped, home grown tomatoes, fresh basil, pieces of fresh mozzarella with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Some salt and pepper.   

 

We have a tomato plant on the side of the house, growing out of the gravel.  It’s a tangled bunch of stems and it produces tiny tomatoes the size of a thumbnail.  Tiny, but delicious.  We do nothing to care for these wild type tomato plants and yet we can gather handfuls of these tiny gems for salads.  And plain lettuce and tomato salads are good too!

 

From my friend Sherri:

 

We make taco salads pretty often. They are quick to make.

 

Start by creating some type of taco meat. I usually brown ground beef and add my own seasonings. You could use a package of taco seasoning to make it easier. You could also make shredded chicken and season it for your protein. Once you have your protein, it is time to layer your salad.

 

Layer 1: crushed nacho cheese Doritos

Layer 2: chopped or shredded lettuce

Layer 3: taco meat

Layer 4: chopped tomatoes

Layer 5: shredded cheese

 

Top with sour cream, salsa, black olives as desired.

 

And here are two comments that were anonymous:

 

I don't have a favorite salad, but I can tell you about one that I ate way too much of back in the day: Jello mold salads. I've eaten them w/nuts, cranberries, mandarin oranges, and marshmallows. Sorry to say, if I see one at a potluck, it's probably the only thing I'll avoid. Sad but true! :)

 

And:

 

Here’s my go to salad recipe. Every time I bring it to someone’s house, they ask for the recipe.

 

Mandarin Orange Salad

 

Servings: 5

 

Ingredients

 

½ c vegetable oil (I use olive oil)

¼ c cider vinegar (Sometimes I use balsamic vinegar)

¼ c white sugar

2 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp salt

1 pinch ground black pepper

1.2 c sliced almonds (works with slivered almonds too)

¼ c white sugar

1 head leaf lettuce, rinsed, dried and torn

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 c chopped celery

1 (11-oz.) can mandarin orange segments, drained

 

Directions

 

1. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the oil, vinegar, sugar, parsley, salt and pepper. Cover and shake well. Refrigerate until use.

 

2. In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, cook and stir the almonds and sugar until the sugar is melted and the almonds are coated. Remove from heat, cool, and break apart. Store at room temperature until ready to serve salad.

 

3. In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, celery, oranges, almonds and dressing until evenly coated. 

Friday, August 5, 2022

Summer Salad from Kathy's Kitchen

I got this recipe from Marilyn, who was my boss. We’re eating salads more often these days, and I’d love if you’d share favorite recipes with me.

 

Just reading this one makes my mouth water.

 

SEVEN LAYER SALAD,

 

Ingredients:

One head or bag of lettuce

One bag frozen peas (frozen or fresh broccoli can be substituted.)

One large onion chopped well

One pound of crisp bacon crumbled

One to two cups shredded mozzarella cheese

4 to 6 hard-boiled eggs sliced

one to two cups Miracle Whip

paprika

parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

Put lettuce in a large salad bowl.

Layer frozen peas on top of the lettuce

Layer onion on top of peas.

Layer bacon on top of onions.

Layer mozzarella cheese on top of bacon.

Layer sliced eggs on top of cheese

Spoon Miracle Whip over entire top of salad.

Sprinkle top with paprika and parmesan cheese.

For best results cover and refrigerate overnight.

Or cover and shake well. Or serve it up just as it is. 

Friday, July 29, 2022

Hope From Jeremiah

God sent his people into captivity because of their sin, and he punished them. But his heart was to forgive them, to give them hope and a good life.

 

Jeremiah 33:3:

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

 

Jeremiah 24:7:

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

 

Jeremiah 29:10-14:

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

 

Jeremiah 31: 33-34:

“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness

    and will remember their sins no more.”

 

These promises are for us today too. God will give us a heart to know him. If we seek him, if we return to him, we will find him. If we call on him and pray to him, he will hear us. He puts knowledge of him in our hearts, forgives us, and remembers our sin no more. Thank you, Father. 

Friday, July 22, 2022

A Collection of Books

these are just a few of the books I've enjoyed recently.


You're the one that I want: a Christiansen family novel by Susan May Warren. Beautiful descriptions of grace.

 

Sequoia Scout by Brock and Bodie Thoene, breath-stopping adventure in California when it still belonged to Mexico.

 

Between Sundays, by Karen Kingsbury, football and foster kids, fathers and sons.

 

War room: prayer is a powerful weapon by Chris Fabry. Written from the 2015 movie, story of prayer as a weapon to save a troubled marriage.

 

The other Wes Moore: one name, two fates by Wes Moore. Two young men, African American, approximately the same age, from similar neighborhoods in Baltimore. Both grew up without a father in their homes. They grew up to follow two drastically different lives. The author provides a detailed list of organizations which serve and help young people in trouble.

 

Tiger in the sea: the ditching of Flying Tiger 923 and the desperate struggle for survival by Eric Lindner. A fascinating account of an airplane which had to make a forced landing in the North Atlantic in 1962, and heartwarming stories of survivors’ lives after. 

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Christmas in July

A Christmas in July gift—a blog tour! 




Happy Christmas in July! Welcome to the 2022 Christmas in July Reader Blog Tour & Giveaway, which runs July 15-22, 2022 (contest closes at 8 p.m. Eastern on 7/22). At the bottom of each author’s blog post, you will find the name of a Christmas song. Write them all down and provide all song titles (26 in total) on this Google form. Click here for a list of all participating authors and their links!

Note: You must grab all the song titles from every author in the 2022 Christmas in July Reader Blog Tour & Giveaway to be eligible to win the grand prize of a $520 Amazon gift card, plus a copy of each participating author's book OR first place prize of a copy of each participating author's book. At the end of this blog post is a link to the next blog, and so on, to the final blog post (26 authors in all). 


 

I mostly write women’s fiction. Two of my published books are collections of women’s fiction novellas. But my third book, Millie’s Christmas, is a children’s story.

 

Several years ago in December, I decided to challenge myself to write every day by writing a Christmas story. When I started writing the first day, I didn’t know what a gift god was going to give me.

 

Millie’s Christmas has brought me such joy. Truly, I believe this story was a gift from God. I am not a children’s book author.

 

I promote this as a story for children kindergarten to second grade, but I believe people of any age can enjoy it.

 

MILLIE’S CHRISTMAS

 

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

 

This story is told from the point of view of Millie, an orange kitten. Her best friend Ruthie, who is six years old, teaches Millie about Christmas—the food, decorations, music, presents—and Millie keeps hearing about Jesus. Millie’s friend Bruce, the family dog, also helps her celebrate Christmas, and sometimes gets her in trouble.

 

Then Ruthie’s big brother Jake breaks his ankle, and Millie also starts learning 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.



Now, it’s time for my Christmas song title: Jingle Bell Rock.

Save the holiday song titles from each of the 26 blog stops, and when you reach the final blog, enter all the song titles on this form for a chance to win the grand prize of a $520 Amazon gift card and a copy of each participating author's featured book OR first prize of a copy of each participating author's featured book.

Thank you so much for visiting! The next author on the tour is Donna Schlachter, and her Christmas book Time Will Tell. You can find it at this link:

https://donnaschlachter.com/welcome-to-christmas-in-july-reader-blog-tour

Remember, the 2022 Christmas in July Reader Blog Tour & Giveaway ends July 22 at 8 PM EST!

Friday, July 8, 2022

Psalm 8, A Precious Reminder

This Psalm reminds me of a beautiful praise song I have sung in church in the past, “Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.” What a lovely memory.

 

Psalm 8: For the director of music. According to gittith. A psalm of David.

Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory

    in the heavens.

Through the praise of children and infants

    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,

    to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens,

    the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

    which you have set in place,

what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels

    and crowned them with glory and honor.

You made them rulers over the works of your hands;

    you put everything under their feet:

all flocks and herds,

    and the animals of the wild,

the birds in the sky,

    and the fish in the sea,

    all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

 

Father, let our praise silence your enemies. You, a great creator, care for people. You have honored us with asking us to care for what you’ve created. Thank you for this wonderful reminder. 

Friday, July 1, 2022

Grace and Truth, Amazing Promises, John 14:1-14

Jesus knew his time was close. He spent these final hours with his disciples, giving them comfort, answering questions, making promises.

 

Verses 1-6: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 

Jesus makes an amazing promise—that we, his people, will do even greater works than he did.

 

Verses 11-14: Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

 

Lord, help me lean into your promise, and do what will bring you glory. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Jingle Daisy

We had to get a new cat last October. Our old one decided to move out of our house. He was actually our daughter’s cat, so she took him with her when she got her own apartment.

 

We went to the local animal shelter and looked at every cat in the room. My husband Murray showed me a few; got them out of their cages for me to hold. When we came to the last cat in the room he said, “Let’s take that one.”

 

A year and a half old, she was pretty scrawny; she’d been abandoned. They’d named her Spooky, because it was Halloween, but Murray had planned ahead of time we’d call her Daisy.

 

Daisy hid a lot the first few days, except at night. The very first night, she jumped on our bed. She sleeps with us almost every night. During the winter, she crawled under the covers and snuggled up against me.

 

We found some extra loud bells for cat collars, so I can hear where they are better with my hearing loss. And this cat is very energetic. Running and jumping and jingling all over the house.

 

When I go upstairs, she runs after me, racing past me on the stairs. Unless she comes behind me and grabs at my feet.

 

Daisy loves to help me when I knit and crochet, stretching the yarn a few feet out of the bag.

 

There are many places in the house she loves. She jumps on the table when we’re eating. She perches on the seat of my exercise bike. Of course, she loves to look out the window, at whatever is going on in the rest of the world. She jumps up on the sink in the bathroom.

 

Once in a while, she’ll crawl on my lap and curl up when I sit in my recliner in the living room. Often, she’ll climb to the back of the chair and lie behind my head, sometimes reaching to pull my hair with her claws. She loves my chair. She uses it as a scratching post.

 

Daisy likes to help me with my work on my computer. Sometimes when the computer is on my lap, she spends sometime on the keyboard, helping with whatever document I’m working on. She has something to say. She might add a bunch of Gs, a few Hs and Ps, a bunch of brackets, and at least twenty blank lines.

 

Daisy is not very talkative, but once when she was shut up inside the bedroom with me, she ran back and forth across the room. “Meow? Meow?” I answered her. “Meow?”

 

In a flash, she jumped on the bed, ran up my body to my chest, turned, and ran away again.

 

What a lot of fun!

 

And, not complaining about Eli, our daughter’s cat, but Daisy purrs a lot louder.

 

What a gift God has given us. Daisy makes me smile all day long. 

Friday, June 17, 2022

When I Think of the Cross

While going through old documents for possible memoir goodies, I found this poem, written around 2002.

 

When I Think of the Cross

 

Of You on the cross,

And what You suffered there,

Beyond the physical pain,

To the pain and shame and eternal aloneness of Your soul,

That You suffered for me,

I am crushed.

And brought low.

And tempted to stay low

From the sorrow of it.

 

But Your voice gently reminds me to look up!

To where You’re seated now,

In the glory You deserve.

You won the victory.

And if I come up

Out of the ugliness of my soul,

You win the victory again. 

Friday, June 10, 2022

A Continuing Grace

Are you like me, a sinner saved by Jesus, who often still sins?

 

That is the biggest struggle in my life, believing that God can still forgive me when I sin again after I’ve experienced his grace; being able to accept his forgiveness for the sin I commit after I’ve learned of his love for me.

 

A wise counselor once explained to me that the devil works harder on me than he does on people who are at the bar every night. If God wouldn’t still forgive us, why would the devil still bother with us Christians?

 

At times in my life when I’ve doubted the existence of God, I’ve never had trouble believing in the devil. Although I can’t blame him for my sin, I can surely recognize all the ways he tempts and harasses me.

 

And he would not need to bother with me if I were not still eligible for god’s grace.

 

1 Peter 5:8-9: 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

 

Does this mean I need to focus my thinking on the devil all the time?

 

Another wise teacher once said that experts on counterfeit money do not spend most of their time looking at counterfeit bills. Instead they focus their attention on being more and more familiar with what real money looks like. Then they will recognize when a bill is not correct.

 

Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

 

God saved us when we did not love him. But now that we have joined our lives to Jesus, he works even harder for us.

 

Romans 5:9-10: Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

 

Does that mean we just continue a life of sin and not worry about it? I don’t believe anyone who truly longs for a life with Christ really believes that. Our deepest heart is to obey God.

 

Romans 6:1-2: What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

 

As a longtime student of the bible, I know the Scriptures which answer these fears I have. Yet I worry that my heart has become too hard, that God’s hope can no longer break through my crust of fear.

 

Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword,

piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow,

and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

 

And yet God’s hope still finds me. His word is living, and he brings to my mind anew the promises that his grace is still for me.

 

The apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, struggled with the wretchedness of sin he still dealt with. I recommend reading the whole of Romans chapter 7, but I want to share a few of the verses of Romans 7:14-25 which God reminded me of recently.

 

Romans 7: 14-16: We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.

19: For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

21-25: So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 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!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.