Friday, September 22, 2017

The Best Laid Plans

Isaiah 48:17
This is what the Lord says - your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, "I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go."

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley. ~Robert Burns, To a Mouse 

Welcome back, my friends!

I'd love to be able to say that my hiatus from regular blogging for the reasons stated here have moved me closer to realizing more sequels to my two novel series, The Glade Series and Adventures in The Glade.  As I write this, I've only begun rereading the last book in Adventures, Revelation.  But you know what?  That's absolutely okay, because the amazing events which have transpired these past weeks have truly required my undivided attention.

It all starts when my mother receives an invitation to the 60th wedding anniversary celebration for two of her oldest and dearest friends.  My brother, Bill, and I have such fond memories of growing up with these folks and their children; so when Mom mentions how much she'd love to attend, but doesn't feel capable of driving herself, Bill and I decide to spend the weekend with her so we can take her.  What a marvelous and joyful reunion it is for all of us!

Next up, it's my husband, Danny's, retirement party!  Hooray!!!  His co-workers plan a 70s theme celebration for him, no doubt inspired by this photo:


It is quite dim in the room where we gathered, so snapping usable photos is a challenge for me.

Here is a great, campy one taken in proper lighting:

I love it!  But what I love even more is having Danny home every day.  And no, before you ask, retirement is anything but boring for him, but that's a blog for another time.

And now that we have converted Giovanni's old room into a guest room, we can have our oldest granddaughter, Virginia Rose, over to spend the night.

However, this is what it transforms into when we're anticipating her arrival:

Virginia spends two weekends with us during September.  What fantastic fun we have!

Of course, we get together with Virginia's parents and her sisters, Savannah Jane and Alexandra Nancy, too.  Here are cute photos from their recent lunch visit with us.

So although I intended this break in blogging for a totally different reason, God most definitely had other plans.  Yes, I will finish the rereading soon.  No, there is not yet a clear path as to how another novel will play out.

But I'm not worried.

While the best laid plans of mice and men may go awry, God's never do.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

I Will Lift My Eyes

Luke 21:25
There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.  On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.

We have witnessed the turmoil and suffering from Hurricane Harvey.  The flood damage in Houston and other parts of Texas, as well as Louisiana, will not be easily or readily resolved.  As a nation, to help our fellow Americans recover fully, we are in it for the long haul.

And we pray.

Out west, wild fires rage, destroying acres upon acres of land.  Forests, wildlife and homes up in smoke.  The recovery will be slow, tedious, arduous.

And we pray.

Mexico experiences the largest earthquake the country has witnessed in over a century.  Destruction, loss of life, a monumental crisis for all those living there.

And we pray.

Now Hurricane Irma churns toward Florida, promising storm surges the likes of which haven't been seen in ages.  A monster of a maelstrom, which has demolished islands in the Caribbean, and has caused most of Florida's population to evacuate ahead of its wrath.  Already, federal funds are earmarked to help in what is expected to be another long-range ascension to normalcy.

So much loss.  So much sorrow.  So much tragedy.

And we pray.

And some ask:  Are these the signs of end times?

"But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36)

We cannot know.  But we can watch.

And pray.

And we can turn our full attention to God, not allowing the afflictions of the day distract us from the focus which should be first and foremost in our lives.  These timely words from Max Lucado touched my heart and held it this weekend, and I simply had to share them with you all:

Turn your attention away from the crisis and, for a few minutes, celebrate God.  It does you no good to obsess yourself with your trouble.  The more you stare at it, the bigger it grows.  Yet, the more you look to God, the quicker the problem is reduced to its proper size.  This was the strategy of the psalmist:
I will lift my eyes to the hills -
from whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.  (Psalm 121:1)
Do you see the intentionality in those words?  I will lift up my eyes.
Do not meditate on the mess.  You gain nothing by setting your eyes on the calamities.  You gain everything by setting your eyes on the Lord.

In these troubled times, let us all lift up our eyes unto the Lord, our God, from whom the true help will always come.  May we, suffering and struggling in the temporal, never lose sight of the eternal promise.

God's grace and blessings be with you all!

No, I'm not officially back to my regular blogging schedule as yet, but I was so moved to share these thoughts with you, I couldn't say "no" to God.  If you would like to leave prayer requests for friends and family affected by these recent natural disasters, please do so in the comments.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

HUGE! An Encore

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

As crazy and unpredictable as this year has been, I cannot presume to dismiss nor discredit my word for the year, the one God led me to before 2016 breathed its last.  The word?  HUGE!

And huge, it has been, in both good and not so good ways for me and my loved ones.

Absolutely.  Positively.  Huge!

It's how God works, isn't it?  He doesn't do anything half-heartedly.  If it is His will and His purpose, you can bet your bottom dollar those will rain down upon you with the reality of The Flood.

Nothing.  Stops.  Him.

So even though I've taken breaks from blogging in the past, they've never lasted more than a week.  This is different.  And it's huge for me.

I've God's decided I need an extended breather.  Not to sit around doing nothing, mind you, but to do something quite specific.  And what might that be, you ask?  In a nutshell:

  • Re-read all six of my novels.
  • Note story lines that beg for further development.
  • Listen for the direction God is telling me to go.
  • Pray for His wisdom and guidance every step of the way.
So yes, my friends, that's precisely what I will be doing in earnest over the next several weeks.  Please understand this is no overnight decision.  Thoughts of embarking upon this task have surfaced frequently in the past two months.  Combine it with numerous friends (you know who you are!) clamoring for a new Glade Series novel, and I simply have no choice but to heed the call.

Will a new novel emerge?  Yes, if it is God's will.

And if it is, indeed, His will, I expect the outcome to be nothing short of HUGE!

So I will trust in the Lord with all my heart, and lean not on my own understanding these last weeks in August.  My plan is to resume blogging after Labor Day, but is it God's?  I suppose I'll just have to wait and see . . . 

Love and blessings to you all!

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Truth Will Set You Free

John 8:32
You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

Peter is the disciple with whom I most readily relate.  Impetuous, out-spoken, faith-filled, loyal to a fault, he is the first to recognize Jesus for who He really is:  The Messiah.  Yet still, just as I am and you are, Peter is a sinner in need of a Savior.

  • Peter loses his focus upon Jesus, and begins to sink in the sea the Lord bade him walk on.
  • Peter doesn't understand the miracle of the transfiguration, and tries fumblingly, and desperately, to contain the entire event in the limited realm of human understanding.
  • Peter denies knowing Jesus at the very time when his Lord needs him most.  In bitterness and regret, he weeps.
  • Peter forgets, in the aftermath of the horrific crucifixion, Jesus' promise that the Son of Man will rise from the dead.
Peter fails.  He falls.  And all of us, from time to time in our lives, have done the same.  We detest being faced with our shortcomings, don't we?  We refuse to share the truths of our inadequacies with others because we are ashamed of them, fearful that confessing our sins will make us unlovable in their eyes.  In cowardice, we hide behind a veneer of what we hope is perceived perfection.

But Peter, the one Jesus proclaims as the rock upon which the church will stand, parades his dirty laundry for all to see.  He holds nothing back.  The story of his denial of Jesus is one of the few accounts contained in all four Gospels.  That alone speaks volumes.

Peter, warts and all, does not withhold the truth about himself because he recognizes The Truth, which must be told.  Because he allows the transparency of his transgressions to be recorded so liberally in the New Testament, we can find hope in and take inspiration from his willingness to confess his shortcomings, that we might also come to salvation in Christ Jesus by confessing our own.


I listen attentively to President Trump's statements denouncing the violence which occurs in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend.  The media refuse to accept his remarks as honest ones.  They hound him for further clarification.  Even when Trump gives more precise details, outlining the truth that there are two sides involved in this tragic clash, the media refuses to accept it.  Instead, their reports emerge as scathingly derisive of the president, as if they never heard a word he uttered.

They lie.

Now, you may not be a supporter of President Trump.  You may have opposed him during the election.  But this is the reality:  We are all Americans and he is our president.  A man who gave up the privileged life of a billionaire to serve his country.

A sinner in need of a Savior.

A man who is not reluctant to state that we are all created by God, no matter what our skin color or status in life.

A man who is not afraid to ask God to bless this nation, which he routinely does.

A man who seeks the truth, the facts, and is not afraid to share them with the American people in spite of the opposition.

And the opposition, which routinely spins truth into lies, is not going away any time soon.

I think Peter understood that concept all too well as he carried out his mission to spread the Good News of Christ Jesus.  He, too, was accused of telling lies.

But he stuck with the Truth.  The Truth, which still today, sets us free.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

His Light Has Dawned

Isaiah 9:2
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of darkness, a light has dawned.

John 12:46
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes me should stay in darkness.

It was a dark and stormy night . . . to quote the immortal words of Snoopy.

I have just finished reading a blog about the importance of slowing life's pace, and am smack-dab in the middle of leaving a comment.  Danny is watching a show on Netflix where a crucial part of the plot is the power alarmingly going off the grid.

As if on cue, our own lights go out!!!  We are plunged into darkness as the rain continues to relentlessly pummel our deck, our skylights, and the sides of our house.  It takes a few seconds for our eyes to adjust to the gloom before we dare make a move for the flashlights stored in our bedroom.  Once these are in hand, Danny goes downstairs to our laundry room to fetch our battery-powered camping lantern.  What a life saver that is!

Immediately, life is slowed.  To a crawl.  No lights.  No television.  No computers.  No air-conditioning.  And all that food in the fridge?  Well, if the power isn't restored in a reasonable amount of time, we can chalk the contents up as a loss.

And there's the rub - we have no idea how long it will take for the electricity to be up and running.  As we prepare for bed, I find myself thanking God that we even have power to lose.  So many people living in the world have no knowledge of such a luxury.  And too many of us who use electricity daily take it for granted.

I am deep in sleep when I sense a change in our room.  My eyes fly open only to blink fiercely as brilliant light pours over me.  The power is back on!  And because it was off when we went to bed, it didn't dawn on us to turn of the lights before turning in.  I'm groggy as I fumble for the light switches and stumble back to bed in the shadowy room.  But I can rest assured - the light is with us.  We do not have to remain in darkness.


In the midst of our dark and stormy nights, those tempest-tossed times when we've all but lost sight of safety's shore, let us call upon Jesus to light our way.  He will go before us, shining His unquenchable, eternal light to guide us.  To comfort us.  To give us peace.

And we can rejoice!  For we no longer live in the land of deep darkness.  Upon us, Jesus' light has dawned!

Alleluia and amen!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Will You Take a 3-Minute Retreat?

Matthew 11:28
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

My fellow blogger and friend, Jean Wise, is always offering amazing resources to enhance our prayer life, and showing us unique ways of entering God's presence with calmness, awareness, and hearts filled with praise and thanksgiving.  In one of her most recent posts at Healthy Spirituality, Jean recommends this site:  3-Minute Retreats.

I am immediately intrigued, yet at the same time, doubtful.  How can I possibly explore a retreat with God in the brief space of three minutes and get anything out of it?  On the surface, it doesn't seem either possible or probable.

Until I try it.

One visit to this site, and I'm hooked!  I sign up to receive this daily inspiration and reflection in my inbox, right then and there.

And I've yet to regret the move God has me make.

I am more than well aware that our lives are busy, hectic, and bustling with expectations, activities and obligations.  For many, time for oneself is an elusive, somewhere-over-the-rainbow scenario.

But what about time with God?

Isn't that worth a 3-minute investment?

Isn't it, when we come right down to it, worth a life-time investment?

The time we spend in communing with God comes back to us ten-fold.  Yes, dear readers, it does!

Maybe, at this point in your Christian walk, you are feeling dejected, deprived, unworthy, or just plain tuckered out.  You do for family selflessly, yet rarely receive thanks.  You are the dependable one on the job, but the boss never acknowledges you.  You volunteer for church positions, yet you feel you are only a spectator as your unique gifts and insights go unnoticed.

You.  Need.  Rest!!!

Take three minutes.

Just take them.

Tell God how much you love Him.

Thank Him for loving you.

Revel and rejoice in His Word.

Make the 3-Minute Retreats your reentry into an enriched life with our Father, who longs to spend time with you.

Even if it is only for three minutes.

Spend time with Him.

Find rest.

Be blessed.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Eyes Wide Open

John 9:25
He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know.  One thing I do know.  I was blind but now I see!"

I'm aware before I go for my yearly eye exam with Dr. H. that the cataract in my left eye is getting worse.  I'm simply not seeing with my contacts the way I used to.  It's not what I want, not in the least, but it is happening all the same.  Dr. H. has always been up front with me that I, not he, will know when it's time to schedule the surgery to correct my vision.  So after I tell him I'm no longer comfortable driving in the dark as the oncoming headlights and even street lights cast a sinister glare, he has two words:

"It's time."


Okay, folks, I'm a bit lot fearful of this inevitable procedure.  Even though my dear nephew, a seasoned eye doctor, has assured me that he would rather have someone perform cataract surgery on him than sit in the dentist chair any day, I'm not convinced.

Not yet.

And when the new contacts Dr. H. orders for me come in?  Wow!  Just wow!  I didn't realize until I put them in how blind I am, how much I am missing.  The world is crystal clear, the colors alive and vibrant, my depth perception improved in ways I never could have imagined.  Hey!  If the contacts work this well, why not put off the removal of the real nemesis?  I mean, how much worse can it possibly get?

My husband, Danny, provides a shot of reality.  "How much worse do you really want this to get until you do something about it and fix the problem for good?"

He's right.


But I can't help but be apprehensive downright scared.  What if something goes wrong?  Then what do I do?  How can I live my life of writing/reading?  What about mobility?  How can I know for sure everything will turn out okay?

And I am reminded:  The blind man whom Jesus heals doesn't know, when confronted by the Pharisees, if Jesus is a sinner, but he chooses to trust the Lord anyway, declaring what he does know for sure.

I was blind, but now I see.

His sight is restored; his faith renewed.

And he has learned, with eyes wide open in gratitude, to place his life and future in the hands of Jesus.

I know I need to do the same.

How about you?


The Best Laid Plans

Isaiah 48:17 This is what the Lord says - your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, "I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is b...