I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Click on the article title to read the entire article.
This is not a complete listing of these articles.
Many have been consolidated in Let Her Hear: Parables from a Mom
and Faith Like a Mustard Seed: Wisdom for Your Walk.

A Few Words about Marriage

When Suffering Gets Personal
Recently my son posted on our family Viber these pictures.
The fires of California had reached the hill just beyond where they were. We’ve all heard about the California fires every year.
What made the difference?
Families we knew were being evacuated.
These were pictures my son took. So he was that close.
It’s that knowing someone directly with that need.

What an Amazing God We Serve!
We’ve travelled back and forth from California to Indiana to see family regularly over the years. We’d see billboards advertising the caves of Missouri. I’d want to stop, but not at the sake of losing time with family. Now that Joey has more time and we can loiter as we travel, we no longer have the boys with us. It is a loss. And perhaps a regret. But one can only do so much with the time given…
But now, Joey and I have taken a few weekend trips to see things close to us.

Those caves, though not too close, were on my list—those the bill boards advertising them did their job—inciting in us a need to go.
Though the billboards were designed in the ‘50’s, archaic at best, they got us there.
Pictures don’t do justice.

To think our God makes such wonders by running water percolating through dirt to form such artistic splendor! 


Response to "Healthy Gaming"
In the past I've endorsed the Minimalist Mom to help you declutter. 
She recently interviewed a doctor who designed a program to help your child game "healthy". 
I was interested in what he said. Perhaps this would be our magic answer.
Here's the interview. 
Please make sure you continue to read my evaluation of his methodology for there is much that I do not agree.

How Miserable Are You? —Are You Happy?
The world seeks happiness. Recently I saw a wife, who was pursuing a divorce, showed a picture on Facebook. She lounged on a chair with a drink. The caption was “my happy place.” It was not in her house.
Where were her children or husband? 
Not there.
I cried. 
By excluding them from her life, she became happy. How?
This was a “Christian.”
How do Christians get to that point?

The Need for Meaning Even in Pain
Recently Joey and I took the opportunity to hear Dr. Jordan B. Peterson’s lecture on We Wrestle with God presented in Oklahoma City. Peterson is an author, clinical psychologist, online educator and Professor Emeritus at University of Toronto. The Jordan B. Peterson podcast frequently tops the charts in the Education category.

Reminders of What's Important

God's Unmeasurable Love
I’ve been trying to fathom God’s love. 
Paul prayed, 
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledgethat you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21.

A Quarter of a Century Spent for Our Country?
Recently Joey retired from the army.
My son hosted a party to celebrate.
Here was my input.

What Were You Thinking?
When I was writing Boundaries for a Better Life, I did not like my unanswered questions. I mean, shouldn’t we know what we should be doing and why?
People always answer those unanswered questions with, “We’ll know and understand in heaven.”
Will we?
To understand ALL the unknowns here on earth?
I question that. The Bible never teaches that.

Who Are You Watching?
The obedience of that dog is amazing!
Now read Psalm 123. (Don't worry, it too is short.)

Boundaries for a Better Life
God has given His laws to help man live together peacefully. 
But knowing how man doesn’t choose the best, God placed in those laws what to do when peace isn’t possible.
Those are the boundaries.

God's Boundaries
In recent years, I’ve heard a lot about boundaries—especially as it relates to human relationships.
The idea of boundaries seemed to go against what people expect from Christians—shouldn’t you love everyone regardless of their actions?
Shouldn’t you help anyone who has a need?
Isn’t that what we are called to do as Christians?

The Ripple Effect
Know what that is?
When you drop a pebble into a puddle, it causes a chain reaction that sends ripples across the entire puddle. It effects everything.

Someone was asked to take out trash for an elderly person.
It’s just a once a week job. 
Take the dumpster to the road.
Doesn’t take more than 10 minutes.
But he forgot one week.

Litany of a Waiting Woman
Someone shared this with me. Thought I would pass it on.
From the temptation to settle, deliver me, my Jesus.
From the restlessness in my present season, deliver me, my Jesus.
From discouragement in keeping honorable standards, deliver me, my Jesus.
From the anxiety of running out of time, deliver me, my Jesus.

Ever Cook a Frog?
You don’t just throw a frog in boiling water. 
It’ll jump out.
A sure way to have tough meat.
Instead, put it in cold water and slowing heat it.
The frog relaxes as the water changes. No tough muscles here.
And it cooks, not realizing the heated water is killing it.

New Year's Reminders
Sayings and verses as a reminder of what's important.

​They Called Her Gammy
But I called her, "Mom."
I first met her before marrying Joey.
Our wedding pictures were the only pictures I’ve ever seen Gammy sad. I’ve since learned, it’s never easy to give away a son. But she did.
By doing so, she gained a daughter.

When God Speaks
Our God is the God of Words.
When God created, He spoke the world into existence.
In created God made man—to commune with Him.
In that perfect Garden, man talked with God and God talked with man. 
But man destroyed that communion when he disobeyed God. 
Yet the world still spoke of God’s power, majesty, order, so much of Who God is. 
By His creation, all men are without excuse for knowing God. (Romans 1).

Be Grateful
Reminders to be grateful for what we have.

Are You Tired of the Same, Old Thing? 
Laundry. Making dinner. Messes. Spills.
Routine. Sameness. Doing something over and over and over again.
I had one son who without fail would spill his drink every dinner. It was not because he was clumsy; he was pretty graceful on the baseball field. But without fail, at dinner, his water would be spilled. And the water would run across the table to me.

Laughter—Why Laugh?
Ever listen to children laugh? 
They don’t need a good reason to do it.
Ever watch a child? They laugh a lot.
Of course they don’t carry the burdens adults do… maybe that’s their secret. 
Those burdens aren’t ours to carry either.
Children live in the moment.
When we absorb the past and future all in the now, it’s too much. We weren’t meant to carry all of that.

In fact, the average 4-year-old laughs 300 times a day.
Know how much the average 40-year-old laughs? Only four.

Growing up with eight brothers and only one sister, mom known as “Sis” by the boys and treated with respect.
She had a toughness— Plowing with horses, haying with mice crawling up her pants, hauling the water to wash the dishes and laundry 12 people could make. 
She rarely spoke of her childhood. Of her dad, she mentioned once that he gave no affection though worked hard: By day as a farmer. By night in the coal mines.
No one modeled love to her. 
But they worked hard.

Are You Disturbed?
Sir Francis Drake, (1540-1596) an English sea captain during the Elizabethan era,  was the second sailor to sail around the world, claiming the western coast of the Americans, including California, for the English.
Although considered a hero by the English, the Spanish labeled him El Draque or Dragon. King Philip II allegedly offered a substantial reward (US $8 million) for his capture or death.
Although many would attribute the following prayer to him, resources aren’t conclusive, and some would argue the language doesn’t support the Elizabethan era; nevertheless, the prayer speaks of our need to move beyond what is comfortable to allow God to change us.

Unity of the Brothers
Most of the frustration of being a mom is children fighting.
How do you create an atmosphere where fighting doesn’t happen?
Well, God created that perfect world.
And man still fought.

Encouragements To Declutter
We've been talking about taking every thought captive, becoming unbury with what we shouldn't be doing, eliminating or minimizing stress, and decluttering our stuff. Because declutter is so time-consuming, and energy depleting, I'd like to share sayings that I have collected to help remind me why I am decluttering. 
Some of the thoughts are from a world perspective, but it gives insight into things that waste our time and suck our energy.
Here they are:

Do You Have Too Much Stuff?
Today, we want to address our clutter.
You ask, “how does clutter have anything to do with our spirituality?”
Studies have shown our clutter adds to our anxiety, stress and feelings of overwhelm, (even our children are stressed by too many toys and choices.)
We can’t commune with God, because our stuff hinders us from getting passed it!

Too Much Stress?
Who doesn’t?
When I first was treated with Adrenal Fatigue, I read articles that stated “minimize your stress.”
How do you do that?
My stress seems to keep multiplying!
Know what the doctor said first. 
Say, “No.”

Getting Past the Noise—The Value of Silence
We’ve been talking about taking every thought into obedience to Christ SEE Are You Scatterbrained?.
This week, I’d like to delve into it more by considering the need for silence.
An interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates argued that serious thinkers and writers should get off Twitter.
It wasn’t a critique of the social medium; it was the call to get beyond the noise.

Are You Scatterbrained?
I don’t know about you, but as the years have gone by, I lose more things in my mind than I even put into it.
With each child, the information I must keep track of did not ADD but compounded exponentially—especially as they marry and have children.
A few of my sons would get upset with me because they had to “tell me again” what they were doing or where they were going for the day.
I tried to explain, “I have ten people to schedule and each one doing something different every day.” But they couldn’t understand. 

How Good Are You?
We know we’re sinners and need a Savior.
But after that, aren’t we pretty good?
Not that you’ve killed anyone, at least recently.
Sometimes we get to feeling like we are pretty good, at least when we compare ourselves with ourselves (which we aren’t supposed to do, for a very good reason).
Not that we don’t struggle with stuff, but God does bless and we are thankful.

Recently, I had a check on how I was progressing to be “like Jesus.”
God gives us those glimpses of our “real” self, and His love.
We must recognize that Savior must still save our wretched souls on a daily basis from ourselves.

Looking for Something Good To Read?
Types of Content WE all Crave

  1. Content that reminds us that life is short.
  2. Content that reminds us that dreams come true.
  3. Content that gives us faith to believe for bigger things.
  4. Content that reminds us that we matter.
  5. Content that reminds us of the overlooked or forgotten “basics.”
  6. Content that has unexpected twists.


A Cup of Cold Water

What if you are not appreciated for the kindness shown?
You’re not even thanked out of obligation?
This is more prevalent.
I help serve dinner at our church every Wednesday for children’s club. When I first started I was amazed at how many children and youth never said, “thank you.” 

I Will Trust When I Cannot See

Encouragement—What Is It?
Often we think of encouragement as saying something kind. And it is.
But what if your words are not uplifting? A little stern. Or even correcting.
What if the person you are addressing needs to be rebuked or admonished? Are those words still encouraging?

Ever been encouraged by a teacher to do better?
He knew you hadn’t done your best. His words admonished you to work harder. Did he not encourage you to reach your potential?

​Being in God's Presence 
I’ve given articles about “sitting at the feet of Jesus” instead of stewing about problems.
In fact, as I gave this article its title, another one came up Being in His Presence, which has a different emphasis. 

You may be thinking, “That’s all well and good, and I’d love to sit at Jesus’s feet. But how do I get into His presence at all?”
Glad you asked!

"Einstein and the Professor"
Professor: You are a Christian, aren’t you, son?
Student: Yes, sir.
Professor: So, you believe in GOD?
Student: Absolutely, sir.
Professor: Is GOD good?
Student: Sure.
Professor: Is GOD all powerful?
Student: Yes.
Professor: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to GOD to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But GOD didn’t. How is this GOD good then? Hmm?
(Student was silent.)

When God Is Silent
Remember the Israelites? 
God sent prophet after prophet to warn them of coming judgment.
They ignored His warnings.
God removed His Presence from them.
He didn't speak to them for 400 years.

Do You Crave Beauty?
Winter brings a bleakness to the landscape unlike any other season. Even the sky reflects this sadness.
Inside, the dreariness affects moods, clutter seems more pronounced, houseplants visibly wilt from missing the sun. 
As a gardener, I find hope in seed catalogs, with the promise of green coming soon.
I force a few bulbs, bringing color and fragrance within my closing walls.
Even when spring comes, winter fights to stay, rushing back after bulbs emerge from the ground.
Will the bulbs overcome? 
Glancing  at other’s landscapes only heightens my quest for beauty.
There’s no landscaped yards or parks to be found. 
How are you inspired by nothing?

Yet others think winter is beautiful.
Is all beauty defined “in the eyes of the beholder”?

Using Stories to Discipline
We’ve talked about using stories to teach lessons.
Here’s another application, using stories for discipline.
Ever hear the excuse, 
“It was just one time.”

The Danger of the Wrong Story
Last week, I gave two examples of how stories can bring truth to hearts.
We, as parents, should do diligence to know what our children are reading and taking to heart.
I’ve never critiqued Harry Potter, other than to stay far from it.
I didn’t want to read them and therefore felt I could not fairly analyze them, but I always felt the evil inspite of that.
Nor did I allow my boys to read them.

Many educators praised them. For now they could get their students to read!
​Was it worth it?
Now that many of the chronicles have been released and consumed by our children, let’s see what these “harmless” stories are doing to our child.
Rather than take excerpts from the articles, I have included the entire articles. Bare with me in the reading of them.


​Using Stories To Teach Lessons
We learn best through stories.
It's not a coincidence Jesus spoke in stories. 
Stories resonate in our hearts, reaching not only our minds but our beings.
Give a child a story with lessons, and they will have the truth hidden in their hearts.
That's why traditions were started—usually to teach or illustrate something.
Here's two.

God is in charge of the Future
Do you really believe that?
Is so, you would be living today in this moment.

Ever be in a group, but not listen to what is being said?
You’re thinking about a problem, or what you should have said in this conversation.

November Dare Joy Challenge
To go with my series of thanksgiving articles, I share this.
Found this on a friend's page on Facebook. 
By using the number as the day of the month and the suggested three things to consider for giving thanks,
at the end of November, she will have found 1000 different things to give thanks.
And because she did it for 30 days, it will have become a habit—a worthy habit.
Thought you might want to tuck it away for next year to try—or better yet, make it a December Joy Quest.
Ungratitude. Unthankfulness.
Know why you complain and are discontent?
Know why you’re fearful?
Know why you’re anxious?

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude
Quotes about gratitude from Pinterest

Looking for Jesus
We've been talking about looking for God in Life's Little Pleasures.
My daughter-in-law shared this song with our family's group that says it better than I could.

What Do Your Prayers Reflect?
Consider Psalm 72. It’s a prayer of Solomon.
It saddened me when I read it.

Life's Little Pleasures
Recently I was  struggling with “sitting at Jesus’s feet”.
I wanted to tell Him what I could do, instead of letting Him plan my life.
What He was asking of me was—well, impossible.
Our boys even told us.
Friends advised against it, ending with “I’ll be praying for you.” And that "glad it’s you and not me" look.
I didn’t want to do it either.
But I wanted to sit at Jesus’s feet. Accept His plan. And give Him glory.

Daniel—Greatly Loved by God
Daniel 9:23; 10:11, and 10:19 all report that “Daniel—greatly loved by God.”
We could never deserve or earn God’s love.
Yet we all are greatly loved by God!

But consider how Daniel reciprocated his love for God.

Take Every Thought
Know where you lose your battles with stress, anger, or bad habits?
You don’t try harder or be stronger or do more.
Every battle is lost in your mind, FIRST.

Know why you can’t lose weight?
It’s not because you eat too much, it’s because of how you think.
Know why you can’t confront that person.
It’s not because you don’t know what to say, but because you re-think it too much…

Jars of Clay
Feeling weak?
Frustrated you can’t keep doing what you used to do?
Everything hurts and you wonder how you got old so quickly? Because you aren’t that old.
All you do is go from one doctor’s appointment to another, but they fix nothing!

Corinthians answers why.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Corinthians 4:7.

What Do Your Words Reveal about Your Heart?
In Proverbs 30:17, Solomon says of the son,  
The eye that mocks a father and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out and the young eagles will eat it.

Know when the ravens know something is dead? 
They can pick at its eye.
A son that mocks his father is dead, and doesn’t know it.

How Do You Get Strong Faith?
Preachers have told parents whose child lay sick, “If you have enough faith, he can be made well.”
What happens if the child dies? Did they not have enough faith?
Yet Jesus said, it wasn’t the amount of faith, for if you had the faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could remove mountains (Matthew 17:20).

Too Busy for God's Word?
I’ve been asked by several busy moms, “How do you even have your own devotions with little ones?”
That’s the time when you can’t even imagine getting sleep.
My answer, “Grab a verse and go with it.”

How Do You Think Like Jesus?
Ever wish you could tell someone, like Jesus did to the Pharisees, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you...”
Wish you could see through the murkiness of all the details to answer like Jesus when the Pharisees brought the woman “caught in adultery”? 
Where was the man? I suspect one of the Pharisees. 
Jesus wrote in the sand. 
The Bible doesn't say what He wrote, but I suspect he wrote names of other Pharisees who practiced adultery.

Pain—What's It Good For?
We do everything to avoid it.
When we have it, we do what it takes to remove it.
What’s its value?
Pain changes how we walk when we have a blister—so the blister doesn’t get bigger.
Pain makes us stop what we’re doing to address the immediate need.

Why Marry?
The world can give you lots of reasons why you should not marry. Or you should try it out first before you do it.
Joey was asked to present the talk at my son's wedding.He explains why marriage was instituted.

Consider the Robin
Jesus often spoke in parables about farming and nature, because the people would know about those things.
Take a moment to consider the robin.
He has much to teach us.

One Life Who Made a Difference
Remember this lady? I didn't either.
Irena Sendler

What Day Are You Living In?
We’ve been talking about living in God’s Presence by focusing our minds and thoughts.
I know I’ve recommended this before, but it’s worth repeating. 
The devotional by Sarah Young Jesus Calling is an excellent help in cultivating that living in God’s presence

Interrupted by God
Joey had a friend who was getting married.
His fiancee had planned his life. He would do this. He would make this much. They would have this many children. They would live here. She had planned out their life.
Joey’s friend broke off the engagement.

​Is Jesus Really the Answer to Everything?
A Sunday School teacher once asked, “What’s small, brown, has a bushy tail and gathers nuts?”
The little boy responded, “It sounds like a squirrel, but the answer has to be Jesus.”
Often in church, we phrase questions that lead children to believe Jesus is the answer to every question.
As we get older, we often hear that He is.
But is He?
Does Jesus solve every problem?

Are You Beat Up?
Feeling worthless?
Like you’ve been chewed up and spit out?
Tormented by evil?
Controlled by demanding people?
Can’t do anything right no matter what you do?
You’ve lost your anchor.
You’re drifting.

What's Your Hurry?
Do you hurry from one place to another?
Speeding from to another event.
Does everything seem to be an emergency?
The more things we have the more our things require our time.
Bigger house? Clean more. 
Bigger garden? Water more. Weed more. Can more.
Racing from one thing to another does not reflect peace.
Instead it shows a misplaced focus.

Are You a Manipulator?
That sounds rather strong and offensive.
Let’s try, shrewd—doesn’t the Bible tell us to be shrewd?

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16. 

Manipulation is used because WE MUST BE IN CONTROL.
It doesn’t keep us innocent. We aren’t shrewd.
We are disobedient.
Yet justify our action.

Are You Salty?
Recently I was adjusting my menu to accommodate someone who had a no-salt diet.
As I prepared my yams, I used no-salt butter. My guest would have one thing she could enjoy.
But after mixing it, I tasted it. Ugh! 
Without salt, it was…well, salt-less.

Are You Condemned?
Do you condemn yourself?
Know those thoughts that tell you, “You’re not good enough.”

“Who are you to be doing that?”
“Why can’t I do anything right?”

Trying to Understand?
Are you suffering and trying to understand why?
Do you look for answers about why the world is so confusing?
Do you console yourself that “We’ll understand it all in heaven.”
Or, “If I just understand why this was happening, I would feel better.”
Or, "I hope I learned what I was suppose to from that."

I don’t think so.

Do You Expect Answers to Prayer?
Are your prayers answered?
Do you just repeat the same old prayers?
Do you get answers?
Does God even hear your requests?

We’ve been talking about how God created us to have a relationship with Him. See Looking for a Relationship?
We were made to please Him.
I’ve shown how using the Bible to “pray God’s Word,” so our requests are His requests. See Is Your Soul Happy?
I’ve talked about writing out the Word, so we can focus and listen for His answers. See Need Focus?

Prayer is not a one-way conversation. 
Christ rebuked the Pharisees of this one-way praying, when he told them, 
They do all their deeds to be noticed  by men. 
Matthew 23:1-12.

Do You Eat Your Stress?
Spurgeon smoked cigars. And drank alcohol.
Water wasn’t safe to drink.
A doctor prescribed smoking to help relax him.
C. S Lewis and Tolkien smoked pipes.

For me, it was Pepsi. 
I’d gulp it down before I dealt with a son who needed discipline.
Sorta like counting to ten with a reward.
Some of the boys figured out if I had more than one or two Pepsi's that I was having a rough day.
COVID helped me quit. It tasted like metal.
Sad day.

Need Focus?
You can never remember what you should do today, until…
You sit to read your Bible!
Then, instead of being able to focus on the words in front of you, you can remember EVERYTHING you should have done yesterday and must do today.

What do you do to focus on what God is telling you?
I’ve shared how George Mueller increased his focus during prayer by reading the Bible and praying back God’s Word. Mulling over the words. Using them to direct how he should pray and for what he should pray.

Going through Trouble?
Job was.
Everything was gone.
His property.
His livestock.
His job.
His position in the city.
His family.
Even his health.

If anyone had reason to question God, Job did.
Even God had said that Job was righteous.

Job’s questions about justice, about understanding, about the “why’s” did not fall on deaf ears.
His friends told him to repent and be blessed.
He would lose his integrity if he repented, because he had done nothing wrong.
But still in his musings he realizes he needs an advocate before God.
He prepares all his questions he would ask God.
Much of them center around why the ungodly seem to win, even though he knows God is just.

​Immanuel—God with Us
When God created man in His own image, He made man to have fellowship and enjoy Him forever 
Man broke that fellowship when he sinned.
But God promised to redeem him, and restore that broken fellowship.
Throughout Israel’s history, God makes a way for Him to be with man.
He communicated with Moses through the burning bush and spoke to Him on the mountain.
When the tabernacle was built, God designated a room just for His Name, the holy of holies.

Looking for a Relationship?
What would you think of your husband if he pursued you with a passion before marriage, then after marriage ignored you?
He was there, all right, but he was waiting until you were finished taking care of the kids, and doing your other stuff, so that he could really get to know you.
What kind of a relationship is that?

When God Says, "No!"
We’ve been talking about prayer.
When we come to God recognizing our needs, He gives.
When He gives, He desires our praise and thanksgiving.
But what happens when God says “no”?

Often we hear of people who experience a tragedy.
They beg God to save their loved one, heal their ailment, do this act—but He doesn’t.
When He doesn’t, because of course He can, they turn from God and live their life the way they want.

What Do You Do with Left-Overs?
We have been blessed in this country with a lot.
When my boys live in the refrigerator, “Trying to find something to eat”, I don’t have much sympathy.
We have plenty.
(Until I need something to eat…)

How Great Is Your God?
Last week we saw how approaching God with humility and weakness enables God to bless us with answers we never thought possible. That in turn brings praise to Him.
Acknowledge our needs.
Accept His gifts.
Give Him praise and thanks.

Let’s look at a Bible example.
David, in 1 Chronicles 13, couldn’t even bring the ark of God back to the city. One of the priests was killed instantly by God when he tried to steady the ark. 
David was angry at God. 

Are You Needy?
Ever been around a needy person?
They are miserable, wretched and pathetic.
Our culture strives to tell us, “You got this! You’re strong enough.”
Anyone who even hints at being uncapable of doing something is looked at with disdain. “What’s his problem?”
“Put your big girl pants on and do the job.”

How Do You See Sin?
We see the countless abortions done. 
It as the sin of murder.
And so it is.
But what other deeper sin is it?

Like hatred. We all do it at some time.
Yet God says,
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.  I John 3:15.
Are we, as Christians, guilty of killing babies too?
How does God see it?


What Do Your Words Mean?
I cringe when parents tell their child, “Just a minute.” 
That one minute stretches into another. Soon 15 minutes have passed. 
Still the parent does not keep their word.

I’ve heard several Christian women share recently how divorce is pending if things don’t change.
They don’t want to break their word, but what can they do?

Is Evil Overwhelming You?
Can wickedness today get any worse?
King Ahab was Israel’s most wicked king.
I Kings 16:33 says, Thus Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him.
He became the standard of wickedness for all other kings afterward.

But tucked in the happenings of this most wicked king is chapter 17 of I Kings. 
It is a chapter devoted to a man who followed God in the midst of the greatest evil in Israel.
This is the first time Elijah is mentioned.
Yet his statement to King Ahab leaves no doubt Who he serves. 

​Those Aha Moments
Last week I shared George Mueller’s insight into prayer. I encouraged you to read or reread his story. Most of you probably didn’t. Here it is again.
It is long. But even though I wrote it, I gained much from re-reading it—conviction for one, inspiration for another. So press the link to read that article.
Todays article is about the application of last week’s article. So if you have not read that one, here’s the link.
And now for the aha moment.
Click here for this week's article

Is Your Soul Happy?
We've been talking lately about what it means to delight God I Believe in Jesus–What Nowand Looking for the God Moment, and when we delight Him, we also are made glad. 
This week's article is from a man who delighted God, and did not do anything until he prayed about it.
Even if you've read the article before, re-read the testimony of his life first in How Would Your Faith Comparethen come back here to see how he was able to do those things. 

​Are You Ignored?
Ever go to a doctor and he’s so rushed? He rushes into the room, talks to you for one minute and is gone before you realized your visit is over.
What about all your questions and concerns?

What about your husband? Does he listen to you while watching television? Or not really listen while his game is on. 
Maybe your kids “listen” to you as they shut the door between you (NOT acceptable in my house).

Looking for the God Moment
Have any “God” moments lately?
We’ve been talking about allow God to plan our day, then looking for Him throughout the day in the little things that must be done.
See Do You Have Your Son-Glasses On? and Looking for God in Every Moment
So how are you doing?
I wanted to share with you some of those moments that have solved some great problems for me.

Do You Know Truth From Almost Truth?
I recently went to a class at church that my son was attending about supernatural beings. 
My son had questions that were disturbing. 

The teacher began the class by saying, “Just because you can treat a fever, doesn’t make you a physician; just because you can change the oil in your car, doesn’t make you a mechanic.”
The implication was very clear, just because you can read the Bible, doesn’t mean you can accurately understand the Bible.
Is he right?

I Believe in Jesus—What Now?
What do you say when you're sharing the Gospel and they tell you, “I believe in Jesus.”
What now?
The world is full of people believing in Jesus.
The Bible supports that you must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved.
But how do you explain the drunk in the street who believes,
Or the addict who confesses, 
Or the couple who continues to live together and say they believe?
Is that all there is to believing?

Do You Have Your "Son"-Glasses On?
We’ve been talking about looking for God in all the little things that happens throughout our day, SEE Singing His Praise
Since I wrote the series about the Exodus in Tell of My Kingdom’s Glory, I’ve thought a lot about how Moses saw God.
Moses was the only prophet in the Bible Who saw God face to face.

Less Is More
When I had to declutter because of the move, I saved many inspiring sayings that would encourage me as I got rid of stuff.
Know what I found?
Whether a person had a lot of stuff or a little stuff, if that was the emphasis, then their heart was wrong.

Singing His Praise
I’ve been listening and watching the birds a lot lately.
Know what they do?
Early in the morning, even before the sun rises, they sing.
They almost sing up the sun.

It doesn’t matter if their song doesn’t match the beauty of other birds around them either. 
They don’t compare or complain with what they don’t have.
The crow sings as loudly as the songbird.

Are You Trying To Do It All?
Are you running from here to there, not accomplishing much?
Feel like you aren’t doing what you should good enough?
Often Christians determine our spirituality by how busy we are.
If you aren’t doing these things, then you aren’t right.
As moms, we are often stretched beyond what we think we can do.

What Do You Do With All These Prayer Requests?
Christ Jesus. . . intercedes for us. Romans 8:34.
That means He goes before the Father and reminds Him of our needs. (Not that He needs reminding, of course.)

Christ commands us to pray for others.

Have a Problem?
Often instead of seeking God before the problem, we ask God for wisdom during the problem.
Know what we should be doing instead?
Recognize He brought the problem, not for us to solve but for us to trust Him to solve it.

Isaiah 55:8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord.

Do You Know How to Pray?
The disciples asked Jesus, “Teach us to pray.”
They heard Him talking with His Father. 
His prayers got through.
So Jesus gave this model prayer.

Looking for God in Every Moment
Last week we looked at being receptive to what God would like to give us.
We saw how our pride can hinder God from giving (not that He ceases from giving, but that we reject what He offers.)
This week, I’d like to consider the second aspect that Sarah Young in her devotional Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, March 28 presented:
Attentiveness—Looking for God in every moment.

Are You Receptive to God's Blessings?
Who doesn’t want to be blessed?
We pray for God to bless our food. 
What does that mean as we eat our junk food and ask for it to nourish our bodies?
Or we ask for God to bless our families, yet we limit how many children we have, though God tells us, “children are a blessing.”
We ask for God’s will, because we know it is best and good, but then complain when things go wrong, as if somehow that couldn’t be God’s will and we know better.

Do we really want God’s blessings?

Is Your Life Complicated?
Why don’t you have time to do what’s important?
Why is it so hard to make even the simple decisions?

In between running one child to music lessons and another to sports, you throw a meal at them until they can eat at home afterwards.
All of these things are important.
But are they essential?

How Do We Fight Evil?
People say we are living in the End Times.
That the world couldn’t get any worse.
That times are going to get hard.

I couldn’t agree with them more.
But a quick glance at history shows each generation thought they were living in the End Times.
What could be any worse than a world war? And then a second one?
Or what about the fulfillment of Daniel with the coming of the Roman Empire controlling the entire world?

Do we panic by knowing this? 

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
Maybe I’m not like the normal woman, but I read that phrase and wonder.
On a good day, I feel my body coming apart at the seams. 
I feel like telling God, “Maybe You should have made those stitches a little bit tighter,” 
or “Can you check that knot right here, I think it’s undone.”
It’s ALL I CAN DO to push myself to get here.
I’m a nervous wreck by the time I arrive. Let alone think godly thoughts! Then talk!

Giving Up or Taking Away
In my younger days, I don’t think I prided myself in my strength, I just took it for granted. 
We needed a retaining wall, my husband was deployed, so with my boys (we had six at the time, the oldest was 12) we built a cement retaining wall. Those 60 lb cement bags had to be carried as a two-man team. Those cement blocks had to be carried one block at a time.
I was forty, pregnant (with #7) and very tired. 
Every day before the temperatures rose above 100, we worked for a morning.
Then I’d reward them with a slushy, then we’d work another hour. 
That was all I could do in one day.
But the next day, we would do it again.

​the Bible is simple.
It’s message is clear and understandable, even to those who are mentally challenged.
Anyone can know Jesus. 
That does not mean we will understand everything without careful study or being taught by the Holy Spirit. He is our teacher Who guides us to know His truth.

Are You a Dripping Faucet?
Ever hear a dripping faucet without stop, all day and night? Especially dripping into a bucket.
Annoying. Non-stop.
Chinese torture.

Proverbs talks about the dripping faucet. 

What's Your Testimony?
What is a testimony, but a telling of what has been done.
I can’t tell you the first time I was introduced to God.
I grew up in a Christian home with five sisters. 

The Final Move
Well, we are moved into our house. It wasn’t the house we looked for. It wasn’t the land we wanted. But we’ve adjusted, though with much consideration and turmoil.

After Joey drove an hour to work for 25 years, we did not want to choose land too far away from where he worked. As we looked, there seemed a balance to what was too far. We liked the secluded places with trees and no neighbors. They weren’t really available.
I reminded myself we were downsizing, but needed three bedrooms now.
And a shop or barn for the boys’ activities.
And land for a few chickens and the horse and room to roam for the three dogs.
All the land in the amount we wanted was bought quickly by Marijuana growers who were flocking from WY and MT after a recent law that allowed them to grow.

What we got…

Be Careful What You Wish For!
When I lived in California, I remember missing the colorful fall leaves.
Now that I have moved East, I have the leaves and realize I forgot what it takes to rake those colorful fall leaves.

A woman that I worked with had been divorced four times. She told how she had always told her third husband to “grow up.” 
When he did, she didn’t like him. 

Are Your Prayers Answered?
My sister gave me a devotional called Jesus Callingby Sarah Young. It is not in place of reading and studying the Bible, but is in addition tothat. 
Here’s part of the January 11’s entry:
When you bring Me prayer requests, lay out your concerns before Me.

I Choose Joy
Ever see that sign?
I often think, “Who wouldn’t want joy?”
We’ve all heard that saying, “Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Jesus” but what does that mean?
Do you have joy?

What Have You Learned from Your Hardship?
People tell about their hardships.
Somewhere in their conversation they say, “But I hope I’ve learned what God wants me to learn.”
There is that element that we should learn from our mistakes.
After all “practice makes perfect” doesn’t work if you are practicing wrong.
You must do it right to get it perfect.
So we must evaluate what we have done to see if this hardship is a consequence of our own actions.
Like in kindergarten, if you don’t play nice, you won’t have friends.
As Christians, we have absorbed the world’s philosophy and Christianized it by thinking we must “learn from this experience” to make it "worth it."

Who Are You Trying to Change?
Ever hear of a “move-in ready” house?
They say you can move in without changing anything.
Maybe I’m not the normal person, but every house that I’ve looked at, I would change at least one thing.
If it’s not the color of this room, it’s the design of that one. I even consider taking out a wall to make it bigger. 
I need lots of light and gentle colors that soothe, add pops of color for that focal point.
That “move-in ready” house has already undergone so many changes in my mind before we even have it as ours to change!

What's Your Five-Year Plan?
Remember that question?
I never liked it.
It seemed inherently wrong.

I realize you must plan. 
When we’d go on any trip, Joey would get us there. 
I’d get us there comfortably–fed, warm, hydrated, and entertained.
That required planning with a purpose.

I understand the rationale behind planning.
“Aim at nothing. Hit it every time.”

Many businesses plan for five and twenty-five years. 
Even churches planning for greater numbers.
But I always felt that was wrong.

The Danger of "Aloneness"
Today with mandated and chosen quarantines, the number of people isolated escalates. 
Maybe you find yourself alone during these holiday times. 

My Colors
My son shared this with our family this Thanksgiving.

​I'm a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. 
The die has been cast.
I have stepped over the line. 
The decision has been made.
I'm a disciple of His and I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

Are You a Whiner?
Ever be around someone who drags you down?
You feel exhausted just listening to them!

When Israel traveled through the wilderness, their first response to problems was to whine. 
I’m thirsty.
The water’s too bitter!
We’re tired of manna.
Sound like a whining toddler!


Are Your Works Approved?
Do you get tired of doing the same thing—over- and over again?
Do you wonder if washing these dishes—again, will matter for eternity?

People want to do something that matters.
We don’t want to get to the end of our lives and realize none of it matters.
People want to save the earth (we’ve talked about that HERE).
People want to help people. (As if the rest of us, don’t).
But how do you know what you are doing will last?

Do You Think You're Stressed?
Back when I had to fight a toddler over whether he was going to eat oatmeal or not, I thought that was stressful.
But looking back, I wonder how I could have thought so.
Now, I think letting each son go, so soon, so fast is stressful.
My sister reminded me that moving is stressful, though I guess knew that.
Changing jobs is also listed as one of the five big stresses.
Traveling and following all these rules about masks is also stressful.
I cry a lot.

Is Your Soul Feeling Ragged?
Meditations from Psalm 19:7-14.
Do you feel like the world has worn you out and then spit you out?
Do you need a vacation, not just from work or routine but from life?
Know where the Bible says to go for that refreshment.

God Speaks to the Heart of the King
Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who has a put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to adorn the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem. Ezra 7:28.

In the book of Ezra, a remnant choose to return to Jerusalem with their leaders by the approval and support of Cyrus king of Persia to rebuilt the temple.
Before they began, they set up altars and worshipped.
Ezra 3:3 gives why. “They set up the altar on its foundation, for they were terrified because of the peoples of the lands.”

Are you terrified by what is going on in our country? 
More corruption by our leaders is exposed daily. 
Their list keeps growing.
Their disdain for truth and right could easily frighten anyone.

What about the Details?
God is a God of details.
Sometimes we think that the little things don’t matter.
We get complacent in how we wash dishes, or do the laundry.
What does it matter anyway?

Have You Felt the Long-Suffering of God?
Society cries for justice.
We want things to be made right. (Which also implies there IS a right.)
We want justice—for everyone else. But us.

That’s where Job is in the middle of the book of Job.

How Does God Lead You?
Know the song He Leadeth Me?
It’s a wonderful picture of how God leads us. Read the words.

He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
words with heav'nly comfort fraught!
Whate'er I do, where'er I be
Still 'tis God's hand that 
leadeth me.

Do You Have Enough?
Why do you spend money for what is not bread and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. Isaiah 55:2-3.
On what do you spend your money? your time? Your energy?
That reflects your values. 
What consumes you?

Don't Carry More Than You Need
Remember when you could just get in the car and go anywhere?
I could take the keys, wallet, and (now phone) and go.

Then children came. All of a sudden just getting out the door required diapers, a change of clothes (in case his got soiled), another change of clothes (in case the weather changed), blankets, wet ones, toys, car seat, sun hat, sun screen….Then as they got older, I added snacks, water, maybe even a little toilet for those long trips when facilities weren’t easily accessible. The kitchen sink was the only thing I didn’t bring! Fifteen minutes was the least amount of time just to get in the car.

Cast the Seed
Isaiah is a book about judgment, not only to God’s own people but to all those countries around them. 
But even in the proclamation of judgment, Isaiah shares hope. He tells by Israel’s repentance, judgment will come. But not now.

Through it all, God’s holiness is shown. God does not let the wicked rule forever.
In fact, He uses the wicked for His own good.
He used both Assyria and Babylon to judge His people.
Then God used these wicked rulers to bring His people back to their land, rebuild the temple and their wall and return to His blessing.

After all this judgment, God tells Isaiah, “Comfort my people.” Isaiah 40:1.


God Is Faithful
I have a pair of little birds (titmouses) that build their nest right outside my bedroom window every spring.
The nest is in an old acorn tree whose limb had been cut off leaving a hole. 

Are You Deceived?
My husband likes to challenge our boys. Sometimes, I’m not up for the challenge. When he told them that he heard the word “gullible” was taken out of the dictionary. Being the word person that I am, I responded, “How can they do that?”
By his laugh, I knew I had been taken. How could I have not guessed?
No one likes to be fooled.
Although meant in fun, there are times when deception is not so fun.

During this Corona virus scare, many lived in fear by allowing themselves to be deceived. 
They were listening to the wrong “news.”
They were deceived.


Are You Essential?
The state governments and its media have chosen carefully the terms they use. We have heard that only the “essential” work places will be allowed to continue.
Essential as defined as “absolutely necessary; extremely important.”

Are You Safe?
People asked me, especially after we would kill ten rattlesnakes a year, how do you feel safe where we live?
I answered, “I know how a snake will respond; I’m more concerned about what man can do.”
Although a simplified answer, I really meant, that where God places us, even if it were in the jungles of Africa, we would be safe—safer than outside God’s will. 

Are You Tired of the Same Old Thing?
(I almost changed this article to reflect what our world is experiencing now, but I didn't, because life does continue.
And those things that must be done, still need to be done. And being a mom still requires routine, even if it is hectic.)
Laundry. Making dinner. Messes. Spills.
Routine. Sameness. Doing something over and over and over again.

Does the World Make Sense?
In 2009-2010, we watched Obama ignore the deaths of 12,469 people associated with the swine flu (encouraging greater exposure by not closing the Mexican border) (, yet now the Democrats find it necessary to shut the entire country down because 36 have died in the United States of the Corona flu, according to the stats from U.S. Center for Disease Control ( -due/brief-us-cdc-reprots-36-total-deaths-due-to-new-coronavirus-as-of-march-11-at-4-pm-et-idUSL4N2B54p5).

They create a panic among the people, not to protect them as they would like us to suppose, but to cause Trump’s popularity to diminish and cause us to call for their help.

Have You Seen God's Majesty?
If you’ve been reading my articles lately, I’ve been going through 1 and 2 Peter. There’s a lot there for how to live a Christian life, in spite of the evil world we live in.
Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:16-17, “We were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He (Jesus) received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased.’”

Jesus’s authority and power was revealed on that mountaintop when Peter witnessed Jesus's transfiguration. 
​God’ grandeur, greatness and splendor became real.

Do You Feel Judged?
After we had been married over a year, we lived with my husband’s parents (I do not recommend this—ever.) We asked what they expected from us. They answered, ambiguously, “Help out.” We asked for more details to avoid misunderstanding. 
At the time, my husband was going to school full time, so the “help” would come from me, who had a baby “to help.”

If You Only Had One More Day To Live
What risks would you take?
What fears would you face knowing you would stand before God’s presence?
The Bible gives us the answer in I Peter 4:7. The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 
Peter tells us prayer will enable us to face whatever that day may bring.
In the same chapter, he talks much of suffering. “Since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose” I Peter 4:1.


Are You Understood?
Ever look at what gives others pleasure and wonder, “Why would anyone want to do that?”
That’s what the world should do toward you.

Do You Long for the Word of God?
Remember when your baby was hungry in the middle of the night? You had actually fallen asleep and slept so soundly you didn’t hear him stir. Now he is wailing with all his lung power. Why?
He wants to eat.
You stick that bottle in his mouth or nurse him—instantly his wails change from cries of pain to guzzling that milk.
Watch him gulp down his bottle. That full bottle can be emptied in minutes!

Slow Down and Smell the Dead Leaves
We've talked about the "simple life" and minimizing so we can focus. Fall is a good time to do that. Enjoy the moment, though roses are not available, dead leaves are. Smell them. They do bring the scent of fall. The changing of the time and seasons, the coming of winter, all bring a feeling in the air that can be missed if we rush to our cars and hurry into buildings without looking around. Fall makes me think of sweaters, more tea, good books, finished harvest. The garden is put to rest. Wood is cut. The pause before the coming storms of winter. It causes me to slow down. It helps me be pause and be thankful.

Are You Hospitable?
I love visiting my sister. When we arrive, she gives us a tour of what she has available. She shows us where to find the extra toiletries for those who forgot. She opens her refrigerator and explains what special treats she found for us. After visiting, she asks what would make our stay better. 
I feel like I’ve just stayed at a deluxe hotel but at home.
She makes us feel at home, without the need to clean.
She is hospitable.

Our Heritage Is Bought by Blood
Our American heritage and freedom is bought by blood. Many have fought to get our freedoms. Many have died to keep our freedoms.
Today, people want to re-write our history to show the atrocities of war to prove that we should not fight. And wars do have atrocities. But without war, our freedoms wouldn’t exist. 
Some say peace at all costs.
That our country was founded on blood. They cheapen the lives of those who did fight by saying it was not needed. 
But evil does not stay neatly in its little corner. It pervadeseverything.
men fight to eliminate it.

Are You Disturbed?
Sir Francis Drake, (1540-1596) an English sea captain during the Elizabethan era,  was the second sailor to sail around the world, claiming the western coast of the Americans, including California, for the English.

Although considered a hero by the English, the Spanish labeled him El Draque or Dragon. King Philip II allegedly offered a substantial reward (US $8 million) for his capture or death.

Are You Depressed?
Today, people think it is an abnormality to be depressed. If you are, you must take some medicine, or fix it in some way, because you are meant to be happy. But are we?
We live in a world bent on doing what they want. Shouldn’t that make us all happy?
A spoiled brat is one of the most unhappiest people in the world. Why? They can do anything they want. Shouldn’t that make them the happiest?
But they don’t know what they need.

I Did It My Way
When you demand your own way….
Perhaps it’s a bit hard to use such strong words as “demand.” Maybe you would prefer manipulate, reason or perhaps convince. We rationalize our actions by telling ourselves they (meaning our husbands) don’t know all the circumstances, they aren’t listening, or they are wrong, so we get our way. 

Finding the Simple Life with Meaning
We’ve been talking about decluttering, not to get rid of junk for the sake of junk, but to better focus on what is important.
We often substitute temporary for eternal;
Wood, hay and stubble, for gold, and precious stones;
Busy-ness for what is important;
We buy to fill our inner soul yet aren’t satisfied.
Our soul yearns for more.

The Simple Life
Life simple?
We all crave the simple life. but it seems always to be out of reach.
When I write, initially I just throw stuff down. But as I go over it, I refine it.
I remove those extra words that say nothing.
It brings clarity, conciseness.
I don’t want to waste your time with my scattered thinking process of how I arrived at the truth. I give you the truth.
It simplifies the writing, but doesn’t make the lessons easier. 
Same with life.
To get the simple life we must remove the excess.
Prune the needless.
Cut away the extra.
Focus on the essential.
That is hard.
But when we do it, life becomes simple. (Not to be confused with easy.)

Do You Have the Right Words?
Remember Peter? He was Jesus’s disciple, always talking, always doing something to draw the attention to himself.
Peter had a way with words. He told the Lord, “You are the Christ, the Son of God.”
Remember Andrew? He was just Peter’s brother.
All Andrew’s life, he had spent getting Peter out of trouble from his words.
When they fished, Andrew reminded Peter, “Let me talk to the merchants, last time you made them angry and they almost wouldn’t buy our fish. We need a good sale, today.” Andrew didn’t say much, but when he did, it was significant.

Did Your Dream Die?
Did you have a passion for something? It was a good thing. It anchored you. All your energy focused toward that goal.
But now, that dream is no more reachable than walking on a cloud.

On the Other Side of the Fence
Our neighbors, though rarely home, have a pair of donkeys. The neighbors come every three or four months for a few hours, yet somehow the donkeys continue to live.
On our side of the fence, our ducks quack and waddle as they are released every morning from their house and drink from their fresh water and poured feed. At night, they squawk and squabble over getting back in their house to be locked in.
The donkeys, from the other side of the fence, look on in interest and regret. They can do as they please. They have no one to push them into a house for the night—warm during the winter with straw, protected all year from any prey who would want duck for a midnight snack.
They are free to do as they please.

Confessions of a Desperate Mom
Just when I think, “I know what to do,” another stage comes that I didn’t know existed.
Take for instance, pregnancy. I forgot each ordeal from one pregnancy to the next—until I got there. Then I’d remember, “This is when I can’t eat, yet feel full.” And because I must drink a lot, I  plan my life around how close I am to a bathroom.

Saving for Tomorrow
I recently received canning jars from a friend who was moving. I took them promising they would be used, if not by me, I’d pass them on to someone else who could use them.
She was glad someone would use them.
How much “saving for tomorrow” did I need to do, after all, my canning cupboard was full of jars. 

A Wedding Remembered
I try not to share too many of my boys' stories. Last year, I never told of one son marrying and leave the nest, other than what you heard in the Christmas letter. This year another marries. I share my reflections to help other moms.

Who Will Stand in the Gap?
“I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” declares the Lord God (Ezekiel 22:30).

A city wall was meant to protect, to secure from harm, to keep out those who would plunder.
The wall was broken. The people were vulnerable, unprotected, but didn’t care.
They felt secure. They could handle anything that came their way.
They allowed pleasures, desires, and needs to so consume them, they didn’t care if the wall was fixed.

Are You a Protector or a Ruler?
A man’s self-worth is often tied to what he does.
Moms struggle with feeling worthless when all they did was “nurse, and well, nurse, some more.” A woman can feel like a cow—here to make milk.
It is true, we are created to do something—to have dominion over the creation God made.

Who Are You?
We have been looking at man’s meaning, being an image-bearer, and watchman.
Another important consideration that has become more prominent is who are you?
Man has sought to divide man.
We look at the color and create degrees of worth.
In Where do you find meaning?, we have shown by having God as the bases of our belief system, all men are created equal. All man has equal worth regardless of color, job, or other qualifier we want to use.
With this belief system, women are also elevated as equal to man. 

Who Will Stand in the Gap?
“I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” declares the Lord God (Ezekiel 22:30).

A city wall was meant to protect, to secure from harm, to keep out those who would plunder.
The wall was broken. The people were vulnerable, unprotected, but didn’t care.

Are You an Image Bearer or Just a Wad of Cells?
We have been discussing worldview.
What you believe about how you got here, determines who you are. 
Who you are determines your worth.
If you believe God is the Creator and Source of truth, then you have meaning, because you are made in His image. That gives you inherent worth.

Are You a Watchman?
As Christians, we are not just to know the right world view, but to act upon it.
By doing so, we become a light that changes society.

Where Do You Find Meaning?
How can people base their actions on how they feel? Where is "common sense"? Why can man determine their destiny?
Although this article is long, it gives the framework on why people do what they do, and how man has meaning.
 “Watch your thoughts for they become words, watch your words for they become actions, watch your actions, for they become habits, watch your habits for they become your character, watch your character for it becomes your destiny.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson. 
The Bible says, “As a man thinks, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7. 

The Lamb of God as Told by a Scribe
My name is Hezekiah. I come from the line of descendants who were scribes, Ezra The Scribe, being the first. 
The Hebrew word “Soferim” originally meant “people who know how to write.” The word became synonymous with “wise man” and later, “teacher.” Although some would assume, erroneously, we must be a rabbi to be a sofer, that is not required by Jewish law.
Our main objective is to teach the Torah to the Jewish youth. 
By teaching the youth, we hope to raise Judaism to a higher intellectual level. There was a great need to instruct and revive the Hebrew language after Israel returned from our captivity in Babylon.

What Love Is This?
Written for our church Easter program, 2018
I'm a physician by trade. The Jews regard physicians as “instruments through whom God could effect the cure.” Because we physicians should reflect God, Who is our Healer (Exodus 15:26), people expect miracles of us. I’d like to wish we could do miracles, but we aren’t God, and our healing falls short of miracles.

Tea and Rest
What do you do when you have a few moments, but must refocus?
Drink Tea.
What does tea do?
For a good cup of tea, the water must be hot.
Heat draws out the tea.
Just like in life, heat reveals and strengthens character and faith.

Do You Have Peace?
Remember in the old western movies and books when the man good with a gun comes to save a town against evil men?
The gunslinger cleans the town of its bad men, after all he’s good with his gun.
But when he does, the townspeople tell him now to leave.
The evil is gone.
The skill they admired before when they were desperate for help is now the same skill they fear will be turned on them. After all, he’s killed people.
They want peace.

What Makes a Marriage Work?
There are no secrets to a happy marriage. God has given principles that when followed, we are blessed. But because we all sin and must all submit to God and to each other, marriages don’t always end up heavenly.

When Life Is Awful
Back in March of 2018, I called Joey at work (a rare thing) and told him I "didn't feel right." I had been having nondescript symptoms.
He asked if I was having shortness of breath. 
I guess I could imagine that I was, but that’s not how I would describe it.
He wanted me to go to the doctor right then.

Are You Strong Enough?
“You are strong.” “Be Strong.” “You just have to be strong.”
When I hear those sayings, I cringe. 
What if I’m not strong? What is strong enough?
Thinking that all you must do is dig inside yourself and get that “strength” is wrong.
Satan did that and he got kicked out of heaven for it. He said, “I will, I will, I will.”
Isn’t that the same strength we rely on when we say, “Be strong”?
Yet that thinking pervades Christianity.

Recently while visiting a church, I heard several devotionals and sermons about rules.
They spoke of the dangers of getting too close to the cliff.
I could only think of a few (not just one) of my sons who wouldn’t hesitate to stand or even fly over that cliff, and not see a single thing wrong with it. Don’t we all want to fly?
The analogy to sin would be lost to them, and maybe me. What’s wrong with a challenge? 

King Solomon spoke of this in Ecclesiastes when he wrote, 
And there is a time for every event under heaven—
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;

Be Faithful through Suffering

Do You Know the Word?
If you are following along in Revelation, you might have noticed I skipped two churches. Now we’ll talk about those.
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word and have not denied My Name. Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet and make them know that I have loved you. Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God. and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’” (Revelation 3:7-13).

What was this church doing?

Wake Up! Strengthen What Remains
I wanted to stop going through Revelation. Each time there was an “ouch” that I didn’t like. But the next church told me why I had to keep going.
To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it and repent’” (Revelation 3:1-3a).

Your children are polite, well-behaved, good workers. People know you by your children. You have a name.
But the angel says, “Wake up. Strengthen what remains.”

Are You Spit in God's Mouth?
We've been looking at the seven churches in Revelation. The angel is blunt with what they need to do. We consider the church in Laodicea today.

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: ‘I Know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are luke-warm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:14-16).

There is great danger in complacency. If you are not striving after God, you are not standing still.  The stream of life is carrying you downstream.
As a mom, there’s no time to rest in our laurels.

Is Jezebel in Your Midst?
So we come to the next church in Thyatira. “The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says, this: ‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first’” (Revelation 2:18-19).
After considering the other churches, this church was doing all right. It kept its first love, it kept the works, the truth, the service. What would the Son of God say to this church?

Do You Stand against Satan Himself? Are you surrounded with evil?
The angel looking at the church of Pergamum wrote:
“I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells” (Revelation 2:12-13).
You can't get any closer to evil than being in Satan's presence!
But what is said about this church?

Are You Tired of Being a Mom?
Do you struggle to like your husband?
Do you wonder why bother with church?
Do these verses apply to you?
“I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary” (Revelation 2:2-3).

What in the World Is Happening?
Over the past five years, our governor has released over 50,000 criminals from our prisons. He has raised the level of what constitutes a crime. A thief can steal up to $900 without paying for his crime, because it is no longer a crime until he takes that much.


Police officers have told my husband that crime increases because the criminals know this and the police have no power to restrain them.

But if a waitress offers a straw to a customer, she could be sentenced to six months in prison per straw she gives. Straws are now illegal in California. Starbucks and other “drinking” establishments are scrambling to fulfill the needs of their customers without breaking the law.

It's Not My Story
Because we as women are relational, we thrive with stories that aren’t our own. We want to know the latest news about what’s going on with everyone, and why, and when. . .
God made us that way, so we can nurture, comfort, and care.
But with that comfort, we became heirs to their confidence.
And that means, those things aren’t ours to share.
As mothers, we want to know what’s going on with our children, and rightly so. Often our children confide in us, sharing their heartaches, fears, and shortcomings.
We want, in turn, to tell the world how they were mistreated and how they suffered, but it is not for us to tell.

How Would Your Faith Compare?
When George Muller stole money from his father he received a caning he would long remember. He vowed that day—not that he would never steal again, but that he would not get caught. George Muller was ten.

Are You Sinking?
Back in February, I received a fix-it ticket on my way to our mechanics. My mechanic immediately fixed the brake light that didn’t work. I went to the police department and signed it off the same day as the ticket.
The officer promised I would receive a letter in the mail that would explain “everything” and allow me not to appear before the courts (scheduled during my son’s wedding).
In the following five months, I received four corrections to that same ticket.
Three times I returned to the police station and asked for clarification.
The police officer assured me:
I would not need to appear in court,
I would receive the promised letter explaining how to pay the fine
And things would be fine.
​I wanted to believe that police officer, but I had a feeling this wouldn’t be all.

Are You a Rule Follower?
God gave this world laws that make it operate smoothly, orderly and predictably. Like gravity—if you jump out of a plane, you will fall (gravity still works), but if you keep your feet and knees together, you will most likely land correctly and without broken bones. (For any more instructions on how to land, you’ll have to ask my husband.)
God created laws that operate the world. He also created moral laws, that when we obey, we know satisfaction. Like the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.
If you’ve ever tried reading the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible, known as the Torah by Jews,) you’ll find all sorts of laws. The Jews weren’t allowed to eat pork. They couldn’t do certain things on the Sabbath. (I’ve addressed this law and how it helps us to live productive lives HERE).
I remember asking my dad about that pork eating law when I was younger.

Useful for Him
My husband and I had talked about replacing the counters. They were past their prime. I had bought a kit to paint laminate counters five or six years ago and had been pleased with the look…for awhile, until tiny paint pieces started peeling into my pie crusts and bread dough. I didn’t even like to clean it, because the cloth would be speckled black before I was done.

I reached the “I’ve had it stage!” I know we had talked about new extended counters…but really the boys were leaving. Who needed wider counters for more clutter? I didn’t want to spend a fortune, then worry about ruining it.

 I researched and found my answer. Cement! I found feather weight cement that can be layered. One article said, “If you can spread peanut butter, you can layer this cement." I could do that. I special ordered the cement and purchased the supplies.

Living by Faith or Feelings
Fact. Faith. Feeling.
Do your feelings follow your faith?
We live in an era where people don’t feel like working, so they don’t. They don’t love anymore, so they divorce. Our feelings control what we do.
And since our feelings change from one day to the next, so does our consistency.
And our stability. We feel unsettled, drifting.
When hardships come, we doubt God. We don’t feel like He is there. So therefore He must not be.
Our feelings control our actions. And change what we believe.
Should they? 

Wings To Soar
We have a hawk’s nest on our property. Every year one pair returns to the nest to raise their young.
To look at the nest, you wouldn’t think it’s the safest thing. Sticks spill out all over it, as it sits high in the tree. From the ground, it looks like a mess that keeps getting bigger each year.
A small bird has built a nest in the lower part of its “mess.” Not a safe place, from my way of thinking.

Are You Losing Your Mind?
Last week we looked at William Carey, the “father of modern mission,” but what about his wife?
The hardships of mission life are most reflected by what happened to Dorothy Carey.

Expect Great Things from God
William Carey, known as the "father of modern missions," lived a full life. Possessing a natural gift for language, he taught himself Latin as a child.

What's in It for Me?
You may be saying, “you tell me to serve my husband, my work is training the children,” and you get that. But, you say, “What about me? Shouldn’t I be able to pursue my interests, live my dream, be who I can be”?
Motherhood is a road of self-denial.

Adoption—The Heart of God
The story of the Bible is the story of adoption.
The Scriptures give examples: Moses (Exodus 2:10), Israel (Exodus 4), and Esther (Esther 2:7).
Happy endings to miserable starts.
The condensed version of what God has done is described in Galatians.
“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father! Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God." Galatians 4:4-7.

But there’s much more involved in adoption.

Something To Hang Onto
I have a lilac tree in my front yard. Over the years, it has survived many cows pruning its branches until chased out of the fenced area. It's become a symbol for spring and hope for me. I've watched in the spring for its blooms--a sign that winter days will soon be gone and life will come again to the land.
Some years, I've watched it bloom then frost would shorten its blooms. But then it would bloom again, twice in one year. I would rejoice in the promise God sent to me of hope, of new life.

The Making of a Man part 4
We have seen how Sarah, Lincoln's first mother, instilled in him early the value of integrity and kindness.
We have spoken of Lincoln's stepmother, who encouraged him in his learning pursuits and how she earned the title, "Angel Mother."
We have seen his honor compelled him to marry a woman, neither compatible with him nor respectful to him.
Now let's look at the man.

The Making of a Man part 3
This woman boasted she would marry the President of the United States.
She toyed with two candidates, choosing one, but never forgetting the other, even naming her son after him.
They hadn't been engaged long, before she nagged to change him.
He was crude. She was refined.
He was uneducated. She was sophisticated.
He only spoke when he must. She held nothing back.
He was content to listen. She must hold everyone's attention.
They were opposites: in training, background, temperament, tastes, mental outlook.
They irritated each other constantly.
They were unfit for each other.
He avoided her.
She refused to listen.
But she would make him president.

The Making of a Man part 2
Do you feel like Cinderella’s stepmother, giving the white glove inspection on cleanliness?
Are you trying to tame uncontrolled natives?
|Are you the witch, always riding your broom of correction?
Do you feel defeated preparing your child for the world?
Consider this woman.

The Making of a Man part 1
Discouraged about your mothering accomplishments?
Feeling inadequate with what you have to give?
Wondering how to make a man out of the child you’ve been given?
Consider this mom.


What Do You Value? Time Will Tell
Last week we looked at how money reflects your values.
Your values are also shown by your time.
The Washington Post survey shows how much Americans value certain activities:

What Do You Value? Your Money Tells.
Show me your bank statement and I’ll show you what you value.
How we spend our money tells what we think is important.
Maybe you can barely can pay bills and don’t have money for any extras.
You think if you just made more money you would have more.
Studies show, winners of lotteries are poorer five years after their win.

The Snells---A Testimony of our God Who Cares
I have known this couple for several years and wanted to share their testimony of how God has worked in their lives, as individuals and as a couple to show that He does, indeed, orchestrate the fine details of our lives.

My Utmost for His Highest
A recommendation of a worthy devotional.

Putting Your Words to Music
Are you God’s spokesman?
With everyone able to have their own website, create their own blog, and comment on everyone else’s thoughts, ever notice there are a lot of empty words?
Ever listen to someone who spouts empty thoughts? They chatter about nothing. They fill books that mean nothing.
I grow weary trying to find something of value to read.
The wisest man who ever lived talked about empty words.

Do You Eat Your Words?
Recently someone told of her husband who sent her an article via phone, “How to declutter a closet in nine easy steps.”
If my husband did that to me, I’d want to get rid of all the “clutter” and buy another wardrobe!
All of us remember unkind words.
Usually those words weren’t meant to hurt, but to encourage (as in the case of the husband with the tips to organize).
But as I considered that wardrobe I’d buy (and not from a thrift store), I remembered words I’ve said that weren’t so nice.
Words that required an apology.

The Why's of Life
As women we ask, “Why?” Not as an engineer would ask, to find out how something worked, but we ask to find out how someone acted. Even if we are introverts, we want to what someone did and why. That’s why we make good busy-bodies.
That’s a good thing. Because we often can see how to help someone, sometimes before they know they need it.
But it’s also a bad thing. Because that questioning can easily lead to, well, being a busybody.
It can also make it hard to trust God when the why’s aren’t explained.

Trust Me
A child will trust his parent to catch him in a pool, even when that parents isn’t ready.

How do you establish trust with your child? Or do they start with trust and they learn not to trust? ...
Trust is instilled in their hearts at a young age.

Are Your Children Safe?
We have heard much in the news about creating “safe places” for our children.
How is a parent suppose to keep their children safe?
What is safe?

The Value of Remembering
How many of you journal or write in diaries or record happenings of your families?

Mrs. E Prentiss, author of the hymn More Love to Thee, O Christ, inspired me through her book Stepping Heavenward: One Woman’s Journey to Godliness. She started her journal on January 15, 1831 when she was sixteen. It’s not a quick read to be finished in a night. Often I put it away for week. But I came back. It’s real living. She made me think.

Are You Threatened?
As women, we compare ourselves with ourselves. Joey's told me, "Women don't dress for their husband, they dress for other women." And it's true.

Do you look at Pinterest and think, “This should be easy enough for me to do”? And then do it, But end in disaster? I pin those humor contrasts. They are hilarious on Pinterest; they aren’t when I do it. How could I mess up something so easy?

Marjorie Conrad: A Testimony to God's Trustworthiness
When Marjorie Conrad was asked, “What one thing, in all your years, did you learn about God?”
She said without hesitation, “To Trust Him. To really believe He has me in His Hands.”
Even her favorite verses replays that theme of trust.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
It’s not her strength; it’s God’s. Even when she feels inadequate.But, it's hard to let go of worry.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6

When she shared her life’s story, that theme of trust is woven through all the happenings of her life to bring her not only into her Savior’s hands but into His heart.




If You Could Live Forever
I’d like to tell you a fairy-tale that only seems like a fairy-tale because of its ending. But the story is true. The ending will change what you think about life.

A man was called by God to find hidden truth and bring it to light. He pursued this passion, instilled by his Creator, to find answers tucked in the Bible’s details, given meaning by his research.
Why I believe...
I was skeptical. Why did I want to live longer? I wasn’t excited to live longer with my increasing aches and pains, and struggles for day-to-day living. But when his wife described a “feeling of wholeness” that comes with the outward signs of youth, and sleeping through the night, “feeling rested” in spirit, mind and body, I was interested. Youth does have that perspective of living life to its fullness, without fear, with great hope and confidence. The attitude she described reminded me of anti-depression medicine without the ill effects or surrealness. I look forward to the aging symptoms leaving my body, not just to look younger, but to feel younger.

Yosemite: A Visit to His Splendor
We recently went to Yosemite.
No one can see the splendor of those mountain cliffs without feeling the spectacular glory that it shows. But in spite of the glory, man still gives the wrong credit. The placards praised the man who discovered the valley, but forgot the Creator Who made it. We see God’s handiwork but don’t acknowledge Him.
We lose its splendor by the jostling crowd, from all over the world, taking selfies in front of cliffs. Our focus is obscured from seeing the mountains’ majesty, but we can't take it all away.

Are You Having Fun Yet?
Some of my boys use to pray that they had a fun day.
I would cringe. Not that I didn’t want them to enjoy their day, but there was more to life than pursuing fun.

But they aren’t the only ones who want fun every day. People work to have a fun weekend. To hear the advertisements: “Grab all the gusto.” (Maybe that is dated). They reflect a life seeking pleasure. We are a culture seeking entertainment. We want fun.

Fun is not wrong in itself, but it is the emphasis of that above all else that is concerning. We have become addicted to pursing fun.

Jesus warns us of this. “The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity” Luke 8:14.

Are You Controlled by Technology?
How many times have you almost ran over someone in a parking lot, because they were looking at their phone, not watching where they were going?
Teenagers used to go to their room to shut parents out. Now they can be in the same room, with everyone on their phone.
Even dinner is interrupted by a buzz or a vibration that must be answered.
How many times have you been talking with someone and your phone rang? Do you have to look at it?
Isn’t that why they can leave a message?
My husband asks his teenage patients, “How soon after you text, do you expect an answer?”
Girls will answer, “Immediately, Now.” Guys will answer, "Within a few minutes, maximum 10 minutes."
How can students focus on school, or you (for that matter), if a text shifts their thoughts somewhere else?
Does it matter?

Are You Anxious, Fearful, Angry, Bitter?
Are you trying to do what’s right, but can’t?
Paul struggled with stuff. He wanted to do what is right, but found he didn’t, he couldn’t.
Here's his struggle:

For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very things I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
I find then the principle that evils is present in me, the one who wants to do good.
For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

What does that all mean?

How's Your Reputation?
Do You Value Your Reputation?
Proverbs says, “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1

What do people know you for? A clean house? A good cook? A thrifty shopper? Well-behaved children?
What kind of reputation does God want you to have?

Have you ever read about the Prophet Hosea?
God told him, “Marry a harlot.” (Not a good beginning for a happy marriage.)
How would you have responded?

Preparing for Sunday Worship
In the article Remember the Sabbath Day, to Keep It Holy I gave reasons for setting a day apart to remember God.
But how do you set a day apart?
It is with GREAT EFFORT.
The key is Preparation.
Prepare the house.

Saturday was our work day. We cleaned the house (bathrooms, bedrooms, jobs that couldn’t get down through the week), then worked in the yard or barn. Recently it has shifted to include whatever the projects the boys have (moving cows to different pastures, helping others).

During baseball season, the house was a wreck as we run to practice and games, hurry through meals eaten at odd times, so Saturdays were lost to cleaning. I’ve learned to look over a lot of dirt and clutter in order to feel rested for Sunday.

Samuel Chadwick: A Life Knowing God
Do you long to know God like Moses? How do you do it?
Samuel Chadwick was born on September 16, 1860 in Burnley, England. He was small and thin, “always looking as if he had not long to live.”
At eight years old, Samuel awoke at 6 AM to work with this father in the cotton mills for a twelve-hour shift, giving his earnings to his mother. He received one shilling for church collections.
At 10, he wished to do everything for Jesus and began praying three times a day.
By 15, he felt called to the ministry. Lacking education didn’t hinder him. After working his twelve-hour shift, he studied from 7 PM to midnight.
When he became a lay evangelist, he walked ten miles each Sunday to preach to his audience of quarrymen and factory workers.
He was appointed at 21 years as lay pastor of a chapel at Stacksteads, Lancashire.
He attended Didsbury College from 1883-1886 to learn Greek to be equipped to minister the Word.

But education didn’t make him know God.

Do You Have Willpower? 
There are many books for beginning readers, but Frog and Toad are my favorite. They give entertainment with a lesson.

Toad bakes cookies and shares them with Frog. They can’t stop eating them.
Frog suggests putting the cookies in a box, but Toad says, “We can open the box.”
Frog suggests tying the box. But Toad says, “We can cut the string.”
Frog suggests putting the cookies high on a shelf. But Toad says, “We can climb the ladder, cut the string and open the box and eat a cookie.”
Finally, Frog gives the cookies to the birds. There’s no going back.
Toad doesn’t want that much willpower. He goes home to make a cake.

Are you Frog or Toad?
Too many times, I’m Toad. I want my cookies and I want to eat them too.

 In fairy tales, you can tell who are the good people and who are bad. Little Red Ridinghood was nice to visit her grandmother but the wolf was evil to eat her.

But in the real world, it’s hard to know. Sometimes the bad person is in your family. And the child can’t run home to where it’s safe. Instead, the child is made to think he’s evil because he can’t perform to his parent’s unrealistic expectations.

The child grows up and becomes a parent. He lives what he knows. The cycle continues.

Most men who turn to other men for their sexual fulfilment come from homes were the mom is controlling.
Women who choose a female partner come from homes where the father is absent or compliant.
Women who live in abusive relationships come from families where the father is over-bearing with no love.
This doesn’t even mention the families where the parents’ fighting leads to divorce or separation.
Now the innocent child becomes the perpetuator. The cycle continues. He’s responsible for his actions. He can no longer blame what he does now, on what was done to him. He pays for his own actions.
Exodus 20:5 tells of the father’s sins passing to third and fourth generations.
Evil continues.

As parents, we want to create a safe place for our children to flourish, bloom, and grow. Even the “good” parents responds poorly at times and hurt their child.

What Is in Your Hand?
The widow of Zarephath had enough flour and oil to make Elijah one last loaf. ( I Kings 17)
The Samaritan woman had only a vessel of water. (John 4)
The boy had two fish and five loaves. (John 6)
David had a slingshot. (I Samuel 17)
The woman had one pound of perfume, that she broke and washed Jesus’s feet. (John 12)
So many different things…yet they all did the same thing with them.
They gave them to God.
That made all the difference in how the story ended.

No Fear
What does fear keep you from doing? What would you do if you had no fear?

My son is training to be a nurse. He recently told me he didn’t study for the grade, he studied to help people. Why? Because what he knew could make a difference between a person’s life or death.
My husband removes melonomas (skin cancer) on people every day. Why? Because it kills people. He’d like to prevent people from dying.
We read in the news of a teenager who died. We say, “He died too young.”
People fear dying.

Do You Cling to Jesus?
The sun had peaked over the mountains on this first day of the week. Mary had wept since Friday. She could find no more tears. She stumbled over the garden path to His tomb. Not really His tomb, Joseph of Arimathea had used his own tomb to lay the body of the Master. Mary had followed from a distance on that Friday to where he laid the Master, when the sky had grown black and the heavens had joined her in her sorrow.

Now she woke with one thought: to prepare the Master’s body. She carried spices and hurried to the garden. She came from her suffering. Her past, with its seven demons still sometimes haunted her, driving her to the One Who had healed her. Now, without Him, Who would fill that empty longing of her heart?

Where's Your Harvest?
Spring gives promise of new life, of a better way, of new beginnings.
In spring, I start my garden. I have high hopes of fresh tomatoes, peppers, beans feeding my family.
I always buy too many plants.
I envision lush flowers, great harvests, calming landscapes…

But what do I get?

Are You Patient?
My husband is patient. He can wait.
I can hardly wait for my water to boil for making tea.
When I ask him if I can do some project (usually after I’ve planned and want it now), he says, “Wait.” It’s the first time he knows there’s a problem and must consider it. But I already know it’s a problem, solved it and must now wait for him. UGH!
Sometimes I think my husband’s timetable is like God’s: non-existent.
I call my husband’s “Mexican Time,” or "Man’ana” (tomorrow).
Does God live inside of time? No.
Does God think yesterday, today, and tomorrow? No. When He says I’m perfected by His Son, He sees me as I will be, not as what I am. That’s a good thing. 
Do you ask for patience?

What's Your Passion?
"The Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died, “Did he have passion?”—Dean Kansky, Serendipity
What is passion?
Merriam Webster’s dictionary (1828) defines passion as a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something; a strong feeling (such as anger) that causes you to act in a dangerous way.
Having a passion is not always good. A person’s passion may be vengeance or retaliation.
With passion comes perfection, the need, not only to do it well, but to do it perfectly. That internal drive keeps a person focused.
T.S. Elliot said, “We can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.”
To survive, most of us prefer to be practical rather than passionate. Passionate people challenge the normal, push the boundaries, disregard tradition, reshape the world we know. To be passionate is to be different from everyone else.
What if you don’t have one?

Expecting Jesus
Who did the Jews expect Jesus to be?
A man who announced His coming, was not a religious leader, but dressed in camel’s hide eating locust.
The Messiah came.
He was the Long Expected One.
But the people expected someone different.

Being in the World, But Not of It
Being in the World, But Not of It...Lot's Story
Being in the World, But Not of It...Abraham's Story
Being in the World, But Not of It. How Do You Do It?

Are You God's?
If God has called you to be really like Jesus He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other people do things that He will not let you do.

What Has Changed?
I recently was looking through old photo albums. What dreams, predictions, and promises! I laughed at what I thought was so important back then. I knew it all (well, most of it.) How simple of me! What I thought was so important…yet don’t even give a thought to now…Have things changed?

Don’t I still dwell on things that are so temporary…what to make for dinner? Why do I save this?

Is Someone Else's Attitude Stealing Your Joy?
When someone is nasty to you, what do you do? Do you mull over what they said, wishing you had thought of that great come-back? Or at least had the courage to put them in their place?
What about when someone around you is depressed, does that mellow your joy?
Does someone else's bad, gloomy day, make you bad and gloomy?

As women, we are made to respond. Our husband leads, we respond. That’s how we are made.

But what happens when what we are given is a bad attitude?

How Do You Prepare To Worship?
Meditations from Exodus 19-20
If you were to meet God on a mountain top, what would you do to prepare yourself?

How Do You Respond To Stupid People?
Have you ever had someone, perhaps a total stranger, tell you something totally uncalled for?
Recently while visiting, I needed to contact my husband. When I called from the land line of the home we were staying, I got a wrong number. I apologized. I dialed again, this time making sure that the number was my husband’s. The lady answered again. I apologized saying I know that I dialed his number. The third time, I again reached this lady. She answered with an attitude, “Don’t call me again.”
Being equally upset, I responded not to kindly, “Do you think that I want to talk to you? I am trying to reach my husband and don’t understand why you answer his number.”
Stupid things that happen…I remember clearly standing in line at the grocery store with three or four children under seven years of age. A lady asked, “Are these all yours? From the same father?”

Are You Listening?
Sometimes we misunderstand each other. I heard something that wasn’t said. I feel an attitude that wasn’t meant.
Recently I texted my son asking how work was going. (He was helping at church with the two younger boys.) He responded, "Great."
Later when he made a comment about how bad it was with one of the boys, I said, “But you said it was ‘great’.”
He gave me that look of incredulous disbelief. “Mom…it didn’t have an exclamation point.”
“And…? What does that mean?” I ignorantly asked.
“Mom, it was sarcasm. It couldn’t get any worse.”
I laughed. So without a punctuation mark, one word indicates the end of the world? (I better edit my articles better!) “I’m sorry. When I received ‘great’, I stopped worrying about whether the boys were listening, and helping. Instead, I should have been praying harder."

The Earthworm Is My Hero

Things Aren't Always What They Seem






Special Days
Aug 12th The Heavens Declare the Glory of God
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Psalm 19:1
And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” Isaiah 6:3 ESV
Praise Him, sun and moon, praise Him, all you shining stars! Psalm 148:3
He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing. Job 26:7

Each star stays in its orbit, continues to shine, and shouts of God’s glory.

July 4th, Freedom
Valentine's Day: A Day of Love?
I preface this article with a disclaimer. I recognize that Valentine’s Day is probably originated as a pagan holiday of false love, but it is a good reminder to treat your man with respect. I need a nudge periodically to remind myself not to take him for granted, to appreciate what he does and who he is. I use the day to help me to focus.

Memorial Day-A Day To Remember
Quotes to remember what we have.

Veterans' Day-To Honor Our Men

Veterans Day began to commemorate “the day to end all wars.” When fighting of WW I ended on the 11th month, the 11th day, the 11th hour in 1918, seven months prior to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, American honored their soldiers and rejoiced as they came home.
Fall Colors

Why I like fall...colors, crisp leaves, earthy smells, garden's closed, reflections, remembering, colors, sweaters, hearty soups, warming fires, vibrant colors, apple dumplings, pumpkin pastries, crunchy leaves, did I say colors? These are taken from my pinterest board.
It was 227 years ago that George Washington issued the country’s initial Thanksgiving Day proclamation. He provides the reasons of this national celebration and requests specific duties of those who request.


Are You Stressed?
Are the little things overwhelming you?
The little ones are sick, you can’t sleep, your days are just holding babies and wiping noses…wondering if this flu would ever be over. You can’t keep my eyes open, even to change a diaper.

I’ve also been in such a big hurry, doing so many things, that I didn’t know who I was and what I should be really doing. It wasn’t just physical tiredness, I was tired to the bone, emotionally.
That’s when the verses of Matthew bring comfort and perspective…
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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.” Matthew 11:28-30

What Your Reactions Say About You?
How do you respond to our family after a bad day?
Reactions are not pre-meditated, planned, or logical. They’re emotional responses, showing what’s inside, who you really are.
Circumstances do not control your reactions

He Opened Their Minds To Understand
“He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” Luke 24:45
Has your mind been opened?
We get stuck in ruts.
We think the same way.
We do the same things.
Routines are good.

Do the Scriptures Burn You?
“Did not our hears burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:32
Has the Scriptures burned you?
We speak of the grace and love of God all the time. But His Words burned these disciples, when they needed comfort.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” II Timothy 3:16-17
God’s breath burns.

Click on the book cover for a listing of articles included in the book.