Friday, March 16, 2018


The world today is a far different one than what I grew up in.
When I was in college, in order to look up anything, I would go to the library and ask for periodicals to find research, or go to one of the many encyclopedias that were available.
I wonder today, if people in their 20's, or 30's and even those in their 40's have ever heard of periodicals of literature?
Today if you have a question, you just ask Siri or look it up on your phone or whatever device you are using at that moment.
The technology advances we have today are incredible. I am so mystified at what is available with our fingertips.

Yet I wonder if it is all good. Have we lost the art of communicating? How easy it is to text or snap chat or tell your Instagram story. But do we talk-really talk to people? In surveys conducted, it is known that the generations of Millennials and now Gen X'ers would rather talk via text than on the phone or in person.
For the older generations, we can get puzzled by that. So often in texts or emails what we mean to convey is misconstrued by the receiver. Words are misunderstood, and too often what was meant to be said, is now completely read in a different way.

But I digress. My job as Coordinator of Prayer and Resources for Young Life College/University has me praying for our Young Life College staff, that they would become men and women who radiate Jesus to the college students they befriend and the world around them. That by their very lives, they would convey a person who is quite different from others. I pray that they would seek Jesus throughout their days and that they would be the ones who welcome others regardless of their views on life, their religion, their sexual orientation, their politics etc. I pray daily for our staff and consider it a privilege.
I also as the Resource person, read quite a bit, so that I can recommend books to our staff on all types of subjects. (YL website under leader tools, YLC and Build). The more I read, the more I realize that there are many different sides on many different subjects. Which causes me to return again and again to the premise that in our discipling or mentoring, we need to go to the Bible first and foremost.

Romans 15:4 states:
     "For everything was written in the past was written to 
      teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the 
      Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might
      have hope."

In Young Life, we believe that the Scriptures (the Word of God) are paramount to our faith. The words found in the Bible are the inspired words of God. (2 Timothy 3:16). They are TRUTH. So we, those of us in leadership positions must teach God's truth. In order to teach the truth of God from His Word, we too must be reading the Bible on a consistent (hopefully daily) basis. Seeking to know more of God, more of His pursuit of us, more of His love and grace to us, and more of His instructions and commands to us. Because as Romans 15:4 states, the Word of God was written so that in times of trial and testings, the times of doubt or sorrow, we might be encouraged and find the hope that we desperately need.
But what if we don't know the Word? How then can we encourage others to endure through the hard times? We must be in the Bible for it truly gives us the HOPE of JESUS. The hope that we are not alone, the hope that we will endure, the hope that only can come through Jesus Christ.
The Bible is not just some men's different opinions about God, the Bible is the inspired word of God. All of it, not just the parts we like; the Bible is not a smorgasbord where we get to take and choose what we want to believe.  It is all truth-every single word that is written. That is why we, as the leaders of Young Life College must be diligent in pursuing God's truth. Our college friends believe what they read and what others tell them. Everything they look up on the internet is truth to them. And not everything is.
I believe that we need to be spending time with them in God's truth, either directly talking about what we are reading or doing a bible study that is written by a trusted source. We need to be encouraging them to view the Bible as one of the major resources in their lives, because God will never misdirect them. And obviously we need to remind ourselves of this.
Again and again, I will always stress the importance of God's word. I read Psalm 119 a few times in the year to remind myself of what God says about His Word. This entire psalm is about the significance and importance that God puts on His Word. Maybe it is time for all of us to read it today.

NOTE: Although this was intended for YLC/YLU university staff, it is for all of us.

Friday, March 9, 2018


How many of us have regrets about something we have done? In our teen years, or while in college? Or as we started into the working world? Or in our marriage or raising of our children?
I have to believe that none of us have lives that are perfect; have never hurt anyone, or brought guilt on ourselves.
I , for one, have several of those incidents in my life of 65 years.
WE all have stories of our lives. And we are told our stories need to be told, that no one’s life is meant to be alone. But how many of us in telling our stories only tell the good parts, the parts that make us look favorable to others? The ones that convey the successes and victories in our lives.

In reality, the stories of loss and failure, of shame and guilt, of misunderstanding and regrets are the stories that need to be told. Those of us in ministry need to be vulnerable with our stories to our fellow followers of Jesus.
We need to hear THOSE stories because we need to know that we aren’t the only ones who have failed, who could have done better, who should have known better. But that we have experienced the love and forgiveness and compassion of a GOD who desperately woos us to know that we are His Beloved.
But also, the people who do not know Jesus need to hear our stories that we would rather not tell. They need to hear of the forgiveness and grace of God as much as we do. In fact in the book of Romans it says:
     “ For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of           God to be revealed”
        Romans 8:19

How many people are out there living in shame? Not wanting their stories to be told because they live in fear of their consequences? How many of us NEED to hear that there is a God who deeply loves us in spite of what we have done? Who longs to comfort us and heal us of our past and often times our present as well?

I was one of those people. I had plenty of things I was living in shame with. And I often wonder why God would allow these things to be used for His purposes in spite of me and my choices.
Yes, I was a party-er in high school and part of college.
Yes, I was a 19 yr old girl, who in living in fear, chose to have an abortion instead of marrying the guy.
Yes, I was the mom who yelled at my sons, accusing them of ruining our perfect Christian family, and watched them run away and be distanced from me for a number of years.
Yes, I am one who can be quick to speak and hurt deeply others by my words- those who were my dearest of friends.
Yes, I am one who judges others too quickly.

I am also one who has received the endless grace (the favor of God that I never have deserved) and forgiveness of God. I can’t even begin to describe what it has meant to KNOW and EXPERIENCE God’s love and forgiveness of me. But I do know that no matter what I have done, what I might do, God still loves me. Still loves me as much as He loves you-you with the regrets you wish no one knew.

Those are the biggest wrongs of my life that I mentioned above, but believe me there are many more.
Why has God used me with college kids for years? Because I can tell them that there is NOTHING in all of Life that can separate them from how much God loves them. How much He wants them to know this.
And what about you? Doesn't your story need to be told? Don't you have good parts and bad parts that need to be shared? To let God use your story for His purposes, for His Glory?
Remember, all of creation waits expectantly for the children of God to be revealed; so that they might know that we are like them: flawed, mistake making, living with regrets and guilt, but ones who know the love and forgiveness and grace of the GOD who wants to do the same for them.

Monday, February 12, 2018


I was twenty-five and pregnant with my first child.
I was privileged to be in a Bible Study with what was then called the Divisional Director's (now is called a VP) wife.
Recie was one of a kind. Her eyes always sparkled, her face always welcomed me with a smile so big. She turned fifty the year I met her and it was two years later that she gave me the best advice I ever heard.

I had been a follower of Jesus since my sophmore year of college.  I had been to church, had been in some Bible studies but it wasn't until I met Recie, right after I was married and been invited by her to join a bible study for Young Life wives, that I realized just how important God's Word was.

Recie taught me that God's Word is alive; that it will always be relevant in life-no matter what is going on, whether in my life or in the world.
Recie was a phenomenal gardener. Her yard always was exquisite. Her flowers were incredibly beautiful and full of variety. She worked hard getting the soil ready and discerning the best spot for plants or her flowers. My favorite spot was her strawberry patch. Oh my, those strawberries were amazing. Ripe and so sweet to the taste and there was plenty of them.
I remember going over one Saturday to pick some. I was nine months pregnant and ti was a warm June day. As I picked my way through the patch, I asked Recie what was the best advice she could give me as a new mom.
I was completely surprised when she told me:

"Ask God to give you a LOVE for His WORD".

I was expecting something to the likes of: nap when the baby rests, pray in the middle of the night feedings. So you can imagine my surprise with her advice. Recie then told me to pray frequently this advice. For someone who walked with Jesus for thirty years longer than me (and before I was ever even born), I knew she meant what she said.
So for years I prayed and asked God to give me a LOVE for his Word. Mind you this does not happen overnight and one must put some work into it. One must be in His Word on a regular basis to have this happen; it's not going to happen by osmosis.
Probably ten years went by and I prayed this prayer a few times a week, when all of a sudden, I realized that I truly did have a love for God's Word. My days felt somewhat off if I had not been in the Bible.
Recie Raley was right. Having a love for the Word of God has by far been the best advice I ever received. The Bible comforted me in times of extreme sadness and confusion, gave me HOPE when it looked like there was none. The Bible shows us God's Truth, His path towards righteousness, points out where we are wrong,  and challenges us to inspire to be more like Jesus.
It has stood the test of time, it is always relevant. It always points us to God and convicts us where we need to be convicted. It doesn't change as the times change. It remains the same; like God.
The best advice I could give you or anyone is the same that Recie gave me:
"Ask God to give you a LOVE for His WORD".

Monday, January 8, 2018

NOTES TO MYSELF- Goals Goals Goals

2018. Already 8 days old.
This is a year we need to :

PURSUE GOD. First and Foremost

Be Kind to ourselves- we tend to be our worst enemy
Be Humble- it is NOT always about you.
Be Gracious- people need our grace to them, as much as we need God’s Grace to us.
Be Gentle- we don’t know what everyone is going through.
Be Forgiving- because we ALL need forgiveness.
Be Vulnerable- don’t hide behind what you think others think you should be.
Be Honest- then you never have to wonder “what did I say before”
Be Brave- we all just need to be brave
Be Loving- always. To all that we meet
Be a Listener- people have their story to tell us.
Be Patient-Because we all need to practice that.
Be Resourceful- find what you need and go after it.
Be A Dreamer- keep following your dreams.
Be a Reader- there is so much we need to know and experience through books.
Be a Giver-whether its your time, or your money or your skills.
Be a Helper-who of us doesn’t need help at some point.
Be an Encourager- lift someone up who needs it.
Be Thorough- do your best each and every time.
Be Joyful-even in the worst of times, we still can have joy.
Be Truth- tell your story, even the hardest and worst parts. Someone needs to hear it.
Be Grateful- Each of us has so much to be thankfulf for.

Be judgemental- you judge others often for what we see of ourselves in them.
Be a gossip- because it ALWAYS HURTS.
Be Bored- LIFE is anything but boring.
Be Proud- being boastful is unbecoming.
Be a Grumbler- It doessn’t help anything.
Be a Cheater-Sometimes it might get you ahead now, but our actions always catch up with us.
Be a Miser- give to those who are in need-there are so many around.
Be Self absorbing or Selfish- it is never attractive.
Be Lazy- There are others who would love to have your gifts.
Be Someone you aren’t- be yourself
Be Complacent- Use your skills and gifts to benefit others.
Be Stagnant- we all need to keep moving forward.
Be Negligent- do what Needs to be done.
Be a Stranger- People need you.
Be Racisit- Hate never wins, we are ALL equal in God’s eyes.
Be a Hater- it will just make you miserable.

I wrote these in less than 10 minutes. As time goes on, I will add to them. But I am encouraged to start this new year with a fresh start and this goal list.

Saturday, January 6, 2018


Do you remember the childhood game of Telephone? One person would say something, could be a phrase or a joke or possibly an abstract sentence and they would whisper it in the ear to a person, who would then whisper it in the ear of another person, and down a line of people. When the last person hears the phrase or whatever it was that was whispered, they say it out loud. I would venture that 99% of the time, it was NOT the same as what the first person said.
We would crack up that this sentence could get so muddled over a short period of time and yet in ways not always understandable to us, we do this often throughout our days and lives.

How often when you are in a conversation with someone, that they say something and you completely misinterpret what they mean?
Or if there is more than two people in a conversation, there can be multiple versions of what was said.
This seems to happen frequently in my marriage or with my children; I will say something and they will take it in a way that it was not meant. Communication skill takes quite a bit of effort and we often don't speak what we intended to say.
Why is that? Why do we hear things differently? Is it because as we listen, we are trying to conjure up a response? Why do we have two ears and one mouth, and we tend to use our mouth more than our ears? Often I am so guilty of this.

Having been an RN for 31 years, I often would tell patients to have someone with them when a doctor is talking to them, because too often, as in the case of a cancer diagnosis, you HEAR the word 
"cancer" and your mind tunes out and you become so quiet because all you hear is cancer, and your mind goes in overdrive. To have a family member or friend present, who will take notes, so that nothing is missed is invaluable.

How often do we read God's Word to us and misinterpret it? His Word is most often the way God talks to us. I have read the Bible through each year for so many years but how many times do I read something and think to myself: "wow, I have never seen this before". And I know I have read it because I read the Bible each year, but this time a word or sentence or paragraph leaps out of the page and touches my heart and mind.

How often do we disagree on the Bible's interpretation? Churches have split, people have left their faith because of something they heard. The biggest example of that today is the LGBTQ issue. Many have attempted to discern what God is saying and there are two huge differences of opinion. This post is not about that, it just is such a prevalent topic nowadays and ways we interpret what we read that God says.

Genesis 3 is the familiar story of the account of the first sin on our earth. God had told Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil but that they may eat of any other tree.  He also instructed them that if they ate it "they would die".
Along comes the devil, disguised as a serpent, and described as "more crafty than any of the wild animals God had made". And he questions Eve by saying:
     "Did God really say, "you must not eat from any tree in the              garden?'
      Eve responded by saying:"We may eat from any tree in the 
      garden, but GOD did say "You must not eat fruit from the tree 
      that is in the middle of the garden and you must not touch it or
      you will die."

Right then and there is the first communication misinterpretation in our world. God specifically mentioned the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And He never said anything about not touching the tree.
So Satan, the enemy of God, being so crafty asks the question: "Did God really say?". His tactic to make her question what God said, was unfortunately for all of us, a tactic that worked. The serpent then proceeds to tell Eve that surely she would not die, because if she ate the fruit, her eyes would be opened, "and you will be like God, knowing good and evil".
Most of us know what happened next.  Eve ate the fruit and then gave some of it to Adam.
      "Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized 
        they were naked,...and made coverings for themselves."
How wonderful it must have been not knowing you were naked, and having no shame in that.

How often are we lured by satan's lies of "Did God really say?"
We won't know what God has said if we don't spend time reading His words to us. How can we know what God is saying if we aren't in the Bible? How often do we misinterpret the Word of God because we want to believe it says what we want it to say?

Again I bring up the LGBTQ issue. I have searched mightily for God's answer on what He means. I have read commentaries and many books. I have looked up words in the original Hebrew or Greek. I have prayed and prayed that God would show me His truth. What I have come up with is that God wants me to love ALL of His children, regardless of race, sex, sexual preference. Is it OK for gay people to be married in God's eyes? I don't know. For some reasons known only to God, He has not chosen to reveal to me what His answer to that question is. I know both sides of how people feel, but do I know God's thoughts? I know some of them but do I have His final say? I do not. And I am not sure any of us do, although many seem to think they do.

Being in my mid-sixties and having followed Jesus for 46 years, I still know I have barely scratched the surface of knowing God completely. But what I do know is that the most reliable way for me to hear His thoughts and words the majority of the time, is to be in His Word-reading the Bible daily if at all possible.
Because if His enemy (and ours) tries to trip me up by saying : 
" did God really say?", I want to go to His Word to see what He really said. I know I may interpret it wrong in my mind and heart, that is why I begin each time of reading the bible praying:
" Guide me in your truth LORD and teach me" (from Ps 25:5) and 
 "Open my eyes LORD that I may see the wonder and beauty of your law" (Ps 119:18).

I continually ask God to reveal His truth to me and I hope that you will to. We need to hear what God says and not others view of what He says.

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Oh September. You are month of milestones and memories for me. But you also have caused untold mishaps and misery for millions of our human family in Houston, Florida and Mexico. And today is only the tenth of the month.

Today marks a milestone for me. Four years ago today I had the first of two surgeries that were six days apart for Medullary Thyroid Cancer. Anyone who is told " You have Cancer", has a multitude of emotions. I was like the countless millions who have heard this diagnosis; scared, confused, anxious for a time and then coming to a time of acceptance and the fight that fuels from inside you to fight this however you can.

I used to think that having thyroid cancer was the easy one of the cancers. UNTIL three days post op, my surgeon called and informed me that I had the type of thyroid cancer that could metastasize and I would need a much more extensive surgery. The second one took 4 1/2 hours and took part of my hypothalmus along with a sizable amount of tissue. Not to mention, the "J" scar I have from the top of my ear to midway around my neck.
Four years later, I still need two pillows to sleep. I still get occasional nerve pain and am still mostly numb around my scar.  I also have had my thyroid replacement hormones switched multiple times trying to get a range that will keep me in a normal rythum. That still has not happened. I have suffered so much insomnia and have gained weight. But as I reflected this morning, I AM ALIVE.

I am so grateful that God has given me these extra four years. I have seen both of my sons marry and became a grandmother for the 3rd time. I also got to celebrate my 2 other children (from another mother) get married and one even had a baby.
I have continued in my job in Young Life College; and now I get to work for national and international YLC as the Coordinator of Prayer and Resources.
I have gotten to witness hundreds of kids stand up and say they began a relationship with Jesus each summer.
I indeed have been blessed by being given more years to live!!

One more milestone this week is I turn, what I have come to call " Medicare" age. How the he** can I be 65 years old? What the What? That really makes me a senior citizen. (well the one plus is all the discounts of these so called "seniors"). Why don't I feel 65? Do I look 65? This is way more weird than turning 60, which I absolutely hated. Now I have two insurances, so in case I get hospitalized, I wont pay a cent. Sheesh.  This is crazy. Can I still be a contributor to society? to Young Life? This Medicare card has caught me in a conundrum of thoughts. Well, lets face it. I can do nothing about this milestone. Just try and embrace the facts. And also be thankful. Sixty Five years is twenty more than my mom had. And its been a good life. Ups and downs. Joys and Sorrows. But I have been sustained by a Faithful, merciful and loving God. That is what I must reflect and meditate on.

Oh but September, you have created havoc on our world. Between the end of August and today, you have had two Category 5 hurricanes hit our soil and do incomprehensible damage to the city of Houston and surrounding areas, and today your Irma tore through Florida to major cities and we don't know the extent yet, of the damage but the estimates in Florida already are over 200 Billion dollars.
My heart has ached for the devastation in our country and then there was an 8.1 earthquake in Mexico, where hundreds have died and destruction  looks catastrophic.

The incredible meleƩ caused by the horrific 185 mile per hour winds is almost hard to really comprehend.

Where are you GOD?
Do YOU care? 
Do YOU see?

How many of us have asked any of those questions?
I truly believe these "forces of nature" have grieved God's heart too.

What is the purpose? Why do these things happen?
I am no meteorologist. I don't understand much about seismic activity. So I have no answers to these questions.
But I am almost sure that God didn't "cause" these disasters because Trump was elected president or that being gay caused this.
I don't believe with all that is in me, that the God I love and serve, works like this.
YES, HE did in the Old Testament.

But we are two thousand years past the death and resurrection of Jesus who loved us so much, He was willing to suffer and die so that we might be reconciled to God.
Today, I believe that as always, God welcomes all of us, ALL OF US, to His Table. All can come and feel loved and accepted no matter what their nationality, no matter what their race, no matter their sexual orientation, no matter their color, no matter their financial position-the poorest of poor and the richest of the wealthy, male or female-WE ALL ARE WELCOME!!

Our world is a HOT MESS.
Natural Disasters, wars, poverty, racism, exploitation of many in the sex trade, sickness and disease, mental illness-which often results in people taking their own lives, drug and alcohol addiction, marriages in trouble, parents abandoning their children and spouses, families not speaking. Not to mention despicable evil rulers around the world, and people in America having the least regard and trust in the president than any previous president in our nations history.
YES, our world is a mess. 
Obviously I have a faith in God and I often wonder if this is the beginning of the times when soon we will see JESUS return to earth as He promised?
I don't have the answer to that.

What I do know is that in the midst of turbulent times, I believe that God, the Sovereign ruler of the Universe, is still in control. That ALL of our times are in His Hands, not man's, not nature.
The peace that brings me is indescribable.
I am praying that you know this peace as well.
If you don't , I would be happy to talk with you.

Keep your prayers and thoughts on Florida, Houston and Mexico, no matter what you believe. We are all brothers and sisters in the human family.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

GETTING RID OF THOSE PESKY WEEDS, In your garden and your life.

Spring is finally here in the mountains!
For most of you, spring has been here for quite awhile now. Not where I live. Oh, we've had occasional days of sun and warmth, maybe for 3 days at a time.
For one week now the weather has been glorious, and the temperature slowly warms, making for one happy gal.

I absolutely love to garden. Getting my hands dirty, pulling the weeds, preparing the soil, and  then heading to the nursery to buy the annuals, the vegetables, the fertilizer and plant food. It's my idea of creativity.

For the ten years I have lived in the mountains of northern California, my goal is to have everything done by Mother's Day weekend. Except for the one year our youngest daughter was married ( 7 years ago yesterday). We were done planting at the beginning of May so that things would be blooming by her wedding.

This year though, we had 96 inches of rain. Yes, I mean 96 as in four less than one hundred. So picture in your mind the amount of weeds that that amount of rain could produce. LOTS. Well, way more than lots. I have more weeds than I have seen in the past few years combined. That would be due to the extreme drought California has endured, but thankfully this years over abundance of the wet moisture, ended our drought!! I can take longer than 5 minute showers.

Back to my gardening escapades. Because we had such a wet fall, winter and spring, I am just now beginning my gardening for this year. Today was my day to tackle the weeds. A few weeks ago I asked my dear husband to spray the weeds where I typically plant all my flowers. He is so sweet and did that almost immediately. 
Unfortunately, he sprayed many of my perennial flowers as well. Seriously I cannot blame him; I don't think I would have seen the difference. So this morning I began the process of getting rid of the weeds and the plants that had been doomed to death with the weed killer.

Silly of me to think it would take a couple of hours. I started at 8am and worked until about 10:15, until the sun was completely shining on the place I was working. Due to an unusual type of thyroid cancer, during my second surgery, half of my hypothalmus was also removed. This organ regulates your body temperature, and having only half of mine, I have become much less tolerant of heat and I tend to get overheated sometimes rather quickly. (this doesn't bode well for our Kauai vacation in September). So because of this pesky complication, I can only garden now in the early mornings and evenings. Given the amount of rain we have had, the mosquitos are also in overabundance, so the evenings are pretty much out as those pests love to get to my blood.

But the WEEDS. They are EVERYWHERE. I was overwhelmed before I pulled a one. There is this one type that lives here in the mountains that I never saw living in a city. This one is actually always low to the ground, but grows underground with roots that you pull up sometimes almost a yard long. They flourished in my flower area. Maybe I weeded half of the space today before I got too warm.

Weeds always remind me of the many flaws and sin I have in my life. Those areas where I think I have made progress ridding myself of my problem attitudes, but before I know it,  they reveal their heads again and cause me to further stumble. Just like the weeds I began to pull up today, I know those suckers will return and I will try and stomp them out again.

Extreme weaknesses that I have seen repeatedly in my life are judging others and jealousy. Oh I can't even tell you how often I have confessed my sin of judgmentalism. Why do I think I can cast judgement on others and what they say or what they do? It is the sin I would love to eliminate more than any other. And I can admit, that I have gotten much better as the years have gone by- for crying out loud, it should,  I mean seriously, I am now in my 60's. 

Jealousy keeps popping up its ugly head from time to time, just like those damn weeds. 
"why can't I have that house?"
"why does she always look so good?'
"why do they get to go there?"
"why can't I write like she does?"
"why can't I have the money she has?"
"why are they so successful in their ministry?'

Blah blah blah. Always wishing I could have what others have. Why can't I be so grateful for what I do have?
A husband who loves me and is faithful to me.
Four kids who have turned out well and have amazing spouses.
Three amazing little boys I get to be Grammy to.
Friends that I wouldn't trade the world for.
Involved in a ministry, working with a boss and team that is beyond fantastic.

God has enriched my life with so many blessings and gifts. I need to cherish them as much as I get enjoyment over the flowers that will eventually be planted and bloom.

Life is like a garden. We all need the pulling of our weeds in order for God to have us bloom where we are planted. It is never easy work. We will always get stretched and might feel the sting of the pulling; but HE knows this is what needs to happen for us to produce a garden that aligns with His character.

Next time you go to pull the weeds in your garden, maybe ask God what weeds He needs to pull out of your life to make His garden of your life as beautiful as He always envisioned you to be.