Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I realize how tough this time of year can be for some.
I remember the times Christmas was so very hard for me; when I didn't want to celebrate, when I just wanted to crawl under the covers and stay there.

It was Christmas in 1973. My mom had died unexpectedly two months before. 
"How do we do Christmas without mom?"
"What do we even do?"

It wasn't very fun. Who cared about the tree? The decorations?
But it was to be the last Christmas we would celebrate in the home we grew up in. So we did it. My sister and her family came from Mexico. My older brother came from Oregon. My younger brother and I were home.
We bought the tree. We decorated it. And we did it just to "do it" the one last time.
Vividly, I remember saying I would cook the turkey. I was sure I remember how my parents did it. In a greased bag at a high temp for an hour and then a lower temp for another hour and a half. We all thought that was how it was done.

We had a pink turkey. It wasn't cooked all the way through. I cried again.

My grandmother was there. She had lost her only child. She wanted to be with us. We tried to make it special for her. I'm sure we failed there too. I remember flying to Los Angeles to take my grandmother home. She got sick and I had to call 911. I remember kneeling on the floor of her living room in her small apartment begging God not to take her. I couldn't handle another loss. Thankfully, He didn't.
But it was in the words of Alexander, a "no good, terrible, awful Christmas".

The other Christmas that was very hard happened in the mid 80's. I was a NICU nurse and was taking care of a sweet sweet baby named David who had Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type II. It is a brittle bone disease and he was born with over 200 fractures over his tiny little body. David was never expected to live through his delivery, but he did.
David lived for ten days. I was his primary care nurse and I did everything I could to make him comfortable and help his parents endure this tragedy. David died on Christmas Eve. It was a very emotional day for me. I had three healthy children and this couple had just lost their son. I had to "rally" for my kids sake, but my sorrow was immense that year.

I have several friends that will spend their first Christmas without their loved one. It will be hard. It will be different. It will be sad.
The second Christmas for me without my mom was harder than the first because I realized how immense the loss was: I never again would have Christmas with her. So already I am praying for my best friend and her family as they will have another Christmas without their son and brother.

The good thing is: we have our memories and they can be such gifts; such blessings.
I still make every year the brownies my mom made at Christmas and gave away. Those were the brownies we always left for Santa. Those brownies were my grandmother's recipe, and I very rarely give that recipe away. It's one of the few things I have left of my mom and Honey (my gram) that no one can take away.

IF this Christmas is one you are dreading, please try and remember the blessings and the gifts you have been given.
It is a gift to mourn the loss of someone you will miss, that person was a treasured gift of love, and how blessed are we to have known and received love.
Remember the person with fondness.
How they made you laugh.
The silly, quirky things they did.
The things that drove you crazy.
The fun times you had in different places.
The sweet moments that you treasure.
The words you remember spoken to you.

BE THANKFUL for how your life was enriched by that person.
How your life won't be the same again, and you don't have to try and make it be, but the ONE THING NO ONE CAN TAKE FROM YOU IS YOUR MEMORIES of your dear loved one.

In the midst of the sadness, your grief, realize that you are not alone.
There is someone who understands.
Someone too, who lost a dearly loved son.
Someone who understands your grief and cries with you.
Someone who will be there in the darkest, scariest moments you endure.
Someone who longs to cradle you and whisper to you:

" I know. I understand. I love you. I am here with you."

This is the GOD who made you, who created you, who loves you. Who blessed your life be giving you people to love, to share your grief and joys.
GOD cries with you. He knows and feels your loss.

Try each day to find one or two or even five things to be thankful for. Gifts you have been given. Blessings you have experienced.

This won't make the holidays easier.
But it might make you more aware that there are things we take so often for granted, that are meant to bless us.
Sometimes, for me at least, it is good to have something else to do besides cry.

May you find the HOPE that Christmas really is.

Friday, December 12, 2014


The Christmas Season.
That sentence alone can either send us into a state of giddiness or into the abyss of despondency.

How can something so celebrated by some be to others, something they want to avoid altogether?
When life is good, when we are coasting along and everything seems right, Christmas is anticipated with glee and gaiety.
When life seems awful, when you are despairing, Christmas is the time when you wish everyone would quit being so happy.

This Christmas, can we try and remember that there are those we love, who are dreading this season? There are those we don't know who wish more than anything they could celebrate right now, but due to circumstances, they are in a place of despair. There are some who have no idea what Christmas is all about, who if they did know,  might again be able to hope. 

HOPE that life could get better.
That life could be lived without fear. 
Without thinking they could be beaten and killed because of the color of their skin. 
That all of us could see we are family; we might look different from each other, we might believe different things, but we all are brothers and sisters in the human race.

This Christmas season,  called Advent, by Christians everywhere, is a season of waiting. Waiting for the birth of the baby who would forever change the world. Waiting with expectation and urgency, for God above,  to make everything right again. It is the time to focus on where we are and where we desire to be.  Not in the physical mindset, or the place where are dreams might be, but where we want to be in relationship with a GOD who desperately woos us. One who wants the very best for us. One who longs for us to know Him and understand the significance of sending His Son to earth to navigate the way for us to return.

To return to the ONE who has given us life. Who has given us the very breath we each are taking this very minute. The ONE who gave us a heartbeat to align with how His heart beats for us.

To return to where we were meant to be.

To the place where we have always wanted to be.
The place of contentment. The place that we know is our home, the real home, the one we long for.
The place where we feel safe.
Even when we are deeply grieving the loss of a loved one who we miss dearly.
Or when certain dreams of ours have been shattered.
Or when we have been wronged and hurt and need to be loved and nurtured.
To return to the place where we should have been all along.

In this season of hurrying to get everything done, checking off our lists, baking our goods, going to parties, worrying about how our families will interact, can we return to the place where we know is the right place to be?

To the place GOD always intended for us to be.
In a relationship with Him. So that in the great moments of our life, we know His blessings, and in the most horrific moments of our lives, we can experience His presence and His Peace.

None of us were ever meant to live life independently.

Why do we think we can?
And then when things go wrong, we blame God.
Why God? Because we think if He really loved and cared for us, none of the bad things would happen. So when they do we blame Him.
But it is not His fault. It is our own. We were meant to live with GOD, not trying to be our own god.

That is the reason Jesus Christ came to earth.
read an abridged version her of the true meaning of Christmas. 

Everything about the real meaning of Christmas points to Our God who pursues us relentlessly. Over and over again. When we continually turn our backs on Him.
But to be real, even when we do seek Him, when we try and be who He desires us to be, things can go terribly wrong.
We still can lose our jobs. We still have racism. We still have poverty. And slavery. And discrimination that is often rampant, whether it be because of our race, our religion, our sexual orientation. We can still have loved ones die. We can still have cancer ravage our bodies. We can still be lonely and afraid. We can still suffer from mental illness and have loved ones who suffer.

Being where we were meant to be, means returning to a God who desperately wants us to call him Papa. To go to the FATHER who wants to hold us, comfort us, encourage us, and mostly love us. Even when we might not have a good earthly example of a father. Even when we could be afraid of a man called father.
GOD is the FATHER we all need. The true meaning of the word Father. HE is the ONE who loves us unconditionally; no matter what we might have done. The ONE who forgives us and pursues us. Don't we all need that? To feel loved and pursued?

So yes, this might be the time of year when we dread Christmas and wish it would go away because of our own heartache. But we can go to a FATHER who knows us intimately, who wants to love and care for us, and wants us to feel safe with Him. 
Because that is the place we were always meant to be.

Here are links to 2 of my blogs also about Christmas. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

One of THOSE days

Today is one of THOSE days.
The kind you wish you didn't have to go thru.
The kind you wish not even your worst enemy had to endure.

One of THOSE days when you wonder.
Wonder if God sees the pain.
Wonder if HE cares.
Wonder why.
Why her? Hasn't she been through enough?
Hasn't she suffered enough?
Why not me, Lord?

It is one of THOSE days when your own faith shakes to the core.
Those days when you rely heavily on the prayers of others to get you through it.
THOSE Days when you thank GOD for friends who uphold you, who call you and pray with you, who text you often.

It is one of THOSE days when you recall the instances of God's faithfulness and hope with all hope that HE is going to come thru as He has promised.
It is one of THOSE days.
I Know deep within me, that God is in Control.
But oh how I wish the circumstances were different.

Those dreams that die.
They are the hardest.
Sometimes they are the cruelest.

Today is the day our daughter Katie had one of her lifelong dreams die. 
She played with dolls for the longest time. She always wanted to be a mommy. 
When she met Nate, they began to pray for their own baby. They began to try for that baby.
Today, is the day, their dream of having a child from Katie died.

Today is one of THOSE days.
The day you wished your daughter did not have to have a hysterectomy. The pain that ransacked her body for at least 2 1/2 weeks every month, so often incapacitating her, had won.
Today is one of THOSE Days.
The kind you wish the doctor had one more option-but he doesn't.

So today, the dream of having her own child died.

I have a very good friend who texted me today about those dreams of ours that die. It is in those dreams, that God begins to do something new, something HE has planned. Something that if really dwelt on, we could get excited about the possibilities.
I know this will come.
I know HE cares. 
I know HE loves Katie more than I ever could, more than Nate ever could.
But today I grieve for her dream that will never be fulfilled.
I mourn with her and Nate.

I look forward to the better days. The days where the light shines again. The days when it "feels" like God is with you and blessing you.
It is just in the harsh realities that sometimes my vision gets impaired.
Believe me, I know so many have it way worse than Katie.
I hate the suffering many have to endure.

Today is one of THOSE days.
Where I just want to give into my feelings and cry. and I have.

I know that God does not waste our pain, our anguish, our broken dreams. I really do know that. It's just that, today, I wish it was my broken dream, my pain.
What I wouldn't do to trade places with my gal.

But today, I will treasure the gift of friends and how they have ministered to me.
I will relish the afternoon hike with my two grandsons, a great respite in the sadness.

I will look forward to the days ahead and wait expectedly for God to show His goodness and grace-just like He always does.

Today is just one of THOSE days.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


One week ago tonight, I flew home after spending six days in Texas. I was in San Antonio for our annual Young Life College Summit. It was an absolutely incredible time to see where we have come and where we want to go in our ministry to college students.
I was privileged to lead 200+ people in prayer. We prayed to hear from the LORD, to spend time just with Him; we prayed for our families and we prayed for our individual college ministries. We took time to pray for each other's needs on stickies that were posted on the walls.

I took home all those stickies and have been praying over them this week. I have been stirred, heartbroken and challenged to be faithful to pray for my fellow YLC staffers.

But I must confess, I have wondered often, if God will answer all these prayers. Is He paying attention to those that are hurting? Those who are really struggling with family issues? Those who need money to keep their ministry going? Those who are questioning their call?
I have cried over some requests and been thankful over others. I have been humbled and challenged. I want to pray more and ask the LORD of the Harvest to bring more workers so that our college age friends can know the love and grace of Jesus Christ. I want us, the YLC staff to be pray-ers. That we would be people who continually sought Jesus in our lives, and for our ministry, that it would become so normal for us to go to Jesus for His help whenever we faced challenges.

It is hard to admit that I am not always the first one to go to Jesus when certain things happen. I believe its a process that we get better at the longer we see God's trustworthiness in our lives. 
It isn't always easy, is it?

But this week, I have seen God provide in ways that have humbled me and left me awed with immense gratitude.
You see, I got home and realized that next week on Monday, our youngest daughter will have a hysterectomy.
Katie and Nate have been through the wringer with her health issues since they were married four years ago. She has been dealing with health issues from the time she was 13 and broke her back playing basketball.
She has suffered from Stage 4 endometriosis for years and has had countless surgeries for this extremely painful condition. She has been so incapacitated by pain that Katie has been unable to work for 2 years now. They have tried to get pregnant for at least three years. After test after test with a fertility specialist, they were told that her eggs were damaged and the chances of getting pregnant were almost nil.
Yet the pain continued week after week.
Why should she continue to live in pain if she will never be able to give birth? Her doctor has recommended a hysterectomy for 16 months, and next week, she will undergo the operation.

Their medical expenses have been huge, even after what the insurance has covered.
So I had the idea to try and raise some money for Katie and Nate.
That in itself was a really scary thing for me to do.
Would people give?
Would they think it was necessary?
Would they think I was being opportunistic?
Would they think bad of Katie?

I was very hesitant to do this, but I wrote something and then posted it on Go fund me. (see:
I pushed "Post" and prayed.

Would God provide people to help them with all their medical bills? Would we get even $1000.? Would people care?
Four days later I can tell you how humbled I am.
 I am in complete awe of how people have responded. I have been brought to tears many times. We are almost at the goal I set.

I am thanking God that he used people to provide for Katie and Nate.
I am thanking God that He cares about this mama's heart and how I have ached for my girl for so many years.
I am thanking God for what He is doing in Katie's life through this.
I am thanking God for friends who have responded.

Is it silly for me to have hope that He will answer the requests on all my sticky notes from our YLC staff?
No. Not anymore.
I have seen God provide for me over and over again.
Why would I be surprised that He is providing for Katie and Nate?
Why would I be surprised if He provides for all the prayers of our Young Life College Staff?
Why would I be surprised if He provided for what YOU need?

One of His names is Jehovah Jireh. God will provide.
He will. 
In His time.
For His glory.
To get us (me) to realize again what a wonderful Father He is.

Friday, October 31, 2014


Have you heard of Daniel in the Bible? There is an entire book about him.
He was a young Jewish man held captive in Babylon with three of his friends by Nebuchadnezer, the King of Babylon.
Nebuchadnezer (referred from now on as Nebbie) wanted the best and the brightest of the Jewish guys. So he had his aides select from then. They were to be smart and quick thinking. They were to be instructed in the ways and culture of Babylon and given the best to eat. This was going to be a three year indoctrination and qualifying time.
Daniel was not happy with all the food. It was probably the richest, best food and drink around. I know, I wonder too what he was thinking. So instead of eating the delicacies and drinking the best wine, he asked the man in charge if he and his friends could eat only vegetables and drink water to see if they could maintain their health with this. The kings man was obviously hesitant, so Daniel suggested a ten day trial. He then agreed to that.
After the ten days, Daniel and his buddies were found to be in better shape than all the others who had consumed the finest foods. So from that time on, they were allowed to eat just the veggies and drink water. (side note: this is probably a very good way to lose weight).

As time went on, Daniel continued in his training regimen.
Nebbie meanwhile had a dream that really disturbed him. He called for all the astrologers and magicians to come and interpret the dream, but none of them could. Someone suggested Daniel who came and then proceeded to tell Nebbie that only God could interpret this dream. God gave Daniel the answers to the questions of the kings dream and interpreted what was to happen.
The King then believed Daniel was the smartest man in his kingdom, and Nebbie bestowed on him extremely high honors.

After awhile, the king had commissioned  his servants to make a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide. Nebbie then issued a decree that everyone should bow down and worship the statue when they heard the music sound, calling them to worship.
Ah, but in every great story, there is always an antoagonist and protagonist. There were some officials of the king who informed him that there were three guys who wouldn't bow down to the statue. These three men were Daniel's best friends; renamed in Babylon: Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego.
Nebbie was furious at these guys.  He questioned them about why they wouldn't bow down and gave them another opportunity to bow down to the statue. These faithful servants of the true God refused and said they would never bow down to anyone but him. This made the king even more mad,and he ordered them thrown into a extremely hot furnace heated seven times higher than normal.
The men who brought the three amigos to the furnace were burned to death but Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego were in the furnace walking around with another figure, who turned out to be an angel, sent from God to protect them.
What is truly amazing about these three guys, that prior to be thrown into the furnace, they told the king, that no matter what they would trust their God. They would trust Him even if He did not deliver them from the blazing furnace. That to me is the kind of faith and trust in God that I would hope to have.

Two very tiny words with incredible punch.
EVEN IF: I prayed and prayed for a friend or loved one to be cured of cancer, and they lose their battle.
EVEN IF: my spouse had an affair and leaves me for the other person.
EVEN IF: my lifelong desire for being a mom or dad is crushed due to infertility.
EVEN IF: I have been abused or raped and am afraid to begin a relationship.
EVEN IF: I have struggled and struggled with a mental illness and prayed and prayed for relief that never comes.
EVEN IF: I desperately wanted a certain job and didn't get it.
EVEN IF: I have lost my spouse or my child and am struggling like crazy to understand why I will spend the rest of my life on earth without them.
EVEN IF: I have lost my home, my income due to circumstances beyond my control and have to begin again all over.
EVEN IF: I care deeply about those suffering in poverty, slavery and disease in the rest of the world, and feel helpless to do anything to help.
EVEN IF: My desire to be married and share my life with someone, never happens.
EVEN IF: The reconciliation I so desire with a friend or family member has not happened yet.
EVEN IF: The friend or family member I have prayed fervently for to come to know Jesus, has no interest whatsoever in God.
EVEN IF: I have the diagnosis of cancer and am scared of the outcome, and am left to wonder.

There are so many EVEN IF's that we will face and experience in life.
I so desire to be a person who can say with these three young men, EVEN IF God doesn't come through the way I would hope, I will trust God no matter what.
That's a huge statement to aspire for.
But it is my hope that I will always do.
What about you?
Will you trust God NO MATTER WHAT?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Vividly I remember the day sitting in a coffee shop with my friend Joe.
Joe knew how much I prayed for him and his ministry with Young Life.
He asked me that day to pray for one specific kid that he had just become friends with.
He wanted me to pray that this new friend, Payton, would come to know Jesus as Savior and LORD of his life.
Of course I said yes. And so began my prayers for Payton.
I remember the first time I met him, with his sweet smile and me winking at Joe, that this was Payton!!

That spring, through many questions, long talks and the promptings of the HOLY SPIRIT, Payton did meet Jesus and began his lifetime adventure with him.
Only about two months later, Payton wanting to know and experience more of Jesus, came as a new believer to Woodleaf to be on workcrew. He worked so hard, and I got to see him everyday, and his smile was contagious and could make anyone smile. He also could be a bit mischievious too!!
It was toward the end of his three week assignment that after work and time for some fun at the pool that after diving off the diving board, he broke his arm.
I remember getting to the pool right after and the lifeguard intern telling me all that transpired. I remember joking with Payton about he trying to get out of work.
A simple break, casted and off he went.
About a month later or so, I was in Chico and attended a Young Life club and Payton had hurt his shoulder and we kidded about how clumsy he was. But his spirit was infectious with life and he laughed with me.
It was when he didn't heal that the doctors determined he had some type of bone cancer.
We were all shocked.
Joe was devastated and took Payton on a road trip to have some fun before all this therapy would start.

Most people are side swiped when they hear they have cancer. Its one of those gulp, punched in the gut feelings. It takes the breath out of you. I don't really know if Payton felt that, but his friends and family certainly did.

Payton became more alive once he was diagnosed.
All he wanted to do was tell people about Jesus.
Payton wanted everyone to know that Jesus was the answer, the hope, the security of his life.
He told his high school friends. He told his mom and sisters and his grandfather. He told their friends. He told anyone who would listen.

He became a Wyldlife leader, which is Young Life's ministry to junior high or middle school kids.
After going through chemo and radiation, he still had that smile.
He still wanted to be with his junior high kids.
When he found out later that I too, had cancer, he would text me verses and say that we both would be ok.
We had this "cancer bond". The kind of bond that you don't really want to have with someone, but are also grateful that you can be real and vulnerable, because you get what the other is feeling.
I prayed for Payton to come to know Jesus. He did.
I put Payton on my daily prayer list when he got his cancer and probably missed maybe 6 days in the past 22 months when I didn't pray for him.

He struggled. Chemo and radiation wracked his body. He got thinner and thinner. But his spirit, it grew brighter and brighter each day and all he wanted to do was tell people about Jesus.
Payton loved life and he loved Jesus.
He was in a wheel chair for awhile. That was hard for him, but then he would crack jokes about it.

Some dear Chico friends started to raise funds for him to get him to another hospital to see if they could help. Over 25 thousand dollars was raised. Payton was blown away by people's generosity.
He took his Wyldlife kids to camp at the beginning of July this year. He couldn't do many of the activities although he did try and I feel like my eyes were always on him, because I didn't want to see him get hurt. He wanted those boys to know the SAVIOR like he did.
Oh Payton, you leaked Jesus wherever you went.
Last night, Jesus thought Payton had gone through enough.
Jesus took Payton home to heaven.
No more pain.
No more suffering.
No more trouble breathing.

A new body bowing in reverence and awe as he met the ONE he told everyone about.
A new body that could run and dance and rejoice that he was in the presence of the LORD and SAVIOR that he told everyone about.

In our eyes, he was taken way too soon-way too soon.
Most likely in His Lord's eyes, he came home at just the right time.
To me it seems so unfair. Payton was young , and so full of life, and I weep as I write this.
But Payton Contestable did everything in this life that he was made to do.
He lived fully, he had fun and pulled pranks, he had a family who adored him and friends who would do anything for him.
And Payton told people about Jesus. That was his mission. That was his passion.
Payton, you taught so many of us so much about Jesus and what it looks like to live for him.
For someone like me, who has lived three times as long as you, you radiated Our Lord.
You encouraged me to cling to him and I did the same for you.

Oh yes Payton, you told so many of your friends about Jesus. That's what you were called to do.
You did it so so well.
And now you are in HIS presence and I know that as soon as He saw you, His words were:
"Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master."

Oh you will be missed terribly and will never be forgotten by us. You did exactly what you wanted to do: you told us about Jesus and you lived wholly for Jesus.
I hope that we can be just like you now.

Enjoy your eternal home with your new whole perfect body.
You lived a life we all can aim for.
I will miss you my friend and I love you.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Does it Matter

We are so often concerned about what other people think.
Their views of life, their views of us.

Does it matter though?
Does it matter what I wear for the day? Do people really care? or is just me and how I want to myself to be perceived.
Today I spent an unbelievable amount of time trying to figure out what to wear to the wedding of my best friends daughter this weekend? Would it still fit? What shoes, what jewelry?
And then, what would I wear to the rehearsal?

Why do I care?
The most important thing of the weekend will be watching sweet Kelly Girl marry her Prince. And what a wonderful godly man Joel is. I want to watch her commit to spending her life loving God and loving Joel and just be in sheer joy at the happiness I will witness.

I am ashamed that I spent so much time wondering and fussing over what outfits to bring.
Why don't I care about what my inner heart brings?
How I might reflect my God to people who won't know Him, but who I desperately want to.
Does it matter what I wear? Absolutely not.
What matters is what is inside my heart. How I treat the people that come into my life. And whether or not I am reflecting Jesus at all.

Why does the pettiness of life get in the way of what is most important to me?
Does that happen to you too?

This is again for 5 minutes of writing for everyday of October on any topic.
Unfortunately I forgot my travel and the wedding this weekend and another one in two weeks. I so wanted to do this everyday, but for now I will be satisfied for whenever I can write.
If you want to know more about this visit:
also will count as 5 minute friday!

Monday, October 6, 2014


My friend Shari and her family lost their beloved dog this past weekend.
I know this has been hard on them.

Why would I write about this?
Because I believe dogs and other animals are gifts to us from God.

I have two dogs. Both of them Labrador's.
Riley is 11 and she's a black lab.
Riley has been an amazing dog. She learned how to do tricks as a puppy. She loves to play. She loves to run and play catch even when her leg is bothering her. I have to be careful of how much she runs or swims (which she absolutely loves) because the pin her in her leg hasn't helped her hip that was hit by a car four years ago. Now she has a gray/white beard and she is so cute. She loves to have her "bum" scratched and her ears rubbed.

Cody is our 7 yr old yellow lab.
She is mischevious; she has eaten 2 of my bibles in the past 5 years and also devoured a Christian classic given to me by one of my husband's spiritual mentors. I guess you could call her a holy dog.
Cody loves me unconditionally. She gets so excited to see me everyday. If I have been gone for a few hours, you would think it had been weeks. She sleeps by my bed everynight and never leaves my side while I am home during the day.

I can't believe the enjoyment my pups have given me.
And I can't imagine my life without them.
You might think that sounds strange and think to yourself, "but they are just dogs", and yes, they are, but they are also part of our family.
My grandsons love them and always cuddle with them.
They have kept me company at times in the loneliness of living in the mountains; they are my everyday buddies.


So I really feel sorry for Shari and her family.
They have lost a "family member".

So if you have a pet that is like a family member to you, enjoy them this evening.


I  starting a new practice as of yesterday.
Every Sunday I am going to go unplugged. I will turn off my computer, my iPad and my iPhone. I will take a break from all technology for 24 hours; possibly more because I will turn them off on Saturday nights.

We have as a society become so attached to our devices. I am not signaling you out, because I am just as guilty.

How often do you check your Instagram, your Facebook?
How often do you send a text?
Do you stop everything when you hear the beep that says you have a new text or a new email?

What are we missing because we are so connected to our devices? So many of us have them on 24/7, day in and day out. We look at them right before we go to sleep and grab our phone as soon as we are awake. 

I believe we are missing the personal connection with others.
WE don't know how to talk to people in person the way we should.
We are so afraid we will miss out on something if we aren't connected. You know, FOMO.

What did I miss yesterday? NOTHING.
There was only three times that I wished I could use my devices. I wanted to text one of my kids, I wanted to look up the 49ers roster and I wanted to send an email to someone.

Did life stop because I didn't? NO, a resounding NO.

Consider taking a break once a week from your technology devices. You won't miss what you think you will.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


We have so many choices in our lives.
How do you make the choices you are given.

I try and make my choices with care; often times needing to pray about the bigger ones.

For now:
I choose to be honest , instead of fudging the truth or making me look better.
I choose to care for others, to be there for them when needed.
I choose to be available to my family; even when its inconvienent.
I choose to be faithful to Jesus; because I don't want to disappoint Him.
I choose to be prayerful, because I need to hear from Him more than He needs to hear from me.
I choose to believe that God always knows best. I may not understand what He is doing, but I choose to trust Him.
I choose to be faithful; to my husband, to our children, to my job, to my friends.
I choose to be vulnerable - sometimes God uses me when I least expect it.
I choose to see the best in people; often times harder than I realize.
I choose Joy, because its better than the alternative.
I choose to be thankful; gratitude goes a LONG way.
I choose Hope; it keeps me going.

And I am glad for the choices we all get to make. Make them wisely.


My husband is gone for the weekend.
He is meeting up with his friends of 36+ years.
They started doing this about 20-25 years ago; when they were much younger.
Now they call the yearly get together: "the OLD GUYS weekend".

Scud is the oldest of the group but he doesn't care.
These guys, these men, these life long friends are the ones who go to each other for the ups and downs of their lives. Believe me when I say they have had enormous practice in being there for one another.

I love these men too. The value of their friendship to my husband, to me, is incalculable. They have been through the best and worse with us. We have been there for them as well.
The wives are some of the most supportive, fun, caring and loving friends I have ever known.

Friendships like this are rare these days.
Friendships that survive the years.
The blessings of these friendships cannot be counted or measured.
I have friends like this, but today I bask in the glory that Scud has these men in his life.
They are his "support" system. He is theirs.
Truly I thank God for this rare and beautiful gift.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Its not something we like to do. Especially in America.
We have become the society of instantaneous everything.
We have a question, we ask Google.
We want things and WE WANT THEM NOW!
We hate to wait. Whether its in line at the grocery store. (are you like me and always pick the "longest" line?).
And TRAFFIC. Don't get me started. Think of all the road rage. Isn't it all because we can't get there fast enough and people are crazy and don't drive the way we think they should.
We hate waiting -even on the internet, when it takes too long.

We just are very impatient people.
We want whatever it is we want: PRONTO.

What about the fun things to wait for?
Like the birth of your baby or grandchild?
Waiting to attend the wedding of someone you love dearly.

Then there's those things we DON'T like waiting for.
The letter of acceptance from college.
Hearing about the job you really want.
Waiting as you watch a loved one pass from this life to eternity.

Sometimes, through very hard times, I have learned that waiting can be GOOD.
I have learned that sometimes in my impatience, my pain, that this is the time when I hear God so clearly. That HE has something He wants to say to me.
And so I have learned that waiting can be a good thing.

What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Challenge

Today I am accepting the challenge to write for 5 minutes per day for the month of October. I am calling it: 31 Days of Contemplation.

I have no idea what each day will be about, but I am certain that I will come up with a topic. I realize that I am not the most gifted of writers, but love the idea of writing everyday. I am imagining that GOD will give me something to write about as I spend time with Him each morning. That is usually where I get my ideas from.

 At the age of 62, the challenges I undertake are not as frequent as they were in my younger days. So accepting this challenge for me will be a discipline. I am hoping against all hope, that I will meet this challenge. I can always use more discipline in my life and would love to encourage you to find the things you might apply to your life.

 I love to write about the things God puts on my heart and am going to do my best to lean into Him for this challenge. Isn't it funny how we can take challenges in our lives for some things and not for others? Why is that so? For me, it seems like I want to succeed in something. This time it is for me, but also want to see how I might encourage others. After all, that is the sole purpose of my blog: to encourage and challenge others to become the person that GOD intended them to be. So here I start.

 If you are interested in this follow this link

Friday, September 19, 2014


I've found a new site called Five Minute Friday . In this site hosted by Kate Montauge, you are given one word to write about for five minutes.

Today's word is:

Hold on to what you know is true.
To those things that deep within you, never change.
Hold on to what you believe in.
Don't let others tell you what to believe in, check things out for yourself.
HOLD on to the people you love.
Not in a I'm never gonna let you go, but a hold that treasures them, that encourages them, that lets them know you are always there for them and in their corner.
Hold tight to the good memories in your life. the ones that make you smile and laugh and remember sweet times. Forget those bad memories. You can't change the past.
Hold on to GOD.
There won't be anytime in your life when you don't need Him. He is the ONE you never want to let go of, because He is the ONE who will carry you, sustain you and surprise you throughout all your days.

Five minutes are up. want to do this to? go to:  
five-minute friday

Monday, September 15, 2014

What a Difference a Year Makes

The older you get, the faster the years seem to pass.
Since today is my birthday, it's one of those occasions that cause reflection. 
Since my husband and I are on a three day quick roadtrip to celebrate both our birthdays, we've had quite a bit of time in the car driving between our destinations; which has given me time to think about the past year of my life.
Last year on my birthday, I was recovering from surgery to remove cancer from my thyroid that I had had five days earlier. The next day I was to have another surgery as the type of cancer I managed to get, could spread and grow in other places. 
I had a terrible sore throat; much like the worst case of strept threat you could imagine, and I was facing another surgery that would leave a scar from the top of my earlobe to the middle of my neck.
So you probably can get the reason why this was probably the least favorite birthday of my life.
The evening of my birthday I received a phone call that I will never forget. I probably had numerous phone calls that day, but this call is embedded in my mind because my friend, my birthday buddy, Robby called me to wish me happy birthday and this was the last time I actually talked to him on the phone.
Unfortunately two months later, Robby was gone. His death rocked my world and the worlds of so many people that I love dearly.
Robby was like a son to me; he called me his second mom and I loved him from the moment he was born.
So that is the reason I remember that call. I remember the words we spoke to each other. They were real, they were sweet and they were honest. I won't ever forget them. Although we frequently texted each other , that was the last time I heard his voice. 
I will always remember Robby. I look forward to one day spending eternity with him in heaven.
Many happy moments occurred this past year, and I am so grateful for them. I had amazing visits with friends, had countless times of memories with my family. Watched one of my sons marry the love of his life with tremendous joy. I had two absolutely amazing small groups with my girls in Chico, and loved watching them grow more in love with Jesus. We have done quite a bit of living together: good times and hard ones, but we have loved and supported each other. We had another incredible summer at Woodleaf, and as always, the Interns bring such enthusiasm and fun to our summers.

Unfortunately, as I look at the end of one year of my life and start another one, I am again grieving the loss of someone very dear to my heart.
My mentor of the past 36 years went to be with Jesus on Saturday. My dear June is the one person who single handedly influenced my life more than any other. She taught me how to walk thru life as a follower of Christ, in the good times and in the hard, difficult painful times. We shared the joy of my children's births and she was their "Gramma June", and we shared the homegoings of her dear first husband Carl and her sweet son Kevin. So we really went through the gamut together; both life and death.
I know how incredibly blessed my life has been because of June. She was truly a very special gift that God loaned me. She taught me well, so I know I will go on and keep living for Jesus and hopefully encouraging young women as she encouraged me.

So as I realize how quickly time passes now that I am older, I want to savor life each day. I want to have a thankful spirit. I want to notice the moments of everyday that don't seem so special, but really they are. I want to love others well. I want to be an encourager. I want to pray more. I want to cherish the time I have here, until I get to meet the ONE I have waited my whole life for.
In the meantime, I will miss Robby and I will miss June terribly. But oh how blessed I am because I knew them.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

It takes COURAGE

What do you do when you are faced with a challenge, an obstacle that could seem to be insurmountable, or a fear?
Do you run from it?
Do you think to yourself, "I can do this"?
Do you realize you can't do it alone?
Do you have the courage to face the task?

Courage is defined in the dictionary as:
   the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty,danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

We cannot remember for ourselves, but we see courage in babies that are beginning to walk; they get up repeatedly after they fall down. Their memory recall doesn't make them fearful.

It take courage to jump off the high diving board for the first time.

It takes courage to learn how to ride a bike.
It takes courage to go to bat in a baseball game.

It takes courage for a mother to drop her child off at pre-school or kindergarten, or middle school and high school.

It takes even more courage to drop your daughter or son of at college; realizing they may turn their backs on your values.

While in college:

It takes courage not to drink to excess. It is much easier to go along with the crowd and get drunk.
It takes alot of courage not to be talked into having sex when you are not ready.
It takes a tremendous amount of courage to report that you have been raped or violated.
It takes courage not to cheat on an exam and settle for the grade you make because you have studied; especially when the exam is out there for you to see beforehand.
It takes courage to write your own papers, not copying someone else's or plagerising.
It takes courage to tell others that you are a follower of Jesus.

During your working days:

It takes courage not to waste your time at work; looking at the internet, your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter feeds.
It takes courage to be honest.
It takes courage not to take credit for something someone else did.
It takes courage to own up to your mistakes.
It takes courage to keep going when you have been denied a promotion or been laid off. It takes courage to go home and tell your family.

What about being courageous in everyday life?

It takes courage not to gossip; to quit talking about someone behind their back and to walk away when others do.
It takes courage to come out and admit you are gay.
It takes courage to admit your mistakes.
It takes courage to tell your children you were wrong and to apologize to them.
It takes tremendous courage to forgive your spouse who has cheated on you.
It takes even more courage to persevere when your marriage has ended.
It takes courage sometimes just to get out of bed; whether it be from depression that is non-stop and relentless or whether it is just too much effort after an illness, or surgery.
It takes courage to fight cancer. It takes enormous amounts of courage to undergo chemotherapy and radiation; especially when you are not guaranteed of a great outcome.

Probably for most of us the most amount of courage we need is to face life without a loved one. When someone we cherish so dearly is taken from us, we often can't even imagine how to go on. The days are endless in grief.

It takes courage to just keep living.

It took more courage than you or I can ever comprehend to know as Jesus did, what He was about to face. When He sweated so profusely that blood oozed from his pores, knowing that He would be beaten, spat upon and scourged thirty-nine times with a cat of nine tails.

It took courage for Jesus to tell His Father that He would prefer not to do it this way, but in the end, would do what His Father wanted.

 Only to be followed by being nailed to a cross and suffocating to death. That kind of courage is incomprehensible to me. Yet Jesus mustered all the courage of His human self to suffer and be crucified-all because He loved us. He wanted us to spend eternity with Him in heaven.

Courage is a hard thing. We wish it would be easy but if it was, it wouldn't require much effort. We would give up way too easily.

Next time you are in a situation that requires courage and your fears are getting the best of you, consider asking Jesus for help. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Remember instead of being obtuse.

Way too often I am obtuse.
I don't remember things that I need to; I am slow at learning, or sometimes I am just downright stubborn. Because I am, I am forced to learn or re-learn a lesson that I already should know. I have come to believe that I am a slow learner when to comes to certain things. Those lessons that God has been trying to teach me for years and years, and I appear to be skull dunce.

One of those lessons that repeatedly appears in my life is my ability to trust God. If we were polled, I imagine most of mankind would agree that we have had our questions about the trustworthiness of God in our lives.

The type of questions that come to my mind are :

"Is God even aware of what I am going through?"
"Does God care about me?"
"Will God help me?"
"Is God capable of getting me in our out of this situation?"
"What is it going to cost me if I trust God?"
"Is God reliable?"
"Is God so busy that He might overlook me?"
"Can God ever forgive me for what I have done?"

We each have our own set of questions and we shouldn't be afraid to ask them.
I believe that God is BIG enough to handle our questions, our doubts, our frailities and insecurities.
It is just that at times, we forget how BIG our GOD is. At least I do.

I remember as a teen, wondering if God cared at all about my parents divorce. Did he not see how my Dad's alcoholism was ruining our family and ruining my Dad? Did He not care?
Did God even imagine what my Mom's unexpected death would do to me through the years? Did He care?
What about the time my daughter was in heart failure because of anorexia? Did He not see my utter anguish and helplessness?
What about my boys? and how drugs tried to destroy one of their lives?
And what about the mental illness our family has been beset with? Does God realize how difficult that is on all of us?
Would God forgive me of the gravest and most violent sin I ever did? Getting rid of a baby that was growing inside me?

I have learned through many many painful experiences that God is trustworthy. Oh these lessons have caused me heartache like you wouldn't believe. But it isn't easy? 
Each and everytime, I wonder if God will show up for me? If God really really cares. 
YES He does care.
I am the slow one who finally remembers how God has been present. How He supplied whatever it was I needed in the given situation. 
And No, He doesn't always show up the way I want Him too. And what I have gone through, or what I have done, will often bring about results or consequences that I will need to live with for awhile. 
But God always shows up.

Its not just me who forgets what God has done in my life.
That group of twelve men who lived day in and day out with Jesus while He was ministering on earth, often forgot who Jesus was, what He had done and what He might do.
Maybe you have heard the story of Jesus feeding 5000 plus people with 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. He had been preaching to these people telling them about the kingdom of God and they became hungry. There wasn't a store in sight. No one, except one young fella had thought of bringing some nourishment. Jesus asked his disciples to see if anyone had anything, and they found the lad with the fish and bread. 
Jesus then took both of these and gave thanks to His father and blessed the food and then gave it to his friends to distribute it. 
Everyone got food. Everyone was satisfied. What's more is that there were leftovers. (here's the link to the bible passage about this

That is one miracle I would have loved to see. Maybe its because I love food and love to see it multiply, cause it never does when I need it too. You would think, like I do, that the disciples would not forget this. I mean, how CRAZY was that?

Days, weeks or months later, they did. Just 2 chapters later, they were again in a situation without food and a large crowd. They asked Jesus where in this far away place will we get food for all these folks?
DUH, do you remember what Jesus did earlier?
Obviously they didn't. (

They were alot like me: having trouble remembering what Jesus had done previously.
Freaking out, that He might not come through this time.

Over and over and over again, Jesus has proved Himself faithful to me. He has completely forgiven me and wiped my sins away as far as the east is from the west. 
He has supplied EXACTLY what I would need in any and every given situation. It doesn't always come when I want it to come, but it ALWAYS COMES.
He comforted me in my deepest sorrows: when I was utterly lost when my mom died. When my hope and trust was wavering when my daughter was sent to an eating disorder clinic. When I didn't hear anything for almost three years from a son caught in drug addiction.
When the mental illness that has beset our family has shaken me to the core of my being, feeling utterly helpless to do anything to lessen their plight.
When I experienced His immediate forgiveness and knew His peace after I had an abortion.

He has never forgotten me.
He has never forgotten you.

When Jesus' disciples forgot what He had done, He asked them:
               "Don't you remember?" Mark 8:18b

Maybe He is asking the same question to me and to you.
Whatever you might be going through, right this minute, He knows. He cares. He loves you. He will be there for you.
It is time for us to remember.
To remember God's faithfulness.
To remember His love, His Grace and forgiveness . Time to remember His countless resources. 
Time to remember that He promises us:
      " I will never leave you or forsake you."

I hope you aren't as obtuse as me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

TIME. Where does it go?

The days come and the days go.
What do we make of those days?
Am I too busy to notice the little nuances in life?
Perhaps in days gone by, I was. But now living in the middle of nowhere, with no kids to raise, a job that is done mostly by phone and the internet, I tend to notice things more.

Why is that so?
Why are we so busy that we don't stop to appreciate even the tiniest things in our lives? Rushing to get to the next place, do the next task, meet the next person.
For what? More rushing? More hurrying?
And does rushing get us anywhere faster? Or do we become irritated, agitated as we sit in traffic, wait in lines at the store, wait for our kids to get out of school so that we can "rush" them to their next activity?
Why are we so rushed?

Gosh, I remember the days- and now shudder, when I was "too busy" to play ball with my son, to have another tea party with my daughters. What I wouldn't do to have a "do-over" for those years.
Thankfully, as a Grammy, I do get to do that again. And this time, I am not rushed, not too busy to stop and play.

How many times do you read the same book to your child? Do you wish it was a different book, or a different night and it was hubby's turn to read? Do you ever see the excitement, the expectation, the joy in your child's face as you read that book over and over again? They know the story. They know it by heart. And yet, it still captures them.

When was the last time you let something really capture your attention? 
Living in the mountains, I have been encaptured by the beauty of clouds. Those misty spatterings of moisture that dot the skies with absolutely amazing patterns. Hardly a day goes by when I am not looking for, or mesmerized by cloud formations.
Was I too busy to see them in the city? Or is it much more pronounced in the mountains?
It is the same with the stars at night. I know that the stars were not as clear and distinct in the city, but here on a dark night, the sky is brilliantly strewn with stars and galaxies that are breathless to see- if we only took the time.

Why is that we think we have to rush everywhere and through everything? When our children, and nature cry out to be noticed and enjoyed.
Why do we miss so much in the hustle of getting somewhere else?
And yet we can spend hours upon hours on the internet, reading blog after blog, or spend so much time watching TV, mindless tv.

What are you doing with your time?
How are you spending it?
The majority of us, work or want to be working. And then what do we do? We complain about working too much and we don't stop thinking about our work.
For those of us who can, we need to leave work at work.

We need to begin to enjoy life again. To see the newness of each day instead of thinking its the same old, same old; day in and day out.

How do we do this?
By beginning slowly.
Setting aside a day or a half a day to just be. To be present wherever we are. To stop and take the time to play with our kiddos. Believe me, you will never regret that time, but chances are you will regret the time you spent working too long, too late and missed out on your family.
To do something you enjoy. Whether it be reading or running or riding a bike, or planting the next phase of your garden, to relish the hobby you haven't had time for. To take a day trip to somewhere you have wanted to visit for awhile. To take a nap. To plan a vacation where you can enjoy what you see instead of rushing to the next place.

Last week, I took my two grandsons to the San Francisco Zoo. They have been to the zoo recently but I could not remember the last time I had been. We walked by so many animals. We read all the signs that educated us. We laughed and laughed at the wolverines. We were mesmerized by the lions and tigers and their beauty and their size; and decided we didn't want to meet one face to face outside of the zoo. We watched the grizzly bears eat lunch and talked about the differences between them and the polar bears we saw. We waited to see the chimps -who spent a bit of time hiding from us. We saw a red panda. We laughed at the monkeys and thought how much fun it would be to swing from tree to tree.
I even agreed to go to the Insect section and was again afraid of tarantulas and reminded that I am not a bug person. But we spent our time leisurely and enjoyed each exhibit. We were not rushed and it was glorious!

Our time is our time. We get to decide how we will spend it, what we will do with it.
PLEASE don't squander the time you have. It is too precious, too valuable to waste on the non important stuff.
Enjoy your family, enjoy your friends, enjoy your life.