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