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.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


I realized this morning, that it is time to withdraw.

Are you at all like me, and the news that has transpired in the past week, has perhaps traumatized you? That you get sad and angry, frustrated and confused?

Five days into the Trump presidency and I am upended. I don't know what to do. The mostly repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act (aka: Obamacare) was the first thing that got me reeling. I was an RN for 31 years. It wasn't until I became a home health nurse that  I saw the huge disparity in the care of patients. When you had good healthcare coverage, you were allowed extra visits. When you were on Medicaid, you got one visit. I was horrified. People who need Medicaid (Medi-Cal for us in California) do not have the money for health insurance, are living in the below poverty level; they barely have enough money for food and clothing and shelter. It was in the early 1990's when I began to consider that universal health care or national health insurance was something we needed. I learned that most of the world's countries all provided health coverage to each citizen. I wondered why we didn't.
I know that in the early stages of the Clinton administration, that they tried for this and failed. 
Then came Obamacare and I was grateful that then, everyone could get insurance. And yes, it was very confusing and the computer servers crashed, but the outcome gave millions of Americans the access to healthcare that they needed. President Trump's repeal of most of that was the starting point of my frustrations.

The thing that has upset me terribly is the news that today he will order that there are to be no refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan allowed into the United States. These countries have been known to have people enter the country, and some are ISIS proponents here to recruit.
The President also tweeted that "we will build the wall"

Yes, I know that there are HUGE numbers of people that have entered our country illegally at the borders between Mexico and the United States. I know it has caused a tremendous financial cost to us the US taxpayers. I admit that I have no idea of why the people of Mexico cannot enter our country legally; perhaps there is a yearly quota.
What bothers me is that there is NOT any ONE of us who live in the United States that is here because someone in our family tree came here to better their lives. To be free from oppression, whether it be for religious reasons, to escape the taxes of their countries, to try and give their families a better start in life. Do we not profess that: We are the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave?
Trump wants to use money from the Homeland Security Department to fund the building of the wall.
As I sat on the edge of our bed this morning with tears streaming down my face lamenting to my husband on the unfairness of all of this, he reminded me that this is why our country has checks and balances. Donald Trump is the President of the United States but HE IS NOT THE CEO. He cannot sign things into law without Congress's approval, and even then if someone files a lawsuit, it could be overturned by the Supreme Court or appellate courts.

I have been a follower of Jesus Christ for 45 years now. HE will always be the ONE I have my allegiance to. Way ahead of my allegiance and love for the United States of America, is my love and devotion to Jesus.
I have a friend and some of my family who I asked if they wanted to join me in reading the Words of Jesus this year in the four Gospels. (you can read about it here: and this morning I was reading in the 4th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. This is the chapter where Jesus is led into the wilderness and tempted by the devil. In the first temptation, the devil tells Jesus to make some stones become bread.
Jesus answered: It is written: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of the LORD". (Matt 4:4). From the very start, Jesus emphasizes how the WORD of GOD is of primary importance. Which once again confirmed to me, that I must be in the Bible, that my choice to just read the Gospels this year so that I can see the Words of Jesus is of upmost importance.

Later on in the chapter in verse 12, it is said that Jesus withdrew to Galilee after hearing the news that John the Baptist was imprisoned. There are many instances in the four Gospels that Jesus withdrew by Himself to be with His Father. I have to surmise it was to get His Father's instructions, His Voice, to confer with Him on the big decisions that were coming, when his ministry depleted Him and He needed spiritual refreshment on His human side.

If Jesus needed to withdraw when things were taxing on him, why wouldn't I also need to withdraw?
To be with Him. To hear His Words. To seek His advice. To listen to Him, and be able to pour out my heart to Him in things where I need clarity, or wisdom, or just to be with Him and tell Him why I am confused or frightened; to bear my heart and soul to the Only One who fully knows me and still loves me in spite of who I am.
So I am withdrawing to be with Jesus. From the news, from Facebook. I need to pray for our President. I need to pray for our country and the world. I just need to be with Jesus.
Don't you?