"For skillful and godly Wisdom is better than rubies or pearls,
and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared with it." Proverbs 8:11 Amplified

Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 IS ON THE WAY



HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY BLOGGING FRIENDS
It seems everyone is posting their resolutions, goals or plans for this new year which will make its appearance in 1 1/2 hours. I will make this post very short because this year is almost gone and you don't have much time to read it before 2010. :)
I want to give you a word from the Lord for your life:

I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11 Message

How can we worry and fear when we have this promise for our lives.

Image: Diane Shaw

Monday, December 28, 2009

TARGET


I’m fidgety, grumpy and my heart is racing. I’m depressed, dispirited and want to throw things.

“Oh no, what’s wrong,” you might be asking.

It’s simple, I haven’t been writing. I’ve been doing lots of reading: books, facebook, blogs, etc. but I haven’t put my fingers and mind to the task of writing.

How can I say that God has given me a burden to write when I don’t do it? If I was my boss I would fire me.

When I was participating in NaNoWriMo I wrote every day and I was in my sweet spot. I didn’t get a lot of things done in my home, and my relationships suffered, but I wrote. There is a balance between these two, writing and the rest of life, and I will unearth it.

I have always been one of those people who can escalate my work volume when under pressure, not the greatest thing for my health, but I can produce, and do it competently, when I am under deadlines.

Do you need incentives or are you so disciplined that distractions are not an issue? I am not at that place so I need tools to keep my focal point in front of me.

Recognizing that there are lots of publications looking for short stories, the end of the year is a good time for me to start a spreadsheet listing publications and upcoming deadlines for stories.

I can envision myself starting each week at my computer, spreadsheet open, my eyes scanning the list, seeking my goal for the week: Get a story written and submitted. “Isn’t that publication fortunate that I know when their deadlines are so that they aren’t missing my incredible story?” (Smile)

Since I am a target oriented person my trajectory towards the bull’s-eye is researching publications and getting the spreadsheet established. I already have a folder filled with web pages of publications who accept submissions, transferring the information to the spread sheet shouldn’t take much time.

Although writing a full length novel is my goal I am hoping that using the press of meeting deadlines for short stories will keep me writing.

Who knows maybe one of those short stories will be the jumping off point for a new novel.

Photo: Dreamstime

Friday, December 25, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Vision



Christmas Eve, the house will be filled with people and dogs. My son and his girlfriend will drive down from Denver to spend the night and my daughter and son-in-law from Kansas will be spending several days with us. Our son and daughter in law, who live in Colorado Springs, will be coming over with our granddaughter.

I close my eyes and take in the sounds and smells. The noise of laughter and voices talking over each other is sweet to my ears. My mouth is watering from the smell of the brisket cooking merrily in the oven. I open my eyes and peer at the lighted Christmas tree, the presents pushed under it spill out into the room.

For the first time in over six years all my children will be together. My heart swells with joy. I will be like a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings.

Do you remember being disappointed as a child on Christmas morning when the one thing you really wanted wasn’t under the tree? It didn’t matter that you got boxes and boxes of gifts; the one thing you ached for was missing.

That ache is in my heart right now. After waiting for six years to have my children together we will miss the opportunity by one day. The vision is gone like a vapor blown away on the wind. My daughter will start a job on December 23 and they will not be able to make the drive from Kansas. She and her husband closed their retail business this summer and they have been looking for jobs for months. This job is a wonderful Christmas gift for them but their gift is my bitter pill.

Only another mother can understand the dull pain in my heart and the tears that well up at this loss. Some may think I am being foolish but this is what I am feeling right now and feelings are real. There is something precious and fulfilling in having your all your children around you at the same time. It is seeing and experiencing the fruit of your labors, loving and nurturing your children into adulthood. I would give anything to make this gathering happen, but I can’t.

I know that God will bring the healing balm of Gilead to my soul and that I will be able to have a thankful heart, but allow me a few days of lamenting and please don’t judge me.

Picture: MorgueFile

Sunday, December 6, 2009

PURPOSE


NaNoWriMo 2009 is over, but the writing continues. I finished the month with 72,479 words. I have another 20 to 30,000 more words to write to finish the rough draft. Then the fun begins: the editing. I am looking forward to taking my novel line by line and making it the best I can, then handing it over to others. I think it is a good story that others will be able to read and say, yeah, been there, done that.


God has a purpose and plan for every person He has created, yes that means you too. When you ask God what your purpose is He doesn’t say, “oops I forgot to plan something for you, I’ll see if I can find something in this bucket of left over bolts.”

You know that bucket, the one you have, the one that contains all the leftover screws and bolts from those assembly projects you have done. God doesn’t reach down in that bucket and pull something out, hand it to you and tell you to see if it fits. "Nope, that screw is too big," you hand it back to Him and He digs in again to try something else. And, no, He never throws up His hands and says, “I just don’t know what to do with you.” I’ve heard parents say that to their children but our Father God is never at a loss.

My Main Character thinks she knows what God’s purpose is for her life, but she has never asked Him, she is pursuing her own goals. All her striving to reach HER goal brings nothing but frustration, tears, anger and ultimately the worst betrayal, the Judas kiss from her father. When everything is stripped away she finally asks God, “What do you want me to do with my life?” And surprise, He has the answer for her. It has been in front of her all along.

Do you know what your God ordained purpose is? If you do, are you pursing it and stripping away those things that are a hindrance to that goal. There is nothing that will give you greater pleasure in life than being in the center, the bull’s eye, of God’s target. Every person in their place participating in God’s plan for their life brings total life to the body of Christ and the world at large. I know that sounds grandiose but think about the individuals called to be researchers, teachers, politicians, writers, mothers, accountants, carpenters, doctors, musicians, etc., each performing their God given purpose brings the world into harmony, like a symphony.

I’m sure you have heard of, or you know people who have worked for 20-30 years at a job they hate when their real love is fixing broken lawn mowers, they just have a knack for figuring out what is wrong. That knack may be God’s purpose for their life. Just think where we would be without someone to fix our lawn mowers. That may seem like a silly example but it is fact. No position is greater than another position. If fixing lawn mowers is the right position for you than you shouldn’t stoop to be the mayor of your town.

At the end of a year and the beginning of a new year most people give at least a brief glimpse back and forward to see where their life has been and where they are going, wouldn’t this be a good time to ask God what His purpose is for your life? Once you know, it is your responsibility to begin working towards that goal. Yes, I said work, it won’t be handed to you just because it is God’s purpose.

Here is a question for you. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail and money was not an issue?

When I was asked that question five years ago my answer was, to be a writer and a speaker. I was doing neither. Now I have had a short story published and I am working on a novel. This is God’s calling for my life and I love it.

photo image:flickr

Sunday, November 22, 2009

TOMORROW


“Tomorrow I’ll call my family, tomorrow I’ll think about what I need to do to become a missionary, tomorrow I’ll talk to that friend of mine, tomorrow I’ll think about that book God wants me to write.”

Sound familiar?

How do you know what is going to happen tomorrow? For the length of your lives is as uncertain as the morning fog-now you see it; soon it is gone. What you ought to say is, "If the Lord wants us to, we shall live and do this or that." James 4:14-15 TLB

Today an anointed man of God went home to be with Jesus. Pastor Billy Joe Daugherty of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, OK died at 4:04am. He was diagnosed with cancer in October. Pastor Daugherty was 57 years old. The people he has pastored for 30 years are so grateful that he didn’t say, “I’ll start pastoring tomorrow.” They received the gift that God placed in him because he used it to minister life to those God put before him.

I am grieved at the loss of a great man of God but it has pricked me to think on my life. Am I giving each day of my life to the role that God has placed before me? Or am I wasting time thinking I’ll always have tomorrow?

What about you? How are you capitalizing on the days that God has given you? Are you filling up and emptying out every day?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Adieu for November


Hello friends,
Today is the second day of NaNoWriMo. I did well on my writing yesterday 4,500 words. I had a great day with the Colorado Springs NaNo group. But here it is, after 1pm, and I have not touched my story. What have I been doing? Laundry, reading emails, and blogs that I follow. Since I have to leave my house a little after three to pick up my granddaughter and play with her until her mom or dad get home around 5:30 I have lost the best part of my writing day. It will be a late night tonight.

I love reading the blogs of those I am following and others that I stumble across, you all have such wonderful things to share and I feel I am friends with you. Friends don't ignore friends but for the month of November I will have to cut down, or out, my time spent reading your blogs and use that time for my writing. Don't think that I no longer care, I do.

I pray for each of you who read and follow my blog that whatever you are facing right now in your lives you will have the strength to go through and be victorious.

I will enjoy reconnecting in December.

Diane

Saturday, October 31, 2009

NaNoWriMo INSPIRATION

As we begin NaNoWriMo, at midnight tonight, each of us looks within ourselves for inspiration. We are not just writing to write, we are writing with a purpose.

“Winning” is not the only goal. Chariots of Fire is my inspiration for this race. There were so many incredible lines in this movie, and for your encouragement I am quoting some here.

“You came to see a race today. To see someone win. It happened to be me. But I want you to do more than just watch a race. I want you to take part in it. I want to compare faith to running in a race. It's hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul. You experience elation when the winner breaks the tape - especially if you've got a bet on it. But how long does that last? You go home. Maybe your dinner's burnt. Maybe you haven't got a job. So who am I to say, "Believe, have faith," in the face of life's realities? I would like to give you something more permanent, but I can only point the way. I have no formula for winning the race. Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, "Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me." If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.” Eric Liddell

One of my favorite lines, spoken by Eric Liddell, at a critical point in his life. “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”

I rewrite this for all you writers who are writing for God: “I believe God made us for a purpose, but he also made us writers. And when we write we feel His pleasure.”


 May this year’s NaNo be more than a challenge to produce 50,000 words in 30 days but may you grow closer to God as He speaks through you, onto the screens of your computer, the words that would give Him pleasure, knowing that the world will someday read them.






Saturday, October 24, 2009


Countdown to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Over 100,000 people around the world commit to spend the month of November tied to their chair, fingers on their keyboard, snacks and drinks close by, to put out the incredible number of 50,000 words, that’s 1667 words per day. Why you may ask? Because it is there; not, that is just a clique, something we don’t want in our writings.

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1st. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30. Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.” This means no editing as you go along; just get the words on paper or computer, depending on your material of choice.

I had a desire to write and had written some stories but a whole novel was something different. Could I do it? Could my mind come up with a story idea that could last for 50,000 words? Would I dump everything in my brain and find I could only come up with 10,000 words? NaNoWriMo 2008 provided me with the perfect set up to find out if I could do it. I didn’t finish my novel, but I did crank out over 80,000 words in 30 days. Of course an awful lot of it is pure junk, but there is some treasure in there too. During those 30 days I was in a world of my creation. It was hard to come out of that world to do laundry, cleaning, preparing meals, errands, etc, so it did not get done as frequently as usual.

The main reason I was able to stick with it and produce was because of the support that NaNoWriMo provides for those who sign up. They have a web page with constant updates, emails of encouragement from authors are sent on a regular basis, you have your own page for your personal data and a wonderful graph that shows your word count, which you enter daily. Most cities have support groups headed by Municipal Liaisons. These wonderful people set up “write-in” meetings. Imagine a room full of people and all you hear is a soft click, click all over the room, this is what a write in sounds like.

It’s 2009 and I am going back to my cave. So my friends, if you don’t see much of me or hear from me, know that I am in my room, locked away from civilization to create. If you want to know if there is anything you can do to help I have a couple of suggestions: come over and clean my house (but please do not disturb me), bring over meals for Bob and me, bring me candy (sugar free hard candies and chocolate).

I will try to post updates of my progress on my blog, so check back once November 1 arrives.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fragrant Seasons


Step outside, take a deep breath, that’s fall in the air.

I am amazed that dead leaves can have a pleasurable fragrance that defies description.

Just as God has promised, the seasons come and go.

For as long as Earth lasts,
planting and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night will never stop.
Genesis 8:22

For me, each season has a fragrance of memories.

Spring: rain, hyacinths, new grass

Summer: flowers, fresh mown grass, chlorinated water

Fall: pumpkins, dead leaves, turkey

Winter: snow, smoke from chimneys, Christmas trees

What are some fragrances that you associate with each of the seasons?

Image: Morguefile

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Will You Wait?




Itarsi, a city in Madhya Pradesh, India is host to a pastors conference that is taking place right now.  This conference will minister to almost 1,000 rural pastors. Our pastor, a team of teachers and group of young people from our church are a major part of this conference. The team of young people are a praise team and a camera crew who are capturing footage of this holy time.

The rural pastors who are attending this conference are not going for a pick me up, like we would do when we go to a Joyce Meyer conference or other religious gatherings. These pastors will take what they learn to their little churches and turn the country of India inside out for Christ. They daily risk their lives to preach the gospel that we take for granted.

Our church has a web site set up and updates are posted daily by the team in India. I love technology. This website enables us to know how to pray for the conference and the pastors.
One of the young people on the team put up a post that is so impactful that I am copying it here.

Don’t forget to wait
Post by: Justin Hale (video editor)

As I sit here in the air-conditioning, capturing footage and listening to iTunes, there are hundreds of pastors and students gathered less than a block down the street learning how to be better husbands and wives. This is their seventh session of the day, each session’s topic ranging from “Encountering God Through Praise” (way to go PR) to “The Life of John the Baptist”. Each attendee sits eagerly, notebook in hand, soaking in every word, ready to write that next bullet point down, ready to ingest this sermon and deliver it in his own church. This scene could be any pastoral conference arena or bible college classroom. Except this is no ordinary theological dissertation. This sermon might be the one that causes the sky to rain with ashes made of what used to be his church. That next bullet point might cause the streets to run red with his own blood. This isn’t America, with a church on every corner. This is Madhya Pradesh.

A few hours ago, while I was eagerly anticipating lunch being served, I commiserated with a fellow teammate who was saying that he usually had difficulty making it through one sermon, let alone six. You see, in America, we live in a “streak o‘ lightning” world, constantly being bombarded with distraction after distraction, moving from one stimulation to the next like we change songs on our iPods. The only thing that is constant is that we are constantly moving, marching to the insane beat of some drummer who moves so fast he might have eight arms and a Red Bull addiction. Our days are suitcases packed so full you couldn’t zip it if an entire offensive line sat on it. All of this noise serves to do one thing: it reduces our attention spans to zero. And good things only come to those who wait.

Psalm 46:10 says “Be still, and know that I am God;” but how often are we really still? How often do we wait on Him? Are we willing to sit in the sweltering heat for hours at the clip just to hear what His word has to say? Regrettably, I usually can’t sit in the comfort of my air-conditioned home for less than an hour to wait on Him. The God of the universe paid the most precious price He could pay to have a relationship with us. Think about it. God sent a part of HIMSELF down to earth to be tortured and murdered, then sat three days in HELL, just so that He could have the opportunity to hang out with us. And we act as though our time is so precious. “Hey God, I think maybe I can pencil you in at 3, but we’re going to have to make it a quick one. Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory is coming on and it’s the one where he buys the tennis ball gun from American Gladiators. I know I’ve seen it three times already, but it’s hilarious!”

These pastors represent 2.6 % of the population of India and the anti-christians are scared to death that they will de-stabilize the country. The majority of America is christian and everyone thinks we’re a joke. These pastors are willing to sit through heat, tribulation, persecution and the threat of martyrdom for the chance to have an encounter with God. I want to challenge each one of you, starting with myself, to take a few moments out of the proverbial rat race, and simply wait. Wait until God shows up. And then let’s see what happens from there. I don’t think we’ll be disappointed.



Will you take the challenge to "simply wait" on God?

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Love Letter


I was pondering what I would write for my next blog. I frequently start my writing, when I don’t know the direction I am going to go, with some rambling, then the words start to flow. I went to the book of 1 Corinthians 13 and typed out the love passage from the Message Bible. I rambled about God’s love for His people and my love for my family when God started to speak to me. To some this may sound very strange but God speaks to my mind and I write what I hear him speak. What He gave me tonight was a love letter and I believe it is not just for me, so here is God’s love letter to His daughters (I guess you guys can have it to).

Daughter, you don’t understand my love, you think it has to do with what you do and don’t do. That is not it, you just don’t get it. What do I have to do to show you my love, wasn’t giving my son on the cross enough? Wasn’t a crown of thorns on his head enough? What would be enough to show you how much I love you? I can’t do anymore, you receive it, believe it. I can’t do more, I have done it all. It grieves me when you don’t believe me, I weep for you to understand. I will never leave you or forsake you, but you leave and forsake me. You go around with thoughts running through your mind that you are not good enough, that you have nothing to offer, that you are not real, that you are fake and if anyone knew the real you they would not like you. You go around trying to get everyone to like you, they already love you. You don’t know how many people love you, including your husband. You touch hearts for me. I have put love in you and you know how to love, but you don’t know how to receive love. Lay your head in my lap and let me heal the hurts, some are ones you have inflicted on yourself because you don’t believe me. I want to heal them all, to make you whole, nothing missing, nothing broken. You are broken right now, there is pain in you right now, I did not put it there, you have it because you receive it, you put it there yourself because you refuse to just be who I created you to be. You are a wonder. Right now you are refusing to receive it, you don’t feel worthy, you reject my gift to you. Just receive it. Open your heart, it won’t burst, stop or bleed to death. Jesus already took the sword to his heart, so yours could be whole, healed and bursting with love, not condemnation. Never condemnation. If that is there, it is not from me. I convict where I see sin but I never condemn. You do that to yourself, you think less of yourself than I do. I see a… yes you must type it… I see a beautiful, holy, gracious, loving creation made in my image to do good, good, good works for me. You are able; you are created for me, for me. Not your husband, not the world but for me. You and I have a pact, you come to me and I speak to you like I am doing right now. We are one, I in you, you in me. Feel it, you are whole, wholly mine, forever mine. Don’t leave me again. I have work for you to do. I will, I will use you to write for my kingdom, for my glory. Hear my voice, listen to my spirit. I will give you the words, the ones that will impact and change lives. Don’t worry, don’t work so hard, it will come and it will come easy. It will not be like others because I have declared that I need what you will do. I know that you are a vessel that I can trust. Your heart is pure and holy I can use you. Go now. I love you.


Daddy

Image: MorgueFile

Thursday, September 10, 2009

FOR WRITERS ONLY...OR NOT


B.I.C. – no I’ll not talking about the lighter, although using a BIC lighter to get a fire going under a stuck writer may not be a bad idea. BIC means, Butt in Chair, this being the best position for a writer. Discipline is what it takes to continue to crank out words. My blogsite is titled: Need More Words, because that is what a writer always needs. I will qualify that; a writer needs more of the RIGHT words. Sometimes it is words for the story and sometimes it is words coming from someone who gives them wisdom or is there to cheer them on.

Today I want to give you some Words of inspiration from other writers.

“The most important thing for a young writer to learn is that writing doesn’t come easy: it’s work. There’s no point in fooling with it unless you have to—unless you have a need to do it. A publisher friend of mine says that most writers are not real writers; they are just people who “want to have written.” Real writers are those who want to write, need to write, have to write.” Robert Penn Warren

“Ask yourself in the quietest hour of your night: must I write? Dig down into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be in the affirmative, if you may meet this solemn question with a strong and simple, I must, then build your life according to this necessity.” Rainer Maria Rilke

“The moment comes when a character does or says something you hadn’t thought about. At this moment he’s alive and you leave it to him.” Graham Greene (I love this one)

“Writing is simply the writer and the reader on opposite ends of a pencil; they should be as close together as that.” Jay R. Gould

“Hitch your unconscious mind to your writing arm.” Dorothea Brande

“The discipline of the writer is to learn to be still and listen to what his subject has to tell him.” Rachel Carson

“Get black on white.” Guy de Maupassant

“If you wish to be a writer, write.” Epictetus

I will end with that quote.
Happy writing.


Photos: Courtesy: Morguefile

Monday, September 7, 2009

Adventure with Daddy


When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you cross rivers, you will not drown. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flames hurt you. Isaiah 43:2 NCV

Adventure in the woods with daddy, that’s what this weekend was for my 33 month old granddaughter Callie. Her mom was at a women’s retreat and my son Robert, along with another dad, and his three boys, took off for a camping trip. From the pictures I have seen she was one happy camper. Can you imagine one little girl with five testosterone males? Anything could happen. I was praying.

This picture I posted of them speaks a thousand words to me. I see her daddy watching over her as she crosses a suspended log. Callie seems perfectly at peace, not demonstrating any fear. Why is that? She knows her daddy is right behind her. She has trust in him. If she starts to slip he will catch her. Callie knows this because she spends lots of time with her daddy and she knows he will be there for her. He has a good track record.

This picture made me think of our heavenly Father. Picture yourself as the little girl, with Father God behind you, ready to catch you if you should stumble, as you take the steps He is encouraging you to take. It can be scary when there are no handrails, no safety net, and looking down turns your stomach. Can you trust Him when He says, “Go ahead, I won’t let you fall.” If we haven’t spent time with Him, to know Him, we won’t have developed the trust we so desperately need. He has an unfailing track record.

Jesus said in Matthew 18:3 “I tell you the truth, you must change and become like little children. Otherwise, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” NCV

I want to have the kind of faith and trust I see Callie demonstrating, child like faith.

Do you have that kind of faith?

Callie's dad is always finding injured birds. That is a real live humming bird in her hand.








Monday, August 31, 2009

Writing


I wrote this and it seems to ramble but please stick with me.

I’m sitting outside at “Squeak”, a soda shop by our branch library. It is a beautiful day, not too hot, not too cool. It’s 11:30, lunch time and people are going into “Salsa Brava” for lunch, the smells are delicious.

My husband is at work, yeah God, after over a year of unemployment. My daughter and son-in-law were in for a brief visit on their way to a much needed month long vacation in Australia. They have just sold their business and have wonderful, but scary choices in front of them. We are dog sitting while they are on their trip. Otis is a 150 pound black Great Dane. He is a sweetie and he is getting along great with our golden retriever, Sammy.
Everything seems to be right with the world.
But…

I am having feelings of guilt as I sit here. I should be home so I can finish washing sheets and making beds, and vacuuming the double amount of dog hair accumulating along the walls and in the corners. There must be something that can be made with dog-hair. It seems such a waste, the dogs produce it, drop it as a gift to us and we sweep it up and throw it away. I sure am glad God doesn’t do that with the gifts I bring to him.

Sitting here I am doing what I love, writing. I need to have more respect for my writing, treating it as my job, setting work hours and sticking to them. Why does that seem so hard to do when I am at home? No one is there, except the dogs, so I have a quiet atmosphere and comfy furniture. Maybe it’s the laundry, cleaning, food prep, cleaning up the dog hair, etc, that is always calling to me. If I am at home shouldn’t I be taking care of these things?

I find it easier to work at locations other than my home. The rub is when I sneak off to a coffee shop to write I feel guilty. Like, why do I need to go somewhere else to write, I have a nice office at home. Ugh!

When I am writing I feel so good I don’t want to leave that spot. I am at peace in part of me and at war in another part.

Any other writers struggle with this? I am open for input, help please.

Well it is time to leave this spot, go to the grocery store, go home and make those beds, and vacuum floors. Then a little later it is off to get gas, make a couple of stops before picking up my granddaughter from day care, take her to her home until her mom or dad get home from work. When I get home it will be around 6pm, time to fix dinner and get ready for Tuesday, another full day planned, leaving the house at 6am and getting home around 6pm. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

No Guts, No Glory. Leadville!



What is it that challenges you?
What goal have you set that you are willing to lay down everything to achieve?

This past weekend I saw over 500 men and women come together
to start a journey of a hundred miles. A journey that would take them over mountains and through icy streams, a journey that started in the dark, at 4am on Saturday August 22nd, and for the majority of the 274 finishers would end sometime between 4am and 10am on Sunday August 23rd.

My husband has competed in this journey many times over the 26 years of its existence. This year it was our daughter, Coleen Voeks, who set the goal of being a victor in the Leadville Trail 100 mile run, known as The Race Across the Sky.

With the support of her husband Erik, she put aside comfort and sleep to train endlessly for this race. There could be no mornings where she chose sleep over running. She knew the mountains of Leadville, Colorado would eat her up if she slacked off; she lives in the flatlands of Kansas.

She became a victor on Sunday August 23rd with a time of 29 hours 48 minutes 07 seconds, just 12 minutes shy of the 30 hour cut off time. For those who are not familiar with this type of race, the runners keep moving during this whole time, running and walking in light and darkness. There is no time for sleep. Keeping your body fueled for this type of calorie burning event involves eating large amounts of food, which means eating at every aid station and carrying food with you.

This is a grueling race physically and mentally. At times the mind tells you that you can’t go on, and your body will very happily agree with your mind. This is where you rely on the crew of family and friends you have brought with you. They step in and evaluate your physical condition, give you something to eat, change your socks, get you dressed warmly and tell you to “get your butt in gear, you're not quitting.”

Along with training, having the right people around you when you are going toward your goals is critical. The wrong people will let you quit. The ones who share your vision will feed you, warm you, and push you forward.

There is a saying printed on the shirts given to the participants of the Leadville 100 that says:
“Don’t be fooled by her beauty, Deep within is the grit, guts and determination to move mountains.”

What mountainous goals do you have for your life?
Do you have the guts and determination to achieve them?
Do you have the right people with you to push you and pull you across the finish line?

"It's not the mountain we conqueror but ourselves." Sir Edmund Hillary

The race at Leadville had a 30 hr. limit, your time limit is your lifetime.

Coleen Voeks, finisher of Leadville 100, The Race Across the Sky



Monday, August 17, 2009

Trash Talk



"I am so angry that he said that to me!" I seethed.

Going to my room I stop just short of slamming the door. Tears spurt from my eyes, and my nose is running.

I reach for the phone to call a friend, but before I can lift the receiver I hear:

"Counsel with Me, and look to Me alone for your direction and your encouragement."

"God, can't I call someone?"

"No, talk to me."

"But I need someone with skin on to talk to."

"No, I said, talk to me."

"I don't want to listen to you right now."



This is a frequent conversation between God and me. From the time I became His child this is how He and I have worked things out, together.

If I pour out my anger and anguish to Him, seeking His direction and encouragement, I never have any regrets.

However, when I have gone to others, when God has said "no," there are always regrets; I wish that I could take back the spoken words.

The phone call, or the visit made to someone with skin on, in the guise of seeking advice, is really me seeking someone to dump my garbage on.

When I am honest with myself I admit I want someone else to know the "hardships I am enduring," and to hear them say to me, "you poor thing." I want to have a Pity Party and I want to invite others. The problem with a Pity Party is you aren't serving chocolates, and we all know that any successful party must have chocolates; what you are serving is stinky, smelly, rotting garbage. So now instead of one person carrying the foul odor you have two or more.

When I take my heartaches to God he takes the stink I offer Him, accompanied by my rants, raves, and tears and He dries my face, washes away the stink and covers me in the fragrance of His grace, mercy and unconditional love.

He doesn't always give me answers, I usually already know the answer, but He listens, attentively, no matter how much I rant and rave, and that is what I am most in need of, a listening ear that will not be made stinky by my waste products from a bitter and unforgiving heart.

How do I feel after my time with Him? Sometimes refreshed, sometimes convicted, but always, always loved.

Photo: Dreamstime.com


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Magical Summers


Everyone seems to be in the midst of back to school preparation. Some have already returned to school. Children waiting at bus stops in their new clothes with empty backpacks that will soon be carrying loads heavier than the children whose backs they hang from.

I am from the older generation that truly had a summer vacation. School was dismissed the first week of June and we did not set foot through those doors again until the day after Labor Day. The whole wonderful, warm summer stretched in front of us. Lazy days to ride bikes, go to the beach (Lake Michigan), read books, lay under a shade tree to stay cool, no one had air conditioning, and play baseball in the street. After dinner walks to the drug store to buy a Popsicle and then a stop at the park to swing finished the day light hours.
When darkness fell, the games began. The neighborhood was filled with the sounds of kids playing kick the can.

Empty jars, clutched in our hands, were the receptacles for the fire flies we caught.
The only things that spoiled our night time excursions were the mosquitoes and the calls coming from mothers that it was time to come in.

The empty lot on our block became a neighborhood, in itself, as trees began to be dotted with tree houses constructed by teams of kids. Each had their own design, no cookie cutter houses here.

We didn’t have sports practices to hurry off to, or camp, just neighborhood fun.

Every family of kids spent part of the summer collecting wood, wheels, and rope to construct go-carts. Each planned carefully trying to make theirs the best looking and best working. The power behind the cart was another child pushing. Wonder if we could use them for the Cash for Clunkers program?

Our neighborhood invented the garage sale for kids. At least once during the summer we would each go through our toys and decide what we were ready to part with. Tables set in front of each house carefully displayed what we had to offer. We excitedly searched other tables looking for something from our friends cast offs that we couldn’t live without, great recycling plan.

We played “dress up” and acted out weddings and family situations, dad coming home from work, mom home with the kids, trying to discipline the unruly ones.

Several summers we put our talents out there for the world to see. Our neighbor’s garage became a theater. The blanket hung from a rope extended across the garage opening was our curtain to the world of entertainment. There was music, very amateurishly performed, no America’s Got Talent candidates here. A small play was presented, homemade costumes and all. We set up chairs in the driveway and invited all the moms to attend. Lemonade and cookies were served, we knew our talent wasn’t going to draw them so we thought, give them food.

We were just being kids having fun, no schedules, no responsibilities. We had no idea that in all our play time we were learning. We were learning physics as we assembled our go-carts. The base had to be wide enough that you didn’t turn over when you made turns. The front axel (a piece of wood) had to be able to rotate to make the turns. The rope that was used for steering had to be the right length so you could control the direction of the cart. The brake, (another piece of wood) had to be positioned on the back, at the right angle, so you could reach back with your left hand and pull it. If you placed it right, it would rub against the back wheel, sending the cart into a spin, and hopefully stopping it. You may be wondering where we got our wood. We had a source three blocks from the house at the grocery store, orange crates. We would pull them apart and they provided most of what we needed, we would raid our garages for the rest of the wood. Wagons lost their wheels for our more sophisticated transportation.

We learned about life skills in our play acting of home life, and games required team skills and cooperation. Our toy sales demonstrated our entrepreneurial skills.

We had our share of fights with the other kids but our parents knew how to handle them, we had to come into the house for a cooling off period. Soon all was forgiven and we were thinking of new adventures together.

I guess those children standing at the bus stops had their ways of having fun during their school break but I can’t help but wish they could have some of the magic that we experienced.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Vassal or Vessel?

Acts 9:15 NKJV
…he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.

“God please use me.”
Have you ever prayed that? Sure you have, most of us have, but what are we saying when we pray that? Do we really want to be “used” by God?

Be truthful, no one likes to be “used” by another person.

What is your reaction when you realize that someone has “used” you to promote themselves? Do you respond with anger, or bitterness, maybe you find yourself saying, “I will never let that happen to me again.”

In light of this, why would we pray to be “used” by God?

I know, I know, it sounds so spiritual.

What God desires from us is the willingness to be a vessel though which He can work.

God wants VESSELS, not VASSALS.

A vassal is a person who is a servant or slave. It also means to be subjected to control, to enslave.

A vessel is a person into whom some quality (as grace) is infused.

We pour into vessels, and then pour out of them. God pours into us what He needs us to pour out to others. This isn’t” using”; this is sharing in the work.

God wants to do a beautiful work through us. In the book of Acts He says about us: “he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name.”

Chosen: “to want; desire.” God desires to impart into you a quality that will be used for His kingdom. You are not a servant or slave, you are a son. Gal 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Josh 24:15 NIV… then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…

So what is your preference?

Choose this day; will you serve God as a Vassal, or as a Vessel?

Image from MorgueFile

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Valley of Dry Bones


Ezekiel 37:1 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.

The Lord led Ezekiel to a valley filled with bones, bones that had been there a long time, they were dry, really, really dry.

Those bones had been there a while but Ezekiel didn’t know they were there until the Lord took him to the valley and showed him. God wanted Ezekiel to do something about the dry bones. He wanted Ezekiel to talk to the situation.

Is God trying to take you to a valley in your life to show you dry bones, ones that you are not aware are there? If He is, it is because he wants you to speak to those dry bones, to those situations in your life that you believe are hopeless.

With God on your side nothing is hopeless. Your words will determine your outcome.

God asked Ezekiel a question, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
Ezekiel saw an impossible situation but he didn’t speak out what he saw. His answer was, “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know the answer to that.”

Ezekiel started out by recognizing who God was; then he acknowledged that God was the one who had the answer. God told Ezekiel to speak to the bones. That must have clued Ezekiel into the miracle that was about to take place.

God commanded him to speak what was necessary for the bones to become living people, the bones needed tendons on them and flesh to come upon them and to be covered with skin. Ezekiel spoke to those dry bones and told them what needed to happen.

When you speak to your situation, your dry bones, be specific, not general. If you are in need of finances be specific about the amount you need. If you pray and say, “God, I need some money.” God can prompt someone to give you $5.00. He has answered your prayer. But you had in your mind that you really needed $200.00 so your electricity doesn’t get turned off. Yes, God does know that you need $200.00 and he could give it to you but he wants you to be specific in your spoken words. If I go to Starbucks (where I am writing this, I gave myself a treat) and I say I want a grande coffee, and that is what they give me, I certainly can’t complain that I didn’t get the cinnamon dolce latte that I really wanted – I got what I SPOKE.

When Ezekiel spoke to those dry bones he got what he spoke. The bones now had tendons, flesh and skin. God told him he had one more thing to do. He had to speak again for it to be completed. If he would have stopped at this point all he would have had was a bunch of bodies. They had no life yet.

When speaking to your situation don’t stop before it is complete. When Ezekiel spoke to those dry bones we don’t know how long it took for the tendons, flesh and skin to appear. Did it happen instantly, did it take a day, a week, a year? We don’t know. Ezekiel spoke the last step as God commanded, he stayed to completion.

Ezekiel 37:10 “So I spoke as He commanded me, and the wind entered the bodies, and they began to breathe. They came to life and stood up on their feet-a great army of them.”

What dry bones situation is going on in your life? Speak what God would say to that situation. You will have what you say, so say what you want.

Thank you to Coleen Shaw Voeks for the picture

Friday, July 17, 2009

What Goes Around Comes Around



My 31 month old granddaughter Callie drinking out of a cup her daddy drank out of when he was her age…a long time ago…

Friday, July 10, 2009

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

July 10th, already. Have you done the things you planned? Have you even planned anything?

Don’t let this more laid back time get away from you. Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.




I’d hate for you to be facing the Labor Day weekend and wondering where the time went. I’d hate for that to happen to me, yet it seems to happen to me every year. How about you, do you have regrets at the end of the season of summer? Make it different this year. I am going to try.

On the other hand you may be one of those who packs so much into each day that you are wiped out, wrung out, and dried out, and giving everyone who comes near you the evil eye.

There is a balance here. Make a plan. Find out what is happening in your area this summer. Check your newspapers, check online. Make a list, or lists.

First list: events/activities planned just for kids. Don’t have any children? Borrow one, or more, it will give you an excuse to act childish and it will give a worn out mom a break.

Second list: events/activities you want to do, adult things, concerts in the park (you can bring the kids to these but why???), rides on your motorcycle (can’t take the kids on this one unless you have a sidecar, again why would you???), you get the idea.

Third list: Things to do as a family: beach, pool, amusement park, vacation, drives in the mountains, picnics, even just a walk in your neighborhood can be fun. You get exercise and you meet all your neighbors.
.
I am sure you can think of a lot more things to do. Write them down, put them on your calendar. I hate when I realize something I wanted to attend was last weekend; that is why you shouldn’t trust your memory.

If you are married to someone who thinks adventure is sitting in front of the TV or a computer, then find a friend to go with you, or go by yourself. Sometimes your own company is good for you.

Gathering others to join you on your excursions adds to the fun. Don’t forget your camera.

Allow time to just laze around, find a good book, the library has lots.

Right now my hammock is calling me. Have a wonderful summer.





Thank you to the Nancy Lee Ould family for the youtube video.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Independence Day is upon us and many celebrations will be taking place.


Winnetka, Illinois was a great small town to grow up in the 50’s and 60’s. It definitely was a simpler and safer time for everyone. No locked doors on houses, kids played outside in the dark, walking, or riding your bike, anywhere was the norm. I have many great memories, but ones that really stand out are the celebration of Independence Day in our small town.

We would start decorating our bikes days before, starting with a trip to Woolworths, the 5 & 10 cent store. If you waited too long to go, there wasn’t any red, white and blue crepe paper left and if you couldn’t get that, you might as well forget decorating your bike. We would start with weaving the crepe paper between the spokes of our wheels. Then we would wrap the handle bars and of course at the end of the handle bars we would have streamers of the red, white, and blue crepe paper. If there was enough paper left we would wrap any other bars on the bike. The final addition was a playing card attached to the back frame with a spring clothes pin, when this was fastened right the playing card would click against each spoke as you rode. That was our motor sound. Now we were ready for the grand parade.

Many times the Independence Day Parade came right by our house. We didn’t have floats back then but we had bands, military people, scouts, firetrucks and at the very end would be the hundreds of kids on their decorated bikes. We were part of the parade that ended at the Village Green. We listened to speakers talk about our great country, had a 21 gun salute and at the end every child was given an ice cream and an American Flag. Those of us with bikes would try to attach that flag somewhere on our bike and if we couldn’t do that we would proudly carry it in our hand.

That afternoon we would barbecue in our backyard and my mother would have homemade potato salad. I loved that potato salad. At night of course there would be fireworks. Our small town did not have them so we had to drive somewhere else to watch. One of the places for a big display was in Evanston. We went to a stadium and there were things going on the ground as well as in the sky. One of the most spectacular was a display of the American flag made up of ground fireworks. It only lasted seconds on the ground but the image lasted hours in your mind.

I think those memories may have been the seed for me to truly love and cherish our flag. At our home my mom and dad always put up the large cotton flag with 48 stars, remember this was in the 50’s (Alaska became a state in Jan. 1959 and Hawaii Aug. 1959). Our flag had individually sewn stars and each stripe was an individual strip sewn together. It was a beautiful flag. The flag that my husband and I fly each day is a printed flag, not as beautiful ecstatically but just as beautiful for what it represents, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

George Washington Adams, son of John Quincy Adams and grandson of John Adams, in 1824 said concerning our independence: The effects of this Declaration are now everywhere visible. Look through the country and behold our accumulated blessings: see nature robed in beauty, fertile in rich luxuriance; see health and plenty everywhere around you; see a dense and settled population stretching from the cold regions of the North to the exuberant [rich] valleys of the South, from the prolific intervals of the East to the flourishing prairies of the West; see your shores washed by two oceans and the soil your own. Are not these motives for rejoicing?” (taken from WallBuilder Report 2006 by David Barton)

Happy Independence Day!

For incredible information on our country go to wallbuilders.com
photo:morguefile.com

Monday, June 22, 2009

I'M PUBLISHED

On Tuesday June 16th a book containing my first published story hit the bookshelves at Barnes and Noble and Borders.

The bands were playing and the reporters were there to snap my picture. Adoring fans were waiting in line for me to autograph their purchases.
Oh wait, the music is coming from the speakers in the ceiling, the camera being snapped was my hubbie taking a picture of me with the book and the line of people, um, they were waiting to purchase their Starbucks in the coffee shop.

So, what is the name of the book that made the wise choice of including my story?
Chicken Soup for the Soul, Tough Times, Tough People. My story, Going Back, is on page 319.

Two other women from our writers group, Words for the Journey, had stories published. Robbie Iobst’s story A Child’s Gratitude can be found on page 56 and Kay Day’s story Lifeline of Hope is found on page 247.

After my book tour my hubbie and I headed to Cold Stone for an ice cream. First publication was a once in a lifetime event and deserved a celebration.

So go out and buy the book or your teeth will fall out. :)

Me and the book



Good ice cream

My hubbie


Monday, June 15, 2009

Broken


Broken. Inside. Asking why doesn’t reveal answers, at least answers I am ready to receive.

Hurt. Physical ache in my heart.

Heading in the right direction? Or heading in the wrong direction?

Satisfaction is not in sight. Everything I do is not enough. Not enough in my own eyes.

There is a plug, holding back creativity, joy, contentedness.

A fountain of frustration and anger wants to erupt.
What will come out?
Is the frustration with others or myself?
I think myself.

Expectations. Too high? God has very high expectations.
Maybe too low? I hadn’t thought of that. Perhaps if the expectations are raised I will push hard. Push past the plug.

PUSH - Pray Until Something Happens.
Prayer, the communication with God that erupts from deep within your spirit, not from your mind. The mind is a swirling mass of information taken in over a lifetime, some good, but most useless. The useless is what gets attention. It is time to change that.

What makes sense? My life doesn’t right now. I have everything, but feel nothing. Nothing because, right now, in this moment, I am not producing for the Kingdom. I will not find satisfaction until I return to my first love. Until I relent to the work of my fingers on a keyboard, or pen on paper, pulling words from the fount of God’s eternal supply.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Cup of Sin


Communion, a precious time to reflect on Christ and His sacrifice for all mankind.

When Jesus was sharing that first communion with his disciples, in Matthew 26:27-28 it says: Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Sunday I did some reflecting on the “cup” that is spoken of frequently throughout scripture.

Scene: Moses and Joshua coming down from Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments.
Aaron and the people are dancing around the golden calf. A calf they had crafted with their own gold, a calf they sacrificed to, and worshipped. They had quickly turned away from God and returned to the sin and bondage that God had delivered them from when he brought them out of Egypt.

Moses took the golden calf, representing their sin, burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder; and he scattered it on the water and made the children of Israel drink it. They drank the cup of their sin. Exodus 32:20

Scene: The Garden of Gethsemane
Jesus is on his face, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
A second time he is on his face, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”
A third time he prayed the same. Matthew 26:39, 42, 44

The cup – full of sin, our sins. Sins that could only be wiped away with his sacrifice, he had to drink it fully.

Jesus drank the cup of sin dry, every drop. Only a love that we cannot comprehend could do this.

Now he offers a cup to us, another cup, the cup of salvation. Will you drink of this cup?

Psalms 116:13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.


Photo: Morguefile

Monday, June 1, 2009

Faith is a Fight


Life is a treasure box. Each morning we open it to see what it contains. Some days the box is filled with diamonds and pearls and other days it is filled with broken and splintered cheap plastic, good for nothing but to be thrown in the trash. But even the broken, splintered plastic is useful according to God’s word in Romans 8:28 And we know all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

When our eyes can’t see the good that is being worked out, then we have to use Faith. Our pastor has been preaching on Faith and one of the things he keeps saying is: Faith is a Fight. Faith doesn’t just drop in our lap. We have to fight to keep it because we have an adversary who desires to snatch Faith away from us and fill us with doubt and fear.

1 Timothy 6:12 says Fight the good fight of faith. We wouldn’t be told to fight if there weren’t going to be temptations to draw us away from Faith. Faith Fighting is what I am doing right now, not that I don’t do it all the time, but right now there are circumstances which are causing me to be more aggressive in my fighting.

A church friend I have known for 20 years died two weeks ago from Cancer. She was in her 50’s, way, way too young. A single mom with a 24yr. old son. Her life was not completed. Today I received an email from another church friend whose husband has been battling Cancer for years. The doctors do not give him any hope. Vince is a man who has given his life to young people, encouraging them to excel in all they put their minds too. He has been an inspiration to many. His life is not completed.

When we question “why”, this is where Faith makes a stand for what the Word of God says. No matter what happens in the natural, even if the treasure box contains the broken, splintered cheap plastic, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is our healer and our strong tower. His Word gives us the weapons to use in our Faith Fight.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Air Force Thunderbirds


I am being treated to an incredible display of team work. The Air Force Thunderbirds are practicing for tomorrow’s Cadet Graduation at the Air Force Academy. I am blessed to live right in the flight path. They flew over my house this morning and they are back again. What a beautiful sight! Six planes flying is such close formation that one mistake is disastrous for all of them. The sound, the power, the speed and the beauty of the planes sends me in awe each time I see them and I have watched them for 28 years. It doesn’t get old.

There are no “lone rangers” with this group. They know their position and they keep it.

I wish you could all be here with me. Tomorrow I get to see them again for the graduation ceremony.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Colorado Christian Writers Conference

Sunday afternoon I arrived home from one of the most inspiring times of my life. I spent four days in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Estes Park at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

During those four days I became immersed, along with hundreds of other writers, into the presence of God. Each general session, and many of the workshops, opened with prayer. At the General Sessions we shook off everything as we entered the Throne Room of God during Praise and Worship.

Marlene Bagnull is excellent at what she does, I would recommend this conference to beginning, as well as advanced, writers. The theme was Write His Answer, but I felt a sub theme going on, Encourage One Another. From the workshop leaders, to fellow writers at the tables at meal time, I found nothing but encouragement. I occasionally had the opportunity to be the encourager, one of the giftings God has given me.

I departed the conference tired, but so full, ready to take what I had learned and put it into practice to become an excellent writer, writing for His Glory. I should have been prepared but I wasn’t, for the enemy attack. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10)

The last day of the conference was topped off with a hayride and cook-out, what a great way to decompress. Following the hayride my throat began to hurt. Sunday morning I awoke and did not feel well at all. I dreaded the three hour drive back to Colorado Springs but with pain relievers in my system and Kristen Heitzmann’s story Secrets playing in my CD player, I made it home. It is now Wednesday and I am still feeling sick, ugh. I haven’t felt like doing any writing, or reading any of the wonderful materials I received at the conference.

One of the women who is in my writing guild, Words For the Journey, also went to the conference and we roomed together. She left the conference on Saturday afternoon and during one of the stops on her drive home she left her wallet on the top of her car. At a stop to get a cup of coffee she realized she did not have her wallet. (The police found her wallet and it is being returned to her. PTL) She told me at our Words for the Journey meeting yesterday, "when I left the conference I was feeling so relaxed" and when she found her wallet missing all her peace went out the window. A light bulb went on in my mind. I recognized the strategy of the enemy. How many other women and men who attended that conference had the enemy come against them?

The thief was trying to steal what was planted in us. I recalled the scripture in Mark 4, the parable of the sower. (Mark 4:15) And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. KJV

Satan had come immediately, even before we got home, to take away the teachings sown in our hearts. But the thief has been found out and he will have to repay seven fold. (Proverbs 6:31)

I don’t know about you but when I wake up and realize that the thief has stolen from me I get fighting mad. He will repay. My heart is good soil for the seeds of the teachings sown into me at the conference and they will produce, thirty, sixty or one hundred fold. (Mark 4:20) I am going for the hundred fold. How about you?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Symphony of Praise


I am seated on the glider on my back deck. It is almost 7:30pm and I am enjoying the wonderful, musical evening that God has graced me with.

I hear a woodpecker playing staccato on someone’s house, I am glad it isn’t mine this time.

The birds are giving their good night chorus of praise to God, the sound of the flight of a humming bird heralds its presence.

The neighborhood dogs are adding their voices, some deep, some high, not wanting to miss out on their part in this symphony God is directing.

Children’s voices and shrieks are adding to the medley being orchestrated tonight.

Pikes Peak is before me and the mountains surrounding it are beginning to be covered in a mantel of storm clouds. Thunder is rolling overhead adding a touch of percussion.

Luke 19:40 says: I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

My whole neighborhood is giving praise to God and I join.

Lord, you are mighty, you are awesome, you are the King of Glory and I praise you for my life.

Hallelujah!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Road Trip Part II

Yesterday I posted about the road trip I am on. I wrote about number one of the two reasons Marietta and I took this trip. Today is about the second reason.

Marietta and I both have children living in Kansas. Marietta’s son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter live in Paola, Kansas. My daughter and son-in-law live in Kansas City.

Our first stop was Paola to Kimberly and Tim’s recently opened coffee shop “The Country Bean.” What a great looking coffee shop. Tim built all the counters, and the furniture. He did such a great job on the furniture that people asked him to build furniture for them so he started a business from it, “The Country Bean Woodworking Co.” The coffee products and food that are served are top notch. The macaroni and cheese is to write home about. Their daughter Ella, who is less than three months old is part of the business, she goes to work daily with her mom and dad. Customers come in looking for her and even give them money for diapers for Ella. Their shop is located close to the high school and the students come in regularly and are very welcomed. The shop holds Wii tournaments on Friday nights to give the young people a place to go. For $5.00 they are entered into the tournament and they receive a small drink. The winner receives half the money taken in. They really have a heart for young people.

The next day my daughter Coleen and son-in-law Erik drove to Paola and all of us went out to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. We had a great meal and the young folks had a good time sharing business stories. My son-in-law and daughter also own their own successful business. We were having such a nice time together that we didn’t notice that we were the last people there and they were waiting for us to leave so that they could close. I said goodbye to Marietta as she returned to her son’s home and I headed to Kansas City to spend a few days with Coleen and Erik, their three cats and one very large dog, Otis, a black Great Dane.

My daughter gave me a wonderful Mother’s Day gift. We both had facials. Ah, that’s the life. After lunch at Panera Bread we went to their business, “Need More Discs” in Shawnee. I purchased five movies from their vast inventory of DVD’s and looked at the music CD’s but didn’t find any that I wanted this time. If my husband had been with me I know he would have found some, we always go home with a stack to add to our growing collection. I have never gone into their store and not purchased something, it is a good thing I don’t live closer.

My son-in-law is cooking stir-fry for dinner on Saturday and Sunday I am being taken out for Mother’s Day brunch. It has been a great visit with them. They always show me so much love and we have a special time together.

This has been a wonderful trip and Marietta and I talked today about planning another one. We may take a cross country train trip; I have never done that before.

Marietta will be driving back to Illinois on Monday or Tuesday. I catch a plane back to Colorado on Sunday evening from Kansas City. I am sure my husband will be glad to have me back and I will be delighted to see him.

Image: Ryan Kramer

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Road Trip

I have been on a road trip since Satuday May 2, it started out with a plane ride to Illinois. My step-sister-in-law Marietta and I have been traveling through Illinois, Iowa and Kansas. No we are not “Thelma and Louise”, in fact neither of us has seen the movie but we have been hearing about it all week. We assured everyone that we would not end the trip the way they did, yikes!

We had two goals for this trip. 1. Research for Marietta 2. Visiting our children.

Marietta is a writer of mystery stories that take place in small towns with interesting names. She has been talking about taking a trip to What Cheer, Iowa for about two years.
I volunteered to take the trip with her.

We determined that this would be an unstructured trip. If we saw something we wanted to stop and see—we would. Our time in Illinois was spent visiting family. My mother, sister and brother and their families live there and I spent a day with them. We also visited my husband’s family.

On Tuesday we headed the car to Iowa and our ultimate goal, What Cheer.
What Cheer was a prosperous town of 3,000 through the 60’s and because of the coal industry shutting down and a clay pipe company closing, the population has dwindled down to six hundred. We took some pictures of the Opera House and then went to the library/town hall to do research. We met some great people there. One of the women was an 80 year old American Indian who had some great stories about herself and her town. This woman was full of energy and laughter and did not look her age at all. She has been through some pretty rough times, she was a mother and a widow at the age of 13, her husband was killed in WWII. She has eleven children and has been through six husbands. I forget how many grands and great-grands she said she has. She spends her time and resources helping those who are in need. This lady knows no such thing as retirement.

We took lots of pictures of the town and ate lunch at the lone restaurant; it was a double wide across from the park, good hamburgers.

We took side trips to the Amana colonies and the bridges at Madison County. We arrived at the Amana colonies just after 5pm and all but two stores were closed but it was a peaceful walk we took around the town. One of the stores had an Open sign and we could see that lights were on inside so we tried the door and it was locked. As we walked away the woman inside opened the door and asked us if we would like to come in, even though she was closed, she had forgotten to take down the sign. We accepted; it was a delightful shop with a variety of items. Marietta made a purchase and we continued our walk on the deserted sidewalks.

The same day that we visited What Cheer we went to see the bridges of Madison County. There are five covered bridges, we decided to see three of the five since they were scattered about. After finding two, they were identical except for the length, we headed to the third, hoping it might have a different look. I was the navigator. The map we had been given was not the best, it didn’t have many streets marked on it and I sent us the wrong direction. Since it was getting later in the day we gave up on the bridges. We were heading to Kansas and didn’t want to arrive too late. Marietta forgave me because on the wrong road we keep sighting flocks of Turkey Vultures. Marietta is a bird watcher and photographer of birds. We made several sudden stops along the road so that she could jump out and photograph those birds in flight. We also found a pond with a flock of pelicans. Getting lost may have kept us from a bridge but the bonus we got with the bird sightings was worth it.

I found the people of Iowa to be some of the most friendly I have come across in my many travels. They have a love of life. The scenery in Iowa is beautiful too. If you haven’t been there I will recommend it.
Image: Morguefile.com

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Amazing People

“Hi, how are you?”

Who doesn’t say that dozens of times in a day. It is said to strangers and to people we see frequently. I want to talk about the ones we see frequently. What do we know about them?

I was at church last night and was talking with a man I have known on a casual greeting basis for over five years. He was talking with several of us and told us how God has used him because he reads and studies his bible and knows the Word of God. I confess that I didn’t see him he as the “type” of person who would be used in the way God has used him. I was especially surprised when he said that he was asked to teach a youth group for a period of time, and if he hadn’t moved, would probably have been put in leadership over that ministry. I believe he was speaking the truth because he is a man of integrity, but I just could not picture him in that role. There is more to this man than meets the eye.

What is really sad is when we have become friends with a person and we think we know them. We talk on the phone with them, eat lunch with them and then find out at their memorial service that we knew nothing about them but very superficial things.

Do we know the people we labor alongside, at work, at church, in ministry? I know we really do care about getting to know people but it takes time, and how many of us are willing to take the time to ask and listen?

Maybe a better question when we greet people should be, “Hi, Who are you?”

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Moments in Time


There are experiences in life when we would like to stop the world and suspend that moment in time, capture it in some way that we might be able to draw it back at a later time because right now the day is calling to us.

My husband and I had taken a walk and it was a day that the Colorado sky was that beautiful intense blue that I have only seen in the mountain air. I wanted the sky to stay just like that. I did not want to have to turn around on our walk and head back home, but it was time.

Time, in our minds, is what draws us away from those special moments; we are always hurrying on to the next thing on our list.

Embrace what is before you, take a picture in your mind, you may never come to that place again. We find that the simple things are the ones we most cherish.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Vertically Challenged Part 3


In the 70’s my husband and I were looking for a new car. Datsun had just introduced their sports car the 240Z to the U.S. We loved it; it was sleek, beautiful and low to the ground, really low to the ground. We headed to the showroom. I slid into the driver’s seat of that lovely vehicle and imagined myself gliding down the highway with all heads turned toward my car, seeing their open mouths going WOW.

Then my shortness reared its ugly head again. The car had a standard transmission, which I didn’t have a problem with, I preferred one. However, with the car seat all the way forward I still could not depress the clutch far enough to engage it. UGH! We spoke with the salesman and I thought he would tell us that they could reposition the seat so that it could be moved further forward. Unfortunately we did not have a salesman who had attended the Dale Carnegie course, How to Win Friends and Influence People. With a smile and a laugh in his voice he said that they could put blocks on the pedals like they do for children who can’t reach the pedals on their bike. He lost a sale that day and we kept looking for a car.

When my husband and I go out to eat we like to sit in a booth, it is more private but tell my why are booth seats so low? I feel like my chin is sitting on the table. No, I do not want a booster seat!

Here is another one. Have you noticed that clothing stores hang their small sizes up high? Who can reach them? Only those who don’t wear them.

Okay, jump in here all you who are vertically challenged. Let me hear your stories.
Image: Morguefile.com

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Vertically Challenged...Part 2

Grocery shopping is an adventure for those under 5’ tall.
When the item I want is on the top shelf, at the very edge, I can reach it with some stretching. But if that first can or box is gone then the challenge begins. I stand on the bottom shelf, if I can get my foot there, and I can sometimes grab what I want. If the item is back any further I look through my purse for something that is long and ridged, like a comb and then I reach up and try to scoot that item to the edge of the shelf. I have had a few things fall and almost hit me on the head. Did you know that grocery shopping could be hazardous to your health, and I’m not talking about what you purchase to eat? If I have nothing in my purse I begin looking for a store clerk or a customer who is tall and ask for their help. Sometimes I don’t need the item bad enough to go through the gymnastics to get it.

When I am at church, conferences or any place where I am sitting in a chair taking notes I have to cross my legs to keep my book from sliding off my lap, it gets very uncomfortable after a while. Folding chairs are agony for me to sit on for long periods of time; they just don’t fit my body.

I need a desk that is custom made so that I don’t suffer the pain in my shoulders and neck from my hands being at a straining angle when writing or using my lap top. If I raise my chair so that my hands can be in the correct position my feet are not on the floor but on the legs of the chair, as I am seated as I write this. Putting the lap top in my lap doesn’t work unless I can be seated in a very low chair because the lap top would not stay on my lap; it tends to go the direction my knees are facing, that is down towards the floor.

More adventures will be coming. How do you cope with the above issues if you are 5’ tall or under?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Vertically Challenged...Part 1


I have a handicap. It’s not a handicap that earns me a special parking place, but I do have limitations. I will be sharing about this over the next few blogs.

In “politically correct” terminology I am “vertically challenged.” To individuals 5’0” and under the world is “super sized.” The average height for U.S. women is 5’4” to 5’5”.

So what is the big deal about a few inches you ask?

I have lived my adult life looking at the world from the perspective of 5’ and did not realize what I had been missing until I tried on a pair of my daughter’s 5” platform shoes; she stands 4’11” tall. These shoes did not just have a high heel but the actual bottom of the shoes was 5” high. When I first put them on I was afraid of falling off of them and injuring myself but once I got my balance I walked around my house seeing things from a new perspective. By the time I took the shoes off I was mad at the world and felt cheated. Do you have any idea what a difference 5” can make????

I could see out the window above my sink and I could reach the top shelf in my cabinets. The view was breathtaking from way up there.

If I was 5” taller I could sit in a chair, all the way back in the chair, and still have my feet on the floor. Shopping for furniture is a chore, not a pleasure for me. I try every sofa and chair that looks even remotely like it might fit me and stand up disappointed.

I will be sharing many more hazards of being short but I am putting a call out to all you “short” people to share some of your adventures. Let me know what you have experienced.

Image: Sheilaellen via Flickr