It’s not a joke book….

imagesA reviewer for Dare to Laugh wrote, “I had looked for a bit more lightheartedness.”

Lightheartedness comes when a seventeen month old, little man-child spends a day or two at my house. I lose myself in the joy of watching him as he throws blocks into a green Tupperware bowl, then dumps them out. His fierce look as he proceeds to fill the bowl again says, “Don’t bother me. I’m busy.”

I smile from ear to ear. At the same time a thought crosses my mind and jabs my heart like a sharp needle. What kind of world are you facing, little one? The threats of today are so scary.  I yearn to pick him up, cuddle him, keep him safe, keep him an innocent little boy.

I sigh, take a deep breath and send God a prayer. “Please care for him, God. I love him, but You love him more. Help him grow into a man who follows You. He is Yours, God. Keep him safe. And thank You.”

     As I give this darling little boy into God’s care a sense of peace fills my heart. It is then I dare to laugh because I know God has been with me in the past. He is with both of us now and will be with him long after I have passed on. And I feel lighthearted once again.

 

 

John 21:7

Beloved Disciple

Jesus,
John called himself, “The disciple whom Jesus loved.”
Was he that special to You?
Or, was it that he gloried in Your love?
Were the other eleven too much in awe of You?
Were they so busy trying to prove their love to You
that they neglected to see Your heart, overflowing with love,
for them?

John called himself the disciple whom You love,
but, You did not come for him alone.
You came. You died. You rose for everyone
who believes You are the Son of God.
You died for each of us
so that we could live for You
and with You.

Jesus,
like John,
I dare to say,
“I am a disciple whom Jesus loves.”

Be Careful

Be Careful….

Be careful what you say. Be careful what you do. Be careful what you write.
Each or any of these may boomerang back to you.

The boomerang hit me with my recently published book, Dare to Laugh. Most of the time, deep in my heart, I know God is present in the pain in the world. I know He oversees. I know He sends His love to cover it and I dare to laugh.

Sometimes, however, a “Where are You, Lord ?” strikes me and tears replace the laughter. This time it was a photo of a woman in Bangkok, holding the hand of a tiny little two year old. Her purpose in life? Take little ones from needy parents, promise a good life for the child, but instead, train them to beg, and as they grow older to prostitute themselves. Drugs, little by little, are provided from early age on to make them compliant.

Sure, this happens world-wide, even in the United States. It is only a small look at the ugliness prevalent since the creation of man. How God must sorrow when He sees the world He created and called “good” so filled with evil.

What then? What is my part in this? How do I dry my tears? Pray? It’s easy to pray for those little ones, but how much does my one little prayer improve this little life? Harder comes the thought: pray even for those who lead little children down a hurtful path.

Jesus came so I/we could be forgiven and God loves her in spite of her evil ways. He wants her to come to Him as well. But it’s hard, so hard, to love her and pray for her salvation. My mind says she doesn’t deserve His love. And yet, just think, what will happen to those children when she realizes what she has done and what He is doing!

Jesus promised He would come again and heal the world. (Luke 21:27 – 28). Until then, I must pray, for only so will I dare to laugh through my tears.

From One Writer to Another….

Years ago, when I began sending out pieces to magazines, the word Editor made me tremble. After a month I’d scurry to the mail box to check if there was another rejection from another of those people who didn’t know something good when they read it. On my way I’d repeat to myself, “There won’t be an acceptance.” “There won’t be an acceptance.”

“Forewarned is Forearmed” used to be my armor.

After I began attending writers’ conferences and signing up for “show and tell” with various editors I learned they weren’t so terrifying after all. In fact, most were kind. Some even suggested another editor: “I think what you have written will fit their needs better than ours.” Also, in their workshops they shared many dos and don’ts of writing—errors I didn’t know I made.

Critique groups became an important part of the learning stage. Each participant read her or his article, poem or story aloud. Words were limited. Afterwards the ten or twelve listeners would critique the piece. One new writer said, “If you tell me what’s wrong first, I probably will stop writing.” From there on we criticized by an unwritten law: “Say the good things first, then add constructive criticism.”

Many years have skipped by since my first acceptance. Years of learning. Of taking rejections in stride. Of taking the articles apart to find areas of needed improvement. Now, almost to the top of my hilltop climb, I still find new ideas. New ways of sharing old thoughts.

To help yourself, join or start a critique group. Accept all the advice editors and the other writers give you. Attend conferences and expect to learn enough to make your fingers jump onto the computer and let all your good words pour out. Oh, there is a bonus–you’ll make new, life-long friends, other writers, and hopefully, super editors like the ones who have blessed me, especially the ones named Eddie and Cindy.

The best lesson I have learned: If you love to write. Write.

Most of all, God has given you a talent. Use it for His glory.

Can It Be?

Can it be? My second book, Dare to Laugh, should be ready to read on January 31. The distinctive cover will surely draw you to it….A silver-haired couple, dressed in white, are walking on a sandy beach, headed towards a deep blue sky. Her arm is around his waist and his is around her shoulders. A feeling of peace emanates from the picture.

My hope is Dare to Laugh will give the readers this same calmness. This peace comes when we turn our troubles over to God. When we walk ahead, knowing our lives are covered by God’s love. When we are absolutely certain He walks with us. It is then we dare to laugh, because no matter the trials, the pain, the hurt, we know God is in control. He is always there to comfort, to guide and to help.

….A side note: “Blue Skies” was my favorite song when my husband and I married, almost 65 years ago. For most of those years the skies have been blue, even when trials upset our walk. Not only that, I’ve walked the beaches in Oregon, Mexico, North Carolina and Florida, and when I was only five years old, on the shores of the Netherlands. I see God’s hand in this cover, a reminder He is, as always, beside me.

Beloved Book

Beloved Book, draw me close to the Shining One,
imprint the words upon my heart, magnify the Word.
Beloved Word, come from each page, teach me how to live
for You are the Way, the Truth, the Life.
Beloved Book, in this I see all of God’s wonder revealed to me.
Beloved Word, you bring me Life.

Good , Bad or Indifferent

We have two barking dogs, Uber–a 70 lb. black and gray Aussie and a 25lb. brown miniature Aussie called Bear. It’s not their fault they bark. It’s our neighbors, behind our fence, in the house behind the alley. They have at least one dog, maybe two. Sometimes those nasty creatures break out of their yard and tear up and down the alley, tempting our two. Uber and Bear race alongsode our fence, in our yard. Of course dogs find it necessary to bark when they run. Uber’s loud bark probably wakes the neighbor who works the night shift and is asleep (or was asleep). If that didn’t wake him/her, Bear’s ear-splitting shrill bark will do it.
If those other dogs are gone our dogs have another outlet for their frustrations. Next door, west of us, also behind the fence between our houses, the neighbors have sectioned off an area for two young kids (goats, that is). Our dogs run back and forth, accompanied by loud barks. Every so often they stop to peer through a knothole in the fence to check on their prey. The pesky goats meet them, eye to eye at the hole, teasing and provoking our two innocent pets.
Enough barking. “Uber, come,” I holler. “Bear, come.”
Bear obeys. Uber ignores me. I hate to be mean, but this is war. I haul out a bag of doggie snacks, shake the bag and yell, “Good Bear. Here, good Bear.” Jealousy turns Uber’s head. He stops in his tracks, turns and rushes to the door.
“Sorry. You don’t get a snack,” I scold him. “You’re a bad dog.”
Uber shrugs, gets himself a long drink of water. Tired out, he lies down on the cool kitchen floor, tongue hanging out as he pants. Resting up before the next chance at a protest, no doubt.
How long will it work to trick him this way? Guess I’d better give him a snack once in a while, just to keep him coming.
I wonder what would happen if God worked this way….If I paid no attention to Him when He spoke to me from the Bible, would He stop sending me blessings?

Frustrated

Frustrated

Don’t Keep Me Waiting.

The appointment was for 9am. A side note: “Be there fifteen minutes early.”
OK. No big deal. Weighed in (ugh), blood pressure taken (good), pulse (OK). Next, sit in a small room and wait for the doctor. And wait. And wait some more. No magazines in this cold room. Just a chart on the opposite wall. The only readable words were Heart Disease… Good thing my blood pressure’s already been taken. If I wait much longer I’ll probably wind up with heart problems.
Maybe this could be a prayer room. But after a minute or two I decide it isn’t fair to God to pray just because I’m bored. So I wait. And grow angry. I’ve got things to do.
One by one the minutes crawl by. When “he” finally comes in I point to my
to my watch. And sigh. A deep huge sigh.
He asks, “How are you doing since your last visit?” And then, “I’m sorry I’m late. Got stuck. Do you need to be somewhere?”
I feel like saying, “Well, yah. I need to check my e-mail.”
Before I can let loose he continues. “You haven’t answered my question. How are you feeling?”
I give up and we proceed with the check-up.
On the way home, as I cool down, it strikes me. It could be the doctor had been with someone who had a more severe problem than I did. I had no right to be upset. In fact, a perfect opportunity had presented itself. I could have prayed in that room, but I had put the prayers on the “Later” shelf. I had made Him wait.

Dreams of God

The summer skies of August are filled with billowy white clouds. They drift by, like the dreams of God. What might He be dreaming about today? Peace for His tortured world? For now, there is no peace. But someday, maybe soon,
Look. He is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see Him,
even those who pierce Him;
and all the peoples of the earth will mourn
because of Him.
So shall it be! Amen.
Revelation 1:7 (NIV)

Dare to Live

I wonder–has anyone seen her? She hiked a long way with me up this trail, but she seems to have abandoned me. The person with me now reminds me of her, but is slightly different.
The one I’m missing is the one who took to hopping over rocks and crossing streams on fallen logs. It was no big deal for us to climb up a rocky mountainside. This interloper uses a cane. Says it’s just in case her right leg gives out… I’ve noticed her step is a bit off balance. In fact, she shuffles her feet instead of taking a nice stride.
The altitude bothers her, too. She gasps for breath when we climb too high. Says she uses an oxygen machine at night.
And she now wears hearing aids. Soon after she began wearing them she said, “This morning I had to peek out my bedroom window. Such a racket outside! I thought it was a bird migration, but there were only a few finches out there, chirping away. They sure sounded happy. Made me smile.”
Of course she had to have cataract surgery. On both eyes. Can’t say the inmplants help her spot a deer any quicker, but that’s probably because she is too busy enjoying the mountain scenery.
Wonder how she feels about the book the “other” person wrote. It’s called Dare to Live, Devotions for Those Over The Hill, But Not Under It. Hope she takes the “dare” and accepts these strange additions to her life as a new adventure.
If you happen to see her on your way up this mountain, tell her I’ll be right here, waiting for her to catch up.