Fawn with SpotsI believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Psalm 27:13


I’ve decided to be more intentional about recognizing my blessings. Since this occurred to me when I got up this morning, I decided this was a good day to start. Our air conditioned home is a blessing in itself. It’s a rambler, and everything we need is on one floor. It’s easy for me to maintain the house and not wear myself out. Our yard is large and full of flowers and trees. I am blessed to have such a yard, and even though I can no longer take very good care of the gardens, I love seeing the vegetation, the birds, and yes, even the squirrels from my deck. I ate a perfect peach for breakfast and went to a meeting of people that I enjoy and appreciate.


I came home in time for an appointment with a decorator—we need a new paint job. But she was running late and called. That was okay because I rescheduled and then took a nice long nap. My husband went to a picnic without me, so that I could stay home and write, which I did. I took a break and went for a long walk in our suburban neighborhood which borders two parks. A half block from home, I was met by a young fawn that still had her spots. She watched me walking towards her, so I stopped, afraid that I would frighten her. I spoke softly to her and to my great surprise, she began walking toward me! I told her she was a silly fawn, that she didn’t know me very well and her mother would probably not be happy if we struck up a friendship. She twitched her ears, and then reluctantly, it seemed, she bounded off into the woods.


My husband was home when my walk was over and we chatted a while. Then I sat down to write this page. Without even thinking about it, I had spent the entire day praising God in the things that I saw and did, the highlight of which was God sending the adorable little fawn to visit with me.


Praise You, God of all the universe, for caring enough for me to bless me each and every day! Amen



Woman Kneeling at CrossYour will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10


Do you ever feel like God’s will is written in invisible ink that fades from the page while you are trying to discern it? I often think I am playing a game of hide and seek when I try to imagine God’s will for my life or even my moments. Such an elusive thing, to be following the will of a God I can’t see with my very naked eye, One Who does not converse with me audibly on a daily basis, and all of this with my humanness and my ego blocking the way much of the time anyway. I read the Bible every day and pray with some regularity, but still I feel I don’t have a grasp on that mysterious thing called God’s will.


I know that God’s will is strong, but many times my won’t seems to be stronger! Frequently, I come back to my theory that the only way to stay really close to God and follow Him all the time is to move to a cloistered monastery where the only thing to do is worship God. But even that’s ridiculous because people who live in monasteries have to do stuff every day too. They have to cook and wash dishes and do laundry and fix the place up and take care of the animals if they have them. Even in a silent monastery, there has to be some kind of communication. Otherwise, how would they decide what to have for dinner on Tuesday night or call the paramedics if one of them falls and breaks a bone?


Maybe when the apostle Paul says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), he is really talking about learning to multitask for Him: develop that “attitude of prayer” so well that you can do it while you are answering the phone or walking to the bus or getting gum out of your child’s hair. Perhaps the key is developing and maintaining a relationship with God where our entire being is focused on communicating even when we think we’re not. If we can “do” God all the time, while we “do” life, His will becomes ever more apparent to us.


Lord, I want to do Your will. Help me with my “won’ts.” Amen


Symbiotic RelationshipSubmit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7


A symbiotic relationship is a close, prolonged association between two or more different organisms of different species that may, but does not necessarily, benefit each member. The term “symbiosis” comes from two Greek words meaning “with” and “living.” An example of a mutually beneficial symbiosis is a cattle egret eating the insects that are disturbed when the cattle rustle the grass as they eat. Barnacles attaching to whales are not so harmful as they are annoying to the whale. But if you’ve ever tried to enjoy a summer evening outdoors in the Midwest, you know all about a type of symbiosis that is harmful to humans: mosquitos feasting on your arm while you try to eat your bratwurst. In this scenario, you are the “host” and the mosquito is the “parasite.”


There are symbiotic relationships in the spiritual realm as well. We speak of the indwelling Christ, which is very beneficial to those of us who seek His face and welcome His full participation and direction in our lives. The Holy Spirit is regarded in the same way. In Romans 8:9 Paul says “the Spirit of God dwells in you.” Paul even says we are “God’s temple” created by Him so that He may “dwell” in us (1 Corinthians 3:16). And we are to “let the word of Christ dwell in (us) richly,” teaching us “wisdom” and making us want to show gratitude with “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God” (Colossians 3:16).


But what about the spiritual parasites we encounter? In Mark’s version of the Parable of the Sower, God’s Word is likened to seed dropped on a path. But “Satan immediately comes and takes away the Word that is sown” (Mark 4:15). Satan is hungrier than those backyard mosquitoes, prowling around “like a roaring lion…looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). How can we rid ourselves of these unwelcome parasites? Jesus gives us that authority! Luke 10:19-20 quotes Jesus saying to the seventy appointees, “See, I have given you authority…over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you.” Satan can do nothing to hurt us because God has already won the battle!


Father, we want to have a relationship with You. Help us to send away all evil spirits in Your name. Amen



primary colorsI have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:13


Did you know that every single color that you see on a computer screen is made from the three primary colors, red, yellow and blue! It seems impossible that just three colors can produce all of the other ones you see, but they do! Now, if you want to get technical, there is “additive” color mixing, used in television and computers (a “pixel” is simply a juxtaposition of the three primary colors). “Subtractive” color mixing is the term used for pigments and dyes, and example of which is printing.


So that’s probably more you ever wanted to know about color mixing! The amazing thing is that God created all the shades and hues and brightness from a very small number of “colors.” So if you have your Big Box of Crayons, you can choose Bright Red or Permanent Geranium Lake, Cosmic Cobalt or Wintergreen Dream, Unmellow Yellow or Blizzard Blue—and God knows all about every one of them. When He made the water in the lake behind your home or the grass in your lawn or the pink in your grandson’s cheeks, He knew the names of all the shades and nuances of how those things would appear to the human eye.


Color means more to God than just what we as humans perceive on a daily basis. God felt color was so important He used it as a sign of His covenant with His people long before any of us were around. When Noah, his family and the animals-two-by-two finally found themselves on dry land, God told them to “be fruitful and multiply, abound on the earth and multiply in it” (Genesis 9:7). Then He told them He was making them a promise: “never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters.., and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth” (v. 12). As the storm clouds cleared and the flood waters receded, God gave the people a sign by placing a rainbow—raindrops and sun crossing paths—in the sky, displaying a full range of all the colors of light reflected off drops of water (v. 13). What a sign!


A rainbow of color was the sign of Your promise, O God! Amen


Animas RiverThere is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. Psalms 46:4


At this writing, the Animas River in western Colorado is running yellow-orange. The Environmental Protection Agency was examining an abandoned gold mine near Silverton, Colorado when a levee was unintentionally breached by heavy equipment workers, releasing nearly three million gallons of pollutants into the water. The plume of heavy metals included arsenic, lead, copper, aluminum and cadmium. The spill moved down the river from Colorado into New Mexico and Utah. By conservative estimates, there are over 500,000 abandoned and inactive hardrock mines strewn across the country, and the cost for their clean-up would be $50 billion, according to an EPA report. Authorities are scrambling to decide what to do about the spill, some saying the metals have already sunk to the bottom of the river and pose no threat. Others aren’t buying that line of thinking. Drinking water is being tested throughout the area, and farmers and ranchers are concerned about crops and livestock dependent on the river and the water tables below.


I have a picture in my mind of God holding His beautiful gem, the Earth, in His hands and weeping over what mankind is doing to this planet. Those who rushed to the gold mines of the west in the 1800’s were only concerned with getting rich, but the Bible says “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” and those who pursued wealth without scruples “pierced themselves with many pains” (1 Timothy 6:10). The treasure which the Lord created in the beginning was perfect because He made it so. He created humans in His image and gave them charge over the things on earth. But He also gave us free will, so we do not always display God-like qualities. Isaiah prophesied that if we could “pay attention” to God’s commands, our “peace would become like a river” (Isaiah 48:18). Instead, another river is contaminated.


God will have the final word. When this life is over, we will see “the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1)


Lord, we praise You for our beautiful earthly home. Stir us to take care of what You have created. Amen


Shaggy DogLet the wise…understand a proverb…the words of the wise and their riddles. Proverbs 1:5-6


No, it’s not a typo. You thought I wrote “Shaggy Dog Story,” which is a long-winded story possibly including irrelevant information resulting in an ending that a disappointment, or a pun (which is often the same thing). Shaggy dog stories keep listeners interested because they want to know the outcome, and much of the “humor” involves the ability of the story teller to mesmerize his audience until the bitter end. My mother used to tell Shaggy Dog Stories. I can’t remember any of them, but the punchlines have played in my mind as a loop tape for years. “It’s of no consequence except to another hippopotamus.” “On the other hand, she had a wart.” I wish I could remember the stories themselves, and I suppose you do too.


So Jesus called the disciples together in heaven and said He had an assignment for them back on earth. “My children have wandered away from My Word,” said Jesus. Peter asked, “Are you sending us to Israel?” “No, Simon,” He replied, “I’m sending you to Los Angeles. But when you get there, you will need to purchase a vehicle.” The disciples looked aghast. “The distances now are too far to walk, and Los Angeles is covered in asphalt, so your sandals will burn up.” “What kind of vehicle should we purchase, Lord?” asked Thomas. “You will know the right one,” Jesus said, smiling. And suddenly the disciples found themselves on Redondo Boulevard. They looked at Chevrolets and Fords and Dodges and Mitsubishis and Toyotas. They tried out all the miraculous features of each vehicle. “Nothing is big enough to hold all twelve of us,” said Matthias, for he was the newest disciple and he needed to be close to the others. “We cannot be separated,” agreed Mark, “but Jesus said we would know which vehicle is right, and none is big enough for all of us together.” Just then, a Toyota salesman approached the group and said, “Gentlemen, Toyota has just introduced a new vehicle with all the most advanced amenities, but it is the size of a limousine and seats twelve.” “That’s it!” Peter cried. “Jesus said we should all be in one Accord!” Now that’s a Shaggy God Story!”


We praise You for humor, Lord. It keeps us going! Amen


Jesus Washing FeetHumble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10


“Humility is our bread, obedience our wine,” says Dr. Calvin Miller in his book Into the Depths of God. “We gain true humility not by putting ourselves down but by standing next to Christ.” When we see how great the true Christ is, we are secure in our place of humility before Him. Miller should know: he accepted Christ at the tender age of nine years old and has dedicated his entire life and work to Christ with joy. In an author review on Christianbook.com, Miller’s life is described as having “borne the indelible mark of the Holy Spirit.”


How can we, as mere human beings, be expected to demonstrate humility as Christ did? Actually, Christ is the very best example of how to be humble. He gave up His heavenly home in glory and all of its rank and privilege to come into this broken world (Philippians 2:6-7). Jesus “emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness” (v. 7). Then, because it was His Father’s great plan for the salvation of all mankind, Jesus “humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross” (v. 8). Why did Jesus have to die for us to be saved? Nothing Jesus could have done in His human form—not His love, His kindness nor even His healing of the sick—could have convinced mankind that He was really God except His defeating death and rising from that grave.


When I was in the entertainment business and not yet in “God’s business,” I would become jealous of another performer until I realized I would never in my lifetime attain what she or he possessed in raw talent. It’s like that with Christ: we must finally give over our egos entirely to Him in order to see that we are not Him. When we are full of ourselves, God can’t fill us. Why must we also be obedient? The answer that satisfies my soul is, “No, I can’t do what Christ did and does, and I never will be able to.” The second part of that answer is, “Christ did it all for me.” If that doesn’t make us humble and obedient, nothing will!

Humble me, Lord, that I may be exalted in Your eyes. Amen


Humble me, Lord, that I may be exalted in Your eyes. Amen



cartoon happy woman with drink

cartoon happy woman with drink

God…will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but…will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13


As a youngster, I didn’t talk about my mother’s drinking. I was ashamed of her, and I knew I’d be in serious trouble with both my parents if they ever found out I had shared our family’s “dirty little secret.” My sister and I—and my dad on occasion—used humor to soften the blow of a very ugly home life. When my mother woke up after being out cold for days, we referred to it as “Hurricane Mother making landfall.” While intoxicated, she would refer to herself as a “gracious lady,” which became fodder for lots of jokes. We girls were “gracious ladies in training” (a truly horrifying thought!). In my memoir, I wrote a whole page parody called “The Vodka Wars,” in which my parents were portrayed as military entities featured in an old news reel. They battled it out in our kitchen over my father placing a rubber band around the vodka bottle and Mother moving it so he would think she was drinking less.


Sad, that we used humor in such a dark way to cope! When I finally decided I was an adult and could maybe tell my story to help others, I spoke on a panel of adult children of alcoholics at the college where I worked. I told the audience that my mother often said, “I know I’m an alcoholic! That’s why I drink so much!” To my great surprise, the comment brought the house down. I was delighted that they were listening, but shocked that they were laughing at my mother’s “disease!” I had no idea what power humor could have to grab an audience’s attention! They all got the point: Mother was in total denial that she needed help.


We as Christians may be doing the same thing my mother did. Sometimes we may say, “I know I’m a Christian! That’s why I sin so much!” But if you’re like me, we sometimes continue to commit the same sins—minor as they may be—over and over again without seeking the help that is already right in front of us. God said He would provide an escape, so ask Him!


Let me walk close to You, Jesus. Amen


Zombit GirlBut God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. Ephesians 10:4-5


When I think back on what I thought I valued before I knew Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, it looks good…by earthly standards. I was born into an upper middle class family, the second of two kids. My parents made a handsome couple. Mother was a real “looker” in her day, always dressing to the nines. My dad appeared especially important in his US Air Force officer’s uniform. Our family lived in nice houses, a “nanny” took care of us when our parents were gone, and we enjoyed what Daddy called the “creature comforts.” We never went a day without food, shelter, and nice clothing. Both my sister and I earned college degrees and worked in respected fields. By worldly standards, we were “good.”


What our family did lack was a visible faith in God and a life rooted and grounded in the Bible. Although my parents were both raised in Christian homes, neither of them attended church or taught us girls about the God Who created us. When my mother’s drinking was at its worst and she was perhaps in the throes of some self-examination, she sent my father and me to a Methodist church in town, where we were baptized (Mother was baptized at an old fashioned tent revival at age twelve). Away at college, my sister escaped this little ritual. Not much happened after this sacred event, however, and life went on pretty much the same.


When I was in my late twenties, ironically at another “tent revival” (this one held in a high school gymnasium), I went forward for the altar call and never looked back. All of a sudden I fully understood that I had been a “dead girl walking,” and that my life was garbage compared to what was promised if I followed Jesus. I have never regretted that decision, although I’m sure it took God divine patience (which He has!) to bring me along His path a few times. Jesus is not only my Savior but a Living Presence in my life to this day. And that’s really “good!”


Praise to You, O Christ, for making Your home inside my heart! Amen


DiabloDo not hide your face from your servant, for I am in distress—make haste to answer me. Psalm 69:17


I rode my own horse daily as a youngster, but marriage, kids and a career led me on different paths. After retirement, a guy I knew offered to lease me his horse. I said, “I can do this!” With my new boots and hat, I was going to be a senior seasoned cowgirl, confident in my equine skills and instincts, ready to climb onto a thousand pounds of raw energy, muscle and precision, and glide through the countryside like I’d just done this yesterday.


The horse’s name was Diablo—Spanish for “devil”—a certain clue. His owner introduced us, gave me a five minute rundown of various horse-related (but not specifically Diablo-related) facts, and left me alone at the boarding stable. Another boarder offered to ride with me. “I’m going to leave the gate open,” my new friend said as we left the paddock. “The owner said to let the other horses out to the bigger pasture.” Another clue (not to mention the thundering of my heart, which I couldn’t seem to shut up). But I naively thought she knew what she was doing. Imagine my surprise when twenty of Diablo’s close personal friends came charging through that gate. Things got ugly. I thought we were going on a trail ride. Diablo decided we were having a rodeo. His raw energy, muscle and precision erupted instantly as he raised all thousand pounds of his naughty self up on his back legs. Once. Twice. And the third time, the saddle twisted to the side with me still seated in it. My instincts told me to use all my strength to “right” that saddle, but the magic was pretty much gone. My legs and arms trembling, I dismounted Diablo to tighten the cinch, at which point he asserted himself yet again and bolted off with the rest of the herd.


Later, I mounted and rode Diablo around in the paddock to prove who was boss. Driving home, I considered why I was still alive and not spread over the rocky pasture in quivering chunks. I decided God is good. I promised Him I would try to make wiser decisions from now on.


Protector God, You came to my rescue with “that horse.” Thank You! Amen