Thursday, April 30, 2009

Babbling about Books--Thursday

Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey through His Son’s Addiction
By David Sheff

A dear friend of mine just found out her 23-year-old nephew is on black tar heroin. Her heart ached for her extended family. She felt fear for the future of her nephew.

I recommended that she read (and give to her sister) the book, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff. I had read the book a couple of months ago. It is the true story written by a father whose son became addicted to meth. It is a heart wrenching story of decline, rehab, sobriety, and decline in meth—over and over again. The book’s facts on meth and other drugs are astounding.

Now, it is not a Christian book, so beware of language and such. David Sheff (the father) has no relationship with God. He mentions that throughout the book. However, he was told by rehab professionals, “You will believe when you’re through this journey with your son.” Although he does not have a salvation experience, by the end of the book he has turned toward God to pray, “Heal Nic. God, please heal Nic.”

Although I have never faced this type of addiction with my children, I know many parents who have with their children or even with themselves. I recommend the book if you are searching for more information on drug or alcohol addictions. I cannot say it is an “uplifting” book, but it is compelling to the end. Below is a brief review of the Beautiful Boy found on

“This is a stunningly written, intense and emotional memoir of a father's struggle to deal with his brilliant, charismatic and caring son's addiction to methamphetamine. It is honest and authentic and raw and heart-rending and fascinating. It is unforgettable. As I read, I felt many emotions for both the father and son---everything from anger to sadness to grief to fear. I felt as though I was right there on the emotional roller coaster with the author.

Even if you have no personal experience of a loved one's addiction, you will be moved by this father's struggle to cope with his son's substance abuse turmoils. Despite methamphetamine being this country's most problematic drug, many of us, including me, know very little about it, and may not initially feel too interested in finding out. However, the author's struggles and emotional journey are so poignant and compelling that any reader will find themselves caught up in this memoir, will benefit from what they learn and most of all, will be glad that they read it. If you know and/or love an addict, this book will be even more important---it will be vital---as you will find much to identify with and perhaps even be able to better process some of your own emotions.” Review by O. Brown on

Thankfully, our Lord Jesus is stronger than any addiction. He was sent to free us from the torment of prisons we place ourselves in with poor life choices. No matter what your child is struggling with, know that God wants to set her free from the oppression—and you, too.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”Luke 4:18-19 (NLT)

Also, if you are praying for a child with waywardness, please consider my book, Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents: What to Pray When You Don’t Know What to Say. It will aid you in praying freedom for your loved one.

Do not give up hope! God is bigger than any addiction!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Barbie or Raggedy Ann?

All righty, I want to show you the cutest Raggedy Ann ever! After I spoke at Foothills Baptist Church on Saturday they gave me her as a gift. I was speechless. One of the lady’s moms, Barbara T., made it.

Is it too darling, or what? Think about it, who would you really rather be?

If you read my devotional "Divine Prayers" yesterday and have a wayward child that is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, tune in tomorrow. I will be discussing "Beautiful Boy" on my Thursday blog, Babbling about Books.


Raggedy Ann in a Barbie Doll World

This past Saturday I spoke at Foothills Baptist here in Las Vegas. My topic was “Raggedy Ann in a Barbie Doll World.” It is a fun but truthful look at the reality of the pressures women face on a day-to-day basis. I watched the heads bob up and down in agreement—we can’t win. We are either too fat, too flat-chested, too poor, too tired, etc. Our culture preaches lose weight, work out, and get a face-lift. We scurry like hamsters on a wheel trying to keep up with what the magazines at the check-out counter dictate.

Although we feel this is a current trend—it is not. I used the illustration from Genesis 29 on Leah and Rachel. Scripture says, “Leah’s eyes were weak and dull looking, but Rachel was beautiful and attractive.” (Genesis 29:17 AMP) The story continues with, “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, "It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” (Genesis 29:31-32 NIV)

Sounds like 2009 to me. One girl not quite as attractive as her sister—bam—low self-esteem. Raggedy Ann as wife to “Ken” living with his other wife Barbie.
Haven’t we all suffered from low self-esteem, self-doubt, and derisive opinion about ourselves from others? Thankfully, God reveals the truth about beauty.
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30 NIV)

God eventually levels the playing ground. No matter how hard we fight it, age will and does catch up with us. I think about a well-known movie star whose good looks have vanished. When interviewed she is sharp-tongued and bitter. (Clue—she played Cleopatra). She carries no likeability in her prickly personality. She’s a miserable old “Barbie.”

Tomorrow I will continue the Raggedy Ann in a Barbie Doll World discussion. Feel free to chime in.

Who do you want to be? I choose to be Raggedy Ann.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I believe we will be hearing about Susan Boyle, the YouTube phenomenon, for quite awhile. I think she has been interviewed by every news station. I read this about her on the Internet, “Susan Boyle. She's every woman, fighting that extra 15-20 pounds, standing in the grocery check-out line, assaulted by magazine covers of size 0 women and the rich and famous. But she has a dream, a passion to share with the world, if she only has a chance.”

For my part, I think we cheer her on because she is a woman who has a dream—and it might just be fulfilled. She chose the song, I Dreamed a Dream. The lyrics are as follows:

I dreamed a dream in time gone by

When hope was high and life worth living

I dreamed that love would never die

I dreamed that God would be forgiving

Then I was young and unafraid

And dreams were made and used and wasted

There was no ransom to be paid

No song unsung, no wine untasted

But the tigers come at night

With their voices soft as thunder

As they tear your hope apart

And they turn your dream to shame

I think I can relate to these lyrics. Can’t you?

But God . . . Those are two of my favorite words. They are found throughout the Bible. No matter what has happened in our lives—the good, the bad and the ugly—the Lord can turn it into something good. God has the power to fulfill our dreams—but in His own way. It may not look like we imagined. But God . . .

“But God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:19-21 NIV)

Sounds like a Heart-Print of fulfillment to me.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday--The Writers' Porch

One of the things that I am asked often is, “How did you finally get a book published?”

My answer is that there were several steps involved over many years of writing. I will discuss each of these steps in more detail each week. But here are my personal Top 10 steps for the pathway to publication.

1. I felt God’s calling on my life to write.
2. I attended writing conferences to learn the craft and to network with editors.
3. I wrote. Writers write. I kept on writing.
4. I kept files with ideas, Scriptures, and even just great words.
5. I collected rejection letters—enough to wallpaper my office.
6. I had 2-3 people proof and edit my work before I sent it to the editor.
7. I started with magazine articles, devotionals, and then moved to books.
8. I kept records of who and where I sent my manuscripts to and what their response was—if any. (Smile).
9. I built a speaking platform, which is a must if you are writing non-fiction.
10. I discovered my own “writing voice.” This takes time and you must keep writing steadily in order to find your own voice.

For the next ten Fridays on The Writers Porch, we will delve deeper into each of these topics. However, if you are looking for a great proof reader and copy editor, I use Margaret Traudt. Her information is below. The going rate for proofer/editors is approximately $40.00 an hour. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it!

Margaret Traudt
(402) 782- 8973.

Remember, writers write—keep writing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Babbling about Books--Thursday

The Thirteenth Tale
By Diane Setterfield
Fiction—Atria Books (Traditional publisher)

As I begin my babbling about books, I wanted to start off with one of my all time favorites, The Thirteenth Tale. It’s a page turner about a woman who loves books and writing. She was offered the opportunity to write an autobiography of a celebrated author.

The plot has several twists and turns, but the ending I could have never guessed. I had a friend who read the book and asked what I liked about it the most. I loved the twist at the end and I liked the development of the characters.

The minute I finished the book, I wanted to read another by Ms. Setterfield. But surprise! It was her first novel. I was shocked. It had a superb plot and captivating characters. (Rumor has it she is writing her next book.)

I read this novel in a book club of about ten women. Most of the women enjoyed it; a couple didn’t like it at all. If you like mystery books, I highly recommend it. It is not a “who dunnit” book, but I feel it falls into the mystery genre. I do want to forewarn that it was published by a traditional publisher, so not all the content will fall within the Christian worldview.

If you choose to read it, I would like to know your thoughts. Tomorrow—Friday—The Writers’ Porch.

Monday, April 20, 2009

First Impressions

I imagine most of us have seen the amazing performance by Susan Boyle. Ms. Boyle auditioned for Britain Has Talent, which is much like our American Idol. It even has old Simon Cowell as a judge. She appeared on stage as a frumpy, middle-aged, single, never-been-kissed try-out. The judges rolled their eyes and said, “All right darling, go ahead.” She opened her mouth and belted out “I Dreamed a Dream” from the famous theater production of Les Miserables. It was beyond spectacular. There are really no words to describe the beauty of it; of the song, her voice, and how the lyrics applied to her life.

The judges sat open-mouthed, speechless and swallowing the lump in their throats—even Simon Cowell. Their first impression was so mistaken. The female judge (who I am not familiar with) apologized for the pre-conceived judgment of her. They all gave a big “YES!” for her to continue on in the competition. The next day she was an international sensation. Ms. Boyle was featured on almost every news station across the world. The world’s first impression was dead wrong—Ms. Boyle has talent.

Now here is what I would like to leave with you today. I babysat my 20-month-old grandson Michael last week. The day after Susan Boyle made a splash across the media, I sat with Michael on my lap and showed him the You Tube video of the performance. He sat mesmerized by the audition and at the end, before everyone else began to applaud, he clapped his chubby little hands together in appreciation. This 20-month-old toddler held no beauty prejudice. He heard loveliness and responded. We re-watched the video five times. Each time he snuggled into my chest and leaned forward to the computer screen. He never wiggled or squirmed. He was transformed by the gift of Susan Boyle. (Now at all other times he is a busy, busy, busy, active little boy.)

My grandson’s reaction to "I Dreamed a Dream" sang by Ms. Doyle made me cry. I prayed for him and my two granddaughters to keep the innocence that childhood gives—that they would see everyone as a perfection of God.

But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Luke 18:16-17).

I guess what I and millions of others learned is this: don’t judge by the world’s standards. We all have dreams. We are all children of the Most High God.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Writer's Porch

“Read, read, read, Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the mast. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.”-- William Faulkner (1897-1962 American Novelist.)

Without exception at every writers’ conference I have attended, the authors, editors and literary agents say, “Read, read, and read some more.” The bottom line is that a good writer must be a voracious reader.

Did I hear you ask why?

Because the more we read the more adept we become at deciphering the craft of writing. I agree with Faulkner in that we should read most every type of book. When we read something that is mundane and minimal it should help us to avoid the same pitfalls in our stories. Perhaps a book is trivial and trashy, those books display to us the pitfalls for us to avoid in our writing.

As you read, analyze the writing. Fortunately, most writers can’t stop themselves from critiquing any written work. We are just wired that way.

I attended the “Write for the Soul Conference” by Jerry Jenkins, the author of the Left Behind Series. I attended a workshop and the instructor asked, “How many of you have read the Da Vinci Code?”

There were over a hundred writers in the room, and no one dared to raise their hand that they had read the controversial book. The instructor looked around and said, “Shame on every one of you who haven’t read it. How will we know how to write great fiction if we don’t know what the public is reading? How can you respond to the controversy over the book if you haven’t even read it? Get off your high horses and read! Then you will become great writers.”

He was right. I went home, borrowed the book and read it. Although I disagreed with the theology, I loved the action. I couldn’t put the book down. I believe as writers we should not write good, but great. We have the Holy Spirit guiding us, but we still need to learn the craft. The best way to that is to read, read, read.

Because I feel so strongly on this fact of writing, I am going to blog once a week on books that I have read or am currently reading. (Also, you can check out my bookshelf on Facebook.) I would love to encourage you to share your thoughts on books that you loved or hated and why. Let’s chit chat about the craft of writing and books. So next week we shall begin Thursday—Book Corner. See you there!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Prayer for the Wild Child

Whispers of Love to My Wild Child

Dear Wild Child,
Do you remember when you first saw the gushing waterfall, Bridal Veil Falls, in Yosemite National Park? You stood amazed as the water thundered down over the rocks and into the crystal pool below. The water was so loud that even when we shouted, we could barely hear one another. We laughed as the mist drifted down upon us, but you wanted more. You ran to the railing and the spray of droplets soaked you. Teardrops of water ran down your face, puddling in the collar of your shirt. I knelt as I attempted to wipe your wet, freckled face. It was impossible; so instead, we held hands and twirled in the awesome grandeur of Bridal Veil Falls, totally immersed in joy.

Today, beloved child, I pray for you to experience the glory of God in the same manner. He loves you and longs for you to immerse yourself in His presence.

For this reason I kneel before the Father. . . . And I pray that you . . . grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
—Ephesians 3:14, 17–19

Wild child, you seek thrills; God will thrill you with wonder. You seek wealth; His love is more valuable than anything this world can offer. You seek knowledge; Christ will fill you beyond measure with His knowledge.
My child, come twirl with me in the awesome grandeur and glory of Jesus Christ. I am on my knees with my hands held out to you.

Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of his house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.
—Song of Songs 8:7

Father, many waters cannot quench Your love for ________________, and rivers cannot wash it away. Your love is more precious than all the wealth of any house. Please allow _________________ to understand and accept Your divine love. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

An excerpt from Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So What about Proverbs 22:6?

Are you a parent who has a child that is on a wayward track? Did you seek to fulfill Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."? And now you wonder what happened to that beloved toddler who sang, "Jesus Loves Me.” This blog is dedicated to parents who have a "prodigal" child. For parents who despair over life choices of their child.

Together let's explore this verse a little deeper and learn how we can pray for our wayward children. The following is an excerpt from my Bible study, Perplexing Proverbs.

"Proverbs 22:6 is one of most frequently quoted of the Proverbs. At first glance, it seems to say that if we train our children correctly, they will surely be obedient, godly adults. Do I hear parental groans from those of us who have rebellious children? Before you begin to feel guilty, we need to take a closer look at how the total concept of this verse should be understood. We are going to look at two slightly different commentaries on this verse.

The first comes from Hard Sayings of the Bible. Concerning Proverbs 22:6, it states,
'The statement is called a proverb, not a promise. Many godly parents have raised their children in ways that were genuinely considerate of the children’s own individuality and the high calling of God, yet the children have become rebellious and wicked.'

There is, however, the general principle which sets the standard for the majority. This principle urges parents to give special and detailed care with the awesome task of rearing children so that the children may continue in that path long after the lessons have ceased

The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible offers another interpretation. The explanatory notes for Proverbs 22:6 make the following observations,
'The quality of training which the child receives is of critical concern. Parents should not assume that simply bringing their children up in a moral atmosphere is all that is needed. The primary goal in training up a child is that he is educated in the knowledge of God, but he should also be provided with a thorough preparation for life in general. When a child does choose to rebel and lead a corrupt life, it is often the parents who have failed in teaching or setting an example. It must be recognized, however, that there will be instances when the parents have done their best to correctly train a child, yet he will choose to reject the instruction he has received and go his own way.'[ii]

Do you see that we are responsible for our children, yet they are also responsible for their own decisions in life?

So what can we do? We can pray for our children. From my own personal experience I found praying Scripture is not only effective, it is uplifting to the parent who may be struggling. That’s why tomorrow we pray.

[i] Kaiser, Walter, C. Jr.; Peter H. Davids; F.F. Bruce; Manfred T. Brauch. Hard Sayings of the Bible, (Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press, 1996) P.288
[ii] Zodhiates, Spiros, Th.D. Exe. Ed., Hebrew-Greek Study Bible. (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1996), p. 761.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Peace for the Past, Hope for the Future

Yesterday I celebrated Jesus the risen Christ. After an inspiring service at my church, I spent the day with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson. We ate a wonderful dinner of ham and scalloped potatoes finishing up with strawberry shortcake. Yum! (And I didn’t have to cook a thing.) Thanks, Wendy.

However, I know that for many moms they may have been worried about where their children were and what they were doing. Kids can do crazy things on Spring break. So this week I am writing on wayward children. I pray it brings hope and encouragement to every parent who worries about the actions of a child.

I like the phrase, “Peace for the Past, Hope for the Future”. This phrase is certainly true of my own past. I had a semi-dysfunctional childhood and a very rebellious adolescence. For example, when I was fourteen my goal in life was to go to reform school. Why? Because all of my friends were there, of course! I skipped school. I swore like a sailor. I was kicked out of school twice. Do you get the picture? If not, please see below. Now let me add a disclaimer to this. The pipe did NOT have anything in it. (I wanted it to, but it was an antique pipe from my great-great-grandfather who smoked “tobaccy” in it.) I wanted to “look” cool so I posed with the pipe. I was 13 at the time and was basically unaware of drugs until I went to high school—but we’ll save that for another blog.

Then right before I turned sixteen, my stepmother loved me into the arms of Christ. I was not an easy one to love, but she did it well and genuinely. She didn’t make me into a “salvation of the soul project.” She just loved and told me about the unconditional love of Jesus. The day I became a Christ follower my life began to turn around. Of course, it wasn’t an overnight process and I have had quite a few stumbles and flat on my face many times. But, the power of Jesus Christ in my life changed not only my life, but also the lives of my future children and the distant future of my grandchildren.

If not for the saving grace of our Risen Jesus, I would not have had the lovely Easter that I had yesterday. Jesus is the Peace for our past and the Hope for our Future—especially for our children.

Keep that in your thoughts and I will see you tomorrow.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday--The Writers' Porch

Last week I told you a little bit about my love and passion for writing. As I pondered the subject, I remembered an old poem that I had written and kept. I found it and decided to “publish” it for you. :)

The City of Love

There is a secret place called love.
Where Heaven is not so far above.
To reach there your mind must be free.
Come… take a wonderful trip with me.

Light a candle and inhale the incense.
Now hold my hand and we shall commence.
To a city where you are floating in the air.
Come with me, let’s journey there.

When we get there, you will know.
Once you land in this city, you won’t go.
There are colors of smoke in curlicues.
Come with me, I promise… we won’t lose.

The city is called Love, but don’t tell.
It’s a secret place where there is no hell.
I’ve been to love and I’ve got the key.
Come with me, Come with me…
(circa 1970)

Now here's the craziest thing about this poem, I was not a Christ follower at the time. But as I reread this ancient adolescent rhyme I can recognize God imprinting me with my future purpose. His Holy Spirit inserted truth into my thoughts that I could not have fully comprehended.

So as you write this week, remember that everything doesn’t have to be profound or even at all meaningful. Allow your writing gift to take you places that only God may know where you will end up. And if you have some old prose, poems, or even journals, review them. Can you take scribbles and use them today in a new context?

One of my favorite Scriptures is from 2 Timothy 1:6-7. I quote it whenever I teach a writing/speaking class.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

On this Friday before Easter I challenge you to read, memorize it and then act upon it. Write from your heart. Write--do not be timid in your calling. Be self-disciplined—stick yourself in a chair for 15 minutes and write.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chicken Little to Mighty Warrior

Do you ever speculate if the work you do for the Kingdom of God ever makes a difference? I certainly wonder about it at times. Many things we won’t know until we get to heaven, but occasionally God allows us to see a glimpse of our fruit.

Fifteen years ago, I led a high school girls' small group. It consisted of about 20 girls. It was fun. I enjoyed it immensely and am still in contact with several of the girls. It’s been a joy to see them mature into women.

However, one girl, Kelli, remains especially dear to my heart. She was a tiny little thing, couldn’t have broken 90 pounds on the scale. She was introspective and somewhat timid about life in general. She was content to sit and watch the other girls express all their lively opinions on all sorts of issues and experiences. She didn’t feel the need to jump into the turmoil of adolescence. She was a watcher, not a participator.

However, now Kelli is on the mission field in a remote section of the world. I can’t reveal exactly where due to security issues, but let me tell you her life has changed. She dove head first into language studies and a new culture. What a blessing it has been to see her move into the will of God for her life.

Every so often, I email and ask her what she needs. Her last response was, “Deodorant and chewy granola bars.” I packed her a box and sent it off--of course with some Easter peeps. I smiled at the yellow marshmallow chicks as I stuffed them into the box. Yes, Chicken Little had become Mighty Warrior. Kelli went from a quiet, shy teenager to a missionary out to change the world. Here's a picture that she sent to me after she received the package.

"When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior." Judges 6:12 (NIV)

Don’t give up your “little” ministry. You never know what it might produce someday.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Changed Life

Mission trips change lives. I went on a mission’s trip when I was 17 to Jamaica for six weeks. It was the first time I had been out of the United States. My eyes popped open with understanding of what a privileged life I had led. It changed my life.

In August, the heat blistered the team to sweat and tears—literally. The bugs ruled the bunkhouse. The food didn’t appeal to our tastes. It was a whole new experience for all eight of us teenage girls.

I stepped off my first flight, ate my first strange meal, and slept on a hard floor with strange creepy crawly creatures. The first day made six weeks seem like an eternity. I wanted to go home. By the Lord’s grace, I somehow stuck it out. (Besides, my parents said I couldn’t come home.)

Here’s an excerpt from my journal from all those years ago.

The time has gone by so fast. I know that when I get home it will feel like a dream. It has already seemed like that—the days past don’t seem to be real. Well, praise the Lord I stayed although at first I just about died. Now I don’t want to leave, maybe if it’s the Lord’s will I’ll be able to come back. I hope. Believe it or not I feel the Lord is directing me into evangelistic work. But I’ll have to see.

My life changed on that trip. It enabled me to move past my self-centered adolescence. The trip changed my view of the world. It was one of the best things that I have ever experienced.

Never been on a mission’s trip? Go—you’ll never be the same.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Break Plans

It’s Spring Break, well at least in Nevada. And today we actually have great spring weather—finally. I am sitting with the windows open and thinking about my plans for the week.

· Monday—Spring pedicure. (Smiles!)
· Tuesday—Office work, etc.
· Wednesday—play day at the park with my grandson Michael. (Smiles!)
· Thursday—coffee with my writer friend Donna Savage & getting my hair done. (Smiles!)
· Good Friday—writing day and special worship service at my home church. (Smiles!)
· Saturday—Rest and writing, writing and rest.
· Easter Sunday—The Resurrection celebration—Easter dinner. (Double Smiles!)

Although my week sounds fun, there are hundreds people who are spending their week on short-term mission trips. I admire them. Several of my friends and relatives are making an eternal difference this week. They are celebrating Easter with a sacrifice of time and money. I believe the angels are smiling and the Father is saying “Well done, good and faithful servants.”

Let’s pray for them. As God brings them to mind, let’s lift up their safety and their efforts to be fruitful. With the chaos and turmoil happening in our world, all missionaries need our prayers. Whether they are short-term in Mexico or long-term in remote places on the globe, they need us to support them with prayer.

For the rest of spring break I am going to blog about one of my own mission trips. Also, I want to share about how a friend of mine who went from “chicken little” to “mighty warrior.” Stay tuned. . .

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Writer's Porch

My career, ministry, hobby and passion can all be summed up in one word—writing. It all began when I was a child. Somewhere around the age of 11, I discovered reading. No, I learned to read in 1st grade, but in 5th grade I found delight in reading. Stories carried me away—away from my life in a dysfunctional home. Books taught me tidbits of information that teachers droned on about during stuffy classroom time. The powers of words transformed my life.

At age 15 my stepmother insisted that I take “typing” in school. She said I would need the skill later in life so that I could be a great executive secretary. (She was correct in that assessment. I was my husband’s secretary for 17 years.) However, as I learned to type, words flowed into my head. Thoughts pounded their way onto paper. At fifteen, I asked for a typewriter for Christmas. After receiving the prized gift, I would lock myself away in my room to write. Story lines leapt from my fingers. I punched out poems.

Were my words profound? NO, but my writing passion had begun. I dreamed of authoring a book. But then life happened: marriage, children, and career. However, the burning ember of my dream to write resided in my soul. Eventually, it flamed into an intense passion again. I knew it was time for me to write—write for my ministry, my career and as my hobby because writing was a calling of God on my life—my purpose. When I think of A Purpose Driven Life, I equate that with my purpose to write.

I know that many of you reading this blog feel exactly the same way about writing, so every Friday we’ll chat about our passion—writing. Will you join me on The Writer’s Porch each Friday?

So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 NLT)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hog Tales and Dog Tails

It’s been a fun few days blogging about my husband and our adventures on the Harley-Davidson motorcycle. It’s been a little teasing on my part about my husband’s new hobby. But I have to be fair and say he tolerates my “hobby” with outstanding love and encouragement. No—it’s not my writing. It’s my fanatical love for animals.

My kids tell me that I am going to be one of those crazy cat ladies when I am old. They bought me a sleep shirt for Christmas that said, “Crazy Cat Woman” -- it has cats running all over it. Now, I currently don’t even own a cat, however, the truth is I would like to own lots of dogs and cats. Right now I have Jasmine and Taffy. (See photo).

But give me a pet of any type, and I am as happy as can be. I especially like the rescue type of animals. I guess I enjoy the nurturing of them. Anyway, my husband loves hog tales and I love dog tails.

My dad used to say a phrase, “Mouw found Crauw.” I am not sure of the spelling or where the term came from, but it meant “a match made in heaven.” Yup, that’s me and my guy—mouw found crauw. He's nuts about hogs and I am crazy about dogs.

Tomorrow, watch for my new Friday's blog—Susanne's Writer’s Porch. Every Friday there will be a post on writing techniques, questions and answers, and just about everything you ever wanted to know about writing and how to get published. See you tomorrow on Susanne's Writer Porch!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I used to have a negative view of people who rode Harley’s. Of course, that’s changed since I am a “participant” in the Harley phase of my husband’s life. Being an insider on a subculture certainly provides a different point of view.

I always considered motorcyclists as “Hell’s Angels” types. I stereotyped them all into one big group. When my husband first wanted the bike I was appalled at what people would think. Wait! I am in ministry. I do not want people thinking I am like “them.” Here’s how our conversation went.

“Why in the world would you want to be associated with people like that?” I asked.

“Sweetie, they're just regular people. Most bikers are dentists, lawyers, insurance agents and doctors. Lots of the guys at church have bikes,” he said with a tolerant smile.

“Oh, and Indian chiefs?” I shot back as I recalled my favorite jump rope rhyme.

“Sweetie . . .”

“Yeah, well, I’ll just tell you now not one of my gynecologists ever looked like a biker!”

So now I guess I would be considered a biker. My perspective has changed, but it’s true that people still prejudge hog riders by appearance. Here’s my story as being perceived as a riffraff biker babe.

It was a sunny Saturday. My husband and I were riding around Southern Utah enjoying the spectacular scenery. It was warming up, so we decided to stop at a local market. We took off our helmets but went inside in our full biker attire. (It’s not pretty, by the way.) As we strolled through the store looking for a snack and a cold Pepsi, people glanced at us and frowned. Disapproval hovered around us like a rain cloud.

We grabbed our stuff and headed to the checkout counter. A hand-painted sign read, “We no longer accept checks.” Unfortunately for us, the person in front of us wanted to pay by check. The cashier said politely to the customer, “I am sorry, but we just can’t accept checks any more. It’s the result of all the riffraff that now comes through town.” Then she looked directly at us and nodded her head in our direction—with a very knowing look.

“Uh? Wait! I am in ministry. I love Jesus. I would never stiff you with a bad check—really!” I didn’t say it—but I wish I had. We paid cash and scurried ourselves out the door and down the road.

Jesus told us not to judge others in Matthew 7:1. Now I certainly understand why, because our judgment is skewed. It is hogwash.

I pray I learn this lesson. I want the Lord to wash me clean of my judgmental attitudes, just like Mark washes the mud off of his Harley motorcycle.

But I must say I hope I never have a gynecologist that is a biker—that would still be too weird for me. Is that judgment? Hmmm. . . most likely.