October 3, 2015 | 0 comments

Rick and I attended a beautiful memorial service for his cousin this week-end.  My brother and sister-in-law also attended, the wife being a close friend of my sister-in-law, Rick’s cousin a good friend of my brother.  Dave and his wife met at my brother’s wedding, and we all grew up together in the same small town. 

There wasn’t much warning for this gentleman.  He was told he had cancer and ten months to live; then reassessed and told two months.  He had less time than that.  We were fortunate enough to see him twice in the last month. A family man, he loved his wife, his children and grandchildren.  The common thread through the memorial was he showed up for everything.  He was a man people could count on.  He loved and was loved, and was a Christian.

The pastor mentioned things Dave would no longer experience in heaven and I started making a list in my head.  In heaven, we won’t have:


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September 25, 2015 | 0 comments

Rick has just lost a special cousin to cancer.  We were able to visit him twice, and hoped to see him again.  We also wanted to know if he believed in Jesus and knew where he was going.  His face lit up when we asked, and he said, “Oh, yes, I believe in Jesus.”  We didn’t worry after that, but we still hoped we’d have more time.  He had been told ten months, then two.  It ended up being less than a month.

Sadly, he is not the only relative or friend facing a diagnosis of terminal cancer.  It seems to be a growing trend these days. I lost my father when he was 71 and my mother when she was 75.  Those ages sound young to me now that I am sixty-eight and qualify for Social Security. 

Death makes the living reassess their lives.  If we were given a diagnosis with short time-line, would we do anything any differently?  How would we spend those last months or weeks?  Would God want us to do anything differently?...

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September 11, 2015 | 0 comments

Another year of drought has brought noticeable changes in our area.  The reservoirs are drying up.  Fires are raging. Wildlife suffers.  Without strength-restoring water, the flowering plum trees are dying because they no longer have the immunity to fight off the beetles. Many roadside redwoods are brown skeletons.  Lawns are dead because “brown is the new green” in California.   I’ve wondered about all the vintners in our area, the thousands of grape vines on hill and dale.   

I met a lady the other day whose family owns a vineyard.  I asked how they’re managing with the drought.  They have a drip system on some of their vines, but most are “dry-grow” vines.  No water other than what God provides. Most vineyards need thousands of gallons of water so the vines will produce plump grapes full of juice.  The grapes from these vineyards are cheaper by the ton and make the common wines, but dry-grown grapes are much...

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September 2, 2015 | 0 comments

Recently, a writer friend asked me to answer some questions about parenthood.  Oh, my.  My three children are adults and their children are fast approaching adulthood, which gives you an idea of how long ago it was that I was parenting.  Not that it ever stops.  No matter how old your children are, they are still your children.  You’re still concerned about them. I try not to give advice.  (If my children read this blog, they’ll be cackling over that one.)  My advice is usually, “Don’t make the same mistakes I did.” 

The one thing I did right was love each of my children no matter what.  I won’t go into the “no matter what” because I didn’t know until they grew up and felt impelled to traumatize me with what they’d done while Mommy was comatose and sawing zzzzzs.  They survived; no credit due their mother who didn’t know all the adventures they embarked upon, sometimes in the middle of the night.  (Your days will come,...

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August 26, 2015 | 0 comments

I’ve read several books recently I’d like to recommend.  First is Seduced: The Grooming of America’s Teenagers by Opal Singleton.  I had the pleasure of meeting the author at an International Conference on Missions where Rick and I attended several classes she taught on sex trafficking worldwide and specifically in the United States.  What we learned from Opal Singleton impelled us to connect with a local ministry.  Seduced has a great deal packed into it, including much needed information on internet danger areas, how to spot sex trafficking in your community and how to report this appalling crime against our children. 

Bible Study Fellowship encourages attendees to do a personal Bible study over the summer, and I picked Jennifer Rothschild’s Hosea: Unfailing Love Changes Everything.  I have the DVD with her lectures and she is witty as well as deep.  I also used her workbook.  I highly recommend Hosea...

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August 16, 2015 | 0 comments

Writing sometimes feels like a race to the finish line.  Especially when working on a deadline.  I’ve learned over the years to ask for plenty of time, but even so, I begin to wonder about halfway through if I’m going to finish at all.  The characters by this time are real and they don’t always like what I have planned for them. They talk back.  They dig in their heels.  It doesn’t help to grumble and say, “Who’s in charge here?!”  Actually, this is the best – and worst – part of writing. 

It helps to go out and drive around.  (This makes Rick nervous because he’s concerned I’m not concentrating and will end up in a ditch or T-boned at an intersection.)  I listen to music; my radio is permanently set on KLOVE Radio.   Sometimes I put in a CD.  Today it was Navajo drums and a pan flute playing.  Did I come up with fresh ideas?  I started thinking about a road trip through the southwest. Wouldn’t it be fun...

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August 11, 2015 | 0 comments

Divorce was unusual when I was growing up.  As far as Rick and I remember, none of my friends’ parents divorced.  Fast forward, and our best man said we were one of the few couples he knew who had stayed together.  It does make one wonder what happened to bring about the change.   Maybe it was the 60s when so many bought into the free love movement.  Rick’s grandmother had an old world saying:  “Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?”  Sometimes I think women sold themselves a bill of goods, especially when I’m reading so many articles lately about what “hooking up” does to lives, relationships, the confusion that comes, the disillusionment and emptiness some feel after following the crowd. Just because everyone seems to be doing it doesn’t mean it is a good thing. 

What does it take to stay married for longer than a decade?  It’s enlightening to read the anniversary announcements in the local newspaper of couples...

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July 31, 2015 | 0 comments

Sometimes I take a break from reading the newspaper.  I can become very confused and emotional over what I read.   I’ll read one story and then another and another and think:  Isn’t there a connection here?  Or rather -- a disconnect?

The paper reports Cecil the lion has been murdered.  I love animals, all kinds of animals.  I saw lions while we were in South Africa and they are amazing beasts (carnivores, mind you, not helpless kittens).  I was very glad to be in a truck with a guide who had a loaded gun handy.  I’m sorry about that lion; sorry, too, that people want to torture and kill Dr. Palmer.  Zimbabwe officials want him extradited and brought to trial.  How many human beings have died in the years since Robert Mugabe’s regime came into power?  No mention of that backdrop.

 Also in the paper was a news article about a lawsuit over the personhood of chimpanzees.  If a chimp can be a person,...

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July 24, 2015 | 0 comments

A few weeks ago, Rick received an article from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation regarding a stem cell treatment pioneered in Sweden 28 years ago.  It offered hope of recovery of full control of movement in a period of a few years.  The US tried, but abandoned the Swede’s treatment in favor of deep brain stimulation.  But that’s changing now.  Good news. Right?

Members of the Parkinson’s Disease Global Force who met in New York in May to discuss the progress of this stem cell work erupted in applause when it was announced the team’s first patient had just left the operating theatre.  “There’s a real sense within the community that this is a collaborative effort to make cell treatments work, and that there’s real potential to change the lives of hundreds of people worldwide.”  

There is a catch. 

“The transplant depends on fetal cell donations from women terminating pregnancies… It takes cells from at least three fetuses to...

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July 17, 2015 | 0 comments

I know it is part of the American dream to own a home, but sometimes it can be a nightmare.  I’m not just talking about the economy turning homes upside down so they are barely worth the down-payment and not the whopping mortgage.  I’m talking about the little things that can happen, the small surprises:  dry rot, broken pipes, faulty electrical wiring, leaky rooves, dying trees swaying in the wind and ready to fall through your living room. 

My children are learning about these things. 

One recently had to call in a plumber because the toilets weren’t working.   No minor problem, that’s for sure.  Cha-ching!  Another sent pictures of a recent DIY project that created a new opportunity for a professional.  As my son-in-law and grandson traversed the attic to feed wire inside a wall (for cosmetic reasons), my son-in-law slipped and fell through the living room ceiling.  Fortunately, he got caught between two...

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