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July 3, 2015 | 0 comments

For the past couple of years, our pastor has issued a challenge to read through Proverbs during July.  Thirty-one days in the month, thirty-one chapters in the book.  It is a very straight-forward, practical book about living out faith – and the consequences that come when we don’t.

Here’s what I have gleaned so far:

I can learn wisdom and discipline from God’s Word.  It is available to all.

I can gain insights through the instruction of the Holy Spirit. If I am willing…

In order to gain wisdom, understanding and knowledge, I must first:

              Listen

              Treasure God’s commands

              Tune my ears to Him

              Concentrate on...

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June 24, 2015 | 0 comments

Sunday, our children and grandchildren spent the day with us in celebration of Father’s Day.  The house was rockin’ and rollin’.  Boys love to wrestle and box.  One of the older cousins stuffed his tee shirt with pillows for the battle with his six year old cousin.  The house was full of laughter – not that we didn’t have quiet conversations, too.  Part of the time, the guys were glued to the Oakland Athletics baseball game.  The girls sat outside and talked.

How important are Fathers?  Our pastor shared some statistics on what happens when a father isn’t in the home or present in the lives of their children:          

              90% of homeless and runaway children

              63% of youth suicides

       ...

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June 12, 2015 | 0 comments

Many years ago, when Rick and I moved to Sebastopol, California, there was a small start-up non-commercial radio station, KCLB-FM, offering “positive alternative” broadcasting.  I started listening and never stopped.  The music was important to my state of mind and helped me in my writing.  I listened to it at home and every time I got in the car.   Rick and I became donors.  How can you not when $40 a month paid for an hour of broadcasting. 

KCLB-FM became KLOVE Radio which has spread across the airwaves of America and overseas as well, not to mention the incredible on-line ministries, a teen center in Detroit and pastors on call for those in need of prayer.  It’s been exciting to watch! We still count ourselves blessed to be part of the KLOVE family.

This year, Shannon and I had an opportunity to attend the KLOVE Fan Awards in Nashville, Tennessee.  What a blast!  The Friday concert had thousands on their feet,...

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June 4, 2015 | 0 comments

I can’t believe I have a grandson old enough to graduate from high school.  But there he is.  I remember Shannon telling me on the telephone that her water broke.  Early.  Off she and Rich went to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore while the family waited nervously on the west coast.  Our grandson arrived safely on September 11 and spent a week in the NICU.  He came home shortly before Granny Frani arrived on the doorstep, and Shannon handed him to me.  I was terrified.  I’d never held a baby that small.  Mine were several pounds bigger than my grandson.  But I fell in love immediately. 

The doctors said he’d never be taller than 5’6”.  That’s how little doctors know.  They are practicing, after all.  I’m looking up to him now.  He’s nose-to-nose with Rick.  And he’s still growing!

And there he was, handsome in his suit and tie, donning cap and gown, walking across a stage and getting his high...

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May 24, 2015 | 0 comments

American Revolutionary War (1775-1783)

25,000 died in combat; 25,000 wounded

War of 1812 (1812-1815)

            15,000 died; 5,000 wounded

Mexican-American War (1846-1848)

            13,283 died; 4,152 wounded

The American Civil War

            214,938 died in combat, an estimated 400,000-500,000 died of other causes: wounds,

 infection, disease; total deaths approximately 750,000 (420 died each day)

World War I (1917-1918)

            320,518 dead and wounded

World War II (1941-1945)

            291,557 dead; 670,846 wounded

Korean War (1950-1953)

          ...

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May 9, 2015 | 0 comments

Last weekend, I flew up to Reno to take part in the Redeeming Love Conference put on by the Awaken Reno ministry and hosted by Outlook Christian Church.  Before the event, I had the opportunity to hang out with the five amazing women of faith who put this event together.  The idea started with their small home Bible study.  Each addressed important issues all women face; identity, purpose, rest, joy and love.  The conference was designed to offer hope and show the power of Jesus Christ to free captives and bring soul-deep healing.

Awaken Reno helps prostitutes escape their traffickers and works with them to reclaim and rebuild their lives.  The shame, degradation and paralyzing fear these women suffer often keeps them silent and trapped.  Helping them escape can be a dangerous job anywhere -- especially in Nevada where prostitution is legal.

A few facts:

13 is the average age a girl enters prostitution

22 licensed brothels...

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April 29, 2015 | 0 comments

I’m always afraid to say too much about a project I’m working on because it seldom turns out to be like the outline.  Characters tend to take over and I’m just along for the ride to see where they’re going to end up.  In this case, I don’t want to say too much because there is a surprise imbedded that has a lot to do with why I started this project in the first place. I don’t want to spoil it.

The two main characters are very wounded individuals who face life in very different ways. The childhood experiences I imagined for them are so traumatic I went to a group of family therapists for counseling.  I’m not kidding.  I wanted to know if cases like these exist.  Sadly, they do and in growing numbers.  I also wanted to know if the patterns of behavior I see coming for my characters are realistic and if they line up with how people cope and survive as they grow up in an unloving environment and what problems those coping skills can cause later in...

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April 14, 2015 | 0 comments

A few readers wrote with some concern that this book was more “explicit” than my others and they wondered why I had Abra in relationships with three men.  I knew that question would come up, what surprised me is the discomfort seemed to be focused on the love scene between Abra and Joshua as a married couple rather than her experiences with Dylan and Franklin Moss. 

First of all, I was careful to craft the scenes in a way to evocative, and not explicit.  There is definitely a difference between the two.  The first takes more work and is aimed at drawing the reader into the emotion of the scene.  The second describes everything.  It’s harder to write an evocative scene than an explicit one. 

Now for the reasons Abra was with three men: 

Over the past few years, I have done a lot of reading on sex trafficking, how predators attract victims and how it impacts the lives of the women they enslave.   During the 50s,...

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March 24, 2015 | 0 comments

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a writers’ conference, and this is one of the best in the country. I’m going as a student with a missionary friend from Chile.  We can’t wait to dump our stuff in a room and head for class.  The instructors are all terrific, several friends I’ve known over the years, and most have written more books than I have ever dreamed of writing in my lifetime.  I plan to have notebook and pen poised to glean the jewels they will be giving to us. Frankly, I can be by myself in my office for so long, there’s a risk of becoming myopic.  I can become so focused on what I want to do with a story that I might be putting God in the back seat when He belongs in the driver’s seat. 

At Mount Hermon there will be lots of soul searching.  There will be evening sessions taught by someone I highly respect (Robin Jones Gunn) who will undoubtedly challenge me to go deeper and trust in the Lord more, with tips on how.   ...

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March 16, 2015 | 0 comments

The pestilence has spread.  I’m not sure if it’s the cold I caught in Branson or the beaded strings of pollen dripping from our oak tree, but I’m still sniffling and hacking.  I’m sorry to say Rick caught it a few days after I did.  At least we’re no longer contagious (so we’ve been told), but must weather this annoying cough for however long it wants to hang around. This was not in my plan. 

I used to be able to shake these bugs in a few days.  I’d lather myself with Vick’s Vapor Rub, put on thick socks and pajamas and sweat the germ/virus to death.   That method worked until I hit my sixties.  

Maybe I need to be more mobile.  Not that I’ve been spending all day every day in bed or on the couch.  We’re still up early.  We still have our routines.  I’m still writing.  I do get off my chair and move around occasionally.  I’ve been up and down the stairs five times this morning.  I go up...

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