September 19, 2014 | 0 comments

Every now and then, I go out and wander around.  It helps me think.  Sometimes I window shop.  Sometimes I buy.  After wandering around today, I came home with two new pillows in vibrant turquoise, hoping they might add snap to the wheat-colored sofas and the other (eight) pillows of subdued colors.   Rick’s cheek gave a little telltale tick. “Do we really need more pillows?” Translation:  “Time to commit you to the loonie bin.”

Rick hid the navy blue pillow with metal studs behind the red leather corner chair.  Another pillow has gone missing.  Rick swears he didn’t do anything with it.  

You may wonder why I’m suspicious…

It’s a family legend how I went to Oregon for a visit with my folks and came home to find an empty living room. Not totally empty.  There were two metal folding chairs where a big sofa and two wing chairs had been.  Huh?  The first thought that popped into my head: ...

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September 13, 2014 | 0 comments

Intervarsity Christian Fellowship meetings have always been open to any student interested in finding out what Christianity is all about.  No one is barred.  Nothing is hidden. No one is forced to come and listen or take part in this gathering.  No one is coerced.  Yet, the California State University system has closed its campuses to this group.  Why?  Because the college system demanded IVCF open itself to non-Christian leadership. 

The CSU decision didn’t surprise me.  I live in a county where 97% of the population is unchurched.  I don’t know what the statistics are for the rest of the state of California, but at a guess, I would say about the same.  The Christian foundations of America are being systematically removed, history revised.  A lie told often enough is believed.  The battle cry is “separation of church and state”, which is a text out of context made into a pretext being used to remove Christianity...

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September 6, 2014 | 0 comments

I never have figured out how to write a proper book proposal.  I’ve gone to classes, read books and seen some great examples.  But when it comes down to writing one of my own, I make a mess of it.  Where’s the story?  I don’t know. I haven’t written it yet.

I’ve got a question (actually several).  So I started looking around and reading (eight books at last count) and asking people what they think.  A character started talking in my head.  And then another character joined the conversation.  I began to look for pictures of how I imagine them.  Keanu Reeves ten years ago.  Not bad.  I didn’t know he had a beard.  I’m taking dictation again.  A piece of a conversation here, another piece over there.  Sometimes I drive around and listen to the radio.   I never know when or where these imaginary people will start rambling on.  Sometimes they are stubbornly silent. Sometimes they start talking...

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August 29, 2014 | 0 comments

When Rick and I moved into Santa Rosa back in 2001, I joined a gym because they had an indoor heated pool.  I paid up front for three years so I’d have the reduced rate for the rest of my life. All those blessed benefits promised to those who spend time working out in a gym.   Swimming is good for arthritis.  Well, it’s good for anything.  The American Crawl uses lots of muscles.  So do the butterfly and the back stroke.   I had grand ideas of showing up every day and doing laps.  I knew it would be good for me.  I knew I’d meet other like-minded people who wanted to improve their health.

One of the benefits of membership is the availability of a trainer.  They want to show you the ropes, so to speak. They want to make sure you know how to use the equipment without breaking an arm, a leg, your neck -- or one of their expensive machines.  They can design a program that fits your needs, that helps you work on problem...

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August 25, 2014 | 0 comments

We live in earthquake country.  During the 1989 quake, we were on a soccer field.  When the earthquake began, everyone stopped what they were doing.  We could literally feel and see the ground roll under us.  The goal nets shook.  Trees swayed.  We didn’t know where the epicenter was or the level of destruction until later.   The Bay Bridge sustained damage, the two-level Cypress Structure of Interstate 880 collapsed on commuters.  We have relatives who drove that route daily, and the earthquake hit at 5:04 p.m.  Thankfully, they were not crushed under tons of concrete. 

Early this past Sunday morning, I awakened to another quake.  It is an odd feeling to have an entire house shake, rattle and roll.  We’re never sure if the earthquake is going to build or if we’ve already felt the worst of it.   I was drowsy, but waking up fast.  Oh, my God, feel that power! Rick was ready to plant a foot in...

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August 15, 2014 | 0 comments

Last week, while two of our grandchildren were visiting, I took a little time to answer a few emails.  First, my mouse rebelled. It wouldn’t go where I pointed it.  Then my icons disappeared.  Bloop.  Uh oh.  The God’s eye nebula background disappeared.  Ah, the irony of life.  You told the children to leave their electronics home and here you are sitting at your computer.  I rebooted and received a message that made absolutely no sense to me.  Okay.  Reboot again. Maybe the blessed thing will change its mind and come back to life.  Maybe it will speak a language I understand.  Nope.  Little gremlin demons chortled in delight. Watch the old girl panic!  Ha ha.   I didn’t panic.  I called my tech son-in-law. 

“We’re leaving tonight to go camping.”   I knew this to be true because I had been hearing about all the preparations from my daughter.  He wasn’t...

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August 8, 2014 | 0 comments

Some people hate rules.  They think God is a kill-joy for carving laws into stone and handing them down to Moses.  Stubbornness is in our DNA.  So is complaining.  Grumble, grumble.  God says what?  Who cares?  We can do it our way, and we try.  Read the morning newspaper to see how that’s working.

We need rules.

Think of driving as a metaphor for holy living.  What would it be like to drive the highways and byways without any rules?  What if no one had to stay on their own side of the road?  What if everyone could drive as fast – or as s-l-o-w as they wanted to go?  Everyone would be happy doing their own thing.  Right?

We wouldn’t get very far before we got in a wreck.  Think fiery wrecks like you see in the movies.  Think major serious injuries, broken bones, shattered lives. 

We need help if we’re going to get out of this world alive.

We aren’t just handed a license...

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August 4, 2014 | 0 comments

I had this slogan on a tee-shirt.  Another was Tomorrow I Have to Stop Procrastinating.  Those shirts have long since worn out.  And here I am in that writer’s limbo state again of being between a book recently released and waiting for THE BIG IDEA to come in order to start the next project. 

I have an idea!  (Actually, I have two, but one is taking over…)

That’s part of the problem.  I’m already researching, immersing myself in a subject that has pinched me with questions for a long time.  It’s a place I do not want to go.  And no, I’m not going to say where that is.  It is definitely NOT a hot topic.  In fact, I’ve seen a few grimaces when I bring up the subject.  Which just makes me more intrigued and raises more questions.  Why not take a deeper look there? 

The past two projects are showing me that writing does not get easier.  Not that I ever had any illusions that it would....

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July 25, 2014 | 0 comments

Two articles caught my attention in the last few days.  One, in a Christian magazine, reported how many college students are losing their faith and leaving the church.  The writer suggested that we not even allow our college age kids to leave home unless they are firmly grounded in scripture.  The second was a newspaper editorial on how we are raising a generation of over-protected kids.  There seems to be a connection here.

First, I will tell you that I would have qualified as a helicopter parent.  I had them in a co-op church pre-school. I drove all three children back and forth to elementary and high school.  I volunteered as an adult chaperone and stayed up all night with them at the prom.  They went to church, VBS, youth group and church camp.  And I will also tell you that, paradoxically, none of my hovering squashed their “independent thinking” (as a school counselor told me during one of my many visits on behalf of one child or...

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July 21, 2014 | 0 comments

Rick had to take his car in for service. Rather than sit in the waiting room, reading crumpled newspapers and year-old magazines, we decided it would be more fun wandering around Healdsburg.  This is one of my favorite towns in Northern California and was the inspiration for Haven.  I mixed things up a bit, moving theaters and schools, diners and hair salons, but the river is right where it belongs and so is the bridge spanning the Russian River. 

We drove up and down the streets with their eclectic mix of architectural style and ended up at the local museum to see their new exhibit on Utopian Communities that started (and ended) in our area.  Northern California is beautiful and attracts all kinds of interesting characters. 

The Icarians, an egalitarian commune based on the French utopian movement found by Etienne Cabot, spent a few years here before members awakened and drifted away.  Another short-lived Christian-socialist community (...

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