I’ve been near-sighted since the sixth grade. That was not a good year. My school had a fire, so I had to walk even farther to another school that was next to the railroad tracks. My desk faced the window, and I would count railroad cars to keep myself awake. (It is not true that naps in school stop after kindergarten.) In fourth grade I remember being put in a special class to learn “new math,” which was actually algebra. In fifth grade poetry began to make sense. But sixth
Dear graduate, “Good young person, don’t forget everything people have taught you; take their words to heart. They’ll help you live a long, long time, a long life lived full and well. Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart. Earn a reputation for living well in God’s eyes and the eyes of others. Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in ever
Suffering and pain define seasons of our lives, don’t they? I still find myself thinking of events as “pre-trial” and “post-trial.” Some of you may not know that my husband Craig was wrongfully convicted of six felony counts of animal cruelty in May 2005. Hmmm . . . I hadn’t thought of it until now–but that’s been fifteen years this week. And just because I don’t want to leave you hanging there, we appealed the case with the California Court of Appeals, and the conviction was
Addicted to doing? Addicted to checking things off your list? I’m raising my hand. I own all that. Because I’m goal-oriented and achievement-driven, it’s been tough to cross things off my calendar, such as medical appointments, because I want them DONE. I do not want to think about them anymore. Now they’re floating out there in the great Somewhere/Sometime of life. Ahhhhh! How are you doing in this uncertainty? Cruising? Cursing? I decided that for a season I need a new kind
Years ago when I started prayerwalking, God showed me that wherever I am, there’s a need for prayer . . . so I began opening up my eyes and praying for what I saw. Businesses. Local government offices. Schools. Families.
And more. I also became passionate about understanding more about prayer, and as I read through the Bible, I would mark any reference to pray that I noticed. I particularly focused on Jesus’s prayer life and the teachings on prayer in the New Testament. But t
“Take care,” she said at the end of our phone call. It was an everyday sort of remark, one you usually don’t think about . . . but that day I did. No one knew but I’d felt a lump and was feeling a bit of concern. I was also experiencing chronic digestive problems, joint aches, and shortness of breath. Take care. Truth was, I hadn’t been–instead living life willy-nilly and doing and eating what I felt like rather than being diligent about my health. So, I scheduled my overdue
What’s your favorite kind of party? Mine must be a Pity Party, because that’s the one I most often find myself attending. What’s so wonderful about a Pity Party is that it can go on and on and on. Right? My last one–about two weeks long–just ended this morning . . . but oh, what a mess that one created. I had to pick myself up from the Floor of Complaint. I had to clean up the Poor Me messes. I had to scrub up the Grumpies. Maybe you’ve had such a party yourself? Two things h
How might Jesus advocate for you with his Heavenly Father? Here is an idea, inspired by Revelation 1-3, taken from my book, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus (Bethany House, 2018): “Father, as the Alpha and Omega, I appeal to you on behalf of our servants. Consider their hard work and perseverance in the faith. They have endured hardships and yet keep pressing on. However, they have lost some of the passion for the faith and the desire to make you their first priorit
How do we push through the mountain of tasks that seem impossible? We can learn a lot from Hebrews 12. 1. Look to Jesus. First, we can let the life of Jesus inspire us. He had a call on his life–to share the good news of salvation for us all and to make that walk to the cross for our sakes. Knowing our call helps us decide what gets a YES in our life and to what we can say NO. His life also gives us perspective: probably nothing we are experiencing compares to his suffering.
“Pray without ceasing.” Oh, this verse used to just make me mad. I mean, what was Paul thinking? Pray all day? How could I possibly do that? But the thought haunted me and led me to a book, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence was a monk who lived in the seventeenth century in France–a man who performed menial kitchen tasks and learned how to stay in communion continually with the God he loved. But that book did not help either. I mean, he
Do you believe in breakthrough? I do. Years ago I was laid off from my teaching job a half hour from our home in the Sierra Valley–due to budget cutbacks. I loved my work teaching fourth and fifth grade students, and it was heart breaking having to say goodbye to my teacher friends. I remember one of the last staff meetings when my principal began talking about plans for the next year–assignments and building changes. All of a sudden I understood that I would have nothing to
I did not go to church Sunday . . . but I did church. We observed Serving Sunday at The Bridge Church in Reno. There were no formal worship services. Worship was expressed through hundreds of acts of kindness and service throughout the greater Reno/Sparks area to nearly 20 nonprofit organizations or schools. Some delivered cookies and candy to children at the Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission. One man spent the whole prior day making bundles of cookies to hand out. Some took worship
I was in a state of confusion years ago when I was laid off from my teaching job. The school district on the other side of my valley had big-time cutbacks, and at the bottom of the hiring list, I did not make the cut. I didn’t understand. God had called me to teach. I listened. I obeyed. I enrolled in grad school to get my credential. Less than a year later I was done and that district where I’d done my student teaching hired me. I worked hard mastering the curriculum and cha
I was beginning to shake. It was cold lying on that gurney in the bowels of the Reno hospital surgical facility. Within minutes I was headed for back surgery, and while my husband, Craig, was with me, fear of what could happen settled over me like icy winter frost. “Would you like a warm blanket?” I nodded as the nurse wrapped me in warmth. But inside, I was still a bundle of nerves. I closed my eyes and prayed. And then I heard, “There you are.” It was Pastor Ron. Our pastor