Monday, October 30, 2017

Humdrum Never!

Days, humdrum never! Our house has been filled with visiting nurses, family and friends. A medical crisis is a community experience – I get that more clearly now and thank God for it. Walking through alone would be overwhelming.

Thanks, dear readers, who prayed for my husband’s open heart surgery for aorta aneurysm repair and arterial by-passes. We’re grateful beyond words for the thoughtful emails and cards of encouragement and your prayer support!

The surgery was successful! I want to jump up and dance and sing alleluias, which by the way was Wayne’s first word in intensive care when he came out of the anesthetic. Today he begins three months of cardiac rehab required to get his stamina and endurance back.

There were a few dark moments, now we see only light. We met so many fine compassionate people who helped us in multiple ways. It’s amazing what highly skilled doctors and nurses can do. We’re grateful we live during this time of advanced knowledge for heart restoration.

This experience made me more aware how we all depend on the skills of others. It’s fascinating to consider how interdependent we are. During a medical crisis, it’s so obvious. Each person contributes from the valet at the hospital who parked our car to the staff in the cafeteria, building contractors, designers of medical instruments. How beautiful it is when we NOTICE, really APPRECIATE the value of those around us. My favorite phrase of late has been a sincere “Thank you. I appreciate YOU” said with a heartfelt smile. God had a beautiful plan when he created community, starting with family and extending to church and neighborhood and beyond. (The picture below is Wayne, our son Dan and I yesterday.)

My publisher graciously extended our second round of edits for my next novel The Windemere Affair - a blessing since I noticed Jennifer, my heroine, needs to come across as more caring in an important scene, which I need to change.

Never Tomorrow received a gratifying, and humbling review this month from an independent reviewing agency.  My Directive 99 continues to receive the most orders – a timely, scary suspense story.

On this October day, which happens to be my birthday, I/we celebrate God and YOU and the gift of more MIDDLE in our lives.

                         Psalm 28:6 "Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Multiple Worlds

I always thought I knew how to celebrate the gift of every twenty-four hours but it’s intensified these past five weeks since discovering my husband Wayne needs open heart surgery.

Ever feel like you live in multiple worlds? First the outer world with the interesting people you come in contact with daily. Next the family world – a more intimate connection. And third your inner world – where you and God connect – the inner dialogue, prayer requests, moments of thanks, knowing there’s something divine happening around you, recognizing earthly blessings, maybe even mini-miracles.

I’m spending a lot of time lately in my inner space with God praising Him for revealing my husband’s need for open heart surgery despite having no pain and providing a wonderful doctor and his team to operate on Tues. Sept. 26th.

We’re learning to trust more deeply - to not let fear strip us of Jesus’ legacy of moment-by-moment peace and to seek a sense of normality midst the abnormal.

I see grace all over in people, places – in particular in my husband Wayne’s serenity in this difficult situation. I see it in the abundant kindnesses of friends and even strangers reaching out to us with both words of comfort and promises to pray Sept. 26th. Thank you! How grateful we are!

And so peace prevails. We wait one more day knowing we’re never alone in our inner world with God.

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us form the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ” Romans 8: 38-39.


Below are two pictures taken days ago at BMW PGA Golf Tournament in Lake Forest, IL with daughter Tamara and dinner with our son Dan - two of our precious four children.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Praying for the Middle

Beginnings and endings. Both can be life changing, but endings are harder. Like nevers and forevers they can’t be redone, renegotiated. What ends won’t ever again be as it was. Which is why I’m praying against an ending.

Phrases from Psalm 91 are constantly on my lips.  May this aortic aneurysm discovered during my husband’s recent heart ultrasound not be his last chapter.

We received news of the fragility of Wayne’s heart as I was about to speak mid-August at the first of three consecutive events over three days. In my prewritten speech EACH TIME I told the women we CAN trust God in all the WHATEVERS of our lives. How I needed to hear myself say this! Trust, faith in God’s love and unending mercy, so easy to say, yet challenging to live.

Why is denial such a tempting first response? Surely this diagnosis wasn’t true, it came out of nowhere, no pain.  Soon  the truth settled like a tight cocoon.

Then quickly denial turned to gratitude that a routine test blessed us with important knowledge and fortunately modern medicine has a solution. WE PRAY IT'S SUCCESSFUL! 


I remember all the moments after our beginning – mutually discovering seven years into our marriage that God is very real and personal and sharing a compelling desire to serve Him, precious times with our four children, grandchildren, extended family and amazing friends, our multiple businesses, twenty years of camps for kids, the golf course we co- owned, the preschool, B & B, our real estate investments and rental properties, the mission trips, the vacations, our joint writing projects, THE BLESSED ORDINARINESS OF MOST OF OUR DAYS.

I know an ending must come some day, only not yet please Lord. I’d like more middle in our lives - how I wish I could be the decision-maker here.

Open heart surgery is necessary on Sept. 22nd to repair the aneurysm.  Heart cath is planned for this Thurs. Sept. 6. I think of the picture on our bedroom wall, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future.” Only believing this creates a sense of security and peace.

Why am I sharing this with you my family, friends and readers? How deeply we appreciate your prayers! Prayer - power of the supernatural kind - is what we need to walk through these days. Prayer for Wayne’s renewed healthy heart and for God to be glorified every step of the way.

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall say of the Lord you are my refuge place and my peace. I will not fear the snare of the fowler nor the deadly pestilence.” Psalm 91: 1

As you enter your fall season, may all your beginnings and endings be good, and the middles too.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Silly Things and Important Things

Do you remember silly social rules that have changed like never wear silver and gold jewelry together? White shoes shouldn't be worn between Labor Day and Easter. These to-dos came from society around me. Some were quite rigid. 

Now I pick the social customs important to me and decide what to teach my children. Saying “Excuse me” is a custom I hope never goes out of style. Demonstrating graciousness and courtesy is always a good thing. Saying goodbye to guests –actually standing with them as they depart- is a lovely gesture.

Nurturing respect and appreciation for one another through old-fashioned games is also an important custom in our house. At a recent family party we had an egg toss in the yard wearing black garbage bag protectors over clothes. Scavenger hunts are another favorite, also board games. You learn lots about one another and grow closer playing games.

Another custom of ours is to find something to laugh about every day. Even in the midst of our eighteen-year-old son’s cancer treatment we made a commitment to laugh every day and he came up with some great ideas like keeping a squirt gun in his bed and squirting nurses when they entered his room. Okay that didn’t last long before the staff confiscated his gun, but it was great fun for a time.

In the heaviness of life’s current challenges may we remember the forever-important rule to delight in each day!

I like to remind my family that Jesus enjoyed having fun. Getting the guys (apostles) together to talk and rest, I bet they had a lot of cool inside jokes. Jesus accepted party invitations regularly – loved to socialize. I also know without a doubt God has a great sense of humor. I often see that in the way my prayers are answered. Of course, He was and is such a great communicator and kind to the nth degree. Super role model for us all. Check out the gospel of Mark!

     This month of August I’ll be speaking at three events for Christian Women’s Connection in Fulton, Dixon and Geneseo IL.
     Final editorial edits are underway for The Windemere Affair, my next murder mystery release through Pelican Books.  I’m excited for this novel –because lots of counseling is woven midst the who-done-it.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Independence and Dependence

Celebrating Dependence

July is the month we celebrate independence from England and the birth of our nation. We Americans are quite proud to be an independent people. Might we also celebrate our dependence, equally essential for a happy life? I consider myself a strong-willed independent, dependent person. Aren’t we all?

Dependent? How? Children depend daily on parents for love, guidance and nurture. All ages depend on God to maintain our universe – to keep the earth suspended in space, and maintain the precise balance of elements like oxygen in our air. Think about the many people you depend on to keep your life running smoothly – the owner of the local gas station where you refuel, the food store that carries your favorite items, the farmer who produces those life-sustaining foods.

Fantastic family members depend upon one another for help through tough times. We all go through problems; we need each other. It’s quite beautiful the way we can depend on people and allow others to depend upon us. During this month of July as you enjoy the simple joys of summer – backyard barbecues, chatting with neighbors, picnics – you may want to focus on the people whose presence you gratefully depend upon in your life.

Most of all we depend upon God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit who are available to help us every moment. What peace knowing this brings to our lives!

Psalm 25:1 “In You O Lord, I put my trust.”

EVENTS: Lovely time in Freeport, IL at the Christian Women’s Connection speaking to the fifty ladies in attendance. In August I’ll be at speaking and book-signing events in Fulton, IL, Moline, IL, and Geneseo, IL. What fun meeting readers face to face.

July 8th Our son Dan, a super salesman, set record sales at Lake Geneva Authorfest for my adult and children’s mysteries! He’s awesome.

Rejoicing that Pelican Publisher offered me a contract for my next mystery novel The Windemere Affair. Editing is underway!!! I’m thrilled to work with this excellent company.

My Joyful Christmas Reflections book will be free on July 19 and July 20th through Kindle. Email me if you need help downloading. When you have a quiet moment you may enjoy one of the selections.

Secrets To Being a Super Grandparent will be a free ebook July 19 and 20th as well. This simple book has powerful ideas for soul-stirring grandparenting experiences – the kind grandkids will remember for years. I'm holding our first great grand, Brayden Parker. 

I so appreciate you readers.  This is my ninth year of writing Thoughts on Fun, Faith and Family. There’s not much I haven’t written about – yet I’m always seeking new thoughts for us to ponder. I so appreciate your notes/emails of encouragement. I wish time permitted me to respond to each of you.

Joyous July with your loved ones!!!