Saturday, December 17, 2016

Happy, Holy Christmas!

2016 Blessed Christmas 
And Going Deeper

     Don’t you love Christmas! It seems utterly amazing that the one and only God, the power force behind all that is, would love us without our “goodness” first earning His love. That He treasured each of us before we knew Him and could return His affection seems incredible. He was willing to enter this world with all its darkness and self-absorption to boldly declare “I LOVE YOU” and forever fill the longing within our hearts and satisfy our yearning to be cherished through eternity.

     It’s taken us a lifetime to understand love like this that would endure torture with poise to show the world death cannot hold us and no longer has power.  This is huge! Christmas is the starting point for the Resurrection,  the greatest event that occurred on earth.  Jesus entered as a Babe, became the Teacher modeling the way of truth and life, and the suffering Savior who set us free from fear and emptiness. He infuses us with hope to face any challenge with deep peace. We love and are loved by Him! This is what we celebrate during these sacred days.

     We started Christmas celebrations early in Door County with our sons Dan and David and daughters-in-law Kathy and Stephanie and twins Joshua and Anna. We look forward to having the entire family together for Christmas at Pam and John’s home with their adult children DJ, Steven, Katie and her husband Alex. David won’t have to travel four days by car to attend. He moved his family back to WI last July. Yay! Our daughter Tamara is flying in from Florida and her son Dr. Jack from Michigan. We’re happy to report all is well with our four precious sons and daughters and their spouses and our delightful seven grandchildren.

     We currently enjoy three winter months in Florida and the beauty of Wisconsin the rest of the year spending time with family playing board games, hiking, biking, and golfing. On the writing front, I’m still at it. Never Tomorrow, my third Christian mystery novel, came out this year. The third Tommy Smurlee Christian mystery fantasy book for older kids will be available by spring. My thanks to all of you who read my books and leave reviews. Wayne continues to be my first and best editor. We met many new friends this past year at book-signings in WI & IL and speaking to Christian Women’s Connection groups through Stonecroft ministries.

     Words can’t do justice to saying how much Wayne and I appreciate the gift of our connection with you -whether you’re family, friends of many years or new acquaintances. We treasure relationships more than anything in our life. With all our hearts we wish you the best, most blessed Christmas ever.

      “His love endures forever; His faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100, Verse 5.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Grateful For Encouragers...

I’m grateful for the people who have encouraged me – literally put courage into me - sometimes with words, other times just by being there for me. Encouragers help me think right – remind me success is in the doing, not necessarily in winning or mastering a situation.
When I faced eleven months of non-stop Interferon therapy to eradicate the Hepatitis C destroying my liver, my husband encouraged me that I could ENDURE.
A few years later he encouraged me that I COULD stay facedown for three weeks at two different times to recover from two macular hole surgeries, which saved me from becoming legally blind.
Knowing my man loves me forever encourages me to step out boldly in all I do. 
Who has encouraged you?
Parents are usually the first. When we learned to walk, they say, “Yay! Your first step. Oops, down you go. It’s okay. Try again.”  I urge parents to never give up this role. A chapter in my men’s books, Man in Command (ebook) and 52 Ways to Keep Your Promises As A Husband and Father (print version) called “Being An Encourager” reminds dads their role as encouragers never end. God our Father is always our best encourager!
Perhaps this Thanksgiving it would be fun to go around the table expressing thanks for someone who has encouraged you. Or maybe a spontaneous Thanksgiving play like the one pictured above of our grandchildren and nephew acting out praying after arriving in the New World.
TommySmurlee and Dunster’s Camp of Mystery and Inventions received a new cover to excite ages eight to adult. If your children or grandchildren haven’t met Tommy yet, I strongly encourage you to give them the opportunity this Christmas.
The story of God’s miraculous healing of our son David is back in print titled TriumphingOver Cancer, A Miracle Story plus 40 SurvivalStrategies. Get it at Barnes and Noble or through amazon.
I enjoyed meeting readers and making new friends speaking at several Christian Women’s Connection events and two book-signings this November. Now I’m ready for my winter hiatus to do some intensive writing! But first - my favorite time of the year – being with family Thanksgiving through Christmas.

1 Thess. 5:11 (NIV) “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Isaiah 35:3-4 (NASB) “Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Thinking and Thanking

Isn’t thinking an amazing human process? A nice walk and a good think are two of my favorite things.

It’s true I seldom reflected when I was younger. Mostly life whirred by. Now that I have the eyes of age, I think much more.

I used to suggest to my counseling clients they set aside time for reflection daily and most gave me the “no time excuse.” I’d answer, you’re thinking all the time. Ten minutes of quiet can be packed with hundreds of thoughts, although often you pay no attention to them.  It’s energizing to use your mind consciously, to think intentionally.


You might start thinking time by recalling simple blessings: hot and cold running water, cream in coffee, a good friend to meet for lunch. That’s my style, then I move on to think about problems and unresolved questions in my life.

As I think, I pause often to savor this wonderful experience of life. For sure, I treasure mine. My mom already had one abortion before she conceived my brother and two years later me. We’re the ones who got to live. I’m humbled.

Recently I’ve been pondering an important decision. Who do I vote for to lead the United States of America? Not voting isn’t an option - not when I think of the women who fought for my right to be included in making these choices.

I’ve considered all the factors, intensely scrutinized party platforms, moved beyond candidate personalities. In the end it came down to my one overriding principle. I realize this may not be yours, but it must be mine. I will vote against anyone who doesn’t respect the value of life. If this foundational premise isn’t right, how can I trust this person’s wisdom? I mourn with God the sixty million dead babies He created for this world who never saw daylight.

I think of women who give a coat they no longer want to Good Will. They don’t cut the coat to shreds and throw it in the garbage. Yet they won’t give away a baby from their womb, even at nine months…why not give the baby to a couple aching for a baby– a generous, gracious, uplifting deed of love - rather than abort it?  I’ve heard the argument of those who say abortion is acceptable if the baby isn’t “viable “ outside the mother’s body. I laugh at this having raised four children. A two-year-old is not viable outside my womb without me to feed and shelter it. Perhaps someday the government will allow moms to kill these pesky, needy toddlers also?  May it never be so!

In the meantime, I will continue to think, vote and pray for wise choices to be made by every one of us with power over the lives of others.  I will thankfully enjoy and reflect upon every blessed day of life with its simplicity and complexity.

Book News:
Triumphing Over Cancer, David’s Miracle Story Plus Forty Survival Strategies You Can Use. It’s our amazing, true miracle story of David’s healing and will encourage you whatever crisis you face. It’s available on amazon and at all bookstores Nov. 14thSee it now.

Tommy Smurlee & Dunster’s Camp of Mystery & Inventions has a newly designed cover by Zoran, a talented graphic artist from Croatia. It will be out Dec. 1 in time for Christmas gifting to delight children ages ten and up. Online or thru any bookstore.

Coming up in November

I’ll be speaking at the following events in November on Stages From the Heart To the Page. Call the organizers for more info. Would love to see you if you live nearby.

Milwaukee West Suburban CWC, Davian’s Banquet Center, Mon. Nov. 14th 8:30 a.m. -11:00 Menominee Falls, WI, for reservations call Lois at: 262-251-3841

Sheboygan After 5 Women’s Connection, Rupp’s Lodge, Mon. Nov. 14th at 6:30 p.m.
925 N. 8th St. Sheboygan, Wi More info call Terri Schmitt 920-946-9141.

Sheboygan Christian Women’s Connection, Pine Hills Country Club, Tues. Nov. 15th 9:30- !1:00 a.m. Sheboygan, WI For reservation Call Ann Keckonen at 262-457-4318 by Nov. 9th

Author Events:

Delavan Library Christmas With the Authors Event, Nov. 19th 9-12.

Author Christmas Book-signing Angelus Shop, Walworth, Wi Nov. 26th 1-2:30.

 Thanks for reading. You are precious!

Great Scripture Quotes for the Upcoming Election:Deuteronomy 16:19
Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the innocent.

Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you.