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!!!

Monday, May 29, 2017


I’m proud to introduce my guest blogger today – my husband Wayne - who started writing inspirational messages several months ago. I love what he wrote about Memorial Day and I think you will too.

Both deal with life and death.  One day we honor, one we celebrate.  One day, lives were taken by another, on the other, life was given for all “others.”

Memorial Day - those we honor who lost their lives to defend our liberty and Easter, celebration day, when Jesus gave His life to bring new life to heaven, to those in Christ; to free all from death forever, whatever.  Because of Easter we have the hope of again seeing loved ones lost for now, perhaps in war. But Jesus turned death to eternal living with Him and all believers. 

Most of our military leaders acknowledge “War is Hell”.  We honor our war dead.  But even afterwards, some men and women who survive have difficulty because of the effects of war.  A good friend of ours was turned into a “killing machine” by war. He hated and loved to kill the enemy, actually looked forward to it, his heart was filled with hate. “A hating and killing machine."  Later God turned him into a “loving machine”. Instead of killing others, he saved others by becoming a pastor. God can change hearts from hate to love. There are no enemies in church pews.

Yes, God can change us into war heroes.  Memorial Day is filled with war movies on TV. “Sargent York” and “Hacksaw Ridge” are two of our favorites.  In Sargent York, God took a man who was a “drink and devil guy” into a “guts and glory” guy.   Through his gallant exploits, he became the most decorated soldier of World War II. Be sure to see it if you haven’t. A classic.

“Hacksaw Ridge,” a recent film, will bring tears, watch out.  A man, Desmond Doss, who didn’t believe in war, in taking lives, a man of great faith, joined up to become a medic, to save lives.  He never carried a gun, was disliked by most because of his disbelief in war, his love of God, and his attitude toward killing. Yet he became a giant among all men.  In one day and through the night, he saved 75 of his men from sure death by carrying them, dragging his wounded comrades to safety though wounded himself and under constant enemy fire. They enemy tried to kill him but couldn’t.  He even aided one of the enemy inspired by courage, determination, and God.  His only prayer, “Let me save just one more”.  Don’t miss it, it’s something very special.

I read that at the end of WWII, a German lady sought employment from an American woman.  In finding out the women was German, she questioned hiring her, a women of the enemy. When she hesitated the German replied, “I know your thoughts madam, but you see, ”We All Shed The Same Tears”.  Yes, we all shed the same tears!

And those silent teardrops were shared by the South when the news of Lee’s surrender came.  “We all shed the same tears.” Visiting the cemetery at Normandy in France, we were blessed reading the epitaphs of the thousands buried there, the thoughts on the graves from loved ones, similar their love for a husband, brother, friend, it was a very touching scene.  And the peace and beauty at this place of honor was striking, like a garden of flowers and love just below heaven itself.

We then visited the cemetery of the fallen German lads near by.   Guess what?  It was the same in many ways, with love poured out from German families on the gravestones of their loved ones. YES,“ we all shed the same tears”

When Helen Keller was asked what she wanted most in life, she replied: “I want people in the world to live like brothers and sisters.”  Her thoughts were not of herself, what she never, had, but of others.  Her loving soul had grown out of her shell of blindness, deafness, and dumbness to think about others. Only God can do that!!

“Loving, merciful Father, take our little loves and enlarge them into Your loves.  Our sympathies this day and expand them into Your sympathies.  As we will never forget those who gave their lives for our great country, we will also never forget Jesus who gave His Life for us, and that brings to us tears of love and joy.   Our thanks doesn’t seem enough!! Amen WTR 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Thank you Circlemaker Prayer Team!

We gifted 508 children’s ebooks Tommy Smurlee and Dunster’s Camp of Mystery and Adventures this past month for children ages 9 and up and almost 200 Soaring As A Parent ebooks went to places as far away as Japan and the Netherlands.

The ladies I met at my five speaking engagements In Madison, Lodi, Richland Center and Monroe were delightful. Two expressed a desire to become Christians! In June I’ll be in Freeport, IL for a Christian Women's Connection event.

I had fun making pies and filling decorative planters for our Fontana Garden Club Memorial Weekend fundraiser to benefit our community. The gals work so hard to raise money for local scholarships. I'm privileged to participate.
May every day be filled with honor for those we love 
and those who selflessly serve others.