Monday, March 31, 2014


Repost from February 19, 2010

You already know I'm prone to overspiritualizing things. Today's confession: I also have an out-of-whack guilt mechanism. (Could it be those two are related? Hmmmmm.....)

When I was in the hospital after delivering Baby #3, the young nurse on duty instructed me to watch a series of short programs about infant care on the in-house TV. I was about half-way through the "How to Change a Diaper" film when my OB stopped in. He sat on the foot of the bed, looked up at the TV, and asked, "Do you really need to watch this?"

"The nurse told me I had to. She said they would mark my chart 'noncompliant' if I didn't."

Dr. Pierce rolled his eyes. He stood up and turned off the TV, then checked the box on my paperwork that indicated I had conformed to hospital requirements. Fortunately, the nurse never came back and questioned me on the matter - I know I would've cracked and given a full confession. Yes, I admit it - I'm noncompliant! Slap the handcuffs on me! Never mind that I had been changing diapers and nursing babies for years. I'm guilty!

One day last week was one of those especially guilt-laden days. I forgot to bring the piano teacher's check to lessons on the day it was due. I'm late again...Guilty! I passed up an opportunity to give a ride to someone who needed it on the principle that, to avoid "even the appearance of evil," I try never to ride in cars alone with a man who is not my husband or a member of my immediate family. When I told Steve about this later, he said, "Of course you should've given him a ride!" Aaaaah! I neglected to serve a brother in Christ, out of regard for some inviolable 'principle'. Guilty! School, piano lessons, errands in town - I never got around to exercising that day, PLUS I ate a whole bag of Riesen candies. What, are you just throwing your weight loss goals out the window? Guilty! I could go on, but you get the picture. It was not a very good day.

Sometimes my guilt is very real and undeniable. I DID eat all those chocolates. I really did, and I should not have. Sometimes my guilt is totally irrational. Like the time I felt so bad about the mothers in an Afghanistan refugee camp whose babies were wasting away, displayed on the TV screen during the evening news. I had a surplus of milk...just no way to ship my boobs overseas. I probably washed a pint of milk down the drain every morning when I took my daily shower, while their babies were literally starving to death. Wasting milk...Guilty! But real or not, what's to be done with all this guilt?

According to Scripture, guilt can only be washed away with blood. Hymn-writer William Cowper, like me, struggled with a sometimes overwhelming sense of his own guilt. He also penned the words to the familiar song "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood". I looked up the word fountain in the dictionary - it means a spring, a reservoir that can be drawn upon as needed. It connotes a supply that is constantly being replenished, that is gushing over in abundance.

Christ's blood has washed me clean, but some days guilt overshadows my consciousness of this truth. And so, I run back to the Fountain. Not to re-do what has already been done, but to bathe again in the truth of the sufficiency of Christ's work on my behalf. And I find there is always more blood, an abundance, enough to cover all my guilt.

There is a fountain filled with blood,
drawn from Immanuel's veins,
and sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
lose ALL their guilty stains.
- William Cowper

Thursday, March 27, 2014


One of my favorite things about writing is - readers. Writers write to connect with others. When a reader is entertained by or can relate to or is challenged by something I've written, and then takes the time to tell me - Wow! - that makes my day!

Sometimes, writing feels like ghost work. A writer pours hours of hard work into a project, only to wonder if anyone reads it or appreciates all the sleepless nights, gallons of coffee, and multiple rewrites. Sitting at the keyboard, a writer can feel pretty isolated sometimes.

Yesterday in town, a lady came up to me with a huge smile plastered across her face. "I absolutely LOVED your book!" she exclaimed. She went on to tell me, "When I finished your book, I told my husband how much I enjoyed it. He said that I should write you a note telling you so, but I told him, 'No! I'm going to find Camille and tell her myself!'"

All those late nights and the tedious editing? Totally worth it!

So, I'm challenging you today to take a few minutes to hug a writer. Maybe you won't run into your favorite writer walking down the sidewalk in town this afternoon, but you can still give him or her a hug.


Write a review.

Click on over to Amazon, Barnes&Noble or Goodreads and write a few sentences stating what you liked about a particular book, or what you wish had been handled differently. (Even "bad" reviews are good, because they help writers refine their craft.) Write a review on Facebook or on a personal blog. Submit a review to your local newspaper.

When you write a review, writing becomes a dialogue. You connect with the person tucked between the pages of that book or hidden behind the screen of your Kindle.

By writing a review, YOU become part of the writing process.

Welcome to the world of writing!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


One of the things I love about teenage daughters is that when they offer to cook dinner, they usually pull out a cookbook and try something new and exciting. Last night, Helen made this awesome French dish of chicken baked in a mustard-sauce "crust," served with a mustard-&-cream sauce over rice and roasted peppers. Not very good for the diet, but amazing on the tongue!

I'm a pretty boring cook myself. I have my handful of trusted recipes that I go back to week after week. Spaghetti, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, any kind of soup...I've fixed them so often that I no longer have to think about them, no planning ahead or special ingredients involved.

Poulet a la Moutarde? That took some research. And a detailed shopping list. And a lot of work at prep time. It. Was. Awesome. Thank you, Helen!

When the twins were babies, Steve and I had six children ages 7 years and under. A house FULL of little bitties. Steve was working as an intern at his first architectural job, which translates:  our family of eight was living on less than $20,000 a year. Money was like a Size 4 Spanx bodysuit on a Size 24 grandma.

My mother-in-law would buy these ginormous bags of oatmeal and 10-pound cans of peanut butter and bring them to our house when she visited. I think she single-handedly kept our family from starving during that lean season. Oatmeal for breakfast and peanut-butter sandwiches for lunch. And lots of soups for supper. Month after month after month. Not a particularly varied or appealing diet, but it sustained us!

Nineteen years after the birth of the twins, some of my kids still cringe at the mention of peanut butter sandwiches. And nobody asks for oatmeal for breakfast, ever, although I'll occasionally make a bowl for myself.

Come to think of it, I believe I'll go fix a bowl right now...

Monday, March 24, 2014


(Today's post is from an article shared by a friend. All I can say is - BAM.)

Rod Rosenbladt, published in the March/April 2001 edition of Modern Reformation
We incline to moralism by nature. In other words, not all theologies equally draw us. The theologies which draw us, as iron filings to a magnet, are the ones that have to do with self-improvement, with the righteousness of the Law. As children of Adam, we are drawn to those that say:  "I stuck in my thumb and pulled out  a plum, and what a good boy am I." We are not neutral toward the various theologies.

The one that is true - that Christ's death alone saves - we are hostile to, because we are children of Adam. Somebody will ask you, "Gee, don't you believe that we contributed anything to our salvation?" The Reformation answers, "Sure:  sin, hostility, alienation, death, guilt." It's not the answer they are looking for, but sure we contribute all of those things and more. But we don't like that answer; we are resistant to this theology.

The reformers said that faith is of its very nature, assurance, the opposite of doubt. It rests upon the validity of the divine promise of the Gospel. Faith doubts not, though the Christian doubts often. This doubt must be reproved and combated.

But how is doubt combated? It is combated by hearing the doctrine done well. Somebody should answer back to you in terms of what the doctrine is in the promises of the Word. This is how the Spirit produces reliance and assurance. If you say, "Gee, I wonder if I'm really a Christian," and your friend asks you, "Why?" "Well, my life's just a total mess, maybe I'm not really a believer." If your friend tells you to pray harder, cry more, read the Scriptures longer, fast, and so forth - go find another friend.

Find a friend who will talk to you about Christ, what he did at the cross, the sufficiency of his death, the truth of the imputation of his righteousness to you; those are the things we need to hear. If the reformers were correct, you can relax about whether you're going to heaven, even if a lot of times you hate God. Christ died to save God-haters. And the death of Christ is greater than your hatred of God. The death of Christ is greater than your and my flabby Christian life. It is greater than that. The doctrine of justification is greater than our sin.

This doctrine is what makes Christianity Christianity. You've got to get across that the righteousness that saves isn't a change in the human heart, it's a declared sentence, "I declare you innocent." And we say, "But I'm not innocent, I'm guilty as sin!" But the judge says, "I know, but I didn't say that, I said I declared you innocent." That's what Christianity is. It's a declaration of innocence based on another's righteousness, and reckoned to you as if it were yours.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


To celebrate the arrival of spring - FINALLY! - Slow Sun Rising (Kindle edition) is available right now at Amazon for only 99 cents. The price bumps up a dollar each day until it is back at the original price, so get your copy today while it's really cheap!

On another note...

Speaking of spring, the sweet-breath-of-spring is in full bloom in the backyard right now. This is my favorite landscape plant in our yard - smells AMAZING, and the blossoms and scent are always so welcome after the cold and gray of winter. Thank you, Donna, for sharing a cutting!

The chickens are loving the sunshine and warmer weather, too - 8 eggs yesterday, up from the 3 or 4 we had been getting. The hens are roaming far and wide in the hay field this morning, looking for green shoots and chasing bugs. (By the way, does anyone want a gorgeously handsome, really-and-truly docile Welsummer rooster? I have three, but only need one. I hate to kill the extras, because they are so pretty and have such pleasant dispositions. If you're in the Obion County area and would like a free rooster, message me and we'll see if we can work something out!)

Thursday mornings at ADBC, Inc. Fitness Studio on the square in Troy, we have yoga led by a beautiful young woman named Erica. I am not a true yogini, in the strictest sense of the word - when exhorted to meditate on "the divine within," I thank God for the presence of the Holy Spirit, for Jesus, and for His sovereignty and providence. During practice this morning, I thought how wonderful it would be if all those who were searching for their "center" found their center in Jesus. I guess you could say I was praying for a yogi revelation/revival - would that make me a yogavangelist?

Blue skies, sunshine, and warmer temperatures. Bible (in Joshua now), yoga, breakfast, and laundry. School today, and writing. Then grocery shopping and piano lessons. Looks like today will be a wonderful start to spring!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Fear is something I struggle with almost daily. Sometimes it's a relatively small, "normal" fear - Will the kids make it safely to school this morning on slick roads? Sometimes it's a weightier fear - What if we can't pay our bills and we lose the house?

Sometimes it's an intensely personal fear - What if someone I love finally sees me for who and what I really am and then they reject me? What if, at my most vulnerable, I am left standing naked and alone?

I'm still working on memorizing Romans 8 - a long process for my dusty old brain! Currently, I'm carving verses 14 and 15 into the gray matter:  "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery, to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!'"

It is comforting to be reminded that I will never, ever, ever be left standing naked and alone. The One who knows me best - all the good and the ugly - and who sees me at my most vulnerable, has promised me that I am His forever. He covers me and keeps me.

You know what? There are those whom I love dearly who have rejected me. Who have, either emotionally or quite literally, turned and walked away. It hurts to have your heart broken, and the very real pain of a broken heart makes it so easy to live in fear, to be afraid of ever being open and vulnerable again. Romans 8 is good medicine for a broken, fearful heart.

Reading through these verses again this morning, I was so greatly encouraged and strengthened as I was reminded: I am loved! I am eternally secure!

That got me to thinking:  those who desire to dismiss or manipulate or malign or wound me - their sinful intentions are directed toward a weak and fearful woman, yes, but a woman who is also beloved by God.

Realizing this, it struck me this morning that I am not the one who should be afraid.

And it feels today like the world has turned upside down.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


(My oldest son, Reuben, posted these thoughts a couple of weeks ago on FaceBook, and they so impacted my heart and my thinking that I asked if I could share his thoughts here at the blog. I think that, like me, you will be challenged by Reuben's words to look at the Law of God in a completely new way. Wow! Is God not so very good to His people?!!)


At RUF Bible study we talked about the man with paralyzed legs who got thrown down through the roof into the room with Jesus. Jesus forgave him of his sins and the Pharisees were all like "oh no you don't, Jesus, only God can forgive sins- stop faking" and Jesus was like "What's easier to fake- forgiving sins or unparalyzing people?" and then he said to the bro with no-good legs, "Get up and walk" and the guy did, and everyone was all like "WHAHAOAOAOAOA GOD IS AMAZING!" But the Pharisees got all pouty.

The discussion was really, really good, and it had been a while since I had read about or thought about that verse, and so I left the Bible study with a lot on my heart and a lot in my head. I was walking home across campus and a warm front had moved through that day, so everything was warm and a little damp. There was a soft breeze blowing and the starlings were chattering in the magnolias.

And then I was suddenly intensely aware of so many years of my life. It was like stepping side-ways through all of my years as an adult in one prolonged instant. The birds in the trees were singing a song I had heard before, and I could smell Japan. The whole sky was the endless eyes of the cherubim one next to another. The birds spoke in the trees and I felt like I was standing at the very end of my life-at the very end of my years- and they were asking me the same question in their strange bird-voices and I felt the answer swelling up in my heart but I had never heard the words.

All around my whole body the world pressed close and almost warm in its greatness. The endlessness of one human soul filled the vast emptiness between each of my footsteps. The sky was soft and warm and tiny insects breathed softly and swiftly in the leaves. The soil slid like oil around the tree-roots and the whole earth hung on its invisible cord in a sea of light, upside down with the people standing on it unaware. I felt plucked outside of time, and each instant of my life was rising up together and asking me the same question.

I thought to myself, "what can I answer all things?" And again my heart knew the answer but I did not know the words. Shapeless words were in my mouth. I said to God, "Oh that I knew your words; Oh, that I knew your law." And I remembered that God had said it was very near me- in my heart. And I tried to remember the law of God, and I could only remember the Ten Commandments. And I started to say the commandments back to God but I was saying them wrong. They were just words like little human rules, and they somehow echoed hollow in the huge fullness of the earth around me. I was missing the point. I hadn’t heard them right and I was reciting them wrong, but I didn’t understand how.

And then it was the voice of God on my eyelids saying; breathing into my heart, "Why are you saying my laws as if they were burdens? Each one of them was a precious gift. Each one of them is a precious promise. Each one of them has been given to you as an unshakeable vow. Say them as a Father promises every good thing to his child. Say them like the words of creation."

So I said the ten laws back to God but they were no longer rules and threats, they were promises; the vows of God spoken into my heart. He told me,

"When I have made you new, there will be no part of you that is capable of sin. You shall have no other Gods before me- you shall see me in all things and at all times and your worship shall never falter or fail; the fire you offer me shall never be defiled, and your lamp shall never be put out."

He promised me, "You shall not make any graven image or bow down to it or worship it. Everything your hands form shall rise up and join you in perfect worship of my holiness."

He promised me very dearly, "You shall not take my name in vain; in all things that you invoke my name, it shall be fulfilled to my glory. Do you see what I am preparing for you?"

He vowed to me in an unalterable word, "You shall never forget the sabbath day to keep it holy. You shall work for six days and the seventh day you shall rest in me. This will always be so; I swear to you, you shall never forget my holy day. Do you see what I have given you already? I will give you even more than this. "

He promised me, "You shall never bring dishonor to your parents. In all that you do your voice shall rise and bless them continually. Their bones will be strengthened and their heart will be made glad as if by wine by your deeds each day. You shall never harm or destroy another soul for forever. All your words shall be life and all of your actions shall be kindnesses. You shall never, ever commit adultery. All of your love shall be like pure fire; like pure water on the altar, flowing down forever and cleansing all that it touches. You shall never steal; all that belongs to me shall belong to you, and you shall never put out your hand that I will not place in it more than you imagined. You shall never, ever bear false witness; all of your words, like mine, shall be true. You shall not covet anything that your neighbor has. His plenty shall make you glad and you shall hang around his neck gifts of gold, and together you shall go up to my house to worship me forever. Now, already, and very soon I have given you all these things; they are yours to keep forever."

And I realized how and why I had always understood the commandments incorrectly. When Jesus fulfilled the law, He didn’t just obey it- He made it true for his bride. He fulfilled it. Each statute of the law, once he had lived it, became a description of him- and now as description of us; of who we will be. The commandments are promises. So now I see each one as a promise to me for glory. When I covet, and I ask myself and God how I could sin like that, I hear the tenth commandment whispering into my heart, “But there will be a day very soon when you shall not covet. I have written it in stone with the tip of my finger and sealed it with fire and water. It will surely come to pass.”

The ten commandments are the words of the new creation- they are the foundations of the new heavens and the new earth, where there will be no sin or sorrow. And above them all I hear the greatest commandment; the unalterable vow of God-

“In that day, You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and all of your soul, and all of your mind, and all of your strength. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Monday, March 10, 2014


I'm reading in Deuteronomy right now.

Used to, when I reached Deuteronomy, I thought, "Thank goodness - almost to Joshua! Soon, these tedious books will be past and I'll finally be into the good stuff!" Joshua is so exciting, so much easier to read than Leviticus or Numbers or Deuteronomy.

Except that during my current read through Scripture, those first several "tedious" books are, amazingly, no longer tedious.

They are amazing.

This morning I was reading about the Law, the Ten Commandments, and something struck me in a new way. Over and over again, as God was communicating His Law to His people, He said, "because I love you." And, in essence, all of God's commands can be summoned up in the charge for His people to respond to His love for them in the only appropriate way: God says to His people, "Love Me!"

From beginning to end, as God speaks His Law to His people, His language is bathed in, saturated with, dripping with love. Suddenly, the Law is not a law at all - it is a gift. It is a love song.

Suddenly, my response to God's Law is not a feeling of being burdened or guilty or weary - but an overwhelming sense of the goodness of God and of His great, unfathomable love for me.

Used to, when I read through the Ten Commandments, I was impressed mostly with my own inadequacy, my complete inability to conform to God's holy Law. Such a response is appropriate, but my focusing on my inadequacy is stopping short of the beauty of what God has spoken.

My inadequacy pales into insignificance when it stands alongside the greatness and the goodness and the faithfulness of God's love for His people, including me.

Once again, darkness is swallowed up in ineffable light.

Friday, March 7, 2014


Have you been snowed in for the past week? Suffering from a case of cabin fever? Need some "grown up" time away from the kids?

I have a great idea...

If you are in the Martin area at noon tomorrow, head to The Looking Glass Coffee & Curiosities/Wonderland Books and Games and join me for my second book signing. I will be at The Looking Glass/Wonderland Books on Saturday, March 8th, from noon until 1:00, and would love for you to stop by and say "Hi!"

The Looking Glass/Wonderland Books is located at 215 S. Lindell Street, in beautiful downtown Martin, Tennessee, right across the street from The Opera House Restaurant. In addition to great coffee, The Looking Glass serves a delicious assortment of soups, sandwiches, and desserts. You can also browse the shop for books, cool games, and high-quality, locally-made crafts and gifts.

Downtown streets have been cleared of snow and ice. The weather forecast calls for highs around 60. Sounds like Saturday will be a great day to browse the shops in Martin, enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee, and support this local author!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Ice and snow on Sunday. Sledding and snow cream on Monday.

Tuesday, Ben and Helen created this fellow. He is standing in front of the house, right outside the kitchen window.

Every time I look out the window, I have to smile. He looks like he's waving excitedly and calling, "Hi! Come outside and play!"

Today, Nate joined Ben and Helen to create a snow menagerie. I guess you're never too old to have fun in the snow! I love seeing my kids playing together...

Helen crafted a cat, sitting tall and upright.

Ben made a unicorn.

Nate made a playful snow puppy and a kitten, rolling on its back batting a ball of snow yarn.

Later in the day, Ben headed back outside to make a mother goose and her goslings - just for Mrs. Donna!

One last photo: Helen working on her cat, surrounded by a unicorn, a puppy, and a kitten.

Because we homeschool, we usually don't miss school for snow and ice. (We have, however, been known to cancel school for spring sunshine.) Today, I'm glad that Helen did her schoolwork AND played in the snow. What a beautiful day!

Monday, March 3, 2014


May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live together in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 - Romans 15:5-6

These are the verses printed on the front of the bulletin for Martha and Justin's wedding this past Saturday. I think this passage beautifully expresses their hearts' shared desire as they embark on this journey of marriage.

Standing with Martha in the parlor at the back of the sanctuary before the service began, I was struck anew with how wonderfully marriage illustrates so much about our faith. I was amazed at the sweetness of God - the incredible, tender, heart-melting sweetness of God - that He chose the institution of marriage to broadcast to a sinful world how passionately He loves His people.

As Justin stood at the front of the sanctuary, beaming with anticipation while Martha approached, I was reminded that it is with just such joy and delight and longing that Christ regards me. He loves His bride, the church, and He longs eagerly for His wedding day!

Some people think this Christian faith is heavy, that God is a joy killer, that our calling is one of burdensome laws and life-sapping servitude. Like Jesus is a stern taskmaster or a malevolent judge. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a child of God, I can testify that Jesus is like a radiant bridegroom, smiling joyfully at His bride. He is truly beautiful, altogether lovely.

Watching Martha as she stood before Justin and eagerly promised to be his and his alone, to love him and to live and serve alongside him, to give up her own name in exchange for his, I was again amazed at the beauty of the gospel of grace. Martha was absolutely glowing. The anticipation of several months was finally being realized in her union with her husband. For what seems like an eternity, she has been longing to be swallowed up in his embrace.

And then there was The Kiss. It very nearly blew the roof off the sanctuary.

When I consider my Beloved - when I read His Word to me, when I talk to Him in prayer, when I sing His praises, when I talk to others about all that makes Him lovely - do I do so with a heart bursting with longing, eager to behold my Beloved face to face? Do I anticipate Glory with the excitement and intensity with which Martha anticipated that Kiss?

I love Christ-centered weddings. They are indeed a billboard proclaiming God's faithful covenant love for His people. They bring my Beloved tangibly near. They prompt me to fall in love with Jesus all over again.

They make me long for the Wedding to come, giddy for Glory.

The Newlyweds