Monday, July 28, 2014


I have some very good news!

I received a call from a rather giddy family member just over a week ago, a person very eager to deliver some very good news. But, this person stipulated, the news was not yet to be broadcast to the stratosphere.

When I hung up the phone, my mind was already whirring, making a list of all the people I wanted to talk to IMMEDIATELY in order to tell them the good news. Keeping my lips zipped took tremendous willpower. I felt like I was about to pop. The next day and the day after that, I caught myself several times almost announcing the good news - at church, on Facebook, here at the blog, at the grocery store to the stranger standing in line behind me. Really, I just wanted to tell every single person that I passed, whether I knew them or not, my very exciting news.

In the adult Sunday school class at Grace, we are working through J.I. Packer's book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. During last week's class (only hours after receiving my bit of very good news), we were talking about motives for evangelism. First, we desire to evangelize the lost because we love God and our obedience to God's command to "make disciples" honors Him and brings Him glory.

Second, we evangelize because we love our neighbor. Packer writes, "What greater good can we do to any man than to set before him the knowledge of Christ? Insofar as we really love our neighbor as ourselves, we shall of necessity want him to enjoy the salvation which is so precious to us."

Packer goes on to explain that if we "have known anything of the love of Christ for us, and if our hearts have felt any measure of gratitude for the grace that has saved us from death and hell, then this attitude of compassion and care for our spiritually needy fellow men ought come naturally and spontaneously to is a wonderful thing to be able to tell others of the love of Christ, knowing that there is nothing that they need more urgently to know, and no knowledge in the world that can do them so much good...We should be glad and happy to do it."

In other words, I should be as eager, as excited, as impatient to tell my lost neighbor about Christ - as I was to tell everyone I met about the wonderful piece of good news I received last week. I say that I love God and that I love my neighbor. If this is true, then I should be actively looking for every possible opportunity to share the gospel. My mind should be frequently occupied with this thought:  Who can I tell about Jesus today?!

I am a sinner. And, as a sinner, I am separated from God. I justly deserve God's wrath and condemnation.


Christ came to save sinners. Sinners just like me! In Christ, I stand forgiven. Covered with Jesus's righteousness, I no longer fear the judgement of God. On the contrary, I enjoy restored fellowship with my Creator, both here and now, and after this life, in Glory.

Are you a sinner like me? Are you painfully aware of your separation from God? That you have offended him, and truly deserve his wrath?

I have some very good news:  Jesus saves sinners. That's the best news I have ever heard. Ever. The best news you will ever hear, too.

(And just in case you were wondering...two special someones are now officially engaged!)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


The speaker, addressing a group of "mature" women,  talked about maintaining quality of life into old age. Her three points:

  • Stay mentally active.
  • Stay socially active.
  • Stay physically active.

She advised the crowd of mostly white-haired ladies to stay mentally active by reading, studying their Bibles, working puzzles, tutoring young people, taking continuing education classes. She advised her listeners to stay socially active by maintaining friendships and family relationships and by getting involved in community organizations and activities. She advised the group to stay physically active:  walk, dance, sign up for an exercise class.

Her three points lodged in my brain. I think she gave excellent advice to the senior women she addressed. But I think her advice is also appropriate for women of any age.

Are you a young newly married woman? It is so easy when your eyes and heart are filled with Prince Charming to reorient your entire world so that it revolves around him. What you think, what you do, who you spend time with - it all becomes wrapped up in the intoxication of "happily ever after" with your beloved, and old friends and former interests are often laid aside. Not only is this unbiblical - Christ should be our center, always - but it puts an awful lot of pressure on Prince Charming to meet all of your needs. That's really not fair to him.

If you are still living in the glow of being recently married to that gorgeous man of yours, here is some advice from an older woman:

  • Stay mentally active. Read, work the crossword, take a continuing education class. Do something to stimulate your brain.
  • Stay socially active. Understandably, your priorities are different now and your primary relationship is that with your husband. But do make the effort to maintain old friendships - call, email, meet for coffee. Look for opportunities to make new friends, too.
  • Stay physically active. This is even something you and Prince Charming can do together! Walk, dance, take an exercise class.

Are you a mom with little children? Maybe even lots of little children? That's an exhausting calling, one that takes every ounce of physical, mental, and emotional energy you've got. Your brain turns to oatmeal. (Do you find yourself speaking in only one-syllable words now? Are your eyes glazed in stupor at the end of the day?) You have no time or money to meet with friends for coffee. And chasing toddlers, cleaning up messes, and fighting the never-ending battle with laundry leaves you too exhausted to even think about exercise classes. All you really want is a good night's sleep and a day at the beach, alone!

Here is some advice from an older woman, one who had lots of little children:

  • Stay mentally active. Read, work the crossword, join a book club, write. Too tired? Too poor? Then just do what you can. Read a little bit. Blog a little bit. Write a new word and its definition on the bathroom mirror each week. The point is - just do something, anything, to get those gray cells firing!
  • Stay socially active. Yeah, this one is really, really hard when you have small children. Join a play group, where the kids can play while moms talk. Get to know the lady living next door. Invite yourself over for coffee. Bake her some cookies. Let the kids color her a picture. Attend school board meetings or community events. Too tired? Do it anyway. You need interaction with other adults.
  • Stay physically active. Yeah, I know - you're too tired to "stay physically active"! Maybe you don't have the strength or motivation to train for a marathon, but do take time each week to go for walks. Or do yoga after the kids are in bed. Or floor exercises while you and the kiddos are watching cartoons. Move your body - energetically, deliberately, regularly.

I'll be honest here: when my kids were little, no, I did not always make an effort to engage my brain, maintain friendships, or exercise. For a long season, I simply gave up on all of that. But you know what? Not only did my own quality of life suffer, so did my family's. So, if you have a martyr complex (like I did) and aren't willing to sacrifice the time and energy to take care of your mind and body for your own sake, then do it for your family's sake. Their lives will be better if you do.

Are you a 50-year-old, gray-haired wanna-be writer/homeschool mom/grandmother? Here's some advice:
  • Stay mentally active.
  • Stay socially active.
  • Stay physically active.

Thanks for the good advice, Judy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


I turned 50 one week ago today. Half a century - my, how time flies!

I think the best surprise of the day was when an unexpected visitor stopped by the house to play and sing "Happy Birthday." I was upstairs painting at the time, and was pretty certain the music wasn't coming from Ben or Tom. No, it was my dear friend Jill - whom I hadn't seen in way-too-long - and we enjoyed a nice visit on the porch swing that morning! (Tell Lydia her coffee choice was superb - strong, but smooth. Loving it!)

Caroline brought cupcakes to exercise class. Steve came home with flowers. I received a glitter-bomb card from The Grandbaby. It was a very celebratory day!

One week after the day, I am thinking that the 50's are going to be a great decade. Today, I get to celebrate again and announce:

BETHEL ROAD, my second novel, is now available in Kindle and paperback formats!

Bethel Road tells the story of Kathy Parks, a woman who has spent her adult life bouncing from house to house with her husband Ron and their three children. But now, Kathy feels an overwhelming need to put down roots, to settle into a house that she and her family can call "home" for years to come.

When Kathy takes a wrong turn on a winding country road, she discovers her dream house: a dilapidated but beautiful brick Victorian on Bethel Road. Kathy must first convince Ron that the derelict house is salvageable. Then, she wonders, should she tell him about the ghost in the downstairs bedroom?

In Bethel Road, readers are invited back to rural Tatum County to discover how people and places, the past and the present, hope and disappointment work together to lead one woman along the path to a place she can truly call "home" forever.

Click HERE for Kindle, HERE for paperback, or on the link in the right sidebar to purchase your copy of Bethel Road!

Monday, July 7, 2014


Because I needed to be reminded this morning...

- a repost from July 16, 2013

For although they new God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools... Romans 1:21-22

God is indeed sovereign. He is good. And He loves me very much.

Because these things are true, I can say, at the end of a particularly exhausting, difficult day, "Thank you, Lord..."

Thank you, Lord, because this day of wrestling and head-butting and struggling in the ring has strengthened new muscles.

Thank you, Lord, that in the very middle of trials, You graciously remind me of the security that is mine in Jesus.

Thank you, because, weary and heavy-hearted at day's end, I have had to run again to Christ for rest, and have found in Him great refreshment.

God is sovereign. He is good. And He loves me very much.

Because these things are true, I can say "Thank you."

Thank you, Lord, for a good night's sleep, and for a new day.

Thank you, Lord, that I woke this morning to the songs of meadowlarks in the hay field.

Thank you for a day at home, a pause from the frantic running to-and-fro.

God is sovereign. He is good. And He loves me very much.

Because these things are true, I can say "Thank you."

When the enemy of my soul conspires with my sinful flesh to discourage and defeat me, I can meet my adversary with this prayer in my heart: "This affliction does not come to me without the knowledge and good purposes of almighty God. Thank you, Lord, for Jesus, and for the life and the security and the joy that are mine in Him. Thank you, Lord, for even this present trial. Teach me, Lord - what would you have me learn?" Oh, I wonder how our adversary recoils when we respond to his onslaughts with praise to our Father in Heaven!

Jesus lived and died and defeated death and now intercedes . . . for me.

Thank you, Jesus, for saving fools like me. Thank you for lips to say, "Thank you."

Oh give thanks to the LORD for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 118:1