Remembering My Mom

My mother passed away on October 6. She was 62. Eight months ago, her only health issue was recurring kidney stones. Eight months ago, she had so many plans for the future: She had her Retirement countdown clock going. She planned to return to the courtroom as a lawyer, once she finished her tenure as an elementary school principal. She had her art room ready so she could devote more time to that gift. She talked about traveling to Japan, where she was born, and to SE Asia, to visit my younger sister. She was going to come out to  Emma’s graduation in May and visit my youngest sister in Texas. She was going to live part-time in Tennessee, to be closer to family and friends there. All those plans came to an abrupt halt when, on March 26, she was diagnosed...

Adventures in SE Asia

My son, Thomas, and I spent an amazing two weeks on the other side of the world. Because of where many of the folks I saw there are working, I have to be careful how much I say. So forgive me if I seem vague. It is not because I want to be, but because that is necessary for these precious brothers and sisters. Part I – Fun with Family Our first stop was the country where my sister and her family lives. It is a beautiful, though humid, place filled with amazing people. There were also some strange sights. Like this: That’s a toilet. ON THE FLOOR. And if you’ll look around, you’ll see there’s no toilet paper. Just a water hose and a floor drain. Thankfully, there were also “western” toilets. I am not ashamed to say that I...

Oh, The Places We’ll Go!

Friends, I could use your prayers: My son, Thomas, and I leave tonight for a two-week trip to SE Asia! We are super excited and a little bit nervous. It’s a LONG way away! Our primary reason for going is to visit my sister and her family. They serve in a closed country in that region. Alexis and I will take a short trip to Singapore, just for fun. Then we’ll all go to Thailand: My sister and niece will attend an educational conference there, and I will teach a few classes to high school students and parents on college prep writing skills. We are excited to go, and amazed at all the provisions the Father lavished on us along the way. The Conference Director told me she would love to have a new book for each student at the conference. All 250 of them. I...

Eat the Broccoli

Remember when you were a kid and you hated what your mom served for dinner, and she’d say something like this: “I know you hate broccoli, but there are starving children in Africa who would love this meal.”? I hated that speech. I know, Mom was right. But you know what else? I hated broccoli (still do – there’s not enough melted cheese in the world to make that veggie palatable*). I literally gagged it down. I would have gladly given every serving of broccoli I had to the starving children of Africa. But that wasn’t an option. I don’t make my kids eat broccoli, but I do find myself saying things like that.  And not about food, but – worse – about life: “Sure, things are tough right now. But it could be worse: You could be in the path of a hurricane. Or have...

SKIN DEEP

Book #2 in THE ELI DIARIES is available! In case you missed the initial announcement, THE ELI DIARIES is a series of novellas that address the question, “What if Jesus were in high school today?” Bill Myers, best-selling author (and so much more!), created this world, where Jesus (Eli Shepherd) lives in Ventura, CA and attends Ventura High. His classmates include Maggie (Mary Magdalene), Jude (Judas Iscariot), Martha, Tommy (Thomas), and Pete (Peter). The first book, The Battle Begins, written by Myers, is told from Satan’s perspective – the Enemy wants nothing more than to destroy Eli’s mission before it ever begins. This second book, written by the amazing Melody Carlson, is from Maggie’s perspective. I got to read this a...

Hearing God

Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard of a lot of things done “In God’s name” – many of them are awful: Some of the white supremacists who attacked Charlottesville did so believing they were acting on God’s behalf. I know of husbands who pervert scriptures and mistreat their wives, believing they have God’s authority to do so. I know pastors who encourage their people, from the pulpit, to behave in ways that directly oppose the word of God. Daily, I see and hear people spewing hate and justifying it, saying they’re doing “God’s work.” No wonder Christians are viewed as dangerous. I vacillate between complete frustration over this and overwhelming heartache. Followers of Christ – we must be VERY...