Saturday, July 1, 2017

Hurt Too Many Times by A BFF? Now What?

If you've ever been hurt too many times by a BFF, please read my article entitled BFF or Not? featured in Now What? magazine, about how God healed my broken heart and helped me trust again. I believe it will renew your hope. 

P.S. I will be on a one-month blogging break to prepare for and speak at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference in Montrose, PA, then to recover from yakking my face off for nine days!

See you on August 1!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Why I Feel Sorry for Modern Kids

I feel sorry for modern kids. Or should I say kydz? Today’s parents either don’t know how to spell, or they’re trying to be cute.
Not long ago, David was always D-A-V-I-D. Little Davey didn’t need to spell his name to the librarian, his Sunday school teacher, or the softball coach. Now he totes flashcards and wears a name tag day and night. It might be Dayvid, Davidde, or Daivihd. Same with a perfectly decent name like Mary. Her flashcards could read anything from Mahree to Mayrie to Mairey.
I cringe to think where this generation of creative spellers is leading us. Imagine a family singing together on a road trip. Sister starts, “There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name-o, B-I-N-G-O...”
Brother interrupts, “That’s not right. Kevin has a dog named Bingo and they spell it B-E-E-N-G-O-U-G-H.” Family bonding takes a huge step backwards.
Or what about Sunday school songs? The leader steps to the podium and charges into, “The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me…” when a redheaded girl in the front row corrects him.
“We don’t spell it that way anymore,” she says. “We use the new spelling: B-Y-E-B-I-L-L.” He stumbles off the stage, his hopes for a shining career as a song leader dashed.
I know, I know. Embrace progress, move forward, don’t dwell on the past, change is good, etc. I agree. But please don’t tell me I’m going to turn on the T.V. one day and hear “M-I-K-K-E-E  M-O-W-H-S!”  
 (Drawings copyright Ron Levellie)
Do you have an unusual name? How about your kids?  
The above story is a chapter from my second book published by Elk Lake Publishing,  

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I Wonder If I Should Fast

I wonder if I should fast. This seems pretty serious.

My friend Allison was scheduled for an MRI. She had been operated on for a brain tumor a year ago, and this was a routine check up, but I knew she was nervous about it. Kevin and I had been praying, but a little added oomph seemed in order. That’s when I got the idea to fast.

I realize that fasting doesn’t change God’s mind about a situation. It’s not a method for manipulating Him to do things your way. It’s more a means to humble yourself so you can hear His voice more clearly. And nothing spells serious like going without food.

My problem is, I become Miss Cranky Pants when I miss a meal. Which isn’t good if you work with the public, serve in ministry, and write a newspaper column about God’s grace. Aha.

As I pondered my dilemma I noticed the title of the book we were studying in our Sunday school class, “Me and My Big Mouth.” I turned it over to view the synopsis on the back, and read one of the chapter headings: Fasting Includes Your Mouth. Oh dear.

Further investigation led me to Isaiah 58, where God rebukes the Israelites for fasting food but continuing to sin with their words and wicked attitudes. The word that choked my conscience was in verse 9, where God says, “Remove the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness.” Hmm.

I’ll fast complaining, I thought. Every time I’m tempted to grumble or be negative with my mouth, I will pray for Allison instead. I was so proud of my bright idea, I began immediately.

While getting ready for work, the thought presented itself to criticize my hair like I do many days. "What good does it do to have naturally curly hair if the curls don’t go the direction I want them to? This mop is a mess." Oops! Fasting complaining. I almost forgot. “Lord, help Allison to not be scared today during her MRI. Let her feel your love.” 

While rushing to check emails before leaving the house, the temptation came to grouse about my overflowing inbox. "If Facebook didn’t notify me every time someone glanced in my direction I could manage these emails better." Oops! Fasting whining. Get your thoughts in order. “Father, speak to Allison during her test today, please. Help her believe your love for her.”

All morning long I fought with griping gremlins and disparaging demons. By the time I looked at the clock and realized Allison’s test was over I felt like I’d wrestled a grizzly with my bare hands. And I wasn’t sure who’d won.

I’d mistakenly thought managing my mouth would be easier than taming my tongue. I was wrong. The habit of negative words and thoughts was stronger than my appetite for food. Bummer.

The one good thing that came from this bright idea, other than a realization of my need to be more positive? Allison got a ton of prayer and a clean bill of health!

Do you ever fast? How has it helped you hear from God or stay healthy? 

P.S. The above story is an excerpt from my top selling book, 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Why I Want My Money Back

I want my money back. When I first started flying, the stewardesses wore bright orange skirts, a whole tube of mascara, and go-go boots. They gave you peanuts with your soft drink, and the dinners were free, even though they tasted like plastic dressed up as chicken a la king. Now the “flight attendants” wear plain navy blue smocks, black pants, bare eyelashes, and tennis shoes. Only the first class passengers get peanuts, while they charge me $5 for a Barbie-sized meal that still tastes like plastic.

I want my money back. When I first got an allowance, candy bars were a nickel and it took five bites to eat one. Now they’re eighty-nine cents on sale and I can barely find my chocolate goo-goo bar hiding in its wrapper.

I want my money back. When I first started going to movies, they cost a quarter and you saw two of them. You could stay all day and watch five times if you wanted to and no one kicked you out. Now one show takes an hours’ salary, and I have to hide in the bathroom if I want to stay and see it again.

But I really want my money back for all those government studies that my tax dollars have funded over the years. I already know that sweat produces an odor, people without jobs have less money than the employed, and more humans than cows are afraid of flying.

I’d even settle for half my money back. Then I could get a first-class ticket and eat peanuts and plastic chicken ala king, go to a dozen movies, buy a hundred dinky candy bars, and do my own studies—about how the true meaning of life has nothing to do with money.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Five Words That Will Change Your Life

Five Words That Will Change Your Life

In all the years since Debbie left L.A. to move to Denver, I never told her how the five words she taught me changed my life. Twenty years flew over us like a streak in the inky sky before I thought to thank her for those five words.
When we moved into a beautiful new home, she said them. When my kids got awards, my husband got a new job, and I had my first paying article published, she spoke them. Even when I received things other friends might have been jealous of, Debbie never withheld those five precious words. 

She didn’t realize how she was changing my thinking, helping me become a better friend, and grow from selfish to joyful with her five words.
 You have probably guessed by now what the five words are: 
I’m so happy for you.

(I know, all you English majors, that I’m is a contraction, and thus equals two words. But don’t you think Five Words that Will Change Your Life sounds snappier than Six Words that Will Change Your Life?  So, you’ll just have to forgive me.)
The element I loved most when Debbie spoke these five words was that I knew she meant them. Because of her sincerity, those words changed the way I relate to others when they receive blessings. Debbie’s words made me realize how soul-nourishing it is to have someone rejoice with you when you rejoice, rather than feeling envious of the goodness coming your way.
 Because if I’m brutally honest, I must confess that it’s easier for me to “weep with those who weep” than it is to “rejoice with those who rejoice.” I can take your hand and cry with you if you’re crying. But to say, “Wow, that’s marvelous!” when you’re doing the Snoopy dance, takes maturity. And to dance with you takes unselfish love. Especially when you just received something I’ve wanted for years.
When I’ve pushed aside my immature thoughts and chosen to act in love, I’ve discovered a joy that runs deep. If I can sincerely share in your blessings, my heart grows two sizes. I go from Grinchy to Gracious.
So, whether I change your life or not by saying, “I’m happy for you,” it’s worth the change in me.
What words have changed your life or thinking? 
Have you thanked the person who spoke them to you?