Gratitude in the Midst of Fear

"Immigrant" written with chalk on a blackboard

In this season of Thanksgiving, I have much for which to be grateful.  I can profess my Christianity freely without fear of reprisal here in the U.S. I have a home that I feel safe in and free from the fear of attack.  I have a church where I can gather with other believers and worship my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I am a wife with a loving husband for whom I give thanks every day. I am a lay pastor, hopefully being a faithful shepherd to people in our congregation for whom I would lay down my life. I have no biological family to speak of, but I am part of an amazing extended family in my church where I love and am loved. I have a few close friends whom I trust and love. Blessed?  You bet I am!  Grateful?  Yes and yes and yes again!

With all this gratefulness, I still arrive at church this morning with a heavy heart and overwhelming sadness. Like many of you, I have watched the news with horror, listened to various pundits, politicians, and news anchors on the issues of the Syrian refugees and the latest terrorist attacks on Paris, and I have read the diverse comments on FaceBook. I wasn’t going to do this…but here is my two cents’ worth.

In Matthew 5.44-45 (ESV) we read, “You have heard that it was said, ‘But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.'”  Imagine that!  Praying for your enemies!  It may sound ludicrous to some of you, but that is exactly what I am doing!  I pray God turns the hearts of these extremist Muslims, who seem to live only to destroy, toward himself so that he might introduce them to his son Jesus Christ and they would know true freedom.  That their hearts would be unhardened is my fervent prayer. Do I hate the terrorists?  No, I don’t hate them – actually, I do dislike them seriously and I hate what they do in the name of their god.  I love them because this is what I am commanded to do by God.  It’s a bit of a conundrum for me and I pray over this daily. Have I or do I even know any Muslims?  Yes, I tutored a young Arab man and he was kind and respectful of me as he tried to explain Islam to me. All Muslims are not terrorists – just as all Christians are not from the intolerant Westboro Baptist Church. That’s my position on the terrorists.  Proverbs 24.19-20 states, “Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious o the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.”  Our God is bigger than ISIS.

I come at this from my own Christian perspective.  My husband is a retired Air Force Colonel who was stationed in Viet Nam.  He has a different perspective, which I respect. And, I am certainly not saying we shouldn’t defend our country from the threat of terrorism.  I know Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek; unfortunately, I’m not there quite yet.  Therein lies the issue – we as a nation are so divided as to what to do and what to think about this situation that we are reduced to yelling at each other like schoolyard children. It is hard looking through someone else’s lens, isn’t it?

As to the Syrian refugees, I simply cannot fathom having my home destroyed and running for my very life because some enraged nutcase religious extremist wants to convert me to his religion or separate me from my rather cherished head. I cannot imagine leaving my homeland with a few possessions, little food and water, and walking across my country to wherever I could find a scrap of humanity to have pity on me and take  me in, regardless of who I worship, or what I profess. And then, to be resettled wherever the powers that be decide, whether I want to go there, whether I know the language, having no personal say in it whatsoever.  How frightening is this?  Really, how frightening? I.cannot.imagine.

How many of you come from families who came to the U.S. from some other country?   Uh huh, thought so.  The vast majority of us are immigrants, maybe not refugees, but immigrants.  What if Ellis Island said, “Sorry, the U.S. is now closed. Go somewhere else.”  We wouldn’t be here, would we?  This country’s foundations have been built on the backs of immigrants; some volunteer, some not, Africans, Irish, German, Scottish, British, Chinese, Hispanic,  Arabic, etc. The U.S. is known for its diversity. Is there a possibility that through immigration we let in someone of bad character; someone who wants to hurt us, who is a criminal, perhaps a terrorist?  Yes, it is a definite possibility.  BUT, that slim possibility cannot make us shut our doors in fear and say to these refugees, “We don’t want you because we don’t trust you.”

That is the kind of nonsense being perpetrated on the American people. The media portrays only that which garners the best ratings.  Christians and non-Christians are duking it out on FaceBook.


If we are not willing to accept Syrian refugees in our homes, then we might just as well take the Statue of Liberty out of the water and put her in storage.

Proverbs 22.8 tells us, “Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail.”

Tell me…where is our humanity? Pray, people, please pray.

NOTE:  This is solely my opinion (to which I am entitled).  Negative or threatening comments will be deleted – keep it clean and calm, people, please.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Yes, I know I have been gone for a long time. I can’t promise how long I will be here now. But I have lots of new things to share since we last spoke.

I’ve been pastoring in FL now for almost 2 years – time is flying by. I love this renewed passion I have been given for God and His Son and the Word. I love helping people, discipling people, seeing how God works in others’ lives. I am so blessed in this season of my life.

I’m still hanging out with Devoted Spouse. In about a week or so we will celebrate 32 years of wedded bliss. Again, time flies.

I’m posting this outside of my blog – so, having not looked at any posts, I don’t quite remember where I left off. Be patient if I sound like a broken record.

My world turned upside down last September when EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer passed away from bone cancer. We had taken extraordinary measures to help her live with this disease. I lost friends because of some of my decisions and choices concerning EmmaLou. They weren’t really friends. Looking back, would I take the same actions? Maybe, maybe not. At the time, I believed I had her best interests at heart. Now, I have the advantage of hindsight and lots of prayer time. Truthfully, much of what I did was for my own needs, not hers. Not real proud of that. I even went to her grave and apologized to her for what I put her through. And, I’ve forgiven myself over this, finally. I miss my fur-best friend every day.

That’s enough catching up for now.


Nurturing and Nourishment


Found this citrus grove not long ago on one of my adventures.  Looks a bit unkempt.  Like no one is taking proper care of it.  Weeds and bushes growing around the citrus trees, dead stuff that hasn’t been cleared away.  Fruit waiting to be picked.  There was no one around for miles.  The house at the end of the grove looked empty – no cars, no people.  The barn  on the edge of the property needed repair.  Where were the workers?  Where was the caretaker?

I thought about what happens if that fruit just stays there or drops on the ground to rot.

What happens if we aren’t nurtured?  The fruit God has sown in us doesn’t develop and ripen. Or what fruit does grow may not be harvested.  It may fall to the ground and rot.  Someone else won’t experience the wonder of that fruit.

So, what nurtures you? Where do you get your encouragement? I get nourishment from bible reading and study, from my writing, and I’m nurtured by time spent with friends, family, my church family, play time with my crazy pets.  It’s all about balance in your life.  Allow the fruit in your life to be nourished and grow.  Really.

Gnothing Wrong With Gnarled


This morning when I got up I felt out of sorts.  I felt old and gnarled and cranky.   I have found that when I’m in that type of mood, it’s likely that I’m out of tune with the Spirit.  One cure for that is to get out into nature and admire His Creation. So grabbing Devoted Spouse and my trusty Nikon, I jumped into the Subaru and headed down the closest country road.

We came upon a fairly deserted lake/campground.  I parked the car and headed off into the woods.  Along the path, I found this old tree with its roots coming up out of the ground. What a beauty!  Even with its twisted limbs, lumps and bumps, it was still standing proud.   I think that was God’s way of showing me it’s okay to feel or even be a bit gnarled. Just keep standing and keep sending out roots and all will be well.

Thanks, Abba.

Yes, I’m Still Alive


You may wonder where I have been.  It has been awhile since I last posted here.  Let me briefly get y’all caught up.

Major life change this past August as we sold our home in Ohio and moved to a small town just north of Tampa, Florida.  It was a big deal.  We had been in that area for around 20 years; in our last house 10.  Moving was stressful, traumatic, but the end result is Devoted Spouse never has to shovel snow again, and I can wear flip flops every day as I lounge by our pool.  Ahhhhh, the good life.

Why, you ask?  It was a God moment – actually 2-years of God-moments, culminating in the calling to follow one of our beloved pastors to a church he planted here in FL.  Big fat hairy decision.  I never even asked Devoted Spouse if he wanted to move to FL; I pretty much told him this was the plan.  He never batted an eyelash, just started cleaning out 20 years worth of junk and packing up stuff to move.  What a peach!  Or should I say orange, since this is Florida?

I’m ecstatic to be here in a warmer climate, even though one of our first visitors inside our new house was a poisonous coral snake – yeah, that was fun to deal with.  My hero, Devoted Spouse just corralled (sorry) it in my spaghetti pot and saved the day.  No worries.

I spend my time doing God-related things here similar to what I did in Dayton, just in a different capacity.  I still pray for people; pastoral caregiving is my passion – and I work in Connections making sure folks are welcomed into church and feel loved and wanted.  Recently, I started up a new small group – yay!  I was sort of expecting no one to show up – man, was I surprised at the turn out.  It’s gonna be a great journey.

Along the way, we added to our family…a calico-tabby kitten we named Holly (hey, it was Christmas and it just made sense.)  She’s adorable and is having a tremendous time torturing EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer (who just had her 10th birthday).

So, let’s get back in touch here.  I have missed my 3 faithful readers.  Love ya, mean it.


Who Told You That?


I found that image on Flikr from someone named Star – and it spoke volumes to me because I haven’t been very kind to myself lately.  Oh, I’ve spent hours and hours working on ‘love your neighbors as yourself’ but that becomes difficult if you don’t take care of “you” somewhere along the way.

I was sitting in a class the other night and we were all discussing spiritual gifts we had and those we prayed for or wanted.  I came out with some nonsense about how I couldn’t do something, as I am wont to do,  and my pastor/friend/son/mentor/Prodigal wrote up on the board this question:

Who Told You That?

It was a simple question but it hit me right between my beady little eyes.  It has to do with the lies we believe in our lives.  Toxic lies that may start all the way back in childhood.  They find their way into our lives and our mindsets until they are second nature.  That’s not healthy.  If you believe lies about yourself, such as you’re not good enough, you’re not smart, you’re unworthy of love; whatever lie you believe; remember, God never told you that.  That came from a human or from Satan, the enemy of our souls.  Stop believing the lies.  Dump the toxicity.  Lighten up.  Give yourself some credit.  God doesn’t make junk. Thank God that He made you the way He wants you and go enjoy what He’s given you.

That’s what I’m going to do right now.  See ya later!

Review of “The Bible” Miniseries


Roma Downey and Mark Burnett’s series The Bible has been on tv for awhile now so I thought I’d take a few moments to critique it. I believe I’m qualified to do this since I am a Christian, I’ve read the bible a few times, and I’ve watched untold episodes of Survivor.


  1. The scenery is nice.
  2. The stories are fairly accurate.
  3. Great fight scenes and excellent special effects.
  4. There is a good chance someone may want to read the bible after watching this.


  1. I’m pretty sure Noah didn’t have a Scottish accent.
  2. Ninja angels paving the way for Lot.  Ninja angels.  ok. why not. nevermind.
  3. While I’m on the subject of angels…biblical messenger angels were truly frightening to behold. The angel appearing to Joseph and Mary wouldn’t frighten EmmaLou, the Golden Destroyer.  He was entirely too handsome in his red cloak.
  4. John the Baptist in dreadlocks…’nuff said.

I’m somewhat surprised at how many people are watching this.  It’s hokey. But I shouldn’t quibble – at least the name Jesus is on peoples’ tongues and he may be a topic of discussion around the water cooler.  That can’t be all bad.