Monday, May 28, 2012



My sister, Niki, called in September, 1983, to tell me that my Dad had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and wasn't expected to live more than three months. As she was hanging up she said, "Write a poem for Dad. I know you can." 

I left for work, driving about 20 miles to Oklahoma City, and on the way I saw sunlight "swords" cutting through the clouds, which lifted me out of the heavy dumpiness I was feeling. Before I reached the office I had the majority of the poem running through my head. That very day, I sent the poem to Niki and she put a photo of Dad with it and framed it and gave it to him. He kept it until he died, and it was given to me after his memorial service. I've had it on a shelf for twenty eight years -- same old scruffy frame, same old paper.

Now, for most of our years, Dad and I had a pretty intense, frequently angry and violent, relationship. We rarely saw each other or spoke or wrote for most of the last twenty years of his life.

Dad had been raised in a violent and addictive family.  When the Great Depression hit, his poor family became poorer.  He had to quit school after 8th grade, because he needed to work any way he could.  I've been told that he, as a teen, hit the freight trains, trying to get quick jobs or stealing what was needed.

I honestly think my dad had good intentions. However, with no proper upbringing and all the stress, he entered alcoholism, among other "evilistic" behaviors -- fighter, womanizer, thief -- as a young man.  I didn't know him well as a young girl, because my parents weren't married until I was 3-1/2 and went back and forth between their families in Portland and Tacoma, either together or separately.  Back in 1945, when I was born, that was extremely unusual and most certainly not acceptable, socially or otherwise.

The physical abuse began when I was 5.  He was drunk and he and Mom fighting and I'd end up in the middle.  When I was 7 and babysitting my sisters [3 by then, 2 to come], both Dad and Mom would come home drunk and "discipline" me for not doing a good enough job.  I was one angry, bitter, fighting kid.  And, so disappointed to have a Dad like him.  And so desiring for him to have life turn a good way.  I DID see him wanting to do better, and he would try for a while -- and then a binge would hit him, and my world would fall apart again.

During graduation, May, 1963, in Klickitat, WA, I was a salutatorian, speaking for a few minutes.  My Dad showed up right before the ceremony and sat in the front row -- and was so drunk he could hardly stay on his chair.  When I was speaking, I could see him slumping, starting to fall to the side aisle. I was embarrassed... and furious.

I left home the next day; had a nanny job in Tacoma for summer before college.  I saw him occasionally during the next few years, but most of the time it wasn't a cheerful stretch.  Later, I lived in other parts of the country.  I couldn't afford to travel to Washington in those days, so it was years without seeing him or the rest of my family.  He called a couple of times, but was drunk, and always screaming at me for some reason I never knew.  After I had come to the Lord I had hoped to bring our lives together somehow, but it wasn't happening.

THEN the blessing I had desired hit my life. On a Saturday here in Omaha I received a letter from him dated March 17, 1979, with the following: 

"I finally gave up my solo fight against alcohol and went to church ... I came away with an awful load off my back; I hadn't realized how heavy it was. My problems are still here, but the Lord is sharing my burden. I am really surprised at the feeling.

"Things are looking up for me now, but it wouldn't hurt for you to say a small prayer for me, I need all the help I can get."

After Niki called me in September, and Dad had remained alive, our whole family decided to get together for Thanksgiving, 1983, just to be with him, and we all hadn't met together for many years. Blessedly, I was given an airplane ticket between Oklahoma and Sea-Tac.  I could never have done it otherwise.  I had a short, but sweet, alone time with him; he was giving a Thanksgiving-eve testimony at his church and we simply sat and enjoyed each other and then someone took a photo for me. I returned to Oklahoma a couple days later.

He died May 22, 1984, living several months longer than anticipated.

As I've often said, I'm looking forward to eternity in heaven, partly to enjoy some TRUE time with my Dad, who I miss very much.


We’re so much alike – you and I –
We think and we feel much the same.
When we love, it’s a deep, soul-filling love,
When we hurt, it’s with soul-rending pain.

We’re like mirrors – mirror images.

Two needn’t be close –
If you’re counting the miles –
To Share this world’s Days and its Night.
There are soul-mates
Who travel life’s path side by side
Though mountains and plains bar their sight.

And we’re mirrors – you and I – mirror images.

Without Jesus to keep us, we’d Die – you and I
Eternally lost from our Lord.
Our hurts closed our hearts
to the goodness of God,
And we turned our backs to His Word...

We’re SO alike – like mirrors – mirror images

But He reached us – He found us
And He healed our hearts –
The greatest of healings provided.
We opened our hearts to receive 

that great love,
And now He walks closely beside us.

We walk hand-in-hand,
But with Jesus between –
As He looks in our hearts, we can say
It’s not just the one,
or the Two,
But the THREE of us,
Who will love through Eternity’s Day.

Shining like mirrors – mirror images.

The Peter Pollock Word Carnival choice is "Missing"

Sunday, May 27, 2012

MIRACLE # 5 -- A & B -- STEVE

FYI -- these occurred nearly spontaneously.
 Miracle “A” --

My son, Steve, began his life miraculously prior to and during his birth.  I was the miracle-forcing person, then, fighting the “authorities”, but truly scared beyond belief.  However, it’s certainly not the same as this next God-giving story.

We lived in Redwood City, California.  Through our Heavenly Father’s intervention, [very serious stuff going on], I left my husband, my kids’ dad.  Renae was 4 years old and Steve was 16 months.  A financial gift, from a Christian sister in our neighborhood, paid for the airplane tickets.  On May 24, 1974, we flew to Omaha to stay with Susie and her family.  We had been invited a few weeks earlier; she had felt the Lord tap her to write me.  I had no idea, when that wonderful letter had arrived, that this would come to pass, if for no other reason than absolute poverty.

Steve had very serious allergies -- all wheat and dairy products.  I could hardly afford ordinary food, let alone specialties necessary for his health.  When arriving here, Susie and her husband blessed us by purchasing what Steve needed and avoiding what he didn’t.

He was better, but not perfect.  Scrawny and skinny.  Cried nearly every night and did not sleep well.  Had never slept well, which made it tough for his mom, believe me.

In August, Susie was visiting her family in Minnesota.  Her husband and I were at home.  One morning, the phone rang.  A friend from church was heading downtown to attend a worship and prayer convention.  She told me she would be in our area in about 20 minutes and if I wanted to go and could be ready by then, she would pick me up.

I DID want to go, believe me.  A teen from down the street agreed to watch my kids and Susie's son.  I grabbed a can of soup out of the cupboard and set it aside for lunch.  Left with a carload of ladies.

After a long time of worshipful music, praising and praying, the morning speaker stepped forward.  Before his preaching began, he said this would be the prayer time for healing.  He told us offering  plates would be passed and we could put in notes re: physical needs. 

While he was giving instruction, suddenly I panicked.   I remembered the soup can I had grabbed without reading the ingredients ... it was vegetable alphabet soup.  The alphabet portion was wheat. 

During my agitation,  trying to figure out what I should do, the Lord spoke to me so clearly.  He said, “Put a note in the plate so they will pray.”

I grabbed a pencil and quickly wrote blunt info.  Basically: boy, 19 mos., allergic to wheat and dairy.   When finishing, I was able to toss it in right on time.

When the piles of notes were delivered to the front of the convention center, the speaker stacked them up and laid hands on them and prayed.  When he finished, I knew Steve was healed.  My heart was totally assured. 

By the time I reached home he had, of course, eaten soup.  Almost immediately, I gave him ice cream.  In the next couple days he had macaroni and cheese, which became one of his favorite foods, and French toast and pancakes and, and, and....

He had absolutely no negative reactions.  And it was wonderful, of course...

... until I panicked again. I thought, “It could still hit him.  He might be vomiting and screaming at night and it will be my fault.”

Do you know God is BIGGER?    My knee-jerk reaction was a “mom” thing.  And the Lord didn’t change this to slap my hand for not trusting Him entirely.  He’s most certainly very kind!

Steve continued to eat and eat some more.   In a few days, he started sleeping, not crying, his stomach pain reduced significantly, and his skinniness was swept away.

I rejoiced ... AGAIN!!!  

How is Steve today?  Well, at 39 he eats what he wants, when he wants it.

As one song says: “God is GOOD all the time.”  Yep, I agree!

NOW -- Miracle “B” --

In August, shortly before the convention, because of his eating dilemma, he was diagnosed with iron deficiency.  They would begin the medication in September. 

A couple weeks after the allergy healing,  he was given another blood test.  Suddenly, the nurse came out, stunned.  She asked what had happened?  I asked what she meant.  She said his iron level had increased well into the normal range and it couldn’t possibly have occurred so quickly.  So, again, she asked, “What happened?!”   I told her that he had been prayed for about his allergies.  I had no idea that not only his eating sources changed, but also his blood iron level.  Hadn’t even thought of it.

But, I rejoiced ... AGAIN!!! [As did Susie’s family,  our church, and many others.]  This time because it was not only a total surprise, and not even slightly anticipated, but, medically speaking, an even more important healing.

The word “HALLELUJAH!!” truly means a lot to me!!!

Tell Me a Story

Friday, May 25, 2012


   My Beloved put His hand
by the hole of the door
my heart was moved
for Him


The mountains of the Cascade Range are among the most beautiful in the world: near-perfect cone-shaped summits, deep, clear, ice-blue lakes, rushing streams, and millions upon millions of trees spread from the foothills and crowded to the fringe of the snow line.

The lives of those who dwell in the valleys and flatlands surrounding the mountains are tightly intertwined with them, economically, socially, and even spiritually, for better or worse.  Impersonal pronouns, such as “it” are not used in conjunction with the mountains, and individually, they are most often referred to affectionately as “she.”

My teen years were lived southeast of Mount St. Helens in Klickitat, Washington.  Today. she is one of the most famous members of the Cascades.  Thirty-two years ago few people outside our region knew who she was, or cared.

I took her for granted.  In fact, since she was out of our eyesight in our small lumber town, I seldom thought of her.  Scientists reported periodically on the volcanic activity occurring deep within her bowels; the valley inhabitants occasionally felt earth-tremors and grabbed for lamps and dishes; and we, as teenagers, derived great enjoyment from frightening outsiders or newcomers with stories of the Cascade legendary resident, Bigfoot.  However, beyond those times, when she was specifically drawn within our range of interest, she was greatly overshadowed by her sisters, Rainier and Hood, who held center stage while she danced, more or less anonymously, in the Cascade Chorus Line.

She finally gained world-wide attention on May 18, 1980, but she destroyed a good portion of herself and the adjoining neighborhood in the process.  She exploded with the force of a five megaton bomb, blowing away thirteen hundred feet of her summit, burying her lakes under tons of rock and ash, and denuding herself of billions of board feet of lumber.  Within minutes her panoramic beauty was erased, replaced by a rocky mound, colored only in varying shades of gray.

I erupted once.  Outwardly, I had been like the mountain ... strong, steady, dependable, always responsibly in place.  And, like the mountain, I had rumbled and quaked for years.  Pressure stemming from alcoholism, physical and emotional abuse, and neglect mixed with anger and hatred, churning and expanding to near-bursting, then contracting once again.  The rumbling seldom attracted much attention except from those nearest me, and even they adjusted to the tremors and noise, diving for cover only when a particularly strong quake affected them directly.

The day came when the walls gave way as the boiling mass within exploded to the surface.  With the unleashing of the pressures came emotional and mental desolation.  The result was a “mound” resembling human form, but lacking inner life and vitality ... a gray, empty shell.

After the dust had settled and the experts had assessed the situation on Mount St. Helens, the paramount question was, “Will the devastation always exist?”  In answer, scientists shook their heads, shrugged their shoulders, or raised their eyebrows, quizzically.  “Time will tell,” they said.

Time told.  As Spring unobtrusively stole across the mountain the next year, lichen, vividly colored wild flowers, and small bushes, such as fireweed and trail blackberries, pushed through the fine-sifted ashy soil. 

  There was just a little color, compared to the vast empty gray spaces, but enough to herald the beginnings of new life.

The Psalmist said, “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.”  After a long seven-months-night of weeping and pain, threatened with suicide, I awoke April 15, 1966,  and found New Life.  The ashes of destruction and desolation became the soil of hope.  Solidity, peace and creativity burst through the crust and sent their roots deep into my heart.  I watched enraptured as change overtook me –- step-by-God-ordered-and-ordained-step -- until wholeness was within my grasp.

Mount St. Helens will never be the same as she was before the blast ... not in form, or coloration, or temperament.  The radical changes forced by the eruption have left scars that will never be eradicated.  But, being the Mountain that she is, she fostered new life and is once again covered with forest, flowers, and wildlife, a monument to God’s restorative powers.

My explosion, generated by long-compounding inner stress, did not change me physically, as happened to the Mountain.  Inwardly, however, my emotions and spirit can never be as they were.  Some scars remain, but they are no longer livid, jagged reminders of the past.  They have faded into the background with the steady emergence of Life.

I am now one with the Mountain.  We both experienced the pain of destruction and the joy of re-formation.  We both saw that, given the healing power of God, life can return to even those most devastated.  Where she was once an acquaintance, now she is my friend.  She is a symbol of life past and present, and the hope for the future.  I will never take her, or life, for granted again.

I realize more glacial and volcanic activity has continued, especially in the last few years.  However, not being a scientifically-oriented person, I have thought of this original eruption as a personal story.  And, yes, I ain't perfect either... but DO have "forests, and flowers, and fruit" through family, friends, and fellowship locally, nationally, internationally.  My "crater" nearly fully-filled through my Creator.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012


OK.  Here's the story.  Life, obviously, never changes.

When I was 16 years old in Klickitat, Washington, I was walking on the main street of this small town on a Saturday and saw one of my teachers, Mr. Warner.  I have no idea what we were talking about.  I only remember what happened.

While I was talking to him, he suddenly reached over and grabbed my hands and forced my arms to my side and said:  "Now talk."

As a result, I had Big Eyes, staring at him, and my mouth frozen shut.

In all these years similar events have occurred.  I get teased.  For instance, I was interviewed by a news reporter after a local First Responder prayer time when two murders had taken place.  Even though a number of people were pleased by my comments, I also was told that it was so "me" to see the hands and arms winding around.

WELL, I was up in northern MN a couple weeks ago, visiting my "sister" and dear friend, Susie.  First, this is a picture of us.  See what she's holding in her hand?

 When I was talking to a couple guys who were rebuilding her deck and ramp, I had no idea what she was doing.  She has known me since I was 15, so in nearly 52 years she has seen each part of my life that changed -- salvation, for instance-- and what hasn't.  THIS is what hasn't.

Sometimes I would like to be a quieter [even with hands and arms], less filled with arm exercise during talks.  Do I remember what we were discussing?  NO!  But Susie obviously enjoyed taking the "Normal Joanne" pics.

[And I'm not upset; just chuckling at how some things never seem to change.  Will I be that way in heaven?  Will my personality still be an overwhelming arm-raiser, swinging and swaying them during worship?  Might not be too annoying there, doncha think?]

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


If I could put another photo on this, I most certainly would. It would probably show me jumping up and down hysterically.  It's another one of those "only God" stories.

In late 1995, Dave and I were worried, BIG TIME, trying to figure out how we could return to the States as necessary in April, 1996. We were nearly out of money other than the basic living costs. Our credit cards were maxed out, savings gone. We had a few people who had blessed us while donating for our ministry, but we had become overwhelmed by the expenses. We weren't being extravagant, but between our basic needs and taking care of folks God had dropped in our path, we were hitting the wall. One main plan was to sell our household items, including a generator, computer, VCR, TV, and Dave's music sound equipment and piles of music tapes. We needed about $2,000, which would provide just enough to fly home.

In early December, we were meeting one of our friends, Fr. Albert, for dinner in Kampala. I was in town before Dave and Fr. A. arrived and was in the Sheraton Hotel hanging out and waiting for them. A Ugandan was playing Christmas carols on an old piano in the very hot, sunny registration/reception center -- definitely didn't feel like our normal Christmas.

A man was sitting on a couch, and, less than bright on my side, I assumed that, because he had my skin color he spoke my usual English. So, being me, my yammery personality, I made a comment about the heat and songs.

Well, I was WRONG! He was Italian, could speak French, and indicated with that "so-so" hand motion, he could do some English. I said I could speak French. However, after we tried to communicate, he said my French wasn't good enough, so we'd have to try to make it in his English. Worked OK. We did talk for about half an hour. He said he was a cotton import/exporter and had been purchasing cotton from around Jinja, 60 miles away. He was waiting for a taxi to take him to the airport, and it was running late. In that next stretch, he asked what Dave and I did, and when I talked about being at the orphanage, he was very touched. He said he didn't believe in God and he was mad at church, but his wife would truly want to see that orphanage when they came together to Uganda the following month.  Before he left we exchanged phone and fax numbers.

In early January, I went to the hotel and met Paolo in the lounge.  He told me his wife couldn’t come because she'd had a ski accident in the Alps [they lived in Milan], and that he wouldn't take the time to go to the orphanage.

Then he handed me an envelope, and said, "This is for you. It is small... oh, so small ... only a thousand dollars." And he flapped his hand around to say “oh, it’s nothing”.

My brain exploded.. " A thousand American dollars, Ugandan shillings, Italian lira? ...Was he confused?" I started to open the envelope, and he stopped me and said that I could see it later, that first we should talk. A few minutes afterward, he asked me to come to the hotel for lunch the next day and to bring Dave so he could meet my husband. [Dave was at the orphanage and would be coming into Kampala the next morning.]

When I left, walking across the hotel garden towards the street, I opened the envelope. I was absolutely stunned.

There were TEN ... BRAND NEW ... PURE GREEN ...
                     ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR BILLS!

Walking through downtown Kampala, the money buried in my backpack, I carried it across my chest with my arms crossed over it. No thief could slice the straps and slide it away from me. Uh, UH!!

The following day we did meet at the hotel for lunch with him and his co-management men from Italy.  He bought so much food – and a LOT of wine – and fed us anything and everything we could imagine.  His goal was to pour blessing on us, because we helped the children. When we were leaving, he had his men drive us to the taxi park so we could head for the orphanage.  That was the last time to see or hear from him.

That $1000, plus what we sold, provided exactly what we needed.  If the Lord had not dropped Paolo into our lives, I have no idea how the move would have gone forward without high levels of stress.

When thinking of this, for all these years, knowing how blunt Paolo was in his dislike of God, I have hoped that, through God using Paolo to generously bless us so amazingly, God has been welcomed into HIS life.

I truly hope to see Paolo in heaven.


Sunday, May 20, 2012


Twenty-one years ago, May, 1991, almost this exact date, I left Tacoma, Washington, with my Mom.  I was leaving for home and was bringing her out here to Nebraska to visit us for a few weeks.

 We left Tacoma mid-afternoon, not too concerned about where we could end up for the first night, figuring we'd reach Missoula, Montana.   Life changed  .. a storm interfered, among one other event.

When we reached Spokane, about 300 miles east, clouds had begun to roll in.  Another twenty miles east, when we drove through Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and I began driving up the mountain-side Interstate, a storm hit and the rain began to pour so hard I could barely see through the wipers.  The highway, for some reason, was nearly empty, and, to move too quickly, slipperyness was a danger.  I was being as careful as possible.  I really, truly was.  [If nothing else, wouldn't want my Mom hollering at me, for which she had a very strong reputation.]

I drove attentively along the highway, darkness covering, slightly seeing the rocky hills on the north side and the guard rails on the south side that protected from flying off the highway into the huge lake.  The curves forced my attention, intensely, to say the least.

Suddenly, a red sports car flew up the highway and around me, speeding way above the limit.  While I was watching it move ahead, I saw the tail lights flash when "he" hit the brakes, and it swerved and swung several directions, and then continued to "fly".

I thought, "Hmm.  Wonder what that was. Better slow down a bit."  So, I tapped the brakes and the turned the headlight beams up.

As I reached the place he had been, the lanes were covered with deer -- all alive, none injured.  I slammed the brakes, hard, and stopped within a couple feet of that large group.  Some were trying to get off the highway and looked confused, some were simply trying to stand up and fell back down because the road was so slick.  I sat there for what seemed a life-time, and was probably a few minutes.  The deer DID manage to walk to the north side where there was a little space for them to stand off the road.

I slowly drove off, breathing heavily, staring through startled eyes.  Even my Mom was silent.

Later, I realized God had protected me in more ways that one.  

First, He had let me know there was a need to slow down... wonder if the sports car was driven by an angel.  Or at least controlled by one.  

Second, while sitting on the Interstate, in the dark and rain, for several minutes, not moving at all, NOT ONE VEHICLE came up the highway UNTIL I was back up to the correct speed.  The possibility of being crashed into ... well, I sure wouldn't be "talking" to all of you.  And my Mom wouldn't have had more years ahead to turn to the Lord, which did happen when she was 80. 

Over the past twenty years when I have driven through that area, I never do it casually ... I do it rejoicingly.  I know that I know that I know that my Savior saved me... again!

I may stop doing this some time soon, but, for some reason, the Lord laid it on me to post Miracles on Sunday.  I remember quite a number of mine -- even though some folks might not think they fit into that particular category --  but also know some that are connected to friends and family.  So, every Sunday that is now my goal... among a few other posts.  My life is changing!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


The first time we went to Uganda, January, 1991, was to check out the country to which we felt God was leading us. Unfortunately, our original plan, to leave in early December, 1990, fell through. We shifted the departing date a couple of times, and ended up scheduling it for mid-January ... which, unexpectedly, turned out to be two days after the first Gulf War began. We left Omaha with eighteen boxes and pieces of luggage: eleven boxes of materials a local ministry had collected from a number of churches -- shoes, clothes, books, small tools, and even a trumpet -- and seven supplied by us, items we had collected or purchased, including toiletries, OTC drugs, school supplies, lots and lots of twin-sized sheets for orphanages, paint brushes and paint rollers, and M&Ms, granola bars, and small fruit cups. On top of that, we had our own clothing. Overall, lots and lots of stuff.

We lost piles of money -- so many airline requirements we had never anticipated and being 2-1/2 days late because of planes rescheduled to comply with the war situation -- and arrived with a lot of tension and confusion and concern.
God brought us through in many ways, one miracle after another. However, one always stands out for me.

Three days after we arrived, I was asked to put a library together for the orphanage in Kampala where we were helpi
ng. I asked a Ugandan lady to sort through the three hundred books in the evening and I'd come back in the morning and take on the job.
When I walked in, she had several stacks in her room -- yep, she also slept there -- piles of text books, fiction, non-fiction, and Bibles. Many, many Bibles.

When I sat down in the chair to begin the job, I glanced at the Bible stack. On the very top there was a Bible that looked trashy. Embarrassingly so. I asked "Wh
o would give a terrible looking Bible like this away?"

I reached down and picked it up and as I opened the cover I was stunned. It was MY Bible. I received it for my first birthday in the Lord and had lost it at a writer's conference at Boys Town in Omaha ten years 
earlier. It had my maiden name in it, so no one would have known it was mine. However, as I looked through it I found that all my old notes were still there. Nothing had been lost. Overwhelmed by the joy, the miracle, I immediately started jumping up and down, crying, screaming, laughing hysterically, and startled the children and adults around me who didn't know what had happened -- including my husband. The director of the orphanage outside of Kampala, where we were going to be helping a week later, walked in at just that moment. It was Jay's first view of me: an hysterical, insane, crazy-acting nutty woman.

However, I also immediately knew that in the midst of all our confusion and challenges, God was telling me that we were in the exact place He wanted us to be at exactly the right time and that He would take care of us. [And He did!]

When I had the blessing of sharing or preaching while we were there, I always told this story. I said, "I lost my Bible ten years ago, ten miles from my home, and God gave it back to me here, ten thousand miles from home." And then I lifted the Bible and showed it to them. They always came to their feet cheering, overwhelmed with joy -- and I always cheered right along with them.

I have that Bible. It is on a bookshelf in a zip-lock bag. I pull it out occasionally just to be reminded by sight, touch, and even a little bit of smell, of the gift that my Father God gave me - Twice.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012


This coming Saturday, my husband and I will be celebrating our 27th Dating Anniversary.  It was a miracle. 
I had begun attending his church on the first Lenten service for which I was writing, sharing, acting in 1985.  Dave was an Air Force officer, a pianist, organist, and a youth leader. And a young guy.  I respected him, because my daughter was in his youth group and he was so considerate and giving.  I was a bit on the tough side, especially as a divorced mom, hardly making it financially and emotionally.  I was very intense in terms of hoping to help other Christian divorced moms and dads who were walking through very difficult stretches, especially with churches that wouldn't accept them.

WELL, one of his youth co-workers told Dave that he needed to mow my grass.  Made no sense; I hadn't asked for any help. But, for some reason Dave felt he was supposed to do it.

Dave came on May 18th with the lawnmower.  It didn't work, which he hadn't anticipated, and he tried to fix it.  We talked in my garage while he was working on it.  It still wasn't fixed, so we did necessary errands connected to the youth.  Went riding on his motorcycle later that night.  Had fun.

The next day he had piles of work at church, because he and the kids were preparing to head for Mexico as a missions team.  After church, he came to my house and worked on my yard, finished the mowing.  I, not knowing he was a marvelous cook and I was "OK", gave him a "thank you" dinner.

Then he played a junky piano I had grabbed for my daughter when a neighbor was sending it to the dumps. Of course, it was wonderful to listen to him.

For some reason, neither of us ever understood, so far outside of his character, he gave me a gentle, sweet kiss on my cheek as he was leaving.

We talked the next day, Monday, and he came back to my house that evening and we hashed it more, and realized God was putting us together.  However, both of us were scared beyond belief -- so different.

We were engaged in 10 days, married in 4 months.  Shocked a lot of people!  But we knew it was what we were called to do.  It was WAY outside of the normal social aspects, Christian and otherwise. He was 25, I was 40 when we married.  

So, MORE was the love through him that was poured into my heart, bringing healing from the Lord by his kindness, graciousness, givingness, huge generosity,  respect, appreciation ... most aspects I had never experienced in my life, even as a Christian.

We had been together for 2 days when he dropped an envelope off to me while heading out for a meeting; would see me the next day.  When I opened the envelope, it blew my mind.

This may seem too "romantic" and not serious enough re: "More" ... but this week, planning our date on Saturday, I think of him more often than anything else.

And, yes, we were much different and, yes, he knew it from the beginning or he wouldn't have written this:


How can such a tough lady be so fragile?
 Yet you are and i understand.
Fagileness is a part of your beauty, like a flower,
and your willingness to risk hurt shows your strength,
which balances and makes you whole.

I pray that i see your fragility,

so i can treat you as i ought.
I would loathe to crush the flower underfoot,
when i desire to nurture you and grow you up in Jesus.

I pray the Lord's forgiveness,
and yours,
if i am not tender when i need to be,

and tough when i need to be.

Very little touched my heart more than that.  Accurate, filled with truth, pouring forth more and more love.

Enjoy Peter Pollock's Carnival.  If I used the word "More" too often, that should be a clue re: his chosen word. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012


 Am sharing miracles.  I decided these would be good ways to remind us of the love and protection of our Lord... sometimes when we hardly know Him.  This is a portion of a "Grandma Cary" story called "Does God Help Us?"  I use my granddaughter, Juliana, as the side character. 

When Grandma tells her about something that occurred many years earlier, THAT is the miracle that I [Grandma Cary] went through back in1979.  So, the answer to "Does God Help Us?" is YES!!!!

...  headed to Omaha through a hilly country area, as Grandma drove around a curve, the car hit a piece of black ice, and she lost control.  The car started to spin, and slid towards the other side of the road headed for a ditch.  Juliana screamed while the car was sliding and Cary started hollering, “Lord.  Jesus.  Father God.  Help us.  Dear Jesus, help us.”  And as she hollered, the car gripped the pavement just as the edge of the road was reached, and suddenly the car was back on track.  Grandma pulled off onto the shoulder as soon as she could and turned around to check on Juliana.  Juliana's eyes, usually big, were huge – and filled with tears.  Her body was stiff and she looked like a statue.      

Grandma climbed into the back seat to hold her and it took a couple minutes before Juliana’s body began to soften and then she broke down and cried and cried and cried, hugging Grandma Cary’s neck very, very tight.

“You poor dear.  I’m so sorry.”  Grandma stroked her hair and held her.  After a few minutes, she said, “Honey, I need to start driving again.  I don’t want to be here too long and end up driving after dark.  OK?”

Juliana nodded her head very slightly and Grandma started the car.  A little later, Juliana said something so quietly that Grandma couldn’t understand her.  “What did you say?”

“God does help us, doesn’t He?  We could have crashed and instead we’re OK.”

“That’s right.  He did help.  My heart is still pounding and I’m still shaking a bit, but I know it was His hand that kept us from being in real trouble.”

While they were about 10 miles outside of Omaha, Grandma said, “I have a story that’s pretty amazing.  Now, God has protected me many times while I’ve been driving during rain or snow storms all around our country.  But this one was the first one.”  Grandma glanced in the rear view mirror to make sure Juliana was listening and then started talking.

“It happened when your mom was about 9 years old.  I was working in a bank and late in the afternoon, after dark, we had an ice storm.  When I got out to my car, it was totally covered with ice and it took me about half an hour to chip it off enough to see through the windows and drive.  I finally got onto the road to head for home. 

"Today, that is a busy part of Omaha, and houses are all around it, but back then it was just a plain road and very few houses and no street lights, and only a few stop signs.  Well, I was driving along, carefully, and then suddenly the car instantly swooshed from the lane I was in to the other lane.  I was shocked and really scared. The road was covered with ice and I couldn’t turn the steering wheel hardly at all, so this sudden change wasn't what I had done.

"Another scary part.   I could see the glare of headlights reflected off the hilly stretch of road ahead and knew there were cars coming at me and we were all going to be in a very bad accident.

"I immediately started to pray.  First, I said ‘Angels.  Send angels.’ Nothing happened.  Then I said, ‘Jesus, help me, Jesus.’ Nothing happened.  But I kept frantically praying in my heart and suddenly my mouth opened and I shouted – very, very loudly –  ‘Satan, in the name of Jesus, take your hand off my steering wheel.’  And you know what happened?”  Grandma Cary looked at Juliana.  Juliana shook her head.  “My car immediately swooshed back into the lane where it belonged.  I didn’t touch anything.  The car moved all by itself.  Within just a few seconds the other cars started to pass by in the other lane where I had been and where we would have had a terrible accident, and maybe even died.  And, yet, God had done this for me.

"I had nearly 10 miles still to drive home and I had no more problems, although, because of the ice, I had to move slowly and carefully, just as I had before the ‘swooshing’ happened.  When I got home, my body was still trembling and I was shaking my head from the miracle I had just been through.

"I have never wondered whether God can step in to protect me.  He did it then, and many other times over the years as I’ve driven all over the country, many thousands and thousands of miles, and just now, He did it again for us.  And it gives you, my dear girl, a story to plant in your heart so you will know that He cares for you just as He cared for me..."

Saturday, May 12, 2012


 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD?
 Who may stand in his holy place?

 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
 who does not lift up his soul to an idol
 or swear by what is false...

The Minnesota Department of Health demands 
everyone in the world 
to wash their hands physically.

 Our God desires all who inhabit
 His world to wash their hands spiritually 
to attain their "forever" time with Him.

His desire is the one--the only one-- that counts. 

Friday, May 11, 2012


"Will those of you who have been
 putting buttons in the collection basket,
 kindly put your own buttons and not 
those from the church upholstery."

Notice in Scotch Presbyterian Church, Scotland

Twelve Baskets Full, Page 116
Margaret Applegarth

This has made me grin for a very long time.  Wanted more friends to grin with me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


This poem was written by a missionary, Arthur Mathews, the last China Inland Missionary to be released from China after the Communist takeover in the early 1950s.  He, his wife and very young daughter were in Mongolia, under increasingly difficult times, including cold, illness, hunger, isolation, and treachery.  Eventually, his daughter and wife were freed, but he still was forced to stay behind for a number of months, during which time his life was frequently in jeopardy.

When first reading this poem, about 30 years ago, it struck a chord in my heart.  It continues to do so.  If I had been born on time, and not 5 weeks early, I would have arrived just about V-J day.   I’ve always had an awareness of the fragility of our existence as a society and a nation.

For a number of years as a child, I lived in fear of attack -- like many other Cold War kids -- but I think mine was heightened by my sense of responsibility to protect my sisters in Tacoma, a city near an Air Force base and Army base.  When Sputnik went up in October, 1957, I was 12 years old and, while standing in our front yard and watching it pass over, I vowed to myself that I would move to the center of the country when I grew up so I would be so far away that “they” [coastal invaders] couldn’t get me.
Many years later, in 1976, in Omaha, Nebraska, the center of our country (with no thought of that youthful vow), I was walking downtown during my lunch break, and the irony dawned on me: yes, I had grown up, and yes, I had moved to the center of the nation, but I had moved right next to Strategic Air Command at Offutt AFB, one of the most seriously operated bases in our nation/world.  While standing on a corner, waiting for a light to change, this hit me, suddenly.  And I laughed out loud at God’s sense of humor.

In light of events that occur, causing hearts to feel heavy or  hopeless, I share this poem with family and friends.  My desire is that encouragement will flood them and be reminded that ultimately we are held in the hands of God -- and the only safe place is in the center of His will.

In the centre of the circle of the will of God I stand,
As I launch from sheltering harbour 
       to obey His last command.
What though waves o’erwhelm my vessel,
       and grim fears my faith assail,
Still I’ll stay upon His promise, for that cannot, 
      will not fail.

In the centre of the circle of the will of God I stand,
Where the warfare wages fiercest,
     ‘tis the place that He has planned.
Though dread foes may storm my castle, 
     and the battle seem but lost,
I will claim in Him the vict’ry, and hold on
    whate’er the cost.

In the centre of the circle of the will of God I stand,
There can be no second causes,
     all must come from His own hand.
When dark clouds obscure my vision, 
    and the way I may not see,
I will trust Him in the darkness, for I know
    He pilots me.

In the centre of the circle of the will of God I stand,
Though the circumstances round me 
    show small trace of His skilled Hand,
Yet in darkness as in daylight,
     in the gloom as sunshine fair,
I will trust Him for His presence, for I know 
    He’s always near!