Saturday, October 30, 2010


In the spring of 1978, Susie's family suggested I read a new book, All Creatures Great and Small. I was told that I would laugh. On Mother's Day after church, I buried myself in my bedroom with a bag of Heath candy bars and the paperback... and read for a few hours... and laughed a lot.

Over the years, I have read that book several times, and all the others that came out through the amazing brain of James Harriot. Sometimes there are several years in between the reading phase, and a few months ago I started again. Slowly... very slowly. Am just starting book number 2, All Things Bright and Beautiful. I usually read a chapter when I'm grabbing a quick lunch or ready to doze off before turning out the light. [My husband happens to love these books, too, so it's fun to share bits and pieces with each other, as one or the other is reading them. Again.]

Today, something jumped out at me, and I've been thinking about it for a few hours. NO, James Herriot didn't pour scriptures into his books, but sometimes, whether he planned to or not, godly principles slid in.

This one:

It was March, freezing cold, windy, lamb-delivery time. James, the veterinarian, was out and about on hilly, hard fields, or the occasional shelter, but always either bringing forth the babies or helping the moms. One day James was standing with the farmer, Rob, before the rapidly growing flock. "Look!" Rob cried. "'There's that awd ewe with Herbert [a small previously rejected lamb]. Over there, on t'right-- in the middle of that bunch.' They all looked the same to me [James] but to Rob, like all shepherds, they were as different as people and he picked out these two effortlessly."

OF COURSE, this made me think of that wonderful portion of scripture, verses 14 and 15, when Jesus says, I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me--

Even as [truly] as the Father knows Me and I also know the Father -- and I am giving My [very own] life and laying it down on behalf of the sheep. [Amplified.] [And, as you know, a number of other verses in that chapter are fitting to this piece.]

To read the Herriot books, to see the sane and insane sides of him and his partners and customers and animals, is usually very funny-- only occasionally a serious head-shaking experience for me.

But, today, this was the wonderful, joyful story that hit my heart and soul ... and tapped my spirit... because I know that as that pushingly independent, striving, but rejected little lamb, which I resembled in years past, I now know that I know that I know that the Good Shepherd cares for me and will do all that is needed to keep me in a loving place in His flock.

Tonight? Another small portion to read... and more to go.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Recently, the Lord laid Revelation on me to read, probably over and over -- He's done that before. It ranks right up as a favorite book, and I enjoy it... it thoroughly excites me.

Well, in chapter 7, it has one of my favorite portions. The host comes from every nation, tribe, people, language... then the angels and four living creatures... and then they all fall prostrate before the throne and worship God and the Lamb of God... and this verse just explodes -- I have it underlined big time and read it with a loud, roaring, "hallelujah-ing" voice:

Amen! (So be it!) they cried. Blessing and glory and majesty and splendor and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and might [be ascribed] to our God to the ages and ages (forever and ever, throughout the eternities of the eternities)! Amen! (So be it!)

=========WOW!!!! ===========


Last May when I visited Susie, this is what it looked like from my favorite sitting site (sight) in her house.

This time? Change, BIG TIME. [Bare feet to warm socks, if nothing else... but, of course, that doesn't count the green-to-brown outside world.]

What did I do this time? Slept and slept, rested, rested, and rested some more. So much needed... and didn't quite realize how the Lord had laid my rest up there in place, no pun intended [at least originally].

In the 4-plus days I was there, I went o
nly into the nearby town and back... a total of 6 miles. Considering it's about 530 miles each way, from my house to hers, I usually pile another hundred or so
aking some side trips and visits... but not this time. Except for going to a local Christian community center with a great clothes-for-sale shop, it was only being "home" with Susie. [BTW, God really opened a great door: I was able to purchase, for next to nothing, approximately a dozen winter jackets and other warm items for the Bhutanese refugee family I'm involved with here, and piles of sheets, blankets, towels, comforters, and on and on. Totally stuffed my trunk and 1/2 of my back seat. Handed them out yesterday, and the their joy of receiving was thrilling to see.]

Had nice dinners and visits with her local family members who came over; had a real treat of a time with a local man born and raised in Zambia with his missionary parents [also locals]; he returned to the States after high school in '96, about the same time Dave and I returned from Uganda. How exciting to talk to someone who has been in Africa and has a true heart for it ... and has brought some of it home with him. Got my adrenalin flowing big time!

So, here're the "bits and pieces"...

I was painting Christmas tree and shelf ornaments in 1977. This was the one I made for Susie. Amazing to see it still today. What a blessing to have a friend who shows continued appreciation for the small things. [My painting ended by 1978; ain't done it since. Glad it fit into her life at just that right time.]

And then the big one, a really nice photo of the two of us. What a treat to have this. I can hardly wait to print it off and frame it.

So any deep and intensive Truth that invaded our lives while I was up there? Any insights into all that is happening in the world, both outside and around us? Nope. Hardly any at all, which is very rare with us. So, nothing to share in this post that will change lives forever. But our time was quiet and pleasant.

Guess that should be worth as much as anything else.

Monday, October 25, 2010


When we lived at New Hope Uganda, an orphanage, AKA Kasana, sunrise was always a blessed surprise for me. One reason: I'm not an early riser. And the mornings when I woke up by 6:30, I'd jump out of bed and rush outside to see what the sky was doing... whether pink and blue, as was in my previous blog background ... same tree, same place as this one ... or with orange and gray and gold and white and filled with clouds intensely swirling overhead.

On those days, at those moments, I rejoiced at this wonderful godly creativity, His lovely fingers wiggling out and about, swiveling and pulsating along the horizon. As I watched the sunrise unfold more and more, I would jump for joy and praise Him.

Even today, all these years later, when I look at the photos, all I can do is grin and feel my heart sing.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I met Jill nearly 7 years ago. The Lord had sent me over to Uganda to help in the town of Soroti -- He hadn't told me HOW I was going to help, just that I WAS -- and my first stop was at the orphanage north of Kampala where Dave and I had worked, where our "son", Sam, and his/"our" wife and daughter lived, so I could get myself focused and organized.

Jill was dropped into my life in a funny way. I was staying with another British lady at the orphanage and they watched Britcom videos on Saturday evening. Jill and I laughed just as loudly and at the same time and we just hit it off.

I was leaving for Soroti on December 3rd, and she was allowed to go with me. Quickly it became obvious we were either going to be friends or enemies by the time the jaunt up there was passed before the Christmas break -- we slept in the same bed most of the time, worked together all day in a small office, and had very little time apart.
We both saw and heard horrific stories at the Rescued Children's Camp, and we reacted differently... after hearing the stories and returning to the YWAM compound where we were staying, she pulled the sorrow into her heart and walked in silence; I cried, screamed, slammed walls.

She pushed me to pursue the needs of a young girl who was caring for her brother in the local hospital. I had become so tired and stressed from the various heavy experiences, that the "one more step" was almost beyond me. Between her desire to take the step and the Lord pushing me, it was done ... and the girl, an orphan whose brother died the day after we stepped in to help, is now 18, and is my granddaughter.

A few months after my return home, a young woman Jill had been caring for who had been struggling with cancer, died, and Jill crashed. Her church arranged for her to return to Worcester for a few weeks so she could rest and gain her strength back.

I was able to go
for a visit, and, overall, we had a wonderful time. I had been in England before, attached to our layovers from Uganda, once staying for a week, but had never been in her home area, not far from Oxford and Bath. She and her friends took me out and about and I so enjoyed my time there.

I also happened to be there about this time in October on her birthday and we walked to the downtown area for lunch. It had been storming in the Wales area and the water was hitting their portion of the river Severn very strongly and it was overflowing the banks ... and along with the water, came the swans.
I was taking pictures and suddenly felt a strong whap on my thigh. Startled, I looked down, and a swan was whacking my purse with its bill, assuming there was lunch in there that I needed to share with it. [That was obvious from watching people tossing pieces of cookie and sandwiches to them.]

Today, Susie was talking about geese and ducks she has seen while out taking photos, and suddenly I remembered the swans, and then the time in England, and then that it was Jill's birthday about now, and THEN how we had met and what a wonderful friend she was at the beginning and now what a wonderful sister she is to me...

She will have a 3-month break this coming summer, and as she has done before, may take half of the time to come and visit me and my family, and I will take her on trips to various places -- but the main one will be up here to see Susie again.

Isn't it amazing to see how the Lord opens doors and pops wonderful little surprises through them, surprises we could never have anticipated? In November, '03, God sent me to Uganda and when God nudged her, Jill laughed her way through the door --- and we've shared our lives ever since.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I'm getting ready for my trip up to northern MN to see Susie. I leave tomorrow morning, so have lots of bits on my prep plate and didn't want to be interrupted.

A while ago, the doorbell rang. And 5 of the Bhutanese were standing outside, smiling.

After we visited for a few minutes, the young man told me their main need ... someone to work with them to learn American English. Many of the young folks had gone to school at the refugee camp and most of the classes were in English English --
they even have Shakespeare classes! However, our terminology and pronunciation and syllable emphasis is a real challenge for them.

I couldn't think of any books that would be a help as we moved forward. And then the young man [who will have been in the States a week as of tomorrow] mentioned having a Derek Prince book in Nepali and I have the same book in English. When I get back home we're going to try to work out a time for Bible study -- using common scriptures, such as John 3:16, in both languages -- and also use the Prince book as a learning/training time.

We all became very excited at what the Lord is opening for us.
I -- a non-other-language-adept-person -- can help them become more comfortable with our language. How cool is that?

The last neat part: when they drop in occasionally, before they leave, they always ask me to pray for them. And even though their language understanding is limited, they just love to have me lift them to the Lord and rejoice and praise Him for bringing them to our country and our neighborhood. They always leave with smiles and laughter and hugs and lots of love. Makes my spirit sing, to say the least.

NOW I'll get the last of my chores accomplished so I can hit the road early in the morning, but I just needed to share this blessed moment.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pharisee Interview

A scribe asked a Pharisee, as part of a survey, “What would you do with Jesus?”

The Pharisee answered with great detail and heart-filled hatred.

“I’m happy to tell you what I'd do with that blaspheming rabble-rouser. I'd stone him. With pleasure.

“Ever since he emerged on the scene here in Jerusalem from that God-forsaken area up north, he's been nothing but trouble. We can't maintain order. We had everything running smoothly here. Sure, we all despise the Romans. There is always a plot fermenting to overthrow them. The fools who do that plotting are normally discovered and crucified, but, then, what can those rebels expect? They know the risks.

“The Romans are difficult to live with at best, but this man, Jesus, has made it worse. He has divided the populace with his talk of a new kingdom ... a heavenly kingdom. Who does he think he is? He SAYS he's the son of God. HUH!!

“Would the son of God -- our most Holy, Almighty God -- allow prostitutes to touch Him... allow beggars and lepers with their filth and running sores, to handle Him? IF Jesus was truly the son of God, he'd know the Law and what IT says about the unclean and impure.

“You know what I think? I think he's an opportunist ... crazy ... power-hungry. I don't know what his goal is, but, if nothing else, it obviously is only to further his own ends and increase his own following. And that end can only be destruction. For all of them.

“And for that I wait – impatiently. It will be a great day for this nation when that man is dead. The sooner this man Jesus is condemned and removed, the sooner we can regain our control. And the sooner we can get these Roman eyes diverted from us and back on their own problems. And we will be free.

“So, what would I do with Jesus? I would kill him.”

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Every person, physically capable of doing so, walks. A person’s walk can be as unique as his laugh or voice or sneeze. Young “Jocks” swagger or strut, teenage girls saunter, older women mince along in staccato steps, briskly, and old men shuffle. Eight year old girls and ten year old boys have a style of their own, characterized by numerous detours and much sidewalk scuffing; adults call it dawdling.

Eph. 4:1 states in part, "that you walk [lead a life] worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called...". [AMP.] In my Bible, penned in the margin, is the lofty thought, "a walk is steady."

When my adult son was ten years old, he was a "string bean" with hands and feet too large for his lean frame. It seemed he was always in trouble for bumping, tripping, falling, or dropping. Praise God for wise teachers ... one encouraged me by saying, "Steve doesn't have any trouble he won't outgrow. He'll get all his parts going the same direction. It just takes time."

Even after all these years with the Lord, my tenth rebirth date being more than three decades ago, I sometimes still wonder when all my parts will go the same direction ... when I won't have to flinch when I see the words "a walk is steady."

Oh, how I love my Lord. My heart yearns for more closeness with Him. My heart is in the right place.

But -- this wife, mother of two/ grandmother of six, chauffeur, missionary-oriented [locally, at this time], a "goer and doer" personality ...

...sometimes finds her feet tangled, trying to be all things to all people;

...sometimes cries in tiredness and frustration;

...sometimes whispers a sleepy "I love you" to Jesus as another hectic, wearing and weary day ends.

The malady of our age, our culture, our society? Too much activity crammed into too little time, and even understanding that situation, the realization that there are no easy answers. Most activities are not options, and even those that are, appear to somehow be God- directed.

So -- I gallop jerkily along, occasionally coming to a screeching halt, tripping over gravel in the road, definitely not walking in a solid fashion, and definitely not steady.

But God loves me anyhow. He loves me when I over-book my calendar ... and when I use my few times of leisure inappropriately (reading a casually-oriented book, hanging out on my computer, or staring off into space) ... when I am unfaithful in my plans to follow through, and have to adjust and readjust my schedule and still hope I come out looking "good"... and when I open the Word to read it, and fall asleep half way through the intended scriptures.

Why am I sharing this "negative confession?" Because I am not alone. In our everyday world, at the church or a grocery store or a mall, there are others who have the same awkward gait ... who long to be that fine-tuned specimen of Christian maturity and "walk steady."

And I'm sharing this because of our common ground. The ground of God's love -- our joy, hope and crown. He knows our hearts, and, in spite of our busyness, He knows we love Him.

My heart's desire: that the day will come when my walk is firm, graceful, and faithfully steady.

Monday, October 4, 2010


See post earlier today re: Mary Magdalene. The final phrases, "free to love, free to serve, free to follow"... lead to this song.

I look out now, through eyes that see,

No fear, no pain, to torture me.
No more unwanted, nor alone.
Come now and make my heart your throne.

I've lived a life of agony,
Fog-shrouded pain engulfing me.
You healed my heart --
You met my need --
And through your love
My soul's been freed.


I'm free to serve you
All my days.
I'm freely bound
To sing your praise.
I'm free to chain
My life to yours –
A slave of Love,

By David and Joanne Norton, 1985.

NOTE: If you would like to hear the song, click the "Slave of Love" link. [The vocalist is a friend; pianist is Dave; "flute" is me from my synthesized horn.]

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Early one morning, after another tormented night, I was sitting on a rock overlooking the lake. I heard a sound on the shore behind me. I think I knew who it was even before I turned. My heart began beating so hard it drowned out the sound of the waves lapping against the shore and the crying of the gulls. I wanted to run, but my legs wouldn't move. All he said was "Mary" and he touched my shoulder and I crumpled at his feet and cried. All the agony of my life poured out in those tears. I cried till there was nothing left. And all that time, Jesus said nothing, did nothing. Just waited. Then He lifted me to my feet, cupped my face in His hands, and looked into my eyes with great compassion.

And suddenly the air around us became filled with rebuke, yet I knew he wasn't rebuking me. And he said quietly, but with supreme authority, "Satan, you have harbored your demons in Mary's life, but you have no right to stay. Leave now and never return."

And one by one, my tormentors left. I don't know how to explain it, but I saw them leave, like shadows passing across the sun, or smoke across a glass. And, the darkness in my soul was replaced by dazzling brightness. The wall encasing my heart shattered and I was free. .... Free to love, free to serve, free to follow.....

In 1981, I had written a series of vignettes, beginning with what I posted for the "broken" carnival.

In 1985, I wrote a Mary Magdalene monologue as part of a Lenten service series. What I post for the next carnival is a follow-up to this portion of the monologue. I have been blessed to share it a number of times over the years during church services or women's events, and it's a real joy. The monologue, as scenes/events change, is intermingled with instrumental music [written and played by my husband], and one vocal song which will be the next post; I wrote the lyrics, he wrote the melody.