Thursday, December 30, 2010


Just wanted to take a minute or so and tell you what a blessing it has been to meet you during this past year. I've gained some wonderful friends, people I can respect and admire beyond anything I ever would have anticipated.

Last year, for several months, the Lord [and Susie] prodded and pushed and encouraged me to take that step. After digging in my heels, as I truly did not want to go that direction, I finally knew it was the right choice. Since my first post, last New Years Eve, I have not regretted it for even an instant.

I know I should be reading more, digging further, and spending more and more time in this blog-life. Maybe this year I will be more disciplined in that arena, able to "meet" more wonderful people. That's my next goal.

So, bless you and yours. You are loved, respected, and appreciated.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


The Manger and its Resident Baby Boy,
Camouflages the Sustaining
Power of the Holy Spirit:

– Strength to take one more step,
... forward ...
towards the Light,
With blackness t h u n d e r i n g
... from behind ...
threatening to overwhelm...

– Illumination to see Father’s Hand
working in the Shadows ...
molding, making, kneading...
transforming ...
clay to gold...

– Gratitude to our Lord Christ
and His Body
that undergirds with prayer when
life’s structure
shakes and trembles,
... imminent collapse ...

– Blessing of Love pouring forth
from sources unexpected,
at times unpredicted,
...easing hearts...

Surprising, Stunning,
Answers to Prayer
arriving from unfathomable places
through unimagined persons.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


After several weeks being buried in Revelation, I came across this poem I wrote some years ago. When I saw it today, I thought it certainly fit our "everyday" life in these days.


The Great Day is coming
When Christ shall return
And take to His bosom His own;
The ones who have served Him,
In spite of the cost,
Will worship at His glorious throne.

The Great Day is coming
When riches and power
Will rest in God’s hands evermore;
And the “moth that destroys”
Will vanish away,
As we share His vast, unending store.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I continued "God's Smuggler" today and read about Andrew and Corrie's wedding. Prior to the wedding, they had both been working very long and hard, Corrie nursing and Andrew helping in refugee camps. They were planning to go from Holland to France, but, after the reception and time with all their family and friends tiredness hit them. They ended up not far from home, staying in a small house trailer in a tree grove near a restaurant. That was it.

It brought back a funny memory for me. So much the same.

When Dave and I married it was a rainy, windy September afternoon. Dave had worked at the Air Force Base until noon, trying to get all the computer stuff in place for the stretch he'd be gone. I had done nearly everything needed for the wedding and had worked at an office until a couple days before. We hadn't arranged for anyone to prepare the sanctuary prior to the wedding or set up the fellowship hall or clean the church or pick up anything afterward and neither of us had family we could ask to stay. So, except for one couple who stepped in to help, after the reception we straightened things up, cleaned the kitchen, and made certain the church was prepared for the Sunday service.

The wedding began at 2:00 and the reception ended shortly after 4:00. We reached his house [which that afternoon had become "mine"] around 6:00. We had 3 hours to be alone, and then my kids [which during the service had become "his"] and their friends from church were going to have a chaperoned youth group night
there and we needed to be gone. [We realized later that we were foolish to allow that suggestion to hit; we should have had the kids go to the chaperon's apartment and give us the house, but sometimes wisdom doesn't kick in soon enough.]

We left at 9:30 and went to eat dinner. We hadn't eaten, except for a bit of cake, since before noon. We left a podunk Chinese restaurant about 11:00 and headed east for the interstate to go towards Sioux City, about 100 miles north of us. We had very little money, and we figured we'd find a cheap enough motel room to get us through the night, and that was all that counted.

As I mentioned before, it was rainy. When Dave started driving, the rain was slithering across the windows and bouncing quietly off the roof and hood. While we headed towards Iowa's I-29, and were crossing the Missouri river on the Mormon bridge, fewer than 10 miles away from the restaurant, Dave started to nod off. About 5 minutes later, when we reached the entrance to I-29, Dave pulled off the highway and I became the driver. He was out cold, almost instantly.

As I drove, I kept finding myself waking up in another lane, headed for the median or the shoulder. I just kept hollering at God to help me get where I needed to without an accident.

I honestly don't remember exactly where, but about 50 or 60 miles later, I pulled into a rest area. It was 12:30. We slept until 3:30. I continued to drive [he continued to sleep] and we reached Brookings, SD, about 6:30. The nice motel clerk charged us only $18 for a day rate as a honeymoon gift.

By the end of Sunday, after leaving the motel around 1:00, we reached our honeymoon "retreat" in northern Minnesota ... Susie's house ... where we stayed for several days. LOTS of rest, finally. What a blessing!

But the funny part for me is that when people talk about the wonderful places they stayed for their wedding night, the glorious candlelight and champagne and delicious dinners... I just mention that, as thrilled as we were to be married, and as much as we enjoyed our alone time, sleeping in a rest area on a very chilly night was most certainly not what we had anticipated.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I was reading one of the books the Lord has laid on me lately, and have read a number of times in the past, "God's Smuggler" by Brother Andrew. One piece jumped out at me today and caused a laugh on my part.

When he was a young boy before Germany had invaded Holland, he was testing a Christian village member to see if he had the same meanness as most folks do. Andrew climbed a ladder and covered the chimney with a window-sized glass which caused smoke to invade the home. Andrew had run across the road to hide and watch the man's facial expressions. The man came out, and found the cause of the smoke, climbed up on the roof and brought down the glass, and even though he didn't say any poor words, his face was hard. Andrew was happy to notice that the man was not perfect.

Some years later, Andrew, while walking past their house, was given a cookie by Mrs. Whetstra, the man's wife. When Andrew turned away to continue on to do his errands, he says: "Mr. Whetstra called after me. 'You can eat the cookie. Oh I know, sometimes that old stove of ours smokes something awful. But it's worked fine ever since I got my new window in.'"

"That night, lying on my bed in the loft, I got to thinking about Mr. Whetstra. So he'd known all along. But he hadn't told my father, as every other grown-up in town would have done. I wondered why...."
This reminded me of an incident that occurred in September of 1962, my senior year of high school. It was a sunny Saturday. My grandmother had come for the weekend and had been brought by a young man... I don't remember his name or age, although I think he was probably in his early 20s. He had brought her in his car.

While he was there, somehow I had the urge to do something way beyond what I'd ever done. I did not have a drivers license and rarely drove. BUT I decided I wanted to drive his car... and he let me get away with it, for some strange reason. Two of my young sisters got in the car with us. Somehow I connected with friends a year younger than me, Alice and Janet... Alice was driving her brother's car, and Janet, his girlfriend, was the passenger.

We lived in a small town, Klickitat, Washington. The town was at the Klickitat River and often, outside the town either direction, the roads passed with river on one side and rocky nearby cliffs or hills on the other.

For some reason, certainly insane while usually fairly sane teens, we decided to drag race on an almost straight portion of the road. One side was next to the river. The other side didn't have the cliffs, but did have a ditch... no such thing as a shoulder ... and some small trees. Also, some teens were standing next to the road, watching this idiotic, foolish activity.

When we took off, we hit the gas, of course. We went some distance, and Alice skidded, and the car spun around, and, thank God, did not go into the river. I slammed the brakes, and stopped nearly instantly with no damage. However, the other car did end up with the rear end braced against a tree, rear lights broken and a nasty dent. Her brother did not know Alice had taken the car ... and even though Janet was his girlfriend, that did not mean he wouldn't want to beat all of our socks off.

The owner of the car I was driving took over, kept my sisters, and left me there to deal with the situation. A couple of guys gave me a ride back into town a bit later after the other car's damage had been viewed carefully... and we three girls had figured out what kind of a lie we could put together that would keep us out of trouble. [See? 15 to 17 year old kids back in the '60s weren't much different than others in the present days ... and I bet we weren't the first generation to pull this foolishness off.]

OK, that's the story. Now the amazing part...

besides the fact that none of us ended up in a deadly crash or in the river ... my parents never heard anything about it.

The car owner didn't tell them, didn't tell my grandma. My young sisters didn't say anything. None of the "audience" or their friends told their parents who would have told mine. In a small town, EVERYTHING gets spread. My parents spent a great deal of time at the main local bar, and nothing usually got past them. However, this time... this ONE time... it did.

Later that day a local lady, Gladys, who knew me well, said she never wanted to hear anything like that again. I don't know how she found out so quickly ... she lived several miles outside of town in the other direction. Not everyone had a home phone, [thank heavens there were no cell phones with cameras or texting those eons ago, for which I'm extremely grateful], and yet, somehow, Gladys did hear about it. That evening there was a high school dance ... she came to drop someone off and she took my aside and nailed me big time, for which I am grateful.

So, there obviously are times when, even if we do something foolish, God protects us from the possibilities of legal or social or family actions that can ruin our future.

And...FYI, I've never... never, ever... drag raced even one more time. [How bright is that??]

Saturday, December 4, 2010


First off -- This is LONG, but breaking it into two or three posts, just didn't seem to fit, considering the circumstance. Just hope you can endure it; it will be worth it.
I often tell people that, as f
ollowers of the Lord, we need to trust Him that we will be in the right place at the right time.

On December 5, 2007, early afternoon, I was heading to Westroads Mall here in Omaha to
take some time to relax and snack and wander and enjoy the Christmas lights and decorations. I'd had a busy morning with my young grandson and was now free. My evening was going to be very busy, because it was time for the rehearsal for our Christmas play at church. I had four whole hours of freedom. I was so looking forward to that time, that quiet and blessed time.

About an hour
after arriving at the mall, I suddenly decided to go to the opposite end from my usual "wandering" location. I went to J C Penney's to see if I could find a sweater. Something significantly on sale... truly, TRULY on sale.

Found what was perf
ect for me, and, after the purchase, I was preparing to walk out into the corridor, but heard a man hollering loudly, it echoing down the hall, and I hesitated; I didn't want to risk walking into a fight of some kind. A few seconds later, a group came running through. All ages, all sizes, men and women. My first thought while watching them rush through was "what bus are they going to miss?" The last person, a well-dressed and high-heeled lady, glanced at me and said, "There's shooters here."

I looked at the lady who was s
tanding next to me, an elderly, small, sophisticated, white-haired, beautifully dressed woman. [I was dressed about as casually as you can and still show up in public!] I said, "I'll take care of you." She looked me up and down and said, "OK." -- She has always told people that I said to her "I'm your guardian angel." That wouldn't be anywhere near the truth; just ain't my style.

I called Dave quickly. He was at work at Offutt AFB, a few miles south of town. My phone signal wasn't very good, so when he answered
all I said was, "Someone said there's shooters here at the mall. Don't know if it's a rumor. Pray."

In the next few minutes the stress piled.
Penney's basement had a special delivery area, and the police invaded a good portion of the mall through that entrance. While I stood near the corridor, able to see a good distance down the hallway, the police rushed in. The store's corridor glass door closed, two of the officers faced the interior of the store, stone-faced, clutching rifles across their chests, looking at those of us who were there. A couple other officers ran up the escalator, guns in hand.

Partly because of my upbringi
ng, I'm not one that runs to hide in a closet. I always look for exits or prepare for a crisis, not backing down. So, in this situation, I moved a few feet and stood among the clothes racks so I could hit the floor if necessary. I wasn't afraid... I just knew I needed to concentrate on what was happening.

A few minutes later... don't kn
ow how long it was -- stressful, adrenal-style times overwhelm the normal time frame -- the store manager came through and said we needed to evacuate the store and head out the back entrance, then go across the parking lot and over to a strip mall with businesses and small shops ... the equivalent of a couple-blocks walk. When I reached the outside, I saw "my" lady again, and joined her and there was another lady holding her arm and supporting her. The other lady was an employee of Penney's and, as we were helping Alyce across the lot and across the street, Julia [I knew that by reading her name tag] suddenly said, "We haven't prayed." So, as we walked through the snow and ice and helped Alyce, we prayed that the Lord would protect and help and bring all of this to the right light.

Amazing to watch: it was COLD out, in the teens, and some people had no jackets or long sleeved shirts, because they'd dropped them or left them behind when they had to run, and some had small children, even those in strollers, were not wearing enough warm clothing. I tossed my bag to a couple young gals and said to just wear the shirt and sweater and they could keep them, but if they wanted to give them back I'd be in the office building a block away. [A few minutes later they found me and returned them. I was just happy that they'd been able to stay warm for a while before they'd worked out their problems.] Julia and Alyce had kept walking ahead while I stopped to talk to the young ladies. When I had rushed away from them after giving them my clothes, trying to catch up with Alyce and Julia, and was walking across the strip mall, headed for the office building, a police car suddenly cut between me and the stores, and a policeman jumped out of the car, and pointed his gun over the top and hollered to a guy who was walking on the sidewalk, "Stop!... Hit the ground!" The man, who had walked out of Penney's with the rest of us, did. [I found out later that it was because he was wearing a camo jacket and a ball cap, the only description of the shooter(s) the police had at that time.] At that moment, I called Dave again, and this time I burst into tears. Just overwhelmed. Within a couple minutes, another officer showed up, and the man was freed.

I went to the office building and helped Julia and Alyce. The only
funny part ... some of the ladies who had been forced out of the mall were in a hair salon, and, with the salon-style capes, their hair in various kinds of care, including perms and color-adjustments of one type or another, were sitting in the lobby of this office building. All I could think of was what a mess this could end up being for them.

A while later, the Penney's employees were called back to the building, so Julia left Alyce and me. A while later... [this is a constant phrase from that day... so little accurate time was known], I was able to contact Alyce's retirement center and let them know that she was OK and that I would bring her home. I had to walk a long way around the mall to find my car, but I made it in a few minutes, and passed through the police checkpoint, picked up Alyce and took her to her place. The office members ran out for her and just blessed my socks off.-- A few days later gave me a gift card with which I purchased a stone-style vase. [BTW, the reason she couldn't get home without help was because the center's van had dropped her off, but the police wouldn't let anyone enter the mall parking lots, so she would have been stuck there for hours. I just happened to be her protector, keeper, provider.]

Up to that point, there were only rumors regarding the shootings, the number of deaths, the number of shooters. It hit the news nationally, almost immediately. I was headed for my car when I decided to call my Mom in Tacoma, Washington, and warn her that if she heard about the mall, that she could know I would be OK. She said she was watching it on TV right then.

After dropping Alyce off, I headed home. When nearly there I realized I hadn't called my friend, Marge, to let her know I was OK. That morning I had told her I was going to be at the mall. When I called her, she became ecstatic... when this event had hit the news she had called others around town and her family members in other states asking them to pray for my protection.

When I got home, I was a bit in shock. Even though I remember the tiny details of my time at the mall and the drive home, I hardly remember what I did later, or how I felt. I, of course, turned on the TV and was buried in that news for hours... the rehearsal for that night was canceled, of course.

The final result: 8 murdered in one store, Von Maur, by a 19-year
old "man", who took his own life at the end. Several were wounded physically; many in the store and nearby locations suffered emotionally for quite some time, including the police who were faced with horrific bloodshed. The officers also struggled after facing terrified people, hiding in closets and fitting rooms, sometimes not realizing that, as a policeman opened a door, they were safe, not a target.

Ten days later, I went to the mall again. I needed to. Von Maur was still closed, being refurbished and remodeled. I just wanted to walk through and feel and see what I needed to ... I didn't need much healing ... just a nugget or two. I also went to Penney's to find Julia. When I finally saw her at a customer service location, and I moved through the line and reached her, she dropped what she was doing and ran around the counter and threw her arms around me and sobbed.

A few days later, the day before Von Maur was reopening, the memorial bits and pieces were going to be removed and put in storage. I went there to take photos and walk through the whole phase of healing, one more time.

Julia and I went to Alyce's center for lunch in early January. She, and a number of others, just blessed and thanked us so much for what we had done.

It's been three years. I still have the sweater and I wear it every December 5th, and will until it's one ragged piece of junk. I've lost track of Julia. Alyce recently moved to Branson, MO, to be with family. [OH, and her family members, who at first said to her, when she told them about the woman who had said she was her guardian angel, "You believed her!!? You really believed she'd take you home!?" now have some respect for me.]

But the point is... what I began this post with... I know that I was in the exact place the Lord wanted me to be at exactly the right time to help exactly the right person. I wasn't there to keep someone from being killed, or help the wounded. I was only there to take one elderly lady to a safe location and then to take her home.

It was worth it.