Monday, April 30, 2012


When I had just turned 6 years old, the summer of 1951, still living in the “Birdhouse”, outside Klickitat, WA, a rather unusual event occurred.  I don’t think I knew anything about angels, except when I saw something about Christmas and the angels singing to the shepherds.  That would have been “it”.  However, I happen to believe they were very busy taking care of me.

My Dad was headed out for milk and, instead of heading to Klickitat, he went the other direction to a farm about a mile up the road.  He took me with him.  He was driving an old-style station wagon.

In that area, the Birdhouse, the other houses, the pastures, fields and farms were on one side of the road.  The Klickitat River was on the other, with just a few feet between it and the road, with only a grassy ditch and a few boulders before the rushing water.

Since we were driving north, that meant he would be turning left onto the farm.

Before we reached it, when I could see the farmhouse in the distance, I was thinking, “I don’t want to be left in the car.  I want to get out.”  To be ready, I held onto the door handle very firmly.

Well, Dad slowed down to turn left, the door handle went down, and I swung out of the car, grasping the handle.  The door opened wide.  I was scared, of course, but also thinking, “If I let go, I can land in the ditch and it could have snakes!”  So, I held onto the handle.  The door swung back towards the car, and I was forced to let go, and tossed under the car.  The car was moving slowly, since Dad was preparing to turn, but not stopped.  As a result, the rear tires ran over my legs, angling from the top of one leg to the calf of another.

My Dad hit the brakes, of course, jumped out of the car and over the hood to find me.  Before he reached me, behind the car, I had already rolled over to my stomach and was banging my head on the soft tar road and saying to myself, “Stupid.  Stupid.  Stupid.”

There was a car behind us and it stopped immediately.  The driver was a teenaged boy that we knew.  “Bob”, 16, had been in Klickitat at the Swimming Hole, and was wearing only swim trunks, because he was heading home. 
He was embarrassed to be in this situation, with nothing else to wear, but he held me in the car while Dad drove [raced!] to the nearest town with doctors and a hospital.  Goldendale and Klickitat are about 20 miles apart, which wouldn’t seem like such a big deal in our present way of thinking, except, in this case, Klickitat was in the valley by the river and Goldendale was up on the high plains.  

This road then [and now] would have a section that was hairpin curving up the grade, a rock cliff on one side, a drop to the river.. sometimes hundreds of feet... on the other and no guard rails.  I expect Dad drove dangerously, to say the least.

When we reached Goldendale, Dad went to a Doctor first.  All I remember is laying on the table and having my jeans cut off.  You see, if nothing else, the fact that it was July, HOT, and the road covered with tar, my jeans were black from that soft road topping, and stuck to me.  The tire pattern was very clearly seen.

After the jeans were off, which I was angry about, because I liked them, Dad took me to the hospital. Next medical event was an X-ray. 

 Miracle?  My legs were not broken.  I had very few bruises or scrapes.  Dad was told that the reason my legs weren’t broken was because the angle was the only one that would have prevented that from happening.  The worst bruise?  My forehead where I had been hammering on the ground, angry at myself, because I was “stupid”.

I was in the hospital for 3 days.  They didn’t think I would be, or should be, walking and putting pressure on my legs.  Now, remember, in those days, especially a small hospital, when there was space in a room, under fairly normal circumstances, you would simply be in a room with whoever was there.  The room they put me in had an “older” lady and she was in some sort of recovery, but needed rest.  I anticipate that I drove her crazy.  I was supposed to stay in bed, but didn’t.  I climbed in and out, and, sometimes, jumped up and down from the bed.  Mom and Dad could come in the evening for a short visit, but I vaguely recall that they were told that I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to.  Since I didn’t seem to need more recovery, they sent me home.  I don’t think I was ever back for a checkup.

Now, when I reached home, I think I actually settled down and rested more for a short stretch.

I have never had future leg issues.  My muscles and joints are usually painless, even 60 years later.  Compared to many of my family and friends in my general age range, that is pretty amazing.

When I think of the times that God protected me, knew me so long before I knew Him — DUH!!! — and had assigned angels to me, I expect this was one of the top ones; definitely not the first one, knowing my childhood seriosity history, but rather important, doncha think?
And, remember that time, recalling those amazing details, I always smile.  Big Time.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


A Double-Rainbow from our Lord reveals 
His Double-Loving Heart 
poured forth for us as 
Promise and Promise and Promise
 of His Faithfulness.        

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Rarely did anything happen during my refugee work in Soroti that made all of us laugh.  But this one did.

I was on my way back to the YWAM compound after my office work.  I was on a bike -- "boda-boda"ing -- side-saddling on the back seat, my backpack on my lap.  My "driver", David, was on a main road and there were piles of homeless sitting on the roadside with lots and lots of fruits and vegetables to sell. 

Suddenly, I had a great idea.  A lady had a bunch of oranges... over there they are rarely orange, but are green.  I told David to stop and that I wanted 10 of them and I wanted him to do the bargaining.  She saw me, of course, and kept the price up a bit.  It came to 1,000// shillings.  The equivalent of about 50 cents.  So I agreed and gave her the money.  

I had David put my back pack on his chest, so I could hold the bag.  I stayed near a camp of refugees and always rode [or walked] through it on a path towards YWAM.

When we reached the path, the fun began.  I took an orange out and tossed it towards a group of men.  One jumped and grabbed it and laughed.  I tossed another, and another and another towards the folks who were gathered and hanging out together in different places; all of them exploding in joy.

By the time I was down to one orange, I made my own heart laugh and sing. You see, the moms with their new babies sat under small trees.  I had David stop the bike and I hopped off to take the last orange to this mom who, while breast feeding, certainly couldn't jump into the fun and playful mix. When I walked over and gave it to her, she grinned from ear to ear.  So grateful.

Coming and going downtown, they had seen me nearly every day for a few weeks.  We waved at each other; we smiled. Shortly after the "orange" event, the news came that they were planning to leave soon and head back to their villages with the hope that the rebels were gone and they could start to rebuild and replant.  And, the last small stretch that I was there, nearly everyone was gone, the camp almost vacant.  

Remembering our playtime, in my Soroti memory-filled brain, I can't help but smile, even today, years later.
Before going to Soroti, from another part of Uganda, a missionary who had been in exactly this location for a few months ... downtown and YWAM... told me to not get involved with the people in the camps.  It would be too heartbreaking to see what they were facing day-by-day.   I didn't necessarily think her reasoning wasn't "reasonable", but I didn't think I could pull that off... I'm too curious, if nothing else.  Interviewing the abducted kids,  seeing the homeless, hearing doctors were being forced, over and over, to amputate legs or arms -- I DID cry, often, and was filled with sorrow.

On the other hand... in that few minutes when I tossed oranges and they jumped for joy ... how could I have ever felt remorseful for being a friend?

Monday, April 23, 2012


I was in my backyard last evening, tearing down the pampas grass. I'd been wanting to do it for some weeks, but was nervous. Lots of ground cover plants surrounded it, and I wasn't sure when the garter snakes might be there. And, if I came across one, from one side of my brain I'd be screaming and jumping and running... and the other side of my brain telling me that they are good and helpful and harmless, so what in the heck are you doing?

I know, I know. I've tried for many, many years to get this past, but it hasn't worked. When in Uganda I saw pythons and a puff adder, green mamba and a cobra; the good part for me is that they were already dead or being killed. And I heard so many stories at the orphanage of the cobras on a porch or under a blanket, etc. I don't know whether I'd ever have been bitten if not paying enough attention, BUT, even if bitten, I'd m
ost likely die from a heart attack.

See, I was 5 years old when snakes entered my life. Rattlesnakes. My parents, sister Niki [a couple months old], and I [5 years old] moved to Klickitat, a small
lumber town in southern Washington. We ended up renters in what was called "the Birdhouse" about a mile outside of town. The reason for it's name? The front part was on poles dug into the dirt and rocks. The back was against the hill about a foot from the wall. It was surrounded by rocks and wild grass.

When we first moved there, to get from the road to the boardwalk there was just a path. Shortly afterward, my dad built some steps, which helped. Oh, and no hot water and no bathroom. The boardwalk led from the single house door to the outhouse. It was, overall, a notch better than a shack.

On the hill, leading up to the railroad tracks, was an empty little railroad workers shack that had been abandoned. It was turned into a play house, of sorts, for me. Since the Birdhouse was so small, and there wasn't anywhere to play in the surrounding hilly and wild area, I used my playhouse often.

When I was 4, while in the Portland area, visiting my grandma, my half-brother and his friends caught a bunch of garter snakes, and killed them, and cut their heads off, and put the heads on a flat wood plank, and chased me with it. Such nice guys. That had scared me a bit, but nothing like was happening here. For instance, in the eating area, while sitting at the table and looking out the window, occasionally watching rattlesnakes curling around and going in and out of the rocks below us, was a pretty scary sight. Of course.

One day I was leaving the play house, and reached down to pick up a brown stick. The stick moved it's body and stuck it's head up at me. I ran down the hill to the house, hollering. Mom came out, and when she did, the snake had coiled, ready to strike. Mom grabbed a rifle and she shot at the snake. It was wounded, but managed to reach the wild grass that surrounded the boardwalk. That was the last we saw of it.

IF I had never been afraid of snakes, that did it. I've been involved with them--poisonous and otherwise-- in so many situations over the years, but have almost never ever been able to avoid screaming and running. Even when small children are standing nearby and enjoying the garter snakes, and I've tried to not become a crazy-acting grandma-style lady, it hasn't worked.

Now, yesterday, I was a free woman. The pampas grass portion and other areas of our backyard that used to have a LOT of garter snakes is now nearly completely free of them. Don't know why, but just like to be a happy, happy gardener.

I may still be considered a crazy-acting grandma... but the "snake" element is losing it's share of the aspect.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

PSALM 18:33

He makes my feet
like hinds' feet ..
He sets me securely upon
my high places.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I was born July 9, 1945, in Portland, Oregon. I was actually a few weeks early. In those days, early birth was a real challenge and I was kept in the hospital for a couple extra weeks.

The first photos after birth were taken on August 1st.

Then, at one month, one day, the next photo was taken on August 10th.

The day before the photo, the atomic bombing had ended in Japan. And, depending on the historic opinion, V-J day occurred 4 days later.

I honestly don't know how quickly people received world-wide news in those days, so, even though my parents lived in an intense military part of our country on the west coast, they might not have known wh
at was going on.

And then there was "me". Came at a right and wrong and stressful time, both involving family and world-wide history.

Today I was scanning photos from an album Mom had put together back in those "old da
ys", and, when I saw the dates, it jumped in that I could toss the pics and tell people just how important it was to be born at that date and time.

Since salvation, I've grown to not doubt that the Lord's timing for my birth, earlier than doctor a
nd parental expectation, was definitely His choice. And it reminds me often that I had begun my life at what has become one of my main mottoes, buried in my heart by Him:

Right place, Right time.

[AND, this is my first official photographic personality identification.]

Monday, April 16, 2012


Dave's Mom died in April, '04. I had known her for 19 years. Mostly, our relationship was filled with struggles for many different reasons, at many different times.

Marilyn had serious physical problems. Rheumatoid Arthritis when she was in her 30s, obviously long before I'd known her. Because o
f the R.A., in the late 1980s, she lost bone strength and structure. Her neck weakened and was forced to be braced. Then, an elbow broke, and, at first, was replaced. The bones refused to accept another "insert", and, in a short time, she had no elbow ... just an unusable arm, flopping to her side or kept in a sling. About the same time, walking stopped and she lived in her wheelchair. And on and on.

For a
number of years, she didn't like me. She most certainly didn't accept me. Why? She considered her son, Dave, the family "Golden Boy", and had much hope that he would marry a lovely, godly, brilliant woman who had parents that were in Lutheran ministry. [Believe me, I didn't make that up. Dave mentioned this.] Dave was very smart, a pianist/organist, an Air Force officer, and servant-hearted. She loved him dearly.

Dave rarely made quick decisions and rarely stepped outside his Mom's "normal" viewpo
int and expectation. But suddenly he made a HUGE, f-a-s-t, abnormal decision and it caused extreme responses. What was it?

It was "Me". Dave was 25, single. I was 39, divorced, had 2 kids [my son pushing towards and my daughter in "teens"], and struggling financially, just to meet basic needs -- rent, food, bus fare.

God put Dave and I together suddenly -- May 19th, 1985 -- causing both of us to be overwhelmed with joy [and, sometimes fear] towards each other and the Lord; we knew it was His gift, but neither of us would ever have guessed this would happen, and happen so quickly.

We were engaged in 10 days. We didn't tell his family [or others, except our pastor] until 6 weeks had passed, to keep them from wondering What in the heck happened?. or ..
Had this divorced woman tricked him into a wedding so she'd have enough money to feed and care for her kids and she could quit work?

We married in 4 months, September 21, 1985. His Mom came to t
he wedding from St. Paul, MN, to Omaha. Dave's brother, Kip, brought her. They arrived right before the wedding and left right after, a 7-hour drive each way; no hanging out or being involved. The next weekend, on our way back from our honeymoon in northern Minnesota, she organized a very nice reception for us in St. Paul, and the people were very welcoming. And I thought, "Whew. Gonna be OK."

Oh, well...

For the next stretch, when we visited St. Paul, two or three times a year, we came home "unattached" for a few days. When up there, Marilyn always took Dave aside and pointed out to him where my behavior needed to change, where I wasn't good for him. He didn't want to disrespect her, so he refused to argue with her. Finally, he told her that he didn't want to hear anything negative about me; I was his wife and he was the one that should talk to me if HE saw problems. [He rarely has; nice guy!] She stopped, verbally; she still didn't like to see me, and that was obvious.

We'd been married about 6 years when she had a stroke. Nearly immediately, there was a huge family auction, because she and Dave's step-dad needed to purchase a different house so it would be easier for her to move around. Dave and I went up to attend the auction and help as we could.

I was in the kitchen washing a few of the glasses and snack dishes. Marilyn's stroke had occurred a couple weeks earlier and was out of the hospital that Saturday for this event; she would be taken back to the hospital that evening. In the meantime, she was sitting in the kitchen, a chair by the table, with the back pressed against the wall. She was behind me. I was washing dishes, running water, opening and closing cupboard doors; overall, it was a bit noisy.

Then I heard her voice from behind me. I turned off the water, stopped what I was doing, and faced her. I asked her what she had said, and she mumbled something I couldn't quite understand. So, I leaned closer to her and asked again what she had said. She had an intense look on her face and tried, and tried again ... and she changed my life.


I never [ever] would have anticipated that. It changed my heart... immediately. I just knelt next to her to give her a hug.

I was approved. I was accepted. I could never have imagined that it would happen. My heart rejoiced.

Her sicknesses increased. Her mental issues became more and more difficult. She focused back on Dave much more than wanting me, but that just fit into the illnesses... didn't have anything truly to do with her heart. Sometimes, when we visited, she asked Dave and I to pray for her. That seemed to be our main healed relationship. Also, when we were missionaries in Uganda, she truly had a heart of support for us. She blessed us with finances monthly, and we definitely needed that help.

In April, 2004, after a morning emergency call from Kip, we were driving north to meet family at the hospital. A couple hours south of St. Paul, Kip called and told us that she had died. We stayed several days until after the funeral... and Dave played piano, as a "gift" for her and the family.

Not one time did either of us shed a tear after her death. WHY? She is in heaven, she is healthy, she is finally living with her Lord. She is not filled with sorrow. How could we not simply be relieved with and for her?

But, that moment, washing dishes in her kitchen in 1991, being accepted, being approved, was a rejoicing time for me ... and I'm looking forward to seeing her. And I'm especially looking forward to a really.. nice.. hug time.
I asked Dave to read this before I posted it, so he could say whether it was correct or I should make changes. He said it was fine.
Visit Peter Pollock's Word Carnival... My joy? "Approved".

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I, basically, posted this two years ago for the same reason. I've made a few small changes, so am re-styling and posting it. Hope it touches your hearts.

For most U.S. folks this is, usually, the IRS day, for better or worse, tax refund or payment. However, in my heart, today is always MY day; tax day fits in as a secondary.

On April 15, 1966, at 6:30 PM, I asked Christ into my life. Four months shy of my 21st birthday, living a life of heavy-duty continual sin and headed towards a significant amount of trouble, the Lord broke through. I have never doubted or questioned or regretted it. He had arranged for seed to be planted in my heart off and on since I had been very young, but the seed hardly survived. And then ...

I was living in Tacoma, WA. Towards mid-March a young woman at work, Carol, 18, was suddenly without a place to live and couldn't afford to fly back to her family in the St. Louis area. Someone at work hollered, "Hey, Joanne, you have room in your apartment. Let her move in with you." I didn't know Carol very well, but knew she was a sweet person -- and I WAS NOT!!! I knew it was the right thing to do, so agreed that she could, but I also said to her: You can move in with me. But I go out when I want to go out, I come back when I want to come back, and if you don't like it, you can leave.

Amazingly, even hearing that "jerky" statement, Carol moved in. What I didn't know was that she was a Born-Again Christian. I didn't know what that was, anyhow, so it wouldn't have sunk in. Over the next couple of weeks we yammered about religion for hours nearly every night. She couldn't always come up with answers for me, so she connected me to Stan, a man in her church, and he would hammer topics out with me on the phone. Very straight-forward, which is what works best with me most of the time. I decided to go to church with her -- Portland Avenue Baptist Church. My second Sunday, on April 10, Easter, there was an altar call and I knew I was supposed to go forward. I could feel the pressure in my heart ... my whole body ... in a way I had never experienced before... and I held on tight to the back of the pew in front of me so I would be able to not give in. I left church feeling pleased that "I won the battle."

The next Thursday, at work, Carol had a head injury and ended up in the hospital. She was there until Saturday. I was invited to dinner at Stan's house on Friday, and enjoyed dinner with him and his wife and four sons. After we finished eating, and Anita had cleared the table, and the boys had disappeared to the living room, Stan had me stay in the kitchen with him and he laid the facts of Christ's sacrifice out for me very clearly. Stan knew how sinful I was ... he had a similar history ... and he didn't look down his nose at me at all. He knew God could turn my awful life around, no question. I told him that I believed what he was telling me about Jesus and His sacrifice and the possibility of salvation, but I said I needed to straighten up first or I couldn't come to Him. Stan, of course, said it was the other way around -- come to Christ and the changes would start to take place. I knew he was right, and I made the commitment and invited Christ into my life. In my mind, because of all the abuse I had experienced from many others, mostly men, this was simply a "contract"... no emotional attachment to the Father or Son, just an agreement to follow the rules He laid down and, if I messed up, take the punishment that would hit me. [Nine years later, in Omaha, the Lord changed that "contract" and truly became my Father... He broke through that fear-filled barrier and my life changed again.] After my prayer, Stan and I went to a young adult Bible study, so only an hour after I was saved I made the public statement and people rejoiced. I remember that the next morning when I woke up my first thoughts were about the new life I had before me.

And it was and has always been. Even though I was far from perfect, the Lord kept moving me along; He didn't give up on me. Stan wrote an article for a Baptist teachers magazine a year later and described someone who walked with the Lord, fell on her face in the mud, and climbed back to her feet again, and went forward and... fell on her face in the mud. How often this took place. He also said it was the climbing out of the mud and back onto her feet that made the difference. And that he trusted that as she grew in the Lord the pattern would simply be the walking.

After all these years, most of the time I can say that is true. Occasionally, I do end up with a little [or lot of] mud on my face, but it wipes off thoroughly ... by the blood of Jesus.

Where would I be if this all had not come to pass 46 years ago? Most certainly no one would know me today. I would have been a victim, or cause of, violence, domestic or otherwise; a suicide statistic; dead from alcohol-based illness. No friends, no family, and, most certainly, no hope for my future.

So the key word today is HALLELUJAH!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

ISAIAH 55:12

The mountains
and the hills
shall break forth before you
into singing,
Align Center
and all the trees of the field
shall clap their hands.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I was loading ALL my albums and extra piles of photos into a large carrying bag an hour ago. Am taking all of them to Susie's in a couple weeks. It covers my whole childhood background, my kid's and grandkids, many friends, and traveling in various states and nations, especially trips in and out of Africa. Could hardly carry the bag, it was so heavy, and have 3 more albums to add to it and piles of photos that I've had in my office. Susie won't have a chance to be bored... and she usually doesn't have one when I'm around anyway, because I'm such a rowdy woman. [Now, she could be worn out by the time I leave after visiting for 2 weeks, but, no, not bored!] [My goal with them now and up north is to scan for hours a day to get these hundreds and hundreds of photos on the computer. Partly so they are "postable".]

ANYHOW, I suddenly saw this ph
oto. My sisters gave me a mix of items last May when I visited them in the NW three months after our Mom's death. This was one of them, and it made me grin when I saw it today. I'll tell you the story; it will make YOU grin, too.
I was 3 years old. We lived in a rural part of Tacoma, WA, in a house my dad had put together. Mom was about 28; my Dad was about 29.
Now, the story is that Mom had terrible asthma at this time. When Dad was leaving for a job, he would carry Mom to the living room, set her by a card table with a pillow on it, and Mom would stay there, as much as possible, until Dad came home.

I was on my own. To eat breakfast, I would climb onto counters to dig out cereal and a bowl. I'm assuming we had a fridge of some kind for the milk, but ain't so sure since things could be much different. Maybe just had ice in a storage area, which wasn't uncommon back then.

During the day, I could find cousins nearby ... this house had been built on part of my uncle's property ... but usually I just had to stay home. [I honestly don't know how long this phase of life was, but doubt that it was even a year.]

Somehow, this collie became a family addition. I have referred to it as Lassie, but have no idea if that was the name back then. However, the main issue is that Lassie was my babysitter. One bright dog! And, back then and forever more, I was a very independent and "looking round the bend" kid.

When it was time to play, I could go out in the yard. Would ride the dog, would toss rocks [who ME??? Became a rock addict at a very young age!]. As you can see, we didn't have a fancy life, so just running around the yard wouldn't always have worked. [We had nettles and poison ivy very nearby and a small stream not far behind the house, so carefulness was a necessity, especially as a small child.]

My "babysitter" would keep me in line. If I was on Lassie's back and tried to prod him to go outside the yard, onto the dirt road, I would be bucked off and he would grab me and pull me back. If I simply tried to run outside the yard, and Lassie was right behind me, I'd be knocked down, my clothes grabbed [not torn, amazingly], and I'd be dragged back. That was one consistent helper for my parents. What a faithful babysitter!

I'm not much of a "dog" person. Mostly, because they require too much work and financial challenges in our present day, but, in those long-ago days, I truly loved dogs. I expect you would understand why.

And, during all these years [more than 60, BTW], I have thought of Lassie and smiled every time. My babysitter was strict, but, yes, we loved each other.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

PSALM 36:9

For with You is
the fountain of life;

in Your light
do we see light.

Monday, April 9, 2012

MARY MAGDALENE -- Final Lenten Monologue

What will I do with Jesus? I will love Him!

I come here to the Garden often, but never without feeling I am on holy ground. I know some people think I'm foolish; I've been told, "Jesus is no longer in the Garden, you're wasting your time." They don't understand. I find my visits to this quiet, shaded haven refreshing and renewing. As Abraham and Jacob returned to Beth-el and found there a renewing of their covenants with God, so coming here provides a renewing of my spirit.

Jesus is my Lord and my Savior, my husband and my brother--but, mostly, Jesus is my friend. In fact, Jesus was my first friend. Shortly before I met Him, I had decided my life was worthless--less than worthless--and I would end it. Everyone I knew, everything I touched, turned to ashes. I lived in torment. Voices screamed in my head by day, and demons danced through my dreams when finally I slept. I was trapped. I knew so well the ugly face of sin with its bitterness, hatred and despair. Oh, how I wanted to die!

And then Jesus came. Not only, in my vision, was He strong and handsome, taller than King Saul must have been, a true seed of King David, but He was the first man I'd ever seen who wasn't afraid to be tender. When He held babies in his arms or touched people with His calloused carpenter hands, He was gentle as a summer breeze.

At first I merely watched from the midst of the crowds. I didn't trust men...any man. I agreed with the ancient observation that "the thoughts of a man's heart are only evil continually" and I determined not to be deceived by another one.

Occasionally, Jesus looked at me, and I knew He could see right into my soul. It frightened me, but I could never resist Him or shift my gaze. And, what amazed me even more, His eyes carried no condemnation. I sensed only that HE hurt because I did.

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 in the sand and cried. All the agony of my life poured out in those tears. I cried 'til 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.

I sensed rebuke, but I knew He wasn't rebuking me. 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.

And I was free! It was wonderful! The wall around my heart shattered, and for the first time, I loved.

During the next two years I followed Him as often as I could, and through His teaching and presence, my heart over-flowed with joy.


I thought I'd die when He did. I stayed near the cross til the soldiers made me leave. I don't remember much, except pain. Pain for His mother and John, for all the disciples and Jerusalem--but, to be honest, mostly pain for me.

Those next days were a blur. I couldn't understand why He died just when I was beginning to live.

And then Sunday came.

I still smile when I remember that Resurrection Day. Of course, at the time I was terrified, but in looking back I can't believe I didn't know who He was. At the very least I should have recognized the love and acceptance in His eyes...that never changes.

So, I come here. To rest, and to remember. Pain and suffering surround us. People are dying--on the INside. Not because they want to, but, like me, they simply don't know how to live.

I still hurt, for myself and for others. I still question. But I can never doubt. No matter how black the night in my soul or looming the problems, or large the ghosts that confront me, I know that I know that I know God loves ME. And that one shaft of light will always cut through the darkness that occasionally surrounds me--and comfort me and bring me out on the other side of my pain, of my sorrow--to wholeness, to joy and to life.
Even though this was a monologue for the Lenten season, it covers the Lord in Mary's life before, during, and after the crucifixion, so I thought it would be best to post it afterwards when the rejoicing became truly "real". -- I wrote this script, but I also performed it. I have been "Mary Magdalene" a number of times over the years at churches -- and it doesn't make any difference how much I've aged. She's still herself.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


The exultant cry has spread across the land -
The exultant cry has flown from man to man -

--------"Jesus is Lord
Ever Adored
God's Holy Word"----

He came into our world to
Still the tempest
Calm the storm --

He walked upon the earth to
Save the sinner
Heal the torn --

To share with us the victory
The laughter
The sorrow---

To free us from the bondage
Of sin
Fear of Tomorrow

Come join the cry that's growing in our land-
Come shout the cry to each and every man -

--------"Jesus is Lord
Ever Adored
God's Love Outpoured"----

Friday, April 6, 2012


What would I do with Jesus?

That's a laugh! Let me tell you what I'd do with that blaspheming rabble-rouser. I'd stone him. With pleasure.

Ever since he emerged on the scene 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 despise the Romans and there's always a plot fermenting to overthrow them. The fools who do that plotting are usually discovered and crucified, but, then what can they 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 Holy God--allow prostitutes to touch Him? Allow the beggars and lepers with their filth and running sores, to handle Him? If he was the son of God, he'd know the Law and what it says about the unclean and impure.

He's an opportunist. And he's crazy, power-hungry. I don't know what his goal is; sometimes I wonder if he has one. But it obviously is only to further his own ends and increase his own following. The 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 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.

So, again, as asked, what would I do with Jesus? I would kill him. NOW!
Monologue #5.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


What would I do with Jesus?

I would fall to my knees and worship Him – forever.

What else could I do? He gave me life that, somewhere between tradition and duties and rituals, I had lost.

I had been a leader in my synagogue for many years when news of this Jesus, this carpenter's son, had come to me.

When I first heard of His claims, I thought Him to be a blasphemer. A prophet? From Nazareth? How could anything good come from that God-forsaken state?

And He claimed not only to be a prophet, but the very Son of God! The Messiah! Oh, how my body raged with anger!

Surely, if God had a son He would choose one of His priests. Someone of authority. But a carpenter's son? The thought seemed too preposterous to even dwell upon.

Then came the day that my Anna had taken ill. At first I thought it nothing more than a cold. I was sure in a few days she would be well and we could go on with our lives.

But she didn't improve; she grew worse. Her fever would rise and fall sporadically. I hired the best physicians in the land. I received every available diagnosis.

I should tell you here that my Anna was very special to me. You see, my wife and I had tried for many years to have children, but it seemed that God had closed the womb of my dear one.

After many years of prayer and offerings, God had opened her womb and she conceived! I had prepared myself for a son, but was so overjoyed to have a child, any child, that Anna immediately became my whole life.

My whole world centered around Anna. My thoughts were continually on my sweet miracle child.

So when the physicians told me there was nothing more they could do, I cried out to God in anger. Why?! Why?! Why give me so precious a gift just to destroy it? Take anything else I have, but not my Anna! But God was not listening to me. I was helpless and all the wealth and high position I had acquired could do nothing to save her.

Anna was nearing death. I could not bear to be in the same room. My wife simply sat beside her and stared into nothing. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, this Jesus came to mind -- and the stories I'd heard of Him healing lepers, giving sight to the blind, opening deaf ears by His word.

I finally fought off my logic and intellectual pride and left the room to find this Jesus. In my head I knew what I was thinking was insane, but in my heart, all I knew was that my Anna was dying. Anna was dying and I had to do something.

It wasn't hard to find Jesus. I just looked for a large crowd and worked my way through.

I really don't know where I got my strength. It had been days since I had eaten or slept, but as I saw the massive crowd, I was determined to see Jesus and I pushed and shoved, sometimes crawled, until I stood before Him. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what to say. As we exchanged glances, in that moment, I knew He knew everything within.

I fell on my face crying, sobbing. All that came out was, "Please...heal... Anna!" Then He helped me up and asked me where she was. As we walked, my newly gained strength immediately left when I saw my servant rushing towards us.

The look on his face told me before he even spoke the words. "Your daughter is dead; we have no need for the prophet now."

Just as anger began to well up inside me again, Jesus touched me gently on the shoulder and said, "Jairus, only believe."

The anger was replaced with confusion. Only believe? Believe what? Anna was dead! What could He--this Nazarene--do now?

As we neared the house, we heard the mourners singing. They were playing instruments as they wailed their hypocritical songs of remorse. They reminded me of an actor's troop putting on a play--a play performed many times before--but this time at the expense of my Anna.

I was about to call my servants to have them all thrown out, when Jesus spoke for the first time since we had left the crowds. "Why do you weep?" He asked. "This child is not dead...she only sleeps."

Naturally, they began to laugh at him. I don't know if it was because of Anna or pity for Jesus, but when they began mocking him I was filled with fury.

He rebuked them with such authority, it was as if God Himself were speaking. They stopped jeering, and arguing. All they did was grab their instruments and run.

After they left, Jesus asked where Anna was laying. We took Him to her room. He knelt down beside her and took hold of her hand. Her pale blue-gray skin instantly was changed to a healthy pink. Then He spoke very soothingly; very softly. "My precious Little Lamb, arise."

And her eyes opened! She smiled. She was alive!! I was ecstatic! I wanted to dance! I wanted to shout! Tears rolled down my face. And you should have seen my wife! She was beside herself with joy...

Then Jesus, right before leaving, turned and said, "Tell no man what happened here today."

Tell no man? How can I "tell no man?" My Anna was dead, and now she is alive...because of Jesus. And I will, I must, tell the world that Jesus, the carpenter's son from Nazareth, is the Son of the Living God who heals and who restores.

Yes, I will worship Jesus. Forever.

What will you do?
Monologue #4. My friend, Jonah, sang the Don Francisco song, "Gotta Tell Somebody", the story of Jairus, when the monologue had been finished. It really touched hearts and caught truly spiritual attention. What a joy!


What will I do with Jesus? I'll praise Him today and forever.
I met Jesus one hot summer afternoon. He came through our town of Sychar at mid-day.

When I first saw Him, sitting by our village well,
He was alone, although I had heard people mumbling about Him and that He brought a group of His followers with Him. I watched from a distance and debated whether I should draw my water then, or wait until evening and draw with the other women. I was torn between avoiding HIM -- obviously a Jew of authority -- and avoiding the women who were openly antagonistic towards me. Either way, I didn't want to be harassed. I finally decided He was the safer of the two choices.

As I walked towards Him, my apprehension left. He had the gentlest, most compassionate eyes I had ever seen -- and there was the slightest hint of a twinkle in them when He looked at me. I was immediately comfortable with Him. Still, I was astounded when He asked me for water.

I had been inundated with laws -- both social and religious -- and it didn't even occur to me that a Jewish man would speak to me. One of the debates of the time -- one over which women became alternately furious and ruefully resigned -- was whether women had a soul; the so-called Masters spent hours at a time disputing the question, so it was especially surprising to me that a man of learning would speak to ANY woman publicly. AND the fact that I was a Samaritan would automatically have placed me outside the social range of a Jew.

During our ensuing discussion, which I'm sure all of you know, I sensed a freedom I'd never seen in any other person. And I wanted it...that life-giving water He had.

I was amazed -- but not particularly condemned -- by His revelation of my personal life. Admittedly, I had had several husbands, and, even in my day, that was unacceptable. It really was a matter of circumstance, though. A widow, divorcee, or single woman of any kind in our society was in a poor position. She had little physical protection, little possibility of financial freedom, very little of ANYthing. If by chance she had a close family with whom she could stay, she could lead a fairly fulfilling life. That, however, was not one of my options. After my father died when I was twelve years old, within a year later my step-mother forced me to leave home.

The first person who took me into his home and was willing to marry me was an older Roman who had once been a dignitary, but had fallen into political disfavor. He was kind to me, but all that mattered to the rest of the world was his nationality. So he was ignored, and I was shunned.

When he died, I, of course, was displaced. Laws didn't protect me and I had to find a home when and where I could. After marriages, ranging in quality from mediocre to absolutely terrible, I decided to forgo that particular formality so I would be freer to leave when conditions dictated.

I moved to Sychar hoping to find freedom from my past, but it followed and haunted me...and, once again, I was an out-cast, alienated from those around me.

Jesus' words made me hungry for more; more of that wonderful freedom I saw in Him. I couldn't contain myself and I ran throughout the village heralding His coming.

At first the others went to see Him to satisfy their curiosity. But those eyes, that voice, compelled them to stay. And as they stayed, as they sat at His feet to learn, they, too, experienced freedom.

Everything changed in the village after that. I was accepted by those with whom I now had a common spirit. Together they built a small house for me -- and I live there, alone. I no longer need the protection I sought in man; I am protected by my Lord. In my heart, God promised to care for me as He did the widow of Zaraphath, and He has been faithful to His word.

So, I will praise Jesus...for freeing me from the chains of society's law, religious law, poverty, and those other dark forces that sought to control my life and the lives of those around me. I was an outcast -- from both Jewish and Samaritan society -- and I now minister, and pour forth His love, to others who are the outcasts, wherever and whenever I see them. I can do no less for this Man, this God, who cared for me and brought me freedom.
This is Lenten monologue #3. The woman who performed this truly understood. She was divorced, and, as I recall, had been rejected by Christians who said the divorce was unacceptable. The "writer" was facing this, also, at that time. Consequently, it might sound a bit intense, but that's because it was. I had been rejected by the ladies at a former church when my divorce had occurred. However, unknown to me, God had placed me in this different church for this Lenten service writing to give me His acceptance and His very special "gift".

Monday, April 2, 2012


What would I do with Jesus?

I'll tell you what almo
st did with Him. Nothing.

He was my older brother. When we were children I looked up to Him. He could climb trees higher than anyone else I knew. And when I fought with the older boys in the village, He always came to my rescue. He never fought--somehow He never had to--but I knew we'd won.

After our father died, Jesus quietly stepped into the role of protector and provider. I was grateful at made life easier for the rest of us.

But, gradually, my attitude towards Him changed. At the time when He should have bargained for a wife who would have added to our family's comfort, He became ingrown and thoughtful. He seldom spoke. And, often, I caught Him gazing into the skies so intently I knew He could see something I couldn't. And that's when I began to believe He was mad...not violently mad, but as Festus accused Paul, mad from "much learning."

I tried to warn mother, but she simply chose not to see it. All she would say was, "Be patient, James. Some day you'll understand." And, of course, the day came when even she misunderstood.

One day Jesus closed the carpenter shop, kissed mother, and walked away. With not a word to any of us.

I was angry. Not only angry, but scared and felt helpless. Suddenly, I was the head of the house--and I wasn't prepared. Bitterness and resentment began to replace the pity and vague discomfort I'd previously felt.

For those 3 years before His death, I stayed away from Him as much as possible. In fact, He was such an embarrassment to me and the rest of the family, we disclaimed any knowledge of Him or His activities. I lived in dread that the Jewish or Roman leaders would threaten or imprison us to put pressure on Him.

It was impossible to avoid hearing about some of His actions. I was convinced He was insane when they told me how He cleared the temple. I knew then He was doomed. The temple guard and Jewish leaders were furious.

I went with Mother to that last Passover. She never said, but I'm sure she knew it would be her time to feel the "sword pierce her soul." She was ashen and weak.

When the time came, I accompanied her to the crucifixion. I chose to blend in with the crowd, while she pressed as close to the cross as they would allow. But I watched--and I listened.

I was stunned. Not only was He convinced of His mission BEFORE the crucifixion, He did not change His belief while under the most extreme torture.

When He forgave, I wept.

When He gave John to Mother and Mother to John, I bowed my head in shame.

When He died, I felt myself being swallowed by darkness.

A few days later, I heard He had risen. I didn't know what to believe about this rumor. The people who seemed most convinced were also the ones who had been closest to Him in His mission. I was tempted to pass it off as a delusion or mass hysteria.

Then He came to me. And with Him came light for my soul. Knowing what my heart needed most, He forgave me. He smiled in the old understanding way He had, just like my older brother --not like God, although I was aware by then that He was, in fact, my Lord.

God's plan--all the pieces that never quite fit together--suddenly became clear to me. He gave me a choice--although I've never really seen that there WAS a choice; to my heart the only choice is to serve Him.

He served me in my family--and in that greater Family of Man.

So, what will I do with Jesus? I will always do what He has called me to do. As He was willing to spend and be spent, so I, too, give my life in service to Him and His children.

2nd of 6 Lenten monologues, written in 1985.
James had quite
a lot of afterthought. Visit Peter Pollock's Blog Carnival.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


In 1985, I was asked to write a series of monologues during the Lenten weeks, and to choose and direct speakers, choose hymns that fit the stories, and speak in a sermonette style. I had never attended the church, but was asked by a long-time friend and did so. I wrote 6 scripts. A few days after the first service, this became my church... and miracles followed.

The overall Lenten question: "What Would I Do With Jesus?"

I decided to post them over the next few days before Resurrection Sunday... no photos, nothing fancy, maybe too much to read. But feel led to share them. Thought I should pop the explanation out for #1 so you would understand it's purpose and it's focus.


What would I do with Jesus?

I'd do what I've already done: I'd follow Him.

It hasn't always been that way. In fact, if John the Baptist hadn't pointed Him out to me, told me He was the Lamb of God, and prodded me to follow Him, I wonder if I ever would have.

John was a man of power and boldness...frighteningly certain of his mission and his duties. I followed him as much from awe and fear as anything. I never understood him, but he was so compelling, had such an air of adventure, I couldn't seem to stay away.

Jesus was different. He really didn't stand out to me. He didn't attract any great amount of attention from anyone.

I was there when John baptized Jesus. And, to be honest, it embarrassed and confused me. John was always so rough, demanding--yet, with Jesus he became humble, a servant.

As I followed Jesus, though, I discovered, slowly, that He was every bit as compelling as John had been.

I made Him angry with me--several times. I could see the sorrow in His eyes as He reprimanded me. He didn't blaze against me as I might have expected. But He took a deep breath, shook His head, and became quiet. I always felt so foolish.

His responses and reactions were so unlike mine would have been--or those of anyone else I knew--that I was totally bewildered.

One day that changed, though, and I suddenly saw life through His eyes. He was sitting under a tree, praying. I hesitated disturbing Him, but was in such turmoil, I simply had to talk to Him. He heard me approach and looked up with a smile. Then He said, "James, my friend, what can I do for you?"

"Master," I said, "I've been hearing rumors. People are talking, laughing behind your back, saying you love Mary, and..." And I felt so foolish I couldn't even finish my sentence.

Jesus really surprised me then. He said, "But, James, I do love her, but...I love you and Andrew, Thaddeus and Joanna, and John...all of you are unique and precious to me."

He continued, "James, you must remember, most men have no understanding of the person of God, the part of God that allows, even impels Him, to enjoy what He has created. He never sees these friendships and love relationships as something sordid or sinful or inappropriate.

“There is nothing inappropriate about my love for you or your brother. We are a family with friendship so strong it is beyond the capacity of most men to understand. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing, inappropriate about my love for Mary. Mary is my sister, my friend, my child. If my mission were simply a human mission, that relationship might be different. But my mission is for all men and to all men. No earthly relationship can stand in the way of what the Father has asked me to do.”

Then he said to me, "When ugly rumors and misstatements are made, who is the author of that ugliness? Not the Father. And, if not the Father, then who is?"

For once I knew an answer and I told Him. "Satan, the father of lies." He smiled and nodded. "That's right," He told me, and continued. "If he can discredit or manipulate or create dissension, he will. Remember in the story of the sheep and the shepherd I described Satan as one who steals, kills and destroys. People forget that Satan's scheme doesn't apply only in the physical realm. Part of his plan is to steal peace, joy, respect and courage. He comes to kill reputations and feelings of self-worth and to destroy families, friendships, loving relationships.

"So, James, don't let the rumors disturb you. People misunderstand because they WANT to misunderstand. They enjoy painting pictures of unrighteousness because it mirrors the unrighteousness of their hearts and helps them deaden the pangs of conscience."

He smiled again, as if to say, “I think that's about as much as you can grasp right now.” As I turned to leave, I saw He was already in the presence of His Father.

I'm a slow learner. I'm thankful He was a patient teacher. And I'll gratefully follow Him...forever.