Thursday, February 28, 2013


So God said to Noah,
 "This is the sign of the
I am making to all life on earth."


[I took this photo when taken to Oxford by my UK/Uganda friend/sister, Jill.  We had spent stressful time together in the Soroti, Uganda, situation, having met just days before we went to Soroti.  She worked at New Hope Uganda orphanage and I was visiting.  After returning to my home in February, '04, she returned to hers in Worcester, UK, in October for a vacation break.  I hopped on a plane ASAP to be with her in England, and we had a very special time together.  One day, we took a train to Oxford and spent the day "touristing".  Of all the many photos I took and historical bits and pieces of that day that were buried in me, this is the highest of all.  The day was a mix of light showers, heavy rain, very cloudy, and, sometimes in the midst, a bit sunny.  Very weather-active day.  To walk across this University campus, glance up, and see the rainbows ... my heart was exploding with joy instantly.  So pleased I actually could grab my camera quickly enough and take this.  And it was right in time, because rain was pouring again not long after.]

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Having shared before, many of you know my "rocky" history. I struggled with life, but now am rejoicing for the strength that my Rock placed in me. And, thinking of others, I'm always trusting that He would eventually be accepted for His kindness.  It usually occurs, just as I thought it would.  But this story will be all out of the norm.  Nothing I ever would have anticipated, for instance, from Maya's mouth.

A Bhutanese "grandma" arrived from Nepal on July 1st, 2010.  The following weekend, the 4th of July, two months after I became involved with the Bhutanese, I was asked to take her to an ER.  I did.  I took her, her 2 youngest sons [early 20s] who had arrived with her, and her grandson, Kharka, their age, who had been here for about a year and was to be our interpreter.  We ended up hanging out there for 5 hours.

When the Dr. was examining her, and the boys stepped out of the room, she covered her face with her shawl, and held my hand.  She was released with no serious effects and I returned them to the family group.

Grandma Maya seems to truly enjoy and love me -- and Dave.  But, overall, she is one very, VERY angry woman.  The reason?  She is a very deeply intense Hindu.  More and more of her kids and grandkids have come to the Lord.  Some want to, according to what I've been told, but because she is so angry and threatening suicide if more become Christians, they are afraid to break from Hinduism. 

I am asked sometimes to go see her at her apartment complex, a couple miles from our house, so her heart might change.  However, it has seldom been possible for me.  The apartments over there are flooded with roaches and bedbugs, and many residents [a variety of international refugees] are heavily involved in alcohol and drugs and theft.  I've gone over for crisis or serious situations, but I can't go over for a simply "fun" time.  I see the roaches falling off the walls and landing on hair, or hitting the table dishes or food and that makes me jump and run.  [Maybe could be less reactive when these things happen, but... EHH!!  Don't think so.]

In July, 2011, her grandson Kharka, who had come to the Lord a few months earlier, was marrying his dear lady who, immediately after arriving, had also become a Christian.  When I was waiting outside Kharka's family home to take a few to the nearby church, Grandma, on their porch, was on a phone, crying.  I was told by one of her grandkids that she was talking to a Hindu family member in Nepal.  She dreaded going to the Christian wedding.  It was a very tough day for her.

One of her granddaughters married the end of May, 2012, to one special man who had been helping the families for a couple years -- Charles and I met almost immediately as we both entered their world in May, '10. I was thrilled that he was marrying my "granddaughter", Sanu.  Grandma Maya seemed to do a little better at that Assembly of God wedding.

Not long ago, while talking to another of her family members, I learned something.  Previously, I had thought Maya was turning to the Lord, stopping the constant battles.  I was wrong.

This is what Maya said regarding her strength in Hinduism:

               A rock can melt; my heart will not.

So, my heart is seeking that her heart WILL melt, that it will soften, that it will recognize the call of our Lord.

                            That is my desire.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


 On July 28, 2010, while in Tacoma for my mother's 90th birthday, I saw  my sister, Kristan, from Fairbanks, AK, for the first time in 10 years.  We had a nice walk for about 1/2 hour.  Kristan had returned to the Lord several years earlier and I hadn't seen her since then.  It was a real blessing to be together.

As soon as we returned to the house where mom's party was taking place, Kristan received a call from one of her sons saying that her husband, Fred, had been in an accident and someone had been killed.

What finally came out a while later is that he was not paying enough attention, partly because he was so used to the highway,  he hit a cross-walk where a light had just changed to red, and he struck a 14-year-old girl, Kirsten, who was killed instantly.  [And for my sister/his wife, to be Kristan, and the young girl killed was Kirsten ... that has flooded many of our hearts.]

After a struggle re: lawyers, courts, judges, and on and on, he finally was sent to prison.  He entered in September, 2011, and will be released in early May, '13.

Fred had been a less-than-nice guy much of his life and was heavily involved in alcoholism and other addictions.  Back in early 1991, Fred and the family were vising out here.  And, NO, we weren't sorry that he left!  And we haven't seen him since then, and didn't miss him for several years.  We do now.

Fred came to the Lord about 12 years ago.  It was through his brother drawing him to the Lord and Fred seeking forgiveness from my sister, that she returned to the Lord, too.  WOW! We're so looking forward to seeing them.  The four of us together can rejoice, believe me.

NOW... while in prison, Fred has led men to the Lord, has helped them grow, already has some plans for ministering with youth at his church and others when he is released. He has dealt with some personal issues that he, while behind bars, couldn't run away from or hide from, so his emotions have healed more. He also went in with a high amount of extra weight ... and has been exercising and has lost piles and piles of it. Physically, he is feeling better.  Emotionally, being healed.  Spiritually, he is growing.  Good things.

Well, this is the group letter I received from him today... and it made me rejoice.  I usually don't share these, but I felt it was the right thing to do this time.  [I also didn't change anything ...  spelling, grammar, etc. ... just typed it same as he did.]

-- Oh, and the prison is about an 8-hour drive on curvy roads across mountains, etc., for Kristan to get there.  As a full-time worker in North Pole, it's a real challenge for her to be able to see him in a reasonable schedule.  Not similar to a pop-down from Omaha-to-Lincoln situation we would have here.--

Holy smoke! 71 days left of my incarceration.  And I'm in a daze!  I can't think straight, or hold a thought to completion.  I am getting very emotional; anything happy or sad, I see or hear gets the water works going.  (I wonder what my cell mates think of this nut job.)  But God is so Great.  His hand was there to, protected and comforted me, give an opportunity to grow in Him.  To trust and obey as the Holy Spirit guided and taught me.  I'm shaking as I write this letter as if I drank 3 shots of espresso, because of my excitement in the fact that I will be able to hold, hug, and kiss those I love without being threatened with going to the Hole or losing my visitation privileges.  I dream now about getting into a car and going somewhere, anywhere!  To go to church, share a cup of weak coffee, be greeted with an "I'm so glad to see you smile, and warm hands shake!"  Even though you may have never met before.  The joyful and angelic faces playing and sing praises to our Lord, the special smile at the pulpit, the kind that lets you know he has something wonderful to share, and all you have to do is listen and watch.  It's exciting and wonderful to share this time together in Christ.  The demonstration of love to each other without a word, love that over flows to everyone around.  I pray that I am able to personally spend time with everyone who has carried me through this season of fear, torment, anxiety, shame, and surrender through prayers and visits, plus all the letters I have received in this soon to be 608 days of incarceration.  I know men who have not received 1 letter, card, or visit, period.  And I have had close to 50, or more visits, plus I believe more than 700 letters.  I know, even today I still average more than 1 a day.  In a way, I really don't know what it's like to be a prisoner, because so few prisoners have a family who cares as much as you do.

Love Fred.

.... Kristan said you fell down.  Me too!  And we got up. Ya!  Keep up the good fight Sis.

Monday, February 25, 2013


By often sleeping during the day, Mary avoided seeing the other women at the town well.  The gossips and village crones had orchestrated and expanded the details of her harlotry so that her reputation spread far outside the boundaries of her district.   What they didn't know, and obviously didn't care to know, was that she had entered that life through desperation.  When younger, she had spent all of her meager earnings as a servant, seeking relief from the dreams, by visiting various physicians and religious practitioners.  For all this expenditure, she had gained nothing. 

Finally, yes, she resorted to prostitution.  She already had the reputation for it ... she had heard the whispers ... so, in angriness, bitterness, and resentment toward God and, basically, all people, she decided to live up to her name and reputation.  She reasoned cynically that it kept her from relying on the charity of others  and it gave her something to do with her nights.

In spite of her flippancy towards men and her brazen manners, she had no disillusions about men.  They were dishonest and unfaithful, and without honor.   She knew this, because, although she was the "harlot",  they were partnered to that lifestyle.  She often knew much about the wives and children of the men who came to her.  She kept the secrets ... but these men never thanked her for her discretion.  They hated and feared her, because her presence was a reminder of their sin.

And then Jesus came.   Jesus, the teacher from Nazareth, the Healer, the rumored restorer of Israel and awaited Messiah.  Not only was he strong and handsome, taller than King Saul must have been, a true seed of King David, but he was the first man she'd ever seen who was not 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.

For the first time in many years she was challenged to care ... to consider opening her life to others, to grow beyond the walls of her self-imposed prison. She wasn't free -- yet -- but there was a sun of hope, a spark of hope, burning, flashing.

She wasn't free, either, from the nighttime attacks.  If anything, they were worse, even frenzied.  And, although she had not changed her decision about death, and fully intended to end her life, a shaft of light seemed to block her from dwelling on it, and, instead, made her wonder if life could exist without torment, without fear ... and without sin.

Tell Me a Story

Sunday, February 24, 2013


I posted this in November, 2010.  My heart has been very heavy tonight with life-changing and "where do I fit in?" and "what can I do?" -- questions pouring through me.  As re-posting the original Ripple tonight, I've re-adjusted a fair amount of it, but, overall, it's the same process.   And, as I say in it, my husband ain't perfect.  But, to me, he's an example of what "Rippling" can do.  

I was sharing some of these details with my blog-brother, Floyd, yesterday.  I told him that I'm planning to write about spiritual seed planting ... and will do so in the next few days.  

And THIS is a seed of that seed.
I am often buried in Revelation, my main Scriptural intense focus.  When the Lord drops a Book onto my plate, usually it means I must read the Book over and over until then He moves me on.  I've read Revelation about 7 times this month, plus reading a commentary book.

In that Revelation commentary book, someone had asked the author why the judgment for people who died didn't occur immediately upon their arrival to the Lord. His answer was that just because the person was now gone from the earth, the continued effects of their life could go on for quite a long time  -- who they loved, who they blessed, how they served the Lord.  Or, sadly, the opposite.

In the process, I thought of my husband. [No, he ain't perfect, I guess... but I hardly ever see him as anything but a huge blessing.] He's a quiet man, but servant-hearted and giving-oriented.  He can do almost any home-oriented remodeling and refinishing tasks, painting and electrical needs, which certainly comes in handy for our home and others. 

He will re-build and fix computers [and give them away].  On top of that, he's a wonderful musician. He thoroughly enjoys teaching others [especially piano and computer]. 

He's done all of these "jobs" in our homes, neighborhoods, town, other states, and in Uganda and Costa Rica.
When he dies, which I hope won't be any time soon, his effect will linger. The youngest of his present piano students, for instance, is 7 years old. He began with her when she was 5. He has about a dozen students, from young to adult, and loves working with them. 
To have more and more would be a huge blessing to him. In more than 20 years, he's had many, many students, one who now is a worship pastor, others who are worship leaders, or on worship teams, or teaching others.

Piano students love him. He's patient, creative, flexible, and warm; he hasn't scared any of them. Most of them move forward quickly because they want to please him. My assessment: Dave will "ripple" for a long time.

When I think of the ripple effect our lives have, it makes me stop and take a look at where I'm headed, what I'm doing, what my attitude is, and how I need to assess and reassess the questionable points. Doesn't mean I expect the Lord to keep nailing me for errors, but that He'll touch my heart, tap my shoulder, and keep me moving in the right direction.

And, oh, yes, I want to ripple, for a long time, in a good way,  and bring more and more blessings to the Lord.
Tell Me a Story

Friday, February 22, 2013


As I grow deeper and deeper into the heart of my Lord, I desire more and more to become a non-whisperer, a non-source of contention.

That is my hope.
Scripture and Snapshot

Thursday, February 21, 2013


My husband is on my heart more and more, because he is so helpful and kind to me.  When I fell early yesterday morning and hit the floor, hurt and screaming, he immediately rushed through the house to help me any possible way. He's a truly caring and loving man.

I am sure I posted this poem before, but it touched me again today.

Originally, I wrote it during the first week of October, 2001, when I was on a depression stage of life after 9/11 and camping at the North Shore to come to God's emotional healing, which, miraculously, did occur. 

So sharing it with you, again.
  "You hug your husband, and
Tell him you appreciate him,"
Steve, the wise one, said.

I did -- and I do.

"I'm sending you my representative,"
Abba said to me,
Those years ago.

And in the season of robins and lilacs,
He bounced through my door --
One of a group.

For some reason, I noticed.
And weeks later, we noticed --
And then we got married.
[Just about that fast -- 
and that shocking --
and scary!!]

[Because the world would never have put us together,
but Abba did.]

He was not who I expected --
I was a surprise to him.
[I still am sometimes, I think.]

But if I know nothing else in this life
to be true,
I know my Abba sent His representative.

A bit of extra info.  The "Steve" is my son, and, as I was preparing to head 600 miles away from home to deal with fear and depression, he wanted me to consider Dave's heartache when I would be gone.  My son was realistic.  Dave, however, knew this was a trip God was sending me on, so he wasn't breaking down or afraid.  He knew I needed healing and that that location would be a good one for it. 

While up there without him, talking to him once a day on a public phone in the Tettagouche Camp center, he continued to encourage me.

This poem poured into my heart as a result.

It truly is my Dave.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


The 30-hour labor that Dumbari was going through was tough, to say the least.  Her husband, Laxman, was consistent and did whatever he could to help, as long as it didn't go too far over what was acceptable in their Bhutanese culture.  I was the "anytime, everytime, anything" person, however, and had very little sleep, for a total of about 44 hoursI was worn out when this little boy arrived. He was born at 2:42 AM.  From about 4:00 AM until nearly noon, I was home and sleeping. Then, I popped back to see the little one and check on his parents.  Laxman took this picture us us that afternoon; Bisant was about 12 hours old.

This past Sunday evening, the 17th, I received a call from Dumbari, who doesn't speak English very well, and indicated she wanted to come to our house.  They live a couple blocks away.  When she arrived, she came in with 3 bags.  Cereal boxes in one [they have to choose some at WIC, but can't eat them], loafs of wheat bread in another [same reason passing them along], and then, in bag number 3,

a shawl.  She said it was brought a couple weeks ago from Nepal.  More relatives had arrived and, before leaving Nepal, had been told to find a shawl that would be beautiful for me.  Laxman and Dumbari had told them purple [would that be a surprise?], but that wasn't the color they could find.  This is lovely, whether purple or not, and a blessing, and I was just big-eyed and joyful when I opened it widely and saw the colors and the patterns.

When I thanked her ... forced her to let me hug her ... and she was leaving, she handed me some folded up money.  And she said, "He says to have it."  When I unfolded it, I was a bit shocked.  Two twenty-dollar bills.  Why?  And suddenly I knew:

On the way to the hospital for delivery, about 9:30 PM on September 9th, them following me in his car, I was nearly out of gas. I stopped at a station to fill the tank. The hospital is only 4 miles from our house, so it's no big deal, except I didn't want to be at risk if needing to bring his parents in for some reason.

So, yep, this Sunday, 5 months later, he passed approximately the same amount along to me -- obviously a "thank you" gift -- simply because I was doing whatever was needed during the baby's several pre-arrival weeks at the Dr.'s and, then, during delivery.  I'm amazed.

Dumbari also popped a note on my coffee table.  I didn't even see it until yesterday.  This is what it says:

Joine, last time you help me 
for birth baby so that 
I help you but this is so 
small for your help, but you' 
help me so much.

Lots of thank ful of u.
God bless you
thank you,
don't refuse to accept
this OK.

I actually took a picture of myself today wearing the shawl in my office.  Took it so I could share the "shawl" story with you, visually.  Believe me, this has been a blessing.

[And, that "don't refuse to accept" on the note referred to the money, I'm sure.]

And his English writing might not be perfect, but his kindness is.  And hers.  And the others.  Love them.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Mary lay staring into the murky darkness, listening to the wind rustling the leaves of the olive trees outside the window.  She heard the sound of horse's hooves on the rocky pavement somewhere in the distance.  And, through some filtered moonlight drifting across her room she saw the shadowed forms of her family and heard their quiet breathing as they slept.

For Mary, sleep was a vestige of the distant past.  She hadn't slept well since childhood.  It wasn't because she wasn't tired; she had been tired for most of her life.  Sleep, instead of relief and rest, brought dreams and voices ...ghosts from her past, looming "beings"  from her present to repose in her room and mock her when she entered the anteroom of sleep.  So, she survived on short naps when others were nearby to wake her if she became restless or began to cry out.

She had become a joke to many in her village:  "God must be punishing her...the psalmist said God gives his beloved sleep...if she can't sleep that must mean she is hated...If God makes her suffer so, why should WE treat her any better?..."  Most people, not wanting to face a torrent of sarcastic, venomous words, kept their comments outside her range of hearing. Some, though foolish enough, let her hear them.  They received the full brunt of her wrath.

On this particular night, as she waited for daybreak, she thought of Jesus.  He had a deep capacity for compassion, and heart-filled insight into people.  Occasionally, as his eyes searched the crowds, Jesus looked at her, and she knew he could see right into her soul.  She was certain he knew her reputation as a harlot, most of which was a result of her night- time wanderings, but, some, she freely admitted, had a basis in fact.  She was nearly convinced that illicit love was better than no love at all.  What amazed her most was that his eyes carried no condemnation.  She sensed only that he hurt because she did.  And it was that discovery, more than any other, that put a spark of light into the darkness of her life.

She didn't talk about the change she felt inside.  She knew from experience no one would want to listen, so she hid the small piece of hope in one of the far corners of her heart, determined to keep it alive.  She was too realistic to believe the hope might grow, but was content simply to protect it.

As the golden-gray streaks of morning broke across the sky,

and the others in the room began to stir, Mary, still thinking of Jesus, pulled her blanket up under her chin, rolled towards the wall, and went to sleep. 

Next week, Mary Magdalene Scene #4.  Jesus touches her again.  As he does to and for us.  Forever and ever.

Tell Me a Story

Sunday, February 17, 2013


What a blessed morning we had.  Reached Stonebridge Church here in Omaha right before 11:30 and, when walking in, saw my daughter, my grandkids [the girls and others], the girls' friends and some of our family friends arriving.  A pile of neat people.

The baptism began just a few minutes after the service started.  One worship song, announcement time, and then the baptism occurred during worship song #2.  It was wonderful.  Six girls, three of ours, one from another family, and two from another, and all baptized by family or friends.  WOW!  Never seen it quite that flexible.

However, here're the photos.  The Twins, Makayla and Miranda, are 15; Juliana is 10.   [The photos are not good enough, because the action went faster than my camera. "Beautifulness" doesn't count; the watery event DOES.]

Dave and I and all the church attenders ... a few hundred ... rejoiced, clapping, and hollering happily, and glorifying the Lord.

Did I pray publicly?  Of course not Did I pray in my heart?  Yes.  Several times. -- This morning before our attendance, during our time there, and after heading home.  And this is what, basically, is my prayer for them:

Father, in the Name of Jesus, I lift up to you 3 of my dear ones.  And I thank you that their hearts are turning more and more in Your direction.

I ask you, Father, to show them what the spiritual gifts of their lives are, that they will come to understand the joyfulness of serving you.

Bless their parents, their step-parents, and family friends, such as Dick, who baptized them, and others who are being placed in their lives to help them grow stronger
 and more solidly in You.

Finally, Dear Lord, now and forever,
 I bless You for Your presence 
in their lives.  


Friday, February 15, 2013

PSALM 56:3

My 15-year old twin granddaughters had given this cross to Dave and I about 3 years ago.  They had made it in their school.  As you will see, it is on our living room wall, and will never be removed, and is always on our heart. 

When reading that Word this morning, I immediately thought of this cross.
 The painting is by Jay Jones, Susan's son.  He's amazing!!  Colorful painting, based on the North Shore.  Couldn't be much more  "me"-ish.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


After the delight of dedicating and naming Hannah,
we had a few more hours at the church on our plate.
So, on our first "plate", we ate breakfast at P. Robert’s house. While there, P. Israel said one of the conference pastors had asked them a question. This man rents his home -- I assumed it was similar to a mud hut, which is almost all I was seeing in the area.  He said he had discovered a skull which would indicate that the owner had dedicated the house to an idol.  His questions were: can this affect him, and, what should he do about it?  I presented some options and believe, overall, it was good advice, but again I was struck at the matter-of-fact way these men and women approached this whole topic and how eager they were to receive anything that could help them.

We went into the church for the Tuesday teaching, which was done by Tim.  He actually was just giving a quick introduction to spiritual warfare, because we were leaving in early afternoon.  

After Tim spoke, the Pastor Robert asked me to give a word of farewell, which I did – nothing elaborate.  However, then he  said there had been a prayer request sent from another of their churches, because the family knew we were there and they wanted us to pray for them.  Their letter said that they had been married for 15 years and they had an 11 year old girl.  They wanted another child and had been seeking God for a long time and they wanted us to pray for them.  And I was asked to pray.  I felt my faith drop to my feet -- praying about barrenness was something I'd rarely done, and certainly not publicly.  But, I held that letter in my hands and prayed the best I knew how.  Everyone seemed satisfied, but my INSIDE prayer had been “LORD, PLEASE LET THESE PEOPLE HAVE A BABY!  DON’T LET THEM DOWN.” [I've never known the consequences.]

After all this, P. Robert said the people were going to give a love offering.  He said it is part of their culture to show appreciation and that we must receive it. 

Well, the people started coming forward with their gifts: avocados, beans, HUGE cabbages, MORE avocados, a couple of mats, pumpkins, coins, and more avocados.  It was obvious the people were giving their best.  I was so overwhelmed I could hardly breathe.  Then P. Robert asked me to pray the blessing over the offering.  I was so shaken it took me a bit of time to get control of my emotions enough to pray.  

When we were finally ready to leave, Robert came to me with an envelope containing my personal share of the offering, 2,700 shillings or about $1.30 -- all the coins mixed with the other gifts.  I immediately understood how King David must have felt when his men brought him the water from Bethlehem and, instead of drinking it, he poured it out.  I didn’t know then what I would do with this money, but it was too holy to spend in a common way.  I put it in my Bible and would keep it there until a God-door would open. 

[Donated it at my friend Pastor Joseph's Baptist church in Soroti 
on my last Sunday up there, January 18. Two months later, 350 miles away. What a blessing that, not knowing it would occur, the Kabujogera church would  bless the ones suffering from the rebels.  So happy I truly kept those shillings in my Bible, waiting and waiting for the time-share.]  

Then we headed home with our bags, our 9 warm bodies,  piles of gifts in the back and under our feet -- and a chicken.
It was a very tight and long four hours, but I was floating on my inside.

I had never felt so honored, appreciated, respected, received and humbled in my life -- and not often since then.  They had asked me to come and teach again, and I truly will in a heartbeat if God ever makes the door open on our side and would love to take Dave with me to meet Pastors Robert and Israel.  Dave would be a blessing, of course. [And Tim and Jill are still dear friends, dear family. We love them.]

Sometimes I felt that I was living in a travelogue.  I've often pinched myself, while traveling in Uganda during those several trips over and around there, to check if it was really real that I was doing what I loved to do and spending time with people I loved to be with.  The pinching pain always felt good.


Thank you, Lord, for sending me there, and, now,
 after all these years, allowing me 
to share with family and friends, 
both locally and abroad.

Tell Me a Story