Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!!! Hello 2013...

Welcome 2013!

As I say goodbye to 2012 forever, I look forward to 2013 with much joy and eagerness because I know it's going to be a challenging, inspiring, and unforgettable year.

Looking Back

I set some goals for myself in 2012. Some were met, others were not. I remember anticipating the start of classes toward my doctoral degree with Grand Canyon University. However, that did not happen.

And that's okay!

I remember anticipating my manuscript, The Warfare Club, being picked up by a literary agency. However, that did not happen.

And that's okay, too!

What did happen?

I did accomplish a few things in 2012...

I managed to blog weekly for most of the entire year. That was a major milestone!

I managed to run a half marathon after a back injury. That was an accomplishment.

I was hired to teach Wiring and now have my own classroom. God was gracious.

The Lord allowed me to go back to Slovakia in June. He was also gracious in allowing me the chance to visit Poland and see Auschwitz. A life changing event...

And I was able to write more than I have ever written before in my life! I finished two manuscripts this year.

God is so gracious in what He provides for us.

Goals for 2013

I'm a goal-oriented person. So, here's a list of goals for this year:

  • To be more consistent in blogging.
  • Start an author web site.
  • Complete The Dragon Forest trilogy.
  • Be part of the mentoring ministry at our church.
  • Finish a Bible study I wrote many years ago. 
  • Draw more! Paint more!
  • Go to Hawaii with my husband to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary!
  • Mentor my son as he starts college to study art. 
  • Be a better teacher for my students. 
  • Listen more, talk less. 
  • Run a marathon.
  • Run an ultra-marathon (52 mi)
  • Be a better wife and mother.
  • Be a better friend.
  • Be a mentor.
  • Make new friends!

So, as the year comes to an end and another year starts, I can look back on 2012 and see God's hand over my life. I can see when He picked me up and carried me and I can see when He let me fall and pick myself up. He showed me that I am stronger and smarter than I thought I was.

I am so grateful for my family and our good health. God worked on my heart this year and helped me work through some issues with resentment and bitterness I have been clinging to. I am not perfect, but am a work in progress.

God has so much in store for us this year. I pray He blesses you with every spiritual blessing!

What goals do you have for 2013? 

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Who is This Jesus? Part II

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God,
 "who is and who was and who is to come,
The Almighty."

Revelation 1:8

No Other Man

No other man could utter these words found in Revelation 1:8. Not Martin Luther King, Jr. Not Joseph Smith. No President. No King. No Queen. No Pope.

No other man could utter these words except Jesus Christ.

Because no other man's tomb is empty.

No other man conquered death as Jesus did.

His birth and death fulfilled over 300 prophecies.

Can anyone say that about good man Martin Luther King, Jr.?

In Death

Martin Luther King had his life taken from him.

Jesus willingly gave up His life.

When Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, he was with friends. He had family. He had followers.

When Jesus died, He was completely alone.

He was betrayed by one of His followers, all His friends scattered, and even one friend denied Him three times.

There was no grand funeral procession. No marches. No dirges played.

But there was mourning. Even creation mourned His passing. There was darkness in the middle of the day and the earth shook.

No other man experienced that at his passing.

No other man.

Therefore, as I complete these posts about Who Jesus Is, I wanted to show this video clip by the late Bing Crosby.

He recites the poem, One Solitary Life.

The words are perfect. They describe how no other man, alive or dead, has affected the world as Christ did.

And that's what separates Him from any other man who walked this earth.

He gave His life that we might live...

My hope is that through these posts, you can clearly see how Jesus Christ was not a "good man" like Martin Luther King, Jr.

If MLK were alive today, he would be appalled that anyone would try and compare Jesus to himself.

No, Jesus Christ was unlike any other man.

For this reason, I urge you to seek Him...and live.


Friday, December 21, 2012

First Christmas 1988

I thought I'd share my most favorite Christmas memory and
maybe encourage you to share yours!

Thanksgiving 1988

Scott and I had been married in July of 1988, but Scott had to leave to head overseas with the USMC aboard the JKF Aircraft carrier one week after our wedding. I lived alone in a studio apartment working to fill the time until he returned to pick me up and take me to where we would be stationed: North Carolina.

On Thanksgiving night, Scott was able to call from the JFK. I was so thrilled to hear his voice as his calls were few and far between. He quickly asked me a special question, "Why don't you meet me in Paris, France for Christmas?" I was so excited! The JFK would be docked in the south of France in December, so Scott arranged to have leave in order to fly to Paris and meet me there. 

We didn't have alot of money and had to borrow some from the in-laws, who tried to talk me out of going ("he'll be home in a month..." they said. Of course, a month to a newlywed is like TEN YEARS!) With money in hand, I asked a travel agent I knew through work to help me make the arrangements. You see, I wouldn't be able to talk to Scott again until we were face-to-face in Paris, so I had to arrange the hotel and flights THEN write a letter to him explaining all the arrangements in hopes that the letter would reach him in time and he would know where to go in Paris to meet me. 

My travel agent was superb in that she found a quaint hotel and flights for me all at a reasonable price. It was all set! Except for one small detail: my passport. I didn't have one. The wait time for a passport was usually 3 weeks, but then I would have to send it to L.A. for the French Consulate to stamp it with a travel VISA...and that usually took another 3 weeks. My travel agent friend was honest with me in that she didn't think this was going to happen. Plus, I didn't have much vacation time accrued, but my boss wasn't about to stop me from going to France to see my husband of 4 months! 

I remember I prayed and asked the Lord for His will. "If you want me to go, Lord, then I know you will get me my passport in plenty of time..." I wrote a sad sad note telling the French Consulate my whole story and included a check for them to send me my passport back Federal Express overnight. Then, I sent it off with a prayer and a lot of hope. 

I got my passport back that next week with my stamp! I was all set to go. I packed my bags, said good-bye to my family and headed overseas alone to meet my husband...and I didn't even know if he was going to be there. Well, if not, I knew I would find something to do in Paris for 5 days!

After a long flight, I arrived on December 23rd at about 10 am and took a taxi to my hotel. We drove through the streets of Paris and it was so lovely. The city was decorated for Christmas. I arrived safely at the hotel and told them who I was. They remembered the story and proceeded to tell me that my husband had not yet arrived, but they would alert me when he did. So I went up to my room, showered, and fell asleep. It was the phone ringing that woke me to a dark room. I thought it must be midnight, but it was only 5 in the evening. 

The voice on the other end was Scott! "Where are you?" I asked. "In the lobby," he answered. "Well, get up here!" I ordered. A few minutes later, we had our blessed reunion together in Paris, France. 

We were 21 year old kids together in the City of Lights. We didn't have much money and the museums were closed because of a strike....but we had each other. We had so much fun together. It was cold and rainy, but we didn't care! We walked the streets and ate hot dogs from a vendor. We had one special dinner at a small cozy restaurant near the Opera House one night. 5 fun-filled days.

Then it was time for me to go home. Saying good-bye (yet again...) at the airport was tough. We were pros at saying good-bye by this time in our married life! But there was the hope that Scott would be back in Phoenix in February 1989. 

Well, that was our first Christmas as a married couple. I am so glad I didn't let sensible people talk me out of going! It was unforgettable and a true testament to how God is in control over every aspect of our lives. He hears prayers. He answers them too. He was gracious to us silly romantic kids! I know we'll return to Paris one day....

I thank the Lord everyday for my life with Scott. It has been quite the adventure. But I mostly thank the Lord for Christmas and the gift of salvation. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year....

Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

So Who is This Jesus?

Who is This Jesus?

Some say He was just another good man, or a community organizer like Martin Luther King, Jr.

Well, let’s compare the two men…

Was the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr.  predicted thousands of years before it happened?

The birth of Jesus was.

His birth fulfilled many prophecies:

Is  11:1-5-  Born from the line of Jesse
Jer 23:5-6 Born from the lineage of King David.  Called LORD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Is 7:14-  born to a Virgin
Is 9:6-7-  A Son on the throne of David- called Mighty God
Micah 5:2- One Ruler born in Bethlehem
Number  24:17- Wise men would follow a star

Was the birth of MLK predicted to such detail?


What about the life of MLK? 

He was a decent man who took up a cause and helped bring to light the horrific treatment of minorities.  He made many sacrifices and even received death threats to himself and his family. He had many followers who devoted their time and talents to his cause.

And the life of Jesus?

We see in the Bible that Jesus was not just another ordinary man.

 Oh yes, He also did good things, sacrificed His time, brought to light the horrific treatment of minorities, received death threats, had many followers who devoted their time to His cause.

But Jesus proved He was more than a mere man…

Luke 8:25-  He showed His followers that the Natural obeys His commands.
Luke 8:26-39-  He showed His followers that the Supernatural obeys His commands.
Luke 8:45-48-  He showed His followers that Disease obeys His commands.
Luke 8:40, 49-56- and finally, He showed His followers that even Death obeys His commands.

Jesus, walking the earth in the form of Man, showed all of His followers that He could defeat all forms of evil:

Natural    Supernatural   Moral

As you can clearly see, there is a remarkable difference between good man Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jesus Christ .

Next time I will show who Jesus said He was when He walked the earth….and He didn't call Himself “good”  or a community organizer, or a teacher.

He called Himself God, fulfilling the scriptures:

“…and his name shall be called
Wonderful  Counselor, Mighty God,

(Deut. 10:17Neh. 9:32Jer. 32:18[Ps. 45:3])


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Joy Through Suffering

"Consider it all joy..."
James 1:2

I remember reading the book “Surprised by Suffering” by Dr. R.C. Sproul years ago and listening to him discuss the topic on his radio show.

As I listened to him speak about how Christians should not be surprised by trials, I thought back to how I responded to certain trials in my life.

And I cringed.

As Christians in America, we tend to be sheltered from true suffering. What I mean by that is, most Christians in other countries have experienced persecution and even death threats simply for following Christ in addition to pain and suffering from physical ailments or familial rejections.

But we American Christians are genuinely surprised when we suffer from rejection, physical ailments, or persecution.

Dr. R.C. Sproul takes us back to Scripture to remind the Christian never to be surprised by any kind of suffering we endure because if Christ suffered…then we must suffer.

I want to share a testimony from a friend, a strong woman of faith, because she has not only suffered as a believer, but understands what Dr. Sproul meant in his book:

Christ is there with us as we suffer…


Romans 5:1-5  “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ....We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance and perseverance character and character, hope...  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in your hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. “ 

Those verses helped me through some of the hardest trials in my life.

 A few years ago I started having abdominal pain.  An MRI was ordered and they found a tumor on my pancreas.  The doctors decided that a “Whipple Procedure” needed to be done. 
 Our surgeon removed part of my pancreas,  part of my stomach,   part of my intestines,  gall bladder, bile duct and pre-cancerous cells.....all removed!  

Yes, half my insides are gone!

 It has been a very painful healing process.   I have been in the hospital about 7 times in the past year and a half.   My husband Russ took wonderful care of me and had to prepare an IV bag for me with all my medications.  He would have to clean the IV and flush and insert it back into my arm.  He did this for 2 months.  The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful husband, and the Lord has blessed us with His loving kindness and mercy through all of this. 

 Russ and I prepared for many years saving for our future retirement.   We invested well and saved in the way we felt the Lord had prepared for us to do.   During this time, the economy fell and so did the housing market.   We chose to do the right thing in the midst of seeing a lot of worldly people do the wrong thing, and not pay their bills.   We suffered a great financial loss that will never be recovered, but we know our reward will be in heaven.  

Our toil is not in vain...Praise His name  I Cor. 15:58! 

 Our daughter and two beautiful grandchildren went through a divorce.   It broke my heart.  To see your family broken apart is one of the hardest things to endure...especially when it involves your grandchildren.   

 I lost my beautiful godly mother to pancreatic cancer 5 years ago.   I am now losing my father to Alzheimer’s.  He is in the second stage.   My sister and I and our husbands have taken good care of him, but he is now in a home with a precious caretaker, who can care for him in such a beautiful way.    My father does not recognize me most of the time.   As heartbreaking as that is, I have hope in my Lord! 

II Cor. 4:16-18  informs us... “Therefore do not lose heart.   Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.   So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!”  
 I have endured many other personal trials that I cannot share at this time.   But we have the promise that the Lord will never leave us nor forsake us.  Scripture is the only true comfort that we have offered to us at any given time!  Praise His name!

  II Cor. 1:4 says...”Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”   
 We need to look at our blessings that the Lord has lavished on all of us who know Him!
I thank the Lord for exchanging His robes of righteousness for our filthy garments.
I thank the Lord for His covenants that He has shared with us.

We remember His precious and magnificent promises.

We understand that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways.

 And He has promised us peace that surpasses all understanding....Praise His name! 
Love in the name of Adonai... our Lord and Master,



Thank you, Tammy, for sharing your story!

God has been with my friend and her husband throughout the storms that come in life. It is the promise that gets her through it all:

Christ is there in the midst of the storm.

Tammy's and my prayer is that, as you read this, you will never be surprised by suffering or trials and tribulations, but instead rejoice in knowing that the Lord is there with you through it all.

Because Christ suffered…we, too, will suffer.

Tammy will be having more surgery this week. If you could, please lift her up in prayer. 


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fun Fridays!

Why NaNoWriMo?

Last year, I participated in this event with the idea that I would complete a novel in one month.

I completed a novel in one month.

And it nearly killed me!

Okay, well, that's not true.  But all that sitting ruined my back and it took me a month to recover!

So, why am I participating again this year?

Because I’m a glutton for punishment….and the event motivates me to WRITE almost everyday.
And I need to complete a book to send to an interested literary agent.


This Friday blog post, I’m wondering what motivates YOU to write? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, why on earth would you do that to yourself?

Just kidding.

I’d love to know what motivates you to follow your dream of completing a novel in one month!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

God is in Control

"If God maintains sun and planets in bright and ordered beauty, he can keep us."
  -F.B. Meyer

After this election season, I know many people have a certain trepidation regarding the next four years.

What will happen?

Will the debt the U.S. acquired ruin the economy?

What about our children? How will they be affected by this debt?

What about our Constitutional rights?

Many questions. Much fear.

But one thing that has gotten me through the little panic attacks I’ve experienced since the night of November 6, 2012, is this:

God is in Control

Yep. Our God, the One True God, is in control over everything.

We can find rest in this. We can have peace.

I asked my dear friend and mentor, Ingrid, if she would share on my blog about a time when she knew God was in control over everything.

Here’s what she shared…

 "I don’t ever feel that I have everything under control but I do take things for granted and then I realize how in an instant God can change my comfortable state and make me aware that He is lovingly in control.  When this happens, He is checking if I still love and trust Him in spite of the situation.  So much of what happens in life is a test.

I would like to relay an incident where God was in complete control and He supplied everything I needed to carry me through.

Six years ago I came home from work and found my husband dead of a heart attack.  As shocking as it was, God provided some special memories to ease the pain... 

The morning of that day my husband woke up early (that doesn't usually happen) and he kissed me and told me he loved me.  This was his day off so I called him at lunch and God gave me a chance to talk to him.  When I came home and found him I called my friends and before I knew it my house was filled with people who cared. 

God even spoke comfort to me through the days’ message on my calendar. Amazingly it said,  “Those we love are with the Lord and the Lord has promised to be with us.  If they are with Him and He is with us, they can’t be far away.”  

During those next few days, God gave me a strength that I did not know that I had.  In Psalm 46:1 it says that God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in time of trouble.  In Isaiah 46:10 it tells us not to fear because He is with us. 

God took an out of control day and brought me peace."


How amazing is that? 

We can read in Ingrid’s story just how near our God is to His children. We can read just how personal our God is.

He spoke to Ingrid in ways she could understand.

She knows her God is in control of everything because He has shown her this time and time again.

Praise Him, indeed.

So, as we move on from this election season to the next, we can rest assured that our God is sovereign.

Nothing surprises Him.

Nothing on this earth will prevail against Him.

All things are in His control.

Our God is sovereign.

And He is still on the throne.



Thursday, November 1, 2012

For His Glory

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 
Colossians 3:23-24

I read a wonderful blog post this week about a Christian writer who made every effort to use her work all for the glory of God.


After reading about this wonderful lady who is now with Jesus in heaven, I couldn’t help but be reminded of how all we do as believers, we must do for the glory of God.

Does that mean we writers must write ONLY Christian stories about Christians?

I don’t believe so.

But it means that our work…whether it is art, music, writing, or anything else…must be for His glory.

All that we produce must matter in the eternal.


There is much temptation in this world to walk away from God’s truth and glorify ourselves.
But, as we are reminded in God’s Word, we have a Savior who showed us how to resist temptation:

Hebrews 4:15
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

 Jesus was tempted in very specific ways by Satan…

Satan tempted Jesus with food. Why? He wanted Jesus to doubt God’s care for even His most basic needs. How often do we fall for that lie?

Satan then tempted Jesus to doubt God’s love for Him by suggesting He jump off the pinnacle and test whether God would be there to save Him or not.  How often do we doubt God’s love for us on a daily basis by focusing on our circumstances and not on His very promises?

 Finally, Satan tempted Jesus with glory and power without the horrible pain of the Cross. Oh, believers, how often are we tempted with this lie?  Satan tells us we can “have it all” without having to suffer as Jesus suffered.

And yet how did Jesus respond to this temptation?

“It is written…”

Jesus constantly directed Satan to the Word of God which cuts deeper than a double-edged sword!

Although Christians will continue to be tempted while here on earth, we must always endeavor to use our talents and abilities to glorify God.

Your writing is a gift.

Give that gift back to the Lord!

What we do with our gifts should matter in the eternity.

Remember that the next time you sit before a blank page on the computer screen.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What It Means to Pray

My experiment worked!

All last week…and this week…I started my morning prayers by requesting of the Lord that His name be glorified here on earth as it is in heaven.

And my morning prayer time instantly became a time of worship and praise!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes my morning prayers do not come easily.
I am distracted especially since I pray in my classroom before my day begins.
I start off with good intentions, but then my mind wanders to papers that need to be graded, emails that need to be answered, and assignments that need to be written.


I remember one Bible teacher told me years ago how she would enter into her closet with every intention of praying to Jesus, but then she would see her shoes needed arranging, clothes needed to be hung, and before she knew it, her entire closet had been cleaned out and organized!

That’s how we humans are: easily distracted.

Other times, our prayers are too self-centered and not focused on praising God. I know I fall into this trap often.

I start off with the desire to lift others up in prayer, but then the prayer becomes all about me and my concerns.

That’s why understanding HOW to pray is most important.

Dr. R.C. Sproul writes about this in his Tabletalk magazine:

“Understanding how to pray is the best way to address these difficulties. God has not left us without guidance. Jesus himself gave us the Lord’s Prayer…” (November 2012, p 54).

Yes!  God is so good to us in that He did not leave us without a way to communicate with Him.

That is why I wanted to begin each of my prayers with a request that His very name be sanctified…set apart as holy…and glorified by every living thing on earth because He alone is worthy of our worship and adoration.

The Lord did not disappoint! 

I immediately felt a sense of His presence and peace while the Holy Spirit laid concerns on my heart that I, in turn,  laid at His feet.

Praise God!

Psalm 54:6-

I will bring a gift
and offer a sacrifice
to you, LORD.
I will praise your name
because you are good.

So, if your prayer time has been suffering lately due to many of life’s distractions, take the time to read the Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 54 or any of the fantastic prayers found throughout the Bible to teach you how to focus your prayer time on the Lord.

Lift up His name as holy! Focus on worshiping the Lord first and foremost.

I promise you, your prayer life will take on a whole new meaning and your life will be forever changed!

After all, isn't that what prayer time is all about?


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dream A Little Dream...

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined,
 he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” 

Ever had one of those days?  I seem to have more and more of those days lately.

I honestly feel the Lord is trying to tell me something. 

And just when I think I've reached my limit...the Lord reveals something wonderful to me and makes me smile. 

He's just that kind of a Savior!

Most of you know I am a writer. My first book, The Dragon Forest, was released last year. I have worked hard to market my own book since my publisher is a smaller publishing house. 

I have sold copies of my book at speaking engagements, writing workshops, and even at the ACFW Writers Conference this year. 

God is so good. 

Advancing Toward the Dream

Today I found out my publisher, OakTara Publishing, wants to contract me this week for The Dragon Forest books 2 & 3.  And they are interested in a fourth book I am writing. 

Yay! I'm advancing confidently in the direction of my dreams!   

Again, God is so good. 

But for me, the biggest treat this week so far came unexpectedly. You see, I was up in my classroom feeling pretty low. It's been a rough week and I wanted to be still for a moment. Then, someone came to get me in order for me to help out at the pick-up line. "Sure," I said. I always try to help out when I can. 

Then, when I got to the pick-up area, I saw a little girl in line reading my book. She was on the last chapter. She smiled at me because she knows I am the author...and I smiled a grateful smile at her. 

I turned and saw yet another girl reading my book! And earlier in the day, I saw two more students reading my book. 

Suddenly, I understood what the Lord was trying to tell me. 

He's just that kind of a Savior. He gives us our dreams.  Thanks, Lord. 

Because of word-of-mouth marketing and a Dragon Forest art contest we are holding at the school where I teach, more kids are interested in my book. 

It's the little things that matter. 

Endeavor to Live

You may be a writer thinking that you have to have that perfect critique partner with contacts in the publishing world in order to make it...attend that HUGE writers conference in the big city...or sign with  a top literary agent...and have a big time publisher knocking at your door.

All those things are nice. 

But all those things aren't necessary. What you need most of all is good writing and a good story. 

Frankly, I spent a lot of money to attend the ACFW conference this year and wasn't all that impressed. I felt out of place since my genre isn't very popular in Christian Fiction. I had a hard time meeting people and networking. To me, a smaller conference would have been a better fit. 

And a literary agent is nice, but just because you sign with one doesn't guarantee a sale to a publisher. I know writers who have agents and are still hoping for that contract.

My advice?  

Keep working at your writing!  Read about the craft, attend conferences, and keep writing no matter what. 

Keep dreaming that dream!

Work hard at each scene. Send out your query letters and don't quit even if the rejections come in. 

That's what I did and I am writing my fifth book with an interested literary agent wanting to see it when I'm finished.  

Because that's how God works!  He is that kind of Savior. 

He is involved in even the smallest aspects of our lives. He gave you your story and your talent. Use it to glorify Him and you'll never go wrong. 

I am sending the first $1,000 in book sales from The Dragon Forest to a missionary in India working with the locals to set up sewing centers that help families earn money. The Gospel message is preached in those centers daily. God is using my little book to further His message of hope to the world. 

God gave me my I am giving back to Him. 

You know, just when I thought my week was going to be awful...I see my book in the hands of a child. The book edges are bent and tattered because many students have read it. A most beautiful sight to any author!

I was wrong again. 

God is good. 

God is kind. 

He's that kind of a Savior.

Keep writing! Keep advancing confidently toward your dream...endeavor to live that life you've imagined...and never quit dreaming. 

Your turn:  What does the Thoreau quote mean to you? How has God revealed Himself to you this week?