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Sunday, July 28, 2013


Is anyone out there as caught up in TNT's series "The Hero," hosted by the Rock, as I am?

I watch a lot of TNT, since they broadcast drama 24/7, and I enjoy all their programming with the exception of "Franklin and Bash."

The first few minutes of Hero didn't impress me. People doing scary stunts gets old pretty quick. Besides, a hero is more than brute muscle strength.

And then . . . and then . . . middle-aged mom Patty walked up open stairs on top of a 70-story building in spite of her fear of heights. With each step, she chanted, "I will not fail."
I fell in love with her before she refused Rock's bribe. Since then she has walked through tear gas and crossed a tight rope 500 feet off the ground--all to make things better for someone else.

The show tests the contestants' physical strength and mental acuity, but the true tests measure other qualities. Courage, honesty, integrity, team work, self-sacrifice. This week, cop Charlie (who was the best of the men, IMO) quit, saying he found his answer: he is a hero and doesn't need the title to claim it. Thus both clinching the title for himself at the same he eliminated himself from competition. Self-sacrifice. He and Pat have shown it, in spades.

When asked to name my childhood heroes, two names spring to my mind: Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, Jr. I admire Eleanor Roosevelt for embodying the characteristics of the Democratic Party I joined: helping the poor, fighting discrimination, exemplifying all a woman could be. I admire her bravery in the face of trials, her husband's health, the demands of his job, his mistress.

And Martin Luther King? Physical bravery in leading a dangerous fight against discrimination. For fighting for the right with peace and love. For inspiring others to do the same.

People say my persistence in writing in spite of my physical challenges inspire them. Perhaps--I feel strange even saying this--perhaps I am a hero in some small way to people around me. A very human hero with feet of clay.

This week I received results of a blood test which suggested I probably have rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis I already knew, but not what kind. As strange as it may sound, learning that it's a blood disease and not due to my poor physical shape and weight (although I'm sure that makes it worse) lightens the burden of illness from me.

Whatever our definition of "hero" is, Pat demonstrates my definition of courage. Courage (and faith) isn't the absence of fear. It's acting in spite of fear.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Lately I've been thinking about what I want to leave behind. There is a plaque on the dining wall that says, "A hundred years from now, it won't matter what car you drove or where you lived, but the difference you made in other's lives."

I will have very few things to leave behind. As part of the move to a nursing home, I've had to get rid of 90% of my things. I have certain things that I desperately want to keep. My son prizes other things.

The nibble I wrote for today (@ if you're interested) dwelt on this verse from Psalm 30: When I'm "dust to dust," my songs and stories of you won't sell. (Psalm 30:12, MSG) Again--what legacy will I leave behind in books?

Then there's family. A very small family, but with my precious grandbabies, God has renewed my life--my line--the essence of "me" will live on. Perhaps I will live to see greatgrandchildren, as Mom did (Isaiah being God's gift when Mom died, as Jordan was when Jolene died.) I love the children, but I also thank God for affirming my life through theirs.

I rejoice that my son is a solid, committed believe in his Messiah-Savior, and committed to the Word of God. He practices his faith and seeks to instill the truth in his children. He is a good husband and father, a hard worker, fiscally responsible--a driven oldest child, perhaps, but a good man. I am proud of my son and thankful that he turned out so well in spite of my many parenting faults.

Things, now. The one thing I collected to tell the story of my family is Christmas ornaments. A golden ski boot from the Salt Lake City Olympics. A paisley-colored partridge that I bought in Boothbay Harbor when my children visited the grandmother in Maine the last time. A blue delft disc from a trip to the Dutch Festival in Denver. Thing 1 and Thing 2, celebrating my childhood memories of Dr. Seuss. Santa with a soccer ball to remember the children's love of the game. And many more.

The only problem? Jaran doesn't celebrate Christmas. But I want to catalog the ornaments, tell their story, and hand them on to my grandchildren. They may follow in Jaran's footsteps--or they may choose a different path, as Jaran did. I want the choice available to them.

Beyond that, I want the cross-stich that I spent hours creating, the books I've written. And that takes all the space I have available, and I little bit more.

Ah, finally, my books. I don't expect my books to still be selling fifty years from now. I once developed out-of-reach goals for my writing:

  • To write a New York Times best seller, that represented a book that "crossed over" from Christian fiction to mainstream. That dream is as unlikely now as it was when I put it into words.
  • To mentor hundreds of writers. I have come to realize that I don't have the time to mentor fledgling writers individually. But I have the potential to train writers as my opportunities to teach online have increased. Most recently, ACFW invited me to return next year to teach another course. Next March, I will be presenting my workshop on "Fearless Research" to the all those interested in the hundreds of ACFW members.
  • To make enough money to leave something for my family. At the moment, I can't afford to make too much money, or else my aid will stop. But there is a possibility of royalties, etc., so it's not entirely impossible.
  • To write 100 books. Well, after ten years in print, I (will)have 31 books.Even if I keep at the same pace for twenty years, I won't reach 100 books. And in 20 years time, I will be knocking the door on 80 years of age. I can barely imagine writing at that age at all, let alone three books a year. But . . . that one is on the edge of possible. I won't knock it down, quite yet.

The thought of the people my books reach staggers me. Thousands of people have read something I have written. Dozens of people read My Daily Nibble every day. Somewhere, somehow, God uses me to plant seeds in the lives of others.

Family. Ministry. The Future.

God willing, it's all in place.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


It's July. Almost mid-summer. (It tickles me that my birthday comes right about mid-summer, on August 3rd). My room is just as cold as it was a year ago; aides come in, delighted to stand beneath the air vent (the coldest spot in the building, I've been told)while I freeze.

Tornado season in Oklahoma. We've been holed up in the dining room three times while tornados stormed down our path. Didn't hit here, thank God. But my son lives in Moore, which was devastated. His house and his family were unharmed, but the images have stamped themselves on my granddaughter's memory. Talk about trauma.

Speaking of Jordan, she starts public school preschool next month. My darling girl! All sunshine and giggles, with shiny pink cheeks, long, curly, dark brown hair, almost black eyes, tall like her daddy. I got to see her last Sunday, and she always finds a way to play with me, even when I'm in bed.

Jordan was born in a time of grief, renewed life in our loss of my daughter. I spent days taking care of her that first summer. I regret that I don't know my grandson nearly as well. He knows me, but there is not the ease and joy as with Jordan. Of course it may also be his personality as well. :) I love watching the two of them play. So glad they have each other (21 months apart). Or maybe it's the fact that Jordan makes at least the sixth generation of brunettes in our family (going back to my greatgrandmother, Sarah Eady Anderson.)I'm not that superficial.

Since I turned in my last manuscript on June 1st, I have made very slow progress on my next book, making it to about 30K total on two projects. Sigh. I can lay part of the blame on bouts of pain but it's mostly due to too much time spent playing games on the computer.

Oh, yes, so there is summer TV programming. Since TNT runs dramas 24-hours-a-day, it's my default channel. Favorites: Falling Skies, Perception, The Hero (Patty won my heart during the first episode). And how Mary McCormack has taken over Major Crimes and made it her own! Looking forward to the return of Face Off and Project Runway. . .

So. . .there's my boring, every day life. Hours interspersed with leg cramps and pain. Increased activity--walking, wheeling my chair, moving my arms beyond the keyboard. It was either that or a brag on how God recently told me (when I wanted someone to tell me my devotional about imminence vs. transcendence made sense and not too academic) "shut up already and just do it. I gave you the gift of teaching, stop doubting it."

Like I have learned (mostly) not to doubt my fiction writing. . .the process works. I start out with something boring and slow. It ends up being light and entertaining, even if I do have to cut 10-12% of every manuscript.

With a wave of the red, white, and blue, and a wish for a sunny birthday, I will bid you adieu.

BOOK GIVEAWAY RESUMES: I still have books available for 10-20 more people and possibly more. Please leave a comment here with your email address, and I'd love to hear which of my books you've read/enjoyed the most. You are most likely to receive either Hidden Dreams, Pride's Fall, or It Is Well With My Soul.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


You have o love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.--Erma Bombeck

Three days late, but that's okay. Watching Independence Day made me feel patriotic all over again. (Holidays at the nursing home are usually ignored or celebrated early. The actual day is pretty awful, from low staff to yucky food.)

Erma Bombeck's words rank at the top of my favorite quotes about our Independence Day. So I thought I would share a few of my favorite memories.

1985--We traveled to New Jersey and back on a week-long trip. "We"--my husband and our two children. On the 4th, we stood across the river from the Statue of Liberty. A highlight of a memorable trip. We also touched the Liberty Bell as we stopped in Philadelphia along the way.

1992--the year I discovered country music. We went to see a day long country music concert and picnic.

1993 or so--Jaran, Jolene and I spent the day at Six Flags/Elitch Gardens. From there we went to a professional soccer game--the only one I ever attended. Another unique day.

1996 and following: The spate of Will Smith blockbusters: Independence Day, Men in Black, and the less memorable Wild Wild West. Reviews I had read of Smith earlier all said "surprising good turn by Will Smith." After those movies, Smith became a superstar.

1999-2003. We lived on the third story of a condo. We watched fireworks all over Denver from our balcony.

2003-2008. Watching Memorial Day and 4th of July concerts on TV with Mom.

Not to mention fireworks . . .

Ah, the 4th of July.

A couple of my books feature July 4th events: Beacon of Love and Lone Star Trail.

July 1st saw the release of my first nonfiction book and my 5th book this year, It Is Well with My Soul. The book includes scripture, prayer, devotionals and quotes based on the lyrics of the beloved hymn. I don't have my copies yet, so I'm holding off on doing a giveaway.

The 200 book giveaway is done. Stay in touch to learn about upcoming giveaways.