Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I woke up early this morning thinking about life and death. Seems like I've been thinking a lot more about death lately than life. Maybe it's because we've heard so much about death in the past week: Ed, Farrah, Michael, four teenagers, a man and his three sons and many more. Or maybe it is because every day I'm nearer to finding out what it's all about than the day before.

When my mother was in her eighties, not in good health and living in a nursing home, we talked about death. I asked her if she was afraid to die and she said she wasn't, but that she didn't want to leave us. I get that now. I don't want to leave the people I love for many reasons. Is one reason because I don't think they can get along without me? Could it be my mother felt the same way? Or is it because it's just so hard to let go?

The other side of the coin is losing someone I love. I've lost many in my lifetime and none have been easy, but I've survived. When my time comes, my loved ones will survive, too. As hard as it is at the time, life goes on.

While lying in bed this morning I pictured all the people in the world heading toward a precipice, falling over into the blackness. The older ones should be in front but many times they are overtaken by children and young men and women much too young to die in their prime. I don't like thinking of death that way. Since it was all in my imagination anyway, I changed the picture. Instead of a dark forbidden precipice I saw a golden mist. As the people moved toward it the light from the mist shown on their upturned expectant faces. They moved into the cloud leaving behind pain, fear and you put your own words in here.

I like that picture better. Maybe that's why old age is called Golden--because the glow from that cloud is shining on our faces and Someone is waiting to welcome them home.

Knowing that people I've loved are living in that golden land gives me peace.

When it's my time to go there, I pray those who love me will have that same peace.

(Big sigh!) I'm glad I got that off my mind. Today is all about life and living it. In fact, my word for 2009 is "Live in the Moment." Living in the golden glow works, too.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Protecting the Ones We Love

Whew! This has been a long, busy week and I haven't written one word on Plugged Nickel or the new western. I have two short story contests I'm looking at but no short stories have come to mind. What has come to mind is this. . .

I read two blogs this week that impacted me. I found one from Crazeemommy's blog and was moved to tears. It was written by a mother who lost her two year old daughter last September in a tragic home accident--strangled by curtain cords. The mother writes about her loss and how she sees her daughter everywhere--in her other children, in children at the park or grocery store. Heartbreaking.

The other blog was Crazeemommy's. She had let her daughter go to another child's home and that mother had allowed the girls to go to a public swimming pool with an 18year old. Crazeemommy's concern was whether she was paranoid or protective as far as her kids are concerned.

From experience I can tell you a mother's worst fear is that of losing a child, particularly a young child we feel totally responsible for. When my girls were young, we didn't have the stories of child predators kidnapping them off the street. I admit I allowed by girls to play outside with other kids, ride their bikes far and wide and go to houses where I didn't know the parents as well as I should have. Too often I took their word that the parents were all right. Later I found out some of the parents were alcholics and absent when the girls were there. This happened more when they were older. Still, sometimes I don't think I was as protective as I should have been. At times I was more concerned with my own life than theirs, and I will always regret that. But I'm thankful nothing tragic happened to them either.

I had a school meeting one afternoon and didn't get home until after five o'clock. My girls knew I had it so they weren't surprised when I wasn't home when they got off the school bus right at our front door. When I got home I found the front door open, the house empty and my oldest daughter's bike in the front yard. My first emotion was a little bit of anger that they had gone off and left the house open, then a bit of fear worked its way in. Fortunately the phone rang at that point and I found out my youngest had been hit by a car on her bike. My oldest daughter had ridden home on her bike to call me at school. The office phone didn't ring in the room where we had our meeting and no one was in the office. She called her dad then she ran the several blocks back to where the accident happened. By the time I got the call all three of them were on their way home from the emergency room. Fear. Guilt. Gratefulness. I felt all those things. What could I have done differently? Nothing that time and thank God Sherri was all right. Also, thank God for cell phones today!

When Crazeemommy wonders if she's being paranoid, I say she isn't. If we don't protect our children, who will? It won't hurt them to miss a party or a play date if we don't "feel right" about it. God put that "knowing" into all mothers. Sherri told me that every time I told her I didn't want her doing something (when she was a teen ager) because it didn't feel right, and she did it anyway, something bad always came out of it. Now she's a mother and she knows all about that. Her son is a teen and he thinks she's paranoid when she won't let him go places with his friends unchaperoned and late at night. She isn't. She's being protective.

As mother's we have nothing to apologize for when we protect our kids. This doesn't mean we excuse bad behavior as many parents do. It just means we love our kids enough to care.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Place for Weary Travelers

Our casita has welcomed so many people, but lately it seems we've been overwhelmed by guests. The room has been empty very few days since the first of the year. Our preacher stayed out there and commuted periodically from here to where he was moving from for two months. A few times his wife came with him for the week end. One week end we had all three of his children, too.

A couple of weeks ago we had three girls traveling through with a singing group. A friend coming through and going out to California to sell his movie film stayed one night and most of the next morning.

One of Reid's sons and his family (4) were here for a Fetish dance competition in February. The son and two children will be here in July on their way to a camp in the south. They'll stay a night or two then will come back through and stay another night on their way home.

Thursday we have a lady coming to stay two nights. She'll be here for a church meeting.

This morning a couple left who stayed two nights with us. They'd been out to Washington D.C. and all points between there and here and are on their way home to Washington state.

Cleaning and washing linens and putting them back on the bed(s) is a chore. Sometimes I get weary dealing with it, but as someone told us, "Look at all the people you are blessing."

Maybe he's right. Maybe we have this house with that casita just for weary travelers. Jesus said if we've taken someone in (or words to that effect), we've done it to Him.

Neither of us slept much last night and are bone-tired today--and probably headed for an afternoon nap. But when the couple thanked us for letting them stay here, the man said, "This has been the highlight of our trip."

That blew me away. Words like that make it worthwhile. Even if we don't hear those words, I'd say it's worthwhile anyway.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm Not the Only One

I'm not the only one.

A friend of mine (a good Christian friend, I might add) read yesterday's blog and sent an email. I'm quoting her. However names are withheld to protect the guilty.

"Many years ago we were out on one of our Airstream trips. We were somewhere on the west coast and I'm thinking it might have been the San Francisco area. It was late in the day and my husband was maneuvering a station wagon full of four boys and pulling the trailer through heavy traffic in a retail store area when another family station wagon dad laid on his horn because we hesitated a moment so I could give my husband directions. The dad pulled up next to us and rolled down his window to give us a piece of his mind. Exasperated, I put my thumbs in my ears and wiggled my fingers at him and stuck out my tongue. The look on his face was priceless. His eyes widened, and probably figuring he was dealing with a maniac, he just drove on by. Later I couldn't believe I had done that but it solved the immediate harassment and we were able to continue on our way to find a place to park the trailer and feed four hungry kids. It was the first and last time I've ever done that."

Don't you love it when something like this comes out of you? Or are my friend and I the only ones?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened. . .

I go from one extreme to the other. One day I'm really in the Spirit and the next--well, you'll see what I mean.

We went to the grocery store yesterday. I noticed a little woman driving one of the motorized grocery carts around the store, but didn't give it much thought. When we checked out and went to our car, Reid put the car into Reverse and looked in his mirrors. He said, "Do you see that little woman in the cart? I saw her in the side mirror but lost her."

I looked to my right and saw that she was parked on the other side of a car next to us. I told Reid she was clear.

He noticed a family with several little kids running behind us so he waited. Then he started backing out. Suddenly we heard a thump from the back of our car. He stopped and pulled forward. I looked to my right and the little motor woman was standing with another lady and both of them looked angry. I rolled down my window and the motor woman pointed her finger at us and screamed. (Yes, she screamed.) "That man doesn't need to be driving a car. He almost backed into me and her (pointing to the other woman standing near her.)

Well, it was all so ridiculous to me that I could only think of one thing to say.
"Oh, shut up." I rolled up my window. She responded and told me where to go and it wasn't to heaven.

Even today I can't think of a good Christian response. Maybe the Christian bone in my body isn't as big as I think it is.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Eyes Are On You

I am what was once called "charismatic." I don't know what they call it today or if it is called anything. Jesus found me in 1971. I didn't know I'd been looking for Him when He found me.

I've always gone to church and was a member of an independent Christian faith at the time, but I was sinking. My theme song was "Master the Tempest is Raging." The chorus is what struck a cord in my heart. "Peace Be Still." I longed for that peace.

Many nights, instead of sleeping, I spent on my knees crying out to God for His Peace. When He brought it, it was only in my heart and not in the hearts of a family member or most of my friends. If I'd been Amish, they would have called it shunning. In the church we attended, afraid of being infected they kicked me out.

Over the years I've had some wonderful times of worshiping and praising God. Often I sing a song that I can't even remember after those times pass. One prayer song that has stuck with me, and came to me this morning as I prayed for God to guide my day, is this one.

My eyes are on You, Lord, my eyes are on You.
My eyes are on You, Lord, my eyes are on You.
You lead me, You guide me, You stay right beside me.
My eyes are on You, Lord. My eyes stay on You.

His eyes are always on us. Lord, help us keep our eyes on You.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Use Me

I don't think I'm alone in living far below what God wants for me. Most of the time, instead of living in the Kingdom of God, I'm just talking about it.

Our casita was used once again last night with an old friend traveling through town. Since we had a guest out there for several weeks who just left us about a month ago, and three girls traveling with a Christian singing group last Saturday night, my first impulse was to complain about how much work it is to do the laundry and cleaning in order to restore the room to its pristine condition.

That room isn't ours. As with all we have, the room belongs to God. Why can't I remember that? He brings people to us. He brings us the blessings of being able to show hospitality to those people. And I complain?

I know the reason. Selfishness. I hate to admit it, but I know it is true. Our last guest last night stayed and visited for several hours this morning, and my heart opened to God. This person has always had that affect on me. Many years ago he, his wife and I would talk for hours leaving me reaching higher for the Kingdom. This morning I heard him say he had to give everything up in order to obtain where he is now.

Give up everything? That doesn't mean actually doing without it. It means letting go of everything that hides me, shields me, gives me comfort, builds me up.

When I was in junior high and high school, our church sang a song almost every Sunday after communion. I was far from spiritual in those days but as we sang that song, it became my prayer--and still is.

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.
Make me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

I know He is still at work on me. My prayer is that I'll allow Him to complete it.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Family problems are the worst ever. If we have relationships with friends that don't go smoothly, we can walk away. But when it's family... How do you walk away from them?

I've found that the only way I can cope is through prayer. If what is feared happens, I know God has the strength I'll need to get through it, and I pray the family member it happens to has the strength to go to Him, too.

What really bothers me is how I cope today. I know I've shut off part of my feelings. It happened the first time when I was 16 and had my heart broken by a boyfriend. I consciously thought, "I'll never let anyone hurt me like that again."
I didn't until I was in my forties. It took me a little longer after that episode to shut down. And I haven't opened myself up again.

This works for me except for one big thing. By shutting self off from feeling deep emotions, a person (me?) shuts self off from accepting deep emotions from others.

It's safer that way, isn't it? No more hurting.

But is it the way God would like a person to cope?

If it isn't, then what?

Friday, June 5, 2009


Strange how rejection affects a person. I think I'm ready for it, but when it comes, it knocks me back.

I've sent submissions and queries to several publishers/agents. I received one from Avalon Books yesterday. The letter was personal, not a form letter they send to everybody. Signed by the editors, they thanked me for allowing them to consider my story, Copper Penny, for publication. They told me they found several scenes either too intense or violent for their press because they only publish family-friendly press.

Not a word about how bad the book is or anything like that, just that it doesn't meet their publishing guidelines. And that's all good. I missed the mark when I sent my book to them since they don't publish this kind of story.

But I've thought about why this rejection bothered me and think this may be the reason. This book is "my baby, my child." The plot is about a woman who has been held prisoner for ten years and finds the opportunity and courage to escape her captor. The protagonist who shares the spotlight with her is a police detective. Violent and intense? Intense maybe but the violent term stings.

Calling my baby names? Although I might see my child's failings, hearing about them from someone else doesn't feel good.

I don't think the book is really too intense and violent for most publishers. But we'll see. If I had to rewrite it and make it any less, the story would disappear. That's hard to imagine after spending two years putting it together.

This is all about rejection anyway. I've had it before and it never feels good. Do we always want everything we do to be lauded and praised? Maybe I do. That will never happen so I may as well get over it!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Melting in His Love

God's love simply melts me.

Last Saturday evening we spent a glorious zoo symphony evening with friends (and about 5000 other people.) We saw and heard the lions roar all evening, the pea hens singing in the trees and were raptured by Gershwin music.

For the first time in a long time I was glad to be in church. Some weeks it's just "business as usual" but yesterday was Amazing Grace, Because He Loved Me So and I Know I Am Loved By The King and It Makes My Heart Want to Sing. As I looked around the assembly at the people we know and some we don't, I felt I was sitting in the midst of love.

Our zoo friends and another couple along with his mother, wanted to take us to lunch on our anniversary. The seven of us were seated on CPK's patio where we were able to watch children running through the water event they have at ABQ Uptown. Streams of water shoot up at various times and the kids love it. One little boy was precious as he got closer and closer, screaming all the way, until he was as drenched as his two older brothers. We talked and laughed and my heart was filled with love for the relationships God has placed in our lives.

Still under "the influence" today, I drove to the chiropractor. As happens too often, I lost my sense of direction and turned the wrong way. I haven't driven much in Albuquerque so it's always just guess and be golly when I get out in my car. Feeling a little discouraged because it happens so often, I did something I don't think I've ever done before. I don't know if the Holy Spirit prompted me or how God did it, but I had a really fine God Moment right then.

I turned the car around and sighed, "God, talk to me." I turned on Sirius radio and punched the Elvis channel. Out of the speakers I heard God's voice singing through Elvis.

"For you are beautiful and I have loved you dearly, more dearly than the spoken word can tell."

My heart melted.