Photo by Mallory

Photo by Mallory


Today is another day on our life's journey.

Perhaps here you can find encouragement

for wherever your journeys may take you.

Welcome to my thinking place where you can

read insightful posts.

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Raising Children Like Gardening?


Each day of our lives we make deposits in the
memory banks of our children.”
-Charles R. Swindoll

My green-thumb talents are limited to growing weeds in the springtime. Last fall, longing for some color in my yard to brighten winter days ahead, I bought a flat of pansies. A plastic tag stuck into their dirt promised red blooms from every little sprout.

With the excitement of a first-time gardener, I carefully moved the tiny pansy plants with their clumps of dark earth to prominent places around my home. Some went into flower pots to adorn the deck, some occupied a large planter on the front porch, and a few came to rest in the ground as a border near my back door.


The same sun shone on them all; the rain that fell in the front yard also watered the backyard. Not one plant died! But, while some pansies bloomed a deep, velvety red, others never produced even a hint of color.

Even though I’d given the same kind and amount of care to each tiny plant, some fulfilled my expectations and others did not.

As I reflect on my half-successful flower gardening, I’ve decided that raising children is much like my green-thumb experience: some children will meet the expectations of them, some will not.

Investing care and time in our children reminds me of the farmer in the Bible who sowed seed, some of it producing a good crop, but some of the seed falling where desired growth was difficult.

Children are God’s miraculous gifts. In children He gives us gold mines. Refined ore from gold mines ultimately becomes different things—watches, rings, necklaces—but, in whatever form, these things are still gold. When we tend our child-gold mines, they, too, become different things. But they’re still our children.

I hoped for red pansies in the border near my back door last fall but they never bloomed…oh well, I’ll try my luck with pansies again next fall.

NOTE: If you received this blog post in an email and you'd like to leave a comment or check out something on the sidebar, please click on the title of this post and it will take you to the website where you can do that.




My latest book has released – Unraveled, a novella. Here is the cover, and you can read more about the book here. You can read the first chapter of the book on my website.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Pressure or Influence?


Only I can change my life.
No one can do it for me.”
--Carol Burnett

When you hear the words “peer pressure,” where do your thoughts go? Do you immediately picture young people? Do older persons ever come to mind? Peer pressure is not limited to young people, nor does it necessary have to be bad.

But, why do the words “peer pressure” usually produce bad images? Maybe it would be just as fair to consider good feelings when we use those words. You know, every glass that is half empty is at the same time half full. There are two sides almost everything.

Rather than using peer pressure, better terminology might be peer influence. From the age we’re first able to reason, our peers can and probably will exert influence on our decision-making processes.


Once upon a time, at a state fair, my friends lined up
for tickets to ride the Tilt-A-Whirl. Not to be called “Fraidy Cat,” I climbed into the middle of a three-seater bucket. The attendant slammed a crossbar down in front of us and fastened the safety catch.

Once underway, no amount of begging or screaming could get me off the ride. No sooner had I recovered from one swinging circle to the left, so that I could hold my neck and head upright, than away we would spin in the opposite direction!

My reaction to peer pressure got me on the Tilt-A-Whirl where I learned a quick and everlasting lesson. On a long trip I’ll gladly drive 50 miles out of the way to stay on straight roads with no spinning and curving.

By our reaction to them, we determine how strong peer influences can be on us. We control, too, which peer influences we allow into our lives—good ones or bad ones.

Here’s hoping we’ll sift all peer pressures through a filter of good judgment so the lessons we learn will be beneficial.

NOTE: If you received this blog post in an email and you'd like to leave a comment or check out something on the sidebar, please click on the title of this post and it will take you to the website where you can do that.

You can keep up to date with my writing by signing up for my mailing list. You'll receive a free quarterly e-newsletter and timely announcements about happenings of interest. I have a monthly drawing among those who sign up for my mailing list for the first time, and the winner receives a free eBook copy of their choice of one of my books.

On my website, you can read the first chapters of all my novels and novellas.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Who Is Our Neighbor?


“…you have two hands, one for helping yourself,
the other for helping others.”
Audrey Hepburn

Occasionally, I flip TV channels, hoping to catch a worthwhile movie. Recently, I stumbled across one filmed in 1988 titled “God Bless the Child.” At thirst glance, it appeared depressing, but then it tugged at my consciousness and I was hooked for the remainder of the two hours.

In this movie, an unfortunate chain of events leaves a single mother unemployed, homeless and fearing for her 7-year-old daughter’s future. If this movie can’t instill compassion for the down-and-out who are homeless, then I guess there’s no hope left for human kindness to bloom.

At one point, the mother manages, through a church outreach service, to rent two rooms in a roach-infested complex. When she complains about rats crawling on the bed while her daughter sleeps, the landlord evicts them. He declares he did her a favor by renting to her, but others would be glad to get the place.

We may look away when TV reveals disturbing conditions in Somalia where starving children are dying at the rate of thousands a day. We’re not comfortable when we see hungry children from other countries in TV commercials. But we only have to
look with open eyes and hearts to find similar conditions in our own country.

We hear about the homeless, the poor, the struggling. But if we don’t witness this first-hand, maybe we’re convinced it isn’t real.

In the Bible, Jesus says the second greatest commandment is “Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39). Who is our neighbor? In the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus defines our neighbor as anyone in need.
Stability…Security…Comfort. Easy words to say if we possess them. Distant goals for some who don’t.

I encourage us all to recognize that neighbor we can love, offering help and hope, based on true compassion. After all, that’s how the Good Samaritan did it. Do we need a better example to follow?

NOTE: If you received this blog post in an email and you'd like to leave a comment or check out something on the sidebar, please click on the title of this post and it will take you to the website where you can do that.


You can keep up to date with my writing by signing up for my mailing list. You'll receive a free quarterly e-newsletter and timely announcements about happenings of interest. I have a monthly drawing among those who sign up for my mailing list for the first time, and the winner receives a free eBook copy of their choice of one of my books.

On my website, you can read the first chapters of all my novels and novellas.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Whose Responsibility?



"The price of greatness is responsibility."
Winston Churchill


When I wrote a regular inspirational newspaper column, one of my articles was about birds, specifically about blue jays. After that column, a reader suggested I write about the cowbird.

I didn’t know what a cowbird was—hadn’t even heard of one. My first stop for information was Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary: “cowbird: a small North American blackbird that lays its eggs in nests of other birds.”

Okay, I thought, the cowbird’s a lazy bird; doesn’t go to the trouble of building its own nest. But, I wondered, how does this poacher enforce its squatter’s rights; how does it hold onto the nest for raising its young?


Eastern phoebe nest with one brown-headed cowbird egg
Watch a video of cowbird laying an egg in another's nest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3vAPMUW4CA

It seems cowbirds not only don’t want to build nests, they aren’t much into traditional family lifestyles, either. When the female cowbird lays her one egg, she may damage or remove one or more of the eggs already in the nest. Then she flies off, never to return. Instead of protecting her egg in the borrowed nest, she leaves that job for the nest’s owners.

The cowbird parents probably have no guilt over abandoning their young. After all, they’d left the baby with a caring mother bird. All would be well. Maybe not!

The new foster parents usually don’t realize they’re raising a castaway. But sometimes the other birds do discover the cowbird’s egg. Then they either toss the cowbird egg out of the nest or cover the egg, building a second nest over the old one.

Maybe our lesson from this little bird is that it’s best not to leave our responsibilities up to anybody else. Unlike the cowbird, we humans have a conscience—a feeling of obligation to do right or to be good. So, if we meet our responsibilities head-on and do the best we can, it’ll be easier to look in the mirror each morning. 

NOTE: If you received this blog post in an email and you'd like to leave a comment or check out something on the sidebar, please click on the title of this post and it will take you to the website where you can do that.


You can keep up to date with my writing by signing up for my mailing list. You'll receive a free quarterly e-newsletter and timely announcements about happenings of interest. I have a monthly drawing among those who sign up for my mailing list for the first time, and the winner receives a free eBook copy of their choice of one of my books.

On my website, you can read the first chapters of all my novels and novellas.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Behold His Glory


The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.”
Psalm 19:1, KJV

Did you attend an Easter sunrise service this year? Or, any year? Or, have you ever seen a sunrise? I’d like to share with you a sunrise I watched:

A brand-new Christian at age fifteen, I’d never attended a sunrise church service. Indeed, I’d never seen a sunrise. Sunday School Week at Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center, North Carolina, in the Great Smoky Mountains provided me the opportunity.

Our group of sleepy pilgrims met an hour before the sun’s scheduled appearance. In the predawn haze we hiked a short distance down the road before crossing an open field, leaving an irregular path of footprints on its dew-bathed grass. The group followed our guide as the terrain steepened.

Making our way up the narrow trail, we reached a clearing on the hilltop. After a short devotional, we silently awaited God’s colorful creativity. I’d heard others praise this moment as a unique, transforming adventure. I waited expectantly. I wasn’t disappointed.



God’s paint brush moved with flawless perfection. He streaked the sky with startling pinks and flaming reds to announce the day’s impending arrival. Yellow and orange spilled from His palette and flooded the landscape. The regal fireball peeked above the distant mountain’s outline.

Instantly my worldly concerns vanished, and I experienced genuine renewing of the mind. I keenly felt the Lord’s presence and identified with John: “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory” (John 1:14, KJV).

I witnessed one of God’s great and glorious miracles of renewal that early morning many years ago. Since then I’ve been privileged to enjoy other sunrises from mountains and seashores. But if I’m never blessed with the sight of another one, I won’t feel deprived. The memory of seeing my very first sunrise remains as detailed as if it happened this morning. Recalling that memory draws me closer to God and the knowledge of His omnipresence to sustain me.

NOTE: If you received this blog post in an email and you'd like to leave a comment or check out something on the sidebar, please click on the title of this post and it will take you to the website where you can do that.


You can keep up to date with my writing by signing up for my mailing list. You'll receive a free quarterly e-newsletter and timely announcements about new releases and promotions. I have a monthly drawing among those who sign up for my mailing list for the first time, and the winner receives a free eBook copy of their choice of one of my books.

On my website, you can read the first chapters of all my novels and novellas.





Monday, April 3, 2017

Guard Your Heart


Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.”
Proverbs 4:23 NIV

First impressions count. Usually, we try just a little harder when we know we’ll be around folks who’ve never met us.

Most of us want people to like us, so we’ll do that extra something to ensure making a good first impression. We’ll put on a happy face, maybe run a hand across our hair to replace strays.

However, we can make many first impressions on others without being aware that we do. Have you ever really looked at people in other cars you meet on city streets, or while waiting in traffic? Especially drivers without passengers.

How many look like they’re enjoying the day? What sour expressions decorate some of their faces!

Sure, they’re all alone in their cars, you say, so let them have their privacy. Okay, but we do look at each other. Wouldn’t we rather view a pleasant face than a grouchy one?

Before we become too amused or too critical with our people-watching, have we looked at ourselves in our own rearview mirror? I find room for improvement when I do.

We’re all a walking billboard. What attitudes do we advertise? Impressions we make result from our facial expressions and voice just as much as from the clothes we choose.

All our words, attitudes, smiles, or frowns start in the heart. The Bible teaches that the heart “is the wellspring of life.” Diligence is necessary in the housekeeping of our heart, because what starts from within affects all aspects of our life.

First impressions are lasting and, good or bad, they’re hard to overcome. My daddy used to tell me, “When you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.” Try it. See what usually happens.

NOTE: If you received this blog post in an email and you'd like to leave a comment or check out something on the sidebar, please click on the title of this post and it will take you to the website where you can do that.



My latest book has released - With Good Intentions, a novella. Here is the cover, and you can read more about the book here. You can read the first chapter of the book on my website.









Monday, March 20, 2017

The Last One


Each day of our lives we make deposits
in the memory banks of our children.
–Charles R. Swindoll


Another classic from Erma Bombeck…last one, I promise:

A young mother writes: “I know you’ve written before about the empty nest syndrome—that lonely period after the children are grown and gone. Right now I’m up to my eyeballs in laundry and muddy boots. The baby is teething; the boys are fighting. My husband just called and said to eat without him and I fell off my diet. Lay it on me again, will you?”

OK. One of these days you’ll shout, “Why don’t you kids grow up and act your age!” And they will. Or, “You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do…and don’t slam the door!” And they won’t.

You’ll straighten up the boys’ bedroom neat and tidy—bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and smooth, toys displayed on the shelves. Hangers in the closet. Animals caged. And you’ll say out loud, “Now I want it to stay this way.” And it will.

You’ll say, “I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around. No demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?” And you’ll have it.

No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti. No more bedspreads to protect the sofa from damp bottoms. No more gates to stumble over at the top of the basement steps. No more clothespins under the sofa. No more playpens to arrange a room around.


No more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent. No more sand on the sheets or Popeye movies in the bathrooms. No more iron-on patches; wet, knotted shoe strings, tight boots, or rubber bands for pony tails.

Imagine. A lipstick with a point on it. No baby sitter for New Year’s Eve. Washing only once a week. Seeing a steak that isn’t ground. Having your teeth cleaned with a baby on your lap.

No PTA meetings. No car pools. No blaring radios. No one washing her hair at 11 o’clock at night. Having your own roll of Scotch tape.

Think about it. No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and library paste. No more sloppy oatmeal kisses. No more tooth fairy. No giggles in the dark. No knees to heal, no responsibility.

Only a voice crying, “Why don’t you grow up?” and the silence echoing, “I did.”

NOTE: If you received this blog post in an email and you'd like to leave a comment or check out something on the sidebar, please click on the title of this post and it will take you to the website where you can do that.




My latest book has released - With Good Intentions, a novella. Here is the cover, and you can read more about the book here. You can read the first chapter of the book on my website.