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, July 10, 2017

The Best Medicine?


A cheerful heart is good medicine.”
–Proverbs 17:22 NIV

I read if we would laugh 100 times a day our health would be much improved. Smiling takes fewer muscles than frowning. And consistent frowning does crease and wrinkle the face!

The article I read explained that laughing released chemicals within us that contributed to better overall health. The writer wondered, though, if we could find 100 things a day to be amused about.

We need things every day to laugh about. Or at least things that make us smile.

That’s probably why old movies can be continually rerun on television with such great success. Why are they so universally popular? Could the reason be because most of them have happy endings or, at least, because good usually wins out over bad?


Why do we continue to enjoy old reruns of "The Andy
Griffith Show"? Probably for the same reasons. Most always Andy works everything around all the tangles so that each episode ends on a happy note.

When’s the last time you had a good laugh? A real good, robust belly laugh that tumbles up from within?

Maybe the article I mentioned could motivate us to offset too much seriousness with laughter. Old movies, "The Andy Griffith Show," and being around laughter could be glimmers of hope that all is not beyond repair.

Laughter might help to keep us forever hopeful in a cynical world. Might even help to make us healthier in the long run. It’s worth a try. What have we got to lose except a few unwanted wrinkles?

Maybe we could all start trying to find 100 times a day we could laugh—or at least smile. So what if you only find 20 times a day; or 10; or 1? That’s better than none, don’t you think? We might discover that laughter is the best medicine after all.


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.


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


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, June 26, 2017

Staying Within the Lines


"Obstacles are those frightful things you see
when you take your eyes off your goal."
—Henry Ford

All our lives we’re taught and encouraged to stay within the lines. Many times we’re rewarded for doing so and punished for not obeying the restrictions.

Have you ever watched children mark off boundary lines in the grass, establishing a playing field? 

Children pick out home base in games of Hide and Seek and determine the area for hiding. Then there’s the invisible line between yard and street which parents teach children not to cross.

As little children we not only learn to color inside the lines and how to cut out paper doll clothes along the lines. From hop scotch to marbles, we stay between the lines. Lines seem to govern all our childhood games.

Then, as adults we park our cars between the lines, we drive on our side of the line, we stand behind the line at the post office until it’s our turn. We get in the correct line at the grocery story if we have ten or less items. We have mental lines in personal relationships we know not to push past.

Law enforcement officers monitor road lines; referees monitor game lines; and our conscience monitors lines in the game of life.

In spite of all the restrictions, there’s one line we’re encouraged to cross—the finish line.

I hope we’ll reach for our goals like “The Little Engine That Could.” Even in the face of what looked like an impossible task, the little train engine pulled with all his might. He kept telling himself, “I think I can,” until he’d get over the next hill and the next, until he reached his destination.

But in order to reach his goal, the little engine worked within his boundaries: He kept his wheels on the railroad tracks where he could best do his job. He kept his goal in sight, motivated to finish his task. He succeeded without looking for shortcuts.

May we all work and play within designated boundaries, finding success when we cross our own finish lines and reach our goals.

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, 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.