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, September 18, 2017

Remote Control


Television is the most perfect democracy. You sit there with your remote control and vote.
Aaron Brown

Some years ago, I read a futuristic story (true or not?) about a buried, frozen society from the past. Explorers found the body of a man preserved in a sitting position with legs outstretched and both arms bent at the elbows in right angles. He faced straight ahead as if he had been in a trance when his life ended.

The fingers of his right hand were wrapped around a flat, rectangular object. The explorers couldn’t identify the hand-held object. Finally they decided it had been a form of life-sustaining equipment that the man never parted with.

The story drew no conclusions for the reader. But it’s obvious this body was that of an American of the 1990s, watching TV from a recliner. The object gripped in the right hand? A remote control, of course.


In a typical day, how many times does a remote control make your life a little easier? The TV comes to mind first. A misplaced TV remote control brings instant frustration. We fuss and fume, looking high and low for the remote. In our search, we use more time and effort than it would take to walk to the TV set, turn it on, and sit in our favorite chair.

Of course, remote control can also dictate movement of garage doors from the comfort of a car. I recall my first experience with a remotely controlled garage door. I’d walked through an opened garage, stood at the kitchen door, and pushed the doorbell.

Except what I thought to be the doorbell, was in fact the control for the garage door. Instantly, the garage door responded, starting its downward journey like a secret trap door. At first, I had no clue why the garage had kidnapped me.

Trying to put two and two together, I timidly pressed the same doorbell again. To my relief, the garage door limbered back up to rest where it had been when I entered the garage. I then knocked on the door, happy when no was home.

What dependence remote controls command! As nice as they are, will we allow remote controls to turn us all into some degree of an inactive couch potato? Have we already done so? Would a futuristic story depict the remote control as our life-support system?

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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, September 4, 2017

Practice for War


"Courage is being scared to death—
and saddling up anyway."
—John Wayne

Along with war bonds, ration coupon books, and the first peacetime military draft, World War II brought dreaded air raid drills. In the early 1940s, air raid sirens pierced calm evenings with instant fear: Could this one be for real?

I’d watched my parents adapt to limitations the war thrust upon them. They bought less sugar, meat, butter, and gasoline, using priceless ration coupons to purchase such scarce items.

At the first note from warning sirens, the required black-out window shades were pulled down and all lights were turned off. We’d sit, unmoving and quiet, the sirens wailing like a singer going up and down on music scale.


The airplanes would rumble through the black sky, flying so low their noise closed the darkness tighter around us. They made crisscrossing passes over our town, their crews searching for telltale fingers of lights that might help potential enemies locate bombing targets.

Satisfied they had surveyed every inch of the area, the drone of the airplanes’ propellers would grow faint as they returned to base. Even after they flew beyond earshot, we endured more agonizing time in the dark, waiting for the all-clear short siren blasts before trying to recapture our evening as it had been.

Those air raid drills produced a claustrophobia that manifested itself when denied light. Even now I remain immobile whenever power outages hurl me into darkness.

But, just as fire tempers steel, living with World War II’s limitations helped to fine-tune character. Experiencing the war’s scares, sacrifices, and interruptions taught us about commitment, sincerity, and honesty—valuable lessons for any generation.

Some think another war looms on the horizon in light of the obvious threats from North Korea’s leader. If so, in this nuclear age we probably wouldn’t have to endure air raid practice drills—there wouldn’t be enough time for that. Obliteration would come rapidly, denying the learning of any life lessons.

P.S. Now you know why I’m uncomfortable in the dark! 

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 when you sign 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, August 21, 2017

Do You Fear the Dark?


And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament…And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night…and God saw that it was good."
--Genesis 1:14, 16 (KJV)

Where or how did you watch the solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017?

I usually don’t assume anything, but I think I’m safe to assume that you did watch the eclipse from some source, if not the actual event. Reports anticipated a record number would witness the eclipse because of our present technology—TV, computer, tablet, cell phone.


This year’s total eclipse hasn’t occurred over our continent for about 99 years, and won’t do so again for about another 100 years. The eclipse occurs when the moon travels between the earth and the sun. It’s a phenomenon involving the two great lights God made as recorded in the Scripture cited above.

Did the total eclipse cause your area to become dark at mid-day?

In my childhood I was afraid of the dark. I remember as a young child how grateful I was for the glow of one small light bulb to dispell the darkness around me. Even now, I’m uncomfortable in total darkness—two table lamps burn in my home 24/7.

From experience I know that even the light from a tiny birthday candle makes a difference in a dark room. Any light makes its most profound effect in total darkness.

I would probably not be comfortable living in Alaska where I hear the nights are much longer than I'm used to. I’ll be content to stay in my present location where total mid-day darkness only occurs about every 100 years. 

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, August 7, 2017

Do You Talk to Yourself?


Most folks are about as happy as they
make up their minds to be."
—Abraham Lincoln

Do you know people who talk to themselves? Do you talk to yourself? What do you talk about? Do you always enjoy talking to yourself? Would you be embarrassed if someone heard you?

A report from a New York City clinical psychologist says people talk to themselves all the time. He says we did it as kinds and we do it as adults.

The unfortunate thing, he says, is that when people talk to themselves, it’s mostly negative talking: “I’ll never finish this on time.” “I can’t make that speech, I’m too shy.” “I’m not good enough to…” Sound familiar?

If we hear something repeated often enough, we might begin to believe it. In that case, we’d do ourselves a favor by surrounding ourselves with positive remarks. Maybe when all the negative talking begins, we’d be better off changing the topic of conversation.

Remember the stage play/movie, South Pacific? In that movie, the tune “Happy Talk” was such a relief. It seemed every character had some kind of problem—sweethearts were separated, the sailors wanted shore leave, etc. Then, in the middle of all the problems, here’s this bubbly islander singing about happy talk making things better.

So, when talking to oneself sounds more like grumbling, maybe a little “happy talk” would help turn things around toward a more positive outlook.
By the way, this psychologist says as long as you know you’re the one talking to yourself, you can be certain you haven’t gone over the edge. I’ve always heard that people who talk to themselves are okay as long as they don’t answer themselves.

I don’t think I talk to myself. At least I don’t remember any recent conversations. Someday I may start talking to myself. I may even answer myself, as well. But here’s hoping that when I do, I’ll find something happy to talk about.

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, July 24, 2017

What's Your Mindset?


Success is getting what you want;
happiness is wanting what you get.”
--Ingrid Bergman, Swedish-born
 actress (1915-1982)


In recent years, I’ve heard our civilization labeled as
the microwave society, meaning that people today want instant gratification. They want no waiting required to fulfill their wishes. 

Regretfully, this mindset puts self above all else.
This is the grown-up version of a child’s temper tantrum: I want this; I want my way; I want it now. Maybe the grown-up version is a quieter event, maybe not. But this mentality always puts self first and foremost.

How did our society develop into a me-first lifestyle? Perhaps because in past decades disciplining children has increasingly become unpopular. One theory I’ve heard over the years is we don’t want to create low self-esteem in a child by unfairly restricting his or her behavior in any way.

But is maintaining boundaries for a child in order to keep the child safe unfairly restricting behavior? Teaching a child to play in his yard instead of in the street is for the good of the child, not to create low self-esteem. This is an elementary example, but all reasonable discipline can be for the child’s advantage and given with love and understanding.

But I digress…I’ll agree that our society has become materialistic—we want things, adult toys, if you will. And the more things we have, we sometimes think the more successful others will perceive us to be. Add to that the attitude that we want our things instantly, and we run a high risk of accumulating a storehouse of things we very soon tire of and then don’t want at all.

The quotation above is spot-on. We’d be better off being happy with what we get, rather than getting many things that with time we no longer are happy to have. All this might boil down to one question—when considering materialism, should we seek success or happiness?

NOTE: If you received this blog post in an email and you'd like to leave a comment, 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, 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.





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.








Monday, March 6, 2017

How Will Your Life Read?


Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever
is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable—if anything is
excellent or praiseworthy—think
about such things.”
--Philippians 4:8, NIV

Do you keep a written account of your days? Used to we called it writing in a diary. Today, people call it journaling when they write their thoughts each day. This practice is as old as history and as new as space travel.

On cave walls, discovered scribblings reveal thoughts from minds of long ago. And among their many tasks, our space travelers keep a daily log of their activities.

By whatever name we use—logbook, diary, journal, calendar, daybook—many folks keep a daily written record of experiences, observations, and feelings. If you already do so, what kind of reading material are you leaving behind?

Recently someone suggested this exercise: each day write down something good about that day. It could be something that happened to you, something you saw around you, some emotion you experienced. But everything you write would have to be pleasing, uplifting.



What a great way that would be to keep our minds fixed on a positive train of thought. Like the Bible verse quoted above. And Proverbs 23:7 reads, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Descartes, the French philosopher and mathematician, spoke the Proverbs verse personally when he said, “I think, therefore I am.”

Clearing our minds of disturbing, disagreeable, and gloomy thoughts would help remove negative aspects from our lifestyle. Maybe we could stop focusing constantly on things with which we disagree or don’t like. A better plan might be to think more often on favorable things, bringing improvement to who we really are.

Beyond the exercise of writing down good things, we could take it a step further. After noticing and writing down these happy moments, we could keep them in mind. We could think about them throughout the day or recall them the next day. Doing so would probably bring several smiles to our face and make us friendlier to look at.

Are you up to the task? Will you find something good in each day? Will you write it down? Will you continue to think about it? Allow positive thoughts to brush away the cobwebs of negative thoughts in your mind. Because, like the philosopher Descartes, you probably are the way you think.

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, February 20, 2017

A Classic by Erma


"Life is like a ten-speed bike.
Most of us have gears we never use."
--Charles M. Schultz, creator of Charlie Brown


I recently found some yellowed newspaper clippings stuffed in a notebook. According to the Editor’s note they were “classic” articles written by Erma Bombeck. Remember her? She was a witty and humorous writer who was nationally known and loved. All the articles I found were excellent, but three of them I want to share with you. Here’s the first one and I’ll share the others at a later date. Here’s Erma:

“I have a friend who lives by a three-word philosophy: ‘Seize the moment.’ Just possibly, she may be the wisest woman on this planet. Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven’t thought about it, don’t have it on their schedule, didn’t know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from the routine.

“I got to thinking one day about all those women on the Titanic who had passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to ‘cut back.’ From then on, I’ve tried to be a little more flexible.


Titanic Grand Staircase

Titanic A La Carte Restaurant
“How many women out there will eat at home because their husband didn’t suggest going out to dinner until after something had [already] been thawed? Does the word ‘refrigeration’ mean nothing to you?

“I cannot count the times I called my sister and said, ‘How about going to lunch in a half hour?’ She would gasp and stammer, ‘I can’t.” Check one: ‘I have clothes on the line.’ ‘My hair is dirty.’ ‘I wish I had known yesterday.’ ‘I had a late breakfast.’ ‘It looks like rain.’ And my personal favorite, ‘It’s Monday.’

“She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together.

“Because Americans cram so much into our lives, we tend to schedule our headaches. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect. We’ll go back and visit the grandparents…when we get Stevie toilet-trained. We’ll entertain…when we replace the living room carpet. We’ll go on a second honeymoon…when we get two more kids out of college.

"Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of ‘I’m going to,’ ‘I plan on’ and ‘Someday, when things are settled down a bit.’

“When anyone calls my ‘seize the moment’ friend, she is open to adventure and available for trips. She keeps an open mind on new ideas. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with her for five minutes, and you’re ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of Rollerblades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord.”

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