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, November 13, 2017

Thankful For What Didn't Happen

"Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining -- it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn't solve any problems."
--Zig Ziglar

I guess most people pause however briefly, and try to be thankful for their blessings around this time of year. Usually we include things we take for granted all year. But, have we ever stopped to be thankful for things that we don’t have; for things that didn’t happen?

I’m grateful that our community wasn’t devastated by a fierce tornado or hurricane this year. I’m glad no trees fell across the roof or through a window, and no power lines lay tangled in the yard.

I’m thankful that El Nino hasn’t yet lashed across our state with abnormal weather: raging fires that consume everything in their path; rolling waters that climb across shoelines, flooding homes and businesses; blizzard conditions that blanket a town and halt all activity. 

I’m glad my community didn’t have an outbreak of dreaded infection or contagious disease. I’m grateful that malnutrition and hunger didn’t bring pain to children’s faces in my community.

I’m thankful I didn’t spend time the past year as a hospital patient. I’m thankful I wasn’t in an accident that left me injured, with a long recovery time.


At the same I’m being thankful for having missed some bad events of the past year, I’m also thankful for the good things.

I’m thankful for the privileges I have because I live in America and for the responsibilities those privileges bring to me. I’m grateful for teachers, from pre-school through college, who teach because they love the student and want to help the student discover learning.

I’m thankful for my town’s police department and fire department that provide for the safety and well-being of our citizens. I’m grateful for every health care worker and medical professional in my area who remains dedicated to the health and welfare of their patients.

I’m thankful for all things electronic. They make my life easier and more interesting even though I can’t understand them.

I’m grateful for neighbors who care. I’m thankful for books to read, sunsets to enjoy, and grandchildren to love.

Most of all, as I count my blessings on Thanksgiving Day, I’m glad I have Someone to thank. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4).


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 – Betty’s Blessing, a novella, book #2 in the California Bound series. (Book #1 in the series is Donna’s Detour.) Here is the cover, and you can read more about the book and the first chapter here


Monday, October 30, 2017

False Faces


Please allow me to repeat this post from 2015


False Faces


"A grandmother pretends she doesn't know
who you are on Halloween."
--Erma Bombeck



When I was a youngster enjoying the treats of Halloween, most of our costumes were home-made. We didn’t have the difficult decision as to which store-bought gear we would dress up in on Halloween night. Supplies for costumes were scarce and, so, creativity suffered. Some were fortunate enough to have a spare sheet in the house which led to several ghosts floating around the neighborhood every year. 

But most of us would bundle up against the cold of a Tennessee October evening wearing our own clothes. In the tradition of the holiday, however, we felt it necessary to hide our faces. Thinking that the person who answered our knock at the door couldn’t tell who we were added to the excitement.

The extent of my Halloween costumes usually was just a covering for my face. In my childhood we called these “false faces.” What a highlight it was to go to the drugstore and select a false face for Halloween.

I wonder if grown-ups ever wear false faces. Surely not. Surely we see everyone as they honestly are, never any imitations. Do I ever deal with a false face instead of the real person before me?

Trustworthiness can only thrive in the absence of deception. There can be no honor in one’s word if there is dishonesty in that word.

From individuals to bureaucracies, integrity can pave the way toward principled morality. And if all relationships are bathed in such a freedom from deceit, honest dealings could result. Wouldn’t it be great to replace all fraud with uprightness? To swap suspicions for trust?

Let’s leave the costumes and face covering for the children to enjoy. Deception by adults only brings the need to deceive again and again to maintain the false face. It’s simpler to live in accord with what is right.

Let’s get out from behind those false faces! Let’s discard the adult false faces and walk in honesty with all persons.

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 – Betty’s Blessing, a novella, book #2 in the California Bound series. (Book #1 in the series is Donna’s Detour.) Here is the cover, and you can read more about the book and the first chapter here




Monday, October 16, 2017

Is America Civilized?



"Always do right. This will gratify some people
and astonish the rest."
—Mark Twain

A Nevada parole board recently decided O.J. Simpson should be freed after the former NFL star apologized for his role in a 2007 armed robbery, said he'd been a model prisoner, and promised that he'd have no conflicts if released.

Back in the 1990s when Simpson was tried in a court of law and found not guilty for the murder of his wife, his trial seemed to be on TV continually. At that time I heard someone say, “How could he do such a brutal thing to the mother of his children?” My question remains now as it did then, “How could anybody do such a brutal thing to another person?”

Simpson’s trial in the 1990s highlighted America’s crime problems. But The People vs. Simpson trial only previewed the depth of our country’s daily carnage. It’s not The People vs. Anybody. It’s people vs. people.


The frequency of crime we’re seeing is a people-to-people thing: the kidnapping of a girl asleep with friends in her own bedroom; the killing of parents by their children; the drive-by shooting of innocent children walking in their neighborhoods.

There seems to be no feeling, no guilt, no conscience. Any justification to commit violence, even the taking of a life, seems to be all that’s needed to gain sympathy for the criminal.

History books describe America as a civilization. But do we behave civilized? Don’t civilized people show respect for one another? Aren’t civilized people courteous and polite? Doesn’t civilized society succeed for the common good?

Our country’s every-increasing crime rate dictates that we return to whatever worked better decades ago. Why don’t we try a return to traditional family values and respect for others? Why can’t we admit there really is a right and wrong? Why not practice more individual responsibility, moral integrity, brotherly love, and love for God?

May each of us do our part so our children and grandchildren will grow older in a more peaceful and loving world.

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 – Betty’s Blessing, a novella, book #2 in the California Bound series. (Book #1 in the series is Donna’s Detour.) Here is the cover, and you can read more about the book and the first chapter here

Monday, October 2, 2017

Do You Know a PC?


What do the letters PC bring to mind? Personal computer? Or, maybe, politically correct?

Even though today’s technological terms flit through my mind when I hear PC, I can’t completely forget what those letters stood for a few decades ago: Privileged Character.

When we’d see a vehicle parked illegally, for the convenience of the driver, someone would inevitably say, “That car must belong to a PC.” This was uttered insincerely and uncomplimentary. Back then, unless you thought of yourself as arrogant and above others’ opinions, PC was not a title you worked hard to earn.

Do you know anybody you’d like to label a PC—a Privileged Character?

How about those people who park illegally in the handicapped parking spaces? Of course it’s aggravating to spot a parking place up close, only to get there and see the blue markings reserving the space for those who need it. But that’s one of the boundaries of life we happily adjust to.

And how about those people sitting in your numbered seat when you arrive a little late to an event? A Privileged Character? How dare they poach on your territory! You either have to risk a confrontation if the person insists on staying put, or hunt up an usher for assistance.


And how about those folks who park along the curb on a rainy day in front of the grocery store? I mean PARK—turn off the motor, get out, and go inside, leaving their car in the fire lane area. It’s almost impossible then to find empty curb space when it’s necessary to let anyone out of the car or pick them up. Those parked cars must belong to a PC—Privileged Character.

Nowadays, if I must think “personal computer” when I see PC, I don’t have to think for long because my computer knowledge is sadly lacking.

But the best politically correct label I’ve seen yet appeared in a “Family Circus” cartoon: The four children are watching TV when their mother brings a big bowl of popcorn into the room for them. The oldest child looks up and exclaims, “Oh, boy! MOMCORN!”

Aren’t word games fun?!

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 – Betty’s Blessing, a novella, book #2 in the California Bound series. (Book #1 in the series is Donna’s Detour.) Here is the cover, and you can read more about the book and the first chapter here


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?

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, 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?

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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. 

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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.