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July 31, 2015 | 0 comments

Sometimes I take a break from reading the newspaper.  I can become very confused and emotional over what I read.   I’ll read one story and then another and another and think:  Isn’t there a connection here?  Or rather -- a disconnect?

The paper reports Cecil the lion has been murdered.  I love animals, all kinds of animals.  I saw lions while we were in South Africa and they are amazing beasts (carnivores, mind you, not helpless kittens).  I was very glad to be in a truck with a guide who had a loaded gun handy.  I’m sorry about that lion; sorry, too, that people want to torture and kill Dr. Palmer.  Zimbabwe officials want him extradited and brought to trial.  How many human beings have died in the years since Robert Mugabe’s regime came into power?  No mention of that backdrop.

 Also in the paper was a news article about a lawsuit over the personhood of chimpanzees.  If a chimp can be a person,...

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July 24, 2015 | 0 comments

A few weeks ago, Rick received an article from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation regarding a stem cell treatment pioneered in Sweden 28 years ago.  It offered hope of recovery of full control of movement in a period of a few years.  The US tried, but abandoned the Swede’s treatment in favor of deep brain stimulation.  But that’s changing now.  Good news. Right?

Members of the Parkinson’s Disease Global Force who met in New York in May to discuss the progress of this stem cell work erupted in applause when it was announced the team’s first patient had just left the operating theatre.  “There’s a real sense within the community that this is a collaborative effort to make cell treatments work, and that there’s real potential to change the lives of hundreds of people worldwide.”  

There is a catch. 

“The transplant depends on fetal cell donations from women terminating pregnancies… It takes cells from at least three fetuses to...

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July 17, 2015 | 0 comments

I know it is part of the American dream to own a home, but sometimes it can be a nightmare.  I’m not just talking about the economy turning homes upside down so they are barely worth the down-payment and not the whopping mortgage.  I’m talking about the little things that can happen, the small surprises:  dry rot, broken pipes, faulty electrical wiring, leaky rooves, dying trees swaying in the wind and ready to fall through your living room. 

My children are learning about these things. 

One recently had to call in a plumber because the toilets weren’t working.   No minor problem, that’s for sure.  Cha-ching!  Another sent pictures of a recent DIY project that created a new opportunity for a professional.  As my son-in-law and grandson traversed the attic to feed wire inside a wall (for cosmetic reasons), my son-in-law slipped and fell through the living room ceiling.  Fortunately, he got caught between two...

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July 10, 2015 | 0 comments

The announcement was made recently that I will be receiving this award at the upcoming conference in Dallas.  When I first received the call from a friend, I didn’t know what to say.  I’m still trying to find the words to express what I’m feeling.  Honored -  yes.  Aware there are others more deserving – absolutely.  Scared – oh, yeah.  

Why?  I can’t quite put my finger on it.  Maybe it has to do with not being finished yet, still being an apprentice, and still very conscious that I have so much to learn – about the craft, about living the Christian life in a fallen world, about everything.

No one achieves anything without help, and I have had lots of help from lots of people over lots of years.  First of all, God gave me the desire to write and the talent to develop.  Rick and I talk about how I was one of the few members in our class (we’ve known one another since grade school) who knew exactly what I wanted to...

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July 3, 2015 | 0 comments

For the past couple of years, our pastor has issued a challenge to read through Proverbs during July.  Thirty-one days in the month, thirty-one chapters in the book.  It is a very straight-forward, practical book about living out faith – and the consequences that come when we don’t.

Here’s what I have gleaned so far:

I can learn wisdom and discipline from God’s Word.  It is available to all.

I can gain insights through the instruction of the Holy Spirit. If I am willing…

In order to gain wisdom, understanding and knowledge, I must first:

              Listen

              Treasure God’s commands

              Tune my ears to Him

              Concentrate on...

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June 24, 2015 | 0 comments

Sunday, our children and grandchildren spent the day with us in celebration of Father’s Day.  The house was rockin’ and rollin’.  Boys love to wrestle and box.  One of the older cousins stuffed his tee shirt with pillows for the battle with his six year old cousin.  The house was full of laughter – not that we didn’t have quiet conversations, too.  Part of the time, the guys were glued to the Oakland Athletics baseball game.  The girls sat outside and talked.

How important are Fathers?  Our pastor shared some statistics on what happens when a father isn’t in the home or present in the lives of their children:          

              90% of homeless and runaway children

              63% of youth suicides

       ...

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June 12, 2015 | 0 comments

Many years ago, when Rick and I moved to Sebastopol, California, there was a small start-up non-commercial radio station, KCLB-FM, offering “positive alternative” broadcasting.  I started listening and never stopped.  The music was important to my state of mind and helped me in my writing.  I listened to it at home and every time I got in the car.   Rick and I became donors.  How can you not when $40 a month paid for an hour of broadcasting. 

KCLB-FM became KLOVE Radio which has spread across the airwaves of America and overseas as well, not to mention the incredible on-line ministries, a teen center in Detroit and pastors on call for those in need of prayer.  It’s been exciting to watch! We still count ourselves blessed to be part of the KLOVE family.

This year, Shannon and I had an opportunity to attend the KLOVE Fan Awards in Nashville, Tennessee.  What a blast!  The Friday concert had thousands on their feet,...

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June 4, 2015 | 0 comments

I can’t believe I have a grandson old enough to graduate from high school.  But there he is.  I remember Shannon telling me on the telephone that her water broke.  Early.  Off she and Rich went to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore while the family waited nervously on the west coast.  Our grandson arrived safely on September 11 and spent a week in the NICU.  He came home shortly before Granny Frani arrived on the doorstep, and Shannon handed him to me.  I was terrified.  I’d never held a baby that small.  Mine were several pounds bigger than my grandson.  But I fell in love immediately. 

The doctors said he’d never be taller than 5’6”.  That’s how little doctors know.  They are practicing, after all.  I’m looking up to him now.  He’s nose-to-nose with Rick.  And he’s still growing!

And there he was, handsome in his suit and tie, donning cap and gown, walking across a stage and getting his high...

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May 24, 2015 | 0 comments

American Revolutionary War (1775-1783)

25,000 died in combat; 25,000 wounded

War of 1812 (1812-1815)

            15,000 died; 5,000 wounded

Mexican-American War (1846-1848)

            13,283 died; 4,152 wounded

The American Civil War

            214,938 died in combat, an estimated 400,000-500,000 died of other causes: wounds,

 infection, disease; total deaths approximately 750,000 (420 died each day)

World War I (1917-1918)

            320,518 dead and wounded

World War II (1941-1945)

            291,557 dead; 670,846 wounded

Korean War (1950-1953)

          ...

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May 9, 2015 | 0 comments

Last weekend, I flew up to Reno to take part in the Redeeming Love Conference put on by the Awaken Reno ministry and hosted by Outlook Christian Church.  Before the event, I had the opportunity to hang out with the five amazing women of faith who put this event together.  The idea started with their small home Bible study.  Each addressed important issues all women face; identity, purpose, rest, joy and love.  The conference was designed to offer hope and show the power of Jesus Christ to free captives and bring soul-deep healing.

Awaken Reno helps prostitutes escape their traffickers and works with them to reclaim and rebuild their lives.  The shame, degradation and paralyzing fear these women suffer often keeps them silent and trapped.  Helping them escape can be a dangerous job anywhere -- especially in Nevada where prostitution is legal.

A few facts:

13 is the average age a girl enters prostitution

22 licensed brothels...

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