February 27, 2015 | 0 comments

Every year, around this time, I work on taxes.  Or I should say I work on organizing and adding up all the data to hand over to our trustworthy CPA who makes sense of numbers. I still have trouble balancing our checkbook.   One of my roommates in college was an accounting major (who eventually went to work for the IRS).  She practiced on my checkbook .  She would shake her head and ask how it was possible to make some of the errors I did.  What else could I say but that I majored in English for a reason?

When Rick and I started into our individual businesses (he with Rivers Aviation Services and me with writing), we had a few surprises in regard to Uncle Sam.  If we had a good year (more often his than mine) Uncle wanted a bigger share than what we’d already paid.  As a California corporation, Rick paid LOTS of taxes.  (There’s a reason business is fleeing the state.)  One year he counted seventy different tax installments....

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February 21, 2015 | 0 comments

When you don’t use it, you lose it, they say.  Sitting in a chair at a computer for hours at a time doesn’t help arthritic joints.  So I’m back in the gym and signed up for six sessions.   My trainer was a pretty young whipper-snapper in awesome shape (think college soccer player and marathon runner) who tried valiantly to teach this old granny new things to strengthen my core.  You want me to do what?!  I have crushed discs in my lower spine from falling off a horse at the age of fifteen.  (The horse wasn’t actually moving, but that’s another story.) When my trainer held out a big rubber ball, I crossed my arms. “Nope.  Not going to lie backwards on that thing.  Not unless you have an ambulance waiting at the curb to cart me way.” 

Crunches, no problem.  Step up, step down, no big deal.  Leg lifts, fine and dandy.  Yes, I can put my hands flat on the floor, just not in public.  Push-ups?  I...

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February 13, 2015 | 0 comments

My heart is heavy.  I don’t even know where to start.  An interview with Dr. Juli Slattery’s “Java With Juli” radio program a few days ago opened doors of thought I would have preferred left closed.  Conviction is never pleasant, but always life-changing.  We talked women’s issues and the sharp rise of women reading erotica.  I spoke from my own experience as a woman who attended college in the sixties when the “free love” movement started.

Without going into details, I will say I bought the lies and followed the crowd.  Loose morals bring brokenness and devastation.  I felt ashamed, used and guilty for giving myself away and putting myself into dangerous situations, one of which ended in a date rape.  I’ve shared my story before about reconnecting with a long-time friend from my home town and how we married.  We recently celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary.   We were in love then and are still in love....

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February 7, 2015 | 0 comments

This year in Bible Study Fellowship, we’re studying the life of Moses.  There was a day when I would have groaned at the mere suggestion of reading Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers.  Leviticus?  Really?  It now strikes me as one of the most interesting books in the Bible.  I’ve read it three times this year, only once because it was assigned.  Leviticus shows how well God knows us, how we think, and how we try to get around God.  It’s about about holiness, holy living, and how we fall short.  One of the messages I learned from this book is that ignorance is no excuse.  I’m accountable for every sin I commit, even the ones I don’t know I committed.  The old “I didn’t know” doesn’t wash with God.  That conscience built into our DNA is there for a reason, no matter how hard we try to deny the truth.  Whether you believe or not, God will have the final word.

Hence, our need for a Savior.  Thank You, Jesus, for taking...

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January 30, 2015 | 0 comments

I have no intention of taking him to the grocery store or to a restaurant.  I certainly do not want him in my lap with his head out the window, enjoying the wind in his face while I attempt to drive my car. I do not want my dog with me at the mall or movie theater or doctor’s office, or while I shop, watch a movie or have my annual physical.  I love my dog, but I don’t want him “talking” to the neighbors or thinking he has a right to do his own thing whenever he wants, whatever his thing happens to be. 

I love my dog, but I don’t want him wandering free or getting to know anyone he wants to get to know, and I think you know how dogs love to do that!  I love my dog, but I don’t want him leaving a calling card on anyone’s lawn.  And at home, no matter how much I love my dog, it’s all right with me if I treat him like a second class citizen and make him go to his “place” when we invite people into the house.  I like to be polite and introduce him...

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January 23, 2015 | 0 comments

America is called a “melting pot”, and it surely is.  There isn’t a nation on the planet that doesn’t have representation, and most have brought family traditions with them.  I know our family did.  Rick and I are not that far removed from being from across the water.  We’re both Heinz 57 variety Americans with a little more of this than that.  Rick’s maternal grandparents came from Sweden.  You’d have to go back two hundred years to Britain for his paternal ancestors.  My (maternal) grandfather came from Germany, my grandmother Switzerland, and both came to the USA via Canada, legally (barely).  My paternal ancestors are a mixed bag of English and Scotch (not the drinking kind – then again, how would I know) and American Indian.  We thought our great-grandmother was a Blackfoot, but as it turned out, she came from an eastern tribe and had to live on a Blackfoot reservation when she came west.  So did her white husband.  My...

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January 16, 2015 | 0 comments

The news is full of various terrorist attacks around the world.  Journalists are currently being targeted.  Seventy have been killed by ISIS, not including the staff at Charlie Hebdo, not including the seventeen Iraqi journalists.  Saudi blogger Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 600 lashes, 50 a week, for “insulting Islam” by criticizing senior religious leaders, and suggesting Saud Islamic University is becoming a den for terrorists.  His wife, Ensaf Haidar, has been sentenced to 1000 lashes because she dared say the floggings are killing her husband. 

This week, in the name of religious freedom, Duke University planned to allow a Muslim call to prayer from a campus chapel bell tower.  In our own county, Sonoma State University had kicked Intervarsity Christian Fellowship off campus.  There are classes at the Junior College on Islam, but none on Christianity.  Many in our country believe the propaganda that our founding fathers were...

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January 10, 2015 | 0 comments

Rick and I went to “Unbroken” recently.  We’ve both read Laura Hillenbrand’s excellent book, and bought an extra copy to loan out.  Louis Zampirini’s story shows the strength of the human spirit to survive and the power of God to enable one to forgive and thrive. 

We’ve read reviews, and have heard a lot of complaining that the movie lacked the greater story of Zampirini’s conversion to Christianity at a Billy Graham Crusade, how he recovered from alcoholism, forgave his tormentors and returned to Japan to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Hence, I went into the movie with eyes and ears wide open to see and hear what Angelina Jolie did with Louis Zampirini’s life story.

The faith message was there from beginning to end, not with a hammer, but with a gentle hand of grace.  I saw it in the way Louie’s mother was on her knees praying for her wayward son. I saw it in Pete who watched his brother running from police and taught him how to run...

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January 2, 2015 | 0 comments

I saw an article in our local newspaper the other day, announcing an “Unseen” art exhibit at the community center.  The exhibitors are part of an art program available through the Wellness and Advocacy Center which is part of the County Mental Health Division. The group is a peer-run and self-help center.  What intrigued me is these exhibitors suffer mental illness and are homeless.

As I wandered the hall and rec room, I was blown away by the artwork.  I’ve been to the Louvre in Paris and DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. I’ve been to art museums in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.  Not everything in those hallowed halls fits my definition of fine art.  I dare say some of it looked lazy and trite, thrown together by arrogance and disdain.  I’ve seen “artwork” on display in prestigious galleries that was no more than a urinal nailed to a wall and came with a tab of $100,000 – not because of the beauty of the porcelain, but who...

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December 26, 2014 | 0 comments

Rick and I got married on December 21, 1969.  With all the activities of Christmas, one would think a young couple would pick a less hectic time for a wedding, but that was the only time the church was available.  My parents had retired and moved to Oregon and Rick was in the Marine Corps, stationed at El Toro.   Hence, I did most of the planning, and it was a simple, old-fashioned wedding with family and friends.  All Rick had to do was get time off and show up (not always easy to do when you are subject to the “exigencies of the Corps”).  He said he’d go AWOL if he had to – thankfully, he didn’t. 

We celebrated our 45th anniversary this year.  Close friends invited us to share the celebration: three couples, all married in December (20, 21, and 22) of 1969.  We went to the movies and then gathered at Holly and Bob’s to share memories and break bread together.  We all brought our wedding albums.  Oh, those...

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