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November 22, 2013 | 0 comments

Thanksgiving is a wonderful celebration for those of us who have family.  It’s a time to get together and share a big dinner and much laughter.  But it is something far different for those who have no home or family.  It can become a time of deep depression, a time of pain or longing.  Some escape further into drugs or alcohol to forget their despair and loneliness. 

Each year, our local mission offers Thanksgiving dinner at the local fair grounds. Every year, the number of attendees has grown.  Last year, over five thousand were served.  It is a diverse crowd of men and women, some alone, some with families, many homeless, some with homes but living on small fixed incomes that didn’t meet their needs. Others were in rehabilitation programs working one-day-at-a-time to overcome the effects of drug and alcohol addiction.  Some came because they were living on the street and hungry and in need of a decent meal.

Hundreds volunteered...

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November 16, 2013 | 0 comments

While I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving, the local stores yanked their Halloween decorations on November 1 and started putting up lights, Christmas trees, and wreaths.  Santa is still in storage, but workers are busy unpacking him.  Soon there will be a minature train in the mall with Santa waiting for children to sit on his lap and have a picture taken. 

I used to start shopping for Christmas in July.  I took my time picking out gifts and then wrapped them as I watched a movie from my collection of oldies-but-goodies.  When we simplified Christmas several years ago, I didn’t have to start so early.  It’s easy to pick one gift for the family (game, movie or food) and one special gift for each child – and focus on what Christmas is all about:  the birth of Jesus Christ who offers the gift of salvation to all who believe in Him.

But the buzz is going and the crowds are growing. 

Maybe it’s my recent research on human...

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November 1, 2013 | 0 comments

I am learning day by day –

My hope cannot rest in Congress or the Supreme Court, for they are filled with men and women with all the faults and foibles of regular folk. They have their biases and prejudices, and serve whatever they worship.

My hope cannot rest in staying well-fed, exercised and healthy so I can live long and prosper, nor does it rest in whether Medicare is still solvent when I’m old or if Obamacare is up and working and there are enough of the younger generations to pay the bills.

My hope does not rest in how much Rick and I have saved for “a rainy day” or old age, nor in the American or world economy, or the stock market bulls and bears.

My hope doesn’t rest in being right or left, a Democrat or Republican or Tea Party Member, nor does it rest in following the right or left leader. 

My hope does not rest in my husband or my children making all the right decisions. My hope doesn’t rest in my work or what I may or may not earn...

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October 25, 2013 | 0 comments

We called in a friend who inspects houses and asked him to check ours and let us know if he saw work that needed to be done.  We’re not planning to sell, but we want to take proper care of the house God has given us, and if we ever do sell, we don’t want to pass along problems to the next owners.  Our friend noticed dry rot around a skylight over our master bath and some questionable beams and a corner board on the lower deck.  It took us weeks to find a contractor willing to look at the problem because it was “too small a job”.  The skylight area was repaired quickly and without difficulty, but when the carpenters began removing the questionable areas on the lower deck, more problems showed up.  What started out to be a small job is turning into a major renovation. The deck is now gone, the lower level stripped back to support beams.

It all looked so good from the outside that we had no idea of the rot hidden beneath.

This can be true of life...

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October 18, 2013 | 0 comments

The last two weeks have been heartening.  A few years ago, it seemed only one lone cop and a couple with a new ministry “on the avenue” acknowledged there was a problem.   Sonoma County is so beautiful. Thousands come every year to enjoy the magnificent Pacific Coastline, the redwood, the dozens of wineries, the casino – now two casinos.  How could something as despicable as human trafficking be going on here in such an idyllic place? The answer is:  traffickers go where the money is – especially to affluent areas like this.

Saturday before last, Santa Rosa held its first Forum on Sex Trafficking to inform the public of what is happening in our neighborhoods.  Our leaders are stepping up and going into battle! Rather than working against one another, they are joining forces in a concerted effort to end the trafficking.   We had the chairwoman of the Commission on Human Rights, the Chairman of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, the...

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October 11, 2013 | 0 comments

One of my friends sent me an email with “Everything I need to know, I learned from Noah’s Ark”, the title of which was probably inspired by “Everything I needed to know, I learned in kindergarten.”  What I love about the list of the anonymous author is how many things you can learn from one Bible story.

 

Don’t miss the boat.

Remember that we are all in the same boat.

Plan ahead.  It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.

Stay fit.  When you’re old, God may still ask     you to do something really BIG!

Don’t listen to grumblers; just get on with the job that needs to be done.

Build your future on high ground.

For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.

Speed isn’t always an advantage. The sloths      were on board with the cheetahs.

When you’re stressed, float awhile.

Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs;    the Titanic...

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October 4, 2013 | 0 comments

I have been reading articles on Obamacare and trying to make sense of it all.  I guess I’m not alone.  One telling sentence in our local (very liberal) newspaper said “the most important thing to know is that everybody must buy insurance or else pay a penalty.  You must obtain insurance, either through your employer or, if they do not offer it, through the Covered California exchange or a broker.” 

 

“California exchange” gives me chills.  We are such a well-run, solvent state, you know.  For the most part, we’ve managed to tax and regulate business so they have (or are) fleeing elsewhere.  At last count, the (Demo majority) legislature was coming up with 1200+ new laws.  I wish they’d shut our state government down! But then, I’m sure they would find a way to punish the people just as the feds are doing as they:

 

Close all the national parks

 Keep all military personnel on duty, but delay...

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September 27, 2013 | 0 comments

Over the past twelve years, I have been trying my hand at gardening.  My mother had a green thumb, and my brother definitely has two green thumbs; he can grow anything from Jerusalem artichokes to Asian pears.  Me?  Nada.  But I’m still trying.  

When we moved in, the backyard was a beautiful lush forest of over-grown lavender, butterfly bushes and grasses – the colorful, spiky kind called Mother-in-Law’s tongue.  Our first night, we were welcomed by a resident of said garden – a very large rattlesnake.  Hence, I stripped the backyard of all hiding places so our grandchildren could explore without finding some sneaky snake in the grass.

We put in neat boxes for growing vegetables, each fitted with screen underneath to prevent the other residents (gophers!) from nibbling.  We filled the boxes with good soil and I planted – enthusiastically.  That first attempt brought forth an abundance of (10-12) brussel sprouts.

...

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September 20, 2013 | 0 comments

Whenever I finish a novel, I wonder if I’ll be writing another one, or if it’s time to “retire”.   Even mentioning the word makes Rick a little nervous.  “You’re not a happy camper when you’re not working on a project.”  Really?  What happens if I don’t feel the Lord nudging me into another project?

I have writer friends who can do multiple projects at the same time.  I also know a few who can do more than one book a year.  Some write in only one genre, others in several.  I’m in awe.   I can only manage one book at a time and it takes eighteen to twenty-four months to “finish” it and then sometimes I have to rethink what I thunk in the beginning, not that thunk is a proper word.  Sometimes it takes me six months before I start to “process” the story, let alone start writing the first sentence.  Part of the time I’m arguing with God.  Are You sure that’s the direction You want me to go?  Because I...

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September 13, 2013 | 0 comments

Recently, I was asked about memorable road trips.  My first experiences were with my mom and dad and brother. My parents only had two weeks of vacation a year, and they wanted to visit as many National Parks as possible.  Hence, we spent long hours in a car without air conditioning to get to the goal – wherever it happened to be. Sometimes they drove until after dark and parked the small trailer along the road side (until one night when we could hear a distant river and discovered in the morning it was hundreds of feet down a cliff face a few yards from the trailer steps). Sometimes Dad had to drive all day, day after day, to get to where he and Mom wanted to go.  My brother and I were along for the ride and passed the hours of boredom squabbling in the back seat.  I envied my friends who spent the summer at a family cabin in the Sierras, and swore, when I grew up, I’d never take another road trip.

Now, I love road trips.  One of my favorites was...

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