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January 19, 2014 | 0 comments

I keep hoping 50s fashions will come back in style.  Women looked like women and not starving refugees or sex-trafficked teenagers looking for a john.   Fifties style showed off women’s hourglass figures without showing off a lot of skin.  Dresses were mid-calf full skirts, belted waists (where waists naturally are) and fitted bodices often buttoned-up to the collar.  Less is more, they say.  And that can be true in fashion.  A woman can be more alluring by NOT letting it all hang out.  Sorry if I’m offending anyone, but I’m downright embarrassed when I see a girl who leaves ribs and belly-button bare for all to see and a blouse so low I worry the “girls” will fall out if she stumbles in her platform shoes.  Children often make astute observations.  My grand-daughter gaped when she little.   “That girl has a butt on her chest!”  Yep.  That just about describes the look. 

Men in the 50s wore jackets,...

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January 14, 2014 | 0 comments

These two issues have grabbed hold of me and tear at my heart.  The first came upon me through my own personal experience with abortion. Oh, how a frightened girl will swallow lies that “it will be easy and you can just go on with your life”.  Maybe for some.  It took me years of living with guilt and shame before I sought counseling through a local pregnancy counseling center.  The second issue of human trafficking came upon me through sessions at a missions conference that made me shockingly aware that slavery isn’t limited to distant countries, but still is happening in our own country, our own hometown, maybe even in one of the houses on the block where we live.

In my mind, the two issues are a product of a growing mind-set in our nation comparable to the Biblical time of Judges: “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”  There is no right or wrong, only what is right for me (whoever me happens to be).  That’s what they say....

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January 7, 2014 | 0 comments

One of the ways I visualize my characters is to post pictures of people on a bulletin board that runs along the wall to the left of my computer.  I found several pictures that fit my mental image of Abra.  One is of an unnamed pre-teen girl with pale green eyes and wild red hair. Another is of a young and vulnerable Winona Ryder that reminds me of Natalie Wood, James Dean’s co-star in the classic “Rebel Without a Cause”.  For Abra’s Hollywood years, I posted several pictures of Rita Hayworth, a 1940s film star famous for “Gilda”.  Abra also shares personality traits with the late Marilyn Monroe.  Though they don’t share the same fate, they were both broken-hearted young women who found it impossible to live a make-believe persona. 

Another main character, Pastor Ezekiel Freeman, is a man’s man with a wholesome image.   I imagined him ruggedly handsome, like James Garner.  Not the young Maverick star, but the older, nothing-...

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January 3, 2014 | 0 comments

Christmas is over.  I’m always a little down when I take the ornaments off the tree and pack away the decorations for another year.  The wheels of Christmas lights are stowed away under the house along with our nativity, the dried up noble pine is on our deck, lower branches cut off so it fit through the sliding glass door. It will wait there in the cold until we drag it out the front door to the curb before January 6-13 for roadside pick-up.

Last night, I worked on my calendar, writing in family and friend’s birthdays, dentist and doctors’ appointments, scheduled events and trips.  It’s already looking like a full year and the first week isn’t over.  Rick and I keep saying we’re going to slow down on the travel, but 2014 is looking very busy already, and we are making good headway on our bucket list. 

I did manage to stay up until midnight.  The neighbors set off their car alarms and hooted and hollered in the street.  A cold bug had...

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December 20, 2013 | 0 comments

Rick and I were married on December 21, 1969.  It rained all day and then cleared for the evening candle-light ceremony at a small New England style church in our hometown.  I am still amazed at how many family members and friends came, considering the time of year.  Who in their right mind plans a Christmas wedding?  (It was the earliest date we could get the church and Rick could get leave from the Marine Corps.) 

The wedding reception took place at a local restaurant.  While the party went on, we headed out for our honeymoon after ten in the evening, rice in our hair, clothes and shoes.  We looked for a motel in the next town, but they were all full.  So we settled into a local motel the next burg.  The following morning, we finished the drive up to the Sierras to Pinecrest.  A foot of snow covered the ground.  Pine branches dipped under the weight.  We gathered our supplies and trekked in to the family cabin....

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December 13, 2013 | 0 comments

I admired Nelson Mandela. He could have come out of prison embittered and ready to fan the flames of civil war and bloodshed.  Instead, he sought to unite the citizens of South Africa and build a nation that would be a beacon to others.  He didn’t go after retribution but reconciliation, and thus inspired hope in millions around the world.  The movie “Invictus” gave us a glimpse of how President Mandela enlisted the Springboks on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.  With so many passionate about rugby and their national team, he knew this would be a way to draw all his people together.   Though he wasn’t able to solve all the problems his nation faces, he showed them the power of mercy and gave all of us hope of what can be when we pull together.

American has had inspiring leaders as well.  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln to name a few.  I think of those in my lifetime:  John F. Kennedy...

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December 6, 2013 | 0 comments

Since my awakening that human trafficking is going on in our area and across our nation, I’ve become more sensitive to articles appearing in our newspaper.  In the world section, I read a story on sex workers in France protesting a proposal to penalize clients caught in the act of soliciting a prostitute.  The few men and women in the picture taken in front of the French Assembly in Paris claimed to have chosen this line of work, but I couldn’t help wondering about the thousands of foreign prostitutes from Asia and eastern Europe flooding into France, the vast majority trafficked victims.  Other countries like Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands where brothels are also legal are watching the French.  I imagine most of the countries that legalized brothels thought they would be able to control prostitution, prevent disease and protect the women “in the life”.  Instead, they got organized crime and human trafficking on their front door steps.

...

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November 29, 2013 | 0 comments

What are the “good things” Jesus talks about in Matthew 7:7-11?  All good gifts come from the Father. For a long time, I thought that meant a husband, children, a nice home, a good car, savings, travel, things.  As wonderful as all those blessings are, as much as we enjoyed them, there remains a yearning for something more

I yearn for “good things”, too.   Most of what I want now will take my cooperation. Every good thing will require that I make a choice.  I’ve faced these choices many times and failed often to make the right one.  Hence, I ask God to do the work in me so I can experience the good things He offers each of us on a daily basis.

-         A grateful heart even in adversity or illness

-         A heart and mind that absorbs God’s instructions and applies His grace so I can offer love to others.

- ...

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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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