May 31, 2013 | 0 comments

I remember this line from “Poltergeist” years ago when the teenage daughter was standing on the street as an entity was wreaking havoc inside the house and everyone was fleeing.  I’m beginning to feel that way when I read the newspaper and wonder. 

Is the “affordable” health care program going to help?  I have a relative who has had to pay her doctor out-of-pocket because she can’t afford health care.  Now, with the new law, she will receive a fine for not buying health care she can’t afford, and the cost of that fine will be more than she’s been paying out-of-pocket to see a doctor.  The clinic in her area is closing down because they can’t afford the equipment required by the new law.  And this is supposed to help people in need of health care? 

Next we have the IRS singling out conservative groups for tax audits.  Apparently, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is on their hit list.  I wonder how long it will be...

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May 24, 2013 | 0 comments

My brother and sister-in-law stopped for a night with us on their way south to attend the Vietnam POW Reunion at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum that coincides with the 40th anniversary of a White House dinner hosted by President Nixon to honor their sacrifice.  Finally, after so many years, these survivors who suffered so much are again being honored. 

I was in college while my brother served in an intelligence unit in Hue.  He worked with Vietnamese and loved the city.  He and his co-workers became good friends as they carried out their duties in the beautiful ancient capital of Vietnam.   On January 31, 1968, the city was overrun.  Our family didn’t know for days whether he was alive or dead.  When the Marines retook the city, my brother was found severely wounded. He still has pieces of shrapnel imbedded in his body. 

My husband, Rick, was serving as a Marine in DaNang during the Tet...

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May 17, 2013 | 0 comments

I’ve just spent three months working five to six full days a week, sometimes late into the night, to finish revision work on my current work-in-progress.  After a conference call and some brain-storming, I knew what I needed and wanted to do.  What started out as a few changes and tweaks turned into a major re-write.  I love these characters and want readers to love them, too.  But I was also trying to do an allegory, and in some cases, two in particular, the people were just too perfect.  Real people have lots of flaws.  Now the characters do, too.

After Rick made his changes to the manuscript and those were put into the computer, I sent off the files to my agent, Danielle, who used her magic to put them all together in one nice big file before sending it off to Tyndaleans.    

Done!  Finally!  I felt relief.  For about half a day.  And then this black hole began to open in front of me.  Now what?...

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May 3, 2013 | 0 comments

 “Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests.  And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statues, and his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left; in order that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.”                                                                    ...

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April 26, 2013 | 0 comments

The Boston Marathon bombings came as a shock to all of us.  Now everyone is scrambling for answers, asking why.  Though some politicians are loath to call this a “terrorist” attack, and are studiously cautious about making any reference to a religious war, most know it is.

This past weekend, our congregation celebrated the missions we support with 18% of our budget. Many of our members have served overseas.  Others are involved in local ministries such as food pantries, Gospel mission to reach alcoholics and addicts, crisis pregnancy counseling, and we are active in the fight against human trafficking.  Our “life groups” look for ways to serve our communities.  We are far from perfect.  We are sinners saved by grace, and an autonomous group of believers who strive to be more like our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

One of our speakers was Yoon Kwon Chae, a Korean Christian brother our congregation has supported for 35 years.  He and...

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April 19, 2013 | 0 comments

Future tripping is a phrase familiar to those who work 12 step programs.  It has to do with fear of the future.  A lot of people, not just those with addictions, are experiencing this right now.  Come to think of it, is there anyone that doesn’t have some kind of “addiction”?  If it isn’t alcohol or drugs, maybe it’s texting on an iPhone or exploring all the apps on an iPad.  Maybe it’s surfing the net or playing a computer game that draws people into a time-sucking world of make-believe.  How many people feel a little down and head off to the Mall for that pick-me-up purchase, or another $5 specialty drink.  If that doesn’t work, there’s always one of those casinos popping up all over the country. 

We deal with fear in all kinds of ways. 

Abraham ran to Egypt and then, when faced with Pharaoh’s attraction to Sarah, handed her over and made her lie to save his own skin. 

Jacob ran away from Esau, served time...

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April 12, 2013 | 0 comments

I’ve discovered a report called Wastebook 2013.  You all probably knew about it long before I did, but it’s eye-opening to find out what our government thinks is necessary.  Robotic squirrels?  A campaign to make more Americans crave caviar?  Martian meals?  Did you now it costs 2 cents to make a penny?  Floating outhouses for Oregon fishermen? 

Oh, I know.  It’s just a drop in the big bucket of taxpayers’ money.  Each little pet program isn’t that big a deal.    

There’s an active campaign going on the north coast right now to sign up MORE people for food stamps.  If you don’t want to use them for necessities like food, you can always sell them on line and get cash to buy whatever you want.  Like candy bars and condoms.  Or marijuana and movies.

More drops in the bucket.

It’s those seagulls I was talking about in a blog a few weeks ago, and a mentality that seems to permeate our...

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April 6, 2013 | 0 comments

I was reading quietly in the living room the other day when I heard voices coming from the kitchen.  Several people, men and women, were all talking at once.  Their voices kept rising as they became more frustrated, until they were stridently shouting in an attempt to make their points heard.   I called out to Rick.  “Are you watching the news?”  Yep.

Now, I’ve been known to sit at the kitchen counter and get in on the interview.  “Be quiet, you bozo, and let the other person speak!”  Maybe we’ve replaced the old Friday night boxing matches with the news programs.  We no longer watch two men duking it out in a ring, but enjoy a panel of supposed experts presenting “the facts” with volleys of sarcasm, indignation, exaggeration, whining, rationalization and justification.   Sometimes I expect to see them pointing fingers and sticking out their tongues when they’ve finished throwing their tantrums. 

When did “...

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April 2, 2013 | 0 comments

Have you ever been to the beach and wanted to feed the seagulls?  The problem is you tear off a little crust from your sandwich and toss it to one, and ten more show up.  Toss a little more and a flock descends.  You start to wonder:  if I run out of bread, will I become the meal?

Turkeys are different.  They startle easily and run for the barn.  In the wild, they run for the hills. Of course, they’re very tasty.  Benjamin Franklin thought them majestic enough to be an emblem for our country.  I’m sorry, but Thanksgiving would be downright depressing.  There’s our national symbol lying stuffed and roasted and ready to carve up for hungry guests. 

And then we have the eagles.  Our forefathers were trained in the Bible. I know there are many who want to revise our history, but truth is truth.  The only two questionable Christians are Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, so when squabbling became intense at...

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March 26, 2013 | 0 comments

These two words can strike fear in any writer’s heart.  It’s a given with me.  I know my characters inside and out – or think I do -- but sometimes how I picture them isn’t what’s coming through when objective readers get their hands on the manuscript.   By objective, I mean professional.  Also, by objective, I mean anyone who may have heard my thumbnail sketch of the story, but has yet to meet the characters on the written page.  I’ve been through endless conversations, triumphs and tragedies (all in my head) with these people (characters), but that doesn’t mean even I know them.  Sometimes I don’t even know myself!    Still, I’ve invested time with them – a year and a half.  I love a couple of the characters, would like to drop kick a couple others.  But have I written them as full as what it takes to engage the reader?

Group therapy – I mean group critiquing – can help.  Everyone has a different opinion...

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