Monday, December 31

I have looked at pictures from
texas on Christmas. wow! I looked
old. yes. some kind of stomach
bug hit me. I am too thin. promise
to work on this. to try and embrace
growing old.

my children treat me with such
love and honor and respect that I
let my hair down. forget make-up.
laugh. bask in the wonder of life
and Jesus. of battles fought, and
victories won. of holes that God
has pulled the five of us out of.

and now,
settling back into reality,
there is joy, but sadness.
as my cousin david says,
"life marches in with big, muddy
boots". the world shifts. I grab on,
harder, to the hem of God's sweet,
glorious love.

can you hear Him?
"come all you who labor
and are heavy laden...and I will
give you on me, and I
will answer.
and show you great and
mighty things.."

we all so missed brandt (deployed),
and jasmine and colben. I know
many of you missed loved ones, too.
I thought of you. of the families
in Connecticut. cover us, Jesus,
cover us. bind our wounds. raise
our sights. yes, Lord. yes. yes.

Sunday, December 30

everywhere we go,
there are big, giant holes waiting
for us to fall into. we are all
broken, and if the devil can pull
us down, he will.
holes that sometimes take Jesus
years to get us out of.

I have dropped into so many in my
life. my children are such hard
workers. so earnest. but these
holes are waiting for them; for their
innocence and earnestness are
just the things the enemy is
wanting to ravage and destroy.

every hero in the Bible was hunted
down. always battles to fight.

let us cry out for our children.
warn them. stay close to their
hearts. and never forget that He
Who is in us is far greater
than the enemy...and fighting
the battle with us.

I love you and believe for you
and yours today

Saturday, December 29

Christmas eve.
the boys working but taylor and me.
headed to the mall.
just hanging out.
taylor waited while I ran into the bathroom
...and there, a tiny, hispanic woman
continuing to clean after every used

I ran out.
"taylor, do u have cash?
I need a 20.
will be right back."

heading back into women's restroom,
I place the money in the
little lady's hand.
kissed her cheek...
and sang,
"God loves you and I love you
and that's the way it should be."

"thank you. Jesus loves you....and
so do I." with tears in her eyes,
she thanked me.

that beautiful old hymn...
"He lives..He lives. Christ Jesus
lives today. He walks with me
and talks with me along the
narrow way..He lives...salvation
to impart.."

bless you all!
thank you so for kind words and
gifts.I pray you can see my blue
eyes shining on you. feel my warm
hand in yours. know your kind
words to taylor meant so much to him.

we are in Sacramento another day
or two before we both head to where we live.

great to be with tom and jan

Friday, December 28

almost midnight.
taylor and I flew into Sacramento
last night from dallas. flushed
with joy from being with our little
family. snow and hail and watching
my sons look after each other and
me. the love beautiful.

my dear friend debby flew in to be with us.
we soaked each other up.
it was simple and peaceful...
and I lay in bed.
eyes closed each night.
pondering the picture God drew
of a single mom and four, fatherless
children...and how God has led us
all the way. then would fall asleep
with tear-covered face.

music tapping out the story. the
surprise of getting to be together.

"bless the Lord, oh my soul...
and all that is within me. bless
the Lord, and don't forget His
benefits. bless His holy Name.."

Wednesday, December 26

after all the hoopla
and packed malls and
office Christmas parties. after
all the noise and ruckus, the world
is quiet. every shop closed. all the lights
turned off. most cars parked and people
in bed. waiting....

for children rolling out of bed
and racing in to drag one and all
to the Christmas tree and all the surprises
awaiting them.

3 a.m. Christmas morning.
finally, we can see Jesus. and hear Him.
ALL fades, but HIM.

in Him, and Him, alone,
we put our trust. disease ravaging
those we love. addictions trying to eat
away our earnest reserve to be pure. death
and rebellion stirring the pot in many homes.

in Him, and Him, alone.
He holds our hope. our healing. our attempts at
faithfulness, somehow, amidst the battles, we hold
on to Him with all our hearts and love and devotion.

oh, lead us to the Rock that is higher than we are.
every time. every time. because in Him, alone, He holds our hope.

Tuesday, December 25

taylor just received his college degree in film
at california state university in monterey bay, california.
and rivers run and the sky moves and fresh beginnings
live. may Jesus be glorified in all taylor has to offer the world.

at one month,
in a hotel room,
i laid him in the middle of a king-sized bed.
all warm and fed and tucked in. suddenly,
i heard a thump, and found him on the floor.
that new-born squall that sliced my bearings
apart and left me shaking.

i realized he was brilliant and advanced.
and as brock and colson and brandt came along,
i felt the same about them. smile. i love them with
my bone and marrow and beating heart, and tell them
every day that they are my morning sky and my afternoon
sun. and little colben stretches that love to a dimension
i never thought even existed.

this holy Christmas,
love your children and families
unconditionally. look for the best.
speak beautiful words. forgive the misses.
let God do the judging. let love .. REAL love..forgive and
redeem us in our brokenness and holes of sorrow and struggle.

breathe His Spirit,
and know i truly love you.

Monday, December 24

today is Christmas eve.
people madly rushing everywhere.
frazzled. hurried. overwhelmed.
everyone 'under the gun' but Jesus.

no effort. no anxiety. no stooped shoulders.
Jesus came, and the world hushed, and hope
was born. untarnished promises that inspite of all
our burdens and pain and loved ones' struggles,
Jesus is here to dress the skies with music.
to cleanse us from our brokenness and sin....
and to never, ever fail us. even when it looks

i am in dallas with brock and colson and taylor.
we so miss having brandt...and jasmine and colben
are with her family. BUT WE ARE TOGETHER!!!
happy. happy. happy. a gift from a friend of mine.
i know i'm partial, but my sons are so sweet to me.
and so caught by the joy of us being together. every
single minute counts. we are watching every penny.
trying to be so careful.

"i wonder as i wander out under the sky...
how mary birthed Jesus and came forth to die....."

so sorry about no blogs.
you probably wouldn't believe all the struggles
i've been through, and everything fell apart.
but i expect at least five new blogs every week. at least.
and your continual comments and love pour into my hair and
skull and soul and fingers and out my fingers and toes until i
dance. and sway. tears running down my face. so grateful
for love. so very grateful.

Tuesday, December 18

hey everyone.
i love you so much!
at the moment i don't have a
computer or a phone.
they are in the shop.

i send my warmest love.
i will be in touch in the next few days.
please know that i really love you
and that i'm praying for you.

choose to make this Christmas different.
don't let it overwhelm you.
let the Real Spirit live.

Monday, December 17

sunday evening.
my grandbaby with his fly-away
ringlets and beautiful little face came
to see me. his beautiful mother, my
daughter-in-law, and her cousin,
joined me for church.

a difficult service as we thought of
connecticut, and the children and
adults who lost their lives so tragically.

but i will never question a beautiful,
loving God Who can take the ugly
and ravaged darkness of this world.
and still, somehow, have mercy on
the sick and sinner...and raise, in
time, beauty.

"to know the love of Christ..that you,
being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend..what is
the width and length and depth and
height...that you may be filled with
all the fullness of God."

there is s giant hole in our hearts.
but may Jesus
fill it with love and connection and

i love your comments on my blog
and facebook. i just so love you.
may the brilliant Star Who shines on us
never lose it's power in the world.

Thursday, December 13

i want to write an inspiring blog.
to lift each of you beyond the mundane
and laborious and compromised
muck and mess of secularized Christmas.

but it is one p.m....and i am still in my
nightgown. mail to cover. lonely for
colben. my 12-step mtg. tonight.
my eyes allergic to something. could
not sleep all night for some reason.
this paragraph makes me sound like
a cry-baby. it can block your sun-lit
hope in Jesus even more than commercialism.

i run to the ONLY Rock that weaves
peace into this bumpy journey called
life. God's beautiful words.

"fight the good fight of faith. not in
any way terrified by your adversaries."
philippians 1

"strengthen the weak hands and make
firm the feeble knees. say to those who are fearful-hearted,
'be not fear!'" isaiah 35

i continue to read your beautiful
words to me. to see you on facebook...some long-time,
dear friends. others of you new in my life.
and i pray over you. and love you.

"and we will worship...worship....
forever in the presence of the King..."
10,000 reasons

Tuesday, December 11

i can hear Jesus say...'thy strength
indeed is small. child of weakness,
come and pray. find in Me Thine all
in all..'

for five days, jan and my collaborator
and i have worked on the proposal
of my latest book. speaking about the
heart of God. of all the deep holes
my children and i have fallen into. and
God's vast and extraordinary mercy.
His strong arms reaching out to us.
pumping love into the knotted sinew
of all our failures and broken desperations.

colson called.
"mom!! guess what brandt did for me
hmmmm. "i don't know, darling."
"he tried to call and found my phone
was disconnected until pay day, so he
paid my entire bill.. we had a great

brothers loving and helping each other.
friends doing the same.
"Jesus paid it all. all to Him i owe.
sin had left its crimson stain.
He washed me white as snow."

scrub all the nasty, little corners of
fear and resentment out of our lives.
clean away the dirt so we can shine
for You, Lord...and hear the lapping of
fresh hope as it rolls ashore with Your
sweet scent of forgiveness.
the rhythm of joy. steady and sweet.
come, Jesus, come.

Saturday, December 8

a new day.
the day my collaborator flies
in for five/six days to work on
this new book.

i feel utterly inept. incapable.
broken. yet, i've been in this worship
mode that is nothing i have ever
experienced before. hungry for Jesus.
bowing down. 10,000 reasons cd.

"higher than we ever could imagine...
closer than our eyes can ever see.
You are magnificent!!!!"

reading this morning...
"for when i am weak, then i am strong."
ll cor. 12

please pray for tracey, jan and me
these few days. that we won't be
afraid or troubled. that our arteries
and blood flow will open us. truth
that is buried will begin to unfold.
and Jesus will be lifted up.

colson calls me on his two-walks to
work. so positive. loves his job.
his apt. living close to brock.

remember: "let not your heart
be troubled."

i don't succeed at this always, either.
but keep marching forward. i'm with
you. reading all your words of life for
me. because God is a mighty Force.
always..always on our behalf.

God has His plans for us.
may the rhythm of His love
wash us day after day.
forever your running partner!

Thursday, December 6

colson called
after 2 a.m. yesterday morning.

"mom, you sound so clear. so awake."
"oh, darling...i want to! you are my
son, and i'm on call 24/7 with my

suddenly, fear began to creep in.
"colson, what's up, doll?"

"i've been so sick, mom. i can't breathe
if i'm lying dowm. and i'm worried.
i've been promoted to a managerial
position, and missed two days work.
pray, mom, pray. the darkness, i began to cry out
to Jesus. the One who saves us and
makes all the difference.
it is a beautiful gift to pray for our children.

hold the hand of Jesus today.
don't look at seeming impossibilities.
the crush of Christmss.
the less than adequate funds.

"magnificent... He is higher than
we ever can imagine. closer than our
eyes can ever see..."

i love you all.
today, find joy and trust!!

Wednesday, December 5

i'm sitting with a desperate woman.
fresh out of jail and a nervous breakdown.
pacing. then burying her
head in my lap. sobbing. her 17 yr. old daughter
has cancer of her brain and is terrified she won't have time
before she dies ...with her mother.
her car was impounded. her purse
with photo i.d. stolen. phone.
scared to be alone.

we will worry about car tomorrow.
today, at walmart,
we buy her a phone. Oh...
friendship takes work. and fleecy,
warm pajamas and underwear and
a sweater. i grab a magazine aand
candy bar for her.

continual tears in her eyes.
a hug. i kiss her face. pray with her...
and say 'goodnight'.

"He's our God...shining like the sun...
faithful to the end..." be looking
for the broken. this is the season they
are easiest to spot. Jesus paid it all.
for you. for them.

Monday, December 3

yesterday, i met a long-time friend.
winding up a hill to find a cozy, private
hotel. she had flown in from cross-country..the south.
brunch and then to our room where i donned p.j.'s...
and we each crawled on our beds.

wrapped in pillows and comforters,
facing each other, we began to talk about all the holes we'd fallen in....
and all the patient ways God had to con-
tinually pull us out. we peeled off all
the layers. strip by strip.

two, professional, God-fearing women
with lives of accomplishment and shame and brokenness.
the rain was coming down in sheets. torrential.

at 5:30 p.m....she had arranged for us
to have massages. i hadn't had a massage in 12 yrs.
special. back to our room.
room service salad and a creme brulee to share.

what a beautiful surprise for me.
i could not have afforded to do that.
this season, let's expect God, the Savior of the world,
for miracles. moments with friends. a cup of tea.
heart-sharing vulnerability.

Christmas is all about grace and
being together. let's forget the rest
of the fuss, and hug and laugh and
unveil hidden pieces to those we
trust. i thought of all of u while holly
and i were together. praying for some
of these beautiful moments, too.

Saturday, December 1

early saturday morning.

sheets of rain outside.
wet earth. cold.

"and i will worship..
worship. glory hallelujah
to the King."

last night was Christmas tea.
i had bought five tickets, and my
friend tere and i prayed about who
God had intended to have those
seats with us. a single mother of
six. our 12-step leader.. & my dear,
brilliant friend who struggles with
her sexuality. all of us broken. singing
the ageless Christmas carols of a
savior borm to us this day.

laughter and hot tea and yummy, little
plates of food and cookies. we had laid
our burdens down. remembered
that Christmas is really all about Him.
the Savior is enough. He will always
make a way. always. always. and
sometimes we can't see what He is
really doing until we are almost going
over the cliff.

i walk into my grocery store, and people will call out my name.
"hi, ann". i drop something off at the dry cleaners,
and veronica comes around the counter to hug me.
i kiss her cheek. building bridges in my world.
being Jesus where i live. none of
them have the slightest idea what i
do..or where i've been. now,
lay your burdens down. choose to let them go.
all the hard memories of past holidays.
all confusion around where God is.
your troubled chldren.
and go out with eyes touch your world
with a smile. a kind word.

"no more pain. no more sorrow...
no more sickness...worship...worship.
singing glory hallelujah to the King."

Thursday, November 29

my dear friend, tina, in ohio, sent
me a cd called "10,000 reasons"
it is utterly magnificent!

"and i worship...eternal hallelujahs
to the King...for He's higher than we
ever could imagine. closer than our
eyes could ever see. He's magnificent.."

last night,
sitting in my p.j.'s.
i sat in my beautiful
the dark...midnight..with this cd on.
my arms lifted. tear-covered face.
worship. worship. forever sing to the

i ran by the pharmacy to pick up my synthroid,
and cheryl was helping
behind the counter. i was donned in
skinny leg jeans and a high ponytail.
my blue eyes glistening like sapphires.

"cheryl, are u a Christian?
i doesn't matter because i
love u either way. but...i am. and i've
been listening to a CD in my car.
it says Jesus is higher than the heavens..
and closer than our eyes can ever see.
that He's magnificent!" tears brimmed
my eyes.

i picked up my script.
"i love you"!
"love you too, ann..."

and i headed for celebrate recovery.
the second time in the day to speak
of Jesus. anorher to a really nice
muslim at at&t.

there are two things, among many
mess-ups, that i think i have done
right with my sons. i understand
the heart...and i have shown them
grace. grace for every hole they fall
into (oh, my entire life has been falling
into holes!). may grace fill us. may
judgement and criticism, like boils,
dry up a d fall away.

magnificent God.
love is ALL You are.
teach us, Jesus, teach us
how to love.

Monday, November 26

enlarge my heart, Lord.
stretch it wide open.
unveil to me my secret sins. thoughts
i do not even realize i have that
corrupt my moral judgements...
and the things i say.

enlarge my vision, Lord.
lead me beyond the crushing
burdens and sorrows..and the pressing
influences of the secular mentality...
and into Your vast and warm heart
of love and quiet peace.

i so love You, Lord.
if there ever was a servant who loved and trusted her Master,
may i be that one. may You consume me.
may i cry out in joy to You every time a
shadow starts to darken my path
so i will know hope instead of fear.
light instead of darkness. radiant trust
rather than consuming worry.

yesterday morning, i helped taylor
make a casserole of sorts to enjoy
when he gets hungry...and i prayed
with him. what an incredible time we
had for four days. laughing and
eating ice cream and talking about
life, and how it all falls into place with
God. one day at a time. we thought
about the kind of girl God could bring
into his life to marry....and his dreams.

i drove away, after hugs and kisses
and 'i love you's'...with tears in my eyes and
joy in my heart. thank you
all for your loving words on my blog
and facebook. for celebrating my joys,
and embracing my many inadequacies.
you all touch me and feed me hope every day.
i'm loving my new (used)
car, too. just enjoying every minute driving it.

yesterday, colben, my little doll-baby grandson, turned two.
celebrate the beautiful pieces of your life today, and
let Jesus carry your burdens.
and please know that i really care about each of you.

Sunday, November 25

"let not your heart be troubled..or afraid."
so much push and rush and noise.
so many people you feel you must
make happy. dollar signs and inadequate incomes.
crowds and long lines and the last item grabbed
off the shelf just in front of your eyes.

i've been in israel at Christmas to run
the israeli marathon. the quiet, humble,
little town of bethlehem. intimate.
a sea of stars wrapped around the intinacy of
generations in a seemingly-common, but holy
corner of the world.

"oh, Lamb of God, i come. i come."
come to Your sweeping heart of love.
to Your kind smile of acceptance.
and forgiveness and compassion.

take over my Christmas season. all
the sad and difficult pieces.
the pressure i place on myself.
help me, in all of this, to seek You as never
before. to bury my face in Your wide
lap of forgiveness....and hear the angels sing.

i spent one more night with taylor.
getting ready to leave. i know i'll cry.
i just can't help it. he's my son, and
i treaure him so. like my other three.

i love you all.
my struggling comrades
of this glorious faith.

Saturday, November 24

i have always known that God
was magnificent. that He NEVER fails.
that He ONLY cares about our hearts...
and not so many things that people
attach to that.

it is the INTENT of the heart.
and...yes, we get lost and fall into
holes and have to be rescued by the
vast sea of God's glorious love. but
God's Blood is for the heart.

today..i head home. oh, i hate to say
"good-bye" to taylor. my first-born.
with his piercing, blue eyes washed
and glistening from his earnest core.

we have talked about everything.
in 3 wks. he'll have his film presentations
splashed across the big screen,
and a film degree under his belt. with alot of
biology and chemistry thrown in.

he doesn't have a steady girl right now.
we talked alot about God's choice. we
had more ice cream. both of us needing alittle extra weight.
and we bought some things, and took them all
back. ate left-overs for dinner. the
children and i have lived with so much
loss that we all think the police are
going to come and haul us away for
insufficient funds. at any moment.

to all of you fellow warriors,
look for my ponytail as we run.
or my blue eyes smiling on you for
all you are to me and to Jesus. and
ALWAYS be watching for broken
people lying along the way.
oh, may Jesus take our eyes off ourselves
so we can see them. and have a cup
of cold water ready. in His Name.

always...only...ALL for Him.

Friday, November 23

taylor did it.
with a beanie on his head
and a pea coat to stay warm,
he headed out to best buy and
black friday. the 40-inch, samsung
television for $169 was gone. that was
what he had his eye on. he does not
have a t.v.

i wasn't brave enough or young enough
to want to brave the elements. but
was awake at four a.m. when he returned.

life is often like black friday.
bundled-up excitement for the things that woo
us..and promise great surprise... only
to disappoint and dash our expectations.
the devil is the liar of all liars,
and a master genius at manipulating our
thoughts and desires.

i love the isaiah:
"a bruised reed He will not break.."
pour light into your wounds. sing in the darkness.
grab someone's hand so you don't feel alone.
and know that Jesus will hold you together no matter
how hard life tries to break and bruise

thank you for all your continuing
comments of love. of kindness.
let's ask the Lord if we can be neighbors in

Thursday, November 22

with taylor. thanksgiving.
just us...but we have planned
everything that are our favorites.
homemade mashed potatoes.
turkey. green bean casserole.
and dressing with cranberries.

someone is treating us to be together
at Christmas. it has been so long.
such hard, hard years. very hard.
Jesus has taken notice of us. glorious

"though the fig tree may not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines; and the fields
yield no food; though the flock be cut off from the fold,
and there be no herd in the stalls yet...
i will rejoice in the Lord,
i will joy in the God of my salvation."hab.3

i love each of you so. holidays can be dark for so many.
i know. i have been
there. still must work on my fears.

just remember...though the worst-case scenario...
Jesus reigns. Light shines.
music blows melody to sad longings.
Jesus reigns. allelujia.

Wednesday, November 21

after all the love and adjulation
and celebration at my alma mater

into the real world.
where i contacted a serious
sinus infection. food poisoning.
and pink eye.

walked into my little house alone.
a bag to unpack. silence. yes...from
love pouring over me to reality.

re-entry means returning to the
real world. bills. details to cover.
life. it is a challenge. such a huge
shift. resiliency is a reality that we
always must keep adapting to in
this challengeable life.

how i love you all. your loving hearts.
your prayers. the way you stand
by me. thank you all for keeping me
on this straight, narrow path called life.

"how can it be that Christ, my God
shouldst die for me."

"amazing love. how can it be.
that Christ, my God shouldst die me."

Monday, November 19

my dear friend Rob Moritz dramatizes the messages of the Apostle Paul in costume in the very locations where Paul ministered. Rome, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus and more. he has invited me to be a tour host on his next trip Retracing the Steps of Paul, from May 26th - June 5th, 2013. i'm excited about how inspiring it will be to visit all these amazing places. can you come with me?

for more information on the trip, go to

i would love to have you join us.
with warmest love, ann

Friday, November 16

how have you done since yesterday?
i talked about all of us keeping our
faith. i have fallen a couple times...
and Jesus has helped me get up and
go a little farther.

for all of us, as we crawl in for the night,
let's claim this day a victory.
let's take God's hand..and each other's...
and believe that tomorrow,
we will reach new heights for Him.

i have been attacked by a sinus virus,
and am on an antibiotic. but the beau-
tiful memories of the last week-end
are still etched in my thoughts. am
so reminded again that most of life
is made up of ordinary days. but every
now and then, Jesus surprises us with
celebratory moments.

yes ma'am.
always and forever.

Thursday, November 15

home again. and every morning calls
me to rise to higher places. to love
even more. be more quiet and listen
more earnestly. hold the hand of God,
and take Him everywhere. introducing
His magnificance to all the pleading
and lost and dying.

awards are rewarding, but doing
the Master's business is the essence
of our missions in the world. it is the
thrill above all !

So..i treasure the blessings..and all your faithful
love and prayers, but most of all, Jesus is the Hero and
Star. and we must be about God's
Business. oh, Jesus, keep our hearts
close to the very end.

"amazing can it be?
that thou my God should die for me?"

He did, and we owe him..
here we are. ready for His service.
yes, Lord. Send us! Yes...

Wednesday, November 14

The morning sky always reminds me
that nothing from yesterday is good
enough for today. Jesus is always calling us
to reach higher and farther.
so many to love. brows to smooth,
and ways to serve.

seeing old friends was beautiful.
i wish i weren't such a reserved, shy
spirit...but it was deeply moving. in every way.


Tuesday, November 13

the week-end is over.
the glorious crush of loving
people who literally enfolded

made my spine straighter.
my chin tipped up, just slightly.
my heart quiet and filled with joy...
and my eyes glistening.

"how can it be that Thou.
my God...
didst die for me?
amazing Love..
how can it be, that Thou.
my God...
didst die for me?"!!!!!

nagging sore throat.
flight leaves for home
at noon. back to reality.
alone. business to take care
of. my meetings. checking
on jan. everyone wanted to
know how jan is. it thrilled me.

thank you all for your prayers.
support. faithful love. how i
treasure you!

"o, man, what is good; and what
does the Lord require of you but
to do justly, to love mercy, and to
walk humbly with your God?" micah 6

so Jesus has handed us our
assignment for this week. i
genuinely pray for each of you.
especially where you are hurting.
with vast love.....ann

Monday, November 12

very cold in idaho.
awakened with sore throat.
but college class reunion and big
concert tonight. hard to maneuver
me through the crowds. arms reaching
out to me from every direction.
most that i did not recognize, but hands of
love grabbing onto me. thanking me
for my books. my belief in God's love.

young and old. precious words. my
eyes moistened by such love. a kiss
on someone's cheek. squeezing another's hand.

my passion to share Jesus stretching
farther and farther. why so many live
in shame...and bound.
earnest confession equals instant forgiveness.

people in the park. in sanctuaries. in
houses next door and across the street.
yearning for peace. deliverance.

"who will go for Me? Lord, send me."
isaiah 6

waiting, Jesus.
listening. on call for You. our Lord.
i fall down. face buried in carpet.
i want to set the captives free. we
need a big army. warriors. pull on your
boots. fill the water jugs. the rest is
His glory in us.

too late.
good-night, glorious partners.
let us NOT lose heart..i love u!!!

Saturday, November 10

thank you all for your words of
love to me. implanted in my heart
to strengthen and bless me. feeding
me joy and comfort day after day.

very late.
just want you all to know that
this morning i received a medallion
from my university as a blessed
writer in its hundred-year history.
so much kindness from so many.
my friend, debby, flew in and surprised
me. staying with old friends. rich and
junella. more festivities to come.

i am just so happy i did not trip in
my heels and fall flat on my face in
front of several thousand people.

if you never receive a big honor from
someone, remember that only one
award in life really counts: being
faithful to Jesus. finishing the Race
of life. our
value is not wrapped up in being
successful in the eyes of the world....
but pleasing Jesus.

good night, fellow warriors. i am so
grateful i get to run this Race with you. i love you,
and can hear your feet hit
the pavement next to mine. through
thick and thin, we are heading for the
finish line together. the Celestial City.

Friday, November 9

i am in nampa, idaho, where i am to
glorify Jesus for putting His hand on
my writing. because it really IS all
about Him! an award for Jesus.

i have a bruise on my cheek. i hope
i don't fall on my face in my beautiful,
new high heels. and it is going to
be a very cold day.

please pray...and thank all of you who
have told me you already are. and
especially remember my new friend
on the airplane. i told her Jesus has
led me all the way. that He is everything.
may He touch her pain and her dreams too.

"are you weary? are you heavy-laden?
tell it to Jesus...tell it to've
no other such a friend or brother. tell
it to Jesus alone.."

Thursday, November 8

tomorrow, i fly to idaho to the amazing,
private liberal arts university i graduated from eons ago. smile.
this year is their centennial year, and they
are honoring a few who have excelled
in various fields of academia. for me,
it is writing.

those of us chosen are being entertained to a week-end
of banquets and teas and a 5k race and a play;
wrapping up with a competitive basket-ball game with church
services on Sunday.

i have been terrified for all this. adulation for something Jesus did
through me...using one of His weakest vessels?!!
i forgot to have my nails painted.
and to get a spray tan (i always look better with a little color).

i have coaxed my best friend here to
brave the elements of frigid air to
spray me tan with something from
"sally's'' shop. i know this is not about
my looks at this stage, but i'm trying
to camouflage what i can.

really, i want my blue eyes to sparkle
for Jesus who can raise beauty out of
weakness. take ordinary people and
change the world through them. i
want to celebrate the glorious four
years at northwest nazarene university,
where the foundation of ministry was
laid for me.

and, of course, i forgive miss helen
wilson for giving me a b-minus in
creative writing. she gave me more
opportunities than anyone else on

Tuesday, November 6

Yes, my daddy's tombstone has only
these words: "it pays to serve Jesus".

as a little girl, hair pulled back in
a ponytail, i would say:
"daddy, why does Jesus pay? the
kids at school make fun of jan and
me. we're foreigners."

and my father would say,
"give God time."

"daddy," we'd say, a year later,
"no island boys like us. we are tall
and skinny and white and blue-eyed.
we are the minority and lonely."

"oh darling, sometimes it takes
years for God's true blessings and
rewards to begin being unveiled. "

many afternoons, after school, jan and
i would go next door to the church
altar. and weep and sing that old
chorus, "i know the Lord will make
a way for me...i know the Lord
will make a way for me.....if i live
a holy life. shun the wrong and do
the right, i know the Lord will make
a way for me."

my daddy had it down just right.
Jesus DOES pay. He kept me low
to one day raise me up. and in a way
that i would always remember it was
Him, and none of me.

Monday, November 5

my daddy was a preacher.
he was known by his praying, and
his passionate belief:
"it pays to serve Jesus".

reminds me of the old hymn:
"it pays to serve Jesus...
it pays every day.
it pays every step of the way....

"though the pathway to Glory may
sometimes be drear, you'll be happy
each step of the way."

i cannot say i am happy each step,
but everything worthy and honorable
and peaceful in my life is because of
serving Jesus. and every deep hole
and every sin are washed away by His
grace. may you feel joy with the rising
sun tomorrow, and remember, Jesus

Saturday, November 3

Friday night.
asus computer. I like it!
Jesus keeps providing for me
through you. glorious. simply amazing.

it automatically capitalizes things,
which I don't appreciate. as you know.
will have to work on this. fix it.

next week, I go to the private, liberal arts
university from which I graduated. to receive
what is considered a coveted award. I really
don't feel worthy of adulation. certainly not for my
writing because that is a gift that is ALL about God.
not me. please pray for me.

my new book, God willing:
"everything I have learned about the heart of God."
stories from my life that have revealed the magnificent,
beautiful heart of God. I have had to live this long to even
begin to fully consider speaking about Jesus and His heart.

the collaborator (a help put my style in a way acceptable
to the publishers who want my next book, but all wanted me to
'change' the way I put words on paper) is an author of 40 novels.
she started reading me at 14 years of age. says she read "i'm running
to win" over 40 times. she's humble and dear, and we are going to convene
at jan's house in sacramento. and none of us feels capable. the best sign.
her name is tracey bateman. maybe you've read her?

yes, billy (one of my blog commenters), there is a huge difference,
I think, between "heroes" and "idols". and I don't believe I qualify for
either. every day, I stare weakness in the face. every day, I crawl through
the cloud of doubt and insecurity to the radiant, shining Son of clarity and
strength, Who disregards all i'm not because of what He can do with ALL
He is.

blow the clouds away, Lord.
blow the doubts away.
that we may be light and kindness and love
and compassion wherever we go today.
amen. amen

Friday, November 2

Tomorrow, i will be back at panera's
with a computer. yehhhhh! but i have
been reading all your comments
daily..and they feed me like ice cream
on a hot day. thank you all.

and have i mentioned how much i
love my car?!! and how touched i am
every time i open the door?!!! Oh, i am
so grateful for everyone who has so
helped me in so many, sacrificial ways.
every dollar pushes a soft chord in
me. tenderness. i'm a warrior with an

12-step study tonight. i always go with
my heart shaking just a little. have to
lay my negative stuff on the table.
pull the raw places out. expose them
even as the others do. we are step-
sisters for life.

today...have you mentioned the Lord's
name to someone? reminded the
world that Jesus really loves them?
and remember, Jesus forgives us
every day. we just have to ask Him
to help us forgive ourselves.

i love you all!

Tuesday, October 30

thank you for such sweet thoughts
about colben, my almost-two grandson.
the love of my life.
i treasure my daughter-in-law....and
we had so much fun.

she and her cousin were going to a
movie, and colben said, "bye-bye. bye-bye. bye-bye. bye-bye."
jasmine walked out the door, rolling her eyes.
"enough, colben. i know you want
grandma to yourself!"

he slept in my big bed, with me, sucking two of his
little fingers. both of us tired and happy
and together.
i miss brandt. he won't return from
deployment until the end of january.

a new week. almost a new month.
my computer still in the shop. time is
flying, but the enemy seems to be
ahead of time. be alert. on guard. his
best tool of defeat is to whisper lies to
me, and make them seem real.

i heard my best girlfriends were having
a party. i hadn't been invited. was
simply paralyzed. lying on my bed.
truly believing i was losing them all.
what had i done? fear of rejection like
a stronghold in my life. only to find
out later that there never was a party.

resist the devil.
run for your life.
may the peace of God sweep away
the shadows of doubt and fear.
God and i are running with you today.

Monday, October 29

I awakened with the most
beautiful Scripture on my mind.
“He is altogether lovely”.
Jesus is. in every way. NO one will ever be
embarrassed or hurt or shamed if you
come to Him with all your worries and cares
and shame.

“i will count all things loss for the excellency
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord…I count
all things as rubbish that i may gain Christ…”

enjoy Jesus today.
take Him wherever you go. and I am
beside you, trying to run this glorious hard
Race, basking in the loveliness of Jesus,
the Savior of the dark, hurting world. The
One Who sheds Light for all.

Thursday, October 25

my index finger
going over every
beautiful line each of you
writes to me. lovingly touching
your words as if i can actually
feel the warmth in your hearts...
and pleading with God that my
finger-tip of such immense
tenderness and care can ignite
joy in you.

thank you, beyond measure,
for taking time to talk to me with
such empathy and encouragement.

my acura tl arrived after dark.
happy. happy. happy. so very
happy. silver metallic. even blue tooth
for phone. getting up early to drive
through car wash..and head to
jan's for a visit in sacramento.

"God answers prayer in the morning.
God answers prayer at noon.
God answers prayer in the evening...
so keep your heart in tune."

He answered your prayers and giving
for me to finally have this car. now
i am praying for needs in your
lives. and waiting and watching for
the miracles to come.

computer still being worked on.

HAVE YOU? love, ann

Wednesday, October 24

received an email today from a woman
who was one of my students as dean
of women on a university campus.

she reminded me i had sent her
home for special reasons, and all
these years has held intense bitternes
toward me. It sounded as if i had
really nearly ruined her for life.

so i have been wearing a coat of
grief all day. i can scarcely recall
it, but i was too young being a dean
when we were nearly the same age.
i blew it, and she was courageous
enough to help make amends with

the foolishness of our youth.
Wounding others along the way.

let's keep our slates clean.
accept how we have wronged another
without playing justification games.

"oh, Jesus, may we forgive others
as You forgive us."

my car is to arrive by transport
tomorrow at ten a.m. the waiting has
almost passed. i'll send a pic on blog/facebk.
please know i still read all
your beautiful words to me. line by
line. often moved to tears. with
genuine love....

Tuesday, October 23

yesterday was communion.
the body of Jesus. wounded for
us. a wafer to remember.

and His Blood poured out.
covering all our sins. grape juice
to symbolize the spear in His side.
"blood and love flow mingled down".

"what can wash away our sins?
nothing but the Blood...nothing but the Blood of Jesus..."

without the Cross,
we can never be free.
never be warriors with a cause.
never run and win.
never see the sunrise of deliverance.

"amazing grace how sweet the sound..
that saved a wretch like me.."

flow, River, flow.
eat of the Bread. drink of His Blood.
wash in the fount of forgiveness.
once blind ..but now we see.

Monday, October 22

Daily Light...october 19

"i wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word i do hope.
my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch

for the morning. yes, more than those
watch for the morning. i sought
the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears."


today, may every gnawing fear be
laid to rest. in me, too, Lord. in me.

Sunday, October 21

virus in my computer.
car not yet arrived.
WAIT. Jesus calls us to sit
down. be still and silent and WAIT.
most important of all is that we
focus on HIM. listen for His footsteps.
and before we start hurrying about,
have Him join us. visit. annoint us.
and quietly ask Him to forgive our
rushing and wayward bents.

i love you all. sit still long enough
for Him to show up. He won't until
we are ready.

Friday, October 19

what is something in your life that
you KNOW if people found out, they
wouldn't like you. i mean, you are sure
they wouldn't. in fact, all their respect
and love and admiration of you would disappear
in an instant?

do you know that the church we attend...the job place...
the fellow soccer moms...the guys that run together...the
board of some big organization we are on is FILLED with
people just like you. hiding their failures. hoping no one
will ever find out about the two abortions. or the cigarettes
we smoke behind the house.

i knew an incredible doctor that would pull on his big,
letterman's jacket, during every lunch break, in the steaming
heat of noontime, and smoke in his mother's back yard not
far away his office. trying to protect his clothes from the odor.
with some breath mints, he would drive back to the office as if
he had gone for a quick lunch. believing that none of his patients
would know that he was a smoker.

"whiter than snow...yes, whiter than snow...
now wash me and i will be whiter than snow..."

don't be afraid to speak your darkness to someone else.
because they have their own that needs to be aired.
we are broken children of God, and deliverance comes
when we begin to let go of what everyone is going to think
of us.

thank you all for congratulating me on my new car.
thank you for such love. i treasure you all. the car
should be here the first of next week. wow! happy

Thursday, October 18

clean and beautiful and free.
speak the truth and the walls will still
stand strong. and friends can always be
friends. nothing hidden. or secret. no
hurt gnawing and boiling inside.

spoken in love.
it cannot fail. will not corrupt.
brings deliverance and freedom.
it takes courage and strength to deliver
it. and not every truth needs to be laid out
in the open for all to see. usually, it is between
two people. confiding. working through.

when Jesus talks about coming to the altar
to bring our offerings...and if we have something
against another, we must first go and make peace,
and then return to His Presence. i have always believed
that He meant we are to confess. to speak the
truth of what is setting us apart. tearing down our
once sturdy hearts of oneness and deep, pulsing
love and trust.

truth is always beautiful
even if it hurts, and makes us cry.
even if it exposes pieces of ourselves that
we have always hoped no one would notice.
or shows us things we never realized about
ourselves that aren't nice. or proper. or fair.

the truth often terrifies me. looking someone in
the eye after he/she has asked me a question
that i know has an answer she won't like. truth
can make me afraid of rejection, and i have always
feared that above all else.

but i feel safest with truthful people.
i know our bond will last. we will be able
to run side-by-side up the mountains and around
the crooked corners of life. the enemy cannot
sneak in and curl up, at first unnoticed, where
truth lives. the two cannot co-exist. ever.

please hold my hand,
and join me in the struggle for truth.
with ourselves. our children. our friends. the world.
but never forget that truth without the kindness of love
will tear apart even as a lie does.

"Lord Jesus, i long to be perfectly whole.
i want Thee forever to live in my soul.
break down every idol. cast out every foe.
now wash me and i will be whiter than snow."

Wednesday, October 17

to my beautiful, treasured friends and comrades....
i have a new (used) car!!! coming from salt lake city.
rob moritz found it online. soooo much nicer than i
could ever have dreamed or imagined.

i started looking at a 1998, two-door honda. with
200,000 miles on it....
and Jesus (and you) present me with a 2008 acura.
i knew nothing about this specific kind of car, but it
IS a honda. and has heated seats. the one thing i
secretly prayed for. i know. a luxury. there are times
Jesus just hands out a luxury to us. of some kind.
and we can hardly grasp it. but, in humble gratitude,
we want to glorify Him with the gift. whatever that

my 2005 kia sorento that i so loved
was destroyed, and God has shoved me (because
i didn't cooperate very willingly) into a waiting
school that has left me frazzled and confused and
not even sure i'd even have my own car again.

and finally,
when surrender was complete...
when the vision had even evaporated.
when hope was shaky and clung to
with trembling hands and shivering legs,
GOd steps in. throws back the curtains.
opens the windows, and delivers the piece
in our lives that we just can't seem to fix.
find. resolve. grasp. and He always does
it "above and beyond" whatever we can imagine.

thank you, oh, thank you....
all of you who contributed..$5 or $50 or $100
or more for this miracle in my life.
bless you. bless you. God is pleased with you,
and i am humbled beyond words by your love
and generosity.

lying on my face.
next to my bed...
"were the whole realm of nature mine...
that were a present far too small...
love so amazing, so divine...
demands my life, my soul, my all...."
forgive me for repeating this hymn multiple
times, but it swells in me, and says it all.

Tuesday, October 16

i think i may have found a car.
in between and around my schedule.
not sure. but maybe.....please pray!
i know many of you are. i'm giving it
24 hours. truly, in my heart, i demand
nothing. God gives and He takes.
if this car isn't right, then He has something

what are you lacking?
what do you really need?
what is the need that you lay before
the Lord day after day?
please don't give up.
hold on. believe.

this car is literally going to be
a gift from all of you who contributed.
my insurance money mostly went to my
loan because i hadn't had the kia that long.
there is an annointing on the car God has.
a special blessing.

please forgive my repeat blogs on
this issue of my car. it is like taking
heaving breaths. pushing myself.
now, i am racing to bible study fellowship.
someone is waiting and does not want to be late.
loving each of you. believing.

Monday, October 15

i make a list every night.
what needs to be accomplished
the next day.

well, today, i accomplished one thing
on my list because i had a friend who
needed me. all day. it is late. panera's
is really closed, but they let me hang out
until the last minute. i melted some cheese
in a little tortilla early this morning. we were
so busy that we forgot to eat.

i have a friend's birthday on Sunday,
and maybe....just maybe...i won't get
to find a car until the first of the week.
time is a funny thing. it is called "waiting".

waiting for God's time.
for His perfect plan.

i have a difficult time waiting very long.
but i have been in this school for some
years now, and would never know Jesus the
way i do if i had not been placing one foot at
a time along this pathway call patience.

they are telling me it is time to leave
here. so i'm running. remember,
it pays to wait. God is in control.

Saturday, October 13

last night, i received a call
from an unknown lady in ohio,
about a bill (i took care of it today).

suddenly, Jesus tapped my shoulder.
"speak to this woman about Me...."

i took a gulp. how should i approach this?
"ma'm, i want you to know i am a single mother
of four sons, and i just could never have made
it without Jesus. and for just as we've been speaking,
i feel God is asking me to tell you that whatever BIG
thing is happening in your life? well, He has it all
covered. all taken care of. that you can depend on
it. He's asking me to reassure you that He really IS
bigger than what you are struggling with."

"wow! wow....thank you. thank you so much
for your words."

i clicked off the phone.
my eyes shining. an ordinary
thursday. had been waiting all day
to see if Jesus had a job for me. i long
for these moments.

from me.
a woman reminding me i had a bill
to pay. the kind of call that gives me
shivers. anxiety. and out of the shadow
of doubt and charcoal rumblings, Jesus walks
in, and scatters stars and rainbows and balloons
and choirs everywhere.

be listening.
be watchful for a nudge.
Jesus is calling us in all kinds
of unexpected moments to touch
the world that has forgotten there really
is a Savior. a beautiful Redeemer.
yes, always room at the Cross for one more.

Friday, October 12

Jesus lives in a VERY big house.
with walls of windows, and redwoods
growing outside. those magnificent
trees that look as if they are brushing
the sky.

and somehow,
it just feels as if we all live together
there. you, my fellow warriors, and i.
we belong. we are bound by God's incredible
crush of love. all of us broken, but putting one foot
in front of the other on hard days, and once in awhile,
almost flying. with the wind at our backs, and the joy
and encouragement of each other singing in our ears.

YOU have helped ME so much.
all your love and beautiful thoughts.
AND the money you've sent to help for a
new, used car. i am so excited. i plan to go
to sacramento saturday, and have my brother-in-law
help me look. and i am just believing it will be.
yes, i am believing!!! and so excited.

my dear friends and neighbors,
who have allowed me to use one of
their cars every day, have roamed
around with me, seeing what we could find.

do you know what real grace is like?
well, you wait two-plus months for a car, and
you wait, and wait. and it is okay. but i know
when i get my own car, and don't feel i am
taking one of my neighbor's cars, i think it will
shock me at the tidal wave of relief and joy that
will come. grace is making it, and not realizing
HOW much God is helping us until the battle or
the need is won and met.

brandt had to wear an ankle monitor for three
months for stealing two little lighters at the drugstore.
as you know, when i found out, i called the police,
and he spent two nights in juvenile hall, and then
had the monitor put on so he could only go to
school. for my most social child, this was HUGE.
he never complained until the day they removed
the contraption from his ankle, and i was deluged
with his joy and gratitude and relief to have that
"thing" off. it had rubbed his ankle, and kept him
from friends. he tells me that is when he started
smoking. out his bedroom window, on the roof.
when i was running errands or out with the other
three boys. sigh.

grace is what carries us in terribly hard
times. we just don't realize HOW vast and
great it is until the specific battles are over.
when we look back, it is truly amazing all
the Lord does to carry us.

thank you all that helped on my car.
as soon as i find it, i'll announce it.
celebration is just around the corner.

Thursday, October 11

there is a beautiful, young woman i treasure.
she has four, precious children, 5 and under,
and is pregnant with her fifth. all of this, alone,
is a huge undertaking.

we had a long talk.
how does a wife stand with her husband,
and her parents who she also loves, and
still feel someone is looking out after her.

i'm crazy about her husband, and i
know he has her back. her parents are some
of my dearest friends, and they are trying to help, too.
in the end, this young woman is trying
to keep everyone happy.

i've lived my entire life trying to do that.
as a little girl, i've probably told you, i would
sing in the car if i sensed my father was unhappy.
which was alot of the time. you know, worried
about my rebellious brother mainly. and i
would start in....

"everybody happy?
say 'amen'...."

if my father wouldn't say "amen",
i would sing it again. becoming more
troubled and agitated.

"honey, i don't want to say 'amen' if i
don't really feel happy."

my mother would say,
"harold, just say 'amen' so
ann can feel we're all okay."

my sweet, holy father would say, "amen."

today, i still struggle with wanting people to be
happy. otherwise, i somehow feel respoonsible.
that i'm not good enough or kind enough or worthy
enough. BUT, i am getting better. much better.
i have learned how to at least take a little care of
myself. i know Jesus wants us to do this.

now you know why i go to the co-dependant group
at celebrate recovery. smile. i have work to do.
and i pray every day for this extraordinary mother
with another one to come. that she will feel carried
in the loving arms of God, and lay her burdens down.

down by quiet streams and brooks with fresh water
trickling over the rocks.
close to the feet of Jesus. feeling His hand
on our shoulders. hearing His quiet words of love.
unsullied peace. may we all find peace today
wherever our wounds and hurts live.
and basking in His peace.

Wednesday, October 10

i am filthy from head to foot.
pink sweats covered in dirt. white
top, the same. i worked in a BIG storage
unit that belongs to a friend of mine all day.
her beautiful, 24 yr. old son and father also
helped. carrying things. stacking. tearing up
many boxes to toss. i kept a broom and dust pan
close at all times. tossing large bags of garbage
into the dumpster. so hot that i was completely
wet. from the inside out. but it looked amazing
when we were done (never stopped all day). and
it really was for steve, my friend's husband, who
parks his huge snap-on tool truck inside each

we had so much camaraderie. we could laugh.
and many strong arms and clear minds help make
the process move so much faster.

you see, it is important that we help each other.
my friend, mya, a genius in my thinking, has been
helping me with a legal matter, and today was just
an opportunity to give back. to serve her.

when someone does something for us,
don't you think it is loving to do something
for them? well, i want to do as many loving
things for mya as i can. and for others around
me. Jesus says we are to love one another,
and i don't think He meant just everyone who
passes our way in the world. when we share
what we have with those we love, and who
know Jesus, too, it becomes a different kind
of adventure.

"if you help the one next to you..
and i help the one next to me...
we'll all work together,
in all kinds of weather....and
see what can be done!"

Tuesday, October 9

getting old is a journey you can only really understand
if you are there. old, i mean. your toes that once looked
so nice and straight and lined up. no bunions or crooked
ones. today, especially with all the thousands of miles of
running, i try in every way not to draw attention to my feet.

i have the same slender body. almost too skinny, in fact, even
though i eat anything and everything. the doctors call my heart
and state of health absolutely amazing. that's good. it is. BUT,
it doesn't replace the big knuckles on my fingers from arthritis (i guess).
my thumbs are the WORST from holding thousands and thousands of
books, and autographing at the same time. i no longer have my nails
done. it was NEVER one of my favorite things to have acrylics put on.
and today, too expensive. one ring on each hand. one from my
youngest son's birth mom; the other from my brother-in-law. so
i have old feet and hands.

then, there's your skin that just sort of goes south. i'm grateful
i don't have alot of skin, but my skinny thighs dimple in places
when i sit down (if i look). and my skin is so white. God has to love
those with darker skin more, don't you think? i used to get tan every
single week. i felt i was (and still do) alot more valuable with darker
skin. in the last eight months or so, i've been forced to write the
spray tan off my budget. when times get tough, the tough straighten
up and say good-bye to more glamorous things. this was the very
hardest to let go of. i wore leggings and little flats all summer to cover
all the white skin, and didn't even think of putting on a swim suit. i
work out in old sweats at the gym.

i can still keep pace with most anyone in the cardio area of the gym.
i can still hear God's voice, only much clearer today than ever.
i can know and understand His ways as i've never been able to
and i know my greatest job, aside from being what God wants
me to be, is to pray for my children, and inspire them to walk
with God today, i have seen the power of prayer in ways i simply
couldn't have comprehended at thirty and forty when my body looked
great in swim wear and there was no hanging skin.

and today really isn't about me and my accomplishments and
marriage and four, little, beautiful boys that consumed me. it is
all about worshipping the God of the universe Who longs for us
to spend more time with Him. my spirit is bright and my love
for Jesus deep. rooted far below the struggles and all the holes
i've fallen into. deep because of all the miles He and i
have spent together and all the times He's delivered me and all
the wrinkles He's ironed out of my life. i may be older, but i sure
wouldn't want to learn all the lessons already covered and all
the battles already fought and won. celebrate wherever you are in life.
and don't be afraid of growing old.
well, try not to be, even if it isn't a piece of cake.

Monday, October 8

i just love my 12-step group (9 women). we just seem
to be a perfect blend. and when it is our job to do homework;
to share our resentments and hurts and hang-ups; to lay them
out, piece by piece, before everyone in complete trust that we
will not be betrayed.... well, beautiful things happen. there is not
a squashed moment of distortion. these things are what we remember.
we are sharing some things we have never verbalized before. ever.
and no matter how awful and shocking some of our experiences are,
we never think less of each other...but more. it takes courage.
raw and unflinching. and it draws us together.
ropes of love and compassion that weave
around and over us. you just can't help but be changed.

i know i've told you about our group before, but i keep growing.
we now, often, sit side-by-side in church on Sunday mornings.
two weeks ago, two from our group were baptized together.

and wonder of wonders,
i have all my bible study fellowship sheet done. and it isn't
even until tomorrow night! smile. i, like many,
don't do our research and study until the last
couple days. working until the very last minute.

for some reason,
i don't have a perfect record of being on time
to everything. 5, 10, 15 minutes late, and i twist a small
smile, and make a pitiful excuse if i bump into anyone, and
go on. my dear friend, tere, a hard taskmaster, believes it shows
no respect. especially if it is a church service. that God expects
better of us than this. i am coming around to believe she is right.
maybe it is something many of us can work on??

i've started getting dressed first thing in the morning.
completely pulled together and ready to go out the door in
case of any emergency or tight schedule, and then i work on
mail and bills and laundry and other things. you see, i could
just live in p.j.'s. the minute i walk into my house, every day,
even if it is just for 2 or 3 hours, i still strip and put something
sloppy and easy on. so this first-thing-in-the-morning, new
practice is quite a step forward for me.

well, i'm rambling. i want you to know that i haven't personally been
as involved in my facebook as i should be, but things are changing.
i want to know what is happening in each of your lives. see new pics.
connect more intimately with you. i tried to start last week, and facebook
refused to accept my password. what was that about?!!! got so discouraged,
and it became late, and a friend was picking me up to take me home
(someday, again, i know i will have my own car. someday. i just know!).
so this week, my longing to do this is going to be worked out so i can.
oh, i've read all your incredibly-touching words, just not responded one-on-one
for the most part. please pray. as you know, i not very technical.

have a beautiful week,
and always remember that Jesus is all the world to us!!

Sunday, October 7

the heart.
everything is about the heart.
not how we dress. or if we have
wine before dinner or if we go to
Bible Study Fellowship. when my
children confide in me...when they tell
me their sins and failures...i remind them
that God ONLY looks at their hearts.

Jesus can tell everything about us just
by a quick glance at our hearts. what we
are thinking. what truths we understand, or things
that we still don't grasp about God. often, the
things people are so critical about in others
often deals with issues that haven't been
worked through, in people, but they are seeking the Lord
re: these. if, the heart is pure before God,
then none of us should be looking around,
gossiping and gabbing about so and so.

and if we have fallen into a deep hole...
if we have lost our footing and are temporarily
very troubled, God can check us out from the
inside. He can know the bent of our will. the
brokenness of our childhood. the things that
have bruised us and left us broken. He under-
stands everything about each one. He formed
us, with every detail and piece. He knows if
we are going through a terrible patch of stinging
hurts, and He is merciful and so kind.

people have different convictions. not everyone
feels the same about everything, and i don't think
any of us can decide for another what his or her
truth must be to follow Jesus.

"You are the light of the world. a city that is set
on a hill cannot be hidden.." matt. 5

our eyes should show His light in our hearts.
and they should always be filled with warmth
and kindness and compassion. always just keep
tabs on your heart. that is the whole ball game.
the entire deal. our hearts.

Saturday, October 6

i've learned some good driving lessons
from my sons. i mean from the tickets they've

brock was turning right onto a very quiet, open
street. no traffic, so he just sort of slid around the
corner. thinking nothing of it. suddenly, a police
car showed up behind him, lights flashing. he
received a ticket for not coming to a complete stop
before he turned.

i am always remembering that. it is very easy for
me to be in a hurry. alway making sure there is no
traffic, but thinking how easy it would be to just slide
around the corner and keep going. probably better
on the gas. smooth and quick and not interrupting
my pace. but i've always remembered brock and his

following Jesus can sort of be like this.
just sliding around the corner. not noticing
all those around us. moving along in our own
thoughts and our own little world. sliding around the
moral issues. around truth and decency and
true forgiveness. just putting out the very least
we have to and still somehow believe we are being
enough for God.

run, warriors, run. but stop around every curve
in the road because there are so many people we
won't see otherwise. stop. listen. look. "be
silent and know...." that God is yearning for us.
for communion. for us to love the broken and
empty and lost. don't run so fast that you endanger
the desperate and hurt by leaving them on the
side of the road of life. we have a world to change,
and a glorious Savior to enjoy and sliding just
won't hit the mark.

"I created you and have cared for you. I made you...."
"I will be your God until your hair is white with age..."
isaiah 45-46 we love You, Lord. make us tall and
steady of spirit for Your world and for You.

Friday, October 5

it was four years ago.
i pulled into the large parking lot
where alot of stores(including grocery)
were. i suddenly noticed several policemen
with a woman in handcuffs outside the clothing
store. my heart started racing. that poor
woman. she looked around 45. very decent.

"oh, Jesus, touch her right now. just calm her.
what in the world, Lord? what should i do?"

i cautiously got out of my car, and headed for
the group. walking up to a couple of the police
officers, i said, "did this woman take something
from the store? did she shoplift? because i would
just like to pay the store for her. just cover it all
myself, and you can let her go. i am sure she didn't
mean to. maybe she is desperate. will you please
let me take care of it?"

the officers looked at me with the most amused
faces. i didn't understand. aren't we to be love
where we live?

"lady, that is really kind of you, but that won't
be possible. we have to take her to jail. but
thank you. i don't think we've ever had an offer
like this before."

i slipped over to the lady. i touched her arm.
just stood next to her for a moment so she
wouldn't feel so alone and embarrassed at
people staring at her.

"Jesus will take care of everything. He will.
just know that He loves you and He wants you
to know."

you and Jesus and i and love.
right where we live. building bridges instead
of walls. drawing the vast, hurting world into
the secure, strong, loving arms of God. beautiful Lord.

"there's room at the Cross for you.
there's room at the Cross for you.
though millions have come, there is
still room for one...there's room at the Cross
for you."

Thursday, October 4

i heard something great.
when we confess our sins to God,
He forgives us. when we confess them to
others, He heals us. have i told you this before?

for me it has been a challenge.
bible study fellowship asks some personal questions in small group.
celebrate recovery always only helps if i lay my
week's sins or failures or frustrations on the table.
i'm in the co-dependant group, and it can be pretty
embarrassing to still not be able to stand up for myself
in situations. and the 12-step group? well, that
has taken each of us to a more courageous level
of confession than, at least for me, i've ever experienced.

confession is unveiling all we're not.
peeling off our skin and exposing all our
crooked bones and mixed up wires and purple
veins of wrong-thinking and failure and sin.

growing up, i truly believed that if ANYONE knew
i had made anything less than an "a", they would
not like me. not want to be close to me. so much
of my entire life, i've tried to be so together and so
smart and so successful that i would never be
rejected. but i remember one night as a little girl.
my father had some old-timer come in and speak
on a sunday night, and he began to talk about all
his lacks. his many imperfections. his losses.

twelve years old, and trying so hard to be perfect
enough, i sat, in ponytail and flip-flops, spell-bound.
it was beautiful. courageous. honorable. i was only
twelve, but i knew that much. it took me so many years
of falling into so many holes and getting so lost until
i began to barely whisper to my sister and a few others
of all that wasn't in my life. of course, becoming addicted
to pain pills after so many baby losses and serious
infections, and going into rehab....well, you talk and confess
if you want to get well. and i wanted to be well for my
four, little sons more than i wanted air to breathe or
food or anything else in life. my love for them was so
deep and pure that NOTHING was too sacrificial.

one day, in group, in rehab., a guy said,
"ann, i've seen your little boys, and they are
beautiful, but i can tell you've f_____ with
their security." i let out a gutteral scream that
came somewhere deep, deep inside me and was
heard all over the building. leaving me gasping
in a sorrow so deep i didn't know how i could rise
above it. the staff later told me that when someone
can reach that deep, there is hope. i don't know whether
he went into recovery or not, but God sure gave me the
courage to crawl there, and be there today. so join me.
find others you can trust. and talk. be open. Jesus never
planned that we could make it just with Him. i'm
standing with you! you'll see what deliverance it will bring!

Wednesday, October 3

danae dobson, daughter of jim and shirley dobson,
emailed me about a movie they all saw that they give
a big thumb's up to: "the last ounce of courage."  i
think it is still showing right now, and though i've not
seen it, i'm sure from danae's words, it must be very,
very, very special. check it out!!

i have just been reading over so many comments
and loving words and recognizing names of friends
of mine from many years. i promise to spend more
time in facebook. i love you all. God's breath rushes
through me as you reach out and touch me. thank
you so, so much.

"to live is Christ, and to die is gain..."
so sorry. don't have time to find where
this is in my Bible. almost late to bible study fellowship...
but it is one of my favorite verses.

Tuesday, October 2

another brand new week.
sunshine and smiles and cheers
skipping by...and some fresh tears
and new problems possibly. back to
school and back to work and back to
all the victories and losses, and
ups and downs of living.

i have Bible study fellowship tonight.
i don't know about anyone else, but the two
pages of questions we are to answer nearly kill
me. they are tricky and difficult for me; not always
obvious, even after i've read all the Scriptures.

it takes a set of my will to answer the best i can,
and to spend enough time studying, and get my
body there. but i love the magnificence of God.
and the women i know and love there.

tuesday night is celebrate recovery as you all know
for me, and thursday night is my 12-step study. and
every single event is difficult to get to. to be on time
and prepared and out the door when staying home sounds
so much easier.

do you know HOW hard it once was for me to be in ANY
small group? i was terrified just at the thought. almost my
entire adult life, i have stood on stages and addressed large
audiences with the beautiful, miraculous stories of Jesus. of
me and my neighborhood. changing the world. most of the
audiences didn't know all my flaws and insecurities and failures
and imperfections. to be in a small group, it would be
inevitable, i knew, that others would begin to find out what
a broken person i really was. and what if they rejected me?
that was, hands down, my greatest fear because of the severe
rejection i experienced growing up in hawaii.

my childhood pain, i understand today, was a rare gift from God.
never did the success of my books and speaking mean anything
to me except i wanted everyone else to believe in dreams and
help bring Jesus to the world, too. i never felt superior, and i ALWAYS
knew that all my blessings weren't because i was gifted in some
extraordinary way. i just knew Jesus had to have put His hand
on me for some unknown reason, and every child i met and hand
i shook in an autograph line humbled and touched me. every
single one.

if you are lonely,
or battling a wrenching battle,
find a small group, or several, and you
will be amazed that when the meeting is over,
you will be revived and renewed. you will be
loved and others can stand with you, and pray for
you and your struggles. crush the noise of fear.
go! isolation is the worst if we are seeking fellowship
and love. if i could do it, so can you. i promise!!

Monday, October 1

someone asked me about colson.
and his marriage to christina. and taking
her little doll-baby, cami, as his own.

so many times,
i mean to write about this.
maybe it still hurts too deeply,
and some blind place in me forces me
to forget to speak of it.

two, very young kids.
christina stayed home with the
baby, and colson worked. they
both had issues. living close to her
parents, i can tell you they tried very
hard to help them, and i would go back
and forth. colson adored the baby, and
she, him. brandt and jasmine would drive
the two hours over, and put some money in
colson's pocket, and encourage them.

i loved christina.
she simply told me if she was going through.
personal struggles. never, ever tried to make me
think she was something she wasn't. i believe they
loved each other...colson and christina...but there
seemed to be too many hurdles to overcome.
they are separated, and in colson's heart (probably christina's,
too)it is over.

a life-altering piece.
in some way, tied together forever...yet
vows tossed along the sand and wind.
and the years will come and go, but this is
something you do not erase. i love them both.
ultimately, i pray every choice will lead my children
closer to the heart of God. even if they aren't always
right. please pray for them. i miss little cami lyn, too.

Sunday, September 30

a brand new day.
the sun is still warm and
the flowers still in bloom and
after yesterday, i'm grabbing hold of this
morning for all its worth, and have decided
it's going to be a good day, and no one and
nothing is going to be allowed to diminish me to
tears when i get my new galaxylll phone!

i never thought being a widow,
with four, fatherless children, was going to
come with benefits. i just gathered my children
around me at will's death, and reassured them
that my feet were on the ground, and we had been
warriors for a long time, and the Lord would, somehow,
someway, help us make it.

so many surprises come my way because people
carry genuine compassion for single parents and widows and
fatherless children...we could NEVER, EVER have survived
without others taking notice, and helping. mostly with prayer
(what is better than that?). and a gift of money here and there (probably
sacrificial)...and now, a NEW phone. you cannot believe my excitement
because, as i've told you, the phone i have must be at the bottom of the
poorest and worst. maybe one of five cell phones that NO one should
ever be stuck with.

thank you, Jesus,thank you.
thank you. thank you.
and i get on my face, by my bed, and pray for
all of you and the incredible ways God has used you
to literally help me survive.

remember today....
when we confess our sins to Jesus,
He forgives us. when we confess them to trusted
others, He begins to heal us.

you are all my friends and confidents.
blessings on you today. it is early, but Jesus has
already put a man right in my face this morning, and i
was able to remind him that God knew Him. every detail of
his life, and loved him. send me more, Lord. send me more.

Saturday, September 29

when you walk into church and sit down, just
remember that EVERY single person down the
row with you...and across the entire

when you drive to work, and stop at a
little place to first have breakfast, just remember that
every single person behind the counter and sitting around
tables is broken. yes, everyone who smiles and nods and
appears so happy to have a new day to live. a world that
is glowing. all of them are broken.

and at the work place, where others may seem
so put together or so confident and on top of things, never ever
forget that every single one of them has holes they have fallen
into and places where they have tripped and fallen on their faces.

broken marriages, or ones barely holding
together. imperfect children or cancer growing in some
tissue or organ of their bodies or minds or souls.

and when you watch t.v. or glance through a magazine
and see these seemingly-flawless and beautiful and rich and
glamorous actors and movie stars with diamonds on their fingers
and couture clothes and fancy, fancy cars and houses, just NEVER
forget that if it took beauty and wealth and fame to make someone
happy, then why are most of them in and out of treatment centers?
with several marriages under their belts, or having mutilple children
and often no commitment of marriage?

because matter what...
is broken. and no one is superior to another. we are
all miracles. individually created by an amazing God. every
single detail of each of us, whether we have pieces that are
easy to accept or not. and somehow, because of sin and the
dark forces that wrestle and push and try to destroy each beautiful,
amazing life, things happen to us. usually, almost always as we
are very young, that wound and scar us. and we can grow up to all
kinds of applause and greatness, but buried deep is the curse of sin
and shame and raw need to be whole and safe and knit with completeness.

so we all...
no matter how much we fight and try to crush the giants...
are broken. and without Jesus. we are hollow and empty and
filled with desperate desire to be unconditionally loved and at peace.

i cry as i write.
i so need more of the Savior,
and the people i see every day do.
and i so want them to KNOW about Jesus.
to hear. to not be alone. without Him.

do not despair about brokenness.
Jesus says His strength is made perfect
in weakness. that He raises beauty out of ashes.
we can rise. we can run. we can fly. somehow
God makes it so. embrace your pain. make sorrow your
friend. lay your humanity, vulnerably, before those around
you so they will not feel alone in their chasms of failure and need.
and we can all know peace. God's peace that quietly soaks through
all our need and brokenness.

Friday, September 28

did you notice the wide sky above this
morning while you drove your children to school?
a bird flying by, wings flapping in the air? the trees
laden with fruit and the flowers planted along the way?
did you feel the air on your skin, and remember that it
is the breath of God?

just reminding us,
as we rinse dishes and head out the door
to schools,or work,
or to run some errands, that we not forget to notice the
beauty God created all around us. to help our children
and grandchildren and friends to lift their eyes from
computers and cell phones and tablets and see the
amazing world Jesus created for us. and all those
waiting for please tell them
there is a Savior who loves them and knows them

i see the world looking down so often, a device
of some kind in their hands. or a phone at their ears.
sometimes, i have a phone at my ear, too. but RISE.
go to the window. peek out and take in a deep breath and
try to remember, as i do, that God created a magnificent world
for us...and gave us a mission to love and bring His Redemption
to all those around us.

good-bye to so much stress and rush and worry and
distraction and pain and fear. let's throw open our arms
and rise above the world and watch God lead us to higher
places. much, much clearer realms where we can somehow
forget about perfection and personal accomplishment... and
"shod our feet"...and see just where He leads us and how
glorious His habitat is around us.

"Jesus, please enlarge our territories!"

Thursday, September 27

line by line by line.
all your beautiful birthday wishes
and comments. of your love and
prayers and cheering me on. standing
up and waving the flags and telling me,
from your hearts, that you love me and care
about me and are praying for me and celebrate
another year in my life.

i opened my computer with no sense in the world
that i would be so cheered and blessed.
about the only real accomplishment of my day was
my extended time with God this morning. from
there, things just seemed to sort of fly here and there.

one of my great friends is paying the extra for me to
get a GOOD, new phone instead of this one next to me
on the table. with the back gone, and the battery falling out,
and then, the keys sticking, and i have to take everything apart
and blow on it and put it back together again. a phone where i
can read my emails from home...and my facebook...even though
there is no internet in that spot where i live.

my two-year contract is finally finished, and i dashed into at&t to
get the galaxy lll, the phone my children had researched, and said
was better for me than the iphone or any other. and rob and his
family waiting...waiting... waiting for me to receive their incredible gift.

suddenly, my phone rang (while i was waiting in line, flushed with excitement),
and a friend was upset with me. i had them erase my name
from the wait list, and ran to a loaned car, and sat and wept.

without knowing about all your beautiful comments still locked
in my computer. and forgetting that the devil is out to set us against
each other. to make us think it is about us when it is really about
principalities and powers fighting all around us. trying to tear us
apart from each other. friend from friend. husband from wife and
vice versa. family from in-laws. church against church.

so...if i can pick up my new phone before celebrate recovery
tonight, or will wait until tomorrow...i know everything is going to
be okay. and God knew just HOW MUCH i would need all your
kindness and love. He planned my birthday to not only surprise
and BLESS me by all of you, but to teach me a lesson about good
and evil, and how important it is that we all remember. and forgive
each other. and build bridges to each other. and know that when a
slap comes unexpected, it is really not about our friend or mate or
family, but darkness trying to shut out the SON. so....

please...please know HOW much i love you all. and every word
you type to me...every thought...moves me in ways i can't even
describe. i am weakness and imperfection, stumbling along life's
path, and i don't know how i would make it if Jesus didn't send you
to run up beside me, and lift my arms. and whisper in my ear. and
still keep praying for my car. we are fighting the war together, and
i am with you, too. with Jesus, until the end of the world......

Wednesday, September 26

have you seen the movie, "machine gun preacher"?
the book, "a true story of one man's battle to save children
in the sudan", is available on amazon.

"another man's war: the true story of...." sam childers, author
it would be a very inspiring read, i think.

colson flew to dallas two days ago to be with
brock, my second oldest. we ALL feel so great about
this. he is already being considered for management at
a mcdonald's a half-mile down the road from where brock
lives. he is safe. thank you, so much, for your faithful prayers
for me and my children.

glorify the SON!
glorify the beautiful One.
Jesus Christ, our Savior and Mighty One.

Tuesday, September 25

let me tell you what i did yesterday with
my three hours with colben. the baby-doll
of my life.

brandt is deployed, but when i walked into
their little house, he was skyped on the computer
setting right where i could see him. a huge surprise.
such a blessing. and we tried to visit, but colben had
just awakened from his nap and ran into my arms with
two of his little fingers in his mouth. and when this baby
shows up, i just forget everyone and everything. i'm so
absorbed and charmed by this precious baby boy that
everything sort of becomes a blur. brandt and i spoke of
how much we love each other, and he checked out. i
somehow, inspite of all my flaws and failures, have the
four, most-loving sons.

well, jasmine has her first cousin living with her (i LOVE
this 17yr. old like i love jasmine), and i gave them a little
money to go have lunch somewhere, and a raley's grocery
store gift card that this amazing friend of mine sent. they
are going on a camping trip this week end with their church,
and i told them to buy whatever they needed at the store.
i felt like a millionaire being able to give them that gift card.
i carry that gift card around as if it is solid, pure, 24carat gold.

they headed out the door, colben and i waved good-bye.
and then, we began to play together. dragging toys out of
the toy box. opening his dresser drawers, and letting him
pull out his clothes. then, we put everything away, and i
started looking for his shoes. gone! i called jasmine, and
she laughed. the shoes were in her car, with her. so...i put
little shorts on him, went out the door with him on my hip,
and told him we were going to get ice cream. out of the house
and into the sunshine where people were watering their lawns
and motorcycles and buses were passing and dogs barking
behind fences. rite-aid was three blocks away, with only
gravel on the side of the road to walk on. i in my flats, and
an atm card in my pocket.

we waved at people and sang all his favorite little songs that
are ours and when i said, "oh, grandma loves you!" he leaned
over and kissed me on my lips. i didn't put him in his fancy
stroller because i couldn't talk to him and sing with him. so
i walked on little stones in the worst shoes imaginable, and
set him on my hip and headed, with focus, to treat him to ice

we got a bubble-gum cone...the worst colors possible...that
ran down his chin and onto his tummy (i had taken his shirt off)
and all over his hands. pink and blue everywhere, even in his
hair. we sat on a patch of grass in front of the store and with
every lick, he'd say "yummmmm". over and over. and now and
then he would hand it to me, to have a lick. people and cars
passed and there we sat, and i didn't care what anyone thought.
not one single bit. we went back into rite-aid's restroom so i
could wash him off, and headed home on the arduous walk in
the blistering sun. complete and joyful and filled.

glorifying Jesus! that is what i did all the time i was there,
and on the long drive home. glorifying the awesome and amazing
God who made me and gave will and me these four, treasured
sons, and now, colben. a baby doesn't care how old you are,
or if your make-up is right or if you are over-weight with a crooked
nose and pursed lips. all they see is the love.

that is how we are to love each other. NEVER to judge anyone,
but only see their hearts. and unconditionally, pour whatever we
have into them so they will feel whole and free and complete no
matter what imperfections and pain they have. this is how God loves
us. ALL of us. i GLORIFY Him, and ask Him, over and over,
to forgive me for every second i forget and see a flaw in someone
rather than just loving them exactly as they are.