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.

Monday, September 24

yesterday my friend loaned me her car.
yes, how amazing it is to have incredible, beautiful
people in our lives. i have some of the very
finest and best on earth. you all are some of
them. i've made it purely by the loving investments
others have poured along the sidewalk of my life.

i know you think i am never going to get a car.
but i am saving everything i
i can buy the very one God is saving for me. i KNOW
He has one. i absolutely know. through all my tears,
i have come to complete peace about this.

i drove to marysville
where brandt and jasmine and my only,
doll-baby grandson live. i literally never knew
HOW MUCH i could love a baby the way i do
colben. born on thanksgivng day almost two
years ago. there is some shape of miracle that
he should pop his beautiful, curly, little head into
the world on such a special day. the children were
all home for turkey, and we got to watch colben's
birth instead. imagine!!! God gathered everyone,
and surprised us with a gift that made turkey and
mashed potatoes and gravy seem like chicken nuggets.

when i am with colben, all the hard things in my life
completely disappear. i laugh and cry and giggle and
kiss him and tickle him and crawl around the house on
my hands and knees until he can't stop giggling. he is
beautiful and precious and untouched by ugly things. oh,
life will come along and bruise him and hurt him, but not
today. thank Jesus, not yet.

and he and i have a special relationship. special.
we have our own language. we are completely content
in each other's arms. safe and joyful and at peace as
if flowers grew in gravel and thunder was dressed up in
choirs and dust was like perfume and uncontaminated.
he chatters incessantly and tries to say every word i say.
his head is full of fly-away curls going in every direction,
and he is sweet. so sweet. he has the look of mischief
in his eyes exactly like brandt did as a baby, and the
caramel-cream color of jasmine's skin. he's perfect and such a
gift and i am crying as i write this because i am so
grateful for him. for my beautiful daughter-in-law who
so selflessly shares him. for God's massive love that
created colben and knew it would be one of His finest gifts
in my life.

continued tomorrow.....

Sunday, September 23

my Bible study is on genesis.
that God, and Jesus in Him, created the
whole world. poured form into nothingness.
rivers and winding streams and mornings
fresh and shining with a golden sun. and darkness
when we lay down our burdens, and turn off the lights,
and kiss the children and sleep.

along with snakes and horses and giraffes and fish
of the sea and every redwood and rustling tree, He
decided to create man and woman. and families. and
His joy and real purpose for us is to simply glorify Him.
praise Him and love Him and rejoice in Him and trust Him
inspite of all our brokenness and struggles and this journey
called life. to celebrate that God is bigger and higher and
greater than all earthly things. that if we glorify Him, He will
deliver us out of every distress. that worry really is unnecessary.

oh, i have problems with worry. it is as if the devil creeps into
my mind and heart while i am sleeping, and takes a cat-scan
of my life and stamps these little wrinkles of concern and fear
and uncertainty in my mental wiring. and i cave in because i'm
not hiding enough of God's Word in my heart. and quieting
myself. stopped. still. wrapping up in His arms. remembering
that Jesus has ALWAYS worked EVERYTHING out! in 66 years,
He has NEVER failed me. never. ever. ever.

amazing love.
amazing love.
that Jesus came.
and is our Redeemer.
yes, we are human and imperfect and we
forget and get scared, but God still smiles on us
and longs for us. longs for our bowed heads and
humbled knees and shouting praises and joy.

oh, may Jesus come to us today.
may we allow Him to fill us completely.
to know His thoughts and ways are so beyond
ours, and in God's eyes, everything makes sense.
everything is allowed in our lives for His shaping and

worship. glorify. praise.
run with His joy shining in your eyes
and spilling out of your arms and toes and
onto all those around you. wave your arms.
lie flat on your face in pure, unsullied awe for
everything He is and does. glorify. glorify.

Saturday, September 22

i remember how sober i always felt
when i had a new book coming out.
i was always aware that God would expect
me to live up to every word i had written.
every emotion i had expressed.

yesterday was a long, busy day.
the closer evening came, the more
i tried to talk myself out celebrate recovery.
tired. a hot bath. pick up groceries. and
then, every time that thought came, i remembered
i had just written a blog about going to meetings
you've commited to. and that the worse you feel,
the more blessed you usually will be.

i worked on emails.
made phone calls.
stayed in town until 7 p.m.
when celebrate recovery started. the
first hour is worship and teaching or
a testimony. the second hour is made
of individual groups. different addictions.
food. anger. co-dependancy. drugs and
pills. i've been attending the co-dependant
group. there were maybe ten of us.

my teeth weren't brushed. my hair was
tied back in a ponytail. nothing fresh on.
i walked into a small room. purse slung over
my shoulder. timid. quiet. smiling. blue eyes
cast around the table; checking each woman.
and sharing began.

the woman who lost her son, and found a deeper
walk than she ever imagined with the Lord. another
has four children, with a boyfriend to pay the bills and
children being children. one smoking pot. another sent
off to live with her father. we all had a good laugh over
the woman who has been married 36 years, and can't
stand that her husband follows her around, turning off
the lights after her. i just listened. that is what i needed.
each confession touched me in some special way.

it was almost 10 p.m. when i walked in my front door.
weary....but blessed. restored. so aware of everyone
else's struggles rather than my own. carried beyond myself
to a higher realm where all the other broken people are
trying to make it. with courage. and heart. i fell into
bed so grateful i shoved myself out of panera's to the
celebrate recovery meeting. fighting every darkness
that tried to thwart me. hallelujah. amen.

Friday, September 21

tap your mind.
trace Scripture verses that give you
courage to move forward. to stand.
with face to the rising Son where all our
help and hope and deliverance comes.

"my eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He
shall pluck my feet out of the net." psalm 25:15

"I have cared for you since you were born.
yes, i carried you before you were born.
I will be your God throughout your lifetime...
until your hair is white with age.
I made you and i will care for you.
I will carry you along and save you."

"trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and
lean not on thine own understanding. in all
thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct
thy path." prov. 3:5-6

most of my gray is covered with color.
i run alittle differently on one of my feet.
i have run down a very long road. up and
around and down and under and trudging back
to the surface of genuine deliverance. some-
times i am not running, but merely crawling.

God has been my Lord for all these 66 years.
faithful and loyal and true to me no matter what
anyone else thinks or what i've fallen into.

tuck your favorite Scriptures into the crevices
of your mind. the more you can squeeze in, the
more power you have in your reserve. every
word God speaks is true. His promises rock-solid.
may we discover fresh truths. may His promises
help us to run with fervor and joy. yes! run and feel
the wind at our backs and touch all those who pass
our way. His promises say we can!

Thursday, September 20

having a quiet time
every morning is such a
challenge for me. there are
so many other things calling out
to me for attention.

always wanting to call jan, first thing.
my twin. my best friend. my confident.

my latest mystery novel.
i ALWAYS have a book by my bed.
something to lose myself in. a story
that transports me from my worries and
pressures at home to someone else's story.
at night, i can scarcely put my latest book down.
and in the early morning (my hardest time of every day),
i want to grab that book.

if i had internet where i live,
it would be another battle to deal with.
but, as you know, as of right now i have
no internet. panera's my source.

spending time with Jesus should always
be the FIRST thing on our list every single day.
praising Him. basking in His blessings. His glory.
His gifts. putting on our spiritual armour. handing
Him all our worries and cares. our dreams that
might seem so far off and even impossible.
pleading....earnestly pleading....for God to cover
our children. to heal their wounds. to draw them
to Himself, whatever that means. and for me?

i am just claiming the Blood.
life is ALL about the Blood of Jesus.
the Blood that buries our darkness and
raises us to stunning, fresh light.
the Blood that promises forgiveness for
our daily sins and comfort for our wounded
souls. giving our day to God is the only way
to really begin. i think of that day of my car
accident. how i walked out the door, forgetting
my quiet time, and walked back inside to my
prayer place. never suspecting that within a half
mile of where i live, i would be thrown into a real
life and death situation. i'm so grateful i didn't
forget God that morning!

time is not important.
the yearning and reaching out
to the Savior of our souls is. tomorrow,
first thing, remember to run to Jesus.
the Music that resonates in our darkest
nights and greatest victories. He is always
waiting for us.

Wednesday, September 19

monday night is bible study fellowship.
tuesday is celebrate discovery.
thursday night is my 12-step group.

so many many weeks...i don't feel
like attending any of these. i do everything in my
power to talk my way out. to ask the Lord to please
give me a break on one of these meetings. but...
i pull on fresh clothes. brush my teeth. and head
out the door. struggling. so many times.

and then, i arrive at my meetings. wind-blown
by life and struggles and demands. and ALWAYS,
before i head home, i've been touched. heard something
i needed. convicted by some sin or error in my day or week.
changed. somehow. renewed. filled. quieted.

when you feel as i do, grab your jacket. walk yourself,
forcefully, if need your car. and wait and watch
for the surprises that await you. the most difficult
days bring the best healing. a new friend. an answer
to one of your prayers. just try it. you'll see!

Monday, September 17

just as the celebrate group meetings were ending,
my phone rang and it was colson. "colson?!
hi, darling. what's up?"

"well...i'm in the hospital.
went home with a guy from mcdonald's,
and we were watching t.v. when the front door
was crashed backward, and three guys walked
in, all pointing guns at me."

"oh, colson, how awful!! do you have any enemies?"
"no, mom, none! one guy came over and pointed the
gun at my forehead, pressing the cold metal into my skin."

"i reached up and pushed the gun and this guy away from me.
with two other guns pointed at me during all of it. the guy i
pushed, took his gun and gashed a big hole in my head above
my temple, and it knocked me out. when i came to, blood was
squirting from my head everywhere."

colson said they were looking for pills or drugs, neither of
which his buddy or he had. once again, they forced colson
to his knees. placed the gun above his temple, and he said,

"mom, i prayed. i confessed all my sins to Jesus and told
Him i was ready to come Home." this time, i knew it was real.
suddenly police sirens could be heard, and they ran, and the
ambulance took colson to the emergency room, gluing and
sewing up and taking care of him. police, detectives, everyone
was there, colson said. "mom, i don't think i want to live in maryland
anymore. i'm so far away from from all of you."

taylor called.
"tell him we are a family, and we'll
do whatever we have to do to see him through this, mom."

brock said, "colson could stay here(dallas). there is a mcdonald's
a half mile from my place, and lots of restaurants. and he can get a one-
bedroom for what he is paying now."

so, we've encircled colson with all our love.
a family that sticks together and works things out
among us. five andersons and God.

a month-plus ago, i wasn't to be alive in the head-on collision.
but Jesus tucked me in the only little pocket of the car where
anyone had a chance of living. and now colson. our lives have
been spared from dramatic events. NOTHING touches God's children
unless He allows it. glorious, glorious, glorious God! amen.

but we must be ready. none knows the time or hour
God decides to take us home. no one.

i continue to love every
single comment you send me. every one!!!

Sunday, September 16

"amazing grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.....i once
was lost, but now am found. was blind but
now i see...." beautiful, old hymn written by
someone who was once a prodigal.

i was in all day. no car, and wishing the
country roads weren't so dangerous because
i would have pulled on my running shoes and
run into town. Jesus just keeps seeming to say
"wait!" one of the hardest things for us humans to do.

my thoughts somehow dwelled on "a wretch like me."
there simply is NO good in me. i look back to the sins
of my youth. to the multiple holes i thought i'd never be
able to climb out of. the unkind words. loss of dignity
and screaming. the moments i've thought of myself instead
of others.

grace: unmerited favor from God. freely given. cannot be earned.
i can actually taste the beauty of it. roll it around in my thoughts.
and fall on my knees. my lashes wet with tears. i've fallen
so short. gotten so lost. been so discouraged instead of abounding
in praise and faith. self. so wrapped up, at times of great insecurity,
by self. but.....

listen to the pipe organist.
feel the power. we do not have to be wretched souls.
Jesus lives, and grace was born, and our slates can be
wiped clean every day. in a second. as soon as we call on Him.

amazing grace.
amazing grace.

Saturday, September 15

"as the deep panteth for the water,
so my soul longeth after Thee...You
alone are my heart's desire, and i long
to worship You...."

"You alone are my strength and shield.
to You alone does my spirit yield.
You,alone, are my heart's desire and
i long to worship you...."

i long for God
more than for the sun to shine
and the oceans to roll. more than
laughter and honor and success and blessing.

i long for God
more than the evening skies and
the rainbow after rain and the breeze on
a balmy afternoon.

oh, yes, You are my heart's desire.
i yearn for Your handprint on my shoulder.
for the sound of your robes as You pass by.
for Redemption to run through my veins and
soul like a river. flow, river, flow.

stand by me, Lord.
please don't weary in pulling me
back to my feet after i fall again and again.
trace the feet of my children. follow them and
nudge them and show them whether to turn to
the left or the right. stand by my boys, Lord.
oh, yes, stand by. help them...and be
quiet enough to listen. to hear You.

all my fellow warriors need you, too.
with every piece of us, we seek You.
stay near. stay near until the last hymn is
sung and the last breath is given and we are
led into You Presence forever and ever and ever.

Friday, September 14

i received this amazing call last night
as i was headed home from the 12-step meeting.
a beautiful woman of God in modesto (one hour from
here where colson and brandt graduated from high
school) called. she is one of my major prayer warriors.
is there any better gift than that? especially when i go
through stretches of hard times as i have recently.

monica, and lupe (another prayer warrior), wanted
to come today. pick me up since i have no car, take
me to lunch, and around anywhere to get errands done.
i felt the heat of love rising from my toes
to the top of my head. a friday with something to look
forward to!!! so.....

we had chinese food for lunch (a real spread), stopped
at the grocery store, and are here at panera's. while i
am doing these blogs, they are sitting at another table,
just visiting and waiting. can there be a better gift for
someone without a car?!!! and all of it surrounded by
great love.

"the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord
bestows favor and honor; no good thing will
He withhold from those whose walk is blameless."

if you were over-looked for the job you wanted....
or your house didn't sell for what you needed it to.
or someone else bought the used car you were hoping
for, just remember that God will never withhold anything
good from us. if He says "no" to what we are sure is
the right thing, just know that your best ideas are counter-
feit to what He has just ahead for you.

may we rise every day with the promise of surprise
and love and victory and thanksgiving. may we never
doubt that Jesus really does love us and is going to
bless us if we are His. i can't say my walk is "blameless".
i sin in word or thought every day, but somehow grace
covers, and miracles live. remember, life is ALL about love.
love is all there is and all there will ever be. divine, shining love.

Thursday, September 13

last night was my 12-step meeting.
we are working on step four. the first
request in our study book wanted us to write
about all the good things we've done.
many of the women had long lists of good
deeds. it made us all laugh.

following all the victories we shared, we
were asked to list all our failures. a much
more humbling, difficult task. these nine women
(including me) all have addiction backgrounds.
such courage and vulnerability.

i had to confess to my being a needy person.
having to perform to get praise and make sure
people liked me. i was terrified of rejection. didn't
know who i was beyond that except for my great, vast
love of God. and my desire for ALL to know Him, too.

then, there was performance. i had to run marathons.
not just 10k's. people would be more impressed. and
i wanted...longed for ...acceptance and love, so much
so that i lost my virginity to a married man at 27. becoming
addicted to pain pills after years of miscarriages and massive,
abdominal infections. then, learning to take the pills to numb
all the emotional pain in my marriage and the realizations
of many inadequacies in my life.

suddenly, we could all see it. that by the time we had
listed and shared most of our failures, we were brought low
from all the things we thought we had so honorably done in life.
being reminded that "Christ's power is made perfect in weakness.."
1 corinthians 10
that we are not here to brag about ourselves and draw attention,
but to be humble and filled with compassion and non-judgement
for others.

the essence of our power is NOT in how great we are, but
how great GOD is in redeeming our sins and failures so we
can be like Him and love as He loves in our neighborhoods.
on our own streets. in every store and by-way. with
bowed hearts, we love and serve. ALL for the glory of God.

Wednesday, September 12

one of my readers (barb miller) sent me a quote
that i really love. it is so much a part of what a mother (parents)
should have.

"the Lord is ever concerned with the heart, only the heart.
all of life is the exposure of the heart." martha kilpatrick

our children see clear through us.
they know us almost better than we know ourselves.
they've watched us since babyhood. no fooling them
about what our hearts are all about. and all the dynamics
that are going on in our lives and our homes.

"Lord, fill us with Your divine Love. close
our eyes to judgement and criticism and the
lack of emotion when it comes to loving our children.
when they are in the very center of your will or drug
addicts or stumbling around, wounded and stone silent
and withdrawn. wherever they are, may our hearts be
there. not with all the answers and lectures, but the quiet
gentleness that comforts and reassures and reveals Your
beautiful Spirit in us.

remember the HEART!!

Tuesday, September 11

do you ever watch TLC on t.v.?
especially the program "19 and counting"?
it entertains me. inspires me. and always
makes me feel just a little sad.

nineteen children who all love Jesus so much
and quote Scripture and express such contentment
and perfection that i have to keep myself from second-
guessing everything i've done as a mother. these
families have all these babies. home-school all of them.
usually grind their own wheat and make their own bread
and love Jesus and each other perfectly. they are always
smiling. the parents choose the children's wedding mates,
and no one kisses until they are at the altar, and they
all live happily ever after.

now i know life can't be this simple.
i have lived too long to believe that anyone
is perfect. everyone, if we live long enough, falls
into holes that God has to pull us out of along the way.
develops bad habits and thoughts and addictions
that Jesus has to deliver us from.
if moses and david and solomon and saint paul and
matthew, mark, luke and john needed Jesus because
of their moments of waywardness, then we all do , too.

i know some of these beautiful, home-schooling, big families.
they are beautiful. absolutely flawless in what i see. but
just remember that God loves all of us. and some of our
families weren't meant or called to be just like this.
that Jesus needs all our stories and all our failures and
struggles to help this big, lost, lonely, dark world see the
real heart of God.

perfection vs. wholeness.
my children and i are never going to be perfect,
but my prayer for the five of us and all the rest of
you warriors out there is that the Lord will take our
missteps and broken pieces and wrap the beautiful
yearnings and love in our lives all together and make
us whole. to help us each build our own choir.
write our own music. and with the glorious love of God,
sing our own music and be a part of changing the world, too.

Jesus reminds us not to compare ourselves to each other.
somehow, may we all keep remembering how unique and
needed we each are. that everyone has battles even if no
one can see them.

Sunday, September 9

i'm dressed for the gym.
going to run with my Partner.
listen to Him speaking to me.
guiding me. encouraging me.
opening my mind and heart.
before a good work-out is over,
i have toned my muscles a little
and pushed through my anxieties
and struggles....and communed
with Jesus. just the two of us.
running side-by-side.

thinking of our country.
of all that really matters in terms
of who becomes our next president.
praying. seeking. a friend told me
that nudity on television has gone up
400%. the united states is being led
down the path to deep, harrowing darkness.
please join me in prayer re: the election.
and the future of our country. what it
will mean for our children and grandchildren.

i hear the angels singing. i see the marching band.
i was reminded today, during a conference call i was
a part of, how powerfully great and good God really
is. and how His Spirit can draw people and lead
us. my eyes were tear-filled most of this conversation
between two Godly men and me. i listened, mostly,
and was reminded of HOW MUCH Jesus loves me.
it is very easy for me, if i let myself on hard days, to
genuinely grasp this. when we all disconnected,
i fell on my face. flat on the rug. humbled beyond
words that Jesus can really love a sinner like me.

"how marvelous...
and my song shall always be. how my Savior's
love for me." (an old hymn)
"be silent, and know
that i am God." psalm 46:10

I am the God of this afternoon.
and tomorrow. and next week.
of every moment and every sadness
and every unanswered prayer and
every seemingly-impossible situation.

I am Your God when no one seems to care.
when you feel so alone. when there is no
money for the bills and you have a prodigal
child. when your mate doesn't feel the same
about you and a long-loved friend begins to
back away.

I am your God when someone you cherish dies
or becomes very ill, and nothing makes sense,
and there seems no reason to keep going.

be still.
completely quiet.
and when absolutely nothing feels or
seems right, God is God, and He loves
us and has ways to blast away the darkness
and warm us with His glistening, all-pure and loving

be still.

Saturday, September 8

well, children are back in school again.
isn't it amazing HOW fast life passes?
where did summer go? when my children
were home, i was always so sad when school
started after all the hours of swimming and
sun and movies and staying up late. then....

back to schedules and early mornings
and homework and sports. i was born
to have fun and play and build happy
memories with my children.

yet, it always surprised me that i fell into
the new rhythm, and began to enjoy a set
cadence to each day.

life moves quickly.
enjoy your babies. your children as they grow.
watch each morning sky and know that you
have been given another fresh, clean day that
many haven't been given. life brings new
friends and fresh starts and so many things to learn.

my mother taught me as a child that there are very
few big moments in life. that most of living is
every day. ordinary moments. hard battles. big
lessons to learn. somehow, i pray that we can all
learn to be content in the ordinariness of life, and
truly celebrate when the beautiful surprises pop up.

i also learned from my mother that we each CHOOSE
whether to be happy or unhappy. positive or negative.
content or discontent. that it is all decided in our minds.
that we can be happy anywhere if we choose to be. to
whatever city God moves us.

you must know that i've had some of the saddest,
loneliest and poorest times of my life the past couple
years. i think living is very complicated, but i pray for all
of us today....that we will...

"rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him....he (we)
will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast,
trusting in the Lord. his heart is established..."
psalms (several parts)

kiss the face of a child.
fix your favorite sandwich or dessert.
pull out a funny memory so you can at least
smile while you cry. and know that God's and my
love follows you....and your love traces me...and
we can make it. Jesus promises!

Friday, September 7

as most of you know,
i live behind a great, big house
in a much smaller, beautiful, little
house. renting from some of my
dearest friends.

they have adult children that i
absolutely TREASURE! you could not
find more beautiful, thoughtful, loving
young adults anywhere. their mates
are the same, and the nine, little babies
and children are so sweet and precious
that they take my breath my
grandbaby does.

"hi, ann!" says gianni.
"hi, ann!" says charisma.

i kiss and hug them.
"i love you!" i tell them each time.
"i love you, too!" they respond.
all nine of them are five and under.

about a week ago,
natalia, the oldest daughter (they are all beautiful!)
was over to see her parents, and david, 4, and adam, 2,
were with her. i was chasing david down the hall and
into the kitchen to tickle him. he suddenly stopped.
still. arms at his side. this thoughtful, angelic look
on his face. now standing in the kitchen.

"ann, i want to hug you!"

i stopped. stunned. my heart and thoughts
melting into a pool of silent awe and love.
reaching out, i wrapped my arms under his.
and picked him up and hugged and hugged him.
kissing his neck. swinging him a little. snuggling

"i want to hug you!"
that had to be a part of the Divine.
it just had to. the heart of God inside
that exquisite, wide-eyed, little boy.

Jesus lives in the hearts of children.
He uses them to change the world.
pure. uncomplicated. untarnished by
the knocks of life and the darkness of
this world.

"Jesus loves the little children...
all the children of the world.
red and yellow, black and white,
all are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the

and david, i love you!!!
beautiful and amazing and anointed
little soldier of the Cross.

Thursday, September 6

"though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall be as wool." book of Isaiah

in all the Bible, there are no more beautiful
words to me than these. the story of
Redemption. of hope for the hopeless.
the weight....the terrible heaviness..of sin.
and God's ability, through Jesus, to lift
it. in an instant. a moment. to take the
sickness in our heads and the rage and
revenge in our hearts and heal us.
peace and the smile of God and clean
hope and promise.

"this is my story...this is my song....
praising my Savior all the day long.
this is my story...this is my song...
praising my Savior all the day long."

if you have lived long enough.
or are honest enough.
if you dig deep into the pulse of your soul,
you will know that there is no goodness in us.
none at all. not a speck or a drop. Jesus is
our Song. Jesus is our Redemption. Jesus is
our Goodness. He takes our ugly, twisted state...
our addictions and rage and fear and self-absorbed
games and washes us. cleans us up.

pour, cleansing flow, over us.
wash our eyes with Your tears of
complete forgiveness and love. may we
feel the Breeze of Your Presence.
and rest. and rest.

Wednesday, September 5

being a mother is the most wonderful
and amazing gift, next to the Lord, that
i've ever been given. i can still trace in
my mind all the little pieces of each of
my children's babyhood and growing-
up years. the laughter. the tears. the
books read. the baths. the bike rides.
putting all four in a grocery cart, and
stuffing groceries between all the little
arms and legs.

every season of my children's lives
have carried special joys. school.
sports. girls. friends congregating
at our place. all the nights i would sit
on the edges of their beds, or lie next
to them, and listen in the dark to all the
deepest thoughts of their hearts. their
thoughts pooled in deep places that
could only be reached in the dark after
long, noisy days.

we've had hard times, too.
i didn't have very many absolutes, but
a few that weren't always popular. colson
could not compute that you go to school
all day and come home with homework.
i learned that "d's" were becoming my
favorite letter in the alphabet. at least,
it meant passing. i knew how bright colson
was. he had been tested to be very smart.
maybe i was wrong, but top grades were not
at the top of my list for him. he was always
anxious and fearful, and i sought to help
him feel safe and protected.

today, i realize the greatest mission in my
life is to make sure my children really know the
Lord, and make it to Heaven. i believe they have
each accepted Jesus. that they love Him and trust Him.
but they are young. making such life-altering decisions.
i long that they lean hard on God. that they really
seek Him. the judgemental of the church have hurt
them. it is so important for them to grasp genuine
forgiveness and acceptance of others.

everything pales
compared to my mission
to pray for and love and listen to
the hearts of my children. it is NOT
the most important thing that they get ph.d's,
and drive fancy cars, and impress the world. it's
their hearts. where all the battles of life are
fought. all the victories and losses. and how
they allow Jesus to guide them through this narrow,
winding road where warriors are required, and love
must be born. until my last breath, my heart will be
crying out for my children's souls and spiritual journeys.

Tuesday, September 4

"He who dwells in the secret place of the
Most High shall remain stable and fixed under
the shadow of the Almighty (Whose power no
foe can withstand)." psalm 91:1 amp

today is september 3.
labor day week-end.
i awakened this morning,
thanking Jesus for being my Lord.
for understanding everything. even
emotions inside that i don't understand
fully. telling Him that i trust Him. that
i know He is good and gracious. speaking
love to Him as my Savior and Lord. my Partner.
my Running Hero. my Husband. the Father
to the fatherless, my four, beautiful, incredible

i felt so alone.
so many things i really need to do.
clean out my closet. scrub down the
kitchen and bathroom. all the floors.
everything looks clean because i love
order and an uncluttered affect, but it
doesn't change the fact.

and i have so much paperwork.
bills to pay and letters to write and a
checking account to balance. most
of my adult years, i have been very
spoiled. all the years of writing and
speaking. i had a full-time secretary and
a full-time accountant. and then a
husband. smile.

i think i am lazy inside,
and always pushing myself to
produce so as not to give in to it.

well, join me today.
wherever you are.
dwelling in the secret place
of our Redeemer. the One who
grasps the most intimate pieces
of our lives. the Only One who does!

Monday, September 3

dependant on Jesus!
completely relying on Him.

such a challenging calling
when we somehow feel we must
take care of business ourselves.
oh, we pray about it. try to hand it over
to Jesus. but somehow, most of the time,
we just keep thinking God needs our help.

i've been on a new adventure.
i've looked at car lots. hours and hours.
i've pulled over to an area where people park
their cars for sale. lined up. side-by-side.
my children have been helping by sending me
possibilities on craig's list. i've stayed in my little
house for several days at a time, because i have no
way to do anything unless someone takes me. and
i've cried and felt anxiety and worry crawl over me
like a disease.

back to my new adventure.
every day now, i just awaken and thank
God that He has it all covered. that i have
NO idea how to find a car, but He does,and
He is going to do it for me. i am filled with
joy. my worry and sadness has been lifted.
i can't. HE CAN!!

and this is about more than another car.
it's about the dental bill. and all the paperwork.
and when can i see my grandbaby? and jan?
and what about my toes? is it because i've run
so many miles, that they are beginning to look
flat out pitiful? well, whatever it is, i'm depending
on Jesus to lift me up. help me dance. surprise
me with all the creative ways He provides and
fixes and unfolds miracles.

the tires need to be replaced?
you've just learned your child is autistic?
one of your children needs a real mood adjustment?
just scoop it all up.
lay everything in the Savior's loving arms.
depend. wait. watch.
begin the greatest adventure of your life!

Sunday, September 2

after reading all your responses about my 'bossy friend',
i have re-evaluated how healthy it is for me to just suck it in.
thanks for all your input, and the comments about drawing
boundaries. very good input. this is one of my best friends.
we have so many wonderful times together, but this piece of
the relationship has been very difficult. i never want to be
unteachable. i always want to live in a spirit of humility, knowing
there is yet so much for me to learn. you pray for me, please, and
i will ask God to guide me in this situation.

thank you, again, for all your love and kindness that you send my way
day after day after day. with warmest love, ann