Thursday, January 31

i dropped a dress off at the cleaners.
veronica came running.
between the counters. arms flung
wide; ready to embrace me. i
wrapped her in all the love of my
heart, and kissed her cheeks as she
did mine.

"hi, veronica. I love you!"
"oh, ann," in broken English, "I love YOU!"

as I was leaving,
she clasped her hands together.
eyes shining and happy.
"oh, ann, you make my day!"

I can't open the door. i'm transfixed
by such glee.. such joy. such love. oh......
Jesus, show me how to love
veronica to You. please Jesus.
do i take her one of my simple,
little books? she has no idea i'm
a writer. just show me, Lord.
write Your insructions across my

oh, if you could just meet dotti,
my pastor's wife. she's a dream.
a graduate of julliard. mother of
three grown sons. and a warrior
of all warrriors. leads a prayer and
healing ministry. human and fun
and loving...and sassy and beautiful
and completely focused on Jesus.

last night, she started her prayer
class. this is my third year to attend.
i came home, changed by the first
lecture. hungry for every morsel
she hands us to digest. starving for
a fresh touch from God. to run the
road closest to God's heart.

prayer is talking to and listening
from God. the Divine and human
connecting. at a specific time and
place every day. listen to this: she
is a night person, and she meets
Jesus every morning at 5:30 a.m..
i so want to commit to that hour. i
long for that discipline i had back in
my peak running days. marathon
training. being faithful to Jesus is
a marathon. the ultimate Race.

as a young, pastor's wife,
she committed to one hour of prayer a day.
real prayer costs us
something, and satan will do
everything to stop us.
dotti's commitment was not just an hour a
day...but one hour every day FOR

"call unto Me, and I will show you
great and mighty things you know not. call unto

i'm calling, Jesus.
i want to hear You. i need more
power in my life.
coming, Lord. coming.

Wednesday, January 30

taylor and i head for the gym.
it draws us like magnets. and
i think i can get him some free
passes. gabe, the manager, is
cool. something warm and humble
about him. no airs.

the gym is swarming with brawn
and sweat and noise. some real
athletes; others working at it. the
guy running next to me is moaning
and making weird noises. the guys
around me stare at him. catch my
eyes...and we share private smiles.
I want to tell him i've run 15 miles,
without a sound...but I choose grace.
five miles and an hour of
continual motion. that's as far as
I took it tonight.

taylor is always in the weights section,
and has chiseled upper
arms as all my sons have. I realize
i'm not going to make it to Bible Study Fellowship even
though my Bible and notes are in the car.
it's going to alter my week.
I learn so much in Bible study.

people have been commenting on
my blogs. speaking of the seemingly
unconditional love I have for my
children, but how tough I am on myself..
starting on character defects in my 12-step study,
I hope to learn what i'm missing. please be
praying for me.

eight days before brandt returns
from deployment. please pray
colson's boss will let him come
home, too. a complete family to
celebrate our love...and all we've
been through together.

thanks to those who point out short-comings...
and those who reassure me i'm doing this blog
just fine. i've learned there is at
least a thread of truth in every
criticism i've ever been handed.
how I long to learn and grow and
be all you and Jesus need me to be.

God promises He is going before us
and guide us in everything we will
face this week. march forward,
fellow warriors. let's see where
Jesus takes us this week. i'm
counting on changing the world.
one person at a time....and I love
you all so much!! Isaiah 51

Tuesday, January 29

i was invited to a private showing of a movie in
modesto, an hour away. taylor was showered and
ready, with not so much as a murmur of complaint.
it was at a small church, where my dear friends,
aubrey and monica mcgann pastor.

taylor is looking for a job.
with fresh degree in film under his arm.
we had decided we'd go and do whatever,
and see if God had a surprise waiting for us.
somewhere. it is amazing and incredible how
God can draw people together for God-ordained
purposes in the most unexpeced meetings and
encounters. it was a precious time. and i was
so proud having my son. rarely am i in public
with one of my children, able to share the joy of
their spirited, bright, clear-eyed goodness.

please pray.
for God's perfectly-shaped, next assignment
for taylor. and the perfect wife. one who will
love Jesus and taylor through thick and thin.

tomorrow night is bsf.
but let me share some Scripture that lays out
our dilemma as Christians.

romans 7:14
we know law is spiritual, but i am unspiritual...
sold as a slave to sin. vs.15..i do not understand what i do
for what i want to do i do not do but
what i hate i do. vs. 16..and if i do what i do not want to do,
i agree the law is good. vs. is no longer i myself who do
it, but it is sin living in me. i have the desire to do what is good,
but i cannot carry it out.

so i cry out.
may Jesus lead us out of ourselves.
of our bent to sin. and may we worship...worship...
clinging to the heart of God. sin can have
no hold over us....for that was all settled and taken
care of on the Cross.

don't be too hard on yourselves today.
but still believe victory can be ours.
and we can overcome. yes! we can.
ALWAYS, in Christ's power, overcome.
by the BLood of the Lamb. and the stripes
of Jesus by which we are healed.

we will NOT be shamed.
defeated. hopeless. we are victors
in the Race.

Monday, January 28

who out there fears God?
actually listens to the voice of His servant?
for anyone out there who doesn't know where you're going,
anyone groping in the dark,
here's what: TRUST IN GOD.
LEAN on your God." isaiah 50 the Message

it was one of my regular, sort of struggling
days when i called my friend to see how she was.
she and her husband are opening a health club.
and it is very close...just a walk, my gym.

well, she was working 18-hr. days, trying to get
the place ready to open. going over right then to
put another coat of something on the cement floors.

i grabbed my running shoes and work-out clothes.
jumped in the car. hopped onto 5S, and headed to meet
her. she was just finishing the job. backing out the
front door as she rolled the last corner of the room.

"why don't we go to the gym and do one mile?"
i asked her. one mile sounds sort of pitiful, but i
figured we could do one. she had no work-out clothes,
but her running shoes on...and jeans. for one mile,that
would work, and i love her because she's game for

we got on machines, side-by-side,
and i started flying through this mile.
we talked and laughed and shared...
and i don't think i even got winded. it
was so fast. quick. easy. we hop off
at the mile mark, and decide to go get
some dinner. it's dark. cold. and while
we are at the restaurant, she asks what
i'm going to do?

"go home, i guess. read...and go
to bed. i'm tired. why? what are you
going to do at this late hour?"

"well, i think i'm going to go back to the
club and give the floors one more coat."'

"now? at this hour???" i ask.
"yes. it won't take me long."
"well, you are not going alone.
that is for sure. i'll go with you.
it's dangerous over there at this hour."

we hugged. i filled my tank with gas,
and followed her back onto the freeway.
she found a tall stool for me to sit on, and
put on some Christian music, and while she
rolled a gloss of some sort on the entire floor,
again...i wondered how many layers it was going
to take....
i peeked out the window to make sure no one
broke into my car, and we talked about Jesus.
and dreams. that dreams cannot only live, but
stretch and reach and grow....and eventually change
the world.

when we hugged and kissed and said, "good-night",
and got into our separate cars for home, my heart
was dancing. yes...
"let me be singing when the sun goes down..."
10,000 reasons

i want to be busy helping others watch their
dreams live. helping them get going. cheering
them on. running together, and tapping the
world with God's magnificent glory as we go.

Saturday, January 26

a gray morning. rain.
but nothing can shut the sun's
warmth out when we have

"bless the Lord, oh, my soul...
oh, my soul. bless His holy
Name....worship His holy Name.
worship His Holy Name."

taylor drove up from monterey.
"mom, tomorrow we are just
going to hang out. i'm going to
help find a better table for your
t.v....and we could go to a movie.
anything that sounds good to you."

we were making his bed on the
couch. truly, a wonderful son. he
had put his arms around me, and
was giving me a tight hug.

not one night in weeks have I
slept clear through until last
night. I forgot how incredibly
peaceful that is. one of my sweet
sons home. not alone. wrapped in

"worship His holy Name.
worship His holy Name."
10, 000 reasons

Friday, January 25

12-step meeting.
almost didn't go, but my friend
got me there. special. special.
so much hurt and struggle and pain
and nine women who work all day,
with families, but still make it. we
are sisters. they've been reading my
books, and are full of love and vulnerability
and utterly dedicated to this journey we're on.

we are getting ready to dive into character defects.
i've got some major ones, so i forge ahead, praying
for God to give me the courage to be honest ....and
keep working my issues through. punishing my body
and spirit to remain strong and intact for the glorious
Redeemer who calls us to a hard, but magnificent Race.

taylor is home a few days.
he drives in. walks through the front door.
gives me the tightest hug, and everything
changes for both of us. we are together.
not alone. not trying to find our way in complete
solitude from one another.

"bless the Lord, oh, my soul...
oh, my soul. worship His holy Name...
sing like Heaven above. oh my soul.
worship His holy Name. worship His
holy Name." 10,000 reasons

brandt returns from his 6 mos. deployment.
back to jasmine and colben and his brothers
and me. excited is hardly the word. how we've
missed him. someone is helping us so we can
all be together for a wk.end. to celebrate brandt...
and colson's 25th birthday..and taylor's graduation
from college. a little piece of Heaven along the way
to pump fresh hope into our veins, and call the love in
that has held us together as a family for so long.
through so much.

a comment came to me from one of you that stung
at first. hurt my feelings, until i really began to pray
and ask God to reveal her truth to me. she was speaking,
very lovingly, about the words we speak, and that they have
life. so when i write about my insecurities and the holes
i can fall in so easily, she suggested they might invoke
things that aren't healthy and good. that God covers us
with promises, and i should speak joy and promise and
blessing. it helped me. and she was right.

it is like, for me, a need to let you know the humanity
of my life. that it doesn't matter how many books we've
written or the millions that have read them, we are still
broken people. delivered by the clean, fresh, faithful
promises of God. picked up, again and again, because
we may lose patience with each other, but Jesus never
loses patience with us. pray for me. that i will speak
more Light into your lives. and into my own.

"sing like never before, oh, my God...
worship His holy Name. worship His holy

Thursday, January 24

"Savior, like a shepherd lead us...
much we need Thy tender care.
in Thy pleasant pastures feed us.
for Thy use our souls prepare."

"blessed Jesus...blessed Jesus...
Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.
blessed Jesus...blessed Jesus...
Thou hast bought us, Thine we are."

old hymn sung at my wedding.
one i've loved all my life.
Jesus is my Shepherd,
and i long for Him to lead me
because i am His and He is mine.
what sweet fellowship. what comfort.

Wednesday, January 23

"let me be singing when the evening
comes...sing like never before...worship Your
Holy Name...worship Your holy day...:

so many things can happen from when
we open our eyes in the morning, until evening
begins to tip-toe into the atmosphere, and we realize
the day is winding down. good surprises. happy lunches
with friends. thirty minutes of shopping that unfolds a
bargain we weren't even hoping for.

then, of course, there's the argument that broke
out in a split-second disagreement. the accident.
the bill in the mail that we've hoped not to receive.
or, for me, it is sitting in my group in celebrate recovery,
and someone is talking about a friend she is contemplating
walking away from.

is she talking about me?
we've been so close. for so long.
why? could it be me? and pain begins
to run down my throat. down the back of my
neck. piercing my heart like a small, sharp knife.

i had made it to celebrate recovery.
with so many friends i love.
hugs and "hi! ann" and warmth moving
around our table. love and security.
i thought.

now, i don't know.
the warmth is gone.
the pain is escalating.
my brain is expanding and pounding
and thinking almost as fast as a super
train going 80 miles an hour.
am i that friend?
what happened?

and then...
Jesus draws me in.
wraps me in His shimmering warmth,
and talks to me. we are friends. Jesus and i.
just as you and Jesus are.

"i am the Lord..they shall not be ashamed who wait
for Me. blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. You
will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed
on You, because he trusts in soul, wait silently
for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is
my Rock,and my salvation. He is my defense..." isaiah, jeremiah

oh, Lord,
"let me be singing when the evening comes....
sing like never before. worship Your Holy Name...
worship...He is higher than we ever can imagine,
and closer than our eyes can ever see...magnificent...
You are magnificent..." 10,000 reasons

help us to sing, Lord.
help us to sing.
not because it is easy....this thing called 'life'.
but if we sing of You, we remember
that You promise to NEVER leave us or
forsake us. never. ever. ever.
glorious God, i'm with You.

the stage and an audience where brock's band played

Tuesday, January 22

there is a young man named antonio.
he was offered a full-scholarship to undergraduate
and graduate school ANYWHERE he wanted.
in medical school, he married and had a beautiful

things went wrong. life just does that to all of us.
marriage is hard and there are gaping holes all around
us that we can tumble into almost without turning our
heads. and sometimes, it can take years for Jesus to
help us finally escape the latest canyon.

antonio and his wife got divorced. he dropped out of
medical school from the shattering of all of this, and
because he was not financially stable, he gave up
certain custody rights to his little daughter he adores.

he got a job. did alot of things with his small child.
but no one really knew he was living in his car. there
is much to this story i cannot go into, but this young
man sought out a couple that were like parents to him,
and they first sent him to a celebrate recovery meeting
where he lives. he went. and then, got into his car and
drove 11 hours straight through to this couple's house.

he turned his life over to the Lord. the purest, simplest
faith. lost, and then, found. he called 10 of his friends
and asked if he could stay with them while he looked,
and found an apartment. can you believe only ONE in
TEN friends embraced him. one. and it was a single
father with a young daughter like himself. the turn in the
road started with surrender to Jesus. complete. all-out.
since then, he has had a week of miracles.

a friend. a bed. a roof over his head.
he found an apartment. two-bedroom for
when his daughter comes. moments when
he nearly walked straight into his wife somewhere,
without seeing, and got extra visits with his daughter.
target and dishes. someone donated a good bed. a
television and sofa and chair. a really nice apartment
with only a $350 deposit/rent for rest of month. at his
new place, someone invited him to a men's Bible study.

and one, handsome, brilliant, very quiet young man,
completely broken, crawled off the road to nowhere and
without hope to the path you and i are on. he is a real
runner, and now he is running with us...and we are all
hanging on to each other...following Jesus. the Race of
the redeemed. washed in the Blood of the Lamb. we are
all broken. all have to hit dead-ends to keep our feet planted
in the right direction. the Light washes over us, and we
are flying along when our toes hit rocks, and we splash and
spill and are half on and half off this arduous path.

but miracles live.
and the Race is worth running.
surrender is the heart and soul of our freedom.
with strength as our password to survival.
God's power. streaming through our veins.
shining in our eyes.

run to win, warriors.
as i am.
running to win.

as promised, pics of my day with my grandbaby, colben

Monday, January 21

clean and crisp and shining.
just the way i long to be for Jesus every day.

church...and out to lunch with
a girlfriend. including hot-fudge sundaes.
we both need calories. smile.

please know...yes. yes. yes. yes.
i read EVERY comment on blog and facebooks.
and they are like best homemade soup spoon-fed
to me. until every anxiety in me is quieted. all the
restless yearnings over my children's well-beings and
life in general are soothed and quieted. you tell me
that some unbelieveable, beyond-grasp
way ...that my life counts. that you love me. that inspite
of all my flaws and messy pieces, God truly raises beauty.
truly, you must know that i cannot connect all this in my
brain, but i just keep embracing your kindness like a
starving beggar. and writing these feeble blogs in blind
faith in God's power. and i love you and smile and get
teary-eyed and blessed. please know. just know HOW
much i love you all and lap up every word.

on february 20, focus on the family is going to play an
OLD speech of mine that jim dobson used to use once
in awhile, on air. trust me, i will NOT be listening. nor
have i ever listened to this tape. it would horrify me. but
i thought you might like to know. once, i keynoted mary kay's
(mary kay's cosmetics)internationalconvention in dallas. at
least 25,000 women were in the audience looking at mary kay
as if she were literally a visiting angel. just before i spoke, she
whispered to me that she had listened to some speech of mine
269 times. i could barely make it to center stage to speak.
it was overwhelming.

i flew home.
asked my secretary if she could find a tape
of that speech mary kay had mentioned. all i could
think was that God must have really annointed me,
wherever i was. handing me the tape, i headed to my
car. the only place i could play it. excitement in my
heart, i turned on the car and pushed the tape in.

maybe it was a minute.
but i am positive it was NOT longer
that i listened to that speech. i sounded as if
i was five years old. everything i said seemed such
silliness. so horribly executed. punching the tape out,
i sat in my car and wept. God really does look for weakness
to raise His beauty through. our service for Him, whatever that
is, has nothing to do with us except we say "yes, Lord" to whatever
He asks. He takes our "yes'es", and blows His breath into
the cracked, ugly pot of our huge inadequacies, and touches
people around us.

never believe the lie that it is you that
is such a gift. your talent. your power and might.
Jesus says we are to glory in one thing only: that we
know Him. that He is Lord. we are His.

the devil is brilliant at beating us up.
breaking our bones of courage and grace.
twisting our stomachs into knots. putting
a taste of bitterness in our hearts. reminding
us of all the offenses against us. oh, he's
clever and nasty. he succeeds with me..somewhere..
every day.

this morning,
i flew out of bed (usually crawl out).
i got on the rug. flat on my face with my arms
stretched as far out as possible. pajamas on and
hair uncombed and a quiet rumble of anxiety coming
from somewhere inside me.

"oh, Jesus, i'm YOUR job.
i am too hard for me.
crying out, Lord. crying out.
YOU are the ONLY One who can
deliver me. my only Hope."

maybe we should all start the
day just like this. humbled before
God. begging for His covering.

Sunday, January 20

i just got an itch in my bones.
my brain. my soul. it had been
before Christmas since i had seen
my grandbaby, colben. somehow,
i just instinctually trusted my daughter-
in-law to let me in when i arrived two hours
later down the road to her (their) front door.

in my arms were a pair of dinosaur pajamas,
2T, and a bedtime book about dinosaurs going
to bed.

my daughter-in-law,jasmine, does not disappoint.
she opened the door. we threw our arms around each
other and kissed. and i looked down into the beautiful,
angelic, little face of colben. with his wild curls everywhere.
his dark eyes dancing. i dropped purse, and all, and
picked up this little boy i love more than sky and sun
and stars and a hot drink on any cold, frigid day.

wrapping him in my arms, i began to kiss
him, and he giggled. and i started singing our favorite
songs. and twirling him around. i sent jasmine and
netta out the door with a little cash. pick up some
good lunch and go to a movie. or shopping. and
come back any hour you like. everything here is

and they did.
off they went, and instantly, i forgot
about sorrows and struggles and imperfections
and problems. i was carried by love for a little
baby toddler boy. as sweet as sugar. he wanted
to put his new pajamas on. so we did. and he
wanted to read the dinosaur book over and over and
over again. and we did. when i put him down for
his nap, there wasn't a whimper. a fuss. he was
the little dinosaur going to bed.

something so beautiful and priceless about
a little child. wrapped tight in innocence and
joy and creativity and love. it is ALL about the
heart. a baby knows the heart. it makes no
difference what your hair is like or your skin or
your weight...or the kind of car you drive or if
your bed is made or not. a baby only knows if
you feel safe and embracing. what kind of monster
could ever hurt a baby or child?!

i will work at getting pictures on this blog..or my
facebook...of colben's and my day, but when it was
over, the world looked right. the foundation. the block
upon block of earth and trees and sky. the air smelled
fresh. my skin felt clean. my eyes just remained wet.
i had just loved on...and been my most treasured
little life on this earth. my love so deep and pure that
it made my bones hurt in a good sort of way. i could feel
his soft skin and smell his vanilla-sunshine sweetness
for hours and hours after i was back home.

must run.
but i just want God to know
that when He blessed me with my sons,
He did a truly magnificent thing. and when He
laid this exquisite, little, grandbaby boy in my arms
He made the world spin, and the sun brighter, and
sin darker, and my life so much richer than i could
ever have imagined. and i want all of you, my friends,
to know that it means everything that i can tell you
about my children. and colben. and my struggles, too.
have a beautiful week-end. there is a surprise somewhere
just waiting for you to find it.

Saturday, January 19

at Christmas, a lady wrote and
wondered if i could send autograghed copies
of all my books for her daughter (she would pay) for
Christmas. it seemed overwhelming to me. i
don't even have all my books.

now, she is wondering about the books (even just
some of them) for a birthday gift? well, i just picked
up my phone and called her. what a beautiful surprise
awaited me. so much love and warmth and kindness
in her words. her sweet stories of how God had used
my writings in so many lives. it just seemed utterly amazing
to me. that Jesus can take something as simple as my
words and bless others! it is such a far-removed concept
to me.

especially today. this past week. even in the night.
i have not been proud of my walk with God. behind
on my blogging. having such a hard time in the mornings.
rebellious about all my unanswered mail. not talking enough
with Jesus. not being "still" or "silent" in His Presence except
in a great hurry.

i like the word "expunge".
get rid of. completely blot out.
wiped off the record. as if someone
who has a dui has it obliterated, and never
has to pay higher car insurance or feel a pinch
of shame. as if i never fell into all the holes
along this long journey in my life. impatient
with God. deciding to help Him out. to hurry the
process of whatever it was that i longed for.
when Jesus comes by, and we cry out to Him,
He just expunges all the ugliness that has
broken us.

my new friend on the phone,
used words that just instantly expunged
all the things i've been beating myself up over.
the sky cleared. i felt the warm sun on my neck
and across my face. the trees began to dance, and
i realized that if Jesus can raise beauty out of my
utterly-inadequate writings, then He can use all of us
in our greatest weaknesses.

may the shadows in your life
be expunged today. laugh out-loud.
smile at the lady in the same check-out line
at the grocery store. give another driver grace
when he or she swerves alittle over the line in a
lost second.

and know i love you today.
you all bring me such joy. your
comments so touching. i confess i have
not been talking to ANYONE about my trip in
may to visit the travels of st. paul. too shy. but
please know HOW much i would love to spend
those days with you. it seems like ALOT of money,
but i've always told my children that money is never
an issue with God. He owns all the cattle on all the hills.
whether it is college or some kind of car for them to drive.
whatever. God can do ANYTHING!! cheer any broken heart.
lift the burdens. He is glorious!!

Friday, January 18

thank you for your prayers for brock.
thank you so much!!!
the emergency room doctors were
thorough, and found he had an inflamed
pancreas. maybe i've shared this with you.
amazing, after three nights in the hospital, brock
caught a flight the next morning for california, and
played bass in his old band. the biggest concert
of his life. amazing, glorious God. he is back in
dallas. working every day for bank of america.
always carrying dreams in his heart of travelling the
world with a band. with music torching through the
heaviness of living.

oh, Lord, do you think
it could be an honest to goodness
Christian band? no music, but God's music,
can REALLY change the world.

brock said,
"mom, i'm texting you a picture of the stage
and audience to show your friends on your blog."
it is so frustrating to me that i am such a technical
idiot. i cannot figure out how to do this, but if i find
someone who can, you can see where brock performed.
i'm so proud of him...and of God who blessed him with
this talent!

on the phone,
i told my friend how disappointed i've been in myself.
she said, "ann, are you disappointed in your children?"
it took me a second.
"no, of course not! i am so PROUD to be their mom.
so blessed by all the love they have for each other and
for me. of their independence and strong work ethic, and
kind, beautiful hearts."

"well, that is how God feels about you
as His child. He knows you are imperfect, but He is
so happy and proud to call you His own. of course, He
sees things you can work i'm sure you do with your
children...but He is not disappointed in you."

i tasted those sweet, beautiful words.
rolled them around in my mouth. so delicious
and comforting to think of God as being proud to
call me His child. that He loves me so much inspite
of all my imperfections. it was like a banquet feast.
dessert included. my heart is still melted and moved
by this truth. all my life, i have longed to be perfect ENOUGH
for God. children don't have to be perfect. period.
they are so much more than i could ever have imagined.
my entire concern is about their hearts. the rest has to be
taken care of by God Himself. and their hearts are beautiful.
and oh, if a mother ever loved her children, i am that mother.
to think of Jesus loving me like this brings tears to my eyes.

"He is higher than we ever can imagine...
and closer than our eyes can ever see. He
is magnificent....He alone is worthy...magnificent!"
10,000 reasons

celebrate today!
you are utterly loved and treasured and
adored and priceless to God. the Lord of Lords.
and King of Kings. no matter how fallen and broken.
just so loved!

Tuesday, January 15

we are a passionate lot.
people better not mess with our
children. so many suffering
from drug-addicted children. out
there somewhere. sleeping in
cars. estranged from family.

I don't know what i'd do.
shattering. never do I have answers for anyone.
I throw my arms around mothers' necks.
promise to pray. no black and
white answers. there are none.

mothers who left their children
with people...and went on to careers.
never thinking of repercussions down the road.

forgiven. the Blood of Jesus covers
it all. mothers live with such guilt.
treading cold waters of regret and
self- punishment. I will only know
true peace when taylor, brock, colson
and brandt are safe in the Shadow of the Almighty.
in the sweet by and by.

encourage every mother who
passes your way. we all need it.
it seems one of my children is always in crisis.
not drugs...but
who knows anything down the road.

brock is well. what a scary few days.
he made it to his concert in
santa ana. played. flew home. weak,
but well. back to b.of a., paying
bills. thank you sll for praying.
sooo much.

pray, mothers.
cry out. our only weapon. brandt
is getting home from deployment.
scared because he's leaving the air
force after six years. can he still
take good care of his wife and
family? taylor is post-grad in film.
looking for any work to pay off loans.
colson is running a mcdonald's. he sure knows how to
do it. riding a bike back and forth.
someone at bsf said when we worry
we become athiests momentarily.

let's join hands.
know God has our "babies" in
His care. next blog will try and
show brock's concert...but thought
you'd like these following pics of

Sunday, January 13

something so beautiful and amazing happened last night
in my 12-step group. I couldn't
have felt safe in most groups like
this. the commitment is serious.
the sharing deep and raw and exposing. a year of 12-step
is all about solidifying your sobriety.

a leader came along that I privately
trusted. I grabbed my friend, tere,
and respected God in who He would
draw in as the 'group'.

every thursday night. hard confessions.
we have bonded. one young woman came to the Lord.
three have been baptized.

last night I come in. we are in bk.3.
starting a new chapter. into
character defects. tough. and adela says we need to stop early.
some reference made to cathy. hmmm.
wonder what's happening with
cathy? my last thought..
until janine waved her hand at the

"cathy?" adela speaks.
and cathy starts to stand, saying,
"I need ann to help me."

I instantly stand up, and see that
cathy is pulling a large gift bag
from under the table. oh, how sweet, I think.
she got each of us something for Christmas....when
suddenly, she pulls a cap off the
top and begins unloading all my
books she has found online..and
ordered. my mouth drops open.
complete amazement and utter
awe. my eyes are swimming with
tears. my hands are over my mouth.
I can't move. there's a warmth rising from
the bottoms of my feet. up my neck.
my eyes are glistening.

i've been recognized by thousands
at a time, but there is NO comparison. not remotely close.
it felt as if I had gone to the door
in my pajamas. kind of all wrapped
up in my character defects. hair
mussed. and when I open the door,
Jesus is standing there...saying He'd like to celebrate my life.

I will never get over this gesture of
love from cathy. and everyone. it
was a gesture so pure and love-motivated and beyond....
way beyond what I felt these women
had truly invested in me....that
it transformed me. and i'll never
be the same.

when I spoke, I said, "oh, you don't
have to read my books." suddenly
shy and embarrassed. sure they
wouldn't like them. but I am signing
them..and they are being shared.

from addictions.
deliverance from enslavement.
"their Redeemer is strong. I will
ransom them from the power of
the grave." jeremiah 50

Saturday, January 12

i am finally at the close of a very
long day. and again, Jesus has
been utterly faithful.
three times, i've crawled back under the covers
because i became fearful and felt
so alone. yet Jesus stuck with me.

brock is hospitalized with an inflamed pancreas.
i broke into tears and then remembered that
early this morning, on my face before Jesus,
He had assured me brock would be okay. and i am so
thankful his girlfriend is with him.
i would lie in a swamp next to my
child if he were there, sick.

today, i received an incredible card in the mail,
and it so moved me that i invited all the sunrise in
and let every wall and crevice of my heart
to bask in the warmth of miracles.

i had dinner with friends, and we
went to celebrate recovery together.
listening to other, broken women
reminded me how merciful God is to
all of us. and everyone is broken.
i must never forget my assignment
to help Jesus change the world.
every day. ordinary and simple as i am.

finally, i want to thank each of you
that has sent me beautiful comments. you will never know
how deeply they move me and inspire me.
your love and kindness are like hot soup on a cold-swept
day to a hungry beggar. i wash
my face and pull on my uggs and
feel bold in Jesus...and go out to
make a difference. in more than
uggs, of course. smile.

"i will trust and not be afraid; for Yah, the Lord,
is my Strength and Song."

Friday, January 11

there is something about
Bible study. something rooted
and deep. like a quiet, powerful river that pulls me and all my
superficial fears and yearnings
down into the river-bed of God's
magnificent depths of kindness
and grace.

last night, we studied abraham.
his blind, unwavering faith in God's
promises. especially the seemingly-
impossible ones. he was God's friend.
they talked together.

this morning, in the dark,
brock called. "mom, i'm in
terrible pain...and i have to catch
my plane. it's in my lower back.
what should I do?"

"oh, darling, you have to get to
an emergency room."

I threw off my blankets, and fell on
my face before God. He's my best
Friend, too. I find it amazing, every
day, that Jesus and i can talk together.
just like abraham and God. like noah and king david and
saint paul...and mary magdalene.

brock's old band was extremely popular, and organizers have sold
out a big concert. even as I write,
brock is at an emergency room. the
air lines assured him he can rebook
without charge. I am waiting to
hear from my son, but God has
comforted me that he is going to
be okay.

don't run this Race without God's
Word in your heart daily. I have been
whining to you about how down
i've been when I should have been
reading more in my Bible. I confess
it is a hard discipline for me.

i never do my Bible study notes
every day. it is always a wild ride
to finish before the monday night
meeting. i love to read...always have
a book close by. it is a battle for me
almost every day to grab the Bible

Jesus is our Shield.
"those who know Your Name will
put their trust in You. Lord, You
have not forsaken those who seek
You." psalm 9

oh, Lord, I cry out. I long to seek
You more. be merciful to me. be
merciful. amen.

Thursday, January 10

it was very dark.
early morning. my phone rang.
one of my sons.
just wanting to talk.

after we were done,
i flung the covers back,
and got down on my face
by my bed. lying prostrate before
the ONLY One who can see our children
through life.

Jesus is so close to me in those
moments. He is always right there.
no wait time. no shame. no apologies to
be made. just a mother crying out for her children.
every muscle and bone and vein and finger-tip of my
being belongs to these four sons i love so deeply.

"He's higher than we ever can imagine...
and closer than our eyes can see....magnificent!!
He alone is holy...worship..worship.." 10,000 reasons cd

i may not quote every word exactly,
but this cd has taught me worship on a level
never before known. annointed.

so, today....
wherever your children are...and you...
remember God is ENOUGH. His arm will
NEVER be too short. His robe out of reach.
our voices too distant for Him to hear. i bury
my face in His vast arms and speak every longing
and concern and fear to Him. you can, too.
as i've said, He's waiting!

Wednesday, January 9

i don't know about you all......
but it has been so difficult for me
to walk away from all the excitement
that Christmas brought. my children
and i had such a great time together.
i inhaled every moment, and lined up
every beautiful memory in my mind so
i could replay them over and over.

dry leaves and cold wind and
gray skies surround me. i am so
far behind on my mail. want to
rearrange my bedroom. change!
i need new order and clean corners
and fresh plans. i remember jan and
tom returning from a vacation in hawaii, and
jan saying she never wanted to have so much
fun on a vacation again. it was just too painful
to come back down to earth.

tonight is Bible study fellowship. tomorrow
night, celebrate recovery. the world is back
to me. working on my many imperfections.
looking in the mirror at my glaring shortcomings.
it took me thirty minutes, sitting in front of panera's,
with my computer on my lap, to gather the courage
to get out of my car and come inside to work.

i long to inspire you with these blogs, but
i post each one with a sigh. pitiful, i say to myself.
just pitiful. and my brain is racing over my little
korean lady at the dry cleaners. we have love. that's
for sure. a bond. but it's been around my clothes and
style, and i am not sure how much english she speaks.
what kind of flowers does she like? i want to wrap her
frail, tiny body in my arms and pull her close...and tell
her she is NOT alone. of course, i'm her friend. and
we are going to create some fun for ourselves. it's just
crazy that i am suddenly stumped by just how i should
go about this. sitting in church yesterday, i could al-
ready picture her there, with me. knowing Jesus, too.
the Friend of ALL friends.

this is where i am today.
wondering if any of you feel
kind of lonely and frustrated, too.

Jesus is calling.
i can hear Him.
He is our only real Hope.
let's run to Him.

Tuesday, January 8

talk about real things

I go to a korean dry cleaners
because they are in my neighborhood.
veronica. the wife.
loves my clothes. or...maybe it's
my style. though don't be impressed.

dropping things on the counter,
i throw my arms around her and
give her a kiss. I am never sure
how much english she understands,
but she reciprocates. and I always
tell her I love her. she's tiny. precious.

today..I mentioned that she works
so many hours. she stopped.
thoughtful look on her face.

in broken english,
she said, "i'm lonely. all family
in korea. i tell my sister about u.
my one friend. can't stay home
with so many thoughts in my mind."

"veronica, we are going
to get together. talk about real
things. I really love you. I didn't
know...." another hug and kiss.
"I love u."

three years building the bridge.
now I must find a way to really
connect. to love her and introduce
her to Jesus.

"how marvelous...
how wonderful...and my song
shall ever be.
how wonderful
is my Savior's love for me." for
all of us. especially you!!!!

Monday, January 7

divine waters of second chances

"my sin...oh, the bliss of this
glorious thought..
my sin, not in part but the whole.
is nailed to the Cross, and I bear
it no more....
bless the Lord. bless the Lord..
oh, my soul."

when i was at my university, to
receive a reward,
I saw my old friend..ken tippitt.

he was the song
leader of the church I attended
years ago..attending college.

i was at the choir's practice,
and ken began to weep. I was still
too young to grasp the enormity
of my sins, but the Spirit of God
swept over us, and this old hymn
was stitched into my heart.

many years later,
my understanding of these words
shifts my universe. blows open
all the windows. takes my death
and negates hopeless despair.

instead, written across the sky,
"ann, I give you life. clean, running,
divine waters of second chances.
washed by the "Blood of the Lamb."

believe in the power of Jesus.
believe in His Blood. our only Hope
for the coming year.

Sunday, January 6

I'm going to sing no matter how gray the clouds.

clouds hanging low. gray.
frustration tugs on me.
maybe because i keep
sending blogs...and losing

"trusting in Him. and Him
alone. trusting. trusting.
that is all."

this first week of a new year
often seems strained to me.
so much ahead. can i stay on
course? i promise to figure out
the blog problem.....and I'm going
to sing no matter how gray the clouds.
to Jesus...who stands...radiant. to
Him Who smiles in spite of all our
trips and spills.

glory...glory hallelujah!
with so much love......ann

Wednesday, January 2

we are broken souls

was just wondering...
do your grocers know you? the
Asian woman at the dry cleaners
who speaks poor english, but you
communicate every time you take
clothes in? the neighbors two doors
down from where you live?

are some of your close friends
those who don't know Jesus ?
but shining eyes and daily acts
of kindness are drawing them?

access 2012.
ask Jesus for spiritual lessons
you've learned. for places where
you missed the mark...and those
crucial times you were quiet enough
to hear God's voice and hit the
bullseye of the Lord'blessing with
some one.

I get so caught up in living that I
forget sometimes to really be
about my Lord's business. but to
change the world, we must remain

so much about a new year.
about this journey ahead. the clean
sheet that seems to get so quickly

always remember that we are broken souls.
it is the brokenness
that God is always seeking. because
His strength is made perfect in our

from my youth,
new year's eve is always a serious
day. have I climbed higher and
farther...or dropped. sagging closer
to a dangerous precipice? have I
fought a better fight? are my feet more

will you pray for my children and
me? that we'll run faster. pick each
other up quicker?

brandt was trying to get ahold of
colson and learned his cell had been
cut off until pay day. brandt
just paid his bill for him....and got
to talk with his brother. no comment.
we learned from colson.

do we cover each other's backs?
are we selfish when others' need
what we'd like more?

just thinking.
praying for us all

Tuesday, January 1

Jesus is our GPS

the last day of 2012.
all my children back where they
live. I spent Sunday with tom and
jan in Sacramento. tom left to be
at church on time. we followed in
my car 12 minutes later. my sense
of direction is poor...and jan's is
10pts. below that.

driving and looking.
jan saying we were headed for
14th and k. tom later informed us
the church was on L and 22nd.

finally. before life and limb lost,
I pulled into a quiet gas station. young
indian kid. weak hand-shake.

have you any idea where
first baptist church might be?
I asked. zero faith.

"not sure. maybe."
I stretched my hand out.
"do you happen to know Jesus?"
"yes! yes. I do!"
"well...if we can't find our way...
i know I've had a moment of communion
with one of God's!"

tears in both our eyes.
I crawl into that snazzy, little acura
from you all. tell jan to hold on; that
I've touched the hand of God.
positive we are on our way.

pushing in my 10,000 reasons
cd..and I'm suddenly lifted in

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

finally, we headed back
to the house. via freeway.
tina..where are you? that cd has
changed my life.

five minutes in a gas station...and
my last day in 2012 sealed the
deal. in the lost, desolate streets
of a crazy world, Jesus came.
my GPS wasn't helping. we had
no address to type in.

it is now 2013. Jesus is our GPS.
don't get lost in the seemingly-
minuscule moments along the
journey. Jesus teaches us to
find Him everywhere.

a blessed 2013.
a clean, unmarred journey
ahead. march on, stalwart soldiers.
march on.
and power and love
and honor to JESUS Who
is and was and forever will be.

to each of you who
loves me and prays for
me and has given to my
children and me on every/any
level. all of it is felt and embraced
with such gratitude and love.

to the Holy One.
for loving us in and through
all the battles of the past year.
all the waters crossed. all the
sins forgiven. for all the choirs
singing while we have sludged
through muddy waters, and stood
on trembling legs...fighting the
evil one who has tried to kill and
destroy us. but the battles were
the Lord's. we remain on His side.

fight on, fellow warriors.
fight on. when I fall, I know you
will pull me back to my feet. and
when you call, I am listening. my
arms are out-stretched.

oh, blessings, to the One Who
has brought us together. joined
our spirits. planted shared dreams
in our hearts...and taught us how
to run. I pray power to the weak;
the slow of pace. I pray not only
for my children, but yours. that
we will never glory in ourselves.
never, Lord, never.

but keep running to win.
running to overcome.
all for You, Lord.
all for You.