Wednesday, November 27

three years ago,
my beautiful, brilliant, darling,
incredible grandbaby, colben,
was born. he's my first and only
grandchild, so please forgive me
if i think he's the shining sun and 
bursting stars of the galaxy.

it was november 25, 2010.
and that year was thanksgiving
day. i had just put the stuffed
turkey in the oven when brandt
called and said jasmine was in
labor. taylor was the photographer
of the event, and we were all in
the delivery room when colben 
pushed his beautiful little head
into the world.

i could never have known
that day how this baby was
going to bless my life. that the
most difficult times 
were coming, and colben was
God's kiss on my tear-stained  face
 and the garden of my soul.

neither did i know that God 
had given me the most generous,
unselfish daughter-in-law
who allowed me all the time
i needed to enjoy and love on
her baby. brandt is the fire-
fighter in the family, and now
they live by her family in
pittsburgh. i'm so happy for them,
but how i miss my little, star-kissed
baby doll.

colben william anderson.
with a head full of ringlets,
warm, honey-colored skin and
chocolate-glistening eyes.....
happy birthday, 
big boy! you color the sky
red and yellow and purple
and green..... and make
grandma laugh. oh, i treasure
you, colben. grandma loves

"Jesus loves you,
this i know...for the Bible
tells me so.
little ones to Him belong.
they are weak, but He is strong..."

yes. yes. yes.
Jesus loves you.
yes. yes. yes.
be a dreamer for Him,

Sunday, November 24

"this is the air i breathe.
Your very words spoken
to me....and i..i'm desperate
for You. i'm lost without You.."

i was standing with a couple of
very good friends...and they
were brewing thoughts
and feelings about someone i
love very much. i just stood
there while they verbalized 
some negative pieces of this
woman. there would be a spurt
of laughter, and the conversation
progressed to a higher level.

trust me, i have failed, at 
times, to not cover people's
backs, but raising four sons
as a widow. being responsible
for their character building, and
my deep, pure belief that love
transcends all differences, the
core of my belief system has
stood the tests of time. i have
four sons who always have my 
back. absolutely always. and
the same goes for each other.

i looked at my friends, smiling.
we are all so human. flawed.
imperfect. write my name at
the top of the list.

"ann, why are you suddenly so

"i just wish we could talk about
something else. we're all so
imperfect. let's believe in the
best in each other. what else
can we talk about?"

that simple.
we made a quick, smooth shift,
and i felt so much happier.

proverbs 17:9

this thanksgiving,
let's breathe God's air,
and dance in the desperate
beauty of His Presence.

Friday, November 22

i pulled out of my
driveway, heading for
the freeway to sacramento.
jan is finally home from back
surgery and i was on my way
to be with her while tom was
at work.

i live about ten miles from town.
by the side of the road,
with a big, solid rod of some
kind, stood an unshaven,
almost toothless man. heading
for the stop sign, i couldn't get the
image of him out of my mind.

what would Jesus do?
there was something wrong
with this picture, and i know
it might seem foolish, but i
felt compelled to turn my car
around, and see if God needed me
to assist Him with this
seemingly broken man.

he squinted at me through
stunning, almost-blinding
morning sun.

"hi, sir....where are you headed?"

he proceeds to tell me his car
gave out on him a couple hours
ago, and he was walking home
to get a part. that he was a
mechanic in lodi. hmmmmm.

"sir, do you know Jesus?
because He sure knows you,
and He cares about everything
that matters to you."

he vehemently shook his head
"no"!!!!! he wasn't interested.
i quietly spoke. doors locked.
my window partially down.
when i asked about the heavy
rod he was carrying. he told
me it was his walking pole.

"well, maybe you didn't notice,
but you whacked my rear view
mirror off, and i can see pieces
of it right now, around your feet.
i forgive you the way Jesus
forgives us."

pulling away,
i think of a little market,
and i swing by. buying a
bottle of 7-up...and getting
a little cash, i drive back to
the road where i'd left the broken
man, loved by God. 
i keep my distance. remain in my car....
but press the window down

as i hand him the cold drink,
and a couple bills, i begin to
sing to him.

"freely, freely
you have received...
freely, freely give. My Name, and because
you believe, others will know
that l live."

"don't forget...Jesus loves you."

not a thank you or a smile.
no gratitude or ...
"i'm sorry about your mirror."

Jesus says we are to
love our enemies and do
good to those who flunk
in kindness.
we are all runners in the RACE.
not the10k or boston marathon.
the run for eternity. and we are
to bring all we can with us.

i don't always know how to
run up the rugged hills, or how
to help others really understand
how imperative the Race is. we
are simply called to love. may
God empower each of us to run,
and by His grace, win.

Monday, November 18

"and Jesus said...
come to the water.
stand by My side.
I know you are thirsty.
you won't be denied.
l felt every tear that
in darkness you cried.
and l'm here to remind you
that for those tears l died."

close of another Sabbath.
jan back home ten days after back
surgery and much pain.

"ann, i have to wear this ugly
body brace. my hair is awful.
my spray tan is gone except
for brown spots where i've
been washed and i.v.'s have
been put in. i can't be alone
tomorrow when tom goes to
work, but no one is allowed to
see me like this but you and tom."

my foot is almost 8 weeks
down the road from another
surgery. not better, but worse.
but i can drive with my right
leg. take extra pain medicine
with me...and try.

like Jesus.
bending over the blind.
"Lord, that i might see."

having a sick man lowered
through the roof because of
the massive crowds.
"rise up and walk."

touching the lepers.
the untouchables.
kissing a child's skinned knee.
ministering to a dying, aids'
man. smoothing his gown.
wiping his brow.
calling a dead child back to life.
Jesus was always busy
healing the sick and infirmed.

a woman with a blood issue
had only to touch the hem of His
garment. thousands pushing and
trying to get close, but the second
she touched His cloth, He knew.
God never misses anyone with
unaltering faith. the courage
to believe. to know there is NOTHING a great God can't do!
absolutely nothing.

this week,
amidst the troubles and
sorrows and wrenching, missteps of life, may we keep
our eyes open for the sick and
dying all around us. may we be
what Jesus requires of us.
may we especially remember
that almost everyone comes
to Jesus at a point of need.

i have a friend just diagnosed
with breast cancer. 36 yrs. old.
mother of six. please...pray.  
and that i'll be strong enough to
get off this couch, and nurse jan
so she'll feel no shame.

and for you,
i pray the same.
of life.

Friday, November 15

He walks with me
and He talks with me
and He tells me i am His

my very dearest korean
friend. it's been two months
since i've been to quality cleaners.
veronica and her husband's
business. as you know,
they live in my neighborhood.
i've been too ill, but i miss her.
i've hugged and kissed her...
and tried to be Jesus to her.

she always kisses my face.
in very broken english,
she tells me every time
i walk in that i'm her very
best friend. she loves me.

and for over three years, 
i have tried to pour love on her head.
paint peace on her walls. and
wait for her to open her
heart to Jesus. never a sign
of desire to know Him.

eight months. i felt she probably
missed me, too. Jesus has pulled
me deeper and deeper through
a shroud of remember my mission. my calling.

i limped through the front door
of quality cleaners.

"veronica, hey!"
and running through the
racks of cellophane-covered
clothes, i see my little, tiny
friend with pure love and joy
and worry all spooned together
on her face. we throw our
arms around each other. i'm
much taller, and i bury my face
in her neck, tears soaking her
skin. her arms tightly squeezed
around my waist. i'm not fancy
today. skinny jeans and a simple,
cropped top, and uggs.

veronica finally loosens her arms
and steps back. her face also wet
with tears.
"every morning, i pray to God,"
(and she emphasizes God!) "and
i ask Him to make you well. "
her liquid, dark eyes glisten,
and she points to Heaven. she
is excited to tell me. to let me
know she's been praying for me.
she keeps pointing up, and
saying God.

veronica has stepped over the
line. from belief in a foreign
an acute awareness of a living
God. Who loves us. Who listens.
Who cares. Who answers. a miracle!
pure and untarnished and beautiful.

"and the joy we share as we tarry
there...none other has ever known."

walking with Jesus. we
don't have to search for people
every day to love for Him. He
will put them right in front of us.
you and Jesus and i and love.
right where we live. changing
the world.

Thursday, November 14

God seems to weave us 
in and out and through the  
winds and rain and breaking
temperatures and into snow
banks. He puts a halt to many
of our dreams...and, in barren
places where we cannot, no matter
how far we look, hear music. see
flags waving or people laughing.

all we hold dear.
what we love and treasure.
self-imposed beliefs that
if only i were married...or we lived
in a beautiful house or became
prominent in our careers.

storms shut out the sun.
erase the laughter.
strip us of 
our puffed-up egos....
peel away all the layers
of superficiality.

i am in a storm.
most of us are.
it's painful.
every day,
God's Word reminds me
to praise the Lord. thank Him.
trust and obey. but it's difficult.

the  neighbor across the street
brings me my mail every day.
"i'm coming..." i call out,
as i put on my boot and hobble
to the door. and, every day, 
usually with no make-up on and
hair pulled back in a ponytail,
my face is covered with tears.

he studies my face.
makes small talk as if he
doesn't notice.

i've lived long enough
to know the sun always
shines again. He raises
beauty out of ashes. and
absolutely nothing molds
us and makes us more like
Him than suffering.
stand strong, weary warriors

Monday, November 11

Jesus took those apprenticed
to Him. to a quiet place, He taught
His climbing companions....

Jesus, count me in.
i'm on Your team. and i quietly
sat in a shady spot as close to
my Savior as possible. let's not
worry that my car is parked
quite a distance away.

i don't feel the pain in my foot...
or the pall of heat in the air. only
that i could catch a glimpse of
Him. the love and strength of my life.

Jesus starts by reminding us
we are blessed. and cared for.

"you're blessed when you are at
the end of your rope. with less of
you, there is more of God and
His rule."

"you are blessed when you feel
you've lost what is most dear
to you. only then can you be
embraced by the One most dear
to you."

read chapter five in matthew. less
of us and more of God. that is what my
soul cries out  for.

He is all i want. the only One who
can save me. it's all about the Blood.
"what can wash away my sin?
nothing but the Blood of Jesus....
WHAT can make me whole again?
nothing but the Blood of Jesus.....
no other fount i know...nothing but
the Blood of Jesus."

Jesus is THE Warrior.
we are His army.

i had sat on the mountain side.
with Jesus. in my mind, I was being
taught...and I could see Him.
there is so much more i need to be
for Him...come on! let's go find another
grassy knoll. maybe we can find Him.
robes blowing in the breeze. just for
a moment. a second.   

colben, my dollbaby

Friday, November 8

all there is...and
was...and all there ever
will be...

love is like the clean,
morning air. and a bird dipping
low over curling ocean waves.
you feel it when sun rays warm 
the chill in the air...and someone
smiles at you in a way that says
you are special.

brandt called.
"oh, mom, i hate to say this,
but i have 75cents...and am almost
out of gas. until i'm done with
emt school, i can't get a second

he's the firefighter in the
family, with my beautiful daughter-in-
law and grandson.

i rushed to a post office.
my check would cost $40 for
overnight. $32 for two-day 
service. $7 for priority.

the gentleman behind the counter
says sometimes it gets there in
three days....priority.

"Jesus is my Hope," i look at him.
smiling. eyes shining."here's
$7!"  love is speaking Jesus' name.
the Author of all love.
why did i do that?    
what if brandt runs out
and priority takes a week? 
well, divine Love makes a way
through, even if the mountains
have to be pushed apart, and
the envelope carried on the
wings of an angel. i believe.

my dear friend, sarah, stuck
$5 in her pocket and headed to a
thrift store close by. she finds
miracles. a mentally-delayed
man was asking the person
behind the counter how long he
would hold a certain shirt.

"aw....can't you hold it two
weeks when i come back?"
""come on! two weeks..."

sarah spins around.
"how much is the dang shirt?"
"i'll buy it for him."
she pulls out the crumpled $5
bill. "i'll have to go to my car
and look for the 25cents.."
the worker volunteers that amount.

"i have my new shirt!"
"i have my new shirt...for my
grandpa's birthday."

and he is dancing around.
clutching his new gift.
sarah watching, with tears on
her face.

love is Jesus,
orchestrating each moment.
putting people together, in all
kinds of places, at exact moments
to create miracles in our lives.

don't forget to be love
where you live.

Wednesday, November 6

i love this Scripture
in psalm 127:

"if God doesn't build the house, 
the builders only build shacks.
if God doesn't guard the city,
the night watchman might as well
it's useless to rise early and go
to bed late, and work your
worried fingers to the bone.
don't you know He enjoys
giving rest to those He loves?"

living is all about God.
He does the teaching. the healing.
the growing. the directing.
we listen and learn and scatter
the seeds...and live with quiet
souls so we can hear Him speak.
can understand our next
assignment. know where He wants
to plant us.

feel the smooth, straight road
under your feet. experience the
wonder of young children playing.
shout into the wind, 
"He lives. He lives. glory.
hallelujah. He lives."

in the midst
of all the music and noise and
chatter of life, just hold onto
Who created it all. fixed every
star. grew all the trees. and....

taught us what love is.
pure and earnest and our only
Redemption. Jesus! the Savior
and Hope for all the world.

Tuesday, November 5

no matter where
you are tonight...
or your children.

no matter
hopeless you feel.
how alone.
how narrow the road looks.
how closed in the walls feel.
how low the clouds.
how short you are on
rent. how ill the one
you love is.

you just found out
someone molested your
child. or made fun of one
at school. or even did harm.

just regardless.
neglected or abused or
betrayed or misread in some
crazy, bizarre way.

Jesus reigns.
He's alive. risen. the Redeemer.
Deliverer. the true Comforter.

we have to run the Race.
face the horrors and live with
the fears. crawl out of the safety
and warmth of the bedcovers
where pain cannot touch us...and into
the raw, cold realities.

".....we KNOW that ALL things
work together for good to those
who love God..."  romans

"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 paths."   proverbs

"a bruised reed He will NOT

our heads hang down
and our bones break
and death sometimes seems
so much easier than the
option of life.

alcohol and drugs and food
and sex and pills and many
more vices lure us. numb us.

i know.
i understand.
i've lived long enough
to see and experience much
of this. but let's do our best
to encircle our loved ones..and
those we've never met before.
and cling to the ROCK that
is higher than we are.

and the cool waters
of His love can kiss the wounds.
run River run.  keep us whole
until the Race is finally over.
our burdens dropped outside
the Gate. and we dance on
streets of gold and sing
with the choirs. with all
those who overcame...
by the Blood of the Lamb..
and the Word of our testimony.

"the Power greater than

Friday, November 1

november 1, 2013

colson called.
he has two jobs now.
he never has difficulty
getting work. today, he
sells paintings at the bush
library. often sells more on
a given day than anyone else.

he was hired at walmart
three weeks ago, and notified
already of a promotion in the
managerial area.. my prayer,
above all, is for colson to
lean hard on Jesus when the
going gets tough...and to
manage his life and
money...wisely. he keeps
working at these hard tasks
of keeping things going. sort 
of like me on many given days.

mornings, as you know,
are my demise....but it is
one of those areas that i have
to keep punching my way

today starts a new month.
yesterday, i awakened with
tears on my face. i'm going
through some very tough
things. some wrenching
losses. are you? 

we have to keep the
wheels of God's marvelous
grace rolling. and...

"tell it to Jesus. tell it to Jesus...
are you weary? heavy-hearted?
tell it to Jesus alone."

colson and i got disconnected,
phone wise. found each other

"mom, i'm always thinking
of how i ran from my troubled
marriage. and i made a vow
before God that i would protect 
my wife until death. well,
she's back on the streets again,
and it may be a futile effort,
but i just want to be faithful to
what i promised God."

a second chance.
one. see what Jesus
can do with that .

just a thought for all of us.
as we approach thanksgiving
and Christmas...and a new year,
watch what Jesus is doing.
stay close to His side. please run with me.  
let's try to hold each
other up. be busy with the
vows we've made to God.....
and grow in the sunlight of
God's enormous, vast grace.

you can count on me
to do my best at your side.

p.s. jan is having back surgery
today. it's 5am. i've just spoken
to her. appreciate your prayers.

             colben, my babydoll grandson