Tight Fisted

Have you ever heard the term, “tight-fisted”?

I always understood it to mean someone was selfish or cheap or mean, who tight-fisted their money, and kept everything for themselves. Big brother used to do that with treats. Whenever we were given a gift of candy or other treats, he would hold onto his until little brother and I had eaten all of ours. Then he would take his out and begin to eat it with great gusto, refusing to share even a crumb.

Today I was cleaning out a drawer (I call it the scary drawer because it’s been so long since I’ve cleaned it). I found a handwritten note in there. Something I’d jotted down a long, long time ago.

It said:

Form a tight fist and hold it under running water. Watch the water cascade over your fist.

Now open your hand and cup your palm. Place it under the water. What happens?

It holds water. My point? Let go of what you’re holding onto so tightly, whether it’s pain or hard feelings or past regrets. Forgive the ones who have hurt you. Forgive yourself for past failures. Open your heart. Because an open heart holds more than a tightly closed one.

It kind of sounds like a Sunday School lesson, doesn’t it? Maybe it was. I’ve long since forgotten. But the message, though simple is still true.

This has been an interesting year for all of us and it ain’t over yet. 🙂

My advice to you is to greet life with an open heart and open hand. Readily forgive so that you will also be forgiven. Be kind whenever possible and speak the truth in love.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8


How to Let Go


I love this beautiful meme by my friend, Lynn Mosher. This scripture was the base of my main message while in Cuenca, Ecuador. I was able to share this on several occasions.

God is speaking in a very specific way through this particular passage of scripture. This is something we need not only to hear, but to pray about and listen to what God has to say to us, His children. Whoever has ears, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches… –Revelation 2:7 NIV

You’ll find this repeated many times in the New Testament. Jesus included it in the Lord’s Prayer–forgive our sins as WE FORGIVE those who have sinned against us. In some versions, you’ll find this translated as “debts”. I think that’s interesting, because if you forgive someone’s debt, the debt is gone. They don’t owe you anymore. If you have ever taken bankruptcy, you know exactly how this feels. You walk out of the courtroom feeling free.

Our Father wants us to have this experience, and He wants us to share it–by forgiving; releasing the sins of others committed against us. This not only frees the other person, it frees you, too.

It’s not always an easy thing to do, but I hope you will consider it. Don’t pass this to the next generation. Let it go. Teach your children how to forgive one another, and in so doing, you’re showing God’s love and teaching them to love also.

Jesus was once asked, “Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?”

He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” –Matthew 22:37-40 NIV



The Road to Ecuador – Trip Update

calendar-660669_1280We’re counting down the days here! We’re about thirteen weeks out. It’s been a lot like a jigsaw puzzle when you empty the box onto the table. Just a heaping jumble of cardboard. But, the pieces are starting to come together.  We’re seeing a picture now and it’s starting to look really good. We’re getting excited!

20160326_125256The passports are in. The tickets are purchased. Two huge hurdles behind us. Now for the elemental stuff.  After a long flight with longer layovers, we’ll arrive in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where we’ll be spending the night before taking the beautiful drive up, up, and up into Cuenca. I’ve added a couple of miles to my workout to prepare myself for the high altitude and thin air.

Hey, are you lighter in high altitude?

writing-923882_1920We’ve also added a workshop on novel writing to my speaking schedule. That should be fun. And the guys will be working, too. I know they’re looking forward to it. We’re not sure what they’ll be doing yet, but they’ll be up for it.

I hope you’ll add our team to your prayers. We have a lot to do to prepare for this trip. We still need funding, so that means activity on our parts to raise the necessary money to pay for our expenses.

11110509_10204170624365310_3489856107082246488_oWhen God lays the plans for something, He doesn’t leave you on your own. You are filled with the knowledge, the desire, the energy to complete what He’s placed on your heart to do. Whether you’re building a tabernacle or temple for His use (Exodus 25), or buying groceries for a sick neighbor, you’ll have what you need when you need it. This is how it’s done. This is how missionaries can go into foreign countries and live and work. He provides for those who give their lives for His work.

He often uses the unlikely. I’m one of the most unlikely, in so many ways. But His call is planted deep in my heart.

  • Forgiveness
  • Restoration
  • The peace of God

This is the message I carry. What I have received in such abundance. This is the calling.

This is why I desire your prayerful support of our journey to Cuenca. If you’d like to help, please use the contact tab above to send me an email. Besides prayer, we need financial support. There are links listed below for you to explore a few of the places we’ll go and the other in-country ministries.

The translation of Annabelle’s Ruth is underway. We hope to have this book ready. There’s a cost involved for printing the Spanish translation, so that the proceeds from the sales will benefit the ministry in Cuenca. Here’s the link to help with the printing costs: (please reference “Annabelle’s Ruth” in the comments) https://giving.ag.org/Give/Details/600001-693941?MinistryName=unsion&Page

Dios los bendiga! God bless you!


Other news – I have a book releasing in the near future. Carlotta’s Legacy, Book 2, Legacy series, is nearly ready for it’s debut. The cover is not yet available, but I’ll keep you posted. Here’s a bit about the story:

Carlotta’s Legacy — After the stock market crash of 1929, Rebecca Lewis learns her family has lost everything, and her long engagement to an Italian count seems in jeopardy. When the count assures her of his continued affection, her parents urge her to follow through with the marriage. But Rebecca has serious doubts–though the marriage will secure her future–does she love him enough to spend the rest of her life with him?

As the Great Depression bears down on the world’s economy, and war in Europe threatens, Rebecca learns there is nothing more important than faith, love, and family.

If you’re interested in learning more about the missions in Ecuador…

11406481_10204566542023004_1656763691042702276_oUnsion Foundation, a Christian World-View television network is actively “Engaging the culture with the gospel.”
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lacworldmissions
Ecuador Hope House
Joil & Leah Marbut, Jungle Missionary

Sobre Cuenca (about Cuenca): http://www.ecuadorexplorer.com/html/cuenca.html

Love is a Battlefield

Remember that eighties song, Love is a Battlefield? This post is not about that song. But it does describe a battle similar to the one in the song.

Love is difficult. To keep love alive and your heart pliable, you need to learn to forgive. Forgiveness is hard, but not impossible. You can practice forgiveness daily, just by reading your social media timelines. Remember to keep an attitude of forgiveness as you read!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about courageous forgiveness (you can read that post here). running-573762_1280Often, forgiveness requires great strength. Forgiveness also requires something else: endurance. It’s not a sprint, it’s a cross-country run. You need to think in terms of forever.

mule-893336_1280How do you achieve the forever forgiveness? Being stubborn really helps–take it from one who knows. But it can also work against you. Stubborn refusal to forgive someone holds them captive…in your mind, emotions, soul. In your heart of hearts.

Let them go.

Come on, make my day!

You may feel you have every right to hold someone captive in your emotions. Their treatment of you was horrendous. He stole your innocence. She lied about you. Your father hit you. Your mother called you stupid. Therefore, you decide they will never hurt you again. Because you mean never to speak to them again, and if they even look your way–

Are you familiar with this kind of pain? The crying out? The anger?

When others meet the angry person you have become, they will want to turn around and run the other way. Can you blame them?

Not forgiving someone doesn’t always manifest as anger. Fear is another symptom of not releasing forgiveness. You may not want to leave your house, for fear of running into the person who hurt you or caused you pain. You may even consider changing churches, or leaving a job.

You’re on the run. And that’s not healthy, either.

In that post about courageous forgiveness, I talked about facing the hurt. Forgiving the perpetrator. Moving forward. Every time you remember the hurt, turn it around and say a prayer for the person who hurt you. This way, you’re taking ownership and retaining your freedom from the past.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.–John 8: 14-15 NIV

But you can’t do it alone. I have faith in God. I’m confident that when I pray, He listens. I’ve seen prayers work in my life. Sure, there were times when my prayers seemed to bounce off the ceiling. Everyone goes through that. It’s a time of testing. Persevere.

chain-218900_1280Why? It’s worth it, to gain the confidence that comes with freedom. And now, I can move beyond what happened to me so long ago. I can trust and love, not just because the one who hurt me is long dead, but because I made peace with what happened. I released that person from the memory of guilt that kept a part of me in chains.

When I truly forgave and overcame the memories, the chains loosed and fell away. My freedom was complete.

I still have memories that pop in for a visit now and then. I see something on television, or hear someone talking about a similar event, and I’m tempted to experience that pain chain-297842_1280again. The chains rattle, as though they’re ready to jump back into place. But I refuse. I whisper my thanks to God for His everlasting forgiveness and mercy. My heart is free.

I’ll end with this story of an ongoing situation in my life. Someone among my relations can’t stand me. The problem started a long time ago through no fault of mine. Though I’ve tried over and over, I can’t fix the situation. My apologies for whatever it was that happened (I truly don’t know) were not only not accepted, but publicly rejected. I’ve even received letters calling me ugly names.

I was tempted to be angry, and actually gave in to anger for a while. I mourned the relationship that this event blocked. The sorrow, the anger, the mourning–these can also be stepping stones along the way to healing. Like when someone dies. When I finally recognized that, I was able to face the pain and let it go.

I can now say that I have forgiven this one also. I still hate the circumstances and mourn the loss of relationship–that’s only natural–but I love this individual with all my heart. I pray whenever I think of them. I bless them and hope for the best in their life. Will I ever see this relationship healed?

Though I would love that, it really doesn’t matter.

I’m no longer bound by the dark, hateful unforgiving nature that presses in on the bad circumstances of life. Neither am I bound by the temptation to hold a person captive with that hate. You see, holding them captive keeps them in my thoughts far longer than letting go of the bad feelings.

Love is a daily, ongoing battle sometimes. The battle is for your soul.

James1-2_8 Rev

What Lies Ahead

  1. Write first post for 2016.
  2. Complete book 2 of Kinsman Redeemer Series: Sutters Landing.
  3. Get passport photo.
  4. Get passport.
  5. Fly to Cuenca, Ecuador for mission trip that includes a speaking engagement.
  6. Did you see #5?
  7. Omgosh! I am actually going to Ecuador!

Here’s how it happened:

My youngest son decided he wanted to go to Ecuador on a mission trip, and he wanted me to go with him. After a moment’s hesitation, I said, “Umm…okay…” In my head, I was already formulating all my excuses for why I could NOT go to Ecuador. But first…

Bill & Connie McDonald, Missionaries to Ecuador

Why Ecuador? A couple of my acquaintance (Bill and Connie McDonald) left for Cuenca in 1989. I admired them greatly, and was so proud of them, but I have to admit–the very thought of going so far away frightened me. So I pledged to help them, which got me off the hook for the time being. All these years later, that couple–lead by God, of course–accomplished quite a lot: “…they have pioneered the Pentecostal Evangelical church in the Andean region of Ecuador, headed the Latin American Childcare (LACC) program to plant schools with a Christ-centered focus throughout the nation, and founded the Unsión Foundation and Unsión Television.” –from Unsion Foundation‘s webpage.

Bill and Connie are no longer full time over there, but travel back and forth. However, both their children are now serving in the Amazon regions. See Joil & Leah Marbut’s Jungle Missionary page.

Youngest son & me

In early December, my son approached Bill McDonald and asked about making a trip. What could we do to help while we’re down there? Bill had an idea. He turned to me and said something that sounded a lot like: “I’d like to have you speak to a group of women in the area church…a three-day conference with around 150 women–possibly as many as 500.”

After I retrieved my chin from the floor, I realized that God had been preparing me for this. My first clue was the head nod. Instead of the back-and-forth of a negative response, I was nodding…as though accepting the invitation. Okay. That very morning, I had “happened” upon a blog post titled “Do It Afraid.” The writer speaks at conferences around the world. In the post, she confessed her constant battle with fear. Fear of flying, fear of strangers, fear of crowded places, but she refuses to let any of those stop her. So I knew instinctively, if God is calling me, He would give me all I need to accomplish it. Courage. Confidence. Material needs. Monetary provision. Strength for the journey.

Preparing the way. The last few months, I’ve been reading and studying scriptures and messages regarding forgiveness, pointing to certain topics, pinpointing painful circumstances in my life, as well as the lives of others close to me. These prodding messages caused me to turn inward and ferret out all the dredges of bitterness. I’m not claiming to be perfect, far from it. I think because it’s been an issue in my life, much of my writing includes the message of forgiveness and reconciliation. As Bill spoke about the problems faced by the Ecuadorian women, understanding flowed over me like rain.

TakeoffOver the next few months, as I prepare for this trip, I hope you’ll think of me and say a prayer for me, and for those going with us. We have a Facebook page started, called Ecuador Trip, and also a “Go Fund Me” page for those who’d like to help us make this journey. We’re also looking into translation of my books to Spanish.

The needs of these women are not so different from those of women around the world. I’m praying God will use the message of grace and forgiveness to heal their hearts and set the stage for what He has called them to do.

file0001745124941Along the way, I plan to keep you informed of our progress and give you insight into what God is speaking to my heart. He is not overwhelmed by the need, and neither should we be. Following his call should not be cause for fear, but for honor, and humility. Because I am well aware, He often chooses the least to accomplish his work.