I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Click on the article title to read the entire article.
This is not a complete listing of these articles.
Many have been consolidated in Let Her Hear: Parables from a Mom
and Faith Like a Mustard Seed: Wisdom for Your Walk.

Finding the Simple Life with Meaning
We’ve been talking about decluttering, not to get rid of junk for the sake of junk, but to better focus on what is important.
We often substitute temporary for eternal;
Wood, hay and stubble, for gold, and precious stones;
Busy-ness for what is important;
We buy to fill our inner soul yet aren’t satisfied.
Our soul yearns for more.

The Simple Life
Life simple?
We all crave the simple life. but it seems always to be out of reach.
When I write, initially I just throw stuff down. But as I go over it, I refine it.
I remove those extra words that say nothing.
It brings clarity, conciseness.
I don’t want to waste your time with my scattered thinking process of how I arrived at the truth. I give you the truth.
It simplifies the writing, but doesn’t make the lessons easier. 
Same with life.
To get the simple life we must remove the excess.
Prune the needless.
Cut away the extra.
Focus on the essential.
That is hard.
But when we do it, life becomes simple. (Not to be confused with easy.)

Do You Have the Right Words?
Remember Peter? He was Jesus’s disciple, always talking, always doing something to draw the attention to himself.
Peter had a way with words. He told the Lord, “You are the Christ, the Son of God.”
Remember Andrew? He was just Peter’s brother.
All Andrew’s life, he had spent getting Peter out of trouble from his words.
When they fished, Andrew reminded Peter, “Let me talk to the merchants, last time you made them angry and they almost wouldn’t buy our fish. We need a good sale, today.” Andrew didn’t say much, but when he did, it was significant.

Did Your Dream Die?
Did you have a passion for something? It was a good thing. It anchored you. All your energy focused toward that goal.
But now, that dream is no more reachable than walking on a cloud.

On the Other Side of the Fence
Our neighbors, though rarely home, have a pair of donkeys. The neighbors come every three or four months for a few hours, yet somehow the donkeys continue to live.
On our side of the fence, our ducks quack and waddle as they are released every morning from their house and drink from their fresh water and poured feed. At night, they squawk and squabble over getting back in their house to be locked in.
The donkeys, from the other side of the fence, look on in interest and regret. They can do as they please. They have no one to push them into a house for the night—warm during the winter with straw, protected all year from any prey who would want duck for a midnight snack.
They are free to do as they please.

Confessions of a Desperate Mom
Just when I think, “I know what to do,” another stage comes that I didn’t know existed.
Take for instance, pregnancy. I forgot each ordeal from one pregnancy to the next—until I got there. Then I’d remember, “This is when I can’t eat, yet feel full.” And because I must drink a lot, I  plan my life around how close I am to a bathroom.

Saving for Tomorrow
I recently received canning jars from a friend who was moving. I took them promising they would be used, if not by me, I’d pass them on to someone else who could use them.
She was glad someone would use them.
How much “saving for tomorrow” did I need to do, after all, my canning cupboard was full of jars. 

A Wedding Remembered
I try not to share too many of my boys' stories. Last year, I never told of one son marrying and leave the nest, other than what you heard in the Christmas letter. This year another marries. I share my reflections to help other moms.

Who Will Stand in the Gap?
“I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” declares the Lord God (Ezekiel 22:30).

A city wall was meant to protect, to secure from harm, to keep out those who would plunder.
The wall was broken. The people were vulnerable, unprotected, but didn’t care.
They felt secure. They could handle anything that came their way.
They allowed pleasures, desires, and needs to so consume them, they didn’t care if the wall was fixed.

Are You a Protector or a Ruler?
A man’s self-worth is often tied to what he does.
Moms struggle with feeling worthless when all they did was “nurse, and well, nurse, some more.” A woman can feel like a cow—here to make milk.
It is true, we are created to do something—to have dominion over the creation God made.

Who Are You?
We have been looking at man’s meaning, being an image-bearer, and watchman.
Another important consideration that has become more prominent is who are you?
Man has sought to divide man.
We look at the color and create degrees of worth.
In Where do you find meaning?, we have shown by having God as the bases of our belief system, all men are created equal. All man has equal worth regardless of color, job, or other qualifier we want to use.
With this belief system, women are also elevated as equal to man. 

Who Will Stand in the Gap?
“I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” declares the Lord God (Ezekiel 22:30).

A city wall was meant to protect, to secure from harm, to keep out those who would plunder.
The wall was broken. The people were vulnerable, unprotected, but didn’t care.

Are You an Image Bearer or Just a Wad of Cells?
We have been discussing worldview.
What you believe about how you got here, determines who you are. 
Who you are determines your worth.
If you believe God is the Creator and Source of truth, then you have meaning, because you are made in His image. That gives you inherent worth.

Are You a Watchman?
As Christians, we are not just to know the right world view, but to act upon it.
By doing so, we become a light that changes society.

Where Do You Find Meaning?
How can people base their actions on how they feel? Where is "common sense"? Why can man determine their destiny?
Although this article is long, it gives the framework on why people do what they do, and how man has meaning.
 “Watch your thoughts for they become words, watch your words for they become actions, watch your actions, for they become habits, watch your habits for they become your character, watch your character for it becomes your destiny.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson. 
The Bible says, “As a man thinks, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7. 

The Lamb of God as Told by a Scribe
My name is Hezekiah. I come from the line of descendants who were scribes, Ezra The Scribe, being the first. 
The Hebrew word “Soferim” originally meant “people who know how to write.” The word became synonymous with “wise man” and later, “teacher.” Although some would assume, erroneously, we must be a rabbi to be a sofer, that is not required by Jewish law.
Our main objective is to teach the Torah to the Jewish youth. 
By teaching the youth, we hope to raise Judaism to a higher intellectual level. There was a great need to instruct and revive the Hebrew language after Israel returned from our captivity in Babylon.

What Love Is This?
Written for our church Easter program, 2018
I'm a physician by trade. The Jews regard physicians as “instruments through whom God could effect the cure.” Because we physicians should reflect God, Who is our Healer (Exodus 15:26), people expect miracles of us. I’d like to wish we could do miracles, but we aren’t God, and our healing falls short of miracles.

Tea and Rest
What do you do when you have a few moments, but must refocus?
Drink Tea.
What does tea do?
For a good cup of tea, the water must be hot.
Heat draws out the tea.
Just like in life, heat reveals and strengthens character and faith.

Do You Have Peace?
Remember in the old western movies and books when the man good with a gun comes to save a town against evil men?
The gunslinger cleans the town of its bad men, after all he’s good with his gun.
But when he does, the townspeople tell him now to leave.
The evil is gone.
The skill they admired before when they were desperate for help is now the same skill they fear will be turned on them. After all, he’s killed people.
They want peace.

What Makes a Marriage Work?
There are no secrets to a happy marriage. God has given principles that when followed, we are blessed. But because we all sin and must all submit to God and to each other, marriages don’t always end up heavenly.

When Life Is Awful
Back in March of 2018, I called Joey at work (a rare thing) and told him I "didn't feel right." I had been having nondescript symptoms.
He asked if I was having shortness of breath. 
I guess I could imagine that I was, but that’s not how I would describe it.
He wanted me to go to the doctor right then.

Are You Strong Enough?
“You are strong.” “Be Strong.” “You just have to be strong.”
When I hear those sayings, I cringe. 
What if I’m not strong? What is strong enough?
Thinking that all you must do is dig inside yourself and get that “strength” is wrong.
Satan did that and he got kicked out of heaven for it. He said, “I will, I will, I will.”
Isn’t that the same strength we rely on when we say, “Be strong”?
Yet that thinking pervades Christianity.

Recently while visiting a church, I heard several devotionals and sermons about rules.
They spoke of the dangers of getting too close to the cliff.
I could only think of a few (not just one) of my sons who wouldn’t hesitate to stand or even fly over that cliff, and not see a single thing wrong with it. Don’t we all want to fly?
The analogy to sin would be lost to them, and maybe me. What’s wrong with a challenge? 

King Solomon spoke of this in Ecclesiastes when he wrote, 
And there is a time for every event under heaven—
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;

Be Faithful through Suffering

Do You Know the Word?
If you are following along in Revelation, you might have noticed I skipped two churches. Now we’ll talk about those.
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word and have not denied My Name. Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet and make them know that I have loved you. Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God. and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’” (Revelation 3:7-13).

What was this church doing?

Wake Up! Strengthen What Remains
I wanted to stop going through Revelation. Each time there was an “ouch” that I didn’t like. But the next church told me why I had to keep going.
To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it and repent’” (Revelation 3:1-3a).

Your children are polite, well-behaved, good workers. People know you by your children. You have a name.
But the angel says, “Wake up. Strengthen what remains.”

Are You Spit in God's Mouth?
We've been looking at the seven churches in Revelation. The angel is blunt with what they need to do. We consider the church in Laodicea today.

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: ‘I Know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are luke-warm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:14-16).

There is great danger in complacency. If you are not striving after God, you are not standing still.  The stream of life is carrying you downstream.
As a mom, there’s no time to rest in our laurels.

Is Jezebel in Your Midst?
So we come to the next church in Thyatira. “The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says, this: ‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first’” (Revelation 2:18-19).
After considering the other churches, this church was doing all right. It kept its first love, it kept the works, the truth, the service. What would the Son of God say to this church?

Do You Stand against Satan Himself? Are you surrounded with evil?
The angel looking at the church of Pergamum wrote:
“I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells” (Revelation 2:12-13).
You can't get any closer to evil than being in Satan's presence!
But what is said about this church?

Are You Tired of Being a Mom?
Do you struggle to like your husband?
Do you wonder why bother with church?
Do these verses apply to you?
“I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary” (Revelation 2:2-3).

What in the World Is Happening?
Over the past five years, our governor has released over 50,000 criminals from our prisons. He has raised the level of what constitutes a crime. A thief can steal up to $900 without paying for his crime, because it is no longer a crime until he takes that much.


Police officers have told my husband that crime increases because the criminals know this and the police have no power to restrain them.

But if a waitress offers a straw to a customer, she could be sentenced to six months in prison per straw she gives. Straws are now illegal in California. Starbucks and other “drinking” establishments are scrambling to fulfill the needs of their customers without breaking the law.

It's Not My Story
Because we as women are relational, we thrive with stories that aren’t our own. We want to know the latest news about what’s going on with everyone, and why, and when. . .
God made us that way, so we can nurture, comfort, and care.
But with that comfort, we became heirs to their confidence.
And that means, those things aren’t ours to share.
As mothers, we want to know what’s going on with our children, and rightly so. Often our children confide in us, sharing their heartaches, fears, and shortcomings.
We want, in turn, to tell the world how they were mistreated and how they suffered, but it is not for us to tell.

How Would Your Faith Compare?
When George Muller stole money from his father he received a caning he would long remember. He vowed that day—not that he would never steal again, but that he would not get caught. George Muller was ten.

Are You Sinking?
Back in February, I received a fix-it ticket on my way to our mechanics. My mechanic immediately fixed the brake light that didn’t work. I went to the police department and signed it off the same day as the ticket.
The officer promised I would receive a letter in the mail that would explain “everything” and allow me not to appear before the courts (scheduled during my son’s wedding).
In the following five months, I received four corrections to that same ticket.
Three times I returned to the police station and asked for clarification.
The police officer assured me:
I would not need to appear in court,
I would receive the promised letter explaining how to pay the fine
And things would be fine.
​I wanted to believe that police officer, but I had a feeling this wouldn’t be all.

Are You a Rule Follower?
God gave this world laws that make it operate smoothly, orderly and predictably. Like gravity—if you jump out of a plane, you will fall (gravity still works), but if you keep your feet and knees together, you will most likely land correctly and without broken bones. (For any more instructions on how to land, you’ll have to ask my husband.)
God created laws that operate the world. He also created moral laws, that when we obey, we know satisfaction. Like the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.
If you’ve ever tried reading the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible, known as the Torah by Jews,) you’ll find all sorts of laws. The Jews weren’t allowed to eat pork. They couldn’t do certain things on the Sabbath. (I’ve addressed this law and how it helps us to live productive lives HERE).
I remember asking my dad about that pork eating law when I was younger.

Useful for Him
My husband and I had talked about replacing the counters. They were past their prime. I had bought a kit to paint laminate counters five or six years ago and had been pleased with the look…for awhile, until tiny paint pieces started peeling into my pie crusts and bread dough. I didn’t even like to clean it, because the cloth would be speckled black before I was done.

I reached the “I’ve had it stage!” I know we had talked about new extended counters…but really the boys were leaving. Who needed wider counters for more clutter? I didn’t want to spend a fortune, then worry about ruining it.

 I researched and found my answer. Cement! I found feather weight cement that can be layered. One article said, “If you can spread peanut butter, you can layer this cement." I could do that. I special ordered the cement and purchased the supplies.

Living by Faith or Feelings
Fact. Faith. Feeling.
Do your feelings follow your faith?
We live in an era where people don’t feel like working, so they don’t. They don’t love anymore, so they divorce. Our feelings control what we do.
And since our feelings change from one day to the next, so does our consistency.
And our stability. We feel unsettled, drifting.
When hardships come, we doubt God. We don’t feel like He is there. So therefore He must not be.
Our feelings control our actions. And change what we believe.
Should they? 

Wings To Soar
We have a hawk’s nest on our property. Every year one pair returns to the nest to raise their young.
To look at the nest, you wouldn’t think it’s the safest thing. Sticks spill out all over it, as it sits high in the tree. From the ground, it looks like a mess that keeps getting bigger each year.
A small bird has built a nest in the lower part of its “mess.” Not a safe place, from my way of thinking.

Are You Losing Your Mind?
Last week we looked at William Carey, the “father of modern mission,” but what about his wife?
The hardships of mission life are most reflected by what happened to Dorothy Carey.

Expect Great Things from God
William Carey, known as the "father of modern missions," lived a full life. Possessing a natural gift for language, he taught himself Latin as a child.

What's in It for Me?
You may be saying, “you tell me to serve my husband, my work is training the children,” and you get that. But, you say, “What about me? Shouldn’t I be able to pursue my interests, live my dream, be who I can be”?
Motherhood is a road of self-denial.

Adoption—The Heart of God
The story of the Bible is the story of adoption.
The Scriptures give examples: Moses (Exodus 2:10), Israel (Exodus 4), and Esther (Esther 2:7).
Happy endings to miserable starts.
The condensed version of what God has done is described in Galatians.
“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father! Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God." Galatians 4:4-7.

But there’s much more involved in adoption.

Something To Hang Onto
I have a lilac tree in my front yard. Over the years, it has survived many cows pruning its branches until chased out of the fenced area. It's become a symbol for spring and hope for me. I've watched in the spring for its blooms--a sign that winter days will soon be gone and life will come again to the land.
Some years, I've watched it bloom then frost would shorten its blooms. But then it would bloom again, twice in one year. I would rejoice in the promise God sent to me of hope, of new life.

The Making of a Man part 4
We have seen how Sarah, Lincoln's first mother, instilled in him early the value of integrity and kindness.
We have spoken of Lincoln's stepmother, who encouraged him in his learning pursuits and how she earned the title, "Angel Mother."
We have seen his honor compelled him to marry a woman, neither compatible with him nor respectful to him.
Now let's look at the man.

The Making of a Man part 3
This woman boasted she would marry the President of the United States.
She toyed with two candidates, choosing one, but never forgetting the other, even naming her son after him.
They hadn't been engaged long, before she nagged to change him.
He was crude. She was refined.
He was uneducated. She was sophisticated.
He only spoke when he must. She held nothing back.
He was content to listen. She must hold everyone's attention.
They were opposites: in training, background, temperament, tastes, mental outlook.
They irritated each other constantly.
They were unfit for each other.
He avoided her.
She refused to listen.
But she would make him president.

The Making of a Man part 2
Do you feel like Cinderella’s stepmother, giving the white glove inspection on cleanliness?
Are you trying to tame uncontrolled natives?
|Are you the witch, always riding your broom of correction?
Do you feel defeated preparing your child for the world?
Consider this woman.

The Making of a Man part 1
Discouraged about your mothering accomplishments?
Feeling inadequate with what you have to give?
Wondering how to make a man out of the child you’ve been given?
Consider this mom.


What Do You Value? Time Will Tell
Last week we looked at how money reflects your values.
Your values are also shown by your time.
The Washington Post survey shows how much Americans value certain activities:

What Do You Value? Your Money Tells.
Show me your bank statement and I’ll show you what you value.
How we spend our money tells what we think is important.
Maybe you can barely can pay bills and don’t have money for any extras.
You think if you just made more money you would have more.
Studies show, winners of lotteries are poorer five years after their win.

The Snells---A Testimony of our God Who Cares
I have known this couple for several years and wanted to share their testimony of how God has worked in their lives, as individuals and as a couple to show that He does, indeed, orchestrate the fine details of our lives.

My Utmost for His Highest
A recommendation of a worthy devotional.

Putting Your Words to Music
Are you God’s spokesman?
With everyone able to have their own website, create their own blog, and comment on everyone else’s thoughts, ever notice there are a lot of empty words?
Ever listen to someone who spouts empty thoughts? They chatter about nothing. They fill books that mean nothing.
I grow weary trying to find something of value to read.
The wisest man who ever lived talked about empty words.

Do You Eat Your Words?
Recently someone told of her husband who sent her an article via phone, “How to declutter a closet in nine easy steps.”
If my husband did that to me, I’d want to get rid of all the “clutter” and buy another wardrobe!
All of us remember unkind words.
Usually those words weren’t meant to hurt, but to encourage (as in the case of the husband with the tips to organize).
But as I considered that wardrobe I’d buy (and not from a thrift store), I remembered words I’ve said that weren’t so nice.
Words that required an apology.

The Why's of Life
As women we ask, “Why?” Not as an engineer would ask, to find out how something worked, but we ask to find out how someone acted. Even if we are introverts, we want to what someone did and why. That’s why we make good busy-bodies.
That’s a good thing. Because we often can see how to help someone, sometimes before they know they need it.
But it’s also a bad thing. Because that questioning can easily lead to, well, being a busybody.
It can also make it hard to trust God when the why’s aren’t explained.

Trust Me
A child will trust his parent to catch him in a pool, even when that parents isn’t ready.

How do you establish trust with your child? Or do they start with trust and they learn not to trust? ...
Trust is instilled in their hearts at a young age.

Are Your Children Safe?
We have heard much in the news about creating “safe places” for our children.
How is a parent suppose to keep their children safe?
What is safe?

The Value of Remembering
How many of you journal or write in diaries or record happenings of your families?

Mrs. E Prentiss, author of the hymn More Love to Thee, O Christ, inspired me through her book Stepping Heavenward: One Woman’s Journey to Godliness. She started her journal on January 15, 1831 when she was sixteen. It’s not a quick read to be finished in a night. Often I put it away for week. But I came back. It’s real living. She made me think.

Are You Threatened?
As women, we compare ourselves with ourselves. Joey's told me, "Women don't dress for their husband, they dress for other women." And it's true.

Do you look at Pinterest and think, “This should be easy enough for me to do”? And then do it, But end in disaster? I pin those humor contrasts. They are hilarious on Pinterest; they aren’t when I do it. How could I mess up something so easy?

Marjorie Conrad: A Testimony to God's Trustworthiness
When Marjorie Conrad was asked, “What one thing, in all your years, did you learn about God?”
She said without hesitation, “To Trust Him. To really believe He has me in His Hands.”
Even her favorite verses replays that theme of trust.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
It’s not her strength; it’s God’s. Even when she feels inadequate.But, it's hard to let go of worry.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6

When she shared her life’s story, that theme of trust is woven through all the happenings of her life to bring her not only into her Savior’s hands but into His heart.




If You Could Live Forever
I’d like to tell you a fairy-tale that only seems like a fairy-tale because of its ending. But the story is true. The ending will change what you think about life.

A man was called by God to find hidden truth and bring it to light. He pursued this passion, instilled by his Creator, to find answers tucked in the Bible’s details, given meaning by his research.
Why I believe...
I was skeptical. Why did I want to live longer? I wasn’t excited to live longer with my increasing aches and pains, and struggles for day-to-day living. But when his wife described a “feeling of wholeness” that comes with the outward signs of youth, and sleeping through the night, “feeling rested” in spirit, mind and body, I was interested. Youth does have that perspective of living life to its fullness, without fear, with great hope and confidence. The attitude she described reminded me of anti-depression medicine without the ill effects or surrealness. I look forward to the aging symptoms leaving my body, not just to look younger, but to feel younger.

Yosemite: A Visit to His Splendor
We recently went to Yosemite.
No one can see the splendor of those mountain cliffs without feeling the spectacular glory that it shows. But in spite of the glory, man still gives the wrong credit. The placards praised the man who discovered the valley, but forgot the Creator Who made it. We see God’s handiwork but don’t acknowledge Him.
We lose its splendor by the jostling crowd, from all over the world, taking selfies in front of cliffs. Our focus is obscured from seeing the mountains’ majesty, but we can't take it all away.

Are You Having Fun Yet?
Some of my boys use to pray that they had a fun day.
I would cringe. Not that I didn’t want them to enjoy their day, but there was more to life than pursuing fun.

But they aren’t the only ones who want fun every day. People work to have a fun weekend. To hear the advertisements: “Grab all the gusto.” (Maybe that is dated). They reflect a life seeking pleasure. We are a culture seeking entertainment. We want fun.

Fun is not wrong in itself, but it is the emphasis of that above all else that is concerning. We have become addicted to pursing fun.

Jesus warns us of this. “The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity” Luke 8:14.

Are You Controlled by Technology?
How many times have you almost ran over someone in a parking lot, because they were looking at their phone, not watching where they were going?
Teenagers used to go to their room to shut parents out. Now they can be in the same room, with everyone on their phone.
Even dinner is interrupted by a buzz or a vibration that must be answered.
How many times have you been talking with someone and your phone rang? Do you have to look at it?
Isn’t that why they can leave a message?
My husband asks his teenage patients, “How soon after you text, do you expect an answer?”
Girls will answer, “Immediately, Now.” Guys will answer, "Within a few minutes, maximum 10 minutes."
How can students focus on school, or you (for that matter), if a text shifts their thoughts somewhere else?
Does it matter?

Are You Anxious, Fearful, Angry, Bitter?
Are you trying to do what’s right, but can’t?
Paul struggled with stuff. He wanted to do what is right, but found he didn’t, he couldn’t.
Here's his struggle:

For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very things I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
I find then the principle that evils is present in me, the one who wants to do good.
For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

What does that all mean?

How's Your Reputation?
Do You Value Your Reputation?
Proverbs says, “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1

What do people know you for? A clean house? A good cook? A thrifty shopper? Well-behaved children?
What kind of reputation does God want you to have?

Have you ever read about the Prophet Hosea?
God told him, “Marry a harlot.” (Not a good beginning for a happy marriage.)
How would you have responded?

Preparing for Sunday Worship
In the article Remember the Sabbath Day, to Keep It Holy I gave reasons for setting a day apart to remember God.
But how do you set a day apart?
It is with GREAT EFFORT.
The key is Preparation.
Prepare the house.

Saturday was our work day. We cleaned the house (bathrooms, bedrooms, jobs that couldn’t get down through the week), then worked in the yard or barn. Recently it has shifted to include whatever the projects the boys have (moving cows to different pastures, helping others).

During baseball season, the house was a wreck as we run to practice and games, hurry through meals eaten at odd times, so Saturdays were lost to cleaning. I’ve learned to look over a lot of dirt and clutter in order to feel rested for Sunday.

Samuel Chadwick: A Life Knowing God
Do you long to know God like Moses? How do you do it?
Samuel Chadwick was born on September 16, 1860 in Burnley, England. He was small and thin, “always looking as if he had not long to live.”
At eight years old, Samuel awoke at 6 AM to work with this father in the cotton mills for a twelve-hour shift, giving his earnings to his mother. He received one shilling for church collections.
At 10, he wished to do everything for Jesus and began praying three times a day.
By 15, he felt called to the ministry. Lacking education didn’t hinder him. After working his twelve-hour shift, he studied from 7 PM to midnight.
When he became a lay evangelist, he walked ten miles each Sunday to preach to his audience of quarrymen and factory workers.
He was appointed at 21 years as lay pastor of a chapel at Stacksteads, Lancashire.
He attended Didsbury College from 1883-1886 to learn Greek to be equipped to minister the Word.

But education didn’t make him know God.

Do You Have Willpower? 
There are many books for beginning readers, but Frog and Toad are my favorite. They give entertainment with a lesson.

Toad bakes cookies and shares them with Frog. They can’t stop eating them.
Frog suggests putting the cookies in a box, but Toad says, “We can open the box.”
Frog suggests tying the box. But Toad says, “We can cut the string.”
Frog suggests putting the cookies high on a shelf. But Toad says, “We can climb the ladder, cut the string and open the box and eat a cookie.”
Finally, Frog gives the cookies to the birds. There’s no going back.
Toad doesn’t want that much willpower. He goes home to make a cake.

Are you Frog or Toad?
Too many times, I’m Toad. I want my cookies and I want to eat them too.

 In fairy tales, you can tell who are the good people and who are bad. Little Red Ridinghood was nice to visit her grandmother but the wolf was evil to eat her.

But in the real world, it’s hard to know. Sometimes the bad person is in your family. And the child can’t run home to where it’s safe. Instead, the child is made to think he’s evil because he can’t perform to his parent’s unrealistic expectations.

The child grows up and becomes a parent. He lives what he knows. The cycle continues.

Most men who turn to other men for their sexual fulfilment come from homes were the mom is controlling.
Women who choose a female partner come from homes where the father is absent or compliant.
Women who live in abusive relationships come from families where the father is over-bearing with no love.
This doesn’t even mention the families where the parents’ fighting leads to divorce or separation.
Now the innocent child becomes the perpetuator. The cycle continues. He’s responsible for his actions. He can no longer blame what he does now, on what was done to him. He pays for his own actions.
Exodus 20:5 tells of the father’s sins passing to third and fourth generations.
Evil continues.

As parents, we want to create a safe place for our children to flourish, bloom, and grow. Even the “good” parents responds poorly at times and hurt their child.

What Is in Your Hand?
The widow of Zarephath had enough flour and oil to make Elijah one last loaf. ( I Kings 17)
The Samaritan woman had only a vessel of water. (John 4)
The boy had two fish and five loaves. (John 6)
David had a slingshot. (I Samuel 17)
The woman had one pound of perfume, that she broke and washed Jesus’s feet. (John 12)
So many different things…yet they all did the same thing with them.
They gave them to God.
That made all the difference in how the story ended.

No Fear
What does fear keep you from doing? What would you do if you had no fear?

My son is training to be a nurse. He recently told me he didn’t study for the grade, he studied to help people. Why? Because what he knew could make a difference between a person’s life or death.
My husband removes melonomas (skin cancer) on people every day. Why? Because it kills people. He’d like to prevent people from dying.
We read in the news of a teenager who died. We say, “He died too young.”
People fear dying.

Do You Cling to Jesus?
The sun had peaked over the mountains on this first day of the week. Mary had wept since Friday. She could find no more tears. She stumbled over the garden path to His tomb. Not really His tomb, Joseph of Arimathea had used his own tomb to lay the body of the Master. Mary had followed from a distance on that Friday to where he laid the Master, when the sky had grown black and the heavens had joined her in her sorrow.

Now she woke with one thought: to prepare the Master’s body. She carried spices and hurried to the garden. She came from her suffering. Her past, with its seven demons still sometimes haunted her, driving her to the One Who had healed her. Now, without Him, Who would fill that empty longing of her heart?

Where's Your Harvest?
Spring gives promise of new life, of a better way, of new beginnings.
In spring, I start my garden. I have high hopes of fresh tomatoes, peppers, beans feeding my family.
I always buy too many plants.
I envision lush flowers, great harvests, calming landscapes…

But what do I get?

Are You Patient?
My husband is patient. He can wait.
I can hardly wait for my water to boil for making tea.
When I ask him if I can do some project (usually after I’ve planned and want it now), he says, “Wait.” It’s the first time he knows there’s a problem and must consider it. But I already know it’s a problem, solved it and must now wait for him. UGH!
Sometimes I think my husband’s timetable is like God’s: non-existent.
I call my husband’s “Mexican Time,” or "Man’ana” (tomorrow).
Does God live inside of time? No.
Does God think yesterday, today, and tomorrow? No. When He says I’m perfected by His Son, He sees me as I will be, not as what I am. That’s a good thing. 
Do you ask for patience?

What's Your Passion?
"The Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died, “Did he have passion?”—Dean Kansky, Serendipity
What is passion?
Merriam Webster’s dictionary (1828) defines passion as a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something; a strong feeling (such as anger) that causes you to act in a dangerous way.
Having a passion is not always good. A person’s passion may be vengeance or retaliation.
With passion comes perfection, the need, not only to do it well, but to do it perfectly. That internal drive keeps a person focused.
T.S. Elliot said, “We can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.”
To survive, most of us prefer to be practical rather than passionate. Passionate people challenge the normal, push the boundaries, disregard tradition, reshape the world we know. To be passionate is to be different from everyone else.
What if you don’t have one?

Expecting Jesus
Who did the Jews expect Jesus to be?
A man who announced His coming, was not a religious leader, but dressed in camel’s hide eating locust.
The Messiah came.
He was the Long Expected One.
But the people expected someone different.

Being in the World, But Not of It
Being in the World, But Not of It...Lot's Story
Being in the World, But Not of It...Abraham's Story
Being in the World, But Not of It. How Do You Do It?

Are You God's?
If God has called you to be really like Jesus He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other people do things that He will not let you do.

What Has Changed?
I recently was looking through old photo albums. What dreams, predictions, and promises! I laughed at what I thought was so important back then. I knew it all (well, most of it.) How simple of me! What I thought was so important…yet don’t even give a thought to now…Have things changed?

Don’t I still dwell on things that are so temporary…what to make for dinner? Why do I save this?

Is Someone Else's Attitude Stealing Your Joy?
When someone is nasty to you, what do you do? Do you mull over what they said, wishing you had thought of that great come-back? Or at least had the courage to put them in their place?
What about when someone around you is depressed, does that mellow your joy?
Does someone else's bad, gloomy day, make you bad and gloomy?

As women, we are made to respond. Our husband leads, we respond. That’s how we are made.

But what happens when what we are given is a bad attitude?

How Do You Prepare To Worship?
Meditations from Exodus 19-20
If you were to meet God on a mountain top, what would you do to prepare yourself?

How Do You Respond To Stupid People?
Have you ever had someone, perhaps a total stranger, tell you something totally uncalled for?
Recently while visiting, I needed to contact my husband. When I called from the land line of the home we were staying, I got a wrong number. I apologized. I dialed again, this time making sure that the number was my husband’s. The lady answered again. I apologized saying I know that I dialed his number. The third time, I again reached this lady. She answered with an attitude, “Don’t call me again.”
Being equally upset, I responded not to kindly, “Do you think that I want to talk to you? I am trying to reach my husband and don’t understand why you answer his number.”
Stupid things that happen…I remember clearly standing in line at the grocery store with three or four children under seven years of age. A lady asked, “Are these all yours? From the same father?”

Are You Listening?
Sometimes we misunderstand each other. I heard something that wasn’t said. I feel an attitude that wasn’t meant.
Recently I texted my son asking how work was going. (He was helping at church with the two younger boys.) He responded, "Great."
Later when he made a comment about how bad it was with one of the boys, I said, “But you said it was ‘great’.”
He gave me that look of incredulous disbelief. “Mom…it didn’t have an exclamation point.”
“And…? What does that mean?” I ignorantly asked.
“Mom, it was sarcasm. It couldn’t get any worse.”
I laughed. So without a punctuation mark, one word indicates the end of the world? (I better edit my articles better!) “I’m sorry. When I received ‘great’, I stopped worrying about whether the boys were listening, and helping. Instead, I should have been praying harder."

The Earthworm Is My Hero

Things Aren't Always What They Seem






Special Days
Aug 12th The Heavens Declare the Glory of God
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Psalm 19:1
And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” Isaiah 6:3 ESV
Praise Him, sun and moon, praise Him, all you shining stars! Psalm 148:3
He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing. Job 26:7

Each star stays in its orbit, continues to shine, and shouts of God’s glory.

July 4th, Freedom
Valentine's Day: A Day of Love?
I preface this article with a disclaimer. I recognize that Valentine’s Day is probably originated as a pagan holiday of false love, but it is a good reminder to treat your man with respect. I need a nudge periodically to remind myself not to take him for granted, to appreciate what he does and who he is. I use the day to help me to focus.

Memorial Day-A Day To Remember
Quotes to remember what we have.

Veterans' Day-To Honor Our Men

Veterans Day began to commemorate “the day to end all wars.” When fighting of WW I ended on the 11th month, the 11th day, the 11th hour in 1918, seven months prior to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, American honored their soldiers and rejoiced as they came home.
Fall Colors

Why I like fall...colors, crisp leaves, earthy smells, garden's closed, reflections, remembering, colors, sweaters, hearty soups, warming fires, vibrant colors, apple dumplings, pumpkin pastries, crunchy leaves, did I say colors? These are taken from my pinterest board.
It was 227 years ago that George Washington issued the country’s initial Thanksgiving Day proclamation. He provides the reasons of this national celebration and requests specific duties of those who request.


Are You Stressed?
Are the little things overwhelming you?
The little ones are sick, you can’t sleep, your days are just holding babies and wiping noses…wondering if this flu would ever be over. You can’t keep my eyes open, even to change a diaper.

I’ve also been in such a big hurry, doing so many things, that I didn’t know who I was and what I should be really doing. It wasn’t just physical tiredness, I was tired to the bone, emotionally.
That’s when the verses of Matthew bring comfort and perspective…
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and You will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

What Your Reactions Say About You?
How do you respond to our family after a bad day?
Reactions are not pre-meditated, planned, or logical. They’re emotional responses, showing what’s inside, who you really are.
Circumstances do not control your reactions

He Opened Their Minds To Understand
“He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” Luke 24:45
Has your mind been opened?
We get stuck in ruts.
We think the same way.
We do the same things.
Routines are good.

Do the Scriptures Burn You?
“Did not our hears burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:32
Has the Scriptures burned you?
We speak of the grace and love of God all the time. But His Words burned these disciples, when they needed comfort.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” II Timothy 3:16-17
God’s breath burns.

Click on the book cover for a listing of articles included in the book.