Sunday, June 7, 2009


When you think of April, what comes to mind? Spring? Renewal? Trees starting to get their leaves? Rain? The passing of winter?

When I think of April, I think of a wonderful young woman who has every reason to be angry or depressed, yet isn't. She's bright and optimistic. As my friend Carolyn described her, resilient.

I only met April recently, but she's already burrowed her way into my heart. I consider her my adopted daughter--not legally, but in the way that matters most. In the heart.

God does indeed work in mysterious ways. April became a part of my life as a result of an unexpected and uncharacteristic action of my son, Collin. She became a part of our family only six days ago. She needed a place to stay while she was in town apartment hunting. Now, it seems, she'll be making her home with us. It's been an adjustment, having a new person in the house--it always is, I think--but we love her.

April has had health issues all her life. At the moment, she is battling cancer. She faces it with a spirit that's truly impressive. After a life marked by abuses and illness, the fact that she can smile and press on makes me wonder how any of us can whine about minor difficulties in our lives. Most of us have it so much better than she ever has.

Yesterday, she left for Texas. She was going to stay with friends there and, I hoped, find the treatment that would save her life. The night before, as I was drifting off to sleep, I was overwhelmed by the need to pray for her. As I continually prayed, "Please don't let her die," I found myself in tears. As I watched her cab drive away yesterday, taking her to the airport, I once again began to cry.

What if we never see her again? I wondered.

I just got an e-mail from her. She's hoping to come back in a few days. If she does, we will welcome her with open arms and do what we can to keep her safe and happy.

Please keep her in your prayers....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wake-Up Call

Just when I think I know what God has planned for me, He throws me a curve ball.

How many times has that happened now? I wake up one morning, convinced that this is what He wants. As if I have the divine wisdom to second-guess the creator of the universe. Truth is, I'm clueless. At least it keeps things interesting.

I make plans, big plans. God changes them. I make suggestions I'm certain could help our church. They're totally ignored. I'm totally ignored. After a while, I decide that no one there is ever going to take me seriously and vow to keep my mouth shut in the future.

Jesus Himself said a prophet is respected everywhere but in his own town, his own home. I know how those prophets felt.

Maybe it's one of those things that are so obvious, it's overlooked. When I think about it, He's given me a lot to work with. He's put me in some circumstances, allowed me to get myself into others to have experiences that are unfortunately shared by a lot of people. People who have no way to deal with those problems. I do. Here I am, with the means to do something of value, and I've been doing my best to avoid it.

As any good father would, He's making me face the things from which I've been trying to hide.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

To Hell in a Handbasket

In the past week, a popular pastor was killed in the middle of his Sunday sermon. A man in Alabama went on a killing spree, murdering everyone who'd ever "done him wrong." A 22-month-old boy was killed by an abusive stepmother. There was a school shooting in Germany. There's more, but you get my point, I'm sure.

In none of these cases was the killing justified. The killers were not under any kind of attack themselves. There was no threat from their victims. One of the killers is already mounting an insanity defense. The other killed himself after he'd killed everyone else. The stepmother is, as far as I know, still in jail. She should remain there for the rest of her rotten life. Sorry, but that's how I see it.

As a Christian, I'm supposed to be forgiving. I guess I'm still a work in progress, and that part of me still needs a lot of work. There are very few situations in which killing is warranted--self-defense, when there's no other option. The defense of another under attack. Kidnappers. Rapists. If any of these wretched people want to end their own lives, let them do it--but why do they insist upon taking others with them?

The pastor's young children will have to grow up without a father. The deputy in Alabama whose wife and baby were murdered will never get to see his child grow up. No one had the right to destroy their lives. But more and more often, that's exactly what's happening. Senseless killing.

Dr. Phil had a so-called "relationship expert" on his show the other day. The woman claims it's perfectly all right for a woman to marry only for money and a man to marry only for sex. Dr. Phil looked as appalled as I felt. No wonder our values are slowly disappearing from the face of the earth.

As "role" models, our children have celebrities who are in and out of rehab and play musical spouses on a regular basis. In the first place, celebrities should not be held up as role models. Actors, musicians, athletes--that's just their job. A good performance is all they owe the public. They have no obligation to lead the way for our youth. That's our job as parents. We need to stop passing the buck.

There's a saying, "going to hell in a handbasket." Unfortunately, that seems to be where our sad world is headed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In the Company of Angels?

There's a passage in the Bible in which Jesus warns us to always show hospitality to strangers, as we may be in the company of angels unawares. I don't know about angels, but I've had some unusual encounters at fast food restaurants.

Once, I'd stopped at a Jack in the Box after a doctor's appointment--once they have that blood sample, I can breathe a sigh of relief until the next checkup rolls around. I was filling my soda cup when an elderly man sidled up to me and said, "This hamburger looks real good, doesn't it?"

"Yeah," I said, only half-listening.

"It would be even better with fries, don't you think?"

"Yeah." Is he just making conversation? If so, he ain't very good at it, I was thinking.

"Would you buy them for me?" he asked pleasantly.

Nice move, Gramps. I can usually spot that sort of thing a mile away, but you surprised the crap out of me. You earned those fries.

Then there was the woman who came into McDonald's one day. I was sitting alone, reading as I ate. A woman approached my table and asked if she could sit with me. The employee cleaning the dining room gave her a puzzled look. It wasn't as if there was no other place to sit. The restaurant was almost empty.

I figured she was trying to avoid someone and had decided there was safety in numbers. I had no problem with her joining me. If she was being followed, though, the person doing the following didn't find her there. We had a pleasant lunch and went our separate ways. The employee came up to me afterward and said, "What do you make of that?"

"God making sure I'm behaving myself," I told her.

Then there was the incident today. This one continues to bother me.

Times are tough, I know. Still, I wasn't prepared for what happened today. I was at the McDonald's in our neighborhood, having a Filet O'Fish meal. I'd eaten all but a handful of fries and was making notes for my afternoon's writing. when an older woman approached the booth. "Are you going to eat those fries?" she asked.

I shook my head.

"Can I have them?" she wanted to know.

I was stunned for a moment. "Sure," I said. But wouldn't she prefer a meal of her own?

Times are tough, folks. And we are indeed our brothers' keepers. If you encounter someone who's hungry or lonely or in other need, reach out. Embrace them. We all have to share this planet, in the end.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Here we go again!

Am I out of my mind???

If you know me, please don't answer that question.

I already have two other blogs (on Amazon and My Space), so this is Blog #3. I need to get off my butt and really promote my new e-book, Chasing the Wind (currently available at Amazon, Mobipocket, Cyberread, Smashwords, Books on Board, etc. The last thing I need is another blog, yet here I am.

But all I want to do is work on the new novel, second in the series, An Army of Angels. I got into the story a lot faster than I expected. I'm going to have to push Collin--my son and collaborator--to get off his own butt and get busy on the research.

Writing Chasing the Wind and An Army of Angels has been quite a different experience for me. My fourteen previous books were written quickly and pretty much on a schedule. These books, these characters, are with me all the time, every minute of every day. They wake me in the middle of the night. They distract me when I'm trying to do other things. I mentally play out scenes from their lives that will never appear in any of the books in the series. I know each of them intimately.

It's no coincidence that my two female protagonists are named Lynne and Robyn. Lynn is my middle name; Robin is the name my mother had originally chosen for me. If only she hadn't had a difficult pregnancy and ended up feeling the need to honor her sister for helping out before my arrival!

Lynne has my thirst for adventure; she's a seeker, a gambler. She loves a challenge. Robyn is stubborn and optimistic. She cares nothing for the practical matters of life. My dad used to say I had no respect for money, which pretty much sums it up.

Maybe I shouldn't have revealed that last bit of information....