Archive for December, 2015

A must read today!


merry christmas

Dear Friends,

My family has several Christmas traditions. Some of them are wonderful—like my father reading the Christmas story while we sit by the tree—and some are perfectly dreadful. For instance, on Christmas Day, we cut up hard-boiled eggs and put them into our gravy. (((Gack!))) (((Gack!!))) (((Gack!))) I can’t wrap my head around that one—I mean, don’t you want gravy to be smooth rather than lumpy? Why cram it full of gross egg chunks? Even though half my family agrees with me—and one year we even held a family vote—eggy gravy has continued to stick around. But even worse than eggy gravy is what happens on Christmas Eve. I shudder every time I think about it. My family eats boogers. (((DOUBLE GACK!!!!))) Well, not actual boogers, but they might as well be. We eat oysters.

oysterLet me pause for a moment while I silently gag. I can’t imagine why

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Interviewed by writer and friend Danele Rotharmel.


DiAne Gates

Dear Friends,

I’d like to introduce you to a sweet friend of mine, DiAne Gates. DiAne is such an incredible person!! She has been such an encouragement to me, and she always has a kind word to say. Not only is DiAne a terrific author, but she’s also a magnificent photographer. I always look for her pictures online—they brighten my day. I’m so happy to have DiAne on my blog today, she’s someone special.

Danele: Hello, DiAne! It’s great to be able to talk with you!

DiAne: Danele, I’m honored to be here. Love your posts, and the best perk of those lonely hours banging the keyboard is the blessing of all my new writer friends.

Danele: That’s one of the things I really enjoy about Prism Book Group–the authors support each other. You’re right—it’s such a blessing! Now, DiAne, I can’t wait to hear more about you, so let’s jump…

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Lost But Not Lost

Many of you have read Danele’s posts here and this post will give you an up close and personal glimpse into Who and what she is today!


2I’ve been asked what it feels like to have partial amnesia, and my answer is always the same—it’s VERY FRUSTRATING!! There’s something really hideous about having your memories stolen from you. As awful as my amnesia was, when I became ill, it wasn’t the only mental battle I faced. The carbon monoxide poisoning and multiple chemical sensitivity really did a number on my brain. I had trouble concentrating, and my mind suddenly seemed wired incorrectly. When I would empty the dishwasher, I would be convinced that I was doing everything right, but later, I would find dishes in the oven and in the trashcan. It was like my mind was playing tricks on me. It was scary and very upsetting.

I was also having hallucinations. Light switches would creep up the walls and the waves in the ocean painting above my couch would move. I even saw a feathered frog jumping…

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I buckled the seat belt and glanced around the cabin of the plane. Full flight—not an empty seat. And I shifted closer to my husband for take-off. While my son is a fighter pilot who loves his airplane and delights in zooming through the skies at mach speed, no way does that strand of flight genes flow in these veins. Now I just had endure this three plus hours to get home.

Ranier from the lodge
Vacation in Seattle had been wonderful, and I kinda looked forward to the interrupted time to edit my WIP (work in progress) Twisted. Kinda.

About fifteen minutes into the flight the captain instructed the flight attendants to immediately take their seats and buckle up. The voice instructed passengers not to move about the cabin for the next little bit, and those seat-command-lights flashed on.

Dick patted my arm and smiled. Every muscle in my body tensed. I didn’t return his smile.
The bumping began—then worsened. I closed my notebook, stuffed it back inside the bag and grabbed his hand in a death-lock. We dipped and the plane jarred from side to side.
I pushed his hand away and clutched the gray, drop-down tray in front of me, and hung on. But the bumps and rolls continued. Seconds? Minutes? Hours? My hands hurt from holding that plastic so tight. And all that raced through my mind, over and over, “Lord, help us! Please help us.”
“You’re holding onto the wrong thing.” The clear, concise words, sounded in my head and heart.
“What?” I quipped.
“You are holding onto the wrong thing.” The calm voice of the Spirit of God repeated as loud and real as if He were sitting in Dick’s seat.
I stared at my fists clinging to a gray plastic and the stupid absurdity of my actions crystallized. If the plane went down so would I—clinging to that insignificant tray.
The bumping continued, but I loosened my grip and tore my hands away from that false hope of stability and confessed what God already knew. I was wrong. And anxious. And was indeed holding onto the wrong thing.


Though the bumping didn’t stop, I felt God’s presence and peace wrap me, body, soul and spirit, in His sovereign arms—after I put away foolish substitutes and trusted Him to care for me.
During this Christmas Season, that question has played through my mind many times since that high-flite-testing.



Amid the hustle and bustle, what insignificant, useless things are you holding onto?
Are you clenching your fists at God because He took your loved one home this year? Are you determined to keep all things as they were before their death—accusing God of taking someone you can’t live without? Are you holding onto anger, anxiousness, and agitation?
Or are you so spun up over the world events crumbling around us you can’t enter into the truth of the Christmas celebration? Are you holding onto the hope of salvation through the right candidate, right political party, or right Congress to set this nation back on it’s godly foundation?

What shape and color plastic are you holding onto?
What deception have you allowed to creep in and cloud your ability to see the Light of Christ?
What turbulent situation is robbing you of faith, peace, and confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ to give you help, hope, and healing?

Anacortes barn 3
Dick leaned over and whispered, “It’ll be over soon. We’re just flying over the Cascades.”
I had no idea flying over mountains in the atmosphere of the afternoon would cause turbulence. Did you? We had flown over them in the early morning and it had been smooth. I was ignorant of the facts.
And many of us, even those who believe in Christ Jesus, and have been washed in His blood, don’t know the facts of the truth of His Word. And, like my ignorance of the cause of the bumps and rolls, they are ignorant of what God tells us about who He is, who we are in Him, and what is to come.
And how we are to behave in the process.

Hot in the Kitchen 4
But He has preserved His love letters. His instructions on how to make it through these harsh and barren times. And it’s not too late to educate yourself.
Will you search His Truth?
Will you choose to release your grip on your understanding in order to embrace the truths and peace of His Word?
Will you make a daily practice of focusing on the only One who can deliver you through the storms and tragedies of life? Jesus—born to die so you might live in the joy of His presence—right now and forever.

Wise Men 2

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:5-7 NAS).

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:1-3 NAS).

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Storm 2

Dear Friends,

A few years ago, while I was in quarantine, I watched a documentary about hurricanes. I was fascinated by the pictures of the huge, swirling storms. The storms were so powerful and so incredibly massive. Footage was shown of trees bending and people staggering. The message was clear—a hurricane could blow you away and destroy your house.

After the show was over, I sat with my chin in my hands and thought about my life. Truthfully, I felt like I had been hit by a hurricane. My illness had stripped away everything I was proud of—everything that used to define who I was. I had to quit my job, stop coaching, stop attending church, stop having lunch with friends. My personal hurricane had swooped down and stolen it all.

Broken houseAs I contemplated what I had lost, I began to worry about my future. After all, what type of future…

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THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BACK IN 2015, but is still as true today as it was then. August 22nd of this year my husband of almost 43 years went home to be with Jesus, and I can tell you everything I’ve learned leading GriefShare for the past 17 years is helpful, but in no way softens the blow of loosing the one you love. But,I’m still making a plan. I spent Thanksgiving with longtime friends in Salado and have made plans for Christmas! I hope you will too! HAVE A BLESSED AND THANKFUL CHRISTMAS!

Those of us right-brained folks are bored to yawns by the word plan. Plan sounds so structured. So slap-your-hand-over-your-mouth tedious. And until we lost a daughter fifteen years ago, I had always hoofed it for the nearest exit when anyone mentioned a regimented plan.

Anacortes barn 3
But grief has schooled me in a few lessons of wisdom that have enabled our journey toward a new normal to be much easier. Like I’ve written about in the past, you don’t have to keep traveling the same road. Take a new route to and beyond your destination.

Anacortes Farm land
And that’s exactly what my Richard and I have done the past several years. Holidays are hard. Yes, even after fifteen years. Even though we’ve settled into our new normal there are some journeys filled with gobble-you-up potholes we’ve chosen not to endure.

Mt. Rainer 2
We’ve chosen a new road. A road filled with unexpected twists and turns. A delightful road—our road less traveled.

Ranier barn 5
That road took us to Seattle, Washington, this year for Thanksgiving. Yep, we made a deliberate plan. Three years ago we escaped to Durango, Colorado. Year before last was Bar Harbor, Maine, and this year Seattle. Don’t have a clue about next year—yet.

Look at the size of them trees
We book a flight very early on Thanksgiving morning. No brainer, who’s in the airport at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving day? Just remember to make reservations for parking your car. All the spots are taken by Thanksgiving morning, unless you’ve made a plan. And we’re wherever by dinnertime and there are no hours of shopping or cooking or cleaning. Just time for hubs and me to enjoy ripping down new scenic highways.

This old Texas gal was amazed at the size of the trees in the great northwest. Made our Texas ones look like anemic little bushes. We love seafood and Seattle’s finest certainly satisfied our appetites. However, we always arrive home starving for great Mexican food, chicken fried steak and Texas barbecue.

Ranier from the lodge
Being a artist, writer, and photographer, you can guess what I spent my holiday doing. Seattle is home to Chihully Gardens, Mt. Rainer, The Ballard Locks, and ferry boats to everywhere. Thank goodness for huge camera cards! I hope you will enjoy my journey these next few weeks. And maybe even consider making your own special plan.

Chihully glass house
The mountains, the rivers, the flavors of new enlarge my heart and mind to think beyond myself and my sorrow. And while it’s not traditional drumsticks and dressing, we’ve met wonderful people from all over the world, and we’re able to look forward to our new tradition.

Ferry on the Bay
If you’re struggling during the holidays, I hope you’ll consider selecting your own new plan.

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