Today we continue our illustrations of the Fruit of the Spirit...

Rain plinked on the roof, a soothing sound far outweighed by the splattering of rain in the puddles. The dampness soaked into my clothes and settled into my bones. The small blaze in the brazier finally gave up the fight against the cold and went out. I shivered.

Slipping the roped leather sandals from my feet, I tossed them to the corner of my bed and tucked my feet under me to warm them. I succeeded in chilling the only part of my body that had any warmth left. I brushed dirt from the thin sheet, my hand found a worn place and my broken nail caught a thread, tearing a hole in the only thing I owned between me and the cold winter.

The bed on which I sat, and the box it filled, for it could not be called a room at all, belonged to the man whose back I was watching. His coat was thick with animal fur and his turban was wound around his head in thick braids with a double portion protecting his neck. I didn’t have to see his face. It held a permanent expression of displeasure even when he was taking his pleasure, if you know what I mean. He snarled his words. As each day passed into night he would allow man after man to look in my box, and when they would shake their heads refusing me, his disposition got increasingly malevolent.

I know what they saw. I had no comb so my hair was ratty and dirty. I had no bath so my body was caked with dirt and grime. I had no perfume so the stink was unbearable. I was not old in years, but I was very old in experience.

So I dreamed.

My feet were in soft, hand-worked leather slippers. My body was draped with silk and a girdle of gold about my small waist. I smelled of the finest perfume and my hair was soft against my cheek. My husband settled a stole of softest fur around my chilled shoulders. I lifted my cheek for his kiss and waved him on his way. As soon as I heard the door close, I rose and powered myself. Without a thought to the babes in their cribs, I ran to meet my lover. I melted in his arms. His strength was beyond bearing. His weight was a seal upon my heart. His breath was sweet and his passion was intense. I savored the glow of pleasure. I craved it. More and more I needed the release of it. I dressed in the gifts of my husband. I ate what he gave me but I craved pleasure from another.

I tried to recall my first lover. His face was blank above me. I was not married then. I was free to choose when I would take pleasure. I flitted from one to another, tasting what was offered and offering myself for tasting. Sensuous pleasure lasts for such a fleeting moment. I craved it more and more so I became the party girl, going home with whomever I could coax into my bed, far grander than the one I sat upon at the moment. I gathered gifts from my lovers… fig trees and grape vines. I had a forest. After I married, I saw no reason to change my ways. He knew what I was when he married me. So what? Yes… Yes… He gave me all I could ever have wanted. But, he also gave me children! My body changed and bloated and I thought I would never get it back. When I did, I ran to the lover I had seduced before the pregnancy. He didn’t want me! He slammed the door in my face!

I went to the next one. He said I disgusted him… a far different tune he had been playing in my bed. I met wall upon wall and had no where to find pleasure... or comfort.

So. I returned home. My feet dragged in the dust. I had chased so many lovers, I had worn holes in my shoes and blisters rose on my tender feet. The path was hot. The sun beat on my back. My throat dried up and I craved water more than any thing I had ever wanted. I stopped at our well, but the bucket came up empty of water, but full of mud.

Winter wind blew in the opening of my box, spraying my face with cold rain. It was just as well for I had no desire to remember what happened next. It was too humiliating… too painful. I scrubbed my face with the thin sheet, and some of the grime transferred from my face to it. This is probably why the next man to poke his head into my box decided to taste my wares. Money clinked from one hand to another and I transported my mind from this box back to that hot day. What was the difference? The shame was the same.

That day, my husband called a meeting in the gates. That day every secret was exposed.

to be continued...

The Hidden by Kathryn Mackel

This is a good book. It is not edge of your seat suspense... it is more kick your feet up and forget to go to bed. The plot moves in a fairly fast pace with several surprising twists. And the mystery is absorbing. I have a couple of theological questions, but I can't ask them or I'd spoil the book for you. I'd never do that!

A dark ravine. A fiery death. An unimaginable secret. Some things are best left hidden.
Grieving her son's death, psychiatrist Susan Stone returns home to Colorado to help her elderly father manage his horse-breeding business. After the botched delivery of a prized foal, Susan rides wildly into the mountains, seeking release from consuming guilt. Thrown from her horse, she tumbles into a dark ravine and makes a startling discovery--a young man, chained in the darkness.

I know this character Susan Stone. You have probably met her, too. She's grieving alone and truly stubborn about it... and has no room for God in her scientific mind. Boy, does God have a plan for her! If you like mysteries, you'll like this book.

I believe you would like Kathryn, too. She has written screenplays for Fox, Disney and Showtime. She worked on the screenwriting team for Leftbehind: The Movie as well as Frank Peretti's Hangman's Curse. She describes herself as, "a middle-aged mom in Hollywood." Her story is amazing! On her website under her bio she states:

Bottom line: The month I turned 45 I sold my first book out of the
slush pile. The editor told me it was a million-to-one shot that they bought
something out of the slush pile. Three weeks later I sold my first
screenplay—out of the Hollywood equivalent of the slush pile. The studio
exec told me that it was a million-to-one shot that they bought something
that way.

You do the math. It adds up to impossible.
Because the truth is this: only God could send a middle-aged mom to Hollywood.
And He’s kept me busy ever since. Each day is a blessing, each year another

I know it's true! It is never too late for God's plan to work in your life.

Kathryn graciously took time from her holiday to answer a couple of questions.

Gina: I have to ask… I looked, but didn’t find it on your website, how did you get the idea for The Hidden?

Kathryn: Because of my recent surgery (total hip replacement that, praise the Lord, is doing great!), I haven’t done the work to get The Hidden up on my website. My webmaster has been willing—the delay is all my fault!

I can’t be too specific as to where the idea for the book came from because I don’t want to give away the answer to who Jacob is and where he’s from. Which means I’ll have to be a bit of a tease because I got the idea from an obscure verse that appears in two of the smaller epistles of the New Testament. The same verse is key to the understanding of what is going on with Jacob but not until much later in the book.

That tease out of the way, I will say
The Hidden always involved Colorado and horses. At the time I first developed the story, I hadn’t ever been to Colorado. And I haven’t been on a horse since I was in college. Sometimes stories spring to life of their own accord, with their own locales and personalities—without an author having much to do with it!

I can say that while Rick Sanchez was always a character, the murders were a late addition. I felt I needed them to help sustain suspense while we waited for Susan to complete her unraveling and ride off into the mountains (where she finds Jacob). Sometimes authors construct plot elements to keep readers interested while we roll out the core of our stories!

Gina: I love how you weave your story with Faith and with Consequences. Could you tell us what you have learned about God while writing your books and how that has impacted your life?

Kathryn: Madeleine L’Engle once said, “The nature of Love is to create.” As a writer, I have the great privilege of tapping into that creative impulse that springs from being made in the image of God. That I can write about a God that is beyond anyone we can imagine and yet show his Love in the lives of people as sinful—and yet loved—as myself often takes my breath away. Even in my so-called “secular” books and movies, I seek God among the ruins of humanity and find joy when a character experiences the same impulse to goodness and righteousness that we can name as the heart of Christ.

Because I look for redemption every day in my writing, I’m learning more and more to look for God’s hand in all aspects of life. Sometimes my life is hard. Sometimes it’s messy. Sometimes what’s worse than a blank page is a page—or a day or a chunk of lifetime—filled with failure.

But more and more, I've learned that there’s nothing worse than turning away from that creative impulse and looking for the safe place. Like everyone else, I want to feel safe. But security is not among Christ’s provisions. (Provision is but safety is not.) Every day my life is a blank page that I’ve committed to the Lord for His authorship. If I don’t like the plot or the tone of His work in me, I need to muster the faith and courage to “read” on.

Now, gentle reader, is that not the best advice you could ever receive?

If you don't like the plot or the tone of God's work, muster the faith and courage to read on... It will be well worth it. That is a promise from God.

That Ragged Old Flag

Old Ragged Flag (Johnny Cash)I walked through a county courthouse square, On a park bench, an old man was sittin there. I said, "Your court house is kinda run down, He said, "No, it will do for our little town". I said "your old flag pole kinda leaned a little bit, And that’s a ragged old flag you got hanging on it". He said "have a seat", so I sat down, He said, "is this your first visit to our little town" I said, "I think it is" He said "I don’t like to brag, but we’re kinda proud of "That Ragged Old Flag"

"You see, we got a little hole in that flag there, When Washington took it across the Delaware. It got powder burned the night Francis Scott Key sat watching it, writing "Oh Say Can You See" It got a rip in New Orleans, with Packingham & Jackson tugging at its seams.It almost fell at the Alamo beside the Texas flag,But she waved on tho. It got cut with a sword in Chancellorsville, Got cut again at Shiloh Hill.There was Robert E. Lee and Beauregard and Bragg, And the south wind blew hard on "That Ragged Old Flag"

On Flanders Field in World War I, She took a bad hit from a Bertha Gun, She turned blood red in World War II She hung limp and low by the time that one was through,She was in Korea, Vietnam, She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam. The Native Americans, The Black, Yellow and White All shed red blood for the Stars and Stripes.

And here in her own good land, She’s been abused, burned, dishonored, denied and refused, And the very government for which she stands Has been scandalized throughout out the land. And she’s getting thread bare, and she’s wearing kinda thin,But she’s in pretty good shape, for the shape she’s in. Cause she’s been through the fire before And she can take a whole lot more. So we raise her up every morning And we bring her down slow every night, We don’t let her touch the ground, And we fold her up right. On second thought I do like to brag Cause I’m mighty proud of That Old Ragged Flag.

I pledge alligence to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

In memorium of all who died under this flag for our country and for our freedom. Thank you for keeping me, my family and all my loved ones safe. Thank you for standing between us and the bad guys.


I'm so glad it's Friday... it's a holiday weekend... I might even get to visit with my HBL for longer than a few minutes on the phone. Better yet... let's go FISHING! This is my beautiful Lake Bruin. Best vacation spot in the world and I live here :)

I'm working on Kindness so, we'll pause from the Fruit today and let me give you an...

~~~:.:~~~ UPDATE ~~~:.:~~~
I'm now part time employed. I write flash cards (didn't you always wonder who wrote those flash cards that went with your text books... oh, come on... of course you did :) I say part time, because that won't pay the bills, but it will be fun to do and help pay the bills until I finally get that really good job that God has for me.
I have to admit, searching for a job that I can do over the internet instead of punching a clock has been quite interesting. Answering ads and sending out resumes was quite routine with zero responses except for those MLM--multilevel marketing -- "opportunities" and I just cannot get heart-stoppingly excited about air filters. It just doesn't do it for me. I have learned that CareerBuilder has an excellent collection of jobs (over 4 million last time I checked) and will even send some very interesting ones to your inbox. What service! I got my part time job from CareerBuilders.
Today, while I'm helping Mom run some errands and get her car lubed and oiled and all those other under the hood thingys that we must do else our cars sound alarms and stop dead in the highway, I work a little on my lap top and make a few follow up phone calls on my cell phone.
Technology! There is nothing like it. It used to be so simple and waiting rooms used to be quite things where the only sound was the occasional flip of a magazine page, a muffled cough and perhaps a murmured conversation. Then came the beepers. I still recall having to pull to the side of the road in the pouring rain to answer a page from my boss and that allowed him to add another appointment to my Friday calls. Then comes the car phone age... Thankfully, I avoided those!
Now... my doctor calls while I'm forking chimmychunga into my mouth. Of course I know I misspelled that, but I'm not Spanish or Mexican. You know what I'm talking about so why worry about spelling? So I talk to him about my blood work and my medication while there are... oh... about 40 people within hearing distance. Fortunately, I didn't have to say anything personal.
Then, I get caught in the middle of Walmart right between the T-shirts and capri pants and this would have been a for real, honest to goodness JOB interview, if I'd been at home in front of my trusty laptop. But, no, I'm standing there watching my Mom rummage through T-shirts with her magnifying glass to find the right size while I'm talking about government contracts. I felt totally displaced and inadequate.
How can anyone talk business like that? God did not intend for us to do business like that. If He had, He would have invented cell phones along with Man.
"The party you are trying to reach is out of the service area. Please try your call again at a later time."
On second thought... maybe that is exactly what happened.


An irritated chirping sounded from the bushes behind me. Good, I thought. Better the birds should be uneasy in this hush before dawn. I had never heard the city so quite. My chest hurts from so much weeping. I think I have poured out all my tears and yet, more come. My body aches from so much lamentation.

I seek a more comfortable position on this hard rock I chose for my night’s repose… more like a vigil, though. The chill in the fibers of my being had little to do with the chill of the night, although, it truly is unusually cold this night, too. The stars seem to have lost their luster and the moon hides its face from any who looks for it. Too many have hidden their faces from not only the moon, but from those who have murder in their hearts. It is a cold Hell and has been for several days. It is a wonder the tears on my cheeks have not frozen into trails of ice.

I tug my robe tighter across my shoulders and tuck it under me for an ever so slight a cushion. Like a sore tooth, I poke and prod at the anguish in my heart. Not one person in all of Jerusalem could half way imagine my desolation. Well, maybe Peter can. He has hidden his face, too. John, so young and his resilience stronger, is probably with him.

My life was filled with evil and torment for the most of it. Only a few brief years of respite, one might even call it happiness. Yes. I could call it happiness.

A beautiful man had crushed my tormentors, broke the shackles of bondage and set me free, cleaned me up, dusted me off and I was so deeply grateful for that. Why couldn’t those knuckleheaded priests see the Truth for what it was? Why had this terrible thing happened?

I tried once to make them see… to make them understand. They would have none of it. I was tainted. I was unclean. I was a whore. I was none of those things, but they could not see past the surface. Well… back to the Man.

His name was Jesus. Rabboni master teacher. One day I was drawing water and He walked by. Something compelled me to spit in His face. I cringe now to think of it. These tormentors who spoke things in my mind and took control over of my body screeched at Him obscene things that make my whole body blush to think of them. He just looked at me with the strangest expression. I had no idea what it meant. I had never seen compassion on anyone’s face before. I saw that same look on His face when He healed the lame and the sick and the demented. Some part of my brain registered surprise that he would look at me so when I’d just spit at Him. He spoke two words. Come out! His voice was soft, but held such authority that my tormentors flew from me. Emptiness after that.

Nothingness. The clamor was gone. The thunder ceased. The change was so abrupt I collapsed in a faint. The next thing I remember was the tenderness of His touch. He was washing my face with His robe dipped in the water I had drawn. For the first time I knew what clean meant. It had nothing to do with the removal of a bit of dirt from my face. It had everything to do with the removal of those things from my mind and a completely different path to walk.

Now look! The sky is getting a bit lighter. Not much longer now. The spices at my feet gave off a heavy, but sweet aroma. What’s this? I lost my balance. One minute I’m sitting on solid rock and the next I’ve been tossed to the ground. Oy! What is going on? My hearts stops beating along with my breath when I look to the tomb. Oh! The stone is gone!

The other women come out from their places of vigil and look at this most extraordinary sight. I cannot stop the tears from flowing. My body is wracked with sobs and I pay no attention to the two men dressed in shining clothes because the worst possible thing has happened. Jesus is gone. His body has been stolen and I cannot do this last thing for Him… to wrap Him in spices and to prepare Him for His final repose. It is too much to bear!

One asks me, “Woman why do you weep?” I fall to the earth in fear and despair.

Desperately I cry, “They have taken my Master and I do not know where they have put Him!”

One of the men said, “Why seek the living among the dead?” I paid no attention and ran from them into the garden, seeking I know not what.

A Gardner stood a short way away. Again I am asked that horrid question, “Woman why do you weep? Whom do you seek?”

I did not know that who I sought was standing right beside me. I accused Him, “Sir! You have taken Him. Tell me where You have put Him and I will take Him away.”

He says one word, “Mary,” His voice so tender and so soft and so full of authority. I knew.

How does one describe joy? What is this emotion that displaces despair? The one is death and the other is life. I can only tell you that my heart started beating again. My breathing started up again. Where there was numbness, there was life. Where there was darkness, there was Light.

He cautions me not to touch Him for He had not yet ascended to our Father. He knew I wanted Him to stay here forever so that I might love Him and serve Him and learn from Him. He tells me and the other women to go tell the disciples what we had witnessed. I had a mission! What greater joy than to be a service to Him. He could have done that Himself, yet He told us to go. We had great news and we could bear this great Joy to those closest to Him!

I ran. I could not help it. The energy surging through me had to be expended or I would burst. I knew what David’s thirtieth Psalm meant for truly, my joy had come that morning.

2 O Jehovah my God, I cried to You, and You have healed me.
3 O Jehovah, You have brought up my soul from Sheol;
You have kept me alive, from going down into the Pit.
4 Sing praises to Jehovah, O saints of His;
and give thanks to the memory of His holiness.
5 For His anger is only a moment; in His favor is life.
Weeping may endure in the evening, but joy comes in the morning.
6 And in my prosperity, I said, I shall never be moved forever.
7 O Jehovah, in Your favor You have made my strong mountain to stand;
You hid Your face; I was troubled;
8 I called to You, O Jehovah; yea, I prayed to Jehovah.
9 What profit is in my blood, in going down to the Pit?
Shall the dust praise You? Shall it tell of Your truth?
10 Hear, O Jehovah, and favor me; O Jehovah, be my helper.
11 You have turned my mourning into dancing for me;
You have loosed my sackcloth and have clothed me with gladness.
12 So my glory shall praise You, and not be quiet;
O Jehovah, my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Fruit of the Spirit

I'm working on chara that's Joy. It is amazing how many times joy comes up in Scripture.

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, self-control. Against such things there is not a law.

While I'm working on that one... when was the last time you read Psalm 119? Did you realize that almost ever single verse in that chapter makes reference to God's word? Precepts... statutes... testimonies... word... law... commandments...

There is such an interesting warning in Revelation. If any do not listen to the Word, or try to add to it or to take away from it, then God will remove that person from the Book of Life. Shivers.


We all know what Faith is. It is the certain knowledge of the things hoped for, evidence of the things not seen...


The light gradually grew brighter. I tossed the light covering aside and slipped on my robe. The cold stone felt refreshing to my feet only for a short while then the cold crept up my legs into my bones. Oh, it wasn’t the cold stones. It was despair. I had passed depression long ago. Despair gathered the corners of darkness and wrapped it around my whole being. Defeat tied the knots. One day had melted into another without any relief from my hopeless situation.
I stopped myself from calling out for Tabitha. I had no money to pay her anymore so I had urged her to take another position. Why should she suffer because of me? I looked forward to morning only because I hated the loneliness of night so deeply. No warm, loving embrace during the night. No husband whispered sweet love words in my ear, his breath warm against my neck. I had lost it all. Everything.

My father had no son, only me, so I received the fortune he’d spent his whole life building. It was quite vast. He taught me well in business. I was no ninny, I assure you. It was quite exhilarating to land a deal and see those camels lumbering into town laden with spices and silks and to know that they were all sold to the highest bidder. The bag used to hang so heavy along my leg, the slight clinking of gold sounding musical to my ears.

The scarlet thread ruined everything.

I came home one day with a cramp or two. Nothing serious but Ishti, my beloved husband would hold me that night for the red river would flow the next day for sure. I laid on his breast through the night. He was tired. It had been hot and the camels had been cranky the handlers were even worse. What was seven days in a lifetime of love? We had the rest of our lives to lavish love on each other. It would only be seven days.

I was in niddah (separation) because, tohorah or family sacredness decrees that when the secular world things tum'ah such as menses begins it takes the mind off the Holy Things and makes a person Unclean. My beloved could not touch me. There was some disagreement among the Sanhedrin about this. Torah said not for seven days. Did one count from the first flow or begin counting after the flow ceased? But regardless, we could not express our love for each other that night because that would mean we would be cut off. No going to the Holy Temple. My beloved could not minister there. No sacrifice, however expensive, would cover the sin. So we abstained: I in my chamber and he in his. It was a lonely state, but it was only for seven days. So many women of my acquaintance cherished these days of separation. I could never understand that until I realized they must not love their husbands as much as I loved mine. I was young. I was in love. I had so much passion for him and not just his body. His smile lit up the room. His soft voice sent velvet peace through me as he read the Torah or the prophets or the songs. He was the mountain rock that protected me from the storms of life. It would only be for seven days.

But the red river did not stop flowing. I tried the remedies handed down from mother to daughter for centuries. I thought it would stop. It went on for months.

The day my husband came in with a bit of paper with writing all over it, my heart drained of all joy. What little hope I had cherished was ripped from me as I read that paper. It wasn’t my fault. I was released from my vows. He required an heir. I could not give him a most hoped for son. I was divorced.

That day, I hated the sun more than anything. It kept shining. My world had suddenly gone dark but the sun kept shining and it kept rising day after day, cheerily glowing, warming, setting the evening sky on fire all while darkness filled my being to the marrow of my bones. My beloved walked out the door, his broad shoulders and his rich brown hair reflected the cheery sunshine whilst inside blackness ascended the throne of my heart.

I resolved to find a doctor that would make me well. I sent out servants to the four corners of the earth in search of learned physicians to heal me. The servants came back one by one with physician after physician who tried recipe after recipe of the most vile concoctions and still the red river flowed. Each smiling man held out his hands. One clutched a new medicine and would only let go of it when the empty hand was filled with gold. The bag that used to merrily hit my leg as I confidently strode the streets of town grew lighter and lighter. Year after year passed by and loneliness crept closer, sidling up, craving a cold friendship.

At first the days were filled with hope. The next physician would have the cure. The next caravan would bring the medicine that would heal. At first, I didn’t notice as one acquaintance after another quit inviting me to social engagements. I had to turn them down so often. I was unclean. Of course I didn’t spread the news. That sort of thing is just not done. But women talk. We gather at the well. We share recipes, cures, hope, gossip. That last one… oy vey !

The gossip wasn’t noticeable at first. But then the hands quit dropping to the task at hand but stayed over the mouths as eyes followed me down the street. The sound of whispers touched my ears as I passed groups of twos and threes, either pity or scorn on their faces. I despised both. That served to push them further away. I was shunned. I was cut off.

That morning I awoke to a sky pale in the east, the sun not ready to break the day. I leaned on the window, a cramp dropped me to my knees. In that moment I decided I could not carry the load another second. “God,” I cried out. “God, remember me this day,” I begged, forgetting pride and self esteem. I had nothing left to bargain with. I had nothing to offer Him except a shriveled and tattered heart. “Remember me like you remembered Rachael and she became pregnant. Remember me like you did the countless times you remembered Israel in the travails before the kings. Remember me, oh Adonai, as you remember Hannah.”

The golden sun stretched over the horizon and warmed my cold face. A tiny spark of hope lit a single corner of my heart and I was able to face that day. A peace settled in my being. I knew I would be healed. Where, or how, or when wasn’t important in that moment. The hope of healing took my breath. I knew. It was as if a giant hand picked me up from the floor, rushed me into my dress and hurried me out the door. Where I was going I had no clue. Then I heard the whispers. He is here today. He is coming today. He will pass along this way for He is teaching. He has healed hundreds. That demon-possessed man out by the cemetery was cured! He heals the lame and the feverish.

My heart leaped. I dare not let them see my face for then they would hush and cross to the other side of the street. I would never hear more of this Man. “Who?” I wanted to scream. I wanted to grab an arm and shake until I heard the whole of the story. Jesus of Nazareth. Finally. I heard the name. It melted over me, sinking into me, peace washing over me like the waters of the mikveh which I had not felt in twelve long years. Hope gave spring to my step. I followed the crowd and when it became so close I used elbows and heels to break through. Closer I pushed.

I heard one of the synagogue rulers, Jairus, as I recall, approached a man falling at His feet. I knew in my heart that it must be He… the Jesus that would save me… the Man that would heal me… God’s remembrance. I crouched down and crawled forward. I knew that if I just touched his talit, just one tassel on the corner of His talit, I would be healed. He had healed hundreds; the tassel was all I needed. He was Holy. I was unclean. He was of God. I was filthy. He was kind, for I saw Him start to follow Jairus to go heal his daughter. I was shunned and cut off. How dare I touch Him and make Him unclean? I could not. I dare not. But His prayer shawl I could dare to touch. I reached out. The tassel brushed through my hand… the barest of touches.

Darkness fled. Despair became a wisp, blown away by a puff of breeze. The red river ceased and I was well. The filth of twelve years disappeared just as if it had never been.

“Who touched Me?” His voice was full of compassion, love, and the waters of His words washed me clean. The first time in twelve years I was clean.

I could do nothing but fall at His feet. I poured out twelve years of grief and He replaced it all with such joy I could not contain it all.

“Daughter,” He said, daughter a term of endearment such as I had not heard in years, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be whole from your plague.”

I rejoiced, Ah, Lord God, thou hast saved me this day.
I could not help but sing the Psalm of David

Jehovah is gracious and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
Jehovah watches over the simple; I was low, but He saved me.
Return to your rest, O soul; for Jehovah has blessed you.
For You have delivered my soul from death, my eye from tears, my feet from stumbling.
I will walk before the face of Jehovah in the lands of the living.
I believed; so I speak…

Every Christian in his or her best Christianese can define Grace. Unmerited favor... God's favor to an undeserving species called humans.

Oh... but it gets much more personal than that. It gets in your face and in your heart before you can truly know what Grace means. I wrote a piece a couple of years ago and posted it here last August, I think. It's called No Stones. It is Grace illustrated.

It was hot that day. Sweat dripped from my forehead into my eyes and stung. It slid down my back making my robe stick to it, but that didn’t help me keep the front closed. My feet were bare because the men who dragged me from my bed never gave me time to put on my shoes. One of those high and mighty Sanhedrin guards dragged me into the hot street. He didn’t care what I looked liked evidently, because he didn’t bother to toss me my girdle as he dragged me out of the house.

One guard took pity on me. His eyes were kind but guarded. I guess he was afraid he would be punished if he showed me any sympathy, but at least he threw my robe at me as we passed through the front room to the street. Oh, I wish I had my girdle and this oaf would quit twisting my arms so I could at least keep the front closed. Shame washed through me, flushing my heated face. I ducked my head to the side so the women across the way would not recognize me. Who was I kidding? Of course they knew who I was. I was the “prideful bride”. They talked about me. Whispered about me. I provided many topics for whispered conversation at the well. “She wasn’t so proud this morning, no. She was put in her place last night.” A nudge to the one beside her, “No bruises on her face, this morning that I can see.”

I hurried along with the guards. Not because I was anxious to go where they were taking me. I could only imagine the pit they would throw me in and the jagged stones that would be hurled at my tender flesh. No. I hurried along because the sand burned so hot, the soles of my feet were baking like bread in the oven. The Sanhedrin guard kept pulling and tugging at my arm seeming to delight in my embarrassment; jerking at my hand as I desperately tried to cover myself. I was deeply embarrassed and ashamed.I thought what we were doing was in secret. He had told me he loved me and he was certainly handsome and he certainly treated me better than my own husband did. He didn’t beat me or scream harsh words at me. For so long I had longed for those tender words from my husband but they never came. Was there nothing in this world that would soothe that ache of loneliness? Was there nothing that could fill this dark void in the depths of my being? I longed for children, but God did not grant them. I longed for tender caresses but none were saved for me, only harsh words scraped my ears instead of gentle fingers touching my cheek. I longed for love and searched everywhere for it, finding only emptiness. Was there nothing that would soothe this ache? Was there nothing that could fill this void?The troop suddenly came to a halt.

I looked up from my hands which clutched the tattered ends of my robe. Two guards in front of me moved to the side and then back, leaving me alone. I was alone in the middle of a crowd. The man they called Jesus was standing to one side of the clearing around me. Fresh shame washed through me. A thin robe, made for the bedroom not the streets of Jerusalem, was my only shield. I found myself standing alone in front of the Man called Jesus!

Oh, yes. I’d heard of Him. I’d heard of that day He had fed so many and about that day He had whipped the money stealers in the Temple. I had wanted to hear Him teach, but I was afraid. I over heard one of the women talking about how He had looked through her right inside her heart. She had felt such shame she had turned away and never wanted to see the Man again. That made me afraid of what He would see in my heart. It was ugly and I was ashamed. I didn’t want anyone poking around in my thoughts and feelings. I hurt too badly for that. No. I was better off not searching Him out because that way I could avoid any more pain. But, now, someone had taken me right to His feet and I couldn’t escape.

There was a lot of shouting but I heard none of it, because His eyes were speaking to my heart. He knew what I had done that afternoon and a dozen afternoons before this one. He searched my heart in that instance and found it devoid of hope. His expression turned tender with love.

What little strength I had, left my trembling legs and I dropped to the ground, cowering in dirt that was cleaner than me. My embarrassment turned to despair and in mortification I dropped my gaze to the dirt thinking I was no better than that dirt. I could not look into His eyes ever again. I could not raise my head and tears burned my eyes taking the sting of the sweat from them. My tears soaked into the cracked earth, swallowed up into that thirsty sand which took and took and gave nothing back.

Why did I feel so filthy, so unworthy? I paid my woman’s dues at the Temple. I served my time helping the poor. I made my husband’s fine raiment. I submitted to the cruel truth that I would never present a new life to the world, nor would my husband know the joy of circumcising his own son and holding him up to Adonai. When I realized that, I knew how deep a hole hope carved when it left the heart. I was empty, so empty that the shame and guilt were too heavy to bear. I buried my face in the sand, legs trembling, muscles tense, agony so great my breath came in short gasps, stirring the sand and dust.

The throng around us must have been noisy... the city was always noisy. Yet, in that moment, I was deaf to the world. My shame had clothed me like my robe could not, enveloping me in a flush of guilt. Alone. Empty. Unlovely. Sick.

I was so unworthy to touch His shoe or to let a tear trickle onto his toe. Afraid. So afraid. He would see inside my heart and then I would be exposed. Laid bare. Oy vey. I could not bear it. Accusations hurled over my head as I felt burning sand sear my cheek. Oh, if only that sand would open up I would scuttle into the hole and hide. My heart cried out to my mind, “Hide from that tender look?” Yes! Oh, yes, for I was not worthy of that look. I had sinned. The whole world was screaming my sin, exposing every detail of that sultry afternoon. There was no forgiveness for it. I was guilty of adultery; caught in the very act. I would have to drink the bilious drink or be stoned for the adulteress I was. Why had I listened to that seducer’s soft words and yielded to the yearning of my body? I recoiled at the memory now.

The stones would come next. I tightened my muscles and hunched my back actually hoping the stones would come soon and take my miserable life. I would prefer that over the shame the women across the way would toss at me. How could I face what would surely come? Certainly, my husband would never appear and beg for my life. His heart was colder and harder than the stone held in the fist not two yards from my face. He would toss me out and there would be no place for me to go. Nothing for me to do but go to the brothel and supply the needs of the Roman soldiers.

“Come stones, come,” I breathed into the sand. Those stones would release me from the emptiness that filled my life. I was sure of that. Anything would be better than the milling throng that pressed in seeming to crush me deeper into the dirt.

The shouting stopped and the only sound was the soft plop of my tears into the sand. His finger wrote in the dirt. I couldn't see what He was writing. I held my breath and the valley between my shoulder blades deepened as I scrunched into a small target, certain the stones would peck away my life. Of course the sand that rejected swallowing my body when I silently begged for it to close over me, would gulp my life's blood down its ever thirsty throat.

There was a thud. Then, I heard a harder thud. A stone rolled close to my face, coming between me and that foot I was not worthy to touch. Then whitened knuckles loosened, and thud followed thud as stones of different colors and sizes dropped around me. Miracle of miracles no jagged-edged stone touched me or sliced my tender flesh.Then a shoe scraped the sand, then another, then another. A few moments and it was quiet, the sun beating on my back. I felt His hand then, on my head. It was a gentle caress as His fingers slipped under my chin and He wiped the tears from my cheeks.I dared to look up.His eyes were tender and full of forgiveness. He spoke to me then. “Where are they? Has no one condemned you?” I saw those men who had dragged me down the street were all gone! There was no one left except this Man who looked at me with compassion and love.I said, “No one, Lord.” Unbelievably… Astoundingly, He said, “Nor do I condemn you. You may go and sin no more.”

I owe my life to Him.

That day is when my real life started. I had no idea life could be so full of joy. Oh, no, my husband never forgave me. He gave me my divorce papers and I’ve tucked them away in my little wooden chest along with the robe I wore that day. I had to save it, to remind me of what I did not want to go back to. I am finally free of those bonds and that feels too good to ever go back down that path again.

In Him, in my Lord, I have taken refuge; He shall never let me be put to shame. He heard and set me free. He is my rock and my refuge and I shall always find safety in Him. He is my Hope. (Ps 71) Therefore, I shall strive to never shame Him.

Be It Known

It's really rather scary.

I was researching a company on the net. I found several references and it is quite impressive. I didn't find any white papers, though. Then I got to thinking about all the net searches concerning me (yep, they show up on my tracking). [edited at 9:25 pm to add this part] I found lots of references to me and the scary part is that for a fee, a lot of personal information about any person you can think of is available. Skip-tracing made easy.

I made a commitment several years ago that I wanted to leave enough evidence to so there would be zero doubt I belong to the Lord God Almighty. I did a net search on my name and... WOW... I just thought my name was unique. In a name database, there are no less than 10 Gina Burgess names; none of them mine. There is a lovely Gina Burgess who is a virtuoso violinist. She's quite lovely. Another one in Australia who quilts the most lovely quilts. Another one has a wonderful reputation in fire prevention and has written several pamphlets about it and works for the federal government. There's another in the UK who has done quite a lot in her community; she has even quit smoking just like me.

So, I got to thinking about all this. Our names are the same, but we are all very unique. We do not look the same or have the same talents, although I do believe we have several interests in common. The main thing in common is our name.

I did not find any Gina Burgess who had been a "bad girl". None were in prison or were arrested or had abortions reported. All were of good reputation. That made me feel... hmmm... Proud!

I now have a clue how God must feel when His children who are known by His name act right, are of good reputation, are noted for doing His work... who look like their Daddy.

If anyone thinks what they do is a secret... just do a Google on your name. You'll be surprised at what you will find. Nothing we do is in secret. It will all come to the light.

Luke 8:17 For nothing is secret that shall not be revealed; nor secret which shall not be known and come to be revealed.

Even when we take special care to keep our good works anonomyous, God sees...
Matthew 6:6 But you, when you pray, enter into your room and shutting your door, pray to your Father in secret. And your Father seeing in secret will repay you in the open.

Match Made In Heaven

“A golf game against God—with the stakes—life and death? What a great concept! But it gets even better as Elliott Goodman plays golf with Leonardo da Vinci, W.C. Fields, John Lennon, and others. This daring book is a miracle, and, I think, quite possibly a classic.”— James Patterson, #1 N.Y. Times bestselling author

Yes! This book is utterly unique. I've never read anything like it. It is very well written and, I believe it would satisfy the most thirsty, literature conoseur.

This is not a book about God. It is about Elliot Goodman who is a good example (E.G.) of humanity except he is a bit unique because he gets the chance to meet God face to face while he's on the operating table after a heart attack.

The title of this post is a link to Bob Mitchell's web site where you can purchase this book, or you can find it at your local Barnes & Noble or Borders Book Stores.

In college, my golf instructor advised me to stick with tennis. I did. It didn’t matter it was a dream, I took it to heart. Therefore, I was somewhat handicapped while reading this book because I know next to nothing about golf. If you like golf and you historical people (some of your favorites will be here, I'm sure), you'll like this book. Bear in mind, it has no theology... just some earthy life lessons. You'll meet W.C. Fields and Marilyn Monroe... William Shakespeare and Socrates... even Moses and they are sooooo in character! Well...

Moses flashed an avuncular smile, his thick, muscular beard and bulging biceps reminding Elliott of Michelangelo’s impressive statue of him in Rome’s San Pietro in Vincoli church. Except that now, instead of a tablet cradled in his right hand, Moses held a humongous Cleveland Launcher 460 driver and looked very much like he meant business. Chapter 3 excerpt of Match Made In Heaven

...maybe not exactly in character.

Bob Mitchell is a walking miracle. He's lived all over the world, has a B.A. (magna cum laude) MA and PhD; a sports fanatic for 50 years; PLUS he has lived through 3 heart attacks and 3 open heart surgeries, plus 2 angioplasties and 2 defibrillator surgeries. Today, due to the nature of his progressive heart disease, Mitchell lives with only one functioning major coronary artery. Yet his life is full, creative, and productive. He still plays tennis (he was a teaching pro many years ago for a short time) and golf, and he rollerblades daily around his Santa Barbara community. Between 18 holes and rollerblading, he squeezed out some time to answer some question...

Gina: We know you are passionate about sports and a scholar of politics and history, but what about the man, Bob Mitchell? Tell us about Bob Mitchell.

Bob: Well, much of who I am is in the novel. Just a hard-working guy who loves life, loves sports, loves the pursuit of knowledge, and who has had the good fortune to live through five heart surgeries! I'm lucky to be around and especially lucky to be able to do what I adore doing (writing fiction), to have three great kids, and to be living in Santa Barbara, CA, with my wonderful wife, Susan, and my amazing Labradors, Koslo and Mocha.

Gina: I usually ask an author what they learned about God and themselves while writing their book. Since there is quite a bit Elliot Goodman learns about himself, is this what you learned about yourself? What did you learn about God while writing this book? How has that impacted your life since writing Match Made In Heaven?

Bob: A tough question. I'd say that it's not so much what I learned about myself (new), but what I relearned and saw more clearly, just as Elliott, the protagonist, does. The game of golf allows him to re-experience, under intense pressure (after all, his life is stake in this golf match against famous people sent down by God!). He relearns about what is deep inside him, confirms what good he has, learns what he needs to improve. And these life-lessons include qualities like humility, limits, resilience, joy, compassion, integrity, self-reliance, risk, and, of course, heart. Now, as far as learning about God, I'm not sure. I'm not really a religious person. I am a spiritual person, that is for sure, but not in the formally religious sense. I believe that there may well be a higher power somewhere in the universe, but that is virtually unknowable and deeply personal. People often feel the need to lean on or look to something greater than themselves, naturally. In my experience, which has been marked by frequent challenges and bumps just like everyone else's--physical, moral, emotional, etc.--I have personally chosen to rely on my own powers of resiliency and strength to overcome these challenges, failing often, succeeding occasionally. But that's my own take on the universe. I'm very pro-active and always prefer to take matters into my hands when I can. Of course, that's not always possible, and when it isn't, I guess I've had faith in something--perhaps God? In any case, in fate or the way the world works or whatever. It has worked so far, for me at least. The God in my novel is more of a character who is certainly omniscient and who, in his wisdom, allows Elliott Goodman to discover truths about himself and why his life is valuable and worthy of being saved. So I haven't really "learned" anything about God, or anything more than what little I "knew." In the book, God is a concept, as I believe he is in many people's minds. He is how we live life, or should live lives. He is the idea of living the best lives we know how to live. And that's all I know now.

Gina: In a conversation, you said that you didn’t want the reader to be “bogged down with minutiae” about each of the famous characters in your book. How did you choose what lesson would be learned from which character? Is this something that you learned from these people while you were a student of literature, art, music, history, sports and all those other disciplines? Did the lessons impact you like they did Elliot? How differently?

Bob: Each character was chosen with great care. THey all had to be entertaining, fascinating, and significant figures in history. I also had to be able to match their personalities and their personae to the manner of playing golf that I imagined in my head. Also, I had to strike a balance regarding ages, nationalities, professions, and style. And of course they each had to be the vehicle for learning about a different lesson in life. Without being overbearing or heavy-handed. Leonardo for instinct, Lincoln for integrity, Picasso for self-reliance, and so on. Yes, of course, all of this was in my head from my many years of study and teaching, and it all came out when I began to incubate the story. Finally, the lessons impacted me like they did Elliott, because in a sense I AM Elliott!

Gina: My favorite character in your book is Socrates. I love the way you captured his essence. Which is your favorite character? Why?

Bob: I love them all. (This is sort of like Sophie's choice!) But if you FORCE me to choose, it'd be between Freud, Socrates, and Shakespeare. I love Freud because he's so annoying, and if you're annoyed on the golf course, it's nearly impossible to play well! He is totally anal-retentive and has OCD, and that makes him a colorful character. Socrates is fascinating because, as in his dialogues (Chapter 7, starring him, IS in the dialogue form), he somehow succeeds in magically eliciting the right answers from his interlocutors by guiding them with these brilliant questions. And Shakespeare, I love him for two reasons. First, he is totally and utterly human and flawed (that's why his plays are so great!). And second, he (and Elliott) end up speaking the entire chapter in iambic pentameter, which was amazingly fun to write.

Gina: For my writer readers… how hard was it to switch from non-fiction to fiction? Was it easier or harder to get your fiction book published? What critical piece of advice can you give us about getting published?

Bob: 1. Not hard at all. But in my case, there's a reason. I've been reading, studying and teaching literature (fiction, essays, poetry) for much of my adult life. So I know about how it works pretty well. And so, although this was my first novel (I just completed my second the other day), I was very comfortable with the form and the process and the way words work and scenes develop, etc. I'd say, at the risk of seeming immodest, that the book was not that difficult to publish for one reason (besides the fact that I think it's quite well written!). The story is unusual, fact, it's unlike any other story ever told. And that makes it marketable. (Publishing is, after all, a business when you get right down to it.) As far as advice about getting published, it may sound strange, but I am clueless. By that I mean that I can't give any advice to others based on my experience (the only kind of advice I'd ever choose to give) because my experience was so personal and different from what other writers go through. My agent and my publisher at Kensington were on the same page with me form the start, and they understood what the book was trying to do artistically, and also its commercial potential, but that's regarding my book. I can't really speak for the writing of others. At any rate, to be fair, I would say that a lot of patience is required for all this. It's not easy getting an agent, and it's even harder to get a good one, a passionate one who believes in you and your writing. That's the main thing. It also doesn't hurt to have an agent who knows the business and which editors to contact. So I'd say the key to getting published is 1. to come up with a different approach, a different kind of story that separates itself from the majority of other novels and 2. to get a superb agent who loves the book and knows how to shop it. The rest (editor, publisher, marketing, and so on) will fall into place.

Gina: Anything else you’d like to add?

Bob: No, your questions were so great that I have nothing more to say! Thanks!

Gina: Thank you, Bob, for taking the time to answer these questions.

Bob: You're quite welcome.

Believe It

The prayers of righteous people avail much!

I get home from taking Mom to the eye doctor (good report no more bleeding and she can see better with these shots -- hoo-ray), so, I get home and after lugging on all the stuff and putting it all away, I check my email.

I have two jobs. One is writing which I adore! Okay, technical writing, but it's writing. The other one I'm going to have to pray hard about. Its more an investment in my business than a job right now. Does one invest in business with a lot of sweat, hard work and no pay up front in order to make a whole lot of moola later on with excellent credentials to add to one's resume? I'm going to have to pray really hard about this one.

I now know what praying something through really means. I prayed all night long. When I fell asleep, God woke me up and I kept praying. It is an amazing experience when God wakes you up in the middle of the night to talk with Him. Has that ever happened to you? Care to share?

Advice to Employers Searching for Excellent Employees

I have not whined about this to y'all very much, but I am in my fifth month of job hunting. I graduated in December full of expectations which were not beyond the scope of reality.

I live in one of the THREE MOST poverty-stricken counties (but we call them parishes) in the whole United States of America. Therefore, I realized that my employment opportunites were very limited. There is no option to move. I have never in my life had such a problem finding a job. My first job fell in my lap as did my last job (not counting my grant writing business). Katrina devastated the available monetary resources of most parishes in Louisiana leaving very little for extraneous expenditures such as hiring a grant writer.

I know! They can't afford not to hire a grant writer. But sometimes the forest obscures the trees.

I cannot move because I am the caregiver for my Mom who is almost completely blind.

Therefore, I have been out in the forest hunting a career. I'm wearing orange to stick out from the surrounding trees. I do not have camo on, nor am I carrying a lethal weapon. But, it seems there is a dense fog because I hear the sounds of interested companies, yet no returning shouts of recognition.

It is like throwing in the hook with fresh bait. The bobber dips, I snatch to set the hook, but there is nothing there and the bait is still dangling from the hook.

I interviewed with the Parish Public Library, but they hired someone with more experience than me. That's okay, I can understand that.

I interviewed with a company from Baton Rouge. High interest. The day of decision has come and gone... no answer to 2 emails and the phone message is unanswered. I interviewed with the CEO, head honcho... so there's no hems, haws or coaxings to wade through or wait for. Decision maker has disappeared off the radar.

I interviewed briefly through email with a company from Washington, D.C. Then dead silence. No answer to emails or phone call.

I'll stop with these two examples. If I were reading that book "He's Not That Into You", I'd say they aren't that into me or they have found another sweetie to woo. But, surely the etiquette in Job Market hasn't changed that much in two years?

First: Rejection is crushing. Call the applicant to set up an interview. Letters indicate rejection before they are even opened. Never send a letter to set up an interview.

Second: Return emails. Resist the temptation to prolong suspense. This is only good in excellent novels and is not appreciated by the applicant. Don't keep us wiggling on the hook. Either throw us back or put us in the keeper pile.

Third: If you want a phone interview, then set a time and follow through. Why ask for a phone interview and then never respond after that?

Fourth: Before you toss your hook in the water, make sure you know what kind of, applicant you need and don't be afraid to be specific. That saves a lot of wasted time and energy for both of us.

Fifth: If your "opportunity" is MLM (Multi-Level Marketing), for goodness sakes say so. Offer all the particulars up front and quit the hems, haws and coaxings. It wastes too much time. (I know this because I was a Director for an MLM). No one wants to spend 30 minutes on a long-distance phone call if they don't know what the product is.

Sixth: I love the "if you are still interested" response. It kicks! Tell me what you are looking for, how much it pays, your precise expectations and then tell me, "If you are still interested _________." That is the best time saver ever.


A psalm by Gina after reflection upon Salvation of the Lord from the sin in her life…

Shout out with praise
To the LORD on His Throne!
Sing with me all the earth,
For He set me FREE.

He unlocked the shackles
He unwound the chains
I am Free.

He filled the darkness with Light
Fear fled, demons tremble.
I am FREE!

He bent down to lift me up.
He put the chains and shackles on my foes.
But, I…I am FREE!

It was I that caused His great pain, you see.
It was for me that He stuck to that tree.
It was I that raced down that path of ruin,
That pursued the pitiful gain.
Yet, His love swelled greater than oceans
His love reached past the universe
He counted the cost
and found it worthy
to set me FREE yes, even me, to set me FREE.

The babies’ breath is on His cheek…
My tears have rolled down His fingers…
Yet the universe is too small for His shoulders.
He cared enough to set me FREE!

Shout ye people of the earth.
Sing hosannas to reach the stars.
Sing with me and praise His name for He paid the price to set us FREE

Opinionated, Moi?

I am truly, incredibly opinionated. I know that comes as a deep shock to a lot of you. Take a deep breath... sit down... breathe. Okay. Now.

Why would I confess to all the world that I'm opinionated? I don't know. Well, actually I do know. I have an opinion on just about everything that I read.

Me: "Oh, good grief!"

HBL: "What, babe?"

Me: "Did you read this about the lady that was mortally wounded by an alligator?"

HBL: "Yeah... they found two female arms in its stomach."

Country Music Awards program blaring in the background. My beloved doesn't know that muting the TV is best when trying to carry on a conversation about the alligator with two female arms in its stomach.

Me: "Yes! How could a nine foot alligator eat two arms off a woman that has two legs and can run? That makes no sense. One arm, maybe, but two?"

Then the chick that won the award for the best female video comes on. We're all holding our breath... who will it be? Faith Hill? Nope. Jesus wins! Hoo-ray. Jesus take the Wheel! I'm duly impressed and I'm fixin' to say so to HBL when the chick goes to the microphone and talks and talks and talks about how nice everyone in the CW arena is to her. I'm quite sure that everyone who's tried to make a break into CW was just panting to hear that one. Thank you, she says to everyone... just everyone. But, guess who she left out.

Is there something wrong with that picture... or am I just being opinionated?

The Evolution of Mom

The following appeared in the February 1998 issue of Parenting.

Yes, parenthood changes everything. But parenthood also changes with each baby. Here, some of the ways having a second and third child differs from having your first:

Your Clothes

1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes are your regular clothes.

The Baby's Name

1st baby: You pore over baby-name books and practice pronouncing and writing combinations of all your favorites.
2nd baby: Someone has to name their kid after your great-aunt Mavis, right? It might as well be you.
3rd baby: You open a name book, close your eyes, and see where your finger falls. Bimaldo? Perfect!

Preparing for the Birth

1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.
2nd baby: You don't bother practicing because you remember that last time, breathing didn't do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your 8th month.

The Layette

1st baby: You prewash your newborn's clothes, color-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they?


1st baby: At the first sign of distress - a whimper, a frown - you pick up the baby.
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.
3rd baby: You teach your 3-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.


1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaner.

Going Out

1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home 5 times.
2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.

At Home

1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby: You spend a bit of every day watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.

Thank you my dear friends :)

Claire and Corry... THANK you for your prayers. Corry and Pia, thank you for my birthday cards. I debated on whether to even celebrate, remember or acknowledge this day. I am half a century old. Ye gads... that sound ancient when I truly feel like 17 sometimes.

more on angels

Samantha, you ask a truly great question. It had me thinking for a couple of days. But first, I enjoy your blog! I just want to say that I have said a prayer for you and hubby as you witness at the zoo. I hope you will blog about it! Now...

Samantha: Does this verse mean angels help those who are going to receive salvation? The unsaved who are not yet saved?Or are they for both the saved and the "soon to be saved"?Hmm....what do you think?

After some prayerful thought on this, I'm thinking this way...

Angels are eternal creatures and do not experience life and death the same way we do, so the same angels that were in existence during the creation are still in existence today. So, I'm thinking that God prepared the angels to be ready for all His children as the ages pass. God foreknew those who will become Christian, certainly, therefore God prepared angels to protect on a continuing basis as humans reach the age of understanding and then put their allegiance in Jesus. That's about as far as my thought process has gotten :)

Sonya, you are a precisous sister and I do so much enjoy your blog!

Sonya: I know angels are real (because the Bible tells us so), but I'm not quite sure what their role is in my everyday, ordinary, going to work, coming home, surfing the net - life. Do you think they watch over each of us personally? Or do you believe they handle God's 'heavy lifting'only ?

I hang onto the fact that God has my best interest deep in His heart. I have experienced so many close calls such as near misses in car accidents, trips and falls, stupid mouth syndromes that I cannot help but recognize God's hands in my life. Whether He uses angels (which means messenger) or not, I don't know. I do know beyond doubt that I have felt God's hand on me in my deepest despair and Jesus' presence during that same period. So, I think God is hands-on in our lives and most likely uses angels in the Spiritual War that goes on around us without us really knowing its extent.

Gotta run... my Intended is taking me out to dinner for my birthday which is next week. Life is good!

Angel Decoy

It is very interesting that a friend of mine asked a question at about Angels. Then I get this in my inbox. This is a picture of Air Force C-130 releasing flares to repel heat seeking Missiles. The pattern formed by these "decoys" are how they got their name . . . Angel decoy. It's absolutely awesome!Maneuvers are usually in remote areas and over water, therefore the general public does not get to view these exercises.


I got to thinking about Angel Decoy. Are angels our protectors, such as guardian angels? Or, are they messengers like what angel means, or both? See Psalms 91, for clarification... Psalm 91:11 For He shall give His angels charge over You, to keep You in all Your ways. 12 They shall bear You up in their hands, that You not dash Your foot on a stone.

Satan quotes this in Matthew when Jesus is tempted. This in no way makes God's promise in Psalm 91 any less a promise. There is a limitation, though. I've bolded it above. As I see it, if we Christians step outside God's ways, then we leave God's protection. Jesus never stepped outside God's ways but was perfect in every way. We humans are being sanctified, certainly, but we fail miserably along the way because we are not perfect. However...

Isn't it fascinating that Satan left that word out when quoting Psalm 91 to Jesus?

Matthew 4:6 And he said to Him, If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it has been written: "He shall give His angels charge concerning You, and they shall bear You on their hands, lest You strike Your foot against a stone."

Jesus promptly replies in Matthew 4:7 Jesus said to him, Again it has been written: "You shall not tempt the Lord your God." Deut. 6:16

This is so amazing to me. The Word stopped Satan dead in his deceitful tracks. Jesus never stopped quoting what was written. And the angels will protect us as long as we walk in the ways of God.

I love what Matthew Henry says about how tenderly the angels bear up the saints out of danger, like a nurse (or mommy) gathering up her child in her arms. That is deep affection. Why would angels have this kind of affection for us? What is it about us that gives angels this tender feeling?

Our love for God's Son.

Can you imagine the joy and the rejoicing in Heaven when Jesus rose from the dead? Can you imagine how glorious was the tumult? God's Son the Victor! That is an amazing vision for me.

Psalm 8:1 To the chief musician, on the harp. A Psalm of David. O Jehovah, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth; You have set Your glory above the heavens!

End Times, they are here, but what about Rapture?

A fellow by the name of Arnold Fruchtenbaum wrote a book The Footsteps of the Messiah Ariel Ministries P. O. Box 3723, Tustin CA 92681.

He has written a Luke-type discourse putting the End Times all in chronological order and his comments concerning Matt 24:36-42 makes so much sense to me. Ya know how when you hear an interpretation that "rings true" and you look at it from all angles and there just aren't any warning bells clanging? That's how I feel about this one particular interpretation. He says:

"Concerning the issue of the Rapture, Christ makes three main points: First, as to the question of when, this is known only by one person and that is God the Father (verse 36). It is not known by the angels nor was it known by the Son in His humanity, but only by God the Father. So if the timing of the Rapture has been hidden from both the angels and the humanity of Jesus, how much more so is it hidden from mankind in general! For that reason, the only clue given concerning the timing of the Rapture is that it will occur sometime before the tribulation, and it may not occur just before the tribulation. It might easily occur ten or twenty years before that time. This is not true of the Second Coming which must come seven years after the signing of the seven year covenant or three-and-a-half years after the abomination of desolation.

"Secondly, verses 37-39 clearly reveal there are no signs preceding the Rapture. 'Watch therefore: for ye know not what day your Lord cometh.' Which leads to the third point: there is a supplication to watch for the purpose of escaping the tribulation. Throughout the Olivet Discourse, to watch means to be ready. Watching is the equivalent of readiness and readiness equivalent to salvation. So the means of escaping the tribulation is by means of salvation. Only those who accept Christ before the Rapture of the church can be ready and watching.

Luke 21:36 states it beautifully: 36 watch ye, then, in every season, praying that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are about to come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.' Young's Literal Translation

What do you think about this interpretation?