Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Generation NeXt Parenting
Tricia Goyer's Newest Book
(*Win this book: See the end of this post!)

After browsing this book and reading excerpts,
I see how busy parents can pick it up and read
it in bite-size chunks, enjoying the magazine-like
format and the practical advice and encouragement
from other parents of their generation. Following
are a summary of the book, as well as questions
answered by the author.
Generation NeXt Parenting is unlike any other book
on the market and represents a new adventure in
parenting. Written by Tricia Goyer, a Gen X mom
herself, it takes readers on a walk down memory lane to learn what defines them as a generation and how they can parlay their own insecurities, hopes, and dreams into bright futures for their children. With its easy-to-read, conversational style, fun pop culture references, practical tips, and real-life examples from families who harbor the same doubts, questions, and concerns,

Generation NeXt Parenting strips away external distractions to focus on what it takes to raise kids into productive citizens and servants for God.

“As a Gen Xer who graduated from high school in 1989, the way I parent is different from the generations who’ve gone before me,” says Goyer. “I want to do it all—find God’s purpose in my life, impact my community, support my spouse, and provide my children every opportunity available to them. My generation is serious about parenting—just look at all we expect from our children and ourselves! This book offers solutions to our unique questions and confirms that we can ‘parent right’—even if it looks nothing like the way our own parents did it. More importantly, this book focuses on seeking God’s Word and wisdom for answers to growing a new generation of God-seekers.”

Generation NeXt Parenting is an insightful new book that helps readers balance kids, ministry, work, and service, teaching them how to be better parents for God’s glory. More than just another parenting book filled with unrealistic expectations for raising “perfect” children, Generation NeXt Parenting offers real advice, next steps, and biblical references than can easily be applied to everyday living situations. A powerful resource, it is positioned to spawn a whole new breed of parents readily equipped to make a positive difference, not only in the lives of their children, but for generations to come.
The Story Behind the Book: Q & A With Tricia Goyer

Q: What was the impetus to write Generation NeXt Parenting?
A: It all started when I was at a parenting meeting last year. Most of the other mothers were older than me. (Sigh, I had my first son when I was 17 in 1989. Most mothers with the same age kids are ten years older.) Anyway, they were talking about "all the young mothers these days . . . they want everything for their kids and don't know when to stop." They went on and on, but I can't remember it all. I just remember thinking, That's me they're talking about, and they don't get me at all!When I got home, I started looking up everything I could find about how different generations raise kids differently. Amazingly, I found there are many, many differences. So I talked to my agent, and mentioned I wanted to write a book specifically for Gen X parents. I wanted to talk about our unique needs--not as an expert, but as one of them. I wrote up a proposal in a few week's time. A few months later I had a contract offer. I felt God's hand all over me as I wrote (fast). And, it's a miracle, but about 14 months after I got the idea the book is on store shelves. Is that God, or what?!

Q: Why Gen X?

A: More than 44 million Generation Xers live in the United States today. This group is bound to have a strong influence, not only on society as a whole, but more specifically, on the next generation—our children. There’s no denying that the world is a vastly different place from the one we grew up in, and we are faced with a whole new set of parenting challenges our predecessors could never have fathomed. But Gen Xers have proven we have the passion and drive to excel in childrearing. This book is to help with that.

Q: How are Gen Xers different?

A: As a Gen Xer who graduated from high school in 1989, the way I parent is unique from the generations who’ve gone before me. Personally, I want to do it all—find God’s purpose in my life, impact my community, support my spouse, and provide my children every opportunity available to them. My generation is serious about parenting—just look at all we expect from our children and ourselves!

Q: If you could tell people in two sentences what this book is about, what would you say?

A: This book offers solutions to our unique questions and confirms that we can ‘parent right’—even if it looks nothing like the way our own parents did it. More importantly, this book focuses on seeking God’s Word and wisdom for answers to growing a new generation of God-seekers.

Q: Can you give me a hint of why Gen Xers raise their kids differently than their parents?

A: There are plenty of reasons Gen Xers turned out the way we did. Here are some biggies:
• More of our moms entered the workforce.
• More of our parents divorced.
• Either we were sexually promiscuous or we had friends who were.
• When it came to drugs and alcohol, it was pretty easy to get our hands on them.
• We don’t remember prayer as a part of school.
• We do remember every episode of The Cosby Show, and oftentimes we related more to that family than our own.
• We remember the first video we saw on MTV, and musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Tiffany, and Billy Idol were our, uh, idols.
Of course, I could go on, but this book wasn’t written just to reminisce about “the good ol’ days.” It’s about understanding who we are as a generation and why we became the parents we are today. More than that, it’s about taking our good qualities…and discovering how to parent better, for God’s glory.

Q: If you could pray one prayer for Gen X parents, what would it be?

A: Ephesians 1:16–21, new living translation
“I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those he called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people.
“I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else in the world or in the world to come. Amen.”
Here is the link to the first chapter of this book:
*To enter a drawing to win this book, comment on any post on this blog beginning with this post through November 20. Be sure to include your email, so I may contact the winner.

Monday, October 02, 2006


If you're younger than I am, you may not remember this song by Jim Croce. Time in a Bottle describes a love relationship in which the lover wishes he could save moments of time to spend with the one he loves.

If I could put time in a bottle,
the first thing that I'd like to do
is to save every day till eternity passes away,
just to spend them with you.
But there never seems to be enough time
to do the things you wanna do,
once you find them.

This month I celebrate a milestone birthday--mainly meaning, now I can get a senior plate for a bargain price at my husband's favorite pancake house. Lately, with no particular age or birthday in mind, but rather aging in general, I diagnosed myself with Time in a Bottle Syndrome. In other words, similarly to the new TV show Twenty Good Years, I want to cram everything possible into my remaining days. There are things I want to do. Things I need to do. Things I love to do. Things I am afraid to do.

The question is, what does God want me to do with the rest of my life? I believe He wants me to enjoy it. Look at the amazing things He created for us to enjoy. He even gave us our capacity for enjoyment. This doesn't mean I'm devoting the rest of my life to seeking pleasure. For its own sake, pleasure is empty. Appreciating and relishing Him and the beauty of all the wonders He created, including our fellow humans. Seeking to give ourselves and our gifts away to others in some manner that is joyful and meaningful to us. That's what I'm talking about.

Sand slips through the hourglass, minutes tick off the timer. Am I making those moments count? Do I squeeze out all the life I can from what life I have left? Is time spilling out of the bottle, or am I spending it on the things that count?

Show me, O Lord, my life's end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting is my life.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before You.
Each man's life is but a breath.
--Psalm 39:4 & 5

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom. . .
May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us--
yes, establish the work of our hands.
--Psalm 90:12 & 17

Friday, September 22, 2006


Within twenty-four hours, two major religions--Judaism and Islam--will celebrate two distinct and revered holy observances: Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, beginning at sundown today, and Ramadan, the Muslim period of fasting and prayer that extends from sundown tomorrow through October 23. With the Jewish religion I share a reverence for and strong belief in one holy God and His revealed truth through His Word. Many of the Christian's holy scriptures are the same as the Jew's. With Islam and Muslims I struggle to find common ground in my beliefs about God.

What makes my beliefs so different from both of these religions?

1) I believe that the New Testament, along with the Old, is the Word of God.
2) I believe that NOTHING I do can make me right before God or earn me a place in heaven.
2) I believe that Jesus Christ is the prophesied Messiah of the Torah and the Talmud.
3) I believe that His death on the cross bought the forgiveness of man's sin, my sin, that His blood can wipe the slate clean for us before God FOREVER. (No Gentile or Jew TOOK His life; it was in His plan
to GIVE it up.)
4) I believe that if I put my faith and trust in Jesus, no matter how weak that faith might be, He will bestow that forgiveness on me, cleanse me in God's sight, and begin to change me by placing His Holy Spirit in my body. (This is what happened to me 28 years ago!)
5) I believe that eternal life begins here and now, when I put my trust in Jesus, and that when I die (or He returns to earth) I will live with Him forever.

These are only a few of the very basic tenets a Christian holds. If you are seeking the truth about life, God, and what you believe, consider reading the Bible, starting with the book of John. After all, eternity is a long time and a high price to be wrong. What if Jesus and His claims are true? Amazing promises of God's mercy, grace, and love bubble out of the Bible as a spring of life.

"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love Him"
but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.
--Isaiah 64:4, quoted by Paul in First (letter to the) Corinthians 2:9 & 10

As the song says so eloquently, "I can only imagine . . ."

Monday, September 11, 2006


I remember September 11, 2001, dawned as a gorgeous fall day in the South. Speaking on the phone with the dear director of a local theatre who struggled with melanoma around 8:45 a.m., I was ignorant of what had just occurred. We spoke only briefly, so her warm voice and cheerful spirit encouraged me that she was doing well. When I hung up, I tuned in to the usual morning news show. As I watched horrified, the second plane smashed itself into the Tower. The plot continued to unfold before my eyes as another plane hit the Pentagon and reports came of a fourth plane, downed in Pennsylvania. The unreality of it all mesmerized me and the rest of the country. I watched hour after hour, transfixed and paralyzed. Realism therapy.

Both of my parents flew in different directions that morning, to two different medical meetings, related to their medical device home business. My mom contacted me, and, to my relief, they were both fine, though grounded. She decided, since her meeting was cancelled, to make the most of it. She set out to see the sights of Newport, Rhode Island. My dad's plane landed in Kansas, far short of his meeting site. He met a pastor from Tennessee, who was also stranded and headed in the same direction. They rented a car together and began their journey toward home, talking of the spiritual meaning of the day's events.

My husband was only a phone call across town. We could hardly speak, we were so shocked. Our two children were safe at the local high school, but I worried about them. What emotions engulfed them when they heard the news? Would they call asking to come home? Should I collect them right away? I offered many tears and prayers for my children and their lost innocence, for the souls who had perished, for the bereaved stunned by grief, for our nation linking arms in solidarity.

A few months later, I learned that our dear theatre friend had died within weeks of 9/11. Her bravado lulled me into thinking she would heal. That phone conversation had been our last. Losing her will endure in my memory as part of the day's tragic casualties.

Tears, prayers, and ponderings later, I still have no clear answers why people do such things to other people. God has not answered many of my other 9/11 questions. However, I know He is in control even when things seem out of control. I know that His peace can sift through the smoke of fallen buildings and settle into the lives of those who have lost the most. There is hope among the ashes and eternal life inside the flames. He is Life and gives us life. When our world collapses around us, sometimes Who He is serves as ALL we have to hold on to. It is enough, because HE is enough.

And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into His plans. -- Romans 8:28

For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels won't, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God's love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are--high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean--nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when He died for us.
-- Romans 8:38-39

Scriptures from The Way, The Living Bible Illustrated

Other writers on 9/11:

Refugee from the Culture War
Rocks In My Dryer: My September 11 Story
Mom 2 Mom Connection » Blog Archive » Remembering 9-11: Five Years Later

Friday, September 08, 2006

Update 9/11/06--Hayden will tentatively undergo surgery to remove the chordoma on Tuesday, 9/19.
Hayden is only three. Two weeks ago, his life promised blue skies, happy family, no major problems. Last week the world he knew caved in as his legs collapsed under him, his head ached without relief, and one eye moved independently. Doctors discovered that Hayden suffers from a rare tumor called a chordoma. The chordoma lies in a delicate position, at the base of the brain, near the spinal column. This unusual growth occurs in only eight out of 10,000,000 people.
I don't know Hayden personally. I do know and love his grandparents. His granddad is our minister of music. The world watches closely the pain of Christians. Hayden's granddad admitted before our congregation that last week was the worst of his life. He said, "I was angry at God. But God can take it. He knows what we feel, and He doesn't expect us not to feel it." He continued, telling us how THOUSANDS of people are now praying for Hayden's healing, for the medical team's wisdom, for strength for Hayden's parents and grandparents, for God to be glorified.
If you would like to pray for Hayden and his family, leave your comment on this entry so that I can share it with his family, to encourage them and to give praise to God, Who loves us with an everlasting love. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ--not fear, not sickness, not even death. When God's people pray, we experience further the blessings of that embracing love.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
the Lord accepts my prayer. -- Psalm 6:9
Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to You
while You may be found;
surely when the mighty waters rise,
they will not reach him. -- Psalm 32:6
Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear. -- Isaiah 65:24
. . . I will refine them like silver
and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
and I will answer them;
I will say, "They are My people,"
and they will say, "The Lord is our God." -- Zechariah 13:9
All Scriptures are New International Version.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


My son, ever vigilant for new entertainment media, first put me on to the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. Together, our family oohed and ahhed over the outlandish stunts he pulled with the unusual and often dangerous creatures he pursued before the camera. Yesterday I saw footage of that tenacious small snake latched onto his arm. It occurs to me that the Crocodile Hunter, too, held on to his dreams and beliefs just as tenaciously.

Steve Irwin believed that unloved animals such as crocodiles, snakes, and sharks deserve to live and to thrive, as much as any others. His behavior, foolhardy to most of us viewers, signaled, nonetheless, the need to conserve both wildlife and its habitats. He wanted to draw attention to zoological and ecological issues, and in that, he was a great success.

Viewing the footage of the birth of his son, I recalled the softer side of Steve Irwin: that he was human, that he could be conquered--by love for his wife and his children. Sure, he died doing something he loved, but he leaves behind a grieving family. His daughter will barely remember him, perhaps his little son, not at all.

The bright spot in the Croc Hunter's tragic death? He leaves behind a legacy. In his own words, his father's encouragement and work with animals greatly influenced how Steve chose to spend his life. Now the choices that he made will affect perhaps how his wife carries on their work. Someday, his children may also choose a similar path because of their dad's legacy.

I don't know what Steve Irwin believed about Jesus Christ, or whether he knew Him personally. I do know that all of us, whether or not we claim that Name Above All Names, will leave some kind of legacy behind. We're making those tracks today, just as certainly as the Crocodile Hunter followed the tracks of the animals he so valued. We're imprinting what (and Whom) we value on our co-workers, our neighbors, our fellow students, our friends, and, yes, on our families. What will we leave behind, and how will it change our world?

[Jesus speaking] My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You love Me.
-- John 17:20-23, New International Version

'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin dead - Sep 4, 2006
Irwin's last moments caught on videotape - Sep 5, 2006

Monday, August 28, 2006


It is my nature, I guess, to take on more tigers to tame than the most experienced animal trainer could handle! A full schedule, a house frequented by lively and diverse people, and a juggled armload of projects tend to come with the husband I chose and the life I live. What I crave deep inside is simplicity, so that the clock, people, and projects don't eat me up. Sometimes I just don't know where to begin or how to find peace in the midst of the frantic pace.

Back again to the Lord! What does He have to say about this crazy life that I'm usually crazy about but often don't know how to deal with?

Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
All the time??!! No, just enough to stay focused and centered on Him. I can learn to be still inside when life is racing and raging around me, because He is my peace.

He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and He guided them to their desired haven. (Psalm 107:29&30)
Yes, our activity level can be considered a storm, especially if we haven't bothered to consult the Lord lately on what we're adding to the schedule or how we're neglecting important focuses for urgent ones (e.g., time with Him or time with family, for community or church committee meetings, or for paying bills because we forgot because we were too busy rushing too many places).

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
If we truly desire Him above all else, and we ask Him to empower us to live that way, He'll show us what the priorities are, and things will gradually fall into place, the proper place in the scheme of things. (Pinch! I have to remind myself.)

© 2006

All Scripture references are New International Version.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Have you heard this: "Witnessing is just one beggar telling another beggar where to get bread?" (I believe it was Corrie Ten Boom who said this.) When we are sharing the Good News we sometimes think of ourselves as Better because we are already saved. The Gospel is the Good News, not an award that designates us as the Elite-Special-Chosen-of-God-Because-We-Are-Worthy. It is precisely BECAUSE we weren't--and aren't--any better than those we share the Good News with that we embraced it in the first place. We needed the wondrous message that Jesus died for us to forgive our sins and bring us into friendship with God. That need for forgiveness fulfilled for us and yet to be fulfilled in others is what drives us to show and tell others. Or it should.

For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. -- II Corinthians 5:14, 15

We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf. Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. -- II Corinthians 5:20, 21
© 2006
All Scriptures are New International Version.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Something possessed me, while I was catching up on the computer, to play a classic oldies CD (circa 1963, for you Generation NeXt kids). Just think, no one had HEARD of compact discs in those days. Suddenly--so it seems--Baby Boomers like me are nearly Oldies. (Did one of you young whippersnappers just snicker and say, "Nearly?! Are you kidding me?!") Well, here's my news for young and old alike: none of us is getting younger. Whatever our generation, if we are learning from our mistakes and experiences, while expecting to see the work God wants to do in us and through us, we seize opportunity for a life make-over. From the outside no one may notice the changes; but WE know the difference.

What would be a crime is if we have lived to our midlife or golden years and are still choosing the same paths each day or blundering through the same mistakes, or we're blindly following the same routines that we lived in our teens, twenties, or thirties. How can we expect a different outcome if we haven't changed the way we think, speak, or act? We can start fresh, any time, right where we are, changing the course of our lives. There are myriad examples of this, but I can certainly cite one of my own from about six months ago.

For years I neglected writing as more than a casual pastime, probably partly due to my failure to finish a course I had begun. I was able to forgive myself for this, after I realized that now was the perfect time in my life to follow God's leading to see where writing carried me. Now I am pursuing it with all the passion He has given me for the written word. It does not matter that I failed to approach writing with discipline in the past. Because the Lord strengthened me in other areas of my life over the years, I brought discipline to the writing. Not that I've conquered self-discipline. Nope. It's just that He's given me enough to get started, and, like my "muscle" of faith, he strengthens that self-discipline the more I practice using it! Before, I didn't truly believe that I could change in this way just by choosing differently.

I suspect I am not alone in changing the course of my life, even though well past the college years. Let me hear from you about a choice or a learning experience (mistake?) that led to Divinely-wrought change in your life.

Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
Lamentations 3:21-24

. . . for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Philippians 4:13

By faith Abraham, even though he was past age--and Sarah herself was barren--was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
Hebrews 11:11 & 12

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14

© 2006

Scriptural quotations from New International Version

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Does anyone out there love reading as much as I do?? From the time I was able to sit up, hold a book, and turn the pages, I have been hooked. Books make us think, open new worlds for us, and change us, often for the better, but usually in a very gradual and subtle manner. What we pour into our minds or those of our children can affect us--and thus those around us--for eternity.

. . . whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Philippians 4:8, NIV

Here, without too much thought and in no particular order, is a sample of my perennial favorites for your consideration:

We Would See Jesus, a classic life-changer, by Roy & Revel Hession, 1958

The Purpose-Driven Life, also becoming a classic and highly re-readable! by Rick Warren

Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom (not Christian, but a great perspective on life through the eyes of a dying man)

My Personal Best--Life Lessons from an All-American Journey, by John Wooden, with Steve Jamison. Learn from a coach who built character and success.

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. Romance reading cannot improve on this, a novel that put women ahead of their time!

Crooked House, by Dame Agatha Christie, the all-time great mystery writer

How Should We Then Live? by Francis A. Schaeffer, THE Christian theologian of the twentieth century

Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, both by Mark Twain. Every boy should read these, and probably every girl! If you grew up and didn't, shame--but it's NOT too late.

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, is a girls' classic. A must!

Whistle While You Work: Heeding Your Life's Calling, by Richard J. Leider and David A. Shapiro, is the best secular book I've read on this subject.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens was one of the first classics I read as a young adult, and the characters still fascinate me. Also a favorite, which I read almost annually: A Christmas Carol.

I know this will be controversial, but whatever your stance on the content, the Harry Potter series is very well-written, if taken as fantasy, though certainly NOT appropriate for younger and more impressionable readers. If we cast this aside, we will have to cull quite a bit of what is considered classic literature.

Love Comes Softly introduced me years ago to Janette Oke, whose Christian novels endeared all her characters to me, especially that particular series. Lots of good Christian fiction beckons us these days.

Anything by C.S. Lewis, but all ages enjoy his Chronicles of Narnia series, beginning with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Oxymoronica--paradoxical wit and wisdom from history's greatest wordsmiths, by Dr. Mardy Grothe, for word-lovers and quotation freaks!

I invite you to comment on YOUR favorite reads.

© 2006

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Arms of Deliverance by Tricia Goyer:
The Story Behind the Novel

The Idea:

The idea for Arms of Deliverance came one day as I was researching for my novel Night Song. I was watching a video that talked about Lebensborn homes in Nazi Europe. These were homes where young women birthed children for the Reich. After all, to have a "Thousand Year Reich" the Germans needed future Aryans. That was the first layer of the story.

The second layer came when I was researching my novel, Dawn of a Thousand Nights. First, I was studying these amazing women who risked their lives during WWII. (Dawn of a Thousand Nights involved female pilots who ferried US planes around the country.) Other brave women who risked their lives were female war reporters, and I knew I wanted to write a story about them. This sparked my interest too.

Throw in my intrigue of B-17 bomber crews over Europe, and you have the first three elements of Arms of Deliverance. The fourth is a Nazi officer in search for . . . well, you’ll have to read the novel to find out!

The Research:

The first thing I did when I started researching was to check to see if I could find any veterans who were there. I got a hold of an amazing group of men with the 91st Bomb Group. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys. You can check them out at their website ( Be sure to take time to look at the photos and read the TRUE stories from the 91st!

The men gave me all types of information. They gave me the details of exact flights, actual photographs from that time, and they shared their personal experiences and stories.

Of course, God always surprises me with “abundantly more than I ask for or imagine” when it comes to research for these stories. Here’s one of those God-gifts:

One thing you may remember from photos of old bombers is the nose art, which highlighted the bomber’s name. During my writing, I kept praying for the perfect name for my bomber—something to tie into the book.

During my research I met a veteran from the 91st Bomb Group named Jack Gaffney. Out of the blue, Jack suggested I use the name “Destiny’s Child.” (This came years before the music group!) You see, Jack was a ground crew member and a nose-art artist. He painted the nose art “Destiny’s Child” and other B-17 Bombers.

At the time, Jack had no idea of premise of my novel included the Lebensborn homes and a special child. Is that cool or what?!

To see Jack’s nose art, go here:

Okay, here’s just one more cool story . . .

I’d previously read books about the underground resistance in Belgium, and I knew I wanted to include that in this novel too. In order for that to work, I need to set my novel in a Lebensborn home in Belgium. There was only one of these birthing homes in all of Belgium, yet I could find very little information about it from books or the Internet.

One day I was praying about how to get information, and God reminded me I knew someone from Belgium. I’d met a historian Roger Marquet at a World War II reunion. I emailed Roger and asked if he knew how I could find information on this home. “Oh, yes, I grew up in that town, and I knew the woman who manages the castle where the home used to be.”

Imagine that. I knew only one person in Belgium—someone I had met two years early—who had the exact information I needed. Is that another God thing, or what?!

The Writer:

I have to say that I am changed in some way by every novel I write, and this one moved me deeply. You see, as I wrote about the rescue of a special child, I had no idea what God had in store for me and my family.

One month after the novel was written, my husband and I sat down to discuss something that had been on my heart for a while—the adoption of another child. I won’t give the story behind the novel away, but as I reread it I could see clearly through my written words what God had already been placing on my heart.

I will keep news of our adoption of a baby girl from China updated on my blog (!

What’s Next From Tricia Goyer:

Currently, I’m working on my fifth novel, A Valley of Betrayal. It is the first novel in a three-book-series on The Spanish Civil War, which took place in Spain, pre-World War II.

Of course, there is more to my life than fiction. I’m also a wife, mom, mentor, and a children’s church leader, and I also write about these aspects of my life. Generation NeXt Parenting will hit store shelves September 2006.

If you’re a parent, like me, check it out!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I find myself cringing when I hear parents say, "All we want for our children is for them to be happy. What more could a parent want?" As one of my former mentors would say, "That is a lie from the pit of hell!" Nothing is more ephemeral than happiness when we go chasing after it, as if with a butterfly net. How, then, do we live before our children to model the correct pursuits?
What does God say we should give to and desire for our children?

My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you prosperity.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or swerve from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Esteem her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
She will set a garland of grace on your head
and present you with a crown of splendor.

My son, keep your father's commands
and do not forsake your mother's teaching.
Bind them upon your heart forever;
fasten them around your neck.
When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
For these commands are a lamp,
this teaching is a light,
and the corrections of discipline
are the way to life...

Proverbs 3:1-6, 4:5-9, 6:20-23

© 2006

Scriptures are in New International Version.

Monday, June 12, 2006


10. Hearing the tone of pride as my husband speaks, yet without actually bragging, of our young adult children to others

9. Playing backyard baseball with my husband, father- and mother-in-law and our kids

8. My granddaddy--Grangie--making life fun with a Tarzan swing in the backyard or a trip to the airport to watch planes land and take off

7. Listening to my dad or father-in-law give me good advice, and, more recently, listening to my husband's wise advice to our children

6. Any time my dad, father-in-law, our granddads, or my husband made their children or grandchildren laugh or smile

5. My dad walking me down the aisle at my wedding

4. Standing at the back of the church with my dad before my wedding began

2. & 3. Meeting our son for the first time, then two years later, our daughter

1. My husband telling me that the adoption agency had called announcing the arrival of our first child, a son!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Viewing the montage of pictures, I am struck by how her beauty has grown over the years. Catherine and Bill made an attractive young couple, but they appear even handsomer in their 70's. There is a radiance and a sweetness in those photos, Catherine's countenance softened even more by her silver-white hair. I see them sharing their 50th wedding anniversary with their family and friends. The warm smile Catherine flashes sitting on a waverunner, arms clasped about her granddaughter's waist says it all: "Life is a gift of God, it's meant for sharing, and I'm all about that." Yep, that is Catherine, all right.
I think back several years. Our family had recently joined the church. A friend invited me to join the choir. Catherine sat in the alto section, where I decided to bolster numbers, though I've sung soprano most of my life. She welcomed me--as she has always welcomed everyone she meets--offering cameraderie during our rehearsals and Sunday morning warmup. She organized meals for those choir members who were sick or bereaved. Music ministry was second only to her family, as Catherine also formerly directed the children's choir.
No accomplishment brings Catherine more pride than her family. Three daughters, nine grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren delight her and Bill, as they alternate visiting and hosting family.
Then the unthinkable happens--God allows Catherine into the hallowed hall of suffering. She contracts cancer, and the prognosis is grim. Inoperable, the stubborn evil cells do not disappear. We see Catherine in church, but she no longer has the strength to rehearse and sing with us. I give her a hug, telling her how I miss her being with me in the choir. Soon, she no longer makes it to church.
Her husband, Bill, keeps us posted on Catherine's ups and downs. One day I ask about her, as usual, and he says, "She's just getting weaker." I can only send my love and prayers, because I can't give him false hope. You can tell from the break in his voice and the way he has always looked at her and treated her that she is the light and love of his life. But he keeps trusting in the Lord, and I know that she is trusting Him also.
Hospice is called in. We all know the time is short. I fear she is going to die while I'm on vacation. But the Lord spares her, and on May 29, the day after we return, she goes to meet the One she serves so faithfully. Her obituary quotes Psalms 116:15: "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Catherine is precious to us, for we were blessed to know her, to sing with her, to laugh with her, to have her for our sister and friend. I will see her later, this I know.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Reflecting on my own mother in my blog entry prior to Mother's Day, I didn't dwell on my own motherhood. My patient husband and I hazarded a difficult journey to become parents. God finally entrusted to us two wonderful children, the answer to our many prayers. I reread the passage describing Hannah's cries to God for a son*, and in doing so, I relived the sorrows and joys lining our path to parenthood. How many times had I clung to the thread of hope in this passage?

Infertility was a topic just surfacing in our culture when my husband and I sought to begin our family. The expectations we took for granted turned into doctor's visits, tests, calendars, medications, and surgical procedures. We submitted to the arduous process of applying for adoption. Our only pregnancy ended in miscarriage after we enjoyed two months of hope, and we held each other and cried. But we never gave up nor cursed God, because we did trust Him and His Word, though we often doubted the ultimate outcome and lacked understanding regarding our empty arms.

In His grace and mercy, the Lord blessed us with a son, whom we brought home from the adoption agency the very week our miscarried child would have been born. Later, He also granted us a daughter through adoption. Years have passed since then. Not only do I praise the Lord for what He taught us during the waiting period - among many lessons: compassion, patience, appreciation - but I thank Him for a husband who never let me down during the years of my longing for a child while surrounded by married friends starting their families; I thank Him for empathetic friends who had stood in our shoes; I thank Him for the two birthmothers who loved their babies enough to choose for them life and a Christian home with a mother and father; and I thank Him for the adorable babies He brought into our family. This imaginative boy and lively girl at turns overwhelmed me with my own inadequacy to parent and amazed me at how they, by the grace of God, grew up and turned out wonderfully in spite of my many mothering mistakes. We truly have been blessed, and what began as mourning turned into dancing. My blessings as a mom far surpass what we dreamed of years ago when we petitioned the Lord.

*"...I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief...I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him."
I Samuel 1:16b,27, New International Version

The entire story of Hannah and her answered prayers is narrated in
I Samuel chapters 1-3.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Mom, You're "The Top!"

You have never been partial to your name; I love it because it's uniquely you. I don't know anyone else in the world with the exact same first, middle, and last name. Likewise, no one else is exactly like you. I have been so blessed to have you and no one else, as my mother, confidante, and friend. My life bears your unique imprint, and most of the good qualities that emerged in Karen the Adult began with your careful nurturing of and unselfconscious modeling before Karen the Child.

I think of that lovely, lively tune, "You're the Top!" (Even that era of music reminds me of you and the days when we gathered around the piano and sang the songs you and Dad loved so well.) You were the best pianist I knew, and I renewed my admiration when you decided to take lessons again-not that you needed them-and played in a recital, after I was an adult! Years ago you shared that gift with the preschool children at our church when I was an elementary school student, which made me proud to tell others, especially since I never have practiced enough nor have been a competent enough player to accompany anyone. You were accomplished and disciplined, something I hadn't thought about till I sat down to write this. Maybe that is finally getting through to me, so that I can follow my writing call as you followed your call to music.

You and Dad always surrounded Gary and me with books and read to us and in front of us. Your story about my turning the pages of your magazine as I sat in the playpen is not so amazing concerning my early interest in reading as it is a tribute to your expectations of your children and your trust that we would do the right things. In this case, you expected me to "read" the magazines and not to tear them up! I guess later you feared you had created a monster when I was often deaf to calls for dinner because I was reading, or when you may have caught me reading in bed when I was supposed to be sleeping (which may be a confession, since I don't know whether I ever admitted that I sometimes used a flashlight undercover to go undetected). But, hey! It served me well as I accomplished the educational goals you and Dad had hoped for!

How many times as a child did I dream of being the loving, fun, and gently guiding mom such as the one I had? I was so thrilled when our son began the fulfillment of that dream! You gave me such encouragement through the years with both our son and daughter. I think of one note, which I guess was a printed email, which I saved and reread frequently, because our son struggled so in school. You had astutely pointed out the right things we were doing and gave us hope that God would triumph in this and other areas of our son's life. We experienced the joyful fulfillment of that answered prayer last year, when he graduated from high school. I know that much of the strength and stamina I brought to that struggle you instilled in me from an early age, being that kind of mother yourself.

As parents, you shared with us many important beliefs and values, which I don't remember ever seeing you contradict in the life you lived. The most important, of course, were the tenets of the Christian faith and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As the old saying goes, I read the Bible in you and Dad every day, as I saw the loving faithfulness of your marriage, the love and commitment to your children, the loyalty to your church home as well as to friends and neighbors, your ability and willingness to work hard at everything you did yet to make life as much fun as possible, your community spirit and involvement, and your careful choices as to how you would spend your leisure time-so as not to displace the priorities you had set.

Forever, because of you, my dear mother, these wonderful sensory impressions will set off an association of precious memories-the cookie, cake, roastbeef dinner smells of a kitchen marinated in love and homecooking from scratch; certain songs from your young adulthood which you played and sang with our family (I Only Have Eyes for You, Beautiful Doll, Deep Purple); a young woman sitting in the floor playing dolls, paperdolls, Matchbox cars, or board games with her children; a family around the dinner table laughing, talking, or blowing out the candles on one member's birthday cake; decking the halls with mistletoe, garland, and a tree full of colorful ornaments; the family car loaded down with three weeks' worth of luggage and four travelers headed West. I see similar memories replaying in the family my terrific husband and I have made, and I know so much of the stability, the joy and fun, the dedication, the work ethic, come from you, Mom. No words are adequate, but you truly were and are, "THE TOP!"

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Yes, it is a rather sinister or maudlin or morbid beginning for a rainy afternoon, but I've been pondering. What if I knew for certain that I would die in the next 24-48 hours? What would I say on this blog? What messages would I have for strangers? friends? family?

Let's imagine that it's true. Here are my farewell messages (and by the way, as far as I know - as well as any of us CAN know - I'm healthy and expected to live for a good while).

To my Blogspot readers and folks I have never met:
You DO have a purpose, and the beginning of finding and living that purpose is to meet God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ and in what He has done for us by dying on the cross and rising from the dead. Start there, and He will lead you the rest of the journey, step by step, day by day, as long as you are willing to follow.

To all I have met along the way:
Thank you for brushing my life with your presence. You have affected and changed me in some way, great or small, so that because of having contact with you, I am the person I am today. I pray that I have affected your life in some positive and eternal way. The above message applies to you as well.

To my friends and relatives:
You are so dear to me. As most people feel, I suppose, I regret that I have never told you enough (can anyone do this TOO MUCH?!) that I love you, I like you, I'm glad our lives intertwined, whether through the choices of friendship or through choosing to be close on the family tree. If you don't know Jesus, see the first message. If you do, keep trusting, obeying, loving Him. He is faithful.

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, all over the world as well as in the Valley:
You hugged me when we lost the baby. You cried tears of joy when we brought our son, and later, our daughter, home. You prayed for us all along the way. You spoke encouraging words and gave good advice about parenting, money, life choices. You prayed for our children and encouraged them to follow Jesus. You lifted me up with your beautiful lessons, prayers, songs, Bible verses, cards, emails, even meals and flowers, especially when we lost loved ones. You were always there to listen and you always took time to care. I can't wait for all of us to be together in Heaven!

To my wonderful parents: You taught me all the right lessons; not only that, you lived them before me. You gave me the gifts of God's Word, prayer, time, beauty, art, joy, joie de vivre, nature, books and the written word, but most of all, love. You ALWAYS had time for me.

To my beautiful children: You were our special answers to prayer. We knew from the beginning that you were a trust, not a possession. So from the first moment that we held you, we began letting go. You have lots to learn, simply because you are still young. But we are proud of how mature you are already, and we know that you will make good choices, the kind that will have eternal value and honor the Lord. I am not afraid to leave the world in the hands of people like you, because you know what is important. You will be my legacy in this world. Share the things I have taught you with others, especially your own children, and that way, what I have been and done on earth will never die.

To my adorable and wise husband: God could not have brought me a man who was more suitable, and thus, more perfect, than you. So, see? You have fulfilled your own joke - you ARE the perfect husband. You have always honored the Lord, your parents, your children, and me - I could not have asked for more, but there was always more. You made life fun! You made me laugh. You explored life's adventures with me. You took care of me. You encouraged me to develop and use my gifts, and you were my uplifter every day. Thank you for more blessed love than I could have dreamed of in one lifetime.

This was an eye-opening exercise. Perhaps we all should write an imaginary farewell such as this ever so often, so that we don't forget to say the things that should be said, do the things that should be done, before we are no longer here to say or do them.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Once again, I come to that juncture of love and truth as the place to handle something that imitates the truth. We Christians are not always good at dialogue, often acting as if we're thinking that the more we get to talk and the louder we shout, the more likely that only the truth will be heard. Another problem is, a lot of us who are regular churchgoers or claim to be students of the Bible don't really know what we claim to know. If we aren't clear on what the truth is, how can we share it with anyone else?

In order to speak intelligently to demonstrate the truth of what we believe (this is known as Christian apologetics), we have to understand:

  1. where the other person, the non-believer, is coming from
  2. the truths of Scripture
  3. what we actually believe of Scripture
  4. WHY we believe the tenets of our faith are true.

This should be our approach to confronting (with love and tact, of course) any opposing views to Christianity, whether it be from the Da Vinci Code book or movie, or from the gay marriage movement.

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:6, New International Version

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.' Where is the wise man? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased throught the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe ... For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." I Corinthians 1:18-21, 25, New International Version

Mission America Coalition - Christian Response to the Da Vinci Code

Monday, April 17, 2006


What is different about me today, after hearing the story of the Resurrection again? Did I really listen? Does it truly transform us, to know and to believe that Jesus is alive? If we are to be growing in our faith, in our walk, in our life with Him, following Him as we obey what the Bible says and what His Spirit whispers to us in Scripture-affirming inaudible words inside our heads - well, then how are we accomplishing that each day? So that a little more of Him and a little less of me becomes visible to those around me?

I usually want to hide my flaws and foibles, thinking that makes a better presentation to unbelievers or seekers. But I know from my own seeking experiences in my late teens that it's just not true. People aren't looking for Christians to be perfect; they're looking for us to admit we have problems, doubts, and flaws, but that, somehow, we keep on going and making progress in our attempt to emulate Christ, while we're stumbling in the climb. They need to see that the power to ascend, the drive to keep going, comes from Him. As I'm composing, I'm picturing a climber of a steep slope, sometimes slipping and dislodging rubble which falls behind her, but continuing to grab hold of the rocks that serve as handles for her ascent. It would be logical in the analogy that the Lord is the belay that keeps us secure, while the hand and footholds are Scriptures that we cling to, as well as the encouragement of other believers, both the ones in this life and those who have passed on their legacy and are our "cloud of witnesses" waiting for us in the Final Resurrection.

The hope of the Easter story is that because of Friday we're forgiven and because of the Resurrection we're raised with Him to live forever, while on this earth having the power of the resurrection to live life as He intended, Christ within us, the very power that created the Universe and rolled away the stone from His tomb, causing Death to Die. People don't need to see us living perfectly (we needn't worry about that, right?); they just need to see us as ACTING forgiven and resurrected, to see the dynamic of Christ's Spirit changing our lives day by day.

"I have been crucified with Christ; and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20, The Living Bible

Saturday, April 15, 2006


What can be said about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus that hasn't already been said? It's simple, really, yet also so complicated. Simple, because He was born for the purpose of dying, as atonement for our sins. Complicated, because how could God be a man? Simple, because His resurrection from that horrible death, so seemingly final after three days, brought us the promise and hope of living forever. Complicated, because how can a person suddenly come back to life after being fully dead for three days? But the true significance of His death and resurrection is just that: we were significant to Him, Who is the most significant Being in any universe, beyond time and space. We mattered enough to the Lord of Lords that He would give up everything that was rightfully His own for thirty-three years and limit Himself by choice in a human body, still with the essence of God in mind and spirit.

"...John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me -- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father -- and I lay down my life for the sheep." John 10:14,15

"Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
John 11:25&26

"So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others -- one on each side and Jesus in the middle." John 19:16b-18

"...the other disciple [John], who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)"
John 20:8&9

"If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin -- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him." Romans 6:5-8

Because of what He did, I can (and you can) live forever and ever, with Him.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Well, I've had lots worse days than yesterday; but let's face it, I've had better! Annoying nagging little problems, in the scope of things, VERY LITTLE. It wasn't something like a tornado, which will take a long recovery for the families affected by the many recent ones that have touched down in several parts of the country. Nothing like the horror of Katrina or a serious illness. Just little things gone awry that will take time to untangle.

But that was Monday. Today is Tuesday. That means I get a do-over. The day is fresh and new, and hopefully, my attitude is fresh and new, too. After all, His mercies ARE new every morning, whether my storm has been a minute upset in a day in the life, or whether it has been a major physical, mental, or emotional disaster with permanent consequences. His faithfulness IS indeed great. And He, as the original language so beautifully repeats, will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER leave me or forsake me.

Time to stop talking and actually do some of that untangling. But I begin, knowing that He is here, He loves me, and He even cares about the hair-splitting, bill-paying, losing-little-things details of my life. Isn't that the miracle, no matter the size of the crisis? As He tells us in
I Peter 5:7, "Casting all my cares upon Him, because He cares for me." ALL MY CARES. Because HE - the Lord of the Universe - cares for ME. That is enough to get me through any kind of day, ever.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Lately I've spent a lot of time reflecting on my purpose and calling in life. For example, can you have different callings at different times of your life? Do we all have the same general purposes, for which we were created by God, with each of us having some specific purposes to fulfill as our unique way of carrying out His plan?

The funny thing I noticed several years ago about the Forty Days of Purpose, during which our church studied The Purpose Driven Life* (Zondervan, 2002) by Rick Warren, was that the truths he wrote were so simple and basic, yet woven together with the foundational Scriptures in this fresh new way to show the five main purposes of man on earth:

  1. to worship and please God
  2. to live in harmony with God's adoptive family (believers in Christ)
  3. to follow Christ and the teachings of God's Word, allowing Him to remake us in God's image
  4. to serve God as our gift of love, just as He showed us love in sacrificing His Son
  5. to fulfill our mission of making disciples of others, from our families and neighborhoods clear to the other side of the world.

This little book and the small group where we discussed it had a definite impact on my thinking, laying the foundation for the journey I would begin in the fall of 2005.

My life changed drastically with children no longer at home. This was not a time of mourning, because I had pretty much finished that by landmarking every senior activity of our children as "the last time"! (Of course we miss our kids, but we have always known that they would leave and have looked at that as a normal step in the sequence of life.) All of us were as well prepared as we could be to move on to a new phase of life. Aside from spending much more time with my husband, also better in quality because we could be more attentive to each other (which aspects we discovered to be a great boon of the "empty nest") and completing some ongoing household projects (which it was certainly a relief to be able to work on uninterrupted), I no longer had one of the primary purposes in which I had invested most of my time for the past 21 years: parenting!

For the last several months, then, it is not really surprising that I have begun a quest: Karen in search of her midlife Calling! Jesus told us what we could do to get answers from Him:

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." (Luke 11:9&10)
It's become a matter of prayer, a subject of journaling, a topic of research and reading, and the title playing on the marquee of my mind. The surprise has come in the myriad ways He has answered: books and websites I've run across; people, opportunities, and circumstances He has placed in my path, not coincidentally, but because I asked and was seeking His answers, and because He promises always to reward our requests and quests regarding Him and what He asks of us. I agree with Helen Keller that life must be a daring adventure; and whether the rest of my adventure here on earth is long or short, I'm glad it leads to Him. It's a beautiful mountain well worth the climb!

*Used with specific permission granted by RKW Legacy Partners on 4/7/2006

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


When events that are similar begin to repeat, or I just notice a pattern, to me that's often a sign that God's trying to get my attention. One thing I've noticed recently: the death of a parent experienced by people in my age group. It's now a regular occurrence (guess that means I am no longer considered "young", whatever THAT means!) with people we know. Two people I am associated with in a Christian group in the last few weeks have each lost a parent, and the shockwaves this sent into their lives, even with the comfort and peace of Christ, were dramatic. In both cases, the loss was completely unexpected; this is not to say that it is easier when it IS even somewhat expected, as in the case with both of my husband's parents.

David was a former WWII prisoner of war. He never spoke about it, except in his avoidance of sauerkraut, which apparently was part of the meager diet available to his group as they labored on a local German farm. Many of his health problems which eventually led to his death began with frozen feet and malnutrition during his incarceration. He was a loving and faithful husband and dad, a diligent worker, extremely personable with a great sense of humor, welcomed me as his "daughter", and adored our children. That he had died was the hardest news we ever had to break to our children, who were old enough to understand fully that he was no longer with us here, nor would he be coming back. His wife could only say to our pastor, "My best friend is gone."

Elizabeth kept about the closest thing to a perfect house I've ever seen, yet (with certain stipulations) she let our kids eat in her den while they watched TV. She absolutely doted on them, yet wouldn't let them get away with anything they really shouldn't. (As my son said, she was feisty.) She was always available to her friends and family whenever they needed or wanted her. I remember, when her lung disease began to affect her to the point of not being able to walk or climb steps, she was so worried that she wouldn't be able to attend our children's activities. We had to make sure that she could get to an entrance with easier access, because if her grandkids were playing in the basketball game or marching in the band, she was NOT going to miss it. I have NEVER claimed to be anything resembling the housekeeper she was, yet she never criticized me; instead, she totally accepted and loved me. She told everyone I was the daughter she'd never had. Our children were in high school when Hospice was called in. The day she slipped into a coma, they left their classes for a little while to come and hold her hand and say good-bye. We each had our time with her, and my husband stayed the night till she at last let go and left this world.

No, I don't yet know what it's like to lose my own parents, but after losing these two, I have a pretty good idea. It's sad, it's empty, it's a longing to have back with you the two people who shared your infancy and youth and watched all your football games and worked their fingers to the bone to get you through college and cried at your wedding and laughed at the funny things your children said. It's remembering all the times you shared as a family and knowing they will not be having you over to celebrate every time there is a birthday in the family. The place you used to go on Sundays after church or to have an Easter dinner and egg hunt or to share that special meal at Christmas with antsy kids who can't wait to open gifts and get bored listening to the parents and grandparents relive all the Christmases preceding, not to mention all the other funny family stories, that special family place, is no more.

Just a few days ago I overheard someone say, "I don't know how people go through this who don't know the Lord." Her father-in-law, after a brief but serious illness, had passed away. How many times have I thought just that? He truly is the God of all comfort. He does bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted. He promises He will never leave us or forsake us, and though we are hurting and feeling somewhat lost without the person on earth who most cared whether we lived or died, we know that, as in the case of my dear in-laws, they are with Jesus. Someday we will be with Him also, and what a family reunion we'll enjoy! It will be better than even the greatest times we celebrated with them in this world.

Monday, April 03, 2006


We make so many each day that we are barely conscious of them. We almost have too many when it comes to food or technology, clothing or cars, in the culture I live in, anyway. Yes, I'm talking about choices. We don't give it much thought when we lay out the clothing we're going to wear to work or anywhere else - ha, ladies, you were about to question me on this! Sure we fuss and fret over what we're going to wear, but we don't actually say to ourselves, "I really have a choice about this." (Probably in most cases, far too many alternatives!)

Some of the subconscious, habitual choices, such as what clothing to wear for which occasion are not particularly earth-shattering. But what about some of the subtle habit-forming decisions we make which DO change the course of our lives, bit by bit, step by step? The "little white lies". The excuses for not doing something we should do. The procrastinating of working on our gifts and dreams that surely have been bequested by God. I can't remember the entire quote nor where to attribute it, but someone spoke of beginning by sowing a thought, leading to an act, then a habit, and eventually it becomes our destiny. Small beginnings, but life-changing results.

Consider these choices:

"Choose you whom you will serve this day . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." - Joshua 24:15

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor stand in the way of sinners,
nor sit in the seat of scoffers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
- Psalm 1:1&2

By faith he [Moses] chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
- Hebrews 11:25&26

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
who , being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself
and became obedient to death,
even death on a cross!
- Philippians 2:5-8

Maybe I need to be aware of the choices I am making all day long: to practice His presence, and to consciously choose Whom I am serving; whether I am living as a servant, THE SERVANT of all time, would live; where I am walking, sitting and standing and what I am delighting in; which reward I am choosing - the pleasures of sin for a season, or the glory and reward of obeying and honoring God.

Friday, March 31, 2006


The old joke in Christian circles goes, "Sure, I love you. God told me I HAVE to!" Love doesn't come easy when we disagree with someone, especially about the beliefs and values that we hold most passionately. This is best exemplified in the continuing confrontations often seen between Christians and members of the "Gay Movement". We as Christians have a way of sometimes throwing fuel on the fire by making "you" kinds of statements, instead of calmly expressing what we think and feel. We are often accused, and rightly so, of not showing God's love in our tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions, at the very moment we are speaking about that love. Well, why SHOULD we get angry and defensive? Especially if we believe what we speak to be true? Good point. Love should be demonstrated, if by anyone, by Christians. Just remember, as a believer, I'm not perfect, just forgiven. (Which I realize, by the way, is NOT an excuse for unloving behavior.)

HOWEVER - and this is the part that I'm not happy about at the moment - the tenets of the "Gay Movement" do oppose and contradict the principles of Scripture, but often a "gay" person is offended by a believer saying so. Discussion of right or wrong concerning the "gay" lifestyle seems to be no longer an option. Since when is it "offensive" or "insulting" to disagree with someone by offering another point of view? (Well, in America, anyway) Let's not be hostile, and let's keep a dialogue going, not a monologue.

I don't know whether it was due to filters or someone in authority (?) from (haven't been able to get an answer yet), or even someone hacking into my blog, but my original post on this topic was deleted sometime within 24 hours after I posted it. I welcome comments about this or any other post or topic which I address here. I promise, I will never go to a "gay" website and post anything hateful, nor will I try to suppress what you wish to express. Certainly you will be able to express yourself respectfully in reciprocation. Instead, I will receive feedback and consider it. However, I will continue to disagree with the basic foundations of the "gay movement," e.g., that a person who is "gay" is born that way, or that "gay marriage" or "gay" civil unions or adoptions (especially when the agency has a religious foundation or origin) are acceptable. Ephesians reads that we are to be "speaking the truth in love." As a believer of the Bible, for me that's the truth of the matter.

Just give me a chance; speaking truth in love is all I want to do. Not perfectly, mind you, but with God's grace I'm trying!

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006


At last, actual spring weather! I can hardly contain myself indoors long enough to get anything accomplished. The baby lace leaves, that new yellow-green; the wispy clouds blowing by in a sky of the palest blue; rich thick clumps of Kentucky blue and monkey grass with their contrasting kelly and hunter greens; a beckoning breeze that lures me off the porch to feel it tousle my hair; cozy warm sunshine that doesn't overheat: all bid me drop everything else and walk and wander and dream.

Days like today confirm that I was made to feel this way: joyful, alive, beautiful! I was made to live forever, to be alive to all around me and a part of it, somehow. He is here, in all He created, not in some pantheistic way, but because He has put His mark on all of this created world, even on me. I want to shout, "He is alive! God has made all this! And Jesus is risen, with spring as the perfect symbolic backdrop!"

He says to me, "Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
and come with me.
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me." - Song of Songs 2:10-13

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world. - Psalm 19:1-4

The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God my Savior! - Psalm 18:46

Happy Birthday to the man who taught me to appreciate God's created beauty.

Today's entry is dedicated to him and to our little friend Hannah, smiling at us from Heaven.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


A couple I don't even know is grieving today. They have lost their little boy to an accident. I only know of them through a friend, but still I feel sadness for them. First, I think of my children and how lively and tender they were at that age; then I picture this couple's tragedy befalling one of them, befalling us, and it becomes very painful to imagine. Then I pray: they will need God's strength for every moment ahead of them, they will need His grace through the memorial service and the trip to the cemetary, and the return to his empty little room at their now-quiet house. They will need encouragement to stay focused on growing their marriage as they journey together to that distant place where the sting of death ebbs and washes in a hollow feeling of aching that comes when you miss someone so very much, even more than when he was first taken away. They will need the joy of the Lord to help them smile again someday, even when they remember, through tears, "This would have been his first day of school," or his 13th birthday, or his graduation day.

Then I enlist other believers to pray. They don't even know my friend, who knows the couple. But because we are bonded together by the belief that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, that He is our Peace, and by the Spirit Who dwells with in us, they, too, feel the pain and offer the prayers.

Our friends in Sunday School class grinned when we shared a recent answer to prayer. They too had been praying for our request, joined to us by the love that God gives those adopted as His children through faith in Jesus Christ. They rejoiced with us, because we are united, we are family, we are members of each other. Believers truly participate in the joys and sorrows of other believers, as well as empathizing with those who have yet to join us in the Family of God. May we allow Him to use every sorrow and every joy to make us truly One!

Friday, March 24, 2006


All has been well with our little family lately, but life has seemed less than fair for many folks we know. Problems with marriage, children, parents, depression, and disease have seemed rampant. "Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning," penned Jeremiah, the author of Lamentations. Not only is this true for the long haul, but sometimes God even brings moments of joy to encourage our baby-weak faith. Example: we had heard the same answer to a prayer we had prayed for a long time, when suddenly wham-bam-here-I-am, and this thing, seemingly small in the eyes of many, though HUGE to us, HAPPENED! Why did we doubt? Because we don't believe God. He says that the sadness and disillusionment we often experience in this life won't last, not forever. He tells us that joy will return, the joy of knowing and abiding in and living for Him, not to mention the joy with which we anticipate someday being physically in His presence. Then we are surprised when something we longed for and prayed for actually happens.

So, our dear friends who are so ill, the parents of the prodigal, the woman abandoned, the child watching her aging parent fade away, all who feel like giving up: hold on, the morning's coming!

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Remember that old song about repeating gossip? We laugh about it because we all have done it at some point: shared the rumors or even facts that were supposed to be a secret or that had the potential to harm others and their reputations. Does it make us look better or feel superior that someone else is having a crisis that we 're not? (not yet, anyway; as if we were immune to the troubles in others' lives) We also smile as we quote that old saw, "I'm sharing this so you can PRAY about it." Surely God doesn't take gossip, rumor, or slander as seriously as some other things we could be doing? Say, murder or adultery?

Hmmm . . . let's see. (I'm not going to like looking at this myself.)

Proverbs 12:23 A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself,
but the heart of fools blurts out folly.

12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

10:31, 32 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
but a perverse tongue will be cut out.
The lips of the righteous know what is fitting,
but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.

10:18-21 He who conceals his hatred has lying lips,
and whoever spreads slander is a fool.
When words are many, sin is not absent,
but he who holds his tongue is wise.
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver,
but the heart of the wicked is of little value.
The lips of the righteous nourish many,
but fools die for lack of judgment.

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs,
that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness,
rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind
and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God
God forgave you.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is
excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. (So if we say something,
then we must have been thinking about it first?)

I guess if whatever I'm about to share with another doesn't pass muster with these imperatives
(and I didn't even begin to look them ALL up!), I'd better shut up.

Monday, March 20, 2006


I know, I know: it's oxymoronic to speak of American Christians as being hedonistic! After all, we have forefathers who were Puritans and later Victorians. Those people did NOT base their lives on pleasure, not to say that they never enjoyed life or received joy in an ordinary event on an ordinary day on earth. However, we believers nowadays get a lot of kicks out of the same things the rest of the developed world enjoys, and I'm not talking anything intrinsically illicit, immoral, or illegal! We enjoy our comfortable homes (that reads non-dirt floor, sufficient heat and even cooling, multi-roomed, weather-proof) , our luxurious (yes, to a citizen of a developing country, a very used and beat-up looking car that somehow still moves on its own qualifies here) vehicles, our multitude of choices of foods and beverages, our vacations and even smaller pleasures of everyday life (Starbucks latte?); not to mention all the technology on which we are often dependent - TV, computer, MP3, Blackberry, cell phone, etc., etc.

You say, "You talk as if it were wrong for Christians to have these things." No, that's not what I'm saying; in fact, I believe God can use these things in our lives for good, especially toward others. The problem comes when we are living as if our lives DEPENDED on these things, and NOT as if our lives depended on God and on other people. The psalmist wrote, "Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forever more." (Psalm 16:11) Lasting joy and eternal pleasure are in Him, and if we truly believe this, it will show in what and whom we treasure.

If we love Him and live for Him, we cannot live for pleasure for its own sake. For Jesus says,

"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My words, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when He shall come in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels."
Luke 9:23-26

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


It tickles me when someone at church says he prefers the old-fashioned hymns to the new contemporary praise and worship choruses or Christian contemporary music. After all, some of our most venerable classic hymns were originally bar songs. People knew the tunes, so it was simple enough to compose Christian lyrics to a song that everyone could already sing. It never occurs to us that even the music written by great Christian hymnwriters could have been considered contemporary and unusual for its time. In fact, I remember talk in recent years of one denomination banning certain hymns because of the blatant use of the word "blood", which apparently was no longer considered liturgically correct. Imagine Christianity without the blood of Jesus!

So how does any of this music we call Christian fall on God's ear (speaking metaphorically, of course)? The psalmist wrote that it was good to praise the Lord and make music to His name with both instrument and voice. No mention was made of a prescribed type of music or instrument, nor a certain style of lyric. Rather, the emphasis was on singing with joy in the heart and praise on the lips. In fact, in the 96th Psalm, the heavens and sea, the fields and trees are described as making a symphony of praise to God. So much of the "old" and the "new" Christian music uses the words and principles of Scripture and speaks to the heart of diverse worshippers. By whatever means or instrument or style we choose to worship with singing and/or instrumental music, should we be deterred by disagreement and glorify God any less than the heavens and the sea, the fields and the trees? And won't we lessen the meaning of our own musical worship by criticizing those who choose different ways of musical praise?

"Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name."

"Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy."
(from Psalm 96 and 98, NIV)