Wednesday, December 26, 2018


It’s quiet here, the mayhem quelled
Time to sort and pack and stow
This is when all memories meld
              and fade into warm afterglow

In this lull, this in between,
Recalled years all come and go
the soft, the tough, both fat and lean
              that fade into warm afterglow

It’s quiet here, though this can’t last
Doesn’t matter, this I know
Future soon becomes the past
              then fades into warm afterglow

~ A.S. Fields

May your New Year be full of bright blessings!
For Him,

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Clean Up

Fact: I am the messiest cook in the history of ever.
Another Fact: I’m okay with that.

That I don’t care how big a mess I create while doing something might be attributable to my not minding the clean up step. Point of fact, I actually like the clean up stage of any project, whether cooking or crafting. I have a system. So as not to be overwhelmed, I don’t look at the whole mess, just the small section in front of me. When that is resolved, I move to the next section and then the next until I can look up and out and see everything all tidy again. It’s quite satisfying actually. 

This was something of a weird realization that rushed over me as I reordered my kitchen at the end of making Thanksgiving turkey leftover soup. First, as I assessed the chaos of my kitchen, I thought to myself that one turkey carcass being boiled for its last remaining useable essence should not have been cause for the use of so many utensils, bowls, pots and paper towels. Since it took the better part of a decorate-the-house-for-Christmas Saturday, it occurred to me that making leftover turkey soup was as time consuming and troublesome as making the original turkey dinner. 

But being an over thinker and all, as I usually do, while cleaning up the mess, even though I was bone-tired, I considered the task I launched into, regardless the complaints from my old hip, and why I didn’t really mind the clean up. Why I needed to get it done. 

This sort of thought processing requires serious introspection. I’ve always tried to stay true to myself, as Shakespeare once recommended, to know myself, the good, the bad and the ugly, so I often take stock of what I am doing and why. The why being the actual focus. So, I asked myself, why?  Why clean up - the part most people dread and groan over - is often the best phase of an endeavor for me?

My first thought was about closure. I am a problem solver so I naturally crave closure. By comparison I hate cliff hanger endings. I need a beginning and an ending. Doesn’t have to be happy like a fairytale or a Hallmark movie, but just a conclusion. A tidy wrap up. The endeavor itself, whether a meal or a work of art, is not quite as important to me as having followed through from step one concept to final putting things away. 

Clean up says, “Done!” Clean up says, “You tried, and regardless the outcome, you gave it all you had. Now move on." 

Sometimes in the cleaning up I look at the tools I used as I put them away and make notes - you might have used this instead - or- next time you can leave this step out - or - next time you will do better because now you know how you can improve this. 

Clean up says - all ready for next time!

Clean up is when you can say, I gave it what I had to give and now I intend to finish up by leaving where I did it as good as I found it, if not better. 

Clean up is when you accept that which you did, whether it resulted in a triumph or defeat, a success or failure, a bad choice or serendipitously wise move and note how it all added to you, one way or another. How you learned by the experience. How making messes is okay so long as you are being honest with yourself, others, and most particularly God, as you are also willing to finish with clean up. 

For Him,

This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day; thou canst not then be false to any man. ~ Shakespeare

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Just Thinking...Again

It’s the Ahhhh-Ha moments that keep life interesting. I had one of those recently when I picked up my 11 year old grandson, Judd, after school. He’s a talker and has no problem expressing his opinion on even the weightiest of topics. After the hi-how-was-your-day exchange he launched into his recently gained knowledge about the Vietnam War. 

Well, well, well. I launched back. You see that was the war of my youth. Just as WW2 was the war of my older sister’s youth, and Judd does love to chat with her about that historical event, I, too, have my embedded memories to share. I have what I consider my personal knowledge of all the sit-ins, protests, draft-dodging and rage expressed by my idealistic hippie peers, though I never personally participated in a demonstration. I did agree whole-heartedly that we should not be in that small country losing thousands of our young men and women for a rationale no one could clearly define and that no one would allow us to win so I sympathized.. 

My high school drama teacher wanted me to attend Kent State University because of the theater program the college offered. I didn’t go there but if I had, although not likely, I could have been in the middle of the mess when Ohio National Guard fired into a group of student protesters, killing four and wounding nine, in May of 1970. But that heart-stopping moment when I heard the news I felt a painful connection, even though I had no affiliation to the university or any student there. I didn’t even live in Ohio anymore. But it was a moment inspired by the deep empathetic emotion created in an era of high passion for what was then considered to be a righteous cause. 

I’m pretty sure Judd thought he was going to enlighten me when he opened the subject and wasn’t expecting all the things I was able to tell him about the Vietnam War in the handful of moments it took to return home. I might have unloaded a bit. Remnants of long-quelled passion perhaps? 

Summing it up and keeping it all relevant though, I told him our collective national attitude today about thanking a Vet for his/her service began during the Gulf War as a mea culpa from the terrible way the Vietnam Vets were treated when they returned after the war was ended when troops were flown in on transport planes in the middle of the night to avoid angry crowds gathered to continue beating their dead horse. 

For the record, I thought that was very wrong. I had my own opinion about who to blame for the war (that was not actually referred to as a war, rhetoric being so important to manipulate opinion and all). But the national idealistic mindset had gone from being opposed to the war to taking it out on the soldiers who had no other choice but to follow orders. Of those who returned alive, many came back to finish out forever ruined lives. Many came back damaged in all sorts of ways, physically and mentally. Many refused to speak of their life-altering experiences ever again.

Isn’t that how it always goes though? A collectively adopted opinion, whether right or wrong, senseless or not, becomes a stream of consciousness that people plug into for no other reason than everyone else is doing it because it ‘feels’ right. Passion is a highly moldable human vulnerability after all.

I seized the opportunity of that teachable moment to explain to my grandson that we make the effort today to appreciate and thank the men and women who put their lives on the line for us because there was an emotionally driven time once where we lost our way and let our passions for the idealism of the cause blind us to the reality as more than 56,000 young men and women died and many more were never the same again. Some were just kids I went to school with. That it took decades to finally come to grips with that reality so that a memorial could be erected for those lost in Vietnam is quite telling. 

As we pulled into the driveway, Judd concluded it was all political. I did mention he is only 11 didn’t I?

I read all sorts of recollections posted on social media of awful historical moments in time that constructed the reality of our national identity. We’ve had as many, if not more, bad as good getting us to where we are now.   Most all of which can be contributed to (blamed on) nothing more than our being flawed humans. Denying that is myopic. No matter how idealistic we are, which is a common state of being while forming ourselves in our aspiring youth, we can never be perfect. I know, I was there once. 

Unfortunately idealism, while it sounds good and often has great intentions, without being counter-balanced with a strong grip on the reality of being human, can and often does, send us flying off the rails leaving an inevitable trail of regrets to be picked over.

You have to get old like me to figure this out that we learn best by and through our mistakes even though it is a given we will make more before we breathe our last since there’s still so much to learn. 

The take away is: thanking a Vet today can never heal the damage done from the previous mistake but it might keep us from making that one again.

For Him,

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Difficulty of Simple

The conversation went something like this:

But you know there are things you learn as you grow in the spirit that you can’t really share with anyone else because they aren’t there yet so you can’t know what you don’t know but you also can’t share what someone else can’t understand either. Amazingly it gets simpler and simpler too.

Loved One: 
We belonged to an adult Bible Study group for awhile and one time the task was put out for us to write about our perspective on God. I dashed off a sentence and then watched as everyone else penned lengthy treatises. All the pages were turned over to be read aloud.  When our group leader’s eyes shot up I knew he had come to mine. 

Then he shared it with the group: “I just want to get out of my own way so I can get into God’s.” 

Bam! Simple.

Our conversation then segued into how ancient it all is, the modern view. Loved One pointed out that it’s all recorded in the Bible, more than a history lesson it’s a review of what to expect from humans into the future. We pondered the enigma of how humans just keep doing the same thing over and over. I told him about my experience helping my grandson with his essay assignment on The Crucible and the conclusions we came to. I said the most common human theme is building a golden calf to worship because they can create what they worship to their own specifications. 

You know it comes down to human desire for control.

Loved One: 
But why?

Avoidance of accountability. If you can periodically change the rules to fit the current meme, you don’t have to answer to some ancient hard-nosed rules as set forth by some cranky old Divinity declared to be a fairytale. 

Loved One: Avoiding accountability - small words, easy language. What’s not to understand?

Because you can’t get it unless you want to get it and you have to want to get out of your own way first. 

Some conversations can be so simple they can send out ripples into the continuum. 

For Him,

Monday, October 22, 2018


The word ‘allegory’ came up while teaching the subtle art of compelling written communication. My grandson needed help with an essay on The Crucible by Arthur Miller. After we determined our theme, ‘nothing new under the sun’ we plowed through the syllabus, careful to include the required number of paragraphs and quotes. And then, just as we struggled for a riveting conclusion, an interesting fact popped up in our online search for inspiration.

Turns out The Crucible, a play about the Salem Witch Hunts of 1692, was written as an allegory. We paused to explore the definition of allegory - something that looks like something but has a hidden meaning. Arthur Miller had been caught up in the hysteria of the four years between 1950 to 1954 as Senator McCarthy led the charge in the modern day ‘witch hunt’ resulting in life-altering accusations of Americans, mostly performers and artists, being declared to be Communists. Resulting in charges and grilling before Congress. Declarations of guilt with no due process or proof, resulting in lives disrupted and destroyed. Miller used the play to expose how absurd and irrational easily aroused, collective hysteria is - how much damage it does. 

We realized our theme was about human nature and how it never grows up. How history repeats and circumstances change, but people act and react in the same way. Over and over again - with the same results - nothing good. Tearing down instead of building up.

My grandson concluded thoughtfully, “I don’t think humans can ever get better. There will always be people with their own ideas fighting other people and always saying they are right. There will always be wars.”   

We summed it up by determining that human nature is the problem because it can never grow up.

So, I mentored my grandson through the process of getting a required essay done, but it turns out I am the one who learned the lesson. I doubt his teacher will ever know just how much education was added on to my grandson or me because of this shared exercise. He said, with satisfaction, he thought it was probably not going to be like anyone else’s essay.

I told him that’s because it is an allegory. The reader will see the message about human nature but the hidden meaning is about how we really learn. 

For Him,

Saturday, September 22, 2018


In spite of the reality of the modern age of instant accessibility to uncountable amounts of information, the stigma of HOME SCHOOLING remains. Even when all the arguments are presented and then summarily rebutted, the naysayers will toss out their hidden ace - socialization - what about kids socializing with others so they can become NORMAL. 


I’ll move on to the real point of this rant so as not to expose the naysayers standing over their dead horse. 

Recently a nervous new homeschool mom, who pulled her daughter out of public school because of vicious bullying, came to observe our Enrichment Thursday. Her sweet daughter joined our cooking and art classes and ‘socialized’ joyfully with us. 

While the kids were working on a project, the mom and I talked about homeschooling. She is understandably worried that she won’t do a good job. She has always sent her daughter off to public school and therefore blindly trusted that her daughter was being  properly educated. 

She fretted that she didn’t know what curriculum to start with. What should she be teaching her daughter? 

I asked her - “What do you want her to know?” She looked perplexed and then replied, 

“I want her to know how to take tests so she can go to college.”

After I digested that for a few seconds, squelching my internal fury rising up over how the last several decades of teaching-to-the-test has destroyed centuries of basic knowledge building,  I replied, “What if ten highly credentialed educators were asked to form a list of 500 things all children should learn between kindergarten and 12th grade, do you think there would be ten identical lists?”

“No, of course not,” she replied.

“Why not?”

“Well, they would all have their own ideas about what kids should learn,” she concluded.

“So, which one would have the correct list?” I tossed out.

She had no answer.

And that, then, is the point. In this era of abundant and easy access to information, and given the rise of home schooling, the hundreds of options for available curriculum online and work books and learning materials, the what/how-to-teach is not the issue. 

“What is knowledge?” is the question that begs to be addressed.

What do you want your child to know? How about how to make change? There are plenty of high school graduates who work in fast food restaurants who cannot make change without a calculator. Who cannot read cursive. Who do not know who the vice president is. Who have no idea where England is on a map or even how to use a map. Who cannot read and follow instructions. Who have no idea what time management is. Who have no idea how to balance a checkbook. 

The ultimate goal of education is more than acquiring information. It is learning how to learn, creating the desire to continue learning and the ability to use the infinite resources available. 

What should kids learn in school? Curriculum depends on who is in charge of their edumacation.

For Him,

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Last Straw

Sitting in the Vet’s preliminary exam room while Auri was being given the once over in another room, I occupied myself by reading the colorful informative posters on the calm gray wall. One in particular provided an extra bit of mental diversion though it doesn’t take much to set my brain off on a pondering trail. 

The graphic, artfully done, presented a fat dog looking up at an equally fat cat sitting on a scale. Instead of numbers on the scale there were words like diabetes, heart disease and other scary health conditions. The banner above the photo claimed that obesity in pets is serious business. Especially American pets. Amazing how so much can be implied in the fewest of well assembled words. Smaller print defined obesity in an animal as a mere 2 to 4 pounds above normal. Whew! Even more impact!

Before my eyes fully adjusted to the smallest print at the bottom - the reason for the poster - the sales pitch - I tried my hand at guessing what the point of the heart tug was. Healthier pet food and/or exercise program? Diet pills? Some new vaccine that helps cut down life threatening extra weight in dogs and cats (with a long list of possible side effects listed somewhere else in even finer print?) 

Would you like to guess?

Okay, I’ll tell - it was for pet insurance. Crazy me why didn’t I automatically assume that health risks in pets equal huge vet bills? So, according to this advertisement, the solution to pet obesity is PET INSURANCE. Ta da!

Exhaling as I slumped into a vague sensation of defeat I mulled over the possibility that we have, at long last, lost our way. 

If it is possible that we could be so easily persuaded by compelling words and visual, that the least likely conclusion and solution to a problem would convince us to part with our hard earned money, we have been finally and completely conditioned to abandon all semblance of common sense. 

Advertising techniques seem to reveal that we don’t (can’t?) think a thing through anymore. Since advertisers spend big bucks analyzing our weaknesses - the most effective way to herd us - can we conclude that they know exactly what they are doing? That they know us better than we know ourselves? Does that not sound an alarm? At least a tinkling bell?

What is worse, we aren’t able to stop ourselves from being herded even as we admit we know we are being herded by ominous sounding terms, like ‘algorithms’ and ‘data mining’. 

Then my mental jog took a sudden segue down a darker path. I applied the herding concept to other ways we allow ourselves to be artfully managed. A well-conditioned populace is more easily diverted, for sure. 

Example: criminalizing the use of plastic straws as the panacea to global plastic pollution because controlling or even outlawing the manufacturing of disposable plastic products is much too logical. 

Putting people in jail for using a straw makes such perfect sense. Well, certainly as much sense as buying pet insurance to thwart the growing threat of pet obesity. Right?  

Some things in the human condition never change.

(Matthew 23:23) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye tithe mint and anise and cumin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith: but these ye ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone.  (23:24) Ye blind guides, that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel!      (23:25) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full from extortion and excess.  (23:26) Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside thereof may become clean also.      

For Him,

Thursday, July 26, 2018

All Things Possible

If you live long enough, you’ll likely experience the unexplainable at least once if not a few times. Things that go above and beyond mere coincidence. When all the strange unrelated bits come together to make a remarkable definable turning point that’s forever etched in your memory bank. 

I can admit to a few but one in particular stands out like a cucumber in a pile of string beans.

My first website, and what I refer to as my HTML PERIOD, was a gathering place, a digital warehouse where I stored the results of my many and varied attempts to express and share my interests. I could add and delete pages with a few strokes on the keyboard. Even as it was a learning curve, it was my substitute playhouse, a grown up version of my childhood retreat. morphed numerous times over the coarse of eighteen years, as my interests and bright ideas called for exploring new art forms. And then, one day, when I knew I was done, I redesigned it and handed it down to my daughter, who is now carrying the torch with more style than I could ever boast.

Many think (erroneously) that having a live website is the open door to hoards of people flocking to your home page. Nope. While search engine bots do roam around 24/7 scooping up info in hidden meta data, given the plethora (millions) of available sites to check out, the equalizer, as in all things, is still money. When you type in a word or phrase in a search engine, the top referrals are paid for. Which means, the bazillion little sites never get exposure to potential viewers.

I’m explaining this up front so the zinger at the end will mean more. 

In the early 2000s, we had a small sail boat that we no longer wanted. This was before I knew about Craig’s List. Not expecting any response I made a page in Makinghome listing the boat for sale. I made only one link to it from my home page because I didn’t want to take the time to add it to and re-upload all the other pages. Nothing happened.

And then ... something happened. 

We found out that a relative needed a bit of financial help and my husband and I agreed that we would give the proceeds of the sale of the boat to her when it sold. I decided no one would ever see the listing on my obscure web page so I was drafting an ad to list in a boat resale site when I received an email inquiry. Someone saw the page and wanted to discuss buying the boat. 

Wait for it - it gets better.

We exchanged more emails - I provided more photos. They agreed they wanted it. I lived north of Atlanta. They lived in Salt Lake City. We agreed on a price, they bought airplane tickets, flew into Hartsfield, rented a truck with a hitch, drove an hour to us in a raging storm and arrived at our door, after dark, exhausted and drenched. We welcomed them in, fed them, offered them our guest room for the night. 

The wife was pregnant, btw. You can’t make this stuff up.

The next morning we fed them breakfast, helped them hitch up the sail boat and watched them start a very long three day journey home. 

Here’s my take on this - I know for sure we might never have found a buyer for the boat, especially not from listing on one page in over 4.5 billion on the web, except that God had a plan. You see, when we recite “nothing is impossible for God’ we can’t fully grasp how huge and far reaching that is until we get a chance (honor) to be in the middle of the impossible and watch as it actually unfolds around us and before our wide opened eyes. 

I’ll never get over it. When the world is too much with me I remember this and then I have to smile. There is NOTHING too big or too small for God to use as He is artfully crafting His will into being. You see, He doesn’t operate within our framework of time, space, clocks or calendars. That's tough for us to embrace.

But isn’t it awesome?

For Him,


Friday, July 13, 2018

Parallel Truth

A dozen or so years ago, (seems so much longer ago) hyper-energized with entrepreneurial hope, just over a year into dabbling in the world of publishing as a business, I signed up to exhibit my first batch of titles at a Christian Book Expo. In hindsight, I don’t recall what I was expecting to gain from the experience or what the point of the Expo was other than to network with other small publishers. I suppose I thought I would sell books but that did not happen. I can say I learned a lot about the industry of publishing but even more importantly I met a random truth that forever changed the way I choose to search for verity. 

This epiphany came to me in the form of an older woman, I guessed to be at least fifteen years my senior, who was wandering about the aisles on the second day and who stopped at my booth. We chatted in cordial small talk for a few minutes. I gave her the synopsis of each of the five books I was displaying. One thing led to another, I think the conversation turned on the concept of good quotes. I mentioned that I had always loved and collected notable quotes and habitually used them liberally in my writing. She looked up as though she was trying to find the exact right words and then said to me, “Truth is truth, no matter who says it.” 

I nodded in agreement. Not exactly profound but certainly good words worth noting.

Then she continued, “Thing is, I’d rather get my truth from the One I can trust to be right in all things so I don’t get pulled down a rabbit trail by false lead truth.” 

That instantly struck a theretofore unknown chord in me so I fully agreed with her and we discussed it a bit longer before she wandered off to share her wisdom elsewhere. It was a much deeper/wider concept though than I could fully absorb at the time and thus it took me years to pull it together into a credo to live by. 

As this manic era unfolds I’ve written in as many ways as I know how using the words and language available to me to express my angst about where we are going and how we are getting there and, more to the point, what is leading us. 

It comes down to this basic theory of geometry:  parallel lines can never intersect. 

There are imitator truths that seem to look and therefore be good, but, ultimately are only false leads. For want of better words, I’ve referred to this as subscribing to good-for-goodness sake mentality but another, more modern way, to describe this now is ‘virtue signaling’. I’ve also called this out as Self-Righteousness Rule. It has all the markers of being goodness but it’s only counterfeit and just super good, albeit empty, mimicking because it depends on the feel good god of self to define what is good instead of the (often tougher) good of the Divine Sovereign God. 

Question: So, where does this come from? And why? Why not just acknowledge what is proven true and go with that? Why run a good imitation parallel path? (example: Humanism - the elevation of humans to gods vs Christ) To pull as many astray as possible? Away from what then? 

Answer: Away from the true light. 

I recently read a commentary written by a contemporary of T. Austin-Sparks - the notable British minister who served multiple missionary teams in the early decades of the 20th century. Sparks had mentored the commenter and guided him into a ministry life. He said that Sparks was so knowledgeable of the higher truth that he often struggled to prepare his sermons. He knew there were things he could share but that his flock would not understand.

This resonated deeply with me. A.W. Tozer, a minister from the same era, also grieved and wrote about the lonely walk of the Christian who chooses to seek the truth and therefore found it to discover it leads to a place of isolation from the world. It causes you to be set apart. 

I get it but I also admit that the sacrifice is worth it. I'd rather know a tough truth than be blinded by a soft lie - any day.

I conclude - While you cannot know what you do not know, it is also true that you cannot unknow what you know.

A few quotes from others who have said it better than I:

I do know one thing. I used to be blind, but now I can see. (John 9:25)

If you and I were allowed to be perfectly satisfied with what we have got at any stage, and not to feel the absolute necessity for something we never have had, should we go on that way? Of course not! To keep us going on, the Lord has to bring about those experiences where it is absolutely necessary for us to see the Lord, and know the Lord in a new way, and it must just be so all the way along to the end. It may be a series of crises of seeing and seeing again, and yet again, as the Lord opens our eyes, and we are able to say, as never before, "I see!" So it is not our study, our learning, our book knowledge, but it is a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of our hearts being enlightened, and it is that seeing which brings the note of authority that is so much needed. That is the element, the feature, that is required today. It is not just seeing for seeing’s sake, but it is to bring in a new note of authority.  - T. Austin-Sparks


Happy is he to whom truth manifests itself, not in signs and words that fade, but as it actually is. Our opinions, our senses often deceive us and we discern very little. 

What good is much discussion of involved and obscure matters when our ignorance of them will not be held against us on Judgment Day? Neglect of things which are profitable and necessary and undue concern with those which are irrelevant and harmful, are great folly. 
We have eyes and do not see. 

What, therefore, have we to do with questions of philosophy? He to whom the Eternal Word speaks is free from theorizing. For from this Word are all things and of Him all things speak -- the Beginning Who also speaks to us. Without this Word no man understands or judges aright. He to whom it becomes everything, who traces all things to it and who sees all things in it, may ease his heart and remain at peace with God.  - The Imitation of Jesus Christ by Thomas Kempis


2 Timothy 3-4 
3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

For Him,