Instantaneous About Face

An unmade bed has never bothered me. At. All. Forty-four years off blissful indifference. Then wham! All of a sudden—literally overnight—I’ve become a fanatic about making my bed. I have no idea what happened. It wasn’t a conscious decision of any kind. I just looked at my bed one morning and decided to make it up. Then I did it again the next day. And the next. 

Have you ever experienced an instantaneous about face like that, whether a small habit or a significant lifestyle change?


Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

Can it be twenty years already since I first welcomed a baby into the world? Apparently so, for my daughter turns 20 today.

I’m so proud of all she is becoming and I’m so thankful that the Lord used her in my “becoming” process, too. For truly we have grown up together. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the experience of parenting her—of loving her, disciplining her, falling on my knees to plead with God on her behalf. I can now embrace the choosing of Joy as her middle name, for she is a joy to watch as she follows hard after the Lord and after her dreams.

Happy birthday, baby girl! You are very much loved!


A Sunday Psalm

I will remember the deeds of the Lord,
yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago.
I will meditate on all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds.
Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?
     --Psalm 77:11-13


Lessons from Haman

I loved Beth Moore’s comment recently in the study of Esther. She remarked that when she took up the study she never imagined she’d learn as much from Haman’s life as she did from Esther’s.

I completely agree! I expected to learn (and be convicted) by Esther’s submission, by her faith, by her courage. I even anticipated lessons from Mordecai. But Haman? He’s the villain in the story! And yet don’t we all battle that sinful nature just as he did?

Haman shows us what pride and arrogance and a sense of entitlement and a thirst for personal glory lead to—humiliation and death. And they don’t look pretty in the process, either. I’ve been as convicted about what I don’t want to be as I have by the way my life falls short of what I do want it to be.

The funny thing is, I see this in fiction all the time. I can name several novels I’ve read where I’ve walked away shuddering to think that I acted in any way like this or that character—maybe even a character that I admired at the beginning of the book or even when reading it at a different stage in my life. I think God uses those people, real or fictional, to hold a mirror up to our hearts so we can see what we’ve been blind to before.

So what about you? Has a personality from Scripture or a book or even real life given you a grim look at your own heart lately? What did you see? How have you responded? 


Business Trips

I’ve never been one accompany my husband on business trips, even if he only made a handful of such trips over the past several years. The few times I attempted it were not pleasant for either of us. I spent all day waiting for him to be done, desperate—after the novelty of rest wore off—for some occupation or attention. When he finished working, he wanted to rest, not go out. It wasn’t a good combination.

But with his travel time increasing and our children at home decreasing, we’ve been wondering what this meant for us. And his recent trip to DC proved a chance to find out.

What we discovered amazed us. We had a great time! While he worked, I worked. When he finished for the day, we were both ready for a break, with neither of us desiring anything extravagant. I didn’t feel neglected. He didn’t feel pressured to entertain me.

Of course we will still have a child at home for the next two years, but this experiment gives us new vision for the future. And at a time where our situation in life is changing rapidly, we needed that.

Have you been given a taste of something new for your future, a glimpse behind the curtain of the possibilities to come?


A Sunday Psalm

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
   for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
   who conduct their affairs with justice.
            --Psalm 112:4-5


Revisiting Our Younger Selves

My husband and I recently returned to visit the city where we met twenty-six years ago. It was our first trip back alone, and our first trip back in at least ten years. Walking the streets of Washington DC in our mid-forties was quite a different thing from us in our late teens. Not only has the city itself changed. We have changed.

I saw our younger selves on those streets, stars in our eyes. The romance of summer love but also the romance of power and prestige and ambition. We had big dreams in those days, dreams we believed would bring us back to that city. But nothing played out exactly as we thought it would. It wasn’t just one thing but many little ones—decisions, closed doors, unexpected desires.

Had we visited DC again in our late twenties or early thirties, I’m afraid we would have found disappointment, regret even, in how our lives were progressing. Him in a busy law practice. Me caring for three children consumed with school and soccer. A very suburban life. A far cry from what we’d envisioned in those long ago dreams.

But with almost twenty-four years of marriage behind us, this trip revealed a contentment and a comfortableness I couldn’t have imagined that long ago summer of 1985—or if I did, I imagined it to be unromantic and dissatisfying. A failure somehow. Instead, my almost mid-forties self discovered great romance in the familiarity of the man beside me, in the shared experiences, both good and bad, and the discarded and re-formed dreams we’ve experienced together.

No, the dreams of our youth didn’t come true—at least not in the way we imagined them then. Instead, the Lord gave us something different, something that turned out to be better. And I’m so thankful He did.



I love that because the Holy Spirit is my teacher, I can open the Word of God to a very familiar passage and suddenly see it in a new light. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, I’m always amazed. And it happened the other day.

What passage is more familiar to us than the creation story found in Genesis 1? But as I returned to the beginning of the story again, I saw it with fresh spiritual eyes.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness covered the face of the deep.” (Gen 1:1-2)

It suddenly struck me to wonder why God created the earth at first “without form, and void” and with darkness covering it. I mean God could have created it whole, all at once. But He didn’t. He created it first as something without form. Empty. Dark. He added to it day after day, bringing order and light and life into that which was characterized as without form and void and dark.

Then a thought occurred to me: perhaps Genesis 1 is both an account of the creation of the heavens and the earth and a picture for us of how God works in our lives. After all, much Scripture has both a literal and a spiritual meaning. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that we are new creations. If so, shouldn’t we understand how God approaches creation? According to Genesis, He didn’t accomplish it in a moment, though He could have. Instead, He worked over a period of time, building on what He’d done the day before. Why would His creation of our spiritual man be any different?

From the moment I received His grace, He has brought order and light and life to my new man, adding to what has come before. One day my image will mirror His. I will be like Him, for I will see Him as He is. (Corinthians again, this time 1 Corinthians 13:12.) Then He will rest from His creation of me. And I will glory in His presence forever.

Do you see God working in your life in such a manner?


Thank You, Dr. Onuf!

Long ago, in my college days at SMU, my history professor advisor for my senior thesis asked my next step in the field. Where did I see myself after graduation? Grad school? I shyly revealed to him my ultimate goal in the field of history: to write historical fiction. To my amazement, he didn’t laugh or sneer. Instead, he gave me a piece of advice I’ve held onto all these years. He said, steep yourself in a time period and then write from what you know of it.

I’ve now written two novels for publication set in the years just prior to and including World War I, but I still don’t feel “steeped” in the time period. So I’ve been reading more. The problem is, information is hard to find. The 1910s to 1920 is proving elusive. Oh, there are a few books here and there on the political climate, especially the reason for and situations leading up to WWI, or the military issues of WWI, but other than that, not much. I did recently happen across a few books in a used bookstore, but most of the information on women, their roles and their mindsets, comes from the radical side—and not all women fit into that category. But remembering back to my years as a history major, I remain undaunted in my search. I’m trying to read between the lines, trying to track down documentation of women’s lives in their own words. I want to create characters that are not just believable but also historically accurate. And honestly, as frustrating as it has been, I love every minute of it!

So I want to say thank you to Dr. Peter Onuf. His advice continues to echo in my head as I research a time period from which to create stories.


Saving Money Takes Time

I used to be a great money-saver. I clipped coupons. I studied the sale flyers. I went to this store and that store getting the best deals on the things I needed. Now don’t misunderstand. I was never an extreme couponer. It was just that in my role as a stay at home mom, I knew part of my job was to stretch our money as far as it could possibly go. It made me feel as if I were contributing to the economic health of our family when I would save $20 on a trip to the grocery store. 

Lately most of my money saving habits fallen by the wayside. Not because I don’t want or need to save money. After all, come August I’ll have two kids in college! But all of those money-saving techniques require something I don’t have right now.


Yes, saving money takes time, and my obligations now have crowded out those other habits. Oh, I still watch the flyers, but I have less time to sort through and organize my coupons. Or to make trips to multiple stores. I prefer to shop in bulk, for even the time it takes to buy what we need is at a premium. Yet even in this I see the hand of God. Ultimately, I must trust Him as my provider while being a good steward of both the time and the money He’s given me. And what better reminder than a pile of unsorted, mostly expired coupons! Suddenly I find myself talking with the Lord more frequently about my shopping than before. And in spite of the change, I’ve managed to stay within the bounds of my budget. Funny how that happens!

What area of your life is the Lord showing you He can control better than you can? What have you recently surrendered? What are you having trouble surrendering?


Learning to Juggle

I remember when my little sister learned to juggle. I can’t remember if the instructions came from a video or a book, but I remember that she started with one ball, practicing catching it with both the left and right hand. Then she added a second ball. When she got proficient with those, she added the third. Suddenly, she was juggling!

This process of becoming a published writer is kind of like learning to juggle. I’d been very comfortable with handling work on one novel. Over the past few months, I’ve become used to thinking of two projects: the marketing of Wings of a Dream and the writing of the book to be named later. But today I turned in that 2nd book, which means after a short break to catch my breath, I throw that third ball in the air—researching and brainstorming new story ideas, while I wait for the infamous editorial letter on book two.

The good news is that I feel ready to add that next ball to my routine. Hopefully I’ve learned enough in the past year that I can toss it in the air and keep on going. But if not, I’m so thankful that there is grace all around—from my God, my family, my friends and my editor—to take a deep breath, gather my projects, and start juggling again.

If you are a writer, where are you in the “juggling writing projects” process? Are you doing novels and short stories? Books and magazine articles? More than one book at a time?

If you aren’t a writer, what are you learning to juggle at the moment? Where are you in that one, two, and three ball process?


Les Mis the Musical

How many times have I seen/listened to the musical Les Miserable? I can’t even count. And yet when my husband and I stumbled on the 25th anniversary concert version last night on TV, we watched with rapt attention, as if it were the first time.

Why is that? I think it equal combinations of story and character and music. Story, because the themes of redemption and grace are so powerfully illustrated. Character, because Valjean, Javert, Fantine, Eponine are complicated people with feelings and actions with which we can relate. And music because it adds an extra emotional element that makes the story even more unforgettable. I’ve read the book—abridged and unabridged—but it’s the musical version I go back to over and over again.

What about you? Have you experienced Les Mis on stage or on CD? Read the book (either version)? Or are you one of the uninitiated to this amazing story of grace and love?


A Sunday Psalm

Turn to me and have mercy on me,
as You always do to those who love Your name.
Direct my footsteps according to Your Word;
let no sin rule over me.
    --Psalm 119:132-133


Busy as a Bee

Sorry I've been neglectful of late. I'm busy working to get my second novel turned in. I promise I'll be back here next week!