Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Intruder Alert!

Bright morning sunlight streamed through our living room window. I ran the vacuum over the carpet, preoccupied with today's to-do list.
Do the drapes need cleaning? I wondered. I glanced toward them and froze.
A dark haired man crouched in the bushes directly beneath the first-floor picture window. I left the vacuum running and flattened myself against the closest wall.
Earlier that morning our local police department had reported an upswing in the number of daytime break-ins in our area.

Calm down Jeanie, I told myself, It's probably the electric company guy coming to read the meter.
I crept back to the window for another look.
Definitely not the electric guy.
I hid in the drapes and peeked again.

The man was still there, motionless. Worse, I noticed another person in the same crouched position, wearing a white head covering. They both faced the street.
                     I can't believe burglars are here.
                           In the suburbs.
                                In my bushes.
I slithered from the safety of the drapes, and slunk along the wall toward the phone to call 911.
The people outside hadn't moved. They held utterly still, facing away from me.
I looked closer. There was something familiar about the pair.
                A dark haired man. A woman with a white veil.
Sheepishly I turned off the vacuum and set the phone down.

I'd almost called in an intruder alert on the plastic figures from our nativity scene.
The nearly life-sized Joseph and Mary were bowing, focused on plastic baby Jesus.

As my heart slowed its frenzied conga beat, a thought struck me:

Will I make Jesus my focal point this Christmas, or put him on "intruder alert" status?

Will this holiday season be so filled with my to-do lists that I neglect faith, family, and friends?
"Sorry, I don't have time to spend with you; I'm too busy doing things for you."
What's on our to-do lists this season? Shopping, baking, parties? I love it all!

But are we so caught up in Christmas busyness that we neglect the reason for it all?            

The reason for Christmas is this:

"For the Son of Man (Jesus) came to seek and to save the lost." Luke 19:10.

Who's lost? All of us without Jesus.

Instead of putting him on intruder alert, we can invite him in.
It's simple.

"Jesus, please forgive my sins, and be my Savior."

If we do that, we'll get the most amazing gift ever-a new life!
And as for our to-do lists? Let's put those on "intruder alert" status.

Photos courtesy of chanpipat at
and imagerymajestic at

Sunday, November 3, 2013

How Could You Betray Me Like That?

You betrayed me.
I took care of you.
I treated you well.
I gave you shelter.
I poured time and effort and money into you. This is how you repay me?
You quit on me without any warning.

It shouldn't end this way.
I feet totally betrayed...and I'm just talking about my car dying.

I took care of it.
I drove it gently.
I parked it in the garage.
I shucked out money for regular maintenance.
My repayment for all that care? The engine gave out.

I picture Dorothy, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow chanting at the engine, "Rapping and tapping and knocks. Oh my!"

Most of us, at some point, have been sideswiped by betrayal.
We skip down the yellow brick road of life and hit a barricade-

  • A cheating spouse.
  • An ungrateful child.
  • A thieving co-worker.
  • A disloyal friend.
  • An absentee parent.

The pain of betrayal is gut-wrenching.
It leaves us shaken and reeling, our trust shattered.
After all, we cared for the person.
We treated them well.
We gave them shelter.
We poured time and effort and resources into their life. We're repaid with a knife in the back, a kick in the rear, a slap in the face.

Ever been there?

Jesus has. He had thousands of followers--and I'm not talking Twitter. Of his 12 closest friends, one, Judas, sold him out for 30 silver pieces.
A knife in the back, a kick in the rear, a betrayal kiss on the cheek, worse than a slap.

Jesus knows EXACTLY how we feel because he endured it himself.

"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." 2 Corinthians 1:4  


It's true. He's comforted me more times than I can count. And he'll do it for you. His arms are open right now, waiting for you. Run to him.
You're not alone. God cares for you, and so do I. Contact me if you want prayer. I'll pass along God's comfort.

Soon Dorothy and her pals will have a new refrain. "Healing and comfort and help. Oh my!"

Images courtesy of  marin @
and Khunaspix @

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mess or Masterpiece?

Do you ever open your 'fridge to look for something delicious, even though you already know there's nothing tasty inside?

I'm guilty of that. As if opening the refrigerator enough times will cause a cheesecake or roast chicken to magically appear.
"Wow Honey, when I looked in the fridge 10 minutes ago there was only a pile of wilted veggies, a hunk of leftover roast, and a cup of spaghetti sauce in there. But now it's like Baskin-Robbins. Whoo hoo!"

As my family can tell you, I'm not a great cook. I have one redeeming kitchen skill: I'm the Queen of Dinner Scraps. I can turn a leftover mess into a masterpiece.
So today after looking in my fridge for the 3rd (OK-48th) time, I pulled out the limp veggies, beef chunk, and cup of Prego. I put all those sorry scraps in a pot, added water and pasta, and boiled it. Those leftovers transformed from a mess to a masterpiece.

At dinner I offered my husband the "Hearty Italian Beef Soup." He devoured it like a lion attacking a wildebeest.

Victory! A new culinary masterpiece is created!

Are you dealing with a mess? Divorce? Problems at work? Bullying at school? Loneliness?

Do YOU feel like a mess?
God wants to help.

He loves us so much that He gave his Son so we could be new creations. That's what those "John 3:16" signs at ballgames are about.

If you're fed up with mess, ask Jesus into your life. He's the one who can turn even the worst situations around.

It's simple. The bible says "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9 NIV

Your prayer can be this simple:
Jesus, please forgive my sins, and be my savior.

You go from mess to masterpiece in the blink of an eye.
God transforms you, and even gives you a great new name. He calls you His.
Victory! A new eternal masterpiece is created-you!

Photo courtesty of Apolonia @

Friday, October 11, 2013

Calgon, take me away!

Years ago a TV commercial showed a frantic woman scrambling to simultaneously deal with a ringing phone, screaming children, barking dog, and a delivery person at her door.    

Finally in desperation she throws her hands up and cries, "Calgon, take me away!" Immediately she's luxuriating in her bathroom tub, discreetly covered in bubbles from the neck down.

Evidently behind the scenes in Happy Commercial Land the dog stops barking to answer the phone, the delivery person baby-sits the children, and Betty Crocker and the Keebler Elves have dinner under control.

How about you? Do you feel overwhelmed? Could you use a Calgon moment? I'm pretty sure the Fed-Ex man and Marie Callender won't show up to help any time soon, but there's some good news.

There's a God who love you. He wants to help you.
Here's what He says:

           "And call for help when you’re in trouble—
               I’ll help you, and you’ll honor me.” Psalm 50:15 The Message

So the next time life buries you in a multi-tasking avalanche, don't crumble under it. Call to God for help. He's available 24/7.
Betty Crocker and the Keebler Elves are already busy in my kitchen.

Photo courtesy of stockimages @

Thursday, September 26, 2013

You matter.

You've probably seen the Miss America running gag in movies or TV.  A cheesy host asks the contestant, "If you could have one wish, what would it be?" The young woman simpers and answers in a sugary voice, "World peace."         
I'm not bashing Miss America. I cheer for those young women...even with my cellulite showing, and my triceps flapping. The contestants are intelligent, talented, and beautiful.

What about when we don't feel intelligent, or talented, or beautiful? Or worthwhile? Or loved?
Hold onto your Kraft American singles because this may sound as cheesy as the mock Miss America host.
If I could have one wish, I'd want everyone, young and old, to know this: You are special. You are loved. You matter.
Since the Miss America Fairy won't be swooping by to grant my wish, I'll remind you, starting now.

You matter so much that God says to you, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!" Jeremiah 31:3 The Message.
May that truth bring peace to your world.

Photo of Mitzi Strother, Miss Florida 1941 from

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Enter the (Virtual) Dragon...

I belong to an amazing writer's group-Wordsowers.
At last Thursday's meeting Angela D. Meyer, author of Where Hope Starts, was our guest speaker. She handed out this homework assignment:

What will I do in the next month to start growing my platform?

What's a platform?
Platform shoes? I'll do a retro walk in those babies.
A treehouse platform? Fire up my power tools and I can build it.
A Social media platform? (Gulp.)
Evidently I'll need to create a blog, a website, get a domain name, a twitter account, an author's Facebook page....
I'm guessing these things are child's play for you. For me, it's a challenge.
My biggest problem? Staying focused.
I start researching one area, but follow innumerable links in to the depths of the cyber-forest until, like Little Red Riding Hood, I've strayed from the path. 
I hope you'll join me in this attempt to survive the Big Bad Blogging Wolf.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles @