Monday, November 13, 2017
I'm excited to share the cover of the first book of my new children's series, Hooray for Holidays. As we approach the Christmas season, Book 1 will be available for pre-order soon.
Start the new year off reading about Quasimodo's new hairy, scary friend—a cat and a tarantula. And, finish the year celebrating with a lost Quechua boy and a llama on Christmas Day during a rainstorm in a mountain cave. My new children's storybook series, Hooray for Holidays Book 1 releases January 2018. Look for pre-order details soon.The complete series includes three stories per book with a total of four books. They will be released quarterly in 2018.
The heart-warming holiday stories with adorable animal antics, history tidbits, and Bible principles plus beautiful artwork will delight children and stretch their imagination. And, adults will recall historical facts forgotten from their grade school days.
Each page incorporates real-life animals and critters in and around our ministry base, Rumi Rancho, as the main characters. While learning history and Bible principles, children will giggle at the humorous and whimsical animals and critters that will find a place in their hearts forever.
This little guy is in every illustrations, but he's hiding. Kids will love searching for him throughout the series. Why is he blue? You'll have to wait to read his story.
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Monday, August 21, 2017
In the early mornings, I sit down with God and rock a while––with a puppy on my lap. A puppy at our age? What were we thinking? It was inevitable that we'd eventually decide to get another dog one day because one of our Goldens had recently gone over the Rainbow Bridge and his brother would join him sooner than later––he had cancer.
But, we didn't plan on coming home with a puppy the day we went to buy Jake a sweater because he'd lost all his hair from chemo treatments. It was winter in Bolivia, and Jake shivered in the mornings. So off we went to the marketplace on a sunny, brisk morning to find him a sweater.
My warning to my husband that morning ––"Don't look at the dogs for sale." I should have warned myself! There she was, a Shih Tzu. Our Shih Tzu, Kelsey had been gone six years. She celebrated her 18th birthday and a day later went over the Rainbow Bridge. Never again another little dog turned into right now, this little dog. And so we brought her home to Jake. He loved her, and Zoey perked him up for a few weeks. But, then the dreaded day came for him to go over the Rainbow Bridge to join his brother, Max. We all cried, even Zoey.
But this morning, I have a puppy on my lap. Zoey joined our family at just the right time. I'm thankful I didn't listen to my own advice--"Don't look at the dogs." And, as I sat rocking with Zoey this morning, (she sits on my lap while I read my Bible in the early mornings) I read this in my devotions:
Luke 10:38 - 42 says, " As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed––or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
So here I sit, with a puppy on my lap. Every morning, Zoey chooses to sit on my lap and rock for a while just to be near me. Maybe she knows I won't be sitting much the rest of the day. Dogs are smart, you know. When I finish my reading, she goes about her day playing, napping, and going outside for the necessities of life. But first, she chooses to be with me. Yes, she chooses what's best before other things––not that the other things are wrong, but the best is first.
Isn't that what Mary did? She chose to let the unimportant things go for the most important thing--time at Jesus' feet. Maybe Martha, like us, was overwrought because of going overboard with preparations, unimportant things. Yes, food was necessary but maybe not a six-course meal, maybe a light lunch instead so she could sit at Jesus' feet along with Mary. Maybe her sister tried to tell Martha she was too caught up in the little things to see what was important. But Martha couldn't see it––the most important thing, Jesus.
It's about our choices not our schedules or to-do lists. Seek ye first the kingdom and all these things will be added unto you. We try to add the things and then seek the kingdom. Let's heed Jesus words and seek Him first. Maybe our priorities will change and what we thought to be important will become dim in the light of His face. We can learn from a puppy and first rock with Jesus and then make the right choices daily, so we aren't frazzled in our work like Martha.
Puppies know the better! Come rock with the Master in the mornings.
Today's promise: Jesus will not take away from you what is better for you! Luke 10:42
Today's (puppy) lesson: Let's not be distracted like Martha and settle for good when God wants to give us the better! Let's choose the better as Mary did.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Have you experienced an undeniable God moment? For me, one such moment came in a phone call. The proof of this call is visible upon entering my living room because there she stands—a cow. You can’t miss her. She claims her corner spot––ten years and counting. At every glance her way, she reminds me of God’s incredible love. Proof of His love—a cow in my living room. Her story is recounted to curious visitors frequently. How did she end up at my house? Love––God’s love.
I first saw the likes of her at a friend’s home and immediately fell in love with her. So, I set out to find a cow just like her to travel to Bolivia with me. We’ve carried many things back to Bolivia after furlough––but a cow?
My quest began in my hometown area in the beautiful mountains of western Pennsylvania where ski resorts welcome visitors from near and far. Little specialty shops lure visitors with their crafts and homemade delicacies. The aroma of freshly baked cinnamon rolls seeps into the rows of novelties as you walk the stores’ aisles. That’s where I found her standing in a corner. Just one problem stood in the way of the purchase—her price. Her delicate material and hand stitching by a local lady explained the exuberate price. No, my cow doesn’t have bristly hair and a cold rubbery nose or give milk. Her soft material invites caressing, and her button nose—literally a button nose––is pure cuteness. She’s a vacuum cover.
I walked away after checking the price tag––$70. My prayer, “Well Lord, if you want me to have a cow, I will.” I started down the stairs to the main level of the store––glancing back a few times wondering if I could sew her myself.
At the bottom of the steps, my phone rang. It was my friend, Alice. She only spoke a few words, “You have your cow; don’t bother looking for one.”
Stunned, I glanced at my husband. With tears dripping, I mumbled, “I have a cow!”
God loves me that much to care about a vacuum cover––my wondrous cow. He provides our needs and our wants. He loves us all that much.
“To him alone who does great wonders, His love endures forever” (Psalm 136:4 NIV).
My cow testifies to His love and great wonders for me.
Friday, June 23, 2017
This morning while still in my jammies, I snuggled in my comfy chair to enjoy my cozy reading nook with my Bible in hand and opened. As though from the heavens, I heard this loud and clear. “What do you want?"
I could almost feel the vibration of God’s voice speaking to me through His Word. Reading in John Chapter 1, I wondered why Jesus turned around and asked this question to the two disciples who followed behind Him, "What do you want?" Don't you wonder, too?
A few years ago (when I had no fear of walking my neighborhood in the dark) I walked outside to check on things before bed. The quietness eased my soul as I enjoyed stars twinkling overhead as if they danced to music. The wind rustled the bushes, and nearby barking dogs aroused my curiosity. Unafraid of the darkness, I opened our gate and checked around. Looking back, I wonder what I was thinking. If there had been a danger I would have found myself smack in it–– unprotected and alone.
Nevertheless, I walked the road and found relief that nothing seemed out of the ordinary. At the time, no streetlights illuminated the road and neighbors were few and far between. Bolivia seemed to be untouched by things going on around the world like theft and murder. Times changed. The internet arrived, and yes, TV programs from outside this ancient Quechua culture flooded young minds. In our neck of the woods, outside the city lights and noise, we’d seldom seen or heard of these dangers. Those days are gone.
But, that night, one thing robbed my peace and safety––the wind. While on the road, a rushing wind blew our gate shut with a bang. We had no doorbell because kids rang it then promptly ran away––usually at 1 am. Doorbells were a novelty (and still rare) in this remote village and hard to resist. We didn’t hesitate to disconnect the modern menace.
Alone, unafraid but frustrated, I jumped with a kangaroo spring to my feet and screamed for help at the top of my voice until hoarse. Why I don’t know. My husband had long been asleep upstairs, and even if he’d been awake, he would not have heard my voice from afar. So what to do? Our wall was too high to scale. And, to enter from the back of the property was out of the question. We only had barbed wire around the property, but I’d have to climb a path of bushes and thorns and who knows what animals or creatures lurked in the dark. So I decided to walk the dirt road to our classrooms and attempt entry from there.
The darkness hugged me, and the brisk air chilled my bones. Garbed with only my PJs, I walked the lonely road. Suddenly, I became aware of footsteps behind me. Who walked behind me? What did they want? A moonless night left no clue to the one who followed me.
Out of the darkness came a voice, “Dona Margarita, what are you doing out here in the cold and dark all alone?” Relief, a familiar voice. Hernan, a teen boy who attended our classes, shined his flashlight. He walked to his home up the mountain each night after special classes at the school near us. We approached our classrooms, and his robust voice awoke our ministry helpers who lived near our classrooms. They opened the gate, and I basked in the safety and comfort of home.
At first, I’d thought about shouting to the follower behind me, “What do you want?” But, I hesitated. Jesus didn’t hesitate to ask His followers what they wanted. We shouldn't hesitate to tell Him what we want. That dark and cold night, I asked God for an open door and thanked Him for how it opened.
Two disciples were following Jesus when he turned and asked the question. “Turning around, Jesus saw them and asked, “What do you want?” (John 1:38 NIV).
Two disciples were following Jesus when he turned and asked the question. “Turning around, Jesus saw them and asked, “What do you want?” (John 1:38 NIV).
Have you thought about what you want from Jesus today? How about making a list of those things? We can be honest with Him and tell Him what’s on our hearts. He wants us to talk to Him.
Maybe Jesus asked the question of His followers because He wanted to know if they were following out of curiosity, personal gain, or purposes other than His purpose. Yes, He already knew, but did they know? Are we following Him for our purpose to advance our cause and or to accomplish His purpose and cause?
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Do you ever wish for more time in the day? God can do that––He did do it. The Bible says so. "The sun stood stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies" (Joshua 10:13 NIV). God still does miracles today--maybe the sun won't stand still, but we can find more time. He can do a miracle in our life without the sun standing still. He can shine through us, so others see God's miracles in us. How?
Realize--What is our spirituality?
It is God in us–-serving each other and the world. How many miracles have we missed because we don't believe and trust the Lord? Worse yet, we don't always realize the miracles God performs for us because we aren't aware of God in every aspect of our life. Joshua believed God to defeat the enemy. He realized God existed. He believed. We can start the day defeated before hitting the floor––hurried, frustrated, and miserable before the day starts because we don't first recognize Who brought us through the night and Who gives us another day to live. Or, we can thank God for another day, pray for our day, and give Him first place in our first thoughts and daily life. What if we just say good morning to God and realize He wants to be a part of our day from beginning to end?
Reflect––Who do we reflect?
So many verses talk about God's face shining on us. The Psalmist asked God to teach him His decrees. "Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your decrees" (Psalm 119:135 NIV). He wanted to be close to God and learn about Him and His ways. When we spend time in the Word, we learn of God's teachings––His decrees. But, applying those teachings changes our life. It's then we reflect His shining face and others see Christ in us. When I apply moisturizer in the morning, my face shines. But as the day progresses, it looses its shine––applying more brings back the shine. If we keep reading and applying God's Word, our lives shine continuously. It's then we reflect and shine The Light in this dark world.
Rest––He can do the rest! Rest assured!
We have a free will to seek God or not. He doesn't force us to love Him and serve Him. But, He will do the rest if we trust Him and obey His Word. Yes, He will give us rest and peace, and He will carry our burdens, and He will give us all we need to serve Him and accomplish His will. We'll find the time we need when our priorities match His. He promises us not just life but abundant life. So rest assured, He keeps His promises. Apply God's moisturizer all day (His Word) and let Him shine!
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Don't you love a Spring shower? Refreshing. Relaxing. Rejuvenating. But, what happens when it doesn't stop raining. Flooding. Only one kind of flooding refreshes, relaxes, and rejuvenates––the reign of God flooding our heart. How do we know He reigns in our heart?
1. When He reigns in our heart, His praise flows from our lips.
The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad:" (Psalm 97:1 NIV). Our great God overflows from his creation. How are you doing at telling about God's greatness? We can see His greatness through his creation. We are His creation. If He reigns in us, He flows through us. Not only do we experience refreshment, but others also feel refreshed by our testimony––what we say about Him. Everyone should praise God's great and awesome name because it symbolizes His persona and His nature. Our best witnessing happens when our hearts overflow with appreciation for what He has done. God has chosen us to declare his marvelous works.
2. When He reigns in our heart, we want to evangelize the whole world.
"...let the distant shores rejoice" (NIV 97:1b). How will His Word spread to distant shores so others too can rejoice in His presence?" Only if God's ambassadors take His Word to those distant shores will they know of Him and rejoice with us.
3. When God reigns in our heart, we worship Him and respect His name. We give Him praise by both our words and our life.
"The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake" (Psalm 99:1 NIV). God's holiness is frightening for sinners but a wonderful comfort for believers. God can not tolerate sin. But for believers, God's holiness gives comfort. And, because we worship him, we are lifted from the mire of sin. When we believe in Him, we are made holy.
Have you seen these three examples flowing from your heart, soul, and lips?
You will if you let Him reign!