Monday, December 31, 2012

Lake Superior State University 2012 List of Banished Words

Here it is...

The 2012 list of banished words from Lake Superior State University. And this is the ultimate guide people. Ready, set, go!
  1. Amazing - Received the most nominations. LSSU was surprised at the number of nominations this year for "amazing" and surprised to find that it hadn't been included on the list in the past. Many nominators mentioned over-use on television when they sent their entries, mentioning "reality" TV, Martha Stewart and Anderson Cooper. It seemed to bother people everywhere, as nominations were sent from around the US and Canada and some from overseas, including Israel, England and Scotland. A Facebook page – "Overuse of the Word Amazing" – threatened to change its title to "Occupy LSSU" if  'amazing' escaped banishment this year
  2. Baby Bump - Although nominated by many over the years, this phrase came in as a close second to "amazing" this year.
  3. Shared Sacrifice - Usually used by a politician who wants other people to share in the sacrifice so he/she doesn't have to.
  4. Occupy - Occupy Wall Street grew to become Occupy insert name of your city here all over the country. It should be banished because of the media overuse and now people use it all the time, i.e. "I guess we will occupy your office and have the meeting there." "We are headed to Grandma's house – Occupy Thanksgiving is under way."
  5. Blowback - Sometimes exchanged with "pushback" to mean resistance.
  6. Man Cave - Overused by television home design and home buying shows, has trickled down to sitcoms, commercials, and now has to be endured during interactions with real estate people, neighbors and co-workers.
  7. The New Normal - The phrase is often used to justify bad trends in society and to convince people that they are powerless to slow or to reverse those trends. This serves to reduce participation in the political process and to foster cynicism about the ability of government to improve people's lives. Sometimes the phrase is applied to the erosion of civil liberties. More often, it is used to describe the sorry state of the U.S. economy. Often hosts on TV news channels use the phrase shortly before introducing some self-help guru who gives glib advice to the unemployed and other people having financial difficulties.
  8. Pet Parent - Can a human being truly be a parent to a different species? Do pet 'owners' not love their pets as much pet 'parents' do? Are we equating pet ownership with slave holding? This cloyingly correct term is capable of raising my blood sugar. Lynn Ouellette, Buffalo, New York
  9. Win The Future - A political phrase worn wherever you look – to the left (President Obama) or the right (Newt Gingrich).
  10. Trickeration - A made-up word used by football analysts to describe a trick play. Sounds unintelligent. Perhaps they've had a few too many concussions in the football world to notice. Carrie Hansen, Grayling, Michigan
  11. Ginormous - This combination of gigantic and enormous makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck every time I hear it. Each utterance reminds me of the high school drop-out that first used this offensive word in my presence. Gina Bua, Vancouver, Washington
  12. Thank you in Advance - Usually followed by "for your cooperation," this is a condescending and challenging way to say, "Since I already thanked you, you have to do this." Mike Cloran, Cincinnati, Ohio

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Friday, December 21, 2012

A Heart for Christmas

Bird Lady: The man I loved fell out of love with me. That broke my heart. When the chance to be loved came along again, I ran away from it. I stopped trusting people.

Kevin McCallister: No offense, but that seems like sort of a dumb thing to do.

Bird Lady: I was afraid of getting my heart broken again. Sometimes you can trust a person, and then, when things are down, they forget about you.

Kevin McCallister: Maybe they're just too busy. Maybe they don't forget about you, but they forget to remember you. People don't mean to forget. My grandfather says if my head wasn't screwed on, I'd leave it on the school bus.

Bird Lady: I'm just afraid if I do trust someone, I'll get my heart broken.

Kevin McCallister: I understand. I had a nice pair of Rollerblades. I was afraid to wreck them, so I kept them in a box. Do you know what happened? I outgrew them. I never wore them outside. Only in my room a few times.

Bird Lady: A person's heart and feelings are very different than skates.

Kevin McCallister: They're kind of the same thing. If you won't use your heart, who cares if it gets broken? If you just keep it to yourself, maybe it'll be like my Rollerblades. When you do decide to try it, it won't be any good. You should take a chance. Got nothing to lose.

Bird Lady: Little truth in there somewhere.

Kevin McCallister: I think so. Your heart might still be broken, but it isn't gone. If it was gone, you wouldn't be so nice.

Bird Lady: Thank you. Do you know it's been a couple of years since I've talked to anybody?

Kevin McCallister: That's okay. You're good at it. You're not boring. You don't mumble or spit. You should do it more often. Just wear an outfit with no pigeon poop on it.

Bird Lady: I have been working very hard at keeping people away. I always think I'll have a lot of fun if I'm alone... but when I'm alone, it's not fun.

Kevin McCallister: I don't care how much people bug me, I'd rather be with someone than alone.

Bird Lady: So what are you doing alone on Christmas Eve? You did something wrong?

Kevin McCallister: A lot of things.

Bird Lady: Did you know that a good deed erases a bad deed?

Kevin McCallister: It's late. I don't know if I'll have enough time to do enough good deeds to erase all my bad ones.

Bird Lady: It's Christmas Eve. Good deeds count extra tonight. Think of an important thing you can do for others, and go do it. Just follow the star in your heart.

Kevin McCallister: Okay... It's getting pretty late. I'd better get going. If I don't see you, I hope everything turns out okay.

Bird Lady: Thank you.

Kevin McCallister: Tell the birds I said goodbye.

Bird Lady: I will.

Kevin McCallister: If you need somebody to trust, it can be me. I won't forget to remember you.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

O Come Let Us Adore Him

"Brad didn't put Christmas lights up this year?" my husband, John, asked with a tone of disbelief.

"I don't think he did." I continued stirring the saucy mixture in a potful of chicken asada. Snippy thoughts at the absurdity of Christmas relished one less house garnished with blinking, twinkling, electrified lights.

I don't like Christmas. And I don't partake in the hoopla of frenzied shopping, family quarrels, and excessive food consumption. What a Scrooge I am!

Actually, in 1645, when Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England, they vowed to rid England of decadence and, as part of their effort, cancelled Christmas. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. []

Don't hate me and I won't ever chastise anyone for the Christmas merrymaking. But consider what we are to adore most about the season.

Think of all the symbols associated with Christmas. One look at Santa and a universal recognition associates the logo with this holiday.

John 1:1 declares:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (NIV1984) 
'Word' in the Greek represents Logos. It's similar to our word for logo. When you see the Pepsi Cola logo, you immediately envision not just soda, but the variety of Pepsi products along with processing centers all over the world and actually, your mind will recall every aspect of Pepsi--maybe even the fact Pepsi Cola originated in the small town of New Bern, North Carolina. You think of that logo as the totality of its corporation.

In the beginning was the totality of God ... and John 1 verses 4-5a says:
In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness.
God is the totality of life and this life is the light for everyone.

You can step back, admire your lights, decorations, beautifully set dinner table, or delight in serving  holiday meals to the homeless, but in order to celebrate Christmas the right way, the light and life illuminating this holiday must reflect the totality of God.

After all, it's his birthday.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

He Said, She Said...


I absolutely hate lying. I do not lie. It causes my toes to wiggle at the thought of it. And I detest those that lie or lets say, bend, manipulate, or combine information to suit their agenda.

So let it be said--let it be known...

(T represents: true fact--not defamation)

WinePress Publishing has done much to malign my name. (T) That is their business. I really just want them to stop selling my book, which according to my lawyer, they no longer hold the right to sell. (T) And as a wise woman said, "Why do they sell your book if they have referred to you as sick, twisted, an enemy of Jesus, a liar, a conspirator, (T) and all the other stuff they claim?" But their campaign also included hours of well crafted and lengthy missives of "he said, she said" and I don't know a single Christian publisher in the entire world who would engage such ferocious and time consuming efforts to destroy people--mainly Athena Dean and I. Who are not partners... (T)

In one recent accusation of causing a death threat on an employee, two of the members went to the Enumclaw police station with a printout of an email and picture this employee was sent. He claimed he was scared and considered it a death threat. (T) I spoke to the police officer handling this claim. He informed me these WinePress employees never mentioned my name.

Yet, they have created these many sites and print editions (T) stating I caused this email to be sent. The picture included with the email would make it appear I was behind the entire fiasco.

Here is WinePress's recent Crimeline entry: (T)

Below is a group of versions of this same picture, widely used on the Internet as a spoof:

WinePress also stated that: (T)

I attended Write-to-Publish in May 2012 as an instructor. I verified with the person who runs it that I had nothing to do with their decisions about WinePress publishing, which I knew because I never even contacted them. Wow, more provable lies by WinePress publishing. (T)

So who do we trust now?

He said, she said ... 

Why post this garbage? Everyone advises me not to. 

Because I'm tired of being trashed and slandered by a "Christian" publisher.


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Monday, October 29, 2012

All You Need is Love

I love Facebook.

It's so cool to be hooked up to people all over the world: cousins in Italy, sisters in Florida, like-minded writers, people suffering through health ailments as myself, organ donor families, and so many more. I receive blessings when people share goodness, struggles, sadness, loss, and stories of encouragement.

Last week I saw a post from a family on the East Coast about their little boy, Christopher. I believe he is five years old and can't go trick or treating due to illness and exposure to germs. Here is the picture and post:

"Someone likes his costume ... had it on 'till bedtime last night and put it on first thing this morning.

Any of you who live close that want to put snacks aside for him, please let me know. We can't do door to door trick or treating because of exposure risk, but he is still excited about Halloween. And thanks ahead of time for taking that extra step and thinking of our 'lil man. xoxo"

That post got me. I messaged his mom and asked if I could send a treat in the mail. She gave me her address and said they were limiting his sugar. But he liked salty snacks.

This is Christopher's story:

Christopher was born in April 2008 with non-compacted cardiomyopathy, a very rare condition where the heart muscle remains sponge-like after birth and causes the heart to be very weak. Christopher's cardiomyopathy affects his right and left ventricles where it is very hard for his heart to pump and function correctly. They said the only option we had to medically intervene, was a heart transplant. At that time, we opted against with only the very best quality of life in mind for him. We also didn't have guarantees he would survive if we attempted to transplant.
Christopher was not given very long to live. Six months at the most. But we believed that the doctors could tell us what they knew from books, but our Mighty God is the Great Healer and could fully heal his heart either way. We placed him at the Lords feet and asked Him to give us strength for whatever was His will. We knew he would be okay, but we would need some help. At 45 days old, he was admitted into hospice care where he remained for 15 months. But Milestone after milestone passed.
In February 2010, it was discovered that Barth Syndrome (BTHS) is the cause of Christopher's cardiomyopathy. Barth syndrome is a rare, sex-linked genetic disorder of lipid metabolism that affects males. Christopher has home-bound speech therapy three times a week and is currently doing very well, all things considering!

With this diagnosis is affirmation to never lose sight of the trust we must have in our Father in Heaven. We still depend on miracles every day. God is in control, and He doesn't do half miracles and our trust in Him has never failed us.

Christopher received his surprise in the mail today. A package went from my home in Washington State to this small boy in Mississippi. I don't know this family. I never met Christopher. But by the pictures his mom tagged me in on Facebook, I know he received the love I sent today.

I feel selfishly blessed.

When you go out of your comfort zone, schedule, or whatever zone and do something kind for another person, you have showed love. Not a card that will be thrown away, a phone call that won't offer a physical hug, a cyberspace message of prayer and thoughts, or even a check that can pay bills, but not fill someone's heart with love can be substituted for real, intentional compassion and caring.

Do an act of kindness a least once a week or whenever you can. A tangible act of kindness can be of little financial value that delivers true love to the recipient. Do this for people you don't know at all or hardly know. Do this for a friend or family member you may not really like.

Just do it.

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

New York State of Mind

Some folks like to get away,
Take a holiday from the neighborhood.
Hop a flight to Miami Beach or to Hollywood.
But I'm takin' a Greyhound on the Hudson River line.
I'm in a New York state of mind.
I've seen all the movie stars in their fancy cars and their limousines.
Been high in the Rockies under the evergreens.
I know what I'm needin', and I don't want to waste more time.
I'm in a New York state of mind. ~Billy Joel, New York State of Mind

New Yorker's get a bum rap. We mean what we say. We like to speak our mind. You never have to worry what we're thinking--we'll let you know. Brainstorming is talking about ten subjects at once with a group of people. But we always know exactly what each other said.

We believe in freedom and are the most NON judgmental people there are. We won't tell you what to do or how to live or what to think. But get in a line at the deli and wonder what to order and we'll help you figure it out.

We like to hash things out; sometimes with raised voices and by waving our hands wildly. Once everyone has said their view, we walk away without hard feelings. We like to debate and let everyone have their own opinion.

We love life. Fighting for a good thing means winning is the only acceptable outcome. That means we sweat and work until all resources are extinguished. If you need help--we're there. We will stand up and die for people we don't even know.

New Yorker's live among every nationality in the world in New York City. But no one notices.

We drink coffee out of paper cups printed with a blue and white Greek pattern, stand by our pizza, love the smell of a charred pretzel on a chilly day in the city, live for our bakeries, die for our country, and can shake the dust off our feet and start all over again.

There's a lot for Christians to learn from a true New York native.

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Friday, September 28, 2012



I just started a comment thread on my Facebook page about cell phones and public places. How every time someone is using their phone, critical looks, sneers, jeers, and big ears, will listen, judge, pick on, or demoralize the use of a smart phone in public. Take a look at the thread if you're on Facebook:

MMA Fighters. Look familiar?
You'd think I'd let the captives free! We are all, yes, us humans, so quick to pick on each other. In a previous post, "Freedom is For Real," I whined about freedom of electronic speech. We're turning our technology into an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) round with the bloodiest participant loosing.

When we take opinion, scripture, doctrine, and personal beliefs and use them to rip at people's hearts, we break all the rules Jesus taught us. Actually one--Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

I'm writing a book titled, The Christians Guide to Terminology. It's a spoof with the truth added to each chapter. I go through the alphabet, A-Z, and come up with one Christianeese word for each letter. Here's an example:

For "A," I use our "Accept the Lord" phrase. Do you realize what that means to someone who has never been exposed to Christianeese? On the right side of the page spread is the Webster's phonetic spelling for  ac·cept [ak-sept] the Lord [lawrd] ... and a real Christian summary of the concept. Of course, the opposite page has a cartoon:
Mimi has answered the door. She's in her house dress and curlers. The mailman needs her signature on a box he's delivering. On the box, in large letters is the name LORD. Mimi is signing the form. She's accepting the Lord. [tehetehetehe]
I'd like to get this book written and publish it as a cute, but informative look at Christianeese.

But it makes me think of our isolating language, cruel judgments, condemning attitudes, and mean spirits.

I quote Anne Rice, one of America's most read and celebrated authors; "No particular church really owns God."

Stop the madness, drop the obsolete Christianeese, leave revenge and vengeance in the garbage bin, and let people live. Amen.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

2012 The Sky is Falling

Back in May, my husband, John, brought me this tiny egg. He was mowing the lawn and found it before sucking it up into the lawn mower.

His callous hands held the little treasure. "it must have fallen from the nest," he said as he handed me the fragile object.

I took it and held it up to the light from the window. It revealed soft hues of white and yellow. But no dark silhouette from a fledgling bird.

"They tossed the egg from the nest because it's not fertile," I told John. He returned to mowing and I laid the delicate egg on a towel.

It's still there in my kitchen as September 2012 ushers us to the end of the year. It's been an overwhelming year for me. I don't want it to end. I don't feel like I got everything done. I feel robbed of things I hoped for. And the little egg makes me think of the unfulfilled dreams gone by.

December 2012 is supposed to be the end-- again, of our world. It's merely superstition and an epic fail with a calendar. I'm not worried about the sky falling in December. I am concerned about my dreams falling infertile like the small egg.

But with the unfathomable trials I suffered in 2012, I still believe God is always directing me. One day my dreams and desires will hatch.

What dreams are you waiting for? Do you hold infertile expectations in your hand?

Lay them down and wait.

3 In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.

Psalm 5:3, NIV1984

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jesus Loves Me This I Know


I know, no one appreciates when a shopper is on their cell phone. In fact, cell phone users, urrr, like all of us, get harassed for using their phone in public. Isn't that what a cell phone is for?

So yesterday when my cell phone rang in the grocery store and I didn't recognize the number, I wasn't going to answer.

Hmmm, looks like it could be a speaking event contact. So I answered the call.

"Hello there, Cindy." The man's voice was older sounding. "This is the man you met in the doc's office last week. You know, the kidney transplant office. I wanted to sing you a song I wrote, but you were in a hurry."

I was mad at myself for answering. Another wanna be was calling me to ask me to help them. No one ever calls just to cheer me up or encourage me. And the day I met this man, I was certainly not in the mood to listen to his song or anything else he wanted to say. I was having one of those very bad days.

"Can I sing you my song now?"

I hesitated. His voice was gentle. That very moment I was distraught over personal problems, health scares, new medical diagnosis, and felt like I was abandoned and alone.

"Okay, sure. I'm walking around the grocery store. Go ahead and sing." I figured I'd be listening, not talking so it was perfect. Though I hoped he wouldn't go on forever and make me have to be rude. After all, I was in a bad mood.

Jay began to sing. The song was simple--words and verses that reminded me of "Jesus Loves Me This I Know." He sang about how good Jesus was to him and how Jesus saved his life. The whole song took a minute or so.

"Jay, that was so beautiful. I'm shopping and in a terrible way emotionally and spiritually, and you called me at the perfect time. You know, God used your song to remind me of his care and love for me."

"I'm glad," he said. "I've lived a rough life and did drugs and drank. I lost my kidney and had to clean up or I'd die. So I did. But more than that, I met Jesus and now I'm a new man with a new kidney. And I got married four years ago to a great woman. Do you wanna hear another song?"

"Yes," I answered. I really did.

Jay sang me another song just as sweet and simple as the other. But the words were all testimonies to the love of Jesus.

God sent me a phone call from Jay to speak directly to me. To me.

Jay and God weren't asking for anything.

Call someone today simply to ask them how they are. Talk to them. Bring them coffee. Sing them a song from your heart.

Even if your in the grocery store.

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Freedom is For Real!

The 60's were a classic era. Our rigid culture, unable to contain the demands for individual freedom, caused many to break free of social constraints through extreme deviation from the norm. And this is why I believe our country has now entered a backwards time warp, returning us to the 60's with all kinds of threats and restrictions on free speech.

Electronics has only changed the venue.

With terrorists and other evil people making use of the ability to share electronically, we cannot punish those in this country who exercise the free will we cherish and our people and troops fight for.
Recently, I received documents accusing me of many various and absurd acts of insanity. They included content taken from my Facebook page and my blog. It took a lot of time and energy to compile such a collection, but the information was false, construed, and actually--stupid.

Freedom is to live without repercussion from public forum whether it is printed newspaper or electronic media. And we have the right to freedom in the United States.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rahab's Courage

"To see the uncanny similarities between behaviors of sex offenders and behaviors of the Sound Doctrine cult leadership is disturbing, to say the least." Disturbing, Athena Dean,
I experienced some of these descriptions first hand; but not to the extent of those actually abused. I was close enough to connect the characteristics and now see the signs as the truth is being presented by people deeply entrenched in this situation.

But time goes on. People forget. Life continues and business is normal.

I'm still appalled at the events and will risk anything to help those effected. Whatever God commissions me to do in aid of his people, I will do—without fear or hesitation. I hang the scarlet rope in my window. Too many choose to look the other way. Christians don't want to touch this.

Then there is Rahab:
But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.  — Joshua 6:24 NIV1984
Why such an association with this harlot? This is the woman who became the mother of Boaz. She is the lineage of Christ. Yet she was a branded woman.
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. —1 Corinthians 1:26-29 NIV1984
Before this, Paul speaks of the foolish who proclaim their intelligence and wisdom. They sit on high, but he promises they won't remain on their cliffs forever.

And I hear his promise in Obadiah 1:3-4:
The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord.  
Anytime, anyone believes they are above reproach or rebuttal, even by one of lowly standing, they have left the lap of our big God and father.

Hearts who fail at the truth will regret the day when Rahab and her family are outside the crumbling city, and they stand in awe of God's hand and her courage.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Bomb's" Away!

Because Jesus knew what they were thinking, he replied, “Every kingdom involved in civil war becomes a wasteland. Every city or house torn apart by divisions will collapse." (Matthew 12:25 CEB)
I'm walking in the Jetway to the plane.

I'm flustered at the security checkpoint's confiscating my Mary Kay makeup. It was more than 3 oz. and I had too many little tubes. Is there a numerical limit?

The guy behind me is giggling at me shoving things back into my backpack.

Laughter builds up in my frustration. I giggle myself.

"You'd think I was harboring a bomb in my tube of cover-up"

Everyone stopped cold, faces and eyes frozen like the old "deer-in-the-headlight" cliche.

"Don't say that. What's wrong with you? Shhhhhh..." The man behind me urged my silence.

After the long, awkward pause, we continued the shuffle toward the small doorway into our waiting plane. I remained silent, still chuckling to myself inside.

What a shame. A Mary Kay makeup comment and using the word "bomb" can stop a line of people and cause terror in their faces.

If only people could live in peace--not fighting, quarreling, killing, hating, judging, cursing, and mistrusting. Only God knows true peace and he wants us to have it.

But walls of religion create fissures to life.

Take down the walls. Love all peoples like God does. Forgive and rebuild. That's what a Christian should do. That's how a Christian should live.

How do you perceive others? What bombs of division do you launch?

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

What I got to do to make you love me?
What I got to do to make you care?
What do I do when lightning strikes me?
And I wake to find that you're not there?

What I got to do to make you want me?
What I got to do to be heard?
What do I say when it's all over?
Sorry seems to be the hardest word.

It's sad, so sad It's a sad, sad situation.
And it's getting more and more absurd.
It's sad, so sad Why can't we talk it over?
Oh it seems to me That sorry seems to be the hardest word. (Elton John)

I'm really feeling sick tonight. I'm sorry about what I've learned. I'm sorry for the pain I see people going through.

Here are some emails I've exchanged with a family member who has a brother in Sound Doctrine Church in Enumclaw, WA. (I'm not posting the link for this group. You can look it up. I don't want to send anyone to their site.)

R: "Hello Cindy, it was so nice to hear you talked to my brother. It's been 7 years since he left and we miss him soooo much you have no idea! I was wondering, do you still keep in touch with him? I write an email him once every week but I'm not sure if he gets it. I never hear back. Please let me know if you know anything. Thank you soooo much!!!!"

Me: "The last time I saw L was in August when I stayed at the house there in Enumclaw. I made a big Italian dinner one night with lasagna and homemade bread, cheesecake… I knew L would love it. But he could only say a quick thank you and when we sat in the living room to talk, he got excited about back east, Italian stuff, I spoke some Italian, bagels, pizza… All of a sudden, Malcolm, the man in charge who was just arrested on alleged charges for child rape, gave him a dirty look and L had to leave to go home.

They tried to convert me and said I had to learn to be like L. That when L first went out there he talked much like me and was loud. Now he’s submissive, controlled, and quiet.

To me, he’s a broken man with a broken spirit.

I'm sorry you never get to hear from him."

R: "Thank you so much for writing back. We are so depressed and want L back home. (New Jersey) For the first time I've been writing him for 7 years, the email finally came back. They must of deleted his account. I want to call him so bad but I'm so scared. I wish there was a way I could kidnap him. Before something happens to my parents, and they pass away, I want him home. My mom cries every single day without him, and with me being a mom now I know if one of my kids left and never called me I would be devastated. Please keep in touch with me if you hear anything. Thank you sooo much for writing back. Thank you. R"

This communication between me and a sister of a member of Sound Doctrine Church makes me so sick inside. A big loving, caring Italian family in New Jersey cannot be in touch with their brother and son because of the mandates of this organization.

They're not the only ones. I read another dialogue on my friend's Facebook page tonight. The same scenario--a grandma and her grand-kids she can't see or talk to. It's been years. Here are a few of her requests:

"It would go a long way for me to hear that you care about the hurt my family has gone through and it would also help me to hear even a tidbit about my grandchildren over the last ten years--what do they like to do, what is their favorite food, what would they like but can't have, what are their personalities like. Did you ever hug them? Are they being treating kindly? Anything you can share would help me as I continue to seek peace and forgiveness for everyone involved in keeping me from them.

To be able to talk to someone who was close to my grandsons is more than I could hope for, so forgive me if I seem intent on only my hurt and sorrow. I just can't get enough information. I have been starved for too long and you could never tell me too much or too little, no matter how trivial it may seem to you.

For them to remember me I am sure is asking too much of two little toddlers who played on the floor with their MoMo, but I have kept a few of the toys in case I ever see them to see if they can remember our fun times.

Are they being abused mentally or physically? I guess I just need to hear what they are going through and how they handle it.

Thank you for caring and I look forward to any information you may feel led to share--the good and the bad"

What supposed church would ever want to separate spouses, children, families, or anyone from their loved ones? I'm tired of this group wielding scripture around and making each verse is a weapon of destruction. The outcome? Hurt, shame, fear, isolation, and heartache.

Can anything good come out of this? I hope so. God, please help all the hurt people and free the ones who want to be free. Protect the children. Amen.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Ban on CoBan

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8 KJV)

The 3M website states, "For more than 40 years, 3M™ Coban™ Brand Self-Adherent Wraps have been making life easier for patients and health care providers for a variety of applications, from securing dressings to immobilizing sprains."

And I love my lime green Coban.

Each time I get poked or cut, I tend to be a bleeder. Lot's of meds make my blood thin. I like the security of Coban so I know I won't walk down the hallways with red blood dripping down my sleeve.

Last week, I had my regular, monthly, sometimes weekly, labs done and when I stretched out my arm to be wrapped with Coban, the tech told me they didn't have any.

"No Coban? Is the budget that bad? I'll start bringing my own."

"No," she answered glumly, "We're not allowed to have Coban anymore. A tech made it too tight on a patient's arm and it cut off their circulation." I watched her place two Band aids on my arm and press on them firmly.

Lawsuits, threats, liable, defamation, blaming, cheating, lying--what else do we contend with? Why do so many people find it rewarding to do the he-said-she-said-my-uncle's-a-lawyer game? What happened to caring for humanity?

And worse, why do so many Christians engage in the same practices as the rest of the world?

I've been dealing with the very issues lately. And as small as the Coban ban is, it reminds me of the state we have placed ourselves in. When Christians join in on the blame game--we all lose.

So ban the Coban if you must, but ban the blame game too.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Chair

You gave them your good Spirit to teach them to live wisely. You never stinted with your manna, gave them plenty of water to drink. You supported them forty years in that desert; they had everything they needed; Their clothes didn't wear out and their feet never blistered. (Nehemiah 9:20-21 MSG)

It was a while back. In the summer. My favorite thrift shop called out to me as I turned the corner, heading for the gas station.

I had to see what was new.

After lingering, inspecting and touching, I asked the owner if they had any folding chairs. My office was crowded, but I had a work table and needed one more chair to place in front of it for packaging up mail, cutting things, and writing notes.

I wanted just one. Had to be sturdy. Had to be beige.

"We have one set in the back, but don't split them up. Most people come in for a set of at least four." The middle aged man popped his baseball cap off and rubbed his eyes with a calloused hand. Not the look of a hand that simply stocks a thrift shop with donated items.

We chatted a bit and casual conversation led to my heart transplant miracle story--as usual. But he looked at me with searching thoughts and wanted to know more. His story and his current struggle began when he developed diabetes and could no longer work in construction. Money flowed easy when he had jobs. Now he and his wife ran this thrift shop as their sole income. They want to make a living, but help the community in doing so.

We discussed health issues and the multitude of problems that follow from insurance to healthy eating being expensive. I saw his weariness.

"You know, God always takes care of whatever it is I think I need. And often, he does a better job. So remember that when all this comes flying at you." I wanted to encourage him, but not dismiss his worries. He has children to feed and bills to pay.

The next day, I got a call from the owner. He found a single chair for me. While at the warehouse early in the morning, searching for fodder to sell, he spotted a lone chair in the back as he was leaving. It sat by the employee entrance, the beige color of it's metal frame contrasted against the dark warehouse walls.

"Is that chair for sale?" he asked the manager.

"What chair?" The manager turned to look. "Now where did that come from? I leave the door open for a minute and people start dropping off their junk." He walked to the back.

The thrift store owner offered $5.00 to rid the manager of the chair.

When I walked in the thrift shop that afternoon, the chair sat by the front counter waiting for me. It was beige, sturdy, had a soft cushioned seat, and not a blemish. And he only wanted the $5.00 for it.

"I knew God would provide a chair for me. He can provide much or little. He can help you and your family too." We exchanged satisfied smiles.

I visit that thrift shop often. I love the owners--hard working, sincere, honest and caring.

And I love my chair.

Thrifty Living
326 S Pines Rd
Spokane Valley, WA 99206
(509) 315-5617

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Scan Me!

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:34-36 NIV)
So I went through security twice for this past two week book tour. Once when I left Spokane, WA, (home) and the other when I left Charlotte, NC to travel back home. I did something I'd never thought I would--went through the full body scanner. And I was thrilled to do so!

"Oh, I'm so excited. I get to go through the full body scan. Oh, which line has it?" I jumped back and forth after properly loading my shoes, jacket, laptop, and backpack into gray bins. The TSA employee stared at me with a perturbed look. I think she expected trouble, but wasn't sure what kind.

I was instructed to raise my arms and stand within the designated area between two rounded walls, ready to scan my outside and innards. The whirring began and I smiled big. Like I was having a family portrait done. How embarrassing. But I wasn't embarassed.

For years I traveled with all kinds of medical equipment in my carry on or hooked up to me. The full body scan was a no-no and could kill me. Once, after getting a bit too close to one in an airport security entrance, I suffered shock at home due to a malfunction with my machinery. I came too close to dying. From then on, I went as far as to enter into yelling matches and be escorted to a security area for interrogation, all to avoid those killer machines. TSA security, airline pilots and stewards, and security, all exhibited ignorant and contempulous attitudes when I tried to explain their security measures could kill me.

I'm just a special case, was my secret reply to their disdain.

Since my pancreas transplant on May 12, 2012, I am free. No more medical equipment hooked up to my body. No more carry on filled with machinery. I can go through a full body scan safely. The only thing I carry is a bag with containers for the 38 pills I take each day and surgical masks to protect me from germs. I travel with a backback only. It makes me feel young and healthy; alive and blessed.

What machinery of stress, sadness, pain, sorrow, or tragedy is holding you down? You don't need a transplant to be free. You need simply to believe Jesus is your liberator.

Go ahead, walk through the scanner! You are free indeed!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Un-Girdling Life

     A beautiful tree in my yard suffered when I left a rope tied to its trunk. Years of illness leave many things undone, and gardening was one of them.
     The tree continued to grow around the rope until it was so embedded, it caused girdling, a condition where the entire trunk is cut off from nutrients and water needed from the roots. It's a circular interruption in the bark and most important top layers of the tree's trunk.
     The only way to save the tree was to cut into the trunk and remove the rope. I used a small knife to do this and found black mold and disease around the entire area. The instructions I found for repairing the trunk involved cutting away at the area to smooth the edges and then cutting an oval shape within a few inches of the wound. It seems like a lot of cutting when all I wanted to do was minimize the damage and slap some gooey salve on.
     Although it seems soothing, the salve is not good for any tree and can deter healing. The cutting--well that's what will instigate the tree to heal itself from within. But the area below where the rope strangled the trunk was much thinner than above. The tree looked like a good wind would surely break the weakest spot. Still, I damaged and scraped.
     This spring, I noticed the trunk still looks awful, but the black area is almost gone, and the trunk took the long winter dormancy and grew out from where I so painfully cut away. It's almost the same thickness all around and has promising buds ready to burst. Even the last ferocious wind storm we had didn't sway it from remaining upright.
     Un-girdle your life. Although we hate pain and trials, they will heal us from the inside out.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. ~Romans 5:3-5 NIV

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

No Storms, No Trials, No Vigor

     I lived in Arizona when Biosphere 2 was being built. The project was meant to simulate life on another planet, such as Mars, to determine if it were possible. The Biosphere 2 project is nestled along the desert hills of Oracle, Arizona. It opened its door to four men and four women in September of 1991. The wealthy Texan who funded the project was said to be a bit eccentric, and some thought he may have wanted to see if Biosphere 2 could provide a self-sustaining environment. Whether he thought it would be great for planetary travel and habitation or was seeking a remedy for possible world degradation, the project failed, and in 2007, the University of Arizona bought and rescued the property. Public tours are conducted there, and portions of the facility are still used for education.
     There is a small detail about the Biosphere that is particularly interesting. Several habitats were established, and they contained foliage designed to replicate their origins. A problem developed with the trees in each setting: they succumbed to etiolation (a sickly state that drains the trees of vigor and coloring) and weakness caused by lack of stress wood. Stress wood is a tree’s stronger fibers that normally are created in response to wind and storms in natural conditions. 
     No storms, no trials, no vigor. 
After that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish,
strengthen, settle you. —1 Peter 5:10 KJV 
A prayer from Charles H. Spurgeon:
May your faith be no “baseless fabric of a vision,” but may it be
builded of material able to endure that awful fire which shall consume
the wood, hay, and stubble of the hypocrite. May you be rooted and
grounded in love. May your convictions be deep, your love real, your
desires earnest. May your whole life be so settled and established that
all the blasts of hell and all the storms of earth shall never be able
to remove you. 

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday, Monday


Yup, Monday, Monday... are ya singing yet? I posted those two words on Facebook last week and had a round going with the lyrics and some Facebook friends. Funny how silly things can stir people's responses. Interesting how things of the spirit, things of the deepest part of our souls, can go untouched. We have deep waters to tread, and often, no one wants to stir whats below the surface.

This morning, in a frenzy of  scheduling and working, I stopped to smile and be happy about my life. What can anyone, anything, any thought, any offence from the past, or any failure today, possibly do to stop me from living, loving, and knowing who I am.

What are you thinking of right now? Have you twiddled on Facebook or tweeted jokes? Packed your schedule and then when you have time to sit, find your fidgety? Do you avoid looking under the surface and instead choose to keep busy so you can tread water?

The deep parts of our workings are the best parts of who we are. Instead of shying away from dark areas we want to avoid, we do better to scoop up all that we are and march forward.

Tuesday, Tuesday...

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Home Alone?

January 1, 2012

After the difficult year I've had in 2011, it seems like I'm never alone. Never "home alone" or able to be completely alone for a period of time. Cleaning needs to be done, TV shows blare, the phone rings, the doorbell rings, someone needs something or can't find something, mail is piled on the counter, and I can't find a place of stillness. So today, I went out to my backyard and pruned my fruit trees. It was quiet--a cold January day when no one wants to be outside doing yard work.

I setup my fruit tree ladder and began the task. Three apple, two plum, and a cherry tree stood helpless from my shears. But pruning tends to be painful for me too. All those promising branches cut and trimmed to strengthen the tree. I watched as branches dropped to the ground below. I knew it was a good way for my trees to start the new growing season come spring.

And while I stood balanced on top of my 12 foot fruit tree ladder, soft, unusually warm January air brought a gentle breeze and I looked around my neighborhood. I could see all the yards asleep for winter; covered patio furniture and locked sheds shut down for the season. But my eyes focused on the mountain behind the rooftops--Mica Peak. At the bottom was a lake. I hadn't been there in a long time. Especially alone.

Have you ever asked someone you love to join you? "Let's you and me go somewhere. Just the two of us alone."

But if you're with someone, you're not really alone. When was the last time you were completely alone? Just you. And have you ever said, "I need to be alone with God?" What is it to be alone with God?

But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works. (Psalm 73:28 KJV)

Alone with God is to draw near to him and trust him. I thought of 2012. This new year will be challenging for myself and many other people. One of the best ways to draw near to God is to be totally alone with him--you and God only. I want to be alone with him; quiet before him.

This week, I'm going to that lake, parking my car, and will hike along the trail for hours so I can listen to God. Him and me and his creation. I want to hear him and what his will is for me in 2012.

Find a place where you can really be alone with God and spend some time with him. Not home alone ... just you and God, alone, somewhere.

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