Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas/Chanukah Beauty

I'm celebrating the artistry of God; how magical is His creation.  Today as I was walking a hiking trail I found a long patch of wild lavender and the aroma swept me away.  I wanted to lie down in it (the bees may not have apreciated that. haha)  Lavender not only has the sweet purple blooms, but the delicious calming aroma.  Just breathing in the lavender was like taking a journey into a place of sweet peace.  Then as I walked further I found wild fennel and wild rosemary.  I plucked a couple sprigs of rosemary and leaves of fennel and hiked carrying them under my nose breathing in their pungent freshness like someone intoxicated.  Even the scrub and the cactii seemed to glow in the shards of light between the barren branches of trees surrounding the trail.  I like hiking hills because I like the workout, but the real thrill is the splay of sun on my face, the perfumes of the wild, the sound of birds, wind and silence-- and the solitude with God.  The trail is my sanctuary. 

But then I could say wherever I am is my sanctuary-- the writing studio, the easel, the car, the gym, wherever, because where we are, God is, right?  Right.  How blessed we are to be able to tap into His wonders and experience His creation.

Of course, we're all stunned it's already the Christmas season, and you should see the decorations and lights on the homes around here.  Lighted reindeer with bobbing heads, giant blow-up snow men, forests of lighted plastic Christmas trees, santas on roofs, lights dripping from every eave and window ledge; singing mailboxes, oh it's a wonder.  Me, I usually get into the spirit with a wreath on the door, pointsettas on the steps, but it always seems the Christmas season happens when I'm in the middle of a writing deadline or else in the throes of school finals, and it takes me a while to get into the mode.  I love Jesus 365 days a year, and celebrate the glory and beauty of His birth 365 days a year, but Christmas involves a ton more  responsibilities and work, doesn't it?  I look forward to the day when December shows up on the calendar and I don't have a thing to do all month except prepare for, and enjoy Christmas (in another lifetime, right?).
Have you ever found yourself still shopping on Christmas Eve?  And then, don't forget Chanukah, December 1-9.  We light the first candles on Day One.  This is such a wonderful holy time, so much less stressful, and so beautiful.  We sing, we play the dreidel, we give gelt to the children (so they learn how give) and we dance-- and we EAT.  Oi vay, we eat very oily food, and also dairy food. 

I'd love to hear how you handle this season; I mean the stress of it.  Do you recognize Chanukah?  Ae you ready for Santa?  How is Jesus (Yeshua) treating you?  I'm sending you sweet peace and love--

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Alone with God

   The Lord is doing a new thing and He wants His children in on it.  I am in a set-apart place, away from the mainstream, separate from the loudness of the world and its busy-ness.  It's a place of quiet and work.  I'm writing my new book, alone with God and my work-- but I'm not without trials.  Constant interruptions, problems surround me left and right, yet I feel in the midst of all storms I can create my own private sancutary and retreat.  We don't always need the bucolic bliss of solitude beside a mountain stream, or a month at the seashore-- we can create our own retreat in the midst of the storm, like the cleft of the rock.  I think I'd like to name my writing studio "Cleft of the Rock."  I've been calling it my Upper Room, but it's more than that.  My Upper Room has congealed to the size of a pocket cleft, yet by the Spirit of God, embraces the entire world. 
   I can do nothing without Him.  The truth is, I don't want to do anything without Him.  How foolsih would that be?  I'm accustomed to separating myself from the world and locking myself away with the Lord Jesus alone-- this is nothing new-- yet, somehow this time set apart from the world around me, it feels fresh and new, like it's the first time I ever fasted and prayed.  I miss the woods and the hills and the sunrises and sunsets, but up here in my attic studio, I am with Him, alone with Him, and that's better than anything.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I've been travelling this past weekend-- and I've seen enough of airplanes and airports to last me at least two weeks (when I travel again)--  I have been working off-and-on at a collection of travel stories and one of them deals with the way people eat when away from home.  Have you ever noticed the truck loads of junk food in airports and the hoards of people gobbling it up?  I wonder if we don't just lose our minds when we're between two points.  It's somewhat the same when when we're on vacation.  (not that I'm EVER on vacation!  I'm not sure what that means--)  But I've noticed when I'm in a town speaking or when tourists come to our town, anything goes in the food department.  "Pass the junk, I'm temporarily insane,"  seems to be the credo.  I can usually tell the locals because they're the ones eating salads and no dessert.  The tourists are packing away the deep fried fish and mud pie. 
I had long airport delays and lay-overs this trip, and when I realized I had to eat something I found myself in that vacant-head mode and ordered food I simply NEVER eat.  (I'm a sort of a quasi-health food guru-- you know, the carrot-carrying party-poop with celery in her ears and everything organic and whole grain?--)  So there I am in the Travers City airport with three hours to kill and I'm eating cherry pie.  (The last time I ate cherry pie was probably when I was four.)  I had to run to  find a mirror to see if I was the same person.   I had a sudden craving for french fries and I noticed everyone around me was wolfing in unhealthy, greasy, sugary, gluey food too-- faces empty, eyes stuck to screens of past football games on the many TV monitors.  I tell you, travel is not just about getting from here to there, it's about maintaining a sense of self and purpose.  I said no to the french fries, bought a bottle of water (a 10cent bottle of water is $3.49 in airports-- don't get bitter)  and found a seat in the boarding area to work on my book.
The book I'm currently working on is a true story-- heart-wrenching and shocking.  I'll tell you all about it as soon as I'm nearing its completion.  Please pray for me-- send up a "Help her, Jesus" as I plug away on it.
Here's sending you love and health and good choices--

Monday, September 27, 2010

     Who is a heroine?  As much as I'm impressed with Joan of Arc if I had a choice I'd probably choose to hang out with Mother Teresa.   And if you had a choice of who to live next door to-- Queen Esther,  Mother Angelica or Joyce Meyer, who do you think you'd run over to borrow a cup of sugar from?  Which one would answer the door, or invite you in for a cup of tea?  And if  you had a choice of who to sit next to on an airplane, would it be Amy Semple McPherson, Kathryn Kuhlman or Wendy Alec?  Which one would share her chips with you, engage in a conversation, ask about your family?  And if you had a serious problem you needed help with, which Bible character would you like to sit down with you?--  Miriam, the sister of Moses;  Sarah, the wife of Abraham; Mary Magdelene, or Priscilla?   Who do think could be a true gal pal or your best friend?--  Deborah, Elizabeth, Heidi Baker, Sarah Palin?
     I think of the famous women of faith who have made their mark in history and I wonder how many of them would want to know me.  When you name your favorite Bible heroine, do you think she'd want to  be your friend?  We admire them, but do you think she would admire us?  Is our favorite Bible heroine the kind of woman who would care about our lives as much as her own?
     How about our contemporaries?  I have the privilege of knowing and spending time with some of our most well-known female leaders, and there certain qualities they each share.  One: they're busy.  (It's a given.  Famous people are busy.)  Two:  they're vitally concerned with their own ministry and calling.  Three:  they're anointed with favor.  I could add a fourth quality because I've observed those who are the most genuine and pure-hearted in their life and work are blessed with a godly wisdom that is really wonderful. and refreshing.  I love being around people who are kind, caring and also wise.
     I'm truly thankful to know great women of faith who are not world famous, but who are huge influences in my life.  My personal Bible favorites like Deborah and Ruth, brave women, are treasured in my heart, but the true heroines in my life are my friends, the ones who pray for me, love me and actually care about me, my life, my family, my calling.  These are the ones I appreciate, want to honor and celebrate the most. 
     Being on the stage performing in plays and musicals is a wonderful career, but when the curtain comes down there needs to be a true friend waiting in the wings to walk home with.  When I was in the theatre I found that friend in the Lord Jesus, my true hero.  In every woman whom I consider a heroine I will always see His face, hear His heartbeat, and rejoice in the beauty of His presence.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Yom Kippur 2010

Happy New Year to us all!  There's a wonderful Jewish song that talks about things being better next year, which is kind of the DNA of Jewish thinking.  Things will always be better, God willing.  Oi.  Have some apple dipped in honey for a sweet New Year.  This is my favorite time of year because I absolutely love Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  To me it all speaks of what Jesus (Yeshua) did on the cross for us.  Late tonight I danced away in the kitchen to the beautiful, exhuberant Hebrew songs and my kids watched somewhat amazed (disinterested is more like it) -- but with my Jewish blood I can't help myself.  I love the Israeli dancing, love it, love it.  When I dance in the circle with other dancers it's like personifying the wind.  Jesus (Yeshua) is the Lord of Dance-- I imagine He must have loved to dance. I know He danced because all Jews all over the world at least dance the Hora.
Kol Nidre, which is sung on Yom Kippur, asks God to forgive us of the sins we may commit in the coming year. We bless one another with the words, Leshanah tovah tikateiv veteichateim, "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."   We toss from us the sins and shortcomings of the past year and start the new year with a clean slate.  The service of Tashlich has us off to the ocean, sea, lake or  river to recite the Tashlich prayers and symbolically cast our sins into the water, in evocation of the verse, "And You shall cast their sins into the depths of the sea."  This takes some serious honesty with onesself and the walk in holiness before the Lord.  To me the active practice of ridding ourselves of past defeats, sins, failures is quite beautiful.  In my former practice as a psychotherapist I would have certain patients physically engage in the act of writing out their faiures, sins, shameful deeds guilt-producing acts, thoughts -- on pieces of paper and then tossing them  into a fire ( I didn't have a lake or river in the office) -- and together with therapy and the Holy Spirit, miracles happened in these dear people's lives.  (We tend to remember experiences that we take an active part in.)
Placed under the blood of Jesus, the One who is our atonement, makes these ancient Jewish High Holy days rich and freeing-- makes forgiveness so incredibly beautiful.  I know that as followers of Jesus we are under Grace now -- and I know "religion" puts us under a sort of bondage-- but we would do good to look at the beauty of these High Holy Days, and indeed all the feasts and festivals, and feel their deep spiritual embrace.  
So what has Yom Kippur have to do with a life in the theatre, you may wonder.  My answer to that question? --Everything.  Yeshua, our Atonement, releases us to be all that we can be in Him on this earth.  You and I were destined for freedom, saved by His Grace-- no longer forced to carry the weight of the world on our backs.   Wow.  Leshanah tovah .  Happy New Year.  May you be inscribed and sealed for a truly good year.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Welcome Home

Welcome home. 
I knew I was home and okay with the Lord when I saw the fresh expansiveness of one Ethel Barrett.  She showed me I wasn't weird or outrageous even though I could sing and dance and act. God was okay with who I was!  I had tried hard to be what I thought the Lord preferred-- a girl in a high-buttoned shirt with head bowed, hopefully with some talent at the piano.  I took piano lessons, but after months of practicing six hours a day it became clear I'd never lead worship anwhere.  I wrote, of course; I always written poems and stories -- I wrote for magazines and Christian newspapers, I wrote children's church curriculum, I wrote a line of gift cards, I wrote radio and television scripts, but I never thought of myself as a writer -- that is, until my first book was published:  City Pslams (Moody Press),  a book of poetry that the Chicago News named Poetry Book of the Year.  I'd been writing poetry since I could remember-- and now here I was, published and recognized.  This was shocking.  I bought a pair of glasses to look more intellecutal and poet-y, and staggered around dizzy as a clock.  The glasses actually made me nauseous.
I put away my tap shoes and my toe shoes and pulled out the (gasp) typewriter!  (Yes, typewriter.  One of my young writing students asked me the other day if I knew how one of those things worked.  I laughed, shrugged-- how could this boy understand that I had actually composed two full-length 300-page books on a typewriter?)   You may not believe this, but our book & tape order department in my ministry offfice uses a typewriter to type labels.  The orders we send out go with love, let me tell you.
'Til next time--
 Dancing IN the stars--

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Every day brings new surprises. I remember when I was in Bible college there was a woman named Ethel Barrett who recorded children’s stories, and since my ministry was focused on children, writing for children, performing for children, leading junior churches, child evangelism, etc., I listened to her tell Bible stories more than most kids. I loved Ethel Barrett and learned much from her. She said something in an interview that I have never forgotten. She said if she had one piece of advice to give it would be to find the adventure in every day. Well! Adventure! Every day! (That’s fine for you to say, Ethel, but the rest of us--) She said she looked for a surprise in every day. (So typical for a children’s story teller, right?) But because I was a good student, and because I loved children, and because I loved Ethel Barrett, I decided to show the Lord how much I loved Him by taking her advice.

It worked. I can’t think of a day in my life that hasn’t brought at least one surprise. I call them blessings, I call them adventures. I call them “interesting.” I’ve even managed a way to find depression interesting. (I write about it—I tell the story of Jonah—I dramatize – I mope around like Job wearing big sleeves—I think about scrounging up money for a taxi to the bridge—I re-consider and imagine a life tucked under the covers until Jesus comes.)  There’s a million ways to find depression amusing. – Have I told you I’m prone to depression? I mean, the clinical kind?

Okay.  Back to Ethel Barrett. She’s in her 80’s now, and her influence is still as strong as ever. She can never know how she inspired me. She was like my little beacon of hope in a male-dominated, grey, colorless world. She was feisty and smart and she wore colorful clothes and she loved God. I was coming from a lifetime in the theatre and suddenly I was implanted in a conservative Bible school where sin lurked behind every bush— Sin? They told me, a leotard-toting ballerina, that a skirt above the knee was sin. Goodness. I was accustomed to men in tights! I was born in a locker room with naked bodies rushing about looking for their revealing costumes. I played Irma in Irma La Duce. I was Lola in Damn Yankees! Okay, okay, I was now a born-again Christian and I was living to serve God and Him only, so be it. Off with the tap shoes and the toe shoes and on with the bonnet and the bow. I loved God. I was serious.

But then! Then! As I lavished my affection upon the children of Chicago and the Midwest, creating puppet shows and theatres, dancing and singing as Deborah and Moses and Martha and Mary—there appeared one Ethel Barrett.

She came to our school and spoke and in her presence I became electrified. My hair must have shot out from my head like florescent cactus fronds. I’m sure my skin turned bright neon. I was transfixed. My life was forever altered. God sent her just to me. Here before me stood a woman wearing RED and slapping our dean on the back with a “Hey, pal!” This was simply beyond my forced nun mentality. She laughed, she hooted, she guffawed – my God, there was hope for me.

She was the only woman on the platform with a gaggle of be-suited clergymen, and she was completely at home, holding her own, possessing the stage, enjoying herself and most of all, enjoying God—

And God said to me at that moment, “Welcome home.”

to be continued……

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sweet Summer

So much to love about summer.  Of course, you probably feel that about every season.  I do, too, yet I tend to love best the season I'm currently in.  It's like when people ask me which of my books are my favorite and I have to answer, that my favorite is the one I'm writing.  There's just something about summer, its silent heat, its sweet fruits-- the ting of the water as you dive in the pool or lake or ocean--   the choir of crickets at night...  I love it all.  Tank tops and shorts, sandals and suntan lotion, the world abloom, the smell of cut grass, my dog leaping with joy across the field when I toss his ball... Can we be so blessed?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July, a Big Smile Month

I always think of the month of July as a celebratory month, maybe because of the 4th and the flush of summer, I don't know. For so many years I spent my summers in summer school socking in the college and graduate school credits, and now I look around awed at the bright and happy bloom of a summer July without a backpack of homework, and no student papers to grade as a teacher.  It's amazing what the sweet aroma of grass, planting soil, cypress, rose and  lily become when pressure and stress aren't present.   I'm working on a new book and when the swath of deep green, eucalyptus, palm and pine smiles at me from my window I breathe  a quiet "thanks" to God for this sweet month sandwiched in between a misty June and a broiling August.   Swimming is probably my best sport and July creates ideal water temperatures for the swimmer.  I went diving (snorkeling) in the Mediterranean off the coast of Italy in July,  the sun delicious overhead, the water shimmering clear, the world beneath the surface of the sea a treasure of colorful creatures and rock formations.  The Minnesota lakes come alive in July and the California coast
brightens as though invited to a grand party, God's party.  It's God's July, a brilliant opportunity to thank Him, shout hallelujah and smile.  It's July. We've been through some hard times, but we're still here and we're smiling.

Monday, June 21, 2010

With or Without a Daddy

Father's Day is  a big day for us, would you believe it, being we have no fathers in our lives?  My father was tragically killed in a train accident a few years back, and I have wonderful memories of him, a hard and tough Sicilian who was adored by many, and dearly loved by my mom and us kids.  It's a huge loss in our lives.   Then came my own little personal tragedy with divorce, so my kids haven't had a grandpa or a dad to make cards for, or buy presents for on Fathers Day.  I raised them alone with no child support or alimony (child support? heavens, what's that?)  and miraculously, we've made it on our own. 
So now every Fathers Day my daughter sends me Fathers Day cards and I receive Fathers Day love and gifts.  It sounds funny, I know, and we have a good laugh over it, but thank the Lord, my children show me their appreciation and love in so many creative ways.  I could never be a daddy, of course, but I've tried to be the best mommy I could be.   So we celebrate Mothers Day AND Fathers Day in our family, with our Heavenly Father as our Divine Daddy. 
Here's a Happy Fathers Day to you dads out there every day of your lives.  Be a great dad.  Some of us never knew you.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Great Shaking

We had an earthquake here last night and it's the talk of the day today.  People get understandably quite shook up (little pun there) when earthquakes strike.  There was no serious damage done and no injuries reported, but an earthquake is a scary thing.  I've been in tornadoes, floods and storms at sea-- and now earthquakes.  We're always hearing about the Big One coming.  We receive regular warnings and advice on what to do when the Big One hits. 
Once I was in a flash flood in the mountains and I had to out-run it which was a pretty amazing contest.  Another time I was snorkeling in the Mediterranean Sea when a huge storm hit.  I had to outswim it to an underwater cave where I huddled and paddled until rescued.  But you can't outrun or outswim or outmaneuver an earthquake.  When the earth jolts and jerks beneath you, all you can do is run for cover.  And pray. 
But here's the thing:  we can't wait for the storm to hit before we pray.  Prayer warriors have been praying and interceding about the Big One for years.  I believe the oil spill in our Gulf will be contained not only because of the prayers going up now, but because those waters have been prayed over and blessed by believers for years.  God is faithful, and we must declare Psalms 91 over our homes, our land, our waters, and our air.  We need to release blessing and the glory of God into the atmosphere.  And we need to do it now!  Are you feeling the same urgency as I am? 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Great Awakening

     I've just returned from our H.I.M. Leaders and Ministers' conference, and I feel like I've just been through a spiritual tornado. I've been in natural tornados and experienced the uprooting of trees and concrete sidewalks, the ripping off rooftops and the utter devastation of a landscape, but this was a tornado of a different sort. It was spiritual, quiet and deep. There were no flashes of lightning, no dripping oil, no feathers or gold dust this time, but we received a powerful impartation of the reality of God.

      Jack Hayford and Peter Wagner shared on the power of intercessory prayer. Now I've been an intercessor for years. I teach on intercession and I train intercessors. But the Holy Spirit took me to a new level of understanding as I entered into the spirit realm to learn more of what God is doing on the earth today. I believe if we, as intercessors, will see into the spirit realm and discern the tactics of demonic assignments, we will reach into the mind of the Holy Spirit and receive the prayer strategies to overcome and prevail for the purpose of the glory of God in each situation. Not all of us are called to the ministry of intercession, but I believe we are each called to intercessory prayer. 
     I found it interesting at this conference for leaders, ministers and missionaries from around the world that most of us took copious notes as each speaker ministered.  I sat between two pastors and their wives, and they each took notes as fast as their pens could write. Of course, I was madly taking notes, too. No matter how many years we serve God, we are always and forever students of the Word. I've observed that the most powerful ministers I've known are true humble students of the Word. Always learning, always growing, always reaching higher and higher into the heart and will of God. It's so beautiful.
     Cindy Jacobs ministered to us and I bought a couple of her books. I'm reading her book on prophecy, and I thank the Lord for her. She has been with us in the past, but this time I felt something entirely new coming from her. James Goll talked about NOW being the time of a Great Awakening. James sobs as he talks, and you can feel the throbbing Presence of Lord. I'm telling you, the incomprehensible loving heart of God longs to embrace and bless us with His goodness and His tender mercies. I sense Him reaching out to us, calling with so much love-- He is our Perfect Guide , the lover of our souls. The time is now. The time to wake up is now.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

from the road...

Wow.  Chicagoland!  If you have been at any of the meetings this week you know what I mean by WOW.  One story I must share with you is about some photos that were taken at our all day SCHOOL OF THE SUPERNATURAL "Body Soul & Spirit" Conference.  Figures of angelic beings showed up in the photos and when the lady who took the photos brought them into Walgreens to have them developed the clerk at the counter saw them,  burst into a storm of tears and gave her heart to the Lord right there.  In all the meetings there have been wonderful healings (legs, knees, allergies, to name a few) and angels have been seen everywhere.  Last night two fire angels ministered behind me as I spoke (people told me they could see them) and it's been wonderful.  What I love so much is seeing God move among His people with His tender love and mercy.  I see His hand on people as He touches their lives healing, delivering, restoring, refreshing, and I am awed.  It is thrilling to be in the Presence of the Holy Spirit.  It's thrilling to see the angelic realm rejoicing with us.  It's flat-out thrilling to belong to the Lord Jesus.   Let the miracles continue!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Life in the God Lane

I'm happily back behind the wheel, and drove to Los Angeles over the weekend listening to great praise music up and back.  Thank the Lord, I survived traffic school, (which is at least a hundred times more harrowing than the Interstate in rush hour, haha).   I had a great time praising the Lord and praying  for a few hours uninterrupted as I drove.
Here at MCM (Marie Chapian Ministries) we are busy at prayer for my speaking tour in Chicagoland and so excited about what God is going to do in our midst at the meetings.  The Lord has me set apart at this time and soaking in His presence as He speaks to me.  I am contending for for the people with Deut. 28:2:  "And all these blessings shall come upon thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God..." 
It's going to be a time of great blessing.  "The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses and in all that thou settest thine hand unto, and He shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." Deut. 2:8, and that's the  King James Version. 
When the Lord sets me apart like this I become so much energized and filled with Him I can concentrate on nothing else but Him and the Kingdom of God.  Tonight I walked in the setting sun praying and smelling the air and watching the sky, and celebrated the magnificence of dusk.  I pulled a leaf from a eucalyptus tree and held it under my nose as I walked.  The aroma was heavenly.   I often pick wild rosemary or lavender to hold under my nose as I hike the woods, but tonight even the sound of my feet as they met the earth a celebration.  "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!"  (Romans 11:33)
I really hope you'll join me in Chicagoland May 21-27.  Check my (yes, if you can believe it!-- ALL NEW UPDATED website!) -- for details.  I want to see YOU in Chicagoland!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Love from Traffic School

I'm going to be totally open with you.  I spent the day in traffic school today, and I don't mind telling you I'm a bit traumatized now.  It felt like an 8-hour horror show, mixed in with a fear of driving because-"they'll-get-you-with-a-ticket-no-matter-what." I sat there with 30 other people, our mouths agape, feeling terrible about ourselves and wondering if we should buy bus passes.  We were shown videos of horrible accidents including decapitations, life cripplings, and bloody deaths of teenagers and children.  We saw cars fly off cliffs, cars burst into flames against trees, cars run  into one another in huge pile-ups, and children and animals die because of traffic infractions like talking on cellphones and driving without seat belts.  I'm telling you, when it came time for lunch break, nobody could move.  We sat there like 30 stunned and shocked sparrows on an electrified wire.  I sat next to a young girl tattooed and pierced all over who had a DUI and it was costing her $23,000.00.  The girl's pierced face is still before me, and I'm thinking it will take her a very long time to pay off that DUI.  Such a precious girl, so cherished by Jesus, and  yet she made a mistake that will affect the rest of her life.  Thank the Lord, she didn't kill or injure anyone, and God, in His mercy, heard her prayers and helped her through the lengthy process and financial hardship.  Most of us in the class had tickets for things like rolling stops, red lights, speeding, cell phones, and one guy for making a U-turn in the middle of the block.  We weren't exactly what you'd call criminals, but we sat there in our guilt and shame wondering how we could make this a positive experience.  I decided to make it a learning experience and so I took notes as though I were in a college class.  (Ask me anything.)  By the end of the day we were all completely spent, exhausted, fried.  You should have seen the older people.  They could barely stand up.  It had been a harrowing day of looking at the reality of driving with stress the horrors on the road.  When we finally signed out and received our little certificates of completion we filed out like silent lambs to the slaughter.   I could hardly drive home.  We had been programmed to think we'd do something wrong and get pulled over, and we'd have no way out of it, even if we were right.  I had to go before the Lord in the Throne Room with 2 Peter 1:2-4:  "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue..."  Ah yes,this verse too-- "happy is the person who finds wisdom and gains understanding..."  (Prov. 3:13). 

Monday, April 19, 2010

What is Happiness?

With Spring here I've noticed a sort of languid ho-hum in the air.  Have you?  It's as though the world just sat back and gave a big sigh.  People are telling me they're sleeping more, and they're complaining of laziness.  Never mind the volcanoes erupting in Iceland and things like pollution and even pollen--  Maybe we're all a little bit tired.  Or maybe it's what the songs call Spring Fever.  Winter and worry has worn us out.  But I believe this is a time to contend for the power of the Word of God in our lives and in the lives of our families and friends.  I believe this is a time to contend for our cities and our neighborhoods. (Always for our nation.)  Yes, okay, "a little sleep, a little folding of the hands," but then up and attum, I say. Time to start anew, re-energize, gear up and create something astonishing and wonderful around us.  Prayer changes everything.  Don't give up, don't fall asleep in the Light--  Strength creates more strength--  beauty moe beauty-- love more love.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Running Toward Something Big

Ever get the feeling you're on the way somewhere in your life, but you don't know where?  As a practicing psychotherapist I talked with people every day about the direction of their lives and the conditions that feed into the  loss of focus and purposes.  I don't believe we need a personal trauma to feel a sense of futility.  In today's world depression is as common as apple pie-- in fact, moreso.  More people suffer depression now than in the last 20 years.  A contributing factor to depression is change and fear of the unknown.  The world itself is radically changing.  I'm finding in my own life that many things (places, people, situations) I've counted on as reliable and steadfast are now either removed or radically changed.  How to handle the changes and losses we face?  As for me, I challenge myself DAILY to enter a place of inner stillness and breathe in the sweetness of God.  I reject all aspects of fear in order to  feel the overwhelming sense of love and  stability.  The love of God never changes.   I believe with all my heart that if you love God you're heading for the greatest hour of your life.  The greatness that is you have hardly even begun.  It is vital to keep our eye on the truth and to "cast down imaginations [fears, worries] and every high thing tht exalts itself against the knowledge of God , bringimg into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2Cor 10:4-5). 
What a privilege!           

Friday, March 26, 2010

New book

  I'm starting work on a new book and I'm consumed with it.  Even after writing over 20 books  and countless stories, articles, reveiws, etc., I approach each new project like something rare and precious-- like a holy stranger I need to get to know.  I love the challenge of thinking in terms of language, nuance, implication... the wonder of words, of creating a world on the page.  

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Out on the water...

Yesterday I went kayaking, and out on the water with nothing but sea and sky, the sound of the wind and the waves-- it was a taste of heaven.   Kayaking can be hard work, though; your arms are constantly rowing, steering, guiding the kayak through the sometimes resistant, choppy sea water.  I couldn't help but think, on our way back to the boat launch, as I pushed and pulled that oar, how all things of value require hard work.  From sports to marriage, all things of value require hard work, even pain. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What's In Us

I taught a seminar this week about the power within us and it surprised me how many people were stunned at the thought that there was a supernatural power and energy inside us connecting us to eternity.  The people wanted to know how this worked and I explained Jesus is the way to God.  Jesus? they asked.  "--But isn't that narrow minded of God?"  I explained that God made it easy for us to grasp His loving plan for us  since Jesus Christ is the only one to fulfill all the Older Testament prophecies about a Messiah to come, to die and be raised from the dead in three days, walk the earth , raise the dead, heal the sick, and send us His spirit to live in us ... I gave a very basic biblical reasoning.  I absolutely love to talk to people about God-- but sometimes, guess what.  Sometimes I meet up with hearts like ice-- they just cannot be penetrated.  I've kissed dead saints in their coffins goodbye, and I tell you, talking with these living souls with deadened hearts is like the kiss of the coldness of death.   I praise the Lord for those whose hearts open like sunshine to the glorious presence and power of God, in our Savior Jesus, but I grieve for those who wait at the sidelines in their dark tombs of doubt.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

You are Vast

I wonder if we really realize how huge we are in this universe.  We live our lives as best we can, day by day, and yet there is a hugeness  in us I wonder if we're aware of.  I minister across the country and in other nations as well, and I meet up with so many people who don't recognize the power, beauty, and vastness within them as followers of Jesus Christ.  In my last blog I talked about the problems that weariness or sleep deprivation can bring about-- but no matter what condition we're in, we are always vast within!  The Holy Spirit can be quenched, but not extinguished in His children.  As much of the Presence of God we are willing to inhabit is as much of His glory we will release into the world.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Temptations of the weary

If you think being tired is just a state of being, think again.  Exhaustion, weariness, tiredness can be traps to make a real mess of our lives.  Do you ever hear yourself apologizing and then blaming your behavior on being tired?  "Oh I'm sorry.  I didn't mean that.  I'm just so tired--"   There are the stories of people who signed papers, made purchases and agreements and promises when tired and not thinking clearly.  These acts of weariness have resulted in years of problems.  When you're tired it will take you sometimes twice as long to complete a task.   When you're tired you're more likely to be impatient, unkind, or rude.  Ever noticed how ticked off you can get when you're exhausted?  When you're tired it's hard to hear from God.  That's because your frame of mind is agitated and dulled.  You're just not listening.  When you're tired it's easier to feel sorry for yourself, find fault and complain.  If you stub your toe when you're rested you might yelp with the sudden pain, but if you stub you're toe when you're sleep deprived and/or worn out, you  become enraged.  People have forfeited their morals when tired; they have compromised their integrity while in a state of weariness.  The good news is tiredness is a temporary condition.  A little sleep, a little folding of the hands, and we're good to go again, and no longer prone to the temptations of the weary.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

On the road

Working on a new book or a new painting is like stepping into another country.  In this way I'm always traveling to new countries. And now I guess you might say I'm on the road again.  I'm writing my third book of fiction.  (My second book, AN ORDINARY DAY IN HEAVEN, isn't out yet.  I confess I get a little anxious in this waiting period between the words "The End" and "Now in Bookstores."  So in the meantime, I work.)  And I appreciate the world around me.  (We must never miss an opportunity to appreciate the world around us, I always say.)  For example, today I was explaining to my granddaughter the Sacred Act of Eating.  She held back chuckles as I explained that eating is a Holy Event.  Every meal, holy and sacred.  The taste, texture, sight, sound, aroma, and sheer delight of food--  She munched her veggie burger and then chuckling openly, she said she'd never think of eating quite in the same way.  It's all about Being Present, I explain. She does not look at me as if I'm from another country.  She gets up from the table, comes over to me and gives me a big hug.  I'm back from the road.  I'm definitely home.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Back home

Wow.  All flights canceled from Washington D.C. because of the huge show storm.  Makes me wonder if weather rules the world.  (We know better, of course, but nevertheless it's daunting. )  The airport in DC was chaos beyond anything I've seen a long time-- not since the ice storms in Vermont a few years ago when I was in graduate school trying to get home.  Newscasters are warning to watch the weight on our roofs, stay off roads, load up on groceries. I was at the Prayer Breakfast in D/C. where Obama gave his little talk, nothing like we had hoped, and Hillary carried on-as keynote- first time for me to hear Hillary in person.  She is the definitive political speaker, let me tell you.  Warm, personal, funny, and for me, as the writer with a spiritual eye-- totally phoney.  Like the president's talk.  Something is wrong at the top, friends, terribly wrong.  At the congressinal dinners and luncheons I attended I met men and women in office who are scrupulous and reputable  people of integrity-- but if you';ve never been a person of prayer for our nation, let me sound the alarm-- now is the time.  Pray for our leaders.  PRAY. 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Off to President's Prayer Breakfast in Washington

Did you notice the silk painting?  It's only a small section of one of my silk scarves and it's after Romans 12:21:  "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good," and entitled "Overcoming."  In a few hours I'll be flying to Washington D.C. for the President's Prayer Breakfast.  (Speaking ofovercoming!  We'll be praying up a storm.)  It's a three-day event with a National Leadership gathering as well.  There will be a congressional dinner and leadership luncheon besides the famous Breakfast with the Pres., as I like to call it.  I was a speaker for the event in '08, and it's quite spectacular with leaders and dignitaries from around the world.  It is a grave time for prayer for this world, not only our beautiful nation.  I learned more about the condition of the world (things the news media don't tell us) at the U.N. Prayer Summit a few months ago in New York.  As we gathered in those impressive chambers listening to leaders from around the world tell their stories it was most sobering.  Talk about a call for intercession!  I will  try to blog when I'm in Washingotn.  I understand the city is under 5 inches of snow.  This Minnesota girl will be right at home.  Please pray for me.  Are you telling anyone to join us on this blog?  I hope so! 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Job's Wife

Have you ever thought about Job's wife?  I mean, really.  We love our Mr. Job, but what about the missus?  Just think.  There she was, the wife of a successful man-- and if you ascribe to the tenet that behind every successful man is a hard-working woman, she had to have some part in his fame and success.  First of all, she gave birth to  seven children in ancient 2nd millenium primitive conditions.  Granted she was rich, but let's face it girls, no amount of gold or silk pillows changes the fact that childbirth is no picnic.  Seven children 2,000 years before Christ?  That's 63 months of pregnancy, or 5-1/4 years of her life in a maternity tunic.   The children grew up to be fun-loving young people and Job loved and prayed for them.  This must have been gratifying to Mrs. Job.  Every woman wants her children to be loved by a caring dad, right?   But then one day her world crashed down around her.  Everything she worked for, built, believed in, loved, trusted, and been proud of was gone, beginning with their thousands of  animals and the hired help.   Then on her eldest son's birthday, a tornado struck, and he was killed in his house along with the rest of her children .  She was left with absolutely nothing but a bereft husband who was in horrible, inconsolable grief.   And  if things weren't bad enough, suddenly this formerly richest man in the East  broke out in agonizing boils from head to toe.  She had to be beside herself in confusion, terror and grief.  Well, we know the end of the story, don't we?  God gave Job twice what he started out with, plus seven more children-- (that's 14 pregnancies all together)  When we start to complain in life, Beloved, let's remember Mrs. Job and praise God, for God blessed her and Job both.   He loved them both.  Let's  look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen--and think about our light affliction, which is but for a moment...  Read 2 Cor. 4:16-18 with me and let's be glad together.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Year- New Life

I've been travelling and doing some serious thinking about this new year.  The prophesies we're receiving are filled with words regarding government, global turmoil, but also God's outpouring of blessings.  I tell you, I'm expecting great things of God.  I look forward into 2010 and I see His people take hold of Who Jesus Is more fervently than ever.  I keep having visions and dreams of us, you and me-- the family of God, and we're climbing ladders, reaching heights, moving up, up, up.  It's beautiful.  My calling in this life is to minister the love and glory of God through learning the victorious, overcoming Christian life-- and I see us doing just that-- overcoming, standing strong.  I have always taught my children, to be brave and do hard things, and I can only praise the Lord for the hard things in life because He also gives us the gift of courage.  Moses was trained as a shepherd in the desert before he could lead his people to the Promised Land across the desert--  Joseph was trained in Potiphar's house and in prison before he could be 2nd in command in Egypt and rescue his people from extinction-- and you and I?  We're in training, too.  No matter where we stand spiritually at the  birth of this new year, we are called to burst forth and move higher.  The year is new, and so is our life.  This year, let's be more courageous than we've ever been.