Thursday, March 27, 2008

Go buy Searching for Spice!

Linda Revere and I recently had coffee and talked and laughed. I like her real outlook on life, her desire to serve the Lord and her honest failings about seeing God at work in her life. I especially love her wit and her heart that wants romance…from her own husband.

Doesn’t she sound like someone you would want to hang out with for a while? Well, you can. On April 1st go to your local bookstore and buy Searching for Spice, my friend Megan Dimaria’s debut novel. I finished it a couple of days ago and some of the lines are still tickling me. That’s how good it is.

Megan’s novel isn’t your typical girl meets boy, wants boy, loses boy, and finds boy romance. It is a book that any woman married more than say… one week…can relate to. Linda has been married for almost 25 years to a stoic, dependable nice guy. They have two children, one in high school and one in college. She has a job at a photography studio and her husband is a teacher. Their dog Belle is adorable. A lovely life.

However, Linda wants more. She, like so many of us, wants romance from her man. She wants to have an affair with her husband. Her steps to “make” this happen are quite funny and the dominoes that fall from her scheme will have you sitting up late turning pages. And giggling. Several times I had to stop and get my husband’s attention to read him a funny line from the book. This is high praise!

So you want to have coffee with a new friend? Your chance is coming – APRIL 1st head on over to your local bookstore and pick up Searching for Spice by Megan (pronounced Mee-gan) Dimaria. You’ll be glad you did!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Confessions are Good for the...What is it Called?

Entropy - 2 a: the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity b: a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder

We ate Easter lunch with a couple of other families at a lovely restaurant called the White Fence Farm. It was a wonderful meal with lively conversation and the kids all playing 20 questions at their end of the long table. Toward the conclusion of the meal I made a confession and was overjoyed at the response. I was encouraged and covered with grace.

You see, I feel I am a walking exercise of entropy. My body seems to be literally falling apart, declining slowly into the dust of the earth. Before you click away from the “downer blog” let me explain:

Gall bladder surgery
A back tooth broke the other day
Every once in a while my thumb on my right hand cramps up
Is it me or do I twitch when I hear the word “doctor?”
At times, I cannot for the life of me, remember words
And the final blow, well, this is what I confessed to my friends.

“I went to the eye doctor the other day.” (Twitch)

”How’d it go?”

“He had the nerve to tell me I need…. (pause for effect and for me to be able to breathe and also try to remember the word that now escaped me)…bifocals.”

I felt scarlet. How could I explain to my family and friends this horrible process of growing old?

And then it happened. We launched into a wonderful love-fest of each other’s ailments, frailties and medical mishaps. I began to feel good again. One confessed she wore bifocals, too. These were not “old” people! Well, maybe we are. But we are not alone! Entropy support groups exist!

Thank you God. As I walk down the dusty trail to becoming dust, I can look around and see that this is just where I am. And where I am is a lovely place to be, even if I can hardly see it… (excuse me, I had to take a break there because of a thumb cramp)…or remember what it is called….

Thank God for friends. Old friends.

(I found the picture above on Microsoft Clip Art - I don't know who this woman is, but I like her attitude!)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Where is He?

I personally love that women were the first to discover that Jesus was not in the tomb. But can you imagine? You are going to honor the dead and He stands you up? Of course they were freaked out and then truly became frightened when an angel told them,
“He is not here. He is risen!”

That’s the message of Easter. He is risen. He is risen indeed!

But where is He exactly? Where is “risen?”

Without making this a Bible lesson, because I am not a Bible teacher and I know I would get something wrong, I would like to tell you the bottom line answer of that question as far as I am concerned.

Where is He?

He is risen. He is with me.

If you invite Him, He’ll be with you, too.

See, Easter is victory and power, but after the resurrection there is LIFE! He lives with me. All the time. Every day. No matter what.

I have had some dark days in my forty-five years, but one of the darkest was right after my mom died. I was driving too fast down an old highway in the middle of West Texas desert and brush. As I gripped the wheel, I screamed and sobbed. It is a God thing that I did not have a wreck. Just a couple of years earlier I’d been living in California in a house with three girls. We’d prayed for the spirit of “dating” to be over that house and then invited four guys at a time over for home cooked meals. Somewhere in all the fun, my three roomies met men and began dating…just about the time I went home to be with my dying mom. During my two years in Texas I flew to California three times, for three weddings. Meanwhile, I buried my mother. I was furious at God and filled with agony and grief and deep loneliness.

Where was Jesus? In the front seat with me, stroking my hair and filling me with supernatural strength and hope. And He was making sure I didn’t kill myself.

On my best days, the ones where John and Noah and I just hang out and laugh – Jesus is right there giving us joy and making our family a foursome. Five, if you include Scooby.

In those moments when I blow it and do things that are absolutely selfish and mean and wrong, Jesus doesn’t leave. He is right with me, loving on me and extending His arms out to me.

It’s not like I am some saint that goes around in silent prayer all the time, although I think that would be really cool to tell you the truth.

I forget Him. I forget that He is there and I ignore the presence of God. This is when the God of the universe, the Lamb of God who gave Himself up for me does a little nudging. Sometimes He catches me by reminding me of His glory just by showing me the sky. I have never, ever seen a sky so breathtaking as the one here in Denver. God is an artist of the heavens up here in the mountains.

Sometimes, He gets my attention by some situation making me tense or fearful and my immediate reaction is HELP. “I’m right here,” comes the quick answer.

But lately when I forget about the One who is with me always, even to the ends of the earth, my friend and Saviour and Lord reminds me of His presence by simply blessing me. It’s new and different and scary to live in a season of blessing. I’m the type of girl who looks for the other shoe to drop. And some old high heel stiletto (no, I don’t wear stilettos – I wish I could, I think) will drop down sometime so that I can increase my faith. But right now, I am blessed beyond measure. My cup truly runneth over. And every time that occurs to me, I hear Jesus whisper in my mind, “I am right here.”

I encourage you to have a wonderful Easter and celebrate the power and the sacrifice that it all symbolizes. And I also want to tell you that life beyond Easter is full and abundant.

Where is He? He is Risen. He is right here!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Sacrificial Treasure

In honor of Easter I will blog tomorrow, too.

Adam and Eve sin.
To hide their nakedness, they make clothes out of fig leaves.
God sees what they have done.
He loves them.
He kills a lamb and makes them garments to cover their shame.

We sin.
To hide our guilt, we fashion garments out of denial or justification.
God sees what we do.
He loves us.
He points us to the cross.
He allowed the Lamb of God to be killed, not just to cover our
shame, but to erase it.

What a sacrificial treasure.

My son owns treasure; in fact a tin can full. I love to catch glimpses of him when he empties out the can on his bedroom floor to look at them. First, he lines them up neatly. (He has lined up things since he was a toddler – all his cars or stuffed animals sat in a line after he played with them) Next, he picks each up and admires it, sometimes engaging in boy talk, imaginary discussions. Then, he leaves them lying there until I tell him to pick them up. :0)

But I love that he has treasures:

A couple of beautiful polished rocks.
A rubber band.
One of those bracelets that have the ten commandments on them.
A car.
Chains and a stick.
Some fools gold.
A necklace.
A couple of keys.
A gold coin my husband gave him.
A medal my nephew Justin gave him when he returned from Iraq.

His treasures. In an old book and TV show called “The Littlest Angel,” everyone in heaven is preparing for the Savior’s birth, gathering presents. The littlest angel has nothing to give, so he asks permission to go back to earth where he was a boy and get his box of treasures. He does and presents it to the Creator of all. God smiles and throws it into the sky ceremoniously; the little box of treasures becomes the Star of Bethlehem.

The littlest angel’s sacrificial gift becomes the Light for those seeking to find Christ.


When Adam and Eve sinned, God gave up a treasure. I mean, He had just created those animals, so I am sure He was getting a kick out of watching them. And then to kill one? This was the first time an animal had been killed.

Easter involves a deep treasure for all of us. A sacrifice so huge none of us can really understand it. How could I ever truly “get” giving up my only son for someone else’s wrongdoing? I cannot imagine sacrificing Noah’s life for anything.

But that is exactly what happened. God gave Christ. Christ gave Himself. He prayed, “Father Your will be done.”

The cross is chilling when you think about the physical pain and suffering our Lord went through. But it is also brings profound gratitude to me when I think that in those moments God was offering up his tin can, his box of treasure. He was saying “This is my beloved Son, my treasure, but I will give Him freely.”

Why? Because that was the plan. That was His way to conquer the sin in our lives and bring us back to Him. Through giving up His son, He gathered more treasure to Himself:

Our children
Anyone who calls upon Christ and says, “Forgive me. I want to live for You.”

Such sacrifice deserves and even demands a celebration of joy and wonder. It is a treasure.

(Tomorrow – Where is He?)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Growth, New Songs, New Adventures

In honor of Easter, I am going to blog today, Thursday and Friday!

My living room has a tall ceiling and a half moon window that lets in the sun each morning. Today I sat on my couch and looked through it. Behind the branches of the big tree outside lay nothing but azure blue sky. A beautiful Denver morning. It snowed on Monday and I have heard whispers that those snowflakes might have been the last of the season. No one is using their out-loud voice, but the soft hope is full of possibility.

Spring. The word alone makes me breath in deep and smile. New growth, new songs, new adventures.

I like that we celebrate Easter in the spring. The picture of Jesus coming out of the tomb to an azure blue sky and fresh earth is lovely, even if it might not be exactly accurate. He arose from the dead and that is the bottom line. Without Easter, without the Resurrection, what would be the point of Christianity? I serve a living God who lives within me. The cross and the tomb and the moments Jesus conquered death are vital to who I am in my faith. New growth, new songs, new adventures.

When I was six, my family climbed on the back of my Pop’s welding truck, complete with all of his welding paraphernalia and drove into the mountains of West Texas to a little creek and spring my father had discovered. It was the night before Easter Sunday and we were going to camp as a family.

“What about the egg hunt?” I asked Mama.

“Bring your basket, Robbie, and we will hide them in the wilderness.”

I couldn’t wait and prepared hard boiled eggs and brought a couple of plastic ones, hoping my mother would fill them with change. My brothers and sister were too old for the egg hunt thing, so I would have a good chance of filling my basket up.

We Floyds were not campers. In fact, this is the one and only memory I have of us ever camping. So the correct equipment was not something we packed next to the welding rods and oxygen bottles. The result? We were frozen solid by the next morning.
I was swallowed up in one of Dad’s welding jumpsuits because I’d fallen in the creek the night before but didn’t bring a change of clothes.

We woke up at dawn to my father saying, “Let’s get out of here!” (I believe he might have used more colorful language.)

The eggs were not hidden in the beautiful spot we’d found but instead in my backyard by my mother. The hunt took about five minutes.

Not exactly a warm, fuzzy memory. But the thing that saddens me about it is the fact that we celebrated Easter without mention of Christ and the resurrection. Countless people do it every year. This most glorious of spring time weekends is about family and egg hunts and eating ham. No, no, no it is not.

It is about new growth, new songs, new adventures!

Egg hunts and ham and camping without the correct equipment is all fine and dandy but none of these bring the same joy and hope that Christ and the true meaning of Easter can bring. Egg hunts end, ham digests and camping often leads to stories years afterward that end in “What were our parents thinking?”

But the wonder of Christ conquering death brings supernatural power that can charge our hearts like those tiny batteries that seem to go on and on. With this kind of power, we can seek out and find new growth. We can become the kind of people who enjoy giving and wait patiently in line and don’t snap to judgments about people who look different. Because of what Christ did, it is possible.

With this kind of power we can sing new songs. Songs that celebrate a friendship with the Creator of all. Songs as we wake up and mouth sleepily in the shower. Songs of His grace that we whisper to put us to bed. Songs that we hum during the day to remind us He is right here.

With this kind of power we can have new adventures. Dreams that were flickers last year can begin to burn brightly. We can put feet to our quests and give them purpose. We can resolve to finish what we once started and find that His power gives perseverance.

Spring is just around the corner here in the Rockies. (I whispered that.) But Easter is upon us now and I for one welcome the surge of power it brings as I celebrate the resurrection. Here is to new growth, new songs, new adventures!

(Tomorrow - Sacrifice)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Little Boy Noises

Four boys are playing outside my home, one of which I produced.

I listen to their giggling, the sounds of war, of tag, of conflict and compromise. Running feet and balls slamming into the ground often catch my attention for a minute. They yell each other's name often and a current trend is to yell "T" which apparently is the 2008 way to say "Time out."

The other day Noah injured his hand on a rock. This is what I heard.

Little boys yelling and chasing each other.
Noah screaming and crying.
Little feet running.
My door bell ringing.
"Noah's hurt!"

He was fine after he washed it. It is amazing how a little water and a break from the hazards of Star Wars can cure Luke Skywalker in minutes.

I sit and listen to the sounds and hope the neighbors, (not all of them have little boys) can understand boy play is not a quiet art. I sit and listen and I thank God He gave me a little boy with all his noises - most of them imitations of cars, planes, gunfire and bodily functions.

But there is one noise that I don't like. It gets me off my computer and out of my chair faster than any other sound. SILENCE.

Four boys being silent. Uh-oh. Someone's up to no good.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Choose Joy

Thursday Thirteen is a Meme for a few of the blogs I read. I am not a part of this group, but today I want to create my own Thursday Thirteen List.

Happiness is a feeling, an emotion that springs up based on circumstances. Joy is a choice to trust that God is in control of every circumstance, no matter good or bad.

Thirteen reasons to choose JOY:

1)Choosing joy teaches your mind to react with God's truth.

2)Choosing joy often leads to the emotion of happiness. (Not always, but often)

3)Choosing joy lets you off the hook - you don't have to be in control, you just have to lean into God.

4)Choosing joy keeps you grounded in God's perspective - the big picture (that once again, you don't have to control)

5)Choosing joy can involve chocolate as many good choices do (Not all - I know, I know)

6)Choosing joy leads you away from grabbing weapons of mass destruction like snapping at your family and giving your husband the silent treatment.

7)Choosing joy is using control for what it is supposed to be used for - the free will to choose God.

8)Choosing joy gets you out of bed.

9)Choosing joy gives flight to hope and hope does not disappoint (Romans 5)

10)Choosing joy leads to purposeful action as in serving someone else I don't know, say, chocolate.

11)Choosing joy makes your dog cuddle up in your lap instead of stay on the other side of the room, cuddled up in a fetal position shaking in fear.

12)Choosing joy makes your husband and son cuddle with you instead of stay on the other side of the room, cuddled up in a fetal position shaking in fear.

13)Choosing joy is choosing to live your life in God's presence. "In His presence is fullness of joy; at His right hand are pleasures forever more." Psalm 16:11

Choose joy today!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My Heart is Dancing Today!

Sixty-three days until the Colorado Christian Writers Conference! I cannot wait. Last night I went to a His Writers meeting and the topic was "Getting Ready for a Conference." The panel discussion got me more than ready; I am very excited! Right this minute I am sitting in my Words for the Journey meeting watching and listening to Megan Dimaria make an announcement about her upcoming book, Searching for Spice.

What a kick to know someone who is on the publishing journey! I remember when she made the announcement that she had an agent. I remember when she came to the meeting and said that Tyndale was interested. I remember when she came to our meeting and said those magic wonderful words, "I HAVE A CONTRACT!" So cool.

The other day I received my Today's Christian Woman magazine and tossed it on our table to read later. I glanced at it sitting there and had to do a double take! Megan's picture was on the back! She was featured in an ad featuring new novelists. What a thrill!

Megan's book Searching for Spice comes out in bookstores on April 1st. I am going to read an advanced reader copy starting today so I will blog on what I think of her book later. I AM PRETTY SURE I WILL LOVE IT!

By the way, Megan's blog is

I am blessed beyond measure. I am on this wonderful journey in which I get to meet and hang out with writers and share our dreams and goals. I am working diligently on my book and I will be pitching it at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. We'll see. It is exciting to just lean into God's hands and do what I believe He wants me to do. Writing makes my heart dance!

John Eldridge, author of Wild at Heart, wrote "Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

Writing makes me come alive! I hope you are doing today what makes you dance, what makes you come alive!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

You "get" me - You love me!

“I have searched you and I know you.” Psalm 139:1

“Since we have been justified through faith we are at peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord, whom we have also been given access into the grace in which we now stand.” Romans 5:1

You know me.
You “get” me.
And You love me.

You know me. You see when I walk outside in my robe because my dog needs to go and there is my neighbor, witness to all the glorious wonder of nature that is in fact, my hair in the morning. You "get" that I can't seem to fill the tank full of gas even though it is the practical thing to do. $5 will do, right?

You know me.
You "get" me.
And You love me.

You know when I speak harshly to my son.
You love me even as I wound his heart.
You know when I cuddle with my boy and cherish his words.
You love me as I stroke his hair.

You get me.
And You love me.

You get my craziness.
My vain imaginations are not news to You. When I “see” myself or a loved one getting robbed and hurt, You SEE and You remind me to take captive those thoughts.
When I “see” myself being named Writer of the Year and having people yell my name,
You SEE and You remind me to humble myself.

You get me.
And You love me.

You get that I am in a challenging battle with Suduko, that I am fascinated with “Celebrity Rehab,” that I am unsatisfied with my nose looks and that I always want 2 cookies when 1 will do.

You get me.
And You love me.

And this wanting to be a writer is fodder for a strait-jacket.
Am I any good?
Am I just to write for You?
To blog or not to blog?
To submit or not to submit?

When the rejections come, as they have consistently, the disappointment and fear tumble into my home and sit down and ask for coffee. I have to deal with them. It is difficult and draining.

And You are with me.
And You get me.
And You love me through every minute.

When I fall into pity or depression or the blahs, Your hand picks me up. You invite me once again to enjoy the grace in which I can stand.

You get me.
And You love me.

It is amazing.
Your amazing grace.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

"Romance Her Soul"

Last Saturday mid-morning, I took off for a 24 hour alone-time with God. I went to a retreat center run by nuns, kind of secluded amongst tall pines. It was a great trip and I am sure the ripples of time alone with Jesus will continue through my heart and mind for a great while.

As I was about to leave, John and Noah walked me to the car and helped me put all my stuff in the trunk. You never know stuff, mostly. You never know if you might get invited to a formal dinner in the middle of the woods so you need to take that taffeta gown, right?

Anyway, I said good-bye and then John began to pray for me. I have to brag on my dear husband. He prayed: “God you invited Robbie to come to the woods. You want to woo her. I pray You would romance her soul.”

Wow. I loved the way John put it. “Romance her soul.”

I was feeling very warm and fuzzy toward my man as he walked away. How blessed I am to be his wife. He is just wonderful. Then he turned back and said, “Uh-oh.”

My car had oil all over the front of it. He opened the hood and discovered that my oil cap was missing and oil had spewed everywhere.

Warm and fuzzy disappeared. Anger came bounding in. Of course, for no logical reason, I blamed the dear one who had, just moments before, touched me so deeply. I looked at my man and growled. An actual real growl. Not something I am proud of. I uttered no words, though.

“Well, let’s go to the auto parts store.” John said.

“I’ll follow you and leave from there.”

“Robbie, you can’t drive it like this. We will go and come back.”

Once again, I was enraged.

Why does this happen? How can I go from one moment of such joy and affection toward my husband to the next in which a wrench nearby could’ve easily become a weapon?

We got into the car and drove to the auto parts store. I said nothing.

John reached over and patted my leg and said, “No work of God goes unopposed.”

I held my tongue and began to plan out revenge. This was not John’s fault, but he was the one who was going to pay. Once again this is not a pretty side of me and I know it.

Then it occurred to me to pray.

Duh! Hello! You’re killing me Smalls! Here I was ready to go off on a spiritual retreat and be all Godly and lovey-dovey with the Creator, but my reaction to a little bump in the road was to risk imprisonment for manslaughter.

I prayed as we drove. The Spirit of God brought clarity to my sin filled emotional heart. I saw the silliness of my reactions. I spied the truth in what John had just told me.

I reached over and began to massage John’s neck. I giggled a little. I let the emotions, the anger and the revenge dissipate as God’s Word supernaturally brought peace.

Thirty minutes later I was on the road. Before I left, I made sure to thank John for his prayer and care for me and for noticing the oil so that I didn’t spend time on the side of the road.

My husband opened the door to a rich weekend. It was a lovely time and the Master of all did, in fact, romance my soul.

(The picture above is the view as I stepped out of my cabin. It was sunny, 61 degrees on Saturday and then I awoke to a Sunday morning snowstorm. This is Colorado.)