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Dear Emily: Here Are 12 Things I Learned This Summer…

I follow Emily Freeman because she has such quirky posts.

So when she asked me to come up with a list of “What I Learned This Summer” I thought, “Why not?” And then I wondered, “Can I come up with a dozen?”

So, here’s my list.

what i learned this summer

I learned you can’t grow tomatoes in triple digit temperatures, surrounded by forest fires, that turn your skies gray and foggy with choking smoke.

But, I learned smoke and heat make for hours and hours more time for writing and reading.

I discovered that even at sixty-six years of age a bully can still make me cry, BUT…

I also learned that when Jesus says, “I’ll handle this one.” He means it, and He does it with such finesse, I am so GLAD I listened to Him instead of—well you know!

I didn’t get everything done I’d planned to do this summer, but I got a few things DONE that weren’t on my To-Do-List, and that feels just as GREAT!

I learned huge spiders can still scare the willies out of me when I should be “so over it” by now—sigh!

(Honest, that BLACK WIDOW was as big as a Ping-Pong ball!)

I learned that blogging three books at the same time is total chaos if you don’t number your drafts.

I learned that I am still a recovering workaholic when I thought I could start writing a fourth (what was I thinking)!

I learned that grief does eventually release it’s iron grip on your joy—because Jesus wins—every single time.

I discovered that I can still swing an axe! Who knew!

I’ll admit that with childish abandonment, and shameless delight,  I still love to play in the mud.

And saving the best for last,

I am still learning each and every day just HOW MUCH Jesus loves ME even with all my faults and hang-ups.

Looking back over this list? I have to say, “Thank you Emily.” this really was a good idea!

God Thank You For Loving Me



Beloved Prodigal… (Part 1 ~ bat Shuvah)


The road you’re on is not an easy one. (I should know.) I have been down your road.

It is for that reason I wrote this book.

I am hoping it will plant some seeds of trust in that heart of yours.

The Jewish would call me “bat Shuvah”—she who has returned.

I have returned.

  • To my Abba-Father God.
  • To The Church.
  • I am a Prodigal no longer.

Yes, I returned.

But you know what?

I confess (even today) I still struggle to not get discouraged and go over that hill again.

Perhaps that’s because I also have learned—today’s Church can be a cold and lonely place for the wounded and broken. All the disillusioned, angry, and messy-ones. And yeah, it scares me to confess that truth to you.

Truth is, I grew up in a house full of secrets.

In my house?

It was definitely not okay to be wounded or broken.

(That would have been admitting the truth.)

No, appearances had to be kept up at all cost. Illusions were prized far above truth.

I still shake my head today, thinking back, looking at the choices my parents made I wonder, “Why would anyone want to live like that?” Then, I look at how it still is in today’s Church and I realize, not much has changed. People still live lives of posing and pretense.

Perhaps they think it easier… less messy—to just fake it.

But my heart has to ask, “Isn’t that just a waste… to live an unreal life?”

I mean…

“How do you ever become “REAL” without telling your real story?”

6a1d6b965ff0038f17473284a4997d96So, here it is. Mine, with all of its ugly scars, brittle edges, and more than a little healed-crooked, hard won, Jacob-type-leaning, and limping.

I’ve come a long way from that crooked and broken road.

(Been through some fierce storms, too.)

I hope I’ve learned—a little…

And maybe even earned… my place?

To speak to that deeply wounded heart of yours.




Denominational Squabbling Or What This Gospel Isn’t


Denominational Made-up-Minds.

(Oh baby!)

Of all the things in The Church, perhaps this is the thing that scares me the most. This blind prejudice to, “We have always done it this way.” or “That is what my daddy believed, what my mama believed, and by golly, it’s what I believe!”

Well… okay then! Pardon my seeing this Glorious Truth through a slightly different lens than yours… and ummmm, is this what you call, “…walking in love?”

I think this intransigence I encounter to other interpretations, or points of view when interpreting the bible, is a prime breeding ground for strife and argument.

Jesus ate with publicans and sinners didn’t He?

And you mean we can’t tolerate someone who prays in a different style than ours? Sings with lifted hands? Waves banners? Chooses a different day to meet? Or, heaven forbid, voted for that other guy! Etc., etc., etc.

If you want to turn a devout-denominational into a cold fish at best, or a snarling junkyard dog at its worst, just begin to challenge their long held, “you’ll-pry-them-out-of-my-cold-dead-hands” beliefs.

Oh my, can you feel the love?

churchMy bible teaches me God’s “love language” is unity.  The bible speaks constantly about it, especially in the writings of the Apostle Paul. Doesn’t he implore us to do this over and over again?

Didn’t Jesus?

I just don’t believe division is really God’s idea.

(I think it took all of us to think this one up!)

witnessGod knows there is power in unity.

There is peace.

It’s in the book! [Ephesians 4]

No, we don’t all interpret the bible the same way.

I know.

But if we can agree on essentials—then do we really need to divide over the rest?

What childish nonsense.

Can’t we grant one another a certain degree of freedom for love’s sake?

Why do we treat others with such cold and hostile disdain, or disrespect those, who simply see things a little differently or choose to worship in a style that is contrary to ours?


Is that a reason for giving or taking offense?

The hour is late and I think most of us believe Jesus’ return is imminent. So… let’s be about our Father’s business. We have a Harvest to bring in. For love’s sake let’s stop our petty bickering and finger-pointing.


What a relief, if we could all just decide to let go of the rope!

What delight there is in dwelling together—in peace!

Let’s do what we have been gifted for and have been called to do, in the unity of love; taking from that unity the power we need from the Holy Spirit in all of us.

Our mandate is not to figure out who is right and who is wrong.

Rather, our commission is to reach the lost, bind up the broken, and rescue the perishing—while we still can!

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  Ephesians 4

The Parable: The Calling



The time has come…

We are here…





Climb this tree?Aviary Photo_131148396786868564

No, Dream-Maker, I cannot!

It is too high!

This calling of Yours, You ask too much!

I cannot, I cannot!



Climb or die.



Climb or die?

What kind of love is this?

Climb, or die?

You said You LOVED me?

How can you ask me this?




Climb or die.


Have You seen this thing?

It is so high.

You cannot ask a tiny worm to do this thing!

Dream-Maker pleeeeease!

It is too high—You ask too much!  (oh, dear… oh, dear…) How can I obey this thing You ask?

It is too high…

You ask too much…





In dismal mud ~ far from the sky
A thousand glittering nights sped by
Until the one meant just for me
A call to “Come…” to garden tree.

“Who me? I am too small!” I said
“What if I fall?” spoke Fearing Dread.
Yet somewhere from my coward’s heart
Came Maker’s whisper, “Now… Depart.”

Aviary Photo_131149796462849369

From lowest haunts to highest tree
“Come little one… come, follow Me.”
I looked at yellow moon on high,
And heaving one last fearful sigh…

Aviary Photo_131151605313181654

Began to climb up to the stars,
Past Craven Fear with iron bars
I inched my way to top of tree
Little… lonely… frightened… me!

“Begin to spin.” was all He said.72e109cfbdcf81c918900eaecfe7225e
I held on tight and bowed my head,
And spun… and spun… in pale moon’s light,
‘Til silken cords were fit just right.


It’s dark in here! — He said, “I know.”
I cannot move! — “But you can grow…”
“Into the dreams I have for you,
When school is out, and you’ve come through.”

So in cocoon’s restricted place,
Suspended between time and space;
In midnight deep ~ a worm did croon,
The yearnings of it’s heart’s sad tune…




Far from the ground ~ far from the sky;
Stuck iN bETWEEN ~ not knowing why,
While swaying high in inky night
Came answering notes of pure delight…


“If you will trust, and still believe;
A brave new heart you will receive.
New things called wings I’ll spin for you,
And fastened sure ~ we two shall view,

Aviary Photo_131151614848291158

The place where Starry Rivers run;
Where Hope is found and Fear undone!”
I’ll go I know ~ come night or noon,
Came daylight bright or puzzling gloom;

I’m breaking free from silken tomb,
For we’ll be off and conquering soon…

wE’RE wINGING… wINGING… tO tHE mOON!f47d28c7481075420ddf7e7639a39c59

2141989-czs-2-683_199So if you stumble on this cell,
Where sad caterpillar once did dwell,
And say, “I wonder what befell,
Small worm encased in tiny shell?”


“Come fly, My Love, come soar above…
Moon’s cosmic light, to dazzling heights
And there you’ll see ~ spun just for thee,


For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. (Psalm 91:11Psalm 91:11
English: World English Bible - WEB

11 For he will give his angels charge over you, To guard you in all your ways.

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My Imagination Never Gets Old…


My imagination (I mean) for I have always loved them… stories!

My imagination soars within a story and has the ability to transport me, anywhere.

(And often does!)

One of my absolute favorite things about Jesus is—that He was a Master Storyteller.

He loved capturing the imagination of His audience, giving them a magical carpet ride on a vivid word-picture that would live on in their minds and imaginations, long after He had departed.

He knew. Everyone loves to hear a story.

One that takes you out of your ordinary ho-hum-day and transports you (just for a bit) 817into a world full of wonderous possibilities.

Young or old, we all love to hear them, watch them, live them out, in the games we play…

The Bible calls them parables—but we just call them stories. Fairy tales. Places where we can go in our imaginations.

Where we are the hero—the conqueror! The object of all things wonderful. (And someone else is the villan.)


(Of course.)

4c2932cbab4f350838dccd3b8feef2a2So, I guess I should not have been surprised,

when to my  wonder and amazement

while journaling through a barren place in my life I liken to Habakkuk’s Vineyard,

my Father should reach down with twinkle in His eye—capture my imagination,

and whisk me away into creation’s dance…

and a story.

SuperBanner_Creation_2016-08-13_094640… the which if you with patient ears attend what here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

— William Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet


… And He spake unto them a parable.

Luke 18:1Luke 18:1
English: World English Bible - WEB

18 1 He also spoke a parable to them that they must always pray, and not give up,

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A REAL Fairytale… huh?


I grew up on fairy tales and happily-ever-after’s. (It was the Fifties after all!) The Fantasyland of Father Knows Best, and The Donna Reed Show, with a little Leave It To Beaver thrown in for good measure.

Fantasy Land for sure!

But don’t try to tell me we don’t all still believe… (I read Harry Potter, too!)


(Come on… fess-up, so did you.)

I don’t believe fairy tales will ever go out of fashion, because there is a part of our heart’s (whether we admit it or not) that remains child-like; hopefully untouched by the cynicism, criticism, and all the other “ism’s” that suck the spontaneous joy out of life!

I believe Jesus Christ came to manifest that joy… that zoe-life, in us!

He came to bring us back to wholeness. His life—in us! Think of it… wow! His desires for us are for the unlimited possibilities of His Kingdom.

But first… by faith, transformation!SuperBanner_Creation_2015-03-28_075758 cocoon HV

When we allow God to transform us (especially by giving us His perspective and Kingdom mindset) we become something new… different… wonderful!

God takes our hopes and dreams, shapes, and reshapes them, according to His plans and purposes, and…


Through His process of transformation and a renewed mind we BECOME who we were created to be, so that we can DO, what we were created to do!

We are a fairytale in the process of becoming REAL. Our wishing-dreams, transformed by His plan and purpose, are born… so we can fly!

(Want to?)

Yeah, me too!

We stand on the authority of His word don’t we?

acts10-38_editedHaven’t we been given everything we need (through our inheritance in Christ) to slay every dragon this hurting world of ours has? We are His disciples, aren’t we?

  • We have been given the power… via His indwelling Spirit alive in us.
  • We have been given the authority…. to use His name for whatever we need…
  • To do whatever He has called us to accomplish for His Kingdom.


What is more powerful, than the Almighty God alive in me 24-7, giving me the unlimited resources of His Kingdom to manifest that Kingdom everywhere I go, using the blank check of the name of His Son?

It’s time to use this unlimited inheritance of ours — to change this planet!

(Want to?)

Yeah, me too!

Okay then… all willing caterpillar’s… follow me!

Let’s enter the story… His story...  the one He is writing — in us!

Part IV – The Parable


Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.

―Neil Gaiman


The God of peace will soon crush

Satan under your feet.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Romans 16:20Romans 16:20
English: World English Bible - WEB

20 And the God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

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The Lost Years

I used to call them, “the lost years.” because that is what I first believed them to be.

They were my called aside years.

In the beginning I couldn’t see any value in them at all.

You see, I had had an important job. A job I loved. I had been serving on the staff of a large church… and I had plans. Big plans. Plans for doing BIG things for God.

Imagine my shock and dismay when God announced that was not His plan. Instead of my great plan, to do GREAT things, God spoke clearly to my heart one night that He simply wanted me to: “Go back.”

Just two little words.

(Oh, but I knew instantly the BIG thing God was asking.)

Go back.

Hot tears sprang from my eyes.

Go back?

“Noooooooooooo!” I shouted. (Inside my heart.) “Not that!”

God was sending me back to the place I had said I would never return to. Back to my family. Back, to care for my mother. A mother who had had little use for me as I grew up. A mother I had never understood, and who certainly had never understood me! My mother. Who was always angry. Always difficult. Always ready to bicker and fight at the slightest provocation. Me? The peace-lover? I was the one to care for her?

All I could think was, “Pleeeeeeez LORD. Not this!”

(My heart sunk to my shoes as I contemplated everything “going back” actually meant.)

Let me just say, I believe there is a day like this that comes to all disciples who say they want to follow Jesus. Jesus said, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for Me, you will save it.” [Matthew 10:39Matthew 10:39
English: World English Bible - WEB

39 He who finds his life will lose it; and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.

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TLB] Yes, I believe there is a day for all of us, when He asks for all your shining hopes and plans to be laid down. A day when you are called to choose, obedience to Christ, above all else.

I did go back.

Spent ten years caring for my very contrary mother.

Ten years, that in the beginning, seemed to be nothing but wasted and squandered years. (Oh, but they weren’t!) I learned so many things in those seemingly lost years.

I laid my life down. My dreams. The life I had so neatly planned out.

But I found the life God had been planning for me since I was a young girl. I found the dream I had long ago abandoned.

You see, in my lonliness and desperation during those first lost years, I began to journal. Filled pages and pages to start with, with dismal tears, and blind frustrations. But as time went by my writing changed. I changed. Until one day I realized. In my seemingly wasted years… I had found myself.

I discovered her. The woman God had been creating during those wilderness years…

And, a short time after. I wrote my first book manuscript.

I actually became the dream. The dream that was God’s plan for me all along…

I became a writer.