Saturday, December 4, 2010


My grandmother is sitting at the feet of Jesus this morning.  She's been there 16 hours now.  What are they doing?  What has she seen?  Has she walked around the city yet?  What's her place look like?  She saw my mother an hour after I'd left her!  Did she tell her that she was just with me?

Eric drove me over to Fort Smith yesterday morning.  I sat with Grandmother in her tiny room for four hours.  I looked at old pictures that my Aunt Nancy had found and brought to her room.  Many of them were of my mother as a baby that I'd never seen before.  I thumbed through the old photo albums and my grandmother ran her hands over my shoulder and back.  Her loving touch.  I will miss it.  About two hours before she died she was looking above her head and said, "I see angels."  I wish I could have seen them too.  I don't doubt they were there. 

The missing her is the hard part.  I don't know why I cry until I throw up but I do.  Death feels yucky inside.  It leaves you with change that you don't want.  I wish my Grandmother was in her chair reading a book in her apartment and I would stop by and see her tomorrow.  You know, one day I'll be able to do that again...stop by her house and see her again.

My Grandmother lived to be 92 years old.  She followed Jesus her whole life.  He was there with her through good times and bad, through happy times and sad.   When she got to heaven yesterday there was a sign on her front door.  It said -


The clouds may be heavy today but above them the Son shines brightly.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Living Under His Grace and Mercy,

Monday, November 29, 2010

Waiting on Heaven

As I write this, my grandmother is here for possibly her last day. I've had hot tears streaming down my face and a runny nose. She has had a protective spirit for me all my life but especially since my mother died. I feel like a kid when I'm with her. I'm wondering what the days ahead will hold. I keep jumping when the phone rings. What will that day be like for her when she crosses over and takes that triumphant walk through the gates of Glory? I know Jesus will throw his arms around her! My mother will be there too along with my grandfather and my two great uncles. Oh it will be a good day for her. I still get a little scared when I think about death. Don't you? It is the unknown. I think I'll tell you what I do know about it - the parts that I've learned that aren't in scripture but still truth none the less.

When my momma got sick with pancreatic cancer I panicked. I was traumatized that day in the doctor's office when Dr. Baltz sweetly told momma what she had... "There's a shadow on your pancreas. It's cancer." I knew what that diagnosis meant - death or a miraculous healing. I had a long journey ahead of me of learning to trust Jesus with my emotions in the very depths of my soul. There was no other way I would survive emotionally intact if I didn't let Him take care of me. Day by day I let go of myself and sat with Him. Momma and I walked this path together. Rarely did we talk about the cancer. We lived each day individually in our normal routines as best as we could. At night I would throw myself in the floor in my bathroom at Jesus feet. There I would let Him comfort me. There He met me quietly and held my sobbing body. There the waves of sorrow and fear would come and Jesus wept along with me. I don't know why God chose to take my mother that way. I do know this - at the end of her journey we had both fought and won a victory over fear and depression with Jesus! Day by day and sometimes minute by minute it was fought and won. This is what happened when momma died.

We took momma to the hospital. We followed the ambulance to St. Vincent. It was a long ride. After several hours in the emergency room, they moved her up to an ICU unit. That evening when I walked in to her little cubical she reached out her hand and told me that she'd had enough. Take the tubes and medicines away. She was ready. She wanted pain medication and that was all. It was something that I could do for her. I could obey and help her and I did. When the pain medicine came, it put her into a deep sleep. Before she went to sleep I told her that if I saw her stir I would get her more medicine. She was satisfied. We talked for almost two hours. We said I love yous over and over. She told me I was a good mother. I disagreed. Eric wanted secrets after she got there. She smiled. After some time, she went deep asleep. The monitors told us that her heart was slowing down. Suddenly, beyond my wildest dreams, I was almost giddy with joy! I kept listening to the beats come more and more infrequently and my heart began to soar! I told Eric that "she's not here anymore! I know what the monitors say but she's not here!" I was smiling! We'd won! She'd won! Jesus was there in the room! You could feel his presence. He's the one who brought all this happiness with him and gave it to me! I didn't cry. I didn't need to! I was so caught off guard by what I was seeing and experiencing that I relived it day after day in my thoughts. When I left the hospital my mom was standing at the gates of heaven with people throwing their arms around her laughing and smiling and talking nonstop! How do I know this happened? Well two days later I was in bed exhausted from the last seven months of fighting this cancer with momma. I was in bed early and fell asleep. I had a dream that was as vivid as could be. My grandfather was in a large garden hoeing rows and rows of soil. I could see them stretching behind him. He liked to garden while he was here on earth too. I was aware that there were some buildings to his right but I don't know what they looked like at all. A man suddenly appeared and stood before him. He told him that it was time for him to go to the gate. My grandfather took off his gloves, dropped his hoe and began walking away. That was it. The dream ended. I sat bolt up in bed and woke Eric. I told him that I knew what happened when momma got to heaven and I told him my dream. After thinking about it for a few minutes I realized that the man was an angel. He came to deliver a message to my granddad. I then realized that not everyone goes to the gates when someone arrives.  Isn't that interesting?  He told him that it was time for him to go.  I think you're told when someone you know is coming.   I also thought that in heaven in the big Book of Life there were birth dates and times and arrival dates and times. If you looked in the book, you would find out when someone was coming and you could meet them at the gate. Now I have no idea where I got this idea. That was something I had believed my entire life as truth. But what excited me more than anything was the realization that my grandfather didn't know who he was going to meet! You KNOW he thought it was my grandmother. She was 90! But it wasn't her! He was in for a huge surprise. I was so exited for him I couldn't stand it. Oh wow. If only I could have been there! It happened. It was real. It was a glimpse into heaven that brought me comfort. God gave me a peek. He is so good.

Now my grandmother is about to walk through the gates. I've told her I love her. She's told me the same. I told her to tell momma hi.  My grandmother is just transferring from one place to another. The distance is so small that it's like a thin veil between heaven and life here on earth. Sometimes God lets us catch a glimpse through the veil. Thank you God. I know that the victory has already been won. I'm left behind once again but I know it will be ok. I'll soon stop crying and although the memories are painful right now, they'll sweeten as the months pass by.

I write these things because it brings me comfort.  It reminds me that great joy can come out of awful times of sorrow.  I write about truths that I've learned.  I hope it helps you to read them.  I want you to know what I've experienced.  I'm waiting now for the Comforter to come.  Come Lord Jesus Come.

Do you have a story about heaven? Please tell me. I want to hear them.

Living under His Grace and Mercy,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


   His name is Savior. I met him this past spring in a tiny village on the Nile called Pakwach. This village is just a wide spot in the road. Not much goes on there.  I think it survives by selling snacks to tourist who visit Murchison Falls National Park.  The back entrance to the park is just across the bridge on the other side of the Nile.  When you sit outside at night in Pakwach, you can hear the lions roar.  It's the largest animal/safari park in Uganda. Even though this may be true, the village has no electricity. The water is bad. Most haul water to their homes from the Nile. I think this is what made Savior sick.  I talked about Savior in a post I did in April of this year on this blog.  I'd love it if you went back and read it.  If you're going to do that - read no further.  Go back now (link) !  For there are spoilers in this post if you read this one first.  So you are now forewarned!

   Savior was a little boy who hung out at the gate of our camp.  He didn't smile and he didn't play.  I took him to see a doctor in town because I could tell that he was really sick.  He had worms in his tummy - three kinds.  One was a full grown tape worm that was winning the fight in his body for the food he was eating.  His arms and legs had grown so thin.  He cried a lot.  He didn't smile.  I cried too.  I just couldn't stand seeing a child in this state.  Now most children in the village have worms.  It's a common ailment among them but it usually doesn't make them this sick.  Savior was also very poor and couldn't afford the medicines that would heal him.  It weighed so heavy on my heart.  I had to do something.  I couldn't leave him like this.  So I took him to see the town doctor who happened to not be in the clinic that day.  There was a technician there though who agreed to help Savior.  After all this, my heart had grown attached to this little boy.  I got the medicine for him and left it with his grandmother to give him.  As I drove away in the van that day I wondered if he had gotten the medicine soon enough.  Would he live?  Could he make it?  Children often die before the age of 5 in Uganda.  It's part of the rhythm of life there. 

   Eight months later and I found myself in a van crossing the Savannah of northern Uganda on the five hour trek to Pakwach again.  The sun was streaming through the window burning my skin.  I laid down on the bench seat that I had to myself and watched the clouds in sky pass above my head and I thought about Savior.   I was afraid.  I didn't think I'd feel that way but I was.  I've experienced death recently and I know how it feels.  I was anxious to find out if he was alive.  We arrived in the camp late in the afternoon.  I decided that I'd walk up to Savior's mud hut the next morning.  I ate dinner and watched the stars in the night sky that are stunning in Pakwach.  Because there is no electricity the night sky is inky black.  You can distinctively see the Milky Way.  I then went to bed early.

   The next day I walked across the camp and made my way to Savior's hut.  Along the way several children joined me.  They are so excited when something different happens in the village.  A foreigner is a rare treat.  They don't speak English so I couldn't ask them if he was ok.  When I got to Savior's home I found that his grandmother was very sick with malaria.  The children were all gathered around staring into the hut.  It seems as though my heart would be stretched again.  Where was Savior?  He wasn't there.  He wasn't in the camp.  He was too poor to go to school.  I asked where he was and the children ran off.  What was this?  Where did they go?  What happened?  I talked a few minutes with his grandmother trying to  determine if she needed medicine to help her as well when all of a sudden this little boy comes running full speed down the hill and straight into my arms!  I burst out crying!  It was Savior!  He was grinning from ear to ear!  He was alive and well!  My heart just lept.  What a gift this was!  Thank you God!  Oh thank you!  He looked great.  He looked happy.  He looked well!  I just hugged him and we stood there admiring one another for a few moments.  The first time I met him he was very afraid of me.  I frightened him.  I guess he'd never met a foreigner before.  But not this time.  I so wish I could speak Swahili.  But in the end, we got along fine without using words at all.  The $2.50 I spent on the medicine to save his life - well it worked.  He's healthy and well.

   I have a lot of emotion invested in this little boy.  I've seen him very sick.  I bathed his dirty little body at the clinic.  I've held him when he was afraid.  It only takes minutes to form a bond.  Savior represents all of the children of Uganda to me.  He is the face I see in my prayers as I pray for them at night.  I think his story is no different from the other children in the village and all across Africa for that matter.  Next year I will return to Uganda again.  I'll go up north and check on Savior and his family.  I'm blessed beyond measure to be able to do this.  I wonder what I'll find...

Living under His Grace and Mercy,

P.S.  Savior's grandmother was up and cooking lunch the next day when I went to check on her.  She'd beaten malaria one more time.

REFUGES IN AMERICA - What's Happening Right Here in Oklahoma City!

   Last night Eric and I went down to an apartment complex called Jamie's Landing in downtown Oklahoma City.  In this apartment complex live people from all over the world but mostly from Burma, Sudan and Iraq.  Oklahoma City was chosen to be a hub for refugees running from persecution and war torn countries.  The US government allows a few people to come to the States each year to try to begin a new life.  They are given three to six months of money and then they are on their own.  Heart of God's bootcampers - missionaries in training - spend hours upon hours at Jamie's Landing trying to teach people English, helping them get a job, and enrolling their children in public schools - all tedious tasks if you are a foreigner who speaks little to no English.  There is an English lab at the apartment complex with five computers loaded with Rosetta Stone.  Adults go there to learn and our bootcampers help in the process.  It is beautiful to see.  I was completely moved by it.  As I stood in the complex a Burmese man was standing outside his door wearing his ankle length skirt.  In the apartment behind us, the windows were open and I could smell Asian noodles being made.  An Iraqi woman smiled as we said hello as she walked by.  I was so happy to be there.  I had NO idea such a place existed.  I am happy that our government is doing this.  I hope one day we do it on an even greater scale!  A boy of thirteen lives there and comes to the lab every day.  He is there because he saw between 30 and 40 people murdered one at a time before him.  He's safe now and  housed and fed.  His story is really no different from the rest.  Our bootcampers have worked tirelessly for hours on end since July with the refugees.  They will all graduate in two months and go overseas to begin their work but the people are coming in on planes daily.  This is true foreign work right here in the middle of Oklahoma City.  The joy that it has brought our bootcampers is immeasurable.  They have formed close friendships with the refugees and will miss them so very much when they leave.  We need missionaries to live and work there as their full time job.  It is holistic ministry.  It lights my little fire!

   Then, and this is how God works, I came home last night to my little room at HGM and watched the movie "God Grew Tired of Us."  This is so weird.  I have had this movie probably six months and decided on a whim to pack it and watch it one night on campus in my room.  I had no idea that when I left Jamie's Landing and came home and watched the movie that it was EXACTLY what was happening here in OK City.  I really didn't know what the movie was about.  God moves in such great ways.  He speaks so loudly at times.  Is that cool or what.  The movie is about three young men from war torn Sudan who enter the refugee/relocation program and end up in New York state.  It shows their struggles, their excitement at a new life and their longing to go home.  You should most definitely watch it.

   So that was my last night.  I thought of you the entire time.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Hello friends,
     It has been over a month since I've posted on my little cyber spot of the world.  I've been so busy these last six weeks.  I counted the days and we've been home in North Little Rock 9 days out of the last six weeks!  We've been traveling the world and it makes me come alive when I board a plane and head to a foreign country.  This trip took us back to Uganda - to Kampala and Pakwach.  I've posted a few of the some 4,500 pictures that I took on the trip.  More will be coming with time.  But on the way home I got a treat when Eric arranged that we stay overnight in Amsterdam so that I could visit Anne Frank's house.  I have been fascinated with her my entire life as many of you have been.  She is the voice of millions that suffered at the hands of the Nazis during World War II.  I'm still amazed that this occurred during my mom and dad's lifetime.  It just wasn't that long ago.  How did this happen?  Why did so many follow Hitler?  How could they!  It's a mystery to me.  So I wanted to visit her annex myself and stand in the rooms where she lived over two years in hiding and try to feel what she felt and see how she lived.  Here are a few pictures that I took in her house.
This portrait of Anne hangs on the wall outside the door leading to the Secret Annex.

The bookcase that swings open to the annex.  The shelves still hold the files that were on it in the 40s.
Anne's room.  The movie star pictures from magazines still hang on the walls.  They are protected by clear plastic cases.
The church that Anne could see from her window.  It has been restored and is used each Sunday.
The line outside Anne's house.  We waited for 45 minutes to purchase our tickets.  The tour of her house was self guided.  You could linger in the rooms as long as you liked.
     I'm glad that I got to go through the house and stand where she stood.  I tried to imagine my life as a Jew during that time in history.  The Jews are not the only ones who are suffering the same fate around the world.  I would have hoped that mankind would have learned from WWII but we didn't.  It still goes on today.  Only when Christ returns will it stop.  In the mean time, I'm thankful for Anne's voice that still speaks today on behalf of thousands who are being persecuted, tortured and slaughtered.  If you ever get a chance to see the Annex, you should most certainly go.


"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
Anne Frank

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Some day I will...

ride my wild pony...
across this high plains meadow...
and up into the mountains.
I'll see places like this...
and discover places like this.
I'll watch elk...
and bear...
and marmots.
And when I grow tired I'll spend the night here.
I'll sit in front of this fireplace...
and build a warm fire...
and drink a cup of cocoa.
When the fire has died down I'll crawl in bed here...
and snuggle this baby.
In the morning I'll find this.

Wanna come? You'll have to find your own bed and dog of course but you're welcome to tag along...

Friday, September 10, 2010


I'm so in the mood for fall.  These last hot days of summer are wearing me out.  I think we're all weary from the heat.  Hobby Lobby had a bunch of stuff on sale this week in their floral department.  I used to make wreaths with my Mom.  I haven't made one in years...until today.  I bought some things at HL and then brought them home and spread it out on the floor.  With my wire cutters in hand, I began snipping and shaping away.  This is what I ended up with:

I found these mismatched silverware for a dollar a piece at the antique store. I have a set of steel alphabet punches so I hammered out names into the handles.
Supper's ready...This is raspberry and cherry jam. It isn't hard to make - surprisingly! Stove and I are getting along better. But oven...that's a different story!Grace road her bike up to play Connect Four and Pente with Grant. They do this for hours.
Fall seems to be a time to slow down from the hectic pace that summer brings. The long shadows make the trees look magical in the late afternoon. It always brings me to a place of peace. I ran into a friend of mine at the apple orchard today. We talked about peace standing there among the apple trees with their branches heavy ladened. "The practice of peace" is something I have done since my mom got sick. I fold myself into Him, empty my mind of worries as best as I can, and let Him love me simply, sweetly and completely. I am renewed once again. He reminds me in those quiet moments of his sovereignty and that I am not blown in the wind. He cares for me emotionally. He is my friend.

Happy Almost Fall

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Creating Art as Worship - A bit about scrapbooking digitally and other thoughts on art.

I love art. I love to look at it and take the colors in. I love to create it - when I have the time. I love gazing at all the crayons in a new box of 120s or scanning all the fabrics in a quilting store. My head gets filled with all the hues and textures and it just makes me feel content. Actually, it's a feeling I can't really describe. Strange, isn't it. All I know is that when I create it is a form of worship for me. To create music, to scrapbook, paint or even clean and redecorate my kitchen is all an act of worship. God is there in the process (because I actively choose to include Him) and it becomes a way I share my day with Him. My life has changed so much over the last three years and that change has brought a lack of time with my scissors and paste. I was once a serious paper and tape scrapbooker and had been all my life. I worked as an artist briefly for Leisure Arts and was also published numerous times in Creative Keepsakes and Scrapbook Memories. I loved that and felt honored when one of my layouts would suddenly appear in one of their magazines. They would never let me know when it was going to be published. I would just have to go to the bookstore and thumb through them to see if one was in there. If there was, everybody in the store knew it because I was so excited! I never got over the "jumping up and down on the bed" kinda joy from being published. And even more funnier was the fact that I never told anyone about it. I never wanted anyone to think I was prideful of what I created when I actually thought there were numerous other artists around me that could just have easily been published. But as time marched on and the years went by, I lost the time it took to do paper and tape scrapbooking. And when my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer the desire to create art died in me all together. She would say to me, "go make some art," but I never had it in me during her illness. It resurged a bit about a year after she died and now, three years later, I'm back in the swing of things. But I don't do anymore paper and tape scrapbooking. One reason I guess is because it's from my previous life with my mom being around and another reason is because it takes time and space to break out all those supplies and get started. Traveling like we do prohibits me from creating the explosion of bits of paper, pieces of ribbon, flowers being cut out of magazines and such to make a scrapbook layout. But I wanted to make something for Grant to remember his childhood. How do you do that without all that stuff? One day Eric told me he was going to the bank. When he came back from "the bank" (it was really Best Buy) he placed a Mac computer in my lap. "Scrapbook," he said. He knew I was interested in Photoshop but didn't have a laptop that could handle it. He knew I needed to create art again. And oh wow! What I've learned how to do on a computer since that day! It will blow your mind what some of these programs can do! I was frightened of learning Photoshop but you know, I can do enough now to just be dangerous with it! Everybody on a plane to Kampala, Uganda knew when I discovered how to do drop shadows in PH4! I was telling Eric, "Look! Look! Here is it!!! Drop shadows!" And it really is easy. After learning how to do Photoshop I discovered a neat little site on-line called Mixbook. It will let you upload pictures into their site and make a scrapbook and then - you can actually have it printed in book form!!! I've made books for China, India, Uganda, and several for Grant over the last two years. Their published books are beautiful and it's actually cheaper than having all those pictures developed. They provide all the background papers for you and even the stickers. Or, you can upload your own digital papers and stickers and make it completely unique and your own. That's what I do. If you'd like to see one of my books, come on by the house and I'll show it to you. Now I can scrapbook in Oklahoma, Uganda or sitting an airplane or traveling in the car. Below are some of the simplest scrapbook pages I've done and yet they're still so much fun to look at!

And this is what a digital kit looks like when you buy it. I get mine mostly from Shabby Pickle and Cat Scrap - on-line digital scrapbook stores. They download it onto my computer after I buy it and then I either use it in Photoshop or upload it into Mixbook.

Anyway, next time you start to create something, remember where that creative spirit came from - the Original Artist - and worship Him throughout the process. It makes the whole act of creating even more fulfilling and meaningful. And if you want to learn how to scrapbook on your computer just drop me a line. I love to teach people and I get to spend time with you too. It's a win win for me!


Some stuff I did for Heart of God's Nomads weekend.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Post About Nuttin' Really

This is a post about absolutely nuttin' really.... I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite places to visit on Flickr - The Granny Chic group. They put up such fun pictures of their favorite stuff and of their homes that it just draws me in. Here are a few samplings:

For some reason it reminds me of a chenille bedspread my grandmother had at the house on Tilles in Fort Smith. It was bumpy and I remember sleeping under it. I wish I had it today but it's long gone I'm afraid. I guess the Flickr group reminds me of my childhood in a way. Anyway...check it out: