Prview of the 2022 Meditation Book due to come out in October.

For the past decade, each year I have written and self published a meditation book. Here is a sample of my work:

Naming Your Child

On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child and were calling him Zachariah after his father. But his mother [Elizabeth] intervened: “No. He is to be called John. Luke 1:59-60

Zachariah had an unexpected visit from an angel who told him his wife, Elizabeth, would become pregnant and give birth to a son. He trembled with fear and said he couldn’t believe this news because he and his wife were out of the child-bearing days.

But the angel said, “I am Gabriel, the sentinel of God, sent especially to bring you this glad news. But because you won’t believe me, you’ll be unable to say a word until the day of your son’s birth.  (Luke 1:19-20)

Elizabeth knew the child would not be named Zachariah, but John. Zachariah wrote John on a tablet to affirmed it be writing the name John on a tablet. Imagine how confused those reading the name John must have become! 

As a child, I heard my father’s story as to how he inherited his Grandfather Sampson’s name. I don’t know if my dad was the first-born grandson or if my great-grandfather wanted his legacy to continue through his Norwegian name, Askel. As the story unfolded, dad said, “My parents were told if they named their son after his grandfather, when the child became twenty-one years old, he would be given $1,000. My father grew up with a name he didn’t like, and to top it off, his grandfather died when dad was nineteen! He didn’t get the money, and lived until age ninety-one with the name.

Dear Lord, help us figure out the importance of names, especially when picked out by God. Amen.

Fallen Angels

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him. Luke 2:6-7

Years ago, I assisted a friend in a marionette play based on the story of the first Christmas. I had no experience working behind a five-foot stage manipulating puppets with half a dozen strings attached to a wooden control bar.  “I can’t do this,” I protested. “Yes, you can, he said.” 

As missionary, my friend had put on puppet shows for three years. He could manage more than one marionette at a time, but for this play, he needed help with the props and an occasional walk-in character. After several rehearsals, I felt confident enough to show up for the program. What could possibly go wrong working alongside of a seasoned marionettist?

During the first act, as the recorded angels began to sing Glory to God in the highest and peace and good will to man, I recognized my cue. Here I go, I thought, and gingerly began to descend the angelic choir (small stuffed angels glued to a board). The wire attached to the board slipped out of my hand, and instead of a graceful choir swaying to the music, they crashed to the stage floor. Before I could react, a large, firm hand swooped down and picked up the angels, and the show went on.

Glory to God! My goof up had been redeemed. Looking back on this experience, I think of times when I’ve faltered, and the large, firm hands of God picked me up and put me in my place. Surely God said, “The show must go on.”

Lord, thank you for your gracious hand of forgiveness. Amen.

John the Baptist Rants

 “It’s your life that must change, not your skin. The crowd asked him, “Then what are we supposed to do?” John 3:9-10

The churches (and many charity-based organizations) have had to step up during the pandemic to help people who were affected by the loss of work or directly from suffering from COVID. 

John the Baptist didn’t baptize everyone who “slithered” down to the river. He challenged them to examine their lives and open their eyes to the needs of others, as in verses 11-12: “If you have two coats, give one away,” he said. “Do the same with your food.”

Peace Lutheran Church in Peoria, Arizona, has been my church home for over a decade. One of the reasons I chose this congregation to worship with is that they believe in the discipleship of all members. The leadership challenges us to ask, “What am I supposed to do?

The first Sunday of Advent, I picked up a banker’s box as I left the sanctuary and a list of food products requested by the local food bank. It’s called a “Reverse Advent Box. Every day during Advent, we are asked to put one or more grocery items into the box. I will return the box on Christmas Eve and present it to the Christ Child as a gift to humanity.

Jesus continues to be the best gift of all. His cousin John contributed to the ministry by challenging people to change your life, not your skin.

Dear Lord, we are blessed by the messages of John the Baptist. Amen.

Guideposts Award Winning Story

(In June 2006 I became part of thee Guideposts Writer Workshop award winners and spent a week with authors and editors which changed my projector as a writer. I will always be grateful to this wonderful organization and to Rick Hamlin, my editor who encouraged me to keep writing.)

Silly Little Green Froggy

Linda was miffed. 

“This ‘therapeutic separation’ isn’t working very well, “ she sputtered, cleaning up the mess in the guest bathroom¾capping the toothpaste and rinsing off the grimy bar of soap Glen left on the counter instead of the soap dish.

“This is so typical of our thoughtless marriage,” she said, forcefully tossing loose tissues and an empty shampoo bottle into an overflowing trash can. “Thirty-nine years of it.”

As part of their so-called “therapeutic separation,” Glen, had moved into an RV parked at a campsite down the road. He was permitted to come into the house, while Linda was at work, to take a shower and do his laundry.

“Why can’t he clean up after himself,” she grumbled.

            It was good Glen wasn’t there. She would have given him a piece of her mind.

            What happened to that man I fell in love with as a teenager back in Iowa? He used to make me laugh. Now, all he does is make me mad.

The spark had fizzled from their marriage like a slow leak in an old inner tube. After the kids had grown up and moved out, they were just two resentful people living under the same roof. Finally, Linda had had enough. She asked for a divorce.

Glen argued he didn’t want one. He convinced her, instead, to try going to a couples therapist, which they’d been doing, every week for 90 minutes. It was the therapist who recommended the “therapeutic separation,” but there was no evidence it was doing any good. Every session with the therapist seemed to be a rehash of what “he did,” “she did,” or either of them “didn’t do.” Their communication was cold, indifferent, or cranky.

Linda moved on her own bathroom to begin tidying up.

            Pulling back the shower curtain, her state-of-mind instantly changed. A tight-lipped sentimental smile came over her face as she reached for her young granddaughter’s green bathtub toy, Froggy, left behind from her last visit. 

            Linda fondly picked it up, not quite knowing where to put it. 

A mischievous thought surged into her mind. I’ll put this silly little green frog in Glen’s bathroom. Maybe it’ll scare him into princely behavior.

            Carefully she propped the little frog, staring upwards, from atop the toilet brush.

            With a self-satisfied smile, she went on with her work. 

            “The next afternoon I went into my bathroom,” says Linda. “And, there he sat on the edge of the toilet seat. Froggy. I burst out laughing.”

            When she went into Glen’s bathroom she was astonished: “It positively sparkled. 

Toothpaste, comb and deodorant put away, the tub spotless¾victory!”

            Quickly she calculated that Glen would be coming the next day to do his laundry.

            “I had the perfect spot for Froggy: on top of the agitator in the washer. A sort of ‘thank you’ gesture,” she said.

            Then, two days later, Linda opened her medicine cabinet, and there he was, the silly little frog staring her in the face.

            She giggled, plopping Froggy on the bar of soap in Glen’s shower.

            “How are things going?” asked the therapist at their next session.

            “Well,” said Glen, glancing at Linda, “actually we’ve been hiding this frog around…”

            Linda and Glen couldn’t control themselves. They started laughing. And in between giggles, they explained the mysterious travels of the silly little green frog from one place to the next. 

            The therapist looked pleased. “Perhaps you’re ready to start dating,” she said matter-of-factly.

            “Dating?” asked Linda, her face feeling flushed.

            During the therapist session they made a plan to go to a flea market, agreeing not to discuss their relationship.

            When Linda later telephoned her daughter Karen about the impending “date,” her offspring followed-up with another question: “What are you wearing, Mom?”

            Linda hadn’t thought about that. “MOM, YOU NEED TO LOOK CUTE FOR DAD,” SHE ADDED.

She picked out a new outfit at Nordstrom’s “Last Chance” department. Considering that this was a “last chance” mission for her marriage, she fleetingly wondered, is that a godwink?

            When Glen arrived at the front door for their date, he was smartly dressed, handsomely groomed, and holding a bouquet of flowers.

            “I found that I was as awkward as a wife as Glen was as a husband,” she said later.

            The flea market date graduated to dinner and chatting about the kids.

             “Karen told me to bring flowers,” said Glen, grinning sheepishly. They laughed as they talked about their “conniving matchmaker.”

            “Should we do this again?” asked Glen as he walked Linda to the front door.

            Holding hands, Linda said, “Absolutely!”

            A few weeks later, Linda and Glen were ready to recommit to their relationship bolstered by a technique they had learned in the therapy sessions: to pray together. And just to help keep them focused…and laughing…silly little green Froggy still shows up from place to place, time to time.

            “When you lose the fun of life, you lose a strong component of who you are,” reflects Linda. “That little frog made a big turn around in my life. And we laughed ourselves silly.”

             “I have never felt better about our relationship,” she confides. “Glen’s in the same place. Our intimate life is better…our social life is better…everything.”

            She described her own “180 degree” attitudinal change with this illustration: “Glen used to say, ‘Would you like to go to Home Depot?’ I’d think, why in the dickens would I want to go to Home Depot? Now when he asks, I say, “Oh yeah! I’ll be there in three seconds!”

            Linda and Glen were thrilled when their story appeared nationally in Guideposts Magazine, complete with an illustration of silly little green Froggy.

Spirit-filled writing …

I didn’t know I could write until one day when the Holy Spirit nudged me. During the time I served in the church office, I sought articles or books about working in the church office that would give me a spiritual boost. I didn’t realize at the time that book would come from me.

After winning a spot on the Guidepost Writer’s Workshop, and being published in the August 2007 edition of the magazine, I felt confident that God was calling me to write inspirations in a meditative style for church secretaries and other administrators in the church office.

In 2008 I wrote one book, Incidents from the Church Office. The next year I wrote book II, and then III. After receiving good feedback, I put all three of the books into The Donut Theory–Inspiration for the Church Office.

God blessed me to continue writing meditations, and I’ve self-published over a dozen books which I’d like to share with you–either as a single message or through one of my publications described in the BOOKS section of my blog.

I pray you will find something within my writing to lift your spirits, give you a sense of peace, or to inspire you to further your growth as a Christian.