Tuesday, May 17, 2011


In 1984 Wendy's hamburger chain came out with a brilliant television ad campaign.  It started with 3 little old ladies looking at an enormous hamburger bun and one of the ladies finally saying "Where's the beef"?.  The hamburger patty almost appeared to be a small dot on that large bun.  It was a brilliant ad that caught on like a wild fire.  Even children could be heard  around town yelling, "Where's the beef?" In my circle of family and friends the popular saying was used in a variety of situations where truth was questioned. 

Recently there has been a raging controversy about the USA's decision to not show death pictures of Osama ben Ladin. I hear many basically asking, "Where's the beef"?  They want to see the body.  But like the enormous bun and tiny patty, even seeing may not equate to the truth.  Twenty people can observe a crime and there will be different interpretations of the event, and truth.  Knowing this, I don't need to see the bullet riddled body.

However, there are many events in our nation and in the world that I can without a doubt see the beef.  I recently watched a modified townhall meeting where President Obama was answering questions from the assembled group.  One man spoke about struggling to fund the rising cost of gasoline. President Obama laughed and told him that he needed to purchase a new car that would get better gas mileage.  Mr. President my question to you is, what makes you think a person can purchase a new car during a time that they are struggling to purchase gasoline?  His comments were not presidential.  Mr. President, we now know where to find the beef and it is not with you.   

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Ambition is alive and thriving in Michigan.  We hear so much about the dismal Michigan economy that it would be easy to fall into the "bah humbug" trap.  Yesterday I met a group of people that smiled, lifted others up and are definitely looking forward to the future. These people understand sacrificing for a dream.  They understand the cost of moon lighting at a second job while pursuing a better future for themselves and their families.  Pursuing that dream is the number 1 priority of this group.  They all have a dream.  I am talking about writers. 

Authors from far and wide met for the Michigan Spring Book Festival.  One woman I spoke with had traveled from New Jersey to be at the Festival.  She sat at a table with her family, a husband and two darling small children.  She proudly displayed her children's book.  Her name was Antoinette Gelin.  Antoinette shared her frustration with me about the trials and tribulations of publication.  But frustration was tempered with a willingness to share the joy of seeing her book in publication.  As she sat there her husband was working on the illustrations for her next book.  You can reach Antoinette at agelin22@comcast.net.

A bubbly young mother who is originally from France and still speaks with a French accent was generous with her time and knowledge.  Her children's book is currently in use in French public schools.  She has just recently published here in the US.  She also sat with her family as they visited with shoppers at the mall and other authors.  Her name is Gwen Bocher Pion and you reach her at gwenbocher@gmail.com.  Absolutely charming.

I spoke with the author and his family that had also self-published a children's book about bullies. He has another book in progress and is planning to do his own illustrations with this new book.  Talent was everywhere you looked yesterday.  You can find David L. Watkins at http://booksbydavidwatkins.com/.

Not everyone there at the Festival is new to promotion.  I visited with Harriet Cammock and anyone living in the Metro Detroit  area would recognize the name.  She is very active in our community, hosting a radio program every Sunday afternoon.  She has written a book about domestic violence.  She speaks from experience.  She was delightful and informative. The name of her book is, "Through the Fire".  You can reach Harriot at http://harrietcammock.org/.

My spirit was in need of fellowship with other authors.  I could have used the word networking but it just does not explain the camaraderie that was present yesterday.  Yes, Michigan Governor Snyder would have stood proud at the self determination of the writers.  I am looking forward to next year when my husband and I will have a table with my dream baby, "Jesus to the Rescue".  It's all good in the neighborhood.


Saturday, April 16, 2011


My family's fascination with our country's space travel has always been active.  I recently wrote about my trip to Florida and the Space Center. There is another story to tell. Years ago when my children were still all at home we had an opportunity to see the space shuttle land at Edwards Air Force Base in California.  Tickets were free and available locally. This was a once in a life time treat for our cash strapped family. They were expecting people in the thousands to attend and watch the shuttle landing. 

The children piled into our newly purchased used car, I patted my pocket to make sure I had the ticket and off we went across the desert for the 60 miles to the Base.  The closer we got to the base we saw larger and larger numbers of cars and buses.  Finally we were in a long line of vehicles waiting to enter the Base. Military police personnel would stop each vehicle or bus and then wave it on to the right at a branch in the road.  When it was our turn the young man stooped slightly toward the window and said, "Good afternoon.   Do you have a ticket?"  He was but a few years older than my oldest son.  When he told me to take the road to the left I questioned him.  But he insisted.  " Just keep to the left and you will go around a curve.  Keep going and you will see a group of vehicles off to the right.  Just pull in there and you will have a good view of the landing."

The older children were frowning and were confused as I was.  But...............for some reason I felt we should comply.  After all, he was the military police. As we pulled onto the dirt area that he had directed us to, there were other cars parked there and people were getting out of their vehicles.  As we moved to the edge of what appeared to be a drop off I realized we were on one side of the air runway and on the other side there were hoards of people.  The bleachers were over flowing and military police were trying their best to keep the people in the bleachers.  The children and I stood there in shock as we realized that we were with some kind of privileged group.

A person in the group yelled here it comes and we all looked up and had I been 7 feet tall I could have touched the bottom of the shuttle as it went right over our heads. Today I still get chills just thinking of it.  There are not enough words to describe that moment.  It was magnificent, thrilling, engulfing, and it was American. Many of us stood there and cried. And if this post was going to go snail mail you would find a few splatters on the paper from today's tears.  

As people began to get back into their vehicles to leave I realized that most of the men were in uniform. Then I understood. The previous owner had been in the military and had not removed the sticker when he sold the car to us.  The guard at the gate had mistaken us for a military family. It was an unexpected blessing for my family. Was this a coincidence?  Not hardly. I once read that there are no coincidences.  Only blessings and miracles where God may choose to remain anonymous.   


Friday, April 15, 2011


Florida is a favorite winter vacation spot for many of us living in Michigan.  In the winter Florida is warm and welcoming and offers such attractions as alligators, manatees, the Everglades and beaches where seniors gather.  But for me the most important attraction is the Space Center, which chronicles a proud space history spanning over 40 years.   A human first went into space in 1961 and that was the beginning of the Apollo space program for the US.  In the 1990's many private interests began to look at space as a possible profit center.  Just the idea of space travel brought forth dreams of a space adventure for my family.  When Star Trek hit the TV scene we never missed a segment.  But now with the new Administration in Washington, the space program is being cut to the bone.

At the Space Center we soon realized that we needed to take one of the tour buses or we would miss much of what there was to see.  Our old bones just couldn't take us to every exhibit that we wanted to explore.  After paying the ticket price of the tour we scrambled aboard the bus and snagged a seat behind the driver. The bus driver provided a canned presentation about the space program and how each building and site is used. But in between areas of interest we were able to talk with him privately.  Knowing that the space program was going to be dismantled soon it was a treasured moment as he provided insight and his passion for the program.  I never knew before that the Space Center is the only Federal program that actually makes a profit.  To this day I can not get my head wrapped around why we are abandoning a profit center such as the Space Center.

Aside from financial considerations I believe we must consider the issue of national pride.  Because a launch was planned for the next day, the "ship" was standing erect on the launch pad.  We were somber in the knowledge that it may have been the last. We saw it clearly from a third level viewing tower.  My husband and I stood there in reverence, holding hands knowing that this was a special moment.  Perhaps it was the last time that any of us that day would ever see such a magnificent sight again.  I wanted to turn to the other vacationers and lead the Pledge of Allegiance, but I didn't.  Or perhaps we should have started singing the "Star Spangled Banner".  I know others would have joined us.  Or the Center should have been playing the National Anthem over the PA system. Perhaps, this was a missed opportunity. I know that this country is not perfect but it is still the best nation in the world.  It is my nation and it is yours. We must be vigilant in preserving our history. God bless American.  

Monday, April 4, 2011


Blogging has been a constant pastime for many people for years.  For me, it is a new adventure.  I am wondering when I will no longer enjoy surfing the blogs.  Sometimes I feel like I am intruding into a person's life and family. Blogs are sometimes painfully personal and some are trivial in their content.  And of course we have to admit that what is trivial to one person may not be to another. This morning I came across a site where the parent was sharing about the struggle to emotionally and physically survive a life threatening illness of their child. I clicked onto the next blog and it also was about an ill child and the next and next.  I soon realized that I was following a thread of parents sharing and finding support among other parents facing the possible death of their child.  Having experienced miscarriages and not the loss of a child after you have held him or her in your arms, I can only imagine the pain. Some of the entries on the sites ended last year with the going home of the child. Bless the heart of some parents that have maintained the site after their child's death so that they can continue to minister to other parents still in the fight. Most of these parents would never have met or been able to communicate with such a large number of families without meeting on blogs. 

There are untold numbers of family blogs that just make you smile.  They are sweet or rugged, and cultured or raw. They are wonderful! This morning while I should have been changing the linens I was surfing and read a mother's struggle to convince her young child that he needed to go to the nursery, which I am assuming is at church.  She listed all the possible solutions that she had tried that had failed. She talked about how the teachers did everything possible to make the child feel safe and comfortable.  She spoke with a teacher regarding her frustrations and everything that she had tried to solve the problem.  The teacher provided priceless advice.  "Pray for him.  Pray for him to have a brave heart."  Lissa shared that it worked! I couldn't help but think what a great prayer for any family. You can read about Lissa and her family at:  twoagainstone.blogspot


Saturday, April 2, 2011


Yesterday was April Fools Day.  No one tried to fool me and I made no effort to plan and execute a prank on someone else.  When the day was over I wasn't sure if I should be pleased to be missed as a target of a prank or disappointed that I had missed some fun.  In years past I have participated in good natured fun with a harmless April Fools joke.  Perhaps I should start planning now for next year's prank.

The one thing that we all can be sure of is that God does not play pranks on us.  We may try our best to circumvent His guidance and thus cause misery to our selves. And yet he is merciful even when we try to blame someone else for our folly.  There is always one person that I can blame but really would rather not.  She has given me some really rotten advice in the past. Her name is Marty.  I am sure that there is not a person alive that has not listened to their own voice and not the voice of God at least once in their life time. Sometimes God has taken me to the wood shed and I always have deserved the correction.  But God does not play pranks on us.  His word is clear and his correction is balanced with mercy for those who love Him.

"His mercies are new every morning". Lamentations 3:22


Sunday, March 27, 2011


"Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain".  I wish I knew who originated that.  It is  posted all over the Internet but I have yet to see credit given to the author.  It is a perfect example of how precious original thought and words can be lost to the person who penned it.  Also, the person who originated this wonderful statement may have thought it was nothing at the time and did not take any precaution to protect it. Just maybe, that person would be honored to know how well it has spread and be able to take that as a compliment. When income and future income are at stake I am not so sure how magnanimous I could be. 

We are now a society that our words fly through the air to destinations unknown.  That could be a scary thought if one did not consciously decide to protect oneself the best way possible and then let the disastrous possibilities rest someplace other than the mind. I sometimes scratch my head at what people post on Facebook and Blogs.  What were they thinking when they posted intimate details about their spouse?  I understand that some prospective employers are insisting not only on your Facebook address but some are demanding your password. With thousands applying for one open position people are more likely to surrender to greater threats to their privacy.  The bottom line is, don't post anything that you don't want the whole world to know about today or maybe forever. However, most authors would be thrilled to have the whole world know about their book. 

For now, I am not going to worry about who penned that wonderful short statement.  I am just going to enjoy the wisdom and praise God for the Internet that brought that to me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Blogging is new to me in all respects.  As well as posting several times weekly I am also following some other blogs that have a variety of focus.  One such blog is that of novel author Jody Hedlund.who shares her perspective on writing as a profession.  She is experiencing success with the  publication of, not her first book but her 4 book.  The other books were written but never published. She knew that these books of her labor were not publication material.  Today she writes about those years as necessary for her growth as an author and the time necessary for her to perfect her craft. She also shares that for some years she put away her writing and concentrated on her young family. However, as a person who loves the written word, I can be confident that everything she wrote during those years could bear witness to her potential future  as a professional author.

I don't have the luxury anymore to set my writing aside.  At 69 I may not be on the precipice of Alzheimer disease or even death.  However, I realize that every day is now more precious than ever.  And looking back I realize that some of my "writing" just wasn't all that good.  The ideas had value and probably was looked upon with favor from readers.  The skill and craft of writing was sub-standard and definitely not up to publication standards.  That is a humbling statement to make.  But knowing that and being able to share it may be why I can call myself an author. The ability to exercise self examination is a critical skill needed as a professional writer.

It is a fact that many people, writers and others, have always had great commitment and consistency about whatever they did.  I would hope that I could fit myself neatly into that group.  But now I must add some where along the way, contentment.  I can not be contented until my book is as God would want it to be and the best work that I am capable of completing.  Just this morning I reviewed a piece in the book that was written several years ago and had to say, "What was I thinking."  The heart and idea of the story was good, the writing skill was very bad.

Today I have to say, thank you Jesus, for input from other writers and for HIS revealing awareness.  And.....I pray that one day I can hold my completed book in my hand and be content that it is the very best I could write.    


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Feed my lambs...................

Not too long ago I was at the market with another woman and as we made our way from the produce area to the meat section we passed the deli.  As we slowly traversed we noticed an older woman lingering at a station that had heated soup tureens with a variety of soup.  The store had set out small paper condiment cups so the customers could sample the soups before actually filling up a takeout container for purchase.  I stopped to check out the fruit and the soup station was not too far off. 

My companion said to me, "Look that woman is not sampling but is really stealing soup".  Yes, the woman was not sampling, but feasting.  She would fill one of the small cups and wander back to her cart.  I watched her savor each little cup of soup as if it were prime rib.  Imagine a picture of a very dignified woman, thin or maybe even gaunt. She had a small purse with a handle that she had to keep pushing back up onto her wrist. She must have filled at least a half a dozen tiny cups while we were watching.  She was trying so hard to be discreet, but it was clear she favored one soup over all the others.  Occasionally she would wander over to another area of the deli as if she were carefully shopping for other things.  But, then she would return to the soup.

My young companion was incredulous.  Stealing is wrong.  Well, yes I suppose, but we don't really know what her situation is today.  Is she trying to live on a very small social security income?  Did her husband pass away and part of the income died with him?  Did the company where she had worked for 40 years go bankrupt and all of her retirement funds lost?  The one thing we do know is that she did not pull out a Tupperware container from a large purse, fill it up and quietly return the container to her purse.  That is all we know except that the woman was hungry.  There were no signs indicating a limit on the tiny sampling containers.  And, how many of us have gone to Cosco and made sure that we hit all of the sampling stations?  By the way, I never eat before I go to Cosco.

In John 21:15-19 we read about a conversation between Jesus and Simon Peter about love and feeding the sheep.  Jesus speaks consistently about His sheep.  The sheep do not belong to us.  They belong to Jesus.  We are undershepherds who also belong to Jesus first above all else.  And of course, the text is speaking not about physical food but spiritual food.  But, for me it all folds neatly into the same package.  We are a nation of abundance and no person should go hungry in such a nation.

On the other side of the coin, I have witnessed so many abuses surrounding food. Some practices within the community of those struggling with addictions don't always have to be labeled as stealing.  It more often is a case of getting all you can get while you can get it.  Many organizations, churches, and individuals endeavor to make sure that every family has a turkey at Thanksgiving. Many of those recipients end up with 4 or 5 turkeys that they do not have storage capacity for, that they have received from a variety of sources.  People struggling with addiction will sell their food stamps for cash so that they can use the money to purchase drugs or alcohol and then make the rounds of organizations that will provide food for them.

Missions and soup kitchens across this country provide services for all types of people, some of them receive services year after year.  For some there is no movement toward independence.  They use the mission to balance the budget. Eventually missions may require the person to submit to case management before any more services are rendered.  Sometimes the person just moves on to other service providers in the community rather than have someone in their "business".  The hope of every missionary is that the person will embrace Jesus and that their life will be a transformed.  Sometimes it just does not happen.

About now, you must be wondering what happened to the story about the very dignified older woman.  I want to add to the list of possible reasons she was feasting at the soup counter.  She also may be struggling with addictions and has used her monthly check for her own addiction.  Or she may be caring for her meth addicted daughter's children and there isn't much money left for her food. 

I, along with others have noticed in the news recently statements that are in conflict with logic. We have two wars going on in this country about food.  The first is child obesity.  The second is starving children.  Now you have to laugh about that, even though it is not a laughing matter.  In some circles I am known as the "food lady", having been involved in all sorts of programs, personal and public, to make sure people have good healthful food. But Jesus said "Feed my lambs", and we know that it is always our first responsibility to spread the gospel. I also quote Micah 6:8.  "And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God".  That says it all about how we should live. Today I lifted up the little woman in prayer. Jesus knows the problem.  I don't have to labor over it. I love you Jesus.


All the articles in this blog are copyrighted and may not be used without prior written consent from the author.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


The year was 2003 and the Mission's thrift store was a very special place.  Discipleship students came to work there several times a week where they learned to work with others and the public.  There also was a small army of volunteers and faithful employees.  So many things that happened there reminded us about the power of God in our personal lives and the lives of others.

One day I noticed a small book that came into Rescued Treasures Thrift Store as a donation.  The title "Guerrilla for Christ" really drew me to it.  The main character, Salu Daka Ndebele was a black Rhodesian who was associated with Youth with a Mission and worked in a drug rehabilitation center in the Peoples' Republic of Mosambizue.  He was arrested for distributing bibles during a campaign against the church and missionaries by the reigning Front for the Liberation of Mosambizue.  He was imprisoned and suffered from  inhuman conditions and brutality by the guards.  Pressure was put upon him to join the guerrillas in the fight against Ian Smikth but Salu Daka Ndebele refused to give in and decided to alone become a guerrilla for Christ.

As I read this I thought about our own Noel Trost.  This young girl came to work at Rescued Treasures during and right after graduation from high school.  Her tender spirit was evident to any that met her.  We had hoped to keep her with us.  She was a dependable worker but most of all she was bold to pray with customers.  Noel was always smiling and I thought of her as a great sunflower swaying in the sun.  As much as we wanted her to stay her heart was elsewhere.  Youth with a Mission called her name and she answered.  Her heart was in India.  Her first trip there was for only 6 weeks.  She then began to stay for longer periods of time before coming home for a much needed rest.  India was not a very safe place anymore.  India was not sure which side they wanted to be on after September 11th.  But.....I know that Noel was always anxious to get back to her new home, India.  I saw her briefly on one of her trips home and she had begun to look like those she served.  Had she been wearing the traditional clothing of India, I might have thought she was a visiting foreigner.  She glowed with the power of Jesus. Occasionally the Holy Spirit brings her name to my mind.  Noel is definitely a guerrilla for Christ.  India may not know it but we sent the best we had available to speak the precious name of Jesus.  We sent Noel.

All the articles in this blog are copyrighted and may not be used without prior written consent from the author.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jesus to the Rescue Introduction

Many of the persons that find themselves at the rescue mission door have long ago dropped out of main stream America.  Their issues are so serious that they can no longer get by with a "tune-up".  They need a full "overhaul".  Rescue missions also welcome families that have made poor decisions regarding their finances and those, through no fault of their own, found themselves homeless.  This book is about lost and found hope.  It is about how people change when they meet Jesus.  Rescue Ministry produces more Christian conversions in a month than some mainstream churches experience in a year.  The book is also about people that know the name of Jesus, but do not know Him.

There was an era when most mission guests were single alcoholic males.  The demographics now include people of all ages struggling with a variety of serious issues.  Drugs and/or alcohol abuse continue to contribute in whole or in part to many situations of homelessness.  In addition to being preachers and teachers of the gospel, many staff returns to college to become substance abuse counselors.  Some missions provide just a place to sleep and a hot meal, while others have developed programs that teach people the tools necessary to achieve independent living.  Many missions have some form of rehabilitation program for those in bondage to life controlling issues.  The mission in Casper, Wyoming and Bakersfield, California where I ministered called the program, Discipleship Training.  Mission program guests may experience a resiliency totally unexpected by their families and others who have watched helplessly from the sidelines.  The Mission in Casper best embodies the spirit of rescue ministry in three words, "Rescue, Restore and Reconcile".

Those in rescue ministry are often called from secular occupations and not from clergy positions.  Some unknowingly have been training for rescue ministry their entire life.  Once God revels to them His purpose and will, they embrace their call and leave behind whatever life they had been living.  Across this nation and beyond, they tirelessly pour themselves out day after day.  Every night God comes to them to replenish their spirit and their energy.  The very next day they do it all over again, never regretting that they answered the call to ministry.  These workers rejoice at the opopportunity to serve God for yet another day.  And so it was with us as we left our previous life for central Wyoming to answer the call.  My husband was 65 and I was 53.

Friday, March 11, 2011

On The Wings Of Words

This morning I awoke to the news that there has been a devastating earthquake in Japan and accompanying tsunami in Japan, Hawaii and along the US western coast.  My spirit is disturbed because I have family and friends in Hawaii and California.  It is very difficult to be so far away in Michigan.  I know that in the physical I wouldn't be much help to any of them.  But, as many Christians, I am armed and dangerous.  Nothing is too big for my God.  I am also not so naive to think that just because I pray that no harm will ever come to my family, friends, or even myself.  And while this scenario is playing out, there is a friend in Wyoming keeping a vigil and watching as her husband struggles to fight for his life in the ICU.  My Jesus is able to be present at all of these events.  I can not imagine a life without Jesus.  How do people manage on their own?

As a writer all of these events are yeast for yet another story, article or a plan for a new writing piece. In my case it will be non fiction but I know that some fiction writers are on their computers this morning, or typewriter if that is their usual tool.  Somewhere today a fiction writer has found the missing piece to a story or character.  Only recently have I started reading fiction.  When I was about 12 years old I decided not to read fiction and became a steadfast researcher.  Fiction is just as revealing about our society as is non fiction.  I have observed that the frequent use of profanity started much earlier than I had thought.  I have been reading some fiction that was written in excess of 30 years ago.  Thirty years ago I didn't know one person that spoke with profanities in their every day conversations.  But, I am thinking that perhaps I must have lived under a rock because I am finding such language in the fiction books I am reading. Or has society  dramatically changed during the current generation?  Either way, I know that currently such language is common place and I find that to be sad.

A story is racing around in this brain and today sometime it will be committed to paper.  But most of all I will be in prayer for those people who raced to safety and for the families who are frantically searching for their missing loved ones.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Now Is The Time!

My Dear Family, Friends and Author Colleagues: 

There is such a fine line between tooting your own horn and the realization that God is thrusting you into another life season. Examining this season I have finally come to realize that I am an author and also may be an author colleague to others in turn.  I have always had plenty to say about everything, much to the consternation of many.  Starting in Jr. High School teachers would often give directions to the class about how many pages or words their term paper must contain.  Then the teacher would give special instructions to me limiting the amount of content.  It is a documented fact that I have written many grants, which are not only a writing exercise but an exercise in human endurance.  In addition I have been the creator of many business brochures, forms and documents for myself for others. For many years a friend and I produced a weekly christian newsletter of our writings and we were blessed with a large distribution. 
The event that has finally forced me to create a blog is "THE BOOK", which is about 3-4 months to completion.  "Jesus to the Rescue", has been in the works for more years than I want to reveal. My experiences as a missionary at 2 separate rescue missions has been the inspiration for true stories about  men, women and children who meet Jesus and find their lives transformed forever.

I am asking you to take this journey with me as I complete the book and actively pursue a publisher who will catch the vision and want to share my stories with others.  The greatest fear of course is that no publisher will see my work as worthy and I will have to self publish. After reading blogs of other authors I realize it is not the most shameful thing that could happen but every author's dream is to have an agent and a contract with a publishing house. The greatest dream of all is to receive an advance payment for the book. Over the next 3-4 months I will be posting some excerpts from the book and also a sampling of some writings unrelated to Jesus to the Rescue.  But most of all I need your feed back as I swim the channel of publishing.  In turn, if you are a contemporary, perhaps we can share the swim.