Tuesday, February 23, 2016

He's Like That

We stood in the cemetery, an icy wind betrayed the blue sky, no heat reached us from the yellow globe over head. On a hill overlooking distant hills finally green from days of rain, we waited shivering as the Marines unfolded the Flag; Stars and Stripes threatened to take to the sky like a kite. Behind us the mournful notes of Taps reached our ears, and at that moment a red tailed hawk flew up from the valley, soaring on wind currents, chasing the harbinger of death, reminding us that the spirit lives on.

Later that day, at the store we walked past a young woman, her child in a grocery cart in front of their car; I smiled at her and went to get my own cart, and turning to say something to John I noticed he had stopped to talk to her. Maybe he knows her: he's friendly like that. In a few minutes he met me in the store, piling items in the cart he shares that as he walked past her he felt like he was supposed to ask her if she was alright. He sensed she was distressed. She was. She couldn't lift her little girl out of the cart, she wasn't supposed to lift anything over 25 pounds because she was pregnant and had suffered a hernia. John said he would help and when he reached for the little girl she just jumped into his arms. Then he helped with their groceries. He's like that. The Patron Saint of Damsels in Distress.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Ventures 2016

We are trying new things in 2016, a year of change, and a year of opportunity. I have been looking for new ways to highlight and show John Barrett's art: this is one way I've found to begin, Art as Fashion. Using images from his art that aren't for sale and giving people the opportunity to enjoy them as fashion pieces. The company is www.shopvida.com  their story is one of young entrepreneurs' creating fashion by working directly with artisans and then giving a portion back by providing literacy education for their factory workers who make the clothes. You can see John's page at the link below:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Every year when I put up our manger I think about Jesus's whole life. In it you can see baby Jesus, his mother Mary, and father Joseph surrounded by the animals and Shepherds. Angels oversee the scene and the wise men with camels come bearing gifts...but look closely and one comes with elephants from Africa, and in the back ground is a pyramid representing Egypt where the Holy family fled from Herod.  Surrounding the crib are seashells and stones from the Holy Land, and the coins Judas received for betraying Him. In the distance a tiny olive wood cross stands waiting, and at His feet the square headed nail that pierced His flesh. There is also the alabaster jar ready to for the woman from Bethany to annoit Him, and oil and a Jewish lamp.  Look again and there is a carved wooden bowl made from the cedars of Lebanon and tiny jars or Frankincense and Myrrh. Every piece tells His story and the most important part not seen, but felt is His love for us. Merry Christmas...O come O come Emmanuel...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Biography of a Man of Faith

David Wilkerson: The Cross, The Switchblade and The Man Who Believed

There are certain people in the world who have a profound effect on your life, whether you knew them personally or not, and for me one of those people was David Wilkerson. For those of us whose personal struggle with drug addiction ultimately led them to Jesus Christ, we can thank David Wilkerson for paving the way, by listening to the Holy Spirit and stepping out in faith, way back in the late 1950’s, where he opened the hearts of evangelists and pastors to reach out to us. My mother gave me a copy of The Cross and The Switchblade when she was praying and searching for a way to get me out of the drug world.

 In this biography, his son Gary Wilkerson presents a well rounded look into the man, who I would list in the company of Mother (Saint) Theresa, and Billy Graham. David wasn’t perfect; he didn’t come from a perfect family life; even though generations of his family members have been Christians. He was a person who had doubts, and struggled like we all do with relationships. But he prayed and sought God, and listened for guidance everyday and then he acted on what he was shown. Out of his obedience we have Teen Challenge turning young lives around and giving hope to families. We also have worldwide ministries that reach the poor and overlooked and there are new pastors and evangelists being sent out to give witness to the power of Jesus Christ to break addictions. I would highly recommend this book to people of faith who need encouragement in their walk, I know it changed my feelings about the hopeless mess our world is in and encouraged me to keep praying and reaching out. This book is a five star keeper.

Friday, December 28, 2012

It Just Takes One

It Just Takes One

Years ago I went to my first Writers’ Conference hoping to get encouragement or insight, even if it meant discouraging me from becoming a writer, because I wanted to write a memoir about how I got into and out of the drug world. I left the conference with a lot of information about what the literary industry wanted, and also with a little book titled “You Start with One” by Deo Miller and Susan Titus. It was the story about how Deo and his wife wanted to help abandoned children in Sri Lanka find homes. They were overwhelmed by the needs of these kids, but they decided to find one child a home and they ended up helping multitudes.

Later on in my journey to be an author, I read Anne Lamont’s Bird by Bird another book about doing things little by little. So that is how I wrote my memoir, little by little over 20 years; one idea, one memory, one line, one chapter at a time.

When the economy tanked I spent over a year filling out mountains of paperwork, month after month, trying to save our home from foreclosure: contacting our bank and every program we fit into, trying every lead, and getting nothing but overwhelming stress and buckets of tears. Then as I was ready to give up and walk away, my husband who has learning disabilities, handwrites one letter with spelling and grammar errors included, to one person; the CEO of the bank, and sent copies to every politician and news media he thought might help. Immediately the bank called, and started helping us get a loan modification. We are finishing up the trial modification and should get the permanent loan Modification in February. From that one letter we now have letters from The White House, the governor, 2 senators, an assembly man, a state representative, the Department of Justice, The Department of Treasury, including a call from our district attorney’s office, another assemblywoman, and a personal contact with our attorney general’s office who is working closely with us to save our house. Everyone made phone calls and sent letters to our bank to help us, and many more people prayed that we’d get help. When all else fails remember it just takes one; one person who goes that extra mile and doesn’t give up.

As we head into the New Year the news is filled with pending doom of the Fiscal Cliff, the people we put into office can’t seem to find common ground and yet if one person, one Party, would shift a little, to do the job we asked them to do, to look out for us and put us first we could break through this quagmire and start the year united.

We have just celebrated Christmas, a time where we remember that one young girl said yes to God and put her needs aside, and she changed to course of mankind forever. Will we be the one that looks at the impossible and says with God all things are possible? I hope so. A Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

Lilly, our newest foster dog, who had a broken back
and still lives her life running at full speed.

Monday, November 12, 2012

I'm thinking about and remembering all our servicemen and women today, who put their lives on the line to serve our country and stand for freedom. With many prayers and thanks for all they do. Here is the story of one brave man and the dog who helps his recovery.
Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him 

Luis Carlos Montalvan


I originally picked up this book to give it to my brother-in-law, who had recently lost his Golden Retriever, but then I read the introduction and couldn’t help but read the whole thing—it’s that compelling. This is the story of 2 heroes, Luis Carlos Montalvan is an Iraq war veteran who came home wounded—most of the wounds hidden, like a traumatic brain injury, but they devastated his life nonetheless. He is one of thousands of servicemen and women who are struggling to find their way in a society that doesn’t comprehend the trauma’s they have lived through. His determination to survive being “home” and his succinct writing gives voice to many who are slipping through the cracks. The other hero is Tuesday, his service dog, who made it possible for him to write this book.


Tuesday’s story is as captivating as his; a puppy born to be a service dog who went through some heartbreaking issues at the beginning of his training, and who didn’t quite have the personality make up of a traditional service dog. Yet he became the perfect dog for Fmr. Capt. Montalvan. Until Tuesday, gave me new insight into the training of service dogs. If you love dog stories, war stories, or inspirational stories then this is the one to read. I have one warning for parents, because of some graphic details of the Iraq war I wouldn’t recommend this for children.  For me it is a definite 5 stars story.  

Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fruit of My Spirit Reframing Life in God's Grace

Fruit of My Spirit

From the moment I began reading the preface of Fruit of My Spirit I chuckled; here was a writer I related to; a real person, close to my age, who responded to life like anyone else, her words not spiritually sugar coated: “I’m impatient whenever life has the audacity to thwart my plans. I get frustrated whenever life presents a detour or a hurdle.” Oh yeah…Amen sister, preach it!

Deanna Nowadnick’s memories of love, marriage, family, her childhood, her teen years and adulthood are down to earth, sometimes funny even embarrassing and I know that many people will be helped by her way of seeing Gods hand in even the most trying times. Her book helped me, and that’s a miracle because I’ve been in the midst of one of the hardest years of my life. It made me happy to start each day, these last 2 weeks, reading a chapter. It was good to look at my circumstances in a different light.

As Christians, Deanna reminds us that to be a Christian doesn’t mean we are perfect, and perfection doesn’t matter because God loves us just the way we are, in spite of our short comings. Anyone who is not a Christian will read her memoir and get insight into those “not so perfect” relatives that keep bugging them to go to church. The thing is, we didn’t just “arrive” in holiness when we said yes to Jesus—we arrive when we enter heaven, all else is the time we spend preparing to be ready, and sharing the love of God. I’m giving five stars to this little book (90 pages) with hope that you will pick one up and let God’s grace touch you through her message. Hurry now, go read Galatians 5:22-23 and find out about the fruit of the Spirit.

*Here's a special note to Deanna...We didn't need to watch Survivor on TV, we survived Blue Birds and Campfire girls... I don't "Do" camping either. Our joke is "my idea of camping is a room in the Holiday Inn in a sleeping bag." ;-)

here's a link to Deanna Nowadnick's Fruit of My Spirit