It’s been months since I’ve posted here.  If I wait until I feel like composing prose, I may never write again.  So, I’ve decided to cast away all writing fear and record my thoughts, as random as they may be…

       My father-in-law, who is 87, is an enviable gardener.  Last fall, he shared with me some bulbs – lily, iris, phlox – and some peony sprouts.  I was thrilled – especially about the peonies  – which are heirloom plants brought from Norway by his grandmother (or was it great-grandmother?), about 100 years ago.   

       I managed to get all the bulbs planted but not the peony roots.  They needed a different spot in the yard.  A brand new place.  My hero had great intentions of removing sod and preparing a great place for them.    

But because his job demanded enormous amounts of overtime, he just couldn’t get to it. 

         Weeks passed, pushing us into late fall.   In desperation, I finally decided I’d do it myself.  I was soon shocked to discover I had neither the strength nor the tools to cut through sod, much less, prepare five holes, each a foot wide and a foot deep, as I’d been instructed by a peony expert whom I’d phoned for advice while in that state of desperation. 

    I should probably mention that I did manage to dig one hole – almost deep enough.  I’d started late in the day but decided I should probably stop digging when our neighbor backed into his driveway and just sat there with his truck headlights beaming at me…digging a hole in my yard in the dark. 

       Which turned out to be a good thing for another reason.   The next day,  as my college-age son and his friend sat eating my home cooking, I asked the friend if he would be willing to dig holes in our yard, for pay.  He agreed but in a follow-up phone conversation, he suggested I first call and have our yard marked for underground wires, etc.  You know – the “Call Before You Dig” advice. 

      So I did.  I called.  A few days later, I saw little wires with colored flags marking varying spots in my yard.  And red lines sprayed in the grass, directly across the hole I’d begun digging. 

        I need to shorten this so I can get to bed…  

        Finally, on a frigid, windy, rainy November day, the young man I hired, and our son, not only dug the holes, they mixed in the compost I’d lugged home.  And, with my guidance, planted the peony roots.     

               It had been weeks since I’d received those heirloom starters from my father-in-law and I was more than worried they may not sprout.  But now it’s spring.  April.  And I am so stoked to see they’ve come up! 

               And the young man, one of my “sons,” who incidentally turned down my pay, is now in another state beginning training to be a Navy Seal.           




At this very moment, there is a critical need for prayer for the safety of our troops in Afghanistan.  Whether or not you feel we should be there is not the issue.  God is waiting for us to cry out to Him for HIS intervention.  He knows what needs to happen and it needs to happen now!   We must turn to Him.  Immediately!  Lives are literally depending on our response.

It’s Your Call – A Follow-Up



Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

“Was it a once and for all watershed moment, w/ occasional tests to your resolve, or has it been a gradual healing?” 


I think DM’s  questions in his comment to my previous post deserve a follow-up.   I’ll try to do that without starting to rant… 


 First of all, DM, my answer is Yes. 


Yes, it was a watershed moment. 


Yes, with occasional tests to my resolve. 


And, Yes, it has been a gradual healing. 


It really was a “Eureka!” moment when I realized I could go either way in my outlook about my childhood.  I just decided it was more fun, and more pleasant – and more healing – to choose to enjoy those years in my memory.  I did not want to keep carrying the baggage.


It was a growing thing, though, too, to realize that getting free of bitterness requires forgiveness.  It has taken years to learn how – and why – to forgive.  On issues where it seemed impossible to forgive, I learned two sobering lessons:


            1.)  The greater the depth of one’s understanding of one’s own need to be forgiven, the easier it is to forgive others. 


When we’re stuck with unforgiveness, we only need ask God to show the depths of our own sinfulness.  Then, be prepared, because He can go deep!  It can be very scary.  And humbling.  Devastating, actually,  But, trust Him, it’ll make it easy to forgive others. 


           2.)  Unforgiveness isn’t just about what we think of our enemy.  It is a statement about what we think of Jesus.  When we will not forgive, we are  telling Jesus that what He went through…His sacrifice, His excruciating suffering and death…were not enough.  We are telling Him that, in our book, He comes up short.  We are telling both the Father and Jesus that His blood wasn’t adequate to remove our enemy’s sin.


It must not be adequate to remove our’s, then, either. 


There is also one more, “Yes,” DM, to a question which you didn’t ask…


Yes, it is an ongoing challenge. 


Stuff still happens.  I must continue to decide to reject bitterness and unforgiveness.  


And I must decide to trust God.    Daniel understood this: 


“And when Daniel was lifted from the (lion’s) den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.”  Daniel 6:23 NIV



Wanted – In-Law Stories


                What’s your in-law story?  I want to hear it! 

In my book for young women, “Secrets About Guys (that shouldn’t be secret),” I devote a chapter to nurturing healthy in-law relationships.  I posted an excerpt in my blog For Mothers of Boys – and Young Brides  and expanded on it here: For Mothers of Boys – And Brides – The Moral  Traffic from these posts, and the comments, confirm what we already know from history…it’s a hot topic!  Besides, think of all the mother-in-law jokes… 

            I’m working on another project about this topic and am now putting out a call for in-law stories.   I would like to hear what your relationship with your ILs is like…good, bad, ugly, amiable?  Don’t worry about privacy.  I won’t use real names even if you include them.  However, I do need your name so I can contact you if I use your story or have questions.

            If you’re willing to share about your relationship with your mother/daughter-in-law, please leave a comment letting me know.  I’ll contact you with info on where to send it.  And please spread the word.  The more stories, the better!


For Mothers of Boys – And Brides – The Moral


Well, I promised the moral of “For Mothers of Boys – And Young Brides,” (November 5th), so here we go…  (You’ll want to read that first, if you haven’t yet…)  


The “Daydream” surely was a sneak peek into your heart as a mother of a son.  But, I have a confession.   It was also a sacred look into your mother-in-law’s heart!   That’s right.  It was meant to give you a deeper understanding of your husband’s mother.  


Every bride starts out with the same longing to build a strong, healthy, happy family with the guy of her dreams.  That’s your dream, isn’t it?  But have you ever stopped to consider that your husband’s mother had those same goals that you have now?  That she was also a bride in love with her husband and with dreams for her children?  Once upon a time, she was in your shoes.  And, if you’re a mother right now, some day you will be in hers.  Yes, you are, right now, a mother-in-law-to-be.  


What kind will you be?


What kind of daughter-in-law are you now? 


Think of how much you adore your son.  You desire the very best for him.  You’re sacrificing and investing your very life in the welfare of your children; everything revolves around them.  Can you imagine how it will feel, then, when the day finally comes that a young lady arrives on the scene who absolutely captivates your son?  When he is hopelessly smitten?  Will this girl, who holds his heart, be justified in calling him a “Mama’s boy” if he simply continues to show you love and respect?  Have you given thought to how it will feel to be treated as though you’re an intruder?  (What?  Intruding in something into which you’ve poured the best years of your life?)


In my book, “Secrets About Guys (that shouldn’t be secret),”  I”ve devoted a whole chapter to this topic.  I’m not saying there’s no such thing as a meddling mother-in-law.  (Heavens!  I know one bride whose mother-in-law insisted on accompanying the newlyweds on their honeymoon!) 


I just want to encourage you to sow good seeds for your future.  The Scriptural law of Sowing and Reaping is universal.  If you wish to have your heart intact when your children marry, now is the ideal time to cultivate love and understanding with your husband’s mother.  Treat her the way you will want to be treated by the girl who captivates your son.   


There are lots of tips for this in my book.  I suppose I should apologize for that last sentence as shameless promotion  🙂  but I’m not going to because, when we’re in harmony with our in-laws, everyone benefits.  It is so worth the effort.  And, one day, when it is your harvest time, you will be so thankful for making the effort to sow seeds of love.       



For Mothers of Boys – and Young Brides


I am a mother of three boys.  I am also an almost empty-nester.  This means I have lived with only guys for twenty-eight years.   It also means that at our house the toilet seat is never down.


So, anyway, I’ve decided to post, from time to time, some of the limited “wisdom” I’ve gleaned from living in a world of males.  But, even if you’re a mom to girls, I invite you to stick with me, because we mothers shape the outlook of our children.  And daughters learn their basic attitude toward guys from their moms.  And, as you know, God gave us females a ton of influence over males! 


Today, I’d like to give a little overview of what having a son means, starting at the very beginning.  That’s why this is for young brides too.  Come, let’s daydream…


A Dream About You…

Veiled and arrayed in a gown of lily white, you wait, breathless, for the music to signal your walk down the aisle.  At the altar, with his eyes locked in your direction, stands the man of your dreams.  Who would ever believe two people could love each other so much.  But it’s true.  And this time it’s you!


The scene fades momentarily and then refocuses.


This time your gown is pale green.  Hospital garb.  And your whole body is trembling.  You lift your head to gaze at the squalling miracle just placed on your belly, and you cradle him in your arms.  Who would ever believe a woman could love another guy so much.  But it’s true.  And this time it’s you.


Again the scene dissolves.  It comes back to reveal a room softly illuminated by a night-light.


You’re wearing a gown again.  This time it’s a pink print with small rosebuds.  And it’s flannel.  You shuffle over to the bunk bed, reach out and touch his brow.  The fever has broken.  You sink down on the chair in the corner and release silent tears of relief.  Who would ever believe a son could command such a vigilance of love.  But it’s true.  And this time it’s you.


The picture closes once more, and then snaps back, bright and clear.


He’s wearing a gown of royal blue; a matching blue and silver tassel dangles from his cap.  School colors.  He strides across the platform, shakes hands with dignitaries and descends the steps, diploma in hand.  At the reception, joy radiates from his face as he bounds in your direction for a mother-son hug.  But he never makes it.  A young lady intersects his path and grabs his hand.  Who would ever believe two women could love the same guy so much.  But it’s true.  And this time . . . she takes him away . . . from you.


This was only a daydream.  An imaginary visit into the heart of a mother, though someday it could very well be you.                                                                      ~~~~


Of course there’s a moral to this story, and I’ll post mine in a few days, but I’d love to hear your spin on it first. 


(This is an excerpt from my book, “Secrets About Guys (that shouldn’t be secret),” released by Standard Publishing.  Have to mention that it’s copyrighted…as are my blog posts.)