It’s February already! And as I walk through Walmart, I see hearts and flowers for everyone-your boss, your spouse, your children, your grandma, your good friend, appreciation for those we have in our lives. When choosing greeting cards recently, I began to remember my friends throughout my lifetime.  How many friends have I had in a lifetime of 80 plus years? I have had many acquaintances, as I reminisce about “friends”, I realize God has provided just who and what I needed in each stage of my life. Webster defines friend as “one attached to another by affection or esteem”; however, the Bible refers to a real friend as “one who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)

In my childhood days my friend lived across the field, and we walked to school together, played together and often spent the night together. As a teenager, I went on to a friend who shared a small, rural high school where we cheered the team, double dated and shared our hopes and dreams for the future.  As a young married Army wife, God sent me a wonderful friend to share our trailer-court, Army base experiences, and then I returned home to raise our children and begin our “real” life. A young mother like myself became my friend. Later during my 25 teaching years, my mentor and friend was a fellow teacher until our retirement. And in these retirement years I have found just the friends for the support I need. Through these friendships one has remained since age 14-my husband of 64 years. 

I share all of this to remind you that these friends may be for a lifetime or only for shorter periods in our life, but we need other people.  When considering my topic for this month, I kept coming back to these verses and how these words speak to all of us particularly here in Sunset Palm. A strand of three-two friends and God is a cord that can’t be broken.


““Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12



 2019-A new year. I remember 1940 (vaguely). A world involved in the War to end all Wars. And then new beginning as that came to an end. I remember the 1950’s.  My last year of junior high. A new beginning as I began my high school year. And a new beginning again as I married in 1955. I remember the 1960’s. Our infant son was not yet a year old and our young daughter was born 3 years later. I remember 1970. A new beginning at my first year of teaching. I remember the 80’s. I became Mother-in-law twice to wonderful new children. I remember 1990. A new beginning. Retirement for both of us.  And on it many new beginnings.   I remember how concerned we were as the  year 2000 approached. What would happen to our computer-oriented society? A new beginning. How often in our life do we face a new beginning?

How we face and deal with the NEW becomes the issue.   Many of us have faced the death of loved ones. The more years we live, the more this becomes a reality.  Not only are we left without spouses or friends, but sometimes death comes to our children or our grandchildren and we are left to begin anew.

Often our new beginning comes because of physical situations. I had a hip replaced. Then I had it done again. I once could walk a country block, but as the physical body wore down so did my walking. I once played golf three times a week, but again because of shoulder pain, I had to find a new beginning.

Many times our new beginnings are of our own choosing.  We find a new job.  We move to a new community. We retire. We choose a new way of life. We make new friends.  All our choices may not be good, but we adjust to new people, new environments and new ideas.  The key word is ADJUST.

Positive adjustment to change is not always easy. Especially if a person is fifty-five plus.  I like life to stay the same, but reality tells me this is impossible. So, I need to make new beginnings and do the best I can with what the situations in life bring.

Scripture tells us that “Jesus Christ, is the same yesterday, today and forever.” But everything else is fluid and changing. Isaiah 43:18 tells us to “…forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”   We can’t live in the past, but only in the day we have. Our new beginning is new each day. Paul wrote to the Philippians and encouraged them to “Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4) We can’t always change the new circumstance in our life, but we can adjust to it in a positive way.


 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘“The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him’”(Lamentations 3:22)





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Who is in Control?


It’s that time again! I walked in the evening one day this week and the faint smell of burning leaves floated up from along the bank of the lake. A flock of honking geese rose up from the water and flew into the southern sky. As I started up Laurel Lane, the hazy dust of the harvest spread itself through the late afternoon air and one red tree stood etched against the sunset.

The dusty harvest air always smells reminiscent of home to me. Memories of other harvests drifted through my mind, and I reminded myself of the unchanging pattern of the harvest and the realization of the year’s work. Ageless and constant, harvest season is always there as is the time for planting, and the time for rest. We who live in this part of the world understand what the writer of Ecclesiastes meant when he wrote “There is an appointed time for everything.”(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

And in these stressful times, not only of the harvest season, but of the season in our country and in our economy perhaps we need to go again to God’s Word. We need to remind ourselves that some things do remain steadfast and sure in this ever-changing world. God’s Word and His promises are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

I walked on around my route in this mindset and continued to be aware of the unchanging force of God in the world around me. I walked by leaf covered yards filled with children’s playthings and thought of the birth of children and the death of loved ones and the change this brings to our lives. The toys belong to my great-nephews and I think of the generations before us and the promises of their generation. What will their world be? 

But I am convinced that the geese will fly, the planting will happen, the harvest will occur, the sun will come up and God will be in control. “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven-“(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Our stress and our concerns with the every day life are certainly important and need our attention; however, as I walk on towards home, I pray for wisdom and the age old prayer of serenity.” God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Reinhold Niebuh



I have been going back over a conversation that I was a part of recently.  And yes, I was a part of it, not an innocent bystander, but a part of the group. And in retrospect,I have decided to be more careful about my participation in such conversations.  Was it harmful?  I don't think so, but was it necessary?  Probably not.

How do you feel about gossip?  Harmless?  Destructive? Not a problem? The subject is on my heart this morning. Society gives it many labels-chit-chat, rumor, conversation, prayer-wait Prayer?  Really? How could prayer be destructive?

As His people, we need to examine our hearts as we make prayer requests. God knows the details of the situation. Vivid description of the problem as the request is made is not usually necessary. An explicit detail made public does little for a marital or family situation. Just like the game we played as children, the words change as they are passed from one person to the next. A simple request for prayer is sufficient.  The key here being the word “simple.”  

Elaborate prayer requests can be gossip in disguise… can you be trusted? The author of Proverbs tells his reader that a gossip betrays a confidence. (Proverbs 11:13, 20:19,) Betraying a friend’s confidence by labeling it a prayer request becomes gossip. Our public prayer requests need to be clear and simple. God will understand.
My prayer today is that I might not betray my friends or my God. Won't you join me?


Last week, I put all the small American flags and the red, white and blue pinwheels in our yard. We fly our flag each day. Today we are making plans to celebrate July 4th. Yesterday we sang patriotic songs in our worship service.  I often review the posts I have written for past holidays, and as I reflect on past years, I discover that old saying, "the more things change, the more they stay the same."  The older I become the more I realize this is true. Several years ago I wrote the post I am sharing ...a few years ago we were praying for our granddaughter as she served our country in we are praying for her husband as he serves his fifth deployment  some place in the Middle East.  Please join me as I pray for Scott and all those serving us away from their families.

This is a copy taken from my book Just Around the Corner.


A wooden Uncle Sam waves an American flag as he guards the corner of my neighbor’s lawn. Each corner I turn I see small symbols of America. Flags, bunting and windsocks flutter in the subtle breeze. The clang of a barbecue grill in a local back yard puts a feeding squirrel up the nearest tree.

Music floats from the sound system of a teenager’s vehicle as it stops at the four-way intersection. Childish laughter from the children down the street echoes above the edges of their newly installed pool and hovers on the surface of the neighborhood. Serene, soothing sounds of America as it prepares for another summer celebration.

July 4th is fast approaching. Here in this Edgar County, Illinois town (population 10,000) tradition is strong. Food, flags, fun and fireworks are the order of the day. First the parade, and then we flock with family and friends to the local parks for fellowship with young and old.

A great-grandmother rocks the newest baby in her arms as she applauds her grandson’s solo in the city band concert. Horseshoes clang against the iron stake. Mothers scold and fathers chat. Children chase in among the adults begging for one more cotton candy, one more goofy-golf game, one more ride in the paddle ,

  The day builds as the darkness approaches. Blankets and lawn chairs start spotting the grass like beacons for the children in the early twilight. A low murmur of expectation, crying babies, and muttering parents mingles with the high pitched whine of tired children. Red stars burst on the night sky and the fireworks begin. Moans of appreciation explode from the crowd, and another 4th of July is celebrated in my home town.

  Edgar County is a small spot in the American countryside, but we understand, perhaps more than some small towns, the price for freedom. Recent deaths of five of our local National Guard soldiers in Iraq gives a bittersweet gratefulness to our heritage. Beneath the surface of every Fourth of July celebration is our first-hand knowledge of the sacrifice and sadness that has made it possible. We see the veteran’s memorial on our town square and are aware of those who have given. No matter our faith, we surely must be thankful for that heritage we really don’t deserve.

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While scanning the internet today, I found these forgotten instructions. I have used these instructions from Noah before as an example of facing fear with courage and was reminded once again how true these simple instructions are. Certianly this is not original with me, and I cannot find the source, but still believe it is worth thinking about so, will thank the anonymous person who first made these comments.  I have gone back to them often.




1.   Don’t miss the boat

2.   Remember we are all in the same boat.

3.   Plan ahead, it wasn’t raining when Noah started to build

4.   Stay fit, you never know what God may call you to do when you are old.

5.   Don’t listen to critics. Just go ahead and do the job that needs to be done.

6.   Build your future on high ground.

7.   Speed isn’t everything.

8.   When you are stressing, float.

9.   Ark was built by amateur…Titanic by professionals.

10.     No matter what the storm, there is peace at the end.


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Missed Opportunity

We drive our same path home. She is gone. My opportunity to do something is gone. I have been so busy “playing Christian” that I have bypassed someone who needed love—God’s love. Jesus’ said “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine you did for me” (Matt: 25:40) I had not “done” anything for the “least” of God’s children. “Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”(James 1:4) Today I had sinned again.

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