Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Star Story


Psalm 147:4

This morning while still in my jammies, I snuggled in my comfy chair to enjoy my cozy reading nook with my Bible in hand and opened. As though from the heavens, I heard this loud and clear. “What do you want?"

I could almost feel the vibration of God’s voice speaking to me through His Word. Reading in John Chapter 1, I wondered why Jesus turned around and asked this question to the two disciples who followed behind Him, "What do you want?" Don't you wonder, too?

A few years ago (when I had no fear of walking my neighborhood in the dark) I walked outside to check on things before bed. The quietness eased my soul as I enjoyed stars twinkling overhead as if they danced to music. God hung each one and even named them. The wind rustled the bushes, and nearby barking dogs aroused my curiosity. Unafraid of the darkness, I opened our gate and checked around. Looking back, I wonder what I was thinking. If there had been a danger I would have found myself smack in it–– unprotected and alone. 

Nevertheless, I walked the road and found relief that nothing seemed out of the ordinary. At the time, no streetlights illuminated the road (only the sparkling stars) and neighbors were few and far between. Bolivia seemed to be untouched by things going on around the world like theft and murder. Times changed. The internet arrived, and yes, TV programs from outside this ancient Quechua culture flooded young minds. In our neck of the woods, outside the city lights and noise, we’d seldom seen or heard of these dangers. Those days are gone.

But, that night, one thing robbed my peace and safety––the wind. While on the road, a rushing wind blew our gate shut with a bang. We had no doorbell because kids rang it then promptly ran away––usually at 1 am. Doorbells were a novelty (and still rare) in this remote village and hard to resist. We didn’t hesitate to disconnect the modern menace.

Alone, unafraid but frustrated, I jumped with a kangaroo spring to my feet and screamed for help at the top of my voice until hoarse. Why I don’t know. My husband had long been asleep upstairs, and even if he’d been awake, he would not have heard my voice from afar. So what to do? Our wall was too high to scale. And, to enter from the back of the property was out of the question. We only had barbed wire around the property, but I’d have to climb a path of bushes and thorns and who knows what animals or creatures lurked in the dark. So I decided to walk the dirt road to our classrooms and attempt entry from there.

The darkness hugged me, and the brisk air chilled my bones. Garbed with only my PJs, I walked the lonely road. Under the stars, I suddenly became aware of footsteps behind me. Who walked behind me? What did they want? A moonless night left no clue to the one who followed me.

Out of the dark, starry night came a Spanish speaking voice. “Dona Margarita, what are you doing out here in the cold and dark all alone?” Relief, a familiar voice. Hernan, a teen boy who attended our classes, shined his flashlight. He walked to his home up the mountain each night after special classes at the school near us. We approached our classrooms, and his robust voice awoke our ministry helpers who lived near our classrooms. They opened the gate, and I basked in the safety and comfort of home.

Two disciples were following Jesus when he turned and asked the question. “Turning around, Jesus saw them and asked, “What do you want?” (John 1:38 NIV).

At first, I’d thought about shouting to the follower behind me, “What do you want?” But, I hesitated. Jesus didn’t hesitate to ask His followers what they wanted. We shouldn't hesitate to tell Him what we want. That dark, cold, and starry night, I asked God for an open door and thanked Him for how it opened.

Maybe Jesus asked the question of His followers because He wanted to know if they were following out of curiosity, personal gain, or purposes other than His purpose. Yes, He already knew, but did they know? Are we following Him for our purpose to advance our cause and or to accomplish His purpose and cause? 

Have you thought about what you want from Jesus today? Why not make a list of those things? We can be honest with Him and tell Him what’s on our hearts. He wants us to talk to Him––but not only in our dark, scary, starry night situations. 

Ponder Jesus’ words today. “What do you want?”

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Stop and Go



In a distance, birds chirped their morning concert. Gazing at the clock, I debated––crawl out of my cozy, warm bed or watch the sunrise through the lacy curtains. The orange sun poked over the mountain, and the stars faded into the dawn. Too late to pull the covers over my head and drift back to sleep. My eyes begged to close, but my brain raced with the daily tasks at hand. Rising early would usher me into a quiet time with the Lord––I hoped.

I'm not a morning person. I prefer to be quiet in the morning except for talking to the Lord. You won't find me exercising, enjoying a morning conversation on the phone, or turning on the TV. Unless the calendar says get going out the door for an appointment, meeting, class, a hospital emergency or other work-related commitments, I'll relish the time at home. Now don't misunderstand, you won't find me on the couch. I'll be chomping at the bit to get in gear. Cleaning and laundry will most likely steal my attention from the computer that beckons me to catch up on correspondence and my writing schedule.

Watching from afar, you'd wonder how I do it all. A mystery to me also, but I do have help––supernatural help. The word "still" doesn't compute in my thought pattern. Not unless I choose to get my Bible and head to my cozy spot in a corner of my house where I enter my God Nook. Oh, how I love that place. So why don't I rush more often to that special place? Too Busy. But, is it necessary to get to my nook in order to meet with God? What does it mean to be still?

Until we stop, we can't be still. Until our minds stop, we can't focus on the One who stopped His earthly life when He went to the cross for us. He chose us. We can stop and choose Him. Choose to stop and focus fully on Him. Then we are still. Then our soul finds rest. "My soul finds rest in God alone" ( Psalm 62:1 NIV).

For many of us, slowing down is work. It's natural for us to run, move, go, but it's unnatural for us to slow down, stop, breathe. However, it's possible to find that cozy nook anywhere--anytime, and for any amount of time. Just focus on God and nothing else.

There's nothing wrong with being busy, being active, being on the go––except, we often never stop.

Where I grew up, we had Stop and Go stores. Maybe you did too. We stopped, got what we needed, filled up our tank and our stomachs, then continued on.

Stop. It seems simple, but yet it's the hardest thing to do.

Practice these steps: Stop. Look. Listen. Breathe. Go.

Take time to focus on God in your God Nook––wherever that might be. Stop for a few minutes or an hour, look into His face, listen to His voice, breathe in His majesty, and then go. But, make it a habit to stop often. Know He is God. Bask in His presence.

Let's stop, get filled up, and go shine His light in the world.

This blog is an excerpt from my newly revised book, Dancing Like Bees, now available on Amazon.



Available here on Amazon at: https://amzn.to/2CVT957  




Thursday, April 18, 2019

Why Write?



~ Rabbit Smiles ~

While sitting at the dentist last week, I met these two little sweeties. I asked their names, and I was shocked when they began speaking in English. Their mother explained they were attending an English-speaking school in the city. By their appearance and their school, I knew they had advantages that the majority in Bolivia only dream of having. Even visiting a dentist is a privilege for most children in a developing country such as Bolivia.

When I began writing, I wrote for my grandchildren who live thousands of miles away from me. God enlarged my vision to write not only for my grandchildren but children everywhere. I know I am called to write for children. And, I am blessed to write for the privileged and underprivileged, and to those outside the borders of the United States and Bolivia. I thought my books could only be used of God in the Spanish language for Bolivian children. My vision was small, God's vision, however, is global and includes all languages.

Although children such as these––who speak English in a Spanish speaking country––are in the minority, they need to hear the gospel also. Every day God opens doors to minister to those waiting to hear of His love––whatever their age, whatever their circumstances, and wherever they live. We can speak and write words that will change lives––God's words.

Why write? For moments like these!

"People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Luke 18:15-17 (NIV)

Now, through Worthy Words Press we are reaching children who speak Spanish only. No matter what language we speak, let's spread God's Word so all will hear the Easter story and believe.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Bolivia's Cemeteries and Customs


1 Thessalonians 4:16b
"and the dead in Christ shall rise first;"
Customs and Comforts

We had an invitation this week for a family gathering to remember and celebrate the life of a family member who died a month ago. Arriving late, we sat in the back. Everyone was wearing black and sad. The lady was a friend of ours also; we bought land from her. Everyone in the crowd was from our village or close by, all friends and neighbors. We sat on wooden benches, and huddled together as the winds whipped around us; our winter is near. The sound of children playing in a distance was soothing to all.

After the ceremony, we were served a hot soup that warmed our bones, and then a delicious chicken dinner cooked in a mud oven. The aroma of the wood burning and the chicken cooking filled the air. We talked, laughed, ate, and enjoyed being together. There was sadness, but joy also, because of the hope we have in Christ that we will be reunited one day.

The picture of the Bolivian cemetery above is dark and dreary, but our hope is bright like the picture below when we have Christ living in us. Whether we are dead or alive when Christ returns, we will all rise to be with Him forever.



"Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, 
to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore, comfort one another with these words"
(1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 NIV). 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Easter Ears


He is not here; he is risen! (Luke 24:6 NIV)

When Easter nears, I think of Easter baskets and how to communicate the Easter story to little ones. God tells us to think like children. “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3 NIV).

·     In my children’s books, The Really Rare Rabbits Series, the little rabbits hear someone teaching about Jesus. They listen. They press their ears to the window to hear more. As adults, are we too busy to listen to God’s voice?

·     Do we lean our elbows on heaven's windowsills and press our ears to God’s heavenly window and listen to His voice or have we come away from the God’s window and only hear the world’s noise?

·     Even a child can hear the story of the cross and believe. It’s a simple message of love. Jesus came to earth to die for all that we might live with Him in heaven for eternity––if we only believe. 

Easter is a time of renewal and reflection. Let’s reflect on all Christ did for us on the cross and determine to press our ears to His window and listen to His voice on Easter morning and always––with our ears pressed like the little rabbits. He is risen!





Back Cover Blurb

Chi Chi and his sister Fi Fi are part of a family of giant rabbits. The young rabbits live on a mountain in Bolivia where their ancestors landed with their owners, the Quechua Indians, when they escaped from Machu Picchu as the Spaniards invaded the Inca Empire in Peru.

You won’t see them on the mountain unless you look very close, but you will hear them giggling. A very old legend tells of their unbelievable size and their truly unusual job, protecting a treasure of gold left behind on the mysterious rocky mountain by their owners of long ago.

Every night they sit by their fires, near where they think the treasures are buried. But, one day they hear of a new Light on the mountain that never burns out. Even though Chi Chi and Fi Fi are supposed to stay well hidden during the day, they decide to venture down the mountain to peer in the missionaries’ windows. That is when their dangerous adventure begins.

How I know Really Rare Rabbits Exist

When I moved to the foot of this mountain where our mission is based, I hadn’t yet heard the legend of the mysterious rabbits that live in my backyard. Daily, I gaze out my windows at the Andes Mountains (my backyard) where sightings are rare of these huge rabbits—standing three feet tall.

I doubted the legend––until I heard the rabbits giggle. The sweet sound directed me to the window only to see two of them scurry away as their fluffy, white tails disappeared into the bushes.

According to the legend, the rabbits guard the lost Inca gold on my mountain. Intrigued, I researched Inca history and began writing about the huge critters. Of course, my writer imagination ran wild, and they became my imaginary pets that looked over my shoulder or watched me from the mountaintop. I had to share this delightful, ancient legend––mixed with my imagination so children would have fun while learning history and Bible principles. 


What happens when the rabbits trek down the mountain and peer in my windows? Chi Chi and Fi Fi tell their story in my book, Really Rare Rabbits Book 1.


 The Really Rare Rabbits Series on Amazon athttps://amzn.to/2Hh2hnJ

Also available on Amazon in Spanish at https://amzn.to/2SLGEyc


Thursday, April 4, 2019

God's Perfume



God's Perfume

How’s 2019 going for you? For me, it brought a novelty to our city down under the equator––Cochabamba, Bolivia. This modernity is huge. And, it’s the first of its kind where I live. What is it? 

It’s a mall! Could it be a real mall? We have a few shopping centers that pretend to be a mall. I had to see it for myselfDriving up to the entrance, I gasped, much impressed. It’s real. It towers above buildings nearby, and clean and shiny is an understatement. Quite the contrast from our marketplace where bathrooms are few, dust and dirt cover the streets, and aromas aren’t pleasant.

           I ventured up the clean, shiny escalators––all five of them. After I’d visited four floors, I arrived at the top floor––wow, a food court. Finally, fifteen minutes into the tour, I returned to the front entrance. Done. No shopping. Many baby stores, but I have no babies, and sports stores galore, but I’m not athletic. And, I don’t need furniture. So I found a comfortable chair (unique also) and waited for my husband’s arrival.

Glancing through a store window to a street outside returned me to reality. Seated in that humungous modern building, I mentally bolted back in time. The picturesque view out the window captured Bolivia’s charm––a typical, tiny store, horns honking, and the simple life. I welcome change, but nostalgia comforts me. Just then, a familiar aroma engulfed me. I identified it immediately and followed the aroma––donuts, another novelty. Now those were worth buying. And, I did!

In my book, Dancing Like Bees, I write about change. We should constantly be changing to become more Christ–like. How? The Honeybee gives us a clue. Each Honeybee has a distinct odor for each member’s identification. How do we identify as Christians and change our world? 

“For we are the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15).

           A mall provides a pleasant change to my routine, and a whiff of donuts entices my appetite, but reaching the odorant receptors of those around me with a distinct godly aroma is the change I hope for. 

         Let's be God’s perfume! 


In my revised and updated devotional (and a book about honeybees), you'll discover things you never knew about the honeybee. You'll also find how to destress, delight, and yes, dance like bees. They dance! Maybe you will too.




Now available in paperback and ebook. 
and Kindle on Amazon at: https://amzn.to/2CVT957