Let us run the race

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Holiday Fun Year-Round

I'm excited to share the cover of the first book of  my new children's series, Hooray  for Holidays. As we approach the Christmas season, Book 1 is available for pre-order now.

Start the new year off reading about Quasimodo's new hairy, scary friend—a cat and a tarantula. And, finish the year celebrating with a lost Quechua boy and a llama on Christmas Day during a rainstorm in a mountain cave.  My new children's storybook series, Hooray for Holidays  Book 1 releases January 2018. The complete series includes three stories per book with a total of four books. They will be released quarterly in 2018.

The heart-warming holiday stories with adorable animal antics, history tidbits, and Bible principles plus beautiful artwork will delight children and stretch their imagination. And, adults will recall historical facts forgotten from their grade school days.

Each page incorporates real-life animals and critters in and around our ministry base, Rumi Rancho, as the main characters. While learning history and Bible principles, children will giggle at the humorous and whimsical animals and critters that will find a place in their hearts forever. 

Look for the launch of Hooray for Holidays Book 1 soon.

Here's the little blue guy––there's a glimpse of him on every illustration in the books. Hard to find him, but kids will love playing hide and seek with him.

Excited to announce Book 1 of my new children's series, Hooray for Holidays (digital) is available for pre-order on Amazon at a discounted price. Book 1 releases in January 2018 in hardback and paperback also. Get it here http://amzn.to/2hPCsNG Hooray for Holidays Book 1: A New Year's Day Tarantula, Valentine's Day Ponies, and President's Day Lost Kittens.

Friday, June 23, 2017

What Do You Want?

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. 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 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. Suddenly, I 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 darkness came a 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.

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 and cold night, I asked God for an open door and thanked Him for how it opened.

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).

Have you thought about what you want from Jesus today? How about making 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. 

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? 

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

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Eternal Changes

Getting old is scary-–at least for me. Life changes as we age. As a missionary, I know I can’t be on the field until I’m ninety unless God does reverse aging in my body and so far I haven’t seen that happen to anyone. Or, have I?

Thinking of going home to the States will be a step of faith if that day comes down the road. Funny, huh? Especially when you think what a step of faith it took to leave for the field the first time. My greatest fear is that maybe suddenly I will start walking around our village naked and no one will call my husband because they know he won’t remember who I am anyway.

But humor aside, it's scary. Change is scary. We avoid it if possible. At times, life doesn’t give us a choice to change. It thrusts us into change, sometimes in devastating ways—loss of job, divorce, and the hardest of all changes, death to those we love––even our pets’ death.

But, isn’t it comforting to know God never changes? He is with us in our changes and uncertainty and always has our good in mind. My change these last few weeks hit unexpectedly. A tennis elbow and golf elbow diagnosis. No, I’m not an athlete and never hit the links or the courts—except when my feet are up watching sports on TV.

But, my fingers and arms get plenty of exercise on the computer. In some ways, I have enjoyed the pause from the computer, but today my computer fast ends—my arm is improving. Just as we shouldn’t abuse our arm or any part of our body, we shouldn’t abuse our soul by overdoing life in general. Now and then, it’s good to come apart. After all, Jesus did from time to time.

Are you following the example of Jesus? Take a break. Everything looks much less urgent when we concentrate on the eternal things first. Who knows, maybe I’ll make it till 90 on the field just because I looked for timely pauses and concentrated on the eternal instead of the temporary. Simple, but hard.

God set us apart eternally! We can live apart from the world daily because it is our eternal state. Eternal pauses rest the soul as well as the body. Today and the days that follow, I’m attempting to make temporary changes in order to make eternal differences with eternal changes. How about you?

 “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace,” (Galatians 1:5 NIV).

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Queen Bee Beauty

Maybe you got up this morning and felt like I did. So many things to do! Everything seemed equally urgent. But as I passed by my kitchen window, I paused to look at the birds outside. They seemed to be playing under the trees. And, the bees buzzed the flowers. The birds and bees coexisted peacefully. God’s creation––organized, peaceful, and beautiful.

·      The birds weren’t in a hurry or worried about what to eat or drink; God sends them springs of water from the hills and takes care of them. Won’t He take care of us and our stressful lives also?

·      The Queen Bee possesses a stinger, but she doesn’t use it. Her role is to fill the hive with eggs. She lives peacefully within the hive with other bees. The Queen Bee fulfills God’s purpose and enjoys peace with no need to sting. When we fill God’s role for us, we live in peace. We possess Queen Bee Beauty. And, that's your beauty tip for the day––you're welcome!

·      Are you peacefully springing along today or drowning under the weight of obligations?

When we pause to pray and worship God, we feel His presence and experience His peace springing through our soul. “He sendeth the springs into the valley,” (Psalm 104:10 KJV).

This blog is an excerpt from my recently published book, Dancing Like Bees. Here's a link to check it out on Amazon.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Easter Ears

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, Really Rare Rabbits, 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 heavily 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.

Really Rare Rabbits is available on Amazon.com 
Barnes and Noble.com and at local book stores by order
also available in Spanish


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Fresh Focus

"I the Lord do not change" (Malachi 3:6 NIV).

Tumultuous circumstances jolted me out of my usual schedule this week. My routine changed drastically on a rainy, Sunday morning. A call from our neighbors woke me from a deep sleep. "Your classrooms are flooding." Torrential rains caused the river over the mountain to rush into the valley irrigation ditch that runs behind our property and overflow downward directly into our classroom building––narrowly missing the house.

Shocked at the sight of 6 inches of water in the classrooms, we splashed our way through and commenced the task of cleanup. The back of our building is partially underground. While the rain pummeled, we gazed in disbelief at the water reaching halfway up the windows outside. It slowly seeped through the cracks flooding the room. Focus. Where do we start? What is most important?

All changed that day, week–-our plans, our meals, and our priorities. We focused on the task of cleanup. We worked hard and swished the water out of the building with mops and brooms––room by room. Then the scrubbing began, and the airing out and checking for damage. What a lesson for my life. Cleanup my life daily and focus on priorities. 

I'd been busy with things––people, problems, and goals. My focus had changed to earthly things not eternal things in the past weeks. Suddenly, everything changed, and so did I. But one thing hadn't changed–-God. He controlled all things, and He controlled the flood waters. Lessons come in all forms and all circumstances. God uses circumstances, His Word, and others to teach us His ways––or bring our focus back to Him. Now, water will always remind me to focus on God and His plans when hard things flood my life.

The buildings shine once more but more important, my focus changed. First and always, we should strive to focus first on God because unlike circumstances, people, or possessions that change, God never changes. 

We get distracted from time to time, and we're out of focus. But, just looking to the One who never changes puts everything back in focus. Let's adjust the lens of our lives daily, so we stay focused on God's vision––a fresh focus every day. Where do we start, and what is most important? 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

God's Perfume

How’s the new year going for you so far? 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 myself. Driving 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 new 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 this year. How about you? Will you be God’s perfume this year?