Friday, September 29, 2006


I mentioned a verse earlier found in Proverbs 4:23, about keeping your heart. The NIV version puts it this way: “Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” According to Webster’s, guard means “to protect; to watch over so as to prevent indiscretion.”

I did an indepth word study of the word guard, and I got so excited at the various meanings and ramifications that I want to share them with you. Envision yourself in picturesque San Juan, Puerto Rico, about to go see the fort El Morro. You just flew in and checked into your hotel, ready and raring to go sightseeing.

Let me set the scene in our daughter Jennifer’s words. She lives there with her husband, and this is a portion of a letter of hers from several years ago:

Hello to all from sunny San Juan! Today is the most beautiful day here. The sky is so blue with not a cloud in sight, and the flamboyant trees look so green and lush with their tropical red-orange blossoms dotting their foliage. The flamboyant is our national tree.

Last evening, we took our nightly bike ride through old San Juan. Let me set the scene: Old San Juan was founded hundreds of years ago, with its narrow cobblestone streets, beautiful ancient churches with colorful icons shining brightly from their windows, and two-and-three-story homes and apartments all connected together for miles, each with pastel fronts and romantic balconies overlooking the Caribbean.

Onward to El Morro, one of the forts in the old city. Here is where we ride.

Beyond the wall with a drastic drop to death lies a centuries-old cemetery—such an old romantic cemetery with so many stories to tell...

...bright white marble angels...

...cherub children...

...a beautiful marble Mary holding baby Jesus.

Beyond all this is another wall and then...

...the dark forbidding ocean.

Can you picture it? The moon full and high, shining down on the marble cherub children making them glow and

What a great word picture. Thanks, Jennifer.

With a fort in mind, let's look at the derivatives of the word guard.

1. Guarded means “cautious.” We need to be cautious. With good ol’ Ben, I had a cautious reluctance toward him from the outset.

2. Guardian means “one who guards; protector.” We need to protect our feelings and emotions. With good ol’ Ben, I staked my territory and protected my heart.

3. Guardrail means “a railing for guarding against danger; a barrier placed along the edge of a highway at dangerous points.” We need to erect guardrails in the areas we're most likely to fall. With good ol’ Ben, I had built a barrier long before he came on the scene by keeping my relationship with my husband fresh and up to date.

4. On guard means “defensively watchful; alert.” We need to be alert to the temptations around us. With good ol’ Ben, the moment he--gasp--rubbed my leg, I was defensive of my territory. The word defense, according to Webster’s, comes from the Latin defensa, meaning vengeance. I reacted with a vengeance when he got on my turf.

5. Off guard means “in an unprotected or unsuspecting state.” We shouldn't be unsuspecting. We are able to sniff out danger. With good ol’ Ben, I knew what he was up to, and I let him know right off the bat, I ain’t buying what you’re selling, Bud.

I hope these helped someone.

Would anyone like to share how you've guarded your heart?


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Thursday, September 28, 2006


Milton and I like to tour forts. Anytime we’re traveling, and we find out there’s a fort in the area, we try to see it. There’s Fort Clinch on Amelia Island in Florida, standing high above the Atlantic Ocean. There, the tour guides dress in period costume, 1800s-style, and when you ask them a question, they answer according to the knowledge a person of that era would know.

“Is the fort accessible to strollers?” a young father asked at the beginning of our tour, pushing a baby in a Winnie the Pooh stroller.

The tour guide scratched his head, a blank look in his eyes. “Accessible to what, did you say?”

With a sweep of his hand, the father gestured down at his child. “Strollers.”

“Ah. Occasionally we see perambulators but not very often. Most people carry their babes.”

Then there’s Fort Caroline in Jacksonville, Florida, on the St. John’s River, what the French Hugenots founded inthe 1600s. Then there’s Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida, perched on the Atlantic Ocean like Fort Clinch. Awesome. (Can you tell I’m a Florida native and proud of it?)

Then there’s El Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where our daughter lives, overlooking the sparkling turquoise Caribbean Ocean. Then there’s the fort in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, also on the Caribbean.






Are you getting the picture? Of what? you ask.

If we are to be pure, we must picture ourselves like a fort. And what does a fort do? Well, in all the forts we’ve visited, we’ve found they do two distinct things:

1) they protect against attack;

2) they attack against the enemy.

What amazing thoughts in light of spirituality. What comforting thoughts. Through the power of the Holy Spirit residing in us, we can: 1) protect ourselves from attack; and 2) attack the enemy of our souls, Satan.

And I'm referring particularly to being morally pure and refraining from sexual sin.


More later…

Coming soon..."Ten Symptoms of a Pre-Adultery Condition"


By commenting on my blog or emailing me (click on Email Kristy under "Links" in the right column), you are eligible to win a Christian love story (novel). The next giveaway novel is Robin Lee Hatcher's newly-released A Carol for Christmas.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Yesterday, I blogged about a salesman sitting down beside me at work and showing me his catalogs, and gasp, his thigh rubbed against mine. Two times. Eegads. I knew right then and there this had nothing to do with his catalogs, and I wasn't buying what he was selling!

I moved as if touched by fire, rolling my chair a safe distance away, praying under my breath the whole time, asking God for deliverance, begging Jesus to come back--now! Grin.

Thankfully, the story has a happy ending. Ben got my message loud and clear, left almost immediately, and I changed jobs soon after. No more Ben, hallelujah!

We need to be morally pure and not give in to the temptations of the world around us. Every person makes a choice every day to be morally pure. If we’re unmarried, we choose to refrain from immorality. If we’re married, we choose to stay true to our husbands.

Ephesians 5:3 says, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality...because these are improper for God’s holy people (NIV).”

“That’s easy,” you may say. “I would never commit adultery.” If that’s your stance, praise God. And I don’t say that glibly. That’s exactly what I’m aiming for in writing this post--that you will pledge to this high standard and keep it.

However, we should be very aware of the temptations that are around us every day, everywhere.

The Apostle Paul said, “So be careful! If you are thinking, ‘Oh, I would never behave like that,’ let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin’” (1 Corinthians 10:12, TLB).

We are living in a day when sensuality pervades, and now more than ever, we need to make a resolve to be pure. I had that resolve when good ol’ Ben came along.

But what if I had been on the outs with my husband at that particular time? What if I felt the need for affection and attention, and my husband wasn’t giving it, and I let down my guard just a little? I shudder to think of what could’ve happened.


That’s an interesting word, which brings another word to mind.


To Be Continued…


By commenting on my blog or emailing me by clicking on the Email Kristy button under Links in the right column, you are eligible to win a Christian love story (novel). The next giveaway novel is Robin Lee Hatcher's newly-released A Carol for Christmas.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I’ll never forget the moment. It’s forged in my memory for all eternity. It happened to me, the woman who touts herself as “wife, mother, and great lover,” based on Titus 2:5 and Proverbs 31:11 (KJV), the woman who calls her husband “my hero” and proclaims that he’s her all in all, the woman who’s taught women across the nation on the subject, “How to Love Your Husband,” the woman who proudly and publicly promotes to couples to “revisit the sizzle,” meaning to keep the romantic sparks flying between you and your spouse.

I’ve never given another man a thought. Why should I? Milton and I constantly revisit the sizzle. Grin. But that’s another post...

That morning at work, I was sitting at my desk, quietly and industriously going about the business of the day at my new job. It was a one-woman office, and the bosses were frequently out, and this day was no exception. I was all alone. The door opened, and in came Ben (named changed).

“How’s it going?” he said cheerfully in his customary way. Ben was a salesman who popped in occasionally to show us new product lines. He was tall, slim, nice-looking, outgoing, and convincing, i.e., able to sway--all the attributes that make salesmen good at what they do. Selling.

I had talked with him numerous times, but since I tend to be reserved around people I don’t know well, especially men (which is a good way to avoid temptation, even nip it in the bud before it gets started), I had never been overly friendly with Ben. I’d certainly never talked with him about anything other than new products.

As Ben walked toward me, I pushed back my chair to get up. For sure, he would have new catalogs, and I decided it would be easier to thumb through them and hear his spiel at a table nearby. My desk was full of work I’d been poring over, and there wasn’t a square inch of available space.

“No need to move.” In a flash, he pulled a chair over to mine, placed his catalogs atop my desk, and promptly sat down.

Okay, I thought, sitting back down and eagerly flipping through one of the catalogs. I’ll do it your way. As I studied his catalog, I felt it.

His thigh--gasp!--rubbed against mine.

Politely giving him the benefit of the doubt, I decided he was leaning in to look more closely at the catalog. Naive me.

His thigh--gasp!--rubbed against mine again.


Eegads. This had nothing to do with that catalog, and I ain’t buying what you’re selling! I moved as if touched by fire, rolling my chair a safe distance away, praying under my breath the whole time, asking God for deliverance, begging Jesus to come back--now! Grin.



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Monday, September 25, 2006


I've been sick with a flu bug, and Milton's been so attentive. He's made several trips to buy meds, chicken soup, Sprite, and he's called me during the day to check on me.

It's nice having a spouse, and especially one who cares, when you're sick.

I do the same for him.

Remember the lines in our marriage vows?

For better or worse.

Thank You, God, for Your blessings on me.

Friday, September 22, 2006


What did my daughter do when her husband told her he would divorce her if she ever went back to church (after going one time in eight years of marriage)?

"I felt so alone," she said. "I wondered, 'What's going to happen? What is my future?'"

She felt the Lord telling her, "Just love him, honor him, respect him."

And so she did those things--things she's always done. In fact, she treats him like a king all the time.

She and her husband finally worked out a compromise--she was "allowed" to go to church (a one-hour service) once a month.

When she told us this over the phone, we were shocked. Our family has nearly 30 ministers and wives, and this was like a kick in the gut. But we wisely kept praying.

After her baby was born, she came to a point where she said, "I choose You, Lord. I will serve You, no matter what Javier chooses to do. Please help me do this."

She decided she had to go meet with the Lord at church, so she began going every Sunday (still, mind you, one hour) instead of one Sunday per month.

"Each Sunday, God would tell me what to do through the pastor. It was like he knew exactly what I was going through, yet he knew nothing about my home life."

(That's the inspiration of the Holy Spirit upon the pastor.)

One afternoon, with both the toddler and the baby down for a nap, she was sitting on her sofa thinking about how she wanted to draw closer to God. "I need to give up everything about me and give it to You, Lord," she prayed. Suddenly, she felt bereft because she realized she could never be good enough or do enough to see this accomplished.

"A light came on for me," she says. "Christ did it!"

"There's nothing for me to do!"

"He did it all."

"It's all about Him!"

"It became clear that it's all about Him!," she says. "That's why we're here!"

"I've found my purpose!"

"I've found my true love!"

"I've found love in Christ!"

"Being away from the truth and experiencing the things of the world, there's just nothing that fills me and gives me such joy and peace as Jesus!"

"It feels so unbelievably wonderful to know what my purpose is and to worship Him and bring glory to Him!"

"Joy and praise comes over my body in waves!"

We emailed our family and extended family about her wonderful experience, and they began sharing it in their churches and soon she started getting emails about it, so she created a blog to chronicle her journey of faith--married to an atheist. She shares what happened to her on her blog, a unique spiritual transformation.

God kept telling her to love and honor and respect her husband, and she did that.

Two more times, he told her he would divorce her if she ever went to church again. Both times, she fell on her knees in front of him and begged him not to divorce her, that she loved him, that he was the father of her children and she wanted them to grow up with them together as a family.

We began to pray that God would make his heart tender.

Milton specifically prayed that God would send an angel in the night to tell him about the Lord.

God has answered both of those prayers!

Jennifer has had several opportunities to share about God and the Bible with him. Once, she was reading/studying about the six woes in Isaiah, such as selfish greed, drunkenness, etc. She and her husband were in the car one day, and she told him about these things, and she said, "You know, Javier, you don't believe in these things either. These things are in the Bible, and you're already living by them."

When she told me about their conversation, I said, "Jennifer, you preached him a sermon, and he didn't even know it!"

Her husband's heart has grown more tender and soft concerning her church attendance. Before, he wouldn't even allow her to mention the name God in his presence. He went from that to listening to her discuss the Bible! That is a miracle! She called the other day and said, "Well, we've got to change our prayer. God has made his heart tender. Now, let's go to the next step."

The angel in the night happened last week. They were watching TV one night, and happened upon an interview with Stephen Baldwin, brother of movie star Alec Baldwin. Stephen Baldwin has come to know Christ! He's now written a book about his experience.

Javier listened to the entire interview.

Jennifer called the next day, joyful. "Here was a man who was 'in the world' like Javier, yet he came to Christ! This was someone Javier could relate to!"

I ordered the book for her, and it will arrive in a few days.

We're hoping Javier will read it. Or at least look at it.

God is good!


By commenting on my blog or emailing me (click on the Email Kristy link under "Links" in the column to your right), you are eligible to win a Christian love story (novel). Past winners have won novels by Nikki Arana, Deborah Raney, and Kim Vogel Sawyer. The next giveaway novel is Robin Lee Hatcher's newly-released A Carol for Christmas.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


"How have you made it through this difficult time in your life?" I asked our daughter who's a single mom to two active little boys who teaches school and sells real estate. She has a difficult ex, who, for three years, has made her life unbearable at times (and ours).

My two daughters and I were doing interview-type speaking on Mother's Day at our church. We were on the platform sitting in wingback chairs, and I'd just introduced my topic, "A Mother Talks to Her Daughters" and read my two scripture texts:

"When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also" (2 Timothy 1:5).


"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58).

I waited for her answer.

"I try to be thankful for the little things," she said. "I try to stay positive and count my blessings." She paused. Though she's an award-winning teacher, she was nervous and said so.

"I'm not a public speaker," she told the congregation. Then she plunged in with a flow of words that touched hearts. "I wish when I got married, I'd made a good choice. But I didn't. I'd like to use my story to help others. Some of my teacher friends are young and single, and I've talked with them about dating and marriage and making good choices. I implore you to listen to your parents. If you make bad choices, there are lasting consequences. I wish I could go back, listen to my parents. I was young and confused. Listen to your parents and people who are godly."

"I've found the most wonderful church," she continued. "I'm involved, and I invite people all the time to my church. Several of my friends have joined it."

My other daughter and I talked. I told the congregation how she'd fallen in love with a young man in college, and a good job opening came open for him in San Juan, and they'd married and moved down there (he was born and raised there). I put a Bible in her hands right before she left and told her, "When the women went out West in covered wagons in the 1800s, there were no churches, but they kept their faith. Jennifer, I'm expecting you to keep your faith. Even if you can't find an English-speaking church, you can still read your Bible and trust in God."

"All my life," she told the congregation, "as a PK (preacher's kid), I fiercely loved Jesus. I was the girl who wanted a picture of Jesus on my birthday cake one year—and Mom made it. I witnessed to my classmates and led some of them to the Lord. I took my Bible to school. I had wonderful spiritual experiences at summer camp. But as a teenager, I got overcome by the things of this world. I was concerned with image and being popular, and I wanted to have fun. I strayed away."

"Last year," she continued, "my husband and I were at a party in San Juan, and a woman sat down at our table. Suddenly, she said, 'God wants you.'" I was shocked. I felt God reached down and grabbed me by the heart and said, 'I want you.'"

"It was unusual for a woman like that to be at the party," I interjected.

"Very unusual," my daughter said. "Over the next few days, I got so hungry for God. I'd pick up the Bible and read it, but I wasn't sure where to start. Then I heard about an English-speaking church and decided to go."

I told the congregation that Jennifer and Javier's hobby is mountain biking, but since she was pregnant, she couldn't bike. One Sunday, he got a ride with a friend, and she took their car and went to church. It was a one-hour service, and she felt like it was water on a dry plant.

"It was wonderful," she said. "It felt like the pastor knew all about me. It was like the sermon was tailor-made just for me."

On Monday, in casual conversation with her huband, she mentioned she'd gone to church.

"If you ever go to church again, I'm divorcing you," he said.



By commenting on my blog or emailing me (click on the Email Kristy link under "Links" in the column to your right), you are eligible to win a Christian love story (novel). Past winners have won novels by Nikki Arana, Deborah Raney, and Kim Vogel Sawyer. The next giveaway novel is Robin Lee Hatcher's newly-released A Carol for Christmas.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Two days ago, I blogged about our daughters. One is married to an atheist and recently had a spiritual rebirth. When she went to church for the first time in eight years of marriage, her husband told her he would divorce her if she ever went back.

The other daughter is a single mom of two active little boys who teaches school and sells real estate. (Interpretation: extremely busy and has no family member in her town to help with childcare.) Added to the harried mix is a difficult ex, who, for three years, has made her life unbearable at times.

Milton and I sometimes worry about her two boys, our grandboys, we call them. One asked us recently, "Why do I have to have two houses and go back and forth? I don't like it."

How we wish they had a home with both parents who loved each other. Instead, there's friction, and the boys feel it—and have suffered from it.

We wish things were better for both of our daughters. In my blog post on Monday, I asked the question, "How did they wind up in these fixes?"

This past Mother's Day, my daughters and I spoke at our church. I titled my message "A Mother Speaks to Her Daughters" and set up the platform like a TV set with three wingback chairs and plants, etc. We miked up and carried on a conversation. People in the congregation laughed at times and wiped tears too.

We raised our daughters in church. They were both active in children's ministries and later the teen ministry. They volunteered in various areas. One was a puppeteer in children's church, and they were both active witnesses for the Lord in their schools.

The year they were about 11 and 14, we had a speaker for our mother-daughter banquet who had two daughters about the ages of mine. At the banquet, her daughters played a piano duet while the mother accompanied them on the violin. Then the three sang in beautiful, three-part harmony the theme song to the Sound of Music—"The hills are alive, with the sound of music…"

That night at home, I gathered my girls in my arms, and said, "If you never sing, or play, or accomplish great feats, if you'll just love Jesus with all of your hearts—that's what'll please me and bring me joy. Putting Jesus first in your life is more important than talent, or wealth, or fame, or anything else you could attain. Always love Jesus."

Of course, my girls did accomplish a lot, in many areas. One was a champion swimmer, and her relay team was in the top 10 in the nation. The other daughter graduated from high school two years early and entered college at 16. They both were musical and took music lessons.

So, how did they wind up in these fixes?

More later…


By commenting on my blog or emailing me by clicking on the first entry under "Links," in the right column, you are eligible to win a Christian love story (novel). Past winners have won novels by Nikki Arana, Deborah Raney, and Kim Vogel Sawyer. The next giveaway novel is Robin Lee Hatcher's newly-released A Carol for Christmas.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


The little boys are gone—our grandboys whom we enjoyed for several days. They were at Camp Nana and Papa, what we called our time together because of all the outings we took them on and the fun things we did.

Sunday afternoon, we took them to the beach. For nearly an hour, they enjoyed playing in the waves, me standing close because I felt the undertow's tug. When I was a child swimming in these same waters, my mother used to say, "Watch out for the undertow. It's strong today."

As the waves came, the four-year-old would either run from them, splashing his way to the sand, or he'd let them hit him full force. The first-grader never ran from them. He either let them hit him or he plunged into them. Through it all, there was a lot of laughing and a lot of look, Nanas, look at me.

Then we built a sand castle. Well, I did. They were busy in the sand beside me, doing their own thing. I started by scooping my moat and piling the sand into the middle to create a castle. "Oh, Nana," the four-year-old said when he finally looked up, "your castle is so pretty."

I had a nice big mound and was ready to make my turrets. I needed water. Since the tide was now coming in, I knew it would reach us soon. Sure enough, an inch of fast-moving water came toward us and filled my moat. I scooped up a mixture of sand and water, poised my hand above the highest point of my castle, and let the mixture trickle down as I worked on forming turrets here and there.

I kept scooping up the sand mixture and trying to make my turrets, but I couldn't get the mixture's ratio right. To form turrets, you have to have just the right amount of sand and water, and then you have to pour it with precision aim. If you pour too quickly, the turret can topple over as soon as it's formed; if you pour too slowly, glop—glop—glop—you won't even have a turret. You'll have a dry glop.

One reason I couldn't get the mixture right was because I was working too fast—because I had a big problem. The tide was coming in faster and faster and was threatening the foundation of my castle as wave after wave—gentle though they were—kept hitting my building area.

As I sat there building my castle, I thought about marriage. I saw a lot of correlatives…

The castle is marriage.

The waves coming in are outside forces that threaten to destroy our marriages.

The sand mixture is the combination of give and take. My philosophy is, there are givers and takers (kinds of people). Marriages are made up of four combinations: 1) givers and takers 2) takers and givers 3) givers and givers 4) takers and takers. Marriages #3 and #4 are the most uncommon, from what I've observed. Marriages #1 and #2 are the most common. If there's too much taking in these marriages—just as I had too much sand in my mixture and not enough water—these marriages can be destroyed. Conversely, too much giving not only doesn't destroy a marriage, it builds it and solidifies it.

You have to have the right blend.

How does that compute down to basic living and marriage?

If you're the taker in your marriage—the one wanting your spouse to "Bring me a soft drink while you're up" type person, or, "Get me a (whatever)"through directness or indirectness—there are more clues, but I'll cut this short—you need to do less taking and more giving.

If you're the giver in your marriage—the one who's always doing for your spouse—you can unwittingly become a doormat, and you need to do less giving and by doing so, your spouse will do more giving.

This giver and taker thing has nothing to do with gender.

It's about the sand mixture inside the heart of the individual.

I hope this makes sense.

The last correlative that came to me as I sat there scooping sand, is, I shouldn’t' have built my castle so close to the shoreline. That was my biggest mistake of all.

I could've eventually gotten the sand mixture right.

I could've even gotten the water I needed in my moat without relying on the incoming waves; I could've carried bucket after bucket of water far up on the shore where I should've built my castle in the first place.

"Whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." Matthew 7:24-27 NKJV

My castle came…melting down. Wave after wave crashed over it, and it literally melted into almost-flatness.

"Lord, help me in my marriage. Help me to get the sand mixture right. Help my foundation to solidify. And where I fail, Lord, please make up the slack. I know You will, because Your Word says You'll help me. Amen."


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Monday, September 18, 2006


It's Saturday as I write this post. We've had our two little grandsons—our grandboys, we call them—since Thursday night when we picked them up in Tampa and brought them home with us. A first grader and a four-year-old. They're a bundle of energy. They take lots of time and work to care for them. Cooking their meals. Bathing them. Reading to them. Refereeing their arguments. Helping them make "books" at the kitchen table, complete with drawings. Playing with them in the backyard—they love to pick pink grapefruit off of one of our trio of citrus trees. Taking them places like out to lunch, the hands-on children's museum, Pottery Works to make ceramic figurines, Papa's office at church where they get to draw and write, the library, Sonic Burgers for an ice cream sundae in the car right before bedtime.

Today, I'm lonely. Milton's got them at the zoo. I should have gone. But I needed to get some office work done. They have to go home Monday. I don't want to think about that right now.

Milton and I worry about them. The other day, the oldest one said, "I don't like having two homes. Why do I have to go back and forth?" He was talking about his father's home and his mother's home.

It hasn't been easy for our daughter. She thought she found the man of her dreams when they married. She didn't want a divorce. But when the unspeakable occurs, the decision is taken out of your hands.

On Mother's Day, Milton asked me to speak at our church. With both daughters here to share the weekend with us (one all the way from San Juan, Puerto Rico!), I felt the Lord leading me to speak on the topic, "A Mother Talks to Her Daughters." I asked them what they thought about it, and they said they'd like to participate.

I set up the church platform like a TV set with three wingback chairs and plants, etc., and on Mother's Day morning, the three of us miked up and took our places when it was time for me to speak. I used an interview-type format, and the three of us talked—with much prayer beforehand.

One daughter is married to an atheist and recently rededicated her life to Christ—read her blog for a glimpse of her unique journey—and the other daughter, well, I just described her.

The one in San Juan has a darling two-year-old and an infant. In a four-month period earlier this year, her husband announced he was divorcing her because of her newfound faith. She fell on her knees in front of him and begged him not to. She doesn't want her children to grow up without their father, plus, she loves him, is devoted to this man. She is God's gift to this man, and that's not just her mother saying it. She treats him like a king.

The other daughter walks a hard road as a single mom to two very active little boys and as a dedicated school teacher who puts in long hours, plus she has an ex who's made her life (and ours) so hard, I can't hang words on it.

How did both girls wind up in these fixes?

Girls who were raised in a good home?

A Christian home.

A home where their parents' marriage was stable.

Where both sets of grandparents were married decades (presently, one is at 60 years, and before they died the other at 67 years)?

Good girls.

Girls who worked in various ministries of the church.

Girls who had ministers for parents?

Continued tomorrow…


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Friday, September 15, 2006


Moses Mendelssohn, the grandfather of the well-known composer, was far from being handsome. Along with a rather short stature, he had a grotesque hunchback.

One day he visited a merchant in Hamburg who had a lovely daughter named Frumtje. Moses fell hopelessly in love with her. But Frumtje was repulsed by his misshapen appearance.

When it came time for him to leave, Moses decided to speak to her one last time, gathered his courage, and went to the room where she was sitting. He thought she was a vision of heavenly beauty. But she refused to even look at him, let alone speak to him, and his heart was filled with sadness.

"Do you believe marriages are made in heaven?" he asked.

"Yes," she answered, looking at the floor. "And do you?"

"Yes, I do," he replied. "You see, in heaven, at the birth of each baby boy, the Lord announces which girl he will marry. When I was born, my future bride was pointed out to me. Then the Lord added, 'But your wife will be humpbacked.' Right then and there I called out, 'Oh, Lord, a humpbacked woman would be a tragedy. Please, Lord, give me the hump and let her be beautiful.'"

Then Frumtje looked up into his eyes, reached out, and gave Mendelssohn her hand.

Later, she became his devoted wife.

Ah. A Christian love story!

Thanks to novelist DiAnn Mills for finding this beautiful story and sharing it.


By commenting on my blog, you're eligible to win a Christian love story (novel). This week, you can win Waiting for Summer's Return (Bethany House Publishers) by Kim Vogel Sawyer. I'd be grateful if the winner would read it and post a good review on or to help support Christian fiction.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Monday, I blogged about my husband Milton doing a teaching on marriage last Saturday entitled "Married for Better Not Worse" to some couples in our church. His first segment was "A Walk Down Memory Lane," and he asked some interesting questions to the group. See Monday's post if you'd like to answer them.

The second part of his teaching was "Be Each Other's Best Friend." He quoted Proverbs 18:24: "A man who has friends must himself be friendly." He also quoted Emerson: "The only way to have a friend is to be one."

He said, "Friendship in marriage is like a one-way street with two lanes side by side, going in the same direction. It's not a two-way street with partners going in totally different directions. There may be many little side roads that you take from time to time as you go through life, but they do not take you away from your main destination. It takes both of you putting forth the effort to keep going in the same direction for your friendship to grow."

He gave us five things a friend is, and as we sat there listening to him, I felt the couples were applying them to their marriages, and I was applying them to mine. After each point, he had us comment and share.

As you read the following points, ask yourself if you are being a friend to your spouse.

A friend is:

1. …someone who accepts me as I am.

"Get rid of the notion that you are going to change your mate—you can't," Milton said. "Our responsibility is to be a better person—not to make the other person better."

I learned a long time ago I couldn't change Milton. As a bride, I certainly wished I could—I saw things in him I didn't like or that I wished he'd do or that he'd act differently. And, it became clear to me that we were opposites in many areas. He was a sports nut; I didn't know what a quarterback was. I loved this; he disliked it; I disliked that; he loved it.

During this time, I happened to see an actress being interviewed on TV, and she said, "Bob and I were opposites, and that's why we couldn't get along. So we divorced."

Sometimes people bail out of their marriages because they've been influenced by things like this, or by friends or coworkers who say, "You don't have to take that. You don't have to live in that."

In the process of coming to the place where I accepted him for who he was (and vice versa), we focused on the things we did have in common. And, they happened to be the biggest things:

our faith

our values

and our goals.

When you concentrate on your commonalities, it's easier to let the differences slide and to shake them off.

2. …someone I can talk to.

"Friendship is all about being able to talk about your deep concerns with each other—without judgment or censorship," he said.

In our marriage, we observe an important rule: what's important to him, I try to empathize. What's important to me, he tries to empathize. Okay, he didn't empathize very well when the cockroach attacked me while I stood at the kitchen counter slicing limes—with dinner guests looking on! See this blog post. Now that I've mentioned cockroaches, you have to see this blog post so I can reassure you that we don't have roaches, that we're clean people, that that sucker came in our house in an unusual way, that it never happened before, and it's never happened since.

In marriage, we need to be able to talk to each other, and not make light of the other's feelings or concerns.

3. …someone I can have fun with.

"What are your common likes?" he asked. "Kristy and I like to read—we occasionally go to the library together or a bookstore. We enjoy bicycling, walking, going to the beach. We enjoy our children and grandchildren. We like to speak and teach together. We like to go see old churches and historic places. We like to travel together. We enjoy helping others."

What's something fun you've done with your spouse lately? Sometimes our daughters say, "Mom, y'all have the most fun. Y'all lead the most interesting lives."

If you haven't done anything fun lately, think of something, and go do it! Then comment on my blog and let us know about it.

4. …someone who really cares about me.

"To have a great friendship," he said, "there must be mutually shared interest and care."

I care about Milton, and he cares about me. We show it in many ways. If you haven't read the marriage book, The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, you need to. It teaches you how to show your love to your spouse in the way s/he desires it to be shown, not necessarily how you want to show it. Neat concept. For instance, if you love surprises, but your spouse doesn't, don't give him surprise gifts or surprise parties (or at least expect him to be as excited about them as you are). Understand what he really likes, and give (or do) accordingly. Likewise, your spouse would do well to learn this important aspect about you and act on it.

5. …someone I can trust.

He said, "Someone I can trust…to be faithful, to keep confidence, and to be there for me."

I can trust Milton. He's been faithful to me. And I've been faithful to him. I know I can count on him.

You may say, "My spouse cheated on me." My response is, I know a couple this happened to, and the husband had a repentant heart, and they stayed together, and God healed their memories—hers particularly—and helped her forgive him, and helped him forgive himself, and that couple is doing great things for God today.

There is hope. Trust can be rebuilt. Love can be rekindled.

Be a friend to your spouse.

You'll have a Christian love story.
Amber Miller ("Tiff") interviewed my coauthors and me on her website/blog about our latest book, Kiss the (Cook) Bride, a 4-in-1 novella collection by Barbour Publishing. Thanks, Tiff! Coauthors of Kiss the (Cook) Bride are: Kristy Dykes, Aisha Ford, Vickie McDonough, Carrie Turanksy.
Tiff's interview tells how I came up with the concept of the book: four restaurant owners meet at a restaurant convention, bemoan the lack of Mr. Right in their lives, and then each novella tells their love stories. Fun aspects of the book: 1) they pass around an apron with the words "Kiss the Cook." The last groom crosses out "Cook" and writes "Bride." 2) There are yummy recipes at the end of each novella. At Tiff's website, scroll down until you see my book cover, and Check out the interview.
Kiss the (Cook) Bride just hit bookshelves in stores and at and It's already on the bestselling list of romance titles at!


By commenting on my blog, you're eligible to win a free Christian love story (novel)--Waiting for Summer's Return (Bethany House Publishers) by Kim Vogel Sawyer.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Biddy Hobbs decided to become a stenographer and pursue a proficiency level that might attract the attention of the prime minister of England. She reached her goal of excellence, but before the prime minister heard about her, she fell in love and married. Instead of taking down the words of the prime minister in shorthand, she began to record—verbatim—every one of her husband's sermons and Bible lessons—word for word.

Seven years after they married, he suddenly died following surgery for a ruptured appendix.

Biddy spent the next 35 years raising Kathleen, their only child, and transcribing her husband's words into book form.

The book became My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.

My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers's best-known book, has been continuously in print in the United States since 1935 and remains in the top 10 titles of the religious book bestseller list with millions of copies in print.

It has become a Christian classic.

If you've profited from this book, you have Biddy to thank. And if you've ever read the dozens of titles with Oswald's name on the cover, remember Biddy.

She made it all possible.

When you pick up an Oswald Chambers's book, try and find Biddy's name and a reference to her contribution. You won't find it. It's not there. Biddy refused to accept recognition. She was only interested in giving herself as a gift to Oswald's vision to serve and build people for Jesus Christ.

Unselfish devotion!

A Christian love story.

(Portions were excerpted from High Call, High Privilege by Gail MacDonald.)


By commenting on my blog, you're eligible to win a free Christian love story (novel)--Waiting for Summer's Return (Bethany House Publishers) by Kim Vogel Sawyer.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


It's been said that Ruth Graham, wife of Dr. Billy Graham, was once asked by a reporter, "In all your years of marriage to this revered and world-acclaimed minister, did you ever consider divorce?"

She replied, "Divorce? Never! Now murder?..."

I can see her eyes twinkling, like they do in her pictures in two of my favorite books, Ruth Graham…Celebrating An Extraordinary Life and Never Let It End…Poems of a Lifelong Love.

Recently, Dr. Billy Graham was asked by a reporter, I believe in USA Today, "How is your wife Ruth?" Dr. Graham said, "We are happily incompatible."

Happily incompatible?

What do these quotes mean?

Note: Keep reading to find out how you can win a free Christian love story (novel).

They mean that we need 1) to make allowances for our spouses, and 2) be assured that if we are opposites, we can still have a good marriage.

Has your spouse ever done something to you that hurts you, or disappoints you, or angers you, or _________ (you supply the word).

If so, you are not alone.

No marriage is perfect.

And no one can make you happy.

Yes, you read that right.

No one. No person. No husband (or wife). No Christian husband (or wife). No minister husband (or wife).

Ruth Graham says in Never Let It End: "It's a foolish woman who expects her husband to be to her that which only Jesus Christ Himself can be: always ready to forgive, totally understanding, unendingly patient, invariably tender and loving, unfailing in every area, anticipating every need, and making more than adequate provision. Such expectations put a man under an impossible strain. The same goes for the man who expects too much from his wife."

Talking about words of wisdom? Surely she's Queen Solomon.

Are you at odds right now with your spouse? Did s/he do or say something to you that wasn't right? You're the victim, correct, meaning you don't deserve such ill treatment?

If this hasn't happened to you lately, hang on, because it will. That's usually the course coupledom takes, because you've taken two different individuals who were raised in two different ways in two different family situations with two very different opinions, and plopped them down in one place and called it marriage.

So if you're at odds with your spouse, go find him/her and humble yourself. Tell him/her you want things to be pleasant and to go smoothly. Tell him/her you'll do whatever it takes to see this happen. Then give him/her a big kiss and assure him/her of your love.

I had the great privilege of interviewing Ruth Graham's daughter—who is her mother's namesake—and writing an article about her and her book In Every Pew Sits A Broken Heart. I mentioned that because I admire that family so much.

Here's what Jan Karon—author of the bestselling and well-loved Mitford novels (novel #1: At Home In Mitford)—had to say about Ruth and Billy Graham, below.

"I had a rare and precious opportunity to see a couple who have loved and lost, triumphed and failed—all of those things, together, in one flesh. (During that visit), I saw that they both had tremendous wills. They are both strong. Can you imagine Dr. Billy Graham being married to a weak woman? I cannot."

"I saw them tease each other, and I saw how merciless both he and she could be, and how they loved it. I saw how they held hands, how they looked fondly at one another, how they laughed."

"I just thought they were the cutest, sexiest couple I had ever seen."

I'd like for my husband Milton and me to be described like that.

I better go find him and humble myself and tell him I want things to go smoothly…


By commenting on my blog anytime, you are eligible to win a novel. This week, I'm giving away Waiting for Summer's Return (Bethany House Publishers) by Kim Vogel Sawyer. Last week, I gave away the newly-released A Vow to Cherish (Steeple Hill Publishers) by Deborah Raney.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Saturday, we had a gathering of couples at a parishioners' home for fun, fellowship, and spiritual renewal. The guys grilled steaks, and then we ate sumptuously in a beautiful home on the water.

Then we gathered in their great room, and my husband Milton did an interesting, interactive teaching on marriage. His first segment was entitled "Married for Better Not Worse" in which he utilized a Walk Down Memory Lane technique. He asked the questions, below, and the couples responded. We learned a lot about each other, and during the session, every couple without exception edged closer to each other and locked hands. It was romantic.

Note: Keep reading to find out how to win Kim Vogel Sawyer's Christian love story (novel) Waiting for Summer's Return (Bethany House Publishers). You'll also find out who won last week's novel—Deborah Raney's newly-released A Vow to Cherish (Steeple Hill).

Try to find some alone time with your mate and ask each other the following questions as you reflect back. Then give each other a big kiss and say, "I'm so glad I married you."

1. Where did you first see each other? How did you meet?

2. When you first met, what attracted you to your spouse?

3. What do you remember most about that first meeting?

4. What caused you to ask for that first date?

5. What caused you to accept that first date?

6. What activities do you presently do for a fun date?

7. Name an attribute or characteristic about your spouse you have always admired.


By commenting on my blog any time, you're eligible to win a free Christian love story (novel). I'll draw a name each Monday. The winner for last week's contest is Margaret Feinberg. You've won Deborah Raney's newly-released A Vow to Cherish (Steeple Hill). Congratulations! Margaret, please consider posting a good review on and in support of Christian fiction.

This week, you can win Waiting for Summer's Return (Bethany House Publishers) by Kim Vogel Sawyer.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Last night I watched the new 8 o'clock sitcom called Till Death?, starring the big guy on Everybody Loves Raymond. I'd read an article about the show in the newspaper, and the premise caught my attention: newlywed couple moves next door to oldywed couple. I thought, how cute.


At least all the arguing wasn't cute. Maybe that's why I didn't laugh very much. Or maybe the lines weren't that funny. Or maybe it was just me. I said to Milton, "I'm glad it's canned applause and not a live audience." Canned applause covers you, I'd think.

The title of the sitcom caught my attention too: Till Death?

That's what we've been talking about the last two days.

There've been some interesting comments on my blog regarding our subject. I've seen, or felt the spirit of, these words: faithfulness, commitment, compassion, non-judgmentalism, and more.

As I read the comments, I recalled an article I'd read and put in my illustrations file a long time ago. I dug it out; it's called "The Missing Ingredient" and deals with a word we sometimes shy away from.


The writer uses the word in relation to the Christian—going to church, doing the right thing, praying when we don't feel like it, etc.

The writer quotes this verse: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Ecclesiastes 12:13.

The writer talks about the fact that sometimes it's not fun to do the things we know we should do. He uses the words faithful, steadfast, unmovable, enduring, persevering.

"Inspiration is the poorest octane you can run your life on," he writes. "The motor will sputter and stop before too long. Our fuel is a mixture of love and duty."

I suppose parts of his article could apply to marriage. In fact, his illustration is about a young couple. At age 27, an Indiana state patrolman was pursuing a speeding car. Suddenly, he lost control and was involved in a horrible accident that left him comatose.

"His wife, who loved him more than words could express, stayed by his bed and waited for him to regain consciousness," the writer states. "She waited. And waited. She waited, in fact, eight years and five months. Day after day, always at his bedside. Leaving only to care for her own absolute necessities, then going back to the job of vigilance for her husband. Eight years and 5 months."

"Duty and love demanded it," the writer concluded.

As some of you have said, it would be a hard situation to face if your spouse became debilitated.

Would you stay true to your spouse if s/he became debilitated?

This discussion was sparked when I thought of Deborah Raney's newly-released Christian love story (novel) A Vow to Cherish by Steeple Hill Books, which I'm giving away this week. Worldwide Pictures made a movie from her novel. A Vow to Cherish is about a man with a beautiful wife and family. Then his wife gets early-onset Alzheimer's, quickly goes into demise, and ends up in a nursing home. While jogging, he meets a lovely woman, and a friendship strikes up. Eventually he's faced with a big decision--should he or shouldn't know...share his love with this woman, especially since his poor wife is the way she is. I won't spoil it for you, in case you haven't read it.

Just comment on my blog, and your name will go into a hat for a drawing. I'll let the winner know on Monday.


Love and duty.

Till death?

Oh, Lord, help me to be pleasing in Your sight, in all things.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


This week, someone will win Deborah Raney's newly-released A Vow to Cherish. She'll be sending it, so it'll be autographed. Just comment on my blog, and your name will go into a hat for a drawing.

Worldwide Pictures made a movie from her novel, A Vow to Cherish. It's about a man with a beautiful wife and family. Then his wife gets early-onset Alzheimer's, quickly goes into demise, and ends up in a nursing home. While jogging, he meets a lovely woman, and a friendship strikes up. Eventually he's faced with a big decision--should he or shouldn't know...share his love with this woman, especially since his poor wife is the way she is. I won't spoil it for you, in case you haven't read it.

I'd like to put the question to you again: "Would you stay true to your spouse if s/he became debilitated?"

I can quickly think of a couple of public examples of this scenario. The first one that comes to mind is Christopher Reeve and his wife. An actor, he had an accident while filming a movie and was left a quadraplegic. From all reports, his wife stayed true to him. I can still see images in my mind of her bent over him or stooping beside him for press pictures. The word "doting" often came to mind when I saw them.

The second public example is the Terry Schiavo case. That was publicized so much, I'm sure everyone knows about it. Michael, the husband, while his wife lay comatose for years, had a wife-in-action-only and even some kids.

What would you do?

Since this is such a weighty subject, here's something light:

Has your marriage become more of a partnership than an intimate relationship, with the focus on car pools and bills instead of cuddling and bonding? Don't feel bad--it happens to even the best marriages, says Jennifer Louden, author of The Couples' Comfort Book. "When couples don't pay attention to each other, the relationship gets stale," she says. Her advice for getting back on track?

"Kiss for at least 20 seconds twice a day." Louden says. "So many couples get into a pecking rut and forget how wonderful it can be to make out with each other."

K: In our home, we instituted a "rule:" whenever the first one leaves in the morning, s/he goes and finds the other one and gives him/her a 20-second kiss. Whenever the second one arrives home in the afternoon, s/he goes and finds the other one and gives him/her a 20-second kiss.

Try it. It's great.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


This week, you have a chance to win Deborah Raney's newly-released A Vow to Cherish by commenting on my blog. Deb, herself, will send it to you, so it'll be autographed. Worldwide Pictures made a movie of her title. Her title says it all: a vow's been made, and it's cherished, or at least needs to be.

In thinking about this novel, a question formed in my mind: "Would you stay true to your spouse if s/he became debilitated?" For many, the answer is an automatic "yes." But for others, it's "no," unfortunately. Phooey, I know spouses who don't stay true to their spouses when they aren't debilitated. Perhaps they've become loose with their demeanor with a coworker, and then an affair starts; or perhaps their spouse isn't the man or woman of their dreams, and they get involved with someone else erroneously thinking the grass is greener on the other side; or perhaps their spouse is plain mean to them, and their heart is yearning for tenderness, and along comes someone who provides that tenderness, and bingo, an affair is born. The mean spouse thing is what the Dr. Phil show was about last night--a mean spouse whom Dr. Phil is trying to retrain.

But back to my question, what would you do?

This is a letter from "Annie's Mailbox" in the newspaper:

Dear Annie: My husband's health is not good. According to his doctors, the outlook is grim. I do all I can for him and love him very much. I have a friend whose wife is in a nursing home and also not doing well. We both are very lonely. Neither of us has been intimate with our spouses for years. Is it possible to love my husband as much as I do and still be interested in some TLC and friendship with someone else? I can't believe my own feelings. Is it wrong to act on this? (from) Somewhere in Florida

Dear Florida: Your feelings are normal, but we are not going to give permission for you to have an affair, sorry. Marriage vows include "in sickness and health." Dinner and a movie with your friend is fine, as long as it is friendship only. We understand your loneliness and desire for companionship, but there are better ways. (Annie goes on to name a support organization.)

Again: "Would you stay true to your spouse if s/he became debilitated?"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Labor Day weekend was wonderful. I hope it was for you too. Sunday night, we were on the beach under a nearly-full moon with our friends, another couple. With the sound of the waves washing up on the shore, and the moon shining down with no other lights around, it was quite romantic. We've both been married for years, but we joked about how romantic it was and kidded each other about "no necking allowed."

Monday morning, we decided to go watch the sunrise over the ocean. What a sight! We took our coffee and lawn chairs and Bible and headed to the beach. The news the night before had announced sunrise at 7:04, so we were in our chairs by ten minutes to seven, waiting for the spectacular sight. When we lived on the Gulf, we enjoyed many sunset picnics on the beach where the sun looked like a giant children's beach ball as it dropped into the water. And the sky? Oh, my. It looked like an artist's pallete with its pinks and golds and oranges and reds and baby blues and pale grays. But it'd been awhile since I'd seen a beach sunrise, and so I was relishing the thought.

Just as the sun came up over the water, with the clouds rimmed in pink, a school of dolphins swam by, right in front of us. Talk about something special? Then, one jumped, nearly as high as the dolphins at SeaWorld. It was literally cavorting, like it was saying, I'm so happy to be alive. We started quoting scriptures, about the handiwork of God, and the seas, and the oceans. Milton read a portion of scripture, and we talked about the things of the Lord until the sky was as bright as a noonday sun. My daughter Jennifer ( later told me, "Mom, y'all were delighting in the Lord by doing that." She reminded me of the scripture, "Delight yourselves in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." She said, "As we delight in the Lord, He plants desires in our hearts, and then He fulfills them." An exciting thought, right?

Later, we went sailing on the nearby lake that has brackish water--that means it's a mixture of fresh and salt water. It's as green as grass and has islands of trees throughout. Well, Milton and Don sailed. Sandra and I were on a paddle boat because they only had one sailboat available. It felt as if we were two couples dating, with the banter going on between both boats. She and I were working our legs furiously, and the guys were lazily catching the wind and soon, they were far ahead, the giant triangle of multi-colored nylon standing high above the tree line. Finally, we caught up with them, and Sandra took off her lifejacket. She wanted to tie one of the belts to a hook on their boat but they were trying to get away from us, and we were all laughing. For awhile there, I was afraid she was going to fall into the water as she leaned over it trying to get the belt tied. After it was secure, they pulled us. Then both boats grew still in the water because the wind had died down. They started whining about letting them go and we finally untied the belt. Then Sandra and I headed back to shore where we traded our paddle boat for a canoe. Canoes are much faster than paddle boats, but you sure get a strenuous upper body workout. We playfully rammed them a few times, making it that much more fun.

After we turned our boats in, we were as hot as all get out, and I said, "Let's go swim at the beach," and so we rode our bikes over to the beach, left them in the sand, and plunged in. I had on my contact lenses, so I wasn't intending to go under, just up to my neck. But the undertow was fierce, and the waves were high. I managed to keep standing as they crashed about me, and then Milton and I swam past the wave line, and we didn't have to worry about the waves anymore. The waves were a surfer's dream, and several surfers were nearby catching the crest of the waves and riding them all the way in to shore. Suddenly, a wave crashed right behind me even though we were past the wave line, and it was too big and high for me to handle. It drug me under and pulled me out, and I reached for Milton, and I remember raking something with my fingernails. When I surfaced, talk about unclogging your sinuses? My nose and eyes burned like fire (though I didn't lose my contacts).

I made it back to the sand, wanting my water bottle on my bike. Milton came out of the water, too, and there, on his back were two angry-looking red scratch marks. I'd gotten him good. He didn't even complain. He'd also lost his sunglasses. He didn't complain about that either.

That's love.


By commenting on my blog, you'll have a chance to win Deborah Raney's newly-released A Vow to Cherish. The more times you comment, the more your name goes in the hat. I'll announce the winner next Monday. This past week's winner is Patricia. You've won In the Shade of the Jacaranda by Nikki Arana. Congratulations!

Sunday, September 03, 2006


I won't be posting tomorrow, since it's Labor Day. Let's all cease from our labors, okay? GRIN I will, however, draw a name for the free love story (novel) giveaway. This time it's In the Shade of the Jacaranda by Nikki Arana.

Have a great holiday.

Friday, September 01, 2006



By commenting on my blog, you'll have a chance to win a free love story (novel). This week, it's In the Shade of the Jacaranda by Nikki Arana (Revell). I'll draw a name and let the winner know each Monday. The more you comment, the more times your name goes in the hat.


The following is from an article in The Florida Times Union:

If you want a long life, find a good marriage partner. Married adults are healthier than divorced, widowed, or never-married adults, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That means they are more likely to be in good health, less likely to suffer from headaches and psychological distress, less likely to smoke, drink heavily, or be physically inactive.

These benefits didn't apply to people in cohabiting relationships. Their health profiles were more similar to divorced and separated adults, the centers reported.

"The association between marital status and health is most striking in the youngest age group although it persists throughout the age groups studied," reported the CDC on its website.

The CDC did not assign a reason to the marital benefits, but it did confirm the real world experiences. Good marriages encourage partners to become better people—healthier and happier, too.

Wow, that's a mouthful!

Enjoy a few laughs. And maybe a tear too:

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 years olds: "What does love mean?" (Source unknown.)

Here are some answers:

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know your name is safe in their mouth."

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on cologne and they go out and smell each other."

"Love is when you give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Brad Pitt."

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."

And last, a very poignant one:

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her, even when his hands got arthritis too."