Monday, April 30, 2007


The events at Virginia Tech University with the tragic deaths of 32 innocent lives released a new wave of fearfulness across our nation. Terrorism is sweeping around the world and producing a whirlwind of alarm that reaches from small children to the highest levels of leadership of government.

Then there are other forms of fear that grip people. Fear of rejection, failure, loss of jobs, or fear of change that impact us. Fear and anxiety are crippling and debilitating emotions that rob and drain the very life from us. Fear paralyzes and keeps us from God’s best and highest will for our lives. God wants us to live in faith rather than fear—He has not given us a spirit of fear… (II Timothy 1:7). Look at the contrasts between faith and fear:


Fear breeds more fear. It weakens. It causes inaction. Fear wastes energy and keeps us from reaching our potential. So what can we do to deal with our fears?
1. Admit your fears to God. He can turn your fear into faith.
2. Realize your fears can limit you (studies show that 95 percent of our fears are baseless).
3. Put your fears into perspective. What were you afraid of 10 years ago? Can’t remember? Maybe today’s fear won’t mean so much 10 years from now.
4. Focus on what you can control. If you can’t control it or change it, then why fret over it?
5. Give attention to today—not yesterday or tomorrow. Jesus taught this in Matthew
6. Feed faith—starve fear. The emotion we give attention to will grow.

Mark Twain said, “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, a few of which actually happened.” There is a lesson for us in his statement. Most of the fears the enemy of our souls puts into our hearts never happen.

Finally and most of all: God will take care of you. Don’t be afraid.

Friday, April 27, 2007



"In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, you'll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade."

So the song goes. I can hear the tune floating through my head.

To the left is a pic of a doggie with bunny ears on. No, he's not mine. It's just a pic I came across, but I thought it was cute.

I know. Easter has long passed. But since this is Fun Friday, I couldn't resist posting it. It's almost as cute as the life-size Easter bunny in my neighbor's window (search my blog for the post, "MM HAS A NEW FRIEND").

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Missionaries from Romania—actually, a Romanian pastor and his wife—are in town this week, speaking at our church during service times. They're staying with parishioners, and we've enjoyed some good times of fellowship.
Yesterday, we were invited to have lunch with them, and after we ate a luscious meal, we all went out on the lanai (porch) overlooking the water and sat in big rockers and chatted. The birds flitted in and out of the bird feeders and houses—hummingbirds, painted buntings, cardinals, bluebirds, and titmice, a feast for our eyes as we watched them, and the squirrels played their climbing and chasing games up and down the trunks of majestic oaks, and the colorful flowers were a sight to behold.

Then, suddenly, Milton spotted a dolphin in the water and exclaimed, and we all jumped up to see it. I got to the water just as it went under, and I saw a huge ring of splash bubbles where it had jumped up and then landed in the water. Then, suddenly, there he was again, a silver streak into the sky and splat, down into the water, leaving another huge ring of splash bubbles, as if he were saying, "Life is so grand; I'm so happy I think I'll jump for joy; isn't this fun?"

And then we saw two dolphins not just one, apparently playing with each other and cavorting in the water. It was an exciting sight. Milton grabbed the camera, but they were so fast, he couldn't capture them in a photo, except for just barely. If you look closely at the picture of the water, on the far right you'll see something silver on the surface of the water. That's the dolphin.

Dolphins are known to be playful creatures. According to, the year 2007 has been declared as International Year of the Dolphin by the United Nations and United Nations Environment Programme.
Last night, the pastor from Romania talked about rejoicing through your trials, as the Bible instructs. When he said it, I thought about the delight of the dolphins we'd seen that afternoon, and I said in my heart, "Lord, let me delight in You even through hardships and trials. Help me to praise You when it rains and when it doesn't, when things are great and when they're not. Help me to 'rejoice in all things.'"
It's interesting to me that the Bible was written thousands of years ago, yet psychologists will tell you to apply this same concept to your trials and difficulties. And God knew all along. He created us. He knows what we need to do in every circumstance.
Rejoice, no matter how life's treating you!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Another beautiful wedding! Aren't we lucky, to get to be at so many weddings? At every one Milton performs, I silently renew my vows in my heart and think about ways to improve our marriage.
This past weekend, Milton read the vows on the shores of a sparkling Florida lake during an outdoor ceremony. It couldn't have been more wonderful. Or unique. A green grassy lawn. An arbor and the lake in the background. The lake house in the foreground. White skirted tables. Even goldfish swimming in bowls as centerpieces for each table. A band via a DJ. Luscious food. And best of all, a beautiful bride, handsome groom, and lovely wedding party. When the bride and her father danced, we all kinda' teared up at the lyrics of the song. Same with the groom and his mother. Very special.
Milton loves to end ceremonies with an admonition to the groom as a prescription for a good marriage. He asks the groom to repeat these words: "Happy wife, happy life." The audience always laughs. Of course, it's just a joke. It takes two people working TOGETHER and WILLING to do the right things, in order for a marriage to succeed.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Welcome, Trish Perry. I'm glad you could stop by and answer some questions. Hopefully, my readers will learn a little bit about you.

Tell us about yourself.

The Lord got a hold of my heart 20 years ago (wow, I should be a much better person than I am, after all that time!). I’ve been seriously pursuing a writing career for about 12 years, and, although I’ve published a few short pieces with the secular market, I only write Christian fiction now. The Lord blessed me with two amazing kids, a dear son-in-law, and a grandson who constantly makes me laugh. Before I started writing, I worked at Washington, D. C. law firms, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and as a stockbroker. I decided to go back to college, and as I completed a degree in psychology, I realized I enjoyed writing more than counseling. So here I am!

Tell us about your latest book and how you came to write it.

My latest book is called Too Good to Be True (March 2007, Harvest House Publishers). It’s a stand-alone book, but it is also the sequel to my first published novel, The Guy I’m Not Dating. Neither of those books depends upon the storyline of the other. Actually, I wrote Too Good first, but we flipped their release dates, which required a bit of manipulation of the plot sequences on my part.

Too Good to Be True is about Ren Young, a twenty-something elementary schoolteacher whose nonbelieving husband left her and divorced her a year ago. We join her on the one-year anniversary of the divorce, which is also the day she hears about the collapse of the adoption process she and her husband started when married. One more item of emotional distress hits her as she shops at her local Wal-Mart, and she faints, smack in the middle of the boys' department. Among those who come to her aid is Truman Sayers, a kind, young labor-and-delivery nurse. Eventually a romance blossoms between Ren and Tru, but much gets in their way, not the least of which are their meddlesome mothers. Ren struggles with her fear of losing at love again, with her inability to trust the Lord completely, and with questions about whether this almost-perfect young man is too good to be true.

I wrote Ren’s story because I felt led to write humor, and I love romantic comedy and chick lit. A news story about adoption triggered an idea for me, and many of the other aspects of the book simply fell into place from that starting point. Once I fully created the characters of Ren and Tru—along with their mothers and siblings—plotting the book happened rather smoothly. I think Ren’s story is fun, but it also addresses some rather serious life issues, like divorce, adoption, infertility, and honoring one’s parents.

What's next in your writing?

I’d like eventually to write a third book in this non-series series, especially since I keep hearing comments of interest from readers about two particular characters in the first two books. But for now, I’m putting together a completely different novel idea for my publisher, and also a five-book series proposal. Everything’s up in the air right now, and I’m just leaning on the Lord’s timing and guidance.

How--and why did you start writing Christian fiction?

I could tell the Lord was drawing me to write a novel, and the first idea he gave me just happened to be a spiritual warfare story. There was no way I could honestly write a spiritual warfare story and only have the heroine turn to a generic God, so Christian fiction it was! By the time I finished that manuscript, I knew it was all coming from Him and that He wanted me giving back by using the gift of writing to honor His kingdom. That spiritual warfare manuscript is doing time on my office floor, but it gave me much experience and guidance about what His will was.

As to the “how,” I took writing courses, read enough books on writing to know I’d never not need to keep learning, joined a local writers’ group, joined several writers’ organizations (the best of which is American Christian Fiction Writers), and prayed my patootie off. He put all of that together and blessed me with a couple of writing contracts. It’s all up to Him and always has been.

Any other comments?

Me? Have other comments? Well, good grief, girl, I’m a writer; how much time do you have? Here we go:

Three positive comments:
Your site, Kristy, is fun and makes me want to go to the beach;
Today is gorgeous and hundreds of daffodils have bloomed outside my window;
God is in control!

Three negative comments:
There aren’t enough stalls in the ladies room;
There isn’t enough shelf space for Christian fiction in the bookstores;
I keep thinking I’m in control!

Thanks, Kristy, for your kind interview. I invite visitors to drop by my site and say hello or tell me what they think of my books God bless!

Monday, April 23, 2007


I am reading a book entitled Think Big, Act Small by Jason Jennings. It is a book detailing how America’s best performing companies keep the “start-up” spirit alive. It relates the day-to-day practical guidelines that help them stay on the cutting edge and maintain their highest level of performance. It is intriguing to me to note that much of the basis of this book could be taken right from the Bible. Of course we know you cannot improve on God’s Word and the eternal truths contained in its pages.

In the first chapter, Jennings notes ten qualities of these high performing companies: 1) Integrity, 2) Compliance, 3) Value creation, 4) Entrepreneurship, 5) Customer focus, 6) Knowledge, 7) Change, 8) Humility, 9) Respect, 10) Fulfillment. You can see that behind each of these ten points are Bible-based values that work. Jennings further asks the question, “Does humility really set these organizations up to win the revenue and growth game?” He writes, “The answer is an incontrovertible y-e-s!”

Jesus put it this way:“Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5). He taught on the power of faith and treating others as we desire to be treated. He noted that we are to be faithful stewards of the talents we are given. In the Old Testament, Solomon wrote in Proverbs many timeless truths that lead to success in life and business. You just cannot improve on God’s Word. It works!

God wants us to think outside the box. We must think, act, and move forward in faith. We must "think big, but act small (with humility)." Remember, God has promised in His Word that He will “do exceeding, abundantly above all we could ask or think.” We must not limit what God will do, and we must walk humbly and in a spirit of meekness. It will reap great rewards.

Friday, April 20, 2007



An RC and a moon pie? Anybody remember those treats?

Milton is from Alabama, and the other Sunday he mentioned them in his sermon. The next Sunday somebody put these on the pulpit. He got a laugh.

And he enjoyed the treats.

Right in front of them is my peanut butter knife. It's fake peanut butter. Makes people do double-takes when they see it.


Remember, laugh with your spouse. It's healthy for your marriage.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


These are pictures of the unusual plants in our yard. The former owners planted some giant octopus-shaped cactus plants. They're along the property line between us and our neighbors, and though they aren't my favorite plants, they're exotic and unusual, and I like that about them.

I was out of town a few days last week, and Milton called me. "You won't believe what's happened in our yard," he said. He went on to tell me that out of the middle of one of the cactus plants erupted a pole-looking thingie. "That thing grew at least two feet in one day!" He said the next day, the pole grew two or three more feet! Within days, it was at least 10 or 12 feet high. He couldn't get over it. On Friday night, he attended our annual neighborhood dinner and casually mentioned the pole thing in the middle of the plant.

"That's a century plant," a neighbor said excitedly, "and it's fixing to bloom!" (That's Southern for "It's about to bloom!") She told Milton a century plant blooms only once in its lifetime. "You just wait," she said. "You're going to have flowers up there."

I googled "Century Plant," and the info is fascinating. Century plants are usually found in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts at higher elevations from southeastern California, to western Texas and south to northern Mexico on dry, rocky desert slopes.

And here, we have one in Florida!

The site said there will be yellow flowers composed of six petals, and they bloom June through August. Flowers grow in clusters and face upward at the end of horizontal branches, appearing only near the top of the stalk."

"This unique native plant has a tall, thin stalk from 10 to 14 feet high that grows from a thick basal rosette of gray-green leaves. The leaves are 10 to 18 inches long with long, sharp, terminal spines and shorter spines along the edges. The stalk can be up to 4 inches in diameter. Members of the Amaryllis Family, century plants take many years to flower, although not a century. The century plant provided Native Americans with a source of soap, food, fiber, medicine and weapons."

"Agavi americana, can grow up to 40 feet high with much longer leaves and larger stalk. This American Century Plant is sometimes grown in southern California as an ornamental. It is used commercially in Mexico as a source to produce the liquors tequila, pulque, and mescal."

Last night in church, Milton used our century plant as a sermon illustration. He said that after many years of growing, a century plant finally produces beautiful blooms. He compared that with our lives, saying sometimes that's how it is, that some things take a long time, but they do happen.

Is there something good in your life about to happen? Or that has happened?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


My newest novel, The Heart of the Matter, has just been released! I received an author copy a few days ago, and it was as exciting as when my first book was published. To hold a book in your hands that you created is very rewarding. And to receive letters from readers telling you they enjoyed your book or were drawn closer to God through reading it, is even better. That's happened lots of times with the 10 titles I've sold, and each letter is a confirmation to me that I'm walking in His will. I like to say I write Christian fiction to fulfill The Three E's: to entertain, to encourage, and to enlighten.
The Heart of the Matter is published by Heartsong Presents, a division of Barbour Publishing Company. Approximately 23,000 copies will be shipped to Heartsong Presents Book Club members. Then, in about six months or so, it will be available in Christian bookstores or at or
The back cover has a nutshell condensation:
Dr. Jeris Waldron would rather help children than worry about hair and makeup. Widowed from a demeaning husband, she overcame her insecurities by pursuing a career in child psychology. With a new practice and a new role as a children's director at church, Jeris hopes to win some young hearts for the Lord. But her own heart is quickly won by little Brady Moore.
As a single parent, Luke Moore has little time for dating. But he'd like to marry again someday, and Brady wants a mommy. Luke's only trouble is finding the right woman--one who loves the Lord and is gorgeous, too.
A little matchmaking and Brady's endearing ways throw Luke and Jeris together. But can Luke overcome his vain prejudice? And will Jeris allow her tender heart to trust again? Will they let God show them the heart of the matter?
As with all of my works of fiction, The Heart of the Matter is scripturally based. The scriptural theme is: "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). It has a slight flavor of the classic novel Pride and Prejudice, in that the hero is prideful and the heroine is prejudiced.
My prayer today: "Lord, I dedicate this book to You. You gave me the creativity to write it and the strength to produce it, and I lift it up to You for Your honor and glory. Father, let someone be encouraged by reading it. Let someone be enlightened by reading it. Let someone be entertained by reading it. Thank You, Father, for Your hand on me. Thank You for the anointing to write. Please give me more stories that will honor You and Your Name. Please use me again in the ministry of writing Christian fiction. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I'm in the headscratching mode, brainstorming a novel. Novel writing takes lots of creativity and time. Last night at supper, Milton and I were talking and tossing around ideas, and he reached for my hand and led in the most beautiful prayer for me, that God would help me in this process.

"All things are possible to him who believes."

"My yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Aren't you thankful for these scriptures?

I am.

I'm also thankful for a Christian husband who's an encourager.

Monday, April 16, 2007


One of God’s greatest gifts to mankind is the power of choice. He made us in His image, and He made us unique from all other creation. Obviously, we are not robots who mindlessly go about our days without freedom to do what we desire. The fact is, we do what we choose to do. Every day is a new day of choice filled with a myriad of opportunities. Hopefully we would never willingly or deliberately discourage anyone. We can be passive and uninvolved, or we can lift them up by our words and actions.

All of us need encouragement at one time or another. No matter how high or low in life we go, there will be tests and trials to be faced. I cannot tell you the number of times a card, a kind word, a helping hand, or second chance has made the difference in my life. This is true for all of us. Having received encouragement, it behooves us to be encouragers.

Here are a few tips by Richard G. Capen on how to be an encourager:

· Encouragers are compassionate, unselfish, and loving people.
· Encouragers seek out opportunities to help, and drop everything for those in need.
· Encouragers count their blessings, and help others inventory theirs.
· Encouragers pray for others and with others.
· Encouragers find the good in others, and they nurture it. No cynics allowed.
· Encouragers forgive and forget, and they listen and observe.
· Encouragers make lists of people to thank and do so. Often.
· Encouragers take advantage of what they have, and erase thoughts of what might have been.
· Encouragers can always be counted on.

In Acts, we read of Barnabas, one of the great encouragers in the Bible. In fact, his name means "son of encouragement." The Bible says, "Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord" (Acts 11:22-24, NKJV).

God wants us to follow Barnabas's example and find ways to encourage others. It is a choice, and it produces eternal results. Be a difference maker. Choose to encourage.

Friday, April 13, 2007



I have a great sense of fun. There are several things around our house that bring some laughs.
We keep an arm coming out of our foyer closet, and it's created lots of laughter when people are visiting us. Milton jokes that it's an unruly deacon (we pastor a church), and when the deacons are here, they really get a laugh!

At Christmastime, when our 3-year-0ld granddaugther Claudia arrived and saw it, she drew back in fear. "I...I...don't like that," she said, pointing at it.

I knelt beside her and put my arms around her.

"I...I...don't like that," she repeated. "It don't have a...a...a eye!"

We all got a laugh, and then I quickly whisked it away and kept it out of her sight for the two weeks she was here.

When she arrived last week for her Easter visit, she spotted Rudolph in our kitchen. Rudolph is an impala from Zimbabwe my uncle gave me. He was a big game hunter who traveled all over the world. Rudolph was here at Christmas, but apparently she didn't notice him. This time she did.

"I don't like that," she said pointing, a whine in her voice. " eyes!"

As they say, The eyes have it!
Have a fun Friday!

Thursday, April 12, 2007


One of the joys of pastoring is celebrating special times in parishioners' lives. Recently, Milton performed a vow renewal ceremony for a couple married 50 years. It was a beautiful outdoor ceremony by a swimming pool. As I stood there, I thought about the many years this couple has been together. I thought about the joys and sorrows they've shared, the hopes and dreams they've had. I thought about all the compromises they've made. Compromise is what it's all about, according to one couple in our church married 50 years.

Another word that comes into play in the longevity of marriage is perseverance. Webster's says perseverance means "steadfastness" and "the condition of persevering;" and persevere means "to spite of opposition or discouragement."

Opposition? Discouragement?

Somebody reading this is having opposition or discouragement. Maybe it's not concerning your marriage. Maybe you're not even married. But those things are happening in your life. Maybe it has to do with your career. You know all about it because you're experiencing it. I'd like to encourage you today. I'd like to see you have steadfastness through these things so you can experience success and victory. Here are some tips for you, below. Practice them. They are from the Lord:

1) "Dear friends, let us love one anther, for love comes from God" (1 John 4:7). Love is the operative word. Don't try to love in your own strength. It comes from God, and He will empower you to do it, no matter how hard it may seem. The love is going to flow again.

2) "I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me" (Psalm 13:6). Even though your heart may be heavy, give praise to God. Think on the good things. Refuse to allow yourself to homestead on your hurts. SING!

3) "What is impossible with men is possible with God" (Luke 18:27). That which you're striving for seems impossible, but it's not. Remember, God's in the equation, and He is the God of the impossible. He's brought you this far, and He'll take you into the home stretch. Rely on Him. Trust in Him. Believe. And He will bring it to pass.

Amen and amen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Last night, we attended a Messianic Jewish Passover Seder. The Passover is the feast God instituted in the Old Testament to celebrate the freeing of the Israelites from Egypt's bondage. It's also a profound reminder of our redemption by Jesus--Messiah Yeshua.

Pictured above are some of the elements of Seder we ate (an elaborate "real" meal came later)--1) maror (bitter herbs), a horseradish connoction in the first container reminding us of how bitter life is without redemption; 2) salt water represents the tears the Israelites shed while in slavery; we dipped karpas(parsley) into it which is reminiscent of the hysop brush with which the Israelites applied the blood of the Passover lamb to their doorposts and which represents life and vitality; 3) haroset (nut and apple mixture) which we mixed with the bitter maror and placed on the matzah (unleavened bread), reminding us that even the most bitter of circumstances are sweetened by the hope we have in God.

I've decorated many platters of finger foods with parsley as I've prepared for parties or entertaining, but I've never eaten it. As I chewed, it was bitter but became almost sweet as I swallowed it.

The entire ceremony was very meaningful as we participated in each part. And having our daughter Jennifer with us, who is from Puerto Rico, made it all the more special. One part was called dayeinu which means, "It would have been enough." The leader, John Wilbur, said, "How thankful must we be to God, the All Knowing, All Loving, for all the good He has done for us. For each blessing we give thanks! If God had only delivered us from Egypt, it would have been enough for us. That is, it would have been sufficient. Had he brought us out from Egypt and not executed judgment against them, dayeinu (it would have been enough)."

The concept is, God is so good, He does extra things for us!

I suppose you could apply dayeinu to marriage. What are some extra things He's done for you in your marriage? It can be simple things, such as your spouse making your coffee in the mornings. It can be complex. The point is, be thankful for all God's done for you.


Now, since the grands are visiting, you didn't think I wouldn't post a pic of them, did you?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


It's an Easter bunny cake! Sorta like the one in my neighbor's window, pink ears and all. The kiddies iced it and then took turns drawing the eyes, eyebrows, nose, whiskers, mouth, and teeth.
We had lots of fun Easter weekend.
Eight of us.
A cookout on the deck. Making s'mores with our new s'mores kit. Only it didn't have any chafing fuel. Who cares? We'll toast the marshmallows over the grill. Only the coals were nearly cold. Who cares? We'll toast them in the kitchen over a burner. Yum, yum, when we finally ate them.
Playing ball in the yard. Squishing grapefruit under the grapefruit tree. Yuck! Helping Papa plant a flower garden.
An egghunt. A party. A trip to the zoo. Sunday school and church, complete with a musical drama, as the Easter story was told. The children's hands-on museum. Fun being together.
Thank You, Lord, for Your blessings on me, the song goes.

Monday, April 09, 2007


By Milton Dykes

Kristy is a light packer when it comes to taking trips. That is good news as it relates to having to carry luggage, for I am the one who has to transport all of it. Too many suitcases can make travel a headache. Once I made a trip with our family overseas, and I was the only male member of the group. Being the gentlemen that I am, helping carry all that luggage was a challenge. The only consolation was that thankfully they packed light, and we made it.

Regrettably some people make it a point in life to carry too much baggage in life. I mean they drag all sorts of hurts and issues from the past and never lay them aside. Someone said or did something mean or thoughtless to them. Maybe it was a loved one who passed, and they haven’t been able to get past the normal grieving process. Maybe they were treated harshly growing up. Whatever the hurt, they just keep carrying around all that baggage which makes life too hard to bear. They have been carrying around these heavy bags for years, and they are loaded down by their collection of old burdens. It makes it impossible to live a full and blessed life today.

Paul tells us we should lay aside those weights that entangle us (Hebrews 12:1) He says to forget those things which are behind (Philippians 3:13) Jesus said we would have trials in this life, but we must remember He also said to be of good cheer for He has overcome the world (John 16:33).

Let God give you a new beginning today. Give those hurts and disappointments to Him. He has good things in store for you because He loves you. Lay your baggage from the past aside so God can do a new thing in you.

Friday, April 06, 2007


If you read my post on Monday, you'll know I promised I'd post a picture of MM's (aka Archie, according to his owners) new friend. They told me last Sunday, when I met them for the first time, that "Archie" would have a friend in the window this week. I thought she'd be a she when they told me who "she" was, but she's a he, if you judge by the bowtie (and by tradition).

The Easter bunny!

I suppose I was picturing a bunny with a bonnet, for some reason.

This is my neighbor's window. Normally, they display a mannequin wearing sunglasses and a giant sombrero. I named him Manly Mannequin but since came to find out MM is really Archie. I like their sense of fun. They told me Archie watches out for the neighborhood.

The Easter bunny in this window wishes you a happy Easter, and so do I. I pray you have a blessed season remembering what Christ did for us on Calvary. I also pray you have a joyous time with friends and family. Some of our family have arrived, and more are coming today. One of our planned fun projects is to let the kiddies make an Easter bunny cake. It'll look just like the face of the bunny in the window, pink ears and all. Maybe I'll post a picture of it next week.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


On Wednesday nights after church, we go out for coffee with some couples. Okay, add to the coffee an omelette or pancakes.
Last night, we were through eating and sitting there chatting. After awhile, I take a drink of water and look for my napkin to dot my mouth. My napkin is gone. Not on the table. Not in my lap. Not underneath the table. It's just gone.
"Did you see my napkin?" I ask Milton.
He shrugs and continues talking with a man nearby.
We keep chatting, and I say something to someone down near the end of the table. When I look back at my plate, there's my napkin!
"You took my napkin."
A twinkle the size of a full moon lights his eyes. "What do you mean? I don't know what you're talking about."
We banter back and forth, and there's this little gleam in his eyes, and I can feel myself glowing, so I know there's the same gleam in mine.
We're flirting.
It's a nice feeling.
A great feeling.
Later, we head for our cars. I fiddle with my keys trying to press my remote to unlock my door. With a remote for Milton's car on my ring, too, I'm doing a lot of fiddling. My car door unlocks, and I get in and crank up. I see Milton's car. He's heading out of the parking lot, and his trunk is raised, only about three inches or so, but still, raised.
He's about to pull out on the road, and I start blowing my horn. He stops, and I pull up alongside him. His expression is, well, expressionless. I look at his trunk that's up, and I look at him, and I look at his trunk, and I look at him, and I get so tickled, I'm howling with laughter, and I can't even get a word out.
He's sitting there staring at me. I laugh and laugh and laugh. Apparently, I popped his trunk when I was trying to get my door unlocked. I don't know why it strikes me so funny, but it does. I guess because I'm the one who did it, and he'd probably have driven all the way home with his trunk not closed, and I can see him driving, and the trunk starting to flip-flap, flip-flap, flip-flap, flip-flap.
Finally, I say, "Your..." hahahahahahahaha "...your...." hahahahahahaha. I point. At his trunk. "Your trunk is open."
I take off.
In a little while, we both pull into the garage.
We get out at the same time.
"Why'd you put my trunk up?" he asks.
I get the giggles again. "I didn't mean to."
There's that feeling again. A good one.
Done any flirting lately with your spouse?
The Bible says, "Rejoice with the wife of your youth." Included in that "rejoicing" is flirting, I'm sure.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Living 20 minutes from the beach, we're privileged to scoot down there often. The other day, we left our house at quarter till six, and we were riding our bikes on the sand in short order. Since the tide was out, the sand was hard-packed near the shoreline, feeling almost like concrete, so we whizzed along. I felt like I was on a sailboat sailing at full throttle. I felt like a kid on a bike riding at full speed, endued with all the vitality and vigor of childhood. I felt like I could conquer the world. It was fun and enjoyable, with the beach breezes hitting me and invigorating me, and the fresh scents of the ocean assailing my senses. I felt like I could ride for hours.

"The wind's at our back," Milton said after a long while, raising his voice to be heard. "We need to turn around."

"Oh, let's go farther."

"The wind'll be in our faces on the way back. The farther we go now, the harder it'll be to pedal back to the car."

"Okay." I turned around, and he did too. We took off in the direction of where we'd parked. Suddenly, I understood what he meant. Surely, hurricane winds were blowing against us (just kidding). It was so hard to pedal! Heave, ho, heave, ho. I started panting. I was going so slow, it felt like my bike was going to fall over any minute. I couldn't believe we were going to have to ride like this all the way back to the car. It was a l - o - n - g, long way.

"Want to get out on the street and ride it up to the car?"
Did I ever!
We rode on a wooden walkway across the sea grasses and up to the street. Then we rode in the bicycle lane on the street and talked about houses and condos we passed that were for rent or sale. We noticed beach flora and fauna in people's yards. I spotted a staircase with large seashells on the end of each step. Neat decorating treatment.
What could've been a grueling, tiring ride turned into a ride as pleasant as the first half.
A corndog and a root beer on the boardwalk completed our outing. As we were loading the bikes onto the bike rack, Milton said, "Look." He pointed upward to a full moon in a light blue sky.
"Oh, let's wait until it gets a little darker so we can see the moon better," I said. "It'll be romantic." I winked.
So we sat and ate pink pistachio nuts while the sky darkened. Then we kissed under the full moon and headed home.
I guess you could say, if you've hit a hard time in your life, look for a way of escape. Reminds me of the scripture in 1 Corinthians 10:13: "God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out (escape in the KJV) so that you can stand up under it."
Ooooh, that just ministered to me! Shezam, as Gomer Pyle says. Here I am, writing this, and God's used it to speak to me. I'm thinking of a hard place I'm facing right now. I've been thinking about it off and on all day long, wondering what to do. I now know! God's got a way out for me!
And for you too!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Who Am I?
By Jennifer Dykes Pascual
(Jennifer is pictured here, on the right, with her sister, Julie, on the left)
In my life, I've struggled off and on with depression. As a Christian, my depression sometimes comes from struggling to understand and accept who I am.
Tonight I was lying in bed thinking who I am. As usual I started thinking about all the things I don't like about myself. I was thinking on 1 Corinthians 13 and reading off to myself the list of things that love is: love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud... on it goes.
I've often struggled that these things don't seem to be in my nature; this doesn't seem to be who I am by creation. I can try to be these things. I can meditate on them and redirect my thoughts and actions. I can pray and plead to become these things, but deep down my first reponse/thought/action is always the opposite of 1 Corinthians 13.
Bottom line, I don't like this about myself. In the past, I've let self-pity and self-loathing cut me off from God. Tonight I just cried and prayed. Tonight I asked why. I don't think I've ever asked Him why before. Some might say you shouldn't ask why to God, but I feel that He is my father, and I have a running conversation with Him. I can talk to Him about anything.
So I just cried my self-pity tears and told Him, "Now God, YOU made me. Now why did you make me like this?" "Why is it such a struggle for me?" "Why is IT so hard?" "If there is so much value on love, why am I the opposite of it?"
And I love how God speaks to me. First it's like a whisper; it's soft and gentle. But what stands out the most is the peace I feel when He speaks to me. It's a perfect peace. That's the only way I can think to explain it. My whole soul stands still and breathes Him in. There's something addictive about His perfect peace.
Like a caress on my heart He spoke and said, "I made you perfect. I made you exactly how I wanted you to be. You are not a mistake, I don't make mistakes. I made you so that you will need Me, so that you will constantly need to rely on Me. That is who I want you to be."
Isn't that amazing? This is something I'm going to need to think about!
So first of all, He knows my very nature, and He thinks it's perfect because He made me like this, and it's exactly how He wants me to be! But here's the best part: it's for a reason! He made me so that I will SEE and FEEL how VERY much I need Him. This is a circle! There is nothing wrong with me! He made me! Ha! He doesn't want me perfect! lol! That's not what He values in me! He delights when I NEED Him, when I ask for His help, when I rely on Him. He doesn't think this is weakness!
It's beginning to dawn on me, that I can be a Christian all my life and I'm still going to be who He created, I'm still going to be me.
The point isn't to change that. It's beginning to dawn on me that the whole point is to NEED Him.

Monday, April 02, 2007


MM (Manly Mannequin) is getting a friend, I think by the end of the week! If so, I'll post a picture of "her" on Friday. So stay tuned! Here's how I know...

Milton's in the front yard planting flowers (that's a post in itself; he made a new flowerbed and stocked it with lilies, petunias, and red salvia, and then bordered it in natural stone)...

Unbeknownst to me (I'm inside in my office), a neighbor stops by as she's walking her doggie, and she and Milton get to talking. The couple who "own" MM is her dogsitter--they keep Blackie every day while she works (she told us that awhile ago, and that's how we know). Somehow MM comes up in the conversation, and the next thing you know, Milton's telling her we're intrigued by the mannequin in the window, and that I've even posted a picture of MM on the internet, and she says S. and V. (the owners) would get a kick out of seeing it...

A little later, the phone rings, and it's her. She's down the street at S. and V.'s house, and they want to know how to get to my site. We chat awhile, and she says S. loves quirky things, and that's why MM's in the window, and I tell her I'm an author, and she thinks that's neat, and then she puts S. on the phone, and we chat awhile. And S. says, "I'd like you to meet Archie sometime. He guards the neighborhood."

So it's Archie! That's his official name.

So Sunday afternoon, I'm coming home from eating lunch out, after church, and I decide to meet Archie (and S. and V.) right now. I also want to give them some of my novels.

So I pull into the drive then ring the bell. Soon, S. and V. are standing on their porch, and we're talking like we're old friends. I tell them I enjoy their sense of fun and humor and quirkiness. I tell them I'm the same way. (To see some of my quirkiness, see Friday's post about funny country song titles.)

"We also have Charlie," they say. "He's a horse, and at Christmastime, he can be converted to a reindeer, and he pulls the giant sleigh we set up in the yard."

"We also have a horse's head we sometimes put in the window with Archie. Neighbors really get a kick out of that!"

"This week, Archie's going to have a friend in the window," S. says.

"Should we tell her what it is?" V. asks.

S. nods. He tells me.


So, readers, be sure and check back Friday and see MM's (I mean, Archie's) friend in the window.