The Right Tool for the Right Job!

Earlier this year I released a short non-fiction book entitled GOD, LIFE & HULA HOOPS: SPIRITUAL LISTENING LESSONS. It’s meant to be light-hearted but with a serious message. Here’s an abbreviated Lesson 6. Only some–if you want all of it, you’ll have to buy it! Click here for the link.

This is it! If you only “get” one lesson, this is the one.  Getting the right tool for this job we call life can and will change your life. I know this because it’s done just that for me.



Psalm 119: 162

I rejoice in your word like the one who finds a great treasure.




The right tools are important. Try mashing potatoes without a masher. Try cutting wood without the right saw. Try painting without the right supplies. No matter what you’re trying to do, the right tool makes it easier and better. And that’s certainly true for life as well. And I’ll share a secret with you. I know the right tool for life.

The most important tool for life is…drumroll please….is The Bible.

The Bible is filled with all we need to know for a joy-filled life. Notice I didn’t say happy life or perfect life. Happy depends on our circumstances; joy depends on our relationship with God. 2 Peter 1: 3 says: His power gives us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Let’s read that again…His power gives us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him. How do we get that knowledge? Through the Bible. All the knowledge, wisdom, and power we need is in the Bible.

By learning, studying, meditating, and most importantly applying God’s Word, you will develop not only a more intimate knowledge of God, but develop a more intimate relationship with Him. It is in that relationship that you will find the strength to endure the toughest of times, the patience to wait for God’s timing, and beauty for the ashes.

Did you notice the emphasis on applying? Learning, studying, and meditating on God’s words are all wonderful, but it’s the applying part where your life will change. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.

Do what it says. It’s in the doing where we will find God’s power. If we’re lost in the woods, the only thing we care about is surviving the ordeal. But in life God wants us to do more than survive, he wants us to thrive. And he’s given us what we need to do just that.

But we won’t know how if we don’t read the manual!

Just as you needed to be prepared for emergencies before they actually happen, the same is true of the Bible. The more you learn and understand about God and His character before you need it, the more prepared you will be when the storms of life come.

And they will come, but you can rest in the knowledge that God is with you always. No matter where you are on your walk with God never forget that!






I recently released a short non-fiction book entitled GOD, LIFE & HULA HOOPS: SPIRITUAL LISTENING LESSONS. It’s meant to be light-hearted but with a serious message. Throughout the summer, I’m going to share some of the book with you. Only some–if you want all of it, you’ll have to buy it! Click here for the link.



Habakkuk 2: 3 (KJV)

For the vision is yet for an appointed time…though it tarry, wait for it.


So, I kept trying to hula hoop and kept failing.

My writing career was much the same way for many years. It took me fifteen years to get my first traditional contract. That’s right! Fifteen years!

To say I was frustrated was a bit of an understatement. I was firmly convinced God wanted me to be a writer so I didn’t understand why it wasn’t happening. If God wanted me to do it, wouldn’t he make it easy for me?

Absolutely not! Did he make it easy for Mary and Joseph? For Paul? For Noah? For Joseph?

Of course, God wants us to succeed in our dreams, but more importantly he wants us to grow and mature as Christians. That brings us to our attitudes.

Talk about bad attitudes. The Israelites who left Egypt had a bit of an attitude problem. Now wouldn’t you think that with all that God did for them, they would have like the best attitude about God–ever?

After all, God put all those plagues on Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Then, God parted the Red Sea for them to escape. Then, God gave them water and food just when they needed it the most. Then, God guided them day and night with clouds and fire. They experienced God’s miracles again and again and again. But did the Israelites have a good attitude?

They grumbled and complained and every time that Moses turned his back, they went back to worshiping idols instead of the one true living God. Their attitude is what kept them in the desert wandering around for forty years when they could have been enjoying the Promised Land all that time.

Just because God wants us to do something doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy or to happen quickly. Just as parents know (or should know) if you make everything too easy for a child, they won’t grow up—they won’t mature.

God is our Heavenly Father and he knows what’s best for us which means that sometimes he’ll give us a miracle and other times we have to do the work to get that miracle. I can say without a doubt I wasn’t ready to be a published writer for many of those fifteen years, spiritually or craft wise.

It wasn’t quick or easy, but all those years of practice were worth it!

Four years and eight contracts later, writing still brings me so much joy. But what would have happened if I’d quit in year ten? Year thirteen? Year fourteen and a half?

When I’m asked what advice I would give to unpublished writers, I always include DON’T QUIT!

We all know God wanted Mary to be the mother of Jesus. And look at all she went through—shunned; humiliated; chased out of her homeland; and watching her son die on the cross.

Worthwhile ain’t necessarily easy or quick!

God spoke to Moses. He gave him the assignment of leading the Israelites out of Egypt and to the Promised Land. It took Moses more than forty years, and in the end he didn’t get to go into the Promised Land even though the Israelites did.

Worthwhile ain’t necessarily easy or quick!

Life is like that. As I write this, it’s been almost three years since I was diagnosed with my brain tumors. And believe me, it hasn’t been easy or quick.

I had my first Gamma Knife treatment in August of 2012. It’s a type of super strong radiation treatment that is supposed to “kill” the tumor. At the same time, I was given a prescription for an emergency steroid pack and told to use them if anything weird happened with my hearing, then call the doctor in the morning.

One night in December I was sitting watching TV and…one moment everything was normal and in the next I had a symphony in my head. I heard all sorts of noises—fire alarms, cymbals crashing, ocean waves and wind, and all at the same time.

Very bizarre. It took me a second, but then I realized I needed to start the steroids. And so I did. Along with the noise came dizziness and feeling off-balance. The next day, I couldn’t do anything but lay on a couch, but I did manage to call the doctors who put me on an even stronger steroid.

And that’s when things went from bad to worse.

The steroids and I didn’t get along. I was so sick—and dizzy—and fuzzy thinking—and tired—and… and…and…the list could go on and on. For the next five months, I didn’t do much of anything except sit in a chair.

Well, that and eat.

I mean really—have you ever been on steroids? Eating and sitting—not such a good thing when you’re overweight to begin with. During this time, life was tough. I won’t deny it. There’d be days (many days) when I didn’t bother to get dressed. It wasn’t worth the effort.

Even though I’m overweight, I’ve been an exerciser all of my adult life with the exception of a few months here or there. But every time I tried to exercise now, I just couldn’t do it. If I was lucky, I’d get in a slow walk for 5-10 minutes a couple of times a week on the treadmill.

The amazing thing was that most days, I would force myself to crawl up the steps and sit at my computer. And the most amazing thing would happen. The fog would lift and I’d be able to write my stories.

It might only last for ten minutes, certainly no more than an hour. And then the fog would descend. But I was able to write and that in itself made me feel better. That’s when I also understood that God truly had created me to write stories so others could enjoy them.

In April of 2013, I was finally taken off the steroids and told the first tumor was “dead.” I thought everything was going good until…the pain started. Lots of pain all over my body and my hair started falling out and all I wanted to do was sleep.

I’m not going to go into the whole thing, but I felt even worse than when I was on the steroids. And that was really bad! Along with that, I’d lost all my hearing in my right ear and my balance was messed up as well.

And of course, I was at a heavier weight than I’d ever been, thanks to my sitting and eating and no exercise. I just wanted to give up and sit on my couch.

Remember my dad and his family. That’s what they all did. I loved my grandmother very much. But in all the time I knew her I saw her get off her couch maybe three or four times.

Think about it! She didn’t die until I was in my early twenties and I only saw her get up off that couch three or four times! (OK, as I read this I realize that might be a slight exaggeration—but not much!) And the interesting thing was that we’d go have holiday meals at her house. And they were delicious! But I never saw her off the couch and out in the kitchen working on them.

Obviously she did get off the couch, I just never saw her.

And then I saw my uncles and my dad fall right into that same pattern. By pattern, I mean sitting on the couch and doing nothing. Then some of my cousins.

Throughout my life, I’d told myself I would never let myself give up that way. Just sit on a couch. Every time, my weight would climb too high, I’d manage to lose just enough.

Not this time, I really wanted to just sit on that couch and give up. I didn’t have the energy or the motivation to even bother to try. That couch was beckoning and it would be so much easier, but…

I’d watched my husband battle chronic pain for years. Every time, I’d try to cancel an event because he wasn’t feeling good, he’d refuse to let me. His philosophy was I can be in pain and sit at home or I can be in pain and do something fun.

After years of watching him not letting his pain take over his life, I figured if he could do it, I could at least give it a try. So, I ignored that couch and did what I could do.

Over the next few months, I adopted his philosophy. We went camping, took a trip to Nashville, I kept exercising 10 or 15 minutes, and wrote my stories. None of it was easy. Well, writing the stories was easy but not much else.

Still I did it—and with a smile most of the time.

One day I didn’t feel quite as tired or as much pain. And then another good day and another. So by the time October of 2013 came around, I felt almost back to normal. At least my new normal—deaf in one ear and balance problems.

Just in time for my second treatment.

Everything that happened as a result of the first treatment happened again. Steroids—sitting—eating—weight gain—more hearing loss—more loss of balance—more pain—more of everything.

But I’m happy to say, the second time hasn’t been nearly as bad as the first time. Except for the weight gain. I reached another all-time high in that area. Another note: It’s February 2015. My last treatment was almost a year and a half ago. And I’m still being treated for this tumor. My hearing keeps going “wonky.” And that means I keep getting put back on steroids.

I’m not quite sure why the second time wasn’t as bad as the first, but I’m very grateful. During the past two years, I’ve learned that giving up should never be an option when it comes to your health. Or the other important things in your life.

It doesn’t matter what goals or dreams you have, you’ve got to stick to it. If you quit, you won’t get there. Doesn’t matter if it’s to learn to play a piano, lose weight, be a writer, or hula hoop.

If you quit, it won’t happen.

Worthwhile ain’t necessarily easy or quick! Nothing happens overnight, especially the things that really count.

As I write this, I’ve been going to Weight Watchers for almost a year. And I’ve lost over 30 pounds. It’s been slow. Painfully slow but I keep going back. As long as I don’t quit, I’m moving forward.

Progress in any area is slow, sometimes you even take a step or two backwards. That’s when you really want to quit but don’t! That break-through you’ve been looking for could be right around the corner.

During most of this time, my hula hoop sat in the basement and was ignored. So when I say I’ve been back at hula hooping for the past three years, that’s not exactly accurate. There was a long break in there, thanks to the side effects of my treatment for the tumors.

But as I spent more time in the basement for my exercise sessions, that hula hoop regained my attention. And so I started trying—again!


God still speaks…but are you listening?

As a retired speech-language pathologist, I know the importance of listening. Good listening skills make a difference. Good listening skills can help you be successful in school, in relationships, and in life.

And who better to listen to then God!

God can speak to us in many different ways. The Bible is the main way but certainly not the only way. There may be weirder examples, but God used the hula hoop to speak to me.

Yep! I said a hula hoop!

When I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors in 2012, my life took a dramatic turn and is still topsy-turvy. Fortunately they were benign, but there are two definitions for benign. One being non-cancerous, the other meaning harmless—which my brain tumors definitely are not!

In spite of that, I love my life!

I know that sounds a little bit crazy, but it’s true.

Anyway…a while ago I started trying to hula hoop. Now why would an overweight, sixty year old woman with brain tumors want to hula hoop? If you want to know that, you’ll have to read the book!

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. But what about writers? When the going gets tough, they write! And so I have. GOD, LIFE & HULA HOOPS is the result. Simply put, in the book I share some of the listening lessons God taught me that have helped me face my new reality with brain tumors.

And the book is FREE today! AMAZON BUY LINK:




Thursday Thoughts (and questions)

Zechariah 4: 6

Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit says the Lord of Hosts.

I thought I’d try something a little different on this cold wintery Thursday here in Ohio. I have a stack of index cards with Bible verses on them. Every day I try to read a few. It’s one of the ways I renew my mind since I can’t really memorize because of my bad memory. So anyway, here’s today’s, and I’d love to hear your thoughts or answers to some, any or all of these questions:

1. Does the verse mean we shouldn’t work as hard as we can at whatever we’re doing?

2. As a writer, what does that verse mean when it comes to book marketing and promoting myself?

3. Can you put the verse in your own words to better enlighten us to the meaning?

Thoughts or questions?


Do You Recognize Jesus?

Luke 24: 30-31

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.

Do you recognize Jesus when you see him?

As Christians, we would hope the answer to that question would be a resounding yes! After all, who would want to miss a moment like that? Not me!

But yet, I’m afraid I’ve often failed to recognize Jesus. Too busy. Too many things on my mind. Too much time spent on worrying about me and my problems.

The minute things start going wrong in our life, we go in a panic. Where is God? Why is He letting this happen to me? What did I do to make God mad? Life isn’t supposed to be like this–it’s supposed to be easy, right? Wrong.

Jesus never promised us we wouldn’t have problems but he did promise he would never leave or forsake us.

If you aren’t recognizing Jesus in your present circumstances, take some time and reflect on your past. As you do, you will begin to recognize that Jesus was there, guiding you, supporting you, and loving you even in the toughest of times. And even that many of the things that were hard when we were going through it, actually was a good thing in the long run.

A few years ago, my part-time position as a speech pathologist was eliminated. And it was the PERFECT JOB for me. I loved the kids, the teachers, even the principal was a nice guy. I was not a happy camper, but a few months later I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors.

Now, I know me well enough to know that I wouldn’t have quit the job on my own, like I said, it was the PERFECT JOB. Instead, I would have kept the job while I was undergoing treatments and side-effects from the treatment and…all that wold have done was cause me stress!

God knew me well enough to know that too.He smoothed out the rough road ahead of me by making sure I could concentrate on my health instead of stressing out about responsibilites that I could not have fulfilled.

God is so good!

I didn’t recognize Jesus at the time, but he was with me anyway. If you are in the midst of a tough situation, pray for God to open your eyes so that you can recognize Jesus. He is with you!

I’d love for you to share a time when God was with you even when you didn’t recognize him.

Time To Say…

Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven

As the verse says, there is a time for everything. It doesn’t say that every activity we choose to do must last forever.

And so it is that I say good-bye to this blog–FOR NOW. Lately, it’s been a struggle for me to come up with a topic for my devotions. And that hasn’t happened before. I love writing devotions so I can only conclude that my time for writing this blog may be coming to an end.

At least for now.

Who knows what the future holds?

If and when God wants me to start writing devotions for this blog again, I will be overjoyed to do so.

In the meantime, I plan to include devotions on my other blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at  Tiaras & Tennis Shoes is more focused on my writing life, my books, other people’s books,  and whatever strikes my fancy. Lately, I’ve been sharing my writing journey. It’s been a fun look back at how I became a published writer. So if you’re not following Tiaras & Tennis Shoes yet, come on over and join the fun!

Thanks for all the support you’ve all shown me throughout the past few years. And like the verse said, there is a time for everything, and there may come a time again for this blog.

My blessings to you and to all you love!

Celebrating God!

There’s all sorts of ways to celebrate God. I celebrate God with my writing. Others celebrate with their painting, their sculpting, their acts of kindness to others. And certainly one way to celebrate God is through music.

I admit that I’ve never been a big music lover. Sure I had a few favorite singers and enjoyed their music. Now, my husband is a music lover. He loves music of all sorts. Rock. Hard Rock. Heavy Metal. 50’s music. Bluegrass. Country. Hymns. Praise Music. It doesn’t matter what type of music–he loves it. And unlike me, he usually knows the words!

But I do love one genre of music. Music that celebrates God.

And Chris Tomlin is up at the top of my list of favorite musicians that celebrate God. Of course, there are others on the list.

Anyway, here’s a great song to celebrate God today!

YouTube Video–Our God Is Greater sung by Chris Tomlin