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!


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.


Proverbs 16: 9 (NIV)

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.


After finally gathering up my courage at age 58 to buy a hula hoop, the next morning I went down to the basement all excited about it I slipped the hula hoop over my neck and positioned it on my waist and I whirled it and…

It fell to the floor. Plop! Just like that.

I sure didn’t expect that!

I stepped back inside the hula hoop a second time and twirled it and that thing just dropped to the floor like a bag of rocks—again. So, I picked it back up and tried again and again.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy relearning to hula hoop. I didn’t expect it to come to me as naturally as it did when I was ten years old. I thought it might take a week or even two before I was hula hooping, but even after a month or so, I wasn’t improving.

I didn’t expect that.

Life is like that as well. The unexpected happens—just when we don’t want it to, right? We don’t mind the unexpected as long as it’s a good thing. But that’s called a surprise, a lucky break; or a blessing.

It’s the unexpected problems that usually throws us for a loop.

Bad things happen.

That is a fact of life. Jesus even promised that we’d have troubles in this life in John 16: 33. Being a Christian doesn’t mean we won’t have bad things happen to us. But what it does mean is that when they happen, we have a choice.

A choice to react in such a way to honor God or not?

I’ve been thinking about choices lately. As Paul said, the things he wants to do, he doesn’t; and the things he doesn’t want to do, he does. We’re all like that at times

We’re all spiritual beings but we’re also a physical being. Our physical self doesn’t necessarily want the same thing our spiritual self wants. In fact, most of the time they are at war with each other. That’s the source of much of our conflict.

So when they found brain tumors, I had a choice to make. Live out the spiritual principles I’d been learning or give into the fear and self-pity? Walk the walk or fall apart?

Most of us know the story of Peter walking on the water. Just to refresh your memory, you might want to read Matthew 14: 22:33. When Peter walked on water it wasn’t during calm times at sea. It was during a storm. When he kept his eyes on Jesus, he was able to walk on the water in spite of the turbulence all around him.

When he took his eyes off Jesus, he sank.

It’s the same for us during a storm. We can’t always determine our circumstances, but we always have a choice how to react to it.

Keep our eyes on Jesus or sink!

Share a time when you had to make a choice to trust or to sink? What was the result? What did you learn from it?

Until next time… GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!



Lesson 2: I’M A SNOWFLAKE!

Psalm 139:13-14

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.


I have a confession to make.

I’m weird! But so are you! And by weird I mean different from everyone else. We’re all unique. Not one of us is the same as anyone else on this earth. Not even if you’re an identical twin, triplet or whatever.

Just as every snowflake is different so are each of us!

And we’re just fine and dandy with that until somewhere around the age of five or six. Something mysterious happens at about that time. We start to want to be like everyone else!

What happens when we start to remake ourselves in the image of the “cool kids?” We lose our snowflakiness. We forget who we were created to be. Instead, we work hard at imitating everyone else.

But that’s not what God wants for us.

He created us just the way he wanted us to be. He loves us just the way we are. I’ve spent most of my life trying to hide the fact I was a snowflake. Or at least I’d like to think I was able to hide it. There might be a good chance that I wasn’t quite as good at hiding it as I thought.

After all, I did have a book in my hands almost all the time. I felt like I never quite fit in with the people around me. But still nobody wants other people to think they’re weird or to have people look at them strangely, so I made the attempt to blend in.

To be like all the other snowflakes around me.

Now, I understand that those weird parts of me are what allow me to be a writer. And since I love being a writer, I’m learning to accept and even celebrate my weirdness…oops, I mean being different.

We aren’t who we are by accident. God designed us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. And he made us just the way he wanted us to be! Isn’t that an awesome thought? I hope that changes the way you think about yourself.

Give yourself permission to be the person God created you to be.

I’m a snowflake—and so are you!

Isn’t it time to celebrate your specialness, your uniqueness, your snowflakiness?

Share with us something you hated about yourself as a child that you’ve since discovered is really a blessing.

Until next time… GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!



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!


Ephesians 2:10

For we are God handiwork, recreated in Christ Jesus, that we may do those good works which God predestined for us, taking paths which He prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them, living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live.


Now why would an overweight, old woman (sort of old—60) with brain tumors get it in her head that she should start hula hooping—again—after more than 40 years of not hula hooping? Maybe it was the fuzzy thinking from my brain tumors? I have no idea, but I can tell you how it happened. I was sitting in my chair one day thinking about my weight loss journey or actually my lack of weight loss.

Anyway, back to the hula hoop. One day I was sitting and thinking about the fact that I wasn’t always fat. For a bookworm, I was fairly active as a child. I loved to jump rope, ride my bike, and….wait for it…hula hoop.

Mmmm…when I thought about those activities, I realized all of them helped keep me fit without me realizing it. I was just having fun, but those activities did a lot more than that. It seemed to me I needed to get back to having more fun while being more active.

Jump roping? NO. Bike riding? NO. But hula hooping? That sounded fun and doable!

But what a ridiculous idea. People in their late 50s don’t start hula hooping after forty years of not hula hooping. And certainly fat people in their late 50s with brain tumors do NOT hula hoop.

But the idea had popped in my head, and it wouldn’t go away.

In a way, our dreams can happen that way as well. An idea pops into our psyche out of nowhere or at least it seems that way.  When I was forty, a dream was born inside me that just wouldn’t let go.  Sort of like the hula hoop thing.

The dream to be a writer.

I truly believe God created me to be a writer. I stared writing before I reconnected with God, but it was only afterwards that writing truly became a passion.  As drew closer to God, I began to understand that my desire to be a writer was a God-given dream.  Some fortunate people know what their dream is at an early age.

And for some of us it takes us longer to figure it out. Either way, following that dream will add and enrich your life in more ways than you can imagine. It brings me joy and peace and purpose. What more could a person want?

God-given dreams may seem impossible, and yet you can’t stop thinking about it, dreaming about it, fantasizing about it.

Just like I couldn’t stop thinking about hula hooping. I knew it was ridiculous to think I could start to hula hoop again at my age, but the idea wouldn’t go away.

So, my question to you is do you have a big dream? Take a minute to share it with us and where you are on the journey to it.

Until next time…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!


Joshua 1: 8

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written it is. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

I recently released a short non-fiction book entitled GOD, LIFE & HULA HOOPS: SPIRITUAL LISTENING LESSONS. It’s mean to be light-hearted but with a serious message. God will prepare us for the battles we face–if only we will listen to him. I share some of the lessons God taught me that have helped me as I face bilateral brain tumors.

So, I’m going to share a few of the lessons here as well.

As a retired speech pathologist I know the importance of being a good listener. Being a good listener is a necessity for becoming a competent language user. And being a competent language user is a necessity for being successful in this life along with a lot of other things, of course.

Spiritually speaking, for many years I wasn’t listening, and as a result my life was one BIG mess. But no more. I love my life—in spite of the brain tumors and all the issues I have because of them.

During my thirty-four years, I developed several checklists that broke down listening skills into smaller steps. Some of these checklists contained up to 60 to 70 mini skills. Don’t worry, I’m not going to do that to you. I’m only going to talk about two spiritual listening skills: listening for God; and listening to God.

The key to hearing God is to listen for him. We can’t hear the message if we aren’t paying attention. To hear from God more, we’ve got to focus on him.

It’s like when you buy a bright red car. All of a sudden, you notice every bright red car on the road. Once you become tuned it to something, it’s so much easier to notice.

Spiritual listening works exactly the same way. The more we practice listening, the better we become at it. The more we practice, the more tuned in we become to God’s messages for us. So exactly how does God speak to us? God’s primary mode of communication is the Bible–it’s not the only way, of course. God always wants the best for his children. And he communicates how to get that in His Word.

Once you begin to listen for him, it’s time to listen to him. Listening to God is all about obey him. Jesus once said if you love me, you will obey me. That’s pretty simple and direct. Nothing hard about understanding what he meant. Of course, actually doing it can be a lot harder than understanding it.

But as I said, God always wants the best for his children. What he tells us is for our own good.

Joshua 1: 8 tells us all we need to know to have a successful life—the life God planned for us. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written it is. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Want a formula for success? You just found it: read the word; meditate on the word; follow the word; then you will be prosperous and successful.

Amazing things will happen to you when you begin to listen FOR and TO God.

I’d love for you to take a moment and share with us your own experience at listening FOR or TO God.

Until next time…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!








John 16:33,

Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world.”

It’s not easy to stay in peace in this crazy world of ours. I don’t know about you, but if I watch the news for more than five minutes, I develop a stomachache, a headache. or start crying. If that’s not enough, then we have jobs, family responsibilities, church, and community activities to keep us so busy we can’t breathe.

 And let’s not forget about life. Just when we think we’ve got everything under control, life happens and proves us wrong. Life happening might take the form of a broken washer, a tragedy, or a brain tumor. For me, it’s actually two brain tumors that were diagnosed in May of 2012.

And yet, Jesus promises us peace. So, how do we get the peace Jesus promised us and keep it in the midst of tragedies? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can share how I’ve done it as I struggled and continue to struggle with my health. For me it comes down to 3 key principles:




 If you believe that God is good and that He loves you, then how can you not trust God in whatever situation you are struggling with? Romans 8:28 promises us….And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I love this promise. This verse gives me hope. I know that whatever happens to me God will work it out for my good. I believe this with all my heart. I’m approaching the third anniversary of my brain tumor diagnosis. Unfortunately, things aren’t going the way they were supposed to go.

But I know God’s got my back. 

Nobody likes problems, but they are a fact of life. If you’re facing a difficult situation (and we all do sooner or later), isn’t it wonderful to know that the Creator of the world is on your side? Just knowing that gives me hope.



You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban has become my most recent theme song! I’d heard it before, of course. But when I heard  heard it after all the struggles I’m having because of my brain tumors, it struck a chord with me! I’ve been asked how I keep on going in the face of difficult circumstances.

In a word–GOD!

Here’s a version that includes the song being done in American Sign Language. Hope you enjoy it!

You Tube video:  https://youtu.be/x44BQUU_Tmk