Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jesus, use me today...

your comments keep coming.
i read every one of them, riveted by
your love and journeys. a thick chord
of rope ties us together. makes us a
family. . . and gives us the Race to run

if you have questions, or something you want
me to write about, let me know in your responses.

i'm driven by a mission to touch the world for Jesus.
this seems so difficult for most people to understand.

every day, in the morning, we earnestly ask the Lord
to put people right in front of our faces. from no where.
the bank teller. a woman in the grocery store who needs
something. the gas station attendant. we don't have to
go looking for people. God does that. and we don't have
to always speak about Jesus because we are, with everyone
we connect to, building a wall or a bridge. well, i'm out
to build bridges. . . not walls. . . and sometimes, building takes

i was sitting in the lab at the doctor's office when a beautiful,
young hispanic woman walked in with her little (4 yrs. old)
son. she looked at me with a desperate, scattered glance.
i immediately got it. they were going to draw blood from
the child, and she was worried over how he would get through
this. suddenly, his name was called, and i nodded to his mother
that i was praying; covering her back. within minutes, my name
was called. there were little rooms divided by drapes.

suddenly, i heard this little boy screaming. in terror. in pain.
sobbing endlessly. i was praying. they were now drawing my
blood and i'm not very enthusiastic either because i have very
little veins that wiggle and move. i was on my way out of
this office when i suddenly stopped. i had noticed that the
little boy was still in the room. i looked in my purse. i found
a $5 bill. turned around. went back to the child's little room.
his face covered with tears. hiccuping sobs.

i walked in. smiling. i took his little hand in mine. put the
$5 bill in his palm, and folded his fingers around it.

"this is for you because you have been such a brave
little boy today. it took so much courage, and i'm proud
of you. this money is for you to go and buy ice cream, or
anything else you want!" i hugged him.

he looked up and smiled.
"thank you."
his mother and grandmother stood. smiling.
and i walked out of the big building of offices.
heading for my car. my eyes were shining. the
breeze warmed my face. i was no one. just one, ordinary
person in the world. but everything was changed.
i had loved a little boy like Jesus would. He and i and
love, changing the world together.

"come walk with me. . . through field and forest. . .
come climb the hills, and hear that song. for even
hills cannot be silent. they just can't help it. God
gives a song..."

for you. for me. for any and everyone.
try praying this prayer today:
"Jesus, please put someone in my path today
that i can love for you..."

a miracle is waiting for you!

almost midnight, and i've been reading all
your messages to me. some from people i
personally know and love. . . and mostly from you
all whom i've never met. . .but i genuinely love,
and feel we are a family. you measure my heart.
you teach me. we are reminded that life is a battle.
that we stand together. and i keep praying for you.
every one of you.

a miracle today.
i took $15 out of my account (lvg. $15 until sunday
when social security drops money into my acct.)
because i just HAD to have a work-out, and have
been waiting to see about a special offer for a yr.'s
membership. so. . . they've been charging me $15
for a two-hour work-out. can you believe that?

i walked up to the counter.
you must understand that i go to the gym without
any make-up. in shorts or sweat pants, with a cut-out
old tee-shirt. sleeves cut off. as low a profile as i can.
hair falling loose from my ponytail. i walked up to the
counter with my $15 when the manager walked up.

"you are ann, aren't you?
we gave you that 30-day membership didn't we?
i'm trying to come up with a special plan for you. . . so are
you alright at the moment?"

"well, i have to pay $15 every day. . ." and i am embarrassed
suddenly by my appearance.

"what? no. . .no." he turns to the girl behind the counter.
"give ann a seven-day, free pass."

miracles. just reminding you that Jesus is FULL of surprises
and miracles. and everything. . . our doubts, our failures, our seemingly-
hopeless situations. . . our
struggles and heartbreaks. . . everything is all covered by the Blood.
even the holes we fall into. the Blood of Jesus pulls us out and
sets our feet back on track. the Blood delivers us. sets
us free. there isn't alot of talk today about the Blood, but it's our
Redemption. it is EVERYTHING!

"how precious is the flow...
that washes white as snow...
no other Fount i know,
nothing but the Blood of Jesus."

today, kiss a child. tell someone she is beautiful.
smile at EVERYONE who looks your way. and watch.
we don't have to go door to door to share Jesus. we
just tell Him every morning that we are ready for Him to
put someone right in front of us. someone who needs
God's love. and He will do it every single day if we are
watching, and listening, to Jesus.

miracles and the Blood.
oh, i want to bathe in Jesus' Blood.
soak in it until it has seeped into my
brokenness. my pain. my yearning.
the crack in my soul. until i am whole.
not perfect and complete, but whole.

Monday, February 27, 2012

here i am on monday.
2 p.m. and still in my pajamas.
have had my devotions. eaten.
covered my emails. dragging myself
like a snail. coming up with any detour
i can to postpone what must be done
today for me to have any self-respect
when i go to bed tonight.

jan called. she said i talk too much
about my money situation. as if i am
begging you all to help me. i stopped
breathing. silence and horror pounding
in my head.

jan, i speak about my situation because so
many people today are struggling. the economy is
so bad. i've tried to let my readers know i am
with them. i understand. but... as you say this
(and i am whispering to my sister at this point),
i believe you are right. NOT about people helping
me, but scratching worry lines in my blogs.
exposing my fear and lack of trust in Jesus for
my situations.

tuesdays are always better than mondays.
i've talked myself in to believing this.
but i want to ask you all, who might feel
like my sister, to forgive me. one of my
daily sins is the fear of not making it
every month. the Lord COMMANDS us to
NOT worry. sooo............

pray for me.
and i will, for you. and i am
earnestly going to attempt speaking
without whining and fear.

now. . . i must run. vacuum. clean my
closet. and fit the gym in. before i sleep
tonight. i will, as always, check in to see how
you all are doing. i love you. ann
have i told you that i not only hate
early mornings, but i especially dread
mondays, with an entire week to get through?!!
monday mornings . . . require a
more rigorous task than just walking through a
serious tornado. early on mondays means
forcing me to not only do the tornado run but climb a
slanting mountain through a slippery waterfall.

you guessed it.
tomorrow is monday.

brandt and jasmine dropped off colben
my doll-baby grandson. two week-end days.
you can see why i LOVE week-ends.

well, after devotions and prayer time with God,
i am sure that heading to the gym is my best solution.
run it out. let sweat roll and tensions ease. just clean
it up with Jesus. when your work-out has calmed your
anxieties and levelled all the pressures, then, you can
go home and clean out your closet. straighten your
spine. wipe the bathroom counters. unload the dish-
washer. pay bills (as many as you can).

monday mornings must have been evaluated by God,
and He decided they are VERY important in our
discipline to say "yes" to Him, no matter what. it seems
He created what i call 'misery' to keep us on our toes
in this relentless battle called 'life'. to force us to take
our feet. swing them over the bed. . . align them, and start
walking. . . and waiting for Jesus to put people right smack
in front of us to love and be kind to. and often to speak
about this glorious Savior who can steady every
broken heart, and what seems like relentless hardship
and failure.

i'm determined to work on my spirit re: monday mornings.
to go even farther, and just let Jesus do in me whatever He's
noticing that is out-of-tune. i want Jesus. want Him with all
my heart. He has a big job cut out when it comes
to me. many corrections, and even some coersion issues.

Jesus says we are to run to win.
to WIN! some assignment. huge
in my book. i need some rushing water and
encouragement and reassurance. even a thunder-clap
now and then.

it is after midnight.
when we open our eyes in the morning,
let's don our crowns. and our big boots for
marching. i am so HOPING i'll see you on the trail.

proverbs 3:5-6

Friday, February 24, 2012

one a.m.
another day wrapped up.
always checking in on your lives
and thoughts. anointed
some way divine...running down my
back, my eyes, my soul. your honesty
haunts me. makes me yearn to be purer
and cleaner and more-unveiling to you,
my friends and readers.

i spoke tonight to about 20 women, in a
chinese restaurant 45 min. away. a small
church needing a speaker. would i come?
yes. yes, of course. my neighborhood.

i stood. 15 minutes.
trying to explain the simplicity and ease of sharing
Jesus in each of our world's. and ALWAYS confessing
that i am an addict in recovery. imperfect. human. flawed.
Jesus begins to breathe in us.
His love is like a torch in our darkest places.

you do not need to go door to door, shaking and terrified,
to share Jesus. just pray. ask Jesus to put
people in front of you today that you can touch. a word.
a smile. speaking the name of Jesus. a $5 bill tucked
into a little boy's hand. a song. then, Jesus does
the rest. it is that simple. and one by one, the world
around us is changed. you watch! you'll see!

tonight, may God's rest cover you. may His love
soak into your wounds, and heal them...and
your core. just remember that we are all broken, and
we'll clean our slate of failures for today...and tomorrow,
somewhere, we'll probably mess up again. a thought of pride.
a moment of unkindness. it's not hard. we just slide right
off the road to the wrong side of good. in a second,
before we can catch ourselves. i sin every day somewhere.
lack of faith. worry. it is like a bad habit i can't overcome.

i love you. i carry your wounds with me.
we are shoulder to shoulder.
marching sort of lopsided along
the road. we'll get there. to the other side.
in His time.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

very late. again reading your
messages to me. oh gosh, they
are so moving and beautiful and
touching that i have no words.
just a constant chant to God;
thank you, Jesus. thank you. bless
us all, Lord. bless us all.

it is wednesday and i just returned from jan's.
my twin sister. she and her husband live in
sacramento. two blocks from the capitol.
huge, beautiful loft. over-looking the city. i LOVE
my sister. i run to her. disrobe, and let her know
every dark place and every terrified thought.

i confess that sometimes i feel envious and jealous
of all jan has. she can go into a store and buy anything
she likes. never has to worry about money. or paying
the bills. i always open the drawers of her chest, and....

check all the new tops and night gowns. i stand in her
closet and see all these beautiful things that she matches
and blends that make her look exquisite. for awhile,
we decided that if i wouldn't talk about my daily terror
over money, she wouldn't buy anything new. she and
tom have been SO good to the children and me while
they were growing up (after will died and i lost everything).
she lets me borrow some of her things. bought me my
purse. new uggs. there is no pretension in her and tom.

i come back to stockton, and i feel lonely.
i evaluate myself, and there are many things i could
improve on. well, my hair desperately needs highlighting,
and my toe-nails are black from running so long and
hard, and i can never polish them like the manicurist.
i MUST stop worrying about money, and how i'll make
it. Jesus has NEVER failed me. and He loves the poor
and weak and needy. we are His specialties.

i have a good driving record. no real accidents. but i
get distracted. just got my car back ('05 kia sorento...suv)
from running into a medium strip dividing the lanes down
the road. only to back out of my driveway, trying to miss
this huge moving truck, and backed into a red pick-up
parked behind it. and the other night, trying at midnight
to find my way to the inner-city hospital to be with my
friend, i pulled into a gas station to ask a guy pumping
gas if i was on the right road, and the car behind me
wouldn't back up, so instead of waiting, i tried to pull
around it, and clipped the cement platform where the
pumps are. hit the edge of my right bumper.

fred owns the collision body shop. he has deep creases
in his face from age or smoking or a stressed life, but he
is one of my heroes. i am always praying that God will
bring him lots of business. i wrote him a note one day,
and while i was waiting for him to fix something on my car,
i went to the waiting room, and saw the note pinned on
the wall for all to see. i think i am about all he knows about
Jesus. and am probably the answer to my own prayers
that he get more business.

i called him, crying, after hitting my front fender. it was almost
too mortifying to tell him i was in trouble again. he knows he
always has to come up with a special deal because i don't have

"honey, just bring the car back in, and we'll
get it fixed for you." oh, that comforts me.

when tomorrow comes,
forget about the day after.
just live for tomorrow as if it is your last.
that's what i want to do. i'm so excited about
the prospect of a gym membership. of all the
people that pass me in the grocery store or target.
i smile at them; they at me. i love speaking the
name of Jesus every chance i get. and i really,
really want to change my world. love wins. love
never gives up. love lives even when the sun
isn't shining. when the news is bad. love is
truly all there is...and all there will ever be.

ephesians 3:16-19

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

it's after midnight,
and i've been reading all
your poignant, touching
messages to me, and praying
for each of you.

today has been like the children's
book i read to my boys about a terrible,
awful, no-good day. i awakened happy, but...

some good friends keep recommending other
blogs i need to follow to improve mine. my
ship of creativity begins to sink. then...

i needed a new tire. going to les schwab,
i have a little paper with my bank statement
on it. and i say that i need A new tire.

"ma'm, you have three, bad tires."

"three?!! i can only buy one."

"how about two new ones in front.
and asap, get two new more soon."

$333.00 for two!
i'm subtracting this on my piece of
paper, ten days before a new month
and a new check. except for $20 i had
to send my son in college, that was all i
had. chewing my fingernail, i said, "o.k."

my cell phone wouldn't respond when i hit
a number. my computer said there was a
problem. somehow, a hand grabbed ahold
of my sweat pants, and started pulling me
into the waters of despair, and i was kicking
and screaming as i went under.

what do i do on an awful, terrible, all-around no
good day? i pull on my work-out clothes. tie my
shoes. grab the last $20. and head for the gym.
since i've not been able to afford a membership
yet, i go to barter my way in. the manager wanted
$15. i laid down $10. as always, i climb on the
machine. bow my head. ask for Jesus, my Runner,
to help me through this. and i run, non-stop, for
almost two hours until sweat is pouring down my
face and tickling my back. until my Runner and i
have worked everything out between us. Jesus
and i doing business.

i'll find another $10 to make up the $20 somehow.
mothers find ways where there are none. and one
of you sent me this powerful quote from elie wiesel:

"no heart is as whole as a broken heart, and i would
say no faith is as solid as a wounded faith."

well, we ALL qualify. we are all broken and all
wounded. "but the eyes of the Lord are on
those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in
His unfailing love." ps. 33:18.

p.s. a wonderful person surprised me with
a check that helped to cover the tires. before
i even knew that i really needed them.
dance on the journey. sing. find a way, somehow,
to celebrate even the worst of days.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

every night, before i go to sleep,
i open my lap-top to see how my
readers are doing. how God is
working in other's lives. and i
pray for each of you who comments.

and i thank Jesus that He is still the
Savior of every-day moments. the
Lord who intervenes in all our struggles.
and answers us when we cry out.

He is the author of victories won and
every miracle. God can stand before
any and all mountains in our lives,
and in one breath make them shake and
rumble and crash at our feet. all because
of Him, we can fight every battle, knowing
He is always on our team and working in
our behalf.

i see Jesus in every clean, morning sky.
in every baby born. in the roar of oceans,
and the sound of rushing waters. in the
quiet of the afternoon sun, and every
evening when the brightness and warmth
melt across the far horizon.

wherever you are, i believe
for you and all the seeming impossibilities
in your lives. stand before Him, and hand
Him every sorrow and pain and burden...
knowing that He cares. He can create
beauty out of ashes, and take the sand
and stone and erect mountains for us
to stand on and claim victory.

today, we can worship and praise the
God of the universe. and rest from all
our worries and cares. know that we
are one in Him. you and Jesus and i
and love.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

finding a new destination is, for me,
like walking through a South American
jungle. almost impossible. guaranteed
to get lost at least four times. calling out to people
at gas stations and biking down the sidewalk
or doing construction on the road. each one
tells me a different way. they all seem credible,
and i am always turning around to go the
opposite direction.

last night, i was determined, at 11 p.m., to
find the hospital where my friend's mother
was rushed into surgery. downtown stockton.
a very rough area. i drove right past the exit,
and through the next town before i realized i
had gotten lost. it made my bones ache.

following Jesus can often be like this. we set
out with such momentum. determined to let God
take over and teach us how to fly. we so want to
be perfect for Him, and really, everyone. but somehow,
we hear music and a band or the crush of rivers and
water-falls, and we lose our focus. our stability. our

i hate getting lost, don't you?
it is so hard to get back on track
to hear the oceans. . .

and feel the wind;
to laugh with a child, and speak about
love, God's love, to those who pass our way.

the comfort is that we are all broken.
we all need grace. we all have cracks and bruises.
and we forget to sing the songs and hear the laughter
and watch the sun glistening in tall trees and the wide sky.
but i'm not going to quit when i'm lost. and run away
when life gets hard. huh-uh. and you won't either
because we are God's army and victory is seeded in
the marrow of our bones and the blood-flow to the heart.

"He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be
His God and he will be my son...(daughter)." rev. 21:7

Thursday, February 16, 2012

are you a morning person?
i'm not. for me, it is like facing a
tornado and having to brace myself,
and walk through it to get out of bed.

not always.
when i ran marathons, i ran out of my
waterfront building at 5:30 every morning.
did ten miles, bathed, and was in my office
two floors below to work.

then i had babies. every mother knows that
you must be an early-to-rise person because
babies and toddlers like to wake up almost before
there is light on the horizon.

i think i'm not sure what to do with alot of my days.
either my resume' is really off-track. . . and i know i am
technically almost illiterate. . . or God just wants to unfold
life for me one day at a time because i never get a
response for jobs i apply for. i really loved the mentally-
disabled adolescents, and they seemed to love me,
but i was never contacted again. there are elderly
women who need someone to fix a couple meals,
and get them out doors to feel the warm sun on their
skin and dispense medications, but i apply and
never hear anything.

my children want me to finish my manuscript.
"mom, people love your books. that is the best
idea for you!" i smile. all the publishers wanted
me to change my style. they were interested, but
i needed to do a book with full pages; to be very
traditional. it stopped me dead in my tracks. i
don't know how to do that. maybe it's true that
my writing is from another decade.

back to mornings.
all i know is that i have to get up every morning,
and start my day with God, and see what He has
for me to do. who, in my neighborhood, needs just
a touch from Jesus, through me, today?

in my little devotional book by sarah young, i read
that Jesus wants us to come to Him with "all our
weaknesses, physical, emotional, and spiritual;
that He is our Shepherd, and we are to abandon
ourselves to Him."

such sweet words. so thoughtful and powerful.
Jesus is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider. He is Rapha,
our Healer. He is my Runner. even today, at 66,
i go to a gym. sweat-pants and cut-off tee-shirt.
i get on the eliptical (since i shattered my femur
two years ago). bow my head and ask my Runner,
my Partner, Jesus, to give me a good work-out
and talk to me. teach me. usually, i run for two
solid hours. and i know . . . .

that the next morning, i won't want to open
my eyes because i'm not sure of my purpose.
but i have four, sweet, wonderful sons, and they
are counting on me. and you all are out there,
maybe really struggling with something, too.

so, in the crack and noise of our earthly journey,
remember we stand together. run the rugged path
of life. we understand that with every victory and blessing,
there must also come sorrow and some hardship. but,
we NEVER, EVER give up. we trace God's Word with
our fingers every day, and we KNOW that what He says
is exactly what He IS: FAITHFUL to the end. my deep
love to you all.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"Savior, like a Shepherd lead us.
much we need Thy tender care.
in thy pleasant pastures feed us.
for Thy use our souls prepares."

i received a seven-day pass to a 24 hr. fitness
with my friend, karen. i'm on the elliptical,
flying through the miles, when someone comes on
the loudspeaker system and announces my name had
been drawn as the winner of a 30-day pass. wow! a miracle.
i've gone almost every day, and pushed through two solid,
non-stop hours of running. sweat dripping off me and even
running down my nose. after 8 to 10 miles, the world looks
so much better.

maybe i won't drown financially.
maybe, somehow, God will make a path through an
impossible, tiny income that terrorizes me as i stare
at it like the enemy and i are in the war zone and my
only Hope is for Him to MAKE A WAY through this desert.

i pray for you a surprise today. to love yourself or be brave
enough to do the things that will re-generate your own self-
respect. go for it with Jesus, our invincible Warrior and
present help in needy, desperate times.

be the daniel of the lion's den. unfearful of the bears
and tigers of life. i have nothing to live on. and yesterday,
i finally had to give in and see the dentist because i was dealing
with a raw nerve somewhere. a cavity lying over a nerve. infected.
$1400 for the dentist and that amount for the one who is doing the
root canal. no choice. payments with care credit that doesn't
accrue interest the first six months. what happened to the first

many of you are or will lose your homes. maybe your jobs.
it is so much more fun to always have enough. well, Jehovah
Jireh, our Provider, only asks that we keep our eyes on Him.
never ever ever give up. always know God makes a way
through for us somehow. i love you and am in the battle, too.
let's pray for strength to live out for our children the simple
truth that Jesus will ALWAYS be enough. ann