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Thursday, July 24, 2014
Prayers needed for return trip after Mexican sojourn (02/01/13)
My husband Dave remained in Mazatlan when I returned to Kansas City on New Year's Day. His call upon my arrival was two-fold: to ask about my flight ("Nothing out of the ordinary," I told him), and to tell me he was praying for my drive home. Little did I know how much those prayers would be needed...
Only perfect judgment comes from God (01/18/13)
I watched as my student turned to his buddy in the back of the room, mouthed the word "gag," and then smirked. It was in response to a classmate -- assigned alphabetically to the seat next to him -- who happened to be an admitted homosexual and who had just answered a question I had posed to this group of high school juniors. ...
Reason for the season reinforced by visit to Mexico (01/04/13)
I am writing this from Mazatlan -- "Paradise" as my husband and I refer to it, for good reason. Imagine deplaning and being greeted by a group of uniformed school children singing Christmas carols. Picture a live nativity scene in which Mary's donkey refuses to budge and Joseph is forced to tug and tug at the burro, enticing it toward the inn. ...
Jesus is the light of the world (12/28/12)
This poem was forwarded to me this past week. Written by Steve Throne, the assistant principal at Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School, I pray it is a reminder of the Light that will shine brightly for us all in 2013. 'Twas 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38...
See God through tragedy; pray for those impacted (12/21/12)
Evil blasted its way into an elementary school this past week as Adam Lanza, a crazed, camouflaged madman, unloaded his demonic fury on 20 trapped, helpless children and six heroic adults. I cannot fathom what it's like for those parents who sent their precious babies off to school in Newtown, Conn., last Friday morning, never thinking twice about seeing them later that afternoon, and then getting the call that something had gone terribly, terribly wrong and they needed to come immediately...
Make sure to make time to spend time with the Lord (12/14/12)
Drake and Montana, my two youngest grandchildren, stayed with me for the weekend while their parents were out of town. Before the big event, I made my lists and checked them twice. Find fishing poles. Wrap Christmas presents in white paper. Dig out every creative ribbon and trinket and magic marker to decorate them. ...
Thankful for all of the many blessings we have (12/07/12)
It was a picturesque day on a mountain trail outside of Steamboat, Colo., last July when my son's friend, Kendra, posed a question to me: "Have you ever thought of what your life would be like if when you woke up each morning, the only things you had left were the ones you had thanked God for the day before?" My answer ("Wow! No...") was anything but profound -- partly because the high altitude had deflated my lungs and it was all I could do to even breathe, but more realistically because Kendra had hit a spiritual nerve. ...
I am what I think you think I am -- NOT! (11/30/12)
Last week I wrote that my three communication classes are studying about self-concept by focusing on how we compare ourselves to others. A second theory we studied, called the "Reflected Appraisal Theory," was one these high school juniors had no problem memorizing...
Are you good enough? Yes! (11/23/12)
In my mind I am invincible, heroic and brilliant. I conjure up all kinds of scenarios where I foil a plot to detonate a bomb or rescue a blind person from a burning building or win the jackpot without using any lifeline on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." In itself, that sounds harmless enough, but the trouble is, I can't live in my imagination. ...
Freedom is never free (11/16/12)
This week we celebrated Veterans Day, and I was asked to say a few words at one of the local events honoring these brave men and women. It was an easy task. As part of my preparation, I asked my speech students to write a note expressing their thoughts on what our veterans had contributed to our country. ...
Love others humbly and sacrificially (11/09/12)
Although he was divorced, overweight, and balding, sneaked a cigarette puff on occasion, drove a 1963 truck missing half a floorboard and ate dirt to teach his athletes how to be tough, my brother David loved the Lord and made everyone feel like the most important person on earth...
Facebook: The 'thing' that really pulls us together (10/19/12)
There are some things that should be left in the hands of the experts. Take, for instance, Facebook. In the two years I have been "participating," there have been only a handful of times when I truly appreciated its merit--grandkids' pictures, for instance, but most other times, it just isn't for me. This month I had a dozen requests to play games or join clubs; I have no idea what that even means, nor do I have the time to figure it out...
Anonymity sometimes has cruel intentions (10/12/12)
The anonymous letter, addressed to me, was delivered to the high school where I work. Responding to my role as judge for last spring's "Dancing With Our Stars" event, it consisted of a few paragraphs "putting me in my place." My close friends read the letter, and we all agreed on one thing: The comments went far beyond my performance as a judge; this person hated me with a passion...
Divine intervention (10/05/12)
Miraculous. That's what it was. And although it occurred several years ago, my husband Dave and I know there was no other explanation. It was 1981. We were living in Incline Village, Nev., and Dave had just been released from the California Angels baseball team. ...
All the colors of creation (09/28/12)
Following this summer's drought, our much-needed rain caused the earth's dreary gray/brown tones to morph into vibrant paints, a sort of rebirth that perked my spirits and my energy. I considered it a special touch from God to remind us of His love of contradictions and beauty, as well as His love of color...
Gaining a new respect for friends of Jesus (09/21/12)
When our electricity failed last week, I must admit I felt a little competitive, like I was a contestant on "Survivor" or something. Heeding warnings that we might be in the dark for more than a few hours, my preparations began. Dave and I knew not to open our freezer, but we did risk nabbing a few snacks from the refrigerator section. ...
Obedience can yield miracles (09/14/12)
Amy Drake and her husband Dusty helped sponsor Tennessee's Christ-In-Youth conference this past summer. When the speaker addressed the 2,000-plus attendees -- comparing our Heavenly Father to earthly fathers -- Amy was shaken. But the night a woman gave her testimony about forgiving her father (and asking his forgiveness for telling him she hated him), Amy knew the Lord was speaking directly to her. ...
Look to the spiritual -- not material -- for joy (09/07/12)
My husband Dave and I have begun the arduous process of downsizing. It has been torture. Dave puts an item in the giveaway pile and I retrieve it. I toss something in the trashcan and the next day find it tucked away in Dave's sock drawer. Broken pieces are kept with excuses like "Someday I will glue them together and make a nifty Christmas ornament," or "As soon as I get rid of it, I'll need it." It's pathetic...
The importance of passing on values (08/31/12)
After reflecting on my life as a parent, I've considered writing a book entitled What To Do When Your Children Act Irresponsibly and You Are Ready to Pull Your Hair Out, but the title is too long and sounds unchristian. Too, my personal examples seem to pale in comparison to some of my friends' whose adult children continue to bring them immeasurable woes. ...
Life lesson: A man's pride brings him low (08/24/12)
Because of television replays, much public attention has been given to calls blown by referees and umpires. As a parent of a professional baseball player, it is frustrating when such technology shows the pitch thrown to Adam to be several inches off the plate, yet the umpire calls it a strike. Every hitter knows that if he loses his composure and "shows the umpire up," he will be thrown out of the game...
Faithfulness is a characteristic worth admiring (08/03/12)
My granddaughter Amanda graduated mid-June from her high school in Henderson, Nev. It was a week-long celebration, but the best part was not listening to Amanda deliver a speech preceding the graduation walk, nor was it when she was handed her diploma. Rather, it was seeing what an extraordinary young woman she has become...
Do not hesitate to ask God for guidance (07/27/12)
"Excuse me, but which train goes to Yankee Stadium?" "Does this train go to downtown Manhattan?" "Will we get arrested for crawling under the subway stalls when they won't accept our tokens?" "Pardon me, but is this the right line to buy half-price tickets for tonight's plays?"...
An unbridled tongue causes chaos (07/20/12)
When I was growing up, a downtown Kress store was one of my favorite hangouts, mainly because it carried ceramic model horses that I could afford to purchase with my babysitting money. Lining the top of my bed's headboard, each horse was part of a priceless collection...
Invite the Lord in your temple (07/13/12)
The first time I read in scripture that my body was the temple of the Lord, I felt like an apology was in order. I was anything but fitting as a dwelling place for something holy, mainly because I suffered from too many "too manys." Too many distractions while praying. Too many justifications for repeated sins. Too many cinnamon rolls and too many excuses for not exercising...
A lesson learned from unlikely circumstances (07/06/12)
It was my second time to speak in public. My home church in Texas had asked me to lead their ladies' Bible studies. The first talk had gone well, and with that boost of confidence, I decided to be a little bolder in my next talk ... possibly even use a visual or two...
No friendship can match a friendship with Jesus (06/29/12)
The day before Joseph M. Scriven's wedding, his fiancÚ drowned. Grieving, he sailed from his home in Ireland to Canada where he found work as a teacher. He fell in love again and became engaged, but this time his fiancÚ became ill and died before they could wed...
The true meaning of friendship (06/22/12)
Authentic friendship is rare. It requires transparency and risk. It depends on trust, "having each other's back." It expects nothing in return and does not keep score. True friendship mandates loyalty and unselfishness. It demands that we accept others for who they are, weird mannerisms and all...
The Christian lifestyle in Mazatlan (06/15/12)
It was a dirty concrete slab. Its cinderblock walls were about six feet high, a tin roof offering our only protection, but within minutes it was transformed into a children's church thanks to some eager pre-teens and a few helpful parents. As one 12-year-old girl grabbed a broom from the back of our truck and began sweeping the floor, other youngsters began teasing with Jorge, our driver and event organizer, enticing him to bop them on the head with his inflated plastic mallet, causing them to squeal with delight.. ...
The importance of Christian fathers (06/08/12)
Editor's Note Due to unforseen circumstances Patty Laroche's column was unavailable this week. This is a column from 2009. A Sunday school class of first-graders was asked to draw a picture of God. When the pastor stopped by to inspect their work, the children were happy to show him their drawings...
Choose your bets carefully (06/01/12)
I am a skeptic, rarely confident of any definitive outcome. Even when one of our son's baseball teams was winning 12-0 in the bottom of the ninth inning, I still could not stop yelling helpful advice and just enjoy the moment. So many variables, you know, so few endings that were "sure things." However, there was this one time...
Surprises make life worth it (05/25/12)
Although 11 days apart, two surprises, both memorable, demonstrated great examples of teamwork. One involved a collective effort of the Fort Scott High School music department and the other dealt with Mother's Day. A few weeks ago, Pat Harry, the choir teacher announced her retirement. ...
Mothers, nurturing does take time and patience (05/11/12)
Dear young mothers: Your job is difficult. Exhilarating. Demanding. Rewarding. Frustrating. If you have ever gone to bed at night, praying the Rapture comes so you can finally, finally discover the meaning of the word "solitude" (think heavenly Calgon experience), I can relate. But I'm here to tell you, please don't give up. No matter how much you want to...
Emotional wounds are the worst (05/04/12)
The call came in the middle of the night when Dave and I were sound asleep. It was the phone call every parent dreads. Our youngest son, Andy, then 16 years old, had been burned in a bonfire accident and was en route to the K.U. burn unit. I had just had major surgery and was on total bed rest, doped on strong pain pills, so Dave made the trip to the medical center alone that night. ...
Conference proves life changing for speaker (04/27/12)
Last weekend in Wichita, Kan., 900 women came from across several states to listen to powerful testimonies of God's grace. I was hired to be the "humorist" for this event, and I had prepared for months getting my two routines ready. My friends Kelli and Jamie had helped me figure out what "reads" funny versus what "performs" funny, and Ellen, Brian, and my husband Dave had come alongside me as angels of encouragement when I began to listen to that pesty demon of insecurity that promised me I would fail. ...
Bible can help lead people away from harmful addictions (04/20/12)
She sat in my classroom, obviously upset and needing to talk. These conversations weren't new to us, but this one seemed more urgent, like the periscope had spotted the approaching enemy sub and the seconds were counting down. Only this wasn't naval warfare; this was a volatile domestic issue, like always, and, like always, she wanted to vent. It was the same story -- repeated for the past couple of years -- and to tell the truth, I was tired of listening to it. And angry...
Fate of Jesus gives comfort (04/13/12)
John Doe No. 155. For 37 years, that's how he was classified. Last year, however, he was finally given a name when the police identified him as Oral Stuart Jr. As I read his story -- a mere side-bar in the Internet news -- I found myself grieving over what I learned...
Take time to make a difference in people's lives (03/30/12)
Within 24 hours, I had almost forgotten what I promised myself I wouldn't. How was it possible that something so monumental, so life-redirecting, could lose its punch within one day? Let me explain. The day was close to perfect. My husband Dave and I were in Mazatlan with our friends Brian and Stacia...
Believers should dwell on good and virtuous things (03/23/12)
He's a professional baseball player with an X-rated mouth, but hopefully his words will soon be G-rated. This spring training my 10-year old grandson, Drake, accompanied his dad (my son Adam), to Florida where he was allowed to hang out with the Washington Nationals baseball team. ...
Overcomer or invalid? (03/16/12)
He was the grandson of a king and son of a prince, yet he considered himself a "dead dog." Living like a pauper, he was overwhelmed when his father's best friend restored him to a place of honor, allowing him to eat at the palace table and bequeathing his ancestor's land back to him. Best known as Mephibosheth -- now there's a mouthfull -- his story unfolds in 2 Samuel...
We should listen to and act on our 'divine nudgers' (03/09/12)
Tammy and her husband David live in Kansas City. In October 2008, Tammy went to give blood, something she had done almost every year since she turned 21. After having her hemoglobin checked, Tammy was told she was a little anemic. It was recommended that she get some more tests from her doctor, which she did. A complete blood analysis was done; all her counts were low. Following a bone marrow biopsy in November, she was diagnosed with mylodysplastic syndrome, the precursor to leukemia...
Sheep? Us? (03/01/12)
In scripture we Christians are referred to as sheep. I resent that. Sheep are stupid. Let's face it. Sheep have some real issues. For example, the book of Psalms tells us the shepherd makes his sheep lie down in green pastures. Get that? He "makes" them lie down. Goodness, they aren't even smart enough to rest on their own. And speaking of intelligence (or lack thereof), these wooly mammals have been known to follow each other over cliffs...
Number of spiritual trophies on shelf could be better (02/24/12)
It's early in the morning, dark outside, and I sit here in the quiet of my living room, noticing -- really noticing --our fireplace shelves. Autographed baseballs. Bats. Books. Pictures. Trophies. Each with a special memory of its own. But this morning my thoughts are not about the accomplishments behind each prize. ...
Organic vegetables, fruit a thoughtful Valentine's gift (02/17/12)
It's the thought that counts. That's pretty much what 1 Samuel 16:7 says when it tells us that God judges our hearts. I am given cause to remember that. . . Valentine's Day after Valentine's Day after Valentine's Day. I left work this week and phoned my husband to tell him I had to run a couple of errands before I got home. ...
Nothing can separate us from God's love (02/10/12)
They're everywhere! They're everywhere! Hearts, flowers, chocolate, even greeting cards that sing mushy love songs. We are surrounded daily by reminders that this is the month of love, yet I'm not so sure there isn't more guilt than actual affection being offered up to prove we care. It's a basic desire for all of us, isn't it?...
Make the most of 'little opportunities' God gives you (01/27/12)
"Whenever I'm disappointed with my spot in life, I stop and think of Jamie Scott. Jamie was trying out for a part in the school play. His mother told me that he'd set his heart on being in it, though she feared he would not be chosen. On the day the parts were awarded, I went with her to collect him after school. Jamie rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement. 'Guess what, Mom,' he shouted, and then said those words that will remain a lesson to me . . ...
If only dependence on Bible could match dependence on cell phone (01/20/12)
Each school year, day one, I go over my class rules. Most are predictable: "Respect others." "When I'm talking, you aren't." "Feel free to sharpen pencils without asking," etc. None of those cause much reaction. But then I lay the BOMB on these teens. "All cell phones must be put in the basket by the door when you enter this room." My advanced students get a kick out of watching the incoming freshmen stare at each other, panicked. It's obvious what they are thinking...
Making a change in the world starts with individuals (01/13/12)
It starts with you. And me. God has given each of us, individually, another year to make a difference, despite how things in this world are in a colossal mess morally, economically, politically and spiritually. We turn on the news, we read the headlines, and we get discouraged, wondering if THIS will be the year Jesus will return and take us home. After all, it's never been this bad...
Unselfish act example for all Christians (01/06/12)
Her name is Ann, she is a Canadian senior citizen and she is quite the adventurer. I met her in Mazatlan, Mexico, and was immediately impressed with her go-get-'em attitude. Her latest venture is one that deserves to be retold. Ann and her husband Patrick were on a jungle trek in Burma when she was bitten by a red-tailed, green snake. ...
Quick fixes don't always get to the root of a problem (12/30/11)
When our children were younger, they typically failed to recognize the benefits of the "life lessons" their frugal father was determined to teach them. Take for instance, the car Dave bought for Adam, our middle son, who was then in high school. The ultimate goal was for Adam to hand it down to his brother Andy who would drive it for several years...
A poem shared (12/23/11)
Jonathan Moyers, a former student and praise leader in a nearby church, wrote the following poem. He has given me permission to share it with you. Tis the season of tons of stuff, Hustle and bustle in the name of "love." Presents, trees, and baskets of cheese,...
Look for ways to give to lift people's spirits this season and all year long (12/16/11)
"You can give without loving, but you can't love without giving" I recently saw that quote on a poster, and it caused me to think. As Christians, we are called to love. No surprises there. It is, after all, what distinguishes us from the non-Christian, right? Jesus, who made the ultimate sacrifice, knew the cost of true love...
Sometimes, words can be the greatest gift of all (12/09/11)
I wanted to quit. My shins had turned to splinters, my lungs groaned, and I was bored. While running on the Fort Scott Community College track for the first time following a year's hiatus, my frustration must have shown ... or perhaps my snarls and guttural noises gave it away, but about the time I turned to head home, Kristin Downing, a former student of mine, sprinted past, going the other direction...
There is treasure for you somewhere 'over the rainbow' (12/02/11)
If you were able to attend Fort Scott High School's production of "The Wizard of Oz," you no doubt recognized the magnitude of talent, the number of personnel involved and the team effort that went into this play. Inside the program you read a short blurb acknowledging the help of Russell McMurray. What it didn't tell you was that God used his kindness and positive attitude as key factors in me selecting this play, and in the end I gained a lifelong friend...
Thanksgiving perfect time to lift spirits of others (11/25/11)
Ever had "one of those days" at work? You've done more than was asked but no one has noticed? For the fifth month in a row you've deserved that "Employee of the Month" parking spot only to find that management once again has given it to Manipulator Maria instead?...
'Be still and know that I am God' applies to hunting, too (11/10/11)
My son Adam is passionate about hunting. He did not get that love from me. I find it cruel to stalk a deer or elk by hiding in trees or brush while baiting them with mimicking animal calls. "You have a distinct advantage," I tell him. "If the animals had cameras and binoculars and a bow and arrow, things would be equal, but this way it's not fair."...
What are your reasons for attending or not attending church? (11/04/11)
A few years ago church marquees began illustrating clever messages in hopes passersby would reconsider missing the Sunday services. This is one of my favorites: "As you pass this little church, be sure to plan a visit, So when at last you're carried in, God won't ask 'Who is it?'"...
God's gift of patience . . . and working with little people (10/28/11)
It's been years since I've worked with small children. Such fond memories I have of those times: showing up at work with mismatched shoes; apologizing to a mother for her son's broken tooth -- even though I had no idea it had even happened, forgetting to pick up my own sons at their little league practices; falling into bed, questioning why I was put on this earth. We all have our gifts . . ...
Be cautious in judging others (10/21/11)
I've been sickened by the happenings in our community in the past couple of weeks. Self-serving actions have led to families being ripped apart, immeasurable suffering (physical and emotional), and torturous guilt for loved ones involved. We find ourselves on edge, as if we personally have been affected...
Friendly reminders to be a good servant (10/07/11)
When was the last time you served someone when it cost you something? Possibly you were asked to compromise your schedule. Maybe your checkbook. Probably your pride. Jesus was the epitome of servanthood. Picture Him washing the feet of His disciples, speaking to the Samaritan woman (half-breed that she was), or even dying on the cross for a crime He never committed. It was never about Him. It was always about the other person. You and I are no exception...
Little things can wreck havoc in our lives (09/30/11)
One tiny thing. No big deal. Or so it seemed. It all began when my car window wouldn't roll up. That issue appeared fixed after the dashboard gauge indicated the tire pressure was low, Dave added air and the window cooperated and closed. I asked if there was a correlation between the two. My pragmatic husband suggested I never become a mechanic...
McGruff's kidnapping opens eyes to scripture in Corinthians (09/23/11)
A few years ago I was an accomplice in a kidnapping at the high school where I teach. It was one of the highlights of my year. It all started when Polly, a first-year English teacher, "borrowed" McGruff, the crime-fighting stuffed dog that sat guard on the desk of our school's police officer, in order to ransom the furry mutt for chocolates. That's where I came in. My room was to be the drop-off point...
God sees us as perfect; why can't we ? (09/16/11)
"List one thing about your appearance you would change if you could," I challenged my Bible study teens. "Just one?" they responded in unison. Each of the seven had her own complaint: high forehead, crooked nose, too fat, too fat, too fat, thin hair, too short...
Like tennis, prayer takes discipline, commitment, practice (09/09/11)
Several years ago, after a 25-year hiatus from the activity, I signed up to play tennis. My previous experience with the sport had been when I was 12, but then, not knowing how to keep score, my girlfriend Chris and I simply would count how many times we hit the ball. (Not to boast, but our record was 16 volleys.)...
When you think of being dead, what do you see? (09/02/11)
I am concerned that, for the majority of Christians, heaven sounds quite nice, and it certainly is where we want to end up, but in spite of its saving-grace-insurance-policy resemblance, it fails the authenticity test. There was a time when I was no exception to that belief, a fact that became obvious to me a few years ago when my friend Lael posed a question to me during one of our "girlie" chats. ...
God equips us all uniquely (08/26/11)
There are moments when I do something fairly well and feel a little puffed up, but invariably God allows someone or something to come along and pop a hole in my egotistical balloon and bring me crashing back to earth. Take swimming, for example. Dave and I have been doing laps, and the other day I asked why I was so much slower than he. His response brought back "fond" memories of the last time I asked that question. Allow me to reminisce...
How do you spend 86,400 seconds each day? (08/19/11)
It was the same group of men, game after game, all of them laboring to nab the attention of the ballplayer as he entered or left the ballpark. They were baseball card fanatics, carrying with them notebooks with the visiting team pictures alphabetized and placed inside protective, plastic sleeves...
'Eternal power... and the mystery of his divine being' (08/12/11)
Last week's article described the first days of my trip to North Dakota where my friend Sally and I visited Marti on her ranch. I ended by describing our horseback ride through the mountainous area, our destination to see Teddy Roosevelt's homestead, remotely tucked away and marked only by historical signs set there by state workers. ...
What lies within us -- integrity (07/29/11)
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." That something that "lies within us" is called integrity. Definition? Doing the right thing, even though no one is watching...
CIY conference emotional experience (07/22/11)
This past week I had the privilege of helping sponsor 114 teenagers to the Christ In Youth conference in Tennessee. My students had talked about their CIY experiences there in the past, but I had no idea it was as life-transforming as it was. Picture 2,000 uninhibited students gathering to praise Jesus. "With arms high and heart abandoned," as the song lyrics read, these teenagers demonstrated what most churches lack: a musical love-fest between them and God...
Touch of the Master's hand (07/15/11)
In 1921 this poem, one of my favorites, was written by Myra Brooks Welch, "the poet with the singing soul." As a young woman, Myra's special love was playing the organ; however, years later, confined in her wheelchair due to severe arthritis, she was unable to make music...
Remind yourself of Joseph when things get rough (07/08/11)
"Recalculating." If you have a GPS system and you're like me, this is a word you hear frequently when traveling. Its definition? "You're lost again. Find a place to turn around and go the other direction, you numbskull." Some of us live in recalculating mode. We are constantly readjusting. Plan A becomes Plan B which evolves into Plan C...
Living life according to the Beatitudes (06/24/11)
If I were to be graded on how well I represent Christ, I might, on my best days, be given a D. Grading on the curve, comparing myself to my heathen friends who sometimes cuss and don't read their Bibles, I might get a C. But there is one place in scripture -- and regrettably it was of maximum importance to Jesus -- where I get an F-minus. The Beatitudes...
Sometimes prayers go unanswered for a reason (06/17/11)
Divine intervention. That's what we called it, although we (embarrassingly) didn't refer to it that way until after the fact when we had a glimpse of God's handiwork. Five of us -- my four 1968 college sorority sisters and I -- were in Mazatlan waiting for another one of our friends, Colleen, to arrive...
Vacation options: Good book, cup of coffee or exercise (06/10/11)
Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. My husband retired in January. He was feeling the physical pains caused from years of athletic activity and could no longer perform the grueling demands of his coaching job. That meant we would actually be able to take a summer vacation together, the first that would include pleasurable, pre-selected stops as opposed to harried cross-country sojourns controlled by Dave's baseball schedule...
Seek ways to build up, encourage one another (06/03/11)
It's one of my favorite days of the year. Graduation. There are always several parties scheduled, and this time my granddaughter Montana had volunteered to go along with me to "help carry the gifts" and "get some cake." Our outing had started out less than perfect as Mapquest had sent us to the wrong side of town, a delay which prompted Mo to worry that there wouldn't be any dessert by the time we got there...
Communication comes in different forms (05/27/11)
When Dave and I were first married I started noticing a strange behavior in older couples -- the majority of them would dine in restaurants without talking to each other. BORING! I told myself. What's the point of being together if you aren't talking?...
Technology distractions divert attention to fellowship (05/20/11)
Transparent toasters. Banana guards. Toilet seat lifters. Anti-theft coffee cups. Lucky us. We live in a world of conveniences, all intended to make our lives easier. Yet in spite of these time-savers, many of us remain frenzied with all the unchecked responsibilities on our relentless to-do-list. ...
Giving of one's self a priceless gift (05/13/11)
To me, one of the tenderest moments in scripture is the account of Mary anointing Jesus' feet. As the dinner guests watch, no doubt stunned, Mary breaks the alabaster jar containing a pound of costly perfume, pours it on Jesus' feet and, through tears, unbinds her head covering to wipe His feet with her hair. It is outrageous love. Extravagant love. And it is too much for crooked Judas Iscariot to watch...
Bible study turns into parenting show, tell and talk (05/06/11)
Years ago, when we lived in Texas, Dave and I hosted a Bible study in our home. It was led by our good friends, our pastor Jack and his wife Lael. A new couple came one Sunday evening when Dave was out of town, and before our study began, I asked about their family. They had one son and he was...well, "perfect." I smiled and said not what I was thinking: "How nice."...
Christian conference a blessing (04/29/11)
Two weekends ago, I had the privilege of being the "humorist" for a Christian conference. Nearly 1,000 women attended, and I was completely humbled by the faith and intelligence of the other keynote speakers and singers who used their expertise to impact the women present...
Everything I need to know I learned from the Easter bunny (04/22/11)
Some time ago I received the following email: Everything I Need To Know, I Learned From the Easter Bunny. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Walk softly and carry a big carrot. Everyone needs a friend who is all ears. All work and no play can make you a basket case...
Rules tend to eliminate the human facotr (04/15/11)
It was our 38th anniversary. Dave telephoned from Mexico, saying he had made us reservations at our favorite restaurant and also purchased tickets for the Gala at Angela Peralta, the historic theater in downtown Mazatlan. I had numerous times -- all in vain -- visited the site to see if it was as magnificent inside as the locals described, but I never found it open...
Future determined by choices you make in life (04/08/11)
Governor Jesus Aguilar Padilla attended the Vineyard Church in Mazatlan, Mexico, a few Sundays ago, and Dave was there. Padilla had come to honor the church's dedication to ministry and to acknowledge all the Vineyard does for the poor in the area. The governor made a monetary donation and then walked around with the collection plate, insisting his bodyguards do the same, a sight Dave found very impressive. ...
Words are powerful weapons (04/01/11)
"Girls," I wrote, "I have lost 13 pounds. I am so excited!" So began the email I sent my two step-daughters before last Christmas. My "more yogurt and less potato chips" diet had paid off -- I finally would be able to squeeze into the swimsuit that had been hidden away for this very occasion, and everyone in my family would ask my secret when they saw me on the beach for our holidays together in Mexico...
Learning to see God in everything around you (03/25/11)
Several years ago I visited a church where the pastor challenged the congregation to break into groups and answer this challenge: "Prove God." Oh, yippee! I thought. While we're at it, why don't we have a relay race so I can be the last one chosen? Cliques formed quickly, no one chose me, and my middle school days reared their ugly heads once again...
To God, you are amazing (03/18/11)
My drama students are creating skits to present to the eighth graders at the end of April. I began this activity by asking them to name difficulties they personally are facing. As they shared, I wrote their answers on the board. I was not prepared for what they were about to tell me...
Share blessings with those that are less fortunate (03/11/11)
Scripture tells us that all nations will one day gather before the throne of God where they will be separated into two groups: sheep on the right, goats on the left. The image of that day is a bothersome one. "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. ...
Whispers of doubt come from an evil source (03/04/11)
When my two brothers and I were young we always knew school was getting close because our mother would take us downtown to buy new shoes, a dress pair and a school pair (not hand-me-downs but the real thing). My fifth grade year I talked my mom into letting me get a pair of black patten-leather shoes with French heels. ...
Ask God to turn your bitterness into blessing (02/25/11)
The responses I received from my Jan. 28 article on bitterness allowed me to see Jesus working in hurting lives. Individuals, deeply wounded by broken relationships, wrote to share their burdens of anger that had caused them to move away from God. They had recognized themselves in my description of the embittered woman and did not like what they saw. ...
Purge yourself of all untrue, impure thoughts (02/18/11)
This past week Sarah, a senior drama student, was leading her classmates in a yoga exercise. She reminded them of what her yoga instructor had said: "It's very difficult to empty our minds ... but we must try." "No problem for me," I thought. "I've been losing mine for quite some time." It's been a painless process, but it's definitely escalating. ...
God's never-ending mercies a sure cure for regret (02/11/11)
A man died and went to heaven. He was met at the pearly gates by Saint Peter who offered to show him the home God had prepared for him. The man's excitement grew as he and Saint Peter passed a street lined with beautiful mansions, but they did not stop. ...
Flying into rage could cause for rough landing (02/04/11)
Will Rogers once said, "People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing." UNLV's 6'4" basketball guard, Tre'Von Willis, knows the truth of that adage. Willis was arrested last July, accused of choking his girlfriend because she was texting instead of paying attention to him. If convicted of this impetuous act, Willis could spend years behind bars. I read the Willis article and thought, Over a cell phone? Seriously?...
Jesus teaches us to break shackles of bitterness (01/28/11)
"Backward living," I call it. Holding on to our past with emotional super-glue that keeps us bound to bitterness. Living in a mental prison confined by steel bars of hostility. If you've allowed yourself to dwell on ways you've been hurt, maybe it's time you unlock the shackles and set yourself free. ...
Trip to colonias shows true meaning of Christmas (12/30/10)
We sat in the back of the rickety van, holding on to each other to keep from tipping over. I'm not sure what I expected, but this wasn't it. The Vineyard Church -- the one Dave and I attend when we are here in Mazatlan, Mexico, -- had offered its members several opportunities for discipleship, and this was one for which I volunteered our family -- ministering to a group of children at a local colonia...
The true forgotten 'reason for the season' (12/23/10)
Have you ever asked yourself why Jesus chose to leave the crowning perfection of excellence to be born into a disordered universe in a remote land called Bethlehem? Think about it. From the throne room itself, Jesus had had a ring-side seat to the world's shenanigans, watching civilization get what it deserved, yet he still loved enough to come to earth to die for the very ones who would end up rejecting him...
Majesty born in manger brings salvation to all (12/17/10)
As I downloaded Clay Aiken's version of my favorite Christmas song "Mary, Did You Know," I began to cry as the lyrics came to life. For just a few moments, I was transported to a Bethlehem inn where a tiny baby boy was cradled in His mother's arms. Max Lucado describes the miracle: "He (Jesus) came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. ...
Love is the greatest gift of all (12/10/10)
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (HYPERLINK "http://www.crosswalkmail.com/scrsrlbksjstbpkdtcfhztwzbltpvffpjmbzrrdbvpcjbmv_hbqsfcfbcfws.html" \o "http://www.crosswalkmail.com/scrsrlbksjstbpkdtcfhztwzbltpvffpjmbzrrdbvpcjbmv_hbqsfcfbcfws.html" 1 Corinthians 13:13)...
Looking for answers in all the wrong places (12/03/10)
It was the Luke Bryan weekend, and our house was filled with family and friends. When our guests mentioned the television in their room wasn't working, I went upstairs to check the remote, forgetting that Andy's friend had taken it to California. Don't ask...
God understands everything (11/25/10)
The high school musical is over, and it has been quite a journey. From music to choreography to costumes to set design, five of us adults were the team responsible for the play. Pre-production meetings were lengthy. It was my job as the director to get everyone on the same page and then figure out a way to get these adolescent actors at least in the same book. There was just one problem...
God extends grace, gives all second chances (11/19/10)
When I was young, my mother taught me to sew, a love that was lost as soon as I realized I was pitiful at it. Somewhere in junior high. Come to think of it, that's when I decided I was inept at just about everything I tried. Sewing was no exception. On home-ec assignments, I would end up with more remnants than actual ware, even though my teacher, Mrs. Douglas (bless her heart), would always try to find some redeeming quality in my designs...
Patty LaRoche
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