Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Battle

Every day we are in a battle that rages against Christ and His followers. As a young Christian I was smug enough to think I could fight it by myself.  I can't. I don't have to. 

Jesus experienced three emotions at once: joy, endurance and shame.  He empathizes with us as we struggle to live in this world and not be of it. In the new Heavens and New Earth there will be no more crying; no more pain; no more sin; no more dying. ...but until then, know this:  Jesus has already won the battle. That's what the whole Book of Hebrews is about. ...a seven-day Sabbath. ...working while resting in the finished work of Christ.  Can the world understand that?  No. Can we?  No, but I believe it! how am I doing with knowing I have a killer in my aorta, poised to strike?  Sure, I get scared sometimes, but I keep walking toward the finish line, armed with the double stick of dynamite. ...the Word of God and prayer. 

When in Bible college in Minneapolis, in a Scandinavian/German church Ted was the Youth Director and I was the church secretary.  I loved the ONE, two, three  rhythm of their music. Here's one: 


Praise the Savior, ye who know Him
Who can tell how much we owe Him? 
Gladly let us render to Him
 All we are and have. ..

Jesus IS  is the Name that charms us;
 He for conflict fits and arms us; 
Nothing moves and nothing harms us
 While we trust in Him. 

Trust in Him, ye saints, forever; 
He is faithful, changing never.
Neither force nor guile can sever 
Those He loves from Him. 

Keep us Lord, O keep us cleaving.
 To Thyself and still believing,
'Til the hour of our receiving 
Promised joy with Thee.


Only the Scandihoovians and Germans could pack that much  doctrine into so few words!

Tonight,  two Jim's and a Dave will meet me at the Mulligan Room, outside, under the cabana. We will lead out with some Gospel, then invite requests.  People will wander in to dine, sing and get acquainted.  On another summer night in Bear Valley Springs, California we will bring some delight into the lives of our neighbors.

Love,  Jo

Friday, August 3, 2018

Old is good.

I start every morning on my deck, listening to scripture.  Hooty the Owl Who Who's his parting call  as an awakening dog down below begins to communicate with a buddy across the valley.  The sun peeks over the mountain to the east and this is today.  It's not yesterday, and it's not tomorrow. This is today!  I open an old hymnal, read and sing words that I have not sung in years.  Here's one, written in the mid 1800's:

Must Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free?
No, there's a cross for everyone, and there's a cross for me.

How happy are the saints above who once went sorrowing here.
But now they taste unmingeled love and joy without a tear.

The consecrated cross I'll bear 'til death shall set me free
And then go Home,  my crown to wear,  for there's a crown for me

Upon the crystal pavement, down at Jesus' pierced feet;
Joyful, I'll cast my golden crown, and His dear Name repeat.  

If you're bugged that I am quoting hymns about Heaven, get over it.  I'm goin'  Home. In His time.  So are you.  Until then, I am going about the business of listening to scripture,  entertaining strangers, taking them into scripture if they're willing, studying scripture every Thursday with the next generation,  enjoying summertime guests from down below,  leading Singalongs from my keyboard,  writing and receiving daily messages of God's do'ins on other continents and across our wonderful nation and loving the fellowship at the church we were sent here to build thirty-four years ago.

I am blessed. Tell me about your blessings.

Love,  Jo

Friday, July 27, 2018


The buttons on my KMART microwave oven are hard to push. Hunger pangs were increasing. The black-band Life Alert bracelet on my wrist must have bumped against the over. The little white Life Alert box on my kitchen counter blared:  "Are you all right?  Do you need help?" The land phone rang.  "This is the police. Are you all right?  Do you need help?" I answered both: "I'm fine; I do not need help. My wristband hit something."  Minutes later,  through my kitchen window I saw and heard three firemen racing toward my front door,  calling: "Are you all right?  Do you need help?"

My attire was a short, flimsy summer-weight nightgown. Two thoughts hit my mind: "Those guys are going to break down my locked door!  I've got to run for a robe!"   Too late to run, I unlocked the door. Three firemen bounded in. "Are you all right?  Do you need help?" Right behind them came three policemen.  Now,  six men in uniform surrounded an 89-year-old woman in a short, flimsy, summer-weight nightgown.  "Are you all right?  Do you need help?"  "I'm fine!   I don't need help." "Are you sure?"  "I'm sure!

The land phone rang; the little white box blared.  My cell phone played its musical little ditty. Signalling to the six men to cool their jets I answered the land phone. Dee, my daughter: "Mom, are you all right?  Your neighbor just called".  I lost count of the life alert, land and cell phone calls.  Finally, six suited-up men left, but not until one assured me that a technician would come the next morning to "check out your devices".   "Oh, please don't.   I want to eat my dinner, go to bed and sleep 'til noon!"  "Uhh, are you sure?" ."I am sure!" ..and out the door they went.  I don't want to even think about what they were saying as they got in their big ol' vehicles and headed down the mountain to their posts.  

Two thoughts come to mind:  1) Our Bear Valley Springs tax dollars are actually working!  2)  I need a new microwave with easy-to-push buttons. 

I don't want to be a woman whose buttons are easy to push.  God continues to work on that one.  I'm still here, doing the best I am able to rest in His promises. ... with gratefulness and anticipation. 

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; ... an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you".  I Peter 1:3,4. 

Love,  Jo

Friday, July 20, 2018

Better or worse?

Friends call and come to read scripture and pray with me.  Margo asked:  "Is it better or worse to know you have an aneurysm?"  I was still getting used to the reality and had no answer.  I will tell you this: Living moment by moment is no longer just an option.  Either I'm going to juice each moment to the max or I'm some kind of stupid.  Right now, it looks as if I will have another three months before my innards are zapped again to find out if  "The Thing" has grown. The heart doctor says my heart is strong enough to handle a surgery. ...if I want to.

We used to sing an old hymn (...but then we used to sing a whole LOT of "old hymns") named: "Moment by Moment".  

Moment by moment I'm kept in His love.
Moment by moment I've life from above.
Looking to Jesus 'til Glory doth shine.
Moment by moment,
Oh, Lord, I am Thine.

People brought their dogs and wore their flip flops to the Singalong last Friday night.  I invited people I knew and more that I had never met into my world of old tunes that date back a hundred years. ...from Dixieland, to Gospel, to standards known to most people. While they chatted and dined, folk who had never met each other listened to melodies that brought back memories.  From my old tattered and stained Singalong books they called out their favorites. I handed the mic to Dave who sings "Old Man River" and "Sixteen Tons" like no other bass I've ever heard.  One woman asked for "How Great Thou Art".  Whoopee! That led to my staying on the mic and singing  "This World is not my Home" and "I'll Fly Away", which morphed into telling the folk about the "thingie"  in my aorta.  This crowd knows about "thingties", but some don't know where they are going when that thingie kills them. I told them where I am going.

This week one of my favorite neighbors asked Jesus into his heart. ...and ya' know,  nothin' else in this world really matters except knowing where we are going when this life is over.

Show over,  my faithful crew packed up my stuff, put me in their car, brought me home and practically tucked me into my bed. ...exhausted, but oh, so happy.

Call, text or Email me and

Tell me the Story of Jesus
Write on my heart every word.
Tell me the story most precious;
Sweetest that ever was heard.

Love,  Jo

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Third Heaven

In three months hence a nurses will again put dye in my veins.  My body will slide into the gaping mouth of a big machine and I will hold my breath while a picture is taken.  I will slide back out then  glide back in, hold my breath while another picture is taken of my "fearfully and wonderfully made" innards.  Another nurse will move my body around for another part of me to be filmed, then once more that big machine will swallow me;  I will hold my breath while another picture will be taken before I slide out for the last time.  The arm of my daughter or another helper will reach out to take me home to the mountain where I live. As the centimeters that measure this Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm increase,  my life span will decrease.

 I recently was thrilled by a phone conversation with Granddaughter #2.  Lauren Stone is on her way to Stanford  for her next "round" before being assigned to a hospital for residency as a brain surgeon.  She graduated with highest honors from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in music; then she entered medical school at Temple in Philadelphia.  She will always be a musician. ...but her major investment will be in saving human lives from the very cancer that took her Grandfather Ted's life.

We read that Paul visited the Third Heaven. Before he was escorted back forever he would suffer nearly unbearably at the hands of cruel people who hated him for sacrificing his very life for The Gospel. Through it all, he would remember: "To live? Christ.  To die is gain". 

Tonight at the Mulligan Room, outside on the patio, people will come to dine, listen and sing. The stars will come out and the folk will relax in the wonder of His creation.  Some of us will strain to get a glimpse of The Third Heaven. ...for we know that 

This world is not my Home.
We're just a passin'  through.
My treasures are laid up 
Somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me 
From Heaven's open door.
And I can't feel at home
In this world anymore.  

Love,  Jo