Friday, March 27, 2015


God wins the prize for being the Master of Understatement!  "My thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are my ways your ways".  He's got that right.  Can you even imagine what it will be like in Heaven not to have to deep-six our first thoughts and struggle to replace them with His?

Picture this: It's Sunday afternoon in Kansas. Our farm was not far from cattle country where rodeos drew a crowd.  If you have never watched a calf charging out of the chute, horse and cowboy racing pell mell alongside, lasso zinging through the air,  flipping the critter on his back and tying his legs together at lightning speed,  you haven't lived life to the fullest.  Small-town rodeos are the best!

Years later Ted and I sat amidst Louisiana Tech students watching another country rodeo right down the road from Monroe (That's MUNroe), the home of the hilarious Duck Dynasty folk.  I don't remember how we got involved with those Tech students. On another Sunday afternoon they took us on a houseboat cruise on the Ouachita (That's Waachitaw) River.  I am still connected with some of those Loosianians because I like 'em!

Now, where was I?  Oh, I was making a point about my ungodly thoughts that need to be lassoed midair,  and wooed into righteous thinking by the Holy Spirit.  I have a dangerously creative mind....and too good a memory about things best forgotten. When this blog doesn't show up some weekend you will know that my thoughts have become as much like Jesus' as they're ever going to get and I'm outta here!

Our weather is perfect, the oaks are decked out in fresh green, and several generations of deer are grazing all over my nine acres.  In the morning I'll start the propane fireplace on the deck and four women friends from Bakersfield and I will sit around it for hours, drinking coffee and doing what girls of all ages do: talk. Some of you who have been here (especially you East Coasters who are still up to your necks in snow) are wishing you were here too. So do I...but there's a new day comin' when we'll all be together...talking with Jesus and all His other children.

                             OLD HYMN: WHEN WE ALL GET TO HEAVEN

Onward to the prize before us! Soon His beauty we'll behold.
Soon the pearly gates will open; we shall tread the streets of gold.


Love,  Jo


Friday, March 20, 2015


Lot's wife did, and that didn't end well.  I have been given so much.  A little East Kansas farm girl, raised with fear of death, always on the alert for poisonous snakes and even more poisonous words about some kind of a god people swore to that caused me to cower in terror, my young face buried in my Grandma's lap.

I was nearly out of my teen years when a contractor I met in the town where I was working told me about Jesus. He claimed that Jesus could be trusted but I didn't really believe him. Mr. Nelson was on the board of a twenty-nine year old evangelist's ministry. That young man's name was Billy Graham. His best buddy's name was T.W. Wilson.  Mr. Nelson introduced both to me...but I didn't trust them either... until all three men offered me a year of free education at their Christian college in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You see, the word free had always had a hook in it. So did the word love. Nearly every boy I ever dated told me they loved me, but they all had an agenda.  Jesus has no "agenda" except to show us He loves us.  Isn't this, after all the simple message of the Gospel?  "But God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us."  

As the dear-to-my-heart Thursday girls came into my living room this week I thought about how each one has needed to be shown that Jesus loves them just for themselves, and not for what they can do for Him. We ended our time together in prayer for Buddhist and Hindu relatives and loved ones trapped in a religion of fear.

This past week many of you Grandmothers and Grandfathers responded with tender, understanding compassion to a prayer request I wrote you about. Not one of your messages will be deleted and your written scriptures and letters are kept in notebooks for reading again and again.  I know that my Grandmother who left for Heaven when I was fourteen prayed for me. Five years later three men who had no agenda but to show me God's love were miraculously dropped into my life. I appeared to be "cool" at the time, but I was so scared. Nobody but Jesus knew how scared!

God judges nations.  All through past and present history millions of dissenting Christians are martyred as compromised absolutes morph into relativism.  Our Lord is casting a wider and wider net through technology as leaders are seducing multitudes into a Christ-less eternity. The Eternal Family is increasing as many of you are visualizing Him before attempting to verbalize about Him to people who are "whistling in the dark".  How else can they believe that Jesus came with no agenda unless we love them by serving them, just as He did?
                                          OLD HYMN: ONCE FOR ALL

Free from the law, O happy condition;  Jesus hath bled and there is remission.
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall.  Grace hath redeemed us once for all!

Now are we free; there's no condemnation; Jesus provides a perfect salvation.
"Come unto Me", O hear His sweet call,  Come, and He saves us once for all.


Love, Jo

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


When Ted and I heard the Gospel we believed It and received It. We were desperate. I was in a tiny little fellowship of six adults and a bunch of college kids in a make-shift church just off the campus of Kansas State Colllege. Ted was in a bus depot with no Bible or any Christians to lead him in the prescribed sinner's prayer. Later he told me this is what he said to God; "I don't even know if you exist or not, but if you do and you can change my life like you have changed my girlfriend's, come in." My prayer six months before had not been too much different: "Jesus, I need you! Come in!" Those decisions cost us a relationship with our families-of-origin for a long time. It was very painful, but it was necessary. Early on, in a fishing family, I learned that we are either going to fish or cut bait!  We chose to fish!  Matthew 10:32 through 38 became our New Reality right out of the chute.

The Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God that reconciles us to God divides us even from families sometimes.  My parents were in their mid-70's before they came to know Jesus. Both of my brothers dragged their feet for years.  A brother of Ted's and his family have come to Him over the years. That brother's life on earth was taken by a brain tumor, as was Ted's. I had a two hour conversation this week with one of Ted's nephews who has taken up his cross to follow Jesus.  I want to dance! I think I will!

This week something happened that caused me to give in to uncontrollable sobs. You don't need to know what that "something" was.  On my worst day when the rage was spewing out the Lord sent a pastor friend who had no idea he was walking into an aging Irish woman's buzz saw. Because I trust this man I dumped my anguish all over him. He gently, but firmly walked me to the real source of my anger...satan himself. Why would I think it would be anyone else?
What are you mad about and at whom? Tell a trusted friend and with scripture, come against the dirty rotten enemy of your soul.  He hates Jesus and he hates any of us who walk this wicked earth with and for Him.
                                                    A MIGHTY FORTRESS --Martin Luther

A mighty fortress is our God; a bulwark never failing
Our helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great and armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal. 

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He!
Lord Sabaoth is His Name, from age to age the same;

And though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim; we tremble not for him; 
His rage we can endure, for lo his doom is sure, 

That WORD above all earthly powers; no thanks to them abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go; this mortal life also
The body they may kill; God's truth abideth still;

Love,  Jo

Friday, March 6, 2015


The Apple Shed is being turned into a peanut-shells-on-the-floor bar.  New Name: "The Shed".  New owners....Indian spirit worshippers. My family-style show ran for over nine years....not bad.  I will miss the ol' piano.  ...and I will miss being the Ham that I Am who comes alive in front of a hand-clappin' audience.  Well, what's next, Lord? Singalongs in the spring, summer and fall up on the hill where the coyotes howl and the wind blows free?  ...back at the Bear Valley Country Club lobby at the big Grand?  I did that many times years ago before the manager moved me into the bar to scalp me for more revenue.  The money was enticing. The old slobbery geezers weren't.  I lasted about three Saturday nights, then  picked up my tips, walked out the door and never looked back.

Finally the sun has come out and so has my smile.  The temperature climbed to above freezing and it is time to dress up for the Thursday girls. They're royalty, you know...lovely Korean Tasha and lovely Indian/New Zealander Aruna and whoever else comes through the door.  I am studied up for I Corinthians 4, but maybe He will take us somewhere else today.  Paul really got after those Corinthians,  didn't he?  I remember (story time) when Ted and I stood in the town square of Corinth many years ago.  Above us towered Diana/Artimis's male and female Prostitute Hangout. Scattered all around us were broken statues of women sans heads, garbed in mini-skirts and boots...the same apparel popular at that time here in the U.S.  I don't know where the believers met; we saw no stadium there like those we had visited in other parts of Greece. As I study Corinthians I can nearly visualize Paul, Sosthenes,Timothy, Stephanas, Fortunatus, Achaicus, Chloe, Appollo, Cephas, Aquilla and Priscilla.  Maybe I will spot them all strolling down a golden street before you readers arrive.  ...but then since there is no time as we know it in Heaven, maybe we will all arrive together.
Dunno...don't have to.

Today I don't want to think about terrorists in our shopping malls, Isis, Hamas,  Ahmadinejad, Hezzbola, martyred saints, what is in store for the church of tomorrow,  who will be the next president,  or who won't be the next president,  how much our paper money will be worth in the not-too distant-future, whether or not the banks and loan agencies will suddenly close and millions of Americans will starve to death.   Maybe, like Scarlet O'Hara "I'll think about that tomorrow". ...or maybe not.  It helps to have read the end of our story. We WIN!

It's time to saddle up, go into town, have lunch with Sherry, grocery shop and fill up the cupboards and refrigerators. I leave my dining table set all the time. ...just in case.

                   OLD HYMN:  WOUNDED FOR ME (slightly tweeked)

Wounded for me; wounded for me. There on the Cross He was wounded for me.
Gone my transgressions and now I am free; all because Jesus was wounded for me.

Dying for me; dying for me;  there on the Cross He was dying for me.
Now in His death my redemption I see; all because Jesus was dying for me.

Living in me, living in me; I know in my heart that He's living in me.
Daily He's pleading and praying for me; all because Jesus is living in me. 

Coming for me; coming for me. One day to earth He is coming for me.
Then with what joy His dear face I shall see.
Oh, how I praise Him! He's coming for me.

Love,  Jo