Sometimes You Have to Look Harder (An Analogy)

Sunrises are easy to see. The whole eastern sky appears to be on fire. The intense yellows and oranges, changing and growing as the sun makes its arrival are breath-taking. But there are two conditions in order to enjoy this magnificent sight. One, you have to be awake. Period. You can’t see a sunrise if you’re eyes are not open. And two, there can’t be any significant obstacles between you and the eastern sky. In other words, you can’t see a sunrise when it’s raining, or from inside a room with west-facing windows or no windows at all.

A sunrise happens every morning without fail whether we can see it or not. Even if we are facing the correct direction with our eyes open on a cloudless day, we might not be able to see the masterpiece. Or at least all of it. Sometimes life gets in the way. Trees with thick branches made thicker with countless leaves may prevent you from fully seeing the rising sun. But if you look past the silhouetted limbs, you will be able to catch glimpses of the glory on the other side.

The sunrise is there. You just have to look harder to see it.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11

A Conversation With Myself (or Can We Get Some Feedback?)

Me: We have a problem.

Myself: What kind of problem? Are we out of keyboard strokes?

Me: What? Never mind. We’re going to need to change our blog posts. Do you think our readers are aware that our stories are based on real life events from the journals we kept in our earlier life?

Myself: Maybe. But I bet few would know that genre is called creative nonfiction. I had never heard of that before we began writing in it! I wonder how many other genres are out there that we’ve never heard of.

Me: Focus, man! We’re not talking about genres. We talking about our blogs! We need some information.

Myself: You mean, like what our readers like to read?

Me: Yes. If you haven’t noticed, we’re pretty much done with the journals from the 1970’s.  We need to move on to the 80’s.

Myself: So?

Me: So there’s a problem with that. Our life changed more than a few times during the 80’s. And so our journal entries changed also.

Myself: How? The handwriting?

Me: No, you fool. They went from event based to thinking based. More about what we thought about things than actual events.

Myself: So? I still don’t see the problem.

Me: Really? How can we write about events when there aren’t many to choose from?

Myself: Oh, I get it. So what do we do?

Me: There’s several directions we can go, but I just can’t decide.

Myself: Well, maybe if we figured out why we’re writing in the first place, it might help us figure out which direction to go.

Me: OK. At first we wrote to practice our writing skills. But that changed over time after we began getting feedback. So we need new goals.

Myself: I have one! How about to brighten our reader’s day with a little entertainment?

Me: That’s good. We definitely want to do that. But that seems so trivial. We need to think deeper. Like maybe to inspire our readers to keep on keeping on with their own walks with God.

Myself: Ooo, I like it! But I have one even deeper than that! To glorify God by acknowledging, and in a way thanking, Him for all the ways He has been faithful to us!

Me: Perfect!  So we have three new goals. Now how do we reach them?

Myself: Get readers to read them of course!

Me: Duh! And how do we do that when we don’t know what they like?

Myself: Now who’s being dumb. Ask them!

Me: Their time is precious with so many daily demands on their lives. And there’s so many great blogs they could be reading. I always feel honored when they choose to spend some of that time reading what we write.  I don’t want to ask even more of their time. I want them to be glad each time they visit us.

Myself: Well, it won’t hurt to ask them. Maybe a few of them would be kind enough to answer.

Me: Wow! If they would, I think I would jump with joy!

Myself: That I would love to see!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen you jump, except for when you see a roach. lol

Me: Very funny. Let’s write a letter to our readers with our questions.

Myself: Good idea. Here’ s what I think it should say:

“Dear Readers,

We love you! Thank you so much for spending some of your valuable time with us! Could we please ask you a few questions? It would help us out tremendously as we contemplate the direction we want our blog to take.”

Me: Tremendously? Contemplate?

Myself: Shhh… big words might make them think we’re smarter than we are.

Me: sigh

“Here are some questions, but any comments or suggestions would also be greatly appreciated!

Which of our stories had the greatest impact on you?

What kinds of stories would you like to see more of? Humorous, thought provoking, emotional, chapters (where one long story is divided into several blogs), etc.?

Are there any type stories you don’t like?

Would you be interested in other kinds of writing such as our commentary as we studied different scriptures? Or pictures we drew that told a story all on their own (with maybe just a caption when necessary)?

Do you prefer daily short stories or fewer longer stories (like 2-3 per week)?

What else can we do to make our blogs more inspiring, entertaining, and/or worthwhile of your time?

Very gratefully yours,

Me and Myself”

Me: Sounds good. Let’s post it!


I hope this blog brought you a smile or two! The dialogue was meant to be humorous but the questions are serious. I really would like feedback. When I was still teaching, I used to ask parents as well as my students for feedback from time to time in order to evaluate my performance and make changes when necessary in order to become the most effective teacher I could be. I would like to use that same strategy to help me become the most effective, inspiring, impactful blogger I can be. I would truly be honored for any time you spend providing this feedback to me! And I truly do love you!


Getting Closer


You Want to Be a What?

Wrestling with God (continued from You Want to be a What?)

Caught in the Middle, a Continuation

Under Pressure

and now… Getting Closer

Something was definitely wrong, she thought. He’s acting really strange tonight. Even stranger than he had the last few weeks, after she had heard from God to give him time. And she had. But now he was acting cold and distant.

True, he had traveled the hour to visit the local prayer meeting she had started attending. And he had been his normal endearing self to the others who were there. But when it was time to leave, he had said goodbye to her abruptly and without much feeling.

Now she was getting ready for bed and wondering what went wrong. Did she hear from God wrong and this was all normal as he prepared to leave? Was their relationship over?

“God,” she cried. “I know I gave him to you. But You also said he wasn’t going to be a priest. I have no idea what’s going on. And it hurts. Take care of him whatever’s happening.”

Just then there was a knock on her door. She glanced at the clock. 10 PM. Who would be IMG_20180421_203931566coming to her house at this time of night? Scared to open the door, she tried to peek out the window. There weren’t many lights, but she managed to see the car parked in the driveway behind her car. Could it be? It looked like his car! What could he be doing here? It had been an hour since he left and she was already in her PJs. She couldn’t let him see her like this!

“Hello?” she heard him call. “It’s me. Let me in.”

Dreading what he might have come to tell her – sure he was breaking up with her – she let him in.

“Why are you here? I’m already dressed for bed,” she protested.

“You look beautiful to me any way you dress,” he answered with a smile.

They sat in the den and he told her that as he was on his way home, he had begun thinking about the evening and didn’t like how it ended. So he had decided to come back to talk with her about it.


So she took a deep breath and prepared herself to be let down, certain he would explain how their relationship had to end.

“I’ve been thinking about this a long time,” he said. “I don’t really know how to say it.”

Here it comes, she thought, looking down at her lap.

“I love you.”

What? She was definitely not expecting that. She looked up into his face.

He was smiling but there was fear? uncertainty? along with the smile.

“I love you,” he said again. “I know the seminary is something we need to deal with, but for right now I want you to know that I love you.”

Unable to speak, she just stared at him.

“I don’t really know how you feel about this. I was afraid to tell you.”

She smiled. But then the smile froze on her face as fear rose up inside her. Now that she was faced with the moment she had waited so long for, she didn’t know what to say. Did she love him? Did she really love him – or was she just imagining her feelings all these months, building them up into something they weren’t? She felt so broken inside, could she love him or anyone? Was she even capable of love?

“I don’t know if I can love you. I don’t know if I can love anyone.” she finally said.

Her response was not what he expected, but he accepted it, as he had accepted her from the beginning. They talked for hours about her fears and feelings, about his fears and feelings, and about their possible future together. Then they prayed. “God, we don’t know where this is going. But we thank you for the opportunity we had tonight to really share our hearts with each other. We place this relationship in Your hands. And we trust that You will continue to guide us. ”

And He did. For the next six months as seminary loomed closer (those struggles are a whole ‘nother story), for the following four years of their courtship, and for the next 33 years and counting of their marriage – His amazing love was with them every step of the way.

The end. Or the beginning depending on how you look at it. 🙂

Under Pressure

Continuing the story begun in You Want to Be a What?, continued in Wrestling with God (continued from You Want to be a What?) and in Caught in the Middle, a Continuation

She listened in amazement, then frustration.

So, he’s under pressure about this priesthood thing? Really?

It had been several months since he informed her that he thought he was being called to be a priest.

She had spent those months rotating between hopeful trust in God, depression, and anger. It was affecting her whole life, and he was surprised to be feeling pressure?

“What kind of pressure?” she asked him.

“I don’t want to be a priest.”

“So don’t be one.”

“But what about the call I feel?”

“Then be one.”

And around and around they went. It was causing a strain on their relationship. She didn’t know how far to let him into her heart or how to look at him. Romantically? Platonically? She wished Jesus would hurry up and settle this, or help them to get past it and just enjoy their friendship.

Eventually she started sensing that he was pulling away from her, like he didn’t want to IMG_20180420_185546747spend time with her anymore. He didn’t explain himself, or even acknowledge it, so she went once again to the Lord about it.

“Oh, Lord,” she called. “I have a question.”

“Go on.”

“Why is he acting like he doesn’t want me around anymore?”

“He’s afraid of his feelings for you. He needs time to adjust. Give him time. Don’t become impatient with him. Keep loving him and he’ll be back.”

“Does this have anything to do with the seminary?”

“Yes. He’s afraid of leaving. He’s afraid that he might become too deeply involved with you to want to leave.”

That makes sense she thought. But she didn’t like it. What about her?  What if she became too deeply involved and didn’t want him to leave? God had said he wasn’t going to be a priest. So maybe she should just do what He said – be patient and wait it out. Or maybe she had been hearing wrong all along and he really was going to become a priest. Maybe he was hearing from God and she was only hearing from herself.

She sighed. He had made one short trip to the seminary already, and another longer one was scheduled for the next summer. How in the world was she going to navigate these next six months?

to be continued…