Sunday, September 18, 2016

Death & Dying

Sometimes, life seems to be all about death and dying. Greg and I have lost many dear ones in the last few years and there are some that we wait with. 

Yesterday I attended a memorial service for Pete Strohn, a long time friend, a precious man who left this earth too soon, or so it seems to me. When I left the service I checked my phone for messages. There was only one. My ninety-one-year-old mother had fallen again and had been taken to the hospital.

My heart quailed. Was this it? Would this be the end?

I hurried to the hospital. Mom was in the ER waiting for a CT scan. When she fell she'd hit her head. She seemed fine, tired but in good spirits. We'd been here in this room, together, many times before. 

I took up my usual post at her bedside and prayed, watched her sleep, and when she roused we chatted.  I tried not to think about all the previous ER visits, surgeries, and health scares we'd walked through in the past five years. 

Mom's health has steadily declined and her dementia is getting worse. I stopped in for a visit with her a few days ago and she was confused about who I was. That was a first, but I knew it was coming.

Being at my mother's side in the last years of her life is like watching her fall of a cliff in slow motion. And I want it to stop.

Sitting beside her in that too familiar treatment room, I noticed how beautiful Mom looked while she slept - serene and lovely. She was trusting ... the doctors, me, her Lord.

Maybe it's because I'd just come from a memorial service, or maybe it's the loss of so many loved ones, or maybe it's about watching life speed by, days passing that can't be reclaimed ... I don't know for sure, but even though Mom turned out to be fine and went home to rest I continued to feel uncertain, sad, and empty. And I kept crying. I don't want to say any more good-byes. There have been too many.

In the midst of my dark reflections I heard from the Lord. "It's not about death ... it's about life," he said. Memories flooded my mind - so many beautiful days already lived. Pete's life hadn't been exceptional to those who didn't know him well, but the ones who loved him knew better and so does The Father. My mother has had an extraordinary life, full of adventure, love, and heartache, but only the ones close to her know that. 

So, I am left with a question. Am I going to ponder death or life? 

God knows all that has come before and all that lies ahead. Psalm 139: 13 - 16 says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Life is a gift, given by God and to be lived for Him. We only get one crack at this life. So, it seems we ought to value such an extraordinary gift and make the most of it.

Jeremiah 29:11 says this, "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Verses 12 - 14 go on to say, "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord." 

What a beautiful promise! All we need to do is seek. 

Yes, in life there is death and dying, but oh so much more. We should not languish long in dark reflections but seek the light and life that is God. When we do  this we will find our way and fulfill the plans God laid out for us in the very beginning. 

Stay tucked in close to The Father, seek Him and all that He is. He is in the spectacular things of this world and the "ordinary" as well. This life is not about death but about hope and a future. 

We don't have to feel badly about our tears. Even Jesus wept. But I encourage you to be wise with the days given, seek knowledge from above, love one another ... and look forward to an eternal life with our Father, when one day you step from this life and into the next. 

Grace and peace to you from God,


Friday, September 09, 2016

Second Chances

Tonight, I was watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy when I was reminded of a miracle, my miracle.

On the television program two men were critically injured in an accident. The ambulance they were driving was hit by another ambulance. Throughout the episode they are stuck, their bodies impaled and trapped in the vehicle. There is no hope for them.

The drama playing out reminded me how we often leave our home in the morning with our minds set on our day, but we don't have any idea what the day truly holds for us. Something lifechanging might happen. 

I had a day like that twenty-five years ago. I set out for work with nothing but happy thoughts on my mind, but on my way up a winding country road I ended up like the men on Grey's Anatomy (well maybe not quite so dramatic). By all accounts my life should have ended that day. And for sure, everything changed ... forever.

I approached a corner and a log truck loaded with huge logs tipped over and barreled at my van. It hit the van and pushed the rig to the edge of an embankment. My daughter screamed, tires screeched, metal grated, and I knew I was living my final seconds on earth.

And then I realized I was wrong. I lived. My daughter and I lived! We made it out of our mangled vehicle and stood in the middle of the road, hugging each other and praising God for His amazing gift of life. 

We'd been given a second chance.

I saw it clearly then, but through the years I've lost sight of how spectacular and unbelievable and how blessed I am to have been part of one of God's miracles. I may be a bit mangled but I am still so blessed. 

But I am left with a question ...

Why do some die while others live? I don't have the answer. That is God's choice. But I do know that each day is a precious gift. And I need to live like it is my last day ... because maybe it is. 

Our days are numbered. Dare we waste a single one?

Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Friday, August 26, 2016


Sisters are the best ... don't you think?
Well, maybe not all the time. My siblings and I had some skirmishes through the years. But the love sticks.

From the top: Leslie, Me, and Myrn. Sunning ourselves alongside a
Yukon Lake while our dad was fishing.

Me & Myrn at Mt. Rainier

When I sat down at my computer tonight I didn't know exactly what I wanted to say. I knew only that my heart was full, and it was aching.

My sister and her husband arrived ten days ago, from Alaska. Today, Greg and I drove them to Eugene so they could catch an early flight home in the morning. Their ten day visit flew by much too quickly. When I gave Myrn a hug good-bye I didn't cry. I was surprised because the last couple of days I couldn't even think about saying another farewell without tears thundering up behind my eyes.

We had so much fun together. This trip was different than others. Myrn and Steve came with the intention to spend time with family, to let their hair down a bit, have some fun, and enjoy their time in Oregon ... no work, well hardly any.

We didn't do anything extra special ... just chatted a lot and laughed a lot, cried a little, had dinners out, drank iced tea and painted our nails, and we hung out in our jammies a couple of mornings while we watched episodes of Drop Dead Diva. And we made it to church with our Mama. It was the best visit ever.

Tonight I walked by our guest room and everything was back the way it had been before she and Steve arrived, everything was in order. It felt so empty. My Sis has gone home. The tears started. I miss her and I will keep on missing her.

Even so, I am grateful - grateful to have a sister, and to have one like Myrn. She's my Sis who loves me. She prays for me and my husband and my kids and even my friends. She's the sister God made, not just for me, but sometimes it feels like it. We don't agree on everything (but most things) and she blesses my life.


 Now we have new memories to fill our minds and hearts. And next time she comes we just might not do anything special again. We don't need anything spectacular - all we need is time together.

What's your favorite thing to do when family comes to visit?

Thank you so much for coming, Myrn. I love you. Can't wait until next time.

Your Big Sister

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Just a quick note today. I'm very excited about my new release!

In the Land of White Nights is now available for Pre-order.

Pre-Order Bonnie Leon's latest book!

"... beautifully written book...Bonnie Leon is a talented author who has brought back to life one of her best series and improved on it. RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars.

The second installment of Bonnie Leon's Northern Lights series--the 20th Anniversary Revised Edition, that is--will be released August 5th. But you have the chance to Pre-order the ebook for the discounted price of $2.99 (regularly $4.99). Don't let the Gold Rush pass you by! Pre-order your copy today.

Anna or rivers of gold--which will captivate his heart?
The lure of the nineteenth-century gold rush calls to Erik, a civil-war veteran. He and Anna, his Aleutian bride, set sail for a new life together in Sitka.
Anna stands strong against the adversities of the new land with its unfamiliar culture and fearsome challenges. She fights the prejudice of others, while growing in her newfound faith in the white man’s God.
When forced to move farther north and begin again, Anna refuses to give up, allowing nothing to stand in the way of her family’s happiness. They discover joy as well as heartache in the Alaskan wilderness. But will Erik’s love of gold put all they’ve worked so hard for in jeopardy?
Again, you can pre-order your copy today for the discounted price of $2.99!

I can't wait to hear from you. I hope you like this story.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Saturday, June 11, 2016

For Writers & Everyone Else

I'm pretty sure writers will understand this post, and I think everyone else will too.

I had a story, the story of my heart, that weighed on me for years. It was always in the back of my mind, asking me to write it. I wanted to, but I was busy, or the time wasn't right or publishers wanted something else from me. For years I let it go. But it had to be heard and finally I stepped away from everything else and went to work on the story of my heart.

It wasn't easy. The characters had to be real and quirky and fun. They were together in most scenes. Research required a cross country trip. The book was contemporary and all I'd written was historical. It was personal and revealed my soul. It was risky. And I had to get it right. 

I did it. And I felt good about that book. 

To Dance With Dolphins is the story I had to tell. It's a good story. But it's not one that at first glance is appealing to the masses. It's about people, young and old who live with mental and physical illness. They are real, they are people who suffer like so many of us do. 

So, why would anyone want to spend time with characters who suffer? Read an entire book about people who fight just to get out of bed in the morning?

If sales say anything about readers, my guess is that most people don't want to spend more time where they already live. Only, they'd be wrong if they think that's all this book is about. The journey my characters take across this amazing country called America is one we should all take. It's a place to discover who we are, why we're here, and to realize there is so much to hope for and that exuberant joy exists even for the afflicted. 

We all experience physical or emotional obstacles. After living with chronic pain for twenty-five years, one thing I know is that everyone has stuff. We all walk through valleys, some of them terrifying and dark, but nevertheless we walk through ... one step at a time. We also climb mountains and stand on summits and gaze at amazing vistas that make us cry because we can't believe something so beautiful even exists. We give and receive love and devotion that reminds us that goodness still flourishes on this planet where we live. And there are troubles we think we will never overcome and then we do. 

We try to ignore the places we don't want to think about. The "what ifs" of life. Where there are no winners. Where our bones and souls are crushed - where God meets us. He reaches down and lifts us up, pulls us into His arms, presses us against His heart and wipes away our tears.

How extraordinary it is when we realize that with the Lord there are no losers. Whether in this life or the next, His children win.

I wrote To Dance With Dolphins because I had to. It is a story for those who have no hope. It is a place where they may find it. And for those who stand alongside the suffering I pray it will give you strength. 

Mostly it is not about suffering. It is about living and discovering love, joy, and hope. It is the story of my heart, the one I had to tell. I want people to read it. I pray people will read it. 

Grace and peace to you from God,


You can purchase the book here:

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Light

 My mother blesses my life. She's ninety-one and a bit worse for wear, but she's still moving forward, and I love how she travels. She's like a light in the darkness. 

These days, Mom can't walk, not even with the help of a walker, but she still manages to get around a bit in her wheel chair. We don't get out much because transporting causes her pain and takes someone who is strong enough to lift her in and out of the car. My aching back won't let me and it's even getting difficult for my aging husband. 

Life is not easy for Mom, but I rarely hear a word of complaint. If you ask me, she has a lot to complain about, but she doesn't see things that way. Through the years, she has found a grateful heart.

Though Mom grieves the loss of two husbands, a daughter, her parents, six of her siblings and many other loved ones, she understands they have simply gone on ahead of her and one day they will meet again. She looks forward to a grand reunion. 

Mom lives a life of dependence, relying on others to help her bathe, use the restroom, get her dressed in the morning and ready for bed at night. She no longer makes her own meals. Those are prepared by her caregivers. The details of her life are worked out by others, mostly those who love her. She never misses an opportunity to let us know how grateful she is.

Sometimes Mom wonders why she's still here on earth. Only God knows for certain, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the tenderness, warmth and affection she offers the people in her life. We need her.

I see Mom as a radiating light that reminds me to embrace life and to be thankful for all the gifts offered to me each day. 

Yesterday she gave me another beautiful reminder. Mom's not been able to attend church because it's difficult to transport her. When she told me she how much she misses going I decided to find a way. It wasn't difficult and I wonder why I hadn't thought of it before. I called the ambulance service we use for taking her to the doctor and was glad to discover they are open on Sundays and would be happy to take Mom to church. 

Yesterday I met her there. The driver was such a nice man and was clearly smitten with my mother. Many people are. She's a charmer. I think it's the light in her eyes and her warm smile. Just as worship began I wheeled her inside and we found a place to sit. 

Mom had difficulty reading the words on the screen, but sang the songs she knew. She listened to the pastor and only dozed a little. I wasn't sure just how much she'd gotten from her time there, but hoped she'd enjoyed the service. While we waited for her ride we chatted with friends. Mom was clearly having a good time. She crooked her finger at me and I bent to hear what she had to say.

"I don't think you understand how wonderful this is!" she told me, her face alight.

She was right. I didn't. And it could have been different. She might have been focused on how many times she hadn't been able to go, or have been grumpy about her pain or lack of sleep ... or ... That's not Mom's way. 

I marvel at what a grateful heart can find to be thankful for, and by how much joy and blessing there is to be had if we seek the beauty in life instead of its imperfections.

So grateful to be my mother's daughter.

Grace and peace to you from God,