Friday, December 30, 2011

Quiet Moments With God -- Rejoice In The New Year

In two hours it will be a new year--a time of new beginnings. We might even want to call it a do-over, if we're not happy with the last year. After the ball drops in Times Square I usually spend time thinking on the good and the bad of the year I've just traveled through, and I contemplate on the year to come.

The big question for me this year is, "Where does God want to take me?" And, "Am I willing to go there?" I don't know what will be required of me, but I do know that whatever God has planned is the best. He knows the beginning and the end. He sees it all. I can trust Him.

I've decided that this year will be marked by praise. I will rejoice.

Even during the dark days my future is bright because God is there. He will never forsake me. I am His. And therefore my life is His to do as He wills. And I will do my utmost to trust and to do as He asks.

And so, I begin with prayer.

"Father, may you always be before me. Do not allow me to become distracted by the cares and worries of this world. I pray that my heart and mind will remain focused upon you. I long to know you better, to be fully committed to your calling, to be the kind of person who loves the unlovely. May the fruit of the Holy Spirit flow from my spirit--that I would demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control in all that I do. As this year begins I place my life, once again, in your capable hands. Hands that hold, nurture and discipline. Hands where I can rest. Help me to shine a light upon you. Give me courage. I am weak and afraid, yet I know that with you I have nothing to fear. Thank you for your mercy and your love. There is none other like you.


I encourage you to begin this year with a prayer. Seek The One who offers the only way to real change. And again I say REJOICE!

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Topic of the Day -- Fifty Year Resolution

Last evening I attended a 50th wedding anniversary party for some dear friends. There were stories, photographs, songs, prayers and reminders of what it took to reach a fifty year anniversary. This couple was committed. They resolved to remain together. They resolved to be faithful. They resolved to do their best to help the other be their best. And most importantly, they resolved to make Christ the core of who they are as individuals and as a couple.

With the New Year approaching I got to thinking about resolutions. Many of us make them. Few of us uphold them. Our world is full of broken promises. Too many of us take promises lightly. And so, I have resolved to make a New Year resolution . . . but I'm going to think on it, pray about it and it's going to matter. I could come up with a list of needed resolutions, but I'm only choosing one, but that one must hit me at my core and promise true change within.

What is it? I don't know yet. I'm still praying about it. But just the idea of determining to make a promise to myself and to God and resolving to keep that promise is exciting and intimidating.

My husband and I have been married forty years. I'll be honest--it has nothing to do with me. It's God. The day I walked down the aisle I wasn't even certain I wanted to marry my fiance and I remember thinking, If it doesn't work out, I can get a divorce. That's pathetic, and I am grateful to God for holding us together.

A lot has happened since that day. I've grown older and fatter and I'm not so pretty any more, at least not on the outside, but in my core there is a place where my Lord lives and He continues to mold and change me.

This year's resolution is one more step in my growing up. And though I don't know yet what it will be I'm certain it will make life better and my relationship with God richer--because it's for Him and about Him.

And so, congratulations to my dear friends. Your fifty year commitment to each other has touched the lives of so many. Your resolution blessed us. Now it is up to us to play it forward and bless others with our own resolutions.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Quiet Moments With God -- A Baby Changes Everything

It is Christmas Eve. Every year I take time on this holy night to reflect, remember why there is Christmas.

In the midst of the excitement of Christmas preparations and my new book news it's easy to lose sight of what this day is all about. Emmanuel has come. God is with us! HE IS WITH US! How do we get our minds and hearts around this unbelievable gift?

What kind of love gives everything? God gave His only Son, He offered Himself. He came in the form of an infant, placed His life in the hands of a man and a woman. And then, ultimately, He sacrificed his life for ours.

My word for this year is WORSHIP. How precious it is to bow before the Lord and remember all that He has done. I long to know Him more deeply, more intimately, and to love, obey, and worship Him. If only I could walk every step with Him in mind, grateful for every breath, every moment, every opportunity. I pray my heart will be filled with the kind of love He offers to us.

This Christmas, remember Him and . . . Rejoice!

Grace and peace to you from God,



I intend to write a Christmas note tomorrow evening, but today I cant' wait to give you the news. The first book in my Sydney Cove Series, TO LOVE ANEW is NOW FREE on Kindle, Nook and other places. There's still time to download it for Christmas! And if Santa leaves something special just for reading under your tree I'd be thrilled to introduce early Australia and John and Hannah to you on your new Nook or Kindle!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Recently while visiting a friend she shared a wonderful piece of cowboy poetry with me. I want to share it with you. By the way, she wrote it.

The old man rose from the table,
Said, "Thar's somethin' I gotta do."
T'weren't no question 'bout what it was.
The family, they all knew.

His wife's fine feast sat before him.
And she'd outdone herself, o'course.
Sure, his mind was on his belly,
But his heart was on his horse.

The old woman sittin' beside him
gave his wrinkled worn hand a squeeze.
She knew where the old man was goin',
It touched her old heart.
She was pleased.

While the man made his way to the pasture.
The old woman went on with her prayer.
She blesed the food there before them.
And the heart of her old man--out there.

The gelding he loved was old now.
The years, they'd left their mark.
But that somethin' tween the two of'm
Was more than just a spark.

His outstretched hand stroked the muzzle.
The other held a bucket of grain.
He pondered once more, 'bout days gone by.
With feeble fingers, he patted its mane.

"Thanks for givin'," the old man began.
"Yer all, to th' likes of me.
I'm grateful fer yer gut n' grit,
Fer th' price ya paid, tweren't free.

"Thanks fer givin' when th' days was hot,
And when th' rain soaked m'saddle through.
What got th' work done, th' two of us knows,
Weren't my strength at all, it were you.

"Thanks fer givin," the old man went on,
"When th' sun set an' we was half done.
When them beeves, jist fer spite,
splintered ever' which-a-way,
Kept us both movin' hard on th' run.

"Old friend, ya been more than faithful,
And see'd ever' job clean through.
Ya gave me yer all when youth was yourn,
Now I'll be a-caring fer you.

"Lord, take care o' this ol' buckskin.
See'm right through ta his end.
Cause thar ain't never been a more faithful mount.
No better a faithful friend.

"He deserves it, ya see, dear Father,
Done worked hard beyond his due.
How and when he meets his end.
I'll be leavin' that, Lord, up to You.

"Jist give'm greener pastures
Fer helpin' me make m'livin'.
Remind'm now and then fer me.
Jist tell'm 'Thanks fer givin'."

The old cowboy stood a-starin',
Allowing nostalgia near,
A-way out in the pasture,
Where no one else could hear.

"Thanks fer givin," he stroked him once more.
"I'll be a-headin' back now.
Enjoy yer grain, eat it nice n' slow
An don't be a-runnin' them cows."

His contented look as he sat back down,
Brought a smile to those sittin' there.
The old man had tended to busines first.
Without fanfare he spoke out a prayer.

"Lord, thanks fer givin' ta them gathered here,
"Fer good health, an our way a livin'.
"Thanks fer loanin' ol' buckskin to me.
"An bless'm, dear Lord . . . fer givin'."

Written by my dear friend, Deborah J. Note of Eagle Point Oregon

Thank you DJ for helping us feel one of the souls God's givin'.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Topic of the Day -- Don't Forget To Sail

When I was young I never imagined that as I aged that I'd be tempted to skip out on special events. After all, they made life richer. What I didn't understand then, but do now is that for some of us going out can be a challenging process of--taking it easy during the day so that we have the energy we need and the physical ability to attend a party, picnic, concert or whatever. Once you arrive at a happening stairs can be a problem, seating another challenge, the number of steps you'll have to take . . . And if you have allergies you will pray that the person next to you isn't wearing the "wrong" perfume or that they are a smoker.

There are a whole list of issues I never considered years ago. I just went where and when I pleased. And I loved it. These days I stay home more than I want and I sometimes feel like I've been shut out of the fun.

Last evening our local public school held its annual Christmas band and choral concert. I probably wouldn't have attended, but my grandson plays a trombone in the Junior High band. How could I miss?

The entertainment began with the elementary school band, moved on to the Junior High and then the High School bands and closed with the High School choir. Parking was crowded, but my husband dropped me off. There were stairs, but I climbed them without difficulty. I had to take a special chair to sit in, but my daughter carried it for me and set it up.

The school gym was alive with the sounds of the band preparing for their parts, parents were armed with cameras, friends visited and youngsters skipped from place to place. I felt as if I'd been planted in the midst of a river of community joy, and I was smiling.

The bands played and the vocalists sang and my heart soared. I was so thankful to be there watching the struggling beginnings of the very young and the progression of talent and ability as the program moved onward to the older musicians. It was beautiful to see what happens when youngsters grab hold of something they love and don't let go and continue pressing on through the years. They are blessed and so are all of us who are witness to their special gifts and talents.

Yesterday morning while reading from one of my devotionals I found a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes. "I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor."

I've spent too much time in port. Last evening's performance helped me to sail. And reminded me that I don't dare lie at anchor too often or for too long. There's so much still to see and to do in this world. Last evening the students in my community and their music teachers uplifted my spirits and imprinted another beautiful memory in my mind. They gave me a gift. And I thank them.

And to those of you who find yourselves at anchor more often than you do sailing find the time, the way, and the heart to get out and to soar. Do something you love or discover something you didn't know you loved. Become a part of your community as much as you are able. There are blessings waiting for you "out" there. And we have much that we can give to others when we sail rather than lie at anchor.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Monday, December 12, 2011

Quiet Moments With God -- Tis The Season

How is the Christmas season for you this year? Is your head full of Christmas carols, gift lists, things to do? Are you singing while you drive along the highway or spending lots of time in the kitchen baking Christmas goodies?

Or are you saying "Tis the season . . . NOOOT?"

For some, this isn't a happy time. In fact, expectations often drag us down. Family time isn't what we'd expected. There's not enough money for "just the right" gift or maybe we have no money at all and there will be no gifts. Some are spending the holidays alone and are lonely. Illness can erase the joy of the season. And often when we most count on family, this is the time when conflicts arise. Christmas can be a sad, sad time.

That's not God's fault. He never intended that we have a commercial Christmas. The Christmas we know is man made. I want to clarify that I'm not a Grinch or a Scrooge. I love Christmas with all it if its beauty and wonder, including good food, gifts, caroling and family gatherings. I love it all. But if we strip away man's version of Christmas we will see the true wonder and beauty of the season. A new born babe. Christ the Son of God. God in the flesh. The Sacrificial lamb. The Savior of the world.

Christmas is the day we celebrate the birth of The One who came to save mankind. He went to the cross out of obedience to His Father. And because of Him, we who believe, look forward to an eternal heavenly reward with our Father God.

Remember the Baby Jesus and you will find joy. Remember Him, the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember those who are without Christ and tell them of God's mercy and grace. Tell them that Christmas is about more than gifts and sparkling lights.

It is a time to celebrate.

Joy to you and to all the world.


Monday, December 05, 2011

Making A Difference - Mistie Shaw

This months very special person is Mistie Shaw. It is a pleasure to introduce her to you. Everywhere she goes, she touches lives just because she is who she is. She can't help but make a difference.

Mistie, we’ve known each other for less than a year. There’s much I don’t know about you, but I do know that you make a difference in peoples’ lives wherever you go. Could you share a little about yourself and your background?

Thanks for asking me to share on your blog, Bonnie!

At the age of six, I asked Jesus to change my heart and make it new and clean. My parents’ commitment to God and missions meant many of our family trips were to Mexico where my dad preached and we helped at an orphanage. I worked at a mission hospital in South Africa the summer I was 18. Except for my career in the Air Force Reserve, I was a stay-at-home mom when my three kids were young. That gave me many opportunities to do local “missions” things: cook for a half-way house, teach Bible studies, start small groups and write. My skits, monologues and several musical dramas were produced by our church. After three semesters of music theory at the local community college, I was finally able to write the music for the songs. . .that was in my 40s.

When I was 50 and my kids were grown, I sensed God calling me to a deeper walk and full-time service. Christian mentors said I needed to go to grad school and, in a funny chain of events, God “tricked” me into enrolling.

You’ve done a good deal of traveling, but I understand that you have a special love for China. Why China? Can you give us a glimpse into the people and the place?

After a painful divorce in my mid-50s, it seemed like the doors of opportunity kept slamming in my face. Finally, I was accepted by the Peace Corps, but at the last minute they asked me to wait a year, “Due to unresolved major life issues.” I was ready to go and it seemed like God had another plan. I followed my heart via the Internet and became an ESL teacher at a university in China.

I’m not a missionary. China doesn’t allow people to proselytize. I just live there and love people. Some friends helped me put hands and feet to that love by starting a non-profit that benefits students.

When I left China, my students were stunned and shocked. Even though they knew my beliefs, many of them told me that there was no God. Sharing my cancer story on Caring Bridge at, I told them to read it to see how God made a difference in my life. God has used this time of healing to help me grow!

I’d describe China several ways:
• If Mexico is two-dimensional, China is three (re: crowding)
• High tech in the 1930s (I’ve seen farmers harnessed to plows, pulling while they talked on their cell phones)
• Beauty inside (the people) and out (the historical artifacts).

You arrived in Roseburg earlier this year because of illness. Can you tell us a little about that battle and what kind of effect it has had on your life? How are you doing today?

The autumn of 2010, I was moving into a new, greatly-anticipated apartment. In prayer, I confessed my sense of comfort and told God how much I loved my life. Suddenly I found myself in tears, asking God not to use me but to use me up to make a difference in my students’ lives. Shortly afterwards, I discovered a lump in my breast. An American doctor diagnosed it as breast cancer – later determined to be Stage 3 – and told me to return to the states immediately. I was able to start treatment at the VA hospital in San Diego, where my parents and two of my children live. While going through chemotherapy and radiation treatment, I needed a more permanent place to live so went to stay with my sister in Roseburg. It was a very good move!

Last month, a bone scan revealed no cancer. My passport has a visa and there's a January 13, 2012 ticket to China with my name on it. :D

I know how you’ve longed to return to China and I am cheering you on. It will be exciting to hear what’s happening with you and the people and place you love.

How would you answer the question, “Who is Mistie Shaw?”

Life offers nothing more beautiful, exciting, satisfying, or rewarding than serving God. I am a very flawed but passionate Christ-follower who is joyful because God uses Christians who are available and willing. People look at our outsides and make judgments about our worth, our abilities and even our natures; God sees what we really are like and then makes us whole. For a long time one of my most fervent prayers has been that people would see Jesus when they see me.

He has answered that prayer.

In the months I’ve known you, I’ve witnessed your close walk with Christ. You are not typical. Why do you think that is? And can you share your favorite scripture and why it’s your favorite?

I don’t use the word typical because God sees each of us as unique, created for specific purposes. Time and again, I’ve seen how some crazy habit or little talent is used by God. . . .because of a willingness to try.

One day, during devotions – writing “I love you, God” in my journal – and eating chocolates, I sensed God asking me if I loved Him more than chocolate. Nonchalantly, I answered yes. Then God said something like, “Show me.” Would God really ask me to give up my very most favorite food? After a lot of hemming and hawing while I finished the two-pound box of candy, I said, “Okay, but you’ll have to do it because I can’t and don’t even really want to. . .”

That little step of faith, and the results it brought, inspired me to find other ways to trust God. Americans are so independent, we don’t truly need God for life’s essentials. So, creating artificial ways of requiring myself to have faith helped it grow stronger. For example, I gave up the car radio (temporarily), and alarm clocks (permanently). Faith has made a huge difference in my life.

In trying to understand God’s plan, I found comfort in Paul’s writing. “All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.” (II Corinthians 1:3-5, The Message)

Is there anything you’d like to add? How can we best pray for you?

All that I am and anything I am able to do, is through the strength and power of Jesus, for the glory of God. It is God making a difference and I’m thrilled to be a part of the action.

Please pray for my family. As daughter, mom and Grammy, my stateside responsibilities sometimes seem overwhelming from 6,000 miles away.

Thank you for the chance to share my heart and my passion!

And thank you for sharing with us, Mistie. Though the circumstances of your coming to Roseburg were not what most would have chosen, I'm so thankful you came. Grace and peace to you from God.

You can read more from Mistie at