Friday, April 29, 2011


"When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on"...remember that quote? It's attributed to both Thomas Jefferson and Franklin D. Roosevelt and I'm sure both of them were stretched more than a few times. Troubles were a constant then...still are.

Okay, I'm not 'way up there' in the scheme of things...just a very ordinary person like most everyone else. But troubles? They hang around...and around...and around.

Never had a bulldog but I've always heard how they 'hang on'...Winston Churchill was like that...he hung on and tied a knot in England's rope...they survived. Patriotism at its' best...just like we were in America and other countries...we hung on...we had grit...grit is good.

I've written before about being at death's door twice; the second incident was a lulu (somehow my blood supply went AWOL)! I remember sitting up in my hospital bed and looking at a big scene w/figures beckoning me around an open door...and I said very loudly & very clearly, "I will not, I will not, I WILL NOT"...and lay back in the bed.

Several days later a nurse I'd not seen before stopped by and told me how much better I looked; I replied I hadn't met her and told her all I remembered was sitting up and informing 'the figures'...I was not. She responded, "Honey, several of us stayed at your side; we almost lost you and believe never moved".

For several years I didn't mention my experience to anyone...not even Michael; some laugh at such things but I'm here to tell you it really happened. Besides having a heavenly Father looking after me, I had gobs of grit...true grit. Over and over in my life He and grit carried me and I always kept a big knot at the end of my rope.

Traveler's Insurance has some great fav is the little dog who is so worried about his big bone...he stews, has nightmares...moving it from place to place...finally settles it in his 'safe place'...under Traveler's umbrella.

I compare his umbrella to mine...God's my unbrella for any and everything. Sunny weather...gloomy weather...showers...whatever; He's my umbrella...don't leave home without Him...and get this, He never collapses! Great, yes?

I'm a great fan of Dr. Seuss and he wrote,
I've heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead, some come from behind.
I've bought a big bat, I'm ready you see.
Now troubles are gonna' have trouble with me."

Scott, our youngest son, once told me I was a 'late bloomer' and I 'spose I really am; but hey, I did bloom...that's a positive thing, right? Sure. I want so much to improve my life (not so much physically 'tho I realize that's also important but mainly spiritually/mentally); I pray that in doing so God will allow that to spill over on those I 'run into' wherever, whenever He blesses me with opportunity.

Even though I may never see or know how this might/might not affect others, I know affects me big time. I blossom and pray the freshness nevers fades; that it bears fruit.

Hangin' onto my knotted rope w/one hand, carrying my umbrella in the other...and grit's in my pocket.

Grab your umbrella and pass the grits...let's do it, okay?

Balanced and Unafraid...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Last week M and I rented "The King's Speech"; over a two day period we watched it three times...yeah, three times. Both of us were impressed with it and thought Colin Firth was amazing as King George VI. I checked out the historical facts and the movie seemed accurate...never hurts to brush up on history.

King George VI had a most troublesome problem...he stammered/stuttered...and I imagine he went through agonizing panic attacks. Winston Churchill suffered the same affliction; he overcame the stammering but never whipped the lisp. Both men were giants who at least survived their handicaps and inspired millions...such voices!

Even James Earl Jones (aka Darth Vader) stammered/stuttered and was functionally mute for eight years...he overcame all that and wow, such a voice!

Watching "The King's Speech" caused me to think of people who struggle with conditions that actually terrorize them...I am one of those and have what's called a 'familial tremor'. It grips me, consequently I panic and go ballistic.

Fortunately for King George VI a certain Lionel Logue stepped up to help...he was always there for His Majesty; they became wonderful life-long friends.

Fortunately for Vasca a certain Michael Beall stepped up to help...he is always there and we are wonderful life-long friends...oh yes!. I am a RAP (Recovering Anxious Person)...I doubt I'll ever overcome my anxiety/panic but I still try.

Okay, I know it sounds silly but if Michael doesn't sit on my left during Communion each Sunday? Well, let's just say there's no telling what I'll toss your way if you're in my area...and I'm likely to go into cardiac arrest Thankfully M understands and cares...some might say, "Get a grip on yourself and JUST GET OVER IT"...well, guess what? That doesn't work, it only makes it MUCH worse.

I've friends who have cerebral palsy...are autistic, epileptic...have various neurological conditions...some conditions are visible, some invisible. The other day I read this quote by Susan Hampshire..."It is a lonely existence to be a child with a disability which no one can see or understand, you exasperate your teachers, you disappoint your parents and worst of all you know that you are not just stupid."

Along with the tremors, I have fibromyalgia, scoliosis and a degenerative disc know about my leg w/the highway road maps and decorations; I was never teased about the leg but obvious staring (imagined or otherwise) plus quizzing leave their marks. That taught me loads about compassion, kindness, love...those qualities that Christ has...qualities He wants me to develop.

All this to many...ever so many suffer from things others might never suspect. Who's to know? I know...I know about me! Ha, I can smile or laugh about my leg; don't laugh so much about my tremor (somehow that isn't funny) but smiling helps me over the bumps...a little.

Dr. Seuss said, "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is You-er than you." You are you, I'm me...just me with all my baggage...I'm loaded. You carryin' a load? How 'bout we help each...sharing and caring goes a long way, right?

Balanced and Unafraid...

Monday, April 18, 2011


Remember the main thing? To my surprise, thinking more and more about keeping the main thing the main thing brought about a big stirring in my heart. There's a beautiful song along those lines..."There's a stirring...deep within me. Could it be my time has come?" it goes.

Charles Morgan said, "There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved. It is God's finger on man's shoulder." Okay, I've always known God loved/loves me but at this particular time in my maturing? It seemed 'magical' and suddenly I can actually feel His touch.

My maturing process shifted into overdrive and I quickly focused on 'Always make time'...make time for what? Thinking, thinking...hmm!

Okay, AMT (I'm acronymic)...stuck in my psyche...all day, during the wake-ups in the night...morning wake ups and on thru' the day. Kept up until pow...keeping my opportunity antennae active 24/7 to what matters most. But making time doesn't do much if I don't take the time I've made...or the time HE has handed me, right? I adjusted my thinking to...ATT...always take time. Okay, that's in place...hang onto that...always take time.

100% an unforgettable melody that just won't stop.

Stirring...stirring...entered 'my preferred' grocery store and wheeled up to the first stop...saw the back of a person in one of those motorized shopping carts. Head wrapped in a turban so I assumed a cancer patient...and she looked totally exhausted. She refused my offer to help pick up her bread of choice saying she needed the exercise...that's good...exercise is good.

She began telling me some of what had recently taken place in her life; that spoke volumes about her weariness. Honestly, I said very little ~ asked a question and made one important was like her light came on ~ but here's the kicker.

She touched my arm and said, "God brought you to me today". I was doubly!

"Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."...Roald Dahl.

Talk about unlikely places? I hardly expected to feel His finger touch my shoulder in the bread aisle but...He touched me! I am watching the world around me and what great secrets are coming to light...and guess what? My eyes glitter 'round the clock...Always Taking Time.

Balanced and Unafraid...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I'm asking myself that question...'Vasca, what matters the most to you'?

Patience...I'm thinking...what matters the most...

One year ago today, April 13th, Michael was in surgery having a malicious looking growth shaved off the back of his throat...we weren't overly concerned, just wanted to know what it was and why it was lurking there. A few days later 'the bomb' dropped. M is usually the most composed but both of us 'lost it' for a few hours after being handed the diagnosis of Amyloidosis...(well, I backed into/clipped the carport...then ran a stop sign) yeah, that's our intruder...we dubbed her Amy.

You know, my inner fire sort of lost its' spark; my hero, my love (that would be Michael) touched my heart and fanned the flame...he has a way of revvin' me up; he did it during that time and the year that has followed. He matters.

I have never desired to lead...I have desired to make a difference. I have never been on top of the 'leader board'...I have followed. I have never been self-confident...I have fears. I have never liked going it alone...I've flown around the world 3 times; no partner. I have not been one to finish...I write for encouragement and I finish.

Me? I matter...I do. And so do you. What matters to me will be different from what matters to you...all of us see things/life very differently. Nonetheless, things matter. It's up to me to sort out what is most beneficial to my spiritual maturity and what really isn't worth fretting over...God knows I've wasted an inordinate portion of my life 'in the dumps'.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, "With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts." Right on Eleanor...yes, yes!

God has often been on my back burner...He doesn't belong there. HE never closed the door...never gave up on me. He knows everything about me...He knows my every thought. He speaks to me...I listen...I speak to Him...He listens.

"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing"...Stephen Covey.

Main thing is, I'm working on 'bout you?

Balanced and Unafraid...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I felt a little skittish, reading about the airplane that had a hole in the fuselage; the pilot discovered it...whew! I would pray that other pilots and crew members are so observant...prior to taking off into the 'friendly skies'. Takes much to keep those big birds aloft.

Patrick Overton wrote, "When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown...Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly." Then Michael remarked, "I think quite a bit about being in an airplane; flying through the skies and God is the pilot; I am the co-pilot and He's in charge...He's the expert".

Frankly, I want my pilot to have my best interest at heart...and I'm confident every passenger feels the same. I need to co-operate and here's some of His advice in Luke 6: "Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we're at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults -- unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don't condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back -- given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."

(The Message)

We live in a world full of antagonism, a world full of destruction, a world full of much pain. We've wounded each other in terrible's difficult to forgive, right? I don't want to be crushed when I am low...I pray someone, somewhere will help me ~ pick me up. All of us make mistakes, some calculated...some innocently. Some are destructive beyond our wildest imaginations but...we can help each other w/forgiveness in our difficult as that is for so many. But, it's necessary.

So, I still have my bucket...and I'm doing my best to fill it w/loving kindness, forgiveness, assets...all to be given away. You know, even though my bucket's doesn't have a single hole in it. Living water keeps things in top-notch shape.

Trust me...better still, trust Him. After all, He is the pilot.

Balanced and Unafraid...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


"Life is like a taxi. The meter just keeps a-ticking whether you are getting somewhere or just standing still"...Lou Erickson. Life is rapidly changing...look at the world. Like a domino line-up...falling, falling, falling; yes, much seems to change with time.

Adrienne Clarkson wrote, "Sometimes we read or hear too much that makes us fearful or suspicious of others. We can forget that most of the people that we know, or at least encounter regularly are decent and friendly".

At times, I don't want to hear another word about all the bad stuff that's going on all over the world...from our front door to the most distant land. It's stressful and it's frightening...but I need to think about that Clarkson quote...and remember most of the people I meet really are decent people...honest and good.

I must think about...I must take personally what I read in Matthew 5:14ff: "You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city set on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bushel, do you? I'm putting yu on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand ~~ shine! Keep open-house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven"...the Message.

Okay, I'm doing my best to be a light-bearer...I'm open to others (like living in a glass-house)...wide open. No hiding, no secrets. I'm finished with secrets; you might think I'm too open but that's me...that's the way I am, what you see is what you get, 24/7.

A light-bearer and by the way...since I'm not hiding under a bucket? I use the bucket to carry His living water. Way to go, yes? And if you agree...nod twice.

Balanced and Unafraid...

Sunday, March 6, 2011


A week before Spring Break and the world is not co-operative; it's still upside down and we've no idea where it's headed. Our perfect world seems to be trembling a tad.

Annette Funicello said "Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful"; she was an original Walt Disney Mouseketeer, then a movie star, singer; beautiful and so talented. What most would consider 'a perfect world' crashed. when at the age of 50, she announced she had MS...she suffers but wrote those words...she would know.

All of us are aware of how fortunate, or perhaps I should say how blest we are...we have everything many times over. Our 'stuff' is can consume us, right?

Much of our stuff is trash; we have a recycle program here...the truck comes by every week to pick up our paper, plastic, etc. Here's how they do it in China. Cardboard boxes, paper bags, bottles, etc. are valuable commodities...the residents haggle w/the poor who come by and 'buy' it. Then they sell it to some other enterprising agent...commerce, yes?

M and I live in a modest house...almost 1000 sq. ft. This is the size of a typical Chinese apartment; of course many are smaller. Our place would be coveted by many.

That's good...but...the poor family who just sold their trash they bought from the resident? Those who lived near us slept under a nearby bridge; their bed was a piece of the cardboard they bought. They may have a bed covering...they cook over a small heater. What to cook? Anything they can rustle up.

Aah, you're thinking this is an exaggeration? Not...not.

China has a new cultural group, the 'Ant Tribe' or the 'Ant People'. These are the thousands of college graduates who cannot find employment. They cluster together in the cities; live 4-6 in small, cheap apartments. Discouraged, unhappy, a loss as to what they will reality, what can they do?

Can you imagine belonging to an Ant Tribe? Or being dubbed an Ant Person? People are Dr. Seuss said, "A person's a person, no matter how small." Wow, ants are very small...Hello, Ant Person??? God created us in His image...we are equal in His sight, are we not? And...we are not 'ants'.

America seems destined for a big 'belt-tightening'...meaning we need to help each other; aah, come to think of it...that's what God's Son was into and I believe He gave His all...for all.

I ask Father to forgive my selfishness, my love for my 'stuff' and I am keeping my eyes open for everyone around matter how matter how small.

Balanced and Unafraid...

Friday, March 4, 2011


Are your days fulll of hurrying? Wow, mine are...seems like I just get up and zap...the day's soon? Sunday, March 13th, we march forward; setting out clocks up an hour! Didn't we just fall back an hour in November...time goes backward and forward...hmmm. What did I do w/it...or what didn't I do w/it.

If I were to ask you what troubles you most in your life...right now, this particular time...what would your answer be? My answer is that I regret how I wasted time; I've been thinking about, "Oh, if only I had...".

H. G. Bohn wrote, "One of these days is none of these days". One of my 'major regrets' is shortchanging our four sons of precious quality time. Steven was 17 mos. old when Jeffrey was born...Jeffrey was 11 mos. old when Patrick was born...Patrick was 24 mos. old when Scott came along. Doing the math adds up to four boys in less than five years and yes...I had my hands full and was busy.

Being busy is no excuse because I still had hours/days for other things (I'm a multi-tasker)...I was selfish too much of the time. The boys matured and are wonderful, spiritual I didn't fail as a mom. Still...if only.

Fast forward to an empty nest...those thirteen years of addiction...wasted years never to be reclaimed. I regret the stupors, the lies, the cheating...the shortchanging Michael...oh, if only.

Then, there were too many times I couldn't/wouldn't talk to those who cared about me...the times I refused to talk to God; the times I refused to help my wonderful friends...oh, if only.

Oh...if only. Oh...but wait; this is today, the here and now! Regrets can have a purpose...they serve as a reminder that I'm given opportunities to use those experiences/regrets to help someone else.

A popular past sit-com, Cheers said, "Time goes by so fast, people go in and out of our life; You must never miss the opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you."

Guess I'm curious (so was Einstein) but I like to find out about people...people I run into on a regular basis, etc. But sometimes I neglect people I see on a regular basis...and that isn't good because you can unconsciously hurt some feelings. I'm doing my best and going out of my way to reach out and touch those as we go in and out w/each other.,,reaching out & touching is good.

Father, I allow myself to be insensitive to people; I'm sorry for that. I pray that I will be alert to every opportunity to let people know they are special to me. I know I am special to you and I thank you for your love. In Your Son's Name, Amen.

For me, no more 'Oh...if only'. How about you?

Balanced and Unafraid...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Things in the world are still in an uproar...even in our world. Money, oil, leaders, policies, end is there? Do you sometimes feel you might be at the end of your rope? I love what Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot in it." Good advice, yes?

Shopping for anything brings an awareness that prices are rising...before our very eyes. Even cat food? Aah, yes. Even cat food. The other day I asked Michael, "Honey, if we were stuck on an island or anywhere with nothing to eat but canned cat food, could we eat it?" He laughed.

Someone said, "Let's do more with what we have"...we have a lot. M and I could survive quite awhile on what we have in the, that is...okay, clothing and lots of other things. I met a couple of friends in the grocery store one day and we all laughed about how much we had stored at home...and why then were we shopping every week and storing up even more? Oh, people...we have much.

So, gasoline/fuel costs are slated to go through the ceiling...perhaps they will, maybe they won't. Who knows? Will we drive less? Will people be able to afford to drive to work? I carpooled for some time while living in Odessa and working in Midland...good way to cut expenses. People do what they have to ~ to survive.

Herbert Hoover is quoted as saying, About the time we think we can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends."

Okay, I'm cutting down on my cable channels...that will help us make it. WHAT? _______ HAS GONE UP? Oh, my word...the ends have been moved....again!

"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." Philippians 3:6-7 (Msg)

At the end of your rope? Remember...tie a knot and hang on to God...HE has some kind of unfailing grip.

Balanced and Unafraid...

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Do you ever think about falling flat on your face? Or perhaps I should ask if you have ever fallen flat on your face? Just thinking about it is stressful enough...aargh.

Robert C. Gallagher said, "Don't fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have and should have."

Some personal notes here:

Making a career of the military wasn't so much a difficult decision for Michael and me; the difficult part was the naysayers trying to dissuade us. 'Michael, Vasca and the kids will be 'camp followers'...really? Not exactly a vote of confidence.

Our first assignment was in Virginia; Michael was given command of a stevedore unit of several hundred men...imagine coming out of the National Guard into that. Even more shocking was the fact the unit was in 'a secret place'. M could've fallen flat on his face...but...he didn't. He did his best and that was good.

What about me and my little men? We arrived in Virginia on a Saturday, were in worship Sunday and didn't know a soul. A couple of newlyweds invited us out to look at their quarters on post and we accepted. She said, "I never dreamed you would"...they remain some of our closest friends.

We were assigned the last set of quarters on post because of M's assignment; he flew out three days later to an undisclosed destination for an unknown period of time. Ouch, the boys and I were left w/nothing but 5 army cots and matching linens. Our household goods were delayed somewhere in the U.S. The boys and I could've fallen flat on our faces...but...we didn't. We did our best and that was good.

Next up was Greece...we'd never flown and there we were; four little guys w/two rather inexperienced parents. Our first Sunday there? We hired a taxi, rode from the mountains past Athens to the seaside for worship, bummed a ride home. We did our best and that was good.

Many more places to test our grit...and it wasn't over by a long shot.

China was something that ordinarily one doesn't think about ~ that's the way we were. Until? God called and we answered...we could've fallen flat on our faces...but...we didn't. We did our best and that was good.

Wherever we've lived things/people have been many differences and it was most important that we adapt, adjust...flex out minds/attitudes. And, this is important, not get out of joint because they do things differently...surprisingly, we don't have a corner on the 'this is the way we do things' department.

Believe me, I've fallen on my face lots of times...but I got up and kept going...'cause I had to.
But here's a thought...even if I fall flat on my face, I'm still moving forward, right?

Thank you, Father for always being there, for always holding my hand.
Balanced and Unafraid...

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Well, here we are at the end of yet another month...and...what in the world is going on? A biggie is that the entire world seems to be in a state of upheaval. Our country is by no means immune...all you need to do is watch/read the news. Are you having anxiety pangs yet...stressed to your max?

I like Dr. Seuss; he's practical and makes good points, such as..."Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.". I'm thinking it's up to me to do what I can, do my best to help things get better. What I do may seem insignificant...still, I try. Little things like writing letters to the White House...okay, they're probably never read/looked at...after all, that's a busy place. Still? I do it.

I care an 'awful lot' about what's going on in my corner of the world, don't you? Life doesn't always go the way I think it's supposed to...but...ah, that's life.

All of us have different ideas, different ways. Friedrich Nietzche summed it this way..."As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist." In the physical world that may be true.

It's commonplace to hear 'it's either my way or the highway'; that phrase is used in many ways...politics, religions, marriages, offices, meetings, name it and that phrase pops up. Rather like spoiled children, don't you think? In unions...walkout...strike. politics? Elected officials walking out...even churches divide over what is the right way, the only way.

Changing one small word, here it is in my nutshell..."Unless someone like me cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." Dr. Seuss wrote for children...and the greatest of all, Jesus, taught we should be like children...right?

Someone like you...Someone like me...we need to care a whole awful lot.
Balanced and Unafraid...

Monday, February 21, 2011


Have you ever been bullied? Or, have you ever been a bully? You read/watch/hear some of the 'bullying' stories about school kids and these days we watch as people who have been 'bullied' by their governments/leaders have risen up and demanded change. No one should be bullied happens.

My daddy was a roughneck, driller then drilling superintendent; we moved around...lived in some good places...lived in some not so nice places. My junior year in high school, we lived in a not so nice burg; rode the school bus a long way to school and I'm here to tell you, it was anything but a joy ride!

We had a couple of bullies on board every trip and these were none other than two girls...aha...named Poogie and Jo Anne (she had bright red hair). They were built like a couple of wrestlers and had all the trimmings. The entire bus was held captive for a round trip each school day...that was really awful...I prayed for the wings of an eagle...or vanishing creme!

Shame I didn't know what Christopher Robin told Pooh, "There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." That would have helped me in those days...I guess I was like Chicken Little.

Jesus teaches us to love everyone, even our enemies...I wonder about bullies...

Robert Fulghum said, "Play fair. Don't hit people. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody." (Reminds me of what I used to say to our four little boys)

Do you find it difficult to 'hit' people? Hmm...actually there are subtle ways you know; words, looks, actions...some of us are experts.

It isn't difficult to play fair, or is it? Sneak attack when no one's watching; or perhaps it's more effective if there is an audience...more intimidating. All depends on how we play the game.

Is it easy to say, "I'm sorry" when I've hurt someone? I'm thinkin' it probably depends on my attitude.

I'm told that practice makes, here I go...playing fair, not hitting people and saying 'I'm sorry' when I hurt someone. Practice, practice, practice while trying to be more like Him.
Balanced and Unafraid...

Saturday, February 19, 2011


What in the world is going on? Trouble...trouble...trouble!

Like most, I watched much of what took place in Egypt. Cairo and Alexandria seemed to be the focal points. You ever been there? I 1970 I had an unexpected stopover at their International airport. Even then it was frightening.

Michael was Port Commander of a U.S. base in Eritrea (Ethiopia) and he flew me over for a rehab stay of six weeks. Shortly before I was to leave, one of Michael's sergeant's was stopped on the road and murdered for no apparent reason...they didn't even take the government dispatches or any of his personal was a dangerous place but thankfully I was allowed to fly in...and what an experience I had.

We were honored to be in the presence of the Emperor, Haile Selassie; this was before the crown was overthrown. His grandson was a friend of Michael's and we'd been with him on several occasions...a very nice gentleman.

Unfortunately, he & I were on the same plane when I flew home...the Egyptians were angry w/the an insult to him they ordered us to leave the plane so they could 'disinfect' it. Soldiers w/machine guns lined the runway and everywhere else...we were told to take our possessions and go to the terminal for several minutes.

Inside, I headed for the restrooms and on a long stairway I ran headlong into the Emperor's grandson and all his guards...not a good situation for me. I didn't mean to be rude but I did cut his conversation short; not wise to hang around with all that ammunition...aargh.

When the coup took place, the grandson was the first to lose his head...followed by all the families...sad, sad. Troubles? Oh yeah...very serious troubles.

I think it was Robert Fulghum who said, "If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience."

I can watch the worrisome news...and...I am very concerned about it; but I've no control over it. I can't allow it to make me ill...I cannot allow it to take over my life.

It's of paramount importance that I always, always recognize that God is in charge one's God.

Dr. Seuss said,
"I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead and some come from behind.
But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"

No need to 'buy protection'...and I sure don't need a bat...why should I when I already have the best protection ever. God sent His Spirit to guide me...God is my steering wheel and my driver. Trusting Him enables me to keep my head...where it belongs...with HIM.

Troubles? I don't got no troubles, how 'bout you? Balanced and Unafraid....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


At best, sleep is difficult for me but there must be some things that simply know when to strike up the band, so to speak. Such as??? Our close ties to China; we try not to make that our 24/7 topic of each day...but...BUT.

Since China has been celebrating their New Year, I've heard from 'my favorite' ~ my special girl...Pearl. Orlando Bloom said, "People come into your life and people leave just have to trust that life has a road mapped out for you."

Ta-Dah...enter Pearl... Pearl was enlisted as 'my helper'...and our Girl Friday in Qingdao. She had good English skills and we became wonderful friends.

One day she said she wanted to ask me a hard question; I said I'd try to answer...'H ow do you feel about couples living together when they aren't married'?

Mmm...I told her to remember that she asked me ~ I didn't stick my nose in. Okay...I said I didn't personally think it was wise and I didn't think the one I call Father would approve. She said, "I knew that's what you'd say." She had a boyfriend, Yizhu...a Korean businessman about her age.

Fast December 2004, Michael and I returned to the U.S....Pearl and Yizhu were on again, off again. On a return trip to Qingdao, Pearl was immersed in our bathtub. Piece of cake!

Time passed and Pearl wrote that she was expecting Yizhu's child and they were to be married...these things are prevalent there as well as everywhere else. The big hang-up in this scenario was that Yizhu was/is an alcoholic and also a serious diabetic which he doesn't manage...sad.

They had two weddings...both traditional. Korean and Chinese. Her family farms in a small village out of Qingdao. Yizhu's family lives in South Korea.
I'm including two e-mails I've received from Pearl this month.

"Hi: it is snowing heavely here. we are all very exicted about that. I am so agree with little things could occupy the biggest
part of those hearts. (I sent her my post about Little Things)...

the letters you wrote to me, the cross you gave to me, :behavor yourself' michael told me so before he left China...those little things leads me to God which occupy the biggest part of my heart now...i am trying to do these little things to people around me, share what i have,,although I am so poor now. have a good day. have no idea how much i missed u. pearl."

I answered quickly and also attached some of our new family pictures: quick reply from her:

"hi: dear vasca and michael, i have to say you too both look great in your new year clothes...especial, vasca, you look fabulous in must be on a diet or something, your face is shining.

I read your letter a couples of times, feel you are talking to me again and again, which makes my day. i am getting ready to go outside and challenge myself again. if things are not going well here, maybe I will go to korea to see how much I can do there, due we don't have much money left in our bank and yizhu's business is not doing well.

i know what i need and who could satisfy me,
that is god and i should listen to you at the very bigining.
i don't have internet at home...
but i could check it somewhere else...
so teach me...vasca, how to be happie
and how to raise my smart Olivia well. love pearl"

So here we have my heart...and Pearl's heart...we came into each other's lives, we remain there because it's meant to be...because? It's part of a plan...The plan.

Andre Gide wrote...
"Man cannot discover new oceans
unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."

Wonderful I thank you for giving me
the opportunity and the courage to lose sight of the shore.

Balanced and unafraid? Progressing...

Friday, February 11, 2011


Life goes along very smoothly, at times; then again it's full of bumps, causing great distress. Time passes so quickly...unless I'm waiting for something. My life, my time...and what in the world have I done with it...what in the world am I doing with it...what in the world am I going to do with it? Good you ever think about your life...your time?

I waste an inordinate amount of time, mainly on the computer; but at the same time, I'm learning so much. I think I was rather stagnant for too long and now I'm thirsty to listen, read and sort things out.

Today is Michael's birthday; he and I are reflecting on our lives together...what we've done with our time and the opportunities that have come our way. I've reflected on the impact he's had on my life, on my time. He has a wonderful mind...a spiritual thinker...a man of God. Hey, Michael was an Archangel of God, right? M's mother chose a good name for her firstborn.

This morning I told him that until several years ago, I was light years behind him in spiritual maturity...but I feel that I've caught up and walking beside him. He laughed and said he thinks I may be ahead of him...that's complimentary but I doubt it's true.

"Keep your mind open to change at all times. Welcome it. Court it. It is only by examining and re-examining your opinions and ideas that you can progress."...Dale Carnegie

Our minds are open...we read from more than one translation of the Bible...we read books from many different authors (even some not on the 'approved' list). We examine their writings...we re-examine everything we we can progress.

This openness has assisted us in working in foreign countries; in 'foreign' states in our own country. We spent seven years in 'the Holy Land' of Wisconsin...a German farming community of Roman Catholics...we were foreigners. Two years in Germany? Two years in China? Living water and shining His light kept up on an even keel...and He was well received.

Albert Schweitzer said, "Impart as much as you can of your spiritual being to those who are on the road with you, and accept as something precious what comes back to you from them."

Being open...Imparting...Accepting! Good plan, what do you think?

Balanced and Unafraid...

Saturday, February 5, 2011


The biggest holiday in China is the Chinese New Year; beginning 3 Feb and ending 27 Feb. 230 million people are expected to travel during this time. For many this will be their only visit home during the year. This is a very BIG time for the Chinese...very big.

Yesterday I made a Smilebox Chinese greeting card ~ loaded it w/pics of our family (each one w/a different wish for their year). First inclination was to just send it to those we've kept in touch with but something nudged me to try touching those that we'd lost touch with.

I sent one to a former student and this morning I received the nicest response from Skeen...odd name? In 2002/2003 she was one of my students in Changsha...a sophomore university student. She was a very good writer w/absolutely no sense of self worth. She and I sort of 'took' to each other and she blossomed; a joy to watch.

She graduated and moved to another 'big city' to make her fortune. most of the millions of grads found, there was and still is a vast army of the unemployed. In a later post I plan to write about this new society, termed..."the ant people" or the "ant colony"; meaning the graduates...the Chinese jobless.

Skeen washed dishes, you name it...she tried it & she was depressed. I hadn't heard from her in several years...until I sent the Chinese greeting.

Read her reply: "happy chinese new year to you big family. i am glad to receive your letter, and very happy to know the news of you and your family. although we have a long time no see each other, but i very miss you.

leaving school is more than six years, and at a long period, i found a job and quit, and found again, now i got a job for four year in a privte company in my home town.

that job is not connect with the english any, but i love english very much, because i know you, you are the best teacher i have met, as a friend, a kindly relation, still now i can remember of your smile. really, i miss you.

in the end, attachment i with a snowman take a photo in a cold day which i wear the work clothes in work place, hope you like it. best wish skeen

Mahatma Gandhi said, "Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it."

My 92 yr old mother asked why I had to go so China? I reminded her I'd always dreamed of making a difference. I had absolutely no idea what was ahead...but it was most important that I do matter how insignificant...but I did a little, that's what's important...I did something.

Oh Father, thank You for making such a significant difference in my life.

Balanced and unafraid...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Ready or not, it's Super Bowl time. Would you like to see some football? Who will take home the trophy...braggin' rights...and a very large sum of money? The most respected prognosticator says it will be 'the Steelers'...bad news for the Cheeseheads aka Green Bay Packers.

Enough to make their fans sit up and take notice, don't you imagine?

Some unknown person said "It's no good to sit up and take notice if we just keep on sitting." Okay, the weather has been fierce...deep snow...lots of ice...delayed flights...aggravated people; just wonderin' what would happen if no fans showed up? Well, no doubt the teams would have to go ahead and play...someone has to claim the trophy and take home all that cash.

That's not gonna' happen...the stadium will be full, come more snow or the postman, you know? Doesn't matter. Nothing will stand in the way; especially w/Jerry 'Texas Big Entertainment Mogul' Jones in charge.

Honestly, there is so much entertainment out there...and, after all, we've just 24 hours in each day...have lots of stuff to pack in. 'Here comes Johnny (Carson)' once said, "People will pay more to be entertained than educated." May be an exaggeration but I admit we've no shortage of name it, we have it. If we don't have it, we'll get it. Please don't misunderstand, I love being entertained...too much.

But still...what if the performers had no spectators...what if no one showed. Would the show go on? Hmm.

Writing about the Super Bowl caused me to think a lot about my Father. I know, I know...God is not in the entertainment business; however...He is in the highest business imaginable (matter of fact, one might even need oxygen)...ergo, I'm making many major changes!

As in, "I'm outta' my seat and ready to perform" 'bout you?

Balanced and Unafraid...

Monday, January 24, 2011


Football season is almost over...after the Super Bowl, that's about it. Listening/watching the playoff games there are speculations all over the place...coming from those sportscasters, plus the rest of us who are spectators. The players are where the action is...we watch, they play.

Do you think life is a little (or a lot) like that...just a few actually live, the rest are spectators. Jackie Robinson said, "Life is not a spectator sport. If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you're wasting your time."

When Michael and I were 'called' to go to China, it was my plan to merely be a bystander...that's honestly what I had planned. M was qualified to teach, I was not. Thus, I was going along as a 'dependent'...hey, that's what I was when we were on active duty. The four boys and I were dependents.

Our Director had other ideas though...he said I would teach...I said 'not'...he said I would and he won. Good thing. If I hadn't caved I would've missed one of the greatest experiences of my life...and the greatest life-changing experience of my life.

The Chinese loved me and I loved them...from Toast to Konan to James Bond to Swan to Apple...on and on. They probably taught me more about life than I taught them. Some had never been told they were loved; some were abandoned in trains...many never knew a mother.

Michael and I were known as 'the kindly foreigners' and they actually hung out the windows as they watched us walking to class together. They talked about how our eyes lit up when one of us would walk in the others classroom...they never knew love.

I went to China to be a armchair quarterback...letting Michael be the player. That way, if things went wrong it wasn't my fault...being held accountable for nothing.

Facing God, I am accountable & I don't intend to waste my time! I've changed; I'm a player.

Balanced and Unafraid...

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Michael and I spend countless hours together...hey, we're retired...that's what come retired people do, spend hours together. He reads all our 'morning things' to me and we discuss and discuss. Quite often one of us comes across something we've read many times didn't hit home as clearly as perhaps it could have/should have. For our Sunday morning class we're studying Galatians. This morning we read Gal 5:22-23 from the Message and it opened my eyes to something I had long missed out touched my heart.

Many of you know that I was addicted to prescription drugs for more than thirteen years...that is something I am ashamed happened, and I'm a better person by far for the occurrence. Michael and our four sons worked w/God to awaken was none too soon. If they hadn't taken action I would have been gone, never to return. No one...not one...ever 'noticed' my addiction; that's odd, I think. I surely couldn't have been that good an actress...surely not. That's done's past and forgiven.

Here's my point...I returned to God's way.

Galatians 5:22-23 from the Message..."But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard...things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely."

I always wanted...oh yes...I always wanted to be tall, long legged, you know...willowy! (Scratch that...hopeless). And different, I always wanted to be different; okay, my name is different to begin with...I have a leg w/road maps and ink spots all over it...let's see, what else? Oh yeah, my voice is sort of difficult to understand...oops, one more...I have a pesky familial tremor. I'm different enough, right? Sometimes little things come along to tweak your thinking this quote by Arthur Freed..."Don't try to be different. Just be good. To be good is different enough." Okay I'm done w/being different ~ I'm being good...just being good.

By no means am I 100% good today...but I am much better today than even yesterday. What if I begin treating each person I meet like one of us wouldn't be around tomorrow...if this was our last day? That's my objective from now each person my undivided attention...helping them in any possible way...showing would be good.

I can tell you this (I learned the hard don't need to take such a difficult route), God's way is the best way...I'm making it my only way. How 'bout you?

Balanced and unafraid...

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Michael's fond of saying, 'Vasca and I don't even buy green bananas"...and we laughingly tell people that M's older than dirt and I'm dirt. For years we joked about 'getting old' and what d'ya know? Now, much too soon in our estimation, we find ourselves...old. Who knows if we'll be around long enough for the bananas to ripen? We don't care...taking it a day at a time.

We had no plans when we married (who can think of plans when you're sooo in love) road map. Honestly...even then it was day to day w/God in the seemed that each day was adventure filled. I did my best to make it so. With four little boys who were stair could we not be filled w/excitement? Life was always 'what's next'?

Isak Denesen wrote, "God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road." In my case that was probably best...for some of the adventures down the road might have scared me to pieces.

I believe God always had a plan for my life...a plan for Michael and I together, a be conduits for His living water. Would I have dreamed of carrying it to Germany...even to China? How about to airports, to my back door? Me? Sharing my faith...are you kidding me? Yeah...that's the same me who was embarassed about my faith...the faith I never exhibited...ever! Oh, I wonder how God had the patience to wait for me...well, the important thing is...I changed!

I'm no longer afraid to tell strangers how God has changed my life...I've not enough words to tell everything He's done for me. Today I'm about reaching out...reaching out and touching others...about relationships...about making a difference and by the way, it's a very sweet life.

Albert Einstein said, "A person starts to live when he can live outside himself." I'm living outside myself and guess what? I am...

Balanced and unafraid...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Someone has a theory that at one time or another, everyone has been an outcast in high school, a stranger in a foreign land, the best at something, the worst at something, the one who's different. I've been on the fringe in school (I moved at least once a year), been a stranger in four foreign lands. I might be 'the best' (on my block) at making cards...I'm definitely the worst at singing and 'I'm different'...after all, my name is Vasca.

Michael and I moved many times and we adapted well...although at times we were not readily accepted because everyone knew we wouldn't be there long. Once, a beautiful christian woman who was my age said she could tell me something confidential because I was 'a migrant' stung and after she'd told me 'the secret' I told her we planned to retire there. That was very un-nice and extremely catty of me. Lesson learned...I'm nicer these days.

Bad enough in society itself...but in my mind, I'm thinking we also label people in our churches. I don't mean to 'harp' on churches; it's just that God and His family occupy most of my life. Back to the labels. Are you a liberal or a conservative? Like what do you mean? Well, do you clap in worship? Well, yes I do...when I feel moved to do so. I can't sit on my hands when it is so wonderful worshipping my God...we are to be joyful. Do you kneel in prayer at worship? Um-mm, when there is sufficient room for me to get my creaky knees down and back up. Kneeling in prayer is as old as the me.

Do you think the Holy Spirit is active in your life? That's a positive 'Yes'...I don't just think it, I know it. How do you know it? Because...from the get- go Father was prepping me for what He had planned for me, for Michael. I'll save the explanation for another's an entire post in itself. I think you'd love it. Some don't believe the Spirit is active outside the word.

So many labels...liberal/conservative...right/wrong...sinful/un-sinful...scriptural/non-scriptural...label after label stuck on each of hurtful can we be to each other. A famous boxer said, 'Don't we have something better to do than to beat each other up?"

I hope we don't purposely want to upset each other with what we do as Christians...I realize we don't all agree...but we can disagree w/o being disagreeable, right? Of course! Just because I differ w/ differ w/me...does that mean we can't be 'friends'? Does that mean we can't associate with each other? And something I really must be careful of...does it make me angry? If the answer to that stinger is 'yes' I'd best really get down on my knees and beg forgiveness. That is an unhealthy state of things...ouch.

Here's the's my christian health? I pray that it's good ~ honestly, I'm doing my best and remembering that labels are for cans, not people.

Balanced and unafraid...

Saturday, January 1, 2011


How exciting, a new day...a new year...and I wonder what God has lined up for me this year? M and I pray that He will provide opportunities for us to be used in His kingdom. If He says "Go"...Varoom! Now wait a minute...I'm not forgetting the last 'Go' He whispered. China was a bit further than I would've expected but it changed my life...changed a lot of lives. I'm not thinking about all the other places He could come up with...oh, wow! But...He knows...I'll go.

Going means moving...and I'm a klutz who constantly gets out of whack and tangles up my feet while moving. Albert Einstein said, "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving." Isn't that the truth?

Balance is important...good at losing my balance and ouch...down I go. Trouble w/me is I'm afraid of falling. Okay, that's leads me to focus...I have to focus on something...hmm, and that would be? Looking up...if I look up I don't focus on bang-ups and hang-ups...that's good. So, I'll concentrate on Him and what He wants. Anyway it's not about me and my stuff and what I want...why, oh why is that so difficult for me to practice??? I have so much more than I need...really, it's about's about others, all those others. Oh, me!

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Life's most urgent question is, what are you doing for others."

That's a very good question...pricks my conscience but I truly am keeping my eyes and ears open for opportunities to help's most important/necessary to be receptive. Believe me, God doesn't waste any time...He's

Like in the grocery store the other favorite checker looked very sad...I asked about her Christmas and she said it was okay. Just then Michael called me and his caller ID is "I just called to say I love you"...she smiled when she heard the ring and asked if that was my phone (it kept playing as I had to dig it out of my purse). I laughed and said it was...she asked how long we'd been married and I replied 58 years adding they just get better every day. She said I was so blest...yeah, I know. As I was taking the receipts, etc. from her...she leaned over and quietly asked me to pray for her. I asked why and she said "Circumstances"...I think she wanted to cry...I wanted to cry and it makes me cry now...for her, and her circumstances.. Please God, help her.

"Wonderful Father, Here we are, beginning a new year; my prayer is that as you continue giving me opportunities. I'll take action and shine your light, give drinks of your living water. Thank you for loving me and for trusting me to serve others. Help me to keep my momentum and not lose my balance. In Your Son's Most Wonderful Name, Amen."

Balanced and unafraid...