Thursday, April 24, 2014


The Ode

They shall not grow old,
As we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning
We will remember them

Anzac Day has always been a revered day in Australia and New Zealand. It's a day when we remember the sacrificial blood shed by our soldiers in World War I at the landing of Gallipoli and the many other theatres of war all over the world since then.  
So many were our young men, some still in their late teens, some young married men with families and some battle hardened veterans. We also remember our brave doctors and nurses who were instrumental in saving many lives close to the battlefronts. All belonged to either the Australian Defence forces of Army, Navy, or Air Force. And so many were wounded both physically and mentally.

On April 25 ceremonies are held at previous battle arenas, besides  scores of dawn remembrance services held in capital cities all over Australia and New Zealand. Also, many smaller country towns remember their dead comrades-in-arms. And this year marked huge crowds turning out to honour the memories of their fathers, grandfathers, greatgrandfathers, uncles, brothers, sons and many of their womenfolk also. My own grandfather, father, and two uncles were in the Australian army and the air force.

Men willing to die for the cause of freedom and engage in the fight for right against evil inspires all of us. And as it has often been said, it's not to glorify war but to honour those who have given their lives in such a noble sacrifice. The Bible speaks of another who was willing to give his life in this way:

"Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love to us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us....For when we were God's enemies we were reconciled to Him though the death of His Son."  


Friday, April 18, 2014


Susan was rendered sightless due to a medical mistake. Once a fiercely independent woman, Susan lapsed into a deep depression, hating the fact she was now powerless and a burden on those around her.

Her husband, Mark, was an Air Force officer who loved her with all his heart. He remembered his once optimistic wife and was determined to help her gain her confidence and independence again. His disciplined background was enough to realize that for him to accomplish this sensitive situation would be the most difficult battle he would ever face.

When she felt she was ready to return to work he drove her there every day on the opposite side of the city where he worked. And he also picked her up afterward. They both realized this was hectic and very costly. He knew he must prepare her to take the bus as she had previously. But Susan reacted bitterly. "I'm blind. How am I supposed to know where I am going? I feel you're abandoning me. This broke his heart.

Mark knew what he would do. He promised her he would ride the bus with her and help her adapt to the new environment. He promised he would do this morning and evening until she felt she could handle it herself. For two weeks Mark did this in full uniform. He taught her how to rely on her senses and befriend the bus drivers so they would save a seat for her. He believed in her and knew she would not give up her struggle.

The day came when her eyes filled with tears of gratitude for his love, his loyalty and his patience. She was ready. She rode the bus successfully for a week. One day the bus driver said to her, "I sure envy you." She asked him what he meant. He answered, "It must feel so good to be taken care of and protected the way you are." She was puzzled until he added, "Every morning for the past week a fine looking man in a uniform has been standing across the street watching when you get off the bus. He makes sure you cross the road safely. He watches until you enter the building. Then he blows you a kiss, gives a salute, and walks away."
Tears of happiness rolled down her cheeks. For although she couldn't see him, she had always felt his presence. He had given her a gift far more precious than sight. She didn't need to see to believe - a gift of love that can bring light when there had been darkness.

I know someone who is always there helping those he loves.
His name is Jesus. He shines His light into our darkness.

"God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, Jesus, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Friday, April 11, 2014


To quote author, Stephanie Landsem,

Without a doubt, a first kiss is the most romantic moment in a love story, whether in a book or real life.

But what if the first kiss isn’t on the lips?

What if that first kiss is on the cheek?

Not so romantic?

Not so fast.

A kiss on the cheek can be a great moment in any romance because it is more of a question mark than an exclamation point. What does it mean? Where will it lead? In a book, question marks make us turn the pages faster and stay up all night reading. In real life, they leave us lying awake all night, wondering.

In The Thief, my heroine Nissa receives a kiss on the cheek from an unlikely hero, and it happens during a pivotal moment in history.

Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure. Desperate to escape the accursed Judean province, he accepts a wager. If he can catch the thieves harassing the marketplace before Passover, he’ll earn a transfer away from the trouble-making Jews.
Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Only with the help of Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, can she keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and a roof over their heads.
When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Longinus longs to learn more about the mysterious healer. Instead, his journey leads him to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.
Unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus, they wonder who this teacher is who heals others but does nothing to save himself. Is the mercy he offers in his teachings real, or just another false promise? Can Nissa and Longinus overcome their pasts to find a future free of their shackles?
The Thief is an evocative story of two people trapped in their circumstances and the life-changing power of forgiveness and love.
Thanks for sharing, Stephanie. I am reading The Thief right now and enjoying it immensely.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


This love story started in the summer of 1955 when Jeanette, a Minnesota schoolteacher, took a trip to Yellowstone Park and met a Montana cowboy named Red. Ten days later, Jeanette returned to Minnesota and started writing letters to Red.
That winter, Red put a ring in his pocket, loaded a freshly shot elk in his truck, and drove to the tiny town of Clontarf, Minnesota. 

He gave the ring to Jeanette and the elk to her father. On June 6, 1956, after a ten-day courtship and nine months of letter writing, they married.

But that’s not the love story. The love story is the next 57 (and counting) years. 


Their love story is this:
five living children,
one baby in heaven, 
six moves from Montana to California to Washington State, 
four sons-in-law, 
one daughter-in-law, 
17 grandchildren, 
14 great-grandchildren (and counting), 
sickness and health, richer and poorer, living their faith and loving their family every day until death parts them and they are reunited in heaven.

Thanks to author Stephanie Landsem for sharing her parents' story.