Friday, June 29

Seventy years are given us! And some may even live to eighty …. -Psalm 90:10 (TLB)

How did you like the book?” Marcia, our librarian, asked when returned a mystery.

“I enjoyed it,” I told her, “but I wouldn’t recommend it for your senior readers. It’s a bit too violent.”

Marcia got the funniest look on her face. It took me a second to figure out why: “Oh, I’m one of those seniors,” I said, and we both laughed.

In fact, my next stop was the senior center for the monthly catered dinner. While we waited in line, my friend Sharon remarked that she sometimes wasted food since she only cooked for herself and her husband. “I’ve been thinking about getting containers and dishing up half of what I make to take to senior citizens,” she said.

“Sharon, we are senior citizens!” I answered.

“So You think I ought to bring my extra food to you?” she shot back.

It’s true that we are older, with the aches, declining strength, and occasional memory lapses that come with age. But deep within ourselves we are pretty much the same people we were decades ago, many are still doing productive work.

There is one difference though. Years of living have taught us to be a little kinder, a bit quicker to forgive, and a lot more thankful to the gracious God Who continues to uphold us,

All the way my Savior leads me–what have I to ask beside?

Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who through life has been my Guide?

Heavenly peace, divinest comfort, Here by faith in Him to dwell!

For I know whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well (Fanny J Crosby).

-Penney Schwab

Digging Deeper: Deuteronomy 34:7; Psalm 92:14



Weight Loss Tips

  1. Chinese diet: you can eat every thing you want – with only one chopstick.
  2. I was on a diet so hard that I couldn’t even lick stamps without a low calorie glue.
  3. Once I tried to be on a diet: they were the 3 worst hours in my life.
  4. The secret of health is moderation: because of this I limit the number of diets I start.
  5. In every fat man there is a thin man trying to get out to write a book on diets. OR
  6. Inside me is a thin man struggling to get out. But I can usually sedate him with a few Twinkies.
  7. When I start a diet, the first thing I lose is my willpower.
  8. I just discovered the real balanced diet: now my stomach is jutting out as far as my bottom.
  9. I had a diet based on garlic: I didn’t even lose a pound, but as compensation I lost many friends.
  10. Despair is to shave before weighing.
  11. The second day of a diet is easier. Because by then you are off it.


Thursday, June 28

Offer yourselves to God …. -Romans 6:13 (NIV)

I stood in front of the bathroom mirror braiding my long hair.

Quickly I listed my morning prayer needs from friends and finished by asking God to show me what He wanted me to do. I sighed as I thought about my whirlwind day coming up. Even though I was busy

doing things for Him, I felt like I never did quite enough. After spritzing my bangs with a new brand of hairspray, I took one last glance in the mirror, then raced out the door to feed the horses before I headed to work.

SkySong met me at the gate with his usual nicker. I slipped open the latch. As I walked through, I noticed his nostrils quiver. His brows puckered, and he stuck his face in mine. “SkySong, what are you

doing?” I brushed him aside.

When I came out of the barn with an armload of hay, he moved his head into my forehead, nearly bonking me. I growled. “Move!” He stepped back and blinked. A few strands of hay slipped to the ground.

SkySong towered over me. It was as if he was asking for something. I looked up at him quizzically as I stood still.

Gently with his lips, SkySong ruffled my bangs. His nostrils flared as he smelled my hair. I giggled. “Oh, you like my new hairspray.” I turned to walk away, but once again he arched his neck over my head,

then he rested his lips on my hair. He was asking me to stand still while he enjoyed smelling my hair and just being with me.

Lord, thank You for quiet–and funny moments, even during the busiest days.

-Rebecca Ondov

Digging Deeper: Psalm 35:9; Isaiah 58:14



Priest At the Track

Charlie was a regular visitor at the race track. One afternoon he noticed an unusual sight. Right before the first race, a Catholic priest visited one of the horses in the stable area and gave it a blessing. Charlie watched the horse race very carefully, and sure enough the blessed horse came in first!

Charlie followed the priest before the next race, and again the priest went to the stables and performed a similar procedure. Charlie played a hunch and put a couple of dollars on the blessed horse. Sure enough, the blessed horse came in by two lengths and Charlie won close to fifty bucks!  The priest continued the same procedure through the next few races and the horse won each time.

So between races Charlie left the track and went to the bank to withdraw his life’s savings, $20,000. The biggest race of the day was the last one. Charlie followed the priest and watched carefully which horse he blessed.

He then went to the betting window and put his whole bundle of cash on that horse, to win. Then Charlie went out to watch the horses race.

Down the stretch they came and as they crossed the finish line, the horse Charlie’s fortune was bet on was far behind … dead last!

Charlie was crushed.

He located the priest and told him that he had been watching him bless the horses which all became winners throughout the day. Charlie then asked, “What happened to the last horse which you blessed?  Because of your failure on that last horse, I have lost my entire life’s savings.” the priest, “you never could tell the difference between a blessing and the Last Rites.”

“That’s the trouble with you Protestants,” sighed


Wednesday, June 27

If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he

ought to know. -1 Corinthians 8:2 (RSV)

Unsolicited advice: don’t skimp on tires, brakes, or paint. Read the reviews. Buy the good stuff.

I know because I’ve gone cheap on all three. Then-while sliding around corners, squealing to a stop, or adding another coat-my thoughts are always the same: I should have taken my time. I should’ve done

the right thing.

Should’ve is the word I use the most. To paraphrase Frank Sinatra: Regrets, I’ve had a few-in fact, far too many to mention. Experience is a great teacher. Regret? Not so much.

I recently put a new carburetor in my ancient truck I made 10.5 million mistakes, including one that nearly cost me the top of my thumb. What should have taken one Saturday took much longer. Finally, I

heard the engine catch, then start.

I recounted all of this to my brother. Halfway through my woeful saga. Kevin stopped me. “Give yourself some credit,” he said. “I don’t know how many people have ever seen a carburetor, let alone worked on one.”

This took me aback. In my rush to explain my overweening ignorance, I forgot to be thankful for these small gifts of skill and experience.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,” says writer Marianne Williamson. “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure …. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. YOUI’

playing small does not serve the world.”

She’s right. And Kevin is too. I am a child of God, no matter how long it takes me to change a carburetor.


Lord, despite my multitude of shortcomings, allow me to remember that I am made in Your image, capable of things both great and small

–Mark Collins

Digging Deeper: Matthew 7:1; 1 Corinthians 13:11-12





  1. Your tinted windows are also known as Hefty Garbage Bags.
  2. The car reaches its optimum speed when going downhill.
  3. The hi-tech stereo system often requires a new needle.
  4. The rear-view mirror says, “Objects in Mirror Are Better Than This Piece of Junk.”
  5. The odometer on the dashboard is not as sophisticated as the everyday abacus.
  6. Shadow Traffic warns other drivers what highway you’re taking.
  7. The sticker on the windshield says, “Batteries not included.”
  8. You fill up the tank with Unleaded Coals.
  9. You can only go to restaurants that offer Valet Pushing.

And, without further ado, the number one sign you bought a cheap car:

  1. When you pass hitchhikers, they put their thumb down.


Tuesday, June 26

Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous-and how well J know it. Psalm 139:14 (TLB)

l want to sleep up there!” I said, pointing to the bunk perched high above the double bed in our hotel room.

“Go right ahead,” my friend Cynthia replied. “Knock yourself out.”

I don’t think she meant it literally. But considering that I’m a card-carrying member of AARP (and have a nighttime bladder the size of a sesame seed), there’s a distinct possibility it could happen. After all, shimmying down a child-size ladder in the dark isn’t without its challenges.

So why risk it? Because the little kid I once was is still alive and well Inside this increasingly wrinkled body-and she loves adventure as well as heights. I’m grateful for her curiosity, chutzpah, and enthusiasm. But I’m also grateful that after all of these years there’s more to me than just her.

Maturity has offered gifts of its own, qualities like wisdom, faithfulness, courage, and grace. I’ve learned how to wholeheartedly celebrate a job well done as much as the chance to sleep in a bunk bed in Bavaria.

And I know for certain that loving God and those He’s put in my life has turned out to be a greater adventure than anything that red-haired, freckle-faced little girl could have come up with in her wildest dreams.

As I snuggled into my cozy upper bunk that night, I felt so relaxed and at peace. And I don’t think it’s because I was closer to heaven. I think it’s because on that day I felt so comfortable with who I am, so at

home with all of the complex little pieces that make up the big picture of me. Gratitude makes a comfortable pillow.


Dearest Father, thank You for all of the ways You’ve helped me grow up, grow strong, and grow to love You and all You have created-including me.

-Vicki Kuyper


Digging Deeper: Proverbs 19:8; Ephesians 2:10


 –  Old hackers never die, they just go to bits.

–  Old hardware engineers never die, they just cache in their chips.

–  Old hippies never die, they just smell that way.

–  Old horticulturists never die, they just go to pot.

–  Old hypochondriacs never die, they just lose their grippe.

–  Old investors never die, they just roll over.

–  Old journalists never die, they just get de-pressed.

–  Old knights in chain mail never die, they just shuffle off their metal coils.

–  Old laser physicists never die, they just become incoherent.

–  Old lawyers never die, they just lose their appeal.

–  Old limbo dancers never die, they just go under.




Mo n d a y, JUNE 25

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection, But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. – Philippians 3:12 (NLT)

Bill! Bill! Bill! The little company of happy people chanted my name. They were cheering for me to cross a rickety footbridge strung over a deep canyon.

I detest heights. So when my teenage kids asked to go zip-lining, I planned to send them off at the beginning and pick them up at the end.

“No, sir,” I was told. “They need an adult with them.”

I reluctantly volunteered. They strapped me into the harness, drove us higher than I thought safe, and walked our group to a tiny wire and platform. When it was my turn, I bravely stepped up and zipped. To

my Surprise, I had fun. “Not too bad,” I said. My kids were proud.

After the third zip, we came to the suspension bridge. It seemed designed to provoke panic. I started, stopped, backed up, and let others cross before me. Finally, I was the last one.

Now they all watched me, chanting my name for encouragement.

My heart pounded like a rabbit’s. I tried three times .. Each time I froze up. Eventually, I told them I’d just walk to the next zip line and meet them there.

When we all got together, my son asked, “Dad, were you afraid?”

I thought For a moment and said, “Son, the number-one fear in this country is public speaking. I do that several times every weekend, even though it scares me. So, yes, I have some fears. Some I’ve conquered; some I haven’t. It just means God isn’t finished with me yet.”

Lord, I haven’t reached perfection. But please keep me going in the right direction to experience more and more of Your grace. Amen.

-Bill Giovannetti

Digging Deeper: Hebrews 12:1-2



**  Doctor, doctor, I keep thinking I’m a spoon.  Sit there and don’t stir.

**  Doctor, doctor, I keep thinking I’m a billiard ball.  Get back in the queue.

**  Doctor, doctor, I keep thinking I’m a pack of cards.  I’ll deal with you later.

**  Doctor, doctor, I keep thinking there’s two of me.  One at a time, please.

**  Doctor, doctor, I keep thinking I’m a dog.  Lie down on the couch and I’ll examine you.  I can’t. I’m not allowed on the furniture.


Friday, June 22

“(If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” -Matthew 7: 11 (NIV)

I’m almost overcome with giddiness.

School let out recently. My daughters split the summer between their dad and me, and they’ve been gone for two weeks. As I write this, they will be home within a few hours.

I’ve made sure everything is ready: fresh linens on their beds, their favorite pajamas clean and folded in their drawers, a homemade pie chilling in the fridge. Best of all, this surprise awaits them: I redecorated their dressers with pretty flower arrangements, lovely little multicolored bottles from the hobby store, and an eclectic mix of knickknacks I picked up at tag sales and on clearance at trendy boutiques.

While I sit and admire my handiwork, I can hardly stand the anticipation. I imagine how thrilled they will be to see all that I’ve prepared for them. And I realize that few pleasures on this earth compare with

the happiness I feel from delighting my children.

Yes, there is a time for discipline. No, we shouldn’t give our children everything they want. But sometimes, when I can fulfill a little heart’s desire, what a treat it is for me!

Surely this is how our heavenly Father adores us too. Surely He smiles when we experience joy at the good and perfect gifts He gives to us.

Surely His heart is made glad when we say, “Oh, Father, thank You!

I Thank You for loving me and taking care of me. I love You so!”

Father; You are kind and generous to Your children. Thank You for loving me and for blessing me beyond measure.

–Ginger Rue

Digging Deeper: Psalms 35:27, 147:11; Luke 12:32





 Getting Ready

Early one evening a gentleman scuttled out to his garage and pulled the lawn furniture out onto the driveway. Shortly after followed the lawnmower, a few gardening tools and a bicycle.

A curious neighbor wandered over and asked if he was going to  have a garage sale.

“No,” replied the gentleman, “my son just bought his first car and right now he’s getting ready for a big date.”

“So what’s with all the stuff?” asked the neighbor.

“well, after years of moving tricycles, toys and sports equipment out of the way every time I came home from work I wanted to make sure the driveway was ready for him.”



Thursday, June 21

“She, poor as she is, has given everything she has. “—–Luke 21:4 (T1.B)

Anytime I’m tempted to complain about the limitations that come with getting older, I think about a Frenchman named Jean-Dominique Bauby. In 1995, this popular journalist, at forty-three,

suffered a stroke that left him totally paralyzed. Lying ill a hospital bed. Jean-Dominique made a life-giving discovery: he could move his left eyelid!

Blinking it, he managed to communicate to the nurses that his mind was still awake. Jean-Dominique was the victim of “locked-in syndrome,” an alert mind imprisoned in a motionless body, With someone

saying the alphabet out loud, he would blink at the letter he wanted written down. A word would form. Then a sentence. Then message, to family and friends.

With one, a publisher friend, he arrived at a remarkable plan: would write a book about his condition! During the long nights Jean-Dominique would compose in his head, revising and memorizing a segment of his story, then blink it out the next day, letter by letter. The account was wrenching. “I’d be the happiest man in the world I could just swallow the saliva swamping my mouth.” Worst of all when he could not speak to his young son and daughter when they climbed onto his bed.

But for all the suffering, the book is a shining testimony to the of life-however limited-to a journalist’s curiosity about to his delight in communicating, contributing, loving. Jean -Dominique had other projects, other books in mind, when two days after The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was published, his damaged heart stopped beating.

So you can’t do everything you once did, Jean-Dominique says to me. If you can move as much as a single eyelid, you have something to give.


Increase my gratitude, Father, as You increase my years.

-Elizabeth Sherrill

Digging Deeper: 2 Corinthians 8: 12; Galatians 6:9-10




Getting To Know You

A mother was telling her little girl what her own childhood was like. “We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods.”

The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this in. At last she said, “I sure wish I’d gotten to know you sooner!”


“Being rich isn’t about money. Being rich is a state of mind. Some of us, no matter how much money we have, will never be free enough to take time to stop and eat the heart of the watermelon. And some of us will be rich without ever being more than a paycheck ahead of the game.” ~Harvey B. Mackay


For you have made the Lord, my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. Psalm 91:9-10 (NAS)

 A couple of years ago there was a bombing in my neighborhood of Chelsea, No one was killed but dozens sustained minor injuries.

At the time I was coming up out of the subway at West 28th Street just a few blocks from the blast and just a minute or two before it went off: Walking west toward my apartment, I heard an explosion and felt the ground tremble. I didn’t pay it much mind. There’s a lot of construction in my neighborhood. As I turned onto my street I heard the wail of sirens coming up Eighth Avenue. That got my attention.

I flipped on the news when I am inside and learned about the mysterious blast just as my phone was lighting up with queries about my well-being.

That night I lay in bed thinking about calls. I had almost gotten out of the subway at 23rd Street. The car was crowded and stuffy and I figured I’d just as soon walk a couple of extra blocks on a lovely summer’s

night, which would have put me exactly at the blast site just as the bomb went off Instead, someone’s bike was blocking my way off the car and I didn’t make it before the doors slid closed.

How many other close calls have I had that I was never even aware of? What about the people who aren’t so fortunate? I don’t think God picks and chooses who lives and who dies on any given day or how we meet our end. I think He loves us no matter what.

He walks with us through life, through the good and the bad, through the painful and the joyous. And through it all I think He protects our souls above all else.

Father; no matter what good or ill befalls me, no matter how well or badly my day or my life goes, You are there.

-Edward Grinnan

Going Deeper: Deuteronomy 31:6; 2 Corinthians 4:8-9; Hebrews 13:6




Whale Chat

An expert on whales was telling friends about some of the unusual findings he had made.

“For instance,” he said, “some whales can communicate at a distance of 300 miles.”

“What on earth would one whale say to another 300 miles away?” asked a sarcastic member of the group.

“I’m not absolutely sure,” answered the expert, “but I bet it sounds something like ‘Heeeeeeey! Can you hear me nowwww!?!'”

No…Actually it is loud and unwanted…and it sounds like people using cell phones in public places!! LOUD! and sharing their conversations with everyone around them!


CONFIDENCE IN DIFFICULTY: Move toward the Light “I am the light of the world …. ” -John 8:12 (NIV)

Anorexia brings with it a torment of negative thoughts, and my daughter’s malnourished brain had slid into depression. Elizabeth could see nothing good in her future and grieved the loss of her past. I reminded her that even if she couldn’t see the light in herself, I could.

Every Saturday I took the bus from New York City to Boston, where Elizabeth was living in a residential treatment center. I stayed overnight at a friend’s house, then on Sunday took Elizabeth to church and out for a cup of coffee. We chatted. She cried. I comforted. I brought her back to the center. I got on a bus for the four-and-a-half-hour trip back to New York City.

My phone rang throughout the weekend. Often it was my daughter Maggie in distress. Sometimes it was the staff at the hospital where Maggie was, which was never good news. I received a barrage of texts from twelve-year-old Stephen, anxious to know when I’d be home. My son John neither texted nor responded to mine, slipping back into his own depression. My husband, Andrew, was struggling as well.

“How do you do it?” a friend asked in wonder. It seemed like a curious question.

“Giving up isn’t an option,” I replied slowly, “because even if I fear I’m falling down a mine shaft, I have to act as if I’m in a very long tunnel or I’ll get stuck in the dark”

Only later did it occur to me that my perspective is faith-based. For people of faith, no matter what happens in this life, we will always emerge into the light.

Lord Jesus, in the midst of deep darkness, keep me ever-moving toward You.

-Julia Attaway

Digging Deeper: Luke 1:79; John 12:46





  1. Thou shall not borrow other people’s problems. They can better care for them than you can.
  2. Thou shall not try to relive yesterday for good or ill, it is forever gone. Concentrate on what is happening in your life and be happy now!
  3. Thou shall be a good listener, for only when you listen do you hear different ideas from your own. It is hard to learn something new when you are talking, and some people do know more than you do.
  4. Thou shall not become “bogged down” by frustration, for 90% of it is rooted in self-pity and will only interfere with positive action.
  5. Thou shall count thy blessings, never overlooking the small ones, for a lot of small blessings add up to a big one.


The words of the mouth are deep waters …. -Proverbs 18:4 (NIV)

My father had a talent for expressing a lot with few words.  He spoke and wrote succinctly, yet conveyed much. Rather than lecturing, he’d share sayings such as these: “Your friends don’t need explanations and your enemies won’t believe them.” “Your first loss is your smallest.” “There’s nothing good to do after 11:00 p.m., and if there is, you shouldn’t be doing it.” “What’s the first thing you’d do if you won a million dollars? Tell someone!” (He said that when I told him I was engaged.)

Daddy had a sharp and inquisitive mind but was an “I’ll do it way” kind of man. He believed in God but thought Jesus had been a great person, not more. For years I prayed for Daddy and attempted to persuade him to put his faith in Christ as God’s Son Who died our sins. But Daddy remained. stubborn and set in his unbelief

Then, after decades of my waiting, Daddy’s questions about God became more frequent, more pointed, more serious. Instead of missing my responses, he listened intently. Finally, on a day I will forget, he spoke the words I’d been longing to hear: “Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.”

He didn’t discuss it further. Those seven words were all he said. But from that moment on, our family observed a softening, a gentleness in his nature that had never before been evident. He exhibited greater patience, tolerance, and love for others. Just months later, God took him home.

Lord, I’m so grateful I’ll see Daddy again!

Thank You for loving us, even in our disbelief.

-Kim Henry

Digging Deeper: Proverbs 2:1-5, 16:23; John 3:16, 6:63-64,68





  1. Thou shall not worry, for worry is the most unproductive of all human activities.
  2. Thou shall not be fearful, for most of the things we fear never come to pass.
  3. Thou shall not cross bridges before you come to them, for no one yet has succeeded in accomplishing this.
  4. Thou shall face each problem as it comes. You can only handle one at a time anyway.
  5. Thou shall not take problems to bed with you, for they make very poor bedfellows.

(to be continued)


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