Thursday, December 22, 2011

A large slice of time has passed!

My blog-viewers, if there are any faithful/hopeful ones left, must have thought I had become incapacitated or left Planet Earth for Heaven! I have not blogged for SIX MONTHS!
But I am still here!
The reason for my silence has been my priority to focus all my writing strength on finishing the first draft of my latest book manuscript --the sequel to my book published the year before.
The title of this new book is LIVING THE TREASURES OF THE LAND OF MORE. I accomplished that goal with the Lord's enabling, and have been waiting for responses from reviewers before I do a final edit and send it off for publishing.
The NEW YEAR 2012 is an opportunity to re-start my blog afresh--if my time will allow. I have come to realize I can't do everything that I would like, and must look to the Lord for sharpened priorities.

My Christmas letter follows with a brief update on my life.

Dear Friends and family whose Christmas greetings and annual newsletters have been filling my mailbox:

I thought I wouldn’t send a “year report letter” this year, but so many have asked about my well-being and my doings that I owe a brief response. I do appreciate all your kind and loving thoughts and prayers in my direction.
Uppermost I always thank God for His goodness and mercy and blessings which He so generously still faithfully showers upon me in my 86th year—unbelievable to me to write such a high number! Our 4 sons and families, 10 grandchildren, and 7 great-grands are all well and thriving—an enormous blessing. I’ve tried to express it this way:
When my sons became fathers of children
that was a milestone—for them and for me.
Time passed—suddenly, it seems
my sons have become grandparents!
I sit down on that new milestone
in wonder and ponder
that God has been so incredibly good to me
blessing me to enjoy such relational prosperity
as to see my children’s children’s children
my generational progeny! my abundant posterity!
This year I’ve had some physical challenges but mostly chronic and chronologically related—I’m coping with the not-fixables and the normal, mortal, growing limitations—for which God’s grace is super-sufficient and medical skill is helpful—but not so much!
The Christian radio station that we established and of which I am president celebrated its 25th anniversary with celebratory events and a move into spacious facilities for studios and administration in downtown Winchester with enough room for expansion, including a sister station in the future with a different format.
No significant travel this year. Mostly I was a stay-at-home with writing focused on completing a sequel to my book published last year. LIVING THE TREASURES OF THE LAND OF MORE is slated to go to press, Lord willing, early in 2012. Lately I unexpectedly sneaked in the time to compile a limited edition of some of my contemporary poems of recent years into a little volume titled LATTER RAIN: WORDSMITHING VERSE in the Late Season of my Life which I shaped up as a Christmas gift for my families. Next year, as God enables, I’m eager to work on some other book manuscripts in process that I hope to finish.
If snowstorms don’t interfere, I anticipate joining our families in some events around Christmas and our parish family for New Year celebrations. Probably some entertaining of good friends joyfully slipped in between.
I pray that God will bless and guide you through the coming year as He unfolds more of His perfect plan for your life. Trust Him. God is always good and works for your good and His glory through your life and through the circumstances God has designed specifically for YOU.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Posted originally on the blog "A Comforting and Disturbing Grace" by my friend in Christ who uses the writing name Friar Puck.
As an adult, he is being received into our parish church, Sacred Heart of Jesus in Winchester, VA. I have the distinct honor and privilege and joy of standing with him as his Sponsor. Each of those I have sponsored since my own reception into the Church in 2005 have been drawn by the Holy Spirit on a unique lifelong journey into a deeper fullness of the same biblical faith we have each known and loved for many years. Listen to this chosen man after God's own heart speak from his heart:

Well, it’s almost here! The big day; the day where, depending upon with whom you spoke, I am either acting in obedience or blatantly committing heresy.
I am becoming Catholic on Sunday, June 5, 2011 (Lord willing of course) and I have just been pondering the magnanimous Beauty of it, so I felt an urge to let my hodgepodge musings be posted. They are in no order and are filled with my finitely infantile pandering. So, be forewarned: the following may cause you to scratch your head or bang it against a wall; or even worse, the following may cause a severe desire to simply ignore it and hit the delete button…
I am coming into the Church not so much because of a decision I made, but rather as a response to a choice laid before me by a Loving God, Who has a real passion for intimacy.
I am not leaving the "Proddy" (Protestant) world because I have some grand grudge or axe to grind or because I loathe all the emotionalism and “Jesus and Me” mentality.
Simply put: I love God with a wild passion. And I love the Catholic Church. And if truth be told, I have always had a somewhat sordid affair with Her, one that always left both my "Proddy" and Catholic friends scratching their heads (but for different reasons). I had a profound conversion experience to Christ when I was 17 years old; I even remember the date – August 5, 1985 (8585!) – and it was a moment when the Lord Jesus revealed Himself to me in such a holy and complete way that all I could do was give Him my feeble but firm “Fiat.”
I knew then that this ‘conversion’ was not some historical event, but rather it was an initial threshold crossing, whereby Jesus revealed Himself to me and I put my hand in His and said, “Yes, I accept Your invitation to follow You (not the other way around) and to learn to trust wherever it is You lead me, knowing all of this is done in divine love.”
Then a dear friend explained to me that Catholics believe (with mucho support from Scripture) that Christians ‘were saved (past), are being saved (present), and will be saved’ (future) and that it is a lifelong journey of almost daily conversion.
Yes, that’s what I signed up for…although there are many years in the last 25 where if you told people I was a follower of Jesus they would have laughed right off the bar stool.
Which leads me to another reason I am becoming Catholic: the Catholic Church is the human face of Christ on earth and home to slobs, sinners, ragamuffin reprobates, Republicans, Democrats, heck even Green Party Socialists, lefties, right-wing nut jobs, old school (that would be Pre-Vatican II) and new school (that would include post Vatican II, the Charismatic Renewal folks, the Hippy Mass people, and a few others). Yup. All of them…um, er…us, I mean. All of us are living under one roof – the Holy Church – and I’ve said it before, only the Holy Spirit could ever bring together such diversity without mass murder occurring.
I love the Church that Jesus Christ Himself established. Plain and simple. Fifteen years ago I would joke with a dear friend of mine (who happens to be a Catholic priest) that like Luther I chime, “She may be a Whore, but she is still my Mother” (with regard to the Church.) Now I’ll defend her as I would my real mother (and let it be known I am a Momma’s boy – all 6’ 2”, 200 lbs. of me with a scrappy, streetwise background…so I’d tread lightly when mocking my Mother…Church, that is).
The Eucharist is another reason I am becoming Catholic. Because 25 years ago when I first said yes to Jesus, I read in St. John’s gospel, the 6th chapter, when Jesus said that “unless I eat His body and drink His blood, I [would] have no life.” Or where He said that His body and blood are real food (not just metaphorical morsels). It also says in that chapter, that many, MANY, stopped following Jesus because those words were too hard to handle and scandalous in a blasphemous pagan-like cannibalistic kind of way. I love the Reality that I will be fed by Jesus literally every time I partake of the Bounty of the earth and Fruit of the vine.
The sense of Sacred Tradition is another reason. Quite simple: it is Sacred…and it is historical Tradition. It has roots – deep, fecund roots that are the very trunk of God’s life on earth and not merely the flimsy branches.
Another reason: almost every denomination of Christianity has been started because of an ego-based megalomaniacal disagreement; very few branches of Christianity were started for any other reason. But the Catholic Church is 2,000 years old and still the “one, holy, Catholic and apostolic” face of Jesus Christ on earth.
And She is about to receive another child who has wandered and traversed the spiritual world of seeking, finally coming Home to rest in the bosom of the Lord’s Bride. It is here, in the Church, that I get more and more of Jesus (and He in turn gets more and more of me) day by day.
Instead of losing, I am blessed with even more ways to know and love Jesus: the Eucharist; the Liturgy; the ‘universal’ Body globally dispersed and eternally connected; the Sacraments; and a rich and rooted Tradition steeped deeper in Scripture than any lover of Jesus could ever dream.
And as the days become hours before this fated, wonderful day, I tremble in awe and humility before the holiness of it all…and I can hear the faint whisper of the voice of Mother Church saying to me in the sacred silence: “Welcome Home, son.”

Monday, May 30, 2011



“…Thank you, God, for farmers and gardens and rain and sunshine and clouds and holidays and football, oh yeah, and bless this food too. And thank you for Memorial Day when we remember the soldiers who died fighting for our country. Amen.”

Amen! I’m always proud of you, Jeffrey, when you pray before our meals for so many special things that you are thankful to God for. I’m sure God is listening and smiling on you. You must have learned about Memorial Day at school, right?”

“I did. After the Civil War in 1868 General John A. Logan made a proclamation that people should honor both the Union soldiers and the Confederate ones. They put little American flags on the graves of every soldier in Arlington Cemetery every year on May 30. After that the idea spread all over the country. Now, I guess, they moved the date to the last Monday in May so we can get a longer holiday weekend.”

“When I was about your age, Jeffrey, we called it ‘Decoration Day’ and the veterans from other wars put flags on the soldiers’ graves in the cemetery in Iowa where I lived too. It didn’t matter whether they were killed in battle or died later. And everyone brought fresh flowers, especially Peonies and Irises and Lilacs from their gardens, to put on the graves. They decorated not only the soldiers’ graves but those of other people in their families who died. ”

“Veterans are people who came back from the war, right? I read that most cities had parades on that day. Did they do that in your hometown, Grandma?”

“Every year without fail. Bands from the local high schools marched in the parade and all the living veterans from several wars marched in the parade wearing hats that showed what branch of the military they served in. Then they had music and speeches about brave heroes. Everyone in town bought red paper poppies from the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to raise money to help families of the soldiers who died in the war. The poppies were usually made by disabled veterans.”

“How did the custom of the poppies start?”

“A soldier named John McCrae, who served in the American army in France in the World War I, wrote a poem about his fellow soldiers who died there. They were buried in a cemetery called Flanders. All of us had to memorize that poem in school.”

“Do you still remember the words, Grandma?”

“The first verse is,

‘In Flanders field the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks still bravely singing fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Love and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders field.’

I guess real poppy flowers were planted between the white crosses in the cemetery.”

“When we study history in school it seems like there are always wars going on somewhere. Why do people fight and kill each other, Grandma?”

“There is not a simple answer. The leaders of some countries, but usually not the ordinary people, selfishly want to conquer other nations and take away their freedoms and their land. In the United States, our armed forces volunteer to leave their homes and families to courageously fight to defend our freedom from enemies who want to control us. Our soldiers also help to defend other countries which are threatened by enemies who want to gain power over them and hurt their people.

“Did you know some of the soldiers who went to war when you were young?”

“A lot of my uncles and cousins and boys from our high school class joined the army and navy right after they graduated. Some of them whom I knew really well got killed. Families used to put a banner with a gold star in their window to honor the memory of their son or husband or brother who got killed in the war.”

“Were any of our own family in the wars?”

“Your Great-Grandfather, Frank, my Daddy, fought in France with the American army about the same time that soldier wrote the Flanders poem. I thank God that he didn’t get killed there. When the war was over and he got out of the army, he married my Mother and a little girl was born to them—me! When I was young I used to dress up in his uniform and play soldier with my friends. Daddy was with the 313th Ammunition Train Division which was in charge of shipping guns to the troops who were fighting on the front lines. I have a photo of him in France with a horse he rode alongside the trains to protect the shipments.”

“That’s so cool. I wish I could have met him. I’ll bet he would have some exciting stories to tell.”

“I expect you will meet your Great Grandpa Frank someday in heaven. He had Jesus in his heart too. On your Mommy’s side of the family, her father is a very high-ranking soldier in the Thailand army. He is your Grandfather whom you call ‘Kun-ta’ who comes to visit you sometime with your Grandma whom you call ‘Kun-yai’. Your Grandfather was a famous career soldier and held an important position in the army. He has retired now with the official rank of General.”

“Kun-ta is not his name, Grandma. It means ‘grandfather’ in Thai. He told me he even served in the palace of the King of Thailand. When I was little and visited Thailand, he assigned some of his soldiers to help take care of me while I was playing. He was in charge of the Cavalry and is a really good horseman. We went to see where he had to live part of the time when he was on duty. I’m proud of my ‘Kun-ta’.”

“Your Grandpa Ted, your Daddy’s Dad, who was Grandma’s husband, served in the American Marine Corps during part of his college years. He was a Specialist Interpreter with the Intelligence and was sent to China with the First Marine Division. He’ll have plenty of adventures to tell you about when you meet him in heaven too. He died before you were born so he didn’t know about you—but he probably knows all about you now and even prays for you. He must be proud of how big you are growing and how well you are learning.”

“Wasn’t Uncle Rick, Daddy’s brother, in the army too?”

“Yes. He served with the Nike Hercules Missile Division of the U. S. Army that was in charge of defending Washington, D.C. in case of enemy attack during the Vietnam War. He volunteered for the army soon after he finished high school. He learned so much about guns and ammunition in the army and that may be why he likes to teach classes now to certify citizens in gun safety for the NRA.”

“Whew! Anyone else? This is exciting to know about.”

“Your Great-Great-Grandfather Jan, (John)—who was my grandfather in Europe in what is now called the Czech Republic—was forced to serve in the army of Austria-Hungary because that country occupied his homeland. That was sometime in the mid-1800s. I have only one photo of him, and he was in an army uniform. After he got home he married my grandmother, Frantiska, and they had six children, one of whom was my Daddy, Frank, whom I already told you about.”

“I have lots of names of real family members to think about on Memorial Day, don’t I?”

“People should display the American flag and on public buildings it flies at half mast. When President Clinton was in office in 2000, he made a proclamation for a National Moment of Remembrance that we should observe at 3 o’clock in the afternoon on Memorial Day. We can either be silent and honor our military who have died, and veterans and all our friends who have died, or we can pray for them as we listen to a soldier play ‘Taps’ on a bugle or trumpet.”

“What is ‘Taps’, Grandma?”

“It is a short, slow, beautiful melody of only 24 notes which is played in military installations to signal ‘lights out’ at bedtime, or at the funerals of veterans, or at flag ceremonies. Our President goes to Arlington Cemetery to lay a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and ‘Taps’ are played. There are many versions of the words to that melody, but one of them is:

‘Day is done, gone the sun

From the lakes,

From the hills,

From the sky;

All is well, safely rest;

God is nigh.’”

“I guess there’s a lot more to Memorial Day than having picnics and eating barbecue and having a fun holiday—and watching the Indianapolis 500.”


Saturday, May 28, 2011

REpeat Offender

(Excerpt from Chapter 14 of “HOSPITAL GOWNS DON’T HAVE POCKETS”)

A long list of comforting RE-words helped me through my original cancer surgery REcovery. They continue to guide me while I live in this “Earth Suit.” I’m making progress through REstoration, REfreshing, REgaining, REpenting, REviving, REpairing, RElaxing—even REcreation.

I’m being REnewed by my daily REndezvous with God to build up my inner spirit.

But I REsist one word and would like to REfuse it. It is the word REpeat!

REalistically, however, many illnesses are REpeat offenders or some RElated problems. My surgeon frankly explained the strong possibility of REcurrence. It’s not unusual to go through the same or similar surgery or treatment again or REquire additional treatment. Perhaps more than once. REmission is often a temporary state.

Back to square one? I’m kept on a short leash. I circle X-ray dates and doctors’ appointments at regular intervals on my calendar. I’m suspicious of symptoms that might signal the REturn of the problem. No one can guarantee full REcovery from anything. We all go around in depreciating bodies. Thorns are part of the horticultural package in life and health as well as in the garden.

So, if it happens again…? I’ll just begin the cycle again.

If God and I successfully jumped the hurdle questions at the beginning, I hope I’ve developed my spiritual muscles and spiritual stamina to go through it again. The same questions and struggles and the same answers apply. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

God offers us the same grace and strength to match any new situation. For my good and for God’s glory is still the touchstone. God is as fully in control the second time around—or third or fourth—as He was when I went through it the first time.

Not all race tracks are configured the same. On one kind of track runners race straight ahead from the starting line to the finish line. No surprises, no curves. Another track is circular. The runner returns to the place where he started. In fact, the race may not be finished the first time around. He may have to run several laps around the same circle.

Still another is the marathon course where you run for the long haul through ordinary and REpetitious landscape: towns, country roads, hills, beside rivers and along busy highways. That’s a race for endurance. The Apostle Paul’s words are not an understatement: “Run with endurance (patience) the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:36).

Whatever kind of race track the Lord has chosen for me, my Divine Coach is cheering me on: “Run in such a way that you may win” (1 Corinthians 9:24). He was there at the Starting Line, and I know He’s waiting for me at the Finish Line. He’s the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. Sooner or later I’ll report to Him, “I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”

Then I’ll be qualified to go by the Judge’s bench for my prize. “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day” (2 Timothy 4:7,8).

I can’t lose no matter what track lies ahead in my life, if I joyfully celebrate each day of life trusting my Coach, Jesus Christ, and obediently following His instructions!


“He makes me lie down in the shadow of trees in the deep forest…”

Oh No, Lord, that’s not the way King David wrote the Twenty-third Psalm. It’s “…lie down in green pastures and besides still waters.”

My child, let Me program the GPS of your life. The woods may be exactly where I want you to grow and flourish in your spirit, where I will be with you, My rod and My staff comforting you, and where I will prepare a festive table before you.”


“How are you?”

That’s what friends ask who know something about my cancer surgery in the past, or current tests I’ve been going through—or who figure that’s what you ask someone who is pushing beyond their mid-eighties.

“Oh, I’m not out of the woods yet!” I sometimes catch myself replying.

I don’t know where that term originated, but it implies that there is some inevitable light at the end of the tunnel, that I will eventually emerge from my present woods by the path I’m on.

However, that’s not always the case. The name of this woods may be like the other “C” word that we also try to avoid. But this “C” is for “Chronic.” God’s loving answer to our prayers for healing or relief from pain or an increase in strength may be “Not yet” or even a more permanent “No.” or “I have a better plan for you and it involves continuing to live in the woods.”

That was apparently the case for the Apostle Paul. He pleaded with God three times to remove something that might have been physically painful since he called it “a thorn in the flesh.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) God knew that it was better for Paul to learn to live in the woods the rest of his life, which he apparently did. He witnesses that God’s grace and strength were sufficient for his weakness.

It is better for us not to know what Paul’s aggravating ailment or affliction was so that we can fill in the blank with our particular situation. He was in a classroom where God was teaching him to be “well content” and “most gladly boast” about his infirmity and chronic state while continuing to “live in the woods.” It was in that condition that God’s power would be manifested and perfected through him, rather than if he were to emerge healed and well and whole from his woods.

Many of God’s faithful friends live their entire lives in their unique woods with limitations, weaknesses, illnesses, unrelieved pain, disabilities, acquired or genetic, or suffering the same problems over and over again with no path through their woods but to endure.

Some of God’s precious children no matter what age are not even able to walk through their woods. Wheel chairs, even the electric kind, would find it tough going to navigate over the branches and tangles and undergrowth of their woods. Still others are bedfast and shut in only able to gaze out the window at their woods where the trees seem to stretch endlessly into the distance.

Some live in the confusion and disorder of emotional or mental woods, or relational, social, or financial dense forests. Still others, eventually all of us, unless our lives are shortened, are making our way through the wilderness of aging with all its attendant fears and uncertainties.

Blessed are we when we experience God’s healing touch and we are “made whole.” God heals now as He did through Jesus in His days on earth, when it is His will and perfect plan to do so. Also blessed are we when His loving, sovereign will for us is that we remain “unwhole” in some aspect during this mortal lifetime and continue living in the woods. We are no less His precious, beloved children whether He chooses that we should live in the woods or out of the woods.

God promises to all of us the fullness of His presence and strength. “The joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10) whatever our disabilities or limitations or problems. Living in the woods, if that is God’s will for us, is the way to holiness in this Third Millennium just as it has been through ages past. Spiritually we are already “complete in Him” (Colossians 2:10), whole, and well. In the future, in the full splendor and brilliant light of God’s eternal presence, our wholeness will be realized—no more woods in heaven with its dark and fearful shadows!

As Christians, our faith teaches us that we may answer the How are you? question with,

“I may have to live the rest of my life on earth in the woods, but there God gives me the joy of sharing in the sufferings of Christ (Phil. 3:10; Col. 1:24) as well as provides me with more opportunity to lean heavily on Him, draw closer to Him, pray for fellow travelers in the woods and appropriate His ever-generous supply of strength and mercy.”

Friday, May 27, 2011


(Excerpt from Chapter 14 of Leona Choy’s book HOSPITAL GOWNS DON’T HAVE POCKETS!) Special June discount-book-of-the-month

I try my best to do everything right during recovery from my hospital adventure: taking my medications, going for my checkups and X-rays, forcing myself to exercise, breathing fresh air, watching my nutrition, getting enough rest, and monitoring my positive outlook. And praying a lot! I’m cooperating to the best of my ability.

As a mortal, however, I have a restricted life span and God has divinely prescribed the outer limits. We are told that every week in this country 210 men and women do reach the ripe age of 100—that’s comparatively very few and still exceptional.

Formerly, most people died a lot younger (except during the Methuselah era). Now, hopefully, we have better nutrition, medical breakthroughs, surgical procedures, and health habits which combine to keep us on this planet longer than our ancestors. On the other hand, increased pollution, chemical food additives, drug abuse, destructive health habits, fast transportation, and soft, affluent living are some negative factors pulling life expectancy downward. Heredity and accidents are contributing factors, of course.

Jesus said it realistically: "Which of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure [cubit] to his stature or to the span of his life?” (Matthew 6:27 Amplified paraphrase)

Some people do try to add to their bulk, stature, stamina, or speed by taking steroids, but it backfires: muscles, weight, and energy may increase, but as a consequence, life span is cut short or health declines. Medical science can step in to prolong life to a certain extent, but life support systems, artificial body parts and transplants aren’t always successful and don’t last permanently.

Ultimately, for me as a Christian, the sovereignty of God determines how long I will live. He calls the shots. My loving Lord sets the timer and the wake-up alarm for heaven. I’ve already settled it in my heart: absolutely nothing happens to me outside His control and tender care.

Lord, make me to know my end, and [to appreciate] the measure of my days, what it is; let me know and realize how frail I am—how transient is my stay here. Behold, You have made my days as [short as] handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in Your sight.

Truly, every man at his best is merely a breath! Selah [pause, and think calmly of that]! Surely every man walks to and fro—like a shadow in a pantomime; surely for futility and emptiness they are in turmoil; each one heaps up riches, not knowing who will gather them.

And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You. (Psalm 39:4-6 Amplified paraphrase)

We can safely say that no one is living today who was born before 1860. They are all history—as I will be. Yes, I’ll cooperate and do the best I can with who I am, what I have, who my ancestors were, where I live, and what amount and quality of life God has ordained to gives me in His plan for me.

Nevertheless, the cubits are not in my pocket—they are in God’s!


(Watch for the next post-excerpt “What if I won’t be perfectly whole?”)


By popular demand--ENCORE FEATURED BOOK on Leona's blog

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Hospital Gowns Don't Have Pockets!

Struggling with Physical Illness

Why Me? What Now?

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Everyone needs this book! I may fool myself thinking that illnesses, accidents and surgeries only happen to other people. However, most of us don't live out our lives without going through an illness or hospital adventure of some sort. Few reach Medicare age without outpatient or inpatient events--a biopsy, -oscopy, X-ray, blood profile or other diagnostic goodies. It comes with the package of living our mortal life in our "Earth Suit".

Cheer up! Hospitals are ideal places not only for bodily repair but excellent classrooms for soul-searching and life evaluation.

This popular book explores whether there is meaning in physical affliction for the Christian. The biblical principles are valid whether or not the illness leads to hospitalization. The author takes the reader from initial questions and struggles when illness first strikes, through hospital adventures and the potholes and adjustments of recovery.

At the end of each chapter, the author offers thoughtful "Personal Workout" questions for reflection or group discussion based on topics just covered. Ideal for a support group or personal study.

The reader will explore questions like: Who caused my illness, God or Satan? What did I do to deserve this? Can God heal me? Will He? Should I exercise faith, oppose the devil, and refuse to accept my illness? Could my life be over? Is this a test from God? What's the worst case scenario? For what purpose might God be bringing this experience into my life? Is my illness a friend or an enemy? Why does God seem so far away when I need Him most? What if I can't get through this?

The author maintains that God has a purpose for every experience He permits us to go through. She includes a "Back of the Book" section for readers to make sure their faith in God is intact when they march through hospital doors. Also included are forms for Living Will decisions and other valuable resources.

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The author knows what it is to walk in hospital slippers. Her first encounter with the O.R. was a "biggy"--lung cancer surgery--"out of the blue." A life-changing and learning experience, she claims in hindsight, that has proved invaluable.

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Some chapter titles are: Jumping Over Hurdles; No Wheeling or Dealing; Dancing in Bed; Are We Having Fun Yet? Going Through Spiritual College; Is There Life After Hospital?; Oil in My Water; Bench Warming Lessons; Can I Add Cubits?

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Saturday, May 21, 2011


I trotted along in the footsteps of Dr. Scott Hahn for most of the several years of my pre-Catholic journey.

His denominational history, evangelical conversion, zeal for the Scriptures, academic scholarship, and personal integrity were guideposts for me as I struggled with the drastic paradigm faith shift that would eventually lead me into the Catholic Church.

Scott's story parallels that of Saul of Tarsus. Now, as a convert, his zeal for the one holy catholic and apostolic Church combined with his excellent academic preparation and experience in the Protestant world and subsequently in the Catholic context is an awesome treasure for the Church worldwide.

I am privileged to keep tapping into that treasure through his many books, CDs and DVDs to accelerate my progress in the faith and share in his biblical insights.

Meet Scott Hahn through the link below and taste for yourself the riches that this man of God so eagerly shares with others on whatever faith journey you find yourself.
Click below:

Catholic By Grace: Presbyterian Pastors Who Are Ready to Change Denominations: this one is for you


Friday, May 20, 2011


CONVERSATIONS WITH JEFFREY # 23 (An imagineered series by Leona Choy for her grandson, Jeffrey D. Choy)

Grandma, people are talking on TV that the world is going to end tomorrow! Is that really true? What does that mean? That sounds so scary! Is it about Jesus coming back to earth again?

Jeffrey, don’t be afraid. You have Jesus in your heart and God is taking care of you. Jesus said that we shouldn’t try to set dates for His coming. You can read about that in the gospel of Mark in your new Bible. Look up chapter 13 and verse 32.

OK. That says, “But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time will come.” Does that mean that even Jesus didn’t know the day He was going to come back from Heaven?

When Jesus said that to His disciples, He hadn’t been crucified yet, or died, or was resurrected. He hadn’t gone up to Heaven yet. After He was there with God, His Father, they would know all things together then. But He was telling His disciples not to set dates or try to figure it out for themselves during the time when He was in heaven.

Then that man who is getting everyone all excited that the world will end tomorrow is doing just what Jesus said not to do?

That’s right. Jesus warned us that there will be false Christs and false prophets. This man is only one of many who tried to figure out some exact date. Several years ago he set another date and the same thing happened.

You mean nothing happened, right? Jesus didn’t come back and the world didn’t end.

Exactly. But it will happen someday. Jesus wants us to be ready anytime either for His coming again or for when He decides for any of us that it is time for our life to end and we go to be with Him in Heaven. We should love Jesus and try to live like He taught us and talk with Him in prayer and let Him guide us. Then we won’t be afraid of whatever is going on in our lives or in the world.

Grandma, you said that Jesus told us about a lot of things that would happen in the world before it would end or before He would come again. Where is that in the Bible? And are those things already happening yet?

In the Gospel of Matthew, the 24th chapter, He told us about such things as wars and famines and earthquakes and Christians being persecuted and some people even saying that Christ has already come back. That was more than two thousand years ago and such things have been happening in every generation.

But Grandma, natural disasters are happening all over the world now. Lots of aweful earthquakes and tornadoes and the big floods and the fires out West and…remember when Daddy and I were visiting Thailand a few years ago and the tsunami came right while we were there?

It does seem that those things are increasing. God may be letting us know that we should be prepared. But Jesus said, “See that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet...all this is but the beginning of the sufferings.”

Then Jesus’ coming could be close, right? How will we know when He really does come? Won’t we miss Him if we aren’t exactly at the place on earth where He is going to arrive!

Not to worry. Jesus said, “For as lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man…and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; …the powers of the heavens will be shaken…and he will send out his angels with a great trumpet call….” There are more details that you can read for yourself. You won’t miss Him, Jeffrey!

Whew! That’s a relief! Does that mean that everyone in the world will see Him instantly all at the same time? Like the live news on TV?

Probably better than that! Only God knows the timeline when all these things will happen or exactly what it will be like. We just have to leave the details to Him. That’s why Jesus told us not to set dates.

Is that the time when those who are dead will be raised first and they will get their new bodies that won’t die anymore? And we who are still living will get new bodies too? Where are the verses about all that?

Saint Paul explains more about that for us in 1 Thessalonians chapters 4 and 5. Remember this: for sure Jesus is coming back again. He promised. At Mass we say "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again!"

And in the Apostles' Creed I just memorized last week, "...He will come again to judge the living and the dead." It's exciting! I can't wait! I wish Jesus would really come back today. But…ok…I know, I know…no date setting, right?

Yes, it could be today--or any day. We should just be ready!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mommy Life: Happy Mother's Day - funny!

You want a belly laugh?

Ah, the video below is too true! We raised 4 sons...and ONCE, yes, once they surprised us--it was on our 40th wedding anniversary--by giving us a large framed studio picture. All 4 had on suit jackets (wonder of wonders!!!) and incredibly well-matched ties.

I found out later that all the suit jackets and ties belonged to one of them...could it have been that the other 3 appeared at the studio for the photo not appropriately clad?! And the one who knew his brothers well, had come prepared for every eventuality? I was never told!

One, who will remain unnamed, had a wrinkled collar and knot loosely tied but a most engaging smile! All were smiling, doubtless dutifully echoing "Cheeeeze!" A winning photo for sure! It is still up on our wall these many years. Not one of my sons has ever disclosed what went on behind the scenes or how many proofs were rejected before this one was selected.

Every holiday we go through the same other families find this familiar?
The moan in unison, "Ohhhhh no! Mom wants us all to take a picture together AGAIN!"
All group pictures of our "Gang of Four" have been casual and candid snapshots ever since that one-and-only studio event. And I love each one! What's not to love if you are a mother?

Click here to make your day:
Mommy Life: Happy Mother's Day - funny!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


It is quite hip to talk about green these days—politically correct, in fact.

As if to echo that, suddenly it seems that my whole world has turned green! The gray, dull, and drab of winter has given way to spring almost overnight.

When I look out the picture window from my kitchen table over the woods and vales of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where I live, abundant, flourishing greenery stretches as far as my eyes can see. After God's pyrotechnic-like display for several stormy, windy, cloudburst nights—accompanied by under-the-blanket-hiding thunder boomers, new bursts of green everywhere make it look as if I’m living in an Amazon rain forest.

I meditated on God's marvelous creation to give me eyesight and all the rest of my senses so that I can enjoy it; That was God’s idea so that I can feel the fresh green, breathe it in, smell it, feel it, hear the wind rustle through the green leaves, even taste it (in salads!). Why do I take my senses for granted? Thank You, Lord, that I am not colorblind so I can appreciate the generous, artistic splashes of color in this world which You created for the pleasure of man and then sent him to cultivate it. I praise You together with Your lavishly beautiful creation which, when You, as the Master Artist, selected Your paints for your Earth canvas, started with a background color of GREEN.


Leona Choy

It must be one of His favorite creation colors
not only for splendor and beauty but
as a manifestation of life and growth
"essential to production of carbohydrates
by photosynthesis."

God thought up that marvelous process
without which we could not live!

Look at the generous way
God splashes green around so lavishly:
laying a verdant carpet for me to walk on
providing it for animals and man to eat
decorating trees with green in spring
displaying multi-hues of green foliage
keeping evergreens alive
to contrast with blankets of white winter snow
embracing plants and flowers with green leafy arms
providing lettuce and spinach for my salad.
What a sense of humor God must have
to grow green veggies in whimsical shapes
like asparagus, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts
swish green into seaweed in the ocean
and float watercress in quiet, fresh streams!

"The righteous will flourish and grow
into old age full of sap and very GREEN"*
That means me!
Clothed in the righteousness of Christ
not in my own achievements
I should not be like withered leaf and brown
but full of inner vitality
flowing from His abiding in me and I in Him
flourishing like a green palm tree
bearing fruit in all seasons of my life.*
Since God is so partial to GREEN
then GREEN I aspire to be
full of Divine chlorophyll
to please Him obediently!

*Psalm 92:12-15

Copyright 2011 Leona Choy

From her unpublished work,

LATTER RAIN: Wordsmithing late-in-the-season

Saturday, April 30, 2011


I was startled on my regular route into the town of Winchester, VA where I live, by a huge billboard with the words in gigantic caps:


As I drove by, I glanced below the wording expecting to see some kind of religious advertisement or a sacred music event. All I could see was a series of colorful logos of local high schools and colleges. And the name of a local bank emblazoned at the bottom. (It happened to be where I do my banking.)

I thought I would inquire what that is all about the next time I do business with that bank.

SPIRIT CHECKING. Meanwhile, the wording itself caught my attention each time I made a trip in that direction. The billboard was coincidentally also positioned near the place where a state police car often "hides" behind a little hill only partially visible to oncoming or passing traffic.

SPIRIT CHECKING. What's more, that billboard stands almost exactly where two years ago I had a brief, very brief, lapse of awareness to slow down on a certain Sunday morning on the way to Church in what seems to be a deliberate speed trap. Precisely here the normal 55 mph in our semi-countryside apple orchard area divided highway suddenly is posted 45 and then almost immediately 35. This is a route I take daily to Mass and the only route I can take wherever I need to go into town--and I always dutifully slowed down! Except that ONE time....

SPIRIT CHECKING. Yes, that one and only time did cost me an unbelievably hefty $ $ traffic ticket (my first, I'll have you know!) Nevertheless, when my auto insurance came due, the company dropped my policy...Imagine! And I had a clean record on their books, always paid my premiums on time! And no accident or traffic violations on my police record either! Don't get me started on this....I don't want to talk about age discrimination.... I bit the bullet, painfully paid the fine, found another insurance company (at a higher rate, it figures!) and moved on with my life....

SPIRIT CHECKING. I do slow down as I approach the police-hiding-hill now, whether I spot the police car there or not. I am acutely aware of my driving habits. (Of course, I always was!) I'm careful not to have lapses nor even dream of accelerating just a wee bit more if I am late. I even invested in a little silver key ring thing that dangles on my rearview mirror with the inscription, "Don't drive faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!"

SPIRIT CHECKING. Whatever that billboard is about (and I eventually found out from a friend that there are logos of your fav sports team or your child's school that you can order printed on your banking checks) I find myself searching my own heart and conscience to see if the Holy Spirit is putting His finger on anything in my life that may be grieving Him or quenching Him through omission of one of Jesus' commands or commission--lack of obedience in some area where He has been speaking to me. It serves as an examination of conscience.

SPIRIT CHECKING. Well, that billboard speaks volumes to me. I wonder if anyone else has a prick of conscience or thinks about the spiritual implications as they drive by? Or...just maybe...God had that billboard erected just for me??


Catholic By Grace: Divine Mercy or Blessed Assurance?

Catholic By Grace: Divine Mercy or Blessed Assurance? (Click on the link)

Since tomorrow, May 1, is our celebration of DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY, I share this post from a friend-blogger, also a rather recent Catholic Christian. I consider this a valid and sensitive biblical explanation--with which I agree--of the difference between presumption and trust in God's loving mercy.

As we sing at Catholic Mass now, and as we sang when I was an evangelical,

"There's a wideness in God's mercy/Like the wideness of the sea;
There's a kindness in God's justice/which is more than liberty;
There is plentiful redemption/in the blood that has been shed;
There is joy for all the members/in the sorrows of the Head."


This is an encore blog post…just ‘cause I feel like it...and it is spring!

And because CZECHING MY ROOTS is the half-price discount book-of-the-month for MAY which you may order through my e-mail address on the header. Instead of $17.95, it is discounted to $9 plus $3 S/H!

This excerpt is from the Introduction to my published autobiography, CZECHING MY ROOTS. When each new springtime rolls around, I thank God for so generously blessing me with my multi-generational life:

“Time passes so quickly. The stages of life focus in and fade out as the spotlight shines on changing dramas and new characters. How enriching are all our experiences, both difficult and joyful, if we learn to savor each moment as we live it!”

The concluding poem, STAGE OF GENERATIONS, I wrote at the end of this post sums it all up….

What’s in The Trunk?

My husband and I were the trunk of our family tree and our four sons, Richard, Clifford, Gary and Jeff, are the branches. Our grandchildren and the children they will have and the generations to come are the spreading branches.

Suddenly, so it seems, I find myself “the matriarch” in chronological age and the only remaining part of the trunk of my family tree.

Some of our branches are offspring from our own biological trunk—authentic Chinese Czechers—our sons and some of our grandchildren. But we have also enthusiastically welcomed the grafting of some new branches into our tree by extended family relationships—marriage, blended families and adoption. I embrace grafted branches just as warmly as branches sprouting from our original trunk. We treasure them equally because they were lovingly chosen. They enrich our family tree and bear wonderful varieties of fruit that our original tree could not have produced.

Our trunk is unique because it is made up of two people from two geographically and culturally separate root systems. My husband, Ted, was from the continent of Asia, from the ancient historic land of China. My heritage is from the continent of Europe, from what is now The Czech Republic. We met and married on still another continent, North America, to which my forefathers came to seek a better life.

Soon we who are part of the present main trunk will be the roots of those who come after us. Some of our branches have already become trunks in their own right and their young, extended branches before long will mature into trunks too. An entire human forest will spring up around our main trunk!

Although my generation calls itself the main trunk at present, we are the offspring and descendants of the branch systems of the past generation, in fact, of all generations that have gone before. I believe all of us are here in the plan of God and in His foreordained continuity stream of life, and our posterity will be part of God’s unfolding plan.

The Christian heritage passed to my husband and me from each of our grandparents, who spoke different languages and grew up far apart on this planet, was no coincidence. Ted and I believed it was appointed by God. We, in turn, have the joy and obligation and privilege to pass this treasure on to our children and to our children’s children as a Christian legacy throughout what remains of human history.


I have roots and also branches.

I am part of what has been

and what is yet to be.

In between is me:

the trunk of the family tree.

Through me pass

generations from antiquity

who have determined

what I have become.

They are my history.

They have molded me.

From me new branches spring.

They are my posterity.

Some choice I have

to assist and incline them

toward the best

of what they might become.

Still, they are free

to grow and change

within the range

of their heredity and opportunity

and God’s special plan

arranged from Eternity.

For me, the trunk between,

I pray that I might be

a planting strong against

the inevitable storms

yet bending with the wind

passing on the best

from roots unseen

but giving branches room

to stretch and reach

upward to new heights

because I fulfilled

with the help of God

my trunk destiny.

Unfortunately, neither my husband nor I could trace our roots back very far. Both of us regret that we didn't ask our parents and grandparents more questions about their early lives and what they remembered of their roots. It is pointless to feel guilty—children rarely care about their roots when they see their more exciting futures stretching out seemingly open-end ahead of them. It rarely seems to matter to youth where they came from. They are usually concerned only with where they are going after school tomorrow.

In your youth, you view daily events up close, as through a microscope. Usually it takes the seasoning of life, the more mature years, before you think about and value your roots. Eventually you begin to see your life in a broader panorama, on a wider screen than you did in your youth. You can see further when you’ve climbed some of the higher hills of life and experienced the valleys between. You have the advantage of looking back over your shoulder to see where you've come from and forward to where you are going.

I embarked upon this creative and nostalgic adventure of writing my story in order to leave a heritage. God handed me the baton in life’s race only for my lifetime. Now I am responsible to pass it on to the next generation.

The words of a song by Jon Mohr express it well for me:

“Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,

Let us run the race, not only for the prize;

But, as those who’ve gone before us,

Let us leave for those behind us

The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives.

Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.

May the fire of our devotion light their way.

May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe,

And the lives we live inspire them to obey.

Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.”

Our descendants may not fully appreciate this historical saga now, just as we would not have valued it when we were younger. But it will be available when they, too, reach the summit of some of life’s hills and long to search for and find the gold of the past.

Time passes so quickly. The stages of life focus in and fade out as the spotlight shines on changing dramas and new characters. How enriching are all our experiences, both difficult and joyful, if we learn to savor each moment as we live it!


I've greeted many mornings like this one:

fresh, spring mornings, year after year.

They may appear the same

because nature’s garments never go out of style

but I am not the same as I was

in those bygone springtimes.

As a child

I walked on tiptoe, wide-eyed in wonder

as if I were the first to discover nature.

Everything was new to me

although ancient as time and creation.

In my youth

nature seemed to be a setting for the private stage

on which my emotions played the leading parts.

I could hardly wait to turn another page

in the thrilling script of my life.

Then, at summer’s noonday,

I saw spring approach again

with hushed and measured steps

taking off her verdant cloak and laying it down

under the sun in my garden

so that my own son*

still bundled in winter wear

could poke at the peeping crocus in the soft soil

and laugh at the chirping robin

with anticipation in his new eyes

to see his pristine world.

Soon, ah, too soon, at prime of life

I watch my grandson* stomping his toddler feet

bouncing innocently in my tulip bed

bubbling with unsullied delight

over his chaste, new world.

And now, in life's autumn time,

I still welcome spring’s approach

with open arms and eager heart.

Generations focus in, fade out—

and what of me?

I see at last life’s harmony

in perfect panorama:


the world a splendid stage

the changing season-scenes

both neophyte players and the pros

some hiding behind gilded masks

others garbed in tattered costumes

or flaunting sequined velvet.

The stages of life may alternate

between dim, shadowy scenery

and klieg-lighted brilliance.

But over all

producing and directing

perfectly orchestrating

the ever-cycling dramas of my life



* I’m blessed by God that I’ve experienced these words in plural and gender inclusive and multigenerational = children, grandchildren, and now I’m super-abundantly blessed with great-grandchildren!

“The Lord has dealt bountifully with me” (Ps.116:7); “The Lord satisfies your years with good things” (Ps. 103:5; “May you see your children’s children…” (Ps. 128:6).