Saturday, May 26, 2018


(Guest Post) What if?

"This morning the Bible program that is always open on my computer crashed. I could have gone inside to get a Bible, but what if they had all been confiscated by the government because of the “hate language” they contained? What if it was a crime, punishable by death, to share my faith in Jesus Christ?

ostrich 2
Sounds far-fetched? Not really unless we’ve buried our head in the sand and refused to recognize the growing hostility toward Christians in our nation. Not unless we’ve chosen to ignore how our brothers and sisters around the world are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ.

I got home at 1:00 am Wednesday morning from directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference for the 22nd year. I couldn’t help but wonder if this would be the last year for the conference.

I’m NOT quitting and I’m NOT retiring even though I am 73. 

(Leona's note: I'm 20 years older than Marlene and still PRESSING ON REGARDLESS)

But I can’t assume that next year Christians will be free to gather or that our nation will even exist. When, not if, our economy collapses, we’ll have anarchy on our streets. If an EMT destroys our electrical grid, we’ll be back in the middle ages. Or if enemies intent on destroying America and Israel unleash another 911.
The sad fact for America is that
our sin has made God our enemy.
Because of the rejection of God and His Word
and because we have exchanged
the God of Life for the gods of death
and perversion,
America is already under
the Hand of God’s judgment.
If there is no national confession of sin and if we cannot find a heart of repentance, a Holy God will complete his judgment; either by the complete annihilation or subjugation of what was once a great and godly people or by rendering it completely irrelevant on the world stage.

And so with a growing urgency each year the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference [which Marlene established and still directs] strives to “encourage and equip Christians to write about a God who is real, who is reachable, and who changes lives.” Whether through fiction or nonfiction, articles, poetry, or screenplays, we must “Write His Answer.”

(Leona adds:
Neither am I quitting or retiring. I'm taking [as deep a breath as I can with a chronically compromised lung from cancer surgery 28 years ago] to pursue my vision to pass on the writing baton to another generation of Christian writers. I'm going forward regardless of a mountain of "what ifs"--personal or national.

Jesus already warned us that "the night is coming when no man can work." I am a realist but full of hope to keep on "redeeming the time" I have left.)

Friday, May 25, 2018


I published an entire book recently on this topic.

"Press the PAUSE button" was the subtitle of my book SELAH REFLECTIONS.

The word SELAH seems to be a mystery word in the Hebrew language. It occurs only in the Old Testament, 71 times in the Psalms. Since its exact meaning is obscure, most versions of the Bible don't even attempt to translate it but let it stand straight from the Hebrew.

Whether it's a musical term, an instruction to singers, indicates a PAUSE to praise God or to linger briefly and meditate on what is being said or written, I have combined all the possible meanings in my book: PAUSE, be silent, calmly think about this, ponder over it, meditate on it in your mind and spirit--then put it into action.

I filled this book with short, personal thought-reflections offering them as my own experiences to share with the reader to SELAH and PAUSE, to glean whatever Christian truth they might reveal. 

I call them sound bites in print, savory word snacks which I first posted as mini-articles on my blog: I grew a book out of my blog posts and compiled them under the SELAH theme.

All of us need the SELAH PAUSES desperately in our often accelerated lives in the daily fast lane. We seem to have lost our appetite for quiet contemplation or we have never even experienced it.

How I need "the PAUSE that refreshes"! Why does it seem so difficult to program it into my crowded days? I try to find SELAH moments to press the PAUSE button and capture opportunities to laud and applaud God from Whom all blessings flow. Then my "to do" list doesn't seem so ominous.

Thursday, May 24, 2018


Now is never too late and you are never too old to start doing something new! 

Let me tell you about my still-never-met-in-person author friend, Louise. I love to applaud other writers and recommend their books. The book shown above is a page-turner. My cup of tea got cold because I couldn't put this book down. 

I did have a problem. I thought I was reading my own writing--Louise and I are so in sync on topic, writing style, many mutual life experiences, long-term widowhood, a love for the Lord and desire to uplift the attitudes of our fellow calendar-challenged friends.

I'm a lifelong writer, but Louise's writing career began at age seventy-nine. Since then, she has written six outstanding books. Not having read her other books, although I intend to, I recommend this one without reservations.

Louise is not a newbie in life experience, however. She has taught in all levels of education from elementary school through college,    and in the prison system. A widow since the passing of her husband in his fifties, she has raised her family, managed a Christian Retreat Center for fifteen years and served as the Spiritual Director in a psychiatric hospital.

Would you believe? She says her greatest accomplishments have been since her mid-seventies when she started going to China to teach in an underground Bible school! There we are in sync again with our China connection. And certainly in our mutual desire to leave a legacy through our writings and personal witness wherever  the Lord has planted us.

Now in her late eighties, Louise is out there busily speaking to Christian Writer's Conferences, on radio, making YouTube videos with her humor and continuing to live it up--and write more.

MAKE THE REST OF YOUR DAYS THE BEST OF YOUR DAYS is no small book at 233 pages. How user-friendly is it? The ultimate: she has packed each chapter with her own life experience vignettes and those of others--you eagerly await her next illustration and it comes quickly.  Her format is to use bite-sized, usually half-page topics with phrase appetizers to whet your appetite. Ideal for the diminishing attention span of the senior reader.

The subject Louise is exploring is the best real life exposition of the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes chapter 12 that I have ever read. Several thousand years ago, the author, King Solomon, gave a poetic but rather dismal description of what happens to an aging body--to any aging person then and now. Louise brings it up-to-date without sparing any punches with her personal, earthy illustrations. If you are anywhere near the AARP age you will relate to her uninhibited examples dished out with spice and humor.

She doesn't leave us dangling in suspense and depression as we face the deterioration of our mortal bodies, as the apostle Paul so well laid it out in 2 Corinthians chapter four, verses 16-18.  Louise shows us, not just tells us, how not to "lose heart" with the downhill slide of our outer person, but to "be renewed day by day."

She demonstrates how a Christian can cultivate a godly, joyful life that radiates from within regardless of what is happening to our "earth suits." (We both use that term in our writing, although we didn't know each other or had ever read one another's writings until  a few weeks ago.)

Louise is so well-grounded in God's Word and so adept at finding just the right verse to season her illustrations that her writing flows seamlessly. I was so sorry that her book ended. At the same time, there was satisfactory closure to the topic. I was left restless and yet recharged to continue applying the principles from the Word even into my own life as a nonagenarian.

My new friend didn't leave me without consolation. With her book came a CD of Scriptures For Encouragement read by Louise in her sweet Southern accent, accompanied by the gentle strains of background flute music of familiar hymns played by one of her granddaughters. I'm on my eighth listen-through since I slid the disk into my Toyota's CD player for my drives into town. The Word of God is  "dwelling in [my ears] richly."

I must tell you where to find my friend Louise. Go there. Really. And beside this book, see what other book you can order and savor for yourself.