Saturday, October 28, 2017


I prefer to say I'm “concerned” about something or someone. I shy away from admitting to the word “worry” as if it were a naughty four letter word.

 But if I'm honest and look within at my inner self, I see the ugly evidence of anxiety. In excess, worry is an addiction. As a Christian supposedly mature from a lifetime of faith and trust in God, certainly mature in calendar years, I nevertheless have to declare, as participants are required to do in AA meetings, “My name is Leona and I'm a recovering worrier.” As with any addiction, one is always still in process. Even as a child of God, I tend to slip back into worry. I try to excuse myself that it's just a part of the package of living. After all, there's a whole lot to be “concerned” about, isn't there?

The dictionary defines “anxious” as distress or uneasiness due to apprehension or anticipation of danger or misfortune or the future; troubled in mind, fearful, disquieted, nervous, on edge. Okay, so the fact is that anxiety and worry, is a mental condition. I originates in the mind. God has created us with free will and that includes our choice of what we think about. God has made us capable of “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). 
That is not something God is going to do for us. It is a matter of mind control. It's our responsibility to go after the wild worries with a net and capture them and bring them back to orderly confidence in Christ. The apostle Paul makes it clear that it is our business to “set our mind on the things above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2). I have to admit that it's those earthly things that make me anxious.

Philippians 4:8 is a comprehensive litany of what we should think about—all positive and confident—and without a hint of worry or anxiety or apprehension or fear or distress on the list. “Let your mind dwell on these things!” That means me. No excuses or self-justification.

The Scriptures are full of anti-worry, anti-anxiety teachings. Let's put a magnifying glass to some of the details and with David, the Psalmist, pray “Try me, know my anxious thoughts” (Psalm 139:23). Yes, it's all in my mind. What good does worry do anyway?

Matt. 6:27And who among you, by being anxious, is able to add one hour to his life span?” Other versions say add, a single foot to his height. [Exercise and nutrition obsessions?] This instruction focuses on anxiety about how long or short a time God wants me to live on Planet Earth.

From the mouth of Jesus Himself, (Matt 6:25) "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” That takes care of anxiety about mealtimes, shopping for clothes, housing needs, and all other concerns of the human body and daily living [body building and illnesses and health insurance?] To break it down still further, “anxiety about the cares of this life, and the deceit of riches” [careers and salaries and retirement benefits] in 13:22 worry about those things “choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” How about anxiety for how we should answer people in our witness, our speech and words? (Matt. 10:19)

In Luke 10:41 Jesus zeroed in further on anxiety about food preparation and hospitality and spiritual priorities, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things.” Compound that with seemingly just anxiety about what's going on in society and politics and government and international affairs today (Luke 21:26) Who isn't worried? “While men's hearts are fainting for fear, and for anxious expectation of what is coming on the world. For the forces which control the heavens will be disordered and of good cheer, I have overcome the world....” And anxiety about relationships that are confused, about married life or the lack thereof? (I Cor 7:32) “I want you to be free from anxieties.

To sum it up, Paul warns and instructs, (Phil. 4:6) “In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” That's the bottom line to cover anything else I'm inclined to be worried or anxious about.

I stand without excuse. When worry rises up in my mind, I need to  get back to kindergarten, backtrack to the basics of my earlier, more simple childlike walk with God and trust in His providence as the antidote. Under ordinary circumstances, children don't worry. They trust that their needs and wants are provided for them. 

 I need to focus on the certainty of His love and mercy and Fatherly care for me in all the intimate details of this mortal life. Back to trust and a peaceful heart and mind. And to do my part to capture those wayward anxious thoughts with the free will God has given me and the strength that Jesus provides.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


When I was in middle school "back in the olden days" we learned to sing classic songs like The Road to Mandalay. I was intrigued by the description of a sunrise as "the dawn comes up like thunder out of China 'cross the Bay." No, it doesn't! Dawn always arrives quietly, gently, as if wearing bedroom slippers.

I admit to ignoring dawn most of the time as I remain snuggled under my comforter with the window curtains drawn. But on rare occasions like the one I've described below, I've experienced the awesome splendor of an unforgettable sunrise which the Creator paints for us so faithfully and regularly whether we are aware of it or not.

Leona Choy

I wait in pre-dawn darkness
watching for the sun's first ray while
blue and gray overlay 
the achromatic horizon.
Silently a blushing tint of anticipation
steals from beyond the tree line
to lighten the purple shadows.

I begin to see the frosted fence rails
hidden by the unlit night
green pines stand motionless
revealed now in stark silhouette.
An eagle in flight sails slow-motion across
the powder-blue canopy of sky while
golden streaks dispel dusky apparitions.

The eerie scene begins to assume
familiar friendly features while
mist still hugs bronzed tree tops
shorn of autumn brilliance.
Another eagle circles and returns...
is it her mate seeking her?
Frost has aerosoled late October grass
turning the meadow into an albescent carpet.
For a moment dark clouds threaten to hide
the sunrise as I wait, scarce breathing:
Will I miss the main feature after all?
No! I rise to my feet in worship!
Burnt-gold leaps boldly upward
thrusting aside the indigo mass
showering me with warmth and brilliance.

The blazing sun catapults into view
as from a celestial launching pad
into the space of a fresh, new day
blushing the shy white clouds crimson.
I cannot bear to gaze upon this spectacle:
I shade my eyes at the flaming finale.

A fog blanket still shrouds the valley below
but God begins to paint powder-blue across
the vast sky canvas with a wide brush
until a daytime dome appears overhead
paling deep hues into muted pastels.

An alarm clock jangles by some distant bedside
forcing me reluctantly back to mortal thoughts
by the intrusiveness of prosaic human routine.
But I have been an awed and adoring spectator
privileged to stand on nature's sacred ground
to view the miracle of an autumn dawn.

I stand transfixed in silent worship 
not of created sun and nature's video display
but of the Creator of heaven and earth.
The memory of God's enchanting wake-up call
lingers through my day's mundane routine
reminding me that God is over all
of ordered nature, seasons, space and time
and human endeavors...
including mine!

Saturday, October 21, 2017


We were calendar-challenged, longevity-ites sitting around after lunch leisurely sipping our De-cafs and exchanging views about the merits and bedside manner, or lack of it, of the various -ologists each of us was consulting. 

"It seems the only time I go out and about is to keep my doctors' appointments. A pretty dull life otherwise,” offered one of our impromptu experts. “Where's the blessing of long life? Why am I still here? Declining health and limited strength—it's all downhill,” added another.

An octogenarian chimed in: “The younger generation is taking over and nobody wants to hear our accumulated wisdom. The Apostle Paul had it right when he wrote that it is 'far better to depart and be with Christ.' There's nothing left for us here anymore. To die is gain.”

Why would anyone choose to stick around on earth just to become useless and fragile and fade away while being a burden to others?” another agreed.

Don't take his words out of context,” reminded one of our younger girls, a mere septuagenarian. “Those verses in the first chapter of Philippians were Paul's personal letter from prison to his friends who were probably new Christians. He would have known that he really didn't have any choice because his life and the length of it was in God's hands. He would have been quite aged himself as he wrote this.”

Actually, Paul was simply exploring two alternatives. One was to be with Christ in His eternal state, and the other was to remain in the flesh longer. This result of the second, he wrote: “would mean fruitful labor for me...for your sake...more necessary for your progress and joy in the faith.” So Paul said he was convinced that he would probably remain alive to keep preaching and witnessing for Christ. History tells us, however, that he only had a short opportunity left. In a few short months he would be martyred and literally depart to be with Christ. Meanwhile, he was imprisoned, isolated, and spent his time writing letters.

Was this seemingly insignificant activity the important “fruitful labor” he imagined doing? It turned out that Paul's major spiritual legacy for the years, the centuries, the millenia to come was not primarily actively traveling around preaching but letter writing. And not with the ease of a computer or email or even a typewriter, but with painstaking efforts on scrolls while in a dank prison or under other adverse conditions. Did he know what a permanent impact his letters would have until this very day? He took his apparently small window of opportunity and God enlarged it and gave it permanence beyond his imagination.

I recently read an insightful meditation related to our discussion in so I shared it with my fellow longevity-ites:

Am I living in such a way that in my joys and in my sorrows I intentionally and explicitly tell others of God’s faithfulness in my life? You and I have been given relatively just a few short years to live. While you still have breath, take time to tell of God’s faithfulness in your life, of His power and His loving kindness to you and those you love. Don't let your life be a missed opportunity to encourage and strengthen the faith of others, even those not yet born. Your faithfulness in life and death can be a story of God’s mighty acts that lives on for generations to come! Take time to write out the stories of God’s faithfulness in your life so that they can be preserved for future generations.”

That's a wake-up call to action for all of us but especially for us who are already in the autumn/winter season of our lives. That's exactly why we are still here, still in the flesh, no matter how old or tattered or fragile our “earth suit” has become.

The psalm-writing King David knew that very well and spelled it out clearly in Psalm 92:12-15. He said that God's expectation and mandate for us in advancing years was to “keep growing and flourishing and stay planted firmly in our faith and yield fruit in our old age” – and do what? “To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” To intentionally speak up for God and leave no doubt in the minds and hearts of those dear to you and in your circle of influence that God is your Rock.

Why are we still here as the years tick by? The answer is simple: To leave a legacy with our family and friends and our circle of influence whether we speak to them, write letters to them like the apostle Paul, or write down in some user-friendly way a witness to your faith in God. “Let each generation tell its children of Your mighty acts let them proclaim Your power” (Psalm 145:4 NLT). Has God's goodness and mercy followed you in your ups and downs of life? Are you thankful? Are you blessed? Declare it!

You don't have to write a book or be a polished communicator. God expects of us only what we are capable of. Do you need help? My book below is available to you to order by email, I will walk with you step by step to leave footprints on paper as a legacy of your life to pass on a precious treasure to your posterity more valuable than a rich estate.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Personal Nostalgia

I ran across some nostalgic history depicted in this old photograph from 1952...65 years ago! where have all the years gone? 

I was still in my twenties and newly returned to the U.S. from living and in mission ministry with my husband Ted in Hong Kong and Singapore. Communist political upheaval in China prevented our going into the Mainland in mission work at that time.

Of course it was the first glimpse of the U.S. for our 3 little guys who had British birth certificates since they were born in Hong Kong which was then still a British Crown Colony. However the children traveled on my American passport.

Daddy Ted unfortunately had to stay in Singapore for another year to finish his teaching contract at the Seminary there.  My Dad had recently suddenly died at age 59 and my Mom in Iowa was in poor health so, as an only child, I felt the need to return from overseas to help her. 

The children and I made the trek back to Cedar Rapids on a Dutch ship from Asia through the Suez Canal to England and then by the old QE II ocean liner to New York and by train to Iowa. It took 30 days in all!

Imagined captions and comments from the four of us in the photo as we arrived back in the U.S.
        Rick (at right) "This is all a big joke, right?!"
        Cliff (at left) "I want my Daddy!"
        Gary (on lap) "                    "  I'm not talking yet.
    Mom Leona (No comment. My expression tells it all! I felt like a zombie)

Our oldest was only three years old and the youngest was five months. Those were the days "before Pampers." Two of our little boys were in diapers and required bottle feeding. (After baby Gary was born, Cliffie decided he wanted a bottle again and reverted to diapers!) Neither ship had laundry service or a nursery or any assistance so I had to manage alone 24/7 -- including washing cloth diapers in the tiny ship's cabin basin and hanging them all over our windowless cabin on a lower deck to hopefully dry. 

Honestly, I don't remember exactly how I managed!? Be thankful for all the conveniences and comforts and labor saving devices and luxuries available to raise babies and kids today! I compare their ages with the ages of my great-grand-kiddos now and ask their parents to imagine themselves in my shoes in the mid-twentieth century. 

Duh! I remember almost nothing about the entire ocean voyage. We left from a tropical climate and arrived to a blustery winter snowstorm at the end of November in New York. The kids went from sun suits to snowsuits, and as a result colds and coughs and pediatric appointments the entire first year.
Let's be thankful for all the conveniences and comforts and labor saving devices and luxuries available to raise babies and kids today!

Moral of the story? God will help you through anything! No exceptions! Trust me, I know. When you are young, you think nothing is impossible and you can do everything. Thankfully, as you grow in maturity you find out how much you need to lean on God in every season of life and through all the ups and downs that inevitably come with raising families--and in just living. Time does erase the hardships and even negative memories.

The bright side: Eventually the babies grow up and have babies of their own and then the babies have babies and give you the great honor of becoming a great-grandma!  I have become a happy camper, rejoicing in God's generous gift of longevity, thanking God for all the rich decades of life I've lived through and the incredible opportunities God has given me to serve Him. I count my blessings by the ton!

* Read more stories in Leona's autobiography Czeching My Roots. Order by email:

Monday, October 9, 2017



 “They who wait for the Lord (hope in the Lord) will gain new strength (will renew their strength); they will mount up with wings (sprout wings) like eagles (soar as with eagles wings), they will run and not get tired (not grow weary), they will walk and not become weary (walk and not grow faint).”Isaiah 40:31 (Combined New American Standard Bible and The New American Bible, and Amplified Version)

Below are some QUOTED INSIGHTS from my Bible research as I explored the above verse in various commentaries.

“[Shall renew their strength] The Hebrew word commonly means to change, to alter; and then to revive, to renew, to cause to flourish again, as, e.g., a tree that has decayed and fallen down (see Isa 9:10; and Job 14:7 – 9. Check out this excellent comparison). Here it is evidently used in the sense of renewing, or causing to revive; to increase, and to restore that which is decayed. It means that the people of God who trust in him shall become strong in faith; able to contend with their spiritual foes, to gain the victory over their sins, and to discharge aright the duties, and to meet aright the trials of life. God gives them strength, if they seek him in the way of his appointment—a promise which has been verified in the experience of his people in every age [and at every season of human life].

“[They shall mount up with wings as eagles] One translation is 'They shall put forth fresh feathers like the moulting eagle;' and in the note on this passage, 'It has been a common and popular opinion that the eagle lives and retains his vigor to a great age; and that, beyond the common lot of other birds, he molts in his old age, and renews his feathers, and with them his youth.' 

The passage in Ps. 103:5, 'So that thy youth is renewed like the eagles,' refers to this fact. This was a common and popular understanding among the ancient biblical writers. The opinion was, that at stated times late in its life the eagle plunged itself into the sea and cast off its old feathers, and that new feathers started forth, and that thus it lived vigorously often to the hundredth year. In accordance with this opinion, the Septuagint renders this passage, 'They shall put forth fresh feathers [pterofueesousin] like eagles.' Vulgate, Assument pennas sicut aquiloe.
“The literal meaning of the Hebrew is, 'they shall ascend on wings as eagles,' or 'they shall lift up the wings as eagles;' and the image is derived from the fact that the eagle rises on the strongest, most vigorous wings of any bird, and ascends apparently further toward the sun. The figure, therefore, denotes strength and vigor of purpose; strong and manly piety; an elevation above the world; communion with God, and a nearness to his throne—as the eagle ascends toward the sun. 
“[They shall run and not be weary] This passage, also, is but another mode of expressing the same idea—that they who trust in God would be vigorous, elevated, unwearied; that he would sustain and uphold them; and that in his service they would never faint. This was at first designed to be applied to the Jews in captivity in Babylon to induce them to put their trust in God. But it is as true now as it was at that time. It has been found in the experience of thousands and tens of thousands, that by waiting on the Lord the heart has been invigorated; the faith has been confirmed; and the affections have been raised above the world. Strength has been given to bear trial without complaining, to engage in arduous duty without fainting, to pursue the perilous and toilsome journey of life without exhaustion, and to rise above the world in hope and peace on the bed of death.(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Leona’s comment: The Scriptures emphasize the need for deliberate detachment from sin and negative lifestyle (molting our tired, worn, old feathers) and greater attachment to God’s eternal truths and a holy lifestyle (renewing our spiritual strength.) Many biblical passages affirm the need for this double-edged action: “Put off the old man, put on the new nature; put aside the works of darkness, walk in the light, etc.” Practical lists of the “put offs” and “put ons” (attachments and detachments) are given to us so we are not left in doubt of what God wants us to do.

In our advanced years, most of us have accumulated a great deal from which we need to be detached, things that need to be put off by virtue of how long we have lived. We have a lot of molting to do! And fresh, new feathers to grow! 

But the rewards are wonderful: Youth renewed! Soaring closer to God! New strength and vigor for the rest of the way flourishing in the toilsome journey of life!

Sunday, October 8, 2017


I was only 65 years old. My unexpected lung cancer surgery for the removal of the large third of my right lung took place on October 8, 1990. Today is my anniversary of that date.

While in recovery, in answer to my question of what I could or should not do from that point to prevent a recurrence of cancer, my renowned pulmonary surgeon Dr. Jack Curtis, a Christian, to the best of my recollection answered the following: “Since we don't know the cause of your cancer and your lifestyle is already good, continue to live your life as God may lead you. It is in His hands whether you make it without recurrence to the five year mark or—even beyond. Nothing can abort His plan for your life until He has fulfilled His purpose for and through you.”

Through the goodness and plan of God I have been living in that extended bonus “even beyond” for the past 27 years. I am in my 92nd year. “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth (recount and tell aloud) all Your marvelous works
 and wonderful deeds! I will rejoice in You
and be in high spirits 
 Psalm 9:1,2 (Amplified Version).  Despite ups and downs, hills and valleys, joys and sorrows I have tried to faithfully use to the fullest my “renewed eagle time” (Psalm 103:5). Whatever spiritual fruit I have borne is for God's glory.

As a long time cancer survivor I have learned many lessons from God and I have written a book to help others who are experiencing illness: Hospital Gowns Don't Have Pockets. In thanksgiving to the Lord for His goodness and mercy to me, I want to give a free copy of that 314 page book to anyone who requests it by I would appreciate your covering the postage, if you can.

It is hardly possible that there is anyone who hasn't experienced some illness or accident (or eventually will) or doesn't have friends and family members who are struggling through some health issues. You may order multiple copies of my book—no limit—to give as a gift to others. Everyone needs this book sooner or later!

In this book I candidly share my initial fears and tears, trauma and drama, questions and apprehensions, learnings, doubts and joyful shouts. I walk with the reader from the first knowledge that something is “out of order” all the way through the recovery minefield. I wrestle with questions like Who caused my illness, God or Satan? What did I do to deserve this? Can God heal me? Will He? What if He doesn't? Can I “claim” my healing? Should I fight my illness and refuse it? Why does God seem so far away when I need Him most? Is my illness a friend or foe? Is there life after hospital?

I don't claim to have all the answers, but I put on my hospital slippers to walk with the reader through his illness adventure. And the two of us will walk with God and try to find His purpose in it. This book is for first-timers like me who suddenly face illness, also for graduate students in the schools of illness and pain. I include “Personal Workout” questions at the end of each chapter which makes it user-friendly for group discussion.

Monday, October 2, 2017


I'm taking somewhat of an interlude from my publishing schedule for an undetermined time while my most recent book WRITING FOR THE SUPREME EDITOR is out of my hands and in production. 

I'll run a mini-marathon again when what they used to call the galley proofs (now electronic printouts) arrive from the publisher before the signal is given for the on-the-press run. 

Meanwhile, I'm literally taking some time off to savor full-bodied autumn with God's annual splendor symbolized by this welcoming bench afloat in the midst of a sea of color-splashed leaves.

How am I celebrating this interval? I'm inviting local friends, whom I fear I've neglected while I've been immersed in the protracted, self-imposed aloneness that is required to do creative writing. My invitation to them is to find a date to visit me for an hour or two of one-on-one leisure in my cozy kitchen some afternoon. I'll brew some tantalizing tea in my authentic Chinese blue teapot with two painted golden pheasants on its surface and offer some home baked goodies, if I can carve out time to bake them. 

We'll just catch up on our mutual lives which seem to be running a race faster than we can catch up with them. The sole purpose is to invest an interval of warm and fuzzy fellowship time while "the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock, and you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock...." (I can't believe I still remember memorizing that James Whitcomb Riley poem in fourth grade!)

This includes an open invitation to each of you, my special blog post friends, to come too, no matter where you live, whether in the next town or in a distant state. Fly in from Florida if you wish to experience the extravagant change of seasons again, which I'm sure you must be missing. I'll just add another tea bag to the blue teapot and ask fictitious Polly to put the kettle on.

I need this slice of uncluttered, unscheduled space for awhile and perhaps my friends do too. Because I'm a writer, of course I use computer keyboard analogy for my poem below from one of my recent books. My thumbs work better on the space bar than they do when I try texting on my smart phone!


I need to press the space bar:
my life is overcrowded.
I need better proportion
my words run together
I'm too complicated
not communicating
what I am
or want to be
nor displaying accurately
God's life through me.

I want some distance
some intervals
between myself and others
not a gap or abyss
but unaccommodating elbowroom
perhaps headroom
away from distractions.
I need space to sort out
where I am going
and where I've been
a comfortable interim
to look within.

Then I can go on.
A space is not a period
a finality or a full stop
only a *pausing place
an interlude, a transition
to open up the words of my life
so I can decide more wisely
what I want to say
and where I want to go
and what I want to be.

* Orders filled promptly for my book published last year, SELAH REFLECTIONS: Press the PAUSE Button. Order by email