Quote to Consider: On Writing

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
― Anais Nin

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
― Sylvia Plath

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”
― Saul Bellow

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
― Philip Pullman

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
― W. Somerset Maugham

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”
William Strunk, Jr.

“Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?”
Annie Dilliard

Happy Birthday, Mommy

Today my Mother would have been 90.

I never imagined my Mother dying. I thought she would just live and live, until the Lord returned. He had other plans, and I don’t argue with Him. I see His hand in her life, and in her death. I feel His comfort in my loss, though the missing doesn’t stop. As I watch my friends mourn their own mother’s, I know the missing never stops. Moms are just too much a part of us. We enter life listening to their heartbeat. They become the rhythm of our life.  Their absence is always profound.

I have friends who did not have good mothers. Or, lost their mother very young. So, I know I was blessed to have a mother like mine, and to have her as long as I did. I am grateful for every minute we shared. I wish every memory was a good one, and I wish I had no regrets. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that way, when it comes to those loved ones we have “lost.” However, I am so grateful for what was good.

And, there was so much good.

  1. Saturdays when I was a kid, when I go with her on her visitation rounds, checking up on families from the church. We listened to classical radio as we drove up Slauson Boulevard. She made her rounds every week.
  2. When it was time for me to cook for her, I had to learn how to make fried eggs. I was so intimidated by this task, but I got pretty good. Of course, she never complained if they weren’t right.
  3. McDonald’s Filet of Fish. I think the first time I recall her eating them was in Hawaii. Always her favorite item on that menu.  With fries, coffee, and an apple pie.
  4. Pink robes. Pink nightgowns. Pink slippers. Pink flowers. Pink t-shirts. Pink lipstick. She loved pink.
  5.  She loved Christmas. She battled the blues during the holidays, but she never let the blues win.
  6. I started gardening, because she couldn’t do it alone anymore. It was one of the happiest days when we re-potted all the house plants. I will always be thankful for that day, for that gift.
  7. Babies were more than a delight to her: they were a sign of life. Her compassion for children was deep-seated, and only exceeded by her determination that they know Jesus.
  8. She was a leader, and she didn’t apologize for it. God bless her!
  9. She was outspoken with the truth. And, she didn’t apologize for that, either.  She taught me that truth was worth dying for, her life was not more important than its defense.
  10. Her respect for the Holy Spirit’s anointing and His presence, and her desire to never offend Him, is something I am still learning to understand.
  11. Mother’s greeting cards were as reliable as the sun. She always remembered.
  12. Walking with her in Cleveland, when I was five. Talking. Telling stories. She walked me to school for years. She would take afternoon walks. She would walk to the bus to go downtown. I remember hiding from the wind in her coat.
  13. Mother loved hugs and kisses.
  14. She loved the underdogs. She noticed the people no one else paid attention to, and treated them like they were her best friends.
  15. Mother always walked.
  16. She was indomitable. Picture a blizzard. Snow already quite high. She insisted on making her walk to the corner, to mail her letters. I couldn’t believe what she was doing, but she would not be stopped. Seriously. It was a blizzard!
  17. She missed my Father the rest of her life without him. She could not bear to see pictures of him. Said it made her too sad. I understand that a little now.
  18. Sitting in her doctor’s office, when she received news that she likely had kidney cancer, I cried. I couldn’t help myself. She looked at me kindly, then said to the doctor, apologizing for my behavior: “She’s my best friend. We’ve been through a lot together.” I know she did not know I was her daughter in that moment, but I’m glad she thought I was her friend.
  19. We had some fun times in bathrooms. I never enjoyed that particular task (I don’t have her nurse’s matter-of-factness), but I learned how to do it and tried to keep it light-hearted, because I know she felt sorry she needed help. So, there were definitely some laughs. Surprisingly, some good times.
  20. There were moments when I could tell she was remembering a little more than usual. I am glad for those times. I never got tired of hearing her talk about Cuba.
  21. Preparing her trays. She appreciated all the little things. A new mug. A special pitcher for syrup. A pretty bowl.
  22. Her gratitude was abundant. I did not deserve as much as she gave.
  23. My Mother was so friendly. If it were up to her, she’d speak to everyone in a room. She was curious about people, and cared about them sincerely.
  24. She had a way of holding court. It was kind of cute.
  25. Mother made mistakes I want to learn from—mistakes that were just a consequence of life. I wish I had known her better.
  26. She was a lady. Always a lady.
  27. She worked as hard as anyone, and not being able to work hard was the hardest thing for her.
  28. When TV became too stressful, cooking shows became her favorites. Jaques Pepin and Lidia Bastianich were her favorites.
  29. Nothing meant as much to her as a good cup of coffee.
  30. She was devoted to her sons-in-law.
  31. Her many “adopted” children.
  32. She loved life, but she looked forward to eternity. I can’t wait to see her, again.

❤️

P.S. I know 32 is a weird number to stop on, but it’s just where I stopped. No meaning in it.

In One Hour

I would like to share this prophetic message with you from Rev David Wilkerson. I think it’s important to for us to consider the warning he shares in this message. Most church leaders acknowledge that we are living in the Last Days, and this message concerns the events before the Rapture of the Believers and the seven-years of Tribulation on the earth. Your eschatological views may not agree with a pre-Tribulation Rapture, but that should not hinder you from listening to this message. Whenever the Rapture takes place—if it even does take place—this message is still pertinent to every person who calls themselves a Christian.

ABOUT DAVID WILKERSON
If you aren’t familiar with David Wilkerson, he is most well-known for a book The Cross and The Switchblade. This book tells the story of his outreach to the gang community in New York City in the 1950’s. The diminutive David faced this giant with bold faith, and his act of obedience led to the founding of Teen Challenge, World Challenge, and Times Square Church. By the way, the book was made into a movie in 1970, and you can watch for free here: MOVIE LINK. I highly recommend it!

THE MESSAGE
This message was preached at Times Square Church in New York City on August 5, 2007. The message is based on Isaiah 24.

Behold, the Lord makes the earth empty and makes it waste,
Distorts its surface
And scatters abroad its inhabitants.
And it shall be:
As with the people, so with the priest;
As with the servant, so with his master;
As with the maid, so with her mistress;
As with the buyer, so with the seller;
As with the lender, so with the borrower;
As with the creditor, so with the debtor.
The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered,
For the Lord has spoken this word.

Isaiah 24:1-3 (NKJV)

Pastor David speaks of a shaking that will come upon the earth before the Tribulation. He warns: “The Bible says sudden destruction comes when the cup of violence overflows.” He believes this passage is speaking to us, today. He points to a particular violence that has become rampant across the globe. “Around the world are numerous wars and bloody uprisings, yet foremost in my mind is all the violence waged against children. I think of the sexual violence of pedophiles. Children are being abused, raped, kidnapped and forced into enslavement in the global sex trade. The world’s largest church denomination has spent hundreds of millions to settle claims of people molested in childhood by clergy. How long will God endure the silenced cries of children mistreated by those who would represent Christ?”

I have listened to this message many times over the years, and read it many times more. I know I have shared it more than once, too. I guess I think certain things need repeating.

WATCH, LISTEN, READ
Below is a high-quality audio of the message, links to the written message, and links to the two-part video of him actually preaching the message.

WRITTEN MESSAGE: In One Hour, Everything is Going to Change

TWO-PART VIDEO PRESENTATION:
PART 1
PART 2

I hope you are blessed by the preaching of God’s Word and the ministry of Brother Wilkerson.

See you there,
Caroline ❤

Happy Anniversary to My Elkanah

To mark our 32nd wedding anniversary, I thought I would share some photos. It’s kind of an odd assortment. I just chose pictures that stood out to me and offer a glimpse into our past. As we move into our future, I am just so thankful for this man I see these days as my Elkanah, a godly servant of the Lord, faithful and kind. Thank you, dear Doug, for all the seasons of our life together.


Let’s Talk about Ravi

If you go to the RZIM.org website, you can read a report on the illicit behavior of Ravi Zacharias.

Admittedly, no one wants to read this report. Some may think it’s wrong to read it, or even talk about it. I understand. Trust me: this has been extremely difficult for me. I take no pleasure in writing about this. I have cried over this report. It is devastating. Whether one received from this man’s ministry or not, to know a leader in our faith was the worst kind of man possible is devastating. He appeared on the world stage, representing Christ—or so we thought—for us all. He defended our faith before world leaders, and we rejoiced.

Now, we mourn. We weep. We cry out in real pain—we have been betrayed! We trusted him. We shared his videos, bought his books, and gave to his ministry. We thought he was not only a man of God’s Word, but a man of his word! Instead, we have learned he was a master charlatan. He was an actor. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing—a monster! He denied his actions, and falsely accused his victims, even bringing a false defamation lawsuit against one. We know he was still receiving images from his victims at least up until February of 2020, three months before his death. So, there is no appearance, nor evidence, of contrition. One may only hope that before he breezed his last repented and confessed his sentence Period

We must pause from our own pain, though, and remember the women he victimized in person: his wife, his daughters, and the countless women he used for his personal gratification. I will not enumerate these evil deeds—at least those we know of—because the report submitted by Miller & Martin, the law firm RZIM hired to investigate the allegations, does an adequate job. However, I will tell you that his actions were all for his own pleasure, and there was no price he would not pay. Only God knows how many ministry dollars he used to satisfy his longings. He had a charitable fund established expressly for this purpose! Without accountability, he could spend this money on anyone he chose. What this fund did not cover, he would submit as an expense. The ministry paid for everything.

Let me be clear about something: Ravi was not a man with uncontrollable urges, an addict, for example. No. He was a predator. He was a planner. He picked his victims fully knowing that it would take time to gain their trust, win their hearts, and manipulate their will.

One perfect illustration of this is a series of photos found on one of his phones. They cover an 18-month-long period of time, starting with a photo of himself with the young woman in a hotel lobby. One can easily imagine this young lady feeling so proud to have her picture taken with a the great Ravi Zacharias. Over time, the woman sends him pictures that graphically illustrate his abuse. First she sends him ordinary selfies, but as the months pass she acquiesced to his demands and the photos became increasingly suggestive and immodest, concluding with a pornographic video of herself.

This is not just sexual sin, dear friends. This is not a lapse of judgment. This man is the Jeffrey Epstein of Christian apologists! Who knew that sentence could ever be written? This is inconceivable, yet, the evidence is plain to see. He was intentional. This was malice aforethought. The report proves that.

Personally, I will be processing this for a long time. There are many things here that need to be considered—not the least of which is why didn’t his wife stop him? As the wife of a husband in the ministry (a husband who is a former sex addict, for the record), the only way I can believe his wife did not stop him is because she misunderstood her role as her husband’s helpmeet. That’s very possible. And, honestly, I would rather believe she was a victim of false teaching, then believe that she knew and did not stop him.

However, people within the ministry did know something was going on, and they did not stop him. In fact, some defended and excused him. Those who dared to speak up were ostracized, or “sent to Siberia,” as one described it. They would be met with his wrath. People have asked what should happen to the ministry, and I say any conversation about RZIM continuing should end quickly. They failed to hold themselves accountable, And that resulted in countless acts of wickedness—some even committed in the name of Jesus!

And, what of the many, many other ministers with whom he was in a relationship? Did none of them discern that something was wrong with their “brother”? We do not know when this behavior began, but we do know it was going on for at least the last 16 years of his life. That is a very long time. Their silence leaves me very troubled.

You know, I only learned of this report about 24 hours ago. Earlier on Monday, I was having a conversation with one of my sisters. We were talking about the wickedness in our government, and I told her that I believed we would be seeing things uncovered in the church next. I said that we have always seen ministers called out for immoral behavior, but that I believed there would be larger things revealed, perhaps within denominations or organizations. You cannot imagine my horror, when my husband notified me of this report only a few hours after that conversation with my sister. Who will be next?

What have we become, friends? I am so disgusted by this fraud of a man of God, but I am more concerned about my own life. I am more concerned about what wood, hay, and stubble I am carting with me to heaven. Am I living an authentic, Christian life? Will I have any precious gems to lay at my Savior’s feet? Will I have any holy treasure to present my King? Will my life have been worthy of the cost He paid? This, for me, is how I begin to process the wickedness that this man left us as his inheritance. If nothing else, let us all examine ourselves. One day, we will all stand before God. This is a good day to examine our lives and our choices.

With much love for you, because still, somehow, Jesus loves me, too. ❤

A Time for Disgust

This man, Attorney Michael Van Der Veen, really got my attention yesterday, the last day of President Trump’s second impeachment trial. I watched a few of his post-win interviews, and he was always humble. Low-key. Not gushing over his win, but disgusted by the blatant dishonesty in the hallowed halls of our Capitol. I think his disgust with the deceitful media and politicians is a tribute to his character.

Mr. Van Der Veen says his family has faced persecution, his home was threatened, he has suffered more insults than he can count, and his firm is under attack—all because he dared to defend an innocent man. It really begs the question: why? I am waiting for God Himself to answer that one.

Meanwhile, I keep watching for Justice to arise.

Sweet & Simple Valentine’s Day Pie

Someone gave us some beautiful raspberries. They were a bit over-ripe, so they needed to be cooked. I found a recipe that was a winner with The Saxophone Player and me, and I thought you might like it, too. It requires very few ingredients, and is substitution-friendly. It would make a lovely dessert for any day, but with the bright, red raspberries and Valentine’s Day right around the corner? It’s a good match!

This is the recipe from Taste of Home.: LINK

MY CHANGES:
– I used a store-bought, graham cracker crust.
– I thought a cup of sugar would be too sweet, so I used 1/3 cup.
– Since I used a third of the sugar, I also used a third of the cornstarch.
– I had some old blueberries, and tossed those in with the raspberries.
– I did not use orange liqueur.
– I added sweetened whipped cream as a garnish.

MY TIPS:
– Make sure cream cheese is room temperature, or texture will not be smooth.
– Be sure fruit compote is cooled completely, before putting it on the pie
– I used a small, offset spatula to make the top flat, so the compote would stay put.
– Keep piping bags on hand. They are so useful, cheap, and versatile.

However you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, I hope you know you are truly loved by the One who so loved the world He sent His only begotten Son to pay the price for your sins, and give you eternal life.

God bless you all!



If

I’d like to share a few quotes from Missionary Amy Carmichael‘s book entitled If. It is based on 1 Corinthians 13, often called the love chapter in the Bible.

If you aren’t familiar with Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), I encourage you to click on her name and read the very brief biography at that link. There really have been very few women like her.

“If I myself dominate myself,
if my thoughts revolve round myself,
if I am so occupied with myself I rarely

have a heart at leisure from itself,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

Amy Carmichael

“If the praise of others elates me
and their blame depresses me;
if I cannot rest under misunderstanding
without defending myself;
if I love to be loved more than to love,
to be served more than to serve,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

Amy Carmichael

“If I do not forget about such a trifle as personal success,
so that it never crosses my mind, or if it does,
is never given room there; if the cup of flattery tastes sweet to me,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

Amy Carmichael

“If my interest in the work of others is cool;
if I think in terms of my own special work;
if the burdens of others are not my burdens too,
and their joys mine,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.”

Amy Carmichael

“If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it,
because the spirit of discernment is not in me,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.”

Amy Carmichael

I have been thinking lately how much I underestimate God’s expectations of me. When I consider the life this woman, how she served and sacrificed for Christ and others, I am horrified by my laziness, failure, and complacency. Do I know nothing of Calvary’s love? Lately, I wonder.

The Editor

[A Poem]

I live with an editor,
She shares my room with me.
And, every thought or idea
Passes by her, before it passes by me.

Sometimes, we argue—I should say—
She shouts at me throughout the day.
“Don’t say that! Now, stop that, you!”
She will not listen, so I shout, too.

Oh, so ruthless is my editor.
“Hold your tongue; don’t roll your eyes!”
She cuts me off and pulls me back,
“No free speech here,” is my bitter reply.

by The Saxophone Player’s Wife