Category Archive: Hope

“Go about, preaching the gospel, using words where necessary”

“She kept things ship-shape here. Kept the doctors in line–and they still loved her.”

“Oh, I miss her! Please tell her hi.”

Shirley and Fritz (right) on a girlfriends’ weekend with me.

One of my best friends, Fritz Buschman, retired two years ago from Washington Hospital’s Institute for Joint Repair; now I was there for a total knee replacement.

“She was always smiling. Very approachable.”

I was on an overnight stay in the hospital following my surgery on Thursday. As I’d asked hospital personnel if they knew my girlfriend Fritz, I got loads of wonderful comments expressing appreciation for Fritz, her hard work and her spirit. And I was delighted to hear these great comments about one of my dearest friends.

Fritz and I have been close friends for about twenty-five years. Not long after we met, she called to tell us her husband was in the hospital, needing immediate surgery. My late husband and I rushed to the hospital to sit with Fritz and their daughter, waiting to hear the results of Frank’s emergency stint in the OR.

Fritz was one of the close friends who visited me in Florida when Jerry was dying. She helped me understand the monitors. I remember her lovely blue eyes, full of compassion; her smile, which welcomed others in; her patience in explanations; and her loving support (along with other dear friends) after Jerry’s death.

He gave His life for me, and for you

So I totally understand why Fritz was admired and appreciated in her workplace. Hearing these warm sentiments, I was reminded of  II Corinthians 2: 15.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”

Through her competence and compassion, Fritz has been a pleasing aroma of Christ to those with whom she worked. She has let her love for Christ show in how she respects and treats others.

I want my life to be such a sweet aroma for Christ, one that reflects His character. At times I fail miserably. But I thank God for forgiveness and clean slates that allow me to start fresh, clean, whole.

And I’m grateful for Fritz’ lovely example.



Killing you’s too easy. We gonna carve up that one’s face so she’s not so pretty … and cut out that teacher’s tongue so she can’t talk about Jesus.”

These threats, coming through our phone from unnamed men in the inner city neighborhood into which we’d moved, filled our hearts with fear. Three other young women and I had moved into a house in the LA ghetto, believing God had called us to have a presence among those with whom we wanted to share Jesus’ love. Safe? Absolutely not.

Some mornings I could barely get out of bed. Some nights our staff men came to the house, kept us company and prayed with us ‘til 2 or 3 in the morning, when we finally thought we might fall asleep. Threatened with rape and mutilation, we learned the way to all the nearest police stations in case we were being followed.

Christmas season was peppered with robberies. Our low-income neighbors often went all out to provide gifts for their children, only to become victims of theft. My housemates and I had been busy making our own gifts. Standing on the ledge in front of a dining room window stood a 24-inch Paper Mache angel with a bib-like apron. Around midnight, two staff women were downstairs working on their own creations of leather work and stitchery when some gang members walked by and smashed the window. The glass shattered, falling into the angel’s apron!

“The angel saved us, the angel saved us,” called Arletta as we phoned the police to report the vandalism. We were struck down; but not destroyed. God was with us through every threat, every attack, and the break-ins we experienced.

One night I was particularly exhausted and terrified. I climbed into bed, pulled the covers up over my shoulders, and prayed “Lord, if you don’t waken me in the morning I don’t think I’ll get up for work. I’m too scared and worn out to hear an alarm.”

And at 7 am I heard my name—in a loving, warm voice that sounded like rushing waters—just “Carol”.  I looked around…and saw no one. But I recognized it as my Father’s voice.

“Thank you, Abba.” I lifted my voice in praise, got up and dressed, and headed into work.

It was moments like this—hearing my name spoken by an unseen Presence, looking at who God is through his Word, catching glimpses of eternity—through which God sustained me during those trials.

Today Christians are being tortured and murdered In the Middle East. They need God’s sustaining grace and peace in the middle of their trials—and they need to know Christians in other countries have not forgotten them.

Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan

“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (II Corinthians 4:17-18, NLT)

Good Father, be with your children who are facing torture, starvation, murder, uprooting from their homes and countries. I confess I can’t even comprehend what it would be like to have my child murdered and desecrated. Assure these sisters and brothers in the faith that, even as they are struck down, they are not destroyed. Give them moments of clarity about you. Let their roots go deep into the soil of your love so they can stand despite storms and wind and persecution. Grant them glimpses of eternity to sustain them, knowing you will never abandon them and that glory awaits. Show me how I can help. And please minister your peace that passes all understanding. In Jesus’ name.


Three years ago our church celebrated one hundred twenty-five years of ministry. The weekend was a time to celebrate God’s grace in the familial life of Twin Lakes Church. And celebrate we did!

  • Slide shows celebrating the history of TLC.
  • Rene’s memorial book of past church minutes – eleven members and 19 cents in the account, but “all bills paid”!
  • Birthday cakes (couldn’t pass that up!).
  • Remembrances past and present, many sweet, some difficult, like the nine years the church lay dormant between 1914 and 1923.
  • Pastor Rene reminded us of how God has led TLC. Only by His grace could eleven people rekindle the church during the Great Depression of the ‘30s and see it develop and nurture the community for the past eight-five consecutive years. “Thus far has the Lord helped us.” I Samuel 7:12.

Rene’s challenge? When you find yourself in a waiting room with God, not knowing what the future holds, wondering whether God will be faithful to you, remember what He has done in the past. Remember, and hope. Remember, and live.

When I joined an inner city ministry at twenty-one, I trusted God would be faithful in the midst of poverty, crime, violence, and broken families. And through the next ten years I experienced His faithfulness as He drew children, teens and adults to Himself; as He protected us in numerous volatile situations; and as He showed Himself strong in our weakness.

God’s promise encouraged my heart

When my beloved husband passed away at the age of sixty-six, I held onto God’s promises, knowing He had been faithful to me in the past and that His work for me was not complete. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 became my watchword, the first scripture God brought to my mind after Jerry passed into His loving arms. I was in the waiting room Rene talked about. Who am I now? What does God have for my future? I felt helpless, lonely, bereft. But I could reflect back on God’s faithfulness in difficult situations before, and I knew HE had not changed.

And when He brought me together with another wonderful man a few years later, I was again in His waiting room. “Is this your plan? Should I remarry or do you have work for me to do as a single person? Am I willing to risk being widowed again?” As the Father grew Don’s and my love for each other, I looked back on His faithfulness, the ways He led even in challenging times in my first marriage.  I knew I had memorial stones to rely on, reminding me of God’s grace in times of need.

Are you in a waiting room? How has God met you, provided grace, in the past? He never changes. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. “ Hebrews 13:8.  His character, His love for you and me, will never change. Despite what may come, He will be faithful to extend grace for each situation. May you experience His peace today, trusting His grace for tomorrow.

Unexpected Time

“If you’re calling to check when you need to report for jury service, press 1 …”

I did.

“As of this time you are not needed to serve. Check back tomorrow after 5 pm.”

I’d been on call for federal jury duty for eight days without having to report in. Friday was almost the last day of my on-call status and, guess what, I commuted over the hill to San Jose to check in at 7:45 am!

But these last eight days have given me the gift of unexpected time. I kept my calendar clear, knowing I might be unavailable. As a result, I’ve read more, filed for renewal of Don’s passport, visited with Mom, and picked up olive oil and flavored balsamic vinegars (how does chocolate balsamic sound to you? Or lemongrass mint?). I reorganized the pantry after Don repaired a leak, removed and replaced part of the wall.

AFTER – So much fun to paint!

Don and I relaxed on the porch glider, catching up on our respective days’ work. And I sat on the corner of our front deck, skies sunny and blue, and chalk painted a small table and desk. This was a new project for me and I loved doing it. Not quite finished, but the basic painting is done; I will add a few more stenciled paint areas and then seal the pieces.

Twenty years ago I had allergies (to grass, trees, weeds, chemicals and lots of other things) that were so severe I lived indoors. I couldn’t sit outside without getting sick. So imagine my gratitude at the blessing of being able to enjoy these lovely and renewing moments in God’s creative beauty.

Unexpected time–how do we use it? One of those mornings I thought of what I wanted to accomplish,  including delivering a Valentine’s gift from Don and me to Mom. After stopping at the library, I called her. She was eager for company and had a Bible study in an hour; had I called a bit later she would have been out of the house. When we’re open to God’s leading for our day, He opens doors, like the timing of my call to Mom. So Paigey and I buckled in and enjoyed seeing Mom open her Shari’s Berries, which she graciously shared with me.

I just read an article entitled “What would you do if you had twenty minutes to live?” It focused on the fear and panic after the recent mistaken account of a missile headed to Hawaii. One of my FB friends reported that his 11- or 12-year old grandson called from Hawaii to say he loved them, and goodbye. That’s overwhelming! Fortunately this was a false alarm. But the fear and panic were real.

So what would I do if I knew I had twenty minutes to live? I’m not sure … I would want to say goodbye to dear ones, would want to hold/be held by Don, caress Paigey. I’d also want to challenge those dearest to me who aren’t walking with Jesus to commit their lives to Him. Twenty minutes isn’t a lot of time.

I need to live now as if my life might end tonight. Which it could. I need to live for Jesus Christ; to tell my loved ones how precious they are to me; and not to wait until the “last minute,” which may come without warning.

Here’s the Apostle Paul’s challenge:

We try to live in such a way that no one will ever be offended or kept back from finding the Lord by the way we act, so that no one can find fault with us and blame it on the Lord. II Corinthians 6:3

So, if you had twenty minutes to live, how would you use them?

The Greatest of These …

Love God, Love Others

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

That was YouVersion’s “verse of the day” on Wednesday, Valentine’s Day 2018. And I thought of these three great characteristics.

Faith. Hope. Love.

So why is love the greatest of the three?

The apostle Paul says that without love, faith is meaningless. If I have faith that can move mountains, but have no love, I am nothing. And hope will end one day, when it is realized. But love never ends.

Love encompasses many other characteristics. It covers a multitude of sins. When I truly love, I don’t look for things to complain about, to criticize, to change. I accept, believe in, trust the person I love. And in reverse, knowing my husband’s–and my heavenly Father’s–great love for me, I never want to deliberately cause them hurt.

And it’s because of God’s great and unconditional love that we can have a relationship with Him, one that leads to our internal (and external) change and to the promise of eternity with Him.

Real love is shown on an ongoing basis in how we treat others. In his great definition of love in I Corinthians 13:4-8a, Paul writes:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.”

Shari’s Berries from my Valentine

    Valentine’s Day flowers and Shari’s Berries are lovely and deeply appreciated; but if that’s all the expression of love we give or receive, there’s a long drought between expressions of love! The kind of love Paul speaks of is shown in daily service to others.
    • One of my favorite definitions of love was written by a boy of about six, who said “Love is when you know your name is safe in their mouth.” Wow! I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that Don never speaks ill of me. My name is safe in his mouth, and I feel loved!


Love is reflected:

  • In my mother’s daily prayers for her children and grandchildren;
  • In my husband’s fixing the leak in our pantry wall, repainting and putting the shelves back on the wall, all without complaint – then helping me reload those shelves.
  • In the faithful prayers of God’s people for comfort and peace for the families of victims of this week’s school shooting in Florida;
  • In prayer and care–calls, food, respite–for those in need in our circles of influence, and for people around the world, hungry for the love and grace of God and His people.
  • By responding kindly to the woman who rudely told me to move my grocery cart in Safeway (at which I’m sorry to say I failed!).
  • In acts of service, in speaking up when someone expresses prejudice, in giving to help those who are ministering in ways I cannot, like the Mercy Ships and other Christians loving our world’s under-served.
  • In listening; in affirming others’ value; in extending grace to others, as grace has been given to me.
  • In telling others of God’s amazing love and desire for relationship with them.

What do you think? Why is love the greatest of these three?