Celebrating Fifty

(photo from Gary’s memorial service May 2015)

(photo from Gary’s memorial service May 2015)

My pastor, John MacArthur, climbs the four steps to his pulpit, gives a short greeting, and then says something like “Everyone please open your bibles to where we left off last week.” I have come to expect this over the last forty years. Verse by verse, our faithful pastor, teaches the word of God to his flock. He studies hard through the original languages to understand the meaning, because the meaning IS the word of God. He “guards what has been entrusted” to him. He is ready to “preach the word’…ready in season and out of season; (to) reprove, rebuke, and exhort with great patience and instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:1-2)

The Bible says “The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.” (1 Timothy 5:17) With a grateful heart to the Lord, this is my short tribute to my pastor.


49 years ago, at Hume Lake, near Sequoia NP, I was a fun-loving teenager at summer camp.  That week I heard messages from Ephesians 6 about spiritual armor and prayer.  The details are fuzzy, but I distinctly remember that my walk with Christ took a more serious turn as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work of conviction in my heart.  The young camp preacher was John MacArthur.  At the time I didn’t know how significantly the Lord would use him in the future life of my family. 

(My old bible from high school)

(My old bible from high school)

(1990’s Gary, Pastor John, Jay and Mike)

(1990’s Gary, Pastor John, Jay and Mike)

10 years later, as a young couple, Gary and I we were listening to Pastor MacArthur’s sermon cassettes from the Tape Lending Library at Grace Community Church.  Gary would listen to them in his work truck, and I’d listen at home.  We had never been exposed to expository teaching from the pulpit before.  We couldn’t get enough.  The Word of God was changing us.


We became members of Grace Community Church in 1984. Pastor John was carefully preaching through the Bible one verse at a time.  He has been doing so ever since.

Dear Pastor John

Our family life has been centered around the church, and your ministry and teaching for a long time.  Having the Word of God taught to us so faithfully, for all these years, has guided, encouraged and challenged us to live for Christ and now extends to our grandchildren.  Thank you for teaching truth. Through your preaching and shepherding, the Holy Spirit continues to teach us how to navigate the ups and downs of our fallen world.

Following the example of Jesus, and the Apostle Paul, you have poured your life into others in order to raise up shepherds.  Our pastors and elders follow in your footsteps. Their counsel to us over the years has been invaluable. One of my sons-in-law is a graduate of The Master’s Seminary and has served as a pastor for 14 years in Jupiter, Florida. Thank you for the “Timothys” you have given us.

(Alzheimer’s Dementia Ministry at G.C.C.)

(Alzheimer’s Dementia Ministry at G.C.C.)

When trials hit our family, especially with my cancer in 2002 and 2018, and Gary’s dementia in 2007, our church functioned as the hands and feet of our Lord in His care for us. The “body of Christ” sprang into action as a result of your training and teaching of God’s holy Word. Thank you for teaching us to “love one another.”


Under your leadership, Grace Church provides our wonderful Alzheimer’s Dementia Ministry to those of us who are caring for loved ones. What would we have done without this group who were were like a “band of brothers,” in our journey? Even when Gary couldn’t attend church any more, we were blessed to live-stream your sermons, until he could no longer sit up or stay awake. Thank you (and Patricia) for shepherding us through my husband’s illness and last days, and preaching at Gary’s Memorial Service, four years ago. 

I know I speak for my entire family when I say “we love you” to both you and Patricia, for your faithfulness and unselfish service to our Savior.


Thank You

for being our pastor for the last 50 years in the same pulpit, methodically teaching through the Word of God,

one verse at a time.

(50th Anniversary Celebration)

(50th Anniversary Celebration)

 In February we celebrated John MacArthur’s 50th year at Grace Community Church.

Click HERE to view the celebration service or HERE for highlights.

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From Sea to Shining Sea

It’s a big country.  It took seven of us five days to traverse it in December.  Google maps says it takes 40 hours to drive the 2700 miles from California daughter’s house to Florida daughter’s house for Christmas.  We broke up the drive with 4 hotels.  Every seat in the van was taken, most of the luggage rode on the roof.  Christmas gifts, bulky winter coats, water bottles and a skateboard, filled up the back.

Since I’m committed to


I have some remembrances…

Wide Open Spaces


Never having driven farther east than Arizona, I really enjoyed seeing the lay of the land. We didn’t have time to sight-see, but I found each state had a charm of its own and view from the van images stamped in my memory…California’s start of Route 66…Arizona’s Christmas lights, where each pine tree had a different color…New Mexico’s pueblo-style architecture, including condos…Friendly Texas hills with cattle all along the way…Louisiana gas stations with resident bloodhounds, and the Louisiana Downs Racetrack.  In Gulfport, Mississippi we watched the sun set over the Gulf. In Alabama there was a “Watch for Alligators” sign in the hotel parking lot.  Interior Florida is loaded with farms and forests.  But the big picture I have in my mind is the vast amount of wide open space and few populated areas.

Photo Dec 22, 3 19 04 PM.jpg
Photo Dec 22, 1 11 56 PM.jpg

Teenagers are fun.

There were three teens plus an eleven-year old in the van.  Nate issued a daily self-improvement challenge for us; things like “good posture day” and “no saying ‘um’ or ‘uh’ day.”  Grant found that hotel ottomans with wheels make for a good ride.  Julia instituted a game in which you could not say a particular word all day; words like “go” and “far” and “when.”  And who knew that you could thaw frozen pancakes in the heater vent.


Sleep is wonderful.

With my two grandsons and their parents, we had five drivers, so no one was over tired, but we did get tired of sitting, so the nightly stops were very welcome.  There is nothing so sweet as a good night’s sleep.  I’ve never been a good car sleeper, and I’m so grateful we were able to stop after ten-hour days to eat dinner and sleep before driving on. 

Photo Dec 28 Dune Dog.JPG

My Favorite Gift

Having my entire family together was the best part of Christmas.  “In person” conversations are best.  When sisters make cinnamon rolls and breakfast casserole together Christmas Breakfast tastes better.  Conversations about Jesus and His Word, “iron sharpening iron” and honest sharing of hopes, concerns, and prayer needs are encouraging to the soul. Observing Christmas gift opening in real time makes a video recording in my mind that I can watch later, when there’s a country in between us.  I’ll never forget Micah trying out his long wished for gift… a leaf blower.

Photo Dec 25, 4 34 14 PM.jpg
Photo Dec 25, 4 32 38 PM.jpg

Pirate Movie

Cousins have a special relationship.

The eight cousins worked together for several days making a pirate movie.  Nate directed and edited, and everyone else contributed to the story, special effects, props and each had their roles to play, especially the “little” pirate, Derek.  What fun they had, and Florida has the best locations for filming adventures. 

 One night we had a music night with piano, cello, guitar, and singing carols.

 A couple of days were spent building a forge in the back yard, so the boys could make a knife.  Grant had done the research, so with a bag of charcoal, a leaf blower, steel from home depot, and some “blacksmithing,” a knife was forged.  Now Owen is using the knife in a movie he and a friend are making. 

 Snorkeling yielded many discoveries for the kids, but my favorite memory is Lauren and Miles running up the beach to tell us they were right next to a Manatee and swam along with it for a bit. 

Photo Dec 26, 10 54 28 AM.jpg

The Forge


And Back

The seven days in Florida FLEW BY. We said our good-byes, and retraced our steps, adding an extra day to see the very cold, and snowy Grand Canyon. 

Photo Jan 04, 11 46 08 AM.jpg
Photo Jan 04, 11 32 31 AM.jpg

“Behold, children are a gift from the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward.”

Psalm 127:3








Happy Anniversary to Me

Technically, it’s not really an anniversary today. Gary’s been gone for 3 1/2 years and his departing ended our marriage, but I still like to “mark” the occasion. Photos from 44 years ago, 1974. Tuolumne Meadows, CA.


Celebrating the special day, with my sweet family (all of them) at Dune Dogs, Jupiter, FL.

Then to the beach to film a pirate movie!

Photo Dec 28, 4 36 36 PM.jpg

Gary would have loved all of this so much and that brings joy to my heart. My heart’s pretty full right now.

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” Psalm 127:3

The Secret Place


He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty

Pardon all the Old English, but this song, written by James MacDermid in 1908 is locked in my musical memory, and rises to my lips from time to time.  It’s taken from David’s 91st Psalm. 

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night
Nor the arrow that flieth by day
Nor the pestilence that walketh in darkness
Nor the destruction that wasteth at noonday

Click HERE to listen to The Ninety First Psalm sung by Edward Palmer

Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge,
Even the most High, thy habitation,
There shall no evil befall thee
Neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling

I couldn’t find a recent or updated recording but I love the words and the music.  Over the last month I’ve made it into a prayer.  Not just recited words, but words that have been hidden in my heart since voice lessons during college.  When tempted to be fearful about my cancer diagnosis, and upcoming cancer surgery, and the possibility of treatments after that, I’ve asked God to keep me dwelling in His secret, protected, shadow, where He shields from danger.  I’ve asked Him to be my refuge, my dwelling place, because close to Him, evil can’t touch me.  His angels are all around me, guarding me from stumbling and tripping up in my fears.  Many a night over the last month, with the constant knowledge that there is cancer in my body, and not knowing how much, I’ve whispered these prayers to the Lord as I drift off to sleep.  Oh what comfort.

For He shall give His angels charge over thee
To keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands
Lest thou dash thy foot against a stone,
Against a stone


All of this reassurance, and promise of protection, had more to do with my fears, than the cancer.  More to keep me from evil temptations to doubt God’s goodness, or fall apart with anxiety, than the number of cancer cells, or the type.  After all, I was trusting my Lord back in 2002 when He allowed me to have stage 3 cancer, (with a 50% chance of a 5 year survival) and the ensuing year of treatments.  During that season He kept me close and gave me courage, and walked through the trial with me.  Then with Gary's 9 year illness, we both knew the closeness of our Lord and were continually en-couraged by Him.  Then for the last 60 days, He kept me close again and gave me courage, and eliminated the cancer with no further treatment needed. 

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty
He shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty


Someday I will likely get sick again, probably more than once, and He will comfort and strengthen me then too, until I finally enter His presence and see my savior face-to-face.   We live in a fallen world, so there are repercussions, illness being just one of them.  No one is exempt.  I am grateful to God that we have incredible medical advancements, and I received GREAT care by my health care team, but as a Christian, I know everything is an opportunity to glorify God, so let me say PRAISE GOD today.  Yes, for healing me quickly this time, but mostly for walking along with me, giving me comfort, and strength. 

The Lord said...“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him.  I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.  He will call on me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.  With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16

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Watercolor Journal: And the Tree Was Happy

Photo Mar 02, 10 19 08 AM2.jpg

This tree drifted onto Moonstone Beach at some point.  As I tried to get to know it, I wondered what it’s story was.  If driftwood could talk…  Where did it come from?  Did kids climb in it’s branches?  What animals lived in it?  Was it near the edge of a bluff, hanging on until a big storm finally eroded it’s grip?  Where was that?   Not even sure, what kind of tree it is, but now it is nicely wedged in the sand, and makes a nice place to sit.  Someone has carved initials and a heart on it. 

My name was carved alongside my husband’s on the trunk of our Buckeye tree, by Gary long ago.  It shaded our house and front yard for many years.  It held the special “mist heads” which kept the ferns cool during the hot summers.  Of course, someday that tree will die, or be cut down to make room for something else.  Then it will be useful for firewood, mulch, or a stump to sit on.

At home (19).JPG

I relate to the driftwood in my painting.  I used to be Gary’s wife for a long time.  There were a million things to do in that role, and I loved it.  Now I have new things to do, and I enjoy them too.  Maybe you’ve read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  Sometimes I see myself as the “tree,” wanting to be useful in new ways, and sometimes I’m the “boy,” looking for a comfortable place to sit, and enjoy the view. 

From "The Giving Tree"

"I wish that I could give you something... but I have nothing left. I am an old stump. I am sorry..."
"I don't need very much now," said the boy, "just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired."
"Well," said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could,
"well, an old stump is a good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest."
And the boy did.
And the tree was happy.”

At home (5).JPG

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”  Philippians 4:4

Winter Olympic Dreams


Been watching the winter Olympics?  I have.  It's timely, because In the process of digitizing my dad's photos recently, I came across his winter Olympic albums.  He was able to attend three of them, as an official photographer, starting in 1948.  The Olympics has changed a lot since then, but the spirit of competition and national pride seems to remain.  Dad (Bill Ransom) was hired to film the events with his 16mm Bell & Howell movie camera, and some day I hope to get the films digitized as well.  Meanwhile, here's a few fun pics with Dad's captions from his album of memorabilia from...

V Winter Olympic Games 1948

St. Moritz, Italy.

Photo Feb 15, 10 59 19 AM.jpg

This is the same Mr. Paul Helms. of Helms Bakery... remember the neighborhood trucks?  (I'm showing my age...)

Photo Feb 15, 11 02 42 AM.jpg



Stylish!  And look at the competition suit below...not too aerodynamic for downhill racing in those days.


Figure Skaters


Speed Skaters




And the films...


More Opportunities to come


That's my dad, Bill Ransom on the far right ready to leave for Sun Valley Idaho to film the Harriman Cup Race.

I have such fond memories of our family ski vacations.  Dad loved teaching us to ski, and we had such fun together exploring new runs, making the first tracks in fresh snow, and warming my cold hands on Dad's warm coffee mug while he put his hands around mine.  Dad was known for his many stories, and we heard the "Olympic Stories" over and over but I'm so, so thankful that he was happy to share his experiences, and he left me with his albums, and notes.  Going through the albums I've learned even more, and find it fascinating.  His phone call to Paul Helms got him started on the road to being a professional ski movie photographer and allowed him to travel to some amazing places, on someone else's dime.  In 1950 Dad married Mom.  He taught her to ski, handle a camera, and they worked together filming and editing their Olympic films.  But that's another story.  


"A Very, Very, Very Fine House"

Just to set the mood... play this!


Yesterday, when visiting a friend in my old neighborhood, I paused for a couple minutes in front of our old home.  It looks pretty much the same even though it’s been sold again and has new owners.  It’s been almost 8 years since Gary and I stood in front, and said good-bye to the place where we spent our wedding night, brought home our baby girls, and sat around the table with our little grandchildren.  When Gary’s Alzheimer’s progressed to the point where we could no longer maintain our home, we downsized and moved to a condo. 


Last night I dreamed about that home of 34 years.  Crazy… I dreamed that I walked into the back yard and saw that the koi pond was nearly drained and the fish were flopping around, so I called out to Gary, and he came running from the front yard and got the water up to the normal level.  Then I dreamed that the new owner asked me to give a tour and explain the sprinkler system, and how to care for the garden.  I loved seeing Gary and his garden so clearly, even if only a dream.  I take it as a sweet grace from the Lord to remember.

I guess I still grieve the loss of our home a little.  I know for a fact that it was a necessary move, and that no house, no matter how dear, is truly home.  You’ve heard, “Home is where your loved ones are.” Or “Home is where the heart is.” I agree with that but it’s even more than that, because, now in my condo for several years, 2 ½ of them without Gary, I am “home” but even THIS home is temporary.  The eternal “home” that awaits me, where Gary is now, is truly HOME.  Moses said, “O Lord, You have been our dwelling place for all generations.”  (Psalm 90:1) And he said that after wandering the wilderness for 40 years, never having a permanent home. 


Someday, someone will tear down our old house to make a larger one, or fill in the fish pond, or cut down the big Buckeye tree in the front yard.  Owners have every right to do so.  If that should happen, and I'm around to know about it, may it remind me that it was never my real home anyway.  As I sat there on our street, remembering, I thanked God for so many years of His faithfulness to us in that house.  Satisfied, I left, and had a "fantabulous" day (as my friend, Diane, says) with her and my other friend, Lori, as the three of us worked together on Lori's photo albums preserving memories of her own.  Life goes on, and so does Joy, Peace and Love.

1974 - Moving IN

1974 - Moving IN

2010 - Moving OUT

2010 - Moving OUT

A Tribute to the Artist (well sort of)

1966 approx Dads painting B.jpg

This Sunday, my dad, Bill Ransom, would have been 100.  It seems like a good time for a tribute.  Well, sort of…I’ll let you decide if it’s a tribute or not. 

You’ll need a bit of background to understand.

Louise 1st place.jpg






My mom was an artist.  She painted, and her main subjects were landscapes. 

She was really good.







Dad was a photographer.  It started as a hobby when he was a teenager, then continued as an adult.  My dad, had a career as a designer in the aerospace industry, but photography was always a part of his life and a side business.

He was a great photographer.


My parents were each other’s biggest fans. 

But one day, in 1966, (I was 13), Dad came home from work early, with a big canvas, paint brushes and an artist’s beret.  To the best of my memory, it went something like this:

Mom (surprised): “What is THIS?”

Dad (grinning): “You’re not the only one in this family who can paint.”

Mom (with skeptical tone): “Are you sure about that?”

Dad (confidently): “I have my scene already picked out, and I’m ready to start.” 

Mom (laughing, rolling eyes): “Ok, you do your best.” 

Mom, Paul, and Laurie: (laughing and more laughing)

So for several weeks, when Dad came home from work each day, he went to work on his painting.  (It was a view of the Grand Teton Mt. range with the Snake River in the foreground.)  This did not go on without mocking and playful teasing from my mom, (and my brother and I too).  Dad dished it right back with confident talk, and a flourish of the brush! 

1966 approx Dads painting A.jpg

As the painting progressed, we all realized it was actually turning out good, but following mom’s lead, we never let on to Dad.  When dad finished his painting, he framed it and hung it over their bed.  It moved with them to three other homes, and was placed above their headboard for 48 years.  With every move, Mom made comments about there "not being room" for it at the new house, but it always ended up in its "place of honor" in the master bedroom. 

And for 48 years, it was the source of MANY private jokes, and bantering.  Dad smiled and teased back every time and we NEVER did tell him that we in truth liked the painting and admired his talent.  It was his one and only painting and quite amazing actually.  I had always hoped to tell him some day that I really did like it (though I’m sure he knew).  I never told him, but maybe that’s more fitting anyway. 

I miss my parents.  I miss their love of the beauty of God’s creation, and desire to capture it on canvas and film.  I miss the “inside” family jokes, the hilarious things that happened on some of our vacations.  I miss their adventurous spirits.  I miss their devotion to each other.  But I DON’T miss dad’s painting, because it is hanging above the headboard in my guest bedroom.  When I see it a smile forms in my heart. 

Good job, Dad!

Hollow Air

The air was hollow today.


Gary used to announce hollow air at some point every fall when the dry air came.  I’m not sure why he called it hollow, except that it had something to do with how sound travels, like in a tunnel, or through a tube.  In the fall, when there’s less humidity, sound carries better too.  Over the years, when the air was “hollow” it was a fun little thing between Gary and I that was stirred up every year as the hot, muggy, smoggy days were replaced with October’s Santa Ana winds.  I loved his yearly proclamation, “The air is hollow today!”

In our previous home, on hollow-air-days, we could hear the Verdugo Hills High School marching band practice from over two miles away.  In my current home, on a day like today, the distant train does not sound so distant. 

I don’t know about you, but along with autumn's clear air, comes a season for clearer thinking, more structure in my schedule, and renewed energy as I settle into the fall activities.  But in spite of the busyness, I hope to be listening intently for the Lord’s promptings like the less hindered sound waves on a dry day. 

It seems impossible, but this is my third October without Gary.  I miss him so, but today was one of many good days.   Feeling the warm, dry wind today, brought his voice right back to me when I noticed the hollow air. 

“There is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven…A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance…He has made everything appropriate in its time.”  Ecclesiastes 3

Goin Home - Part 2 - "Always"

It was a misty morning and we were on a special “assignment.”  We had special instructions, and watched the odometer carefully as we drove.  When we arrived at the spot the special packages which I brought from California, were placed into a backpack.  We looked up the hill and decided we were in the right place so we snapped a family photo.  There was no trail, and being in my 60’s and recovering from bronchitis, I huffed and puffed the 150 feet up the hill, to find the bear paw meadow per my dad’s instructions.  I checked the photos he had given me 30 years ago.  The trees were much smaller then, but the mountains looked the same.  It was a puzzle to solve.  The mission: Find the area my parents described in their wills so we could fulfill their wishes.  Dad and Mom both wrote the same thing, 

Paul's Place 1994.jpg

“…that my ashes should be scattered in a tiny part of Jackson Hole, Wyoming…I refer to this location as ‘Paul’s Place’ for that is where my son, Paul had requested his own ashes be placed, and where thy do indeed rest.  Erect no marker or locator where my ashes lay for the natural flora and fauna will do just that.” 

This was a precious time for us in that bear paw meadow, facing the Teton range, as we laid beloved parents, grandparents and great-grandparents to rest.  Ryan read Psalm 23, and Jon thanked God for their lives.  They passed away in 2014, so it felt really good and satisfying to bring their bodies “HOME” to the place they loved so much. 

Goin' Home

Home.  What is home really, anyway?  For me, home is where my loved ones are, or were, or the places that hold sweet memories.  Going back to a childhood home or vacation spot, teaches that these places are not really home.  Recreating an experience from the past is not possible.  You can’t really ‘go back.’  Things change, loved ones go, and time marches on.  But this is not sad.  Home is not really here in this world. 

Our Dwelling Place

In Psalm 90, Moses called the Lord "our dwelling place in all generations." 

Moses and the Israelites wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years.  They pitched their tents and packed them up over and over.  That generation never had a permanent home.   Moses said “Lord, You have been our dwelling place…”

Home Sweet Home

Summer 2010 051.JPG

Because of Gary's illness, we had to downsize, leaving our beloved home where we thought we'd spend the rest of our lives.  It was sad, but good for us.  We were forced to cling to God instead of a place and lived in the love of our Savior who loves completely and unconditionally.  He helped us face the very scary unknowns of the future with courage rather than fear.  The most important "comforts of home" went with us, because Jesus lives in Gary and I.  Jesus said, "I will never leave you or forsake you."  He meant it.  For a Christian, "true" home is a person, not a place.   It's Jesus Christ, who loved me first.  "We love Him because He first loved us."  He paid the penalty for my sins, dying on the cross, and made me one of his own children, while I was His enemy.  Then He went rose again, and went to Heaven where He has building a home for me and Gary is already there! 

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also."  John 14:2-3

Someday my family will take my ashes to the Central Coast, per my wishes.  What’s left of my body will be “home” in the same place as Gary’s.  But we will not be there.  Not really.  We will be at home with the Lord, in heaven, because home is where God is.  The days go by so quickly.  Before you know it, you're within the waning years of your life.  Moses had such a wonderful perspective as he prayed.  May we value the days as Moses did, and look to God for His favor, in light of what we truly deserve. 

Psalm 90 - a Prayer of Moses

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

You turn man back into dust
And say, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it passes by,
Or as a watch in the night.


You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep;
In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew.
In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew;
Toward evening it fades and withers away.

My last post was filled with sweet m  emories, formed over many decades, and new experiences too as our family “road tripped” to the ‘Wild West.”   Click here, to read Part 1.  

My last post was filled with sweet memories, formed over many decades, and new experiences too as our family “road tripped” to the ‘Wild West.”  Click here, to read Part 1. 

For we have been consumed by Your anger
And by Your wrath we have been dismayed.
You have placed our iniquities before You,
Our secret sins in the light of Your presence.
For all our days have declined in Your fury;
We have finished our years like a sigh.
As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
Or if due to strength, eighty years,
Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow;
For soon it is gone and we fly away.
Who understands the power of Your anger
And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?
So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.

Do return, O Lord; how long will it be?
And be sorry for Your servants.
O satisfy us in the morning with Your loving kindness,
That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us,
And the years we have seen evil.
Let Your work appear to Your servants
And Your majesty to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us;
And confirm for us the work of our hands;
Yes, confirm the work of our hands.

Goin' Home - Part 1 - "Heritage"

String Lake, GTNP 2017

String Lake, GTNP 2017

From "Way Back Then"

to "Now"

(note: If you are viewing this in your email, you may want to view in browser to see all the photos.)

Our pleasant memories, shape our inward smiles.  Sometimes a specific setting contributes to what we think and who we are.  I have a place like that.  It hosted six decades of happy memories for me, so the prospect of returning to the northwest corner of Wyoming, WITH my family, turned my inner smile into an actual “ear-to-ear grin." 

I grew up going to the Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone.  I loved it so much, in fact, that I spent two summers there as a college student, working at Jackson Lake Lodge and hiking on my days off.  After I married, Gary and I took our own girls there and when my parents retired in Bozeman, Montana, the Parks were on the way.

"Way Back Then" - The Ransom Family

Grand Teton National Park - 1957 - Mom and I

Grand Teton National Park - 1957 - Mom and I


I remember dad fishing his favorite spot on the shore of Yellowstone Lake, where he could guarantee a strike of a Rainbow Trout within just a few casts.  One time, when cleaning the fish, a black bear approached, and he gave up his catch, retreating to the car instead.  Mom sometimes brought her paints to paint "plein air."  She often had dad photograph the scene so she could finish it in the comfort of home.  My brother, Paul, six years younger than I, loved to fish, hike, explore, and see how far he could skim a rock.  He was the adventurous, active type and my parents were always on full alert.  He was the funny one, always willing to do a crazy pose or stunt for a photo.  Photography was a big part of our vacations in the Parks.  My dad's hobby turned into a retirement business later on, when he enjoyed selling his wildlife and landscape photos in the local gift shops.  I remember waiting and waiting until the clouds parted so the sunlight was on the peaks, or the moose would lift his head "just so" for the perfect picture.  Those were in the days of FILM, and one had to be more frugal with the number of photos one shot.

Madison Campground - Yellowstone - 1969

Madison Campground - Yellowstone - 1969

We mostly camped, but had a few days in hotels too.  The nights around the campfire, just talking and laughing are etched in my memory as some of the happiest times.  My dad would let me warm my hands on his metal coffee mug, and Paul would poke around in the coals with a stick, as all boys like to do.    The sudden and short-lived rain showers made for some great laughs as we scrambled to get under a tarp till it blew over, and every vacation, took on its own funny theme or joke. 


My parents would comment that the beautiful things we saw had to be made by a Creator, and could not have just "happened."  Dad would say, "A bison and a butterfly are too unique to have come from the same set of cells.  They had to be individually made."

Dad and Paul -

Dad and Paul -

Paul - 1969 - age 10

Paul - 1969 - age 10

"Back Then" - My Single Adventures

Laurie, Jo, Jenni - GTNP - 1974

Laurie, Jo, Jenni - GTNP - 1974


When I went back on my own, to work in Jackson Lake Lodge, it was a very different experience.  Backpacking, making new friends, working in the laundry facility of the lodge, and learning about freedoms and limitations.  It was a huge learning experience.  The 2nd summer I brought my two best girlfriends from home with me, worked in the gift shop, and we had a blast, but by the end of that season, I was more than ready to get back to my boyfriend, Gary, who I had fallen in love with over the past school year. 

The phone booth in the Lodge where I had so many long, expensive conversations with Gary that summer.  Can't believe it's still there.

The phone booth in the Lodge where I had so many long, expensive conversations with Gary that summer.  Can't believe it's still there.

"Then" - The Price Family

Gary & Laurie - Near Lake Solitude - GTNP - 1977

Gary & Laurie - Near Lake Solitude - GTNP - 1977


After we married,  it was a thrill to share this wonderful place with Gary and do some new things with him.  We hiked the big loop 20 mile loop through Cascade Cyn. to Lake Solitude to Paintbrush Cyn.  We were surprised by a couple of moose near the trail, and felt the intense power and presence of God, high up in the mountains.  It took us all day and we got back after dark, but I'll never forget it.


April & Sarah - Jackson Lake - GTNP - 1986

April & Sarah - Jackson Lake - GTNP - 1986

Our girls loved making up little games together, tried to get the squirrels and chipmunks to come close bribing them with crackers, and laughing in the tent with their cabbage patch kids at night.  One day, as teenagers, they would drive here on their own, on their way to see their grandparents'. 

Laurie & Sarah - String Lake area - GTNP - 1977

Laurie & Sarah - String Lake area - GTNP - 1977

Laurie & April - Upper Geyser Basin - YNP - 1986 (note the Yellowstone sweatshirt.  You'll see it again in 2017)

Laurie & April - Upper Geyser Basin - YNP - 1986 (note the Yellowstone sweatshirt.  You'll see it again in 2017)

 "Now" - The Price Family

Cousin fun in the van!

Cousin fun in the van!


After a year or so of planning, our family met up there in June.  Some of us drove from Socal, and the rest met us in Salt Lake City, and we drove on from there together in two vans loaded, and I mean LOADED with food, luggage and 13 people.  The Florida kids were "all eyes" as they were surrounded by mountain peaks and snow fields.

1st Snowball EVER!  There really was a snowfield behind the camera...

1st Snowball EVER!  There really was a snowfield behind the camera...



I confess, it felt a little hollow, without Gary (2015) and my parents (2014), and brother (1979), but that void was simultaneously filled with sweet remembrance and new memories with my grandchildren and their parents.   

The A's - Jackson Lake - GTNP

The A's - Jackson Lake - GTNP

The D's - Jackson Lake - GTNP

The D's - Jackson Lake - GTNP

Gondola ride to top of Rendezvous Mt. - Jackson Hole Ski Area

Gondola ride to top of Rendezvous Mt. - Jackson Hole Ski Area

Old Faithful - YNP

Old Faithful - YNP

Old Faithful Inn, 1906 - YNP

Old Faithful Inn, 1906 - YNP

The A's

The A's

Old Faithful Inn - Ready for ice cream

Old Faithful Inn - Ready for ice cream

Lower Yellowstone Falls - 308 ft. Yikes!

Lower Yellowstone Falls - 308 ft. Yikes!

It's difficult to describe Yellowstone Falls.  It's frightening, beautiful, powerful, and "puts you in your place."  My dad described the feeling as he wrote, "I defy anyone to stand next to the protective guard rail, eyes focused on the tons and tons of water accelerating over the brink and not feel some strange powerful force take hold with its unrelenting grip."  

"And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder"  Revelation 14:2

It is good to be reminded of the smallness of me, and the greatness of God.

On the brink

Photo Jun 12, 11 01 53 AM.jpg

Bison and Geysers and US!

For all my grandkids it was their first time in the Parks, except for the oldest who went as a baby. I gave the younger ones some activity notebooks, decorated with my dad’s wildlife photos.  I said something about earning "points" for finding wildlife, and in no time, there was a big competition between the kids. 

Bison families - parents loosing winter coats.

Bison families - parents loosing winter coats.


Their searching eyes were rewarded with many good sightings of pronghorn, bison, deer, moose, black and grizzly bears, and even a wolf.  The bears were distant, so we took an afternoon to visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, where the animals are free to roam in their very beautiful and natural environments, but close enough to really watch them without using binoculars. 



Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center - West Yellowstone

Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center - West Yellowstone

Thank you Mr. Rockefeller and Mr. Albright!

Thank you Mr. Rockefeller and Mr. Albright!

The next post (Goin' Home - Part Two) will be more of a reach into life-shaping memories and the importance and reality of 'home' along with the mission I was sent on by my parents. 

For the last couple of photos today though, we'll go back to the Tetons. There's a very short hike up Lunch Tree Hill, adjacent to Jackson Lake Lodge.  (my old place of employment)  On vacation in Yellowstone, in 1926, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. enjoyed a picnic lunch here.  With the Teton Range in view, he was inspired to use his wealth to preserve this area (along with others) as a National Park and along with Horace Albright, Yellowstone superintendent at the time.  It took many years, and it took some doing, but their plan was finally accomplished.  The complete story is in the Ken Burn documentary, The National Parks - America's Best Idea.  I highly recommend it, especially if you're on the fence about where to spend your vacation.  AND 4th Grader's families are free this year. (Every Kid in a Park)  Between our 4th grader for one van, and my lifetime senior pass for the other, we paid nothing.  I hope this wets your appetite to get outside, experience the power of God's amazing earth, and make some lifetime memories! 

Standing in front of Mr. Rockefeller's view - Jackson Lake Lodge - GTNP

Standing in front of Mr. Rockefeller's view - Jackson Lake Lodge - GTNP

...and just because I can't help myself, here are some more photos... 

Do you have an extra special place that you smile about?  If you care to leave a comment, I'd love to hear why is it's special to you? 

Everyday Weakness - Abundant Strength


A few days ago, I was privileged to speak to the women of Grace Immanuel Bible Church in Jupiter, Florida.   They had asked me to recount the ways in which the Lord blessed Gary and I throughout his years with dementia.  Recalling the sweet grace of God poured out on us, and thinking through how ANYONE can take hold of grace, was a joyful experience for my own heart.  May you be encouraged, and strengthened in your own situation as well.  


A bonus blessing for me was being introduced by my sweet April, who made me get a little misty-eyed right before speaking!  After our time of worship and study in the Word we were served a lovely tea by the men of the church.  It was a wonderful day with these dear sisters in Christ.   

Audio of my message, click HERE.

Printable PDF version click HERE.

OR you may read it below...  (I've also included some of the overheads that I used.)


It was 3:15 am and the alarm was going off.  Thankfully, my husband did not wake up.  I slipped out of bed and quietly got ready for my day.  The night before I laid out my uniform so I could find it in the dark.  It was imperative that Gary stay asleep until 8:00 am when I would return from my opening shift at Starbucks.  This particular day, I had a migraine.  I would end up sick at work, but since I was one of two openers, I had to be there until a replacement arrived.  2 hours later they came and I went home, feeling miserable.  I was 56 at the time, and every one of my coworkers were younger than my daughters.  The pace was fast and hard for me.  I felt out of place and exhausted at work.  At home, my responsibilities had doubled because my husband, Gary was changing, and so our world was turning upside down.  We were being led down into a dark valley, forcing changes we never would have wanted or imagined.  In that valley, I came to see my weakness.  Every day.  AND in that same valley, I came to know strength that I had never known before. 



Today, I get to tell you about those weaknesses, and how Christ uses our suffering to display His power in us.   



10 years ago, life was rolling along.  We’d been married 32 years.  We had a small electrical contracting business, and were serving with College ministry at church.  We were living in the same house since we got married.  We were enjoying our grandkids and occasional travels to visit family and friends.   But around this time, Gary began to have difficulty with his thinking, particularly with problem solving.  This showed up in his work first and then other areas.  We wrote it off to being over-worked and super busy, but his cognitive problems got worse so we went to the Doctor.  After months of testing it was determined that he had Early Onset Alzheimer’s Type Dementia.  He was 57.  (Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia.  It’s like reverse development, from Adult to Youth to Child to Toddler to Infant.)    I would guess that most of you have been impacted in some way by this illness, so you understand.  Gary was sick for 9 years until he went to Heaven 2 years ago.  For 3 of those years, I was caring for my sweet parents (both in their 90’s) who moved in across the street.  At one point I was managing 9 caregivers between their house and ours.  It was like we had our own Assisted Living Complex.

Since I was one with my husband, this trial was for me too.  Taking on Gary’s responsibilities was a crushing weight and we both had to give up so much.  The transition was difficult.  Could I be unselfish enough?  Could I keep home with me? Would I love him enough if he didn’t know me and couldn’t love me back?  We shed many tears together.  We were weak and we knew it.

Would Gary be belligerent, violent, and inappropriate, towards me, or would he be a wanderer? Would our love degenerate into insults and anger?

Forced to close our business meant tremendous financial needs, and I worked at Starbucks for the medical insurance.  Liquidating Gary’s inventory and equipment, and prepping our house to sell at the same time was a daunting task.

Life was so hard – Leaving our home, and ministry, and not being able to help our family or babysit our grandkids was painful.  All the while, Gary was growing more confused about who I was.   

What is distressing to you?  What about your life is difficult, impossible to fix?  Do you feel helpless?  What do you dread?  Are you Rejected, Alone, Persecuted?  No one is exempt from the hard seasons of life, those times when you are at the end of your own abilities.  Everyone here has a story to tell.  Everyone’s suffering is intense TO THEM.  I get to tell you how God worked through our trial, but we are in this together ladies. 

Today, we get to look at someone who has gone before us, into the valley of suffering, weak and helpless and found strength there.  So let’s go together to the One who loves us, to God’s holy word, where all the answers lie. 

We’re going to be mostly in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 so as you’re turning there, a little background.  The Apostle Paul wrote this particular letter during the most painful time in his life.   He needed to defend his authority and ministry to the Corinthian church, because false teachers were lying about him, and discrediting his ministry and were preaching some kind of a “different” and therefore false gospel.  The people he loved and had poured his life into, were questioning his motives and what he had taught them.  In order to protect them from error, he had to defend himself, even though he hated to do it. 


Paul gives multiple reasons to trust him because he was afraid they would be deceived. (v.3)  His character, humility, honesty, love (v.9-11) contrasted with the false teachers who “enslave, devour, take advantage and exalt themselves.” (v.12-20)  His suffering for the sake of the gospel, proved his integrity (v. 23-27), and his daily concern for them showed his caring heart (v. 28).


In order to convince them, he BOASTS.  Boasting is "to glory in", "be proud of."  Why would this humble apostle be boasting?

In v. 1 he said, “Boasting is necessary, (to protect them), though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.”(v.1)….”  Fourteen years before, (v.2) he had been “caught up into the third heaven, (v.3) paradise, and heard inexpressible words…” (v.4)  He could have boasted in all these things, but he wouldn’t. 

Being transported to Heaven set him apart from all of the false teachers.  But even though the vision experience was amazing, it was all God’s doing, and not his, so he refers to himself in the third person, saying “On behalf of such a man will I boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast except in regard to my weaknesses.”(v.5)  The only thing in HIS LIFE he WOULD BOAST about, was his WEAKNESSES.  That’s where God’s power was displayed most clearly, and the best evidence that Paul could be trusted.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Here’s where Paul begins to boast about his weakness…and I’m going to boast about mine too as we look at this passage together.  Paul’s situation was unique to him.  Mine was different, but I want us to follow Paul’s example and glean principles to help us in our trials.  There is much for us to learn from the Lord, as we face difficulties, and even though trials come in different forms and for different reasons, if we seek Him, the reward is the “peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Heb. 12:11

Humility From Pain

v. 7 “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me – to keep me from exalting myself!"  

Paul could have easily become proud because of his vision so God gave him a thorn to keep him from exalting himself.  In particular, a messenger from Satan influencing and driving the false teachers in this church.  This thorn was painful.  Greek for “thorn” indicates “sharp, painful, irritating; like a splinter or even a stake.  It was extremely painful for Paul. 

When things are going well, we are all susceptible to pride.  We love our autonomy and self-sufficiency, but God hates pride.  He’s “opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5b)  He gifted us with a trial.  Our painful thorn was dementia.  Gary gradually lost all control and I needed to accept help and seek advice.  Not easy for a couple of ‘do-it-yourselfers.’  Our self-reliance gave way to beautiful ways to display grace in our lives.


There were so many big decisions to be made, and my husband couldn’t lead or help me.  For example…  Should I continue going to church without Gary?  Should my parents move to assisted living?  How many caregivers could they afford to hire?  What about “end of life” planning?  What would Gary want?  How long should my mom be on life support?  After my Mom died, should my Dad live with me?  etc., etc.  Hooray for James 1:5.  “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach and it will be given to him.”  Absolutely true!  Every time I faced a big decision, the Lord gave me the wisdom I was asking for. 


In the early stages, Gary was confused about my identity, and was unsure if he could trust me to sign a Social Security form I’d asked him to.   He went missing one day and 45 minutes later I got a call from one of our pastors.  Gary was in his office getting his advice, making sure it was ok to sign.  Pastor Rick reassured him and Gary signed and came home.  That incident, laid the groundwork for me the following years.  I will never forget it.  GO TO YOUR ELDERS!  (Heb 13:17) “they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.”


v. 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 

Paul begged God to remove the painful trial 3 times. For Paul to ask repeatedly, and then mention it, it must have been extreme.

I too, prayed intensely for God to please remove our “thorn.” The Alzheimer’s would not go away, but we both prayed for relief and strength to endure.  I repeatedly poured out my hurts to the Lord and was reminded of His incredible love for us.  I too was driven to deeper intimacy with Christ.  Others were drawn close too. 


Gary’s “I love yous” eventually stopped, and when the feelings of loneliness rose up, I called a family member or friend, to ask for prayer.  God heard every cry of my heart and provided encouragement every time I needed it; in the form of a special verse, note from a friend, or remembrance of something Gary had said in the past.  God gave me more love than ever for Gary and reminded me that He loved Gary even more than I did.   And now as a widow, God is my husband.  God is replacing the loneliness in my heart with Himself. 


(1 Peter 5:6-7)  “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” God is planning to lift us up as result of our hard times, (either by removing the thorn or giving us grace to flourish) so bring all your hurts to Him, because He cares. 


v. 9a And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you for power is perfected in weakness.’ 

God answered Paul’s prayer.  Not with “OK, your trial is ending now,” but with more than enough grace to strengthen Paul in the MIDST of it. 

What exactly is Grace? In greek: charis.  Defined: God’s undeserved favor to us through Christ freely given to us for salvation, and for every other spiritual blessing. (Eph. 1) 

 Paul was no stranger to Grace.  He wrote...

  •  We are saved by grace… (Eph. 2:8) “For by grace you are saved, through faith; but that, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God...”
  •  We are glorified by grace…(Eph. 2:7) “...so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
  • In between, we live by grace... (Titus 2:11-12) “…the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age…”

 We are completely dependent on GOD’S GRACE to live our Christian lives.

 It’s MULTI-COLORED grace: (1 Peter 4:10) “manifold [multifaceted] grace of God."  We need...

Grace to believe the Gospel

Grace to understand the Word

Grace to trust God instead of ourselves

Grace to be assured of our salvation as we persevere

Grace to obey

Grace to endure with joy, and more

My pastor, John MacArthur, says ‘Grace is like the air we breathe.’  Sometimes God sovereignly intervenes in some way independent of our actions, but Paul told Timothy to “…be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 2:1)  We are expected to live lives pleasing to God.  But how do we do that in the midst of difficulty, confusion, and sleepless nights?  The Holy Spirit is in us, infusing us with grace as we engage with Him in four ways.    

TAKE HOLD OF GRACE – In the following 4 ways…

 1. Draw near to the THRONE OF GRACE. – PRAY

(Heb. 4:15-16) “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Good news… For believers, this is not a throne of judgement, but a throne of grace.  Jesus, your Savior is there, listening, caring, making intercession for you, He is going to help you live a godly life as you draw near and ask Him for help.

Jerry Bridges writes:  “So Jesus does fully understand and sympathize with us in our times of trials.  We can be sure, whatever the nature of our hurts, they are not new to Him.  Because Jesus can enter into our hurts, and does sympathize with us, we can approach God’s throne with confidence, without being ashamed to lay our weaknesses before Him.  He understands and He cares.” (p. 215 TBG)

  • Thank Him for His love and salvation.
  • Admit you are weak.
  • Ask for the spiritual strength to say “yes” to this situation.
  • Ask for help with specifics; practical AND most importantly, character.

2. Absorb the WORD OF GRACE -  the BIBLE

 “…word of grace to build you up.” (Acts 20:32)   Like eating healthy food, sustains your physical body, assimilating God’s word makes for a healthy spiritual life.  Sermons, Notes, Memorized verse that apply to your situation.  Not just reading it, but doing what it says.  Hiding it “in your heart” (Ps. 119:11) for a rainy day makes it available for the Holy Spirit to recall for you.

There were times when I really needed truth.  As Gary gradually stopped reading, talking, smiling and understanding it was heartbreaking, even depressing at times.  But God used His truth to display His grace and give me comfort and even JOY.  (Romans 8:32)  “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”  This verse became precious to me because, if God gave the very greatest gift (Jesus Christ) for our good, then everything else He gives is good for us too.  It became my go-to verse when tempted to despair.  By (Phil.4) “thinking about what is true.” God healed my broken heart and not just once!  Facing the fact that this trial was not going to go away, God gave me grace to think of ways to give Gary a meaningful life.  (i.e. making his flip book, memory books, PVC and screwdriver board)  This has turned into a way to help others on my website.  When we take God at His Word, and believe him, we find JOY! 

3. Embrace GOD’S PLAN for you. – SUBMIT

Because we believe God is sovereign and good we accept our situations.  Be humble like Joseph “…it was not you who sent me here, but God….God meant it for good…” (Gen. 45:8 & 50:20)  Be encouraged.  Your exaltation is coming if you “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7) 

Shortly after Gary’s diagnosis, Gary asked me to find the Alzheimer’s Association website so he could read about what he was facing.  (Memory Loss, Confusion, Personality changes, Repetitive behavior, Loss of communication, and the ability to walk, sit or control his body.  Eventually he would need full time assistance with everything.)  I watched him read the list, with tears in his eyes.  He never asked about it again but a few days later he prayed and asked God “that during his illness, he never do anything that would dishonor the Lord.”  He feared that as he would lose control of his mind, he would do something sinful, but Gary didn’t panic, get angry at God, or beg Him to take it away.    Gary was content with the biggest, scariest trial he would ever face.  He submitted himself to God’s plan for him.  And God did answer Gary’s prayer.

4.  Be open with the Body of Christ. – BE VULNERABLE

Be willing to accept help from Christians AND non-Christians.

  • Practical Help:  Humbling to let someone into your “kitchen.”  Remember, there are many ways to do things.
  • Spiritual Help: Be vulnerable to others and cultivate a small group (including spouse & elders) you can really trust.
    • Need their prayers
    • Need their help applying scripture
    • Need their objectivity

One of my good friends, reminded me about some scripture that helped me in a big decision regarding my dad in the final days of his life.  (tell incident)

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.” (Ecc. 4:9-10)


v. 9 And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you for power is perfected in weakness.’  Most gladly therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

 Paul didn’t love the pain, but he did love the amazing grace that lead to spiritual power.  He had to be weak in order to be powerful. 

 What does “Perfected” mean?  Greek: telos = accomplish, complete, finish


Anyone who thinks they are “strong” are fooling themselves.  The phrase: “You’re such a strong person” is a joke.  It’s God’s strength we need and that is a byproduct of the grace He displays in our human weakness.   As Christians we want Jesus Christ to be lifted up and not ourselves.

(Cor. 4:7-10) “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” 

 GOD’S STRENGTH IS UNLIMITED:  Paul prays that the Colossians be “…strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” (Colossians 1:11-12)

 You can put your confidence in God.

 “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isa. 41:10)

 “For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, 'Do not fear, I will help you.'” (Isa 41:13)

“He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power.” (Isa. 40:29)

 I want to draw attention to two different types of God's power that I've noticed:


About 5 years in, as Gary was losing his physical strength…God did an amazing thing.  During the day, he would sit in his recliner and listen to music or work with his "gadgets,” but helping him move was hurting my back and shoulders.  Something needed to change…I told the family:  "What we really need is someone to help for 10-15 minutes, sporadically throughout the day.  Caregivers?….too costly with nothing to do 90% of the time.  College student?... gone to classes when I need them during the day...  Impossible, right?   We ended the discussion with "We'll just have to keep praying about it, and see how the Lord will work it out.”

LITERALLY, just a few days LATER, our answer had come.  Of course you know this guy.  Jason, being part of the ministry here, had been praying for us, and offered to help us with no prompting.  Well, God prompted him independently.  He was perfectly suited to help in every way.  Working from our home, a trained nursing assistant, and STRONG!   Jason was with us during a very important transitional time and served us wholeheartedly during those months. Jason will always be a reminder that... “God is intimately acquainted with all my ways.” Ps. 139


In my soul, that will always be a monument to God’s strengthening grace, but so are the day-to-day, moment-by-moment graces that enable us to put “one foot in front of the other.” At the start of our Alzheimer’s journey I didn’t know when the end would be.  But I did know that Gary needed to have a smile from me, and my family and friends needed my prayers and love.  The Holy Spirit helps us live by grace, strengthening us for every task.  “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34.  We may not have tomorrow.  We are only guaranteed the breath that is currently in our lungs.  How will we live in the next moment?  Elisabeth Elliot often quoted an old Saxon Poem:

Do it immediately; Do it with prayer;

Do it reliantly, casting all care;

Do it with reverence, Tracing His Hand,

Who placed it before thee with Earnest command.

Stayed on Omnipotence, Safe 'neath His wing,

Leave all resultings, DO THE NEXT THING


v. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul's example...Because of the refining process due to the weaknesses in his life, for Christ’s sake; he was “well content” (that means well pleased) with all of it.  He had experienced the spiritual benefits so he embraced the hurts with deep joy and peace. “Suffering is the path to spiritual victory.”  John MacArthur

How often are we well-content with our trials?

I came to love how Gary’s illness displayed God’s grace and power in our lives.  I found out that when we were the weakest, we were the strongest. 

Forty-two years ago I said “…till death do us part.”  Two years ago God parted us and I said “good-bye” to my Gary.  Gary is in Heaven with his Savior.  He is fine now, "extremely fine.”  He is finally "home" and I am so relieved and thrilled for him.  His mind is whole.  He is experiencing joy like never before.

At the beginning of his Alzheimer’s, he carried a letter he wrote to himself so he wouldn’t forget…

“I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ…to be all He represented Himself to be in the Bible.  The Christ, the Son of God.  I believe Him to be the soon and coming King.  I am not a believer by birth, nor can I be without God enabling me.  Jesus has forgiven all my sins, and has made me a member of His family.” G.P.   Half way through his illness, Gary shared the Lord with our 4 year old granddaughter.  Though he was barely speaking during those days, he very clearly said to her… ”When you get to know my Jesus, it’s gonna be great!” 

If you DON’T have a saving relationship with Christ, you might be asking, “What’s so great about knowing Jesus?  God wants to show His strength and glory through people, and so he gives them something painful.”  If you look around you, you’ll see that suffering, loss, pain are part of the human condition.  Everyone is subject to them.  Way back in the Garden of Eden, sin was unleashed in the world because man and woman (and all men and women since) chose to assert their own will over God’s.  God made the universe and everything in it.  He is holy and perfect.  It is SIN that has brought the curse of suffering into the earth and eternal punishment and separation from God. 

If you are unsaved, I am sad to tell you, the grace of God is not available to help you with life’s hurts and struggles and this is the best life you will ever have, and any sufferings during this life are nothing compared to the eternal torment that that awaits you after you die.  Our sins separate us from God, BUT long ago, God made a plan born of His love.  Here’s the GOOD NEWS!  BY GRACE, He would freely offer to mankind, a perfect substitute (that’s Jesus Christ) who could bear the punishment for the sins of any who would repent and believe.  His anger satisfied, and the gap bridged.  So GRACE is being offered to you today, by God Himself.

I want you to hear this in God’s own words…

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23) 

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8)

“that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom. 10:9)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

If you don’t know Jesus, and have not yet turned from your sins, and submitted to His Lordship in your life, please don’t delay in making things right with God, through Christ.  “…now is the ‘acceptable time,’ behold, now is the ‘day of salvation’…” (2 Cor. 6:2)

There is no victory, no success apart from Him.  Will you humbly admit that you are helpless to please God, turn away from your own efforts to do so, and believe what He says in His word?


For believers, the grace of God is available to help you suffer “well” knowing that God is your loving Father, and these sufferings will be nothing in light of the glories of eternity where there will be no suffering; only joy in His presence.  If you are hurting or weak today, BE ENCOURAGED!  GOD WANTS TO GIVE YOU HIS ABUNDANT STRENGTH.  Sometimes it comes in surprising ways, sometimes, day-to-day, but His grace is “super-abundant” and He doesn’t waste anything.  Every single thing in our lives are for His glory and our good. So see your weaknesses as a good thing, bring your troubles to God, to know Him better, and then keep relying on His grace and power working in your lives.  Will you thank Him for the grace to endure it with joy? 

“God is able to make ALL grace abound to YOU so that ALWAYS having ALL sufficiency in EVERYTHING, you may have an ABUNDANCE for EVERY good deed” (2 Cor. 9:8)


I’m right there with you Ladies.  I have to remember these things too.  Widowhood has its own unique thorns and struggles as I find my footing in my new role.  

My hopes of Gary smiling at me, or saying a word, or noticing if I walk through the room, are over.  I will never have that again.  But I am so happy for Gary.  I can’t wait to see him again, in Glory, where he and I will be face to face with the One who gave us the power to keep our vows and love each other “no matter what.” I'm forever grateful to God for that.  And grateful to you for letting me BOAST about His wonderful grace!

Photo Mar 08, 2 51 39 PM.jpg



If you would like have some of the precious verses from this post, I've designed on little cards for memorizing, or daily encouragement, or to share with a friend, you can order them at my shop... Click HERE                                 



Dear Caregiver

Dear Caregiver, (or anyone entrusted with the well-being of another)

I know you are doing a really good job taking care of your loved one.  You know what kind of food they like the best, their favorite music and TV shows, and how to help them into and out of a car.  You have been caring for them for a long time, and have sacrificed much, maybe a job, free time, space in your home, involvement in church or other activities.  In a world where human life is being devalued, you are giving yourself to someone and honoring them the best way you know how and if you are a Christian, you are most likely serving, “as unto the Lord”

"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve." (Colossians 3:23-24)

There are times when you enjoy the satisfaction of serving with kindness, and patience, and you are glad for the sanctifying work God is doing in your life through the difficulties you experience day-to-day.  And then there are the other kind of days…

Frailty.  Exhaustion.  Frustration.  Confusion.  Caregivers live with a burden.  It is a good and worthwhile burden to have, but still hard. Being in charge of another person’s welfare, is a daunting task.  I want to remind you that you can and should share the load.  Being physically worn out, and mentally burned out will not make you a better caregiver.  Actually you do your loved one a disservice if you don’t take care of yourself.  

Share the Load


As a caregiver for my husband, Gary for nine years, I disliked the phrase “the caregivers must take care of themselves first.”  It sounded selfish to me.  I guess, dropping the word, “first” from the phrase would make it a little more palatable.  The fact is, that if the caregiver is a mess, they have nothing left to give.  Just as the airlines know that adults need to get their own oxygen flowing BEFORE their kids’ oxygen, we need to be as healthy and rested as possible. 

Sounds logical, right?  Well then why are caregivers known for being burned out?  For one thing, we don’t like to ask for help and if it’s offered we only want it on our terms.  I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I often thought I was the ONLY one who could take care of Gary well.  PRIDE.  Yep.  In reality, we probably do know what works best, because we’ve been doing it the longest, but as long as our loved one is safe, and the help is reliable, and trained, it is a good thing, to have a little time to yourself, for shopping, relaxing, being in church and fellowship.  There are many ways to do things, and sometimes we need to humbly learn from others.  Our way is not always the best, and certainly not the ONLY way.  I gained many good tips from Gary’s several caregivers, and volunteers who came to spend time with him.   Gary went to Adult Day Health Care a few times a week for a couple years too.  Even though I resisted the idea at first, he liked it and the programs there were designed for his level of ability.  I’m glad a dear family member convinced me to give it a try. 

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”  Ecclesiates 4:9-10

Gear Up

Another reason for caregiver burnout is failure to GEAR UP for your situation!  By this I mean, remember that depending on the cause of the dementia, it is not likely going to get better.  Your loved one will get worse, so make use of the many helps available.  Here are just a few examples:  My friend, recently bought a “nanny cam” so she could keep her eye on her father, just a couple of rooms away.  This allows her to get a good night’s sleep by just peeking at the monitor, and can see him still safely in bed, and she can go right back to sleep.  The alternative was going down the hall to check on him several times a night.  Another great help is fixing pureed meals for an entire week at a time.  Have a caregiver do it, or do it yourself, but it’s a big time saver, especially if your loved one is not awake or eating on a normal schedule.  You have their food at the ready when they are.  So if your loved one is needing softer foods, consider investing in a blender.  (See short video on meal prep HERE.)  RAMPS YES, THROW RUGS NO…Eventually your loved one will shuffle or scissor-step, and will not do well with loose rugs to trip on.  If you have even a slight step down you should have a ramp.  (For more tips on Accessibility, click HERE.)  Of course there’s a cost to these great tools, but figure out what you may need and do need now, and start asking around.  If you know exactly what you need, you will know what to ask for.  I realize there is a cost to these things.  Start praying and be specific as to what you need.  Maybe family members, who know the specifics will be able to help.  God supplied all our needs, in sometimes surprising ways.

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Stay Connected

Lack of fellowship and worship can be really tough for Christians.  We thrive on the spiritual friendships and encouragement we receive from other believers and we need to participate in corporate worship.  Of course there may be seasons during a long illness when you will not be able to leave a loved one on a Sunday, but again, if you pray about it, and let God know your desire to continue with worship and fellowship (even if it is different than before), my experience was that God provided.  I had to entrust Gary to someone, not “hand-picked,” but qualified, but he was in God’s hands and I had to exercise faith.  Church attendance was limited and sporadic for me during those years, but it was so WONDERFUL when I could be with other believers singing praise to God and enjoying the preaching of the Word.  In a pinch, I could Live-Stream the service, but it’s not the same. 

 “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”  Hebrews 10:24-25

So, my caregiving friend...

I hope some of these thoughts and ideas will be helpful and not burdensome for you.  Mostly I just want you to be open to all kinds of help, both human and practical, and staying connected to your church.  I know how heart-wrenching and wearing it can be to be responsible for a loved one.  May you find contentment, and peace as you face each day by resting in Christ’s provision. 

Love always, Laurie



"Grace for the Widow" Book Review

Grace for the Widow

A Journey Through the Fog of Loss

By Joyce Rogers

Fog.  It doesn’t happen too often here in Socal, but I’ve been in thick fog before and I remember how it felt.  There’s a mystery in its quietness.  Sounds are muffled, and it’s hard to make out what’s ahead, OR behind. The view ranges from completely opaque to blurred vaguely familiar objects.  It slows you down, the fog creates an awareness of being alone, and unsure.  A year and a half in to my widowhood, I’ve heard “Fog” used as a metaphor for how things feel when grieving, and it’s an apt description. 

A friend recently shared this little book with me.  Joyce Rogers, (widow of Adrian Rogers), passed through the “fog of loss” and gifts us with simple truths, and practical steps.  Joyce understands the unsettled feelings. 


“If I only had someone to tell me what to do next!”

...shopping for one at the grocery store…

“What do I buy now?”

...after many years together...

        "Who am I now that Adrian is gone?"         

The book is only 110 pages and it’s divided into two parts, the Profound and the Practical. 

Nothing is more PROFOUND than God’s love and care for widows.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matthew 6:33-34  

“Until the ‘fog’ lifts, don’t try to think about what your future holds.  Get out of bed, take a bath, get dressed, spend time alone with God, eat breakfast, clean up the house, walk the dog, pay the bills that are due – just do the next thing.” p.2

Joyce emphasizes that God is the “husband” of widows. 

“Your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.”  Isaiah 54:5 

From the book:  “His name means ‘the Lord of hosts.’  He is the leader of all the hosts of heaven.  He fights my battles for me.” p.8In one chapter she explains some of the names of God, and how the character trait of God applies to widows.  i.e. our Refuge, Strong Redeemer, Provider, etc.  In the Appendix there is a larger list. 

Sprinkled throughout the book are encouraging thoughts about Heaven, scriptures categorized for specific needs, and comforting poetry.

The PRACTICAL section includes helpful To-Do lists, healthy lifestyle tips, importance of friendships and how to get back to ministry and regular activities.  For example:

“SLEEP – Get at least eight hours of sleep.  Kneel before the Lord before you go to bed.  Turn your cares, heartaches, and fears over to Him.  Ask Him to give His ‘beloved’ sleep.  Remember: You are His beloved, and He neither slumbers nor sleeps.”p.61

“MAKE A BUDGET – Begin to make a budget that is now just for one person….”p.50

“MAINTAIN A BALANCED LIFE – Do the tasks that are ‘have tos’ but don’t feel like you have to do all these things on the to-do list right away.  Ask your Chief Counselor to show you what needs to be done today.  Of course, He is the Holy Spirit.  He has promised to guide you and He will.”p.50

My personal "fog" is lifting, and I understand that it's a process finding my footing alone, after being Gary's wife for 40 years.  Some days the path is clearer than others.  I think the best part of the foggy weather in my life is that it forces me to slow down, walk carefully when unsure, and cling to the everlasting arms that are constantly holding and guiding me.  Thank you, Mrs. Rogers, for helping me along with the process.

"Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.

 With Your counsel You will guide me,
 And afterward receive me to glory.

 Whom have I in heaven but You?
 And besides You, I desire nothing on earth."

Psalm 73:22-25


A Little Gem in Stepney

On Sunday, June 19, my daughter, son-in-law, and I were in London, mid-way through a trip of a life-time.  We were traveling with a group from their church through 5 countries looking specifically at the Reformation period of Church History.  I have SO much to say about this trip, and am getting ready to share photos and thoughts with you, but you know how it is when there’s something that just won’t keep?  I have been chomping at the bit to share one particular memory with you.  It was not a part of the scheduled tour, but it was a thrill for me personally and I was inspired to paint as soon as I got home.

St. Dunstan's Church, Stepney

Sunday, June 19, 2016

One of many descents into the Tube.

One of many descents into the Tube.

My eyes filled with grateful tears, when descending the escalator to the London “Tube.”  With our very busy tour schedule, and the remoteness of this little church, I was so happy that things were working out.  It would take about an hour of underground (the London “subway” or Tube) , bus and walking.  I’m not sure I could have found it on my own, but thankfully, Jon and April joined me for free-time that day.  I will always be grateful to Jon for making it possible. 

A little church, in Stepney Green, at the East part of London, and just a few blocks from the Thames, was our destination.  From 1640 – 1646, Jeremiah Burroughs was preaching here, for the last 6 years of his life.  He was called “The Morningstar of Stepney” back then, and 350 years later, his most well-known work, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, became one of my husband’s favorite books.  Burroughs was a faithful Puritan pastor and member of the Westminster Assembly, for more info, click HERE. or for more detail... HERE

But, back to my story…

It had been a very full day; church in the morning, a 2 hour walking tour in the St. Paul’s Cathedral area, the Tower of London, and a quick look into the British Library “Treasures” room before it closed.  Interspersed were meals, eaten on the run, and multiple Tube and taxi rides.  (Thankfully, all museums in London are free, so you can duck in and out, and not feel ripped off.)  Walked a few blocks to grab some dinner, which we ate on the run, now aware that the evening would soon be upon us, and we still had a ways to go to find St. Dunstan’s Church. 

With dinner in hand we discovered that the Underground route we needed was closed. We had to go a round-a-bout way, (still with dinner in hand), sharing the most crowded underground ride yet.  We were literally inches away from everyone, including a drunk guy who was nearly falling over on us as we stood holding on to the poles.  (no such thing as "personal space")  He was intent on telling us how we Americans should vote this fall.  So funny!  I felt relief when the doors opened at our stop.  Next, a bus ride, and then a walk of 5 blocks through a quiet, residential neighborhood.  I was so thankful to have Jon with us, as it was a bit lonely feeling. 

St. Dunstan's and All Saints Church, Stepney, London, England

St. Dunstan's and All Saints Church, Stepney, London, England

And then, rounding a corner, there it was.  St. Dunstan’s Church in the midst of a beautiful, churchyard of green grass, big trees, and old tombstones.   It was not crowded-in by high-rise office buildings, like so many of the churches we’d seen.  The gate was open, though the church door was locked.  There were some people walking their dogs and a few men sitting on a grave, talking with their friends.  It was a very quiet scene.  This church dates back to the 7th century, but most of the current building was built in the 15th century.  (some parts go back to 1200)  Amazingly, the building had survived the Blitz of WWII and with minimal changes over the last 500 years,  it is almost entirely the same building that Burroughs preached in, rag stone rubble, limestone trim, gargoyles, and all. (*more info at end of post) 

How Gary would have loved this place.  He would have enjoyed seeing where one of his heroes preached, and walking around looking at the gravestones.  But, of course, he's actually WITH Jeremiah, in the presence of the Savior they both love so I won't feel sorry for him.

I love looking over the notes Gary wrote to himself, to see what was important to him.  

I love looking over the notes Gary wrote to himself, to see what was important to him.  

I am grateful for Jeremiah Burroughs.  Gary, sat under his training, every time he returned to "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment." I believe Gary's peaceful acceptance of life's ups and downs was largely due to this book.  Gary did not particularly love reading, as it was not easy for him, and there were few books he read, but let me share a couple of things he underlined in the book.  Maybe you'll be blessed by them too.

"Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition."  J.B.

"Contentment is a sweet, inward heart-thing.  It is a work of the Spirit indoors." J.B.

"When you are in a ship at sea which has all it's sails spread with a full gale of wind, and is swiftly sailing, can you make it stand still by running up and down in the ship?  No more can you make the providence of God alter and change its course with your vexing and fretting; it will go on with power, do what you can.  Do but understand the power and efficacy of providence and it will be a mighty means helping you to learn the lesson of contentment." J.B.

"So this is the art of contentment: not to seek to add to our circumstances, but to subtract from our desires." Jeremiah Burroughs

"So this is the art of contentment: not to seek to add to our circumstances, but to subtract from our desires." Jeremiah Burroughs

I'm glad contentment was important to Gary.  He would be the first to say it did not come easy to him but he really wanted to trust the Lord in every area of life, especially the rough patches.  He prayed to have a trusting heart often and God answered that prayer by making the big trials in our life so much easier, and enriching.  The girls and I have read it too, and I'm going through it again, because I'm struggling with a greedy heart lately, and contentment in God's plan for me is the answer to greed!  

A few hours earlier on this day, I had stood in a very, very long line to see the extremely valuable, and highly guarded Crown Jewels, in the Tower of London. They were amazing.  The royal crowns and scepters, are decorated with HUGE and beautiful diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and more. British royalty are honored with the biggest and best gems in the world.  But Jeremiah Burroughs calls "Christian Contentment" the rare jewel.  Contentment, is so elusive yet we are called to it.  One day, in Glory, it will be mine.  Until then, I entrust myself to the Lord's training and like the apostle Paul,  am "learning" the secret of how to be content.  On this day I was able for a little while to walk in the steps of a faithful man who, though dead, still speaks.  Thank you Rev. Burroughs. 

This rose, if I'm not mistaken is a Newport Fairy Rose.  Gary grew these rambling pink roses at our Sunland home.  It was frosting on the cake to see these growing on the church grounds. 

This rose, if I'm not mistaken is a Newport Fairy Rose.  Gary grew these rambling pink roses at our Sunland home.  It was frosting on the cake to see these growing on the church grounds. 

"My brethren, the reason why you have not got contentment in the things of the world is not because you have not got enough of them - that is not the reason - but the reason is, because they are not things proportionable to that immortal soul of yours that is capable of God himself."  Jeremiah Burroughs

"My brethren, the reason why you have not got contentment in the things of the world is not because you have not got enough of them - that is not the reason - but the reason is, because they are not things proportionable to that immortal soul of yours that is capable of God himself."  Jeremiah Burroughs

"...I have learned, to be content, in whatever circumstances I am. 

I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." 

Philippians 4:11-13

(FOR MORE STUDY, Pastor Mike Riccardi preaches about Biblical contentment; what it is, and how to learn it.  To listen, click HERE!)

*INTERESTING TRIVIA:  St. Dunstan's was known as the "Church of the High Seas" and many sailors are buried here.  The naval ensign continues to fly from the bell tower.  There is a stained glass window dedicated to those sailors who lost their lives in the war.  It is built of Kent limestone.    Shortly after Burroughs died in 1648, the churchyard had been expanded to 7 acres to accommodate the massive number of deaths due to the Great Plague of London.  Today it is a park, open to all. 

St. Dunstan's Church, Stepney

St. Dunstan's Church, Stepney

I love to get your comments...either here or on Facebook.  Thanks for visiting! 

My Grief Diary: A Happy, Grieving Heart

Next Friday will be the Anniversary of our last goodbye.  Over the last year, as a recent widow, I have sought to understand my new and different life.  After forty plus years with my husband, I find myself alone.  For all those years, and right up until Gary died, I knew exactly what I would and should be doing each day.   My life with my sweetheart was good and fulfilling.  In the months following his departure, adjustments have been made in my life and are still happening.  I suspect the future will hold more changes, and growth for me as well.  That’s ok.  The changes are sometimes hard, or painful, but I'm seeing that there is good on the other side.

Discovering (and dealing with) the new me!

I’ve been learning about “the new me,” the “me-without-Gary.”  We were one flesh for 40 ½ years and I’ve been shaped by him.  Being alone, and being in the grief stage, I've found some things in my heart that need to be repented of.  I've also found more depth in some of my interests and creative side.  There are brand new and faith stretching opportunities to explore and I plan to do so.  (Specifically an upcoming trip I'll be sharing about here.) The Lord has used Gary to help me grow, as a Christian and as a woman.  I am still “me” but I am finding new ways to grow. 

Saying "yes" to everything - well not EVERYTHING, but too much!

One thing I’ve noticed is that after nine years of having certain restrictions on my life, (because of Gary's health needs), I began to say yes to everything.  Well maybe not “Everything” but lots of things.  I kind of went crazy with going here, going there, doing this and that, and taking on a lot.  Nothing bad here, just LOTS.  I was wondering how the Lord would direct me, and unfold what He wanted me to do.  I’ve been able to see more clearly now certain things that are more important than others and great ways to enjoy life.  I don't think I will EVER really get a handle on time management, but I've noticed that I need to be on guard against being greedy.  For instance, I like to put many intriguing things on my list of "to-dos" but sometimes it's better to do fewer things, and do them better.  There will never be enough time or opportunity to do everything.  It's ok to dream, but when something can't be done, I must not get frustrated, but rather be thankful for what I AM able to do. 

Changing roles is not easy.

My sorrow for Gary, has been ongoing for many years.  When he departed, I was already kind of used to missing him.  What I was NOT used to, however, was feeling the loss of my main “occupation,” being his helper.  This has been the thing that brings the most tears.  I miss Gary, I miss being his other “half.” It's a slow process, but God is steadily healing this part of my heart.  I've been able to study about the beautiful role that widows have in the church.  I'm excited about that.  We widows, have a special place in God's heart and He has much for us to do.  "...so that they (older women) may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored." Titus 2:4-5

I’m almost through the first year of being on my own, and all the first holidays without Gary are behind me.  I’ve been up and down with emotions as I approach the anniversary of Gary’s home going in a few days.  Mostly happy for Gary, but sad when I think about the final goodbye, and missing my role of helping him.   Through this entire first year, God has been at my side, drying my eyes, giving me things to laugh at, and love, and reminding me of wonderful memories with my sweetheart.    I hope you are all expressing your love to your dear ones and treasuring your days together.  We are only guaranteed the breath that is in our lungs at this present moment so make your day a good one.  May we all feel and think deeply, and give ourselves completely to Jesus Christ so that our lives will count for eternity. 





Sorrow is better than laughter,
For when a face is sad a heart may be happy. 

Ecclesiastes 7:3


I've read a couple of wonderful books on grief.  The most recent was The Undistracted Widow, by Carol Cornish.  I highly recommend it!  (Click HERE for my review.) 

Lexi and the Sparrows



This little sparrow print is very special to me. It is reproduced from a watercolor painting I just finished for a dear family who has been going through a really hard time. It is inspired by little Lexi, the six year old foster daughter of Rusty and Summer Page. You may have heard their story in the news. I couldn't think of a more helpless, or insignificant bird than a sparrow, and yet, the "least among us" are precious to God who cares for them. (Scroll down to read a short summary or find out more at www.saveourlexi.com)


1. Contribute to the Pages for legal and associated expenses.

I will be sending my proceeds, minus my costs, from the sale of these prints to the Pages to help with their legal and associated costs as they continue to make their appeal to get Lexi back home. (For duration of 2016)

2. Remind yourself to pray for this sweet little girl and her family.

I have known the Pages for years and along with many of you, have been praying for little Lexi. She is away from her home, siblings, school, church and her life. Her communication with all of these has been cut off, and I can only imagine how she must be suffering. BUT thankfully, God is not unaware, or surprised by this. He has a soft spot for the helpless, and Jesus reminds us that God values his own.

To purchase this 8 X 10 print for $14.95,

click HERE.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31


Lexi lived with the Pages for 4 years until March 21, 2016 when she was removed by L.A. County to go live in Utah . Because she has 1.5% Indian Blood, she is under the authority of the Indian Child Welfare Act which seeks to place Native Americans into homes with N.A. relatives. When reunification efforts with her parents were ended, at the end of 2012, the Tribe recommended placement in the Utah home. The Pages have been seeking to adopt Lexi ever since. Twice the trial court has ordered Lexi to Utah, and twice, the appellate ruled in favor of the Pages. Their last request was denied on March 18 and 3 days later, Lexi was taken from the only family she has ever known, and bonded with and has been cut off from all communication with her foster family. The Pages are continuing to try and bring Lexi back by every legal means possible. Almost 120,000 people have signed a petition requesting that Lexi be allowed to remain with the Pages (To sign petition: change.org) (To follow on Facebook: #Save Lexi)

Click HERE to purchase the print and all the proceeds beyond my costs will go to the Page family.  This print is on textured Sundance card stock and does NOT include frame. This print fits nicely in an 8" X 10" frame or mat in an 11"X14" frame. Shipping is extra on this item. Colors By Laurie prints are reproduced from my original watercolor paintings and may not be reproduced.

Thank you so much!