Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas with the Rifes

Kylie and Michelle enjoy a party at the library. The Kramms, Petersons, and Rifes fill the air with Christmas music. From our house to yours--Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Journey to Judah, Book One, Born for India trilogy


Journey to Judah is a gripping story that touched not only my heart, but will have a lasting spiritual impact on my life. -BR

I loved this book. It is such an easy read and kept my interest from the first paragraph. Such great reminders of God's faithfulness and I love the questions at the end. -TF


This is a well-written book that kept me on the edge of my seat. -RW


This is a great love story and it reminds you that God is in control and we can trust Him with every detail of our lives. I could not put it down, and I would get so anxious when I didn't have time to read it for a few days. -DJ


I read Eileen's book today. I loved it. I'm trying to think what I liked best, but I can't decide. There was too much great stuff. LL

Sunday, November 23, 2008

End the Hate/first posted by American Family Association

Above The Hate
by Marcia Segelstein

In the wake of violent protests, vicious personal attacks, and a campaign of intimidation by opponents of Proposition 8, the National Organization for Marriage has just launched a new website called www.AboveTheHate.com. Its intent is to affirm, as Executive Director Brian Brown writes, “the right of all citizens to participate in the public debate about marriage, free from intimidation, vandalism or violence.”

The website is starting off with a letter which everyone is encouraged to sign (online) from major Christian leaders and supporters to President Thomas Monson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints thanking him and his church for their support of Proposition 8 and the protection of marriage.

Beyond a well-deserved thank you, what's the point of such a letter? “Threats against one religious community threaten all of us," Brown writes, "as we stand for what we believe in the public square. The campaign against the LDS Church is just the first part of a campaign to silence all of us.”

So don’t be silenced. Visit the website and sign your name!

www.abovethehate.com

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Author Interview with FaithWebbin

Describe yourself for our visitors

After working as a home school mom for 20 years, I received my golden apple from my three daughters when the last one graduated in 2005. I now team up with my professional counselor husband to conduct marriage seminars for churches and organizations. Writing caters to my introvert side while speaking caters to my extrovert side. My favorite role is mentor for my adult children and granddaughters. I look forward to the day when my grandchildren are old enough to play tea party.


How do you find time to connect with God?

Now that my nest is empty, finding time to spend with God is easier than ever! The longer I live the more I realize that meeting with the Lord every day is not an option for me. I have to do it! He has allowed me to travel some dark places in my spiritual journey in order to teach me that relationship with Him and with others is vital to maintaining equilibrium in all areas of my life. I’ve discovered that if I don’t carve out time with God (I call it “my date with Jesus”) in the morning, it generally does not happen. I come to Jesus with Bible, journal, and pen in hand to record any thoughts, direction, and healing He wants to give me. He is the first one I talk to when I wake up in the morning and the last one I talk to when my head hits the pillow at night. In addition to my personal quiet time with the Lord, several times a month I invest in accountability relationships with other women, either one-on-one or in small groups. These women encourage me to stay focused on Jesus and His plan for me.

Tell us about your journey to publication.

About 12 years ago, my husband, Chuck, suggested we team up to conduct marriage seminars as an extension of his counseling ministry. At the time I was absorbed with home schooling my three daughters so told him I would put the idea on the back burner until retirement. In the meantime, we filled a folder marked, “Marriage Seminars” with research, handouts, personal stories, and resource ideas.

Then in 1999, two years after our oldest daughter graduated from high school, I sensed God prompting me to test the seminar waters. Chuck mentioned that we would need to compile a syllabus for attendees and I said, “Why not a book?” Over the years, I had received good feedback on my newsletter columns and church dramas so decided to take the leap. After meeting rejection from three royalty publishers, I decided to self-publish. Thus emerged, Marriage with an Attitude, How to Build an Exciting Marriage with a Fantastic Attitude! Within the next three years I published two other books, one on grief and loss and the other a 31-day devotional.

As I approached the empty nest, God shifted my focus to writing magazine articles. Since that time my byline has appeared in Discipleship Journal, Marriage Partnership, Christian Home & School, ParentLife, and Mature Living, as well as other print and online magazines.

In 2005, God gave me the desire to write my first novel, Journey to Judah, inspired by my daughter’s story. The work sat on the shelf for two years before being picked up by Capstone Fiction.

Tell us about your current book.

Journey to Judah is my debut novel and first book accepted by a royalty publisher. It is Book One in my “Born for India” series.

Maggie Osteder’s given up hope of finding a man who shares her love for India. So while her friends plan dream weddings, she follows her heart, fulfilling a ten-year dream of becoming a career missionary. “Don’t lose heart. Stay focused on serving, and God will take care of the rest,” her mother always tells her. Yet upon arrival in Chennai, a fellow missionary makes a comment that strikes to Maggie’s heart—that her ministry will be more effective if she’s married. And her newfound friend says she has the perfect match: the new doctor, Gavin Munsfield.
But Maggie isn’t so sure she’s ready to open her heart…especially to a man who seems to be struggling with his own issues.


How did you come up with ideas for this book?

My passion in writing Journey to Judah emerged as the result of watching our fifteen-year-old daughter commit her life to fulltime missions in India. After ten years of waiting, training, and preparing, our single daughter departed for India in November, 2004. Two months later God brought a young man to India and the two were married on June 11, 2005. During this time, my women’s Bible study group was studying the life of Ruth. I began to see how my daughter’s journey of leaving the comfortable surroundings of home and family to follow God to a foreign land was similar to Ruth’s journey to Judah. One night after returning home from the study, I crawled into bed and the title, Journey to Judah, flashed across my mind. I knew it was the perfect fit for my novel.

List your three most recent books (if applicable).

My nonfiction books include, Marriage with an Attitude, When Mourning Comes, Living Through Loss, and Tranquil Moments, Spiritual Refreshment from the Island of Maui, available through online bookstores

What’s next for you?

I am currently working on Book Two in the “Born for India” series. Restored Hearts profiles Gavin’s brother, Tim, who joins the mission team for the clean-up and rebuilding of the Oasis Compound. Tim harbors a dark secret that threatens to destroy his relationship with his brother…and a promising new love.


Where can visitors find you online?

www.freewebs.com/eileenrife
www.guardyourmarriage.com
www.iwanttomakemymarriagework.com
www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

God, Bless America Once Again

Dear Father,

You have blessed us, and blessed us, and blessed us again. In Your rich mercy and grace, would You bless us once again? For the sake of our children and their children. Yet, I have to ask myself: If You choose to bless us again, what will I do with that blessing?

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Value of Reading

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers."


Charles W. Eliot, The Happy Life, 1896

(1834-1926)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Christmas is Coming!



Gift a signed copy of Journey to Judah to your special friend or family member this Christmas. FREE gift wrapping. Secure payments through PayPal. Send your order to the author at eileenrife@yahoo.com.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Go, Granny, Go, Granny, Go Granny Go!

Three grandchildren and counting! Number four to come in February. I'm lovin' this grandma gig. The Bangalore Babes tell us Daniel looks like Grandpa Chuck, so he must look like his precious Mommy, too. And even has the red hair like Rebekah!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What Does a Grandma Do?

What does a Grandma do when her new grandbaby lives all the way across the world in India? She goes out, buys a balloon, ties it to her grocery cart, and tells everyone she sees about her grandson! Then she comes home, grabs Grandpa, and together they take a picture of themselves with the balloon. Then, she goes outside, ties the balloon to the mailbox, so that everyone in the neighborhood can celebrate the blessing! Then she comes inside, and maybe, just maybe, sets the table for a birthday party and videos the celebration to send to the new parents and grandchildren.

A Baby Boy is Born!


After 17 hours of labor, Rachel delivered our first grandson, Jonathan Daniel, on October 16. Daniel, as he will be called, weighed in at 3.4 kg, a little over 7 pounds and has light red hair. Daddy says he looks like Grandpa Chuck! Daniel joins two-year old sister, Rebekah, who just celebrated her birthday October 3. Congratulations to the Waldock household! We're praying for you.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Relentless Lover

Ladies, join us at Lakeside Baptist Church, October 22, at 6:45 p.m. in the conference room for the Song of Solomon study. No, this book isn't just about marital intimacy. It's about God's covenant love relationship with His people, Israel. It's about Christ's love for His Bride, the Church. Come and experience the sacred romance with the Creator of the universe. Be loved, love Him back, then turn around and love others. We will be crafting an agape banner. Also each week, participants will receive an agape surprise! Bring your Bible, journal, and a friend. If your love needs a little refreshing this fall, join us at Lakeside Baptist. No cost.

To sign up, contact:

Lakeside Baptist Church
540-986-0062
mandy@lakeside-baptist.org

Friday, October 3, 2008

JOHNSON COUNTY RESIDENT MAY SUE

One might think it the least likely place on planet Earth for such a thing to happen. But it has!

A resident of my little, Bible-belt hometown of Mountain City, Tennessee is suing the county for having the Ten Commandments posted in the courthouse. This is a growing phenomenon across the country, and even more alarming when small towns are affected.

Would you join with me in prayer that God would change this man's heart? It's been my experience that folks like this have been hurt in some way, perhaps by a church, in the past. They need our prayers, not our criticism.

Pray also that American Center for Law and Justice, Jay Sekulow, who litigates Christian liberty cases would rise to the occasion.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

21 DAY ROMANCE CHALLENGE!

Take the 21 Day Romance Challenge and breathe new life into your marriage! Visit www.freewebs.com/eileenrife and accept the DAY ONE CHALLENGE.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Ram in the Thicket

A Ram in the Thicket
Amazing Stories of God’s Provision
By Eileen Rife

Based on Genesis 22:10-14

Then he (Abraham) reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide.


Is there a cherished dream, relationship, place, or position on which you have raised the knife? Did God turn around and provide a ram in the thicket just when you thought all hope was lost?

Share your story.
Word count: 500-1500
Include at least one Scripture indicating how God worked in your life.
Selections will be made based on the following criteria:

* Emotional appeal—Does your experience generate a heart response?
* Unusual experience—Is your experience something only God could do?
* Spiritual principle—Is there a specific Scriptural principle you learned?
* Ease of reading—Does your writing flow?
* Take-away value for reader—What can a reader learn from your experience?

This inspirational work-in-progress is a compilation of stories chosen from submissions. If you would like to contribute to this book, email eileenrife@yahoo.com. If your piece is accepted, you will receive a free copy of the book upon publication and an attribution in the back of the book.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

ONLINE WRITING CLASS! $59 FOR TWO SESSIONS


Have you secretly harbored a desire to write? Maybe you've talked with others about getting started on a book project. Perhaps, you would just like to write down those family stories for your children and grandchildren.


Test the writing waters. Take my online seminar. Two sessions will introduce you to the writer's life and provide amble opportunity to determine if you want to wade in deeper.

Cost: $59 for two lessons with phone consult as needed

Monday, August 4, 2008

Jesus' First Miracle

Did you know that Jesus' first miracle was at a wedding? That's right. Look it up.

All right. I'll make it easy for you. Read John 2:1-11. As I flip through the gospel accounts, it appears that John is the only apostle who recorded this significant event.

I think it's sweet that Jesus chose to display His authority and power at a wedding. What a reassurance to me as I stood at the kitchen sink one morning three months ago worrying about whether we would have enough food at Steph's wedding. The Holy Spirit reminded me through Jesus's first miracle that the Lord cares about the special moments in our lives, especially weddings, since He uses the picture of the marriage relationship to show how He loves us!

Over and over again in planning Steph and Matt's outdoor wedding, the Lord answered prayer, right down to the weather. Even as I decorated the white gazebo in a light shower of rain on their wedding morning, I pressed forward in faith. The Lord had promised He'd come through for us, and He did! What a gorgeous day it turned out to be and the moderate temperature was a delight.

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Brantham Kramm
Married Saturday, July 26, 2008
My prayers go with you.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Novel Update

I sit at the computer typing chapter three of Chosen Ones which profiles a couple experiencing infertility and a child enslaved in sex trafficking. People in crisis, yet worlds apart. As I research the topic of trafficking my heart breaks over the millions of women and children who fall prey to sex lords every year. Promised a better life, they unwittingly land in the hands of pimps who use and abuse for the almighty dollar. It sickens me to think that in our depraved world much simply comes down to money.

As with my last novel in the Born for India trilogy, I need much prayer to complete this task. I desire to be another voice of awareness for the children. I'm learning that they aren't just on the other side of the world, but perhaps right in my own backyard. And that is the most sickening thought of all.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Home Sweet Home

There truly is no place like America! I returned from India right into the open arms of my hubby. How I missed him! And his zany ways . . .

Like for instance, how he manages pest control at our home.

He uses bubble gum to plug up bee holes in our deck. I can only imagine there are several bumble bees (no, not bubble bees) flying around Roanoke blowing bubbles.

He sprinkles grits around the perimeter of our home and places a bowl of water beside it. He claims that the ants eat the grits, then drink the water and blow up! I have to chuckle. But, you know, it works!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Beautiful Women of Bethel

Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak to 30 women at Bethel Baptist Church. Lovely ladies with olive complexions and long dark hair down to their waists, some worn in pony tails, others in braids. A mix of modern and traditional-some wore kameez over jeans, others colorful silky sarees. I spoke on three abilities every Christian woman should embrace: availability, sensibility, and flexibility.


Recently, I had the privilege of speaking for two Mother's Day functions: one a celebration of moms at Sherwood Memorial Park with a dove release at the end and lovely harp solo. The other for Rainbow Forest.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Monkey Business!



At one point in our walk, we happen upon a family of golden-haired macaques munching on mangoes. With a full belly, the macaque in the top photo is napping. In the photo below, Mommy chews on a mango pit while her tiny baby grips her tummy.

Lal Bagh



We stroll by the lake on one side and the bougainvilla on the other. Rebekah is enjoying her new car seat while touring Bangalore's famous horticultural park. Since this is mango season, vendors line up in rows at the opening of the park, similar to a county fair in the States, and sell their produce. I had no idea how many varieties of mango there are! Must be around ten or so represented here. I've eaten mango for almost every meal since I arrived. One of my favorite dishes is mango shortcake served with Rachel's homemade biscuits.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Born for India trilogy

Currently available through online stores
Journey to Judah
One woman. One God. One passion. In an exotic culture of 7.5 million people and over 3 million gods, one woman's resolve to make the journey results in an amazing story of the Lord's protection and provision.

In editing stage
Restored Hearts
One man's secret. Another man's scorn. Will family ties be strong enough to bind two wounded hearts?

Under construction
Chosen Ones
A couple in crisis. A child with a sorrow too big for words. When their worlds intersect, will they accept His chosen ones?

READ ALL THREE BOOKS FROM CAPSTONE FICTION

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Leaping Lizzards, Batman!

I sit at the table with Rebekah eating a sandwich. Nathan and Rachel are attending a youth gathering at a neighbor's house. Along the baseboard I notice a two-inch lizzard scurry over the floor. A shiver shoots down my spine; then I remember--this friendly member of the family eats mosquitoes. So I will leave him to carry out his business. This little gecko is nature's alternative to the Orkin man. Fine by me. As long as we each keep to our corners, things will be okey-dokey.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Papua

Rachel, Rekekah, and I walk to the store while Nathan works at the seminary. As we pass by the tent family at the end of the street, a lady squatting in the dirt smiles and yells, "Papua." She is saying "baby" in Tamil. She waves and Rebekah waves back.

Rebekah is very close to Indians she knows, but wary of strange Indians she passes on the street who try to reach out for her, pinch her cheeks, and hold her. Her caution is a good thing. While many friendly faces abound, the world is a dangerous place. In fact, India is the number one country for child slavery and trafficking. Since this is one of the focal points of my third book in the "Born for India" series, I am now engaged in research. Stay tuned for more about Chosen Ones.

In the meantime, get ready for Book Two, Restored Hearts. My editor wants the manuscript by the end of June. With my daughter's wedding the end of July, I may urge her to postpone that request until August. Will see what my schedule looks like when I return from India. I was able to read back through the manuscript while flying over and plan on doing the same on the return trip to the States.

Recap of Restored Hearts

Newly weds, Gavin and Maggie Munsfield, return to life and ministry in Chennai, India which is still reeling from the recent tsunami. Gavin's brother, Tim, joins them for the cleanup and rebuilding of the compound, but Tim's dark secret threatens to destroy his relationship with his brother . . . and a promising new love.

Monday, May 26, 2008



My Favorite Lake Photos Captured by Nathan



Men fishing with a net at the park.

Around the Lake and Over the Trail



After supper, Rachel, Rebekah, and Grandma Eileen take a walk around the lake. Rebekah enjoys stopping to examine a pebble or two along the way. Nathan enjoys snapping shots of the setting sun and Egretts standing in the marsh.

Bless This House

Slosh, swish. Slosh, swish.

I pull the curtain aside and peer out the window. An Indian woman across the street is pouring water from a bucket onto her cement slab in front of her house. She dumps, then sweeps using a short handle broom with long reeds. When her task is complete, another woman steps onto the slab with a small white bowl in her hand. She stoops and begins to apply a substance I can't quite make out onto the cement. Her motions are rthymic, methodical, ritualistic. Satisfied with the Hindu blessing she has given her home, she rises, opens the gate leading to her front door, and walks in.

Later, Rebekah and I play on the floor together inside her house. The box that housed her new car seat has now become her playhouse. Grandma draws block letters spelling out "JESUS" on the cardboard flap that graces the entrance of Rebekah's "house." We have invited the Lord to bless her house.

I am reminded of the Israelites who at God's command applied the blood of an unblemished lamb to the doorposts of their homes so that the death angel might pass over. I pray that the Hindu lady next door might come to know the true blessing that the Lord Jesus Christ brings to a home when the people within apply His blood to their lives. I hope that someday she will understand that with Jesus she can be safe. But with any other substitute, the blessing she thinks she is invoking on the house is really a curse. She is giving Satan an open door of opportunity to invade the premises and reek havoc over the lives within.

I am also reminded of Deuteronomy 6:9 which instructs parents to write the commands, decrees, and laws of the Lord on the doorposts of their homes so that the children can be reminded to obey Him and love Him with all their hearts.

And so, Grandma and Rebekah bless her playhouse.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Subia, a True Saint!

I talk to Subia after church. He is happy to see me again after a year and a half, but disappointed Sir Chuck is not with me. I am, too. It's only been four days, but I miss hubby somethin' ferious! Hopefully, I'll return home with a deeper commitment to our marriage than ever before. As they say, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." I tend to forget the little irritations that annoy me about him. Only the good qualities rise to the surface. If only I could tuck that bit of realization away for future reference, like when we are together again.

Subia's bright eyes shine as he talks to me. He is still the only convert in his Hindu family. We continue to pray for his wife, an architect, and his family that they will see his genuine faith and be moved by the Holy Spirit to receive Jesus as Savior. Subia is probably in his late 50's, but his faith is as fresh and real as a child's. In response to Pastor Nelson's sermon on faithfulness to the Lord, Subia tells me, "My Lord is loving me, even though I am a very naughty boy." He went on to say, "I was sitting this week and wondering how could I best show that I love the Lord; what would help me see that I truly do love Him. Then it came to me: Obedience. I must obey what He tells me."

Wow! Subia doesn't realize it--he is a humble man--but in two minutes, he has given me a sermon that speaks volumes!

Shell Shock

Rachel stands over a hot stove and dumps shell macaroni into a pot of boiling water. She is appeasing her mother's need for American food. She and Nathan eat very little pasta, but today she prepares one of my favorites--homemade tomato sauce over macaroni.

We peer into the pot and notice tiny black bugs floating on the surface. Rachel grabs a spoon and begins fishing the critters out. Reminds me of something Stephanie's fiance, Matt, shared with me once. He's an MK from Cambodia and knows about these things. :)

During first term, when a missionary finds insects in his food, he throws the food away. During second term, he picks the bugs out and eats the food. Third term, he eats whatever's in there!

"Okay . . . y . . . y," as Rebekah would say. "Whatever!" I'm here for the ride.

Actually, once I got past the shell shock, I thoroughly enjoyed my homemade sauce and pasta lovingly prepared by my daughter.

For God's Sake, REST!

I curl up on my cot and pull out one of the books Nathan ordered for me to bring over. I like the title, For God's Sake, REST! by James Anderson.

India isn't your typical vacation spot, but in some ways, I feel as though I had to come here to get some rest! Life is indeed richly full--classes to teach, books to write, wedding to plan. As fulfilling as all these activities are, sometimes I need to step off the speeding train and take a rest at the junction.

For God's Sake, REST! Discovering the Pleasure of His Rest, is a good reminder that God delights in the rest of His people. Rest is a gift from God and a gift I give back to God as a way to honor Him and show that I trust in Him.

God rested after creation, not because He was tired, but because he wanted to bring closure to His work. Part of that closure included reflection. His response: It is very good! Even at the end of each day of creation, He brought closure to His work by saying, It is good! "He had the power to cease His work. He controlled His work; His work did not control Him," says Anderson.

Anderson goes on to say, If my life is going to clearly reflect the image of God, I am going to have to learn how to rest. In American culture, and in many others as well, many of us live as though work is the only way to please God. We're constantly on the go and feel guilty when we are not. Part of living a holy life before God is learning to rest, for it is rest that actually increases our productivity for God.

I especially like this line by Anderson:

As parents and grandparents take pleasure in their sleeping children, so God takes pleasure in our rest.

I have only read a couple chapters, but this book looks to be one which will provoke new thought and consideration as I pull aside from my normal routine for a few weeks, and REST!

Mango Mama!

It's mango season in India! Since I've been looking forward to the fresh fruit, Nathan is eager for me to taste-test several varieties. Like a kid in a candy shop, his eyes grow wide when we hover over the mango bins at the corner grocery.

He explains that mango raspuri is juicy and sweet. Mango banguinpally has a firmer flesh. Mango alphonso is a popular export to the States. Some are small with greenish-yellow exterior, while others are large and either solid green or yellow. I'm looking for the ones I typically see in Kroger back home--you know, the red ones when ripe--but I do not see them. Nathan says that variety typically comes from Mexico.

Other varieties available include mango kesar, mallika, sindhuri, malgoa, and totapuri. I had no idea God was so creative when He fashioned this one fruit. Reminds me of Revelation 22:2 which says in the new earth the tree of life will bear twelve crops of fruit and yield its fruit every month. The leaves will be for the healing of the nations. I suspect this may be a fruit my eyes have never seen or lips tasted! Can't wait!

Later, after supper, Nathan calls to me from the kitchen. "Come and get your treat!" He has carefully chopped up three different types of mango and placed them in separate bowls. I taste each one. Hmm, tough decision. Which one do I like best? Mango alphonso, I think. The flesh is a deep orange color and pleasantly, but not overly, sweet. We carry the bowls to the table. Rachel has prepared homemade biscuits. We scoop some mango and pile it on top of our bread in shortcake fashion.

"Quite yummy!" I remark.

Rachel and Nathan seem pleased that Mango Mama has finally tasted the fresh fruit she's been waiting a year and a half to enjoy.

Koo, Koo for Coconut!

On the way home from grocery shopping, Nathan pulls the van over to the side of the road.

"Want some coconut water?" he asks, one foot inside the vehicle, the other anchored on the ground.

"Why not?" I reply. I remember our family trip to Madras in 1996 when it seemed like everytime we turned around someone was handing us a coconut. Just when we were growing weary of the drink, one Indian mentioned that the water helps form healthy bacteria in the intestines. From then on, I said, "Give me more!"

Nathan pulls out some rupees at the roadside stand (not exactly Sonic) and hands them to the Indian who stands behind the makeshift table piled with green coconuts. Another man behind him grabs a coconut. With a machete he lops off the top, punches a hole, and inserts a straw. He repeats the performance a second time. For 50 cents, Nathan and I have a refreshing drink. Yes, I actually like it, and so does Rebekah it appears. She sits in her car seat in the back begging for a taste.

Nathan tells me that the perfect blend of electrolytes in coconut water replenishes the body better than any sports drink. He routinely enjoys some after playing football (soccer) in the mornings with his youth group. However, he warns me not to drink more than two at a time. More than that can produce a laxative effect. Okay, I'll pass on that. Oops! No pun intended.

He also shares that coconut water is as close in composition to blood plasma as you can get. Apparently, doctors used it in IV's during WWII.

Well, all I can say is "Koo, koo for coconut!"

Mo-ped Mania

Va-room, va-room! I hear the downstairs neighbors rev up their motorcycles. I pull the curtain aside in my bedroom and watch them zoom down the road. I can't help but think of my CMA friends in Roanoke with their big, shiny machines. Monstrous in proportion to the scooters I see in Bangalore. Yet, this is a common mode of transportation for many. Often, in the midst of a busy street filled with buses, oxen, auto rikshaws, wagons, and cars, I see a saree-clad woman riding side sandal on the back of a mo-ped. How she hangs on is a wonder to me!

What a ministry my CMA brothers and sisters would have among these thousands of Indians who ride cycles every day!

Bangalore Baby

I walk down the street holding Rebekah's hand. We are on our way to the tiny park to swing. We pass garbage rotting in the sun, lazy dogs lounging in the street, and cattle grazing on tree leaves. Nineteen-month-old Rebekah simply says, "cow," and continues on her merry way. These are normal sights for my Bangalore grandbaby.

Once on the playground, I notice a small Hindu temple. The door is open and Indians line up for worship. In the foyer, three large bells dangle from ropes suspended from the ceiling. A worshipper rings the bell before entering the next room. Sometimes, he rings the bell on the way out, too.

On the way back home, an old man squatting in the dirt looks up, smiles and waves at Rebekah. She returns the gesture. Another neighbor dressed in a red saree comes out to greet her. She lives in a tattered, old tent at the end of the street, but you'd never know how destitute she is by the expression on her face. She is all smiles and hellos when she sees my red-headed, beaming chutki ("little one" in Hindi).

My Bangalore baby is a hit with the Indians who light up when they see her. And they are a hit with Rebekah, who feels perfectly comfortable with her Indian friends.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Up, Up and Away!

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. -Psalm 139:9-10

I kissed Chuck and Stephanie goodbye at Roanoke Municipal Airport on Wednesday evening. As I waved, I called, "Dubai" instead of "goodbye," since my flight plan included a layover in Saudi Arabia. Once in the Emirates, I stood in the middle of the airport feeling somewhat akin to Tom Hanks (Victor) in the movie, "Terminal." People of mostly Middle Eastern nationality with a few folks of Asian persuasion passed by on either side of me. For a brief moment, my head began to swim as it seemed I was the only American around. I felt like a kindergardner on her first day sent off to school with a name tag hanging around her neck. Only my tag was a passport pouch. At that moment, I was extremely relieved to know that Jesus had this little chutki by the hand and was walking her (in this case, flying her) all the way to Bangalore.

The Lord has special gifts in store for those who love Him. And sure enough, I located my gate and sat across from another lady who was alone. I struck up a conversation. Turned out she was a Christ-follower whose daughter was on a summer mission trip to South Africa to work in an AIDS clinic. How encouraged I felt when we parted!

God added another perk to my trip by giving me three seats instead of one to stretch out during the last leg of the trip.

This trip over has been the best I've ever taken, except that my sweetie is not with me. No problem getting Rebekah's new car seat through customs. All baggage arrived with me. Nathan's smiling face on the other side of the airport door was a welcome sight, indeed. Rachel and Rebekah were waiting for me at the top of their apartment steps when I arrived, even at 3:30 in the morning! Lots of hugs and kisses while the stray dogs which grace their door barked throughout the night. Guess they were glad to see me, too.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Journey to Judah just released!

One woman. One God. One passion.

In an exotic culture of 7.5 million people and over 3 million gods, one woman resolves to follow her heart. . .


After several setbacks, my novel, Journey to Judah, has finally been released! As soon as the book gets established with Ingram Distributors, it will be available through national retail outlets. Capstone Fiction tells me that will take anywhere from two weeks to a month, so once again, I must be patient. The Lord's timing is always perfect.

While you twiddle your thumbs and tap your foot, here's a brief blurp to wet your appetite.

Maggie Osteder's given up hope of finding a man who shares her love for India. So while her friends plan dream weddings, she follows her heart, fulfilling a ten-year dream of becoming a career missionary. "Don't lose heart. Stay focused on serving, and God will take care of the rest," her mother always tells her. Yet upon arrival in Chennai, a fellow missionary makes a comment that strikes to Maggie's heart--that her ministry will be more effective if she's married. And her newfound friend says she has the perfect match: the new doctor, Gavin Munsfield. But Maggie isn't so sure she's ready to open her heart. . .especially to a man who seems to be struggling with his own issues.

Get ready for a love story you'll never forget. A great read while at the beach or mountains this summer. Stay posted for more information! In the meantime, catch a glimpse of the book cover in the righthand margin.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ear Regardless

EARS are a funny thing, unless you belong to my family. Then you take them seriously.


I come from a long line of troubled ears. Nothing significant really, just a nuisance. Wax buildup, and I'm not talking about what you find on your furniture or car. No, this is the stuff that clogs the ear canal and requires multiple flushing sessions to extricate.


Only this time squirting a bulb full of water into my ear just wasn't cutting it. So, I sent Chuck to Nature's Outlet to purchase some ear candles while I fumbled my way to the couch. My head's been spinning like a top. I feel as though I am on a perpetual Merry-Go-Round.


I'm glad you never change, Lord. Even though my body serves as a reminder that this life is temporal, You are eternal!


Unnerving to have Chuck standing over me with a match as I lay on my side with paper plate rammed to my ear and candle sticking out. He sat amused, watching the flame work its way to my head. I told him to go get a marshmellow. My head's in flames, and he's just sitting there eating a sandwich.


Snap, crackle, pop--the heat draws the offensive wax out and into the hollow candle. I lay there at the mercy of the candle and my husband whom I'm sure doesn't know what he's doing.


Ice hangs thick on the trees as my candle flames and sizzles. I close my eyes against the dizziness.


The house lights flicker off, then back on. I don't notice but Chuck says, "Uh oh, power surge!"


I respond, "What do you mean, 'uh oh, power surge', with my head on fire over here! No, no, don't leave the room!"


I feel my brain shrinking by the moment. Probably be the size of a pea when this process is over.


Finally, when the candle has burnt down an inch from the plate, he douses it with water. Part of the charred candle falls off into my hair behind my ear. Nice!


I say, "Hope you're better with brains than bodies!"


He is a mental health professional, after all.


When all is said and done, and I am upright and walking, he says, "You must feel like a new man!"


I give him a wry smile. "Yeah, right, I'm the man I never was."


He laughs and grabs his lunch from the fridge.


Ear regardless of circumstances or momentary setbacks, or nuisances, or delayed goals, or sick bodies, life goes on and God is sweet. He remains good, because He is good.


Praising my Prince!