First Pray

The evidence

“Next year in Jerusalem” is a phrase used by the Jews to express their desire to return to the Holy Land. It’s not like throwing a coin into Rome’s Trevi Fountain, signifying that one day you will return to “The Eternal City.” If I had a choice in life, I would live in either of these two cities. I’m familiar with Jerusalem and its undeniable, complicated mix of religions; this adds to the excitement of this city.

Dimitri’s store

Shopping is always an adventure in the Holy Land; you learn early on where to get the best deals. Both the Old City in Jerusalem and Bethlehem offer tourists reasonable deals with room to negotiate. I always bring back plenty of gifts from the Holy Land. The last time I visited was no different. I wanted to purchase some rosary beads that were native to the Holy Land. The national stone of  Israel is eilat,  which can only be found in the copper mines of King Solomon’s Quarries (aka Zedekiah’s Cave).

Eilat Stone

The Eilat stone’s colors are a mixture of deep blues and greens. In some jewelry the blue is more predominant, in others the green. Mixed together the dramatic stones varied and distinctive  swirling patterns of colors similar to marble. In past years I purchased eilat crosses for all of the ladies in my Bible study group. When you frequent the Holy Land as much as our group has, you become familiar with the shops and know many of the owners. There is one store in particular that we frequent because we will always get a fair deal. Dimitri Souvenirs Shop, located just past the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, is located in the Christian Quarter of the Old City. This store is a tight squeeze because it is so compact, but Dimitri will most likely have whatever you are shopping for. If he does not have the souvenirs, he will make sure to direct you to the right shop. Dimitri did not have any eilat stone rosaries and he did not know of any shops that sold them either. That did not discourage me one bit; I was on a mission to find rosary beads made with eilat stones.

At the First Station of the Cross is another store where we have made many purchases. The owners of this shop are Palestinians who live in the West Bank. Their store displayed jewelry, antique swords, glassware and rosaries. But they had no eilat rosaries either. Next door to their store is an ornate antique shop with expensive icons taken from Russian churches. As I walked in I was impressed with the cleanliness of the store. Near the cash register was an enclosed glass cabinet displaying rosaries, beautiful green rosaries. “Are these eilat stone?” I asked. The gentleman behind the counter said, “Yes.” Finally, what I had been searching for was right before my eyes. My nonchalant behavior, pretending that I was not interested, was working to help me to get a good price on these almost-impossible-to-find beads. The man pulled out the beads and told me that they were indeed made of eilat. “How much?” I asked. He told me how hard they are to come by but that he would sell them to me for $60. “Oh, that’s way too much!” I said as I turned to walk out. I’m familiar with the routine here in the Holy Land; you bargain until you get what you believe is a fair deal. “How much do you want to pay?” he answered. The stupid ball was in my court, but I double dribbled when I blurted out, “Would you take $40?” What was I thinking! Before I could change my mind I made the purchase. I went back and bought four more rosaries. This was one of the few purchases I made during that trip. I was beaming with pride at the beautiful purchases. I could not wait to get home and give them to my friends.

Authentic Eilat stone
The fake Eilat beads

Fake Eilat

I gave one to one of my friends, who gave it to her cousin who had recently lost a family member. I remember thinking, “Wow,” she just gave away an eilat stone rosary! This beautiful rosary quickly became my favorite. I use it regularly and I sleep with it in my hand. Last week, while I was brushing my teeth, I noticed a small chunck of bright green on my right cheek. I used the amplified mirror to further examine it; clearly this was something that was not on my face when I went to bed. I walked over to my bed and the only unusual thing was the eilat rosary. The green color had been painted on the plastic beads and they were turning white. More than anything, I do not like to be taken advanage of. I ran downstairs to tell Mike that I had to go to the Holy Land to return the rosary. I also needed to tell my friends about the fake eilat rosary beads. Note to self: Pray Before Purchasing Items.


The little good for nothing vacuum

Pray Before you Purchase

While I was shopping for some antique end tables the other day I came across a robotic vacuum cleaner. My daughter Sonja had wanted one of these for some time. I asked a young worker, “How much for the RoboVac?” “$189, but today it’s half off.” I asked if it worked, and the young man plugged it in for about five minutes. Within a radius of two feet the little robot cleaned the floor. Before I purchased the device, I asked about the store’s exchange policy. “We only give store credit on returns,” the manager answered. I called Sonja and she gave me the go-ahead, so I purchased it. On the way to Sonja’s house my friend Pat called. She was telling me that she felt that she was not praying enough about things pertaining to her life. She went on to say that she was going to pray about everything, including small things. I looked at the back seat of my car and thought to myself that I should have prayed about this vacuum.

When we got to Sonja’s house we plugged it in and charged it up for about 15 minutes. I wanted to make sure that it worked before leaving. The remote control was corroded, so that was the first sign. We had to manually start it up, so this was the second sign. We turned it on, but after sweeping the floor for about 15 seconds, it went back to its home base. Sonja’s dog Paco was barking out of control at the robot. We tried it again but the little robot just wanted to go back to its home base. Only this time, on the way back to the base, it started to poop out all the particles it had just picked up. We could not stop laughing, but deep down all I was thinking about was the money that I spent on this ridiculous, recalcitrant vacuum. I could not ask for my money back because I understood the store’s policy. Sonja wanted me to demand the return of my money, but since this organization helps unwed mothers, that was out of the question.

The moral to this story:  I never prayed about purchasing these items. With the rosaries, I was duped because I was an out-of-town tourist and had never shopped in that particular store. Then with  the RoboVac, I was too excited about the price. A lesson learned: I need to pray before buying anything.

My Prayer: Dear Lord, teach me to be a better steward of my money, and forgive me for any frivolous spending. Dear Lord, help me to learn from these little life lessons. Blessed Mother Mary, watch over all the shop owners in Israel and help them recoup their losses from this pandemic. Amen.

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The Fascinating Woman

22 Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body.
Our 25th wedding anniversary

Last Monday Mike and I celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary. How we have come this far is no surprise; it was through the grace of God. I married a perfectionist, a “Type A” personality, but I’m quite the opposite. I fly under the radar of unplanned big events.

I got pregnant because I hated taking birth control pills. I started taking the pill every other day and, when I was running low, I cut it in half. These measures of birth control proved to be unsuccessful; therefore our son Mikos was born. After that I stopped taking birth control pills.

I knew from the beginning what a great guy Mike was. I will always remember our first Christmas.  He showered me with so many meaningful gifts, even though we were just dating. But his benevolent heart sealed our union. My husband has a servant’s heart, and this is one of the greatest gifts you can have. His life’s work has been to keep harmony in our family.

Campus mural Biola University graduation day, Mike, me, Sonja and Mikos
Biola University graduation day

Early on I was a handful; my liberal ideologies and my desire to be equal to my husband in marriage were posing a big problem. I was convinced that I could do better in life if I had a career. I threatened to go back to college so that I could get on with my real calling. In the meantime God was tugging at my heart to discover my real purpose in life. At no time did Mike ever try to discourage my crazy, emotional stages in life. I went back to college and received a Bachelors of Science from Biola University. The acronym for Biola is Bible Institute of Los Angeles; you can’t get more Christian than that! Again the Lord’s hand was working, guiding me to the right path.

My Demons

We all have them. These minions that attack our minds to cause havoc were raging in me. After our first born I discovered that I suffered from premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This meant that my entire family were affected by these erratic acts. The imbalance of my hormones made me behave irrationally with outbursts of anger that later made me suffer with great guilt. I needed help, but back in those days help was not available. While listening to a Christian radio broadcast I heard an advertisement about a natural, homeopathic method to control the PMS outbursts. My life was all overboard with two weeks of crazy and two weeks of remorse. Poor Mike got the worst of it, so when I told him about the clinic for PMS, he welcomed the idea.


It took 45 minutes to drive to Arcadia, but at this point in my distress, I would have taken a plane to Timbuktu to get help. I was given natural progesterone made with yams as the main ingredient. To my doctor this method of treatment was considered unorthodox, but I had no other alternative. I do remember that the medicine had to be refrigerated. This was over 35 years ago, and Holly Anderson’s PMS clinic is still in operation. I can testify that it helped me regain my senses and helped me to save our marriage.

Me Too

Once I got the PMS under control, I needed to take care of this women’s lib thing. While searching for God in a Protestant church, I started attending a class on “How To Become A Fascinating Woman.” Taking this class out of curiosity was the genesis of a long lesson in humility. All along I had been misguided by the women’s movement in the seventies. Taking the role of the man in our home did not work out so well. Reading the Bible and getting directions from God was not only eye opening, it was a revelation. I understood my role as a queen in our household when I got off the king’s throne. It took some time, but slowly I realized that appreciating the simple gestures of kindness reaped mountains of rewards. When Mike washed my car, I would make a concerted effort to sincerely thank him. Then he started to not only wash my car but to gas it up as well. These little acts of kindness were becoming second nature to me. Mike is the head of our household not only because he is the financial provider but because it is in the right order of God.

Be Kind

“Be kind” is an overrated phrase of the world that people use for their own narcissistic purposes. Being kind is much more than words that are spoken;  it’s performing acts with loving gestures. In our marriage, being kind has taken me to the prayer closet; there I place my heart in check before I open my mouth. It takes patience to practice kindness in a relationship, and for me it has taken years.

33 In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.

Pick Your Battles

We have had our share of fights, but it is usually the woman who is the first to admit being wrong. Men are not as emotionally astute as women. When a man is wounded, he tends to go inward with his emotions. We women are more vocal, expressing our animosity with greater displays of drama. Did you know that women speak 20,000 words per day, while men speak only 7,000! This is how God made us; this distinct difference makes us better equipped in the argument arena.

Never compare your husband to another man, and never nag. There is nothing worse in a marriage than a woman verbally abusing her husband, it induces pinned up anger and causes strife in any relationship.

Staying in Love

There are so many marriages that I believe could have been saved. A woman’s role is to always be supportive of her husband, to encourage him, forgive him, and to become his light. I can only speak for myself, but when I immersed myself in serving the Lord, Mike noticed a change in me. I attended church by myself for years, realizing that God calls us individually; but it bothered me that he did not have the same interest. I prayed for years for us to worship God as a couple. I pressed through, keeping the promises of God in my heart, knowing that Mike would one day accompany me. When I returned to the Catholic Church he started to attend services sporadically. Now we attend Mass together every Sunday. So, to you women who are dismayed because of your husband’s walk, keep praying; through your prayers God will bring them in.

Forgiving Spirit

I do not know who Mike voted for this past presidential election. I’m a conservative, but Mike’s not sharing my same political interest was posing a huge problem. We had many heated arguments over this until the Lord revealed to me that Mike has his reasons for his beliefs and I needed to respect them. I still suspect that he may have liberal tendencies, and I’ve learned to tone down my views to a bare minimum in order to keep peace. Nothing is worth causing this type of division because our love for each other always supersedes anything that the Enemy will toss our way.

Best Friends

We passed COVID-19 quarantine because we have definitely learned to live with all of our vices on display. Mike cooks and I clean. He protects me, and I constantly pray for him. We talk about everything: his job, my aches and pains, our kids. He offers solid advice and I always do what he suggests because he is over me. Please do not misunderstand this last statement, because I honor our marriage by allowing my husband this rightful role as the head of this household. He is my best friend; no one will ever take Mike’s place because our love is unconditional.

My Prayer:

Dear Lord, You know everything about our marriage. I pray that You will continue to bless our union. Lord, help me to be more patient with Mike, and give me special graces to get through the challenges of life. I lift up all married couples, especially those who are struggling to stay together. Lord, guide their decisions and lead them into Your loving arms. Pour out Your love on every married couple and bless them. Amen.

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God Keeps His Promises

From my garden, kissed by angels, the lone yellow rose

Last week I attended a funeral service. One of my friends, a priest who lives out of state, was able to give his father the Last Rites. During his homily I realized God does keep His promises. My friend’s  father had consecrated  his life to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In order to do this, you must attend Mass every first Friday for nine months. With this sacrifice comes the promise that you will not die without a priest giving you the Last Rites. As complicated as it may seem, God came through for them. My friend was able to make it in time to see his father, but he had to go through challenging obstacles. He arrived at 1:30 p.m. and his friend drove him to his father’s home. My friend could not find the keys to his father’s car to drive to the hospital. He made several attempts to call the hospital social worker to make arrangements to see his father, but to no avail. Finally at 3:00 p.m. the social worker contacted him; by the time he arrived at the hospital it was 3:45 p.m. He covered his religious habit with a surgical gown and was ushered into the ICU. Since his father was suffering from COVID-19, no one is allowed to see the patients, so this was a favor of God.  Hours before his father passed, my friend got clearance from the hospital’s social worker to see his father and to give him his Last Rites. At 4:30 P.M. he prayed with his dad.  Through the providence of God the doors were opened, and the promise of God fulfilled. After leaving, my friend received a call from the hospital informing him that his father had passed at 5:59 p.m.

Follow a Godly Leader

We don’t know when we are going to die, so I believe it’s best to always be prepared spiritually. It’s disheartening to know that so many wayward souls will fall into the mindset of today’s society. With the lack of strong spiritual direction, many will follow the loud voices of vain leaders. In life we all follow a leader; the irony is that there are many charismatic, dangerous leaders who take their orders from the Evil One. Pastors who believe in God are to be held accountable for their preaching, but many will fail in their delivered sermons. The most important message for any Christian is to follow the laws of Christ. It’s  that simple. But because these well-meaning pastors do not want to make waves, they follow the world by not offending anyone’s personal beliefs. If you are truly serving God your beliefs should line up with the Word of God. There is no gray area here. You can’t sit on the fence with God; you are either for Him or against Him. The Lord hates wishy washy Christians! You cannot change the Word of God to fit into your socialist beliefs. That’s not how it works.

16 So, because you are lukewarm,
neither hot nor cold,
I will spit you out of my mouth.
Heading to the US border

Everyone Welcome?

The spiteful changes of the new president in allowing 11 million immigrants a free pass to citizenship baffles me. We have bigger concerns. One close to my heart is the homeless population. Did you know that Blacks make up 50% of the homeless? Don’t these Black lives matter too? Why is this president so eager to help foreigners and not American citizens? This president has put a stop to building the wall. We will be flooded with more undocumented immigrants. Who is going to foot the bill for this? You’re not going to see doctors or professional people crossing the borders; these  people have nothing and expect to be taken care of  by our country! Does the president need to be reminded that we are still in the midst of a pandemic? If you want to become an American citizen we have laws that you must follow.

Our prisons are filled with undocumented immigrants. It costs money to keep these criminals in prison. Who do you think is paying for this? Well, it’s certainly not the countries that they are from; it’s US! According to an article written by Sharly Attkisson, out of 730,000 criminal aliens, 91 % of federal criminals were citizens of Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Colombia and Guatemala. It cost 2.5 billion dollars a year to house them in American prisons. This is the mess that Trump was trying to control, but he never got credit for anything.

Roe vs. Wade

What a slap in the face! On the anniversary of Roe vs.Wade the new president signed the Mexico City Policy back into law. This means that not only are we going to pay for all the abortions in the United States but around the world as well. To add insult to injury, a song “The Problem” was released on the same day. The money raised from the profits is going toward a reproductive justice organization in Alabama. In other words this funding is helping economically disadvantaged women to have abortions. This pro-abortion song was written by Amanda Shires. This stupefying song also features Cyndi Lauper and Sheryl Crow on bass, and Shires’ husband Jason Isbell on guitar, plus a slew of other lost souls.  This is how the world sees abortions:

Some of the Lyrics from the song  “The Problem”

And all I could think and say was, “Everything is going to be okay

It’s going to be alright, I’m on your side”

And no one has to know

The scars won’t even show

At least that’s what I’ve heard

No bigger than a baby bird (no bigger than a baby bird)

Do you think God still sees me?

coming out of this twilight sleep

I’m not sure who I am

Staring into my empty hands


Anyone having anything to do with this song is sadly paving their road to Hell, and the road gets wider if you buy into this lie. If you voted for this current administration, you knew with eyes wide open what was going to take place. We are all accountable for our actions but in this case, with these heinous lyrics, I have no words.

The Promise

The Word of God states that He gives us the desires of our heart (Psalms 37:4), and that He keeps His promises (Hebrews 10:23). I’m waiting for the promises of God to come to fruition. He will never let us down!

20 He did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief; rather,
he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God
21 and was fully convinced that what he had promised he was also able to do.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, You’ve gifted these artists with voices to sing. You blessed their hands to play melodies. Yet they are lost. Dear Lord, bring them to the doors of Your holy Temple; allow them to be in Your holy presence. There they will know without doubt why You gave them these gifts. I only want to praise Your Name. Amen.

justice will look down from heaven.
13 Yes, the Lord will grant his bounty;
 our land will yield its produce.
14 Justice will march before him,
and make a way for his footsteps.



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