{ A n c h o r e d }


It feels liberating to say, “I’m the captain of my soul. Unmoored. Free.”

But feelings deceive us.

There is good reason for a ship to have a captain. There’s a good reason for a ship to have an anchor.

What happens when a pounding storm assaults your life?

The answer to that question will tell you if you have an anchor that will keep you from sinking.

Priscilla Owens wrote the Christian song, “We Have An Anchor.” It asks a series of thoughtful questions. God’s Word gives us answers.

  1. Will your anchor hold in the storms of life?

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

  1. Will your anchor hold in the straits of fear?

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”—

2 Timothy 1:7

  1. Will your anchor hold in the floods of death?

“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” —I Cor. 15:55-57

  1. Will you anchor safely by the heavenly shore?

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” — John 14:3

 We have an anchor that keeps the soul

Steadfast and sure while the billows roll;

Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,

Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

If you are anchored in Jesus Christ, you are anchored in the perfect place.

“…we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope…” — Hebrews 6:18,19

~ Lisa



{ From Notorious to Prestigious }


Charles W. Colson was notorious during the Nixon presidency and Watergate scandal of the 1970’s.

“I would walk over my own grandmother to make sure Richard M. Nixon gets re-elected.” he said at one point during the campaign. He was a self-described “hatchet man”– cutting off and discrediting officials, politicians and activists that were a threat to the White House.

In the midst of this crisis, Mr. Colson underwent a profound religious transformation in August 1973. He was, as his book puts it: BORN AGAIN.

Against the advice of his lawyers, Mr. Colson pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.

“This is a price I had to pay to complete the shedding of my old life and to be free to live the new.”

He went to jail for seven months and was released on parole.

His incarceration introduced him to embittered, revengeful, escape-hungry prisoners.

Before prison, this ivy leaguer never would have encountered such folks within his own sheltered circles.

Charles Colson became a dedicated advocate for prison reform. He befriended prisoners and introduced them to a lasting faith in Christ. He publicly opposed the death penalty and called for alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders, who make up a hefty portion of the prison population.

In 1993, he was awarded the prestigious Templeton Prize, which is given each year to the person who has done the most to advance the cause of religion.

He passed away on April 12, 2012.

He climbed from Notorious to Prestigious — and he never looked back.

How did this it happen?

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
  • John 8: 36  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
  • 2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

~ Lisa



{ H e R i T a G e }


Heritage — it’s a rich, sad word.

This word reminds me that people live and die. They pass on good and bad to their children.

Some of my favorite thoughts about heritage come from the Bible. It’s a book about heritage. It’s a book that contains historical facts and verifiable prophecies fulfilled.

It’s a book of underdogs, surprises, and irony.

Rahab was a prostitute. Her heritage was headed in one direction, until God interrupted her path and placed her in the prestigious line of Jesus’ birth.

There are many true accounts like this in the pages of scripture.

But– I confess– the one I think most about is me and my heritage.

I was headed in one direction, and one day, God interrupted that path. He changed me. He didn’t just  tweak my life, or urge me to complete a self-help course. He raised me from my spirit-deadness and changed me like the caterpillar turns into a butterfly. In the cocoon, the caterpillar completely liquifies. It doesn’t emerge merely dressed up like a fancy version of the old creature.

It’s a totally new creation.

This is the heritage I want to pass on to my children:

It is the living who give thanks to You, as I do today. A mother tells her sons and daughters about God’s faithfulness. –taken from Isaiah 38:19

The words that God commands me today shall be on my heart. I will teach them diligently to my sons and daughters. I will talk of them when I sit in my house, and when I walk, before I sleep and when I wake up. — taken from Deuteronomy 6:5-7

The heritage of ME will be imperfect. But by God’s grace, I will also pass on the heritage of faith. Each child will have the opportunity to grab hold of this inheritance.

It’s a legacy of faith in an eternal, loving God.

It’s an inheritance that will never fade away– even after I am gone.

“Is there any God like you? You forgive my sins. You pass over transgressions by the survivors who are your heritage. You are not angry forever, because You delight in gracious love.”

 – taken from Micah 7:18

Photo: Mother’s Day 2017



~ Lisa

{ Qualm } & Other Words

QUALM: The word prompt of the day. My first thoughts:

  • A quiet misgiving.
  • A calm fear.
  • A nagging doubt.
  • An ebbing lack of peace.

Last night at the local Caribou Coffee shop.  I look up with that “caribou in the headlights” stare that the baristas see all day.  Glazing over the menu, I know I will choose the same-old-same-old anyway:

A large Americano with room for cream – boring, low calorie, coffee rich, and satisfying.

Caribou Coffee offers a “question of the day” in exchange for a whopping, debt-reducing dime off your order. For my standard Americano purchase, that is 3.5% off the total (if I answer correctly.)

They also offer a chalkboard question. Today’s query is intriguing. (I gleaned those italicized words from reading every one of the Nancy Drew books in my formative years.)

The chalkboard asks: What is your favorite unusual word?

I like this question.

I know right away what I will scrawl on the chalkboard: UBIQUITOUS.

I see “argent” and “preternatural.” Gotta look those up.

My daughter digs ERSATZ out of her brain and writes it far from UBIQUITOUS in yellow chalk.

I feel encouraged as a homeschooling mom.

Why do I take the time to scroll perfect pink chalk letters and then back away—looking — like I’m examining a work of art?  It’s just a word on a chalkboard. No one is looking. Or are they? Are they impressed with my word? Are they planning to look it up? Are they inwardly nodding in agreement?

What is wrong with me?

It’s just a word.

Simple Homeschool Spelling

After 20+ years of homeschooling mistakes and victories, I think have discovered which spelling program works best for us:

  1. I collect commonly misspelled words in the English language.
  2. I gather every misspelled word that students use in casual writing of notes, messages and lists.
  3. I jot down words that are frequently used throughout the course of a typical school year (like geography and history words that are used in school writing assignments but not typically used in conversation – like Antarctica.)

This collection of words becomes my spelling list for school.  I choose ten words every week.


  • No add-on workbook and less correcting by me.
  • You can add any words that coordinate with what you’re learning in other subjects.
  • Students will learn to spell lots of words they use most often, and also learn words that are buggers for everyone.
  • It’s for all grade levels.  I have students aged 11 – 16 using the same list.

This is what our spelling looks like every week:

  1. Monday — Pretest. I read a list of 10 words, one by one.  Students try to spell each one on paper.  We correct this test together. Mark the scores, so that after the final test you can chart the progress. Students write misspells 3 times each on the same paper. Give each student a list of correctly spelled words for the week.
  2. Tuesday — Spelling sentences. Students write ten sentences, using one spelling word in each sentence.
  3. Wednesday — Peer Practice. Students quiz each other orally on the word list.
  4. Thursday — Dictation. Borrow 4-5 sentences from the work that the students wrote earlier in the week.  Read each sentence aloud, two or three times.  The student writes the exact sentence with proper sentence structure (capital letters, punctuation, etc.)
  5. Friday — Final Test. Students study words and take the final test. Record final score.

(We often skip a day’s activity. They still get lots of practice.)

Using this method, most of my students received an average of 90-100% every week on the final test. (Even though pretest scores may have been low, they always improve.)

This year, I collected a list of 270 words.

Please contact me for a free copy of this list.  You’ll be ready with spelling for the upcoming school year!

Or…make your own list using the words that your family typically misspells.  Add a few commonly misspelled words in the English language.

Do you have a spelling program?  What works well for your family?

Mothers & Ekdapanao

A few years ago, we went to hear a missionary speak about his work with orphans. He spotlighted this verse:

2 Corinthians 12:15 — “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls…”

He told about his schedule, being totally disposed to a large group of fatherless young boys. This man had NO time to himself, and didn’t have the conveniences of normal American living.  He lived in a hot, Central American climate, in a rustic setting.

Yet, he was glad to expend (ekdapanao – to spend out, completely exhaust) himself for these guys. To him, these young men were souls to love…and win to Jesus.  He looked past “dirty and needy” and saw “valuable.”

That’s true love.  It’s the way God looks at us.

Romans 5:8 – “For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Our sinful selves are not lovable or desirable. Yet, with the covering of Jesus, we are gathered into God’s family – and He loves us.

Insert bridge here to the concept of motherhood…

I have eleven (biological) children to love, nurture and train. Some of them are adults now.

At times, I have felt “spent” as a mother.

(But…ahh… I have had hot showers, cups of coffee and a warm, cozy bed to enjoy — eventually.)

Although it’s tempting, I don’t want to coast on this marathon of motherhood.  I don’t have toddlers anymore, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to put things on autopilot.

Let my teens smile and roll their eyes good-naturedly when I ask them “What are you going to be when you grow up?”

Let them groan when I stumble my way into their technological world, or make a silly parent pun.

I will correct them, confront them, and praise them. I will surprise them with love whenever I can (even when they’re crabby, contrary or cheeky.)

I will press on in the high calling of motherhood, calling upon God’s grace to refresh me when I’m spent.

But, for now I must say farewell —  my fans await me.

It’s Mother’s Day weekend.

I already have a lovely lavender plant, a piece of chocolate and a gift that couldn’t wait to be given sitting on my desk.

Ekdapanao has its rewards. And it’s not even Sunday yet.


Sweat and Donuts

Nine days ago, I posted about the upcoming one mile race.

Ta-dah!  It happened last night.

I mentioned that my goals were: to survive the race and keep my bladder intact.

From this standpoint, I was successful.

The background: My husband is the family athlete, but I reluctantly joined the rest of the family in the annual race last year to celebrate being 50 and also because I didn’t have the excuse of a baby to tend anymore.

My time: a wimpy 11 minutes, 3 seconds!!

I think I could have speedwalked more efficiently.

Is there any reason to do it again?

It’s a family event and that is worth something to me.

It feels good to do something beyond my comfort zone and beyond my natural ability.

It’s satisfying to complete something that feels impossible.

Besides all that, a friend rewarded us with amazing donuts on the other side of the finish line.

Is there any reason not to do it again? I have all year to think about that.

~ LisaIMG_20170512_155559

Less is more….creative.

They say that when you have less, you are forced to be more creative.

If you have unlimited art supplies, you think, “Where do I start?”

If you only have a package of flimsy paper plates and some brads, you brainstorm and come up with something unique…like a paper plate skeleton. 

Creativity also thrives in a sparse kitchen. Because we have a big family, our pantry is consistently on the verge of emptiness. This is the perfect environment for innovation.

One day I scrounged a little ham, some rice, cheese and a smattering of fresh and limp vegetables. Strategic marketing made this odd assortment into a memorable dish. I called it Nickelodeon Hash.

When my husband was out of work for several months, our refrigerator was often annoyingly barren. But lunch was never missed. Thinking outside the box one day,  I concocted a casserole of leftover black beans, salsa, rice, scrambled egg and cream cheese.

One spunky child named it “poverty in a pan.” She proved that an environment of “less” can allow creative juices to flow abundantly.

Hot Gift


It’s garage sale season.  I load eager children into the monster van. We roll slowly through middle class neighborhoods, seeking signs and cluttered driveways. When we spy a worthy target, we stop, click doors and spill out. Excited fingers jingle and drop quarters while I deliver final instructions.

“We’re not taking home junk.  Just because it’s in the free box doesn’t mean we grab it. Everyone ready?”

Determined little shoppers approach the treasure-filled yard. We nod at the smiling homeowner with one eye on bargains in a corner.

Markie bubbles when he finds something on a sawhorse table. My big-eyed boy approaches, hands behind his back.

“I want to give you this for Mother’s Day.  Will you get it and I’ll pay you back?”

I peer down at a sparkly find on a chain.  The necklace reads “HOT” spelled out in rhinestones.  I stuff a laugh and over-nod.

I remind him that I forget to wear necklaces. My sparse collection of chains sits lonely on a handmade jewelry tree. It’s literally a branch of a tree that my son T.J. mounted on an unfinished wood base.

If I had to choose, I’d pick the branch holder over the jewelry.

“If you don’t want to wear it, you can just let it hang on your branch thing,” he says.

I hug him and smile. “That’s a perfect idea.”

We check out, tote a full bag into the van, ready to attack another driveway.

~ Lisa

Poem Published

What a superb surprise to find a large envelope in my mailbox today.


  • a letter from associate editor, Sherri, at The Bible Advocate Magazine
  • two copies of the current issue
  • a small honorarium

Last fall, I wrote a poem entitled “Faith Digs.”

The poem was featured nicely in the May / June issue.

~ Lisa