Monthly Archives: October 2015

My Writing Past, Part Two

I count it a blessing that: [a] simple daily living (keeping body and soul together!) consumed most of my years until now and [b]  attempts at publishing during that time were generally unsuccessful.

Sound strange?  Well, for all those years I have been writing part-time, carefully filing box after box with writing.  Most of it is not finished.  And, during those 30 years from 1985 to 2015, the web changed the world of publishing, as I explained earlier.  Writers must create their own platforms now, which includes regular use of social media.

That brings a blessing to you, dear reader, as well as to me.   I can be frank about myself, about God, and about what He has done for this very ordinary person.  No publisher can say  “Freda, tone down the God bit.”  Neither can a publisher say “that would not be meaningful”. . . because. . . I will have your input.

My two darling grandsons call me “Nana” so I guess I am a Nana Moses in terms of getting the writing to you  – and that is more than fine with me:  [a] because that is how God directed my steps;  [b]  I can now write without bitterness, with true forgiveness and, of course, with a more mature perspective; and [c] during all those apparently fallow years, I explored a multitude of subjects – an impossibility had I been working on deadline.

I look forward to connecting with you as we work our way through these writing projects.  They are stored away, like presents waiting to be opened. The guiding principle of my life since 1981 is stated in Proverbs 3:5-6.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”  (NIV)

God has indeed guided my path, and I cannot wait to tell you how He longs to do the same for you!

About the…um sketch.  Tilt your head to the left! I am letting you see my technology skill grow (hopefully!!!) as well as my drawing.  I’ve tried for 30 minutes and cannot get the photo to transfer correctly. I’m grateful I finally let go of perfectionism, but that’s a story for another day . . . smile.

Grace and peace to you,


  • sketch winding road

My Writing Past, Part One

sketch pen and paper

The book on this website, Unjealous Heart,   is the first of many books I plan to blog.  All of them came from my prayer since the early 80s that I might “write right out of my life.”   I had full custody of my seven-year-old daughter.   Her father had disappeared, along with c child support.   Thankfully, I realized that Sharon’s years at home would be as fleeting as they were precious, so I prioritized time with her over writing.

For those joy-filled early years, my song was “if I cannot write full-time until I am a little old gray-haired grandmother, that is okay because God will take care of everything.” Well, I will never be little, since I am six feet tall!  However, I am older and graying and I am the proud Nana for two of the grandest grandsons in all of Texas, which as you know, is BIIIG!

Let me explain how God “took care of everything”.

In the 30 years between my first serious writing in 1985 to now, 2015, the field of publishing changed entirely. Back in 1985, writers submitted book proposals, on paper, and hoped against long-shot odds that a publisher would accept and promote the manuscript while you happily began another book.  Today, you not only have to write the book, you have to establish a LARGE following on-line (called a platform) before a publisher will even consider your manuscript.  And most publishers now only accept submissions from authors with agents.

Throughout those 30 years while publishing was changing, I was raising Sharon and praying like crazy as I stepped through doors God opened, trying wholeheartedly, to do what He wanted me to do.  That is how I ended up with a Ph.D. in educational measurement and research (smile. . . a story for another day.)

Each step of that 30-year journey yielded experiences to share with others, things on  a multitude of topics.   So. . . I moved from Florida to Texas (to be a Nana) with about 25 boxes of writing papers. The boxes included three complete manuscripts, several rejected book proposals, outlines, and scraps and files of numerous other topics.  Most of the paper is yellowing, much of it was typed on a typewriter and pages are clipped together with paper clips rusted from years in the Florida humidity.  (Ever been there?  It is MUGGY!)

I would not change a thing about this journey, because it has brought me closer to the One my heart loves.  No price is too great to pay for drawing closer to the One who created and sustains the universe but chooses to dwell in the hearts of those who love and obey Him!

The second reason I would not change my past is found in II Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV):

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that [emphasis added] we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”  

How I look forward to sharing that treasure box of  comfort with you!

Bargains. . . A Double Blessing!



sketch lotion

In the cabinet under my bathroom sink stand five bottles of cream oil body lotion, with shea butter,  for extra dry skin.  (Thanks to Texas weather, that definitely describes my skin!)  The lotion was on sale in my favorite department store – clearance priced with a $5 card for buying four bottles, which made it an even greater bargain. Bottles of this lotion now stand next to my bed, my rocking chair, and the bathroom.  No more chasing one bottle of lotion all over the place  – luxury!

I rubbed some on my hands, arms and neck before sitting down to type this post.  The fragrance envelopes me like the finest perfume – at least for several minutes before it fades.  Scent is calming to me, and I have not purchased perfume for more than five years. But my loving heavenly Father gave me a six month supply of a most comforting scent for a miniscule fraction of the regular cost.

God consistently, faithfully leads me to bargains like the lotion.  It is always like a loving pat on my head.  “See Freda.  I am taking care of your every need, and I know every detail of your life.”  I bought five boxes of stuffing mix (which I love) for 81 cents, instead of the regular $1.15 in the same department store in January.  And the list could go on, with innumerable examples from the 34 years I’ve known Jesus.

Do I ever tire of having to be frugal?  After all, I’ve had no choice for most of my adult life and that’s getting to be a lot of years now.  Do I ever get sick of having not so much that the haves do?  Of course!  I am fully human, believe me.  But to keep the bitter roots of envy, resentment and jealousy from taking root, I do several things.

  • Keep a heart of true gratitude and express that to God continually.
  • Avoid malls, catalogs, television, and anything else that revolves around materialism
  • When I do succumb to wistful longing (usually about something I wish I could get for my family), I talk to God about it, add 10 things to my gratitude list, and take extra care to guard my heart.

I am far from perfection, but like the song by the group Selah says,

“In Jesus’ name, we press on. 

Dear Lord with the prize, clear before our eyes,

we find the strength to press on.”

Why set my heart on earthly things, more fleeting than morning mist, when I can store up treasures in heaven?   Unseen treasures – like love, joy, peace, and gratitude – are eternal.  (II Corinthians 4:18)

P.S.:  Yes, I know the sketches are by no means professional but I am enjoying doing them.  And who knows, if God helps me improve, we can watch the  progress together!!


What is real hardship?

When the fatigue is so intense that you feel ill, you know you are tired.  I was.

I shifted my grandson from one hip to the other as I tried, in vain, to mail the package at the automated machine outside the post office lobby.   The machine would not read my card.  I looked at the line inside.

“Has to be at least 10 to 12 people, Lord.  I don’t think I can stand up that much longer.  But I need to get this package mailed for Sharon.  Oh, Lord, help me!”

As soon as Allen and I got in line, two more people lined up behind.

“Thank You, Lord.  That’s two behind, rather than in front.”

Allen is a precious two year old, with only occasional (for the moment) flare-ups of  “No!”.  He is my errand buddy three mornings each week while my daughter has much-needed time alone with my other grandson, who is four going on fourteen.

Allen was content to sit quietly on my left hip and check out the details of the unfamiliar place and the new faces, many of course, with smiles for him.  After ten minutes of not moving an inch, my hip, however, demanded relief and I set Allen down on the floor.  He circled around me, looking up at the smiling faces while I just tried to brace myself to avoid swaying.   After ten more minutes, still not moving one inch, I began praying in earnest.  I felt dizzy and, unusual for me, had no snack in my purse.

Finally, the line moved forward enough so that I could sit on the edge of the low counter loaded with mailing supplies, certain that if a postal worker saw me my face would tell the story and they would just let me sit.

And I sat.  For ten more minutes, trying but not managing to avoid complaining.    At first there had been ten people in front of us.  By the time I sat down, that number was down to five, four of whom were women, each of whom was old enough to be either a mom or grandmother, old enough to hear the sounds of a happy toddler wondering around behind them.

As each minute ticked by, I grew more and more resentful.  And my face showed it.  As Allen meandered around, charming everyone in line, one woman – ahead of me in the line – turned back to ask me, as she moved sideways “Can you see him now?”

All I could manage was a nod of the head. The words “thank you” just would not come out.

“How,” I screamed inside my head, “can you see me sitting here, obviously dead on my feet! How can you see the toddler I have with me! and my age! and not offer to trade places with me in line?  If you were ten people ahead, I could understand but surely no one would object since it would not make any difference to anyone behind us. How?!!!!”

And I felt that way until we got home, to our comfortable air-conditioned home.

“Forgive me, Lord, for my attitude.  How many people in some countries stand in line for days, just to get water or a tiny bit of food for their starving families?  Thank You for reminding me of the untold blessings You have showered on me. Forgive me for not praying more for those who are in real hardship.  Help me live unselfishly, as You did Lord Jesus.”

When Nana Almost Got Run Over by the Deer

Twenty miles outside Austin, just into the hill country, the morning mist lingers in gossamer pockets.  A retired Nana and bonafied city girl, with a life-long unsatisfied love of horses, I thoroughly enjoyed my part-time job doing light housekeeping, cooking for Sally and caring for her two horses

From her wheelchair by the big bay window Sally looked out through the huge bay windows at the corral where a single deer was grazing – on grass meant for the horses.

“Look at that deer!  You just can’t get rid of ‘em!”

“You want me to go yell at them, Sally?”

“Yes, would you , please.”

I stopped stirring the oatmeal, ran out the side door into the garage and burst through the outer door like a one-woman SWAT Team, albeit not nearly as fast.

You have to remember that I grew up in the sixties, when Westerns ruled prime time television.  My brothers and I laid on the floor, with Daddy in his recliner, and watched every weekly episode of “Rawhide”, “Bonanza”, “High Chapparal”, to name just a few.  Western movies, and especially ones starring John Wayne, were better than ice cream.

So, I had seen cowpokes and horse wranglers, waiving their lariats and yelling  “Yeehaw!   With great intensity, I attempted to duplicate that motion now, flapping my long arms in place of a lariat.

Well, several things happened all at once – and all in slow motion, to remain forever frozen in my mind. Since moving to Texas, I had often heard what effect deer had when they collided with a car.

First, that lone deer jumped straight up and high-tailed it, literally, toward the larger pasture to the right of the barn and corral.  Second, in the same instant, both horses also jumped  but, thank the good and merciful Lord, did not bolt.   Now, the third thing is where things got interesting.

Third, the deer who had been behind the house to the left, hidden from my view as he munched on the bushes next to the oak tree, leaped and soared within five feet of me on his way to the same pasture as the others.   Fourth, his or her companion, two short seconds  slower, ran behind me, this time within three feet.  It was getting crowded I guess on the only pathway away from the obviously insane human.

Fifth, I stood still – for how long, I don’t know, reflecting that what I had just done was not the wisest move I had ever made.  Sixth, a bit shakily I turned and went back inside, pondering what I knew happened when a deer and a car collided.  What would a full-steam ahead dear and human collision look like?  Not so great for the human, I was sure of that.

Sally and I got a good laugh, but I think about it every time I see a deer, which is often.  Next Christmas, I don’t think I’ll laugh so hard when I hear that song “Grandma got run over by the reindeer.”    Nana almost did!

Crackers in my in-box – what joy!

emjoy little things plaque

Keeping my desk tidy daily helps me feel organized.  When I feel organized,  I think more clearly.  Howsomever, my goals and reality in this regard often do not match.  So, I take time once a week to clean up.

Today, I laughed when I pulled out one and a half Triscuits from far back on the third shelf of my desk trays.  This was my youngest grandson’s private stash from his last overnight with Nana when we had sat at my computer and looked at videos of trains, frogs, butterflies, and anything else I could think of to delight him.  I hadn’t even seen him put the crackers there.  They were a little gift, as sweet as the scent of baby breath, when I found them.

Until I had grandchildren of my own, I never really understood how it feels.  Of course!  How do you explain the thrill of seeing your own and your child’s features reflected in their children?  How do you explain the quick tears when you see one your father’s face in your grandson’s and you see that his hands are going to be just like his great grandfather’s?

How can you possibly thank God enough that You get the chance to hold a baby, to snuggle them close for naps, to smell their sweetness, to stroke  the velvet skin of their chubby little arms and legs and be a Mom or Dad all over again?

Most of all, how do you thank our Heavenly Father for wisdom from Him to cherish each moment of their childhood more fully than you did with your own  children?

The quote pictured above says “Enjoy the little things in life. . . for one day you may realize they were the BIG things.”   Triscuits in my in box is a BIG thing.  Thank You, Lord, thank You!

And by the way, my daughter is SUPER health conscious about food for the boys.   Her cracker of choice for their snacks is Triscuits.   I like ’em, too, especially when shared, bite for bite, with Alan or Ben!



Prioritizing Family – Still, Ever, and Always!

Yesterday, I was 20 miles out in the country at 7:00 a.m., caring for two horses and my disabled friend until 10:30, then it was on to my daughter’s.  When I arrived at her house, sweaty and covered in horse hair but happy, my daughter’s face showed that, for this day, her parenting reserves were spent.  After a  quick shower, I took Allen, the two-year-old for lots of dillydally errands – the drug store, the post office, the library, and the thrift store.  From 11:00 a.m. to our 2:00 p.m. naptime, it was hard to tell who had more fun, Allen or Nana!   Meanwhile,  Sharon and four-year-old Ben had their own time together.  Right now, our battling- toddlers need some daily space apart as well as special time alone with one adult.

I got Axel to sleep, then plotted with Papa via phone.  When he got home for work, Mama went out for a haircut and then Papa and the 4 year old met her afterwards for an “almost date”.  (Any time they have only one child it is a date night for them for now!)

I played at home with my two year old grandson (to his constant gleeful delight) until 9:30.  When Papa, Mama, and big brother came home, my little golden-haired darling ran around hugging legs  (“Papa!  Mama!”) then he hugged my leg (“Nana!”) though we had been together since 10:30 a.m.   Then followed 15 minutes with me taking pictures of the four of them together and semi-dressed up (which rarely happens at the same time).  Mama and Papa sat on the couch while both boys launched themselves into their arms – over and over.

Was I exhausted as I drove home at 9:45 p.m., after my 17-hour-day?  Yes, but my little family had bailed out their emotional boat, as my beloved son-in-law Frank puts it.  They were on an even keel again, before their arduous weekend when Mama would be working nights .

Did this day take precious time I need to prepare my website and  blog?  You betcha!  But with my time and energy I purchased priceless memories and the certain knowledge that I had helped my family.

In my very ordinary life I have, blessedly, learned that God’s greatest blessings are not monetary, as He explains in the book of James.  If I budget my time in line God’s priorities, such as love and service, He supplies all my needs  – and so very, very much more!

Doubts, doubts, and more doubts

Who am I to think I can create and maintain a website, all by my own non-technical self?  In the 80s, I wanted to keep my Selectric typewriter instead of the computer all the secretaries were getting.  I struggled mightily with each new version of software (and I still do!)

I learned email because I had to.  I learned to use the internet because it was required when I went back to school.  And I felt like my cell phone was smarter than me before “smart phone” was ever heard.

For once, I would forego frugality and pay an expert to build this website, but that would take rent and grocery money.  So, after weeks of reading library books and praying, I am building the website.  It feels like the first time I jumped into the water, into my Daddy’s strong arms.  “Catch me!  Here I come!”

The leitmotif in the song of my life, “lack of finances” has repeatedly forced me to face fear and self-doubt and attempt the impossible.  And my heavenly Father has always more than just “caught” me as I leapt. He has carried me on His wings, and we have soared like eagles.

Together, we equipped Sharon to live as a mature adult.  Together, we did, indeed, give her the gift of an unjealous heart.  Together, we went back to school, began a new career, and relocated across country to be a happy Nana.  Now the dream He planted 30 years ago is becoming reality.  I am actually getting the writing out to readers!

As I jump into this project today, I am happily sitting at my writing table, which was my daughter’s dining table for eight years. And I sing the comforting lyrics from Matt Redman:

“Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me.”


desk smaller pix

Mysterious Housewarming Gifts

Last night I received three delightful housewarming gifts, though I’ve been settled in my little apartment for seven months now.  The gifts were in my favorite colors and harmonized with my shabby chic style.

First was a large framed picture of a rose.  By large, I mean Georgia O’Keefe large.  Two similar pictures ones grace my walls.  This one was in a heavy, double-beveled brown frame.  Dove gray flowers with light brown swirls backgrounded an off-center frame on frame, of a gray rose, fully opening its petals over the elegant arc of its stem.

Next was a small white flower stand, its graceful flaring legs topped by a seven by seven inch top.  White just happens to be my accent color.  Now, my CD player could rest on the flower stand, not the floor, while Johnny Cash’s rich baritone read me the New Testament as I cooked and cleaned each night.   (Get your copy at

Finally, was a conically-shaped silver glass.  As I rotated the heavy weight in my hand, I saw not one scratch.  The glass completed my little collection of silver bling at the end of the counter underneath the window.   There, propped on an upturned brown wicker basket sat the Brighton clock a Florida friend had given me at my going away party.  Next to that, was a running horse etched on a paper thin silver plate I’d made as a horse-crazy ten-year-old Girl Scout.  The plate had been propped in a place of honor, in every home I had had for the last 43 years.   Horses remind me of my Dad.  The shiny silver glass drew my eye to that little touch of my Dad.

Had I asked for the gifts? No.  Did I need any of them?  No.  My Sunday School class and fellow Prayer Team members had amply supplied, and then some, all I needed to set up housekeeping.  But, you know, our loving Heavenly Father delights in giving us unexpected pleasures like sunsets, bargains, butterflies, and smiles from strangers when we feel low.

Decades earlier, one winter night my daughter and I had crept quietly outside and lovingly propped our much-used diminutive table-top Christmas tree against the dumpster.  When we walked back two minutes later to add a box of Christmas decorations, the tree was gone.   I can still feel the warmth that night as we just smiled at each other and went back inside.

Where did my mysterious gifts come from?  Last night, when this Texas heat relented just a bit, I took the trash out.  Propped against the dumpster stood the framed rose, leaning on the plant stand, with the silver glass on top.  How grateful I am for the little things God does!  I can almost hear Him whisper “My child, I see you right where you are.  And I am always caring for you.  I love you.”