Something Is Rotten in Baltimore

Politically, I am a conservative and generally I side with the police and law enforcement 99% of the time.  But I’ve got to tell you…the situation in Baltimore is very disconcerting.

How can a person who has been arrested suffer a severed spinal cord and die while in police custody and the police department not offer and explanation and evidence?  Especially on the heels of South Carolina…that is unacceptable and frankly suspect.  It gives the appearance that there is something to hide.

Freedom of speech…absolutely!

Freedom to riot and threaten police and citizens and destroy property…absolutely not!

The mayor ordering the police to stand down during a riot?  Unconscionable!

Protecting rioters and not law abiding citizens and businesses?  Seriously?

What am I Sowing Today?

What am I sowing into the lives of people?

Am I sowing words of life, truth, and love?

Am I merciful, kind and compassionate?

Does my love put God first and others before me?

Is love evident in my actions and words?

Does what I think I’m doing line up with what others perceive?

What fruit is my life bearing?

Do my outward actions reflect a heart that is right before God?

Am I more concerned about what people think of me or what God thinks?

Am I trying to bear fruit through my own efforts?

Am I honoring and glorifying God with how I live my life?

If not, why not?

If not now, when?

Piano Works…Starting All Over Again


I’ve had my piano for as far back as I can remember.  It was given to me by my Grandmother.  It had belonged to my Aunt Joyce who was a really good piano player.

When I was a child I had taken lessons and had a rudimentary knowledge of the piano.  After the lessons stopped…so too I stopped playing the piano.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had the wisdom of hindsight and wished that I had kept up with learning and playing the piano.  My husband Chris has some piano background too.  For a few years now he’s wanted to get the piano tuned which we finally did.


I can’t tell you when our piano has been tuned, if ever.   It was in much need of some tuning and TLC.  I found a gentleman in our area, Mike Carroll, and made an appointment.  It was fascinating watching him take the piano apart and clean it and then tune it.  Amazingly enough…it was very reasonable priced.  Now that I’ve done it…we’ll get that done every year.

Since I’m starting at square one all over again…I bought a beginning piano book.  It starts with the basics which I need refreshing on.  So far so good…but I knew my biggest challenge would be able to read the music from the book.  Especially as I progress through the book and the tools, like listing what each note is, is slowly removed.

In looking on the internet I found out that they have such a thing as music flash cards…to help you learn what each note is by sight.  I found a great website with online flashcards.  After spending a little time, I’m already better able to identify the notes.  I know that it will take time and practice…but I think it will be worth it.

Music Flash Cards

I’m looking forward to the day I can play hymns and other songs that I like.   Just listening to Chris practice for a little while was so soothing and relaxing.

Hummers in Roanoke! Yeah!!!

Collage Hummer 2One of the hardest things to leave behind from our home in southern California was all of the wonderful birds.  The regulars included Towhees, Wrens, Warblers, Phoebes, and many kinds of Sparrows and Doves.  During the migration time we had Orioles and Black-headed Grosbeaks.  One of our favorites was the resident Hummingbirds that made our yard their home.

Our kitties loved spending time looking out the window at all the activity in the yard.  It was like big screen TV for cats!

Hummingbirds in this part of Texas are not here year round…only during the migration season.  I’ve been monitoring the maps to see when we should start seeing the Hummers come through…and mid-April was when the first sightings were being reported.

On Saturday I put out our Hummingbird feeder and it wasn’t even a day before we saw some activity.  Yeah!!!

Here we get Black-chinned Hummingbirds.  From the pictures I got today I think we have a male and female coming to our feeder.  They are beautiful creatures and a marvelous picture of God’s creation.

Below are a few pictures I was able to snap.  These birds seem very skittish and don’t linger long at the feeder.  I sure do enjoy them when I see them…I hope you do too.



 Male Black-chinned Hummingbird




 Female Black-chinned Hummingbird










As a side note, my favorite Hummingbird Feeder we have is one that sticks on the window.  We got ours at Wild Birds Unlimited.  Already, it’s been through some crazy storms in the few days that included torrential rain, hail, lightning and thunder.  It stayed in place.

Trust Your Heart?

We Love Pencil Drawing

It makes me a little crazy when I see home décor signs or Pinterest posts that that encourage us to “trust or follow your heart”.

In the Bible, God tells us that apart from God our hearts are deceitfully wicked above all things.  Repeatedly throughout the Bible I learn that, apart from Christ, the human heart is sinful, wicked, prideful, hardened, hard as stone, deceived, stubborn, turned away, from the Lord, not wholly devoted, divided, godless, unfeeling, embittered, perverse, arrogant, devises wicked plans, is cunning, proclaims folly, envies, is faithless, darkened, greedy, and unbelieving…to name a few things.  In this broken and sinful world, I’d rather trust in God’s inerrant Word than my heart!

How many times have I looked back at my life and been exceedingly grateful that God did not answer my prayers and give me the desires of my heart?  More times than I can recall!  Praise God for His No’s!

How often is my heart swayed by emotions and feelings?  Driven by other people’s opinions and my desire to be accepted?  How often do I buy the world’s lie that I deserve something?  Praise God that He doesn’t give me what I really deserve.

The Bible also tells me that God can create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.  A broken and contrite heart God will not despise.  May the Lord guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.  May my heart be tender and humble before the Lord.  May my heart be wholly devoted to the Lord.

Dead Wake by Erik Larson – Most Excellent…You won’t want to put it down


I can’t say enough good things about Erik Larson’s new book Dead Wake – The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.  This book is most excellent and Erik Larson is a very gifted writer.

The author did extensive research, going back to original sources and also using more modern sources, to accurately portray what actually happened to the Lusitania and why.  Erik did a tremendous job in bringing to life the people involved; from the passengers who sailed on the Lusitania to the captain and crew of both the Lusitania and the German U-boat that sunk this beautiful and powerful ship.

The reader will gain insight into WWI history.  What was happening with President Woodrow Wilson and why did the US wait so long to get involved in the WWI?  Would the sinking of the Lusitania carrying US citizens be enough to rouse the troops to battle?  Why would the British government not protect the Lusitania’s passengers and crew when the ship was in imminent danger?  What did the Brit’s know about the German’s deadly plans and what could they have done?  Why did passengers board the ship when the morning newspaper carried an ominous warning from the German’s?  What was going on in the mind of the U-boat captain in the days and hours before this attack and afterwards?  What could possible justify a civilized government purposely and intentionally killing innocent people on a passenger ship?  How did this horrific act of terrorism affect the survivors of the Lusitania?  What kind of person cheers and applauds the death of innocent civilians?

I’m sure that somewhere in a high school or college history class the sinking of the Lusitania was briefly mentioned.  Until I read this book I would have been hard pressed to give you any details about it.

I highly recommend the book Dead Wake by Erik Larson.  In it he makes history come to life.  I do warn you, you may have some sleepless nights because you will want to stay up late and keep on reading.  I look forward to reading more books by Erik Larson.

If you are a history buff, love ships or mysteries or just like to understand what drives people and governments, you will like this book.

I would like to thank the people at BookLook and Crown Publishers for the opportunity to read Dead Wake in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

Cards…What to do?

What is it about cards that makes the so hard to get rid of or throw away.  I even hate saying those words…throw away.

How can I throw something away when someone I love and respect took the time to write out heart felt sentiments or words of encouragement.

I’ll put them in a box where they will remain until one day…probably many years from now.  I’ll go through them again and reread someone’s precious words.  Words made even more precious when it’s from someone who has passed away or is no longer in my life.

I touch the words and trace them with my fingers as if I’m touching the hand of a precious friend I will never see again…at least this side of eternity.  If the person wasn’t a believer, I won’t ever see them again.

For me that’s why it’s so hard to get rid of cards.

But how can I not get rid of them.  They only mean something to me.  I’ve probably not read most of them since they were given to me.  I put them in a box that I haven’t touch in a long time.  The dust bears witness to that.

We don’t have kids who we can designate to go through all our stuff when we die.  Even if we did have children, why would I want to make them go through all my stuff?

As we prepared to move to Texas I really struggled with the card issue.  I spent hours going through boxes and boxes of cards.  I went through a bunch and kept some and got rid of the rest.  But now I’m starting the struggle all over again.

But this time, I’ve come up with a solution of sorts.  I’m scanning them in and posting them to a private board in Pinterest.  That way I can look back at the cards and reread the precious words.

I’ll still keep some cards…but I can learn to let go too.

Looking Back

Good Friday Cross

How could that dark day be called good
Except by God Who knew what would be accomplished

A divine appointment
Set from before the foundations of the world

The sinless, spotless Lamb of God
On the cross He bore the sin of man

He was nailed to the cross by sinful man
The ones He came to save

His punishment and death
Paid our sin debt in full

With His last breath He proclaimed “It is finished”
The veil was torn in two from top to bottom

Through His death
He made a way to the Father for those who believe

The Father’s great desire
For all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth

Christ Jesus alone provided the way
To be forgiven
To be cleansed from sin and made white as snow
To have His righteousness credit to our account
To come boldly before the throne of grace
To call God our Father Abba

Won’t you believe and be set free
From the crushing weight of sin
From the penalty that await those who refuse to believe

By Susan Wachtel
April 3, 2015

Lessons Learned

This year in CBS we are studying the life of David in 1 & 2 Samuel.  Even though I’ve studied this passage in recent years, I am still learning from David’s life.  Some new things struck me in this week’s lesson on David and Bathsheba.

I can choose my sin, but I can’t choose the consequences I will reap…God does.

I may try to cover up my sin and keep it from impacting and hurting other people, but I have no control over that.

My choosing to sin impacts and influences other people.

Twisted Innocence by Terri Blackstock – Fast Paced Intrigue


I was excited at the opportunity to read Terri Blackstock’s newest book Twisted Innocence, which is the third book in her Moonlighter series.  This book carries on the storyline of the Cramer family, Cathy, Juliet and Holly, who have been gravely impacted by the illegal drug trade in their hometown of Panama City, FL.  Since coldblooded murder, Leonard Miller, walks free they continue on their relentless quest to find him and bring him to justice.

Twisted Innocence focuses on the youngest sister Holly, an admitted party girl, whose life has had sudden change in direction with the birth of her daughter Lily.  Has Holly really changed her ways?  Will she make better and wiser decisions now that she’s a mom?  Or will she continue down the slope of irresponsible decisions that impact other people?  Is her Christian faith real?  If so, how will her faith be manifested in her life?  Answers to those questions are revealed throughout the story.

I appreciate how Terri Blackstock weaves Christian faith into her characters and views life from the lens of the Bible.  She also shows people as real, in the process of growing in their faith, changing and sometimes backsliding.

I found myself challenged in my emotional response to Holly and some of her decisions.  I think it revealed how I feel in real life when I see loved ones making unwise decisions.

I’m impressed with how Terri handles the relationship the girls have with their father, a former minister who fell into sin and deserted his family when they were still children.  His sin greatly impacted his daughters.  But he’s back in their lives now as he suffers from Alzheimer’s and is in a nearby care facility.  I think this story portrays a good picture of how children can obey God’s commandment to honor their parents even when their relationship has been broken.

One thing I would have liked to have seen handled a little stronger is in a conversation between Holly and Creed.  As they talk, Holly assures Creed that God hasn’t given up on him and is not disgusted with him.  Holly says, “I get the feeling that He’s not made at me.  He wants better for me and for you.”  Our God is a God of steadfast love, kindness and mercy.  But He is also holy and He hates sin.  Our sin is what necessitated God the Father (who is loving, holy, just and righteous) to send His only begotten Son to die in our place and pay the penalty for our sin.  I would like to have had the truth that God does hate sin brought out.  Without the knowledge that I have sinned against God, I don’t see my need for a Savior and forgiveness from God whom I sinned against.

I highly recommend Terri Blackstock’s newest book Twisted Innocence.   It’s a good read, fast paced and intriguing with Christian faith woven throughout the book.  If you’ve not read the earlier books in this series, I think it’s a good read on its own.  Terri fills in the necessary background of the characters from the earlier books.

I would like to thank the people at BookLook and Zondervan publishers for the opportunity to read Twisted Innocence in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.