Another Cancer Survivor...Robin Roberts...

Good Morning America's co-host Robin Roberts told the nation this morning that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

As disheartening and discouraging as this must be for her, and all those who know her so well, the rest of us--her "GMA" fans and family--are deeply touched and concerned about her.

I've remember when Robin was on ESPN's SportsCenter...and then when she first arrived at GMA, doing the news.

And then a couple of years ago when she became one of the three co-anchors of my favorite morning program.

She made a bold confession this morning: "God is good all the time." And I must say a hearty "Amen."

I encourage everyone to pray for her as she has surgery this Friday, and for the recovery period which could last a while.

I also want to encourage everyone--particularly the ladies who read my blog--to have regular exams, and to pay attention to any of the "lumps" you may find. I'm encouraging "everyone" because on rare occasions men have been found to have breast cancer too.

Robin, we love you. We are praying for you...and God will see you through. it real?

I have no doubt in my mind, that the wonderful place I've heard of all my life--HEAVEN--is real.

I have waaaay too many friends and family members in that glorious city to even entertain the shadow of a doubt about the City Whose Builder and Maker is God.

But the way we live on this earth....I'm wondering if we Christ-followers have lost all interest in a place called Heaven.

We never sing about Heaven anymore...or at least hardly ever. I can remember when those precious saints of God sang those grand old songs about Heaven...When the sisters would raise their hands in the air, and wipe tears from their eyes..singing about heaven.

I remember, as a child, when we sang about God's eternal city--Heaven---because we knew it would have to be FAR, FAR superior to what little we had (and still have, in many cases) on this earth. The people of God would rejoice, because of the unspeakably marvelous hope they had for the "afterlife."

I actually encountered someone not long ago, and we were talking about "heaven." This person made the remark to the effect of "I'm wondering if Heaven will be much better than what I have here already."

WHAT? It has to be AEONS better than the paltry substance we have on this earth.

So what about Heaven? How real is "heaven" to you?

I have many loved ones there....I call them "my investments" in that glorious, glorious place, where the Lamb of God--God's Only Begotten Son--is the everlasting light....

I want to go there!

Hillary is right! It DOES take a village....

Several years ago--somewhere in the mid90s--then First Lady Hillary Clinton wrote a very thought-provoking book, It Takes A Village.

While I am not an advocate of the federal, state or local governments controlling everything in life, the more I think about the phrase, "It takes a village", the more I believe it to be true.

Here's my reasoning:

1) I work in a career college here in Chicago. We serve, for the most part, minorities (mostly black and hispanic), about 65% of them being single parents. Every one of these people seem to want something better for their children than they themselves had. I can sympathize.

2) The day of "mom staying at home, raising the children while dad is the main 'breadwinner'" is for all intents and purposes over. That rarely happens anymore. I'm not taking sides as to whether it is right or wrong...I'm just saying it rarely happens anymore.

3) Children should never have to shoulder the burden of "raising themselves." But sadly, far too many children do shoulder that incredible burden. I encounter these "children" (anyone under the age of 18 is considered a child as far as I am concerned) regularly. And I always wonder what their life would be like if there were some caring adults around them all the time--to guide them, to offer their opinions and suggestions, and to teach them how civilized society should function.

4) There was a time when the child belonged to the neighborhood. I know this is true, because I grew up in one of those neighborhoods/communities. Every adult in area knew who I was, and where I lived. There was the sense of "well-being" and caring that was a a very natural part of growing up. I didn't have very much--actually we were very poor--but I developed good manners, received a great education (in the public schools, no less), and knew right from wrong. I learned not to be a victim...I learned that "life" has consequences. For some reason, it appears that far too many "children" no longer learn those lessons.

"Keeping up with the Joneses" is no longer our goal. "Keeping up with the Jetsons" is.

And we are reaping the results...

And they aren't pretty.

Maybe, just maybe, we can learn to be the village again. Our children, and our future depends on it.


I posted these words on March 6, 2006....a Bluegrass/Southern Gospel group called "The Isaacs" wrote and sing this wonderful, powerful message in song:

Momma combs his hair
and Daddy helps him brush his teeth
Day after day for thirty years the same routine
The special needs he lives
with make life seem so unfair
But he thanks God every day
Because he knows Mom and Dad are there..

He's a hero and she's a hero
It doesn't matter that nobody knows their name
They keep on giving to make life worth living
Might go unnoticed but they're heroes just the same

They tried for many years to have a baby of their own
But God knew a little girl who didn't have a home
Someone else's burden was their blessing in disguise
And now she's got a Mom and Daddy
there to hold her when she cries

Every single parent who must carry twice the load
And those who sacrifice to raise a child that's not their own
They dedicate their time to make a difference in someone else's life
And in my eyes...

He's a hero, and she's a hero..
Does'nt matter if anyone knows their names....
They might go unnoticed but they're heroes just the same.

Our world and our culture is starving for "heroes." All of the ones that we thought we had have become anything BUT heroes. But, as the song says, "They keep on giving to make life worth living...might go unnoticed, but they're heroes just the same."

Who are the "heroes" in your life? Tell me about them. I really do want to know.

Let me recommend two great books.

When I Lay My Isaac Down and A New Kind of Normal both written by author/speaker Carol Kent. Her websites are: and

Carol has an amazing story of God's faithfulness in the life of her family. She and her husband Gene have one child, Jason Paul Kent. A wonderful, brilliant boy, he was a joy to raise. He got an appointment to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He graduated with honors. He met the love of his life--at church---and they were soon married.

And then he committed murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole...and this changed "everything" in the life of the Kent family.

I first heard Carol's story on LIFE Today with James Robison a year or more ago. It brought tears to my eyes. And I have wanted to read "Isaac" for a long time. Last weekend, as I was volunteering at the Chicago Women of Faith conference, I bought both books (they were on sale, okay?), and have finished reading both of them.

Carol tells an amazing story of heartache, heartbreak, and how the "Healer" and "Friend of the Wounded heart" has come near to her son, her husband, and her own self.

These books are well worth the read. Sometimes, I wonder if Carol and Gene had ever suffered any "set backs" before that fateful day in 1999. But one thing is for sure: that call after midnight in 1999 completely changed their earthly lives. And even more sure: God would see her through all the pain, heartache, and devastation.

He always does.

Let me encourage those of you who read my blog: Please get these two books. Read them, pass them own, and then drop Carol Kent a note, and relate what her written ministry has meant to you.

Sawdust Salad...a new recipe!

1 sm lemon Jello
1 sm orange Jello
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups cold water
3 bananas
1 can crushed pineapple
1 pkg tiny marshmallows
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 cup pineapple juice
1 egg
3 oz cream cheese
1 lg Cool Whip
1 pkg grated cheese

Pour boiling water over Jello and dissolve. Add cold water, bananas and crushed pineapple (drain and save juice). Place in a 9x13 dish. Chill, then top with tiny marshmallows.

Mix sugar, flour, pineapple juice and egg (well beaten) in a saucepan and cook until thickened. Cool, then pour over marshmallows.

Mix cream cheese (softened) and Cool Whip well and spread over marshmallows. Top with grated cheese. Refrigerate.

Thanks to my friend Ann Downing for sharing this recipe. Visit here site at

This is PRICELESS...

Sometimes you just have to laugh....I found this one on a message board, and just about fell off my office chair, howling with laughter!

There were two men shipwrecked on this island. The minute they got on to the island one of them started screaming and yelling, "We're going to die! We're going to die! There's no food! No water! We're going to Die!"

The second man was propped up against a palm tree and acting so calmly it drove the first man crazy. "Don't you understand? We're going to die!"

The second man replied, "You don't understand, I make $100,000.00 a week."

The first man looked at him quite dumbfounded and asked, "What difference does that make? We're on an island with no food and no water! We're going to DIE!!!"

The second man answered, "You just don't get it. I make $100,000.00 a week and I tithe ten percent on that $100,000.00 a week.

My pastor will find me!

What about me?

I've been a follower of Christ for almost forty years now. I've seen just about everything, every program, and every activity that a local church can have....TWICE!

In my mid-forties now, I'm seeing all of the "emergents" and "missionals" and other folks that are springing up in the local congregations, and sometimes I want to ask "What about me?"

I don't fit into the "twenty" or "thirty"somethings anymore---because I'm not...

I don't fit into the typical "singles ministry"---because our local congregation doesn't have one...and really doesn't need one--in my humble opinion.

I'm very well educated, and just want to do my part in helping to advance the "kingdom of God..."

I'm not an evangelist, even though I believe in evangelism.

So what about me?

Where do I fit in?

Some good advice...

Everything that I will post today is not particularly profound....until you think about it...and then it becomes incredibly profound:

1) When you think you've settled an argument with someone, ask one more question: "Is there something else I need to know?"

2) Remember that sitting in a comfortable chair with a good book is still one of life's least expensive and most enjoyable experiences.

3) When dining in someone's home, be the first to tell your host or hostess, "This is delicious."

4) Resign from the impossible job of trying to keep everyone happy.

5) When someone wants to do something nice for you...let them.

6) Smile when you answer the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

7) We all need second chances. Give somebody one.

8) Don't injure a relationship by always having the "last word."

9) Look people "in the eye" when paying a compliment or asking for a favor.

10) Never hesitate to ask for directions, a recipe, or a hug.

Jesus in the "No Spin" zone....

For the next several weeks, the Sunday Evening gathering at The Moody Church ( will be featuring the theme of "Jesus in the 'No Spin' Zone"--discussing the parables of Christ as recorded in the New Testament.

Pastor Steve Mason, who directs Discipleship and Equipping Ministries, is preaching and teaching this series in our new Christian Life Center (CLC). You can also listen to these wonderful messages online by following the link above.

If you are in the Chicago area at all this summer, by all means please come pay us a visit. We would love to have you, and you will encounter a warm, relational, Christ-worshipping congregation.

Eleven Things You Did not learn in school...

A friend sent me this:
These eleven items are ascribed to Microsoft's Bill Gates. Whether he actually articulated them or not, I have no way of knowing. However these things are VERY, VERY TRUE:

1. Life is not fair: Get used to it.

2. The world won't care about your self-esteem. (The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.).

3. You will NOT make $60,000 a year out of high school (You won't be a Vice-President with a car phone until you've earned both...)

4. If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss.

5. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. (Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: opportunity)

6. If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes. Learn from them.

7. Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. (They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes, an d listening to you talk about how cool you think you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your room)

8. Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. (In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to anything in real life.)

9. Life is not divided into semesters. (You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time).

10. Television is not real life. (In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.)

11. Be nice to nerds. (Chances are, you'll end up working for one.)

Happy Birthday, Brian White!

My good friend Brian White is celebrating his 32nd birthday today!

Happy Birthday, Brian

He is an amazing man...or at least I think so. He and I have been friends now for more than six years. I met him when he first came to Chicago in the winter/spring of 2001. He moved here to do a masters degree at the Moody Bible Institute.

Afterwards, he accepted a position as Associate Pastor in a local church in the Detroit area for two years. Honestly, I think he and I talked more when he was living in Michigan than we do now...and we are in the same city.

He's a kind, warm, generous man with a large heart. He has a very disarming smile, and a great sense of humor. He is also marrying a wonderful, wonderufl girl...Miss Inna.

So, true to form, I want to wish him a big Happy Birthday here!
For someone who will read this post, I feel impressed of the Holy Spirit to share these words with you. Singer/Songwriter Gerald Crabb penned a wonderful song entitled "The Healer..." Here are the words:

The Healer

She pressed through the crowd so weak and so frail,
so often she reached out but her efforts failed.
With faith so persistent,
determined she must touch Jesus.

Her friends said "just give up for after twelve years,
of heart aches and failures, disappointments, and fears.
Accept your condition, with the multitude He will not see us."

Her heart beat so fast as HE came into sight,
her emotions were filled with both joy and with fright.
She let HIM pass by-- but not out of reach,
as she touched HIS garments HE turned to speak.

(Chorus) Someone's been healed today.
A miracle passed your way.
Reach out touch HIS clothes,
you now are made whole, step forward and claim.
Your faith has pulled you through,
your healing will come to you.
You can receive today, right now in Jesus name.

Though Satan says give up, you're close to a miracle
Jesus is passing your way.

Gods still in business and does the impossible sending down blessings each day!

(Chorus) You can be healed today,
you let a miracle pass your way
Reach out touch HIS clothes,
you now are made whole, step forward and claim.
Your faith has pulled you through,
your healing will come to you.
You can receive today right now in Jesus name.

The HEALER is passing your way!

This wonderful Healing Jesus is indeed passing your way! Dear friend(s), He is still the same healing God that He was in the times of the Old and New Testaments....He wants to bring healing in your life.


For some reason I never really "got into" watching all the home repair shows like "This Old House" or "Bob Vila's" whatever-its-called. Until I bought a home two years ago.

Now, I seem to be captivated by these short 27-minute episodes, even though I am not needing to make home repairs anytime soon. (I am the first owner of a brand new rehabbed condo.)

But, homes aren't the only things that need repairing.

More importantly, and even more difficult sometimes, are the repairing of relationships that have been injured or broken. And sometimes, this can take years.

I am thinking of one right now that was just about destroyed by some long, wagging tongues. I did everything in my power to "preserve" this relationship, and it still hit the skids. It was heartbreaking for me....and I felt the pain very keenly.

My brother in Christ--my friend, lives in another state...and I've not heard from him in almost 4 years now. It was a very ugly situation. But now I want to see if I can do my part in repairing it.

I'm not sure where to start. But this much I do know: God wants me to do my part.

How about you? Are there relationships in your life that has been destroyed/broken/torn apart, and there's a chance they can be salvaged or restored?

What would God have you do?

What's holding you back? Why?

Please pray for me, as I follow what I believe to be God's directions in "this" situation.

My banana pudding recipe....

If you don't know by now, I'm a native Southerner...and very proud of the heritage, even though by choice I have decided to no longer live in the deep South.

My Grandmother Hoover was a wonderful cook. And with as many people as we had in the Hoover clan, that was essential.

She made the most wonderful banana pudding. I couldn't remember exactly how she did it, but my "other mother" Mrs Jane Pearson--who is my "mom" in almost every sense of the word--gave me a fabulous recipe several years ago, and I've tweaked it a bit. Here it is:

You will need:

1 box of vanilla wafers (or you can use lemon cookies also)
several ripe bananas, sliced pinwheel-style

*In a medium Pyrex bowl (or casserole dish), layers these, beginning with the wafers/cookies. The top layer should be bananas.

3 cups of milk (use whole or 2%, not "fat free"--yuck!)
3 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1 tablespoon flour (plain or self-rising is fine)
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix all of these items together in a large stewer or saucepan. Over high heat, stir these constantly until the mixture boils. Do not stop stirring this mixture, because it will scorch.
Once the mixture has come to a good boil, stir for one more minute, then pour it over the wafer/banana layers.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg whites, 2 tablespoons honey, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice (lime juice will work just fine). With an electric mixer, beat these until stiff white peaks are formed.

Once the white peaks are formed, spread over the casserole dish, sealing the edges.

Under direct heat, place the dish, and allow the meringue to brown for two minutes, watching it carefully, so as not to burn. When desired brownness has been reached, remove from oven, and allow it to stand at room temperature for ten minutes.


Independence Day....Some Thoughts.

I am very thankful for the Freedoms we enjoy in these United States. I am all for the celebrations (within reason--which has a very fluid definition in itself) by the people who inhabit this great land and call it "home."

But more than the "freedoms" I cherish as an American, I am so grateful for the freedoms that I have in Jesus Christ, God's only Son.

Bill and Gloria Gaither (mostly Gloria, LOL) wrote a wonderful song many years ago, that has become my "anthem." This song says it all:

Deep within the heart has always known that there was freedom
Somehow breathed into the very soul of life.
The prisoner, the powerless, the saved have always known it
There`s something that keeps reaching for the sky.
Even life begins because a baby fights for freedom
And songs we love to sing have freedom`s theme.

Some have walked through fire and flood to find a place of freedom
And some faced hell itself for freedom`s dream.

Let freedom ring wherever minds know what it means to be in chains
Let freedom ring wherever hearts know pain.
Let freedom echo through the lonely streets where prisons have no key
We can be free and we can sing --- let freedom ring!

God built freedom into every fiber of creation
And He meant for us to all be free and whole.
When my Lord bought freedom with the blood of His redemption
His cross stamped pardon on my very soul!

I`ll sing it out with every breath, I`ll let the whole world hear it
This hallelujah anthem of the free!
That iron bars and heavy chains can never hold us captive
The Son has made us free and free indeed!

Let freedom ring down through the ages from a hill called Calvary
Let freedom ring wherever hearts know pain.
Let freedom echo through the lonely streets where prisons have no key,
You can be free and you can sing-- let freedom ring!

All I can say is "Amen."

What deeply troubles me

about the current "immigration" debate(s) in this country:

1) We have become a nation of "every man[and woman] does what is right in their own eyes." And this is particularly true of those who come to the United States, undocumented, and decide to stay here.

2) We are teaching an entire segment of society [and subsequent generations] that the laws of the United States of America can be ingnored and trifled with, and nothing of any consequence will happen. If anyone can come to the United States, ignoring our immigration laws, and successfully "hide out" here...or worse yet, flaunt their status, then how can we expect "society" to believe that our "laws" actually should be obeyed?

3) Our educational, legal, healthcare, and welfare systems are being bankrupted by the "overloads" on them. Taxpaying "citizens" and legal residents of this nation deserve far better than these systems can currently deliver. In our desires to be "humane" we are becoming less so, because the current structures cannot effectively serve those who most need their services.

4) Most of the people I've encountered who come here undocumented (and have remained here) have little, if any, loyalty to the United States of America. They will be the first ones to "march" on the streets, wave their flags (of another land), and cry out about how "unfair" America is to them. If America is so "unfair"--then what on earth are you doing here, consuming our resources, polluting our streets, and taking up space? You are neither needed nor wanted in this land, if we are so "awful."

5) The "amnesty option" of 1986 didn't work then, even though President Reagan's intentions were noble and good. The laws of 1986 only spurred more Mexicans (and others) to come here illegally, and we are now reaping the whirlwind of such actions. Our generosity and kindness have been abused, and will continue being abused until we stop those who are abusing.

What say ye?