Thursday, October 27, 2011


I know without a doubt that because Mom & Dad died the way they did, their lives have had an even greater impact.  Isn't it ironic?  That in death life can be become even more?  Yet that is exactly what happened when Jesus died.  Because He died we all can have victory over death if we will only accept Him as our Savior.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not putting Mom & Dad up there with Jesus.  Not by a long shot.  I know some people wonder how a loving God could allow Mom & Dad to die the way they did when they lived the bulk of their lives being obedient to God.  God has given me a great peace about how they died.  I know He did not desert them.  His angels were standing by itching to protect them but were held back by God for a reason.  I know that with all my being.  (If you haven't had a chance to read my earlier blogs on this look at the ones from August 3rd and 4th - Angels and Show Me)

Tonight I had the pleasure to meet a wonderful young Christian lady, Mia.  As we were sharing and getting to know each other a little bit I told her about Mom and Dad.  I thought she was going to cry just hearing about them.  I shared with her about their funeral and how their deaths impacted so many people.  Not just people that had known them but people who had never met them.  She was amazed that I could talk to her about them so calmly.

Yes, I have tough days.  I have days where the weirdest thing can make me feel as though I'm going to burst into tears or just lose it completely.  But most days I am okay.  Many days I am fantastic.  Many times I lose myself in worshiping God.  Yes, the same God who could have saved my parents that rain-drenched April morning but didn't.  I love Him and trust Him.  I know He is in control.

John 6:35-40 (The Message)
Jesus said, "I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don't really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don't let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.
"This, in a nutshell, is that will: that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time." 

Romans 10:11-13 (The Message)
Scripture reassures us, "No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it." It's exactly the same no matter what a person's religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. "Everyone who calls, 'Help, God!' gets help."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Six Months

It was six months ago today that Mom & Dad were killed in their own home.  It still feels like a very bad dream.  I keep thinking I'll wake up and everything will be okay.  Yesterday I drove to Aunt Sis and Uncle Virgil's house.  I then rode with them to Springfield, MO.

There we met my brother, Dave, and cousin, Cindy at Sheriff Arnott's office.  We talked with the sheriff and 2 of the detectives working on Mom & Dad's case.  It was very comforting to see how hard they are working to bring closure for us.  The case has become personal to them.  They all have pictures of Mom & Dad hanging on their office walls.  You should see the stacks of DVD's of interviews not to mention audio interviews, many large binders full of reports and descriptions of the over 500 pieces of evidence!

I feel certain they will bring the killer(s) to justice.  Please keep these dedicated officers in your prayers!  They are giving so much of their time, expertise, and energy.

Today, we met with reporters.  The support of the media has been overwhelming!  We really appreciate all that they are doing on behalf of Mom & Dad.  The fact that they are keeping this in front of the public really makes a difference.

I felt much better driving home tonight than I did when I left yesterday morning.  I don't feel so alone in this journey.

Psalm 9:9-12 (The Message)
God's a safe-house for the battered,
      a sanctuary during bad times.
   The moment you arrive, you relax;
      you're never sorry you knocked.

Sing your songs to Zion-dwelling God,
      tell his stories to everyone you meet:
   How he tracks down killers
      yet keeps his eye on us,
      registers every whimper and moan. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Miracles in Heaven

I talked about Daniel 6:27 ("He performs astonishing miracles in heaven and on earth") in a blog post titled "Miracles".  Several of you responded and I appreciate all of you!  Here is what Jean wrote to me: "This does not exactly answer your question,but I remember Pastor Bob saying in his Easter Sunrise sermon that God does not alter the laws of nature.  He releases the laws of heaven. I believe he was talking about answered prayer/miracles." 

Hmm, that was what Dad had been studying and writing about for the past several years.  Bringing God's Kingdom to earth.  Remember the way Jesus taught us to pray (often referred to as The Lord's Prayer)?  "Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven."  That is the very heart of what He tried so hard to teach His disciples.

I was at that Easter Sunrise service with my Dad.  It was too early for Mom so just Dad & I went.  What a special time that was for me.  Even though I generally take fairly detailed sermon notes I had not written a lot down that morning.  I think part of it was the early time frame and part of it was that I was a bit distracted by my excitement of sharing that service with Dad.

Dr. Swikard used John 20:1-17 as the basis of his message that morning.  It's an account of what happened when Mary went to the tomb that first Easter Sunday.

Here are the notes I wrote early on that crisp Sunday morning with my Dad by my side:

"Death has no substance.  It is but a shadow.

Miracles are a result of revealing the realities of heaven into this world!

Running from something is out of fear.  Running toward something is out of anticipation and joy.

The stone didn't roll away so Jesus could get out.  It was rolled away so we could get in."

It makes perfect sense.  Miracles occur here when things happen on earth as they happen in heaven so of course, miracles must occur in heaven as well!  This makes me want to go further into Dad's writings which I promise I will get back to soon!

Please pray for my family.  This week marks 6 months since my parents were murdered.  I am traveling to Springfield, Mo tomorrow to meet with police for updates on the case.

Psalm 79:9-10 (The Message)
Hurry up and help us; we're at the end of our rope.
   You're famous for helping; God, give us a break.
      Your reputation is on the line.
   Pull us out of this mess, forgive us our sins—
      do what you're famous for doing!
   Don't let the heathen get by with their sneers:
      "Where's your God? Is he out to lunch?"
   Go public and show the godless world
      that they can't kill your servants and get by with it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


My parents prayed for all of our family everyday.  They prayed for each of us together and separately.  That also included praying everyday for my sister-in-law, Kate to be healed.  Kate has suffered for years from what doctors said was a degenerative muscle disease.  Slowly, her muscles have refused to respond to her commands.  Lately, she has not been able to walk or even hold the phone up to her ear.

Despite all this, she has remained positive.  She has prayed for the healing of others and rejoiced when their healing came.  Her husband, my courageous brother, Stephen, has prayed for her and cared for her and their family.  His strength amazes me.

Stephen called me yesterday and told me that Kate has now been diagnosed with a form of ALS.  Doctors say there is nothing they can do to heal her body.  They can only try to slow the disease down. 

Kate's church has been praying for her.  Her children (Daniel & Vanessa - love you both!!) pray tirelessly for their Mom.  I have been praying for Kate, too.  So many faithful, believing people praying that she will be healed.  Yet God seems to be very silent.  I find myself wondering where God is when we need Him so badly.  Kate is such a sweet, deserving Godly woman!

I wish I had an answer.  I just know that I will keep praying.  Stephen says he knows Mom & Dad are praying even now.  I know God is faithful.  In His time, our prayers will be answered.

2 Timothy 2:11-13 (The Message)
This is a sure thing:

   If we die with him, we'll live with him;
   If we stick it out with him, we'll rule with him;
   If we turn our backs on him, he'll turn his back on us;
   If we give up on him, he does not give up—
      for there's no way he can be false to himself.

I Peter 1:3-5 (The Message)
What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we've been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you'll have it all—life healed and whole.

Your day is coming, Kate!  I love you, my sweet sister!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I've still been trying to figure out the difference in prayers that seem to have power to produce miracles and prayers that seem to hit the ceiling.  I haven't forgotten about my intelligent, faithful daughter Sarah's question regarding answered prayer.  Miracles have been in the back of mind ever since she asked me why some believer's prayers go unanswered.

I've been doing some reading in Daniel lately.  It seemed like a good follow up to the study of Revelation I just went through.  In Daniel 6 it gives the account of King Darius' reign.  Daniel was one of 3 administrators in the entire kingdom.  King Darius recognized Daniel's wisdom and decided to put him in charge of the kingdom.  Others in the government were greatly dismayed when they found out what the king was planning to do.  They plotted against Daniel.  Since they could find no wrong in his past (unusual for a politician, huh?) they knew the only way to get him was on religious grounds.  They appealed to the kings vanity and convinced him to issue a decree stating that for 30 days everyone could only pray to and worship the king. 

Of course, Daniel continued to pray to and worship God as he had always done.  When the king realized he had been duped, he tried to figure a way out of this for Daniel but, alas, the decree was set in stone.  King Darius had Daniel put in the lion's den and sealed it shut.  The next morning, Daniel did not have so much as a scratch.  Pretty incredible, huh?  The king had those who had plotted against Daniel thrown into the lions den and they were immediately torn to shreds!  Those lions were obviously hungry!

The king issued a proclamation that goes like this:

Daniel 6:25 - 27 (The Message)
King Darius published this proclamation to every race, color, and creed on earth:

    Peace to you! Abundant peace!
         I decree that Daniel's God shall be worshiped and feared
   in all parts of my kingdom.
         He is the living God, world without end. His kingdom
   never falls.
         His rule continues eternally.
         He is a savior and rescuer.
         He performs astonishing miracles in heaven and on earth.
         He saved Daniel from the power of the lions

 I've read this Scripture many times before.  I loved this story as a child.  I loved teaching it as a Sunday School teacher.  As a children's choir leader, we even did an entire musical based on this.  When I was reading this tonight something struck me that I had never noticed before.  Did you catch it?

Toward the end of verse 27 it says that God performs astonishing miracles in heaven and on earth.  God performs miracles in heaven?  Really?  What sort of miracles are needed in heaven?  This opens up a whole new can of worms for me.  Does anyone have a thought on that for me? 

If Dad were still alive I would have already called him.

Friday, October 14, 2011


I had given Mom a cell phone of her own for Mother's day a year ago.  Before that, she and Dad shared a cell phone.  They didn't always do everything together and I wanted Mom to have a phone of her own for her safety.

She had only had her phone for 2 days when she sent me a picture of her Mom & her together via text message.  She was 78 years old and my Gram was 95 at the time.  I showed it to my boss.  He said I've had my i-Phone for a year and still don't know how to do that!

Mom embraced technology.  She loved working on computers.  She even set up a Facebook account in order to keep in better touch with her grandkids. 

At the beginning of June I decided to call AT&T and see if I could cancel Mom's phone due to the circumstances.  After talking to 3 or 4 different people and having to explain the entire ordeal all over again to each one of them, I had a supervisor who said she would cancel the phone and not charge me the $13 per month fee they normally charge to cancel a phone (the phone is only $10 per month yet they charge $13 to cancel?  Does that even make sense?)

I just received my October bill and I'm still being charged for Mom's phone.  I knew I needed to call back and go thru the process all over again.  Worse than the hour and a half I knew it would take on the phone, I had no idea how many times I would have to recant my gruesome story over and over again.  I said a quick prayer and dialed the 800 number.

I went through my story with a nice young man.  I explained how I had called before and ended up in tears by the end of the call.  I told him my plight.  How the police have the phone as evidence.  It was the phone Mom had used to call police while my Dad was trying to fight off attackers who were stabbing him.  By the time police got there they had both been stabbed to death and Mom was still clutching the phone.  Police have said I will not be able to get the phone back.  It won't work any longer anyway.  I could care less about the phone.  I just felt that since I have been a long time AT&T customer and currently pay for 4 phones that they would have compassion and release me from the contract without any penalties.

The man I got on the phone was so helpful and understanding.  He urged me to just stick with him and he would get it worked out.  He promised me.  At the end he had to turn me over to a supervisor.  But he remained true to his promise.  Thankfully, he had already explained my entire story to her so I didn't have to repeat it yet again.  That supervisor not only cancelled that phone line without a penalty, she gave me a credit back for the months that the phone has been out of use.  Going one step further, she sent me a text message from AT&T verifying everything she told me was doing.

I was so grateful to get that taken care of.  I won't have to see that number come up on my bill every month with no usage.  It was a great reminder to me to treat people with kindness.  You just never know what someone is going through.

Colossions 3:12-14 (The Message)
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Run to God

The idea of  Mom & Dad's killer(s) still running free has been weighing on me lately.  From the very beginning I had no doubt that God knew who killed them and His justice is far better than man's justice.  I still know that is true but I would like to see the person(s) who committed this brutal, unjustified crime behind bars.  I know the people of Springfield, Mo would like to see that happen, too.

My brother gave me some unsettling news about the person(s) responsible for the crime that he had learned from the police and it has really bothered me.  Since then it seems that every time I pick up my Bible God is speaking to me about it. 

This Scripture jumped out at me the other day:

Psalm 9:9-12 (The Message)
God's a safe-house for the battered,
      a sanctuary during bad times.
   The moment you arrive, you relax;
      you're never sorry you knocked.

 Sing your songs to Zion-dwelling God,
      tell his stories to everyone you meet:
   How he tracks down killers
      yet keeps his eye on us,
      registers every whimper and moan.

Relax, God tracks down killers.  I know that God doesn't even need to track them down.  He has been following their every movement their entire lives.

Today this passage spoke volumes to me:

Psalm 11 (The Message)
I've already run for dear life straight to the arms of God.
   So why would I run away now
      when you say,
   "Run to the mountains; the evil
      bows are bent, the wicked arrows
   Aimed to shoot under cover of darkness
      at every heart open to God.
   The bottom's dropped out of the country;
      good people don't have a chance"?

 But God hasn't moved to the mountains;
      his holy address hasn't changed.
   He's in charge, as always, his eyes
      taking everything in, his eyelids
   Unblinking, examining Adam's unruly brood
      inside and out, not missing a thing.
   He tests the good and the bad alike;
      if anyone cheats, God's outraged.
   Fail the test and you're out,
      out in a hail of firestones,
   Drinking from a canteen
      filled with hot desert wind.

God's business is putting things right;
      he loves getting the lines straight,
   Setting us straight. Once we're standing tall,
      we can look him straight in the eye.

Run to God!  He is still in charge.  He has not moved.  He will put all things right.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


It's amazing how exhaustion can set in so quickly.  I had such a wonderful time with my grandsons Thursday and Friday.  Going for a walk, swimming at the hotel pool, cooking dinner, going to the St. Louis zoo, etc.  Yesterday and today I felt totally exhausted.

I think part of it was physical but I believe that most of it was emotional.  I was so tired I didn't cook dinner last night.  It was all I could do to pick up the phone and order pizza.  My son and his sweet, beautiful girlfriend came over and spent the entire evening playing with Kristopher and doting on him as they love to do.  We had a fun evening filled with pizza, presents, cake and ice cream.  I have to admit, I have the most wonderful kids in the world!

Even though I was very tired when I went to bed I just couldn't go to sleep.  I prayed and cried until quite late.  I just felt I couldn't go on.  I complained to God that my life was just too hard!  I didn't even go to church this morning.  I got up, ate a piece of toast then laid back down and fell soundly asleep again. 

I thought about calling one of the gals in the jail ministry and ask her to go in my place tonight but, thank God, I didn't.  What a blessing it is to me to take the Word of God to the ladies in cell block C!  I feel so renewed now!

When I left the jail tonight and got into my car I cried for a moment as I usually do.  The last time I communicated with Mom was Sunday, April 24th after I left the jail.  I often called Mom and Dad as I drove home from the jail to tell them how things had gone.  That night Mom had texted me so I just texted back.  How I miss being able to talk to them, to run things past them or just to chat!

"Hallelujah!"  That was Mom's text to me that last Sunday night.  What a wonderful reminder to me of why we go through hard times!

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (The Message)
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

Friday, October 7, 2011


My oldest grandson (and Mom & Dad's oldest great-grandson!) turned 2 years old today.  Time has flown by so quickly!  What a great time we had at the St. Louis zoo today!  Kristopher was so excited about all the different animals.  Seeing new things through the eyes of a child makes you look at the world in a whole new way.  What an experience!

Physically, today was draining.  So much walking & carrying around a 35 pound bundle of joy!  But it was well worth it.  

Today was also my youngest grandson, Jayden's, birthday.  He is one month old today.  I got to spend the day with him yesterday and was able to get a little snuggle time in with him today as well.  What a special day!  I just wish Mom & Dad could have shared it with us.  How they loved their family!

Sometimes I feel that my family has fallen apart.  Since we were gone today Kristopher's official birthday dinner will be tomorrow evening.  It will just be Kristopher, my daughter Stacie, my son, his girlfriend and me.  My oldest daughter, her husband, and their baby won't be able to come.

It seemed that when I was growing up we always had huge birthday dinners.  My brothers all live so far away now that we just don't get together.  Even when Mom & Dad were alive we rarely all got together.  I feel that now that they are gone we may never all get together again. 

I wonder how Kristopher will view his family.  He has no grandfathers and I am the only grandmother in his life.  How will I be able to keep my family together?  What kind of memories will I be able to leave my grandchildren?

I know I can't wallow in self-pity.  I have to just keep moving on and make the most of every moment.  I can't drum up a fake family but I can give them my love and do my best to show them way to the Perfect Father.

John 17:20-23 (The Message)
I'm praying not only for them
   But also for those who will believe in me
   Because of them and their witness about me.
   The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
   Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
   So they might be one heart and mind with us.
   Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
   The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
   So they'll be as unified and together as we are—
   I in them and you in me.
   Then they'll be mature in this oneness,
   And give the godless world evidence
   That you've sent me and loved them
   In the same way you've loved me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Mom & Dad truly lived by faith.  There were so many times when things looked physically impossible and in the natural realm they were impossible!  But they believed in the promises of God and trusted Him to provide in whatever situation they were facing.

I was reminded this morning of the Scripture in Romans where Paul talked about Abraham's faith.  Even though he was an old man and Sarah was an old, childless woman, he did not waiver in his faith in God.  God had told Abraham that he would be the father of many nations and Abraham knew that God would fulfill His promise to Abraham.

Of course, Sarah came up with a way to help God out.  If you read the account in Genesis you'll see that she told Abraham to sleep with her maid and her maid would bear him a son.  It happened and Ishmael was born but that wasn't God's way.  It wasn't what God had promised.

Don't we do that so many times?  We grow impatient and think we need to help God along?  I've done it myself with disastrous results!  God knows what He is doing and we just need to obediently wait with passionate patience.

I know that the Mom & Dad's killers will be brought to justice.  I keep thinking I should be doing something to help bring that about.  But in this case there is truly nothing I can do.  I just have to wait and trust God for His timing.

Romans 4:19-25 (The Message)
Abraham didn't focus on his own impotence and say, "It's hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child." Nor did he survey Sarah's decades of infertility and give up. He didn't tiptoe around God's promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That's why it is said, "Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right." But it's not just Abraham; it's also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.

Consider these words of Jesus:

Matthew 5:43-48 (The Message)
"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
"In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you."

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I've been struggling the past couple of weeks with writing as I'm sure you can tell.  I've had a hard time looking at Mom & Dad's notes.  I just couldn't bring myself to look through them lately so I took a bit of a break.

I'm okay with that and I hope you are, too.   

My daughter, Stacie started in Bible Study Fellowship last year with the book of Isaiah.  Mom was thrilled that Stacie was doing the study but she was afraid that Stacie might be overwhelmed with such a difficult book to start off with.  No worries though.  Stacie loved it!  It was just the kind of in depth study she had been longing for. 

BSF is an international, nondenominational intense Bible study.  Women all over the world study the same thing every week.  Mom & Stacie often discussed their study and compared notes.  One time when Stacie was stuck on a question, she called her Granny.  Mom confessed that she was stuck on that one, too.  She tried every other available resource but she finally broke down and asked Dad what he thought.  She told me later that she tried never to ask him his thoughts until she had completed her work.  She wanted to figure it out for herself.

When I came across years worth of notes that Mom had from her precious times in BSF, I knew I had to give them to Stacie.  The other evening Stacie came into my room as I was reading and with tears in her eyes she said, "Mom, I want to thank you for giving me Granny's notes from BSF.  It means so much to me to have them." 

This year BSF is studying the book of Acts.  Mom had 2 sets of notes on the book of Acts.  She had done it twice in the past 20 years or so.  Stacie said she would do her study first and then compare it with what Granny had.  She said it was the next best thing to being able to talk to her Granny.

It brings me to tears just thinking about it.  God has blessed me with beautiful, spiritual children in addition to a rich spiritual heritage!

Psalm 78:1-4 (The Message)
Listen, dear friends, to God's truth, bend your ears to what I tell you.
   I'm chewing on the morsel of a proverb;
      I'll let you in on the sweet old truths,
   Stories we heard from our fathers,
      counsel we learned at our mother's knee.
   We're not keeping this to ourselves,
      we're passing it along to the next generation—
   God's fame and fortune,
      the marvelous things he has done.