Monday, August 27, 2012


The poor little guy looked lost. He wandered through my backyard even as I was preparing to send off this Blogpost. He searched through the wild blackberry patch to no avail, as I had beaten him to the ripe ones. Looking forlorn, he trudged through the woods. Besides looking for ripe berries, he probably was looking for his mama. He’s too young, too small to be out on his own. God bless the little bear.


Road Maps

I get lost easily. When I'm riding in a vehicle, I don't pay much attention to landmarks and when I'm driving, I'm not much better. I’ve tried using a GPS, but find it cumbersome, sometimes inaccurate, and downright frustrating. Map reading works best for me.

The first time my husband Don and I drove to look at our East Texas property, I was glad we had a map to guide our way. Without it, we surely would have ended in someone’s pasture. Each turn brought us to a narrower road until the last one was barely wider than a logging trail. Our detailed map didn’t let us down, though our journey seemed to point to failure. Without the map, we would never have found the place—nor believed it even existed, being so far from paved roads.

Road maps are good—to a point. But maps don’t tell us where a road is closed due to accident or flood or bad weather. They don’t show us the potholes, or the road signs that have been turned around.

Studying the Word of God is like studying a map. To learn how to travel on our spiritual journey, we need to read the whole book, yet concentrate on an area at a time so we can understand exactly where we need to go. As we study each section, we can see how it fits into the whole picture. The Gospel of John, for instance, points to our starting point as recorded in Genesis, our eternal destination, and exactly how to get there. And when we ask, the Holy Spirit—our supernatural GPS—will give us revelation and guidance on each aspect of our life-journey. 

Many Scripture verses have something to say about God’s guidance. Psalm 48:14 is one of my favorites. "For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end." In Matthew 18:10-14, the parable about the lost sheep brings to mind the personal care that Christ has for each of us – the joy He receives when even a lost one of us is lost.

We don’t have to lose our way. When we follow God’s roadmap—His Word—we can be assured to reach the destination He has in mind for us. “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

Lord, through Your Word, show us when we’ve gone the wrong way morally and how we can get back on the right path with You. We thank You for being our Guide. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Monday, August 20, 2012


I watched a documentary about a homeless, mentally challenged man who was befriended by the documentary team. In dire need of foot care, the man accepted the journalist’s offer to help. She cleaned his feet and clipped his unsightly, misshapen toenails. I’m glad I had already eaten my dinner when I watched the gross, vivid scene. It took courage on the journalist’s part to go beyond her task of interviewing by stooping over to serve the man in such a way. Would that I had such a servant’s heart! How about you?


A Servant’s Heart
One time while visiting the Crex Meadows wildlife refuge, I watched a family of red fox at their den. While three of the kits romped and tumbled nearby, the mother lay outside the den entrance and washed a fourth. Holding the kit still with one paw, she proceeded to lick it clean from the nose down to the pads of its paws. She worked with diligence and thoroughness, showing her mother’s heart throughout the entire process. What a delightful sight! And to think she had to do this three more times.

Most human parents also take great care with their children. Many parents go the extra mile for them, willing and content to take on necessary but lowly tasks, the type that often go unnoticed by others. I once had neighbors who farmed the old-fashioned way. They raised four children without the conveniences of a car, a tractor, inside plumbing, or electricity. The father walked two miles to town for groceries, cattle feed, and their other needs. With their milk checks, they gave each of their children a college education.

Their lifestyle brought derision from some townspeople but admiration from neighboring farmers who sometimes benefited from the couples’ unselfish service. 

Many people in our society perform onerous tasks daily. Such people may be easily forgotten, preempted by others who offer more visible, perhaps heroic service. But they deserve as much honor and recognition for their humble acts of service—acts we might shun—as anyone else.

Our best example of humility is Jesus, who not only washed His disciples’ feet but stooped to the lowest, most loving act—dying undeservedly on the cross for our sins. His example should compel us to look for opportunities to serve others, not only with socially worthy acts but with service that may go unnoticed by others. Jesus teaches us to serve each other as the mother fox served her kits’ needs. He used foot washing as an example to show humility and a servant’s heart.

Foot washing means bending over, which is perhaps the essence of humility. Foot washing today can mean performing any acts of love that cause us to stoop lower than we’re used to—cleaning someone else’s toilet, wiping the drool from an invalid’s chin, holding a dirty child.

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14)

Lord, give us the will and desire to swallow our prideful attitudes and serve You by loving others in even lowly ways. Thank You for Your supreme example of humility, service, and love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Monday, August 13, 2012


I have a mountain of work staring me in the nose, but am taking time to write some Flash Fiction. Hemingway wrote a six-word story that inspired me. He wrote: “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”

If that doesn’t tell a story, what does? So I came up with a few of my own. What do you think?
(1) Big booboo. Big kiss. Final tears.   (2) Free pups. Mom died. Rabies.   (3) Reel in. Lost it. Stupid boy.   (4) Yes?...How bad?...Rallied?...Praise God.

  by Sally Bair

Things That Surround
One of the most beautiful spots in North America is the area near Hyder, Alaska. As my husband, grandsons, and I approached the town in our motorhome one summer, we found ourselves completely surrounded by majestic, snow-capped mountains. We drove up one of those mountains along a steep, narrow, rocky road that brought on a few white knuckles, and a wheezing cough from our vehicle. But it was worth the effort. We viewed an endless panorama of mountain peaks across the narrow valley. We also had a glimpse of several abandoned gold mines, evidenced by their weathered shacks along and below the edge of the road. And the trip upward brought us closer and closer to a huge glacier on the next mountain. What a sight!     

There was one thing wrong with that unforgettable place, however. Almost everything seemed to be in shadow. Among all those mountains there was simply not enough room for the sun to cast its rays except at mid-day when it shone straight overhead. For a brief time then, some of the shadows retreated. I can imagine how dark the winter days are there, when the sun strides across the sky at such a low angle that direct light cannot reach most places. One would have to climb a mountain in order to see the shine of the sun.

Isn't that how it is with us, sometimes—when the shadows of life keep us in the dark? There is a song of worship that goes, "When the things that surround become shadows in the light of You … I worship You." We all face mountains in our lives—illness and pain, death and divorce, rejection and unmet needs. Those mountains seem insurmountable. Others are deceptively positive—riches, popularity, recognition …. But they can impede our spiritual growth. 

The light of God's love can shrink our mountains into a tiny puddle of shadow at our feet. Jesus said that if we have even a little faith, we can move mountains. All it takes is a small leap of faith, and then we will reach His light. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

Lord, give us the strength to remove the mountains from our lives that are preventing us from making spiritual headway and from worshiping You with our whole heart and soul. In Jesus’ name, amen.   

Monday, August 6, 2012


The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, and everything shines with joy. If it were dark with rain and wind, I would still be joyful because I know that God is with me. He is my Savior, protector, and strength. He is my sustainer, provider, and hope for the future. How about you?


When I was young, I could hardly wait to grow up and be like my big sister. Then I could wear makeup and go to parties and have boyfriends and …

After marriage when my first child was a baby, I could hardly wait until she spoke her first word and took her first step. Two babies later, I could hardly wait until they were all out of diapers. Later still, I could hardly wait until they were all in school … out of school for the summer … out on their own … 

It seems like all I did was wait for tomorrow. Usually I looked forward to tomorrow with anticipation. Sometimes, however, I viewed the next day with dread: a dental appointment, facing the pediatrician with medical news about a child, getting through my first day on a job.

Why does it take us so long to learn to live in the now? Concern about tomorrow is not an uncommon habit, apparently, for even Jesus spoke about it. "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 5:34) Jesus spoke these words immediately after telling us that we must seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, then everything we need will be given to us.

I don’t believe that Jesus meant we shouldn’t plan ahead for retirement or for possible illness or the cold days of winter. I believe He meant we shouldn’t keep our focus on tomorrow’s plans but to live in the now. I think of the times I’ve spent in the past trying to capture the perfect photo for the future and missing out on the beauty of the moment. When we focus on the moment, we realize anew the wonderful gifts God has bestowed on us. We realize too that our relationship with Him is the most important one we can have—for our days on earth and for eternity.  

Some people die suddenly, thus facing eternity before they expect to. We may die suddenly, too. But if we make sure our relationship with God through Christ is secure and our relationship with others is right, we don’t have to be concerned with tomorrow. God will take care of our tomorrows.

Lord, we thank you for the gift of today. Help us to make good use of it by seeking You first, by showing love to and reconciling with those around us, and by trusting that You will meet tomorrow's needs. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I recently read an email newsletter about proofreading and editing that included an interesting idea—that is, read your story backwards. Yes, read it aloud, beginning with the last sentence and making your way backwards to the first. Apparently, you’ll catch errors you hadn’t seen by reading it the proper way, from beginning to end.

Sometimes I read a book that way. Not that I want to spoil the ending, but I want to see if the ending is happy, satisfying, complete.

I’ve written a Picture Book called ZYX: The Alphabackwards Book. Friends tell me I must hurry and get it published. Hurry is not a good word for me right now, as I’m just beginning to market Trouble at Fish Camp and mentally preparing to write the third in my “Ways of the Williwaw,” Survival at Chugach. So, ZYX sits on my table glaring at me. Perhaps what I need is a week off by myself to JUST DO IT. But that takes money. Ah, me. Money and time never seem to even out, do they?

Anyway … here’s a short excerpt from ZYX: The Alphabackwards Book.
Trudy the Turtle sat on a short log
That lay in the water of a big bog.
Ten sat behind her, filling the spaces,
Sunning themselves with uplifted faces.
Tiny the Turtle couldn’t quite fit.
Trudy said, “Climb on my back and sit.”
Tiny crawled up and, oh! The sun shone.
Trudy had given him a place of his own.

I solicit your comments, please. Read it to your young child or grandchild. Do they like it? Let me know what you think.