Why is it that we sometimes have to  be reminded of our own advice?

Right Feelings Follow Right Actions.

The first time I remember hearing this phrase was at Northland Baptist Bible College. It is an amazingly simple concept, one we all have experienced but certainly one that is difficult to live consistently. At least it is for some of us. I’ve found it useful when teaching children. I even put it in my first book. It is such a critical concept to “get”.

While I don’t remember hearing it put quite that way before Northland, I had certainly been taught the concept. I had been taught that if you do your work first, your fun time is much more enjoyable. I can attest to the fact that is true. We all know that if there is a task we are dreading, getting it done brings such a sense of relief and accomplishments. I had also been taught that if we obey, even when we don’t want to, we will be thankful we did. This also is true.

So why the difficulty? I’m sure it is wrapped up in the human nature, sin, selfishness, laziness, all of those negative traits.

Whatever causes it, I struggled this morning. I didn’t feel like getting up but I wanted to get things done. Once up I didn’t feel like doing the things I wanted to get done, but I wanted them done. The longer this tussle went on the more miserable I became. I even started to get a headache.

Finally, after a few stops and starts and some prayer on my part for divine help I gave myself the right-feelings-follow-right-actions speech. Then I got the two things I was most dreading DONE! Then we rewarded ourselves and went to Sonic for a Diet Cherry Limeade and a drive in the convertible. Now that I am home I am whizzing through my list.

 Well, maybe plodding is a better word but at least I’m moving forward.


I am impressionable. I admit it.

For instance, when I watch the movies made from Jane Austin books I have to make a pot of tea. When I watch You’ve Got Mail, I need a cappuccino.

One year, after watching You’ve Got Mail for the umpty-jillianth time, I made handkerchiefs for all of my nieces. Do you remember the scene where Meg Ryan’s character uses a handkerchief with a daisy on it? Then, in another scene she gets daisies when she is sick. They are happy flowers. I like happy flowers. Let’s just say I bought a lot of daisies when that was my favorite movie. . .

Like I said, I’m impressionable.

For this reason, if no other I am exceedingly grateful for my upbringing. We’ve all seen those impressionable souls who can’t decide what they believe. They can’t make right choices. They always seem to be following the wrong guidance. I really believe I have that potential in me, considering my impressionability factor.

So, what made the difference?

First, of course it is the Lord. His Spirit dwells in me convicting me and helping me make right decisions. Without Him I would be in a heap of trouble, that’s for sure.

There is another thing though. I have been given—by God no doubt—a precious and valuable gift. It came packaged in my parents and grandparents.

For an impressionable child there was nothing more valuable than a world filled to the brim with mature, loving, consistent, Godly examples of the fruits of the Spirit. I’m not exaggerating here folks. My parents and grandparents taught me everything I need to know to succeed in life. Then you throw in some awesome aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and friends and I have been wrapped in a cocoon of positive impressions.

I have seen—lived out in full color—self discipline, the value of hard work, a vibrant prayer life, patience, forgiveness, wonderful marriages, meekness, goodness, faith, moral excellence, determination, humor, and the list could go on and on.

My spirit was overwhelmed and I cried yesterday as I drove to work. Why me? Why did God bless me with this amazing life? So many people struggle through life, overcoming their surroundings and I’m given this amazing opportunity. Why? With great opportunity comes great responsibility.

Please pray for me as I seek to use the opportunities God gives me to make the best use of this legacy. It must not be wasted.

Generational Friends is a term I coined to explain some of my family friendships. I don’t mean friends in my family, but friends that encompass an entire family. I guess it is the result of growing up in small churches where we didn’t have all of the groups that seem to be so essential in churches today.

I really don’t need to get off on a tangent here but I must say. . . I do not understand the hang-up people have about needing a church to meet all of their needs. For instance, a youth group, a children’s ministry, a singles ministry, a young married group, a seniors group, etc. etc. etc. How on earth are the older women supposed to minister to the younger ones when they never interact. Besides, what about the idea of what You can do to help the church. To borrow a phrase from President Kennedy, ask not what your church can do for you, but rather, what you can do for your church.

OK. Sorry. That is one of my soap boxes.

 Because we didn’t always have the opportunity to have friends in our particular age range, my siblings and I learned to be friends with those much older or younger than us. Some of my best friends have been senior citizens. In another instance I was in my early twenties when I gained a friend in her teens. From that friendship I developed a close friendship with her older sister, her mother, and eventually the entire family.

In the case of another family the friendship started with the parents who are ten years my senior. I babysat their children when I was in nursing school. He was my Pastor. Through the years I went back as often as I could to see them and our friendship grew and continued. I went to graduations and weddings. The funny thing was, once the kids grew up they became my friends too. One went with me to a singles retreat.

 Another one, Josh, called and I helped he and his wife and baby Emmy get back to Sheridan to surprise the parents. During that car ride was when the term generational friends was coined. Josh said to me, “Miriam, I bet when Emmy grows up she’ll be your friend to.” I hope so.

September Morning


By the numbers and images.

Falling buildings, broken hearts

Crashing Planes, crushed bodies

Jumping people, hijacked dreams.

America staggers

Under the weight.

Fear, anger, disbelief,

lost innocence.

Our hearts are fallen,

Our minds unable to conceive this evil

Hiding amongst us.

As the fog of dust and ashes

begins to settle,

We lift our flags

In homes, businesses,

and even amidst the rubble.

Reaching a hand to God

We pull ourselves first

to our knees, and then


As “one nation, under God,”

We stand as fast as we can

To face a changed September,


by Miriam Jones (2001)


You say you will never forget where you were when 
you heard the news On September 11, 2001. 
Neither will I. 

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room 
with a man who called his wife to say ‘Good-Bye.’ I 
held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the 
peace to say, ‘Honey, I am not going to make it, but it 
is OK..I am ready to go.’ 

I was with his wife when he called as she fed 
breakfast to their children. I held her up as she 
tried to understand his words and as she realized 
he wasn’t coming home that night. 

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a 
woman cried out to Me for help. ‘I have been 
knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!’ I said. ‘Of course I will show you the way home – only 
believe in Me now.’ 

I was at the base of the building with the Priest 
ministering to the injured and devastated souls. 
I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He 
heard my voice and answered. 

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, 
with every prayer. I was with the crew as they 
were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the 
believers there, comforting and assuring them that their faith has saved them. 

I was in Texas , Virginia , California , Michigan , Afghanistan. I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news. 
Did you sense Me? 

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew 
every name – though not all know Me. Some met Me 
for the first time on the 86th floor. 

Some sought Me with their last breath. 
Some couldn’t hear Me calling to them through the 
smoke and flames; ‘Come to Me… this way… take 
my hand.’ Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me. 
But, I was there. 

I did not place you in the Tower that day. You 
may not know why, but I do.. However, if you were 
there in that explosive moment in time, would you have reached for Me? 

Sept. 11, 2001, was not the end of the journey for you . But someday your journey will end. And I 
will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may 
be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are 
‘ready to go.’ 

I will be in the stairwell of your final moments. 


(Thanks to my Mom who sent me this forward by email.) 

I am pleased to announce (and so relieved) that the Book 2 proposal is in the mail I just took it to the post office and sent it off. It should arrive tomorrow. Please pray with me.

I believe that this publisher is the one the Lord has directed me to. I know that is a bold statement, but my decision was made based on prayer, the advice of wise and knowledgeable people, and the peace I have about sending it to this particular publisher. So, I am praying “in faith, believing” and I can’t wait to hear from them. 🙂 They promise to respond within twelve weeks. 

Here’s where it gets tricky. What if they say no? It’s possible. I know many people who have believed they are doing God’s will, pray in faith, believing, and God shuts the door. So, what is the answer? I guess it is surrender. This is not my book. It is a project that I feel God has given me. So, I will trust his timing and his power. But, I’m still praying “in faith, believing!” Pray with me, please!

Just a quick note to let you know that the manuscript has NOT been sent yet. It was a self-imposed deadline but yet, I still feel the pressure. After my wonderful husband edited it I took one more look at it and, well, lets just say there were a few minor changes I want to make. The problem is that I am just now waking up (with coffee at my side) from a two 12-hour night shift stint. So, I will be working on those changes once my coffee hits my brain, and the new and improved plan is for it to be in the mail tomorrow.

The additions mostly involve character description. One challenge I have with trying to find a traditional publisher for this second book is that it is… well it’s the second book. It MUST be a stand-alone story (which I think it is), but that means that I need to make sure the characters are described well enough for someone who might not have read the first book. That’s what I’m finding I left out. For instance, they need to know that Molly is 8. They need to understand the connections of the kids.

Anyway, I know some of you are praying. I believe that God’s timing is best and I have only one shot at this number one choice of publishers, so I’d best get it right! Pray tomorrow as I send the manuscript. Pray each day, if you can that God’s will would be done. Oh, and my website has a payment button now! Go order a few dozen books. 🙂

This is the first draft of a column for the Newberry Observer. I rewrote it to be less direct for the paper but felt I wanted to have my “full-say” here.

Culture or Love of God – Which constrains me?

When Mr. Jimmy prayed in church on Sunday I got stuck on his first phrase and, I admit I didn’t hear much else he said. He started like this. “Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege of coming to you today.” 

Privilege. He said privilege. 

I am a PK. That means preacher’s kid to those of you who don’t know and since this is the Bible Belt that’s probably not many. My Daddy is a Baptist minister and has been most of my life. In fact he was in Seminary when I was born and is still going strong. 

 I love church. My week is not complete if I don’t go to church Sunday Morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday evening. Call me weird but that is who I am. That is my culture. 

Because of that I feel comfortable here in the South. Out West people are more private about their faith. They don’t speak as freely about their church affiliations. When you pray in a restaurant you stand out, you are conspicuous. Not here. Here, there is nothing unusual about a table full of people bowing their heads to pray before eating their meal at Ronnie’s. 

Jesus is a big part of the culture in the South and I love it 

However, I have to wonder sometimes if that’s all it is to us. A part of our culture.  That’s why my mind got stuck on the word “privilege”. I’m so blessed to know it is my privilege to come to God, to attend church. But do I look at it as a privilege? Am I attending church for the right reasons? I’m sure God is pleased that I am there, regardless of my motives, but am I receiving the full blessing I could? These are some questions I ask myself. 

After the prayer, I pulled myself together and listened as Pastor Clark preached on the Love of God. He spoke of the truth that it is the Love of God that constrains us. 

 Ah, there is the answer. Church attendance shouldn’t be because it is my culture. It should be simply because God loves me and that love is so powerful, so overwhelming that I can’t wait to get there. 

It’s like when I am going home to South Dakota to see my family. I can’t wait for that plane to land or the car to travel those last hundred miles. I go every chance I get. I make sacrifices so that I can go. If I don’t go often enough I become unhappy. (My husband might even use the word crabby.) The love for my family constrains me to go. There would be something wrong if I went simply because it was my culture.

That’s what bothered me when Mr. Jimmy prayed. The Love of God should constrain me, not the Culture to which I was born. After all, as a child of the living God it is my privilege to be in church.

It’s something to think about, isn’t it?

I was sitting at the piano this evening, singing my way through a song book. I came to this song. It’s not my usual style but every time I sing it I am grabbed with the powerful truth. Tonight more than usual. With the challenges we face in our nation and world today I couldn’t help but think that this song is quite fitting. As in every age what the world needs is for Christ to work through his people. The thing is. . . we are His people. Are we letting Him use us as we should?

For as long as I can remember, my Daddy has been burdened and praying for revival. I believe that we all need to follow his example. What America needs isn’t a new economic program. It’s not a new batch of people in Washington, although I’m thinking it can’t hurt. What the world and America need today is for God’s people to surrender to the Holy Spirit and let God change the world through us. Are we up for the challenge? 

Come, Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit came at Pentecost; He came in mighty fullness then.

His witness thru believers won the lost, And multitudes were born again.

The early Christians scattered o’er the world; They preached the gospel fearlessly.

Tho’ some were martyred and to lions hurled, They marched along in victory!


Come, Holy Spirit, Dark is the hour. We need Your filling, Your love and Your mighty power.

Move now among us, Stir us, we pray;

Come, Holy Spirit, Revive the Church today!

Verse 2:

Then in an age when darkness gripped the earth, “The just shall live by faith” was learned.

The Holy Spirit gave the Church new birth, as reformation fires burned.

In later years the great revivals came, When saints would seek the Lord and pray.

O once again we need that holy flame, to meet the challenge of today!


Come, Holy Spirit, Dark is the hour. We need Your filling, Your love and Your mighty pow’r.

Move now among us, stir us, we pray;

Come, Holy Spirit. Revive the Church today.

by John W. Peterson