Pest Control and Problems

wasp-2One of the bad things about Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is that you can’t use pesticides around the house. That means if you want a nasty, creepy bug killed—you have to squish it. In my opinion, standing at a safe distance with a can of bug spray is much nicer than approaching a yucky insect with a wad of Kleenex. Unfortunately, when I became ill, I no longer had a choice in the matter. For a while, I tried ignoring the growing insect problem around my house—I hoped it would just go away. But during my third year of quarantine, the insect population boomed. Wasps and spiders multiplied like crazy, and I knew that acting without delay was a necessity.

spider-webInside the house, I implemented a strict “see it—kill it” policy. This resulted in my home becoming fairly pest free. But outside was a different story. Wasps had come in droves and settled in every nook and cranny. The window frames, shed, eaves, and door frames were full of their nests. Along with the wasps, a horrible, freaky spider took up residence in the pine trees and bushes around the house. I was used to large wolf spiders, and I killed them quickly, but the new spider was a different type of arachnid. It could grow to the size of a half dollar. Its bloated body was HUGE, and it was the freakiest, nastiest thing I’d ever seen. By doing research I learned that my new interloper was relative of the cat-faced spider. When the cat-faced scourge moved in, it moved in with a vengeance. I started counting, and I found multitudes of spiders in my yard. I knew that if I didn’t act quickly, the cat-faced spiders would find their way inside my house. I couldn’t imagine having one of those freaky things in my bed or closet—the thought was unbearable.

wasp-3Knowing that chemical help wasn’t possible, I prayed for wisdom and then tackled the pests one at a time. Early on, I learned that each pest had to be approached in a unique way. If I knew the right method, I could get rid of the insect without being bitten or stung.

Wasps can be incredibly dangerous, but I learned a safe way to tackle them. At the crack of dawn, I would tuck the bottoms of my blue jeans into my socks, put on heavy tennis shoes, and grab a hoe. Wasps are slow and sleepy at daybreak. I found that I could knock a wasp nest to the ground, and step on all the wasps without them flying at me if I did the job early enough in the day. Unfortunately, I also learned that if the sun had risen too high, the wasps would dive-bomb me. Taking action early in the morning was the key to wasp control.

The wolf spiders were another proposition. When you kill a wolf spider, the time of day doesn’t matter. What does matter is how fast you move. When you strike, you have to be swift and decisive. You can’t hesitate for a second. Hesitation and second-guessing allows a wolf spider to get away. And believe me—you don’t want a wolf spider to get away. If you don’t kill a wolf spider when you see it, it grows quickly into a huge, horrible beast that enjoys living in difficult places to reach—like the ceiling. After balancing precariously on a rickety chair with a wad of Kleenex in an attempt to squish a giant wolf spider the size of Montana, I learned quickly that it’s much easier to kill a wolf spider when it’s small and on the wall.

spider-3Although I’d learned how to deal with wolf spiders, I had to learn a completely different technique when confronting cat-faced spiders. If I moved too quickly around them, the cat-faced spiders would drop from their webs and get away. I had to approach them slowly and deliberately. I learned that by moving calmly, I could take a broom, put it underneath a cat-faced spider, and scoop it off its web. Then, carrying the spider perched on the broom, I could move slowly to the sidewalk, dump the spider on the concrete, and step on it. Cat-faced spiders are very strange. If you use a black-bristled broom, they run away, but if you use a white-bristled broom, they will sit still and let you carry them. The year I attacked my pest problem, I killed over 100 cat-faced spiders using this technique.

Over the years, I’ve found a correlation between quarantine pest control and how I can control “pest problems” in my spiritual life. I’m not perfect, and there are some things that can really trip me up. Through consistent practice, I’ve learned that I can control the triggers to my spiritual problems just like I’ve learned to control wasps and spiders without pesticide.

wasp-4In my spiritual life, I’ve learned that worry needs to be addressed like wasps. Early in the morning, I need to come to God, laying my problems before Him. I need to do it immediately as soon as I wake up. If I don’t, the longer the day goes on, the more out of control my worry can become. Just like wasps, worry becomes stronger and more violent with each passing hour. I can’t allow my worries to warm up and linger throughout the day—if I do, they dive-bomb me.

spider-1In my spiritual life, Anger needs to be addressed like wolf spiders. When something happens that makes me mad, I must forcibly squash my desire to nurse a grudge. I must stop my angry train of thought quickly. Sometimes, I verbally tell myself that I’m NOT going to stay angry. And when an angry, bitter thought resurfaces, I pounce on it violently—refusing to let it roam free. I’ve learned that angry thoughts need addressed quickly and without hesitation. Allowing myself to stew over the “wrongs” I have suffered is a big mistake. I need to squash anger decisively—just like I squash wolf spiders. If I don’t, the anger I feel can grow into bitterness. And just like a giant wolf spider lurking on the ceiling, bitterness can be very hard to get rid of!

spider-2In life, I’ve learned that misunderstanding needs to be addressed like cat-faced spiders. When miscommunication occurs and feelings are ruffled, I’ve learned that I need to be calm—speaking slowly and with deliberate care. Quick words can easily cause a tense situation to spiral out of control. The last thing you want when scooping a cat-faced spider from an eave is to move too quickly and have it drop on your head. And the last thing you want when dealing with miscommunication is to speak rashly. Reckless words can make a small, insignificant problem mushroom into an uncontrollable, hurtful brouhaha. It’s very tempting to try and prove you are “right,” but it’s rarely effective in the long run. Cat-faced spiders run from a black broom, but they don’t mind a white broom. I’ve learned that people with ruffled feelings react violently to critical words, but they’ll calm down and listen when peaceful words are introduced into the situation—especially when the peaceful words aren’t condescending or being used in a passive-aggressive way. Cat-faced spiders need handled with slow, deliberate care—and so do people with hurt feelings. Pride is always the enemy of peace.

Quarantine has taught me many things. And one of the best lessons I’ve learned has come from tackling pests and applying pest-control tactics to difficult situations in my life. I believe that God uses nature as a teaching tool, and when we approach nature with open eyes, our spiritual eyes may be opened also.


leaf-1But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you… To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are His.” Job 12:7-8, 13


Dancing in the Dark

star-clusterAfter I recommitted my life to Christ, there were still days when being in quarantine was very hard. It’d be nice to say that a commitment to Christ made my life magically easy in spite of my circumstances—but truthfully, that wasn’t always the case. I was still ill. I was still in quarantine. I was still facing an uncertain future in which indefinite isolation or deadly side effects loomed. Even though I knew Christ was with me, the solutions to my problems seemed far off. In truth, the solutions were far off—I was in quarantine for seven years.

yellow-starsIn the middle of those seven years, there were times when the challenges I faced seemed insurmountable. Sometimes, I would feel extremely claustrophobic at the limits of my existence. Sometimes, people would make unkind remarks about my condition that hurt. Sometimes, I faced health setbacks that were unbelievably discouraging. When those things happened, my course of action was clear. It was time to dance in the dark.

pleiadesDancing in the dark became a ritual for me during quarantine. It was something I did out of a desire to present the Lord with a “sacrifice” of praise. When I felt frightened or discouraged, and when sleep fled far away, I would get up in the middle of the night, go outside, and walk into the center of the hay field by my house. Then I would turn my face up to the sky and look at the stars. As their beauty seeped into my soul, I would begin to trace the galaxies and name the stars winking above me. Raising my hands toward heaven, I would whisper, “Thank You, God, for my life. Thank You that I’m not facing this alone. Thank You that You’re right here with me—even though sometimes the pain is too great to feel Your presence. Thank You that You have good plans in store for my life. Thank You that everything is going to be okay. I love You, Lord. Thank You for loving me.”

universe-personAfter my prayer, I would put on my earphones, crank up some praise music, raise my hands again, and begin swaying and twirling around the field. As I danced in the darkness, peace always came. Slowly—sometimes, very slowly—I would feel the weight of my problems fading away. I’m totally uncoordinated, and in the light of day, I can’t dance a step. But I’ve learned that in the darkness, under the light of the stars, I can dance beautifully. You see, in the darkness, coordination doesn’t matter. When I dance, I dance for an audience of one, and I know He thinks I’m lovely.

David danced before the Lord, and I’ve danced too. Dancing is my sacrifice of praise. It’s my declaration of faith. It’s my way of looking into the face of pain and finding peace. Each time I’ve danced in the darkness—somewhere in the middle of my uncoordinated moves—God’s peace has always come. His presence chases away my fearful torment and replaces it with joy.

star night personQuarantine taught me many things. It taught me that pain and discouragement never last. It taught me that things ALWAYS get better. And most of all, it taught me that when life seems too hard to bear, it’s time to strap on my headphones and dance in the dark.


purple starsWith Jesus’ help we will continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God.” Hebrews 13:15

Hallelujah! Yes, praise the Lord! Sing Him a new song. Sing His praises, all His people… Praise His name with dancing!” Psalm 149:1-3a


“Snow Days” and Still Waters

2016-autumn-color-6Have you ever noticed that sometimes life seems too hard? Even though you know God is in charge and things are okay, your mind feels like a snarled knot. You feel overwhelmed and incapable of handling a hangnail—much less the day.

My mother is a very wise woman, and as I was growing up, she’d allow me to have an occasional day off from school when things seemed too rough. She told me that sometimes a person needed to take a quiet day and recharge. She called those special days “mental-health snow days.” There was only one rule associated with them: during the day, I couldn’t think about any problems—I HAD to rest and recharge.

2016-autumn-color-9Recently, I found myself in need of an old-fashioned, mental-health snow day. My mother felt like getting away too, so we packed a cooler and went to the mountains. Colorado is breathtaking in the autumn, and I couldn’t wait to see the seasonal color. Before we left, we had prayer and figuratively put all of my worries into a basket and lifted them up to God, asking Him to take care of them. Then we got in the car and took off. It was a beautiful day! The sky was bright blue, and the aspens were every shade of gold imaginable.

2016-bear-lake-9After going through Estes Park, we entered Rocky Mountain National Park and drove to Bear Lake. I can’t begin to express how lovely it was! Some of the mountainsides were an explosion of color! When we arrived at the lake, we took our time and strolled the trail. The path completely circles Bear Lake, and as we walked, we were able to view the water from every angle. The delicious scent of pine was heavy in the air. Ducks were swimming in the lake, leaving streaming, silver trails in their wake. Aspen leaves—painted gold—sparkled around every twist of the trail. And above us, the wind whispered like music in the trees.

2016-bear-lake-3As we walked, my mother pointed out the beauty around us. Several times, she stopped and verbally thanked the Lord for our lovely world. She didn’t realize it, but her expression of praise was making an incredible impression on me. As I studied the huge, solid mountains that had stood firm for so many years, my problems shrank back to their normal, manageable size. After all, everything I was facing seemed extremely small in the big scheme of things. As I looked up at the aspen-fringed blue sky, I began feeling the presence of the Lord. Deep peace surrounded me.

God’s power is so IMMENSE! He formed the mountains and hollowed out Bear Lake with His hands. He’s an incredible Lord who’s capable of solving ALL problems and calming ALL fears. Walking beside the water that day, Psalm 23:1-3a kept coming to mind: “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.”

2016-autumn-color-5My recent mental-health snow day served its purpose. As I put my problems aside and focused on the beauty around me, my soul was restored. I thank God that He leads us beside still waters! And I also thank Him for a wonderful mother who told me at an early age that’s okay to take a break and look for them.


Lost in a Cornfield

cornfieldWhen I was a little girl, I went for a walk with my father on our farm. As I held my dad’s hand, I skipped joyfully along, keeping up with his long stride. It was a beautiful day, and as we walked, Dad showed me ladybugs crawling up a plant, pretty flowers, and a hawk wheeling in the sky. He pointed at some raccoon tracks and laughed about how the prints resembled little hands. Dad made everything fun. Nothing was better than a walk with my father.

corn-2Dad wanted to check our corn crop, so we turned away from the clear, open path and entered a field. The corn was incredibly tall—it was even higher than my father’s head. The air in the field felt humid—almost suffocating. The thick, green leaves made squeaking, rustling sounds as we brushed past the stalks. I didn’t like the leaves; they seemed to enjoy slapping me in the face. The ground between the rows was uneven, and walking was difficult. The corn was so high that it seemed to block the sun. I could hear the hawk, but I couldn’t see it anymore. I couldn’t see anything but endless green and a little patch of blue.

As I stumbled along beside my father, I decided that I didn’t like cornfields. I wanted to go back. Looking over my shoulder, I gasped. I couldn’t see the open path anymore. I couldn’t see anything but cornstalks. Corn was behind me. Corn was in front of me. Corn was to the right and left of me. I was surround by corn, and I didn’t know how to get out of the field! Instantly, I panicked.

“Daddy!” I wailed. “We’re lost!”

corn-3Smiling, my father squeezed my hand and said gently, “I know exactly where we are. And I know exactly how to get us through this field. You aren’t lost—you’re with me.”

That day, my father’s calming words took my fear away. And those words have resonated throughout my life on a spiritual level. Today, when I face uncertain times and problems seem higher than my head, I remember that I’m not alone. My Heavenly Father is walking beside me, holding my hand. And just like my earthly father long ago, He gently quiets my fears by saying, “You aren’t lost—you’re with me.”


corn-1“Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with My victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10


Jan Elder #2-Author Interview


Dear Friends, it’s my delight to introduce you to Jan Elder. Jan is a Christian author, and she’s also a very kind person. Her love for the Lord shines through everything she says and does. I feel honored to have her on my blog!

Danele: Jan, I’m so glad that you’re able to talk with us today!

Jan: Danele, I am so happy to be here. Your blog is one of my favorites.

Danele: That’s so nice of you to say! Thank you! Jan, I know my readers are eager to learn more about you. You’ve told me that you’ve been through a difficult time recently. Would you like to talk about it?

Jan: This year has been rough. I lost a job I’ve had for fourteen years and there were some moments when the pain nearly overwhelmed me. Almost a sensation of grief, if that can be said about a job. I think the most difficult aspects of the situation, though, had nothing to do with the actual work I was doing, but rather I missed the friends I interacted with on a daily basis.

I’m the type of person who loves to “connect” and those people meant a lot to me and still do. But over the last few months, I’ve been learning that Jesus is truly my friend. I would have said that before, but our relationship has become a great deal deeper as I’ve taken the time to “check in” with Him many times a day. The Lord and I talk over all sorts of things, especially those little things I might have discussed with a human before.

I’ve been a born-again Christian since the tender age of five and you’d have thought I would have had this part down by now, but I tend to try to reason it all out by myself or with those good friends and “save” calling on the Lord for the tough stuff. Leaving the job turned out to be a true blessing in disguise. Of course, God knew all the time what was best for me. I still like to talk to people, but I’m come to understand the wisdom and necessity of running to Him first.

Danele: I’m so sorry that you went through such a difficult time, but I’m glad that God was with you in such a special way. Do you have a praise report to share?

Jan: How much space have you got? When I lost my job, after a week of wallowing, I figured out that I had been given a gift—a time to reinvent my life. Since I’m a writer, hey, now I had the time to write. I’d been wanting to do a series about a woman minister in Maine, and I invented a little town called Moose Creek. My sister was a pastor in Maine many years ago and so I had plenty of material. And my grandparents were “Maniacs” (um, I mean Mainers) and I’ve been able to visit the state many times, so there are lots of connections. Hey, and who doesn’t like moose?

While I was busy doing this fun undertaking, my dream job landed in my lap, completely out of the blue (meaning, of course, that it was entirely God’s idea.) I’m now training to be a life coach and besides writing, I realize it’s my life’s passion. Now I get to help people discover the person God meant them to be. I get to talk about gifts, and blessings, and help each dear person move forward toward God’s best for their lives. Have you ever heard the truism that “good” can be the enemy of “great?” So often we “settle” for less than the best and our God is a God of abundance. I’ve discovered that when I’m done talking with someone, I’m the one who is truly blessed! Between writing and coaching, I am a happy, happy girl and I am so very grateful!

Danele: I’m so happy for you! Speaking of joyful things, is there a specific praise song that seems to usher you into the presence of the Lord?

Jan: There is a song that has been on Christian radio for a while that means a great deal to me. The day I found out I had lost my job, one of my best friends sent me the link to the Casting Crowns song “Just Be Held.”

In the chorus, the words state, “Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place. I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held.” Those words changed the way I was thinking about my situation and I clung to them with all my might. After the tears stopped flowing, hope returned.

For anyone out there reading this, please know there is hope in whatever difficult situation you are in. Give it to God, let it go, allow Him hold you, and remember, you are LOVED!

Here’s the link with the lyrics if you want to listen to this inspirational piece. Believe me, it’s worth your time. Hear and believe! One of my most favorite songs—EVER!

Danele: That’s a really beautiful song! Thank you for sharing it! Now, here’s a fun question for you. Has God ever revealed Himself to you in a humorous way?

Jan: My cat, Shu-Shu loves to get my attention however she can. She seems to be particularly enamored with my computer keyboard and enjoys walking on the keyboard. The other day, she traipsed across the keys and those furry little toes typed “ggggggggggoooooooooooop838p47ooooodddddddddddd.”  Okay, there were a few extra characters in there, but she was clearly letting me know that God was in the room. I couldn’t help but giggle.

Danele: Jan, that’s so funny! Now, before I let you go, can you tell us about your latest book release?

Jan: Sure! We’ve been talking about the untenable situations life sometimes throws at us. In Love, Lies, and Fireflies, at one point in the story, my hero, Jake, is really hurting. He talks to his pastor, Todd, about his pain. I’d like to share that passage here to be an encouragement to your readers:

“Is God really asking us to surrender all, as in everything? Somehow that doesn’t seem quite fair.” Jake leaned in closer.

“You’re familiar with the story of Abraham and Isaac?… My talk is titled ‘Are You in a Desperate Situation?’ It sounds like you’re right there with Abraham. I would guess that desperate is exactly how the man felt when God asked him to sacrifice his own son—the son who had been a long-awaited gift from God. His circumstances would have seemed hopeless…Imagine Abraham’s angst. On the darkest day of his life, he and Isaac trudged up the side of the mountain. Despite his sorrow, Abraham put one foot in front of the other, his dread increasing with every step. Isaac’s death seemed certain.” Todd pursed his lips. “It doesn’t seem to make much sense, does it? But, understanding this part helps. Abraham trusted God with his whole heart. Even if he had to surrender everything….” Todd glanced over at Jake and caught his eye. “No matter what, he was going to listen and obey when it seemed crazy. Now, here’s the cool part. At the same time that Abraham and Isaac were walking up the mountain, a sacrificial ram was climbing up the other side. For every step Abraham took toward the summit, the ram also took a step. God placed that ram at the top at the mountain at precisely the right moment.”

Jake took a deep breath. “So, what you’re saying is God put His plan in place before Abraham was aware of it?”

“Yes, that’s it. All Abraham saw was his pain, but God was already prepared to save Isaac. God had to make sure Abraham really meant it when he said he trusted Him. God was testing him.” Folding his hands in his lap, Todd sat back. “To answer your question, does God want us to surrender all? Maybe in some cases, He does. But I’m thinking that most of the time, He just wants to know if we’re willing to sacrifice.” He looked Jake in the eye. “Why don’t you think on that and listen to what God is saying to you?”

Danele: What a lovely passage! Can you give us the back cover blurb for Love, Lies, and Fireflies and a purchasing link?

Jan: Didi O’Brien is engaged—at least she was an hour ago. Now she’s not so sure. Her fiancé, the suave Kevin Cabot, has just revealed that he’s been unfaithful, and he’s not the least bit sorry. Reeling from the betrayal, with her plans for a happily-ever-after life in doubt, she prays for direction. The answer comes as a complete surprise. God has someone better in mind… Middle school teacher, Jake Montgomery, is struggling with some issues of his own. Sadly, a year previously his fiancée had been killed in a car crash. Battling anger and despair, in a mountain-top experience, Jake wrestles with the Almighty, and is ready to live again. In his youth, he’d felt an unmistakable call to the ministry but, like the prophet Jonah, since then, he’s been running hard in the wrong direction. Through a crisis of faith, and glimpses of mercy, Didi and Jake find each other. But can they find the strength to resolve the many obstacles that conspire to keep them apart?

Danele: Before I let you go, can you give us a list of the books you’ve written?

Jan: Sure! Manila Marriage App, A Semi-Precious Christmas, Love, Lies, and Fireflies, and Moostletoe (coming October 2016).

Danele: Jan, it’s been so nice talking with you! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us!

Jan: Danele, you are a special lady, and I am privileged to know you.


Friends, Jan really is a wonderful person! If you would like to learn more about Jan or her books, please follow the links below. I hope you have a wonderful day!


Popcorn and a Truly Inspired Invention!

popcorn-2I LOVE popcorn. I love everything about it—except making it. You see, when I was a kid, I made popcorn in a skillet. Being a natural-born klutz, making popcorn wasn’t easy for me. I’d always end up getting burned by hot oil, or spilling the kernels, or shaking the skillet too vigorously and dislodging the lid with disastrous results. Many times, I’d end up with more popcorn on the floor than in the bowl.

Over time, the skillet gave way to a marvelous new invention—microwave popcorn bags. Unfortunately, the instructions on the package didn’t give an exact cooking time. The directions always said to cook the bag for two to three minutes. Believe me—LOTS of burning can take place during an interlude of sixty seconds! I’ve burned more microwave popcorn than any normal human should be allowed.

popcorn-4I suppose that my lack of corn-popping talent is why I absolutely LOVE my new air popper. In my view, an air popper is a marvelous invention that was especially designed for people like me—the kernelly challenged. The wonderful thing about an air popper is that it’s virtually impossible to burn ANYTHING. The popcorn magically blows out into your bowl the minute it is popped. It’s wonderful! Magical! Truly inspired!

The only problem with an air popper is that there are usually one or two kernels that ALWAYS pop thirty seconds after you think all of the popping is through—but this heart-attack inducing phenomena is something I can easily put up with! After all, a tiny, momentary fright is better than an hour spent airing black smoke from the kitchen after the popcorn burns!

popcorn-3Now what in the world does my air popper have to do with spiritual matters??? Believe it or not, there really is a spiritual lesson that can be learned! You see, I burn popcorn and render it inedible when it is locked inside a hot skillet or when it is trapped inside a microwave popcorn bag. But I can’t burn the popcorn when it blows quickly away from the source of heat in my air popper.

In life, I’ve found that I’m confronted by temptation just about every day. If I stay in close proximity to the temptation, it can be easy to fall into sin. And just like a kernel trapped in a skillet, I can find myself “burned.”

In 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul says, “There has no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man. But God is faithful. He will not suffer you to be tempted more than you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that you may be able to bear it.”

As I go about my daily life, I keep Paul’s words in the forefront of my mind. When I am confronted by temptation, I actively look for the “way of escape.” I don’t stick around and analyze the temptation or try to see how close I can get to it without getting burned—I RUN from it. In essence, I try very hard to be a kernel in an air popper rather than a kernel in a microwave bag.

popcorn-1I’ve burned enough popcorn to know that the stench is AWFUL! And I’ve fallen for enough temptations to know that the stench of sin is equally bad. I don’t want anything to do with either of them. I’ll stick with my air popper!!! I’ll stick with looking for ways of escape!


The Murky Ditch and FEAR!!!!

shoes-10When I was in college, I wanted to start jogging and get fit. It was a good plan, but unfortunately, there was a horrible problem with it. You see, I knew that when I ran, I looked like a galumphing three-legged camel with a gimpy leg. It was truly a horrendous sight, and I squirmed every time I thought about jogging in public. I couldn’t afford a treadmill, and I didn’t want the humiliation of being a public display. After much thought, I hit upon the perfect solution. I would set my alarm and jog at 2:00 a.m. when everyone was asleep! Brilliant!!! Problem solved!!! As I excavated my jogging shoes from the back of the closet, I mentally congratulated myself for being a genius.

yellow moonGetting up at 2:00 a.m. became part of my daily schedule, and I really enjoyed it. As I ran down the road, everything was velvety still and silent. The only sound was my tennis shoes hitting the pavement. Above me, the stars were spread in a brilliant display of God’s handiwork, and occasionally, I would see a falling star burning across the sky. My late-night wanderings were absolutely lovely. I prayed as I ran, and every day, I felt a deep sense of peace invading my soul. Unfortunately, jogging took an unexpected turn one fateful night…

frankensteinWhen I can’t sleep, I watch a movie on television. I don’t really care what movie—just something to burn a few hours until I get sleepy. Late at night, the movie selection can be somewhat limited, and usually, the selection involves a group of college kids getting eaten by mutant tarantulas or big, slimy blobs. I don’t usually mind movies involving mutant bugs, aliens, or sharks. Actually, at 1:00 a.m., I find them pretty hilarious. Although monster movies are supposed to be scary, I find myself giggling like a maniac at the giant bugs and rolling my eyes as people split off to check circuit breakers and investigate strange noises.

Although I get a kick out of monster movies, I tend to avoid blood-and-guts movies involving deranged killers, and I can trace the reason why back to my jogging days in college. You see, back then I couldn’t sleep one night, so I watched a movie. I can’t remember the name, but it was very creepy and very bloody. It involved a horrible, sadistic killer, and it really got beneath my skin. When the movie finished, it was time to go jogging.

moon-11When I went out the door, I didn’t see the beauty of the stars—all I saw were the shadows. Although I knew it was silly, I was sure there was a murderer wielding a knife behind every bush and tree. Each moving shadow became a threat and each breath of wind against my neck made me shudder. Speaking to myself sternly, I ran faster and tried to think of something else…

owl-1Thinking of something else worked for about 2.2 seconds—then an owl flew out of a tree and nearly gave me a heart attack. I kept running, flinching at shadows and gasping every time a branch moved. My heartbeat was thumping like a drum, and I could hardly catch my breath.

I spoke to myself sternly again. I KNEW I was behaving like an idiot. I forced myself to calm down and look at the stars…that’s when it happened. A car turned the corner and pulled onto the road. It drove slowly toward me. Then it stopped.

My heart leapt into my throat. I stopped jogging and froze. I couldn’t move a muscle. I tried convincing myself that it was just someone parking, but the car crept forward again, inching toward me. As my eyes widened in fear, the car stopped. It was like the driver was sizing me up.

headlights-10I looked around frantically—no one was around to come to my aid. I panicked. All reason flew out the window as horror flooded in.

The car crept forward again.

Giving a flying leap sideways off the road, I jumped into a ditch and hid behind some tall weeds. The ditch was full of muddy water, and it stank. I didn’t care. I watched as the car pulled slowly beside me and stopped again. My panic went into overdrive. I whimpered.

Then I saw something…

The driver leaned out of his window and put a newspaper into someone’s mailbox. I stared in disbelief as the car crept forward and stopped beside another mailbox.

Suddenly, it sank in—I was crouching in a muddy ditch because of the newspaper boy.


full-moon-10As I walked home in my muddy clothes and squelching shoes, I realized that I’d learned an extremely important lesson that night. When left unchecked, my imagination can lead me to panic over the stupidest things. Today, I keep that lesson in the back of my mind. When unexpected things happen–and my first reaction is to hit the ceiling or react in panic–I take a step back and try looking at things calmly and logically. I pray and ask God to put things into the proper perspective. After all, you never know when the mass-murderer you fear is actually the paperboy.


“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5