Scripture Motto

"Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." Matthew 5:16

Friday, September 16, 2011


Thursday: I drove 300 miles alone to my parents’ home in southeast Nebraska.
Friday: I awoke in my old bedroom refreshed and excited to visit with family and friends. After breakfast, I took advantage of the quiet surroundings of my childhood home while Mom and Dad ran their errands.
 I sat at a wobbly card table immersed in my Bible study, when Dad unexpectedly appeared at the door.
 “What are you reading?” he asked.
 “Oh, it’s on revival,” referring to my lesson.
 He pulled up a chair and sat down. “What does the Bible say about grudges?”
 “Well, we need to let them go.” I wasn’t ready for such a question.
 Then, he asked. “What about sixty years of anger?”
 I prayed silently, “God give me wisdom to speak,” as I listened to Dad pour out the pain of his heart,
 “Since my dad died when I was twelve," he went on, "the high school principal decided I needed a man to discipline me.”
 His sad blue eyes pleaded for answers. My heart broke. I listened. I prayed.
 “Your mom doesn’t understand why I sometimes wake in the middle of the night angry. This man still haunts me.” He wrapped one hand over his clinched fist.
 Growing up, I saw his outbursts of anger. I’d seen that same clinched fist bang on a table or against the car dashboard without explanation.
 “Dad, you need to forgive this man. Ask God to help you forgive him. The anger in you has turned into a cancer. Forgiveness is the only way to let go of it.” 
 We talked a few minutes longer until Mom returned home. The conversation ended.
* * * * *
 Saturday: Keeping with tradition, Dad and I watched our beloved Nebraska football team go against arch-rivals, the Oklahoma Sooners.
 Monday: My sister and her husband came to the house for supper. We played the family card game.
Tuesday: Mom took a Polaroid snapshot of Dad with his arm around his dog.
Wednesday: Mom and I went to visit a few family friends, on this seasonably warm October afternoon. Dad went for morning coffee with the friends.
He also stopped at the local truck stop for lunch and found my over-the-road truck driver brother. Dad shared his plans for the day with my brother, and then headed home to work on our old Ford tractor. He drove it up to the corner hill of their acreage to drain the hydraulic fluid.
Mom and I returned home shortly after. As we walked into the house, Mom looked up the hill and Dad waved at her. She sorted the mail, and then went to see how he was doing. Within a few short minutes, Mom was back in the house, reaching for the telephone, “I think you dad is dead.”
While she called 911, I hurried up the short hill. “O God, he forgave that man, didn’t he?” Tears ran down my cheeks. I began to sing, “O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder…” Very soon, I reached Dad's motionless body.
Mom joined me on the hill where we stood and waited for help to come. She looked at me. “You’re here."
* * * * *
I had no idea when I decided to go home for a visit it would be Dad’s last week, nor of the important conversation we’d have.
I wish Dad had forgiven this man many years earlier so that he could have experienced a more peaceful life rather than one of torment. Yet, I do believe he passed into eternity knowing the peace which passes all understanding, the true meaning of Rest In Peace.

This happened October 2001. Whenever I think about that week, I acknowledge God's hand in it all, feel blessed beyond measure, and remember to forgive.
 “Pray in this way: ‘Our Father who art in heaven…forgive us our trespasses 
as we forgive those who trespass against us…’ ”  Matthew 6:9-13

By Merrie Hansen, Christian Writer

Thursday, September 8, 2011


The fog is so thick I can’t see my hand in front of my face. My trekking pole sinks into the spongy tundra. No birds are singing; the silence is deafening.  I’m lost… a daydream.
Pondering...daydreaming...whatever you want to call it, as a writer I need to do more of it. Writing fiction or nonfiction requires a creative, imaginative, daydreamer heart and mind; I also find it relieves stress.
Like most of us as children, I was taught to stifle my daydreams. The logic of my adult head says daydreams are distractions and hindrances to responsibility—an evil guilty pleasure. Yet, according to the Writers Digest article, “25 Ways to Improve Your Writing in 30-minutes-a-day”, I should devote some time each day to daydream, to let my mind wonder.
Right now, I suppress my need to daydream with responsible activities like doing laundry, paying bills, or cleaning the house or divert them with other seemingly wasteful activities like watching TV, surfing the web, or reading a fictional book. Yes, I need to do responsible things, but I also need to devote some time each day to simply daydream.
However, undoing a lifetime of subduing this guilty pleasure will not be easy. It will take time. It will take getting the rest of my life (the responsible side of my brain) to give me permission to daydream a portion of every day.
Changing will require relearning, igniting, and training the creative side of my brain back into action. I need to give my imagination room to breathe and roam. Then, I need to allow the words of the Holy Spirit to grow and flow through my heart and mind to my writing fingers.
Just as health professionals encourage walking 30-minutes a day, I need to include 30-minutes a day devoted to daydreaming. It will benefit my writing as well as relieve stress in my life. The responsibilities of my life need not dominate my thoughts. I need to still the voices of my parents and teachers telling me to “stop daydreaming and get back to work.”
Do you daydream? Do you allow your mind to wonder 10, 20, or 30 minutes each day or do the voices in the back of your head stop you? Maybe on that next 30 minute walk you take you can do a little daydreaming, too.