My Buddy, Joshua

This is part 2 of the incredible miracle of how my daughter survived the bubonic plague and how our family became vessels for an infection of Love.  Please click this link to read part 1.

When friends would ask, What are you doing this summer?”  I would laughingly answer them with, “We’re crossing over to the other side and moving to Aspen Springs!”  Aspen Springs has a reputation for housing the rebels and rowdies of our community. I had no idea what I was saying until God started leading me slowly and intentionally through the book of Joshua.

Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites.  I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses….  No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.  Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.  The Prophet Joshua 1: 2-6


A reassigned desolate inheritance! Our new home with old Christmas lights and a rainbow to boot!

Why is that profound?  Because seven years ago we returned from a different kind of promised land.  We had moved to New England selling as much as we could live without following God to the east coast.  Our last toll booth was even called the “Canaan Toll.”  However, as it turns out, that was not our promised land and that is also an incredible story I will tell another time.  Now, however, at this moment God is all about restoring the land to His people; literal and spiritual.

Alone one night in the house, I called out to God and asked him to show me what He was doing.

 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Okay God, I remember thinking.  I am weak and tired and exhausted and poor and lonely, but I will be strong and courageous.  I would often stay overnight in our camper so I could get up early and work in the cool of the morning while Sean stayed with the girls at the other house.  Meanwhile, God continued to lead me through Joshua and every night that I soaked in the bible He would guide me back to these words

Be strong and very courageous!

I remember thinking to myself, Okay Lord, but this is just physical exhaustion!  I can do this!  We stripped walls, repaired holes, pulled out nails, loaded up a 28 footer trailer three different times with trash and heavy furniture that had been left by previous occupants.  I painted every single ceiling, primed one of the bathrooms (the master bathroom is still in its pre-livable state but the shower works!), repaired half eaten trim (pretty sure those were doggie bite marks), pulled out all of the toilets and the bathroom sink, the oven, the washer and dryer that were left behind and the list goes on. I was so tired.  In the midst of it all God gave me a scripture that I held onto for energy and courage.  I printed off those lively words and slapped them onto the fridge (the only movable appliance that remained in the house) where it still hangs today.

The fortress will be abandoned,

Sierra and I transplanting flowers and shrubs.

Sierra and I transplanting flowers and shrubs.

the noisy city deserted;
citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever,
the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks,
 till the Spirit is poured on us from on high,
and the desert becomes a fertile field,
and the fertile field seems like a forest.
 The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert,
his righteousness live in the fertile field.
 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
 My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
in secure homes,
in undisturbed places of rest.
 Though hail flattens the forest
and the city is leveled completely,
 how blessed you will be,
sowing your seed by every stream,
and letting your cattle and donkeys range free.

The Prophet Isaiah 32:14-20

I felt like Joshua and I were palls hanging out with each other from different dimensions in time.

This may be hard to believe, but the day after reading about the prostitute Rahab, (see Joshua 2, Rahab and the Spies)a woman,  labeled by neighbors as having similar talents as Rahab, rode her mustang onto the property.  She looked rough as she offered me her name and a drink from her whisky flask.  I declined as she introduced me to her mustang who she had rescued from a neglectful and abusive owner.

“I hope you will be my friend,” she said.   Those words awakened my conscience and deep inside of my spirit I understood that they weren’t really meant for me; they were meant for Christ.

Judgement.  I had plenty of it for that woman and with no room to judge if you knew my past!  When I sensed His heart for her I felt terrible about my judgement.  God reminded me that even the prostitute Rahab was given grace and the incredible honor of being part of the lineage of Christ.  I repented again.  Sadly, I haven’t seen her since.

Two months is all we had to get the house ready,

Brianna, Tiarra and Sierra saying hello to our neighbor's horses.

Brianna, Tiarra and Sierra saying hello to our neighbor’s horses.

and our time was about up!

My attention was definitely on my surroundings though, as God continued His object lessons for my benefit from the book of Joshua.  The next thing I knew, I was reading about the walls of Jericho and wondering what the heck God was trying to tell me.  I would find out, but not there; not in Pagosa.

Hang on!  It’s just gettin‘ good!  Click HERE to read Part 3, Of Lice, Skunks and Squirrels.


She has the Plague AND We’re Crossing the “Jordan River?”

This will end up being a series of blogs because so much has happened since I last blogged.  So, I’m just going to start as though we are in a conversation…

Yes, I am the mother of the little girl, Sierra Jane, who had the plague in 2012.  Sean laughingly calls me “the plague mom.”  Please DON”T call me that though!  We were on T.V. and the Dr. Oz Show (click on the link to see the actual show) and she received world coverage.

On the set with Dr. Oz after recording the show.

On the set with Dr. Oz after recording the show.

We talked about everything from my two older daughters’ 911 call to the pink sweatshirt fallen on the ground that became the carriage for the little creatures who carried the deadly disease, the bubonic plague.

What you never heard; however, were the millions of miracles God orchestrated for our benefit… and yours!  I just want you to know how much He loves you.

He wants you to know that He has not forgotten you.  He has heard every prayer.  Every one.  Even the little ones that seem like a simple little thought.  Even the ones you haven’t uttered because you think you don’t deserve it or it won’t happen.  He has Hope for you right here, right now.  And since we survived the plague I feel that I am qualified to tell you why and how I know that!

There is much to tell and this story doesn’t begin with the plague; that’s where it ends.  Allow me to take you back to the summer of 20oo…

In the spring of 2012, the Holy Spirit had me return to an old abandoned township called Pagosa Junction.  The land is on the tip of the Ute reservation and as I understand it, there has been some fighting over the territory between the Utes and the town of Pagosa Springs.  The first time I ever went out there, however, was 12 years earlier in the summer of 2000.

The Catholic church over looking Pagosa Junction

The Catholic church overlooking Pagosa Junction

Back then, my husband and I had time to explore new territories.  We drove back into the wilderness and discovered an old train station, tracks, and old homes.  On that first trip I remember thinking that it looked like everyone had just up and left!  We found old clothing, jars, antique furniture and so many cool things.  Since we love collecting pictures of old doors, I started taking pictures of the doors.  One I will never forget was of a lone “locked” door standing like a rebel surrounded by its fallen house.  I can’t help but think of this scripture when I remember that door.

These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.  I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.  Rev 3:7-9

The more  we explored, though, the more uneasy we became.  We felt an unspoken warning to touch nothing!  I could hear what sounded like voices on the breeze threatening and screaming at us to leave.  Sensing the evil presence, we decided  to leave.  A few weeks later when I got the pictures back, I was so uncomfortable that I had to throw every single one away.

If you need more evidence that that place was cursed, a friend of mine went out there five years later and brought back an old mason jar for a souvenir.  A few weeks later she and her kids started having terrible nightmares and even seeing manifestations of spirits in their home.  We prayed.  She repented, threw away the jar and as soon as the jar was in the trash the nightmares stopped.

So, when God asked me to return there in the spring of 2012, I was a little leery… and excited.  Along the way I discovered a little happy flock of sheep. Mixture 011One of them came over to the fence and actually looked like he wanted to encourage me.

When I got to Pagosa Junction this time, I didn’t sense anything like before. In fact, I wandered around the old church on the hill and hiked around the valley near the train tracks and experienced peace.  Then I began to pray.

Have you ever noticed that when it’s God praying through you it’s difficult to remember what you prayed?  All I know is, as I prayed, a theme of God returning the land prevailed.  I recall saying out loud, “Be returned to the land.”  There was a sense of restoring as I prayed and prophesied to the land.

Early spring at Pagosa Junction 2012.

Early spring at Pagosa Junction 2012.

For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord.  The Prophet Jeremiah 33:11

You, Lord, showed favor to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.  Psalm 85:1

I returned home feeling peaceful and with much anticipation.

Then we lost our house.

I know!  It wasn’t the miracle I had been hoping for either!  I fought so hard to keep that little home of ours.  Like a lot of Americans, we bought our home at the peak of the market and shouldn’t have.  We ended up receiving a Deed in Leu which morphed into a Deed in Leese.  That means we were renting the house we once owned.  We were slipping farther and farther into debt, depression and discouragement.

As summer approached I continued to pray.  We looked at rentals and even considered moving out-of-town and closer to a city.   Then one day our friend, Steve, suggested we take a look at his old property. The property was on the other side of town on 1.5 acres.  For the last three years it had been used as a homeless shelter.  Since there was only one man left of the group (he moved into a single cabin), Steve thought a family might be able to restore the house.

No one knew the years I had wept, or the days I had fasted and prayed for God to answer us.  No one knew how creative I really was with so little; how I understood the woman with her jar of oil and bit of flour, how I longed for something new for my daughters and joy for my husband.  God knew…

“In the time of my favor I will answer you,
and in the day of salvation I will help you;
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people,
to restore the land
and to reassign its desolate inheritances,
to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’
and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’  The Prophet Isaiah 49:8-9

We inherited Steve’s house and began our summer with renovations.  Little did we know that we were about to embark on an adventure together that we would never forget.

To read part 2, My Buddy, Joshua, click HERE.

Following the Homeless Man

For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, You shall open wide your hands to your brother, to your needy, and to your poor in your land. (Deuteronomy 15:11 AMP)

A brother on a Pilgrimage off of 285 in Colorado

The cobble stone street glistened in the middle of Old Town Fort Collins as I watched him walk, yet again, from one end of town to the other.  He had been there many times before but today was the first time I stopped to watch him.  Tall, slender, clean and shaven, he could have been a professor from the local university, but he wasn’t; he was a homeless man.  It was late afternoon and an early fall day as I wondered about where this man was going.  Then God whispered, “Follow him.” 

My heart thumped loudly in my throat as I hesitatingly agreed to this adventure.  “Okay Lord, but please keep me safe.”  I played it cool and casually window shopped from store to store as I watched this cheerful man visit his favorite people along the street.  However, his pace was brisk and it was obvious to me he had an important destination in mind.  He crossed the street a few times and I might have even heard him whistle.  He turned down another street across from the old railroad station and stopped outside a three story building.  I froze in my tracks, wanting to turn tail and run as I saw other homeless people gathering in front of the building.  Some were laughing and visiting, others looked sad and aloof. 

God interrupted my thoughts, “Don’t lose him.  Follow him inside.”  Now I was feeling super vulnerable.  I was still dressed in my nice work clothes and I stuck out like a sore thumb, but I persisted and found the man standing inside.  I reached for him and gently tapped his shoulder. 

I couldn’t speak without tears escaping down my face.  Oh God, what have you done to me?  My heart…, my heart….  My heart ached at what I saw– a kind of joyful-hurting ache. 

“Ask for help daughter.  You are safe,” encouraged the Lord. 

So I asked the homeless man through tears who I could speak to about the shelter.  He smiled a genuine smile and responded to my tears by saying, “Oh, now, its okay.  Here’s the lady you need to talk to,” and he handed me off to this kind but stern thirty something woman.  When I told her I was there because I needed to know how the homeless people lived, I had to repeat myself because I was so choked up and my heart was pounding so loud I was sure she couldn’t hear me! 

She smiled warmly and gave me back to the homeless man who proceeded to give me a tour.  He showed me the T.V. room where a pile of people sat watching Jeopardy; he took me to “the book shelf” where people could borrow books; he pointed out the shower area and taught me about their token system, and then he explained how the building had been an old hotel and how they had converted it into a shelter.  Everyone had a bin where they could store things and they could purchase showers and toiletries with the special tokens.  He also explained how different businesses and non-profits provided dinner throughout the week.  My heart felt soggy as I stood in the presence of this man.

I never saw him again after that.  I looked for him and found more homeless people instead….

Then I understood just Who I had been following. 

Amos 8 from The Message

If you prefer a different translation of the Bible please visit

You Who Give Little and Take Much

1 My Master God showed me this vision: A bowl of fresh fruit. 2He said, “What do you see, Amos?” I said, “A bowl of fresh, ripe fruit.” God said, “Right. So, I’m calling it quits with my people Israel. I’m no longer acting as if everything is just fine.

3“The royal singers will wail when it happens.”
My Master God said so.
“Corpses will be strewn here, there, and everywhere.

4-6Listen to this, you who walk all over the weak,
you who treat poor people as less than nothing,
Who say, “When’s my next paycheck coming
so I can go out and live it up?
How long till the weekend
when I can go out and have a good time?”
Who give little and take much,
and never do an honest day’s work.
You exploit the poor, using them—
and then, when they’re used up, you discard them.

7-8God swears against the arrogance of Jacob:
“I’m keeping track of their every last sin.”
God’s oath will shake earth’s foundations,
dissolve the whole world into tears.
God’s oath will sweep in like a river that rises,
flooding houses and lands,
And then recedes,
leaving behind a sea of mud.

9-10“On Judgment Day, watch out!”
These are the words of God, my Master.
“I’ll turn off the sun at noon.
In the middle of the day the earth will go black.
I’ll turn your parties into funerals
and make every song you sing a dirge.
Everyone will walk around in rags,
with sunken eyes and bald heads.
Think of the worst that could happen
—your only son, say, murdered.
That’s a hint of Judgment Day
—that and much more.

11-12“Oh yes, Judgment Day is coming!”
These are the words of my Master God.
“I’ll send a famine through the whole country.
It won’t be food or water that’s lacking, but my Word.
People will drift from one end of the country to the other,
roam to the north, wander to the east.
They’ll go anywhere, listen to anyone,
hoping to hear God’s Word—but they won’t hear it.

13-14“On Judgment Day,
lovely young girls will faint of Word-thirst,
robust young men will faint of God-thirst,
Along with those who take oaths at the Samaria Sin-and-Sex Center,
saying, ‘As the lord god of Dan is my witness!’
and ‘The lady goddess of Beer-sheba bless you!’
Their lives will fall to pieces.
They’ll never put it together again.”


Coffee and a Fifty

I am the only one up.  It is summer, and hot already even though it’s early.  I take my morning walk, hiking along the cliffs of Martinez Canyon, praying and talking non-stop to God about the problems in the world.  This was last summer when I was beginning to see more clearly where we are headed as a nation.  I was serious.  I am often serious.

My neighbor doesn’t know it yet, but I am planning to offer him a deal.  I will mow his lawn for just fifty bucks!  Now that’s a smokin’ deal because his lawn is high and there’s a lot of it!  I don’t include God in my thoughts about my plan though, and I don’t even ask Him for help.  All I know is, we need milk and gas.  I have prayed for my town, my family, the Department of Human Services, the schools and myself.  I have wept bitterly for the abused and wounded children in this town, this state, our nation and even the world.  This is the summer (2010) when I can’t sleep and I can’t stop praying.  I am exhausted from fasting and praying and when I finally arive to my favorite cliff overlooking Chimney rock I hear God ask, “Can I talk now?”

Oh.  I– I had no idea.  What was I doing?  How selfish.  I was so full of myself and my troubles and my ideas, my worries, my prayers.  I appologized, sat down on a rock and just listened.  He shared His heart then.  We cried together.  “I didn’t know that You needed to pour out your heart too,” I said.  “I’m sorry.” It wasn’t easy because I was so used to doing most of the talking.  That’s when our relationship began to change.

If God was still walking in our midst you would have seen Him walking back to the house with me, holding my hand.  I didn’t remember my plot to make fifty bucks until we were a block away from my house.  “Why don’t I just give you the fifty dollars,” said the Lord.  I was so tired I welcomed His suggestion but did I hear right?

An hour later I am running errands and dropping off papers to a friend for signing.  Before I leave she asks me to wait.  She goes to her cash register and hands me fifty bucks.  “God told me to give this to you.”  I tell her what I just told you.  We tear up and feel God hugging us both.

Thank you God.

Today, I am counting quarters, dimes, nickles and then pennies.  We need eggs.  I load up the quarters, and bring my tin antique coffee can clinking with coins in the truck with me to the store.  I might have $7.00.  This time I am talking to God about it.  It’s not like He doesn’t know, but we are together in this.

I am able to bring to the check out eggs, cream cheese (even with a huge price increase!), Roma tomatoes and sale doghnuts beautifully decorated for the girls.  Thank you God.  I also bring a bag of whole bean Starbucks coffee to the check out hoping for a miracle or that I might have enough in one of my bank accounts– it’s risky, I could end up with an overdraft charge.  I set it aside as I check myself out and weigh the cost of trying my debit card.  I have just decided to forgo the coffee when a friend in the self-check out next to me says hi and points out I have forgotten my coffee.  I tell him I’m waiting to see if I have enough as I feed the register all of my coins.  He hands me a ten dollar bill.

My heart skips a beat.  Thank you God.

How to be an Olive… and live!

Okay, so maybe being compared to an olive isn’t the most glamorous of things, but it is meaningful, metaphorical and even prophetic of something greater.

Today I was looking up the word “pressed” on Bible Gateway, looking for a quote to encourage a friend.  The quote I was looking for went with the difficult times we are all facing, or have faced.

 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”   2 Cor 4:9

     This pressing sounds like the stress we are experiencing today: the woman cussing out her neighbors from behind her steering wheel as the man leaving at the same time everyday offers a smile regardless; or the mama one house down whose husband left her trying to figure out how to keep the house, feed her kids and still trust Jesus; or the father who returns to a job day after day struggling to find the strength to get up again because hope is nowhere to be found; or the little girl who prays for her best friend whose daddy beats her, and the crank turns and the pressure, pressure, pressure builds… until one drop of oil drips down onto a hurting heart or hopeless case. 

“Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning.”  Exodus 27:20

     When I read this quote I was surprised.  I had been feeling empty.  No oil.  No joy.  No hope… pity settling in like a warm quilt.  Pity because I, like you, am struggling with the cares of this world.  Maybe it is because I have birthed three babies of my own, but the events occurring in this world today look a lot like birth pains to me.  We do not know when Jesus will return, but we do know that he will return.  Are you ready?  Am I ready?

Welcome the pressing then my brothers and sisters.  It is His gift of oil to you.  The warning is clear:  

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.  The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

 ” ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

 “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’

 “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’

 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

     You are bruised and battered, I know.  My heart is tender toward you.  You are in the middle of an olive press.  Hold fast.  Let bitterness go.  Forgive those who have wronged you.  I too have been taking inventory of those stored up hurts and as soon as I let one go, someone or something else delivers a blow I barely have energy to stand up under.  But you are not destroyed.  You are not abandoned.  You are not even crushed… you are merely pressed and ever so precious to our Lord.  Let’s take a look at the olive.

     The olive tree is not an instant producer of fruit, rather, it can be an unruly tree with ample leaves.  Much like the grape-vine, olive trees must be cultivated and trimmed so that fruit can be produced.  It takes anywhere from eight to ten years of patient cultivating before any fruit comes forth.  That can seem like a long wait when one is expecting fruit… a similar wait the virgins must have experienced in the parable.

     What is more, is the process to make ready the fruit of the olive tree.  Even after the harvest the olives are no good.  Olives are bitter and must soak in a covered box with salt and vinegar.  “Slowly the bitterness is purged from them,” explains T.G. Madsen.  Have you experienced the soaking and purging of a bitter heart?  I am certain each of you reading has a story to tell.  And after the stories, comes the pressing to make ready the oil. 

     Olive oil is recorded as having many specific benefits; it was used internally and externally, as a healing aid, cooking oil, lamp oil and the list goes on.  Why, a study alone could be conducted on the many uses of olive oil and their prophetic and physical benefits.  But it is the pressing I am speaking of now– the pressing of the stone onto the wheel, the crushing of the flesh of the olive to release the precious oil. 

     Be encouraged.  This pressing is producing oil for your lamps and this world… you are after all, the light of the world (Mathew 5:14).  You are that lamp.  I sense the time is short.  According to The Ancient Oil Press, “the first pressing was the purest oil and was used mainly for lamps, cosmetics and holy anointing.”  Clear oil is needed.  Take a moment as the olive press waits.  Is there anything in you that might prevent the purest of oil? 

     Chances are that you have been waiting a long time.  It hardly seems fair to have to experience pressing, or become perplexed at the present state of things after such a long wait.  However, let the pressing come because you will experience a rich produce from your crop. Your oil will flow out onto the hallways, street corners, and intersections of your life.  This oil will continue to keep supple the wineskins of your heart so that your heart will not wax cold in bitterness and resentment.  This oil serves a greater purpose… an invitation for The Wedding of our time and you are that Bride.  You are the jar that holds the purest of oil.  Your Bridegroom waits and you have been dedicated by the anointing oil of God (Leviticus 21: 10-12).  Press on… and live.



Ancient Olive Press.

Hana Levi Julian, “Ancient Olive Oil Press Unearthed in Galilee,” Arutz 7 , Aug 7, 2008

Truman G. Madsen, “The Olive Press,” Ensign, Dec 1982, 57