Friday, March 28, 2014


"The cupboard under the stairs was full of them,"
I heard my daughter reading from Harry Potter.
(hear the British accent there)
Then ...
"Mom! Harry had to sleep with spiders!"
She laughed and had the heebie jeebies simultaneously.
I grinned, then said:
"We all do!
We just don't always see them.
We don't always realize they're there."
(and her daddy just killed a spider in her room the previous day)

Oh, spiders are definitely there,
especially when you live in Texas.
They are in every corner, in the garage, dangling out of trees ...
What would we do without the exterminator?
Before submitting my book to the publisher,
I was working hard in our office.
I edited until my eyes were literally bruised.
Barefoot in summer,
I had one leg propped up on the chair I was sitting in.
As soon as I put my foot down on the hardwood floor ...
tinge of pain.
I looked down to see the culprit,
but my reading glasses made for minimal visibility.
My first thought: scorpion?
I yanked my glasses off, looked down ...
and there was a squashed spider.
It was a suicide biter ...
it chose to bite me and take a foot on the way down over life.
In that whole room ...
the spider had to be right under where my foot would touch down ...
are you kidding me?
What are the odds?
Chills went up and down my spine.
I grabbed the squashed spider up in a napkin
and walked limping out the house to the back property to show my husband,
milking out the injury for all it was worth.
Tingles went all over my foot and lower leg.
We googled it and found it named: "Rabid Wolf Spider."
And it was poisonous.
I had just had an encounter with an eerie computer virus
while trying to get my book to the publisher ...
heard an eerie laugh come across my computer speaker
sounding like what I would envision - the devil himself.
That incident led me to pen "his viral voice" in my book when mentioning the enemy.
And now, a spider bite.
The enemy is so there.
 He'll bite you and take a foot on the way down over life.
We may not see him,
but he's there to whisper into our ears with his viral voice ...
Poison -
Our failures
Our shortcomings
Our past
You should have ...
You should have been ...
You can't do this ...
You don't deserve this ...
You will not do this ...
Oh, the critter's there ...
he's there ...
hiding under the bed ...
hiding in the corners ...
brazen enough to be right under our feet,
at our fingertips,
and crawling over us in our sleep.
When you give that spider your total focus,
when you sit down beside him,
you'll be looking straight at arachnophobia.
You'll be fearful.
Peace will be absent.
Tangled ...
Ensnared ...
We can't give the enemy our total focus.
God deserves our total focus,
and we'd better not lend it to anything or anyone else ...
especially not the spider.
Oh, the spider is there all right.
But more importantly ...
God is there.
Focus on God.
Replace the enemy's lies with God's Word - the truth.
When God offers so much wonderful ...
(Yes, I'm using "wonderful" as a noun ... wink!)
Basket of assorted cat toys.

Why would we focus on that one?

Mind what you see, what you read, what you hear, what you touch ...
Oh, be careful.
Focus on God.
That is the Raid - the exterminator - that will knock out
that spider, that prowler, that intruder
and squash him like the bug he is. 
Don't leave your intentions hollow
When temptation comes to wallow
Focus on the ONE to FOLLOW 


Monday, March 24, 2014


Forgive me.
It's unexpectedly been a while since I've written.
I unexpectedly found myself in the ER for an emergency appendectomy.
My appendix was spreading infection throughout my abdomen,
and it hadn't even ruptured.
That was totally unexpected.
I was unaware an appendix could do that.
Going in, all I knew was that there was a "soft mass" visible,
and something was blocking the view of my appendix.
Well, you know where my mind went.
But my precious surgeon put my mind at ease by stating,
"Shelli, this is not cancer;
this is your appendix spreading infection."
Praising the Lord she was right.
And what do you do when your anesthesiologist tells you to
think of the best dream ever? ...
Waking to hear an infection from my appendix
was blocking the view of my appendix and
displacing minor organs was truly good news.
I've always heard people say:
it's harder to recover from surgery the older you get ...
They are right.
About to enter an ambulance to be transferred to the main hospital ...
an unexpectedly pleasant ride.

Arriving home from the hospital,
I was unexpectedly greeted at the mailbox by a copy of my cover story in
WMU's Mission Mosaic magazine.
It had escaped my memory due to sickness.
My article is titled Cultivating Faithfulness: WMU in the Philippines.
If you'd like a copy, it is the April 2014 edition.
Go here to order.

After arriving home from the hospital,
our beloved cat, Lucy, unexpectedly took a turn for the worse.
Oh, her health had been steadily declining,
but the timing seemed so horrid.
I was sick several days prior to surgery,
and I could tell she wasn't feeling well either.
Her eyes squinted. She was probably in pain.
She followed me everywhere, and she always wanted in my lap.
It got to the point if I went to another room,
I'd carry her with me.
She would just follow anyway.
I knew her strength was diminishing.
I was too weak to go to the vet with my family to have her put to sleep;
and I couldn't even walk out for her funeral that day.
My heart was broken.
I did not expect to love her so much.
But she had really grown on me.
I feel her brother, Aslan, is lost without her for the time being.
But I am so thankful to God for our precious eight years with her.

Lucy is the calico. Her brother, Aslan, is the orange tabby.

My baby girl also turned 14 after I came home from the hospital.
This was not unexpected,
but I had expected to plan a party for her.
I had to release my expectations
and allow my other daughter and my husband to take over all birthday preparations!
 That was not easy.
But I had no choice.
And she was a darling.

I spoke at a ladies' retreat this last weekend on surviving hardships.
After surgery, I didn't do much of anything or go hardly anywhere until the retreat ...
except for doctor appointments.
I knew I had to save my energy and be well.
God showed up as expected, but the degree of His love is always a little unexpected.
And then you smile and remember His faithfulness.

My mother and my oldest daughter went with me to help me out.
My daughter unexpectedly won the grand door prize of ...
a night for two at the hotel I spoke at!
She says she is taking me with her ...
a night out for mom and daughter
when I am better.

I could never have made it through this time without God's love,
my beloved family, and the body of Christ.
You never expect to have to depend on people this much,
but what a blessing when they come through in such an amazing way.
And I'm so grateful.
Anything unexpected in your life?