His Princess

Were you one of many who stayed up late or got up early to watch the royal wedding between William and Kate?

I did neither, but I’ll admit that I watched television clips on morning TV shows leading up to the wedding, as well as broadcasts following the event.

Like many women, I waited to see the dress. And Kate didn’t let me down. It was stunning! She was stunning! 

I was glued to the TV when Charles and Diana married. She looked nervous and shy walking down the aisle. It’s nice to see how loving and comfortable William and Kate’s relationship seems to be—and how much more at ease with her new role Kate appears.

Why are we so interested in people of royality? Why do we want to know what they wear, what they eat, or who is invited to their weddings?

What little girl has never wanted to be a princess? I grew up reading about Cinderella, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Snow White, and Repunzal—to name a few! Now little girls also want to be Belle, Jasmine, and Ariel. Older girls may hope to become the homecoming or prom queen. There’s just something about a diamond tiara and a flowing gown that makes a female feel special.

Not all—but many of us—have dreamed at one time or another of our own Prince Charming. We want romance. Whether we admit it or not, many of us desire to be loved and protected by a strong, dashing man. And who wouldn’t give up cleaning toilets to live in a castle?

We may not live in a palace. Or wear a jeweled crown. But we're still part of a royal family, and our King rules over a kingdom that can't be compared to any other. 

With God as my Father, I am a princess. His princess. And with God as YOUR Father, you are too…unless you’re a prince, of course.  

Excuse me while I go look for my tiara.


Sun Breaks

Sun breaks are one of life’s simplest joys. They can almost make you feel like you’ve found a forgotten twenty-dollar bill in your coat pocket—on a day when you’re really craving a double Caramel Macchiato, but you’ve already spent your latte budget for the week.
I’m blessed to have a home office with four large windows, so I’ve been especially enjoying sun breaks these past few weeks while our Seattle weather has been crazy! We’ve experienced: dark and gloomy overcast skies, hail, rain, wind, snow, and sunshine. Sometimes all of them more than once in the same day!
When the sun makes an appearance, it can bring with it renewed energy and a changed attitude. It has the ability to brighten a person’s spirits and outlook on almost anything.
The weather, in so many ways, reflects life. The other night I drove twenty minutes to our church for a service and a worship team rehearsal. When I left home the sun was shining. By the time I arrived at the church, pea-sized hail pelted and covered the ground. Later, I drove home in snow so blinding that without the reflective yellow bumps in the middle of the road, I would have had a difficult time driving knowing where the road curved. Shortly before arriving home, the snow stopped. The next morning, I awoke to blue skies and sunshine.
There may be times when we feel like we’re getting pelted—beat up—with not hail, but the hard stuff that happens in life. We experience job loss, financial instability, health problems, and maybe even the death of a loved one.
There may also be times—just like driving in that snow storm—when we struggle finding our way and need a little help or guidance.
And then we experience a sun break.
Maybe a career opportunity is presented, a new medicine is affective, or we just feel better when friends offer their love and support.
Today—the day I’m posting this article—is Good Friday. The day Christians remember the sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the cross. The skies reflected what was happening in the world that night….

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:44-46 NIV)

My favorite worship service is held on Good Friday. I like it even better if it falls on a dark and stormy evening because it helps me go there—at the foot of the cross. It’s a time when I think, more than any other, about what Christ suffered on my behalf.
But we’re never left in the dark for long, because on Easter morning, we experience a wonderful sun break. And we’re reminded that “He has risen!” (Luke 24:6 NIV).
Christ has risen. He has risen indeed.
Have a blessed Easter … and a fabulous week.

Brothers and Sisters

Siblings.  I have two. A brother, two and a half years younger, and a sister, nine years younger. Yes, I’m the first born. Don’t get me started on how we firstborns take a hit for the team before the younger ones even take their first breath. We break our parents in by providing opportunities for them to develop their parenting skills. And while our siblings seem to get away with everything, we’re expected to be cooperative and responsible.
Even though we grew up in the same house, my brother, sister, and I are very different. It’s not that we don’t get along—we do. But, we have dissimilar interests, goals, and temperaments. I’ve sometimes wondered how three children with the same parents could grow up to be so diverse in how we think and approach various situations.
I recently watched the movie, Conviction, starring Hilary Swank. It made me think a lot about sibling relationships. Conviction is based on a true story about Betty Anne Waters (Swank), a high school dropout who spent twelve years putting herself through law school while she worked as a single mother, raising two sons. Betty Anne’s brother was wrongfully convicted of murder and his chances to appeal his conviction through public defenders became exhausted. 

Betty Anne didn’t necessarily want to practice law because she had a dream to defend or prosecute criminals. She just loved and believed in her brother so much, she was willing to do whatever it took to free him. As soon as she passed the bar and could practice law, she went to work on her brother’s behalf. Challenging the conviction with DNA evidence, with the help of the Innocence Project, she proved her brother's innocence, and he walked out a free man after 18 years in prison.

I’ve asked myself, “Could I do that? Could I completely devote myself to such a cause?”
I’ve wondered what contributes to siblings having that kind of commitment to each other. It’s certainly not the case in every family. I’m sure we’ve all seen examples of sibling rivalry so extreme—or blowups so big—that brothers and sisters go years without seeing or talking to each other.
Betty Anne and Kenneth grew up in an unstable home. They probably felt they only had each other. They depended on each other for love, companionship, and survival.
I’ve read that sibling relationships result from complex factors that include gender, temperament, age spacing, and birth order. They’re also influenced by parenting behaviors, marital quality, and family conflict.
Two of my favorite TV shows revolve around brother-sister relationships. Parenthood can be seen on Tuesday nights on NBC, and Brothers and Sisters is aired Sundays nights on ABC. I think what I love so much about both shows is that although the characters are flawed—they all screw up—they eventually forgive each other. And even when they’re angry—they still show up when their brothers and sisters need them. Because they’re family. Because no matter what happens, they still love each other.
We may not always agree with our siblings. We may not even always like them. But the fact remains … we’re still family. And for those of us who may not have a brother or sister, we can sometimes find friends who make us feel like we do.

“I don't believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers.  It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage.  Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.”  ~Maya Angelou
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24 NIV)

Whether we’re bonded to our brothers and sisters through blood or through our hearts, they’re an important part of our lives.

“A brother shares childhood memories and grown-up dreams.”  ~Author Unknown
“Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk.”  ~Susan Scarf Merrell

Have a great week … and say a prayer of thanks for the “brothers” and “sisters” in your life.

Impatient to be Patient

Are you a patient person? Do you care whether you are or not? Or are you someone who is impatient to be patient?

Most of the time I can go with the flow. I patiently wait in lines, I listen to people for however long they need to talk, and I’ll wait for days to receive a response to questions or tasks that need to be accomplished. But even I have times when my patience is tried.

I don’t know what traffic is like where you live, but the Seattle area is known for being inhabited by scary drivers. I understand that people have places to go and people to see, but do they have to almost run me off the road in the process?

I try to be aware of other drivers, and I’m courteous in letting people move into my lane. Unfortunately, too often, other people behind the wheel weren’t brought up to be polite and take their turn. They shoot in and around other vehicles at the slightest whim, seemingly unconcerned that they’re putting lives in jeopardy. I become a little less patient in those situations.

Walking into a grocery store is like venturing into a war zone. I try to be observant and sensitive to those around me. I move my cart to the side, and step out of the way as soon as another shopper approaches. People wander, oblivious to anyone else around them. They step in front of me or block aisles with their carts and bodies. They’d rather go through me than around me. No matter what object draws my interest, they’ve got to converge to look at the same thing—at the same time. While standing in the checkout lane, some even try to nudge me along faster by brushing up against me as I make my payment. “Stay back, people! You’re invading my personal space!”

We’ve become so used to our modern conveniences, that we expect things to move at rapid speed. We’re not content with anything taking even a small amount of time.

We become irritated when the microwave takes two minutes to cook food instead of thirty seconds.

Our feet tap the floor while waiting for our e-mail to come up on the computer. Remember dial-up? It would take FOREVER to get online, and then we’d suddenly be kicked off.

My husband and I love having a DVR. We tape almost everything we watch so we can zip through the commercials. When we do watch something televised as scheduled, we become impatient with having to sit through the commercials. I’ve even found myself picking up the remote out of habit, thinking that I could skip through the commercials, and then realizing it wasn’t possible.

Let’s not even talk about computerized answering systems for companies that force you to go through either pushing ongoing numbers or vocally repeating yourself until you actually get connected with a live person!

We become impatient while attempting to lose weight. Why can’t we just lose it as fast as we’d like?

Prayers for God to do great things in our lives are expected to be answered overnight. After all, isn’t he God? Shouldn’t the desires of my heart show up on the doorstep the next morning?

Yes … there are times when our patience can indeed be tried. We’re human.

But there's great value in being patient.

In backing off and being patient while driving, a life may be saved.

By setting frustration aside and being more tolerant and patient with shoppers, we’re showing respect and humbling ourselves—even if they’re not aware of it. That person who may be oblivious to the fact that we were just about to grab that same can of olives may have had the day from hell. They may have more things on their mind than staying out of our way.

Being patient with our spouses, children, friends, and co-workers is another way to demonstrate not only God’s love, but a maturity in our faith. “A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11 NIV).

God desires us to be patient in all things and with all people. “And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

It’s not always easy to be patient … but think of how often God is patient with us …


Book Review - Whisper on the Wind by Maureen Lang

Whisper on the Wind is a historical romance set in Brussels, Belgium, at the height of WWI. It’s 1916, and Isa Lassone, a Belgian-American socialite taken out of the country by her wealthy parents as the war began, sneaks back into the country.

The young woman is there for one purpose—to rescue the man she loves and his family. Edward was a childhood friend, and his mother, Genny, always paid more attention to Isa than her own mother ever had. But since Edward refuses to leave, so does his mother and younger brother. Edward shows no sign of returning Isa’s romantic feelings, but she’s also determined to stay.

Isa works with an American official to gain access to her home, now occupied by German soldiers. The soldiers are forced to leave, with the exception of a major, injured and recuperating. Genny and her youngest son also move into the house. Edward (having survived a German work camp and presumed dead) must live elsewhere, taking on a variety of aliases. In his pursuit to liberate Belgium, he’s involved in an extensive secret network that prints and distributes the underground newspaper La Libre Belgique.

Wanting to help Edward’s cause and her beloved country, Isa becomes involved in the distribution of the underground paper, putting herself in danger—especially with a German officer living under the same roof.

Whisper on the Wind is the first novel I’ve read that’s used a World War I setting. In the past, I’ve been drawn to books set during World War II. Since this was a new time period for me, and since I’m not a history buff, I didn’t mind that a lot of historical facts weren’t woven into the story.

In the beginning of the story, Isa is likeable enough, but she’s also na├»ve, immature, and seems to be oblivious to real danger. Given that she’s very young and lovesick for Edward, it does make sense that she’d take some risks without being concerned for her safety. However, as the story progresses, Isa begins to display great strength and courage.

The German major’s presence in the house adds tension to the story, but his growing friendship with the inhabitants is also a testimony to the fact that people are people—no matter what side they’re on. They can love … and they can experience pain. This story also reminds that God loves us, no matter who we are.

This isn’t just a sweet romance. There are lives at stake, and the story includes suspenseful moments. It is a story about courage, friendship, sacrificial love, hope, faith … and forgiveness.

I thoroughly enjoyed Whisper in the Wind, and if you enjoy Christian historical romance … I think you will too.

Maureen Lang is the winner of several writing awards, including the romance Writers of America Golden Heart award and the American Christian Fiction Writers Noble Theme award. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and three children. To find out more about Maureen, visit her website at http://www.maureenlang.com/

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