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The Cereal Brigade

Bus routes are soul winning gold mines. 
All you need are names, addresses and some bags of cereal. A gallon of milk helps, too. 
I call this ministry "The Cereal Brigade," which basically means that a team goes out with cereal, milk and the Gospel. If you're like me, you may not be comfortable knocking on the door of a stranger's home, but we're not exactly strangers when that door is on the bus route from our church. Someone from our bus ministry picks up the children from this home every week. That makes us welcomed neighbors!
After getting our assigned names from Bus Captain Austen, soul winning partner Micki and I stopped by the grocery store on our way to visit two families. Coupon in hand, we purchased six bags of cereal and two gallons of milk (It's an even better idea to backstock cereals when they're on sale, if you can). Armed with prayer, Bibles and food, we headed out to visit two Moms from Bus Route Seven, knowing that at the very least, our g…

Give the Benefit of the Doubt

Do you know what it means to give the benefit of the doubt? A dictionary definition puts it like this: "Regard someone as innocent until proven otherwise; to lean toward a favorable view of someone." (dictionary.com) In other words, it means that we won't jump to conclusions. We'll wait to consider the whole matter before making hasty judgments. "He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him." (Proverbs 18:13)

Having a reputation for being a type of "Quick Draw McGraw" in handling matters is not a badge of honor; it's a mark of a lack temperance.

My Mom and I were almost the victims of road rage earlier this year, and it was all because a man jumped to conclusions rather than giving us the benefit of the doubt.

We were headed home from our Tuesday outing when I merged into the right lane not far from Mom's townhome complex. A man in a pickup truck was behind us, merging at the same time. He honked his ho…

Don't Say It

We were on our way home from Mom's annual vacation. Mom was in a wheelchair being pushed by a Sky Cap, Norman was hauling the luggage cart, and I was wheeling my tote. Our flight got in later than scheduled, and the airlines lost a piece of luggage as a bonus. Walking the long corridors felt like we were slogging through mud, and as they say down south, we were "TARRED" (tired). The parking ramp signs overhead gave us two options: Green Ramp or Gold Ramp. 
"Which ramp are you in?" asked the Sky Cap.

Huge pause. Huge scary pause.

Norman looked at the signs and said, "Ah, I think it's green. I'm not sure..." 
My travel-worn mind screamed: "Noooooo!Not a lost car in the ramp!Noooooo!" At least these words were still locked inside my head and hadn't yet escaped the lipgates! I was ready to pounce on his statement with a blazing question: "You don't know where you parked the car?" I opened my mouth, but before I could …

Where's the Blogger?

"Francie, you need to blog more often," a woman said to me at a recent ladies' conference.

"I can't."

"Why not?" she asked.

"Because I'm here..."

...And there, and everywhere lately! My conference calendar was overweight this year, and while we've tried to slim it down for 2014, it hasn't been an entirely successful attempt. The 2014 calendar is trimmer, but still a bit over the ideal range.

So, blogging has become a luxury, but the blog will continue with monthly posts. The EMagazine has gobbled up the blogging time, coupled with flying from coast to coast. Here's the scary-busy itinerary for 2013 so far:

February: Connecticut and California
March: Michigan ("Only one?" Ha. Don't get me started...)
April: California, Alabama, North Carolina, and Tennessee (and by now, airport security was complimenting my outfits as I went through the check point each week)
May: California and Mexico
June: Michigan ("…

There Is a Lot of Pain Out There

Pain. 
Can't live with it, can't live without it.
We have heard from a lot of people in pain since we've launched Keep the Heart, and while we wish that we could help, it is virtually impossible for our tiny staff to respond to every note or phone message that we receive. What can you do when the pain is so great that it feels like you're being crushed under the weight of it?
1. Pray for specific direction."Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee." (Psa. 143:8) There is no human who can match the guidance of the Lord. The Lord knows what you need, but still expects you to pray. When the blind man was following Jesus and crying, "Have mercy on me," Jesus asked him, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" It was then that the blind man responded, "Lord, that I may receive my sight." (Luke 18:38-43) Don't just …

The Manicure

I was on my way home from teaching at the Conferencia de Damas (Spanish ladies' conference in Mexico), and it didn’t bother me a bit to be extremely early to the airport. I have only missed one international flight in all my years of flying, and once was enough to convince me that “too early” is always better than too close!

Since I had some extra time, I went searching for a place to get a manicure. I don't get manicures often, but I was in the mood to have my ragged-looking hands repaired. After asking around, I was pointed in the direction of a place that said “massage” in Spanish. All the technicians were busy giving massages, and I was told that they could get to me in about 30-40 minutes. I had plenty of time, but I didn’t want to spend it waiting for one of their massage therapists doubling as manicurists. I thanked the receptionist and headed for the Sky Club, planning to spend the rest of my time writing.

It was a divine detour.

Scanning the room, I saw a salon. "…

The Language of Husband

I like feedback on new outfits, so whenever I buy one, I put it on and model it for my Norman H. The conversation goes something like this:

Me: "Honey, what do you think of my new outfit?"

Norman H: "Well, it looks comfortable."

And then I return it.

I have learned over the years that "comfortable" is code for "that looks like pajamas." So I'll either go and change, or if the tags are still on the garment, I'll march it back to the store and try again.

Do you understand "husbandese"? It's a language, you know. Men often think and speak differently than women do, and we are wise if we'll learn how to speak their language, as well as being able to read the unspoken signals that are often sent. Here are a few examples:

1. "I'm not sure about that..." 
Translation: "Let me think without pressure."
If your husband utters those words, don't press. How can we follow the leader if we're running a…

Life is Supposed to be Fruity

I love fruit, and I especially love apple orchards! We have a really good one about 20 minutes from home, and I look forward to our annual trip to harvest our own apples. My favorites are the tart, crisp Haralson apples. Well, maybe that's my second-favorite. I flip for Opal apples, but we don't have those in Minnesota orchards, so Haralsons have to stand in.
Sometimes there are trees that look like they're not doing too well. The fruit is deformed, and there are bugs covering these infected-looking trees. In fact, I thought I had found one good piece of fruit on one of these bad trees, only to turn it around and find a dark, black crater with a great big spider living in it! He looked chubby. Too many fruit-covered bugs in his diet. 
We are here to glorify God with fruitful lives, but sometimes we get bugs, infections, and other assorted things to keep us from being as bountiful as we could be. Just like we're not happy with an orchard full of barren trees during har…

Just Pick Up the Socks

I have a continuous goal in life among many: The goal of being easy to live with. It's not as uncomplicated as it sounds, because being irritating comes naturally to most of us.

In fact, both people in a marriage relationship have irritating habits. Does your husband pitch his socks at the hamper, leaving them on the floor overnight? Don't even tell me. But do you routinely repeat yourself, as if your husband needs a refresher course in English?

Everybody has something that makes them, well, annoying in some small way.

The goal of being "good company" is important for any relationship, but especially the relationship between a husband and wife. Here are a few ways that we can be hard on the nerves:

1. We're tuned to the "History Channel." 
This is the place where we bring up things that he did wrong from any time in the past decade (or more)! This is an irritating habit, but we can only feel the irritation when it's being done to us. "Therefore…

Free the Love

I love the Lord. He's the best listener, hearing my prayers day after day, year after year. He loved me first, and now my life is one long thank-you note back to God. "I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live." (Psalm 116:1-2)

I love my Norman H. Taylor, and I love him freely, richly, deeply. I wasn't just mouthing the words when we said our wedding vows over 30 years ago. We've seen better, worse, richer, poorer, sickness, health, and God has sustained us through it all. We are different, but yet we are one. "And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh." (Mark 10:8) I've learned from my widow friends (including my widowed Mom) to love my Norman without reservation.


I love my children: Austen, Hillary, and Collin. They are as unique as gemstones, and they make our lives brilliantly full. We&#…

Avoid Talking Lingo

I had phone coffee with a new Christian recently, and she asked me this: "What is Psa?" (I had written down some Psalms for her to read, not realizing that Psa. meant nothing to her eyes.)

When we've been saved for years, we tend to speak in shorthand that is only understood by those who read shorthand. It's better to spell things out, and to remember when we didn't know our way around in the Bible. (Turn in the Bible to Zech-a-WHO?)

This was her next question: "Romans 10:13...Does that mean chapter 10 and verse 13?" This baby Christian wanted to share the Gospel with her dying father in plain English, and when I reviewed that verse with her, I had abbreviated the reference, forgetting that "ten-thirteen" would be foreign to her ears.

Romans ten-thirteen. I know what that means, and you (probably) know what that means, but do you remember when you didn't know? I learned a good lesson from this new Christian. She taught me to slow down and…

Don't Make Assumptions

We are hard-wired to judge people based on their appearances, but it's a faulty mechanism that we need to ask God to fix. Do you look at a person and make assumptions about them?

If a person is heavy, do you assume that they have no self-control?If a person is of a different race than you are, do you assume that they are inferior? If a person drives an older car, do you assume that they can't afford a newer one?If a person doesn't respond when you greet them, do you assume that they're stuck up?If a person lives in a small home, do you assume that they are poor?
We make assumptions based on what we see, but the flaw in this system is the lack of facts. "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits." (Prov. 16:2) What if a person is heavy because they are ill? What if that Hispanic man that you looked down on is a medical doctor who treats you at your next appointment? What if the person driving the older car is the bigges…