Salve for Souls

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


The Jewel of Discovery
Opening devotion in "Where Your Heart Meets God's available from Helping Hands Press"

 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21, NKJV).

 Treasure hunters hack through jungles, climb mountains and dive into oceans to uncover vast fortunes. Priceless works of art and valuable antiques have been discovered at yard sales, thrift stores and in dusty attics. But sometimes, treasure is found where we least expect, even when we are not looking for it.

I never imagined this could happen to me, especially on that ordinary winter afternoon in the foothills of Maryland's mountains, where our cozy home was tucked away. Like thousands of days before, I'd just prepared supper for our family of five, then sat at the kitchen table while I waited for my husband to return from work. Taking a moment to watch peaceful snow falling outside our picture window, I breathed-in the aroma of food simmering on the stove and listened to my children playing in another room.

Soon, I caught a welcome glimpse of Dan's car pulling into the driveway. Our front door opened and closed. After Dan stomped the snow from his shoes, his footsteps approached.

Entering the kitchen, he brushed my cheek with a kiss on which snowflakes lingered. He placed an old, clothbound book on the table.

"I stopped at a rummage sale and picked this up," he said. "It's the great Christian classic, Pilgrim's Progress written by John Bunyan, a preacher in 17th century England. The book is an allegory, which follows the central character, Christian's, journey through this life to the next. I thought you might want to read it."

Ever the bargain lover, Dan stood tall and smiled. "I bought this copy for only ten-cents."

After Dan went to greet the children, I opened the book and flipped through its yellowed pages. They gave off a musty smell, as if this classic work had been stored in an attic and forgotten for decades. Back then, I never imagined that I had just opened a door to an everlasting treasure of the heart. Nor could I have imagined that God has such a treasure prepared for me, or that every person has the same, if we will but believe.

This can be compared to a treasure chest overflowing with gold coins, rubies, diamonds, emeralds and so much more. The hinges squeal as we crack open the lid and peek inside.

Custom-made to each heart and individual calling, the jewels offer glimpses of realities that this world's trials and even the grave can never take away. The following pages offer steps in a thrilling journey that spans eternity. Will you come along to discover the wonders God has for you?

It all begins with a prayer, "Lord, open my eyes."
Let us extend our hearts and reach for the first jewel.

PEARL TO PONDER: What does "a treasure of the heart" mean to you?

LOVE NUGGET: God gives treasures to those He treasures. "You will be my treasured possession."[i]

[i] Exodus 19:5, NIV
Where Your Heart Meets God's, the book:
Love's Sweetest Revenge: How could a dangerous encounter with a bear, possibly lead to an encounter with romance? It all unfolds in "Love's Sweetest Revenge."

Friday, December 18, 2015


Liz did everything wrong when she encountered a black bear with cubs in the woods behind her New York State home. After making eye contact, which the bear may have perceived as a challenge or threat, she ran in blind panic. The bear gave chase.
Although this scenario is fictional, opening my romance novel, "Love's Sweetest Revenge," many have had a "real life" encounter with a bear.  Some did not escape.
Liz should have known better than to run. The thirty-something's ex-husband was a hiker and fisherman. He had warned her.
Bears have a keen sense of smell. If you see one, don't try to run away. Back away slowly. Yell at the bear. Firmly tell it to leave. Get out of here! Especially beware of a mother bear with cubs.
As Liz ran, she heard the bear closing in—snapping branches, crunching on the forest floor.
Suddenly, she tripped over an exposed root, falling and striking her head against an old, stone wall. Immediately the bear was over her.

If only she'd heeded her ex-husband's advice. It echoed instruction given by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.


Raise your arms and speak in a loud, calm voice while backing away.
Stand your ground
If you have bear spray, dispense directly at the bear. Please access the Department of Environmental Conservation website to learn about the proper use of bear spray.
Stay together.
Do not run, but continue to back away while speaking loudly.
Stand your ground.
Intimidate by making yourself look bigger by waving arms, clapping, shouting, banging sticks.
Prepare to fight or use bear spray.
Fight back with anything at hand (knife, stick, rocks, fists).
To find out more, visit:
But what happened to Liz? It is all revealed in "Love's Sweetest Revenge," book 1 in the "Castle in the Sun series," available from Helping Hands Press.
Liz's adventures continue in "Love and Obsession," book 2 in the "Castle in the Sun" series.
Might that dream you had mean something? Flora's devotional, "Where Your Heart Meets God's" explores the many expressions of God's voice.
Devotional also available in sample kindle edition, just 99 cents: