Monday, October 29, 2007

What Would Jesus Do on Halloween?

It's time to talk about writing.

I'm excited that my Halloween article just came out in LIVE magazine. For those of you who are interested in writing, I'm including my query letter. Queries should be short (editors are busy) and should convince the editor that your piece is worth reading!

Dear Editor:

The article,
What Would Jesus Do on Halloween, will put a smile on the face of anyone who has ever wondered what to do on Halloween.

Summary: This true story begins when the door bell rings on Halloween night. My young sons and I dive onto the living room floor and pretend we are not home. But Jesus had a different plan for us. When we discovered it, Halloween became an unforgettable adventure.

Need for article: There are not many articles written for Christians about Halloween. Christians need encouragement and guidance. They are curious about what other families do on Halloween. This is a story that will inspire your readers and make them feel good about whatever they do!

Thank you for considering this piece,



Ding Dong!

“Trick or Treat!” called a choir of high squeaky voices.

“Quick! Hit the floor!" I commanded as I scrambled to turn down the T.V. "Let’s pretend we’re not home.” My two young sons and I lay as still as possums until the voices on our front porch drifted away.

“Can we move now?" asked Cody.

"I'm hungry," said Dylan.

“Yes, but I hope no one sees us through the curtains,” I said, glancing at the white lacy fabric.

Cody crawled underneath the window toward the kitchen. As I watched his younger brother scoot along after him, I thought, What am I teaching my kids? I knew that something wasn't quite right. This couldn't be the best way to spend Halloween night.

Recently I had read an article on Halloween’s history, causing me to feel uncertain about its shadowy past. Our Halloween traditions are partially connected to an ancient pagan festival commemorating the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. Pagan customs included rituals and practices centering on death and the afterlife. Should Christians be celebrating a holiday preoccupied with themes of darkness and death? I decided the safest thing to do was to ignore the holiday altogether. So I rented a movie for the boys, drew the curtains and turned the porch light off.

But now, in the darkness of the living room, a thought came to me. “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14, NIV) In the same passage Jesus explains we shouldn’t put our lights under a bowl, but instead place them on a stand so everyone can benefit.

Were the children and I hiding our lights? As I pondered the question, I wondered what Jesus would do on this night. He certainly wouldn’t be sprawled on the living room floor, ignoring the children standing outside in the dark. Instead, he’d have his porch light on. I could easily imagine him standing outside on the steps smiling and talking with the young costumed visitors and their parents.

Before the next Halloween approached, I called a meeting with the boys. Showing them the verse in Matthew, I explained how Jesus was counting on us to shine our lights in this dark world.

“Last year we covered up our lights,” I said. “We need to come up with a new plan.”

“Like what?” asked Cody.

“I don’t know—what do you think Jesus would do on Halloween?”

When I shared with the boys how I had imagined Jesus on his front porch talking with visitors, they looked at me warily. Striking up conversations with the night’s masked wanderers was not something they felt comfortable about. We talked about other activities Jesus might do on Halloween night.

“He might go to a harvest festival,” I began.

“—or a party,” added Cody.
“He might make hot chocolate,” said Dylan.

“Good thought,” I smiled. I could picture Jesus in his front yard serving hot chocolate to weary Halloween travelers.

We came to the conclusion that wherever Jesus was, whether attending a party or walking the streets, he would be shining his light and loving lost people. Eventually we came up with an idea that fit our family. We would compose a letter to give to our visitors and include some great candy. This is what we wrote:

It's dark out there! But you don't have to feel afraid. There is a light that will always shine for you. It's the light of Jesus. Jesus says, "I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life." It's easy to follow him. Just talk to Jesus like you'd talk to a friend. He'll hear you! And he will help you in your life. He will love you and forgive you for any wrong things you have done. He'll be your best friend!

A few days before Halloween, we busily prepared our letters. As we worked together I found myself actually looking forward to the upcoming evening. My boys were excited too! We rolled up the letters, tied them with ribbon and put them in a basket with the biggest candy bars we could afford. Cody carved a “Jesus loves you” pumpkin for our front steps. On Halloween night we hovered near the front door.

“I hope someone comes!” Dylan peeked out the front door.

Cody squeezed out the door with a flashlight. “I’ll be hiding in the bushes. If someone is coming, I'll signal you! "

Dylan ran across the living room and stood by the front window.

To see my boys enjoying their first experience of sharing Christ warmed my heart.
Moments later, the flashlight blinked behind the bush.

“Someone’s coming! Someone’s coming!” called Dylan.

Suddenly I realized I had forgotten to do something important. I reached over and turned the porch light on.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Cookies in My Kitchen

I thought I'd bake cookies today (Sunday) to give the men in my life some cheer. Yes, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, they say.

My cookies came out too soft--like cake. I have just found this fascinating article on how to make chocolate chip cookies come out EXACTLY how you want them to. Check it out.

I'm happy far...the cookies are perking everyone one up. Better moods already!

As I am baking, I look through the kitchen window and see my neighbor's home next door. Jean passed away about a month ago, at the age of 85. Her 2 daughters are sifting through their mother's things, and boxing up belongings. It seemed like it would be a good thing to bring them cookies. As I stepped over there, another neighbor man, Felix, stepped out of the garage. He is over to lend a helping hand. Now they are all eating cookies.

Back to the kitchen. I still have a big bowl of dough to bake.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sitting here thinking...

When I held my first baby in my arms, I never dreamed how hard parenting him would be. I never imagined the pain he would put us through. I never dreamed how deeply I would love him.


Two-steps forward, then two steps backwards.

I'm learning that I'm not alone. There are many hurting parents. God's desk must be inundated with requests for wayward children. Oh God...hurry and help us all.

The bottom line is: my son needs to turn his life over to his maker. Only then, will he make progress.

I pray daily for this.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


The area where we live is safe. But today our blue sky slowly began to turn colors. In the morning we saw grey and orange streaks in the distance toward the fire areas. Our local mountains are not on fire. But their purple peaks gradually disappeared into a smoky haze and they became dark grew shadows. It was almost 100 degrees in our area today.

The school where I work canceled P.E classes so the children would not inhale the bad air.

Four hundred homes are destroyed in the Lake Arrowhead area, where we like to ride our motorcycles. The last couple of riding posts are in that area.

I continue to pray for the fire fighters and for the people who have lost their homes. I'm sad that our forests are burning up. Each year California's wild fires are increasing. People blame it on global warming. I'm not sure what the answer is, but we haven't had much rain the last few years, so everything is incredibly dry.

Some of our larger pine trees can withstand forest fires, but they cannot survive these flames.

In a way, this pulls everyone together, and people become more sensitive to one another's needs. I don't like these fires, but in some ways...difficult circumstances bring out the best in people.

(The Dead Sea Scroll post is below.)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dead Sea Scrolls Day

There are 12 to 15 fires burning in Southern California. But fortunately the area where we live is fine. Keep the firefighters and people in threatened areas in your prayers.

It was 80 degrees with clear blue skies in San Diego on Saturday, the day Carole and I went to see the Dead Sea Scrolls. After seeing the scrolls, we left the area Saturday afternoon and traveled north toward home. Apparently some fires broke out the next day affecting some of the areas we drove through.

So how were the Dead Sea Scrolls? Amazing!

There were no parking places left at the San Diego Museum of Natural History at 10:15 a.m. I had to park waaaaaay down the street. Do you see the plane in the picture?

After passing through an outdoor security check point, we were able to enter the museum. Notice the black "Dead Sea Scrolls" sign on the left.

The first room held large breathtaking photographs of Israel. portraying beautiful shorelines, rugged deserts, miles of fertile fields, canyons, and wheat colored hills strewn with oak fact it looked a lot like Southern California. And it looked BIG. I always think of Israel as tiny, but not anymore. I mean...even the Dead Sea (which looks like a drop of water on the map) was gigantic!

This picture (above) was intriguing.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were in a cool dimly lit room. They were under glass. Actually framed in small glass frames (that they traveled in). These small frames were placed into large 4 feet by 4 feet glass tables--one table for each scroll. But the display only consisted of fragments. There were no complete scrolls. I suppose it would be hard to display, for instance, the entire scroll of Isaiah. It would take several rooms to do that!

Here is a list of some of the scrolls we saw. I am using the old dating method because its easier to understand. But the exhibit used the designations BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era)

Paleo-Leviticus (comprised of the last six chapters of Leviticus) 1—50 A.D.
Deuteronomy (3:14-28 and 5:1—6:1 and part of chapter 8) 125—75 B.C.
Isaiah (5:15-28) 75—1 B.C.
2 Samuel (various parts) 50—1 B.C.
Zephaniah 3:9—Haggai 1:2--They believe this scroll fragment is part of a complete scroll of the twelve minor prophets. 150—125 B.C.
Genesis (7:10—8:13) 50—1 B.C. Includes excerpts from the flood.

Psalms had the biggest most readable fragments. When I stepped over to see it, I was surprised that my eyes misted over. Psalms has meant so much to so many 'pilgrims'. A sign on the wall notated that the book of Psalms has been passed down with incredible accuracy. As I looked at the first century A.D. Hebrew writing, I thanked God for his gift of the discovery of these scrolls. He knew these would be an encouragement to us—knowing that our old testament scriptures are the same today as they were 2000 years ago.

The scrolls were much smaller than I had imagined. They were only about 7 or 8 inches from top to bottom. The writing was very small. One of the visitors looking over my shoulder mentioned that animal skin can shrink over the years. All of the scrolls were parchment (animal skin) except for one papyrus scroll, a linen scroll, and a copper scroll (letters etched into copper). This is the first time the copper scroll had ever been displayed. The Copper scroll is non-Biblical and cites some 64 locations where over 100 tons of gold, silver, scrolls and priestly items were supposedly hidden. (25—75 A.D.)

We weren't allowed to take pictures. In order to keep the scrolls from deteriorating, the scrolls can only be exhibited for 3 months. They just removed the scrolls that were exhibited during the summer, and put in different ones for the months of October, November, December. The room must be cool and the light must be dim. The animal skin has yellowed and darkened, making it hard to see the black writing. But the text is still clearly legible.

It was hard to leave. I just wanted to stand in their presence a little longer. But Carole was freezing cold, and I was tired. I didn't mention that they let TOO MANY people into the exhibit at one time and it took a lot of patience to wade your way up to a glass table to see a scroll. Before we left I quickly turned and threaded my way back to the Psalms scroll, squeezed through some people and stared at it one more time, etching the moment into my memory.

Then Carole and I stepped out into the warm sunshine. We snagged a security guard to take our photo.
There's Carole (left) and myself (right) happily thawing out.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sharon Lynne News

The Home Front

My youngest, recently bought a game system with his own money. He won't let the oldest play unless the oldest treats him with respect. They've been squabbling all week. It's interesting to watch. I've never seen the older one submit to the younger one. (and I'm seeing it.)

We are purchasing some property in another state, and it hasn't been easy. We are closing this week or next...emails, notaries, lenders, interest rates, escrow, insurance, taxes, etc., etc. has been keeping our minds busy.

I'm still reading the Bible to my family at dinner.


I wave to my neighbor Ben when I see him. He is gone a lot. This is good—as I think he must have a regular job.

Yesterday, very early in the morning I crossed paths with another neighbor. He doesn't speak English very well. I said, "Have a nice day." He smiled wide. The next morning as I was climbing into my car I heard his voice coming over the wall, "Have a nice day."

A couple of days ago I went to a store to buy a belt. Outside an old homeless woman was eating out of trash can. How can I buy a belt when someone else can't even buy food? I bought her a meal...and told her God cared about her. This is not something I normally do...but God is showing me what he would do. (and I did buy the belt)

My Job

Working with children is always rewarding!

My Writing

Can't seem to get myself motivated to re-write 2 articles that I need to send out. Daily life is too strenuous on my brain at the moment.


I'm going to see the Dead Sea Scrolls on Saturday! I'm picking up a girlfriend and drivng to San Diego. I'll bring my camera and tell you all about it! Here is a link to an article I wrote: Dead Sea Scrolls

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Still Hanging On

My vegetable garden looks a little haggard, but it's still hanging on.

I have yellow peppers.

And various types of red peppers.
These are too I just let them decorate the bush.

These are good!

Tomatoes are still dangling.

Oh! What's this!
An article sitting in the pumpkin plant.

It's a peek at my article "What Would Jesus Do on Halloween?" that will be coming out on October 28th, 2007 in a magazine called LIVE.

I will post the article soon—after October 28th!

Hope you are all doing well out there...still enjoying the change of season and living ONE DAY AT A TIME! (I've found that makes things easier.)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Best Kind of Food

My husband is composing music tonight. Later he will come in and watch some tv to relax.

My youngest son is watching tv already, and my oldest son is on the computer.

I'm reading blogs and then I'm going to browse through some children's books.

I'm thinking...I should be reading God's Word. For some reason it always gets put off.

Why do I put off the most important thing I could be doing?

And what about my children? Every day they are bombarded by the world's voice...and the world's opinions through tv, computer, I.pods, and etc. Do they hear God's voice?

What to do?

So I took a small step. I put an open Bible on the kitchen table.

A few things happened. Just small things. When I'm home for lunch, I find myself reading a few verses. Then, at dinner, after a prayer of thanks for the food, I read a few verses to the family.

I tell the family it's their spiritual food.

We haven't had any earth shattering conversations or conversions, and often the verses get derailed by interruptions. "Hey! He just took the biggest piece of cheese bread!" But I'm hoping seeds are being planted.

Sometimes I read just one proverb. Or three verses in Matthew.

And on some nights, it just doesn't work. Like tonight, my husband was unusually talkative about his day. I thought it best to let him talk. The Bible doesn't have to be forced. It will still be here tomorrow.

Now the Word of God is powerful...sharper than a two-edged sword. So I won't doubt.
I'll try not to be discouraged when the interruptions hit. The Word of God will do its work. It will seep into their lives.

...just as the media has.

But now, they have a sword to fight with. And a way to measure the opinions of the world. A contrast.

I pray they will begin to read God's Word on their own.

Psalm 119: 165 "Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble."

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Anniversary Ride

On September 29th, 2007, the day of our 28th wedding anniversary, my husband asked, "How 'bout going riding tomorrow...just the two of us."

I needed a change of scenery and being alone with my husband sounded like a fun thing. So we left the boys at home and went out.

Well...this was a pretty long steep hill. The picture doesn't reflect the slant of it. I kept thinking..."I'm almost at the top! I'm almost at the top!" But the top never came.

You can see the trail winding up in the background. I was climbing and climbing, and trying to avoid slipping into periodic long deep ruts here and there in the road. Suddenly I didn't make one of the turns and my bike rolled over a log and fell. Since this ground was tilted, and my bike weighs 225 pounds--my husband was not thrilled. Fortunately another guy came up the hill and helped him pull the bike out. I hiked up the rest of the hill on foot.

At the top we sat down on a log and rested. It was hot--about 88 degrees. (Hot for climbing hills in that outfit!)

Sometimes I wonder if I'm crazy.

But I do love the outdoors. Yet I think I would rather meander along a nice dirt road through beautiful countryside. But when you ride with a man, the chances are...that you won't meander. Try..just try...going riding with a man and NOT climbing a hill...bouncing over rocks...zooming around burms and spinning doughnuts.

Actually we had a pretty good time all in all. We rode 50 miles through the mountains! No more crashes the rest of the day (Oh...He did take me out to a nice dinner the night before!)