How to Predict Winter Weather

drawing copyright Ron LevellieThe Woolly Worm Report

Did you know there is a surefire way to predict winter weather? According to early American folklore, you can forecast the harshness of an upcoming winter by examining the brown band around a woolly worm’s middle. The thinner the brownish red band, the harsher winter will be.  

But I have my own methods.  As we go on a walk up the country lane near our home Fallat Nevins and I spot a woolly worm scooting across the pavement, I’ll note its coloration. If it’s dark brown or black, representing the bare earth, I predict a mild winter with no snow. If it’s orange—a happy, warm color—I maintain the upcoming winter will be warmer than usual. And if the woolly worm is white or tan, I report that winter will be fast and fun, with snowfall only on Christmas Eve.

Scientific? Hardly. Accurate? Rarely. But my overly biased woolly worm reports make us laugh every time. And giggles help us get through the long, freezing months better than gripes.  I imagine even the woolly worms laugh. At me. 

Jesus face accurate famous

I may not be able to predict the weather, but I’m convinced that the Apostle John predicted accurately when he told us Jesus is coming soon. I hope you and I will spend eternity together with Him, in that lovely city where every day is bright, and every woolly worm gives a sunny report.

Heart of Humor Final front cover 400 x 150The above is an excerpt from my book The Heart of Humor: Sixty Helpings of Hilarity to Nourish Your Soul, a combination of funny stories and articles on how humor helps.

Do you like Winter? If not, which is your favorite season?

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Need Emotional Healing?

A Prayer for Emotional Healing

      I had planned a post on pet peeves, but that will have to wait. This is a chapter from my book, Touchable God. I trust it’s what you need today.

                                                      When You Need Emotional Healing

          My friend is tired to her gut, Lord. She’s tired of pretending she’s okay when she wants to scream and weep and sink into the earth and never hurt again. You know how she feels, for you felt that same screaming ball of nothingness in your belly as they draped You onto two wooden beams, then nailed you fast, so You wouldn’t escape the pain. A pain not only physical; but the vilest soul pain that You were separate from Your Father’s heart and His gaze that kept You close, and His voice that wrapped You.

          The Father turned His back on You, and You bore it so we wouldn’t need to. Yet, she bears it anyway; broken and not knowing she can be whole. Or empty of hope for even a scrap of a put-together life.

Jesus the Good Shepherd

           Jesus, Shepherd who never leaves a sheep alone, hold her until the hurt leaves. Tell her she’s not a disappointment to You. Sing her songs You composed only for her and no other, so she’ll feel Your custom-made love and know You had a reason for her. Show her that reason in a thousand ways, dear Mender of Broken Lives.

sad crying broken heart

           She knows she’s broken, but she doesn’t know why, or she doesn’t want to know for fear the pain is all her fault. Set her free with the truth that the thief has stolen her joy and ripped her value away. Shine the light of Your admiration for her into the deep places she’s not aware of, so she’ll believe and not argue when You say, “I love you, daughter.”

             Grace her to release offenses she’s held tightly in her fists and locked in the oldest diaries of her memory. Cause her to walk upright, gazing into Your broad smile of forgiveness and strength. Guide her steps to sweetest life. Make her believe that she can be whole, as she rests in the crook of Your arm and listens to Your lullabies.

In Jesus’ Name, so be it.

References to Scripture: Matthew 27:46; John 10:11-17; Psalm 139; John 10:10; I John 4:18

Secrets to Stress Relief for All Seasons

In my six+ decades, I’ve learned some secrets to stress relief for every season: 

In the Spring and Summer, I grow vegetables to relieve stress. 

Digging, pulling weeds, and tugging baby carrots and onions from the soil–even the smell of tomato plants--soothes and relaxes me. 


In the autumn, I bake. Kneading dough, mixing pumpkin bread and Christmas cookies, then inhaling the warm, spicy smells that dance across the kitchen make me feel safe and cozy.

As to winter, well. . . never mind. We won’t talk about that today. 

How do YOU spell relief when you are stressed? Heres Splashing hope on you Jeanette signature

How to Talk to Your Pets

Buddies Pokey and Rocky

 If you have pets, you know how fun and enlightening a  conversation with them can be.

     My twenty-pound, orange and white cat, Rocky (shown above hugging his buddy, Pokey)clambers onto  the  love seat while I’m reading. His nose nudges my hand.  “Meowrrr?” he says.

     “What’s that, Rocky?”

     “Meowrrr?” he says again. He probably thinks I should have listened the first time, and then he wouldn’t need to repeat himself.

smiling cat

I force my gaze from the book to scratch his head. His amber eyes glisten with joy. I once read in a mini-paperback while waiting at the checkout counter that cats hear high tones better than low ones.

I want to make sure Rocky knows I care, so I raise my voice three notches.  “What’s goin’ on today?” I squeak.

“Meow,” he says, closing his eyes. Is he disgusted at my Minnie Mouse talk, or in kitty heaven?

Just to make sure, I switch to baby talk. “Tell me all about it, Rocks. I know you understand these things.”

He purrs, and arches his back. Good—it’s kitty heaven. “Meow,” he answers.

“That’s wonderful,” I chirp, “I’m so glad to hear it.” I return to my book, still petting him in an absent-minded fashion. “You are so wise. You amaze me every time we talk.

dog looking at man pixabay

Dog owners tell me that words are unnecessary—their canine pets can read moods and communicate with their eyes and body language. The owner of a pot-bellied pig used in therapy claims the little porker can help patients overcome depression. The day of my brother’s funeral, my uncle’s talking macaw gave me a huge release from my grief by making me laugh.

I might one day consider owning these other types of pets. But I’d hate to lose that unique ability to communicate with my cats in their own language.

Heart of Humor Final front cover

The above slightly-exaggerated story is an excerpt from my book, The Heart of Humor: Sixty Helpings of Hilarity to Nourish Your Soul.  

Do you have pets? How do you talk to them? 

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5 Ways to Fight Dementia and Alzheimer’s

5 Ways to Fight Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Did you know you can avoid and fight dementia and Alzheimer’s disease? The Alzheimer’s Association recommends four simple ways to circumvent these demonic maladies, and I have added one of my own:

1. Keep active physically. Exercise and physical activity that increases your heart rate maintains healthy blood flow to your brain, cheering on the growth of new brain cells.

2. Eat like a healthy person. Low-fat, low-cholesterol
diets right in antioxidants like colorful fruits and veggies, grilled fish, oatmeal, beans, yogurt, turkey, leafy greens, garlic and nuts can contribute to lowering cholesterol, which helps fight Alzheimer’s.

3. Stay socially involved. If you interact with others regularly, your stress levels may stay lower than those who are loners. Lower stress levels contribute to healthy connections among brain cells.

4. Keep doing mental chin-ups. Read a book on a topic you’ve never studied before, work harder
Sudoku or crossword puzzles than you’re accustomed to, play a challenging game such as Scrabble or Dizzios, and have a stimulating, analytical conversation with a close friend. These activities stimulate and exercise the brain and may even create new nerve cells.

5. (mine) Talk for life, not death. The writer of Proverbs says,

 “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” If you lose your car keys or forget your favorite uncle’s name, instead of saying, “Oh, I guess I’m getting Alzheimer’s,” say, “I will find those keys-Lord, please lead me to them,” and “I know I know his name; it will come to me.”

Use the power of words to your advantage, to strengthen your brain, not weaken it. Don’t buy into the popular idea that you have to go downhill mentally as you age. Think positive, eat and act positive, and speak words of faith over your brain, and you will fight dementia and Alzheimer’s and WIN!

Which one of these dementia-overcoming tips are you going to implement into your life today? 

Inner Conflict? Now What?


Several times during breakfast today, my husband Kevin checked out of our conversation and stared into an unknown region of his mind. “Are you okay?” I said. He told me he was fine, but there was simply too much going on in our lives right now. No wonder . . .

  • Our daughter’s car was in the repair shop and Kev had assumed the role of chauffeur for getting her to work and her three kids to their schools.
  • Two members of the congregation he pastors were in different hospitals with serious health challenges.
  • His turn to take my 92-year-old mom for her monthly eye injection–a major undertaking–was  coming up in a few days.

Everyone has problems. The issues above represent outward circumstances that need our attention. But what happens when the problems we wrestle are inside us? 

inner turmoil brain overwhelmed_pixabay

  • We have conflicts or communication issues with family members and friends
  • We don’t understand ourselves–we do and say things that baffle or bother us
  • We have fears, doubts, and confusion that tie our brain in knots

These are inner conflicts, not as easily solved as the outward issues. But neither are they impossible to get through. With God’s help, some time, and work, we CAN overcome all the turmoil inside us. We CAN live in victory. Here are a few places to start:

Cast your cares upon the Lord Jesus with man

  • Talk to God about what bothers you. Get alone, get quiet, and ask hard questions. WHY do I behave like this? HOW can I overcome this habit? WHAT is the root of this fear? It may take some time to hear the answers, and we may need to revisit our issues many times. That’s okay. God wants to help us more than we need help.
  • Read, read, read–in the Bible, online, and in books and magazines that address the inner conflict you’re experiencing. Discover how others found solutions to their problems. Educate yourself. Open your mind to the sweet possibility that you don’t have to live with this turmoil.
  • Create a Support System, whether a few close friend to confide in and ask for prayer help, a trained counselor, a 12-step program, or a trustworthy pastor. When we surround ourselves with others who are willing to help, we gain hope for positive change. We begin to see ourselves, rather than victims, as victors.


Have you experienced inner conflict lately? What are you doing to help God help you overcome? 

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Bad Advice on Love, Relationships, and Health

Need some adviceBad AdviceWe’ve all received it:

       “Marry the first man or lady you fall in love with. You’ll save time. And if it doesn’t work out, you can always get a divorce.”

It’s better to say what you think than to stuff your feelings, even if you hurt someone. It’s just as bad of a sin to think something than it is to say it.”

You only live once. You may as well eat whatever you like. You have to go sometime; why not go happy?”

What is the secret to sorting out the bad advice? How do you respond to tacky, even harmful suggestions by well-meaning or misguided people?

Bible.starburst.charlotte         First. pray and seek God’s will in his word, the Bible. Of course, the Scriptures aren’t going to have detail about what color car to purchase or what town to move to. But they contain God’s life, so reading them will prime your mind to think His thoughts.

         Second, ask someone who’s had more life experience than you have, especially if the matter involves a relationship or the outcome of your future. The more input we receive from godly, wise sources the more likely we are to make excellent choices.

       Third and last, read as much as you can about the topic at hand. With the plethora of information available to us at a keystroke, there’s no reason to not inform ourselves of all the knowledge we can.

Have you ever received Bad Advice on Love, Relationships, and/or Health? How did you respond? 

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