Thursday, June 20, 2024

Do You Have a Book in You? Perhaps It's Time to Give Birth.

I wanted to write a book, but I didn't have a clue how to write a book until I found you -- Montrose Christian Writer's Conference. There I learned much of what one needs to know about the writing life and publishing business.  

Four published books later, I am eager to return to the 35th Annual Montrose Christian Writer's Conference (beginning July 15 dinner and ending July 19 at 10 a.m.) and teach others from my 20+ years of continued learning and experience as an author.

I join three editors and five best-selling authors as well as numerous workshop leaders in a fabulous week of fun and learning.

From drama, poetry, novels, non-fiction, and all in between you'll learn from the classes you choose to attend as well as from the new author friends who surround you. 

 I am teaching three workshops. 

Shining God's Light on Your Writing Career

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Poor Writing

My Book is Finished. Now What?

 Reflecting on the many writer's conferences I've attended at Montrose and elsewhere, I am thankful for those who came along and helped me see the fruit of years of writing. Most of all, I am thankful for the friendships which began there and remain until this day. It's all precious and special in my heart. 

There are a few rooms left! See you there!  

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Merry Christmas 2023 From our Family to Yours



Everyone loves gifts at Christmas time. 

My grandson Isaac reminded me, 

"Grandma, Christmas isn't about presents.

 Christmas is about Jesus" [presence]. 

This Christmas, thank God for His Indescribable Gift which is 

". . . eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

Our hearts are filled with smiles and babies this 2023. 

What joy!

Our first great grandchild,

 Elaine Mae Sliwa, 

was born to Connor and Chassidy. 

She's cuter than any button and 

named after me and her other great grandma Elaine!

 (In case you didn't notice.) 

What an honor!

 This week we rejoice again as another precious gift arrived from Heaven,

Evelyn Jubilee Sliwa! 

Elizabeth's and Joe's 10th child and our 15th grandchild. 

I'm almost breathless at her tender beauty and sweetness. 

Thank you God for the gifts of baby Elaine and sweet Evie, 

sent to teach us much about the True Gift of God with us — Emmanuel!


Our grandgirl Ava became a bride in October
 marrying her love, Owen Yarka. 

Their love for each other filled our hearts afresh with 

the wonder of love and the goodness of God 

who gives us the gift of marriage.

Joanna and Bob enjoy watching their son Ryan excel at his giftedness in baseball. 

Gracie keeps advancing her lifeguard skills and college on-line as she makes her way in this world.

 Joanna and Bob continue using their gifts of 

teaching reading (Joanna) and bringing the Family Life Network news (Bob).

Elizabeth continues her studies toward a Masters degree of nursing/midwifery.

JoePro Services keeps Joe on the go making local homes beautiful. 

He does great work. 

Garrett's Army duties keep him far away but close to our hearts. 

Brenna, Charlotte, Isaac, Lucas, Gunnar, and Sailor hold down the Sliwa farm, 

and homeschool when they aren't loving on Evie.

Sam and Katie, Lily, Jack, and Holly moved to Dayton, Ohio where 

Sam serves at Wright Patterson AFB. 

I marvel at their ability to adapt, enjoy, and explore 

new homes, towns, experiences, schools, friends.

 That's a gift too.

 Proud of this family who serve our country.

We've had a great year. 

Dan and I are well.

 I remind myself often of my doctor's words, 

"I've had you dead twice, but here you are." 

 I respond as the angel said to Mary, 

"Nothing is impossible with God!" 

I love ending with an exclamation point!

Indeed, our life in Christ is an exclamation point for

Jesus is the greatest gift of all!

We are loved! 

We have a Savior!

 Baby Jesus came to bring salvation to all men!

 He is the Everlasting Father! 

The Prince of Peace! 

The Alpha and the Omega! 

All I can do is bow down and worship with a huge 

Hallelujah and Amen!!! 

May you be blessed this Christmas with the greatest present of all 

— the Presence of Christ in your life,


Sunday, October 1, 2023

My Birthday Poem. Three-Quarters of a Century

I love my birthday!
 Every year I write a silly poem (for I am not a poet) 
to celebrate the miracle of life God has given to me.

Woo Hoo! Whoopie!

Happy Birthday to me!

Today I'm three-quarters of a century!

How, oh how could this ever be?

Doctors expected I would never see   

Three-quarters of a century.

But God controls my destiny 

And He has more years for me, 


So, don't put me out to sea. 

Or think that I've gone up a tree! 

I think that we can all agree 

The best things in life are free. 

I don't need a shopping spree 

To enjoy my salvation which is free!

Believing in Jesus is the key 

to spending life in eternity.

One day my birthdays will be Heavenly.

Until then, I celebrate with glee 

The joy of living three-quarters of a century. 

 And thank God He's allowed me to arrive  

To the ripe old age of seventy-five.   

"Gray hair is a crown of glory" 

(Proverbs 17:6) 


Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me!


Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Prayer: More Than Flowery Phrases or Deep Theology

"Would anyone like to pray?" 

We all know the awkward feeling. 

Hoping someone prays before grandpa begins a blessing longer than the mashed potatoes remain hot. 

Looking down and hoping you aren't volunteered by a brother smirking in the next seat. 

Would anyone like to pray? The answer seems to be we don't "like" to pray after all. I'm guilty. Talking to God for the world and the family to hear can be intimidating. What will I say? I remember my first out-loud prayer. Tears of love for Jesus filled my heart and eyes as I prayed, "Thank You, God. Amen." Oh my. Four words were all I could say, and I cried! Tears fell on my food. How embarrassing! No flowery phrases or deep theology on my tongue. Just four words. And tears. Looking back, I am confident God loved my prayer because God saw my heart.

I imagine another table. Jesus sits at the right hand of God. 

God asks, Would anyone like to pray for Elaine?

Jesus jumps up. Me! Me! I will pray for Elaine!

And Jesus does — all day — every day — interceding for me and for you.

Imagine what life would be like if Jesus responded, "Nah. I don't want to pray for Elaine today"? Jesus would never say those words, but do we when we are lackluster in prayer?

Oh Jesus, forgive me for prayerlessness. What a gift you gave when you allowed us access to your ears and your heart through our prayers. What a privilege to pray — all day — every day to the One who prays without ceasing for me.

 Jesus "is at the right hand of God . . . interceding for us"
 (Romans 8:34)

Prayer is a splash of serenity God grants to all. Jump right in and enjoy the living water He gives when He refreshes us through our prayers to Him and His prayers for us.


Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Don't Let Your Marriage Go Down the Drain

My husband Dan is well aware of my passion for a hot soak at the end of the day. Wherever we travel, he asks for a bathtub in the reservation. Such was the case at the VRBO we recently rented.

"How was your bath?" He asked as we kissed goodnight.

'I didn't get a bath. I got a shower.  It was great."

"What! Why a shower?"

"Well, there was no plug in the bathtub drain, so I got a shower. No problem."

In the morning, Dan said he had an errand. He returned with a bathtub drain stopper.

Maybe not a big deal to you, but to me Dan's purchase was a picture of his love.  Every day he is kind, thoughtful, and seeking opportunities to make my life better.

That's what love is. 

"Love is kind" (1 Corinthians 13).

Love is "not looking at your own interests but each  of you to the interest of the other" (Philippians 2:4).

Why has our marriage not gone down the drain? Some days it seems to, butost days Dan cares for me and I care for him. Always looking for ways to be kind and make our life together better.

Splashes of Serenity prayed for your marriage!


Thursday, June 22, 2023

Hope for the Emotional Eater

"You are not fat. You are zoftig." a friend told me years ago.

"Deliciously plump!"

Oh wow! Not sure if that was a compliment or not. 

Today, in the second half of life and living with leukemia, the effects of taking a daily chemo pill (not complaining! those pills keep me alive!), and permanent lung, heart, (and I swear brain) damage from covid, my focus isn't on being delicious, but in keeping my body healthy. I really love the thought of being a grilled salmon and not a hot-fudge sundae!

"I've had you dead twice, yet here you are!" my doctor smiles in wonder.  

Yes. Here I am and since I am here I want to be healthy, active, useful, joyful, fun, lively, energetic. My damaged lungs don't need to pant from excess weight. Leukemia and chemo don't need help making me tired. My illnesses got my attention and motivated me to become healthy. 

So, with my doctors' approval, I joined Weight Watchers, and over two years lost 20 pounds more or less. I feel great! Weight Watchers filled my tummy with fruits and veggies and protein — the three foods my doctors say are essential for my recovery. 

In January while I was seeking the Lord's direction in 2023, I was struck by the question: Why would I rely on a secular (albeit healthy) weight loss program when I have the power of God within me? My goal for 2023 was to glorify God in every area of my life, including my health. 

A book appeared on my facebook page which intrigued me. A New Life Promise: How to Heal Your Body, Find Joy, and Bring Glory to God by Isabel D. Price. Bring Glory to God sealed the deal to my decision to purchase Price's book. Her heart touched mine. With love and understanding and practical help, she guides the reader through the trials of being an emotional eater: grief, pressure, anxiety, inadequacy, anger, shame, guilt, anger, fear. Can you relate? I sure could! A New Life Promise encourages us to live a full life as well as enjoy food. We really can have our cake and eat it too and remain healthy. 

A New Life Promise ends with 90 days of scripture and journaling. Recite a prayer, listen to a worship song, read the one scripture verse, and write how God spoke to you. 

Over the years I've enjoyed many daily devotional plans. Reading a chapter of the Bible each day, reading through the Bible in a year, Bible study books, etc. The most powerful has been Price's suggestion to read and meditate on one scripture a day. Focusing on one verse and asking God to speak to me through it has brought such joy and power in my days. 

FYI, for a fee, Isabel D. Price offers a New Life Promise diet plan. I haven't explored her plan, so I am not yet endorsing it. You can decide for yourself and gain more information on healthy living on her website and facebook posts 

Meanwhile, my heart is free to obey, heal my body, find joy, and bring glory to God without counting the points or the calories! Hallelujah!

May the Lord guide us all as we seek to glorify Him in 2023. 


Thursday, May 4, 2023

A Prayer That Transforms Our Marriages, Our Families, Our World

The world is a mess! Marriages are crumbling and families are falling apart. Governments are collapsing while citizens die in the streets they called "home." Who is to blame for this? Well, if you listen to politicians or to a domestic dispute; it's, most likely, "the other guy."

People are so quick to point the finger at someone else instead of asking God to point the finger at them.

The Psalmist David got it right when he wrote Psalm 139: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life."

As we ask God to search us, know us, test us, point out what offends, and lead us, we'll change and so will our marriages, our families, and our world. Now, that's a splash of serenity we could all use! Thanks, David. Thanks, God.

Do you know a prayer that transforms or have a testimony of how prayer transformed your marriage or family? Please share what God did for you.  

Splashes of Serenity prayed for your day!