“A man who has friends must himself be friendly . . . .” Proverbs 18:24a NKJV

Back in 1966, we built a new home miles away from where we’d lived for several years.  Our youngest son, four-year-old Karl (pictured above on left), missed his friends from the old neighborhood.

Rather than sitting around and brooding, Karl “seized the day”; he went from house to house in our new subdivision, ringing doorbells or knocking.  That was an era when many family-based women were at home to answer the door, and Karl charmed the moms by asking, “Do you have any little boys here?”

Karl’s search yielded John, the fellow on the right in the above photo.  They were together constantly, and as they grew up John was like family.  I’ll never forget those two:  quietly playing a serious game of checkers, like two little old men; cartwheeling all over our yard; and joining me in chomping down popcorn and watching the silly/scary Saturday night horror films where people were turned into flies, vampires, werewolves, or whatever.

Today, despite the geological separation of 2200 miles, Karl and John are still good friends.  Both of the guys are now in their 50s, and Karl says he likes this photo because it proves he once had hair.  (Karl is now a very handsome and distinguished Yul Brynner type.)

Eight years ago, Joe and I did something we’d always said we would never do; we bought and moved into a condo—and what a fantastic home it is.  When we moved here, I thought of Karl’s method of finding new friends.  Should I ring doorbells and say, “Do you have any old geezers here?”

I decided, no that wouldn’t be the best idea.  Instead, on pleasant weather days Joe and I sit on our outdoor chairs in the lane which accesses eight garages—four in our building and four in the building just across the lane.  (Joe calls the lane an “alley”, but I prefer the British-sounding noun, “lane”.)

We have a charming garden next to our garage (as well as beside our front patio) and it’s delightful to relax there—with both the American flag (Old Glory) and the Israeli flag with its beautiful blue six-pointed star (Magen David) fluttering in what has become a warm weather outdoor living room.

Since we have enjoyed striking up a conversation with neighbors who frequently stroll by, we were inspired to set out an extra chair or two.  Voila!  Neighbors are now sitting down to chat.  We have made new friends who are becoming special to me.

As always, Scripture is right on!  If we find ourselves alone and bereft of needed companionship, we must prayerfully get out and show ourselves friendly.  There are so many ways to do this (including knocking on doors).  Our local church is an obvious venue for friendship.  Through the years I have also found new friends by simply smiling and saying a few words in places like the community park, yarn shops, antique malls, the post office, and in my own yard.

Every human on earth needs genuine, caring friends.  As our friendships blossom, so do wonderful opportunities to share our love for the greatest “FRIEND” of all—our Lord whom we love because He first loved us, so much that He died for our sins and rose to give us His Eternal Life!

“You are My friends, if you do whatever I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”  John 15:14-15

Margaret L. Been — September 20th, 2017


LEOs 1 and 2


California Treasures

Happy Bunch

“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name . . . .”  Philippians 2:8-9

Here are a few family photos—some recent and some decades old.  These individuals have one thing in common:  They all have names.  We know and celebrate the fact that above every name is the precious Name of Jesus.  Meanwhile, we love our family members and friends, and when we think of them we think of their names.  Names are eternally significant and infinitely valuable.  It moves me to tears, to think that there may be people on earth who have no name.  None should ever be nameless.

We naturally associate a name with a personality (God-given) as well as with the gifts and talents inherent in that person (also God-given).  Our names, our personhood, and our gifts are whom we are—that unique individual each of us was created to be.  As we are known by our names, we are also known by our fruits—our obedience to God’s design and will for our lives.

Obedience involves choosing to hone our talents while disciplining our time to focus on our calling.  God wills for us to inspire and edify even beyond the walls of our church and our snug Christian communities.  Whether our calling is what is known as “full time Christian service” or (equally vital!) the dedication to and sharing of a skill or creative gift, our diligent fulfillment of God’s plan for us is a part of whom we are—an integral part of our name, as we seek to glorify God through our disciplined focus.

It is Biblical, it is God-willed, that we encourage one another in whatever we do for God’s glory—not only in a church setting but in the dying secular world as well, where people need to hear and see the Gospel lived out creatively and joyously on a daily basis.  We need not, should not shrink from putting our name to our work.

Name affirmation is Scriptural.  Look at the list of books in your Bible.  Are these books authored by “Nameless”?  I don’t think so.  I am eighty-two years old, and I have never heard of “The Gospel According to Anonymous”.  Of course Scripture is God-breathed, inspired, inerrant.  But God wrote through human instruments, each with a personality and unique style of writing.  Each with a name!  God commanded those individuals to write, to witness to His glory.  Throughout Scripture you will find names attached to deeds, works, and the dedication of talents.  The Psalms are poetry and music composed by David, Moses, and other individuals with names.

Although today we are not writing God’s Word, we are to be reflecting His creativity, beauty, and order through our life’s work.  Yes, we are sinners.  But those of us who embrace the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, those of us who embrace the LORD Himself are redeemed.  He has written our names in His Book of Life.  Someday we will be held accountable for how we have used (or misused) the gifts and talents He has given to each of us.  Our stewardship of talents is an integral part of our “reasonable worship”; and that stewardship is inseparable from our name.

Indeed His NAME is above every name.  Yet our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ calls each of us BY NAME, to exalt Him through obedience.  None should be nameless.

Margaret L. Been — January 26, 2016



more of m and loves

Note:  Even my corgi friends have names!  MLB

Adagio 2

When I consider how my light is spent

Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,

And that one talent which is death to hide

Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent

To serve therewith my Maker, and present

My true account, lest he returning chide;

“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”

I fondly ask. But Patience to prevent

That murmur, soon replies:God doth not need

Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best

Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state

Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed

And post o’er land and ocean without rest:

They also serve who only stand and wait.”

John Milton’s Sonnet on His Blindness — 1674

Autumn is fading into winter.  As winds howl and shriek in the wind tunnel outside, my heart is bent to the ground with a family grief which only a miracle from God can remedy.

Profound sorrow for a loved one is difficult enough to experience; but bearing sorrow without being able to do a single thing about it, or alleviate it in any way—that is unspeakable, unfathomable grief.

John Milton’s most famous sonnet is as alive and relevant today as it was three-hundred plus years ago when it was penned.  A true poet touches those changeless aspects of the heart unaltered by time, trends, or technology.  Thus Milton’s words express a profound truth which has sustained countless individuals over the centuries:

God doth not need

Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best

Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best . . . .”

Today our family bears a yoke which, however painful to us this moment, is indeed “mild” compared to the agony of being nailed to a Cross and bearing all the sin of the world—past, present, and future.

Our Lord is sovereign, victorious.  He is KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS!   With His Abiding Life, we are not helpless.  To “only stand and wait” is everything!

“Hast thou not known?  Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is weary?  There is no searching of His understanding.  He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall.  But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”* Isaiah 40:28-31

Margaret L. Been — November 18, 2015

*It’s a sad sign of the times when we receive blank looks and clueless stares, as we read from the (old) King James Bible.  I refuse to bend to the trend of dumbed-down language, even though some of the newer Scripture versions are accurately translated from Hebrew and Greek.

Meanwhile, the language of the original King James Bible, and yes—of Shakespeare and Milton—is to me absolute proof that evolution is one huge fake and phony CROCK of a theory! 

Man is not getting better, not growing more highly developed, not becoming more “perfect”.  Our English language has deteriorated egregiously, beyond comprehension, since the days of King James, Shakespeare, and Milton.

And as stated by Henry Higgins in MY FAIR LADY:  “In America they haven’t spoken it for years!”

P. S.  I just checked my stats page, and discovered that I have a reader from France.  Along with our family tragedy, I am grieving for YOU!  I LOVE YOU.  My second language, one of my college majors was French, although to hear me speak your exquisite language would make you LAUGH!


“. . . if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  II Chronicles 7:14 NIV

We have arrived at a time in history where America has only one possibility of being spared radical judgment by God:  either repent and return, or be destroyed, like Sodom and Gomorrah, from within and without.  Constantly, I pray for American churches (once Christian, but now in name only) to return to God, His Word, and righteous living. 

Like many others, I believe the day is drawing near when the Lord Jesus will rapture His own to Himself before the Great Tribulation—that final judgment on Israel before Jesus returns with the Church, to redeem Israel and His people the Jews, and begin His Millennial rule from Jerusalem.

Now the USA, once a beacon of hope for millions, has fallen.  Decadence and wickedness rule in high places, and immorality is rampant across our land.  And our government, long the world’s chief defender of God’s people the Jews, has turned from Israel with incredible measures to hold hands and bargain with Iran—a prime exporter of worldwide Islamic terrorism, a nation that has publically shouted “Death to America!”

All of this has been prophesied again and again throughout the centuries, before and after the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  All of this is literally occurring before the eyes of those who are not too blind to see and comprehend.

I pray that the mighty wind of revival will sweep across America, resulting in repentance and the salvation of millions before the Rapture.  May the church in the United States be redeemed and reclaimed way beyond its former position of influencing lifestyle and government, before that point of no return!

As I pray, I offer the above Scripture plus God’s account of Abraham bargaining with God in a futile attempt to save Sodom from destruction:

“Then Abraham said, ‘May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more.  What if only ten (righteous men) can be found there?’  God answered, ‘For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.’ ”  Genesis 18:32 NIV                   

In the United States of America, there are still far more than “ten righteous men”.  There are still countless righteous men, women, and children who are dismayed and heartbroken over the condition of our nation.  May more and more of these individuals muster up the courage to speak out—although doing so may very well mean suffering, loss, and possibly even persecution! 

I’m trusting our merciful Lord for that revival of His Spirit, and the redemption of countless more to repent of the evil which has permeated America.  I’m trusting God for America’s return to the life-saving position of being Israel’s chief friend and defender. 

I keep thinking of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, that incredibly valiant woman who was recently freed from a Sudanese prison where she delivered a baby amidst torture and threats of “Convert to Islam or die!”  This young mother knew she had eternal life in Jesus Christ, and she refused to recant her faith in God regardless of consequences.  May we Americans exhibit that kind of commitment and love for the Lord Jesus—the love which will cling to Him no matter what! 

Then God will hear from Heaven! 

Margaret L. Been, March 2015

A Personal Note:  I’ve been praying and reflecting over the candidates for nomination to run in the 2016 election.  I will still pray for God’s wisdom and guidance, but now one of God’s men has fearlessly declared his intention—an outspoken Senator who consistently swims upstream in Washington rather than going with the flow. 

The fact that Ted Cruz announced his intention to run for the nomination at Liberty University speaks volumes.  May God protect this man from evil within and without, preserve his dedication to righteous living and God-honoring government, and use him mightily as an instrument for change!  MLB

The Little Children

Here's what it's all about sans GB

“But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for as such is the kingdom of Heaven.’ ” Matthew 19:14 (NKJV)

Today in church we had our annual Thanksgiving worship service where testimonies are shared.  This is always a time of praise and joy, but also a heart-rending time for our congregation—as stories are told of God’s grace at work in seemingly impossible circumstances.  Relationships are healed, in some cases illnesses are miraculously cured, and Jesus’s life is affirmed in many unique ways.

At today’s service, a young couple got up to share on the microphone.  In hand the couple brought a sweet (obviously girl) toddler, dressed in a pretty dark velvet dress with pink trimmings and a matching headband.  The couple gave testimony of how they had decided to raise the large family which they wanted through adoption, only to find out how incredibly costly it is to adopt just one child, let alone many!  (How tragic is that!!!)

So finally, God had steered the husband and wife to the path of foster care—which in some instances can lead to adoption.  Knowing that God was in charge and directing them the couple proceeded, and within a few months this precious little girl had been entrusted to their loving care.

While the husband and wife were sharing in church I experienced a déjà vu of long ago pain as my mind raced back to 1973 when I was forty years old, a fairly new Christian believer, and a contented wife and mother of five.  Our children were growing up fast.  Because I loved and enjoyed being a mother so much, I wanted to go on with the career which had brought me joy and fulfillment since I’d had my first baby at just under 21 years of age.  Thus, quite naturally, Joe and I began to think about doing foster care.

So we signed up with Milwaukee County Welfare Dept. to receive foster children.  In those days the wheels moved fairly quickly, and within a few weeks we were given three beautiful blonde sisters, ages three, six, and eight, to care for.  Like many foster children, these sisters came from an atmosphere of chaotic dysfunction.  What is more, unspeakable things had happened to them that should never happen to anyone—anywhere.

The girls brought their chaos into our home and we had some dicey weeks with them, weeks marked with severe temper tantrums and manifestations of fear.  But the love and the order in our home did wonders.  After a couple of months it seemed like the girls were our girls.  We sincerely hoped we’d be able to keep them forever, and perhaps we would have—BUT, Milwaukee County discovered that the girls’ father and step-mother had paying jobs which could support the children, so the county insisted on returning them to the father’s home.

Never mind that we told the Milwaukee County Welfare Dept. we did not want their money—Joe and I would gladly support and raise these children without any outside help.  No matter that the step-mother had been heavily addicted to controlled substances, and had an iffy background.  No matter that the step-mother had (in the home with the girls’ father) two unruly sons who started fires and thought of other ways to terrify the three sisters (as one of them used to confide in me:  “Them’s naughty boys!!”).

Never mind that Joe and I and our five children loved the girls, and had so woven them into the fabric of our home that we would miss them terribly.  Within a few days, suddenly the three sisters were gone.  A week later, the six year old called on the telephone and said to me, “Maggie I wish I could come to your house!”

We were a bit whacked from these events and thought we would need a long break from foster care, when a couple of weeks later the phone rang and a distraught sounding social worker asked, “Can you take two little boys?”  The following dialogue has its humorous side.  So here it is.

Me:  “How old?”

Social Worker:  “One and two.”

Me:  “When would they come?”

Social Worker:  “NOW!  They are sitting on my desk!”

In retrospect, I really suspected perhaps that social worker had told me a windy about them sitting on her desk.  Those little boys did come to live with us, and to our knowledge they never BOTH SAT ANYWHERE at the same time!  They were always in motion.  (That was long before children were incarcerated in car seats in transit.  You can imagine what a pleasure ride was like in those days!)

Again, we lost our hearts—but this time we were worn to smithereens, physically as well as emotionally, in the process.  Finally, we decided to remove the option of foster care from our family scene.  Meanwhile, many questions have surfaced, in the past as well as today.  What ever became of those children?  Where are they today?  What kind of people (mid-lifers no less!) are they?  Do they know the Lord Jesus?

It goes without saying that I shared our Lord’s love with the foster children every day, in every way I could.  Yes,  I hope to meet these now-adult people again, in Glory!  I believe that, somehow, I will recognize them.

Margaret L. Been, November 2014

Note:  The above-pictured players re-enacting a familiar scene are two of our daughters, Laura and Debra, one of our sons, Eric, and an obliging doll.  Please excuse the gender confusion concerning the doll.  We weren’t really confused; we simply couldn’t come up with a boy doll at the moment.  🙂

The joys of reading

young reader

One of our WORDPRESS advantages is being able to see which past blog entries are still accessed from day to day.  Scarcely a week goes by, but what an entry from 2010 is read again.  And again.  And again!

The obvious continual interest in L’Abri, Francis and Edith Schaeffer—and Judy Dalton, of APPLES OF GOLD MINISTY— prompts me to “play it again”.  So here goes:  🙂


The saying that books are “friends” is so eternally true, that it cannot be labeled a cliché.  More times than I can count, books have come through where people have goofed.

As a new Christian back in 1971, I was catapulted into a “foreign-to-me” culture.  Although I now held the deeper answers to life in Scripture, some questions concerning my lifestyle surfaced.  Suddenly I was supposed to be a “church lady”.  But I was shocked and horrified by a number of the ladies in the fellowship where God first planted me.

I discovered that, in this fellowship, ladies met frequently for “prayer meetings”.  The prayer meetings consisted of a perfunctory opening prayer, lots of cake, and an overload of social conversation mainly focussed on those who were not present.  We were supposed to pray for the absent ladies.  To “help” us pray, personal details of their lives were spilled out for all to hear.  The actual prayer following this chatter consumed—at the most—10 minutes.  Also characteristic of the meetings were jokes and criticisms targeted toward husbands.

After a couple of these gatherings, I realized I simply could not stomach any more!  I have always detested gossip, and I believe that husbands deserve our loyalty.  If there would be a husband problem, a church woman’s group—or any kind of a group for that matter—would not the place to share!

When I came to faith, I already had many long-standing friends—some with whom I’d grown up.  Although most of these long-standing friends did not publically profess faith in Christ—and they certainly did not run around with Bibles in hand—they were gracious, kind, and considerate.  Gossip was anathema.  My friends were family-loving homebodies, steeped in arts and crafts, committed to creating beauty, and dedicated to gracious living.

Hence, the gossipy women in my church were an enigma to me—especially because I had thought that, because they were professing Christians, they would be sensitive kindred spirits.  Not so!  I was soon thought to be “odd” because I didn’t want to socialize with the women, and doubly “odd” because I was so very contented at home—knitting, making bread, reading, etc!

I had expressed my passion for the natural world (after all, it was partially God’s witness in creation that led me to Him at age 37) and that passion made me appear to be a kind of pagan.  Coupled with my interest in old-fashioned home crafts, my penchant for nature branded me:  I was an old Hippie in the church ladies’ eyes!

Try to imagine my dilemma.  I wanted to be friendly to those who shared my new faith, but I was constantly aware of their thinly veiled disapproval of my lifestyle—and I wasn’t particularly keen on theirs!  Was there actually something wrong with me, for hating gossip (even when it was called a prayer request) and wanting to stay home and knit—or hike in the woods?

God saw my confusiuon and loneliness, and came through by putting the perfect book in my hands:  THE HIDDEN ART OF HOMEMAKING, by Edith Schaeffer.  I’d already found answers for my intellectual questions from books by Edith’s husband, Francis.  Now I had a book by his wife, to address my daily concerns.  The book dealt with ways to incorporate every area of creativity, arts, and crafts into family living.  The HIDDEN ART OF HOMEMAKING is a joyous book, and it affirmed that my chosen vocation of homemaker was indeed very pleasing to God.  Old Hippie or whatever, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

I’m eternally grateful to Edith Schaeffer for the HIDDEN ART OF HOMEMAKING, and the other faith and family-based books she wrote.  The ongoing ministry of L’Abri, started by Francis and Edith Schaeffer in the 1950s, has produced (and will continue to bear) fruit which will astonish us when we get to Heaven and learn the facts!  The fruit of this godly couple’s books may be like the stars in the sky and the sands in the sea!  Francis and Edith Schaeffer are now with the Lord, and I look forward to meeting them!

Around the time of reading Edith Schaeffer’s book, I met a woman whom I consider to be the most challenging and thorough women’s Bible teacher in the area:  Judy Dalton, of APPLES OF GOLD MINISTRY.  Through Judy’s study, I met many kindred-spirited keepers at home.

Ultimately I left that first church with its gossipy scenario, and never looked back.  As of this day in 2014 Judy and I continue to treasure our friendship which began in 1971 and will continue throughout eternity!  Judy is still faithfully teaching Scriptures, at a church in West Allis, Wisconsin—and her studies are available in cassettes and CDs via the APPLES OF GOLD MINISTRY.

Since 2009 I have attended the most wonderful “local church” I’ve ever been blessed to attend—Lake Country Bible Church in Hartland, Wisconsin.  The teaching is Scripturally “right on”, and God’s love prevails.  My “church lady” culture has become uplifting, encouraging, and FUN.  Lake Country Bible Church has met at a local public school for years.  Now, thanks to God’s gracious provision, we are in the process of erecting our own church building—on a neighborhood road across from THE RED CIRCLE INN and east off of highway C in Nashotah.  We trust that God’s Word will flourish in and from this new facility, and lives will be challenged and changed!

Meanwhile I’m seeing a groundswell of younger Christian women (both outside-career and full-time homemakers) who make bread, knit, and home school their children!  Some of the women even raise chickens, rabbits, and sheep—like I did for 2 decades, on my little “funny farm” in Eagle, Wisconsin!  My friend, Judy Dalton, has had a lot to do with an upbeat, Scripturally sound focus locally as well as around the world— wherever her cassettes and CDs travel.  And Edith Schaeffer’s books have made a positive influence on countless Christian women as well!


Margaret L. Been, November 2014 —  (an updated repeat of a 2010 entry on one of my blogs)

THE HIDDEN ART OF HOMEMAKING is still available.  I just checked on Amazon, and you can purchase a paperback copy for $.48.  Yes, forty-eight cents!  A small price to pay for something of eternal value! 

Nuts and Bolts


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Listed above are the views on this site over the last 30 days.  WordPress makes it easy to see what is going on in a blog.  They list “Views and Visitors”.  Visitors are the number of people who land on a blog–either from knowing what they are looking for, or accidentally due to a tag word or category.  “Views” are the entries actually read.  My views always exceed the number of visitors, and an average is given showing the number per visitor, of articles which are actually read.

This is very satisfying as it tells me that my visitors are not “hit and run”, but rather they are individuals who linger and read more than one piece—individuals from all over the world.

The stats are fascinating.  For instance, why on a recent day did one of my 5 blogs receive 20 readers from Turkey and only 1 from the US and several other countries?  Enough to keep the imagination alive!

What is more, this site and http://hiswordistrue.wordpress.com/ now get more traffic from around the world than my “quality of everyday life” site or even the art blog, THE MESSY PALETTE, which has been getting a lot of action.

The world is crazier than ever before, and people want answers.  Unfortunately, they often find the wrong ones and make eternally disastrous decisions.  We who love God’s Word need to speak up and out, more clearly than ever before.  I praise God for technology.  I no longer travel in person, but my words bearing God’s Truth know no boundaries.

Margaret L. Been, October 2014