Declaring My Dependence

September 23, 2019 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kathi Macias –

June and July have always been my favorite months. I don’t know if it’s because they fall in the middle of the year or I just like the weather, but these two months tend to put a smile on my face.

June makes sense. After all, when you’re young, June means school is out and summer vacation begins, and it doesn’t get much better than that. But July kicks it up a notch for me, starting with all the celebrations associated with the Fourth.

Now I have to say that my husband grills the best steaks and tri-tips this side of anywhere, but my personal Fourth of July picnic-and-barbecue memories have made me a hamburger-and-hot-dog kind of girl. Even though we often went on Memorial Day outings at the end of May, the REAL summer activities didn’t seem to kick off until the Fourth. That’s when the company my dad worked for had these incredible picnics at the park that we kids looked forward to all year. There was dirt everywhere, so our mothers gave up yelling at us to stay out of it. Even better, there was a little stream that ran through the park—not deep enough that those same mothers forbade us to go near it, but just deep enough to be swarming with pollywogs. You wouldn’t believe how many of those disgusting little critters we’d scoop up into old canning jars filled with dirty water from the stream. Then we’d carry them home as trophies, swearing we’d take care of them and not let them die this year.

Another highlight of the annual outing was the food itself. All the moms brought their specialties, from potato salad to brownies to baked beans. Plus we all got to help make the ice cream, which was mouthwateringly good. But the meat was my favorite part. This is where I fell madly in love with barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers, because the only other alternative was venison steak. When I found out that venison was deer meat (which happened only weeks after my parents took us to the drive-in to see “Bambi”), I swore I’d never touch venison—ever! Thankfully the cooks offered the hot-dog-and-hamburger alternative, and those two items soon became my barbecue staples.

Of course, the best part of those Fourth of July celebrations came when the company picnic ended and the sun went down. That’s when we all piled into our cars and headed for a nearby spot where we could park in rows in the dirt, sit on the hoods of our vehicles or on blankets spread on the ground, and watch the FREE firework display. As we oohed and aahed that it was the best show ever, we were reminded—by many of the adults in attendance—that the glorious colors exploding in the sky were more than just spectacular entertainment. At least one parent always retold just enough of the story of America’s independence to keep the oohing and aahing in perspective.

“Freedom isn’t free,” someone would say. “Many paid a great price so you could sit here and enjoy all this. Some even gave their lives. You should always be thankful.”

I can’t help but wonder if that’s the reason I so love this time of year, and I’m sure it has a lot to do with it. But something else happened one July—the 5th, as a matter of fact, clear back in 1974—that made this June/July season even more special for me.

It was the day I met Jesus, the day I declared not my independence, but my dependence, on the One who paid the greatest price imaginable so that I could be set free—not just here on earth, but forever with the Father.

And that puts it all in eternal perspective, doesn’t it?

June Gloom?

September 6, 2019 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kathi Macias –

Okay, if you recognized the term “June gloom,” you must be from California, right? Seriously, June gloom is a major weather phenomenon here on the West Coast, and I for one love it! Why? Because I live in the desert, and June gloom is our last buffer against a summer hot enough to fry your brain five minutes after the sun comes up in the morning. To say it gets hot out here in the California desert is like saying it gets cold in the Antarctic—an understatement if ever there was one.

So what exactly is June gloom? It’s the glorious gray, damp, chilly fog that rolls in off the Pacific nearly every morning from Memorial Day until almost the Fourth of July, holding temperatures down until the sun burns through it and starts heating things up by noon or so. But at least that gives us the morning hours to get outside, take walks, prune the roses, etc. Once that desert sunshine makes its entrance, forget it! We desert rats lock ourselves inside, turn up the AC, and don’t come out again until dark.

It wasn’t always like that, though. There was a time, eons ago, when I despised June gloom, but that was because I lived right on the coast—not anywhere near the desert. June gloom there lasted nearly six months out of the year, and that frigid blanket of damp gray seldom burned off, instead leaving everything cold and miserable—including everyone who lived there.

But we were kids then. When school let out the middle of June, nothing was going to keep us from heading for the beach and catapulting our skinny bodies into the icy cold waters of the Pacific Ocean. I was nearly twenty years old before I found out that blue was not my natural skin color and teeth weren’t supposed to chatter.

Then I got old. Seriously! I refuse to tell you how many times I’ve passed another twenty years and how distant a memory those “skinny bodies” we once took for granted have now become. And somehow, some way, my husband (who grew up in the same gray beach town) and I ended up living in the desert. Now we celebrate June gloom and weep when it disappears because we know what’s coming—115-degree days for about four months or so.

And yet, when that broiling summer sun finally sets in the evening, we’ve discovered that there is nothing to compare to the beauty of desert nights. Along with our neighbors, we crawl out of the woodwork at sundown and revel in the clear night skies, the clean air, and the un-crowded streets and towns we now call home. We’ve learned that home really is “where the heart is,” June gloom notwithstanding, which makes it all the more important that our hearts are focused on God and eternity. For that’s where our Home really is, isn’t it? And what a magnificent Home it will be! No need for June gloom to hold down the temps there, for we will at last be in the ideal place we’ve been yearning for all along.

I’m going to hold that thought as I work my way through this year’s June gloom season—and on into the stifling hot months to follow. After all, in the words of the late Rev. E.V. Hill, “This ain’t it!” And aren’t we glad?

Super-Mom Strikes Again!

July 5, 2019 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kathi Macias –

Each May, as Mother’s Day approaches, I realize how amazing it is that my children lived to grow up. Super-Mom I wasn’t, though I wanted to be. It seemed the harder I tried, the more I failed.

One day in particular stands out in my mind. It was one of those days when life gets too busy to worry about achieving goals. (Are you relating yet?) In fact, it was all I could do to remember to brush my teeth in the morning and put gas in the car before leaving for town. As it turned out, I remembered my teeth but forgot the gas.

It was also my day to volunteer at the pre-school where my youngest son, Chris, attended. As a result, we were late, since the Auto Club was backed up on emergency calls that took priority over an unorganized mother and an upset three-year-old waiting on the side of the road.

“Mom, let’s go,” Chris whined, his as yet undiagnosed ADHD kicking in as he bounced on the backseat. “I want to go to school, Mom! Mom, let’s go! Mom!”

Minutes before my head exploded, the cavalry showed up, and in a matter of minutes we were back on the road and racing to our destination—which was not a good idea because we had to pull over again, due to the flashing red lights and wailing siren immediately behind us.

By the time we finally arrived, Chris had missed snack time and was not a happy camper—nor were the two ladies trying to ride herd on twenty-three spinning, squealing pre-schoolers. Chris, already in his spinning, squealing mode, jumped right into the fray.

“Where have you been?” Jeannie, the other volunteer, demanded. “We really needed you. We have extra kids today—”

“I’m sorry,” I said, haphazardly hanging my jacket on the already-full coat closet hooks. It slipped right off, but before I could pick it up and try again, Jeannie grabbed my arm and said, “Come on. We’ve got to settle them down for story time.” We began to peel kids off the ceiling and walls and nudge them toward the story circle where we hoped they would sit quietly and listen for ten or fifteen minutes.

Miss McDougal, the actual teacher of these pint-sized tornadoes, joined us. “It’s like trying to organize a bunch of earthworms, isn’t it?” she asked. I grunted, unable to say more as I made my way to the circle, a child attached to each hand and one wrapped around my leg. The worst of the shrieking seemed to be coming from one last rebel in the far corner who refused to join the group until he got his snack.

Of course, it was Chris. I sighed, resisting the impulse to abandon the majority of the group that had finally assembled in the circle and instead go drag my child by the scruff of the neck to his proper place and insist he settle down and behave. Wisely, I allowed Jeannie to coax him over with an orange slice and a promise of more when story time was over.

Not only was I failing as Super-Mom, I barely qualified as an acceptable human being. But though my son glared across the circle at me throughout story time, wordlessly accusing me of starving him to death, he now tells me I was the best mom ever.

Go figure. It took me a lot of years (decades even!) to realize that being a Super-Mom was less about baking and icing 100 cupcakes on an hour’s notice and more about loving my kids the best I could—and trusting God for all the rest. If that’s where you’re at as a mom today, then be encouraged. One day your children really will “rise up and call [you] blessed” (Proverbs 31:28).

Adapted from the book How Can I Run a Tight Ship when I’m Surrounded by Loose Cannons? by Kathi Macias

My Spring Has Definitely Sprung

June 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kathi Macias –

The arrival of Spring brings with it all sorts of images of fragrant flowers, chirping birds, new green grass, and colorful Easter outfits. As a result, Spring has always been my favorite time of year, especially as I anticipated the arrival of Summer right behind it—picnics, cook-outs, trips to the beach…

Uh oh. Now I remember why Spring used to be my favorite season. Now? Not so much. Of course I still love baby chicks and newborn calves and all those great signs of new life, but trips to the beach? That type of outing at my age makes me wish for the long-ago days when women wore bathing suits that pretty much covered everything—and it also reminds me that my spring has definitely sprung.

Okay, I know enough not to buy a bikini or a two-piece, but even sliding into a modest one-piece is more of a shove these days than a slide. I’ve tried to make peace with where I am in life—and most of the time it works—but then the warm weather arrives and there I am, caught between draping myself in a muumuu and hiding under an umbrella or facing the ugly truth that cellulite is not my friend!

Yeah, I know. I’m a grandma (many times over), so what’s the big deal? Still, I love the beach. I grew up in a beach town and went there every chance I got. It’s part of my history, my makeup, my personality, and somewhere deep inside, that young girl who grew up at the seaside thinks she hasn’t changed. Nothing like a forced bathing suit day to bust that bubble!

Now admittedly, Spring isn’t Summer, so I still have a little time to do something about the approaching beach days. Yeah, right. How many times have I set out to conquer that challenge? Diets? No problem. I do great—very disciplined—for two or three days at least. Exercise? Slightly less. Consequently I end up looking just as much like the Pillsbury Dough Boy in a bathing suit as I did before trying to lose weight, but now I have the added guilt and sense of failure to weigh me down even more.

Is anyone feeling sorry for me yet? Maybe a few. But I imagine a lot more are commiserating with me and saying, “Yeah, I know exactly what you mean! I go through the same thing every spring when I come out of my own winter hibernation.” (The only difference between us and bears is that they spend the winter sleeping, while we just keep inhaling more chocolate!)

I wish I had an easy answer for you, but I haven’t found one yet. Some diets and exercise programs work better than others, but most fall by the wayside sooner or later. And the years just keep sapping our metabolism and enticing us to let go and enjoy whatever food comes our way.

Maybe that’s okay, though I imagine I’ll keep putting up at least some semblance of a fight to keep from going over the I’ll-never-wear-a-bathing-suit-again edge. But the only thing that really puts things into perspective for me is a quote from the late E.V. Hill, who was famous for saying, “This ain’t it!” And aren’t we glad? If our life in this world was “it,” then look around you, folks. What you see is as good as “it” gets—and that’s a depressing thought, cellulite notwithstanding.

But this world is just a blink in eternity, our physical life a vapor ready to vanish on the first puff of wind. How we look in a bathing suit when we die is not even going to be a consideration when we stand before the Judge of the Universe. The only thing that will matter then is whether or not Jesus is our Advocate, our Lawyer, our only Defense against our defenseless behavior. For none of us will make it past that Judge on our own merits; we can only hide under the shadow of the Almighty’s wing, grateful for the mercy that covers us.

And that’s the real issue, isn’t it? It’s not about what’s uncovered when we’re exposed in a bathing suit, but rather what’s covered by the blood of God’s Son—and that means ALL our sins. We can stand before Him unashamed because He covers us in His perfect righteousness.

Thanks for the reminder, E.V. This surely “ain’t it!”

Kathi Macias (; is an award-winning author of more than 30 books, including her upcoming April release, People of the Book, the final installment of the Extreme Devotion series from New Hope Publishers.

Lemons and Lemonade

June 2, 2019 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kathi Macias –

“When the world gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Okay, I get it. Don’t cry over spilled milk and all that—just clean up the mess and find a way to make something good out of it. Before you know it, those tears might just turn into laughter, right?

Right. Seriously! It happens.

We’ve been going through a really tough time lately—walking my almost 90-year-old mother through the last of her days/weeks/months (years?) on earth before bidding her farewell when she goes home at last. It’s the cry of her heart to leave this world and “graduate” to heaven, as she so longs to see her Savior and be reunited with loved ones who have gone ahead of her—particularly my dad. In fact, she says that’s one of the most difficult things of living so long: you soon find that nearly everyone your own age has already checked out! On the positive side (making lemonade again!), you don’t have to deal with peer pressure.

Mom lived with us for almost eleven years before we realized we could no longer care for her. She needed someone with her 24/7, and we simply couldn’t do it. We visited a lot of nursing and private care homes before deciding on an assisted living facility within fifteen minutes of our home. It’s a lovely place with delightful people and gorgeous grounds. Mom has her own private room, which we decorated with many of her personal things, and yet she still has the care she needs. It’s ideal!

But every now and then we’re reminded that we won’t find “perfect” until we get to heaven. It happened to me the other day when I went to visit Mom. I was walking down the hallway toward her apartment, thrilled that we had found such a nice place for Mom, when I heard a voice behind me mumbling, “It’s so hot in here! Why do they keep it so hot in this place? And where is my apartment?”

Uh oh. I asked myself if I should turn around or just keep walking. I made the wrong choice. I turned around and there, heading straight toward me, was a woman who had no doubt marked a minimum of eighty years on this planet—and was as naked as a jaybird! Her clothes were strewn along the hallway behind her where she had apparently tossed them in an attempt to escape the “heat” as she searched for her home.

A couple of phone calls quickly confirmed that she was a new arrival who had managed to “escape” her apartment (they are now working on getting her moved to the dementia wing) and had no idea how to find her way back—or even where “home” was.

I know. That really isn’t funny, though the incident did cause a few chuckles among the other residents who are now being much more careful to keep their doors locked, since apparently the “happy wanderer” had stopped into their places while seeking her own.

I couldn’t help thinking of that precious woman when I sat with my mother at the Sunday afternoon church service held at the facility each week. There are several hundred residents there, but only about thirty or forty who avail themselves of the chance to come together for corporate worship. (Some ride the van to their own churches, but many others do not, and each has the opportunity to come downstairs to join in.) Is it possible that at least some of those who don’t attend are as spiritually naked and lost as the woman I saw in the hallway that day? At least she was making an effort to find her way home; how many of the others have no idea where “home” really is—and they’re running out of time!

Makes me that much more determined to make lemonade out of lemons! Moving my mom into the assisted living facility has been difficult, but it has opened a new door for ministry—both for her and for me when I visit. We are determined to make a difference there and to walk in such a way as to light the way home for all those who are lost and homesick…even if they don’t know it.

Kathi Macias (; is an award-winning author of more than 30 books, including her upcoming April release, People of the Book, the final installment of the Extreme Devotion series from New Hope Publishers.

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