A Nature Day

I knew before I even opened my eyes this morning that Spring was going to make a showing this morning.

I was not disappointed. The fog dissipated, crocuses on the front yard are opening, birds arrived on my porch, looking for black sunflowers in the bird feeder. It’s empty. Another errand to do this morning.

And I’m not going to apologize for getting exercise. Yes, I need to get writing done.

But first….. a long walk.

I drove down Fairhaven Parkway and found a place to park. Took the Interurban trail down to Marine Park. When I got there, a bunch of older guys had suited up and put their kayaks in the calm waters. I got a good photo of them as they paddled off into the sound.



On my way back from the park, a freight train neared. I love to stand up close to trains as they pass and be bowled over by their size and the blaring horns at the crossings. I guess I’m still a kid inside.



A little farther up, I encountered these sleeping ducks. They didn’t mind me at all. Even the train didn’t rouse them. I wish I knew what that big whitish fellow is on the top right. Oh, and a flock of white geese flew overhead, going north. Perfect V-formation. Does anyone know what they are? Not Canada Geese.


And on my walking route back to my car, I passed this old building. It’s name makes me chuckle. In case you can’t read it, it says, “Bailey Brothers Building and Loan.” A reference to the building and loan business of the same name in the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. One of my all-time favorite classic movies.



I went to Lowe’s and purchased an enormous bag of black sunflower seeds for my birds. When I went out to my porch to refill the squirrel-proof feeder, I found ample evidence of the squirrels’ displeasure. They’d been foiling me in my attempt to save some seeds for the birds. So I bought  a hanging feeder that uses the squirrel’s own weight to press down on a lever that prevents the squirrels from extracting seeds.

They’re awfully mad at me, as you can clearly see by what they’ve left behind.



Oh well, it’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining. I’ve had a five mile walk, and finished it with a delicious cup of coffee from Tony’s Coffee House.

Not to mention, I got lots of time to pray during those five miles. Thank you, Lord, for this unusual chunk of time for refreshment.




Cactus Underwear or Cascade Mountain Lake?



A very wise man, Dennis Prager, has said that the most grateful people are the happiest people.

And even though Dennis Prager is not a Christian (he is Jewish), he adheres to the biblical theology that people are made in God’s image, made for His purposes, to reflect Him in all we say and do.

The Bible is filled with accounts of God’s people singing, dancing, playing on lovely and loud instruments, verbalizing their praises in both speech and song to God.

Praise Him, all ye little Children

Because gratitude, rightly understood, involves thanking someone outside of ourselves, it lifts our minds and hearts away from our poor, poor selves, and focuses it on someone else, on the giver of the gift, even if temporarily.

Gratitude is an outpouring of faith. Without faith, it is almost impossible to thank God for hard times. Because faith says: “God, I don’t understand, but whatever comes my way I will trust you, because I know you are in control and you are working out a greater plan for my life than I can imagine. Thank You.”

I’m a pretty thankful person, most of the time. Probably because, growing up, I didn’t have too much, I very much appreciated what I received. My parents weren’t wealthy, and I was well aware of their struggle to provide for us kids.

In my church and in my community I know both grateful and ungrateful people, and let me tell you, there is a huge difference between them. People who only focus on the negative things that happened to them in their day aren’t too pleasant to be around. These are often the same people who complain whenever something isn’t exactly what they want. Their attitude is ruled each day by what they did not get, what other people aren’t doing to please them, or how the weather or traffic conspired to cause them grief.

Do you know people like that? I do. Sometimes that person is me, temporarily.

But I try to get out of that attitude quickly, because it’s not a pleasant place to stay. It’s like living in cactus underwear. Prickly, scratchy, get-me-out-of-this! And who wants to be too near a cactus?

And, being an old woman now, I’ve come to know that my best days are the days when I’ve taken the time to get my eyes off myself, to look around and list the wonderful things I’ve been blessed with. I call days like this, “Cascade Mountain lake days.” Could anything be more lovely and inviting?


I recently purchased a sweet little journal called, “A Life of Gratitude.” The book, by Lori Roberts, takes you through daily written exercises where you list blessings, or positive thoughts, or beautiful things, etc. It’s not necessarily a Christian book, but since I am a Christian I prefer to do these exercises while lifting to God in gratitude each thought that I write down. After all:

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James1:7, NIB Bible)


Here’s what I’m thankful for today: Jazz music woofs from the speakers down on the lowest level of the house. Because my loving husband is actually home this week, working in his office. He usually travels, but today he’s around. I’m thankful for him.


It was cold this morning. I slipped warm socks on my feet and marveled at how God constructed my size 6, double E width feet. How they take a daily pounding under my 125 pound frame, but they’re still ready to carry me on the next 10-mile hike.


It only takes seconds to notice something God has provided you, then utter an awed prayer of thanks to Him.

It’s a great habit to cultivate. And I mean to keep cultivating it each day.

“And whatever you do, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Col 3:17 NIV Bible)

Haven’s Hope Launches

Haven's Hope
Click here to purchase the book through Amazon

Reader friends, it’s been a long time coming, but Tuesday, Feb. 6th, 2018 is the day of release. Haven’s Hope is the thrilling, adventure-packed sequel to Haven’s Flight. It will be available on Amazon.com as an ebook and a paperback.

Just look at that cover. Doesn’t it make you feel kind of tingly and nervous? Aren’t you curious to see if Dade Colton actually captures sweet Haven and imprisons her in his mountain hideout?

Haven’s Hope: Feel the Fear – Savor the Romance

HAVEN’S HOPE gives one woman’s answer to these questions:

  • Does God still love me even when bad things happen?
  • Is good really more powerful than evil?
  • How can I be freed from guilt?

Haven Ellingsen has escaped the man who relentlessly hunted her in the Cascade Mountains. But when an old friend from her dangerous past shows up unexpectedly to warn her that Dade Colton is determined to re-capture her, Haven makes the only safe decision: to go into hiding once more. But where? Who can she trust? If only she could tell someone about her tragic secret. But Dade’s threat to kill anyone who helps her would put that person’s life in jeopardy, too.

Dr. Petter Eriksen saves lives every day at Mercy Hospital Emergency Department. Driven by guilt after the accidental death of his little sister, he can’t believe in a good God. But when a beautiful and mysterious young woman moves into the cabin on his uncle’s Christian Retreat, Petter wonders if her love and simple faith have the power to shatter the barrier he has erected around his heart? And can he save her from a madman?

Sometimes you hide; sometimes you stand and fight.





Which Path?


Since moving to Bellingham, I’ve become intrigued and delighted by all the paths and trails through and around the city. We’ve recently moved to another neighborhood, and I had no idea there would be just as many trails (part of the Inter-Urban Trail System) on the north part of town.

One minute I’m walking through a neighborhood, the next, lush cedars, alder, pines and firs, and blackberry thickets obscure houses and streets. Here, the Steller jays, crows, nuthatches, woodpeckers, squirrels, deer, and—no doubt—coyotes and bobcats, reign, and the interference of a small woman is but their momentary annoyance.

Sometimes I come to a junction of trails and wonder which one I should take. Each path will lead me to a beautiful ending. I may conclude my hike when the path deposits me onto a neighborhood street. Or, the trail may wind its way to Whatcom Falls, and on eventually to glimpses of Lake Whatcom—if I have the time and energy.

Spring 2010 044

I used to think of my life as a path, of sorts. And if I didn’t take the ‘right’ path, somehow God would be disappointed with me and I would miss some wonderful blessing.

But as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to the recognition that life presents each of us choices. It isn’t always a decision between a bad choice and a good choice Sometimes we are presented with several good options. What to do?

Which college major should I choose? Should I marry this person? Which job should I interview for? Which church should we attend? Where should we live?

There are paths that all of us, if we are Believers, should take without question. But beyond that, God has given us sound reason, consideration for those around us who would be effected by our choice, the counsel of others, and a praying, trusting heart.

If I choose to take the fork that leads to Whatcom Falls I will be blessed by seeing some lovely scenery. But if I choose another well-worn path, I will be equally delighted by views of the Sound and the city. Neither choice is bad.





Sometimes God makes it very clear that he wants me to go a certain way. He will close doors of opportunity and then open another door which didn’t seem to be an option earlier.

Sometimes, I feel all alone in a decision.

But, I am not alone. The Psalm 139 says, “If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (NIV Bible)

For many people, the beginning of the new year is a time for reflection and for choosing a different path. That’s sometimes good, as long as we realize that though we can make plans, God has the ultimate plan. His plan for his children is always good, even though it may wind through desert paths, or dip into dark forest where it is hard to see the trail.

He knows the plans He has for you.

Jeremiah 20:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.” (NIV Bible)

Seeking the Lord is the best plan you can make for 2018.



Second-hand Light



A few days ago, after what seemed like hours at the mall trying to run down the perfect gift for my mother in law, I carried my packages out into a now dark parking lot outside Macy’s, started my car, and headed out onto Baker View Rd.

I’d gone east on Baker View for at least half a mile before my first red light. One other car waited in front of me at the stop light.

The guy in that car suddenly got out of his car and approached my vehicle. My heart rate jumped into emergency mode. Was the man upset with my driving? Was he going to tell me off? Assault me?

But then, he pointed at the front of my car, and pantomimed turning on lights.

Oh my goodness, I’d never turned on my lights! I’d been driving un-illuminated all the way from the mall. I hadn’t noticed because I’d been surrounded by the glow of ambient light from businesses, Christmas lights, and other vehicles.

I waved a thanks and the man climbed back into his car just in time for the green light. “Lord, thank You for sending this man to tell me about my lights.”

As I drove home, it occurred to me that there is a powerful spiritual application for this experience.

When surrounded by light, an individual’s awareness of their own darkness is dimmed.

I suspect this is the case with many church-goers, operating each day, guided only by others’ light. Unaware that there is no life and light from God’s Spirit within themselves.

I think this is equally true for those secular people who enjoy the blessings—though fading—of a once-Christian nation.


And in this season of light: the light of God’s advent, the truth contained in our Christmas music, the message of joy—He is born, the Divine Christ Child!— ringing out from churches, it is a good time to ask ourselves: do I possess the light of God’s Presence that comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit, which came upon me when I placed my faith in the Person and work of Christ on the cross of redemption?

Or do I merely enjoy the ‘second-hand’ blessing of light shed on me as a result of other people’s faith?

2nd Corinthians 4:6 says: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”


Enjoyment of the lovely aspects of the church: the music, the praise, the fellowship, an inspiring message, does not make one a Believer.

Adhering to certain Christian tenets does not make one a Believer.

Participating in ministry activities, taking communion, repeating Christian doctrinal statements does not send the light of Christ’s presence into your soul.

Only a genuine recognition of your inability to make yourself acceptable through your own efforts, and a trusting in what Jesus did for you on the cross, makes you a Believer.

Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     (John 8:12 NIV Bible)





Welcome to my Website

Hello! Welcome to my website.

Here you’ll find information on my published books and smaller works, my blog posts, and up-coming speaking or teaching events.

Also, below I encourage you to fill out the form to receive my monthly newsletter where I talk about my experiences as a Christian writer, anecdotes about the process of crafting a novel, as well as information regarding my latest book releases. I hope you’ll consider signing up for the newsletter. I’m a people person and I love connecting with my readers.

As a thank you for signing up, I’d like to offer you an opportunity to read the first chapter of my latest suspense, Haven’s Flight. Look out for an email with your free chapter!

God bless you!

Dena Netherton…“Up All Night Fiction”

I Miss My Grandparents

My grandmother was born in 1900, and grew up on a farm outside the very tiny town of Anita, Iowa.

Her mother had died when she was a girl. Her father needed a wife to take care of the domestic duties and to mind the six children, so he advertised and married a woman “in name only.”

This new wife, in time, became much beloved by the children, and eventually Grandmommy’s daddy, too. Soon, their marriage became a real love story.

Grandmommy watched her brothers travel to Berkeley, California to study at the University. Since she was anxious to escape the farm environment that held her a prisoner (Oh, she wanted excitement and glamour), she followed them to UC Berkeley to get her college degree…and a husband. My grandmother was a beautiful woman and many guys wanted to marry her. But she sensibly chose my grandfather, Jay Reed, a man with good moral character, a strong work ethic (he, too, had grown up on a farm), and business ambition.

(That’s my grandmother, in the center of the photo, with her siblings. Still good-looking even at the age of fifty!)

Granddaddy eventually became the CEO of a successful import/export firm in San Francisco, and a few years before World War II broke out he bought a lovely home in an exclusive district in the city.

But the farm ethic was strong in both of them.

In one corner of the garage, they had an old wash and rinse tub with a wringer overhanging the tub. On Mondays, the two of them would dunk their laundry in the steaming tub and wait while the old machine slowly churned. Granddaddy always made us stay well away of the tub and the wringer. He was super cautious about everything that could possibly endanger us. They put the laundry items through the wringer, then the rinse, then the ringer again. Even years after Granddaddy died, my grandmother kept that old washing machine.

After the wringer,everything got hung on a wire that Granddaddy had strung down the length of the garage. Grandmommy had a contraption call a mangle. Some of you older people know what that is. Her sheets and table cloths and napkins had been heavily starched, and then they would go through the mangle for pressing.

A coal man used to deliver coal and set it in a bin in their garage. On cold days, Granddaddy would tote a big lump upstairs for their fireplace.

Granddaddy worked in the financial district of San Francisco right at the bottom of all those impossible hills that cable cars climb. He rode the street cars there and back, and when he arrived home, Grandmommy would have his favorite bourbon and soda and some little appetizers ready for him. They’d sit in the lanai (a kind of sun room) and talk for about an hour while Granddaddy’s favorite chicken was baking in the oven.

Their life was predictable and organized, quiet, and unemotional. They had rules, which we followed without question. One did not question people of that generation.

No running in the house. No yelling. No “unglamorous frowns.”

Put your wraps in the closet immediately. In fact, everything in its place.

No feet on furniture.

Do not touch Grandmommy’s international dolls in the linen closet.

And especially…do not sit in Mr. Howell’s chair. Ever. Grandmommy had explained who Mr. Howell was, but that memory had become buried or lost by early childhood mental pruning We didn’t dare ask for a re-telling of the story of Mr. Howell and the reason for my grandparent’s devotion to his memory.  Still, we never touched Mr. Howell’s chair, even though the man had long since passed away.

My grandparents had lived a long time, and even though they didn’t tell too many stories from the old days, we knew their brain’s mental archives had shelved a wealth of them.

Granddaddy played the piano sometimes, usually at the end of a dinner party. He especially liked to play 1920 era pop duets with my uncle Harold. I loved the funny old lyrics. Granddaddy put his heart into his playing, which was about the only time he let emotion show.

I loved my grandparents and respected them. I loved their rules, even the ones that didn’t make sense, because I knew their wisdom far exceeded mine.

I miss the days of respect for older people. For the old memories and stories, the lovely rules of etiquette, the way men tipped their hats and held doors and carried packages for women,  the culture that makes no sense to the younger generation, the civility, the expectation of good behavior, and the censure of wrong speech and actions.

Do you feel sad, too, for the loss of that generation?




Seeking the Creator in nature and the arts

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