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What’s Your Passion in Life?

Diana Savage’s passion in life is to help others succeed.DianaSavage2015

Using her writing, speaking, and editing skills, she’s already helped hundreds of others on their journeys to success. Browse this site to learn what she can do for you.

Below, you’ll find her blog—an eclectic assortment of observations about writing, life challenges, and spiritual journeys.

The Power of Restore

by Diana Savage

“Not the best news I wanted to start off your day with,” began my mechanic’s ominous e-mail, “however, it must be discussed. We got to the oil pan this morning and found a large amount of bearing material, meaning the engine is breaking down.” The shop workers were surprised, since my twenty-year-old car hadn’t been emitting telltale knocking sounds.

RestoreWithCaptionI contacted the car’s previous owner—my son-in-law. He had a different perspective. “The Restore brand of engine restorer and lubricant I used has a sparkly appearance,” he said. “I wonder if they’re mistaking Restore for bearing material.”

I showed the mechanics the thick fluid in an opened can and explained my son-in-law’s theory. They agreed he was right. That’s how I narrowly escaped paying an unnecessary $6,000 repair bill.

What do “experts” say about you? Have they made swift judgments before getting all the facts? Do their false assumptions result in negative input? God isn’t like that. He knows you through and through and understands your heart,

King David put that understanding to music in Psalm 139:1–4 (NIV):

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.

Not only does God know you thoroughly, but he’s also very aware of the marvelous potential he endowed you with when he “knit [you] together in [your] mother’s womb” (v. 13). In fact, “all the days ordained for [you] were written in [God’s] book before one of them came to be” (v. 16).

He is available to empower and strengthen you every time you call out to him. Surely that embodies the true definition of Restore.

© 2015 by Diana Savage. All rights reserved.

Life’s Recycle Bin

by Diana Savage

While my grandson and I waited in the car for his parents to return from bookstore-browsing, an employee emerged from the shop’s backdoor. We watched in disbelief as she tossed an armload of books into a large recycling bin.

dumpsterThe minute she went back inside, we scrambled out of the car and peeked in the bin. Sprawled at the bottom were outdated hardcover and paperback books that had been in perfectly good condition before impact. Why were they tossed?

They lacked resale value. Sure, publishers had invested a great deal of time and money to produce those books initially. Each volume had once been an author’s pride and joy. But that wasn’t reason enough for the books to remain in the store’s inventory.

Do you ever feel obsolete? If so, your feelings do not reflect the truth. You are far more valuable than any human-penned book.

Some fourteen hundred years before the printing press was invented, Jesus used examples his listeners would understand. “How much more valuable is a person than a sheep!” (Matthew 12:12 NIV) he said. “How much more valuable you are than birds!” (Luke 12:24).

It’s not stretching the analogy to say, “How much more valuable you are than a discarded book.” Allow God to reveal to you your inestimable worth—even as you trust him to repair the scuffs and rips that life has inflicted upon your pages.

© 2015 by Diana Savage. All rights reserved.

Petals or Prickles?

by Diana Savage

Beliefs can make us sick or make us healthy. Dr. Robert A. Hahn of the Centers for Disease Control made that observation two decades ago, after the first controlled study was completed concerning the connection between people’s mental states and their heart health. Since then, many additional studies have confirmed those findings.

RoseThornsAfter my son died on his first birthday, I didn’t need a clinical study to inform me of the connection between beliefs and health. Deep grief lowered my resistance to the point where I suffered a continual series of severe colds for months. Then heart palpitations set in. My doctor wisely concluded that unrelieved grieving was at the root of my ill health. I could focus on little but my enormous loss. Because I didn’t have access to counseling, my recovery was slow, and I took years to plod through the grieving process. But I learned many lessons from that experience.

Everyone goes through good times and bad. Downpours interrupt sunshine. Each rosebush has its thorns. The key is focus. Do we concentrate on the sunlight or the sogginess? The petals or the prickles?

How we look at life affects all the organs in the body because of their connection to the brain via the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. The biochemistry taking place in our heads—what we feel and think—has a direct route to every other cell in our systems. That’s one reason the apostle Paul urges us to think on things that are right, true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. (See Philippians 4:8.)

You have the power to choose whether you’ll dim your outlook with gloomy worries or illuminate your view with the light of God’s promises. No one can rob you of that power of choice. So, even when casualties litter the landscape, zero in on your blessings. Focusing on the petals instead of the prickles will allow you to thrive, which has always been God’s desire for you.

© 2015 by Diana Savage. All rights reserved.

What Do You Want Left Out?

by Diana Savage

When Doris* passed away, I wrote the obituary. That’s what writers in the family do.

TombstoneWithHeadlineShortly after she’d first received her dim prognosis several years before, I’d interviewed her to verify details such as her birth date, parents’ names, hobbies, places lived, and the correct spelling of her kids’ names. “Just so I’ll know the facts when it’s time to write up your obituary, many years from now,” is how I phrased it.

She was happy to cooperate. She even revealed a few secrets from her past. But then she cautioned, “Don’t mention that. No one else needs to know.”

I honored her wishes. I also left out information she never thought to tell me to omit, such as her complaining spirit, her sharp tongue, and the stringent demands she made of her caregivers. In fact, it was a challenge to come up with a suitable list of positives to include. I mean, would readers care that she kept a spotless, well-organized home before her dementia set in? Does a person’s favorite color—in Doris’s case, pink—ever wind up in an epitaph? What about the fact that her weekly hair appointment was vital to her sense of well-being? And would it ever be appropriate to allude to the “love gifts” she sent each month to support flamboyant TV evangelists?

When I helped to clean out her apartment—filled with thank-you trinkets from the aforementioned televangelists—I discovered more secrets that explained some of her personality quirks, in addition to what I’d already been aware of, such as abuse in her childhood, the rejection she received from close family members, and how terminal cancer ran rampant in her family. Doris knew pain, and it seeped into her everyday interactions with others.

That’s not unusual. Nearly everyone experiences pain in life. But, as the saying goes, we can let hard times make us bitter or better. Unless you can convince your survivors to publish an obituary you wrote yourself, you’ll have little control over what’s printed about you in the local paper and on the funeral-home’s public website.

The obvious takeaway would be to suggest that we should strive to live perfect lives. But that’s an unattainable goal.

However, we can control how we treat others. Then we won’t have to hope against hope that survivors are kind enough to leave out embarrassing details. They’ll want to do so. The secret is to show extravagant love to those around us, accept their quirks, and be glacially slow to judge.

When Doris moved to the area seven years ago, a younger relative—who happens to be an RN—took that approach. She never shamed Doris as the dementia deepened, causing paranoia, outbursts, and unwarranted accusations. Instead, she carefully arranged for all the services Doris qualified for, took her to doctor visits, tirelessly monitored her prescriptions, untangled her checkbook each month, and much more. She maintained her high-level care for seven long years, even after Doris’s own children abandoned her.

That sweet relative lived out the apostle Peter’s instruction: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8 NIV).

Here’s hoping that whoever writes my obituary will take that verse to heart. And in case anyone wants to know, my favorite color is candy-apple red.


*Not her real name.

© 2015 by Diana Savage. All rights reserved.

Dirty Fingerprints and the Refrigerator

by Diana Savage

“Congratulations!” the woman said. “You qualify for a brand-new refrigerator—absolutely free!”

For once, it wasn’t a scam. I’d called the toll-free number listed on a power-company flyer touting the replacement program, and after asking me a few questions, the company rep confirmed that my 20-year-old fridge was consuming too much energy. She said someone would call to give me a delivery date. I was thrilled at the prospect of getting a free appliance.

Have you ever noticed that when you anticipate a blessing, roadblocks often crop up?

DeliveredFridgeMy first clue about trouble ahead was when the company never called back with delivery info. I phoned the rep again, and the day she selected happened to be the busiest of my entire week. I marked my calendar, however, and on that hectic morning, twenty minutes before the scheduled time, I emptied the fridge and packed all the chilled and frozen food into picnic coolers.

The delivery time came and went. Finally, one of the guys called on his cell phone. “We’re on your street, but we can’t find your house,” he reported. It turned out they weren’t on my street, at all. Their GPS had misdirected them to a rural area six miles away.

I’ve been through enough difficulties in life to recognize who was behind the deteriorating situation. Centuries ago, the apostle Paul explained, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV).

I began to pray.

When the delivery guy called back, still lost, I offered to stay on the phone to guide them to my house. With my help, they arrived some fifteen minutes later.

After installing the new refrigerator and loading up my old, scrapped appliance, one of the men thanked me again for helping them with directions and remaining calm about the delay. As they wheeled the old fridge from the kitchen to the front door, a stream of rusty water dripped onto my beige carpet.

I scurried after them with rags to soak up the mess. “How many deliveries are you making today?” I asked as I stepped on a cloth to hasten absorption.

“Fifteen,” one of the men responded.

“I hope you don’t have another GPS mix-up like this.”

“We shouldn’t,” he said. “It happens only about once every hundred deliveries.”

I wasn’t surprised that I’d been the one-hundredth. Should I tell them about recognizing Satan’s dirty fingerprints all over the troubles that morning? I didn’t want to come across as a religious fanatic. But what if these young men were hungry to see God at work in everyday situations?

I took a deep breath. “Well,” I said, daubing another rag over a particularly large brown spot, “I’ve noticed that often, when I’m about to receive a blessing, something will happen to prevent it from reaching me. So I’ve learned to pray about the difficulty. In fact, I’ve been praying for you guys ever since you didn’t show up on time.”

The first young man grabbed my hand, pumped it vigorously, and gave me a smile as bright as his diamond-stud earrings. “Thank you!” he said.

When I’d first called for a replacement refrigerator, I never guessed that the adventure would turn out to bless the delivery men. I love how God redeems less-than-perfect situations whenever we give him the chance.

© 2015 by Diana Savage. All rights reserved.

Little Gray Stowaways

by Diana Savage
One of oldest of the 25 dead rodents we found during the cleanup.

This is one of oldest of the 25 dead rodents we found during the cleanup project.

Dealing with rats, mice, and other vermin is a fact of life for many people living in century-old homes on country acreage. That’s why, after an elderly relative moved from the house she’d lived in since 1953, my sister and I weren’t too surprised to find numerous rodent carcasses while we cleaned the property over a seven-month period.

The morning I found rodent number 23—a freshly deceased vole—in a wooden box in the pump house, Jennifer dumped it into one of the black garbage bags we loaded onto the pickup for our sixth trip to the landfill. I had just gotten settled in the passenger seat, and Jennifer had just started the engine, when a small gray animal with a long tail darted across the floorboard.

I’m sure I set a world speed record for unbuckling a seat belt and leaping out of a Chevy pickup cab in one fluid motion. Jennifer got out of her side pretty fast too.

Jennifer told me she’d seen the critter disappear into a ventilation duct under the dashboard. After my heart started beating again, I pulled a half-empty roll of paper towels from behind the seat and jammed it into the opening to keep the pest from reemerging. We were hit with the realization that since the seldom-used pickup belonged to our elderly relative and had been sitting in her carport for years, it, too, was vulnerable to rodent infestation.

However, being of hardy pioneer stock, we don’t give up easily when there’s a task to perform. After several minutes, Jennifer got back in and revved the engine good and loud. She figured if the little mouse wasn’t decapitated under the hood by whirring belts or fan blades, at least it might be too scared to return. I hesitantly reentered the cab.

We’d just slammed the doors shut and buckled our seat belts when the stowaway repeated his or her previous performance. And I repeated my previous rapid exit. “Where did it come from?” I gasped, staring at the duct I’d plugged.

“From under the seat,” Jennifer said.

We set a tray of poison between the brake pedal and part of the rodents' nest from under the seat.

We set a tray of poison between the brake pedal and part of the rodents’ nest that had fallen out from under the seat.

We peered to investigate and noticed a mound of paper and fabric bits that formed a sizable nest, but even when we poked at it with a stick, we saw no movement indicating any occupants. Convinced no more mice were in the cab—or perhaps we’d seen the same one that had now run away for good—we got in once more. But this time I didn’t fasten my seat belt. That was a wise decision on my part, because the mouse—or one of its brothers—showed up a third time.

What to do? We were on a tight schedule and really needed to discard the load of trash so we could fill the pickup again with metal to recycle. And on this particular trip, one of the garbage bags contained rapidly thawing food that had been too freezer-burned to salvage. Getting rid of it immediately was imperative. But when Jennifer attempted to start the engine a fourth time, I stayed outside. That’s why I didn’t have to make a hasty exit when the fourth mouse appeared.

Incredibly, my brave sister was willing to trust that the rodent(s) wouldn’t keep emerging every time we closed the doors, so, after several more minutes, she asked gamely, “Want to try again?”

I declined. My concern was for her, actually. I knew how terrible she’d feel if I were maimed or killed as the result of leaping from a moving vehicle.

We set traps, loaded with peanut butter, on the pickup cab's floor.

We set new traps, loaded with peanut butter, on the floor.

“Considering all the other loads we’ve hauled, why is this the first time we’ve seen mice in the pickup?” I asked. Jennifer didn’t know either, so we devised Plan B for the day and set a tempting tray of d-CON rat-bait pellets near the accelerator. The next morning we also brought traps, loaded with peanut butter, and positioned them next to the poison. That’s when Jennifer saw another flash of gray fur.

On the third day, the traps hadn’t been sprung, but they were empty of peanut butter. Great. We’d ended up with defective traps. However, half the d-CON had been eaten and no more rodents emerged, so we gingerly set out for the dump.

In spite of the terror that must have been written on our faces, the landfill attendant recognized us from our previous half-dozen trips. Perhaps we were memorable because she didn’t see too many blonde gals, wearing makeup and earrings, return on such a regular basis.

We backed into the unloading area, put on our work gloves, and tossed out all the trash we’d brought. Then, as I started sweeping the truck bed clean, a very live mouse ran directly toward me. I shrieked and lunged out of the way. Jennifer, obviously the braver sibling, took the broom, jumped into the truck bed, and swept the rodent to the ground, where it scurried under an old loveseat we’d just discarded. Whew! We figure it had been nibbling on food from the freezer that, by then, had had three days to ripen. I was still shuddering as we drove away.

“At least you have something to blog about,” Jennifer said.

She was right. But perhaps I should let God know it will be a long time before I’m desperate enough for material to want to repeat the experience.

© 2015 by Diana Savage. All rights reserved.

Win a Book to Nourish Your Soul with Hilarity

This contest ran from July 6 through July 11, 2015. Thanks to those who entered. Congratulations to winner Tracy MacDonald! A copy of Janette’s book is being rushed to her right now. The rest of you can purchase a copy here.


Do you need a vacation from stress, worry, and global whining? Would you like to know the secrets of how laughter can help you

  • live healthier and longer,
  • deepen your relationships, and,
  • trust a God who has the sense of humor to give a baby to a 90-year-old lady?

heart of humor coverI thought so. That’s why I’m celebrating The Heart of Humor, the newest book of my dear friend, Jeanette Levellie, by sharing a chapter and giving away a signed copy for one fortunate winner!

Read to the end to discover how you can win…

Finger Foods Are for Wimps

by guest blogger Jeanette Levellie

The idea of serving finger foods began innocently enough at a meeting of the Missionary Mamas. Mrs. Practical suggested we bring sandwiches, veggie plates, and fruit skewers to our next church supper instead of the usual noodles, fried chicken, and peach cobblers.

Illustration (c) 2015 by Ron Levellie

Illustration (c) 2015 by Ron Levellie

“It will save us preparation time, we won’t have to wash silverware, and finger foods are much healthier,” she said. Sounded reasonable to our mama ears. We decided to give it a trial run. Little did we imagine we were guillotining the mainstay of our fellowship suppers: recipes handed down from one mama to another, delighting the souls and taste buds of all who partook.

I realize that Nora’s homemade noodles contain enough fat to give the Loch Ness monster a coronary, but they glide down your throat ten times smoother than a celery stick with fat-free peanut butter. Betty’s ranch-and-bacon cheese ball may make my gallbladder throw a hissy fit, but it entertains my tongue far better than wheat-something squares with cucumber slices cut thinner than my patience. And skewered melon balls just don’t zing for me like Tonya’s double-chocolate fudge cake.

We ladies used to exchange the best methods for removing coffee stains from upholstery and catch up on family news while we washed casserole dishes and cake pans. Now we just flip the plastic containers from fruit and veggie trays into the trash and wave goodbye. So you see how this whole healthy-finger-food obsession is ruining our deep Christian fellowship.

Yes, I know Jesus served rolls and fish to the crowds. But that was a picnic—centuries before anyone invented green-bean casserole, shepherd’s pie, or apple fritters. I’m positive He won’t settle for low-fat finger foods at His marriage supper.

From My Heart to Yours: Women’s groups can be bastions of comfort and friendship, or battlefields of strife and division. The Lord gave ladies the gift of influence. Although I prefer noodles and chocolate cake to finger foods, I refuse to argue the point. I’d rather use my influence to talk the Missionary Mamas into hosting an old-fashioned potluck dinner.


JeanetteHeadshotPublished author Jeanette Levellie is a spunky, sometimes reluctant pastor’s wife of thirty-plus years. This guest post is from her newest book, The Heart of Humor. Find Jeanette on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Amazon.

 If you’d like to win an autographed copy of The Heart of Humor, filled with clever essays like the one you just read, leave a comment about your favorite food for women’s luncheons or church potlucks. You’ll be asked for your e-mail address when you sign in, so be sure to use an address you’ll actually check, because we’ll contact the winner via e-mail. However, your e-mail address will not be posted publicly.

The contest will end at 11:59 p.m. PDT, Saturday, July 11. I will draw one winner and post his or her name on this site on Monday, July 13.

How I Came to Be a Reluctant Amazon Bookseller

Here's what 2,971 books look like when boxed and shrink-wrapped for shipping.

Here’s what 2,971 books look like when boxed and shrink-wrapped for shipping.

Eighteen months after releasing my book, the publisher took it out of circulation and offered to let me buy as many remaining copies as I wanted to before other sellers had a chance to get their grubby—I mean, had a chance to take advantage of the deep discounts offered.

All the five-star reviews on Amazon and encouraging notes from readers motivated me to find a way to get my fifty-two humor-kissed devotions into the hands of discouraged Christians. I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing the fruit of my labor piled in bargain bins.

That’s how my garage ended up with fifty boxes of 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.

A week ago I spent two hours reading through all the legalese required to become an Amazon seller. I used the name of my business, Savage Creative Services, and set my price to be the lowest in the “new” book category. Immediately afterward, another seller dropped his price to a penny below mine. Ah, the joys of market competition!

I'm the newbie among booksellers, but as the author, at least I can offer autographed copies.

I’m the newbie among booksellers, but as the author, at least I can offer autographed copies.

I’m convinced that many folks need the encouraging message—and accompanying chuckles—they’ll find in this collection of humorous meditations. Now I’m motivated to push beyond my natural reticence and focus on bringing the books to as many people as possible. Sounds good in theory, but it’s still a difficult task for an introvert.

As the book’s author, I can add the incentive of providing autographed copies. That shouldn’t be hard for an introvert, right? I guess I’ll soon find out.


© 2015 by Diana Savage. All rights reserved.