Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Passionate God

As I was spending time reading and listening to what Papa had to say to me this morning I received a few treasures for my day and my heart!
All encouraging reminders that I want to share with you.

I am loved by God and that love is the motivating factor in my life.  As I receive His love more fully, I have more to give back to Him and to others.
According to Brennan Manning His love "banishes fear, worry and discouragement", while instilling "boldness, daring and boundless trust."
So true.

While reflecting on His amazing love a thought captured my attention.  My God has emotions.  He doesn't sit on His Throne coolly meting out love.  He loves passionately.  He is fervent in His love.  The Living God is passionate about all He does.

Years ago I spend quite a good length of time in Psalm eighteen.  I even committed it to memory.  This Psalm came to mind as I reflected on my passionate God.
The Psalmist shares how he called to God in the midst of deep distress and was answered.  The writer draws such a powerful picture that I have to share his words.

"In my distress I called upon the LORD and cried to my God for help;
He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears."

"THEN the earth shook and quaked; and the foundations of the mountains were trembling and were shaken, because He was angry.  Smoke went up out of His nostrils, and fire from His mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it.
He bowed the heavens also, and came down with thick darkness under His feet.  And He road upon a cherub and flew; and He sped upon the wings of the wind.
He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him, darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds, hailstones and coals of fire.
The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered His voice, hailstones and coals of fire."

"He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.  He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.  They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my stay.
He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me."

That is just a portion of this Psalm.  Read the complete chapter.  It is filled with powerful pictures of our passionate God!

My LORD has rescued me over and over.  The enemy most times is unseen, but no less real.   How often do we face a challenge, some struggle and then before we know it we are in the midst of  "many waters", just like the psalmist. 
Facing one difficulty we may think that we just might be able to lift ourselves out of it, but when they multiply it becomes too overwhelming.  God does not say to us, "Well, it would have been better if you had brought the original problem to Me, so sit there and stew awhile."
No!  He knows us and He loves us just as we are!  He loves to take care of His children and longs for us to look to Him and call to Him regarding every detail of our lives..

Care to join me in responding with the psalmist?
"I love You, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies."

In the last chapter of Revelation, the last book of the the entire Bible, we are told that those who heed the words of the book, worship God.  How can you help but do so?

Each day I learn something new and all of it is at His direction.  I am learning, albeit slowly, to accept this new twist in our lives.  Mindy expressed concern that Ray has put his life on hold because he just wants to wait out this temporary phase.  I think she is right and have begun to be more proactive in helping my honey to seize the day.
I don't think Ray has been alone in his approach.  Me thinketh that I bought into it too, to some extent.  This attitude can make a person impatient.  Impatient to see it pass.
If it does pass, it will do so slowly. 
There will continue to be progress, but to what extend only the LORD knows.  He could completely heal Him and do it right now.  It seems that He prefers to help us learn a few lessons, which takes time, unfortunately.

I want to help my husband live his life to its fullest.  To do so I need to always examine my heart.  It would be easy to be either holding him back, so I can stay 'in charge' or become impatient because I want to hand over all that comes with that 'charge.' 
What a joy to know that the One who knows my heart will guide me through to victory!  As I abide in Him and His Truth, I can be an encouragemnt to Ray and together we can live this life to the fullest surrounded by His passionate love!

Friday, October 29, 2010


For many years of my life I had no confidence; not in myself, nor in others.  Once I personally met Jesus I had confidence in Him and that confidence has grown with time.  As a byproduct I have gained confidence in myself.  To be accurate that confidence is in who I am, as per what Papa has shown me.  The confidence in Him is solid, however, the one regarding this girl of His grows shaky at times.

Fluctuating emotions don't help.   As a matter of fact they are the crux of the problem!
When unreasonable emotions rear their heads I can feel as if I am in a vortex, whirling and swirling around.
I can use reason to examine what is going on, but often it doesn't change how I feel. 

I know what has put my emotions in such an upheaval.  Unfamiliar, uncomfortable, unenjoyable ground.  the place I find myself in, as I have said before, is not any place that I would choose to be.  I am not a nurse on purpose and I do not like phones or details that involve things like insurance, disability, retirement, etc.
The things of people's lives or scriptures and especially the Author of those scriptures, now those are my kind of details!

What else has activated some of my emotions?  Loss, of course and also the sense of being helpless to help.  My granddaughter has made some very serious, life changing choices.  She has not been in a good place for a while.  I so want to see her.  Not that I could change things for her, but I'd just like a little face-to-face time with her.  She is in West Virginia, so that isn't going to happen any time very soon.

The upside of all of this is that I have confidence to come to my God with all of it and know that He hears me and that I am welcome.  According to Romans I have been justified by faith, I have peace with God, I stand in His grace, and I can exult in hope.  Believe it or not, I can also exult in my tribulations!
I am free to be me!  I am acceptable to Him just as I am!

Hebrews is the book that speaks of having confidence in come to Him and it is because Jesus is my high priest.  In the Old Testament we find the instructions given to the Jews as to how to approach God.  There was a place in the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies.  Only the high priest could enter there.
There was a very thickly woven curtain that separated this place from the rest.  The priest made atonement of sins there once a year.
As Christ was dieing on the Cross, the sun went in and "darkness fell over the whole land" for three hours! There was an earthquake and that curtain was torn in half from top to bottom! 
Such a picture of what Christ accomplished on that Cross!
No division, no separation anymore!  We can approach the Living God at anytime because of the sacrifice of His Son!
In light of this the writer of Hebrews tells us to "hold fast without wavering!"

Last night I attended my book club.  I was running a little late, as Ray needed a little help with some exercise sheets he needed completed for today.  For a brief moment I thought of staying home, but only briefly!
I enjoy the distraction and the fellowship of such evenings.  Yet, they are a bit out of my element.  A few of the ladies are very comfortably situated and seem to exude a self-assurance.  Situations like this are one of the most challenging for me. 
Why go?  Because some of my dear friends are there and they are reading books that truly interest me.  And after a little while I relax.

However, there is one person who is a very opinionated and forceful person who irks me just a little bit.
:{ She is aware, only in part, of my family's situation and the message I receive from her, whether completely accurate or not, is that I need to embrace and rise above all of it.  In other words, I am failing to do that!
Usually such messages roll off me, but what is disturbing me this time?  I think it is that many in the group do not really know me and I feel like the real Debbie isn't even in attendance.  Sure I am struggling, but I am not sinking!  I know that in time it will work out.  I know that I have a future and a hope because of my God.  I am confident in Him.  But does anyone see that right now?
This morning I was considering telling my friend, who organized this club, that I am withdrawing.  Ah, those miserable emotions!

Ah, my Glorious God!
After my honey headed off to therapy I headed off to sit with Papa for a while.
What did I hear?
That He is with me!  I cannot hear that enough!
A phrase from Manning's "Reflections" devotional leapt off the page and I responded; "Oh, LORD God, I want to respond afresh to the 'living, vibrant, magnificant image of Christ that is within me!'  Oh Papa, express Yourself in and through me!"

Again in Hebrews: "Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire."
Precious LORD God, oh, do consume me!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Above all keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins."
This is found in Peter's first epistle.

Sure love is the greatest of gifts, but how do we stay fervent in our love?  Is determination enough?
Do we "just do it," as they say?
In speaking with others who struggle with their emotions I often tell them not to let their feelings be the engine of their lives, but rather the caboose.  What a mess we have when we act out of the place we find ourselves emotionally!

So how do we keep all our crazy feelings in their proper place?
How do we consistently do the "next right thing", as my son, Tim, is fond of saying?

Well, Jesus tells us that apart from Him, we can do nothing.  Nothing good.

Lately I have felt disconnected from Him.  It is disturbing.  Unfortunately, it's not the first time.
I have learned that this feeling is deceptive.  My God has promised never to leave me or forsake me.  So it is only my perception.
Yet, perceptions can and do have an impact on how I go through my day.
Where is this block coming from?  Only Papa knows.

Yesterday He reminded me that I have received the Spirit of sonship.  And thus I can cry "Abba, Father."  He is my Papa, my Daddy.  I can trust Him.
So as I go through this valley, this dry spell, I can rest in the knowledge that I am not deserted.

Meanwhile, can I love?  Am I apart from Him or connected?
Connected!  I know this not because of any feeling, obviously, but because I know He keeps His Word.

I have evidence too.  I don't have to recite how He has met me in the past, but can stay in the here and now.
Even though I do not sense His Presence at the moment, His strength and guidance are still evident.  At times, I marvel that I respond as I should.  That is Him to be sure.

Part of my struggle at the moment is in having to be a little tough with my honey.  I don't like the role of "bad cop."  It is contrary to my nature.  I feel odd.  (There's one of those devious feelings!)

Ray is very complacent and would be glad to allow others to do everything for him.  He seems content to lay in bed with the TV going in the background for hours on end.

I make him get up.
I make him dress himself
I make him do his therapies.
I am mean - he says.
I hope I am expressing love.

I am deeply grateful for those who come to visit him!  It forces him to get out of bed and engage.  Yesterday he went out to lunch and visited our friend's horses.  Yah!

There is more in Peter's epistle.  I am always amazed how much there is to be found in just a few verses from God's Word.  You turn a page or two and you have just passed by a ton of rich blessings!
Peter encourages those who follow our precious LORD to remember that Jesus is returning.  We can count on it!
Live life with that perspective, pray accordingly, and let love be the motivator.  That leads to opening one's home (hospitality) and using your gifts (spiritual and material) to benefit others.  And it is all done for His Glory!
As I seek to live this kind of life, my heart finds encouragement and refreshment.  This kind of life is a shared life.  You and me hanging out together, sharing highs and lows.  What a gift!

These thoughts cause me to think of the potluck that is coming soon!  Join us on the seventh!  By the way, let's make it an Italian theme!

Monday, October 25, 2010

All Things

We have a greeting card sitting on a shelf that arrived from Ray's aunt a while ago.   In the past six months we have received a plethora of cards.  All of them were sent to express concern and support as we traverse through this adventure.  Many have been displayed at different times.  In the beginning I tried to put them all out, but it became too much, as there are too many!

This card, in particular, tickled me and so it stays on display.
As I was heading to my computer to compose this post the card caught my eye.  I had been thinking about how to begin this entry.
The card is a perfect way to start.  It is a picture of a cat with a bandage over one eye and wrapped around its head.  The cat is also wearing a sling and a few other bits of gauze.
The picture itself, sans the words that accompanied it, was what grabbed me.  It is cute, but it also depicts one coming through a battle.  That certainly is my husband, but not only him.
Can't we all relate at times, without necessarily having had the experience of physical injuries?  Life can be challenging and sometimes it feels like it is coming from all directions at once!  You feel like you haven't time to breathe!

My weekend was spent with my family in New York.  However, first I had to get there...
I was about to give you a blow by blow of the day, but forget it!  Let's just say that, in part, it involved waiting for an extra hour because the cancellation notice was waiting for us on our home phone.

The walk on Saturday went well.  We also raffled off over seventy baskets.  It was well attended. 
Sara was known to buy colored bagels for her students to celebrate different holidays.  The bakery handed out free pink bagels.  This is just an example of how people took part.  My niece is loved by many people.

You know Papa is known to work things out for good, even the really hard things.  I could write for a long time simply listing all He has and is doing.  Let me share one example.
One of my brother-in-laws always kept to himself.  Getting a hello out of him was big.  He definitely was never demonstrative.
Until now.  I have been enjoying getting to know him.  He lingers over conversation now.
That is Papa.

Before heading home yesterday I had the opportunity to spend time with our son, Jon and his girlfriend, Katie.  They live on the Island. 
I love having time with my sons.  Each one has a special woman in their life, so it is an added blessing when they are in attendance.
Unhurried time is the best.  I learn many things during these visits.  Yesterday was no different.
After time with them I always come away armed with material for prayer.

Then I came home...
It seems that whether you go away for a day or two or a full vacation it is never a smooth re-entry.  At least not for me!
I had just pulled into my driveway and my phone rang.  I didn't recognize the number, but answered anyway.  Someone wanted to visit that evening.  They had something for us.  Could they stop by?
I said definitely not! 
Afterward I wondered if I sounded too harsh.  I had said that I had just returned, etc., yet I do not like be short with anyone...

There has been an ongoing saga regarding Ray's medications.  Scripts not called in, not sent to the correct pharmacy, etc.  I thought it was handled, but came home to discover not so and we were out of one med!  Did I say I don't like to be short with anyone??

Never open the mail that is waiting when you just arrive home.  It isn't a good thing to do.
Medical bills that were not handled correctly with insurance.
All of this meant that I had a number of calls to make this morning.

Of course we had a blood test to get done today and I am having neck trouble, so I needed to see my chiropractor.  And Ray didn't want to get up....

Yes, there was also laundry, bills, funds to transfer so no checks bounced and a few other items.  Life doesn't stop.

Late afternoon found me at my optometrist for an exam.  I loath eye exams.  I do not like anything near my eyes and these exams involve many instances of close contact with my eyes! 
Hours after having my eyes dilated I headed out to pick up the corrected prescription.  Every light seemed brighter and stretched out to form stars.  I couldn't wait to get home!

So can I find any evidence of Papa at work through all of this craziness?
I am reminded that I have much for which to be grateful. 
Overall health, healthy eyes, good doctors (eye & chiro!), loving family and friends. 
Above all I am thankful for His indescribable gift!  Himself.
Each day I can turn to Him and I can open His Word and find something He wants to say to me, His precious girl.
This morning He encouraged me to stand firm, as He loves me and gives me eternal comfort and hope.  He is always here for me.  He is my source of comfort and strength. 
I go back to His promise of working everything out for good that is found in the eigth chapter of Romansand know it is a promise for me for I love Him.  If I stand firm I will not miss out on one good thing He has in store for me and my dear ones.
I think I have been rambling here, if so, please forgive me and may something you read spur you to seek Him, to search His Word and draw nearer to Him.  He makes the whole difference!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Mercy was the theme of my readings this morning.  Everything that I read carried a similar message.
I have learned to sit up and take notice when that happens.  When Papa wants to get a message through to me He covers all bases.  Sometimes it is as if He were underlining certain words and phrases. 
He had his pen in hand today!
In His MERCY He covered my sins.  He doesn't stop there.  His Presence in my life amazes me!  Not just peace with God, but relationship, friendship! 
His MERCY should be evident in and through my life.

When He brings a word to my attention, I enjoy plugging it into the thesaurus.  Here are some of the words that I found for mercy: compassion, forgiveness, clemency, kindness, sympathy, understanding, and leniency.
Those words made me think of the word "grace."
Many years ago I learned that grace means "His unmerited favor."
The thesaurus adds, kindness, favor and mercy.
Ah, the two go hand-in-hand, don't they?

In His mercy He draws us to Himself and redeems us.  He knows we are but dust and shows compassion toward us.  In the Psalms we read that His compassions fail not...His mercies are new every day...
My God understands me better than I understand myself.  Sometimes I take myself by surprise in how I respond to different situations.  He is never surprised.  Yet, I walk in His favor!

He knows that I have been wrestling with all the details of my life and has the answers, but sometimes I forget that fact.
I forget that Jesus said that He came to give us life and life more abundant!  When that isn't my experience, I know it isn't because He has withheld it from me.  No, it is because I am trying to do things myself and in my way.  Such a mess I make, especially in my heart!

Someone else needed to cancel their scheduled time with Ray today, which meant I was homebound.  Sigh.
Now did I immediately remember and focus on what Papa had to say to me this morning?  Don't be silly!
It was a slow process, but eventually I let go and waited on Him.
The LORD loves when we let go and let Him handle things.  The blockage (me) was cleared and blessings flowed! 

A friend came for lunch.
Someone else offered to drive Ray to Gaylord on Fridays and even sit with him while I visit my friends at the rehab!!
Gaylord called and changed my honey's schedule for tomorrow.  He will be finished earlier than usual, so we will get home in time for me to head to that rehab!  Oh, I know that I am not certain who will sit with my husband tomorrow afternoon, but I know Papa has that worked out too!

This morning I was prompted to look at my calendar and write in the next Potluck.  It will be November seventh at five o'clock in the evening.  I will have beverages and dessert waiting.  Who will we find standing at our door this time?!
Another date which has been assigned is December eleventh.  Each year we have a Christmas party.  This year will be no different.  It will begin at six o'clock.  Details will follow!

Yes, abundant life is ours in Christ!  That life is best enjoyed together!  So do join us so we can rejoice in His mercy and grace together!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Life happens.  It can be annoying. 
I like a schedule. Especially these days.
Actually, the schedule I want is one that is a guarantee.  A guarantee that I have a certain amount of time to myself, time that can be focused on a few things that are important to me.
Until six months ago I was a free agent, so I guess I am just chomping at the bit a little.

A few friends have been so kind to give of their time to stay with Ray or to take him to his therapy.  I am so very grateful.  Because of the help, as I have mentioned, I have been able to return to my friends at the rehab.  It is a joy.

My visits happen on Fridays.  If I have to take my honey to Gaylord, I do not have time to return him home, if someone were waiting for him there, and arrive at the rehab on time.  This Friday might be one of those times.
A good friend, who was taking him, has had a health issue arise.  How dare he?!  I am kidding, of course.  Hey, life happens, unfortunately.
I am praying that the issue is minor and that he has peace as he goes through the process of tests and healing.

This put another crimp in my schedule, but after a little pouting I settled down and a reasonable thought came to me.  You see I am heading to New York Friday afternoon, as I am participating in that Sunrise Fund walk early Saturday morning.
Driving to Long Island, which is where I am going, to be specific, is not the most enjoyable experience on a good day.  Heading there on a Friday needs perfect timing if there is any hope of avoiding monsterous traffic.
I intended to leave directly from the rehab at two o'clock in the afternoon.  I would have avoided the majority of rush hour traffic.
Our friend might be able to hang with Ray in the afternoon, but I will not know until that day.
Here comes the reasonable thought.  Take the ferry.  To do so means booking ahead of time to be sure of a spot.
I hate spending money, but I know that I will be exhausted if I try to do the drive and then walk the following morning.  As soon as the thought came to me, I knew it was the right way to go.
Regarding the rehab, I will simply wait until that morning and see what doors Papa opens.  My honey offered to sit in the car!  Of course, I wouldn't do that to him!  Maybe the trunk...
Still kidding.

It all works out in the end.  The problem for me is that every week I need to line up help.  I hate to keep asking, not because I think I should be able to do it all myself, but because I do not want to wear anyone out!

I want to do what is right.  In all things I desire to honor Papa and I am concerned that Debbie might just get in the way of that now and then!
He has called me to follow Him and walk in His ways.  David Jeremiah said, "The dedication of one can make the difference for many."  I want to be dedicated.  I want to make a difference; in my home and beyond!
In the New Testament book of James, the fourth chapter, we learn that conflicts often arise because we want our own way; that selfishness is at work in our hearts. 
He longs for His Spirit to dwell in my (our) heart(s) fully.  Selfishness is dispelled by His Spirit!

This morning I was reading Peter's second epistle where I was reminded that He has given me precious and magnificent promises and desires me to partake of the divine nature (in other words, to become like Him).  He gives grace, peace, life, godliness, escape from corruption and lust; what can I do but give myself to Him for His glory?!

His Truth puts everything in perspective again.
So does taking my eyes off myself and looking toward others.  Many are struggling, many are facing challenges: our friend with his health issue, another who is battling lung cancer, a precious friend who sees the end of her struggle with Parkinsons nearing, one who is facing surgery for prostate cancer...I could go on and on.  Every day prayer requests arrive in my in-box and over the phone, all concerning major issues. 
So if my schedule is a little more challenging some days, then it is just a little more challenging and it would be a lovely thing if instead of grumbling I thought of my friends and their heavy-duty challenges and in so doing lifted them up in prayer.
Papa help me keep things in perspective!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ode To Sophie

Most of us have had pets.  To truly say you have a pet is to say that you have an additional family member.  I know some have owned animals without welcoming them into their families, but have viewed them simply as a creature that they feed, etc.
Not this family.  We get very close to our cats and dogs.  Becoming friends with a furry one is so much fun.  They each have their own personalities, similar to humans. 
On occasion one comes along that really stands out as unique.  That was Sophie.
I met Sophie over four years ago.  She resided with Matt and Mindy and another car named Penny.  They all lived in California.
Sophie and Penny made the trip to Connecticut with Matt in July.  They are such a part of the family and thus greatly loved and as such, of course,could not be left behind.
Until arriving in this state they were inside cats.  (I bet you know where this is going..)
At first they were happy to just go out onto our screened porch.  I think they thought that they had died and gone to heaven, as there was so much to see from that porch: birds and more birds to be specific. There was an occasional mouse scurrying by and more than occasionally a multitude of squirrels!
Penny is more retiring in personality and easily frightened.  For many weeks she never left Matt and Mindy's bedroom.  Though after a while the porch was too inviting to ignore!
Not Sophie.  She wanted to see everything and now!  No matter what door opened and no matter where she was at the moment, she would appear in time to attempt to scoot through the opening.  We had to be extra careful not to let her outside, nor leave her to be trapped in a closet or room!  It happened more than once!
Sophie seemed to be a mix between cat and dog.  She loved to follow us around and wanted to be where we were.  This kitty did enjoy curling up on a lap, just don't pick her up, as she instantly became like a sack of potatoes that was not very cuddly.
Often Sophie would entertain us by chasing whatever we teased her with.  However, she didn't need us to instigate the play, but found numerous sources of entertainment herself; shadows, moths and even a leaf that found its way into the house.
Ray and I have a cat, Chloe, and she is an outside cat.  She has her own personal cat door off the porch and Sophie began to inspect it closely.  She started to make it very clear that the outdoors were beckoning to her also.  We finally acquiecsed.
I have my own definition of a door.  It is something an animal or child is on the wrong side of.  As the weather cooled, we needed to keep the slider to the porch closed.  Sophie always seemed to be on one side or the other desiring to get on the other side!

Yesterday evening we went to dinner and it was pleasant.  I do need to say that I realized that I am being selfish to expect Ray to enjoy such excursions.  His arm is giving him much pain and sitting for any period of time is very draining.  So it looks like we will be having takeout for our anniversary!

Matthew was driving and as we approached our driveway he cried, "Oh, no!" and drove past.  As we passed by I could see an animal lying in the road.  It was Sophie.
My precious daughter-in-law never had a cat or dog before.  Neither she nor Matt ever lost an animal this way.  It is so sad.  There have been tears.  Our hearts are heavy.
As Mindy grieved she commented that this was an animal, not even a human and then she looked at me and said, "Poor Aunt Chrissy!"
Yes, my poor sister.  Everything reminds me of her and her (our) loss.  Today much of the family is walking in the Cancer Society's walk.  More sorrow and heavy hearts.  Hopefully, more healing too.

Papa gives many gifts.  Some definitely don't come wrapped as we would expect, yet gifts they are.  We only need to trust and wait.  He will unwrap it for us in His time.  He has in the past and will continue to so again.

My heart joins the psalmist in what I read this morning in Psalm ninety-two, the fourth and fifth verses:
"You thrill me, LORD, with all you have done for me!  I will sing for joy because of what You have done.  O LORD, what great works You do!  And how deep are Your thoughts."

I jotted down something I read the other day.  I do not remember the source,, but want to close with it.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.  It's about learning to dance in the rain!"

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Remember the rollercoaster ride I have mentioned in the past? Well, it is still running.... this one isn't seasonal, unfortunately!
I get lonely. My (our) life is very predictable for the most part. I get bored.
After overhearing part of Matt and Mindy's discussion about how to spend their weekend last night, I got to thinking. Thinking is overrated at times!
Ray and I were always doing something. We had separate interests and things we did together. Life was interesting. It was a challenge to fit it all in.

He isn't interested in doing much these days. We have learned not to give him an option, but just take him along wherever we might be going.
Our days can be busy, but then comes the lull. That's when it gets a bit boring.
One thought led to another. Our anniversary in next month. I will express the desire to go to dinner to celebrate. He'll agree, but it won't be the same.
We really do not have much conversation. My honey responds to questions, but generally is not drawn into a real conversation. Imagine Ray Reynolds doesn't have much to say!

Those were the thoughts rambling around in this head.
With that Matt happened to come into the room to talk to me. Let's all go to dinner tomorrow night! How about that Japanese restaurant in Waterbury?
I am so amazed how Papa meets my every need and longing!
Matt and I have a deal. I handle the books for his new company and he and Mindy treat Ray and me to dinner once a month or so. He had wanted to pay me, but I am just glad to help him with his new business! The dinner is our compromise.
Papa knew that and, of course, His timing is perfect!

I am still working on staying in the present - to simply "be". That is what my God does. He is fully present. He is the great "IAM." He is ever present.
He is my example. He calls me to be like Him. That includes staying present. I get into trouble when I slip away into yesterday or tomorrow.

The longing for more fellowship has been growing. More fellowship would help with the lonely and bored issues. Though my relationship with Jesus is a deeply personal one, it is in the midst of a body. He desires the body to be united and not to miss out on gathering together.

I've been thinking about this issue. Good thinking this time.
Reflecting back on "church" times that were what I believe He intends our fellowship to be, a few instances stand out.
Over the years I have been involved in a number of small "cell" groups. In these groups there was real connection. We shared our lives with one another. We prayed for each other, we found encouragement and insight; blessing! Yes, food was involved at some point. It simply wasn't the focus.
This fellowship is much more than what is called such that happens for fifteen minutes after a church service.

I long for the new testament church.
I have a confession to make. I have not attended a church service since Ray has come home. It is a challenge to get him ready in time, as well as myself!
Do I miss it? No. Oh, I miss faces, but always found it less than satisfying to try to connect over a quick cup of coffee.
I do miss the sharing of the LORD'S Supper (communion).

Years ago I was at a women's conference and the final time together included sharing communion. I was surrounded by a number of close friends, which deepened the experience for me.
Papa showed me something during the serving of the bread and wine (juice, in this case). The picture of a river of blood threading its way in and around us filled my mind and took me up into an experience of it. It was amazing.
What did it mean? We are connected in Christ through His Blood, which He shed for us. This is the uniting factor.
That is the kind of connection I am looking for, so I look to Papa to meet this very real and important need.
You'll be the first to hear how He works this out. I know He will! Papa loves to bless and this is something that is near and dear to His heart too.
In Ephesians we are reminded that in Him we are blessed with every spiritual blessing. To join as His body to worship Him and grow together is a large part of those blessings.
Let me end by encouraging you to read that first chapter of Ephesians and make a list of all that we have in Christ. You will need a full sheet of paper!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It feels like we haven't spoken in quite a while. I think of you often through my day, but it isn't always easy to find the time to sit down for a chat with you. It takes me time to settle down and gather my thoughts, so I don't if I can't.

The above paragraph is for you dear reader(s) though it could be for Papa too. However, He and I do communicate even when I am on the run. Yet, He and I both miss the leisurely times of fellowship. I know that there are different seasons in our lives and we (I) need to go with them. Flexibility is needed.

Why is it that I so easily buy into the thinking that He isn't pleased with short times of "just the two of us"? It is often all that is available at the moment and Papa doesn't expect anything that we can't give to Him. He is not demanding, nor unreasonable. Quite the contrary. He is extravagant in His giving. He loves to bless! He has so much to give and the path of discovery is through our relationship with Him.

The Apostle Paul knew that and expressed as much in his epistle to the Ephesians. I have used his words when talking to Papa about a number of people. Here's Paul's prayer as it reads from The Message: "I ask-ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory-to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing Him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is He is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life He has for His followers, oh the utter extravagance of His work in us who trust Him-endless energy, boundless strength!"

What power and blessing is available to us through Jesus!!
Are we blessed or what??!!

The blessings do keep pouring in...
Friends to spend time with my honey..
To drive him to Gaylord...
Time with special friends of my own...
Good doctors and therapists....
Answers regarding Ray's pension!!
This has been weighing upon my mind. Decisions don't need to be made as of yet, but I want to have everything in order. Questions such as, "Will we be able to afford to stay in this house a while longer?" need answering.
Answers are coming! Ah....

We are moving ahead in another area-Ray's vision. We visited with our eye doctor this week. Tests were and will continue to be done to help the doctor to formulate the right plan for my husband. It is such a comfort to know that this doctor doesn't simply know eyes, but Papa too!

On the twentieth of this month Ray is scheduled for another EMG. This is a test of the nerves in his arm. It will be more than interesting to learn the results of this test, as Ray has been gaining a little more movement in his hand. This is very unexpected according to the doctors and therapists. Nerves do not generally come back and if they do, it is at a very slow rate. His progress is not slow by medical standards!

A week from this Saturday I and my family in New York are walking in a fundraiser that Sara had helped start. It is called the Sunrise Fund and it is for children with cancer. This year's walk is in Sara's memory. The Cancer Society's walk that is happening this coming weekend is less personal and since I cannot go to New York both weekends I am choosing to participate in the later walk. Papa has already lined up the help that is needed on this homefront so that I can go down on Friday. The walk begins at 7:30 AM the following morning.

Though I may not feel like I am getting as much "alone time" with Papa as I like, it has occurred to me that every moment of my every day is a Papa moment. I and my family are snug in His Hands and He is caring for our every need. What a humbling realization!
Now if I can just stay out of my head and stay focused on those Hands!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Five o'clock Sunday evening came and the door bell rang. It rang five different times. Apart from one couple I had no idea who would be standing on the other side of my door. It was such fun to be surprised!

The ten chairs around our table were filled yesterday evening with Ray and I, along with eight friends!
There was such an array of delicious dishes to choose from and we got to keep the leftovers! Hey, this potluck idea isn't bad! Our family concurs!

It was a joy for me to observe everyone sitting around sharing life and a meal; getting to know one another better. Papa is all about relationships and I am sure He was enjoying the scene too!

There was a downside.
It so typical forn't me to anticipate something with such great pleasure, but be taken by surprise by some negative element and have that feeling dashed.

Let me explain. The potluck was Papa's idea. It hadn't occurred to me until I had written the invitation in one of my posts. That doesn't mean that it isn't something I would do, but just that Papa instigated the thought.
Since it was His idea and such a good one I expected it to be a completely positive experience. It even worked into Papa's intention to have people around Ray too.

My honey didn't agree. No one else knew that. Well, I guess they do now, if they are reading this!
My honey kept giving me hard looks and was very short with me. He didn't like the disruption! I felt deflated. A cry would have felt good. I was disappointed.

After everyone left I mused over Ray's reaction. It seems Papa was not surprised and this was part of the plan. What?!
The thought came to me that Ray is seeing himself as an invalid that needs to be catered to. Ah ha!
My honey and I had a little talk. Life is not going to stop and I intend to live it. He should too! This is our life and we need to make the most of it!

Through this experience a few thoughts tried to take hold in my mind and if I had let them they would have worked their way into my heart. They were "poor me" kind of thoughts. No way!

Papa reminded me that this struggle is more than just a flesh and blood one, but is spiritual in nature. The mind is one of the battlegrounds. It is critical that "every thought be taken captive to the obedience of Christ."

So we are on for another potluck next month! Next time I will not let anything cheat me out of the joy of having others join my life and open theirs to me also. I just need to let Papa see to it!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Papa continues to bring refreshment to this heart of mine.
I thought I'd pass it along.

Ever feel like your prayers are going no further than the ceiling? They don't need to go any further! He is right here!
"We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts." A W Tozer

Checkout the fourth chapter of Deuteronomy, the thirty-ninth verse: He is God! He is LORD! There is no other!
This God loves me and enjoys my company!!

In the first chapter of Romans we learn that our God gives each of us every opportunity to know Him. It is our choice. If we do not choose to take advantage of what we are offered, we will face the consequences. When we do not allow God to fill the void in our lives, we will become emptier and undone. That which seeks to rush in and "fill" us does not satisfy for long, but instead destroys.

I get this picture of real life teeming around us. It is out of sight, but actually more real than what we see. It is His Kingdom. When we settle for that which we can see, we cheat ourselves out of such an amazing gift.
In C S Lewis' final book in his Narnia series, "The Last Battle", the final scene depicts what I am trying to say.
The struggle between good and evil had just come to the point of evil appearing to be prevailing and all those who would not follow were trapped in an old, dirty, dark barn. The tables turn when Aslan (Christ figure) appears. The barn walls fall and instead of darkness and evil surrounding them they encounter beauty. Grassy hills, bright sun, birds singing and Aslan calling to His people to follow Him. "Come up higher!" That was His cry to them.
Nearly everyone responded by pursuing Him. Everyone but the dwarfs. From the moment they entered the barn they had sat in a circle by themselves saying over and over, "The dwarfs are for the dwarfs."
They were so closed off to anything or anyone else that they took no notice of the transformation of their surroundings.
They refused to take notice and to them they were still trapped in that old barn. The book ends with them still there, never taking hold of the true reality.
My God is not sitting in wait to judge and punish. No, He eagerly waits for us to be receptive to all the blessings that are piled up just waiting to be received!
The greatest blessing being Himself!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Papa has been speaking to me about faithfulness.
To keep a commitment one needs to be faithful. Will I be faithful to that which I have committed myself?
Faithfulness starts with the small things. Jesus said that if we are faithful in the little things we will be faithful in the big stuff. You see if we practice being faithful in the day-to-day living it will be easier for us to stay faithful when the big things come and there is no doubt that they will!
Fear can get in our way of keeping on that track. We need to take courage!
David Jeremiah commented on this. "Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is persevering in spite of the fear."
It is a choice, as usual. I choose to commit myself to something and determine to be faithful. When the fear rises up I find courage, not in myself and my commitment, but in the One Who called me to the path. I don't wait for the fear to leave, but cling to my God and find courage, because of Who He is.
While reading in Hosea today I found more about faithfulness. It is something the LORD looks for in His people. Loyalty is another word for it.
Hosea was God's prophet, thus he was His spokesman. God's people were not faithful. What was the cause of this condition? The absence of knowledge. They did not know their God intimately, nor had they given themselves to the study of His Word. This lack leads not only to unfaithfulness, but ruin!
Very sobering.
But before I could start down the path of how short I fall and what a wretch I am Papa turned me to another passage.
In the first chapter of Ephesians I read from The Message, "How blessed is God! And what a blessing He is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in Him. Long before He laid down earth's foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure He took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift-giving by the hand of His beloved Son."

What faithfulness! What commitment! He chooses to bless us and make us His own, not because of anything we have done, but just because He loves us. He planned it all before there was even a planet called Earth!
That life verse of mine from First Thessalonians come to mind. "Faithful is He who called you, Who also will do it!"
All I have to do is hang on to Him. Even the strength to do that comes from Him. What a comfort!

Today both Ray and I needed that reminder. My honey has been experiencing quite a bit of pain in his arm. He's been very uncomfortable. For the first time since coming home from Glendale he asked for something to help with the pain.
It is a great comfort to know that our God, who has not left us yet, is totally faithful and will carry us through this and whatever else comes our way.

I am eager to see who He brings to our door tomorrow at five in the evening. What part of His body will be pulling up chairs and joining our life? Who will be gathering together to share in the joy of belonging?
No matter who does come, may each one find encouragment to continue on in faithfulness, confident that He will do it!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I'm back and rested, for the moment. Rested, but distracted. My cat, Chloe, just jumped up on my lap, or I should say clawed her way up onto my lap and expects my undivided attention. She expects me to use both hands while petting her and is not pleased that they are occupied with this keyboard.
The thought just hit me that my cat is not the only thing that can distract me and demand all of my attention. Some of the things are external, but not all of them.

The external stuff is easier to dispense with than the flotsom that takes up residence in my head and heart. Things like paperwork and housework can be dealt with and even, at times, delegated, but clearing out the internal junk takes more energy, unless....

Unless I ask for help. My God is always ready to help. How does He help me? He reminds me of what is true.

Some of the thoughts that like to lodge in my brain say things such as; "Is that the best you can do?" "What are your REAL motives?" "What is going to happen if Ray doesn't regain his strength?" "How will you make it on disability?" "You think your lifestyle has changed now?"

How do I answer those and many other questions? I cry, "Papa!" And He answers with assurances of His love. I am reminded that I am free in Him. Free of guilt and fear. He answers me with Truth; He began a good work in me and He will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus! That's one reminder from Him.
He is the Author and Perfecter of my faith. His Truth took root in my heart because He had prepared it, not because of anything I had done.
He has a good plan for my life. A plan to give me a future and a hope, not to bring calamity!
He tells me to call to Him and He will tell me great and mighty things, which I do not know!
All these are promises from His Word, promises waiting to be believed and taken personally.
Balm for the anxious soul.

I discovered something new from one of Jesus' parables that I was reading the other day. The parable of the soils.
The disciples were the only ones who asked Jesus to explain the meaning of this parable. Out of all the people who had sat and listened to Him no one else sought to understand what He meant by the story. I had never thought about this before.
What does this mean to me? That when I want to understand and learn more of His ways and how to live this life He is more than willing to help me. I need but ask. He wants me to understand.
James tells us that if need wisdom I need but ask.

So I don't need to be distract. I need to simply be focused on my God. He has it all in hand and will gladly show me the way.
It always amazes me how everything falls into place as I turn my eyes and heart fully to Him!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

For the last hour and a half I have been trying to ignore the fact that I am not falling asleep. Usually I lay down and fall asleep talking to Papa. The conversation is most often very brief, however, now and again the night arrives when it continues for hours. The question of why I am not sleeping keeps arising.
Am I suppose to be praying for someone? Is there something we need to discuss? Did that tea have any caffeine in it?
No, no and no.
There does not seem to be a pattern to my sleeplessness. No full moon. No biological reason either.

I wonder could it be that I couldn't have packed more into this particular day if I had tried? Could it be, in part, the fact that I kept finding one more thing to do until it suddenly was ten o'clock at night?

Monday was a full day without any help from me. Ray had an appointment at Gaylord's brace clinic to assess what adjustments needed to be done to his leg brace. Before that we had to do his PT and OT at home and stop at the lab for a blood test.
Of course, all of that was after we got up, dressed and ate breakfast. A very time consuming process these days!
Before we headed out I squeezed in a little Pilates (I am determined to exercise!) and made us lunch to have on our travels.

There were a couple of other stops that preceeded anything else, which actually took a lot less time than anticipated. This meant that we could stop at the mall on the way to Gaylord. Ray waited in the car while I ran in to find a couple of pairs of jeans for him.

As I shopped I was thinking about the extra expenses we have had due to the accident. One area is clothing. When Ray entered Gaylord I was told that he would be dressed everyday, so would I kindly bring in clothing that was extra large. Since he was not mobile back then, he would be dressed while lying in bed. Large clothing made it much easier to dress him.
Fast forward to the present. Ray's regular jeans would fit though a little loosely, however, he cannot do buttons or snaps and even zippers are a challenge. Thus we have been using the pants that he wore in the hospital. They are elastic waisted with a draw string. Being a larger size than he needs they are extremely baggy. This means they do not like to stay up unless the string is tied. This also means that Ray is dependent upon one of us, usually me, to tie them numerous times a day.
Since our goal is for him to be as self-sufficient and independent as possible, it seemed a good idea to find pants that aided that goal.
Mission accomplished!

There we sat waiting to be called for our appointment. It was a good half an hour before that happened. I have sat longer than that for many a medical appointment, yet it felt very long this time, because we sat at Gaylord where they are so prompt in every other area.
The woman facing us, who was on her cell phone the entire time and happened to have a large voice, didn't help matters!

By the time our turn came I had a miserable headache. This was, in part, due to the fact that I had been trying to sandwich in a visit to my chiropractor to no avail for a full week. I was headed to him to after Gaylord, but it never happened as the brace appointment was much longer than I anticipated.
Oh well.

The result of Ray's appointment was a reduced brace! It was cut down to stop below his knee. Originally the brace went up to the top of his thigh. Progress!

Every now and then the longing for my husband, as he had been, overtakes me. Yesterday, I asked him for a hug while he was standing in front of me. He complied, as best he could. It was all I could do to hold back the tears.
I miss so much. So much that I took for granted. His strength and energy. His quick wit. His mind that never turned off. It used to make me crazy! I had told him that science would have a true challenge if he donated that brain to them. He was always thinking; calculating, planning, anticipating and on and on.
I do see glimpses of the Ray I knew, but in such a diminished way. What encourages me is that he is still in therapy and I am certain that they would not be working with him if they did not expect results.
I also know that with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) things take time. They have told me that the most dramatic progress is made in the first six months, but the brain also heals at its own rate and that means a year or beyond will bring continued healing.

Let's get back to the overfilled day. I'll let you in on a little something about me. Yes, there are many things I still haven't revealed! This lady blogger can get a little crazed at times.
I love order in my nest. Over the years I have relaxed, but an occasional slip happens.

Here's an example of the unreformed me. I like lists. I like checking things off my list. Before learning to relax a little I was known to add something after it has been accomplished just so I could check it off.
On one of those lists of years gone by I had detailed all I intended to accomplish for the day. Yes, intended, not hoped! Among the usual household duties and errands, and there were many, I had written "reupholster couch". That was not "begin to", but "complete it!"
Even back then I had to shake my head at myself.

Every Autumn, as soon as the weather begins to grow cooler, I batten down the hatches; close the storm windows, hang the heavier curtains, get out warmer blankets and clothing, etc. I know I am not alone in this practice. I just wonder how many try to do it all in one day??!!

No I didn't get it all done, but not for lack of trying!
So I think that the reason that I am still awake at two in the morning is that I am too wound up.

It's time to unwind. For me there is only one place to go to make this happen.
Yes, putting the focus on my God alone. I realize that, in part, my busyness is an attempt to be in control.
It is, as always, an illusion. Control, that is. He alone has the power to control.
Whatever we are grasping for will never satisfy, if what we are after isn't the Living God. Nothing satisfies our souls apart from Him. He is the one thing we need and truly what our hearts and souls long for. Rich Mullins said Jesus was his one thing. Me too! When we have Him, we have everything.
In Romans eight verse eighteen we are reminded that no matter what this life brings, whether it be difficult circumstances where our emotions run the gamut, in the end we win! Yes, in the end we do win, but in the meantime, in Him, we can live loved.

There is so much to distract us from that which is most important, most vital. I am reminded of the need to keep focused. Slice of Infinity's commentary for October fourth addresses the issue of just how distracted our society has become. It is a worthwhile read!
Proverbs two urges us to receive and treasure His Word. We are urged to cry for, lift our voices, seek and search for more of Him and His treasures. We will gain wisdom, knowledge and understanding. It all comes from Him, as He is the source of all that is good and true.

So when I have a crazy day I don't have to beat myself up. When I have a sleepless night, I don't have to fight it or worry how tomorrow will be affected.
No, as His well-loved girl, who desires more of Him, I can climb up onto His lap, curl up and rest. Maybe sleep will follow. Maybe not, but I do know that He has His reasons and that He will take care of tomorrow.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Yesterday, once again, I had the privilege of spending time with my friends at a drug/alcohol rehab in Waterbury. I have been hanging out there for over nine years and dearly missed my visits this past six months or so. Now that we have a bit of a routine in place and dear friends who like to spend time with my honey, I am back to my old ways!

Prior to my visits Papa usually gives me something to share with the dear ones who have found themselves in such a place. The topic I was given was "Turning it over." Another way to put this would be "Let go and let God."

How do you turn something over to someone you don't know very well? How do you know whether you can trust them or not? I posed these questions to my listeners.
My answer? You can't, not really. It takes faith in the person. Even if the person is God.

We have all formed our view of who God is through our experiences and what others have told us or modeled for us. Much of it is very distorted.

If we want to know a person, we need to spend time with them. It takes developing a relationship. In time their character is revealed.
Papa is all about relationship. He already knows us and longs for us to know Him and to willingly open ourselves up to Him.
As this relationship develops it becomes easier to trust Him.

It has become more and more evident to me that I need to stick closely to Papa. There is too much in me and the world to trip me up!
A verse in John's first epistle underscored this fact for me.
"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world."
Once we are walking with the LORD our pride can easily trip us up!
"Oh, how spiritual I am! "How very strong I am!" We can feel as if we have "arrived." All lies, but so easy to get drawn into. We want others' approval; we want recognition. All things that do not last.
In my journal I noted that it is essential that I remember that I am human and thus fallible. I need to keep the One who is God in focus. For the minute that I am feeling superior or independent I am on the way down for a fall!

In His Word there are numerous directions as to what it takes to stay close to Him and walking a life of victory instead of defeat. Seeking Him in prayer and in His Word are keys to such a life. We are also strongly encouraged to hang out, not only with Him, but with each other.

I am of the opinion that His church is not a building, nor is it necessarily in a particular place. It is where His people are gathered. It only takes two or more.
The first century church met in different homes to share meals and share what their God was doing and teaching them. It is on my heart to start doing that.
Brennan Manning calls it "table fellowship." It's hospitality at its best.
Many years ago I read a book by Karen Burton Mains entitled "Open Heart, Open Home." She compared entertaining with hospitality. Entertaining is just what it is. We run ourselves ragged to 'entertain' our guests. While hospitality is saying "pull up a chair and join my life." I have chosen the latter for years.

At this point I want to become more deliberate in being hospitable. I want to start with just once a month opening our home for a meal to whomever would like to come. It will be potluck. (I love surprises!)
So to all who are reading this and live within driving distance come on over at five o'clock on October tenth! If you feel uncomfortable just 'popping in' you can email me at To those who live further, stop in anytime that you are passing through the area! Yes, pull up a chair and join our life!