Friday, January 28, 2011

Comings and Goings

Once more I can be found at my computer in my very own home!

My, what an adventure I have been on!

Let’s recap.

Two cancellations and numerous rescheduling happened before I actually boarded a plane to Florida.
A visit with one mother-in-law, plus one aunt and then, finally time and opportunity to walk the beach!

A major thunderstorm with many flashes of glorious lightening with a tornado siren in the background!

I don’t think I mentioned the tanker that exploded on the road to the island we were staying on? The resulting fire did so much damage to the overpass that they had to tear it down completely. This made for some interesting commuting to the store, etc.

Oh yes, then there was the flight cancellation that caused me to stay in Georgia for twenty-four hours..…

It was the highlight of my trip! I got to see one of my best-est friends! We figured out that we have known and loved each other for thirty-nine years! How can that be? We are just younguns!  Well, in light of eternity, we are!

It truly was a gift from Papa.   A bonafide serendipity!
Serendipity: The thesaurus gives us a few defining words;:
Coincidence – nah,
Kismet or fate - Maybe,
Providence - Now, that is more like it!

Papa had a plan all along!!

Such a loving God! He delights in blessing us and certainly does it well!!

So I have done a lot of coming and going this past week or so. Comings and goings don’t just involve changing one’s location. Over the years many relationships have come and gone, but some just changed locations.

While going through the mail I came across a card from a precious friend of mine. Included in the envelope was a card with two hand-stitched birds on it. They are beak to beak and shared the card with these words by Kathy Kay Benudiz:

“There is no distance too far between friends…for friendship gives wings to the heart.”        AMEN!

There is a Friendship that sets the example for all others. Of course, it is the one I share with Jesus.
Oh my Jesus!! He is the best friend ever! He is even appreciates and smiles upon my other treasured friendships. It is His love that is woven through each connection. What a delight!!

This grand surprise that He had planned for me was lovely.  On Wednesday evening, after picking me up at the airport, my friend, Ron  took me to church.  There I met his wife, Jo.  Now I have two friends to visit in Georgia!
Ron and Jo are involved with the music ministry of the church, so while they rehearsed in the choir and band, respectively, I got to attend a worship service.
I loved it!!
When the service ended I had the joy of hearing the choir rehearse.  There are one hundred and ninety-five people in their choir!  WOW!
Papa just kept blessing.

The whole experience caused love and joy and gratitude to overflow my heart! 
It was a good thing because it helped me deal with my experience at the Atlanta airport.

Do I look like a terrorist?  Apparently so.
The staff was not satisfied with the full body scan, which makes a person feel exposed.  No I needed to be "patted down!" 
Did I need a private room or was out in the public alright with me?
Excuse me?!  A private room, please.
I was not allowed to touch any of my possessions, which did pass their scrutiny, so two other women had to carry all of it, still scattered in those attractive gray bins.
After the "pat down" the woman had to rub something over her gloves that looked similar to a bandaid .  She then very carefully passed it to one of the other women, who went to test it.
It came back negative.
You know I think?  I think the real terrorists are laughing up their sleeves at us!  Yes, I think they are, but I know that my God will have the last laugh!

Papa keeps bringing to mind two words from the third chapter of Hebrews that is found in the first verse.
"Consider Jesus."
When I consider Jesus, who left the glories of heaven, walked this earth and experienced what it meant to be human, then suffered and died on the cross for me, well what is a little over zealous security at an airport.  My God loves me!  My God did not stay dead and buried, no, my God rose from the dead and one day I will see Him face-to-face!
Meanwhile, I will continue coming and going with Jesus and enjoy the adventure with its seredipities along the way!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Did you ever watch a sandpiper scamper across the beach?  A happy little one with a bounce in his step is that little bird.  The fellow I saw today was busy living life.  There was no hesitation; no second guessing whether he should or should not go forward.  No holding back for the little guy, he was putting his all into the life ordained for him alone!
Watching him and many others like him, as well as the numerous varieties of sea gulls that shared their beach with me, I couldn't help but think of what Jesus said about the Father's care of each and every one of them.  He said that Papa's intimate care of each one should be an encouragment to each one of us.  Why?  Well, if He cares for them (and really they are a dime a dozen, so to speak) then we can take heart to know that He cares so much more for us!
When we care to notice it, Papa is demonstrating this truth continually.
He has been helping me to take notice.

Monday I seized the opportunity to walk the beach.  The walk involved a few raindrops, but it was worth it.  Nothing clears one's head better than a walk along the beach, especially when an ocean is in view.  It put me and my concerns in perspective.  Ocean - very big, which always causes me to think of the One who created that ocean; me - tiny.
As I retraced my steps and headed back, there was a break in the clouds and sunlight flooded down to warm those of us in its path.  It was very brief and greatly missed once the warmth had passed.  Papa and I were in a conversation and I felt the impulse to take my hand and sweep it across the sky while asking Him to do just that with the clouds.  With that I made my way back to the condo.
During lunch we noticed that the room was brighter and took a peek outside.  The only clouds in the sky were white, fluffy ones and along with them, uncovered, the sun was shining brightly!
Thank You, Papa!
It wasn't quite warm enough to head to the beach, but we did take out Monopoly game poolside!

This morning found Matthew, Mindy and me barefoot and walking along the edge of the water.  Refreshing for the body and soul!
I am convinced that it is the simple things of life that we need the most.  An opportunity to come apart before you "come apart" doesn't need to be elaborate, nor expensive.  Papa takes care of our needs, even for a break.  He supplied a place for me and good deal on a flight and that is all that was needed.

In the devotional "Grace for the Moment", by Max Lucado, Max comments on the compassion of Christ.  He saw Jesus setting aside His own needs out of compassion for those around Him.   As I reflected on the many examples that I have from my own life I was overwhelmed by how deep His compassion is for me.  His compassion is both uncontainable and unconstrainable!  That is deep!  At times I feel immersed in that amazing compassionate love.  Actually, I always am, but often I am not taking notice of it.  Can you imagine such a thing?!
He has called me, not to some doctrine or to a role in proclaiming His love, but to a relationship with the Living God.  This relationship assures refreshment on a daily basis.

A song came on the radio the other day that spoke of giving one's life up for a good man.  Ray is a good man and I thought to myself that this might be what Papa intends for me.  My LORD interrupted with His own thoughts on the matter.  I am to give my life up to Him.  We find our lives when we give them up for His sake.  This is sacrifice, right?  Of course, but that is not all.  We gain so much.  We gain life and freedom, freedom to be all He has designed us to be.  How refreshing!

I wrote the above yesterday.  Actually, I wrote quite a bit more, but then the thunderstorm descended with bright flashes of lightening and the tornado warning sounded.  At that point I closed my computer thinking that I had saved all I had written.  Wrong.  I guess Papa wanted it re-worded!

He has told me to live a life of expectancy; expecting Him to make Himself known without setting any limitations.  Why wouldn't I do that?  Well, if I get bent on what I want to do or see happen, I will be limiting my own expectations and will miss Him.
Example.  I am homebound today and will be flying out of Orlrando with a stop in Atlanta.  The stop has changed from an hour and a half to twenty-four hours.  It seems the weather in the Northeast isn't conducive to flying again! 
I had anticipated this news and prompted by Papa I contacted one of my long-time and dearest friends.  We haven't seen each other in about twenty years.  I am to be his and his wife's houseguest tonight!!  :)
I call that a serendipity! 
Yes, I am eager to be home, but still what a gift! 
My other choice was to stay one more day in Florida where I could have fussed and pouted.  No way!

Ron has wanted me to visit his church for years and this night will find me there for choir practice!  Those who know me and my lack of singing ability can rest assured that I will be in the audience - though I might not be able to contain myself here and there!  (It is an enormous choir!)

My God is teaching me not to clutter my life up with many concerns, but live expectant of what He is doing in my life.
He desires for us to live refreshed at every turn.

One little glitch.  My son, Timothy was to pick me up from the airport.  He has class tomorrow night and can't do it.  It just seems like one detail is always dangling!
Now how do I handle this with out losing the sense of refreshment?  Oh, yes!  Papa, it is all Yours!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Here I sit, once again, with my laptop before me.  Finally.  Internet access is at a premium down here.
(Yes, I made it to Florida!)
It is amazing how many things I take for granted. 
This reminds me of my time in Cambodia where they rely upon solar power for their electric.  One needs to compose her thoughts clearly and concisely before turning on the computer and using that electricity.
It isn't as bad as that here, but there are other limitations.
The clubhouse connection in this gated community is ver-r-r-r-y slo-o-o-o-o-w.  I had tried it the other day and after waiting quite a while for this website to be fully downloaded  and then trying again, I gave up.

We just learned that Mindy's parents do have a connection, which I am using right now.  The parents don't think about it, as they are not "computer" people.  Hence, a very short wire in the main bedroom, which is one of the reasons this post will be brief!

Within the first twenty-four hours of being here I began to think I had made a mistake. 
Maybe I shouldn't have come. 
Maybe Matt and Mindy need more time alone.
For certain the phone calls did not stop. 
Disability hasn't received the update from the doctor.  The deadline is Monday.  Sigh.
I couldn't reach the doctor's office at Gaylord, as they are closed on Friday.  Sigh.
My honey misses me.  Friday found him snowed in and alone.
He survived, but I felt a little guilty.

We visited Ray's mom yesterday.  It was good.  She is good.  Just more hearing-impaired these days.
I have a friend who is about twenty minutes from Mom.  I wanted to see her, but since I wasn't on my own that didn't happen.
Isn't it something how hindsight is twenty-twenty?  In retrospect I can see how I could have done a better job in planning this trip. 
As I reflected on these thoughts something I had said to someone else the other day came back to me.  "The past is the past.  We cannot change one moment of it.  We can't even change the moment that has just occurred.  It is a waste of valuable time to fret over it"
Ah, it is so easy to give wise counsel to others.

What has Papa been saying to me through this leg of the journey?
"Look to Me!"  "Trust Me!"

In the days leading up to actually getting on the plane and traveling down here I was receiving the same message.  In reality I think it is the theme of all His Words to me!

"Enjoy My Presence."
"Open your heart to Me."
"Walk with Me and watch for the fresh blessings that come with it."
"Let Me love you."
"Give Me your full attention."
"Worship Me in spirit and truth."

All of it entails keeping my eyes, my focus on Him.  As we spend time gazing upon Him, getting to know Him more fully, then we become a reflection of Him to others.  Second Corinthians, chapter three, verse eighteen speaks of this truth.
Others will also a confidence in that relflection.  Confidence that He is in control and that He can work all things out for good, even the poorest laid plans!

Today I am on my own and am headed to visit Ray's Aunt Din, who is north of Orlando.  Just an hour and a half away from where I sit.  She needs a touch from Jesus.
Papa I hope that I reflect you!  And not only today, but everyday. 
In spite of myself!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Fresh Perspective

Remember "Where's Waldo?"  Well, how about playing "Where's Debbie?" 
It would be too easy though.  All you have to do is look in my house.
Yes, that's right my house!
I am getting closer to leaving though.  Yesterday I made it all the way to the airport!  Of course, right after being dropped off I received the cancellation notice!  Thank God that I reached my ride before he went very far!

Now I am scheduled to leave Thursday at two in the afternoon.  Tomorrow's weather looks promising. 
So far.
This change meant that I needed to push out my return also.  Not too difficult.
The challenge came in rearranging all my arrangements, which I had already rearranged once!
My life never is dull.
I am very thankful for friends!  Otherwise the adventure would be too much for this trekker!

It has been on my mind to schedule another "potluck" and will soon.  Once I return home and get a couple of family parties behind me I will be eager to see some familiar and not so familiar faces!
Something else has been percolating in this brain and heart of mine.
A home group.  People gathering to share their love of Papa.  Food could be involved.  Definitely  music, prayer, scripture, discussion, worship; lots of worship!
Any thoughts?
There is a place to comment, you know, below this posting.  Use it!
And if you are shy use my email address:
We love company!  After all that is one of the reasons Papa gave us our house.

During my time with Jesus this morning He had me exploring the story of "The Rich Young Ruler", which is found in the nineteenth chapter of Matthew.  The young man wanted to be sure he'd get into heaven, but he wouldn't let go of his "riches" long enough to grasp what really held value.
Papa reminded me that I need to hold everything very loosely.  A clenched fist is never a good thing.
It made me think of a story that I heard a long time ago.  A child had reached into a valuable vase to grasp something in its bottom.  His hand got hold of it and he held it tightly in his fist.
The only problem was that he could not pull his hand out unless he opened it up.  He refused to give up his treasure and subsequently the vase had to be broken.
What was in his hand?  Some pebbles.
The beautiful, costly vase was sacrificed for a few pebbles.
If he had opened his hand up, both treasures could have been enjoyed!

My life is rich, filled with many blessings that are far more valuable than pebbles, yet in face of
"the hope of His calling (of me), what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His Power toward us (me) who believe," they are not even little stones.
May my hand always be found open and offering the "treasures" of this life for His glory!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Brat's Perspective

Here I sit at my laptop, which is  on my desk in my own house.  Bummer.
I was suppose to fly out of White Plains, New York this morning at seven o'clock, but they cancelled the flight.  The airline did rebook me for last night, which was not doable.  Too bad.  They had me scheduled to fly into Atlanta around eleven PM and leaving for Orlando at seven the next morning.  Just think I could have spent a cozy night in the airport!
Tim didn't see why that was a problem.  I told him that when I was twenty-two I wouldn't have viewed it as anything but an adventure.  Now I would be wrecked for two days!

Before I heard from the airline the weather reports had made it pretty clear that I wasn't going anywhere.  It made me a little grumpy.  Not a good way to go through the day.  Not a good way to go through a very busy day.

Ray had two doctor appointments yesterday.  First, we met with his doctor at Gaylord.  She oversees all his therapies.  Then off we went to our primary care guy, who is one of my favorites.  He is a New Yorker, so what's not to like?!  Hey, remember I am a New Yorker myself.  I just happen to live in Connecticut. 
Both doctors were thrilled with his progress.  I had asked both what they thought of backing off on one of the medications in hopes that Ray would not be so subdued.  They had no problem with trying it, but neither felt that we would see much change.  The doctors attribute the changes to the TBI.

I was not doing too well after the first appointment and even wondered if I was experiencing a bit of an anxiety attack!  By the time we left the last doctor I was definitely blue.
Why did the appointments affect me so?  Because it was confirming this present way of life and this new, and not so deep relationship I have with my husband.

Ray is much calmer these days.  That is good.  He is also very easy going.  Sounds great.
Ha!  He's so laid back that the word placid is about all I can think of to describe him.  I asked him what he thinks about.  Oh, he just stays in the moment...
My honey reminds me of an innocent child in many ways.  Once in a while he comes out with one of his "Ray" comments and I know he is in there somewhere.

The book club that I am part of is reading a book by Sarah Dunant entitled, "Sacred Hearts."  I just finished it.  The setting is a convent in the fifteen-hundreds.  At that time numerous young women were given to convents, as "brides of Christ."  Their dowry came with them.  Many came unwillingly.
The church was extremely political and much of what happened did so because of that influence.

The story revolves around one young woman who found herself given to the convent against her wishes.  Throughout much of the book we find her mourning her youth and all its dreams, along with the love of her life, from whom she was wrenched away.  I could feel her pain.  I mean, I could really feel her pain!

I am such a brat.  A spoiled brat at that!  Brats want what they want when they want it!  Yes, indeed.
I want my husband back and the marriage that we had begun to enjoy!  And I want it now!!
Meanwhile, I want to be in Florida!  Now!
Do you hear any stomping of feet?

As the day unraveled... Oh wait!  That was me that was unraveling!
As the day waned I became acutely aware that I was not ready for the evening.  Last night it was my turn to lead the Bible study that I am attending.  Not good!  No way was my attitude conducive to doing such a thing!
I opened a little dialog up with Papa.  I felt like a naughty girl who came with her head down to her daddy.  Head down, afraid to look up.  Just the place I should have looked hours earlier!
I felt a measure of relief, but not much.  No Word, no sense of His Presence. 
When I hit road blocks or bumps in the road along this path I find myself on, I hang onto Who I know He is.  I rely upon the character of God, as I know He is unchanging and utterly trustworthy.  Unlike me.
The clock was ticking and I gathered my Bible and papers up.  I told Papa it was up to Him, as always.  If He didn't show up we would only gain head knowledge, but we needed heart knowledge!

We begin with a song that complements the theme of the night's study. Our focus last night was on God as our Father.  Abba.  Papa.
One of the women in our group brought an appropriate song in for us.  It was "How Deep the Father's Love for Us" and was sung by Nicole Nordeman.  The words of the song were for me.  Papa ministered to me with every word.  It seems He loves His brat!

The scripture last night centered on the passage in Luke fifteen, which tells the story of The Prodigal.  Many might think this is all about the young person who returned after having squandered his inheritance through reckless living. 
Not so.  It is about the Father.  Throughout the New Testament Jesus talks about the Father a whole lot.  It seems He was (and is) bent on us wrapping our brain and heart around Who our Heavenly Father is.
Who is He?  He is the One that is in Heaven.  Yes, of course, but though He is in Heaven, He is not distant.  He is longing to love on us (check out Hosea!), to embrace us and give us our inheritance.  He is not above hiking up his robes and running to meet us.  Nor, is He above coming outside where we are pouting to urge us to join Him inside at the party!  You see, He is always watching for us and over us.
Something else we discovered in Deuteronomy thirty-three, verse twenty-seven is that He is our home, our abode.  Didn't Jesus speak of abiding in Him?  Where else do you abide, but your home?!
Oh, I could go on and on, but I think I will leave it open for each one of you to discover for yourself.

I will share something though that really warmed my heart. 
The Father loves His Son, who is Jesus.  One example is found in Luke three, verses twenty-one and two.  "Now it came about when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also was baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, "Thou art My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased."
The Father willingly sent His Son from the glories of Heaven to pay the debt of our sins.  We read that in the book of John, third chapter, sixteenth verse.
"For God so loved the world (insert your name instead), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."

How much He loves us!!  Even when we are bratty!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Who is Setting the Pace?

Exercise is not my favorite thing.  I view it as a necessary evil, but it is much more enjoyable if I can do it with someone else.  When the weather is conducive I have been known to walk with a friend or two.  The only problem that I face in doing so is my stride is longer than most of my friends.  Three feet of me is legs, so I cover a good distance with each step!

My friends are not the only ones I have a tendency to outstride. 

In walking with my Savior I have been known to run ahead.  He will reveal something that He intends for me to do and off I go!  Walking with Him means going at His pace.  I think that is why He gives us the word-picture in Matthew eleven of being yoked to Him.

Two oxen are usually yoked together.  One is the stronger ox and does the leading; the weaker just has to keep pace.  Certainly a good picture of what it is like to walk with Jesus.

Yoked to Jesus I can be sure that I will find myself where He wants me to be; doing what He intends for me to do.  His way, as He knows best.  In Isaiah fifty-five He tells us that His thoughts and ways are not like ours.  And we know whose are superior!

I noted in my journal the other day that each and every day holds an equal opportunity to walk with Him.  That is what it is all about.  Hang out with Papa and let Him take you where He wants you to go.
No day is to be viewed as in a holding pattern.  Holding for what?  Papa is available and as near no matter what a day holds.  He has a plan for each moment of our lives, a plan that weaves them all together.

Whether we are involved in a major project or the simple everyday details of life, it is our life.  I want to savor each one.  I do not want to squander any.  Fretting is squandering.  Anxiety falls under that catagory too.
This week I have found myself a little anxious.  Whenever I commit myself to something bigger than usual, I spend precious time in a tizzy.  What was I thinking??  How do I think I will do it??  What if I fail?  What if I am wrong?
Yeah, the book again.

My God is so gracious and faithful.  He reminds me of one of my life verses.  It is found in First Thessalonians, fifth chapter, twenty-fourth verse:  "Faithful is He who calls you, who also will do it!"
In other words whatever God calls His child to do, whether to be a mate or parent, teacher, writer, etc, etc., He is the One who will accomplish it.  He doesn't leave you hanging out to dry.  All we have to do is show up in faith and obedience.  He supplies the strength and ability.   We need but put it to use.

As I have shared in previous posts emotions are sneaky things.  Quite often there is so much more under the surface that what we see.  Just like an iceberg.

I know that some of the things going on in my head and heart have to do with this journey that Ray, I and our family, not to mention our friends (!) are on. 
At this point I feel like my husband has become an old man.  I do not like it.
At the end of his life, Ray's dad had lived with us for about a year.  In some ways I feel like I am back there.  My husband has become his elderly father.
Today a dear friend reminded me that it isn't necessarily a permanent state of things.  Ray is still improving.  It is just that he is so different, so quiet and so inactive.  Not the man any of us knew at all.
It is my prayer that my honey would be willingly yoked to Jesus and letting Him set the pace. 
Remembering that our LORD is in all of this helps greatly.

On Tuesday I am suppose to fly to Florida for six days.  I want to check on my mother-in-law and see it as a good excuse to take a little break.
Ray didn't want to take the trip, so I have made arrangements for his care and for companionship while I am gone.
I pray I come home with fresh eyes and heart.
I also pray that the ice storm they are predicting either delays or goes somewhere else!

I am looking forward to walking the beach with Papa.  I know I will have no trouble letting Him set the pace there!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

On The Clock?

Did you ever notice that time doesn't seem important to God?  The ever-present One is not bound by time.  It would be very helpful if I kept that fact in mind, but it goes against my grain.
When something finds its way onto my "To Do List", I want to have at it.  Right away! 
I try to bring my list before Papa on a regular basis.  It is my desire to have Him order my life and lists.
Of course, how I work my way through the list is an entirely different story!

As you know, Papa put something on the list recently - Write a book.
Not such a small thing.  Yet, it just occurred to me that I am approaching it as if it were just that, something to check off the list.  Maybe that is part of the problem.

Yes, there is a problem.  I think it is me. 
As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and it is us!"

I like to be able to check things off my list.  I find it unsettling if they hang around too long.  What does that say about long-term projects?  Oh, oh.
I like to focus on the project and forget everything else. 
It is unrealistic for me, especially in my current situation, to expect no interruptions.

So what does this have to do with God and time.  Well, just because He assigns me a task, it does not mean that I am not to come up for air, nor should I be unwilling to give someone else a little air!
Something else I am learning is that Papa is not so much about the task being accomplished, as the lessons learned along the way.  None of us are responsible for the results, just whether we have followed where He leads.  After all He is in the business of character building, one person at a time.

Me thinks my emotions are astir again too!
On Tuesday I decided to go back and read some of the initial emails that I had sent out after Ray's accident.  I found myself reliving those first few days.  A huge sobbing sigh found its way out of me.  What emotions were wrapped in it?  Grief to be sure, but also gratitude, comfort and joy.  God is faithful.  He knew what was coming and met me at every turn.  There has not been one need that has gone unmet!

Since then I haven't written. 

Yes, yesterday was a snow day so the house was very busy and, of course, I had to take time to go tubing!  The snow was so deep that going up the hill once enabled me to check off "workout" on my list!  :)
Many things got in the way today too. 
Today Ray needed to get bloodwork done in the morning, as he was fasting.  Errands followed and since then I have been wrestling with disability paperwork.

So are those legitimate excuses for not doing any work on the book? 
I think Papa is telling me that I don't need to dig up any excuses.  I am on His timetable and we all know what that means - heavenly time gets factored in!

I most likely wouldn't have done anything with the book today even if no appointments were on the calendar and there was no paperwork to do.
My heart and mind need to reflect on the emotions that have been stirred up and once my God and I sort through them, I know the words will come.
On the other hand, the stuff of life will continue to happen and I will need to give each detail my attention.  My LORD knows and it is part of the plan.

I do not need to let the ticking of the clock govern what I do nor should I let it pressure me.

So teach me (us) to number my (our) days, so that I (we) may present to you a heart of wisdom.
Psalm Ninety, verse twelve

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day One

The book writing adventure has begun, albeit a little off schedule this first day.... But after all, it is my birthday! 
However, I am determined to treat this like a job.  Mindy and I were joking, at breakfast this morning, that if it is a job, then showing up late on the first day is not exactly starting off on the right foot!
I thought posting here would be a good place to begin.

Something I read this morning got me to thinking about my approach to writing.  It is not about me, the writer, just like it isn't about me, the mother, wife, friend, etc.  It is simply about being attentive to Papa's Spirit; yielding to His direction.  I do best when I keep in mind that I may be doing the writing, but it is my God who is doing the composing of that writing.

My God amazes me.  I am amazed that He would be interested in me and what I do.  He desires to be intimately involved in every detail of my life.  So cool!
Yesterday while reading "My Utmost for His Highest," by Oswald Chambers the thought occurred to me that the LORD God reaches the uttermost depths of my soul and there finds my highest desires and breathes life into those depths and desires.  He is not only with me, but in me and knows me better than I know myself.
There are longings in each of our hearts that we aren't even aware of, but He is.

Once I had met and fallen in love with Jesus I came across a refrain from a song, which rang very true for me.  It was "Since Jesus came into my heart, I have light in my soul which long I had sought..."  I hadn't know that I was seeking this Light (Jesus), but once I found it (Him) or should I say, He found me (!), I knew it was true!  I had such a void, a longing that was God-sized, nothing else satisfied or fit.  Only a relationship with Him could satisfy the need.

From the position of Papa's arms I now desire to view everything from His perspective.  Instead of holding tightly to my "treasures" I see them as coming from Him and having been placed in my life as a stewardship.  He has entrusted His "treasures" to me! 
What are these treasures?  Relationships first and foremost, along with abilities and their potential; followed up with all the "things" of this life.
My desire is to keep in mind that "I'm just a passin' thru..."  I do not want to settle for the temporary for my soul is restless for the glorious permanent - eternity!"
He knows the path that I am to take.  He knows each step of it.  With Him it can be a journey of joy; one of true satisfaction.  I have tasted such satisfaction and I want more of it!
One of my favorite verses is found in the twenty-third chapter of Job.
"But He knows the way I take;
When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold."
Yes, we are tried, but the trial is worth its weight in gold! 
The secret is to remember what we read in Jeremiah. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope."  His plans involve eternity!  They involve seeing Him face-to-face and getting to hang out with Him forever!

I like to be reminded regularly who this One is that I put all my trust in.
I am involved with a weekly Bible study group and we are studying some of the Names of God.  Tonight the study is focusing on His Name "I AM" and though I will not be attending (my family is taking me out to dinner to celebrate the big six-o) I did do the homework.  I am so glad that I did!

Back in Exodus, the third chapter, we find Moses asking God Who he should say was sending him to set God's people free.  God said tell to them "I AM" sent you.  
What does that name mean? 
The ever-present One.  The God who always was and always will be.

Jesus referred to Himself as the I Am too. 
I am....
the Messiah
the Son of the Living God
the bread of life....
the light of the world...
the gate for the sheep...
the good shepherd...
the resurrection and the life...
the way and the truth and the life...
the true vine, and my Father is the gardener...
Son of Man...
the Alpha and Omega...
the First and the last...
the Beginning and the end...

As I worked my way through this study I become more excited!
I dug in a little deeper and discovered more treasure!
In John fifteen this is what I learned about Jesus, the I am...
     Cleanser by His Word
     Joy Giver
     Prayer releaser
In John eighteen I was reminded that He is Powerful!


Alright, now I am ready to begin that book....

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Growing Up

Monday will mark my entrance into the sixties.  It seems surreal to me.  In many ways I do not even feel grown up, let alone sixty!
In these sixty years I have learned many lessons.  Some lessons need relearning now and again, if not rather frequently.  At times I wonder when I will really "get it."
The other day I shared a few thoughts on the need to keep one's focus on the Giver of good gifts and not the gifts themselves.  Isn't it interesting how we can share such thoughts and dispense good advice and yet not apply it to ourselves?

I have been very restless; out of sorts, but being an expert in the craft of denial, I have ignored my condition.
Yesterday I got stuck on a hill (seven hills, for those familiar with the area) and because of road conditions, other vehicles and visibility I could not go either up nor down.  It took three phone numbers before I reached someone at home, but the final connection sent Matt and his friend my way.

I spent the time waiting for their arrival with crying.  I felt so helpless, so overwhelmed, so ridiculous!
I taught driving for a number of years and navigated many students through such conditions, but there I sat waiting for help!

What's my problem?
The path I find myself on is not to my liking.  No news there. 
Too much of my day is taken up with responsibilities that I find tedious at best.  Just when things seem to be lightening up, something else arrives on my plate.
We are transitioning from STD (Short-term disability) to LTD (Long-term disability).  No easy feat, it seems.
We are exchanging one disability company for two.
We are also transitioning to different medical coverage.
This entails many phone calls which require the same information over and over again and that is just to get to a real person!
The most challenging part for me is that once I get a person to speak with they refer me to yet another phone number and so the cycle continues!  Most of these people do not have definite answers for me, which is why I am asked to call yet another number.
Oh, I could go on, but you get the picture.

It is wearisome.
It doesn't need to be.
The problem has not been in all the details, but how I am approaching them. 
On my own.

Where is God in all of this?
With me.
I just forget that now and again.
He calls me to abide in Him.  That means to take up residence; to make a place your permanent home.  Sometimes I act as if He is only temporary shelter.  Sigh.

Jesus came to set me free and in Him I am free indeed.  Yet, how easily I accept a chain or two and the encumberance that accompanies them.
But, oh joy (!) My God's love and grace are extravagant and the moment I look to Him, the chains fall away!

Today something Jesus said was brought to mind.  He said that those who are faithful in little things will be faithful in the big things.  It starts with the small details of life.
To be faithful I know I must "die to self."  That really is a symbol of freedom; an opportunity to be a "living sacrifice."  In other words I need to "let go and let God" in ALL THINGS!

The blessings flow through the challenges.  That is what makes they true blessings.  Blessings that last.  Blessings that have the mark of eternity; that have gone through the refiners fire.
On my own I am not up to the task.  Thank God I am not in this alone.  With Him and in particular, in Him I can do all things. 
I might even grow up a little more!
Though in many ways I will always be His little girl...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fruits and Purses

Last night I experienced the joy of having a few of my favorite young adults gather in my home.  It does one's heart good to spend time with people who have hearts after God at a young age.

We spent some time looking at the "fruit of the spirit."  No matter what a person's age or experience, if we are willing to be open; to ask questions and share thoughts, we can always learn from one another.  Last night was evidence of that fact.

Once conclusion we came to was that the fruit of the spirit is love.  All the rest of the fruits spring from and are motivated by the first, love.  You cannot begin anywhere else.  For example, where would the joy spring from if love wasn't present first?

This walk begins with a realization that Papa loves us very deeply.  Then we respond in kind.  In First John we read, "We love Him because He first loved us."
Everything flows from love, His love.  And that love, according to Paul in First Corinthians, the thirteenth chapter, "hopes all things."  Hope is a confident expectation in God.  Hope knows an answer is coming.

Papa spoke to my heart in love, as our group spoke together last night.  He continued the message this morning.
Of what am I certain?  Only one thing.  I am certain that He loves me.  This One, who loves me, is in control.  Yes, no matter what things look like at any given time - He is still in control.

The LORD and I have been taking a look at the subject of giving.
In a few months our financial situation will, most likely, be changing.  It appears that there will be less to go around.  In preparation for the changes I have taken a close look at our budget.
It was an eye opener!  How can food cost so much??

At the dinner table the other night one of our sons was reminiscing over the great variety of food that was being delivered to us in first few months after Ray's accident.  Everyone made their favorite dishes and a lot of them become our favorites!
This was greatly appreciated and definitely made a dent in last year's expenditures.  Thank you, one and all!

Honestly, I am not concerned about putting food on our table.  Hey, a little more pasta never hurts! 
Sitting with Jesus and reflecting on the grace of giving I realized what does bother me.
If our income is less, then our giving will be less.  :(
However, it isn't as noble as it sounds.

A comment that Mindy jokingly makes on occasion gets to the bottom of what is bothering me.  She's been heard to say, "I do what I want!"  This is usually said right before she does what she really doesn't want to do!

You see, this lady, also, likes to do what she wants.  Hopefully, often it is something that Papa wants, but not necessarily!
A question came to my spirit, "Do you think that you will be unable to give all that I, the LORD, desire you to give?"
"Whose will do you seek to do?"

He is in control.  That thought moved from my head to my heart.
His grace is the reason I need not worry or fret.

His grace is why I will seek to practice the kind of giving that Jesus spoke about in the twelfth chapter of Luke, verses thirty-two through thirty-four.
I had wondered over what He had said.  "Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Purses that do not wear out?  All I can think is that these purses are not required to carry too much.
It would be easy to store away our treasures for a rainy day.  It is much more satistying to share our treasures with those who are experiencing a rainy day right now or those who are helping them.

This walk of faith only works when our eyes are on the One who is worthy of our trust.  He has a good plan.  His goal for each of us is to make us just like Jesus.  What could be better?   Only He can work such a miracle!

This year I am reading through "My Utmost for His Highest," by Oswald Chambers.  The reading this morning was thought provoking.  It rang true to me.  I am dependent upon the Spirit of God to give me the power and strength to follow in faith.  I dare not rely upon the changes in me, even though He did the changing.  My eyes must be on Him, anything and everything else will fail me.

So Papa I look to You to bear Your fruit in me and, by the way, my purse is all Yours!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


It is a good thing that I didn't make any resolutions, because, if I had, I would have broken them already!!
Yesterday I blogged about my desire to see more of the fruit of the spirit in my life.  This morning the fruit was seriously lacking!

My honey wasn't cooperating. 
He insisted that he'd like to attend church this morning and then didn't get up.  Once he did come to the table for breakfast, which needed to be eaten quickly, the commentary began.
Where's my coffee?  Where's my newspaper?  You aren't going to serve me? 
It didn't stop.
I am sure he thought he was being funny, however I wasn't finding the humor in any of it.
I wasn't feeling the love!
Joy didn't seem to be on the horizon and forget about peace!  I wanted to strangle him! 
Self-control did seem to be available, so he is still breathing.

After breakfast we did his therapy.  The mad dash was on!
I headed to the car with my Bible and a few other items and Ray went into the "library" and proceeded to read.
Somehow we were only fifteen minutes late.

The first Sunday of the month our church celebrates the LORD'S Supper.  I like to be in a good place spiritually when I approach this special celebration. 
I considered refraining from partaking.  Yet, during our drive to the church building Papa soothed my spirit and calmed me down.  He helped me to focus on Him and the service that we would be attending shortly.
The morning was going to be extra special.  A dear man that I know, who has overcome some big obstacles and has become an encouragement and inspiration to many, was being baptized.
I was glad that it was happening at the end of the service, so I knew I wouldn't miss it.

If I had hung onto my frustration I would have not been able to experience the joy that was woven through the service.  Thank You, LORD God for lifting me out of that miry pit!  Thank You Holy Spirit for allowing me to experience the fruit of joy.  Along with the joy came the illusive peace all of which was wrapped in love!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Reflections on Resolutions

Once again a new year has begun.  I find it curious that such a fuss is made over the event.
It is as good a reason to gather with friends as any and that is exactly what Ray and I did last night.
We joined four other couples, most of whom we hadn't seen in a while, and visited, played games and actually greeted the new year together!  It wasn't but a few minutes later that Ray and I lead the exodus to our respective homes and comfy beds!

No one spoke of resolutions last night, probably because we all knew better.  I am certain that there wasn't one person among us who had not made a new year's resolution in the past to no avail.  Human nature being what it is, we resolve to do or change something, but often find it takes more than we have to sustain it.  I, myself, gave up on the practice long ago.

The turn of the year does offer a good opportunity to review the past year and look forward to the new one.  I have done so for many years now.

Papa and I spent some extended time together this morning and discussed where I am and where He intends me to head.  This discussion didn't begin today though.  It is something that had been brewing for quite a while.

When the Living God wants to get a message across He pulls out all stops and presents it from as many directions as necessary.  He has been doing this with me.

I do believe that He wants me to write a book.  Yikes! 
I vacillate between fear and confidence.  It all depends upon whether I am thinking I have to do this myself or if I am trusting Him to continue to lead me.

Before Ray's accident I had been sensing Papa's prompting and had shared the idea with a few friends.  Then April fourteenth happened.
For the past few months I have been, once again, sensing that the time was coming for me to get serious about writing. 
In December we had the joy of having a visit from a dear Russian couple.  The husband, Sergei, had written a book, but he had no idea that I was considering such a thing. 
One morning Sergei announced to me that he had something to say.  "When are you writing your book?"
It seems that Papa spoke to him about this subject too!
Sergei pressed until I made the commitment to begin.

The first step is a schedule.  If we don't set aside specific time and guard it, it will leave no time for any project we are prompted to undertake.
I am a morning person.  My mind is much clearer at the beginning of the day.  I also find it very difficult to stop once I step fulling into the day and it takes off.

The next step was to enlist my family's support, particularly the ones who reside with me!  They were very supportive, though couldn't resist a little humor.  Will I neglect them??  Will I remember them when I am famous??  Will the book become a screen play??  Ray's lament was that he will need to be out of bed by eight in the morning from now on!
Well, I do not imagine any fame will be finding me, nor will the book be something to be made into a movie!  As far as neglecting them... or Ray having to adjust his time of arising for the day...
It'll do all of us some good!

Each year I like to take time to receive scripture from my loving Papa.  The verses are to be woven into my life; whether they be promises or exhortations.  Often many of the verses are ones that are carried from the previous year.
The focus for this year will continue on worship of my amazing God and my identity and call.
He also gives me specific verses for my Honey, each of our sons, their wives/girlfriends, grandchildren and now our great-grandchild, Ariana!
I use these verses to fashion prayers for each of us, as the Holy Spirit directs.  Over the years so many specific answers have come that reflect those prayers!
How gracious is my God!!

Papa had me spend some time this morning in the later part of the fifth chapter of Galatians. It is the section on "the fruit of the spirit."
It would be easy to read this passage and then "resolve" to apply the principles.  That would be a mistake.
To attempt anything on our own is an exercise in futility! 
Now exercise is good and it is part of my schedule, but who wants to begin the new year in such an exercise!

However, yoked with our LORD and Savior, nothing is impossible.
With Him here is what I desire to see bear fruit in me:

Love - Receive the love He offers and then love Him back.  Then He will love others through me!
          Much easier this way.
Joy - This allows no room for cynism, which according to Max Lucado is "the tool of a lazy thinker." 
         Look to my God and then see through Papa's eyes.
Peace - I am forgiven!!   I have peace with God!!
        With that in mind I am free to extend that gift to others.
Patience -  To borrow again from Max - "no clenching of my fist in face of new challenges." 
         The only way to do this is with Him.
Kindness - Treat others as He treats me! 
         Not very possible on my own.
Goodness - Be honorable.  
         Many temptations can get in the way.

Faithfulness - Be trustworthy. 
         Keep eyes focused on Him.  He is the faithful One.
Gentleness - No battering of others or self.
         Keeping aware of how tender He is with me makes the difference.
Self-control - "I refuse to let what will not, rule the eternal!"  (Max again)

A big order without Him, but with Him, glorious things can and will happen!

How worthy is He of worship!

One of the verses from Psalm twenty-nine that He gave me this morning speaks of worship.
"Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His Name;
Worship the LORD in holy array."

Entering into and experiencing His Presence is the loveliest, most beautiful, most satisfying, amazing experience one can have this side of Heaven.
Seek Him and He will be found!   I believe that is one resolution that He will honor without our asking!!