Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Pondering on what inspires...

I find it so interesting what folks find inspiring. There are normal things that I do when I need to be inspired to keep on keeping on such as listening to music, reading the Bible, writing, praying, or talking with a friend who I know will encourage me. There are certain passages in Isaiah that I go to or certain ones in Philippians. Unfortunately, there are times when ALL of my usual tactics fail. I do realize that they most likely fail because of the condition of my heart. But, the heart is a delicate thing and it is easily wounded.

Sometimes, I will just sit on the back porch and watch the pond and the sky. Other times I try to stay VERY busy so that my mind has no time to sit and ponder. Lately, I have been fighting overwhelming sadness in regard to Christi and Bobby - in regard to losing my entire family.

This week and last week, I have really not spent much time with God. I know that this is not a good thing for me and truly I have no excuse other than I want Him to answer some of my biggest and most heartfelt prayers with a resounding, "Yes." I feel ignored. Notice, I am talking feelings here and not what my mind tells me is the truth. My feelings are raw and they ache.

The truth is - I am sad. I have been sad for years. Even my happier times are filtered through this sadness. I want to see my oldest two children's faces in the land of the living. I want to get the opportunity to share the rest of my life with them. I want to hear about their growing up years. I want to rejoice about their successes and cry in their failures. I want to hold them in my arms.

I want reconciliation with my sisters. I want them to admit that they were deceived and I want to laugh with them again. I want to begin making new and happy memories with them.

For some reason, God keeps answering my cries and prayers with silence or keeps saying wait or answers with a no. I do not like nor understand His answer. I do not understand why He allowed this to ever happen and certainly not why He has allowed it to continue. My reformed friends would say it's part of His sovereign plan; however, my free will friends would say that He allows men and women freedom of choice and He allowed it to happen because of the sin present in this world. Whatever the reason, it has not been a joyful experience.

Therefore, I am sad. Bobby's birthday is Nov. 16. He will be 34. I have missed too many to count.

I believe and hope that God will send encouragement and I would love it to be in the form of my children.

Phil. 4: 6 & 7, NIV
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Not sure that this verse has anything to do with my sorrow but I hope that God's peace will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

Bright lights

Have you ever wanted to turn back the clock? I have. Yesterday, the sun was shining brightly in my bathroom mirror. I should have walked away or turned off some lights but instead I looked into the mirror and the reflection that I saw was shocking. I saw lots of tiny "new" wrinkles that had previously been hidden from view in dimmer conditions. So, I started pulling out ALL of those magical creams that I purchased which had promised all of these amazing results - eye creams, firming creams, heavy duty moisturizers, and serums ... whatever I could find and started slathering all of them on my face.

Sadlly, those wrinkles did not disappear instead they were just soothed a bit by lots of cream which now gave my face a glistening sort of effect. Not exactly the look I was going for.

Time... it moves forward whether we welcome it or try to fight it.   

Each of us has to decide what our reaction will be to the issues that the passage of time has in our lives, hearts, and minds. We can  bemoan it and race to plastic surgeons for facelifts, tummy tucks, and injections of botox. We can spend hard earned dollars on speciality creams from far off places that promise us youth in a bottle. Or, we can simply try to make wise and healthy choices in our lives.

We can spend time with God. We can laugh with loved ones. We can try to see the beauty that the passage of time allows us to witness. 

I have been blessed to get to share nearly 36 years as the wife of my best friend. We have been blessed with 4 children. During these years, we have shared sorrows and we have shared joys. I am amazed that this man still can make my heart skip a beat when he walks into a room. I like being near him whether we are discussing our kids, current events, theological issues, social issues; or, whether we are watching a tv show, reading a book, or in silence. Just being near him brings me joy. 

My life is written in those wrinkles around my eyes and mouth. Some are from tears and some are from laughter. They announce to the world that I am alive and have lived a real life not one filled in with plastic. 

Now, do I like those wrinkles? Not really. Would I prefer that I had fewer? Of course, I would. I will continue to try to smooth them over with my creams but I will also try to understand that they are part of who I am. They remind me of the roads that I had traveled. They show a life that has been lived. And, I imagine in about 5 or 10 years that I will be looking back at pictures of me from today and wishing that I looked this good. Ha. My perception seems to change as I age. I believe that I will try to enjoy life at this stage without worrying about bright lights.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Really? Getting older is not for the weak or the vain...

Today I uncovered another little known fact about aging. At least, little known to me. This newest discovery shocked me as I didn't know "it" could occur. Now, my lack of knowledge might be that my wee brain never considered it or that I am just plain dumb. I honestly can say that I have never noticed this lovely new thing with my friends because either: a) it hasn't happened for any of them, b) they have disguised it well, or c) I have pitiful powers of observation. Selfishly, I am hoping that the answer is c because I would love to complain with someone who understands my grievance.

I have been sick and my blessed thoughts were that I should take a shower and it would improve my mood and perhaps my health and it would definitely endear me a bit to my family.

After my loving husband left for church this evening, I took my shower. As I was drying off, I looked in the mirror. The sun was coming through the window in such a way to show all of one's flaws - like a stray hair on my chin. grrr. I got my tweezers and it was removed. Problem solved. I've learned the routine in dealing with that lovely issue.

As I stood looking at my reflection, I studied my eyes. I thought, oh my... I guess I pulled some of my eyelashes out yesterday while going nuts with my eye pain. I couldn't hardly see any on the bottom. However, I noticed the top lashes were looking thin, too. I sort of growled at myself. Then, the sunlight lit up my face at just the right angle. I did indeed have my lashes but they had turned white.


I couldn't believe it. I thought that was one area that the passage of time left alone. I grabbed my iPad and did a quick google search. Eyelashes can and do turn white.

I really felt the need to write this down so that if you haven't had this happen to you, you will be prepared. I don't want anyone to scream when it happens to them causing them to pee their pants. Weak bladders are another area that I could write about. I want to share my knowledge with my friends. Also, if you are dealing with this - bless your hearts.

Honestly, maybe it's time to buy a red hat and wear Ray Bans ALL of the time. I may not tell Mark. He freaked out a couple of years ago when he realized that his wife, who is three years younger than him, had more gray hair than he did. But, that's another story somewhere in my blog.

Be Blessed and may hair color, tweezers and mascara always be your friends.

Good Bye to Daisy


Daisy was born 10 years ago January. Her momma was Minnie. Minnie had had two litters of pups before Daisy. Her puppies were always bright, healthy, and beautiful. But, her third and last litter was different. All the puppies were born dead or deformed and died almost immediately. But, one little short-haired red girl was hanging on. Daisy was so weak that she could stay lashed when trying to eat. I had to sit with her and hold her up to her Momma and I gave her a supplement that I got from the vet for about 2 or 3 weeks. After that, she was strong enough to eat on her own.

When you spend that much time trying to keep a puppy alive, you cannot sell her or give her away. Daisy and her momma were a sweet pair.

Minnie, her momma, was a bright little dog. She was housebroken but LOVED being outside. Daisy was a sweet little dog but we could not house break her. I called her my "wee-pee brain". She ended spending most of her time outside. Of course, she slept in a crate in the house at night. And, when it was too hot or cold we had fans or heaters on the screened in porch for her during the day or I would block her in our kitchen (tile flooring in there).

When her momma died a few years ago, Daisy mourned her. She was so depressed. I tried, once again, for several weeks to housebreak her. I read up on several methods. Nothing worked. So, most afternoons, I would bring her in the house and block her in the kitchen while I cooked supper. She, of course, peed all over the kitchen floor.

When we got Toby, Daisy was thrilled. She finally had a playmate again and she seemed to stop mourning the loss of her momma.

Daisy never growled and snapped at anyone. She loved attention and people. She was a baby. She hated getting her nails filed down. Jessie, our groomer, had to put up with lots of fussing from her when she would come and do her nails.

Eighteen months to two years ago, Daisy jumped off the bottom step and hurt her shoulder. She was in major pain and let us know it. Mark carried her to the vet and she was given a shot with pain medication and steroids. We had to keep her still, so she stayed in the house during her recovery for about two weeks. We carried her outside to do her business. Last year, she stopped eating for a couple of days, and again Mark carried her to the vet. He was told she had the flu and was given antibiotics and something else (not sure but a think some steroids). She recovered quickly.

She started acting the same way this week. We realized on Friday that she wasn't eating. Saturday, we brought her inside so we could baby her. She wouldn't even drink water at first and refused to eat anything. By, last night she seemed to have gained back some strength. She was able to walk around a bit, drank some water. Her breathing was no longer labored. She slept on the cool tile floor in the kitchen and then came and got back in her bed next to me.

Mark and I were relieved and both thought that she probably had the flu again. My plan was to carry her to the vet Monday morning.

God had another plan. Daisy died in her sleep sometime after midnight (the last time we checked on her). She was curled up in her normal position. She never cried out. My prayer is that she went peacefully.

I have been distraught because she couldn't be in the house more with the family. Mark reminded me that Daisy actually had a pretty good little life. She was loved, always taken care of, got to run and play with first her momma and later Toby and Marcie. She seemed to be a happy little dog.

I do not believe that dogs have souls and go to heaven. The life we provide for them is it. My little dog never knew abuse, never knew hunger, and was always in a sweet mood. How sad that some dogs are neglected, allowed to have parasites, beaten, and abused. I hope that her life was happy.
We will bury her today next to her momma.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Thoughts on Chambers' April 25 devotion

"The proof that we are rightly related to God is that we do our best whether we feel inspired or not... If you make a god of your best moments, you will find that God will fade out of your life and never come back until you do the duty that lies nearest, and have learned not to make a fetish of your rare moments" (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, April 25).

Mountain top experiences with our Lord are the absolute best; however, those moments are not the norm. They are bonuses. They are wonderful. But, they cannot be the moments that keep you on track with The Lord and His ministry. Look for moments with God in your daily life. That unexpected hug from a child, a sweet note from a friend, a bad situation that gets easily resolved. We are called to be in the world but not of the world. God's sovereignty is abundantly clear in our daily lives.  I would rather have 365 days spent with God than one holiday every year or two.

Perhaps, your life is dull at times or those mountain top moments come infrequently. That does not give you license to neglect your duty and not to be the best ambassador for Christ. Serve Jesus in and out of season. When we serve Him, we will begin to recognize Him in our daily moments and all the pomp and circumstance will be unnecessary.

Be Blessed,

Tuesday, April 07, 2015


“Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace" (Luke 7: 44b-50, ESV).

Christ's questions to me, "Do you love Me? Do you believe in Me? If so, where is your peace?"

Jesus didn't measure this woman's faith. He stated simply, "Your faith has saved you, go in peace." Peace. This little word packed with meaning left me questioning the state of my heart. Do I go in peace?

When others view my walk, do they see peace and assurance or trepidation and unrest? When I lay my head down to sleep, is my mind quiet with full trust in Jesus?

Today, I intend to live more fully in the spirit. My prayer is that I walk in peace and live my faith as I love my God. No other action is required. I must love The Lord my God with all my heart, strength, and soul. And, He is faithful to forgive and give us peace.

Be Blessed and go in peace,

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Are You the One?

Matthew 10:3-6

"And (John the Baptist) said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see:the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me” (ESV).

Dear One,

Occasionally in our walk with The Lord, we ask this question that John posed, "Are you the One?" Our faith sometimes falters especially when feeling attacked on all fronts. My sweet husband once told me that asking God this type of question was not a denial of faith but showed a hope for a response from Christ.

Mark informed me that if my faith was totally deleted, I would not be begging for God to respond to me. Being hurt or ill, feeling alone, empty and betrayed does not mean that Christ is not the Savior. It simply means that we are living in a fallen world where His salvation is desperately needed.

Mark instructed me to remember the times when Jesus showed up in my life - to remember His responses when I felt that He was not hearing, seeing, or caring about whatever was going on at the moment causing me to suffer and to wonder, "Where are you, Jesus? Are you the One?"

These principles still work for me today. When I am hurting and my faith feels weakened, I remember. I remember when Jesus responded to my prayers. I remember the work of Christ in the lives of loved ones and friends. I remember what I have seen Jesus do.

Asking God questions is not a sign of lost faith. It is a sign of conversation and expectation.

Be Blessed,

Monday, March 16, 2015

Judgment Seat of Christ

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10, NASB).

I have heard people use this verse to suggest this scenario. All of us (Christians and non-Christians) will stand before the judgement seat of God and all of their sins will be displayed on a large screen for all to see.

This is a wrong interpretation of this verse. Saying that Christians will be judged for their sins, is nullifying the atoning work of Christ. The judgment seat in Corinth was called the bema seat. This was the place where athletes were rewarded. Christians will not be judged for their sins. Those sins have been forgiven.

In fact, Psalm 103:12 stated, "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us) (NASB). Christians pass from the Great White Throne of Judgment. The judgment seat (bema seat) of Christ in Corinthians is referring to our work for the kingdom. These will be acknowledged and rewarded.

We are called to share the gospel and to complete the race. Sharing the gospel takes on many forms. However, we are not called to judge each other as to whether their way of sharing satisfies us. God equips each man or woman to share His Son according to their bent and making. Don't be concerned whether your neighbor is sharing Christ that way you are called to share Him. Be conscience, instead, of your own actions and motivations.

Share Christ as you are led and use the gifts He has given you to encourage those around you.

Be Blessed,

Monday, March 02, 2015

Thoughts on Chambers Devotion of March 2

"Rarely, but probably once, He will get us into a corner where He will hurt us with His undeviating questions, and we will realize that we do love Him far more deeply than any profession can ever show" (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest).

I had to read Chambers devotion for today a couple of times to get the clear meaning of what he was saying. Memories of the time in my life, my Peter moment, came upon me like a flood. I remember when I had to face the reality of my affection for Christ. It was about a year and a half after the kidnapping. Those days still seem a blur but one thing that I remember clearly was the pain. The wretched rawness of it much like an open wound that burns and throbs was still fresh and it could come upon me at the most inopportune junctures.

During that period, I did question the reality of my love and faith in Christ. Also, I questioned His love for my children, my husband, and me. I remember feeling isolated in those emotions and doubts. So, I tried to stay busy - busy raising my son, Michael. I tried to stay busy in ministry at church both in leading a children's choir and serving in the adult choir. I stayed busy at Michael's school helping a little girl who had reading difficulties. Being busy was my friend.

I had discovered that when I occupied much of my time, I did not have as much time to ponder my attitude toward Jesus or His attitude toward me. Denial of my emotional state was my attempt at keeping whatever sanity I had left protected. Of course, burying one's heart is never a healthy path.

Unexpectedly, a mothers of one my son's friends posed a question to me. She asked if Mark and I would still have chosen to serve Christ and attend seminary if we had known the future meant losing two of our children. To this day, I am surprised by the forceful assurance of my answer. Also, there was no hesitation in my answer. I replied that we had no choice and that loving and serving Jesus was not an option in our lives. I remember telling her that God called us not the other way around.

Later that evening as I related the conversation to Mark, I knew. I knew that despite my doubts and sometimes pitiful faith that Christ was the center of my soul. I knew that regardless the sorrows and my misunderstandings of His care and provision that I was called to trust Him, love Him, and serve Him until my last breath on this earth was completed. I have found that I am occasionally left standing and praying, "Lord, I believe. Help me in my unbelief."