Wednesday, January 8, 2014

First I cried.

That’s pretty much my first response when I hear news that upsets me.

After the emotional storm had subsided and I could think...then I talked to God…well I talked to Him while I was crying but it was definitely not coherent prayer. 

It was emotional verbalization. 

Words like- 

No!
Lord, what? 
Oh no!
No!

Those are the kind of words I uttered after the news that Pam, my friend of 30 years had a brain tumor.

Pam and I in Salzburg Austria
She and I met in Germany.  Our husbands worked together in the Air Force.  Her husband was my husband’s boss.  We met at a cook out.  The first thing I noticed about her was her smile. She has a warm smile and there is an openness about her that encourages you to speak with her and draws you in.

I was a young wife and mother feeling like a tiny boat at sea in a new country surrounded by people who spoke a language I didn't understand.  Within this ocean was a small island of an Air Station where American’s lived and worked.  It was so small it was called an Air Station - not even worthy of the name Air Base. A lot of us lived in tiny villages in the surrounding countryside because there was not enough housing to house everyone assigned to work and live there.  Many of the people assigned there worked at other sites any where from a half hour to forty five minute drive from the Air Station.
Her farewell gathering when she left
Germany.

We had one car at the time and my husband drove it back and forth to work most days.  Once a week I would get the car.  I would take my husband to the Air Station where he would catch the bus to work. On those days he had to leave home much earlier than if he drove himself so we would load our then- one year old son into his car seat, drive to the Air Station and drop my husband off then I would drive home and get ready to go to meet with the ladies of the Protestant Women Of the Chapel (P.W.O.C.) for Bible study or outings.  That was also the day I would run errands, do any shopping that I needed to do and stop for groceries just before the bus would return with my husband.  My husband would usually find us in the commissary and the three of us would load up and drive home.  I crammed a lot into my regularly scheduled day of freedom for the three years we lived in Germany.  It was also the day I got to meet and get to know some wonderful women, some I am still in contact with.  Of those women I got to know while living in Germany Pam became my closest friend.  When she moved I wondered if I would ever have another friend like her.

Ladies of the P.W.O.C.
Over the years we have remained close.  
We wrote letters and cards to one another.  
We spent more time and money talking long distance on the phone than our husbands liked. 
(I thank God today for unlimited minutes and text messages and email!)  
She lived in South Dakota and my husband was sent to UT when we left Germany.  Her parents lived in UT so we saw each other on occasion.  I went to visit her when her husband went to the Philippines for a year.  She came to see me when my husband was in Iceland for a year.



Pam holding our youngest.
Then one day she called to tell me they were moving to UT!  Our husbands would to be working together again and she and I were ecstatic! Even though her heart was heavy as her daughter stayed behind to attend college. When her youngest graduated high school and went to college she went to college too.  She tried to talk me into going with her.  When she called me the first day of classes in tears and overwhelmed with the amount of work the teachers had thrown at them for the first semester, I told her she could do it!  It wasn't all due right away.  We hung up and I whispered a prayer of thanks that God hadn't called ME to go to college.



We have shared trials, tears, joy and laughter.  
We have given advice, taken advice and ignored each others advice.  
We have cleaned and painted and crafted together.
One of her visits.
We have studied, discussed, and prayed over the Bible together.
We have discussed, debated, and disagreed or agreed on a million things.  
We have prayed for one another, for our families, for children's broken bones and broken hearts to be healed, finals and job searches, for weddings, and the birth of grandchildren. 
For our struggles, for our needs, and for God's blessings we have prayed and shared answers to those prayers. 
It came as no surprise when she called to tell me to pray about her brain tumor.  Of course I’d pray! 

Christmas visiting her parents.
So we prayed.
We prayed for miraculous healing.  
We prayed for there to be no tumor when the second MRI was done.  
We prayed for wisdom for the doctor, for peace for her and her family.  
We prayed. 
I asked friends and family to pray.  
We prayed the tumor wouldn't grow. 
We prayed the tumor would shrink.  
We prayed the tumor would be benign.  


She sent a text and told me surgery was scheduled.  
Again I cried.
I visited her two years ago.

I cried for mostly selfish reasons.  Every doctor doing a surgical procedure requires you read a paper listing all the risks involved in deciding to have surgery.  Always at the end of the list are the words: “…and ultimately death”.  So the idea of my friend no longer being here on this earth to share life with made me cry.  Another real possibility of having brain surgery is that damage to the brain can cause loss of memory; a stroke was a very real concern. 
She could come out of surgery and not have her memories.  
She could have suffered a stroke that might leave her unable to care for herself.  
So my most selfish thinking was I could very well lose my friend…even if she made it through the surgery.
I cried for her, her grand daughters, her children and her husband as well as myself.

I prayed some very specific prayers asking God if I could go be with her before, and during her surgery and He worked it all out.  The first week of December and only 10 days before her surgery tickets were purchased at a reasonable price, a friend offered her home for my stay, and dates for travel were between weather events…only God could have orchestrated that.  I had prayed for healing but I also knew that God's ways are not always what we would ask for. I wanted to be able to tell my friend I loved her one more time face to face. 
She went home 3 days after surgery.

The day of her surgery we had prayer around her hospital bed.
Her daughter, her husband, her sister, and a friend of hers were holding hands as I asked for God to direct the hands of the surgeon, bless us all with peace and through it all He would be glorified.

And then we waited. 

The surgeon came to us and told us the tumor was benign.  
Pam was doing well. 
It was the best outcome he could have hoped for.  
There were sighs of relief, smiles, a few tears and whispered prayers of thanks among our small group after the doctor left us.  
She was alert and talking to us half an hour later. 

After her family spoke with her and they had moved over to the couch to text and call other family members I went to stand by my friend of 30+ years.  With tears in my eyes and my voice thick with the emotions stuffed down inside me, I leaned over and whispered these words to her:

"I am so glad the surgery went so well."

"I am so glad you are OK."

"I am so thankful you are still my friend."

I share her story because God deserves all honor and praise for her healing.  I share because God showed me, again, how He answers prayer.  Rarely does He answer exactly as I ask but He does answer.  I am learning to ask and trust Him with the answer.  I have prayed for healing for someone and His answer was to take them.  I have asked for healing for others and they continue to suffer with poor health, pain, or disease.  I have struggled with my faith in those cases. 

But always we are told to ask.  So I ask

Always we are told to trust Him.  So I ask Him to help me trust him more.
My beautiful friend...she is doing so well! God answered so many prayers!
There are some amazing things I have learned about Christian friendships.  It is no accident when you meet someone; it is God who brings you together.  When God brings you together as friends then you will be forever friends because as believers we are promised eternity together in heaven.   

Sometimes friends are in your life only for a season, but occasionally God allows a friendship to continue to grow over time and distance.  

There is a level of friendship at which it doesn't matter how long it’s been since you were together, or how long it’s been since you talked, you can pick up with one another and it’s as though there was no time or distance separating you.
   
Those are the friendships that endure...hair styles change...we earn silver highlights...our youth wanes...but our friendship endures.    

I have several friendships like that.  I am so very grateful for each and every one. 

Walk in love,

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

When Pride Creeps Up On You

It's been nearly two years since I last posted here on the blog.

I have been writing. Just not here.
I needed to step back and evaluate my motives for blogging.

I love to write. 
I love that I share something and people understand what I'm trying to communicate through words. 
They get it. 
What ever "it" is for that writing.
.
I am amazed how God uses writing to teach me new (new to me) truths about Himself ...
...His love
...His forgiveness
...His purpose
...His glory
...His faithfulness
...His righteousness
...His mercy
...His patience
...His healing
...His joy
...or...
...to shine the light of His truth on my life...
...my motives
...my hurts
...my hangups
...my failures
...my faith
...my creativity.

He has used writing to impact others with words of encouragement and blessing because He inspired me to write the words. 

It's His inspiration, His gift that flows through me.

I am thankful for the comments, for the encouragement, for the kindness of everyone who has read what I have written and shared how it touched them, or how they can relate.

But there also was my problem. I found myself too concerned with what readers thought.

Pride is an ugly thing.

Even uglier when you see it in yourself.

Oddly enough I didn't notice that pride was creeping in when it came to blogging. It was a subtle thing. But then one day it was glaringly obvious that this was sin when I realized that I was logging in repeatedly just to see if anyone had viewed my blog and if so how many and which posts were getting the most reads?  It became about numbers. It was about receiving validation from others and not about glorifying Him.

So I stopped.
  
Stopped sharing.
Stopped posting.
Stopped.

I did some soul searching about my motives.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
Psalm 139:23

I want to be real. I want to be transparent
I don't pretend to have it all together. 
I'm not wearing a halo or hiding behind a mask pretending I'm something I'm not.

I asked God to show me if I was to write another word on a blog and if so then show me His timing. 

So two years has passed.

I begin again.

Wiser I hope.
Wiser to the tactics of an enemy eager to use me to rob God of His glory.
Wiser about my own sinful nature.

Praising God for His blessings and gifts.
Praising God for the gift of His grace. 

I'm an ordinary person...ordinary in that I am a sinner. 
Saved by grace...
...in the hands of an Amazing God!


Walk in love,



















Monday, September 26, 2011

Grace from the Fairy Grandmother

Bacon at the Bacon-Fest...yummy,
I am an employee at the local Hallmark store and was asked to work Saturday.  I was called in to help in the afternoon while the other two ladies took turns going for their hour lunch breaks.  One had gone and returned so the second left as it got really busy.  The First Annual Bacon Fest was the event of the day so the town square was busy with folks wanting their free BLT sandwich.  Events had slowed down; Miss Sizzle and Little Miss Bacon-bits were sporting their crowns as traffic in the store picked up with customers wandering in.

Oscar Meyer Weinermobile & Princess.
I’m a seasonal employee…I used to work part-time, then full time when the manager had a accident and was out for 3 months.  I decided seasonal was the better choice for me so I could visit family and have days off when my husband took vacation days.  Down side of that is I have forgotten so much of how to do things, they also have changed how they do things so I’m not up to speed on some procedures.

Free BLT sandwich...loooong line for these.
“Fairy Grandmother” came in with her husband and granddaughter.  I call her that because that’s what the t-shirt she was wearing had written across it.  Now that I’m going to be a grandmother myself I am tuned in to all things grandmother.  She was probably in her 60’s, wore glasses, jeans and t-shirt and had gray and white shoulder length hair.  Nothing that would make her stand out in a crowd, just your average grandmother.  I asked her about her t-shirt and chatted about being a grandmother myself come January.  Her husband (aka Fairy Grandfather) informed me that it is the right of all grandparents to spoil their grandchildren.   They did their shopping and I worked the register ringing up sales. 

Little Miss Bacon-Bits
Fairy Grandmother and her granddaughter returned with their purchases at the same time several customers were ready to pay and leave.  My co-worker was asked to help a customer with some jewelry so I was the only one available at the register.  Fairy Grandmother gave me her Gold Crown card and it had been so long since she had used it that Hallmark had purged it from the system.  I got her another card and asked if she had the time to have the information entered into the register.  She did so I started the process.  This is one of those areas that procedures had changed over time and I’m not used to the new way of doing things so I’m slower than it would normally take.
 
Behind Fairy Grandmother was another lady waiting her turn; I’ll call her Ms. Impatient.  She most defiantly did not have time for me to enter information for a new card and made sure I and everyone else knew it.  I don’t know this woman personally but I know her…I’ve been her.  Huffing at the inconvenience, commenting on having only one register going when there were 3 ladies working..been there, done that.  I explained that we were down to two employees while the third was at lunch, but it fell on deaf ears and a less than patient mindset.  The more she fussed the more flustered I became and the more of a mess I made of the process of trying to get Fairy Grandmother’s Gold Crown card updated.  My face was red, I was hot, my fingers didn’t seem to know how to type, and in general I was a mess.  My co-worker finished with her customer at the jewelry display and came and helped me with my card entry that was going haywire and asked if she could help the next person.  Fairy Grandmother told her she was fine but the next lady was in a hurry.  So Ms. Impatient jumped in line ahead of the woman my co-worker had been helping with the jewelry.  By now I had given her the credit slip to sign and was bagging up Fairy Grandmothers purchase, apologizing for it taking so long.  She assured me it was fine she was in no hurry.  I thanked her for her patience and turned to help the next customer.  As she walked out the door I couldn’t remember getting the signed credit card slip from her so I finished with the customers in line and checked my register for the credit card slip.  I had forgotten it. 
Candy at the store I work at...my favorite are the peaches, 3rd on the top row

Have you ever had one of those days that you think to yourself why did I think I could do this job?  I turned to my coworker and told her I had to go run after Fairy Grandmother.  Fairy Grandfather had stayed behind to secretly purchase something for his wife and told me she was in the store next door.  So off I went…thankful for the cool autumn breeze as I rushed out the door because I was now in full blown hot flash mode.  All I could think was how glad I was that I didn’t have to chase after Ms. Impatient and how terrible I was at my job. 

I found Fairy Grandmother and told her what the problem was, she was as sweet as she could be as she looked through her purse for the signed credit card slip.  Not finding it she said it must be in the bag that was now in her car…so off we went.  All the way I apologized and she was told me it was ok, but I knew it was my incompetence that had us walking down the street to her car together. 

She got the bag, found the slip and gave it to me with a smile.  I told her how much I appreciated her understanding and was so sorry at the inconvenience to her.  Smiling she told me that we all have those things happen and Ms. Impatient hadn’t helped matters.  As I turned to walk off she said “Wait a minute.” and smiling she walked up to me and gave me a big hug.  As I hugged the woman I was relieved to know that she really was being honest when she told me it was alright.

Later that evening I was sharing the story with my husband and I told him that Fairy Grandmother had every reason to be annoyed, put out, and angry with me but she had offered nothing but grace.  How often have I been Ms. Impatient instead of Fairy Grandmother when dealing with people in my own life?  How often have I been so focused on myself and my agenda that I gave no thought to how my attitude was hurting the person I was interacting with?   How often have people dealt with me a “Ms. Impatient” and not even seen a glimpse of Jesus in me?  How that must grieve my Lord to see one of His children act so unloving towards other.  

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.  Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”  John 13:34-35

Can you relate?  We really need each other as we walk this road called life.  We need to love one another, encourage one another, and be kind, understanding and patient with one another.  Pray for me, and I will pray for you.  Pray that we will be known by our love.  I want to be like Fairy Grandmother instead of Ms. Impatient no matter how crazy things get as the holidays approach.

Walk in Love,

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Snippets of a moms life…

“Mama.”
“Mommy.”
“Mom.”
“Madre.”
“Mum.”

“Mommy-Wayne!” (He had heard “Jordon Wayne” so much he thought Wayne was the word to say when you were angry.)
“I he’p, mommy.”
“I hungee mommy.”

“Play with me mommy.”
“I wuv you mommy.”
“Watch me mommy!”
“Night night mommy.”
“Mommy, hold me.”
“Mommy, I do it.”
“mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, can I…”
(Whispered in the dark of night) “Mommy, I’m scared.”
“Mom, you’re a good cooker-woman!”
“Mom! I have a new best friend!”
“Mom, why don’t they like me? Is it ‘cause my skin isn’t brown?” (speaking of some Hispanic boys next door)
“…can I mom? Can I?”
“Moooooommmm!! Holly keeps getting into my stuff!”
“Mom! I asked Jesus into my heart!”
“Mommy, is Jordon getting bath-tized?”
“Mom! Jordon isn’t playing fair!”
“Mom! I got the part in the play!!”
“Mom, everyone told me my drawing was the best.”
(In tears) “Mom, I said something that hurt her feelings.”
“Mom, will you go with me?”
“I’ll do it later mom.”
“I know mom.”
“Mom! I know!”
“Seriously mom…we were just hanging out in the park and that crazy lady called the police!”
“I’m telling you mom, if something like Columbine happened at my school I wouldn’t just sit and watch them shoot my friends.”
“I love you too mom. Bye.”
“Mom, would you pray for me?”
“I really don’t want to talk about it mom”
“Mom…she broke up with me.”
“Mom I either want a cherry cheese cake or a pineapple upside down cake for my birthday.”
“Mom, Steve asked me to the prom…yes a freshman can go to the prom.”
“Mom, I’m going to Kuwait.”
“Mom I think I’m suppose to go on this mission trip”
“Mom I broke my hand…well I got mad…I broke it when I hit the wall with my fist…yes I was drunk.”
I’m praying for you mom.”
“I’ll be fine mum. I’ll see you later”
“Mom, you and dad are the best parents.”
“Mom I’m going to ask her to marry me.”
“Mom…I’m not moving with you and dad.”
“I miss you too mom.”
“You’re my mum, you’ll always be my mum.”

It’s funny how while you’re living it-life seems to flow along like the lazy Mississippi river. Days slip by and you go to bed each night planning the next day or week without a thought that you can never grab the time back. When our children are young we look forward to the next thing…anxious for the day they can crawl, then walk, feed themselves, dress themselves. Before you know it they are boarding a plane for basic training or walking in front of you carrying the last box of their possessions into their new apartment. You realize looking back that time wasn’t passing like a lazy river but it rushed by like the rapids on the Colorado River during the spring runoff and you wonder to yourself how your children survived it…survived you and all the times you messed up, lost your temper, got too busy.

Being a mom has been the most fulfilling part of my life. I am blessed that God trusted me with two children even though He knew I wouldn’t always get it right, that my patience would run short, that I would too often try to do it on my own and forget to seek Him for wisdom and direction.

This Mothers Day my heart is full of love for my children Jordon and Holly. My eyes are misty and there’s a lump in my throat as I recall precious moments from their childhood that make up the memories I hold dear. Like every mom through history I’ve kept these memories in my heart and think of them often. I pray the good memories my children have of their childhood outnumber the memories of my failures as a mom. I pray that if they bear heart wounds that they take them to the One who binds our wounds and heals all our hurts. Most of all I pray they learn from my mistakes and are better parents to their children.

I love you Jordon, my first born. I am so proud of the man you have grown into…like your dad in a lot of ways. You are fiercely loyal and protective.

I love you Holly, my precious daughter and always my baby girl. I miss your face, your hugs and how you would encourage me.

I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

mom



Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Secret Sisters

In January the Women’s Ministry at our church started the New Year with a sign up for Secret Sisters.  I wasn’t going to do it but at the last minute of the last day to sign up I changed my mind and filled out the form. 

I received my packet with the information for my Secret Sister and sent her a note card letting her know she had a secret sis and that I would be praying for her.  I don’t know my secret sister outside of church, so I just pray, asking God to clue me in on what to write in her cards, what kinds of things might bring a smile to her face and I go with it.  I may not know the lady but God knows everything about her and if I’m sensitive to His leading and ask Him to help me be creative then what I share will be exactly what she needs at the time.

Yesterday I arrived at church and found a gift waiting for me from my Secret Sister, the person who received my name.  She had left me a candy bouquet and a card for Valentine Day.  It was a sweet surprise on a snowy Sunday morning and brought a smile to my face.  What a blessing to know someone is praying for you and thinking about you. 



Continuing with my Gratitude list:
171.  Visiting with a friend from far, far away.
172.  Wii “Just Dance” and laughing till my sides ache.
173.  Tucked inside while a blizzard blows outside.
174.  Learning how to use my new sewing machine.
175.  Completed projects.
176.  Shoveling snow with joy in my heart.
177.  Shared prayers.
178.  Hot tea and blue berry muffins.
179.  Chatting way into the wee hours of the night.
180.  The artistry of wind sculpted snow.
181.  Sunshine after a blizzard.
182.  The word “blizzard”…who thought that up?
183.  Cuddl Duds when the wind chill is below zero.
184.  A new hand lotion.
185.  An inhaler for asthma symptoms.
186.  Neighbors with snow blowers!
187.  Losing in sword fighting ‘cause I’m laughing so hard.
188.  A friendship that God brought together.
189.  Sweet surprises from my Secret Sister.
190.  Seeing that my Babygirl has started a blog.
191.  The smell and feel of a fluffy throw right out of the dryer.
192.  A snowflake charm for my bracelet…commemorating the Blizzard of 2011
193.  A free gift with my perfume purchase.
194.  Hearing my son arrived safely home after being gone for a month.
195.  Seeing Bob at church after his angioplasty.
196.  The cherry at the bottom of my cherry limeade
197.  The group of people who meet every week for prayer meeting.
198.  The note I found from my friend when she left.
199.  All the laundry washed, dried, and folded.
200.  Hearing “Lucy-I’m home” when my husband walks in the back door.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Multitude Monday

Continuing my gratitude list…
151. Encouraging words when the winter blues made an appearance.

152. Getting honest with God and myself about the secret places in my heart that are no secret to Him.


153. Moving past the word “Paul” in my goal to memorize the book of Ephesians.

154. Encouragement from a friend as she joins me in memorization!!!

155. God writing His Word on my heart verse by verse.

156. Snow…snow…and more snow.

157. Sunshine on the snow after the clouds clear.

158. Meeting a neighbor for the first time when I offered to help her shovel her driveway.

159. Thanks from my husband when he arrived home to a shoveled drive.

160. Chili dogs.

161. The words “I’ve been praying for you this week”.

162. Surprise left by a new Secret Sister.

163. The members of our church who clear the parking lot, shovel the sidewalk, and assist the elderly.

164. Safe travels on snow covered roads to and from church.

165. A text from my husband to let me know he arrived safely to work.

166. Schwan’s ice cream miniatures.

167. Wool socks…thick and warm.

168. Our treadmill…I don’t have to walk in the frigid cold through the snow and ice...after eating Schwan's ice cream mini's.

169. K-LOVE playing over the internet.

170. Winter sunsets.


What are you thankful for today? Join us at A Holy Experience and do share!


Thanks for stopping by,


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The sound of silence…

If I can stay home and not have to be out in it then I absolutely love snow.

Snow fall is silent…once it falls it muffles the entire world around me. Even the birds cease their chatter when the snow is falling.

The only noise I’ve heard all day is the sound of the snow plow rumbling by and the sound of shovels sliding across driveways.

This snow fall is not very wet…making for easier shoveling. When we lived in Utah where they have the greatest snow on earth- seriously...our license plates said so- the snow was dry and called powder. The snow fall today here in Missouri is just that kind of snow. Powder is excellent for skiing and snowboarding making for soft landings in the event of mishaps.

As I watched the snow falling this morning I remembered the books I read as a girl written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I remember going to the library and checking out those books one at a time until I read the whole set. I loved her descriptions of life in simpler times but today I am thankful for central heat instead of wood burning stoves or fireplaces that are cozy only as long as you are within the circle of their warmth. I shared my love for those books with my daughter and bought her the set when she was a little girl.

 Snow brings memories of snowmen and forts we built as children in North Dakota. When the wind chill was not too excessive that we could be outside to play where the snow was abundant for snow play. I remember my older brother and the neighborhood boys tunneling through the huge piles of snow standing beside driveways…off limits to girls of course. There were some serious snow ball fights waged from those fortresses. I knew better than to attempt to go up against my brother and his pitching arm, his fastballs were killer and he didn’t play around but aimed for the head of his victims. Being the target of a well shaped cold snowball to the face seemed to put a damper on my desire to play. Even though I didn’t like the “No girls allowed” slogan I respected it out of a sense of self preservation. Mom would make snow cream when we went in the house to warm up, almost as good as homemade ice cream in my memories.

Memories are of my own children playing in the snow bring a smile to my face as I visit the past through photographs. I would bundle them up in their winter attire, smear Vaseline on their cheeks and receive just as much joy from their excitement as I had as a child. I can’t count the number of snowmen they built over the years.

One of my favorite pictures is of our daughter- in kindergarten at the time- sitting in the yard where the snow was so deep you couldn’t see much of her except her head. That was the winter my husband was in Iceland and it seemed to snow every other day. The pile of snow at the end of our driveway rivaled the snow forts I remembered in North Dakota…and I shoveled every inch of it.

Today the drive way needed to be shoveled and the wind was picking up so the wind chill was dropping. I put on the long underwear and thick gloves and socks and went out to help my husband shovel. The best part about going out and shoveling was that we got to come in and drink hot chocolate together.

I wonder if those Little House books are hiding in the basement. If my daughter doesn’t have them I may have to go try to find them.  It's the perfect kind of evening to snuggle down on the couch under a throw and read a good book while drinking my hot chocolate.