Wednesday, January 30, 2013

& so it goes...

Today, a person for whom I am very thankful turned 90. He is my stepfather. I knew him as a child. He went to my church & had 3 sons. After I left home for college, he & my dad became best friends. He & his wife & my parents shared many happy memories. The 4 of them even came to visit me one time when my children were young.

His wife passed away about a year after  my dad died. A few years went by, & he began to court my mother. He used to call himself Grandma's boyfriend, & we would laugh. The 2 of them were fun to watch. I soon realized that dating in your 60's was little different than in your teens. My mom was giggly & giddy. One would have thought she was just 16. I think that's the age he made her feel.

Finally, one Christmas, he proposed. He bought my mother a beautiful ring. She was shy about showing it. I don't think she could believe she was getting married. Their wedding was simple. The grandchildren were their wedding party. We had a small celebration afterwards.

The years have passed. My children have grown up. I thank him for all the times he brought my mother to see me. I thank him for being a companion to my mother. He always welcomed my girls & me. Even after a long week of listening to them fight, giggle, perform, & cry, he hugged them each goodnight & grinned from ear to ear when they hugged him back.  He ate whatever I cooked & even seemed to like it.

Now... he spends each day lovingly caring for my mother. He's always happy when I call. He tucks her in at night & fixes her breakfast every morning. He even has a routine. One day it's eggs, the next it's oatmeal, then Raisin Brand, & so it goes. A couple times a week, he takes her to sit & look at the Lake (her favorite past time). Sometimes, they even share an ice-cream or a hot dog.

He likes to feed the wild life that visit their home. It's part of his daily ritual. It provides a sanctuary of animals to entertain my mother. He's a master at woodwork & very proud of each piece of art. After all, his livelihood was construction. He was a dental assistant in WWII. One time, he even operated on my daughter. In the blink of an eye, he relieved her pain.

So as my step father turns 90 today, I count him as one of my greatest blessings in life. He is sweet to my mother. He is her security. When she is afraid, she asks for him. Together, they have blessed 16 grandchildren for over 10 years. Each time I call, I tell him, "I love you." He responds with an "I love you." If only he knew how thankful I am.

Written for:  Everett

Monday, January 28, 2013

I have suffered.

I've been writing this blog for over a week in my head. I guess it's time to share my thoughts. I want to say upfront, that I don't have this all figured out. It's food for thought. I'm still processing it & wondering how it will ultimately effect my life...

My church is doing an amazing Bible Study called "The Story." We are studying the Old Testament. There is a pattern in the Old Testament that deals with God's chosen people repeatedly building & worshiping false idols. So I've had my mind on idols lately. Last Sunday I had a lightening bolt moment, a revelation if you will.

Our Pastor said that if you suffer from anxiety & worry, perhaps it's because you have made comfort & security your idol. I have suffered with anxiety & worry for as long as I can remember. They are my lifelong daily companions. I'd like to shake them, but they seem to be a part of me.

When the Pastor made his statement, I immediately began to wonder if I've made comfort & security my idol. This is a whole new way of looking at this dynamic duo for me. Never has it occurred to me that the root of my anxiety & worry is idol worship.

At first I felt relieved because I felt I had gained a new understanding of myself, almost like a missing link. As the week's gone by, however, I have noticed that my anxiety tends to come & go as it pleases, somewhat resembling the blowing of the wind. Yes... it is sometimes provoked by my circumstances, but sometimes, it's just sitting there like a cloud.

So... as I reach inside my soul to try to figure this out, I am torn. I readily admit that comfort & security could be my idol. I love it when my stars are aligned. However, even when my stars are aligned, anxiety can still blow in. When this happens, I don't believe it's because I have made comfort & security my idol.

Lastly, when my circumstances trouble me, I turn them over to God. Almost always, I find peace. Even when I find peace, anxiety will blow in & try to unnerve me. When this happens, I lay my burden back at the feet of Jesus. My peace returns but not without a conscious effort of calling on Jesus.

Monday, January 21, 2013


I am guilty. I need to apologize to some of the people who read my blog & to some who don't. I have been convicted about words. The Daily Bible Verse this morning (Matthew 12:36-37) speaks about the importance of words & how one day, we will have to give an account for our words. The Bible says so much about words. One scripture that always sticks with me is Matthew 15:18. "What comes from the mouth proceeds from the heart & this defiles a person." I think I have defiled myself.

I've been thinking back through my year of blogging & my lifetime of words. Ouch! The good thing about facebook & blogging is the delete button. If you say something regretful, you can delete it. It's almost like you never said it. But... we all know the truth... Whether you said it or wrote it, the damage is done. And... as I used to impress upon my youth group, once you've said it, you cannot take it back. Oh how I wish I could take back some of my words that have been hurtful!

So where do we go from here? Once the stinging words have been said, you can only apologize, both to God & to the offended. True repentance, however, means you try to stop using hurtful words. Here's what concerns me about my blogging... I have used my words to discuss the impact another person has had on me (without naming him/her). I have given enough information that those who know me well can figure out who has impacted me. I believe this is wrong.

So to those, I've hurt. I am sorry. Even if it was about the hurt you caused me, I am sorry. It's time to grow up & use my words more carefully. If my blogging has been hurtful because I wrote about something dear to your heart (that wasn't my place), I am sorry. I believe God has given me so much in my life that I need to share, I just have to figure out the right way to do it. I'm sure I will continue to "mess it up."

One of my deepest concerns is this: the condition of my heart. If what comes from my mouth overflows from my heart, I think I have some heart cleaning to do. I will end with a scripture I dearly love from Psalm 51... "Create in me a clean heart, O God & renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence & take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of your salvation, & renew a right spirit within me." Amen.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Where do you go in your mind when there are no simple answers & maybe no earthly answers? How do you find peace when you cannot change  your circumstances? What do you do when you cannot please another person, & hope seems so far away? How do you find joy amongst heartache?

I believe that God has created us with a wonderful capability that allows us to laugh in times of sorrow. I first discovered this ability about 19 years ago after my beloved dad passed away. My mom & I were in despair, yet we could still laugh. I remember marveling with her at this wonder. It took us both by surprise.

Rick Warren (author of A Purpose Driven Life) once wrote that he used to think that life was like a roller coaster, a journey if you will, of ups & downs. He later realized in the midst of his wife's breast cancer that life is more like a set of rail road tracks. Simultaneously on this journey called life, we have 2 tracks. One is what is going on in life that is good (our blessings), & the other is made up of our trials (our sorrows & our hardships).

So how do we learn to find joy (or at least peace) when we have areas in our life that land us on the bottom rung of our ladder?  When we feel as if life is spinning out of control, how do we find our center? For me, it helps to face my realities. Recently, I was wishing away an MRI. I don't mind undergoing most medical  tests. I'm just not a good waiter. Waiting is not part of my DNA.

One day during this time of waiting, I told my husband I'd had enough. I just wanted to be done with tests & waiting. His response... I think this is going to be a part of your life. In other words... Get used to it. Actually his words were very comforting because #1  I believe he is right. #2  I must adjust my expectations for my life. Maybe I wouldn't choose such, but since I can't change my reality, I have to work on what I can change.

I can't change the future screenings & labs I will need, but I can change my view of them & how I wait. It's not easy, but with God, I believe All things are possible. I also believe I will have plenty of opportunities to practice what I just wrote. It will not come easy for me but that is what keeps me dependent on God (which is the best place to be) whatever my circumstances.

Most of life, I cannot change. If I could, I would. Since I can't, the best I have to offer is even better than having the ability to change things. It's a Heavenly Father who works all things for His ultimate good. Every good gift is from above & all things work for good for those who love the Lord & are called according to His purpose. I can hold fast to these promises & know that even when I don't know, God does know. He has my back (even when I can't feel it).