Saturday, January 19, 2013


Where is hope?  Life has been so full of other families, other people, arms reaching out for some help, comfort and understanding.  I'll never get used to watching old couples part as the first one to die leaves. I realize as I watch his small face with drooping eyelids blurry with tears and sorrow, how he almost stumbles to her empty shell to say farewell; that this is my biggest fear.

We aren't supposed to have fear if we have faith, but I do. I used to be independent, once upon a time long ago. There was a time that I hung onto it fiercely with defiance, it's my way or the highway.
Not anymore, now it's our way. Our marriage is a three fold cord not easily broken. We are us wrapped up with God and Jesus is always here. The Holy Spirit teaches, leads, fills, and comforts, so why do I hang onto this fear? Fear of the unravelling cord, of being the one left, the unkown of how to go back when you can never go back and the future imagined is a lake of tears.

For years I have asked that we die together because I don't want that lesson in pain.

Watching my friend, as his heart breaks, my heart hurts for him. I hear that quiet voice in myself, "Do you trust me?" Yes Lord, I do. and that is all.

I don't know what the future holds. I only know that I want to keep on this path of letting go. You see I am insatiable. There is never enough stuff. There is never enough pretty clothes, shoes, furniture, trinkets, nice cars, better houses, never never enough. As soon as one pretty bauble is slightly old it loses it's luster and is discarded for another just out of reach and it is sheer misery.

Learning to walk by faith however is the opposite, it is scary, exciting and always amazing when what I hoped for and thought about comes my way. I know it isn't happen chance it is provision.  When I have resisted spending money on a new bed quilt and it is given to me. Even prettier than  imagined and the sheets I actually needed were a Christmas gift this year and so unexpected. When the dog I love and struggled so much with and for, to keep and train and could not do it enough or right; finds a perfect home, and I was not looking. When God brings the family to your door and they are perfect and kind and this serious dog cannot stop wagging his tail at them and my heart breaks watching him fall in love with someone else, at the same time being thankful that it is just this way.

Learning with the Daniel fast that food addictions can be broken and bodies can feel better.

Seeing that needs are met if patience can hold out long enough to allow God to do what He will do. When I let him drive the car of my life and quit saying turn left here and just go for the ride. Stretching, growing and the fear of being left behind and not knowing what to do is less than it was, realizing it is a journey and grace is given when we need it. Believing that eternal arms are really there to lean on.

Because as I am turning lose of my life as I have fashioned it, with the things I have clung to, I realize this makes me mobile and available. Who knows I may end up with a back pack in another country at some point in the future; but the point is it doesn't matter where or when. I am already on the journey.

As I have pondered Jesus life, something very obvious has become clear to me. I admit I can be slow but it sometimes the simplest things right under our noses that are the easiest to miss.  Jesus didn't minister from a high and lofty place. He came down here and dwelt among us. He didn't even have a house. He just had the clothes on his back and he went among the people who needed him, and who were those?  People most of us don't want to hang with, dirty, messy screwed up sick people. Jesus lived like a street person a bum, and he ministered to the unlovely and the messy. HE came for people like me.
We really can't make a difference from far away we have to be with.  We have to live with and walk with, be there. If we really want to be like Him and live like Him then we have to be willing to be led into anything.

I need Him and I want Him. I want more of Him. More trust less fear, more faith less doubt, more life less waste, more peace, more hope, more kindness, more goodness, more self control, more generosity, more meaning, more touching, more giving, more of the only life that satisfies me, sharing who set me free.

You see I am still insatiable but what I want now brings life giving hope not frustration. Freely pouring out my life and talents for mercies sake has a joy no paycheck can give. Being able to spend as much time as I need to without parameters, that is freedom.

Doing all as unto Jesus, pure joy.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Reflecting in the Deep.

Does your head ever swim with questions?  Mine does. I have been noticing the passage of time with other bloggers that I have been reading for a long time now, five, six years.  Babies are children, little children are bigger children, and soon those bigger children will be off living their lives and a whole new set of blogging stories will follow.
 Noticing that caused me to reflect on the beginning of my blog. I had just come back from my first mission trip to Colombia, it was one of those life changing, "aha" experiences. I came back knowing without a doubt how rich we are here.  We have so much, such an excess of material goods. We have clothes that get thrown away with tags on them. Clothes that get tossed because they aren't in fashion anymore, or in my case because I have outgrown them. Outgrowing clothes at my age is also excess, a sign of abundance. We have so much food so many choices. How many kinds of cereal can they make? I saw so many children in one item of clothing or a pair of underwear. When you see in real life people who have little or nothing this waste we participate in is ugly, it indicts the conscience.

When is the last time you had to make a purchase of something important like a washer or dryer, a computer , or a TV, how complicated is THAT? When my washer died it was so overwhelming I bought another one just like mine, second hand. Don't get me wrong I had been waiting a long time to get a new fancy machine. Washing machines are like the cereal isle on steroids. I just tilted. No comprende. I'm thankful that I didn't purchase a fancy machine, the $100 second hand Maytag has been working fine now for years. The goal is clean clothes, right?

As I look back I can see that God started something in Colombia that didn't end when I came home. Two other mission trips later, God closed the door on short term trips and I sat down to wonder. When I stopped being able to work at the hospital I was totally confused. Wasn't I living a good godly life? Slowly God has been revealing to me that my life itself is a mission trip.

"We are supernatural beings living in a natural world". Someone smarter than me said that. I can't remember who but I remember what was said.  We are on a journey, an adventure and so much like little hobbits we choose to love our comforts and homes; or step out the door and go on an adventure. There really are adventures everywhere around us. What I'm finding is my adventures are not glamorous or exciting but they are important. When I wake up and give the Lord my day he brings people into my life that need something that I can give.  Lately God has been using every skill I possess. I was so busy for awhile that I asked for some rest and received it. BUT even as I rested a part of me did not want the rest; the part that knew I was missing something wonderful.

Today I chose not to rest. It was really cold out and that actually was a deterrent, did I want to go out and get chilly? Then the small inner voice won, "GO." Sometimes it is just that simple. Like the Nike shoe ad, "just do it."

I went down to the inner city of Jackson, our ghetto. I went to be a part of Hands &Feet, the clothing ministry and after that the Bible study. I went to meet with whoever God wanted me to meet. I went to smile and share love. I went to hug and to touch. I went to give.

I was paired with a young mother who just lost her little infant son to SIDS.
When I learned it was her, my breath snatched and my heart grabbed hard in my chest with the hurt of it. As we shopped together I gently asked her about her life. She told me about her little girl and we picked some cute things for her. I asked her about herself and she said she was just trying to hang on. That's when I told her that I knew of her little one. I asked her about her feelings and thoughts.
 I told her about our baby. My first little grandson that was 4 months old and died at Christmas. My precious little boy that was shared with me every day of his sweet life. I had given him his first bath. I held him and loved him every single day of his life except for his last. I know about second guessing and driving yourself crazy with "what ifs." We talked and really shared. I know she knew I really cared about her. That I knew first hand what aching arms are, how you wake up and your first thoughts are confused like a bad dream that this can't be real, but it is. Then your eyes that are red and swollen and sore from crying squeeze out fresh tears and they sting, but you cannot help it, that river of tears seems like it will never dry up.
 I share that my Joshua would be 24 and that when I cried for her Leroy, it was crying for Joshua and somehow I have kept on, but there will always be tears for him. He was the firstborn, born in our home, cradled in our arms, and fully loved with all our hearts. Other babies did not replace him. Other babies brought their own joys, but their is no replacement for a unique created being.

 I like to imagine that my mother cares for Joshua in heaven. My mom was such a great baby lady. After being angry with God and feeling like he had given me too much, it finally came down to that simple idea. Please God let my mama hold my baby. Once I imagined him in her arms comforting as they are and all the kisses and cooing he would have and his little smiles back at her, it began to heal my heart. We all have our own way of dealing with grief. I needed a picture to replace the last picture. I could not let holding that little lifeless body be my last thoughts. Losing a baby is an opportunity to go insane. That door opens and with just a little nudge one can step inside and just let go. It takes effort to resist, reality is a painful intolerable place full of questions and sorrow. I don't wish it on anyone. If you can judge me and say that Jesus should have been enough then I forgive you, you have not lost a baby. We cannot say what is enough for someone. Our grief is our own, it is unique and shared and a  journey we must travel through. There is no safe escape. Ultimately God is enough but at the time it is a struggle.

What good can come of something like this? Why does God let this happen?
Well, God is God and he knows more than I can even begin to wonder at. I'm not being trite, I can't explain it. I can only share my own story and say that I had to have simple answers. I really didn't care about the answers to the human condition. I wanted to remain sane and I needed something simple to hold onto, something real. I found those answers in Jesus.

 What I do know is that God never wastes our suffering. If we allow it he will use it to comfort others. If we allow it he will use it to deepen our faith and show us more about who we are and who he is. Because I have walked in that valley I will walk with this young mother as far as she wishes. I will walk as shallowly or as deeply as she needs. If my wounds need to reopen to bleed with hers I will do it, because I know, they are already bleeding.

Every day isn't like this, digging deeply into life's hurts, but each encounter has given me a keen awareness of the Lords hand upon my life. By simply being available he has been directing me all over this town. He places someone on my mind and I call them= they have a need I can fill.  Or a friend will know someone who they want me to talk too, and on it goes. Life can be so full on mission. We are all on mission, we just don't live that way. We are all created with a plan for our lives, a custom plan by God himself with a purpose, a future and HOPE.  It's so awesome and from day to day more gets taken and more gets added and nothing feels the same. As I look back and reflect and question, I wonder what has taken me so long? How much longer is it going to take?
What I do know is God is faithful and good and HE is not finished with me yet.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

It's a New Year

Wow what happened to uploading pictures from your computer? No more? This may end my blogging career dismal as it is.( THANKS Elizabeth it is internet Explorer! Weird!)

I spent Friday in the ER with chest pain, not just chest pain but left arm, tight jaw, grabbing pinching chest pain. I thought I had a widow maker going on. It had to be bad to get me to go to the ER. I really hate going to the ER. We waited 3 and 1/2 hours after my normal EKG to be seen. That is a long time to sit and wait when your chest is being crushed with major pain. I was surrounded by horrible coughing and could only imagine the room full of GERMS that I was sitting in.
I was expecting to be discharged since they couldn't find anything wrong with me. Instead I spent the night in the chest pain observation unit. Even with morphine, Valium, and nitro, I really didn't get any relief or sleep until 6:30 in the morning and then it was time to get up and go do the heart stress test!
Now you will have to imagine this part.
Because of my Achilles tendon finally getting healed I asked if I could do the test in my cowgirl boots. Those are the best shoes I have ever worn. They fit my feet so perfectly and give a lot of

I did the test dressed in two big green patient gowns, one covered the front and one covered the back; and my very hip boots! That was a first for everybody. My feet did not hurt and I did the test well. Felt like I was going to faint from all the morphine and no sleep, but I do believe I can start walking again and that is a very wonderful idea!

I still have chest pain. My plan is to do the Daniel fast for the next 3 weeks maybe longer. Get some weight off, get my bad cholesterol numbers down, and keep on truckin. That's the way I roll, just keep on going.

This is going to be a year of change. The first change is the fast that I just mentioned. The next change and a big one is that Roman is going to a new home. it breaks my heart but I need to think about him too. He is a very big dog not to ever be walked or exercised. He is also an expensive big dog. i haven't been able to keep up with expenses like heart worm meds. A woman that comes to my Bible study has a beautiful home on a lake with 4 great kids and the littlest 6 year old girl is madly in love with Roman, they want him.  The oldest son wants a dog to run with. They all exercise and he will be in the house with everybody and LOVED. He will be fine. It will take me awhile to get over this. They are building a fenced in area for the yard and this has been a slow process. We will go over a couple more times so he is really comfortable over there. He loves all of them.  I was thinking about it on Friday and told my husband it was breaking my heart, and then realized it was real chest pain.

We don't know where we are going to be at the end of this year, but like I said this is the year of change. We are making big decisions about down sizing. We will offer the house for sale in the spring when the garden is the most beautiful. For now I am keeping Sammy, I can only take so much. It is a possibility that he may follow Roman and go to the same family down the road if it looks like we will need to be somewhere we can't have dogs. Sam is much smaller at 40 pounds I can train him to walk with me. Roman is so strong and he is magnificent at 70 pounds. We went to visit and the son took him for a run around the lake just like that. It was beautiful to watch.  Since these are friends I can see him and bring Sammy over for a play day. That's not so bad.

Just thinking about going through this house and packing, sorting, keeping, selling, giving, makes me about come unglued. What a job! It's only taken 10 years to get it all organized and sorted and put away! Our plan is to have a much smaller mortgage or no mortgage. We are listening to God for guidance and direction. I wish we could just go somewhere else cooler, but that is probably not going to happen. I am so happy to have a fire in the fireplace and actually use blankets! It finally cooled off here. This is actually when I like MS most. We have sunshine and crisp cold air. It has been raining a lot, which makes messy muddy dogs but that is life!

I was really busy preparing for Christmas this year. I made 6 aprons loved all of them. Ended up too busy to even take pictures of them all but two. It was great to give home made things and bake cookies. We made a lot of butter cookies,( could that be a factor in the chest pain? ya think?) and pumpkin bread with pecans all kinds of delicious treats. I was so much more relaxed. I ordered a few gifts online for the Little's in Cali and did not even set foot in a mall for the entire month of December!

Guess what? The world did not end! I felt like a Who down in Whoville when the Grinch stole their Christmas and they sang anyway!!! My Grinch heart grew this year! Christmas came even better, more dearer, with the old celebrations of music, food, friends, laughter, and something home made. We enjoyed it so much more. I am not dreading the bills. I actually have a few more aprons to make when I get to them.

One special part of Christmas for me this year involved a family of friends that has 7 children. They love stuffed animals. I was wishing I could give them some new stuffed animals and knew that I would not. While visiting they brought out a big pile of their beloved toys that looked like a flock of velveteen rabbits. Missing ears, worn off noses, large rips with worn stuffing coming out, tails hanging by a thread and noses as well. The children asked me to take their animals to my "hospital," and fix them up. I really had to smile because God orchestrated all of this. They didn't know my wish, and I didn't know I ran a hospital for toys!  As I re stuffed, and stitched I thought about how God does this for us. He takes us just as we are, worn from life, worn from being loved and the things that have ripped at us, and he very lovingly gives us a new heart, and begins to mend and repair, to bring us hope and new life. It was so beautiful these thoughts, as I restored these loved toys. I also got to give a gift to the children that only cost me my time and a few tears, and for them the animals they already loved so much.

These are the kinds of adventures I hope the Lord gives me as we go into 2013. We may not live in the same house or have the same pets, but there will be new people, new experiences and new opportunities to show love; might as well get excited!