Breaking News

The news has become so depressing, I have been tempted to tune it out.

It’s amazing how little bits of negative information can just land in our thoughts and stay there, to appear out of nowhere at another time.

We sometimes forget that what started this journey from peace and joy into doubt and fear was having the knowledge of evil.

Adam and Eve were told not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good AND evil. Only knowledge of good was what God wanted for them.

But satan was waiting to get his foot in the door. Once they had knowledge of evil, the world changed forever.

So should we just try to block out all the evil in the world and try to mentally transport ourselves back to the Eden that existed before the fall?

No! Jesus bids us to follow Him. He never ignored darkness. He brought The Light.

He did not judge or condemn the lost. He gave them The Way to be found.

He stayed constantly connected to His Father God and He prayed, He even prayed for us, even though in earth time, we were way off in the future. (John 17)

Should we turn off the news and just pray? No! We should consider the news our call to pray for those who are the news.

We should thank God that what is being reported is not the end of the story. We should pray for those in the present and also those in the future, just as Jesus did.

Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world!”
John 16:33

If we all claimed His Promise while watching the news, the world would change. Think of it.

Instead of sitting on the couch, shaking our heads at how bad things are, we would spiritually go with Jesus in His Power to those who are sick, grieving, lonely, hungry, devastated by earthquakes, and myriads of other troubles.

We would see it all, not in defeat, doubt or fear. We would see everyone through the eyes of Jesus. We would reach out and tell them all, “I am with you always!”
Matthew 28:20

Jesus said,
“I am The Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have The Light of Life!”
John 8:12

He says to us, “Let’s go. You are The Light of the world!”
Matthew 5:14

Ask! Seek! Knock!

Some neighborhood children come to our house almost every night and play ball in our driveway.

It is a treat. I sit at the window and enjoy the show. It is like having box seats. Sometimes the children smile and wave.

Sometimes the ball goes astray and lands right outside the window. I am treated to the race to see who can retrieve it first. I give the winner a thumbs up.

The children count on the playground being open. We usually park the car in the garage to assure the driveway is clear for them.

But one night, we left it in the driveway. A little while later, our doorbell rang. We answered to find four innocent faces pleadingly looking up.

The designated spokesperson said, “Can you please move your car so we can play?”

Jay did so gladly. The game was on.

Later I thought of what a blessed scene I had witnessed. The children were not hesitant to make such a request. They felt confidant we would want to share life with them.

They felt confident because they had already experienced our love and approval.

They were the living demonstration of what Jesus taught.

“For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Matthew 7:8

God our Father stands ready to open the doors on which we knock. He is ready to help us find what we are seeking.

It is His Pleasure to give good things to us. What would you like to ask Him today?

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom!”
Luke 12:32

Joy In Living

I love living in a neighborhood where children play outside. It brings back happy memories of times I rode my bike, my hair flying in the wind.

I remember playing games we just made up. I remember being endlessly fascinated with sticks or rocks.

I remember when falling was only a temporary setback. I was assured I was ok. I was reassured that people who loved me were watching and would move in quickly if needed.

I remember a time when it was ok to act silly because we really didn’t know the definition of the word. We were just having fun.

I remember a time when I thought skinned knees were the worst thing that could happen to a person. I had no knowledge of greater pain.

I trusted people. I thought most people were good. Evil was a foreign concept.

I gave little thought to the future except to count off the days until Christmas would be there. I lived in the wonderful time where it was always today … a time of new discoveries waiting.

When I watch children play or hear their take on life, it is a joy. I would tell them, “Enjoy these precious moments before the world intrudes.” But I don’t have to do that because they are already!

The question for us adults is … are we receiving all The Joy available for us?

When we got home this afternoon, neatly parked in front of our house were these two dolls. It made us smile! And close behind, were two “Moms” who were quick to assure their little ones’ safety.

I share our smiles with you!

True Heroes

I worked in a hospital for over 30 years. During that time I witnessed time and time again quiet acts of bravery … people who gave their all, but would never be recognized with medals or special holidays.

They did not seek recognition from others. For most, what they did was simply answering the call of their heart.

Some knew that Call was from God. Some did not. They only knew they wanted to help other people. In their own way, they were “loving one another,” just as Jesus commanded.

There were nurses on psychiatry who were beaten up by patients who were so mentally ill they would never even remember what happened.

A nurse had her jaw broken. After months of painful recovery, she went back to work. She forgave the patient. She forgave like Jesus. She said she knew he did not know what he was doing.

Nurses got covered with blood, vomit, and all manner of what can come out of a human body. They wiped it away and kept working.

Nurses were exposed to odors one never forgets. But they tried to forget and kept working.

When death threatened, nurses and doctors pulled out all stops and responded. It was incredible to see a team of people (who sometimes did not even know each other), work together, completely focused on just one mission of saving another person’s life.

Sometimes their efforts succeeded. And many times the one saved never even met their saviors. But their lives were changed forever by the nameless strangers who came to help.

Sometimes death came and nurses and doctors were escorts to help others cross over to the other side.

They had to temporarily lay aside their desires to save to earth and relinquish their patients into a larger reality. They had to hold their own grief so they could help others grieve.

But they cried too … later when they left the morgue … later in the car on the way home … later when they were trying to sleep.

Nurses worked long hours, often without meal breaks or proper bathroom breaks. When someone called off for the next shift, they often worked longer hours.

They worked during hurricanes, snow and ice storms and even national emergencies like 9/11. Nurses slept on the floor or in chairs with only a few hours rest in between taking care of patients.

Nurses were exposed to all kinds of bugs. At one time, I was the manager of an infectious disease unit.

We lived in gowns, gloves and masks. We scrubbed our hands until they were nearly raw. We presented ourselves weekly for someone to put a stick up our nose to see if we had caught anything.

I also managed the hospice unit when AIDS was new. Fear was rampant, as people were just learning about this disease. Nurses still nursed, holding hands, soothing fevered brows, calming fears, as they tried to put their own fears aside.

In this present world of COVID,, I can honestly say I am relieved to be retired from nursing. But I know all across the world, there are nurses, doctors and other health care workers, who are still on duty, every day, evening and night.

In addition to their regular duties, they have had to assume the role of family, as isolated, frightened, lonely patients beg for help and comfort.

They are tired. They are grieving. They are scared. But they go on, caring for those who are ill. They are the unsung heroes of this time.

Please say a special prayer for all of them. Express your gratitude when you see them. Find ways to honor them.

And please do your part to stop the spread of COVID.

But This Is Covered By A Warranty …

When I was growing up, if something broke or simply wore out, you did not buy something new.  Someone repaired it or rehabbed it.

As I moved into adulthood, I was delighted to discover many things came with warranties.  This seemed like a variation of what I was used to.  Something broke.  Someone fixed it.

However, there was “fine print.”  We discovered in recent years getting things repaired was not quite as easy as we thought.

Often we were on the phone forever listening to a variety of music not of our choosing interspersed with a pleasant robotic voice telling us how much they cared about us.  

When we made it through level one, often the next robot hit us with multiple pre-programmed questions, none of which applied to our situation.

We wanted to scream, “We just want our thing fixed!” 😱. However, if we chose the option to “speak with a representative,” we were flipped back to music and the first robot intermittently telling us how much they cared.

If we actually made it through robots one and two to a live person, often they were in another country.  They obviously were reading from a script while practicing English as a second language.  They sounded like they were training to be a robot!

If we somehow managed to communicate our problem, often it went one of two ways.  Either our very detailed warranty (the one that was fifty pages long) did not cover our specific problem or it required a part that was in another country.

In the latter case, the very nice human robot would offer to transfer our call to that country or indicate they would send them a message.  However, they advised us the supply chain was backed up, and it might be a few years until they could get the part.

If it did take that long, the robot felt obliged to tell us if it was outside the warranty period, they could not cover it.

However, they assured us they really cared about our problem.  

Upon occasion, the representative was so helpful as to tell us they would gladly send us the part “straight away.”  They said it would come with easy instructions on how to fix it ourselves.

We fell for that one a couple of times.  We promptly received the part with instructions.  However, often the instructions were in such fine print we needed to order a magnifying glass to begin.

If the instructions were big enough to read, often they were in some language neither of us could translate (and in some cases, we could not even verify that language was spoken on this planet).

If we passed those hurdles, the instructions were sometimes obviously written for graduate engineering students.

If we failed that hurdle and attempted to call the company, you guessed it.  Back to robot one, two, three, etc.  who really cared about us.  They told us so multiple times while we waited.

If we actually cleared all the above hurdles, then sometimes the company required someone to come and personally check to be sure we were telling the truth and our product was really covered by the warranty.

That person would then have to report back to another person, who then might come whenever they were available to fix the problem.

If we actually got someone to our house to repair it, sometimes they would find the part that was needed would have to be ordered.  And of course, they were not sure how long it would take to get the part.

We were told when the part came in, someone would call us.  When they could get to us, they would come back and fix it.

If we actually made it through to getting a real live person at our house with just the right part, we were ready to claim victory.

However, there was one more hurdle.  If there was any part not specifically covered by the warranty, there would be a charge.  

The charge would be about the same cost as buying a new one.  And the repair guy gleefully told us, the new one would be covered by … you guessed it …a full warranty.   

And that is why we decided to cut our losses.  We are old.  We don’t have time to go through the hurdles again.  We could die off before the things get fixed.

And so, that is why a couple of weeks ago, we bought a new microwave and today we bought a new washer and dryer.  We are working our way through reading the warranty information, in case we need to start the process now!😱

Why Are You Still Here?

Sometimes life is overwhelming. I find myself thinking a lot more about Heaven than earth.

I love everyone on earth, but I am getting more and more family and friends who live in Heaven now.

As I continue on earth’s battle ground, some days I am a bit envious of those who have been promoted. I start to feel I have been left behind.

However, I know I am here for a reason … God’s Purpose. He planned for me to be here at this very time.

David said, “Your Eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your Book before one of them came to be.”
Psalm 139:16

God planned the exact place I was to live.

Luke said, “He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.”
Acts 17:26

God planned before I was born what good works I was to do here.

Paul said, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesians 2:10

So I am here not to formulate a plan, but to live out God’s Plan, minute by minute. I am here to learn and do His Will, whatever it is.

When our earth assignment is complete, may we be able to say to God what Jesus said.

“I have brought You glory on earth by finishing the work you gave Me to do!”
John 17:4

I invite you to listen to one of my favorite songs, as you contemplate the wonder of His creating you for such a time as this.

God Help Me!

When times are good, I believe I have faith. I find it easy to write and speak in optimistic, joyful praise.

However, when times are tough, especially when my body and mind are challenged, it becomes more difficult.

I tend to moan and groan. I beg God to “help me,” implying if He will just give me a little assistance … cut me a break … cover my shift for awhile … I will go back to taking care of myself.

However, that is not what He has in mind. He plans some resistance training.

Many include resistance training in their exercise program. They do so joyfully with the idea they will soon be stronger.

It is not easy. It takes time. It takes repetition. It may make them sweat. But they consider it worth the effort.

James wrote a scripture that always seemed nuts to me. He said,
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
James 1:2

I do not consider any trial to be connected with “pure joy!”😱

But James goes on to explain.

He said, “You know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. “

He goes on. “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. “
James 1:3-4

And when I am lying on the floor, feeling a bit disoriented and feeling I can’t even think clearly, what should I do?

I hate not knowing what to do. Should I search the net for more information? Should I call in opinions from everyone I know? Listen to the news?

No! James goes on.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
James 1:5

God does not mind us asking Him anything. He is waiting for us to know “our help is in The Lord, Who made Heaven and earth.”
Psalm 124:8

So I ask God. However, I often don’t wait for His Answer. I am asking, but I am also running in circles screaming, “The sky is falling!”

He is waiting for me to “be still and know He is God.”
Psalm 46:10

He is waiting for me to “wait upon Him so He can renew my strength.”
Isaiah 40:31

And when He answers me, I must be not only be ready to receive it, but I must also be ready to hold onto it and not doubt.

James put it plainly.
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”
James 1:6-7

I am going through resistance training right now. I am not feeling the “pure joy” yet, but I know I am on the way to a day when I will be stronger.

The Joy of The Lord is my strength!
Nehemiah 8:10

This Is My Body …

One Sunflower can have as many as 2000 seeds. These seeds can go many places, carried by birds, squirrels and people. The seeds may be eaten on site by the collector or carried to others in another location.

Or the seeds may simply return to the ground to begin another crop of sunflowers for next year.

Tonight as I looked at this Sunflower giving so generously from the very center of itself, it struck me as a beautiful representation of what Jesus did.

Jesus provided spiritual food for those near and far. He provided seeds that would grow and blossom in other seasons.

He offered all of Himself and said, “Take and eat. This is My Body.”
Matthew 26:26

I Honestly Love You …

Truth be known, I think I was in love with Jay Jones from the moment I met him.  But I did not recognize it then.

I was not sure how he felt.  I knew we started “accidentally” running into each other a lot. I knew he called me and we talked on the phone for hours.  

I knew when I was scrapping for a place to live, he offered to let me stay at his apartment when he was gone.

His mother told me many years later that from the first time he said my name to them, they never heard him say the name of another girl.

But I hesitated.  I was guarded … determined not to give my heart away without much vetting beforehand.

We skirted any commitments.  I dated other people.  I tried not to think of Jay being with other people.  But the plain fact of the matter was he was the only one I did not want to leave at the end of the evening.

One night I went to dinner with a coworker.  It was nice, but no big fireworks.  When we returned to my apartment, we said goodbye at the door.  Much to my surprise, he kissed me.

I hastily repeated my good nights and closed the door firmly.  Later when I went for a walk, I saw Jay.  He lived at the other end of the street.

He skipped the pleasantries of the evening and got right to the point.  He said, “I don’t know why you needed to go anywhere with him.  You know I love you.”

It was one of those times when the earth stopped moving for a few moments.  He immediately looked embarrassed, as if the words had accidentally fallen out of his mouth and he was not quite sure what to do next.

I don’t remember what I said.    I think I said, “No, I didn’t know that.”  But I don’t think I said “I love you” back.  That would have been like polite conversation … like serving the ball back in a civilized sport … like committing to something I thought was not possible for me.

But I know we walked together that night and many others.

And we drove up and down the Bluegrass Parkway for two years after he moved away  … just to be together.

I know I experienced pain when he drove away each time and an indescribable giddy joy every time he returned.

And I know that somewhere in there I was able to say the words, like a symphony rising up from inside me.  “I love you, Jay.  I honestly love you.”

We have repeated those words to each other millions of times over the next 45 plus years.  We said it in joy after our wedding, after the birth of our daughter and when exploring beaches and mountains and everything in between.

We said it in the sunshine, the rain and in the dark.  We said it watching sunsets together and wondering what it would be like to explore the other side of sunset together.

We said it when there was nothing else to say that would cover fear, doubt and grief.

We said it after storms of anger, when we realized that even though we were weak and still vulnerable to hurt, there was a Power within us that was bigger than any temporary storm.  We honestly loved each other.

We said it when we discovered The Source of all that Power and we realized The One Who lived inside us was alive, constantly broadcasting Love.

Olivia Newton-John died recently.  I smile to remember how a couple of her songs described us so well.  The links to two of them are at the end of this post.

Now when I reflect, I think of all the times Jay and I shared love … each one a diamond still sparkling, all together now a beautiful Light that still guides us.

Just as a post script, it’s not all moonlight and roses.  Usually right after I write something super sappy about Jay, he makes me really mad about something … and I want to retract everything I just wrote.

But I can’t.  You see, I honestly love him.

The Walmart Singer

I can’t remember the first time we saw the man we now call “the Walmart singer.”

We go for rides late every evening. We enjoy the waterfowl at the lake. We “people watch,” appreciating all of God’s unique creations.

Walmart is always pure entertainment from the people camping in the parking lot to the variety of late night shoppers.

One night we saw a man sitting on the sidewalk, playing his guitar and singing. At first, he was just part of the scenery. We noticed him and drove on by.

The next night, we put the window down and caught bits of his songs, as we passed.

The next night, we drove slower, so we could hear more of his songs.

The next night, we slowed enough for me to smile and nod. He looked up and returned the smile and nod.

The next few nights, he was not there. We were disappointed. He had become part of our life … the lone troubadour bringing music into an otherwise chaotic world … faithfully doing what he was called to do … unafraid … unashamed … daring in his own way.

After the few nights of absence, he was back. We were delighted. We began to wonder who he was and why he was there.

We still don’t know. We have not stopped and talked yet. Being a writer, I have imagined numerous scripts for his life. But for now, he is simply “the Walmart singer.”

Tonight, as we enjoyed his music again, I pondered why more of us do not have the courage to share our songs with the world. It might be fun for all those who dare to only sing in the shower to broaden their horizons!