Friday, June 29, 2012

A day in the life.....

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful!

For those of you who have been keeping up with this blog, you know the situation with Elaine's Mom. Each day comes with its own challenges and the heat provides another. And when I work, there is always a story to come home to, last night was no exception. Since the heat has set in, the challenge has been to keep Joyce inside after around 11. The outside swing as been her safe place, but now with the barometer climbing to 110 in the shade, it is far too hot. Yet now her mind doesn't make the connection that it is too hot.

For some strange reason, she has no inclination to go out when it is bearable in the morning, so Elaine kindly reminds her that if she wants to go out, she has to go in the morning.  Now anytime after noon, there is  a wooden board across it,  complete with sign......"Too hot to sit outside."

This makes her Mom angry as you might expect.

Yesterday she was more disoriented than usual. In the morning she asked if she could have coffee. Later, she asked how many brothers and sisters she had. After Elaine told her 9, she then asked how many were left. Elaine told her, "3" and her Mom started crying. She then wanted to talk to her sister, Faye, who has been gone for about 6 years. When Elaine told her she had passed away, she cried again.

This went on for about an hour or more. Joyce kept wanting to talk to Faye. Ten minutes later she would ask again. So finally in desperation, she said, "Okay, I will call her." So she called her other sister Shirley in Texas who also has Alzheimers's.

They talked about the same thing for an hour. Needless to say it was a very interesting conversation. They talked about a Nephew that hanged himself and how sad it was that a young kid would get to so desperate as to do such a thing. That young kid was 55, and no telling how long ago this happened.

When I got home, I got the recap.

And yet.......God is faithful. So far we have mostly kept our sanity and sense of humor. I truly don't know how Elaine does it, being with her 24/7.....and yet, I do, I really do.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3: 12-14

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Correction from yesterday's post......

Hey all, yesterday I mistakenly said that my old schoolmate Mary had passed away.....My Mom corrected me. She is still alive but in a nursing home, it was her Mom that passed away. My prayers will continue to go out for Mary and her child. I hastened to post this, because my hometown is pretty small and I would hate to think word would have gotten out without being able to set this straight!

Also, Nikole Hahn was kind enough to share some of my thoughts on blogging and writing today at her site....Please join me over there!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
I was driving down the freeway when it hit. I felt that familiar feeling........the shallow breathing, the knot of tears forming in my throat. They come sometimes without warning. It started as an ordinary task in an ordinary day. I was following Elaine because she was taking her car in.

I held it at bay, at arms length, because I have to get stuff done. I think it's just life piling up sometimes, and it has to come out somewhere, sometime. I am no stranger to this feeling. It has always been with me.

One of the very first times I can remember was when I caved during a Christmas play at church.

I had one line, I don't even remember what it was. Because all of a sudden all I wanted to do was get off that stage......I strained my eyes through the bright lights and all I wanted was to find my parents. And then I did.

The road blurred through tears. I breathed little puffs of air. I turned off the freeway and onto the street. Off to my right was man on the sidewalk wearing flip-flops, a Hawaiian shirt and shorts....and a guitar strapped around his shoulder. He was carrying on a very animated conversation, with himself.

Laughter bubbled up through the tears a little hysterically, I thought........"I hope that's not gonna be me someday soon."

Then I thought of my childhood friend Mary. Mary of the big blue eyes and wonderful reading voice.

It was always either her or me the teachers chose for reading out loud. I still remember her singing a solo in a school fashion show, she sang "After the Ball" in a blue dress. I don't know what happened with Mary but many years later my folks told me she would skate down the street in a full hockey uniform, helmet and all. She never played hockey a day in her life.

She died recently at my age, only 53. She had a daughter and I would love to see her.  I wonder if she had Mary's eyes, and liked to read. I hope she will be okay.

Don't we all dance a bit close to the border of crazy at times? I think you kind of have to, to live this life we all live.

As I caught sight of Elaine's jeep through the maze of cars, right in the midst of my panic I thought......."Thank you Lord." Because all my life I have never had to go through this feeling alone, and some people have.

And this wonderful friend has been with me through so much. And I will tell her about this, and she will say, "Well, maybe you are a little bit crazy, but I understand, and everything is gonna be fine."

Because after all, God has us. He really does. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Full bodied praise

I love them that love me.........and those that seek me early shall find me. Proverbs 8:17

This is when the rubber meets the road.....summer is digging in it's heels and we are no longer greeted with cool mornings. We have to dig in too. And it's not all bad. The desert makes you tough. It's already hot and sticky in my prayer closet this morning.

As I finish my prayer time, I am ready. I live the words as I put on my shoes to make my trek around the park. "No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:27

As I walk, feel my body move, I am so thankful I can do this. I think of dear Briley and Kathryn whom I sit with when I volunteer in the Extrordinary Life kids group, bound to wheelchairs. I think they are the real heroes, they, and their dear parents.

I pick up my pace and think of an old Glen Frey song I played a lot when I worked out........for those of you under 40, he was one of the Eagles......the words come back and the years fall away:

I'm outside runnin' in the mornin' sun
No matter what it takes, I know I'm gonna get it done
I'm pushin' up the hill, fightin' through the pain
Everything to lose, everything to gain
I know I'm on my way, I'm on my way to number one

Feelin' good, gettin' tight
'Cause I'm livin' right, livin' right
Up in the mornin', asleep at night
I'm livin' right, livin' right
Out of the darkness, into the light and I'm
livin right, livin right.

I thought of the worship leader yesterday and what he said, why he wears no shoes when he is up there leading the music. He says it reminds him that it's Holy ground he stands on, and it is a way of keeping his focus on the Lord and not on all the people. He said he sees the ones sleeping, and the ones playing games on their Iphones, the halfhearted worshippers.

"For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them." Matthew 18:20

He is right, the ground is Holy.

The sweat is pouring down now, and I hear the words of Mercy Me singing.......

"Separated until the veil was torn.
The moment that hope was born
and guilt was pardoned once and for all.

Captivated but no longer bound by chains
left at an empty grave
the sinner and the sacred resolved

And this is it, this is full bodied praise, right here and now. How right he is, the ground here is Holy. I think, this is what keeps me going. He keeps us, day after day. We have the strength to get up and do it again somehow, carried along by His Spirit.

This is the promise I cling to, and its true: "The Lord preserves all who love Him....." Psalm 145:20

Counting the gifts and the promises today, with these fine folks.......

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Dangers of Assumption

Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
Ecclesiastes 4:9,10

Do me a favor today? If you live with someone, walk across the room and  grab their hands and look in their eyes and ask them if everything is okay. Even if you think everything is alright.

They may smile, shake their head and pull away, or think you're being silly. They might giggle or laugh self-conciously. But then again they might surprise you and words might come tumbling out. Words they have been waiting to share.

Chances are, if you are living with someone, you have settled into a routine of what you call normal. Maybe one person is more silent, and the other one's the talker. And usually it works. Life hums along. But when stress and life and circumstance come beating against the door, the seismic pattern shifts. All of a sudden what worked yesterday, is broken today.

Maybe it happened so gradually that you didn't even notice. But now the silence is deafening and you, being the quiet one, pull in even further. You think maybe leaving them alone in their silence will fix it.....make the problem go away. But it never will.

If someone you love is quiet and they usually aren't, something may be drastically wrong, and more silence won't fix it.

They will wonder why you are leaving them alone.........They will wonder why you are leaving them to battle it out all my themselves.......They will wonder if you care at all.

Learn from me........I have made this mistake in the past, and I am sure I will again, of assuming that everything is okay, and then being shocked into awareness that things are very much not okay.

Leave a note in your wallet if you have to. Take it out and read it again and again.

Then do what it says.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Living on the Edge

I look at the clock.....3:10 AM. I lay back down, my heart wonders whether to pick up its beat, but I breathe deep and it settles back down.....Not time to get up yet. I know I won't go back to sleep, but it is enough that I can lay here for awhile longer. I don't pray, I just turn over. When the small hand approaches four and the big one nears 12 I hit the button before it has a chance to go off.

I turn my phone over face up to check for messages first thing. With folks in their eighties living in another state, you never know....I fear the message, the voice mail...."We took Dad to Urgent Care last night.....or Mom fell." Give us a call when you get up. But there are none. Thank you, Lord.

Not for the first time I panic. How much longer will I have them, and what will my life look like when they are gone? I see a gaping hole where they once were, bigger than life. Always there. "You don't have to worry," my Mom always says, "the Lord is taking care of us." But I do. How can I not?

I hear the morning traffic already churning up for the commute. They sound angry today. I hear a crotch rocket tearing down the road and the sound cuts through my head like a buzz saw. Coffee......oh, I need coffee.

I pull onto the freeway and join the morning communion mass. At 5:00 AM it is not nearly full force yet, but it is working itself up to a fever pitch that will reach its peak around 7 o' clock. I am thankful it is not too bad yet, at this hour.

Help me, Lord......just for today. Just for this 12 hours. I am living on the edge and I never did like the edge. It is stressful at this new place at work. Our little group was thrown in with the big dogs and the heat is being turning up. I think of Daniel in the lions den, Shadrach Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace and I know my little stress is really nothing. But it feels big.

I approach my exit and start to turn off the freeway when I notice a truck trying to speed up and get there before me. "Not so fast buddy," I think. This little yellow bug may look like something Tweety bird would drive, but it has some get up and has a killer overdrive, it floats over 80 mph.

Maybe he feels on the edge this morning too.

About that time, I hear my Dad's voice in my head say...."Everybody wants to be a Nascar driver now" and he's right. But you kind of have to or they will run right over you.

As I pull into the Intel site, I notice a truck ahead of me. It has DVLMAN on the licence plate. Does that stand for Devilman? And why would you put that on your plate?

I guess maybe  for the same reason I put my Jesus sticker on my back window. You have to align yourself with someone. I am just really glad I am aligning myself with Jesus not that other guy.

It is a battle in the parking lot as well, everyone jockeying for the few covered spaces. I didn't get one today.

I turn the car off and enjoy the few moments of quiet before I go in. And  once more, I thank the Lord for being here with me on the edge. I imagine that He's sitting beside me. I feel His arm go around my shoulders as He looks at me sideways and smiles, and I know this promise is true.

For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never abandon you." Hebrews 13:5

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I love you God, but.......

"Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.......Exodus 3:1

"I love you, God....." But after I said it, I could hear how it sounded to my own ears. What must it have sounded like to God's? I was weary of myself so I could understand how He could be weary of me. Of my same same requests. I was feeling like a bad actor before a Holy God. And the act of sitting out there felt like a charade this morning.

Here I am Lord, again. Don't you get tired of me Lord? I would if I were you. It was a prayer, but there was a "but" behind my "I love you" that didn't belong.

If I knew how Holy the ground was beneath my feet, these Teva sandals would be off my feet in a New York minute. The truth is, sometimes it is just hard to feel the Holy when we are down here on what feels right now like a grubby little planet. The dirt and debris has piled up near the door from yesterday's dust storm and I stepped through it to make my way to Him, to the place of our morning meeting.

I'm still the same old me. I have not lost the ten pounds I wanted to lose by the trip to California in July and the month is half over. I will shock everyone with the blinding white of my skin when I put on my bathing suit. I also need to dye my roots.

And today my prayers sounded more like exasperated sighs than reverence for you.

I wasn't feeling it today. But I know better now. I have learned you can't always trust feelings. I am, however haltingly, learning to trust Him.

I turned where He directed, to the story of Moses. I wanted to read about the bush that God lit with Holy fire and it didn't burn up. And then God taught this slow learner another lesson. He showed me that Moses was a big bundle of inadequacy and nerves and fear just like me.....

The words were truth.....leaping out through the pages. Moses was just like me. Over and over again, he tried to convince God of all that he wasn't.

But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” 

God answered, “I will be with you."

And later on......after God explained all the wondrous signs and miracles He would do, Moses protests once again......“What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’?”

Lesson number two came when God told Moses to grab his staff which has now turned into a snake.

Sometimes you have to grab hold of that snake before God produces the miracle.

Moses then proceeds to work on God's last nerve, and boy don't I do that every single day?

Yet God is so full of love for Moses that he produces some help in the form of Aaron. Then the tears came and once again my love for God was as real as the flame in that bush. And there was my prayer, and this time it was real.....

And no buts about it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Will there be horses in Heaven?

There is one prayer I have had that was never answered.....From my earliest memory, from the time I actually believed there was a God and that I could pray to Him I prayed that one morning I would wake up and there would be a horse in the front yard. From the time I first saw one, I was instantly in awe. I held them in reverence that was almost godlike.

It started with the pony rides. I didn't care about anything else at the carnival, if there were ponies going around a ring I was there. My Dad would shell out the two bits. And in Yosemite there was what I would classify as a deluxe pony ride. We got to ride on a track, all around the stables....oh they were pure wonder. Which one would I get? I didn't care, to me they were all as magical as unicorns.

We used to camp in old Camp 7......and just on the border ran the horse trail. My favorite part of the day was when they would come through. I can still hear my Dad announce, "Here come the horses!"

Oh, I would hear the footfall of those wondrous creatures as they walked through the carpet of dry pine needles that fell across the trail. The sound of them, blowing and breathing and neighing. I would stand stock still as we watched every last one pass.

And when finally the day came that I myself could go..........I was on top of the world. I was taller than anything. My big gentle brown quarter horse with a butt as big as a house was my new best friend. I could have cried as I bent down to hug his neck as he carried me into a place I had never been before, but only dreamed of.

Then, as what happens so often, we grow up and put away our dreams and convince ourselves those joys may be for someone else, but not for us.

And still, as I see them, even now. I remember that magic. And I wonder, will there be horses in Heaven? I think that if God created animals in the first place, he must want them there.

The Bible says He will be riding in on a white horse, after all.

Maybe I will be riding with Him? Maybe we all will.......

I am posting this today because sometimes just remembering something magical is miracle enough.  the joy of living, the joy of memory carries us through.

And it's all a gift from God.

Joining in with these wonderful folks today just because I want to, not because this post necessarily has anything to do with promises or counting blessings. But then again, maybe it has everything to do with it!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Father's Love

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that there is nothing He wouldn't do to get us back, to save us. I remember growing up with the knowledge that there was nothing my Dad wouldn't do for me. I knew that by his actions. Over and over again, he proved that he would do anything within reason to fix whatever was wrong. He had my back.

I remember a strong hand lifting my head to place a pillow under my head if I fell asleep on the floor. And stories that he would make up, and tell again and again. I remember all the camping trips.....every time we had to pick up the tent and move it, because he had found yet again, the perfect spot. I remember so much. He wanted the best for us.

Even this morning, as I started my run I heard his voice. I remember when we used to run together and one day he said, "You have a good stride." Good words are so important......Fathers should never, ever underestimate the power of words of encouragement to their kids. Those words will follow them all their lives.

Maybe what you heard from your father was much different. You heard heard heard many things, everything but love. Maybe there was only one compliment you can ever remember him giving. And you remember it to this day.

Maybe he was never there, or you never knew him, or maybe when he was there, you wished he would leave.

Maybe he is gone and you hold sorrow in your heart because you never got the chance to say you were sorry, or give him the chance to say he was.

Even good fathers are not perfect. But I know one who is.

And today, you can celebrate a Heavenly Father who paid your ransom to get you back. Because He loves you with a perfect love. An all-consuming love......A love that would go to the ends of the earth to find you.

And He can fill that hollow in your heart, all those empty places your earthly father should have filled.

He has inscribed your name in His palm, counted the hairs on your head, called you by name. He is Super-Dad.

And today, when He thinks of you, He looks down at His own nail scars and smiles because He knows He did all He could do

Just as any good father would.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.  That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:11-13

I am making some changes, soon I hope to be taking this little place I have cozied up to and I hope you have to, over to the Wordpress platform. I have wanted to make some changes for awhile but I needed a little push. And I have some very kind helpers who are trying their best to answer all my questions.

And I keep having more and more of them. Questions, I mean.

I go over to the other site and almost have a panic attack. Then I jump back over here into the safe zone and breathe a sigh of relief. I know this, it is familiar. It is home.

But as in life and blogging and anything else, God doesn't always want us in the safe zone. He wants us in the "trust me" zone.

And I know the other place will be home too, as soon as I know it better. Change is good, change is good. I know it is just another of my emotional attachments. I get attached to things like cars and furniture and dishtowels too. It's a personal problem. I may need help.

So, here I am in my pair of fuzzy slippers.

For now. Until I get the courage to jump in all the way.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When writing heals what is broken

"Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day"

Morning has broken, Cat Stevens

Sometimes God does something that we really don't expect. Well, usually He does.  And yesterday, I hinted at that something. It was something that was broken off me......and it was supernatural. It was an out and out healing, I really wouldn't know what else to call it. I wrote a story recently, well God wrote it, actually. And I guess it was a kind of catharsis, because ever since it was posted, the anger that I have been wrestling with has left.

I remember the morning after I sent it, I awoke at 2:00 and it was there. The black presence. I was fighting with it in the dark. I was doing combat. And I was upset because I was robbed of precious sleep. In two more hours the alarm would go off.

It was a person I was mad at. And it was justified, because my friend was hurt because of it. You could say it was a righteous anger. But it was anger all the same. And I recognized it as a tangible thing inside me, building and brewing inside me since all these events of the past few years or so.

It was the anger that leapt up like a fire in me.......when a shirt wouldn't come off the hanger, when someone pulled in front of me, little irrational things that caused it to flare. And I was never that way before.

That dark morning I prayed just I had other mornings, but that morning I fell asleep hard, and when I awoke that anger had packed its bags and left. God swept that demon out clean. 

I know it was the story.

I compare it to the other morning long ago when I got up and I suddenly knew my mind was healed of anorexia. I sat down and ate......with no guilt at all. That thing inside that held me captive was gone and I knew it.

And there was such joy at the kitchen table that day, my Mom and Dad and I all cried as I told them about a healing dream I had. That morning they got their daughter back from the grip of death.

I remember I ate scrambled eggs, usually a forbidden food.

I know it was the story. I gave it to Him and He did something wonderful with it.

This is powerful confirmation that Dawn is coming.

Once again He has reminded me in a powerful way, that whatever you or I are going through right now, its temporary, Hallelujah.

Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the Lord.

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:4,5, and 8

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Lord will hear.......

But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The Lord will hear when I call to Him.
Psalm 4:3

I pulled out of the driveway a bit late for church. I was thinking that I might miss the music, and that was okay. Certain days, it's all I want to hear, and other days I would be content to just sit in the silence for awhile. Just to be in church.....

As I sped along the freeway another thought came. What if, instead of doing church, I went and passed out bottled water to the homeless. Went to serve in the foodbank. Went to the rest home and spent the church hour sitting with him. Praying with him. It was a radical thought. That's what made me think it might be a God thought.

Instead, I felt my tires go the familiar groove, the safe way. Into the doors I went, into the safety of the church. It's what I need, I thought. This is how I get ready for the rest of the week. This is what keeps me going all week.

And I was glad I went. But at service's end, I found myself going the back way home. The way that passed the rest home where he was, Curtis, my best friend's Dad. He has wreaked such havoc over the last few years, well, longer than that. And though he provided for the family, he was an absent father.

Now everyone is absent from his life, well just about everyone.

Though the choices that have led to this result at the end of his life have been his, it makes it no less tragic how he has ended up.

As I drove past, I felt God whisper for me to pull in. And He might have said that I should go in the room, too. But I wrestled with that, and put it aside.

What if he's in a grouchy mood, what if he's just gotten his lunch, he stops eating if someone is there.....what if there is a mess all over and soiled clothes piled high in the hamper, like there has been before. The smell reached all the way down the hall. Sometimes he refuses to let the aides pick up his laundry.

I think of him how he looks now. So frail, so weak, a shadow of the man he was before.

I pulled into a space and my swirling thoughts quieted down like snow at the bottom of a snowglobe.

I bowed my head, and prayed for him right there in the parking lot. For his life, for the rest of his life, however much is left. For him to remember what he heard in church all his younger years, he and his sister, still vibrant and full of life at 88. She chose the better path, the path of faith, of life. Of Jesus.

I pray for a miracle before the end.

Then, like that while feather that floated from the sky in Forrest Gump, I realized that a miracle had happened, the anger I had before was gone. It had left like a wisp of smoke and I hadn't realized it before then,  and I know just when it happened.

Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the Lord
Psalm 4:4,5

Tomorrow, I will write more.....until then I join with the gratitude community and with the ones who are unwrapping his promises.

Okra reaching for the sky, how my story touched some hearts, and how I made some new friends, completed projects and a clean shop, friends across the miles who text, another chips and salsa timeout yesterday, freedom to gather together in worship one more Sunday, a new friend for my brother, my nieces Mom who takes Lauryn everywhere with her and doesn't leave her behind, and facebook for keeping in touch. #933-943

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Social Media and the Church

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.....Acts 2:42-44

And each day they were actively involved in Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and joyfully embraced each new Social Media that came along and integrated it into the Church, and each day more believers were added to their number.......

An interesting would social media have affected the early church? I wonder how the use of social media has shaped the modern church today. I didn't think about it much until I got swept up in the frenzy of it myself. I blame my IPhone. I heart my IPhone! I panic when I lose sight of it. It has almost become a part of me, after all, all my stuff is in there. Personal stuff.

I have now started doing a Facebook check in at church. Then I ask myself, am I doing this to be prideful? While others are out Facebooking at Starbucks or the golf course, do I feel secretly superior for "checking in" at church? It takes a little bit of self-evaluation. On the other hand, I see others check-ins at church and it makes me happy they are there. So maybe they are happy seeing mine as well.

My Mom has the personal opinion that the computer, (and the IPhone) are the Antichrist. She often says that if the computers shut down the whole world would stop. She might be right. I think when we become so dependent on anything that we couldn't imagine life without it, it's a problem.

As with everything we do, discretion and moderation is key.

I personally think the church can use technology to its advantage. The question I have to ask myself is, can  I be just as comfortable in the little brown church in the wildwood, as in a modern day church with the big screen and flashing lights and the YouTube videos? Do I need all that?

I think as long as the intent is to bring people closer to Jesus and to each other, it can be a good thing. And if I did go to the little brown church in the wildwood? I have to confess, I would most likely be tempted to whip out my IPhone, take a picture, do a check in and then check to see if they had a website I could "Like"

This morning, I just found out there is a Jesus Facebook page. It has 12,993,870 likes. I had no idea such a thing existed.

What's your take on all this?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Joy of Being Found

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16

Sometimes, when I am in a forest, I like to hide behind a tree and remember what it was like to play hide and seek. The excitement of being found.........The years fall away and I hear someone say, "I found you!" We all want the joy of being found, that is, by someone we want to be found by.

Today, try being a kid just for a few minutes. Play a game of hide and seek with someone. For those of you without kids it may be a challenge, but you can do it. Let the adult world fall away for just a moment......

Rediscover the wonder of the world. Hide behind a door and close your eyes. Listen to what's going on around you, the sounds of your home. And if there is silence, breathe it in and imagine being found. Count to 50 and hear the voice you had as a child, or remember the voice of a childhood friend, brother, sister, cousin.

Then imagine being found by God.

Imagine, He seeks us. All day, everyday. Just like he met Adam and Even in the cool of the evening. He wants us to find Him, and He's not hiding behind a tree, He's closer than you can imagine:

From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Acts 17:

My niece loves hide and seek now. Sometimes she forgets the rules, she wants you to hide over and over again, and it doesn't matter, to her and to me, it's the joy of the game.
I hope I never get so caught up in rules that I lose sight of what God wants me to know. That He loves me, and He loves being found by me, always.

Monday, June 4, 2012

How we can still have hope

"Friends, Jesus come down to a place where every last man, woman, and child is living on death row. You'd think the least thing we could do was draw close and comfort each other, but no. Except for a few loved ones, we close the doors of our hearts and bolt them tight on each other." Frederick Buechner, Listening to Your Life devotional

As born again believers, we have our feet firmly planted in two worlds. This idea of the Kingdom coming to earth was a theme that Jesus spoke about again and again. Everybody always tried to figure out what in the world He was talking about. He said, it is here, it is now. And they scratched their heads, and so do we. Because as we look around we see a world in a state of disrepair.......a world wounded and cursed.

They were probably thinking, "What world is He living in?"

And yet, there is still so much beauty shining through it. We can see glimpses of how God meant it to be in the very beginning when it was unmarred, perfect.....and so were we.

And all around us, people are on their way to one of two places. There are no other choices. This earth is as close to in between as it gets.

The miracle is that, even as we asks ourselves how we can still have hope, even when friends and family scurry like cockroaches when the light is flipped on. We know the answer.

When we look around and everyone we put our hope in has gone and we are as alone as the woman caught in adultery. We wait for the stones to strike our flesh and to our relief, we hear the thud as they strike the ground instead. And then the miraculous part.....Jesus is there. And with a smile in His voice He says, "Where are your accusers?"

We feel her freedom as she walks away, forgiven and on her way to a new life. That same freedom is ours. And that's why we can still hope. He is here, He is now, and we aren't in Heaven yet, but we can see the shore.

And even in the halls of the rest home, where the antiseptic rises up to meet us, and we smell the chaser smells after, the ones the soap and cleanser tries to hide. We feel it here too. The hope in the midst of fear......the Heaven in the midst of hell. In that place, in all places, people are on their way to Heaven.

We hear and sing the songs in church, and we remember the times when they were just nice songs. And then we remember when the inner light was flipped on. When the Holy Spirit collided with ours. Now we sing and the words spring to life.

Thankful today, so thankful for the One who never leaves, and the one who keeps count of our deeds Himself........#922-932

water that refreshes like nothing else does, garden reaching up to sky, quiet talks that unburden souls, new friends, living water that never runs dry, good medical news for my Mom, courage to put one step in front of the other...again, birds in the fountain, safe trip home for Elaine's brother, sauce made from home grown tomatoes bubbling on the stove.


Friday, June 1, 2012

In the wee small hours

Lying in bed, I think, 'When will it be morning?' But the night drags on, and I toss till dawn. Job 7:4 NLT

It always amazes me that I can find a Bible verse that applies to each and every situation. I was up once again at 2:00 AM. I was also up yesterday morning at around the same time. I scared Elaine to death because she thought she was being really quiet when she snuck into my bathroom at 2:30 and I said, "What you doing?" She almost jumped out of her skin. She was trying not to wake me but no worries there. She was really trying not to wake her Mom on the other side of the house. You learn with an Alzheimer's patient, you do anything in the world not to wake them at night.

Elaine has spent many hours awake since her Mom took over her bedroom. She now sleeps in the Arizona room which has walls and a ceiling but not much in the way of insulation. It is like sleeping by the Indianapolis Speedway. People drag up and down the street all hours of the night. She has a radio on at all times to mask the noise and her tinnitus.

I couldn't believe I was up once again this morning,  tossing and turning. My thoughts were like fireworks going off in my head. The more I thought about getting up at 4, the wider-awake I remained. I prayed.....I recited the 23rd Psalm which usually works like a tonic. Not this time.

I dreamt of that blessed blessed sleep that comes. The Bible calls it "sweet sleep."

I finally got it at around 3:30. Right before the alarm went off. I got up and started the coffee and layed back down for a few minutes. As I sat blinking, fuzzy-headed, sipping my first cup, the chorus of an old hymn was playing through my mind and it comforted me.......

Jesus is tenderly calling me home
Calling today, calling today
Why from the sunshine of love will thou roam
Farther and farther away?
Calling today, calling today
Jesus is calling, is tenderly calling today.
Jesus is calling the weary to rest
Calling today, calling today
Bring Him thy burden and thou shalt be blessed
He will not turn thee away.

I looked it up just now.......Turns out it is an old Jim Reeves song, lyrics written by Fanny Crosby.

I was thankful once again, that I was raised singing those old hymns.....I love the modern praise songs, but somehow when one of these slips quietly into my mind, I feel a peace like no other.

I think of my heritage, my Grandparents, all my Grandmother's sisters, and I really feel they are cheering me on from Heaven.

I can do this thing.