Thursday, June 29, 2017

There Will Be Dancing



Last night I posted, Nothing is too difficult for God, on my Facebook page. The thought stayed with  me through the evening and when I climbed into bed it haunted me. Did I really believe what I'd written, or had I simply jotted it down without conviction?

I know God pretty well. We've been walking together ever since I met Him forty-two years ago. I was only twenty-three. Since then, I've experienced God's deep love, I've been filled with unfathomable joy and peace, and received miraculous answers to prayer. But all of the days have not been easy or uncomplicated. There have been times of confusion, fear, and disappointment, and moments when I've asked, "Why God?" 

Scripture tells me that God is never confused. He is not afraid. He is never double-minded. It also says He is always wise and full of knowledge. He knows the beginning and the end of all things. And He loves me, even when I don't deserve it. 

God listens to my heart. He has answered my every prayer. I have no reason to doubt Him. Yet, I do.

Perhaps it's because I know He will do what is right. His answer to my prayer may be yes, but it could wait or even no

I've never been good at waiting and I don't want to hear no. I want things my way. But God's answers to my prayers can't be about me and what I see in front of me. There is so much more ... plans I can't even imagine. And God knows what must be done to accomplish His purposes.  

Why then do I sometimes lie awake at night and imagine the worst and allow sorrow and fear to creep into my soul. I suppose it is because I am  human--imperfect and self-centered.

I don't want life to be painful or difficult for me or those I love. I want to feel cooling breezes that caress me with sweet fragrances. I want to dance through fields of untamed blossoms, wild and free. 

One day I will.

For now, I am tethered to the earth where sometimes life hurts. But I'm not alone. None of us are. The Creator of all things, our protector, our healer, our Father is with us. He reaches for our hand and whispers, I am here.


Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie

Monday, May 29, 2017

It's a Wonderful Life



If you've been following my blog,  you know there have been a lot changes in my life recently. The biggest is that I'm losing my eyesight. That was a shock, and I've been in a quandary - what to do.

When I settled into bed tonight I talked to the Lord and asked Him, "What am I going to do with my life now?" He reminded me of a time when I asked that same question. It was many years ago - 1991. An auto accident left me with injuries that would never heal and chronic pain. Sometimes my pain was debilitating. 

I sank into a depression. I wasn't the person I had been before a log truck barreled around a corner, tipped over and hit my van.

I wasn't the wife or mother I had been. I couldn't take care of my family, they were taking care of me. My body was wounded, but worse than that was my damaged spirit. I asked God what could I do? What kind of life could I have? What use was I?

God lifted me and set me on a new path. He opened doors that led me into the life of an author. I grabbed hold of my feeble courage and stepped through those doors. I spent more than twenty years writing and publishing books. I was a thrilling adventure.

Here I am again asking God to show me what to do, to lead me down an unknown path, and to trust Him. 

A new adventure awaits me. I don't know what it is yet, but I want to share it with you. I will join you here on my blog and let you know what's up with me. And I'd love to hear what's up with you too. 

There is a scene in the movie Secretariat when Penny Chenery Tweedy stands up to people who tell her to sell Secretariat, thinking her foolish to keep the horse. She says, her father's legacy to her is not about money, then says, "You must have the will to win if you can and live with it if you can't. It's about life being ahead of you and you run at it because you never know how far you can go unless you run."

Such powerful words. They inspire me to run the race set out for me because if I don't run how will I know what God set out for me to do. And so I will run (figuratively speaking - I'm a bit gimpy). I will take one step at a time, one day at a time. 

Please cheer me on. I need you. And I will cheer for you too. 

Let's go. We'll do this together.


Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie

Monday, May 15, 2017

A NEW SEASON FOR ME



     "There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be  born and a time to die.  A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to rebuild. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to lose. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak up. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace."

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8


There is a time for all things. Life is made up of seasons, and seasons change. I've never liked change much, but I see that as a weakness in me. If we all refused to move on through the seasons of our lives, the world would be a mess. Where would be the rest and the renewal?

God has a good plan. Each season brings something new. And God offers us His hand so we can take it and confidently allow Him to lead us. I'm doing my best to do just that. I've had a big decision to make and have been thinking and praying about it for many months. I have decided it is time for me to move on. It is time to retire from writing.

If you've been following my blog you know that I have an eye disease that is stealing my vision. It has been progressing for several years, but I only recently discovered what it is - MacTel II. 

It is similar to macular degeneration in that it destroys a person's central vision. But it is not the same disease. Presently there is no treatment or cure. Without a cure or God's intervention I will loose all of my central vision and will no longer be able to do things like read or drive a car of look at my loved one's faces. In recent months the progression has sped up. Simple things in life are becoming more difficult.

I have decided that spending time with my family and seeing as much of the world as I can while I can is most important. As I move along I will be listening to God. He will tell me what He has in store for me. I can trust Him.

I will be here on my blog as long as I am able. And I will still be spending time with my friends on Facebook.

I will not lie, it hurts to imagine not writing stories and it makes me sad. The whole idea of not being able to see the details of life is frightening and a bit infuriating. I am working through the emotions and I'm confident I will find my way. 

I hope you will remember me in your prayers. 

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie 

Monday, May 08, 2017

RETURN TO THE MISTY SHORE GIVEAWAY



WE HAVE A WINNER!




Thanks to all of you who took part in the RETURN TO THE MISTY SHORE GIVEAWAY. 

The two winners are ....

1st prize:   M.A. Gustafson
2nd prize:  Bonnie Strappello




I will be contacting you immediately.

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie


Friday, March 24, 2017

Game Changer





Have you ever had something happen that felt as if someone pulled the rug out from under you?

Yeah. Me too.

I've been having difficulty with my vision for about three years, but never expected my retinal specialist to say, "You're losing your sight, and there's no helpful treatment."

The day I went to see my doctor I anticipated he would suggest surgery for worsening macular puckering. However, additional tests were done and as it turned out, the puckering is only a minor problem. The real trouble is a condition called Macular Telangiectasia, Type 2 (MacTel for short). Without God's intervention, it will steal my central vision, leaving me only with peripheral vision.

That's a game changer.

I was in shock, but reality has set in accompanied by sorrow and outbursts of tears. All the plans I had ... what will become of them? How will I manage if I can't read, watch television, or thread a needle? I won't be able to drive a car or see the faces of my loved ones. My mother always taught me to see the beauty of the world ... what will become of that? 

I'm freaked out. I cry off an on. But I am beginning to sort through the options and to see the possibilities and the beauty of change. I know God was not blindsided by this. He knew ...  before I was even born. This is part of the plan. 

God is my protector, my Father. 

I trust Him.

He will show me another way.

This new journey means I become a student, hopeful that my other senses will become my eyes and continue to show me the beauty that surrounds me. I have a lot to learn from those who have already discovered the tricks of navigating in a seeing world when one's own sight is restricted. 

In the mean time, while I can still see well enough I'm going to have some fun. This summer will be a vacation filled with family and friends, swimming and fishing, and road trips where I can relish the spectacular creation of planet earth. 

I'll stay in touch and will love sharing my adventures with you, plus the lessons I learn as I travel this new path.

I will find a way. I am not giving up. The Lord has my hand firmly in His.

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Death & Dying





Sometimes, life seems to be all about death and dying. Greg and I have lost many dear ones in the last few years and there are some that we wait with. 

Yesterday I attended a memorial service for Pete Strohn, a long time friend, a precious man who left this earth too soon, or so it seems to me. When I left the service I checked my phone for messages. There was only one. My ninety-one-year-old mother had fallen again and had been taken to the hospital.

My heart quailed. Was this it? Would this be the end?

I hurried to the hospital. Mom was in the ER waiting for a CT scan. When she fell she'd hit her head. She seemed fine, tired but in good spirits. We'd been here in this room, together, many times before. 

I took up my usual post at her bedside and prayed, watched her sleep, and when she roused we chatted.  I tried not to think about all the previous ER visits, surgeries, and health scares we'd walked through in the past five years. 

Mom's health has steadily declined and her dementia is getting worse. I stopped in for a visit with her a few days ago and she was confused about who I was. That was a first, but I knew it was coming.

Being at my mother's side in the last years of her life is like watching her fall of a cliff in slow motion. And I want it to stop.

Sitting beside her in that too familiar treatment room, I noticed how beautiful Mom looked while she slept - serene and lovely. She was trusting ... the doctors, me, her Lord.

Maybe it's because I'd just come from a memorial service, or maybe it's the loss of so many loved ones, or maybe it's about watching life speed by, days passing that can't be reclaimed ... I don't know for sure, but even though Mom turned out to be fine and went home to rest I continued to feel uncertain, sad, and empty. And I kept crying. I don't want to say any more good-byes. There have been too many.

In the midst of my dark reflections I heard from the Lord. "It's not about death ... it's about life," he said. Memories flooded my mind - so many beautiful days already lived. Pete's life hadn't been exceptional to those who didn't know him well, but the ones who loved him knew better and so does The Father. My mother has had an extraordinary life, full of adventure, love, and heartache, but only the ones close to her know that. 

So, I am left with a question. Am I going to ponder death or life? 

God knows all that has come before and all that lies ahead. Psalm 139: 13 - 16 says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Life is a gift, given by God and to be lived for Him. We only get one crack at this life. So, it seems we ought to value such an extraordinary gift and make the most of it.

Jeremiah 29:11 says this, "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Verses 12 - 14 go on to say, "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord." 

What a beautiful promise! All we need to do is seek. 

Yes, in life there is death and dying, but oh so much more. We should not languish long in dark reflections but seek the light and life that is God. When we do  this we will find our way and fulfill the plans God laid out for us in the very beginning. 

Stay tucked in close to The Father, seek Him and all that He is. He is in the spectacular things of this world and the "ordinary" as well. This life is not about death but about hope and a future. 

We don't have to feel badly about our tears. Even Jesus wept. But I encourage you to be wise with the days given, seek knowledge from above, love one another ... and look forward to an eternal life with our Father, when one day you step from this life and into the next. 

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie 

Friday, September 09, 2016

Second Chances





Tonight, I was watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy when I was reminded of a miracle, my miracle.

On the television program two men were critically injured in an accident. The ambulance they were driving was hit by another ambulance. Throughout the episode they are stuck, their bodies impaled and trapped in the vehicle. There is no hope for them.


The drama playing out reminded me how we often leave our home in the morning with our minds set on our day, but we don't have any idea what the day truly holds for us. Something lifechanging might happen. 


I had a day like that twenty-five years ago. I set out for work with nothing but happy thoughts on my mind, but on my way up a winding country road I ended up like the men on Grey's Anatomy (well maybe not quite so dramatic). By all accounts my life should have ended that day. And for sure, everything changed ... forever.

I approached a corner and a log truck loaded with huge logs tipped over and barreled at my van. It hit the van and pushed the rig to the edge of an embankment. My daughter screamed, tires screeched, metal grated, and I knew I was living my final seconds on earth.


And then I realized I was wrong. I lived. My daughter and I lived! We made it out of our mangled vehicle and stood in the middle of the road, hugging each other and praising God for His amazing gift of life. 

We'd been given a second chance.

I saw it clearly then, but through the years I've lost sight of how spectacular and unbelievable and how blessed I am to have been part of one of God's miracles. I may be a bit mangled but I am still so blessed. 

But I am left with a question ...

Why do some die while others live? I don't have the answer. That is God's choice. But I do know that each day is a precious gift. And I need to live like it is my last day ... because maybe it is. 


Our days are numbered. Dare we waste a single one?


Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie

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