Friday, November 30, 2012

Thoughts For Today -- Twenty-Twenty Vision

Sometimes, I'm like this little pooch. I need powerful glasses. And sometimes even though I've got my glasses on, I don't see what I should. Instead, I see through a personal distorted prism. Have you been there? Done that?

Yesterday I scored 20/20 on a vision test! Not the kind a doctor gives, though.

When I left home and headed into town, it was raining, pouring in fact, and the winds were so strong they pushed my car around. When I headed down our hill there were small mud slides, and once on the highway it was like driving through a big puddle--absolutely dangerous. And yet, I loved it. The brutality of the weather invigorated me. I found myself smiling and singing instead of complaining about making the trip in the midst of a storm. All I could see was beauty and I felt the thrill of adventure.

That morning, I'd spent time with God. And when I set out I took Him with me. My mind and heart were on Him and His wonders, a good place for a mind to be.

Once in town, I had several errands to run and then I went to my mother's to begin her Christmas shopping and wrapping. We had so much fun! And both of us are so excited for Christmas morning. It's going to be special.

All through the day, my usual pain went with me and I was gimpy with a bad knee. In fact, because of the weather my pain levels were higher than usual, but I didn't mind. I had better things to think about, and I hadn't forgotten that God was with me. Happiness and contentment had infused my spirit, and I refused to spend time contemplating the negatives. Oh, they did press in, but I just flicked them away.

That's where the 20/20 vision comes in. I was able to SEE the enemy coming in and trying to ruin my day. Because of God's presence and power the enemy had no power. All right!

In the coming days, I intend to put on my spiritual glasses so that I can see how blessed I am. See the beauty around me. And enjoy the  many gifts given to me. If I can do that, every day will be a beautiful day.

I need your prayers. The enemy won't give up his attempts to bring me down and the battle will wage on. And I'd like to pray for you. How about if we pray for one another?

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Quiet Moments With God -- This is the day the Lord has made.

Over the past few weeks, I've watched posts of thankfulness pop up on Face Book. They've been interesting, poignant and even inspiring. Some are just plain fun. They got me thinking about thankfulness. Have I given enough thought recently to all I have to be thankful for? Or has my mind strayed to the things that keep me distracted or weighted down?

We've just passed through a season that is supposed to be all about being thankful. I admit to having had difficulty focusing on what that truly means, but the world has quieted a bit and this morning when I found time to spend with my Lord I felt Him tugging me toward thoughts of what it means to have a thankful heart. And I asked, "What does it really mean?"

I went to my devotional and received a glimmer of an answer. God's timing is impeccable.

A portion of the devotional said this. "To protect your thankfulness, you must remember that you reside in a fallen world, where blessings and sorrows intermingle freely. A constant focus on adversity defeats many Christians. They walk through a day that is brimming with beauty and brightness, seeing only the grayness of their thoughts."

I felt a prick of conviction from the Holy Spirit and continued reading, moving on to scripture and then prayer. As I prayed I sought the answer -- what is thankfulness, really? I was barraged with thoughts of all the things I have to be thankful for--a beautiful home, the sunshine streaming through my window, a loving family. It is good to be reminded of  these things. But I couldn't help but think it has to be more. My heart went to God. I am His. He created me. He loves me. He stands by me even though I am SO imperfect. I am His child, always and forever, saved  by His grace.

"How great is the goodness
you have stored up for those who fear you.
You lavish it on those who come to you for protection,
blessing them before the watching world."
Psalm 31: 19

And then I got it--

I am grateful for God and ALL His wonders.

Thankfulness is being amazed about big things like the stars in the sky, the earth that rotates on its axis and God Himself. It is cherishing the little things, like a warm heating pad, a comfy chair and the laughter of children.

Tonight as I drove home from town, the sun was setting and mists rested upon the hills. The moon was already big and round in the sky, and I was flooded with the realization that I live an extraordinary life. My home is in one of the most beautiful places on this planet. I have been married to the same man for forty-one years and we still love each other. My children love one another and they love me. AND they love God. I get to hug my grandchildren every day. My mother is still part of my life--and we love each other too. My life overflows with love.

I remembered how I became a writer. The way was filled with pain. But God made a way and opened every door. I love to write! Thank you, Lord, for making it part of me and part of my life. I've met the most dedicated and gifted people through writing. Many of them I call friends. I cherish these extraordinary people.

If our vision becomes narrow and focuses only on what we see in the darkness of our minds we will miss out on the beauty and uniqueness that is us. Life is beautiful, precious and to be cherished. 

I thank God for making a place for me in this world and then planting me in just the right place at exactly the right time. For every day is the day the Lord has made.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Friday, November 16, 2012

Thoughts For Today -- Acupuncture Anyone?

Sometimes in order to take a risk, we have to be backed into a corner. For me that corner was my feet. I have peripheral neuropathy, and all that comes with it pushed me out of one of my comfort zones.

I couldn't take it anymore--the pain, burning, cramping and feet that felt like blocks of wood attached to the end of my legs made me wonder if amputation might be an option. Drastic, I know. But I was desperate.

There was no clearly defined cause for my condition and traditional methods were of no help. I needed to try something unconventional. I turned to acupuncture. I figured I'd give it a try. What did I have to lose?

That was a couple of years ago and I'm still seeing an acupuncturist two - three times a month. It has been a great help to me. I'm not "healed", but I'm still sane, or so I'm told.

Yesterday was my bi-weekly appointment with my acupuncturist, Heather. And believe it or not, I look forward to my visits, even though it means there will be a bunch of needles stuck into my body. Most of them don't hurt, but occasionally I get an ouchy one.

Seeing my acupuncturist is not just about needling. She does so much more. She listens. When I go in, we spend the first few minutes just talking. She gets a feel for what I'm dealing with in my life and what my pain levels are. She takes my pulses--each wrist. But these are not the "normal" pulse-takings we're used to. She's looking for much more than my heart rate. She understands a great deal about what's going on in my body from my pulse. It's an art, really. And I always have to show her my tongue. She can pretty much tell me all about my life just from my pulses and my tongue. I don't get it, but I can't hide anything from her. She gets so much information from these simple observations that I am often flabbergasted. Weird, I know. And then there are the needles. And they make my feet happier.

After a short visit, pulse-taking and tongue check, then come the needles. I get to lay on a cushioned table with a heating pad beneath me and I listen to melodic music with eye pads on and I rest. Sometimes I sleep. And I let the needles work.

I don't claim to understand the science of acupuncture, but I do know that it gives me a better quality of life. Those needles can quiet anxiety, stomach aches, headaches, hot flashes--in a matter of minutes. And then of course there are things like my neuropathy, back pain and fibromyalgia that feel sooo much better because of my acupuncturist's skills.

I've learned a lot from my sessions with Heather--simple things like really breathing and listening to my body and being sensible about what I can and cannot do. I face personal issues with more courage and I'm learning not to dodge the hard stuff.

I guess you'd say, I'm sold on acupuncture as a truly beneficial form of health care. It may not be right for everyone. I get that. As I said, I don't understand the science behind it, at least not enough to offer a lesson on it. But I'm thankful that I put aside my fear and skepticism and made that first appointment.

Have you tried acupuncture or some other form of health care that is not main stream? I'd love to hear more about it. And whether or not it was helpful.

Modern medicine doesn't have the only key to wellness. There's a lot we don't understand in this world. I think there are doors to health care with unusual keys, some of which are outside our comfort zone. But then, who really believes that living only within our comfort zones is good for us?

Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Quiet Moments With God -- The Climb

Recently . . . or perhaps not just recently, but for years, life has felt like a mountain that must be climbed. Sometimes I've climbed well, but other times I've lost site of the summit and returned to base camp, feeling defeated.

The past few months I've been attempting another climb and I haven't done exactly well. There has been so much to contend with, but isn't that
life . . . really. We all have our joys and jubilations, but much of life is about the daily grind and hardship. While we're in the midst of the grind, we sometimes lose sight of the summit. We lose sight of the Father.

The light that illuminates our path comes from the Lord. If we will seek him, He will show us the way. The hitch comes when God's call isn't what we had imagined it would be. When we find ourselves in such a place, and take our eyes off our Lord, we may find ourselves slogging through the mire of uncertainty and despair, and believing life is too hard.

It's hard, all right. But it can be done. And done well. One day at a time. Perhaps one minute at a time. The One who loves us more than we can even think or imagine will not let us down. He'll reach for our hand and help us make our ascent.

We owe Him our lives. When I read from my devotional this morning the words lifted me out of the grind and set me in a higher place where I could see beauty and know there is hope, always hope. I was reminded of my calling, which is much more than what can be seen by human eyes.

From Streams in the Desert.

Is there some desert, or some boundless sea,
Where you, great God of angels, will send me?
Some oak for me to rend,
Some sod for me to break,
Some handful of your corn to take,
And scatter far afield,
Till it in turn will yield
Its hundredfold
Of grains of gold
To feed the happy children of my God?
Show me the desert, Father, or the sea;
Is it your enterprise? Great God send me!
And though this body lies where ocean rolls,
Father, count me among all faithful souls.

Can you see it? Your hand lifted in jubilation and your shout, SEND ME! 

Grace and peace to you from God,


Thursday, November 08, 2012

Thoughts For Today -- What Now?

A day has passed since the election and I've had a little time to digest the outcome and feel ready to share my thoughts.

I admit to being shaken when the results came in. I was stunned and deeply saddened. I couldn't stop the tears as I grieved what I viewed as a terrible loss for our country. I pondered what would happen now?  What would become of my beloved country and its people?

I admit that I blasted out some of my sorrow on Facebook. And Wednesday I bopped around the site reading a number of comments and adding some of my own. There were expressions of despair, fear and confusion. Some people were angry while others cheered what they saw as a victory. What I felt most was a sensation of walking through a graveyard of hopes and dreams. Facebook had become a place to grieve, but ultimately a place where people comforted and uplifted one another.

I know that many saw it as a place full of anger and hatred. And though I saw that, there was a gradual transition into what I feel was a healthy linking of arms as people prayed for one another and helped people see that life is not over and that there is hope.

I also read a few columns. Some tried to explain the why of the election results. Others shared the writer's own journey of emotions and resolutions. And some were there to encourage readers. I identify with them all.

So . . . where do we go from here? I heard one news commentator say, "We pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get to work." That sounds good to me. It's not over. My country is not lost. God is not absent. He knows it all and He has a plan.

This great unknown that faces our country has triggered good discussions between myself and some of my family. We are taking a closer look at our lives and how we spend our time. And whether or not we need more time with our Lord. We've also come to the conclusion that we need to make better use of the gifts and talents we've been given and of the time we have. God has the answers. He will reveal what we are to do to prepare for what is coming and He will make sure we know what He's called us to do.

While I pray and wait, I will continue my present work and step through open doors. Just what is in store for me I do not know, but I will keep on praying and I know God hears my prayers and will answer them.

I begin with thanksgiving. I am so thankful to be a child of God and to be assured that I am never alone. I know that even when the world feels wobbly, God has things under control. The future is a bit frightening, but I feel a stirring of excitement about what is to come.

God holds us in the palm of His hand. He will not let us go. Pray. Seek Him. And when He speaks, for He surely will, do whatever He asks of you. And then above that tell others how deeply they are loved. There are many hurting souls who don't know, and they are waiting for someone to tell them.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Monday, November 05, 2012

Thoughts For Today -- Letting Go

It is only one day until the national and state elections. I am something of a political junkie. I take being informed and voting seriously. And I admit to sometimes having strong opinions and carrying around too much anxiety about voting outcomes. I worry about my local district, my state and my country.


I believe in the sovereignty of God. He is in control. However, I know that he did not fashion puppets when he created human-beings and that throughout history mankind has gone astray, standing willfully against their Creator. So, I know we can get "it" wrong.

However, even when we make mistakes God is with us. He does not abandon us. And he can bring goodness even from what was intended for evil.

And so I am doing my best to release my angst to him. The outcome of this election is not up to me. I've done all that I feel I've been asked to do. And though in speaking out I've tried to remain respectful, I have been unfriended by some. That makes me kind of sad. But God never said, obedience would be easy or even pleasant.

Whomever wins the presidential election, I look forward to moving beyond these days and serving God wherever and however he directs me.

Please pray for one another. Pray for the candidates. And pray for our country.

Grace and peace to you from God,