Tuesday, December 15, 2020

But God meant it for good

It's early here...for me at least. Prissy and I are snuggled together on the couch...she with her head poking out of her favorite red binky and me wishing I could join her, but finding it very hard to type and snuggle at the same time. I'm content just watching her, occasionally stroking her neck where she likes it best, right behind her satiny ears. I never knew dogs could sigh, but she does...a long slow, I'm living the dream sigh. Which makes me very happy.

Most of you know the roller coaster ride we have been on with Prissy for the last month. And if you know me, you know I hate roller coasters. I barely survived the kid's one at Disney, staggering off it and vowing I would never risk my life on one again. 

I never realized until now that there are some rides you choose to go on, and others you are thrown into, barely having time to fasten your seatbelt before the insanity begins.

Prissy has been diagnosed with Pancreatitis, something I have never encountered in my 60+ years of life on this planet. We've had probably twenty something dogs, and never has one of them traveled down this road. It started with us trying to heal her from her inability to walk...a trip  to a specialty hospital in SC showed it was Rheumatoid Arthritis, and a local vet put her on steroids and doxycycline, never knowing that she was one of the 2% of dogs that go into Pancreatitis, along with liver, and gallbladder issues from those drugs. To say she was sick was an understatement...not eating, vomiting all the time, comatose, unable to walk. No matter what I did, it failed. 

So it was back and forth to the vets to be hospitalized, never knowing if they could save her. By the last visit I said, Enough. She was on eight medications, most of which caused her to vomit. Her vet and I made the decision to take her off all meds so she could hopefully rest and heal. If her body couldn't take food, it would only be a matter of time until she died. It was the scariest decision I have ever made. I felt damned if I did, and damned if I didn't. I knew I had to let her go. I loved her too much to put her through any more suffering.  

During all of this, I had begged and screamed and cried out to God for a miracle. If He wouldn't heal her, couldn't He at least give me a sign? Say something? How hard would that be? I had begun to believe that we didn't matter. After all, look at all He had on his plate in 2020. 

So when His reply finally came, it was a total surprise. I was flying down the highway to pick Prissy up from yet another hospitalization, totally exhausted and fearful of what was to come.  I had lived this moment over and over again for weeks; I would pick her up with hope and then several days later, after her not eating or drinking, I would bring her back again for another hospitalization...all my hopes shattered. 

It was then, through puffy eyes, that I saw them...

Dead animals on the side of the highway. Well, really in the median of the highway. Those poor animals had crossed that same road many times without problem. But then somebody put up miles of concrete barriers and all of a sudden they couldn't cross...there was this huge thing in front of them, keeping them from getting where they wanted to go. They must have been terrified...running along the barriers, trying to find a way through, only to be struck by a vehicle and left to die. Yup, that's exactly what I felt like.

Was it God who had put the barriers up in my life? Or was it just plain, We live in a fallen world and it's part of the story. So many things are out of our control. But that doesn't mean God is out of control.

And friends, that's where I had to make the decision to trust God again...even without answers or explanations. What it really was, was  my life verse: To know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering. By faith I had to believe that He suffered with me. and by coming near to Him, we could share this suffering together. And hopefully, all things were working together for good, in spite of what I could see.

He reminded me of the good that was coming out of this...

~ Feeling the pain of all the animals and people involved in emergency veterinary work, and the call to pray not just for Prissy, but for them also.

~ Buying a Christmas tree from a lot whose profits go to local research for childhood cancer, and then following them on FB and seeing the pain, and the joy, that these families are going through. 

~ Following a Canine Pancreatic site on FB, and while looking for answers, found so many whose beloved dogs had died. Pancreatitis is a life-long, slippery slope and health can change in a heartbeat. Prayer and encouragement are gifts I can give. 

~ People who prayed and wrote to encourage me...others who had also experienced loss, yet were willing to share their pain and carry mine...a gift I never could have bought.

~ How almost losing Prissy...and I may still...has taught me to slow down and enjoy the people and gifts in my life and not take them for granted. Coming so close to death has taught me that there are thing that matter. Choose these.

This has been a hard year for all of us...not one of us is entering 2021 without scars. But I don't want those to be the only signs of my having lived through a difficult time...

I want to come out stronger, wiser, more compassionate, more grateful and thankful. I want to remember the pain so I never take for granted...or miss...the people, experiences and opportunities that present themselves to me in the coming year.

And if hard times continue to come, I want to remember that He's not always seen, but He sees. 

You. Me. Everyone. And all that we are going through....this year, next year, and forever. 

Praise God!

A blessed Christmas, dear one. You are truly loved.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Get out of your head!


If I had any doubt that I was supposed to write this blog, the case of the missing mouse tells me I'm on the right track. I mean really, how far can a computer mouse run? But I shall not be deterred...I am determined that this blog post will see the light of day!


It was the second day of our trip to Hilton Head. Ted was out in his boat for the morning and I was thinking on what to do by myself. Remembering that I needed a good read for the trip, the idea of biking to Barnes and Noble appealed to me. It was only a couple of miles on a well groomed bike path, a ride I had done many, many times in the past.

I could  picture myself, free as the wind, beauty all around me and a good book and cup of coffee ahead of me. 

Hurriedly getting ready, excited over what lie ahead, I was surprised when suddenly a blanket of doubt smothered me, causing me to stop mid-stride.

"You know you are going to fall. Why do you think you can do a ride like this alone? You are a klutz...think about how many times you have fallen in the past. And you know people coming at you aren't always paying attention. And how easy would it be for a car to swerve off the road and hit you?"

By then I was convinced this bike ride was not a good idea. At all. I needed to wait til Ted came home and we could do it together. Safely.

I walked out on the deck, my bubble of excitement and fun totally burst. And I wanted to cry. How many times had fear done this to me? Stolen opportunities and thwarted my hopes?

It was then I did something outside my normal scope of reference. I got mad. Mad enough to say, I'm going to do it anyway! Granted I was still afraid, but something in me snapped and I was willing to take the risk.  

So off I went, a little wobbly at first, praying the whole way that I wouldn't fall or hit an oncoming biker or collide with a car at one of the many intersections. With every stroke of the pedals, my confidence grew and I felt the weight of fear fall behind me, shattering on the bike path.

I was doing it! I had stood up to my fear! Thankfulness bubbled up inside me when I safely arrived ALIVE at Barnes and Noble! I wanted to scream out, Who's the woman? High-Five, God!

Have you ever felt that way? Like you are just NOT going to be able to do something? I have. Way too many times. In fear, convinced I will fail, I have short-circuited too many opportunities. I have listened to the lies in my head, not the God of my heart.

Which leads me to the point of this blog...

Once I got inside the store...which BTW is absolutely the BEST Barnes and Nobles ever...I prayed from the deepest recesses of my heart, Lord, You know I am burned out. I have come this week desperately hoping to meet You here. I can't remember the last time I felt joy and peace. I have been living in a very dark place but I want out. Please, please guide me to just the right book. I desperately need to hear from You, to have hope again.

So I started wandering...up and down aisles, picking books up, putting them down. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever find anything that spoke to me. I felt hope eroding away and the same old doubt resurfacing: "God doesn't care about you. Why would you think He would? Look at all the pain He's caused you. And you think you can trust Him?"

I wanted to cry.  But holding back the tears, I kept on searching. I didn't realize it then, but it was my second faith-act of the day, and God was waiting to meet me in it.

And that's when I found it...

Whoa! I immediately thought, How cool is that? Followed by, "Ah, a New York Times Bestseller, probably written by some liberal millennialist who has lots of words but nothing to say."

But I was desperate, so I purchased a Chai latte and plunked myself down to skim through it. It was only a few minutes later that I knew...this was God's answer to my prayer! Seriously, I could have written the book! There have been only two books in my life that I have pretty much totally underlined and marked up: Shattered Dreams and this one. 

Suddenly, everything else I had planned for our time at Hilton Head fell away. God had handed me a gift and I clutched it like a life preserver. Just the thought that He had seen me! And knew what I needed! And had answered my prayer gave me hope.

And the author? Thankfully she did not live up to my fears. I could relate to her hopelessness...her lostness...her depression and blindness. I felt I could link arms with her and together we would find our way Home again...out of the spiral of toxic thoughts and lies I had been living in. And together we could step into a healthy, God-filled place...a place I had been homesick for for a long, long time.  

I wonder, can you relate to this? Do you wonder why you just can't rise above and over the thoughts that continually condemn you? Thoughts that are negative and destructive and entangling? 

I have been walking with the Lord for almost 35 years now, and yet I still fell prey to the lies and deception of the Evil One, the one whose goal is to keep us blind and captive and despairing, and whose intent is to turn us from God and into ourselves and the world's thinking...rendering us all but useless. 

The Deceiver has mastered the arts of camouflage and deception! Masquerading as an angel of light, seducing with a lie here and there...planting seeds of doubt and condemnation that over time strangle any hope of God's goodness and His love for us.  Slowly, we enter a very dark that we can only be delivered from by the Light of God's Truth. 

On the last morning of our time at Hilton Head, I took the book down to the pool. While there, a Wren made it very clear that I was to pay attention to him. He jumped up near to me and literally stared me down, as if saying, I have something important to say so listen. I mean he was in my face! So I asked God to help me to understand and this is what I heard, (the Wren looking up for awhile) Look up to God and (the Wren, looking from side to side over and over again) do not look around. Then you will stand on the high places. And what do you think the next chapter was on? Yup, keeping our eyes on the beauty and wonder of God and not on people or circumstances. I rest my case.

It's been a week now, and as I have worked through the book, Light has begun to seep into my thoughts and hope into my heart. I have been given a manual for war, though granted it will take time to implement it all and become successful in it. But the tools and the strategy are there, and that gives me hope! With God I will win these battles, and ultimately the war. Now I want to tell others that they can overcome also!

Dear one, I don't know where you are, but I do know many of us feel defeated. And tired. And the thought of spending a lifetime this way is overwhelming. Take heart! We were meant for so much more! God will enable us as we throw off the shackles of doubt and fear, and turn in trust to our Lord, who will not only walk with us through the battles, but provide us with everything we need to fight victoriously!

If you are Fearful. Doubting. Anxious. Battling thoughts and beliefs you just can't overcome, consider this book. No, I'm not getting any payback from recommending it...just the joy of passing on a gift that I was given.

May it be a key that unlocks a door that you have been staring at for way too long. A key to all the good that God has for you. 

Oh, and the missing mouse? Still MIA. In the past, I would have said, Forget the blog, it's too much work without the mouse. And I would have let go of the opportunity to share all that I have. But I recognized the enemy's fingerprints all over that situation and wrote it anyway. So there, Satan! 

Dear one, you are loved!


Friday, August 14, 2020

Welcome Home! You made it!

I don't usually start out with a quote, but unless you read this you won't have the foggiest notion of where I'm going in this post...

“In 2006, a high school English teacher asked students to write a famous author and ask for advice. Kurt Vonnegut was the only one to respond; and his response is magnificent: “Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta: I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances anymore because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana. What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow. Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.”

So, what was your first reaction after you read this? Honestly?

Did you scoff? Roll your eyes? Sigh?

Or for one brief second did your heart sing with hope? Hope that maybe this could apply to you?

Yeah, I know, you don't sing well. Remember that audition for the musical in elementary school where you choked on the notes and lost your place and the piano eventually stopped and you knew?

Or how about dancing? Seriously, everyone else can do it, why not you? In your mind you soared like Ginger Rogers, but in the body you looked like a drunk elephant. It would have been more merciful to be put out of your misery than continue on.

Art class? It didn't help that you sat next to one the most talented students in school and though you tried to imitate them, even up to how they held their pencil, the teacher never stopped by your desk. So instead you settled for admiring the works of others.

Oh, and the big one...acting! While others around you got the praise and accolades for their talent, the only kind of acting you perfected was putting on the mask you used to protect yourself...peeking out and watching others but never being brave enough to play the role of YOU.

I know all about these things. Because all of those things are me.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Peek-a-boo, I see you!

Remember when you were little and you used to play Peek-a-boo? Or maybe you still do with your children or grandchildren. You know how it goes...covering your face with your hands you exclaim, Peek-a-boo, I see you! as you slowly remove your hands from your face. That's when your delighted child can see your big, adoring smile. I see you!

Well, it seems that's the game I've been playing these days. Except with God. I've been waiting and watching and expecting that at any moment He will remove His hands from His face and I will see Him again, smiling down at me. I see you!

Like you, I've been sideswiped by this Covid thing...days and weeks and months all blend endless litany of hopes being raised and dashed. And this through the planning of two weddings and all that meant to us. I feel like we're living the title of Alvin Plantinga's book, Not the Way It's Supposed to Be.  

To be fair, we have not suffered through this time, nor have we paid a tragically high price like others have. My heart and prayers go out to those who have. Yes, we've given up some things, sacrificed some things, and tried to make sense of this new world we've been thrown into. But in spite of that, I do still, at times, find myself acting like a self-centered child, stomping my feet and whining and gazing longingly into the past with a sense of entitlement. Like they say, you don't know what you got til it's gone.

This 'forced isolation' has brought about something I never expected, nor honestly wanted...face-to-face time with myself. As an introvert, I do spend a lot of time with myself. I know only too well my good, bad, and ugly. But in the past, when it got too hard, I could avoid dealing with my good, bad, and ugly because, heaven knows, I could keep busy! But now how much running away can you do when there's nowhere to run? No classes or studies or events to attend? When busyness happens only within a 2 acre lot with your husband, dog, chickens and guinea pig?

I feel like I'm in a major Time when you were little and your parents knew you needed to spend some quiet time alone...hopefully to see that something in you needed to change. Those were never fun times because it seemed that while everyone else was carrying on as before, you were being set aside...and even forgotten if your parents got too busy to remember you!

Hello God? Anyone there? Remember me? I know I really don't matter much and that what's on my heart and in my life right light of all that's going on this world...isn't of much importance, but I want to come out. Because I'm scared that you may have forgotten me. I know I'm not anyone great, or famous, or's just me. Waiting for you to remember see me. 

I have lived with this heart-cry for the past five months, not understanding how wrong I was...

Until we watched The Chosen. And there I fell in love with a God who wasn't this far-off, far-out, World-Leader who spent His time deciding who or what was most important to work with, using what limited time and energy He had...a God who was so busy with the Big Things that he had no time for the Little Things. Like me.

And what made me understand that were three little words...Season One, Episode Eight...

I see you.

During this scene, Jesus was talking to Peter's wife...a woman who was being left behind to care for not only her sick mother, but to run the home while her husband left to follow the Messiah. Alone...doing the same thing, day after day after day...for who knew how long. Unnoticed and unimpressive. I have this feeling if it were me, I'd be thinking something like, Heck! I need to suck it up. Peter's what's important here. I have to do this. I'll never let him or anyone know the price I will be paying or how hard this is for me. I can do it!

But Jesus comes to her, and sees her...inside and out...and basically said to paraphrase... Oh no you don't! Yes, Peter is important, but so are you! You are valuable and you have a role to play in all of this which is no less than Peter's. I know the price you are paying. I see you. And of course she cries because who wouldn't when they realize they are not forgotten or overlooked?

And yes, I cried also.

What does this look like in your life? 

I see you when you are so tired you would rather curl up in a ball and keep sleeping than to get on with a day full of the same thing over and over and over again.

I see you when you tried so hard but you still didn't get it right. And you wonder if you ever will.

I see you when this thing facing you looks like Goliath but you can't have to face him.

I see you when you sob on the inside but smile on the outside.

I see you.

El Roi...The God who sees.  

Though it may often feel like it, He hasn't missed a my life or in your life or in the world. Unlike Peter's wife, He won't show up in flesh and blood to tell us so...more often He lets us know He sees us when...

-We meet someone who has a kind or encouraging word or book or blog that lights up our soul again...

-We read something that connects the dots and we sigh with relief...

-We see something beautiful that takes our breath away and we cry because we remember we are going Home someday and this is not all there is...

-And a million other ways. He sees us. He knows our needs. and He provides. 

Most of us will live quiet, unexciting lives...never seen by more than a few. Like Peter's wife. Our culture, however, places a high value on being encourages us to grab the spotlight and get out there so we can get the praise and recognition we deserve. Having known some prominent people, let me say that it's not what's going on on the outside, it's the heartbeat and mindset on the inside that God sees and blesses.

And out of a heart that beats for God, and a mind set on Him, comes something beautiful.

Dear one, remember this...when you are alone and the world feels too big and you wonder how to keep on going...

You are not alone! He sees every fear, every tear, every hope and every dream you carry. You are passionately and dearly loved.

You are known,

You are seen.

Now go watch The Chosen. You will be blessed. I promise.


If you want another blessing, put this into your search page won't let me upload it but trust me, it is a gift . ❤

Friday, May 1, 2020

Thinking is not optional!

This is a post of confession. My daughter says it's more verbose than my usual posts, but I want to emphasize how someone who has learned so much, can forsake so much.

It all started this morning, when I came across this meme...Thinking is hard, so just do what the government says.

At first I scrolled past it, but then I found myself drawn back to it...if for no other reason than to read the comments below it. When I was done, I sat there...a small nudge in my spirit telling me that this was important.

Now I admit that I do squirrel in my thinking...basically talking to myself as I wander through the day...asking myself questions, remarking on things around me, praying for who/what I encounter.

But that isn't the kind of thinking this meme was referring to. It was referencing something deeper than that...a lack of concentrated, intentional thinking which, the spirit reminded me, has been a scarcity in my life lately.

I remember a bumper sticker I had confidently put on our older car years ago- Thinking is Not Optional. I was passionate about it then, but do I still believe it now?

Because lately I've found myself floundering in my understanding of this virus and what it has done to our country. Yes, it is real. And yes, we should have concerns. In the beginning I was accepting and willing to listen and take what I heard as God-given truth. Like the ever obedient child I hoped to be, I followed orders and did what I was told.

And that worked for about 4 weeks. But it's not working anymore. Because now as I hear about rising suicide rates and domestic abuse and people losing their businesses and inflated statistics, and on and on, I am only getting unsettled and dare I say angry?

What is the truth? How can I act and react in a just way when all I feel is confused and weary of all the information being thrown at me? Lately it’s been easier to shut down and shut up. But I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do.

And there are several reasons why...several stages of my life that I know were God-given...

Monday, April 6, 2020

Unchained Melody and the hope it offers for such a time as this

Remember the song, Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers? I do. I grew up with it in the 60's and I remember my mother singing and dancing in the kitchen to not only this song, but those of Roy Orbison, The Mama's and the Papa's, Elvis Presley and so many other greats of that era. I haven't heard this song in years but then I hardly ever listen to Oldies stations anymore. I'm a Classical kind of girl.

So this morning when I had to take Prissy to the vet for some dental work and she started her pathetic moaning in the backseat of the car, I decided to turn on some music to comfort us both...and yes, probably to drown out her moans.  Going to the vets is always as hard on me as it is on her...

Because I was driving and the sun was shining brightly on the dashboard, I couldn't see the numbers on the dial to find my usual radio station. Figuring anything was better than nothing, I turned up the volume and found myself flying back in time to songs I grew up with. And for better or worse, memories and feelings and emotions that I had long forgotten, or blocked, came flooding back and I could barely drive through the tears.

At that point I should have shut the radio off but I didn't. So much of what I was remembering was sweet and I didn't want to let go of what I was feeling.  For in that moment I wanted nothing more than to go back to a time when life seemed simpler and dreams were dreamed and hope was still alive. A time of great expectation for all that life could offer. A time of innocence and probably ignorance when someone else was in charge and took care of me...when my mother was still alive and we danced in our tiny kitchen to Unchained Melody...and endless days were spent roaming beaches and trail riding through the forest.

And it was then I realized how very, very tired I am. And how desperately I am in need of hope.

I want my mother back. I want to go to bed at night in peace and wake up in the morning full of joy and expectation for what the day holds. I don't want to be afraid to go to the store where everyone is wearing masks and staying far take a walk and all those whom you meet back away from you. Everything seems fragile right at any second it could give way and the weight of the world will crush it. Even me.

Since I got home, I've been replaying Unchained Melody over and over. Its melody is haunting and its lyrics seductive. And I've just figured out why I need to hear it: because it's not a song from my past, but a promise for my future.

Don't get me wrong, but I think this is a perfect song for Holy of the darkest times of history when hope died and fear and loneliness overtook the disciples and they desperately needed to know that God was still there for them. Suppose we divide it up like this...

ME~ Oh, my love, my darling, I've hungered for your touch, a long, lonely time.
And time goes by so slowly, and time can do so much, are you still mine?
I need your love, I need your love, God speed your love to me.

GOD~ Lonely rivers flow, to the sea, to the sea, to the open arms of the sea.
Lonely rivers sigh, 
"Wait for me, wait for me
I'll be coming home wait for me."

See what I mean? I AM hungering for Him. And I AM in a long, lonely time. And sometimes I DO wonder, Are You still there? Do You remember me? Lord, I desperately need Your love.

And His response? Wait for Me! I'm coming! And this makes my heart matter how crazy the world is right now! 

Dear ones, let us wait well...through this pandemic...through the  loneliness and questioning and frustration and pain. Through life that maybe did not turn out as we thought it would when we were young. Through this week of our Lord's passion.

Sunday is coming! We have a cheat sheet. We know that what we are going through now is NOT the end of the story. Good Friday couldn't hold our Lord. Hope is coming. Help is on the way.

Praise God and Alleluia on all fronts!

Let us pray for one another. 


Oh, and if you are receiving this by email, chances are that the Youtube video will not appear. But my friend, that will not do. Copy and past the info below into your browser. You need to hear the Righteous Brothers sing Unchained Melody. Trust me.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

On keeping calm and trusting God

Yesterday we made the difficult decision to cancel our daughter's bridal shower that was scheduled for next weekend. It was the right thing to do, especially as several of the wedding party work in the medical field and have been in contact with those carrying the virus.

Like you, we have been side-swiped by this virus. My son said yesterday, "We're just not used to bad times." And he's right. We've been able to be in control of our lives for so what we want...when we want...that we haven't had to really exercise the one thing much of the world has come to recognize as vital...


This morning, after a more than restless night's sleep; tossing and turning, tossing and turning, having solved the shower issue but now wondering what to do about upcoming wedding plans, I stood up for more coffee and my attention was grabbed by what was happening outside the living room window...

What moments before had been dead and colorless woods, covered in a fine rain, was now a shining fairyland bathed in sunlight that had broken through the clouds. The dark sky behind it only made the picture more stunning.

God knows I'm a visual learner so I'm taking this as a confirmation of the conclusion I had so agonizingly come to...

We need to have Hope...a Hope that shines in the darkness.

Hope that this virus, and all it has done to our lives, did not take God by surprise...

Hope that He is still on His Throne and in control...

Hope that we can Let-Go-and-Let-God, because none of His promises have ever, ever failed anyone during times of hardship and therefore we can trust Him.

What's the alternative? Hey, I can answer this one! Whine? Complain? Be discouraged? Turn to other gods to give us the fix we need? I have done them all this week, I'm ashamed to say.

Oh, but I have this great excuse I've been using! Want to hear it? I have OCD and it's so difficult to have my world in chaos with things I can't control or put in order.

And it's true. But it's only half the equation. With my eyes on myself the only way is down. God is still God whether I have OCD or any other quirk of human nature. He's bigger than____________. (Fill in the blank) If you can't put your circumstances in the blank, then put in any of the trials and temptations that Daniel, or David, Paul or Jesus faced. That works.

George Mueller said, "The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety."

I'm no great theologian but I'd like to offer the idea that Faith and Hope walk hand in hand.

When we lose faith, we lose hope. And hope deferred makes the heart sick. Heart-sick. That's been me this past week.

But it's time to say, Enough! If nothing else, this time will show us what we have faith in...where we have placed our hopes. And that's a very valuable gift from a God who loves us no matter what.

And it could be a wake-up call on all fronts. I know I need it. Do you?

So, back to the idea of what to do about the wedding. It sounds so simple, but as any of you who have ever helped plan a daughter's wedding know, it's anything but simple! Weddings involve reservations way ahead of time, and lots of down payments on venues and photographers and caterers, etc all willingly offered. But money that could now be lost if decisions aren't made soon to cancel.

We had planned on doing the invitations this week...a sweet time of putting paper form...hopes and dreams for the future...a once-in-a-lifetime Mother/ Daughter thing.

To do or not to do? That has been our heart cry!

But you know what? If all we lose is the money spent on stamps and invitations...stepping out and putting actions to our hopes will be worth it. The worst that can happen is we have to re-order new invitations with new dates  and purchase hundreds more stamps. The best that can happen is our faith will be rewarded.

We have never known what the future holds. Ever. We just have lived like we have.

Now we have an opportunity to start afresh.

I believe with all my heart that all that is going on in our lives will serve us well...not only now, during this difficult time...but for whatever the future holds.

I carry you in my heart and prayers, dear ones. God's got this.

Lord, help me not to be anxious, I know that, whatever I am facing, You are right there with me and have promised to never leave me nor forsake me. Help me to trust You, despite the circumstances that surround me. Lord, when I am tempted to be anxious, help me to speak your promises, to overcome the attacks on my mind with answers from your Word. Let me be quick to respond to wrong thoughts and desires by replacing them with good thoughts.

Thank you, Lord, that You light the way before me. You give clear instructions and keep me firmly on the paths of righteousness. I put my complete trust in You. You are my shield and my refuge. You are my rock and my fortress. You are my hiding place and strong tower. In the midst of the storm, You enlighten me with your understanding and give me peace. I refuse to be anxious about anything. 

From 'Keep Calm and Trust God'
Jake Provance and Keith Provance

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Open our eyes, Lord!

I used to have this appetite for my life, and it's just gone,” Elizabeth Gilbert wrote, “I want to go someplace where I can marvel at something.”

‘Yes!’ my weary spirit screamed, ‘Exactly!’

Turning my eyes from my morning perusal of the iPad screen, I took note of the birds hopping around on the tray feeder outside my living room window. I was especially drawn to one of the Goldfinches, whose feathers ruffled gently in the breeze. 

My first thought was a statement- ‘That would make an amazing picture.’

My second thought was a light-bulb moment- ‘And that’s why I take pictures! My camera helps me focus on what’s important or fascinating or beautiful in that moment!’

Granted any hobby or skill...can take you to an unhealthy place where it becomes all about perfection. And that can be downright frustrating, wanting to get it right and beating myself up when I fall short.

Of course there’s always the tantalizing possibilities that Lightroom and Photoshop dangle in front of you- a Promised Land where no matter how bad your picture is, there’s redemption and the hope of perfection. 

But lately, I’ve been less concerned about getting it right. I’ll probably never achieve acclaim for my photos...except through my gracious family. I’ll probably never win a contest or be on the cover of National Geographic. 

Does that mean I should give up and give in? Sell my camera and equipment on EBay? For sure there have been times when in a fit of disgust over a bad shoot that I seriously contemplated it...times when it seemed I was never going to get the hang of it and what was the use anyway?

And yet, in spite of it all, I am still drawn to photography.

This morning, during my light-bulb-moment watching the birds, I finally understood that I enjoy photography because it causes me to be awake and aware of what’s around me. Have you ever gotten into the car to drive somewhere and you take off and suddenly you’re there and you can’t remember how you got there? That you were oblivious to everything on the way, stuck in auto-pilot mode?

That’s how life can go if we’re not careful! The days and weeks, months and years fly by. Every week we look at each other and say, on Friday, ‘It can’t be garbage day again! Where did another week go?’

Recently, I bought a painting from a woman at JAARS. Her mother-in-law had painted it years ago and she was ready to part with it. It put a smile on my face because it’s a picture of my Happy Place...the place I go to when I need to be refreshed and renewed...Arizona...a place about as opposite the Southeast as is possible! The landscape, the weather, the birds and wildlife all offer me a chance to see with new eyes. Dare I say it’s like going from water to an energy drink?

So, what do we do when we’re just not seeing anymore? When life is monotonous and drab and washed out? When it seems our days are run on auto-pilot and it’s always Friday again?