And They Who Suffer…

Posted by on Aug 14, 2017 in My Blog | 0 comments

And They Who Suffer…

Today I ponder the struggles that many have in their daily lives…how they get through each day, what challenges they face and also how WE can help.  In today’s society, there is much emphasis placed on happiness and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  Nothing wrong with achieving happiness in our own lives…right…as long as our happiness is not the only happiness we seek and as long as our happiness does not injur others. Scripture tells us so much about life, living, faith, trust, serving, love and…suffering.  Suffering can be physical pain, health crises, loss of love, financial hardship, grief, loneliness, depression, and just plain “getting the short end of the stick in life.”  Through our suffering, it often breaks us down and creates a vacuum.  and there is that word…vacuum.  So, do we need a vacuum cleaner for life, a magic wand?  Oh, well we joke about magic wands, don’t we!  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they really did exist. Hmmm. So, how do we fill those vacuums of life?  Just ask someone you know who has a chronic illness how they get through each day and you will hear many answers…prayer, reading a good book, a good sense of humor, strong determination, fighting souls, laughter, compassionate friends, drugs, alcohol, doing something for someone else…what???  Doing something for someone else???  But we thought you were the one who needed help. From my life experience, every time I find myself being challenged to the point of suffering whether it was losing a parent, experiencing ravaging chemotherapy, going through infidelity and divorce, chronic illnesses, etc., I have found that God finds ways to fill that void in me with unimaginable love, impactful life lessons, opportunities for me to serve & praise Him and reach out to others in their times of need. Today, there are so many people suffering from chronic illnesses, political distress, extreme anxiety, fear and the list goes on and on.  So what can we do to help? First, PRAY for the person, friend, family member, yourself; AKNOWLEDGE the person’s suffering.  Many suffer in silence because their villian is invisible; If they want to talk, LISTEN! Express your CARING through a phone call, a note, asking how you can HELP (then do that thing); DON’T stay away!  BE PRESENT to this person suffering; If this person has children, INCLUDE them in activities outside the home; Send a flower, have a meal delivered, get creative. I recall during months of chemotherapy when I was too sick to do much of anything, I found out long after that struggle was over that my sister-in-law (without my knowing) drove to my house and watered my window boxes so my flowers survived the hot summer months.  Those living, beautiful red geraniums gave me a spurt of joy as I would leave the house for another chemo treatment. John 15:12 – “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” God is ready to use you to share His love to our hurting world.  Raise your hand high and shout “I’m ready, Lord, choose me, order my...

Read More

If We Have No Peace…

Posted by on Aug 11, 2017 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

If We Have No Peace…

I have really been thinking a lot about achieving peace lately.  Peace is always on my mind and in my heart, but lately, its had higher ranking than usual.  Certainly the last few days, with the threats of nuclear warfare from the crazed leader of North Korea as well as the “over-the-top style” of Trump’s rhetoric, I see and hear tensions and fears from many. I’ve written before of my admiration of Mother Teresa as a servant, having lived a life of sacrifice to help lift others in our suffering world.  Thinking about how far away peace seems now brings to mind her quote  “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.”  That really resonates with me not leaving my thoughts quickly or often.  It gets me to pondering what it is when we sense “belonging?”  Well, we belong to our families, our circle of friends, and communities of folks drawn together by common interests or beliefs.  We say we “belong” to a church or synagogue or a club or an association.  There’s comfort there.  Membership.  Being allied to.  Hmmm…ally?  Kinship? So, how big does our “circle” extend? One can take “community” from one’s town, to county, to state, to region, to country, to continent, to world, etc.  OK, when we’re considering to whom we “belong” or for whom we feel a “kinship,” how big does our circle get? I’m thinking, yeah, I feel a kinship to my family and friends, to my co-worshipers at my church, to colleagues, to fellow Rotarians, to the NC Tar Heel Basketball Nation, to my Alpha Phi sorority sisters, to the breast cancer sisterhood, to others who believe in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ…oh, and I also feel like I belong to a huge group of people called Senior Citizens.  You get where I am on this, right? But…God created mankind and I’m pretty sure He intends for us to be both human and kind…so are we really linked to all human beings no matter where they live or what they look like or what language they speak?  Mother Teresa surely felt and acted upon her feelings of kinship. If there is nothing else that links us to others, isn’t it enough that every one of us belongs to the human race and lives because of the same Creator?...

Read More

An Extraordinary Destiny

Posted by on Apr 19, 2017 in My Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

An Extraordinary Destiny

When we think about our destiny, I imagine we most often think that our destiny is set for us.  But, I believe that we do find that our perspective on life itself … our life journey, truly can impact our destiny.  C.S. Lewis offers clarity on this I think, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny…”  Do you know people like that? In the midst of hardships in our lives we might not think then that suffering through that existence is going to result in a really good thing, but it surely can. David knew he had sinned against God and wrote a prayer of penitence in Psalm 32.  For me, I find solace and security in this scripture in Psalm 32:7… “You are my hiding place, you will preserve me from trouble, you will surround me with songs of deliverance.”  I know that there will be troubles along my journey, but I also blieve God’s promises that He walks right there with me and I do hear those songs of deliverance.  What a gift it is from our Heavenly Father that He wants to be our hiding place and the scriptures draw us into His divine and steadfast presence, His love and forgiveness and His great...

Read More

If We Have No Peace

Posted by on Jan 31, 2017 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

If We Have No Peace

Mother Teresa was the supreme sacrificial giver, helper, lover.  I think she was an excellent model of living a life full of Christ.  She said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.”  In the days of political campaigning and ushering in our new president, I have been witnessing many people feeling unsure, questioning our country’s leadership, wondering if the foundational values of what makes us America…the United States of America are going to remain. Supporters as well as those who oppose,  have uncertain feelings of anxiety and it makes me think of Mother Teresa’s quote about belonging to one another. Have we forgotten that?   Admittedly, it is more than challenging to feel a kinship with someone who cowardly attacks unsuspecting innocent people, inflicting horrific injuries with some losing their lives.  So, I can tell myself, “well nobody’s perfect so I can just let that one go.”  Not really, though. Thinking that reminds me of my career with United Way.  Our board, volunteers and small staff worked to strengthen our community and to help solve problems that our citizens experienced.  When we had a big, serious issue to present itself, we convened a meeting and brought representatives of different sectors of the community together to work at the “community table” toward finding solutions.  We knew that we couldn’t truly achieve a “community ” solution unless friend and foe were around that table to offer their particular perspectives.  It’s very challenging but most often we were successful. And every time we were successful…or even when we weren’t successful but WE TRIED, we were building community.  Community is a precious asset.  And we were people of the same community. My point in the above paragraph is that we may not feel like we “belong” to someone of differing opinions, actions, faith,race, but, perhaps, we can remind ourselves that every living soul on this planet earth are all created by God.  So, someone who blasts social media with their caustic thoughts, assuming and disrespecting other human beings, thinking they are the only person who feels passionate about their faith while slamming others of the very same faith…how do we say we belong to them?  I don’t have an answer to that question.  But could we possibly agree to act, speak, recognize, etc. as a community? Our world is a lot smaller now with technology, communication, fast travel, so we just might need to start thinking of our global community.  Many have for some time now.  We must take care of our planet.  There are parts that are aging and if we can use our shared intellect and technology we might reverse some potential loss of where God has placed us.   Why are we here? Peace to all!    ...

Read More

Human Rebooting

Posted by on Nov 8, 2016 in My Blog | 1 comment

Human Rebooting

Much like a computer, there are times when we humans could use a complete rebooting.  Following the 18 month long campaigns to elect a new President of the United States and the ugliness and divisiveness that has prevailed, I have found myself in need of a complete reboot. I feel I need to start fresh, to re-center myself.  I want all the mess to fall away and to engage a new day filled with love, patience, kindness and mutual respect.  So, where’s the Escape button??   Instead of searching the keyboard, my plan for the big reboot is first to pray to God for His guidance.  He never steers me wrong.  He immediately knows who’s calling and He is always there, never too busy. So, He reminds me that in the scriptures I find my answers… “Follow me,” Jesus said.  What? “Come to me all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.”      Luke 18:22 Ah, there it is.  “Heavily burdened” and then, “rest.”  I need an emotional rest and I bet you may as well.   “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”   1 Corinthians 13:4-8  “And now these three remain. Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”         1 Corinthians 13: 13 That’s it…hit that spiritual button and its, indeed, a new day!!  A day of renewal, fresh and full of decency, humility, love, and hope for ALL. Praise God from Whom ALL blessings come!...

Read More

Being Filled

Posted by on Oct 25, 2016 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Being Filled

There are days when we might feel hollow… empty. We’ve been drained to where we feel we have nothing left. Have you ever felt that way? Yet, because we are earthen vessels crafted by the Almighty Creator of us all, we just need to call on the One who can fill us again…and sometimes He fills us to overflowing. Could it be that this overflowing is because we weren’t completely empty? Though, we surely can get to the point where we feel empty, bare, dry to the bone. If we could somehow look down into our own vessel,  we would be reminded that during Creation and our forming, God placed the soul that resides within us and never leaves us until we pass on into Eternity. The soul is a pretty busy part of us earthen vessels. It communicates with our Father as is His intention. With the help of God’s Holy Spirit, it prays for us when we are at our absolute lowest and seem to have no words. It illuminates our vessel with such joy, love and, at the same time, softly nurtures us as we feel sorrow. When I contemplate the state of us as these earthen vessels, I’m reminded of Henri Nouwen and his writing about the Cup of Life in his book, “Can You Drink the Cup?” Jesus asked his disciples that question before the Last Supper because He knew the road ahead of them.  Christ held His cup that God had given Him…and it surely had the bitter taste of  persecution, betrayal and suffering.  It also possessed the greatest joy of His life being sacrificed for the salvation of mankind.  Knowing all, Christ drank His cup offering us the great gift of Eternal life. Jesus has told us in John 7:38 “Whosoever believes in me shall have rivers of water flowing within him.” That is the living water that quenches our thirst and sustains our lives forever. So at our lowest points, when we feel that emptiness, we can recall God’s promises to us that He is always with us and that we are His. Body, soul and spirit. Galatians 3:23-6:18 “Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me, break me, melt me, mould me, fill me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.” Thanks be to...

Read More

Half Way Through The Wilderness

Posted by on Mar 14, 2016 in My Blog | 2 comments

Half Way Through The Wilderness

During the Season of Lent, Christians reflect on the walk of our Lord Jesus Christ for forty days in the wilderness as He fasted, prayed, was tempted and resisted these temptations of the devil. Just as we find ourselves in the wilderness in our life journey, through prayer & faith we, too, can resist temptations knowing that God is always there with us in our humility with His merciful forgiveness. In the 40 days in the wilderness with all the temptations of the devil, Jesus was being prepared for what lay ahead for Him. We, too, find ourselves at times reflecting on our own wilderness walks becoming aware that those times had prepared & strengthened us for fulfillment of God’s plan & use of us. Sometimes those realizations can be very subtle while, at other times, they might just knock on the door of our heart & soul with great vigor!! At the end of all this our charge is to step out into our world shining our light, being the hands & feet of Christ our Savior to the hurting and wayward souls. Psalm 51:10-12 is actually a prayer that means a lot to me. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.                                                                                                                                                                                               Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit....

Read More

“Globalization of Indifference”

Posted by on Feb 17, 2016 in My Blog, Think About This | 2 comments

“Globalization of Indifference”

Pope Francis ushers in the season of Lent challenging Christians to forget about denying ourselves candy or favorite activities.  Rather than those exercises, he challenges us to take actions that “truly enrich others.”  Sort of like do it ’til it hurts.  Then, when it really hurts, that is sacrifice. The Pope’s message to the Christian world…to our whole world comes at a peak time, the peak is the sharply risen indifference to others and God.  As our world grows more populous, more chaotic, more dangerous, more challenging the reality is that there is more need, more suffering, and more opportunity, the opportunity is for those of us who have homes to live in, clothing on our backs, food on our tables, doctors for healthcare, churches and synagogues to worship to reach out to those in dire need to make a difference and share the message of hope. But, Pope Francis’s message is that we need to notice where the need and suffering is so we know where and how to serve our Lord and help.  When we are so focused on our own needs, wants, schedules we sometimes just don’t notice the plight of others.  So, the Pope says lets not fast from candy or our favorite activity but fast from the indifference to others and to God.  By intentionally fasting from this indifference our eyes and hearts will be opened and we can really make a meaningful difference! Opening our eyes and hearts to others and God will move us further on the path to Jesus’s last commandment…”Love one another.” Pope Francis’ Guide to Lent: What You Should Give Up This...

Read More

Sweet Sacred Inspiration

Posted by on Jan 4, 2016 in My Blog, My Breast Cancer Journey | 0 comments

Sweet Sacred Inspiration

Whether it’s ringing in a New Year or celebrating a birthday or the anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis, any time of renewal brings me quickly to the deep gratitude for the gift of each new day and a recommitment to live my best life to the glory of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Of course, I fall short many days but it is a good road map toward the sincerest appreciation of all for which God has blessed me. Today, I’ve thought a lot about a poem I wrote in the midst of my first year of my breast cancer journey in 1999…almost 17 years ago.  As we know, the life struggles we experience really do strengthen us and offer to us some valuable lessons in life that we might not have received were it not for those struggles.  Those boosts in strength and the lessons obtained enhance our days of living for certain.  Reflecting on what we gained through the struggle strengthens our renewal of life many years later. Here’s my poem: Sweet Sacred Inspiration I walk through dark, deep water Feeling the pull of the struggle Knowing that time passes on. My feet stumble in weakness as My soul searches for sweet sacred inspiration. I feel the rhythm of my heartbeat Ripple through the water as I move forward Seeking relief from the weight of suffering. The journey teaches me determination as My soul searches for this sweet sacred inspiration. Days of the past capture my thoughts My mind’s eye sees children playfully wading. A child turns her face and I look into my own youthful eyes. The pull of the struggle is revealed as the Guide. Sweet Sacred Inspiration awaits me as I cross over to the other side....

Read More

Find Your Sanctuary

Posted by on Dec 29, 2015 in My Blog, Think About This | 2 comments

Find Your Sanctuary

The word sanctuary brings to mind a sacred place or, perhaps, a safe haven.  I can remember when raising our two young daughters, I always wanted our home to be a safe haven for them…a place to which they would enter and they were safe, feeling loved beyond measure and where their minds were nurtured toward independent, creative thinking.  I wanted our home to be a sanctuary to them where they could be their true and cherished selves.  For the most part, I think, we achieved that yet there were the usual child-rearing squabbles and disciplines, being sent to their rooms to contemplate what they had done and, oh yes, the slamming of doors! 😉 In our world today, we need sanctuaries, perhaps, more today than ever.  What do you think of that?  Some of us know we need sanctuaries and go into their presence frequently and that is good.  I fear that way too many folks don’t give needing a sanctuary much thought.  They many not even be aware they exist or what the value of them is.  Then, there are many, many of us that know quite well the value of sanctuary, but ne’er a one is on their radar. I believe God Our Father wants the same thing for His children, you and me and everyone else, as I did for my two daughters.  He’s right with us throughout the days and nights wanting us to come to be in His Divine Presence where we are safe, where we can feel His love beyond measure and where He wants to nurture our hearts, souls and minds into perfect peace.  Every morning at 9:30 I get an alert on my iPhone…I don’t even have to look at it, to know its God.  Yep, its God and it goes like this: God – Good morning, Pat.  I have something I want to tell you. Me – Oh, God, thank you for a wonderful rest overnight and keeping me safe.  Right now? God – Yes, it won’t take long.  I want to talk with you about one of your favorite Psalms, 61:4.  One of your favorite topics, sanctuary or refuge. Me – As I stretch my arms and back, I straighten up and say, of course, I’m right with you, Father.  I grab my iPhone and its already on the page of scripture, Psalm 6:4 – “I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;  I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.”  King David cried our to our Father as do I.  He offers us refuge no matter where we are. Well, this conversation with God came to me this morning through my Our Daily Bread app on my phone.  Today I read Psalm 61 and I also learned from Jennifer Benson Schuldt about the Vancouver, British Columbia charity, Rain City Housing, that has created specialized benches for the homeless that convert into temporary shelters.  The back of the bench pulls up to create a roof to shield from rain and wind.  Especially interesting is that at night these sleeping places are easy to find because they feature a GLOW-IN-THE-DARK message that reads: THIS IS A BEDROOM.  How cool is that!!! Jennifer also goes on to say “the need for shelter can be physical and it can be spiritual as well.  God is a refuge for our souls when we are troubled.” So, going back to my thoughts on sanctuaries.  Being a naturalist, I have numerous natural areas in God’s creation that I consider sanctuaries for me.  I find numerous church sanctuaries or worship centers as refuges for a...

Read More

Hope…abundantly

Posted by on Dec 19, 2015 in My Blog | 2 comments

Hope…abundantly

Come, Lord Jesus, Our guest to be. Bless these gifts bestowed by Thee. Bless our loved ones everywhere And keep them in Thy loving care. As Christians, we don’t really have to invite Jesus into our hearts,  He is there.  But, this Advent season I am paying special attention to being open to hearing from God just what he wants me to gain from the lighting of the candles, the lovely music, the Scriptures, prayer, the sermons and the devotionals.   I’m coaching myself to be aware that His desire may come to me in a soft whisper, a loud message or even a look on someone’s face…in their eyes. So, thus far, God has laid out for me to understand that Hope and Trust are very connected.  Do you feel you see less of Trust in your life, your world?  For someone to have Hope, they must Trust that God is real.  He’s there.  He won’t disappoint by not showing up.  If we can truly Trust, then, indeed, we can have Hope… and abundantly.   I’m also focusing on Intentional behavior.  It’s good for us to Intentionally invite Christ the King into our hearts because when we actually invite Him in, we prepare ourselves for our Guest.  I think about what I want to do to be ready for His Presence.  I am Intentionally de-cluttering…not the living room, but my mind and my heart so I can be a Good Listener.   I want to be ready. Yes, O Come, O Come Emmanuel....

Read More

I Will Rise Up

Posted by on Nov 26, 2015 in My Blog, Think About This, Uncategorized | 0 comments

As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day in America, we gather with loved ones with whom we share the recognition of the many blessings in our lives.  We express our gratitude. For many,  this is one day in the year that we set aside our challenges and burdens to enjoy a special meal often including our best family recipes and remembering those who shared them and prepared them for us.  Lots of hugs and even some heartfelt tears of remembrance of those we miss. Around the world, in poor neighborhoods in our own towns, even in our own homes, it is a very difficult time for families estranged, experiencing financial crises, serious illness, broken hearts and those who feel very alone. While the majority of our nation & our world have been rocked by the barbaric senseless killings expanding around the world by Issis and other terrorist groups, many of us feel even more committed to maintaining our hope, denying these evil-doers their hope to destroy our SPIRIT! As Christians, we have serious work to do in reaching out to those who suffer and sharing the love and promises of Christ the King.  Whatever your faith is, we, as humankind have the opportunity to be both to our suffering…human and kind. ❤️ I dedicate this post to all in our world that suffer today, feeling hopeless and I challenge those of us strong and capable to take the joy and hope in this celebration of Thanksgiving Day to stand, raise your hand and commit to others who suffer that they are not alone and we all can “Rise Up” as Andra Day sings so beautifully sharing our...

Read More

Precious Black Necked Stilt

Posted by on Sep 18, 2015 in Birds, My Blog | 0 comments

Precious Black Necked Stilt

One of my favorite little waders is the Black Necked Stilt. We see them in our South Florida wetlands on the east coast during the breeding season in late spring and early summer. They have the longest red legs on any bird in relation to their the body size, second only to the flamingo.  These dainty-looking birds like to build their nests in a clump of soil and vegetation right in the wetlands water which makes we admiring fans quite nervous because of alligators.  But alligators, beware, because these lightweight parents carry heavyweight courage and vigor in protecting their clutch. I’ve seen them fly out to harass a gator moving too close to another bird’s nest. These pretty and tall parents alternate turns at rolling the eggs to assure each egg has full exposure to their body heat.  Once the chicks are hatched, both parents feed and teach the chicks up through the time they fledge the nest.  They are seen hanging out at their empty nests for a while just to make certain the  fledglings are succeeding on their own. The Black Necked Stilts are quite territorial and in non-breeding times seem to enjoy associating with other stilts....

Read More

Forgiveness…The Gift

Posted by on Aug 11, 2015 in My Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Forgiveness…The Gift

Whenever you feel that you just can’t possibly get over & recover from what someone has done to you, perhaps a broken trust, damaging words, or, perhaps, what someone took from you…how can you possibly go on , move forward? You might be thinking of revenge, but then you would have to deal with the guilt. So you mark that off your list. Perhaps, you think “I’ll just stuff it down way deep inside and maybe it will just disappear.” Then, you think of the pain that all the other things you’ve stuffed down that still make your heart ache and your gut hurt and the river of tears that even today still flow. Then, you realize that’s not really an option. What can you do???? NOTHING is too big, too bad, too painful, to unspeakable for God to help you with. Nothing! Even if you have never turned to Him before, He’s there, waiting and He wants your biggest and smallest hurts. His Holy Spirit is our Holy Comforter and His desire is to dwell within you, always. So, what do you do? Think of yourself as an earthen vessel. Then ask for His help… Spirit of the Living God, Fall afresh on me. Break me, melt me. Mold me, fill me. He will do this as you trust Him.  He will take your brokenness and fill you with His healing Spirit. He will have instilled in you the Gift of Forgiveness. Are you thinking, “I can’t forgive him/her for devastating me!!” When we realize that we CAN forgive that someone who has caused us such pain, we will realize that the GIFT is really one that we give to ourselves. Living our life journeys with a forgiving heart, nurtured by our Living God, is a blessing received from the Most High. Accept it and heal. Thanks be to...

Read More

“I Have Hidden Your Word in My Heart…”

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in My Blog | 2 comments

“I Have Hidden Your Word in My Heart…”

How does someone get through a catastrophic situation , especially one that lasts for such a long time?  I’m thinking of Prisoners of War, Jews that survived the Holocaust, miners trapped below the earth and people with long-term debilitating illness…sometimes alone?  How do they rise above their circumstances and maintain their sanity? I recall reading about the POWs in Vietnam…for years isolated in a pit underground with bamboo stakes woven to keep them enclosed.  How horrible that must have been for them.  From whence cometh their strength?  What keeps them sane in horrific confinement? I recall being in South Dakota in a cave that went down, down and further down into the earth.  We had our daughters with us at ages 6 & 8, I believe. It was a wonderful, educational tour…until the lights went out.  We didn’t know that there was a strong electrical storm that came through and knocked the power out.  The guide calmy said there were candles and matches on the ledges near where we were standing.  Everyone found a candle…no one found matches.  TOTAL darkness!  Then one person said they had a cigarette lighter and soon everyone’s candle was shining brightly.  It really was beautiful.  We waited a good while for the power to come back on so that we could ride the elevator back up.  We sang, I guess as many stranded groups do, and that was enjoyable. Soon, the guide said we needed to start back up while we still had the light of our candles.  Then, a bit of panic struck in our older daughter’s fear that someone would catch her long blond hair on fire.  She really was fearful that that could happen so I promised I would be the one right behind her and that I would blow my candle out.  Everyone made it out fine without any fires. 😉 Now that I am claustrophobic, what seems to work for me when I have to be in the MRI tube or have oral surgery for which I could not be sedated or getting through any tough or debilitating moments is to return to the Holy scriptures I have safely hidden in my mind and heart.  Hidden there safely and for all time, I am never without them.  God’s Word is a sanctuary or safe haven from all worries.  Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.”   Psalm 63:8 “My soul clings to You;Your right hand upholds me.” Now, spending some time in the MRI-like tube yesterday, I was relaxing with my eyes closed completely at peace in my sanctuary, and a funny thought I’ve never experienced in those super-tight quarters before crept in and it was all I could do to not laugh right out loud.  That thought was “how amazing it is that Christ actually can fit inside here WITH me since I take up just about every cubic inch myself!”  But, thankfully, Christ goes before me everywhere, constantly with me, loving me, assuring me, strengthening me and giving me peace.  Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”...

Read More

What is Today’s Date?

Posted by on May 23, 2015 in My Blog | 0 comments

What is Today’s Date?

Anytime I have something to mail, I drive up to the Jupiter Post Office having been significantly burned by the one here in Palm Beach Gardens.  The peace of mind is worth the travel time & gas.  Standing in line today to mail a letter with a little booklet I was sending a friend, an elderly gentleman…more elderly than I…approached me and asked, “What is today’s date?”  I guess I stared back at him like I would like to help this gentleman, but I don’t have any idea what the date is.  So, we both stood silent facing one another. Then, it hit me that I could just look at my phone and it would tell me.  So, I said, “Sir, today is the 22nd of May.”  He smiled and walked away repeating it to himself…” the 22nd, the 22nd, the 22nd.” I used to always wear a watch…was never without one.  Now, that I am retired and my time REALLY is my own, I never wear one.  And most days I get where I need to be on time…that is IF there is anywhere I need to be at a specific time.  I mean the ocean is always ready to accept me for a visit, the herons and egrets and anhingas are always near their nest and caring for their young.  I walk a wonderful old, arthritic yellow lab for a client and my phone sounds an alarm one hour before I shoud be there followed by another alarm in 30 minutes.  Works well.  I wouldn’t want to miss a single day without seeing sweet Stanford.  He’s such a sweetheart. So later today I was thinking, “OK, is this Friday or is it Saturday?”  I was prepared to bet on it being Friday, but just in case, I pulled my phone out and checked my calendar.  I was right that today is Friday.  I am amazed at all the ways my phone can assist me.  It’s really so much more than a phone. The big thing it cannot help me with is finding my glasses…the no rim glasses that are hardly visible anywhere.   C’est la vie in the fast...

Read More

Celebrate Earth Day Everyday

Posted by on Apr 22, 2015 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Celebrate Earth Day Everyday

What a gift God’s creation is to each of us.  In our busy lives, we move about in our own “little worlds” accomplishing our objectives or at least aspiring to them.  That’s a good thing!  But, often, I think we get so caught up in our busyness that we fail to notice and appreciate the great beauty in which we live.  Kids are great to point out some of the simple beauties of nature that we, otherwise, might overlook. Today, the world celebrates Earth Day.  Eskimos, desert-dwellers, urban citizens, slum inhabitants, those wh0 till the land and folks spending their days on the lovely oceans of our world…we live and appreciate in different ways.  Maybe we don’t celebrate as such, but our earth feeds us, houses us and inspires us.  It’s worth protecting and caring for so that the generations of our future can reap the benefits. Living now in South Florida, every day I am fortunate to live in which many of us refer to as “paradise.”  Our natural communities are inhabited by magnificent wildlife…many endangered and protected.  Our “paradise” is their home and we are privileged to walk among them and see the glory of God’s creation in great awe.  I have found myself wondering at times that I sense stress on the wildlife, “what if it all just went away?”  That thought gives me the opportunity to refocus my appreciation and respect for our earth and the way it all works together…or not. God tucks glorious surprises into His creation for us to enjoy like this lovely Swamp Hibiscus in the midst of a swampy wetland. Often, it takes my breath away when I discover. I like this quote from Albert Einstein – “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Join me, please, in recommitting your advocacy for protecting our earth…the great gift that it is!!!...

Read More

Make Each Day Your Masterpiece

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in My Blog | 0 comments

Make Each Day Your Masterpiece

Coach John Wooden, the historic & successful men’s basketball coach at UCLA, spoke one of my favorite life quotations, “Make Each Day Your Masterpiece.”  Quite a tall order, but certainly one to aspire to accomplish.  It has served as a guiding principle for me for the last 16 years following my breast cancer diagnosis in 1999. We experience days in our lives where we are changed forever by tragedy, loss, disappointment and the thought of making that day…those days a masterpiece seem impossible to do anything but grieve and try to survive.  That is being human and those pains and anguish are very real.  And yet, we see over and over people getting beyond their great losses and living life in joy.  What we don’t see is the way God’s Holy Spirit, the Holy Comforter, is at work in their lives giving them a “peace that passes all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7 KJV) So, thinking about creating masterpieces with our daily lives, there are plenty of days when I think, “OK, this is where I am today, this is what I’ve got,” and I wonder “how on earth am I to make today a masterpiece?” The real truth is that what may seem very mundane or even worthless to us, just may seem to be a masterpiece to someone else in their circumstances.  When a smile or showing kindness comes so naturally to us, sometimes it is seen by someone who needed so badly to receive it that a masterpiece was created without our knowing it.  A street performer or salesperson who obviously needs every coin or dollar they earn, offers you their “creation” which you don’t need but, out of kindness and appreciation, you give them your money and suggest they give their “creation” to a child who comes along later. In my love and appreciation of God’s creation, as I am in the lovely wetlands of South Florida observing and photographing our wildlife, I try to capture the essence of the beautiful herons and egrets and spoonbills as they court, breed and build their nests in which to raise their families.  I look for their beauty, uniqueness and displays of God’s masterpiece to share with others.  To inner city middle-school students, some with behavioral issues, they need to know there is beauty and love and respect and hope for a better future out there.  When I substitute teach, I usually share three 8 x 10 photos I’ve taken to demonstrate to them that there is another life out in our world and they can live among it.  I realize from their reactions they are seeing a masterpiece when looking at my photos.  I am humbled. I know it gives them hope to see new things and to realize  that finishing school, getting a job and earning the money for a decent camera (not the expensive best) that they too can create a masterpiece with their lives. When I see the joy and hope in their eyes, they, in turn, have shown me their masterpiece moment for that day. Well, I’m sure you can think of all sorts of masterpieces you can create in your days of life.  How you interact with people during your day, the reports you write at work, the cookies you bake at home & share, etc.   The important thing is to give it some thought and with your awareness, CREATE!!!...

Read More

How Firm A Foundation

Posted by on Mar 22, 2015 in My Blog | 0 comments

How Firm A Foundation

Funny how something so seemingly unconnected will cause us to reflect on something in our past.  On a recent birding outing with a couple of friends, we stood in awe watching a lovely Great Egret working diligently to position and reposition the first tree branch for her nest.  Here in South Florida, love is surely in the air as our avian neighbors are adorned in their oh so beautiful breeding plumage, courting one another and selecting their mates. The first duty at hand is for the male to obtain the “perfect” tree branches, twigs, etc. and fly to the awaiting female to present his nest construction materials.  What a joy and privilege it is to observe. This one particular egret would carefully, with her bill, place the glorified stick in one place, then remove it to position in what she thinks would be the perfect place to start the nest.  I watched her for more that 15 minutes work with that stick searching for the place it belonged.  Several times, I felt like she had located the perfect place, but she wasn’t satisfied.  Another person remarked “Wonder why she’s not happy with it?”  I thought about it and then offered my thought which was “I suppose she is searching for the best possible place because it will truly be the foundation of the nest they will raise their family in…” Egrets are BIG birds and two adults and several chicks can be a load for a nest to bare.  On my drive home I got to thinking about a foundation of a home and to myself thought, “Of course, that’s why she was taking such care.”  That led me to pondering on how God, Our Creator programs each living thing with the knowledge or instincts needed for it’s entire life…just like He does for us humans.  That’s one of the most special things about birding that I love and it keeps me coming back for more.   My soul is nourished each time I go. One of my favorite older hymns is “How Firm A Foundation” and I have such affirming memories of singing this hymn in church with my parents, grandmother as a child and with my own family later on. “Fear not, I am with thee, Oh be not dismayed, For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid. I’ll strengthen thee, Help thee, And cause thee to stand, Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.” What firmer foundation could there possibly be other than that “righteous, omnipotent hand?” Praise God from Whom ALL blessings...

Read More

A Wrist Alarm to Be Imposed??

Posted by on Mar 8, 2015 in My Blog | 0 comments

A Wrist Alarm to Be Imposed??

I suppose that to get to the blessings of the Lenten season, we must actively do penance.  I mean, we know we sin, I know there are things that stand between God and me and our closeness, so I must go through the process of identifying my shortcomings, truly contemplate them and ask for God’s forgiveness.  And I will get that.  But, then, the really hard work follows. I must work diligently to correct my wrong doings or the things of which I am guilty by omission.  The things I could do, I should do that would really make a difference and, yet, somehow they just don’t get done. Now, instead of thinking of things I do that are not good for ME…like OK, from now on I am going to wear a wrist alarm that will blast out alarms when I open the ICE CREAM case at Publix or pick up a pack of my favorite cookies from the bakery.  You know, if I actually shopped that way I could lose a lot more weight and get better blood work reports.  But, I don’t have that wrist alarm that probably would go straight to 911 and Publix might even go into lockdown!!!  No, I just have a conscience or inner voice guiding me to make the right choices.  And even though every time I hear my conscience telling me not to buy the ice cream, I buy the ice cream.  I’m better on somethings, but that is one I must work on!   But, this year in Lent, I am working to identify my behaviors or lack of that are not good/helpful to other people.  My behaviors that offend God.  Really, offend God?  That right there was hard for me to even type, yet, I know God wants and needs more from me. God, the Creator of the Universe and the lover of my soul, breathe into me the fullness of your love so that I may live life more fully within Your commandment of love.  Inspire me, Father, to more actively reach out and stretch really hard to seek where I am needed.  I lay at the foot of the cross of our Christ Jesus, all my shortcomings, and trust that you will nourish me with you Word and fill me with your grace and  gentle mercy as we celebrate the feast of the Resurrection of Christ. Lent, a time of reflection, decisions, renewal through the journey of our Lord Jesus Christ  ...

Read More