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

Contemplating Lent

Posted by on Mar 4, 2015 in My Blog | 1 comment

Contemplating Lent

For Christians around the world the season of lent is upon us.  How shall we approach the cross?  With Lent being the 40 days leading up to Easter, this is a season of discovery or, perhaps,  rediscovery of who God is and who each of us is to Him.  It is a season of sadness and sorrow that in the end becomes a “bright sadness.”  For me, Holy Week, itself, has a somber tone with the awareness of Christ praying in the garden, the disciples gathering in a private room for their final meal together….the Last Supper. The Holy Communion they shared.  The bread…His body broken for us; the wine, His blood shed for each of us.  The parting words, so carefully chosen as the New Commandment…”love one another as I have loved you.” Christ knew he was to be killed and would be leaving His disciples so when I contemplate His choice of message to leave them with for all Christians on earth, it is just so divinely ordained.  It was the New Commandment and it is for all times.  Just as important, just as critical now as then…”love one another as I have loved you.” So how are we doing down here on this earth that grows more crowded every minute…more hostile and more secular as we breathe the day’s breaths in and out?  So how are we doing with the New Commandment to “love one another as I have loved you.” Palm Sunday starts off our Christian Holy Week.  Our custom has been to attend our Maundy Thursday service and leave in silence reflecting on the crucifixion and suffering of Christ for us and our salvation.  Then, Good Friday services arrive setting the tone of the act of the crucifixion and beginning the three days until Christ rises from the dead in all glory. He is Risen…He is Risen, indeed!!  The “Bright Sadness” has arrived! Glory, hallelujah! Easter has...

Read More

Be The Reason

Posted by on Jan 6, 2015 in My Blog, Think About This | 2 comments

Be The Reason

Being kind to someone is one of the easiest things to do that has the greatest impact on the life of another person.  Kindness is an extension of a loving heart.  Charles Dickens said ” A loving heart is the truest wisdom.” A word of encouragement, the gift of a smile, acknowledgement of worth and value all speak acceptance to others and we all have a need to belong.  Each of our days is filled with one opportunity after another to extend an act of kindness to others, to live in harmony as opposed to discord, to be an enabler instead of an obstacle, to make good things happen as opposed to creating conflict and to make hearts feel good, tummies to be satisfied and faces to smile. Sometimes we may not think that we have anything to “give” to another person.  But we should think about the people at work, customers, suppliers, family members, our friends, the people we meet in traffic or out shopping…they all have their own needs, problems and joys.  Its amazing what a spoken or written word of appreciation to a co-worker can do to help heal a heart that perhaps was wounded prior to arriving at work. We have the opportunity to influence others with just being ourselves and sharing a smile. Be the reason someone smiles...

Read More

How Things Change

Posted by on Dec 26, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 4 comments

How Things Change

When I was younger with little ones running around barefoot with a high level of noise and excitement near the arrival of the Baby Jesus AND Santa Claus, I used to answer the question, “What do you want for Christmas?”  with the half-giggled response  “Peace and Joy!”  Oh, brother, did I want Peace and Joy!!!!  As years passed, I realized soon enough, Peace, was far off in the distance and, besides, I had always been a glass half-full kind of gal and one who, thankfully, realized Joy often presented itself right in the MIDST of chaos.  I had some chaos!! Now, the bare feet are those of grand children adored whether 25, 21,11 or 8 years of age…its just the sound their bare feet create has changed…some pitter patter while others boom-boom actually like the reindeer on the roof.  And when I am asked that same question, “What do you want for Christmas?” my response is the same but without the giggle, though; “Peace and Joy!” Now, that desire for Peace and Joy is more like a very sincere prayer.  I really do hope for Peace and Joy…not just for my life or my home or my family and friends but for our WORLD.  I’m still that glass half-full gal, and I still affirm that there has to be darkness for the Light to shine, I just don’t like to feel that I am seeing more darkness…and its not cataracts because I’ve been there and done that with removal and new lenses. When I watch the evening news, I am totally silent, mostly in dismay over the criminal acts, the expressed strife that so many riots and rebelling represent, the horrific beheading of innocent people by evil doers who claim to be acting in the name of Allah, the never-ending anti-semitic warfare Israel must experience, the countless school, workplace, large public places shootings, bombings, etc. etc.  I feel our world is in a state of morph…and not in a good way.  So, as NBC has started when closing out the nightly news, they offer a final report that makes the soul smile a bit…I find myself doing my own version of perspective adjustment by  adding to my prayer list those identified throughout the newscast in need of prayer.  My problem now being a septuagenarian (even though I cannot pronounce it)is, I seem to drift off into another train of thought or fall asleep before I cover the entire prayer list.  I do firmly feel that God knows what is in our hearts so I do believe He has received all my prayers whether I was awake or not going down my list.  Isn’t God just so amazing!!! Yes, things…even we change.  I’m 70 years old.  My doctor says I’m shorter.  My doctor also says I don’t NEED ice cream.  I like her anyway.   I don’t stand quite as straight  now.  I don’t have as much energy.  I live alone but don’t feel alone.  I love more people.  For some reason, I think more people love me.  I see God EVERY day and talk to Him off and on all day long. God puts up with me.  God orders my steps.  I am so thankful. So what about Peace and Joy?  If I have Peace in my heart there will always be Joy in my life.  The way we deal with the darkness in our world is to shine our Light.  Light overcomes darkness…there is NO PUTTING IT OUT!  Can you imagine how bright our world would be if EVERYONE would shine his/her light!! Let’s go light our world!!!...

Read More

A Christmas Story from the Herons

Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 10 comments

A Christmas Story from the Herons

Many of you have read about our sadness in the birding world in So Florida when one of our beloved Great Blue Herons died in the very nest the two mates had just built.  Those of us who frequent the Wakodahatchee Wetlands, some of us nearly daily, have been through the normal stages of grief over this very sad thing to occur… just as these intelligent, beautiful birds allowed us to close-up witness their breath-taking courting rituals in their beautiful breeding plumage.  Then, once they “claimed” one another, the male began his regular deliveries of twigs and sticks and presented them to his female mate who determined whether they were suitable.  So many round trips to and from the nest while under construction. Sometimes we would chuckle quietly as she would take a twig and gently place it here, then there, then looking at her mate those eyes must have communicated, “Honey, this one will just not suffice!  Come back with something better.  OK?” Absolutely, a marvelous privilege to observe this beauty of nature with two strikingly gorgeous birds nearly 4 ft. tall…and then, the sadness in realizing the mate is lying deceased in the nest.  So, so sad.   But, then, something else happened…the bittersweet realization that God had programmed these birds to stand by their mates even after death.  Mourning?  Grieving?  In shock?  It was their “time” to create more Great Blue Herons.  But, she has laid motionless for well over a week with her loyal mate at her side.  Oh, my goodness!  One of our birding friends reported that when she was there visiting that he lay down next to his mate and partially laid upon her.  So tender.  So divinely created they are.  More tears from the grieving and learning humans.  We’re sure it happens all the time in the wild, but in this totally beautiful rookery where the humans stand in awe to observe, photograph, learn and give thanks for the lovely, blessed opportunity , it’s right before our eyes not more than 15-20 feet away.  Front row seats, EVERY time!! I broke my own rule… “Always believe something beautiful is about to happen.”  How do I let this happen to me?  I KNOW that God uses all our broken pieces to make something beautiful!  I KNOW that!!   So, here is the beauty for today in the rookery of broken hearts.  The surviving mate, after standing guard over his deceased mate in the nest they built for nearly 2 weeks,  has now taken a new mate and as if we could already not be more inspired, they are building the new nest next to the original one AND they are using feathers from the deceased in the construction.  So, the deceased mate will be a part of the new family-to-be. “Always believe something beautiful is about to happen!” Yes, indeed! Photo by Anne Diver ~    ...

Read More

Grieving the Great Blue Heron

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in My Blog | 12 comments

Grieving the Great Blue Heron

With all that is going on in our world today and friends facing terrible situations, some life-threatening, I still find myself grieving the loss of the beautiful Great Blue Heron dying in its nest.  So, so sad.  A few weeks ago, I watched one of the pair enticing the other with their courting displays.  I stood not 15 ft. from them observing the male flying to & fro with twigs and limbs gathered to build the nest and the female receiving each limb and positioning it in just the perfect place, making adjustments as needed.   We watched with, perhaps, a little chuckle inside as the male would mount her, and her spreading her wings slightly and crouching.  It was over quickly but would occur numerous times. I thought, “They want to make sure they get some babies!” Last Saturday, December 13, I saw one of them return to the nest and a lot of “fluff” bounce up slightly.  I thought , “Surely, there couldn’t be chicks yet!”  I realized, as I focused my lens on them, it was one of the “agreed” pair lying down so flat in the nest.  So, that made me wonder if their were eggs to be kept warm.   But, now we know…what none of us wants to be the case, the mate has died in the nest they built to raise their young and give to us, the admiring birding community, so much joy.   Now, we find ourselves wondering how this will play out.  This beautiful living mate with its bright blue lore signaling it is ready to create more Great Blue Herons, how will this go?  What will happen to the lifeless mate in the nest?   I find myself now wanting to visit the surviving mate…and following that…just not watch....

Read More

A Hoping God?

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in My Blog | 0 comments

A Hoping God?

Thankfully, we know God is a God of Hope.   But do we think that He is also a Hopeful God?   God loves each of us whether we are firmly in His camp or whether we have stepped off the path of righteousness and are losing our souls to evil.  He still loves us. We must realize that our God is always ready to receive us and forgive us but we must repent and seek His gracious gift of forgiveness.  While we are separated from God by sin, He is hopeful that His child will return and come to His open door.  God, the Creator of the Universe, is hoping with all hope that we will return to Him.  Would you intentionally refuse the Giver of Life?  I believe that we refuse our Lord without realizing it sometimes and continue moving further away but are unaware.  When you are hoping for something or for someone, you know what that feels like.  The big game is to be played and you are really hoping your team will win.  We’re down to the last few minutes of the game.   Can you feel that in your chest right now?  You’re hoping for the phone call from the doctor with test results will be what you want to hear.  Or perhaps you’re going to propose to your chosen mate for life and you are REALLY hoping she will say YES!  Feel that anticipation??   How long do we have to wait and hope?  The REAL question is how long does God have to wait for us?  How long does His hope for us have to last? HOPE and God.  I most often think of that as a blessing, a gift from God and it is one for which I am so very thankful.  Just recently, though, my thinking has been focused on the HOPE that God experiences in every nano-second of life…our lives.  What is it that I am making God hope for in my life?  I do believe that there are some who go through their entire lives without a thought of God, not believing that He even exists.  Yet God is there right up until the final seconds of those lives HOPING that they will recognize Him and seek Him.  Amazing that He, the all powerful and all knowing God is there with a HOPING heart…all that time…for every soul created. Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!...

Read More

Be Still and Know…

Posted by on Sep 11, 2014 in My Blog, My Breast Cancer Journey | 2 comments

Those who know me well, have heard me say many times that, for me, my breast cancer journey was more of a spiritual journey than an illness. As I reflect on that now, I find myself being so very thankful…feeling so blessed along those paths. Did I WANT cancer?  Absolutely NOT!!!  Was it horrifically challenging along the way?  Oh, yes, indeed!  Did I learn a lot from the experience and grow as I trod those paths?  Without a doubt, immensely. Some say, cancer is a great teacher.  I know who the teacher is…it is God, the Creator of the Universe, the Giver of Life, the Lover of our Souls.   Now, I was one of those patients whose chemotherapy made me very sick and I had extreme fatigue.  I lived alone and my two grown daughters lived out-of-state.  Divorced after 26 years of marriage.  Yes, I lived alone.  Some were concerned about that, but I felt confident that God could handle this and I would trust in Him.  God’s Holy Spirit was my CONSTANT companion.  I was NEVER alone. I found my own lump as I folded my arm up across my chest settling into bed after putting my little granddaughters to bed.  God led me to it.  You might be laughing, “right, Pat.”  But, He did and that’s all there is to it.  My fingertips barely touched my gown and “BINGO!  What the heck is THAT?”  Out of the bed I jumped, felt it and knew without a doubt that this was “different.”  Went back to bed and said nothing about the discovery  to my daughter and wee ones as I left the next day on my 7 hour drive back home from Nashville to Statesville, NC.    The following day I began all the doctor visits, all confirming, “yes, this is different.” So, the sickness and the extreme fatigue…I was so sick, that it seemed I could not lie deeply enough into my mattress…but that was part of the deal.  I could not do ANYTHING except lie there, be sick, take my meds guided by a chart by my bed and sometimes, just sometimes, think.  That’s where God really had my back.  Even in the absolute weakest times, when I could not utter a word of prayer, the blessing in that is that God’s Holy Spirit intercedes and prays for us.  Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”   What a comfort that was and still is today. Sometimes I would just lie there and think of favorite scriptures and one that is so powerful is Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”  Such a gift; such a promise…forever!!Be Still and Know If we know and trust THAT, what else is there? The song attached here is “Be Still and Know” by the Fray.  I enjoy it so very much and thought on this day, with everything going on in our world, I would share it for a purposeful refocusing… “Be still and know that I am God.”  ...

Read More

The New Commandment

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 4 comments

The New Commandment

I wonder if every generation as they age looks at the state of the world and thinks, perhaps, we are nearing the end times. With the news here in our own country as well as around the world, it is disheartening to say the least as we watch reports on TV and read in the news.  When terrorists have become so barbaric in their attacking and killing which is extremely widespread and growing, some days it just seems too much to even inform ourselves.  Yet, I know we must, for if we are not informed, how can we stand in support of those being so persecuted and many times for their faith? I recall in my days with our local United Way, when things were off track, when there was a community problem or people hurting, we would pull together people around the community table to determine what could be done to help.  We didn’t just pull together people of the same perspective, we wanted community decisions, so we endeavored to convene a group reflective of the community including the people in need.  Sometimes the solutions were costly and other times the “cost” was in the form of clearer communication, attitude adjustments, and strengthening relationships based on trust of all concerned. But, terrorism really changes things.  Terrorists  are ruthless, cold-hearted and cold-blooded in their actions and resolve.  They are sinister…yes, evil! Let’s change focus here a moment.  On the night before Christ was to be crucified, a VERY dark time, he gathered with His disciples for what we know today as the Last Supper.  They broke bread and shared wine and He told them He was going to be leaving them to go to the Father.  Christ, the King of Kings, then washed their feet…He became a servant.  Now on this final night before He was to be crucified, what one thing do you think he would say to them?  What would He leave them with before His departure? In the Gospel of John, we learn that Christ chose to tell His disciples the New Commandment.  That one thing.  That all-important commandment that can change the world.  “A new commandment I give to you: Love one another.”  John 13:34 Pure. Simple. Truth. “As I have loved you, you must love one another.” Whatever our foe is on any day or everyday…hatred, serious illness, violence in the home or community or world…I KNOW that love is stronger. Many solutions or inventions come from asking one simple question…What If ? What if… the entire world would choose LOVE?  Just...

Read More

The Light That Shines

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

The Light That Shines

Remember the sweet song, “This Little Light of Mine?”  I sang it as a child in Sunday school, Vacation Bible School and in childhood neighborhood play times.  During the Civil Rights movement, it was sung right along with “We Shall Overcome” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”  “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine!” There are all sorts of ways that light shines on us as well as FROM us.  Praise God for that because just as a seed planted in the soil, light from the sun must shine for it to grow into what it was intended to become.  Think about that little seed…gently placed in the soil, most covered completely in the darkness, watered and then, we wait.  We wait to see that first glimpse of the frail, little seedling making its way through the darkness into the light where it will prosper.   We’re so much like that, aren’t we. So, following that analogy, what is the darkness from which we must burst into that precious light that will guide us, confirm us, and strengthen us?  Darkness has many forms, some scarier than others.  For some, it may be the darkness of the unknown…we do like to know what is coming and prepare ourselves.  But sometimes, we just can’t know and it is unsettling.  Other times, we may feel that we have been catapulted into darkness with a serious health diagnosis, financial crisis, relationship failure, job loss or the death of a loved one.  The darkness that is experienced so often by the people we meet we cannot see and, therefore, we do not recognize that that’s where they are at the time.  So how can we help? “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” Envision a very dark room for a moment.  Then, you strike a match and light just one candle.  The very second that match is struck light shines, it overcomes that darkness. There is a Buddhist Proverb:  “If you light a lamp for someone it will also brighten your path.”  That is so on target.  I’m sure that you have experienced this at many times in your life…you share your love and encouragement with someone and you reap the benefits as well. I love the part in the movie Blind Side where Sandra Bullock’s haughty friends said, “You sure are changing that boy’s life!” and Sandra responded, “NO, Michael is changing our lives!”  And then she left. Another quote I like is from Denis Waitley: “A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.” God uses us to reach out to others…sometimes we are aware that that is happening but many times I think we are clueless. Just be ready to light that lamp for someone else.  It can make a real difference for them as well as for ourselves. Peace and joy ~...

Read More

A Hug So Tight…

Posted by on Jul 8, 2014 in My Blog | 3 comments

A Hug So Tight…

I saw this lovely quote the other day, “One day someone is going to hug you so tight that all of your broken pieces will stick back together.”  I searched and searched to find the author, but apparently that is unknown.  But, even so, I think it is a sweet and wonderful reminder to all who struggle and suffer, the value of  relationships in our lives.  It matters not whether this “Super-hug” comes from a mother, father, sibling, spouse or true friend…what is important for us all to remember is that those relationships exist and we are their beloved.  Haven’t there been times in our lives when we have felt like, “if only all my broken pieces could be stuck back together?” Coming upon this quote, my thoughts  immediately flew across the miles to someone I love very much who has persevered with a chronic illness for nearly three years now.  I believe her miracle is on its way and while she moves along her journey she not only has received many oh-so-tight hugs but she herself has also given those powerful and loving hugs to others she loves. As Henri Nouwen, the spiritual author of many books says, “We need to be angels for each other, to give each other strength and consolation. Because only when we fully realize that the cup of life is not only a cup of sorrow but also a cup of joy will we be able to drink it.” ...

Read More

Always Something to Learn!

Posted by on Jul 6, 2014 in My Blog | 0 comments

Always Something to Learn!

Brown Pelicans are my heroes!  They’re the true representation of “the come-back kids'” having become close to extinct in North America  in the 1950s and 1960s due to the heavy use of harmful pesticides with DDT in them.  The brown pelicans incubate their eggs by lying or standing on their eggs with their feet and as their egg shells became extremely thin as a result of the DDT, eventually all eggs would crack leaving no pelican chicks to raise.  Over 40 years later colonies of brown pelicans have reappeared and we now see these sometimes laughable birds enjoying life in North America again.  I just love their antics!! The incredibly beautiful photo used in this blog post was taken by Sandy Scott, nature enthusiast among other great things, but I will allow him to introduce himself through his remarks below.  And, thanks, Sandy, for my newly gained factoids about one of my favorite and entertaining birds!!! “For starters, as a retired airline pilot and avid skydiver, I can’t resist anything that has wings or flies. One of my favorite birds is the goofy, friendly, incredibly interesting pelican. This shot was taken on the Gulf of Mexico in St. Petersburg, FL. It shows the interesting detail of the plumage of this adult brown pelican. Here are a couple of interesting factoids about pelican fishing techniques, the finer points of which usually go unnoticed due to the speed with which it happens.They utilize a fascinating fishing technique of diving into the water at high speeds, crashing into the water upside down hence stunning the fish near the surface, and then scooping them up in their pouch. They then drain the up to 3 gallons of water in their pouch, and maneuver their prey so they are in position to swallow headfirst down the hatch. This maneuver happens so quickly that I was never aware of the technique they used until I stopped the action with my camera. Just prior to hitting the water, they tuck in their heads, rotate to the left and then land upside down. Interestingly, the reason for that left turn is that the bird’s trachea and esophagus are both located on the right side and the left turn technique protects vital parts from being damaged on impact. There is one other physiological feature of the bird that helps protect it during its high speed fishing dives. They have air sacs throughout their bodies that not only help cushion them on impact, but also enhance their buoyancy in the water. Because of these numerous air sacs throughout the body, pelicans are much lighter than they appear.” How totally amazing is our Creator!!     ...

Read More

The Gift of A Day

Posted by on Jun 20, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 2 comments

The Gift of A Day

Our lives can get really busy with raising families, our careers, relationships, etc.  You know what I’m saying, I’m sure. Most likely, like you, I’ve got friends and family that really struggle with illness and other extreme challenges.  We support them in various ways and they need it and TREASURE it.  I’ve said good-bye to some of my loved ones in the last year. Some were sudden and unexpected, while others moved toward end of life on earth in an open journey of which we were a part.  No matter how death comes, it catapults us into a surreal living of days, weeks, months.  We hurt.  We grieve.  And we still love.  It is the continuing of love that saves us, that eventually, draws our steps back into the reality of  our continuing lives.  Sometimes, maybe every time, we find ourselves asking…no, begging for just ONE MORE DAY. Four years ago I spent the night in the Emergency Room having experienced an SVT, Supraventricular Tachycardia, which I learned could be fatal.  The doc had to give me a medicine to stop the irregular and run-away heartbeat…it was not pleasant and I had the symptoms of a heart attack for 3 seconds.  Whew, that was long enough!! Then, it went away and my heartbeat corrected.  I had to remain there for 4 hours for observation so I began reading a book I brought to the hospital with me.  The title was “30 Days to Live.”  A nurse came into the area I was in and saw the title and in a raised voice said, “You do NOT need to be reading a book like that right now!”  I said, “No, it’s a GOOD thing.”  Another nurse came in and Nurse No.1  said, “She shouldn’t be reading that book at a time like this, should she!”  Nurse No.2 said, “Oh, you’re reading “30 Days to Live!”  I LOVED that book.” The book is about how we should live our lives as if we knew we only had 30 days to live.  Nurse No. 1 relaxed. My post-breast cancer life motto is “Don’t Waste the Miracle!”  Even though I thought I had a pretty positive perspective on appreciation of each day, my breast cancer diagnosis gave me a renewed zest for living each day more fully and loving more deeply and for that I am so very thankful.  I’m committed to helping to raise awareness about early detection and its importance in treating breast cancer.  I have also committed to give thanks for every day I have on earth and listening to others and seeking ways to help and nurture those in need of it.  I intentionally work to build memories for my daughters, grandchildren, other family and friends.   Living and loving intentionally is such an amazing gift to yourself really.  Even if it is just A GIFT of A...

Read More

Mother’s Day

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 2 comments

Mother’s Day

I have been keenly aware of the great fortune of my brother and me, having been born to the parents we shared.  Our mother and father blessed us with joyous love and nurturing to last our entire lives.  For this, we are so very thankful!  When I got married, my parents-in-law were the absolute salt of the earth and loved me like their flesh & blood daughter.  I truly felt like I had two sets of loving parents. When we had our own two daughters, my life became so complete, so full of wonder and, again, I realized how fortunate I was.  It is truly the greatest honor and privilege to have the opportunity to be a mother.  While my daughters were young, I was fortunate to be able to stay at home with them before they started school, fully investing in their development and growth and in my marriage.  Raising children is the most awesome job in this world and it not only contributes to them and their development but, I believe, it contributes to the welfare of our world as well. There is a little piece of my heart that is always sad on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day when I ponder the awareness that not all who would like to have had children, could.  I also am aware of friends and associates who are estranged from their parents or children and I wish so much that each year as these special days that so many celebrate arrive, those who are not celebrating  might just decide to attempt to bridge that gap and give relationships another try.   Single people living in a society that is seems focused on couples find it lonely at times and I know that those without children or estranged from loved ones have expressed that same experience at times.  Sadly, for some families alienated time may be running out sooner than later due to age or illness. So this weekend as my family and I celebrate Mother’s Day sprinkled across the country (thank you, Facetime and Skype!!), I hope all families can focus on the possible joy and, perhaps, reach out to seek it once more…in...

Read More

Approaching Easter…The Garment

Posted by on Apr 18, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Approaching Easter…The Garment

There is a song about Christ’s death that says something like this, “they should have been my hands, where the nails were; they should have been my feet, where the nails were; it should have been my side…for it’s for me my Lord died.” Yes, those nails should have pierced my hands, my feet and the sword should have been plunged into my side, not His.  My sins, my salvation…His pain, His Grace. I guess most of us have all thought about this.  God so loved us that He gave His own Son to take our nails, our sword, our pain, our death so that we might live…so that we would be forgiven. Now, you’ve got the picture, don’t you?  I see it as a gray looking, windy day on Golgotha.  Up on a hill, stood three crosses…two of them with thieves…we might even say they “deserved” THEIR crosses.  But, the third one. That third cross…that one was yours and mine.  Ours, the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Remember how the Crown of Thorns adorned his head?  The blood ran down His forehead, His head hanging slightly…I wish I could have wiped his brow for Him.  The nails piercing His hands and feet.  It hurts to really think what that must have felt like.  I’ve wondered why those nails didn’t just rip right on through His hands with the weight of His body.  Yet, I’ve thought about how trim His body looked in drawings…after all, He never indulged Himself  and He did keep a busy schedule! Then, there’s the garment.  Simply a loin cloth, barely hanging around His hips.  Hanging.  I see it dirty and bloody after walking His final walk from Gethsemane to Golgotha, carrying our cross, being knocked to the ground by the jabbing and jeering soldiers, beaten and whipped. Our Lord carrying our load, bearing our pain, stripped for our forgiveness.  I must admit, I would have wanted to yell and scream at the soldiers and the crowd for persecuting him.  Instead,  He asked, “Father, forgive them.”  What a Lord! It’s odd, isn’t it, how sometimes certain things can puzzle us?  That garment bothers me.  Not really fit for a King.  Our King.  I would have liked to have washed it for him. Instead, He washed ME.  Clean.  Completely clean. I would have liked to have made Him something more suitable, more honorable, more King-like.  Instead, He prepared a Table for me…and you, too. I would have liked to have given him a drink of water…he had to be thirsty.  Instead, He offered me His blood, shed for me…His body, broken for me, so that I might NEVER thirst again.   I would have wanted to stand up for Him.  Instead, He hung for me.  The bread and the wine.  Remembrance.  Covenant.  Grace.  Love.  Drink.  Taste the tears, the pain, the humiliation, the loneliness and, then taste the Joy of forgiveness. The cross?  Yours and mine.  The sacrifice?  His, for sure.  The garment?  The label reads, “Especially for Jesus, Designed by the Father.” Praise God from Whom all blessings flow....

Read More

Life Balance by the Grace of God

Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Life Balance by the Grace of God

Balancing life in today’s world is challenging to say the least.  We have our “compartments” of being all wrapped up in one existence…Physical, Mental, Emotional, Social and Spiritual.  I can remember in a philosophy class in college debating the most important of these “compartments.”  Most of us accepted that, for our existence here on earth, Physical ranked pretty high on the list of priorities,  for if we did not feed and water ourselves, we simply would not continue to live here on earth.  Sustenance and nurture seem to be quite basic.  But there are more ways to nurture ourselves than with just food.  Indeed, our Mental and Emotional health depend greatly on nurture.  So, in this class of philosophy, we were led to determine that the need for nurture truly applied to all five of these “compartments” of earthly life.  Once we got to that acceptance, that is where the true debate revealed its complexity. Some in our class debated whether the Spiritual “compartment” should even be considered as a major part of our human lives.  These students had no awareness of a relationship with God, our Creator.  I recall, upon that realization, being surprised that a person could go through 20 or so years of life without this awareness and experience.  That, in itself, was a huge thing to consider! We’ve all known or encountered many, many people in whom we could see that a certain “compartment” of their lives was out of the realm of nurture.  People, who for various reasons, have physical, emotional, mental, social and, yes, spiritual issues or deficiencies.  Living in community, we work together to assist those who have certain needs and improve life for all through charitable means such as supporting  food pantries, homeless centers, support groups, treatment clinics and churches and synagogues. I am one who places nurturing of the Spiritual “compartment” as a very high priority and I believe that the health of my spiritual life directly impacts all the other “compartments” of my existence on earth.  One difference between this “compartment” and all the others is that the nurturing of my spiritual life extends and benefits me also throughout eternity.  For that reason, for me, the Spiritual “compartment” is #1. How awesome is our God,  for the nurturing of my soul does not just depend on me, though I certainly have a very active role.  God is constantly seeking me out and blessing me with His love, guidance, and strength even when I have moved on to something that does not even have me thinking of Him.  How Gracious is our God! In Matthew 18:20 Christ shares “For where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them.”  As followers of Christ, we have that blessed assurance that He is there with us.  How precious that is, especially as we turn to one another in times of great trials and sorrow knowing that He is with us as we pray and comfort one another. Glory,...

Read More

Enough Is Enough!!

Posted by on Mar 5, 2014 in My Blog | 0 comments

Enough Is Enough!!

Studying and observing our world of nature is quite interesting and sometimes even shocking!  I remember the first time, on a birding expedition, I saw baby Anhingas in the nest looking a bit scary in their pink skin-covered hairless heads.  The skin on their long throats leading out to the sharp bills appeared to be so thin that as they stood in the nest with the mouths open, the wind whistled through giving a vibration look to their mouth and throat area.  Since they have no sweat glands, they manage the body heat with the rapid vibration of the upper throat and thin floor of the mouth (“gular flutter”). Very interesting. All of a sudden a parent flew to the nest and the fight for the food began.  There was such a loud clatter and clacking sound and such extreme movement in the nest it truly appeared the juveniles AND the parent were fighting, indeed.   I zoomed in with my camera and could not believe my eyes!  One of the juveniles had it’s entire head down the throat of the parent Anhinga accessing the food which the parent was regurgitating.  Sound enticing?  I think not!!  The other juvenile was not giving up the fight with its head right up there, sharply pointed bill and all.  The second juvenile was not without as its head disappeared down the parent’s throat as soon as there was access.  I feared one of their sharp bills would rupture the parent’s throat.  But, alas, they were “wonderfully made” as well by our Creator. I mean, breast feeding is one thing, but this methodology made me so thankful to be a human. As soon as dinner was over, the parent flew away for a respite in a nearby tree....

Read More

Kids Can Get It So Right

Posted by on Feb 3, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Band of Brothers Belonging.  Acceptance.  Valued. Loved. Everyone is unique and for some, being “different” can lead to a life of heartbreak and loneliness. But, other times, a bunch of kids who really know someone who might fall into that category of being “different” can come together and wipe away those deep, deep feelings of rejection or being bullied.  Kids are still learning about life yet they manage to keep a positive perspective to reach out and truly make a life-changing difference in another child’s life.  Changing it forever.   Kindness.  Courage. Being there.  Loving.  Conquering....

Read More