Breast Cancer Awareness

Posted by on Oct 18, 2013 in My Blog, My Breast Cancer Journey, Think About This | 0 comments

Breast Cancer Awareness

It’s October again and that means cooler days & nights, the fall foliage expressing its beauty, ghosts and goblins here and there as well as a focus, thankfully, on Breast Cancer Awareness.  When I was diagnosed in the spring of 1999, I was given a 70% chance of surviving  five years.  Surgeries, chemotherapy and ten years of hormone therapy gave me the best chance to live the longest possible.  I feel very blessed to be living joyfully 14 years later.  Thank you, Lord! I was committed to helping others understand that early detection saves lives  so that others might avoid all that comes with the diagnosis and treatment. I found my lump myself even though I had had the prescribed mammograms and regular check-ups.  Doctors say that mine had most likely been growing inside me for 8 years.  It was large and had spread to one of 24 lymph nodes removed.  Had I not detected the lump, my outcome could have been very different. Self-exams are such an easy thing to do.  Hang a reminder card in the shower and on the 1st of the month EVERY month, let those ten fingers do a most important check on you.  It could truly save your life! Don’t put it off.  Don’t think “I’m too young.”  Don’t think,”I don’t have a family history so I don’t need to be concerned.”  I had no family history of breast cancer except for an uncle.  YES!!  My uncle.  Men get breast cancer too, so everyone needs to do self exams. How important is this?  Well, in these 14 years I have lived & loved since my diagnosis & treatment, I have had two more grandchildren born, I have seen one of my daughters marry and have built meaningful memories with my family and friends.  My faith is stronger and I am so grateful for each day I have. My post breast cancer life motto is “Don’t Waste the Miracle!”  And I am not!  Praise God from whom ALL blessings...

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Here I Am, Lord, Send Me!

Posted by on Jul 28, 2013 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Here I Am, Lord, Send Me!

Do you remember in elementary school when your teacher asked a question and you knew the answer and, with such enthusiasm, raised your hand.  Perhaps you even shook your hand to get the teacher’s attention…”see me, over here…I know, I know.  Call on me!”  Or perhaps the teacher had asked “who would take this to the office for me?”  You most likely raised your hand like I did and maybe even called out, “I will; send me!” How about when you were on the field dividing up for teams?  There were two team captains announcing their choices one by one.  The desire to be selected probably made your heart race a bit waiting to hear your name called. Every single day, we have opportunities to call out to God and say, “Hear I am, Lord; send me!”  Our busy lives sometimes get in the way.  We have families to nurture and raise, jobs to work, friends to enjoy and the list goes on.  As Christians, we know that we are the body of Christ…He uses us to carry His love to those in need.  That’s why we support organizations like the Salvation Army, Fifth Street Ministries, Iredell Christian Ministries and United Way.  We know that those who are homeless, jobless, and are hungry – not only for food but love – turn to churches and organizations such as these for help, for a life line as they feel they are close to sinking. Our nation was stunned and full of sorrow when we saw the devastation that the horrific tornadoes caused in Oklahoma earlier this summer.  Events like this sober us so and our entire beings are jolted into a state of “what now?”  First responders from other communities even on the other side of our country went to help.  Churches sent mission groups to do what they could.  Individuals gave much-needed financial resources to assist and all in the name of compassion and brotherly love. What we need to remember is all that need is out there EVERY day…in our workplaces, our neighborhoods or our schools.  Our senses are not heightened as during a catastrophe but the need is there just the same. The body of Christ.  There is a contemporary Christian song  “If We are the Body…” “If we are the body, why aren’t His arms reaching?  Why aren’t His hands healing?  Why aren’t His words teaching? Why are His feet not going?  Why is His love not showing?” God counts on us every day to be His hands, to share His words of love and encouragement. Do you hear God calling you?  Do you stop and listen to hear His question, “Who will go…?” I need to raise my hand more often and, like in elementary school, with real enthusiasm. Here I am, Lord; send...

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Dear God…

Posted by on Jul 20, 2013 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Dear God…

Ever since my breast cancer journey, I always begin my prayers with thankfulness.  It seems only fitting that when reducing the day or the hour to just one thought, it always brings me to all I have been given…and THAT is so much.  I am truly blessed and, actually, I think one of the biggest blessings is that I recognize that fact. In our hurried lives, we can be handed some real messes…even some we did not create ourselves!  But through it all, we have life and in mine, I have it abundantly.  When we let everything else fall away, we realize that WE HAVE GOD or said in a different way, GOD HAS US!! “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Psalm 23:6 When I was diagnosed with breast cancer 14 years ago, my way of dealing with a 70% chance of living 5 years was to stare the absolute pits of despair right in the face and deal with it.  I needed to accept the fact that the surgeries and chemotherapy, etc. just might not work for me and then what?  So, I looked at death, which can be totally scary, and said, “OK, so what?  What about dying? ”  Going through that entire thought process and soul-searching brought me to the comfortable place of “and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  What a gift!  What a promise! So believing that, knowing that, it just makes sense to start even a prayer of petition with gratitude. Thank You, Father....

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“Your beauty and love chase after me…”

Posted by on Jul 7, 2013 in My Blog, Think About This | 4 comments

“Your beauty and love chase after me…”

There are many translations of the Bible, many versions where wording is used to speak the Word of God in such a way that it resonates with different people, reaching different souls.  Some prefer to keep with the King James Version while others like the New International Version or American Standard.  There’s also the Good News Translation, the Revised Standard Version and then, there is the Message Bible. I grew up reading and learning from the King James Version and one of my favorite scriptures is in Psalm 23, verse 6:  “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever .”   What a blessed promise that is!  To me that one promise from God stands me so firmly in His camp and I always find myself singing His praise and Hallelujahs around His campfire. Not until the other day (Thank you, Julie Estes) had I read the translation for that same scripture from the Message Translation.  “Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.”  In plain language, more contemporary format, perhaps, the words extend that same promise from God but in a way that seems literal, everyday language to which anyone can surely relate. I like the thought of God’s beauty and love chasing me…running after me around the corners I turn, along the various paths I pursue, and God is THERE!  He wants to be there for each of us and He promises to do so.  Did you play the game TAG when you were young?  One person is IT and runs after others hoping to TAG someone else to be IT.  In Psalm 23, verse 6, God is always IT.  God is the one running frantically to catch up with us, to capture us and make us His.  He has prepared a place, a dwelling place, for us to live with Him throughout Eternity.  Chase on, Dear Lord, and know that I am so very...

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God, I Need You Now

Posted by on Jun 16, 2013 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

At some point or another, most of us find ourselves along a journey where we might not be sure what our next step is, where we should go or exactly what we should do.  Some “times” can be so difficult and so challenging that we might feel absolutely swallowed up in the pain or angst.  Indeed, life can present us with some pretty unbearable circumstances and when those circumstances become ours, we struggle and, sometimes, find we have reached the end of our journey. We all most likely have friends, co-workers or neighbors who face these realities today.  Even the “faithful” find themselves as times wondering where God is in all this suffering and struggling.  Even for those who don’t know God I believe God is always there…hoping they will turn to him and open their hearts to His love.  Those of us that are parents, especially parents whose children are grown and don’t live with us anymore, we know how much we like hearing from them.  We also know how we long for a word from a child who is distant and doesn’t keep in touch much.  So I take my thoughts about where God is, when we are struggling the hardest, to that concept of parents wanting desperately to hear from our children.  I believe that God is no different. Imagine God, the Creator of the Universe, the Lover of our souls, seeing us struggle in pain and we have no relationship with Him.  He nudges us.  He calls out to us.  He speaks to us.  Yet, sometimes, we don’t hear, listen or we may be just too stubborn to recognize those attempts.  God is like a stalker…yes, I said God is like a stalker.  He’s everywhere.  There is no place we can go, that God is not there with us.  We try someplace new and guess what!  God arrived BEFORE we did.  He’s there and He is ready, hoping that we will turn to Him and say, “God, I need you now!” I don’t believe that God is interested in why we haven’t connected before.  Why we haven’t needed Him before.  Truth is, He already knows all that.  He knows EVERYTHING about us.  He just wants us.  So, like a stalker who just can’t help himself, God is not going to give up on us. God wants us…even when no one else does, God wants us.  God, the Creator of the Universe wants us.  Pure and simple. God wants us. God, I need you...

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Trash vs. Treasure

Posted by on Jun 3, 2013 in My Blog, Think About This | 1 comment

I’ve recently moved from my NC hometown of 68 years to Florida to be closer to one of my daughters, my son-in-law and two little grandchildren.  It was a huge decision to make the move and one can certainly imagine the downsizing I had to do to settle into a 2 BR, 2 B apartment.  Months of de-cluttering and that continues now that I am here seeing that I moved too much with me.  During the months of preparing to make the move and then actually doing it, I’ve thought a lot about “what do I REALLY need?”  The American society is very much a consumer society, but some of us here and certainly a lot of us around the world live on much, much less.   Some of us are more creative than others…we all have our own skills and talents.  I recall that when my older daughter was in elementary school and I would determine she needed to be sent to her room for “time-out” discipline, I would go to her room to talk with her about why she had been sent there and most times I would find a big surprise upon entering.  The child that had misbehaved had transformed herself into a happy, delightful child who had dumped out her trash can and created new things with her trash.  Such an attitude adjustment…not by the vehicle her mother had intended, but a solution anyway. There is a place in Cateura, Paraguay where a little town is built on top of a landfill.  The people of the little community ravage through the trash surveying what others have tossed away and making use of their finds by either selling them for some amount of income or by making things…putting THEIR creativity to work!  The children of Cateura are well at risk of falling prey to gangs and becoming involved with drugs.  Music teacher Fabio Chavez started a music program for the children hoping to give them something else of interest and to which to belong.    The instruments the children use as they learn the beauty and universal language of music are instruments made of trash from the landfill.  Soon, other children wanted to engage and the Landfill Harmonic orchestra was formed. So, again, but in a much more dramatic way we see that one person’s trash truly does become another’s treasure…and, perhaps, a...

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“Be Still and Know…”

Posted by on Feb 17, 2013 in My Blog, Think About This | 2 comments

“Be Still and Know…”

Sometimes I have a hard time letting God be God.  How ridiculous that is of me!  Who do I think I am?  I mean, I don’t INTEND to be that way, but every now and then, I realize,  it just happens.   It happens during minute, little everyday moments when I FORGET that God is right there with me as I am explaining to the officer just why I was going 55 in a 35 MPH zone.  Now, I am one of those who has no shame in telling the truth…sometimes, I realize, that I might have fared better if I hadn’t, but I do and the officer usually just looks at me, writes my ticket and advises me to “slow down.”  I don’t really have difficulty in accepting that God didn’t get me out of that scrape without a ticket because I was breaking the law and I realize on down the road, having received that ticket may be just the thing that slows me down and I avoid hurting myself or someone else.   In bigger, more serious times…even in life-changing times when I struggle with a situation and don’t think to turn to God, that’s when I realize I need to be knocked on the head as a reminder.  But, God chooses a kinder, gentler way of getting my attention through a favorite Bible verse of mine, Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am GOD…”  Really?  I mean we shouldn’t have to be reminded like that but in today’s hectic and fast-paced world, I find that it is just what we DO need.  I carry a little faith stone which has that verse etched on it and I have clung to it so often that I know now it is etched on my heart, mind and soul where it should be.  I recall telling my children when I spotted an owl in the woods, “Shhh…be still and look up.”  Someone said to me not long ago that they didn’t think the Bible was written for people today.  Au contraire, mon frere!  The scriptures are totally timeless and there are some like this one in Psalms that I think are possibly even more needed by us today than centuries back.   Sometimes there is a fine line between a good thing becoming a bad thing.  Consider advances in communication technology.  I am an aficionada of tech advances in communications; however I realize that the use of them must be properly managed in order to “protect” ourselves from overload, invasion of privacy, and loss of quiet time for relaxation, meditation and our spiritual connection with our Creator.  Children today are growing up in this super-charged techno world and too much of a good thing can be harmful so we must guide their use carefully. I was reading an article from Jason Jackson with Christian Courier where he said “It is ‘God’s past‘ that provides calm for ‘our future.‘ Know that he is God! Know it, not merely intellectually, but practically, spiritually, and emotionally. He is your God. He is the ruler of kingdoms of this earth and the all-powerful Creator of the Universe.” I like that. When the large meteor hit Russia injuring over 1,000 people the other day, I bet I am not the only person who thought about what if it had been even bigger and hit here.  When something like that happens, it is even more important to us to know that God is God.  This world will, at some point, come to an end, but life does not end.  God is infinite...

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A Sleep Clinic Test But NO Sleep?

Posted by on Jan 3, 2013 in My Blog, Think About This | 1 comment

A Sleep Clinic Test But NO Sleep?

Here we are, it’s 2013, the world did not end as the Mayan Calendar alerted and many of us are pondering what our contribution to the world will be in this new year.  So many of us make New Year’s Resolutions, some of which we accomplish and others may fall by the wayside.  I certainly have made many that belong in both categories! Last night, I reluctantly spent the night in the hospital having a “sleep test” which my cardiologist ordered.  One of my health issues is fibromyalgia and most patients that are AFFLICTED (yes!!!) with that, struggle with sleep issues which impact one’s quality of life greatly.  For over 17 years now, I have learned how to live with fibromyalgia and have somewhat conquered the CURSE of  “cycling” back and forth between level 1 and level 2 sleep thanks to my docs, a couple of meds and routine.  Those who never get to levels 4 and 5 where one gets restorative sleep are doomed…maybe the Mayan calendar even mentions that! I reported in at 10:00 p.m., got all wired up to several types of monitors and and began the attempt to go to sleep.  The hospital beds have never been my friend…too hard for my arthritic body.  I recall when I had my first mastectomy and stayed one night in the hospital, I gave up and got up at 2:00 a.m. and sat in the recliner which was more comfortable.  So last night during the sleepless sleep study, my hips and back were in too much pain that I simply could not go to sleep. I talked with God a lot…world problems, people I pray for, everyone in the hospital for healing, and then I switched my conversation to what God would like to see me do in 2013.    He gave me a lot of good ideas; we chatted about how many in our world are hurting (not just their hips and backs from a hard mattress) and that discussion led me to thinking about how even a kind word or just listening to someone’s problems, giving them a smile or praying for them can make a difference in their lives. Mark Twain says that “Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”  Well, I am still constructing my list of resolutions (I move slowly, I know) but extending kindness to people whom I encounter is at the top of my list.  What’s really cool is that God said He would give me hints on just who might be needing it.  Isn’t that kind of Him! So, “Sleepless in Statesville” actually turned out to be a good evening.  I’m moving very slowly today, but my mind is going to...

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A New Year…FULL!

Posted by on Dec 31, 2012 in My Blog, Think About This | 2 comments

A New Year…FULL!

I’ve thought a lot about how to celebrate the New Year’s arrival.  We’re so surrounded with sickness, sorrow and loss it seems, so it seems a little inappropriate to say to those folks experiencing those things, “Happy New Year!”  Though, I do want them to be happy and have a good year.  So, my thought process has led me to identifying what really makes me happy. It starts with PEACE…for all… and let it begin with me! JOY…from whence comes your JOY??? HOPE…HOPE is like washing the windows of our minds and souls, wiping out our pain & sorrow, restoring us to the place where we can see beyond and a better day. LOVE.  “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” New Living Translation (©2007) So, if everyone…in Statesville, in NC, in the USA, in the world…would live to create peace for all in what we say and do, can you imagine how much more peaceful our world would be? If we could see our words and actions as “fairy dust of some sort” and from all our interactions with others would fall a covering of JOY to the WORLD!  Interesting to contemplate. And when we learn of pain and sorrow in someone’s life, a word of caring, acknowledgement, and the gift of our enduring presence with them will spring up a river of hope in their heart…and ours. So, I wish for all a 2013 Full of Peace, Joy, Hope and LOVE…which makes this all...

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Balancing Act…Life!

Posted by on Nov 18, 2012 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Balancing Act…Life!

I am a Libra.  The Libra Zodiac sign is the Scales of Balance.  We weigh everything…I weigh too much, figuratively and literally!  In life, as decision-making time greets me, I find myself looking at all perspectives, angles and weighing consequences.  Life, itself is a balancing act.  Thank goodness, God provides me a spiritual guide in Christ. When my little granddaughter was about 15-months old, a late walker, she was in physical therapy while I was visiting.  She loved to play the “games” the physical therapist used to help her in her development.  Fun to watch with smiles all around.  THEN, without warning the terrified screaming began!  I wondered what was wrong.  The therapist had brought out the balance board…I remembered that from my post-knee replacement PT!  Little Emma was, indeed, super afraid of it.  I was shocked to see such a reaction from her when walking on a balance beam seemed fun to her.  What was it about this square board on a roller that literally pulled the rug out from under her?  I concluded LACK OF CONTROL. Fast-forward 5 years and Miss Emma is running races and zooming around the house, twirling around as a ballerina with little care about “balancing.” But, what about the rest of us?  I think the older and more experienced in life, we SEE more in life that needs balance.  What we eat and drink, level of exercise, giving and taking in relationships, sleep and relaxation vs. work, fun and play, contributing to society, the environment, time with God.  The list goes on and on and on. My niece, who has since her battle with meningitis a year ago…a young mother and wife…has had to balance so much, things over which she has no control.  We have seen her so sick that we could have lost her.  Praise God we did not!  In and out of the hospital weeks at a time, high-powered meds, scans, collapsing veins, 9 lumbar punctures, two spinal surgeries where lumbar shunts failed and then, brain surgery to implant a cerebral shunt and the list goes on with Sally’s recovery. Sally has taught us so much through her ability in balancing life through unforeseen circumstances.  Circumstances no one would dare choose yet she has chosen to remain faithful and positive as she learns EVERY SINGLE DAY of new challenges, new perspectives, new NORMALS and walking a tightrope that seems to wobble just enough to unsettle any of us…maybe like my sweet little Emma’s balance board.  Except Sally is not screaming!   Sally knows on what she has control and her faith, her courage and her great sense of humor are in fine shape!  So proud of you and love you,...

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Lesson from the Mockingbird

Posted by on Oct 28, 2012 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Lesson from the Mockingbird

This morning, my Resident Mockingbird was quite active and visited nearby my window, coming to the window once as if he wanted to know what went on inside here.  “My” birds provide a good bit of entertainment and, if we pay attention, instruction for daily life.  Instruction for daily life from a bird, you might say?  Indeed. Watching the birds reminds me of how our Creator provides for them, created them with the instincts they need for survival.  We see them demonstrate community-building among the ones that were created to commune and territorial exercise among the ones which are more loners and family protectors. The birds let us know when bad weather is approaching and if you have yard bird feeders, you know what I mean.  There will be a flurry of activity as they all prepare for what approaches much like we raid the grocery store shelves when we are alerted to bad weather and possible power outages. Today frequent mockingbird visits allowed me to capture some stately photos of him and one in particular with a great reminder for us all.  This photo reminded me of the scripture in Psalm 121: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”  As we journey along in this earthly life, I try to act on these precious reminders to look upward for guidance, strength and comfort. Thank you, little mockingbird for this reminder today. Titus 2:13 – ” Looking for that blessed...

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In the Queue

Posted by on Sep 30, 2012 in My Blog, Think About This | 1 comment

In the Queue

As I struggled for half the day yesterday over a single internet issue, I found myself on “HOLD” with Tech Support a good bit and seriously giving thanks for my iPhone.  That little device kept me in the loop conducting business and staying in touch and I really, really did thank God that I had that access.  That little screen did my eyes no favors, but I was not dead in the water as I might have been. As I waited, I wondered, “Does God really want to hear from me about my thankfulness for a thing such as my iPhone?  Really?”  Well, I certainly can’t answer for God, but I do know certain things about my life experience in His gracious presence. 1st – I know God truly loves me…not just some generic being but ME!  I am the one He created and He loves me as a Father loves a child and in my family THAT is some BIG love!! 2nd – I know God cares about my life…ALL of it!  He cares and loves and supports and strengthens and cautions and calms and comforts during times like my two mastectomies, my parents’ deaths, my divorce!  But, he also cares and loves and supports and strengthens and cautions and calms and comforts me when I am so frustrated with my computer that I cannot see straight and I feel like I am going to commit hari kiri.  So, I know that God is with me at all times including what we might perceive as mundane moments of our lives. 3rd – I know that God wants to hear from me, not just in the BIG moments but in my everyday living moments. So, how does God listen to ALL of us…EACH of us and if we all talk to him simultaneously, can you just imagine what that must be like for Him?  Well, I don’t have to worry about HOW He can do that.  He can do that because He is Who He is…He is God!  I can’t imagine how God does all He does, how He can be here for every single person every moment in life, yet, I KNOW it is so.  We think with our earthly minds.  We are incapable of imagining how God is who He is and how He does what He does for us.  In talking with someone who does not know God, this unknowing person says, “I just can’t see that.”  Of course he can’t, he does not see with God’s eyes, think with God’s mind or love with God’s heart.  We only see the finished side of a tapestry hanging on a wall, but there are all sorts of knots, twists, etc. that make it a beautiful work of art.  God sees all. As I continued to wait on “HOLD” for the next representative, I gave thanks to God that I have access to Him every nanosecond and I am never placed on “HOLD.”  I realize that God wrote the book on Customer Service, but then, there’s the “other book” He wrote that’s way more essential. And then I hear, “you’re now 17th in the...

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A Place of Prayer

Posted by on Aug 28, 2012 in Hilton Head Island, My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

A Place of Prayer

Sometimes I step into a place, my soul quiets and prayers seem to lift up with just a simple breath.  These are places of reverence, of peacefulness offering veneration to our Creator with their existence.  For me these special yet simple environs often are where I am especially awed by God’s hand in Creation…the beauty of nature.  It could be an unexpected field of sunflowers framed by green trees and the bluest of skies or it might be a lovely old church in a quiet marshland setting. Last week as I was driving back to NC from FL, stopping along the way to experience some of the roads less traveled, I ventured off I-95 to Bluffton, SC.  Bluffton is a quiet Lowcountry town near Hilton Head, SC.  It is rich with history and one of the town’s churches, the Episcopal Church of the Cross, is on the National Registry of  Historic Places.  The church was consecrated in 1857 and sits on a bluff of the May River.  Bluffton was a Confederate headquarters in the Civil War and when Federal troops invaded the town, most of the structures were burned down.  Two churches were spared with Church of the Cross being one.  The Federal troops took the church bell but it was found later and rings today during services. Church of the Cross is a Gothic cypress building with lovely arched windows with pink glass from England.  Sitting right on the bluff of the river with the rich green marshland’s wildlife and sub-tropical vegetation as its neighbors, one quickly feels the ambiance  squelching any stress or hurried lifestyle.  Hence, I...

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Reuse, REDUCE, Recycle!!

Posted by on Aug 24, 2012 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Reuse, REDUCE, Recycle!!

Nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts aren’t the only ones who can do something about saving our environment…which, by the way, we borrow from inhabitants of the wild.  It is estimated that a single American throws out 7.1 pounds of trash a day…and not always in a trash recepticle!  At this rate, we are on track to produce 102 tons of trash in a lifetime.  Staggering, isn’t it? Pete…the Plastic Pelican is on display at Shem Creek in Mt. Pleasant, NC to raise awareness among the thousands of visitors, who visit that wonderfully quaint and beautiful area, that so easily it could all go away before we know it.  The “sculpture” is made of plastics tossed by humans most likely without a thought about the trash’s impact on our wildlife and our environment as a whole.  Too many sea turtles, pelicans, and other shore birds die each year with a belly full of our needless garbage.  While enjoying a walk on the boardwalk at Shem Creek and soaking up the beauty of God’s creation, I noticed something white far out in the marsh.  I had been photographing beautiful egrets and herons earlier so I zoomed out to capture a photo.  To my surprise, it was a white styrofoam cup…way out there!  How in the heck did it get there in the lovely & rich green marsh?  That started me thinking about what would happen to that cup.  Styrofoam cannot totally biodegrade.  It only breaks down into smaller plastics over many years.  Over the years, the particles can become tiny and blow with the wind and humans and animals can breathe that in.  Not a good thing and potentially very dangerous. So, what can we do? First, don’t litter. Limit our use of single-use, disposable containers. INTENTIONALLY use re-usable products like cups, water bottles & shopping bags. As the town of Mt. Pleasant says, “Reuse, REDUCE,...

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Such a Question From a 5 Year Old!

Posted by on Aug 24, 2012 in My Blog, My Breast Cancer Journey, Think About This | 3 comments

Such a Question From a 5 Year Old!

As my little 5 year-old granddaughter and I walked to my car after a fun swim, she called my name, “Grandma?”  I turned to look at her and saw her precious little figure, still dripping wet glistening in the bright sun.  Hair up in a sweet pony tail and a pink and white beach towel wrapped around her little body…”Grandma, do you forget your memories when you die?”  I asked her to repeat the question because I wasn’t quite certain I had understood her correctly.  “Do you forget your memories when you die?” A few times in this longer than usual visit with my Florida family, she has asked me questions about dying as well as telling me that I am almost 100 years old, so I think her little mind sees me as fairly ANCIENT! Wow!  What a question from such a little girl!  So as we gathered our “noodles, towels and snack bag” into the car, I considered her question.  Hmm…I had never really thought about MY memories when I die…I have always thought about the memories of others like my family.  In fact, I have thought about the great value of their memories of me and our time together here on earth especially since my breast cancer diagnosis, I have intentionally done my best to craft experiences hoping to create good and lasting memories with my loved ones. Emma’s question created a whole new line of thinking for me.  God created us in love, to love and most of my favorite memories are ones sealed not only in my mind but my heart as well.  Why would He create us this way if not to carry those memories throughout Eternity?  “Well, Emma, I really don’t know for sure, but I think we still have our memories when we die and go to Heaven.  You know, when we die and go to Heaven , we are with God and the people who have loved us and have died and are already in Heaven are there to greet us when we arrive.  They are happy to see us and welcome us with open arms.  So that makes me think they still have their memories of when we were together in our earthly lives.” “Oh,” she said.  “I was just wondering about that.” Well, Emma, now Grandma is wondering about that, too, and I shall think about it often, I am...

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World Peace????

Posted by on Jul 29, 2012 in My Blog, Think About This, Uncategorized | 0 comments

World Peace????

As the 2012 Olympics are underway and billions of people around the globe are watching the many Olympians competing, I think about ahow our focus is on similar goals.  All the athletes are there to WIN giving it their absolute best, pushing their talent, strength and spirit hopeful for the Gold Medal. We billions are observing and cheering, feeling the sting of defeat and the excitement of winning. So many countries have their young most skilled there…we have in common the appreciation of talent, the respect of “fairness” and the love of the games.  Feels like we aren’t so different after all…and THAT realization transports me to thoughts about the war in Afghanastan, the other mid-east crises, the suffering in Ethiopia & Haiti, the killing waste of life in Aurora, CO…lives just as important as the lives of all the Olympians.  World peace?  Why not?  Why not NOW? Why does the spirit of the games have to end? A favorite poem/prayer from Lao Tsu follows.  Contemplate the road to world peace… If there is to be peace in the world, There must be peace in the nations. If there is to be peace in the nations, There must be peace in the cities. If there is to be peace in the cities, There must be peace between neighbors. If there is to be peace between neighbors, There must be peace in the home. If there is to be peace in the home, There must be peace in the heart. —– Got it?    ...

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Beyond Sight

Posted by on Jul 13, 2012 in My Blog, My Breast Cancer Journey, Think About This, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Beyond Sight

So often, we find ourselves in circumstances where all we really want to do is “Get Out!”  Retreating, giving up, withdrawing are ways of coping and we all, most likely, have taken those paths at sometime or another.  Of course, there are times that those options just might be the best thing for us to do. But, more often, I think, when we face harsh and devastating circumstances, we might WANT to retreat but what will actually get us out is standing firm, waiting and trusting that God will lead us out of our wilderness.  It’s extremely difficult and challenging, but remaining faithful and working towards God’s will and timing allows us to remain positive and receive His blessing. Just in the last few months, some of my family and friends have found themselves in unbearable circumstances…situations in which they did nothing to cause.  Many of us have wondered, “How do they do this?  How in this world are they holding themselves up?  What’s going to happen?”  The truth is that they have help staying “up.”  They all have faith in God as our Creator, our Savior and the Lover of our Souls.  They trust that God will see them through their walk in the wilderness and lead them to solutions.  They also know that their community of believers are lifting them up in prayers from which they gain strength and courage. Many times, our wilderness walks are long…way too long, we think.  These wanderings in the wilderness are often filled with obstacles, winding paths, pitfalls and forks in the road where we have choices to make.  Questions present themseves:  “How did I get here?”  “Where do I go from here?”  “Will this ever be over or am I going to be in this wilderness forever?” For my friends and family, I have seen them wrestle with these questions, while at the same time, remain faithful and trust in God’s wisdom.  Imagine yourself wandering in a wilderness that is completely foreign to you.  Is there ANYONE you would rather have at your side, taking those steps right with you, leading you to your choices than God our Creator?  Many times we find that just staying the course and pushing through is the best choice we can make.  And, even in the worst of circumstances as we wander, we realize that along with those bumps in the road and the horrific pitfalls, we receive blessings and lessons that enrich our lives forever…ones we would not have experienced had we not been in that wilderness trying like crazy to get out. Looking past our circumstances…beyond what we know, see & feel, there is always something lurking just around the corner and it just might be an opening out of the wilderness into the most beautiful light imagineable…crafted by our Great Creator & Tour Guide. Praise God from Whom ALL blessings...

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Our Triune God

Posted by on Jun 23, 2012 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Our Triune God

As Christians, we know that we serve a triune God, one God in three persons. In scripture found in Matthew 28:18-20 we read,”And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”   Matthew reveals both a commissioning and a promise.  We are commissioned by Christ our Savior to go and share the message of salvation in all corners of this great earth and we are promised by Christ that He is with us always. This is such a powerful message for us to remember every day of our lives…as we prepare to move into new surroundings of which we are unsure or as we approach situations that are completely foreign to us…journeys where we have never gone before, how comforting it is to know that Christ goes before us and is with us ALWAYS! As my daughter, Shelley, has just traveled to Guatemala on a mission trip to Hope of Life in Zacapa, a Christian service to reach out to those suffering and to work to save them in their physical life of extreme poverty as well as to share the love of our Christ Jesus, this scripture is on my heart. Where do you find yourself venturing toward uncertain territory?  God’s Holy Spirit is with you as a believer whether you are aware of it or not.  But if you raise your awareness and call out to our Holy Comforter, He will comfort you like no other comfort in this world. Praise God from Whom ALL blessings...

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Love Feast

Posted by on Jun 6, 2012 in Backyard Birds, My Blog, Think About This | 4 comments

Love Feast

This morning is the kind of morning I really enjoy.  We have a soft, constant rain.  The lawn needs it, the birds LOVE it and it is quite relaxing to just listen to.  My home-office is in my guestroom which has a large window outside which I have a crepe myrtle with two bird feeders.  I ALWAYS have my camera, loaded and ready to go!  As I write, I can glance out the window to enjoy the bird activity.  Today has been amazing.  So much activity.  Titmice, goldfinches, house finches, white-breasted nuthatch, little Downy woodpeckers,  many cardinals, an irritating starling or two or three, brown thrashers and a blue jay.  All flying in and out taking their turns at the feeders with the female cardinal and brown thrasher hanging in for longer anticipating their male partners will come with a morsel of nourishment to fill their tummies and soothe their souls.  Ah, soul mates!! The rain does so much for us…watering our crops, washing away pollen, and the birds perched in a tree drink from the leaves as they flutter away having a little bath and preening.  Fun to watch and I must give thanks to our Creator for such imagination in His Creation that always provides a great moment of communing for me.  Praise...

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When We Are On the Receiving End…

Posted by on May 16, 2012 in My Blog, Think About This | 2 comments

When We Are On the Receiving End…

I KNOW you’ve had moments like these.  The ones when your mind is cluttered and your heart is heavy with concerns for friends and family suffering.  For me, these times are the times when I realize the great value in those who work at living a life measured by kindness.  Our kindness to others comes in all sorts of packages neatly wrapped in caring, in a tender hug, a smile or maybe just an encouraging word.  Often, we don’t even realize when we extend our kindness to someone who really needs it, but we surely do realize it when we are on the receiving end! People who know me know that I am a nature nut!  I am especially fond of birds…caring for them, watching and photographing them brings me great joy.  Tonight, with many concerns on my mind, I saw on Facebook the greatest photo of a Pileated Woodpecker and three nestlings in a tree taken by Certified Wildlife Habitat.  This photo in a nanosecond lifted my spirits so.  It made me feel all warm and fuzzy as I thought about how cute they are and how colorful God designed them.  But the thing that REALLY got me thinking was that my Facebook friend who also is a bird and photography enthusiast that I have never met posted that photo having no idea what it would do for me tonight.  I’m sure she saw it and got a kick out of it and just wanted to pass it on.  But, in doing that, she passed on much more than a cute photo… What do you think our world would be like today if EVERYONE focused on living a life of intentional kindness?  Just imagine… Thank you, Missy Hanks for spreading...

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