A good day…

I have been aware of this day every year for 5 years. It’s 4am on October 31, 2019. 5 years ago on this day Rick and I were at Lakeland Regional Hospital waiting on the doctors to give us hope. Rick got up in the morning and took his shower. We were going to his doctors appointment at 9am fasting so they could do a blood work. After his shower he almost couldn’t get to his chair and it took all my strength to get him into the van. At the doctors office an ambulance was called. At 5 minutes to midnight Rick said, ‘I’ve got a headache’. A couple minutes later. ‘Oh my head’. I had already called the nurse in. His next words were, ‘I can’t swallow’. They whisked him away and the next 3 hours, I waited. Finally a doctor came for me as they were rolling him back into the room. The doctor took me to the nursing station and showed me 3 X-rays and told me that it would be a miracle if he made it through the night. Rick had one large brain stem clot and two other small blood clots in his brain.  Five years today and he is still here and productive, just not actively mobile. Soon after his release from hospital and weeks in the rehab center and two weeks in a hotel room, we came home to a nearly total remodeled home. Our church and family and other friends had pitched in to make it possible for him to navigate in his own space.

Every year I am more grateful than the last. We focus on the positive outcome of what could have been the end. Each day we find purpose in our prayer times, our meal times and even work (writing & editing). In the evenings he is able to find entertainment for us and we have a date.

We’ve had opportunities to minister that never would have come our way without this event. We find that everyday there are opportunities that stun us into the reality that we are exactly where God has placed us. It’s not pleasant or comfortable much of the time. We’re not getting any younger, but even in that our joy is in knowing that the 70 possibly 80 years we may have to serve the Lord are sweeter still than we imagined. We never made plans for retirement. We have no children and we didn’t have a clue what to even think of the future, but we knew and now we know that serving God doesn’t ever need to end in our retirement from the working world. Daily we have opportunities to minister to others, one on one, by phone, visit, card, email and yes even  ‘blog’ and Facebook.

We are beyond grateful for all the prayers and love…Jesus is still our hope and stay…

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Trawling or trolling…

Facebook has become a means of both. The definition of ‘trawling’ from Websters – noun 1.the activity of fishing with a trawl net or seine:  2.the activity of searching or sifting through something:

Trolling! – Cambridge Dictionary – noun  1. Someone who leaves an intentionally annoying message on the internet, in order to get attention or cause trouble.

There seems to be more ‘trolling’ than ‘trawling’ these days.  Tending toward ‘sifting and searching’ for things of value to encourage and enlighten. I like the idea of ‘trawling’ thru my Bible and audio books on faith including listening to the Bible and teachers who give faith and encouragement to all who will listen. Jesus had several fishermen/trawlers on His immediate team and I’m praying daily for more of them.

Hebrews 12:12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;

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Where are you going???

Most of us have some game on our computer or phone that does a constant drop down after matching 3 of a kind. My game is Bejeweled. So many others, Candy Crush, etc. No matter how many you match or how high your score, YOU nor I know what is falling into place/down next, in what order or even if there are going to be any more matches.

Life is like that really. We have no clue about tomorrow or even an hour from now. October 31, 2014 I had made an appointment for 9 am for Rick to get a physical. He got up, took his shower, dressed and half way down the hall could hardly make it to the chair. The next thing we encountered was an ambulance picking him up at the doctors office and that evening at the hospital he had a major brain stem stroke.

Here is the ‘thing’…we didn’t know what was going to drop down, in what order, how it would end, what the score would look like AND still don’t. The word of God tells us that HE knows and has HIS hand in our life. The gems drop and don’t always look like gems. The score is not what we thought. Scripture tells us He knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb and has a plan.  He knows our beginning to/thru to our end. He has promised a home in heaven with Him one day. He has promised an abundant harvest of souls as we continue living our faith day by day. AND we know where we are going, we just haven’t a clue what’s dropping down next, but we’ll play it according to His will and timing. SCORE!

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Nothing like a Sunday morning…

These are a bit of the lyrics to the song Sunday Morning…by Maroon 5

‘But things just get so crazy living life gets hard to do
Sunday morning rain is falling and I’m calling out to you
Singing someday it’ll bring me back to you, yeah
Find a way to bring myself back home to you’

I know it’s a guy singing to a girl, BUT this morning I got quite the compliment from my guy. It’s been a really rough week for me physically and emotionally. I had 3 days of real pain, thankful they were not all in a row. The van died on me while out alone and I had to stand (not my best posture) for an hour and half in the 85 degree temperature because the van was in the sun at about 100.  Road service came finally and jump started the van, I drove one mile and it died in process…the Lord gave me enough sense and a clear traffic corner to not step on the brakes until I had steered off road and clear of major traffic flow onto a side street. A friend who is a mechanic and who shall remain nameless cause he’s already overwhelmed with business came and brought a charger, clamped it on the battery, left the charger in the engine, set the hood and followed me home slowly since the hood wouldn’t fully close. When the charge came off it died instantly. New battery the next day.

In Florida we have phosphate pits…over the years I have been sorely tempted to put one vehicle or another into gear and push it in!

This Sunday morning when we got up, we had already decided not to attend service. I wasn’t ready to let Rick get in the van yet. I needed to test and make sure it would run and do what’s necessary. We can’t get stranded with Rick, he is not as mobile as me.

NOW for the best part. Rick had been up in the night…he knew I was on the edge of the ‘edge’, seriously. This morning I told him I was going to test the van and be back. (Optimist that I am even in the dark) He told me that he was proud of the way I fought the ‘darkness’. He had read my 3 posts from last night and knew I was going to win this round. That made me feel better all by itself.  Some days are a real war, as real as guns and bombs emotionally.

In FAITH, in Christ my Savior I stand amazed!

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Snake bit while doing good…

In the 27th and 28th chapters of Acts, we find the story of the Apostle Paul on a ship bound for Rome.

The Warning…Acts 27:9 So Paul warned them, 10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” 

The Storm…18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

The Encouragement…21 “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss.22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”

The Next warning…30 In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. 31 Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.”32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away.

The Rescue…Acts 28:1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta.The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

This is a lengthy portion of Scripture, but for a reason…Paul was busy doing good, speaking warning, comfort, encouragement and even helping by adding wood to the fire to help keep them all warm and dry up from nearly drowning. He spoke with authority given by God and now not dying from the snake bite, they thought he was a god. (verse 31B  “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.”) He was God’s man for the time, he was doing good and still a snake bit him. So what happens? The snake got shaken off into the flames to die, while Paul remained to do the job he was anointed to do! Think of all the snakes in the swamp…do you believe God has a man for the hour who is doing right and good? What will happen to the snakes and what would happen to us if we try to go our own way and jump ship? Think on it…

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Hard of hearing, AGAIN!!!

Back in 1967 I had my left upper ‘wisdom’ tooth pulled in Holland, Michigan during the winter break, by our family dentist and then I went off back to Minneapolis to college, got an ear infection and went deaf in that left ear. There was no pain or blockage, just deaf! I prayed and prayed  and one day in chapel it just opened and I could hear. I was so tired of cocking  my head to the left so I could hear. While in Minneapolis, I had to have the right upper wisdom tooth pulled…no problem.

Then I moved to Naples, Florida in May of 69 for a summer job, ended up having both bottom wisdom teeth pulled and got dry sockets in both. My left ear was a mess for months, aching and itching. Since then I don’t drive often with the window open.  Last year in October I got an ear infection…turned inner ear. What a booger to get rid of and it left me sensitive to heat and more to the cold. I have to wear my hair short in Florida it’s HOT!

Newest event…2-3 weeks ago. Went to the walk-in and the Dr. gave me a prescription for ear drops. $162.97!  I did NOT pick them up. I tried the less expensive drops and I might have the cleanest ear on the planet, who knows. BUT, yesterday I finally bit the dust and got the Antibiotic ear drops prescribed. 10 drops for 10 days in a row, for ear infection and hole in ear drum.

THIS STORY…is to let you know how long I’ve been thinking on and considering the ‘Listening’ theme of the books we’ve put together. When looking back over my past, often I was NOT listening to the Spirit of the Lord or following closely after Jesus. Neglecting the Word and skating by in my own strength. The past 4 years I have been truly trying to listen better. I need discernment, strength, encouragement and passing it on to others solidifies it in my spirit. Like my garden, I only grow what is good for me. It should be the same in our everyday life. Only do what is good. Listen, obey and share. It’s a calling and it’s fulfilling. I pray to not be so ‘hard of hearing’ on a daily basis and am praying this ear comes right again.

 

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Stuck on ‘Blessed’…

The ‘Words in Red’, Jesus’ words in the New Testament have been haunting me. Haven’t been able to get out of chapter 5 in Matthew. I could check the dictionary and see how ‘blessed’ is defined.

…made holy; consecrated… or…mild expressions of annoyance or exasperation, an actual opposite of, as in “there wasn’t a blessed thing anybody could have done”… or…those who live with God in heaven. These do not satisfy my soul. My sense in reading these ‘be-attitudes’ as they are titled, is that it has more to do with our attitude than an actual blessing.  BUT in the process of considering this at 4am this morning…I reread them inserting, ‘my soul is satisfied’ when I am ‘poor in spirit’ (down-hearted) because in the end the kingdom in still mine. My soul is satisfied’ because when I ‘mourn’, I am comforted, this morning especially because our dear cousin passed away of cancer yesterday morning, but with ‘joy’ I know we will see her again.

We sing the hymn Blessed Assurance, the ‘knowing’ that in the relationship with our Heavenly Father, all is right in our soul here and now and hereafter.

Matthew 5:3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you…

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