Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Long Winter’s Nap

We’ve had some very cold winter days lately – some have been rainy, some have been dry.  Once in awhile we’ve had days filled with sunshine.  And sometimes, on a cloudy day, the sun breaks through and warms our hearts (and our hands).  On one of those days recently, Miss Savannah decided to go outside.  It wasn’t long before I glanced through the window and saw that she was enjoying a bit of sunshine.PB261888She was asleep – on the hot tub!  Enjoying the warmth from above and a bit of warmth from below.  It was the perfect place to take a long, winter’s nap!  She seemed to be totally unaware that it was winter.  Just a warm, contented kitty cat.  She reminded me of a little song my dad used to sing to me:
Lazy bones, sleeping in the sun.
How do you ever expect to get your day’s work done?
PB261889Again, today, there were some ‘patches’ of sunshine.  Where do you think I found Miss Savannah?  You’re right!  Taking another long winter’s nap!  Just being a 'lazy bones' - sleeping in the sun!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Light On A Dark Day

I’ve been away for a few days.  Life took a turn – again – and I needed time to go down a new road.  Four years ago my dear cousin’s husband became very ill.  Mr. V’s kidneys failed and he started dialysis three times a week.  Every week.  It was hard on him and took quite a toll.  Over time the effects on his body made us realize how fragile life really is.  He was on the kidney transplant list and as time moved along we began to wonder if our prayers and hopes for a new kidney would become reality.  All of us – including Mr. V and his sweet wife, Mrs. C – continually committed him to God’s care.

Part of the process to prepare for a transplant was to find a support team to be there to help in any way possible when the kidney arrived and in the months after.  Mrs. C and Mr. V asked my sweetheart and I if we would be their support team.  There was no doubt in our minds what our answer would be.  Yes, we would be there for them.  For the long haul.  We attended a class at the hospital with them and learned about the process and what the procedure would involve. 

We waited.  And waited.  And prayed.  And prayed some more.  In July the call came that a kidney was available.  We grabbed our already-packed bags and headed to the hospital.  And we waited.  And waited some more.  It was what we later would call ‘the dry run’.  Potential problems prevented a transplant that day.  As we left the hospital that day we didn’t fully understand what had happened but we had no doubt that God knew something we didn’t know! Over the next days and weeks we talked and evaluated and reviewed that day at the hospital.  We tweaked our plans and made changes in the way we wanted to handle things.  Things like communication with family and friends and business associates.  Things like how much to pack in our bags that we would carry around the hospital. (We had taken w-a-y too much!)  We thought we had it all figured out.  Now we were ready!  We knew exactly what we were going to do.  Or so we thought!

Then, two weeks ago, when my sweetheart and I were out of town for a long weekend to celebrate our fortieth wedding anniversary, late at night on the day we checked into our motel, Mrs. C called to say ‘the kidney’ had come.  Surgery was going to happen in a very short time – everything was ‘go’.  We said we would check out of our motel and head home immediately.  No – that’s not what they wanted us to do.  Mrs. C and Mr. V had discussed it before she called and they wanted us to stay at the Oregon Coast and spend the weekend together, as planned.  I didn’t sleep much that night.  I woke often and prayed.  For Mr. V – for the doctors – and for dear Mrs. C who waited through the night alone.  We had to trust God to hold them close.  My heart found comfort in the knowledge that this didn’t take God by surprise - He knew all along that the kidney would come that day and He had given us peace about going away for the weekend.  Phone calls back and forth the next day kept us in touch with Mrs. C.  The news was good - surgery had gone very well.  The doctors were pleased with the way things were going.  And the news that comforted my heart was the fact that Mrs. C and Mr. V’s son had been able to get a flight from out of state to come right away to stay for the next few days.  We were very aware that God was orchestrating all the details.

We left for home two days later and drove straight to the hospital.  That began many long hours of waiting and praying and giving love and support to Mrs. C.  The support we gave brought comfort to both of them.  Mr. V was in Intensive Care longer than expected.  He struggled with severe reactions to medications and, after much prayer for guidance and wisdom for the team of doctors, we began to see an incredible turn of events.  Last week I drove Mrs. C to and from the hospital in Portland every day and I sat with her in the ICU waiting room through the hours of each day.  I was there to help and love and listen and hug and pray.  Sometimes I ran errands for her and took care of business that weighed heavy on their minds.  My sweetheart went to work each day but he stayed close to the phone.  We were thrilled when Mr. V moved out of ICU into a ‘regular’ room late last week and we were totally amazed when he went home from the hospital two days later.

Recovery is progressing well.  Mr. V has a long road ahead of him but we are confident that God will walk that road with him.  Looking back on the last two weeks, I’m so amazed to see how God touched the lives of people all around us.  I am more aware than ever before that we can make plans, tweak them, streamline them and think we know exactly what we will do – but, in the end, God does something that takes us by surprise.  I think He may have watched us make our plans and smiled and said, ‘Watch Me – I’m going to do something you can’t even begin to imagine’.  It is God who maps out the path we take.  When we follow Him, we can’t go wrong.  We may think we know what’s best but only He can see the road ahead.  He sees the sunshine and the shadows on the road we take and He lights our path.  He shines His light on our dark days and floods our hearts with peace – and we know all is well because He planned that way. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stop! Thief!!

A few days ago as I was getting ready to go out for the morning I quickly slipped a protein bar into my purse.  I take one with me when I go out so I’ll have a bit of nourishment handy if I need something between meals.  I went about the business of getting ready to go, doing little things around the house and taking care of some business.  Shortly before I left the house I realized I needed to eat something so I decided to get the protein bar.  Reaching into the side pocket of my purse where I had put the protein bar – or where thought I had put it - I found it wasn’t there!  Was I having a senior moment again?  I turned my purse around and tried the side pocket on the other side of my purse.  No, not there!  Now what was going on?  Why couldn't I find it?  How could I have missed it?  As I rummaged through all the pockets inside and outside of my purse – and finding nothing – I decided to do something drastic.  I emptied the contents of my entire purse in search of the allusive protein bar.  Nothing!  How could that be?  I was sure I had put it in my purse.  I sat and thought for a minute or two before a sudden realization dawned on me.  The protein bar was gone – and so was someone who had, up until a few minutes ago, been sleeping in the living room.  Now, I was onto something!  I was sure the mystery would soon be solved.

A short walk down the hall to my bedroom was all it took to find what had happened to my protein bar.  I stood at the door into our room and called the suspected culprit’s name.  Slowly, ever so slowly, a tiny bit of a black nose poked out from under our bed.  As I kept calling, the thief crouched close to the ground and, with eyes cast downward, eventually completely emerged from under the bed.  Aha!  Caught!  Sure enough.  With the alleged thief nearby, I lay on the floor and looked under the bed.  Can you imagine what I saw?  Yes – you’re right!  You guessed it.
There - under my bed -  was the wrapper and the missing protein bar.  Partially eaten.  Thoroughly enjoyed, I’m sure.  Now tell me, who would have thought someone this cute could do such a dastardly deed?  How cute this sweet little face be the face of a thief?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


There is a saying around here:  ‘If you don’t like the weather in Oregon – wait five minutes!’  Never was that more true than during the last few days.

My sweetheart and I celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary last weekend.  We slipped away to the place where we spent our honeymoon on the Oregon Coast.  Our days away were just what we needed before we returned to the hectic pace of life.  The entire Oregon Coast is amazingly beautiful but this part of the coast has a special beauty all it’s own.  The weather was ‘crazy’ this weekend.  Most of the time the skies were gray and cloudy.  There were times when the rain seemed to come down by buckets full and the wind blew hard against our window and howled down the fireplace chimney.  We stayed safe and warm and enjoyed the view outside our window.
Then -  suddenly we would be surprised and delighted to see the sun break through the clouds and shine down on us.
The sunshine usually didn’t last long before the clouds returned and brought rain again.  It didn’t matter what happened outside - we enjoyed watching the waves just beyond our deck.
In between the rain and sunshine we had showers of sleet that dropped a slippery, white winter mix of snow and freezing rain pellets on our deck.
Yesterday morning we woke to find that it had begun to snow!
We enjoyed our weekend away.  Just time together - away from the routines of life.  It was exactly what we needed - in one of our favorite places.  The Oregon Coast always seems to ‘call’ to us.  We will return – in the rain, in the sun and, perhaps, in the snow.  No matter what the weather, we will be patient and wait because we know it won't be long and it will change!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Blessed Quietness

Joys are flowing like a river,
Since the Comforter has come;
He abides with us forever,
Makes the trusting heart His home.

Bringing life and health and gladness,
All around this heavenly Guest,
Banished unbelief and sadness,
Changed our weariness to rest.

What a wonderful salvation,
Where we always see His face!
What a perfect habitation,
What a quiet resting place!

Blessed quietness, holy quietness,
What assurance in my soul!
On the stormy sea, He speaks peace to me,
How the billows cease to roll!

(We are at the Oregon Coast for a few days to celebrate our fortieth wedding anniversary – the photo above is the view from our window.  We are enjoying ‘blessed quietness’ – for body and soul.)

Song: ‘Blessed Quietness’
Words by Manie P. Ferguson
Music by: W. S. Marshall

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Word For The Year

Some of my blog friends choose a word to focus on each year.  Their word speaks to their heart.  They keep it in sight through the year with reminders in all sorts of ways. Some of them print and frame their word to keep it in their home – often, they frame Scriptures that feature their word.  I’ve never chosen a word for the year before.  Last year I thought I would but nothing specific came to mind.  When it became a difficult task, I decided it wasn’t going to happen.  This year, however, is quite different.  Over the past several weeks a word has been speaking to me, calling my name, and – at times – has seemed to be flashing like a neon sign in my mind.  I know this word was placed in my heart by God.  He has put it there at times and in ways that I couldn’t miss.  I can’t mistake it – it’s so very real!

The word God has ‘written’ on my heart for 2012 is -
Scriptures and songs of hope fill my heart through the day and I know God has something very special planned for this new year.  My theme verse this year is:
Roman 15-13
My sweetheart and I sense that God has begun to put things in place in our lives for something special He wants to do – in us and through us.  We don’t know what it is, but He knows.  And we know He will be with us wherever leads us.  We may be in training right now – we may be in a ‘waiting’ time.  It may be made very clear to us soon, or it may be sometime farther down the road.  Whatever it is, we are listening for His still, small voice every step of the way.

An old hymn keeps coming to mind and I find myself humming and singing it often.  I’ve known it (and loved it) since I was a small child but, now, the meaning seems to go deeper into my heart every day!
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus' name

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

Quite a few years ago I went through a time when almost everything around me seemed hopeless.  One day when all the circumstances of life seemed impossible, as I was walking through a store, my eyes ‘fell’ on a ceramic magnet.  I stopped and looked closer and tears began to fall.  I knew God was speaking to me right there in the middle of the store.  Somehow I squeezed out enough money to buy the magnet.  A few weeks later when God took us to a new place, one of the first things I did when we started to move into our new home was to put that magnet on my refrigerator.  It’s still on my refrigerator – I see if often.  And I remember what God said that day, in that desperate situation. Times have changed since then but the truth of this verse has not changed at all.  Yesterday I opened the daily devotional book I’ve chosen for this year – and there it was.  Speaking to me again – confirming what God has been whispering to my soul.
Jeremiah 29-11 - 2My heart is full of hope for this new year.  While I don’t know what 2012 will bring my way, I don’t have to know.  I just need to know – and follow – the One Who will walk with me through every minute of every day!

Song: ‘The Solid Rock’
Words by: Edward Mote
Music by: William Bradbury

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year’s Day Prayer

 Open Door
Another year has turned its page, O Lord.

We feel promises about to be fulfilled,
hopes that may be realized,
And sorrows unknown – that may become ours to bear.

All of this, we carry into a New Year.

We declare at the doorway into this year, that our trust is not
In any man or woman to fulfill us,

Nor is our trust in circumstance,
Or a belief that the days ahead will be easy.

We do not expect, in this New Year, for our every prayer
To be answered in a way we would like.
You are in control, and we release our lives to you.

We put our trust in this:
That You who have been with us through this past year,
Will be with us in this New Year.

It is in You, Immanuel, we trust.
If you go ahead of us, we will go;
if you go behind us, we will go.

If you will lead us in a cloud by day,and if you will
Light the night and its shadows with Your fire,
we will faithfully follow.

This is our prayer: In all things that happen this year we ask
That we would be aware of Your presence, O Lord.

In this walk that will always be by faith and not by sight,
Let us perceive Your nearness.

We will stumble and fall,
and we will also succeed and triumph.
We will laugh, and we will also weep.

But in those moments in which we cannot sense You near,
Let us see with the eyes of faith
the marks of Your presence all around us,
Beneath us, carrying us boldly into Your future.

With You we walk, with confidence and trust,
into this New Year.

In Your Name we pray, living Lord Jesus,

poem: ‘With You We Walk’ by Dan Wilt
photo: ‘Open Door’ from Pinterest.com