Sunday, February 26, 2012


When Billy was a little boy, he'd watch his mother - Mama Teal - throw grain to the chickens in the backyard. He would sit on his haunches and observe how the chicks would flock around the mother hen. Whenever dark clouds of a storm gathered and wind would blow, the hen would lift her wing a certain way and her chicks would come running. Her arched wing was their signal that danger was near. She was indicating they should scurry and find safety by her side.
hen with chicks
Jesus, when He looked out over the Holy City, said, "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." Matthew 23:37.

I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Selah; He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection." Psalm 61:4 & 91:4

I choose to run without hesitation and take refuge under the shelter of Your Presence, Jesus. For You are all-wise and trustworthy. You know all things, my future and my path.  I worship You.

When you have 10 minutes to sit back and relax, this is a great little country-chicken video!

(Story above from Joni Eaerkson Tada, Pearl of Great Price)

Saturday, February 25, 2012


All my life I thought Lent was a strange and old Christian custom that had no value to anyone but Roman  Catholic believers.  In school and in my early adulthood I’d hear people say things like, “I’m giving up chocolate for Lent” or “I’m giving up caffeine.” Why give up good things for Lent I’d think?  
"In Jerusalem there are ancient ruins of the High Priest Caiaphas’ quarters.  Outside is a garden with ancient steps leading from the Kidron Valley past the dwelling of the high priest and on into the city.  This is one of the places a believer can go and with certainty know that Jesus walked on those steps.  They were used to bring him before religious leaders who would subsequently get him executed.  The Apostle Peter denied Jesus there.  I lingered at the steps a long time.  I considered my own denials.  The big and small ones.  The way I deny Jesus with my actions and the posture of my heart.  It was a sobering moment to realize Jesus deliberately walked up those steps to his own death on behalf of all of us."
As I consider my little denials and my plausible denials, and frankly the out and out ways I sometimes say, “I don’t know the man,” I consider Lent.  Is giving up chocolate going to right this?  Perhaps like so many traditions we forget why we’re doing them.  Lent is supposed to be a season that leads us to Good Friday.  We sit with the fact that our sin costs something.  It costs us in our families, it costs us in our bodies, it costs us in our soul.  Sin leads to death and if there were ever a day of death it’s Good Friday when the man whom I claim is my very closest friend was executed unfairly in an agony filled bloody gasp.  We’re supposed to sit with that for forty days.  Sin costs something and sin leads to death.  When we realize this we begin to also realize that perhaps our lives have fallen out of alignment with God.  It is from this place that we invite the Holy Spirit to speak of things both good and bad that we’ve allowed to interfere.  It’s those things we lay down for Lent.  Some of these things are actually good things that belong in our lives that we’ve allowed to become more important to us than Jesus.  Things we go to for comfort and life and in doing so deny Him.  During Lent we lay those things down and give God permission to re-integrate them into our lives where they belong.
May this season of Lent be less about lowering our sugar intake and more about setting things right.  Sin leads to death.  Lent leads to Good Friday.  This is what we are to sit with.  But in sitting with the cost of Christ’s suffering we look beyond to Easter when the flash of resurrection fills our lives with hope.  If we embrace Lent and allow Jesus to orient our lives once more, the resurrection will certainly come.
I AM personally WAITING and AWAITING WHAT the LORD IS DOING in my BODY. I'M on an OUTSIDE-THE-AmericanMedicalAssociation-BOX, as I follow JESUS to become FUNCTIONING AGAIN for His Kingdom. As I watch my healing process, waiting for a little while for proof of it's effectiveness, I want to post wise and useful quotes from people I follow or know. Only what would not waste your time. I'll be back with exciting news, I'm quite certain!


"They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. 'Why have we fasted,' they say,' and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?' Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?" --Isaiah 58:3, 6-7

God's heart intent is to alleviate suffering and he is bending over backward to do it. He is moving heaven and earth to dry the tear, lighten the load, ease the burden, mend the marriage, give to the poor, care for the widow, stamp out crime, help the elderly, uphold justice, bandage the battered, and much more. God rallies us to his noble cause, but we often fall behind.

God longs to push back the pain through those who serve as his body, his hands and feet on earth. "He is the head of the body, the church" (Colossians 1:8). And "From him the whole body... builds itself up in love, as each part does its work" (Ephesians 4:15-16).

God has placed his work in your hands and "We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do" (Ephesians 4:15 from The Message). God's directions to us couldn't be clearer. But we hem and haw. This is ironic since so many of us fault Him for allowing suffering to be the world's status quo. (The quo wouldn't be so status if we got off our duffs and followed his lead). Let's change that today!

Lord Christ, you are my head and I take directions from you today - show me how I can partner with you to alleviate suffering in my world.

Joni Eaerkson Tada, Pearls of Great Price

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wait in Expectations

My wiser older friend Helen emailed me a prayer a few days ago from Psalm 5: 

"Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing...I lay my requests before you and wait in expectations".

Waiting in EXPECTATIONS! I love that! Not just waiting because there's little I can do, but waiting on and for the Lord in expectations! Because nothing is impossible with God!

The message in the 2/16 Jesus Calling echoed this exactly:
Thank Me for the conditions that are requiring you to be still. Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again. Some of the greatest works in My kingdom have been done from sick beds and prison cells. Instead of resenting the limitations of a weakened body, search for My way in the midst of these very circumstances. Limitations can be liberating when your strongest desire is living close to Me. 

Quietness and trust enhance your awareness of My Presence with you. Do not despise these simple ways of serving Me. Although you feel cut off from the activity of the world, your quiet trust makes a powerful statement in spiritual realms. My Strength and Power show themselves most effective in weakness.

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength..." 

Isaiah 30:15

With gratitude, help us each wait in expectations for what You want Lord. I choose to not dwell in anxiousness trying to hurry the process, for You know and You are good. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I have loved opening my home and my refrigerator to family, friends, and others over the years. In fact, I've probably even felt pretty good about how I did that and called it a gift.

Gastvrijheid: German for Hospitality....Friendship for the Guest!

So, here I am today. My hospitality as I've known it has dissolved into about nothing. It consists of asking you to bring food and please stay overnight, but clean up your room before leaving, including laundry. It includes an offer to enjoy doing whatever you want, because I may be taking a nap or doing nothing somewhere in the house.

Honestly, I don't like this at all. But I'm being reformed and reshaped by a Potter Who knows what I don't know and has plans for me that I'm unaware of and sees soul-work that requires transforming, One Whom I know I can trust.

Henry Nouwen is teaching me what real hospitality is...."the offering of friendship without binding the guest and freedom without leaving the guest....the creation of the friendly empty space where we can reach out to our fellow human beings and invite them to a new's not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place...not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines...not to lead our neighbor into a corner where there are no alternatives left, but to open a wide spectrum of options for choice and commitment...not an educated intimidation with good books, good stories, and good works, but the liberation of fearful hearts so that words can find roots and bear ample opening of an opportunity to others to find God and their way." (Reaching Out)

My mentor and friend Kay has taught me that to offer hospitality well, one needs to open themselves, not just their homes, to their guests. 

Father, I ask for grace to BE a woman of hospitality. May I not merely offer hospitality at my house, whether meager or bountiful. Thank you for this season of transformation. I take Your yoke upon me again today and learn from you Jesus, the One who is gentle and humble in heart, and I find rest for my soul.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


 We had such a special Valentines Dinner last night,
a day early due to Greg braving out on a short business trip with me home!
I'm so happy he isn't having to wifey-sit for a few days!
This was our romantic setting with the man of my dreams.
It was quite beautiful, even using silver candlesticks given to us by
my sister Susan when we got married 32.5 years ago!

 And on top of that delicious dinner he cooked, Greg surprised me with the most beautiful arrangement of roses I've ever seen!
It's been quite a beautiful thing to watch what's happened in our relationship during this time when I've deeply depended on him and he's sweetly cared for me. 

I'm up to about 50% of myself by the way, thanks to the miracle medication that will carry me until the disease altering drugs works.
 I'm very very thankful to my God of LOVE!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I really, really want to get as well as I can, as soon as I can. But my reasons are changing...

Our pastor preached a motivating sermon today about the gift of the talents the Lord has given each one of us. That the master in the story gave the talents, which were each equivalent to around 1 million of our dollars each, without giving any instructions on how to use them or what to do with them. So the three individual-recipients got to choose what they were going to do. If you know the story, two of them invested them and doubled the money. But one was fearful and hid it under a rock. When the master returned, he was so pleased with the two who invested his money and gave them more to be in charge of. He wasn't so happy with the fearful man who did nothing with the money.

As our pastor preached on, pointing out some key words and phrases in the passage, it became apparent that the master wanted the individuals to use their creativity and initiative to do something good and useful with what they were given. And that these talents were not just given to them. They were "entrusted" to each of them. The master trusted each of these individuals to use and care well for what belonged to him.

All this is so exciting to me! I'm eager to get as well as I can. I have a new earnestness to pray that the Lord heal me however He desires (whatever "healing" looks like to Him). I want to serve. I want to help the hurting. I want to be in people's lives again, but in a new way. And I would like to as soon as He allows me to be able.

Serving would have looked different had my body not become so very sick. I may well have pursued what I thought were great ideas, but without seeking to know my Master's heart for my service. In His great mercy, He halted all my ideas and plans and called me to His side for 4, going on 5 months. What a kind and loving God. How loved I am that He would even bother!

And if He loves me like this, so He loves you! I'm nothing special, except that each of us is special! As my friend Lora once said about herself, meaning it, "I'm God's favorite!" And then said that actually we each are:)

May we each know what's been entrusted to us, use and multiply it for good through our creativity and initiative, and receive the joy that comes only by serving others!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


My body is kind of tough I guess and wants to reject all these nasty chemicals that will help me, but are foreign. So with a pretty big set back today, the Lord has filled me with His joy anyway.

I JUST found what I want to do when I get well. Check it out here. Want to come?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I'm encouraged that my life is going to 80% functionality & probably this week, my dr. said today. That's until the M med fully engages. And I can go off the P med that is a temporary fix so Greg and I can live again. We didn't know that me living at 5% of myself was not normal in this process. I can hardly believe it. I can hardly imagine what having 80% of my function back looks like. I'm.....

Like toast in a toaster
Like a flower ready to bloom
Like a dog being leashed for a walk
Like a bride almost ready for the day
Like a golfer on the tee
Like a car warming up in the garage
Like a friend at the door
Like a daughter on her knees in grateful anticipatory prayer

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


The New Testament instructs us to encourage one another
Encourage one another daily....
Encourage one another and build each other up...
Strengthen and encourage you in your faith...
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us...if it is encouraging, let him encourage.

I was so grateful yesterday thinking about so many loving friends and family. And I am very encouraged to have talked with two women who have walked the journey I am on. There's a different kind of lift from someone who knows as an insider what your process and pain is. And there's peace in grasping the reality of a situation.

Thank you Juli for helping me accept reality, since you've been living with this Rheumatoid Arthritis disease for 15 years. Thank you for the tips about exercising whatever doesn't hurt each day, for pushing to but never into the pain, for letting whatever joint is acting up rest until it subsides, for the Tylenol bedtime tip, for the attitude check, and for the hope that I will be functional in time, even if it's the end of 2012.

Thank you Ken for talking with Greg, since you've cared for your wife in various capacities for what, 10-15 years with her serious arthritis disease? Thank you for helping him understand that we're on a long road, and it's ok.

Thank you Marcia for confirming that I'm not crazy by telling me this blog is your story too. For assuring me the pain is accurately described. I have felt like such a whiner!

Thank you John Stumbo for telling me not to let this illness define me, because it's not what or who I am.

Thank You Father for knowing all about this, numbering my days, always being with me, and having enough of your unmerited favor to help me live each day well. I can't sit around and wait for my life to reappear. This IS my life.

Monday, February 6, 2012


My sweet friend Bonnie asked me a question this weekend that I've been pondering. She asked me to teach her how to walk alongside me with this disease. What a meaningful thing to ask.

It's an important question because everyone at some point, and many at this moment (more than we know) are hurting. Pain clearly comes in so many forms - physical issues, whether temporary or long-term, emotional trauma or hurt, spiritual pain.... But I think there can be commonalities between the pain, this pain that shifts with time.

  • The pain and situation may be out of your control
  • You have no answers
  • The end is not in sight 
  • You don't know who to go to for help
  • You don't know how to best cope
  • You find yourself in a dark and depressing place
  • You're exhausted from the pain
  • You're confused
  • You're consumed by your stuff
  • You have found yourself suddenly in a very unfamiliar place with no known paths
  • You are desperate to get out
  • The situation goes on and on
  • The work needed to move forward takes much effort and time, even if that "work" is resting

From my limited but rich experience with loving friends and family, I'll share the little things that have encouraged me. Thank you, all you loving friends for your expressions and examples of love to me!  This blog today is for all of us!

  • Ask your friend how she is doing, and mean it....listen (Thanks Bonnie and Michelle)
  • Zip a text message that says you're praying for her (Thanks Lora and Michelle)
  • Zip a text message that says you've been thinking of her (Thanks Sue & Debbie)
  • Send a sweet or funny card, snail mail. It's so wonderful to find that treasure amidst the throw-away mail and bills (Thanks Debbie, Diane, Linda, Lora, Kathy)
  • If you know of a good book that is easy to read and an encouraging story, mail it Getting your mind off yourself and onto encouragement is a delight. But not a how-to book. (Thanks Jana, Mark&Deb, Sue). 
  • Talk about yourself - not non-stop, but some! Like I said, thinking about another person's life is so good.
  • Send this person a prayer request from you. What a joy to pray for someone else. (Thanks Jean & Bonnie)
  • Try not to offer to do something you feel you 'should do' for that friend. Especially if you can't realistically make it happen. Your really good intention could accidentally hurt fragile feelings, even tho' she'll understand your conflict.
  • If something comes to your mind for that friend, do it! She'll love it! (Thanks Debbie)
  • If you have time, call and tell her you want to come clean her refrigerator or cooktop, or change her sheets, or give her a manicure, or...the list is unending. If your friend is a 'she' and her 'he' is picking up the slack, chances are she could use some help like that.
  • If you like touch, gently rub her legs (if she's lying down). (Thanks Bonnie)
  • Or ask her if and where she's hurting physically and if you could gently give her a mini-massage
  • Spur of the moment need for a long conversation. (Thanks Jana)
  • Leave a message if she doesn't pick up. It's so fun to see a name and hear a VM.
  • If convenient, ask if you can visit at a particular time (or find a mutually good time). Your gentle and peaceful company will be a joy. (Thanks Cindy)
  • If you know what she can and does eat, bring her something you like in that category
  • This doesn't work in most people's busy lives, but if possible with you and there's a need, relieve the spouse of some of the new responsibilities with a 1/2 day, 1 day, or overnight visit. Be sure to come "all inclusive" so she doesn't need to take care of you. (Thanks bunches Diane!)
Ok, so there are some ideas for all of us! Let's keep our eyes out for whom the Lord will show us could use a little lovin' from us this week!

Friday, February 3, 2012


"Often we want to be able to see into the future. We say, 'How will next year be for me? Where will I be five or ten years from now?' There are no answers to these questions. Mostly we have just enough light to see the next step: what we have to do in the coming hour, or the following day. The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. When we are able to take the next step with the trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go. Let's rejoice in the little light we carry and not ask for the great beam that would take all shadows away." Henry Nowen, THE DANCE OF LIFE

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I never knew how wonderful getting a cold or the flu was to me. It came, made me feel crummy, and then left me feeling fine again. But this is so different, that I don't know what to do with it. It hit me as fast as the stomach flu, displaying itself at first in significant pain in my hands and wrists. But over four months later, it's still circulating around my body head to toe, having settled in in one-half dozen spots, but showing up here and there as it wishes. I know how to deal with a "bug." I have little over-the-counter med tricks. salt water gargles, and other things that help it move through as quickly as possible. My life is minimally interrupted. But unless a person has lived with chronic, disabling pain, it's a brand new world.

So, what to do with it? That's what I'm seeking to know. Sometimes it's to reach and grasp hard God's strength, and just try to endure it. Sometimes, when the roar of pain has settled down as an ongoing drone in the background, I realize how sick my body really is and sense the war going on inside - my body attacking my body. Who will win? "Give me an M!" That stands for the big-gun, disease-altering drug I've had four doses of, and which I understand my dr. will up in a week since it's not working yet.

And yet I remember, when I'm tempted to trust too much in the medications and the doctor, that I have a most powerful "M".........
Mighty God
Majestic One
Merciful Savior
Miracle Worker
Most High God

In Him will I worship. In Him I will trust. He has the answers, every one of them. He will reveal to me what I need to know when I need to know it. I can live in the question and know that it's alright.