A Handful of Quietness


 

Today I picked up a little giggle. I held it for a moment and then tossed it to my 6-year-old granddaughter. She looked at it for a little while and then tossed it high into the air. It grew into a laugh. We tossed it around and around the room, its sweet sound echoing off the walls. It became a big belly laugh, and it was too big to toss. We plopped down onto the floor and let it settle down on us. We laughed and laughed and laughed until we were too tired to laugh any more. The laugh turned back into a giggle and lay softly beside us. After a few moments, the giggle became a smile. I had one and my granddaughter had one, so we shared.

The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the swing set was calling our names.  We went outside and took our smiles with us.  It wasn’t long before our smiles became giggles! They even morphed into belly laughs at times, so we had to hold on tight to our swings.  Our laughter sat on the bare tree branches, it floated on the gentle breeze, and bounced off the sunbeams.  It filled our hearts with joy.

After she went home, I was tired.  I sat down and put my feet up, and I noticed a handful of quietness beside me.  I picked it up.  It was soft like a dandelion puff, and it had the sweet aroma of lavender.  I wanted to share my quietness, so I got down on my knees and gave it to God.

Psalm 46:10  “Be still and know that I am God…”  I closed my eyes and held my little puff of quietness.  I felt the sweet spirit of God settle over me.  His gentle spirit calmed the rivers of my life so that no ripples remained.  I felt complete in His presence for I am His and He is mine.  Forever.

Matthew 28:11 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Here is a link to a beautiful song by Kari Jobe.  I pray it will give you rest.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35WOSrfT7Cw

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My Gnat Farm


Scripture for the day:  Romans 15:7 “Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.”

I love fresh herbs!  They make food taste amazing, and they are far superior to their dried cousins.  It is winter, however.  All my beautiful herbs are either fast asleep or dead in my garden.  Not to worry!  I bought a basil plant and uprooted a tarragon clump from the garden.  I bought a small bag of Miracle Gro soil, found a couple of pots and behold:  an indoor herb garden, growing happily in a sunny window with fluorescent lights as needed.

Everything about my little windowsill garden seemed perfect until I noticed gnats swarming around my basil.  I decided to check the bag of soil, and sure enough.  Inside the bag gnats were swarming.  Is that the “miracle” inside every bag of Miracle Gro?  Do they secretly tuck a gnat farm in every bag they sell?  Hmmm.  Not to worry.  I can live with a few gnats if necessary in order to enjoy fresh basil and tarragon.

I’m thinking today about all the wonderful people in my life.  Admittedly, some of them came with a few gnats, little quirks that I find annoying.  Some even came with a whole gnat farm just like my windowsill garden.  And then there is me.  Gnats galore!

I am so happy with my basil and tarragon that I don’t mind the gnats.  I even say good morning to them when I turn on the light.  I accept them, embrace them if that is part of the joy of having fresh basil.

Christ died on a cross to save me.  He accepted me into His kingdom and He loves me, gnats and all.  I didn’t have to get rid of the gnats before He accepted me.  Thank goodness.  I can’t figure out how to get rid of gnats.  Period.

So may I accept those God places in my life.  May I love them, encourage them, help them to grow and thrive.  May I ignore the gnats, accept them as being a part of my relationship with that person.  May I always see the good in the person and ignore a few pesky gnats, just as Christ did for me.

Song for the day:  “Your Grace Still Amazes Me” by Phillips, Craig and Dean

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXVUYC_ykwE

His grace amazes me, and He loves me, gnats and all.

Remembering Lorna


Scripture for the day:  Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

I was an only child, but I was blessed with many cousins.  They were all a big part of my life, but some were closer than others.  I was very close to two sisters.  They lived in Kansas, so I only saw them on holidays as a rule.  Every summer, however, we met at my grandparents house and spent a week together.  I treasure those memories!  My grandmother cooked for us and played with us.  She always had a smile or a laugh, no matter what shenanigans we were up to!  The one thing that she didn’t tolerate, however, was jumping on the feather bed.  We knew this, but couldn’t resist the forbidden fruit occasionally.  I think we enjoyed getting caught as much or more than the jumping because it reinforced boundaries and her love for us.  My grandfather was a great story-teller, and he knew lots of silly songs.  We delighted in sitting around him listening to him sing and tell stories. We also learned to make a wide path around a one-pound Folger’s coffee can.  He chewed tobacco, and that coffee can was his spittoon!  We considered it gross then, and my opinion hasn’t changed over the years.

We wrote letters to each other in between visits, and we sent cartoons clipped from the paper.  Giggling and laughter were our specialties, and that is what I remember most.  We were one year apart in age, with Lorna being the oldest, me in the middle, and Linda the youngest.  They always wanted me in the middle of everything, and I loved that.  They were the closest thing I had to sisters, and I treasured both of them.

Sadly, Linda died of ovarian cancer in her 20’s.  The cancer was discovered when her son was delivered, and there was nothing doctors could do to save her.  When I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008, it was a different scenario.  Treatment options had changed tremendously, and I am living proof of that.  Diagnosis was still difficult almost 40 years later, but survival rates had improved.

Lorna’s battle was with breast cancer, and she fought long and hard.  She called a few times when she was having a pity party, but for the most part she was a brave and beautiful warrior.  Lorna was a Proverbs 31 woman.  She loved her family, her friends, but most of all she loved Jesus.  She served Him faithfully until the end, and I know she is with Him today.

I miss Linda and Lorna terribly, but I also know I will see them again some day.  I imagine we will have our own corner in Heaven where we can laugh, giggle and remember.  That comforts me, but Heaven can wait.  I  am still here, and I have a story to tell.  Even though I tested negative for the BRCA mutation, I feel there is a genetic link.

I’m glad I had ovarian cancer!  Now my daughter and my granddaughters are aware of the beast who hides silently in the darkness.  They have partnered with me to raise awareness, but they are also alert to the possibility in their own lives.  My cancer served a purpose.  God had a plan!  My suffering was worthwhile.

I’m celebrating Lorna’s birthday in my heart today.  She would have been 71, and she would have made the day special for all those around her.  I am remembering a beautiful woman who was a part of me for so many years.  She lives on in my heart and in the hearts of her family.

Save me a place in the corner, Lorna!  Give Linda a hug!  I’ll see you again one day!  Happy birthday!

 

Can’t Stand? Kneel


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Scripture for the day:  Isaiah 25:4a “for you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.”

My family and I participated in a walk to raise awareness of ovarian cancer this weekend.  It was a beautiful day, and it was nice to be part of something much larger than our small story.  Some ladies were in wheelchairs, but they were there.  Some were obviously weak, struggling, but they were there.  Many were in the process of undergoing treatment, and many were in remission.  Family and friends who had been there for us when we were fighting for our lives were there to support us.  We were all there under God’s blue sky with a common goal:  to raise awareness about a disease that had almost cost us our lives.

As a survivor, I was given a “goody bag” to take home.  When I opened the bag, one thing in particular stood out to me.  It was a teal and white card that read:

When life is too much to stand . . . kneel

I think most of the ladies there yesterday have known those days.  For all of us, there were times when we wondered if we would make it.  There were days when life was too much to stand.  It was in those moments that I knelt before my God and simply gave the pain, the fear, the doubt to Him.  I found power in Him when I was too weak to stand.  He changed me.  He changed what I was feeling even though the circumstance was the same.  His love gave me peace.  He gave me hope.  I could almost feel His loving arms hold me close and help me stand.

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I will keep the sweet memory of this weekend.  I will treasure the feel of sunshine on my face;fr_1183 the gentle breeze; the love of family; being with other families who understand what a cancer diagnosis means.  But I also give yesterday to Jesus because I know it happened through His grace.  He was there for me in the pain, and so I also give Him the joy of Saturday.

He was my shelter from the storm.  When the giant waves crashed around me, threatening to take me under, He was there to keep me safe.  He is with me now  as I walk through the quiet, peaceful waters of remission.  No matter what life brings my way, Jesus is beside me.  I give Him praise, honor and glory in everything.

Song for the day:  “On My Knees” by Jaci Velasquez

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By-8BN316mM 

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month


Ovarian cancer crept into my life undetected.  It simply moved into my body and made a home.  I don’t know how long it had been there before it was diagnosed.  Years, maybe.  It stole life as I knew it.

I was diagnosed almost five years ago, and I am in remission now.  I want to honor women who are still fighting, remember those who have lost their battle, and give other women the tools to recognize this silent killer.  September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.  Please join me in sharing this information with the women you love.  Maybe together we can save a life.

Here are a few facts:

Ovarian cancer has the highest mortality rate of all gynecological cancers, and is the 5th leading cause of cancer deaths in US women.  Two out of three women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will die, and that hasn’t changed for three decades.

There are no reliable screening tests for ovarian cancer.  A pap smear detects cervical cancer, not ovarian.  CA 125 blood tests and ultrasounds can detect ovarian cancer but usually not when it is Stage I and easily treated.  Most ovarian cancers are Stage III or IV before they are detected.  Stage I ovarian cancer (which I had) has a 94% chance of long-term survival.  However, more than 70% of women aren’t diagnosed until it is Stage III or IV, and only 18 to 45% will live another 5 years.

All women are at risk for ovarian cancer but most women diagnosed are 60 or older.

Ninety percent of ovarian cancers are sporadic — no genetic pre-disposition or family history.  (That was true in my case, and I tested negative for the BRCA gene.)

Ovarian cancer remains underfunded, especially given its high mortality rate.

BEATgraphic 9:1

 

 

September 3 is “Teal Day”.  Please join me in wearing teal that day to help raise awareness of this deadly disease.

You’re Home!


Scripture for the day:  John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  

Two scriptures about God’s love for me.  There are many more, but I chose these two.  God loves me!  He sent His Son to die on a cross to save me.  He wants me to have abundant life!  Wow.

I’m thinking today about what makes me happy in this life. I remember the joy I felt when my children were born.  I was so happy I thought I might explode!  Then came grandchildren.  All the love I felt for my daughter and my son got multiplied many times over in their children.

I have had a very special relationship with each of my granddaughters.  We have special days together without mom and dad when I just focus on them.  They delight in my attention, and I love our interaction.  On that one day I try to make them feel special.  We have special food that they choose.  We do special things together.  They are the focus of that day.  They beam!  They shine!  They love their special days, and so do I.  My love for them is unconditional, and I show that love by giving them all of me.

There are looks on the face of a child that amaze and delight.  There’s the “Get up!  Get up!  It’s Christmas morning” look.  There’s the “It’s my birthday!  I’m five years old” look.  There’s the “Yum!  Chocolate chip cookies” look.  And the always-wonderful “Mommy!  You’re home” look.

So much love.  Utter joy.  Complete happiness.  I think that is the look I am going to see on Jesus’ face when I get to Heaven.  I think there’s going to be that moment when our eyes meet and He says “My beloved!  You’re home!”  It will be better than all my special days all rolled into one.

The God of the universe loves me.  I am His, and He is mine.  Oh, what a day that will be!

Song for the day:  “Face to Face with Christ, My Savior”

“ . . . face to face in all His glory, I shall see Him by and by!”

A Gathering of Grands


Scripture for the day:  Luke 15:4-7 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it.  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”

We had a “gathering of grands” on Saturday.  Well, okay, adults were here, too, but I always focus on little people and animals.  It’s just the way I am, but I digress.  I delighted in watching my 17-year-old and my 5-year-old swing.  The chatter was constant, with giggles thrown about like confetti.  Their imaginations were soaring as high as their swings, and I heard aliens were somehow involved.  I delighted in having them here, roaming through my house and around my yard at will.  My 13-year-old granddaughter arrived with her parents a little later, and we took up where we left off last week with laughter and easy banter.  We joked and teased each other, and added another great page to our memory book.

It was a wonderful day, but something was missing.  My oldest granddaughter has gone to college, and so she wasn’t with us.  A “first”, but not one I am real wild about.  She isn’t “lost” like the sheep in the parable.  I knew where she was, and I knew she was fine.  But I missed her!  My flock was minus one, and the little spot in my heart that only she can fill was empty.  I sent her a text telling her I missed her, and I know I will see her soon.  She just wasn’t a part of our day, and it felt wrong.

It made me think of this parable about the lost sheep and how God must feel when one of his flock is not there.  I once walked away from God’s flock, and I know there was rejoicing when I returned.  I felt His tender embrace, welcoming me home again, loving me more than I can comprehend.

May I feel sad today for just one lost sheep.  May I weep with Jesus over that one lost soul.  May I share Christ or just be an example of Jesus to another person so that maybe they will turn from their sin and accept Him.

I know I will see my granddaughter again soon.  I also know I will have her in heaven with me one day.  But I have other family members who are not saved.  May I be in prayer for them today.

Song for the day:  “Reach” by Peter Furler

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsV_9088CEc

I love this song!  He reaches for me!  So many people in this world, but He calls my name.  I’ll never be the same!

 

 

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