Perfect Peace

 

Isa 26:3, (NKJV): You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

 

I have been living in circumstances that required me to cry out to God. This week, a close relative needed surgery to save his life and the doctors were not optimistic of the outcome. Lots of people prayed for him and he came through the procedure with a bit less needing to be done than they anticipated. Now, he needs to heal up after the invasion to his system.

 

My daughter and son and her four children came down to visit and before long they showed symptoms which included fever. One had strep throat, another an ear infection, the next-possibly strep throat, and the next-a sinus infection. The youngest child didn’t get better once on the antibiotic and his fever spiked to 102.9 degrees Fahrenheit. When the on-call doctor returned our telephone call, she wasn’t worried even though 103.5 is dangerous. She said, “I’m more concerned that you keep him hydrated.”

 

So, we gave him sips of water or juice or bites of frozen fruit juice confections every fifteen minutes and put a cold wash cloth on his forehead. She washed down his chest and back with cool water and we kept praying. His cheeks were bright red and his big brown eyes looked dully at us, all glassy. She’d text people to pray and I’d text others to pray as well. Finally, after a few hours, the fever broke.

 

This morning, the oldest came down with a fever, but just like he was all week, while everyone else suffered, he seems fine. The four other adults seem to be okay, although I have to admit, I’m praying for all of us to stay okay, and I’m drinking echinacea tea at least once a day.

 

My sister is moving out tonight after all these months. I don’t think she’ll miss all the noise. She’s single and a houseful of adults and children can strain the nerves when you’re a senior citizen. I remember when we all moved in with my father-in-law when we were selling a house and waiting to close on the next home. He and his house mate got stretched at times. We had four children at the time, although our oldest son was on his own then.

 

As I’ve dealt with the stresses of illness and new ministries and friends that are hurting and other things, I got reminded that if I’ll turn to God and rest in His promises and continually forgive those that offend and ask forgiveness of those that I offend, things work out according to God’s good purposes. He is kind and caring and has taken care of everything we’ve had need of, continuously.

 

I’m off to church for Celebrate Recovery. If you are feeling overwhelmed, I pray you’ll seek God. He is faithful, even if sometimes He says wait or no.

 

My youngest grandson is almost back to normal, a little less energetic than normal and they’re all taking a long nap now.

 

May God bless you!

 

 

 

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Scurrying Fast and Furious

I’ve been like a hamster let out of its cage with bits of hamster food here, there and cast afar with me scurrying fast and furious.Marshmallow's Avatar

Running to appointments for me and my sister, shopping for better footwear to satisfy the doctor so I’ll have the correct support, and writing articles with a January 10 deadline.

(Pro 11:29): (ESV):  Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.

Unfortunately, I didn’t read my Bible early in the day and all my best laid plans got set aside so I could do the urgent instead of including the necessary habits that help my house stay in shape.

Thankfully, my husband and my sister helped so the place didn’t fall apart, but I felt like I took some major steps backwards.

Now, I’ll wait months to find out if the articles get accepted or not.

We’ve also been getting ready to start the new ministry at our church. We may get a man from a Bible College near a city north of us to give a teaching one night on overcoming hurts, habits and hang ups.

Is your new year a hasty pursuit of new responsibilities and endeavors? Or has it remained the same as last year and you’re content with it? Or none of the above?

I started reading through the Bible in a year again, but I never seem to stay perfectly on course. It’s amazing when I read things I’ve read before – maybe many times and get to see something I’ve never seen before.

My sister started as well, and she never realized Abraham got married to Keturah after Sarah died.

I hope you are staying safe and well if you’re in a place expecting severe storms as we are in New York State.

May God bless you!

 

 

Driving for Changes

Landscape, Vineyards, Windräderhttps://pixabay.com/en/landscape-vineyards-windr%C3%A4der-2930996/

I drove North to a city today to pick up my sister from the hospital. She is so much better than she was a week ago.

I wondered if she knew me last week. Nope. She remembered me telling her my daughter’s name and asking if she knew her.

My sister has a black eye today she didn’t have yesterday. She said they gave her quite a bit of heparin and the corner of her eye has been itching, so as she scratched it, it bruised. Same with her arm. That’s a medication that thins the blood to prevent blood clots. She told me the heparin will wear off over time. Praise God.

I was so blessed to have clear roads. The sky was jam-packed with clouds. I heard that city is going to be hit with snow tomorrow. I’m glad I picked her up today.

When we got ready to leave the hospital, I told my sister how kind the social worker and her nurse were. She thought those who work with people in a medical setting who don’t care deeply for others burn out and quit within two years.

She’s been a medical secretary for years and she’s my go to person when I don’t understand blood work numbers or a diagnosis or medicine.

I’m so glad God spared her life from the diabetic ketoacidosis which almost killed her. On a selfish note, I’m glad to be able to stay home and get ready for Christmas, Lord willing.

It is an adventure following God. My days completely change on occasion and I’ll sense God’s Spirit whispering, “I’ve got this.”

Other times, a tiny thought, “You don’t have to worry.”

I hope you’re well. May God bless you!

I Thought You Were Cleaning Today?

Colossians 3:23, (NKJV), “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the LORD and not to men,” is my focus this week.

 

I’ve come to realize something that I didn’t easily embrace today. When you schedule cleaning and tell your spouse, when he needs to shop near the mall and that entails a nice long drive together and usually lunch at a restaurant, the cleaning overrides the outing.

 

When I asked if he could wait for me after Bible study and a quick oil change, his response-“I thought you were cleaning today.”

 

“Yes, I am.”

Image result for lady cleaning house pictureshttp://www.dreamhomecleaners.info/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Cleaning-Lady.png

 

I remember meeting people for a meal after a meeting and one of the attendees, an organized gal, didn’t show up. I kept watching the door for her and finally she arrived just in time to place her order before the waitress left. “Where were you?” I asked.

 

“My car got filthy so I ran it through the car wash.”

 

I remember being surprised. She lives in a rural area with the nearest car wash twenty minutes away. Her house sets back from an unfinished road that gets stones applied when the town gets around to it. So, I understood but at the time it wouldn’t have occurred to me to take advantage of the gap in time.

 

Other times, I’ve invited her to go places with only a little forewarning and she sticks to her agenda no matter how enticing the opportunity. She keeps the results of her plans in mind and carries through.

 

When my youngest sister asked me to go to a play with her, years ago, her treat, I’d hesitate. She’d get frustrated when I’d say, “I’m not sure if I can make it.
Back then, I didn’t have a planner. I was aware of responsibilities hanging over my head that she didn’t understand. She was single. I needed to consider my husband’s and my kids’ schedules as well as my own.

 

“Just make a decision!”

 

So, with no chance to check with others, I missed more than one off-Broadway plays with her.

 

I like getting more organized, but it’s a shift in thoughts and actions. I watch YouTube videos with organizing tips on them and one night I said, “Enough!”

 

I looked over at my husband and his eyes were glazed over, poor guy.

 

Monday morning, I asked him a question about one of the organizers’ suggestions and he said, “I don’t want to talk about it, just do what you’re going to do.”

 

Later, I gave him more details and he said, “Don’t paint during the cold weather season, you hate the smell of paint.”

 

I know that about paint fumes, I just thought if we closed the door and avoided the room for a while, it wouldn’t be too bad.

 

Timing in communication in marriage is everything some days. Proverbs 25:11, (KJV), says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

 

I’m spending 15 minutes or more this week on one room that got messy and the organizer said to do it up nice as you de-clutter. That’s what got me thinking of painting one of the next rooms on my list. Every room has some clutter, but the one I’m working on got away from me. I plan to finish it by Saturday and the finishing touch will be to make curtains from fabric I bought in the past.

 

May God bless you!

Visiting a Friend

I had a chance to visit a friend today and I took her sister along, because she doesn’t drive. This is my second time in a few months going to see this lady who used to attend our church. She lives in another town now after experiencing a stroke. She worked hard to get into an apartment. With the help of a couple of aids, she’s able to manage. She even hopes to continue to improve enough to get her car back. She said today that when her health returns she won’t need workers to come to her home for help with household and personal assistance. I think she’ll miss these people, but she won’t mind being independent again. I think she has some time before she’s self-sufficient again.

I got to know her sister better this time. In the book, Univited by Lysa TerKeurst, published by Thomas Nelson with their imprint Nelson Books, Nashville, TN which was copyrighted in 2016, there is a section on page 228 entitled, ‘What’s It Like to Do Life with Me? Assessment.”

I told the ladies in our Bible study that they might want to take advantage of that segment and since it sounded personal to go ahead and do it at home. I fully intended to go through it. Maybe subconsciously I didn’t want to do that, I don’t know. It’s been months.

Today, with my friends’ sister, I could see that she acted exactly the same way I do at times. This morning, my husband pointed out some things I do way differently than he does. He didn’t criticize; he just talked about the traits and said he didn’t understand the reasoning. For instance, “Why do you take the long slower route to see the lake when you’ve seen it so much already?”

Then I got thinking about the chapter or the addendum at the end of Mrs. TerKeurst’s book, and I thought maybe God wants me to look at the questions and ponder what life looks like with me to my husband. I’ve heard it said many times that God loves us too much to leave us the same.

When I consider God’s rules, I can see that people around me and I will benefit if I follow His commands. Sometimes it’s easier to say, “Yes, Lord,” than at other times. The result is always the same. When I get around to doing it His way, there is peace, joy and satisfying results. Usually, I receive some kind of blessing I didn’t expect afterwards, too. Not that I can predict what God will do. I know Jesus says in the Gospel of John that if we love Him we will obey Him.

My husband tells me and others that he used to do things right for his parents because he wanted to please them. He loved them and respected them. He wasn’t afraid of his folks, although his dad disciplined and he didn’t want to be at the receiving end of that action. His dad used corporal punishment, but he never went overboard.

Well, I’m not going to look into what it’s like to live with me for a couple of weeks at least. I have company coming and I want to get ready for them. I think I’ll put it in my planner for a quiet day when I find a few moments alone.

I hope to see another gal in July. We spoke on the phone last week. It can be months or years apart between seeing my friend, depending on lots of things. There are a handful that are so deep in my heart, it’s as if we were never apart.

I hope you are well. May God bless you.

What Really Happened?

I intended to write some true stories of how God intervened in the lives of people we’re getting to know. We drove with them to a Celebrate Recovery meeting on Friday night.

It occurred to me that she is a writer and she just got some things published. So I’ll ask her first before I write stories that belong to her family.

Years ago, my youngest sister used to tell me why she believed in God. One of the reasons was because she experienced Him keeping her safe. I’ll tell one time here.

One Sunday afternoon after a family meal, she pulled me aside. “Guess what God did for me?”

“I don’t know, what?”

“Sue and I were driving down the road and it had that black ice on it that’s hard to see. Our car started spinning out of control!”

I thought, Uh oh!

“Somehow the car ended up in the other lane facing oncoming traffic!”

“Oh, man! What happened?”

“We couldn’t do anything so I started calling out, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!’ ”

She took a deep breath, her brown eyes sparkled. “Connie, I can hardly believe this, but it was like a big hand lifted our car into the other lane and turned us in the right direction.”

“What did Sue think about it?”

She looked at me with sad eyes and said, “She doesn’t believe it.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know,” she spoke softly. Then her voice rose, “but I’ll never forget it for as long as I live. One minute our car is out of control on the ice and we stop facing traffic. The next second we’re out of the path of danger and our car is heading west instead of east. You explain it.”

I shrugged my shoulders. She shook her head decisively. “It was Jesus. I called on His name and He saved us.”

I smiled and she smiled. Then she strode out of the room. I thought about my sister-in-law, Sue, two people in the same situation reaching opposite conclusions. I never got to ask Sue about it. I don’t think she heard much about God as she grew up. She might have been 20 years old at the time.

I wonder what she would say now.

I hope you’re enjoying your weekend. May God bless you!

 

Decisions, Decisions

I remember back in the day, my youngest sister, unmarried with a good job, she’d call me and say “I want to go see a play. Will you let me treat you? I want to go on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. What do you say?”

I would think about leaving my husband alone with the kids when I knew he’d be tired. I’d think of leaving him when he was working lots of hours, so I didn’t see him that much. I’d think that I didn’t get out a lot because we had four kids, and we had chosen for me to be a stay-at-home mom. The next thing I knew, she’d be saying, “Connie, do you want to go or not?”

I’d tell her I wanted to go, but I wasn’t sure. Sometimes she’d get mad and say call me when you know. Other times she’d get mad and say, “Just make a decision!”

There are times when it’s so easy to make a decision, and then there are times when options need to be weighed and it’s not a split second choice.

She would get over her anger, but I don’t remember going to any plays with her. She had other sisters and friends to choose from.

Being single, what she didn’t realize was the commitments I had to fulfill. If she came over to visit and I needed to do laundry, she sometimes resented it if I took time to fold laundry while we chatted. Over the years we both grew up and became less selfish.

The last decision I made concerning her was to head home early after a visit with her. She wasn’t well and I felt the pressure of the Christmas holidays. I wanted to get my cards in the mail. She had a contagious disease and so I stayed in the doorway to her room, although my other sister told me it wasn’t that serious and she was seated closer by her.

Later that day, she fell and ended up in the hospital. Christmas Day I went to see her with my youngest daughter. My youngest brother joined us, which was a treat and we even spent the day with him and his family since we’d made such a long drive. My husband had plans he didn’t want to change and I was fine with that.

The nurse contradicted the doctor that called me in the middle of Christmas Eve night. He said she was not going to be around for long, thus, our last minute decision to head north.  The nurse said my sister always pulled through. She had many close calls over the years.

About a week later, my baby sister decided she’d worked hard enough to try and pull her body through the diseases that tormented her. She told us she was ready to go see Jesus, her Lord and Savior. How I wanted her to hang around. But it became apparent to me that I was being selfish. I think my other younger sister pointed that out to me. Who am I to determine if someone should relax and let God take them? I can encourage that someone to fight and pray and hold on, but God and they have the final say.

So, I told her goodbye with a roomful of people that loved her, including some of the hospital personnel that got to know her well from her many times with them. One lady told us that my sister was very courageous.

I love the fact that Jesus said in John 14 that we have a place in heaven for us when our time on earth is done. Here is a section of  John 14:  John 14:1, (ESV)  “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

Joh 14:2  In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

Joh 14:3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Joh 14:4  And you know the way to where I am going.”

Joh 14:5  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

Joh 14:6  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Joh 14:7  If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Joh 14:8  Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

Joh 14:9  Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Joh 14:10  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

Joh 14:11  Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

Joh 14:12  “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

Joh 14:13  Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Joh 14:14  If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

As we saw our family member at the end of her life, we asked Jesus to relieve her pain and to take her home. He did. I will see her again.

1Co 15:53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
1Co 15:54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
1Co 15:55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Co 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

May God bless you!

Wham!

Life surprises me every once in a while. I coast along and then Wham!

My husband and I drove to Rochester, NY for our 40th wedding anniversary. I wanted to drive to Brockport State College to reminisce about our meeting there and falling in love there. 🙂 Which we did.

My sister, Barb asked me to call her on Sunday night. I almost put her off until Monday night since we’d be home then. Now I’m glad I didn’t.

She got ketoacidosis which placed her in ICU on Monday afternoon. Diabetes got out of control with a lack of insulin input so her body looked for fat for nourishment. It poured out of storage and the lack of insulin made it indigestible so her blood got hit with toxins, from what I understand.

Four days later she’s beginning to talk a bit. This is a woman with a verbal flair.

I thank God for the many people praying and for her recovery. She began with a blood sugar count over a thousand when one hundred plus is the preferred range. Her blood pressure dropped to 80/35, way too low.

Thank God for her friend Karen finding her, for medical help in Austin, TX – she’s at Seton – and for all the people praying. God has heard your prayers and she’s on her way. Blood sugar and blood pressure is much, much better. Her kidneys are beginning to improve.

Thank You, Jesus.

Traveling through New York State

Image result for catskill mountains

My husband and I drove through the Southern Tier to get to Poughkeepsie, NY last week to go to a conference there. The Catskill Mountains towered over our small sedan. Many of the cities end with the word kill. I searched the web to find that “kill” at the end of a location refers to a body of water, like a creek and is from the Dutch influence in America.

We ate a great sub soon after we entered Fishkill, NY. Sal’s Pizzeria and Restaurant caught our eye. We both ordered eggplant subs, mm good. Friendly service made the stop worth making and bears repeating if we head that way again.

Craig and I order the same thing at Rico’s Pizza shop in the Southern Tier and their’s is excellent, too.

This is my season to get around. Craig and I went to Buffalo to see our daughter, the grandkids, our son and my two sisters. One of my sisters moved to TX shortly thereafter. I wanted to see her before she headed to warmer climates. I admit, I cried a bit at the idea of her being gone. Part of the reason is because my youngest sister died almost a year and a half ago, so my siblings feel more precious to me.

Sometimes I take family for granted. As a Christian, I have brothers and sisters in Christ that I rub shoulders with on a daily basis, so maybe that’s why I lose track of the real deal when life gets busy.

But there’s something about blood relatives with the same history, some of the same memories, different slants on shared events. It adds a deeper dimension of relationship, a richer hue from the artist’s palette, so to speak.

I love every one of my brothers and sisters even though we’re separated by miles and sometimes philosophies. They show their love for me in kindness and hospitality.

One of my siblings offered me a trailer to move into if ever I found myself in need of a home. Tears welled up at the thought of his caring attitude. He has family of his own to support sometimes.

Whenever I feel anxious about the economy, God often reminds me, “Trust Me.”

There are many promises in the Bible of God’s provision for those who love Him and seek Him. With His help, I do love Him and seek Him, as imperfect as I am.

I thank Him for my flesh and blood family, for my siblings and mentors in Christ.

If you haven’t expressed love and appreciation and possibly forgiveness to your family and friends, don’t waste another day. It’s worth the time, it’s worth any uncomfortable feelings.

When you do, the results are up to others and God,  but you’ll know you did your best and that will give you peace.

Did I mention I’m heading to Buffalo the day after returning home from Poughkeepsie for eight days? New York State is diverse. Not a hill to be seen in the Buffalo neighborhood.

God bless!

Seeing Those You Love

Have you ever noticed in life that we can get so busy we think we’ll see those that we love another time?

I made an appointment in a nearby city for June 1, thinking I’d be sure and see my sister. She has decided to move to TX in the beginning of May.

I told my youngest daughter that I miss her, because she and I get doing what we need to do and sometimes our paths don’t cross. Today, she called to see if I want to get together and I’m looking into it. Sometimes I need to seize the moment, spend a little money I  think I don’t want to spare and just be with her. She loves to travel. I never know if she may travel to a foreign land and then God suggest she move there. So, I’m saying “Yes, let’s pick a day and go to a show.”

In the Old Testament, God wanted his people to take time to celebrate. I choose to relax in the presence of family and friends and say, “Thank You, God for giving me the desires of my heart.”

When we were younger, our friends would say, “Let’s get together sometime.”

We wouldn’t. My husband began to say, “Let me pull out my planner right now.”

That small habit changed our lives. We found time to see people we really cared about. It enriched our lives.

I may post a newsletter that I wrote for church for the beginning of May. It talks of Philippians 4:8, about thinking on whatever is lovely and pure and of a good report, etc. I love that verse. That Scripture turns my thinking around. I find things to appreciate.

Be blessed, my friends.