What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Some Answers To Help with the Old Age thing...

In my last post entitled "Where Does the Time Go?", I was distressed about the effects of aging on my mind and body...and after writing about that I kept thinking, "There must be some positive and creative way to slow down this process."  I was thinking up some clever time management techniques that I could share with you, if I knew of any...or great mental exercises to keep the brain functioning and memory sharp...again, if I could remember any to share.

And then in our Sunday newspaper came this little "Parade" magazine, which I always love to peruse on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  But I was too busy writing my soliloquy on aging to take time to read the paper. It got shoved under the end table beside my chair, and I didn't pick it up until this morning before getting dressed for work. "Parade" Magazine is the closest thing to a tabloid that I ever read. It's pretty benign, and usually has some good articles. The one that caught my eye was entitled, "Live Longer & Better" by Gretchen Reynolds.  It's actually a quiz to see if you know "what it takes to enjoy a healthy old age."  I've attached a link here so you can take the quiz for yourself!  Parade Magazine Live Longer & Better Quiz , January 27, 2013.

The first question is what got my attention...

  1. "Which of these is most likely to improve your memory after age 50?"  The choices are:
  • a.  Solving crossword or sudoku puzzles
  • b.  Going on regular walks
  • c.  Taking ginkgo biloba supplements.
Our walking path
What do you think?  I was happy to see the answer was b., Going on regular walks...especially since that is what I've been trying to do when I can get home before dark and on the weekends.  (Click on this link to one of the recent posts I  wrote concerning taking a walk)  

The other question I really loved was #5:

5.  "True or false:  To feel younger, just open your window blinds.  Answer: TRUE!
"Looking out a window onto natural, outdoorsy scenes may reduce blood pressure and other markers of stress, several new studies show.  More remarkably, in a 2009 experiment reported in the Lancet, older people in Hong Kong who lived near open, green spaces had longer telomeres, a portion of the DNA strand that often shortens and frays with age. In effect, they had younger cells."

Now THIS really made my day!!! Since moving to the forest, I keep my window blinds open all the time (except at night).  I absolutely cannot stand to have the curtains drawn or the blinds shut when there is so much beauty right outside my window! I must have really long "telomeres"!   

I know not everyone has bird sanctuaries and bears and a national forest right outside their windows to look at, but most of us can find something green and beautiful to feast our eyes upon if we try. Maybe combine these two particular ideas and take frequent walks in the park or the woods or wherever you have some "natural, outdoorsy scenes" to enjoy.  If it will actually enable you to improve your memory and feel younger...wouldn't that be worth the extra effort?





Now, my friend Susie over at Recovering Church Lady  might find quiz question #9 particularly interesting:

9.  "What's the best way to motivate yourself to be physically active after age 40?"

  • a.  Join a gym
  • b.  Adopt a dog
  • c.  Cut out a photo of first lady Michelle Obama's biceps
  • d.  Hire a personal trainer.
Guess what the answer is?  Yes, Susie, you are correct!  The answer is: "b.  Adopt a dog!"
According to this quiz, "In a recent Canadian study of people up to age 80, dog owners were found to walk about 300 minutes per week, almost twice as many as those without a canine."   

So, for all you dog lovers out there, Susie, Dawn, at "Beneath the Surface" "Jeskmom" at "A Word About Words", and all my other blogging friends with furry buddies, everytime your pooch looks at you with those big brown eyes and wags his tail in hopes that you are going to take him for a walk...you are actually doing yourself a big favor and improving your physical health as well as your mental acumen!  (I don't have a dog, but my walks and open blinds must be improving my mind, because look at that big word I just used! "acumen", which means "keenness of mind, shrewdness", according to Webster.)


 There's my walking buddy, way ahead of me!
I'm the one lagging behind, smelling the flowers and watching for bears.
The Jingle Bells are for the bears, not me...to warn them that we're "out there",
so they better stay hidden!

So, my friends, let's get up off our comfy computer chairs/couches, go throw open the curtains and let the sunshine in, put on our walking shoes, and get outside and improve our brains, feel younger, and stay healthier longer!

I feel smarter and  better already!  How about you???


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Where Does the Time Go?

Old Busy Body Shaking Her Finger clipart     


"I have been young, and now am old..." Psalm 37:25a

I've been noticing lately that I tend to become easily distracted...can't seem to stay focused on any one thing for very long...keep getting side-tracked and off course. Before I know it, I look at the clock and say, "Where does the time go?"  How can it already be time to...

  • get ready for work, or 
  • get ready for church, 
  • get supper ready, 
  • get ready for bed, 
  • get up in the morning...?
It's not just time that I seem to lose, but it is also what I am doing at one moment, and can't remember the next.  You know, like:
  • Now, why did I come in here?
  • Ok, where was I?
  • Where did I put that...?
  • What am I looking for?
  • Ok, I'd better get back to what I was doing before I interrupted myself...what was I doing?
And then there are those constant questions that I ask myself out loud...
  • Now, why did I come in here?
  • Ok, where was I?
  • Where did I put that?
  • What am I looking for?....
Oops, I think I already said that!  Ok, you get the picture!

I don't think there is anything to worry about. Almost everyone I know at my age has the same problem...if they would only admit it.  It's just becoming a bit bothersome.  I keep forgetting what I am trying to say here. 

I know I am not alone...this has probably struck a note with many of you. Old age is creeping up on us...waking up (not breaking up) is so very hard to do...you know, stretching the joints back into place so we can get out of bed, frequent wake up calls during the night so we can go you know where, turning up the TV or the phone so we can hear, oh, why bother to list everything...the list is getting too long.

I found it kind of interesting that The Psalmist, King David, had similar complaints:

"I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly;
I go mourning all the day long.
For my loins are full of inflammation,
and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am feeble and severely broken;
I groan because of the turmoil of my heart.
Lord, all my desire is before You;
And my sighing is not hidden from You.
My heart pants, my strength fails me;
As for the light of my eyes, 
it also has gone from me."

"My loved ones and my friends 
stand aloof from my plague,
and my relatives stand afar off.
Those also who seek my life lay snares for me;
Those who seek my hurt
speak of destruction,
and plan deception all the day long..."
Psalm 38:6-12

For those of us who are fortunate enough to still be employed, we sometimes fear that the younger co-workers will be watching and waiting for us to make a big mistake, perhaps so they can move in and take over our jobs, citing our incompetence due to "old age".  It would be so easy to give in to despair and fear, throw in the towel and say, "Ok, I quit!" before we are really ready.

However, rather than giving in to paranoia and despondency, there is one thing I do know for certain:

"But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, "You are my God,"
My Times are in Your hand."
Psalm 31:14-15a

And:

"I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread." Psalm 37:25

I do not need to fear old age creeping up on me, nor do I need to fear what others may try to do to me...for I know that God is always by my side...and always ON my side. What I do need to do is:
 
"Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
and He shall give you the desires of your heart."
Psalm 37:3-4

I may not always remember what I am doing from one minute to the next...and I will always have questions. But I will not forget to trust in the Lord...He will carry me through to the next stage of life...and then someday graciously and lovingly carry me home to be with Him forever. Even if I do forget this, He will NEVER forget me!!! Now that's something worth remembering!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Clapping, Dancing, Rejoicing Trees? Okay....

"For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field
shall clap their hands."
Isaiah 55:12


These trees in my woods definitely look like they are clapping their hands and dancing for joy!

"Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord,
For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with His truth."
Psalm 96:11-13

Some joyful trees in the woods

The Dogwood Tree is reaching up its arms to heaven, offering 
a Doxology of Praise to its Creator...
Thanking Him for new life!

"Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His
salvation from day to day.

Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
For the Lord is great and 
greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the Lord made the heavens."
Psalm 96:1-5


"Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and beauty are in His Sanctuary.
Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Give to the Lord glory and strength.
Give to the Lord the glory due His Name;

Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
Oh worship the Lord 
in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him,
all the earth.

Say among the nations,
'The Lord reigns;
The world also is firmly established,
It shall not be moved;
He shall judge the peoples
righteously.'"

Psalm 96:6-10

I had a beautiful day today...rejoicing before the Lord...clapping with the trees in the woods, giving the Lord the glory due His name.  I will say to you among the nations today, "The Lord reigns!"

I hope and pray that your day was also filled with rejoicing before the Lord.  If not, why not try it?
"Sing to the Lord a new song!...Sing to the Lord, bless His name..."

You will be amazed at the difference it will make in your mind, soul, and spirit.
Try it...You might like it!

(Pictures are from my journey into the woods and my yard today, rejoicing in the Lord. Click on pictures to enlarge)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Steal My Show..."

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."  Galatians 2:20

I've been listening to a new song on the radio lately by TobyMac entitled "Steal My Show" (click here to go to YouTube Video of TobyMac "Steal My Show").   I know I'm probably not your typical TobyMac fan...I've never seen him perform, but he does have some "cool songs" for Jesus. ("cool" really dates me, doesn't it?)  This morning as I was listening to this song while on my way to work I started thinking about what these lyrics were truly saying.  TobyMac is a dynamic Christian contemporary artist, with a unique style.  In this particular song he's asking Jesus to come and "steal my show"...take it over...see the lyrics below...

                                                                    "Steal My Show"

"Another cold night
Another late flight
It's almost show time, and Diverse City's waitin' on me
We got a packed house, the crowd is callin' out
They want the beat to drop, but what we really need is You

[Chorus:]
If You wanna steal my show, I'll sit back and watch You go
If You got somethin' to say, go on and take it away
Need You to steal my show, can't wait to watch You go
So take it away

So now the crowd is hype, that you showed up tonight
Anticipatin', cravin' somethin' more than smoke and lights
So I'll step out the way, I'll give You center stage
Alight
Spotlight
Give 'em what they came for ...

[Chorus]

When You arrive, we come to life
Our hearts collide, they're beating in the same time
You're comin' through, all eyes on You
Our hearts collide, they're beating in the same time, beating in the same time

No matter who we are, no matter what we do
Every day we can choose to say ...

[Chorus]

My life
My friends
My heart
It's all Yours, God
Take it away
My dreams
My fears
My family
My career
Take it away
Take it away
It's all Yours, God
Take it away
Take it away
It's You I wanna live for"


Why did this particular song catch my attention? Well, it's what I've been asking God to do with this blog...especially this year, with my "One Word" for the year "PRESENCE"... I am imploring God to "Steal My Show"...by allowing His MIGHTY PRESENCE to shine through...whether it be in a story about a walk in the woods, or pictures of the many examples of God's creation all around us in the flowers, birds, bears, trees, rainbows...or even a story about an old broken down door I found (see "This Old Door")...whatever the subject, whatever the story...I want you to see Christ living in me...and in this blog.  I want Him to "steal my show"...to "take it away"...."It's all Yours, God...Take it away...It's You I wanna live for"...

If that message doesn't shine through, then I need to reevaluate my purpose here. Yeah, I want to have a good time, making new friends, sharing special moments in my life with you, having a "virtual cup of tea" together,  but if Christ is not the One in the limelight...the One making it happen...then I've focused too much on me.  I, in myself, do not have the answers to life's questions. I do not have all wisdom, knowledge, and strength. I don't even have that much compassion to be of any comfort to those who are hurting.  But I know WHO does...and I want HIM to take center stage.  I want the spotlight to focus on Him...because Christ is the One Who has it all, and He's the reason I'm here...just in case I haven't made that clear before this.





Music video by TobyMac performing Steal My Show (Lyrics). (P) (C) 2012 ForeFront Records. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is a violation of applicable laws. Manufactured by EMI Christian Music Group,

Sunday, January 13, 2013

This Old Door...


This old door has been standing up against my garden shed for the longest time. It is weary and worn, weather beaten and riddled with dry-rot. The paint is brittle and chipped, peeling away the layers of time,  revealing a colorful past. Its hardware~corroded with rust, wooden edges and seams~
laden with dust.

Surprisingly the pane of glass is still intact~how? I cannot fathom.

What is so intriguing about this old door? Why does it beckon
me to come near...to take a closer look? Is there a story here?
Some secret it held secure ...a mystery of a life
now long gone?

Perhaps.  Imagine how many human souls passed through
this old door...welcomed home after a long journey....bid farewell at the beginning of a new adventure...hurriedly opened and closed too many times to tell what stories lay behind this sacred fortress.

An anxious wife watched as her husband drove away each morning...did she ever wonder if he might not return some day?
Regretting words spoken in anger, wishing she could shout through the window, "Come back! I'm sorry!"

The young mother watched through this window as her little boy played safely in the yard each day. I wonder how often did she call his name from this same door..."Time to come in and wash up for supper!"

Was that same woman rejoicing when she saw her tall, strong soldier son returning from the war..throwing open this old door and running out to embrace him, showering him with kisses as tears of joy ran down her cheeks?

Did the hard working father faithfully turn the key in the lock each night, sliding the bolt, making sure his family was safe from harm?

How many people knocked on this old door? Who was welcome...who was turned away?

Yeah, this old door has a story to tell, but it will hold those secrets securely just as it guarded this old house from harm for many years.

I can't just throw it away. Could you? Would you?

Jesus beckons to us today, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."  Revelation 3:20


Would you open the door?
I did.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mommy! Pay Attention to Your Child!

"My son, (daughter?) give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.  Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh."  Proverbs 4:20-22

As I pulled into the parking lot for work yesterday morning, I was extremely disturbed by something I saw.  The church where I am employed has a lovely pre-school, which attracts mostly what I would call the typical upper-middle class soccer mom type families...for lack of a better description.  I love to see the adorable children arriving to school each morning, driven by Moms and Dads in their fancy SUVs and other luxury vehicles. The kids are freshly scrubbed and dressed in the latest designer kids fashions, "mini-me's" of their equally dressed designer moms.

So what could be so disturbing about that?  Granted, the majority of these parents are extremely involved in the lives of their precious children, sometimes almost to a fault, if that is possible. But there is a disturbing trend that I have been noticing...not just at our pre-school, but in public in general, wherever parents and children are moving about.

Please don't call me a fuddy-duddy, or out of touch with the times, okay?  Just hear me out.  What got MY attention yesterday morning was so upsetting to me it was almost more than I could do to keep quiet and not go chasing after this parent and shouting in her face, "Mommy! Pay attention to your child!"  What was this mother doing that was so distressing?  No, she wasn't abusing her child physically, at least not obviously or on purpose.  But what she WAS doing was totally ignoring her child...a precious, adorable little girl, not more than 3 or 4 years old, who was trying her best to keep up with her mommy as they crossed the street right in front of my car as I turned into the parking lot...the little girl looked at me with big wide eyes circled with bright pink eye glasses. She kept reaching up to her mommy and looking up at her and saying, "Mommy, mommy!" And what was "Mommy" doing?  Yep, you guessed it...she had her face down, staring at the "smartphone" in her hand, obviously engrossed in reading and/or sending texts back and forth, and totally ignoring the pleas of her child.  The child was still in the street, trying to catch up with mommy, and mommy just kept walking, not holding her young child's hand as they crossed the street...totally oblivious to the fact that there was even a vehicle in the street very near her lagging child.  Fortunately I was paying attention and going slowly...but that is a through street, and oftentimes other vehicles are not as cautious as I was being.

As I pulled into my parking space I kept watching this pair walking up the sidewalk toward the classrooms, and that frustrated little girl kept trying to get her mother's attention, kept trying to reach up to hold her hand, kept saying, "Mommy, mommy!"....And never once did I see that mother stop what she was doing and look at her child.  Never once did she reach down and take her hand and speak to her child. She continued to walk with her eyes riveted on her phone, totally ignoring the most important person right before her eyes.

I had to stop and say a prayer for that child and that mother right then and there. I prayed, first of all, that God would protect that sweet child and surround her with His angels at all times, because obviously her mother wasn't too concerned about the immediate welfare of her precious baby. I prayed secondly for that mother, that her eyes would be opened to see her beautiful child...and to cherish her the way I'm sure she intended to, but has gotten sidetracked along the way by the addiction to the gadgets of this world as well as the cares and concerns of whatever or whomever she was so obviously interested in that she would be so totally engrossed in her communication to totally forget her child was beside her.

That is what it is...an addiction to gadgetry.  Not that cell phones/smartphones, laptops, IPODS, IPADS, or whatever you call them are evil things in themselves. No, they serve a great purpose, and when used appropriately are marvelous tools to connect us to the rest of the world.  I wouldn't be communicating with you right now if it weren't for this magnificent technology.  But I constantly have to remind myself that I have a family here in my living room, right behind me, who may be trying to get my attention...and I may be just as guilty of ignoring their pleas as I keep reading and writing instead of focusing my eyes on them.

As I was thinking about this topic, I "googled" a search for a "picture of a parent on a cell phone ignoring their child", and the following article from the Wall Street Journal popped up.  I have attached the link here for your reading.  It pretty well describes and sums up what I am trying to say...

Wall Street Journal article on "The Perils of Texting While Parenting" 

I have challenged our young technologically inclined youth pastor to consider taking the youth group on a retreat away from technology for one weekend...no smartphones, computer games, TV, gadgets, etc., for one weekend.  He said they would not be able to function. They could not survive such a weekend. I laughingly teased him saying that "he could not function" without the technology either...and he agreed.  It is a  part of their culture, their makeup, their generation. They have lived with this kind of interaction and communication for their whole lives, and they don't know how to get along without it.

I wonder what would happen if we had a total technological blackout?  Would we be able to survive? I don't  know if the younger generation could...but what about the rest of us?  Have we come so far away from using our own resources, imaginations, and creativity that we cannot function without our "gadgets"?  Do we even know how to communicate with each other FACE to FACE, EYEBALL to EYEBALL, without being distracted by ringtones and the constant draw of yes, I'll say it, facebook, youtube, tweets, texts, etc.?

My new cabinet, purposely built to look "old"
wanna play a game with me?













My woodworker son just recently built me a new cabinet for our home, with the intention of giving me some storage space for some things that have been kept in boxes in a storage room ever since we moved to this house. Some of those particular items are board games...and the idea is now that we have them more easily accessible, we will sit down as a family and PLAY those games.  We will turn off the computers, cell phones, TV, and focus our attention on each other for an evening, or a weekend, and enjoy family time again.

Ok, I've said my piece.  I've gotta go for now. My family is playing a game without me...granted, it is a "Wii" game on the TV, but they are together, and playing.  They are asking for my attention.

Final Words:  "Mommy, Daddy, Husband, Wife, Teenager, PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR CHILD, SPOUSE, PARENTS, FAMILY!!!"  What could be more important than that?

Questions:
1.  When was the last time YOU put down your computer, laptop, smartphone, etc., and focused attention on your loved one, friend,  child, spouse, person next to you on the plane?
2.  Does your family set aside time for family interaction, game time, conversations, focused attention?
3.  If it has been awhile, why not take a "retreat" away from your gadgets and spend a weekend together doing something totally non-technological?  Take a hike, bike ride, play outdoor games, build something together, play Monopoly or Scrabble or cards.
4.  We only have our loved ones, children, spouses, parents, friends for a little while on this earth. Why not purposely set aside some "quality and quantity" time to make some special memories while you have the opportunity. Don't text your time away thinking you've got plenty of time.  You may live to regret that choice.



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Whom Shall I Fear???

"Remember, When God closes a door, He opens a window." This is about a ten year old picture of my son Matthew and his wife Nicole and their son Noah...but it is one that shows the joyous spirit of this precious family. Please continue to keep them in your prayers. Thank you.  (click on pictures to enlarge for viewing)

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; 
Whom shall I fear?  
The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?  
When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes...
they stumbled and fell.  
Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; 
Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident."  Psalm 27:1-3

I had a rough start to my morning...battled depressing thoughts for the first 15 miles of my 30 mile commute to work.  Heavy on my heart was my wonderful son, Matthew, who is in a battle for his life against an unrelenting foe....cancer.  Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor, to be exact.  A rare and aggressive cancer, usually attacking children.  Matthew is almost 40.  He started this fight almost three years ago.  Today he had a CT Scan to determine the source of the escalating pain in his back, even though he is in the middle of a course of strong chemotherapy.

So I started my ride thinking about this and praying that God would intervene on Matthew's behalf...and not only for him, but for his strong and wonderful wife Nicole, and their handsome and intelligent thirteen year old son, Noah.  They live over 1500 miles from us, so I feel so helpless. Even if I were there I would probably just be in the way, but my mother heart longs to be there to hold on to my precious son and spend as much time as possible drinking in his presence, his person, his spirit.  Matthew is a very strong person spiritually.  He has been the recipient of many acts of mercy and miracles in his young life already. I've seen God at work in his life since before he was even born...truly! So why would God quit working now? Do we have a limited number of miracles that we are allowed while on this earth, and once we've used them up our time is up?  Well...no, I don't think God works that way.  But I do know that we each only have a limited amount of time on this earth, and when God is ready to call us home, He will. Until then, we are to live our lives fully and gratefully.


I said above that I battled depressing thoughts for the first 15 miles of my 30 mile journey.  What happened to the other 15 miles? Well, I listened to God talking to me as I drove along.  How? Primarily through the Christian radio station that I listen to every day (The JoyFM, which I've mentioned before). God blesses me every day through that broadcast...through the music and even through the DJ's that start the morning off with laughter and joy...they call themselves "The Morning Cruise"...anyway...today the song they played that turned my thoughts around was "Whom Shall I fear?" by Chris Tomlin.


"You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It cannot hide the light

Whom shall I fear

You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my sword and shield
Though troubles linger still

Whom shall I fear

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind me

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side


The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

My strength is in Your name
For You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory

Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind me

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I'm holding on to Your promises

You are faithful
You are faithful
You are faithful

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind me

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The God of angel armies
is always by my side"


By the time I got through singing this song along with Chris Tomlin, I was smiling and clapping (and, yes, driving too...)  But I could visualize this God of Angel Armies by my son's side (as well as mine)...and this One Who reigns forever...He IS a friend of mine...and of Matthew's.  And "NOTHING FORMED AGAINST ME (OR MATTHEW) SHALL STAND!"   God, You "hold the whole world in YOUR hands...and yes! I AM holding on to Your promises!"   

Hey...if you are going through a difficult time and feel like the world is crashing in on you or your loved ones...start singing and claiming God's promises and victory in Jesus...HE IS this God of angel armies...picture that!  Angel armies...always by my side...and if THAT doesn't lift your spirit and set your heart to singing and your feet to dancing...I don't know what will!  By the time I arrived at work I could hardly suppress a shout of victory! I know people around me in the parking lot would've thought I'd gone a little crazy...and maybe I did...but it was a good kind of crazy, and I thank the Lord for it!

The news from the CT Scan wasn't very encouraging.  The current chemotherapy is not doing the job. They have to rethink the plan.  Come up with a new scheme of treatment.  But, maybe that is exactly what God wanted them to do! Maybe HE is the one who is directing their path!  This "God of angel armies....is always by my side...The One who reigns forever...He IS a friend of mine!"  

 The title of my blog is "Closed Doors, Open Windows".  The picture above is a tiny little plaque on my kitchen windowsill that says, "Remember, When God closes a  door, He opens a window."  That is the saying that inspired this blog....and today I believe that God has closed a door on traditional methods of treatment that are not working...and He is opening a door to some new ideas and medicines that are still in development.  Matthew told his oncologist today that he is very open to using new experimental drugs that are still being tested...in a trial study...and perhaps this could be God's way of bringing healing to him...and possibly to many others who are suffering with this seemingly incurable disease.  Time will tell...this may be an open window to healing.  

Regardless of the outcome...I know that "The God of angel armies is always by my side"...and by my son's side as well.  "Whom shall I fear?"  "I know Who goes before me, I know Who stands behind me..."


Thank you, Lord, for this encouragement and hope You have given us today. Thank you for your healing balm to my troubled soul.  Thank you for sharing Your Word across the air waves...right into my car as I drove along in a dark place....You brought me light and hope. Thank you, dear "God of angel armies...You ARE a friend of mine!"
Do you ever wash dishes by candlelight? That's what I did tonight...and it soothed my soul
and gave me time to reflect on these thoughts before writing them down. I don't know how
clean the dishes are, but my heart and soul feels clean! Try it sometime. Candlelight is
very therapeutic.  Now I'll go turn on the lights and check the dishes before I put them away...maybe.
Maybe not.
Good night.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Random Journal Day...Sacrifices or Trust?


If you have followed my blog throughout the past year you will remember that at least once a month I join up with some other blogging friends for the "Random Journal Day" Blog Hop..(.Click on this Link to Random Journal Day Blog Hop for January info) ...It's where we go pull an old journal off the shelf (or out of the bottom drawer of the dresser, in my case today), and randomly open to hopefully a journal entry that can be shared with others!  Sometimes they cannot be shared, and I have to turn a few more pages...and then I wonder if I've already shared this one or not...but oh well! If I have, you'll just have to endure it again, because this is where God led me tonight.  The first part sounds a bit depressed...but I was going through some difficult days.  We all go through deep water and difficult days at one time or another...maybe something here will help you if you find yourself in such a place...

This particular entry comes from Thursday, December 27, 2001,(excerpts) followed by Tuesday, January 22, 2002...Here is what I wrote...

(Dec. 27, 2001):
"I just re-read the entries in this little book that I've written throughout this past year--God was truly ministering to me during those days of convalescence from my surgery.  I see that I haven't written anything since going back to work in May...So much for goals and keeping up with writing! But I guess it has been all I could do over the past six months to keep up with house and home and work~let alone try to write a book! I really haven't the physical energy~as well as the spiritual power necessary to write all that was on my heart.  Looking back, I realize that I have been in a real emotional fog for most of this year.  I wish I could say that the fog has totally dissipated and I am walking fully in the sunlight at this time.  But I cannot honestly say that.  Each day seems to bring new challenges to my faith and mind.  There are days that I find myself wishing there were some means of 'escape'.  And yet, I know that is not what God would want for me.  I know I must persevere and remain faithful to His calling on my life.  To quit now would show a lack of trust and faith.

     Lord, You know I believe, but help my unbelief...I am only human, after all.  There are days that I fear that I will either lose my mind or my life~but then I remember that God is able to sustain me throughout all of my life~in all circumstances. I need not fear what man may do to me~I am safe in the arms of Jesus.  He continues to carry me and protect me.  Praise God! Jesus NEVER fails!


(January 22, 2002):

"I have been thinking about yesterday's devotional reading from I Samuel 15:22-23; 

'Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king.'

Although this was directed to King Saul, it has application for us today. I know that I must obey the voice of the Lord in all things, in every area of my life~regardless of what sacrifices may have to be made.  Sometimes it is easier to say, "But Lord, look at the sacrifices I've already made to serve You"....and God says, "Yes, child, I know you have been faithful in many things~but you must continue to Obey Me and Trust Me in all ways!  Don't give in to the "martyr syndrome"...keep your eyes fixed on Me, Jesus, the Author and finisher of your faith..."Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)

A song I am listening to right now as I write this, "Where There is Faith"...by 4Him:

"I believe in faithfulness
I believe in giving up myself for someone else.
I believe in peace and love,
I believe in honesty and trust...
But it's not enough
For all that I believe may never change the way it is,
Unless I believe that Jesus lives...

Where there is faith...
There is a voice calling
"Keep walking...You're not alone in this world~"
Where there is faith~
There is a peace like a child sleeping
Hope everlasting in Him Who is able to bear every burden,
to heal every hurt in my heart...
It is a wonderful, powerful place~
Where there is faith..."

Christ's bequest of peace=  

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27
Isaiah 26:3-4:  "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength."

This was the last entry written in this particular journal.  It was a long time before I started writing again...so many things were going on in my life and I didn't feel like writing it all down at the time.  Thankfully God has restored my desire and joy in writing...it has been a healing balm in so many ways. I trust that others who may now be reading what has been on my heart in the past and now the present will find His PRESENCE in these words...and find hope and rest and peace for your own souls.  Amen.


 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Watching in the Ordinary things...

Today I had my antennae up, watching for evidence of God's presence in the ordinary places of my day. 

It started out as I drove to work, listening to my favorite radio station (The JoyFM, 88.1, Ocala).
One of the first songs played was "Jesus in Disguise" by Brandon Heath.  Kind of describes exactly what I'm talking about..."Jesus in Disguise"...things that happen in our day to day lives that we can't exactly explain...

  • a song on the radio that speaks to your heart with words of encouragement and hope when you were feeling a little lost or despondent...
  • a phone call or card from a friend who seemed to know exactly what words to say at the right time.
  • a devotional reading/scripture passage that expresses a message that seems to be sent to your heart directly from God
  • a friendly face, a kind word, a good deed...unexpected places and faces
  • answered prayers when you thought God wasn't listening
  • a beautiful sunrise, sunset, rainbow
  • a pat on the back from someone whom you thought didn't really care or notice what you do
  • an opportunity to encourage someone else who needed a friend...a pep talk...some comfort...and God gave you the right words to say that were never rehearsed.
  • a bird on the wing...or on your windowsill, singing a melody so sweet you know it had to have been taught by the Great Songwriter Himself.  

These are just a few of the ways that we can experience God's presence in our daily lives. I am watching for "messengers" everywhere I go. You may want to do the same. You may be surprised what you will discover.

"Open my eyes wide as I can, blind as I am..." ("Jesus in Disguise...Jehovah passing by") by Brandon Heath.


Questions to ask yourself:
  • When was the last time I experienced a "Jesus in Disguise" moment in my life?
  • How did I recognize that it was a "God Moment"?...Or didn't I notice that until now?
  • Do I actually expect to see "Jehovah passing by" in the common, ordinary routine of my life?
  • How can I become more aware of His PRESENCE in my life?
I'd love for you to share your "Jesus in Disguise" moments with us here.  Keep your eyes and ears open...you may be surprised what you will see.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fill My Cup

"I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord."
Psalm 116:13
 

When I was a young woman fresh out of high school I had the opportunity to serve as a counselor at our church youth camp.  I spent the whole summer there...trying to become a guide or role model for younger teenaged girls when I was barely a year or two older than they were...and not a whole lot more experienced in the ways of the world or the Lord. I still had so much to learn...and it seemed as though that summer was just the beginning of my real journey into things of the Spirit. 

One memory that has stood out in my heart and mind ever since that summer was a song that became our theme song.  We would sing it at local churches on the weekend in between camps...and it's message carried over into my own personal life and walk with the Lord.  To this day, some 45 years later (yes!) this song still evokes memories of that summer...primarily memories of when I fully began to understand what it meant to commit my heart and life to Christ. That summer was the beginning of a life time of service and growth...still growing today.  
Here it is...perhaps it will spark some memories or thoughts of commitment in your heart and mind as well:

 
"Like the woman at the well I was seeking
For things that could not satisfy;
And then I heard my Savior speaking:
'Draw from My well that never shall run dry.'
 
Chorus:
Fill my cup, Lord,
I lift it up, Lord!
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;
Bread of heaven,
Feed me 'til I want no more--
Fill my cup, fill it up
and make me whole!"
 
 
There are millions in this world who are craving
The pleasure earthly things afford;
But none can match the wondrous treasure
That I find in Jesus Christ my Lord.
 
(Chorus)
 
So, my brother (sister!), if the things this world gave you
Leave hungers that won't pass away,
My blessed Lord will come and save you,
If you kneel to Him and humbly pray:
 
 
Chorus:
Fill my cup, Lord,
I lift it up, Lord!
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;
Bread of heaven,
Feed me 'til I want no more--
Fill my cup, fill it up
and make me whole!"
 
"Fill My Cup, Lord", by Richard Blanchard, 1959.
 
My "One Word" and theme for 2013 is:
 
“presence”
Seeking god’s
Presence
In the ordinary
And
Extraordinary
Places of my life
In 2013
 
On this 2nd day of the new year, I felt God's PRESENCE in looking at this cup that was a gift to me at Christmas...meant to be a little bird feeder...but it reminded me of holding up my cup to the Lord and asking Him to fill it with Himself.  That is how I want to start the New Year...filled with His divine  “Presence”.  How about you?  Want to join me on this extraordinary journey into the PRESENCE of Christ?  Let's go.   Lift your cup up to Him...He will fill it with His love, His Spirit, and His Presence. What a marvelous way to begin anew.
"Fill My Cup, Lord!" 
John 4:7-29