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!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

"The SON has Risen!" a reposted repost...

This is a repost of an old blogpost originally posted in 2012, reposted in 2014, and now again in 2016.  I guess every 2 years is okay...probably most everyone has forgotten it by now...or there may be some folks seeing this for the first time. Either way, it is still appropriate for Easter day, so here goes.  Not sure if the link in this is still active, but the rest of it should be a timely message for what is happening in our lives today.  I pray your Easter has been filled with the joy of the Resurrected Lord...He Is Risen Indeed!!


(Originally posted April 8, 2012)


As I mentioned last weekend, some of my blogging friends have started a "Random Journal Day" (see the Random Journal Day Link Up) on the weekends, where we are encouraged to pick an entry from a previous journal at random and share it with you...so I looked back through one of my old journals and happened upon a writing that is appropriate for today, Easter. This was originally written on May 3, 2001, but it is still and always will be a message for today.  So here goes:

Thursday, May 3, 2001, 6:55 a.m.

"I am sitting on my back porch, watching the sun rise.  It is magnificent in it's glory and beauty.  At first I thought the clouds were going to overshadow it, but not so! 
Light has conquered darkness...the sun has risen!
Today's reading in Psalms was Psalm 19:1-6~


'The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,
which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
and rejoices like a strong man to run its race.
Its rising is from one end of heaven,
and its circuit to the other end;
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.'
Yes, the true Light, Jesus, has conquered the darkness...the SON has risen!!!
Hallelujah to the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world!

Now, I must go out into the world...and be Christ's "Greatest Sacrament"
to a lost and dying world.
'Lord, give me the time and the faith to BE and DO all YOU would have
me BE and DO.  Amen.'

I continued on in my journal that day with several quotes from the book, Keep Climbing, written by Gail MacDonald. (Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, ILL, 1989) I will quote them here for you...and I highly recommend the book. 

"From an inscription taken from a Cologne, Germany, cellar where Jews had been hidden during the Holocaust..."I believe in the sun even when it is not shining.  I believe in love even when I am not feeling it.  I believe in God even when He is silent."  (Keep Climbing, Gail MacDonald, page 159)
Another quote from this same book, where Gail is quoting Teresa Burleson as follows:
"We ponder God's withholding or bestowing and while we pine for what was never given and what was taken, today slips through our fingers..."  (page 167, Keep Climbing)
I guess I was really absorbing all of these very pertinent and thought provoking quotes, as I continued to write down one after another.  I will not list them all for you here...but here is one more that seems to still strike home in my heart...

"(quote from page 173, re: Lot's Wife)  "Lot's wife had tried to hold on to things that had never really belonged to her..."   (page 174)..."God caused me to realize that He had come to make His 'home' in me and that I could go anywhere and have the assurance that He would precede me...."  "By slowly learning to renounce ownership and think stewardship, I came to discover that one never really loses anything."  (Gail MacDonald, Keep Climbing).
I completed my thoughts on that day with yet another quote found in the introduction of Gail's book, on page 16, which is a quote from Amy Carmichael's Gold by Moonlight (Fort Washington, Pa.: Christian Literature Crusade, 1951):
"Anything but that, Lord" had been your earnest prayer.  And then, perhaps quite suddenly, you found your feet set on that way.  Do you still hold fast to your faith that he makes your way perfect? It does not look perfect.  It looks like a road that has lost its sense of direction; a broken road, a wandering road, a strange mistake.  And yet, either it is perfect or all you have believed crumbles like a rope of sand in your hands.  There is no middle choice between faith and despair.  Life is a journey; it is a climb; it is also always a war!"
~~~~~~~~~~~
I know that during that time period in my life we were experiencing some severe trials in our family.  There were days that I honestly could not begin to comprehend what God was doing...or why He was allowing those things to happen.  I know that more often than I like to remember I wondered if the darkness would overcome the Light in us.  But I am here today to proclaim again, as I did in the beginning of this old journal entry,
"Yes, the true Light, Jesus, has conquered the darkness...the SON has risen!!!
Hallelujah to the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world!"

God is faithful to take care of His children...during dark times and times of light...
It is God Who is carrying us through.  We can count on Him...regardless of what this old world throws at us.  Christ as conquered death...He has risen...therefore, I too shall rise and live!
Amen!!

P.S.:  Re: the book Keep Climbing by Gail MacDonald.  (she is the wife of Rev. Gordon MacDonald) I have written in the flyleaf of my copy of this book  that I first read it in 1993 in New Hampshire.  I read it the 2nd time in 2001, in Florida.  The book was a gift to me from our former District Superintendent's wife when we were serving the Lord in Michigan. This dear lady ("Joyce") was a mentor to me in ministry...one whom I will always appreciate for her words of encouragement and Christian love during difficult times. I am so thankful for how God brings people into our lives when we need them most.  Aren't you? 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Wave the White Flag! I Surrender!

I wasn't going to write about this, but this was the last straw.  I have to get this off my chest somehow, and you've been elected!

Imagine this...on this lovely first day of spring evening, while standing outside in my front yard watering our little apple trees,


listening to the the birds chirping in the trees...


enjoying the fresh air and peaceful atmosphere of the forest surrounding me...


What to my wondering eyes does appear but a little white haired 92 + year old lady rushing out onto my front porch,waving something white in her hands and calling me, 
"Oh Pam, where are you? Can you come here?"  
Me, trying to determine what she is waving at me and also trying to ascertain if this is an emergency or just another moment of anxiety because I wasn't within her immediate sight at all times (even though her very capable son was right inside in the same room with her)...anyway...let me warn you this is going to get "graphic", so if you are squeamish about what little old ladies might be capable of, you'd better turn away now or be forever engulfed in ....laughter...I am sure of that...

Anyway...as I am trying to disentangle myself from the water hose and move closer to where my mother in law is hurrying across the porch (amazingly swift for a little old lady) and down the steps waving this white something in her hands, she starts hollering and waving the item of concern, yelling loudly for all the birds and rabbits and squirrels to hear: 
"I soiled my underpants! Do you want me to just throw them away, or what can we do with them?"

By this time I am not sure whether to laugh or cry or scream...because this is only the second full day of our 9 day "nanny-sitting" while her other caregivers (son & family) have taken their children off for a spring break vacation to the mountains...and the "interesting moments" of living with a dear mother in law with dementia are just getting better and better.  (FYI: We normally share the care-giving duties by caring for her Friday-Monday morning, and they have her Monday afternoon-Friday morning).

One case in point prior to the undie issue, she had been told to be sure and pack enough clothes for 9 days.  Her idea of clothes for 9 days included 4 pairs of slacks, a few pairs of undies, (and NO, she will NOT wear DEPENDS, even though the Doctor told her she needs to, and we have pleaded with her, but she says it feels like a mattress between her legs, so you know what I had to do with the white thing she was waving at me?  Yes, wash it.) and one blouse...the one she was wearing.  When I asked her if she had packed any other tops to wear, she said,
"Oh, this white one matches all my different colors of pants, and I didn't have any other ones." Me, looking at the food stains already on the white top said, "Well, maybe I can loan you another top so I can wash that one for you." She: "But, do you have one that matches all my pants? That last one you loaned me was a little large."  Me: "Well, it will have to do because I've already given you all of my smaller shirts that fit you and they are in your closet at B...'s house somewhere."
So, the one white top was washed yesterday, along with her favorite white sweater that she never takes off unless you can talk her into the fact that it really is dirty and needs to be washed so she will look clean and neat for company.  She wore my too-large white top while hers was being washed, and I convinced her to keep mine on until this morning so she would have a nice clean top to wear to our neighborhood church service here in our home.

This morning also happened to be the Sunday we celebrated the Lord's Supper, and wouldn't you know, as soon as she sipped her little cup of grape juice, she called to me from across the living room to show me that she'd dripped purple grape juice on her nice clean white shirt that I'd just washed?  So, as soon as the service was over, off came the white top, back into the bleach water, washed and dried and hung back up for tomorrow. Yes, she is wearing my, thankfully, old white top again in the meantime.  I'm not going to bother washing it every time it gets a spot on it...I mean, enough is enough...

Now, please don't judge me or tell me how fortunate I am to have her here with me.  KNOW that beyond a shadow of a doubt....I sincerely LOVE my mother in law. I truly do not mind caring for her.  She has been a wonderful mother in law, grandmother, and mother, and I feel honored to have been her daughter in law for going on 47 years!  We've been through a lot together over the years, and I feel I owe it to her to honor her in her old age and care for her the best I can. So I am sharing these things not to complain, but to let off a little steam and hopefully give you a chuckle at the same time.
(Click on the purple links above to read previous stories about this topic).

The other "fun" thing we deal with on a regular basis is her fixation with time.  I suppose when you are almost 93 years old, time becomes very precious to you. It must be, because every five minutes she gives us a report of the current time. It usually starts in the morning with the taking of her first pill of the day just prior to getting out of bed.  If I don't deliver it to her by 7:00 a.m., she comes running out of her room and asking us "Is something wrong?" "Where is everyone?"  From there it would seem that the whole day revolves around her pill schedule. After her morning pills following breakfast we start hearing about her afternoon pills.   They are scheduled to be taken around 3:30 p.m.  Usually around noon she asks us every five minutes if it is time for her pills yet.  This afternoon I was dozing in my recliner.  At precisely 2:45 p.m. she loudly calls my name and says, "Are you sleeping?"  I said no, I was just "resting my eyes".  She says, "It's a quarter to three. It's almost time for my pills!"  I said, "I know what time it is. I won't forget your pills." She keeps agitating every five minutes and says that she hardly ever waits until 3:30 to take her pills.  I know this. We usually give in and give her the pills around 3:15 because that last half hour is not worth the constant five minute reminders.

Since I've been typing this for the past however long, she has been sitting here next to me in her recliner. She has a little analog clock in front of her that she looks at every couple of minutes and then gives us the time report.  She can no longer decipher a digital clock.  She says the digital alarm clock in her room is all crazy numbers. She cannot figure out that 6:55 is five minutes before 7:00.  I am now shopping for an analog style alarm clock that lights up to put next to her bed so she won't get out of bed early and come looking for us because she can't read the clock. (Yes, she has done that.)

Yes, caring for a loved one with dementia can be extremely challenging. I remind myself that I will probably be like this someday and I hope someone will either take such good loving care of me or else just shoot me. (well, maybe not quite that extreme, please?)  No one wants to be put in a nursing home. Take a look at one anywhere and you will see why.  But sometimes there are simply no other alternatives.  We pray that we won't ever have to make that decision for our dear one. That is why we take our turns and do our best to keep her safe and happy. However, it has been taking a toll on our families, both in health, energy, stress, and emotional frustrations.  I am happy that my brother in law and his family are able to take a vacation for spring break with their children.  My hubby and I plan to get away for a few days after they get back as well.

Thank you for allowing me this little opportunity to vent and let go of some pent up steam.  You've been good therapy for me tonight. Now it is TIME for a certain little white haired lady to head for her bed. And then it will be time for a certain not so little used to be red-headed lady to head for HER bed.

Oh, she just said to me, as she does EVERY night when she goes to bed,  "Are you gonna wake me up and give me that little pill at 7:00 o'clock in the morning?" And I said, "Now what do you think? Don't I do that EVERY morning?" And she grinned and said "Okay. I love you. I'll see you in the morning." And I said, "Okay. I love you too. See you in the morning."

And we both said:
"Good Night."

Here she is, enjoying a wonderful lunch with her family! You gotta love this dear woman.
Yes, I surrender.  I do!

"Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you."  Deuteronomy 5:16

Friday, March 18, 2016

Where Do I Go? Who Do I Run To?

Someone asked me the other day who I had to lean on when going through difficult trials. There was and is only one answer:





"I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my ROCK and my FORTRESS and my DELIVERER;
My GOD, my STRENGTH, in Whom I will trust;
My SHIELD and the HORN OF MY SALVATION, my STRONGHOLD.
I will call upon the Lord,
Who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.


The pangs of death surrounded me,
and the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me;
The snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called upon the Lord,
and cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
and my cry came before Him,
even to His ears."
Psalms 18:1-6

"He sent from above, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
from those who hated me,
for they were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the LORD was my SUPPORT.
He also brought be out into a broad place;
He DELIVERED me,
because HE DELIGHTED IN ME!"
Psalm 18:16-19


"For who is God, except the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?
Is is GOD who arms me with strength,
and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of deer,
and sets me on my high places."
Psalm 18:31-33

"The Lord lives!!
Blessed be my ROCK!
Let the God of my salvation be exalted."
Psalm 18:46

AND I CRIED OUT "HALLELUJAH!!"
It is God and no other Who has saved me!
It is God and no other Who has rescued me!
There is NO GOD like JEHOVAH!!!


My dear friend...Let me tell you from personal experience...Jesus is the Rock that you can cling to when all the world has turned against you.  He is the ONLY Savior Who will rescue you from sinking sand and the overwhelming floods of life.  There is no other who can save you. There is no other who can restore you. There is no other who can carry you when you cannot take one. more. step.  

Do you know this Jesus?  Have you learned to call upon His Name? That's all you need to know.
He is all you need to know.  Call upon HIS MIGHTY NAME, and your cry will come before 
God Almighty..."even to His ears!" (see verse 6 above)

I don't think there is anything else I need to add to this.  God's Word is true. He does not lie.
If you are lost and feeling all alone, cry out to the Rock of YOUR Salvation! 
He will not turn you away. 


"Therefore I will give thanks to YOU, O Lord, among the Gentiles,
and sing praises to YOUR NAME!"
Psalm 18:49

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: A Refreshing Pause


I am linking up with Wordless Wednesday friends today for the first time. Click on the link to check out other "Wordless Wednesday" blog posts today!

Ahhhh..."Calgon, Take Me Away!"














I hope you enjoyed the refreshing pause to your Wednesday!  Be Blessed, My Friends!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Moments of Grace: Renewal and Restoration


"Create in me a clean heart,
O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
and sinners shall be converted to you."

Psalm 51:10-13 NKJV

We are in the middle of the Lenten Season...and although I didn't make any particular commitments to "give up" anything for Lent, it has been on my mind anyway~ not so much the "giving up", but the commitment to make this time count for some positive growth in my spiritual life.  

Looking at the picture above of the geranium plant growing in the teapot is an example of the renewal and restoration process that God wants to work in our hearts.  You see, that teapot was once my everyday teapot for making my morning cup of hot tea as well as steeping the tea for our family's pitcher of iced tea each day.  One day I noticed a hairline crack had developed where the handle attaches to the pot, and it became necessary to retire this teapot from its regular use, lest the handle should  break off and spill the boiling hot contents on an unsuspecting person.  Removing this teapot from service made me feel a little sad because it still looked so pretty and it seemed such a shame to just throw it away.

(This was when I originally put the broken cutting in water. It did okay
for a little while, but soon became weak and pale and no longer produced flowers.)

Then I remembered that I had been rooting a broken off piece of my geranium plant in a jar of water on the kitchen windowsill for several months...but it was starting to look a little pale and weak trying to survive in just water.  Perhaps it would grow better in some potting soil in...yes! The cracked teapot!

After replanting the rooted cutting in the nourishing potting soil and setting it in a sunnier window, the plant began to put out more foliage and eventually a new flower shot up as seen in the first picture above.

What a lovely example of the grace of God as seen in Psalm 51:10-13.  That cracked teapot and broken geranium is a lot like our souls when we have sin in our lives.  We became broken and fractured by the wind and storms and cares of this life, and rather than casting us away, Jesus came along and picked us up, put us in the soil of His Holy Spirit and watered us with His love so that we could be renewed and restored to new life.
  
Kind of like having a brand new "clean heart"and restored joy!

What are some examples of God's renewal and restoration that you have seen in your life?