Tuesday, September 18, 2018

On the Fast Track

Matthew 21:22
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

I cannot begin to thank all my dear friends here at the blog and on Facebook for your kind and generous prayers for the success of my recent cataract surgery.  Yes, the outcome is everything I could have hoped for and more!  Had I been in the "dark" so long that I'd forgotten how brilliant and vibrant the colors of God's creation are?  All I can say is, every time I gaze upon anything, even the television, I am awed and humbled, so thankful that God has seen fit to restore my sight through the capable and talented hands of those who minister to me last Wednesday.

While most of you are praying for a safe operation, as the day approaches, I find myself asking the Lord for something else, something that to most folks might seem frivolous and inconsequential.  You see, I'm not one of those people who can go without food for any significant length of time.  If I'm forced to, I feel drained, irritable and downright grouchy.  Just ask my husband, Danny!  Nor am I a happy camper without my morning coffee.  But on the day of the surgery, I am allowed only a sip of water when I get up.

I have to fast.

And that's precisely what I pray to my Father about.  Because I know, it's only through His strength and grace that I can make it through this ordeal without physically and mentally collapsing.  Only God can place me on the "fast" track.

Does God hear my plea?  You better believe it!  And He answers in a bigger way than I could have ever envisioned, reminding me of just how large and in charge He is.

My fast begins at 5:30 a.m. and lasts until noon.  Not once do I miss coffee.  Not once does my fickle stomach feel anything but full - no growling, no rumbling, no nothing!  And when I'm finally free to eat and drink, I'm neither ravenous nor thirsty in the least.  I sip on orange juice and nibble at a ham sandwich that Danny has brought along, but am unable to finish either.

I am already filled.

Filled by the Holy Spirit.

And my heart overflows with gratitude to the One who received my prayer, and so graciously answered it.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

This Is The Game That Never Ends . . .

Daniel 4:3
How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders!  His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.

When our oldest granddaughter, Virginia Rose, turns eight in July, my husband, Danny, and I give her the one, the only, granddaddy and grand-master of all board games:  Monopoly!

Invented in 1903 by Lizzy Magie, and dubbed "The Landlord's Game," Monopoly has seen many transformations throughout the ensuing years, but has managed, even in this age of technology, to remain a family-friendly classic.

Once she learns the rules, Virginia takes to the game like a born entrepreneur.  She can't get enough of it!

We spend hours on the living room floor rolling dice, purchasing real estate, railroads and utilities, and trying our best to buy blocks of property on which houses or hotels can be erected.

So much depends on the rolls of the dice, the dollars in our personal funds, and the dictates of the Chance and Community Chest cards as to whether or not we succeed in outdoing the other.

Monopoly is the definition of risk, luck and savvy decisions, not to mention the inevitable crushing of one's opponent.  The latter is hardly the recipe for God's kingdom, yet I believe that the lessons learned in playing this game show us how to live in the world, yet not be of it.

  • Stewardship - We are called by God to be good stewards of the gifts He's given us.  If we've been given monetary resources in abundance, we need to make responsible decisions about how to use/share those funds for the good of our family, our church family, and others in our community who are in need.
  • Life isn't fair - Jesus never guaranteed us a stress-free, no-hassle life, but He did promise to be with us through it all, no matter what afflictions or troubles come our way.  He has vowed to carry our burdens when we lay them at His feet.
  • Risk taking is a part of life - Jesus sent His disciples out, two by two, to spread the Good News.  There was no guarantee that the Word would be met with acceptance, but off they went in faith, willing to risk it all for Jesus and His Message of repentance and salvation.
  • God's love is infinite, eternal, never-ending - Oh, yes!  And so is the game of Monopoly - never-ending, that is.  Virginia and I play for hours, taking breaks here and there, especially to check out if this Gammie has any moving joints left after sitting on the floor for way too long.  No, we never have a definitive winner, as the pendulum of money and property seems to swing back and forth when least expected, leaving us in perpetual game time suspense.
The Monopoly board remains in place overnight, ready and waiting for the challenge we will take up once again in the morning.  How this brings back priceless memories of the marathon games I play with neighborhood friends as a child, and again, with my own children during the hot and steamy doldrums of summer.

From generation to generation, the game endures.

From generation to generation, God's kingdom, overflowing with love and grace, endures.

And when we allow our Father to have a monopoly on our hearts, we can proclaim in glorious triumph, "We win!"


Friday, September 7, 2018

Caterpillar What???

Ephesians 1:7
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.

Matthew 18:21-22
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?  Up to seven times?
Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven."

This August, an army of Orange Striped Oakworms (pictured above) take up residence in the towering oak tree whose branches arch high above our deck.  In this part of their life-cycle, eating is a constant activity, and the oak tree, it seems, provides a bountiful spread.

But as we all know, eating results in the eventual process of elimination.  That's right - caterpillar poop!

Now, these tiny pellets may look innocuous enough, even reminding us of small peppercorns.  But don't let their innocent facade fool you.  When the rain falls, and we've had a ton of precipitation this summer, these itsy-bitsy particles swell to three times their original size!  And to add insult to injury, when we go to sweep the bulbous scat off the deck, they smear, leaving behind an ugly discoloration on the wood surface.  No photo here; I'm leaving to your imagination your favorite illustration of "gross!."

It doesn't take another of these incidences for my husband, Danny, and I to sweep off the deck every chance we get.  Better to be proactive than caught off guard.

And aren't our sins rather like those dry, inert pellets?  If we don't acknowledge them promptly, running to Jesus for forgiveness, asking Him to sweep them from the decks of our hearts, they are sure to swell, fester and leave a poisonous stain on our souls.

Just as Jesus is sure to forgive us when we repent of our sins, we must be just as quick to forgive others.  If we fail to do so, as many times as the circumstances might require, we only punish ourselves.

Simple concepts.  Not easy to follow at times, but follow, we must.

And follow, we can, when we are following Jesus.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

I Was Blind, But Now I See

Mark 10:50-52
Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped up and came to Jesus.
"What do you want me to do for you?"  Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see."
"Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you."  Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Recently, I go to my eye doctor for my annual exam.  The evidence is now incontrovertible.  The cataract in my left eye has become so intrusive, it must be removed, and the sooner the better.

Now, I must confess.  My doctor advises me last summer to have the procedure done, but I develop a severe case of "chicken," and decide, because the new contact prescription helps so much, to postpone the surgery.  After all, with everything my husband, Danny, goes through concerning a new pacemaker in 2017, I'm simply not up for any more medical drama.

But this time around, I bite the bullet, scheduling my appointment for cataract removal the moment I get home from the doctor's.  It's set for September 12.  I'm actually relieved to be going forward, knowing how much my eyesight will improve once the offending player is removed, and a permanent (hopefully perfect) lens is implanted.

There is one problem though.  When my contacts are upgraded, I neglect to do the same for my glasses, which I'm required to wear for an entire week before the surgery.  Yikes!  How will that affect my ability to read?  To write?  What about driving?  Will headaches come calling on a daily basis?  Or will my eyes adjust smoothly to this transition?

Instead of worrying about all this, I am praying about it, knowing God will help me get through whatever distress or discomfort I might endure those seven days.  And friends, I would so appreciate your prayers, too, as the wearing of the glasses begins tomorrow.

I have to focus (pun intended) on the ultimate goal:  to see clearly without the aid of contacts or glasses.  Although the blind man in Mark's verses above makes his request to Jesus in person, I'm asking the Lord to work through the hands of the technicians, nurses and doctors to restore my sight, and heal me completely.

I have faith the Lord will do this.

He's the only One who can.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Party On???

Isaiah 43:2
When you pass through waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

Granddaughter, Virginia Rose, and I arrive at my mother's house this past Thursday, and are met at the door not by Mom, but by her housekeeper, Rosa.  Much to our dismay, Rosa tells us that Mom is at the emergency room at the local hospital.  A dear friend has taken her for X-rays to find out if her almost-fall earlier in the week has left her with cracked ribs.

Sure enough, that's the diagnosis.  And to complicate matters, because Mom hasn't been able to draw deep breaths due to the pain, she has developed severe congestion in her lungs.  The doctor decides she needs to stay the night for observation, oxygen treatments and IV antibiotics.  The greatest fear?  Mom condition could spiral into pneumonia.  That can be deadly for anyone, but for someone about to be 90 years young?  Well, to say the least, our entire family is deeply concerned, and prayers for her healing is a constant.

Mom lets everyone, and I mean everyone, at the hospital know that she is turning 90 on Saturday, and is dead set on not missing the celebration.  Fortunately, she is released late Friday afternoon, but not without first agreeing to submit to home oxygen.  My brother, Bill, volunteers to pick her up since, because of MIL, I'm fairly well-versed in how the oxygen equipment works, and the right questions to ask the pleasant technician who sets us up.

Long story short, Mom is so grateful to be home, and overjoyed that she will be able to enjoy her milestone birthday with children, grandchildren and great-grands.  The party is on!!!

The birthday girl with granddaughter, Sarah

Brother Bill and my son, Daniel

Niece, Rebecca, and her friend, Mills

Daddy (John) with the littlest girls

 Bill has a new friend in Virginia

My beautiful daughter, Sarah

Virginia Rose

Savannah Jane

Alexandra Nancy with the untamed locks!

Sisterly love

Some lovely birthday gifts

But now comes the time for my brother and I to pass through the waters.  Bill offers to stay with Mom this week as I'm slated to babysit for Sarah on Tuesday.  On Thursday, it becomes my turn to stay with her for as long as is required.  In light of this, I've decided it's best for me to suspend Meditations of My Heart during the month of August.

My family would so appreciate your prayers for Mom at this time.  Also, if you could pray for Bill and me as we may have to make some difficult decisions in the days to come, that will give us much peace and comfort.

Although we are passing through some troubled waters, roaring rivers and raging fires, we know God is right there with us every step of the way.  His grace, mercy and unfailing love will see us through.

May God bless you all!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Proverbs 17:6
Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.

Even though the photo above is taken eight years ago, my mother, Nancy, looks very much the same now as she did then.  (Regrettably, I don't think I inherited those genes!)  We are blessed that Mom's health is exceptionally good - she still drives, does her own shopping, and makes homemade bread that's to die for!  Her only age-related ailment is hearing loss, but the hearing aids, though far from perfect, do help.  All things considered, it's hard to believe she will be turning 90 on July 28th!

We will be celebrating Mom's birthday at her home on that day.  She will be surrounded by children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who all love her.  I do wish, though, that my Dad, Bill, was still here to mark this milestone with us.

That being said, I will not be blogging next week.  I will be driving to Oxford mid-week to help my brother plan for Saturday's festivities.  And as usual when in the land of unreliable internet, I won't be making my regular rounds to all my blogging buddies.

But hang in there!  I'll be back soon, hopefully with a passel of family photos and sweet, precious memories to share with you.

Until then, may God bless and keep you in His love and grace.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

He Is Passing By . . .

1 Kings 19:11-13
The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by."
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.  And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

Last Tuesday, I receive a most unexpected and remarkable gift.

I arrive home after dropping granddaughter, Virginia Rose, at an activities camp at our church and running an additional errand to an uncharacteristically quiet house.  Husband, Danny, has taken MIL to her dentist in Cartersville to get her bridge repaired.

When I open the door from garage to downstairs, I'm immediately made aware - there is no whirring and sighing from the oxygen generator!


As I ascend the stairs to our main floor, no sound of television or conversation disturbs the peace.


The hush is so complete, the momentary interruption of ice cubes dropping in the freezer sounds like a clanging cymbal.

The silence, profound and pervasive, commands my full attention.

And unmistakably, I hear God whisper:  Enjoy this moment.  Live into it.  I made it for you.

I am speechless . . .

And in that instant, I know I'm standing not on the wood floor of my humble home.  I am standing on Holy Ground.

Eyes closed.  Breathing deeply, steadily.  I mouth the words, "Thank you, Lord."


He is passing by . . .


On the Fast Track

Matthew 21:22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. I cannot begin to thank all my dear friends here at the...