Monday, May 20, 2013

Understanding One Flesh

It has occurred to me that I owe my dad an apology. In my youth my siblings and I urged our father to leave our mother after twenty-five years of marriage. Why you ask? Her depression and mental illness appeared to be negatively affecting him. But he rebuffed all of our arguments. One memory that stands out was his statement that "I could no more do that than cut off a part of my body."
Time has given me a different perspective on this. Over the past week the reality of being united as one flesh has gained new meaning. After thirty-two years of marriage we really are one!
Genesis 2:23-24; The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh' she shall be call 'woman' for she was taken out of man." That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.Last week this reality came through a message by Stephen Davey about being a living sacrifice. The scripture:
Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
This first verse is telling us how we should live for God. Our lives are motivated by gratitude to God for all he has given us.
"The only fitting response to the gifts that God has given to us is to give the gift of ourselves back to God. In fact, not only is this the motivation for Christian living, it is the secret to Christian victory." Stephen Davey, More Than Skin and Bones Part 1
Through this battle with cancer our desire is to be a witness to Christian victory! "Being a living sacrifice is not about getting more from God, but giving our all to God." Stephen Davey
It is total surrender to God and that requires me to forfeit control of my sacrifice -- even if that's part of myself!

Friday, May 3, 2013


Resilient as defined by Merriam-Webster:
a : capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture
b : tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

From Praying the Promises of God, by Cheri Fuller and Jennifer Kennedy Dean

May 2, Resilient by Design
The oft-repeated metaphor of God as our Father paints a portrait of God's love for us as protecting, providing, guiding, teaching. It's a love that is personal and intimate, tender and compassionate.
Your relationship to God as you Father can be the basis for restful living. Consider who your Father is. The fact that God is your Father is not just a lovely idea or a comforting thought. It has day-by-day, minute-by-minute practical effects in your life. He is your provider. He knows what you need and has already made arrangements to provide it. He's going to take care of you.
Jesus portrayed the Father-heart of God in showing us that God is attentive to us and watchful over us. He directed us to consider how the lilies grow. Effortlessly. Without strain or anxiety. They simply receive what they need...
If he created them so carefully, with resilience built in, surely his blueprint for us includes the ability to flourish under any circumstances. With God as our Father, we can live at peace. He will not lead us into disaster. He will not leave us on our own to wander into danger for which he has not planned our rescue. He always takes into account our frailty and puts his strength in its place. He carries us like a father carries his child. We are safe in his arms.

It's so comforting to see common threads through daily readings. Safe in the everlasting arms of our Father, God our protector, provider, who is tender, intimate and compassionate.

My desire for the quality of being resilient is contained in the second definition--adjust easily to misfortune (misfortune as defined by our culture). Being able to endure suffering with grace would be my new description of resilience.

We are equipped by God for everything we need for life and godliness. If we shift our focus from us to what God provides, would our view of life change?
Would it cause us to be more reflective and less judgmental?
It is this second thought that began percolating after an incident last Saturday. Backing out of a parking space a car came up behind and blew their horn. My interpretation was they were in a hurry and so I pulled back into the space only to watch them pull in to the spot across and behind me. I assumed they blew their horn to get me out of the way, but what if it was to warn me they were right there?
How many times do I presuppose an action rather than contemplating an alternative? It's something to ponder...

Quote of the Day: My silence may be misinterpreted but it can not be misquoted!

Scripture for the Day: 2 Peter 1:3-9, The Message
Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.
5-9 So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day!

Growing up in NY, May day was a special event at the private school my sister attended. There was a "carnival" type atmosphere, complete with May poles and other "artsy" stuff. It resonated with my sister's spirit while my own was more the routine, planner type. But as my neon green toenails show -- I'm trying to change that image and be more daring...

Psalm 46:1&2  God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

It is easier to be more daring when you rely on the Lord to protect and guide you. The quote from yesterday's devotional is so true...

Love God, and he will dwell with you. Obey God, and he will reveal to you the truth of his deepest teachings. --Frederick William Robertson (English clergyman)

When we first went to the gastroenterologist about Vince's swallowing problem, the Lord had let each of us know that the problem was cancer. There's no explaining how we knew -- it was something the Lord revealed to us in our prayer time with Him. God has done that before -- the first time Vince had bladder cancer we knew before the biopsy had been sent off that it was cancer but that everything would be O.K. and it was.
Knowing and loving God who dwells within is only a part of my relationship with Him. Obedience to the Lord brings a deeper reliance which enables the "sense of knowing" even the hard things. In pondering these thoughts my view of the immensity of God grows even larger -- and yet the truth of his intimacy with just me makes my heart overflow!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Perfect Peace

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
When all around me is too overwhelming, I escape into the everlasting arms. One of Vince's grandmother's (Mammie) favorite hymns was Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. It was a favorite at Alton Bay and one of the first hymns learned by heart.

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Deuteronomy 33:27
The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, ‘Destroy!’

Where do others find refuge?

Seeing Dr. McGaughey today and learning that Vince's cancer is treatable and the prognosis is good was such a relief as well as a blessing. The reality of the next two months has not quite sunk in yet. Through the appts we have over the next week all the information will be repeated and the stage of the cancer identified. Perhaps time will assist with the processing of all this information. That's my prayer.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


My life verse is Nehemiah 8:10, Do not grieve for the joy of the Lord is your strength. The theme of strength has been in several of the items I've read today.
It began with a devotional this morning about Gideon. God says to him "Go with the strength you have..." Some days that can be a moment by moment.

Whatever you have--surrendered for God's use--will do. In the end, Gideon wins a great victory. But the road to a big victory was paved with a whole lot of small.
...A silly riddle--the kind that comes on bubble gum wrappers--says, "What gets bigger the more you take away?" The answer is "a hole." But I think w might answer the question "faith." God wants the resources to be scarce so that no on will be confused about the source of the victory. When we learn how to answer a big call with small resources, we have a recipe for flourishing faith. The old, small Gideon had become the mighty hero. When our resources are diminishing, we must trust that the strength we have is the strength we need.

The will of God will never take you to where the grace of God will not protect you. To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else. ---Bernadette Devlin

The above is from Praying the Promises of God by Cheri Fuller & Jennifer Kennedy Dean

While we were doing our Sunday school lesson this afternoon, more verses popped out --
Habakkuk 3:19The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.
1 Corinthians 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Ephesians 3:16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

May your strength increase is how I wanted to close this posting so I googled it and found out it is a Jewish congratulation --
Yishar koḥakha or Yasher ko'akh יִישַׁר כֹּחֲךָ       May your strength increase

Thursday, April 25, 2013


I cried out, "I am slipping!"
But your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.
When doubts filled my mind,
Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.  Psalm 94:18-19

Walking down the road with my BF prayer partner as her husband has cancer gave me skills that have helped set up Vince's caring bridge site and know the blessings of having others pray for you.
It amazes me how God prepares us for what is ahead. So when doubts assail my mind I remember all my blessings and that gives me renewed hope and cheer.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Where does my help come from?

Hard to explain my feelings today so I'll use another quote from Limitless,

...If you find yourself struggling more than usual with a challenge, my recommended recovery plan is to lean with gratitude on those who care about you, be patient with your tender feelings, do your best to understand the realities versus the emotions at play, and put your faith into action. As hard as it may seem, move forward one step at a time, day by day, knowing that there will be valuable lessons learned and strength gained in each trial.
...There is a certain peace to be found in knowing that there is a master plan for your life and that your value, purpose, and destiny are not determined by what happens to you but by how you respond to it.

During those times when I feel helpless I lean on Psalm 121 -- which I memorized and pray it back to God...
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ridiculous Joy!

CAT scan done, awaiting results.

Reading Limitless, a devotional book by Nick Vijacic. I'm a book blogger for Tyndale House so I get to read books and review them. Heard this Aussie on my ride home one evening on Dr. Dobson's Family Talk who was born without arms or legs... Somewhere in the middle of the night I realized the picture on the front of one of my possible reads was Nick!

So I requested a copy for my Kindle and have been reading it since last Wednesday. It's quite a pithy little book. There are 50 devotionals -- I'm reading them like popping M&M's and highlighting like crazy. That's the one thing I LOVE about my Kindle -- when reading a book for review I can highlight the quotes that are keepers and then they are listed on the table of contents page.

Friday morning we went to get my car inspected at Speedy Auto on 21st Street and had breakfast across the street at IHOP. I brought my Kindle and shared the highlighted portions with Vince after we had eaten. It was a time of real encouragement for both of us as I read through those statements that had resonated with my spirit. That's where the title for today's entry comes from -- one of the funniest stories I read--and will share here:

We were in Africa. When we arrived at the airport, I grew bored waiting for our luggage, so I told my caregiver, Kyle, that I wanted to ride the carousel.
He looked at me like he was thinking, Dude, have you gone made as a cut snake?
But Kyle came through. He hoisted me up and plopped me next to a big Samsonite suitcase. Off I went with the rest of the bags and cases. I rode the carousel through the terminal, making like a statue wearing sunglasses and drawing shocked stares, pointed fingers, and nervous laughter from the other travelers. They weren't sure if I was (a) a real person or (b) the world's most handsome duffle bag.
Finally I rode the carousel up to the little door leading to the backroom loading area. There, I was greeted by some African baggage handlers, laughing and smiling at the crazy Aussie on a joy ride.
"God bless you!" they said, cheering me on.
The baggage workers understood that sometimes even grownups have to hitch a ride on a carousel. Youth isn't wasted on children. They enjoy every minute of it. You and I should do whatever we can to keep our youthful joy alive. If your life is too predictable, don't go postal. Take a ridiculous ride back to whatever it was that gave you joy as a child....
It's important to occasionally have a dose of ridiculous fun. It's about enjoying the ride, embracing the blessings, and always pushing not just to live but to enjoy your life to the fullest...       #15 Enjoy the Ride from Limitless by Nick Vijacic

Now for my take on this challenge -- Stephanie and I went for pedicures on Friday afternoon. Having just read this to Vince earlier in the day, when Lucy commented my pastel green was "typical" for me, I asked her what she would do -- she said neon green! I accepted her advice and went for some ridiculous fun for a change. Since the blog won't cooperate and add my pedicure picture you need to engage your imagination. I think Nick would approve. ;D

Today's scripture is Psalm 20
May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
    may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
    and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
    and accept your burnt offerings.
May he give you the desire of your heart
    and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory
    and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the Lord grant all your requests.
Now this I know:
    The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
    with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
    but we rise up and stand firm.
Lord, give victory to the king!
    Answer us when we call!

God is our defender, protector, champion, trusted listener and faithful friend.   

Monday, April 22, 2013

April Thoughts

Life changes so quickly...
In March after a good physical report from his primary doctor about his diabetes and A1C, Vince had trouble swallowing. The gastroenterologist ordered an endoscopy which he had last Thursday. The doctor came in following the procedure and explained he had found a large mass at the bottom of the esophagus which in his opinion was cancerous. He had taken several biopsies which would be back on Monday. He ordered a CAT scan which will be done Tuesday morning at 7:30.

In so many ways this seems like "deja vu." In 1993, Vince had bladder cancer with a recurrence in 1996. We've been down the cancer road before. As before, the Lord gave us both peace before the doctor's appointment that it was cancer -- the test was just a confirmation.

Vince now has his own Caring Bridge site for posting the journey. If you would like to follow along with us, the link is here:
Caring Bridge Site

Blogging will definitely be a more common and necessary activity now. The Lord is showing Himself so magnificently in this new journey. I will post here scripture, lyrics to songs, whatever the Lord is using in our lives through all of this.

How could we travel this road without our intimate, personal, loving and caring God? It would not be possible.

Today's scripture: Psalm 18:1-6
I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and I have been saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me;
    the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
    the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came before him, into his ears.
What a way to start the day...

Before the Throne of God Above by Charles L Bancroft

This hymn was on the same CD as Still and the words were a balm to my soul. When I went and looked up the lyrics the hymn was written in 1863 and the second line of the first stanza said "perfect plea" not perfect peace. But before I saw the words I had been singing perfect peace... It fits our current situation so much as perfect peace so I hope the author won't mind the change.

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect peace.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

Hymn: Still by Hillsong United

Hide me now
Under Your wings
Cover me
Within Your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm
Father you are King over the flood
I will be still, know You are God

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know His power
In quietness and trust

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm
Father You are king over the flood
I will be still, know You are God
What a comfort to know in a time of waiting, the truth of Psalm 46:10,  Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Wednesday, February 6th

The women at Norfolk Garden are doing a bible study by Beth Moore on the book of James - Mercy Triumphs. We are taking it slow -- as we meet on Weds evenings from 7-8. The first week is the video presentation, then the next week we do Days 1-3 and the following week we finish Days 4-5 and any other extra material that we have time to cover. Last night was our culmination of the first lesson. In the three weeks it took to digest all of the preliminary work of getting to know James, the brother of Jesus, his role in the Jerusalem church, his Jewishness as a believer, it makes the words on the page come to life.
On my ride from Newport News to Norfolk last night Chuck Swindoll was discussing the debate in the early church about Gentiles and circumcision from Galatians. The last day of our study concerned a similar passage from Acts with the leaders of the Jerusalem church and Paul. As Judy spoke about the difficulty of the Gentiles and Jewish Christians uniting and the cultural chasm that needed to be crossed, the line from Dr. Swindoll, "Peter you have ham on your breath!" came to mind and was shared with the ladies. It is so easy to become a legalist and deny the work of grace. The Bible has many gray areas which can be interpreted in different ways based upon our conscience and the leading of the Holy Spirit. When we make our sanctification a matter of denial of self rather than the liberty of Christ we cheapen the Cross of Christ.

Soulprint by Mark Batterson

WOW! I have read two of Mark Batterson's previous books, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and Wild Goose Chase but my favorite has to be his new book, Soulprint. The book is broken into seven sections: the opening, five scenes and the closing. In order to make an easy transition from what is communicated to application to our own life, Mark uses the life of David from shepherd boy to warrior king with examples from his life as comparison. There are moments in our life that will define our destiny, but they must be contemplated and mulled over.

We are God's individual masterpiece that he has placed in a particular place and time to accomplish a dual purpose. First, to be conformed to the image of Christ and second, to fulfill the exquisite course God has planned for each of us. In each of the sections there were numerous statements and questions worth highlighting because they were thoughts to ponder and consider at further length. This book presents truths in ways that hit you between the eyes with their simplicity as well as their depth. Examples:
You are unlike anyone who has ever lived. But that uniqueness isn't a virtue. It's a responsibility.
It's hard to truly get to know others if you don't even know yourself.
Our strengths are hidden within our weaknesses. Our advantages are hidden within our disadvantages.
You never know what skill God will use for His purposes so don't underestimate the strangest of skills.
There are questions to be asked to discover our true identity and destiny. At the end of the book there are questions for discussion and reflection based upon each of the sections of the book as well as group activities.

Since a new year brings with it introspection and the desire to move ahead, this book would be an excellent springboard to examine what has gone before and the path ahead. It is a quest to discover who you really are and what God has destined you to become.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunny Saturday with Stephanie

It has turned out to be an incredible day -- Stephanie got her hair cut, a waxing, picked up an application for Office Depot, found two protective cases for her ipod, a purple yoga mat, LOVE artwork (1 Corinthians 13) for her bedroom, one-day passes for the bus and birthday dinner at Logan's.
Stephanie's bday dinner was a grilled lobster tail with a half rack of ribs. Everything was fine until she got to the ribs and they were dried out and burnt. When we told the waitress this was part of her bday dinner -- she took them back and came back with a full rack which was tender and meaty.
The waitress wanted to know what birthday it was and when Steph said 31 she didn't believe her -- said she would have thought 21! Then she asked how old I was and when I said 60 she asked to see my ID! Which I produced and let her see after telling her my bday -- 10/15/52. She said we had some great genes...

Logan's Crew giving a birthday Yee-Haw and Steph's new hairdo.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sunny Saturday

Day 4
Missed posting Friday -- day full of frustrations but probably the reason I should have posted.
Found out today that Tyndale has invited me to read and review an ebook for them -- whoohoo we're on the way! It will be delivered Feb 4th so until then I can read the one from Multanomah and post that review.
Vince went out to pick up Stef's birthday cake -- will take a pix and upload it later today. Also record her birthday dinner at Logan's.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thoroughly thrilling Thursday

Day 2 of this new journey.
Psalm 68:19&20 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
    who daily bears our burdens.
20 Our God is a God who saves;
    from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.

Thankful that God goes before me in my travels each day... Yesterday I could have been toast -- twice within a one-mile stretch, (Dodge Rams--didn't get to ram me) trucks accelerating onto the roadway and not seeing the Perry Prius already occupying the lane they were trying to enter -- guardian angels were working overtime!

The weather forecasters are saying tonite will be a mixed bag... I just want to see the sun! Living in a climate that's drizzly and overcast dampens my day. Although to snuggle up at home and enjoy a snow day would be quite a change of pace... A four day weekend instead of a long weekend to celebrate Stephanie's birthday. Ordered her birthday cake from Naa's Bakery (devil's food with chocolate filling and buttercream frosting) for Saturday, we'll spend time getting haircuts and waxing before her celebration birthday dinner at Logan's (she loves their ribs!).

Found out trying to become a reviewer for publishers is not as easy as you think. Need to write consistently and have a following to apply for Tyndale.

Do have the opportunity to read a new book by Mark Batterson on my Kindle -- I've read two of his books, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and Wild Goose Chase both of which made an impact on my walk with the Lord. His new book is, Soul Print and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Year, New Focus, New Goal

Welcome to 2013! Practice makes permanent...

Beginning a daily blog today, Wednesday, January 16th. Want to record what I'm reading, memorizing, and reacting to each day.
The following thought from Sunday's devotional has been drawing me back...
"Our Father-King sees and knows before we become aware, and he is already in the process of healing: 'I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!(Isaiah 65:24)'" [from January 13,  Praying the Promises of God by Fuller and Dean] My friend, Jeanann, and her family are dynamic witnesses to this truth. Her life radiates joy regardless of the circumstances.

Discovered that publishers will send you books to read and review on your blog. My second goal is to broaden the genre of what I read, and respond to it. One book that is still in my read/reread pile is, Not a Fan, Becoming A Completely Committed Follower of Jesus, by Kyle Idleman.
From the Zondervan site is this synopsis:
Are you a follower of Jesus?
Don’t answer too quickly.
In fact, you may want to read this book before you answer at all. Consider it a “Define the Relationship” conversation to determine exactly where you stand. You may indeed be a passionate, fully devoted follower of Jesus. Or, you may be just a fan who admires Jesus but isn’t ready to let him cramp your style. Then again, maybe you’re not into Jesus, period.
In any case, don’t take the question---Are you a follower of Jesus?---lightly.
Some people don’t know what they’ve said yes to and other people don’t realize what they’ve said no to, says Pastor Kyle Idleman. But Jesus is ready to clearly define the relationship he wants with his followers.
Not a Fan calls you to consider the demands and rewards of being a true disciple. With frankness sprinkled with humor, Idleman invites you to live the way Jesus lived, love the way he loved, pray the way he prayed, and never give up living for the One who gave his all for you.

I don't want to be a "fan" of Jesus. I want to be his sold-out follower but that means He will invade my life with his words, his actions, his desire for others. How about you?