Monday, December 9, 2013

Just Do It. Plain and Simple.

A while back a friend told me they were going to do something significant for me. That something never did get done. A few days after the fact, I got to thinking about what we, as believers, say and do on a daily basis and how it affects our witness and integrity. There are many types of people in the world. We all have unique personalities shaped by our life’s circumstances as well as the parts that are given to us by our Creator. But something that every single one of us should always do is keep our word.

Jesus’ words were never more clear about this subject in Matthew 5:37: “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’” (NKJV) In this context he was speaking of simply saying yes or no, versus swearing by anything. But there is so much wisdom in Jesus’ words. If we say we will, then we need to do so. If we say we will not, we need to follow through with our word.

Another great teaching from the Bible that came to my mind during this time really brought more wisdom to the subject at hand. In James 2:14-26, we learn about what faith truly is. Faith by itself is actually nothing. It is dead. But when we place action along with that faith, it is alive. In verses 15 and 16 the example is given, “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (ESV) This is a beautiful illustration that cuts to the heart of the matter beautifully. Well-wishes are meaningless in a world full of suffering. It is only by doing something tangible that we can strengthen our brothers and sisters.

So many times we see a need among our brothers and sisters; we want badly to help, but we just don’t know how. Or maybe we do know how, but we can’t afford it. Maybe we have so many ideas that we walk away wondering which one is best, only to get caught up in the busy life we have and forget to do anything at all. Everyone is at risk for these shortcomings. Afterall, we are all human – living in a fallen world – corrupted by sin. But with the Holy Spirit, I believe we have something others don’t: a Helper.
There is an Amish proverb that I read recently: “One little deed done in time is worth more than a thousand good intentions.” How very true. So next time, instead of talking about helping a friend in need, make the plan to do something tangible. Make a meal, send an anonymous gift card for gas or groceries, clean someone’s house who can’t do it themselves. Make the plan and follow through. You will be building up treasures in Heaven by serving your fellow man as you make this world a better place, deed by deed.

Let your yes be yes and your no be no, and do what you say. One little deed, afterall, can show a fallen world what living with real faith is all about.

Monday, June 3, 2013

My Sweet One

It's been 13 years of wedded bliss.

13 years of "for better or for worse".    (Boy, have we seen worse.)

13 years of "in sickness and in health".    (Wow, have we seen sickness.)

13 years of "for richer, for poorer".     (And man, we've seen, known, and written the book on poorer.)

13 years of "to love, honor, and cherish".    (It's an honor to love and cherish you. . .)

13 years is a long time. 13 years is long enough to survive many things.

Things like the birth of three amazing daughters. . .  buying a house. . .  losing a house. . .  buying another house. . .

Things like surviving a 12-month-old's 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 8% of her body, 4 nights in Detroit Children's Hospital, and a full year of scrubbing the wounds and then therapy suits 23/7 and weekly doctor appointments that led to monthly and then finally to "you've done well. There's no need to come back."

Things like gall bladder attacks so acute we thought it was a heart attack that Sunday morning during sound check. Then 4 days later having the surgery to remove the severely infected organ.

Things like many amazing theatrical performances, which equalled many nights with dad home with the kiddo(s), on his own.

Things like a 4-yr-old having to endure a tonsillectomy and the doctor instructing us to get her a cheeseburger on our way home from the outpatient surgery.

Things like breaking trust horribly only to turn into arms of complete forgiveness.

Things like moving away from our home state, to a place where we knew no one but our realtor.

Things like the discovery of a debilitating disease that spans from her parents all the way to all of our children, and the fight for our lives that it has warranted. . .  after more than a year of searching.

Things like more than two years of painful blood tests, the myriad of medicines (including shots and PICC lines), the mountains of medical bills, and the pain and anguish of a life of disease.

Things like knowing our lives might never turn out like we thought they might, because of a tiny pathogen who has set up shop in the wife's body. . .  and the kids' as well. . .  and probably the husband's.

Things like our home being trashed most days of the year. . .  Our cluttered mess fighting for our attention while the disease sucks the energy out of her. . .  Her dreams of healthy activities trickling down the streams of illness and fatigue. . .  His dreams of a normal life being pulled alongside hers...

And then there are things like laughter, bright sunny days, memories that have been built on sandy beaches, searching for the perfect "coconut phone" (he knows what I mean). . .  Hammock imprints on his back after a rest in the tropical sun. . .  Friday night fires with the kids. . .  Great meals with great friends. . .

But when God joins two people together, make no mistake: even the very gates of Hell will not prevail against them!! We are here. We are going nowhere. We are committed to each other. And that is that way it will be. "Till death parts us."

I am so glad happy in awe [words fail me here] BLESSED to have such an amazing man in my life. Such devotion. Such dedication. Such love.

God, thank You for providing for me in ways that I never would have ever thought necessary or possible. I will do my best to live every day of the rest of my life serving, cherishing, and loving him, My Sweet One.

Here are some of the lyrics to this silly song, where my hubby got one of the pet names I call him... Yes, it's pretty quirky, non-sentimental, and certainly not romantic to most. But it's one of the things that makes us what we are to each other. And the meaning is more deeply known than anyone would dare to imagine. Enjoy.

"My Sweet One, I call you My Sweet One. . .  You're my only true Sweet One. . .  With my all, I call you My Sweet One. . .  Far away, I'll say your name. . .

But with you, I'll travel thick, and with you I'll travel thin. . .  And all the spaces in between, I'll travel with you, you're My Sweet One. . .

Oh, if you're ever unsatisfied with the way life's treating you, you know that you can count on me to take good care of you. I love you honey oh yes I do, you know that's true of course. And if your dog or cat ever dies, I'll buy you a ewe."

Come on! You will never hear such sentiment anywhere else!


Monday, April 15, 2013

Here Today... (part 1)

I've been thinking a lot about my grandparents on my dad's side of the family. They both have passed away, my grandma in 2006 and my grandpa in 2008. It's been an ok transition for me, even though I was very close to both of them. God gave me very special moments with both of them when they were nearing their time to go home to be with the Lord, and I am ever grateful for that.

My grandmother had COPD. Grandpa had cancer. I watched as unnecessary diseases ravaged their bodies, giving them both a shortened life.

Grandma never had the opportunity to meet my youngest daughter; my middle girl was a baby when she died. She gave her a unique nickname that no one else had taken to calling her. That nickname came up the other day and I was able to share with my middle girl--now 7 1/2--about her great grandma and the love she had for her, even as a wee babe.

God gave me a special gift in grandma's end days. She had been going in and out of delirium, and had settled into that state pretty much most of the time at the point that this event took place. One evening I went over to their house; grandma was permanently in her bedroom at this point. The TV was on and an old movie, "In The Good Old Summertime," was just beginning. Well, grandma started talking to me about the actors and actresses in the movie, commenting on how she loved this one, and really didn't care for that one, and how she adored Judy Garland and Van Johnson, the leading lady and gent in the movie. We had small talk during the commercials about everything from baby Miriam--or Mimi as grandma called her--to what was happening around the Grand Traverse area at that time. We reminisced, enjoyed the film, and I was given a priceless gift that no one can ever take away from me. 

When the movie was over, she was pretty much wiped out and the lucidity was fading once again. I took my leave with a cheshire grin inside my heart; one that beamed loudly into my soul of the unmeasurable gift I had just received. I will never ever forget my grandma. I miss her terribly. But the best thing is, I know I will see her again and that makes this life a little more worth living.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Where September and April Collide

Ouch! Poor baby... Two days after she was paid off, too.

Yes. It's been since September. And this a the result of a collision. . . Granted, it wasn't September colliding into April, but it was a jeep colliding into our sitting duck of a van one heavily snowy and slippery day.

I think I got behind on my blogging and felt that well, if I don't do it today, I am sure I will do it tomorrow. Well, today's "discovery": Don't procrastinate. Ha! Like I haven't known this before!!!

I've been working on a few books and had put them off as well, for a longer time than I am comfortable admitting.

Thankfully, grace overflows into every area of my life on a regular basis. And there's nothing I can do to stop it. Even though many times we mark those perfectly packed parcels "return to 
sender". . . it still awaits us. 

So I will say to you all right now: if you have been putting something off for a week, a month, a year, 10 years, or more. . . Pick it up. Start up again. You can do it.

Here's proof. Seven months later. . . 

And the funny thing is, I have loads of things I could have been throwing on here, at least once a month. But did I? No. 

Thankfully my dumb-streak is over. Hi. Welcome to my world once again. Please, kick off your shoes (however if you suffer from awful foot-stink, by all means, leave 'em on. . . Have a heart for your fellow blog readers. . . ), grab your mug of cider, tea, or java, and join me as we go a'pondering and discovering in this little thing called life.
Look at me pondering!

Peace, love, and cider mugs. . .