Archive for May, 2012


Happy Birthday!!

At the risk of appearing to talk about myself a little too much, may I just make mention of the fact that tomorrow is my 62nd birthday!  Now, that isn’t necessarily a big deal, given that everyone has a birthday every year and, unless the Lord takes them Home, everyone will have a 62nd birthday eventually.

4 years old

4 years old

However, what makes birthdays, every birthday, a bit more special for me is knowing that for some reason, still unknown to me, I was rescued by the Lord.  Instead of being aborted, I was given the opportunity to live.  You see, I was adopted!

Fortunately, I was born during a time when Roe v. Wade was unheard of as well as was the idea of having a “choice” to murder an unborn child.  (Sorry if I offended you, but it is what it is.)  I was given up for adoption by a mother that I grew up believing loved me so very much that she was willing to allow someone else to raise and care for me because she felt ill-equipped to handle the job herself.  Looking back on it, my adoptive mom could have told me that story as a young child because, knowing her heart, she couldn’t have conceived of any other scenario, not being able to have children herself.  Or, perhaps they were similarly advised at the children’s home where she and Dad picked me up on that cool, late summer day in September, 1950.  Either way, I have always held a fondness for my birth mother because I’m sure it was the hardest decision she ever made in her life.  I honor her for the courage she had to choose life instead of other options she might have taken instead.

 

The way I remember the story of our first meeting, Mom and Dad were advised by snail mail I was available and they realized they only had 24 hours or so to come get me before the deadline date, after waiting at least two years to receive the good news.  They had absolutely nothing to start out with so they ran around like crazy people preparing my room, buying baby bottles and formula, diapers (the cloth kind since disposables had not yet been invented—yuck!), girl clothes, crib, and all the baby necessities.  Somewhere during this frantic buying spree, Dad arrived back at his parked car to find an officer writing up a parking ticket!  When apprised of the situation, the officer smiled and tore up the ticket, telling Dad, “Aww, go pick up your daughter and good luck to you!”   Soon, they were on their way, driving a few hundred miles from where they lived in Montana to Helena, the state capitol, to meet their new family addition!

The Three of Us

The Three of Us

 

 

After all the introductions, paper work, instructions, and so forth were completed, they jumped into the  car again (with me of course) for a few hour trip to visit the home of very dear friends to show off their new baby girl where they were to learn, quickly I might add, that they had a soggy “wet” baby in the back seat!  Neither of them had a clue how to change diapers, nor had they even given thought to the necessity of doing so as I had not made a peep to complain!  (I was such good baby!!)  Fortunately for me, their friends had several children and they were able to give them some good, solid, practical advice as to what to do next.

That was my introduction to my new family!  There are probably many more parts to that story that have long since been forgotten, but all in all I had a very blessed life with my adoptive parents.  God certainly knew what He was doing!  The only thing I remember wishing was that I could have had an older brother, but I am content that things worked out as they should have.

Years and years later though, simply walking home from work one day, God tugged at my heart.  An overwhelming realization came suddenly to my heart that I don’t ever remember consciously thinking about before that time.  Tears began to stream down my face as I began to understand the scope of the fact that I have been twice blessed!  Struggling over many years to fully understand and “feel” God’s love for me, these revelations came flooding in.  I not only was allowed to be born physically, but 18 years and 3 months to the day later was “born again” spiritually when I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.  Then came another revelation!  I was adopted once physically, but God also adopted me into His family when I got saved.  Twice born, twice adopted.  Chosen by my parents, chosen by God.  Wow!!!!!

Please understand that all these references to me are not meant to be self promoting in any way.  I am incredibly humbled by all that has happened to me, but I share it all as my story, a testimony to the greatness of God in my life and to let you know that He is not a respecter of persons.  He loves and cares for you in the same way.  We may not share the exact same set of circumstances, but He is no less a loving Father to any one of you.  In the grand scheme of things, I am one of many, but we are all His children if we believe in, rely on and trust in Him and receive Jesus into our hearts as Lord of our lives.

My hope and prayer is that you can see yet another reason why we can have confidence in God as you have read my little story.  And, may I add, if you someday find yourself, or know of someone, in the same position as my birth mother, please, please consider adoption as a better course of action to take.  You never know whose life you may be sparing or the adoptive parents you may be blessing!  I can assure you that God’s heart will be blessed by your courage and sacrifice.

 

Let’s Celebrate!!

Thought it would be nice to include some of my favorite music in this post, some from Christian artists, some not, but I hope you will enjoy…and celebrate!!

Classical Gas by Tommy Emmanuel

Jesse Cook Rattle and Burn

That’s What Amazes Me by Go Fish

Selah, You Raise Me Up

Hope you enjoyed this musical “interlude”.  Mostly I enjoy guitars, as you can probably tell, but I especially enjoy harmony in the various groups I listen to.  Harmony, unity of sound.  Guess that’s what motivates my musical preferences, especially.  Let me know what you think about music and what are your favorite groups or soloists.  I’d love to know.  I have plenty more favorites that I may share one day.  Do you like hearing these various artists in this format?  Let me know.  Have a wonderful day, and have faith and confidence in our mightly God!

Watch the Clouds!Clouds.  For some reason, clouds are amazing to me.  I don’t really know how they are made or why we need them, or what they do, other than dump rain on us when they are full of moisture.  I suppose that is a subject for a scientist, or someone who specializes in cloud formations, etc.  But for me, I just like ‘em.

I used to daydream about living near a hill with a single huge oak tree on top.  On a sunny, warm spring day, I would hike to the top of the hill (which of course had no bugs, weeds, or rocks to stumble over—just soft, lush green grass) and lie beneath that beautiful tree just watching the clouds float by.  I could imagine fluffy ones in the shapes of rabbits, dogs, lions, hearts, and other such fanciful things.  I could imagine stories revolving around each of the images I saw created by the clouds and as the wind blew them away, the images and the stories would evolve into ever more creative tales.

Although I don’t remember a single story that I made up about the cloud images off hand, I do remember thinking that the hill top and that tree and the clouds were my “happy place”.  I was at peace, in a very tranquil, warm and inviting location created just for me, and whoever I might like to bring along.  I rarely ever did imagine taking anyone with me though, for every time I went there it was “me” time; time for me to sit and think and meditate and enjoy God’s creation.

Often wishing I could go there for real, I still imagine that maybe God has such a place in Heaven that He is preparing for me to be at peace from the world I will eventually leave behind.  All the cares, sorrows and grief we often endure here, will be no more.  No more tears, no crying, no pain, no sorrow.  That really sounds great, doesn’t it?

Now, here’s the big “But”.  Unfortunately, we have no knowledge of when we will be leaving this world.  So, in the meantime, God has a plan to give us the peace we all long for.  That plan, unusual as it seems, was to send His Son, Jesus, to earth to take our sin and its’ punishment, and provision for

Above the clouds

our healing and restoration, on Himself so that we could enjoy His Eternal Peace in this life, even before we get to our Heavenly Homes!  Even though I would love to spend time underneath that big oak tree watching the clouds go by, I can enjoy His peace right in the middle of the chaos that is my world.

The most important thing to remember, though, is that we must receive Jesus into our hearts and lives and believe that His sacrifice is a finished work on our behalf.  And, then share our faith with others to “seal the deal”.

When the time is right and God has determined “enough is enough”, Jesus will return to this earth with “a loud cry of summons” and other tremendous fanfare, initiating a catching away of all of us, living and dead in Christ, to meet Him in the clouds, to be with Him forever.  (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)  So, I guess it’s not so bad to watch the clouds after all!  One day, we’ll go through them to meet our Savior!

Be encouraged and take comfort in this.  Have confidence in God!

          

Samson–8/2000 to 5/2012

There are times in life when we have to do things or put up with things that we really would rather not.  Things that leave us emotionally, financially, physically, and spiritually drained, but then God comes through in a most unusual way to give us a glimmer of hope, confidence if you will, that He is truly in control and knows what we need, when we need it, and will provide in ways that we can’t even begin to fathom.  The following story is a very small, yet big, indication of how much He loves us and watches over even the little things that affect our lives.

Recently my family’s dog (truth-be-told my daughter’s dog), Samson, suddenly became ill and seemed to labor to breath. He was living with me for a short time now due to some upheaval in her life and as temporary  “caretaker”,  I became increasingly concerned as this had never happened to one of my pets before. He was not eating well but still seemed somewhat interested in treats. It was as if he had a cold & was all stuffed up.  Our other dog, yes, my son’s dog, (I somehow seem to be the repository for everyone’s pets) Sugar Bear, didn’t seem to take too much notice at the time and seemed annoyed that he had to share all the treats, consummate mooch that he is. But as symptoms got increasingly worse, we had no other choice but to bite the bullet and reach out to a neighborhood veterinarian for assistance. On Mother’s Day 2012, of all days, when my daughter had come over just to have lunch and a special day with me, we sat in the room and heard the verdict …lymphoma cancer.  We both turned and looked at each other, tears welling up. We never expected this! Not even close to the diagnosis I’d hoped for.

The doctor was very nice, quiet and calm, as she could probably see how much we’d been caught off guard. She explained all the possible options, none of which seemed to be worth the bother or expense or torment for our much loved family member. She then left the room and sent in the vet tech to give us a list of all the expenses involved; a nice young man but he seemed a little timid and afraid of what emotions might be forthcoming should he say too much or with the wrong tone of voice. I’m sure he was just trying to be understanding and compassionate, and I appreciated his attempts at delivering a hard message with as much gentleness as he could possibly muster.

We decided on a course of action, let Sam go with the vet tech to get the various cell samples, a shot of prednisone (doggy version), and paid our fees (which only could have come from God–the money was there when there had been no money a short time before) only to have to wait a few days for confirmation from the lab before taking any further steps: an expensive but wise choice I felt at the time. Then we would know for sure. The confirmation, as if we really needed it, came within the next day or two.

       ************************************

Each day after that brought a rapid decline in Sam’s health, which I watched with increasing sadness.  (To this day viewing shows or movies such as Dumbo or the Lassie TV series, for example, just put me emotionally over the edge. Can’t watch ‘em.)  But I knew that after my daughter’s agonizingly difficult decision to put him down, his suffering would soon be over. Still, remembering what a great dog he was and all the good times we’d had with him was very difficult for me.

The night before the vet appointment was especially hard, watching him collapse on the kitchen floor by the back door.  He struggled to get to the bowl of water, but did drink.  That was encouraging.  Being late at night, I left him by the door, but slept with one eye open almost to make sure he would get help if he needed it.

Morning came, too soon for me, but during the night he must have rallied a little because he was sleeping by the front door this time.  He got up and walked slowly to the kitchen where I was and drank some water and went outside to take care of his “toiletries”.  Back to the water bowl and then relax  outside in the sun.  I had had a brief moment with him to say goodbye and let him know that my daughter would be there soon to get him.  It would all be over very soon and he wouldn’t have to suffer any longer.  I think he knew what I was saying because when she did come an hour later, he was standing at the door waiting.

Sugar Bear

Meanwhile, Sugar Bear came outside and laid down much closer to him than normal and stayed there till it was time for Sam to go.  He called out to him several times as my daughter readied him with his leash and cried after them when they left as if to say, “Thanks for all the good times Sam.  Stay strong Friend, I will miss you!”  Now, I can’t verify what he actually was saying of course, but they have been together for many, many years off and on and have been good friends, together fending off  all comers to the alley behind my house or verbally warning all the strangers who dared cross the borders of our home.  I know he misses him because he was always so happy to see him on the rare occasions he’d come to visit in the last five years after my daughter and family all moved out into their own home.   Of one thing I am sure, however.  Instinctively, Sugar Bear knew Sam was in trouble and wouldn’t be around very long.  He chose to stay close by when it counted and let Sam know he cared and was there for him.

Sam is gone now and his memory will linger for many years to come.  But, what comforts me most is knowing that we have the opportunity to know, personally, the God who created such very special and unique animals, who gave them instincts and understanding beyond our natural realm.  No, these two dogs are by no means more special than any others, and this same scenario has probably played out many, many times over many generations of dogs, or cats, or horses, or any number of other creatures on this planet we call Earth.

But, the cool thing is that God created them as intricately and uniquely as he did us, and then He allows us to view glimpses of His love for human beings by letting us in on how animals care for each other, even in small ways.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made, my friends.  He loves us, He cares for us, and we can have confidence that He will help us deal with every situation that we encounter, no matter how difficult it may seem.  He is able to bring something good out of something really bad, especially when it looks impossible that anything could change.

Have confidence in God today and ask Him to bring you beauty for the ashes of your life!

Welcome to the next installment of IVEGOTCONFIDENCE!

So, how are things in your neck of the woods?  Although you may not yet be experiencing the life you have always wanted to experience, trust that God is with you, working behind the scenes to bring His perfect will to pass in your life.

Doesn’t that just sound so “yada, yada, yada”???  Whatever!!!!!  Hey, I’m dyin’ here Lord…where are you??  What the heck (or, as some would say, *#$&!@#) is going on?  What are You doing to me?  I don’t see any extra cash, a job, or healing in my body, or relationships getting any better.  In fact, they’re getting worse and if You’re out there somewhere, You’d better do something fast or things are really gonna blow up!

Have you ever felt like that?  I know I sure have but never phrased my responses to God quite like I was feeling them inside.  Guess I was afraid I’d get knocked to the ground with a bolt of lightning, or so I used to think.  But nevertheless, I’ve had many situations that have yielded this sort of inner response in me.

One of my first real “tests” came when my marriage fell apart many years ago.  Without going into all the gory details, suffice it to say it was extremely traumatic for me as a very sheltered young woman with two kids to help raise.  I never in my wildest dreams thought such a thing would ever happen to me.  Me????…Mrs. Goody-two-shoes-who-never-did-anything-wrong-in-her-life?????  Oh, the horror of it all!!  What had I done to deserve such treatment and emotional abuse and trauma.

Then, God said in the inner most part of my heart.  “Will you still trust Me if you go through a divorce?”  Uhhhhhh……well…….., does that mean I’m going to have to go through a divorce and you’ll bring us back together after that?  Or……, is it that you just want to know if I’ll trust You and then You’ll fix everything so there won’t be one after all! 🙂  Or……., that there will be a divorce and I’ll just have to trust You no matter what happens on the other side because You’re not going to bring us back together?  Hmmmm…Yes, Lord,…..I will trust You.

Like the disciples in answer to Your question, “Are you going to leave too?” when you were done teaching a strong word and everyone else left but them, “Where else can I go?”  You are my strength, courage, forgiveness, mercy, love, protection, provision and all the other wonderful things that you provide?  You are the Prince of Peace and I need massive amounts of that right about now.  Yes, Lord, I will trust you, no matter what.

It was during this time of turmoil in my family and my life that God gave me a lesson in confidence.  Yes, although it was very difficult for everyone involved, we did indeed divorce, for good.  It’s been 30 plus years ago now and neither of us have remarried to this day.  We have gone our separate ways, remaining good friends as we were when we started out all those many years ago.  We still get together for holiday meals with family, grandkids’ birthdays and the like, but prefer to remain just friends.  Because of all that God has done in us, we both have a deeply ingrained sense of caring for one another and heartfelt desire for each other’s happiness and fulfillment.  We recognize this attitude had to come from God alone, but also acknowledge that we have grown and matured in different ways, making it undesirable to attempt to rekindle something that would not stand the test of time.Don't give up!

God gave me the following Scripture somewhere during this upheaval and I will always cherish the fact that I can indeed have confidence in Him that He will bring to pass His will in my life if I will just trust Him as a loving Father and not throw away my confidence and give up.

 “Do not therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward.  For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.”  Hebrews 10:35, 36 Amplified Version

I hope this encourages you as it has me, to remember and share how God brought me through a very tough time.  And, as I said in the beginning, it may not feel like anything is happening in your life right now and there may seem to be no hope of things turning around for you, but if you will hold on to your confidence in God, He will surely bring you through triumphantly.  I promise you the changes in your circumstances will not come in a way that you expect, but you will be able to see His wisdom and good work in your life, if you remain confident in Him and in His Word.

Until next time!

I Love You Mom!

Esther Z, my little momAs her time on this Earth draws ever closer to an end, and her eternal life with Jesus and all that have gone before her comes ever closer into view, I would like to take a moment to share my little Mommy with all of you.

She has been very brave in the last few years to endure sickness and disease, Alzheimer’s, which has left her memory rather frayed and confusing to those of us who still have some semblance of reality left, and the burden of being alone without the love of her life for so many, many years.  She is now closer than ever to being with him and all her family and friends who have gone on before, even as we speak.

However, one of the bravest things she has tackled over the years, in my view, was to take on the responsibility of raising a child that belonged to another woman, one who could not or would not take on that task.   She taught her to love God above all else, even before she had made a personal confession of faith herself.  She taught her manners, sensitivity to others, sharing, giving, and putting the other person first.  Yes, that child is me, adopted at the ripe old age of three and one half months from a Children’s Home in Helena, Montana almost 62 years ago!

My mom was always selfless, charming, loving, caring, and positive almost to a fault.  And what made her even cuter was her naiveté.  Very much like Betty White on the Golden Girls without the “sexual stuff”, she could always make me smile because she looked at life with such a Pollyana type vision.  Anyone who knows her, loved her almost from the very beginning of their relationship.  She has a way of making you feel valued and welcome the instant you walk into the room.

I never knew a time when she didn’t encourage and uplift and bring hope to a dark place.  One of those places for me was a term paper I had to write in the 8th grade on the eye.  As a master procrastinator, I had put off thinking about this paper till almost the last minute….again!  But Mom was there to pull out the encyclopedias (no internet back then!!), and start helping me put together what turned out to be a pretty dog gone good report, albeit a little plagiarized by the end of it.  She even helped me get pictures of the eye to color, so as to illustrate the various parts, and they jazzed up my report quite a bit.  Mom and I got a pretty decent grade thankfully, but I tried a little harder after that not to put myself into that kind of a time crunch again.

Another time was when I froze after being chosen to be the lead in a play in 6th grade ahead of my best friend who originally had had the part.  I guess the teacher thought I was better (she didn’t say her lines with much expression and I did) but I managed to develop a bad cold at the last minute and could not be in the play after all..laryngitis!  Mom once again was so caring and made me feel safe and secure and that everything would be ok.  It made me feel terrible that I had somehow hurt my friend’s feelings and it wasn’t even my doing.  Guilt is a terrible thing and I’m so glad I had Mom to help me through it.

As I think of all the times she has been there for me, I am reminded that it was God Himself who picked me out of an unwanted situation and placed me with a Dad and Mom who loved me as much or more than if I had come from their own bodies.  I was chosen, a very fortunate little girl.  But at the same time, I want you all to know that you are just as precious to the Lord and you too are chosen to be His child and to do something wonderful to give Him glory and praise.  As you read this story and some of the others that will come, please consider getting to know this One who has so dramatically changed my life and the lives of millions of others in this world.  He is waiting, He loves you and just like my little Mommy, when you come to your end, either suddenly or many years from now, you will be ready to go Home in peace, with Him.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!  I Love You!

An update:  As of December, 2013 Mom is still with us, although more regressed in her mind.  Her body is healthy but weaker and she sleeps a good deal of the time.  Her speech, when there is any, is a little nonsensical and sometimes humorous, but mostly just sounds and gobbledygook.  She is at peace it seems and that is a blessing.

A Final Update:  As of this morning, June 18, 2014, about 2 a.m., Mom went to sing with the Angels of Heaven, meet her family that have gone on before, and enjoy the embrace of her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Rest in Peace Mom.  97 years is a long, long time to wait.

 

Hello again!

How about let’s go in a different direction today?  How many of you have ever felt like nobody cares about you or what you think or what you feel or what you say?  Perhaps you feel you have poured out your life’s blood for your family and friends and they not only don’t seem to appreciate what you have done, but make you feel like your efforts don’t even matter.  Have you ever been in that frame of mind?

Please pay attention to me!

Please pay attention to me!

I have.  Not often, and I’ve learned not to let my mind wallow in that mindset for very long, but I have to admit I have stepped momentarily, from time to time, into that very deceptive mud puddle.  And when you find yourself thinking these ugly thoughts, isn’t it easy to try to manipulate your circumstances to force people to pay attention to you?

For example, slamming doors or cabinets is a good attention getter!  Or, another very popular technique is to give “them” (insensitive clods) the silent treatment–that’ll teach ‘em!   Or, maybe you choose to stand in the middle of the room screaming at the top of your lungs while throwing plates and frying pans at them, (or the walls or floor if they aren’t around)!  Of course, these examples are a little extreme, but probably effective for a brief moment to make you feel better until reality sets in and it dawns on you that you now have a floor full of broken plates to clean up and nothing to eat on or cook with!!  (Worse yet, if you hit them–the insensitive clod–and then had to rush them to the hospital with a concussion??!!!!  Wow!  And then, there’s the police thing, ..Bummer!)

However, I believe the real issue here hinges on our expectations.  We expect others to treat us in a certain way, to understand us, to recognize our value and treat us accordingly.  When they don’t, it’s like…”Hey, what’s wrong with you?  Can’t you see how much I do for you, how much you need me in your life, how valuable my wisdom is and how important I am?” As many times as I tried to get others to take a second look at what I had to say, the efforts I made just fell on deaf ears.  People aren’t paying attention, aren’t sensitive to us, and frankly, don’t really care a whole lot.  Such is the lot of being human, living in an imperfect body, in a sinful and corrupt world.  It really stinks..or sucks, if you prefer.

It’s at times like these that you might find it helpful to recognize Jesus as the only One who really loves, cares, and values you.  He actually was sent to Earth to show us Daddy God’s individual and very personal love for you.  And because He was, you can trust Him with your expectations.  And, you can ask Him to show you how to forgive those who hurt and offend.  Then, let Him heal your wounded heart.

Sadly we can’t change others’ perceptions or what they think of us, though God knows I’ve tried any number of times!!!  But we can pray for them and ask God to work in us so that WE will not be that same type of person to someone else.

So, don’t give up or worse yet, give in to bitterness and resentment.  Rise above it and remember to be confident in God.  He’ll take all the hurt and injustice and turn it around for your good.

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: “   Philippians 1:6 King James Version

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