Friday, August 22, 2008

Always Blessings

"Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don't,and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it."

I copied this from an email I received this morning. Coupled with something a woman said to John Edwards yesterday, I believe I heard from God.

If you don't know, John Edwards is a famous physic who has a televison program. I was flipping through channels yesterday and stopped when I came to his program. He was talking to a man who had lost a four-year-old son. The mother, Cathy, of the boy hadn't been able to take off work and go to the program, so they called her on the phone. After giving them some messages from their son, John asked Cathy how she had gotten through her child's death. Her response was, "Always blessings. Never losses." She said that's the way she lives her life. Her statement impacted John so much that he had to get control of his emotions before he could go on. When he asked her what she meant by it, she said, "I had him for four years and those years were blessings. I have no loss because of what I had for those four years."

This takes some thinking about. My biggest problem is fear, and that's not faith, is it? It's my fervent prayer that I live my life without fear. I want to be a person who believes life is all about blessings instead of seeing the losses. I want to live by the quote that began this blog. Just so you know--I'm working on it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Another Generation

Lately my blogs have been depressing. If you aren't tired of them, I am. So today I'm going to talk about something wonderful. Her name is Amiyah Bush--our ten month old great granddaughter. She was born last October to our oldest grandson, Cory. They live in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. It's a long ten hour drive to see her, but we've been there twice this summer. Amiyah is just a darling, of course. When we were there this last time, I was taking care of her--all by myself. I thought I could multi-task and dust as well as talk to a friend on the phone while Amiyah was playing. Wrong! She crawls, and she goes fast. I had only turned away for a second and when I looked back at her, she had dumped the dog's water bowl out on the kitchen floor and was having a ball swimming on her tummy in the water. It was just too cute so I let her swim for a little while. (Good granny's do that.)

You'll see her picture on this page, as well as a picture of the four generations. I have a family picture that includes me when I was about four, my mother, my grandmother and my grandfather's mother. I remember when we took a four generation picture years ago with my grandmother, my mother, myself and my two daughters. Then, years later, we took one of my mother, me, my daughter and Cory. I don't know if it's unusual to have been a part of four of these generation pictures. But what I do know is that it shows me how life goes on. I can remember when the first picture was taken. That little girl is as real in me today as she was 63 years ago. I hope, when Amiyah sees the pictures of our four generations, it's as important to her as mine have been to me.

Cory was my first granchild, and I cried all the way home when we had to leave him after he was born. When he was about 20 months old, he and his mom came to live with us. I had the joy of watching him grow up into the 24 year old man he is today. Nothing can equal the first child, the first grandchild and now, the first great grandchild. The funny thing is, every one of the ones who come after them is just as special as those first ones.

I love watching history being made in our lives. The only problem I have with it is that time passes too quickly. I wish I could go back and savor a few of those moments as we stood in front of the cameras and had our four generation pictures taken.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How Long, O Lord?

The theme of my Google page is Hawaii. In the morning on the page is a scene of an early morning view of the ocean. It always brings to my memory the morning my daughters and I went down to the Maui beach and watched for whales. That time of the day was quiet on the beach, not many people out yet. I could have stayed out there for hours and listened to the waves, felt the ocean breeze and marveled at God's nature. As the day goes on, the pictures change on my page. None is as restful as this one. Still, every time I open Google and see something of Hawaii, I remember the week last March when my girls and I were there. In our lives, we'd been through many hard times together, but over the last years, our lives had seemed much smoother for all three of us. Last December changed that. After being together in Maui,we felt everything had smoothed out and was over. We'd lived through it. It was the first time in many years that the three of us had been together--just the three of us. The last time was also at a beach in 1978. Although those months from December of last year until March had been rocky, we believed life had returned to normal. We were wrong. The past months have been even harder. Even now I can't see the way out. I'll think things have settled down, then something else happens. As much as I try to put it out of my mind after praying about it, it never leaves.

I have a niece who is in a rehab hospital due to anorexia. She has a voice in her head that tells her she can't eat. It's put her entire family into a situation none of them has control over. It affects her sisters and brother, her parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins--and most of all, it is robbing her of her teen years. We know people who have cancer, some told it is incurable. They know their end. But the ones who love them see that end as a terrible beginning. Others live with hope that their cancer is cured. Still, they live with the after-affects of their treatments.

Who's to say which way of life is harder? In every instance lives are up-ended, interrupted, and painful. People who have no control over a situation are learning they have to live with it. But it's stealing joy, peace, well-being, and even health. I understand David's cries, "How long, Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?" "Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to you. When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

When all this began for me last December, in the night I heard His voice--not audibly, but His voice nevertheless. As clearly as anything I've ever heard from Him came words from the 34th Psalm, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all." That's all I have to hold on to.

Monday, August 18, 2008


We are free, aren't we? Mostly free, that is. The one place we are completely free is in our choices. Even if we lived under an oppressive regime, we still could make a choice to obey or disobey or escape. The outcome of our choice could mean life or death to us and maybe to our family members.

Same as today in our free society. If I choose to obey the speed limit, I probably won't get a ticket. If I decide I need to go faster, then I have to live with the consequences which might be as simple as a speeding ticket and as dire as a wreck. Does my choice affect anyone except me? Of course, it does. If it's a wreck, I could be killed, another person could be killed or maimed. Yes, my choice affects a lot of people. I've heard the saying that no man is an island, and that's true. When a person makes a choice, it affects everyone who loves him or her.

I've made choices in my life that I wish I hadn't made. I can excuse myself by saying I was doing the best I could at that time, and in some ways that might be true. But the truth is that I was foolish and immature and definitely selfish.

There are some of my loved ones I wish would get this message.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Being Rescued

My brother thinks some of my blogs are strange. Maybe they reflect the "real me." Maybe he's the one who is strange. At any rate, here goes another one.

I started thinking about the word "rescue." I've been told I shouldn't "rescue" my children when they get themselves into messes. I have to agree that if a person keeps doing the same thing over and over and doesn't really want to change, rescuing him/her probably has to come to an end. I've done stupid things many times and God has always "rescued" me. Sometimes it was the same mistake twice or three times. He still rescued me. Think about the mountain climbers, the people who manage to be in the arroyo when a wall of water comes down on them, and other people who take chances with their lives. Don't we send out teams to rescue them from their own foolishness? What would we do if we knew we would never be rescued if we made mistakes?

I'm glad I can be a rescuer when someone needs me. Even if I didn't want to, I don't think I could turn my back on someone who needs rescuing. And I wonder if the people who say they would could really do it if they were faced with a person who needed to be saved from their own mistakes. When I made my mistakes, I was doing the best I could do at that time in my life. I didn't know at the time what I knew later, did I? If I had, then I wouldn't have made those choices. I think it's important to give people the benefit of the doubt before we judge them.

Yes, I may write strange blogs, but as I said, that's how my mind works. Surely my brother has known me long enough to know that!

Friday, August 8, 2008

One Day At A Time

If you are reading this, then you can see a blog on the right hand side of the page belonging to a literary agent. In it he sends the reader to an opinion concerning a novel about Muhammad. Because of the fear of retribution from the Islamic community, the book was pulled and will not be published. I wonder if this story was about Jesus or Bhudda or Joseph Smith or some other religious figure, the book would have had the same outcome? Of course not because those followers don't hold society hostage with threats of violence.

Everything in our world seems to be turned upside-down right now and I don't know how to change it. I'm reeling from what's going in the lives of my immediate family and friends, and in the world we live in. Is this still the right time to pray God's will be done? Should we be more specific? I've been in churches where we fought the devil all the time. I know that's not the answer because he's already been defeated by Jesus on the cross. I don't want to hide from the problems, but I don't want to be worrying all the time either.

So, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to wake up every morning and thank God for another day, for our lives, for the wonderful family and friends we have. I'm going to keep writing, keep watching American Idol (and whatever else we like to watch), keep reading fiction and non-fiction, keep going to church and small group, keep knitting for hospice patients and keep trying to show God's love to everyone.(I fail at this a lot, but that doesn't mean I should stop trying.) In short, I'm going to keep in mind that life on earth isn't the end for any of us. There's something way better down the line, and until then, I'll take one day at a time, cover each one of those days with prayer and just go on living.

The Best Prayer

8-08-08 A special day. The Chinese say eight is the perfect number and to have three eights is even more perfect for them. As you know, the Olympics begins today in China. In a number book I have, it says the number eight represents New Beginnings.

Whatever it all means, today is special because it's Reid's birthday. He's such a jewel that he's outside helping my daughter do lawn work, has been to Sears twice (once to buy her a shovel and the other time to take it back because it immediately broke), and when the right time comes, he will show us how to set the sprinkler system. I used to know how it worked, but even reading the directions now only confuses me.

Our grandson and great granddaughter both have pink eye and some kind of respiratory stuff. He goes to the doctor this afternoon.

It's been a strange visit, but good, I hope. At least now I know how to pray--God, do whatever your will is in their lives.

That's probably the best prayer we can say when we don't have a clue.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Other Side

Emotions can be tiring. That's what I'm going through right now--a lot of emotions and I'm tired.

We attended a wedding of one of Reid's niece's daughters last Saturday. It was an interesting Jewish wedding, and the family isn't Jewish. The bride has converted and the groom's mother came from Tel Aviv to attend. Sunday morning the bride's mother had a brunch, and it was there I heard something that made me want to go on over to the "other side."

The bride's father recently had a massive heart attack and as the medical team was working on him, he coded. Suddenly he was out of his body and observing the scene around him. He had difficulty explaining what it was like which reminds me of when Jesus said he had more to tell his followers, but they wouldn't understand. And Paul said he'd seen things when he was carried up to the third heaven that he couldn't describe. He struggled to put into words what he'd experienced.

I don't know if I can explain what he said, but I want to try. He had an awareness and was without emotion. He could see the people around him and knew what they were doing, but he had no emotion about it. He knew the body he saw them working on was where whatever he was now, had lived. He couldn't say he was a spirit or a soul, only that he was more himself than he'd ever known before. If he thought of someone, suddenly that person was beside him. But he had no emotion about it. The greatest feeling, if you want to call it that, was peace. Since he wasn't experiencing anything through his senses, it's hard to say the "feeling" was peace. He said it was just there--deep, profound, perfect peace. He had a great awareness of God and knew that without the emotions there was no punishment, no retribution (his words exactly). I asked him if he wanted to stay there and not come back, but he said "wanting" was an emotion and he had none of that. Even when he came back into his body, he just wondered why he had been one place and now was in another.

Listening to him describe his experience made me want to be there in that dimension, a dimension that he said is all around us. I want to go there because I long to not have to be buffeted by emotions. I want to go there because I want to live always in that perfect peace, and to not be constrained by time or age or tiredness. I'm not saying I want to go any time soon. I can deal with today and tomorrow and know "this, too, shall pass," but it's so wonderful to know what's awaiting us when that time comes.

This man said he had never been afraid to die, and I don't think I am either. Of course, no one wants to suffer pain before dying. As my husband says, "I don't mind being shot before I die. I just don't want to be wounded first."

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Perfect World

After writing the blog this morning, I talked to my daughter. For the first time in months she and I were able to communicate. I was right, and she is hurting, but she let me be "mom" and tell her how much I love her and try to give her some comfort. Her situation, as well as her son's, is serious right now. I'm not hiding my head in the sand this time. I'm talking to the One who can make good come out of all of this.

We don't realize that the actions we take don't just affect us. It would be different if we lived in a vacuum. We're tied to others by blood and by love. Whatever we do reaches out and grabs hold of other people--especially the people who love us. Whether it's something wonderful, like the wedding we're going to this week end, or a failed marriage, an addiction, a crime--if it's someone we love involved, we rejoice or suffer with them.

In a perfect world everyone of us would be thinking of what our actions will do to others rather than fulfilling our desires at the moment. Some day we'll live in that perfect world, and then it won't even matter. We'll just love each other.

Boy! Am I looking forward to that!

He's Not An Ostrich God

I don't know how some people handle stress, but I'd like to be able to handle mine like an ostrich. In my own mind I see myself as strong and able to handle just about anything head on. I've done just that when I have come face to face with tragedy, pain, death--something I can see, touch, feel. I don't turn away. But if it's just out there in the netherworld, I want to hide my face. It's easier to be like Scarlett O'Hara and say, "I'll think about that tomorrow." Or never.

I remember feeling so much compassion for people when I was about 14 years old that I made a conscious decision to close my heart. People on the street who looked sad or poor or crippled. I couldn't stand it because it hurt too much. That became my Ostrich Period. Somewhere during my life journey I allowed myself to begin feeling again. But the "ostrich desire" didn't die. I would still rather hide my face from what I can't change. I want to be Pollyanna and look at life through rose-colored glasses--don't think about it--don't look at it and it doesn't exist. But I can't do that. It does exist and it hurts.

My "waiting for sugar" daughter is hurting. I wish I could help her, but I can't. She hasn't asked for my help and may not. I probably couldn't stop the hurt--definitely couldn't stop it, but I could hold her hand and love on her and hope that would give her comfort. I can't hide my face from this, but I wish I could. It would be so much easier to not know about it until it's all over.

I'm not a coward. I'm just a mom who hurts when one of her children hurts, and who can't do anything to help--except pray. And maybe that's all I'm supposed to do. Daddy God loves her more than I do and He doesn't have any "ostrich" in Him.