Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scary Halloween

Twenty four years ago, we had a very wet, gloomy October. I had just found out I was pregnant with Katie. We were moving into our house, but still living at my parents while they traveled south to Florida. David and I would go to the house, and I ended up laying on the couch sleeping. I couldn't believe how tired a little life could make me. I worked full time afternoons in ICU, also.
Halloween Day, the sun shone brightly. I got a burst of energy, dusting every thing that had been moved from one and a half years storage. I even wanted to walk to Taco Bell, but we decided we didn't have time.
Mom and Dad were back from their trip. Dad, already set up to treat the trickers. I love to watch the children trotting up the street. I felt great as I entered the living room to be with Dad. Then I felt something funny, wet and I discreetly went to our room. Blood between my legs. I panicked.
I called my doctor immediately as my pregnancy was only a month along. The nurse, an older, wizened nurse, calmly told me to lay down, right now. Only get up to the bathroom for forty eight hours. Oh, boy, I was scared.
We hadn't told my parents, or David's, either. His parents had planned to come the weekend to help us move and settle into our new house. We planned to announce our wonderful news at dinner on Saturday. I told David, "You have to tell my dad. I never stayed in bed this long, even when I was sick."
David looked at me quizzically.
"You have to."
I also knew my dad would pray. I wasn't a fervent prayer at that time. I was in one of those dips of doing things my way.
Ray and Kathy with their two boys still made the trip to the Valley to see her parents, her relatives  and us. I instructed David to tell them as well. I knew they would pray.
Jody and Megan came upstairs to see me. Megan's eyes round as saucers, in her costume, either a witch or Indian. Jody sat on the bed and talked. She had directed me to this obstetrician, so we chatted about the nurse and him.
The next day, my dad popped his head in the door, "So, you got yourself pregnant?"
"Dad, I wanted to."
"I know. What can I get you to eat?"
A few days later, I got a card from Ray's men's prayer group. Sixty men signed a card that they had prayed for me the next day after the Ray Lyon's had been here. That tan card signified a great power  to me.
After the initial complete bedrest, I was allowed to go downstairs once a day and up once a day. Mrs. Voisey, the doctor's nurse advised me, "Just look at the dust and say isn't that a pretty pattern."
I was more tired after that week of inactivity than if I worked hard. Going back to the unit was hard at first. The greatest moment was a week later, hearing the baby's heartbeat for the first time with the Doppler. The scare was over. I counted the prayers, but still had not become a praying woman.

Treats, No Tricks

Last day of the month for my donations to American Cancer Society and our local pregnancy center. Leave comments, e-mail me or even snail me, if you have my address, and I will donate to what you remark on- Cancer or Pro-life, at all stages and ages.  For Cancer- $25. Pregnancy Center- $20.
Treat me with yourself. No tricks today.

Monday, October 29, 2012


All this storm talk reminds me of when I lived in Connecticut. We knew for two days that Gloria was coming. The night before, Dan Rather scared me. The stories of former hurricanes from residents who had lived there all their lives added to the drama. No advance warning, kids walking home caught in the hurricane in 1938, a little sister dying. And then there was 1956, too, catching them by surprised.
I taped my picture window in my apartment and the rectangular ones in the bedroom. The window had been an intake for the former textile mill. I had no worries about the old brick building. I called my dad for a pep talk. He assured me. Dan, visiting, got on the phone to tell me not to worry about anything Dan Rather reported, as he sensationalized stories, ever since he put a microphone in the middle of a hurricane. I mentioned tornadoes are side effects of hurricanes, since they had just suffered one in the spring, he didn't really have much more to say. Good luck, Sister.
I worked midnights at the local hospital and that night there were no sleepy eyes. We sneaked peeks at the TV when we could to see where Gloria was. I got offers to stay at people's homes, but I had two cats that concerned me.
Another Navy wife down the hall invited me to her apartment to sit out the storm and I could bring my cats. The walls of the next wing sheltered her apartment. I settled on her couch, thinking we watch the hurricane on TV. We did for a half hour, then as Gloria hit New Haven, our electric went out. Gloria ripped through the state quickly. Tree branches down and large power outages the only damage.
As I returned to the dark, empty apartment, listening to the radio. Calls of people wanting to know who shot JR, as the season opening of Dallas was missed that night. I slept on the waterbed as the heat slowly dissipated from lack of electric. The next day, the sun dawned bright, a beautiful late September day.
Around six PM a knock echoed through my apartment. The fire marshal with his hat, informed me the building had to be evacuated as a fire hazard. I couldn't have my part of the progressive dinner for the wives' club.
Another Navy wife invited me to her house, as our husbands sailed under the North Atlantic in the Daniel Webster. She lived out of town and I could bring my kitties. Princess, the Siamese, protected me by not leaving my side. Arthur, the Himalayan, hid out, we didn't know where. I thought he got out, we walked all over the neighborhood. Vicki, at our rope's end, let her tomcat into the house. He immediately routed Arthur out of the closet.
I got a call from the fire marshal that the electric returned and I could also. I slept in our guest bed because of the waterbed being very cold by now. The next night at my community college class, the professor noticed how shell shocked we all were. Many still did not have power. He let us leave early. I stopped at the grocery store to buy a few things. The lights flickered and then stayed out for a few minutes. The panic that gripped my raw nerves, then the relief flooding me as they came back on, I had never experienced.
The girls at work without blow dryers or curling irons displayed irritability with their flat hair. The week was rough until everyone's electric was restored. I did this without my husband, but I wasn't alone.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Youth Group in Eighth Grade

The next two years of youth group our advisers were the Tomers. We had great years with this couple. The first retreat was at Westminster Highlands in the winter. We actually stayed at Luther Lodge. The snow and different sleeping area with just our group created a cozier feeling of my camp experiences.The Walkers cooked for the weekend, as we centered all activities in the Lodge.
We also had a weekend at Crestview, another Presbyterian church camp the next year. Other youth groups shared the camp that weekend. The groups stayed in separate cabins, but we ate in the main dining hall and had a dance in big gathering building. I enjoyed preparing for the dance, with my blue jeans and blue flannel shirt. A Walton's sensation of stepping back in time filled my evening.
Part of these retreats involved more intense devotion time. We could talk more. The women that came along gave us advice as we laid in our sleeping bags after lights were out.
Mr. Tomer that first spring made a large, white, wooden cross with shelves. The youth group sold Easter lilies to the congregation to place in memory of loved ones passed. Easter morning, that cross filled with those trumpeting white flowers, overflowing onto the steps to the altar, the sun streaming through the stained glass windows caused the joy to bubble up in me.
At Christmas, we sold poinsettias in the same manner. The white cross again carrying the red flowers and filling the steps. This tradition lasted for several years. Not only did it add beauty to the season, and people could remember their loved ones, the youth made money and were involved in the worship.
The cross last year at Easter. Looks like they painted it, but still a statement.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Last Home Football Game

My baby girl is a senior. She has been in the band, three years playing the trombone, and now in a leadership role of drum major. I have truly enjoyed these football games. The band lifts spirits for the crowd with lively music and the fronts cheering. They also create a wind block if you sit on their right(or south side). As soon as they can they can they don their colorful bomber hats. As they take off their band jackets, hoodies, sweatshirts and varsity jackets appear. I love the hats the most.
The football games have been exciting because of their winning season, due to the fantastic coaching of the new coach. The players are small and fast. The long runs, yards of 60-80, for touch downs never cease to amaze me. Too often, though, penalties are called on the plays. But still, the team wins almost every game. Play offs are in the future again this year.
Last night as the couple that have sat near us all season, stood up to leave at the end of the game, the thought gripped my heart, we will probably never sit near each other again. Next September, the stands will have just a different feel. I miss the prior seatmates. The seniors that move on and parents find something else to do on a Friday night. Some parents keep coming out of habit and joy. This night will never be replicated.
The rain held off until we stood to leave. The dampness made me feel much cooler than I had. We sat under a sleeping bag all evening. I love how warm and cozy that feels, even though we really haven't gotten into the cold weather, yet. The hot chocolate raises the temperature of my insides.
We will have play off games. But these will be somewhere unfamiliar. The last home game holds a special place in my heart. Next year a different mix of students, band members, football players, parents and spectators create a feel for that year alone, although it will be very similar to every other year, still not the same.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

First Year of Junior High Youth

Seventh grade meant I could go to the long awaited, coveted Junior High Youth Group. No more watching the cars pull into the church drive on Sunday evenings or young teens walking up that driveway. Now I, too, trotted to the Fellowship Hall at six o'clock.
Ron and Ann Gaines were the leaders the first year I could go. They lived out in the country almost into Lawrence County. Ron taught at New Wilmington high school, but their kids, Pam and Claude, attended West Middlesex. Their home hosted several parties. Tonight reminds me of the Halloween party-yes, we celebrated Halloween back then. We carpooled to their place, Angie, by the Rolling Stones playing on the radio, as we rolled past the Amish corn stalks stacked in their teepee fashion.
Part of the activities that night included a scavenger hunt. I'm not sure what we were all supposed to find, but with my friends, Bobby and Judy, we walked a distance from the Gaines' yard paralleling I-80 and turning down another road. Finally, we decided we better turn around. I guess there was some panicking as we were the last to return.
We sledded at their home, too, on a Saturday afternoon in January. They had a huge western Pennsylvania hill, not a mountain like where my husband grew up, but it was decent. Hours speeding down that hill, then trudging back up. Then cookies and hot chocolate in their basement. I felt like a teenager in the movies. I belonged to a large group of kids having fun.
The end of the school year, a bonfire party rounded out the year, as we didn't meet in the summer. I wore jeans with rivets on the sides.  The fire branded my legs with round burn spots from those rivets. It startled me when I got home and took off my pants. Noxzema provided the cure.
Being in Junior High Youth also gave us some gym time after our meeting and lesson. Our church possessed the old high school gym, a real boon to our youth groups. I learned to play pool(forget every thing you heard in The Music Man). I also shot some hoops and we seemed to always play a round of volley ball. There was a room off the stage, but we weren't allowed to hang out there on the couches. That room was designated for the senior high. We sometimes had meetings in there, though.
The leaders let us own the Youth Group. We had officers that we elected running the meetings. We took turns providing the devotions. My dad helped me when it was my turn. I did most of the work. We had books to help us, sometimes we did skits.
I loved our project that fall. We offered to do yard work. This year, my father couldn't work in the yard with all those leaves from the old huge trees. The group worked hard. I think the only other person in the church to take advantage of us was an old lady. We never did it again.
My first year of youth group I grew a lot. In one of the first January meetings, we were to write our sins on a piece of paper. Mine included swearing, smoking, telling lies, among some other actions, I'm sure. Then we burned them over a candle. I'm not sure if I was self conscious. I think some of the girls saw what I wrote as eyes rolled indicating they thought the worse of me. I think they missed the point. I seriously confessed and wanted Jesus to forgive my falling away from Him.
This pattern would continue for many more years. I would follow Jesus so closely, then slowly turn my head and heart to the distractions of popularity. I would confess, come clean, as they say. I would be on fire, then the flame would dim, but never go out. I never lost my belief. I always loved church. But I was not living for Jesus the rest of the time.
I'll write about my final commitment later. I believe this pattern is common, especially with kids growing up in America. Like I mentioned yesterday, children as they grow develop their faith. Jesus has to become real to them. They have to own their style and service. Parents, though, pray till their knees wear out and then some.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Getting Mouthy

About twelve to thirteen, I started getting mouthy. I agreed with my mother most of the time until then. I wasn't like my oldest sister, who could sit there when she was a toddler informing my mother, "You can keep on talking, but I'm not listening."
A late summer morning, either before seventh grade or eighth grade, my parents and I finished breakfast. I believe my mom said something like, "You can do the dishes." I guess I already made up my mind to do them, but the way she said it seemed to me like she didn't think I would do them. I sassed her back about being stupid or something. Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed my dad raise from his chair, then suddenly sit back down. Due to his whiplash, he had tremendous headaches and dizziness. I knew if he had been in better health, I would have felt his furry with me showing disrespect to my mother.
That action gave me pause. I couldn't apologize, but I didn't say any more. I ran the hot water. The funny part of that morning, is I did love doing dishes in that kitchen. The window faced the east, the sun shining over our side yard, as the leaves from the huge maple danced around. I could watch people travel on Haywood Street. I turned on the radio that sat on a small shelf by the kitchen door, listening to the latest tunes. I think my favorite part was drying the iron skillets. I placed them over the gas burner, the flame rising to boil the little bit of water left from the rinsing. I knew I was done then, too. I finished a chore, the sink wiped out and dishes airing in the rack. 
I see this attitude in a lot of children. They want to be helpful, just don't tell them to do it or remind them. I blamed my mother that day for upsetting me. If she had just let me do the dishes as I planned, instead of telling me to do what I was starting to do, I wouldn't have been so angry. Ah, youth. If every thing could just go our way, there'd be no rebellion, yes?
I tried to learn from how I felt. I thought if I were more understanding as a mother, allow choices, the mouthy kid wouldn't show up at my house. I soon found that it doesn't matter how reasonable you are, that spirit of independence discovers itself with assertion. That really is how God made all of us. The teen years are a time of breaking away, finding oneself while it is still safe. Parents of faith probably have a hard time with this, because they have poured their beliefs into their children since the crib, maybe even the womb. We are given a free will and offspring must find their own faith, own way of worshiping and serving God.
I've been thinking of the Prodigal son parable lately. I think the hardest inaction for that father was to just let his son go. Sure he hurt when the son demanded his inheritance, basically saying, "Drop dead."  But watching his boy leave with no training, no knowledge of the world, knowing the son would get hurt, would maybe die proved harder. He would want to save his child all that pain, if he could.
We can't save our children from hurts. We find that out the first time they fall and cry. We can't make them think like us. They come with a built in personality. We give them rules, tools, guidelines and have to trust God with the rest. Remember He loves them much more than we ever can, and that is saying a lot.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Oxygen Tubing

I have signed on to NaNoWriMo again this year. I have a different strategy this year. No historical facts or farming facts to trip me up and slow me down. This will be writing with pure abandon, a modern day story. I don't have to worry what they called baby horses in 1918- foals, colts, fillies? Babies?
I love writing a novel with research but for the speed of NaNoWriMo, I need a clear, no strings story, especially this year. I'm so looking forward to writing fiction. Fiction allows no filters. Fiction can be flowery or to the point. Will my style be old fashioned or Hemmingway journalistic?  I do love it all.
Get to the point story telling and lost in description settings. Turn a phrase to make you read it twice.
November will be the rough draft, the-puke-it-out-on-to-the-screen edition. No worries about inconsistencies, I'll work on that later.
November is a tough month for sitting and writing. We usually get busy at work, as people leave skilled nursing facilities for Thanksgiving. And Christmas preparations creep into the landscape. But, oh, I greatly look forward to producing a story again. I have let the one I started last November sit in my laptop. I know where I'm going with it, yet, I lost the steam. My plan is to finish it before November. I will.
Life is growing in me as I plan this writing month. Energy swells. Writing is my passion. I'll probably still post on my blog, too. Because you readers are my oxygen tubing.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Choosing a Career

I feel like I have been a bit of a slacker this month with my blog and my writing in general. I can't believe sometimes how troubles suck the life right out of  a person. Since my first year of full time nursing job, I knew nursing, as in the caring part, can truly do a number on the inner self. The pull between work and home, even before I had children, created tension in me.
I was about fourteen, when the guidance department started giving us tests to see where our strengths were. A time for reflection, introspection and pressure to declare what I really want to be when I grew up based on aptitude. Actually, I believe this was the spring of eighth grade as we had to fill out schedules to fit our career choice.
Science was not a strong pull, but I wasn't horrible at it. If I studied better, I could have been good at anything. I felt nursing was a practical way to serve God. I could do a bit of every thing, teaching, counseling and the hands on of caring.
My dad had spent a long time in hospitals with his whip lash. We joked that he was buying a wing of St. Elizabeth's hospital in Youngstown, Ohio. He was there when I joined the church.That spring, I sat on his bed, the bleach so strong, my eyes watered. I don't remember too much about nursing activity while visiting these hospitals. They seemed quiet and orderly. Dad never complained, except one time they put his name down as George. Doctor asked him why he was sullen.
"Well," my dad answered, "wouldn't you be upset if everyone called you George and your name is Gerald?"
Doctor had to agree.
Hospitals promoted a pristine, sterile environment. Nurses wore all white, from cap to shoes. No pants then either, dresses with white stockings. A navy blue sweater broke the whiteness, only.
I worked later at the one hospital where Dad spent much time. In the mid eighties and early nineties, we still gave H.S. care. H.S. stood for hour of sleep. And the care involved back rubs, changing the draw sheets(the middle sheet on a bed), emptying the trash cans, vital signs and basically seeing if everything was OK with our patients. Now, I'm not sure if any hospital does H.S. care.
When my mom had surgery a few years later during one of the coldest Januaries, the hospital was also doing construction. The frigid air blew through the cracks of the windows. The nurse sat at a desk in the middle front of a room of four beds. It was somewhat of a surgical ICU. She wore the clean white with a cap, writing in the dim, quiet room, while we visited.
I think from these experiences, I had a skewed idea of nursing. Later in high school, as part of growing in the Candy Striper's, they had a future nurses' program for the juniors and seniors. Mostly making beds, stuffing charts, but occasionally little patient care. One time passing meal trays, a man cried in bed, pulling his urinary catheter, asking me, in my red and white striped pinafore and cap, with a white blouse, to help him take it out. I felt very inadequate.
Still I felt knowledge and experience would enable me to do this job. Mom encouraged by saying it was a good job, part time, for a mother. A neighbor down the street was a nurse and she left for work after her husband came home to be with the children. Things sure changed by the nineties.
For thirty years as a registered nurse, plus those volunteer years, nurse's aid at Clepper's and nursing school, a diploma school, I have learned much. I care for the people I have encountered, relishing all the stories and love. I have always worked by the golden rule, treating my patients as I would want myself or my parents to be treated.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Breaking Slowly Away

Today reminded me of a day we traveled to Grove City, Ohio. A dreary fall day with leaves dull or gone surrounded the highway. Dan drove us in his red and white Cadillac. We ventured to an Am-way rally at the Grove City high school, a large yellow brick building housing an immense auditorium.
Dan, enthusiastic about causes he joined, invited my dad, who as you may remember was out of work from the accident the year before. Am-way provided more than soap. It promoted a business model promising the American dream. Mom liked the L.O.C. for our laundry. Dad, too, joined in selling. The money, though, was to get people to sign up to the company and sell under you.
Five of us fit comfortably on the white leather seats of the boat of a car. Being twelve and a half, in junior high, I must say I did not want to spend my Saturday doing this. But we didn't get out much, since driving wore my father out at this time. We ate at a small diner/restaurant in rural Ohio.
The talks inspired the crowd. I had an attitude that I shouldn't really like this, but they were motivating speakers. Maybe I should even sell Am-way.
Such an odd time seventh grade. I loved my family, yet, the natural thing is pulling away from what they liked. Sitting in that back seat watching the darkness pass on the way home, I said little in favor of the rally or negative, even though that seemed to be the cool thing to do. I'm sure I joked about it rolling my eyes about this Saturday trip on Monday in school.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Speak to Me
Audio Adrenaline,a Christian band, played in the 90's. My oldest daughter listened to them and I was impressed by the lyrics, as well as the music. This song played through my head last night while I slept. I had already determined I would listen to one of their CD's on the way to work with this song on it.
I read Hebrews 12 a few weeks ago, impressed that I should memorize it. I must admit verses from early years come very readily to my mind, but the whole chapters are harder now. Yet, I read through the chapter every night and slowly commit a verse to memory and then build on that.
I heard a story of a person looking for a word from God. He spied a black box with"Believe" boldly in white and "Trust your instincts." It was a vodka box. Was God using that box?
I affirm reading the Bible and memorizing verses. Part of my upbringing involved much memorization in Sunday school, Release Time, and Good News Club. The easiest way to remember the words is through song. Good News Club utilized this method a lot. Release Time gave memory verse papers, smaller than 3x5 cards, with a picture at the top with the verse on the bottom half, in black print on colored paper. In Sunday school openings, we repeated the verses every week. The tools for my Bible award they gave us were long book marks. We memorized them, then recited in the hall to the awards lady. We had three years to try, getting our Bibles the beginning of third grade, when reading is just a bit easier. I did the extra so I could earn a red letter edition.
The best part of all this memorization is the Word is in my heart and the Holy Spirit uses it. He brings
it to my mind when I need it. These days that is often. The words comfort me, inform me, rebuke me.
They speak to me because I have hidden them in my heart.
God's word says it will not return void or empty. I am amazed at how a verse will fit a situation.
If you are looking for God to speak to you(or maybe that sounds too crazy), getting into the letter He has written to us and studying it, devouring it and soaking it into heart gives you a knowledge of His voice. A person wants to know the plan for his life. Read the Book. But one can't pick verses. The whole story builds you up. Reading it over and over sounds boring, but it is fresh every time. A different word or idea may pop out at you at varying seasons.
I'm not saying God doesn't use other situations, but make sure it lines up with His word. How can a Christian know, if he does not read the Bible? I encourage you to read the Bible every day and maybe more often than that. Memorizing will help it come to your mind as you need it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Sorry for the gloomy post last evening. Joy comes in the morning. I have a prayer card to pray biblical virtues over one's children. Today, it was for joy. So joy in our hearts, let the light shine in the darkness.
Thank you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beautiful and Dark

I'm kind of in a funk. October a beautiful month and a dark month. The sun is going away it appears, yet such vibrant skies during some days explode with color of the leaves.
I'm so tired of the election news. I don't dare comment. I truly am tired of offending. It isn't worth the grief of being attacked. I just wonder what this country will get, but I can't give up on hope. Our founding fathers set forth this experiment of a republic with belief in God. No other country had ever tried that before. I don't think we realize how unique our history is.
We can't give up, not matter the results. I believe like a pendulum swings slowly, so do trends. Or is it like waves, because it can feel wild and unpredictable at times.
I think October is a dark month, even with all its glory.  An oppression smothers as sameness creeps in with the longer nights. I miss summer, windows open, children playing into the dusk, even the too many firecrackers for a month around the 4th of July.
There is joy in a broken heart for followers of Jesus. I need to cultivate that and wear warmer socks. I also know October flies away and we have Thanksgiving. Be ever thankful.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A New Day Dawning
We have been singing this song for about a month in church, introduced on a Wednesday evening service. We sang it a few times that first night. The song ushers us into a new era, as revival waits on the threshold. I have not experienced a new song capturing the route of a church as I believe this song does.
The peculiar aspect of first hearing this song is I never heard it before I did in church. So often, I will hear a song on the radio long before it joins the worship roster. This tune as soon as I heard it, my ears perked up and my heart eagerly learned it. The words fit the desire for a new day dawning, even as those words are part of the song.
The ending verse encapsulates my determination to be faithful to the end, always singing praises to my Lord and King. I heard of a lady, who prayed often. She died and they found her next to her bed with her Bible open. She had been on her knees praying and reading her Bible, just changed places.
Lord, I pray for a revival as we learn what it means. May I be ever faithful.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Morning Watch

I woke so easily this morning, I felt it must be the four am hour when I tend to arouse during the week. But the clock read shortly after six. The darkness created the isolation needed for quiet time. I relaxed because the day planned no immediate rushing out the door.
I have been reading a devotional book by Andrew Murray, Teach Me to Pray, I found for a dollar at the dollar store, for almost eight years. Each morning, despite having read it so many times, I love the freshness. The last week has been on the importance of the morning watch.
I know many are not morning people. Believe me, sometimes in this time of the year, I'm not either. I sit with my Bible in my lap and the words swirl around until my eyes can focus. But I feel I need to dedicate those first few minutes(in my case, almost an hour) of the day to the Lord. Finally, on those days, I'm able to read the words that fill me. This dawn I did not have trouble reading.
The daylight came later today, as first the sky lightened slightly, then slowly a bright blue burst through my window. The temperature denied the sun at thirty one degrees. The dog slumbered on my couch with droopy eyes, and outstretched paws. Dreaming of a walk, later?
I recommend this time, I always have. A few minutes even with a cup of coffee or tea, a short prayer to ask the Lord to take control of the day. A minute to gather thoughts and peace. As Andrew Murray writes later in the book, you'll be surprise how you ever thought five minutes were enough.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Living Again

Life is getting in the way of my writing again. Some weeks are just like that, aren't they? Homecoming this weekend, supposed to be sunny and fifties today. Fall is coming early. I hope on Sunday to really write. I have many ideas and it is frustrating to feel unproductive in my writing. Hold on, though. It always gets better!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Flashback From Last Year

I wanted to share this post from last year:
Fall has been leaving me sadder than usual this year. I guess it has been that kind of year. I wonder at the beauty, the colors. They are muted and dull at times. Olive and yellow, bare trees. Driving along and suddenly a startling vibrant tree stops my breath. I want to be startling vibrant in life as well as death. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

World Wide Communion

I had probably started Communicants class by fall of seventh grade. In those days, children needed to go through the Presbyterian classes on membership before being allowed to participate in communion. I would watch as, first the shortbread squares passed by me, and then the thimble-size containers made of real glass 3/4 way filled with grape juice. People struggled with that tray, no one holding it with one hand. I anticipated the day I took communion. My mother sometimes would have grape juice at home for me after communion days. She would serve me.
The first Sunday in October is World Communion Day. After I married, I especially looked forward to this day, as I felt all the Church celebrated communion in these twenty four hours, connecting me to Mom and Dad back in West Middlesex, while I lived in Connecticut and New Hampshire. This annual day commemorated our one accord in our faith.
Reverend Hatch taught my communicants class. We learned so much. What it means to be Presbyterian. The duties of membership. The government of our church, and the denomination nationwide and world wide. We are part of a bigger movement. Our Scottish history that our nation's constitution fashioned after Scotland's Church's constitution. One Sunday our preacher brought in his Greek and Hebrew Bible from seminary. Wonder filled me as I realized he knew how to read the Bible in the original languages. I think it was that day, I wanted to go to seminary and be a minister. I wanted to study the Bible in depth, read it in Greek and Hebrew, like Reverend Hatch.
When I really had to decide in ninth grade my career, I felt being a nurse would use both my physical skills, my hands for God, as well as my spiritual gifts. I originally wanted to go to the mission field, until I decided marriage and children, I wanted more.
We met missionaries though my high school years. Bill and Lois Anderson, serving in Sudan, were sponsored by our church. They visited often and wrote letters read from the pulpit. Another family was the Bailey's. They were in Cairo, Egypt. I heard Ken on Moody Bible Radio last year around Christmas giving a Middle Eastern insight to the Christmas story. His letters also were part of our services.
On World Wide Communion Day, then, unity with our brothers and sisters around the world permeated our service. I sipped the grape juice picturing the Sudanese in their outdoor chapels, also in thought of the Lord's supper. I ate the bread imaging the Scottish believers where our Presbyterian roots were. We would sing a song from another country. Maybe our liturgy included a foreign church. Usually a insert in the bulletin covered another congregation, either in our country or around the world.
I love the sense of community around the world with my Christian brothers and sisters. We today also mentioned that great cloud of witnesses that are ever urging us on in our Christian race(Hebrews 12:1). A song today brought that to mind, as I thought of Mom and Dad in heaven and the other saints crossed over to the other side. We all celebrate Jesus, we with elements here on earth and they with Jesus, Himself. Oh, glorious day when we all are together.

Only Two Comments

Only two comments on Post 400! Come on, this is costing no money to you. Just comment on my blog. Any secrets to get people to post comments? I'm open to suggestions.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rest In...

 I'm to rest in...
                              My children's future
                              My marriage
                              My job
                              My writing
                              My bills
                              My family
                              My relationships
                              My life
                              My future
                              My performance
                              My God.

                                                                           And soon my bed.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Resting in God's relationship with His promises, His will and His timing surrounding me. This is a paradox. How can I rest? So much work, don't you know even Jesus says the fields are white with harvest, but the laborers are few? Aren't we to be about the Father's business?
Religion engulfs us. What can we do to make God happy? Love us? The fact of the gospel is the work is done. Jesus did it all on the cross. We accept His mercy and grace. We do service in love for Him. But that can get so twisted, can't it?
My picture for the year of the yoke, taking Jesus' upon me, is in my mind. I'm a people pleaser. I try to do my best, but lately that is falling through the cellar. Some of us raised in the church have that mindset. I need to teach, serve, participate with a smile and kind word, always. I can't ruin my reputation, my family's and then even Jesus'. Catherine Marshall wrote, "You can't ruin Jesus' reputation."
Many older saints wrestle with their inability to work for the Lord. They are laid up in bed. They can't see at night to get to church. Driving has been removed from them, and getting to church is difficult. I once told a woman who wanted to die and felt the nurses were interfering with "God's work," that she could pray for the home health aids and other workers coming into her home. I'm not sure it sunk in.
I get tired. One of those times, when the girls were younger and my mother also needed me, my Discipleship Journal issue came. DJ was a bi-monthly magazine with in depth articles focused on one theme. My sister-in-law, Kathy, introduced them to me. This one month, the theme was Rest, with a picture of empty pillows stacked invitingly. I wish I could find this picture, but I haven't. This called me finally away from performance Christianity to believing God loves me, personally. He has an interest in me. I could rest in His arms.
I'm not sure why I had the opinion of God only wanting me to work and being disappointed when I failed. My earthly father didn't model this example. He was loving and kind, understanding when we did wrong. We were disciplined, but never unfairly and always with a hug after the discipline. I always thought my dad truly showed Jesus in his actions and attitudes. I saw Jesus living in him.
The performance Christianity thrives in our rugged individualism America. I can do it! I plan and then invite God into those plans. I used to check off my half hour devotion time and feel uneasy if I didn't take that time one day. That is when the picture of the pillows flooded my heart with God's rest.
Just as holding our children while they sleep, cuddles our hearts, I realized God loves us like that. When we're done playing, He's there to cradle us. He loves us. As I could observe my girls sleep for hours, so God also watches over me, and loves to do this.
Resting, though, is not to be confused with sleep or inactivity. I cannot do anything, but not be resting in God-see my post on Martha's Heart in a Mary Body, Think of how in the middle of the night, the thoughts rush at us, the plans explode, the worries double creating little rest. Yet, how calm we can be as we go through our day serving the Lord, but waiting on Him as well. We display the fruit of the Spirit. No anxiety and no people pleasing in a Bible confident Christian. I can spend extra time with the Lord in the morning and not worry about my day. I still struggle with that at times.
I believe this is a lesson I learn over and over. I feel I have to be good, righteous. Jesus is my righteousness. I could always accept that the work on the cross covered my sins before I came to salvation, but what about the sins after that point? Wrapping my mind around the fact that all my sin is under the cross seemed impossible. How, after I know what is right and still do wrong, could He keep forgiving me? Paul addresses that in Romans. He even did what was wrong, while knowing what was right. That is the Good News. Jesus loves us. We try and the Holy Spirit lives in us to keep us triumphant, but we can't do it on our own strength. He has sent the Paraclete, the Comforter, the Helper. He is cheering us on through this life. We are not alone in living a life for God.
The secret is admitting our weakness. The secret is allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us. The secret is rest, waiting on the Lord.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Only One Comment

I'm not even getting spam on my cancer post. Hmm...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Longer Nights

I look at the inky blackness as my daughter stumbles out of bed, flips on the fan, ready to shower. When I was in seventh grade, the energy crisis started raising its ugly head. We stayed on daylight savings time, to give us more light in the evening.
The network news showed kids waiting for the bus in the pitch dark, with the artificial light of the camera highlighting their faces. Was saving energy worth our kids' lives? Should they be waiting for the bus in the dark? What about the kids that walked to school?
Why don't they just start school later in the day? My school started at eight AM. The sun commenced to shed light at that hour, as I tumbled down the hill to the back door of the school. I'm sure the bus riders had to load the bus in the dark, but then they could sleep. Katie did when she rode the bus. She preferred that over being late.
The bus here is a little later than when my girls rode it. I believe it rumbles by around six fifty. Today that is still very dark, I see no outline of the trees. Eighth grade and high school begin at seven thirty. Some kids go in earlier than that for Chambers and other specials. Last year, I chuckled at the teens straggling into the main entrance with travel mugs clutched in their hands. I was bleary eyed as well.
I thought last night, as I returned from Band Boosters meeting, how just a month ago, with light, we would have done something before eight in the evening. I quick changed into pajamas and craved a cup of tea. It wasn't even cold, yet. And we're still on day light savings time. Oh, when the night descends earlier how much I cocoon then.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Post 400!
In celebration of my four hundredth post and Breast Cancer awareness month, I'm issuing a challenge, like I did last year, when I may have been a little snarky about Cancer Awareness. I still feel money may be more of a statement than sly remarks on Face book. So for every comment posted during the month of October on this sight or my post from a year ago, or on Face book, E-mail or Twitter, I will donate five dollars.
This costs you nothing but your time and words so I know you're out there reading me and I can donate to a worthy cause of American Cancer Society. So start commenting. Break my bank. I dare ya!