Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Does anyone struggle with clutter?  I do!!!   After many years of work related leadership, traveling, house/yard dailies, major health crisis, unfinished projects, etc.  I am left with piles around me at home and at work.  This is STRESSing me out because I'm normally very organized.  At work I'm the one who people would come to ask for the "lost" document because they knew I could lay my hands on my copy in an instant.   Ummmm, I was that person....but now I'm the person looking for the "lost" document!

For me clutter wears heavy on my mind and attitude.  I'm overwhelmed by what I see.  That includes too much pencil in my datebook!  Then I get discouraged and the "why bother" attitude.....or the "snarky, lashing out" attitude that my poor roommate has suffered through of late!  There has been lots of research on physical effects clutter can have on a mind and body.  Typically I could push past the "why bother" attitude to conquer the clutter....even if it just starts by conquering the pencil clutter in my datebook.   My cancer & vitamin deficiencies really took a toll so I'm still trying to make a "come back" physically.  This is only making the usual effects of clutter worse.  I've seen the cycle over and over of what a cluttered bedroom does to my sleep.   A lack of quality/quantity sleep just makes the discouragement worse.  I literally want to crawl into a ball and cry.....which if anyone who knows me is reading this knows it's really odd coming from me!

Interestingly God was speaking to me about this topic this morning.  Then again when I walked into work to an email from Hearts At Home @ cluttered schedules.  It talks about creating margin.  If I'm honest I have struggled wanting to crawl into a ball for several years.  The workplace may have been organized but the organized home was nothing more than a pipedream.  A little over a year ago I read Lisa Terkeurst's Best Yes which is still impacting me.  She also talked about the stress of being so tied to your schedule that you miss those heart stirrings God has placed for you to do.  The things you really want to do IF you had more time.  The things that only you can do because of where God has you placed.  That was a wake up call!!!

My cluttered bedroom stress is just a physical representation of a cluttered heart/soul.  I've filled my heart with things that ought not be....control issues, walls of "got it all together", and a little fear that crept in with the health issues.   This year I gave up the work leadership team and trying to focus more on "being available".  It's been a great decision!  I'm working on regaining my strength & endurance physically.  I'm hanging out with people more instead of hanging out with my datebook & my projects.  Although my "hanging out" time with Him is not at all where it should be.  So now it's time to get to work on conquering the clutter....both physically & spiritually!

Friday, August 7, 2015

a LONG process

It's been awhile!  I hope to be back here more regularly!  However I'm back to school in another week so not sure what "regular" will look like!

My blog tends to be about things God has been doing in my life and showing me through it.  It's not that He hasn't shown up, rather He has been the only thing holding me up over the last two years!  Funny thing is I remember taking a deep breath at the beginning of 2014-15 school year and thinking "finally, my life is returning back to normal & it's going to be a GOOD year!"  Well, it was a GREAT year but not in ways one would expect!!!!!

From November 2013 - June of 2015 life has felt like a Tilt-a-Whirl.  I never did like carnival rides because there was a person in control that I did not know NOR trust!  This particular Tilt-a-Whirl ride was crazy & precarious.....YET I knew my God was in control and He was teaching me about TRUST!  Two things I struggle relinquishing!

If you've not followed this blog all along you might want to go back and reread some to understand the last two years.  Anyway, the evening I found out that I had endometrial cancer I have to say I was in a bit of a fog.  All I knew is that I had to tell the people I loved without losing it!  I really didn't have time to process it.   All I could think was I needed to form a plan but with so many unknowns I didn't know where to start.  So that next morning while still in a fog, my daily quiet time had me in Acts 27.   As I was numbly reading, several verses leapt off the page at me:  "God of whose I am and whom I serve",  "unless you abide in the ship, you can't be saved",  and "not a hair from your head will be harmed". 

The first two verses were all I needed for "a plan".  It was no accident that I was reading there because that was exactly the reassurance I needed.  He had my full attention.  I know this might seem odd but ask many who are saved and daily reading the Bible.  This is how He communicates with us through good times and bad!  And in my 50 years I have learned that His ways are SOOOOOO much better than mine!!!!

Acts 27 was a great reminder of who I am and what I needed to do!  I just needed to focus on Him, not fear this diagnosis, and just keep about the purpose He's placed me in.   The last verse.....well,I was not certain it was a promise I could claim.  Maybe it was just my vain, wishful thinking?   So I went about my job, daily routines/responsibilities, medical appointments/tests, & enjoying family/church/friends.  If you didn't notice that I looked 13 months pregnant with twins, you'd never know that anything was wrong!  There were minor issues that I'd been dealing with but nothing totally terrible.  On the bright side I developed a brand new stretchy wardrobe that can adjust through 3 sizes!

By mid-April we knew that it had been caught early, I had to have surgery mid May, and it was possible that I might need chemo or radiation but still not probable.  May 11th I awoke early afternoon in recovery to realize that the discomfort I'd been feeling was gone, a big part of the swelling was gone, & I didn't have a big incision.  All huge blessings....and then I went back to sleep! ;)   Next day Dr came in to tell me that it was Stage 1, contained, and believe it was all gotten.  The tumor was larger than they thought which caused some tears and appeared to be just moving into another stage.  Though he wasn't planning to take a lymph they did take one to verify that the cancer had not spread.  My only question was if he'd okay me to try fly-fishing for the first time.  He thought I was kidding!

So more unknowns but three weeks later I found out that lymphs were all clear and no radiation/chemo were necessary.  I was going to get to keep my hair!  I was not going to have to be stuck with needles and have IV's which I HATE with a passion!!!!!  God is amazing! 

Interestingly the hardest part for me was recovery!  I didn't struggle with the resting as I had imagined.  It could be a bit frustrating at times but I had no options!  My body was exhausted and weak beyond what I had ever imagined.  I am so thankful my school told me to end my year on medical leave!!!   After 4 weeks when I should have been bouncing back(well, I thought I should have been), I was just starting to have symptoms from the surgery, severe vertigo, severe exhaustion, and fear.

The physical recovery wasn't the hard part, rather it was the mental.  I feared I would never get back to my personal normal.  I truly thought I would not be able to take this celebratory trip I had planned.  That was something I'd not experienced before!  "I can't" & "can you do this for me?" was never in my vocabulary before so this was a scary experience!  I had to constantly face the fears with God's truth and push through.  I had to work past a whiny attitude that irritated even me!  I had no right to whine because SOOO MANY others had worst circumstances than I!  Even with mom's recovery I didn't know what to expect so I took it one day at a time.  However, I was told by my surgeon "oh you'll be back to overdoing it AND you can't!"  That truly wasn't the case for me!   Truth is that he scared me a little and I do not scare easily!  I am just now getting back to a little more than half of my normal pace without naps. ;)

Beginning of July I did take that trip to Gatlinburg, TN.  One of my goals was to try something new; fly-fishing in a National Park river.  BEST  THING  EVER!!!!  Beautiful scenery, going with my best friend, trying something new in my 50's, & having the most patient guide in TN!   I actually caught two.....purely by accident too!  Casting was easy but the "setting the fish" was something altogether I did not get the feel for!  Thankfully my sister traipsed through the forest with us getting some of the best pictures ever!!!!  You can actually tell how stressed I was in the pictures at the beginning because I truly didn't believe I could do this physically.  Soon in the pictures you can tell I was stress-free and having fun.  In fact there was a point where I was in tears all alone because I was so thankful that I was able to take part in God's amazing beauty! I remember walking up out of the river at the end with a huge smile exclaiming to my bestie & my sis "I did it!  Love it & can't wait to show my surgeon the pictures!" 

I am back!  AND better than before because of the grace of God!!!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

the bite

Deep thoughts as I am gardening today...

Have you ever noticed how mosquitoes hang out in the darker, shady areas of your yard?  Not the sunny, light areas?  As I am sitting in my beautiful but shady Godspot beginning my daily quiet time, I am swatting at the buzzing in my ears.  It's very distracting and makes it hard to hear God speaking through His Word.

Then it struck me..... isn't that the same with sin?  It is often those shady areas where we have trouble discerning God's voice.  We also have the constant barrage  of the world's voices buzzing in our ears.  Sin is rarely just the neon sign proclaiming all it's worldly pleasures!  It ALWAYS starts with one "seemingly innocent" choice that leads us on a really bad path. 

Eventually just like the mosquito, sin bites too!  Sometimes that bite is just an annoying, temporary sting.  BUT like those disease carrying mosquitoes, sin too often can leave permanent damage.

Since we have had a rainy summer we have a lot of mosquitoes.  Most of them found to be carrying West Nile Virus.  So now along with my morning routine I spray my yard before going out.  Nowadays we have spray that will give you a 99.9% guarantee of getting rid of mosquitoes.  Yes we are still human and mess up!  Yet, if you are daily reading and applying the Bible to your life you can have that same guarantee against sin! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wilderness Wandering

This is one from end of November 2013 I was working on but never got posted:

I might have mentioned this before but I have never understood how a people who could see, taste, smell, and feel God's provisions could not trust him for the dailies!  As I have been reading it again this year I am starting to understand that it is a choice.  Are you going to choose to focus on the circumstances that you are currently in or are you going to choose to see how God is working in the midst of those circumstances?

The beginning of October God began to convict me on two areas of my life: 'covetousness' & 'choosing to see Him" despite life's circumstances.  Conviction came through my daily reading in Numbers.  My coveting was not about "things".  I have always been a control freak so for me coveting is about wanting control over my daily life instead of allowing God.  A word study led me to Hebrew 13:5.

It is no coincidence that God had me in that particular spot!  I believe that He was preparing me for what was ahead.

Then November 1 he drove it deeper by my living in ICU with mom for 1.5 weeks.  As terrifying as it was I can also say what a blessing that experience was because I learned how to trust Him deeper.  God is STILL always there but we have to make a choice to see Him and how He is at work!  AND we have to make the choice to trust that His ways are right not ours! 

Maybe I am strange but looking back I am thankful for those trials in my life.  I often learn the most effective lessons through them!  I love how God uses His Word to teach!  No more than a few days after realizing for the first time that the Isrealites simply were not choosing to see I got a phone call saying my mom was at the Emergency Room and they were going to lifeflight her to Peoria.  I got a first hand lesson in how we humans still have to "choose to see" Him amidst the chaos.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Blessed Assurance

This morning I woke up with the tune of Blessed Assurance running through my head.  Now for those of you who don't know me well....I am NOT musically inclined in any way!!!  I might hear a well loved tune and be able to name it but I would be lucky to tell you the words to any part of a verse.   So  I googled that song.  The words are really interesting given all that is happening in my life right now!

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song.
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

After looking at the words I know why it is playing!  God has me in a very unusual place today.  2.5 weeks ago I was told I had cancer.  This had not been a disease that runs in either side of my families.  A little over 2 months ago I was told one of my paternal aunts has cancer....ironically it was the same day that my doctor discovered an oddity at a regular visit!  A week ago I was told that the prognosis is they caught it EXTREMELY preliminary test reveal that it is a Stage 2 at the most and lymph nodes appear normal.  In fact they are shocked at how early it was detected because generally this cancer is not detected until it's reached a Stage 4.

Looking back over some of my old blogs I can see why He was showing me so much about the Old Testament believers!  I was about to embark into some trials that I needed much preparation for!!!!!!!   During my mother's heart issues and recovery He taught me volumes.  It is because of the past two years that I now face my own upcoming surgery with Blessed Assurance running through my mind....and being belted out around the house!  I should apologize to my neighbors for the noise infractions!  Luckily they are all my family!!!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"Heavenly Storehouses Laden With Snow"

Anyone who knows me knows that I love SNOW!!!!!   As I sit here on my 8th SNOW day and looking out on 15"+ in my yard, I find Chris Tomlin's lyrics of "Indescribable" tumbling around my head.  But today it is more than just the line about heavenly storehouses of snow(which I can't wait to see)!

All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
Incomparable, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

Yesterday was a destination on a very long, uncertain journey!   It was the last appointment with my mom's cardiac/thoracic surgeon.  As mom walked in on her own, this wonderful man was so happy that he was almost giddy.  In fact my first reaction was  "oh my, he has TOO MUCH espresso in that coffee".  To understand how incredibly funny his response was to seeing mom you would have had to been there for their first meeting! 

On October 26, 2013 my mother had a slight-moderate heart attack which was not detected right away but another great doctor kept her in the hospital until he figured out what exactly was going on.  They actually thought it might be gallbladder attack. When they did determine it was a heart issue they sent her to a bigger hospital where a stent could be placed in one of her veins.  Two-three days they were going to dismiss her but for one reason or another they did not.  Seven days later she was being dismissed.  As she was getting ready in her hospital room for my dad to pick her up, she went into cardiac arrest. Totally unforeseen by all the tests she had!  Minutes later I received a phone call from the hospital chaplain stating she "coded and they are working on her.  Get here now!".

November 1, 2013 she was rushed into an emergency open heart surgery.  No matter how well they communicated the situation at hand, it is extremely unnerving to have a respected surgeon and two other well respected cardiac doctors "report" to the family as they themselves seem to be in shock.  Her heart had torn.  Not just one but two tears!!!   With this complication it is a matter of seconds before the heart "bleeds out"! 

Other unique items to Mom's situation they were shocked about:
  • her heart clotted itself...even though she was on lots of blood thinner!  This is what saved her and allowed them time to patch the tears.
  • her heart was healthy enough for "good solid" patch to cover the tears
  • when she was brought back to life she could answer questions.....not only that but 'chatted' with her cardiac doctor all the way to the surgery suite.
  • brain, heart, and kidneys continued to function despite the trauma
  • she was responding to questions as took her off they bypass machine and bringing her out of surgery
  • that she survived!!!!
Nothing and no one but God saved my mother!!!!!  During the remaining 2 weeks of recovery in ICU all medical staff could not 'explain away' the miracles that we all saw continuously.  The whole  hospital(and it is a huge one!) referred to her as "the miracle lady".  Many of them would pop in to see her.  I will post of those later because it would take hours to recount!!!!!!!!

This journey to recovery has not been easy but it is still amazing!  Yesterday her surgeon explained how awe inducing her survival is.  "Heart tears occur usually 3-5 days after a heart attack.  They are very rare but typically there is only one tear...not two.  Only 1-2% of entire population who experience heart attack have a tear.....and actually that is on the high end of the stats. Heart tears are very rare.  95% of people who have a tear, do not survive...including those that are in a hospital(90% do not even make it to the surgery and only half that do get to surgery survive).  If you had been dismissed and downstairs on your way out, you would not have survived!  It is so rare that I maybe see one heart tear a year.  Most of them do not survive.  That is how serious your situation was......and how amazing sitting with you now is!" 

Now, I have been there to witness all of it AND even I still have to take a minute to reread and let his comments sink in!!!!  Why do we take God's power and grace for granted?  Even when it hits us in the face?   All I do know is.....

.....All powerful, untameable, awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim, You are amazing God......    I hope the truth of Chris Tomlin's verse never leaves my heart and mind!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Grass is always greener......

Anyone have the 'grass is always greener on the other side of the fence' syndrome?   Have you ever thought "I wish I had that house", "I wish I had that yard", "I wish I had that dress", "I wish I could lose weight", etc.   I always viewed it as something innocent and not that big of a deal.

I find my list always revolving around   "I wish I could go to FL to hang with my sister", "I wish I was retired so I could do what I want", "I wish I was married and had my own kids", and "I wish I could get all my projects done".  Overall I love my life and am blessed BEYOND what I deserve!  I find that when I am tired and overwhelmed that I begin to focus on an escape to my present circumstances.  Which in reality is kind of idiotic because "wishing" does not alleviate the exhaustion, rather it only makes me more agitated!

Ok, so I do have some of the common wish that I could lose weight and look better in my clothes.  I recently saw a picture of myself at a family wedding reception dancing the HokeyPokey with my little cousins.  All I can say is that Steel Magnolia's quote "Looks like two pigs fightin' under a blanket" instantly came to mind!!!!  But I digress!   

What seems innocent enough is a BIG issue to God.  In my quiet time He has brought it to my attention that the "grass is greener"  purely boils down to covetousness.   OOUUCCHH!!!  So I knew that I needed to learn more about what He says about coveting because it must be a big deal to God.

God listed it in His 10 Commandments so that alone tells us it is an important issue.  Too often we look at that list as a "control issue" over us but it is not.  That list of items is about protecting us from some really bad stuff!   That commandment clearly states that we are not to covet anything of someone else's.  Notes in my Bible define 'covet' as desiring with an evil motivation.  Upon reading that I thought nothing about my wishes are evil...then I realized that my desires are about my control, to live comfortably,  and to say that His plan for my life just does not measure up to mine!  OK, anything that would separate me from God would be evil and that is truly what my desires would do!   Ephesians 5:5 equates it with greed and idolatry.  Ps 10:3 informs us that the Lord abhors covetous people.  "Abhor" is a very strong word!  It is defined in the dictionary as "regard with disgust and hatred".  Again OOUUCCHH!

Another thing that I noticed in my study made me pause.  While coveting is not a good practice for anyone, God was most of the time speaking of the importance for His people avoiding it.  Several passages refer to those who are saved and sanctified by Jesus but who choose to follow their covetous heart.  He states that you are not to keep company with that person. 

Why is it a big issue?  
a)  it is a choice that seperates us from God
       2 Timothy 3:2  "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God" have a form of godliness but deny
       the power thereof,  2 Peter 2:14 habitual choices to put themselves into coveting and/or not 
       taking it serious enough to damage it causes.  It may not seem like such a big deal but that choice
       is just the beginning step that leads down a slippery slope towards all sorts of other BIG issues. 
      Too often in my life I have realized that the little "insignificant" choices are truly the critical "oh, I will skip exercising just for today".  Ha, we all know where that has led!

b) it causes damage to others
      1 Corinthians 5:10 provide a false testimony of Christ to unbelievers.  If we are fretting or
      displeased about our lot in life then what would draw others to Him?  Our biggest purpose is
      same as the disciples in Matthew 28:19-20...teaching others about Him.  If we are too focused on
      ourselves than we aren't able to do our job.

c)  life is not for our fleshly desires
        Luke 12:15  man's life does not consist of  'possessions' because all of it can be gone in an 
        instant!!!   This has all been brought home as I sit here with my mom in ICU...a rare
        complication to her heart stint which led to an open heart surgery to repair 2 holes in her heart
        of which only 0.5 of 10 people survive!  Boy, could I care less about all those previous "I
        wish_________" now! 


How fix:
     I know that the only thing that helps me is God's Word and a Bible teaching church.  Immersing
     myself in God's Word steadies my mind and heart no matter what is happening around me. 
    Colossians 3: 5, 10   When you are going through a life crisis it is crucial to be part of a strong
    body of believers who offer you support before, during, and after it.  One of the ways they support
    you is through prayer which will carry you through.  The beauty of being a believer is that there is
    also a bigger network of prayer warriors out there than you can imagine!  I have heard from so
    many people/friends who attend other churches about how they are praying fervently for my
    mother!   Anyone heard the new song "Just Say Jesus" by 7eventh Time Down?  Wow, does that
    song sum up my praying through this journey!

    But as I said before it is all about choice.  Josh 24:15   From the beginning He has always given us
    our own way!  He wants us to love and trust him wholeheartedly!  Isn't that what we all want?