Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Quiet Christmas Blessing

"For unto us is born this day in the city of David a Saviour , which is Christ the Lord." These are the words recorded in Luke 2:11. And from there eventually develops this wonderful holiday season of good will, joy and giving that we call CHRISTmas.

I love Christmas. I love the reason we celebrate Christmas. I love giving gifts. I love all the twinkling lights. I love Christmas trees. I love caroling. I love the joy on the little children's faces as they contemplate the toys Santa will bring. I love the few days out of the year when people seem more gentle and loving. But, most of all, I love the namesake, Christ the Lord.

This day has been different for us. Christmas Day has traditionally been the day we gather with my family to celebrate and exchange gifts. Because our family is growing and it's getting more and more difficult to arrange schedules, we have moved our gathering to this following Saturday. So, today has been a quiet one spent at home, just the two of us. I have to say, I like it. It has been very nice to just sit quietly and talk or watch TV or play at the computer.

I have a ham in the oven, the pecan pie is baked, the sweet potatoes are ready for the oven, English peas are warming on the stove and the fruit salad is in the fridge. So, the afternoon is free and I love it! I've had plenty of time to think. To think about this year and the blessings I've enjoyed. I've spent a lot of time over the past few days thinking about how sad my life is. And it does have it's challenges, very serious challenges. However, there have been so many blessings.

I'm thankful I had this quiet day at home. Thankful to have had the day to spend with my husband and talk about all the Christmases we have enjoyed together. If this should be our last Christmas together, it will have been a beautiful one filled with love and the joy of the quiet company of my dearest friend in the world. I pray the day has been every bit as wonderful for each of you.

Merry Christmas to all. It has indeed brought joy to my world!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Revelations At The Liquor Store

I recently found a recipe for an old fashioned hot toddy. My grandparents used to give those to me when I was a small child. It's the best thing in the world for a cold or sore throat or even flu symptoms. I don't know why it has taken me so many years to resort to their use again? Probably because I have this aversion to going into the liquor store to buy the whiskey to make them with. But, I need a small amount of rum to make rum balls for Christmas, so I thought maybe I would go ahead and purchase a small bottle of whiskey for the toddies. Well, that seemed like a good idea, but then of course you have to go to the liquor store to do this.

Never say that good husband's aren't useful in just about any situation! Dear hubby had the answer! Well, of course, I should go to the liquor store and I want to buy 'Jack in the black'. Ooooookay. Now, just what is 'Jack in the black' anyway? Turns out it's Jack Daniels whiskey in the black label. Simple enough. So, I head out to the liquor store (I've NEVER been in a liquor store before) to make my little purchase of a small bottle of 'Jack in the black' and a small amount of rum. I was not prepared for what I was about to experience!

I walk in the door and there's this little store chock full of differing sizes and shapes of bottles. The labels are some very simple and some very elaborate. There are things I've heard about....vermouth, brandy, champagne, wine, whiskey, bourbon, the list goes on. There are brands I've heard of.........Jim Beam, Captain Morgan, and so many more. However, the most shocking thing for me was the bottles themselves. They were gorgeous! I mean, I don't drink, but I would buy some of this stuff just to have their decanters! Oh and that's what they were, decanters. Not just simple bottles, decanters.

I browsed through the isles looking at the beautiful decanters and dreaming about what I could do with them in my home. And, do you know what, I never once felt as though the Lord was going to like strike me down for being in the store! I guess I was surprised, because that's what I had always thought I would feel. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the little excursion. Some very nice young man was standing in the whiskey isle while I perused the available offerings. He offered his advice. He says Gentleman Jack whiskey is a very smooth whiskey. Hummmmmmmmm, who would've guessed?!

Eventually, I selected the smallest bottle of 'Jack in the black' I could find and went on the search for my even smaller bottle of rum. I found some small bottles, but much larger than I needed. I only needed 3 tablespoons for my rum balls. I'm walking around checking every nook and cranny to see what I can find and then I spot them. Right there setting on the counter near the cash registers are containers of the small 'airline' bottles of whiskey, rum, bourbon, wine, just about anything you could ask for. So, not knowing how much they contained, I decided that surely two of these little bottles contained 3 tablespoons. I picked up two of the very small bottles of rum and was ready to pay for my little stash.

I walked to the counter and placed my bottles there. The very pleasant young man at the register proceeded to enter my purchases and bag them in a plain brown bag. I thought, I've never walked out of a store with a plain brown bag of whiskey and rum. What will I do if I get stopped by a policeman on the way home? I paid the young man and was ready to head out the door, still wondering what I was going to do about this alcohol and driving home. As I was walking away, the very nice young man said "Thank you ma'am. And, you have a Merry Christmas and a blessed day".

What? Did he say '....have a blessed day...'? That's not what you're supposed to hear in a liquor store, is it?! NO! I had always been taught that only drunks and sinners entered liquor stores, much less walked out with their little plain brown bags. What's going on here? Do you mean to tell me people work in these places who actually know what it is to have a blessed day? WOW! How did I miss this all of my judgmental life?! Have I had my head in the sand? Now I've completely forgotten about my little bag and driving.

I place my bag in the trunk (surely if it's in the trunk and clearly unopened I will be safe, no?). I get into my car and head out of the parking lot. I have a lot on my mind. There's a lot to think about here. Is this yet another of those areas where I have depended on traditions taught to me rather than the leadership of the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts? Have I been so wrong all these years? How have I managed to reach the age of 50 years without discovering this?

I'm thankful the Holy Spirit still guides me, when I let Him. I just wish I could be more open to Him and less wrapped in my own ideas and opinions. Then again, that is up to me, isn't it? I'm the one who has to decide to submit even my thoughts to the Holy Spirit. Not only my thoughts, but my opinions as well. Lord, please forgive me for being judgmental of others and for not allowing Your Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and opinions. Please help me never to be guilty of that again.

I will return to the liquor store, not because I like to drink, but because there are legitimate reasons to visit at times. It's no worse to buy whiskey for a toddy than to buy Nyquil. My gastroenterologist has tried for many years to get me to drink a glass of wine each night to help my digestive problems. I never would because I was judgmental. I will not be guilty of that again. And, I will try some wine to see if it will help my tummy. Why should I be more ashamed of a glass of wine than I would be of all the drugs my doctor prescribes for me? There's absolutely no reason other than ignorance. I refuse to live in ignorance when the Lord has shone a light on it and opened my eyes.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Politically Incorrect Christmas Greeting

In this day of political correctness, we are told we shouldn't even say "Merry Christmas" anymore, rather we should say "Happy Holidays" so as not to offend any one's religious sensibilities.

Well, excuse me, but THAT offends me! Not just my 'religious sensibilities', but ME! I am offended that people have become so apathetic and lazy that they will sit by while the politically correct gang try to remove any reference to God or to His Son, Jesus CHRIST from our lives.

Did anyone happen to notice that CHRISTmas begins with the word 'CHRIST'? So what if Christians hijacked a pagan holiday? And? If you want to celebrate your Winter Solstice, go right ahead. If you don't turn your heart to Jesus Christ, you're gonna die and go to hell, but go ahead. It's not want I want for you, nor is it what Jesus Christ wanted for you, but if you're determined to do it, you have the right to do it.

I guess that's the point here. I don't agree with a lot that goes on around me. I don't go around trying to stop people from living their lives, unless their life is intruding in some way upon mine. For instance, I will try my best to dissuade a woman from having an abortion because I know she is committing murder. No less than someone who walks into my home and puts a bullet through my head, she is committing murder.

I crusade against drunken driving. If you want to drink and even get drunk, that's your privilege, just don't get behind the wheel of a vehicle and put someone else in danger because of it. I crusade against illicit drug use because I see what it is doing to innocent children. But, if as a consenting adult, you decide you want to throw your life away, it's your privilege to do so. Just don't go offering it to innocent children and young people. Don't ruin their lives just because you can.

I'm not politically correct. I am a blood-bought, born again Christian, washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, my Saviour. I am an American; not a European-American or an African-American, or an Asian-American or any other hyphenated American. I think if you live in America, you should speak English and do so well enough to conduct your business in that language. If you want to speak your native language, that's great! Do it at home.

I don't believe in reparations to black people because of what they lost. I am grieved in my soul for the things their ancestors had to endure and for any racial atrocities commited against any one of them in this day. However, no black man living in America today, unless he is a recent immigrant from another country, has ever spent one day as a slave.

I am against affirmative action. Playing favorites rights no wrongs and only serves to foster bitterness on all sides. It's time to put the past behind us and move forward. Yes, the wrongs of the past will always be with us. No one can deny that. However, unless we let the past go, while learning the lessons of the past, we will not and can not move forward.

I don't think those who are here illegally should be allowed to stay here. They should be sent back to their country of origin, along with their families. If they would like to come back, let them do so legally and pay taxes like every other American. Of course I have compassion for them and for their circumstances. However, breaking the law is still breaking the law. What are we teaching those children if we allow their parents to get away with breaking the law and even reward them for it?

I don't think it's the job of the federal government to pay for all of our needs. Should the government help those who are genuinely needy? Yes, but I'll also say this, if the church had not stepped back from her responsibility, there would be no need for the government to be stepping in. I don't think a woman who drops a baby every year ought to receive larger and larger checks every month so she can support those babies. If she got out and got a job, maybe she'd have less time for sleeping around and making babies.

I don't think the government should pay for rehab for drug and alcohol addicts. They put themselves there, they should be responsible for getting themselves clean. IF the government is going to help, the recipient should be given civil service positions at an agreed upon wage, minimum wage sounds good to me, until the debt is repaid. Just think how much money municipalities and other governments could save if they used that labor for service jobs like garbage collection, street cleaners, cleaning government vehicles (some could even be qualified as mechanics?), or other service areas.

So, as you can see, I'm definitely NOT from the politically correct crowd! Since I'm not, let me just close by saying...........

And, for all you politically correct folks..........get a clue!!!!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Roller Coasters-{Part 1}

I love roller coasters! I have since I was a child. I love the feeling of complete abandon when you drop off the hilltop and plunge into the dip. I love the anticipation and anxiety that draws your stomach muscles tight when you're climbing the hills. I love the pure fear when you whip around the curves and it feels as if you will fly from the tracks. It all combines for pure excitement and joy in me! I always want to go again, I can't get enough!

Abandon, anticipation, anxiety, fear, excitement, joy..........all adjectives used to describe my feelings about a good ride on a roller coaster. No wonder I feel like my life is a roller coaster ride at present! There's just one problem, I don't like where this roller coaster comes to a stop. When I come creeping into the station to disembark, there will be no smiling, laughing and wanting to go again. No, when I roll into this station, I will be leaving my dear husband behind.

You see, this roller coaster ride started the day he was diagnosed with Stage 4, or End Stage, Liver Disease. He has cirrhosis caused by his struggles with type II diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels, a previous injury to his liver in an automobile accident and a genetic factor of which we were unaware until he was already very sick.

When we tell anyone he has cirrhosis, the immediate response is 'I didn't know you drank'. And, if they don't say it, you can see the question in their eyes. It's amazing that, even in the medical community, so many people think that the only cause of cirrhosis is alcoholism. My husband has been so embarrassed so many times since his diagnosis. We have even had to tell nurses in the hospital that he is not an alcoholic. As a matter of fact, he has never drank very much at all; certainly never was an alcoholic.

For that reason, we have asked his physician to specify non-alcoholic cirrhosis in his diagnosis when being admitted to the hospital. How I wish we had that printed on a tee shirt he could wear when we go out! It would save so much explaining and so many misunderstandings. It might even save a few people from being guilty of judging their neighbor!

If we thought dealing with the diagnosis was going to be hard, we were simply naive about how hard dealing with the disease was going to be. It didn't take long to burst that bubble! He was so tired he thought it couldn't be any worse. He didn't have any real pain, except for that which he had dealt with since the accident. Nothing other than the fatigue really bothered him very much.

As the days passed, the fatigue continued to worsen. Trips to the gastroenterologist reassured us that his liver was still functioning fairly well. We were lulled into a sense of complacency and believed this would take years to make any real changes in him. Then, the inevitable happened.

Barely one year after his original diagnosis, he suddenly became very ill and had to be taken to the E.R. by ambulance. His blood sugar was 30 and falling fast. They immediately began to administer glucose to bring it up, but they couldn't get it to stay up. He was halucinating and talking completely out of his head. He didn't know where he was or even who he was. Tests revealed he was in acute renal failure and now liver failure.

After a week in the hospital, we were released and given a follow-up appointment with his GI doctor. That appointment was in October of 2007. At that appointment, we were told he was now in liver failure and that, if he was interested in having a transplant, this was the time to go for the evaluation. We were totally shocked and speechless. Neither of us could even think enough to know what questions to ask the doctor. He was gentle and kind and told us to think about and pray about it and get back with him within a week with a decision.

Ultimately, for many reasons, my husband decided not to try for a transplant. So, we began the journey of living with end stage liver failure, not just disease anymore, but liver failure. We were told he had maybe 6 months at the outside. We came home and told our families the news. Then, we just put it aside and decided to live our lives and let God handle everything.

The weeks passed and he didn't get any better, but he didn't get any worse either. The Christmas holidays came and went and he was doing amazingly well. Soon March, 2008 rolled in and we were at our 6 month window. Yet, he felt fine. Again, we were lulled into a place of complacency. Little did we know that safe place was soon to be invaded in a horrific way.

{Please come back for the next installment of "Roller Coasters"}

Monday, December 8, 2008

Options Available

During the course of the past week, some friends have been discussing their young children and the large words they use. A very bright little three year old daughter of one friend often uses the word 'orphanage', but that doesn't surprise my friend because her little girl is adopted from an orphanage. However, one day while crossing a parking lot, she also came up the phrase 'mandatory, not optional', which my friend says totally sounded like something her daughter would have heard her husband saying.

Another friend who has a wonderfully intelligent five year old son related that, while doing something he shouldn't, she told him he had to stop and that it was 'not an option'. He promptly replied to her 'But Mama, I want options!' Now, that sounds like me! I want options!

That struck a chord within me. I thought to myself, I so often approach the Lord that way. He will tell me what He wants and expects of me and which way I should be responding to a certain situation. Instead of just listening and then doing as the Lord has commanded me, I become like the 5 year old and reply "But, Lord, I want options"!

Then, the Lord has to remind me that there is always an option. We are never left with only one choice. He has never forced me into any decision or action. He has always been a gentleman and does not use scare tactics or force on His children. It is I who must remember what my options are. They are very simple and there are always two. (1) Do as the Lord has commanded and enjoy the blessings of fellowhip in His perfect will; or (2) Choose to do it my way and disregard the Lord's commands and suffer the consequences for having been rebellious.

Isn't it strange how we as Christians can make something so simple into the 'big unknown'? Books are written, sermons are preached, hours of study are devoted to learning how to live a surrendered life. It's because we want options, and two isn't enough for us. We don't want clear cut options, we want multiple options that allow us to choose just how far to the left or right we can go and still be surrendered.

God never makes things complicated for us. It is we who complicate our lives and our Christian walk. He did everything possible to make it a simple matter to love Him and do His will. He gave the perfect sacrifice in His Only Begotten Son; the One Blood Sacrifice that could restore humanity to fellowship with Himself. Even with His provision, we have a difficult time accepting Him. Is it any wonder then that we have a difficult time accepting that doing His will is a simple 'Yes' or 'No' proposition?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Say "Thank You" To An American Soldier

Follow the directions in the widget to send a free card to an American soldier serving overseas.

Friday, December 5, 2008

What I Feel

I'm sitting here this morning watching my dear husband sleeping peacefully in his recliner. It's not an unusual occurrence; he does it every day. I am trying to figure why it feels so different today. He's snoring slightly, as always. He's holding the newspaper, half folded and drooping into his lap, as always. He's drooling, just slightly, making a spot on his shirt, as always. Nothing is different or odd, but strangely it feels different.

Have you ever had that feeling? As though the perfectly ordinary is somehow different today? It bothers me when I have that feeling. I am very much a person of 'feelings'. Too much so for my own good, I sometimes think. I feel things deeply. Momma used to tell me all the time I was heart sick. I didn't understand what she was saying. She explained that I feel things too deeply. When someone is hurting around me, I hurt too.

I don't mean I feel bad for them, I mean I physically hurt for and with them. It is not unusual for me to walk into a room with someone who is suffering and develop their symptoms before leaving the room. If someone is deeply depressed, my spirit feels their depression and begins to be sad and forlorn. If they are grieving, I become grieved in my spirit. Older people sometimes called people like me a 'sensitive'.

Well, I am a sensitive person, but a dear elderly woman whom I knew as a child told me that I was aware of a realm most people are not aware of. I experience things in a way most people do not. That was a bit scary to me when I was young, but as I grew older, I began to understand it better and it wasn't so much scary anymore as it was painful. Today, I'm feeling that pain for my husband.

He hasn't been awake much at all and he hasn't told me he's suffering today, but I know he is. I feel it. For those of you who do not already know, my husband is suffering with a terminal liver disease. He is a Type II Diabetic and has had uncontrolled obesity and elevated cholesterol and triglycerides for many years. It has resulted in cirrhosis of the liver.

When he was diagnosed, he was embarrassed by it because he was afraid those around us would think he was an alcoholic and nothing could be farther from the truth. Just as he would never take care of himself before the diagnosis, he refuses to take care of himself now. Not because he doesn't love me or want to be with me, but because he has always had an obsession with food. From the time he awoke in the morning until the time he retired at night, he was always thinking about food. It came to him naturally, as his Mom is so much the same. However, she never developed a weight problem. But, she loved through food. And, that's not a good thing for a person who has a weight problem.

So, here we are and he is dying. It took a long time before I could say that word or think it or write it without breaking down and bawling uncontrollably. It's still not easy. Especially on days like today. Today, I feel that the dying is progressing. That's the only way I know how to describe it. There are days when I know we're in a holding pattern. Things are static. Not today. Today, death is active.

Am I saying today is THE day? No, just that today the march is on. That march each of us will make at some point in our life. I pray that, when my march begins, I have the grace and courage that my husband has shown. From the day we heard the news, he has had so much peace about it. He has never complained that God is being unfair to him. Though he suffers both physically and mentally, he has kept a positive attitude.

I've watched him over the past 13 months. There has been no railing against God. No pounding fists and demanding to know why. No poor, pitiful me. Just a calm, assured peace that, when the Lord is ready, He will call and my dear, sweet husband will answer that call and go home to live with his Saviour. He has told me on so many occasions that he doesn't want to leave me, but that he has such a sweet peace about going.

Today, I am seeking that peace. I feel so safe when I'm here in our home with him. But today, even that safety feels threatened. Death is on the march and I know he's marching toward our house. The Lord has stood guard at our door so many times before. But today my spirit tells me Jesus is preparing me for that one time when He will no longer stand guard, but will greet death and turn him away, only to enter and make that final call for my husband.

We have talked about that on many occasions. I don't want my husband to suffer. I want him to answer the Lord's call when the time comes. We will not say goodbye. We will say "I'll meet you later". We will then await the time when death marches to our house again and when he does, I will make the journey knowing that I go to be with my Saviour and greet my dear husband once again. I rest in the peace of that blessed assurance.

So, march on death. I know you're there, but you have no power over us. Your sting is only temporary. Because of our Saviour, your victory has no sway over us. We rest in Jesus, who has conquered death, hell and the grave so that we may have eternal life. Because of His sacrifice, we are free from the curse of death and have passed from death to life. Though we will experience a physical seperation, our spirits cannot be seperated because our souls are secure in the loving hands of our Saviour.

Monday, December 1, 2008


I love the snow! What a thrill to wake up this morning and find a dusting of fresh snow covering my lawn! Here in the Mid-South, we don't get a lot of snow; it's usually more ice than anything else. It wasn't always that way.

I can well remember snows as deep as my Daddy's knees when I was a young child. Snow so deep that I couldn't walk through it, so Daddy had to carry me. Even then, I loved the snow. Daddy and Momma would bundle me up and set me out on the front porch of our little country house and let me play in the snow that had blown onto the porch. I could make snow balls and throw them and build a snowman, just as long as I didn't get off the porch because Momma was afraid she would lose me in the snow bank!

My little sisters and I would play outside in the cold and snow till our little mittened hands would ache. We would run inside squealing and Momma would remove our mittens, hang them near the old wood heater to dry and tell us to go wash our hands in cold water. So we would wash in cold water, squealing and crying out that it hurt our hands! Then, Momma would take us back to the living room and place us surrounding the wood stove and hold our hands out near it. Our hands would be so brightly red, it looked as though we had painted them Momma's bright red lipstick! They would burn and hurt for a bit, then they would feel all toasty warm again. Then, we got hot chocolate and a snack!

Those were wonderful carefree days of laughter and love when we didn't realize how blessed we were. Perhaps it's because all those wonderful memories are attached to the snow that I love it so much. I don't know for sure, I just know I love snow! After the storm passes and the snow has fallen, the skies light up and sun shines brightly upon the pure white snow and it feels like the whole world is pure and clean and fresh. It's like a chance for the universe to have a 'do over'. Maybe that's why I love snow so much. I don't know, I just know I love snow!

Throughout my life, I have always enjoyed the view of fresh fallen snow on the pastures and fields around me. I love to think of the families all snuggled in their warm homes playing games together and laughing. I love getting all bundled up in a heavy winter coat with gloves, scarves and boots and walking into the chilled air. The look of your breath vaporizing before your face! The crunch of the grass crackling under your feet. Everything about a walk in the snow energizes me. It makes me feel as though all is right with the world around me. Maybe that's the reason I love the snow; I don't know, I just know I love the snow.

At one of the darkest moments of my life, my Loving Lord sent a beautiful snowfall to remind me that He was there with me and that I could go on. It was January 19, 1995 and it was the day we buried my Maw McDonald. Maw was the center of my world since I was 8 years old. That was the age at which my Paw McDonald had passed on. I was his favorite and everyone knew it! I loved him so deeply, as deeply as could any 8 year old little girl love her Paw. I was so heart broken when he left us. It was my first experience with death and it was tragic.

After Paw passed away, my sisters and I became Maw's constant companions. We stayed at her house as much or more than we stayed at our own house. She spoiled us without shame! She also became our sitter, which only gave her more opportunity to spoil us. It was a wonderful childhood for three little girls. Where Paw had left off, Maw took up.

One Fall, Daddy and Momma decided to take a week's vacation and travel to Michigan to visit my Maw's brother, Uncle Buster and his wife, Aunt Mayena. Maw would go with us. It was fabulous! Maw, my sisters and I stayed up all night the night before we left baking cookies and making candy to eat on the trip! Maw was as big a kid as we were and enjoyed it just as much as we did!

As a teen, Maw was there for me. She bought me makeup and helped me convince Momma I was old enough to wear it. When I met my then future husband, she treated him just like one of her own from day one. She was the most accepting, loving woman and was an amazing lady all way round. When I got married and moved away from our hometown, she made the trip to visit with me every time Momma and Daddy did, always saying she had to come see her girl!

Then, when Maw became sick and her days were drawing to a close, she depended on us, my sisters and I, to help take care of her. We took our turns sitting with her at the hospital. Despite all our love and attention, her time had come to an end here and Jesus called her home to be with Him. When the day of her services came, it was cold and dreary outside and it seemed as though it made the heaviness in our hearts much harder to bear.

The service was beautiful because her life was beautiful. We gathered in the cemetery for the interment. The minister told stories of her special way of loving everyone around her and brought laughter back to all of us. Then, as the last prayer was uttered and the last flower was laid, as we began to file out of the tent, beautiful huge, wet snowflakes began to fall hard and fast. Tears rolled down our faces and someone said "Well, Maw's in heaven and she's telling us it's all okay and that she's happy and that she wants us to be happy too!" We knew that was true becuase Maw loved the snow, too!

Maybe that's the reason, I don't know; I just know I love the snow!!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Daddy

My Daddy was always an enigma to me. As a very young child, my only memories of him are of him carrying me in his arms through the snow to his old blue Chevy pick-up. It's strange but I never realized until I was much older how safe I felt when Daddy carried me. Snows would come that would be knee-deep on him. Daddy would scoop us up, one by one, and carry us to the pick-up. Then, he would help Momma cross the yard to the drive. I don't remember the coming home part, just the leaving.

As a little girl, I don't really have memories of anything special he did with me or for me, just that he was always there. He was up and about the house when I got up and he was sitting in his favorite chair in the living room watching TV when I went to bed at night. He was at the breakfast table when we ate breakfast. He was out at work at lunch time. He was home and in the house by supper time every night. He sat at the head of our table and he thanked the Lord for our food. He never tucked us in at night, just sat in his chair and watched TV. But he was always there.

Daddy wasn't the type of 'hands-on' Dad that some Dads are. He didn't spend a lot of time with us, other than when we were out working together as a family on the farm, or when we were going to church, or when we were sitting in our living room watching TV. But, when you think about it, after all of that, where was there any time for anything else? He drove us around the country on vacation every summer. Momma planned where to go and Daddy took us there.

As a youth, he was even more of a detached Dad than when I was a child. He always said it was Mommas job to raise the girls and he would raise the boys! The only problem with that was, there was no boys! I realize now that he was detached because he didn't have the first idea of what to do with or for a teen aged daughter. There had only been boys in his family, and here he was living in a house full of females! He never commented much on what I wore, where I went or who I went there with. But, he was always there.

When I was 15, I met the man I would later marry. On the first Saturday that he came to my house to spend the afternoon, he parked his car in our drive, leaving his keys in the ignition. We were sitting in our living room talking and listening to music when we heard his car engine start up. Minutes later, we saw his car backing out of our drive, with Daddy at the wheel! He didn't ask or tell, he just got in the car, started the engine and took off! Terry didn't know quite what to think! Daddy was driving off down the road, gunning the engine and having the time of his life! Needless to say, Terry took his keys from then on!

Daddy was never the type to say 'I love you', but I never doubted that he did. On my wedding day, as we prepared to walk down the aisle, he patted my hand and said "I love you, Sis". My knees almost buckled from beneath me! Tears began to stream down my face. I could barely whisper "I love you too, Daddy". I will never forget that moment or the all engrossing feeling of love and acceptance I felt when I heard Daddy tell me he loved me. I thought I could be no happier than I already was; I was wrong because that simple phrase had multiplied my happiness exponentially! As always, Daddy was there.

Over the years as I grew older and hopefully wiser, I grew to love and appreciate Daddy more with every passing year. And Daddy found it easier and easier to tell me he loved me. The family grew and Daddy's ability to love and show love grew. He became a wonderful Papaw to my sister's children, laughing and playing and teasing them whenever they were around. Then, the great-grandchildren came along and he became Papaw Mac. He LOVES those babies! To see him now as a mature man in his mid 70's laughing with those babies and just basking in their presence is one of the greatest joys of my life. Through the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Daddy has always been there.

A couple of years ago, Momma became terminally ill with renal failure. As always, Daddy was there. He took care of Momma and took on responsibilities I had never seen him attempt before. He did laundry; he cleaned some in the house; he cooked some. He waited on Momma so patiently and lovingly. Every time I was with them, I couldn't help but think "Yep, Daddy's here". And he was, never complaining even though he himself was sick. Always giving his everything to Momma. When it came time for Momma to say goodbye and cross over, Daddy wanted to be there so badly, but Momma left before we could get there. But, in his heart, Daddy was there; as always, Daddy was there.

Now, I look at Daddy and he's getting older and weaker, and yes sicker too. Yet, every time we're together as a family, no matter how sick he is, Daddy is there. Sometimes, Daddy feels like the only constant thing in my life. And yet I know that the time is coming when I will have to say goodbye to Daddy to. I sometimes wonder what life will be like when Daddy's not there anymore. It's something too hard for me to consider for very long because Daddy has always been there. And, in my heart and his, I know Daddy will always be here for me. His love, though so difficult to express for many years, remains constant and true. And, when he departs and goes home to be with Jesus, that will love remain constant in my heart. Because there, Daddy will always be.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


A very dear friend walked into a hospital room yesterday and did one of the most difficult things I can imagine; she said goodbye to her husband. When I heard the news, I felt so cold and empty inside. They have known for some time he was a very sick man. He had a bad heart and needed a heart transplant. They knew, but you're never really expecting death and you're certainly never really prepared for it.

I thought of her as she stood so alone, althought she had her children by her side. Yet, she must have felt so alone. The man she had spent so much of her life loving and sharing with was gone. How do you come to terms with that? What switch lies within us that we are supposed to be able to accept that change in our lives? My heart hurts for her but there are no words I can say that will ease her suffering. There is no deed I can perform that will make her pain easier to bear. I search my mind trying to think of something I can do for her that will be meaningful.

At this point, my mind settles and I think "Well, I guess the only thing I can do is pray. So, I'll just pray and I'll ask others I know to pray too". That seemed like enough, I felt better. Then, I read an email that a friend posted to a forum of which I am a member. I read the post and my heart was broken and I was convicted of my sinfulness and pridefulness.

The post was a reprint of a devotional and the gist of that devotional was too pertinent for me to ignore. It said we are often guilty of thinking 'I can't do anything else so I'll just pray'. How in the world did these people know my thoughts?! How could this dear lady who posted the devotional know what I was going through and thinking? Then, I realized it wasn't the writer or the poster, it was the Author of life. He knew me and He knew what I needed at that appointed time.

The devotional went on to remind me that we are never 'just' praying. Prayer is not our last resource or deed of consolation. It should be our first thought when we know someone is in need or suffering. Afterall, it is our direct link with the Lord of the universe; an always open connection between me and the Lord of my life, the Saviour of my soul. What better offering have I to bring to anyone than to give them access to the throne of Grace through my prayers? Can any word or deed compare with the opportunity to cast our cares at the feet of Jesus? Indeed, they cannot.

So, I can offer access to the throne of Grace, but do I? How many times do we glibly say "I'll pray for you " without ever giving that individual or their needs another thought? I have to confess that I have been guilty of doing that very thing. It's not something I'm proud of, but I have done so. Now, I try to make a habit of never saying that to someone unless I fully intend to do so. If I cannot write the request down, I make a mental note to do so as soon as possible and whisper an immediate prayer for that need and for the Lord to help me remember to write it down later.

This simple action has impoved my prayer life so much, it is immeasurable. I pray without guilt or confusion. I pray with specific requests, not just blankets that cover the whole range. After praying, I feel satisfied that I have fulfilled my promise to those who have respected me and trusted me enough to request my prayers.

Think about that for a moment. When you request prayer from someone, don't you have expectations that that person will be inteceding for you? Aren't you placing your trust in that person? Do you ask just anyone to pray for you, or do you ask those people for which you have gained some amount of respect and/or admiration?

When I think of the reasons behind my decisions to ask someone to pray for me, it encourages me to know that others respect my Christian walk enough to believe I have influence when I offer my prayers before the Lord. After all, I wouldn't ask someone to pray for me if I didn't believe that person was a Christian who had sway with the Lord.

I take my prayer life much more seriously now. I am more aware of the responsibility I have when others request that I remember them in my prayers. I take that responsiblity to heart and I bear their burdens before the Lord and ask for His intercession on their behalf. The benefits to me are more than words can measure or express. The end result is not pride or boastfulness, but a more humble walk before the Lord. I want to be worthy and ready to go before Him at any time with every request. I don't want to have to 'clean out from under my own doorstep' before I can take my requests to Him.

Prayer is a precious gift to us from our Lord. It is a unique opportunity to meet with Him at any time, in any place, on any day, about any need. Can any other religion truthfully say they offer that same kind of access to their idol gods? I think not. And yet, our God, the Creator of the universe, the Giver of life offers His children that unique opportunity. What an awesome God we serve!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wanna Talk?

My thoughts are in a thousand different directions, not yet ready to settle in one place, on one subject. That's a rough place to be when you need to write. No direction takes precedence and no thought seems higher than the other. A jumble of nothingness rambles in your head. There's not a lot to say about nothingness. Or, perhaps there is.

Some friends and I were just discussing earlier in the day how our lives seem so busy. We ruminated about how it seems that men, well our men anyway, have an easier time of just doing nothing than do most women. Why is that do you suppose? I mean, my dear husband can sit in the rocker on the front porch for hours doing nothing, saying nothing. Just sitting there, staring out across the lawn. Other ladies commented that their men could do the same. Just sit alone in a room in a chair and do nothing, think of nothing. How do they do that?

What is it about being a female that makes us need to have our minds occupied with something? I once went deer hunting with my husband. Bless his heart, he was young and in love and just wanted to share his passion with me. He didn't know any better! We set off for the woods behind my parents house on our little farm. It was a lovely, brisk afternoon and I was all bundled up and looking forward to this walk in the woods with my honey. How exciting! A chance to commune with nature and be alone with my sweetie at the same time. What could be better, right? Well, I was in for an education, but so was he.

We walked into the woods, he carring his trusty rifle over his shoulder and me carrying........well, me. I was having a great time! After walking for a few feet into the woods, I decided it was much too quiet. We needed conversation. So, I asked a question. I don't remember what the question was, just something about hunting deer, I'm sure. As soon as sound came out of my lips, he shot this stare at me that told me in no uncertain terms, I had done something terribly wrong. Well, I didn't know and I needed to know, so I asked another question. He walked on, not saying a word. Now, tell me, when you speak to someone, don't you expect a response? So, I walked on and caught up with him and asked yet another question.

For the next several minutes, we walked through the woods, me asking questions, he not answering or saying a word. Now I'm beginning to think he just has no social skills, that's all. Maybe his Momma didn't teach him the finer points of socializing, such as when you are asked a question, the proper response is to either answer the question or simply respond by telling the individual that you prefer not to answer the question. Okay, so he's a bit socially inept, I can correct that! So, I stop dead in my tracks and I decided to get his attention the only way I know. I take his hand and move closer to him, I stand upon my tippy toes and pull my face closer to his. I breathe shallowly and look deeply into his eyes. He lowers he head to mine, thinking I'm going to kiss him. I pull closer to him and......stick my tongue in his ear!

Okay, so I've got his attention now! He jerks away from me and says with a sort of exasperated grunt "Why'd you do that"?! I giggled and laughed and made some silly remark and he was suddenly angry with me! I was fully taken aback. We did these silly things with each other all the time, why was he so upset now? I told him I was sorry and promised not to do it again. He walked on and so I followed. Just down the path, I tried a new venture. I commented on how quiet the woods were and how lovely. NOTHING, I mean not a peep from him! We walk on. I say something to the effect of when do we start hunting the deer. He stops and looks at me and says "That's what we're trying to do right now if you would please just be quiet"!

Well, I didn't know what to say. Oops, think that might have been the problem all along! I said "So, this is deer hunting? I thought we had to like climb a tree or something like that? I haven't even seen a deer." He looked at me and said "No, and you're not going to see one as long as you're making so much noise." I looked at him and I know I must have looked like an idiot but I said innocently "So, you mean we can't talk to each other"? He just looked at me and shook his head. He finally said "No punkin, we can't talk to each other". Well, I didn't know what I was supposed to do then if I couldn't talk? What's the point of walking in the woods together if you can't talk to each other? Made no sense to me then, makes no sense to me now.

Well, we walked back out of the woods, he a bit frustrated because I talked so much. I was more than a little aggravated because he had led me on this wild goose chase and then wouldn't even talk to me! We walked on to the house and peeled off some of our clothes and went in. We sat in silence for a while and then I just couldn't take anymore. I told him I didn't like deer hunting and I didn't want to go anymore. He told me not to worry, I wouldn't get invited again! I asked him why he wanted me to go with him if we couldn't talk to each other. He said because he wanted me to share his love for deer hunting. Hummmmm. He said we could share the experience and it would help us grow together. Hummmm. He said nothing cleared his head and made him think better than a long afternoon of deer hunting. Hummmmm.

By this time, all I'm thinking is "Why"? I just couldn't hold it in any longer. I told him I didn't understand the whole concept of trapsing off to the woods together, walking along together all afternoon, never saying a word to each other, and then thinking that was going to help us grow together. How? I told him I had to be able to talk to someone if I was gonna share time with them. That's how I get close to someone, I talk to them. We share with each other. He says no, that's not how men do it. They walk through the woods together, split up and go their own way to hunt, meet up after the hunt and they've now become closer. HUH?

Well, needless to say, we didn't go hunting again, ever. But, I think we both learned something that day. He learned that I HAVE to talk in order to exist and I learned that everything my Momma had always said about men was absolutely true!!!! They can be wonderful friends, lovers, providers, protectors, and a whole host of other things; but if you ever need to talk, find a girlfriend!

Well, this is where my rambling brain ended at today. Who know where it'll take me tomorrow!!! Isn't it wonderful the way the Lord made us so different as males and females, but so complimentary? The parts of me that are lacking are completed by him and the parts of him that need help are completed by me. Apart we lack something, but together we are a complete whole, perfectly fit together by a Creator who planned it just that way. When I need something more than just chatter, he will talk to me and comfort or reassure me. When he needs someone to listen, I can be quiet and hold him close, reassuring him of my love and devotion only to him. Thank you dear Heavenly Father, for making us fit together in a way that will honor You and edify us.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My New Friend

I met a new friend today. She is 22, has a 2 year old daughter and is married to a wonderful man (her description!). She has faith that impresses me. She has courage the inspires me. She has an outlook on life that encourages me. She has end stage liver disease and is dying.

Can you remember what struggles you faced when you were 22? I had been married for 5 years, had just built a new house, was estatically happy with my life and everything about it. I worked alongside my husband running an automotive parts retail business. I was deeply involved in my church and going every minute of every day that I wasn't sleeping, which was very little. (At that time in my life, I didn't see the necessity of sleep. Thought it was only a waste of time!) I had a beautiful little 3 year old nephew that we were spoiling rotten and had just welcomed a precious little niece into our world. Life couldn't have been any better for us.

Yet, I found things to complain about. I wished for a newer car, cause I didn't like mine anymore. I wished I had done things differently in our newly built home, cause I didn't like the way some things had turned out. I complained about our job because working for the public can be demanding on your personal time. We didn't vacation enough. I wanted new furniture. I needed a hot tub on my patio. I wanted to hire a gardner to do the landscaping in our yard so it would look nice and impress all our neighbors. I want, I need, can we have, let's get this, our neighbors have that, etc., etc. etc. I was 22 and full of youthful ideas and too ungrateful for what I already had.

My new friend is 22, mothering a precious child and caring for a loving husband, giving so much more than she is getting or even asking for, a stalwart of hope and support for everyone around her, and she is dying.

Fast forward and now I'm nearly 51. I have health problems, my husband has end stage liver disease and he is dying. He's 54. I have trouble with handling the stress. I vassilate between complete acceptance and complete disbelief. My faith is so weak on some days that I have trouble even talking to the Lord. I'm so overwhelmed by it all that I get angry and hostile toward complete strangers.

And, then there's my new friend; 22 and dying and still being an inspiration to all around her. How adolescent I am in my spiritual development! Thank you Lord Jesus, for bringing this precious young woman into my life. Thank you for showing me how much I have to learn about you and how little I already know. Thank you most of all for giving me the chance to do better.

But, that's what you're all about, isn't it Lord? Opening my life in a way so as to expose my sin and making a path for me to correct that sin. How many times have I wandered around in complete darkness when You are the Light and were there waiting for me to turn to You? You, who will forgive my failures and reignite in me a desire to walk holy and humbly with You. You, who loves me with an unphantomable love that has no beginning or ending.

I can be at my soul's deepest moment of sorrow and You send someone or something to remind me of Your love and Your desire to be a friend to me. You are an awesome and wonderful Lord! You alone are worthy of my praise and devotion!

Dear Lord Jesus, please help me be worthy of You.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Distressing News

Today I learned some very distressing news. I learned that a couple I have known for years, and who have been so special to me in my spiritual development, have seperated. They were married before us and have children and grandchildren. All very precious people whom we have loved for so very long and whom we still love. People who loved the Lord Jesus and served Him humbly. I just cannot understand what is going on here. What happens in a couple's life that they can walk away from each other after so many years and so many memories together? I feel so disappointed and let down, yet I know that the failure was not in my Lord, rather it is in the hearts of those who disobey Him. Please pray for this precious family. I know each one is hurting in their own way. I cannot believe that either partner is truly happy at this point. I don't know the particulars, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that they realize their sinfulness and confess their sin before the Lord and each other. I know the Lord can and will mend their marriage if only they will allow Him to do so. They have precious children and grandchildren who need their family to be whole again. As I understand it, it is he who left her and has moved across country and discontinued all contact with his family. I pray he will come to realize that he cannot outrun the conviction of the Holy Spirit and he must return to his family if he ever expects to have peace again. Please pray especially for her as I am sure she is devastated by this. Satan is alive and well and attacking Christians more powerfully than ever before. He knows his days are numbered and he's trying to make the most of what time he has left. We need to strengthen our spiritual armor so that we may be able to stand against him. Our God is able and can do exceedingly above anything that we can ask. Our only limitation in this warfare with Satan is our lack of faith. As Christians, we must be diligent about our walk with God and about keeping ourselves prepared for battle at any and every given moment in time. Please pray with me for restoration of this family and the marriage of these two lovely people. God is able, I pray they are willing.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Am I Welcome At Your House?

This was a question I saw recently attached to a picture of our Lord. You know, when I first saw that, my knee jerk answer was "Of course You are!". I'll bet that, or something similar to that, would be the first thought for most of us. Yet, I have to wonder, if Jesus dropped by one evening to sit and watch TV with us, would He be pleased with what we were watching? If he came to sit and chat, would He be pleased with the topics of discussion? Would we need to tidy up before we would feel comfortable having Him as our guest? Are there books, CDs, DVDs, magazines lying around that we might prefer He not know we owned? What about that Bible laying on the table? Would it need dusting off? Would our ususal attitudes and tones of conversation be suitable to entertain the Lord?

If I'm honest with myself and with all of you, I would have to admit that there are some evenings when I wouldn't want the Lord to drop in on us. We don't have a Playboy on the table and we don't use inappropriate language (well, not usually anyway), but we do often let our tempers get the best of us. Our attitudes are not conducive to encouraging kindness and compassion in each other on some evenings. We excuse ourselves by saying well, we've had a bad day. We're living under extreme circumstances; we've got really stressful lives.

Hummmmmm, I wonder how we would have felt if the Lord Jesus had gotten up off His knees in the Garden of Gethsemane and said "Father, it's just too stressful for me. It's just too much to ask of a person. I mean, I need a vacation here. I'm way too stressed out for you to expect me to go through this tomorrow!"

I am so often guilty of excusing my sin instead of simply confessing it and asking Jesus to forgive me. I think, well I don't do the BIG sins; I'm a pretty good person. Why, I take care of my sick husband; I make sure my MIL is well cared for; I help take care of Daddy; I'm always there for the girls or the kids if they need me; I pray every single day for so many people and so many situations; I spend sometimes hours either on the computer and/or telephone encouraging those whose lives have left them defeated and downtrodden. Well, I'm a virtual saint! I go on and on with my litany to impress the Lord with ALL I DO, yet all of it rolled together for the entirety of my life couldn't compare to just one drop of the blood he shed for me.

What a rank and unthankful sinner am I! And, I could just live there, but for one thing. One day when I was eleven years old, I knelt on my knees in an old-fashioned altar in an old-fashioned church and, with all the sincerity in my eleven year old heart, I confessed my sins to the Lord Jesus, I acknowedged Him as my only hope for salvation and I asked him to come into my heart and take my sins away. And you know what, He did. The heavens didn't open, angels didn't sing; as a matter of fact, everything was pretty normal after I said "Amen". Well, everything but one thing, something deep within me knew that that one drop of His blood had just washed over me and had taken every sin from my cold, stony heart and had replaced that cold, stony heart with a new heart filled with a desire to know God, to love Him and to be as close to Him as I possibly could be.

Sometimes the trials of life make me forget that temporarily. Then, the Lord sends me a gentle reminder that simply says "Diane, remember you're My child. I'm walking with you and carrying you when I need to. I will never leave you; you cannot seperate yourself from Me. I love you with an everlasing Love. My Father sees your sin no more, only that precious drop of My blood." Then, I humble myself before the Throne of Grace and I beg forgivness for my unthankfulness and arrogance. I ask Him to pick me up because I cannot walk here. Then He lifts me up and my soul soars becuase the Lord of the universe holds me and carries me in His loving arms.

I can now invite Jesus as a guest in my home because I've done the tidying up. I've swept the dark corners clean and it is a fit abode for the Saviour of my soul. Until the next time, that is. Then, I'll do the same things over again and, you know what, He will too! Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Welcome To My World

Well, this is my first attempt at blogging so who knows what we'll end up with! I will post as often as I can and as often as I feel the need. Please post your comments or suggestions about how I can improve the page and make it more enjoyable to read.

I've gotten to know several ladies who have blogs and have enjoyed reading about their interests and daily lives. I have been told by several that I should write. So, here goes! If it flops, blame those folks who kept saying "Oh, you should write professionally!" or "Why don't you ever publish anything you write?". They are to blame!