Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cancer and Fear and Hope

I’ve walked the hospital halls of cancer wings. I know the somberness that exists on even the sunniest of days. My heart goes out to every patient who is numb with worry and overwhelmed by treatments. And I know the fear and sorrow of those who love cancer patients and watch with helpless hands.

Cancer patients are an army of their own of many ages and colors – the ones who live daily with cells that must be killed – the brave cancer warriors who fight every minute while we walk through our days complaining about the humidity or traffic.

We honor you, we hope with you, and when we can we’ll fight with you. We’ll be your marrow donors and we’ll hold the basins when you’re vomiting from chemotherapy and stroke your forehead.

We’ll read Scripture and joke books to you and be your encouragers and help you tie scarves around your bald heads and really mean it when we say the wig looks good. We’ll sit in quiet rooms while you sleep and watch movies with you that will make you laugh in spite of everything.

Never will we stop caring and fighting and we won’t let you either until we’re sure heaven is your next best step. Because we long for you to live among us for many years to come.

In the tiniest way I hope to help you with a free resource. It talks about hoping when you feel hopeless and looking to God who will sustain you. And finding your way through scary medical options.

May this small, free e-book Triumphing Over Cancer brighten today for patients and their loved ones. It’s free July 16th through July 18th on amazon.  Please share this news with anyone who might benefit from heartfelt words of encouragement.

Our son David is a 29 year survivor of leukemia and lymphoma. To God be the glory! The anniversary of his wedding to Kathy is this Friday, July 18th.
The e-book is free in their honor.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Leaving a Legacy - Free and Real

I hear lots of talk lately about Presidents leaving a legacy. But don’t we all have a legacy to leave?

The only legacy that matters is a life well-lived.  I get this. So how do we do it? An old saying I saw on a plaque in an antique store read, “Only one life it soon will be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”

So exactly what can we do for Christ?

How about appreciate Him? To spend time in nature with eyes and mind wide open because how can we help but be filled with praise for God. Appreciation is a good thing. Don’t we all like to have our works noted and valued? How can I not feel closer to God as I watch the sky ripped by lightning and hear powerful grunts of thunder that make me cringe with awe. Who can make such a sound?

So I’ve got this covered. Sun or rain I get my God time in the world of nature – easy to manage an hour walk or bike ride or outdoor tennis or golf. And easy to remember, since God announces Himself to me, reminding me to seek Him in His creation every time I look out the window or step from my car. 

Another way to live for Christ is to speak of Him. I try to be respectful of Creation deniers – but it’s hard.  I’m sure it’s only because they haven’t taken time to think through the evolution issue or gather their own data.

Perhaps if they could see through an electron microscope to observe the irreducible complexity within a single cell. Or snorkel and see our magnificent Creator in the variety of fish, some shimmering, some with wild whiskers. One string of DNA should be enough to convince any skeptic. But it’s not for me to change the minds of others, only to speak of what I see. “All things were made through Christ and without Him nothing was made.”

Leaving a legacy for Christ also requires living without false idols. I once thought that referred to worshipping statues, going to psychics and using stuff like tarot cards and amulets. I now understand that idols can be pride, approval-seeking, manipulations of others to get my way. Deep, heavy-duty stuff. All of this blocks being free and real.

Free and real. Isn’t that really what living in Christ requires? I like St. Paul’s words: "To live is Christ, to die is gain." What does that entail? Living as Christ lived – super compassionate, super loving, but super demanding. Saying I’ve healed you, but go and sin no more.  He chastised the religious Pharisaical leaders who twisted His Father’s basic two commandments - ten in expanded form - based on love and respect for God and one another. He objected to these men who held power over others by perpetuating lies about the complexity of faith in God, as some still do.

Jesus recommended living as a little child. Children understand free and real. I’m working on maintaining the free and real.

News and Notes: Young moms, remember to take time to play WITH your children today!

Currently I'm rereading the Christian classics The Cross and the Switchblade and C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters (in a book club). I highly recommend both.

May we all have a great day of legacy building.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Being A Mom and Grand-mom

It’s Friday before Mother’s Day and I’m reflecting on mothers and the awe I still feel at being one!

Busy baby time, four children in nine years. Then being amazed at their emerging personalities - David with his army men and board games battles covering the floor of his bedroom along with his history books.
Dan playing his favorite games like the Little Green Things between soccer and B-ball and golf. 
Pam her face red and dripping wet from her super basketball playing or creating the best ever croissant recipe. 
Tam with her tennis and novels and testing Pam's croissants and running with me.

Remembering all these “mom moments” is so rich. What might yours be?

I see in my mind the six of us at the kitchen table during dinner in Delavan and I hear the laughter pealing forth. Dear God, it was SO GOOD.
We were all wrapped up with the love of God and one another.

I know the day the laughter paused, but only for a time when our son David’s enemy cancer was identified. We determined as a family to fight with love and faith and prayer and laughter. And by God’s grace the cancer succumbed.

I look at a stone from our family Smoky Mountain trip and remember yearly trips to Florida and Disney World – splurges despite a tight budget – times that brought us forever memories steeped in joy.

And then on top of this to get to be a grandmom and enjoy ongoing grand mom’s moments!
 I grin deep inside remembering the joke our grandson DJ told me last Saturday.
I see Jack running down the Upper Gardens Road on a scavenger hunt beating us all and his face lighting up when Grandpa said, “You’re really fast!” And ten-year-old Anna and Joshua enrapt as we build a bonfire for them and tell them stories about their mommy and daddy.
I see Drew playing the piano at the senior home and directing the five older grandchildren sitting on our sun porch making cards to welcome their new twin cousins, Anna and Joshua. I see Katie in the kitchen making fudge with me. And Steven helping me make a rock border in the back yard. And now I even have a grandson-in-law Alex - all six foot plus of him with a huge heart as well.

And then I think of other moms:
Like moms I meet through my volunteer work - unwed moms who courageously gave their babies to other women’s arms yearning to have the sacred joy of nurturing a child. To them I say don’t mourn – your little ones will praise you face to face in heaven.
I think of single moms who struggle financially and emotionally but say it’s worth it all to mother my child(ren)  and make a life for them.
I think of divorced families for whom Mother’s Day can be complicated and I hurt for these moms and I pray.
And I think of abandoned elderly moms who sit alone in nursing homes. May none be totally forgotten this year. For these moms may we all pray.

I smile at the thought of all the love that’s going to be expressed on Sunday– the cards and flowers that will change hands. The moms taken for granted far too often will hear the love song that’s always within their children’s hearts.

I’m mindful of all the Moms like me who didn’t do our Mom-ing perfectly, but we did it wholeheartedly and we had a ton of fun along the way. And we have children who know we tried and rise up and call us blessed.

We moms know, don’t we, that ordinary family days are so precious – so fragile and the most meaningful days of all.

So happy mom’s day to me, to you and to the Dads who facilitated our roles. Children we celebrate you, too, for the great blessing of watching you grow in delightful ways.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Luke 1: 38 Then the angel left her.
How amazing the news of a pregnancy always is!

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2: 18-20
Don’t we all?

“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”
2 Timothy 1:4-6
May our children walk with faith in God always.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

About the living Jesus

Blessed, Holy, Happy Easter!

Easter is our favorite holy holi-day –because it’s all about the resurrected Jesus. 

The One by whose stripes we are healed.
The Jesus who answered our fervent prayers to cure cancer in our son almost thirty years ago enabling David to teach countless young people to love God and value the historical roots of our nation. The son I just spoke to on the phone who with his faith-filled wife Kathy parents Anna and Joshua, also miracles. The real Jesus Who doesn't always heal, but always works good for those who love Him and live according to His purpose.

Jesus the One our son Dan and his wife Stephanie dramatically portrayed to a thousand wide-eyed kids last Saturday. 
Jesus the amazing One who comforted our daughter Tamara when she lost her 24-year-old son a year ago and empowered our grieving grandson Jack to finish his medical studies.
Jesus the One and Only who motivates our daughter Pam and her husband John and adult children Katie, Steven and DJ to teach about Him in their sports ministry to young people and perform their roles at work for His honor.
Jesus the one I seek to honor in all my writing like Bullet in the Night, my new mystery novel. The publisher pre-launched it during the Easter season for amazon pre-order at discount  until official launch April 30th - it’s a story of redemption.
Easter helps us take a fresh look at what the Resurrection means in our twenty-four hour daily doings.

What would the living Jesus say if He entered our living rooms today?  Might He say: Keep the joy, speak the truth and love others? Doesn't this mixed-up world need more joy and truth and love!

Maybe we won't see Jesus in our living rooms, but He's always willing to be a heart-dweller in those who allow Him entrance. Is there room in yours? Does your heart get cluttered like ours at times?

There's no better time to get spruced up again and Jesus aware. How about a spiritual spring cleaning before tomorrow’s holy holi-day? 
Life, death, loss, giftings. We all have reason to say Alleluia Jesus lives.