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.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Our Greatest Honor

Is there any greater honor than being entrusted with the care of a helpless human being, not just the washing and feeding, the physical, but spirit-shaping, soul nurturing tiny developing brains! 

It's inspiring children's hearts as they grow to be givers and receivers of love in a way that dignifies them and others.

What a privilege to be a parent and a grandparent! How extraordinary that God created these amazing roles for us. He wants us to have image-shaping power! And to do it with awareness that each child has a God-designed life purpose to accomplish.

I'm humbled beyond words to have had the role eleven times helping shape human souls - four times as a mother and seven as a grandmother.

The task is grand when we consider that character formation is the work of a lifetime and we've only a few years to make an impact. Character training is a nonnegotiable. It must exist or the structure caves in. 

Also important is developing within children a sense of wonder that can find reason to be grateful in the darkess days and the emptiest places. 

I want to be a parent and grandparent who teaches and celebrates the joy of life, and the dignity of every human being, even the unkind, rude, and troublesome.

Eye to eye, word by word let us speak truth to these vulnerable beings.

Let's have conversations with focused eye contact, touch and experience the individuality of each child.

May our children live with the added bounce that comes from knowing their preciousness and purpose.

Let us love well these children whose lives we hold with ours. They grow up to be the most amazing adults.

May my new grandparent book, Secrets To Being A Great Grandparent and my new parenting book Soaring As A Parent, Secrets To Being Great offer real, practical help for this joyous task. Both are available through amazon.

[I'm deeply appreciative of the reviews you've taken the time to write.]

Monday, March 3, 2014

Approaching One Year Into Glory

 Part Two of Our Journey of Remembrance

As I’m writing it’s about a year since we spent time in Orlando with Drew – our last days with our twenty-four-year old grandson on earth, precious then and even more so now. When we picked Drew up at the Greyhound bus station he strode into the terminal strong, smiling, enthusiastic, and we hugged long and hard.  Our 3-day adventure together included tennis, and golf, and sunbathing and hikes and Downtown Disney and conversation-packed meals at our resort and local restaurants.

Drew told us about the new Progressive club, a life goals accountability group among his friends, that he’d started and the business ideas he and his new friend Erwin were exploring. He read us the inspirational blogs he’d written during our picnic lunch. and seemed surprised when we said these are REALLY good Drew.

Two weeks ago Wayne and I revisited Lake Eola and the Panera Bread where we had a second lunch with Drew after our fried chicken picnic laughing and fighting off the intrusive swans. Who can forget the facebook picture of Drew with his arm extended to the swan?  

Wayne and I walked Lake Eola reliving memories and I took a picture of Wayne with one of the swans ala Drew. I saw several black swans and decided they must be in mourning for Drew.

Our journey of remembering continued with meeting Stevie B the next day and receiving the news related in my last blog. As grandparents we were thrilled to know that Stevie B, the man who counseled Drew in his addiction recovery program, knew Drew well. Stevie’s wife also knew Drew and had talked at length with him several times and so did Stevie B’s parents and his grandpa.  Drew had even been invited to Stevie B’s grandpa’s 90th birthday party.  All were deeply saddened over his death. 

How it comforted us to know that Drew had a family that truly cared about him during his time in FL. No wonder Drew’s death was motivational in their decision to move forward with the plan for a Christian recovery house. Stevie B’s wife totally supports what her husband is doing and is a vital part. 

If anyone is looking for a wonderful recovery place with godly leadership, Stevie B is the perfect man for this job, every moment encouraging his men in recovery, seeing to their personal and job needs, joking.  His phone is never out of reach, usually answered on the first ring. To have a conversation with him is to respect that he’s more on call than a medical doctor as a doctor of men’s bodies and souls and he will interrupt his life at any moment to act on behalf of one of his guys.

Stevie B’s co-director is Ray, a warm, gracious man who told us his life story. He was Number 5 man at Price-Waterhouse in New York with his own private limo picking him up each day. For two decades he used drugs freely to keep his edge at work. Ray whipped out his phone to show us the tree in the cemetery in FL he ended up living under as he contemplated suicide. Then God turned his life around. He now works side by side with Stevie B to rescue others. Oh, and his brother kicked his drug habit and then became a Catholic priest and has been drug-free for 23 years working in a diocese in New York. A statue of Jesus of the Sacred Heart in honor of their mother is in the JC House prayer garden.

Working with recovering addicts is a hard and challenging job and these men can use our prayers and any financial help we can give.

Stevie B. called our attention to the visible goose bumps popping up on his arms as he spoke about the Sat. after Drew’s death.  At Drew’s Cleveland recovery house the group was hearing about Drew’s death.  Drew’s mom Tamara and her husband Jamie walked by checking out where Drew had lived. Stevie had never met them, but he motioned them in as passerbys who might want to observe the open meeting.

Those in recovery were passing the microphone sharing memories of Drew.  Stevie asked Tamara if she’d like to say anything. She took the mike and said, “I’m Drew’s mom.” He said they were all in shock. He’ll never forget the moment, nor will anyone present. She shared about Drew's life and said from that day on they would all be like her sons and she needed them to make it.

A little coincidence or a big reminder that God’s timing is exquisite in all things. Even as I type through tears I trust God’s timing for Drew’s homecoming with all my heart even though every human desire is to have Drew here on earth.

Stevie added how impressed the men and women in recovery were when Tamara returned three times after Drew’s death gave her testimony as Drew’s Mom in their Celebrate Recovery program.

From the JC Recovery we visited the grounds of the immense Calvary Chapel church, Fort Lauderdale, where Drew went to church. It helped us understand why Drew thought his regular attendance at this fortress would be enough to support him in recovery.

My blog is titled Thoughts On Fun, Faith, And Family - this entry fits perfectly. FUN was rarely absent when our grandson  Drew was present. FAITH was a vital part of many things we did, and FAMILY – well Drew loved being "family" with us and we all celebrated it every chance we got and we’ll continue to do so, knowing this surely would be Drew’s desire.

That’s the end of our physical journey of remembering, but the spiritual journey will continue for the rest of our lives. Ordinary days become sacred when they become final memories – how I encourage you to treasure every day with those you love.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pain and Joy

Almost One Year Since…

Drew’s death – life goes on but it’s never the same. The pain of loss continues, but the good news is there’s a part of Florida that’s changed for the better because our grandson Drew passed through.

We want to tell you who loved Drew about our visit this past Thursday with Stevie B. in Hollywood, FL.

Stevie B. is the man who spoke at Drew’s memorial service at Calvary Chapel almost a year ago. He sponsored the man who was Drew's sponsor and met often with Drew. We called Steve to meet for breakfast to thank him in person and share memories of our grandson. He suggested we come see Drew’s lasting legacy in the area. We had no idea what to expect...

Most amazing to us, Stevie B. said twenty-four year old Drew was the inspiration for the new and wonderful JC (Jesus Christ) Recovery House. Shortly after Drew’s death Stevie B’s grandpa passed away and left him $50,000. Stevie had long thought recovery needed to be totally Christ-centered and now he could make that happen. Drew’s death was the final impetus he needed.

One of the first things Stevie B. did when we met was open his phone to show us Drew’s picture. He said for new men he works with or whenever he speaks to recovery groups he opens his phone and shows this picture of Drew, then tells why he began JC Recovery house. (It’s the picture his dad Greg took at Epcot.)

Immediately one senses there’s something different about the JC Recovery House upon a first glimpse of the property. A decorative wall surrounds it short enough to see over, but high enough to mark the property. The stucco has several huge crosses made of ceramic embedded in the wall. The aura, the appearance leaves no doubt - this is holy ground. 

JC Recovery House opened in October - the website went up this month. The home already has about fifty amazing gentlemen living there. We met five of the men, all ages, and had delightful visits as they shared what Christ is doing in their lives.

Several of the men had been past residents at Cleveland House where Drew spent several months. Stevie pointed out that Cleveland House was okay but it didn’t have the total Christian emphasis which is essential for long term recovery.

The things that moved us most during our visit I write through tears:

We told Stevie B. that Drew often told us he wanted to be super successful in life. His Grandpa believed Drew had a war within him of two different worldviews. Drew desired to be a Christ-centered giving servant and also to be a super successful business man.

Stevie B. stared into our eyes and said without a blink, "Drew was and is super-successful." He explained “I’ve been in recovery work more than 20 years and I doubt I’d have as many people at my funeral as Drew did. He’s still impacting lives. I get calls all the time from his friends to help somebody into recovery.”

He went on to say, “Drew made a significant impact on everybody he met. Drew had this charisma about him, his Mom and Dad have it, too, and so does Jack. (I think our other precious grandchildren and Drew’s cousins do as well! It’s about having God within and not being afraid to show Him to people you meet.) Although Drew’s blue eyes did add a special sparkle.

I’m hoping any time someone in our family is tempted to not live a disciplined life, they’ll remember the great discipline Drew exerted to live as an overcomer all the days he did. And in the final year of his life Drew did truly commit to a recovery lifestyle. His Grandpa and I observed how firm Drew’s resolve was. Yes, Drew was tempted again at South Beach a week or two before he died but with God’s help he pulled himself right back up again and died victoriously fighting – FREE of illegal drugs. We must never forget to be proud of Drew for the thousand times he fought off temptation.

Stevie B. said, and these were his exact words, “I can only imagine the cohort of demons prowling around someone like Drew.”  Yes, God is stronger than demons but perhaps God chose to rescue Drew from his constant battle in God’s most perfect way. For sure, I think that God said to Drew upon their first face-to-face encounter “well-done good and faithful servant.”

As Stevie B. told us more than once, “Drew was on fire for God. There was never a doubt that he was sold out to Jesus Christ.”

So this is JC’s Recovery House and Drew’s wonderful legacy. Remember family and friends of Drew how important each of you living your best life is to Drew. The church teaches regarding the communion of Saints in heaven that Drew is rooting for you, cheering you, supporting you.

Knowing about JC Recovery House doesn’t help our pain over losing Drew, but I hope it’s continued inspiration for us. We’ve all got a lot of work and loving to do before we compare notes with Drew on the other side.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Forty-One Years

Abortion has been in the news. The anniversary of Roe vs. Wade comes and goes, again and again and again.

Children aborted the first year after Roe vs. Wade would be forty-one years of age. These are faces we’ll never meet, students who will never learn, customers who won’t come, future caregivers of the aged who can’t give care.

Forty-one years of baby killing. Fifty-seven million dead. Voices that will never speak, laughter that won’t sound – lost to our world forever. And where are our voices? 

We fund the largest provider of baby killers in America, the misnamed Planned Parenthood Federation. Silly words, stupid words – facilitating 329,000 abortions last year and being called “Planned Parenthood.” Egregious error there. PP – maybe Purposeful Ploy – Putrid Process. Killing Babies for Huge Profit agency? KBHP agency? 

And we fund it very well indeed. The information below is from Planned Parenthood Federation of America's annual report released December 11, 2013.

       During fiscal year 2012-2013, Planned Parenthood reported receiving $540.6 million in taxpayer funding, or nearly $1.5 million per day.
       Planned Parenthood reported $58.2 million in excess revenue, and more than $1.3 billion in net assets.
       In 2012, Planned Parenthood performed 327,166 abortions , a 2% drop from 2011. In 2002, Planned Parenthood performed 227,385 abortions, meaning they perform 100,000 more abortions than they did 10 years ago.
       Over the past three reported years (2010-2012), Planned Parenthood has performed nearly one million abortions (990,575).
       In 2012,abortions made up 93.8% of Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy services, while prenatal care and adoption referrals accounted for only 5.6% (19,506) and 0.6% (2,197), respectively.

So much for providing health services for women.

Why do we allow this travesty to continue? I don’t like funding this Killing Babies for a Huge Profit agency. Do you? And honestly did you know America now allows abortion for any reason – emotional or physical – through nine months of pregnancy. Up to the day before birth a baby can be chopped up and pulled out. Graphic words, I’m sorry but they’re true.  Who’s going to tell us the nine-month uterine baby feels no pain? 

On the other hand, adoption is a woman's lovely, loving response to an unwanted child – murdering her infant isn’t going to exalt a pregnant woman emotionally like the generous deed of offering her child into loving arms.  Nor will murdering her child within her womb be conducive to her female organs. Why should a pregnant woman risk a greater incidence of cancer to pay for a death-dealing doctor’s lifestyle? 53 out of 73 recent research studies say this cancer risk is real.

Let’s give women the facts, not the fanciful “choice” words used by media truth-twisters. Then women can talk about real choices that will bring them a happy life. Let’s see what each woman would rather live with: killing her child, risking future emotional and physical health problems, or giving her baby an opportunity to have a wonderful life.

Let’s put our funds toward adoption counseling and toward spiritual and emotional healing for the men and women who have been misled by misinformation that led them to destroy their own flesh and blood.

Healing is possible for these mothers and fathers, and forgiveness through Christ, but nothing will bring the dead to life. Can we agree to work together to stop allowing baby murders?

Also beware the slide into accepting killing the elderly among us. Read Directive 99 available on amazon.
Our grandson Drew, pictured with us above, at age 24 was an outspoken pro-life champion. He debated against abortion in school. One of the last acts of his too short life was to encourage a fourteen-year-old pregnant black girl he met leaving the hospital to give her child a chance at life.

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