Thursday, November 23, 2017

This Year I’m Doing Thanksgiving in a New Way



I’ve been thinking about thanking God differently.

For example, thanking God for bad things that never happened - thanking Him for His protection and amazing rescues.  Most of which I’m not even aware of, but sometimes I know – like when I almost caught my foot and tumbled down 12 stairs, the truck that just missed my car. I imagine you can think of many rescues yourself.

Thanking God for unsung heroes in my life who often don’t get noticed. Like my son-in-law John who did so much to help during Wayne’s health crisis. Helping me prepare our garage for winter, winterize our boat, extra driving, generously sharing his wife for several overnights, shopping for food for us. He is such a willing selfless worker who stays in the background and doesn’t get acclaimed nearly enough. I happened to catch this picture of him in our kitchen during a recent family gathering. I bet you can think of an unsung hero in your life too. What a blessing they are.

Thanking God for all the intriguing animals in the world – not just dogs as wonderful as they are, but deer that parade through our woods, chipmunks I like to watch scurry around on our deck. Those pesky, persistent squirrels that make me pause and smile. I need to toss in birds and fish too – fascinating!

Thanking God for the gift of light – the pleasure of flicking a switch and brightening a room. The brightness of the world after a couple days of rain.

Thanking God for ink – pens and printers- so we can literally see the ideas that come from someone else’s brain.

Thanking God also for the gift of knowing deep within myself that there is a holy, gracious, living Being Who is worthy of my immense thanks. God's greatness is why I have the joy and privilege of being a thankful person.

May this be your best Thanksgiving day ever and the start of a beautiful holiday season of gratitude.  We all have sooooooooo much to be thankful for. Perhaps this Thanksgiving you’ll find some new things for giving thanks.

One of the best things in the whole world to be thankful for every day is the gift of family and friends – priceless! That's YOU.

                               Blessed Thanksgiving Everyone!!!


O Lord you are such an incredible Creator and Sustainer of this world and all that is in it – how we praise You!



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thankful For Strong Hearts



I'VE LEARNED the human heart must become resilient because it will crack apart often. The spouse you choose, the family you create, that child placed in your arms after the miracle of birth – purest joy and the start of immense heart achings.

My heart broke into pieces at the first ear infection when baby cried and I couldn’t make the hurt go away. In sports, those times the coach chose not to put my eager child in the game. And much, much worse. The doctor saying my child had cancer with a fifty-fifty chance of survival - near devastation.

O the complexities of the heart. The cycle of loving goes on - happy heart, whole heart, broken heart, restored heart. I never knew my heart could truly burst with joy at one moment and then experience intense devastation. No one warned me the heart was so fragile but now I know. Concern over my husband’s health, distress over an adult child’s problem. It doesn’t stop at any age. Grandchildren have the same effect.

My heart has been broken and mended a thousand times. You’d think it would become callous with time but each sorrow hurts like the first. Yet, hopefully each one makes me a little stronger.

I want health and happiness uninterrupted by nothing and lasting forever for all my family, children and grandchildren. Is that too much to ask? I know disease and sinful evil people exist, but keep them from my beloved.

Thankfully, I survive in my broken state because I place those I love in the care of the only one who loves them more – my Lord and my God, their Lord and their God. It may seem a little act, but it is enough to keep my heart beating. And more, it keeps joy and gratitude in my soul.

UPDATES:

WE ARE SO GRATEFUL for my husband Wayne's healed heart! I so appreciate your prayers for him.  He attends cardiac rehab three times a week and is doing well. Praise God for His  healing mercies. 

WRITING:
Happily, my edits are back on track for my next inspirational mystery novel, The Windemere Affair. If you’re part of my Circlemaker prayer team, or would like to be, prayers are appreciated that this mystery will honor God as it covers some hot button topics.

GIFT E-BOOKS
Please take the opportunity to receive my gift to you! Our  free e-book this month is Joyful Christmas Reflections - deep, sweet, short meditations to prepare your heart for Christmas before the rush begins. Available through amazon on Kindle November 29 & 30.


SPEAKING:
I’ll be giving my inspirational talk, Stages From the Heart to the Page on Wed. December 13th for the Elgin Area Christian Women’s Connection at Villa Olivia Country Club in Bartlett, IL. For more info, contact person is Jan at 630-213-1205.
 
Ezekiel 36:26
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”


Heartfelt Blessings Upon Blessings!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Humdrum Never!

Days, humdrum never! Our house has been filled with visiting nurses, family and friends. A medical crisis is a community experience – I get that more clearly now and thank God for it. Walking through alone would be overwhelming.

Thanks, dear readers, who prayed for my husband’s open heart surgery for aorta aneurysm repair and arterial by-passes. We’re grateful beyond words for the thoughtful emails and cards of encouragement and your prayer support!

The surgery was successful! I want to jump up and dance and sing alleluias, which by the way was Wayne’s first word in intensive care when he came out of the anesthetic. Today he begins three months of cardiac rehab required to get his stamina and endurance back.

There were a few dark moments, now we see only light. We met so many fine compassionate people who helped us in multiple ways. It’s amazing what highly skilled doctors and nurses can do. We’re grateful we live during this time of advanced knowledge for heart restoration.

This experience made me more aware how we all depend on the skills of others. It’s fascinating to consider how interdependent we are. During a medical crisis, it’s so obvious. Each person contributes from the valet at the hospital who parked our car to the staff in the cafeteria, building contractors, designers of medical instruments. How beautiful it is when we NOTICE, really APPRECIATE the value of those around us. My favorite phrase of late has been a sincere “Thank you. I appreciate YOU” said with a heartfelt smile. God had a beautiful plan when he created community, starting with family and extending to church and neighborhood and beyond. (The picture below is Wayne, our son Dan and I yesterday.)

WRITING UPDATE:
My publisher graciously extended our second round of edits for my next novel The Windemere Affair - a blessing since I noticed Jennifer, my heroine, needs to come across as more caring in an important scene, which I need to change.

Never Tomorrow received a gratifying, and humbling review this month from an independent reviewing agency.  My Directive 99 continues to receive the most orders – a timely, scary suspense story.

On this October day, which happens to be my birthday, I/we celebrate God and YOU and the gift of more MIDDLE in our lives.





                         Psalm 28:6 "Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Multiple Worlds

I always thought I knew how to celebrate the gift of every twenty-four hours but it’s intensified these past five weeks since discovering my husband Wayne needs open heart surgery.

Ever feel like you live in multiple worlds? First the outer world with the interesting people you come in contact with daily. Next the family world – a more intimate connection. And third your inner world – where you and God connect – the inner dialogue, prayer requests, moments of thanks, knowing there’s something divine happening around you, recognizing earthly blessings, maybe even mini-miracles.

I’m spending a lot of time lately in my inner space with God praising Him for revealing my husband’s need for open heart surgery despite having no pain and providing a wonderful doctor and his team to operate on Tues. Sept. 26th.

We’re learning to trust more deeply - to not let fear strip us of Jesus’ legacy of moment-by-moment peace and to seek a sense of normality midst the abnormal.

I see grace all over in people, places – in particular in my husband Wayne’s serenity in this difficult situation. I see it in the abundant kindnesses of friends and even strangers reaching out to us with both words of comfort and promises to pray Sept. 26th. Thank you! How grateful we are!

And so peace prevails. We wait one more day knowing we’re never alone in our inner world with God.

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us form the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ” Romans 8: 38-39.

BLESSED FALL!


Below are two pictures taken days ago at BMW PGA Golf Tournament in Lake Forest, IL with daughter Tamara and dinner with our son Dan - two of our precious four children.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Praying for the Middle

Beginnings and endings. Both can be life changing, but endings are harder. Like nevers and forevers they can’t be redone, renegotiated. What ends won’t ever again be as it was. Which is why I’m praying against an ending.

Phrases from Psalm 91 are constantly on my lips.  May this aortic aneurysm discovered during my husband’s recent heart ultrasound not be his last chapter.

We received news of the fragility of Wayne’s heart as I was about to speak mid-August at the first of three consecutive events over three days. In my prewritten speech EACH TIME I told the women we CAN trust God in all the WHATEVERS of our lives. How I needed to hear myself say this! Trust, faith in God’s love and unending mercy, so easy to say, yet challenging to live.

Why is denial such a tempting first response? Surely this diagnosis wasn’t true, it came out of nowhere, no pain.  Soon  the truth settled like a tight cocoon.

Then quickly denial turned to gratitude that a routine test blessed us with important knowledge and fortunately modern medicine has a solution. WE PRAY IT'S SUCCESSFUL! 

 



I remember all the moments after our beginning – mutually discovering seven years into our marriage that God is very real and personal and sharing a compelling desire to serve Him, precious times with our four children, grandchildren, extended family and amazing friends, our multiple businesses, twenty years of camps for kids, the golf course we co- owned, the preschool, B & B, our real estate investments and rental properties, the mission trips, the vacations, our joint writing projects, THE BLESSED ORDINARINESS OF MOST OF OUR DAYS.

I know an ending must come some day, only not yet please Lord. I’d like more middle in our lives - how I wish I could be the decision-maker here.

Open heart surgery is necessary on Sept. 22nd to repair the aneurysm.  Heart cath is planned for this Thurs. Sept. 6. I think of the picture on our bedroom wall, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future.” Only believing this creates a sense of security and peace.

Why am I sharing this with you my family, friends and readers? How deeply we appreciate your prayers! Prayer - power of the supernatural kind - is what we need to walk through these days. Prayer for Wayne’s renewed healthy heart and for God to be glorified every step of the way.

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall say of the Lord you are my refuge place and my peace. I will not fear the snare of the fowler nor the deadly pestilence.” Psalm 91: 1

As you enter your fall season, may all your beginnings and endings be good, and the middles too.