Make it a New Year

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in he beginning.
All things were created through Him and apart from Him 
not one thing was created that has been created.
Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men.
That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.

January 1
I've jumped onboard with She Reads Truth for their four week study of Genesis. The introduction reads that Genesis is a book of "beginnings, covenants, and fresh starts!"  Oh, I do love fresh starts!
These studies give you a scripture passage to read and then a "response" page to write down what God has impressed upon your heart from the reading.  The first three chapters of Genesis provoked these thoughts:

"In the beginning of this year Father, I know not what is ahead, but I know there is nothing that will surprise you. I know there will be tribulation, but also that Your Word promises joy comes in the morning. As I start off this last year in my fifties facing surgery and still no known cause for the stroke, I want to make each day count for Your kingdom.  I don't want to hide from You, as Adam and Eve did, but I want to seek you daily and hear from you.

I want to find a way and the discipline to keep Sundays holy and restful.

I want to keep my eyes open and see where You are calling me to work beside you.

I want to notice Your creation, especially the humans who need to touch and taste of your love.

(Then I listed some specifics, just between Jesus and me! I'm sure imperfect progress will be birthed.)

I love You. Lord"

Coloring Page 4

I paid a huge price for you...
That's how much you mean to me!
That's how much I love you!
Isaiah 43:4

December 31
What a great verse with which to close out 2015.  God loves us so much.  We are valuable and precious in His sight.

For years I've contemplated what I would grab should our house catch on fire.  Would I go for the most valuable items monetarily or those irreplaceable items such as pictures and handmade keepsakes.  If the grandchildren were around, I'd just grab them and run!

I'm finding the older I get the less value there is in "things."  I've started parting with some treasures and passing them on to the younger generation to enjoy.

The wonderful thing about our greatest treasure...our faith in that we can pass it on and keep it for ourselves at the same time!

Coloring Page 3

December 30

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Jeremiah 31:3

Sitting at the piano, this song ushered me into the Presence of the Lord.
As a deer pants for water, so my soul longs after you.
You alone are my heart's desire and I long to worship you.
You alone are my strength, my shield, to you alone will my spirit yield.
You alone are my heart's desire and I long to worship you.

I want you more than gold or silver, only you can satisfy.
You alone are the real joy giver, the apple of my eye.
You're my friend and you are my Father, even though you are my king.
I love you more than any other, so much more than anything.

Thank You, Father, for loving me and for drawing me to You!

Coloring Page 2

As the Father has loved me, 
so I have loved you.
Now remain in my love.
John 15:9
December 29
Coloring is so relaxing!  I am so enjoying this coloring book gift.  Reflecting on this verse and writing to God I said,
"Remain in my love"...That's a choice Father. In Jesus Calling on November 5-6th Sarah Young wrote: "You can live as close to Me as you choose...Put more energy into trusting Me and enjoying My Presence.  When My Presence is your deepest delight, you know almost instinctively what will please Me. Delight yourself in Me more and more; seek My pleasure in all you do."

You are my happy spot Jesus.  You are my first love.  As I sat outside Sunday, in balmy temperatures listening to the birds sing, I felt loved by You.  When the world starts to suck me away from Your Presence, may the Spirit direct me to scamper back to You and remain in Your love!

Health Journal Update per instructions from the Queen of Strokes at St Thomas Hospital:
I've had some greatly improved days lately... feeling pretty normal again in the kitchen, showering and dressing without issue and fewer headaches.  Hallelujah! All this leads me to think maybe the Plavix is not the culprit of the headaches, but just a side effect of doing too much after the stroke.
We head to the surgeon's office today to discuss the possibilities of tossing away my gall bladder.
I've been thanking the Lord daily that I have not had another attack the past 2 weeks.

Corporate Worship

One of my favorite Nashville steeples.
December 28
It was so good to be back in church yesterday.
Paul David Tripp wrote:
"Corporate worship is a regular, gracious reminder that it's not about you.  You've been born into a life that is a celebration of another... We gather together to celebrate the One who created, controls, and sits at the center of all things...It's not wrong to desire personal happiness, peace, a healthy body, and healthy relationships.  The issue is this-these things must not rule our hearts, because when they do they place us at the center of our world and make it all about us.  It is sad that many people, even professing Christians, live in a way that is God-forgetting and God-replacing.  We put ourselves in the center, we decided for ourselves what we want life to be like, and we reduce God to little more than the delivery system for our catalog of self-oriented dreams."

Does this theology keep some from coming to Christ, because they think they are here to go for the gusto now?  Those of us who have tasted the completeness of Christ's love need to give testimony to it's life changing and life fulfilling elements.

When you stand in the pew singing praise on Sunday morning is your mind-set that you are walking out of your tents with throngs of others, as the Israelites did, to come together to worship the one who created you and gave you life?  Next Sunday let's turn to someone nearby and in addition to passing the peace say, "Isn't it exciting to be here together to worship Jesus? Oh, I do hope our praise is a sweet aroma!"

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth."  John 4:23-24

"Praise the Lord, my soul: all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits!" Psalm 103:1-2

The Wiseguys

You know you are old when your daughter takes over Christmas!
December 26-27
There's just been so much meat in my Jesus time this week.  I have to go back and share some thoughts about the wisemen.  In She Reads Truth, one author paraphrased Mt. 2:8 in this way:
"When you find him," Herod told the visitors, "come back and tell me where He is, I have a little something of my own I want to give Him."
The wisemen had the good sense to sum up Herod's character and realize he'd not be worshipping another king, also they had a noteworthy notice in a dream that Herod was not up to good.  So, they secretly slipped away for home avoiding Jerusalem.  Oh, how I want to be that good a job of character.  There have been times in my life I realized someone wanted me to share news with another and it was not for good!  There have probably been just as many times I was suckered in.

Here's another wise guy nugget from SRT:
"He (the new born king) wasn't even their king.  Israel's God was not their people's god.  And yet, they had come because the thought of a God of mercy with healing in His wings must have awakened in them a desire to be close to the one through whom the healing would flow. They followed the star, and after countless miles of sojourn, they found the King."

The other day I had slipped off to the guest room of our daughter's home for some alone with Jesus time. Within five minutes the pitter patter of little feet found me and snuggled up in the bed next to me.  Their daddy came to get them.  "I'm hanging with Jesus," I explained, "I guess they just want to be with him too."  Their sweet daddy said, "They want to be with Mama Boo."  The truth of the matter is they really desired my iPad!

I love the statement above concerning desires. I want to turn it into a prayer for us all.

"Father, awaken a desire in each of us to be so close to Christ that his healing would overflow into our hearts removing all jealousy, bitterness, fear and anxiety.  May those around us sense a sweet smell that points them to the place of finding their king! In Jesus' Name, Amen"

Chosen Child of God

Brothers by the tree!

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, 
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." 
Romans 15:13

December 25
Merry Christmas
My first thought this morning was about Mary in labor.  Having gone through that process six times I'm quite sympathetic to women in active childbirth.  I thought about this teenage girl chosen by God for this important role.  While the trinity can be a challenge to grasp I recognize that Jesus was God, yet in earthly form he had choices to make.  God chose Jesus to carry out a critical role on earth.  From early on in my days on the playground in elementary school and kickball teams being selected, I learned how good it feels to be chosen!  Those anticipations went on into jr and high school when it came time for dates for dances, then college admittance and sororities, right up to job searches.

Now as I look ahead to life after death, the choosing has been done. I've chosen  Jesus and secured a chosen spot in the Book of Life.  There's nothing more precious than celebrating Christmas Day as a chosen child of God!

I'm filled with joy by the way God knows all my thoughts (well, not thrilled when He catches me in thoughts of trepidation, anxiety, jealousy, doubt or bitterness) and meets my needs accordingly.  His provisions are such a testimony to His attributes of being almighty, all knowing, righteous, and compassionate.
Sunday night as I laid my head down and thought about this incredible week ahead I told the Lord I wanted to go deeper and deeper each day in my knowledge of who Christ is.  I've been doing an amazing Advent study by She Reads Truth and Monday morning was one of the best synopsis on Jesus I've ever read.  It's lengthy, but I promise you will find a nugget is you dig in.

Loving each of you this Christmas Day and asking God to make today special for you!

Jesus is the Promised One
Text: Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 16:5, Micah 5:2, Galatians 4:4-7, 1 Peter 1:20-21

Since Adam and Eve ate the fruit God told them not to touch, every generation has groaned with the pains of childbirth, longing to be delivered from the effects of their first parents’ fall (Romans 8:22). And now, our deliverer has come. He is the hero of our story, the perfect spotless lamb sent to adorn the doorposts of our hearts with His own blood (1 Peter 1:17–21, Exodus 12:22).

He is the descendant from Eve sent to crush the head of the deceiver (Genesis 3:15). He is Isaac’s ram caught in the thicket, God’s perfectly timed provision of a substitute (Genesis 22:13). He is the heir of Abraham’s line—born by a miracle and filling the world with laughter (Genesis 22:18).

He gave Jacob the gracious gift of a limp to remind him of his weakness (Genesis 32:25). He is the new Joseph, the forgotten brother, unrecognizable in a foreign land (Genesis 42:8, John 1:11), though He alone possesses the resources needed to satisfy our spiritual famine.
He is our new Moses, sent by God to deliver us from the land of our slavery into our promised inheritance (Exodus 3:7–10). He doesn’t just deliver God’s Law to us (Exodus 34:29), He fulfills it on our behalf—perfectly (Matthew 5:17).
He is the faultless judge who rescues His people from our own waywardness (Judges 2:17, 2 Corinthians 3:4–6). He does what no other judge is able to do—He takes our hearts of stone and gives us hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19).
He is the King the Lord promised to David, a ruler from his own body whose Kingdom the Lord would establish forever, ancient and strong (2 Samuel 7:12). He has courage deeper than David (Luke 6:1–5), wisdom greater than Solomon (Luke 11:31), and faith firmer than Elijah (Matthew 4:1–11). He is the remnant growing beneath the smoldering ruins of Judah, the Son to be given, the child to be born (Isaiah 9:6).
He is Immanuel—God with His people (Isaiah 6:13).
Where there is despair, He brings hope. Where there is brokenness, He brings healing. Where there is sadness, He brings joy. Where there is bondage, He sets people free.
The people of His day had grown up with the stories of Immanuel’s coming. They had heard the prophets implore them to listen, but seeing, they did not see, and hearing, they did not hear, nor did they understand (Matthew 13:13).
But who could blame them? Jesus grew up like a young plant, like a root out of dry ground with nothing in His form—no majesty or beauty—that would lead anyone to desire Him (Isaiah 53:1–3). No one could know by looking at Him that He had come to bear their grief and carry their sorrows. The days ahead for Him would bring suffering so great that people would consider Him stricken by God and afflicted.
But the purpose of this suffering was what pleased the Father. He would be wounded for our transgressions. He would be crushed for our iniquities. Upon Him would be laid the punishment that would bring His people peace, and by His wounds we would be healed (Romans 5:1, Hebrews 9:22, Isaiah 53:4–5).
Like sheep, every last man, woman, and child has gone astray, each turning to their own way. So the Father sent His Son and laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6–7).
Under unjust allegations, Jesus was betrayed, arrested, tried, and put to death as a criminal. But death could not hold Him. He had done no wrong, so He owed it no wage. Jesus was never the victim of men; it was the will of His Father to crush Him. It was God who put Him through such grief to bear the iniquities of His people, making many unrighteous men righteous (Isaiah 53:8–12).
No one took His life from Him. He laid it down, and He took it up again, claiming victory over the grave (John 10:18).
All of this required a birth.

In A Name

Beautiful artwork from the children's book "B" is for Bethlehem.

December 24
Not being able to sleep a few nights ago,  I decided to chat with Jesus and began to sing to him...
"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there's just something about that name.
Master, Saviour, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rains.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all heaven and earth proclaim
Kings and Kingdoms will all pass away, but there's something about that Name!"

I love what the name of Christ evokes in my soul.  Holiness, hope, joy, love, compassion, security, truth, righteousness.

Turn on the news and the headlining names most likely stir up some different emotions.  Chat at the Christmas/Holiday office party and chances are a colleagues or competitor's name may surface that thrills your heart or makes it flutter due to dislike, distrust or jealousy. There is power in a name.

While the name of Jesus truly is the most precious name to me it has riled many others throughout the ages.   God selected Jesus' name, which means salvation.

We are painting the name Jesus and selecting descriptive words for each letter.
J-just, joyful
S-savior, sacred
U-understanding, universal

May your Christmas Eve discussions include the marvelous name of Jesus!


December 23
We had a wonderful time walking around the Opryland Hotel. Around every corner was something to delight the eye!  And all the escalators were like a Disney ride for these two little fellows. Watching them JUMP on and off definitely made my heart skip a beat!  The cardiologist called yesterday and said she had reviewed the monthly heart monitoring I was on and saw no signs of an A-fib event, so she'd like to have an implant placed under my skin that can remain for up to THREE years.  I asked if when they were taking out my gallbladder the same surgeon could stick that in...negative.  The first of the year we will have a pow-wow with my Primary Care physician and come up with a plan, for no one has the answers we'd like to have.  The concern still exist if the current blood thinner they have me on is the correct drug and are any of the symptoms I'm having medication related.
One praise is how much better I'm doing in the sequencing area.  I do see great strides there!  So Jesus and I will just keep on keeping on for the time being!

Today's Biblegateway verse says:

""Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger.' Suddenly a great company of the heavenly hosts appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those who his favor rests.'"       Luke 2:11-14  

Some translations use the word swaddled instead of wrapped. Our three year old grandson asks for his bear to be swaddled at bedtime! A faculty member where my husband works, shared insight that the word swaddled  is also the word for what a shepherd would do to an endangered newborn lamb.  The lamb would be wrapped up in a way that the shepherd could carrying the animal around with him.  How fitting that our sacrificial lamb was swaddled.
"Glory to God in the highest!"

No Room

Enjoying supper out with a couple of our grandsons.
December 22
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. 
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, 
because there was no guest room available for them.
Luke 2:6

OK, I'm sure the inn keeper was stressed from all the travelers in town and an overbooked inn, but where was he sleeping?  If a pregnant girl showed up at my door in active labor on a busy weekend at Shiloh, would I:
A) Send her to the garage.
B) Send her to the pontoon boat.
C) Tell her to deliver in the backseat of her car.
D) Give her my bedroom.

Without the manger incident we wouldn't have "Away in a Manger."

Continuing in this contemplative mode I have to ponder if the inn keeper had enough on his plate with the guests he was caring for and really didn't want to get involved with labor and delivery that night.  Which is the perfect segue into an application for our lives.  Are our lives overflowing with the mundane, "the tyranny of the urgent", moving on up, that we don't have time for Jesus and his plan for our lives?

Lord, today we make room in our hearts for YOU. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Merry Mary

Our Minnesota granddaughter is full of Christmas cheer!
December 21
"And Mary said: 'My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 
for the Mighty One has done great things for me-holy is his name.'"
Luke 1:46-47, 49

For a young, pregnant, unwed teen, Mary had a fabulous attitude!  Yes, I'm sure her angel encounter was quite persuasive, but she had to have a mighty faith to walk the walk as Jesus' mother. 

Desiring to go deeper each day this week, with the emphasis on who Jesus really is the Luke passage above helped direct me to some self-evaluation.

Does my soul glorify the Lord?
Does my spirit rejoice throughout the day in God my Savior?
Do I give testimony on a regular basis to the great things the Mighty One has done for me?

Yesterday,  I went a six hour stretch of minimal activity without a break and without having brain discomfort!  I continue to thank God for his healing power!

Jesus is God

December 19-20
Being an educator supplies an individual with enchanting tales to tell!  My husband carries out the proper protocol of not telling names and tales together.  The other day he shared the story of a young student in Bible class who responded to a teacher's statement by saying, 
"Wait!  That means Jesus is God."
What a profound concept for a youngster to grasp.  God came to earth in bodily form as the Baby Jesus.

"For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 
and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority." 
 Colossians 2:9-10

As we proceed into this fourth week of Advent may we stop each day and reflect on Jesus as...
"Wonderful Counselor.
  Mighty God.
  Everlasting Father.
  the Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

Momentary Afflictions

December 18
Ok, so I haven't been totally honest this week because I didn't want to stir up concern or be drug back to the ER.  Tuesday afternoon I started having some left upper arm pain that would come and go.  It didn't register with me, but that evening when my daughter saw me grab the arm, she said, "Mom, do you think you need to go to the ER. That's a heart attack sign.  Stroke, gallstones, why not heart attack?"  My response was that I really wasn't up for another ER visit. She said, "Oh, you'd rather die?" That's an affirmative!  Jesus Calling that day even said, "Your longing for heaven is good!"

Four of my power hitters began praying for me, I'm staying in contact with my favorite nurse and taking my blood pressure!  Wednesday, my neurologist here in Nashville gave me a cardiologist referral, but I really felt the prayers for healing have been working.  The pain is pretty constant now, which would lean more to a muscular problem.
Awakening just now in the middle of the night, I pulled up Jesus Calling for today.  It made me smile and was a whisper from Jesus that he and the Father are totally aware of what's happening! So, I'm rejoicing and giving thanks.

Jesus Calling, December 18
"When you are plagued by a persistent problem-one that goes on and on-view it as a rich opportunity.  An ongoing problem is like a tutor who is always by your side.  the learning possibilities are limited only by your willingness to be teachable.  In faith, thank Me for your problem. Ask Me to open your eyes and your heart to all that I am accomplishing through this difficulty.  Once you have become grateful for a problem, it loses its power to drag you down. On the contrary, your thankful attitude will lift you up into heavenly places with Me.  From this perspective, your difficulty can be seen as a slight, temporary distress that is producing for you a transcendent Glory never to cease!"

Now that's an excellent, shout hallelujah,  game plan!  I can already see that without this physical pain, I would be overdoing here in the Music City and stressing my brain.  This pain has made me slow down and rest, which my brain definitely needs.  I'm is still good to go for about 3 hours, then my brain screams "rest me!"

Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.  Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way; walk in it."   Isaiah 30:20-21

"For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory (beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!).  2 Corinthians 4:17

A Set Time

My sister in law needle pointed this pillow for me over 30 years ago!
December 17
Feeling terrible, on occasion lately, there have been times I asked the Lord to just take me home if I wasn't going to get to where I felt and functioned better.  The other night I told my husband what I was praying.   His reply was that we'd just see whose prayers God was listening to, because he was praying the opposite!

At one point, when I was suggesting to God it might just be best if he would have my heart stop right then and take me quickly home, he spoke a soft kindly reminder that He was God and it was best I not tell him what to do. When I opened Biblegateway the next morning and read the "Verse of the Day" the words "when the set time had fully come" jumped off the page.  God knows exactly what He's doing with my life, so I need to just chill and be thankful He's walking alongside me.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman,
born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
Galatians 4:4-5 


"Even in laughter the heart may ache, and
rejoicing may end in grief."Proverbs 14:13

December 16
I don't remember reading this Proverb before, but it is true. Ministers do a great job of finding a way to bring laughter into a funeral service, for they know the benefits.  My man knows how healthy laughter is for our souls.  My Christmas shopping has been minimal this year, but I have attended a couple activities which required bringing a wrapped gift. I have one coming up where you are to bring "something to read."  Feeling totally wiped out after the gallstone attack, I asked my husband a HUGE favor.  He's not a rapper or a wrapper, but I asked if he would please go downstairs to where the wrapping paper was hibernating and wrap this simple gift for me.
I was on the phone with our daughter in law when he came in the bedroom proudly displaying his handy work in the photo on the left! This is the same man who placed my gifts, on our first married Christmas, in a big black garbage bag with a  red ribbon tied around it, so for a second I thought he was serious.  My exclamation was, "Are you serious?  That is such a mean thing to do to me when I feel so crummy."
In the other room, lay the beautifully wrapped gift in the photo on right!

Laughter is good for the soul.
Our four year old grandson made his mama laugh the other day.  He began screaming from his car seat that his foot was hurting him badly. At first our daughter had no clue what could have happened and then she realized it was probably asleep.  Arriving home, when she got him out of the car he couldn't walk on it and began to panic.  Rubbing his foot she told him it was asleep and it would feel better soon.  A few minutes later he said, "Mom, my foot is not tired anymore!"  LOL

Praying you find time to laugh today.

The Journey

"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, 
to Bethlehem the town of David. because he belonged to the house and line of David.
He went there to register with Mary, 
who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child."
Luke 2:4-5

December 15
Thinking back to how I felt ten days before I delivered my babies, I am sooooo thankful I did not have to get on a donkey and ride anywhere.  Supposedly, the 80-100 mile trip to Bethlehem took Mary and Joseph 8-10 days.  The link below tells how you can make a similar trek on a trip called The Nativity Trail.  I wish I'd done this 40 years ago!

Yesterday, I made the journey back to my stroke site.  It took about ten hours instead of ten days, with lots of stops along the way to avoid clots.  I saw my primary care doc in the morning and she said, "Take your pain meds with you and go for it!  You can have the surgery after Christmas."  So, while I feel like a walking time bomb gallstone wise,  I'm happy to be back in Nashville with our daughter and comforted by the fact there is great medical care right around the corner.  Missing my man though, but he can probably use the break of watching over me.

One More Thing

December 14
When you hear:
"That's not a reason to arrest me. Do not arrest me!"
"Trauma alert, transport is six minutes out."
"We are receiving a patient with a gunshot wound from a 22 to his face."
"Stroke alert, transport is five minutes out."
"We will do an EKG and then are sending you for X-rays, several CT scans and an ultrasound..."
You know you are not home in your own bed anymore.

Saturday, my husband and I went out for a walk on a beautiful 75 degree day.  About a mile into the walk I had acute upper abdominal pain.  I asked him to please go get the car. Unfortunately, neither of us had our phones with us, so he had to leave me and run uphill for the car.  We headed right for our local Urgent Care center, as the pain was not subsiding.  Evaluating my history and the fact that I'm on Plavix, they tossed me into an ambulance and sent me to the ER in Roanoke. I pleaded with my husband and the doctor to not send me, but lost out on that request.  Ugh, all I could think about was the insurance deductible we are going to have to pay once again, as we are in a new cycle, and my whole medical mystery situation.

A major trauma center is a wild place to be on a Saturday night. The hallways were bumper to bumper with filled hospital beds. I was one of the fortunate ones to have a cubical and God placed, as our nurse, a former student from the private school where my husband works!  The attending physician, whom it took hours to see, was the son of a beloved PE teacher from our high school!

At some point in the evening I opened the Jesus Calling app on my phone and grinned as I read this note from Jesus.

"I am taking care of you.  Feel the warmth and security of being enveloped in My loving Presence.  Every detail of your life is under My control.  Moreover, everything fits into a pattern for good, to those who love Me and are called according to My designed purpose.
Because the world is in an abnormal, fallen condition, people tend to think that chance governs the universe.  Events may seem to occur randomly, with little or no meaning.  People who view the world this way have overlooked one basic fact: the limitations of human understanding.  What you know of the world you inhibit is only the tip of the iceberg. Submerged beneath the surface of the visible world are mysteries too vast for you to comprehend. If you could only see how close I am to you and how constantly I work on your behalf, you would never again doubt that I am wonderfully caring for you.  This is why you must live by faith, not by sight, trusting in My mysterious, majestic Presence."
                                                                                                    Jesus Calling December 12

We are assured and know that (God being a partner in their labor) all things work together and are (fitting into a plan) for good to and for those who love God and are called according to His design and purpose.  Romans 8:28 AMP

Cast all your anxiety, on him because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

There was such peace in this message and a confidence that God had me covered.

We waited 3 1/2 hours for a resident to enter, evaluate my situation, and order tests.  The immediate suspicions were gallbladder issues or internal bleeding.  Eleven hours later, at 2:30AM, the diagnosis of gall stones was in and we were advised to call a surgeon and schedule surgery.
The discharge process took an hour!  We finally arrived home around 4:15 AM. What a Saturday!

Possibly, part of the purpose for us was to sit there and pray over each scenario we heard announced over the loud speaker.  The stroke victim got extra popcorn prayers from me throughout the night and those are continuing. The realization that many angels were encamped within that trauma center helped shift my thoughts from my own situation to the needs of others.

We will confer with my hematologist, neurologist and primary care doctor to come up with a plan of action, as my situation is a little complicated,


December 12-13
Thursday night I watched Dolly Parton's movie called "Coat of Many Colors."  It was refreshing and filled with a  faith message that is missing in mainstream America.  The only review I read was a "worldly" one and wasn't overly complimentary. The writer referenced "the audience" that would want to watch this sort of film with a snicker in his writing voice.  (Yup, this is where I'd stand up proudly in a crowd and acknowledge being a part of that audience, but of course we taped every "Little House" episode that ever crossed our TV screen and found valuable lessons for our children and ourselves as parents in those shows.)
The review writer also used a word which I never have: schmaltzy-"overly sentimental."
I tell you what, I'm so thankful Jesus is schmaltzy towards me!  I'll take me a scoop of overly sentimental, oozing with God's love, and emphazing the importance of family any time someone wants to pour it over me this day and time.

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, 
along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 1:14 

Thursday was the best I've felt since the stroke.  Unfortunately, it was followed up with Friday which was one of the worst.  Giving thanks for a patient, compassionate husband, who not only stands along side me, but who is willing to lay hands on me and pray for healing.  Asking God for wisdom in what direction we should take.

The Master's Plan

Our Christmas cactus are shaking their tail feathers!

 December 11
I'm still in my mode of amazement at the intricacies of God's plan...The Master's Plan.  Yesterday, I was studying in SRT about the comparison of Moses, the mediator for the Israelites, and Jesus, our mediator today.

I wrote "Sweet Jesus, You are the most compassionate mediator a girl could ask for. Thank You for compassionately carrying our causes before the throne of God. Ah, the Master's Plan is perfect!"

For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity,
Christ Jesus, Himself human, who gave Himself-
a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.
1 Timothy 2:5-6

Real Life Experience

December 10
Another week of laying low has helped my headaches. A close friend said, "You may actually learn to like this slower pace of life!"  Just four more days on the heart monitor, but whose COUNTING!!!!

Take time today to appreciate God's plan to come to earth in human form, as Jesus, and participate in "real life experiences."  What a way to relate!  Jesus went through everything from a birth canal to being buried in a tomb.  No, ladies, I know he didn't personally experience childbirth, parenting or a spouse, but he walked closely beside it.  Jesus makes an awesome advocate for us because of his first hand human experiences.  We can't cry out, "God, you don't understand!"

Jesus is called our High Priest, who sits on the throne of heaven and can sympathize with us.  All God's plans are brilliant! Do you trust in Him today?

"Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it's logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death.  By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil's hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death.  

It's obvious, of course, that he didn't go to all this trouble for angels.  It was for people like us, children of Abraham. That's why he had to enter into every detail of human life.  Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people's sins, he would have already experienced it all himself-all the pain, all the testing-and would be able to help where help was needed."  
                                                                                                                        Hebrews 2:13-18

Lost But Found

December 9
The Friday after Thanksgiving I used my credit card in Virginia Beach to purchase a birthday present for a friend.  It wasn't until the following Monday I needed it again and it was not in my wallet.  The hunt began.  I must have gone through my wallet at least five times and search every article of clothing I had taken on the trip.  My patient husband scoured the car and called every place we had stopped to use the bathroom, eat or shop on the way home.  Our son and daughter in law were on the lookout at their home as well.  I was certain I had shopped with it in my pocket, not wanting to be burdened down with a wallet on top of my heart monitoring equipment I had to tote around.  We began monitoring our account several times a day to be sure the card wasn't being used.  We wanted to be patient and see if it would surface, as it is the card all our automatic payments are on and changing the card would birth a tedious time consuming task.

Yes, we prayed several times during the ten days, but Sunday I finally confessed my sorrow to my husband and said, I needed to go ahead and start the replacement process.  Before doing so, I asked the Lord if there was any place left to look. I opened one side of my closet where I keep jacket.  None of those jackets had made the Thanksgiving trip with me, but out of the blue I stuck my hand in the pocket of one and there it was!!!!  Neither of us have any recollection of me wearing that coat, but ya know doesn't matter.  We don't need to know how it got there, we just praised the Lord we had the card!

Does God feel like that when one of his lost sheep finally return home to him?  It doesn't matter what traps they've been caught in, how matted and messy their wool might look or what stinky stuff they wandered through while they were lost.  What matters is that they found their way back to the master.

Let's team up together today and pray for those who are spiritually lost.

"I have strayed like a lost sheep.  Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands."
Psalm 119:176

"And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.  
Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 
'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Luke 15:5-7

If God has a Christmas wish list I'm certain what he wants most of all is for his children who don't know Jesus as Lord and Savior, to come to that saving knowledge so he can write their names in the Book of Life.

The Wonder of It All

Our Minnesota grands mesmerized by the light up snow globes we sent!

December 8
The depth of God's love for us is pretty mesmerizing in itself! A friend mailed me a card titled:
"10 Things God Wants You to Remember"
I am for you.
I love you.
I believe you.
I will not fail you.
I will be with you.
I will provide for you.
I will bless you.
I will give you rest.
I will strengthen you.
I will answer you.

Inside the flap it says: 
"He is our Father and we are His children-that is on thing He never wants us to forget."

"You received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."       Romans 8:15


Change Me

Hope and Love

December 7
Waking up yesterday feeling pretty good for a change, we reflected on how the last two Sundays had worn me out.  I love my church and wanted to be there early for fellowship and then stay afterwards and help serve in little ways.  Then each week we'd do the grocery shopping afterwards and we've realized I was spent by that time. So since the headaches had been so bad we decided to have church alone together at Shiloh!  Pulling out an old piano book with praise music, I began to clink away at the keys.  My husband found a microphone we have here (didn't plug it in) but used it as a prop as he was our praise leader. The angels who encamp around Shiloh had to be hooting outside at my piano playing and his singing.  God says to make a joyful noise and that we did!
Next I shared about realizing in taking my worship to a deeper level, sometimes I just need to get on my knees or even on my face.  While down there I heard the Lord speak his love over me as he impressed this thought upon my mind...

"I want you to turn for longing for "what was" into excitement for what I am doing with you "now."

"Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back
from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything
good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen"
Hebrews 13:20-22 

Later in the day, He took that a step beyond the stroke scenario.  We were working on old Christmas albums, trying to compile them into fewer albums and make it easier on the children to sort through when we are with Jesus.  Oh, the joy that filled my heart looking back on the fun we had.  I looked at my husband and said, "I was a nut!  How did you put up with me doing all that at Christmas?"  So instead of longing for the laughter filled house (which also came with a lot of laundry and boo boos)
I gave thanks for what I am doing now and that those little children have jobs and people in their lives they love very much and who love them.  Thankful that my husband and I can sit cozily on a couch and count the memories and fall asleep if we want to.

Accepting change is applicable to us all as we embrace change and become elated with the new plans God has for us along life's highway!

Oh, and yes, we did have a sermon and Bible study on Sunday!  :-)

Happy Birthday Jesus

December 5-6
In the early hours of the morning I was chatting with Jesus and he gave me this poem.

If I could fill a stocking with gifts from heaven's store.
What are the precious treasures I'd go asking for?

Solomon asked so wisely for knowledge and wisdom.
The birds don't even worry asking from where their meals come from.

Hannah wanted a baby, then gave him back to God.
David wanted Bathsheba, so to his servants he gave a nod.

Earthly treasures eventually tarnish and don't fulfill the soul.
So I think I'll ask for things intangible, which aren't found at the North Pole.

I'd really like continued forgiveness, which was established on the cross.
Compassion, love and mercy, which can be obtained and never lost.

The hope of life eternal and kneeling at Jesus' feet.
Those are gifts out of this world, which really can't be beat!

Please add an ear for wisdom and the ability to unfold God's plan for me.
And a heavy helping of patience and obedience to wait on bending knee.

I don't really need a stocking, for my heart is already filled with joy.
With the remembrance of God's omnipotence and faithfulness when he sent that baby boy!

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in the glory of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

Well, I laid low most of the week, thought I was improving and then "BAM" last night I thought I might have to go to the ER.  The worst I've felt since the stroke.  Headaches, dizziness, light and sound sensitive.  (Still a bit funky this morning and this computer screen isn't pleasant to stare at, but we think we know what set it off.)  Two friends stopped by for visits yesterday, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Then late in the day I decided to work on a photo album project, sorting the childhood albums of all the children.  For four hours I sorted and organized photos trying to condense the number of albums I have for each child.  Then I hit a BIG wall. This morning it hit me...that whole project was sequencing, which has been an obstacle for me and I pressed through for four hours. After asking my husband to do reflexology on my feet, I about flew off the bed the pain was so bad when he worked the big toe, which is the brain.  Please pray this will straighten out.  (I tried a Tylenol at one point, but it seemed to only get worse.)

Christmas Lights

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life."
John 8:12

December 4
We have not put a tree up, but we do have some major twinkling going on here in the house.  The love of Jesus puts the twinkling in our lives. It never goes out for it's an eternal, everlasting love.

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with lovingkindness."
Jeremiah 31:3

Laying low seems to have helped the headaches.  I'm still having zingers, but not the constancy that they were last weekend.  Thanks for praying.  The Christmas carols are resounding through the house.  This morning I was listening to Brandon Heath's rendition of Bleak Midwinter.   The last line where he contemplates what would I give the baby Jesus, he sings....I would give my heart.

Let's pray today for those who need to see the light of Christmas and give their hearts to Jesus .

My Mother's Joy

December 3
I think this down time is making me nutty.  Sitting on my bed I found myself cheering...
I love Jesus, yes I do. I love Jesus how bout you?"  I think it made Jesus smile!  In reality, I should feel blessed to have a few days at home alone to just hang out with Jesus.  Yesterday, we danced together to Christmas carols!

When my sister came from Florida to visit she brought along a bottle of "JOY" perfume. It's the perfume our mother wore.  For 14 years, I kept a small bottle from her dressing table in my bathroom, but then it turned a dark yucky color, so I parted with the treasure.  While it's not my choice of scents, it is a reminder of her and my favorite word!

What makes your joy complete?  Would you answer as Paul has in Philippians 2:1-3

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish or vain conceit,  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.

Show Me

Our son and daughter in law, hosting us for Thanksgiving
Our youngest grandson thoroughly enjoying the top of the dining room table and 
some leftover Godiva chocolates.  He's a climber!
December 2
Whew let me tell you I am struggling with this stay at home, do nothing event.  A treasured friend, whom I backed out of an activity with emailed me saying:
"I think you're truly submitting to God's will in this;
I think He wants you to rest and "be still" so that He can draw you closer to Him.
Be at peace dear friend!"

Those words "so He can draw you closer to Him" resonated as a happy thought!
Today's Biblegateway goes right along with this train of thought.

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many time and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.  Hebrews 1:1-2

There is the power in the name of Jesus.  When we call upon His name, he will answer; for there is a work yet to be done in us or we wouldn't still be here!

Paul David Tripp wrote: "If you are not fully formed into the image of Jesus, your Redeemer is neither satisfied nor finished, and neither should you be."

Oh, how I want to be like Jesus!
Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths!   Psalm 25:4

Right this moment there is no headache and I am praising the Lord!

For This Purpose...

December 1
Since the children are not coming home for Christmas this year, I'm only pulling out a few decorations.  Front and center is the nativity we've had for over 35 years.  While setting it up, I realized.."We are missing Mary and a wiseman!?  Why would those two be off alone?"  I found them wrapped up together, hiding in a corner!
Each year it is a thrill to unwrap the Baby Jesus.  But that is not so for everyone.  There are homes without nativity scenes.  There are people who couldn't begin to tell you the first Bible story or sing a Christmas carol.  What do we do with that?

In the current Advent study I'm doing we've started off studying the sins which Adam and Cain were involved in. Who looks at the baby in the nativity and thinks about sin? We all should!

The reason Jesus had to leave his heavenly home and come to earth was to be the propitiation for our sins.  So when we lay Baby Jesus in the manger, be sure to say "Thank You!"

"For this purpose Christ willed to be born that through him we might be born again."
Martin Luther 

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:3

Medical Update

We had a fun Thanksgiving Day at the ocean!
I need to remember these moments and give thanks.
Medical update following today's hematologist appointment.
Here’s my latest report at this 11 week mark.

The good news is the hematology testing from the 18 tubes of blood came back fine, with the exception of the one clotting problem they found in Nashville.
I’m this doctor’s first patient with a plasminogen indicator PA1 problem. She called her colleagues in Pittsburg to confer on how to handle this situation.
They all feel it’s a 50/50 chance this had anything to do with the stroke and the only way would be if it was combined with a cardiac problem.
While the Plavix could be the culprit of the current headaches I’m battling they feel keeping me on it is the best stroke prevention for now. The other drug option has a 40% recorded reporting of causing headaches. Please pray for these to go away.

The headaches, dizziness and another stroke are the biggest concern right now. The doctor says I need to be aware there could be a slow bleed in the brain from the Plavix and I might want to consider another CTScan.  I think I will start charting the headaches and keep the option open of seeing the neurologist in Nashville over Christmas and get the CTscan there is necessary.  Our daughter in law nurse just emailed to not wait too long on the scan, so I’m praying for wisdom.  I've cancelled everything on my calendar for the next three days to see if total rest makes a difference.

The PA1 disorder does up my chances of throwing a veinous clot to my lungs. So she said, keep exercising and eating wisely.

Two more weeks of the heart monitor. Then it is mailed back and a report sent to the doctor. It will be after Christmas before I can get back to the cardiologist.  Unfortunately, I had to disconnect from it last night because the sticky pads have caused a rash on my chest and stomach.  UGH.

I’m growing a little weary, but need to focus on being Thankful. I bought a pair of I’m Joyful socks to go along with the “I am smart” socks someone gave me and I'll be wearing them the next three days!
Thanks for all your prayers, love and concern.
Love, Boo

Read to Me

November 30
This afternoon I'm to meet with the hematologist to discuss the 18 tubes of blood!  Also, I may throw out that I've been battling headaches for 3 days and suspect the Plavix is playing a role.  Thanks to my children for praying for these headaches to cease and for a sweet neighbor I saw while out walking yesterday, who laid his hand upon my head and prayed mightily in the name of Jesu for the headaches to be gone!  I've been enduring these instead of believing God can rid me of them.

Our oldest grandson turned seven on Saturday.  The picture above is of him reading to his younger sister and two of his cousins.  Special moments!  I want to share with you from something I've read.

Three people gave me Jill Bolte Taylor's bestseller, My Stroke of Insight. You may have seen her on television. At 37 years old, this Harvard trained brain scientist had a massive stroke to the left hemisphere of her brain. The book truly is insightful and has been a real comfort to me. The medical personnel who have attended to my care must have read this book at some point, for they were spot on with Taylor's suggestions for care!  In the back of the book is an Appendix titled "Forty Things I Need Most."  Definitely worth the read if you ever have to interact with a  stroke survivor.  I want to share some statements, from Chapter 13  "What I Needed the Most,"which really resonate with me.
1) I desperately needed people to treat me as though I would recover completely.
2) I needed the people around me to believe in the plasticity of my brain and its ability to grow, learn, and recover.
3) My brain needed to be protected, and isolated from obnoxious sensory stimulation, which is perceived as noise.
4) Honor the healing power of sleep.
5) I needed people to love me-not for the person I had been, but for who I might now become.
5) I needed those around me to be encouraging. I needed to know that I still had value.  I needed to have dreams to work toward.
6) It was essential that we challenge my brain systems immediately.
7) Offer me only multiple choice questions and never ask me Yes/No questions.
8) I had to define my priorities for what I wanted to get back the most and not waste energy on other things.
9) It was important we focus on my ability, not my disability.
10).  I needed people to celebrate the triumphs I made every day because my successes, no matter how small, inspired me.
11) I needed to welcome support, love and help from others.
12) I needed my caregivers to teach me with patience.
12) I needed people to come close and not be afraid of me.
13) I needed my visitors to bring me their positive energy.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12

Today, I stop to pray for caregivers.  It's not an easy task.

The Arrival of Advent

Reading The Night Before Thanksgiving with our grands.
November 29
The remains of turkey have been made into sandwiches, salads and soup. College football rivalries were played out across America yesterday leaving some elated and others saying, "Wait until next year."  Bags are being packed as relatives make their way back to their homes.  The transition of life continues and today is the first day of Advent 2015!

For this stroke surviver, four days of travel and family joy was probably too much stimulation. I had to head home a day early due to a headache and just plain feeling funky, but I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

Every Christmas season I profess to myself and Jesus that it will be more about him and less about the glitz!  Yesterday, we put on our Brandon Heath Christmas CD and pulled out a FEW decorations.  As the first notes tinkled out of the stereo system and my man walked by and kissed me, the tears dripped down my cheeks.  He said, "Oh, no!  Stroke emotions."  Honestly, I don't know for sure what the tears symbolized.  Love for such a kind man who has cared for me these past months with gentleness and compassion?  Thankfulness that I'm able to do as much I can? Maybe a little bit of wishing I was full speed again?  Or the Spirit moving me to reflect on the magnitude of God's love for me?

For Advent I'm digging deep into the She Reads Truth study called "Born is the King." the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:10-11

My Savior, Redeemer, Sustainer and Friend...all titles of which I often refer to Jesus, but King?
Having lived under a democracy all my life, I have little monarchy experience, so maybe that's why my mind doesn't gravitate in such a direction.  Jesus is our King and will rule throughout eternity.

A goal has been set in this study to challenge the readers to memorize Isaiah 9:6-7 during this season of Advent.

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it 
with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. 

The dictionary defines Advent as: "The arrival of a notable person, thing or event."
I pray each day we acknowledge the arrival of Christ in our lives and we allow him to rule our day.
I've also set a goal to see others I pass by as notable. for they are to God.  Randomly, I'm going to slip a note inscribed with Philippians 2:10-11 and one of our daughter's Christmas harp CDs to a stranger in my path each day!

Never Misunderstood

November 28
Spending this week with family was wonderful.  Possibly a bit much for my brain to take in at this point, but it was worth the overload.  A huge thanks to our son and daughter-in-love for hosting us with such graciousness in their beautiful new home.
Not feeling well at all yesterday morning, one family member inquired, "What's wrong?"  I realized these ailments (brain exhaustion) are so different that it's actually hard to describe.  Then I opened Psalm 139 and realized there is someone who knows all there is to know about me!  There is no need to describe any symptoms...physical or emotional.

Hopefully, you are still in thankful mode.  Join me in thanking the Lord for these characteristics of his:

Thank you for
...searching me and knowing me
...understanding my thoughts from far away
...observing my travels an my rest
...being aware of all my ways
...placing your hand on me
...having extraordinary knowledge
...knitting me together in my mother's womb
...writing all my days in Your book

We often misunderstood, but that's never the case with God!

Deer, Deer ...Envy NOT

Well, the stroke update is simply this. I went wireless for about 36 hours.  I called the cardiac monitoring system and told them I was unplugging my monitoring system for Thanksgiving.  I got a wonderful night's sleep Wednesday night without sleeping with the battery pack and all the wires!  I'm plugged back in for another 2 weeks!

We were blessed to house 4 young fathers and their 13 year old sons last Saturday night.
These deer boys and their dads gobbled up the pancakes I made Sunday morning!
November 27
Oh, how we loved the days when our home was filled with teens and twenty somethings.  But we are not envious of the job today's parents have of training up this younger generation.

Our pastor gave an excellent sermon on envy and the following day the same topic headlined one of the devotionals I read, so my ears perked up and I asked the Lord to reveal areas where I was allowing envy to get a foothold.  Pastor Stan stated, "Envy is a fatal distraction."

"Comparison is the thief of joy."
Theodore Roosevelt

Who's life or luxury have you wished for recently?

Paul David Tripp wrote: "Sadly, envy causes you to question the goodness, faithfulness, and wisdom of God.  Envy accuses God of not knowing what he's doing or of not being faithful to what he's promised to do...Today you'll envy the blessings of another or you'll bask in the wonder of the amazing grace you have been given."

The Pharisees are not Jesus fans. Actually, they are rather envious of the following surrounding him. Trying to trip Jesus us with some tricky questions, births only wisdom from Christ's mouth.
Jesus explains: For it is from within, out of a person's heart, that evil thoughts come-sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from inside and defile a person.  Mark 7:21-23

Sandwiched in with all those sinful behaviors sits envy defined as an evil.

Are you off with family this holiday and looking around wishing life looked differently for you?
Maybe you are totally alone and having twinges of jealousy towards those whom appear to have a Norman Rockwell picture perfect life.

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Proverbs 14:30

Instead of looking around, we benefit more from looking up to the Lord and then looking into our hearts and glance at the depth of love God has for us.  It is there we will find our peace, joy and contentment.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  Colossians 3:16