Wednesday, February 26, 2014

In My Corner of the World

I take my camera wherever I go but I find myself with few pictures when I return home. I snap a few with my iPhone, but January and February have been barren months pictorially. 

Part of that is due to the freezing cold and desolate landscapes. I've had so little time with my grandkids and when I do, I'm not thinking of taking photos, merely enjoying the moment.

My dear friend, Pam arrived on Sunday and we have been enjoying being together this week. We've watched the closing of the Olympics, a delightful Hallmark movie, shared tea and scriptures, worked out at the gym together, and eaten a ton of chocolate. :)

Here in northern Maine, people are praying for spring. This season has been cold and hard, but not nearly as rough as it has been on many across the country and beyond. There's a biathlon going on here right now with international athletes. This will add a little color to our bleak winter. 

On Friday, we say farewell February and move into March - like a lion or a lamb? We will see.

On Friday also, Lord-willing, after two cancellations, I will go in for surgery to have my gall bladder removed. This is to prevent any further incidents with my pancreas, which is my major issue. The doctors say it won't make me feel any better, but I am consulting with the One I know healed many people and praying that I can eat and feel better after this is done.

I've been a terrible blogger this year so far and will probably be a bit quiet for a week or so. Hang in there with me. I continue to read your blogs, even when I am quiet, and enjoy them. 

Sending love from my little corner of the world. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Does God Like Flat Biscuits?

Tuesday afternoon I attempted to make biscuits for the first time in two years. I used to make bread, cookies, biscuits, brownies etc. on auto-pilot. Eventually my children grew up and  left home and I was forced into gluten-free eating so my baking fell by the wayside. 
I wanted to do something nice for hubby this week, thus the biscuits, but I'm not so sure it worked. Oh, he said they were good, but they felt hard, a little flatter than normal and I noticed he didn't ask for more.

Fast forward to this morning. I moved my sacred time to my kitchen, spreading my Bibles, journal and study helps over the table surface. After reading my Psalms of praise and a chapter in Colossians, I felt drawn to Job. A couple friends of mine keep telling me that God is speaking to them through the book of Job. I've been resisting for all sorts of reasons. First of all, that I felt I was living in parts of it last year and then there's the teachings I've heard on Job, none of which felt right to me. I turned gingerly to Job 38 and read aloud in the New Century Version. I was mesmerized. Then I sensed a prompting to go back and read all of Job's responses throughout the book (after the initial first and second chapters). 

As I read I could hear my own voice over the past three years, complaining, then questioning, arguing that I was right and after all hadn't I been following God? Then I heard my voice along with Job when he saw with eyes of faith and spoke words such as "I know that my Redeemer lives." I had those times when  silver linings would shine with glimpses of grace.

What I had never seen before was Job's audacity to want to stand before God and justify himself. His idea that righteousness shields us from suffering and that his works, good that they were, should have prevented these trials. Yes, I saw myself.

God sends a man to precede him with truth, then the unfathomable, incredible Creator speaks and paints a picture for Job of the one true God. Job, who was very vocal about wanting to stand beside God and have a talk with him, speaks only six verses of response (Job 42) with a totally different attitude. Six short verses compared to chapters of words prior to this.

I am in awe. 

Job's heart was changed as he beheld His creator following the darkest time of his life.

My heart has changed, too but it is a daily journey.

I am in awe. 

That God - Job's God, my God- cares about my life.

 Who am I? 

Maker of flat biscuits. 

I can almost hear Him chuckle. 

I am learning that Almighty God has the heart of a Shepherd, whose heart is always restoration.

Job's story proves this in the end as God blesses his life far beyond what Job could imagine. I'm willing to bet God was smiling while pouring those blessings down.

I pray that my story will prove His heart as well.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Joy Here in the Mundane - Snow, Baskets, Books, and Bravery

This is what most of the weekend looked like from my front window. I have a card table set up right beside it where I am working on my second puzzle of the winter.  It's been a quiet week here at home. I've been working away at several neglected projects. There was the purple basket upstairs containing summer clothes waiting to be tucked away. Then I found the pile of laundry never tended that contained a badly needed pair of work pants purchased months ago for hubby, unworn. I filled the empty picture frame that's been hanging on the wall empty for over a year and added a new frame. 

Wednesday I braved the cold to take my mom to lunch and make a visit to the only second-hand bookstore in our area, actually the only bookstore up here in rural northern Maine. It was so cold in the store Mom said she wouldn't be able to stand it for long. The old furnace that was heating the building came on with a bang every few minutes. I found myself offering a prayer for safety in the midst of the bookshelves. We made it out intact, our arms loaded with a mixture of fiction and Christian fiction novels at great prices. Needless to say we blasted the heater on our ride home.

I spent a couple afternoons reading and most mornings found me in my green chair, Bible, journal and books spread out before me. The Olympics have been the icing on the cake this week.

I am finding new joy in being home, performing the mundane tasks once taken for granted. 

There are always challenges. I miss my girls immensely and regret my inability to be there and help with Lily and overloaded schedules, sick days and snow cancellations. I also continue to fight the constant battle in my body as I await a new surgery date. 

My mind is racing with thoughts from the Lord I'd like to share but this post has already gone too long. Meanwhile I continue to be reminded of my one little word for this year. HERE.

Here I am on February 16, 2014
two days after Valentine's Day
Sunday snowstorm day
my son's birthday
47 days into the year
on the eve of a brand new week.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Just Say Yes

This week I have been participating in 10 days of #yestothismoment over on Instagram with Liz Lamoreaux. Every day I looked forward to reading her emails where she wrote about everything from taking five deep breaths to noticing the joy all around you. Today's challenge was about writing a list of things to say yes to.

For years I focused on trying to say no because I was bombarded with needs and wants of three children, church, home, community etc. Perhaps I just needed to learn what to say yes to and the rest would have fallen into place.

That was then. What does my "yes" list look like today, right now?

  • Yes to enjoying the things I love i.e. watching the Olympics with my morning tea.
  • Yes to my grandkids. Some people say this is time for me, but my heart is in my family.
  • Yes to my home. After 15 months away, I am loving every moment here, every book and nook and twinkle light sparkle.
  • Yes to my health. I am not sure what that looks like for me but I know surgery is next and then we will see.
  • Yes to new challenges and stretching. Big challenges i.e. 5K in the fall when I've been on crutches for a month and still have a sore heel. Let's take this one step at a time with step one buying new sneakers and wearing them around the house.
  • Yes to precious, priceless friendships.
  • Yes to gratitude, breathing deep, celebrating the little things as well as the big, prayer, tears, forgiveness, letting go, believing, and really listening.

I watched an interview that Oprah had with the CEO of Starbucks. I loved his humility, confidence, integrity and ability to stick to his core values. He shared about a time when he could see the company moving away from its roots, shifting to a profit-focused business. His vision had always been the people, the coffee, the community. "Everything matters" from a clean counter to a smile for the customer. He made a few radical decisions to pull the company back on track.

The times in my life when I've gotten off track have been those when I've moved away from my Yes, my core values.
This post is off the top of my head but I want to make the subject a regular post, with much thought and prayer. Thanks, Liz.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Woman at Age 61

Susannah Conway turned 41 this week and celebrated her milestone with many blog sisters posting about aging. As I read through the posts, the unsettled feeling that has been plaguing me over the past year began stirring. I remember turning forty with all its hopes and transitions and open spaces to dream.

But now I am sixty-one. Even typing the words feels strange. There are things about turning 61 that nobody told me, such as the threat of losing the ability to dream. Dreams are a part of the DNA of hope. Hope is vital to living with intention and zeal. I found it a bit of a shock when I realized time to do some of the things I've always dreamed of doing is running out. The ability to change careers or homes or life direction becomes more limited. Fear of losing a partner becomes a possibility rather than something that may happen down the road. Stress begins to show up more readily in the wrinkles of my face. Physical problems wear me down more easily. A nap in my chair is a necessity on some days rather than a luxury.

Many of my friends have undergone incredibly difficult circumstances in 2013. At a time when I thought we would be enjoying life, perhaps traveling, laughing, experiencing new adventures, many of us were fighting for survival, undergoing unexpected tests of faith.

There are years that ask questions and years that give answers. Then there are years marked by transition when it is simply not easy to find solid footing, knowing what defines one's life in this place and time.

In the year and a half spent in my sixties, I am learning to open my hands, letting go over and over again, and open my heart to a compassion born out of brokeness. Material things have lost their glow as well as the need to accomplish something each and every day. I count it a good day when I have experienced peace, practiced gratitude, and know my family is safe and well.

My books are my treasures, my journal is my go-to, and my time with Jesus every morning is my sacred space. Joy springs up in me when I talk to one of my children or grandchildren. Complexities have given way to simplicity.

If it is the Lord's will that I am alive today, I breathe and I rejoice.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Live Happy

Surgery is cancelled again. I can't shake this cough and sinus thing. One day I feel like its gone and the next it shouted,"I'm back!" Anesthesia and congestion don't mix well. They can lead to pneumonia so I'm on the docket for three weeks from now.

At first I was tempted to be discouraged with this hanging over my head but then I decided to live happy for the next three weeks.

I spend every morning with my Bibles and journal and praying over my family and many other things, including the safety of our Olympians right now. God has been impressing so many things from His word upon my heart during these days so in this way it has been a rich time. Of course, I need surgery and there are things going on in my body that bring me concern, but God is my loving Shepherd and I can trust him.

My scripture for the year is Psalm 46:10. 

Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted on the earth. 

It's the being still part that is challenging. If that leads to seeing the Lord exalted in the earth, then I am all in. 

Choosing to live happy today

Saturday, February 1, 2014

I Can't Believe It's Saturday Again!

Since I've been home, I've met with my prayer gals twice. Last week we laughed and spent hours catching up. This week we watched messages by Christine Caine and Beth Moore from the Awaken Now conference and shed tears of repentance and pleading for the Holy Spirit to awaken our hearts once again to His heart. It was a blessed time. Those DVDs are available at

For the most part my week was a quiet one. I dug out my card table and began a puzzle. at one point I looked up and it was snowing so hard that I could barely see across the road. Perfect day to be indoor.

On Friday I drove myself for the first time in a month to have my pre-op blood work. It was wonderful to be independent again! I must admit that my foot was quite sore that evening, but it was worth it.
I've been spending my mornings sitting before the Lord in prayer and in His word. What a joy! Afternoons find me in my favorite spot reading with the sunshine pouring in through the picture window, lulling me to sleep for a catnap on occasion.

My surgery is scheduled for next Friday. Lord willing, on Monday I will make a short trip to Bangor to see my girls before I become housebound once again.

Today I worked on billing and watched past messages of Beth Moore. She continues to speak the Lord's word into my heart.

I have pondered the breath of God upon and in His word all week. You can hear a good message about this on the Gateway App or on their website. It is called Staying Alive by Robert Morris.  Beth added to those thoughts today.

I feel like the Lord is planting much in my heart and mind these quiet days. Perhaps I will share them soon.