Another birthday to remember.
My sister passed away in June of 2019, but her birthday was February 11th.
I remember the many moments we shared together, both good and bad.
It was not all rosy, but we were always close.
In one season of time, I had not seen her for over a few years and I really missed her.
So, I sent her a plane ticket to fly home.
I picked her up at the airport and she stayed at our house for a few days, then I drove her down to our parents.
Meeting them halfway then they drove to their home, and I stayed in a bed and breakfast place alone.
She enjoyed the trip and later I found out she was so out of her comfort zone it was a miracle she flew.
Not long after that she went back to Arkansas and told the family, “I’m going home.”
They loaded up the truck like the Beverly hillbilly’s and drove back to Oregon.
Our driveway had their ‘belongings’ for a few months until they could get settled.
The journey back to Oregon was a good one.
She had many rough moments and many hard times, but she tried her best to make it.
Her husband found a job and they found an apartment and it all worked out.
Her story is hard. Our story together was hard. Our life growing up was hard.
At one point, she was on hospice and dying. The four of us, my older sister and her husband and me and my husband.
Tag teamed to take care of her. We did such a good job of helping her along with her doctor, she lived from 2006 to 2019.
Way longer than I would ever have imagined her to live and survive and thrive.
She was a miracle in many ways.
Although we were tested and it was not often easy, I would never regret our investment in her.
Happy Birthday Mary, I will share a doughnut and remember how much you loved them.
Another birthday to remember.
Today is National Wear Red Day.
It represents the many women diagnosed and suffering from heart attack or strokes.
It is a silent killer.
Often times you hear of men having heart attacks not so much about women.
The heart is critical to life.
The bible talks about the heart 439 times.
It is fundamental to our faith and our life.
We breathe because our hearts beat, and our lungs give us air.
[God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to God’s ways; I don’t take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step.
God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.] Psalm 18:20,21
[The wise counsel God gives when I’m awake is confirmed by my sleeping heart.
Day and night I’ll stick with God; I’ve got a good thing going and I’m not letting go.] Psalm 16:7,8
Have you ever had a serious issue follow you around and you didn’t get a resolve for it till the next morning?
Our sleeping heart is working and teaching us not only to rest but to figure out the issues.
So many nights I start out sleeping peaceful then I wake up with a spirit that needs something.
It is the mind, body and heart working together.
[God, you did everything you promised, and I’m thanking you with all my heart.
You pulled me from the brink of death, my feet from the cliff-edge of doom.
Now I stroll at leisure with God in the sunlit fields of life.] Psalm 56:12,13
[Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself.
Don’t take such a gift for granted.] Ephesians 4:30
Being saved from something that should have or could have been your death is something to be grateful for.
I know some who have been restored after a heart attack.
I don’t know any women though, it is interesting.
As we move through this ‘day’ of red may we remember that our hearts condition sets the stage for our life.
Today is National Wear Red Day.
Keep being brave are words on a card I have on my bulletin board above my computer.
It is a wonderful reminder for me to continually do more than I think I can, and to challenge myself.
Life is funny because sometimes you get to a point of wonder or worry about what could you manage, should you have to.
It’s not logical to think about that but I have to remind myself to be brave, to push forward and to believe in myself.
When I was going through radiation, I had to tell myself about every day for 16 days, I could do it.
It’s not easy to go in and be exposed to massive radiation waves, but it was necessary.
The final result is no cancer. No returning for scans for a year.
That is awesome and exciting.
I have friends who are dealing with cancer and the thought of what is to come for them.
It brings up fear even if one is a strong believer.
The unknown is hard. I wasn’t sure what to expect when the biopsy had to be done.
Then the lumpectomy to follow.
I suppose I could say that whole experience was life altering for me.
I will never be the same person I was before this time in my life.
Medical things are often hard, cold and uncomfortable, we often find ourselves praying for another way.
When I see commercials about little kids with cancer it just makes me mad.
They should not have to deal with it.
My daughter’s best friend had leukemia for years.
My best friend is dealing with cancer, and another friend is also.
Keep being brave is a mantra we all can say in those times of distress.
I don’t know the future for any of my friends, but I do know that God is in control.
Those who are dealing with changes are the strong ones.
Those who walk through the doors with conviction that all will be well.
They are the strong ones.
But sometimes you can’t be strong. Sometimes you have to let it go.
Keep being brave will always be my reminder to face each day with hope, with prayer and the promises of God.
A way of keeping busy, I suppose.
When I woke up the other morning from a deep sleep, I remembered how I used to play with this little box.
As a child it kept me busy for hours and my goals were to either try to create pictures or go back and forth until the screen showed the inside.
I know …a weird kid, but I stayed out of the range of ‘issues’, and it could keep me busy for hours.
Kids now adays don’t know how to entertain themselves other than what is electronically put in front of them.
For Christmas my husband bought me a few color books for adults. Actually, a good friend sent me the first one.
I started off with colored pencils then moved to using colored pens that go on like a paint brush.
It is relaxing, challenging and doesn’t take much brain power, which is good at my age.
I am not sure I would actually go back into doing art, in high school I took Art four years and junior high I believe it was for two years.
Plus, I trained in graphic arts in high school, doing all the lay out and printing and typesetting for many projects, plus I ran a printing press.
When we were getting married, I created our wedding invitations and thank you notes as a class project.
Received the invitations free, received triple A’s, because it was a final project, so it was a win-win for sure.
This is going back many years, but I don’t think it is easy to forget.
They don’t do things like that anymore.
Modern technology sometimes is wonderful although I do think kids need to learn skills.
In high school the place I went to was called occupational skills center, and it was similar to a community college.
It offered many different life skills that students could take and learn.
Many never went on further to college because it wasn’t needed.
As a child I always found things to keep me out of the home ‘chaos’ at times.
A way of keeping busy I suppose and checking out for a few hours.
The Friday link up online is the word: IMPORTANT
In the last two weeks I have seen a few doctors for regular checkups or follow up tests.
It is so IMPORTANT to do these things.
As we age, we can miss something serious by avoiding something uncomfortable.
I had mammograms, ultrasounds with great results.
I had a meeting with my surgeon with great results.
Because I am a breast cancer survivor who was caught very early, and it was removed.
I had sessions of radiation after surgery, and I still have to follow up on all testing.
I had a colon test with all the fasting and prepping and a little bit of anxiety.
With GREAT results. Don’t have to do that for ten more years.
None of us like dental work but it’s IMPORTANT to keep up on the care of our teeth.
None of us like blood draws or other uncomfortable things, but we have no other way to see if we are healthy.
It is so important to follow up and do what is needed.
Now that I am in my mid-sixties it is even MORE important to follow the guidelines.
It was very exciting to hear three good news results in a short amount of time.
You can imagine how it was for me to go through the knowledge of breast cancer.
But I walk by faith and not by sight and I know and knew that nothing is without a purpose.
All that is needed for me, is to walk more, shed a little bit of weight and try to get a bit more organized.
Not going to get too crazy with all that, just enough to keep healthy.
The Friday link up is a group of writers who are given a word for the week.
The word is what is the focus for our writing.
I found this word. IMPORTANT so right with where I am in life in this new year.
The Friday link up online is the word: Important
A new year, and a birthday blessing have been the beginning of this 2022 start.
I found out my cancer scans were clear and considered normal.
That was a tremendous praise to my heart.
Plus, I had a 67th birthday and snow too.
For 1 month my husband and I are the same age.
I believe good things for this year.
We have had enough hard, enough sickness and death.
It is time for the normal part of what we remember of life a few years ago to return.
Every year I search and pray and wait for my ‘word of the year.’
After taking a test that asks a bunch of questions my word came back to me as ‘encouraged’.
Oh. I can hold onto to this one because my spiritual gift is encouragement.
Also, discernment and exhortation. I love to think of the best in people.
Sometimes you really have to look and very few times have I said, ‘no this person needs great help.’
In this new year, I want to write more ‘thinking of you notes’ to those is my life.
I want to make time to visit with them, whether that be in person or by phone.
I want to try to exercise more. Not the kind of ‘over doing’ but just a daily walk or time on our recumbent bike.
I want to write more.
It takes effort and a push to do any of these.
One must set out with a goal and do the best to accomplish it.
I am 67 now. Older and wiser and hopefully healthier too.
I desire to be an example for my grandchildren. Someone they can look up to and remember as ‘a positive’ in their lives.
Someday I pray for a great grandchild, only one, for a picture for someone’s wall.
We will see and time will tell but that is something I pray for and hope for.
I always pray for a special friend of mine who is dealing with leukemia.
God is good to her, and she is blessed to be stable and doing well.
I will always pray for all six of our grandchildren.
For them to be healthy, happy and spiritually minded.
Three are heading to college so this grandma really needs to pray.
We say goodbye to 2021 now and as we make a toast. We invite the new.
A new year, and a birthday blessing have been the beginning of this 2022. (Vineyard found in Sweet Cheeks winery, Oregon)
The birth of Jesus was well orchestrated with many different characters.
Each had a role given to them for the specific purpose within the story.
Beginning with Mary, and the Angel Gabriel, then Joseph, Elizabeth (and even baby John), and Zechariah.
Then we find the Shepherds out in the field with more angels greeting them with song: and Gabriel again.
Then we find Simeon and Anna in the temple, who had waited many years for this very special moment.
Then we also add in Herod who was an angry man tricking the Wise men who were told to find the baby.
I think I would also add the donkey, who went with Mary and Joseph and helped with the journey.
Remembering that the donkey brought her to his birth, the donkey also brought him later to his death.
Scripture had to be fulfilled.
Each character had to do their part, not too different than in the story of his death.
Each one played a role, and each one was needed.
There were many others in the verses that I read, but these were the key players who formed the beautiful story.
As we sing, Oh little town of Bethlehem.
we visualize ‘our picture’ based on Christmas cards of nativity scenes.
We love to sing silent night, Holy Night, all is calm… all is bright.
But really it wasn’t.
Yes, it was a Holy night, but it was dim and probably not well lighted with anything but a lantern.
I love the Song, Sweet little Jesus boy, for it says, “We didn’t know who you were.”
I believe that to be true. No one expected a Savior to come the way HE did.
Even Mary might not have fully understood the baby she gave birth to, was the Holy One.
Too much to take in, too much to think on.
Silence was within the 400 years from the Old Testament to the birth of Jesus.
The silence was broken by a baby’s cry.
I think a lot about Mary, so young and alone maybe only having Joseph with her.
I think of Joseph with a huge responsibility put upon Him.
because God saw that HE could do it and He knew his heart was right.
We hear very little about him after Jesus was born. I wonder so much about him.
I am sure he stayed with Mary, and they had other children; but did they ever talk about this
special Holy Birth?
May we read with a new awareness of all that it took,
for this baby to bring Hope to a very dark world.
The birth of Jesus was well orchestrated with many characters.
The wise men were the next ones to arrive on the scene with Mary and Joseph.
We often see the manger story with them near the manger, where Mary had the baby.
That is actually not accurate.
In Matthew 2 we find a different kind of story.
beginning in vs 2:
About that time (when Jesus was born) some wise men (or Maji) from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star (or star in the east) as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”
King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was the whole land.
He called a meeting leading priest and teachers of the law and asked,
“Where is this Messiah supposed to be born?”
“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:
vs 6b “a ruler will come from you O Bethlehem, who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.”
“Then Herod told the wise men to go to Bethlehem and search for him, come back and tell me so I can worship him too.”
vs 9: After this interview the wise men went their way.
And the star in the east guided them to Bethlehem.
It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was.
When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!
They entered the house [notice it is not a manger scene] and saw the child with Mary his mother,
and they bowed down and worshiped him.
Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gold, frankincense and myrrh.
(These gifts were symbolic of what was to come.)
When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route,
for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
vs 13: After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.
“Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said,
“Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother and stayed there until Herod’s death.
[I don’t know how long that was for them, but it was very important for them to stay away as long as possible.]
The wise men were the next ones to arrive on the scene with Mary and Joseph.
The prophecy of Anna the prophetess came right after Simeon met Joseph, Mary and the baby.
Anna lived in the same Temple Mary and Joseph went to when they dedicated Jesus.
It tells us in Luke 2:36 that she was very old, similar to Simeon.
Most likely she knew him as they were in the same setting for a very long time.
She was a widow for eighty-four years and lived in the Temple and never left there, after her husband died.
The word said she had been married seven years before he died.
She may have been between the ages of 90-104 having been married so long.
She worshipped and prayed day and night worshipping God with fasting and prayer.
She came near the room where Simeon was talking to Mary and Joseph; and we are told she began to praise and worship God.
I imagine her walking by and noticing this scene with Simeon perhaps overhearing his words proclaimed.
I often wonder how would she know this was the child, the baby Jesus? The one they waited for.
Did he look different? was there an aura around him or maybe a deep confirmation in her heart about him?
She talked about the child to everyone around her, who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
Not long after that Mary and Joseph returned to Nazareth in Galilee, where Jesus grew filled with wisdom and God’s favor was on him.
[I find it fascinating that both Simeon and Anna were able to SEE and meet Mary and Joseph and fulfill parts of the story.
God uses ordinary people to set the stage and allows us to see and feel the great anticipation for the coming Messiah.
I often wonder if Mary and Joseph ever truly ‘got it’…
the word said Mary hid it in her heart and thought about them often.
That would be a very amazing amount of remembering for her.
Could she really know deep in her heart that her baby was the Messiah, the Savior who would come to save the world?]
There is a song that is played this time of year called, Mary did you know?
It is a wonderful song with many questions.
The prophecy of Anna came right after Simeon met Joseph and Mary and the baby.
It continued to set the stage for many other scenes to come as the story unfolds of his birth.
The prophecy of Anna the prophetess came to be completed on that day.
Jesus was presented in the temple eight days after he was born, and he was circumcised as was the custom and given the proper name.
The name Jesus, the name given to him by the angel even before he was conceived.
His parents took him to the temple for a purification offering in Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.
The law required a first child who was a son to be dedicated to the Lord.
At the time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon.
He was an old man who had waited his entire life for the Messiah to come rescue Israel.
The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die, until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
That day the Spirit led him to the Temple.
So when Mary and Joseph came to present baby Jesus, Simeon was there.
He took the baby in his arms and praised God, saying,
“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.
I have seen your salvation which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
Jesus parents were amazed at what was being said about him.
Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary,
“This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others.
He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.
As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.
And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
I love this story about Simeon. He waited and prayed, and every day wondered.
Would this be the day?
[Can you even imagine the moment Simeon saw the baby? With great anticipation and confirmation in his spirit, this is the ONE.]
Have you ever anxiously waited for something and when it finally happened your JOY was complete?
I believe Simeon was like that. Now I have seen him.
Now I can release myself and leave this world knowing that I saw HIM.
Just as it was promised to me.]
Jesus was presented in the temple to fulfill more of the prophecy surrounding his birth.