All it takes is one word to change your day for good or for not so good.
I thought the Fridays word prompt was; WORD
When I thought about it later it fit well into the season of time we were in.
By the end of the day I got news that my sister Mary had passed away.
One word changes it all. She is gone. It’s over. Final ending.
I am still in a sort of shock and I’m dealing with this news ever so slowly.
We were close for many years.
Growing up I was her rescuer; many times I helped her when she couldn’t do it alone.
In the 90’s I bribed her with a paid flight home, so she could visit with us and see our parents.
It was a good intentional thought with the hopes, that she would decide to come home from Arkansas and live here again.
She did, when she returned; she told her husband she was leaving and they arrived in Oregon; like the Beverly Hillbillies with every thing they owned in a truck and small trailer.
They soon found an apartment near my house and it was a great time of sister bonding again.
Later she moved to a nearby town and slowly became more ill.
I helped find her a doctor who believed in her and who was dedicated to helping her.
I fought hard, for her. The love we had was tight and I always advocated for her and her well being.
She had humor and kindness most of the time. The other times she struggled with a reality within herself.
Things were not perfect for her, she often struggled with addiction issues, and always smoked.
In 2006 she was placed under the care of hospice after I requested it, I said to her doctor “if she won’t go to him, can HE go to her?”
It worked well for several months and the diagnosis was a severely compromised liver.
During that time of her illness, her husband passed away.
She ended up at our home and we helped detox her from the intense alcohol that was in her system.
It was a major undertaking and I wrote about it in my blog several times; because what we did was amazing and noteworthy.
It was four of us, plus hospice and her doctor who believed in her.
She lived because we took time to help heal her, emotionally and physically.
This time around was different for her. This time on hospice was not going to end as well as the last time.
When I received word that she was gone. It was a sad moment for me.
My sister was gone. She was not going to get well.
Her journey was over. Her suffering ended. Her life was finally in peace.
Sometimes all it takes is one word… how we receive it, is a choice we make for a lifetime.
Later I found out the word prompt was WELL. Which also works for this writing.
All it takes is one word to change your day for good or for not so good.
My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. (NIV)
My people will live in a peaceful neighborhood — in safe houses, in quiet gardens.
When I think of this promise I am not only amazed but feel richly blessed to have gone through what we went through in the last four months. To have survived major decision making, major relocating and major ‘getting along.’ These verses speak of peace, safety, security, places of undisturbed protected settings. That is what our new neighborhood feels like, it is not yet ‘home’ but it is getting there. We are meeting new people and forging our way through the new changes with grace.
I find myself doing a lot more breathing as small places can create more challenges.
Together has a new meaning when a house is small. I am organizing more and keeping the house cleaner because a tidy home feels comfortable and a smaller setting gets messy faster.
Our cats who we call ‘the girls’ are settling in pretty good.
Molly didn’t like it at first and hid in the utility room for about three days, she was not settling in well. She takes time to calm down.
Mosey did fine, as long as she could see us that is all she needed to feel at home.
The ride from our old house to the new was quite dramatic as they cried and carried on in the carriers one would have thought the worst was going to happen. Once at the house we parked them near the utility room and their cat box and they were slowly getting to know where they were.
Showing our house was traumatic too as we had to take them out of the house on occasion for inspection or showing. Oh and don’t forget the showing that was preceded by a live mouse in our living room. That was quite chaotic and crazy. Trying to corral the cats who were interested in the mouse and then trying to get the very live mouse out of the house.
Between the crazy wild cats and me screaming it made for a very entertaining time of the day.
All in all our new home is peaceful and cozy. I think we are all doing well and life will be lived together for many years.
The year is half over and I am still in shock.
Last fall we put a new roof on our home, put in new windows, then repainted the new siding after that was put on and then added new gutters to finish the look. The house was beautiful and homey and ours to enjoy for many years.
Fast forward to April … we found ourselves living in a new single level home and after a whirlwind time of packing and moving we said good-bye to our home of 25 years. We had a 5 year plan to move but God… But God directed us into other plans.
The decision to move was based on a few things, the first we were not getting younger and the two story home with stairs was proving to be a hazard more than a help, the second it was a good financial move. It was so interesting because when we started talking about moving I had April in my head, I said to my husband, something is going to happen in April. NOT knowing what was a head of us.
We signed papers April 2nd and moved out officially April 5th.
Emotionally it’s been hard for me especially because I had my roots in our old home town and we could not stay there as the prices were too high for us to purchase.
We found a single story cozy small home and it is fitting us just fine.
We gave ourselves a financial raise and we paid off extra bills and freed us up to enjoy retirement in a more relaxing way. Isn’t that the goal?
The couple who purchased our newly renovated home were first time buyers, the lady who had our new home was moving to a care center and we could enjoy her simple single level cottage. It was a win all the way around. We are in a new area and have to learn where stores are, where we go for pharmacy and medical needs. Some things will stay the same as our old place, some will be new.
As I find myself getting older I like to have my circle smaller. My drive time less and my local stores closer. Our church is still drive on a freeway which I totally dislike, but I don’t have to drive it, and there is a back way that is easy too, it is a bit longer drive but no fast freeway driving. I love the country choice.
I am creating in this new space a cozy home for us and being very selective as to what decorations and furniture to use. We have taken loads to goodwill, and have given away or sold 10 pieces of furniture. It is shocking to realize what we have accomplished in such a short amount of time.
If you would have asked me last fall if we were going to move soon I would have said, No.
But God, through listening to His direction and stirring in our heart, we have moved and it’s a good thing we did.
Isaiah 32:17-19 New Revised Standard Version
[17 The effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
18 My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places].
[And where there’s Right, there’ll be Peace
and the progeny of Right: quiet lives and endless trust.
My people will live in a peaceful neighborhood—
in safe houses, in quiet gardens.]the message
We thank you God for your leading.
Twenty years ago our lives were changed and a sweet baby entered our lives. It was our first grand daughter’s birth day. Her due date was in July so she surprised us with an early arrival and after a few ‘scary moments’ she was delivered weighing only two pounds eleven ounces and seventeen inches long.
Her eyes were intense, she was alert and ever so tiny.
I was in shock to know that on this day I was a grandma. Something that was dreamed about often but never realized in real time, until this day.
She was in NICU until she grew stronger and more able to eat and survive out of the setting.
When she was a few weeks old they let her go home weighing only three pounds, nine ounces. She had to be carefully placed in the car seat with extra blankets around her.
NICU is a special place for those tiny ones who cannot go home yet.
Trained nurses work hard to keep them comfortable and safe. It is considered a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
There are levels of care the babies get depending on the severe conditions they were born with, she only had IV on her head and monitors on her heart, she was not hooked up very much.
She was tube fed a few times then she was able to use a bottle. Her spunk kept her fighting and she was alert and healthy always.
For that we were very blessed and happy.
I always dreamed of being a grandma and she was such a blessing to us, when her mom (our daughter) had to go back to work I quit my job and stayed home with this very tiny baby.
It was a joy and a privilege to be with her every day and help nurture her and grow. It was very healing to me.
It’s hard for me to believe she is twenty and a beautiful grown woman now; we feel so blessed to be her grand parents.
Her name is Faith Elizabeth. Our lives were changed forever because of her presence.
“It’s more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like, “what about lunch?” (AA Milne)
I saw this quote and although I am not sure it really came from the writer of Winnie the pooh stories, I like the concept, to keep things simple.
We have all met someone at some point in our lives; who try to convince you that they are more for show than for real honest relationship. They use lofty words, or random concepts that don’t make sense at first.
I don’t choose to connect with those kind of people. I generally have no problem reading body language or non verbal ques but sometimes it is hard even for me to figure it out.
I love honest people. You don’t have to guess where they stand or believe; it is just there in front of them. Church is a place where we sometimes pretend to have our ‘ducks in a row’; when really they are running every direction and we can’t ask for help. I would rather have someone ask for help and be direct with me, then make me guess. Guessing takes so much energy.
I love to go out for lunch with a good friend, where we can make the quality time for each other sharing matters of the heart. I have one friend when we would meet for breakfast sometimes we would still be there for lunch in the same booth. Good sharing. It’s more fun sharing with someone who listens to you, truly listens and gives their thoughts and opinions in love back to you.
Friendship. A gift we give to ourselves.
To all the mothers out there I wish you a day of relaxation and rest.
To those women who wish for and long for and pray for every single month to be able to be called a mom.
I send you a hug, a prayer and a kind word. I understand it is a void and this holiday is especially hard.
Many can be very insensitive to you and I am sorry if I have ever been in that ‘role’.
To those who have been mom’s but for some reason your children are no longer living, it doesn’t make you a less mom; it just makes it more hard.
To those who have lost their moms; this is a hard day full of memories and tears.
I remember often times in church a Pastor would say, “to all the mom’s please stand up.”
What about those who have lost babies they never have seen? What about moms who have no story to share or picture on their phone to show off?
They are still moms who have lost a part of their heart.
I pray we be more sensitive to all those who are moms and daughters.
My own mother was not a warm fuzzy type of mom; so often I would find myself standing at the card aisle and wondering what should I purchase?
Sometimes in my journey I wished for a section just for us who were in therapy.
The ‘I don’t know what I should buy because nothing really fits’ group.
Years ago I would just settle on a generic ‘have a nice day’ with a little pansy on it and call it done.
You can’t go wrong with a pansy and it doesn’t require a lot of ‘thinking’ or planning.
I don’t have anyone to shop for now, my grandma’s are gone and our mothers are gone too.
So to all the women out there, I wish for you a peaceful day and a day for just resting.
Whether you are a mom, grandma, sister or cousin. This wish is for you.
“I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” John 20:24-29
One of the twelve disciples, Thomas was not with the others when Jesus came. (Jesus had visited them in the upper room behind locked doors.)
They had told him, “we have seen the Lord!” (But he replied I want to see, feel and experience it myself. My paraphrase.)
Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them.
The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them.
“Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”
“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
I remembered this story and realized the Friday’s word prompt was the word touch.
Thomas had to touch Jesus so that he would truly believe in the resurrection and the final story. I often have wondered how Jesus knew just exactly what Thomas needed.
He didn’t ask him; HE just KNEW what Thomas would need in order for him to believe.
I find that fascinating and wonderful that He knew how to approach Thomas and how to create the scene for him to believe.
Thomas wasn’t being a bully or a problem he just needed facts in order for him to really believe.
I don’t really blame him; if he actually saw him crucified and treated horribly. Wouldn’t we all say that?
“Let me see for myself.” Jesus approached Thomas in a way that only Jesus could.
Here is the proof, feel them and believe.
This is a good lesson for us all. We don’t often have to say what we ‘need’; in order for Jesus to know in our heart what we need.
I love this ‘touching part’ of the story, it just makes it more real for us to understand the heart of Thomas.
I understand the familiar story and experience of those who loved Jesus; although they didn’t fully recognize him.
The other day we were in Costco a big retail store standing in line to pay for our ‘purchases’.
An older man behind us asked about my husbands coat, it had an emblem on it from a Christian camp where we both work and enjoy.
The man said to us, “are you believers?” we said, “Yes we work at a camp at the beach.”
Then we continued to talk to this man. Elderly cute little fellow and as we shared for some reason; he gave me his name on a card.
I realized it was a name of a man who used to be our Pastor over thirty years ago.
As he talked and as we shared, the moment ‘of burning in my heart just like those men on the road with Jesus, took place.’
The more he spoke to us… the more I tuned into his voice and really listened. I became very aware of the fact that we knew him.
I recognized him and told him HE used to be our Pastor. Now I had to really tune in to his voice since he was much older and looked a bit different.
But the realization it was him; brought us great joy. HE hugged us, we prayed right there in the middle of Costco.
He was now in his eighties and was quite the ‘elderly’ little fellow.
I was thrilled to see him again and as I did; I remembered how he was a mighty man of God and pastor teacher to the church.
Jesus often taught about; “My sheep will know my voice.”
I don’t think our voices ever change. I knew this was our Pastor because I tuned into his words and heard what he said with my heart.
It was an amazing moment and one I won’t soon forget.
I heard him and I saw with my own eyes, a little gentleman who we once loved. It was a wonderful moment for us all.
Our Pastor Jack said to us, “you are going to make me cry.” It was a lovely meeting and prayer time and a familiar time of sharing.
As we think of Jesus being one who loved relationships and those who he cared for;
we also have to think of those grieving his loss.
After the resurrection and after Jesus had met with the women at the tomb, he continued on as he traveled from Jerusalem.
The book of Luke tells us the story of what took place. Luke 24:
[That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem.
As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened.
As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them.
He asked them, “what are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”
They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopa, replied.
You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”
“What things?” Jesus asked.
“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” they said, “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people.
But our leading priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him.
We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.
Then some women from our group of his followers were at this tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report.
They had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.”
Then he said to them, “You foolish people! you find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in Scriptures.
Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?”
Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures things concerning himself.]
He ended up walking with them longer and even going to their house for a meal.
vs 30 [As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.
And at that moment he disappeared.
They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32]
The question is real. It was a familiar relationship that they were experiencing. Yet they didn’t know until HE allowed it.
As I read the story again; I notice a few more things and I am reminded of so much of what Jesus did was around relationship.
In the book of John; while Jesus was on the cross he was not only thinking of himself and the horrific death he was experiencing, he thought of others.
John 20: vs 25 it says;
[Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing beside the disciple he loved, (meaning John) he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” and he said to this disciple, (meaning John) “Here is your mother.”
And from then on this disciple took her into his home.]
Jesus being a son wished for her to be taken care of. His mission finished and the death soon to take place.
I also find it to be very interesting and wonderful that later on after he rose from the tomb he saw Mary Magdalene again.
[John 20:11 [Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in.
She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying.
“Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her. “Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him.
“Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go get him.”
“Mary!” Jesus said.
She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”)
“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them.
‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’
Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them. “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.]
I find it very special and comforting to know he addressed her by her name; in such a way and in such a tone ONLY HE would do.
He KNEW her name. HE knew He could address the woundedness of her heart. Just by saying, “Mary”.
So comforting and so relational. As I read the story again.