Saturday, November 7, 2015

There's Another Woman ......

There have been other women in my husband's life before. His mom. Our two daughters. The women our sons married. But this one is entirely different. Unforeseen. Recent. One who came without warning and whose presence my heart met with ambivalence and fear. 

Zoe. That's her name. 

She's been part of our lives for almost a month now. And I've learned to accept her. Actually, she is all her name says she is ... Zoe means "life," and she is just that to Wayne and me and our relationship. 

Before you call me crazy, let me explain ...

We had a scare in early September, you see. Had the outcome been different, I could be without my husband now. And I know there are many out there who have had to face this loss in their lives, so I am not making light of this reality or taking our own near-brush lightly. No, not lightly at all. 

On September 3rd, Wayne had stroke. It happened in the very early morning as he was waking, rather than when he was driving to work on the 24-mile-long Causeway Bridge, which could have caused a horrific accident and taken many lives, including his own. By God's grace, I recognized what was happening, and we got him to the hospital. 

Doctors aren't sure what happened or why. He didn't have the normal precursors or warnings. So far, tests and labs have proven inconclusive as the the "why" of the event; all the tests merely confirm that he did indeed have a stroke. 

One of the tests that doctors ordered done was a sleep study. This has been the only test so far that has had a positive result: Wayne does indeed have severe sleep apnea, also known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). He actually stops breathing over 30 -50 times an hour while sleeping. I knew he had some serious snoring issues, but....

That's when we learned that we would have a third presence in our bedroom at night, a CPAP machine. It was hard for me to get used to the idea of Wayne sleeping hooked up to a machine which makes him resemble an elephant. The first time he donned the mask, our dog Sugar had no idea what to make of it. She just stared at him, like he'd grown another head ... well, a longer nose, at least. 

I'd heard many horror stories of how difficult sleeping with these machines can be. Noisy. Mask issues. Frustration that could be so bad that it caused the OSA sufferer to choose to take his or her chances without it, rather than to endure the machine. 

And I made up plenty more of my own: 

How will we sleep comfortably with him attached to a tube? 
Will we ever be able to snuggle again? 
What if he can't adjust to it? 
What if he can?
Will life ever seem normal again?

A good friend of ours counseled us, before we even got the machine, to name it, for we would need to view it as a friend. 

That's when Zoe was born.

I am happy to report that there is life after an OSA diagnosis, after the addition of a CPAP machine to your life. In fact, life is really good. That man hasn't snored one single time since Zoe arrived on the scene. We can actually sleep in the same bed, in the same room, in the same house! Wayne isn't covered with bruises from where I've had to elbow him all night long to hush the grizzly! And we have a little peace of mind; we may not know why he had the initial stroke, but we do know that his brain is no longer oxygen-deprived during sleep. 

So I just want to be a beacon of hope and a word of encouragement to anyone facing similar life changes. Life is an adventure! Embrace it!

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Keurig is not Foolproof!

I felt a lot like the Time to Make the Donuts man from the old Dunkin Donuts commercial when I woke up this morning. On top of the week-long trip (a ten-to-twelve-hour drive each way) my daughter and I just made to Texas, from which we returned last Wednesday, hubby and I made our own turn-around trip to Texas this past weekend. We returned home just last night. On both occasions, I made the several-hour drive, returning home in the evening and going to work the very next morning.

While in Texas the second time, I visited an H.E.B. grocery store and picked up some of my favorite coffee, a treat, and the thought of a hot cup helped propel me from the warmth of my bed to prepare to leave for work.

I popped the K-Cup into my Keurig and pushed the button. While I fed the dogs, I inhaled deeply the aroma of H.E.B. Café Ole's Texas Pecan. It smelled heavenly.

On groggy autopilot, I finished with the dogs and reached into the cabinet for my coffee mug.


I already smell the fresh brewed coffee.

I am holding a cold, empty mug in my hand.

Where is my coffee?

Are you kidding me?

In my sleepy stupor, I had just popped that handy little cup into my foolproof one-cup coffee maker, my personal coffee valet. After the kids all married and left home, hubby purchased me a Keurig, because I was the sole remaining coffee drinker in the house, and making a whole pot of brew for one or two cups each morning was just too much trouble. I would either get the coffee too strong or too weak ... or full of grounds because the filter folded over on the tiny amount of coffee I had to use for just one person.

I've enjoyed my Keurig immensely. I want one cup of coffee; I use one K-cup. My perfectly right-strength coffee fills my cup, and I have to throw nothing away. What's not to like? Foolproof!

Until today.

Today, I proved that the Keurig is not fool proof. Because in my groggy state, I forgot the coffee mug. I had the wonderful aroma, but no coffee. The coffee had drained into the overflow reservoir, leaving me to feel quite foolish, standing there with my empty cup trying to figure out where my coffee was.  

I had to giggle. I knew I was tired, but....

As I drank my coffee, the second cup I brewed and actually put in a mug this time, I reflected on the incident. In addition to being comical, there was a spiritual lesson to be had here. Several lessons, in fact.

Scripture is filled with references to our being "vessels". And in those references we are vessels that are filled, being filled, filled to overflowing.... We are earthen vessels filled with the treasure of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:6&7). We are filled with the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19). We can be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (Colossians 1:9). And these are just a few ways our vessels can be filled. But there is one fact we cannot ignore: if we do not bring our vessel to God, if we do not submit our hearts, our minds, our souls, to the One who created us, to the One who sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for us (Hebrews 7:24-25), we will not be filled. Our treasure, our fullness of God, our knowledge of God's will, our wisdom, our understanding -- all that the Father longs to fill us with will be lost. It will pour into the overflow, rather than into our lives to enrich us and bear fruit.

So we must be diligent to present our cup to Him each day, that He may pour into us all that He would have us to pour out to others. If we neglect to position our cup to receive from Him, we will be the empty mug, trying to figure out where our joy is ... trying to figure out what our purpose is ... trying to figure out why God feels so far away.

It's time. Time to smell the coffee. And time to fill the cup!

May you be blessed. May you be filled. May you be His.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Meet and Greet!

Abbie posted this on her blog (CLICK HERE) and it was such a good idea, I had to share!

I met Abbie on Facebook and we've become friends and prayer partners. 

Social media has its pros and cons, and it's nice to be able to find like-minded friends and support. 

Feel free to leave a link to your own blog and repost. 

God bless,

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Prodigals: Come Home!

Prodigal: The term has a decidedly negative religious connotation, doesn't it? I mean, when you hear about the Prodigal Son, you automatically think about the ungrateful child in the pigpen (Luke 15:11-32), having wasted his inheritance and ruined his life. Especially if you identify with the older brother, the one who "lived right" from the beginning, not requiring a walk on the wild side to help him realize the error of his ways. 

I looked up the meaning of the word prodigal, and I was surprised by what I found. (Definition of prodigal on

One definition: giving or yielding profusely; lavish
Another: lavishly abundant; profuse

Couldn't these very definitions define the heart of God? Doesn't He give mercy profusely? Aren't His blessings lavishly abundant? 

It was the other connotation of the word that rounded out the term prodigal: wastefully or recklessly extravagant. 

I remember two women in scripture who were accused of wasteful extravagance, when they poured perfume on the feet of Jesus, anointing Him with their love and tears. (Luke 7:36-50; John 12:1-11)

We might not all have a financial inheritance to go and waste on crazy living, as the young man did who was described in Luke 15. But every single living person in the world has a Father in heaven who loves him or her, who holds out the gift of eternal life to him or her. This free gift of eternity with our Creator is beyond any amount of money we could ever possess, and it comes to us at no cost ... FREE ... bought and paid for on our behalf by the life of Jesus Christ, who died in our place. (John 3:16)

Yet most of us have to figure it out the hard way. We go on living as if we have all the answers. We go on living as if we have forever. Wasting the precious time that God has given us here on this earth, to know and share His heart with a lost and dying world. We go on running from the loving arms of our Father, because we have bought the lie: the lie that there are many ways to God ... the lie that it doesn't matter ... the lie that we are guaranteed another tomorrow ... the lie that we know better than the One who created us.   

In truth, everyone is a prodigal before our Lord gets hold of his or her heart; at least I know I was. And now many of us who are parents know the unending heartache of watching our children run from God. And it doesn’t stop there. Many of us have family members … fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers … aunts, uncles, cousins … the list is unending … who are not in right relationship with the Father. It hurts to see them struggle. It is hard to keep praying and seemingly see no results. It isn’t about how hard or how well we pray; it’s not a thing we can control, because the answer involves those we are praying for baring and bowing their hearts to an unseen God, and many of these hearts are buried in heavy layers of self-protective armor. These people who we love so much and who seem so difficult at times are really wounded and hurting souls who just don’t want to be hurt yet again; their “truster” is broken. Too many times, they’ve risked vulnerability and been kicked in the teeth for their efforts. 

It is tempting to want to give up, to see all that prayer as a waste of time. And that is exactly what the enemy would like for us to do. But recently, God has encouraged me in so many ways as I pray. 

What does scripture say?

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people (Acts 2:17, NIV). The NKJV translation says on all flesh. In a recent message given at our church, the speaker made this observation: the text doesn't say that the Spirit will be poured only on those who know God; it says the Spirit will be poured on all people. This includes those prodigals we are praying for! We can pray that the armor that surrounds their hearts ... the lies that have gripped their thoughts ... will crack, and we can pray that the Spirit will seep into those cracks and begin to heal their wounds and woo them to the Father's heart. 

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded (James 4:8). Notice the order in this verse. Does it say that God will draw near after you purify yourself? Or does it say to draw near to Him, and He will come near to you ... purification to follow? Yes, all He needs is for you to turn your head in His direction. 

And let's go back to the original passage we were discussing in Luke 15. Verse 20 reads like this: And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. The father was watching for the lost son, just as God the Father watches for us to make a move to come in His direction. When we do, He runs to us. 

Don't stop praying, people!!!! Nothing is impossible with God!

I want to close with this video clip our pastor played in church this past Sunday. It has some amazing spiritual applications. But for now, it is a depiction of a bear cub who has strayed from safety and is being stalked by a cougar; he runs to safety, and he finds it. 

Be blessed this day!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Keep Your Eye on the Ball ...

March Madness means something different in my life than for the majority of the rest of the world ... at least those individuals in the rest of the world who are sports-minded. I work in an accounting office, and we are slap dab in the middle of tax season. It gets rough. We are all tired and frazzled.

Last week was particularly tough for me. I only took my eye off the ball for a minute, but that was all it took, and I was out in left field. (Oops, I think I am mixing my metaphors, but you get the general idea here.......)

What happened to all that freedom I embraced this past December? I had to go and re-read my own post. Where did all my spiritual health (and mental health, for that matter) get off to? 

I lost sight of God's love, God's provision, God's purpose for me, and I focused squarely on my circumstances.

All too quickly, I found my mind wrapped in all the old self-defeating thoughts and attitudes of the past. Victimhood. It's always there ... ready, waiting, willing to cuddle and comfort the unsuspecting heart and mind. 

I was overworked. Stressed beyond my ability to cope well. My flesh had been super-sized. And my spirit was cowering in the corner, undernourished and weak. 

My super-sized flesh grabbed a megaphone and began to holler in my head: Did you see that? How can I get all this done alone? Did you see how this person looked at you? You messed that up. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah .......

Soon vain imagination jumped into the mix. It was a regular party up in my head. It made for a bad day that stretched into a bad week. 

Add to the mix some other unexpected personal circumstances, and by the end of the week I felt like all the life had been squashed right out of me. And for all practical purposes, it truly had been. I had allowed a mountain of circumstances to snuff out the light of hope in my heart. I forgot that I was part of a team, that I didn't have to handle life all alone. 

I spoke with a dear friend this past weekend, and after I'd shared all my woes and asked her to pray for me, I quipped lightly, "Well, if all this is coming against me, I'm either doing something very wrong or very right."

She chuckled softly and said she was sure the Holy Spirit would let me know. 

She was certainly right. 

The very next day, another friend shared this devotional with me: 

 From Sapphires, the teachings of Jonathan Cahn

How is your day going? You probably think that if things are going bad you are having a bad day and if things are going good, it’s a good day. But the Bible says something completely different. And it can change the way you live your life. Proverbs 15:15 says, "All the days of the downcast are bad, but a cheerful heart has an everlasting banquet."    Or, 'All the days of the downcast are bad, but a good heart has a never-ending banquet.'

In other words, it is not bad days that make the downcast heart. It is the downcast heart that makes all of the bad days. And it is not the continual banquet that makes the good heart. It is the good heart that makes the continual banquet. Get it?

If your heart is complaining, your days will be rotten. And if your heart is full of praise and thanksgiving, your days will be full and beautiful.  So... do you want a good day, a good week, a good year … a good life?  Stop seeking after a good day, and seek instead to have a good heart. Give thanks in all things, and praise to God, and your life will become an everlasting banquet.

TODAYS MISSION - No matter what is around you today, give God thanks and praise Him as often as you can, and you will have a never-ending banquet.
Psalm 42:11

The problem wasn't with the people around me. The problem wasn't having too much work to do. The problem was my very own heart. My heart was complaining. And the problem was with my very own eyes. My eyes were focused on circumstances, instead of on the Lord of my life, who walks right beside me through every possible circumstance I encounter. He is my Way Maker. He is my Victory.  He is my Peace ... my Redeemer ... my Rock ... my Shield ... my Strength ... my Safe Place. He is my all in all. 

At the risk of sounding irreverent, He is the Ball in my court. If I will keep my eyes on Him, we will make the winning basket every time!