It's a Choice

>> Friday, October 17, 2014

It took a seven-mile walk, but I finally made my decision. Stopping at a pay phone (that certainly dates it) I called my boyfriend and made a statement.

“I’ve decided to love you.”

He didn’t think that was very romantic.

Due to my history, I needed to make a very solid choice before I ventured into a serious relationship. Our marriage is now over 34 years old and better than ever.

It was a choice.

Now he has cancer. I have another decision to make. Do I worry and fret? Or do I trust in the God I say I believe in? No one else can trust for me. So I look toward heaven and make a statement.

“I’ve decided to trust You”.

I look back over the years and see He has brought me through so many painful experiences … always by my side. Why should I doubt now?

It’s a choice.

“And again, “I will put my trust in him.” Hebrews 2:13 (NIV)



>> Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Forty-five years ago astronauts stepped on the moon for the first time. As the United States celebrated such a momentous occasion, the drink used for toasting was an orange liquid made from a powder called Tang. It, too, had gone to the moon. Its powdered form was easy for transporting in the space shuttle. Everyone was aware of Tang.

Who talks about Tang today?

Sunday evening a team from our church headed to Honduras on a mission trip. Not so very many years ago we would not have known of their safe arrival for hours or even days. Yet fifteen minutes after they landed in Honduras, I knew they had arrived safely through the magic of Facebook.

How many of us write actual letters anymore?

A question in today’s paper caught my attention. “How long would you last without a mobile phone?” In response to a survey, 47% said they wouldn’t last a day. I remember the day – as a child – when we finally got a phone. It was a big deal. Yet today more than two in five American adults live in a house without a landline. We haven’t had one for years.

When will landlines in a home be obsolete?

Our world is changing daily. Items of great importance today will soon no longer matter. As more and more things become obsolete, I’m so grateful I have a timeless God who will still be with me tomorrow and the rest of my days.

He will never become obsolete.

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (NLT)


One String

>> Thursday, June 5, 2014

One evening the great violinist, Niccolo Paganini, was playing one of his favorite violin concertos before a packed house. As he was building his performance to its climax, one of the strings broke. With one string dangling down, he never missed a beat; just improvised with the remaining three strings. And then the unbelievable happened…another string broke. Again, he continued with his concerto on two strings, with two strings hanging useless.

He was almost to the final crescendo of the magnificent concerto when another string broke. The audience watched, spellbound, as he completed his performance on just one string. Paganini spread out his arms and before he took a bow he said, “One string and Paganini.”

He made more music out of one string than other violinists with four.

I have heard of other people who have continued to play with one string. I think of Joni Eareckson Tada…paralyzed from the neck down as a teenager. With her one remaining string, she has helped millions of disabled people around the world. I’m sure you can think of others.

My life cannot compare to hers, but I have experienced what it is like to continue with just one string. At first, it seemed my one remaining string was out of tune and near breaking. But I chose to focus on my one string, rather than on the useless ones dangling down.

And I began to make music again.

You may be staring at your broken strings. They are of no use any more. It’s time to turn to the One String…with a lifetime guarantee…that offers you the ability to make magnificent music in your life.

“What a beautiful thing, God, to give thanks, to sing an anthem to you, the High God!
To announce your love each daybreak, sing your faithful presence all through the night,
accompanied by dulcimer and harp, the full-bodied music of strings.” Psalm 92:1-3 (MSG)


Fear Plugs Addendum

>> Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The time for terror had arrived. My intestines let me know they didn’t like this idea. Tears threatened. My heart rate accelerated. And we hadn’t even reached the elevator to take us to the ground floor so we could walk to the beach.

Our friends, Phil and Anita, and my husband, John, were accompanying me on this journey. I knew John understood the depth of my fear. It was difficult to make others realize the battle within me.

Their talk buzzed over my head. My focus was on taking the next step…and the next one.

And then there it was…wave after wave rolling in. I could hear my heart beating in my ears…along with the roar. The tears flowed. I was so tired of this. I stopped walking and stood facing the ocean.

“I need you to pray.”

And so the prayers began and were completed. Yet still I stood…facing my dreaded foe. I was ready to stand there for hours…awaiting the calm. Gradually my heart rate slowed and the tears dried up. I raised my head and stared at the restless movement. No clenching in my gut.

“Ok, we can walk now.”

Any time I have ever been to the beach, my spot in the line of people walking along the water’s edge was the furthest away from the ocean. No logic there. But it gave me a buffer. Yet here I was, walking the closest to the water…and actually carrying on a conversation. My brain was functioning again. When we turned and headed back, I remained on the side next to the water.

No tears.  No pounding heart.  But for me the test would be the next time.

I’m delighted to say I returned to the beach with a smile on my face.  Tears of gratitude…not fear…rolled down my cheeks. The raging tumult within me had been stilled.

“He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness…” Psalm 107:29-30 (NLT)


Scattered Pieces

>> Monday, April 28, 2014

Friday evening my husband, John, and I went out to eat with a friend. We’ve gotten quite close to this young lady, as she stayed with us for about a month…along with her dog, Vivien. During that time, we often left Vivien at home with our dog, Charlie.

Nothing was ever amiss when we returned.

Not so Friday evening. After the meal, our friend visited for a while and then went home. I went to our closet to get ready for bed. And what a mess I found. One of John’s shoes was still intact…the other had been destroyed…and partially eaten.

Who did it? We will never know the answer. Neither dog has had an intestinal problem.

But sometimes life is just like that. Everything is great…all our shoes are intact and matching. And then life happens. Without warning we feel like our foundation is destroyed. Pieces of our life are scattered everywhere. We may or may not know the perpetrator.

That’s not the point.

It’s what you do with those pieces that matter. Life may never look the same as it did before, but you can learn to live with a new normal. The little things matter more…a friend’s touch means a lot. And those scattered pieces are not the focus.

Peace and love and joy and caring and togetherness bring warmth into our lives…and God’s love surrounds us.

“God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.” Psalm 51:10 (MSG)


The Great Pretenders

>> Friday, April 4, 2014

Today I have a guest blogger, my daughter Lorri Lane. 

After many years of expressing his desire to learn the German language, my dad recently received the Rosetta Stone software program as an early Father’s Day gift. Beyond excited, he immediately immersed himself in the language-learning process, repeating words and phrases into a microphone as he progressed through each lesson. As mom passed by his office, she would hear dad having virtual “conversations” in German.  “Bitte” dad would repeat after hearing the computer-generated voice.  “Ich möchte bitte eine Tasse Kaffee.” Her heart smiled as she listened to him thoroughly enjoying himself, like a child with a new bike for Christmas.

When I returned home during a break from my teaching position in Georgia, dad was eager to share what he had learned about the German language with me. After briefly demonstrating how to navigate through the program, I observed the listen/repeat sequence several times. “Would you like to try it?” dad asked. Since I had acquired some foreign language skills during my overseas travels, I accepted his offer, confident in my ability to speak basic German. Pulling my chair closer to the microphone, I began the lesson module.

“Die Blume ist gelb.” I knew the meaning of the phrase (The flower is yellow) before I repeated the words. “Die Blume ist gelb.” I replied. Much to my surprise, the computer made a sound that indicated an incorrect response.  I repeated the phrase again: “Die Blume ist gelb.” Again, my response was not accepted. Time after time, phrase after phrase, the program would not accept my responses. Baffled by my lack of success, I eventually managed to complete the lesson module after multiple attempts. Was ist passiert?

The next evening,  I participated as a guest in the Experiencing God  small-group study hosted by my parents.  At one point, we were discussing ways in which Christians should not only seek knowledge about  God and the Bible, but should be immersed in His love, grace, and mercy as well. During the conversation, dad began to discuss his new language-learning software, and a correlation was formed between immersing yourself in a new language, and immersing yourself in a relationship with Christ. Just as foreign-language fluency is not achieved by the ability to speak a few out-of-context phrases, or use single words while pointing at an object, a relationship with Christ is not achieved by the ability to memorize a few verses of scripture, or throw out a “Halleluia” or an “Amen” once in a while, so that others may be impressed by your fervent devotion to the Christian faith.

Just as the computer program was not impressed by my attempts to speak German, Jesus is not impressed by our attempts to “speak Christian-ese” Although we might know all of the “right” words and phrases, He knows who the counterfeits are. He knows who is full of self-confidence, but lacks sincerity.  You might be able to deceive others, but you can’t deceive Jesus.  He knows.  Danke, Jesus. Vielen Dank.

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.” 1 Corinthians 13:1 (MSG)


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