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)



>> Friday, March 28, 2014

I’ve tried. I really have. One block. Two blocks, but my breathing becomes labored. Three blocks and I can’t take any more. I begin to run…away from the terrifying sound…the ocean.

I grew up in Kansas. No oceans.

It’s the overwhelming noise. I’ve missed out on walks on the beach with my husband…with children…with friends. I compare my feeling of terror to what the people running from the tsunami must feel…those running from a wall of mud flowing over them…those who scream as a tornado rips a child from their arms. I just can’t describe the feeling. Now my husband and I have made plans to go to the ocean for a few days with friends. It’s weeks before we go, but I already know I won’t like my behavior.
Earplugs have been suggested. But I would still know it was there.

So I’ve decided to begin praying now for fearplugs. There is something deep within me that is out of whack. If I knew what it was, I would fix it. But I know Someone who has a supply of fearplugs…plugs that restore calm. I have taken from that supply for many other situations in my life.

I need another set now.

“The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.” Matthew 8:25-26 (NLT)


I Know a Guy

>> Tuesday, March 25, 2014

In this morning’s paper, a cartoon caught my eye. Garfield is looking at a caterpillar crawling on the ground. The caterpillar tells Garfield “I’m going to be a butterfly.” Garfield asks, “And just how are you going to do that?” 

“I know a guy.”

That’s when my mind took off. Caterpillars are not lovely. They crawl along the ground. Sometimes they get stepped on…so vulnerable. Do they know that one day they will be beautiful? They are hungry little creatures…stuffing themselves. In the next stage they hang upside down and encase themselves with a shiny chrysalis. And here comes the fascinating part. While they are hanging upside down inside their protective casing, they are being transformed.

I love the word metamorphosis…such rich meaning. The caterpillar knows a “Guy”.

I’ve spent time crawling along the ground…and being stepped on. I had no idea that I contained the makings to become beautiful. But as I passed through the stages of my life, I became hungry…hungry to know more than just crawling along the ground. It was not of my own doing that I became isolated…inside a protective armor. But my time there was not wasted. Slowly…slowly…the transformation occurred.

I, too, know a Guy.

My loving Father caused a metamorphosis to occur. My ugly parts were discarded. Negativity turned into positivity. Judgments turned into empathy. Fear was replaced with peace. Laughter bubbled forth.

You, too, can know a Guy. 

“Don’t run roughshod over the concerns of your brothers and sisters. … God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful—as beautiful on the inside as the outside.” 1 Thessalonians 4:6-7 (MSG) 


A Difference in Price

>> Thursday, March 6, 2014

Reservations had been made. Airline tickets purchased. We were going on a big adventure. And I really wished we had better luggage. We had traveled many miles with our old luggage. It was bulky and very old school…the wheels didn’t spin. Due to some health issues, I thought it would be helpful if we could have some lighter and more maneuverable suitcases.
But I had pushed that thought to the back of my mind as I ran my errands.

I stopped to pick up some prescriptions. There…on sale half price…was luggage. I skidded to a stop. Really? American Tourister. The tag said, “light weight”. I reached for the 25” one. Easy peasy. And it had spinner wheels. On the shelf above it was a 21”. Those two were the last of the blue ones.

I pondered.

It was no easy task to place them in the cart. Without being able to see where I was going, I pushed the cart blindly through the aisles to the check out stand. The young man scanned the 21” one first…a few more of my items…and then came the second suitcase.

“Are these alike?”

They were both American Tourister, so I nodded. As I walked to the car, a thought niggled in the back of my mind. What did he mean by that question? What if he thought the second suitcase was the same size as the first one? He would have charged me the same price for both of them.

Out of the blue came the thought, if I don’t look at the receipt, I’ll never know if I got the larger one for the price of the smaller. And just as quickly shame filled me. Did I want to be able to sleep with a clear conscience?

I looked at the receipt.

It was a hassle and time-consuming to get back in line and make the correction in price. No one thanked me for my honesty. They did complain about the difficulty in figuring it out since I also had used a discount coupon.

But it was about so much more than a price tag on a piece of luggage. There would have been a huge difference in the price I would have paid for my dishonesty. I smiled as I walked out.

“People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.” Proverbs 10:9 (NLT)


A Smile Came to Stay

>> Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The following blog is written by my husband, John, but he captures the feelings for both of us.

A few years ago we built a new house. One of the important things we wanted was a guest wing where someone in need could come and find refuge for a while. We built that wing and various friends and family slept there, but a few years passed before it could be used for that purpose.

Then one day we had the blessing of a friend who was in need. She didn’t want to be a bother, but needed a place to stay for a few weeks while her condo was being readied.
So a smile came to live with us for a while

The smile was a little tarnished and cracked by life and it was small but it remained here with us. The smile spent time with us sitting in the TV room watching the Olympics together. We talked and laughed and the smile began to relax. Days passed. Cookies were made and brownies consumed in amazing quantities. The smile got bigger.

The smile was going through some tough times, but talked little about her emotions. We hurt for her but could only offer our hugs and company. We prayed for her every day that she would find peace and comfort. 

As the days passed we laughed more and more and came to know what a kind and loving person this smile was. She was moving into our hearts as well as our home.

Then came the day when her place was almost ready to move into. My wife and I talked about what a hole it would leave in our hearts when the smile moved out.

Well the day came and the smile was ready to leave but an amazing thing happened. She left but the smile stayed in our hearts.

Now we understood why those years ago as we designed our new house that guest wing was so important to us… you see in both of our lives we had need of a refuge at one time and we could now pay it forward.

And we learned that the smile helped us as much as we helped her.

Thank You smile. We will always love you.


Hand-Me-Down Shoes

>> Thursday, January 30, 2014

I grew up wearing hand-me-down shoes. Whether they fit or not was never the issue. Did they cover my feet when it snowed? Did they prevent me from stepping on a sharp object? If so, they were doing their job.
Therefore, I’ve lived with corns and bunions.
Add to that information the fact that I have a very high arch, which only increases the problems with my feet. Buying shoes has never been fun. But slowly, over years of purchasing the correct size shoe, the corns have disappeared. The bunion is a permanent fixture, but does ache less.
The other day I splurged.
Instead of buying just any tennis shoe, I went to the experts (I think). The first thing they did was have me take off my shoes and stand on a piece of equipment that reminded me of the scale I weigh myself on at home. Immediately an image appeared on a screen…showing the pressure points of my feet with nothing showing between my heels and ball of my foot.  Did I mention I have a high arch? There…in living color…was the proof. I was told this is the foot type that needs the most assistance with shock absorption, since the rigid structure doesn’t dispel impact forces very well. Nice.
I left the store wearing my new shoes…designed explicitly for me.
That illustration relates precisely to my religious/Christian experience. I grew up wearing my mother’s religion. Did I attend church every time the doors were open? Did I keep myself separate from the evil in the world…activities and people? Then my religion was doing its job.
I developed all sorts of illnesses and mental hang-ups. No matter. They were badges of honor for doing the right thing. But slowly, over the years, I began to see that maybe…just maybe…religion didn’t fit me.

I discovered an Expert who gently guided me into a relationship with a Person. I threw my mother’s religion away and now a delightful Presence resides within me…designed explicitly for me…and you. 

“I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in His Presence…” Proverbs 8:30 (NIV)


A Pleasing Fragrance

>> Thursday, January 23, 2014

As I opened the mailbox, a lovely fragrance wafted out. And then I spied the package. Without a doubt, I knew what it contained…bath salts…a gift from my daughter. When those salts are dissolved in the bath water, the whole bathroom is filled with a pleasing aroma. And I get to choose…lavender…warming balsam fir…tranquil chamomile.
Not all odors are wonderful.

My husband and I used to own a business located in the basement of a dental office. At lunchtime, my husband would heat some brussel sprouts in the microwave. He discontinued that practice when the assistant from upstairs complained that it smelled like someone farted in their waiting room.

What kind of scent do you exude?

I’m not talking about body odor…although that can sometimes be an issue. I’m referring to the fragrance of your life. Does the essence of your being radiate a pleasant ambiance? Or do people avoid you?

“Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God…” 2 Corinthians 2:14 (MSG)


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