Introspection

>> Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I apologize to those of you who go on Facebook. I already posted this there. But many of you do not go on Facebook. Just want to thank you too. 

For those of you who don't know me that well, I have an analytical mind. Surprise. Surprise. So I've been aware this Christmas is harder than last year. Last year I was still in a fog. This year I'm very aware of what I'm missing. And no, I'm not in despair. Just dealing with it as it comes. So I'm focusing more on my birthday celebrations. That's working for me. I still sleep soundly all night. And there is definitely nothing wrong with my appetite. ☺️ I'm still functioning at work (guess my boss might have a few words to say). God is still right beside me. A few times these past days there has been only one set of footprints in the sand. His. My heart goes out to those who are truly struggling this season. Just let Him carry you. Christmas is about so much more than decorations and big dinners (nothing wrong with those). It's about that Baby who grew up. He makes all the difference in my life. And then there are you, my friends. You have all been such a support to me on this journey.

Merry Christmas.


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Don't Stop Praying

>> Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I stayed up past my bedtime last night.  Way past.  I had voted, but more than that, I had prayed. Weeks ago a nationwide call had gone out for Christians to pray for one minute every day at 8:00 pm Central Time. I set an alarm on my iPhone. Sometimes it went off in unusual places and I had some explaining to do.

But I prayed faithfully for the election, for our country. I quoted a scripture.

“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14 (ASV)

During the evening, I deleted that alarm. The election was happening. I canceled my prayer time. How wrong that was. This morning I set my alarm again. Why would I quit praying now?

We have a new President Elect. It may not be the one you wanted. But he needs our prayers as he steps into a totally different role in his life. The world is watching us. I can’t even begin to understand the pressure on him.

I’m not into politics.  It certainly looks like a lot of hard work. And because you can’t please all of the people all of the time, a politician is always in trouble with someone. And so I pray for wisdom for Donald Trump, that he will surround himself with people of high integrity who can help bring our nation together. 


Jesus is still Lord. 


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Guest Writer Jan Ackerson

>> Friday, November 4, 2016

I first met Jan Ackerson years ago at a Faithwriter’s Conference in Livonia, Michigan. I was a novice and she was the guru. During a private critique of my work, she spoke softly and gently defused my anxiety. I left that session with confidence that I could, indeed, some day be a writer.

Below is one of the stories featured in her new book. Each story is exactly 100 words in length, yet encompasses a complete tiny story.

***

There was still one basket left to hang on the clothesline, and Michelle’s arms ached. She was reaching for a pair of jeans when the ground started to rumble. Earthquake, she thought, and she knelt and placed her palms on the ground as if to stop it.

It was not an earthquake. Dozens—perhaps hundreds—of motorcycles came roaring past her yard, many with two riders, women with their arms loosely wrapped around the drivers’ waists. Some of the motorcyclists waved.

Michelle didn’t really want to go with them—but she wanted to be the type of girl who would.

***

If you enjoy tiny little stories like this, you can find 366 of them in
Stolen Postcards, available here:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1922135399/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=bre offreairpr- 20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1922135399&linkId=ca1b70eb 7d88fc4aaa1b9678a29556b7

You can also read new 100-words stories on Mondays and Fridays on my blog:
https://100wordstoriessite.wordpress.com/

Follow me on Twitter: @janackerson1

Or on Instagram: janackerson


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Hamburger Gravy and Cottage Cheese

>> Friday, October 28, 2016

I sat in my chair, my Bible on the desk in front of me, spending time with God. As I read, I wondered if one of my older Bibles had some of my notes in the margin to help me understand this specific verse. When I reached for the Bible on the shelf above the desk, it slipped in my hand and I almost dropped it. Pages fluttered and a piece of paper fell out.

Instantly I recognized the handwriting. Tentatively I picked up the note—my breath on pause. Before I could read two words, tears streamed down my face.

Thank you for loving me in so many practile ways
    like hamburger gravy and cottage cheese
                        Flesh

I experienced a meltdown.

Sometimes I go for days without the intense sense of missing my beloved. At other times, it seems I just can’t shake off the longing to see him again, touch his hand, and hear his voice—to connect.

God knew what I needed, so He provided it. Here it was, in John’s handwriting, his expression of love for me. In those moments I felt so close to him, like he was right there in the room with me.

Who knew when he had placed that note in my Bible?

In this day of high tech, I fear we are losing the connection of the handwritten word. We can quickly send a text and then move on to the next thing in our busy day. What if we took the time to send an actual card, write a note or even a letter? We cannot be THAT busy, to let those cherished connections fall by the wayside.

Somebody out there somewhere needs to read words composed by you—connecting. Words they can hold in their hands—stick in the corner of the mirror to read and re-read—to place in the pages of a book as a keepsake.



Jonathan said, “Go in peace! The two of us have vowed friendship in God’s name, saying, ‘God will be the bond between me and you, and between my children and your children forever!’” 1 Samuel 20:42 (MSG)

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Apples of Gold

>> Tuesday, October 25, 2016

November 9, 2010 I posted my first blog – My First Baby Step. 

Here we go! This is a new adventure for me … one I’ve looked forward to for a few years. My hope is that as you read the words I post, you will take the time to pause and let the meaning sink in. If just one person leaves this website with a little different understanding about their life … with just a little bit more hope … a clearer direction, then my dream will have come true.

***

Soon it will be six years since I wrote those words.

In 2010 I had no idea of the journey that lay before me. As my husband’s illness progressed, my postings became sporadic. But I wanted to include you in my life, warts and all, so I shared my thoughts and emotions about death and dying, grief and grieving. Tomorrow it will be one year and five months since his passing.

And my desire to write is returning.

May my words be pleasant to read and perhaps touch your soul. We are all in this life together. I pray what I post on my blog will be a “word fitly spoken”, the right thing said at the right time in the right place to the right person in the right way and for the right purpose.


“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken at the right time.” Proverbs 25:11 (AMP)

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Jesus, John and Heaven

>> Saturday, September 24, 2016

“John just went to Paradise.”

Those are the words that changed my life in an instant. My beloved was no longer breathing air on this earth. He was in Heaven. Now what?

Over the following weeks, I devoured books on Heaven. I needed input on where he was and what was happening to him.

It was all good. 

As time passed, when someone would mention about the death of a friend, I would instantly think about John. Were they having a talk in Heaven? When a close friend shared that her time might be short in this world, I remember my response.

“I’m jealous. You get to see John before I do.” I’m sensitive that way. (smile)

One day recently during my quiet time, the scripture I was reading mentioned Paradise. You know where my thoughts went. John was there. And just that quickly came the thought. So is Jesus. It seemed Heaven no longer represented Jesus to me. John was what mattered.

That’s just wrong.

Jesus was not introduced to me early in life. All I knew about was a scary God. I was in my 30’s before Jesus became real to me. I had never been told I could have a relationship with Him.

It’s been a wonderful discovery.

But something in the connection between Jesus and me got short-circuited when John died. My other half was in Heaven. I longed to see him again. And so he began to represent Heaven to me.

Jesus and I have walked together for so many years, I feel troubled in the knowledge that I could put Him in second place so easily. And yet He understands and still loves me. After all, it was His idea for John and I to meet, and He delighted in the love we had for each other. He also appreciates the fact that I am totally human. He’s not going to leave my side.


But I’m a work in progress.

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list.” Matthew 22:37 (MSG)



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It's a Fine Line

>> Thursday, August 18, 2016

John, my husband, struggled to take his next breath, which sounded like a grunt. It was not the first grunt.

“John, it’s time to go to the ER. You need to be able to breathe better.”

“I’ll be better tomorrow.”

That conversation occurred repeatedly until I used my tough love voice.

“Either you get up and get your pants on and let me get you in the car or I’m calling an ambulance.”

He put his pants on.

Admitted to the hospital, he was given diuretics to drain the excess fluid from his body, losing 12 pounds in three days. Finally discharged from the hospital, we traveled home accompanied by a prescription for a diuretic at double the normal dose.

Guess what? The medicine worked.  Too well. The above scenario was repeated. He needed to go to the hospital again. This time he was extremely dehydrated. Bags of fluid hung from the IV stand, replacing the water the prescription had removed from his body.

In the past few weeks I’ve witnessed that exact pattern in the life of a close friend. First too much liquid and then not enough. Both times he ended up in the hospital.

But isn’t life like that?

Food is good.  Too much is not.  Too little is not. The same is true in all areas of life. Exercise. Work. And what about churches? Some churches dole out way too many rules and dogma. Others offer Jesus as a nice guy, but there are other options. Moderation is the key.

It’s a fine line.



“You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted.” Colossians 1:23 (MSG)



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