Prayers, Tears, and Comfort

graceThis morning as I logged into Facebook, I read several things which game me pause — the death of a young child, the pending death of a parent, surgery of a friend, sickness of friends, cancer treatments of family and friends, and other losses.

Tears came to my eyes and I said this prayer, “Lord, please give comfort to this family as only you can, please stretch out your healing hand to those who are sick, help us be a comfort to one another and help as needed, and please watch over us. Amen.”

The child, Patrick, passed away on Saturday.  He wasn’t quite a year old and had been sick with congenital heart disease.  His mother has been writing a blog about his illness, which is very touching.  I didn’t know them very well but this boy’s aunt is a friend of mine from high school.  I also knew her brother, Patrick’s dad.

Another friend has been called in by hospice for her father.  He has been ill and now the family is gathering with him.  It will be time for them to say goodbye.  So hard to lose a parent, no matter how old we are.

Also a dear friend is having another surgery this morning.  She has already had several and hopes this will be the last one and that comfort will be coming soon.  Other friends are sick and having issues, and some are in the midst of chemo treatments.

prayingSo much loss, so much heartache, so many tears, and so much pain.  Yet there is hope and comfort.  Comfort in hugs, comfort in knowing our loved ones will see us through the pain, comfort in prayers, comfort in our faith, comfort in our memories, and comfort in time.

There is an expression that time heals all wounds.  I am not sure if it heals them or if we figure out a way to deal with them as time goes on. Perhaps it is a combination of both.

Here are a few verses of scripture that are especially poignant this morning:

  • Ecclesiastes 3:4 — a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.
  • Psalm 30:5 — Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
  • Matthew 5:4 — Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  • Philippians 4:7 — And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • Psalm 23:4 — Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

May God be with you at the beginning of this new week.  If you are in pain or are suffering loss, may you find comfort.

A Rainy Day

rainHi and Happy Wednesday!  Our weather today is rainy and windy with the temperature dropping throughout the day.  However, there are breaks in between the rain that we can enjoy. Right now as I look out my window, I can see the sun peaking through the clouds and it is lovely.

Today I am sad yet happy at the same time so this weather is perfect for my mood.  The health of someone dear to me is deteriorating quickly.  I have had a chance to see this person two days ago and that meant the world to me.  I hope to again very soon, but am not sure if that will be possible.  I just hope and pray that it is.

Like the sun through the clouds, there is some light with the darkness of how I am feeling. I will miss this person terribly, yet I have happiness in my heart.  You see, I know where this person is headed – to Heaven!!   That is an amazing comfort and helps me to see happiness beyond my tears.

Not that this person won’t be missed, quite the contrary.  The fact is that an amazing, long, and wonderful life has been lived.  That is wonderful and something I am learning from, and a real blessing. It is just hard to say goodbye.

Yesterday, I thought of the song, “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me.  These words made me tear up, but also made me smile.  It is a song about meeting the Lord face to face and being curious about what we’d do.  Here are most of the lyrics:

“…I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me
I can only imagine

[Chorus:]
Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the Son

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine.”

Aren’t those words amazing?  Knowing someone will be in the Lord’s presence soon is almost overwhelming, yet such an amazing comfort. This is helping more than I can imagine.

I wonder what my loved one will do when meeting the Lord?  It makes me truly happy to think about since there will be no more pain or suffering, but instead pure and amazing joy.

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!!

Easter liilyHe is Risen!!!  He is Risen Indeed!!!! 

Hello and Happy Easter.  Hope you have a wonderful Easter!  May you enjoy the true meaning of this amazing day.

“He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” — 1st Corinthians 15:4.

He (Jesus) is alive and I’m forgiven!  Heaven’s gates are open wide (this is from a song and I don’t remember the title).  This is a great song and I wish I could remember more.  My mom knows the words so I will check with her.  I will post something another day.

Here are the words to one of my favorite Easter hymns.  I can just hear the organ and trumpets as I sing it:

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once, upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia!

3 crossesHymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save, Alleluia!

But the pain which He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation hath procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s king, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing, Alleluia!

Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
Praise eternal as His love, Alleluia!
Praise Him, all you heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Alleluia!

In addition to a yummy lunch after church, my family will also enjoy an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids.  That is always a fun part of it as well.

Praise and worship, food and fellowship, and fun and candy go hand-in-hand.  All of these elements will make for a fun and blessed Easter Sunday.

I hope and pray that you have a wonderful Easter and terrific week!  God Bless You!!

Amazing Strength

handsI heard an amazing quote in the sermon at church yesterday.

This was a quote by a man named who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor: “I don’t know why God has me on this path, but I am looking forward to the journey.”

What? How can you look forward to a journey of a tumor in your head?  I was floored at this comment.  What a man of amazing faith!!

This comment truly did give me pause.  Is my faith that strong?  I like to think so, but am not totally sure.  Do I truly know that my Lord and Savior could get my through something like this?  I have to admit it would take a lot of prayers and support.

I do know that God works in mysterious ways and can make all things good.  But knowing in my head and living it are two different things.  Lord, help me have a strong faith in you and know that you will always provide for me.  Amen.

There are many people dealing with cancer, chemotherapy, treatments, surgery, and major pain.  I do, however, admire them and their strength to deal with and live through these trials in their lives.

One person who has been an inspiration is Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America.”  She recently returned from a 5-month medical leave.  She had a bone marrow transplant and now has the immune system of a child.  From what I understand, it is improving but will take time.

It has been so good to see her back on the air.  She looks different since she lost all of her hair and she has lost some weight from all she’s been through.  But she is still beautiful — both inside and out.

Robin was very frank with her illness and treatment and agreed to have the journey recorded to show on ABC.  It was amazing to see her at her most vulnerable, yet also comforting.

She is a strong woman of faith and despite all of her pain and trials, she is positive.  She knows that if you let the negative get in, it can take over.  Robin, you are truly an inspiration!!

If you are dealing with this kind of pain, please know that the Lord is there to comfort and help you through it!  And, friends and family can help you as well.

I know that people often question God when something like this happens.  I think that is only natural and we can’t help but ask “Why Me?”  I heard someone who had breast cancer say, “Why Not Me?”

That was another profound statement that made me do a lot of thinking and soul-searching.  I do know that Jesus is with me not matter what.  He didn’t promise that life would be easy, but did promise to always be there.  That is an amazing blessing.

I think it’s also great to have support of our loved ones.  Marriage vows include “in sickness and in health.”  May we truly be able to live that vow and be there for one another!

My prayer for you is that if you are dealing with this pain or diagnosis that you will be comforted to know that Jesus loves you and always will.  And, that your family and friends can help you through this painful time.  God Bless!!

Merry Christmas to You!

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAI wanted to wish my friends, family, blogs followers and readers a very Merry Christmas!  Hope you have a very blessed holiday!

A few Sundays ago, our Pastor told a story in his sermon that is what I think the holiday is all about.  An autistic boy had a part in the Christmas play.

He played the inn keeper and was supposed to tell Joseph and Mary that there was no room for them in the inn.

Instead this boy said, “I know what I am supposed to say, but Mary and Joe, there is room.  Why don’t you take my room?”

Isn’t that the sweetest? This boy knew that Christmas and Christ are about love and helping others!  May we all live that kind of life!!

This Christmas Eve and Christmas, I look forward to time with family and dear friends, good food, baking cookies, going to church tonight with my family, cookies and hot chocolate after the service, watching Ian open his gifts and stocking on Christmas morning, and the love of the Christ Child!

Here are a few quotes about Christmas:

  • “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”– Burton Hillis
  • “From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas brings us closer to each other.” — Emily Matthews
  • “The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.” — WC Jones
  • “For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home.”– W. J. Tucker
  • “At Christmas, all roads lead home.”– Marjorie Holmes
  • “Christmas is the season of joy, of holiday greetings exchanged, of gift-giving, and of families united.” –Norman Vincent Peale
  • “Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”– Laura Ingalls Wilder

May you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas!  Remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season!!!

To Making It Count!

In the movie “Titanic,” the characters raised a glass in a toast and said, “To making it count.”  That is such an important phrase to remember, and yet, I know that we don’t always make things count.

This morning I found out a friend of mine in college died.  She lived each day to the fullest and knew how to make it count!!

Her name is Shelli and she fought a long and very hard battle with cancer.  She went through treatment on and off for many years and was in constant pain.

And yet, she was thankful for each day the Lord gave her.   And she was one of the most positive people I have ever known.  She also was constantly praying and had a very strong faith.

I had lost touch with her in the years since we graduated from college.  Then in 2010, I saw her at a reunion at our alma mater, Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee.   We then stayed in touch over the years, mainly through Facebook.

It was great to see the fun things she did with her husband Joe and their children.  And, to also share in prayer support when needed.  Shelli was a blessing to me and I know to her many friends and her family.  She will be greatly missed.

Dear Lord, I hope that I too can make each day count and truly live my faith as my friend Shelli did!  Please welcome her to Heaven with your open arms!!  AMEN.

Things We’ve Learned

On Friday, I posted a blog about a dear friend Dawn who was celebrating a birthday.  She also does a blog, which is linked to this one — It Just Dawned On Me.

For her birthday, she wrote about 44 things that she’d learned.  They are so good that I decided to borrow a few!  Hope you don’t mind Dawn!

Here some thoughts from my wise friend.  Her quotes are in italics and then I had a few comments to add.

  • Days can seem long, but life is short.”  I love this!  It is so true since some days just seem to drag on and on.  But then others seem to fly by.  And, it seems it was just the first of the year and here we already are in mid-May.  Life is short and important to enjoy.  Make the most of each moment!!
  • Relationships are what is important. We are each made for relationship.”  This is so very true.  Spending time with loved ones is so much more important and special than just about anything to me.  As I get older, I realize how true this is.  I am blessed with many kinds of relationships and hope you are as well.
  • Messy won’t kill you… it might aggravate, irritate, and you might need to fumigate… but it won’t kill you.”  This I love since I am not the neatest person.  I try but honestly, I have so many other things to do that being neat is always at the bottom of the list.  My husband puts up with a lot — my piles of items that I need to straighten up.  And, Dawn knows how I am.
  • It’s fun having friendships that have lasted the years.”  Yes, it truly is.  I hope that each of you has at least one friend who you has been in your life for a very long time!  This is a true blessing from God!
  • Children are a gift from God Himself.”  This I know to be true.  I truly feel honored and blessed to have our son.  My husband and I waited until later in life to have him and truly feel like he is the perfect addition to our family.  And, we are so blessed to have many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends who are also great kids!
  • I could eat Mexican food every day.”  Me too!  In fact, I craved this food while pregnant with Ian and now he likes it too.  Tacos, enchiladas, beans, and the list goes on!!
  • Remember the good things.”  This is true and sometimes hard to practice.  It always seems to be easy to remember the bad and hard things in life.  But remembering the good is truly important.
  • Know that bad times will pass. They always do.  It won’t be that way forever.”  Even though the awful seems to never end, it will and it always does.  This is a light at the end of the tunnel, but it sometimes takes a while to get there.
  • Laugh.  Laugh a lot.  Laugh at yourself.”  This is great advice and something I like to do every day.  Have you ever laughed so hard you cried?  That is an amazing experience that I hope you have sometime in your life!
  • I’m not in control of life . . . even though I like to think I am.”  To me it’s a great comfort that God is in control.  We can sometimes think that we are, but we really aren’t.
  • Tell people that you love, that you love them.  Say it over and over again.  You need to say it.  They need to hear it.”  Yes, I totally agree.  Something so important for us to do.
  • God is good.  All the time.”  AMEN!

I hope you are as blessed by these wise thoughts from Dawn as I was.  This is just a portion of her 44 items.  Please check out her blog to read the rest.

What a Week!

The last seven days have been amazing and so full of blessings.

I have felt such an outpouring of love and care with all of the prayer support that I received!  (Please see my posting on Wednesday to read about my trip to the ER)

Yesterday afternoon, I went to my regular doctor for a follow-up visit.  My blood pressure was normal (yeah!) and I was so happy about that.  And, he gave me a medicine to help my stomach / GI tract to settle back down.

He also told me that doctors often can’t tell you exactly what is wrong with you but that they can tell you what isn’t wrong.  That is something profound, don’t you think?  It is also frustrating when you want to have an answer. As I found out this week, however, that isn’t always possible.

We then discussed diet and some changes that I need to make.  He mentioned that healthy eating has to be a new lifestyle choice and not considered a diet.  As you know from reading my blog, I am trying to lose weight but am still not having much success.  This doctor reminded me that it’s all about portion control, eating fewer carbs, and avoiding fried food (for my stomach mainly but a good idea for overall health).

I thanked him for his advice and the medicine.  Then we came home from the doctor, took the medicine, and made dinner — salmon, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and biscuits.  DELICIOUS!  And, I had no stomach, etc. problems.  For the first night in a while, I slept very well through the night and without almost no pain. Thank you Lord.

This week has truly been a wakeup call and has shown me how far from the healthy food choices I was. I thought I was doing well but got off track the previous week. I am working now each day to make healthier choices.  And, to exercise as well.  I am tired of feeling lousy and ready to feel better and back to a fun and healthy weight.  After all, I have some great clothes that I want to be able to wear again.

My husband and son have been so sweet and attentive to me. My hubby has been helping a lot around the house (something he does anyway) and been making sure that I have been getting rest and what I need.

In addition, my son has been very attentive. Ian has a doctor’s kit and last night he gave me a checkup.  He checked my heart and said, “there is a robber in your heart trying to get the pain out,” meaning he wants Mommy’s pain to go away.  He has said several times, “It’s okay Mommy,”  and “I hope that you can lose weight Mommy.”

It means a lot to have my own cheering section!  And, I feel truly blessed to have such a loving and caring set of family and friends who provided such amazing prayer support and concern.  That has meant the world to me this week.  Thank you Lord for watching over me!

How was your week?  I hope and pray it was full of blessings!  Please share with me and other readers.

Thank You Lord

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And in the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Phil 4:6

This verse has very special meaning for this week!  It was helpful and the perfect  scripture verse for me after a very difficult night at the emergency room.  Thanks to my dear sister for sending it to me.

On Sunday, my son and I went to have dinner with my parents after dropping off my hubby who had a quick business trip.  During dinner, I started having chest pains — right in the center.  These followed a few days of pain on either side of my chest/stomach area.

Needless to say, I was worried and anxious since my grandfather had passed away of a massive heart attack at my age.  So my mother took me to the hospital to be checked out.  The hardest part was the what-ifs and the not-knowing.  It is amazing what your mind can drum up when you are worried about something.

And, as we got to the room and started the waiting game, my mother got on the phone and called friends, family, my siblings and my hubby to let them know what was happening.  She asked everyone for prayers and few of us had much sleep that night.

Prayers started immediately and I must say that as I was lying there waiting for answers, I felt calm — which is not what I expected to feel.  The love of God and all of my prayer warriors helped me from going totally crazy and worrying the entire time.  I truly had a blanket of love and protection around me.

For those who prayed, I cannot thank you enough!  I am truly honored and humbled that you lifted me up to the Lord!  I am so appreciative of your love and friendship.  You are awesome and I love all of you so very much!!!  It meant the world to me to hear of your love, concern, and prayers!

The amazing news is that after a long and sleepless night and many, many tests (EKGs, blood work, a stress test, a CT scan, and an ultra-sound), I was told my heart is healthy.  THANK YOU LORD!!!  What an amazing answer to prayer!!!!

And, as I was being discharged on Monday morning, the ER doctor told me that there are many causes of chest pain, but that I had none of the big causes.  Can I just tell you what joy and relief I felt?  I felt a weight had been truly lifted and an amazing gift was given to me by the Lord!!!

I still have to follow-up with my regular doctor to determine the cause of the pain.  I am frustrated not to know yet what is going on, but feel certain that I will find out.  And, hopefully very soon.  I had some additional pain last night but nothing like what made me want to go to the er.  I will keep you posted on what I find out.

Thanks so much to the emergency room staff — nurses, techs, doctors, and others — as well as food services and the chest center.  All of you were so kind and gracious and truly took your time with me.  I had a good experience despite the circumstances.  It went as well as could be expected.

I know some other friends who also had chest pain and went in and it ended up being acid reflux.  And another person at 29 years old, went in since he didn’t feel like himself and found out that he had to have triple bypass surgery.  And, after his legs were bothering him, my cousin found out he had blood clots in his legs.   It was good that all of these people went to the hospital to see what was the matter since you never know.

Before all of this happened, I was already on blood pressure medicine and will continue to take that.  And, I am trying to lose weight as well and eat a more healthy diet.  That too will help with the BP and make for a healthier heart.

Again, thank you dear Lord for your mercies and love for me.  And, for the work of the physicians and many others, and the outstretched prayer support that I felt. AMEN!!

“Our God is an awesome God, He reigns from heaven above!” 

Another Week of Thanks

This has been another week of items to be thankful for and for enjoying the little things.  Not to say the week has been great the entire time, because it hasn’t been.

I have been worried about and praying for several friends and family members dealing with a variety of health issues.  A few are very serious and others are less so, but still worrisome and in need of prayer.  Dear Lord, please wrap your love around them and stretch out your healing hand upon them.  Amen!

Note: This photo was taken on Easter morning 2011 at the sunrise service.

I hope that you too have had some time to enjoy your week!  Please share some of the moments that have meant so much to you!  I would love to hear from you.

My blessings/items to be thankful for are:

  • Seeing Ian’s excitement over learning how beans turn into sprouts.  My mom started the experiment last week and we have been checking each morning on the changes.
  • Sleeping over at my parent’s house and hearing my father play with Ian.
  • Listening to a sermon that God will never abandon us.  “I will never leave you nor will I forsake you.”  What an incredible promise.
  • Enjoying an old song by Don Francisco during the church service.
  • Eating blueberries with my oatmeal.  This is a treat that I haven’t had for a while since blueberries are so expensive.
  • Finding out that I had the highest likes ever on one of my blogs.
  • Gaining several new followers for my blog. I truly appreciate your interest!!
  • Beaming with pride while Ian tells two stories during a family dinner and another one right before bed.  I am truly moved that we have another storyteller in the family and so love his creativity.
  • Cuddles in the morning with my son.
  • Starting and finishing the book, “150 Pounds,” by Karen Rockland, a book of waists and measures as it says on the cover.
  • Losing 3 pounds after feeling I was getting no where in my weight loss journey.
  • Savoring the perfect blend of coffee and creamer in the morning.
  • Watching the sun rise after a day of heavy rain, lightening, and hail.
  • Having a house with a garage during two bouts of hail.
  • Praying for my family and friends and knowing I can talk to the Lord anytime that I want and He will listen.
  • Being entertained as Ian sings part of an Abba song “how can I resist ya…”
  • Reuniting with my husband after his business trip.

May the Lord bless you this week!  I hope that you too can have some time to stop and smell the roses and be thankful for the amazing things in your life.