Thursday, December 29, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
The American ChristmasAll... thought you would appreciate this; nothing funny or political. Just a thoughtful approach for an American Christmas!Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New TraditionAs the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor! This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands.Yes there is!It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper? Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamin’s on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousandChinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of lights, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or a babysitter a nice BIG tip.You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about?
Monday, March 7, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
One of the greatest blessings in my life has been learning to live in the reality of Phil 4:4..... Paul's inspired words of exhortation to "Rejoice in the Lord always."! Years of life experiences have afforded me innumerable opportunities to "trust and obey" this verse over and over and thus receive the freedom that comes from such truth!
Many of you know the journey God has been orchestrating for Monty and me the past three years with the many visits to the Oklahoma Heart Hospital. In fact, it was exactly three years ago last week. There were many days/nights when we found ourselves saying goodbye to one another and still finding ourselves rejoicing in the Lord for His faithfulness to us, making His Presence known to us with His peace and comfort..
Well, this past episode of three hospitalizations in a month has been no exception to that experience. And so after hearing some encouraging news yesterday from the Heart Failure Specialist it is not surprising that our response would have been to "Rejoice in the Lord!". Rejoicing in Him and His faithfulness has become our way of life.
The good news is that Monty is doing better because the AV Node ablation that was done two months ago. He's better than he has been in several months! His ventricles are being 100% paced which is giving him a more consistent beat. Instead of giving him a prescription for another medicine, he gave him one for physical therapy which will help him in strengthening and in balance and coordination!!
So, I joyfully share this with the many of you who have been faithfully praying for us throughout this journey! You, too, may also Rejoice in the Lord!
Saturday, January 8, 2011
I think I need to say that I am a bit surprised at the response of people to my reaction to the serious decline in Monty's health. Some seem to be worried that I am not dealing with my emotions honestly and am stuffing. However, the opposite is true. In fact, it has been our mode of communication pretty much the whole of our 44 years of marriage to talk openly and bluntly about our circumstances, no matter how difficult it might be.
As many of you know, Monty had a serious heart attack, with 6 other heart events in the following days almost three years ago. (Feb 27-Mar 11, 2008 - see previous posts for details.) Since that time we have been so blessed by God's grace in allowing us to do some amazing things: hike up and repel down a cliff, hike throughout the Tetons in Jackson, WY, Yellowstone, and even take a trip to Spain. In and around all of this also have been frequent trips to the Heart Hospital because of various setbacks and crises that needed one procedure or another(14 times). And through all of this, we have both accepted the fact that God is sovereign over the day of our death as much as the day of our birth.
Well, back to the issue at hand................we are in the Heart Hospital once again (the 15th time). His health was declining rapidly in recent weeks and more specifically in the past 7-10 days before we came in here on Thursday (Jan.6). He had admitted to me that he felt like his life was on a rheostat and that someone was turning the lights off.................that his life was just being drained out of him. It was not only his own observation of how he felt, but all of us around him saw the visual manifestations of his deterioration.
When people would ask me how I was doing, some would have a look of disbelief when I said "I am fine, doing very well!" It was as though they think I am in denial of our situation and how serious it is. [A friend (who believes me) recently asked me what kind of response I get from people when I tell them that.] But, the reality is that I am exactly as I should be after walking intimately with Jesus for nearly 50 years. Throughout these years, confidence in Him grew such that “we do not live in dread nor fear bad news, for we know that our Jehovah will take care of us.” (Psa 112:7)
And, in fact, Monty loves to take every opportunity the LORD gives him to tell others that he does not fear death but actually looks forward to what the LORD has in store for him. His confidence is in all that Jesus has done for him, in him and through him. And that sometimes takes some doctors aback!! I admire so much Monty's integrity and openness to talk with me about our situation and all that is happening to me as it happens to him. I have a friend whose husband has had multiple physical changes that have deteriorated his capacity to function in many ways, which has been hard enough. But the worst part for her has been that he doesn't communicate with her about it all.
Today when he was sleeping the chaplain came and visited with me about his situation and how I was doing, counseling me to be sure to take care of myself and not be afraid to cry or show emotions (which I interpreted to mean breakdown whenever someone talks to me about his dying.) Well, after I went back in my ancient history and shared with her how God has prepared me for such a time as this throughout my life, holding Monty, our children, our grandchildren with an open hand…………..so that He doesn’t have to pry my fingers open to release them. I sensed that she doubted at first that I really had a handle on the reality of the seriousness of all of this……………..but by the time she left, God had allowed me the privilege of sharing with her my confidence in him. So, tapping my arm gently as she was leaving, she added that she thought I would be fine.
That was well and good, but my assurance and peace and joy do not come from the affirmations of others. It comes from years of believing and living Pr 3:5&6.
Today I read in My Utmost For His Highest, by Oswald Chambers: “It is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to step more intimately with Him………… When once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely, we never need sympathy, we can pour out all the time without being pathetic. The saint who is intimate with Jesus will never leave impressions of himself, but only the impression that Jesus is having unhindered way, because the last abyss of his nature has been satisfied by Jesus. The only impression left by such a life is that of the strong calm sanity that Our LORD gives to those who are intimate with Him.”
I am “trusting in the LORD with ALL my heart and not leaning on my own understanding; in all my ways, I am acknowledging Him (making Christ known). And He is directing my steps.”