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To the Rescue

#inspiration, #Jesus, saves, rescue, distress
100 year old fire truck

My attention was diverted from the exercise instructor when I saw the flashing lights. Two fire trucks pulled up and stopped not far from the floor to ceiling windows.

Curiosity got the best of me as I watched what was going on outside. I went through the motions of exercise but my focus was definitely not on what I was doing.

One of the trucks extended and turned its ladder. I could see it reach the roof of the building. For a brief moment, a firefighter was visible on the roof before moving out of sight. I wondered what was going on.

After some time the ladder swung away from the roof. Two fire crew and a stretcher were visible at the top of the ladder. As it descended, this portion of the ladder was blocked from view and I was once again left to speculate. A short time later both fire trucks pulled out of the parking lot.

I don’t know the situation that unfolded that morning. What I do know is the brave members of fire departments do not hesitate to rush in, lights flashing, sirens blaring, to rescue us from harm. When we call on them for help we know they will respond.

They are always looking to update their equipment so they can reach us faster and serve us more efficiently. They risk their lives in order to protect ours. Why do they do this? Because it is what they are called to do.

I know someone else who rushes to help me when I call out in distress. Jesus is always available to come to my rescue.

He didn’t just risk his life; he freely gave it up in order for me to have eternal life. He paid a debt he didn’t owe to provide me with a gift I didn’t deserve.

Lights and sirens aren’t required. His methods never become outdated. I know that when I call, nothing will get in the way of Jesus rushing to my rescue.

“During times of trouble I called on the Lord. The Lord answered me and set me free from all of them.” (Psalm 118:5 GWT)

Tribute to Mom

#Inspiration, mom, mothers dayMother’s Day is a bittersweet time for me. Twenty years ago, on Mother’s Day weekend, my mom went to her eternal home. After all these years, I still miss her. If I concentrate hard enough, I can almost hear her voice.

No longer can I share my life, ask for advice and learn from her quiet wisdom. She gave me all she could when she was with me. Now I draw on those memories as I navigate my life.

Recently I was told my mom would have been proud of me. Oh, how I cherished those words.

Mom loved me enough to ensure I learned what was needed to have a fulfilling life. This was much more than separating the whites from bright colours when I did the laundry, or not letting the potatoes boil dry!

She taught me to be polite and respectful.

Her example showed me the value of service to others. I learned giving is receiving. To this day volunteering is still one of the most rewarding parts of my life.

Although I didn’t always appreciate it at the time, she helped me learn appropriate discipline is a form of love. I learned to be honest and responsible.

When I did something wrong, she was forgiving. This taught me to be honest about my failures. I also learned the freeing power of forgiving others.

The twinkle in her eyes and quick wit ensured I would appreciate fun and laughter. Her ability to laugh at herself helped me learn not to take myself too seriously.

Mom’s deep love of family helped me see the beauty in committed relationships. She loved and accepted each of us despite our flaws and weaknesses.

I know my mom was proud of me because she told me so in her final days. I like to think she’d be proud of the woman I’ve become today.

The best way to honour mom’s memory is to pass her wisdom and love on to the young women who follow behind me, so they, in turn, may pass it on. I look at my daughter, my daughter-in-law and my granddaughters and know she’d be as proud of them as I am.

No Complaining

#Inspiration, #God, #Monday MusingsI know complaining doesn’t accomplish anything positive, yet there are times I struggle with this vice. Snow in May qualifies!

The calendar tells me it’s been spring for over a month. The weather seems to be on a different schedule.

We left home early Saturday morning for a city several hours away. The grey sky soon showered us with snow and freezing rain. Slippery road conditions meant reduced speed and extra caution for the next ninety minutes. We finally passed through the weather system and breathed a sigh of relief.

The remaining hours of our drive were pleasant, as was most of our drive home that evening. Close to home we were taken by surprise by the sudden appearance of snow and icy roads. An immediate adjustment to this new situation was required.

We’d gone through both easy and challenging during this trip and said a prayer of gratitude for our safe arrival home.

There was an accumulation of snow on the ground when we went to church Sunday morning. The pastor started by saying, “We won’t complain about the weather. The farmers need the moisture for their land.”

His comment caused me to stop and re-evaluate my thinking. Fields that produce abundant crops benefit many. Value from the weather situation was created. My temporary discomfort was insignificant in the light of the greater good.

Later in the day we travelled the same highway. The clear, dry road that would normally be taken for granted was now appreciated.

Maybe that is one of the reasons God allows storms in my life. They force me to slow down and rely on Him. Once they have passed I reflect on God’s protection and provision through all seasons of life. Instead of complaining about the storms I must look for the lessons in them and give thanks.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT)

 

The Eyes Have It

#inspiration, eyes, observation,It was an interesting discovery. While sorting through a drawer full of papers I came across one that had been tucked away several years ago and forgotten.

At the end of a seminar, each of us was presented with a unique gift to commemorate our days together. On a large piece of paper, someone had sketched the eyes of over sixty participants. The name of each person was printed neatly above one eyebrow.

I was fascinated to see the numerous shapes of eyes. Some were almond shaped while others were wide and round. The eyebrows were even more diverse. From delicately shaped to thick and bushy, the brows framed the facial features. No two sets of eyes were exactly alike.

The artistic ability required to create these realistic images was impressive. Even more so was the power of observation needed to capture the small details that helped identify each person.

I read somewhere that observation has less to do with the things you see than the way you see them. This is true for more than artists. It applies to each of us.

Many years ago I started keeping a gratitude journal. Each night I write down five things I was grateful for that day. Focusing on the positive has changed my perspective and my life. When I look for the beauty in my surroundings, the goodness in people and the life lessons that present themselves, that is what my eyes see. The minor irritations fade into the background.

My goal is to create value in all things. It doesn’t always happen but I am getting better at it. I have learned if I want to create a positive life my eyes need to be looking for the right things.

Leap of Faith

#inspiration, Jesus, life, eternity
“Tell us about your skydiving experience,” they said. “I can’t believe you did that. I’d never be brave enough.”

My new book has a skydiving picture of me on the cover, which prompted the request. The story is in Another Perspective, so I won’t ruin it by giving you too many details here!

I did share that it was a tandem jump. I was harnessed to an experienced instructor. Knowing someone ‘had my back’ increased my confidence level.

As I related the story recently, a couple of comments from one man stayed with me. He said “That’s what it’s like when Jesus is in your life. You can have confidence because you know He is there taking care of you.”

How true that is. Jesus knows where He is taking me and the safest way to get there. Fears are relieved when He is in control. He knows when freefalls are needed and when to employ the parachute to give me a soft landing. I am able to enjoy the adventure knowing Jesus has my back.

“You jumped with family members. Could you see them as you descended?” Actually, I could. They jumped after me and my tandem buddy pointed up to show them floating slightly above. After landing, we joined together in rejoicing for our shared experience.

“I picture the rapture and watching for our loved ones to join us,” he said. I’d never thought of it that way but he could be right. When Jesus returns for us there will be great rejoicing as we join those who have gone before us. Today I praise him for what He continues to do in and through me. On that day I can praise my Lord for eternity.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.” (Isaiah 41:10 NLT)

Good Enough

#inspiration, #drawing, belief,
I took this picture at the airport in Denver

Earlier this week I made a visit to a store that carries my books and something on the wall caught my attention. There, pinned on a corkboard above the manager’s desk was a sketch. It was a small ink drawing of an old van and the detail and shading were exceptional.

I asked about this unassuming piece of art and was told a little about its history and creator. The man who gifted this to the manager did so as a token of appreciation for her kindness. His life had been one of struggle. Things are turning around but the road he travels is not an easy one.

She was impressed with his drawing and asked him to paint seasonal designs on the window of the store. He refused. She offered to provide the materials and pay him for his work. “I’m not good enough to paint pictures people will see,” he said.

“If you don’t do it, I’ll have to print designs on coloured paper, cut them out and tape them to the window,” she replied. Reassurance of his talent was futile. This man had no belief in himself or his abilities. The store ended up with coloured paper designs in their window.

As I listened to the story, I saw a universal problem. Most of us don’t believe in ourselves. No matter what we may hear to the contrary, we just don’t believe we are good enough to follow our dreams.

Until my desire to succeed became stronger than my fear of rejection I was the same. To some extent, I still am. The risk of failure is real. So is the opportunity for success. There are plenty of lessons on the road to achieving my dreams.
I will be forever grateful for the moment I decided to step out of my comfort zone and go for it! Now I know for certain, I am good enough – and so are you.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” Henry Ford

The Hunt

 

#inspiration, #Jesus, fulfillment, treasureWe held our annual Easter Egg Hunt for the family yesterday. The grandkids were excited and couldn’t wait to get started. Once everyone arrived, instructions were given and at the signal, all ran in different directions.

Due to popular demand, the adults are also included in this hunt. While the children get to keep anything they find, the adults can only keep what is above shoulder level.

During this hectic time, the noise level escalates and fun and laughter abound. The result is the creation of fond family memories.

The grandkids know there are always treats in our pantry. So do the adults. It would be easier to gather goodies from there than to search through the house for the unknown. There is something exciting about the hunt, though.

This reminded me of my life. Many times I have set out searching for something even though I didn’t know what it was I was searching for. When I saw others finding what they wanted, I grew frustrated. Where was the treasure I was looking for? The one that would fulfill my hopes and dreams.

What I discovered was that it was there within my reach all along. I had been so focused on my search that I’d missed the treasure in front of me.

Jesus provided the answer to all of my needs. Once I put my life in His hands and trusted Him for the outcome, I could stop searching. He has led me on bigger adventures than I could have planned for myself.  My life is sweeter and more fulfilling. His faithfulness is so great that I am excited to see what treasures each day will bring.

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22,23)

On the Right Foot

#inspiration, kicks, right foot,The aquafit instructor told us to kick our legs to the side, alternating right to left. I am left-handed, which means I often do things the opposite way to most people.

We had a full class and the participants were crowded close together. When I started off on the wrong foot it was a challenge not to make contact with the person next to me. My kicks caused problems on both sides.

The only way to avoid this was to stop, pay attention to what those beside me were doing and coordinate my steps with theirs. Once I was on the right foot things went smoothly.

The phrase, ‘start on the right foot’ means to make a good beginning; to start off well. Despite my best efforts, this is not always easy to do.

Earlier this week my day started off on the wrong foot. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to fight or withdraw from the world. I was kicking myself and it would have been easy to inflict my self-destructive behaviour on others.

What I was doing wasn’t working so I needed to do something different. Once I acknowledged I was tired and overwhelmed it was easier to accept my limitations that day and move on. My attitude improved.

I started my day over, on the right foot this time. Once I was back in step with the world around me my day became positive and productive. And even better – no one around me was injured!

Amazing Love

#Jesus, #inspire, love, family, The statement took me by surprise. “Deep love is always accompanied by deep suffering,” our pastor said. My thoughts of love were of joy not suffering, but in that moment I could see how true these words were.

I have wept with friends over a serious illness of a loved one. I have sat with friends as they poured out the anguish in their hearts over situations with spouses, children or grandchildren.

Although I can empathize with my friends, I don’t know and love these people on the deep level they do, so will not experience the same pain.

Countless prayers are requested by those who are suffering. The majority of these revolve around someone deeply loved.

I think of my husband, my children (and their spouses, who are children of my heart) and my grandchildren. I love them deeply and would do anything in my power to keep them from harm. I suffer along with them when they are hurting. If one of them was in grave danger and the only way to save him or her was to sacrifice my life, I wouldn’t hesitate. That is how deep my love for my family is.

This helps me understand why Jesus would die for me. The sinless Son of God took on the sins of mankind because of his deep love for you and for me. Jesus suffered an agonizing death in order to save us.

I think back to the pastor’s words, “Deep love is accompanied by deep suffering.” If there is anyone who fully understands this, it is Jesus.

As we approach Easter and focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus I want to stop and think about the magnitude of this gift I didn’t deserve. He saved me before I even knew I was in danger. I praise his name for this amazing love.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” (1 John 3:16 NIV)

Communication Breakdown


#inspiration, internet, communication Our normally efficient high-speed internet was not working. We had been away from home for two months and counted on this means of communication to stay in touch with family. It was also necessary for keeping up-to-date with other commitments in our lives.

Our apartment in Mexico had a landline so we hadn’t bothered to get a Mexican cell phone. Unfortunately, the landline was connected to the internet. The result was a breakdown in all but face-to-face communication.

Our service was down for over a week, back up for a few days and then down again. No one else in the building had this problem. To say we were frustrated would be a gross understatement.

On the plus side, in the evening my husband and I talked or played cards instead of surfing the internet or watching Netflix. We hadn’t realized how much time was spent online until we were forced offline.

I know checking my email and social media can be addictive and have been working hard at curtailing this habit. It is easy to get caught up in the virtual world, with ‘friends’ I don’t even know. This comes at the expense of those I want close relationships with. There is something drastically wrong with this picture.

Emails and texting are convenient and often necessary. Spending hours online scrolling through Pinterest or Facebook leave me with little to show for my time. In order to create more of what I want in my life, I need to focus on personal interaction.

I find it ironic that it took an online communication breakdown to help prevent a breakdown in personal communication.