Sunshine on Cloudy Days

Last January, the cheer of Christmas lights and friends was replaced by a cold chill in my heart when my son-in-law applied for a job out of state. I felt a sense of relief when he didn’t get it, until he started to talk about moving again. I’d always been able to see my daughter and her family at least once a week and I couldn’t help imagining the void in my life this would cause

I could talk to my family anytime I wanted too on my cell phone but sometimes that wasn’t enough.  One afternoon when I felt isolated I went for a ride scooter ride. The warmth of the sunshine, and a chat with a friendly neighbor changed me mood.  

 My friend (Heidi Gaul- Mornings With Jesus/20) struggles with Seasonal Effective Disorder.  She said depression looms all around her on dark winter days.  During a walk with a comrade one day her companion pointed out a patch of blue sky. Although it was only a sliver it was enough to lift my friend’s spirit.

Please share what brings you sunshine on your gloomy days?

 

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Each of us have unique ways of using our creativity.

After the long, gray winter in Oregon there’s nothing more delightful then the colors of spring. Acres of colorful tulips were in full bloom at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival near Woodburn, Oregon. For several years I’ve gotten brief glimpses of them as my car zoomed past them or I sat in a car and drank in their beauty.

This year, however, my friend me took me there for my birthday. I was thankful the garden was so accessible to people who use wheelchairs. We even put the chair on the trolley and rode right down to the field. We got a closeup view of them because my friend, Rinda, pushed my wheelchair along the numerous rows of flowers.

After a while I felt a bit perplexed. Something was missing. Finally, it dawned on me. Tulips are a delight to everyone who sees them, but they don’t have any fragrance.

When I was growing up, my mom’s lilac bush always was a sign of spring. Unlike tulips, the beauty and the aroma of lilacs always will be my favorite flower.

That reminds me of Romans 12:4. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function.

Each of us have been given unique gifts to bring glory to God and strengthen the body of Christ. We have a tendency to want different talents instead of the ones we have.  One of the gifts He’s given me is the ability encourage people through my writing or by talking to them.  What about you?

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How Can It Be May?

My blog site has been as been as quiet as a bear in hibernation. While I’ve been away, I took a writing class, spent time with my grandchildren, and finally got to read a book I’ve been waiting for.  The message of Shine the Light is so powerful I want to share it with you.

This is a brief summary Amazon gave about the book followed by my review.

In the book, Shine the Light, Shannon is out to save the world one caring act at a time. She’s stood by her best friend, Amber, through their whole lives especially when Amber lost her sight. She has an active outreach ministry to the homeless and disenfranchised. And she’s even let down her guard long enough to let a boyfriend, Justin, into her life. Her life has settled into a pleasing routine of teaching, freelance photography work, quiet dinners with Justin, and taking Amber on treks to find new subjects for her visionary paintings. But when a man from her past shows up, her secure world crumbles into triggered PTSD episodes that threaten everything she relies on. Will she be able to overcome these old memories, or will her past crush any hopes she had for a future?

My review: In Shine the Light,41Zn0t+r6PL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_ April McGowan addresses some of the issues that affects everyone on one level or another. This gripping story of four friends who see life through their perspectives they’ve developed throughout their lives. My heart broke as I saw them struggle because of other people’s choices.

What Will God & You do in 2019?

As I prepared to hang up my new calendar I couldn’t help wonder what 2019 will bring. It’s blank now, but it will soon be filled with various activities that will stretch and mold me into the likeness of Jesus.

A few days ago, Facebook popped up with the memory of my book, “It Takes More Than Legs To Stand”, in my hands for the first time. Looking at the picture I was reminded of the joy I felt when I accomplished my goal of writing a memoir.

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In Genesis 35, after an intense battle, God told Jacob to build an altar as a reminder of when He met him. Pictures are a wonderful way to remember special people God brought into your life and accomplishments that brought Him glory. They remind us of when God showed us His faithfulness like the way He showed Jacob.

For his last sermon of the year my pastor talked about how our lives go through changes like the seasons.  Times of illness or sorrow can seem like an endless winter in Alaska. New Year’s Day can feel like a fresh start.  Like it or not we can’t cling to the good season and stop the other from coming.  But we can ask God to give us courage and grace to help us in our time of need.

Looking at ways that God has helped you in the past can help you when other struggles come up. In what ways has God shown His faithfulness during the different seasons of your life?

Make Room for More- Matt. 7:11

The count down to Christmas has begun.  As children make their Christmas lists of what they want,  Moms attempt to make room in their toy boxes. Parents get discouraged when they realize the toys that were on the MOST WANTED list last year has fallen into the ‘give away’ category because it hasn’t been played with for months.

Children can become disappointed and bitter when they don’t what they’ve dreamed of.  Other times they discover the toy they’ve received is much better than what they requested.

We often get disillusioned with prayer when God doesn’t seem answer.  When my pray for employment went unanswered, I felt crushed   Instead of becoming like the child who’s coveted toy that became unwanted.  I learned on a deep level My Heavenly Father cares for I’ve discovered He wants to give us better things that have eternal value.  In preparation for Christmas, ask the Holy Spirit if there anything in your heart that are substitutes for what He wants to you to have.

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Matthew 7:11 

 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Shattered Barriers

When I was growing up, my parents knew the importance of letting me experience things first hand. On one particular outing the tour guide warned my dad not to carry me through the Lewis and Clark Caverns but he did anyway. He was exhausted when he was done. When people asked him why he went to such an effort he said, “My daughter deserves to see this just as much as anyone else does.”

It’s always been difficult for me to walk because of cerebral palsy but I’ve always enjoyed having the ability to explore. After I grew up and went to college, I got married and had a daughter. 

The same year that my daughter Rachael started middle school, I got my first scooter. It was like the world had become bigger for both of us. She enjoyed many new experiences in her new environment. My new scooter gave me freedom to shop at the nearby mall and go to her school by myself. The problem was the scooter was so big and heavy that whenever I wanted to take it anywhere I needed to call the local para-trans-sit system. When Rachael got her driver’s licence We discovered there was a scooter she could put in the trunk of her little car. We loved the freedom it gave us to go places spontaneously. 

The ability to throw the scooter in her car and go places together on the spur of the moment is more complicated now because we have a stroller and my three grandchildren to take with us. But a few weeks ago, a friend loaded my scooter in her car and we met Rachael and the kids at a park. 

Experiencing an event is much different than when we hear about it or see pictures. While I was at the park with them I shared their experiences on a deeper level. I could see the joy on my granddaughter Alex’s face as she went down the slide. My heart became warm as I sat in the autumn sun watching my daughter begin to teach her son how to peddle a trike and see the amusement on his face when the trike moved as he followed his Mom’s instructions.

Luke 19 tells us the story of a little tax collector called Zacchaeus. Besides his stature, he was known a thief, because of overcharging the people and keeping part of the money. He’d gone to gatherings where Jesus had been but he couldn’t see because someone was blocking his view. This probably frustrated him; on the other hand he was afraid of how Jesus would respond to him because of his sin. Nevertheless, on that particular day, when Zacchaeus found out Jesus was going to pass by, regardless of what would happen if he was confronted about his lifestyle, He was determined not to miss Him. So he climbed up a tree to make sure he could see. To Zacchaeus’s surprise, Jesus saw him too. Jesus looked up and called him by name and invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house.
When they were together he confessed what he’d been doing and promised to pay back the money he’d stolen.
 
You might feel there are barriers between you and God that can’t be penetrated, but He knows your heart. When you ask, He will meet you where you are. 

Late Night Hockey Practice

I can’t walk very fast, but I’ve managed to catch one of the bugs that has come around recently. It made me weak enough that putting my prepared meal on the table and crawling into bed seem like a real ordeal. My daughter and caregivers helped me do the things I typically do.

After two trips to the doctor I felt good enough to be on my own again. That night as I got ready to brush my teeth, I glanced at the cough syrup my caregiver had poured for me and left by the sink.

When Miss Priss, my cat, sauntered around the vanity I heard God whisper, “Move the cough syrup”.
Since I was going to take it in a few minutes, I decided to wait. But that delay gave Miss Priss just enough time to spill it all over everywhere.

As I tried to clean it up, I got a text message I wanted to answer right away. But my phone slipped out of my hand and hit the floor with a thud. Because of my cerebral palsy, I can’t just bend over and pick it up. I have figured out ways to use my feet to make them high enough so I can use my hand to get objects. Tonight would be a little trickier because it had fallen too far from my chair. Now what was I going to do?

While I started to push the phone toward my chair, I pictured hockey players practicing. I was also kicking a Kleenex box over to the chair with the intention of putting the phone in it and lifting the box up to get my phone. That’s when I glanced at the brown grocery bag that was right there and I kicked the phone into the bag, scoring the winning goal!

How have you been able to solve a problem and still keep your joy?