Healing the broken places


Each of us were created with the desire for companionship. Companioning is the act of walking alongside others and sharing the joys and struggles of daily life.  All of us do this as we go about our daily life. Some people follow a vocational path of being soul-care providers; counselors, pastors, spiritual directors, and educators.

My friend Katie Skurja is director of Imago Dei Ministries and founder of the Companioning Center.  Recently, I attended a Companioning seminar, she co-hosted with her friend Kathi Gatlin from Boldly Loved Ministries.

My cerebral palsy makes walking difficult so when I’m out and about I am either with a friend who helps me get from place to place, or I take my scooter.  This time I had neither. When the opening session of the conference ended and we were instructed to go to different classrooms, I knew I was in trouble.  Even with my cane, it would have taken me much too long to independently hobble to the right place.  Katie noticed I was having a problem and offered to walk me to the right place.  As we entered the room, she led me over to the first-round table and introduced me to another woman at the table.  Jen graciously chose to step through the fear barrier and helped me the rest of the day.

(Jen’s reflections about our encounter is at http://www.boldlyloved.org/blog)

When class started to talk about shadows, Katie held up a flashlight as she drew our attention to the objects on the table. Depending on where the light was held in relationship to the object, the reflection changed.

There are times in our lives when memories of the past can cast a shadow over our day.  During the process of getting settled, memories of being teased as a child in public school emerged.  My heart cried, “Get me out of here.” I imagined that  everyone  thinking  “Shame on her.  She should have planned the day better.  She’s so much trouble.”  When I realized these uncomfortable feelings came from a wounded place within my heart.   I asked God to comfort and heal my heart.

As God heals the broken places in our hearts, we can enjoy the companionship of our Heavenly Father and each other.

Galatians 6: 2 Bear one anothers burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Walk In the light as I’m in the light and have fellowship one with another.


The Joy of Giving

Aging isn’t the friend of anyone’s body. Our hair turns gray, and our skin wrinkles.  As grandparents watch their grandchildren run and jump, they wish they  had half the energy and agility.  These physical issues are compounded when you are affected by a disability.

When a was a child,  I could receive therapy at the schools I attended. Unfortunately, once I started to go to public school treatment wasn’t available.   Several months ago a friend, who also has a disability,  and I were talking about the fact  the once we became adults,  it was practically impossible to find places we could get  therapy.

One day as  I  visited with another friend about my concerns,  she told me  George Fox University had a physical therapy school.  She called them and made arrangements for me to receive therapy.   At my appointment last week my therapist said, “next week,  the students will be taking medical histories and vital signs in their clinical lab.  Usually they just practice their skills on each other, next week we’re trying to give them the opportunity to work with other people.  It would be very helpful if they could interview you.”

I thought it sounded like fun, “I’ll invite a couple of my friends to come too.”

It felt good good  to help the students and give back to a program that has really helped me.

When we’re open,  we can see ways to repay others who have made an  impact on us.  Please share some of your experiences.



For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.
2 Corinthians 8:12

“Be the Hands and Feet “

Early in January, I watched my mailbox very closely.  “Be the Hands and Feet, “ by Nick Vujicic finally arrived, and I was part of his launch team.  Which meant that after reading his book I was supposed to post my review on several different sites and tell people about his book that is coming out February 13th..

 As I read,  Be the Hands and Feet, I thought of many of the people I know who are impacting others as they share their lives with those around them. I want to make sure you’re aware of the book, so  I’ve decided to share my review.

   “Be the Hands and Feet” by Nick Vujicic is probably the most important book you’ll read all year.  As Nick shares Jesus with others, their lives are transformed.  Most of us aren’t evangelists but many people with a disability or any type of weakness would like to hide it because society often disqualifies them.

Nick’s disability is obvious to everyone because he was born without arms and legs.  As a  woman with cerebral palsy, I know how nervous people can feel about being around us.  I was blessed when Nick said that people who talk to him feel safe to tell him about their struggles because they see his.

This book is full of stories of people who display the love of God as they go about their daily activities.  One of the many examples Nick gave was of couple who either became foster parents to children who had been abused or abandoned. The cycle abuse is often broken when they are  placed in Christian homes and experience the love of Jesus.

  “Be the Hands and Feet, ” has given me a hunger to let God use my daily interactions to display his love.   It will definitely encourage you to do the same.


I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher.  Lyla Swafford Author

Bit by Bit

Did you make any resolutions on “ New Years”? Many people don’t because they’ve made them in the past but forgot about them a short time later. Maybe it’s because their reason for making them lost their importance.
Last year as my birthday rolled around, (which isn’t till April) I spent a week or so in freak out mode. I’m getting closer to starting another decade, and I can tell, the combination of cerebral palsy and old age, may not be a good mix.
One day a friend who was also born with a physical problem and I were discussing the woes of aging. I told her I hadn’t had any therapy since I was 13 and started public school. I said, “I really need to do something because some days I can feel myself getting stiffer.” Peggy smiled as she said, “Since I live close to George Fox, I’m going to see if someone in their physical therapy department will see you.” In a couple weeks my friend called and let me know my first appointment was all set up. At my first appointment my therapist asked me what my goals were. I told her I wanted to be able to lift my arm high enough to be able to put a tee shirt on. She told me, “I can help you with that.” While she taught me some exercises she said, “When you do this, I want you to move your arm as far as you can, and have the person helping you push is a little farther. You’ll see change over time.”
Each of us may have wanted to make different changes at one particular time or another our lives. One of mine is to try and regain some of the flexibility I’ve lost, so I can stay as independent as possible. This requires me to be committed to exercising. Many people buy memberships, the first part of January, intending to get in shape but find yourself going less and less. Maybe you want to do more reading or meet more people but you haven’t made any headway or have forgotten all about the changes you thanking about making. In that case maybe asking yourselves these questions might help you:
1. Why did I set these as goals?
2. Do I have a plan to help me be successful.
3. What will happen if I don’t work toward them.
4. Do I have a plan to help me be successful
5. Imagine different my life will be when I follow through.
Did you make New Year’s resolutions?

Please share about how are you doing with them. If you’ve forgotten about them just begin again!


Healing For Hearts At Christmas

A few weeks ago my apartment manager sent in ORKIN men because one of my neighbors had reported she had carpet beetles in her apartment. I was surprised when he told me these visually invisible pests had invaded my place.  Little did I know, they were eating my clothes and furniture.
Before the inspector left he told me, be said they have it done within a week.
The list of instructions, he left with me were very ambitious. The paper told us to put everything plastic on my dining room table. My HomeCare worker did a lot more work than she needed too. When the guy came he told us we just needed to be concerned with things that would melt on the dash of a car on a hot day.  That information would have simplified thinking a lot!
To get rid of the beetles they heated my apartment to 120 degrees and I had to be gone for 8 hours. When I left home that morning, I felt as through I was at loose ends, but gradually a plan developed. I spent time with a friend and then my daughter picked me up and we took my three-year-old granddaughter to see the movie “Star”. After a late dinner with Rachael’s family and a jaunt to pick up my cat, they took me home to help me get settled in for the night.

Little seeds of discontent, and other bad attitudes  can start out small, but if we don’t ask God to heal the parts of our hearts that cause our bad attitudes,  our lives are affected. Christmas supposed  to be a time of joy.  It can also a stressful because of all the expectation we try to live up to . If this where you are, I pray you can receive healing from Jehovah so your joy will be full.


Continue Reading

Preparing to Grow

We often hear about people making resolutions on New Year’s Eve.  So you’re probably wondering why I’m thinking about it in October.  My balance and other motors skill are affected by my cerebral palsy.  A few years ago a friend suggested I make an appointment with her acupuncturist.  I was thrilled how much my improved after my first treatment and decided to see her on a consistent basis.  

Although Anna immigrated from the Ukraine thirty years ago, she still speaks English with a heavy accent. At a recent appointment she surprised me when she said, “I think I’m going to take some speech classes, so I can learn to speak  better English.”  Curious about her decision to try to improve her communication skills, I asked her why.  “Maybe I could get more clients and friends if I was easier to understand.”

But with her next breath she started to talk herself out of her new goal.  After telling me she didn’t have time to take classes she finally admitted she didn’t like school when she was a kid. She said “I can get better by myself.”

 “If that were true” I argued, “you would have done it already.  We don’t hear ourselves the way others do. For instance, my speech is affected by my cerebral palsy.  Unless I hear a recording of myself talking, I forget how I sound to other people. I hear myself the way I hear others. 

She was surprised when I asked her, “ Do you hear yourself roll your R’s?

Puzzled, she asked, “So what do.”  “I think either taking a class or having A mentor would be helpful.  They can point out speech patterns you need to change and give you moral support when you get discouraged.     
 Instead of increasing the number of people she can talk to by learning to speak clearer,she told me she really didn’t need to talk to strangers. She communicated just fine with her clients.  I didn’t tell her but I cringed when I thought about how restrictive that would be.  

As my treatment continued, she explained the pain I have in my arm when I straighten it.  Last year, when I started to have trouble with it, I stopped doing things that involved stretching.  For example; brushing the back of my hair and putting on my tee shirts . Unfortunately, my decisions about how to avoid pain caused my muscles to get shorter.  

There aren’t any painless answers. If I want to regain some mobility and keep my independence I need to follow her instructions.

Personal growth takes a lot of  work and dedication.  In order to achieve your goal it’s helpful to:

  • 1. Know your reason for working for it,
  • 2. What happens if you don’t try to improve your situation?
  • 3. Who are to be your cheerleaders?  

Please share your why and what keeps you going during the long haul.


Why Celebrations Strengthens Us

FB_IMG_1503282301563 (1)We seem to be surrounded by overwhelming tragedy.  There’s flooding in Texas, hurricanes looming, and wild fires causing havoc all across the US.  The news I have about the wonderful things that have happened last month seem to be of little importance.  But during difficult times we can gain courage by remembering previous times when God helped us.

My third grandchild Alexandra Joy was born last month.  Holding her for the first time filled my heart with overwhelming joy.  A family friend gave her three year old sister a pink cape that had “Super Big Sis” embroidered on it.  Immediately after Hannah put it on her whole demeanor changed.  She began to strut and dance all around my living room and we all broke out laughing.  A few days later, when I saw Hannah’s cape laying with her other toys I thought about how much I’m like my granddaughter.  As a follower of Christ, His power and love is accessible anytime.  The problem is, I often forget to go to Him in prayer and ask for help.  When I do pray, God lifts me above the clouds of circumstances and He tells me what is on His heart.

Many of you know, my memoir came out last year.  It’s a short a book that took forever to write.  Marion Duckworth and other people encouraged me when I was tempted to give up.

A few weeks ago, my daughter held onto my arm and walked me across the stage as I received a certificate for being a finalist in the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Awards.

The wonderful evening reminds me of what is written in Philippians 4:13. Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

God helped me finish the assignment He gave me in writing my book.  Now I’m experiencing the joy of celebrating with my friends and family.

Memories of when God helped us through difficult times strengthens our faith.  Please share a time God helped you do more than you thought you could.

20170810_124906 Continue Reading