Monday, March 12, 2007

Let's Celebrate!

(Here I am working at my computer—notice the reflection in my glasses)

(Newly planted flowers in pots near my front door)

It’s time to plant flowers! I know it’s only March but with Eric’s wedding only weeks away—it’s time! I want everything to look nice for the guests. Sadly, we won’t have the remodeling done (or even started). Our tile “Conquest” by Interceramic, was discontinued about 4 or 5 years ago. We’re having a hard time finding it and need quite a bit to match the floor and counter tops. We didn’t want the house to be torn up when our company is here, so we have to wait until after the wedding to begin the project.

I want to bear witness to the fact that the Lord is a gracious Provider. First, since our insurance doesn’t cover anything related to sleep disorders, and a long-time friend completed my sleep study at no cost. Next, my flight out there was a gift from the couple who are producing the “Let’s Pray Today,” CD series. And finally, after returning home and pricing CPAP units (a machine to force air into my airways while I sleep), our friends Kenny and Angela gave me one! So, now I’m nearly set to begin using it, just need to have it calibrated according to my prescription.

Our pastor at church is preaching about the spiritual disciplines. It is very challenging to me personally. This week I was surprised to learn that one of the disciplines is celebration. This is so amazing. As children we know all about celebrating. I still remember our Sara on her birthday. Every cell of her being was full of joy knowing that it was her very own special day. She glowed from the moment she awoke until her head hit the pillow at night. She enjoyed her day, fully, lavishly, with no regrets. But often, as adults, we forget how to celebrate and have to be disciplined to keep it a part of our life.

It has always interested me that the Lord commanded His people to observe so many feasts, many lasting a week or more. Their year was filled with celebration—they took so many holidays that by North American standards, we might consider it to be excessive. The Lord didn’t, doesn’t. He wanted them to live that way. I think He still wants us to live that way, but we’re too busy being productive to experience our real purpose.

Our pastor said—only one fast was required but all these feasts. It shows God’s generosity. His desire for us, is “do,” not “don’t.” “Yes,” not “no.” Like in the garden— one ‘don’t touch’ too a multitude of ‘touch,’ ‘touch,’ ‘touch.’ And, that one “don’t” was given to keep us safe. Fun, God’s idea! Feasting, God’s idea! Laughing, enjoying life, celebrating, smiling—all His plan.

How often do we allow ourselves to be swept away? We can, if we discipline ourselves. It seems a contradiction, but it’s not. Discipline myself to stop working and play. Discipline myself to stop rushing and take time to listen to the birds and watch children be children. Notice the sunset and enjoy the smell and taste of food. Dance in response to the song in my heart. Live life freely. Doesn’t it sound tempting? Yummy? Those who are spiritually disciplined know how to live a life of celebration.

What would my life be like if I rejoiced and celebrated all of the time? If the reality of His constant love flowing down on me washed me away from the mundane tasks into a joyful river of thankfulness as I went about my daily routines? This has much more to do with attitude than about circumstances. I want to live in the fullness of His joy, don’t you? So, this week, I will take time to celebrate, I hope you’ll join me!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Oh, Sleepy Head!

(Here I am with Kayla, enjoying my favorite passtime.)

Have you ever discovered that something you thought was really good, wasn’t? Until this morning I thought I had the gift of sleeping. For most people sleep is actually a natural occurrence not a unique gift but I’ve always given thanks for my incredible ability in this area.

I fall asleep within minutes of going to bed, nap every day for exactly twenty minutes and can sleep at any time, in any place, at will. Doesn’t that sound like a special power to you?

Well, it isn’t. It’s a disorder. A sleep disorder called sleep apnea. I went to bed last night at the Georgetown Sleep Center, an amazing facility owned by our good friends, Jim and Lisa Curlee.

I was wired. Literally. Multicolored wires taped to my scalp, dangling down my legs, monitors stuck to my back and chest, all feeding into a small box which recorded the details of the amount of oxygen in my blood, my heart rate, what stage of sleep I was in, and the pattern of my breathing. I failed the breathing part. I stopped breathing about 70 times an hour. This happens when a person has an obstructed airway. The result is that my brain had to arouse me to take a breath, over and over and over again. Seems I was so busy concentrating on breathing that I didn’t really sleep very well at all. (30 obstructions an hour is considered, severe sleep apnea.) So much for my ‘gift.’

I’m sure the Lord has another special gift for me, one that isn’t imagined to be good but is actually good. But I sort of hate to say good-bye to this life long friend—except that keeping this friendship substantially increases my risk of heart attack and stroke (and other bad stuff). So, I’m going to become the masked woman at bedtime, wearing a small device over my nose while a CPAP machine forces air into my airways. I’m supposed to feel a difference. The fact is, in the fifty years I’ve been living I may have never experience what it feels like to get a good night’s sleep; never known how it is to be well rested; am unaware of the true beauty of sleep. And all this time I thought I had a gift.

Life is like that. We can so easily be deceived to into thinking something is normal,

the way it’s meant to be, simply because it’s all we know and we’ve never experienced

anything different. In fact, our ‘normal’ may actually be abnormal. We may be

unaware of the negative affect certain behaviors have on our spiritual health.

Just because we were raised a certain way doesn’t mean it the best way to live in our adult lives. In fact, as believers, we’re supposed to adjust our behaviors to God’s word. He says things like, forgive, be patient, give a soft answer and speak the truth in love.

I want to do what He says, don’t you? So, I’m asking Him to test me, to probe with the sharp tip of His Word, and measure my reactions, and to reveal any areas that need attention. I want to be truly and totally spiritually whole, so that on that day when I go to sleep for the last time, I’ll wake up and find Jesus with open arms and a smile on His face and I’ll smile back, with no regrets.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


(These are the earrnings we gave Ethne for her birthday. She liked them, but the magnets were too tight and hurt her ears.)

Thank you so much for praying for my trip to Georgetown, TX., to record the CD, “Let’s Pray Today! Praying for my husband and Marriage.” Here’s a short report.

Several days before leaving El Paso, my throat started to feel clogged and I began coughing and trying to clear it. My voice was weak and strained. Many prayed and I had a peace about just going ahead with the trip as planned. I arrived Sunday and met with Cathy, who is heading up the project, and one of the other authors. We had a photo session, hoping to get a good head shot for the back of CD cover. It was a blast.

Then we drove to the studio and walked around the property and prayed for God to surround the place with His angels and to keep the evil one away. I met Scott, a great and gentle man, who owns and operates the studio. That evening I read several of the prayers to my friend, Lisa (I stayed with her) and discovered there was too much material for the allotted time. I decided to cut out a lot of my extra ‘commentary,’ keeping the focus on the actual prayers.

On Monday, I awoke full of joy and excitement. I sensed the prayers that surrounded me. My throat still felt squeezed and my voice sounded raspy but Scot said, “Just pause and cough. Drink water whenever you need. Since it’s a digital recording I can easily cut out those parts.” So, I did.

The five prayers with introduction and conclusion took about 2 ½ hours to record (coughing and drinking water take a lot of time)! The ladies who were in the other room praying came out with tear-filled eyes saying that it was good. I’ll leave this determination to the Lord, I’m just so blessed to be a part of this and thankful that all went well.

Once finished, we drove to lunch. As soon as I got in the car I felt my throat clear—completely. The change was drastic. I told Lisa, “My voice is normal again!” She agreed. Whew! That’s when I knew how vital your prayers had been. Then, after lunch, Cathy returned to the studio to see how Scott was doing with the editing. She found him sweeping leaves and dirt out of the small room where I’d been sitting.

“What happened?” she asked.

“After you all left a huge gust of wind blew in with all these leaves and dirt and it even ripped the door of the hinge, and knocked some equipment over.”

So, you see how powerful and necessary your prayers were to protect us and to allow this work to go forward? I REALLY appreciate your time and concern and for the way you joined me in providing this resource to women.

“We bless your Name Lord Almighty for you alone have all authority over all powers! Thank you for protecting us and please watch over the rest of the recordings! Lord please bless those who took the time to pray for this project. Thank you for hearing and answering all of our prayers! Please use this CD to glorify your name and to bring your life into many marriages. Amen.”

I just want you all to know that Cathy and her husband Eric have committed to giving the potential profits of this project fully to missions. Isn’t that wonderful?

Thanks again,