What is it?

Looking through my journals and email, I found out that I was wishing for a lot of good things to happen. I claimed to be “hoping,” but I did not/could not be confident the desired outcome would happen. That is not what hope is about. Hope is more than wishing. [Want to know more? Click here.]

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A New Year

So it’s the time of year where people try to make New Year’s resolutions. I never have managed to keep one resolution I ever made, so I gave up on making them several year’s ago. The grander the resolution was the more likely I was to blow it in the first week. That’s just another reason to not make resolutions.
However, there are things I’d like to change in my life. In order for me to change I need to start somewhere. I will start small and think about the changes as things I will do just for the day (one day at a time). I have to admit, I’m afraid of failing, so I’ll make the changes small and add to them if I have success.
One change I want to make in my life is to eat more healthily. That thought is overwhelming. So I’ve picked just one thing to do, something my therapist asked me to do. I’m going to journal what I eat to hold myself accountable. I’m afraid I will make the choice to not record when I eat something that is not healthy – let me pause right here and record the piece of baklava I just ate. Being honest is the beginning of making changes.
Another thing I want to do is exercise more. That seems like something a lot of people want to do. I’ve tried this before but I usually failed when my feet began to hurt (problem feet) after walking ¼ of a mile. So, I asked for an exercise bike for Christmas and got it. My plan is to pedal for a short time and build up to more. My goal is to start by exercise for two minutes to start with. That seems doable to me. Now to get the exercise bike assembled; something my husband is going to help me with on New Year’s Day in the morning (at least that is what he said).
I also want to spend more time recognizing the good things God is doing in my life. Seeing the struggles and troubles in my life comes easily to me. I often forget to recognize and give thanks for the little miracles that happen on a daily basis in my life. I read the Word almost daily, but forget to give thanks for the little gems He shows me. I pray, but forget to record answers to prayer (and there are some if I’m paying attention). So I’m going to make a prayer journal section in my journal and begin looking for the answers to my prayers. Seeing God work will encourage me as I face struggles.
So, no resolutions will be made this year. Just three small steps in the right direction. Here’s to change. Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmases Past and Present

This article will be a little like the Christmas Carol story, only I can’t tell what the future will hold for us so there’s no Christmas future. The past and the present will fill up this page pretty well.
Christmases past. When I was a child, there was anticipation and disappointments all mingled together in the memories. I don’t really remember the Christmases where I got what I asked for from Santa. The Christmases that stand out are the ones where I anticipated certain gifts and did not get them (or someone else in my family got them instead). A couple of those gifts were things only a tomboy would love (or an actual boy). As a result, my parents, in their attempts to make me into a girly girl, did not get those toys for me. I remember wanting a Johnny West action figure. They gave me the cowgirl instead (and my brother the Johnny West figure I wanted). I also remember asking for a baseball glove and not getting it. I guess they didn’t feel that was an appropriate gift for a girl.
One thing I always looked forward to was going to my aunt’s and uncle’s house on Christmas day. It was a big party with lots of kids and lots of extended family (and a few more gifts usually clothes which I didn’t want because they were dresses and skirts). But I do remember looking forward to the get together for some reason. Maybe it had to do with the love I felt from all those people.
Now it’s the present and I’ve learned from my past experiences that expectations lead to resentments. So I don’t anticipate getting anything I ask for and have learned to be truly grateful for whatever I get. I will be satisfied if others appreciate the gifts I gave them. Making other people happy makes me happy. I can avoid feeling unloved or uncared for by not expecting any particular gift(s). I think I learned that from my childhood experiences.
I also look forward to getting together with family and friends during the holiday season. However, these days the gatherings are smaller in nature and are not all day events. What I enjoy most is going to church to worship the King on Christmas Eve with my children and husband. I also enjoy the traditions we’ve maintained in our family of watching Scrooge, the Musical on Christmas Eve. I think these are things I can look forward to, while remaining flexible if things don’t work out perfectly, and not end up with resentments.
What Christmas traditions past and present do you practice. Remember especially to keep Christ the center of your Christmas celebrations. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Birth of a King

I like the Christmas story. A virgin birth from a simple teenager. A baby in a manger. Angels singing. Shepherds visiting. Wise men traveling from afar. We know the story, but it’s easy to forget what was really happening.
God was becoming a human being in the form of an infant. Yes. The God of all heaven and earth was born as a fragile, bone and flesh human being. I am amazed when I put the stories of Scripture together. This baby grows into a boy who wants to worship at His Father’s house when He is twelve. Then He’s a grown man setting about a ministry. But let’s not forget that even as He took on the limitations of a baby, a boy, and a grown man, He is God, the Almighty.
As a man in His thirties, He had a powerful ministry, although localized in a relatively small area. He gathered men to follow Him. He did miracles (see, He is the Almighty God) from healing the sick to creating food where there was none, to raising people from the dead. He preached and interpreted the Holy Scriptures in new ways. He challenged the status quo and the leaders of the religious groups in the area. He challenged the civil authorities by His actions and words. He embraced children, the brokenhearted, the outcasts of society.
And, because He was a man, He ate, slept, walked about, and prayed. He was fully God yet He needed His heavenly Father’s support and strength to carry out His purposes on the earth. And, what was that purpose? Good news. He was to become people’s guide into eternity, into a relationship with the heavenly Father.
He became the ceremonial sacrifice for all of us. Don’t forget . . . He started as that baby in a manger. Fully God. Fully man. Able to do exceedingly beyond our wildest imaginations. In order to do that He submitted to be the lamb slain as a sin offering according to the traditions and dictates of the Old Testament. And throughout His life He knew what He was expected to suffer, and He kept on the path to that destruction. For our sake. Because He wanted to develop a relationship with the people. The Jewish people. The Romans. The Samaritans. The non-Jewish gentiles. The outcast. The sick. The rich. The poor. Religious leaders. The spiritually bankrupt. All of them and all of us.
How did He do it? This baby in a manger? He was crucified on a tree, publically humiliated. Condemned by the people He came to save. He died upon that tree and was buried in a tomb meant for another man. But that’s not the end of this baby’s story. As He had said He would, He rose from the dead and left an empty tomb for inspection by all. He met with His followers in His resurrected body. In fact, He was seen by many people. Eventually, He rose through the air into the heavens and joined the Father God in all His glory. All so that we also might conquer death and be in a relationship with God.
That’s also not the end of the story. This baby, as a man, said He would come again. This time He will not come quietly as a baby. He will come in glory and power. He will terrify those who doubt His existence and love those who are His. He will be recognized by all people from every place around the globe. Every, I said every, creature will bow before Him. We will all give an account for our lives in His court. Some will be made happy by  His pronouncement and some will endure eternal torment based upon whether or not a person loves Him. All of Him, from the baby in a manger to the man on the cross to the glorious King who will return. Are you ready to celebrate this baby in a manger with all the glory He deserves. Don’t forget the bigger picture this Christmas.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Letter 2015

It's time for our annual letter updating everyone on the happenings in our world. As I reread last year's letter, I realized not much has changed and there's been some big changes at the same time.

My husband is putting in his 32nd year of teaching; most of that time in Fowlerville. We are beginning to plan for his retirement, but it's still 3-4 years away. He spent much of the summer weeding and mulching the flowerbeds in preparation for having an open house for our youngest daughter on June 25, 2016.

I've given up on substitute teaching and spend my time writing emails to friends, working on a second book (very early stages), and writing a weekly blog article. I also spend time investigating the Bible and discussing the Bible with my friends, Kris, who lives in Idaho, and Jean, who lives in Minnesota.

My son is in his 3rd year at IBM in Chicago and is doing very well. Most importantly, he's enjoying his work and the people he works with. He's been able to visit us several times this year including Thanksgiving and during the Christmas holiday. Having him around is a pleasure. It's been especially interesting to listen to him when he's working from "home" while he's visiting us. He's matured into a thoughtful, caring, business-minded, honest young man. We are proud of him.

Our older daughter is in her last year at Oakland University. She will graduate in April 2016 with a double major in Anthropology and Communications. She continues to work at the university's library and at our local grocery store as she is able. She also volunteered for the 3rd year in a row at the archaeological dig at Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City, MI for a week in July. She's not sure what she will do when she graduates but is looking for internships or jobs that will help her decide what to study in graduate school.

Our younger daughter is working hard in school taking three Advanced Placement classes. She's applied to and been accepted by Western Michigan University and is planning to go there next year. She's waiting to hear about a possible scholarship she's eligible for. She should hear in January.

A highlight of this past summer was taking a trip to Boston, MA and Buffalo, NY. We went to the Canadian Niagara Falls, took tours of historic sites in Boston, went to Cape Cod to a beach, visited Cooperstown to go to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and toured two Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes in the greater Buffalo area.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 3, 2015


I have trouble with my sleep patterns. This is partially due to a variety of medical issues ranging from my bipolar disorder to low blood sugars in the middle of the night. The problem is that when I have interrupted sleep or can’t fall asleep, the quality of my sleep is greatly lessened. Unfortunately for me that means that my bipolar disorder will probably cause a swing in my mood to a more manic stage. This often happens during the late fall, early winter parts of the year.
It’s been happening this year, again. So, with the advice of my psychiatrist’s office, I’ve been adjusting some of my medicines to try and counteract the trend and return me to getting good, quality sleep instead of interrupted or shortened sleep each night. However, there is a side effect of increasing the sleeping med. I feel groggy in the mornings and don’t get moving toward accomplishing my goals for each day.
In this struggle, I was reminded of Proverbs 3:24 which says, “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” Quite frankly, as bedtime approaches each day, I am afraid. I’m afraid I won’t sleep. I’m afraid I won’t feel awake and rested in the morning. I’m afraid I will have nightmares. I’m afraid I won’t wake up in the middle of the night if I need to in order to eat something to raise low blood sugars. I’m afraid I won’t hear the smoke detector if there was a fire.
How do I get past those fears? I pray. It’s the only possible solution to this problem which seems so out of my control. And it’s the only thing I can do to get my mind off all the things that make me afraid about going to sleep. When I pray, I recognize who God is and how He’s looking over me to protect me from all the things I fear. I don’t think my fears are unfounded or fantastical. But they are things I do not worry about once I place them in God’s hands. And as a result, my sleep is sweeter than it would be without the prayer.
Now if there was such an easy solution to feeling awake when the morning comes, many of my daytime problems would also go away.