25 October 2009

How whining worked for me

I have been feeling useless of late. In the past I have used my days off to help out in places around Houston where my heart is engaged. This last month, I have not had a day off where I was able to do anything but get dressed. Most days I haven't even achieved that. Two weeks ago I was praying about my lack of ability to serve as I had been used to. Well, to be truthful, it was more of a whining complaining about it than anything else. Fortunately God is able to hear my heart which was hiding in the whining. He took my whiny spirit and found me an outlet to help me feel useful again.

I got an email from a friend looking for help one evening right after my shift at work. Knowing I would already be tired, I figured it wouldn't hurt to be a little more so. I went to help and was so blessed by the feeling I could make even some small difference in the life of women who feel abandoned. The next day brought a text message from someone else needing help setting up for a charity event that Friday night. I went straight from work to the ballroom. Again just about an hour of work on my part and I was able to support a cause laid on my heart. More and more opportunities of this nature have continued to present themselves. An hour here, a half hour there. A chance to take a few minutes to make a presentation for a cause to those who can help.

I had in no way dreamed this was how God would answer my whiny pleas. At the back of my mind I kept envisioning finding renewed energy on my days off to be able to resume my previous schedule. I just knew God would give me the strength to do what I wanted. Instead He gave me the gift of serving in new and different ways. He let me know that however my life works out, I can share His love with those around me. I am finding myself doubly blessed. By taking shorter tasks, I am able to have more diversity in where I invest myself. And the days spent in my jammies have not gone wasted. Those days I spend in quiet moments with Him, letting Him fill me with His peace and love. Even if things don't work out the way I intended, I have learned what every two year old on the planet has always known, whining works!

Thankful for a God with good parenting skills,

jené

03 October 2009

Thy will be done

I heard this phrase today in what may well be it's most genuine utterance ever. They were spoken by a man whose heart is firmly in God's hands. They were used to convey his willingness for God to work His will on the one this man cherishes the most.

Let me explain.

A couple of days ago my dear brother-in-love suffered a major medical incident. One which has left him in the hospital with resolution yet to come. He is taking all this with amazingly good spirits.

His father has had a medical battle of his own for the past few years. Extended treatment including all manner of chemotherapy and radiation have been part of his life. After hearing the news of his son, and thinking the matter over, he decided he needed to come see him in person. He lives a few hours to the north. A trip of that nature is hard for any older person, let alone one with compromised health. Still, I can understand his desire to lay eyes on his son. Any parent wants to be close to their child at a time like that. Neither the age of the parent or the child negates that.

He made it to the hospital this morning and stayed to visit for several hours. When it was time for him to leave he asked all of us present to join him in a prayer. He led us through the Lord's prayer and then added his own prayers. He thanked the Lord for all that had been done for his son, for all those who had come to be with him and help his family. He thanked God for the way God had taken care of his son and then spoke the words which went straight to my heart. "I know my will for my son, but I ask for Your will for him." That a father who was at his son's bedside in the hospital could voice those words, and mean them, humbled me.

I, who often struggle and chaff at submitting, was overwhelmed. The sincerity of this man giving back to God the most precious thing he has been gifted for God's glory made my reluctance seem petty and small. I admit that there have been times in the last few years when I have wondered just what I am to learn from what my life has become. I am grateful for what I have been taught. I know beyond a doubt of God's love for me. I know that prayer is a an intimate encounter between loved ones. I know that God has plans for me even when I cannot fathom them. What I was made to see today was how a pure heart seeks not for itself, but for what God desires. I want to be willing to offer myself for whatever God desires, with no thought of it's impact upon me. Whatever He wishes for whatever He wants.

I am thankful for the chance to know such a man after God's own heart.

Working on being willing,

jené

21 September 2009

Truth Survey

My friend Lee has once again brought me into a facebook experiment. This one involves a survey requiring truthful answers. So here we go!

1.What was the last thing you ate?
Salad and Pizza

2.Where was your profile picture taken?
Scotland

3.Can you play Guitar Hero?
Never tried, have had to give up my real guitar. My niece Laura has it now and is much better with it than I ever was.

4.Name someone who made you laugh today?
Stacy

5.How late did you stay up last night and why?
It's not staying up if you can't sleep, so 5:00 am and I am not saying because it sounds like complaining!

6.If you could move somewhere else, would you?
If you mean the English countryside, you bet

7. Ever been kissed under fireworks?
yes

8. Which of your friends lives closest to you?
The sweetest little girls in town!

9. Do you believe ex's can be friends?
Certainly

10. How do you feel about Dr Pepper?
Diet Dr. Pepper when I do have it.

11. When was the last time you cried really hard?
Last Friday

12. Who took your profile picture?
My friend Vickie

13. Who was the last person you took a picture of?
Everyone at The Container Store fiesta last night.

14. Was yesterday better than today?
no

15. Can you live a day without TV?
Often

16. Are you upset about anything?
Frustrated but not upset.

17. Do you think relationships are ever really worth it?
Totally! Is there anything else?

18. Are you a bad influence?
well.......not necessarily bad.

19. Night out or night in?
depends on who I am spending the night with.

20. What items could you not go without during the day?
Music and meds

21. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital?
My neighbor Paul.

22. What does the last text message in your inbox say?
"Good." from my mom

23. How do you feel about your life right now?
Blessed in so many different ways

24. Do you hate anyone?
No, pointless and not worth my time.

25. If we were to look in your facebook inbox, what would we find?
family, friends and a monk who has become a great pen pal!

26. Say you were given a drug test right now, would you pass?
Yes. Although after the last week, a little narcotic help would be welcome! ;-)

27. Has anyone ever called you perfect before?
No, my friends are honest and my family can keep silent.

28. What song is stuck in your head?
"Heart and Soul". You spend an evening with three young girls learning to play the piano and see what gets stuck in your head.

29. Someone knocks on your window at 2:00 a.m., who do you want it to be?
Publisher's Clearing House Prize Patrol

30.Wanna have grandkids before you’re 5O?
Hmmm. 48 now with no children, don't see it happening unless someone fixes me up with their Grandpa.

31. Name something you have to do tomorrow?
Getting up and making it into work sounds good.

32. Do you think too much or too little?
Letting go of thinking to much, leaving that to my Heavenly Father. He's much better at it than I am.

33. Do you smile a lot?
yes, if it starts on my face it will make it to my soul.

So this will make it's way over to facebook where I will tag Lee back and you can feel free to participate or not.

Glad to have friends who include me,

jené

13 September 2009

Recurring thoughts

A couple of weeks ago we sang one of my favorite hymns during the service, "Lead On, O King Eternal." Now even weeks later the lyrics are still running through my mind.

For not with swords’ loud clashing,
Nor roll of stirring drums;

With deeds of love and mercy

The heavenly kingdom comes
.

This line from the second verse keeps finding it's way into my daily life. God continues to place in my path many opportunities to put it into practice. From helping a new mom find her feet, to guiding a friend with downsizing and offering assistance in a new business venture. I can feel I am doing my part in furthering my Lord's work for I believe every deed of love and mercy does so.

In totally different circumstances I may have found another use for these encouraging words. A brief foray into the political realm last week gives me cause to think the phrase might be useful as a mantra for the coming election season. Gubernatorial races are fierce in Texas. Frankly it has been so many years since my choice has been elected that I cannot find myself too worked up. When the talk turns mean spirited around me I think I will take a moment to remember the words Ernest W. Shurtleff wrote so many years ago. I will ignore the the loud clashing and focus on love and mercy.

Finding a home in love and mercy,

jené

P.S. In talking about this hymn with a friend, I learned that until he could read he sang this song as "Lead On O Kinky Turtle." I will be hard pressed not to laugh the next time it pops up in a service!

06 September 2009

Tough times

There have been many times in my life when things have been difficult to the point of overwhelming. If you were just looking at the facts of my life right now, you would think this another such period. Objectively, I can see all the things which would make this be the worst time of my life. But subjectively, it doesn't feel that way.

I have been this poor before. I have had times of increasing pain and limitations before. I have had periods where everything fell apart around me before. Yet this time, when all three are in place, I don't feel the despair I have felt in the past. This morning in a moment of enforced stillness I asked myself ; Why?

What is different now that I haven't had before. In looking back at the different times in my life when the "going got tough" I realized I often adhered to the motto that the "tough get going." That's just not possible now. Not having the ability to bail myself out of difficulty has forced me to rely upon God's grace completely.

There is nothing I have done to make this one of the best times of my life. Pain is still present. My movements are limited. I have to look for discounted items at the grocery store. I don't turn the key in the ignition except for necessary trips. And in the midst of all of the myriad of emotions each day brings there is no despair. For me, that is the best news ever. Now I find myself thanking my heavenly Father for the love and comfort He is gifting me. I am glad He is kind enough to listen when I yell at Him. I am grateful He helps me to redirect my focus to what I can do instead of what I can't do. I hope to someday be thankful for all the tough times, for now I am thankful for what they have brought to me.

Glad to have finally learned that grace makes a great comfort zone!

jené

27 August 2009

17 August 2009

A week of prayer

My favorite little girls are back from their vacations and I spent some time this evening catching up with them. As I listened to them sharing all the fun they had in California, my mind wandered for a moment to my prayer time this morning.

I am just one of thousands who are spending the week praying for the children who live in Houston. This mornings note had some disturbing statistics in it. "Did you know that 24% of Harris County children live in poverty and a total of 47% live in low income families? Texas is ranked 46th in percentage of children living in poverty, with only Alabama, Louisiana, New Mexico and Mississippi doing worse. Related to poverty, Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured children in the nation at 24.6%." from the Week of Prayer for Children Prayer Guide. I knew things were difficult here, but had no idea it was so dismal. I had to take quite a bit of time this morning settling my heart before I could even begin to pray. It is hard to imagine the city with the richest Zip Code in America has so many children in financial distress.

If you are also disturbed by this news I am asking you to join me in prayer for the children of our city. You can join with me and use the guide for the week found here: A Week of Prayer for Children. Please think about adding your voice to the voices already lifting in prayer. Then find some place where you feel led to serve the children of Houston. They need all the good hearts they can get to aid in their plight!

Thanks and keep praying,

jené

06 August 2009

15 books

A request issued by my friend Lee is the source for this list.

"O.K...... think about 15 books that influenced you--whenever!
It doesn't have to be the "Best" 15 books in history, just your personal 15 that moved you or changed your way of thinking or got you hooked on reading! Whatever you want to list.
Just don't take forever to think about it, the first 15 that come to mind!"

Here they are in no particular order of import.

  1. Anne of Green Gables Series, L.M. Montgomery
  2. The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence
  3. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle
  4. The Wisdom of the Desert, Thomas Merton from the Desert Fathers
  5. The Bible, no specific version but have loved the "stop and think" the Message has brought.
  6. Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen
  7. Everything written by Dame Agatha Christie
  8. When the Soul Listens, Jan Johnson
  9. The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis
  10. The Cherry Ames Nurse Series, Helen Wells
  11. George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis
  12. The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis
  13. The Five Little Peppers Series, Margaret Sidney (Harriett Mulford Stone)
  14. Uncommon Graces; Christlike Responses to a Hostile World, John Vawter
  15. Winnie the Pooh, A. A. Milne
It's a diverse and eclectic list, so it suits me to a "T". The great thing about reading is how it can take you far away or deep into your soul.

Thanks Lee for bringing many happy memories to mind!

Still reading daily,

jené

27 July 2009

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

The past weekend completely exemplified this quote from Dickens. I headed home from work Saturday tired but looking forward to meeting friends. We were going to see Cirque de Soleil. I took a shower and was getting out when my ankle gave way and I headed speedily to the floor. Unfortunately on the way down I either grabbed or got tangled up in the shower curtain. Seconds after finding myself on the floor I realized the curtain rod must have come loose as it was now clonking me on the back of my head. I admit I did find the humor in the situation after I made sure nothing was going to require a visit to the ER. Finding myself the owner of a rapidly increasing headache I decided not to go out and spent the evening at home. I thought it might be a good idea to stay awake for a little while even though I was pretty sure I hadn't concussed myself. As I had been tired to begin with, that was no easy task. Later when I felt it would be safe to fall asleep I couldn't. The guy upstairs decided to have a party.

The next day I was supposed to meet friends to tour the Menil together. The Menil collection has long been a favorite of mine and I get there often. Thanks to the generosity of the Menil family the exhibit is free and it's a great place for an art lover of meager means to visit. When I woke Sunday morning I was sorer than I had been when I went to bed. I seriously considered withdrawing from the outing. After some stretching and praying, I decided not to forgo the gathering. Regardless of my great regard for the Menil, the best part of the day was going to be spending time with people I treasure. It was especially important as one of those coming is a sweet friend who is moving away soon. I would completely regret giving up any time I can spend with her before she leaves. I cannot recall any particular moment which made the day shine, but shine it did! I believe the day sparkled because all of us truly appreciate the others. I feel God has gifted me greatly in giving me these "jewels" as friends.

The perfect way to top off the day came after I returned home. Kim-Ling had brought me home and we had a wonderful time sharing many thoughts and ideas. While she was still here my brother-in-love Victor stopped by for a visit on his way home. Having him here, even for a little while, capped the day superbly. As a little girl I often wished for a brother. I am so grateful my sisters married such sweet guys for me to claim as brother.

So the weekend really did have the best and the worst in store for me and I am pleased to have had such a time.

Dickensianly,

jené

17 July 2009

Happy Birthday Isaac Watts

On this the birthday of the "Father of English Hymnody" I give you his own words from a hymn I love.

I sing the mighty power of God, that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at God’s command, and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word, and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.

There’s not a plant or flower below, but makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise, and tempests blow, by order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God art present there.



So very grateful that anywhere I can be God is present there,

jené

13 July 2009

Praying the Hours

I have been praying the hours in a different manner recently. In addition to setting aside time during the day to spend time in prayer, I find myself often praying "Help me get through this hour." I will confess those short prayerful pleas make the majority of my prayers of late. It amazes me how they can lift me up and keep me going when I find myself shattered beyond my endurance. Never has it been so evident to me that God's grace is not just fresh every morning, but fresh whenever I call upon it.

I've learned much with this twist on Liturgy of the Hours. Arthur Paul Boers once said that framing each day with morning and evening prayers will affect the way you live. I believe my fast and frequent connections with the Almighty frame it so well I have no choice but to rejoice. Many times when feeling overwhelmed, and unable to move another inch, I'll find a momentary connection fills me with the hope that I can do more. Once the hope is there it becomes a reality.

There were several times today when I felt completely done in, yet a whispered plea brought the wish to do more. I am working to make this a permanent part of my life. Again another blessing is brought by my current suffering. I doubt I would ever have found the desire to pray so often had the need not been forced upon me. God certainly knows the way to my stubborn and independent heart and I am grateful.

Praying the hours, the half hours, and the minutes,

jené

05 July 2009

Never a Student Again

Don't let the title throw you. I hope to always be learning new things and look forward to all there is for me to learn in what I hope will be a very long life.

I never want to be a student again as a follower of Christ. Give me a moment to explain. Let's start with a couple of definitions.

Student: 1. A person who studies a particular academic subject 2. A person seriously devoted to some subject, whether academic or not.

Disciple: 1. One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another. 2. An active adherent, as of a movement or philosophy.

I am ashamed to admit for much of my life I was more of a student of Christ than a disciple. I immersed myself in study in the mistaken belief that it was the path to the holiness I sought. I was wrong.

It is in the sharing of my faith I find holiness. I have found the me I want to be in service to others, in sharing my struggles with fellow disciples, in working to end hunger, in fashioning peace, and eradicating slavery. This is what I was after, and this is how I want to spend the rest of my life.

Embracing and spreading,

jené

30 June 2009

never gone




Thinking of a long ago choir buddy's favorite song tonight and knowing the singing in heaven is all the sweeter.

glad for good memories and hope of reunion,

jené

21 June 2009

My Daddy

The first man who loved me,
The first man I loved.

The man who taught me to pray,
The man I am sure prays for me often.

The man who showed me how a father loves,
The man who showed me how my heavenly Father loves.

The man I want to be proud of me,
The man I am proud to know.

The man who taught me much,
The man who allows me to teach him too.

The man I thank God for everyday,
My Daddy!

Paternally blessed,

jené

16 June 2009

Laughter may be the best medicine, but a chuckle has healing power too!

After a night with limited sleep but seemingly unlimited pain, I left the house this morning for work. When I went to step off the curb to get into my car, my knee gave out and down I went. I landed right on top of my lunch. After making a quick inventory and realizing nothing was broken, I turned to pick up my lunch and had my first chuckle of the day. I had packed a Healthy Choice Entree, other than being fairly flattened it seemed to be o.k. I dusted off and headed in to work.

At the end of the day I was very ready to head home. A dear friend came running in because she thought she was late. After taking a moment to catch her breath she looked over the schedule and realized she was not on it. I was looking at the master schedule to make note of my workdays for the next two weeks. She asked me to check if she was supposed to be in today. We both chuckled when we realized she wasn't late, she was three days early! I told her I knew it was going to be a special day after I had fallen this morning and shared with her the tale of my flattened chicken. I looked over at her and we each had a case of the giggles. This makes great sense when you know that we had both started our day comparing notes on insomnia via facebook at 4 o'clock this morning.

God has blessed me greatly with wonderful friends. If you knew Amy you would know that God must love me very much to have placed her in my life. She is quite possibly the most genuine person I know. Add in a wicked sense of humor, a razor sharp mind and ginormous generous heart and you've got her picture. A moment of hilarity with her was the best way to balance out the day's difficulties. Thanks Amy, you brought a cure that was spot on!

Cherishing the treasure of good friends,

jené

14 June 2009

Recalling

Last night as I was sitting on the couch with little girls cuddled all around me I wondered if someday they would recall the evening the way I sometimes drift back to moments of my childhood. After tucking the girls in last night I was reminded of my two favorite memories of my Grandma.

There is nothing outstanding about them, just gentle moments around the house. One memory I hold dear was shelling peas. She would sit with a pan in her lap and I would stand close by. She'd grab a hand full and give me one. I watched intently as if by magic the peas came smoothly out of the pod and fell into the pan. Try as I might I could never get it to go as well. I would snap the pod in pieces, or be unable to pull the string to get it to open. On the few occasions when things did go according to plan the peas would come flying out of the pod. Most missed the pan entirely and landed all around us on the floor. Each time she would just hand me another and let me try again. Never once did I hear a word of rebuke or complaint. I told her I didn't think I would ever be able to do it as well as she could. I remember her smiling at me and saying "Whether you learn how to do this or not, I will always love you." In the years after when I was struggling so with schoolwork, I would often comfort myself by remembering that my Grandma would love me no matter what.

My second treasure I keep of her happened when my grandparents had come to Washington, D.C. to visit us. I cannot remember where we were heading off to but she was helping me to get ready. At the time I had short hair, even so it would often tangle and would require major attention. I remember being frustrated trying to brush my hair. She took the brush from my hand and began to sort out the mess I had made. She worked quietly and quickly. From behind me I heard her say "Just think, God loves you enough to have counted every hair on your head." I was still feeling rather mulish and muttered that nobody else would go to that trouble. For a moment I was sure she hadn't heard me, then ever so softly I felt her part my hair and begin to count "1...2...3...4...5..." I was so overwhelmed! I spun around and hugged her for all I was worth.

As a child, I was certain of my parent's love. To know of her unconditional love was a real gift. Illness took her out of my life long before she made her journey to heaven. I believe had our time together been greater I would have many more memories like these. You see, in all I have ever learned about my grandma, I have heard how much she loved her family and how much she loved her Lord.

I cherish these memories of her and seek to show all the children in my life as much love as she showed me.

Recalling the blessing,

jené

11 June 2009

believing

another day
begun too early
little respite
and yet i find
my soul is comforted
my heart is blessed
my mind is made sure
God loves me beyond measure
His grace my gift
His Spirit sustaining
my weakened life made strong
my imperfection made perfect
His mercy covering me
anytime i fail to see
that every word here
is true.

believing,

jené

05 June 2009

What do I see when I look in the mirror?

So much of my physical appearance has changed in the last few years. Sometimes when I look in the mirror I am surprised by what I find. Yes, I am lighter than I was, that's good. My hair is currently more than half gray . It's graying so evenly that one of my little friends once asked me who highlights my hair! I told her God was doing a fabulous job with that. The changes RA has brought to my joints is a completely different story. I can see what were once lovely hands becoming gnarled and clumsy. I have always had a great pair of gams, but now they are hardly worth noting because of the disfiguring of my knees and ankles.

Growing up I always knew there were many differences between me and my schoolmates. I had to have special help to learn to write. To this day I cannot write in cursive. Knowing I saw the world the way no one else did could have been disastrous save for my mother's words of encouragement. She told me more than once God had wonderful plans for me which needed all my differences.

I think she had more of an impact than even she might have thought.

I can do nothing about the changes now occurring so why should I worry? Gnarled knees and funky cane shouldn't define how others see me, if it does, I can't let it bother me. I want people to think of me based on what they find in my heart. I want them to know how much I love my Jesus. I want others to see how much my heart yearns for everyone to love Him too. I want the world to feel my desire to take care of God's creation. From the people on the planet, to the planet itself, I want to do everything I can to make it better. These are the things I want to see when I look in the mirror.

All this self reflection was brought on by something I read a couple of weeks ago on a blog I love. A beautiful, kind woman had spent weeks finding just the right thing to wear to a wedding. At the eleventh hour a problem arose. I was engrossed in her story waiting to see how she was going to bring about a happy ending. Imagine the gut wrenching disappointment when I realized she had let this snafu defeat her. How could this lovely women not see her beauty transcends anything else she could have chosen to wear? She stayed home and sent her sweetheart off without her. I just wept. She, who knows so very well she is made in God's wonderful image, allowed the vanity of looking good to keep her from facing the world. I want to take her in my arms and remind her she is gorgeous on the inside. That shines through the worst of outfits!

Remembering it is what the heart sees that matters,

jené

28 May 2009

Preparation

I am watching the Scripps National Spelling Bee and am blown away by the level of competition. These kids are amazing! I cannot even begin to calculate how many hours they have spent in study to get to this day. When it all comes down to it, they have to rely on their intuition to see them through this final phase.

"Intuition does not come to an unprepared mind." Einstein

Kavya Shivashankar won this year's contest. It was her fourth time to the finals. This persistent young lady had her mind set on a goal and was willing to do the work to make it happen. She has lived this Einstein quote even if she has never heard it. She won because she could call upon the wealth of knowledge she worked hard to acquire.

This principle of preparation also works on a spiritual level. You cannot expect to be able to discern God's voice if you haven't put time in preparing to hear it. Prayer, study, worship, and fasting are the tools used to get your heart in shape to listen for the Holy Spirit. These past years have caused me to listen more carefully. It isn't some sort of compensation for the suffering, it is that the suffering has left me more time to prepare. My soul becomes more and more able as my body becomes less so. As odd as it seems, I am thankful for it all. I am uncertain I would have chosen to invest the time to get to this point.

So I will remember the good example Kavya has set and seek to follow her leadership.

Preparing,

jené

21 May 2009

Touched my heart

Fired up the laptop at breakfast to check out my favorite online daily devotional and was rewarded with good words that went right along with what I had already read this morning. They so touched my heart I decided to use them here.

It may seem odd to think that God commands us to love. Doesn't love come naturally? How can we love if we don't feel loving?

These are good questions, but the answers we come to are more important. Consider now love, the way we love, and how we love as God's obedient children.


"You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another."

John 15:16-17


I wish it was that easy. Love everyone? There certainly are some people who I know don’t love me! Am I really supposed to love them anyway? Will that really bear fruit? Will that fruit really last?

Yes, it will, Jesus explains. All these commandments were chosen specifically for us by Jesus. His wisdom and love are exemplary. He certainly loved people who did not love him in the first place. He loved all sorts of people, and not just his band of disciples either. He loved mischievous priests. He loved possessed outsiders. He loved Samaritan women. He loved all of creation so much that he gave his life for everyone else. And then, to prove the timelessness of his love, he came back.

The end of today's text really sums this up, doesn’t it? God gives us all of these commandments for the sole purpose of directing humanity to love one another. Kinda makes me want to follow them a bit more closely, don’t you think?

Jacob Bolton


Lover of all creation, lead me in a direction so that I, too, will love on command.

You have instructed me to love others, and it is up to me to follow your lead.

Amen.


For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Galatians 5:14


Being led to love,

jené

18 May 2009

Time to get ready

For the first time in a long time I will need to purchase fresh hurricane supplies. The new season begins in just two weeks. I used everything last year and will need to replace it all. It was the first time I had no supplies left in my many years on the coast.

As I got to thinking about what I needed, I was struck by how often I would spend the spring drinking all the leftover water and eating the foodstuffs. Every year I make sure I am prepared for a disaster, and most years it never happens.

Ike demolished my hurricane supplies and made me realize just how important it is to be ready. Several of my neighbors hadn't been. Because I was, I was able to share with them. It was so gratifying to find myself able to help someone while we were caught in that season of difficulty.

I seem to be having my own personal season of difficulty right now. Just like I store storm supplies, I have stored up spiritual supplies as well. I nourish my soul with His word. I find comfort in His presence. I am encouraged by His unending love.

The fact I keep returning to is the fact there are so many around me who also find themselves in this season. I want to be just as open in sharing these supplies as well. In that I am so blessed. I have so many friends in various faith or lack of faith walks. I can share God's love with them.

I was talking with a friend earlier today and we compared how our lives are so enriched by having so many opportunities to spread God's love to those around us. On the way home tonight I felt such an overwhelming sadness for those who know of God's love but have no one to share it with. Those who only have friends of faith never learn what a gift it is to be used by God to dispense His grace.

It seems that all around me there are people who are hoarding God's love. They only interact on a personal level with those who are already on their faith journey. They may do mission trips or volunteer for a project, but never invest themselves daily in the life of someone who needs God's grace. How depressing! For as soul mending as experiencing God's love personally is, sharing it with others is soul healing!

So fourteen days from now when hurricane season officially begins I want to be ready for any season!

Getting ready,

jené

13 May 2009

Can't get away

I am tired, overwhelmed and in a season of darkness. But it is here I am learning the true depths of the love God has for me. It is here that I know beyond doubt that there is nothing which can ever remove me from His love.

This morning I asked God to give me the grace to face the day and an old hymn popped into my mind while I was showering.

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;

I give thee back the life I owe,

That in thine ocean depths its flow

May richer, fuller be.


O light that foll’west all my way,

I yield my flick’ring torch to thee;

My heart restores its borrowed ray,

That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day

May brighter, fairer be.


O Joy that seekest me through pain,

I cannot close my heart to thee;

I trace the rainbow through the rain,

And feel the promise is not vain,

That morn shall tearless be.


O Cross that liftest up my head,

I dare not ask to fly from thee;

I lay in dust life’s glory dead,

And from the ground there blossoms red

Life that shall endless be.
- George Matheson

I am grateful to know that nothing I can do or nothing that can happen to me will take me from His love. And keeping that in mind means I may be tired, I may be overwhelmed, and I may be in the dark, but He is here with me. Knowing that is what gets me up each day and helps me to sleep at night.

Resting my weary soul,

jené

04 May 2009

Waxing philosophical

Got home Saturday night and found God had answered the little girls' prayers when I found a parking spot right in front of my apartment. I was overjoyed, home right at midnight and no long hike from the car! All of that excitement had me so off balance I decided to tackle a task I hadn't had time or energy for.

I had been unable to shave my legs while dealing with shingles. Now that I had finally recovered I went by the store to replace my razor. Standing in the personal care aisle at Target I recalled smooth weeks waxing used to bring. I had waxed all through my twenties and thirties. For reasons I cannot recall, I switched to shaving somewhere in my early forties. .

So with things going so well Saturday night, I decided it was time to return to the land of the hairless. Maybe my memory is fuzzy, or maybe biological changes came into play: but whatever the cause when I peeled the strip off I wanted to scream like a little girl! I don't remember it being that bad. I gave it a couple of more passes and decided to stop before I passed out! I have become a complete wimp!

I am firmly convinced that waxing should be added to the list of unacceptable practices covered in the Geneva Convention. If I had known any state secrets I would have spilled them.

So if in the future you hear of me waxing, it will definitely be of the philosophical variety.

Looking for a new razor,

jené

26 April 2009

What a memory!

Last night is a memory I hope to carry with me for the rest of my life. It started around my table, soup & sandwich combo + best friend = fabulous time. It just got better from there. We headed downtown to see Seal in concert. Fun tidbit, Lee and I both saw Seal at perform at a concert in the early nineties. We were there separately and it was before we had met. It was such a special treat that we were going together this time.

We got there and found that we could sit together even though our tickets called for us to split up. We ended up in front of a mom and daughter. It was the daughter's first time to attend a concert and she was so excited. I was thrilled to see that Peter Cincotti was the opening act. I enjoy his music and knew Lee would too. He did!

When Seal took to the stage he was as good as he had been when I saw him all those years ago. He has a bigger repertoire to draw from now and sang from every stage of his career. His last song of the night was a cover of "People Get Ready." It has long been a favorite of mine, it has been around almost as long as I have. I have heard it sung by different artists. I have sung it around a campfire, on the beach, at a prayer march, and at a peace vigil. It never fails to touch my soul. I hope it touches your soul too.

People get ready
There's a train a-coming

You don't need no baggage

You just get on board

All you need is faith

To hear the diesels humming

Don't need no ticket

You just thank the Lord


People get ready

For the train to Jordan

Picking up passengers

From coast to coast

Faith is the key

Open the doors and board them

There's room for all

among the loved the most


There ain't no room

for the hopeless sinner

Who would hurt all mankind just

To save his own
Have pity on those
whose chances are thinner

Cause there's no hiding place

From the Kingdom's Throne


So people get ready

for the train a-coming

You don't need no baggage
you just get on board !
All you need is faith

to hear the diesels humming

Don't need no ticket

you just thank, you just thank the Lord
.


thanking the Lord,

jené

24 April 2009



Saw this on another blog and just couldn't resist placing it here. She's is absolutely precious and makes it impossible for me to say memorization is too hard.


Smiling,

jené

23 April 2009

Bright moments

There have been several bright moments this past week. Times that had my heart reveling in joy! Most of them make sense. My mom and dad were able to come spend a couple of days with me. That always brings a bright spot. Mom and I stayed up late into the night talking about everything and nothing. You know, the kind of thing you do with someone who will love you no matter what you say. There were silly moments of light too. Out in front of HEB singing "Oh I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener." Who knew my dad knew the words? Later we went to see my favorite family and watched with great hilarity as three little girls performed their show for us. All of these moments shine brightly in my memory as I review the week.

On Monday my parents headed home and I headed off to work. I worked until early afternoon and then went to meet a friend at a funeral. We were going to support Keith who was burying his only daughter. The service was a spectacularly bright moment. We had gathered to commemorate what to most would seem a short life. Leigh was 29 when she joined Christ in Heaven. Instead we celebrated all she had done in those years. She traveled and lived around the world. She made good use of her creative skills. But the most important thing she accomplished was in causing everyone who met her to love her. She stayed very close to her family no matter how far away she lived. Everywhere she went she gathered people to her as friends. The only thing everyone at the service had in common was Leigh. See, she knew we need to take the light of God's love wherever we go. I hope when I am gone people will think of me the way I think of Leigh.

Appreciating the light,

jené

15 April 2009

sensory overload

These last few weeks have been a mercurial journey from joy to sorrow and back again. The soul happy times of service in Project 180, supporting a friend as she completed a daunting task, the privilege of sharing the moment with one of God's children as she realized the need to give Him her all, brought joy beyond measure. Friends who lost their tiny baby, increasing pain and limitations, and heartache for someone suffering through a difficult bedside vigil ending with the loss of his daughter, brought the weight of sorrow.

In all of this there has been a great awareness of God's grace and mercy. I learned long ago life is better if I relinquish all control to Him. It doesn't mean a smooth journey is ahead, it just means there is comfort in the journey. I have been recalling my favorite Spurgeon Quote often of late:

"The shadow of God is not the occasional resort,
but the constant abiding place, of the saint.
Here we find not only our consolation, but our habitation,
not only a loved haunt, but a home.
We ought never to be out, of the shadow of God.
It is to dwellers, not to visitors, that the Lord promises his protection.
' He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.'"
C.H. Spurgeon




Oh so comforted to live in His shadow,
jené

06 April 2009

Loving God means loving my neighbors




This was the best way to spend a day off! I had a blast!

Spent a couple of hours Wednesday before small group stuffing Easter eggs. My assignment Saturday was to stuff hot dogs into buns and wrap them in foil. A big change from years past. I have shoveled dirt, dug holes, painted classrooms and moved furniture. I am so glad my limitations this year did not keep me from serving. Project 180 has been the highlight of my spring for 4 years now and I didn't want to give it up.

Grateful to love my neighbors,

jené

26 March 2009

Time on my hands

This week has given me more downtime than I usually have. The upside has been listening to several new audio books, the downside has been reading email I probably would have just deleted in normal circumstances. If nothing else, I will no longer feel even a twinge of remorse in deleting emails sent encouraging me to "honor God" "show you love Jesus" or any other "Christian" label.

If this week has done nothing else it has reaffirmed to me just how right Rob Bell was when he said "Christian is a great noun and a poor adjective." -Velvet Elvis, Repainting the Christian Faith.

It seems many wish to qualify their ideas by using the word "Christian" as an adjective. According to the American Heritage Dictionary when the word is used as an adjective it means: relating to or characteristic of Christianity. As a noun the definition is: One who lives according to the teachings of Jesus.

I will admit I have long held a distaste for labeling things Christian. From music to businesses, to books to read, I could never understand the need or even the desire to limit God by labeling only certain things as belonging to Him. He is the creator of the world. Everything already is His. I can find truth and encouragement from many sources. They do not have to be a product of a Christian manufacturer or publisher. A poem which celebrates the beauty of the earth, regardless of the writer's spiritual state, celebrates God. For how can you honor the beauty of the object and not honor He who created it? Many times a song has touched my heart or opened my eyes to a life lesson. Most often God has used a "secular" song. Is there even such a thing? God created the songwriter. He created the musicians. Their work would not be here to reach me if not for Him

I am a Christian. Everything I do falls under the teachings of Jesus. I take those teachings with me everywhere. They go with me when I go to work, to the grocery store, when I pump gas, when I chat with the mailman and when I go to church. They are no more important in the latter than they are in the former. Everywhere I go and everything I do is done because of how Jesus is teaching me to live my life.

Deleting from this day on with no guilt,

jené

24 March 2009

Twitter Hazards


Just a little helpful hint to recall while twittering. A dear friend recently fell into a ditch when she was walking the park and texting.

Twitter with care,

jené

17 March 2009

Wearing the green



In the morning I will put on my green shirt and go to work. I will remember that St. Patrick dedicated his life to loving those who had enslaved him. He made the right choice, not the easy choice. Hate is easy, love takes courage. I need to be as courageous as he. As I am wearing my green shirt, I pray that it will remind me to love those I find it difficult to love.

Wanting to wear the green in my heart every day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day,

jené

15 March 2009

Happy Birthday Mum!

There is one person on this earth who knows all my secrets and loves me anyway. That person is my mother. She is my confessor, best friend, guidance counselor and sounding board all rolled into one. She comforts, consoles and corrects always using the gentleness of her heart.

I look at her and am able to see how God loves me.
All of my life she has been there for me.
When I was headed down a wrong path,
when I didn't listen to her,
and when I came back shamed,
her welcome was never withheld,
her forgiveness never faked,
her love never ceasing.
I look at my mother and realize,
this side of heaven
she's the clearest vision
I will have of the face of God!

Thanks Mum ! Thanks God for giving me such a mum!

love,

jené

10 March 2009

Practicing what I preach

It's never easy for me to admit when I have failed. I have failed again and it took me a while to even figure out where I had gone wrong.

Nights are hard now, finding enough relief from pain to sleep is the main goal of every night. Several times in the last few weeks I have been able to fall asleep only to be awakened by loud music being blared by either neighboring apartments or cars blasting tunes. I have felt angry, frustrated and helpless to do anything about the situation. Last night it happened again. I lay there feeling angrier and angrier. I knew I was going to have trouble falling back to sleep. When I can't sleep I usually spend the time praying. I feel then at least the time awake is put to good use.

Last night I shifted around until I was fairly comfortable and started to pray. Well, I guess it would be more accurate to say I tried to pray. I knew my heart wasn't in it so I tried to figure out what was wrong. I was still feeling anger at those who had woken me from a hard won sleep.

In a moment of clarity I realized I wasn't even trying to love my neighbor at that point. I was holding on to bitter feelings and even worse, I felt justified to do so. It is not as though I don't feel they bear the blame for being rude, but that does not negate my need to forgive them. Whether they seek my forgiveness or not, I am bound by God's command to do so. As I was laying there asking God to give me the desire to forgive them I realized something else I had forgotten. I forgot that the person who woke me is a creation of God's. He has God's fingerprints all over Him and that is reason enough for me to love him.

Thankfully God forgives much better than I do and He gifted me with the desire to forgive the ones I felt had offended me. Right now there is someone outside blasting their bass. It is reminding me that God loves me even when I fail and He will give me whatever I need to share His love with others.

Glad to know that falling short never takes me out of His love,

jené

06 March 2009

Flat on my face

When I first read this cartoon it made me think of how many times when danger is near it is important to prostrate yourself on the ground. In a fire you are taught to crawl along the ground where the air is freshest. If you catch on fire you are to stop drop and roll. When you feel faint you are to lie down.

I experienced a variation of this saving yourself by falling on your face these past couple of weeks. I developed shingles on top of everything else I have going on. The first thing I thought when I saw the rash was "Dear God, how do I cope with this too?" So I did what I have learned is the best thing to do in any situation. I fell flat on my face and begged God for the grace and courage to get through the next few weeks. I fall on my face often enough now that frankly the floor is becoming my second home.

The best gift has been the people who are willing to join me on the floor. I called several hard praying friends and they went to work. I love friends who don't just say they will pray for you, but will stop whatever they are doing and pray right there with you. There is such power and glory in two of God's children praying together. Face to face or over the phone, there is no better gift than someone who will go to God with you. I am so blessed to have people in my life who don't only claim to know Christ, but who instead show they know Christ!

Grateful for a God who sends me comfort on the floor,

jené

24 February 2009

Lent

My pastor has asked the question " What are you giving up for Lent?" For me, the whole emphasis of Lent was more upon what I was going to take on than what I was going to give up. Friends are giving up soda, chocolate, a popular item I have heard this year is giving up facebook or twitter. I think for many the whole meaning of Lent has been twisted into some sort of self improvement movement.

Lent was originally observed as a way to draw closer to God in preparation for the celebration of Easter. The practice of fasting was more than not eating, it meant taking the time you would have spent eating and spending that time in prayer and Bible study instead. Each year I spend time in prayer about where to engage my time during Lent. In this past year I have been so blessed with many opportunities to serve my fellow man. As I was thinking and praying about this the other night I found myself being drawn to spend this season in service to others. Easter is all about the sacrifice Christ made for me. As a disciple of His, can I do less?

So this year for Lent I am sacrificing time and will spend it helping others. Since making the decision just three days ago I have already been presented with several chances in the next forty days to do just that. Proves the fact that at the moment of commitment God moves the entire universe to conspire to assist me!

Looking forward to what the season will bring,

jené

18 February 2009

Kingdom Assignment



Kingdom Assignment




Kingdom Assignment: Hope




Kingdom Assignment: Giving Back



I was so blessed to be a part of this endeavor. Gathering with all those who had taken this journey on Sunday made for a glorious day! It is not often you get so many together who have made the choice not to live in what the cross has done for them but to live instead in what the cross is doing in them! I was touched and humbled to have played a part in this adventure.

This had taken me out of my comfort zone but it gave me the realization that I can choose to take what is given to me and work to realize heaven on earth. Nothing is so heavenly as sharing God's love with those around me!

Thankful for the life lesson,

jené

13 February 2009

Love

It seems only fitting on this day before Valentine's day to reflect on love. In the last few years I have felt overwhelmed with the need to share God's love with everyone around me.

In a "God winks" kind of week I have found myself in different dialogues with several fellow bloggers and friends on love. One who became convicted because his preconceived notions kept him from reaching out to someone. Thankfully he saw the opportunity to change his perceptions and now has a new outlook. Another was someone who was offended by an ad a church had sent out asking people to let God be their valentine. It seemed he could not see anything except a degradation of the salvation message. Because of this he could not even give them the benefit of the doubt that their attempt might have just been a way to express God's love in an easily understandable way.

This week I signed up for this year's Project 180 at church. For the past four years I have enjoyed being part of sharing God's love with our neighbors. It looks to be a long day as I will also be volunteering to help with the Avon walk for breast cancer on that same day. (the 4 am shift no less!) An acquaintance remarked at least part of my day would be spent in Godly activities. Taking a moment to choose my words carefully I told her I believed the entire day would be spent that way. Sadly, she does not realize that everything I do is done for the Lord. You cannot separate your spiritual life from your life. They are one in the same.

I have spent much of this week asking myself just how far could or should I go to make God's love felt. What am I willing to give of myself? I have also spent a good deal of time unable to do anything outside of the apartment. Funny how God can make good use of my "down" time. I kept finding the lyrics to Bob Dylan's song "To Make You Feel My Love" running through my brain. N.B. if you have not yet heard Adele's cover of this you should give it a listen.

When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love

I know you haven't made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I've known it from the moment that we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong

I'd go hungry, I'd go black and blue
I'd go crawling down the avenue
There's nothing that I wouldn't do
To make you feel my love

The storms are raging on the rollin' sea
And on the highway of regret
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
You ain't seen nothing like me yet

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
Nothing that I wouldn't do
Go to the ends of the earth for you
To make you feel my love

I know this was written to show how far a lover would go to reassure his love. But it had me thinking of just how far would I go to share God's love. Before you begin questioning my sanity or theological thought processes, I know there is more to God beyond His love for me. But you have to start somewhere and I think the I John 4:19 is as good a place as any; "We love because He first loved us."

Loving responsively,

jené

09 February 2009

My kitty is not doing so well...

I got a call Friday night from one of my favorite little girls. We had spent the afternoon together the day before and had talked about how her kitty cat was probably not going to be with us for much longer. She was calling to let me know what was happening. I answered my phone and she said "nené, my kitty isn't doing so well, he passed away." I was torn in two that moment. My heart felt so much for the loss of her furry friend, but part of me had to work to reign in a chuckle at her phrasing. As I worked to reassure her that we never really lose those we love, I kept thinking how many things in life bring a duality with them.

Right now I am really struggling with pain and impaired movement. Yet these same things have brought blessings as well. So many have reached out to show their love and given me words of compassion and encouragement. Even being stuck in bed has brought blessing. Nothing like being able to do nothing to make sure your heart is settled and to feel God's love flooding your soul. So RA brings both hardship and blessing. I pray I remain open enough to always see the duality and appreciate the gifts difficult times bring.

Grateful to have both sides of the coin,

jené

03 February 2009

I got tagged on facebook

Deciding Nancy had the right idea, I am posting this here as it will make it's way over to facebook. Courtney tagged me in the 25 random things.

  1. Kindergarten was not mandatory, so I never went. It probably was for the best. I have multiple learning disabilities and early failure would have changed much.
  2. I went to seven different schools from the first to twelfth grade, from England to Japan.
  3. I love to play in the snow.
  4. I have perfect pitch. When I was very young I freaked out my parents by announcing the piano was out of tune.
  5. My first piano teacher knew of my learning troubles and discovered turning the sheet music upside down helped.
  6. I pray for my nieces and nephews everyday. I love them dearly! As I have no children I'll need one of them to care for me in my old age. I am praying they will have kind hearts and the means necessary to care for me in the manner to which I hope to become accustomed.
  7. I have rheumatoid arthritis.
  8. I love British comedy the sillier the better.
  9. I walk when I am troubled or need to settle my heart. Preferably on a beach, but you can find me on the streets of Houston several times per week.
  10. I print everything. My name is the only thing I can handle in cursive. (dysgraphia is one of the disabilities in my learning troubles)
  11. I always unravel anything I crochet, somewhere in the middle I start to go backwards.
  12. One of my old boyfriends is now a Catholic priest! In fact he is a Bishop. He loves to tell everyone I drove him to the priesthood. Actually I just told him we had no future as long as he was not serious about his faith. He got serious!
  13. When I need to remember something I make up a song about it. I can recall lyrics better than anything.
  14. When I get sick, I want my mommy. I don't think I will ever be too old to want her with me.
  15. I am learning to create art using a Wacom tablet. It's a change, but a welcome one.
  16. I have had a life long struggle with being patient. I often lose.
  17. I love to take naps and do so whenever possible.
  18. I enjoy learning new things and try to pick up some new skill each year.
  19. I hope to grow up just like my grandfather. He was a "fine old English gentleman." He stayed young at heart and was the kindest and most giving man you could ever meet.
  20. Green has always been my favorite color, so much so that for one birthday I asked my mom to make my birthday cake green.
  21. Making bread is therapy for me. Kneading the dough helps me relax.
  22. Chuy's deluxe tomatillo or creamy jalepeno sauce is a sure fire way to open my sinuses. It's just a bonus it's so delicious!
  23. I love getting email and text messages from my niece Grace. It always makes me smile.
  24. If days could start without mornings my life would be perfect.
  25. I want everyone to know how much Jesus loves them and I intend to tell everybody, one person at a time.
Probably more than you ever wanted to know,

jené

02 February 2009

proverb

Tonight has been a "Man plans, God laughs" kind of night. I came home knackered, dropped the groceries on the floor grabbing only those needing refrigeration. Putting them away I decided a cheese sandwich and a long hot bath would be the perfect segue into an early night.

My knee gave out in the kitchen and the sandwich hit the floor. As long as I was down there anyway, I scrubbed the floor. Made a new sandwich and finally had dinner. Filled the tub with epsom salts and nice hot water. Just as I was readying to step in, my phone rang. Almost let it go but decided to see who it was just in case. A friend who is in the middle of financial straights was calling. I was torn; I really needed the heat to ease the pain in my joints, but she is having such a difficult time I just didn't feel right about not answering her call. When I finally got off the phone the water was cold. Drained the tub and started all over. Emerged from the tub all wrinkled and somewhat relieved. Opened the lotion to slather all over; I did. Motor skills being what they are, I dropped the bottle with the lid off and sent lotion all over the bathroom floor. Tonight just seems destined for me to scrub floors. As I sat in the lotion I couldn't help but laugh. Only God could take everyday occurrences and use them as life lessons for me to seek more laughter in my life.

So here I am at 10:30 pm having well missed what I hoped to be an early night. I find myself still smiling. There's a lot of truth in old Yiddish proverbs and I am glad. God reminded me tonight that even in the midst of pain laughter can be found if you just choose to find it. I'm heading to bed now, the groceries are still by the door, the dishwasher needs to be emptied, but I have the cleanest floors in town!

Sleep tight!

-jené

21 January 2009

Here a change, there a change, everywhere a change

This has nothing to do with politics. I just wanted to assure those who regularly come here to read my blog, that the rapidly changing page layout is nothing to worry about. I have not acquired blog schizophrenia. I am designing pages for others and always try the layout on my blog before turning it over to a customer.

It has become a way for me to earn something without having to stand. I still work four days a week at The Container Store. That is now my main job and I absolutely love it! I get to help people and work with some of the most generous and creative people around! I will confess however, that it is becoming harder and harder physically. Part of it is related to this being the worst time of the year for me. Constantly changing weather plays havoc with my disease. Winter in Houston is nothing but a series of changes. Things should get better later on in the year.

In the future whenever you happen to find your way back here and see things changed, smile, it probably means I got paid.

Changing all the time,

jené

19 January 2009

Inauguration prayer

Presidential Prayer Team Member Donna Pirone wrote a great prayer for tomorrow as we welcome our newest President into his office. I love all of it but this part from the center really struck home for me.

Today, he stands before you and before our nation with his hand on your Word to pledge his allegiance to you and to us. We need his help, he needs our help, and together we all need your help, for without you we can do nothing.


I think it is important to realize that while it is easy to recognize we need his help, it is less obvious how much he needs our help. Our country is in a real mess right now. You would think that no sane person would want to lead a country facing all the problems we are. No one would unless they had a desire to do something outweighed the fear of the task.

So tomorrow my new President will lay his hand on the Lincoln Bible and say these words:

"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

And when he does I vow to do all I can to help and support him.

Praying for my President

-jené

18 January 2009

Imagine the change you could make


I doubt even Ms. Parks envisioned how far the change she was responsible for would evolve.

Just another example that one person can have a huge impact.

-jené

14 January 2009

You must be the change you want to see in the world

This is my favorite quote from Gandhi. It puts the responsibility for the state of the world on each of us. If you see trouble around you, what are you doing about it? Everyone I had lunch with today is a regular blood donor. They see an opportunity to do something that is needed and take it. It is just that simple. More than once this week I have been talking with friends and they have shared how much some act of service they are involved in has changed their life. Taking action to help solve a problem brings a two-fold response. It helps the situation and it blesses the one giving of himself. I cannot tell you how much my soul is renewed when I place myself in service to others. I am always so blessed and my spirit is refreshed.

Next week begins a new administration. Our President will be facing many problems both here and abroad. America is in for a change. Now is the time to ask yourself what part you are going to play in it. No matter who you voted for, now is the time for us to come together and work with each other. I believe God places each of us here to share His love for the world. I am excited about the chance to do so in this new year and can't wait to see how it will change me.

Thankful for the blessing in sharing love,

jené



11 January 2009

Deserve

I have heard the word deserve often today and it has caught my attention. I was up early this morning to head to church for the blood drive. I had an appointment for 8:30 am. It was the best time to fit into my day. In the middle of my donation I developed a clot in the line and in trying to fix the problem I bled out onto the floor. I was in no danger as my phlebotomist was very attentive and did a great job. I joked with her that although I give every quarter, I usually had the donation bagged, not spilled all over the place. She was very apologetic and remarked I would probably be sore and have a colorful bruise this week. She told me "Here you are doing something good for a stranger and you have to suffer, you don't deserve this." I laughed and said " I don't deserve God's grace either, but I am grateful for it all the same." After a bottle of water and a banana I headed over to the Chapel for the 9:30 service.

We began a sermon series today on love. At the beginning of his sermon our seminarian said we were going to have a quiz in which we would respond by a show of hands. It started off with who loves ....reading, sports, coffee and the like. He then asked "Who believes they deserve God's love?" To this question I did not see any raised hands. He then chided us for not believing we deserved God's love. As I listened to the rest of his sermon I kept returning to the word deserve. If he had asked me if I was accepting of God's love, I would have raised my hand. But I truly believe that what makes God's love a gift to me, is His gifting it to me regardless of my worthiness to receive it. So I have to confess, I just could not get around this point in his sermon. I think he was trying to make us see we should accept God's love with open arms.

When I got home a little while ago I pulled my dictionary from the bookshelf and looked for the definition of deserve. This is what I found:

To earn by service; to be worthy of (something due, either good or evil); to merit; to be entitled to; as, the laborer deserves his wages; a work of value deserves praise.

Using any of these definitions I can truthfully say I do not deserve God's love. I am however thankful that He does indeed love me. I believe every human being should be loved, but I believe that because God has loved them. If I am accepting of His love for me, how can I deny the same to anyone else? I know the reason God loves me is because He desires to do so.


God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, he's rich in love.
He doesn't endlessly nag and scold,
nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve,
nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
so strong is his love to those who fear him.
Psalm 103:8-11
The Message


Accepting, delighting and giving thanks for His love,

jené

08 January 2009

Yelling at God

how can i hurt like this?

i know You love me and sometimes i wonder,

why don't You heal me?

i know You still work miracles today.

so why haven't You rescued me from this agony?

am i doing something wrong?

am i out of Your favor?

i lay here crying when i hear You whisper,

"I love you my child and will never let you go,

yell at me all you want,

I will never cease to hold you in My embrace."

and it comes to me in a blinding flash:

i don't have to wonder if You are real,

i don't have to question Your presence in my life,

i survived today because i knew You were with me.

so this disease which is taking my body from me,

is gifting me with the surety of Your love in my life.

it brings me to a place few get to see,

absolute certainty of Your Hand on my life.

for that i will be grateful.

jené

06 January 2009

If you can't say something nice....



......don't say anything at all. It worked for Bambi's friend Thumper and pretty well for me too.

-jené

05 January 2009

Review

2008; it was the year that.....

  • I went back to living on my own.
  • A hurricane wreaked havoc all around me and was a big hit to my budget.
  • A cane became part of my daily life.
  • Physical therapy didn't kill me.
  • You can make it on $20 a month for groceries if you are very careful.
  • Having furniture is over-rated.
  • I utilized my skills for efficient use of space to live smaller.
  • I learned that what I thought was painful last year, was just a preview.

It was also the year that....

  • I learned which of my friends would pray for me and more importantly with me.
  • I was blessed with friends who put their love for me into action. ( Nothing says love like helping someone move.)
  • Natural disaster led to new friendships.
  • Most of the time I chose to laugh rather than cry.
  • I had proof positive that my family is the greatest ever!
  • I enjoyed new freedoms.
  • In my times of deepest agony, God was there with me.
  • I was truly grateful for everything on both of these lists!
Expectantly waiting for the joy this year will bring,

jené