Sunday, December 24, 2006

"May Peace Flood Your Soul"
Merry Christmas

May you have a season of peace,
May your joy increase,
May you stop and look around,
At the blessings that can be found.

As a baby was here years ago
When he came to us here below,
God is still all around us
It's a promise we can trust.

Be aware and look around you
And you will find this is true
Inspite of the mess
We really are blessed!
- Janet Oberholtzer

Monday, November 27, 2006

Quiet Time

Quiet Time

I’m one of those seekers.
So I’ve read the books, heard the speakers.
Even asked my mentor how’s it’s done
Decided it's time for me to do one.

A quiet retreat, alone with God
Some might think it is rather odd
But I know that it will be good
Just like they all said it would.

I’d sit, be still and wait
It will be just great!
I’ll get answers and advice
I might learn how to be really nice.

So away I go with a friend
Two days we will spend
Our wish we will fulfill
To be still, very still.

We came armed with a plan
Made before we even began
A few hours each day
We went our separate way.

Off I go by myself to find a spot
And hope there is nothing I forgot
Because once I start being still
There’s no way I can stop!

I’m ready to have a go at it.
The candle is lit
On the table I have a leaf and a rock
And a feather from a poor bird in some flock
(I collected them this morning on our walk
Back when we could still talk)

Okay, thank you God that I can be here
I really want you to be near
Nothing will interfere, my focus will stay clear
Not a distraction, not a thought will cross my mind
As I will think of you all the time.

What was that, I heard some thing
I don’t want a bee sting
Ah, look a humming bird
That’s what I just heard.

Oops, this is a distraction,
Was my first reaction
But I’m sure this is okay
It won’t ruin my day
Because God and a hummingbird
Are really close, I’ve heard :)

The amazing thing was
The wings make quite a buzz
And what vibrant colors on it
I watch for a bit. (and then he’s gone)

But he’ll be back, I presume
And my camera, it’s back my room
God, just a minute or two
And I’ll get right back to you.

Okay, now I’m set
God, you there yet?
Thankfully I do know
There’s no where you will go.
And I want to show my desire for him
And not give in to my every whim.

But my toe hurts, this splint is killing me
I better see with the trouble might be
Ah, the tape is too tight
I need to wrap it right.

Why do I need this dumb splint?
Why does my whole leg hurt?
Why can’t I even wear a skirt?
Why did it have to happen, God?
And now my legs look so odd!

Wait a minute, Janet, stop!
This path you must drop
Not going there today
Won’t go back to that day in May
You’re not here to complain
Don’t think about the pain!

I focus again, it’s not too late
To be still and wait
God, your peace I want to know
And my love I want to show

Speaking of love makes me think
Of that leaking kitchen sink
Yes, when will that husband of mine
Repair that broken filter line

He can be gentle as a dove
And that fills me with love
But the same things I like
At times make me want to take a hike

Whoa, how did I go there
And I didn’t even leave my chair
Janet, you need to beware
So that you stay in prayer.

But this chair is really hard
I can’t help my butt is scared
But it would be easier to be still
If I just popped a pain pill.

But I didn’t bring them out here
But never fear, the kitchen is near
Another short interruption –
Won’t lead me into corruption.

And while I’m in here
Since pillows are near
I’ll get one of those
Plus a fluffy blanket I chose
I’ll go back out there
And forget about the chair
I will lay down and be comfy
Then I’ll be able to think of thee!

So back out I go
With everything in tow
Now I’m comfy as can be
And God is waiting on me

Wow, the sky is really clear
And it’s getting hot out here
I could strengthen my tan
Now there’s a plan

Back inside the house I go
This will just take a minute, I know
To put on my swin suit
Oh, this does not look cute!

But Janet, remember, don’t go there
Get back outside into prayer!

God, I’m back again
I’m here to be your friend
I desire to honor you
In what I do

I decide not to stress
But just be still and rest
I need never fear
God will always be near
I see his creation all around me
As close as the squirrel in the tree
And the wind blowing across the bay
On this lovely day

I take a deep breath or two
And without much further adieu
I remember the love God has shown me
And I have to agree
The best thing I can do
Is to God and myself be true

Even if that means my ADD
Keeps me busy as can be
And quiet time … is not so quiet
God loves me this I know
And that makes my face glow!
- Janet Oberholtzer '06

Friday, November 24, 2006

What is God doing?

The last few days I have been thinking about something that Philip Yancey said when he was in town ... "When you wake up in the morning, it is easy to tell God what you want to do that day and asking him for help to make it happen ... instead, when you wake up in the morning, ask God what He is doing that day and how you can help Him."
Thinking about that off and on all day is making me go through my days differently. What is God doing in Morgantown, PA right now? Where does He want me to be involved? I know my family is my first call ... is that all for now or does God have something else he also wants me to be doing right now?

Give Thanks

When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself. -Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Savoring the moments of ... Saturday, October 28, 2006

  • perfect fall day
  • a gorgeous and comfortable home of a friend
  • the leaves on the trees sparkling in the sunlight
  • excellent camaraderie in preparing and assembling food
  • 'Living Room Conversation' from two to four
  • dual roles - committee member and quest
  • anticipation as the clock approaches two
  • arrival of about twenty interesting folks - college student, mothers, fathers, director, counselor, a few authors, college professors, a few pastors and many more roles I'm not aware of
  • Author Philip Yancey and his wife, Janet
  • humbled as Janet thanked me for addressing him as Philip instead of Mr. Yancey
  • happy to express thanks to him for his writings that helped me process some of my life
  • appreciated him taking his 'rightful place' as the guest of honor, but yet not making the afternoon about him
  • happy for the breezes that found the open windows and refreshed us
  • gave the accident story in a nutshell and was struck that it is because of it that I am 'here, now'
  • heard perspectives different than my own and want to learn something from them
  • felt the passion each has for living for their maker
  • savored the moment - the present moment as a gift along my life's journey
  • was awed and humbled by the wisdom in the room and took note of the difference between that and knowledge
  • felt the love for others in the informal conversation after the 'conversation'

Janet is in pink blouse with Philip over her left shoulder

  • fun, adrenaline rush to then quickly head to Twin Valley High School for the next event
  • 'Finger Food Reception' for an hour with sponsors of the event
  • watched human behavior with a 'famous' person in the room (some fascinates me and some humbles me)
  • enjoyed being served by competent young adults
  • event felt big and scattered after being 'close' in living room
  • Main Evening Speaking Event from seven to nine
  • loved the excitement and calmness of the committee members as it all came together
  • as the auditorium filled with over 800 people wanting to hear someone talk about God, I noted the irony that it is in a building where typically God can't be mentioned.
  • loved the fun energy as the music played
  • very glad to have _____ (someone that is lost on their way through life) there
  • blessed by a man of small statue with a big, powerful voice leading Amazing Grace
  • interesting to see Philip's concentration during opening, leading up to his hour of speaking (prayer and gathering of thoughts, I assume)
  • enjoyed hearing about international Christians and the many 'calls' of life
  • wow, no notes, Philip?
  • Bible and picture of important moment of his life was all that was needed
  • walking the path of Jesus is different for each of us ... seek and you will find
  • pray for your enemies ... could our enemies in this day and age be those men on the deck of playing cards ... do you think maybe we should pray for them?
  • impressed with quick cleanup

Reflections a few days after the event ...

  • amazed by the humble attitudes expressed by the ones 'in charge' - true servants!
  • impressed with all the details taken care of
  • loved his wife - Janet, sweet, insightful person
  • appreciating more deeply the thoughts of Philip in answer to my question
  • my question, "My first priority is to love God with my whole being and love others as myself ... is there many ways I walk that out or is there one specific purpose/plan that God has for me?" His main thought was to connect to God daily through prayer, reading, etc and just allow Him to direct. The choices are many and not to stress about finding the right one, but to put my energies into the relationship with God. The path for each individual will be made clear in that.
  • also, loving Janet's comments to me more as time goes on. She noted that because I am married and have children, my first purpose is as a wife and then as a mother. And again, she said don't stress about what happens beyond that, but just continue pursuing God.
  • the challenge to love (and pray) for our enemies
  • thoughts about how the change in our country will probably not happen with the 'right' people in the right places politically, but with the followers of God loving others as themselves.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I can only Imagine

I am fairly sure this video will make you look at your day differently ... take the time to watch the whole thing ... it is inspiring for many reasons.

"I can only Imagine"

Friday, October 20, 2006

Big Event in Morgantown - Philip Yancey

I am very excited that on Saturday, October 28th, there will be a world-class author about a mile from my house. Philip Yancey is coming to Twin Valley High School is here for an evening speaking event from 7 to 9 pm. It is a fund raiser for Bridge of Hope, a great organization that helps single moms with education and housing.

Some of the best-sellers he has written are What's So Amazing About Grace?, The Jesus I Never Knew or Rumors of Another World, and his latest book, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?. He has also written Where is God when it Hurts? and Disappointment with God

To purchase tickets: email me or call me 610-913-1044, or call Bridge of Hop at 866-670-HOPE

Jerry knows how much Yancey's writings have helped me process the trauma of the accident, so he secured me a spot in an afternoon living room conversation with Yancey from 2 to 4 on that Saturday. There will be only 16 of us that get to enjoy a conversation with him that afternoon :)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Real Forgiveness

Forgiveness ... it is so personal and yet can be so public. It needs to be a mental decision and yet deep feelings are involved. It's hard for me to fathom forgiveness without help from the Spirit of God, but he doesn't do it magically, we need to make the choice to speak it, live it and give it. Today is the day to forgive and yet it is a forever process. It is messy and has no clear finish line.

I like these thoughts I read recently ....

"Forgiveness is a brutal mathematical transaction done with fully engaged faculties. It's my pain instead of yours. I eat the debt. I absorb the misery I wanted to dish out on you, and you go scot-free. Beware the forgiveness that is tendered soon after injury; be suspicious. Real forgiveness needs a time lag, for it is wrought in private agony before it ever comes to public amnesty. All true acts of courage are thus done in secret." - Andree Seu in World Magazine

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

'Time Heals Everything' - not

Death is an obvious loss that needs to be grieved. There are also many other losses we as people experience that need to be grieved. As for the old saying 'time heals everything' ... not true. Time and proper grieving will change the depth of the hurt, but some losses one never 'gets over' ... they will always be woven into the tapestry of the person's life.

If 'time heals everything' then the disturbed man that shot the innocent girls in the Amish School shouldn't have been tormented with stuff from 9 or 20 years ago.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Amish School Shooting

Pray for the families who have children at this school. They must all be dealing with tremendous trauma right now, along with a zillion questions. Pray for each child that is hurt ... they are in critical condition.
Also, the gunman's wife and children most be going through deep suffering

(This school is located only about 25 miles from my house)

The Bible in a Nutshell - part 2 of 2

As the people cry out to him, the creator is listening and into the picture comes a leader/savoir in the form of a baby in a basket found by the Pharaoh’s daughter. She names him Moses and as an adult, he chooses to obey his creator after a unique brush-fire in the desert. As Moses prepares to lead the Israelite out of Egypt to the ‘Promised Land’ a series of events that is hard to believe occurs involving a few million frogs, gnats, flies and locusts. The creator does some amazing miracles and finally they cross a raging river on a dry river bed and they are free.

Then some bad choices occur and they end up on a 40 year camping trip. Yea, its roughin’ it, but then again, no one has to cook, food literally falls from the sky every day! (Isn’t that every woman’s dream?) Along the way, Moses has an amazing relationship with the creator and he is given a set of rules (the ten commandants) to teach to the people. A zillion more guidelines are added as they trudge through the desert to teach them how to live. The creator longs for a connection with humans and gives them instructions for a ‘lego-type’ tabernacle they carry with them. It’s the place where they connect with the creator by smoking numerous animals (sacrifices) as they repent repeatedly of their bad choices.

Due to choices, they make along the way, the entire adult clan that left Egypt, including Moses, dies in the desert before any of them enters the new country. Joshua is the new leader that is chosen to lead the ‘young ions’ into the Promised Land (Canaan) where Abraham/Israel/Joseph came from centuries earlier. Following the instructions given, they charge in, take over and set up tent.

For a few centuries, the creator talks to his people through prophets and provides protection from the unfriendly neighbors with various judges. Then the people demand a king so they can be ‘just like everyone else’. Saul, David and Solomon choose to obey and are the first kings, followed by many others as the one nation of Israel (now also called the Jews) splits into two kingdoms. Both nations eventually succumb to attacks from neighboring kings and the people are scattered through out the earth. The prophets continue to remind everyone of the love the creator has for them and they give promises of a ‘savior’ that will come someday to give them peace.

Centuries later, in a small town in the region a person named Jesus is born. Many miraculous events surround his birth and his life. He claims to be the ‘Son of God’ and often refers to the Words (the First Testament) that were written before his birth. Some see Him as the promised Savior, but not everyone agrees, and He is executed.

At this time in history … Jesus dies and is resurrected, and as a result something permanently alters in the universe. For the first time, all people have the opportunity for peace with God. Moreover, all of human history points toward a culmination in which he will return and restore the earth to its original design.
- Philip Yancey in ‘Rumors of Another World’

Jesus has power over death and His resurrection gives all hope. His friends know He is who He says He is and they ‘tell the world’. A man named Paul has an unplanned encounter with the Creator and makes a choice to spread the good news and becomes a dynamic teacher all over the region. His writings, along with others, teach that the permanent alteration involves ‘being saved by grace.’ Jesus becomes the ‘smoked animal’ (sacrifice) that is required for ALL impurities. The way to live is now written on humans’ hearts, as God’s Spirit is sent to each one that believes, to help them connect with Him and to guide them into truth and give comfort, counsel and strength. Hearts are now the tabernacle where humans connect with their Creator if they make the choice to as they wait to be reunited with the Creator to live happily ever after.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Bible in a Nutshell - part 1 of 2

The plot of the Bible and the story of life – a spiritual being with unlimited power and no restrictions such as time, space and energy creates a universe. The third rock from the sun in this universe is a planet called earth. The creator makes plants that produce seeds and fruits. He also makes animals from the dust of the earth that live on the land, water and earth.

The creator then forms a being (he calls human) from the dust of the earth in his image, with his likeness. The creator breathes into his creation and the human gets the spirit of life. He is placed in a perfect garden with only one restriction, not to eat from a certain tree or he will die. The creator also gives him authority over all the other living things, plants and animals. It’s a big job and the human needs help, so time to create again. This time a woman is created in the image and likeness of God. The creator declares that everything is good. Both humans enjoy unbroken connection with their creator as she joins him in the garden to live happily ever after. The creator then rests for a day. (it was a tough week:).

Oops, the humans make a mistake, a major mistake. There is an opposing force to the creator, an enemy that wants to be in charge. This enemy tempts them and they chose to disobey the one restriction they have and the relationship between the creator and his creation is strained. Life gets tough; no more perfect garden, now weeds, pain and stress come into the picture.

The earth fills with more humans and connection with the creator seems hard and most forget about him. But there is one man, Noah who remembers his creator in the midst of the indifference all around him. He chooses to obey and is used to save his own family and the animals. A late step in creation happens as rain falls on the earth for the first time (only dew before) and doesn’t quit for 40 days and nights. Noah’s intense work for the past decades pays off and he and his family are safe aboard the floating zoo. They begin life anew months later on dry ground with a promise in the form of a rainbow in the sky from the creator saying he would never destroy humans like that again.

Ancient records vary, but some two to four thousand years later, the creator connects again with one of the humans. He chooses Abram and promises to not only bless him, but all people through him, if he does as directed. He is also told that his descendents will be too many too count. Abraham chooses to obey, so he moves north and waits. No baby comes to him and his wife Sarah until both are near 100. That means he is having senior moments while feeding the baby (who is this child? : ) One son, Issac is all they have, he marries Rebekah and they have twins, Esau and Jacob.

Jacob, later named Israel, marries and has 12 sons, the youngest one is Joseph. There is brotherly rivalry and Joseph is sold to the neighboring country of Egypt. Through an odd series of events and because of wise choices by Joseph, he becomes 2nd in line to the ruling Pharaoh of Egypt. A major famine happens all through the land, but due to Joseph’s connection with the Creator, he and all of Egypt have been preparing for 7 years for this, storing up tons of food. So, people from all neighboring countries come to Egypt for food. And yes, you guessed it, one day his brothers show up.

Another series of odd events happens and eventually Joseph is reunited with his father, Israel and the rest of his family as they all move to Egypt. Fast forward about 250 years and all memory of Joseph and Israel are gone. Concern of a rebellion by this large group of people known as the Israelites scares the Pharaohs of that day and they treat them as slaves, becoming meaner to them with each passing year ... to be continued.

Monday, September 11, 2006


I was thinking about prayer recently and here are some thoughts about prayer that I like ...

There is a vast difference between saying prayers and praying.

To be a Christian without praying is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when you listen to God. - Diana Robinson

A grandfather was walking through his yard when he heard his granddaughter repeating the alphabet in a tone of voice that sounded like a prayer. He asked her what she was doing. The little girl explained: "I'm praying, but I can't think of exactly the right words, so I'm just saying all the letters, and God will put them together for me, because He knows what I'm thinking." - Charles B. Vaughan

Sunday, August 13, 2006

August List

The first half of August has been very busy for me ... good, but busy.

  • Went to a cabin the 1st to the 4th with my family - Dad, Mom, 4 sisters, 3 brother-in-laws, 12 nieces/nephews - noisy, hot, no air-conditioning, too much food - but family is family.
  • Had a highschool graduation party for Joshua on the 6th. It was a perfect evening, the weather, the food, the people, the fun and most important he was blessed and honored.
  • A birthday luncheon, an anniversary dinner and a committee meeting sprinkled in.
  • A day at my house with my mom, my aunt, 3 sisters and 2 cousins. We tried to make old-fashioned rugs like our grandmother used to make. We didn't get very far, so in Sept. we will try again.
  • Camping at Lake George, NY the 10th to the 13th. Jerry and I went kayaking for about 3 hours on the Schroon River. I loved it and am dreaming/planning to go on some daylong kayaking trips in the future (hopefully)
  • Last day of physical therapy was on the 9th - My ankle is feeling good, still weak, but doing much better. I am having less pain overall, praise God. I am walking, biking (slowly and carefully) kayaking and savoring each moment of painfree movement I have. Generally free from constant sharp or burning pain, but still deal with a lot of discomfort and tiredness.
  • I completed an online writing course and was pleased with the instructions and comments from the instructor. Now I am ready to finish writing the story (book, maybe) of our trip around the country, our accident, my injuries and the journey of my recovery.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Walking in the Sand

I went to Cape May, NJ Sunday eve to Monday eve. with my mom and two sister. We went to see my Aunt Mary who is a cook at a church 'camp-type' ministry. It is an old hotel and dining room only two blocks from the beach. This ministry allows single moms and their children to spend a week at the beach for a very low cost.

I had a good time ... though there were some times of being frustrated at my ankle/limitations/pain.

We went out on the beach Sunday evening when we got there and I went for a walk, I had visions of walking for maybe 30 minutes or so. Well, after 10 minutes, my Achilles tendon started to talk back to me. so I readjusted my step/gait/stride, but it didn't really help, so I had to stop. I was disappointed, but yet had tried to prepare myself for that.
Then on Monday, the tendon was still too stressed to do much walking on the sand. I just sat and enjoyed the beach. And we spent 3 hours of the afternoon on a whale watching boat tour, (no whales, but a lot of dolphins) so there was not much walking on there.

Now today, the tendon is quiet and my ankle feels better again and even does feel stronger, so I think walking in the sand was helpful, but the tendon can just tolerate a little at a time.

I go to physical therapy this afternoon, my regular therapist has been on vacation for 2 weeks, so I am curious to see what he thinks of the progress when he sees it again today.

I think I made a step forward yesterday in another area, I wore a swimsuit on the beach for the first time since the accident ... I wrapped my left calf with an ace wrap and the rest of the scars are fading slightly, so I am not as self-conscious of them as I had previously been, plus I guess I am learning to just accept the way my legs look and live with it. It felt good to be in a bathing suit instead of long pants.

I am choosing to focus on what I have, not on what I lost. I thank God for the peace and comfort He gives through His spirit.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

kayak picture

Since the cast is off my ankle, this is where I spend time almost every day ... Hopewell Lake at French Creek State Park. We have two kayaks, so I enjoy the company of one of several friends most days. I love being out in nature, plus I like the exercise. Depending on the mood of the day, it take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to paddle around the perimeter of the lake. My regular companions on the lake ... a blue heron, geese and fishermen/women.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Celebrating Walking

This morning I walked down the hallway in my house to the kitchen. I live in a small ranch style house, so it is not a long hallway, probably not even 20 feet. As I walked I was celebrating the fact that I was walking without assistance (no cast, crutches or cane) and my ankle was moving freely without pain. Yes! I thank God for healing!

Physical therapy has been amped up considerably with 15 minute rides on the stationary bike and many more foot and leg exercises. I am enjoying most of it :) I was able to stop using the walking cast a few days ago, but I do still use the cane for all walking except in the house.

I went camping in our small travel trailer this past weekend with my husband and three boys, along with 12 other families from the area. This is an annual event at Poe Paddy State Park, near State College, Pa. Last year I only went because this is something we have done as a family for years and the boys love it. The weather matched my mood last year, with rainy nights and dreary days.

This year, even though I have limitations, I looked forward to going. I love being outdoors in nature. I enjoyed the shopping and getting ready process (though it was exhausting) The 3 days we were there it was gorgeous, not a drop of rain until we were pulling out of the campground. I had fun with the boys, with Jerry and with friends. One treat of camping is eating many roasted marshmallows, alone and in s'mores. I also had grilled shrimp and pork, fresh pineapple, cantaloupe, blueberries and mountain pies (a campfire tradition for us)

With the walking cast, I went on a short walk and a bike ride :) I did Sudoku puzzles, read a good book (Rumors of Another World, Philip Yancey) had late night conversations around the campfire, was mesmerized as I watch the needles of a friend's knitting hobby move rapidly in and out of the yarn, watched a raccoon scamper back and forth in the edges of the darkness from our tiki lights and listened to the river for hours. Penns Creek, misnamed because it is actually a fairly large river, runs right next to the campground and we had the site closes to it. The water was higher than normal for July due to recent rains, so the sound was vigorous.

As you can tell, it was a good weekend and I am thrilled with the progress of my ankle. Walking on the gravel of the campsite was great exercise for my ankle ... I used my walking cast in the evenings when my ankle was tired. Also, I am continuing to benefit more and more from the surgery to decompress the damaged nerve in my upper leg, as the pain is steadily decreasing. Yes! I am now midway in the 6 month recovery the doctor had assumed I would have. It will be wonderful if the pain continues to decrease in the next 3 months as it has so far ... that means I could be relatively painfree. I will be thrilled when that happens!

The next time you walk to the bathroom, the kitchen, the store or the neighbor, look at your feet and thank God that they can carry you where ever you wish to go.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Check up

I had a check-up with my doctor on Friday ... it was a good report. I can now walk a hour or two a day without my cast. At first my ankle felt so 'wobbly' and weak, but now after a few days it is already feeling stronger. I walk very slowly and with a cane for support. The exercise at physical therapy have changed slightly, due to this advancement, but they still need to be done daily.
I am thrilled to walk without the cast, but when my ankle tires and I put the walking cast back on ... it feels so comfortable and secure. Though it is heavy and confining, it is security.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Be Still

Thankfully physical therapy has a few new aspects to it this past week. I still need to do the same tedious movements with my ankle, but along with them I have been on the stationary bike! The first day I pedaled slowly for 5 minutes and didn’t really feel any soreness or pain. The next time I asked if I can please do 5 miles, but he didn’t think that would be wise :) But he did say I can do 10 minutes. So, I figured I’ll pedal a little faster for more of a workout … after 10 minutes, ouch; I was feeling aches and pains here and there on my leg and ankle. He also had me do some other different exercises and when I came home, I felt pretty beat up.

And then I was reminded of the flip side of strengthen and being renewed that cannot be overlooked. My body needs rest and 'down time' along with the exercises to become strong.

In the same vein ‘spiritual exercises’ are good, but time to rest and be still is also needed for me to connect with God. And that is nothing new … it was written about centuries ago in the book of Psalms. Here are a few of the ways it has been translated from its original writing in Hebrew …
Be still, and know that I am God
Desist, and know that I am God
Cease striving and know that I am God
Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am

It is amazing, actually it is sad, how I need to hear/read the same thing a few times for my brain to absorb it … as I was writing the above, I was reminded of the time just recently when I also wrote about being still. Here is the quote I used that time … I really like the picture it paints of ‘catching butterflies’.

But there are other blessings that will be ours only if we stop chasing after them and let them come to us, like the butterfly that eludes our grasp when we try to catch it, but comes to perch on our shoulder when we stop chasing it and sit still.
- Harold Kushner

A balance of all things is what keeps me stable … just as physical therapy and rest for my body go hand in hand, so I need both spiritual exercises and being still for the health of my soul.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Day by Day - physical and spiritual exercises

I have been doing physical therapy on my left ankle for the last two weeks. What can I say about it? It is repetitive and tedious. I move my ankle 40 times to the left and then to the right. (I would rather run 5 miles) I then take a stretch band and put one end over my ankle and hold the other end in my hand and pull slightly as I move my ankle up and down. Because I have issues with my toes not moving as they should, I also need to put a towel on the floor and ‘try to pick up the towel’ by curling my toes about 40 times. There are more exercises and all have to be done 3 times a day, but I won’t bore you with the details.
Though most of the exercises feel insignificant and puny and I don’t see instant results, I know I need to do them all persistently to have a strong ankle. But I want the end results now; I do not like this ‘one day at a time’ thing. I would like instant gratification, now!

It has been reminding me of my relationship with God. I want the connection; I want the peace and joy that comes from being connected to my creator. But I don’t always want to do the ‘exercises’ that I need to do to make it happen. I want the end result … living a life that serves and honors God, but I want to skip over the day by day training.

When I do my physical therapy exercises I can see and feel my ankle moving and ‘working’, but I cannot see anything happening in the inside. I cannot see or feel the tendons, muscles or bones getting any stronger in my ankle. I don’t get up from doing the exercises and find my ankle healed anymore than it was an hour earlier. I have to go by the information I have to know that something is slowly happening in there … my knowledge of how the body works and what the professionals, my doctor and physical therapist, tell me will result from doing the exercises daily.

Sometimes when I do my 'spiritual exercises', it is much the same way. I don’t feel or see anything happening in myself. While it can be a peaceful and calm process to read, pray, write and be still … I don’t emerge from the time being a ‘holy human.’ I am still me … at times, selfish, unkind and impatient, the whole package of a messy human. But I make a choice to believe what the Bible, my pastors and others I trust say … step by step, day by day … I am connected to my Creator and my soul is renewed, healed and strengthen.

Just like I would rather go on a run than do physical therapy … somedays I would rather write or speak about my walk with God, than actually walk with God. At times, I have to be intentional about reading the Bible, praying, journaling, and serving, because otherwise it just doesn’t happen. But only when I have done that am I then ready for the ‘long run’ that He calls me to. Spirit of God, help me ‘one day at a time.’

By the way … I have about 6 more weeks of therapy to go through … ugh. And God only knows if I will be able to run again. My doc doesn’t really think it is a realistic idea, he says due to all the injuries, my leg might be too compromised. So maybe I need to take up biking ...

Friday, June 16, 2006

Last month I spent a day at this quaint cottage close to my home. It is owned by an acquaintance and a group of ladies from my church used it for a 'day retreat'. We spent the day brainstorming about what is and what can be offered for women in our community. It was a fun, relaxing and productive day. It was inspiring to see the beautiful and creative touches all around us ... they were evidence of my friend and God's creativity.

The brains are in gear, the ideas are flowing ...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Appreciate each day!

Today I was out delivering something to a friend's house and I was driving on a road that I used to run on a lot. The road runs along the mountain and overlooks a valley filled with farms, complete with a creek at the bottom. It is a beautiful stretch to drive or run ... with the trees on one side and the patchwork of fields on the the other side. For me today, it was a reminder of the many morning runs I did on that stretch of road pre-accident ... sometimes with snow covering the fields and mist rising from the water, other times the spring flowers were just coming into bloom and still other days the corn was being harvested and orange pumpkins dotted the hills.

One memory that stands out from all the others is this one particular morning ... it was spring, slightly cool - the perfect temp for a run, the trees were full of fresh, young leaves and the air smelled of spring onions, dirt and grass. It was one of those runs, when I felt great ... as if I could have run for hours. I had just finished a triumph burst down a short hill and was making my way uphill again. Uphills were harder work, but I liked the challenge of pacing myself to run steady and controlled, so I didn't run out of energy before I reached the top. I was marveling in the fact that I was a runner and loving it. Years earlier, I didn't even like to go for walks, but a series of events (a post for another day) changed that and here I was ... on a challenging run, smelling unpleasant due to sweating intensely and loving it. Part way up the hill, the morning became even more glorious as I heard tunes from a harmonica up ahead. It was a soft, sweet melody that thrilled me and gave me the energy needed to make the final push to reach the top of the hill. There on a low, stone wall sat a teen passing the time waiting for the school bus with his harmonica. We only acknowledged each other with a nod (I was out of breath and he was playing :) but the memory of that scene/setting and the fact that our timing was never the same before or after that morning ... makes the memory of that morning priceless.

As I passed the stone wall yesterday, I cried and reminded myself to cherish each day and to make the most of every part of my being that I have, while I have it. I can't go on a run today (man, do I want to) but I can do stretches and exercises so that when my ankle is healed I can go on walks, maybe ride a bike and use my kayak.
Also, I do have a curious and healthy brain/mind ... am I making the most of it?
Relationships is another area that can change ... am I cherishing my loved ones each day?

So, appreciate what you have when you have it ... we never know what might change today.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I'm back home ...

I'm back home ...
Though Joseph and Brandon didn't advance to the finals at the Debate Tournament, they did great ... holding their own against the other competitors, some being 2 to 3 years older. It was a joy to be at the tournament with Joseph, though it was very tiring. The debates took place in 1 of 5 buildings, so there was plenty of walking. Thankfully the many gracious event staff on golf carts would gladly take me where I needed to go.

The walking cast is feeling great ... I have been able to put a little more weight on it each day and today I even took a few steps without the crutches. Yes, progress is happening!

I am having the nerve pain in my ankle right now (that is why I am up at 5 am) that Dr. Ducic says is not really there. I understand the concept that he explained of the phantom pains, but it still seems odd.
Here's the explanation ... in April, during surgery, Dr. Ducic worked on a nerve in the back of my left calf. It was not an area that gave me constant pain, but it was super sensitive when touched or bumped. Due to the wound, there was a nerve cut off there. He moved the end of the cut nerve into the center of the leg further. Now that I can take my cast off, I realize how much better that area feels. Before I couldn't even wear socks that were tight over that area, now it feels normal. So, the calf feels better, but that nerve is the one that used to run down along the left side of my ankle and foot. The nerve ending is 'irritated' from the surgery, so as I feel pain in my ankle ... if I rub the area on the calf where the ending is, it does relieve some of the pain. Because that is where the pain is, but my brain is registering it as my ankle because that is what it did for 40 years. He says when I am having the pain, to not think about the actual spot where I feel it and with time my brain should re-register the nerve sensations. Also, with time the pain should stop as the nerve heals.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Update from Check-up

I should smell better now ... I finally had a bath after 8 weeks of only 'sponge-bathing' :)

Dr. Sauer was happy with the healing of the Achilles tendon and the cast is gone and in it's place is a walking 'boot'. It looks something like a ancient ski boot, that I can remove to bathe, sleep and rest. YES! Over the next week, I will be able to put more and more weight on it and in about 8 to 10 days I should be able to kiss my crutches good-bye. I start physical therapy next week.

As for the nerve pain, Dr. Ducic says the random pain I have been experiencing on the upper leg is part of the healing process. He thinks more time is needed for more healing and he wants to see me again in August and then he will decide if he should do another process. As for the nerve pain I had sporadically on the side of my ankle ... you won't believe this, but he says the area where I have the pain has no nerve. The nerve is cut off up further in the large wound area and that the pains are 'phantom pains'. My brain is telling me I have pain when I don't actually have any ... what?? He then also reassured me that I am not crazy ... well that is nice to know.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Monday the 5th, I go to Georgetown Hospital in Washington DC for a check-up from my surgery. The plan is that I get a walking cast ... I am so tired of these crutches. I will not miss the fact that ever time I want to get anything or go anywhere, I need to use two apparatuses to help me achieve what I want. I have also had a lot of discomfort and pain with this cast. I then start physical therapy, which I am thrilled to do, because doing physical therapy helps me feel 'in control' of my life :)

It will be a busy week ... as I had mentioned Joseph qualified (yes!) for the National Tournament with the Debate league. Nationals are held at Patrick Henry College, which is about 30 miles west of DC. So Monday, we go down to the doctor, then head to the opening ceremonies on Monday evening. We all stay for debate on Tuesday ... Joseph wants his brother and dad to see him debate :) then Jerry heads home with the others on Tuesday eve and Joseph and I stay until Friday and come home with his debate partner and Mom. I know it will be a tiring week, but I want to be there for Joseph.

I will let you know how the check-up goes on Monday evening.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

"Oh Lord, you know, I don't"

In Ezekiel there are some interesting stories ... one being in chapter 37, where God shows Ezekiel a valley of dry bones. God then asks him, "Can these bones live?" Ezekiel replies, "Oh, Lord, you know, I don't." That is the attitude I want to go through life with ... remembering that God has the answers and I don't. Remembering before I take action or give answers to others, I need to take the time to connect with Him to hear/see/experience Him giving life to dead bones.

Oswald Chambers, in My Utmost for His Highest, explains it this way ... "Can this sinner be turned into a saint? Can this twisted life be put right? There is only one answer: Oh, Lord, you know, I don't. Never trample in with religious common sense and say - Oh yes, with a little more Bible reading and devotions and prayer, I see how it can be done. It is much easier to do something than to trust in God; we mistake panic for inspiration. That is why there are so few fellow workers with God and so many workers for Him. We would far rather work for God than believe in Him."

It is so easy to react to situations or people with our ever-ready Christian lingo and handy Bible verses. So, how do we believe in God, rather than 'work for Him'? I think it might start with remembering we don't have all the answers.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sit Still ...

Sit Still ...
But there are other blessings that will be ours only if we stop chasing after them and let them come to us, like the butterfly that eludes our grasp when we try to catch it, but comes to perch on our shoulder when we stop chasing it and sit still.
- Harold Kushner
I have been sitting in the physical sense for almost 6 weeks with this cast and I have it until June 5th. But my mind was not sitting still. The first two weeks were not too bad, but then everything got to me ... the cast, pain, limitations, future, boys, husband and
the options I don't have right now.
- taken on vacation Aug. '05
I am now trying to be content with sitting still and am hoping to catch some butterflies :) Yes, the next two weeks will be long, but I know they will not be forever. During this time I want to catch 'butterflies' of truth, of compassion for others, of love and a deeper connection with God.
Obviously with crutches, I do get up and around some, more now than at first as my hands and arms have gotten stronger. But due to the wound on my left calf, if I don't have my leg propped up, it swells. And that is the leg in the cast, so it gets no walking motion when I am up, it just hangs there in the cast, making it swell rather quickly. So I can't walk as much as I would like to. I am normally not much of a movie person, but that is changing ... I love movies now. I reserve what I want online from my library and Josh picks them up for me. Any suggestions?

Friday, May 19, 2006


My boys are home-schooled, so when it comes to proms and graduation, things are done slightly different. We have been a part of the 'Community Homeschoolers' for years. It is a group of about 100 students from 1st to 12th grade that meets every Wednesday. Classes are offered for all grades, with the high school program offering at least a dozen choices. It is a program that has really 'rounded out' my boys education and they have loved it. They have wonderful friends there and Josh is sad to be leaving the group. Josh is a senior and he has had a big week. On Friday evening the high school had its version of a prom ... a Formal Dinner at Doneckers.
The good looking group!
Then on Monday evening the Community Homeschoolers had a graduation ceremony for the seniors. With only eight seniors, each had a few moments to do whatever they chose to. Josh loves to and wants to pursue producing movies, so he made a short film about leaving high school and all the good memories he has from it. He wanted it to be surprise for everyone, so I had not seen it before. It was very well-done and everyone loved it ... onto the big screen, Josh!

Proud parents of a Graduate
(one down, two more to go!)

Each senior did a display about themselves, Josh chose some favorite memories of childhood, along with his two prized possessions right now ... a camera and a laptop.


Josh is planning on living at home and attending Reading Community College in the fall. Then next year he is looking at attending Calvin College in Michigan. He and his good friend, Zach, are on their way out there today. (hope they don't get lost) Zach's older brother is attending there now and they are going out to bring him home for the summer. Plus it gives Josh a weekend to spend on the campus and see if he wants to pursue attending there.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Two Books

I just finished reading two books about overcoming difficult physical issues ...

  1. 'Trading Ashes for Roses' by Connie Pombo. (Our church is looking into having her as the speaker at our ladies retreat this fall)
  2. 'A Gift of Mourning Glories' by Georgia Shaffer.

Both are about their journeys through cancer and a celebration of life beyond cancer. I don't have cancer, but their struggles with a physical issue and the changes it brought into their lives I can identify with.

Though the encouragement I received from both books is not all new stuff, it is very timely ...

  • see the good in each day, despite the pain
  • give myself space to figure out the constantly-changing 'new me'
  • breathe deeply instead of reacting
  • forgive myself when I don't cope the way I think I should
  • stay connected to God
  • forgive others
  • hope to look beyond my current circumstances

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Tired of ...

I realized recently what I do with my blog. I post on the days when 'life is good' or I have an update on my physical issues. On the days when I am struggling with something, I just avoid writing here or I post quotes from others. Is that called focusing on the positive, avoiding real issues or wanting to put a 'good face' on?

I have had a few tough days ... I'm
  • tired of the cast,
  • tired of the restrictions it imposes on me,
  • tired of having my physical body dictate my life and scared that it always will.

Two years ago I was running on the beach in CA, today I am sitting in a recliner in PA.

  • tired of "being thankful that I am alive and that I have my leg"
  • I want my old body back.

Though I know it is true ... I question the 'God is in control' thing and 'Everything will work out for good'. It is not feeling like that today. Not just with myself, but everyone has struggles ... this life is hard and I am tired of struggles.

Live With Intention

I came across a verse similar to this today, and then I changed it slightly to add some of my own values to it.
Live With Intention

Walk to the edge.
Listen hard
Listen within
Practice wellness.
Play with abandon.
Continue to learn.
Appreciate your friends.
Choose with no regret.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is ...
Living in the moment - planning for eternity
- Original verse written by

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Between God and you

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

-There are a few different versions of this piece and this version is credited to Mother Teresa

Thursday, May 04, 2006


My fifteen year old son Joseph has been in a Debate Club for the past three years. The club he participates in is in a national highschool, homeschool league and parental involvement is a big part of it. He loves the challenge of articulating his viewpoint and presenting it well in a timed speech. I had tried to talk him out of joining in the fall because of the time commitment for both him and me. I wasn't sure I was into going to the club meetings and the tournament. I didn't mind doing it if I knew he was really committed to it and would put all the work into it that is needed in order to compete well. He assured me he really wanted to do it, so I relented and every Monday evening since October he has had debate club meetings. I attended about half of them. Then starting in February, there have been six tournaments lasting three days each spread out from Tennessee to New Hampshire. Again, I only attended about half of them. At one of those tournaments, he qualified for the regional tournament. Good job, Joey! I didn't think I would go to any tournaments after I am on crutches, but the regional was this week and I really wanted to be there for Joseph. So another parent and I did the two hour drive on Tuesday morning. (her driving, of course)

Well, Joseph kept his word of doing what he needs to compete well, because his debate partner and him qualified for the national tournament in Washington DC the first week of June!
Way to go, Joe!

Brandon and Joseph

Friday, April 28, 2006

Checkup at Georgetown

I went to Georgetown today to see my doctor for a checkup.

It was a good/bad day.

Here's the explanation of good/bad ...

Good ... when he took my cast off and I was able to move my foot for the first time since the surgery 2 1/2 weeks ago, I was amazed how much easier it moved then before the surgery. There was no restriction of motion ... it moved fully and freely, just like the other ankle with nothing stopping it.
Bad ... it moved fully and freely, feeling very loose. While it is not too loose, it is loose and the tendon does need a lot more time to heal. I now have a regular cast that I will have for the next five weeks.
Good ... I get a walking cast at my next visit on June 5th.
Bad ... no weight allowed on my foot for five weeks and I can't start physical therapy until after June 5th.

I do feel hopeful since seeing and feeling my foot move ... I have hope that after the tendon is healed and I have done physical therapy, I will be able to walk with much less restriction and pain. Praise God!

As for the nerves ... Dr. Ducic had worked on a sensitive nerve on the back of my left calf. It was not a nerve that gave me constant pain, but it was super sensitive when touched or bumped. Due to the cast since surgery, I didn't know if that had helped. Today with the cast off, I was amazed how 'normal' the area felt ... no more pain when touched. Praise God!
As for the surgery to decompress the nerve in my upper left leg, I have pain since surgery, but a different pain (prior to this accident, I had no idea there were so many different types of pain!) Before surgery I had a constant burning pain, now my thigh feels more like it is bruised. He said that sounds like it should at this time and it should continue to get better with time.

So, here's what I need ... prayer for contentment as I 'wait' on the Lord for healing and for ... whatever He has for me to learn during this time.

Captivated by the Beach

We are all captivated by the beach because …
Each of the elements of the ocean is part of the character of God

The wind of the beach will gently push you onward,
As you hear gentle whispers in your ear that inspire you.

The warmth of the sun saturates you,
And fills every nook and cranny of your being.

The waves remind us of our ever changing lives,
By rising and falling gently with each one,
We are strengthen instead of crushed.

The grains of sand remind us, that alone we are small,
But combined with others, the options are endless …
- A place for young and old to play
- A soft resting place for the weary
- Some comfort for tired feet
- A barrier from storms

Combine the sounds of it all into one …
And it can turn most any restless heart,
Into a contented and peaceful state of being,
As it soothes, comforts and inspires.
And makes the impossible, possible.
- Janet Oberholtzer 4/06

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

God reveals His Thoughts

We are created to exist in the time and place that we are. Along with creating us to be here - now God provides a way for us. I also discovered this morning that according to Amos of old, "God reveals His thoughts to us." How cool is that?

It is a connection issue ... I need to be listening in order to hear God's thoughts. It is somewhat like the old riddle - if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there, does it make a sound? If God reveals His thoughts and I'm not listening, will I know the way? "Be still and know that I am God."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Quote of the Day

The strength and the happiness of a man consists in finding out the way in which God is going, and going in that way too. - Henry Ward Beecher

Monday, April 24, 2006

God makes the Way

In my last post I mentioned how in Paul's writing, it talks about each person being born in the time and the place that God set. He determined that I should be here - now and that you should be there - now.
To continue along that thought, I read in Isaiah 43 that God is the one that makes the way through the sea and a path through the waters. So, He put us here at this time and He will make the way for us, so what is left for us to do? I guess connect with Him regularly (l need like every 10 minutes to stay focused) to find the path He makes for us.

My recovery continues ... last week my pain level decreased most days. I was able to cut back the dosage of my pain meds. But then I had some major pain over the weekend. On Saturday a nerve on the side of my ankle 'woke up' and sent electrical shocks every so often for about 24 hours. It was an area that had been semi-numb since the accident, but never was painful before. I don't know if during the surgery it got disturbed and now it is coming to life, but something sure got it going. If felt as if I was in labor with contractions every so often, but no baby to show for it. (actually that is a good thing) I decided to go to church anyhow, because I couldn't sleep or read at home, plus I figured that is what the enemy wants, me to stay home and pity myself.
Finally last night, because I was totally exhausted (and thanks to pain meds) I was able to sleep . This morning, so far, so good :) I woke up and the nerve is quiet, so I don't want to move, it might start sending painful signals again if I do.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Time and Place

I read in Paul's writing (Acts 17) this morning that God had determined in advance both the time and the place that each person should live ... wow, that is mind-boggling. He determined that I should be here - now and that you should be there - now. Guess it goes to reason, that He must have a purpose for us each in our place at this time. Otherwise it won't matter when or where each person would be born. What might that purpose be ...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Enjoy Life

Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why. - Eddie Cantor

Here in southeast PA, it is a beautiful day ... sunny, temps in the high 70's. My living room is filled with beautiful spring flowers brought by many wonderful friends. As I looked out the window this morning I saw robins dancing on their spindly little legs and now I hear birds through the open door, singing cheerfully. I plan on spending some of the afternoon on the deck in my lounge chair, enjoying the day! Because I have the opportunity to go through the day slowly and not miss where I am going and why :)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Big Storm?

Saw this quote this morning and my thoughts are along this line today ... "Stop telling God how big your storm is. Instead, tell the storm how big your God is." Yes, this chapter in my recovery, this pain and these crutches are yet another 'storm' ... but God is much bigger and He sees the big picture of all that He can use this for and all I can learn during this time. I want to stop seeing only the storms, instead I want to believe and have more faith in God in the midst of the storms.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Day by Day

Recovering since Thursday has been okay. No major issues ... just taking it easy, taking pain meds and antibiotics. Thankfully, I am not nauseated anymore. I spend my time on the recliner or laying down, with a little walking on my crutches. I have stitches at four different places, two where Dr. Sauer worked on each ankle and two where Dr. Ducic worked on sensitive nerves.

Dr. Sauer stretched the Achilles tendon of my left ankle (non weight-bearing for 6 weeks) and removed two screws from my right ankle. The incision on my right ankle was very sensitive for a day or two, but is now feeling fairly good. So as time goes on, walking on the crutches should be easier.

When I had seen Dr. Ducic back in February, he told me he can either cut or decompress the damaged nerve in my left thigh and he was leaning towards cutting it. That would mean instant relief from the burning pain I have had for over a year (YES)! It would also mean a numb area for the rest of my life. Decompressing the nerve might/should/could relieve the pain, but no guarantees. When I saw him on Wednesday he decided he wanted to try to decompress it because he thought it might work and he didn't want me to have a numb area on my leg for the rest of my life. I was not a happy girl ... I had been planning on waking up from surgery with no burning pain and now he was telling me decompressing might work, he thinks it should, but he couldn't promise me it would. Because decompressing is reopening a damaged nerve, it might not work instantly, but slowly over the next days/weeks/months the pain might get better. And if it doesn't ... then I can come back to him and get the nerve cut at that time. Needless to say, I was not happy to hear he wanted to try this option, but he is the expert and so what could I say.

Today I can say the decompressing did help, I do not have the burning pain, Praise God! I do have some annoying tingling sensations, but they should go away with time as the nerves heal more.

So, day by day I move forward in another chapter of my recovery.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Surgery Report

Surgery went well and we will be home around 7pm today. I am in pain so pray for that.

- posted by josh

Yes, home the same day. Though I was nervous about driving home today, I am now very happy to be back in my house on my recliner. They gave me some type of 18-hour pain med and said that it would be better to drive home today when that was in effect, then tomorrow.

Both parts of the surgery went well and Dr. Sauer didn't have to make as long an incision as he thought he might need to at the ankle, so they released me around 3pm.
Took my meds as soon as I got home, throw them up promptly, tired to eat a little, then took more meds. Staying down for about an hour now.
Pain of left ankle is bad ... it is in a position that is has not been in for about 2 years and held firmly there with a cast.

Forgiveness is not an Event; it is a Way

A few days ago, I read this ... Art is not a Thing; it is a Way.
I have been learning recently ... Forgiveness is not an Event; it is a Way.

Step by step, I am learning that forgiveness is a choice ... that it doesn't just happen on its own. I suppose my unthought-out sense of forgiveness was that it was some event of letting go that would return things to normalcy. That is not the case. Now I am beginning to understand that forgiveness is a journey, a way of being ... not an event. It is not about restoring things to some magical place where the reality of our lives did not happen. It is about relying on the Spirit of God to give me what I need to walk in forgiveness each day. It is also about establishing spiritual practices where I let go of the parts of my soul that are still living in the past. During bad moments it is hard for me to accept all that happened, changed and is challenging in my life. But I don't want to stay there. I want to forgive ... I want to walk in kindness, love and peace. Practicing forgiveness is like a rigorous marathon, but it is freeing. And a practice it is, because there is no 'right' way that brings peace on every step of the journey. But as the quote at the top of this blogsite says .. if I want to take a journey, it starts with a step.
-some thoughts from Time's Fool

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Surgery Week

My surgery is this Thursday, the 13th at 8 AM at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington DC.
Jerry and I will head down on Wednesday morning as I have appointments with both specialists in the afternoon. Then I need to be at the hospital at 6 AM on Thursday morning, so we will stay in a hotel that night. Any suggestions in the DC area?
We should have some time to explore some of the city that afternoon and evening ... I am hoping there are still some cherry blossoms left to see as I have never been to DC in the spring. The doctors are assuming I will only have to stay one night, so Jerry will stay down also and then hopefully we will both be home on Friday. I will have a cast and be using crutches. I will need to go back down for follow up visits in two weeks and then every four weeks for a while.

I am thankful I live 'in such a time as this' that there are the skills and technology to help give me more mobility and hopefully less pain. I am even more thankful that I have the hope of comfort and peace from God's spirit in me ... that I don't have to go through this alone.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Enjoying God's presence in solitude

Enjoying God's presence in solitude - by Lance Witt

You were designed to enjoy the presence of God, but that's easier said than done. Everything in our culture seems to keep us from experiencing that solitude. We live in an age of continuous activity that consumes all of our time and attention, but it cannot satisfy our soul. By the way a lot of us live, you would think that we believe the bumper sticker theology that says, "Jesus is coming soon. Look busy."
Hurry is a devious enemy of the soul. In our rush to accomplish much and live life to the fullest, we rob ourselves of some of life's richest moments. Following Jesus cannot be a sprint.
The goal of solitude is not so much to unplug from my crazy world, as it is to change frequencies so that I can hear the Father. But how do we do it? It will take some work and cultivation. Psalm 143: 5-10 gives us a great template for our endeavor.

Psalm 143:5-10 (NIV)
[5]I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.
[6] I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
[7] Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
[8] Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
[9] Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in you.
[10] Teach me to do your will, for you are my God;
may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Another Chapter in my Recovery

I have scheduled a surgery on my left leg ... another chapter in my recovery. It will be in three weeks on Thursday, April 13th at Georgetown University Hospital in Washingtown, DC. I will be in the hospital for a night or two.

After a consultation a few weeks ago, I had to process/pray/think/decide about my options.

This is what will happen, one time in the operating room (I've been there enough:) with two procedures planned ...
Dr. Sauer (orthopedic surgeon, specializing in feet & ankles) will stretch the Achilles tendon and release the joint capsule to give me more movement in my left ankle. I have been confident that I want to have that surgery, but I had some reservations about the surgery on the damaged nerve in my upper leg. Dr. Ducic, a neurologist, said that he could cut the nerve that is giving me a lot of burning pain. I will then have a numb area on my thigh. Though he had assured me it won't affect the function of my leg, I was concerned about that ... because once you cut a nerve it is gone :(

Well, God is good and he provided me with someone to talk to that could give me first hand experience. Jerry's brother-in-law's friend (did you get that:) was injured in an accident about 6 years ago and he had a wound on his upper leg that severed a nerve. He didn't have to decide whether or not to cut it ... it was cut during the accident. I talked to him yesterday and he saw no problem with me having the surgery, because he has no issues with his upper leg functioning properly and the numb spot doesn't bother him at all. He confirmed what Dr. Ducic told me should happen ... the area that is numb is getting smaller as some other nerves of the leg have taken over some of the numb area. Our bodies have been created in an amazing way, to heal themselves. Also, he said he has no pain ... no pain, that is hard to imagine! I know I will still have other aches and pains due to all the injuries I had, but the worst of my pain, the constant burning, is from this damaged nerve.

So after the conversation with him, I called the surgery coordinators and everything is set to happen on the 13th, after that I will have a cast and be on crutches for 6 weeks :( then a walking cast for 6 more weeks and then physical therapy. I have other ways I would rather spend my spring and early summer, but I look forward to the end results.

Since finalizing everything this morning ... I have had a few moments of "I don't want to do this, yes I do, no, yes, maybe ..." But that is just my 'surface feelings' ... I do have peace about it and I want the end result of less pain and more movement (hopefully)

Tomorrow I go for the pre-op tests at my local doctor, so the process begins ...

I ask you for your prayers as I prepare for and go through this process. Thank you.


It really doesn't matter if the person who hurt you deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. You have things to do and you want to move on. Real Live Preacher

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Living Fully Alive

Forgiveness is an ironic thing ... so opposite from what the tapes/thoughts in my head would tell me. If I say something that I realize later was unkind and might have hurt another person, I think that if I don't quite feel forgiven, then I will be 'better' from now on ... like my sense of shame/guilt will make me be 'better' and help me remember not to do that again. When the truth is ... that will bog me down!
If I skip too many days of spending time with God (reading/praying/mediating) or even just being aware of Him as I go through my day, I want to walk around in shame, kicking myself for the lack of self-discipline. But does that make me enjoy spending time with God and seeing Him as the loving Father that He is ... NO! ... it can actually keep me from doing it because I feel so ashamed.

On the other side of the coin, if I ask God for forgivenss (and the person, if the situation merits it) and allow myself to receive it in my spirit, I am free ... free to be the person God wants me to be - free to 'talk' with Him all the time, free to love, to encourage and to forgive others. And living in that freedom, is when I will be fully alive.
The glory of God can be seen in a person living fully alive!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Do not worry

Do not worry ... when you realize that you have not yet arrived. After all, there would be no journey if you had nowhere left to go.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Missing warm weather

The last few days had been warm ... this morning winter is back. It is in the 30's and cold and windy. I am waiting ... waiting for warmer weather and waiting to hear back from my doctors about the potential surgery. My husband reminds me, "They are busy, you are not their only patient." I know, but I would like to move forward with this.

This cold weather makes me miss Florida, so here are some pictures from my trip down there in January.

Jonathan loves to feed (torment) the seagulls.

The mug says on "life is good"


Friday, March 10, 2006


Last evening, I heard an amazing woman speak ... Lori Todaro. This is a woman that has dealt with too many losses in her life and yet she moves forward triumphantly. She knows 'it is not all about her' but as she so passionately told us 'it is all about God and His plan'. And our part of that is to make a positive difference in people's lives we come into contact with.
She has four sons and one of them suffers from a rare genetic disorder known as Periodic Fever Syndrome. Her days are filled with doctor visits, shots, watching him in pain, meds, trying to find the best treatment for him, etc. and yet she has time to connect with the clerks in Wal-mart if they look like they are having a bad day. What a woman!

Check out her website ...
(check that out! Her website name is the same as my blogsite:)

Here's a paragraph from in her book ...

My enthusiasm for life has been strength for me. I embrace each day. I am glad I am able to do that. Someone recently said to me, “I admire how you never give up!” I was touched by that comment, but I was also a little puzzled. What choice do I have? My dad is dead! My son is sick! My mom is gone! What choice do I have? If I don’t embrace each day, what message am I sending to my boys? What environment am I creating for my husband? What kind of friend would I be? More importantly, what kind of Christian would I be? Believing that I will see my parents again and knowing that God will take care of my son and our family, why would I not rejoice and celebrate each day? - Lori Todaro

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Ice Photos

This was the world in our area yesterday morning. We had a combination of rain/ice/sleet overnight and as the sun came out, this is how the trees looked. Reminds me of scenes from 'The Chronicles of Narnia'.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Clear Vision

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart ...
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
- Carl Jung

Through-out each of our lives, we are on many different journeys ... education, marriage, careers, parenting ... just to mention a few. Those are all good and wonderful journeys and each of those journeys will be enhanced if we are brave enough to take the journey inward to our own hearts. To take the time to stop, wait, rest ... to be still and know that God is God and that He wants to speak to each of us. We are His precious creation, created in His image.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Opinions from Specialists

I love the wacky, unplanned way life works sometimes ... unplanned to me, but not unplanned to God, I assume.
Right before Christmas I was shopping and ran into Martha. Martha is a women that I causally knew over the past decade or so. She is a friend of a friend and she used to shop at our garden center. Then in late 2004, when I was doing physical therapy, Martha was also doing therapy for a hip issue she was dealing with. We didn't connect a lot during therapy because it took most of my energy to concentrate on what I needed to do, but we had the connection of health issues.
As we stopped and talked in December, I was happy to hear that a surgery had taken care of the pain she had been dealing with for some time. She encouraged me to check out Georgetown University at Washington DC where she had the surgery done that gave her relief.

Last week, Jerry and I took the trek to DC for opinions on what, if anything can be done for my left leg. There are three issues I want addressed ... the pain in my thigh from the damaged nerves, the limited range of motion in my ankle and my scared/deformed calf.

I had an appointment with Dr. Ducic - a reconstructive plastic surgeon that also specializes in chronic post-traumatic pain. I also wanted to see Dr. Attinger, the head of the reconstructive plastic surgery department. He was on call in the ER that day, but his nurse said she would have him called up if he was not tied up at the time I was there.

To make a long story short ... by four in the afternoon, I had seen not one, not two, but three specialists. Someone other than me was planning the day! The third doctor I saw was Dr. Sauer, an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in feet and ankles. After having him recommended by Dr. Ducic and Dr. Attinger as the orthopedic surgeon that could help bring more movement to my ankle, I walked into his office just as his nurse hung up the phone from a late afternoon cancellation :)

Dr. Sauer can do a surgery to stretch my Achilles tendons and loosen up my ankle joint that would give me more range of motion and make walking easier. The recovery from this surgery is a process that involves a cast for 6 weeks and no weight on my foot for that time ... so back on crutches :( and after that back to physical therapy.
Dr. Ducic feels as if most of my thigh pain is from one 'nerve branch'. He can perform a surgery that will deaden the nerve and that should take care of the pain, though I will have some numb areas on my thigh. Numbness beats pain anyday :)
Dr. Ducic and Dr. Attinger feel as if the risks are too high to do surgery to improve the look of my left calf. The leg and foot is very compromised from the lose of so much soft tissue (picture of leg ) that a surgery would put me in danger of infections and/or blood clots that could lead to the lose of the foot. After all I have been through, I don't want to risk that either, I can learn to live with the way it looks.

Both procedures, nerve and ankle, can be done at the same time during one visit to the operating room and would require a few nights spent in the hospital. Pray for me as I process/think/plan for all this.

The one thing God did for me through-out the day was remind me of the miracles that happened for me to be where I am today. All the doctors (and their assistants) were amazed due to the size of the injury that my foot did not have to be amputated at the time of the accident and how well it functions now. Their amazement brought me humbly and gratefully to God in thankfulness. He is a good God ... I need to focus on what I have, not on what I lost!

So I praise this wacky, unplanned life ...
-Martha going shopping that night in December
-Finding a doctor that specializes in lower leg injuries
-Seeing three doctors in one day
-Hope for freedom from pain


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Coming Home from Florida

I have a friend Bev, in Morgantown, that has a house in Florida near Orlando. They use the house mostly for her husband's workers that work in Florida during the winter. She goes down a few times a year and she coordinated her trip with mine this year. So along with spending time with my parents, I spent the weekend at her house ... it was a fun, relaxing time. Then she and her son Bennet, traveled home with us on Wednesday.
The flight home was interesting ... we were quite the entourage in the airport. My sister, Rosene has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair, Jonathan (age 12), Bev, Bennet (almost 2) and myself with my leg issues.
Even though we had more carry-on bags than we needed (how much is really needed for a 2 1/2 hour flight?) I still had to add a coffee from Starbucks to the mix. When leaving Philly, I only had to show my photo ID one time. The security officials at Tampa Airport are either more suspicious or more cautious because I had to show my ID to a million different officials at different checkpoints and each time I put it back into my wallet and then into my backpack purse and then put the purse back on my back, because I thought it would be the last time. So, yes each time they needed to see it I had to do the process all over again. While going through security we were taken in all different directions. Because you can't trust anyone, my poor sister Rosene in a wheelchair always gets a total 'pat-down' by an officer (female). Bev and Bennet were taken to another area because of his stroller. Meanwhile Jon and I put everything, except 'one layer of clothes on our backs' in the generic gray tubs and then on the other side of the metal detectors we reassembled everything ... put our sweatshirts back on, Jon takes his game boy and CD player, each in their own carrying case, I put my backpack purse on (for the zillionth time) Jon gets his backpack, I take the camera case, Jon takes the tote bag, I get Rosene's tote bag and of course, my cup of coffee. During the last time I had to show my ID, I set the coffee down and there was a connection between a toy and my cup, and that wonderful, slightly sweetened, with a shake or two of cinnamon, just-right cup of Starbucks coffee is now decorating the carpet at the Tampa airport :(

Announcement ... the plane is delayed ...
Thankfully for only 15 minutes.

Bev gets nauseated while flying and I was having pain, slightly more than normal, but after each of us had fueled up on our medications of choice, we have a fairly peaceful and uneventful flight home after the circus at the airport. I even successfully complete a few Sudoku puzzles ... don't ask me why, but that is a satisfying sense of accomplishment.

Thankfully when we arrive in Philly, there is an electrical cart in the corridor and the driver cheerfully takes us and our 'stuff' almost to baggage and after a short walk, we are there and see Jerry already collecting our bags. Thank you God!

Saturday, February 04, 2006


I am enjoying some warmer weather right now. My parents go to Florida for a few months each winter. Last Saturday my sister, my son Jonathan and I flew down for twelve days. We have spent a few great days on the beach ... weather was sunny and near 80's. Now the last few days have been rainy and in the high 60's. Hopefully we will have a few more nice days before Wednesday when we fly home.
I just finished watching the movie 'The End of the Spear'. If you have a chance, to see it!! Great movie ... sad, but good.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Faith in the Unknown

I have been asking questions since the day I could talk ... and I like answers to everything. My thought used to be, if I just keep asking, searching, reading ... someone, somewhere should somehow be able to answer all my questions. Lately I have been hearing another message from a few different sources. It is refreshing and helping me find a balance.

First: Audrey is a spiritual Mother to me ... she told me after the accident that she will walk with me and help me process this part of my journey. She graciously listens, she introduces me to great authors and she shares her life experience (both positive and negative) with me. Recently she has been talking about the 'mysteries' of life ... she said that there will always be mysteries, things that we will not understand or questions that we will not have answered.
Second: Out of the mouth of babes ... my big, strapping, handsome, thoughtful son. He recently shared some of his thoughts at an event with other teens. He is tired of people that feel as if they have to have an answer for everything, especially in the things that are not of this world. He feels there are some things we, as puny humans, will not have answers to. He said that believers are especially quilty of this ... talking about their 'faith' all the time and yet, wanting and/or acting as if they have all the answers. He concluded with this ... if all the answers were known, we would not need faith.

Okay, the same message from both generations around me ... now if I will listen and learn from those older and those younger. And also learn to be comfortable with "I don't know."

Sometimes it is still hard to get my mind around the fact and the ways of God. In my spirit ... yes He is real. But sometimes, He's not real in my head. Go through a typical day and life is tangible. It is real ... I see, smell, hear, feel and taste many things all day.
But there is another world that is not so tangible and not so clear ... I don't connect with it in the physical ways that I do this world. Instead it is a connection with my spirit ... a feeling within ... a sense that there is more than this ... a belief in the things not seen, heard, felt, smelled and tasted with my physical body. That belief or faith is what allows me to see God all around me, to see His fingerprints on my life, even in the mysteries.

Monday, January 23, 2006

'Fingerprints of God'

I am doing a study for 8 weeks called 'Fingerprints of God' by Jennifer Rothschild. This week is focused on God creating us as His Masterpiece and on the fact that he sees us, hears us and wants us to recognize His touch in our lives.

When God created the natural world and the animals, He spoke it all into being ... He said "Let it be" and it was. When He was ready to create mankind, He took dust from the ground and 'formed' man and then He breathed into his nostrils the 'breath or spirit' of life. With His voice, He created everything, except us ... for us, His masterpiece ... He 'touched' us. How neat is that? To think that the mighty creator of the world formed mankind into being with His hands! And now, our lives still have His fingerprints on them, we just need to recognize and receive them.

And everyone I meet is created by God's touch ... everyone has some of the 'image of God' in them. Even if they are actively denying Him, that doesn't change the fact that they were created by His touch. I need to honor everyone as a person because they are His creation, even if they don't recognize Him at this time.
Obviously, I will not agree with or like everything about everyone, so I need to learn how to disagree and yet honor at the same time ... help me, Lord.