How blessed we are to have friends who lift us up, who speak truth to us, who listen, give advice, encouragement and their constant prayers. This is richness; this is true treasure to have such wonderful women in your life.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Let Perseverance Finish!

Hello, my dear friends!

My daughter Anna was 9 years old when I took her to look at a litter of Australian Shepherd puppies.  We walked into a backyard filled with frolicking multicolored fluff balls!  It had been her dream to have a dog since she could speak.  The day had finally come.  Now the big decision...which one?  Anna had read books about how to choose and care for a puppy and so she was ready.  She went to her knees to take a look at the puppies and in that moment a beautiful black-tri Aussie pup ran into her lap and sat down.  We have always laughed about the fact that Anna did not get to pick out her puppy because he chose her.  We had no idea at the time what an incredible adventure Anna and Freckles (that is what she named him) had before them. 

Anna and Freckles were inseparable...quite literally.  He slept in her bed.  He sat at her feet when she ate or did her schoolwork.  If Anna was outside, so was Freckles.  When Anna was sick, Freckles laid by the couch next to her.  If, for some reason, Anna left for the night, Freckles slept in the foyer until she got home.  They were completely devoted to each other.  Freckles liked the rest of the family, but he LOVED Anna.  The one place we could not let him be with her was when she took a bath.  He hated her being in the water and would grab her by the hair and try to pull her out.  One time she was washing her hair in the sink.  She had just put her head under the running faucet when Freckles "came to the rescue" and dragged her out by the seat of her pants.  He learned to open the door handles in our home so he could follow her even behind closed doors.  There was no denying that Anna and Freckles had a bond that was deep, loving and sacrificial.

One morning when Freckles was 6 months old he fell to the ground, shaking uncontrollably.  We had no idea what was wrong and thought maybe he had eaten something that poisoned him.  By the time we got him to the vet, he was no longer convulsing but was lethargic and seemed confused.  The vet looked him over and told us that he thought Freckles had canine epilepsy.  He went on to explain that dogs with canine epilepsy usually did not live long and that the seizures usually got worse and more frequent.  There was medication you could give to control the seizures but doses had to be given each day...without fail for the rest of Freckles' life.  In the end, he recomended that we have Freckles put down rather than put ourselves through the cost,  inconvenience and the time it would take to care for a dog with this condition.  We did not take his advice...we couldn't and I am glad we didn't.

Freckles lived 3 more years.  Anna gave him his medication everyday.  When his condition got worse, she had to give him multiple medications everyday and even with the medicine, Freckles still had seizures from time to time.  It seemed these episodes would always come in the middle of the night.  Anna would hold his head, stroking him and speaking softly until the shaking was over...and there was always a mess to clean up afterwards as well.  Never once did she complain...she just persevered and persevered month after month.

One December afternoon we could tell something had changed with Freckles.  He was having trouble walking.  Even with this struggle, he would try to follow Anna throughout the house.  Something was wrong, so we packed up Freckles and Anna and were off to the Emergency Vet.  There we found out that Freckles' liver was failing and it was not that he could not walk, it was pure pain to walk.  The vet explained that he only had probably days to live and the loving thing to do would be to let him go peacefully right now because every moment would be excrutiating pain.  Anna had to make a decision and at 12 years old she made the difficult one.  To care for him a few more days would not have been hard for Anna...she had been doing that all his life, but to let him go now would act of selflessness she would do because it was best for Freckles.  The vet came in, and Anna told her that she would go ahead with the injection to put him down.  We were told that they could give him the injection and stay with him until he passed, but Anna would have none of that...she had travelled this road with Freckles this far and she would see him to the end.  As I write this tears fill my eyes because I remember it so well.  How the vet came in with a thick blanket and laid it on the floor, telling us that when we were ready, to have Freckles lay on the blanket for the injection and then she brought in Freckles.  Anna had slumped to the floor in the sorrow of her decision and when Freckles came through the door, he walked straight over to her and started to gently lick her face. She loved on him for a few minutes and then he did the most amazing thing...he walked over and laid on that blanket!  It was as if he were telling Anna, "You made the right decision for me.  Now it's time to let me go."  Anna put her precious boy's head in her lap and gave the sign that it was ok for the vet to go ahead with the injection.  And my little 12 year old Anna loved her Freckles until he breathed his last breath.

She is who I thought of when reading this chapter about perseverance.  Her dream didn't at all look like what she had envisioned, but she persevered until the very end...she finished well.  I think back on that day when Freckles chose Anna.  He definitely chose the right girl... I am so glad he did...Anna's time with Freckles changed her forever. 

It made me think about my own dreams, how some of them just don't look like what I thought they would. I have mentioned to God many, many times...only He could possibly know the exact much I dream of living in the country.  And yet, here I am on the east side of  Lancaster in a home that, though I love, I have found myself yearning for the "dream."  Hence, the chapter on contentment was wonderful for me and perspective changing.  This chapter on perseverance was the balance for me.  I have found that I can still dream my dreams and be content at the same time...a total "God thing" for sure!  I can persevere here in this place while I pursue the dreams that God has placed in my heart.  Just as obvious as it is to me that God had Freckles chose Anna for purpose, so it is that God has chosen for me to stay put here for His good  purposes as well.  I am confident that my sweet Lord is trustworthy with my dreams, and He will give me the strength to persevere each day as I walk forward in His will.  Until then I keep learning the lessons He has prepared for me and finding treasure daily when I take the time to look. 

Blessing on you, sweet sisters as we walk this adventure out together with perseverance!!!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Hello my dear friends!

It has been an interesting week to work on "generosity."  Reading about all the massive and very serious financial problems we have as a nation and knowing that the reason we got here is because of greed, made  this chapter quite eye-opening.  I am not a political activist in any sense of the word, but I have been reading what different "experts" are saying about how America can get out of the mess it is in.  Interestingly, they all seem to agree that it will involve sacrifice on the part of all Americans.  What they don't agree on is if we will be able to do it because every group asked to sacrifice has such an "entitlement" attitude.

I have actually been kind of going down the "what if?" road a bit lately.  That thought process was helped out greatly by a man I ran into over the weekend who had a massive case of "conspiracy theory" of the most sinister and scary kind.   As he talked about his ideas of what the world leaders were trying to do, he painted a pretty bleak picture.  I listened for awhile and then finally, had to say something...the only thing I could say to this barrage of bad news:  Because of Jesus, at least I knew my ultimate future was secure.  Ha!  That sure stopped him in his tracks.  All he could say was "I guess that's a good way to look at it."  Actually, that is the only way to look at it.  But this conversation along with the chapter on generosity got me to thinking.  I don't know what is going to happen with all that is going on in our world right now, but there may come a time when we, as Christ followers, singularly and as churches will have to step in and give more than we ever thought we could.  We might have to be the first to show what giving sacrificially means...what it looks like.

Another experience I had this week has also impacted me in a way that I just cannot get out of my mind.  My daughter, Kirsti, is a Child-life Specialist for a hospital.  I was visiting her last week, and while I was there she told me about a brother and sister who came into the Emergency Department one evening.  I will warn you now that the story I am about to tell is pretty graphic, and I am not going to "pretty it up."  These two little ones came in with horrible abuse injuries.  The little boy was 2 years old.  He had bruises, cuts and bumps all over his head and upper body, but his worst injuries were burns to his scrotum.  The little girl was only 8 months old.  She came in with the same kind of injuries to her head and face but in addition to that, she had a broken femur.  Kirsti was assigned  to stay with these little ones as they went through batteries of tests throughout the day.  Finally, tests over, they were in their rooms.  Kirsti was having a wonderful time playing cars with the little boy when his mom and boyfriend walked into the room.  Immediately, at the sight of these two, this little guy's entire countenance changed, he wet himself, and sat hollow-eyed looking at his abusers.  As Kirsti related this story, her eyes filled with tears at the memory of it.  The mom and boyfriend had not been arrested yet because the investigation was ongoing at the time, however, they are now behind bars.

This story haunts me.  Something has to be done for these little ones and those others like them, but what?  There were a few other people in the room that day as Kirsti related her story and talk of the foster system came up.  Someone there said that they just couldn't do foster care, especially of babies, because of the pain it would cause to give them back or give them up to someone else.  Kirsti responded with something profound.  She said, "I don't think that helping others is supposed to be painless."  The truth is I try to keep my life as "painless" as possible.

And then I read the story of the Macedonians this week on Day 4 and that was completely humbling, wasn't it?  They certainly weren't looking for the painless or comfortable way in life and yet they were filled with  "overflowing joy" and "rich generosity."   They "urgently pleaded" for the "privilege of sharing" with those who were in even greater need than they were themselves.  What a testimony of generosity!!!

I have gone back a few times to Katie's prayer on Day 4 during this past week :

"Precious Lord, Would you examine my heart right now?  Am I as generous as I think I am?  Do I have true compassion for people?  Do I stop and really look at the people around me and see their needs?  Do I respond to them like you would?  Lord, I want to be more like you.  I want to overflow with generosity.  I want to find a cause that I feel so strongly about that I'm begging for the chance to support it.  I want to be so aware of others ans so unconscious of my own limitations, that I give more than I am able, for you are my supply..."

There is a lot I just don't know...that I don't have the answers to, but this I do know...if I pray this prayer...if the story of these little ones is meant to be a catalyst in my heart, God will fling wide a door for me walk through.  Then the questions will be:  Will I walk through?  Will I be able to give of time, thought and money EVEN IF it is painful?  Oh, Lord, I hope so.  I hope I have the courage to be generous with me life.

Love to you all....


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pray for our friend, Lynn

Hello girls,

I just received a phone call from Lynn, one of the ladies who has joined us on the blog this summer.  She just lost her dad this morning and, of course, is pretty devastated.  Her dad had been having some health problems recently but seemed to be growing stronger lately.  He was out on a walk in the mountains with a cousin when he died early this morning.  I know that I don't even need to tell you girls how to pray...we have all suffered loss and know the needs.  I just wanted to let you know that our sweet sister and her family are in need of prayer.  I know that Lynn is grateful for your loving support....


Monday, August 1, 2011


Hello sweet friends,

This week on "Contentment" was, as always, perfect timing in my life.  I have been brought to tears in repentance and yet I am joyful in the knowledge that  I have a Lord who knows my heart and refuses to let me stay where I am.  Katie's questions on Day 4 had a profound impact on me...opened my eyes and refocused my heart on all that I have to be thankful for...and there is plenty. 

Wasn't that a heart and mind stretcher when she asked you to "describe an ongoing circumstance in which you feel discontented" and to "write down two or three things to be thankful about in that situation"?  So the shift in thinking and talking has begun. 

I would love to hear your thoughts...

Love to you...