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Posts Tagged ‘#God’

When I want to catch a few minutes of relaxation, I usually pick up a book. That’s unusual because I really am not someone who typically likes reading. I mean I don’t have the passion that some people do of not being able to live without a book. They seem gagga over books of any kind. I’ve never been like that, probably because I am a visual person. I go gagga over looking at pictures.

But over the last 8 years or so, the county libraries have been selling their books. Usually I can pick a paperback up for maybe 25 cents depending on the library. Some want more. At any rate, this gave me the reason to read and I chose Amish Romance Novels. I was attracted to the stories and how the authors tried to depict Amish life realistically but also include the old type of boy meets girl and live happily ever after idea that I grew up with. Little by little I discovered other authors dealing with life in the old west, the Norwegians making a life here in the USA, etc. I like that era and a simpler time or way of living.

A friend of mine was an actress in a movie put out last year in Sugarcreek Ohio. The title is “Love Finds You In Sugarcreek”. My friend Marianna Alacchi played the part of Anna Troyer, an elderly Amish woman with a mental disability. I especially liked the part in the movie when she sat on the person who tried to murder her niece to keep her from getting away before the police could arrest her. It was a wonderful movie.

So that’s what I do to entertain myself or relax. Some stories are hard to get through and take me more time to get with their program. But others I like right off the bat.

What do you do to entertain yourself? I’m sure you are far more adventuresome than me. Although some day I’d like to try Ziplining at Tree Frog Canopy Tours, here in Ohio!

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Yay, it’s another weekend! Opportunities to do what we want, when we want, go where we want, etc. I guess that all boils down to having the freedom to choose.Nautilus Shell Perhaps your city borders a body of water and you are headed for the beach.

I live on the North Shore and Cleveland Borders Lake Erie. The parks system has taken over and is already making changes that delight beach goers. Our parks system has a lot of events and attractions to educate and entertain the citizens of our city and their guests. Being close to nature or even interacting with it, can be a stress-free way to spend the weekend. And every group imaginable has a festival of some kind going this summer!

I’ve got some chores to do, such as cutting the grass and trimming the over growth in the yard. I guess it would be safe to say that my yard needs a good haircut and weeding. Grape Hyacinths & Vinca FlowersThis photo was in the spring with Grape Hyacinths and Myrtle. Part of the gardening under my River Birch Tree in the front yard. I found a young black cat sleeping in the Myrtle the other day just as my yellow tabby had done when I decided to claim her as my own many years ago. It is a cushy spot and sort of out of the way so the little one felt protected until I showed up and discovered it’s hiding place.

Sometimes I have to contend with spiders in the yard. A few years ago, Spider Web3 IMG_5715for the first time in my life, ordinary garden spiders moved in. They were everywhere stringing 3 foot webs across walkways and wherever else they could. I’d come home in the dark from a second shift and walk right into one. They changed their locations daily so I never knew where they’d be from day to day or even hour to hour. This is a picture of a web with foam on it to enhance the web. Yuck!!!

Snake on the Driveway 5-2011And of course I have also found other critters in the yard such as this common Garden Snake that some folks like to call Garter Snakes. This was a cute one but I have seen them at least 2 feet long in my yard. Not dangerous but creepy.

I’ve seen possums and their babies, frogs, dragonflies, praying matis, all kinds of spiders and bugs, squirrels, birds and a host of other things in my little 35′ x 105′ living space. I don’t have to go far on a weekend to get some entertainment.

How about you, what are your weekend plans? Vacationing or staying close to home? Lots of choices to pack into a 2 day weekend!

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I usually go to church each Sunday. We have four services, but I usually attend the 9am one. Cross WoodI’ve been going to church all of my life as a ritual. When I was little my mother made sure we went with her while my father opted to stay home. That must have made her feel really good … hmmmm. Well anyway, due to some circumstances at home, I could not attend today, but I missed hearing my pastor’s thoughts. I’ll be able to listen to them on the internet next week as they are recorded, but I still miss hearing them fresh.

When I was older, I went to church because I liked it. I wanted to know God personally but sadly after 12 years of religious training I could not tell someone how to become a Christian. It dawned on me that I could give information to people on how to become a member of my religion, but I could only tell them about God from what someone else had told me and not a personal perspective.

It wasn’t until I was in college, that someone told me how I could know God personally for myself, and not second hand through someone else.

The first step was knowing that I was a sinner. I may have had the best intentions, but compared to a holy God, I had flaws and that made me a sinner: Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

The second step was to acknowledge that sin (including my sin) causes death and separation from a holy God. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death … ”

The third step was to understand and believe that we die once and after death comes judgement by a holy God. Hebrews 9:27 “For it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgement”

The fourth step was to acknowledge and accept for myself (make personal) that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotton Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.”

The fifth step was ask Jesus Christ to come into my heart, cleanse me from my sins, and make me a Child of God & a new person. Revelations 3:20 “For behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and dine with him and he with Me.”

The sixth step was to accept that God made me His child through His Son and that I have everlasting life in heaven with Him. John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

The seventh step was to understand that God made me into a new creature the moment I made the decision to trust the death of Jesus Christ on the cross as full payment for my sins. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

This is how I came to know God personally and Church became an intimate encounter with God and His Children instead of a Ritual to be observed. Once I believed God’s plan as outlined in the Bible and gave my heart and life to Christ, asking Him to dwell in me, it made all the difference in the world.

Do you have a similar story to share? Please feel free to tell us about your own spiritual journey.

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Who doesn’t have friends? Today I spent some time with 4 of them. We are in our older years now and one of them I’ve known for 45 years. We were college roommates and have kept in touch. Two others I’ve known for 39 years. The last one is a friend of the other 3 and who I’ve been acquainted with for 39 years but haven’t kept in touch with.

I am fortunate to have so many friends that I’ve reconnected with on Facebook and in real life and have a long history with. They are reliable, trustworthy, loving people. If I had to assign a monetary value to their friendship, I would have to say it was invaluable.

We worshipped together this morning and then we shared a meal and reminisced. Some didn’t know the complete history of the others, and it was fun to talk about each others’ lives. I found that this only added to what each was worth in the opinions of one another regarding those they’d just learned more about. I could tell by the oohs and ahs that went around the circle as one told about her parapalegic mother, and others told of the new church they are helping to plant, and as I answered questions about how my job hunt was going.

Friends, caring for friends. Do you have special friends who care about you, and who you care about? Do you have special ways of showing that you care? Please share your friendship stories. I’ll bet they are every bit as golden as mine.

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The following are some thoughts that I composed as I sat by my father’s bedside Dad Lobbyin October of 2010, at the Lake Erie Facility of the Hospice of the Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio. At one point I did a watercolor painting of him which has come out too light to photograph. He was very gaunt at the time and slept much of his last days.
I’ve peppered this story with photos of him just a month prior to going into Hospice. I had him doing some artwork which I framed and hung on his walls in the memory care unit of the nursing home he lived in at the time. My thoughts are unfinished, because an uncle came into the room for a visit and I never got back to those in-depth moments to get in touch with my thoughts and feelings. He died that night as well while my sister and her husband were there. It was her prayer that she would be there when he died, and God granted her request.

After having gone through this experience with my father and also the death of my mother, I’ve come to believe my own thoughts that:

“They birth us, and we bury them. And they got the better deal!” 

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What is it like to watch someone die?

As I sit next to my father’s bed in a private room in a well known hospice facility, I watch and listen for signs of continued life. Breathing, gasping, coughing, limbs moving, warm skin, veins pumping blood, eyes opening and closing, and any other sign that he is still here.

The occasional administering of medication to keep him comfortable and painfree by the nurses, brings welcome comfort not only to him buy family as well. I is a relief knowing that his suffering is minimal. In my older years, I have wondered what it was like to die. How would it happen? When would it happen? What would be involved prior to it happening?

I’ve attended the funerals of family and friends beginning around 5 years old when my mother’s grandmother died, but it was always after the fact. Now as I sit with my father, watching him in his final days, it is a new experience of my 58 year life. I was not with my mother as she declined and died, but I prayed her into heaven the moment she took her last breath. She in a nursing home and I in my own bed at home. I was suddenly awakened by an impulse to pray strongly for God to remove her suffering and take her to heaven. I learned later that she died at that very moment.

Dad Dinner TongueSo now I sit quietly watching my father breathe and occasionally cough fluids out of his lungs and slightly flail his arms as if trying to escape something or free himself. His hand hot as I stroke it, and his grip strong as he squeezes my fingers inside his palm. Unable to communicate verbally or put words and thoughts together or see anymore, he is still a man, a father, a person, and still here for now.
I notice his gaunt face, almost skeletal, but still with a hint of handsomeness left, and his bald head that lately had started to grow new peach fuzz. A funny thought occurs to me. Could it be that one of the drugs he has been given, doubles as a cure for baldness? Could it be Halidol, Seraquil, or Atavand? Could it be one of the  pain medications perhaps?
As I wax philosophical, I am jerked into the reality that his body is shutting down. The perfectly timed normal functions, unable to receive messages from the brain, are malfunctioning and dieing. Eighty-five years of perfect timing, a few months short of eighty-six, slowly progressing towards a permanent halt. At some future point they will have nothing more to give.
His moment by moment occupation now is to progress towards another reality, a heavenly and eternal one. The gestault of his current physiology will give way to a new and perfect reality in a world where there are no tears, no pain, no hell, and no suffering. A place of promise, hope, unending love, and the gestault reality of the presence of God.
As I strive to ponder and understand his present experience while grasping the future that awaits him, I can hear the whir of some type of equipment through the wall in the next room. A quiet hum resembling a Charles drawing in chairvacuum cleaner, voices in the hall, and the sight of the therapy dog’s tail who has just passed by. All of these things that would seem to distract me from my mission and vigil of watching and waiting.

When will I see his chest raise and lower for the last time? What will I think? How will I feel? And will I cry? I’m grateful for this experience – its intimacy – its reality. Momentarily my attention turns to thinking of other families, waiting and watching with their loved ones as well. Isolated in their individual realities yet connected by the common theme of death. How many will have a place on the other side? How many can die peacefully, knowing that something more grand awaits them on the other side? And arms stronger than they’ve ever known wait to embrace them in that future reality and new life.

I grieve for those without that future and rejoice with those who have obtained it. Knowing one’s future in the heavenly realm, makes all the difference in accepting physical death. It gives us the ability to fully and wholeheartedly embrace the next life.

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My Father’s Artwork
Charles cat crosshatch drawing2 Charles crosshatch drawing2
Dad Abstract Painting Dad Shell Sculpture
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We invite you to comment on this post below. Can you identify with this experience? Share your own.

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