Monday, March 31, 2014

Music-food for the soul!

"Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts!" Psalm 105:2

Why would a "believer" listen to any music except that which praises our Lord? 
When I race walk I love to commune with God through music. Recently He has given me encouragement through three special songs:

"Light House" by Rend Collective

"Need You Now" by Plumb

"Blessings" by Laura Story

Music is a special gift sent directly from a loving God to bless our souls and allow us to rejoice as we worship Him!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Time with the grandchildren living in Italy!

Painting homemade wind chimes

Home school projects

Picnic at the park

Gelato "fun"


Watching and interacting with these beautiful little ones each day fills me with joy and renews my hope in God, and God's Word says that "...those who hope in The Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings of eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31
So I am getting stronger and soaring, running and walking, (even with an arthritic knee!)

Look for the face of God in the next child you see!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Comments and Concerns

Comments: Back to the movie "Son of God"
I never read any of the REAL movie reviews before attending this movie. I hear that it was not well received by some in the Christian community. I still stand on the side of liking it. I am not a theologian so maybe there were some inaccuracies but I feel it's message was truth and it touched my heart. Yes, it was basically a feel good movie but what is wrong with "feel good movies"? There should be more of them! I also realize the "producers" are probably not Christians but I remember Paul saying in Philippians, chapter 1:18 "but what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives ($ in Hollywood??) or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice."

Concerns: These are of a more personal matter-my PD (Parkinson's Disease)
I just completed reading Michael J. Fox's book: Lucky Man
It is his personal memoir sharing his life from his childhood, through his acting career, and into the initial discovery of the early onset of Parkinson's Disease and how it has changed his life. Since I share with him an interest in the theater, just reading about his pursuit of and final success in acting was fascinating to me.
 But as he chronicled his journey into and through his illness I often had to pause, get a grip, take a breathe, refocus because as much as I liked sharing his interest in the theater I did Not want to share his disease and yet here I am, one of the one and a half million P.D. Patients who daily deal with their own unique issues; from tremors to digestive problems, from hypophonia, hypomimia, and "cluttering, to micrographia, rigid muscles and "wild" jerking movements. We all have a very serious neurological incurable disease that manifests itself in various "packages", which only become more "packed" as the disease progresses! To say I am concerned is an understatement! The book opened up doors of possibilities I don't want to even consider. 
Yet, I can't run away from the facts. On the other hand, as a Christian, I can choose to "run to" the source of all answers-God!
 Even Michael J. Fox attested to the power of prayer, "The feeling is overwhelming; I have no doubt that being on the receiving end of so much spiritual energy has gone a long way to sustain me over the last couple of years . I no longer underestimate the power of prayer."
So, although I have concerns, I choose to give them to God. I'm learning to love Ps. 55:22

"Cast your burden on The Lord and He shall sustain you."

I think I will join Michael, a recovered alcoholic, in his daily "prayer"-
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, (a diagnosis of P.D.)
Courage to change the things I can (my attitude & view of my disease & my dependence on God)
And the wisdom to know the difference." (gleaned from time in prayer & reading God's Word)!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Movie Review

Hunter recently took me to see "Son of God" in the movie theaters. I thoroughly enjoyed this TRUE story. It was Biblically accurate with believable characters, stunning scenery, and dialogue that pulled you into the moment. To me, one of the most powerful scenes was when Jesus climbed into Peter's fishing boat and told Peter to join him in catching people. Peter then looked intently at Jesus and asked, "What are we going to do?" Jesus said, "We are going to change the world!" And isn't that exactly what Jesus did as he trained 11 men to go into the world  and share the Kingdom of God?
I am so incredibly grateful that these men said yes to Jesus and even more grateful that Jesus said yes to God, his Father, and gave up his life for the world of sinners. His willing obedience was a key scene in the movie and one which touched my heart. The overall theme came from the lips of Jesus:
"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that who ever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16.

One day last week I was driving my four year old grandson to the library and he asked me, "Nani, does God have skin?" What a deep question from a little boy! "Yes," I answered. "His name is Jesus!"

Go see the film if you have not already done so. I believe we all need to be constantly reminded of the debt we owe our Savior!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fighting the "dragon"

Before dinner tonight I spent 1 1/2 hours at our clubhouse lifting weights, race walking on the treadmill, and biking on a stationary bike. Why so much exercise? As I stated in my last blog exercise is one way of combating Parkinson's Disease. The brain seems to produce more dopamine during "sweat induced" exercise. What is that exercise? It is riding the bike at an average of 90 RPM or swimming long enough to be so winded you can't talk. This is new to me because honestly I prefer more of a casual pace. I have never been one to actually push myself hard. I remember when Jacob was swimming competitively he said he would swim so long and hard he'd have to get out of the pool and vomit in a bucket then jump back in the pool and continue his workout. Never could I quite understand that effort until now. I think it has something to do with the goal. His was to be ready to perform well at college swim meets. Mine now is to beat the "dragon" of Parkinson's Disease or at least to slow him down in his effort to cripple me. I realize in the end he will win, since this disease is not curable and will ultimately play a major role in my demise. But although he will get my body he will not destroy my spirit!

I want to say like Paul did in 2 Timothy 4:7-8:
"I have fought the good flight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me-the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing."

So each time I go to the club and get into a zone of hard exercise I imagine I am "fighting my dragon", which keeps me motivated. We all have dragons in our lives. Identify yours and fight for all its worth! With God's help we can finish well!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The NEW road we are following!

Yes, Hunter and I have embarked on a new "road" in this journey called life. Actually, as I will describe in the following post, it will often be a change in locations but also a change in mindset involving challenges yet unseen.

First let me describe our new location, at least for 4-6 months of each year. We recently had built a small, two-bedroom home in a retirement village in Fishers, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis.  For the past 6 months we knew we wanted to locate long term near one of our children. Since two of the three of our children are in the military and we all know that involves moving every 3-4 years, that left us with one choice-near Branden, who feels he is cemented in Indianapolis raising his three children here long term. Therefore last summer we began to look in the area and God led us to Britton Falls, a Del Web Community, complete with a wonderful clubhouse and other amenities. God has richly blessed us with this home, which is just recently completed. Our plans are to live here spring and fall, continue to live in the RV for the winter, and leave the summer for travel to Italy visiting Rebecca and her family, New Jersey visiting Jacob and his family and sightseeing around the country.

Now let me explain the statement: "a change in mindset involving challenges yet unseen". After years of stomach distress and a few other health issues I was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. It came as somewhat of a shock, although after 8 months of hand tremors and "googling their causes" it was a definite possibility.
Parkinsons is a chronic and incurable condition. It is not diagnosed by a blood test but rather by the symptoms that a loss of dopamine causes. My main symptoms are bilateral resting hand tremors. For others there might be tremors in other parts of the body,  rigid muscles, or bradykinesia (slow movements). It is a progressively deteriorating disease so I am on a downward slope but as Hunter says, so is everyone else. I just happen to have a name for the sled I'm sliding on!
Causes for this disease are generally genetic or environmental or a combination of both. In my case my upbringing, living on a farm drinking well water and being exposed to insecticides and pesticides is likely the culprit. Yet, I would do it all over again because being raised on a farm and living in a small Christian community, with Godly parents, prepared me to follow after Christ.
Treatment at this time for me is good nutrition and LOTS of aerobic exercise, combined with stretching and balancing routines. Exercise produces a higher level of dopamine, which is what I am lacking. Thankfully I am in the early stages of Parkinsons and I don't currently need medication with all its side effects. I know that is a reality in the future and I also know that God will be right there with me when that bridge I have to cross.
Since learning of my diagnosis my times with the Lord have been more intimate every day. He has shown me the Bible is full of stories of those who have suffered and how they coped with His ever present comfort. I am collecting a notebook of verses and passages talking of suffering and the hope that only He can provide. Isaiah has been especially precious to me. Verses that I am currently committing to memory are Isaiah 43:18-21
"Forget the former things, do not dwell in the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Now, it is springing up. Do you not see it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert to give drink to my people, the chosen ones, the ones I have formed for myself, so that they may proclaim my praise."
I pray each day that God will give me opportunities to praise Him as I travel this NEW road!