Friday, December 30, 2016

My "wheelchair" experience

By nature we are independent people. "I can do it myself", is one of a toddler's first sentences! Pride in our accomplishments blossoms as we master more and more under our own power. It is a natural progression on the road of life. Children look forward to each new step, becoming more and more "free"-independent. But what happens when we are forced to go from independence back to dependence? There is generally no natural progression here, just a sudden awareness of what you can no longer do on your own! It can be discouraging, having to depend on someone else! These feelings cascaded over me as my oldest son rented a wheelchair for me at the Virginia Zoo in Chesapeake, recently.  I have been fighting a bout of bursitis in my left hip, causing considerable pain resulting in a noticeable limp! Everyone knew I could not negotiate the miles of walking to see the zoo animals. So, of course, I rode the wheelchair. It is not as though I have never been in one before. After four knee surgeries I am familiar with them but only from the hospital room to the car door. This was different. It was an indication, a "picture" if you would, of the future. Progressive scoliosis, Parkinson's Disease, and now bursitis all point to a more and more dependent lifestyle. A hard pill to swallow for an independent spirit! After all, I have navigated the back alleys of China villages by myself and now I need a wheelchair? Don't get me wrong. I am grateful for a very capable caregiver in Hunter, my loving husband. He always puts my needs first. He wheeled me around, even adding his own brand of humor, although my response was not always "jolly"! It was a humbling experience. Yet through it all there were two moments  of joy as the grandsons each had a ride on my lap. Their warm bodies snuggling into mine was special! I am told to be thankful and look for blessings in all circumstances-right? (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17) So here were two!
In the spiritual realm, am I dependent on God or playing the independent card-"I can handle it myself"!
There is a story in the book of 1Kings in the Bible about the widow of Zarephath.  She was told by Elijah to be totally dependent on God's daily provisions for her basic needs of flour and oil.  God met her needs as promised. One of my dear friends is a living, breathing example of total daily dependence on God. She is blind. After losing her husband two years ago it was assumed she would move in with her brother. After all, how could she live alone being blind?  God and she had a different plan. She stayed in her home and her stories of God's daily, continuous provisions for her inspire and challenge me to let go of the "reins" and say, "God. It's all yours."
Currently I am reading a book entitled, "The Scars that have Shaped Me: how God meets us in suffering" by Vaneetha Rendall Risner. In it she states that "dependence is always better than self-sufficiency in the kingdom of God. Self-sufficiency leads to pride and selfishness, while dependence leads to humility and an intimacy with the Lord. Dependence yields good fruit in our lives. As Charles Spurgeon said: "I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.""
Love this quote from Charles Spurgeon! I have decided to use this quote as my 2017 New Year's resolution. I resolve this year to learn to kiss the waves that throw me against the Rock of Ages, even if the wave comes in the form of a wheelchair!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How do you act in the "waiting room"?

We all experience "waiting room" moments in our lives. For some it might be waiting for the birth of twin grandsons, as is the case of my dear cousin. Others might be waiting for an upcoming knee replacement surgery to relieve years of pain or a successful repair of a broken heating system in an RV which is stalling travel plans, as is our case currently. Maybe it's a phone call from an interview for a much needed job or the answer to a prayer lifted up to God for years concerning salvation of a loved one. Everyone has a "waiting room" event sometime in life. And everyone's episode is unique. Some are easier to "survive" or shall I say "walk out of" than others. As Hunter and I wait day by day for word from the technicians concerning the status of our RV I have discovered some things while sitting in the "waiting room" about myself. I'm not a patient person. I don't like empty calendar days and thwarted plans. I see the glass half empty instead of half full. I want to yell at maintenance men I don't even know! And I REALLY hate cold and snow! OK, I'm digressing.
If I were to look through a window in this room and watch "me" what would I see?

The Bible has much for me to learn on this topic.
Psalm 37:7 "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him."
Psalm 40:1 "I waited patiently for the Lord, He turned to me and heard my cry."
Lamentations 24:26 "I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion", therefore I will wait for Him...It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."

So I guess I have a choice. I can noisily complain, pacing around the room, fretting and stewing, even trying to "pull" the door open before it is ready to unlatch OR I can quietly sit in the chair, accepting God's current plan, being still before Him knowing He is faithful and will unlock the door when it is His perfect time. He may very well be shielding me from storms outside the "room" waiting for the return of the sun. And He continues to provide new opportunities to enjoy every day whether writing Christmas cards with Hunter, packing a box of clothes for orphans in Tanzania, unplanned baking opportunities with grandchildren and even enjoying the beauty of Christmas white snow (inside, of course)!

"Waiting is no waste in God's economy." David Mathis




Sunday, October 23, 2016

Simple

Recently I have come "face to face" with this word. In the last couple of months I have eaten at a Cafe called Simple, one serving only organic, raw foods and I walked into a bakery with the name Simple Taste, offering treats with no gluten, dairy, or egg. Hunter and I have tried to simplify our life by down-sizing our possessions, refusing cable TV, cleaning out clothes closets and sending bags to Good Will. I am even in the process of simplifying my collection of recipes to only those most often used. We live in a technical world that often seems overwhelming to a 67 year old woman. I like simple: paper and pencil to do lists, hand washing dishes, playing board games, eating vanilla ice cream. 
Maybe that is one reason I am so attracted to the message of Jesus. It is simple. 
Be Still. 
Believe. 
Be ready. 

Each morning I have two simple questions I ask God. "
"Okay, Lord, what would you have me do today?"
"Whom would you have me help today?" 

Then I end my day reflecting on how well I achieved my three simple daily goals: 
Start with God. 
Stay with God. 
End with God.

My advice to you?
Keep it simple! Love God and serve man!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Race



"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." Hebrews 12:1 NLT

What am I doing here, I thought, as I stood in a "pack" of runners/walkers in the annual "Race for the Cure" event sponsored by the Indiana Parkinson Association. I am NOT like my daughter and son-in-law who thrive on the adrenalin of a competitive event. They willingly brave cold, heat, and rain to join others in enduring and even finding joy in the race to the finish. Many a time, usually while babysitting the little ones, I have stood on the side lines watching the two of them pin their "numbers"on their jerseys, stretch, and mentally prepare for the race. And I am quite often parked near the finish to cheer at least one of them over the line or positioned somewhere on the course to witness their efforts and yell "go, go, go"!
So here I am, standing in a torrential downpour, waiting for the "gun" to signal the start of my portion of the race. Now mind you I have a bum right knee with advancing scoliosis not to mention Parkinson shakes and imbalance issues. Therefore today I am only walking a mile-no big deal. But why am I doing it? I guess I felt it important to support the Parkinson Research Organization. After all, someday soon, I hope to benefit from new developments in curing this dreaded disease. 
Yet as I stand here watching the little rivers run off my hood I think I am here for another reason. I want to, in some small way, feel what my daughter feels as she is competing. I want to understand her drive, her excitement, her joy in the race. So I endure the rain and walk on when signaled. By the time I complete my mile I really want to continue on! It IS fun. People cheer and when crossing the finish line you experience a sense of extreme accomplishment. Next year, after knee surgery and sessions with a chiro on my back, I WILL walk the 5K. Who knows, maybe someday I can join the elite 10k walkers!

While driving home God reminded me that life is a race. He has set each one of us on our own individualized course. Some days will be filled with sunshine while others will involve going through battering storms. Yet He will provide a cheering crowd of witnesses and will be our protective "raincoat", if we take what He offers. Sometimes we will slip in the mud or stumble on the rocks but He promises to lift us up out of the mire and set us on dry ground where we can continue the race.
I want to cross His finish line, spent but joyful knowing I "stayed" the course!

Below is a photo of my race number. God has an individual number for each of us. He cares for us personally. In fact He is our greatest side-line cheerleader!
Psalms 139:16-18
"Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand-when I awake , I am still with you." Now THAT is reason to cheer!!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"The Center"

When Hunter and I are traveling around in our RV on Sunday we choose a church to visit nearby the campground where we are overnighting. One such church last Sunday was "The Good Shepherd Church" in Loveland, Colorado. Unfortunately I can not remember the pastor's name who delivered the message but it was so good that I want to share his "points" from the Summer in the Psalms series he was preaching. This particular Sunday he was focused in Psalm 127. It is one of the 15 ascent Psalms, which the Jewish people would sing on their walk to Jerusalem to celebrate a holy holiday. 
This particular psalm addresses the blessing of children (grandchildren). He said there are two things our children need from us:
1. Homes built around God as the center!
We are responsible to pass along our faith to our children (grandchildren). We must teach them that they were created for God's glory. In today's culture we too often "labor in vein" to teach our children the importance of the 3 As: athletics, academics, appearances. Instead we should teach our children the importance of reading the Bible, praying to God both alone and as a family, and making church a priority. After all, what are they going to be talking about 20 years down the road: their recent soccer match, their cool jeans, their A in spelling or what God has and is doing in their life??

2. Adults who BELIEVE in them!
Are we challenging them to rise to high expectations in integrity, work ethics, character development-modeling the fruits of the spirit daily (Gal. 5:22 "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control")? Are we teaching them to lead or are we saying "you aren't old enough or capable of this". "We don't trust that you can do it,yet." 
The psalm states that "children...are like arrows in the hands of a warrior". Arrows are weapons-right? Weapons are dangerous-right? Are we teaching our children to be "dangerously good", "dangerously courageous" for God's kingdom? Will our children be world changers, arrows not just staying in the quiver but shot out into the world??

Our homes and our lives will impact generations to come! It all starts with each of us adults as we make Jesus first in our lives and our homes!

Bless the children. They "are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him". Psalm 127:3




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Family Reunion



What flashes through your mind when someone mentions a family reunion? Work and fatigue? Clashing personalities? Mountains of messy food? Sweating bodies crammed into a metal meeting hall? Folding chairs and card tables? Screaming kids running through adult conversations?

OR a week of laughter, various outdoor activities with child AND adult participation, a Christian "ranch" where everyone has a bed and fields to run in and explore as well as a fishing pond and a "craw dad" creek. That best describes the Morgan Family Reunion 2016 held at Koinania Valley Ranch near Black, Missouri, with 35 in attendance!
God richly blessed our family as we gathered to remember our parents, Clyde and Rozella Morgan and the heritage they passed on to we three girls: Nancy, Marlene, and Jane Ann Morgan (Stall, Thompson, Ricmond). 


 When I think of our family I am reminded of Psalm 103:17-18
"But from every lasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts." 
I continually pray that our children and grandchildren and future great grandchildren and so on "down through the ages" will keep God's covenant and remember to obey ALL of His precepts!

Don't overlook the importance of family reunions! They establish healthy family relationships and are a means of sharing family history stories. 

Family relationships are not always easy but they ARE always important and worth the effort. 

Family traditions - such as fun family reunion activities - will make a positive difference in your family that will last for generations.

Following are some of the activities we participated in at the Morgan Reunion this year.

Fishing:


Creek exploration:


Paddle boating:


Playing with dogs and cats:


Playing outdoor games, like Corn Hole, water balloon fun, work up (baseball), paper airplane contest:



Water and sand blast:
 

Riding in trucks, buses, and float boats:
 

Running, exploring, jumping, climbing:
 

Climbing:




"Playing":

Eating, of course:

Baptizing:

To God be the glory for GREAT things He has done!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Day 14!


  Parents return tonight so we are celebrating with green eggs, ham, and muffins for breakfast and an afternoon of "new" play dough fun.
The grandparenting adventure has been a blast. Now for some days of quiet rest! Ha!

  

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Day 13

Ever taken a 7 year old, a 5 year old and a 2 year old to two hours of coming attractions and a movie?
Quite the experience with water bottles rolling all over the floor, several complaints about the "tippy" seats, mad dashes to the toilet, and the two year asking to go home after the coming attractions!
Was a cute movie, though! Loved the octopus!!


Monday, July 4, 2016

Days 10, 11, 12 on "grandparenting" duty!

Rain for two days required indoor play: reading, Legos, and kiwi crates. (Check them out at kiwicrate.com. Great creative projects for various ages mailed to you in a shoe box, complete with all needed supplies! Requires some adult interaction, which is always fun and memory making!)
Spent an afternoon again at a nearby park and went again to the zoo. A cloudy, misty day is a great day to go to the zoo since it was basically empty! All the animals were outside enjoying the cooler, moist air. We also rode the train and a merry-go-round. The 4th ended with "poppers" and sparklers, with two of the three actually staying up until dark to see some fireworks.