Archives for March 2009

Wrong Season?

I think Mother Nature missed the memo. You know, the one about it being spring and all. Nothing like capping off spring break with a winter storm, huh? From what I could tell from the weather map on Friday night, our area would be flirting with blizzard conditions, and by 1 p.m. Saturday, I could see why. The shot above shows what it looked like from our yard a little over an hour after the first flakes started falling.

Just think of the poor little perennials and flowering pears and redbuds. Goodness, what a shock to their delicate systems. I can almost hear their objections. “What in the world is going on? This is the wrong season for snow! Sure, we’re used to running the risk of low overnight temps, but this is ridiculous!”

Nature does have a way of surprising us, doesn’t it? In fact, the surprise could sometimes more accurately be called a real shocker. I’d say yesterday’s little gift falls into that category. To prove it, thunder rumbled at times, capturing our attention even more. That’s right. Thunder during our snow storm. I guess that’s what happens when spring and winter collide.

Surprises and shocks many times arrive with incredibly bad timing — in weather and in life. The last thing any of us wanted on spring break was a major winter storm, but we didn’t get a vote. In the same way, sometimes life hands us situations at seemingly wrong times, wrong seasons. Just ask a young widower or a single mom trying to handle it all after her husband walked out on her. Or talk to a mom who’s seeing her youngest off to college while also wearing maternity clothes.

Maybe you’re faced with one of these wrong season situations or something similar like a scary diagnosis, the loss of a job, or a broken engagement. Or like us, as we’ve put some things on hold to help care for a parent in poor health, yours might be less drastic but still throw you for a loop.

So what do we do with these wrong season situations? We deal with them. We weather them. And if we’re wise, we run to God with them.

We don’t try to handle them on our own. We turn them over to the One who wasn’t surprised by them. The One who is fully able to work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). The One who is able to “bestow on [us] a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair.” (Isaiah 61:3)

Come to think of it, maybe wrong season situations don’t happen in the wrong seasons after all…

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

*My photo

**Update: Don’s mom has been doing better this past week! She, of course, is still in renal failure, but we never thought we’d see improvement at this stage of the game. We’re so thankful for more stable times. Thanks for all the prayers!

Spring Break

It’s spring break here in the ‘ville, and our kids came home this weekend to help us kick it off with some fun. As you can see from the picture above, we got pretty silly — as usual :) Aren’t we ridiculous? :) Normally, we’d take our fun on the road and go see them for a few days over spring break, but with Don’s mom not doing well, they came our way instead. Thanks, guys! We always love having you at home!

In honor of the break, I’m going to take a blogging break this week as well. Check back next week about this time when I try to get back in the swing of things. For those of you who got to have your own spring break last week, hope it was especially refreshing, and all of you celebrating this week along with us, kick up your heels, have some fun — and don’t forget to get some rest! God’s blessings on you all!

“The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'” Exodus 33:14 NIV

In Spite of the Fog

What’s the first window you look out of each morning? With the blinds still closed in my bedroom and no windows in the adjoining bath, I make it all the way to the kitchen before glancing out at the new day. The other morning I had to do a double-take. Instead of clear skies and the soft morning light I expected to see, thick fog met my early morning check of the day. What’s up with this? I thought. The weatherman hadn’t mentioned fog on the late news the night before. But then again, mother nature outwitted the forecast last week as well.

I left the fog in all its ghostly glory for a short time to attend to a few little tasks before coming back for a deeper taste of the day. Still cold outside, I poked my head out the door to bask in some early morning moments with the world around me — and with the Creator of it all.

The fog certainly obscured my vision, cutting short the distance I could survey in the neighborhood as I do on every other morning, but I couldn’t help but notice that this unexpected weather phenomenon had a beauty all its own. The pure white of the cloudy visitor felt soft and gentle and welcomed me to relish it in a new way. With not being able to see the vibrant images I’m accustomed to, the sounds around me seemed to ring out more clearly. The melodies of the birds quickly captured my attention.

As ever, their songs lifted my spirit and made me smile. And then it dawned on me. In spite of the fog, in spite of obscured vision and the uncertainty of the beyond, they still sang. Their voices rang out strong and unhindered. They didn’t let the fog stop them from singing.

How much more should I continue singing the praises of my Creator, the praises of my Savior, when the fogs of life’s situations envelop me? Oh, that my voice will ring out in praise and thanksgiving even when I can’t see clearly, even when I’m confused or uncertain. And maybe, just maybe, my song will lift the spirit of someone else. Let it be so, my Lord!

“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Psalm 34:1

*My mother-in-law’s Monday labs show that she held her own this past week. The human body never ceases to amaze. (She’s certainly proved it time and again!)

*Flickr photo by mysza831, Creative Commons License

A Refuge Like No Other

I’ve got to be honest. I’ve been feeling a little lonesome this weekend. A little left out. Not left out on purpose, but left out because of circumstance. All three of my sisters have been involved in family visits the past few days, but not me. I’ve had to stay close to home. With Don’s mother’s health teetering on the edge of another crisis, we just don’t feel comfortable getting too far away.

My sister and brother-in-law from sunny Arizona are currently frolicking in sunny Florida with their son and his family (rough life, huh? :) ) while my other two sisters and their families have been enjoying a visit at my parents’ place this weekend. I’m happy for all of them and the fun they’re having together, but doggone it, I’d like to be right in the middle of it :) On the other hand, I feel kind of lethargic. Too weary to want to pack for a trip or have one more demand on our lives at this point.

So…I may not be in the middle of family fun right now, but you know what I am right in the middle of? I’m right in the middle of God’s ever present love and care. Yes, I may have missed some family hugs this weekend, but God’s arms are always open. Ever ready to wrap me in His loving embrace and assure me of His presence.

I’m so thankful that when I’m feeling a little lonesome, left out, or down for whatever reason, I can freely go to my heavenly Father and tell Him about it all. He knows our emotions play havoc with us at times, and He also knows there are times we hurt deeply. He stands ready to help us through it all. He is a refuge like no other.

Thanks for letting me share a bit of my heart with you today. I’m thankful for friends who care and lend an understanding ear. I’m thankful for you!

“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8

*Flickr photo by Wiking67

A Forecast You Can Count On

forecastBelieve it or not, I got to sneak out of town for the day yesterday. Even though my mother-in-law’s lab results Monday showed that her condition is getting even worse, she seemed somewhat stable yesterday morning. I decided to take a chance and head to Tulsa to tend to errands and, more importantly, to attend the writers group I’ve had to miss in both January and February. I told the assisted living staff and the infusion clinic staff how to reach Don in case of an emergency, and I scooted out the door.

Since we’ve reached that time of year when you never quite know how to dress here in the Kansas/Oklahoma area, I paid close attention to the 10 o’clock Tulsa weather report on Monday night. The forecast called for a warm day on Tuesday with a high of 82 before a cold front would start moving in around 5 p.m. Since my FCW group meets in the evenings, I made a mental note to throw a jacket in the car and not to count on flip-flops seeing me through the entire day. I even checked the TV station’s weather report online the next morning just to be on the safe side. Same report.

Who knew a jacket and shoes and socks would prove to be such a lifesaver that day. The cold front snuck in by late morning, and the only time my flip-flops saw any action was when I put them on for my date with DSW. And no, I didn’t find any shoes. Darn! :)

Weathermen, I’m sure, do their best to give us up-to-date, accurate weather forecasts, but sometimes we just can’t count on forecasts. The weather has a way of proving to us every now and then that it has a mind of its own. Just when we think we’ve got it figured out, it makes our piggies scramble for cover.

Today I want to share a forecast with you that you can count on. It’s straight out of the Word of God, and because of that, it’s true. It’s 100% accurate — and it’s reliable. You won’t be left out in the cold if you’re trusting in him. May God bless the reading of his Word.

“‘And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.'” John 14:3 (Jesus speaking).

“‘Behold, I am coming soon!'” Revelation 22:7a (Jesus speaking).

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

Flickr photo by aussiegall, Creative Commons License