Archives for July 2009

Cloudy No More — Cataract Removal

Some simply call it cataract surgery. I call it a minor miracle. The sky gets bluer, the grass turns greener. Cloudy vision is made clear again with a simple outpatient surgery.

The patient? My husband Don. Last summer during his eye check-up, the doctor discovered a cataract. Don knew his vision hadn’t been as good but certainly never expected to hear that diagnosis. As the doc told me yesterday after the surgery, Don is, in fact, too young for cataracts, but sometimes for unknown reasons, younger people develop them. Don falls into the unknown reasons category. Why am I not surprised by that? :)

By the way, did you pick up on the fact that he has waited a year to get the problem fixed? Along with getting very nervous at the thought of surgery, Don also didn’t want to take time away from classes to have it done. After all, he didn’t want his students missing out on any of his stimulating lectures or outlandish stories :)

Since the timing never seemed to work out during his shorter breaks throughout the year, Don just plugged along, living with vision that was not all that it could be. Sometimes in the evenings, he’d finally set the newspaper aside, tired of trying to focus on the crossword and sudoku puzzles he loves so much. Driving at night with him became an adventure I wanted to avoid. And why was he driving? He thinks he has to do all the driving when we’re together, but that’s another post altogether :)

I’m guessing Don will soon be wondering why he didn’t get the problem corrected sooner. Who wouldn’t want the best vision possible?

I’m also wondering if some of us are struggling along with limited vision of another sort. Have we allowed hurt, anger, or bitterness to cloud some of our current perceptions? Other obstacles can be at fault as well — pride, envy, low self-esteem, buying into the wisdom of the world… The list goes on. All of these things keep us living with a vision that’s not all God wants it to be.

Why don’t we ask the Great Physician to remove the cataracts of our minds and souls? Let’s ask Him to open our eyes and use His Word to bring the healing we need today. After all, don’t we want the best vision possible?

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Flickr photo by Nicholas_T; Creative Commons License

Evidence of Pure Delight

This little gal and my nephew Gavin have something wonderful in common — they both know how to freely enjoy an ice cream cone. No inhibitions. No embarrassment. They just dive in and come up smiling, with the evidence of pure delight plastered all over their faces.

I should have a picture of Gavin in all his chocolate glory, but alas, I failed to capture the shot. We traveled to T-town this past week to see one of his ball games before the end of the season, and I dutifully took pictures there. However, when the game was over and we stopped by Braum’s for a celebratory ice cream treat, I left my camera in the car. Big mistake.

Yes, I missed the real photo-op of the night. If I hadn’t been so pooped (this was less than 48 hrs. after all our vacation travels), I would have hot-footed it out to the car, grabbed the camera, and snapped a priceless pic to share with you all. Now you’ll just have to imagine it — sorry! :)

Gavin’s still young enough (7 years old) to throw caution to the wind and eat an ice cream cone the way a playful puppy might. I’m not sure how he managed it, but the chocolate trail on his face went a full 360 degrees around his mouth. What can I say? That boy enjoyed his ice cream! :)

Wouldn’t it be fun if we adults gave ourselves permission to enjoy ice cream — or life in general for that matter — with the same carefree abandon of a little boy? Instead, as we grow up, we grow more reserved, and before you know it, we forget what it’s like to throw caution to the wind, dive in, and come up smiling.

What do you say we give it a try this week? Join me in leaving inhibitions and fear of embarrassment behind. Let’s freely enjoy something we love. Let’s leave a trail of joy in our wake and let our faces shine with the evidence of pure delight. And yes, for some, that might include chocolate!

“…God…richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” 1 Timothy 6:17b

p.s. So what do you hope to enjoy this week? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment and start your trail of joy! :)

Flickr photo by ian.plumb

Backdrop of Beauty — Colorado and God

Hiking up a storm

Hiking up a storm

I’m still playing catch-up after arriving home from vacation late Sunday night and being out of town again yesterday, but I wanted to pop in long enough to share a bit of the beauty we enjoyed while in Colorado. And might I add, the above shot is just a taste of it. It surrounded us all week long.

I can still see it all in my mind’s eye. The gorgeous views from our condo’s windows and deck — a peaceful pond just a few yards away, a section of the Colorado Trail right outside our door, and majestic mountaintops dotted with snow towering above it all. Our hikes afforded us the viewing pleasure of delicate but vibrant wildflowers, magnificent rock formations, forested mountainsides, and the amazing waterfalls on the McCullough Gulch Trail south of Breckenridge.

The beauty we experienced wasn’t limited to just the things we saw, though. It was definitely a package deal. The sound of rushing waters as well as our silly antics on our hikes, the scent of pine permeating the air, the delicious feel of cool mountain air refreshing our Midwestern heat-weary bodies. It was all there, feeding our souls and invigorating our spirits.

I couldn’t help but think what it would be like to be living life with a backdrop of the beauty and majesty of the mountains every day. Surely it would be a taste of heaven…

As I continued my mountain-inspired contemplation, it dawned on me that I do live with a daily backdrop of beauty and majesty. I live with God — the very Creator of the mountains. His beauty is a package deal as well. No limits, no short one-week stay. He is with me every step of the way, feeding my soul and reviving my spirit. He is the ultimate backdrop of beauty. How I love Him, how I praise Him!

“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord…” Psalm 27:4

*Our photo

p.s. Leave a comment on Vonda Skelton’s blog for a chance to win a copy of Cec Murphey’s When Someone You Love Has Cancer.

Book Review: The Woman I Am Becoming

Since we just got back from vacation, it’s the perfect opportunity to share something I’ve been saving for a time when I was too pressed or pooped to write. I hope to get back to a more normal routine soon, but for now I hope you enjoy reading about a wonderful book written by T. Suzanne Eller. (Yes, she’s the author I met face to face not long ago!)

The Woman I Am Becoming — A Book Review

When author Suzie Eller was in her twenties, she didn’t see herself as a full-fledged woman. In her book The Woman I Am Becoming she said, “When I looked in the mirror … I saw me—a woman under construction. A building project that was dragging on and on, complete with breakdowns and cost overruns …. I saw my life as a construction zone. All I could perceive was the dust and noise and sweat. But God—the ultimate designer of my life—reached down to remind me that he had plans for me. It was time to view myself in an entirely different way: As the woman I was becoming.”

In this book Suzie addresses issues that twenty-something women grapple with on a daily basis, such as identity issues, relationships, faith, vocation, and the future. She does it, however, with the help of women of all ages. In fact, the book reads more like a conversation than an authority giving answers.

She gives us insight into the feelings and thought processes of young women by beginning her chapters with blog posts written by twenty-something women while also including other revealing quotes from them throughout the book. In an effort to build community for her twenty-something readers and to offer them wisdom from older women, Suzie shares what she has learned personally as well as the thoughts of other women in their thirties and beyond. Each chapter ends with personal application questions and space for readers to journal their answers.

Suzie writes from a position of knowledge concerning the twenty-something age group. She is the mother of three children in their twenties and is active in youth and young-adult/career ministry. She is a writer and speaker who has written three other books geared towards teens and young adults as well as a book for moms.

Even though The Woman I Am Becoming was written for women in their twenties, women of all ages can benefit from reading it. After all, like Suzie says at the end of the first chapter, “With God’s help I began a journey of transformation, and I’m still on that path! … Just when I think I’ve arrived, I encounter a new opportunity or challenge or season, and the waltz starts all over again.”

Suzie helps her readers, especially those in their twenties, learn how to dance with God, following His lead every step of the way. The questions at the end of the chapters prod readers into that next level of personal application and make this a powerful resource in the faith journey. I highly recommend this book. Check out Suzie’s website and get to know her a little better. You’ll be glad you did!

Photo from

Vacation Bound!

Hubby and I, along with daughter Kristin and son-in-law Shawn, are headed to the mountains for a little R & R, a lot of fun, and truth be told, probably more activity than a person should have on vacation :) Hopefully, a sizeable portion of peace and deep soul rest will be found by us all as we enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.

I won’t be posting again until next Sunday night — I have a little something ready to go upon our return. As for today, I don’t want to run off without giving you the R & R you come looking for when you visit my blog. Enjoy these words of Henry Van Dyke — some perfect thoughts for this vacation bound post. God bless!

“To be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars; to be satisfied with your possessions but not contented with yourself until you have made the best of them; …to think seldom of your enemies, often of your friends, and every day of Christ; and to spend as much time as you can with body and with spirit in God’s out-of-doors —these are little guideposts on the footpath to peace.”

Flickr photo by naturalpapa