Young In Him Blog
Each painful step up the stairs and into my home was a reminder of better things to come. My early morning scamper down 4 flights of stairs almost ended in a fall as my foot caught the carpet. I righted myself and recognized prideful thoughts in my head saying, “You certainly are quite agile for your age.” Considering the backpack on one shoulder and purse on the other, these were foolish thoughts for an almost 65-year-old woman.
Silently I spoke to those foolish thoughts, “Thanks Father God for catching me. I’m sorry for not taking better care of myself. Help me accept safer practices as I age.” I went on to enjoy a busy day of errands and visits, all involving walking many pain free steps.
But sitting in the car for the final 2-hour drive home to Key Largo, I began experiencing painful aching and spasms in my right ankle. I remembered my morning stumble and began to beat myself up with regret for such foolish behavior. Then I heard the comforting whisper in my spirit, “Love, gratitude, hope can cause you to overcome.” With a changed focus from pain and regret to gratitude and hope, I began thinking about all the … Read More »
Growing up on a farm, I learned stables are drafty and damp. No matter how diligent the stable hands are; you will always find animal poop and the accompanying flies. The animals’ water isn’t filtered and the animals’ food is tossed in an unwashed trough.
Having spent a lifetime as a nurse, I’ve witnessed the pain and trauma suffered by individuals due to accidents and injuries. Fishhooks, knives and nails were never meant to penetrate one’s flesh. Without anesthesia and a surgical team, these experiences can be painful and messy.
As I ponder this joyful season of celebration, I can’t help but follow the thread of Jesus’ life from baby to man, from the stable to the cross. Logic tells me, “if you want to rescue someone from a bad situation; you better be strong and have the right plan and equipment.”
Yet, Jesus rescued my sin tainted self through a humble birth and humble death because his flesh isn’t sin tainted. So, I guess you could say he has the right equipment. He resurrected from death, so it seems he has supernatural strength. His Father God came up with the plan because he loves us and wants his kids with him always.
The … Read More »
“We were married 44 wonderful years the day Ann took the car and died driving off the road into a deep ravine. Even though the Alzheimer’s caused her to forget my name, I didn’t mind taking care of her. It’s been two years, and I still miss her so.” Joel and myself listened as our friend Tom recounted details surrounding his life with Ann, her decline into Alzheimer’s and traumatic death.
Tom shared with us his grief filled stories many times before. He continued on, “I never expected her to get into the driver’s seat and drive away. She was always a woman who loved adventure but she hadn’t tried to drive for almost a year. Every day I look at her photos and breakdown. If she was still here, we could enjoy each other’s company.”
Patiently we listen to Tom’s stories of grief because we know tears and expressed sadness are important for healing after the death of a loved one. Expressed mourning, sorrow and guilt help to release bottled up pain and allow healthy healing.
I think Tom is stuck in his grief because he can’t seem to forgive himself for his lapse in Ann’s supervision resulting in her death.
“Tom, we … Read More »
Getting to know people is usually a delight to me. But typically, I don’t look forward to large social gatherings. Because of the noise, distractions and differing motives in attending large gatherings, I’ve found conversation can be dull and lack transparency.
The past weeks presented opportunities to be part of large gatherings. In anticipation of these social functions, I became aware of increasing tension in my neck, head and shoulders. This tension threatened to become an annoying headache. So, I sat myself down for a good transparent talking to.
“Bonnie, these social functions are an opportunity for you to encourage others with a smile and a few words of compliments and hope. Maybe, if you went with the expectation that your presence might help others and others might be an encouragement to you, the experience might be enjoyable.”
As I did some stretching exercises, I pondered the truths I had just spoken to myself and followed with this prayer. “God, I’m sorry for the worry and stressful thoughts I’ve been entertaining. Help me to be thankful for these social opportunities. Help me to expect you to use them for all of our good. Give my mind and body peace so I’m not tortured … Read More »
Three-year-old granddaughter Grace asked, “Can we make a birthday card for Papa Joel?” “Well, of course,” I replied. I collected the old greeting cards, scissors, glue and markers as she settled at the table ready to create.
“What kind of pictures do you think Papa Joel would like?” I asked. “Boats, Papa Joel likes boats,” Grace replied assuredly. The card came together with boats, Charlie Brown and Grace’s signature of a backwards G.
Grace then asked, “Could we decorate the house for Papa Joel’s birthday?” She went to my desk area and picked up a pad of pink, heart shaped sticky notes. “I could use these,” she said with a pleading look. Relieved I didn’t have to figure out how we were going to decorate, I quickly replied, “Sure, you can use the hearts.”
From the kitchen, to the living room, to bedrooms and finally the bathroom, walls, windows and furniture were decorated with pink sticky hearts. Of course they were mostly 3 feet off the ground, eye level for Grace. Papa Joel came home delighted as Grace, proud and pleased, shared all her loving creations.
Joel’s birthday celebration has come and gone but the hearts and cards remain happily displayed in our home. … Read More »
At first, my 11-year-old neighbor’s question surprised me. Fun loving Emily is usually carefree about life. “Could I ask you the meaning of a dream I had last night? I woke up scared and couldn’t get back to sleep.”
“Of course,” I replied, “I’ll try to help.” Emily continued, “In the dream I saw myself dead with really black eyes, just laying there. Nearby, was a scary creature with arrows looking something like the devil. “
“That dream would have alarmed me also. So why do you think you had the dream?’ I asked. “Maybe the devil was after me. I don’t really know,” Emily thoughtfully replied.
“Emily, do you know there is for real, good and evil, God and the devil?” I asked. “Yes!” She replied assuredly. I went on, “Do you know God loves you and wants you to have a good life filled with his protection? The devil wants to steal and destroy anything good in your life?”
“Yes, I believe those things are true,” Emily replied in agreement. I pressed on, “Do you know the sub-conscious mind is busy at work when we sleep, processing our past experiences. Both God thoughts and devil thoughts can come as we sleep … Read More »
For weeks following Hurricane Irma, my sinuses were congested and my body dragged with fatigue. The emotional sights of all needing cleanup translated fatigue to my physical body. The removal and mulching of countless trees and brush from our neighborhoods accounted for watering eyes and sneezes.
But one recent early morning found me waking from an encouraging dream. I was riding my motorcycle, (yes, I used to ride one) through the beautiful heavens on up into God’s amazing throne room. Seated on the throne was Jesus, and I stopped my motorcycle right at his feet. He kindly gestured for me to come sit with him awhile.
I sensed he knew all my concerns and challenges. Rest, rejoice and receive were the words filling my consciousness as I sat tranquilly at Jesus feet. The dream ended and I awoke with a kind of knowing peace that said, “As you bring your concerns to me, I will deal with them. Your job is to rest, rejoice and receive from me.”
Those instructions seemed easy enough. Were these easy instructions going to cleanup our beautiful islands, bring much needed affordable housing and a thriving economy? I sense I need to give these huge needs to God … Read More »
My family reunion was held at a sleazy bar on the south side of Milwaukee. Our families, young and old, quickly filled the reserved lounge area with noisy conversation, snacks and juice boxes. Upon arrival, the children couldn’t resist the four miniature bowling lanes. They picked up miniature balls weighing approximately 2-3 pounds and slung them down the short lanes.
It warmed my heart to see the 2 1/2 year old listen to Grandma’s instruction, pick up the ball with both hands and push it down the middle of the lane. Slowly the ball rolled down the lane, finally striking the middle pin and knocking all the pins down for a strike. High five’s and cheers delighted this little one as she realized her successful throw.
Several of us noticed one of the 10 year olds throwing frequent gutter balls due to poor technique. She received expert counsel from several of the adults but continued to follow what she thought to be the “right way of doing things.” She wasn’t looking for correction or advice. Her stubborn refusal to at least try a better or different way of handling the ball saddened me. At this young age, she was already deceived into … Read More »
“I wish I could spend everyday helping others get their lives back together,” voiced a worker at a local recovery center after Hurricane Irma. Another reported, “The destruction is so sad but people coming together to help one another is heart-warming,”
The trees in Key Largo are becoming less brown and greener as new growth can already be visualized. Property cleanup is in full swing as chain saws buzz and bobcats and loaders consolidate and remove trash. Businesses are reopening and residents are going back to work. Many not yet able to do their regular work have become part of the hard working and sweaty labor force of cleanup and reconstruction.
There are short-term and long-term problems to be solved. A family of 5 has been sleeping on wet floors because their home was flooded and they have nowhere to go. There is the woman who lost everything due to the flooding and wind damage to her home. She left the recovery center in tears saying, “I can’t collect the things I need because I’m too overwhelmed.” Dive and snorkel boat businesses are facing the reality that portions of the beautiful coral reefs are gone.
Why can’t we continue helping each other long after … Read More »
I’m grateful, so very grateful to God. Arriving Thursday morning to our Key Largo home, we learned the power had been turned on earlier in the morning. Yes, the south side of the roof was peeled back on our home. Daylight could be seen through small cracks and holes in our bedroom ceiling. A gritty gummy dust could be felt on furniture and flooring on that side of the house causing us to suspect the roof lifted during the storm.
But, the only water damage seemed to be the bedroom water-soaked area rug. The saturated rug kept the water from creeping to the legs of the furniture. Our power was on, Internet and phones functioning and Joel’s TV antenna still intact on the roof of the house. Go figure, we still had the pleasure of local TV stations. We are grateful and blessed. Tons of yard cleanup to be done and a new roof needed but this seems so little in the face of other’s struggles around us.
There’s the 70 something neighbor driving up and down US Hwy 1 looking for a tarp to cover the damaged roof of her 25 year old mobile home. There’s the gentleman who lost his … Read More »