Monday, December 28, 2009

And Now for the Rest of the Story

Well, Christmas has come and gone (actually it remains until the New Year around here).
Yes, the cast did come off after 4 weeks. Then I was in a splint. I started hand therapy and my poor swollen hand and wrist really didn't appreciate it. For the first week, I was anxious to go because I wanted to be able to write my name. I was disappointed when I flunked the movement which is like shooting a gun. I just couldn't squeeze that hard. I was amazed at the number of "toys" the therapists used to restore my mobility. It was hard work and I was generally exhausted when my two hours was up.

By the second week, I just wanted to go home and curl up in the fetal position and sleep after my sessions.

I've now completed 10 sessions and may or may not do more. I not only can shoot the gun but I can press my thumb (which is arthritic) and my index finger in a pretty good pinch. I can also touch each other finger easily with my thumb. I can write with my right hand, tie my shoes, floss my teeth, pick up the cat, carry out garbage and waste baskets, vacuum, clean soiled appliance pieces with an SOS pad, etc. My default hand is now my right hand and if it can't do the job, my left hand helps. Christmas decorations went up later than usual and Christmas cards are still being written, but I don't think God is that concerned with our preconceived time schedules.

This has indeed been an adventure. I learned to expect improvement incrementally and rejoiced over each new accomplishment. Now I'm looking forward to being completely well, mentally (I CAN do this), emotionally (I don't have to focus on ME anymore), and physically (I like my new default to my right hand). God did give me a new attitude, one of gratitude to Him for His healing process.

One small P.S.: I start shoulder therapy three days from now. Maybe in three days I won't need it. My whole right side is getting stronger day by day. But whatever God has in mind, I'll do and I'll learn more lessons. He is good!

I hope you had a Merry Christmas. I did.
Insightfully yours,

Monday, November 23, 2009

Reflection at four weeks

Two blogs ago I said I wanted to learn more about God and more about myself on this journey of left-handedness. Well now should be a good time to reflect since I go to the doctor tomorrow for my four week check-up. I say four week check-up because barring a miracle over night I don't think I'm getting rid of this cast yet.
Things I've learned about God and me so far:
He's in charge, I'm not.
He's patient, I'm impatient. (For years I've thought I was very patient.)
He's kind and loving, I'm crabby, selfish, and prone to perfectionism and discouragement.
He wants to change my attitude.
He wants me to think of Him first, and if I don't get around to thinking of anything else all day, that's OK.

Things I've learned about me:
I don't run to God for help as immediately as I thought I did.
I don't hunger to read His word as much as I thought I did.
I don't spend time in prayer praising Him and snuggling in His arms to get well. I just ask him to help me do the things I want, or feel I need to do, to prove I'm not helpless. (make bed, empty dishwasher, laundry, teach, etc.) Of course that leads to seeing what else needs to be done and being frustrated when it can't be done on my timetable. (Paul says "Oh wretched man that I am." Pauline says "Oh wretched woman that I am.")

During my adventure God's servants sent me cards and notes and prayers. Many came from people I didn't even think would care about me. I have been totally overwhelmed by this.
Our church sent flowers and a visitor.
During this time my kids have rallied around to feed us, clean our house, take me to the doctor and hairdresser, to be with me during Bill's surgery and to pray for us.
During this time my husband had heart surgery. He had three stents put in. He did not complain. He thanked God that we live in an age when this is possible.
Also during this time I've prayed for two couples going through far more physical difficulty than I. Yesterday a friend's wife died suddenly.

Tomorrow I see my doctor. He and God may both say I need more time. This "light momentary affliction" is not over yet. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." (Proverbs 1:7) I'm beginning to learn.
Insightfully yours,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

One eye on the sparrow and the other watching me.

I thought I would give you a blow by blow report as I continued on my journey, but decided that wasn't a good idea when I was down in the "pit" over the weekend and beyond. I learned that you can do hard things for a while and it's OK, but to keep on for an extended period of time is daunting. My hand had started to swell and as a result, to hurt. I called the doctor and was told to keep it elevated, and continue using ice and Tylenol. So I did yesterday and indeed it stopped hurting. In fact I got up feeling so good this morning I decided to surprise Bill and make coffee. I got out the new coffee filters and found I couldn't open them. Bill cut them open. I got out the coffee and the pitcher of water and found I couldn't lift the pitcher to pour straight. So Bill poured it. So much for surprises!

I told Bill I could unload the dishwasher from last night's dishes and reload it. After he went to work I did that and got the garbage ready to take out, but I couldn't tie it. I cleaned the table and the counters and got meat out to defrost. Then because my hand was swollen and hurt again, even though it hadn't done any of the work, I took Tylenol and sat on the sofa with my arm elevated and covered with ice for 45 minutes. But God told me to be quiet and listen to the lyrics of my favorite Southern Gospel CD and look at my pretty backyard.

We have a new crop of roses, and our white camelias are starting to bloom. There was a pair of mocking birds playing in the neighbor's Birch tree and they kept me entertained for quite a while. The sky is light grey (not my favorite sky color) and all the trees in our neighbor's yard are turning from green to gold and will soon be red. It was a peaceful scene as I listened to "I know, yes I know Jesus died to make the vilest sinner clean," "Loving God, loving each other," He has one eye on the sparrow and the other watching me," "He came down to my level when I couldn't get up to His," and "At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light and the burden of my sins rolled away, it was there by faith that I first saw the light and now I am happy all the day." Indeed! My goal for today is an attitude of gratitude.
Insightfully yours,

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A New Adventure

I'm having a new adventure. I fell and broke my right wrist and shoulder blade. Shoulder blades apparently do not matter, but wrists do, particularly if they are attached to your dominate hand.
Mine is.
I also split my lip. That was taken care of by a stitch and antibiotics. But my wrist will be in a cast and sling for four weeks. I actually think the sling is more helpful for my shoulder. At any rate I need help.
The first thing I discovered as I sat down in my recliner was that it was meant to be used by a person who had use of his/her right hand. I couldn't raise the foot lever.
The second thing I discovered was that I couldn't fasten or unfasten my bra. Even if I pulled the fastener around to the front (women understand this), the fingers on my right hand are basically useless for small muscle tasks.
I couldn't put on my socks (I can now with enough time) or tie my shoes, hang up my clothes, or put on my sling.
Here is a list of things I found my solo left hand useful for:
sponge baths, putting on make-up, brushing teeth with an electric toothbrush, combing the front of my hair, putting on deodorant, loading and unloading the dishwasher, making the bed, folding the clothes except for large items like sheets or making sockballs, feeding the cat, and typing with one finger on the computer.
I'm praying that the Lord will help me learn more about Him during this time, more about myself, and new ways of coping. So far I've learned that He is patient, I'm not, and I'm very thankful for my husband.
Insightfully yours,

Friday, June 26, 2009

Identity Theft

Jericho - the town that Joshua fit the battle of, the town around whose walls Joshua and the Israelites marched seven times, the town from which Rahab and her family were rescued when the walls came a-tumblin' down, THAT JERICHO was to be wholly dedicated or consigned to the LORD as
1. a perpetual sign of God's judgment on the wicked Canaanites
2 a first fruits offering of the land. This was a way of signifying that the land belonged to the LORD.
3. a perpetual reminder that Israel had received the land of Canaan from God's hand as a gift of grace.

one Israelite soldier, Achan, coveted and stole some of the things from Jericho which were consigned to the LORD. He may have thought they would be small and insignificant to God whereas they were real treasures to him. Perhaps he wanted to pass them on as battle trophies to his children some day. But he knew he had done something wrong. Why else would he hide the stolen goods under his tent?

Achan's action showed that he cared more for those trinkets than he cared about obeying God whose command was to totally destroy everything. Consequently he became identified with the things consigned for destruction along with their possessors.

God said, "Israel has sinned."
"...they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction."
"You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it."
"He who is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the LORD and has done a disgraceful thing in Israel."

And so Achan and his family and possessions and flocks were destroyed along with the town of Jericho.

What or who am I identified with?
Insightfully yours,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An Eternal Plan

Salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ is taught throughout the Old Testament. I'm starting to check out the places. I knew the story of the Israelites' escape from slavery in Egypt. The last plague brought on the Egyptians by God was the death of the first born. God, however, planned a way of escape for the Israelites' first borns. The family was to kill a lamb and put its blood on the doorposts and lintel of their homes. When the death angel passed over the land, he would not enter the homes where the blood had been applied.

When the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, they sent two spies across the Jordan River to the town of Jericho to spy out the land. They found out from Rahab, a prostitute, that the whole land was quaking with fear. They had heard how God had led the Israelites out of Egypt and then had helped them kill two powerful kings east of the Jordan, and now they were camped, ready to enter Canaan.

Rahab hid the spies while they were in Jericho. Then she made a bargain with them. If they would promise to spare her and her family when they conquered Jericho, she would help them get back to their camp safely. They agreed, but told her to hang a scarlet cord outside her window, which was in the wall of the city, so the soldiers would know which house was hers. Furthermore she must have all her family inside the house with her. Whoever was outside would die.

Rahab did as the spies said and when the Israelites conquered Jericho, she and her family were spared. So she became a part of God's family. Matthew 1:5 says that Rahab later married an Israelite named Salmon. Their son, Boaz later married Ruth who became the great-grandmother of King David, and of course from David's family eventually came Jesus Christ.

That is the rest of the story, but my point was really that the scarlet cord that showed the soldiers where Rahab and her family were, was the same as the blood over the doorposts in Egypt that showed the death angel where to pass over. Both are types of the saving blood of Jesus Christ given long before Jesus was born. I'd say God had a plan.
Insightfully yours,

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Joined in Crime, Separated in Commitment

It has been nearly a month and my new insights are accumulating. I keep thinking I need a block of time to think about them on paper (or blog) before I decide to make them permanent, but my procrastination only makes me anxious. So, here are some of them, incomplete or not:

In my study of Numbers and Deuteronomy, I was interested in how the promised land was divided among the tribes of Israel. Old Jacob, on his death bed had praised some of his sons and blasted others. His first son, Reuben, had blown his birthright as first son by his immoral acts within the family. The next two brothers, Simeon and Levi, were condemned by their father for their vicious, murderous acts of revenge. So the fourth son, Judah, became the prominent son through whom the Savior, Jesus Christ, eventually came.

But back to Simeon and Levi. Two brothers - two opportunities to change, but apparently only one really did. In God's eternal wisdom, He chose the Levites to be His priests to the nation Israel. They did not receive an allotment of land in the promised land, but were scattered throughout it to serve as priests. Forty-eight cities, surrounded by a reasonable amount of grazing land for the Levites' cattle, were set aside so the Levites' presence, service, and teaching might be widely available. Later, when the temple was built, they went there on a rotational basis to serve. So God turned the curse of being scattered throughout the land into a blessing and an the honor of being priests. The Levites produced some of the greatest of the nation's leaders: Moses, Aaron, Phinehas, Eli, Ezra, Nehemiah, and John the Baptist.

How about Simeon? The two had done the murderous deed together. Simeon is mentioned in the story of Joseph. When Joseph sent his brothers back from Egypt to Israel to get their brother Benjamin, he kept Simeon in prison to assure their return. Of course Simeon was only one-tenth of the gang who sold Joseph into slavery, (I sure hope you know this story.) but why did he keep Simeon? What did God know about Simeon that is not revealed to us?

Did Simeon eventually receive an allotment in the promised land? Yes, he did, but it was within Judah's territory. Judah had remained close to the things of God through its long history and so Simeon benefited from Judah's faithfulness. God is merciful, is He not?

None of us are as saintly as we'd like to think we are, but it always surprises me that those I'd consider the least saintly turn to God, He forgives them, and uses them to praise Him. May He use me, too.
Insightfully yours,

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Spiritual Light

I met a new young friend recently. After listening to my friend talk, I was distressed in my soul. Was my friend a Christian as he claimed to be? Actually he never claimed to be in my presnece. I guess I assumed he was by his associations with those who were. After listening for a long time about how much he had studied ancient philosophers and other learned people, how much he had read, and the great number of current (in his short years that would probably be the last 10-12 years) movies he had watched, all of these to bring him to the philosophy he now held on life, I wondered what impact Jesus had had. Interestingly as I listened, it didn't occur to me to pray. If only I had prayed, "O Lord, help him to hear what he is saying," it would have had more impact than my sitting and just listening, feeling more agitated all the time.

Last week in Bible study, a paragraph in the notes jumped out to me. It said, "The greatest privilege of any human being is to know and love God. Yet love for God does not come naturally. Instead of loving God, we neglect Him and even hate Him because He is sovereign, holy, wise, omniscient, glorious, loving, and unchangeable, and we are not. If we are actually to come to love God, we need a new nature - we need to be born again."

Indeed, "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come." (II Corinthians 5:17) I know that new Christians are like new babies - they dirty their pants, need to be fed, and need the love and care of other Christians, so we are not to judge by circumstances. But there is a starting point which leads to a new direction.

I was reading a sermon by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) this morning. The title was "Spiritual Light." Lifting a small part out towards the end, it says,
"As for instance, that notion that there is a Christ, and that Christ is holy and gracious, is conveyed to the mind by the word of God, but the sense of the excellency of Christ by reason of that holiness and grace, is nevertheless immediately the work of the Holy Spirit.

"This is the most excellent and divine wisdom that any creature is capable of. It is more excellent than any human learning, it is far more excellent than all the knowledge of the greatest philosophers or statesmen. Yea, the least glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Christ doth more exalt and ennoble the soul than all the knowledge of those that have the greatest speculative understanding in divinity without grace." ...

"This knowledge is that which is above all others sweet and joyful. Men have a great deal of pleasure in human knowledge, in studies of natural things, but this is nothing to that joy which arises from this divine light shining into the soul."

Insightfully yours,

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fighting, not new, just different

Just recently an article appeared in our newspaper about a man walking in the park with his two daughters. Another man came up to them and apparently made some remarks. The father told the man in no uncertain terms to get lost. The man disappeared but soon reappeared with some "friends" who beat the father breaking his leg in two places. The "friends" were pulled off the father by some observers, and some vigilant neighbors called the police. The attackers said they beat up the father because he showed them "disrespect." Now tell me, what's to respect of someone who threatens your family?

How do all the fights we have these days get started? The book of James (Bible) in chapter four addresses the subject of fighting. He says "Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it."
My, how early that starts.
"You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight, etc."

James ends up saying that only a life submitted to God will have real peace. Indeed, Matthew (more Bible) says "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God."

Ultimately Jesus, whom Isaiah (still more) calls the Prince of Peace, is the one who will bring peace to nations, cities, and yes, individuals.

Until then, John McArthur says "Peace is that glorious moment in history when everyone momentarily stops to reload."
Insightfully yours,

Monday, April 13, 2009

THE BIBLE REPORTER, Monday, April 20, AD 29

Discovery of Open Tomb Made by 3 Women

The following is the first interview of the women who found that Jesus' tomb had been opened.

Q. How did you happen to make this discovery?
A. At dawn, yesterday, we were bringing spices to anoint Jesus' body. We wondered who would roll the stone away from the tomb. Suddenly we felt an earthquake. When we looked up, we saw an angel. He had rolled the stone back and was sitting on it.
Q. Where were the guards?
A. They fainted when they saw the angel. We were frightened, too.
Q. Did the angel speak to you?
A. Yes, he told us not to be afraid. He said he knew we were looking for Jesus who was crucified. He told us Jesus wasn't there. He had risen! He even invited us to see for ourselves.
Q. You mean you went inside the tomb?
A. Yes, and Jesus wasn't there! We saw two angels standing where he had been laid.
Q. What do you think happened to Jesus' body?
A. The angels reminded us that Jesus had said, "The Son of Man must be handed over to his enemies. He will die on a cross, but on the third day, he will rise from the dead." Yesterday was the third day.
Q. So, do you believe that's what happened?
A. Yes, we do.

Guards Tell a Different Story

Two of the guards who were on duty guarding Jesus' tomb as ordered by Pilate, deny that Jesus rose from the dead. "No one has ever risen from the dead!" they said. "Jesus' disciples came and stole his body while we were sleeping." So far no action has been taken against the guards.

Strong Earthquake Felt

A strong earthquake was felt in and around Jerusalem on the day Jesus of Nazareth died on the cross. Many reports continue to tell of damage to tombs in the area. One aftershock was reported yesterday, the same day the women found Jesus' tomb open.

Vandalism to Temple Curtain

Jewish rulers have offered a reward to anyone who can explain how the temple curtain dividing the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies was torn. The rip looked as if it started at the top and tore downwards. The apparent vandalism happened at the same time Jesus Christ died on the cross.

Disciples Believe Report Made by Women from their Group

"We thought they were just talking foolishness when they said they saw angels," Peter, one of Jesus' disciples, said. "But when Mary told us, 'They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don't know where they have put him,' John and I ran to see for ourselves. We found the tomb empty!"

Burial Cloths Still in Tomb

John, a disciple of Jesus, said he saw the strips of linen that had been around Jesus' body. He and Peter, another disciple, inspected the tomb yesterday. Peter noted that the burial cloth that went around Jesus' head lay in a separate spot. The cloth, he claims, was folded.

Woman Claims Risen Jesus Spoke Her Name

Mary Magdalene said Jesus spoke to her as she looked into his tomb. "He was behind me and asked why I was crying. I thought he was the gardener, and had taken Jesus' body away. Then he spoke my name, 'Mary.' I turned around and I knew it was Jesus."

More Jesus Sightings

Two followers of Jesus, on their way to the village of Emmaus, said Jesus joined them as they walked. They said he explained how the writings of Moses and the prophets pointed to him. These men seemed sure this "Jesus" was the same Jesus whose ministry they had followed for three years.

Ten men who were Jesus' disciples said they were in a locked room when suddenly Jesus appeared. "He showed us the scars on his hands and feet," one of them said. Another added, "He shared our dinner." Still another claimed, "We touched him!" These men had been in hiding since their Master's crucifixion. They appeared to be telling the truth. Nothing could have changed them so much - unless Jesus really did rise from the dead. Jesus must be alive!

Friday, April 10, 2009

A New Address

Isn't it interesting that when people of the Old Testament died, the usual phrase describing their deaths was "and he was gathered to his people," ( Deuteronomy 32:50) or "rested with his fathers." (I Kings 2:10)

But the New Testament uses the phrase "to be away from the body and at home with the Lord." (II Corinthians 5:8) What made the difference in the future home of believers?

John 11:25 "Jesus said to her (Martha), 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies."

Jesus told the man on the cross next to him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:41)

Jesus says to us, "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. 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 14:2-3)

Jesus told his followers, "Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live." (John 14:19) "On that day you wil realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." (vs 20)

Romans 8:1-2 "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death."

We have a new address in heaven because of Christ's death for us and His resurrection.
Insightfully yours,

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Our neighbor has a lemon tree whose branches hang over our side of the fence. SO, we get to have Meyer lemons and they are good! I have learned to be careful of the huge thorns. I didn't know that lemons had thorns until my experience with this tree. They are treacherous, and they hurt when they stick you or grab your clothes.

I had often wondered why God made thorns on a beautiful lemon tree, or for that matter, on even more beautiful roses. Then I heard someone say on the radio this morning that roses (etc.) didn't originally have thorns. They came as the result of Adam and Eve's disobedience to God. Being the doubter that I sometimes am, I looked up the Scripture reference he gave, and behold:
"Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you
and you will eat the plants of the field."
Genesis 3:17-18

There are many other references to thorns in the Bible, but as I looked at the thorns on the lemon tree, I thought only of the crown of thorns Jesus wore when He was crucified. Until now, I had not thought of the thorns being a symbol of the curse God put on mankind as the result of the original sin. But there displayed on Jesus head was the curse, and there He was dying for my sins.
Insightfully yours,

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Last year I blogged on Christmas. I kept it up all year with the exception of a few droughts in the middle. I thought I'd do Easter this year, but it is now Palm Sunday, so I'm a little late starting. The older I get the more distracted I get, BUT I HAVE GOOD EXCUSES!

Number one excuse: new cat!

If you read about our Christmas, you'll understand. ( Said cat is now one year old (this month). She no longer climbs the drapes, eats houseplants, tries to hang herself on miniblind cords, or attacks me. She still searches for paper clips, rubber bands (and then runs like crazy when I yell and chase her), dives regularly into wastebaskets, misses her potty box (as in aim), races down the hall trying to trip anyone in her path, drinks out of any leaky faucet she can find, loves to go into the bathtub and look around, darts into the closet before the door is closed, gets into things she knows she's not supposed to get into when she wants attention, and shadows me constantly.

I missed camelia season this spring. I usually pick three different kinds of camelias and float them in a bowl on the table. Sasha (said cat) flipped them out several times a day and drank the water. The camelias weren't happy in the house so I admired them, as well as any other flowers I might have wanted to pick, in the yard.

Actually Sasha is settling into the family. She sleeps more!!! Little babies sleep less as they grow up, but cats sleep more and that is good. She stays quiet all night long locked in the family room with everything picked up so she can't hurt herself, or us, or the house. When it gets light, she says she wants out of her prison and wants to be rubbed all over as she stretches out on the floor under our feet. In the evening she wants to play with us. We play follow the laser, Ants in the Pants, and you push the ball to me and I'll push it back.

So what's my new insight on cats? If you are getting a replacement pet for a beloved pet you had to have put to sleep, don't expect a carbon copy. Don't even expect the same catlike responses. Don't expect the same eating habits, or routines. Don't expect the same ways of showing affection. I guess this is like don't expect all your kids to be the same, or if you change spouses, don't expect the new one to be like the old one, or if you move to a new city, don't expect to do the same things you've always done.

Well, this is a start. You can measure your insight against mine if you want. Hopefully this is all the insight you'll get on cats. I am going to get a life.

Insightfully yours,