Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas, 2012

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life:
(John 3:16 AMP).

My blog is only 8 months old and I have appreciated all the kind and encouraging comments that many have left. They inspire me to keep writing when ideas come to me.

But it is Christmas and a time to embrace holiday joys with friends and family. 

If you could be “here”, we’d sit and share amidst some of the scenes you see below. How nice that would be! 

So - from my home ( literally ) to yours - a most

Merry Christmas!

Hanging the Bethlehem Star!

This precious Nativity set was purchased in Gudadalajara, Mexico 
in 1978. I had been asked to join a family I know on their vacation. 
I think of that special time often, but especially each year
 when I bring out the Nativity set.

The small carved wooden lamb on the left is a keepsake I purchased
 in Bethlehem, the following year. He brings joy each year, too! 

 The Birthday of the King!

. . .a birthday card from a close friend brings joy. . .

 . . .and heaven and nature sing. . .

. . .some gifts I will open Christmas Eve. . .

In 1990, my Mom painted this oil rendering of 
“Father Christmas".  
It has been a treasured Christmas item ever since. 
After her death in 2001, each family member has had the 
opportunity to hang it in their home for a Christmas season. 
Now, he is here and ever available to any family member 
who wants to have him sparkle for them during the holiday!

May your holiday be a time of joy. 
Thank you for sharing some time here with me! 
God bless you!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Let Light Dispel the Darkness

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. 
They had set night watches over their sheep. 
Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. 
They were terrified. 
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: 
A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. 
This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger”
(Luke 2:8-12 -  The Message).

Imagine that special night. Sheep were sedate from a full day of following their shepherds and ready for rest, as were the shepherds. The night was clear except for one brilliant star. 
All was still.
a burst of light 
an angel speaking
 glory outshining that brilliant star 
and they were terrified. 

Some translations record that they were sore afraid. Now that is mighty scared, scared to one’s innermost being. It is a surge of fear.

 A few verses later Luke records, 
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." 
Why was this unexpected honor given to the shepherds? The work of shepherds was not a job of high profile. They lived solitary lives caring for their flocks. Yet God saw their faithfulness and chose to honor them. His favor rested upon them.
How can these thoughts be of help to any of us when the unexpected happens in our lives? We feel far from favored. We often feel solitary and set apart. We tire before day’s end. We expect too much of ourselves, often feeling we have disappointed our Shepherd.
Yet he knows each one of us. He knows the longings of our hearts and the times we are sore afraid. He knows something else.
Light, his light, always dispels the darkness.
How long did the shepherds stay terrified? Once the light and the message being heralded became real to them, they rushed off to Bethlehem. They found the Messiah, yet a babe in swaddling clothes. Then they were proclaiming, to all who would listen, the wonders of what they had seen and heard.

The stars in heaven still sing the same glory. 
The favor of the Shepherd rests upon us. 
We can spread his good news to those we encounter, even during our hardest moments, because light dispels the darkness. Yes, it did long ago, and yes, it still does today.
Lord, in unexpected places, open my eyes to behold your glories. However you choose, help me to rush to a Bethlehem near me, proclaiming as I go,  the wonders you have displayed. Amen.

Look to and follow the Star in the night for that is when it can shine the brightest!

Click on the link below to hear this encouragement in song! 

words and music by Twila Paris

Lynn’s photo of a watercolor sketch by her friend, Dave Peterson. 

It was created to image this text. 
Thank you, Dave.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

As We Journey Toward Bethlehem

This devotional is adapted from one I wrote for Rest Ministries in 2008, then revised for my manuscript of devotionals, Choosing Comfort, and expanded for today’s entry on my blog. 

It has made its own journey to get to you now!

Bethlehem.This word when used in reference to the city in Palestine, a short distance from Jerusalem, has deep meaning to Christians as the celebration of Christ’s birth marks our calendars. His birth is cause for joy no matter the season but Christmas time brings it forth with more intentionality. 

There can be many festivities commemorating this event: gift-giving, card-sending, and love abounding as family and friends gather. The sounds of music may fill homes bringing the messages of this season to our hearts.

Birth. Wonder. Hope. Fulfillment. 

One song that settles deeply within me is,
 Breath of Heaven/Mary’s Song.*

The lyrics convey Mary’s thoughts on her journey toward Bethlehem as she struggles with the weight of the imminent birth of the Child she is carrying. Heavy, too, is the responsibility she foresees in raising him. As she surrenders to God’s plan, she recognizes that the grace she needs for each of the days to come has also been entrusted to her.

The weighty emotions which overcame Mary are echoed in our lives. We, too, carry Christ within us. Challenges can overcome us.They can take on a heavier tone when holidays are being celebrated and our culture presents many Hallmark moments that  image the perfected, be it Christmas or any other holiday of the year.

There are various reasons we may not be able to join in with matched gusto: some face chronic illness, chronic pain, loneliness, grief over the death of a loved one who once made such times of year very meaningful. 

Families may be estranged, marriages on edge, one’s children walking paths different than had been hoped. Our personal hopes and dreams, still on hold, have us wondering if they ever will be fulfilled. 

Loved ones and friends may be facing their own illnesses or conditions over which we have no control but to love them and support them via our presence or in our prayers for them -- perhaps in both ways. 

We all are asked to work through the traumas of life, no matter the season and with an acceptance of whatever season in life we are facing.

Such times bring questions as we seek answers and resolve.

Can I bear this burden for one more day? Can I see a gift in this pain entrusted to me? Can I overcome the grief and fears that loom up large engulfing me? Can my life ever live up to my expectations?

"Breath of Heaven, hold me together. 
Be forever near me, Breath of Heaven."

God’s breath of life created us. We carry the breath of heaven within us. His life sustains us. We do not journey alone. We may question. We may despair. That is fine for we can turn and seek the answers in the One who has them. We then await the peace that only He can bring.

As we ponder Christ’s birth, we can commit to a renewal in allowing Him to rebirth us. We are as dependent upon Him as He once was dependent upon Mary. Likewise, we share in the grace-filled promise that He is forever 

Lord, I exhale my heavy burdens to make room for You and for your help within me this day. Fill me up to overflowing with both the strength and the lightness of your Presence. Amen.

As you listen to the lyrics of this song and reflect on the message in this blog posting, may you relax in to the reason for this season, no matter what season of life you are experiencing. 

Click on the song title to get to the music.
*Songwriter/Composer(s): Chris Eaton/Amy Grant
performed by Amy Grant

Photo by Lynn
Watercolor by Lynn’s friend, Dave Peterson, sketched specifically for inclusion in her manuscript,  “Choosing Comfort”

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving My All, With Thanks

I wrote this devotional in 2009, originally posted by Rest Ministries (an online Christian site for those living in chronic pain or with chronic conditions). It bears a message for this season and any season. 

It holds a reminder that whether we are in crisis or merely facing some of the daily human challenges that can appear, it is the blessings in our life that need the focus of our attention. 

As those of us who live in the USA gather to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for each of you who take the time to stop by and read my thoughts. 

God bless you!

“They all gave out of their wealth; 
but she, out of her poverty, put in everything
—all she had to live on” (Mark 12:44).
 I have had one vision of this verse - a poor woman with her widow’s mite - willingly dropping that fraction of a penny into a basket.
Now I recognize some of my attitudes, the ones glued to the bottom of my all basket, that need emptying. 
I can be downright selfish when it comes to giving my all. Many days, as I am forced to rest on my couch, my pain is my all and little else seems possible.
Then, I view all that is around me and I observe abundant blessings. God has not stopped giving his all to me. I am provided for as I remain isolated from much of the world outside these walls. 
More importantly, 
his Presence is here with me in the stillness.
I war with feelings of envy as others go about their busy lives during my season of more limitations. It truly is an arrogance, a questioning of God’s plan for my life. 
He knows what He is doing. I am far from possessing the qualities displayed by the woman praised in this Scripture verse. Her qualities are worthy goals.
The all in my basket hold 
some attitudes needing to be surrendered. 
Next to my basket, God has another one filled with his wealth. These are provisions He wants me to recognize, reach for, and hold on to: trust, faith, grace, humility, and acceptance. 
It is from my basket that I am to pluck out and plunk into his hands all that is holding me back. With God's perspective, I will not be comparing my life to that of others. 

I will deeply recognize that he provides for one and all.  
If there is to be any poverty, let it be from my heart draining in thanksgiving to God - the One who loves me in spite of my attitudinal shortcomings.
He remains with me to help me see with new eyes 
- his eyes.
Lord, help me to give my all so that there is room within me to receive your all. Help my heart to rise in thanksgiving for you and your basket full of generosity - ever and always near. Amen.

 Hand-stitched Quilt by Lynn
Photo by Lynn

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Am Here to Hear

This devotional writing of mine was posted today on the Rest Ministries website and also sent out via their subscription option. Here it is for those of you who have stopped by to visit my blog! 

“We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts  as you did in the rebellion'”(Hebrews 3:14-15).

This exhortation comes from a context in Scripture when Moses had led the Israelites out of their captivity in Egypt. They were free and on a journey toward the promised land. Yet they came to be quarreling and questioning the Lord’s ways, longing to be back in Egypt. 

I am in a ripe environment for my heart to become hardened as I long for an earthly freedom from my pain. I can feel like I am “in Egypt” and awaiting deliverance. 

Unlike those who Moses led, who were looking back to what they felt were better times in Egypt, I stumble looking back on better days before my challenges erupted. I want to be tasting new fruit in a better land. I want release. 

I want. I want. I want. 

I say I want God’s will for my life but when suffering is what I feel 24/7, I want out. I still want Him; I just want his will to be a miraculous healing so I can be out of the pain and the limitations that accompany it.

I do not believe that God authors my sufferings. I do believe that, as my Creator who has my life plans intact, He understands these longings I experience. As He dwells within me, I am not abandoned as He is in this exile with me. 

For my heart to be protected from growing hardened,  I need to get used to hearing his heart beat within mine -- His voice of encouragement that I can come to recognize when I learn to listen for it.

His heart is tender towards me. When we dwell in softness together, He can turn my exiled hardening thoughts toward his thoughts that bring comfort in spite of the suffering. 

He becomes a shelter from the clamor that has me wanting to “get out of Egypt”. When I relax with Him, I begin to see blessings in the here and now.

 Lord, I receive You and the grace that only You can give as I wrestle with longings to be elsewhere. You are with me here, not “there”. Soften my heart to rejoice that there is no exile when You are with me. Amen.

If we each are to keep our hearts guarded, so that they do not become hardened, it is important to recognize that God is wooing us to hear his voice. 

Here in song, are some insights as we commit ourselves to listen,
 to wait, and to let Him guide us.

Twila Paris

Photo by Lynn
Molly Ward Gardens
Poulsbo, Washington

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Put On Love

I once again have the privilege of being a guest writer over at my friend, deni Weber’s web site, Today’s Encouraging Words. 

Put On Love

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful”
(Colossians 3:14-15).

When I see these words, put on love, I wonder how do I do that? Is putting on love like putting on a coat? 

Is it like putting on the armor that guards us against the enemy’s assaults? 

To put something on seems so temporary. I want love to be a permanent part of me and of everything I do. 

This Scripture’s exhortation is that over all these virtues, I am to put on love. I back up and find this:To read more, Click Here

Photo by Lynn
Molly Ward Gardens
Poulsbo, Washington

Monday, October 22, 2012

Running and Races

 My friend, deni Weber asked me to be a guest blogger on her web site where she writes daily devotionals of encouragement. I was honored to be asked and today she posted this devotional that I submitted to her. 

Thank you, deni.

To visit deni's web site and read some of her amazing posts and see this writing of mine in her beautiful formatting, 
 Click Here

She is also offering a free ebook download of her writings. Do check it out!

Running and Races

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1. 
I recently viewed photos of a former student, now a young woman. She had just completed running a marathon. Her victory smile was appropriate.  
Although  I can smile, I no longer am able to run. There are times I need to access my cane or my walker, but I do thank God that I can walk. I have friends needing a wheelchair for aiding them in their mobility. I know others whose daily needs require full-time assistance. 
Am I to take this Scripture literally? What is the race marked out for me? I must reconfigure my thoughts around the word, race.
This Scripture continues and exhorts me to look to Jesus who completed the task set before him when on earth. He never questioned the course his Father ordained. I can struggle with the course set before me. Will I make the next step, let along the next mile? Yet, I can look back at the route of my life and see God’s faithfulness along each step of the way. . . the steps I feared I could not take.
I listen to others who face daily physical challenges and hear them say, “I no longer feel productive.” 
I have known this struggle at various times and  eventually it leads me to ask, “Productive to whom?” There was a time when my productivity was more tangible and visible. Yet, who has set my race before me? Who recorded my days before I was born? 
The word race, in this context need not mean a competition, but an acceptance of the life course God has for me. He has promised to give sufficient strength to help me complete all that he has asked of me. A cloud of witnesses who have reached their finish line are cheering me on. They have received their reward  for persevering.  
If I compare my yesterdays to today, I can get entangled and face inadequately the part of my race that is for now. I can get thrown off the track if I am not careful. I want to stay hydrated with God’s grace, keeping my eyes on Him. 
He knows the direction we are going. We race together, no matter the pace. With Him, I will reach the finish line exactly when the moment is right and that is a race I know I will win.
Prayer: Lord, I thank you that I am not alone to face the course you have mapped out for my life. As you accompany me, encouraging me onward, I remain grateful to be in this race with you. Amen

Thursday, September 27, 2012

God Blesses My Weakness

Rest Ministries posted one of my devotionals today. I decided to share it with you here on my blog in its original form. To view it on the  Rest Ministries web site, Click here

“He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power”
 (2 Corinthians 13:3b-4a).

In 2 Corinthians 12,  Paul speaks about the thorn he carries in his flesh. He accepts it as a gift given to him to keep him from puffing up in pride. He is concerned for the Corinthians who are drifting from the ways of the Lord. He becomes stern in his admonitions toward them and their need of restoration.

This is background to my thoughts. We each know our weaknesses to sin and the gift we have to repent and receive forgiveness. We have examined, beyond measure, whether our physical ailments are bound to any wrong doings.We discover, rather, that they can be used to draw us closer to God and his strength. He desires for us to receive his loving faithfulness.

I recently read this phrase: consecrated weakness. It captured my imagination. At the time I read it, I was having an exceptionally weak day physically. How could weakness be consecrated? I pondered the juxtaposition of the two words. 

I can bring God my weakness, whatever forms it takes. Once surrendered to Him, He can consecrate my weakness, anoint it and make it sacred to Him for his purposes. My focus is to be in the surrender of the limited strength I have. It becomes a knowing and trusting that God’s strength is what I need and what I use to do anything that He asks of me.

In  2 Corinthians 2:9a, Paul received God’s promise, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” That is a promise for each of us, as well.

It remains a mystery to me that, though I feel so physically weak, God’s strength is helping me get through the day. There is strength to accomplish what I know, in the natural, would be impossible for me without Him. There is, also, strength to accept the days when all I can do is rest, the quiet days. This sacredness, touching me in my weakness, could only come from God. 

Prayer: Lord, draw me in my weakness, to receive your strength. Help me to experience your touch of strength even though I do not feel strong.Together we will journey through each day as You bless my weakness with your strength. Amen.

Surrender, when we each want control over our own lives, is a challenge equal to the challenges we carry in our body and emotions. Here, in song, is a reminder why and how it is done. 

 Twila Paris and Dennis Jernigan  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Part Four. . Reflections on Retirement After 20 Years

2008 - 2012

In 1999, I had the joy of meeting a man who had been my mentor for many years as a writer and a soul-traveler in the world of chronic illness. Tim Hansel ( You’ve Gotta Keep Dancin’ ) and his wife, Anastasia, had moved from their home in southern California to his childhood home in Seattle, Washington to care for his bedridden mother. We met. We all fell in love with each other! Tim’s abundant passion for his Lord and for choosing joy in spite of living in excruciating chronic pain for 25 years (at that time), left an imprint -- or as he would say, a Him-print --  on me and countless other lives he touched. 

I bring the Hansels into these reflections as they exemplify to the maximum people who are friends of the heart -- not an occasional passer by -- but deeply tuned in friends who we need in our lives at all times and especially during the tough times.

The Hansels moved back to California in 2006, after Tim’s mother died. We kept in close touch. Anastasia has had some occasions to fly to Seattle and she sleeps on my couch when she is in town. When I was slowly getting my life back and she was in town, she scrubbed my kitchen, bathroom, and ironed my shower curtain all out of the love and the joy of giving. Friends of the heart are also practical! Along with her ever encouraging words to me, she helped me to see with her eyes what I was unable to see with my own. Though set apart and isolated most of the time within my four walls, she believes I am doing more from my couch than many folks out and running around helter-skelter. She dubbed me, Couch Ministries. She on the other hand, crowned herself, Run Around Ministries. I would add that she is accomplishing quality encounters as she goes!
Tim and Anastasia Hansel - Seattle - 2000

I’ve mentioned Rest Ministries in past postings. My friend, Mary Lou, suggested in 2008 that I write devotionals for that ministry. I had been receiving them daily for years. I submitted some work and was asked to join the online writing staff. The people I have met from my couch  have changed my life: their courage, their stories, their inspiration. To combat extra dizziness when using my laptop computer, I have to lie down on my couch to take the pressure off of my head. I have worn out one couch ( my friend, Anastasia, reminds me ) and am on my way to wearing out my second one!

Over the past 3 and one half years I have compiled some of my writings into a manuscript along with my photos that image the message in each text. I am seeking publication but part of this writing journey took me to southern California. In 2010, I took yet another step in faith when I attempted air travel for the first time since the events of 2005. A major remodel of my apartment required that I be out of it for one month. A few places where I hoped to stay in my area did not work out. I called Anastasia who said, “What time can I pick you up at the airport?” 

Tim had died in 2009 but I sat on his couch in their home amidst many of the loving mementos that had been a part of his earthly life. I worked on my manuscript knowing that his inspiration was still making a Him-print in my life. It is not the book we had hoped to write together. Then again, it may just be!
Hansel Home - September, 2010 - Southern California

A noteworthy friend re-entered my life in 2005 after years of our being out of touch. He, as a heart friend, holds a place all his own deep in my life, one of God’s treasures to me. He was broken in spirit as he gradually came to know of particular events in my life. It got us to sharing, in our writings to each other, of God and hope and how one keeps trusting when life has not worked out according to our plans. We shared of other things, as well. He  encouraged me to get back to my writing and, gradually, I was able to do that. A few years into our correspondence, he opened up about significant pain in parts of his own life. 

Soul connections and heart connections go deep. Unconditional love can take time to receive when one has never experienced it before. What a glorious gift it is to both give and to receive it, to find oneself turned in to somebody loved. We carry this mutual connection, thankful to God who ordained the timing of when and how it evolved. Our prayers continue daily for one another’s needs, hopes, and the acceptance of what cannot be changed. They are wrapped up in prayer kites -- his term -- that we launch into the skies and right into God’s embrace until the time when He reveals His answers.

Thank you for walking with me through my post-retirement musings and some life events. I end these ocean meditations, from a couch here in Oregon, with thoughts of not only the friends literally mentioned in these blog entries, but many others who brighten my life and who inspire me to look forward to what God will be doing beyond this milestone year. 

May you each know the joys of being somebody loved, by the God who holds each one of us close if we let Him, and by those He places in our lives to help us draw closer to the image of Him. Him-prints -- may we leave them wherever we journey. They are written in the covenant He has given to us. 

Grab one and share it as you love someone today!
Beth Nielsen Chapman

Click on song title to hear song. . .Lyrics below the photo

Life has taught me this
Every day is new
And if anything is true
All that matters
When we're through
Is how we love

Faced with what we lack
Some things fall apart
But from the ashes new dreams start
All that matters to the heart
Is how we love

How we love
How we love
From the smallest act of kindness
In a word, a smile, a touch

In spite of our mistakes
Chances come again
If we lose or if we win
All that matter in the end
Is how we love

How we love
How we love
I will not forget your kindness
When I needed it so much

Sometimes we forget
Trying to be so strong
In this world of right and wrong
All that matters when we've gone

All that mattered all along
All we have that carries on
Is how we love

Monday, August 27, 2012

Part Three. . .Reflections on Retirement After 20 Years

2005 - 2008

Journal Entry - August 1, 1992
“. . .I don’t know what lies ahead but I know that You hold it and me in the palms of your hands, ready to give abundantly when I am ready to receive.”

I have rallied from many set backs during these 30 years with vestibular dysfunction. I was not prepared for the depth of the set back that befell me in May, 2005

For background, I take you to July, 2003 and a referral to a neurologist having success working with vertigo patients. He shared his victory stories. He outlined the steps and stages it would take, possibly two years. I prayed and was open to risk trying one more road to healing.

In August, 2003, I started work with a physical therapist. Her goal was to realign internal areas in my body, twisted from the 20 year struggle to maintain my balance. I saw her once every three weeks. I checked in with the neurologist every eight weeks. I would share how I was feeling weaker and weaker. Both said I was doing great, give it more time. 

In May of 2005, my body literally collapsed, The compensating mechanisms I had been using for twenty years had been realigned to a point where I had no crutches to rely on. I came to find out that the physical therapist had never worked with a vertigo patient. She believed she was doing the right treatment for what she diagnosed. My only means to try and get counsel was to make phone calls. The neurologist had nothing to offer and took no responsibility for what had occurred.

Where was God, the God I had prayed to as I entered in to this healing plan? Where was God, the God of the blessings you just read about in Part  Two of these Reflections After Retirement postings? He had not left me. He asked me to dig down deeper to where He was at work within me. 

The first work was to forgive the neurologist for his negligence. That negligence covered more areas than I’ll waste time mentioning here. That was done. My church community? They offered to pray for me and hoped I’d hurry back soon. No one came to pray with me. No one brought casseroles. Another work of forgiveness was needed there! 

I did seek practical help. Thank yous to the women in my prayer group  who worked out a monthly schedule for what turned out to be the following 7 months. They did my weekly grocery shopping using a list I compiled and brought a few meals. I accessed community help to supplement with Meals on Wheels. 

It took weeks, but very slowly, just as I had done with learning to look at a computer screen, I was able to walk from my apartment unit to the mail box. A trusted osteopath referred me to a colleague of hers who did acupuncture. More thank yous to a few faithful friends who came to take me to appointments. I made progress from walking to the mailbox to being able to ride in a car. 

Nine months of acupuncture, every three weeks ( 8/05 -  5/06 ) had no measurable effects. A therapy group for individuals with TBI ( Traumatic Brain Injury ) offered their help after an evaluation determined I fell into the category for the kind of help they give. With sets of home exercises to do, I eventually found myself whirling into vertigo attacks with those efforts ( 6/06 - 10/06 ). They dismissed me from their program but referred me to a neurologist/osteopath. She felt confident she could help (so did I) and efforts were made (10/06 - 11/07) to no avail. 

Though praying about each of the above involvements and feeling hope-filled, I came to the conclusion that I was to be in God’s rehab program. Together we would work in His time and on His timetable to bring restoration. I am grateful for the progress made.Though not back to where I was before May of 2005, I am not where I was when I collapsed that same month. 


5/05 I cancelled the Oxbridge trip. A friend who did attend, arranged for flowers to be sent to me the opening day in Oxford and the opening day in Cambridge. I have made friends for the journey among my C.S. Lewis companions.

5/05 A manuscript I had been diligently working on for five years was put on the shelf. Only now am I able to take it down and revisit the work that has remained a passion. I have more to bring to it after these seven years.

1/06 I was able to walk into a grocery store without going into a vertigo spinning attack. Very slowly, I attempted the .3 mile drive from my apartment parking lot to the grocery store across the street. I could once more do my own grocery shopping! 

3/07 I asked my neighbor if I cold ride to church with her. The church is 1 mile from my apartment. Within a few months, I had the confidence to drive there on my own.

7/07 I was able to drive to Seattle (18 miles from my home). A next level of independence was accomplished.

10/07 I joined the women’s Bible study group at the church. One more step!

6/08 I celebrated my 65th birthday during an evening study with this group.

Along these miles of months, many friends came alongside me to help. Adequate thank yous will never be enough to convey my appreciation for the input of love they poured into my life. And to my God who guided and never forsook me, our relationship and walk was never in jeopardy!

How do you measure, a year in the life?

How about love?
How about trusting the One who is Love?
How about surrendering to a plan beyond what I may ever know?
Yes, that is how I am measuring my life.
In His time, each song I have been asked to  sing, will be a lovely thing!

Click on the title below for this message in song!  

“He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11a).

. . .next . . . Couch Ministries is being birthed. . .

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Part Two . . .Reflections on Retirement After 20 Years

1992 - 2005

Journal Entry - August 1, 1992
“The sun is out! I am sitting at a picnic table with the ocean roaring, ebbing, flowing below. I can smell that unmistakable fresh saltiness of ocean air. Praise You, Lord, for your Creation. Thank You for bringing me here -- not only here to the Oregon coast and your ocean -- but here to this time in my life. I don’t know what lies ahead but I know that You hold it and me in the palms of your hands, ready to give abundantly when I am ready to receive.”
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?
Jonathan Larson - from his musical, Rent 

How can I encapsulate the wonder of my experiences during these 20 years? Without dwelling on every step being taken while in constant dizziness, let me get past that reality and concentrate on what God helped me to do in spite of this condition. Yes, there were countless medical tests, evaluations and therapies accessed with none leading to any resolve. Besides these times and when not in set backs, I embraced the following joys, among others. These are highlights.

How do you measure, a year in the life?

 I am going to “measure some years” 
as they lie within the fabric of a few of my favorite tee-shirts! 

 I remained active in Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary organization for women educators. Besides involvement with my local chapter and work on state committees, there were opportunities to travel to a few conventions. I got to Nashville, TN and Toronto, Ontario in Canada.Toronto was close enough to New Hampshire that I spent a week  with dear friends in Hanover after the convention. Naturally, I checked out Dartmouth college’s bookstore. Along with great memories, some books  and a tee-shirt were packed into my suitcase to bring home!

Although I got my BA degree in Education from the University of Washington, I had a double major in Drama with a focus in Children’s Theater. Live theater and musical theater has always been a passion for me. Thus, I make note of  times I have shared with friends and family finding joy in attending the theater.

Les Misérables

Crazy for You

My life changed for the better when, in 1972, I read C.S. Lewis for the first time. The book was Mere Christianity. More of his books followed throughout these years ( a bookcase full )!  Seattle Pacific University has been acclaimed for its C.S. Lewis Institute. For many years of summers the institute presented a month long course on Lewis’ life and works. I had attended free lectures during some of those summers. After I retired, I had the time to attend the course. How fortunate I waited. In 1998, the one-hundredth anniversary of Lewis’ birth, SPU presented this course as a study tour to England -- specifically Oxford and Cambridge. I was in. I was in for more than I could have ever imagined.

                                This tee-shirt has traveled many a mile and place with me! 

The Narnia Window
  Holy Trinity Church - Headington, Oxfordshire

I learned of the C.S. Lewis Foundation. This group had purchased the home where Lewis had lived: The Kilns  Over the course of ten summers, with volunteer help, the home was restored to an elegant circa 1950 look. It is being used as a study and resource center. In 2001, they held their first summer study week. Along with 7 other participants I was blessed to be in that group. staying there for the week, filled with informal lectures, fellowship, lots of touring about, and fun!

Lynn peeking out of the dining room window at the Kilns!

The timing of this event was an added  blessing, coming just months after my mother’s death. I stayed on in Oxford after the study week for another two weeks. I rested and browsed the city. I journaled and let God help me walk out some unfamiliar but necessary steps. 

Triennially, the C.S. Lewis Foundation organizes and presents an Oxbridge conference -- one week in Oxford, one week in Cambridge. Each conference has a different theme. The conference attracts those who admire Lewis' faith, works, and scholarship. I attended the conference in 2002. I was scheduled to return to Oxbridge 2005. That was not to be.

Two more highlights to go!

 Reaching my 60th Birthday - 2003

My step-sister, Nina said we needed to do something really special for this important event. With her excellent research and planning, I headed, first, to her home in Arizona to spend a few days with her family. Then it was sister time in Las Vegas with our end purpose to see Celine Dion in concert. All goals were joyfully met and never to be forgotten.

With the Wichmans in Tuscon: Jake, Glenn, Caleb, Lynn, and Nina

This remains my favorite photo  of me with Jake and Caleb.

Sharing in Central Park  at the New York! New York! Hotel in Vegas

Have SPU tee-shirt, will travel! 

May, 2004

The only time I have been to Hawaii was for my niece, Tracy’s wedding to Jeff. They were married on the beach in Maui. Her father, my twin brother, David and I were able to attend as were a few other family members and friends. David and I stayed on for a week to enjoy more of this area.

Lynn with nieces, Tracy and Kelly in Maui

Tee-shirt from Napili Shores Gazebo Restaurant

Lynn with brother, David -- Maui Airport

How do you measure, a year in the life?

How about love?

Yes, I'll measure it in love!

August 9, 1992 - Yachats, Oregon - Journal Entry
“I love you, Lynn.”
“I love you, too, Lord”

August 25, 2012 - Yachats, Oregon - Journal Entry
“I love you, Lynn.”
“I love you, too, Lord.”

. . . then came 2005. . . more reflections to come