Monday, January 10, 2011

Where I saw God the snow

As I was walking in the snow today, I was reminded of last year when we had a very similar day.  The boys were outside making snow angels and trying to make snow castles.  Much to their dismay, the snow was too wet and wouldn't hold it's shape. However, when the flakes landed on our deck, they were keeping their form and what we have always heard was true--no two snowflakes are the same.  Although similar, they each had their own uniqueness. 
Comparatively, we, as people, are the same. Even though we may look similar and have common interests, when it comes down too it, no two people are exactly the same.  I think I can speak this with even greater authority since I am an identical twin, one of a pair, half of a set. Looking back at pictures, I cannot tell which face belongs to me until I have checked the back to see if I was labeled as the toddler on the left or the right.  However, our parents could always tell us a part even though we looked like carbon copies because in their eyes we were two totally different kids.
Isn't it exciting to know that while God has a purpose for each of us and wants us to place Him first that He has made us each unique and an individual?  He has given each of us the choice to follow Him yet not dictated our path or made everyone's travels the same.  He has allowed us to grow and seek His plans for our life and like the special flurries we are always excited to see, we are a variety of faces and personalities.  Consider the following though.  As the snowflakes come together they are no longer individual flakes but a foundation that has been created by coming together as one. 
While it's fun to see the individual flurries fall from the sky, catch them on our tongue, and see them glisten in children's hair and eyelashes, most people would agree that the most fun and excitement comes when they meld together and become one large mass.  I think God views us in a similar fashion.  While He enjoys seeing us on a one-on-one basis and values this very much, I think He LOVES seeing His children, His creations, come together and not only worship Him but become stronger as a body of Christ.  So the next time I see flurries swirling about, I hope I remember to stop and be thankful for being a one of a kind design and also remember that I am even more valuable and interesting when I come together with the other flurries who have been sent down from above.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

in the Twinkle of Santa's Eye

We have two lovely people who volunteer their time each holiday season to bring the cheer of Christmas to our elderly residents in nursing homes.  They are not your typical hospice volunteers.  Clothed in red and white, their black buckled boots barely make a sound as they jaunt down the hallways to see the smiling faces waiting for them.  However, the jingle of their bells and the loud Ho, Ho, Ho do announce their presence long before their rosy red cheeks are seen.  Santa and Mrs. Claus joined me today as we wished several ladies and gentleman a merry Christmas and took photos that captured the joy of today as they remembered the wistfulness of yesterday. 
The world I am privliged to live in each day I work for hospice never ceases to amaze me and to helps me appreciate the small things in life.  If people have not worked in long-term care or geratric care, they cannot fathom the journey these special people walk each day.  Today was a day of mainly smiles as we gathered around the Christmas tree and met with each person who came to visit with Santa and Anwyn Claus.  Our most heard phrase today was "who would want a picture of me?  I'll break the camera."  However, after Santa immediately saying, "It would be a blessing for me to have my picture with you.  Would you please take your picture with me."  All but a few quickly changed their minds and what resistance they had just voiced was quickly forgotten as they flashed happy and bright smiles.  For the ones who were unable to join us by the tree, we visited them in their rooms. 
WE were blessed with several endearing moments such as one gentleman saying with great enthusiasm, "It's Santy Claus!" with a huge smile on his face, to another lady who is unable to verbalize but was able to show us how excited she was to see our guests through her smile, animations and hugs.  The most memorable moment today however was when we were nearing the end of our day and we had just snapped a photo of a lady and our Santas and she just hung on to each of their hands and her eyes welled up with tears.  We gathered around her and she said, "I'm sorry, it's just hard sometimes."  A small part of my heart felt like it broke and I felt tears fill my eyes and the words that came out were, "It's okay-God made us that way." 
It was another humbling moment that reminded me that even the smallest pleasures and tasks of independence should never be taken for granted AND that quality time and a smile can make all the difference in the world. 
As I 've gone through the years, I've heard very many opinions about Santa Claus and the role he plays in Christmas.  These opinions have varied from one extreme to Santa should never be mentioned to your kids to Santa is one of the best parts of Christmas.  We should always remember the reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ; that Christmas is a reminder of the hope each of us has for an eternal home in heaven.  However, as we look back through all the people God has used to bring glory to His name, shouldn't we consider that God is willing to use a icon of hope and joy to spread the good news?  When we think of God, what are a few things that come to mind?  Today I saw God as I saw the twinkle in Santa's eyes spark the twinkle in the eyes of many.  I saw God as men and women smiled at the warm touch of a white-gloved hand.  And as we said goodbye and Santa jingled his bells, waved his hands and let out a resounding ho, ho, ho, I have to believe we gave these people hope because they knew God loved them enough to send someone to say remember Me and have a very merry CHRISTmas. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

In The Faith Of A Friend

It never ceases to amaze me when I come across a person who is in the midst of an incredibly hard time in their lives and when I look into their eyes, all I see is PEACE.  This was the case when I caught up with a friend and she gave me an update on her health.  She is a cancer survivor, mother of 4, wife, nurse, and most importantly a daughter of God.  I asked her how she was doing and she told me that she was actually waiting on test results. She has had some trying things going on in her body and they are unsure of most of them.  However, there was no fear, worry or concern.  She was upbeat and her true entertaining and sweet self.  On top of all the test results she was waiting on, she was also scheduled to have her gallbladder out the next day.  Now with most people, myself included, you might expect to see tears, sorrow, or angst when talking about the current situation.  However, she had none of that.  Instead you could hear our laughter peeling through the office as she told me about her Halloween party at church.  She looked at me and said that no matter what, and she meant NO MATTER WHAT, it was okay.  The most amazing thing was you could tell she meant it.  There was no brave facade or bravado, just pure honesty and most importantly faith.  What an awesome gift to have when you know that you are always safe, secure and loved.  And whilst we can't even begin to fathom our home that awaits us when we leave this world,  we know we will have an immeasurably better life there than here.  I guess when you're happy in this world, it's unfathomable to forsee how happy we will be in a perfect and pure place.  I am thankful for being able to see God through the faith and peace of a woman who is fighting a battle armed with nothing but the love of her Father and knowing that in the end she is a winner regardless of the outcome. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

in the midst of the windy weather!

Today was an interesting day.  For once I looked at the weather on the internet-saw it was going to be in the high 60's and thougt I would be totally comfortable wearing a dress.  I figured if it didn't quite make it to the high then I would still be okay.  What I didn't count on was the almost tornadic winds ripping through the town of Springfield today!  I'll admit, I've had a couple of close calls before and had to quickly imitate the all too familiar Marilyn Monroe stance.  I guarantee she is the only one who has exuded any grace when in that position and the only one who had a smile on her face when striking that pose.  And although I've never been a fan of having to take that necessary action, it has always kept me calm because it had never failed me..until today.  Today, I was carrying in items for an inservice at the hospital and as all good reps do, I had loaded a wheelchair with my items.  The problem was that I was not able to step two feet away from my vehicle because the wind was tearing through that area with such force there was no way I could keep my dignity in tack if I chose to walk forward.  So here was my dilemma.  I had 20 people waiting on me, there were 3 people standing 5 feet away from me taking in my whole struggle and I could not push the wheelchair (which by the way, mananged to almost roll away even with one of the brakes engaged because of the almost tornadic winds) and hold my dress in a semi-respectable fashion.  I decided to take a seat and wait it out.  The wind was not dying down, my items almost blew out of the wheelchair and I'm sure panic was etched in my face because of the hopelessness of my situation. I finally decided I couldn't wait there all day so I tried to get up and at that very  moment 2 ladies walked out of the hospital and immediately asked if they could help me.  Now some people are too proud or don't want to be a bother too others.  Me?  I think I answered before they said the "p" on help with a resounding and relieved yes.  They told me to worry about my dress and then proceeded to push all my items into the hospital for me.  After thanking them profusely, I thanked God for them. 

While this is a slightly amusing situation (it will probably be more amusing tomorrow), I was able to see God in there actions.  We live in a very busy and self-focused world.  There were several people who passed me by, saw my obvious distress and didn't even slow their pace.  These ladies had barely made it out the door before they offered to help me.  The lessons I took from today are that no action of kindness is too small to bless someone and that we should all try to practice recieving blessings/gifts.  I hope those two ladies had a great day and felt better because they had helped someone-I know my day was better because they took 60 seconds to rescue me and to take me out of a compromising situation.  No action, word, or prayer is too small when you're doing it through the power of God who lives inside your heart.  Hope everyone has a peaceful evening and that we can each remember to hold a door, give up a parking space, or let someone with fewer groceries go ahead of us in line.  Good Night!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

In my Sister

I am so thankful that each day I can wake up and know that somewhere along the way, and more than likely several times along the way, I will see evidence of my Creator.  It never ceases to amaze me how and where I see God in my day.  Some days, I may almost miss Him as I hurry from one place to another and check each item off my list.  Other days, He is displayed in such an obvious form, there is no way I can miss His presence.  Today I saw God in the form of a passionate and firey lady--my sister, Donna.  Now the two of us have never had a difficult time filling the silence with chatter ranging from our careers, our kids or our dreams.  However it seems our best discussions about faith, grace and mercy seem to spill forth when we are in the car.  On our way back from St. Louis today, we reiterated the incredible gift we have been given when Jesus died on the cross.  With all the trials we face today, how awesome it is to say that God came to save the whole WORLD.  That He died for ALL our sins and that HE wishes that none should perish but have everlasting life.  As I grow and learn about God's purpose and the way he achieved it, it just makes me love Him more.  It is so easy to get swept away in society's pace and goals they have deemed as successful and important and to forget that the world's goals are often not the ones that have been laid before us to fulfill.  We talked today about the people God chose to reach the world and to spread his word-it wasn't the affluent, leaders or people who had committed no wrongs.  It was a collection of people that today's society would consider not worthy of being a leader or have a chance of success; tax collectors, fisherman, murderers and shephards.  Ironic how He chose the unglorified positions to walk beside Him and trusted them to go forth into the nations to spread the most precious and life-changing message there would ever be; how he filled them with the ability to heal (when they had the knowledge and faith they could) the sick in His name and the boldness to teach people about the Messiah.  I don't know which disciple I parallel with the most, the one I would be most similar too if you compared us trait by trait. I do know this disciple is blessed to say that I experience Him on a day to day basis and if I am blind enough to have missed His presence during one of my crazy days, I only have to look inside myself and whisper hello and thank you.