Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Luck or Lord?

Have you ever had one of those days when you were in the right place at the right time? I have those moments a lot! Some would say it is just a coincidence, or luck, but I am not a lucky person (see my blog entry about my fall). So I don’t believe it is luck, and these moments happen far too often to be just coincidence.

Recently, I took over a case at work and didn’t feel like I needed to see the patient quite yet. They were not ready to hear the options for care I had to offer them, even though my option was really the only one they had. I finally decided that I was going to go see this patient, introduce myself and spend some time with them.

I came to see the patient at 2 p.m. The nurse said “Oh, you are here for the meeting.” “What meeting?” I asked. “The big family meeting,” she answered. I had no idea a family meeting was scheduled, but I attended it anyway. During the meeting I got to be a support to this patient and family and inform them of how I could help. It went great, and I think I am going to be able to help this patient be more comfortable during the last part of their life here on earth.

I know I have mentioned this before, but this situation reminds me again that God is always at work around us! He is always working in me and working for the good of those that I care for. We serve an amazing and loving God! Our God consistently puts us in the right place at the right time to minister to His people and to accomplish His work and luck has nothing to do with it. Incredible! God, thank You for Your direction in my daily life!

Michelle Heriford

Monday, September 27, 2010

Where Has the Time Gone?

I was rushing around recently getting ready for a trip to visit my son, Ryan, and his family. They live in Libertyville, Illinois, on Sunnyside Lane. Now doesn’t that sound like it is right out of a movie? I don’t like traveling around Chicago to get there, but once we are there, it is a lovely community. Sounds a lot like life on our way to heaven, right?

I love to reminisce and have thought a lot about Ryan this morning. It was just yesterday (seems like) that he was a little boy standing at my side watching me put on my make-up. Now, I am on my way to see his kids — George, eight; Andrew, six; and little Sarah who is four years old. Where did the time go? I mean it, where did it go? I just want to say to life … SLOW DOWN!

That is why we must take each minute to enjoy and not rush past the lovely times that will someday be our memories. Stop and “make some memories.” Those are not always the big Disney World trips. They can be walking in the yard and examining — really looking — at the flowers and in our yard, looking at the mole holes.

The other day I was sitting on my porch swing facing our side yard. At that very moment, all was at peace and I was just wallowing in the good feeling of the sun, the swing’s movement and the beauty of God’s nature. Are you moving too fast these days and enjoying life less? Stop and take a deep breath, walk a little slower and enjoy the trip. The trip through life that is!

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Patricia Harvey

Friday, September 24, 2010

Beauty from Pain

It’s funny how life can be daisies and sunshine and then, in the matter of a few hours, something happens that breaks your heart and steals your joy.

A few years ago I memorized chapters out of the book of 2 Corinthians, and lately this verse has just been on replay in my mind: “We are pressed on every side, but not crushed.” (2 Cor. 4:8) Sometimes I feel crushed. My life is not perfect, and sometimes I feel so lonely and overwhelmed that I want to give up, stay in bed, and just forget the world outside.

We are told that God sees each tear that falls from our tired, swollen eyes, and, yet, sometimes He feels so far away when we’re hurting. We must separate our emotions from reality, though, and remember that regardless of how we feel, God promises that when our dreams go up in smoke, He’ll trade in beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (that comes straight from Isaiah 61).

I love these lyrics from Superchick. The song is called Beauty from Pain.

I’ll wonder why God lets me walk through this place
And though I can’t understand why this happened
I know that I will when I look back someday
And see how You’ve brought beauty from ashes
And made me as gold purified through these flames

So, dear heart, when you don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning, and you’ve lost sight of your precious dreams, have faith! Joy comes in the morning, and God is faithful and able to restore and mend your broken heart. You will be stronger and radiate more beauty and love than before ... just give Him time to work it out.

Andrea Perry

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

When Darkness is NOT Dark

I am memorizing Psalm 139 this year. On the first and fifteenth of each month I begin a new verse and spend the next two weeks thinking about that verse, asking God what He wants to say to me through it.

Going so slowly through the psalm has been a tremendous blessing to me. And although I've been ‘past’ verse 12 for some time now, it is the blessing of that verse that I want to share with you today.

“… even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139:12 

As I spent time mulling over this verse, I was struck by the opposites: darkness/not dark, night/day, darkness/light. Regarding the darkness/not dark contrast, I was reminded that the things in my life that appear dark to me are not dark to God. He is not overwhelmed by the things that are overwhelming to me. Situations that are scary to me are not scary to Him.

And I had fun considering the opposites of night/day and darkness/light. When it comes to God and my circumstances, that which is confusing to me is clear to Him. When I don’t know what to do, God has perfect wisdom. Situations that are too much for me to handle are easy for God. Ahhh, what a blessed assurance!

What darkness are you facing today? Can you put a name on your circumstance (e.g., uncertainty, fear, chaos) and then come up with the opposite way God feels about it (e.g., clarity, confidence, peaceful)? As you look to God in the midst of your mess, I pray you will be encouraged to know that He can handle it!

Karen Hossink

Monday, September 20, 2010

Second Class Pancakes

Usually toward the back of any parenting magazine is a section where people have written in with funny things their kids have done or said. My son, Zachary, at nine years old is somewhat of a comic genius. He says the most hilarious things. Recently, we were finishing up a rather hectic breakfast. I was trying to get Zach plus the two children I was babysitting that day fed and out the door to run a few errands. I was admittedly frazzled, rushed and probably short on patience. Our conversation went like this:

Zach: “Mom, you make the second best pancakes in the world.”

Me: “Only, second best. Who makes the best?”

Zach: “Well, Dad of course.”

Me: “Well, Zach let me let you in on a little secret. We use the same recipe.”

Zach: “Well, Dad still makes the best, but don’t worry Mom because yours are still better than McDonald’s. Theirs are awful!”

At that moment all my frazzled, impatient feelings flew out the window and I just laughed! Even though my pancakes came in second in Zach’s taste test, they ranked higher than McDonald’s, which is the epitome of high-class-food for a lot of kids. I love my son more than words can express. He makes me smile on a daily basis. His laughter and random remarks are often the highlight of my day.

Psalm 127:3 says: “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” 

I thank God every day for the reward of Zachary but mostly, I thank him for Zach’s sense of humor. It often makes a difficult day disappear in the blink of an eye.

Nichole Richardson

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Shameless Plug

I thought I would use my blog space this month to promote the Trinity Church Book Club. I’ve discovered that many people don’t even know it exists! We’ve been meeting once a month since 2003 and, as an avid reader, I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to read books I wouldn’t have read before. I’ve been exposed to new authors, new Christian heroes, and have greatly enjoyed meeting women at Trinity I may not have met outside of this group.

The format is simple. In November, we meet to choose 11 books for the following year from three categories — fiction, biographies and Christian living. We meet the last Tuesday of every month, except for December, in a very casual atmosphere. You don’t have to commit to coming every month, and we take turns leading the discussion.

Even though we don’t study the Bible, I often come away challenged on biblical ideas or my thoughts on a certain topic. Hearing others’ opinions and experiences has a way to making me think differently. It helps get me outside of my box and see things in a new perspective. The group is open in sharing their opinions and thoughts and we don’t always agree. But we always appreciate the other person’s viewpoint and what it adds to the discussion.

If you like to read and would enjoy discussing your thoughts on books with other readers, I’d invite you to come to one of our meetings and check it out. If you are interested, the books we have left on the schedule this year are Walking from East to West by Ravi Zacharias, Abba’s Child: the Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging by Brennan Manning and Beaded Hope by Cathy Liggett. You can reply to this blog or send me a message if you want more information.

Patty Dextrom

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Fresh Coat of Paint

We recently had our house repainted; it was long overdue. The house itself was lemon yellow and the soffit and trim were all deep brown. If Lou Rawls had sung a 70s song about a house, it would have been ours! I painted strips of colors all over the house and finally decided on Khaki Green and Mississippi Delta — beautiful tone-on-tone colors that brought new life and made me instantly feel better about our house.

My house reminded me of my life as a woman. I spent $120 on new makeup last year because I’d had a hysterectomy, gained weight and needed something new to make me feel pretty and womanly. I’ve done the same with hair, clothes … and mostly it works … for a while. But even with a makeover, we still can’t escape ourselves. You know, the part of us inside that really bugs us so we try to distract ourselves from ourselves.

What you don’t know about our house is that the inside is still a mess. There is one whole bathroom that gets mold around the tub, the tile is mildewed and soggy, the mirror is broken, and the lights hang from the ceiling. The kitchen has chipped tile; a mushy, stained countertop; and a stove that doesn’t work right. But, if you just drive by or stay outside, you wouldn’t know that the inside needs work because the outside looks so nice.

Can you see where this is going? The spiritual part of this blog is this: Go ahead, Girls, and make yourself feel pretty, but don’t ever neglect the inside and being honest about what ick is in there. Then, enlist all the help you can from Father God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit so that the “fresh coat of paint” you just put on isn’t a cover up, but a reflection of what’s on the inside.

Sally Hall

Monday, September 13, 2010

Humble Pie

I was served up a piece of humble pie the other day. I was picking out some shoes to wear to work. At first I put on the sensible ones, but then decided on the cuter heels, thinking it was going to be the last time I could wear them for a while since I am pregnant (did I tell everyone that I am pregnant?!). Something told me not to wear them, but I did anyway.

Around noon that day I was in a rush to get to an appointment and while walking twisted my foot and fell! No glamorous story — just walking along, not paying attention, my heel twisted a little and I bit the dust. Of course there were tons of people in the hall who all rushed to help this poor pregnant chick.

I got up and tried to laugh it off, but as I walked I knew I was not okay. I had hurt my foot. Needless to say, I had to go to the OB ward before I could get my foot looked at and landed one week’s worth of work restrictions. I was humiliated!

As I sat in the OB ward getting monitored (baby and I are just fine, by the way), I began to analyze the situation. I decided it all came down to vanity and pride. The Holy Spirit told me to wear the sensible shoes, but no, I had to look cute.

So my lesson for that day was: Pride comes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18) and Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet (James 4:10 The Message). A little cheeky but the lesson was obvious. I need to pay attention and keep in step (with flats) with what God is telling me to do. Anyone with me?

Michelle Heriford

Friday, September 10, 2010

A New Adventure

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. Love never fails. I Corinthians 13: 4-8 

My husband retired in July. Tell me, Ladies, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Shortly after we were married, 41 years ago, my father-in-law retired. From that day on, my dear mother-in-law had no life of her own, except for when Dad went fishing. I watched their lives and I feared the day that my guy would retire. So we began to discuss retirement early on and how we would handle it, making sure that Jim understood that I had a life and that it was important for me to do my own thing. And that he could not move me to Florida or somewhere away from my friends and family!

Jim has worked in education for 42 years and he has accomplished great things. He even has a building named in his honor. But when it comes to the home, that has always been my territory and it will take me a while to share it. Do I sound like a selfish, spoiled child?

Just so you know, Jim and I have the most wonderful marriage that you can ever imagine and I know that this new chapter of our life will be just as good as the other chapters have been. I have said many times that I feel sorry for anyone that isn’t us … we are so in love! So, I am not afraid of this new adventure. God has a plan for our retirement, just like He has always guided our lives. I will keep you posted!

Patricia Harvey

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

True Friendships

A few weeks ago while talking with a good friend, I asked her what God had been teaching her. As she began to share her heart with me, I noticed something stirring in me wanting to grow in those same areas. The picture that came to mind was of two trees, standing side by side in the deep woods, weathering storms of life while simultaneously striving to grow roots of strength and support. Her love for others helped to break through selfish attitudes I had overlooked in myself and had become too blind to see.

Together, through the power and love of the Holy Spirit, we were able to encourage and pray for one another. It wasn’t just about the coffee that day. It was about the incredible transformation of life that results when two hearts are willing to be vulnerable and transparent. When God’s grace and love are welcomed into a friendship, new life and new growth can result.

As a part of the body of Christ, we are called to grow into His likeness, through His Spirit’s enabling, as well as build up and support each other in the body. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:16: From him [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. God has not called us to run this race alone, but He has graciously given us the body to provide encouragement, support, care and even correction at times.

I am so thankful for the friends God has placed into my life. Whenever I am tempted to think I can make it through this world on my own, I need to remember those precious times of fellowship from the past — “where two or more are gathered, He was in the midst of it all.”

Sheryl Patry

Monday, September 6, 2010

You Have to See This!

Two years ago, I drove with my son Bryan on his 2,000-mile trek back to vet school in California. Always the adventurers, we spontaneously decided one day to go 140 miles out of our way to visit Best Friends, a well-known animal shelter nestled in the mountains of Southern Utah. To return to the interstate, we cut through Zion National Park.

We drove through Zion as the sun was setting and were absolutely stunned by its breathtaking beauty. Towering red rock formations surrounded us, glowing in the mellow end-of-day sunlight; we wound on switchback curves and drove through a mountain tunnel constructed in the Depression era. The park was pristine, unspoiled by human presence other than the road snaking its way alongside the clearest river I’d ever seen. As we slowly wound our way through the Park, I turned to Bryan and exclaimed, “We have to come back here someday so Dad and Kevin can see this!”

Often good intentions never materialize, but two months ago, the four of us actually did vacation in Zion. As we hiked through cool mountain passes; felt the spray of sparkling waterfalls on our arms and faces; and gazed at incredible, colorful rock formations, I said to my husband, “Isn’t this gorgeous? Do you see why I wanted you to see this?” I felt such joy sharing this place with the people I love.

It makes me think of Jesus when His eyes flickered open in the tomb.

His resurrected body would appear on earth for the next 40 days, but at the same time He had been raised into Heaven! Did He gasp in awe when He caught sight of the dazzling glory of His Home? Did He exclaim, “Father, I can’t wait to bring the ones I love here with Me!”

Isn’t it amazing that Jesus is eagerly waiting for us to come and see His magnificent home in Heaven? Who is it that you long to have join you there, so that you can ask, “Do you see why I wanted you to see this? Is it as stunningly beautiful as I described?”

Anne Cody

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wait … This Moment Is Too Sweet

I have had one song playing over in my head for the past two days. The song is “A Little Longer” by Brian and Jenn Johnson, and it is a fantastic, beautiful piece of music that I’m going to share with you today. Over the past three years, I’ve had the opportunity to share it with some of my close friends, and I know it’s touched their hearts. I hope it will touch yours, too.

As you listen, notice that every time the verse repeats, the prayer becomes more and more desperate — the singer must do something for the King. Relentless, she sings to her King.

“What can I do for you? What can I bring to you?
What kind of song would you like me to sing?
‘Cause I’ll dance a dance for you,
Pour out my love to you,
What can I do for you, Beautiful King?
‘Cause I can’t thank you enough,
‘Cause I can’t thank you enough.”

My favorite part, though, is not the prayer. It’s when the King responds.

“You don’t have to do a thing,
Just simply be with me and let those things go
‘Cause they can wait another minute.

“Wait ... this moment is too sweet
Would you please stay here with Me
And love on Me a little longer?
‘Cause I’d like to be with you a little longer
I’d love to be with you a little longer
‘Cause I’m in love with you.”

While joy can be found in serving and “doing” for our King (and I think that really does bless His heart), I hope you also take the time to enjoy some sweet, sweet quiet times with Him. They are so precious.

Andrea Perry
Musical Content provided by Mixpod (

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Don’t Make a Decision While You’re Running Uphill

I was huffing and puffing as I ran up the hill. With the end of the sidewalk in view I said to myself, “This is it. I am not going to turn around and run this path again. I am tired and I am ready to quit. Running is over for today.” 

Just the night before, I had decided to increase the length of my run by turning around and doubling up on the last section, which would improve my distance by about half a mile.

However, as I was running up the hill, thinking about my tired legs and heavy breathing, I was sure I couldn’t run another half mile. The additional distance seemed a good idea the night before, when I was only thinking about it. But at the moment — in the midst of the run — I did not want to do it.

Have you been in a situation where you had intentions of doing one thing, yet found yourself ready to change your mind mid-course because the journey seemed too hard? Pushing myself up the hill, ready to give in to my flesh and call it quits, I realized, I cannot make a decision while I am running uphill. The time for me to make a decision is when I am thinking clearly, because when I am in the middle of a struggle, my first and strongest inclination is to give up.

I am sure it was the Holy Spirit encouraging me to press on and stick to the decision I made before I faced the hill. So on I ran. I prayed for strength. I repeated Scripture to myself. I thought, “If I just had an Ipod, running wouldn’t be so painful.” (Yes, I am a deep individual!) I realized God was teaching me a lesson on perseverance. And I kept going.

How about you? Are you running uphill today? I pray you’ll know with confidence that Jesus is running with you. Hold on to Him. And, please, don’t make a decision while you’re running uphill.

Karen Hossink