Winds of Change



I laid in bed listening to the hum of traffic out on the road. I wanted to revel in the sameness of things the way they’ve been for the last 11 or so years for a few more minutes. To let the cocoon of the wonderful comfortable rhythm of days the way they’ve been wrap itself around me for a little while longer. I am aware that today is different. Today my retirement may be accelerated. The plan might be kicked up a notch. 

Today is the day the email will drop, the one everyone at work has been waiting for. The one that will announce the changes and what if anything it means for us here in Arizona. What it might mean for me. My work phone is on the charge by my bed. Usually I shut it off all weekend. But this morning, I wanted to see the message first thing.

Funny isn’t it? How you can pray and pray for something and then when it comes down to maybe actually having it answered, you dig your heels in at the last and a little part of you is afraid that it may not happen and also afraid that it will.

This is what I saw when I finally opened it:

“You are eligible to participate in the Enhanced Retirement Program (ERP).” And then a long explanation about restructuring and reinvesting and growth in the company.

All I kept thinking is how amazing God is. Just when I decided to retire at the end of year, this comes in. And it’s a good offer. The timing leaves me in awe once again of how He works. All the times I prayed, and cried and wondered if I was doing the right thing by staying. And later, in prayer in my little shed, this is what my devotional said:

“Circumstances are in flux, and the world seems to be whirling around you. The only way to keep your balance is to fix your eyes on Me, the One who never changes. If you gaze too long at your circumstances, you will become dizzy and confused. Look to Me, refreshing yourself in My Presence, and your steps will be steady and sure.” Jesus Calling April 25

All day long the wind howled between the houses as if to mimic change blowing in. It picked up strength mid-morning and never wavered. My allergies kicked up something fierce. Elaine came home looking like she’d been in a war. She said driving the bus was like wrestling all day. And then she had to wipe boogers off the seat and window…….

At the end of the day, the wind finally stopped. I sat out for a little while on the little deck, wondering about the road ahead. I can relate to Mary in Scripture when it says, she “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” I spend a lot of time pondering things in my heart. I guess that’s what writers do before the words make it to the page.

Today, I stand amazed at all He’s done and continues to do in our lives. I may not know all the ins and outs of how it’s all gonna play out, but I know He’s with us. And I know He’ll never leave us. And He won’t leave you either, my friend.

He’s in it for the long haul.

The Thankful In-Betweens


“I call out to the Lord and He answers from His Holy mountain. I lay down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me.”  Psalm 3:4,5

Sometimes God gives you a little reset button. This morning I had one of those tossing and turning times. For two hours I worried about every possible thing for about 30 years down the road. That always helps so much doesn’t it. Worrying? It’s a useless action. It saps you of strength and leaves you drained. But this morning after I tossed and turned, God whispered a little thought through my cat. No God does not speak through my cat, I am not that crazy, although sometimes I do think they understand what I say.

Here’s the thought that God brought to me as I gazed at Sydney whose face was inches away from mine, (we were fighting over the pillow, you see). As I was worrying my way through the future, God said…..(through the cat) “Look at how safe you’ve kept me all these years. Fourteen of them to be exact. You have taken me to the vet when I have been sick, and you kept me safe through the last move. You made sure I didn’t get out when the movers were coming and going. You stuffed me in that box when I didn’t want to go in, and I fought you all the way because I was scared and didn’t realize you were doing it to keep me safe. But here I am, all these years later, still happy and healthy. I have soft things to sleep on and I have never had to sleep out in the cold like some of my counterparts.

“When I used to go out, you kept me safe too from those neighbor cat bullies. And I never have to worry about where my next meal is coming from because there is always food in the dish. I can relax and sleep because I have total trust in you. I never have to worry about anyone or anything hurting me because you and I have built up that trust. Day in and day out for 14 years you have watched over me, and loved me. Even now, here I am purring with contentment as you stroke my fur.”

And then God whispered, “Yeah, kind of like how I have taken care of you now for what……all these 56 years.”

And you know what happened after I had those thoughts? I fell back asleep in the deepest sleep, and I awoke refreshed. God gave me a reset button.

But here’s another reset button you can use for your fretful mind.  It’s the best antidote I have found to put worry in its place and you can use it throughout the whole day. It’s prayer and gratitude.  1 Thessalonians 5:16 says:

 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

There will always be another reason to worry, but there will also be more reasons not to, when you think of how faithful God has been over the years. Start counting thanks and see what happens. Thankfulness is real and it’s tangible, because God has really been there, every single time.

Yesterday was a tough day for Elaine. Her Mom hasn’t been doing well for a few days. Yet, in the midst of all the hard questions, the wondering just how much longer she will have to live in this state she never wanted to be in, there were a few times we had to laugh despite the disparity of the situation. Through this whole Alzheimer’s nightmare, we have managed to keep our sense of humor, at least a shred of it, against all odds. And that is a kind of miracle.

After Joyce had all she wanted of the Chinese food Elaine brought, two other ladies circled the wagons and came in to see what it was. One bellied up to the bar and pulled the takeout container over. Elaine fished around for a fork in the kitchen and gave her one. Instead of the fork, she dug in with her fingers. Elaine tried to get her to smile but she wasn’t having any of it. Her Mom sat there looking part disgusted and part, “get me out of here.” We took her back to her room. More happened after that, but that part is better left unsaid. It’s why we had to go to Wal-Mart, which is another bit of crazy on a Sunday.

Ever feel like you are in a little band of crazy and you want to leave the band but you can’t?

We found new flip-flops for 98 cents and took them back over to the Carehome. (The others were no longer fit to wear.) These are the only shoes she seems to keep on now. I was thankful I could go with her to do that, I am always thankful to do it because I know she does many of these things alone when I am at work.

Despite all this, we sat outside the other night after Elaine cooked a meal worthy of a five-star resort and ate. And just as I was about to say the prayer we looked up and saw after effects of the rocket that was launched in Southern California. That was cool. It’s a mixed bag this life, full of equal parts pain and beauty, until we reach the shores of Heaven that is.

And today, now that the weather is blessedly cool, that is always something to be very thankful for here in the desert.

He remembered us in our low estate:

His love endures forever.

and freed us from our enemies:

His love endures forever.

He gives food to every creature:

His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of Heaven:

His love endures forever.

Psalm 136: 23-26


A Provision Story


First there was the leak in the line that ran from the water heater to the wall. It was a river in the backyard, and now there is a soggy floor that will probably have to be replaced (maybe).

Then there was the car that wouldn’t shift into third.

And my blinker went out. Again.

And the phone lines seems to have gotten wet from all the rain we had. All you can hear is crackling. The computer goes in and out. But I am not complaining about the rain, that was wonderful.

The leak was fixed temporarily but the day before yesterday it burst again. Another river.

With fifteen minutes left on the clock before she had to return to work options were limited. CALL…..PLUMBER……NOW.

But then something made her think of John. That nice man in the park that fixes everything. And I mean, everything. She hurriedly knocked on his door and he was just finishing up lunch. She was desperate, and no sooner had she gotten the words out of her mouth, he said two magic words.

Let’s Go.

He went down and proceeded to appraise the damage to the pipe. Then said, “I can do this while you are at work, don’t give it another thought, I will put a whole new pipe in and all I will charge is forty for labor and forty for the part.” A steal.

When she got home, it was all done, the way Home Depot should have done it in the first place. I think of how he could have been anywhere else that day, but he was home right then. And he made himself available.

Thank you God, and thank you John.

We were so thankful. It made me think of how God takes care of us through sending just the right people. I thought of all the wonderful things my friend does for others all the time expecting nothing in return. How she never hesitates to go the extra mile for anyone. She’s the one who Jesus must have meant when he said:

And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. Matthew 5:41,42

When she gave him his pay, she also presented  him with a gift, a beautiful new pair of socks in a Superman bag. When she went to his house the first time she noticed he had holes in his socks and she teased him about it.

It’s nice to see someone rewarded. To be treated with the same kindness they give back to others. It doesn’t always happen.

Our God provides.


When I moved away from my home town years ago, that safe cocoon I had lived in all my life, there were times I doubted that. But it seems everywhere I went, God kept placing wonderful people in my path.

There was Willa, who prayed for me when my sister in law’s cancer came back. And then later Ruby and Ron, who became wonderful friends when I knocked on her door one day when I ran out of Mary Kay. Many wonderful home-cooked meals were enjoyed in their home. She was my Mom away from Mom.

We are still friends to this day, and that was 20 years ago.

And then, when we moved back to Arizona the second time, at a pivotal and scary time in my career, there was Will, who came from nowhere but really I do know where. We prayed together each Saturday at work and he reignited my love for the Word. Then we met his wife and now when we all go to dinner together, the fellowship is sweet. Usually we end up laughing all night.

Will retired from Intel and is now a Pastor of a wonderful church in Chandler. And then there is Abel, another local Pastor who works three computers away. It is a blessed thing to look around and see believers sprinkled here and there. It is wonderful to know that at any moment, I could ask for prayer and they would stop what they were doing and pray.  

Yes, our God provides, in people, in provision and in grace.

Sometimes I still get fearful and forget that. But I am doing that less and less as the years go on.

Hallelujah anyhow moments


I guess it all started last Friday. A disappointing outcome from a phone conversation at work. Something that would have made things a little easier right now.

On the way home I made a side trip to the store. I decided to have a Hallelujah anyhow moment. A little celebration was in order. Because every day is worth celebrating, no matter the circumstance.

I remembered what that great communicator of love, Leo Buscaglia said once in one of his talks. One of his most precious memories growing up was when his Dad came home after he had told his Mom that he had lost his job. His wonderful Mama had whipped up a meal fit for a king, complete with linens on the tablecloth, and the best china at each place setting. They had a party that night. He says it was one of the best evenings they ever had as a family.

Sometimes you just have to say, Hallelujah anyhow.

The next morning I went out to pray. I was hot and sticky and tired of sweating. Miserable mosquito bites I had incurred the night before made it almost impossible to concentrate on praying. Though I was distracted, I noticed gray clouds overhead so I held out hope for maybe something to come out of the sky. I needed time with God. And as I sat there, with my cup of hot goodness, waking me up…..bringing me to life, I heard it. Little pitter patter drops.

My grumbling turned to joy. It occurred to me right then that the best possible thing I could do was go stand in it.

As I felt those silvery drops of Heaven cooling my skin I lifted my hands into the air like an old Native American warrior might have done after a ceremonial rain dance. My prayer became thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus.

I love those little surprises from God. So much of life is made up of those mourning to dancing moments.

Later, E and I were coming home from lunch and her car refused to shift to third. We were on the freeway, so with cars whizzing by, we pulled off and went the rest of the way home on the back streets. The transmission fluid didn’t seem low, but she put some in anyway and it actually shifted grudgingly the rest of the way home. It’s been a faithful car but there comes a time when it is no longer economical to keep fixing it. May be time for a new one for her.

Hallelujah anyhow.

Then yesterday morning I went to turn the faucet on in the kitchen at 6:00 AM and found that I had no water. I went out back and saw a river of water gushing out from under the water heater. The whole yard was flooded and the floor under the office was soggy. Thankfully the leak could be seen.

Thank you Jesus.

There we were, lined up at the door of Home Depot with the rest of the folks dealing with one home crisis or another at 6:58. Something like that tends to mess with your peace. I was praying all right, but not the kind I usually do at that time of the morning.

Leak is fixed! Thank you E, my resourceful and talented friend. There is an oh so tiny trickle that will eventually stop. We hope.

After church we headed to Subway and as we coasted into the parking lot, my driver’s side blinker went “kafluey” for lack of a better term. It went out.

There are times when you know better than to ask the Lord, “What next?”

There are times when you feel like the kid in this picture, taking one step forward and three steps back.

Did I mention that Elaine came down with her first cough of the year? And she only started school three weeks ago. On Sunday she had no voice.

Some days it seems like the curses outweigh the blessings. And though we know that it’s not reality, there are times when it feels like it. It’s easy to get our view distorted when things are happening, like life-sized dominoes intent on your destruction. It’s easy to get crushed under the weight of ordinary everyday life.

You want to say, “Don’t you see how hard I am working, Lord?”

But things like this, while frustrating, are fixable.

No one died. No one is sick unto death. We have jobs, we have a roof. And God will provide like He always has in the past. He has never failed and He never will.

So today. I am standing on the promises that I read in my devotional today.

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will put their trust in you, for you, Lord have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:9,10


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6

All the circumstances we go through in life will pass, but the Lord remains steadfast and immovable. He will never allow the righteous to be shaken………Hallelujah!

Anyhow. No matter what. In every circumstance. Because He is worthy.

photo credit: Bart Hanlon, some rights reserved, creative commons flickr.

Photo/and or photographer has no affiliation or relationship with this website or the contents therein.