Practicing Gratitude During the Thanksgiving Season

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From left: Lew, Tyler, me, Angel, Erin (daughter-in-love), & Given

You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.   Khalil Gibran, “The Prophet”

Since my brain tumor was found April 2, 2011, I strive to look at life with more gratitude. Here’s a list of examples of gratitude that held my focus after surgery:

The feel of fresh pajamas after a shower
Walking without assistance
Having the ability to feed myself
Hugs from relieved family members
Promises, like Hebrews 13:5*

What helped me through one of the darkest seasons of my life was to take inventory of the blessings around me. I understand how difficult it is to be grateful in the midst of loss.  But give it a try. You may be filled with anger, questions and uncertainties.

Still try.

Add to this list. What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving season?

*”… be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”

 

Why Wasn’t It Me?

no one fights alone pinI find myself drawn to others who I share a common bond with. Mommihood is an easy bond. Or standing shoulder-to-shoulder with anyone who has pulled themselves through dark times to see a brighter day is rewarding as well. I feel welcomed in both of these circles.

A few years ago I became a member of another group: the brain tumor survivors group. Members of this tight-knit community come in all shapes and sizes, ages and socioeconomic classes. Within our differences, we still have one thing in common: survival. We each have our own story of frustration that comes with healing. We are represented with symbols (like gray ribbons) and cute sayings (“Gray Matter Matters,” for example). These reminders make me smile and appreciate my victory. But sometimes I forget the seriousness within all the cuteness. Continue reading

He sees you, he loves you, he’s just like you

2011-04-10 01.59.03Many of you who know me know of the trauma I went through in April, 2011. For those of you who don’t know, that’s when they found this …

Over the years since then, I have been blessed beyond measure by stories of those, too, who have had to deal with the ordeal of healing a life after dealing with a brain tumor.
Continue reading

The Next Chapter

Mark and Grace Driscoll with family

Mark and Grace Driscoll with family

It’s saddened my heart to read and hear these past months of the choices and consequences of Mark Driscoll. It also confused me, because I thought I had heard the voice of a man who loved Jesus–and loved Jesus first.

It appears that Driscoll got caught up being Mark Driscoll. But the responses from some well-mean Christians made me sad as well.

Continue reading

It’s a sad day … or is it?

Squirrel

Image courtesy of cbenjasuwan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s a sad day …

I put my flip flops toward the back of the closet. I stood for ten minutes looking at my closet, forcing myself to accept today’s brutal reality.

It’s time. I can’t put it off any longer. I reach into the closet—to an area I haven’t visited for months. My hand runs over the tops of the hangers positioned on the lower bar. I pause, stroking the fabric. Oh, how I hate this day.

Long pants … today I must wear long pants. I’ve been able to wear capris day after day, week after week because the warmth from the sun had caressed my legs and arms. Arms—I need to wear long sleeves, too! Ugh, can it get any worse?

Oh, this is a sad day.

Driving to work, I had to turn on the heat instead of the AC. I flipped on the defroster to dry the heavy due on the windows from the cool night air. Wipers wipe. Warm air bellows from the vents. And the need to turn on my car’s headlights makes it impossible for me to ignore it … summer is over.

Pulling into the parking at my job, a quick movement catches my eye in a grove of oak trees. Walking toward the trees, I stop, noting the movement is accompanied with chattering. Two—no three—squirrels were scampering around and around  tree at break-neck speed. They seemed oblivious to my presence. It was as if the cool morning air had invigorated these little fellas into a raucous game of tag. If I had walked any closer to the trees, I imagined I could see them smiling.

In that moment, I stopped, reflected over other cool mornings when Dad and I watched squirrels scamper through the woods. In a flash I remembered the smells, the feeling of the heady due, and the comfort of the long sleeves.

When had I become so enthralled with capris and flip flops?

No, today isn’t a sad day after all—it’s the first day of the season I wear long pants. And it’s the first time in a long time I’ve been blessed with a memory that reminded me of simpler times.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens Ecclesiastes 3 

Happy Father’s Day

J. G. Gilbert & Robin Gilbert Luftig at Lake Lavine, MI, Summer 1958

J. G. Gilbert & Robin Gilbert Luftig at Lake Lavine, MI, Summer 1958

To celebrate Father’s Day, I’m re-posting a blog I shared that exemplified my relationship with my father. I’d love to hear stories from you about the relationship you have (or had) with yours. I pray it was as loving as mine …

Dear Peaches

hippocampus articleIt must seem that I’ve fallen off the grid … may joined a monastery … become a complete recluse, but none of that is the case. I’ve been writing / editing Ten Days: A Journey Back to God. An excerpt from the book has been published in Hippocampus  Magazine. Here’s a link.