... Even the worst heartaches can become heartstrings to God's hope, comfort, encouragement, joy, peace and love...

Welcome! As a fan of the cartoon character Maxine, I enjoy her witty remarks. But when I
read my blogs & other writing to her, she's not very responsive- even when I'm wearing my bunny slippers like hers! She just doesn't get it!
Although she's funnier than I am, I do pray that this site will bring encouragement to your day! I'd love to hear from you! Unlike Maxine, you can leave me a message via the Comments. Shalom, Connie

......................................................................................

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Not a creature was stirring...

...except me! Christmas was a very quiet day as I made the choice to stay home alone. (My son and his family went to Iowa.) Because I had been so sick during most of December, what I wanted for Christmas was NO germs to lay me low again. Did share a Christmas Tea with a neighbor- we sat in the library (in our apt. complex) by a Christmas tree sipping tea, chatting, and enjoying the music in the background. It was relaxing and nice to get out of our apartments for a while.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear? Gifts from Santa! Several boxes of stationery, cards, stamps, pens, and hand lotion via Home Instead Health Care. Not a better gift for this writer who loves to send letters and cards. A lovely surprise!


2007 was a great and an awful year for me, but on Tuesday I get to begin again! As I get older, I appreciate the New Year as an opportunity for another chance. (Wish that wisdom came earlier in life.)

So let me begin with 2007. It was a rough year health-wise and financially. I am feeling pretty good now, as the year winds down; so I want to be healthier in 2008! And my finances would improve if some of my writing sells. :)

The good stuff of 2007 includes improving my blogging skills and opening a website; forming Sonrise Writers with my dear friend,Bonnie; facilitating Marlene Bagnull's Bible study for writers 3x with each time greater than the last one; the opportunity to mentor some writing friends; writing a monthly column on emotional abuse for Positively Feminine; becoming the editor for The Encourager, a printed newsletter for the chronically ill; and greatest of all the "delivery" of 4Him2U in November.

The special thing this year is that I made and actually fulfilled my New Year's Resolution: to better hear the voice of God! To learn to be in His presence and to be quiet- yep, I had to shut up in order to listen- has been and continues to be an awesome and precious time with the Lord. I count that as the reason for the good stuff of 2007!

For 2008 I want to improve my walk with Him; I want 4Him2U to reach >10,000 new folks around the world; I want to be published with pay; and I want each of the Sonrise Writers to receive writing contracts.

For you, my friends, I am asking God to bless you in a special way this coming year- so special that there can be no doubt that God is the source!!!

I want to be a "Spirit-walker" and to be content: being where God wants me, doing what He wants, and being satisfied with His timing. May He grant the same for each of you.

Shalom,
Connie


Sunday, December 23, 2007

"It's Looking Alot Like Christmas"



Or is it? Just how does Christmas look?

Earlier this evening I was watching PBS's Christmas in France. The customs varied from area to area- Paris celebrated differently than they did in the countryside. There were beautiful, snowy scenes; even a horse-drawn sleigh. Is that how Christmas looks?
Or is it the Christmas pageant with little ones dressed in shepherds robes or wearing crowns like the 3 kings?
Is it the live manger scene in front of the big church downtown?
Or it is the Christmas tree with colorful gifts underneath?
Having been a nurse for over 40 years, I have worked many Christmases caring for sick, injured, sad, lonely, dying people? Is that how Christmas looks?
For each of us it is different; and it may change from year to year also.
As I prepare throughout Advent for the celebration of Christ's birth, I try to envision Christmas from the viewpoint of the angels, of Joseph, of the shepherds, of Mary, and so on.
But I never thought of Christ's birth from His grandmother's point of view. Guess it's because my son left today to join his family in another state. The weather in the midwest is bad so I'm not sure if he arrived safely. He very well may be stranded.
As a mom, I am wondering if he's in an airport or was he able to get a room? Are my grandkids okay? Or were they on the way to pick him up along with their mother? Do they have a place to lay their heads tonight?
Is that what Christmas may have been for Mary's mother?
Was she worrying about about Mary traveling when she was so close to her delivery time? Was she concerned that they'd find a place to stay? Did she realize that it would be more than days or more than even weeks or months before she'd met her grand baby? Did she understand who this baby was?
Was Christmas a day of continuous prayer for Mary's safety? Or had this mother disowned her daughter?
Was she going to accept a baby that wasn't even Joseph's? How would she react when the King decrees that all males under two must die?
So many questions with no answers.
All I know for sure is that I want to "Go Tell It On the Mountain that Jesus Christ Is Born!"


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Dressing Up for Christmas?


What a time it has been! On the day before Thanksgiving I had a heart cath, which praise God showed only mild vessel narrowing and no major problems. After 2 days of being pampered at my son's I returned home to rest prior to a final test. The pulmonary function test was mostly normal- a good thing!- but did show that not enough oxygen is going into my blood stream. At last, a reason for why I have been short-of-breath and fatigued with exertion since June. Now I will see a pulmonary specialist for the why's to be answered.
But, meanwhile, in the middle of ladies Bible Study last Wed. I began wiggling and not paying attention. Boy, was I itchy!!!
Within hours I was scarlet from the neck down and within 24hrs later I was sick with my own Santa suit on, but I was not hopping a sleigh to anywhere... I was grounded. I didn't have Santa's rosy cheeks either- those below my listless blue eyes were very pale. Turns out my sweet 19 month old gr'daughter shared her strept infection with me; but instead of strept throat I had Scarlet Fever.

Today, the rash is nearly gone & I even feel well enough to check my e-mails.

For all of you, I have 2 tips on Dressing Up for Christmas:
1. Wash your hands often- it's still the best way to avoid illness.
2. Cover that cough or sneeze- it's the best gift you can give to others.

While I'm waiting to see the return of a sparkle in my blue eyes, I'm sipping tea and reading a few Christmas books as I prepare my heart for Christmas. I pray it won't take Scarlet Fever for you to spend some time in His presence... remember, it's not what you wear, what you do, what you wish or what you buy...it's opening your heart to Him in celebration of His gift of love!

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Delivered!
Healthy new e-zine:"4Him2U"
arrived & weighed in at 8 pages.
Celebrate with us & visit our little
star.Subscribe now & watch
her grow.
4 Him, Connie Gilbert

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A Felted Purse

I saw a woman with a felted purse. As a knitter, I asked whether she had made it. That began a long conversation about the fun she has felting , choosing the yarns and colors, waiting to see how the yarns blend when they shrink, and the joy of giving her creations away. Although I have never felted, we chatted easily as knitting enthusiasts. That led to why we were at the orthopedic center and the mention of an upcoming surgery for her.

Suddenly there was silent pause... we both realized that this was not a "by chance" meeting. "I'm a Parish Nurse;" I said, softly breaking the silence. She smiled saying, "No; you're an angel sent by God. I needed one here." (She is from out of town; after surgery she will return for chemo, which will require a motel stay each time.)

I am not an angel, but I do recognize that I was in that place, at that time, to become a tangible touch of God upon her life. My new knitting friend & I will share more times together- I am already blessed having met her.

How often do we miss the opportunity God has placed in our path because we're not paying attention? Sure glad I noticed that purse!

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

Friday, November 02, 2007

Teacher vs Learner/Writer vs Reader

Who is who? That's my question.

Wednesday I was writing my monthly column. As I write, I image that I'm sitting with a cup of tea and just chatting with a friend. Our conversation runs through my mind and out my fingers onto the keyboard. When I finish writing, I read through it to be sure it flows, to be sure I wrote everything I was thinking. I've been known to leave a sentence or paragraph out because I thought it, but my fingers never caught up.
I edit and rewrite any oops-es; then proofread for punctuation and grammatical errors, and those nasty spelling errors the computer doesn't pick up.

As I was reading through my column, I began to feel an emotion that I couldn't define at first. I glanced up and realized my "reader" was me. The message was for me ~ it was a reflection of music in my life. (You can read it at http://www.positivelyfeminine.org under Beautifully Feminine. My column is called "Connie's Coda.")

The emotion? The overwhelming joy of learning, writing, teaching, and reading all at the same time! I wept knowing how blessed I was.. and am... and continue to be.

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Blown Kisses


I've been sick this week. Feeling a little better today, I went to dinner with my son's family.
"No hugs & kisses!" I said as I washed my hands before leaving.
After a pleasant time together, we made plans for later in the week.
Then the 5 year old kissed me on the cheek & his little sister blew me kisses good-bye!
Sure beats all the medicine in the world seeing smiles & getting blown kisses.

If I could bottle them, I'd drop my insurance coverage.
Feeling better just thinkin' about it!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Muse Online Writers Conference


This was a unique experience. Nearly 1900 attendees from around the world came together, via computers, to a 7 day writer's conference. I attended 20 one hour live sessions & at least that many workshops. I have copied 2 notebooks full of handouts. Topics ranged from simple writing tips: "write everyday" to complex information on publishing and promotion. As I finish the last day of the conference, I want to tell you, my reader, that I will be putting to use many of the things I've learned about writing skills, websites, promotion, etc. because it it my heart's desire to encourage you wherever in life this finds you. As a Christian writer, I feel that it is my responsibility to do my very best, which includes continuing to stimulate these gray cells of mine with new, and appropriate knowledge.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hectic Pace


What a week! I am "attending" a free online writers conference that is a week long. Over 1800 attendees from over 10 countries are there.
I signed up for 26 1 hour live sessions, but because life happens I have missed several already. But there are ongoing forums, which I actually like better than the live chats.

Just think- I don't even have to get dressed much less figure out what to wear, no hurry, hurry, wait at the airport, no huge hotel and food costs, & yet there are the perks: give aways & special pricing, a book store, networking, & free access to many of the presenters.

There has been a minor price to pay for ink. I've used up over half of an ink cartridge & filled one notebook with handouts & I'm only half way through the week.

The live sessions are one hour long and many follow one after another. Thank goodness that some folks are slow typists so I can sneak a bathroom break in once in a while. Oh, yeah, I've also broken my rule about no eating & drinking at the computer.

Manipulating my normal weekly activities around the conference has been a challenge at times, but well worth the effort.

I am learning about all phases of writing: writing specifics, marketing, self-promotion, publishing tips, funds/grants, how to have a book tour online, & more.

All this because a Canadian writer wanting to share the pluses and minuses of the writing-publishing world.

I will persevere & not quit because this opportunity is priceless!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sorting buttons


I'm a bit on overload... can I be too blessed?

The website is nearly completed for the new e-zine. The writers will gain access today, but it will remain locked until Nov.17th for the public- except for the home page & the subscription page. As soon as the domain name is added, I'll let you know so you can subscribe & never miss an issue!

A new development... that means another blessing! On Friday I became the editor for "The Encourager." It is a printed newsletter that goes out to folks with chronic illnesses. 130 men & women in 30 states plus Canada, UK, Australia, & Israel receive it every other month. I already write a column for it & was e-mailing prayer requests so I have begun to know these precious people. Many are homebound so uplifting mail is a highlight for them.

Got to spend time with my son & gr'kids on Sat. That's them ( above)! Nothing like gr'kids to wear you out AND energize you at the same time! Love those little hugs & kisses, too!

Yesterday I was too wired (must be the hair in the small picture above) so I sorted buttons! Real buttons; you know, the kind you sew on? Sometimes you just a no-brainer to settle down all those thoughts that begin to run into themselves. Other no-brainers I've used include: the art of coloring books, playing solitaire or Scrabble, doing laundry, & filing papers. My theory is that when you change tasks to these repetitious, boring actions, it requires a different part of your brain to kick in. Thus resting the super-active area for a while. It works for me most of the time. The added benefit is I came up with a few simple Christmas projects to do while I was sorting the buttons.

So now I'm back to clickin' on the buttons & doing fine!

Will update you soon.

Shalom, Connie

Monday, September 24, 2007

From Blogs to Webs!


"I am not sure that I am ready for this!" As soon as that thought entered my mind, I just had to laugh. It hasn't been that long ago that I asked, "What's a blog?" Then I set out to create one.
Well, my first one is out in cyberspace somewhere. This one has been here a while & then I added another one in July. Although, I've still more to learn here, I have been "sent" to build a website.

Now, I'm not technically inclined, but I am determined... or maybe, stubborn? Or maybe, it's because my Boss does His best work in my areas of weakness. Well, you better believe I am outside of my comfort zone! Yet, it is exciting to be birthing a new online magazine. Who says you can't be expecting when your 63 years old? Sarai laughed when she was in her 90's- God changed her name to Sarah & she gave birth to Isaac. Then there was Moses. He was nearly 80 when he had a "career" change- from shepherd to God's spokesman to the pharaoh.
So here I am- in good company- going from writer to publisher/editor/writer of 4Him2U!

Forgive me, if I'm not blogging like I should. I'll keep in touch! Right now I have to learn about RSS feeds and buttons and bows... and thingamajigs.

Shalom, Connie

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Garden Photo

Gotta set up a photo shoot.Where? How should I pose? Do I want it to tell more than just my face?
Those were the thoughts I had. Then an idea popped in, "Go to the hospital!"
Don't laugh, we have a lovely hospital. Healing permeates its decor from the moment you walk in. As you enter through the revolving door, you stand among trees and plants. Then you see a wall with water slowly flowing down several panels; to the right is a fireplace with overstuffed chairs that welcome you to rest awhile.
In fact, all of the waiting areas are restful, filled with greenery and soft music; and almost all of the patient rooms have mountain views.
On the second floor is a small, lovely chapel with a nearby outdoor garden. That's where I am in the photo- seated on rocks near a small waterfall with the statue of a reader. What a better place for a Christian author!
So ignore the warm breeze that's blowing my hair... listen to the babbling sound of the water as it slowly falls across the rocks into the pond... consider The Reader. Maybe, she's you sitting on the rock ledge! Maybe, she's reading my story!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Keepin'On Keepin' On!

This gramma is having a hard time keeping up lately, but have you ever tried telling God, "Whoa!" He just says, "Keep moving, Child."

Now when He calls me Child, I just have to remember that my earthly body is temporary; and wearing it out for Him is okay. Erma Bombeck once said,"When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and could say "I used everything you gave me.'" Me, too! But I also must add it is only because He said, "My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness." (2Cor. 12:9 NIV)

So, how is God moving in my life? I'm glad you asked.

I'm learning how to design a website for a new e-zine coming this fall. And you just gotta know, that's Him 'cause I'm technically -0 on a scale of 1-10. A trial site is at www.4Him2U.highpowersite.com, if you want to take a peek- comments welcomed.
I'm preparing to hold a writer's Bible study on-line with Christian writers living in different zones. Technical stuff again...
My new columns are blessing me as I write them- isn't it amazing how God ministers to us as we go about His work!

Wow, my little gray cells are mighty busy and so is my Prayer Team. Thanks, my friends!

Stop by again soon; I'll keep you posted.

Shalom, Connie

Friday, August 17, 2007

Crossroads

Confused where to go? What to do? When? Why? How?

Me, too! Politics confuses me. Technology confuses me. Business tactics confuse me.
Dwelling on the things that I do not know or wish I knew yields confusion that can spiral into depression. But we were not meant to know everything well. Each of us has knowledge, skills, and talents unique to us plus, hopefully, some commonsense.

What's the key to this dilemma of what, where, when, and how? I believe it is relationships and networking. Through the building of positive relationships we learn what people know, who we can trust and depend upon. They in turn have their network of people who know and people that can be trusted. Another term may be "word of mouth."

We are all looking for answers to simple and complicated issues: Who is honest when it comes to insurance? Who is the best doctor for you? When is the right time to buy or sell a car or a house? What school system is good or should we home-school? Which computer system will meet your needs? How to pick a tomato that will actually taste like a tomato? And on it goes...

Recently, I watched a mother teaching her young daughter how to shop for groceries. She demonstrated how to pick the good plums, explained the difference between "each" and "by the pound," when to buy brand names versus cheaper store brands, and how to have a balanced diet. Her trip to the grocery store probably took twice as long, but the benefits will last for years. We need to do more of that!

Older women need to mentor younger women, boys need to have men in their lives to look up to, teens need safe places to go where guidance isn't a threat, all of us need to become better listeners.

I know I am rambling. I am frustrated that I live in the richest country in the world, but children go to bed hungry. That politicians spend billions of dollars campaigning, but millions cannot afford health care. That people can work for 40+ years then, when they retire, they have to decide between buying medicine or food.

Are you at a crossroad? Are you looking for answers?

Here's where I am suppose to say, "Look to God, He has the answers!"

I love the Lord with all my heart. He does guide me in my decisions; He does answer prayers. But God gave man the knowledge, emotions, skills and talents needed to responsibly care for this world. Have we fulfilled that responsibility? When are we going to look away from our needs to the needs of those around us? When are we going to really listen to one another?

Selah-

Think on these things-

Each of us are at a crossroad, what choices are you going to make? What will the ripple effect of those choices be?

I am going to ask my Heavenly Father, what choices He wants me to make. I am going to ask Him for a peek at the ripple effect of my actions so I will understand that what I do can change this world.

" I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something; and what I should do and can do, by the grace of God, I will do." How about you?

Shalom, Connie








Sunday, August 12, 2007


"I'll be praying for you" is the greatest gift anyone can give IF they are sincere. I have mentioned previously that I never say those words unless I mean them because I feel that they carry a huge responsibility. After all, Revelations 5:8 tells us that the prayers of the saints are kept in golden bowls as a sweet fragrance to God.
That said, I am asking for some prayer warriors- folks serious about praying.

New opportunities have come my way and, with each one comes the possibility for opposition. Lucifer will use any barrier he can to keep me from fulfilling God's plan.

Over the years I have learned several things about the evil angel, who was cast from heaven & God's presence. He is real. He is angry at God & constantly challenging Him- even though he knows he cannot win. He isn't very smart, but he is sneaky. He uses our weaknesses to create stumbling blocks, potholes, & rough roads so we will detour from the path to God. The more God asks of us, the more Lucifer will try to distract us- the aim is to keep our focus off of God. Most important is that he hates the name of Jesus & the sweet fragrance of prayer is offensive to him.

Selah-

As I strive to please God through my writing, I need the protection of prayers. I will be publishing & editing a new on-line magazine, writing a monthly column for Positively Feminine (www.Positively Feminine.org.) and a bi-monthly column for The Encourager. I have also been given the opportunity to be the Assistant Editor for The Encourager; my main responsibility will be their prayer ministry. In addition to these new tasks, I continue to lead a Bible Study for writers & a support group for those who are chronically ill or have chronic pain.

Join in ministry with me through daily, supportive prayer. Leave a comment & let me know a bit about yourself so I can pray for you.

Shalom, Connie

Friday, August 03, 2007

Updates

My cardiac tests were within normal. SpazI am jumping for joy! Waiting wasn't easy, but I am relieved & ready to increase my activity & exercise.

Have just learned some new things about blogging so you will be seeing some changes in the near future.

Meanwhile, I am writing & preparing... BabyExpecting! A new e-zine 4Him2U is coming this fall, near the holidays. This is an exciting new, adventure for me & the Sonrise Writers. More details soon.

Shalom, Connie





Sunday, July 22, 2007

Fatigue Can Overwhelm

I love the cartoon Maxine; she says things... well, in a way I wouldn't. There is one where she's resting in a hammock & just letting the world carry on without her. I have had to try that lately because I tire very easily & get short of breath with exertion, I am pacing myself better & prioritizing my needed activities. I make sure I have rest times in between all that I do.
The cause is unknown at present. I am having a cardiac Stress Test tomorrow to rule out the heart as the cause.

Meanwhile, I haven't posted so I can use my computer time to prepare for my next God-Event. More on that later as it falls into place with His timing. 2 Corinthians12:9 never meant more to me than now. And Habakkuk 2:2 is my goal.

Today I want to recommend 2 novels by Brenda Rickman Vantrease: The Illuminator and The Mercy Seeker. Although they can be read as stand alone books, The Illuminator is first & sets the scene & characters for The Mercy Seeker. Although not sold as Christian books they truly are and I guarantee that you will never view the Bible the same after reading them Yes, they are fiction, They are based on historical fact, are well researched, & expertly writing. You can find them at bookstores & through Amazon. My little local library has them so check out yours because they are hardcovers.

Shalom, Connie

Thursday, July 05, 2007

HopeKeepers

Rest Ministries* was founded by Lisa Copen & is affiliated with Joni and Friends to encourage those with chronic illnesses & chronic pain to live a full, quality life regardless of barriers. All members have at least one chronic illness &/or chronic pain, including myself. (I am a diabetic with hypertension, arthritis, degenerative joint disease & chronic depression.)

Today, I am facilitating the first HopeKeepers support group at the retirement center where I live. First we will get to know one another and exchange phone numbers. On bad days- days of not feeling well, of no energy, of increased pain- we can call each other to chat or to ask for prayer. Because of our bond via our chronic illnesses- often invisible to others- we will have an understanding that requires few words.

Outdoors the temperature is expected to rise near 100 degrees; inside, we'll be cool & comfortable as we share a poem, "Shelf Life," by Mariane Holbrook & discuss one of my devotionals, "Soaring Above Adversity."

It is with great joy that I begin this new opportunity of hope!

Shalom,
Connie

* "Rest Ministries, Inc. exists to serve people who live with chronic illness or pain by providing spiritual, emotional, relational and practical support." HopeKeepers Magazine and Rest Ministries Website are the foundation of their outreach.

Fireworks: A Celebration


The fireworks just ended & I had my choice of VIP seating. I live one mile from the Butte where they are traditionally displayed. I could sit on my patio or walk next door to the church's parking lot. I chose the latter; & had an unobstructed view of our country's birthday celebration.

Popcorn, lemonade, & other goodies were passed around during the oohs & aahs. A nice way to end the day with friends & fellow believers.

Sadly, conditions here in Central Oregon are very dry & resulted in several fires on the butte. Extra fire trucks came & the fire was controlled, but it is always sad to see trees burn. Thankfully the fire was going uphill. (Many businesses, apartments, & homes are at the bottom of the butte.)

The most important part of my day was earlier during a conversation with my 5 year old grandson. We talked about being free to be Christians, free to go to church, free to speak about God. He, of course, couldn't comprehend not talking about Jesus. And, you know, I really don't fully understand it either as I have never been in a country where it wasn't safe. The closest I have come is when writing to friends in Nigeria. They advised me what I could write & what to avoid so that my letter did not put them into any danger.

Yes, I was blessed to sit outside in the churchyard watching the amazing colors burst overhead with patriotic music playing through speakers behind us. I can think of no better place to say "Thank you, Lord, for the U.S.A.! Help me to understand the freedoms I have and to fully use them to worship, praise, and share Your Word."

Tomorrow & next few days will be 96-100 degrees with possible thunder & lightning- a very dangerous time for wildfires. Pray that homes & lives will not be lost. (Several acres burned today- one a few miles from me.)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Mask Removal Time




I told you that I would take off my mask and be honest with you, my readers.

Today, I remove the mask of deception.

I wanted to enter a competition for an Oregon Literary Art Fellowship even though the timing was short- only two days. (It was in our local newspaper on Tuesday and the deadline was Friday at 5 p.m.)

I filled out the form answering all the questions for the Non-Fiction Literary Award and for the Women Writers Award. Then I set about editing the first 20 or so pages of my book.

It was time consuming because the original was on my computer that crashed; thus I had to retype it as I edited it. On page five I lost it all!

The rules stated emphatically that no late entries would be accepted. If I could complete it by 4:30 p.m., I could mail it via overnight delivery; but I am not a fast enough typist to retype and edit the lost five pages plus 15 more to meet that dateline.

I was angry and thought I would write a letter to the Literary Art stating that Central Oregon writers were not allowed enough time to enter... but I didn’t.

Why not? Because I had taken all mention of God out of my story so I would have a better chance of winning the fellowship.

As a Christian writer, I write to glorify God, who called me to write. Ethel Herr wrote, “We tend to think we are first ministers with a pen. However, before we can minister, we must learn to worship and regard all our writing as an act of worship, done for God’s pleasure.”

I am thankful that I lost those pages. I am sad for the loss of a possible $2500 as it could have paid for additional writing lessons through The Christian Writers’ Guild and for their annual conference plus supplies, like ink cartridges, paper, and research.

Being “called to write,” I have a responsibility to glorify and please the One who called me. I cannot and will not wear that mask of deception again. By next year, I’ll be a better writer and I’ll enter The Literary Arts competition with a clear conscience.. As Ethel Herr puts it I must share openly and honestly what represents my genuine self or how can I show others how to face tension and solve problems.

What mask are you wearing today? Is it time to remove it?

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

Monday, July 02, 2007

Needling


My thumb is pain free & I am able to knit, embroider & do counted cross-stitch once again.

I am embroidering a floral picture for my niece's wedding in Sept. & the following gave me a giggle that I thought I'd share with YOU!




Sew Forth & Sew On

My needle vanished in thin air--
Most likely on this couch.
It's sure to reappear some where
If I keep looking.... OUCH!

-Mary Hamlett Goodman

Shalom, Connie

Saturday, June 30, 2007

What Am I?

It's hard to imagine the life I've lived. It's been hard and rugged- not fit for any thing.
From the moment it began, my agony started- little boys throw me, cars forever run me over, people walk all over me, sweet little girls collect me, the snow buries me.
Everyday is just plain misery.
But, I know a secret! I am not very big- that's true- and, if I am thought about at all, I am considered useless.
Yes, I know a secret. I am needed even if am a __________________.

Fill in the blank via Comments & I'll share your answers.

Shalom, Connie

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

When Needlework Isn't Work

My grandson calls it "threading" when you make a picture using colored threads, yarns, beads, and other embellishments.

To me it is love in action as I stitch a picture of a basket filled with summer flowers for my niece's wedding.
To me it is an act of love when I knit a sweater for my grandchild.
To me it is privilege to finish the counted cross-stitch bookmark for a friend.
To me it is a passion fulfilled when I knit a prayer shawl for someone who is suffering.

Each stitch is completed with love and a prayer intertwined- they are my way of saying "I care!"

What do you do well that you can share?

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

Cans of Adventure

As a child, my favorite place to go was to the Boreman's* house. The 6 children had a list of chores and responsibilities that had to be completed before playtime. Although lacking money, the Boerman's were rich in togetherness, creativity, encouragement and love. Talents were encouraged & there was an old upright piano for sing-alongs.

Mealtime at the Boerman's was always adventure as the pantry was filled with unlabeled cans, which a nearby grocery store saved for them at a very low cost. Each meal one child was designated to pick out whatever number of cans were needed for that particular meal. The older girls and/or their mother- me, too, when I was visiting- made a meal out of whatever was in the chosen cans. We would shake them to guess their contents, but often we were wrong. Sometimes we ended up with unique soups filled with various vegetables. Other times we put together a casserole or a meal in-a-dish. Many laughs, sighs, and "ooh,no!'s" were heard as each can was opened. What we thought was soup may have been cranberry sauce or a can of fruit would turn out to be carrots. Somethings went together well; others... well, let's just say there were unique flavors at some meals.

I have to say that I never had a bad meal there for Mom Boerman was good with spices and herbs, and very innovative. We never left their table hungry for there usually was plenty of flour, sugar, eggs, and oil to make bread, muffins or other tummy fillers. We often played hide-and-seek or chased fireflies after the dinner dishes were done. And on weekends we'd play Michigan Rummy around the huge oak dining room table as we nibbled on popcorn or caramel corn, and drank kool-aide while our parents played cards in the kitchen or talked about homesteading in Alaska.

Those were special times. I saw the saying, "If there's a will, there's a way" in action. People have called me creative, and innovative, but I am not. I rarely come up with a new idea, but I am great at adapting ideas to whatever is available. Missing a couple ingredients for a recipe? Using what I have, I'll come up with a variation of that recipe. Working on a new craft project, I'll substitute the materials on hand or ones that I can afford, and I'll end up with a alternative craft project.

I don't think I realized how much of an influence Mom Boerman was in my life. Now it is too late to tell her.
Tomorrow I am going to send some notes to some of the other special people in my life.

Who do you have to thank? Don't wait... let them know they made a difference in your life!

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

* name changed for privacy

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Oh, no!


I don't believe I did it! Worse, I don't know what I did.

But I injured my right hand- yep! the one I surgery on.

Today the x-ray was fine. Whew, I didn't mess up the surgical repair. My hand hurts a bit, but that's probably a good thing as it reminds me to be careful.

So I will rest it for another day or two then begin my next needlework project. That's all for today...

Shalom, Connie

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

On Empty




Filler-up!



Is this where I can fill up with new energy?
I'm tuckered out & need to be refreshed, rebuilt, or something...


I'm traveling through my days running on empty, but gas and an oil change won't restore my soul or yours. So let's read what David has to say in Psalm 6:

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony.
I am worn out from groaning...
The
Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.


Like David I am faint, dizzy, and hurting. I cry out to You, O Lord, for restoration. Through faith I give thanks for refilling me with Your Living Water. As my soul is refreshed, You- the Great Physician- will heal my body as well. Your Word states that our groanings are heard by the Holy Spirit and brought to You to express what I cannot. Heal me body, mind & spirit so I can serve You as you have planned.

For my readers, I also ask Your mercy so we can reach out to others with the life-changing story of Your Son, in who's name I ask. Amen
















Monday, June 18, 2007

R A F T'ing

I can't look...

Maybe a peek?

Wow, I am finding my way out from under the piles of papers. I'm RAFT'ing- no white water here- just pages and pages of white & pink paper, & other stuff.
I have created 5 piles:
R
ead & Save
Act on now
File
Toss
ing as for shredding

Next I am going to do the same with my e-mails by creating RAF folders; T is already there as Delete.

I think my life needs a bit of RAFTing, too. How about yours?

I need to:
Recognize what God wants me to be doing
Accept His plan & His timing
Faithfully follow His plan- without questioning it
Turn away from all the distractions & barriers

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Three Strikes & You're Out!

I am not athletic- phys ed was always a challenge for me, but I did like volleyball, basketball & softball.
Yet I was always the last one chosen for the team- I wasn't a winner.

I enjoy the Peanuts cartoons that take place on the ball diamond... I can relate. I was better at taking care of injuries than playing ball. Or like Lucy, let me organize the team & give advice.

Over 20 years ago during a women's retreat, I wrote down what author/speaker, Joyce Landorf, said about playing ball:

"God, in the grandstands of life is throwing off His coat,
waving excitedly, as He points down at us on the field,
and proudly saying, 'That's My kid!'

"Not the image of a god with arms crossed, mumbling,
"I've paid a lot for those lessons; that kid better come through."
And keeping track of all mistakes- a scorekeeper.

"God paid dearly- the maximum price- when we win,
He shares proudly in the joy; and when we lose
He shares the sorrow. Yet always with pride."

I no longer fear the ump yelling, You're out!" I am sure glad that winning isn't a requirement just doing our best. For in God's eyes we are all winners! I am glad I am on His team.

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Expectations


C.S. Lewis once said: When God moved in I thought He'd make everything cozy, instead He tore my house apart saying, "You thought I'd give you a cozy cottage; I'm making you into a palace!"
To enjoy the palace, we must withstand the mess first. For each of us "the mess" will be different, but together we suffer and will be blessed.


Are you in a mess today? I am! I am surrounded by piles of paper to sort and file, but I have hope that together we will persevere. Not because we are promised blessings, but because we desire to be what God planned for us to be.

While I had the cast on my right hand, I had to painstakingly write with with my left hand- it reminded me of learning cursive when I was little. I was intent upon forming each letter just perfectly and very neatly. It paid off! My handwriting is easy to read and folks- even strangers- comment on how beautifully I write. I purposed to write well. After all, I had lots to say!

Just as I perfected my handwriting skills, God wants to perfect me... and you. Even if it requires the messes of life, I am thankful that He loves us enough to be patient while we persevere and clean up each room in our house- the heart.



Selah-

Shalom, Connie

Monday, June 11, 2007

Rhubarb Fenced or Forbidden Fruit

There truly are some do not's in life that we really should pay attention to; like do not slide down the basement door, do not drink perfume, and do not pick the rhubarb on the other side of the fence.

At nine years old I was learning a bit about independence, which included testing the don'ts:

The outside basement door was at a 40 degree angle and had to be lifted up in order to enter the basement. I sure had no desire to go down there, but the instruction not to slide down the door prompted the question, "Why not?" Asking would have been considered "talking back," so I decided to experiment and figure it out myself. When no one was around, I tried it out. First, it wasn't slick enough to slide down... you had to, kind of, scoot down. Not really much fun- especially when you end up with a large splinter in your posterior you can't tell anyone about. (I still have the scar to remind me.)

Don't drink perfume- especially the expensive, smelly stuff from Europe- because your mother's nose will sniff you out! (I have no idea why I drank it, but it's alcohol content did not affect me so it probably wasn't much.)

The rhubarb belonged to our backyard neighbor, who hated children; it was turning a beautiful rosy red- so tempting! I had never heard of, nor tasted, rhubarb so I enlisted my brother to try it with me. After all, we would need a lookout. I'm not sure which one of us slipped under the fence to break off a stalk, but I remember that it wasn't easy to pick. Oh, and we didn't know that rhubarb needs to be cooked.. I learned to spit that day! Now, I love baking a strawberry rhubarb custard pie each spring while I chuckle about the old adage that stolen fruit always tastes better. NOT!

I did learn that "do nots" are best listened to when you are a child; and they don't go away when you grow up either. Like in the game of Monopoly, you may have to pass GO and go directly to jail for breaking the rules. As a grown-up, I appreciate that my parents taught me right from wrong. As a parent and grandparent, I have rules also, but I try to explain the reasons for each one in the hope that splinters and bad tasting fruit are not the result.

I want my life to be a "sweet savour" to my Heavenly Father: "Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him." (Ephesians 5:2 NLT)

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

P.S. Stop on by for a slice of rhubarb pie!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rocks In A Box

I was 9 years old with pigtails and a rock collection.

The world of words had opened new doors of adventure for me; and I had discovered the wonder of rocks. I had my own small hammer to break rocks open, numbered tags that correlated with my small notebook identifying each rock and stone using my library books.

It was a good pastime me, a shy girl with few friends. But, like my friends, I lost my rocks when we moved.

Now, over 50 years later, I wonder who found my rocks hidden under the back stairs of our house on Boerman Avenue. Did they realize how sad I was when my mother made me leave them behind during our next move? Did they realize the hours of work that went into finding new rocks and identifying them? Did they understand that those rocks became valuable lessons for my life? Or are they still hidden under those steps?

Lessons learned:
#1: Memories preserve all the important things in our lives- my rocks were never really lost.
#2: Each rock was and is unique- God's creations are similar, but always are a special blending of DNA.
#3: The beauty of my rocks was on the inside; & the discovery of that beauty was breathtaking
#4: Dirty rocks could always be washed cleaned- in fact, the dirt had to be removed in order to identify it.

Thus, the people in my life have been forever preserved within my memories. Each unique person is filled with great beauty, which is amazing when discovered once the troubles of life are washed away.

Dear Reader, that truly describes me and YOU! We are uniquely beautiful, a special part of God's plan. Always remember that we see the underside of our life's tapestry with its knots and tangles, and blotches of colors like blemishes hard on the eye BUT God sees the right-side, the perfect side that He designed just for each of us.

I left my rocks in a cardboard box underneath the steps, but God never leaves us. Our identification tags say Number One Child of the King!

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Unknown

Do you, like me, find it hard to cope with the unknown or the feeling of not being in control?

That is my feeling as I write this due to some health concerns I am experiencing. The good news is that I am not dealing with depression & I am hopeful that a medication change will eliminate my symptoms.

Between my hand surgery and this I have had lots of time to read. Have actually read a new book every 1-2 days. That adds up to quite a few! I will share a few with you that I enjoyed:

Mysteries:: No Place Like Home by Mary Higgins Clark- a woman-in-danger in true Mary Higgins Clark style
Twisted by Jonathon Kellerman- a woman homicide detective investigates a nightclub murder
False Testimony by Rose Connors- a woman lawyer must uncover the truth
This Dame For Hire by Sandra Scopettone- a sassy woman PI during WWII- a fun read!
Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas- an eccentric PI in Victorian London hires a new assistant
Fiction: The Glory Cloak by Patricia O'Brien- Louisa Alcott & Clara Barton's Civil War experiences as nurses
The Secret Live of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd- about "divine female power"- just remember it is fiction
Pearls of Lutra by Brian Jacques- 9th book in the Redwall series- all about animals, food, good & evil
The Celibate Priest & His Secretary by John Maybury- a local author's first novel was a good read
Daughter of Lot by Bonnie Winters- a fictional account of Ruth from Scripture & her inner struggles
Non-Fiction: Small Sacrifices by Ann Rule- the story of murderer Diane Downs, a compelling but sad book
Loving God by Charles Colson- an excellent book about holiness- living to honor & love God

Reading is a great distraction so I think I'll pick out my next book for this my "unknown" period.

Shalom, Connie

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Stimulating Those Little Gray Cells

Since my last post, I have had 2 days of advanced training for Parish Nurses. Sessions included Theological Reflection and Spiritual Ministry.

Before my time, folks used to say, "You gotta be prayed up!" And that sure applies to Parish Nurses. We cannot minister to others unless we care for ourselves: mind, body & soul.

I am a fast learner (LOL). I feed my spirit and soul by attending a Christian Women's Conference for 1 1/2 days.
What a blessing it was!

Over the next few days I'll be sharing bits and pieces with you from both the training & the conference.

Shalom, Connie

Monday, May 07, 2007

"Little Ones to Him Belong"

Recently I watched an elephant family on PBS &, if I learned nothing else, I learned that you don't mess with a baby elephant. Not only will the mother come to its aid, so will all of the adult females. When a baby is in danger the female adults surround it like the covered wagons pulling into a tight circle when under attack.

A friend just put a poem on her website called "Listen to the Weeping Child" I encourage you to read it AND to act upon it. Go to http//:www. mariane holbrook. com (leave out the spaces) and click on home then poetry.

I want to mention that there are all kinds of abuse- physical, sexual, emotional- that can forever damage a child.

Here is a true example:
Being short has been a handicap in many ways, but one day, while shopping, it was an asset. I was hidden by a rack of coats & overheard a conversation that made me bristle with anger. The mother was trying on coats; once she found the one she liked, I heard her say, "You know what to do, but wait 'til I get a couple of aisles away."
A small voice replied okay.
As I came out from behind the rack, a pre-school aged child began crying and running down the aisle- in the opposite direction of her mother. Clerks quickly came and attempted to calm this distraught, lost child. It didn't take much imagination to realize that the coat would be taken out to their car and the mother would return for her lost child. It also was apparent that this wasn't the first time this ploy had been used.

Guess you could say, I became as angry as a mother elephant. I ran to the child & told her bluntly to turn off the crying. Told the shocked clerks to call a manager or security a.s.a.p. as a coat was being stolen. At first they hesitated, but thankfully someone picked up the phone. The child, having been caught, stopped crying to say an unkindly word to me, but I still was going to protect her.

To steal is bad enough. To teach a child to help you is reminiscent of Dicken's Fagin and his pickpocket boys.

Folks, there are times we need to circle the wagons, to become like mother elephants. Please, don't look the other way; don't think that someone else will do something.

That day I stopped an abusive mother; no one interceded for me when I was a child.

Selah-

No "shalom" today, Connie

Sunday, May 06, 2007

This Is a Test

As a student, I dreaded surprise tests. As an adult, I get irritated when a my favorite music gets interrupted to test the emergency broadcast system. A couple of weeks ago, I was awaken by the fire alarm- wow is that loud! I pulled on my jeans, grabbed my purse & my sneakers, & out into the cold morning I went. There was no fire & by the time I put my shoes on, we could go back inside.

Those surprise tests showed me if I was really learning each day in class & as I studied at home. The radio or TV tests became important on 9/11. The fire alarm, caused by a oversensitive smoke detector, could save lives in my senior apartment building, if there really was a fire.

As a young nurse, I had a fire on my unit in the hospital. Later, lightning hit my house. As traumatic as they were, they were minimal compared to other trials and tests in my life: loosing a baby, becoming a widow at 27, nearly dying in surgery, being hit head-on by a drunk driver, being evicted with no where to go except my car, being fired for being "too compassionate," being unable to function because of constant pain and depression...

I'm sure you, too, can make a list of your life's unfair times.

But ponder this thought as I did today: "Without a test there can be no testimony." Simply put, without rain, we cannot appreciate the sunshine; without heartache, we cannot savor the times of peace; without sadness, we wouldn't recognize the joyful moments. It is the contrasts of life that color our world.

As Christians, we cannot identify the needs of others until we have been tested and comforted. Only then may we comfort others.

Yes, this is a test! What hardship are you going through today? Or is a time of peace and happiness? If you are trying to be the best that you can be in Christ, troubles are here or are coming for we are being molded, shaped, polished, refined, and perfected for eternity.

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

Monday, April 30, 2007

Nonessentials of Life- Part 3

As the demons cheered, the evil one continued:

“Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted. Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God’s creation. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts and movies instead.

“Keep them busy, busy, busy. And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences. Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus.

“Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the ‘good’ of the cause.”

“It will work It will work It will work, ” the demons shouted!

It was quite a plan and the demons went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get more busy and more rushed... Going here and there... Having little time for their God or their families... Having no time to tell others about the power of Jesus to change lives.

***

The real question is: has the devil been successful at his scheme?

Does busy really mean:

B eing
U nder
S atan’s
Y oke?

* * *

If you’re not too busy, or even if you are too busy, Selah- think on these things.

RUBUSY? (aRe yoU Being Under Satan's Yoke?)

My thanks to the unknown writer for this message... for making me rethink my priorities. It is my hope and prayer that you, too, will look at your life's patterns- do you need to make some changes? I did!

When I meet Jesus face to face, I want no regrets. I want Him to tell me, "Well done." And I want to turn around and see YOU there, too.

Shalom, Connie

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Nonessentials of Life- Part 2

Satan's convention message continued:

“Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what’s important, and they’ll become dissatisfied with their wives.

“Keep their wives too tired to love their husbands at night. Give them headaches, too If they don’t give their husbands the love they need, they will begin to look elsewhere. That will fragment families quickly

“Give them Santa Claus to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of Christmas . Give them the Easter Bunny so they won’t talk about the resurrection and power over sin and death.

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Nonessentials of Life? Part 1

As I was sorting papers in piles: to keep, to think about, to shred, I found this. (Someone e-mailed it to me 5 years ago; author unknown.) I am going to share the "minutes" of convention a section at a time so we can mull it over and check our status.

World Wide Convention: Opening Message

Satan addressed the world meeting of demons with the tenacity of a used car salesman saying, “We can’t keep Christians from going to church. We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their savior.

“Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to their churches; let them have their covered dish dinners, but steal their time, so they don’t have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.

“This is what I want you to do. Distract them from gaining hold of their savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day.”

“How?” his demons shouted.

“Keep them busy in the nonessentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered.

“Tempt them from spending time with their children. As their families fragment, soon their homes will offer no escape from the pressure of work.

“Overstimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to play the radio or CD/cassette player whenever they drive; and to keep the TV, VCR and PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-Biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ.

“Fill the coffees tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services, and false hopes.

Selah-

Part 2 tomorrow.

Shalom, Connie

Friday, April 27, 2007

Selah: Think on this...

As with many things in life, we take our bodies for granted... until a part doesn’t work right.

The hand truly is marvelously made; it is made up of 27 small bones, which are moved by 37 skeletal muscles (plus the tendons that attach them to the bones.) It is the ability for the thumb and fingers to touch that gives us the awesome dexterity that only human beings have.

Just to touch your thumb to the tip of your first finger requires the coordination of 10 bones. When something is between the thumb and first finger, the muscles and tendons in our arm and hand work together, which is orchestrated by our brain, so we can pick up and hold on to that item.

How many things do you just pick up in an hour? In a day? A lot more than you are even aware of... until you cannot pick anything up. Try not using your thumb for one active hour! It's a challenge!

Selah-

Since my hand surgery, these verses express best what I am feeling:

I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking. Body and soul, I am marvelously made. I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. (Psalm 139:14-15 The Message)

I am thankful also for my physician's skill, the team that assisted him, the financial arrangements that allowed me to have the surgery now (instead of the 2+ years I thought I would have to wait), the therapist and the many people who have helped with food, transportation, emotional support, and prayer.

Writing and typing, needlework, and everyday tasks beckon me- to be able to do them without pain will be delightful! The present soreness, which keeps me from overdoing, is also a reason for rejoicing. For now, I will wait patiently, as I exercise my hand, knowing that each day I am closer to full function with no pain.

Yes, we are "fearfully and wonderfully made!"

Shalom, Connie

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A-Okay!

Prayers Answered: The redness around my right thumb was caused by irritation from the splint being too tight, & no infection resulted.

Today the therapist adjusted the splint & put my hand through the exercises needed to strengthen & re-gain function of my thumb. I am ahead of the usual schedule according to the therapist so I only need to see him once per week. Also an answer to prayer because the costs of therapy visits add up quickly.

I am typing with 2 hands (minus my thumb)!

I am eager to resume my daily writing- look for my next post about our marvelous hands!

Shalom, Connie

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Quick Update


My thumb is swollen, red and more painful today. Hopefully, the splint just needs to be re-molded and no infection has set in.

Pray with me for continued healing. When this is over I am going to get a manicure!

Shalom, Connie

Thursday, April 19, 2007

OUT!

The purple cast is off and the pin is out of my thumb. ( :

A molded splint has been made to go around my thumb and down the inside of my hand and lower arm. It can be taken off several times a day. Now, we wait to see if I will have a functioning, pain free thumb. I vote: Yes!

For those of you with busy thumbs, I challenge you to try not using them for a few hours. You'll find that they are essential to most things that your hands do. What an awesome body we have!

I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. (Psalm 139:14-15 The Message)

I am trusting God, through the surgeon and the physical therapist, to fully heal my right thumb. I am grateful that I no longer have bone rubbing against bone and that the degenerating bone is gone. I look forward to holding my granddaughter again, cooking, washing dishes, doing needlework, hand writing, playing the piano, and more.

My friends, take time today to notice what you're hands are doing for you and others...

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

Monday, April 16, 2007

Chess Or Books?

I go to Barnes and Nobles to people watch, to write, to read or just for a change of scenery while I indulge in a Chai Tea Latte. I enjoy sitting by the fire on a cold or dreary day even when the dreariness has nothing to do with the weather.
I've been there several times while my right hand, in it's purple cast, has been healing. I have observed bored husbands waiting for their wives to finish shopping, girl friends meeting and giggling, students studying with their laptops ready for that next paper to be written, readers actually engrossed in the book they've curled up with in the overstuffed chairs, pastors talking with couples in a non-threatening atmosphere, realtors going through the long process of "sign here... and here," and men playing chess.
I've decided that I want to learn to play chess because nothing else seems to matter except the game. The world, with all its concerns and cares, is left behind at the entrance.
Although I love to escape life through a good book, there are times when life's distractions override even the best novel. So I want to enter the kingdom of pawns, knights, bishops, rooks, queens and kings so I can set aside my pain, my cast, all the things that are hard to do with one hand including writing.
Anyone willing to teach a one-handed player who needs her gray cells stimulated?

I'm off to B & N; maybe there'll be a chess game in process. Connie


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Special Moment

This evening, while in a fast food restaurant, a little boy about 3 years old pointed to my bright red tee-shirt. With a smile he said, "Bear!"
The bear on my shirt is about 17 " tall; he's wearing blue jeans, a red, plaid flannel shirt under a jean jacket, & red tennies- quite a friendly fellow.
"Yes, he's my happy bear," I responded as his smile broadened. (I think he's met a few cuddly, comforting bears during his short life.)
Then he saw my bright purple cast & the smile left. His eyes held questions, but he just looked from my cast to my face. When I nodded, he touched the cast and leaned to down see my fingers, and then my thumb, which was hiding inside. Softly I reassured him that my hand and arm were inside also.
Seriously he checked out my left hand- all fingers accounted for there; touching the cast once more his smile returned.
"Soon my hand will be all better and we'll take it off," I quietly explained. Once again he pointed to the bear. I nodded. We both knew that teddy bears make you all better!

If that little fellow has to have his own cast some day, maybe it won't be so scary because an inquisitive little boy and a grandma with a bear on her shirt- had a special moment.

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Worth the Wait!


Mary could wait no longer. She went to anoint Jesus body with the burial herbs and ointments- her last act of love.

All those waiting didn't understand the miracle that Sunday morning when the stone was rolled away. But they had waited in sorrow and fear...

Because they lingered they saw Him face to face! Their lives would never be the same.

As we begin to comprehend that "we might live through Him," we are forever changed.

"And then my heart stands still- I can't believe my eyes! I see now why He hangs between the earth and skies;
Above His head I read- could that be my name? My name?! My name! Behold the Lamb, dying on my cross!*"

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

* from Behold the Lamb music & lyrics by Don Krueger, 1983 Singspiration Music

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Linger... Hang in There... Wait

One of the hardest things for Americans to do is wait. We have been called the Microwave children of the Crockpot God. We want everything NOW! God patiently waits. He, thankfully, takes things slowly but surely.

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus asked His disciples to wait and pray with Him- they slept; Judas collected his pieces of silver.
Jesus waited after being beaten, bruised and abused for His death sentence- the decision had been made long before, but Jesus waited while Pilate, Herod and the Sanhedrin "decided" His fate.
The soldiers and a few of His followers waited for Him to die.
His followers hid and waited in fear of retaliation.

No one understood that in waiting they would be present for the miracle that Sunday would bring.

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

Friday, April 06, 2007

Who do you call?

When struggling with decisions, who do you call? Why him? Why her?

Recently, I received unexpected sad news. I couldn't even express all of my feelings about this situation. First, I e-mailed my adult son. His right-brained thinking and male perspective always give me a different slant on things. Next I spoke with a few friends who I trusted to be honest with me; yet they would allow me to either rant or be silent- whatever I needed. They listened; they cared; they shared my burden.

I am grieving a loss- not of a person, but of an important opportunity in my life. Having dealt with many tragedies in my life- many worse than this one- I know who will see me through as He always has.

This gentle man carried a cross on this day we call Good Friday. As I accept my loss and move on, I can go to Him who knows His plans for me and what the future holds. He carried that cross for me... for you and He knows suffering from His own earthly experiences.

He says, "Child, I understand; and I am holding your hand as we walk through this valley together. We are just between mountains... we will see the Sonrise together."

As I once again take the hand He offers, I ask you, "Who do you call?"

Selah-

Shalom, He has risen! Connie

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sign Here



As my son and I talked, my grandson disappeared for a few minutes. Later, after they left, I found my grandson had been signing his name on multiple pages of a puzzle book I keep in the bathroom. I chuckled at his wobbly letters as I realized, once again, how fast our children grow up and how very much they learn in those first five years of their lives. Writing their own name becomes a high priority- a skill they will use daily.

Think about how many times a day we sign our names: to notes, letters, e-mails, checks, contracts, credit card purchases, log ins, birthday cards, memos, blog-sites, comments and more. We can even purchase stamps with our signature on them or purchase software that will hand write for us. Yes, technology is finding other ways to identify us, but it will always require our name in some form.

Now, with my right hand in a cast, signing my name requires as much concentration as my grandson as he is learning to write his name. My name is made up of wobbly letters also, but after three weeks they are neater and more readable.

I've re-learned a few things as I painstakingly formed each letter of my name:
1. I couldn't write with my left hand until I had to do so. Prior to surgery, I tried to practice and failed; necessity changed that.
2. I have an awesome mind- writing is a brain-thing. My left hand and arm are the same as the right- same bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. It's my brain that directs their movement and efficiency. My brain has had to throw the switch to put my left hand on track.
3. I am thankful that I can just click my mouse and my signature is added to my e-mails. We take too many things for granted as they become the "norm" in our lives.
4. I am identified by my name to most people yet there is only one of "me." I am special- uniquely made to fulfill God's purpose for my life.
5. I am known by name by my Creator- He never confuses me with any other Connie. (Isaiah 49:15)
6. I am written, via my name, on the palm of His hand. (Isaiah 49:16)
7. I am in the Lamb's Book of Life by virtue of my name that was written there the day I said, "I believe!" and chose to follow Jesus, my Savior. (Revelation 3:4-5 and 21:27)

All of these truths can apply to you also- no surgery, pain or cast needed.

Selah... (Pause and think on these things.)

Shalom, Connie

Friday, March 30, 2007

Casts Times Three

Would you believe that I had the 3rd cast put on today? It is still purple; &, hopefully, this one will not slip causing more pain. I have been painful & restless, which also means irritable- I need an extra measure of patience.
3 weeks to go with the cast on & a pin in my thumb- no matter where you live, you'll probably hear me whoop with joy on April 19th. Most important tho' is whether this procedure gives me back the use... without pain... of my thumb.
Some verses of encouragement for me & for you, if you're painful, remind us that good can come from our suffering:
Motivates us to ask God for help- Psalm 30:10
Allows others to pray for us- 2Corinthians 1:10-11
Enables God to teach us patience- James 1:2-4
Permits God to restore us- 1 Peter 5:10
& my favorite-
Teaches us how to comfort & encourage others- 2 Corinthians 1:6

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Home on the Range Single-Handed

Whoa! I slept in & the morning is almost gone; so I slithered into my jeans & threw on a sweatshirt. Good nutrition being essential, I headed for the range gathering the needed supplies on the way. Having missed the morning feed, I added extra grain. On the range I put it all together... whew, took nearly 2 hours to finish! Glad I don't always have to do this single-handed.

My cast will be off in 4 weeks & breakfast will be a whole lot easier to prepare! But I sure enjoyed my waffles, eggs and bacon with whole wheat toast, & orange juice. Before the month's over I may even master cracking an egg with one hand.

Blessings to you today; & I hope you'll be visiting the House of the Lord tomorrow!

Shalom, Connie

Friday, March 16, 2007

Fixed!

Well, fixing is in process... must heal first. My hand is very painful & swollen, which keeps me from using it.
Pain occurs throughout our lives & is a blessing that goes unrecognized.
My little grand-daughter has a lot of bumps lately as she tries new things. Just took her first steps walking & anticipate she'll be running soon... along with more bumps & bruises. Closing a cupboard door with her fingers in the way yielded tears, but she's learning.
Pain in my hand sent me to the hand surgeon, and today's technology allows my joints to be fixed. One small deteriorated bone was completely removed, but once healed my thumb will work again... without pain. Today my pain forces me to rest my hand. It also reminds me of how grateful I am to have 2 hands and makes me thankful for a good mind as I come up with alternate ways to do things.
Do you have pain in your life today? Emotional & spiritual pain can be just as devastating as physical pain.
Although pain isn't a choice that we prefer, it can be a blessing! It protects, teaches, guides, heals and more.
If you are hurting, know that Christ suffered also & understands- ask Him to use your pain to bring joy into your life!

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Who Are You, My Reader?


I finally received some mail today- the first since I moved a week ago; as usual it's mostly bills & junk mail, but it made me feel that I belonged here now.

However, the flag is not up on this site's mailbox. My mailbox is empty. I have no idea who is stopping by & reading this blog...
I'd like to know! I had planned on this being a prelude to my new Website... what is my next step?

I need to get some feedback either here or at cgeewriter at yahoo dot com.
Connie

No Cake

No Birthday Cake, but it has been a great day! Cards, e-mail wishes, flowers, phone calls, lunch with a friend, & an evening concert made my day special.

If I had birthday candles to blow out, I would wish to age with a childlike faith and a closer walk with Jesus.
Think I'll make that a prayer request...

Shalom- Connie

Repairs Needed


Yep, I need my right thumb joints repaired. So I am having surgery on Tuesday morning , March 13th. I'll wake up with a cast that I get to keep for 4 weeks. Then I'll trade it in for a splint. Once the healing process is over I should be able to use it without pain! And I can go back to doing some of my favorite things: needlework, piano, handwriting notes & letters, & playing with my grandchildren.

I am right handed so the next weeks will be a challenge- any tips for functioning with just one-hand?

Also accepting prayers for no complications during or following surgery, quick & complete healing, & patience while casted.

Have several books waiting to be read & ordered some research material for my next writing project. Can keep busy if I can manage brushing my teeth & other daily tasks. My friend, I need your words of wisdom today!

Shalom- Connie

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Moved!

My boxes & I have moved & co-exist in my new apartment.
Slowly, I'm winning the "I'll find the floor first!" race; but then I open another box...

I'd finished organizing all the kitchen cupboards & drawers.With a sigh of relief I managed to fit everything in. That is until the Squelch-Your-Joy Bird hatched a set of mixing bowls in an innocent looking box. Help!!

Downsizing isn't much fun because there are memories attached to most things. However, a good memory- that requires no space- is of the 4 men and 6 women who helped me move. Guys & Gals, I could not have done it without you! Thank you from my heart... bones & muscles, too!

Need new homes for some things like Teddy Bears, children's choir music, needlework kits, & more. Lots to do by next Monday.

Back to unboxing...

Shalom- Connie

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Boxes, Boxes, Boxes



Getting closer to moving day- one week & still much to do. If you're in my neighborhood stop in... I'll hand you some bubble wrap & you can have fun, too!
No, not popping the bubbles! Packing...

Coming Soon! Free e-book:
Christ's Light: In and Beyond Us

Shalom, Connie

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Moving!

Have had a sudden change of direction; and it is an answer to many prayers. I have been on waiting lists for a senior apartment & received a call for one of them. That meant providing all sorts of financial information, which I had to pull together quickly.

So I am moving in 18 days! I am going from a 2 bedroom into a one bedroom; 700 sq. ft. to 500 sq. ft. so I must sell, store or give away some things pretty quickly as well as keep up on my writing as best I can.

Will put this blog on hold, but don't forget to check back! I will return after 2/24!!! Meanwhile,

Shalom, Connie

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sad & Happy Faces

When I taught little children, I had flipping mirror. One of those on a wire stand, that you could turn from the normal mirror over to a magnifying mirror. I had cut bright yellow paper to cover the mirrors. On one side I glued two large google eyes, a red pompom for a nose and a large smile; the other side was the same except the smile was turned upside. Yep, a frown.

When the children were well behaved the happy face reigned. The children ignored it most of the time, once its newness wore off. But when a behavior began to go out of control, I spoke not a word and turned the mirror to the sad side. Then I sat quietly and waited. Soon, someone would notice and I'd hear, "Oh, no!" They all knew that the fun stuff stopped when Mr. Sad Face was home. Peer pressure still works as children would rather have fun then do nothing. It never took long for Mr. Happy Face to return. No frustration on my part: therefore, no trying to be heard over little ones voices. Most of the time the offender or offenders realized that all the children were watching them and quit whatever they were doing. If not, one of the children would say something about the mirror and making Ms. Connie happy again. Leadership skills show up at a very young age; and I could always tell who were big brothers or sisters. They took charge.

Well, I am having a mirror flipping day. Happy, then sad; then happy, etc. On my emotion-flexibility days I strive for some balance. Its okay to express your God-given emotions, so I decreased my tissue supply. Next, I try to do something, anything out of the norm' for me. Today is was baking a batch of muffins. Now I am going to curl up with a warm muffin, a cup of tea and read a children's story. Let happy reign!

No Pitiful Pearl Party. Just acceptance that my God is in control even though I don't understand it... and He does not have to explain it to me.

Excuse me, while I fix my Chai tea...

Shalom, Connie

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hoar Frost

Dew turned to frost... turning white like old age. That's how the dictionary defines hoar frost. Outside everything is white with this thick frost- no snow, just heavy white & frosty. The trees are so interesting because the texture of the frost is more hairy than feathery. It is not ice, but the limbs hang low with the extra weight The roads are slippery in the morning until traffic- at least on the main roads- melts the heavy frost. Once every one's in for the evening it is slippery once again.

Being retired I don't have to go out most days until the roads are clear. Instead I watch nature's unique beauty & am thankful that it isn't snow. But if you're into skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, even just snowman making just drive a few miles up the mountain & you'll find all the snow you want..

I love the mountains! They remind me of God the Creator. The regal bearing of the mountain range shows His majesty. The consistency demonstrates that God never changes. The contrasts of rock, waterfalls, springtime wildflowers, winter snow, and evergreen are masterpieces by the God of perfection.

He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes...He sends His word and melts them; He stirs up the breezes, and the waters flow. (Psalm 147:16, 18 NIV)

Selah-

Shalom, Connie

Monday, January 29, 2007

Borrowed Thoughts

Happy moments, praise God
Difficult moments, seek God
Quiet moments, worship God
Painful moments, trust God
Every moment, thank God
-unknown

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Writing an E-Book, Part 8

Ahhhhhhhh. Feeling better today. Editing 3 pieces after my attitude adjustment yesterday.
I think I have figured out part of the problem I was having & maybeeeeeeeee a possible solution.
Part of the problem had to do with temporary files; the other might involve conversion. The failed edits were of my Auzzie friend's pieces & are formatted a bit different than our American computer pages.

Going to try it again today. If you hear any screaming coming from Central Oregon, PRAY!

I am not discouraged though; everything will work out! I just have to remember our theme verse from Ephesians.

Our e-book will glorify God! Because it is His. We 4 writers are just His hands at work.
I hope you're excited along with me as our book comes together.
Think how you and/or your church can use it.

Shalom, Connie