... 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


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Saturday, December 26, 2015


a gasp, a cry
an exhausted mother's sigh
a father's teardrops
a heavenly umbilical cord cut and tied

a sweet aroma of fresh hay
a tiny gurgle as rosebud lips find milk
a whispered prayer
a naming as God commanded

a squeak of rafters as birds and mice gather
a gentle breeze to fan the fire
a clip and clop of a donkey's feet
a quiet baa-aa and a gentle moo

a ray of starlight
a flutter of angel wings
a silence
a moment realizing God's sacrifice- His only Son

a yip of a sheepdog on th hillside
an owl's hoot as he hunts
a rowdy laugh from the inn
a braying camel on the dusty road

a mother and babe sleep
a father watches
an angel guards
a world waits

May you be blessed with a quietness in your soul.


Shalom, Connie

[written by me]

Monday, December 21, 2015

"It’s Looking A Lot Like Christmas"

  Snow at my house.

I just need to ask, how does Christmas look?

I have watched 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? It is midnight mass? The company party?

Having been a nurse for 50 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.

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 is bad.  I'm not sure if he arrived safely. He 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? 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, 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...

All I know for sure is that I want to…

¯Go Tell It On the Mountain that Jesus Christ Is Born!¯


Think on this.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015


This season of the year is seldom a time of stillness. 
Our already busy lives just shift into a higher gear.


Take a Breath.

Think calmness, serenity, gentleness, quiet...

Be still!



Tuesday, December 08, 2015

My Secret is Out

The best news this year is the official completion of my third grandchild's adoption. He now has a forever family! 

SAM* has been with my son's family for over a year, but as a foster child I was not able to share anything about him.

On July 4th, 2014, he called me Gramma for the first time while watching the fireworks from my backyard. My heart did a happy dance.

Sam will be 8 this month. He is in 2nd grade and does well at school. He likes small cars & always seems to have one or two in his pockets. One of his first visits to my apartment, I showed him where to find all the Matchbox cars. I think it was the first step toward accepting me as his grandma. 

He has quite an adult vocabulary and is not shy about sharing his opinions. Over the summer he took swim lessons, fall of 2014 he played soccer and he loves their trampoline. He’s very active and talkative from the moment his eyes open until bedtime.

It has filled my heart to overflowing watching my son, who I adopted when he was 7 weeks old, enfolding his adopted son with an abundance of love. The family has adjusted well...good thing because this is FOREVER.

I love Sam’s hugs. At first, he copied whatever his brother and sister did, but in February I received the first spontaneous hug. It felt so special! I knew I was really becoming his Gramma. 

This past summer he gave me a small golden-colored glass heart. saying, "I bought it with my own money, Gramma. And I would only get the gold one for you." 

This cherished heart sits on a small mirror in a place of honor.

By the way, Sam and I have a goal: to walk the Loop together. [That is the street they live on. It is one mile around. I haven’t been able to walk it since 2006.] By the time I complete cardiac rehab', I hopefully can do it.

So glad my secret can be shared with you... because my #3 grandchild is very special just like his big brother and sister.

* Name changed for privacy.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


   Lord, You bless me in many ways.

When we give thanks, we bless ourselves & others, 
but when we're thanks-living, we bless God.

I am going through my blessing bowl to remind myself of people & events that have blessed my heart this year.

At the same time, I am expressing my heartfelt gratitude to God as I read each one. And I am asking Him to open our eyes to see unknown blessings He provides, as well.

Let us focus on our Lord, the lover of our souls, as we celebrate Thanksgiving Day.


Monday, October 26, 2015

What Is My Best?

 I recently read Ann Voskamp’s online comment about calendars: rather than looking at each box as a list of to dos, consider each box as a gift to open.

None of us know how many calendar boxes we have left. At 71 years of age, I have already been blessed with over 35,000. On my calendar I now place a red border on the first  empty box and write:  Each Box a Gift to Open!

Last month I read two books to help me get passed my fickle emotions:

And Not One Bird Stopped Singing: Coping with Transitions and the Losses of Aging 
by Doris Moreland Jones

Emotional Victory: How You Deal With How You Feel 
by D. Bud Calvert

Dr. Calvert wrote, “My days of serving the Lord are numbered and I need to give Him my best.” (page 190) I did not expect this to be a positive, motivating statement for me. But that’s exactly how it struck me. And I remembered David’s words, “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered- how fleeting my life is.” (Psalm 39:4)


Do you remember Faggin, in the musical Oliver? Knowing Bill Sykes plans to kill him and holding his cache of money and jewelry, he sings:
¯What happens when I'm seventy?
Must come a time...seventy.
When you're old, and it's cold
And who cares if you live or you die,
Your one consolation's the money
You may have put by...
...I think I'd better think it out again!

I'm reviewing the situation.¯

My mission is to encourage others through my experiences. Therefore, I’m’ setting aside my fickle emotions and using my writer’s eye, and ¯I am reviewing the situation.¯

Health issues and all, the question is not, “How many days?” It is, “What is my best?”

First, let’s agree that feelings are fickle and unreliable. Although without them, we cannot be compassionate, patient, kind, long-suffering, etc. Keeping them in the proper perspective is the key to not allowing them to overrule the heart, mind and God’s plan for the day. His calendar box to open as a gift!

Thus, the best is whatever we are capable of each day. Beginning with a positive attitude and the willingness for God to use us. Our focus must be on the do-ables and what we have vs. our losses. Easy? No, especially when not feeling well. Possible? Yes

For me- with my physical limitations- this is my BEST:

May my better moments be Yours, O Lord to do with as You may.
May my stitches be even and entwined with love.
May my writing be Your thoughts… not my opinion.
May my resting renew my strength and refresh my spirit.
May my down times provide time to ponder Your goodness to me.
May my studying and reading prepare me to glorify You, Lord.
May my teaching touch hearts and draw them nearer to You.
May my life be a reflection of Your love. 

How about you? What is your best?



Heart Rehab

NuStep_Product_Overview_T4_300x230.pngThis is a NuStep exerciser that I use in Cardiac Rehab. It's like walking while you are sitting. It tracks several things including the number of steps, the minutes you're exercising, calories used and how far you walk. I have gone 1-1 1/2 miles per session- more than I thought I could.

Because I have a heart monitor on, I feel safe; and therefore, willing to push past my limits. The Cardiac Rehab team are great encouragers, as they monitor my progress.

I go two times per week to exercise plus a class weekly to help me change my life style.The others are at different stages. Two have "graduated..." meaning they have completed all 38 sessions and are committing to continuing their new life style. Some have had open heart surgery, heart attacks or, like me, have new stents.
They, too, encourage me to keep trying because I will feel better and I will increase my energy level and stamina.

This week will be sessions four and five with 33 to go!

My goal is to walk Ponderosa Loop, which is a mile around, with my wonderful gran'kids.[I haven't been able to walk it since the oldest was in pre-school.]

Stay tuned as I progress on the NuStep and take new steps towards being healthier.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


Had a surprise interruption in posting due to 6 days of hospitalization followed by 6 days of TLC at a neighbor's. Thus...

I am singing praises for the improvement in my health since having a heart cath that opened 2 arteries with stents; and pneumonia, which is resolving. I’ll be starting cardiac rehab soon.

To have finally found the answer is such an emotional relief! I remain chronically ill, but my energy level and stamina will improve. My dwindling hope has taken a 360° turn and filling my emotional cup to overflowing. Slowly I’ll be returning to my knitting and writing. 

Feelin' good,

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Woe Is Me-part 4

 In my previous posts, I have been sharing my experience with fatigue.Fatigue and self-absorption can lead to “pity parties.” As one inclined toward depression since my teens, I know from experience to recognize the signs of potential depression and to take positive action.

Inside my kitchen cabinet door, I have posted a list with signs of my depression and action to take. I know them well, but they are there as a reminder that I have conquered depression and can avoid it; if I recognize it early, and determine to conquer or at least control it.

Add fatigue to the equation. That complicates and limits the action that can be taken; e.g., going for a walk, inviting friends over, or do a good deed in secret are too energy consuming.

During a recent bout of being Pitiful Pearl, I decided to find a new way. Thus Pity Party Smashers was born.

When you are feeling sorry for yourself, you are totally self-absorbed as noted in a previous post. Rather than attempting to take the attention off yourself, which can be nearly impossible when you are so very tired, I focused on turning negative thoughts into positive ones.

Contentment is realizing what you do have rather than on your losses.
Therefore, I used a variety of writing prompts- grammar, spelling, punctuation and full sentences not needed here. The challenge is to write for 3-5 minutes (longer. if able) using any one or more of the prompts.

Let me use one as an example.
I am wearing…

This one is intended to get you to notice if you got dressed? Put on make-up? Combed your hair? Each one helps you feel better mentally. How about wearing that shirt which makes your eyes so brilliant blue. Or getting out that super soft shawl or afghan to comfort you. A spritz of cologne can up your mood.
Some days I did not have enough energy to get dressed, but I could have dusted my breasts with my Ciara powder that leaves a sparkle behind. I always feel special wearing it. So what if I’m in my lounging robe! So what if I have leads attached to a heart monitor.

a.k.a., Snap Out of It 

Out my window...
I am wearing…
I hear…
My favorite color…
A memory that makes me smile…
If money was no obstacle, I would…
I am inspired by…
I am learning…
My favorite Scripture is…
A book I recommend…
Over a cup of tea, let’s chat about…
I am so glad God…
A spiritual highlight…
I am praying…
I feel…
My favorite…
I am thankful…
A source of joy…
An important truth to remember…
My favorite quotation…

Upon completion, reread them then post your responses where they will seen easily as a reminder throughout your day. You can add to them throughout the day, as well. When no longer needed either toss them away OR write the outcome and save it to encourage you another day.

Suggestion: Keep the prompts on a 3”x5” index card in your purse or wallet. Pity Parties do not always happen at home.

I have used the above prompts several times during these weeks of confinement and found them effective in raising my spirits. In fact, I was writing a letter to a friend yet feeling down. So I wrote I was going to use my Pity Party Smashers right there in my letter. Before completing the letter my attitude was more positive and I even solved a problem I was stewing over unrelated to my feelings or my correspondence.

When my friend replied to my letter, she wrote, “I could see the change! You were glowing by the time you stopped writing.” 

We can feel like a “lonely petunia in an onion patch” and cry all day or we can move that petunia into a more positive atmosphere. I prefer to “snap out of it.”



Next post: How Can You Give Your Best When Fatigued and Struggling?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Woe Is Me - Part 2 & 3

Fatigue leads to fears. For seniors, like me, those fears include becoming incapacitated, developing dementia, and dying.
For me, my immediate fear is that a diagnosis and treatment will not be found. If so, my current life-style will have to become permanent. The unknown is a fear in itself.
My call to write a book is the hope I cling to each day. I believe God will provide the time and the way to complete it. Therefore, I will accept the challenge to live each day the best* that I can in order to fulfill His plan for my life.

Selah… think on this.

Fatigue brings on loneliness- even when others are present. It stems from fickle feelings, such as, nobody understands what I’m going through, they act like I’m not sick at all, they wait on me like I’m incompetent, cannot they see I need some help? Unrealistic expectations on both sides end in conflict. Fatigue makes it difficult to resolve those conflicts.
I remember years ago that I had hepatitis as a complication of mononucleosis; however, I was not contagious. My dear neighbor made sure I had food and anything else that I needed, but she would not come into my house. Her fear was unfounded and I would have appreciated visiting with her, especially as I improved and slept less. My own parents would not come even though for my son, a first grader, who would have loved a trip to McDonalds®… definitely more exciting than being stuck with a sick mother .
This time, I live alone and just want the comfort of someone peeking in on me. With little energy for conversation, we could have watched a movie together. Just someone’s presence was what I craved.
I might add, the person, who knows when not to talk, is an extra-special blessing.
As a Parish nurse, I often sat at a bedside without saying a word so the patient could rest. When something was needed, I was there. My presence brought comfort to the patient and the nurses were grateful to have another nurse’s eyes assessing the patient.

Selah… think on this.


* Future post: "What is the best?"

Friday, July 10, 2015

Woe Is Me ~ part 1

      Fatigue opens the door to “woe is me,” which includes being self-absorbed, having fears, and pity parties.
      “Self” is the center of your world when you are ill. I live alone so I was not inflicting “me, me, me” on anyone. But after days and weeks I was sick of being sick, sick of only thinking about myself.

      As a retired nurse, I ‘m used to being the helper and the fixer. As ill as I have been, I needed help and I could not “fix” myself. It is hard to ask for help. It is hard not knowing what is wrong nor how to fix it.

      Thus, it was a blessing when my neighbor dropped in and surprised me by bringing supper one night. Since then, when she is going out, she asks if I want something from McDonalds® or other nearby fast food restaurants. She picks up my medicine for me. She also calls or comes to check on me every day or so.
We laugh ‘cause she’s bossy. “Why is your oxygen off?” “You need to get out of your apartment, Missy.” “Where’s your knitting?” When she is too bossy, I call her Mom. Still when she asks how I am, I know she cares and I am honest with her. Her goal for me is to have a girl’s day out with her. Not a priority for me, but when I am able to go, I will.

      BTW, she needs to be needed. So for us, we both benefit. I thank her frequently as she adds cheerfulness and stability to my days. Moreover, I do not have to worry about transportation; she is always there for me. If I cannot fix a meal, she will.
Ironically, this neighbor and I have little in common. Yet we have grown to love each other as sisters growing old together.

      Anticipation of an ill person’s needs, just being present including knowing when not to talk, and letting them know they are not forgotten via a card or a phone call- even a voice mail or text… these encourage and add hope.

      Who needs a touch from you today?

Selah… think on this.


P.S. 7/23/15: Was admitted to the hospital unexpectedly 7/20. Am resting & will return a shortly. My friend (see above) was there for me!

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Fatigue is much more than being tired

Fatigue is incapacitating and makes you…
F rail and vulnerable, and
A nxious including doubting your value.
T ired in the extreme and lonely, but you have no energy for a visitor.
I rritable, impatient and you are unable to concentrate or focus.
G oalless and “woe is me” sets in along with a
U seless roller coaster of emotions resulting in the need for
E ncouragement

Coping with fatigue is a difficult challenge because of the above. I felt like the world was moving around me, but I was not part of it. I was not even part of my own world. I could not think at a depth needed for writing. Some days I could not complete the simplest Sudoku puzzle or follow the plot of a TV mystery or other movies.

Thankfully, I slept much of those first weeks. As my naps became shorter and further apart, I decided to create a new routine for each day. Without a bit of structure, my days melded one into another and I felt a skewed sense of time.

My doctor’s instruction began and ended my day. To this I added, for at least 10 minutes each:
           Write a memory in each of the grandkids’ Gramma books.
            Knit on simple afghan.
           Write a note to a friend.
           Read something fun.
           Play a computer game or Sudoku.

The above actions were to be spaced throughout my day, as I had to pace myself in order to complete anything. Cooking for me was literally do step 1 and rest, step 2 and rest, etc. Normal activities of daily living took extremely long. There were days I could not get dressed. On my worst days, I tried to do at least one out of the five.

Consider this when you or a loved one is ill- especially those with chronic illness and/or pain and terminal conditions.

Selah… think on this.


Prayer for Restoration from Fatigue*:
Gracious God, As my body is depleted of energy, my mind loses focus. My tired spirit sags as if it were a balloon losing its air. Sometimes even restorative sleep eludes me. Help me avoid what drains rather than feeds me. Nudge me to take time to sit in perfect stillness while You massage my soul. When I go to bed, wrap Your love around me like the softest shawl that I may sleep peacefully in Your embrace. Because and through Your Son, I ask all this so I may fulfill Your call on my life. Amen.
*Adapted; original source unknown

~ ~ ~


Yeah! I have returned with a new computer-- used, but with the hope it will last awhile. In addition, during my time offline, I have had a life-style change.

Briefly, I went into heart failure resulting in my doctor's orders, "Just rest for the next two weeks." Actually, activities of necessity were all I could tolerate. Resting was easy at first. Movies and sleep filled my days. Then boredom set in. In spite of no energy, I had to be doing something.

[Here's where you ask, "How bored were you?"]

I set to cleaning out my  four drawer filing cabinet. Now that is really BORED. In the process... done very slowly... I alphabetized my writing, sorted it into completed and "still workin' on it." I started a box for donations and one for disposal. 

It took weeks to accomplish it, but I felt better having completed a project. Meanwhile, after the expected 2-3 weeks of rest, I had not improved leading to wearing a heart monitor for the 30 days of June.

[The results are back and I am now waiting for an appointment with the cardiologist.]

I have been reflecting on the value of the weeks of downtime I have experienced. Was there a purpose for my idleness? 

I believe that God never wastes any moments of our lives. Thus I began pondering over the last 3 months. I will be sharing my thoughts in future posts. 

Tomorrow, I will start with fatigue, one of the major symptoms for those with both acute and chronic illnesses.

I am glad to be back! Welcome to new and old readers!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Official Now

My computer has died. Will return when able to post brief messages. Connie

Thursday, January 01, 2015