Category Archives: Giving Thanks

Canada Day

 

Our family always gathers at my son’s home on Canada Day to celebrate the birthday of Vanessa (our oldest granddaughter). When Vanessa was little, I’m sure it seemed to her as if all those fireworks were just for her birthday.
As Canadians, we have lots to celebrate. The travelling I’ve done in my life time has only reinforced my love for our beautiful, peaceful, safe, caring nation. One of our Canadian characteristics is our ability to criticize ourselves, especially our politicians. Finding fault seems to be a national past time. Being human, our M.P. and prime minister have faults, one of which often is (for many of us) that this leader represents the wrong political party – whichever one that is.
The Bible gives us the story of the nation of Israel as it develops politically. First, it is ruled by priests, then Judges, and finally Kings. If we think our political system is adversarial with four main parties and several lesser ones, Israel in David’s time had twelve tribes, each with its own strong leader. The story tells us that when David was anointed King, the twelve tribes let go of their differences and focused on the security and unity that they hoped would come with David’s rule.
On this Canada Day, I intend to pray for our political leaders. I may not agree with the decisions that they make, or the party they support. The bottom line is that in the last election, for whatever reasons, these men and women were selected as our leaders. For their term of office, they are the custodians of our peace and unity. As such, they need our prayer support. Compassion, caring, honesty, justice, and wisdom are all gifts of God’s Spirit. I want our leaders to be open to God’s Spirit.
This Canada Day and every day, let us not forget to hold in prayer the leadership of our country. Remember, there is power in prayer.
“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7)

My Flight Home

A Day Filled With Angels.
Today I left Tucson after six weeks of caring for my Mom who has cancer. I dragged myself onto the full plane this morning, exhausted after six weeks of little sleep. Emotionally depleted, I wanted desperately to go home, and desperately to stay. I didn’t want to give up the privilege of caring for Mom, yet I knew it was time to share with my aunts. I worried that the next time I came would be for her funeral.
I stepped over two absolute strangers, and dropped into my seat for the first leg of my day long journey. Never doubt that God will give us, who and what we need. Those two strangers, Sherrie and Dick were wonderful. Starting with identifying our destinations, the three of chatted about our lives. In three and a half hours we built relationships. Some people would say, that I just happened to sit beside two outgoing people. It was just a coincidence that Sherrie was a woman of faith, and Dick a man of ideas and questions.
I believe, our meeting was a God-incident. I was blessed by God with exactly what I needed today. We talked of our past and our future. I received affirmation and peace. As the plane landed in Atlanta, Sherrie said she would email me about her trip to Milan. Dick asked, “What plane are you flying to New York?” It turned out that we were once again on the same plane. We had only forty minutes to our next flight. “We may have to go to a different terminal,” Dick said. “I’ll help you figure it out.” And he did. We caught the shuttle train, and were at our gate with nearly 30 minutes to spare.
            What had felt like climbing Mount Everest when I got up with Mom and Aunt Shirley at 3:45 a.m., had been transformed into joy. And it didn’t end with that first leg of the journey. On the second plane, I overheard the stewardess telling a mother and young boy that she would try to find them two seats together. This time the seat beside me was empty so I volunteered to be moved. The stewardess found me a place beside a pilot, commuting to work in New York. In the midst of our conversation, he described the La Guardia Airport in New York so that I was able to find my way easily to a second terminal and my third plane of the day. The other passenger in that seat was a woman my age, whose mother had died within the last year. Once again God had given me the people I needed to find joy and peace.
            On the final leg of the journey, my fellow passenger was a young mother who as the CEO of a large investment firm, was flying to Buffalo to welcome a new company into their organization. As she talked about her family and the struggle that comes with being a working professional as well as a mother, I listened and truly cared. This time, I felt not only cared for by God, but also that I had a purpose in being there for her. In addition, she read and loved my book, “A Place Called Home” and bought a copy as well. My trip home has been amazing.
            Jesus said, “I will be with you always.” Today was not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that God carries me through a tough time. I could easily have buried myself in my computer and ignored all five of those wonderful people. I certainly had every reason to withdraw from the world to lick my wounds and sleep, but I didn’t.  I give thanks to God for a life time of expecting God’s presence. I believe that expectation opened me to receive God’s love and care today.

Instant Connections

“Just text me, Grandma,” I’m told. Technology keeps us connected. Letters have been replaced by instant e-mails. We celebrate being able to Skype our children in China and see them as we talk. My daughter calls home on her cell phone, as she walks to the remote parking lot where her car is parked. We like the illusion of safety it gives her. Today’s connected world is expensive, yet we are willing to accept the cost, for we know the advantages it brings.
From the beginning of time, God has been offering this instant connection ability.
Look around you and soak in God’s Word offered through the extravagant gift of nature. Experience the wonder of God’s healing power, every time you see a scrape heal, a broken arm mend. With the invention of the printing press, God’s message through the printed Word reached an ever widening audience. Always, God’s ear has been tuned to our prayers; God’s voice has spoken in our minds and through other people. Connection with God requires no monthly internet fee, but it does cost. To benefit from our ever-present connection to God, we must invest our time and attention. We have to plug in. We have to open our eyes, ears and minds to our God channel.
            In 2012, I challenge all my readers to open up every connection possible with God. Begin each day with a simple prayer like, “Open me to see, hear, know the blessings you have for me today.” End each day with God, identifying even the smallest joys and giving thanks. That’s one minute, twice a day. Over time, you’ll find yourself consciously searching for God’s messages of affirmation, guidance, joy. Connect to God. It’s easy. No battery required. Connection guaranteed.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you. See? I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” (Isaiah 49: 15-16)