June’s Blogs

Doorway Moments

During the course of our lives we walk through many doorways (try counting yours for just one day). Of course, I’m not talking about those doorways. I’m referring to the kind which are a recognition of a passage from one stage of life to another. They involve both an inner and outer transformation, and once you walk through it, you cannot go back.

This morning I sat quietly, sipping my English Breakfast tea, thinking about how different my life is now, compared to just a few years ago. The doorway of breast cancer, which I walked through in 2020, changed me both inside and out. It’s a doorway moment where I became a survivor, but can never go back through it and undo the cancer.

I thought about other doorway moments in my life and how God walked through them with me. Each stage of my life involves moving from one place to another. No, not a U-Haul move (although I’ve had my share of those), but a life experience move. Marriage, having children, divorce, losing loved ones, jobs, and so many more, brought about change.

I’m now in my “Golden Years,” and facing multiple doorway moments. I can’t figure out how I arrived at this age so quickly, but here I am. I want to make the best of this time; getting and staying healthy, being productive, helping others, and so much more. Some things I can do and some are not mine to control. That’s where faith comes in.

The time is approaching for my husband to stop working and that is a doorway moment for both of us. We have our own business and he, at the age of 81 and with declining health, has left the physical part of running the shop to our employee. I still manage the paperwork and oversee things, but it weighs heavily on my mind. We can’t close down until the end of April, when our lease is up. This is a huge doorway moment, one that I’m trusting God to take us through. We must have work and make ends meet over the next 10 months.

There will always be doorway moments in our lives. We can choose to walk through them alone, or we can allow God to usher us through them. Earlier in my young life I went through them alone. God had plans for me and without my knowing the Savior, He protected me. Those doorway moments served to draw me to Him. Now each one I walk through serve to help me draw others to Him.

What doorway moment have you recently walked through? If you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, why not call on Him now, and ask Him to help you in this stage of your life.

Life Chapters

I love the analogy of my life being a book with many chapters. As a writer, I try to keep the reader turning the pages by leaving a bit of a cliff hanger at the end of each chapter. I’m hoping it will draw them excitedly back to the story, chapter after chapter. I want them to be eager to see what happens next.

My life has many chapters to it. Not just the usual; birth, childhood, adolescence, young adult, marriage, etc., but trauma, love, searching, transformation, and so much more. There are different genres in my life as well. Romance, cozy mystery, adventure, drama, spirituality, and humor, all serve to keep me turning the pages to find out what comes next.

The book of my life (and yours), can only be read one day at a time, as it’s being written. I’m not promised tomorrow. As I think back to previous chapters, I recall times when I was so tired of the drama, fearful of the next day, or worried about the outcome, that I didn’t want to turn the page. I wanted to skip over the bad parts and move to the good stuff! We can do that in a book, although we would miss important parts.

Our world today seems broken and though many think they can add their solution to the chapter, there is only one who can provide the correct answer; God! Amid the tragedies and turmoils in our country, we must place our faith and trust in the Lord, Jesus Christ. Only when we allow Him to enter in and lead our country, will we experience life as it was meant to be lived. We may be left with a cliff hanger day occasionally, and some chapters may be sad and difficult, but if we know the Author, Jesus Christ, we have confidence that the ending will be good!

I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life. Whatever adventure God has for me, I’m assured that He will live it with me. He will introduce me to strangers, provide me with new experiences, and teach me important principles of life. My life has purpose and with God leading the way, I can make a difference. I read His Book, chapter by chapter, and I know how it ends!

Undelivered Message!

I recently sent an email to a group I’m in. Hours later I received an email from “Mailer Daemon,” advising me they tried and tried to deliver my message to the recipient, but finally were giving up. I had no recourse but to accept the fact that my mail system failed, and my message did not reach the intended receiver.

Giving up! There have been times in my life when I felt like giving up. I’m pretty stubborn (thanks dad), and normally I will dig in and keep at it until I make it work. I might be trying to print out a bunch of papers and then the printer jams. I do the obvious and remove the crinkled paper caught by its corner. When the error message still displays, “paper jam,” I take a deep sigh, open the printer up and keep digging for any torn pieces, all-the-while, the clock is ticking away closer to my deadline. I finally manage to erase the error message and dispose of the minute piece of paper holding things up.

Whether the task at hand is fixing the printer, balancing a bunch of numbers, pulling out quilting stitches, or any of a thousand other problems, I usually get it done.

In my heart and spirit though, I’ve done the “splat” against the wall when faced with something out of my control. Once, my little Chai was sick late one night and he cried as he kept moving from one position to another, curling up on my lap, then changing positions. I had done everything I knew to do and as I sat on the floor with him on my lap, I gave up! I turned to God with tears streaming down my face, asking Him to heal my little pup. I dozed off and when I woke hours later, Chai was asleep too, still curled up on my lap.

In 2019, my husband was in the hospital ER, losing blood and failing fast. I hounded the medical staff to do something or he would die. I was terrified I would lose my husband, but this was way out of my control. Multiple pleas to nurses went ignored. I had done all I could and then I gave up! Sitting by his bed, I leaned over, clasping my hands on his and prayed. I begged God to send help from the sanctuary. Thirty minutes later, a new urologist walked in, examined my husband, and declared he knew what was wrong. He fixed the problem and the bleeding stopped. Help came when I sent my message to the right source!

These are just two examples when, after trying multiple times to fix issues which were out of my control, I simply looked up and said, “I’m giving up, Lord. You are the only one who can fix this, so I place it in Your hands!” I believe God waits for that moment of giving up. All my attempts to turn things around were like messages which didn’t get sent. I was sending my message of “June can do it alone,” into a void. When I finally sent my message of giving up to the right source, healing arrived. I looked up, then gave up.

How about you? Is there a situation you’re trying to fix on your own and it’s not working? Are you stubbornly declaring not to give up until you fix it? Fruitless tries take a toll on a person, causing many to lose hope. Perhaps today God wants you to look up and give up. Give up your “I can do it myself,” attitude, and give the situation to God. Make sure your message goes to the right source!

Marching On

Two years ago this month I discovered a lump in my left breast. My life changed, time marched on, and I’ve moved forward. The discovery of my breast cancer moved me through chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and finally into survivorship. The year 2020 took me on a journey I didn’t ask for, wouldn’t have chosen, and do not want to repeat. And yet, the woman I am today is thankful.

One year ago I began the process of learning how to look beyond what was past and figure out the purpose God had for allowing it in my life. I spent extra time reading His word, looking for keys to unlock the secrets to making each day better, understanding who I am, and how to reach others who moved into survivorship with unanswered questions.

In my book, Cancer Courage Christ: A Devotional for Breast Cancer Survivors, I shared my journey, as well as that of other survivors. I was unaware of a phase called survivorship at that time. Once I entered that phase, it became extremely important to me to know how to live in it. After all, this part of my cancer journey is forever as long as I’m here on earth. I have been making notes and asking questions, trying to make sense of things connected with survivorship. My hope is to write a follow up book to share with others on what this phase is all about and how I found myself in it. One basic thing I learned is that when you complete your active treatments and enter survivorship, you become the initiator of discovering how to move forward with your life.

The medical team you were surrounded with and grew to love, must graduate you, to free themselves to take on patients just beginning their treatment. They still care about you and will answer questions you may have, but you will have to initiate the call. I decided to put on my “big girl panties” and plunge in to find my new normal. The normal I will function in from this point on.

My next cancer book, as yet unnamed, will tell my survivorship story. I will outline my four point plan as I explored how I found my new normal, my tribe, my outreach, and my in-reach. God has always shown Himself faithful as I approached a new writing project. He is the One who prompted my quest down this path, so I’m expecting no less from Him now. I must depend on God daily because He is my strength. The effects of my 2020 treatments didn’t stop when I was graduated into survivorship. I have residual pain, chronic fatigue, insomnia, and a host of other issues. As I take on each of these and try to manage them, God infuses me with His power each day, one day at a time. As a result, I have joy, hope, laughter, and love, in my life. You can too! Let’s travel this journey together.

Great Love Stories

February brings Valentine’s Day and love stories. I have searched for books to read this month, keeping with the romantic theme, but since I’m not a big fan of the romance genre, I decided to read some of the great love stories in the Bible. I know the author well, and there are many interesting stories to choose from.

I will begin with the first great love story about Adam and Eve. It’s interesting to note that in typical relationships, we bring baggage into them. Childhood memories (good or bad), along with teenage drama, can affect how we relate to a prospective love interest.

Adam and Eve had no childhood! Adam, being the first human, had no memories of growing up in a house with parents, or sibling rivalry, owning/losing pets, no peer pressure, or family drama to shape his world view, and his career field was already decided. Eve never knew any sister bonding or what it was like to climb onto her daddy’s lap and be read to before bedtime. She had no mother to teach her how to cook or sew. Neither Adam or Eve had a human parent to teach them family values or how to succeed in life.

Today I begin reading this great love story about our ancestral parents, Adam and Eve, and I ponder their beginning; Adam, having been created from the dust of the ground, and Eve, formed from one of Adam’s ribs. I know, this will be a great love story.

My other choices for this month include, Ruth and Boaz, Jacob and Rachel, Abraham and Sarah, to name a few. I’m saving the greatest love story for the end of the month. Can you guess which one it is? The love story about Jesus and His Bride!

SOMETHING NEW IN ‘22

Calendars and planners are plentiful this month as we prepare to input appointments and commitments onto the blank pages. Many forego the paper plotting, using their phone calendar instead. I prefer a portable planner with pages for notes and ideas, probably because I’m a writer. I love new calendars with large squares available to me when I make my to-do lists, jot down a phone number, or get an idea for a story.

The other day I heard a commercial which touted a theme of “We’re doing something new in ‘22.” I jotted it down in my planner so as to not forget it. Since the pandemic began two years ago (yes, that long ago), and I went through my cancer journey, the years seem the same. Isolation, protection, cancellation. We do what we feel is best for us individually and try to protect others. We all hoped and prayed that last year would be better, and yet this year we are still isolating, protecting, and seeing cancellations.

On January 1, 2022, I made up my mind I was going to have a good year! I wrote that on page one of my new journal. Then when I heard the commercial about doing something new in ‘22, I adopted that as my New Year slogan. I am tired of the same old same old. This morning in my quiet time, the Holy Spirit led me to Isaiah 43:19. It says, “Behold, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? I will make a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” God is about to do something new and He wants me to see it! Something new in ‘22! When I’m struggling He will make a way…a new way. When I’m in the desert He will provide a new stream.

I have been praying about several new things which have been presented to me recently and I must admit that I am tempted to say yes, but not every new thing is possible, wise, or good. We must watch, seek, and hear from God before agreeing to take on something new. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.“ The key word in the verse is ‘I.’ It’s all about God’s plans for me, not June’s plans. I can fill every block in my planner with good things and projects, but if they aren’t God’s plan for me, I’ve wasted my time. So, how do I know what to say yes to? The next three verses guide me. “Then you will call upon me, and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.”

Yes, God is doing something new in ‘22 and I am watching, seeking, and listening. I want His plan for my life to be what gets written in my planner. When I seek Him with ALL my heart, He will guide me through the year as new things begin to happen.

Lull Time

I’ve heard the week between Christmas and New Years referred to as the Lull, a temporary interval of quiet or lack of activity. Anticipation of the magical Christmas morning is over, the big dinner has disappeared into leftovers, and afternoon naps come more frequently. Our home seems to want to stretch out the twinkling lights, Christmas desserts, and pajama dress code, just a bit longer, before the ear-splitting zings on New Year’s Eve, die out in the wee hours of the coming year.

Chai, our two-year-old Shih Tzu, echos the mood as he takes ownership of hubby’s new slippers, and stretches out quietly in his shaggy, cushy bed. I watch him snuggle into the softness and realize he, too, is experiencing lull time.

My lull time consists of reading one of my new books while sipping tea in a new cup, indulging in too many breakfast carbs, and denying the call of meeting real life approaching too soon. I know the end of one year and the beginning of the new one means paperwork…lots of it. I understand that trees must come down, ornaments need to be packed away, pages need to be written, and upcoming doctor visits will expose my food indulgences. But, during the lull time, I symbolically snuggle in and hug the quiet close.

This week is where I spend extra time with the Lord, reading His Word, feeling His presence, being still so I can hear His voice. Lull time puts my mind at ease and allows me to linger longer in prayer as I wait on Him. Lull time helps me prepare for busy days ahead by strengthening my spirit and building my faith. Lull time teaches me about trust and guides my thoughts. The Holy Spirit unveils what I’ve struggled with and shows me how to handle things. The answer was there but I had been too busy to see it.

My discovery will change how I begin the week after the lull. When fireworks lay silent in the dirt, when bare trees are placed at the curb, when trash cans overflow with wrapping paper and empty boxes, I will have God’s plan for me instilled within my heart. My discovery of learning to schedule regular lull time into my week, making it part of each day, with the purpose of putting Christ first in all I do, will make the coming year the best it can be.

Blessings in My Saucer

Tears flowed unashamedly as I sat quietly in church listening to a precious friend sing an old song, “Drinking From My Saucer.” The lyrics pierced my heart and caused me to understand the true meaning of all the blessings I’ve received from God.

The first line of the song, I’ve never made a fortune and it’s probably too late now, is true for me as I approach my seventy-seventh birthday. We live in a modest home and our needs are met, along with extras along the way. Being self-employed in the construction business, it’s often feast or famine. The first line of the second stanza agrees, ain’t got a lot of riches and sometimes the going’s rough.

The gist of the song is that it doesn’t matter that You don’t have riches or material things. If you have Jesus, that’s enough. I’m thankful for all the blessings He’s poured into my cup of life. There are so many that my cup overflows into my saucer. I can get by with what’s in my saucer because of the cupful of blessings He continues to send through my life.

But listening to Debbie Patrick sing that beautiful song, my heart was also pricked when I thought about opportunities I may have missed to share my blessings. Was I too busy to pray for someone hurting? Was my day too full to call and check on someone absent from church? Did I complain or grumble about how bad things were last week? I thought about the storms I recently went through and wondered if I stood firm enough in my faith, trusting God to take me through it, so others could see Jesus in me.

So in the span of time it took for my friend to sing that song, I asked God to help me not complain when the going gets tough, because I’m drinking from my saucer, for my cup has overflowed. As it keeps filling I will keep sharing. I’m rich enough because I have Jesus, and that’s all I need.

Giving means more than buying expensive gifts. Giving your time, support, love, forgiveness, and prayers, comes naturally when your life- cup is overflowing. How does it continue to overflow? Walking with Jesus, serving Him, and drinking from a saucer of overflowing blessings, while giving out what’s in your cup. You can’t out-give God. The more He pours into your cup the more you have to give out.

The Waiting Game

My two-year-old Shih Tzu , Chai, loves to greet people when they come in the door. When he was younger he welcomed guests with his exciting actions; such as jumping on them, wagging his tail, slurpy kisses, and running circles around them. I knew I had to discourage his exuberance so our training began. I taught him to wait (in a sit command which he already knew). Then, I gave him a treat and repeated the word, wait, while I went out the door, rang the doorbell, and came back in. If he obeyed (it took repeated practice), he was rewarded with another treat and “good boy” commendation. If he moved from his sit/wait position there was no treat, although I did pet him, saying, “Let’s try again.” It took about a month before he was consistent in the waiting game.

Now, when my husband comes home from work and Chai hears the truck in the driveway, he runs to the window with tail wagging. As I approach the door and tell him, “Daddy’s home,” he runs to his place on the carpet and sits, waiting for Nick to come in. When the door closes, Chai welcomes him home eagerly. He does have lapses if he’s overly excited, but if I remind him to wait he knows where to go. Chai loves to please me. He knows a reward is coming when he does. Sometimes it’s a peanut butter treat and “good boy” acknowledgement, and other times it’s a simple hug.

I have been thinking about Chai’s training and obedience lately as I’ve gone through times of waiting. God has worked with me a long time, trying to teach me to wait on Him. When I listen and obey, He rewards me. If I lapse, the training is repeated with more opportunities to learn from experience.

I love pleasing God. I know that when I obey what He tells me, God is pleased and He will bless me in many different ways. Sometimes I’ll receive a treat from unexpected sources after waiting patiently for a season. Other times, God winks at me through a friend’s kindness and generosity. Many times my reward is being able to help others.

When Jesus became my Lord and Savior, I received the greatest reward—eternal life, a gift from God. I am not always obedient. I often get impatient after my prayers are seemingly unanswered, but God is faithful and never breaks a promise. Heaven waits for me as I wait for God.

The Joy of Surprises

I have been working diligently on the third book in my Legacy series. Some scenes come easily while others resist my efforts and disappear like invisible ink. Today’s writing went well and my characters gave me a lot of worthy material.

I went to my physical therapy session and my therapist asked about my book. I shared how easily the words flowed onto the page and that I was getting closer to the end. She asked if this would be the last book in the series. My response was that it probably would be unless “something” surprising happened in the next few chapters. It wouldn’t be the first time my characters surprised me and lengthened a book.

There is joy in surprises. It could be a moment of unexpected conversation that turns into a life-changing decision. It may be meeting with a complete stranger who changes the dynamics of a home. Perhaps a rescue dog appears out of nowhere asking for love and finds it among the most unlikely people.

As a writer, I feast on surprises brought about by my characters when I least expect it. I plan for certain things to happen but occasionally they take me on a detour. So today I wonder if Legacy’s Truth will be the final book in the series. Time will tell. I need to be open to whichever direction they take me instead of clinging to the plan I had.

We make plans too, setting goals, and looking ahead. We might plan to retire next year, get married, accept a new position, or other big decisions. Sometimes God intervenes and at some point in a chapter of our life, He may appear with a joyful surprise—a detour which takes you in a different direction.

God might call you into a ministry instead of allowing you to retire. the person you plan to marry may not be the one God desires for you. You might have a major career shift with fantastic opportunities.

God writes the story of our life. He alone knows how each chapter progresses and how the story ends. He doesn’t leave us in a mundane life, He loves adding joyful surprises along the way and breathing life into our story. If we stubbornly cling to life within our comfort zone, refusing to accept His surprises, we will miss the joy God wants to create in our life.

In my books there are different types of surprises. Some appear as a result of tragedy, while others are simply a gift or come from unexpected decisions. The same has been true of my life. I’ve learned to accept them, knowing God has only good things planned for me. He is the author and finisher of my faith.