Caregiving · Pondering


swings Pictures, Images and Photos

God feels near.

In my mind … we are at the swing.
He pushes me.
I pump my feet.
He pushes til I am going higher and higher.
We laugh together.
I feel like a child.
I need this even if it is only in my mind.
Today…most every day, I need this time with God and to feel like a child.

Caregiving for Mama,
nursing home environment,
other elderly,
my own body aches making me feel older than my 63 years,
recovering from cervical spinal surgery slowing me down more than I normally am which is slow already.

But my mind can take me away from all of that.
My heart can draw near, nearer to God.
As I float higher on this mind-filled swing,
I let go and float.
I float into the heavenly places.
Jesus watches with love in His eyes.
He reminds me that His Love never ceases.
My Creator knit me and has always known me, loves me more deeply than I ever can.

This swing takes me higher with my Lord.
This swing changes my mood to pure joy releasing all else.
I know the childish feeling is heartfelt and real.
I am in His arms as we swing together with Love wrapped around me.

Flying high with my Lord.

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”   
Matthew 18:3-4


graphic: photo of girl swinging entitled “swing1” by “findstuff22” @ PhotoBucket

Caregiving · Pondering

My Precious Mama

As I go to visit with my 97 year old mother in a nursing home, one she and I are most comfortable in, I go to check up on her at various hours and various days, but mainly I go to love her, remind her I live nearby, to talk with her, watch a baseball game with her, call my sisters with her, call her grandson, to check on her belongings and put things in drawers where she remembers that they probably are, and just be there with her.


Some days, she is perky and cheerful, full of jabber and stories.  Other days she is sleepy or sleeping.  Other days she is extremely confused, maybe
afraid.  I never quite know just who I am going to visit.  But it does not matter.  She is my Mama and I love her.  So I have learned to handle the moods, the needs, the moments, the dementia, over these thirteen years of being caregiver for her.

Last week, I arrived to a Mama sound asleep at 6:30 P.M.  She woke up to the sound of one of the CNAs talking with me.  She was not angry as she can be when awakened.  She, very quietly, without opening her eyes, said, “I want two eggs over-easy, crisp bacon, rye toast, butter, no jelly.”  Of course, I was sitting on the other side of the room and had to go sit next to her on her bed in order to actually hear this “order”.  She did this once before to me and I scrambled to find the one and only restaurant in our small town that served breakfast all day.  (This is shorter than me going to the grocer to buy bacon and rye bread.  I have eggs!)  So I hopped in the car, got her this special order.  She had gone to the dining room at 5:00 P.M. but they were too slow for her this day and left before the dinner was served.  They brought her tray to the room, but she only ate the salad and the pudding, I was told.  When I returned from the restaurant with breakfast in hand, I barely was able to get her upright in order for her to eat and swallow.  She was so sleepy that she kept falling over.  Finally, I went and sat on the bed beside her, spoon-fed the eggs to her.  (She kept dropping the eggs from the fork.)  She handled the crispy bacon strips herself.  The toast was not touched.  When finished, she flopped back into bed and that was all she wrote.  I kissed her and told her “I love you, Mama” and I heard a faint, “I love you too, and thank you.”

I cleaned up the meal and sat in her recliner watching her sleep.  As Mama becomes older and needs help like this particular night, I find that my love for this once-strongly-independent woman grows exponentially as she becomes weaker and less able to do for herself.  Don’t get me wrong, on her
good days, she can do so much alone at 97 that it is wonderful.  But on these confused or weakened days, the staff or others, including me, must help her do so much.

As I sit there at times like this nighttime breakfast, I just love her.  I feel the way a mother must feel for her children when they are the most needy, at those very young ages.  Since I was never a mother, I am only imagining, but I believe I have it right.  I am the mother to her now on so many days. I love it that God has allowed me to be her caregiver and her daughter.

Thank You, LORD, for giving me this beautiful mother.  I am grateful for the time we have, and for the sweet memories You are giving me now with
her.  She is a jewel and I pray she is Yours, LORD.  I believe she is.  (Thank You for that reassurance You just gave me, Sweet LORD.  Thank You.)  Thank You for all she has done for me throughout our journey together these past 63 years.  I am glad she is my mother and that You have allowed me to be her child, her grown daughter, her friend.  O, Abba Father, You have blessed me with much.  No matter how much time she has left, may I walk Your Way with her until the day You take her home.  Amen. 

I love you, Mama … I whisper.


Devotionals · Pondering

Please Keep Me Humble, Lord.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, 
a tender heart, and a humble mind. 

1 Peter 3:8 

pity…not condescension,
but with a heart filled with 
gentle sorrow and
for those in the midst of 
misfortune, distress, suffering. 

assistance, relief, and support 
in those hard times.
What can I do?
How can I help? 


is kindness,
lack of pride,


to others in need
with gentleness,
in a friendly

“After crosses and losses men grow humbler and wiser.” (by Benjamin Franklin)

Crosses are those things we all, ALL, bear from time to time, or carry all of the time.  A cross may be financial difficulties — paying the monthly health insurance premium, the mortgage payment, having enough for the electric or phone bill this month, or even having enough to put food on the table for the family.  A cross may be a serious health concern, a difficult marriage, a teenager testing the parental waters of discipline.  A cross may also be a lost soul searching for the Truth or running from the Truth.  Either way, one feels a very heavy burden. 
Of course, losses can be through divorce or death.  We can lose something material, but it may have meant something emotional to us.  We can lose a limb, our health, an ability.  A loss becomes a cross to carry as well.
Crosses become heavy, bringing me to my knees.  I ask the Lord to take this burden, to yoke with me as I carry it along life’s roads.  He does and always will when I ask.  

is asking.

is a pride-less garment.   

allows me to 
be dependent upon the Lord
without an “I can do this all alone!” spirit.  

laying the burden 
at the foot of the cross.  

being able to thank Jesus 
for paying the price 

is the humble cloak 
over all the other clothing 
of humility.
This cloak
is full…
sheltering me,
keeping me warm.
Being grateful 

A humble spirit 
is filled with 
and grace 
and mercy.

I am in the school of humility and probably always will be.  I want to be humble.  I want a humble mind.  I desire wisdom.  Growing in the Lord means staying near to Him with an open heart and mind.  The trials and tribulations are there for my journey towards humility and wisdom. 


Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,  
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, 
and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, 
knowing that suffering produces endurance,  
and endurance produces character, 
and character produces hope,  
and hope does not put us to shame, 
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts 
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  
Romans 5:1-5 ESV

 Lord, change me and make me Yours and Yours alone.  Mold my character to match Your Jesus … as best as possible for I am human, but I am meek and gentle when I am with You.  I thank You for being my Teacher and letting me be one of Your students.  I sit at Your feet and listen.  I also rejoice for I have hope of the Glory of God.  Praising You this day.  Amen.


Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Walking Humbly?

He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?  
Micah 6:8
How do I walk humbly with God?
“Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is for me to have no
trouble; never to be fretted or vexed or irritated or sore or
disappointed. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done
to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody
praises me and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed
home in the Lord where I can go in and shut the door and kneel to my
Father in secret and be at peace as in a deep sea of calmness when all
around is trouble. It is the fruit of the Lord Jesus Christ’s redemptive
work on Calvary’s cross, manifested in those of His own who are
definitely subject to the Holy Spirit.”
Andrew Murray

Oh, to be humble.  Mr. Murray writes this paragraph with such ease, so it seems, and yet it all seems so incredibly impossible to actually accomplish.  “Perfect quietness of heart” is my desire and my prayer.  Truly, God will have to hold my heart in order for it to know this “perfect quietness”.  The Holy Spirit is in my life and lives in me.  He accomplishes much in my life.  He can do all because He is God.

Perhaps, with a quiet heart, the other characteristics of humility will fall into place in my life.  Walking each day with the One Who straightens my path brings humility into my life, showing in modesty of dress, in polite words to others, in gentle care to and for Mama, in respect for the elderly, for our service men and women, opening a door for someone else.

But what about my insecurities … fear of doing or saying something wrong, looking for praise without asking for it?  What about being blamed and not being able to accept it even though I did not do this thing?

Humbleness is the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.  My job is to allow Him to work, to be open to Him, to not hinder His work in my lives, to be obedient to His every demand and request, to read the Bible and get to know Him so well that I come to understand just Who this person of the Trinity is and Who He is in my life.

From 1 Peter 3, I find words and phrases which point to humbleness:
May I walk each step …

  • respectfully
  • in pure conduct
  • adornment by the
    hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and
    quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious, yet not external adornment
  • submissively
  • doing good
  • not fearing anything that is frightening
  • understanding
  • living in grace
  • having unity of mind
  • in sympathy
  • with brotherly love
  • with a tender heart
  • with a humble mind
  • blessing others
  • keeping one’s tongue from evil
  • and lips from speaking deceit
  • seeking peace
  • in the heart honoring Christ the Lord as holy

Wow!  What a plateful!  Yes, living humbly is truly impossible in my own strength …

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, 
but not with God. 
For all things are possible with God.”  
Mark 10:27
LORD, I ask for Your hand upon my life always.  Care for me physically, but, even more than that, give me spiritual wisdom and assurance that I am able to take each step towards the woman You have called me to be.  I know that humility is of most importance to You and I want to walk in this way.  Guide me and hold me that I may follow in Your footsteps, hear Your voice with those instructions, and know Your will.  Always.  Give me ears to hear, feet to walk, a heart to connect to Yours.  I run to You, my Tower.  Amen.  



Devotionals · Pondering

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!

The Battle Hymn of the Republic
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His day is marching on.
I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
“As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on.”
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Since God is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
While God is marching on.
He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is Wisdom to the mighty, He is Succour to the brave,
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave,
Our God is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.

Lord Almighty, I am grateful for this country in which I live.  I am especially thankful for the men and women who have fought and are fighting this very day for the freedoms we have.  I thank those who fought, not by picking up arms, but by supplying the needs for those who did pick up arms, for those who pray for them, for those who wait at home for their loved ones to return, to those who raise the next generation, often alone for months or years at a time.  I thank You, Father, for holding each one of Your children who lost their life in battle to make us free.  I thank You for healing, caressing, and caring for those who have been injured in battle.  Father, no matter what this country looks like on the outside today, July 4th, 2011, You know the hearts of Yours.  You know where we are headed and we don’t.  I am grateful that You are in control and have the world in Your hands.  I thank You for giving me the freedom to read Your Word, to pray to You and in Your Son’s Holy Name.  I am so grateful.  Ever so grateful.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, 
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.

“E Pluribus Unum” … “out of many, one”.  The United States of America is a nation of many peoples from all over the world.  The United States of America is that melting pot.  At times over the last 235 years, our country has stood together as “One Nation, Under God”.  Could it be again, dear Lord?  Could we stand together as a people?  One people?  Your people?  We are in Your hands, Heavenly Father.  If it be Your will, Lord.  Amen and Amen. 


Civil War song by Julia Ward Howe 1861 (or 1862)
Music by several and true authority is questionable.