I Can Fix That

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Cars, blenders, washing machines, dryers, motorcycles, and anything else mechanical were no match for my Dad. We heard him calmly say “I can fix that” too many times to count. He loved God and others with actions. Many times I remember him going to help friends and family with his brilliant skills. He rescued me from car breakdowns on the side of the road more than once.

Dad was also a big teaser. When we were kids, he would call us after we walked away. When we ran back to him, he’d ask, “How far would you have been if I hadn’t called you?”. He smiled a lot, and he made us smile a lot.

When anyone came to visit, Dad would always offer them food. He would offer snacks and sandwiches and even his Tastykakes. Sometimes he would ask if they wanted a piece of pie, when we didn’t have any pie. This was always a funny challenge for my mom.

My friends were always welcome and often invited to join us on family adventures. Both he and my mom made our home an inviting haven to everyone who came over. I grew up in a home filled with love, laughter, and lots of joking around.

Thanks for allowing me to share a glimpse of my dad. He died peacefully on May 9, 2022. I know he’s in heaven, and I will see him again. My dad believed in Jesus for eternal life. You can have that same assurance. See, we are separated from God because of our sin. God “fixed that” by sending Jesus. As Jesus said, “Repent and believe the good news!”.

“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1John 5:11-13)

I can fix that!

Here are a few more glimpses of my Dad…

More Hugs

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As I turned to leave, I heard her loudly yelling, “I NEED MORE HUGS!”. I turned back and gladly gave more hugs, then Adina peacefully went to sleep. I remembered this nap time when I stumbled on a scrap of paper where I had written this story. My now 5 year old granddaughter gave up naps years ago. Thankfully, she hasn’t given up hugs.

Don’t we all need more hugs? Let me boast about God, as it says in Psalm 5:11, “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them shout for joy forever. May you shelter them, and may those who love your name boast about you.” God sheltering me and giving me refuge is like a huge hug. You, too, are invited into this shelter. After all, you’re never too old for a hug.

“How priceless your faithful love is, God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 36:7)

You’re never too old for a hug.

Winter Is a Season

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She said, “I am just numb. I don’t feel anything.” We had just watched another patient go from life to death. I tried to assure her that it is a protective mechanism and that this is a season that will eventually pass. Like winter. Trees shed their leaves and are barren, with no signs of life, but life is still there, deep inside. It will burst forth again.

My heart hurts for my co-workers. I see a variety of responses from those around me – heartbreak, numbness, anger, and perplexity are just some of them. You don’t realize how hard this is and how concerning it is to wonder if your heart may be hardening simply to keep going and doing what you need to do. I work in an intensive care unit, where I’ve probably seen more death in the last 2 years than in the previous 20. However, there is hope in Jesus. He conquered death.

“Jesus said to her (Martha), “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who comes into the world.”  (John 11:25-27 CSB)

We must not lose our humanity in all of this. I hear a lot of talk about self-care, but what I think is needed more is to care for each other. Let others talk without judging them. Be open about how you are really feeling. Hug each other! Cry, scream, laugh, whatever. Don’t bottle it up. Listen to understand, not to reply. Every single person is a treasure, made in the image of God, as He tells us in the Bible. That means you, too. Let’s treat each other as such. Spring will come.

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.’” (Genesis 1:26 CSB)

“Listen to understand, not to reply.” – unknown

The Crash

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The crash was so loud that both our dogs went racing from the room to the farthest corner of the house. Earlier that day my husband, Mike, and I had gone to a nearby Christmas tree farm and cut down our tree. In the evening after the lights were on, we were ready to decorate. Our son, Dan, joined in the fun, as we reminisced over 38 years of tree ornaments. Each ornament is a memory of a vacation, a milestone, a childhood craft session, and even funny things like my daughter Amy’s and my love of ketchup. Yes, we actually have a ketchup bottle ornament, courtesy of the Heinz History Center gift shop in Pittsburgh, PA.

Some of us love ketchup!

After we finished carefully placing the last ornaments, all three of us stood back, admiring our beautiful Christmas tree. As I placed the tree skirt around the trunk, the tree toppled over, with ornaments flying and lights tangling. In all our years of Christmas trees, this had never happened. After the astonishment wore off, we assessed the damage. Amazingly, none of the ornaments were broken.

As we looked at the tree stand, it suddenly dawned on Mike that its supports were not extended. In other words, the foundation wasn’t secure. That explained it all. Thankfully, this was an easy fix, and now our tree is once again upright, with lights and memories shining out brightly.

Our tree stands again!

All this reminded me how important our foundation is. Jesus told a story about a wise man who built his house on the rock, while a foolish man built his house on the sand. Storms came and hit both houses, but only one stood firm. What are you building your life on? Storms will come, but you can withstand them if you have a proper foundation. Let Jesus be your foundation, and you won’t topple over.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Romans 1:16

Merry Christmas!

There All Along

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We made it to the middle and interrupted our mission for a soft pretzel break at the snack bar. My husband, Mike, also picked up souvenir pens for our granddaughters, Senna and Adina. We were having a blast making our way through the corn maze at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm https://www.cherrycrestfarm.com/. What a fun and fantastic set up.

When we finished our delicious pretzels, we picked up the trail again. Adina, Senna, Mike, and I were taking turns deciding which way to go. After a few dead ends and some turn arounds, we ended up going in a circle. We stopped, got our bearings and tried again. This time we made it to the exit and triumphantly crossed the bridge and walked out of the maze.

A little later, Senna made a surprising discovery. Within the souvenir pens, there was a map of the maze, hidden there all along! There was a silver bar on the side of the pen that pulled the rolled-up map out for viewing. We laughed so hard! There we were, going around in circles, when the way out was right there in our hands.

Do you know that there is a way out in your hands, too? The way has already been made for each of us to be reconciled to God. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) This is the way out, and it’s free. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) I truly hope you know this and put your trust in Jesus. He will keep you from going in circles.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6

The way out is asking Jesus in.

Focus on the Can

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He couldn’t brush his own teeth. His hand was too weak to even grasp the toothbrush. However, he could hold it with my help. He could brush his teeth with my hand holding his and gently helping lift it to his mouth and helping with the brushing motion.

Have I mentioned that I’m a nurse? This patient of mine was deconditioned from being sick for several weeks. So, we made a plan together. I helped him do passive range of motion exercises. This basically means lifting and bending arms and knees and getting the body moving.

By the end of my 12-hour shift, he was showing off to his family, because he was able to lift his arms on his own! This is why I say focus on the can. There may be much that you cannot do, but there are always things that you can. Do what you can. Then do the next thing you can. Before you know it, you may be doing what you couldn’t!

“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:16

Focus on the can.

Here are some pics of our camping adventure with our sweet granddaughters, Senna and Adina, who always have a can do attitude!

Peas Aren’t a Problem Anymore

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It was split wide open, and at first glance it looked rather destroyed. However, the pea seed we planted was actually growing! It was being transformed from a hard, tiny object into a living, thriving sprout. If you happened to read my blog last June, you would understand that this is a major feat.

This year my granddaughters are a year older and wiser. When they helped plant our garden, we talked about the seeds and how deep they should be planted and how far apart. They carefully dug little holes and placed each seed in its place. Then came the watering, watching, and waiting. You should have seen my excitement when instead of plain brown dirt, I saw green shooting up through the soil. This miracle always astonishes me.

There is a Bible verse that says, “I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” (Psalm 119:32 NIV) Another version puts it like this: “I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart.” (NKJV) We are fortunate to actually have written instructions for life from the Maker of life! The Bible tells the story of His incredible love and care us. Following His ways leads to growth, freedom, and so much more. Rather like my seeds, it splits us wide open, so we can grow and thrive the way we were intended.

“Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” Psalm 119:18

Following God’s ways leads to flourishing.

Trust Your Training

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It was a simple text message that shaped the next days and months of our lives. I was walking our pups at the park with my husband, Mike, when our daughter, Amy, sent me a message. She asked if I would run a half marathon with her. I looked at Mike and then answered, “sure!”. I don’t recall if I realized that it was a 13.1-mile race I had just agreed to.

My first “long run” was 3 miles, and I wondered how I would make it that far. However, by the end of training, 3 miles was a short run. We each had a specific plan, and we encouraged each other along the way. Not only did we run, we also did strength training, cross training, and even some swimming to build up our strength and endurance.

Amy ended up training to run a full marathon, 26.2 miles. I stuck with the half marathon. It took hard work and consistency, definitely consistency. One time, when wondering if I would be prepared, I heard the phrase, “Trust your training”. After over 12 weeks of training, we were ready.

On the big day, we both felt prepared and excited. Our family came along and cheered us on, which was a huge boost. My longest training run was 10 miles and now I was going for 13.1. Amy was doing double that distance! That’s when the phrase “trust your training” came back to mind. We had both done the work to get ready, now all that was left was to run.

I am very happy to say that we did it! Amy continues to inspire me. She is a marathoner! I am so very glad she sent that text message. We continue to train for other shorter races, and perhaps one day will even tackle a marathon or a half again! What are you training for? With hard work and consistency, you will get there.

“For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8

Trust your training.

Amy finishing her marathon with our family cheering her on.

The Ants’ Rest Day

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Every day he carefully stepped over the tiny parade. Countless leaf-cutter ants marched past the front of his lodge on their mission. My husband, Mike was in Costa Rica and saw this continuous line of ants every day until Sunday. That day he stepped out the door, looking to avoid stepping on the ants, but there were none. It seems the ants took a rest day.

I’m in the final week of training to run a half marathon with my daughter, Amy. She’s training for a full marathon! Part of training includes taking rest days. These are very important, because our bodies need time to refresh and replenish. It’s not good or healthy to work constantly or to always be on the go. So, I challenge you to stop. Be still. Try doing nothing for a time. Not even looking at your phone or watching TV. Simply rest.

On Monday, Mike again had to watch his step, as the ants were back on their march, carrying leaves back to their home. After a rest day, both Amy and I also pick up our training, going further and further distances on our runs. The balance of consistent training and rest is preparing us to accomplish our goals. What goals are you training and resting towards?

“Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.” Exodus 20:9-10

Take a break.

Move the Trash Can

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A very good friend asked me what I would do if there was a trash can next to my chair, and every time I got up, I banged my knees against it. I quickly answered that I would move the trash can, of course. We were talking about how some people seem to miss the obvious.

I was feeling pretty good about myself, honestly, but then I realized there are trash cans in my own life that I keep bumping into. For example, recently I was planning to cook a meal for my dad. I tried and tried and tried to figure out how to make the timing work. Finally, I accepted that it was simply impossible to pull together on the planned day, so we got takeout instead.  Looking back, I wonder why it took me so long to realize the logical solution.

This made me stop and examine more things and move more trash cans, so to speak. Part of it for me is not doing some things to make room for doing other things, if that makes sense. What trash cans do you need to move in your life?

Mike with our two sweet granddaughters. He moved himself to sit between them. (He’s a smart guy!)

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” Psalm 37:23-24

Let the Lord order your steps, and He will show you what trash cans to move.