Give Me the Roses While I Live

Miss Ruth is only one person I have ever been with at the moment they passed from this world to glory. Miss Ruth was such a sweet, precious soul. I know the angels rejoiced when Jesus ushered her into heaven a few years shy of putting one hundred candles on her birthday cake.

While Pilot and I ate dinner – supper, for those of you who don’t call the last meal of the day dinner – I had a strange feeling. We needed to go see Miss Ruth. Now.

On the way to the assisted living home where Miss Ruth lived, Pilot and I stopped and picked up a bouquet of pink carnations. Miss Ruth looked so pretty in pink.

I’ve always wondered since then, should we have  gone straight to see her, instead of stopping?

By the time we got to Miss Ruth’s room, she had slipped out of consciousness. She never did see her flowers.

Miss Ruth responded when I stroked her hand, and let her know Pilot and I were with her by pulling my hand to her chest. She responded in the same way when Pilot held her hand and sang to her.

Just before Miss Ruth breathed her final ragged breath, she reached both arms upward. Was she reaching for Jesus’ outstretched arms? I think so.

After Miss Ruth died, I came across this old Carter Family song sung by Blind Pig and the Acorn, Give Me the Roses While I Live. Useless the flowers that you give, after the soul is gone, the song says.

Let’s not wait until it’s too late to tell someone we love them, to help them when we can. To let them know we appreciate and value them. To share the Good News with them.

It’s too late to do all that after they are gone.

For every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die… Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

I wish you well.

Sandy

What Nature Is Teaching Me

Our oak trees have produced, and dropped, an extraordinary amount of acorns this fall. These things are everywhere you step.

Bear loves to eat them. Not sure if that’s a good thing, or not.

Experts have suggested the reason for the bumper crop of acorns, is due to the drought we experienced this past year. They say the trees may be dying, and producing more acorns to continue the species. Ahhh.

Also, one of our oaks in the front yard, dropped several LARGE limbs over the year. Although these massive limbs were as long as 2/3 of our driveway, fortunately, they missed the house each time one fell.

We’ve been told one reason for the shed limbs, could be the tree is trying to survive. It is systematically dropping extra baggage to preserve its core.

So…I’m thinking…as adults, do we produce words of wisdom, nuggets of God’s truths, direction for those who come behind us in abundance, like the oak trees do, to guarantee the future of the next generation?

In times of spiritual drought, do we let go of the unnecessary baggage that could hinder our core?

Mark 9:42-48, in the New Testament, tells us if our hand, foot, or even our eye, causes us to sin, it would serve us well to cut it off, or pluck it out. Sort of like what our oak tree did.  That tree was willing to shed limbs, to save the life of the tree.

Isn’t it amazing the lessons we can learn from nature?

This leads to the question, is there anything I might need to drop, cut off, get rid of, in order to save my core being?

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Hurricane Sandy

When Hurricane Sandy first developed in the Caribbean, Sissy, RN – one of my nieces – and I swapped e-mails back and forth. We wrote things like, “We know all about Sandy, don’t we?” “A force to be reckoned with.” “Trouble.” “She let us know who was in charge.” Etc. Etc. This banter was good-natured kidding. To my knowledge, this is the first time a hurricane has been named, “Sandy”.

Pie said, if it turns out to be as destructive as predicted, it may be the last time. He also said it may be the first hurricane to allow people to snow ski and surf at the same time.

All kidding aside, this behemoth storm is nothing to kid about. I know. I’ve been through rough storms before.

The headlines have screamed:

  • Frankenstorm
  •  One of the largest storms to ever hit the United States
  • Expected to wipe out power to millions
  • Will affect 1/3 of the country with sheets of rain, high winds, and heavy snow
  • Threatens nearly 50 million people
  • Will trigger inland flooding, as the hurricane merges with a winter storm system that will worsen it, and hold it in place for days
  • The tremendous size of Sandy, more than 1,000 miles across, adds to the pummeling power when it comes ashore
  • History making

This thing is a monster.

This leaves me to think about the impact this Sandy has on people.

Do I churn up the waters in my relationships with discontent, jealousy, envy? Do my Cat 1 gusts knock people around with unkind words, criticism, negativity? Do I pelt people with the storm surge of my anger, frustration, pride? Is there a trail of destructive debris left for others to clean up, in my wake?

Hurricane Sandy would not be so menacing if it weren’t for the fact she is joining forces with an early winter storm coming from the West, and a blast of arctic air coming from the North.

Are there relationships, or situations in our lives, we would be better to avoid, instead of joining up with? Are there toxic people we would be better off staying away from, because of the reaction they cause? Are there people who we follow into things we shouldn’t be doing, that on our own, we would never even consider?

What about when we’re on the receiving end of the bluster of someone else’s hurricane? What should we do, then?

ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor, Dr. Richard Besser, gives three tips to ride out hurricanes. Could there be other applications for these tips? I think so.

  • Throw away perishable food in fridge if power has been off for 4 hours or more – If we have disconnected ourselves from our true Power Source, Jesus Christ, then whatever is sitting around, growing stale and moldy, probably needs to be tossed.
  • Never use a generator indoors, or in your garage – If we use an alternate Power Source, it should be used with caution, and not allowed into our homes.
  • Come together to make sure everyone makes it through the storm – This is my favorite. We need to reach out to others around us with the love of Christ, especially when they encounter storms in their lives. We need to help save the lives of those who are most vulnerable.

My thoughts and prayers continue to be with all of those who are in the path of Hurricane Sandy. May God keep you safe.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Communication

Acronyms. NASA. Abbreviations. BFF. Short cuts. Pub’d. Code words. Wilco.

We all use them. They can be occupational. Spiritual. Cultural. Doesn’t matter. They are in our language.

When I worked, very briefly, as a secretary for an architectural firm, I never did understand all their abbreviations. Velum? Who knew?

When I spent a week in Huntsville, Alabama at Space Camp for Educators, (Right Stuff Award Winner. Uh-huh.) we discussed  SRB SEP. MECO. And MALS. No! Not MALS!

Listen to any lawyer/police tv show, and you’ll hear the short cut lingo bantered about.

When Pilot talks space, it’s MCC. CBM Panel. MWA. Copy That! After a while non-space people can pick it up, and incorporate the terms with ease. After a while.

Even in the writing world, we have our short cuts. Pub’d. (Yes!) Crit Partner. ARC.

What about in our Christian-ese? Do we use words non-believers will understand? Words meant to draw them closer to God, but which leave them scratching their heads, and walking away? Sanctification. Justification. Redemptive work. Substitutionary. Washed in the Blood of the Lamb.

Just like I had trouble with all those abbreviations in the architectural world, people we talk with may not understand religious-speak.

Put simply, a Holy God created us. Our sin separates us from him. Jesus Christ paid the debt we owed for our sins through his death on the cross. Jesus provided a way for us to be made right with God. Finally, what’s our response to that precious, gracious gift?

I wish you well.

Sandy

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His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Pilot has had a dreadfully difficult year. Because he and I chose to do life together, that means these past twelve months have been rough on me, too.

If one hurts, we both hurt.

But God…

is Sovereign

is in control

has a plan

will never leave us, or forsake us

works all things together for good, for those who are in his will

So, if you are in a rough spot right now, hang in there. Keep holding onto God’s hand. Don’t give up hope. Trust in the One who has his eye on you. The One who calls you his Beloved. The One who is the Promise Keeper.

God has a plan for you. A plan for you to prosper. Not to harm you. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Remember everything God has brought you through. And thank him.

Think of what he is bringing you through. And thank him.

Thank him in advance, for what he will bring you through in the future.

“Why should I be discouraged?”

And I know he cares for you.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sense of Direction

 

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

The summer before Pie, our son, went into 9th grade he and I took a trip to Australia and New Zealand with stops in Hawaii and Fiji.

I had always wanted to explore Down Under. I particularly wanted to see if the sinks really do drain counter-clockwise. They do! I tried, but failed, to get a picture of it, but this YouTube video proves it.

The scenery was beautiful and varied. The people were friendly and really do call you “Mate”. The wildlife was amazing and oh so unique.

 

When I’m north of the equator, I usually have no problem with direction, knowing where I am, and which way to head.

Not so, south of the equator. My sense of direction was totally scrambled.

Every time the hotel elevator doors opened, I’d head off in the wrong direction.

At first, Pie said something like, “You’re going the wrong way.”

I’d correct course, and we’d end up where we needed to be.

Eventually, as my lack of direction became more evident with no hope for improving, Pie anticipated my waywardness, grabbed, and pulled. No need for discussion.

Near the end of the trip I let Pie lead. Especially after I spent about half an hour wandering through our hotel on Mt. Cook in New Zealand, trying to locate our room on my own.

This lack of sense of direction isn’t confined to adventures south of the equator. It applies to life.

How is my spiritual compass doing? Do I navigate without any problem when I’m in familiar surroundings, but lose my way when faced with the unknown?

When faced with the unknown, do I stay on my errant path, or rely on the true guide, Jesus, to grab, and pull me the right direction?

Am I a not-so-bight sheep, who is lost without a shepherd?

Yep.

How many times do I have to wander aimlessly on my own before I simply stop when the elevator door opens and let Jesus lead?

Am I the only one like this? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Fill ‘er up.

Usually, I fill the gas tank on the mower before I start to cut the grass. Usually. After all, that is what my dad taught me to do all those years ago.

Well, today I looked into the tank, figured there was enough gas to get the yard mowed, and started up the mower.

I was wrong.

There was no problem cutting the backyard. The mower was powered up, and ran just fine.

By the time I was about one third of the way through the front yard, however, I began to notice a change in the mower. The engine wasn’t rumbling as loud. The mower wasn’t self-propelling as fast. In fact, it was acting more like a push mower. The machine was about to quit on me.

I re-checked the gas tank. As I suspected, it was running low on fuel.  While I filled the gas tank, several things dawned on me.

If I do not re-fuel each and every morning, by spending time with God in prayer, and meditating on his word, I run out of spiritual umph before the day’s end.

I might start out clicking on all cylinders, but before long, I lose power. I slow down. I can’t finish the job in front of me.Powered and fueled from my time with God, is the way I have to start each day. I cannot depend on the leftover fuel I put in last week, to give me the energy I need to complete the  tasks for today. I have got to have a daily re-filling. In Christ Alone.

What about you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Powered by the Son

I needed a new watch. I wanted one that you wound, but couldn’t find one like that. I didn’t want one that ran on a battery. Tired of having to replace them.

So, I bought a new watch. No batteries. No winding mechanism. No kinetic motion. This watch runs on solar power.

When I purchased the watch, the clerk told me it might slow down a bit if I left it in my jewelry box. If that should happen, all I needed to do was put the watch in the sunlight to charge it back up.

I don’t put my watch away, but here’s the thing…I wear my watch with the face on the inside of my wrist, toward my body. Pretty much always have.

I find wearing my watch the way I do, helpful when I want to check the time, and be inconspicuous about it. Like when someone is droning on about something, and you know it has to be time to leave, or some such. A quick glance to my up-turned wrist, which is sitting in my lap, and I can tell what time it is.

Of course, I would never look at my watch like that, if you and I were talking.  😉

So, I have this new solar-powered watch, and I experiment with it. I lay it out in the sunlight for several minutes. When I put it on – besides the fact the metal was burning hot – the

iridescent hands and dots lit up in the dark, which it had not done previously.

That got me to thinking…my watch was like me. It did a good job keeping time, but it lacked something that it received when it was exposed to the sun. The hands of my life may be running around the dial, but until I am exposed to the SON of God, I don’t have what I need to shine in the dark places.

I will lose power, and slow down, when I don’t spend time in the presence of Jesus.

That could mean spending time in prayer, worship, fellowship with others, study, or simply being awed by God’s magnificent creation, and his love for us. Doesn’t matter. I must spend time exposed to the son, recharging and renewing my soul-er cells.

How about you? I’d love to hear how you recharge.

Sandy

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Who Sets the Pace?

Bear and I went for a walk. Actually, it was more like a tug.

Next month, Bear will be 1-year-old. Maybe by then, he will calmly walk beside me, instead of trying to drag me down the street.

Every two or three strides of our walk, I dug in my heels, told Bear to sit. He sat. Then we started to walk all over again.

Bear looked up at me when he sat.  He took his first step obediently in the heel position. After that, though, it was, “Let’s see how far I can tug Mom down the road, before she makes me sit, again.”

By the time our walk ended, both of my arms were tired from keeping a firm grip on the leash.  I was exhausted.

It would have been easier to let Bear do whatever he wanted to do. I could have pretended to jog behind him, like I was the one in charge. But, then, Bear would never learn to walk with me, instead of ahead of me.

Maybe I’m more like Bear than I would like to believe. How many times do I race off ahead

of God, confident I know where I am going, and set my own pace to get there?  How many times has God  planted his feet, refused to budge, and waited for me to sit, and look at him?

On the homeward bound half of our excursion, a weary Bear tried to turn into every driveway we passed. He was hopeful we were at our final destination.

Each of us is homeward bound. There is one, final, destination ahead. I need to sit and listen to my Master’s voice. I need to follow the pace he sets. Not run ahead. Not lag behind. I want to be certain I end up going down the correct driveway.

How about you?

Jesus Draw Me Nearer sung by Kristyn Getty.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Ever Have One of Those Days?

Have you ever felt like Bear in the picture above?  Ready to give up?  Fully surrendered?

Well I have, and today was one of those days, in a year that has had plenty of them.

This morning, my rheumatologist added one more prescription to the plethora of medications I already take, to try and limit the pain I have, associated with fibromyalgia.

When I went to the pharmacy to pick up my ‘scripts, the sweet pharmacy tech, who knows me by name, said in a quiet whisper, “Are you all right?  I don’t remember you ever needing so much medicine before.”

“No, I’m not all right,” I said with a faint smile. “I have fibromyalgia.”

“Oohhh.”

Her sympathetic look almost made me cry right there at the check out counter.

There is a scripture I have struggled to understand, because, I never quite got it.  No matter how modern the translation I used to read it. It’s sort of right next to the expression, “Strong in the broken places.”  What does that mean?

 

Each time he (God) said, “No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.

…for when I am weak, then I am strong – the less I have, the more I depend on him (God).

2 Corinthians 12:910  The Living Bible

Casting Crowns has a song that talks about this.

Now I think I get it…a little bit.  It is only when I am weak, broken, defeated, whatever, that I can focus on the fact that anything I am able to accomplish, is accomplished only through the power of Christ living in me.  It isn’t anything I’ve done on my own.

Christ is my strength, my shield, my shelter.  He is the lifter of my head.  In good times and bad.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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