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Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend

It’s funny how everything can change in an instant. I had an accident recently that changed me. The second day of a ten day vacation I was at Horseshoe Bend, which is a canyon with a river down below that’s in the shape of a horseshoe. It was really windy the day we were there and at one point the wind just took me away. All I remember is the wind pushing me and I was running as fast as I could to keep up, then a gust pushed me over. I put my hands out to catch myself and I felt a sharp shooting pain in my right shoulder. I passed out and the next thing I remember is sitting up with my husband, Bill helping me. He got me back to our hotel, I washed up and we went to Urgent Care.

I had a large golf ball size lump on the right side of my forehead and on my chin and my right cheek was completely swollen from my cheekbone to my lips. I had raw skin various places on my face and the bridge of my nose was bleeding.  I noticed later I had a lump on my right hip and both knees were bruised. I needed one stitch on the bridge of my nose. The Dr. at Urgent Care told us that Horseshoe Bend is dangerous, people die there every year. He was worried I might have (among other things) bleeding on my brain; he told us the symptoms to watch for. Bill told me the place I landed wasn’t too far from the edge; I could’ve run right off the edge of the cliff into the canyon.

It’s true God takes everything in our lives and uses it for good. Immediately, even before I knew that I could’ve died; I noticed I was different; I had a better attitude, I was grateful and appreciative of everything: the beauty of the landscape, my husband, people who worked at McDonalds, etc. I didn’t complain about the pain; I just felt content and peaceful. I value life and the people I encounter each day; I pray I don’t lose that; it’s a gift. I’m so thankful to God that he protected me and had the wind push me down where it did. I feel like there’s a reason God saved me; He’s not done with me yet.

Since we were on vacation we went out in public daily to eat and shop, etc.  I noticed when I did, I hung my head and looked down all the time; I rarely looked up at people when I passed by them. When I ordered dinner from my server I avoided eye contact; I guess I felt that if I didn’t see them, then they wouldn’t see me either. I realized I was acting like someone who had been beaten and abused, or handicapped or disfigured. I felt and acted sheepish, I wanted to hide myself.

I found I didn’t care much about how I looked, I didn’t put on make-up because it hurt to take it off, I wasn’t as picky about how my hair looked or how I dressed; I figured people weren’t going to notice that anyway. People didn’t look at me or want to speak to me very much. When out shopping the sales people weren’t as assertive as usual; they avoided me most times if there were others in the store; if I was the only one there they’d speak very little. I noticed when I interacted with people they pretended nothing was wrong; only three people asked me what happened.

Our bodies are funny; both my knees were bruised but they never hurt. Looking at the bruises I know they should’ve been painful but I had too many other places that hurt and maybe my body could only hurt so much; I guess it blocked out the rest of the pain. My bruises grew and my face changed daily; it was ironic because each day I looked a little worse and I felt a little better.

During this time, I realized I hadn’t been praying very much. But, somehow my heart was more open to God and I was changing and leaning into Him. I think He was hearing the prayers of my heart. I was reading the book “Room of Marvels” (which I highly recommend) and in the book this quote spoke to me “the most beautiful stones are the ones that have been tossed by the wind and washed by the water and polished to brilliance by life’s strongest storms” I felt like it was for me. I had just been tossed by the wind literally and I know I’m washed by the water and I’d been through a pretty strong storm.

A week after the accident Bill and I went to Uptown Sedona and walked around. We found ourselves in a store with rocks, minerals and beautiful pieces of art. A woman who worked there, Heather took us around and showed us various pieces and told us the story of where and how they were formed. We came across a case of stones from AZ and I asked about the golden brown/tan/cream colored balls that were displayed. Heather picked one up and exclaimed “aren’t they beautiful, it looks just like a sand storm”. Wow! I had just been through a sand storm and I immediately thought of the quote about beautiful stones. Heather went on to explain they were some sort of sand stone. I talked to Bill about it when we got out to the car and he wanted to go right back in and buy it. I told him we should think about it for a day.

I kept thinking of quote in the book about beautiful stones and what Heather said to us, I felt like God was speaking to me. I wanted to buy something to remember this experience and how good God is to me.

The next day, Bill and I went to Jerome and walked through the galleries and I found the perfect stone, it had the same colors of my bruises and it was very beautiful. The paper that was posted to explain the history of the stone stated the Egyptians and Pharaohs would decorate themselves and carry these stones as a reminder of regeneration and faithfulness. I loved what it stood for. God had been very faithful to me and I was in the process of regeneration.  I looked up the definition of regeneration:

1)    To reform spiritually or morally

2)   To form, construct, or create anew, especially in an improved state.

3)   To give new life or energy to; revitalize.

4)   To replace (a lost or damaged organ or part) by formation of new tissue.

5)   Restored to a better state; refreshed or renewed.

I think in a way, all five of these were happening to me. This made me love the stone all the more.

After visiting Jerome we came back to Sedona and looked at the original sandstone balls. Bill still wanted me to get one but none of them stood out to me. We walked through other shops and found a different stone; it had veins running through it and reflected light in different colors depending on the angle. The paper explaining the history of this rock spoke of protection. We found one we both liked and we purchased it. The lady who worked in the shop was very nice, she asked me “what happened to this soul” and when we paid for the stone she said that it would always remind Bill of the week he almost lost his wife and I added that it would remind me of the protection I received. She was very loving, tender and gentle.

I’m aware of what stones and crystals mean to New Age believers and I’m not buying into that or playing around with it. I’m not relying on the stones to bring me protection; the stones are a reminder of what God has done for me. In the Old Testament people would regularly build altars out of rocks to stand for God’s faithfulness, protection or provision. These stones are my version of an altar, they stand for and remind me of God’s faithfulness, regeneration and protection; of my gratitude and love for Him and knowing that He is not done with me yet.

Some noticing’s:  Many times friends and family contacted Bill to find out how I was doing or to encourage us and say they were praying. Bill passed along their care, love and concern but it didn’t translate well, I didn’t really feel it. I felt disconnected and isolated. I wondered why they didn’t communicate directly with me. I still don’t know but it’s changed how I want to respond when someone is injured or hurting; I’ll communicate directly with them and show them love and concern first hand. I hope I’ll be more sensitive to those who are hurt, abused, handicapped or disfigured. I’ve learned much and I know I am loved by my friends, family and most of all Bill and God no matter how I look or what I’m like. I am loved and cared for unconditionally.

One of the many things that I will hold on to from this experience is what Bill said to me the morning after the accident “if you ever think you’re not a strong person, you are”

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No Tears

No Tears

I first noticed it when my mom died. My whole family was at the hospital. Mom was in intensive care and I’m not sure about the others but I really didn’t understand what exactly was wrong with her or what was going to happen. My sister had told me earlier in the day that Mom was really sick and might not make it through the night. She had only been there since 3pm and she died at 10:30pm. She went fast and it was unexpected. We all stood around her bed in that small room said goodbye and watched the machine as her heart slowly quit beating. As soon as she died we all started crying. I was sobbing on my husband’s shoulder and I realized that I was crying but I had no tears. I mentioned it to him and he just shrugged his shoulders. I continued to cry.

The next time I noticed it was 6 months later when we were in China. We were with a tour group and we were scheduled to go to the Temple of Heaven but there was something special going on there and we couldn’t go. Our tour guide, Hao took us to a Buddhist Temple instead. It was the only sunny day we had while in Beijing. We got off the bus and waited while Hao bought our tickets and then we all started walking along the path that led to the temple. The path was pretty, there were many trees and it had a nice feel to it. It wasn’t a very long walk maybe a block long in American terms. Almost right away I could smell the incense burning. I love incense; it smelled good, like frankincense. The first thing we saw was a lot of people around a couple of big square iron containers that were open on the top and had smoke and flames coming out of them. People approached the containers and lit their incense. I was amazed and speechless at this scene. All I could do was stand there; I had never seen anything like it. There was so much smoke it was thick; people were lighting up to 500 sticks of incense at a time! It was incredible. After they lit their incense they prayed; some still holding their incense, others not. Many stood there with their eyes closed and hands clasped, others kneeled or bowed. When they were finished they threw their remaining incense in one of the burners as an offering.

Christian Writing MinistryThis was just the beginning. There were many buildings on the grounds and most of them had at least 3 Buddha statues in them. The statues represented the various characteristics of Buddha. People found the Buddha that represented what they needed that day and would bow/pray in front of it. We walked through each building; my guess is that there were 7-8 buildings that we went through. There were other buildings to the right and left of us but we just went through the center ones. I kept thinking of the worshippers as I walked through these buildings. I thought about how reverent they were and how many of them were there on an early Monday morning. I wanted to pray for them and I didn’t know how; it just seemed too huge. When we were at the last building, Hao gave us some time to go through the other buildings on our own and then meet back at the bus. That last building was fairly dark, yet I had my sunglasses on; I was so close to crying. I turned to go out and my husband, Bill asked me what was wrong and I said “nothing”. He kept asking and took my shoulders and turned me towards him and I just burst into sobs. I told him how I felt, that I wanted to pray for these people, they were so lost and it wasn’t their fault, they had been lied to for generations! This was what they knew. It just seemed so big, there were so many of them and this was just a small sample of how many there were in the world. And again, what I noticed is that I had no tears. I was sobbing uncontrollably and yet no tears.

My favorite Aunt died in November and I was heartbroken. She was 96 years old and we had just visited her a few weeks earlier. I was so close to her even though she lived far away. I admired her and she was my spiritual mentor even though she didn’t know it. She looked like my mom and she was the only one left that did. I look like my mom too so it somehow really meant something to have someone on this earth that looked like me; someone I had that connection with. I received the news by phone and when I hung up I literally fell on the floor and sobbed.  Again, no tears.

I’ve had so much to cry about these last few years and no tears. In two years, I’ve had to put two of my cats to sleep; one was 17 and the other was almost 16 and both my mom and my aunt have died.

I found out a couple of days ago that I have Sjogren’s Syndrome. When the Dr. told me I thought it involved just having dryness: dry eyes, mouth and dryness in general. It seems 50% of people with Sjogren’s have Lupus as well so I just thought it was another thing. However, after I googled it I found out so much more: It’s chronic and it’s progressive. It’s an autoimmune disease where the white blood cells attack the moisture-producing glands. It’s systemic and affects the entire body. Sjogren’s can cause dysfunction of kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system. Patients may also experience extreme fatigue and joint pain and have a higher risk of developing lymphoma. They experience “brain fog”, acid reflux, numbness and tingling in the extremities, etc. Finding this out explains a lot for me. I have many of these symptoms. However, I’m not sure how I feel about this news. I’m still processing it. It’s a lot to take in and it can be very scary to think about.

I was put on prescription eye drops by my Eye Dr. mid December to help produce fluid; they’ve talked to me about putting plugs in my eyes so my fluid doesn’t drain. My rheumatologist put me on a prescription of pills that will take up to 12 weeks to fully work.

I’m looking forward to the day I can cry again.

I will celebrate my tears.


You number and record my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle–are they not in Your book?   Psalm 56:8

Thus says the Lord, the God of David your [forefather]: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. 2 Kings 20:5b

They who sow in tears shall reap in joy and singing. Psalm 126:5

He will swallow up death [in victory; He will abolish death forever]. And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.  Isaiah 25:8a

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Daughter of a King

Daughter of a King

It was Thanksgiving and we were all at my sister’s. She has 5 grandkids and a 7 year old son so there was a lot of energy in the house. Jada is 3 years old and she’s my great-niece. She’s what some people call a “girly girl”. She’s tiny and precious and never wants to get dirty or rough house with the boys. She is a princess. This particular day she had on a beautiful dress, tights, shiny shoes and her hair was in cute pigtails. She was looking good and feeling even better.

My niece Christine (Jada’s aunt) arrived with a game for the kids to play. This game was like the card game I played as a kid called Indian Poker. There were cards with pictures on them and each player wore a plastic headband. The headband had a card holder in the front. The players would pick a card and without looking at it they would insert it into their headband. The card would be displayed on their forehead for everyone to see. The object of the game is for each player to guess what the picture of their card is based on clues from the other players.

The kids went upstairs, excited to start playing the game. I was in the dining room and noticed Jada walking around looking for something to do. She didn’t have any kids to play with because they were all upstairs with the new game. I asked her if she’d like to play the game with the other kids. She shook her head no. I offered to help put the headband on for her and this time she wrinkled her nose and shook her head no. I told her there were different colors of headbands and maybe we could find one to match her dress. She just gave me a look like she thought I had lost my mind. How could I possibly think that she: little Miss Jada would ever wear anything like that gawky, plastic headband? After all, she was a Princess; she was Miss Jada.

I thought about this and realized I could learn a lot from Jada. I’m a Princess too. My Father is a King; in fact He is the King of Kings!

“On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords” Revelation 19:15-17

Do I live like I believe this? Do I live a Kingdom life? Have I stepped into this role? Do I own it? Why don’t I? Why don’t I live in that reality every day? Why don’t I remember who I am and who my Father is? The people who meet me and who are in my life; do they know that I’m the daughter of the King of Kings? Such an awesome life I have and they may not even know. What’s wrong with this? I forget how blessed I am. Instead I trudge along, many times struggling with things just because I didn’t bring them to my Father. I didn’t claim who I am. I let the world and my circumstances define me so much of the time. I need to remember that every place I put my foot is sacred ground. It’s sacred because it was created by a holy God and He declared “it is good”.



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Struggles and Joy

Struggles and Joy

I keep reading in different places and hearing sermons on struggle, pain and grief and how it relates to joy. It seems that our struggle, pain and grief expand our capacity to feel and experience joy. But, not until we’ve gone through it. I keep thinking about the song that I heard last night “Come to Jesus” I can always come to Jesus and let Him hold me in His arms.

I’ve had struggles, pain and grief for about 2+ years now. When will I get through to the other side? There are times during this season that I have stuffed my feelings and not fully experienced and leaned into them or Jesus. I think that’s how I was raised. When I’ve been alone, there have been times I poured out to God my frustrations and pain about Titus (my cat that I had to have put to sleep recently), my Mom(who just died recently), etc. but I wonder if I did it to the extent that I needed to. But now, I’m not going to deliberately conjure up feelings just for the sake of having them, I don’t think that’s what is meant by fully experiencing grief and pain. I believe what it meant by that is when the feelings naturally come to the surface, don’t stuff them – welcome them and feel them, totally and completely. The trouble was when Brandy (a cat I had to have put to sleep in 2009) was nearing the end and after Mom died the time the feelings would hit me were when I was driving, usually on the freeway. Well, I can’t fall apart on the freeway! Usually I was on my way to a class or a meeting. When I found out about Elsie dying, as soon as I hung up the phone I bawled, sobbing into my hands at the kitchen table, then a found myself falling in a heap of sorrow.  I’m trying to take this as it comes and experience all that comes with it.

Struggles and Joy

Is it true struggle, grief, pain and strife
Are the things that expand joy in our life?
If so, I should soon be the most joyous person around
‘Cause for over 2 years grief and struggles have abound

I often think I’ve gotten to the other side
Then I find out someone else has died
This season that I’m going through
Is the hardest thing I’ve had to do

When oh God will it end?
When will my heart mend?
When will the joy begin to show?
When will my character start to grow?

I guess I haven’t yet mastered endurance
But, I believe the promise, I have assurance
That if I fully experience this ache
That’s exactly what it will take

For depth, character and strength to form in me
And to enter into joy and experience it fully
And so I wait and I pray
Knowing that there will come a day

When from these ashes I will rise
Standing tall and a little more wise

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Seasons of Life

They say to everything there is a season
There is a purpose and there is a reasonChristian Writing Ministry
The reasons are rarely revealed to me
I seem to stumble along, unable to see.

I’m nearing the end of a season that felt dark
And forever in my soul, it has left its mark
In hindsight I can see God was always there
Guiding and loving me with utmost care

I can now see there was a purpose for it all
God was stretching me, urging me to stand tall
And like a baby, I’m wobbly and I stumble
I cry, complain and sometimes mumble

I fight each new season; not wanting to enter in
I cling to the old; it’s hard to leave where I’ve been
It’s familiar, feels safe and I know the landscape
My feeling of belonging there is hard to shake

To be the oldest generation on the family tree
Is something I didn’t consider I’d be
I never seemed to give it much thought
How to grow old isn’t something I was taught

This season of growing older, I desire to do well
To younger generations, my experiences I can tell
To share the mistakes and lessons of my journey
And the many places where God has met me

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Desert Place

Christian Writing MinistryI’m living in a waiting season
I know God has me here for a reason
The thing to which He’s calling me
Isn’t yet clear for me to see.

But, there is one thing I know
It’s an invitation for me to grow
And to live more fully in His Kingdom
Walking in faith, peace and freedom

It’s not fun being in this desert place
It seems so hard to see God’s face
I’m wandering around, not sure where to go
With so many questions, it’s hard to know.

I have to trust and have no fear
Knowing that God is always near
He’s working it out for my good and His glory
When He’s done, it’ll be a beautiful story

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Living in the Shadows

Christian Writing MinistryI’ve been living in shadows for a few years,
Many times I think the end must be near.
Then a new shadow comes and blocks the light,
Again, the sunshine seems out of sight.

I keep moving ahead without a chart
Through the shadows and in the dark
I’m walking by faith and not by sight
Resisting the urge to put up a fight

What does God have here for me?
He’s teaching me a new way to see.
Showing me in shadows, light can be found
And even in darkness joy can abound

When God is done and I am purged
Then from the shadows, I will emerge
A better version of who I used to be
Standing tall for all to see.

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Waves of Grief

I’m thankful for the waves of grief,Christian Writing Ministry
Because between them, I find relief
The frequency and size are never the same
Some hit hard and others are quite tame

They are uncontrollable as they come and go
Their size, intensity and duration I never know.
I have no choice but to see them through
And let them do what they will do

They’ve hit me hard and knocked me down
I wondered if I’d come around
But I look to Jesus and don’t lose sight
And hang on to Him with all my might

I know in my heart each wave will pass
For they are not intended to last
Something deep is being formed in me
For this, I am grateful for the waves I see.

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Horseshoe Bend

It’s funny how everything can change in an instant. I had an accident recently that...
article post

No Tears

I first noticed it when my mom died. My whole family was at the hospital. Mom was in...
article post

Daughter of a King

It was Thanksgiving and we were all at my sister’s. She has 5 grandkids and a 7 year old...
article post

Struggles and Joy

I keep reading in different places and hearing sermons on struggle, pain and grief and...
article post

Seasons of Life

They say to everything there is a season There is a purpose and there is a reason The...
article post

Desert Place

I’m living in a waiting season I know God has me here for a reason The thing to which...
article post

Living in the Shadows

I’ve been living in shadows for a few years, Many times I think the end must be near....
article post

Waves of Grief

I’m thankful for the waves of grief, Because between them, I find relief The frequency...
article post