Early Family

Today I’m sharing early photos of my mother with her family.  These first two are with her mother, Ferne Koontz Harris:

The next one is with her father, Kenneth C. Harris (he was known as “KC” and I knew him as “Pop”):

Here she is with both of her parents:

I love these photos with her grandparents.  The first one is her paternal grandmother, Jennie (Fleming) Harris:

This is her maternal grandfather, Cicero Baxter Koontz (known as “CB,” “Baxter,” or “Papa.”).

Here is a favorite photo showing my mother with her brother, Baxter:

Finally, we have a great (and early selfie) of her, once again, with her brother:

 

 

 

A Great Mother

This week I’m focusing on my mother, Pat (Harris) Chaney, whose 90th birthday is Saturday.  She was a great mother, and unfortunately passed away from cancer in 2001.  My dad missed his 90th birthday by one year and my mother left us much too early, well before her 90th.  Today I’m sharing some of my favorite photos of her, starting with one of her birthdays.

My dad helped us make a “cake” for her, with no recipe or proper baking procedures.  It looked atrocious but she happily posed with it.

I happened to be right beside her in this photo (I wonder what I thought of the cake we made by pouring everything from the kitchen shelves into the batter).

Of course, following the arrival of the pretend cake came the real one!

Here are some of my favorites of her with the two of us (I am the younger daughter):

She sewed and knitted a lot of her own clothes and was always changing her hair color and style, as you will see.  In this one she is wearing very fashionable boots in the 70’s.

She loved traveling to the mountains and the first thing she always did was take off her shoes and put them in a cool mountain stream.

My parents were married in 1949; here is their wedding photo and one of my favorites in their later years together on a cruise.

This is a very early “selfie” of her with her brother, Baxter:

They always had dogs around and this is one of my favorite pics with one of them:

Again, I was right beside her.

Finally, this is my favorite holiday portrait of my mother–so pretty!

 

God is Real–Part Six

How do I know God is real?  For certain?  I’ve experienced Him in specific, very real ways.  One of the most amazing experiences was another one in the Dominican Republic with my friend, Mindy.  We had visited the boy she sponsored through Compassion International, but she’d known that she would sponsor another child somewhere that week.  In fact, she picked out his photo from a pile of child packets of unsponsored children.  This pile was from all the different child development centers that different groups of sponsors would visit that week.  I cautioned her not to choose one until we knew which center we would be going to, since we would be split up into small groups.  But she picked out Oscar and insisted on wanting to sponsor him.

When we looked to see which group we were in, it was not Oscar’s village or child center.  In fact, we got on our bus and the guide began telling us about another child center that we would be visiting, far away from Oscar’s.  I don’t know what made me do it, but I sat in the back of the bus asking God to take us to Oscar’s child development center:  “Please, God, please take us to Oscar!”  We had heard all the details about the other center, but when we pulled up in front of it, the number was wrong–it was Oscar’s center!  I jumped up and said to Mindy, “Let’s go find Oscar!”

We went to the Project Director of the child center and asked if she knew where Oscar might be.  “Yes,” she said, “in fact, his home is the one we’re taking all of you to visit today!”  That was amazing.  I have shown up at child development centers before with child packets of unsponsored children, and the specific child isn’t always easy to find.  If they aren’t sponsored yet, they often are not very involved with the ministry yet, or may be at home or helping their parents in the market place.  But Oscar would be easy to find, because his home was the one selected for the sponsor tour.  Needless to say, Mindy sponsored him on the spot.  Click here to see a previous story about Oscar’s home and family.  It’s very moving to hear how very deep in poverty this family was.  The “little one” that he said was “better” (in a follow-up letter) was no doubt the one we saw in a crib that we felt would not live much longer.  It was refreshing to hear that the baby had survived with Compassion’s support.  And again, it was amazing to see and experience how very real God is.

For previous posts in my “God is Real” series, click below:

God is Real–Part One (a baby that nearly didn’t make it to birth)

God is Real–Part Two (a specific healing, and one that was not a healing)

God is Real–Part Three (a hurtful e-mail)

God is Real–Part Four (pain)

God is Real–Part Five (a zany miracle)

 

God is Real–Part Five

How do I know God is real?  It simple: I’ve experienced Him in amazing ways.  Today’s example is pretty zany and funny.  I was in the Dominican Republic with my friend, Mindy, to introduce her to her sponsored child (I had already met him on a previous trip, and Mindy had become his sponsor).  We were headed to the Haitian border the next day but on this particular day we were returning from a trip by van into the country.  During a rest stop I went to get back on the bus, not knowing that they were hosing it down on the opposite side.  With a great whoosh! all the mud, grease and grime came flying up from under the van and splattered all over my khaki pants.  They were blackened from the grease and mud.

In the morning, after my shower, I said to Mindy, “I’m going to wear the same pants that got splattered yesterday, because I’ll just get them dirty again today,” and put them on.  She said, “Those aren’t the same pants; they’re perfectly clean.”  I looked down and she was right.  She didn’t believe they were the same pants, and we argued while I let her look through my luggage because I didn’t have any other khakis.  But they were now spotless.  She exclaimed, “Jesus did the laundry while we were sleeping!”  Now, I know that seems ridiculous, but think about it:  as we discussed, we were heading to child development centers to visit precious Compassion kids near the Haitian border.  Perhaps it was important that we appear clean and spotless, representing our Lord, and also give honor to the children, by giving them our best.  That was the only reason we could think of for the little “miracle” that day.  Our God is real!  But the next story is going to be amazing–watch for it on Friday!

For previous posts in my “God is Real” series, click below:

God is Real–Part One (a baby that nearly didn’t make it to birth)

God is Real–Part Two (a specific healing, and one that was not a healing)

God is Real–Part Three (a hurtful e-mail)

God is Real–Part Four (pain)

God is Real–Part Four

How do I know God is real? I’ve experienced Him in extraordinary ways; it’s as simple as that. To read what I’ve written in previous posts of this series, click here:

God is Real–Part One (a baby that nearly didn’t make it to birth)

God is Real–Part Two (a specific healing, and one that was not a healing)

God is Real–Part Three (a hurtful e-mail)

God is Real–Part Five (a zany miracle)

Here is another example of my experience with God, proving Himself real to me.  Years ago I had a skiing accident and tore my ACL.  It was repaired and I recovered well, with the help of physical therapy.  Then, several years later (perhaps 20 years ago now) I went to a couple’s home for a farewell party and their dog came running out to greet us.  Since it was heading towards my bad knee I twisted to avoid it.  Just like that, my knee gave out, for the first (and only) time since surgery.  I couldn’t walk on it and was soon in surgery for an arthroscopic procedure to see what was injured.  The ACL was broken loose and balled up in the center, so the doctor removed it through the tiny incision.  I was supposed to undergo physical therapy for a few weeks, recover from the surgery, and then have the ACL repaired.  For a while I was getting better, and no longer needed to use crutches.  But after about six weeks I realized I was getting worse again and eventually had to use crutches again, due to the pain.  Surgery was not possible until we could discover what was going on with the knee.  After bone scans, a spinal tap and more physical therapy, it was decided that my knee had developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).  As I understand it, it’s a nerve related disease with no apparent reason for the pain (it is now known as “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome).  It has to do with messages being relayed by the nerves back and forth from the brain.  We decided against knee surgery to repair the ACL and, in fact, my knee was very stable, surgery didn’t seem necessary, and it was not recommended with this new problem of pain.

Now fast forward a few years.  They had said that “RSD” could develop anywhere in my body, and when I needed surgery in both shoulders for bone spurs, they were reluctant to do the procedure, and put it off as long as possible, for fear that RSD would develop.  But the pain was getting worse and we eventually decided to do one shoulder; the result was great.  We waited six months; I healed up from the surgery and had no RSD causing further problems, so we decided to do the other shoulder.  However, as soon as I began to recover from the second surgery, I became aware of the fact that “RSD” was now in several areas–both knees, my neck, and both shoulders.  I couldn’t reach for items in the kitchen cabinets without deep pain; it hurt to open a door or even carry a purse.  I could hardly function in normal ways.  One night, I prayed to God, “I can’t handle this.  You’re the only One that can heal me, and I ask you to heal me.  I can’t function.”

Lo and behold, when I awoke in the morning the pain was gone, 100%, even in my knee.  I knew I didn’t need to take the Tylenol that I has been taking each morning.  There was NO pain.  I didn’t take anything for over a month.  And then the pain returned, but only in the knee.  Why?  I believe He allowed the pain to return in one area in order to remind me that everyone has some kind of pain.  Think about it:  you do somewhere–relational, financial, spiritual, or in some other area.  Somebody you love has died, or will die soon.  Some relationship is not quite what you’d hoped it would be.  Parenting is hard.  Jobs are difficult.  You’re frustrated with politics or the church or your community.  Everyone has pain.

I’ll never forget the fact that God healed me overnight, and that it lasted a full month.  I’ll never forget that others around me are hurting, too.  I’ll never go running to another doctor to see if he or she can heal my knee; I already know that God is the One who can heal it, and He will if He chooses.  Previous to this I had gone to many different doctors and was receiving suggestions coming from lots of people about how to find healing.  I no longer need to run around to every doctor and clinic.  I’m OK with the pain; I can live with it and be thankful every day that it isn’t my back, or a more serious condition.  I use a great knee brace when standing for any length of time.

Do I ever go to doctors any more?  Of course, but I’m no longer looking for answers to this knee problem.  Why doesn’t God heal every disease and pain for good?  I don’t know.  He will when we arrive in Heaven, assuming we have trusted Him with our lives and salvation.  But I do know, for certain, that He’s real.  I’ve experienced His instantaneous healing more than once.  A month without pain was heavenly, literally; how much better will the real place be!