Flood Links

The floods in Texas and Louisiana have been horrible to observe.  I’m thankful Sarah’s apartment wasn’t flooded, or even her parking lot, and that she’s able to help many others at this time.  Here are a couple of links that I think are best for helping victims of Hurricane Harvey:

This is a link to Sarah’s church: they have many different ways to send donations for those in need. They are also out in the neighborhoods now, helping gut houses, and encouraging families that have faced such huge losses.

Clear Creek Community Church Fund

This is how it looks in the areas where Sarah has been volunteering. Imagine seeing nearly all your possessions piled up on sidewalks for dumpsters to remove:

Secondly, this girl is a Buffalo native that lives in Rockport, TX–possibly the hardest hit area of all.  Please donate to this family if you’re able and would like to help them recover:

Boyce Family Fund

 

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Sparrows

I have some more great quotes from my journal for you this week.

Pain, sorrow, and disappointment are transmutable; we may climb the rainbow through the rain.  Our pilgrimage should be a continuous triumph in and over our circumstances.  –W. Graham Scroggie

If God cares so much for sparrows, won’t he care for you, too?  You are worth more to God than a whole flock of those birds.  Jesus wasn’t saying that the sparrows would never fall, and he wasn’t saying that his followers would never suffer physical harm.  But he was saying that God watches over us and cares for us.  Sometimes God rescues his people from their predicaments, and sometimes he allows them to suffer and even die–but he never lets them out of his sight.  They remain in his presence eternally.  —One Year Book of Psalms, 7/5

Blessed is any weight, however overwhelming, which God has been so good as to fasten with His own hand upon our shoulders.  –F.W. Faber

When irritated by interruptions, remember you’re not in charge of your day.  God is.  –Charles R. Swindoll

 

Words of a Song

Often the words of a song are exactly what the heart needs to hear.  When I was still hurting from a bike accident three weeks later, these words of a chorus were wonderful to hear:

He knows my name.

He knows my every thought.

He sees each tear that falls

And hears me when I call.

–Francesca Battistelli

There are so many great choruses and hymns.  I’ve been writing many of the individual lyrics into my journals this year:

O God, our Help in ages past,

Our Hope for years to come.

Be Thou my Guide while life shall last

And our eternal Home

–Isaac Watts

What have I to dread?  What have I to fear?

Leaning on the everlasting arms!

I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,

Leaning on the everlasting arms!

–Elisha A. Hoffman

Israel’s strength and consolation,

Hope of all the earth Thou art.

Dear, desire of every nation,

Joy of every longing heart.

–Charles Wesley

 

Encouragement

Here are more of the quotes that encouraged me while recovering from a bike accident this summer.  Sometimes encouragement comes from a book, from something a family member shares, or from a post on Facebook.  These quotes were just what I needed to hear:

He gives the best, and brings sweetness out of that which is harsh, forbidding, and wholly unpromising.  –Derek Kidner

Faith is not primarily a function of how you feel.  Faith is living out and believing what truth is despite what you feel.  –Timothy Keller

To avoid facing our low sense of worth, we try to compensate by building self-esteem.  Self-esteem is a way to be in control of our image in order to protect our sense of something missing within our hearts.  Through self-esteem, achievements are a way of creating hope.  Esteem for self rises and falls based upon the grade of our last performance.  Sadly, we forget that our value is inherent at birth.  –Chip Dodd, The Voice of the Heart, pg. 29

Never stop believing.  Miracles happen every day. –Unknown

 

Help When In Need

As you may know, I had a bicycle accident in Jackson this summer.  I ended up with two sprained wrists, a sprained ankle, bruised ribs and a contusion of the liver.  Since I was alone at my dad’s house I had to drive myself to the hospital and back, and didn’t get to bed until 3:30am.  In addition to being unable to breathe deeply for the next three weeks it was extremely painful.  While at the hospital I was not able to take any pain killers because I would need to drive myself back to the house.  When I arrived home and tried to open the bottle of pills I couldn’t twist the cap or hold it to twist with the other hand.  I thought, “What would Daddy do?” and put the bottle on the kitchen counter and whacked at it with a hammer until I got it opened!

That week was difficult; I could barely get in and out of bed, walk, breathe or even stay awake.  I’d arranged for a plumber to come to the house for repairs, but slept most of the time he was there.  My body was really in shock.  It helped me relate to what my dad had suffered with COPD, and what my mother had undergone with cancer regarding CT Scans and awaiting results (the doctor had originally said that I had a blood clot in my liver completely unrelated to the accident, but later decided it was trauma related).  When I drove back home to Buffalo (normally a 6-7 hour trip) it took 10 hours because I had to pull over to sleep so often.

I’m doing much better now, although I’m still strengthening my left wrist and hand through occupational therapy.  My problems were nothing compared to what others have:  I pray every day for friends that are dealing with cancer and other serious illnesses, and can’t even begin to relate to the struggles and fears they may have.

But I do want to share about the faithfulness of God in my hours of need when I wasn’t even sure I could get through the night.  In my normal, daily devotions He spoke very clearly and assuredly to me.  The first verse is the one I read while lying in the emergency room, awaiting various tests, and it gave me the peace and certainty that He was in this with me and would see me through it.  It was June 26 so I’d looked up Psalm 26:

Examine me, God, from head to foot, order your battery of tests.  Make sure I’m fit inside and out so I never lose sight of your love, but keep in step with you, never missing a beat.  –Psalm 26:2-3 (MSG)

From there, everything else I read the rest of the week was equally timely and encouraging, and was right in my regular readings each day:

Just as Joseph and the psalmist keep turning to God and trusting Him to turn evil into good, so we, too, must keep looking to God in difficult times.  —One Year Book of Psalms, 6/27

Since all that I meet shall work for my good, the bitter is sweet, the medicine food:  though painful at present, ’twill cease before long; and then O how pleasant the Conqueror’s song.  –John Newton

Show us your mighty power, come to rescue us!  Turn us again to yourself, O God.  Make your face shine down upon us.  Only then will we be saved.  –Psalm 80:2b-3 (NLT)

Now I will take the load from your shoulders; I will free your hands from their heavy tasks.  You cried to me in trouble, and I saved you; I answered out of the thundercloud and tested your faith when there was no water in Meribah.  –Psalm 81:6-7 (NLT)

Happy the child who in thunder-claps detects the Father’s voice.  There is no fear in love, because perfect love casteth out the fear that hath torment.  –F. B. Meyer

Yes, there were thunderstorms that week in Jackson when I was sleeping nearly all day and night.  And yes, that last quote had my Word of the Year in it–“cast!”  I”m thankful He met with me in my need and assured me of His presence.

 

 

Loved By All

Here are more pics of my mother, the one I’ve been celebrating these last two weeks.  She was loved by everyone.  She was talented and willing to help others in many ways.  She taught piano lessons when we were young.  This nice photo at the piano was taken years later.

She learned how to cane chairs well and was wiling to help others with their projects.

I love this photo of her with two of the dogs.

And this one at the phone is typical of her–often conversing with friends.

Here she is with her dearest friend from college, Maggie:

My parents had many couples that were considered close, dear friends.  They also spent a lot of time with various groups of friends.  Here is my mother with Glen and Beth Exum.

And here she is with me!  This is the last weekend she came to Buffalo: in May before she passed away in July of 2001.  I’m glad we stopped briefly to have this photo taken.

 

Mah Jongg

I’ve been sharing photos of my mother this week because she would’ve been 90 years of age recently if she hadn’t passed away from cancer in 2001.  She was a very social person and was involved in many groups–bridge, sewing, Mah Jongg, Daughters of the American Revolution and Music Club, among others.

Here she is with some of her bridge friends in Kansas City (she is on the bottom left and the lady next to her is Jac, the childhood friend that was shown with her in an earlier photo):

She also played in two Mah Jong groups in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  They usually played in various homes but occasionally made a special trip together to play in public places, such as in Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park.

They played for “big money”–nickels and dimes (and occasionally a quarter)–but it was still exciting at least once when she had a perfect game: