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Monday, December 30, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: End And Begin Again

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: End And Begin Again: Endings can be sad, or joyful as they lead into new adventures. The end of a year can cause us to reflect on joys, maybe sorrows, and the jo...

End And Begin Again

Endings can be sad, or joyful as they lead into new adventures. The end of a year can cause us to reflect on joys, maybe sorrows, and the journey that is behind. I look back on my year with many blessings, but also some regret and yes, even some sadness. Usually when we look back, it is too easy to miss the blessings. Somehow the sad things and regrets overshadow the good. Everyday, God blessings are most often dispersed to us
through our day. It may be as simple as a smile when we started our day sad. It could be an unexpected invitation to lunch by a dear friend. It might be a hug, and a kind word. It may be a scripture that perfectly speaks to our spirit exactly when needed. Big, God blessings may not come on a daily basis, but when they happen, it makes our hearts sing. It could be healing for an illness, perhaps a loved one or friend accepted Jesus because you shared, and God honored. Any number of prayers are answered in our lives and God blesses.

A huge blessing and joy for me was to be allowed to be the Director of our Church Grief Ministry. I am privileged to send out grief material, cards, and phone calls to help families through the pain of loss. God has blessed me by using me on Sundays to minister to hurting women, who just need an ear, a hug, and a prayer. I feel honored that God would use me in any way. Yes that is a huge blessing. This year has also brought new babies to dear friends and family. It is always a joy to share in these young families lives, and help them celebrate new life. The beauty of Facebook is instant updates before and after birth, and pictures of little smiling faces. 

Friends and family also had their share of deaths in their families. The family members and friends we lost all knew Jesus as their Savior, so there will be rejoicing in heaven one day. On the sad side, my sister and brother-in-law were hospitalized and then had to go to rehab. They need more care now, and we pray each day for their protection. These are the hard things in a year, because you want to help, but that isn't always possible. The saddest part of our year was watching our beloved Fox Terrier, Samson, slip into old age at 17. He was a good boy, and tried for a year to hang on for us. He got very weak, and we knew it was time to say goodby. Again, God, was there with a dog who needed a home. Molly is also a Fox Terrier, and she came to fill our hearts with joy. She turned one in July. Our neighbors down the hall two in fact, each lost a beloved dog this year. Again, the blessing was God providing a new fur friend for each, and the fact that we are all there for each other when crisis hits!

Regrets? Not really, but I do want to spend more time with The Lord. I want to be more intentional in Bible Study, and prayer time. I want to be even more in tune, so I don't miss any opportunities to serve Him, and minister to others. I suppose if I had a wish, it would be to become closer to being a Proverbs 31 woman. I have been blessed to know several women that play out that model everyday with their families, and their friends. I truly admire such unselfish service, and their doing great things for their families. They sew, knit, can, make jelly, as well as take care of husbands and children. Even when tired, they keep that sweet, sweet spirit.

We ended our year with the Christmas Pageant at our church. It was 11 presentations which kept us busy, and tired. It is always a joyous highlight to the year because many come to know Jesus as Savior because of the pageant. It is also a sweet time of fellowship with friends and church members. After that it is Christmas, two grandchildren birthdays, and time with family. All in all a year goes by very fast. Amid the ups and downs we are blessed, we are happy, we get through all that comes our way, and we journey through the rough spots. If you know Christ, if you are His, if you have a personal relationship with Him, He will be in every second, every minute, hour, day, and go with you each step. If you don't have that relationship with Him....maybe this will be your year! Have a very Happy and Blessed New Year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Pain Is A Pain!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Pain Is A Pain!: No one wants it. No one greets it with open arms. No one ever truly understands why it comes to them or loved ones, or friends. Pain has man...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pain Is A Pain!

No one wants it. No one greets it with open arms. No one ever truly understands why it comes to them or loved ones, or friends. Pain has many forms, and ....well pain hurts. The mother who watches her child dealing with the pain of cancer feels helpless. She would take that pain in her own body if given the chance. Seeing friends lose a loved one for whatever reason makes one feel so helpless, so inadequate to comfort. Watching a friend or family member's home break into pieces through divorce, or seeing the pain of abuse, drugs, and alcohol can leave us sad and unsure as to why it is happening. Pain comes in all sizes and forms. It is no respecter of age, race, or circumstance. Pain does not care if you are two or 92. It does not care if you already are sad, lonely, sick, or scared. Why then does God allow pain to invade our lives, or those we care about?

I have learned several things about pain. I have had a lot of it. I should point out that there are different pains. There of course is the physical pain of injury and illness and disease, but there is also the mental pain of heartbreak, abuse, loss, and things that hurt emotionally. There is also spiritual pain when we know we are grieving God, or are not in step with Him. No matter what the source, pain is pain, and it hurts our bodies, our hearts, our emotions. I have learned that physical pain can be a nagging, always present ache, or it can be a pain rated a 10 on the doctor's charts that may come and go.There is medication for pain, but sometimes there isn't enough medication to take the pain totally away. It makes it tolerable, and each person has a different level of tolerable. I have learned that when you go through intense physical pain, you learn what you can tolerate, and what you can not. There have been times when I went to bed, not knowing how I would get through the night. It is those times I fall asleep with a prayer on my lips, and tears in my eyes. It helps me to remember God is with me. He sees my tears, He knows my heart, and then too, I think about Jesus pain on the cross. Believe it or not that makes my own pain more tolerable. Jesus has always gotten me through the pain, and He understands that pain!

Emotional and spiritual pain are just as painful, but are usually due to our own choices, or consequences of our actions. When this pain hits, prayer is the first line of defense, and reading God's word shows us how to deal with the issues of heartbreak. It's all in the Bible, and it can direct our path, heal our hearts, and give us God's wisdom. Through this pain, I have learned to trust God. He knows the outcome, before the situation even happens. Tragedy can strike out of nowhere, blindside us, and leave us devastated. We question God, we may even yell at God! " Why, God? Why me?" I have also learned that because I have given my life to Christ, He will never let anything touch me that has not gone through Him first. If satan decides to take a loved one through a bad situation, or wants to disrupt my life, God has the final say. One thing I know for very sure is that if God allows
it, if God brings me to a situation, God will see me all the way through it! 

God has gifted me with sympathy, and empathy for others. I not only feel sorry or sad for others going through a valley, but I feel their pain. Sometimes that is so hard, but i am grateful God has trusted me to feel others pain, so I can minister to them. He also has given me the pain He has,both physical and emotional so I can share with others. It is hard to minister to someone in a situation, if you have never experienced their pain. God uses all our situations and trials to teach us, but also to help others. The biggest lesson we can learn from our pain, is this....God is always there, He loves you. He will not leave you or forsake you. I need God, in the pain, through the pain!  Pain is a pain, it always will be, but with God it is much more tolerable! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: An Empty Place

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: An Empty Place: Holidays are a time of joy, happiness, family. Whether it is Thanksgiving or Christmas, an anniversary, or birthday, they are special times ...

An Empty Place

Holidays are a time of joy, happiness, family. Whether it is Thanksgiving or Christmas, an anniversary, or birthday, they are special times in our lives when we celebrate with loved ones close by, or at least on our minds. My Daddy died at the end of October, so the first Thanksgiving and Christmas were not the same. My mother was deep in mourning, and as an only child, it was hard to handle my own grief, and deal with hers too. My Daddy loved The Lord, and I knew he was celebrating with Jesus, but it still was a lonely, empty spot where he had always been. He always liked Christmas, because he had a chance to do for others. It didn't matter if it was family gifts, or giving extra to his church, or rewarding those who worked for him. He was a sweet, gentle man that got great joy from the joy he could give to others. He was a very quiet man, so not everyone saw all he did for others.

My mother-in-love left us right after Christmas and New Year in 2011. The last Christmas was the first without her. Another empty place. She liked Christmas, but as she got older, she relied on me to decorate for her, and do her shopping for her grandchildren, and great grandchildren. When she was still independent, she would bring all the gifts to our house, and we would wrap everything Christmas Eve after Church. Between that and the pre- preparations for dinner the next day, we were up very late. She always brought Christmas cookies she had baked, and a loaf of her Pumpkin Bread...one for each grandchild, and one for us! that was her signature Christmas goody. I never got the recipe from her, because it didn't seem right to supersede her specialty. One year she made ceramic trees for all of us. Lights fit into holes on the tree, and when plugged in created a beautiful hand made tree!  She also has been having Christmas with Jesus since she left us.

For Christians that know for sure their loved ones are in heaven, the sting of death and separation may be a little easier, but our loved ones are still missed! We miss their physical presence, we miss their voice, their touch, their laughter. We miss what our life was like, because they were a part of it. Holidays can be a time for family to share favorite memories of the one who went home. It can be a time of honoring them with donations to those less fortunate, and a time of looking through old pictures. It is still a sad time, but it can also be a sweet time of reliving their life with us. One thing we know is that holidays will take on a knew look when a loved one leaves us. Sometimes the second year of holidays may be more painful than the first, because we are still a little numb, and just beginning the grief process. 

Remembering our loved ones is healing! It's O.K. To think about them, it's alright to cry. Pain in grieving does not last forever. The missing your loved one will always be there until God calls you home. The gaping hole that person left in our life will flare up and hurt, sometimes because of a holiday, or a special song, or even a smell. My mother- in -love always wore the same perfume, and even now, if I pull one of her blankets out of the closet to use, the scent is there. I have washed those blankets, and yet the essence of Mary is still there. Painful as it may be, pushing through the memories, the pain, and the loss will eventually heal the broken heart. Never forget that God is close to the broken hearted. As He says in Isaiah 61:1-3, God will heal your pain. He sees all your tears. Start a knew tradition in your family this Christmas, designed specifically to honor your loved ones who have gone on, whether it just happened or many years ago. The simplest is to have a specific candle for each one. Light each one, on Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day to honor them. Think on their influence in your life, and Thank The Lord for the time you had with them. Most of all remember God knows your grief, He gave His only Son to die for us. They were reunited, but for the time Jesus had our sin piled on Him, He and the Father were separated. God sees, God knows, God will see you through not only Holidays, but the other sad, empty places too!



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Traffic Not Just Cars

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Traffic Not Just Cars: Traffic is a rather innocent word. We usually think of getting in our car and hoping traffic is not too backed up on the interstate. Traffic...

Traffic Not Just Cars

Traffic is a rather innocent word. We usually think of getting in our car and hoping traffic is not too backed up on the interstate. Traffic is fairly light at certain times of the day, and our route is smooth and easy. Other times traffic can be our worst nightmare. Tempers flare, we feel like we will never get to our destination, because others keep getting in our way. Traffic is the movement of vehicles on highways and by-ways, to move from point A to point B. Traffic is controlled by law enforcement, and by obeying the laws, we remain relatively safe. 

Traffic can also be the movement of goods by import and export. Many things we use everyday are brought to us through the traffic of buying and selling goods. Traffic that we hear about often is the drug traffic. The goods are illegal, and dangerous, and even though there are laws, the ones trafficking drugs do not follow the rules. There is a darker side to traffic. It is a side that until recently, few knew existed, and many are trying to put an end to. Human traffic has become a multi-million dollar business, fueled by greed, and lust. It is a horrendous plight that many young boys and girls find themselves in. Most are from poor families, from third world countries, and families get desperate. They sell their children in order to survive. Many of these children are as young as eight years old, and are taken away and hidden until they can be indoctrinated into a world of sex and slavery. They are separated from family they will never see again, abused, and brain washed through terror, to do what they are told. From that point they are bartered, sold, and at the mercy of adults who don't care.

What happens to these children? Do they ever get away? The FBI and many other agencies as well as ministries are beginning to rescue and turn these shattered lives around. I can not even imagine being sold for money, by my parents, and turned over to total strangers. I also can not imagine that at eight, nine, or ten years old. While most are sold for sex, there are those who are sold to wealthy people, who want slave labor in their mansions. Wherever they end up, they have no freedom. Most often these children and youth are given drugs which make them easier to control, and consequently dependent on their captors for more drugs.

There are more articles, stories of redemption, and lives salvaged than ever before. As more people learn that Human Trafficking is in every state, and throughout the world, there is more awareness of the problems. Ministries are working with The FBI and other agencies to get the victims to a safe haven. It is not unlike the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. There are safe houses, scattered across the country, and people stepping up to help. It is no longer a secret and lives are being changed, saved, and given hope. The Human Sex Traffic is probably the most evil of all evils, but as with all money makers, it is the money that is important. My prayer is that this evil will be crushed. My prayer is for more and more people to learn of this evil, and will help in one

area or another. In fact, here is a thought....the next time you are stuck in traffic, say a prayer for these victims. Ask God for their safety, their release, and their restoration to a normal, hope filled way of life. A life they have never known. My prayer is that you will remember that a delay in traffic congestion could be a much needed prayer for one of these victims.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: The Rest Of The Story!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: The Rest Of The Story!: Our Church Christmas Pageant is in full swing. After hours of set construction, costume design, music learned, and parts memorized, it has c...

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: I Wonder.....

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: I Wonder.....: Wondering is a favorite past time, maybe because I have always been one to dream and fantasize "What if."  As an only child, I spe...

Monday, December 9, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: The Rest Of The Story!...

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: The Rest Of The Story!...: Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: The Rest Of The Story! : Our Church Christmas Pageant is in full swing. After hours of set construction, costume...

I Wonder.....

Wondering is a favorite past time, maybe because I have always been one to dream and fantasize "What if."  As an only child, I spent a lot of time with me, and my imagination. This year as we start our second week of Pageant Presentations at our church, I have especially wondered. This year our writers have gone beyond Jesus birth, to His ministry on earth, and then His death and resurrection. As I wait for my cue, I have thought first about Mary.  According to scripture, she was young, and was engaged to Joseph. An angel, out of nowhere tells her she is going to have a baby. Not just any baby, but God's son. What would you think? Just for a minute she must have been incredulous. How do you explain that to your fiancĂ©  and your parents. Mary trusted God, and if she was scared scripture does not reveal it. 

Next for Mary is the trip to Bethlehem with Joseph. Again she is going out of her comfort zone, and she is due to have a baby any time. If the baby is born away from home, she has no mother with her to help her through. Nothing familiar to comfort her. Next she is confronted with no place to stay. The Bible does not give us any clue as to Mary's attitude with all this, but it would be like having a baby, 100 miles from home, camping out in a tent, with no amenities at all. I can't imagine how amazed she must have been, perhaps scared, and wondering what God intended with all this strangeness. When Jesus is born what did she think when she looked at His little face? She gazed at Him with a mother's heart, but at the same time...this was God's son! Why her, why here, and what now? How overwhelmed she must have felt. Did that night with angels, bright star, shepherds, and a crude stable blur from one image to another? Did she grasp the major importance of this event?

What about Joseph. We don't know how old he was, but older than Mary. He is engaged to a nice girl, and then he learns she is going to have a baby. He knows it isn't his. Would you be able to understand this? He too is visited by an angel, and assured all will be well. We in our lives may have entertained angels and not known it, but these angels were there specifically to bring messages from God. Joseph as far as we know, took care of Mary, and was willing to also accept God's plan. Did he have moments of a lot of doubt. Did he feel betrayed, and reluctant to take on the care of a baby that was not his? He has a lot of responsibility to get a wife, who is due to have a baby anytime, and himself to another town just to register and pay taxes. This has to be out of his comfort zone too. 

Now it's a quiet ordinary night, shepherds are out settling their flocks. All of a sudden a brilliant star appears, and then an angel comes from heaven to tell you about a baby born in a stable, and He is God's son. I can only imagine what they must have thought. Were these amazing things a part of their normal world...probably not. During one presentation of our pageant, the goat I was leading, got spooked by the loud music. When I tried to quiet him, and lead him, he reared up on his back legs. Imagine a whole flock of sheep, and goats when a blinding, bright light, and a voice from the sky erupts their normal quiet. All it would take would be one animal to react, and they all would follow. It probably was hard not to be a little upset by the disruption. 

The Bible does not tell us how long Mary and Joseph actually occupied the stable. Once people started to leave town after the census, did they get a room? We know they were advised to go on to Egypt to protect Jesus, but we don't know what happened in between. Did more people come to see Jesus, or did they just spend time resting and taking care of their new son?  What did they do for food? Did people offer to feed them, or did they bring a lot of food with them? If the Bible doesn't address something, we are to trust God that it is not relevant, but natural human curiosity makes me wonder about the ordinary. I also wonder as I wear the same costume night after night for the Pageant, did they have more than one outfit? Did they have access to a place to wash their clothes? And did Biblical people have as much trouble putting on the head gear as I have been having each night? As one lady in our dressing room said, they probably just put them on and did not even worry about how it looked. They were for practical reasons and not part of a costume. 

When I think about all our luxuries I wonder if I could have gone through what Mary did. Then I remember that their life was simpler, but also harder. Mary and Joseph were asked to go way beyond comfort, and the things they knew for God's overall plan. If I pay attention God will move me out of my comfort zone too to do what He has for me to do. They trusted God. I trust God. They had the Holy Spirit to lead and guide them. I have the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me too. We are not so different, yet I wonder how well I would have done, had I been living in that time. It is hard to imagine sometimes....and that's all the more reason to wonder!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: The Rest Of The Story!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: The Rest Of The Story!: Our Church Christmas Pageant is in full swing. After hours of set construction, costume design, music learned, and parts memorized, it has c...

The Rest Of The Story!

Our Church Christmas Pageant is in full swing. After hours of set construction, costume design, music learned, and parts memorized, it has come together in the final Dress Rehersal. Now begins two weeks of presentations. Excitement is at peak levels, and the anticipation of knowing what we do will impact many lives hangs in the air. Each of us is part of an amazing network of players serving our Lord and Savior. What we present in 11 performances may be the first time some come face to face with Jesus. We will work as a team, we will pray without ceasing, and we will do it all that others may come to know Christ!

Each year the presentations lead obviously to Jesus birth. There is always a modern day thread with people who need to hear the message, then Jesus birth, the Magi when Jesus is a little older, and then the facts that surround Jesus death and resurrection. All culminating in a grand finale. The transition to Bethlehem is preceded by majestic camels, and then the sheep, goats, baby animals, and Mary riding a donkey.  Angels appear, flying angels proclaim the wondrous birth, and our sanctuary, transformed into Bethlehem,erupts in joyous music. 

Where does Christmas end and life begin? Christmas is only the beginning of the story, and that was foretold hundreds of years before it happened. There is so much more to the story. Jesus was not born as a human just to be a nice person. He was God's son in the flesh, sent for a specific purpose. It is not just so we can have a feel good holiday with lights, and gifts! From the beginning, when the earth was still void, God had planned mankind. He knew man with skin on, even though made in His Image, would sin, and become separated from God. He also had a plan for man's salvation, to restore Him to fellowship with God.....that plan was Jesus! Jesus had to be humbly born as a man, teach God's word, then He had to die. It was no ordinary death. He had to fulfill prophesy. He was arrested, but committed no crime. He was tortured, beaten beyond recognition, and crucified on a Roman cross. He deserved none of it, but we did. It was our sin...yours and mine that kept Him on that cross until He had no more blood to give. His one time blood sacrifice washed our sin from us, and it all was put on Him. In three days, He rose from being dead! That death and resurection gives us all a way to be saved from our sin. Jesus was born a man just to die in our place.

It is a free gift from God to us. Like any Christmas gift, we have to take it from the giver, open it, and use it. What it all means is, that until Jesus died on the cross, sin kept us from fellowship with God. God cannot have fellowship with sin. The blood of Christ washed us clean, whiter than snow, His word says. Now if we say yes to that gift, ask for forgiveness, and turn from our sin, we say we believe that Jesus is God's son, and we are willing to turn our life over to Him. We become new creatures on the inside, and now when God looks at us, we are covered by the blood Jesus gave to get us clean.

The Pageant this year will follow Jesus from birth to His ministry, to His crucifixion, and death. The scene where Jesus hangs from the cross is powerful.
The final and lasting and best part of Christmas is the resurection and the gift of eternal life He gives to us all! That is our final destination.....Eternity in Heaven with God! I pray that you all are blessed by this season, but that you will remember, Christmas is only part of the story! Life with Christ is the rest of the story!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: It's All About Me... Yes Or No?

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: It's All About Me... Yes Or No?: Do you have days when you just want everything to be about you? I think we all do that at one time or another. Young children are wired to o...

It's All About Me... Yes Or No?

Do you have days when you just want everything to be about you? I think we all do that at one time or another. Young children are wired to only care about themselves, and we have to teach them to start caring about others, and teach them not to be selfish. I was a terribly selfish child. I was an only child, and I thought the world and everyone in it revolved around me, and if it didn't it should have. Thankfully I had people in my life that were willing to teach me to care for others, but it took awhile. Even then, God was putting people in my life to change me into a more caring person.

The most unselfish person I have ever known was my Dad. He was a humble, unassuming man, who lived to serve and take care of others. Of course he took care of his family, but he was always there for others too. Many nights after working a full day, if anyone called and needed something in regard to their life insurance (which is what he did) he went back out to see them. He didn't just sell insurance, he councieled his clients, he spent time with them to give them exactly what they needed, not just to make a sale. He selflessly gave up his evening if there was a need. He never gave thought as to what was easy or comfortable for him, it was what worked best for someone else. If a client was a farmer, and couldn't meet anywhere else, Dad would tromp out into the corn field to take care of his client's needs.

When he coached the Lutheran Hospital student nurses' basketball team, he wasn't just a coach. He was their father away from home, he was their mentor, he cared about each of them. If they had a problem, they knew they could call him anytime and he would do what he could. When my mother decided cooking was too difficult for her arthritis, he took her out to eat every single night. At home, he fixed breakfast and lunch, cleaned up, and then did a day's work. He did not enjoy eating out. After a long day, he longed to come home and rest and eat in his own home, but he gave that up for her. 

When I needed anything, he was there. He gave up many Saturdays to teach me to drive. He spent hours watching Dance recitals, Ice Skating Shows, and any other thing I wanted to try. I know there were times when all he wanted to do was read a book, watch a western, or a wrestling match on T.V. But instead he did what his family wanted. He loved working on his cars. He changed his own oil in our driveway, and even taught me about cars and how they run. That just made him happy. Then my mother decided that didn't look good and what would the neighbors think. So he quit what gave him pleasure, so she would be happy. He never complained, he never got mad about it, he just did what he had to, selflessly, and quietly.

God blessed me also with a husband that is a selfless example of putting his wants aside for others. He is a pastor, so there are many times he sacrifices his time and energy for those in need. He has made it a policy to keep his phone on 24/7, 365 days a year. He could just not answer after hours, or on his days off, but he won't. He is there at 2:00 in the morning, or any other time someone is in crisis. He will use his day off to visit hospitals, council, or pray with others. He too will eat out, or have food delivered that isn't on his diet, just because he knows it helps me. I have seen him get dressed at 3:00 in the morning to meet a family at the hospital. Yes that is his job, but even if it wasn't he would do no different. If someone needs something, he will work until he can find a way to help them. 

These men in my life are prime examples of my Lord and Savior, Jesus. Jesus of course was the ultimate, perfect example of selflessness. He left His heavenly throne, was born in a stable, and humbled himself every day on earth for us. He faced a cruel death, shed His blood, until there was no more, took the weight of all the sin past, present, and into forever, and did it no  matter what He may have felt as a human. He gave of His time to teach and bring God's word to the nations, got very little respect, and yet never once did what He wanted. He did what God, the Father wanted! Through Christ, I have learned to do for others too, but I am not consistent. I have the heart to take care of others, and to put their needs first, but I fall short. If I am tired, or in pain, or don't feel well, I put me first. Not so with my Dad and my husband. On the upside, after Jesus' example, and their example, I have a constant goal to aim for. I am still learning, and one day, I will be unselfish, and I will put everyone in my life first! Role models like I have are rare, but you may find some in your life too....if you just look around. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Christmas Past!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Christmas Past!: My first Christmas was in Immanuel children's home in Omaha. Needless to say I don't remember it. I imagine the Deaconesses there di...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sports Playing Impaired!

Sports Impaired, functionally disabled. That's me! As a little kid, I liked to run and jump, but I fell a lot. I could trip on most anything. I fell off my trike, I tripped on the sidewalk,and sometimes even my own two feet got in the way. My skinned knees and elbows had scabs on scabs. It seemed nothing healed totally before I fell again. The old scab would be torn and bleeding, and a new scrape would be there too. I bet my Dad wished he had stock in mercurochrome and band aids. That stuff stung so bad, and I love the way parents somehow thought, "This will hurt me more than you." I remember one really bad fall. I was four, and chasing my dog. He zipped out the back door, which he could push open himself, with me right behind. Too late....the water hose was stretched across the steps and over to the yard. I hit the hose, flew off two steps and landed knees down on the cement! That took more than a band aid, and it took a long time to heal. 

It took me several years to learn to ride my bike. Daddy started teaching me when I was seven, but I didn't get it until I was eight. Roller skates! There's another story functionally disabled! All my friends had roller skates with keys. I got mine, but could never stand up on them. I tried over and over, with the same results. I couldn't stand up on them long enough to learn what to do next. Then there was recess and PE in grade school. Basketball and gymnastics in winter. Baseball, and soccer in spring. Time after time, I was always picked dead last for any team sport. I used to kind of feel bad, and then I realized I didn't like any of those sports anyway!  I remember following one of my friends across the railroad tracks by her house. Of course I tripped and fell. For years I had black cinders imbedded in my one knee. Eventually it went away, but I'm not sure where! (The cinders...Not my knee.)

I took dance from age three until seven. At three un-coordination is cute, but there comes a time when the costumes and the others in the group can't hide the one with two left feet. Then when I was in Junior High, my time came! Why with my track record, I decided to try ice skating, I don't know, but it was the one and only sport I could do, and was good at. Where I could not stand up on four wheels on skates, I could stand up, and move around on a single, thin, blade of an ice skate. Years of failure suddenly opened up a new world for me. I got to take lessons, and skate during the week, and on weekends. I loved the cool, glassy ice under me, and the wind created by my own body whirling around the rink. Each year the skating club I was in put on an ice show. We had costumes, were each in several numbers, got to wear theatrical makeup, and skated to routines we practiced over and over. The Sioux City Orchestra played all the music, and the light effects were just like the Ice Capade Shows of that era. For a girl who could never be a welcome part of any team effort, this was a magical time in my life! The day my parents upgraded my skates to a professional pair with wooden blade guards, was the absolute ultimate affirmation that I had one thing I had mastered! 

That was the beginning of confidence for me! I was no longer a clutsy loser! In high school I tried out for the Drill team, and found out I could follow directions, do synchronized moves, and I loved it. The Drill Team performed at every football and basketball game. You have no idea, unless you've been there what those things can do for a girl's self esteem. I still fall sometimes, and I still can't roller skate, but that's O.K. I have always been hard on myself when I can't do things. It has taken many years of walking with Jesus, for Him to finally get me to believe, I am just the way He made me! There will always be physical things I can't do, and other abilities I do not have, but He has gifted me in other ways. Since I gave my life to Him, He has shown me those gifts, and He has helped me use them for His Glory to help others. For this functionally disabled person, I was terribly insecure for so many years and really doubted my worth. I have learned that just because you can't do certain things, that does not define who you are! If we were all good at all the same things, there would be no challenges, and it would be a very boring world.






Friday, November 22, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Christmas Past!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Christmas Past!: My first Christmas was in Immanuel children's home in Omaha. Needless to say I don't remember it. I imagine the Deaconesses there di...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Christmas Past!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Christmas Past!: My first Christmas was in Immanuel children's home in Omaha. Needless to say I don't remember it. I imagine the Deaconesses there di...

Christmas Past!

My first Christmas was in Immanuel children's home in Omaha. Needless to say I don't remember it. I imagine the Deaconesses there did what they could to celebrate Christ's birth. It was during the war years, so from history we know there was rationing, and hardship, and families separated. After I was adopted and we moved to Colorado, I remember the Christmases as times of wide eyed wonder, snow, and my heart's desires. Yes you could say I was a spoiled, long waited for, only child. I vaguely remember at about two years old, I became aware of lights on a Christmas tree. According to the grown ups, my Dad went up into the mountains, picked a tree, cut it, and brought it home. In those days you were allowed to do things like that. After it was decorated, my parents brought me into the living room, dimmed the floor lamps, and lit the Christmas tree. My Dad said my eyes got big, and I clapped my hands and said, "Oh Boy!" He said that was the best thing ever. I remember from then on the joy of snowfall on Christmas Eve. We always had oyster soup, crackers, cheese, and meat for supper, then we went to Church. One particular Christmas, as we walked out of  Church
at Midnight, snow was falling. It was so quiet, and magical that night. Christmas in the 1940s was a time for families. Stores were not open on Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day. It was a time of not worrying about offending anyone when you said Merry Christmas. Getting ready for Christmas, and celebrating it was a busy time, but it was not stressed, or all about shopping. It was a time to remember Jesus birth, and to be with friends and family, and to enjoy the season.

One of the best memories was driving from our city, Ft. Collins to Denver to shop. You shopped downtown, not in a mall. The streets were decorated with lights and trees, but it was the department store windows that captured my little girl attention. There were many stores in downtown Denver, and each one vied to have the very best Christmas display. They were elaborate, and animated, and beautifully lit up. What a wonderful tradition that has been lost in history. We always stayed downtown at the Brown Palace Hotel while in Denver. While my Dad did business, Mom and I could walk to the stores. There was a movie theater across the street. It was there I saw the classic movie that had just come out, White Christmas. I remember the clerks in the stores were always polite and friendly, and everyone wished each other a Merry Christmas!

We moved to Sioux City, Iowa when I was 6. Christmas there now included family that were too far away when we were in Colorado. School programs included Silent Night, Joy To The World, and a Nativity. Santa was a part of Christmas, but never in place of Baby Jesus. The best part of Christmas then was going to my grandparents in Wayne, Nebraska. I got to play with cousins, and the food was always good Swedish fare. There were turkeys, hams, mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing. There were presents, and always something special from my grandpa. We spent Christmas according to our faith, and none of us had to worry about offending someone else. Many friends of ours were Jewish. They knew their Hanukkah was different from our Christmas, and that was alright. We visited each other's homes, and were merely curious but never offended by our differences.

I think it is pretty amazing we of the 40s and 50s got along just fine with other's beliefs, and no one ever felt like we were being picked on or offended just because we didn't believe the same. What happened to our world? Now we can't do this or say that, because we don't want anyone to feel bad. I am offended that it is always we that follow Jesus that are the offenders. No one else is told to change the names of their holidays or religious celebrations. We are told from our schools to our businesses to our everyday lives, that we should not say Merry Christmas. It is Happy Holidays, Winter Solstice, or anything other than Christmas. I'm sorry, but instead of Christmas Day on our calendars, I guess we should have Holiday Day. How silly does that sound?  This is where Christians need to stand taller, and object louder! We are many in number, but we are too quiet about our Jesus and His birthday.

If Jesus willingly came to earth, born in most humble circumstances, as a human, then died a horrible death for us, we should be shouting loud and clear that we will celebrate Christmas! In one school, the ACLU decided that Christmas Carols, were not appropriate because it led people to have religious thoughts. If Christ's music, celebrating His Birthday, sung by His people lead to religious thoughts, I say, "Praise The Lord!"   And MERRY CHRISTMAS!"






Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Three Of A Kind......No Way!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Three Of A Kind......No Way!: Three lives, gifts from God. Three lives each unique, each special, each a huge blessing. These three lives would be our children. I pray th...

Three Of A Kind......No Way!

Three lives, gifts from God. Three lives each unique, each special, each a huge blessing. These three lives would be our children. I pray they forgive me for the sentiment, the memories, the reflection from my heart. Each life has been molded and planned by God, and their faith in God is being passed on to their children! How did we get to this grown up plan? It has been a journey, just as your families had a journey. Sometimes there were fun, innocent times, sometimes sad times, and some bumps in the road were bigger than others, but a family emerged and survived.

John is the oldest. He was always a scholar, learning to read at an early age. He got to travel all the way from Nebraska to Arizona with Grandma, and he always knew things most adults never even thought of. He was always the neat and tidy one, and liked everything in it's place. He was content to be alone, but grew into a man who loves people, and above all helping people! He always knew what was current whether toys, electronics, or activities. I remember he loved electronic toys, but as soon as the newness wore off, he took them totally apart just to see how they worked, and if he could put them back together. I will not reveal how that worked for him. He loved magic. He spent hours with his magic kit perfecting it's tricks. He mastered Rubic's Cube, and can figure out almost any computer issue his parents have. Later as an adult, he became a collector of comics, classics of course, and other toys. He still can tell you what toys of the past are worth. He completed college, was always in plays, and musicals through high school and college. He is talented, creative, and yet adventurous to the point of bungy jumping! Today, he follows Jesus, and still ministers to anyone who needs his help. One of the memories that stand out was our trip to The Blackhills. After the a day or two, John's Grandma Mary noticed he was always carrying a small brown paper bag. She couldn't resist any longer, and asked him what was in it. Ultra cautious Mary was horrified to learn he carried his money in it. After her lecture on how unsafe that was, she bought him a billfold. I think secretly he preferred his brown paper sack. He is a writer, including doing a column for a local paper, and he is amazing doing anything in media, video, and advertising.

James is in the middle. He was the adventurous one. He was a boy of a million questions....on everything. If it existed, he wanted to know why, how, and what. He was always unique in many ways. Once when he was very sick, the only way he could rest was with his beloved blanket and Dad laying next to him, so James could twirl a lock of his Dad's hair in his fingers. James loved cars to play with, and he liked Cabbage Patch Dolls. The cool thing is that he has kept most of his favorites, and now his  one year old son is playing with them. James loved remote control toys, and as he got older, he had a love for airplanes. We lived within about three or four blocks from the air port in our town. One evening, James disappeared. In a panic, we looked everywhere, but it was only when we remembered the air port did we find him. He walked across a busy highway, because he wanted to just be near the planes. He didn't care if they were landing or taking off, or just sitting in the hangar. Because he was so inquisitive, he sometimes got in trouble. All of us went to an antique show, including Grandma Mary. We warned all three children to not touch anything. After awhile James couldn't resist. He began picking up glassware of all things. Grandma Mary told him to put his hands in his pockets, so he wouldn't be tempted. Curiosity overcame that, so we decided to buy him something, to occupy his hands. We found a metal top, and gave it to him. Grandma Mary was looking at it, and discovered it was made by The Gibbs Toy Company. We immediately took it from James, deciding it was too valuable and special to be played with. His wise words of course were, "Next time you buy me a toy, make sure it doesn't have our name on it!"  The scariest times for us was when James tried Bull Riding. Needless to say he was injured several times, got back on in true PBR (Professional Bull Riding) style) The last ride was a very serious injury and ended that career. Bike riding then became his passion, and still is including his little son and his wife.
Today, after many plays, musicals, and being a people person, James is a DJ. He is a devoted follower of Jesus, and adores his wife and son! He is a blessing to all who know him,

Last, but by no means least, is Juliane. She was our princess, our dancer, or creative one. I cannot tell you how many games of Candyland and Strawberry Shortcake we played. I do remember it was a hard lesson for her to learn to be a good sport when she lost. As the youngest, and the only girl, it was a joy to buy girly clothes, hair accessories, and shoes for her. She loved games, and her stuffed animal collection and dolls covered her whole bed. Each night they had to be moved just to find a spot for her little body. She too had a favorite blanket, and she sucked her thumb. We only got concerned when she was ready for Kindergarten, and didn't care if the other kids made fun of her or not. No reasoning would sway her. Finally at some  point, she just quit. Our girl loved dancing more than anything. She started lessons at age four, and continued even after college. She loved recitals, and always was in several dances in each one. From the costumes, to the hair, and makeup, she was hooked. From the time she saw the movie, Annie, the music would find it's way into our living room often. I bought her an Annie dress, and she was Annie. We had to stop whatever we were doing to watch her entertain for us. Her one line I'll never forget was, "I was born to dance." She was in every school musical in high school and college. In college she also did choreography for the musicals. Eventually the foot and ankle injuries, and motherhood ended her dance, but I can replay the dances in my head. The absolute love of Juliane's life now is her children. Over the years she has loved taking care of little ones. God blessed her with three. She was a foster mother for several years, and dealt with situations most of us would not have the patience for. Another love that developed after college was hair styling. She went to cosmetology school, and has been doing hair ever since she graduated. She is a good Mom, wife, and friend. She still dances across people's hearts with a style only she has.

Three children, each very different, each very special. They have children that are growing up too fast, but they are involved in those lives. These children of ours have made their mistakes, shed
their tears, smiled their smiles, and gone on to teach their children. When they remember their childhood, I pray it is the good they remember. I pray that the lessons they learned will always serve them well, and I pray tha Jesus remains the priority in their lives! Above all I pray they know how much their Dad and I love them in their uniqueness, and how proud we are of all they have become, and have yet to achieve!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Birth, Adoption, Rebirth.....God's Bigger Plan

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Birth, Adoption, Rebirth.....God's Bigger Plan: National Adoption Month is dear to my heart! When I pray for Moms and babies thinking about abortion as a solution to a problem, I think abo...

Birth, Adoption, Rebirth.....God's Bigger Plan

National Adoption Month is dear to my heart! When I pray for Moms and babies thinking about abortion as a solution to a problem, I think about my own life. Abortion was not an option when I was born, at least not legally. My Mom would never have considered it anyway, for which I am grateful! Talk about a problem.....she had seven other children, her husband had died, and now there would be one more needing food and care. I have learned she was overwhelmed, and the agencies helping her, strongly suggested adoption. She did not want to, but the bullies coerced her, and won. I often wonder, now that I have reunited with my family, what I would have been like if left with my Mom. I know that God had a much bigger plan, and I have been blessed to see it unfold.

Through adoption, my Mom and Dad, had their heart's desire....a child of their own. My Dad was an awesome Daddy, and my Mother, even though we never bonded, tried her best! Through them I had a good life, met a lot of great people, visited almost all 50 states, and learned many things. On the birth side, my Mom had to endure hardships, and heartache. She was strong, and she loved her Savior, Jesus. She raised seven children to be strong, and love The Lord. She grieved for three who were taken. One baby died at birth, one brother died at nine months, and I was given up. God's plan was so much bigger than all of that.

I was always proud to be adopted, but now am even prouder to be a part of my wonderful birth family. My only regret was not trying to find them sooner. Did I mention God had a bigger plan? God chose for me to be Mom and  Daddy's child into their old age. He used the time to bring me to Him, to teach me, and to bring me to the place where He would unfold His plan. Only He could have orchestrated my finding my wonderful family, and for 13 years I have been loved, and included in that family. Our Mom and Grandma died before this, but because they were believers saved by Grace, I will walk into my heavenly home someday, and walk into their arms. I am so thankful that God allowed me acess to the records that were sealed, and let me have my family back. His bigger plan!

Adoptions today can be very different. Some years ago when I was teaching pre-school, one of my students was adopted in an open adoption. He got to meet his birth mother, and she got to be a part of his life. At the time, I thought that was just too weird. When I started writing for our local newspaper, I had a chance to walk through an open adoption with the people involved. It was a beautiful experience for everyone. The birth mother picked the family through files she was given, they in turn were a part of the birth. The day the mother was leaving the hospital, they had a formal ceremony where she physically handed her daughter to her adopted Mom. What was a sad, traumatic event for my Mom, was a celebration for this Mom. She remains a part of their life, and the little girl calls her Mama Carol(not her real name).

These little ones are a God given life from the moment of conception. Their DNA is already in place. God sees them before they are formed. His fingerprint is on them. I know the abortion industry lies to get their way. When I pray, I pray for the Moms who are deceived and for the tiny lives affected. I know some babies are not planned, and can cause problems, but for a short nine months, adoption can be the solution that does not kill. Nine months of inconvenience compared to a lifetime of regret. For this month of November, join me in praying that our world will eliminate abortion, and promote adoption.When I accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord, I was blessed to be not only adopted into His family, but I was reborn. I am no longer the un forgiven sinner, I am a new creation in Christ, and a forgiven sinner. To sum it up God gave me birth and life, He gave me an adopted family. Then He re birthed me in His Spirit, and gave me back to my family, and adopted me again into God's family.
Talk about blessings....and God did have a bigger plan!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: I Wish People Were More Like Dogs!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: I Wish People Were More Like Dogs!: People would be wise to look to our dogs for examples to follow. Dogs are basically happy with very little. Some food, whatever is offered, ...

I Wish People Were More Like Dogs!

People would be wise to look to our dogs for examples to follow. Dogs are basically happy with very little. Some food, whatever is offered, a few toys, a kind word, and a pat on the head, will make them wiggle all over. Dogs love their people no matter what. It is unconditional love, a love that says, "you are mine. I'm not ever going to leave you!" Sound familiar? It should, because that is exactly how our Father, God loves us! That is a good lesson from our dogs!  The gratitude they have for what they have is big lesson number two! Molly, our young Fox Terrier is just happy to be with us. She doesn't care how we dress, if we comb our hair, or if we are perfect. To her, we are part of her pack, just as we are. When she came to us as a gift from God to heal our hearts after Samson died at 17 ( also a Fox Terrier),
she didn't know what we were like, or if we would treat her kindly. Still she came into our home and joyfully gave us her love! We could learn that lesson too. Whoever God puts in our life, we need to embrace them no matter what they look like, and even if we don't know if they will hurt us.

That huge lesson, is trust! The same trust we know if we are part of Jesus' pack. We come to Him, just as we are. He does not care what we look like, as long as our heart is in good condition. We become His through trusting that what His word says is true! We trust He loves us, and will do us no harm, and just as Molly joyfully came to us, we should joyfully come to Jesus. Molly has been with us for five months, and now that she knows us, she has learned that her initial trust was reliable. She knows when we say no, it is to protect her, or keep her from trouble. She knows when we leave, we will come back, and she knows we will never hurt her, or starve her, or abandon her. She suffered a lot of anxiety at first, if we left her. She scratched at the door, and cried, and whined. But over the months, of always coming back, she knew we would return. She still doesn't like it, but she has learned to be secure in our love.

Doesn't Abba, Father do the same for us. He will tell us no for our own good. He will teach us to know Him, so that we know He will never harm us. We know through being close to Him that He loves us, and will protect us. We know that He did leave earth, stays in our hearts, and will return one day! When I have drifted off the path, and Jesus gently turns me around, I know that joyful, puppy gratitude that Molly feels when we come home. She wiggles all over, she whimpers in shear joy, and it is obvious all is back as it should be! I love that. I also love that restoration with my Savior, when I have sinned, and have been forgiven! I can't wiggle all over, but I can show my joy in praise and thanksgiving to show Jesus that all is back as it should be!

Molly has learned about us from spending time with us, learning our ways, and having a consistent set of rules. She knows when it is time to go outside, she knows that a single raised finger means stop! She knows when it is time to sleep, and that a lap is about the best place to take a rest! We learn from God by spending time in His presence. We get to know Him, we learn to love Him, and we learn His rules. We do that by spending time in prayer, just talking to Him. We read His word, because that tells us His rules, His character, and His consistency. Each day brings Molly closer to us. We learn what she likes and doesn't like. She learns our rules, and just how much she is loved. Each day with Jesus does the same thing for me. I learn every day, and I love Him a little more each day!

God designed dogs to be a best friend to their humans! I don't know how He did that, or at what point we figured that out, but I do know that if we let our fur friends, our dogs,into our lives, it is a lifetime commitment of love, trust, and devotion. Our Samson lived to 17, and the last year, he got more feeble, more dependent, and required more care. I was blessed to take care of him, and he hung on as long as he could, to delay our sadness. He quietly stayed by our side. If he had pain, he never showed it. The last few weeks his eyes were fading more, his legs didn't work too well, and his eyes were tired and sad. As our best friend, we knew it was time to say goodbye. He gave us love and loyalty, and made us feel better when we were sad. God designed him that way, and now He has given us Molly! That is a lesson too! God gives us a life long commitment of loving us, being beside us when we are sad, and being loyal to us. He is our Best Friend Forever! Besides.....dog is God spelled backwards!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bullies Are Victims Too

Bullying has become more prevalent and it is never acceptable. Yet if we can look past the bully behavior, perhaps we can see a scared, sad, child, or adult that desperately needs love. Not an easy concept is it? Most often our human side, wants revenge, or punishment for their actions. While they do need to face consequences, what makes a bully bully others? Experts have said, bullies may witness bullying at home, they have not been taught to control anger or aggression. They may experience no warmth or involvement from parents, and have overly permissive parents. Some may be bullied by older siblings, suffer harsh discipline, or have friends who bully. Bullies are usually physically strong, have no empathy, and use bullying others to build themselves up. It is used to enhance their social status and power, and sometimes the bully desperately needs attention. It can become more rampant if schools, authorities, and parents don't address the situation.

Bullying can include teasing that becomes mean spirited, spreading rumors, or attacking another. It can happen anywhere. Again if we look to the bully, we may see someone who has little success themselves. They are crying out. Please do not think I am on the side of the bully, but because I try to see others as God sees them, I just think these children are crying out for something lacking in their lives, and in their hearts. Some may think it's cool, but we need to look deeper to see what is needed to turn them around. Sometimes we adults simply do no give them the skills they need, or the attention they need to handle life. If bullying is a learned behavior, then that behavior can also be unlearned. 

I don't know if you had a bully in your life, or if you were a bully, I was both. In the 1950s as a 6th grader, we thought we were "hot stuff" and we acted like it. This was a time when 6th grade was like the seniors of the school. Next year was Junior High, and back to the low end of the status scale. We were in a new school, and only 5th and 6th grades were in the school until the next year. I look back on we girls, and realize how awful we were. Our bullying centered on 10 girls against one. She was not quite as affluent as our families(or so we thought). Her Dad was a clerk in a store. Our Dad's were in business, lawyers, doctors, and somehow we thought that made a difference. She didn't always dress as nice, and we convinced ourselves, we just didn't like her. We had none of the obvious things in our lives that would make a bully, so I shudder to think what we would have been like if our parents ignored us.

Our parents were involved in our life, we didn't have mean parents, and we did have to follow the rules. 
We did, however, think very highly of ourselves. We had no empathy for the victim at all. Our bullying was verbal, hurtful, and very wrong, but we never thought of physically hurting this girl. In a weird way we thought it made us superior, when in reality we probably were very insecure. While we teased, made fun of, and excluded her from our group, we never considered that it had to hurt her. She was different, and we thought we were cool. Fast forward 50 years or more, bullying takes on a whole new dimension. Interestingly, there were brief times in that year, that we befriended this girl, and turned on one of the other girls. I too took my turn at being teased, hearing hurtful words, and being ignored and left out of the group. I think that was a good thing, because I learned really quick how hurtful it was.

What can we do to help our children and youth through this maze of meanness? First of all, never ignore the behavior. Pay attention to your children. Talk to them, teach empathy for others, but also listen to them. Make consequences consistent and fair, make expectations very clear, and teach by example. If you have ever suffered at the mouth of others, you know if scars, and hurts, and the hate from it destroys. One major point I want to make is that teaching must also include Jesus. If Jesus fills a heart, hate will not be as successful. If a heart is brought into the obedience of Christ, the body will cheerfully obey His commands. It is my love for Christ, and my personal relationship with Him, that allows me to see the other side of the bully. It is not always easy to do, because the human in me wants to see the bully get what's due him or her. I need to pray for the bullies in our schools, and in our world as much as I do for the victims. In a bully situation, or a lost soul situation, only satan wins. We need more than ever to
protect our children whether they bully or are bullied, and only Jesus can be the ultimate example.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Lost Can Be Found!

Unless you live in a deep, dark, cave in remote America, you see our country struggling with morality, violence, disrespect, and a new normal. Everyone seems to want what they want, no matter the cost, no matter who is hurt. Our world is steeped in selfishness and in disregard for what is right. If it feels good, or if it makes me look good and have power over others, it is right. As a result those new normals as the world goes, drift down to our children. If these are their examples, then that is how they will deal with their world. When something or someone gets in the way, people will fight for their rights. If violence, injustice, rage, and disrespect is what they know, that is what they will use. Before I came to know Jesus as my Savior, I was terrible to others. It didn't matter if they were in a car messing up my schedule, or a clerk or waitress that wasn't perfect like me. I reacted with unjust rage, nasty words, and the worst bad attitude you have ever seen. If you messed up my day, my time, my plan, you were going to be run over by my nasty temper! I honestly do not know how I had any friends, much less a wonderful man, John, who wanted to marry me.

Unfortunately, we pass this on to the next generation, and then the next. As satan blinds us to these actions as being wrong, the more we become desensitized to our behavior. The behavior then increases in frequency and intensity. That is where our world is today. People want total power, total control, and if they can't have it, they will do whatever they have to to get their way. Our society has become so prideful they see no fault in themselves. It is much easier to blame someone else or something else for our action. That lets us off the hook. When I was so mean to others, I blamed my mother, because she was like that, and It wasn't my fault they messed up my day and valuable time. How silly that sounds.

We humans do not automatically come with patience, kindness, respect, and humility. It has to be learned and passed from generation to generation. Now out of all this, I have been shown frequently by God lately, that those in our country, our world, our cities that are so angry, so disrespectful, and so mean spirited, simply are lost. They are living like I did, before Jesus came into my heart and life, and changed me. I look back, and I can still feel those feelings that were so miserable, and so hate filled that I lashed out at anyone who crossed me. I know now that those people did not intend to make me mad, they did not purposely set out to make my life difficult. Since I can still project those feelings, I know I never want to feel that again. I may still feel hurt by others, and I still hate injustice, but the Spirit of God is in me now, and how I react is how He would have me react. It is by no means a done deal. I still can get angry and frustrated, but how I handle it reflects Christ in my life.

God has been impressing on me a lot lately that I need to really realize that I need to love even my enemies, and that includes enemies of my country, my city, and my neighborhood. That is so hard for my human skin form because it goes against what that skin, and the world tells us. Jesus died on a cross for me, my family, my friends, neighbors, and even my enemies. Jesus died for the lost, the angry, the violent, the evil, and the bullies of this world. He keeps showing me that it is because they are lost, just as I was, that they act with anger, violence, and immorality. I have been trying to pray for the lost. I can't change them, I can't let myself get upset by their actions. I can pray they find Jesus, and that their lives are turned around just as mine was.

I am also praying that parents and teachers can teach children to respect others, and to learn to take responsibility for their actions. When I grew up in the 40s and 50s, we were taught that grown ups, and police, teachers, parents had authority over us, and our job was to respect that, and obey. We didn't always like it, and in small ways we rebelled, but we also knew that disobedience came with swift and sometimes heavy consequences. Most of us were not willing to cross that line. We got in trouble sometimes, but we knew if we got caught, it would be dealt with. No one worried about our sensitive feelings, or how fair it was. Right was right, and wrong is wrong! Children are naturally self-centered, so teaching them God's word, respect for others, including all living things, is vital. If disrespect and hate is the legacy left, it will be the legacy passed on. If left unchecked, each generation becomes more resistant to the rules. Following Jesus is the first step to putting theses values back into America's framework. Matthew 7:12 says to treat others as we want to be treated. If we are going to teach it, we had better be living it! God's values are always applicable. Our job is to know Him, know His word, apply it, and pass it on, the next time you hear about someone doing something mean,nasty,  or violent....hard as it is! PRAY for them, and know they are lost. What they need is Jesus as their Lord and Savior!





Monday, September 30, 2013

What God Puts Together,

Little girls dream of that special day when they walk down the aisle to be joined with the man of their dreams on their Wedding Day. As little girls, in our innocence we focus on a beautiful dress, the best vail, flowers, and a three tier cake. We give very little thought to the ceremony, or the vows we will take, and the man of our dreams is just that....a made up dream figure. As teens, we lose our hearts and our sanity on a regular basis, based on the cutest and most popular boys. When that first love truly hits us, we can't imagine anything better in our lives. Most times, first loves end, amid heartbreak. Through college and young adult life many dates may come and go, but if God is allowed to be in charge, our perfect mate, soul mate, and best friend will come into our lives, and we are swept away with an unbelievable love.

God was truly in my husband John's and my meeting, and falling in love. In fact before we ever knew each other, God crossed our paths. When I was in fifth grade in Sioux City, Iowa, my class was the first to inhabit the new school two blocks from my house. For that first year our class and the sixth grade from our old school were moved to the new one. That summer they had a day long playground camp at the new school. There were games, crafts, and lots of activities for the neighborhood. John and I attended that summer camp at the same time, and never knew it. It was the only year the school did this. My house was on a street that had an alley behind it, and the other street that backed up to it, was where John's cousins lived. While he visited them we were only one block apart in addition to being on the same playground.

The next connection we had was through one of his good friends in Omaha. He spent time with her and her family while his mother worked near their house. As a result he met her older brother, and the young lady he was going to marry. This young woman would turn out to be my sister. I was adopted, and when I found my birth family, John and I discovered this connection! God had ordained that we be together from before we were born. Because we humans don't automatically know God personally, until we choose to accept Him as Lord and Savior, we sometimes take many paths out of the way of His path for us. That's what I did. For years I went my way, but God is God, and His plan would prevail even if it took awhile. I am so grateful that it finally happened!

From the first time I met John, I was not interested, but he was persistent. Once God stepped in and we went out. It was obvious we were a matched set. Those who know John, know his unique humor, and his heart for people. After our first date, I knew he was special. We talked for hours, we laughed, and enjoyed being together. In three months time, we were engaged! He even got down on one knee to propose. I have to admit that I then panicked and wasn't sure I was doing the right thing. Again God was in control, even though I did not know Him at the time. I never told John how scared I was, because I figured it would go away and I really loved him. I remember we went to a movie with Gene Wilder, which we both loved because of the wacky humor that appeals to us both. The theme song was Taking A Chance On Love. It hit me then and there that this was the right step to take, and I have never regretted it for a minute. Now that I know God, I know He will use even a popular movie and song to relay His plans to us.
Through our years together, we have grown, we have learned what marriage looks like, and we have had so many special times together. Many Anniversaries, we have chosen to eat a quiet dinner at home, we don't need cards, flowers, or gifts, or romantic dinners. Those are nice when they happen, but it is the day to day that matters. We have each other, our family, and friends, but most of all we share the love of Jesus in our lives. We have learned to be content, and to know what is important. Humor has always been a big part, so we laugh often in a day, we enjoy just being together, we care about each other, and we always say "I Love You," many times a day. There have been sad times, bad times, and yet, God brings us through, and even closer knit than we were before. We are in between our Silver Anniversary and our Golden, and each day is a blessing, and a treasured memory!

Monday, September 9, 2013

I Am A Princess!

Insecure, desperate to please, and convinced I had no worth. Does any of that sound familiar to you? I pray it does not. I don't recall when I first felt so short of the mark, but I do know it has been a long, heartbreaking journey.  The first time I tried to help mother with canning peaches, I was seven. Mother was an expert at everything she did, so she assumed if she told me, I would have the same skills. She desperately wanted me to be an exact image of her. Since I was adopted, I had none of her genes to fall back on....I was just me.  She could peel an apple or a peach so skillfully there was only the thinnest skin that came off. Never, ever was there any meat of the fruit attached. I on the other hand got more of the fruit with the skin than was acceptable. To this day, I can not peel anything thinly. Mother could not understand what was wrong with me, never mind a little credit for trying.

She started me ironing early too with napkins, pillow cases, and sheets. Again perfection was the only standard. I tried, but I never was perfect. Maybe that's why I hate ironing today. I did get better, but I am still far from perfect. Cleaning, vacuuming, or washing dishes, I was never good enough. I was always told that some part was not right, no matter how hard I tried. I don't know how my mother got perfect in her house wife chores, but she never stopped working. I think maybe she was insecure herself, and these were things she could do well. That's great, but it hurt to always hear how lacking I was. Her favorite phrase throughout my life was, "I would never do that." Or she would say, "Why can't you do things like I do?" I grew up thinking I was useless, and that I could never do anything right, no matter what.

Friends were another source of dissension. I picked friends that were a lot like me...ordinary people. We had fun together, and we liked the same things. I didn't have to pretend with them, I could just be me. Mother didn't think they were good enough. They were alright, but she would have chosen friends for their money, their social status, and their looks. It made me sad, and I felt so alone sometimes. I longed to be accepted for who I was. It made me very awkward around people, because I had to always be mother's creation. No matter where we were or who we were with, mother talked for me. "Carolyn likes.....or Carolyn thinks...." She put words in my mouth, and told me what to like, or not like. I don't know if she really knew what she was doing, but she so wanted a clone of herself.

When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, slowly, but daily, He has molded me into what He wanted me to be from the moment He planned me. It has been a very long, hard road, but slowly, I learned that I am of worth. God chose me before creation to be His Princess. He waited for years and years for me to come to Him, and develop a relationship with Him. He never gave up on me! He made me His daughter, a princess of the King. He has taught me that He designed me, He fashioned me heart, body, and soul so I could be His child for eternity! Ever so slowly, Christ has taught me that I don't have to fit in, I don't have to be like anyone else! I have been wonderfully made so I can reach others and turn them to my Savior. I am still insecure sometimes, and sometimes I don't think I measure up, but those are the world's standards. As long as I follow God's word, and let Him lead me, I have all the worth and value, He deems necessary. Jesus gives me all I need to walk in confidence. I am His princess. I have long since settled things with my mother. I can see now through God's eyes how sad, and insecure she was. She bluffed her way through with money, prestige in the community, and processions. She accepted Jesus as her Savior three years before her death, but sadly too late to enjoy truly being a princess. For now God is taking my failures,successes , tears, and joys, and putting them in a wonderful harmony to do His work here. The greatest thing God has taught me through this journey, is I don't have to hide my hurt from Him, I don't have to be what I was not meant to be. Hand in hand, He leads me, and when I walk into the heavenly realm one day, I will be wholly, and completely what God had for me before time began!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The "C" Word

Cancer is a disease I don't remember being aware of until the early 70s, when a friend had bone cancer. I watched him become less and less active, and finally he could no longer leave his bed. The disease left him incredibly thin, and any movement at all broke the bones in his body. I can not imagine the pain he must have endured. It was a time when research and treatment was not as advanced as it is now. At the time I became terrified of getting cancer. The next time this disease reared it's head was with my own father. I had come to know The Lord as my Savior,by then, so cancer or any disease no longer held the same fear for me. My Dad was in the hospital for a biopsy, and he called early one morning to tell Me it was prostate cancer. He wanted to tell me first, so I could help soften the blow for my mother. My Dad had surgery, and it was completely successful! He never had a reoccurrence.

The very word cancer, has always been a word no one wants to hear from their doctor, and yet as it has become more prevalent in our world, it seems to have touched almost everyone I know. If caught early, chances are good that it is contained, and further treatment is not needed. Others are not able to be in remission without chemo and radiation. One friend battled colon cancer for years. He tried all kinds of things besides chemo, like nutrition and succeeded in fighting the fight for many years. In that time, he never missed work, and kept going. Another friend I had when we moved to Bellevue, was battling cancer when I met her. She often did not feel like driving, so I took her to her doctor, to chemo, and radiation. Chemo took several hours each time, and I went in and sat with her while she was there. As I sat in a large room at Methodist, there were multiple chairs, each with a patient waiting while the chemicals flowed through their bodies. What I learned was the incredible bravery of these people. I know they were in pain, the chemo made them sick, yet they smiled, visited, knitted, and read. Other than the ports, and tubes, and IV bags, you would not have known their misery. I remember one young wife who was there for the first time. She was the only one who still had long thick hair. She was scared, yet showed her brave, sweet side. I found out she was a believer in Jesus, so we shared some prayer time. I came away vowing that if I ever got cancer, I would pray to be as brave as she was.


Cancer does run in some families, and then again can attack with no previous history.
It is no respecter of race, religion, male, or female. It doesn't care of you are rich, poor, celebrity, or not. What I know is, everyone I have known has fought back with dignity, bravery, and confidence that they would be better. I no longer fear this disease, because I trust Jesus to be in charge. I know that the inner strength comes from Him, and I know that I have a network of family and friends behind me. My prayer is that I would be as brave as all those I have known. I sat in the hospital yesterday as another friend starts this journey. She will be no less brave.

One thing about this dreaded word is that it not only plays no favorites, it comes and goes. Some, like my Dad had a one time encounter, and never again. My sister had a one time encounter, and never again. Others, can be in remission for years, but it can return in another area unannounced. For them, each time a spot is found, or something isn't right, it is a trauma of "is it back?"  I praise God that research and treatment has been ongoing, and has come so far. Most of all, I praise God that He and He alone is the ultimate healer. If you, a friend, or loved one has been or is now on this journey, I pray that the great physician and healer, Jesus, is in charge and that you can trust Him for the outcome.... But the "C" word is still scary, and probably always will be. 

Childhood cancer is for me the saddest. These children at various ages have to endure the pain, the sickness of chemo, and the life of doctors, hospitals, needles, and fear, for something they probably don't understand. Again, these littlest patients have that same bravery and fighting spirit. What it all comes down to, for me, is a tremendous respect, and being totally in awe of anyone who has to go through this. What an inspiration all cancer patients are to the rest of us. No one will ever know their struggles, but them, because it is the bravery and courage we are left with!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Age Is A Stage Of Life!

I am old! At least that's what my grandchildren think. It's an age old reaction of the young when you tell them you are any age over 20,"That's so old!" When we are twenty, we see the age of 40 plus as old, while ages of 50 and older are ancient. I've done it and so have you. When I was young, my mother had a friend who often said, "I will just die when I turn 30."  Sadly, she did die unexpectedly two days before her 30th birthday. I have found that as I approached each decade of life, it was not the trauma I had been led to believe. Now as I approach another decade milestone, I just feel blessed that God has given me these years.

For so many elders, life begins to decline, as health fails, minds become less sharp, and eyes and ears become dim and muted. When my mother had to finally go to a Nursing Home, I spent many hours there every day. I observed a variety of ways elders cope with the process. Some were pleasant and  eager to visit, get involved in activities, and were thrilled with any attention. They appreciated my efforts to visit with them when I visited my mother. Others were withdrawn, grumpy, and chose to just sit in the common areas or in their rooms. Many were confused, and I know many did not feel well, or were in pain. Sadly too many spent day after day with no family coming to visit. One sweet lady said she had no family left, except a sister-in-law. This lady was not from Nebraska, had never been to Nebraska, but ended up here because of her only relative. She was very lonely, and lit up when anyone talked to her. One day as I walked past her room, I heard her crying. It broke my heart. I stepped in, and when she saw me she smiled. I gave her a hug, listened to her, and stayed to pray with her. It was nothing special on my part, just the love of Christ showing through me. I am so glad I had that time with her, because not long after that, she got very ill, and could no longer sit and visit. I treasure  the wealth of life and experiences I learned from her. We all can learn from the elders around us, if we would take time to hear their stories.

I also discovered that if I took our dog, Samson with me, they all wanted to pet him and talk to him. We some times forget that these elders once had lives that included pets and all the things we still enjoy. Just because we age, doesn't mean we no longer love, or enjoy the things we once did. There is nothing quite so sad as an elder that is forgotten or ignored. Aging is a process that is not always easy, and to have to do it alone is heartbreaking. I didn't always enjoy visiting my mother every day, but I am grateful that I did. I learned a lot in those three years, and met some really sweet people. That I cared about. My little circle of elders also loved listening while I read the Bible out loud. I prayed with them, gave them hugs, and loved on them, and listened to them. For a season, God gave me a mission field that was a huge blessing.

I also had the privilege of being my mother-in-law's care giver for three years. We were blessed to move her down the hall from us. As she became more dependent on me, I learned more about the aging process. Just imagine for a moment what it feels like to be 90 plus. Physical  ailments compound one on another, you can't see as much, and you can't hear very well. You find yourself in a body that doesn't respond the way it used to be able to. You can't remember so many things, and your world has become very confused. I used to get frustrated with my mom-in-law, Mary, because she was so child like, yet at 97 I thought she should know better, or at least be able to understand. The reality was that she couldn't help the confusion. I tried to imagine her world, what she was feeling. She was slowly piece by piece losing who she used to be. She was losing control over a life that had been independent and confident. When she was stubborn, it was because she really couldn't comprehend, or because it a last stand for some kind of control. It must feel like total isolation.

I have a sister and brother-in-law whose health now will necessitate giving up their home, and going to a nursing home. I know the pain, anger, and confusion they will experience, yet God's plan is in their best interest. My prayer for them and all of us as we age, is that God will smooth the way. I pray that with this view of understanding and compassion, that life will be easier for our elders, and for us. Our elders have a lifetime of experience, talent, and legacies. They deserve our respect. Somewhere inside is still the talented, vibrant, educated person that lived, and loved, and laughed at 20, 30,40,50,60, and beyond!

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Beginnings

Well I am starting on yet another new adventure. Actually it is the same adventure, different location. When my blog site went down and was un-retrievable, I missed blogging, so determined to start over. At this point some things are better, some are not, and some are just different. I will need you, my followers to share your input.

New adventures are always exciting. When I began writing, after I finished my classes, I did not really become a writer, until I had written for awhile. I was blessed with a loving, Godly, patient editor, and she taught me all the rest of what I know now. I discovered over  the years that it is essential to never stop learning. You have to be willing to learn, and not be so egotistical that you think you are too good to learn from others.

The very first thing I learned from God was that all writing I did had to honor Him. I met so many Christians, was blessed to tell their stories, and was assigned more and more. I have never resorted to taking advantage of people, just for a story. I have never written trash, or anything that wasn't up-lifting.God has directed this career and has given the talent....I can do no less.

Sometimes new adventure can be scary. In our skin suits, we are afraid of what we don't know. We can drive ourselves crazy imagining the outcome, especially if it is an area we have never walked in before. When I went to college, I had never been far from home. I was not a super good student, and I imagined no one would like me, classes would be too scary to even imagine. Reality was that I made friends, I still wasn't a super student, but I passed, and I enjoyed my classes. When I started teaching, I was unsure of how much influence I would have. Again would anyone like me, and could I handle a room full of pre-school children? Of course it went well, and now years later I am seeing those kids graduate from  High School and going off to college.

New adventures....God's training ground! How boring life would be without the adventures whether they are good or bad. I have learned that sometimes an adventure is not what we had in mind for our lives, but if we are followers of Jesus, and we are His, He will take even unintentional adventures, and turn them into good for His glory. I look back and see His mighty hand in all I have become, even when I didn't have a clue. Even this Blog....I did not want to give up all  I had  created on the other site, but He is walking me through this one, and it is good! Praying that you will join me in the adventure, while you enter your own new adventures in life! I am grateful, wherever I go, I go not alone! God has my back!