Take this world. Give me Jesus.

imagesSomedays it seems that the world is full of more darkness than Light. Recently, I read that if I focus on the Light in the world and the good things people do, I will be less influenced by the darkness. I equate this to the “junk in, junk out” philosophy. When I continually, focus on the dark it becomes overwhelming. My attitude deteriorates. My mood becomes cloudy. When I notice the kindness of others, the beauty of nature, the smile of my grandson, the many blessings God has given, my attitude becomes lighter. My outlook reflects this with gratitude.

One recent afternoon, my attitude was flushed down the toilet (so to speak). Initially, I was unaware of the change. But, God gently nudged my inner being. Thankfully, not with the iron skillet I deserve!  He was waiting for me to reach out to Him. To readjust my focus to the Light, the Word. We were created for union with Him. Each human is searching for Him. When we do not commune with Him, we seek other ways of satisfaction and are disappointed when it doesn’t work. We must look to God first. I know I fail at this more than I’d like to admit.

My prayer for each of us: Father, thank You for Your Manual of Life! Help us not to give in to distraction. Gently, guide us back to Your Word, Your Truth. May we begin each day with praise for the many blessings You provide.

Matthew 6:33-34 (TPT)  “So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly.Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.”


Did you make a New Year’s Resolution?


2466553-pine-branch-with-icicles[1]Proverbs 19:21  A person may have many ideas concerning God’s plan for his/her life, but only the designs of HIS purpose will succeed in the end.

Many people make resolutions: lose weight, read the Bible, clear out the clutter, exercise more, get married, get a new job, etc. Those are human hopes for 2019. While some of those hopes may happen, God’s timing trumps our resolutions. His path may have different twists and turns than our plan.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.

Isaiah 55:9 As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, My thoughts higher than your thoughts.

We have to stay in-step with God. We must be intentional in seeking His path. We need to unplug from social media, games, life’s distractions and turn to God’s word – the Bible – for guidance. We need to be still and listen for His voice.

Personally, I stopped making resolutions years ago. I want to be my best everyday. I don’t need to wait for a holiday to start managing my time or taking care of my body. Tomorrow never comes…there’s always another tomorrow. Or is there?

Here’s the take away: Focus on God and live as if today is the last day of your life.

May God richly bless your 2019!    lg

HOPE: Bringing Light to darkness

Recently, the news told of two tragic celebrity suicides. We try to understand: “Why?” “They seemed to have everything.” Some would say they were selfish, only thinking of themselves. I disagree. Taking one’s life is an act of desperation. The intensely overwhelming darkness of pain and hurt boxes in a person until the only way to stop the pain, they feel, is to exit this world. I have been affected by the attempted suicide and suicide of some I know. My why is “why not ask for help?” There is no shame in asking for help. We are meant to be community, supporting each other.  Social media makes life look so perfect. Well, I, personally, DO NOT post my deepest hurts on social media. That doesn’t mean I don’t have hurts. It means I guard what information I put out for public display. No one on this earth has a perfect life. 

Jesus befriended the most unlikely: the Samaritan woman at the well John 4:1-42; Zaccheus, Chief Tax Collector Luke 19:2-10; many leapers and blind healed by Jesus, and more. Jesus looked for those who were most likely to be alone in the world. He demonstrated genuine love to them. He was interested in each individual.

Ponder this: How do you (we) demonstrate genuine interest, like Jesus did, in your (our)  community? Do you offer the drive-by “how are you?” not really wanting or expecting an answer, let alone a truthful answer? If you are asked, “how are you?”, do you answer honestly? Or play the game with a “fine”?  We need to take time, make time, to REALLY listen to our friends and family. Check-in on a deeper level. We need to reconnect to each other.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, communities had barn raising. Multiple families gathered to build one farmer’s barn. They went to each property until each barn was raised. I imagine a giant potluck of food went with each raising! And, the children would run and play nearby. Most people knew everyone around them. How many of us don’t even know the next door neighbor? You know, the one you have seen frequently at the mailbox? We are meant to have fellowship.

Connecting in fellowship, friendship, community on a deeper level will help to expose the darkness to the Light. By talking about hurts, depression, anxieties, helplessness, we can share the burdens and bring them into Light. Where there is Light, there is no darkness.

Pray! Ask God to bring you help! I have prayed for help and God is faithful to answer!

Pray! Ask God to show you someone YOU can help! I have prayed for this and God is faithful to answer!

2 Samuel 22:29 “for You are my lamp, O Lord; and the Lord illumines my darkness.”

So, can we bring Light to the darkness of depression and hopelessness?                lg


What is the new normal?

Often, relatives ask me if Houston has recovered from Harvey. My response is to explain that from the outside we may look like we’re back to normal, but inside is a different story. Although some areas still have debris needing pickup, many places have been restored on the exterior. The interior is another story. My neighborhood friends whose homes flooded are still repairing, replacing, renewing areas inside their domiciles. Some still do not live in their houses. Many businesses have not reopened. What is the new normal?

Originally, many offered help. People came from across the United States to assist. Human kindness at its best. Since Harvey hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico have been sucker punched by storms. The helpers followed the urgent need. I completely understand. It’s natural to plug the biggest hole and move on to the next biggest hole. Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t stop when the exterior is polished. He continues on the project to work on the interior, the heart, the closets we have locked. He restores completely in a way only He can. It is difficult to understand why things sometimes have to be so challenging, but know that we can persevere with Jesus on our team. AND our experience gives us the ability to help someone else! (I feel like a cheesy cliché goes here!) Just know this: prayer works, Jesus hears you and knows your pain and struggles, you will get through this strange season of new normal. It may not be fun, but we are survivors! 


Post Hurricane Harvey Status: In the chaos, do you have calm?

Corrie Ten Boom comes to my mind. She endured the unimaginable at the hands of Nazis. I do not know if I would have had her faith. Yet, she did NOT lose faith. She relied on God to provide what she needed, including keeping the only Bible hidden during strip searches!
Harvey was an unbelievable rain event for the greater Houston area – and more. It may seem that after five days of mostly non-stop rain, that the storm is gone. But if you live in an area hit hard by floods, your neighborhood looks like a war zone; a third world country. If your home, business, and property were spared, do you experience “survivor’s guilt”? Soon those who came to help will leave. Some will return to their homes. Others will move on to the aftermath of Irma. In Houston, the restoration will be far from over. Some areas still have flood waters in houses and businesses. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will be seen in the eyes of those who have lost so much of what daily life was to them. Many wonder “where is God in all of this?” My response, “just look around at the communities coming together, churches organizing work teams and supply shipments.” There were so many volunteers at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center, that they lined the street in front of it! I saw photos of donations spilling out of boxes, neighbors helping neighbors, strangers helping strangers. Many people were watching out for the safety of others and properties. Celebrities have been raising money and sending supplies. No one is checking political opinions or religious beliefs. It’s been people helping people. Simple? Yes, but sometimes difficult in these times.
Life is often like a jigsaw puzzle, but we don’t have a clue what the picture looks like until it’s almost finished. God gives us only the pieces we need for today’s portion of the puzzle. It may or may not be something recognizable. Those who know me know that I am quite a puzzling aficionada. I love to assemble jigsaws even when I do not have the final picture for clues to help. However, I will admit, when it comes to life, I want to know what the bigger picture is! I believe that in our humanness, we cannot process life’s big picture all at once. It reminds me of hiking Half Dome in Yosemite. I couldn’t do it in one step. It is miles and miles of trail that weave through the park higher and higher. I trained strenuously for three months. It takes 6-7 hours to reach the summit. Many of you remember how that worked out for me, or didn’t! (See hiking blog beginning with post on 8/25/15). It has been two years since I almost died and had to be life-flighted by helicopter to a trauma center. I am glad I did not have that piece of the day’s puzzle! God redeemed my experience in so many ways. Throughout my healing process, I had peace and calm given by God. I didn’t know if or when I would drive again or have semi-normal vision. My daughter told me that she was amazed at how calm I was about all of it. I can assure you that was divine not Linda! Some of my family and friends have experienced PTSD from living through my story. Life can be traumatizing! BUT:
God is in the healing business, redeeming business, restoring business. We need to walk through the storm’s aftermath with confidence in Abba, God the Father. This is our temporary home. Material possessions are fleeting. Turning to God will bring the calm and peace amidst chaos. Which will you choose?                                                                     LG

Psalm 3: 3-5
But you, LORD, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the LORD,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.

The Acts of Paul

Glory Hole enlarged dryIf you’re like me, you are tired. Tired of world issues, violence, hatred, extreme reactions. Feeling battered and battled; a dried and cracked vessel.

How did Paul keep moving forward under his difficult circumstances? Paul endured more than I can imagine. He CHOSE to go back to Jerusalem even though he knew it would me beatings and imprisonment, or worse. (Acts 21:10-15)
I wonder: did Paul ever wake up and think “I’m tired. I’ll just stay in bed today.” Or “Hey guys, I’m just gonna soak in the tub today. Take the day off.” Somehow, I don’t think he did. He relied on God completely. He counted his loss as gain. He was repeatedly beaten to break his will; imprisoned to prove a point. He didn’t curl up in a ball and think “woe is me”. He sang and praised God from his cell. His ministry did not cease while he was imprisoned. In fact, we are still reading the letters he wrote while in prison. Paul’s conversion was dramatic and life changing. His passion for spreading the news of Jesus as Messiah was fueled by the multitudes who were converting. Maybe he was the original “Jesus Freak”.
Most days I don’t have 1/10 of the energy and passion we find in Paul. This world and its chaos breaks my heart. I’m talking about grieving heinous crimes, national/international responses. If my heart aches over these things, how much more is God grieved? How can I have just half of the perseverance and endurance Paul exhibited?
Acts of Paul:
Perseverance, tenacity, loyalty, faithfulness, endurance…
Father God, thank You for Paul’s example. Show me how to rely fully on You to restore and fill me! Give me the acts of Paul!

The Making of a Miracle


IMG_3333September 15, 2016

It was so strange to return to Yosemite. Many things seem different than I remembered, but now there is road construction in Yosemite Valley. We walked into the Yosemite Medical Clinic and ask to see Dr. Groves. We waited to meet MD Ralph since he was working with a patient.

 After greeting us, he walked us to the back of house where we met ambulance medics Joy and Mike. The three of them range in height from 6’2” – 6’7”!! My husband is 6’3”. At 5’4”, I am quite a shrimp in comparison.  

Apparently, my case was extraordinarily atypical and won’t soon be forgotten by YOSAR (Yosemite Search and Rescue) or the Yosemite medical staff. After initial thank yous and hugs, we spoke with the three and learned a few more details regarding my descent to the awaiting helicopter.

The average YOSAR teams are composed of a mix of medical personnel and non-medical personnel. Matt was a paramedic with the team who reached me first. He phoned via satellite the Yosemite Medical Clinic to speak with the MD Ralph regarding my symptoms. At this point, I was able to answer the neuro-cognitive tests (What year is it? Who is president?” etc.) accurately and paramedic Matt (and team) did not suspect I was not lucid. This is one of those times the tests didn’t give the whole picture. I don’t remember the YOSAR team at all! Or the search and rescue dog! Since 99.9% of cases that present with my symptoms are dehydration and altitude sickness, the doctor believed I was another simple case: just give the patient IV saline and altitude sickness medication; the patient will rapidly improve. We were told that one of the fastest hikers, who happened to be an EMT, took the medication up the mountain to us, which was around 6 miles from the trailhead.

After the medications were administered, they expected to see an almost immediate and significant improvement. Instead, my decline was rapid.  It became obvious that this was not going to be a typical case. Those of you who know me, know that I don’t do most things in the classic normal fashion. We think this must be around the time I started counting in German!  Ralph was searching for other causes of my condition. He had no way to confirm what he suspected: hyponatremia (critically low electrolytes especially sodium, calcium, potassium). He had recently read a case study of a Grand Canyon hiker with hyponatremia. The hiker did not recover. This condition is mostly found in marathoners in desert areas. To confirm diagnosis, a blood sample is analyzed. Treatment is IV hypertonic saline.  Ralph queries: “Does anyone know if we even have hypertonic saline?” Medic Mike (the un-organized by reputation) had been recently put in charge of the inventory and organization of the medical supplies. He recalls seeing an odd type saline in the supplies. He thinks this is what the Ralph is wanting and he knows where it is. Yes! There are 2 bags of the hypertonic! Ralph weighs the risks vs. benefits of giving me the hypertonic and decided the benefits (if correct) would outweigh the risks (if incorrect). Remember, it’s around midnight at this point. Because of my continued decline, it was “all hands on deck”! YOSAR is bringing me down trail on a gurney with 6 people steadying it and, probably, another 2-3 carrying equipment and supplies. It is still a few miles, around 2 hours to the ambulance waiting at the trailhead. Ralph decides he needs to get the hypertonic to me quickly. Someone needs to hike the medicine to meet the team on the trail. Medics Mike and Joy cannot leave the ambulance. MD Ralph decides to drive to the trailhead and take it to me himself! It took him an hour to get to us.

I believe this is pivotal to both my being alive and having normal brain activity. God knew the hypertonic would begin the restoration of my electrolytes. God knew that Mike would know where the hypertonic was in the supply closet. God knew Ralph, a runner, would be quick on the trail to get to me.

It was another hour before I was at the ambulance. Typical ambulance procedure has one medic as driver and one with the patient. I was in such distress that both medics and another one rode in back with me. (Again, I’m not a typical patient!) We think it was one the of YOSAR team who jumped in to drive the ambulance the 40 minutes to the helipads at Crane Flat Lookout. There was a party in the back and I don’t remember any of it!! The blood analyzer wasn’t working to confirm diagnosis. I began showing the signs of pulmonary edema (trouble breathing). MD Ralph must weigh the options once again. It was decided to add the 2nd hypertonic IV. The party moves on to the helipad. The flight nurse is given all the notes for my case. Due to the pulmonary edema, the nurse decides it is best to intubate before take-off rather than risk needing to do it quickly while en-route on a moving helicopter.

A few people have asked, “Why didn’t they med-evac me off the mountain with the helicopter?” and “Why didn’t the helicopter land in Yosemite Valley?” The answer is: no flying in Yosemite Valley after sunset. It is too dangerous with the varying terrain.

This had such an impact on both YOSAR and the Yosemite Medical Team that the next day Cheyne (non-medical YOSAR) went to the clinic to ask Ralph what was wrong with me. I am glad this doesn’t happen much!

We took some photos near the ambulances. After hugs and some tears, and more hugs, we parted.IMG_3332

Bill and I decided we had time to drive to Modesto and visit Doctors Medical Center Neuro Critical Care Unit (NCCU). To gain entry, one must call the nurse station. Bill called and asked for the charge nurse on duty (Susan). Susan comes out to see us. He explains why we are there. She tells him that she remembers hearing about my case and that the staff would love to meet us. Susan takes us into NCCU. Several of the nurses on duty remember us, even remembering our daughters.  One recalled extubating me! There were lots of hugs and a few tears. I have to admit that only one of them looked familiar to me. IMG_3344

Both groups told us that they rarely see the long term outcome of patients. It was an exciting treat for them. I told them “You done good!” laughing that my daughters would cringe at that phrase.

Here’s what went into the orchestration of my miracle (some taken from brother Ken’s list):

  • I trained and was fit enough to complete the Half Dome Hike.
  • There were other people with me.
  • I chose to turn around, rather than push too far.
  • I was able to hike 2 miles toward the trailhead – I didn’t fall, get lost, or meet a critter. I believe Jesus was carrying me.
  • I agreed that I needed help and one cell phone had service where we were. God was the strong tower of communications.
  • The YOSAR Team was less than 30 minutes away, not 3-4 hours. I consider this a divine coincidence. Unfortunately, the hiker, Timothy Nolan, they had been searching for was found dead the next day, having suffered a diabetic crisis.
  • I had my medical info on my phone, plus my drug allergy bracelet. God forbid I need to use them again!
  • YOSAR convinced Ken and Nils to continue back to Yosemite Valley to keep them safe. God watching over them.
  • The “fastest” hiker was available to bring the initial medications to me and get the IV started.
  • The medical staff was able to see that I needed more help as soon as possible. Divine intuition.
  • Ralph had read and remembered the article about hyponatremia. He’s a runner. He decided to give both bags of hypertonic saline. God’s discernment.
  • Competent Medical teams were waiting at the ambulance and the helicopter.
  • Doctors Medical Center in Modesto is the trauma center for the valley and was prepared to handle my case.
  • My phone led the charge nurse to call my husband. Divine communications.
  • As my family and friends learned of my condition, a prayer fire started sweeping from coast to coast! God’s people joining together, petitioning heaven!
  • My husband and daughters were able to get to Modesto – probably not as quickly as they would have preferred – but safely. God watching over them.
  • Ken was able to secure hotel rooms during a tournament weekend. God’s provision.
  • As my electrolyte levels came back within a normal range, I was brought out of the medically induced coma, able to respond. God’s timing.
  • As my cognition improved, I was able to recognize family, pass the swallow test, and begin walking again. I was discharged and returned to Houston in less than a week! God’s restoring power!

God was the maestro and each person was an instrument in His orchestra. Thank God they were willing and available!

Jesus healed 10 but only 1 returned to thank Him. I want to be continually grateful for my life being spared, for the expertise of those medical professionals I encountered in the process, for my family being together, for the Body of Christ to unite in prayer, and for the opportunity to encourage others by showing God’s love.

I won’t know this side of heaven why God chose me for a miraculous healing and not someone else. My prayer is that the story spreads His love throughout the country. Remember, I am not perfect – well, perfectly ordinary! God uses those who have an open heart and are obedient to His calling.

Epilogue: I went for my yearly eye exam expecting nothing had changed. God is full of surprises! Amazingly, my left eye is now correctable to 20/20! Thank You Doctor Jesus! When I put on the new glasses, my world became so crisp and clear! I pray that I can keep God’s vision in full, clear view.