Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘purpose’

Hands On


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Today I am headed to provide respite for a wonderful daughter and her dad who are caregivers for their mom and wife. They make it possible for this lovely lady to be in her home. She is a sweetheart, but Alzheimer’s is robbing her slowly, day by day, of her ability to function independently. Hands on care is such a gift! Whatever we can do to take care of our caregivers, we should do as often as possible. Give them a respite occasionally. Who knows, I may be that person tomorrow – that person who needs 24/7 care in order to remain in my home. God bless you, dear readers. Reach out to someone today!

Beginnings and Endings


This year, 2014, began with the promise of new beginnings – bright and full of cheer. This is the acrostic I wrote in January:

Just
Another
New Year?
Unmatched
Appreciation and
Respect Daily for
You, O Lord!
Make my
Integrity
Real
And
Contagious.
Lengthen
Every
Second!

Did you see that the acrostic poem read vertically says “January Miracles”? I was expecting all good things, of course, as I asked God to lengthen the seconds and let the minutes linger.

Then the endings began. First our good friend, David, died of emphysema. Actually, in retrospect, the endings started in 2013. My friend, Mary Lou, fell down the stairs of her home and died in November. Then Marcia slipped on the ice on her sidewalk and broke her hip. That ended our weekly Bible studies up the stairs in my sanctuary. Then our neighbor’s dad, Mik, slipped off a step stool… died two days later. I was reminded of my wonderful cousin, Bobby, who died after falling off a ladder two years ago. In the midst of my reminiscence, two friends from our church went to meet our Maker. This week a childhood friend – someone my age – died after fighting a ten year battle with Alzheimer’s. I had a long talk with his wife. Life is tenuous, my friends. Are you making the most of each day? Every minute?

ENDINGS

How steady
is your step stool?
How level
is your ladder?
How alright
are your arteries?
How much does that matter?

A step stool
is not very high.
A ladder
can be deadly.
Your arteries
can wipe you out.
It’s a life-threatening
medley!

Mik slipped
from a step stool.
He landed
on his head.
Just a day
or two later,
our friend, Mik,
was dead.

Bobby fell
off a ladder.
He landed
on his head.
Just a day
or two later,
my cousin,
Bobby, was dead.

Plaque in arteries,
Cholesterol in veins,
High blood pressure,
Heart pumps, but strains.

Careless smoking,
Nasty habit.
Lungs shut down.
No life remains.

 

Take care of yourself, my friend. You matter. Each day is a new beginning. Each day has its endings, too. Stretch the seconds. Lengthen every minute. Make the time count.

 

Peace and Purpose


Living with Peace and Purpose

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Do you have a sense of purpose out of which grows an increasing peace in your life? One of the groups of people with whom I volunteer is the Madison Valley Medical Center Auxiliary. This week we presented to the CEO of our MVMC a check for $8,000. The money represents the proceeds from our recent fundraiser, a Home Tour. Volunteering to help that event happen was a pleasure. The ladies all worked together amiably. The homeowners were gracious, hospitable, and generous. We had determined in advance what the local need was: the replacement of a portable x-ray machine for the hospital.

In presenting the check to hospital, the ladies had a sense of “Mission Accomplished” and looked forward to finding and fulfilling a need for next year. As we look ahead, however, we are mindful of the fact that this check does not begin to pay the balance owed by MVMC for the cost of this life-saving equipment. We are like the child picking up starfish on the shore and throwing them back into the ocean. “Look at all those stranded fish! What difference does it make to throw ONE back?” Well, as the child responded, it makes a difference to THAT one!

Isn’t that what life boils down to? Making a difference for that ONE? That’s my life’s purpose: one act at a time, spread God’s love. Find a need and fill it – or begin the process of filling it. Every starfish counts! What is your purpose? Find it – and be at peace!

Make Me An Instrument


Make Me An Instrument

The words to the song below were written in honor of a dear, talented, generous, Montana friend, Larry Zabel, who went to his eternal home last month. I will try to post a video with the words so that you can hear the tune and words. Keep in mind, it’s an amateur video sung by a Grammy whose voice used to be soprano… I try it in both octaves, just so you can choose which one fits your voice. Be forgiving, dear blogging friends!

Larry leaves behind a legacy of service to our Lord through his hands working magic on canvas. He was truly an instrument of Our Master, showing the majesty of God’s creation and the wonder of God’s people. I am thankful for his many artistic donations which enabled the work of dozens of civic organizations. God’s love exploded from Larry’s heart, palette and brushes onto his canvasses.

Another dear and talented Ennis friend, Gerry Gerron, painted a portrait of Larry Zabel. He will donate it to hang in our beautiful Madison Valley Medical Center. The work of many artists has been enhanced by the talents and inspiration of Larry, who so generously gave of himself. Gerry’s rendering of Larry is one example of how that inspiration plays itself out. The song/poem below is my small offering toward keeping that legacy alive and honoring the man who did so much in his lifetime to be God’s instrument.

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Verse 1:

If I can be a student in my Master’s schools,
If I could be a vessel to carry Love’s Views,
If I could be a light to shine His Good News,
Then my life will not be in vain.

Chorus:

Lord, make me an instrument in Your hands,
Make me an instrument in Your hands,
Make me an instrument in Your hands,
And my life will not be in vain.

Verse 2:

If I can be a beacon to show His Way,
If I can be a shoulder to end a friend’s dismay,
If I can be a fountain, His love to spray,
Then my life will not be in vain.

(Chorus)

Verse 3:

If I can be the arms to lighten someone’s load,
If I can be the path to show a friend The Road,
If I can be a spark to help His Love explode,
Then my life will not be in vain.

(Chorus)

 

(Video with the tune in my next posting)

Make Work Play


This month’s copy of HealthMonitor Magazine had a special focus on Senior Health. In it, Diane Keaton shared some tips for aging gracefully. Make work play, the phrase she quoted from a former piano teacher, resonated with me. As I sit at the hospital reception desk, working my weekly volunteer shift, I realize, this is fun!

As I grow older, one of the benefits I am experiencing is that I get to choose how and when I “work.” It’s really all play, because it’s what I choose to do to use my time constructively. But, as I look back at my career in education, I remember feeling like each day in the classroom with my students also was play. I was doing what I loved! I think that’s one of the keys to living happy days, don’t you?

One of my colleagues, Jerry, seemed not only to always make each work day a play day, but his joy was infectious. I used to wonder if he got tired of laughing all the time, being the one that everyone looked to for funniness. Do you know people like that?  Here in my place of retirement I have a friend whose laugh is infectious the way Jerry’s was. She finds joy in living – joy in places others might find a reason to grumble. Being around her makes life fun, makes work play. Do you have the privilege of knowing someone like that?

Diane Keaton cited in her list of tips for aging gracefully a new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. She shared that researchers “found that people who had a strong sense of purpose in life experienced a 30% slower rate of mental decline compared to those who had less purpose.” Work that is joyful, work that makes us smile, work that is meaningful often seems more like play than a job. It adds purpose to our lives – and at the same time it infects those around us with the joy we radiate. So, when I retired, I didn’t stop working. I just found a different kind of work. Volunteer activities that use my skills, provide encouragement to others, and share the joy of living constitute work that’s play. They help me age gracefully.

Go to HealthMonitor.com and see the entire article. Look at Diane’s other tips. I love the fact that she embraces aging with vim and vigor. She says, “I love life!” I do, too. What tips might you add to her suggestions?

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