Categories
Emotions Reflections

A Sure-Fire Way to Make Me Panic, and a Targeted Miracle

Do you have irrational fears? I do. Fire is a major one.

A Sure-Fire Way to Make Me Panic

Yes, fire is a rational danger but the panic I feel, in relation to it, is not. It stems from a movie I saw when I was too immature to process. Someone was burned at the stake, and to this day I vividly recall the way the actor’s body writhed and his face contorted in pain.

Just the thought of burning is a sure-fire way to make me panic. I have a stash of unused candles because I love the fragrance but fear the fire. I cautiously enjoy our gas fireplace, which is predictable and controllable.

It isn’t just fire, I’ve discovered. Its burns in general. So when my son’s text buzzed in, it brought me to my knees.

The Text which Made Me Panic

It was Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving. I was preparing for bed. My son is 19, the last of our kids living at home. He was at work. I picked up the phone and read.

“I burned my foot really bad”.

My heart sank and my stomach knotted. I felt dizzy. And then another buzz.

“Just letting you know. I’m going to be struggling for the next days or weeks.”

I started to panic. I wanted to throw up. My reaction was irrational, but at least it drove me to my knees. “Oh God, please take away his pain!”

A Sure-Fire Way to Get Burned

As I prayed, I texted back. I told him I was praying and asked what happened. My son works in the kitchen of a restaurant.

He said he was cleaning the fryer. The apparatus has a hose which shoots the hot oil, and he dropped it. The oil sprayed into his shoe. That is a sure-fire way to get burned!

He secured the machine and made sure no one else was injured before attending to himself. By the time he removed his oil-soaked sock, it had held the heat on his skin longer than I cared to surmise. His manager assisted him with burn gel and a bandage. Unbelievably, he had not been sent home from work.

My son uses humor to lighten serious situations. I was certain he was downplaying this one and his managers didn’t know how bad it was. He’s also grown man who didn’t need his mommy to panic.

God’s Miraculous Power is a Sure-Fire Antidote for Panic

I couldn’t sleep. I kept my phone on. He finished most of his shift and drove himself home.

My breathing was shallow, and I was nauseated, but I wanted to see it for myself. I almost passed out. His burn was bubbly and discolored. It was ugly, yes, but my reaction was irrational, and I knew it.

My panic subsided because my son truly did NOT seem to be in terrible pain. I know that was God’s miraculous power at work! We decided to go to the hospital to get it dressed properly.

While the intake nurse was assessing the injury, the receptionist walked back with a file. She took one look and incredulously asked, “How are you not screaming?” He answered that it looked worse than it felt. Praise God!

Only by God’s miraculous power!

When we finally saw the doctor, she said superficial burns often don’t involve enough nerves to be excruciating. But she also said his was not entirely superficial.

How was it superficial at all, given what happened? Only by God’s miraculous power! It should have been worse and even as it was, it should have felt worse.

It was good we went to the ER. The doctor cleaned it up and the nurse bandaged it well. They instructed us in first aid for at-home care.

They offered a note to keep my son home for at least a week. But he went back to work on Saturday. What a miracle!

God’s Sure-Fire Reiteration

Last night, I was using my glue gun on some Christmas decorations. I applied hot glue to one and then dropped it onto my thumb. It stuck. My burn is 1/50th the size of my son’s. It hurts.

A blister.
My small burn.

It is a sure-fire reiteration that God’s miraculous intervention kept my son from unbearable pain. If mine hurts like it does, his surely should have felt much worse!

A Targeted Miracle

God targeted my son with a miracle and reminded me of his power. Maybe some of you, my precious readers, need to be reminded also. It is likely I’m not the only one who will face an irrational fear this holiday season.

Some of you might be brought to your knees in desperation over something. Maybe you have already been. It feels like a position of weakness, but kneeling is the perfect stance from which to approach God and ask for a targeted miracle.

Power over Panic

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not trying to present God as a genie in a bottle who does tricks upon request. Many times, I’ve prayed and God has chosen not to intervene in overtly miraculous ways.

But sometimes He does. I know because I’ve seen Him do it. I saw it just this week.

There is a sure-fire way to make me panic. My son’s accident was a case in point. But panic drove me to prayer, and God has power over panic and all fear.

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

We’re all on the verge of a crisis, going through one, or coming out of one. Where are you? God’s power is greater than panic. And we can pray for one another.

What kind of fire are you in right now? What are your irrational fears? How has God targeted you with His miraculous power in recent days? What are your thoughts?

Categories
Vacations

Ireland – It’s Intrigue is Irresistibly Interesting: Cliffs of Moher

Hello, my friends! If you’ve been following the story, you know my husband and I were on the Paddywagon in Ireland, heading out to explore the irresistibly interesting island of intrigue. Aidan, our driver had announced an unplanned detour on our way to the Cliffs of Moher.

Apparently, there were some last minute tour signups and we were to pick them up in Limerick. Has anyone spent time in Limerick? The rain was falling, the sun was peaking through, and the city, built along the river Shannon, simply seemed to sparkle. It was breath-taking!

Map of Ireland, highlighting Limerick
The city of Limerick is located just north of Cork, Ireland.

Aidan told us that Limerick was the third largest city in Ireland. Dublin has over a million people. The population of Cork, the second largest city, is less than half that. Limerick is home to almost one hundred thousand.

Was Limerick named for the type of poetry? Was the poetry named after the city? Was it just a coincidence? I asked Aidan and he said he thought the poetry was named after the city. I looked it up, and he was correct! This is an article about it from IrishTimes.com.

With a full bus now, we continued north. The skies opened and it just poured. We were seated in the very front of the bus, and it was such a blessing. Rain cascaded down the side windows, distorting the landscape beyond. But the giant front windshield, with its extra-huge wipers, gave us a clear view of everything.

Aidan apologetically told us that weather might affect our enjoyment of the Cliffs of Moher, on the coast of county Claire. The weather did affect our enjoyment, he was right about that. But not in the way he thought. We had a blast!

Ireland map showing county Claire and the Cliffs of Moher.
County Claire is north of Cork and Limerick. The Cliffs of Moher are on the west coast of county Claire.

As the Paddywagon pulled into the parking lot below the Cliffs of Moher, the rain was dumping. And the wind gusts were fierce. Aidan pointed at a couple struggling with an umbrella turned inside-out by the gale. He told us to leave ours on the bus.

But, he pointed out, it could be worse. The clouds were still high and were not affecting visibility. He told us where to go to get the best photos of the cliffs and then let us loose.

My husband was in shorts. He had a jacket, but it was not really waterproof. I had a rain parka, and it blew every which way in the wind.

I mentioned in my last post that my husband has a bad hip and knee, so we don’t walk fast. It was a drenching rain. We were already soaked by the time we cleared the parking lot.

We had to yell over the noise of the wind and rain to strategize. We would make the trek up to the lookout points first, and then make our way back to the visitor’s center and gift shop. We hoped to dry off and warm up inside before we got back on the bus.

Have you ever walked against winds which require you to lean ridiculously far forward so as not to fall backward? These winds were like that. And they drove the rain directly into our faces as we climbed the hill.

A man and some cows in the rain.
My husband is a big, strong dude; and look how he had to lean into the wind to stand still. The cows were more practiced at the weather than we were!

I am not sure if we’ve ever laughed so hard. The sight of each other trying to battle the weather for each step was hilarious. It was slow going, even for us! And we were drenched!

We took our photos and made our way back down to the visitor’s center. It was built right into the cliffs. It was amazing! We found interesting information, interactive displays, and warm shelter from the wind and rain.

We dried off quite a bit and enjoyed ourselves a whole lot! I suspected, even though it was our first full day on the intriguing island of Ireland, that this would be my favorite memory. I was right. Our whole week was incredible, but the 90 minutes we spent at the Cliffs of Moher were my favorite.

I bought myself a souvenir in the gift shop; a ring with a Celtic knot. I am so glad I did. It whisks me back every time I see it and I’m filled with joy. My husband bought a beanie and it also makes me smile when he wears it.

As we made our way back to the bus at the prearranged time, we noticed that visibility had declined. We thanked God for the rain, and that He’d prompted us to take photos first. And we adored Him for His grandeur, His majesty, and His intrigue – all reflected in the exquisite Cliffs of Moher, which He imagined and created on the west coast of this irresistibly interesting island!

“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.”

1 Chronicles 29:11

These are a couple of my photos. Click to enlarge.

Green hills and a raindrop
Raindrops on the camera lens were a big problem! I didn’t have anything dry with which to wipe them! These gorgeous rolling hills were behind us, as we looked out over the cliffs.
Cliffs dropping into the ocean
God’s splendor on display in, on, and around the Cliffs of Moher.

Below is a photo I took of an image in the visitor’s center. It was surely taken on a calm, sunny day, with a drone in exactly the right position. What an incredible sculptor and artist our God is, right?

Colorful cliffs and the ocean
The Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of county Clare.

Thank you so much for reading, and enjoying the Cliffs of Moher in the rain with me. Our next stops on this Paddywagon bus tour, which I will talk about next time, included an “old-timey” Irish pub, and a castle. What an irresistibly interesting island of intrigue Ireland is! I’ll talk to you again soon!

Curious how this Ireland trip came about?
Click here for the introduction post.

Categories
Vacations

Ireland – It’s an Irresistibly Interesting Island of Intrigue: Departure

Airports! How I love to hate them. Especially the large ones. Does anyone feel the same?

Departure is a hassle. I find the process confusing. But Ireland, the irresistibly interesting island of intrigue, was waiting and that provided all the motivation I needed!

Departure for Ireland

Parking lot photos – a wise departure tip!

We arrived at the airport and parked near the terminal indicated for our departure. My husband suggested we take a photo of the floor number, zone letter, and stall sequence to help us find our car when we arrived home. I’ll be honest, I thought that was silly. We were parked just left of the door; I could remember that.

Sign indicating parking level
It was good we had the photo reference to zone D. All the doors looked alike.

But hubby is wise and those photos saved us! The terminal was much larger than I knew. There were several exit points to the parking garage and many doors. I can’t imagine how difficult it could have been to find our car again without the photos for reference.

Departure woes at the check-in counter

Once inside the departure terminal, we found a long check-in counter behind many self-service kiosks. We approached an empty kiosk, scanned the boarding passes we’d printed at home, and stickers with all the pertinent information came spitting out. We put them on our luggage and proceeded to the counter.

Only one agent could check luggage for international travel, so we were directed her way. She was very grumpy with us. I don’t think she actually called us stupid for printing our baggage claim tags at the kiosk, but she heavily implied as much, emphasizing only she could print labels for international destinations. She ripped ours off our bags with noticeable aggression and slapped new ones on.

Then she told me my suitcase was too big. She threatened to charge me $200.00 for oversized luggage and grimaced like it physically pained her to afford me grace. I trembled inside.

Agent appreciation before departure

I was almost certain my suitcase was an allowable size, and well under weight. I’d measured several times to be sure. But she wasn’t charging me, so I didn’t want to challenge her.

I thought maybe she needed to feel appreciated, so I thanked her profusely before I walked away. I pray it boosted her mood a bit for next person trying to navigate departure in her line.

Worry melted upon departure

The check-in experience worried me. It reinforced my fear of undesirable consequences stemming from my lack of travel experience. But once I was on the plane, my worry melted in the radiance of God’s glory.

We taxied to the runway and took off with the sunset. God painted a vibrant farewell to departure day. Just look at that view!

City view from an airplane

Despite a few hiccups, our departure was successful. We bid adieu to home and the setting sun. The darkness ahead was fleeting as we crossed time zones into tomorrow while our watches still read today.

“Let the name of the Lord be praised,
    both now and for evermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
    the name of the Lord is to be praised.”

Psalm 113:2, 3

Next stop, London!

We jetted toward Ireland, our irresistibly interesting destination of intrigue. We had one stop to make on the way at London’s Heathrow Airport. Have you ever passed through there? I hope you’ll join me next time for a few fun photos!

Curious how this Ireland trip came about?
Click here for the introduction post.

Categories
Vacations

Jet Lag is a New and Surprisingly Brutal Thing

Hello, my gracious friends! You all are amazing. You know that, right? Just in case you need to be reminded today, hear me! You are a walking, talking (and writing) miracle and I am blessed by you.

Jet lag is a new thing for me, and it is surprisingly brutal. I sit here, wide awake at 0’dark thirty in the morning, feeling overwhelmed. I have so much I want to tell you, ask you, share with you… and for some reason I feel crunched for time.

I’m not sure if there is a real reason for that or if it is jet lag making mountains out of molehills. (Have you heard that expression? I’ve always liked it!)

Updates, Photos, and Life Events held momentarily captive by jet lag

I am grateful for your grace this fall. I know I owe you some updates. I cannot thank you enough for your prayers for me regarding the skin treatment I underwent last month and my trip to Ireland, from which I’ve just returned.

Autumn is amazing and it seems to have fallen upon my little mountain town while I was away. It shows me God’s wonder afresh, as the places I’ve previously lived did not showcase seasons the way I get to experience them now. Naturally, I have photos to share with you!

Looking forward, I spy a few major life events staring back at me. I want to tell you about them in hopes you’ll walk with me through them. Your insights, stories, and prayers are precious to me. These things make us more than fellow bloggers. They make us friends.

Is jet lag brutal for you?

I have some writing to do! And I promise to get to it… just as soon as my mind catches up with my body. I feel as though my mental faculties took a parachute mid-journey while my physical form stayed on the plane and arrived home. And I don’t even know where my sleep schedule derailed. Maybe it got stuck in the same overseas time zone as my luggage.

This was my first international trip. The jet lag is surprisingly more brutal than I expected. I want to hear your stories. Please commiserate with me!

How does jet lag feel for you? Or are you one of those people who can hop around the world and not feel it at all? Bonus points if you can identify the airport in the cover photo. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Categories
Reflections

Even Baby Steps are Progress when Taken in the Right Direction

Even baby steps are progress when taken in the right direction!

This is for anyone feeling discouraged by the pace of your progress.

Have you been praying for:
Bigger ideas
Bigger opportunities
Bigger wins
Bigger promotions
Bigger reach
Bigger steps?

Don’t fret, my precious friend! Bigger is not always better.

Maybe the small steps in front of you are a gift. The shortcuts you crave might slow you down. Embrace what you’ve been given and keep moving forward.

God is always faithful. You can trust Him to give you what you need to live the life for which He created you. Even baby steps are progress when taken in the right direction!

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

2 Peter 1:3
Categories
Collaborations Reflections

The Breath in our Lungs, the Great I AM, YHWH

Hello, my precious friends! I have something special for you today. I can’t wait for you to read it!

There is a popular song which refers to the Lord as the owner of the breath in our lungs, but I hadn’t made a correlation between YHWH, the Great I AM, and the sound of my breath… until now. The following article has made an impression on me and blessed my heart. And it has a funny story attached.

The version I read had no author noted. So I did some digging and found it attributed to a lady named Sandra. I contacted her to see if I could repost her article, and she responded that she is not the author, and she couldn’t tell me who is because her searches all lead back to her, the way mine had.

What a crazy thing, huh? So for now, this is just an anonymous blessing.

It is what I call, Scripture adjacent. By that I mean it is a reflection beyond what the Bible states, so it should be understood in that context. But I hope it will spark your contemplation and imagination about how involved God is with humankind, the crown of His creation, and how much we, in turn, depend on Him!

And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am[a]the Lord. 
I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord[b] I was not known to them.
a. Exodus 6:2 Hebrew YHWH
b. Exodus 6:3 Hebrew YHWH, traditionally Jehovah

Exodus 6:2, 3

There was a moment when Moses had the nerve to ask God what his name is. God was gracious enough to answer, and the name he gave is recorded in the original Hebrew as YHWH.

Over time we’ve arbitrarily added an “a” and an “e” in there to get YaHWeH, presumably because we have a preference for vowels.

But scholars and Rabi’s have noted that the letters YHWH represent breathing sounds, or aspirated consonants. When pronounced without intervening vowels, it actually sounds like breathing.

YH (inhale): WH (exhale).

So a baby’s first cry, his first breath, speaks the name of God.

A deep sigh calls His name – or a groan or gasp that is too heavy for mere words.

Even an atheist would speak His name, unaware that their very breath is giving constant acknowledgment to God.

Likewise, a person leaves this earth with their last breath, when God’s name is no longer filing their lungs.

So when I can’t utter anything else, is my cry calling out His name?

Being alive means I speak His name constantly.

So, is it heard the loudest when I’m the quietest?

In sadness, we breathe heavy sighs.

In joy, our lungs feel almost like they will burst.

In fear we hold our breath and have to be told to breathe slowly to help us calm down.

When we’re about to do something hard, we take a deep breath to find our courage.

When I think about it, breathing is giving him praise. Even in the hardest moments!

This is so beautiful and fills me with emotion every time I grasp the thought. God chose to give himself a name that we can’t help but speak every moment we’re alive.

All of us, always, everywhere.

Waking, sleeping, breathing, with the name of God on our lips.

– Unknown Author


Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me your holiness
For you are holy
Breath of heaven

Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)
by Amy Grant

I have one more interesting note related to this topic. In Hawaiian, the word for breath is “Hā”. It sounds like an exhale.

It is a traditional Hawaiian practice for loved ones to greet by pressing their noses together and breathing the same air. Sharing breath signifies the sharing of life. We would not be alive without the Hā, which God breathed into the first man.

 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

Genesis 6:7

You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
And great are You, Lord

… It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only

Great Are You Lord
by All Sons and Daughters