Home of the Brave

fireworks-flag

Yesterday on the Fourth of July we celebrated the independence of America from Great Britain.  Among many patriotic sayings is a phrase from our national anthem:  Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner:

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Indeed this song that was sung while waving our American flag is still a symbol of heroism in the United States of America.  And yet I submit to you that within the hearts of the great and mighty that exude bravery are the once ordinary citizenry that the Lord rose up for great deeds.  Those neighbors, husbands and friends chose to align themselves with the God of the universe who reigns supreme and will come again for His own.  Similarly if anything I write here telling my own story reflects bravery then it is a reflection of those everyday heroes in my life that hold me up as well:  many more than I can list here.  Allow me to share with you.*

*A dear friend, Cindy, who checks in on me regularly despite her busy work schedule and home life.  From her I learned to de-mystify alternative cooking for health (a task which consumes much of my waking hours these days!).  Canned coconut cream from a downtown Asian food market is my new delicacy and gratefully it goes with everything.  She’s probably the best resource person I know for local health and food stuff, is extraordinarily encouraging, and has a heart bigger than her petite frame.  Love you girlfriend!

*Three regular readers of this blog who graciously let me know they are out there from time to time:  Jennifer, Sherry, and Amanda.  Some may say that it is not a real relationship when you meet a person online and don’t have any face time with them.  I disagree.  After all, I met my husband online via Yahoo Personals many years ago!  And we are living happily ever thank you very much after having bridged the gap from anonymity to familiarity.  Yes:  very familiar indeed!  I appreciate the prayers, sharing, overcoming spirit, and support of these three lovely ladies in their own heartfelt blogs.  Amanda generously read and reviewed my first eBook last year.  Thank you ladies!  Find them at:

My Color is Lyme

A Labor of Love

Amanda Lannon

*My brother and his fiancé, Mike and Lisa.  My brother had a severe stroke 3 months ago and was subsequently dumped in an inner city nursing home because he didn’t have insurance.  Together they are navigating the difficult processes of securing Medicaid and Veteran’s Administration benefits.  The paperwork, dead ends, delays, and frustrations are intense as time passes without comprehensive medical care or ongoing rehabilitation.  While our conversations about all of these are certainly lively, I am impressed by my brother and Lisa’s overall prevailing spirit.  Mike is looking forward to the day when he can serve others in a similar situation possibly as a dog handler in a pet therapy program.  He is delving into the Word of God often now.  Lisa is fulfilling well her new role as Guardian despite being way out of her comfort zone.  These are good things.  I’m proud of you both!

*My husband Steve.  The love in his eyes for me never changes whether he is carrying me to the bathroom (due to daily episodes of neurological collapse) or showing me how to shoot a pellet gun at an empty gallon jug of orange juice.  He may not have had enough sleep for the previous four nights in a row and yet his love never changes.  He is my Jesus with skin on and greatest hero on this earth.  I love you River Bear!

*The Lord, Jesus Christ most of all.  When I found myself single at age 45, the Lord had become my Heavenly Husband and everyday companion.  He had to become real to me to fill the painful void leftover from my estranged ex-husband.  My Jesus also showed me the once empty places in my heart designed just for Him then filled them completely.  I know that I am never alone.  Ever.  He is the great I AM, worthy of praise, and a warrior for the cares of our days.  No matter what comes in this fallen world or how wretched, He has overcome all of it.  Those of us who believe in Him through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will be saved and spared any more suffering when He comes again for His own.  The Lord is the ultimate hero in which we can place our lives, our confidences.  Every good thing and the bravery needed to face these challenging times comes from the one true God.  In the shadow of His wings I am comforted, protected, find rest.

For the nation of Israel, into which we believers are adopted as sons and daughters of the King, we find our freedom, courage to go on, and rest in the Lord.  It is the hope of my heart that you, Gentle Reader, will find these great gifts in the person of Jesus Christ too.  In Him we have the greatest of heroes:  brave beyond compare.  Now that’s a holiday worth celebrating today and every day.  Bang bang!

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Psalm 147 (NIV)

Praise the Lord.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
    his understanding has no limit.
The Lord sustains the humble
    but casts the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;
    make music to our God on the harp.

He covers the sky with clouds;
    he supplies the earth with rain
    and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle
    and for the young ravens when they call.

10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
    who put their hope in his unfailing love.

12 Extol the Lord, Jerusalem;
    praise your God, Zion.

13 He strengthens the bars of your gates
    and blesses your people within you.
14 He grants peace to your borders
    and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.

15 He sends his command to the earth;
    his word runs swiftly.
16 He spreads the snow like wool
    and scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
    Who can withstand his icy blast?
18 He sends his word and melts them;
    he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

19 He has revealed his word to Jacob,
    his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation;
    they do not know his laws.

Praise the Lord. 

 

A Psalm for Times Like These

Psalm 40

New International Version (NIV)

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

Blessed is the one
    who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
    to those who turn aside to false gods.

Many, Lord my God,
    are the wonders you have done,
    the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
    were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
    but my ears you have opened—
    burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.

Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
    it is written about me in the scroll.

I desire to do your will, my God;
    your law is within my heart.”

I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
    I do not seal my lips, Lord,
    as you know.

10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
    I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
    from the great assembly.

Psalm 40 11

11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
    may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles without number surround me;
    my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
    and my heart fails within me.
13 Be pleased to save me, Lord;
    come quickly, Lord, to help me.

14 May all who want to take my life
    be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
    be turned back in disgrace.
15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
    be appalled at their own shame.
16 But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
    “The Lord is great!”

17 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
    may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    you are my God, do not delay.

(Amen.)

Rambling thoughts saving this day

What could have continued as a wretched day, did not.  For this I am grateful.

When my course of overall treatment seemed to need a brand new direction in a far away place, I discovered it did not, gratefully.

Where I thought I would be two years down this road trip of illness is not where I had hoped and it’s o.k.; I thank the Lord for His continuing grace.

Who ever thought I would be connecting with so many different people in so many far away places?  Not I and I am blessed for things going this way instead.

Why I spend so much time setting goals when the moment is far more worthy of my attention, I’ll never know.  I am thankful for the fullness of living in the now and not yesterday or tomorrow.  This minute is all we have to live in anyways, right?

How I ever thought I would find something meaningful to say tonight eluded me when I first started typing.  I hope these are Your words, my Heavenly Father, my King, my Lord.  I hope they bring you glory and honor this night and with each and every blog that spits out onto this page.

So with a humble heart I must say that I am confused as to where my life is going yet not Who is in control of it’s course or outcome.  My mind is mushy as I recover from a tough night with:  a few scrambled brain transmissions, an enlightening visit from my Lyme-Literate MD, and a week of wacky medical appointments for sure.  There’s so much other stuff to do this weekend yet I have too depleted of energy reserves to much of anything.  Guess I’ll start with breakfast when I wake up in the middle of the day and take it from there, one moment at a time.  Some important things did get done this past week; I am humbled.  Thank you Lord for making it so.

The conclusion might read like the 12th Step of Recovery in Al Anon:  Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.  Well here’s my message tonight and I’m working on “walking the talk” as they say too.  However the best inspiration, the best encouragement won’t come from me or a recovery program (that ultimately helped lead me to a personal relationship with God).  It comes directly from His Word:

You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, Shall revive me again, And bring me up again from the depths of the earth.  You shall increase my greatness And comfort me on every side.  Also with the lute I will praise You – And your faithfulness, O my God!  (Psalm 71:20-22)

Perhaps if we meditate on these words we will no only save the day, we will find hope, love, and joy in His promise of redeeming grace.  This is a promise for you, Gentle Reader, if your trust is in the Son of God alone.  Oh won’t you join me in seeking Him this day my friend?  Let our words, our thoughts mean more than rambling but resound with praise for His holy name, the name Jesus Christ.  What could be more significant than when we place our trust where the One who loves us beyond measure gives us every reason why to follow Him?  These are things to think about for sure.  :J

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Reflecting on God’s majestic Niagra Falls, Canada

Free Coupon Ends Soon!

Just a quick note that the free coupon for the eBook, Hope Beyond Lyme:  The First Year, ends on Saturday.  If you’re interested an updated collection of my most meaningful and encouraging blogs plus several Bonus Pages, head on over via the link below.  It’s available in 10 different formats, including a new smartphone app from Dropbox.

Final few days that it's free with Coupon Code:  UR45T
Final few days that it’s free with Coupon Code: UR45T

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/371334

Here’s a little video with a personal invitation from me too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opCttpUCZW0

Take care Gentle Reader and thank you for your support this past year online.  I am grateful to the Lord and humbled knowing you are there . . .

Just Julie