First snow experience

Last month, my husband and I visited family in Chicago. Three normal days and the last night of our stay there, it snowed. I was surprised my phone weather forecast was accurate. It started around 1 am- I was watching for it- it had been an exciting day, what with a visit to neighboring Wisconsin to see a professor of my husband’s just across the border from Illinois. And an outlet mall visit to buy a lot of things( which I actually didn’t need) and a few books for my onward trip.

So, it snowed and snowed and kept snowing till the morning, when we could see the whole place covered in the whitest of snow. So exciting!

Way to Wisconsin
House in Wisconsin
Last days of autumn
My first snow- the neighbourhood
Little trees covered in snow- early Christmas
View of the house from the car- last sight of snow
Goodbye, snow ! 

God is present everywhere- Oliver Holden

Those who seek the throne of grace

Find that throne in every place;

If we live a life of prayer, 

God is present everywhere.
In our sickness and our health, 

In our want, or in our wealth, 

If we look to God in prayer, 

God is present everywhere.
When our earthly comforts fail, 

When the woes of life prevail, 

'Tis the time for earnest prayer; 

God is present everywhere.
Then, my soul, in every strait, 

To thy Father come, and wait; 

He will answer every prayer:

God is present everywhere.

My 48th Birthday

This must be a frivolous read. June 20. I had a couple of phone calls reminding me that it was my birthday.

For me time had stood still. It was the day after my mother’s double surgery. I was in shock. That it was my birthday didn’t seem real at all. The day was rainy.

My mom was in the  ICU.  My father and I spent the night before in the hospital room where my mom had been the previous night, before the surgery.

Tomorrow( my birthday) we would need to vacate the room. The hospital rule said that if patients were in the ICU, relatives needed to vacate to a lodge or find a guest room or accommodation outside.

Early in the morning we visited my mother in the ICU as soon as the ICU was open to visitors- at around 7 am. She looked so small and emaciated in the blue hospital gown. She gave me a smile and beckoned to me. I went to her side- she asked me to get her her dentures and a comb for her hair.

That was the best birthday gift I had received. My mother was herself again. The long surgery of the previous day did not seem to have dampened her spirits. She was worried about how she looked ! I knew then that she was strong and my birthday was made.

I seemed to have gone through life in reverse. My mother would have rejoiced to see me smile or make a milestone as I was growing up but I had seen my mother smile at me and show me her spirit and it gladdened my heart. I was 48 but my mother’s request for her dentures and a comb sent a thrill through me. I could see she wanted to look her best before the doctors came on rounds. No one would have guessed that she had gone through a grueling 8 hour surgery just the previous day.

She is my mother and I am proud of her.

Birthdays seem to have lost their importance for me and even birthday gifts. To have a dear one near by is one of the best of life’s gifts, even more than one’s own life.


Tuesday- had to share : Resentment

It seems all I have been doing over the past three days is harboring resentment. It wasn’t so much that I lost sleep over it but it was festering inside of me, slowly and constantly, until I felt I needed to go and talk it over with the person(s) who were the causes( in my mind).

Just as I was about to do so, I saw a Guideposts post by Elizabeth Peale Allen which talked about this very topic. I am so thankful I saw this before I did anything.

The first point she makes about how to handle resentment is :

  1. When you are hurt, allow yourself to be hurt. Say it aloud, talk to yourself or write something that brings it out. “I was getting irritated by a coworker who has a habit of popping into my room and talking non stop for many minutes not bothered about whether I was doing something or not. Last week in fact as she ” passed by” she asked me whether at the Staff meeting, someone else had indirectly brought it up that she had just ” arrived” at office ( at 11 am). I had to confess yes as I was there and the other coworker who brought it up did it while I was there. She ranted and raged at me that I hadn’t told her that this happened and she had to hear it from someone from another section of our unit. Even though I was not one of the wronged parties, it bothered me that this coworker was venting her rage on me, instead of talking it over with the “sneaking” colleague. I told her so in fact. Psalm 73:26 says : My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. The fourth point Elizabeth Allen made was to ” Extend peace to the other person”. I was doing just this and praying for her, with great difficulty, yesterday when she happened to pop in to my office and stayed for a very long time and we had a talk in which we shared our mutual feelings and parted in peace. So resentment 1 resolved.
  2. This morning I woke up again with that slow, low level resentment feeling again, this time to another coworker( who works in the other section of our department), who had a way of talking nastily and a tad with hidden meaning( to my mind). Again I was thinking this morning of confronting her and then planning my confrontation as we humans are so apt to do, when the thought struck me that I am a child of God and would Jesus behave this way. There were James and John, disciples of Jesus who wanted to call fire from heaven and destroy a village that did not receive Jesus hospitably. ( Luke 9: 54). Jesus turned and rebuked them. I thought about how I was exactly like the disciples and wanting ” fire” ( not literally) to come down and harm that coworker. How horrible of me ! I was reminded again of how to handle resentment and what Elizabeth Allen mentioned– Extend peace to the other person.Pray Psalm 29:11 over the other person but in reverse. The verse says : The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Instead Elizabeth advises us to pray with a ” twist”- Lord give strength to this person who hurt me , Lord bless this person with peace.  Difficult but did it. Did it all the way while I drove to work this morning. As I was parking the car, I assessed myself- resentment index a little down. Riding in the elevator to my room, I could manage a smile at the person who travelled up with me and even start up a conversation- better and better. Then into my room, where I started my work and continued with the prayer. This led me to point 2 of what Elizabeth Allen advised- ” Take a brisk walk”. ” Anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. We can frequently step out of that darkness with a bit of vigorous exercise. If you can pray while you walk, even better”, she advises. So I decided to walk around the corridor and try to add to my daily 10 K- my steps led me ( don’t ask me how to that coworkers’ office corridor, where I chatted for a few seconds with her supervisor who told me she was in the office. I looked over but found the door closed. The supervisor told me to knock as she must be inside. I did( don’t ask me why I did it- I think I was led to do it). After a few timid knocks, no one opened the door, so I started walking away. And then the door opened. The coworker came out, hair disheveled and looking dazed. I told her ( again, don’t ask me why), I was led to pray for you today- I didn’t mention the circumstances, of course, but I told her I had been praying for her while driving to work. Unbelievably, she came over and gave me a hug- her eyes poured out tears and she started weeping. I returned her hug too and then told her- I was led to pray for you and whatever it is, remember God is with you. She said thanks and I went off sensing she didn’t want to talk about whatever what in her mind. But think of it – I wanted confrontation and settlement and revenge and open discourse and God wanted me to pray for her and let her know that she was being cared for. Don’t we have a marvelous God ?