Saturday, April 27, 2019

Renewal




Spring is the time of year when everything is in bloom. It is a time of renewal, and the vibrant colors of flowers and trees are evident. We wake up to the sound of the birds singing, and the buzzing of bees can be heard as we make our way outdoors. The fields and lawns are rich with plush green grass and the skies are a brilliant blue hue with fluffy clouds scattered throughout. While it is a time of growth and beauty, it is also a time that is wrought with rain and storms. During this time of year, we have some of our worst storms which can even bring hail, gusty winds, and tornadoes. We can go from having a peaceful, beautiful sunshiny day to an overcast, gray, stormy day quite easily.

And so it is with life. I have a dear friend who was just diagnosed with recurrent breast cancer. She has already overcome two previous primary breast cancers like a champion. It had been four years since her last chemo treatment. She was enjoying the beauty of spring until just the other day when she started to have symptoms. In a matter of a few days, her life was changed again. Now her days and nights are filled with fear, worry, sadness, and not understanding why this is happening again. Life can be so unpredictable. We have our joyous good days filled with laughter and happy times, and then we have days that can beat us down so much we wonder if we’ll get through them. Everyone has trials, and I’m sure you’ve had your share and know many friends who are currently going through their own trials.

As I grieve the reality my dear friend must endure right now, I also remind myself that this life is not our permanent home. I remind myself that although we must endure trials in this life, we have God’s promises to guide us, to comfort us, and to protect us. Psalm 16:8 says, “I keep my eyes on the Lord, with Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Although we face trials and hardships, God does care for us. He says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” He never leaves our side when we are grieving or hurting. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

And just when we can’t handle our grief anymore, and the loss we feel is overwhelming, God tells us in Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” That gives me so much hope. Just like the renewal of spring, God will make all things new again. He promises us this, and we can count on our Lord to bring us wholeness, goodness, joy, and peace. He loves us with an everlasting love and we can depend on Him to care for us. It’s so comforting.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Finding Home...by Denise Janette Bruneau




What is Finding Home about?

It’s about a young woman, Lacey Bartlett, who is trying to figure out where she belongs. She has lost her family. Both of her parents are gone, her grandparents have passed away, and she is an only child. Even her husband has divorced her. She is lonely and yearns for a family of her own. In medical school, she suffers further loss, as she is diagnosed with cancer. During her stages of mending, she can’t help but fall in love with her gentle and kind plastic surgeon, George. He is there for her during a difficult time, and although she keeps her feelings to herself, she forms a tight bond with him. After recovery from her illness, she hopes for a relationship with George, but it doesn’t work out.

Alone and heartbroken, she is not sure what to do with her life. Then she receives a letter in the mail. She inherits her grandparents’ potato farm in the small town of Pocatello, Idaho. She only remembers her grandparents from photographs and is surprised when they leave this property to her. With nothing left for her in her current location, she takes a leep of faith and moves to Pocatello where she also gets a job in the local hospital. Living in her grandparents’ farmhouse is comforting and somehow familiar. Distant memories surface, and she makes discoveries that uncover secrets of her family.

At the hospital, she meets Geret Blake. He is the gorgeous surgery manager who ends up helping her through some difficult situations at the hospital. He is built like a rock and has a chiseled jawline, deep set, brown eyes, full lips, and dimples at the edges of his smile. Along with his incredible physique, he is also gentle and compassionate. Lacey can’t help but start to fall for him. He helps her understand some of the mysteries she is uncovering about her family. Just when Lacey and Geret are getting closer, an unexpected visitor appears at Lacey’s door. Suddenly, Lacey questions everything. She must rely on her faith in God as she looks for answers.

You can read Finding Home to find out what happens. Will Lacey be able to sort through her emotions and come to the answers she needs? Finding Home is being released in August 2019. Keep watch for the upcoming purchase information at www.zimbellhousepublishing.com.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Denise Janette Bruneau: Legacy

Denise Janette Bruneau: Legacy: Happy Spring! My 50th birthday arrives next month, and I’m definitely feeling the effects of being a half decade old. For my birthd...

Legacy



Happy Spring! My 50th birthday arrives next month, and I’m definitely feeling the effects of being a half decade old. For my birthday present, I have received a diagnosis of hypothyroidism and osteoarthritis. I was hoping I could take these presents back, but I don’t know where to take them (๐Ÿ˜Š). Unfortunately, our bodies age. Although we can take active measures to slow this process by making healthy choices, the years still pass by. 

I’m choosing to see the positive side to aging, however. I must say that with these passing years, I’ve gained much wisdom (and some weight ๐Ÿคจ), but I wouldn’t want to go back to being eighteen. Those years were difficult, and there were experiences I’d rather forget. I suppose I might go back, however, only if I had today’s wisdom to take with me.

Our experiences from those years of living give us valuable information for making wiser choices in our more mature years. We realize that we can’t reverse the aging process, as hard as we may try, and that our lives really count for something—something important. I’m so thankful for the years I’ve had to live, and I often ask myself, “What legacy am I building right now? How do my husband, children, family, and friends view me? What do they see?”

Although I believe that an audience of one (God) is the only one we should be concerned about pleasing, I believe we affect many people around us through our actions. Simple actions of kindness, gentleness, and forbearance go a long way with others. Are you an encourager? Do you have a generous spirit? Are you one who gives comfort well? We’ve each been blessed with special attributes that we can use to start defining what our legacy will be.

So for me, I see aging as a necessary process that helps to mold us into compassionate, wise, mature people who care for others as we build our legacy. I’m so grateful for the many years I’ve been given on this earth, and I pray for many more. I will continue to focus daily on ways I can be an inspiration to others. What about you? It’s never to early to start. What legacy are you building?

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Life is precious



My little girl lies beside me sleeping peacefully. Her curly locks tickle my nose as she moves to rest her head on my shoulder. She awakens enough to yawn and wrap her arms around my arm. She whispers in her sweet, gentle voice, “I love you, Mommy.” Then she is asleep again, as I hear the steady sound of her little breath. My heart is full. I think about how blessed I am to be a mommy, to have this little person love and need me so much. I can’t imagine loving another person more. I would do or give anything to protect her and keep her safe. God created this mother-child relationship this way for a purpose. Moms nurture and care for their children from the moment of conception. That child becomes a person from the moment the genetic material from both parents interacts and cells begin to divide and multiply. Mom’s body starts to change immediately as it nurtures this growing person. Mom is no longer alone; she shares her body with another who is dependent on her love and care well into adulthood and the child’s independence. She prepares a room for this little one and buys all the things a baby needs. Her life will change forever to include joy beyond measure. What a beautiful relationship God has given us!

My daughter is adopted. I am thankful that her birth mom did not choose to abort her, even though she had no resources or any idea how she would care for her. She chose the selfless decision to find a home for her unborn child. You see, she knew that it wasn’t this child’s choice to be brought into the world; it was her choice, planned or not. Her child’s life had begun at conception, and she knew it. She would give this child the love and care she deserved, because the child had a right to live.

I have to admit that I am not vocal about political platforms. I find the arguments from both sides to be exhausting, and it’s hard to see hate escalate. I cannot stay silent on one issue, though: women celebrating their abortions. My heart breaks at the thought of this, and my stomach turns. It is one thing to have a difference of opinion on an issue, but celebrating abortion? God must cry when He hears women utter these words of celebration about killing their own children. These women have carelessly and thoughtlessly jumped on a bandwagon of lies. They are working so hard to prove they can win this issue of the right to abort, that they’ve failed to examine their hearts.

I know many abortion survivors. They are called survivors because they are just that: surviving a heart-wrenching decision they once made and still regret. These women are sorrowful and heartbroken over their decision to abort. Their stories are many but are very similar. They were young, afraid, couldn’t talk to anyone, and sought council at an abortion clinic. The advice they received made them believe that abortion was the only way to solve their current problem of pregnancy. These women do not celebrate their choice. They realize that they were mommys, even if only for a few weeks. They find it hard to think about what they did, because they knowingly and willingly aborted their child. The thought brings tears of regret and sorrow every time. There is no celebration in the death of their children.

It is so sad to hear the stories of women celebrating their choice to abort. If they really understood the significance of what they had done, their hearts would be heavy with grief. The thing is, this issue of life will continue to exist. People will fight and argue over who is right, and hate will continue. The more important issue that pro-choice people have failed to understand or care about is that God is watching all of this. God will not be mocked. These people, with their smug faces, smiles of celebration, and right to choose have a bigger problem to worry about than what the rest of the world thinks. Some day they will have to stand alone before God and explain to Him why they aborted and celebrated and hated.

So I turn and gaze at my sleeping daughter. She is beautiful, and I love the sound of her little breath moving in and out of her little lungs. I remember the day I brought her home from the hospital and how her presence in my life has changed my heart. Every day, she adds something new and special to my memories. God knew what He was doing when He gave us the gift of motherhood. No matter how much hate is in the world, I will go on cherishing this little person and the love she gives me every day. And I will remind myself that God has already won all of the battles in the world. It’s just a matter of time.


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Rest

January Paoli, Indiana sunrise


Life can be so hectic. A busy day for me can be a two-hour commute to work, a 24-hour shift at the hospital, and then a two-hour commute home. Then I spend the rest of the next day trying to catch up on sleep. On other days, I get up early to do my Bible devotionals and write on my blog, then I complete several hours of homeschool with my daughter. After that, I try to squeeze in some yoga and then prepare dinner. I’m usually ready for bed by 8:30. Still, on other days, there are errands, appointments, social media, and other engagements. Does this pace sound familiar to you? There isn’t enough time to slow down.

During my recent morning Bible reading, I came across a You Version Bible app devotional by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith called, “Sacred Rest.” She’s an internal medicine doctor who wrote this devotional that goes along with her book, Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity. This appealed greatly to me, since I tend to run on fumes most days. I’m sure many of you can relate.

Dr. Dalton-Smith talks about how rest is actually active. Rest is not just sleep. In fact, sometimes sleep is not restful. She defines seven different types of rest:

1. Physical: The chance to use the body in restorative ways to decrease muscle tension, reduce headaches, and promote higher quality sleep.
2. Mental: The ability to quiet cerebral chatter and focus on things that matter.
3. Spiritual: The capacity to experience God in all things and recline in the knowledge of the Holy.
4. Emotional: The freedom to authentically express feelings and eliminate people-pleasing behaviors.
5. Social: The wisdom to recognize relationships which revive from ones that exhaust and how to limit exposure to toxic people.
6. Sensory: The opportunity to downgrade the endless onslaught of sensory input received from electronics, fragrances, and background noise.
7. Creative: The experience of allowing beauty to inspire awe and liberate wonder.

In the devotional, Dr. Dalton-Smith offers a personal rest deficit assessment. You can go to the link (http://www.restquiz.com) and take a short quiz for free, and then she sends you your results by email. She gives you a score for each of the seven areas, so you can understand what areas of your life are missing rest. One of my biggest deficits was in Mental rest. Although the results came with an explanation, I wanted to know more. So, I purchased her book on Amazon. Just to give you an example of information from the book, I went to the chapter on Mental rest. She discusses several types of mental noise, some of which include: self-critiquing and evaluating with an ongoing inner monologue, thinking the same thoughts over and over, reliving past events and rewriting your script with what you wish you’d done or said, and dwelling on “what if’s” and fearing the future. Then she offers ways to quiet cerebral background noise and ways to create a mental sanctuary.

I wanted to share this with all of you, because I know all of us become weary at some point in this life. I found this quiz to be helpful in that it helped me identify the areas where I can make changes so I’m more rested. I hope it helps you, too. Stay warm!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Just a few more minutes



Many mornings, when I don’t have to work a 24-hour shift, I get up early to read my Bible and devotionals or work on my blog, or work on my current novel. I grab a cup of coffee, turn on the lamp, and sink into the soft cushion of my cozy chair. For a mom, this is my prime time to get things done without interruptions.

This morning as I sat quietly reading my devotional and sipping my coffee, I heard a little noise. I looked up, and I saw my daughter standing there. She was still in her pajamas with crazy bed-head, and she was covering her sleepy eyes because of the light. She asked in her sweet, almost tearful voice, “Mom, do you have to work today?”

I shook my head and told her “no.” She told me she was sad because she thought I had to go today, and she was prepared to come sit in the cozy chair with me. She wanted to spend a few more minutes with me this morning despite her tired state. I reassured her I would be home today, and I tucked her back into bed for homeschool later.

Her sadness at my potential leaving and her desire to be with me for just a few more moments reminded me of the way Jesus pursues us. He just wants time with us, no matter how much it is. “Just a few more minutes…” Make time for your Lord today, who loves you so much and just wants a few more minutes with you.

Renewal

Spring is the time of year when everything is in bloom. It is a time of renewal, and the vibrant colors of flowers and trees are evide...