Living Life

Jesus, Me, and the Kitchen Table

Four Years Ago…

familypic

Words cannot express how I feel towards all of you who have sent notes, messages, flowers, etc this week. This could have been a difficult week if not for so many sweet, thoughtful friends who remember us at this time each year.  I always go back to work on Monday after the start of the new year. There hasn’t been a year go by since that day four years ago that I don’t remember how I dreaded going back to work, when most of the years past I was ready. When I get off work now, I recall how I had to rush home and get Chloe to Mt. Vernon for dance…and the rest of that evening…  I remember how our family was separated between Dallas and Tyler, some with me and some with Emmarie. And how sweet Chloe was already in heaven! How so many friends and people who didn’t even really know  us prayed – and prayed hard!

In some ways it’s really not hard to believe it’s been 4 years ago today. Four years since we held our precious Emmarie and Chloe, since we tucked them in at night, or I washed their hair, hugged them, said bedtime prayers, sat and rocked them while Richard sang to them, read the Bible with them, explored science concepts and learned about famous people in history, read and write together in our homeschool, rushed home from work to bounce them out of the door to dance class or church, and so many other things. Not to mention the last time I walked, dressed myself, or accessed certain parts of our house, and worked on my doctorate degree. I know many of you will react with the “sad” face. But that’s not the point of this post. I am not sad. Yes we miss them so much, and yes – I wish I could walk – right now – wish that I didn’t have to go through all the stuff I have to do daily just for health and well-being as a person with SCI, wish that we could have a “normal” life again.

But guess what? It’s just like I said from day one. God is good and faithful!  He has not let us down even though we’ve had other struggles in addition to these! Through our story, I am told that many lives have been changed – and I sincerely hope that is true. I hope that each of you cherish your kids and your family. That you don’t take for granted the basic things in this life like being able to sit yourself up just because you have an intact spinal cord.  You can reach the cups in your cabinet, get into your pantry, take a quick shower or a bubble bath.

More than anything else in this world — Emmarie and Chloe, Richard and I want you to know Jesus Christ. We want you to have a relationship with the living God! We want you to live for Him, to make Him the Lord over your life, and to know the love, mercy, joy, and peace that ONLY comes through Him. No matter the storms that come, you can have joy in the midst of adversity.

My goal in life is to make Him known to others. Whether it is through my job as I work with teachers, parents, students, and others, or through blogs and videos, Facebook posts, and through direct ministry opportunities, I want people to know Jesus. I want my life to count for Him, to impact eternity!

So back to my original point… yes I tend to go on tangents. Thank all of you SO much for the encouragement and love you shower us with not only at this time of the year, but throughout the year.

Today means we are one day closer to being with Jesus and with our girls. Today is one day closer to walking again – and I still believe in miracles and healing, so I am “standing” on faith to see this happen on earth.  After all, part of the Lord’s prayer is, “Let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven”!  Amen!

 

Advertisements
1 Comment »

A Letter to James Patrick Riley

James Patrick Riley recently wrote an article comparing pastor Max Lucado and Donald Trump and making various accusations to anyone who does not support Donald Trump. I do not know either of these men personally, so cannot attest to either of their lifestyles. I am vaguely familiar with Max Lucado’s ministry, having read some books and have watched several children’s videos.  When I say “lifestyles” I refer to how closely they live according to the Scriptures and their relationship with Jesus.

What I do know is that the letter contains wrong definition of what it is to be a Christian and gross misuse of Scripture. So I will not defend or seek to vilify either person. My aim in this letter is to defend my faith and to correct some false comparisons and accusations.

  1.  After sharing that Max Lucado chose to speak out about Trump calling a lady a “bimbo” but ignoring Barack Obama’s pro-abortion stance, he then shared an example of Trump supporting the pro-life movement and how he has “embraced the politics of life.” Then the question Mr. Riley asks, is, Who is the real Christian here? The one who acts like it, or the one who puts on a polite show of neutrality?”

Just having moral behavior doesn’t make someone a Christian. There are plenty of unsaved people who are “good” people. True, as followers of Jesus our actions should be Christian in nature. However, a Christian is one who has asked Jesus Christ into their heart and made Jesus the Lord of their life. When that happens, then the right actions will follow. But just making the right choices doesn’t make anyone a Christian.

  1. “ I’ve been around church people all of my life.  Even at Stanford, where humanism was the prevailing denomination, I can tell you the religious spirit — whether it is lamenting “gambling” or shaming someone who didn’t recycle his bottle of Pepsi — brings out the worst side of human nature, and it brings ignorance into high relief.”   

Mr. Riley there is difference between a religious spirit, holiness, and legalism. A religious spirit is in operation is when someone is just going through the motions of going to church but without a relationship with Jesus. And it is true that many “church people” do have a religious spirit. It has nothing to do with “lamenting gambling” or other sins.

Preaching against sin does not “bring out the worst side of human nature or bring ignorance into high relief.” I was part of the Brownsville Revival in the late 1990’s. Evangelist Steve Hill preached against sin, and pleaded with tears in his eyes for people to get right with God. Night after night I’d watch as thousands ran to the altars and found forgiveness and salvation. I saw drug addicts instantly delivered of their addictions, putting their drug paraphernalia in the trash at the altar, and years later are still following Jesus. When people get right with God and get the sin out, they are more free than ever before!

And living a life of holiness is not legalism. Legalism is man-made rules of religion. Whereas followers of Jesus live according to the Bible, which is God’s law, meant to protect us, because God knows what’s best for us.

  1. Foul mouthed?  I’m guessing you haven’t read scripture with any real scrutiny, because when God gets angry, He doesn’t hold back.  His prophets call harlots harlots.  His Son called religious hypocrites, “white washed tombs full of dead men’s bones.” “Vipers.”  ”Sons of the Devil.”

Hold up a sec! There is a BIG difference between vulgarity and how Jesus addressed the Pharisees. Nowhere in the Bible do you see the use of profanity. It is not a sin to get angry. And even in His holy anger, Jesus did not use profanity. And to accuse Jesus of being “foul-mouthed” would mean that He had sinned because the Bible says “allow no filthy communication to come out of your mouth”. So if He had been “foul-mouthed”, His sacrifice on the cross would have been meaningless! So no sir, Jesus was holy, as the Father was holy. And IS holy! Furthermore, in that day, if someone was a harlot, everyone knew it, It was their title. Even today saying that someone is a prostitute is not a curse word. It is not vulgar.

  1. “But even if you value a polite tongue, and that’s your virtue, don’t begin comparing that virtue to being courageous in the face of Islamic jihad.  I will take a foul mouth defender of life over a church-sitting coward any day.”

All I want to say here is while there may be many church goers who may not have the faith to stand up to Islamic terrorists should it come down to a decision of converting to Islam or confessing Jesus, there are hundreds of true Christians over seas who have paid the ultimate price, their lives, as they were given the choice to convert or die. This has been true whether it was Islamic terrorists or back during the times of persecution when Christians who wouldn’t deny Jesus were fed to the wild beasts in a coliseum.

  1. “And I would ask you to look to your Bibles again. God uses some pretty gritty characters to work His glorious and sovereign will. Jacob was a trickster who lied to his father. Abraham had wives and concubines.  Samson kept a harlot.  Solomon had hundreds of concubines.  Peter betrayed Christ.  Saul of Tarsus, was a murderous wretch. You actually know all about that, but when you see a flawed man, in the flesh, you act just like a stoning torch mob, and you won’t even admit it.”
  • Jacob was a trickster. The Bible doesn’t approve of what he did. Just because he did it doesn’t make it right. As a result he had to “wrestle with God” and he came out with a limp!
  • Abraham had wives and concubines, true. But as the popular objection goes, “that’s Old Testament.” It was lawful back then to live this way.
  • Solomon’s concubines led him away from God and that led ultimately to splitting the Kingdom!
  • Peter betrayed Christ, but then he repented, and he did not ever do it again!
  • Yes, before he was saved, Saul did persecute and kill Christians. But after his radical conversion to Jesus, he became one of the most powerful Apostles, and ultimately was beheaded under Nero, for the sake of the Gospel. We don’t hold people’s past sins over their heads after they have repented.
  • I will say here, that when I see a “flawed man” my instinct is not to stone him to death, but rather to pray for his salvation!
  1. “But you and Max Lucado don’t like his (Trump’s) style.

      Your priorities are all mixed up, just like the people who killed Christ.”

There is NO comparison between Jesus Christ, spotless Lamb of God, and Donald Trump. It matters not whether you like him or not. He is not God. And saying that if you don’t support Trump, you are as bad as the ones who killed Christ is putting them on the same level. We are in an age where politicians are literally worshipped.

If Donald Trump was the most righteous man who ever lived, he could not turn this nation around. The only hope for our nation is for America to once again turn to God and repent of our sins, especially for the millions of babies we have sacrificed on the altars of convenience. Say nothing of our pride, how we’ve snubbed God in the face by taking His definition of marriage and changing it to meet our preferences, then using the sign of His covenant to never destroy the earth by flood again (the rainbow), and using it as the banner for the LGBT movement. By the way, I’m not a “hater.” I’m a lover of God, and His ways are best.

I don’t know if Trump is a Christian or not. But if he is not, then I pray for his salvation. And if elected, he will need the favor of God on him to help turn this ship around.

I urge you, Mr. Riley, to get out your Bible and read it cover to cover so that you may rightly divide the Word of God should you refer to it. And, may you repent for your blasphemy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Come to the mercy of God though Jesus. It is not too late, but time is running out. May you find forgiveness and salvation.

Original article HERE

1 Comment »

Deeper…

imgres-2

 

“I have kicked up the dust and the dirt on the narrow road
I have had to let go of some hurt to hold on to hope
I’ve watched the sunset before the promise came
I have waded through waters wide and walked through the flame
And I can say

Every valley made me lift my eyes up
Every burden only made me stronger
Every sorrow only made Your joy go
Deeper and deeper, deeper, and deeper

I will run like I’m out to win, and finish the race
For every battle that’s sure to come I will be brave
I’ve got my heart set on every word You say
And no matter what lies ahead You’ll make a way
And I will say

Every valley made me lift my eyes up
Every burden only made me stronger
Every sorrow only made Your joy go
Deeper and deeper, deeper, and deeper

Every mountain is making me a climber
Every giant is calling out a fighter
Every heartache only makes Your love go
Deeper and deeper, deeper, and deeper

Thrown down but not defeated
I’m worn out but not giving up
I’ve hit ground but even at rock bottom
I’m just getting started, yea, I’m just getting started”

When I first heard this song it resonated within me. I think it may very well become my life song. As you read the lyrics, I pray that you will be blessed, strengthened and encouraged to know that through Jesus Christ, we can not only sing these words, but live them. No matter what you’ve been through, no matter how long the road may seem – there is HOPE and VICTORY!

The song is “Deeper” by Meredith Andrews

You can listen/watch here on YouTube.
1 Comment »

My Summer

  This has certainly been a different summer. I did have a wonderful 40th birthday with friends and family, which are the best gifts! But gift cards to my favorite places were just the icing on the cake! 

However, right after my birthday my health kind of took a dive. I always have to work hard against urinary tract infections. But this time I got one that made me really sick. I had finally gotten to where I could not keep anything down except Popsicles. Even water made me throw up! My doctor admitted me to the hospital and started IV antibiotics– vancomycin which is really powerful. I was in in there for 3 days. 

 picture of dawn in hospital july 2015 
Just as I was starting to get my strength back a month later, it returned. So we tried doing outpatient antibiotics. I even had a PICC line. I was having to go to the hospital every 12 hours for infusions of vancomycin. But I started getting really tired, exhausted from getting up early to be at the hospital only to go home and return later the same evening. So I was admitted and stayed a night and one day. 

 picture of Dawn sitting in the hospital riom connected to the IV  during outpatient antibiotic regimen, August 2015 
I may be the only one this makes sense to, but I think the Lord sends me on medical mission trips. Here’s why.  On the way to get my PICC put in I had to turn around and take another route to the hospital because of a bad accident at the next intersection. Upon getting to the ER, which is where I had to check in for each treatment, I learned the details of the wreck. A mom and her son had been killed. Her 2 daughters were being flown to a larger hospital. Another woman who was driving them was also flown to a larger hospital. If you know my story you can tell how close to home this was for me. So all weekend even though I was busy going back and forth for my infusions, I was praying for them– a lot! That was Saturday. 

Then Sunday morning.as I was waiting to get checked in a young woman and her husband approached the desk. With tears and a very nervous-sounding voice She said, “Excuse me, but it’s an emergency!” We looked and her water had broken. So I reached out for her hand and she held on to me. I told her everything was going to be alright. But she cried all the more and told me and the guy behind the desk that she was six weeks early. But I told her that my first baby was born 5 weeks early and she ended up being fine. I  told her I knew how hard it was but the best thing she could do for her unborn son was to relax and stay calm.  While the  ER attendant was calling Labor and Deluvery I asked if I could pray for her. She was a little reluctant but agreed. So we had a quick prayer and she thanked me. And then they took her to L&D. 

Because of being paralyzed, nurses and nurse aides ask me how I became paralyzed. And this opens up the doors for me to share my testimony and how Jesus has been SO faithful to us! 

So even though I may not understand His ways, I know God lets me speak to people to draw them to Him. 

It’s been a month since the August hospital stay. Hopefully I’m done with the bad infections. School has started and I don’t have time to be sick! I love my job and look forward to the upcoming trainings and events I’ve planned for this year for our teachers and students. 

Leave a comment »

The Last Day of a Decade and Start of Another!

Today and tomorrow are important days for me.  Saying goodbye to thirties and hello to forties. It wasn’t so hard when it was twenties to thirties. But this one is huge. It’s huge not because of the big 4 0 — no!

It’s all that happened this decade – the many memories. Good ones and not-so-good ones. I lived and nearly died. I gave birth and became a mommy to our beautiful Emmarie and Chloe. They were here for such a short time. But now in Heaven forevermore.  There were a lot of starts. I wanted to say – and stops, too – but part’s not true. In some ways, I’ve started over again.

My career – it was going great! Publications, presentations, and much to do!

Husband and kids – we were a very busy homeschooling family!

Health was great all around – just needed a ‘lil more energy to make all those rounds!

Spiritually – it was definitely on the up and up – but not where it needed to be. Aren’t we always growing?

And then suddenly… everything changed in an instant.

I became a paraplegic. Learning to do so many things differently. Trying to have faith to walk again.

No more busy homeschooling family. Career was on hold. At least I’m working again.

Will I ever regain my health?  I must press on! I must believe!

Spiritually – the Lord has become my True Friend and taken me so far and I’ve truly learned to walk with Him.  And I keep learning more and growing closer to Him each passing day.

So what about the 40’s? What will those years hold? So many questions! Yet one day at a time will tell. Will this be the decade I walk again? Will this be the one when I see our girls again? Will the Lord Jesus Christ return before I turn 50?

Who knows? But excitedly, courageously, I go! I’ll keep pushing into His presence to find all that the future holds!

1 Comment »

Joy in the Crazy Journey

Wow! Today is the first day in over week that I have felt really good!  Praise the Lord for HE is good! So even though it is Saturday, I went in to the office for a couple of hours to get caught up.  The ice and snow caused us to be closed a couple of days and the other days I either didn’t go into work because of feeling so bad or only went in for a very short time.

Had a great time at the office – it just felt good to get caught up – like a load off my shoulders. Maybe I can breathe now!  Or more likely, I won’t get in trouble for not having my time accounting and contacts report completed in time. Richard was with me – so that made it even sweeter. He listened to music on his iPod while I worked and listened to the Praise and Worship channel on iTunes Radio.

So then we had to go to Walmart.  Hadn’t been there in a while (yeah!) – not my favorite place to go.But we did find a parking spot – not an official one – but one that worked, thank you Lord! In wen went to discover that there were no little blue hand-held baskets at either entrance.  I asked several associates about them and no one had any idea where they all were.  I find it hard to believe that all 80 baskets were being used. But anyway, there were none! So I went back out to the van and grabbed a reusable shopping bag.  Back into the store.  We went around and grabbed most of the times we needed. Bigger items that don’t fit easily into the bag, we put them between my feet on the foot rests of my chair.  A lady I know approached us and gave me a big hug.  I recognized her as someone who used to work at the meat market in town.  She shocked me because she said, “You are amazing” I told her thank you and that it was the Lord.  She then said, “I am just soaking up energy from you, is that all right?”  I told I supposed it was because if she was getting anything good from me, it must be Him (Jesus(!  She told me she now works at Walmart and to let her know if we needed anything.  A little later we checked out.

The next stop was McDonalds for a hot chocolate!  Then onto KFC for our supper. On the way home I decided to drink a little of the hot chocolate.  I got a couple of sips, but something seemed amiss.  Once in our driveway I noticed the edge of my seat cushion on the wheelchair was wet – really wet.  Then I noticed that the entire font of my shirt was soaked – with …… you guessed it: hot chocolate!  Gee, how did I do that, I wondered.  I discovered later there was a notch missing out of the top of the cup.  W/hen I took those sips, it poured down my shirt!!  Of course, I felt nothing as it was happening.  Joys of paraplegia – no really – it would have been wet and icky feeling!  Fortunately I had on two thick shirts so it wasn’t hot on my skin.

So next we are putting away the groceries and notice the milk we purchased, is all squished in on the sides.  Somehow the cap was not sealed all the way AND there was a leak in the bottom of the jug.  So now there is milk on the table — and probably milk in the van because it was not in a bag.  Lovely, LOL!

But in spite of all these little things I came away laughing.  That my friends, is the joy of the Lord.  I remember a time when those little things would have frustrated me to the point I would have been fit to be tied!  But thanks be to God for a day I felt good and for giving me His joy!

1 Comment »

My Testimony

For some time now I have felt like I needed to share my testimony with you, my readers.

Without going into all the details, I was raised by my adoptive father, who was single. I’ll call him dad from here on out. His first wife had committed suicide and he divorced his second wife. He was a bar owner and worked there all day everyday and late into the nights. He was 55 years of age. One of his regular customers was my biological mom. She was pregnant with me and already had two children, I think, in the welfare system. And she did not know what she was going to do with me either.

One day after I was born she came into the Jolly Joker lounge, the one dad owned, at 11 in the morning. I was out in the car. Keep in mind this was in Houston, TX in the summer. So dad wanted to go out and see me. When they saw me, I was in the car seat with my hands tucked under my head on one side. Now turn the clock twelve hours to 11 PM that same day. Once again she came into the lounge without me. Once again dad and she went out to the car to check on me. Dad said I was lying in the exact same position as I had been when he saw me that morning. It was late and dad was not prepared, but he asked her if he could take me home that night. So she handed me over. She did send a bottle but there were no diapers, wipes, no diaper bag. Not exactly how you would send your child off to stay with the grandparents or something!

Once at home that night, dad did not have any milk, formula, or diapers. So he did the only thing he knew to do…and that was to fill the bottle with sugar water.  For a diaper he used a handkerchief and pinned it together. It was a great cloth diaper….the best he had at the moment anyway. Howeever, when he went to change my diaper, he noticed that I had horrible diaper rash…. we are talking sores upon sores…. the diaper had not been changed all day. It was then he decided to take me to the doctor the next morning.

The docttor visit didn’t go very well and dad left thinking that I may not live. This same doctor was surprised when I returned for my 2 week follow-up appointment. That was the first miracle. At this point, dad had spoken with an attorney. Mom had decided to sign over her parental rights to him. So at that point I belonged to him, and he became my dad.

Next, dad discovered that I could not see well.  He said I did not react the aame way other babies did to lights.  I diid not notice them or reach out for them. So he took me to an eye doctor who told him that I was completely blind and there was no use in hoping for any improvement. But he did not accept this as a possible outcome for me.  He had read where a mother carried her baby upside down and eventaully the baby started seeing.  Sounds cooky, right? Well, maybe so. But he did begin carrying me in a head-down position for short periods throughout the day, especially as he walked around the pool table in the lounge. One dday, I began reaching for the lights. And lo, and behold, I could see. This was miralcle number two! Wheen I was about three years old, I could point at pictures on an eye chart at the doctor’s office – something they thought I’d never be able to do! My vision is not perfect to this day, and I do have low vision. But I see well enough to drive with telescopic lenses.

Growing up, we nnever really went to church. In the sixth grade, we moved to a small town called Normangee, TX. I began attending church at a small interdenominational chapel. The Sunday school class for my age group was taught by Lillian McReeynolds.   Since the chapel only had morning services, she also attended First Baptist Church in Normangee.  I began going home with her after church in the mornings, stayng with her Sunday afternoons and then riding with her to church on Sunday nights to First Baptist.

I distinctly remember one Sunday nnight service. I was in the 7th grade and like a lot of the youth ws not really paying attention to the sermon. When we stood up to sing the hymn for the altar call, I started feeling really nervous. The feeling is very hard to describe. There was resistance, but at the same time Divine nudging. I knew I had to go to the front. I knew I needed to accept Jesus as my Savior, even though I really didn’t know how to say that… At the altar the Pastor greeted me. I told him what I was feeling and he asked me if I felt like I needed to be saved, to accept Jesus. I said yes, because inside I knew that was it! He explained to me what this decision meant and i was so excited! Words cannot express the pure joy that I felt when Jesus came into my heart and I was “born again.” It’s just like the Scriptures say, the old had been washed away, and behold, the new creature was born. I had been bought with a price, just like you have. The precious blood of Jesus washes all of our sins away. And that is the cleanest feeling you will ever have in your life. It’s the cleanest feeling I’ve ever had in mine. People said I was literally “glowing” that night. I felt like I was glowing! I just wanted to tell everyone what had happened! An evangelist I know, who has gone to be with Lord, used to say, “Every drop of His blood paid for every one of your sins.” – Steve Hill.

Salvation is a gift but it is not free. It cost Jesus His life. And to those who accept Jesus, we need to give Him our all. he is worthy of it ALL!

And even though the road has NOT been easy and I have faced what I feel might be more than my fair share of struggles in this life, I can honestly say, that I could not have gotten through them without Jesus to walk with and even carry me through. Dad passed away my senior year in college from a massive heart attack. He had his wish of dying either while playing the guitar or working in the field. He was at a birthday party singing and playing his guitar. He could quote Scriptures, but he was not assured of his salvation. I’d ask him if he knew where he was going to spend eternity and he would say that there is no way one can know.

I had gone a mission trip to Mexico with the Baptist Student Union and we had shared the Jesus film with the people. Upon returning from the trip, I shared it with Dad and he changed. Through this movie and our talks, I know he accepted Jesus as his Savior. I could tell a huge difference in his life. And I know one day, I will see him in Heaven, with the girls (his granddaughters he never met) and our Lord.

11 Comments »

Remembering Jennette

pinkribbonOctober.  Breast cancer awareness month never really meant anything to me until 2004.  Unless someone you are close to has battled or is battling breast cancer, it might just seem like a nice idea to remember and honor those who have it or who beat it and to honor those who have passed away from it.

Jennette and I met in the 1990’s at Stephen F. Austin State University where we were both studying to be teachers of the visually impaired.  And we both had visual impairments.  I can remember many nights of staying up past midnight working on our assignments for braille class.  The rule was that if you made even one mistake while broiling, you had to start over, because points would be deducted.  That’s because if a person who is blind can feel the mistake in the braille, it makes it very hard if not impossible for them to read.  So there were many late nights with lots of pizza and Coca Cola!  I met Jennette’s parents when they would come to visit on the weekends periodically.

After graduation several years went by before our paths crossed again. I had been teaching in Mesquite, Texas when I accepted a consultant position with Region 8 Education Service Center in Mt. Pleasant. As a consultant in visual impairments I get to work with the teachers in the surrounding schools. It just so happened that Jeanette was teaching in one of the Region 8 sichools. She found my number and told me that we would be working together. As it turned out the house we rented was just a few blocks away from hers!

One sunny afternoon not too long after we had moved in, the phone wrong and it was Jennette. She had found a lump on her breast and it was malignant. She requested prayer as she was scheduled for a lumpectomy. Jennette’s parents have been missionaries all their lives. And they were already scheduled for a missions trip the week of her surgery. I’ll never forget how bravely she told them to go ahead with their trip. She had a friend from church who would drive her to Dallas and stay with her. So her parents courageously left her in God’s hands as they went to share Jesus with others.
I kept her in my prayers and really thought this was the end of the battle. After all, she was just 32 years old.

Jennette was no stranger to challenges. She spent several years as a young child on the mission field in Africa. She had to learn to speak Africans. It was hard and she didn’t like it . But learn, she must. Also because of her poor vision she couldn’t drive as an afult. So as an itinerant teacher she had to hire drivers.

At the time of her diagnosis we did not have a cancer center. Jennette’s mom Joyce, drove her to her chemo sessuons in Longview, an hour away. The treatment made her nauseous. And after the second one she lost all her hair. It fell out in huge clumps in the shower.

Jennette loved to sing and had a beautiful voice. She did specials at church and even recorded an album. Jennette could be anywhere and just break out in song. I loved that about her! No matter how bad things got she never lost her faith, nor her song, nor her smile. One of her favorite songs that she sang at church is “My Redeemer Lives” by Nicole C. Mullens.

The timelines are kind of foggy since her battle was son long. But the cancer spread to one of her lungs. She was in the hospital for nine days following surgery to remove the mass. Later it spread to the other lung and she had to have that mass removed as well.

Each year in the spring our professional organization, Texas Association of Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (TAER) holds its annual convention. After these lung surgeries it seemed that Jennette was getting back on her feet again. She was able to go to the conference this particular year and we shared a room. Jennette had brought her MP3 player with her loaded with over a 1,000 songs. As we sat on the side of the bed in the room one night, she played a song for me by Mercy Me called, “Gotta Keep Singing.” I couldn’t hold back the tears as I listened to the lyrics. It described her so perfectly. Being in a hospital room, feeling nothing but pain, wanting out so bad… but “I gotta keep singing, gotta keep praising Your Name”…. I don’t remember anything else about the conference. I learned from my dear friend how to cling to the Lord and let your fait shine even through trials. Hmmm… maybe the Lord was beginning to prepare me for my struggle – not with cancer but with paralysis and living with only the pictures and memories of my girls, knowing I’ll see them AND Jennette again one day.

By this time she had been battling for several years and taking chemo pills and radiation on and off. It was after this convention at some point the doctors discovered a large mass on the occipital lobe of her brain. I took my girls and we sat at the hospital with the family on Good Friday while she had surgery to remove the mass.

It was getting really tough for her to keep working. But she loved her students so much and was so dedicated to them that she kept on going even if it was just a few hours a day. “They need me” she would say. I think she also needed them.

Even though they successfully removed the tumor from her brain, another one appeared – and it was huge. This time they decided to “blast” it with a big dose of radiation. Seemingly, all that did was disburse it into 16 smaller pieces. So chemo, different than all the ones she had had before was administered. It was tough. But the tumors started shrinking…. but it wasn’t enough.

Jennette had to make the decision to take a disability retirement from teaching. It was just getting too hard for her to walk around. I remember going to her classroom where the students would come for their lessons with her and helping her clean it out. I was standing out by the car with Joyce. And for the first time, Joyce let me know that she thought Jennette might not make it. She said they had enjoyed 39 years and were just hoping to see the 40th.

At some point all the chemo just stopped working and there was nothing else the medical community could do for her. So they sent her home and she was placed on Hospice.

I went to see her at home. It was weird seeing my friend in a hospital bed in her house. It was so hard to see her that way. By this time she wasn’t really coherent much of the time. She didn’t want to eat. Her mom had to feed her. Nurses having to change her. She was dependent on others for everything.
But I stayed a long time… probably too long… may have worn her and her mom out. But we had a great time just talking and remembering past times.

On July 1, 20111 the girls and I were getting ready to attend our town’s annual fireworks display when word of Jennette’s passing came. She had won her battle. The fighting was over. That evening as we were attending the festivities a rainbow appeared in the sky just before dark. I’ll always remember it. It was if Heaven was happy to have received another singing angel.

I dreaded the funeral. She was too young to die. In the church the first few rows of pews were crowned one of her hats she had worn. This was so special because she always picked out the cutest hats – she had joy in picking them out. I went up to see her in the casket. She was beautiful and all dressed in purple with a hat on! Purple was her favorite color, and now it’s mine, too!
As the ceremony began, it was nothing like any funeral I’d ever been to before. It was truly a celebration of her life, not a mournful occasion. People told stories or shared things they loved about Jennette. There were lots of tears, of course, but we knew she was at happy and free of pain and earthly cares.

I still have the blankets she crocheted for my girls when they were babies.
And one day our families will be reunited in Heaven with our Lord Jesus. He is our Hope!

2 Comments »

What’s Wrong?

I read a post from a friend today. Her pastor has stated that America is a declining society morally. In response she posed a very good and throughout provoking question: Is technology partially to blame? She mentioned that in her case and, I’ll say in a lot of cases, she is only one phone call or text away from her job or from anyone from that matter. As a result she said we never really spend quality time with our families and so our children learn from what they see in us, to be workaholics, “and contributing to a society based on success and power.”
I’m not even sure which direction to begin addressing this as it is so vast!

First, I think many of us spend way too much time on our phones doing nothing worthwhile for the most-part. That includes me. But that is changing for me. The nature of some jobs do require that kind of connectivity, but most do not. But what about working overtime, especially when it isn’t required? What about taking work home that would be able to be done the next day? Granted, there are teachers who have to spend the time at home or after school working, or it would not get done because planning periods are not enough to plan for instruction and talk to parents, etc. I used to stay at my job and be the last one to leave. At this point in my life I can’t tell you how much I REGRET that! I just thought it was part of doing a good job. But what about my kids? What about my husband? Thank God a year or so before the wreck, I stopped staying late and came home – but usually because the girls had dance classes. At least I was with them. I can never get that time back. All the hours I stayed at the office to “finish” what I had started. It would have still been on my desk the next day. Most of it could have easily waited. But I was driven by a desire to be successful.

But putting all the phones, jobs, etc. aside, what is really wrong? We as a nation have lost sight of God to a huge degree. I know Christians who watch abd listen to music and television and movies on a regular basis. But would they feel convicted if Jesus was there beside them? They have their sights set on fashion, popularity, power, houses, cars, entertainment, you name it! Notice I said “Christians.” I wouldn’t expect an unsaved person to act any differently. But if we all, Christians and non-Christians alike, are spending so much time on social sites, texting, working, shopping, when are we spending quality time with our families? When are we reading to kids, having dinner as a family at the kitchen table, watching a wholesome movie together, visiting other family members, or doing some community service as a family? But MOST OF ALL…. when are we as Christians spending time with JESUS?

I don’t know about you, but I’m to the point to where all I want is more of Him! I need clothes to wear so I will go shop for them when needed, I have to work, so I go to work. But after this accident, my views on life have totally changed. Jesus is worthy of it ALL – all of my time, all of my affection, all of ME! What’s wrong with our society and why it is declining is because AMERICA is LOST! People need to get saved! The ones who are already saved – we should be falling radically in love with our Savior. We need to come back to our first Love! We need to do our first works over again. We need to realize that just going to the altar and saying a prayer does not make us a Christian!!! When we become a Christian, we CHANGE. We need to PRAY for our nation to turn back to God. If we would all just get on fire for the Lord think how different the world could be! Maybe then we could change the world for Jesus instead of the world changing us to be more like itself. Maybe our kids would grow up loving Jesus and their neighbor more than themselves. Maybe our schools would be safe again.

The good news is that it’s not too late! God said£ in the last days He will pour out His spirit on all flesh. That means there is still hope. But we don’t£ have to wait for that to happen. The Bible says today is the day of salvation! Oh let’s pursue God like never before– before it is too late!
Jesus loves you and He wants to be your best friend. Only He can save, heal, deliver us!

Has this moved you? Did this post convict or compel you? Then stop and take an inventory of where your time is going, where your priorities are and where they should be. Make a decision to start putting things in order as they should be. Pray and ask the Lord to help you. If you don’t know the Lord, then message me. I’d love to talk to you! Jesus is waiting. And much is at stake.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dawn.adams1
Email: dadams8105@me.com

God bless you!

1 Comment »

Seek His Face

There is a song by Don Potter which has been in my head.  A portion of they lyrics are, “I can make it to the end if I can just see His face.”  A while back I heard Heidi Baker, a missionary to Africa, describing a time when she had seen the face of the Lord in a vision. She described his deep, piercing, beautiful eyes, the love seen in those eyes, and more that I cannot even remember at this point.  A few weeks ago I started trying to close my eyes and see His face.  I am longing in my soul to see those same deep, beautiful, piercing eyes up close just as she did.  But when I close my eyes I either see His face in a very transparent way or I see Him standing a few feet away.  But i haven’t gotten the close-up of His face that I long to see.

So this morning as I was thinking about this, the thought came that how well we see His face depends on how closely we follow Him.  So if you (or () want to see that face up close and personal, we have to be following Him that closely!  Alternatively, if we only follow from a distance, we will not be able to see His face except from a distance.

James 4:8 says: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify yourhearts, you double-minded.”

A lot of times when I’ve read this verse or heard others refer to it, we/they seemed to stop after the first part, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” But the verse doesn’t stop there.  The rest of the verse says, ” Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded!

Oh.  So the later part of that verse tells us the secret to drawing close to the Lord.  We have to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts and THEN we can draw near to God and He will draw near to us!

No matter how closely we walk with the Lord, we can always come closer and closer. I want to be “whisper close” as Leonard Ravenhill once said.  And then, I will be able to see His face!

Lord help us to forsake sin and the things that set us behind and let us wash our hands of those things, purify our hearts before You, and draw near.  We want to be near to You!

1 Comment »