Monday, December 28, 2009

One Thousand Gifts - Counting on

This has been a difficult week. Not the usual for such a festive time of the year but nonetheless, it was ours.

We spent the last few days traveling between to mothers - his and mine. One holding on tightly to this side of heaven and the other dreaming soon she will be there, face to face.

We are just plain tired.

We didn't shop. We didn't wrap. We didn't open. We didn't eat in abundance.
We did spend the holiday with two who have loved us most.
We did give what we could - ourselves - to those who wanted nothing more.

At first I confess, I found it hard to be grateful. It was too easy to moan and complain even if most of those words remained in my head. Sadly, that was selfishness within not the Truth all around.

Yet, here in this exercise I am an unwrapping the gift I needed the most.

A grateful heart focused on the Truth not the circumstance.

6. Doctors, nurses and aides who work seven days a week, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year with compassion and professionalism

7. The love of a mother's heart

8. A memory recalled when most are forgotten

9. A hot cup of coffee on a cold winter morning

10. The sweet and savory aromas of a favorite Italian deli triggering a multitude of memories

11. Safe travel to and from Ohio

Miss not on these opportunities, my friends, to recollect your graces. While your eyes may not always see your favors, in a simple act of remembrance grace abounding will be found.

holy experience

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Journey of Grace

While it seems most fitting to save "starts" like this to the beginning of a new year, I don't think that this should wait.

I have waited too long.

Could this be why my days long gone have felt like something less?
Could it be why my present day seems jumbled and harried?
Could it be why my days to come seem pressing and formidable?

Simple things unrecognized and often, just plain ignored. In my missed appreciation, much more was lost.

So, this day I join the multitude in giving voice to my thankfulness.

1. A shimmering blanket of white that forced upon us a pause to life.

2. Hope that can be found in silence and prayer. An echo of Light in the gray, dark of life.

3. Beauty that speaks Truth

4. A hot and steamy bowl of chili.

5. A faithful friend waiting for me.

And so it begins.

A testament to the bounty that was and is and will be upon my life.

A record of simple things and yet profound, for in their recollection I am given much.

Like a gift being unwrapped, in the remembrance and then the writing, I am finding the treasure within...perspective.

So with this post I join my gratitude with others and though it may be a day late, it really is not. For it is never too late to be grateful.

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.
Johannes A. Gaertner

holy experience

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

White is the snow

Well, the sun is shining and we (hubby, really) are shoveling our way out of the house. I am not sure when we will be able to venture on the road. We were pretty close to 2 feet of snow at our house. So, unless it melts or the nice man in the truck with big yellow plow comes down our road we may be stuck here for a day or two. We shall see what happens.
Until then, chili and hot chocolate for everyone!

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like a BLIZZARD!

Seriously, isn't the official start of winter yet to come!

Hunkering in for a few days I guess. Photos to come. Right now, 530am we have had about 6 inches since 9pm last night and today the heaviest snow is supposed to fall.

Anyone have a snow blower?

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Winter's Journey

It seems fitting that the seasons have marched on. For as much as my surroundings have reflected the solemn barrenness of winter, I can’t help but feel its echo in my life.

Of late it has been like looking into a frozen pond and seeing a fragmented reflection. Life has handed some difficult assignments. Frankly, I would rather not have endured any one of them but the choice is not mine to make. It is what it is. Even so, my path is not the most difficult which makes me feel selfish in my misery.

There are those who have lost more and whose suffering will remain even past a season’s change. Theirs is a path I will not tread. I cannot tread. Ours is a solitary journey to make. Yet, in the days to come our two paths will meet and in that moment we will have the opportunity to be to each other what we cannot be to ourselves.

It is for such times that my soul longs for the whisper of faith and embrace of grace. Reassurances that in the midst of the bleakness there is hope. A promise that in the moment when our paths converge I will be prepared to be what is needed - not for me but for her.

While my life at times appears to be wilderness living, I am no John the Baptist. Yet, the song from Zechariah’s lips resonates in my heart.

…you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him. , to give his people knowledge of salvation through forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.
Luke 1:76-79

My breath hangs heavy in the stark cold air. In its ebb and flow there is a visible reminder life remains. This life, this breath compels me to walk on in faith preparing the way for Him.

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A brief update...

Well, hello there! I have not abandoned my blog - just one too many life interruptions. I am almost as wiped out as my golden retriever appears.

This will be brief but I hope to be back again in the next few days with some thoughts.

My mother-in-law remains in the hospital in ICU. She seems to be moving toward the right direction with the healing of the infection and surgery. Unfortunately, the last few days have been a bit crazy (literally) with some ICU related confusion. It happens. Hospitalization + ICU + medications + over 70 years = confusion. Last night was a glimmer that the fog is clearing, so we wait some more. The doctors said she would be in the hospital close to 3 weeks. I doubted that initially, not so much now!

My sister-in-law, Robin, got some difficult news. Her doctors and insurance company feel that she needs to move to a lower level of care (i.e. nursing home). They don't think that she will make significant progress quickly enough to warrant a continued stay in the long term acute care hospital. It is frustrating to see the "system" work so poorly. There is so much that needs to be done to let her be as independent as possible but this a process that will take months if not years. As a former acute rehab nurse who worked with spinal cord injured patients, I understand but it doesn't make it easier. 44 years old is WAY TOO YOUNG to be in a nursing home.

Life is fragile friends. It is a lesson that is settling deep within me of late.

More to come soon...thank you for your continued prayers.

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Urgent Prayer Request

Oh my dear friends, I can hardly believe that I am once again asking for prayers. This has been a tough year for my husband's family.

My mother-in-law was taken to the hospital on Friday evening and had to have emergency surgery. In the process of recovery, the doctors were keeping her sedated and have been waking her up intermittently to make sure there have been no cognitive changes.

Today, she had a reaction to some medicine and now they are unable to wake her up. We need prayer!

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Student of Grace

Learning to be thankful in all things, so I am and fearfully, so I think I will always be - learning. I am beginning to understand that this side of heaven the splendor is found for me here.

It is in the learning that I come face to face each and every time with grace.

It rarely gets better than that.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more...It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing and mistakes into important events.
Melody Beattie

Grace abounds to those who are thankful. Life and circumstances may not change. Yet, in our thankfulness we see beyond the horizon where grace shines bright.

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A long and winding road...

I have been on a long road to daybreak.

It seems like I have been walking hard this last year.

I know that there are times in our lives when the journey seems more cumbersome; when the scenery we pass by is sparse and when the steps we take are incredibly lonely.

I know this doesn’t surprise you (those few that venture to this blog) as my writing has reflected a heavy heart and heavier feet.

Even so the path I wander, much like yours, is full of twists and turns. Our foolish hearts and impaired vision would have us believe that the scenery and thus our lives are stagnant and barren.

Don’t believe that lie!

For rooted deep within our spirit is the joy that comes from the Creator Himself, it is there where our faith is fashioned not by the circumstance of life but the love of our God.

Anticipate the future and its changes with joy. There is a seed of God’s love in every event, every circumstance, every unpleasant situation in which you may find yourself.
Barbara Johnson

I am cresting this hill. I know it.

There will be more hills ahead. I know that too.

My prayer is that my heart and my vision will see the seeds of heaven, first and foremost.

On this Thursday, I am thankful for so much….

I am thankful that my husband’s health. The news we received from the doctor was positive and relieving. Our prayers have been answered – no medical intervention is necessary.

I am thankful that my sister-in-law has made it safely to Ohio. She continues to grow stronger. A few days ago she was able to ingest some applesauce and speak a few words with her speech therapist. We continue to pray that she will not be ventilator dependent and rejoice in the hope that continues.

I am thankful that God never wants to leave us where we are.

I am thankful quiet rainy mornings, my bible and my journal. Add a pair of PJ’s and a cup of coffee, heaven on earth, I tell you!

I am thankful for this blogging community. Sweet friends in Christ, who inspire, encourage and sweeten my days. I am grateful for your prayers. I appreciate your visits and enjoy your comments.

Walking a little bit lighter and a lot brighter….

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Faith Walking

Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder. Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of Your universe…Each day enrapture me with Your marvelous things without number. I do not ask to see the reason for it all; I ask only to share in the wonder of it all.
Abraham Joshua Heschel

I want to be a faith-walker. I want to be one who does not muddle a life journey with the need to know. I want to be one who steps out in faith into the great unknown desiring only to share in the wonder and glory of the God who created it all.

Like Noah, who built an ark when it wasn’t raining.
Like Abraham, who went even though he didn’t know where he was going.
Like David, who as a child killed the giant warrior with a stone and a sling while the armies watched.
Like Esther, who approached the king not knowing if he would receive her or kill her.
Like Isaiah, who saw the Lord seated on His throne; felt his unworthiness and with touch of God’s glory eagerly offered to be sent by the Lord as a prophet.
Like the disciples who left their nets and their lives to follow the One who called to them.
Like Stephen who spoke boldly for the Lord and was stoned for it – in his dying moment he prayed for those who threw the stones.
Like Saul who became Paul after a meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus. His life was never the same.

A faith walker doesn’t ask why. With faith, there is that unknown factor. If you can see, you can touch it and you know why it is there – do you really need faith?

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 NIV

I am not a faith walker or at least not one with great consistency. My “why’s” are often like the “why’s” of a toddler, incessant.

Is the need to know really important?

If knowing the why’s doesn’t really change the circumstance then I would say the knowing isn’t important. Faith, however, is essential.

Often, the situation remains unchanged but it is faith that causes a transformation. Not in the circumstance but in the heart.

My “why’s” should be my “why not’s” in Christ.

Why not believe in the God who created my inmost being and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Why not believe in the God who has created and ordained the days before even one came into being.
Why not believe in the God who gave of His very own save me.

Why not trust my yesterday, today and tomorrow to the God who planned for me, created me, saved me, knows me and sustains me.

Faith goes up the stairs that love has made and looks out the window which hope has opened.
Charles H. Spurgeon

I am stepping on and stepping up in faith. Care to join me?

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Welcome Home


That is where we are now. Almost unpacked and settled in.

Often the coming home is much sweeter than the being away - hard to believe and even harder to say.

What not so long ago was the rut and routine has gracefully become the warm and cozy. Within its embrace we are welcomed back to the reality of life.

And, we are glad to be back.

I think that we all need those get away moments. Sabbath breaks in the midst of being. Occasions to release, replenish and return.

Release that which we should never had gripped so tightly.
Replenish what is left empty and wanting.
Return not so much to what was but what should have always been.

Home again.

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Waking up to a glorious sunrise like this, makes me want to stay. However, in the distance, I hear the call to return to life and home.

While what awaits back home is more of the heavy and burdened, I can rest in the joy that the sun will rise again and bring with it new rays of hope, grace and peace.

Sunrises don't just happen at the beach. They grace the mountaintop, the cityscape and the countryside.

I would do well to remember that.

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Just a little prayer update:
My sister-in-law flew via medivac back to Ohio today. We made it to Wilmington NC to see her on Wednesday. When we arrived she was off the ventilator and doing well. In fact, she was off for almost 4 hours - what wonderful praise! There is much hope that she will not need ventilator support. She still is unable to move her arms or legs but if we can get her off the vent we can start the rehab soon!

Monday my husband will see a new doctor regarding his pulmonary function. Our prayer is that he will not need any invasive medical intervention at this point. Would appreciate continued prayer for him.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I am here, finally.

It seems like it has been so long, too long, since I have heard the waves crashing against the shore. It is a symphony to my spirit, sweet, sweet music singing over me.

Rest my dear one, for if I can manage this vast ocean I can surely take control of this life you call yours. Did I not create you? Did I not plan your days before nary a one was cast into being? Don't worry my precious one, I have it. All along I have had it, I have told you so. Why don't you know?

There are things I know and things I KNOW. There is a difference.

Book learning is easy. It is the heart and soul learning that I find more difficult. These lessons are harder, at least most of them.

That is why I adore the beach. Even with the pound of the surf and the roar of the waves, I can hear Him speak. Softly, ever so softly, His breath whispers across my soul.

I am left...




There are lessons to be learned here. Ones that shouldn't stay among the waves but ones that should venture back with me on the roads that lead to home. I am waiting Lord.

Show me your glory!

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Faith in the Weaving

Weave in faith and God will find the thread.

There are those times when in the midst of life we can do no more than move forward in the faith that God is who He says He is.

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see.
Hebrews 11:1 The Message

In that truth alone, I have been existing in these last few weeks and will continue to press on into the unknown.

My life is on the loom and each moment is like a row being weaved into eternity. It may not look like much now but in time as the weaving progresses and the rows are formed and pressed together, its beauty will begin to be form.

For now, I must trust in the Weaver's vision. In His hands the threads are laid and the purpose is set. In His time the blessing will be seen.

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Praise in the Storm

Yesterday, I do my best at being "real" on the blog.

Baby steps.

Then it happens.

As I tuck myself in for a night's sleep, I am distracted by a horrible headache. Rather than moan all the more, I decided to pick up a Bible on my nightstand and read. Was I in for a treat!

The pages of the Bible fall open. Now, I am not one to automatically think that where the pages fall is where I need to read. However, last night that is EXACTLY what happened and what I needed.

Here I just finished lamenting my inability to wait well and I find myself face to face with "Developing Patience" in BOLD type. Romans chapter 5 is where my Bible fell open and my eyes were drawn to Romans 5:3-5 The Message verson (italics mine).

There is more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we are hemmed in with troubles, because we know that troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience forges the tempered steel of virtue. Keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary, we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours in our lives through the Holy Spirit.

Now, I am one who is better at moaning my laments than shouting my praises. My eeyore-like thinking keeps me rooted on the circumstances and spending too much time looking down.

I need to do a little shouting.

I need to be alert and looking up in expectancy.

I need to be gathering some passionate patience! As I said, it doesn't come naturally but it does come supernaturally - much like I believe this verse did - at this moment - for me.

As I fell asleep, this song came to my mind. Fitting don't you think.

Lord, I will praise you in the midst of this storm. It is still raining but I can hear your whisper and feel the warmth of your breath upon me. Thank you for pouring your mercy and grace upon me. Thank you for your Word that is alive, active and oh, so tangible.

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Done vs Undone

I love this picture of the early morning near the Potomac River.




I wish I could transplant myself somewhere into that scene but I can't. So instead, I journey around this bloggy world for some encouragement.

I wasn't disappointed. Of course, stopping by my bloggy friend, Elaine's site is always a pause well spent. Today, was no exception. If you have never visited Peace for the Journey you will be in for a "real" treat. Go soon as you can. Elaine always pens her words with an honesty that speaks volumes. Today, it was just what I needed to hear.

You see, my life has been a bit jumbled of late. A mission trip, a horrendous accident of a family member and now the unknown of health concerns for my hubby.

I am done or at least, nearing being undone. If you have been there you know what I mean.

It is not easy to admit that I am tired.
It is not easy to admit that I am frustrated.
It is not easy to admit that I am not patient in the waiting.
It is not easy to admit that I don't know the answers.

While I know that God hasn't left me; while I know that God gives me the strength to handle life's stressors; while I know that God's timing is perfect; while I know that God can perform miracles -- what I need is to believe. I am echoing the desperate cry of the father in Mark 9, "I believe, help my unbelief."

I am being real here. We still need your prayers.

My sister-in-law has had surgery to stablize her cervical spine. She is a quadriplegic now. During the surgery it was noted that she has had some damage to vocal cords and there is concern that she may not be able to speak ever again. She is still intubated and on a ventilator but the good news is she is breathing strong over it and has shoulder movement. A permanent ventilator may not be needed. So, we wait ...

My hubby on his return trip from NC to be with his sister, received an unexpected call from his physician. Apparently, tests were concerning and warranted further testing. Those have been done and once again we are waiting for test results - could be serious - maybe not - so, we wait...

Since I am being real here, I don't wait well. Patience while a noble virtue, hasn't been a bulwark virtue in my life. It is one I am learning but honestly, don't know if it will ever find its home in me.

So, my friends, this is my life in the here and now.

Thank you for listening!
Thank you for praying!

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I learned a few lessons during this recent trip to Ecuador. First and foremost, I am not made to live upon the mountaintops.

I have been one that longs for mountaintop living – figuratively and literally.

Much like men of old, I figure that the sheer proximity to the heavens would bring me much closer to the face of God. The pristine beauty of the mountains speak of the glory of the Creator. I can’t help but feel His very presence in such places.

In Quito, I learned very quickly I was not made for mountaintop living. Altitude sickness took what little breath was left within. My first night was spent alternating between the bed and the bathroom floor.


Yet and still, morning came and duty called. The reason for our journey was to begin. We were met with a multitude of people at the hospital, anxiously waiting for the clinic to begin and hoping beyond hope that they or their family member would be among the chosen few.


Much like those who were chosen for the surgery, I was one of many who were chosen for this moment. I don’t know why but I know that it was a gift. Foolishly, I may have thought that what I was giving was the gift, however, perspective changes on a mountaintop.

Quito stands proudly at 9252 feet but more importantly, I stood upon high and holy ground. It was as if the very glory of God was revealed. I knew while chosen for such a time as this, mine was not the only life to be changed. Others may have a more tangible expression of our encounter but I left with an indelible mark upon my soul. I have been graced with this visit to the mountaintop but I was definitely not called to remain here.

My life is lived in the valleys between.

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Pics: Alpaca near Otavalo, Ecuador; Op Walk team on Day 1 (I am 2nd row, far right); Walking with a patient in the hospital; Quito, Ecuador with Our Lady of Quito statue on the top of the mountain.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's a hodge-podge!

First, my sister-in-law has been able to move her shoulders. She remains on a ventilator but has been breathing "over it". Her lungs have been bruised badly from the fall and are causing the most difficulty at this point - filling up with fluid and causing the need for chest tubes to be placed. Otherwise, if she continues to stabilize then hopefully surgery later this week.

Secondly, can I just praise God for wonderful neighbors! I have lived in this house for 6 years and NEVER been locked out - until today! I was trying to keep one dog in the house while trying to get the other one to come into the house. Only partially successful, I kept the german shepherd inside and locked myself outside with the golden retriever. Seriously, no shoes - no keys - no pride! Lucky for me, I have a brave neighbor who was willing to get a ladder and climb through the only window open (2nd floor) and brave my crazy german shepherd who was going nuts in the house.

I knew I bought the box of Ecuadorian cigars for a reason! Good thing, my neighbor likes cigars! :o)

Last but not least, this was my final look at Quito, Ecuador just one week ago. With all that has happened, it sure seems like it has been longer than just seven days! I hope to have some posts together soon that share more of my time in Ecuador. It was an amazing adventure!

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Night Vigil

I was watching intently the news report of the dust storm in Australia. I couldn’t help but feel some kinship with those suffering through the night-like haze that blanketed the Aussie sky. My life has been a bit of a dust storm this week.

As I was groping, not so delicately, with the inevitable transition from mission experience to home our family was blindsided with the tragic accident of my sister-in-law.


In a single breath of a moment, life is blurred beyond recognition. The known becomes the unknown. Naked and empty within this great and deep dark silence, I can do nothing.

A sacred vigil has begun.

In this midnight hour of waiting, I beg for sight to see the purpose; I beg for hearing to find comfort in the spoken word; I beg for wisdom to make decisions beyond myself; I beg for air both cleansing and replenishing to fill my breaths.

I asked not for this pervading darkness but within its murkiness I am not alone. I stand watch with those who find themselves enveloped by circumstance. Together we wait for the dust to settle and the air to clear.

This sacred pause to life will fade as quickly as its darkness fell. I know that. So, within its brevity I surrender only to the trust I have in Him who does not change.

Life will change.
He will not.

My eyes stay open through the watches of the night that I may meditate on your promises.
Psalm 119:148

Update: My husband's sister is still sedated and on a ventilator. They hope that soon they will be able to wean her off the ventilator. The extent of spinal damage remains a mystery but there will be permanent damage. The hope is she will be stable enough medically that next week they can surgically stabilize her cervical spine.

Thank you for your prayers.

© A Sacred Longing 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Need for Prayer Please!

My husband's youngest sister (44 yo) fell down 15 stairs while on vacation in Topsail, NC. She suffered three cervical fractures, a lacerated lung, a lacerated liver and a broken collarbone. Currently, she unable to move or feel anything below her shoulders. Her breathing became more difficult after the injury and has required a ventilator. She did not sever her spinal cord but the swelling that is occurring post-injury can cause permanent damage. She was life-flighted to a hospital in Wilmington, NC.

Please pray that the swelling will go down quickly and that the damage to the cord will be minimal. Please pray that she will regain as much motor and sensation as possible. Please pray that she will stabilize soon and can be medivac'd to Ohio to be closer with family. Please pray for traveling mercies for family as they travel to be near her.

Last, but definitely not least, please pray for God's hand to be evident to all in the midst of this situation. May hearts of those who do not believe be softened and may lives be changed for the glory of God.

I started my nursing career working with spinal cord injured patients. I am trying my best to keep a positive outlook but it is difficult. I know the possible roads that lie is hard.

Please feel free to pass this request on and thank you for your prayers!

© A Sacred Longing 2009