Friday, February 26, 2016


I made a statement to my husband earlier today that has made me think.

We have both recently been ill for several weeks.  Whether  a terribly vicious cold, or the flu, I don't know.   I do know I was in bed for four days, missed two nights of work and slowly-- after a round of antibiotics and a steroid shot -- am feeling better.

Our conversation was about our not exercising or walking in the period while we were sick.  I commented, "Sometimes for people who won't slow down and rest, God has to bring things to their lives to make them rest."

My illness certainly did force me into rest, I had no strength for anything else.  And while I was miserable being sick, the rest was a good thing for my body.

In our current age, so few of us find time -- or take time -- to be still and quiet with our thoughts.  There always seems to be a screen somewhere, be it television, computer or phone, and some form of music to fill the quiet places of our minds where the Lord waits to speak to us.

The Lord would have us seek out those moments of rest where we can hear His "still, small voice" speaking to our hearts.  He would have us turn to Him for rest and joy and peace.  He would have us know His stillness of heart, even when all around us is turmoil, trouble and tumult.

"And He said, 
'My presence shall go with thee, 
and I will give thee rest." 
Exodus 33:14

"Come unto Me, 
all ye that labour and are heavy laden, 
and I will give you rest.  
Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me;
 for I am meek and lowly in heart:  
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  
For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30

"There remaineth therefore a rest 
to the people of God."  
Hebrews 4:9

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Perfect Mother-in-law

Today would have been my mother-in-law's 94th birthday.

Now when many women use the word "mother-in-law" it is said with a certain twang to the word.  Often daughters-in-law and mothers-in-law just don't seem to be able to get along.  Not so with my mother-in-law. 

Evelyn was the perfect mother-in-law and I hope I can come at least a little close to being to my daughter-in-law what she was to me.  

She was an incredible example of meekness and humility. She had the heart of a servant and always put those she loved above herself.  She embodied the admonition of the Apostle Paul:

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind 
let each esteem other better than themselves." 
(Philippians 2:3)

She was also a great diplomat.  I can remember times when Glen and I would be having a disagreement in her presence, she never -- not even once -- took Glen's side.  

She would simply say something like, "Now, children," to let us know we needed to resolve the issue.

She was gentle and kind with our children, never showing favoritism and she was gracious and kind to me.  

She was not a great Bible teacher, but she taught the truths of Scripture with every action of her life.  She was not a great singer, but her life produced a song of great glory to her Lord.  She was not a rich woman by the world's standards, but she gave abundantly to her family "everything that money couldn't buy."

She was a wonderful woman and I thank the Lord we will have the opportunity to see her again and thank her, and her Lord, for the wonderful light her life was to us.

"Her children arise up, and call her blessed; 
Give her of the fruit of her hands; 
and let her own works praise her in the gates.  Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: 
but a woman that feareth the Lord, 
she shall be praised.
Psalm 31:28, 30-31

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Shooting Stars, Snowflakes. . .What Next?

I always knew our dear friend Peggy had a magical personality.  She is one of those blessed people who just exudes love, kindness and hospitality to everyone she meets. 

We knew each other by long-distance before ever setting eyes upon each other. When first meeting her face-to-face I had the distinct feeling I had "come home."  Her friendship, her love and kindness to me is like a haven.  It is a refreshing tonic that helps to wash away the cares of the day.  

It is no wonder then that on our second visit, while standing under the stars on her deck, we witnessed a shooting star together.  It was only the second one I have ever seen, the first being on the way back from Arkansas while visiting our friend Jay. (You can read about that here.)

This last time we visited Peggy and her family we had the incredible pleasure of watching it snow.  

Snow may not seem like a big deal to many people, but our city has not seen an accumulation of snow since December 18, 1996, and then it was only one inch.  In fact, the most snowfall accumulated in Mobile in my lifetime was 3.6 inches on February 9, 1973.  I was fifteen.  The most ever (since records were held) was 5 inches on January 24, 1881.

So watching the fluffy flakes fall onto Peggy & Bryan's lawn (complete with deer grazing beyond) was a magical thing.  It brought tears to my eyes, both the beauty of the snow and the joy in sharing it with such wonderful friends.

It makes me wonder, shooting stars, snowflakes. . .what will happen next time we visit?

Remembering these magical times in our lives, shared with ones we so love, reminds me that our Lord intends for us to live our lives sprinkled with wonderful, incredible, divine moments.  

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." 
(Luke 12:32.)

That day when we happily watched the snow, we didn't just happen to notice the snowflakes, we watched for them.  We were expectant for them.  So we should be expectant for the Lord to grace our lives with moments that we are sure come from His loving and caring hand.

Let us look to the skies with expectation. . .for shooting stars, perhaps for snowflakes, but mostly, for Him.  As we look for Him we will most definitely find Him.  

"Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you." James 4:8

"My soul, wait thou only upon God; 
for my expectation is from Him."  
Psalms 62:5

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

To War!

Lately I have been reading two books concurrently which are at the same time very similar and very dissimilar.  

I have been reading, for the first time, "Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hilter's Eagle's Nest," by Stephen E. Ambrose.  I am also re-reading J.R R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings."

Both books revolve around war, both around good versus evil.  One tells the events and actions of the 101st Airborne against Nazi Germany, the other tells the events and actions of men, dwarves, elves and hobbits against orcs, uruk-hai, ugluk and trolls, with wizards on both sides. 

It may seem strange for a 58 year-old-woman to enjoy reading books about war.  Indeed, I have enjoyed many "war" books including, 
"You'll Be Sor-ree!: A Guadalcanal Marine Remembers the Pacific War," by Sidney Phillips (from our own hometown,) "A Helmet for my Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific," by Robert Leckie and "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History"  by Chris Kyle.

One of the common threads I have noticed in books about war is the importance of several things: proper training, proper equipment, leadership of officers and the bonding together of the men.  Often credit for a mission being described as successful was due entirely for the relationship between the men, even when equipment, supplies and training was sorely lacking.

Another thing I noticed was that, especially in these wars, much less was known about the enemy's plans and locations than was desired, showing the importance of good reconnaissance (thank you, son.)

Sitting in our study, with our sweet beagle at my feet, I feel far away from any threat of war, but the truth is, whether I believe we are participating or not, as Christians we are always being assaulted by an enemy.

"Finally, my brethren, 
be strong in the Lord, 
and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:10-12.)

We are undeniably at war.  We know who the enemy is and we know his objective:

"Be sober, be vigilant:  because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8.)

Our war is real, but fear not.  We have the Holy Spirit to give us the best training we can have.  We are completely equipped to do battle. "According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue." (2 Peter 1:3.)

We have been given the whole armour of God, that we can withstand the enemy's wiles.  We have a sure and everlasting bond with our brothers and sisters in Christ which can never be broken by any weapon of the enemy.  

Most of all we have a sure Captain of our salvation who has already won the victory for us.

Let us go forth then, into battle, with the assurance that we are marching not TO victory, but FROM victory following the banner of our Captain, our Lord and our King.

"For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." (Hebrews 2:10.)

"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God:  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. "(Ephesians 6: 13-18.)

Monday, February 1, 2016

"I Can't See It"

We have a fairly new nurse in working with us on night shift, and like all new nurses she is keen to hone her IV starting skills.  She was helping me with an admission the other night and had volunteered to start the IV on my patient.  As I distracted the woman by asking her the 10,001 admission questions (or it at least seems like that many,) Melanie was trying to decide which vein to use.  

Finally she turned to me and asked, "Frannie, would you mind starting it? I just don't see one."

Melanie was relying on what most new nurses rely on to start an IV, her sight.  Nurses with a few hundred IVs under their belts no longer rely primarily on sight, they go by touch.

I put the tourniquet on the patient's arms and began massaging her arm all around to promote blood flow to the veins.  Then I began feeling with my fingertips all the usual places a vein would be located.  Melanie stood directly behind me watching.  I located the vein I wanted to stick and gently marked where the needle would go with the edge of my fingernail.  Immediately, Melanie reached over my shoulder to feel what she could not see.  An engorged vein has a distinctive "spongy" feel and I was glad she wanted to feel the vein I had selected.
Vein Finder in use

Sometimes if we have a patient who is a particularly difficult stick, we will use the "Vein Finder."  This device shines infrared light onto the skin.  Since hemoglobin absorbs infrared light, the veins show up distinctly from the surrounding tissue.  While the Vein Finder doesn't clearly show all obstacles to a successful venipuncture, it often helps tremendously.

Often in our early Christian lives we are like the young nurses, we want to see before we choose.  We want to walk by sight.  But the Apostle Paul clearly instructed us that our walk was to be one of faith in the Lord.

"(For we walk by faith, not by sight.)" 
(2 Corinthians 5:7.)

Learning to walk by faith, to not trust solely in what we see and hear and know, as we walk our Christian lives is not an easy thing.  As the writer of Hebrews described it:

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, 

the evidence of things not seen." 
(Hebrews 11:1.)

It calls us to judge each moment, each situation by what is true according to the Scriptures, not what we think we see or know.  In fact, the Scriptures, the guiding of the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of other believers act as our "vein-finders" to help illuminate our way.  

Surely if something we intend to do is prohibited in the Scriptures, we can know it is not God's will for us.  He will never instruct us to do something that is not in accordance with His will and character and His Word.

Our fellow Christians are also available to us for guidance and instruction.  The Bible tells us, ". . .in the multitude of counsellors there is safety." (Proverbs 11:14.)

Let us seek to be ever learning of this skill of walking by faith.  Let us, like my friend Melanie, take advantage of every opportunity to learn from those around us who are wise in the faith and to step out on that leap of faith.

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him:  for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6.)