Category: Faith

Expect The Unexpected

“No  matter what, expect the unexpected.  And whenever possible, be the unexpected.”  quoted Lynda Barry.  Many things were unexpected this year. Winter was very mild here this year.  It was guaranteed to be a harsh winter according to the persimmon seed  and the farmer’s almanac.  Well, it WAS a harsh winter in other areas of the country, but not really here.  Some areas of Kansas had heavy snow, but here in Udall, it was just plain cold! It was unexpected.

Unexpected was my fruit trees coming out before the winter had passed.  Yes, it occurred after the temperatures soared to the 80’s in the middle of winter. The winter wheat came out of its dormancy.  The winter was being temperamental. The fear of a lack of fruit this year had come upon us last night with a promise of a freeze.  The temperature was to drop to below freezing with my plum, nectarine and peach trees in bloom.  For those who can and jam, this is disconcerting, but I think of those whose lifestyle is their orchard, and my heart breaks.  This will have to be a wait and see because it will be a repeat tonight.

I tried to do what I could and get out there before the heavier frost and do what seems unnatural and unexpected to many who don’t have fruit trees.  I watered the ground, and froze it onto my tree during the wee hours of the morning with the hose.  My trees are too tall for bags, too few to have burn barrels or buy a frost buster. I thought about burn barrels and doing the “Walk in the Clouds” movie scene and do  butterfly wings and blow the heat to my trees.

If you have never watched the movie, it is beautiful on vineyards and set in post-WWII.  Of course,it is a romance.  But I would not look so lovely.  Picture me in a heavy-set of jeans, clumpy boots, a down coat and sheets used for wings.  Just lovely  🙂

We have no idea what life is going to throw our way.  Sometimes I  hate the unexpected.


Flowering peach tree

Flowering peach blossoms


The Unexpected.  It happens with everyone. We should expect the unexpected.  They can come in forms of happiness or in great sorrow.  The diagnosis of cancer, the loss of  a loved one, the loss of a job, house, health.  We do not set out to have these sorrows in our lives.  A dear friend recently lost her son to an aggressive, quick and uncommon cancer and then before her son passed into glory, her husband was diagnosed with cancer.  This past week he had surgery and it has spread beyond it original area and they are making hard decisions on the future.  We may ask why?  Or God why?  Jesus asked why of his Father, but his attitude was the difference.

Not that I haven’t cried out in anger, screaming at times in my room, WHY? We all have our unexpected heartache.  Even as I write this, it struck me at this instant, I am exactly one year anniversary of losing my job as a labor and delivery nurse. It was unexpected and swift.  So much so I sat in a chair for three days doing nothing but staring, crying, not even bothering to change my clothes from the pajamas I was in. Then for 2 months I was in a fog. The unexpected of not being able to find another job at a hospital, but not wanting to return to the 27 years of night shifts in the high risk infants and children in home care and 32 years of being a good nurse seemingly down the drain.  But I needed a job and for a brief time I did return to nights to supply income because there are bills to pay and two children in college.

Until another unexpected happened. A brief thought came to mind, a phone call and a job of an orchestra assistant and accompanist at a school and for students at a nearby college.  Not what I had in mind, but it was a job and very unexpected role.  I am from the “dark side” my orchestra director stated because I played the french horn.  I know nothing of strings but willing to make it a go, because I do know how to play the piano and music.

Then comes the next unexpected. Hmmm,  I am liking it more than I thought, although I miss nursing terribly. I love kids in general.  There is the challenge of winning over students who loved their former orchestra assistant.   Some made it very clear……  One thing with me and a challenge, I like challenges and I don’t give up easily.  So….. here comes the food.  Not any food, but gourmet cupcakes fashioned to make me the sugar pimp to these kids.  Once a month, for those birthdays who come that month, I have them sign up and put their favorite cake and icing.  Then I bring the top three flavors of unfrosted cupcakes and frost them there with a personal touch.   Unexpected was an anonymous note from a student at Christmas time who told me I was her favorite teacher in school (as well as the orchestra director) and they were glad I was there.  It was a happy tears unexpected for me.

Get your coffee on.  Latte icing on a cupcake

Get your coffee on. Latte icing on a cupcake

Red Velvet cupcake

Red Velvet cupcake

Candy in a cupcake

Candy in a cupcake









Unexpected was abnormal blood work in November  2015 and mild TIA  (transient ischemic attack) or “so we really don’t know” the doctor mentioned, which left my entire left side weak and 24 hours in the hospital under observation.  Unexpected was the gathering of family to the bedside and on the phone and repairing of relationships and affirmations of love.  There is still recovery on the TIA and it throws another unexpected on the vocal cord and my singing. The blood work is still in its infancy testing, along with infusions and a wait and see attitude. I become frustrated when I have been a goer and doer and after two hours I am exhausted for the day.  I smile, act like I have strength, plow through the day and wait until I get home to crash.  It has been a game changer not to go full steam all the time.   Yet through it all I see hope.  “Hope doesn’t announce that life is safe, therefore, we will be; instead, it whispers that Christ is our safety in the midst of harsh reality.” Patsy Clairmont, Living Lively in the Valley.  My reality is not as harsh as others. God is still in control and as difficult as it may seem throughout the years in my eyes, God has been good.  I try to see the positive on all this and God is still putting on pressure for this lump of coal to become a diamond.  As much as I want to plan my life, life has a way of throwing unexpected things my way to show I am not in control, but HE is.  God gives me the unexpected good to show He loves me and He allows me the unexpected “bad” to show how much more He loves me and will carry me through when I allow Him. Sometimes He graciously and gently holds and carries me along even when I am kicking and screaming .

Do I question him?  Why yes, yes I do.  I have to keep in check not to get bitter or angry or give up.  My unexpected is not your unexpected and comparisons do not belong to us.  I think what messes most with our heart, mind and emotions is we have a picture of what our life should be and it throws us off when it doesn’t go our way or what we think should be normal.  “Normal is just a setting on the dryer” said Patsy Clairmont.   She forgot to mention the dryer tumbles….

I think I will go outside and enjoy the warmth of the sunshine, the flowers on my fruit trees while they last.  If I expect nothing,  I might just be surprised later in the season to find  unexpected fruit and if not….there is always next year.



It is late at night, well, actually very early in the morning being it is almost 6 a.m. here in Kansas.  It is nights like this, in which sleep evades me, I now have something to express and ultimately blog about.  Being in Florida this past week was hot and humid.   My children and I  greatly appreciated the cool air-conditioned room after not having a/c for two weeks in the heatwave the last time I had blogged.  This was Orlando, Florida, where we were guests of my parents, who are members of the the Gideon International Convention. Noah, 16 and  Abaigael, 18, had their own age groups, my parents had their sessions and I took a few days to have to myself to swim and regroup.  The kids had daily activities to Disney World, but on Friday we had a great time taking them for their time to Cocoa beach.  And of course we all missed a spot somewhere on us and burned.

If you are not familiar with the Gideons, here is a website for you to discover who they are.  I thought I understood what they were  due to the fact my parents have been members since 1994.  But attending a few of the sessions and listening to the speakers, it gave me a greater respect and awe for them.  Selfless.  Sacrifice. Determination.  They give of their own resources to make sure the Word of God gets into the hands of people.  We see the Bibles in the hotels, the doctors offices, Gideons standing outside of the schools to give Bibles to children who can read, and even myself at my nurse’s capping ceremony. Do we really know or think about what they actually do?  I didn’t. There were 97 or 98 countries represented, some were countries which had little funds, while other Gideons gave out of their hearts to have them attend for the week. These people are lay people, not pastors, missionaries or chaplains.    If you think it is just a religious week seminar, it is so much more than this.   This was so enlightening, and tugging at my heart making me consider, am I selfish or  selfless?  Although many of the speakers are not Gideons, they were people who were touched by the small act of being handed a testament  or someone passed  one along to them.  Although not always in an instant, some were years in the making before they read the New Testament or re-read it again. But when a decision was made the act was life changing.

I was pondering my actions from this past week and this first full day of being home.

What is selfish?  Well, according to the dictionary it is an adjective to where one is devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, not regarding of others or concern or care only for oneself; selfish motives.   Self seeking, stingy were good synonyms.

So what is selfless?  Selfless:  Adjective: Concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own; unselfish.  Can a stingy, selfish person be a happy person?  I don’t think I have ever seen one.

I was fussing to myself today about the house air conditioner set at 78.   It is too hot for me and for the children.  We had a tug of war on the thermostat where I would sneak in and turn it down to 76  or daringly 75.   I kept thinking, actually fuming at times,  it is selfish of me to want it down or it is selfish of him to keep it up?  Obviously men don’t understand menopausal women and hot-blooded children.   I don’t tolerate heat, so if I don’t feel well, I can’t function and complete my duties as well.  So the fans at this time are in full blast, and thus another reason for my being up.  I am too hot even with the freezer rice bag around my neck and head.  There are many more who have no a/c and are in hot climate I keep telling myself.  But my mind is in a whirl back and forth.  The restlessness, is it because my children are too warm and cannot sleep deeply or have I given into selfishness in attitude and passed it onto them?  My flesh cries for revenge but I know this would not be a wisest decision but to come up with a creative alternative. Hmmmmm……..  As Mrs. BIlly Graham once stated, ” Murder yes, divorce not an option”.  Is there such a thing as heat insanity?  LOL

Recalling this past week makes me feel very selfish and guilty of my thoughts at this time.  I am mulling over the Gideon men and women from foreign lands with all they have had to endure. They have given of themselves, in the heat, in poverty, and selflessly gave their time, money, and sometimes their health and endured physical hardship to give a Bible.  What about me?  Am I going out of my way in my time, energy and resources to help others?  It may be with giving money to missions, the Red Cross, Food Bank, for Bible’s or it may be the little thought of bringing a meal, showing up at someone’s house to help out, or setting aside my choice for another’s choice.   It could even be to say hello and talk to a stranger especially if they look sad or dejected, even if it might be awkward or I balk at wanting to do it at all.  How do I know that a smile, a recognition or a spoken word may make the difference in someone’s life? Although sometimes we do have to be selfish to be selfless.  We can work so doggedly that we become ill and are useless to everyone and anyone, but Philippians 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”  Esteeming others above me will create joy, maybe not happiness, for that is just surface and fleeting,  but deep joy.  JOY:  Jesus, Others, Yourself.

I shouldn’t lose sight of that goal, even if it is over the temperature of the air conditioner.  When I get all wrapped in pity, self starts to rear its head. Love, gentleness and patience get left in the dust of bitterness and self centeredness.  Anger isn’t far behind in the horse race and the whole house is in an uproar with the roots of bitterness sneaking out to take a strangle hold on my family unless I axe it in its beginning phase.  Keep my focus on what is important and what counts for eternity, not this moment. As a man called Bill Gothard once stated, “Don’t put on the altar of the temporary, that which may be permanent”.    Cooler days will eventually come, but my time needs to be on life, on my family and others and cannot be wasted on selfishness.  I gladly focus on the fact we have electricity for all the fans to be on high…… as well as more iced tea on hand! (Decaf this time of night)  So think to yourself:  Are you being Selfish or Selfless?

Philippians 2 34

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