It’s A Matter of Perspective

“I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” Helen Keller

This has always been one of my favorite quotes, but until recently I didn’t know Helen Keller was responsible for it.

Helen Keller. Who for all but the first few years of her life was blind, deaf, and almost mute because of these other disabilities. But look at what she was able to accomplish, and in an era of very limited medical advances. And she accomplished it in spite of those disabilities, which I daresay would keep most of us from doing anything but feeling sorry for ourselves and giving up on life.

Or look at one of my very favorite role models, Joni Eareckson Tada, who at the age of 19 dived into the water for a quick swim as a healthy, robust teenaged girl, and emerged a quadriplegic, unable to move her arms and legs. She thought her life was over, and wanted to do nothing but die. But the Lord had other plans for this amazing young woman who has become a leading role model for the disabled community, who founded an international organization for the disabled, who has authored a number of books (and I’ve read every one of them), who is an accomplished artist, a cancer survivor, and hosts a weekly radio show, many times with her husband Ken Tada. She has turned a debilitating accident into a testimony of her faith and the triumph of the human spirit by refusing to give in to self-pity and depression. Please take the time to read at least one of her books and gain a new sense of strength and encouragement.

We all face trials in our lives, although most of us not to the degree of Helen Keller or Joni. Our trials are nevertheless real and devastating to us, but we need to stop in the midst of them and see them in a new perspective. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but look at these examples of real people going through real challenges. And look at the comparisons. Several of these people I know, and know quite well. And their strength and attitudes amaze me.

A mother’s son made a big mistake and ended up going to prison for two years for drug charges. She blamed herself at times for not being a good enough mother (which wasn’t true!), and was devastated at what had happened, wondering how he’d ever get his life back together, and worrying that he’d made mistakes that he could never overcome. Then she read about another mother’s son who was imprisoned for life for killing a man who was abusing his stepchildren. How did that mother feel, knowing her only child would never be a free man again; knowing he’d never be present for family celebrations, for his stepchildren’s birthdays or graduations. That she’d never be able to really hug him again, or do the little things for her son that a mother wants to do.

Perspectives. Bad vs.Worst. And the son who served those two years has made an amazing story and example out of his life.

A couple riding a motorcycle on a beautiful Saturday afternoon was struck by a lumber truck on a winding mountain road several years ago. The husband sustained two broken legs and various other serious injuries; the wife ended up with a crushed pelvis which had to be put back together with wires, plates, screws, and even chains in order for her to walk again. “It could have been so much worse;” she says. “We could have been declared brain dead, or left in a vegetative state for years. We’re alive and we’re together. We’re extremely fortunate and have no ill feelings toward the driver. It was an accident.” And I had been upset because of a long-lasting case of whiplash after I’d been rear-ended….

Perspectives. And God’s mercy and protection.

George was distraught and even embarrassed because his son dropped out of school and took a series of low paying jobs until he decided what he really wanted to do, and ended up as a server at a local restaurant. He made very good tips and was quite happy with his life. George was so envious because his friend Kenneth’s son made Deans List in college, went on to get his Masters, and was getting ready to start a six-figure job. He wished his son could be more like Kenneth’s. Then Kenneth’s son was killed in a car accident the night he graduated. Suddenly George realized he had so much more to be grateful for than Kenneth.

Perspectives. Good jobs and college degrees aren’t always the most important things in life.

Now for a personal confession. I recently broke my right wrist, which required either an immobile cast above my elbow for four weeks or surgery to repair it. I opted for the surgery, of course, and for two weeks I’ve still had trouble using that arm, and of course, I’m right handed. I faced several challenges bathing without getting the dressings wet, putting my contacts in, doing my hair, even not being able to wear certain blouses because I couldn’t get the sleeve over the bandages. Yes, I complained, and started feeling sorry for myself.

Then a 29 year old friend of our daughter and son-in-law was in a motorcycle accident over the weekend. Another biker crossed into his lane and clipped his foot. After two surgeries to try and save his foot, he had to make the difficult choice to have part of his leg amputated below the knee. He will be fitted with a prosthesis as soon as he is healed enough, and as he said, “I’ll be able to do everything I used to do as soon as I get it, and get used to it.” Including surfing, and most likely being back on his motorcycle.

Perspectives. All the complaining I did. How fortunate I am. And I think of him every time I start to complain, and I immediately thank the Lord for my minor and short-lived inconvenience. And I pray for that young man.

What perspectives do you need to change in your thinking, and in your life? We all have things that bother us, and make us think we have things so bad. We all need to bear in mind that our trials are nothing compared to others around us.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

The Expense of a Second Chance…Part 2

What if you had an illness that destroyed one of your vital organs? What if you only had one chance to make it through the next year of your life? And that chance was not guaranteed? But without taking that chance you might not live another year?

What if you could have a second chance at your life?

A few months ago I wrote about the realities of transplant surgery, based on our personal experience of my husband’s cornea transplant. It’s something very few of us actually think about. Until it happens to us.

A few short months ago, a coworker of my husband’s underwent a lifesaving kidney transplant. In this situation the donor was delighted to be able to give the gift of her kidney to someone who desperately needed it. Because that person who needed it was her father. As she said, she had two working kidneys, and she only needed one. And after four months, both donor and recipient are doing fine!

That was a special situation. As our friend’s daughter said, you only need one kidney in order to live.

But you can’t live without a heart. Or lungs. Or a liver. Sure, you can donate one lung, or a portion of your liver, pancreas, or even your intestines. There have even been a few rare cases in which a family member has donated one of their eyes to another family member in order to give them the gift of sight. But such cases are, as we said, extremely rare, and not encouraged by the medical profession.

When the actual reality of organ donation hits home, when you or a loved one are facing an organ donation procedure to save a life, your mind goes in so many directions at one time that you don’t know which direction to walk in. Because it’s almost always a procedure involving an organ that is only available due to the death of someone else.

As a Christian, how do you pray for that? You certainly don’t want to pray for someone to die. But for the majority of organ transplants, that’s what happens. Someone has to die in order for those organs to be donated.

It’s a sobering thought. One you don’t think about until you’re in that place. I can’t begin to describe it.

Recently a friend of ours was told she needed a double lung transplant. And needed it soon… That’s a lot bigger than our friend’s kidney transplant or my husband’s partial cornea transplant. She was put on a waiting list and told she’d be notified when the lungs were available.

Which meant someone had to die.

And then, less than two weeks later, they got the call. A pair of lungs were available. In the transplant world, that’s a quick response.

Someone had died. And so they headed to the hospital.

Only to be told that everything wasn’t quite ready for them. You see, there is so much more involved in the whole procedure than any of us would ever think about. At least, those of us who are watching from the outside, just waiting and praying that our friend will get the desperately needed organs in time. The lungs were functioning perfectly, but there was still a problem. They hadn’t yet decided who was to receive the heart yet, and until they did, they couldn’t harvest the organs.

The donor was on life supports. The body was alive, but the spirit, the soul, the essence of who the donor had been, was already gone. The brain had already ceased to function. For all intents and purposes the donor was dead. But the body was still functioning…with help.

And the donor’s family was in limbo. Their loved one was for all intents and purposes gone. But yet…not really. And as much as I’m sure they kept hoping, kept thinking that a miracle could still happen and their loved one return to them, they knew. They didn’t want to accept it, but they knew….

Then came another problem when the lungs were finally harvested and put on the machine to test them. They weren’t good; years of abuse had made them unsuitable for donation to our friend.

So once again it was a waiting game, but one that quickly reached a resolution when another donor came available. A donor whose lungs tested as a good match, as well as being strong and healthy. The wait was over, almost, and the lungs were put on a plane and flown to the hospital where our friend was waiting. She was tired, very hungry from being without food for almost 24 hours in anticipation of the surgery, excited, and yes, I’m sure, nervous. As was her husband.

I’m sure the range of emotions were exhausting, knowing she had a second chance because someone had no more chances. Yet that person had still made the unselfish choice to give a gift to others when he passed away. A precious gift that was more appreciated than gold.

The lungs weren’t a perfect fit, since they had come from a man, and our friend is a woman. But the surgeons “stuffed” them in, and almost six weeks later, she’s still doing well, following doctors’ orders exactly, and looking forward to the day she can begin to resume her normal routine, and begin living life to the fullest once again.

Many times we think of organ donation as just a check mark on our driver’s license. We don’t stop to think what it really means. That in most cases it’s actually the difference in life and death for someone we’ll never know.

It is a gift of life; a gift of a second chance. I’ll always wonder who it was who gave my husband the gift of restored sight in his left eye several years ago. And I imagine our friend will always wonder about the man who gave his lungs so she could have a second chance at life.

Many other recipients think the same way, and often wonder about that unselfish person, who, although he or she wasn’t planning to die that particular day, in leaving this world, left behind something of immeasurable value.

I cannot imagine being in either place, either as a potential recipient waiting and wondering if the organs will be found in time, or as the family of the donor, who has lost someone irreplaceable.

The expense of a second chance is impossible to calculate; impossible to understand unless you’ve been through it.

For my friend, I am beyond grateful for her second chance, yet still saddened that someone had to die in order for her to live. For my husband, I am also beyond grateful for his gift of sight in that eye, yet still aware that it came at a very high price from someone else.

Organ donation and organ transplants happen on a daily basis now. But it’s a true miracle each and every time.

Think about it. How would you feel in this situation?

Your own reaction if/when you face it, may totally surprise you.

Author’s note: If you are already registered as an organ donor, thank you. If not, please consider it. Visit DonateLife America for more information.

Birthday Reflections

Funny how certain days cause us to look back and reflect on those same certain days throughout the past years. How things and circumstances around us have changed; how people have changed. And yes, how we’ve changed, and how our outlook on life has changed as well.

Birthdays when we were children were certainly different than they are for us as adults today. It’s funny, but I don’t remember having birthday parties when I was growing up. Sure we celebrated, but it was always with our family members. I don’t even have a lot of pictures from those celebrations.

In fact, the only birthday party for myself that I remember was my Sweet Sixteen. Most of us girls had them, of course. It was a rite of passage. But sadly I don’t remember finding any party pictures when I cleaned out my mom’s house. I guess since the cameras all used film that had to be developed, it was a bit expensive, so photos weren’t taken all that much.

I do remember my 21st birthday, and yes, that was a big deal for all of us that year. I was in school in North Carolina, and in a “dry” county, so we had to go to Charlotte to celebrate so I could have the traditional first legal drink of alcohol. Of course, restaurants there weren’t allowed to serve cocktails, so we had to “brown bag” it. We sure felt like real adults then!

Yes, times have changed!

I remember the year I turned 25, and said something about it to the receptionist at the TV station where I was working at the time. She had just turned 18, and I remember her comment as if it were today. “Twenty-five!?? That’s OLD!” And she meant it quite seriously. Let’s see? She’d be turning 60 this year. Wonder how she’s feeling…?

I do remember my thirtieth birthday and how old I felt. No longer in my twenties, and at the time, feeling life was passing me by, and quickly. Divorced, no one in my life, and wondering if I’d ever get where I wanted to be. And I wasn’t sure where that even was!

Ten years later, what a difference! A loving husband, a two year old daughter, and my life was finally where it should be. But the idea of turning the big 4-0 hit me differently than I expected. My husband took me away for a weekend, and surprised me with 40 balloons when we got to our hotel room. Yes, I do have a picture somewhere, but it’s not getting posted. He treated me to a great dinner, and we had a wonderful weekend, but still…I was FORTY!!! That just sounded old. And for a while I FELT old.

Fast forward ten years later…my husband and I both turned fifty, him a month earlier than me. For months he’d been dreading turning “half a century” old. Every time I mentioned his birthday, he didn’t want to hear about it. So being the nice person I am, I woke him up at one minute after his birthday started and wished him a happy birthday, and reminded him he was half a century old. I had decorated his office with all the traditional “over the hill” decorations, and even gave him a surprise party two weeks later, complete with a “This is Your Life” book I had worked on for months.

Turning fifty didn’t bother me though. I guess I’d finally gotten to the point that we can’t stop time, and really, would we WANT to? The older we get, the more mellow I think we become. And no, he didn’t do a party and such for my 50th. But he made up for it on my 51st with a limo ride and a dinner cruise with four of my girl friends!

Another ten years and we turned 60. That actually didn’t bother me either, although once again, it seemed to bother Ben just a bit. A friend gave me the idea of giving him sixty gifts, each with items relating to 60, like 60 pennies, 60 watt light bulbs (for when he had a bright idea), 60 keys (for when he lost his), etc. and each gift with a reason for giving them. Took him almost two hours to open them all! For my 60th, it was once again low key, nice dinner with friends and family. And I actually was happy being 60. After all, I’d reached the point of “what you see is what you get”, and if you didn’t like it, too bad. I am who I am.

Yes, you may have figured out by now today is my birthday. I’m 67. Sounds like an odd number to me. But you know, it’s not a bad age. I’m still in the mindset of “I am who I am” and I’m not changing for anyone. Most people say I don’t look my age, and that makes me feel good. In fact, I actually think I’m going to like being 67.

But please allow me to say I’m also somewhat nostalgic at the differences in birthday celebrations then and now. I look at the various people who have been in and out of my life over the years, and I miss them. Some have passed away, while others have just dropped out of our life, many for reasons unknown. Others have taken their place, and I welcome them for the next part of my journey.

To my loving husband Ben, our wonderful daughter and son-in-law, and our most precious granddaughter, thank you for loving me, and for being a part of many more birthdays to come. And to my dear friends who are once again joining me for another year’s celebration, thank you! And even the flamingos joined the celebration and got me a cake!

Each birthday is another treasure to be opened. It brings another year of joys and promises, surprises and delights. And I can’t wait to see what treasures will be opened today for the future.

And yes, I’m only three years away from that milestone 70th birthday! That may take on a whole new meaning…..

Here Comes the Easter…Flamingo?

Well, they were a big help to Santa last Christmas, so it’s only fair to help out the Easter Bunny. And since Easter colors feature a lot of pink, it’s another holiday the flamingos really enjoy!

So when they told the Easter Bunny they’d be happy to help out this year, that bun-bun wiggled his tail, twitched his little pink nose, and shook his head and ears with a big “yes!” And promptly proceeded to give Henry, the designated Easter Flamingo, and his helpers their assigned route.

So now, the flamingos not only have their own Easter basket route, they even get to put the baskets together as well, from decorating the eggs, selecting the chocolate bunnies and treats (and probably tasting several of them in the process), and then hopping around to their assigned houses, delivering the baskets to the children, and adults, and hiding some special flamingo decorated eggs in the yard to be found later. And most likely a few inside the house as well!

First of all, they had to decorate the Easter eggs. No commercially bought Easter eggs for the flamingos! They just had to design their own. After all, they had an important job to do, and they wanted to make it a spectacularly special flamingo Easter day! And they wanted to be invited to do it again next year. They really liked the idea of an Easter Flamingo!

So they put their creative flamingo minds together and came up with some beautiful egg designs! They even stepped “out of the box” and didn’t make them all pink! Which was quite difficult, since that is their favorite color! What do you think?

And their Easter baskets…again, they put their creativity to work, and designed works of flamingo art to hold their special eggs. They wouldn’t let me show many of them here, because they want their recipients to be surprised. But what do you think of these? I’m sure we’d all be thrilled to find one of these on Easter morning!

Of course, they didn’t stop with Easter eggs and Easter baskets. After all, they ARE flamingos, and they like to do things in a flashy, spectacular way!

So they decided to add some Easter strawberries and cookies to some of their baskets, of course, with a few flamingo cookies arranged here and there just to remind people that the Easter Flamingo was on the job! And I’m really hoping to get some of these….

They also know they’re going to be quite busy Easter morning, and by the time they’re all done, they’re going to need some rest before having their Easter grilled shrimp dinner by the pool. And what better way to relax than with special Easter cocktails created and served by Gustav, the flamingos’ favorite mixologist! Here are some of the amazing concoctions he’s whipping up with his pink wings, just for the Easter Flamingo and his helpers!

Nothing like winding down a great Easter Sunday with peeps and jelly beans. Especially in flamingo-styled cocktails!

Happy Easter from the flamingos, and a special Happy Easter from the Easter Flamingo!

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Photo Sources: Header Photo: Susan Brack – ebsqart.com – 1st Row: marthastewart.com; LiaGriffith.com; source unknown; styleandcheek.com; lifeisaparty.ca; sheknows.com; creativechurchideaattic.com – 2nd Row: – LiaGriffith.com; source unknown; via pinterest; via pinterest; source unknown; via pinterest – 3rd Row: – jackiesbaskets.com; via pinterest; via pinterest; source unknown; via pinterest; treatsbuyterri via Etsy; via pinterest source unknown; via Facebook – 4th Row: via pinterest; fashionablybombed.com; kitchn.com; via pinterest; via pinterest; source unknown; via pinterest; via pinterest

The Good Doctor

I recently returned to my home town again, this time not for myself, but to help my town honor one of their own with a special display about community medicine at the Julia A. Purnell museum in Snow Hill, Maryland. A display honoring a man who adopted the community from the first time he and his wife arrived there in the mid 1940’s when they were assigned there after medical school. They never left.

A man who quickly acclimated to life in our quaint small town, and quickly established a practice which lasted 60 years until he finally retired. In his eighties. And yes, he worked every one of those years, taking a few vacations here and there, but seldom straying far from his adopted town and the people he adored.

And the people adored him. He was a family doctor; an obstetrician; an eye doctor; an ear, nose and throat doctor, and of course a pediatrician. Whatever he needed to be at the time. Except for surgery; there he drew the line. And it was probably a good thing!

He worked tirelessly, never turning anyone away who needed help, whether they could pay or not. In those days, there wasn’t the same health insurance we have today. If someone had no money, they gave what they could, and it wasn’t unusual for him to bring home chickens (cleaned and ready to cook, of course), squirrel, rabbit, deer, and even the occasional quail, as payment for services rendered. As one of his sons put it so well, “our freezer was always well stocked with chicken!”

It wasn’t unusual for the family to hear a knock on the door at night, and find someone there with an emergency, and of course, they were tended to immediately, whether dinner was over or not. And there were a few cases of gunshot wounds, stabbings, and other similar situations.

For many years the good doctor had his practice in the basement of his home, with his one nurse to help out. (His wife was not a nurse; she stayed home and cared for their children. Upstairs in the living quarters.) I remember going there many times for colds, sinus infections, and various other childhood illnesses, as well as to play with his daughter and other friends, who were some of my classmates. Today, a doctor having his practice in the basement of his home would be unthinkable! No handicap access for one thing, let alone all the medical privacy regulations.

After about 15-20 years in that basement office, he finally had a separate office built, which was connected to his home by a carport, and he also put in a dirt parking lot in the back for his patients. He also added another nurse/office manager. I remember that office well, with its formica and plastic chairs in the paneled waiting room, and his old well-used wooden desk in his wood paneled office. We thought nothing of it; it looked fine to us. He was our town doctor. Everyone loved him.

He made house calls as well. For years. It was a natural sight to see him come to the house, always wearing one of his signature bow ties (I can only imagine the collection his family had by the time he passed away!), and carrying his well-used black leather medical bag full of all manner of medical instruments, some we didn’t want to know about. Many of which are now on display at the museum through October.

We all particularly remember the shots he gave. Back then they didn’t dispense all the liquids and pills of today. It was a shot of something, given by the good doctor himself. With glass hypodermics, and reusable needles. Sterilized, of course. And did we ever dread those needles…..! But we got well!

The good doctor delivered over 2,000 babies during his 60 years of practice. Many were home deliveries, preferred by any number of his patients, rather than driving the half hour trip to the nearest hospital. There were many nights he was called out in the early morning hours to bring another new life into the world. And he never complained. He loved what he did.

I was one of those 2,000+ babies. My mother had a lot of trouble carrying a child and had endured a series of miscarriages, which in those days were called spontaneous abortions. When she became pregnant with me, the good doctor put her on bed rest, where she remained for the majority of her pregnancy. Her doctor visited her probably once a week, carrying that old black bag, and making sure he did everything possible for her to be successful in bringing me into the world. His wife was also pregnant at the time, and due a couple of weeks later. I don’t know for sure but I can imagine my mom and his wife, who were friends, having lots of conversations about their pregnancies and upcoming deliveries. His wife already had three children so I’m sure she told my mom all about what to expect.

And my mother was scared, I’m sure. She’d lost other babies and didn’t want to lose another. And I was a breech birth. Whether she knew in advance or not, I don’t know. For some reason I never asked. But I’m pretty sure the good doctor knew, because when it came time for me to born, after coming out to the house, he quickly examined my mother, and told my dad, in his slow, quiet drawl, “Go ahead and get her to the hospital. Don’t speed, but don’t waste any time, either!”

I was born about 4 hours later, naturally, without a C-section. My mother said the good doctor kept watching the clock when I started arriving, because he knew he only had a certain amount of time to safely deliver me. He told her it was a girl before anything else. My mom asked if I was ok, and once again he answered in that same drawl,  “well, she has five fingers on each hand, and five toes on each foot….” And she often told the story of how he kept singing and humming as he sewed her up after the delivery. Clearly, he was as delighted as the new parents were, that their daughter had arrived safely!

I don’t think there are any doctors today who would deliver a breech birth without a C-section. And I probably wasn’t the first one he’d delivered like that.

The good doctor also came out to our home in the middle of the night thirteen years later to attend to my grandmother as she lay dying from heart failure. And he was so upset to lose his patient….

He kept up with as much of the latest medical advances as possible, reading medical journals in bed the way most people read novels. He couldn’t get enough of the world of medicine. He loved his family, but he also loved his profession.

He only retired for medical reasons, when he sadly knew he just couldn’t do it any more. And he passed away seven months later. The entire town mourned his passing.

And now, twelve years later, his beloved town of Snow Hill is honoring his memory and his devotion to his patients, by presenting a six month long exhibit on Community Medicine: the Art and Science of Healing,” highlighting the life and career of Dr. Robert Charles LaMar. The exhibit features many of the items from his practice, including his exam table, original overhead light, his “famous” diathermy machine, and many of his other instruments, as well as his cherished medical school diploma.

Dr. LaMar was one of a kind. There will never be another like him. He is greatly missed by all. We who knew him, and/or were brought into the world by him, and were treated by him, owe him a huge debt of thanks for his service and his compassion. Many of us would not be here were it not for him.

Thank you, Dr. LaMar. You were one of a kind. And you are greatly missed.

Click here for more information on the Julia A. Purnell Museum in Snow Hill.

Everyday Miracles…Part 1

Sunrise…Sunset…

My last blog talked about miracles. Those big huge happenings that make an enormous impact on our lives. And on the lives of others.

Events that should make us all stop to think, “Yes, the Lord was definitely in on this one!”

But there are also everyday miracles that we don’t even think about. We don’t even notice them. But we should. Because they’re also a whispered, gentle reminder that He’s always watching over us, loving us, and reminding us His hand is everywhere, and in everything. Even when we don’t think about it.

Consider the sunrise. Every morning, in the same location, even though a slightly different time, that big red ball of light knows when to make its spectacular appearance, painting the sky in all manner of pinks, reds, oranges, and purples. It rises slowly, in His perfect timing. It travels from one side of the sky to the other during the day, showering our side of the world with light, and then sets in the distance, once again painting the sky with a magnificent array of majestic colors, colors only available from the Lord’s heavenly palette, colors mixed especially for that day only.

And where does that sun go when it sets? Its work isn’t over, and it doesn’t get to rest after a long day traveling in the sky. As soon as it sets on our side of the world, it rises on the other side of the world, in all its majesty, to give another heavenly display of artwork that’s always just a bit different from the ones we just enjoyed.

The art display repeats itself indefinitely on a daily basis. Each sunrise, each sunset, is always just slightly different; like snowflakes, no two are the same. And every person who views that sunrise or sunset sees it slightly different. Because its exact location in the sky makes it look a bit different to each person. The streaks of purple clouds are displayed in just a different angle. The streaks of orange dipping into the horizon, or the ocean, or the valley, are at a different angle for every eye.

When we think about it, really think about it… how totally amazing is that sunrise…that sunset!

Does it happen by chance on a daily basis? How could it? How does the sun know exactly what time to appear, and what time to leave? Except for its heavenly Director who orchestrates not only the timing of its appearance and disappearance, but designs the colorful costume it wears for each performance, the sun would not appear on a daily basis at the exact time it was expected.

It’s not by chance, you know. It’s all a part of the big plan. The plan we are all a part of. The plan that was designed for our enjoyment by a God who loves us more than we can imagine. Who delights in showing off the works of His hands, just because He wants us to be pleased by what we see.

How can you not see the miracle in the sunrise…in the sunset? We see it every day, but yet we don’t fully comprehend how miraculous it is, because we take it for granted. It’s always been there…and as long as the Lord is in charge of the universe, it always will be.

Without the sunrise, the earth would be totally dark; totally devoid of life. We would not even exist.

Think about it. Think about it tonight when you see the sunset.

Think about it tomorrow morning when you see the sunrise.

Is it by chance, by coincidence, that many say it is? If it is, then how can the sun know exactly what to do on each and every day? How does it know when to appear and exactly how long to hang in the sky as it travels across on its own set route? And how does it know when to leave and return again?

An everyday miracle? Absolutely.

What others can you think of?

Thank you, Lord, for the everyday miracles you give us. And help us to appreciate them the way we should

Flamingo Fool’s Day

What kind of celebration is that?

Well, it’s like this. Flamingos are big pranksters, you know. They like to joke around with each other, and pull tricks on each other. (Especially after a few too many margaritas!)

So when they realized April Fool’s Day was almost here, they decided to make a really special day out of it! And since flamingos do not consider themselves fools by any stretch of the imagination, the first thing they did was rename it to make it their own special holiday!

Of course, it’s not a real holiday, but you know what they mean!

So they started the morning off right! After all, with April Fool’s Day, oops, we mean Flamingo Fool’s Day, on a Saturday, it gave them a lot more time to have fun!

But for the Leader of the Flock, my husband Ben, well I’m not so sure how much fun HE had. But he’s a good sport, and he loves his flamingos, so it’s all good.

To start off the day, just imagine his surprise when he woke up and found a few pink feathers on his pillow. Which he really didn’t think too much about until he looked in the mirror and saw the pink feathers the flamingos had glued in his hair! I took a picture, but he made me delete it! It was rather awesome, though, I must say!

Being a good sport, though, he didn’t get mad at his pink birds. Even when he pulled the shower curtain back and found it full of pink balloons. Which he didn’t dare pop, because he didn’t know if the flamingos had filled them with confetti or not!

And of course they had, as he found out when he put the balloons in the hall and our kitties decided they made the world’s best cat toys! Which of course got popped as they batted them around, and yes. He has gotten most of it vacuumed up!

No, the flamingos didn’t help! They were hiding, laughing and squawking. Because they knew what else was coming.

After he’d had his shower and wet to get dressed, imagine his surprise when he opened his sock drawer and found, not his socks, but my swimsuits! Thinking he pulled open the wrong drawer, he pulled open another and found….my scarves, still neatly folded, but certainly not in the right drawer! And I certainly hadn’t made the switch! Then he saw a couple of pink feathers with the scarves, and he knew….the flamingos were having a great time!

After that experience Ben was more than ready for his morning quiet time with his coffee and newspaper. He went downstairs and outside to get his paper, and noticed the flamingos weren’t anywhere around. Probably just as well. So he came back inside, poured a cup of coffee and loaded it up as usual with cream and sugar, and settled down in his favorite chair to relax.

He took a big sip of coffee and coughed it out immediately! Those flamingos had put salt in the sugar bowl! So he poured it out, got another cup, refilled the sugar bowl, and settled down again to read.

He opened his paper and started reading…didn’t notice anything funny until it dawned on him that a news story was talking about President Obama, and not President Trump! What in the world….this was a good one! The flamingos had actually saved last year’s newspaper and replaced it for this year’s!

He heard them squawking in the other room…and rushed in there! “Ok, my pink feathered friends, this is enough! You DON’T mess with my newspaper!”

Melvin the flamingo nervously laughed out an apology, went over to the sofa, pulled out today’s paper from under the cushion, and handed it to him. “Sorry, but we were just having a little fun! It’s Flamingo Fool’s Day, you know. That’s what we flamingos do!” The other birds were twittering away behind him, and Ben couldn’t stay mad at them, so he forgave them, and they went to go play tricks on someone else.

Or so he thought…..

Until he opened the refrigerator door and found the fridge stuffed with pink plastic lawn flamingos wearing signs reading “SURPRISE!” Well, at least that wasn’t too bad, and they hadn’t thrown out any food.

So he put the lawn flamingos back outside so they could get warm. Poor things were shivering!

The rest of the morning was uneventful. Thank goodness! Ben thought they were done with their flamingo pranks and had moved on to someone else.

Not quite….

Right after lunch they came strolling back in, looking quite apologetic, which is difficult for a flamingo. “We’re sorry about this morning,” said Melvin. “We were just having a little fun. After all you’re the Leader of the Flock, and well, we’re just party birds who like to have fun! So we brought you a present to say we’re sorry.”

And Melvin pulled out a gift from behind his feathers. “Here. A box of donuts just for you! We know they’re your favorite!” He opened the box and pulled one out, and handed it to Ben. “Have one now! We’ll all feel better. And we’re through playing pranks on you today.”

“That was nice of you guys,” said Ben as he took the donut. You’re forgiven.”

Then he took a bite of the jelly donut.

And spit it out!

“Ketchup! You put ketchup in a jelly donut!?”

Melvin couldn’t help himself. “He broke out in a huge grin. “Sorry, mate, couldn’t help it…. The rest of them are good. Really.”

Ben knew he shouldn’t trust them again. He just knew it! But he reached in the box for one that looked especially good. It was hard. Hard as plastic. Of course. It was a plastic dog toy in the shape of a donut….!

“What can I say?” said Melvin, laughing uncontrollably. “You’re our friend! We love you! And it’s just what we do!”

Happy April Fool’s Day from the flamingos! I mean, Happy Flamingo Fool’s Day!

Be prepared. You just never know with those pesky flamingos!