Friday, April 29, 2011


"When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on"...remember that quote? It's attributed to both Thomas Jefferson and Franklin D. Roosevelt and I'm sure both of them were stretched more than a few times. Troubles were a constant then...still are.

Okay, I'm not 'way up there' in the scheme of things...just a very ordinary person like most everyone else. But troubles? They hang around...and around...and around.

Never had a bulldog but I've always heard how they 'hang on'...Winston Churchill was like that...he hung on and tied a knot in England's rope...they survived. Patriotism at its' best...just like we were in America and other countries...we hung on...we had grit...grit is good.

I've written before about being at death's door twice; the second incident was a lulu (somehow my blood supply went AWOL)! I remember sitting up in my hospital bed and looking at a big scene w/figures beckoning me around an open door...and I said very loudly & very clearly, "I will not, I will not, I WILL NOT"...and lay back in the bed.

Several days later a nurse I'd not seen before stopped by and told me how much better I looked; I replied I hadn't met her and told her all I remembered was sitting up and informing 'the figures'...I was not. She responded, "Honey, several of us stayed at your side; we almost lost you and believe never moved".

For several years I didn't mention my experience to anyone...not even Michael; some laugh at such things but I'm here to tell you it really happened. Besides having a heavenly Father looking after me, I had gobs of grit...true grit. Over and over in my life He and grit carried me and I always kept a big knot at the end of my rope.

Traveler's Insurance has some great fav is the little dog who is so worried about his big bone...he stews, has nightmares...moving it from place to place...finally settles it in his 'safe place'...under Traveler's umbrella.

I compare his umbrella to mine...God's my unbrella for any and everything. Sunny weather...gloomy weather...showers...whatever; He's my umbrella...don't leave home without Him...and get this, He never collapses! Great, yes?

I'm a great fan of Dr. Seuss and he wrote,
I've heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead, some come from behind.
I've bought a big bat, I'm ready you see.
Now troubles are gonna' have trouble with me."

Scott, our youngest son, once told me I was a 'late bloomer' and I 'spose I really am; but hey, I did bloom...that's a positive thing, right? Sure. I want so much to improve my life (not so much physically 'tho I realize that's also important but mainly spiritually/mentally); I pray that in doing so God will allow that to spill over on those I 'run into' wherever, whenever He blesses me with opportunity.

Even though I may never see or know how this might/might not affect others, I know affects me big time. I blossom and pray the freshness nevers fades; that it bears fruit.

Hangin' onto my knotted rope w/one hand, carrying my umbrella in the other...and grit's in my pocket.

Grab your umbrella and pass the grits...let's do it, okay?

Balanced and Unafraid...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Last week M and I rented "The King's Speech"; over a two day period we watched it three times...yeah, three times. Both of us were impressed with it and thought Colin Firth was amazing as King George VI. I checked out the historical facts and the movie seemed accurate...never hurts to brush up on history.

King George VI had a most troublesome problem...he stammered/stuttered...and I imagine he went through agonizing panic attacks. Winston Churchill suffered the same affliction; he overcame the stammering but never whipped the lisp. Both men were giants who at least survived their handicaps and inspired millions...such voices!

Even James Earl Jones (aka Darth Vader) stammered/stuttered and was functionally mute for eight years...he overcame all that and wow, such a voice!

Watching "The King's Speech" caused me to think of people who struggle with conditions that actually terrorize them...I am one of those and have what's called a 'familial tremor'. It grips me, consequently I panic and go ballistic.

Fortunately for King George VI a certain Lionel Logue stepped up to help...he was always there for His Majesty; they became wonderful life-long friends.

Fortunately for Vasca a certain Michael Beall stepped up to help...he is always there and we are wonderful life-long friends...oh yes!. I am a RAP (Recovering Anxious Person)...I doubt I'll ever overcome my anxiety/panic but I still try.

Okay, I know it sounds silly but if Michael doesn't sit on my left during Communion each Sunday? Well, let's just say there's no telling what I'll toss your way if you're in my area...and I'm likely to go into cardiac arrest Thankfully M understands and cares...some might say, "Get a grip on yourself and JUST GET OVER IT"...well, guess what? That doesn't work, it only makes it MUCH worse.

I've friends who have cerebral palsy...are autistic, epileptic...have various neurological conditions...some conditions are visible, some invisible. The other day I read this quote by Susan Hampshire..."It is a lonely existence to be a child with a disability which no one can see or understand, you exasperate your teachers, you disappoint your parents and worst of all you know that you are not just stupid."

Along with the tremors, I have fibromyalgia, scoliosis and a degenerative disc know about my leg w/the highway road maps and decorations; I was never teased about the leg but obvious staring (imagined or otherwise) plus quizzing leave their marks. That taught me loads about compassion, kindness, love...those qualities that Christ has...qualities He wants me to develop.

All this to many...ever so many suffer from things others might never suspect. Who's to know? I know...I know about me! Ha, I can smile or laugh about my leg; don't laugh so much about my tremor (somehow that isn't funny) but smiling helps me over the bumps...a little.

Dr. Seuss said, "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is You-er than you." You are you, I'm me...just me with all my baggage...I'm loaded. You carryin' a load? How 'bout we help each...sharing and caring goes a long way, right?

Balanced and Unafraid...

Monday, April 18, 2011


Remember the main thing? To my surprise, thinking more and more about keeping the main thing the main thing brought about a big stirring in my heart. There's a beautiful song along those lines..."There's a stirring...deep within me. Could it be my time has come?" it goes.

Charles Morgan said, "There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved. It is God's finger on man's shoulder." Okay, I've always known God loved/loves me but at this particular time in my maturing? It seemed 'magical' and suddenly I can actually feel His touch.

My maturing process shifted into overdrive and I quickly focused on 'Always make time'...make time for what? Thinking, thinking...hmm!

Okay, AMT (I'm acronymic)...stuck in my psyche...all day, during the wake-ups in the night...morning wake ups and on thru' the day. Kept up until pow...keeping my opportunity antennae active 24/7 to what matters most. But making time doesn't do much if I don't take the time I've made...or the time HE has handed me, right? I adjusted my thinking to...ATT...always take time. Okay, that's in place...hang onto that...always take time.

100% an unforgettable melody that just won't stop.

Stirring...stirring...entered 'my preferred' grocery store and wheeled up to the first stop...saw the back of a person in one of those motorized shopping carts. Head wrapped in a turban so I assumed a cancer patient...and she looked totally exhausted. She refused my offer to help pick up her bread of choice saying she needed the exercise...that's good...exercise is good.

She began telling me some of what had recently taken place in her life; that spoke volumes about her weariness. Honestly, I said very little ~ asked a question and made one important was like her light came on ~ but here's the kicker.

She touched my arm and said, "God brought you to me today". I was doubly!

"Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."...Roald Dahl.

Talk about unlikely places? I hardly expected to feel His finger touch my shoulder in the bread aisle but...He touched me! I am watching the world around me and what great secrets are coming to light...and guess what? My eyes glitter 'round the clock...Always Taking Time.

Balanced and Unafraid...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I'm asking myself that question...'Vasca, what matters the most to you'?

Patience...I'm thinking...what matters the most...

One year ago today, April 13th, Michael was in surgery having a malicious looking growth shaved off the back of his throat...we weren't overly concerned, just wanted to know what it was and why it was lurking there. A few days later 'the bomb' dropped. M is usually the most composed but both of us 'lost it' for a few hours after being handed the diagnosis of Amyloidosis...(well, I backed into/clipped the carport...then ran a stop sign) yeah, that's our intruder...we dubbed her Amy.

You know, my inner fire sort of lost its' spark; my hero, my love (that would be Michael) touched my heart and fanned the flame...he has a way of revvin' me up; he did it during that time and the year that has followed. He matters.

I have never desired to lead...I have desired to make a difference. I have never been on top of the 'leader board'...I have followed. I have never been self-confident...I have fears. I have never liked going it alone...I've flown around the world 3 times; no partner. I have not been one to finish...I write for encouragement and I finish.

Me? I matter...I do. And so do you. What matters to me will be different from what matters to you...all of us see things/life very differently. Nonetheless, things matter. It's up to me to sort out what is most beneficial to my spiritual maturity and what really isn't worth fretting over...God knows I've wasted an inordinate portion of my life 'in the dumps'.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, "With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts." Right on Eleanor...yes, yes!

God has often been on my back burner...He doesn't belong there. HE never closed the door...never gave up on me. He knows everything about me...He knows my every thought. He speaks to me...I listen...I speak to Him...He listens.

"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing"...Stephen Covey.

Main thing is, I'm working on 'bout you?

Balanced and Unafraid...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I felt a little skittish, reading about the airplane that had a hole in the fuselage; the pilot discovered it...whew! I would pray that other pilots and crew members are so observant...prior to taking off into the 'friendly skies'. Takes much to keep those big birds aloft.

Patrick Overton wrote, "When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown...Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly." Then Michael remarked, "I think quite a bit about being in an airplane; flying through the skies and God is the pilot; I am the co-pilot and He's in charge...He's the expert".

Frankly, I want my pilot to have my best interest at heart...and I'm confident every passenger feels the same. I need to co-operate and here's some of His advice in Luke 6: "Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we're at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults -- unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don't condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back -- given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."

(The Message)

We live in a world full of antagonism, a world full of destruction, a world full of much pain. We've wounded each other in terrible's difficult to forgive, right? I don't want to be crushed when I am low...I pray someone, somewhere will help me ~ pick me up. All of us make mistakes, some calculated...some innocently. Some are destructive beyond our wildest imaginations but...we can help each other w/forgiveness in our difficult as that is for so many. But, it's necessary.

So, I still have my bucket...and I'm doing my best to fill it w/loving kindness, forgiveness, assets...all to be given away. You know, even though my bucket's doesn't have a single hole in it. Living water keeps things in top-notch shape.

Trust me...better still, trust Him. After all, He is the pilot.

Balanced and Unafraid...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


"Life is like a taxi. The meter just keeps a-ticking whether you are getting somewhere or just standing still"...Lou Erickson. Life is rapidly changing...look at the world. Like a domino line-up...falling, falling, falling; yes, much seems to change with time.

Adrienne Clarkson wrote, "Sometimes we read or hear too much that makes us fearful or suspicious of others. We can forget that most of the people that we know, or at least encounter regularly are decent and friendly".

At times, I don't want to hear another word about all the bad stuff that's going on all over the world...from our front door to the most distant land. It's stressful and it's frightening...but I need to think about that Clarkson quote...and remember most of the people I meet really are decent people...honest and good.

I must think about...I must take personally what I read in Matthew 5:14ff: "You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city set on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bushel, do you? I'm putting yu on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand ~~ shine! Keep open-house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven"...the Message.

Okay, I'm doing my best to be a light-bearer...I'm open to others (like living in a glass-house)...wide open. No hiding, no secrets. I'm finished with secrets; you might think I'm too open but that's me...that's the way I am, what you see is what you get, 24/7.

A light-bearer and by the way...since I'm not hiding under a bucket? I use the bucket to carry His living water. Way to go, yes? And if you agree...nod twice.

Balanced and Unafraid...

Sunday, March 6, 2011


A week before Spring Break and the world is not co-operative; it's still upside down and we've no idea where it's headed. Our perfect world seems to be trembling a tad.

Annette Funicello said "Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful"; she was an original Walt Disney Mouseketeer, then a movie star, singer; beautiful and so talented. What most would consider 'a perfect world' crashed. when at the age of 50, she announced she had MS...she suffers but wrote those words...she would know.

All of us are aware of how fortunate, or perhaps I should say how blest we are...we have everything many times over. Our 'stuff' is can consume us, right?

Much of our stuff is trash; we have a recycle program here...the truck comes by every week to pick up our paper, plastic, etc. Here's how they do it in China. Cardboard boxes, paper bags, bottles, etc. are valuable commodities...the residents haggle w/the poor who come by and 'buy' it. Then they sell it to some other enterprising agent...commerce, yes?

M and I live in a modest house...almost 1000 sq. ft. This is the size of a typical Chinese apartment; of course many are smaller. Our place would be coveted by many.

That's good...but...the poor family who just sold their trash they bought from the resident? Those who lived near us slept under a nearby bridge; their bed was a piece of the cardboard they bought. They may have a bed covering...they cook over a small heater. What to cook? Anything they can rustle up.

Aah, you're thinking this is an exaggeration? Not...not.

China has a new cultural group, the 'Ant Tribe' or the 'Ant People'. These are the thousands of college graduates who cannot find employment. They cluster together in the cities; live 4-6 in small, cheap apartments. Discouraged, unhappy, a loss as to what they will reality, what can they do?

Can you imagine belonging to an Ant Tribe? Or being dubbed an Ant Person? People are Dr. Seuss said, "A person's a person, no matter how small." Wow, ants are very small...Hello, Ant Person??? God created us in His image...we are equal in His sight, are we not? And...we are not 'ants'.

America seems destined for a big 'belt-tightening'...meaning we need to help each other; aah, come to think of it...that's what God's Son was into and I believe He gave His all...for all.

I ask Father to forgive my selfishness, my love for my 'stuff' and I am keeping my eyes open for everyone around matter how matter how small.

Balanced and Unafraid...