If you see someone without a smile give them one of yours
Author: Judith A. Dempsey
While working as an elementary school counselor Judith A. Dempsey was offered the opportunity to attend NCAT in Western North Carolina. "Everyone has a story to tell and write." The writing bug bit her and she hasn't stopped writing since.
The gospels report several times when Jesus went off be himself, to pray.
These examples suggest to us that communicating our needs to God, the Father, are necessary in order to strengthen our bond with our creator.
Many years ago when my oldest daughter was a teenager, she was going through some difficulty and ran away just before Christmas. After attending the Christmas service in which I implored God to return her I noticed some geraniums blooming. These flowers had been dormant since October when I brought them inside for the winter.
At that moment I knew she was safe. At supper-time there was a knock on the front door. When I opened it there stood a young girl with a lollipop in her mouth.
After I earned my Masters in School Counseling. I was told there were no openings in Baltimore County so I asked God to find me a job in Dare county, North Carolina. He did not. Instead when I interviewed in Dare the gentlemen suggested I try Currituck County.
After applying and having an interview I was given an elementary counselor’s job. My orginal office was in the school book room. Later I graduated to an office inside the school building. That job was one of the most satisfying ones I ever had.
The new job required my move to North Carolina, where we owned a beach house. I was delighted but my Down’s Syndrome daughter started acting out.
Eventually, we had to hospitalize her. As I drove back on the beach, I prayed,”Father, if you don’t send your grace, I’ll never get through this!” As I looked up, on the hill there stood Grace Lutheran Church. The next Sunday I was there.
My sister was in a coma for three weeks. When we had a prayer service I sat in for her. The very next day, she opened her eyes and said her name.
There are times God does not answer your prayers. When my husband suddenly took ill and was flown to Cheapeake hospital. I kept hearing, “On wings of an eagle.”
It was three weeks of suffering for him when finally the doctors agreed there was no more they could do. He was released from his machines and the pastor blessed him.
Three hours later he passed. I knew he was safe with Jesus. God doesn’t always answer our prayers in the way we ask but in a way that is best for us. Thank you, God, that you care for us so much, you even let your son die for our wrong-doings.
Like any young animal or human, Teddy finds more things to get into than I could ever imagine.
The closest I can remember are two small, young terriers we picked up in Vermont. Our yard was always filled with trash they gathered from the yards of neighbors.
The event that topped all others was the day they cooperated in taking the lady’s nylon slip from her clothes line in the yard across the street.
Teddy has found a new object to destroy, my daughter’s plastic red drinking cup. He couldn’t be happier than he is right now.
When I returned from watering the flowers this morning I discovered pieces of a large cardboard box all over the kitchen floor. I have no doubt is was a cooperative effort between Teddy and my daughter’s two beagles.
When they join forces, the three of them can be quite destructive. Thankfully, they didn’t get beyond the cardboard box, the prize was inside, a twenty-five pound bag of dog food.
The beagles have fallen asleep but Teddy continues his pursuit of the total dismemberment of the plastic red cup.
Life is somewhat like this. One person starts a task, others join in until sleep overtakes them.
Hopefully, our pursuit of godliness, which often comes at a price, doesn’t overwhelm us so much, we stop and sleep.
May we become more like Teddy and not give-up on the pursuit of goodness.
It is truly amazing how one little fall can totally change one’s life. At 81, I have been completely independent: taking Ollie classes, doing two Bible studies a week, shopping and enjoying this mile-high city of Prescott.
I tell people God moved me from sea-level in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to this mountain city of Prescott, Arizona. What does that mean? First of all, It means God is in charge, not me.
That fact sure has been brought home to me recently, with my fall and the breaking of my hip.
Now, I am totally dependent on others for rides to church, getting my food, cleaning my home and walking the three dogs.
The physical therapist has visited twice and assigned me exercises. One is riding my exercise bike for 15 minutes. Not immediately but eventually. How’s five minutes for a start?
The charge nurse has directed,”Don’t walk without your cane or walker.” It appears that research has shown that once you fall, you are likely to fall again.
Like I said, “God’s in charge, not me.” With the many changes in my life I know better then to insist on my way.
Better listen!” Judy. Isn’t it amazing now quickly life changes.
Yes, it is hard but, like I said,”God’s in charge, not me!”
It is natural to be concerned about people with limitations. Now, that I have my own, I realize it is not just a matter of dealing with them but, accepting them.
The Lord knows your frustrations and the sense of dependence on others that you feel.
The temptation is to be sad or angry about this interruptions to your life’s plans.
But what about God’s plans for your life? My daughter, Judy, gave me this verse after my husband, Jack, passed away ten years ago. “I know the plans I have for you…plans for your good, not to hurt you….And when you search with all your heart, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:11-14.
Yes, I have survived these ten years but, falling down and breaking my hip is proving to be a huge challenge. In a favorite hymn, “God says,”When through troubled waters, I call thee to go, I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”
These two phrases have encouraged me through many storms in my life. Even now God is blessing me by sending godly people through prayers, rides to church, food and even calling the electric company when my lights were turned off.
So, yes, God, I have my limitations but You have surrounded me with Your love and I am learning to trust You even more.
One of my daughter, Kathy’s favorite animals was the penguin. She loved the video, “Happy Feet.”
Since her death, I also have become fond of the penguin because of the toughness of these creatures and their persistence in enduring hardship.
Recently, my life took a drastic change. I took Teddy out to relief himself at 5:45 am and fell on the concrete driveway. After crawling across the driveway to a bench, I waited for my daughter to bring out her dogs.
When she arrived and found me shaking from the pain and cold, she insisted on calling an ambulance. Although the drivers were very kind, every movement was painful.
After X-rays, it was determined I had a broken hip and needed an operation. After that life became a blur . Four days later I was moved to the Good Samaritan Rehab facility where I remained for three weeks.
Needless to say, my life has totally changed. The restrictions such as no bending, crossing legs, needing to use a walker or cane have greatly limited my activities.
What are God’s plans for me now? Well it won’t be the five-day bus trip to Yosemite I had planned with a friend. Right now it seems to be a lot of sleeping and visits from church friends.
Thank you, God for Your care even when it means a change of plans.
The last two weeks I have begun an art class based on Julia Cameron’s books “The Artist’s Way”. She suggests we need to return to our sense of creativity which we enjoyed as children.
As adults it is so easy to become overwhelmed by our arches and pains, our loss of flexibility, our limited income, now that we are retired and the loss of friends through death.
All of these situations can cause us to lose our sense of play and wonder. When my husband was alive we enjoyed packing up our photo equipment and heading off to some interesting spot and taking pictures of birds and trees and just enjoying being in nature.
The move to Prescott.AZ meant I had to begin all over again. Starting at the community college was the first step. After singing in the community chorus, I branched out to courses in sociology which I enjoyed but found it a lot of reading and papers leading to a group project, which can be fun if everyone does their part but when one person fails to fulfill their part it can be very disappointing.
But the joy of creating a collage or clay pot and cutting up magazines and arranging and interesting picture with glue, paint and paint sticks is just plain fun! It leads to joy and satisfaction of just being free to create something interesting. So at eighty I,m a child again enjoying planting rose bushes, taking pictures and loving the spontaneity of creating again.