Thursday, January 28, 2010

How Do You Want to Die?

I know. Morbid thought.

Do you want to go suddenly or do you want time to prepare?

Would you choose to "go out" while doing something you love or go to sleep one night and wake up in the arms of Jesus?

Would you choose to linger awhile with a terminal illness in order to "tie up loose ends?"

Would you ever consider taking your own life?

Do you think about the effect on the ones who are left behind?

Do you think about your legacy or the type of funeral or celebration that would follow or the words you would want on your tombstone?

Years and years and years ago, before I knew better, someone did a detailed "astrological chart" for me. This person told me I would die traumatically.

Too much information. No thanks. I'm glad only the One who created me knows my future.

I have this dream of knowing, though. Some lead time. Not as a burden but making the journey with courage and serenity. Leaving an example. Passing into eternity with the name of Jesus on my lips, leaving wise words and hugs behind. Holding hands. My loved ones will weep briefly, only briefly. And then they will laugh and celebrate. And life will go on, and they will be stronger.

That's MY plan.

Truth is, I don't know the what, when, where, why or how.

I could walk out of this office and fall down the stairs and hit my head within the hour. I could run headlong into a semi on my way to pick up Gracee from school.

My husband's cousins were on their way to visit relatives. When they slowed for a toll booth, a semi rammed into their rear. Their car exploded into flames.

Not far from our house, a semi collided into the back of a farm wagon sporting a slow vehicle sign. The farmer died at the scene.

It happens.

I could be diagnosed with incurable cancer next week.

Or I could  live, spry and sassy, for another 40 years.

Only God knows. It's HIS plan.

So I need to be prepared NOW. With earthly affairs and relationships in order. And my eternal connection intact. Living as if I only have today. Not waiting for someday.

As Pope Paul VI said: "Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it, I say! Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows."

So how do you want to die? Or maybe a better question--how do you want to live?

"That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs the and will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." II Corinthians 4:16-18 (NLT)

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Can Do It Myself!

Sooo serious.

I'm talking about the physical therapist. I think he left his smile muscles at home.

"Bend your neck this way. Turn your head that way. Is that the best you can do?"

Uhhh ...yeah! I AM 61 years old today, you know.

"Do it again."

He gets his angle-measuring thingie out. Writes down some numbers.

I sit there cracking my gum, thinking about my Biggby birthday coupon and wondering what I'll "spend" it on and whether I'll buy a chocolate chip scone to go with it.

"Point to the exact spot where it hurts."

There is none. It just aches all over. Sometimes maybe right here. 

"Does it hurt more when I press here? Or here?"

It's kind of like trying to tell the eye doctor if this (click, click) or this (click, click) is most clear.

Okay, it hurts there. Kinda. Not really.

Can I go now?

"What is your pain level at its least? What is it at its most? What exacerbates or relieves the pain? What is your pain level right now?"


"Your insurance allows 60 visits. You might need to pay 10%. We'll start with 3 visits a week."

Start with?

"Yes, for 30 minutes each, for 4 weeks. Then we'll reevaluate. Here are some exercises to start at home."

Please, just smile.

I head out to the counter and struggle through trying to set up a series of appointments.

I look at the exercises. Easy. Yep. I remember all those from last time. And if I'd been faithful in the easy things . . .

So in some sense, I deserve this discomfort. A consequence of disobedience to directions.

I head straight to Biggby where they smile. I still can't make up my mind and tell the barista to choose for me. I end up with a skinny mocha raspberry. Yum! I bypass the scone since I already had two in the past week.

Sometimes I have a problem with self-discipline. Not today.

I cancelled my appointments. I can't justify the time and money spent to have someone do for me what I can and should do for myself. I can't justify spending money to relieve discomfort when the same money could save a life--like helping send a PT to Haiti, or providing relief packs for at least 10 families for a week through Compassion International, or investing in a passport and updating my own immunizations in the event I can provide hands-on relief.

Sometimes I have a problem with stubbornness.

But I can do it myself. 

And I still refuse to fall apart.

Have you suffered any consequences due to stubbornness or lack of  self-discipline? 

" . . . he who does not use his endeavors to heal himself is brother to him who commits suicide." Proverbs 18:9b (Amplified--from Septuagint)

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Friday, January 22, 2010

Go to the Source

After a month of worsening arm and shoulder pain, I finally went to my doctor this morning. I figured a time of simple whining would solve the problem. I mean, isn't that what often happens? You go to the doctor with an issue--pain or fever or something--and by the next day, it's gone. And you wonder why you wasted the time and money.

Well, he didn't offer me cheese to go with the whine. He instead offered me physical therapy. For my neck. Which doesn't hurt. He bypassed the symptoms and went to the source. A possible pinch at the connection.

I whined some more and then said I could do my own physical therapy at home and he asked what I'd do and I said neck exercises and he said he thought PT would help and I sighed and said okay whatever.

I refuse to fall apart.

So Monday, already, I get to have a PT evaluation. Again.

And then probably two to three days a week of having to shower and get dressed and put on my mask to present myself for therapy.

Maybe if I faithfully executed the previous plan (read exercise) presented in years gone by, I wouldn't be in this predicament.

Still whining.

Isn't that the way we roll, though? We've got an issue, a symptom of something deeper. But we just want to ignore it or take a pill or slap a Band-Aid on it and go on our merry way while whatever it is gets worse. We don't want to expend the time or the energy to find the source and do battle.

Just a quick fix, please, with a side of chocolate, if you don't mind.

Anyway, I'm going to stop whining and do what I'm told and wrestle with the source of my physical pain because I refuse to fall apart.

And while I'm at it, I think I'll undertake an ST (spiritual therapy) and ET (emotional therapy) evaluation. If I find anything awry, I'll go to the Source. And then work on releasing the kinks in that connection.

I refuse to fall apart.

How are you holding together?

"Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn [entirely] away from evil. It shall be health to your nerves and sinews, and marrow and moistening to your bones." Proverbs 3:7-8 (Amplified Bible)

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Am Woman--Hear Me Snore!

My family told me so.

I didn't believe them.

Couldn't be. I'm much too dainty.

Well, except maybe for the occasional snort with an uncontrollable laugh.

But the other morning I woke suddenly to some kind of squeal. I listened, strained to hear.


I dozed off.

And then a rumble. Or something.

And I knew. Yep. Without doubt.

Awakening truth.




Not me! I mean. I'm the one who struggles to sleep between a snoring husband and a snoring dog.

I am a serene sleeper. A movie star sleeper. Hair spread just so on the pillow. Arm crooked just so. Hand properly posed. Makeup intact. Slight smile.

I stumbled downstairs and peered into the mirror through sleep-swollen, sand-laden eyes. And I wanted to gag.

"You are beautiful."


I lifted my head toward a cobweb-laden corner. Lord, is that you? I think angel feathers are blocking your view.

"You are precious in my sight."

Nuh-uh! Really? Well, okay. But, Lord, I smell!

"You smell like a flower, a sweet fragrance." 

But . . . but . . .

"You are my beloved."


It's true.

Whatever the sight.

Whatever the sound.

Whatever the smell.

He delights over me. He sings over me.

He loves me! All the time.

All the time. He loves me!

When do you feel beautiful? When do you feel loved?

"[He exclaimed] O my love, how beautiful you are! There is no flaw in you! Song of Solomon 4:7 (Message)

"Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God." 2 Corinthians 2:15a (NLT)

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Earthquake - I Want to Run

Haiti Donate Online

Heartbroken by the images. Overwhelmed by the tragedy.

I want to run. Away from the news reports and the graphic images.

I want to run. Away from the tweets and all the ways to help.

I searched for Haiti on Twitter. The number of incoming tweets in less than a minute sucked the air out of my gut.

Here I sit. In my quiet office looking out on a quiet field. Snow white.

And I want to run. Forget.

I can't imagine the fear, the pain, the screams, the smells. And I look out on the quiet field and see blood on the snow. Mangled, dead, and decaying people. Broken people. Parents and children and spouses.

Death. Brokenness. Fear. Grief. Disease.

And I want to run.

TO Haiti. To help. DO something.

And I can't. And I shouldn't. For now.

So I run to my knees.

And I pray for compassion. I pray for Compassion. And for the children. And for their sponsors here who wait for word. To find out if their child is living or dead. I know that feeling. I felt that during the upheaval in Kenya where our child lives.

And I pray over what I can send, what I am willing to give up, what I am WILLING to send, to an organization I can trust to deliver my compassion to where it's needed.

I want to run.

But there is no place to run. Except to the arms of the Source of compassion.

And I pray. It's the least I can do. And the most.

For now.

Consider donating to Compassion International's Haiti Earthquake Response Fund

Why Compassion International?
1. They already serve more than 65,000 children in Haiti.
2. At least a third of those children live in hardest-hit areas.
3. They are already working locally and with the high integrity.

All funds raised in response to the Haiti earthquake will be used immediately to provide for Compassion-assisted children and families affected by this crisis. Any funds raised in excess will be stewarded by Compassion for additional and future disaster relief efforts.
You can provide immediate relief today.
• $35 helps provide a relief pack filled with enough food and water to sustain a family for one week.
• $70 gift helps care for their needs for two weeks.
• $105 helps provide relief packs filled with enough food and water to sustain two families for two weeks.
• $210 gift helps care for two families' needs.
• $525 helps provide relief packs filled with enough food and water to sustain 10 families for two weeks.
• $1,050 gift helps care for 10 families' needs.
• $1,500 helps rebuild a home.
• $2,100 helps supply 20 families with the basics for three weeks.
Due to the high number of responses it may take longer than normal to process your transaction.

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Disappointment? Stop it!

I learned the concept of the Deadly D's from Kay Arthur years ago. She discusses them in detail in her book, As Silver Refined, as a layered strategy with a military analogy. A life-deadening spiral. And she describes how to do battle.

1. Disappointment. It all starts here. Something you expected or hoped for fell through. Something happened you didn't expect. Maybe an irritating rumble. Maybe a shattering life quake.

2. Discouragement. Rather than facing the situation or learning from it, you want to quit trying. Give up. Turn tail. Run like the cowardly lion. Skedaddle. Hide.

3. Dejection. You feel like a leaking birthday balloon. Tired. Wrung out emotionally, physically, spiritually. Stuck in the pit. Sinking in the quicksand. And you don't really care.

4. Despair. You've lost your last ounce of strength. You've lost the last thread of hope. You can't see any way out of the mire.

5. Demoralization. You've sunk to the very bottom. You've lost any sense of confidence or purpose. You've accepted defeat. You're disgusted with yourself. You abandon all normal function and responsibility. You're undisciplined and live in a state of disorder and confusion. You might run in circles, make bad decisions, or just bury yourself deep in bed. Or even worse.

Certainly, the last 3 steps are stages of depression, and if they persist, a doctor visit is in order.

But for the most part, when I find myself heading toward the dungeon, I've finally figured out that I just have to stop it. Can't let those pity parties last very long. When I'm sitting in the middle of the rubble, whether of my own making or something else, I need to get my eyes off myself and off the situation and back on who is ultimately in control. And that's not me. I need to frisk my thoughts. And the sooner the better.

I'm learning to look at each disappointment as an appointment from God to bring me closer to Him and allow Him to do His refining work in my life. Every loss can bring gain.

I'm not at the point, I don't think, of actually embracing disappointments, but I can at least acknowledge them, maybe even shake hands with them. And yes, even thank Him for them, even if I don't feel like it.

Hope lives because He is my hope. Peace abounds because He is my peace. I can count it all joy because He is my joy.

How do you deal with disappointments?

But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hand. Psalm 31:14-15a NASB

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)

But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise you yet more and more. Psalm 71:14 NASB

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Epiphany - Aha!


A festival day (January 6) commemorating the arrival of the Magi who followed the star. The first Gentiles to acknowledge the Messiah.

Giving gifts that fit.

Gold to acknowledge His sovereignty. The King who reigns. God in nature.

Frankincense to acknowledge His sacrifice. The King who serves. Man in appearance.

Myrrh to acknowledge His selflessness. The King who dies. Unrecognizable in form.

Who is everything. Who gave up everything. So we could have everything.

Who existed in the form of God, stripped Himself of all privileges, and humbled himself to death. 

Who lived like a slave and died like a criminal.

Whose star still shines. Who lives forever. Amen!


A revealing moment. An illuminating discovery. A flash of comprehension.


He gave gifts to me that fit.

A passion to be like Him. Refined like gold.
A purpose to make Him known. Broken to release His fragrance.
A plan to write for Him. Dying to other earthly pursuits.

It's only fitting that I give these gifts back to Him.

What gifts has He given you?

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!" ~Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV)
Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King

Sunday, January 3, 2010

30 Highlights from 2009

1.  I entered a new decade (the 60's) and made news. Listed right under the obituaries!
2.  I bought a harp, took lessons, and attended The Harp Gathering.
3.  I didn't break any bones.
4.  I didn't need any stitches.
5.  I embarked on a major decluttering project.
6.  I discovered I love Fontanini heirloom nativities and village sets. But I didn't buy any.
7.  I struggled to find my holy discontent.
8.  I rediscovered the joy of writing.
9.  I started this blog.
10. I became a Thomas Nelson book review blogger.
11. I made some great new writing friends. 
12. I started a contemporary inspirational novel.
13. I began research for a historical novel and a Biblical historical novel.
14. I submitted an article for publication--at 10 p.m. on 12/31.
15. I reentered the world of Precept.
16. I led a coed evening Bible study group.
17. I started teaching a morning ladies Bible study.
18. I discovered I will be a grandma again in June (my single daughter's second)--surprise!
19. I discovered I will be a great aunt again in June (my single god-daughter's first)--double surprise!
20. I discovered I could make arrangements, pack, and be out the door and headed for Gaylord within 30 minutes--well, maybe 45.
21. I helped my son move into his first apartment, and 6 months later, his second.
22. I found I love to take pictures of God's handiwork.
23. I didn't get the flu.
24. I went to a Pistons game, a Lugnuts game, and a Tigers game. And Gracee's first soccer game.
25. I was in a ballet recital.
26. I went from blonde to brunnette. Close to natural. I think.
27. I survived a summer without our pool and swam in Lake Michigan.
28. I failed Diet 101.
29. I became more aware of His Presence in the presence of problems.
30. And I didn't charge any Christmas presents.

Otherwise a fairly quiet year. God is good! All the time.

What were some of the highlights of your year?

"I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints." Psalm 52:9 

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King
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