Words for the Roller Coaster of Life

Almost fifteen years ago Brent and I went to Six Flags for the first time together.  It was a big date early in our relationship. We spent the day loving every roller coaster and got soaked in water rides!

Six Flags is a blast for me because my wheelchair gives us a pass to the front of every line.   Then we are usually encouraged to stay for a second ride to avoid the hassle and slight delay of lifting me in and out of the seat!  Let me know if you want me to go with you on your next visit.

Toward the end of the afternoon we headed to the amphitheater for featured speakers and a concert with Point of Grace and several other artists.  We relaxed and were thankful that Brent’s back survived lifting me all day and my bottom survived the bumpy rides without my cushy seat.  The speaker, Andy Stanley, began to share.  It was the first time I had heard him, and I couldn’t believe it then, and I still can’t believe it now – the verse he used in his talk was etched in my memory.

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.  Proverbs 22:3

The fact that I walked (I mean rolled) away from a fifteen minute talk with a take away biblical principle and a verse that I have quoted over the years, and shared with others, is a hallmark of why I consider Andy Stanley one of the best communicators.  He has a gift, yet I’m sure he works hard to leave a listener with truth to remember, apply in their own lives, and use to help others in the future.  I’ve experienced other pastors and speakers who do this, just not quite like he does.  His one liners pack a powerful punch and resonate with me long after their delivery.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes/principles from Andy Stanley:

“Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.”

“Direction, not intention, determines your destination.”

We have an amazing church home – it’s ‘family’ – and we learn and serve there each week.  Even if you have a local church where you lock in, grow and serve in Christ, I hope you seek additional valuable resources.   Be encouraged by the great technology available to us today and check out some wisdom from outside your church’s walls.  You could start now by tuning in to a message at North Point’s service online ‘live’ at 9:00 or 11:00 on Sundays or during one of four rebroadcasts.  Additionally, the podcast is available later.  This week they launch a series called, ‘Be Rich: Do More. Give More.’   Interestingly,  I just read an article featured in this month’s Consumer Reports magazine, written by a neurologist, titled ‘Surprising health benefits of giving.’  We have some other terrific ‘giving’ resources…ah…sounds like a post on ‘Giving’ is on my horizon.

Be Rich: Do More. Give More”  just might be a new favorite quote after this series.

Oops! I Cut My Toe

One of the best and worst things about my paralysis is that I cannot feel pain below my injury level the same way most people do.  Pain may not hit in time to prevent injury and when it does hit, it may not be obvious where and why I am uncomfortable. Strange, I know! This phenomena opens up possibilities for secondary injuries like burns, abrasions, pressure sores and other unwanted pesky and ugly, sometimes scarring events.

A recent clash with unknown pain came one night last summer when I was washing my face. I finished my face and brushed my teeth and was ready for help with the final bedtime routine.

As I backed away from the counter and looked down at the stone tiles, I saw a pool of blood. Alarming?  Yes, alarming, because I couldn’t tell where it was coming from.  In a panic, I called for my sweet hubby and we discovered it was my toe bleeding. Oh my, I had banged it against against the cabinet.  I usually don’t take my shoes off until the last minute, but for some reason this night I did. **Note to self – don’t take shoes off before finishing your face.

Anyway, we called our nurse practitioner neighbor, aka neighborhood 911, and she took no time to ascertain that we needed to go to the emergency room for stitches immediately.  I wanted to wait until the morning… So we went to the ER.

As an aside and perhaps the only value in this post: We have several good hospitals within 30 minutes of us, and because this was a minor injury we didn’t care which hospital we chose.  We wanted to get it done and get home.  As we pulled out of the driveway I called the ER  where we were headed and they reported ‘at least a three hour wait’.  I called another hospital’s ER and they said they had one person waiting but could not predict if someone else would come.  We changed directions and headed to that hospital where we were taken care of ‘right away’.

‘Right  away’, of course, still includes the obligatory half hour here and half hour there while the medical staff helps others and work on increasing your bill.






Brent tolerated the wait well with his iPad in ‘toe’.  Hope you don’t have a weak stomach for blood….Four stitches later we headed home.

…and the next morning Tahoe helped the healing along with kisses. The kisses made the boo boo all better.


Tahoe’s Vet Visit – One of ‘Those’ Days

Tahoe had a recent trip to the vet to get a check-up and to get his teeth cleaned.  I didn’t have the pleasure of seeing him get drugged, but I was told he walked around with his leash in his mouth – resisting sleep and finally collapsed with his leash squarely planted between the very teeth that were about to be cleaned.

After his teeth were clean, he recuperated on the floor….would you look at that tongue?

He was plain tired out.  I’m glad he’s a dog and not a human.  A child might not forgive his mom for posting photos like these!!

Some days I feel a bit like Tahoe looks in the above pictures.  It’s OK when it happens, right?  We all have ‘those’ days.   When ‘those’ days strike, I try to strike back with a bit of faith – and quote a couple short verses for inspiration:

March on my soul, be strong.” Judges 5:21   or

Rely on the Lord! Be strong and confident! Rely on the Lord!” Psalms 27:14.

An ‘attitude of gratitude’ is another effective weapon.  I tell myself, ‘Name 10 things you are thankful for in less than a minute.’   Then I go on with my day, knowing there’s hope that it’ll get better today…or…tomorrow may be more like this:

…or even like this!

Tahoe jumps for the kong

Today, I’m praying for my niece, Crystal, who lost her young husband to cancer last January when she was six months pregnant.  She’s an inspiration to me as I watch her navigate being a single, working mom of three.  My hope is that she has less days like the first pictures and more like the last ones.

…..what do you do to get through ‘those’ days’?

May your day be filled with wisdom, faith, hard work and fun.  Love to all from Madge on a ‘Tahoe Tuesday’!

Strength Through Difficulties

When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure. Peter Marshall

Some day’s difficulties, well, they can just tear us down. While I often am the first to want to deny that I’m really spent and all washed up, I think these are the times I have the greatest opportunity of growth in faith and dependence on God – the One who knows all.

Recently I’ve had a number of health issues. I’ve been miraculously stable as a quadriplegic for so many years…this stability has been challenged by some nagging, so far undiagnosed, persistent, GI issues. The diagnosis is complicated by my mobility issues. Test after test reveal the same wonderful news, ‘No problems’, the medical professionals report, with their upbeat voices. My heart is conflicted as I’m grateful nothing ‘terrible‘ is discovered and I realize many people face challenging reports about their health, and family members’ health every day. In the past two days I learned about an 8th grade cheerleader who lost her leg, a young dad who had brain cancer and passed on, a friend’s dog who has terminal cancer, and a 56 year old Steve Jobs who lost his life due to complications from pancreatic cancer.

… it seems selfish, but I desperately want answers for my issues.

My personal scenario sparks an area of growth for me. It is an opportunity to hunker down in prayer, not only for myself, but for so many others who have serious and pressing issues far greater than I can imagine. It’s an opportunity to realize that hardships give birth to new things – fresh new things – which can often bring greater significance to our lives. I have a related favorite verse that I’ve held onto in recent months that I’ll share tomorrow, but for now, I’ll leave you with a little ‘faith’ challenge to think on in your time of need – let’s face it, we all have the tough times in our lives…

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16