Surviving or Thriving?

Today I asked myself am I thriving or surviving?

This little question sparked some pondering. After all, it’s been a fulfilling year in so many ways and I lean toward a thriving answer! Why, even somber reflection illuminates where I have certainly walked in thriving shoes, even during some difficult times. But there’s that nagging question about the moments and issues where “survival” is the operative mode.

“How can I better do ‘survival‘ in the future, Lord?” I ask.

Isn’t “survival” the place we go when we don’t know what else to do? Some of us fuss, complain, and get irritated or maybe we trust and hope that we will make the right choices and reach our hand out for strength, wisdom, mercy and grace.

…The hand. The extension of an arm…a connection…help.  David speaks of the hand in Psalm 139:7-10.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens you are there, if I make my bed in the depths you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea – even there your hand will guide me your right hand will hold me fast.

Hold me fast?” What does that mean?
Another translation (NLT) says “your strength will support me.”   – Yes! Your strength will support me!

Support.  Oh let’s take it, friends. When we walk in survival mode can’t we trust that his hand, his right hand,will hold us fast and support us?

Isn’t the journey from surviving to thriving the path of those who thrive?  As long we have his support we can hope in a positive direction.  Is that not where grace and mercy are brilliantly evident?

There are times when everything is wonderful and “thrive” is the name of the game, but there’s no shame in the survival areas of my life. They spur me toward greater satisfaction and fulfillment and gratitude if I let them and if I remember the “right hand that holds me fast”.

Sincere prayers that you cling to the supporting “right hand” whether it’s a thriving or surviving day! ~Madge

New Seasons on the Horizon

The current temperatures and beautiful September sunshine is no indication that we are approaching a new season..but the calendar shouts of autumn’s approach and so do football enthusiasts! Spring and summer have always been my favorite seasons, and honestly a twinge of dread usually grasps my heart about this time of year.

New opportunities, new school years and new studies begin and events are planned that lead to joyous holiday celebrations, yet along the way comes my nearly constant companion – the cold natured chill. It’s the nagging ever-present, teeth grinding chill that sends me to want to sit in front of a space heater…permanently.

My challenge with the cold started right after my accident. It seems no amount or type of clothing can effectively do the trick…merino wool and hot water are my dear spinal cord injured winter friends!

All this to say, I am purposing to raise the bar on my heart of gratitude in preparation for the change in the weather. Although it’s not my favorite time, I CAN appreciate every season’s unique beauty and dynamics with a heart of thanksgiving!

My upcoming discomfort and grief will not prevent the power of gratitude to my Lord who gives me strength and joy.

My grateful heart opens the door to experiencing His presence more richly. So, as summer soon sets, my praises will rise on the wings of the dawn of autumn breezes and I will give thanks.

Praying an increase in gratitude for all my friends….as I know your new seasons may bring challenges that demand the amazing medicine of thanksgiving for your body, soul and spirit.

Scripture memory #17 potential verses:

– Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes. 5:15

– Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4.

A Special Date of Remembrance for My Parents

Today is my dad’s birthday. He would be 82, and passed away when he was 62. This photo was taken when he was in his thirties. Handsome man!

This is my dad and birth mom, Joanne (aka. mom #1). She died when she was thirty-six from complications after a routine surgery. My dad had five children ranging in age from five to sixteen when she passed.

He took the family on a three week camping and sightseeing trip out west the summer after mom #1 passed away! A brave man.

A little over a year after my mom was gone I met the woman who would become mom #2. True love marries a handsome man with five children!

We lived near Washington D.C. Beautiful cherry blossoms every year!

Mom #2 took me to ladies lunches, taught me how to set the table, cook, sew and shop. I still don’t like shopping and miss her bargain hunting talents and fashion advice. The beautiful young woman sitting at the table is a dear friend of my mom’s, Jane. She continues to stand in as a mom and good friend for me!

Dad was the photographer. It seems like most of the photo’s we have of him also capture him holding a camera.

He taught us to garden. I hated pulling weeds, but loved gathering the squash, lettuce, greens, beans, broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, and especially digging up potatoes!

Dad taught us all to fish and hunt. I’ll spare you the deer hunting photographs. I could shoot a rifle or shotgun, but never could kill an animal. I just couldn’t pull the trigger if a deer was standing in front of me and I’d follow the dove as they flew across the sky, never daring to pull the trigger when birds were in sight.

Dad was a techie and true geek from a young age. My husband’s office reminds me of dad’s. My theory is if Brent had met my dad he might still be in his basement talking and tinkering with electronics.  What do you think? Look at this photo of Brent’s set up!

Brent and his Ham radio gear.

This is one of the last photos taken of mom #2 and dad together during a trip they took to Greece.

Mom #2 (aka Maxene) lived for seven years without my dad. At only fifty-nine years old, she passed on from breast cancer and its nasty complications on the day my dad would have turned sixty-nine. We think she wanted to be his birthday present in heaven.  My brother Brian, then boyfriend, now husband, Brent, and I had the sacred privilege of being at home with her when she left this earth. No matter how long we live it still seems life goes by so quickly.

I’m thankful for my life, my family, my friends, and today I am especially thankful for the three parents I was blessed to have raise me, and for the Father who continues to guide me each day!

Hope you are making memories today!  With love – Madge

As a father has compassion on his children,so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— (Psalm 103:13-17 NIV)

Scripture Memory #8 – A Sweet Relief!

I’ve been planning to get this post done all day, and now that I’ve filled up on strawberries with cream cheese frosting** for dessert – I am really ready!  I have had my fill of sweet strawberries and that decadent dip of creaminess on the bottom.  We made the frosting fresh this morning!  Come on my sweet friends, I know you want to join us on this amazing journey.

Below are a few handy sweet scriptures I like for the end of April.

How sweet are your words to my taste,  sweeter than honey to my mouth!  Ps. 119:103

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Prov. 3:24

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  Prov. 16:24

I’ve been laboring a bit with verses in the second chapter of Colossians for the past week or two and I’m happy to share these two verses because I love thankfulness:

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col. 2:6-7

In the book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp says, “Thanksgiving creates abundance; and the miracle of multiplying happens when I give thanks – take the just one loaf, say it is enough, and give thanks – and He miraculously makes it more than enough.”


My prayer is that we overflow with thankfulness through the circumstances…today and every day, and He will make it more than enough. —-Madge

**Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
-8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
-8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl to soften. Beat until smooth and well blended. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, and continue beating until smooth. Store in container in refrigerator.  Yummy and gluten-free.