All That Remains

During the autumn months of 2021, clouds of sadness hung over our family, as we lost three wonderful men. The first was a cousin who lost his 20 year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Before his retirement, he and his wife ran a successful restaurant in Ohio that we all called our “second kitchen”. The consummate host, Emil was happiest interacting with guests, and enjoying their appreciation of Cite Grill’s warm ambience and delicious cuisine. We still miss his infectious laughter and love of gathering at the table.

Shockwaves gripped our family when my husband’s older brother Keith was admitted with sepsis and kidney failure – and ultimately arrested and couldn’t be revived. He was a skilled dentist who hopscotched between Florida and Pittsburgh every week, attending to the needs of his patients and devoting his time to his wife and family on his time off. Keith was always ready to go the extra mile if you needed something, and especially took pleasure in spoiling his granddaughters. We have many happy memories of his hosting family celebrations  – always with lots of love, laughter and great food.

Our last loss was my precious father, who at 93 years succumbed to the failure of his frail body to live another day. We prayed that God would call him to heaven, as his quality of life had long been far from optimum. In his prime, Dad delighted in blessing people with treats – candies for the post office workers and the bank tellers, and mom’s meatballs for the office luncheons, just to name a few. Dad prided himself on his good driving skills, and would drive hours – even through blinding snowstorms – to pick someone up if they needed a ride. He had such a giving heart, and was loved by so many. Dad sacrificed to achieve his goal of my sisters and I attending college, and we will never forget that. We felt his love deeply.

What we remember about those who have left us is not what they had, but who they were.

After my sisters and I spent days clearing out all of my parents possessions, we each felt tremendous sadness (and a splash of guilt) at how quickly we evaluated what should be kept or discarded. It was as if we threw their lives away. But what balanced out these feelings was the realization that more important than all the stuff left behind was the legacy of love and kindness that Dad gifted to our family. And the same is true for Emil and Keith.

These memories of our loved ones are what will be forever imbedded in our minds and passed down to the next generations.

So, when all is said and done, what is it that truly matters? 

Surely it’s not all the tchotchkes we have accumulated over the years, or the excess number of shoes in our closets. (I’m speaking for myself here.)

What we leave to our families, friends, and to the world is the essence of our hearts and souls.

And so, dear readers, let’s wrap our lives in love, and leave a trail of hope and faith.

Fill your legacy box with all the best of yourselves. 

And in the meantime, maybe we’d better get busy and purge a few closets…

“Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things—and the greatest of these is love.”                  ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1

After The Fall(s)

It started out to be a typical day – decaf latte, quiet time, contemplative prayer. I was eager to restart my exercise program which was put on hold after a rogue shoe fell off my closet shelf and broke my toe in early July. (Fall No.1) Who would ever think such a crazy thing could happen?

In my haste, I failed to change from my Teva-ish sandals to a sturdier shoe, thinking my reentry into working out wouldn’t be terribly strenuous.

All was going well until I attempted to balance on an inverted Bosu ball (something I now would not recommend). As I started to wobble out of control, I stepped off the ball and promptly hit the floor. (Fall No.2)

I knew immediately that there was damage to my left wrist – and indeed, it was fractured in two places. After the tears stopped and the cast was in place, I began my list of thankfulness…that I didn’t break a hip or crack my head open, that I was able to be seen and diagnosed right away, and that this didn’t happen on our family vacation.

Sometimes God has to startle us into circling back to Him.

It’s not that I have ignored Him…but rather that recently life has been full of making plans, attending to details, and keeping up with correspondence – things that are necessary, but sometimes consuming – and distracting from what is most meaningful. God gave me the ability to be efficient, but I’m thinking He would appreciate a few more time slots in my daily calendar.

Perhaps God should be at the top of my priority list.

After my falls, I was reminded of the first Scripture verse a dear friend shared with me many years ago:

“When I said, ‘my foot is slipping’, your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” ~Psalm 94:18-19

God’s love constantly surrounds us, even when we are most stable! These next weeks of manual limitations will most certainly direct my thoughts to His Providence and continuous care. And though this time presents it challenges (I finally succeeded at buttoning my jeans with one hand!), honing my focusing ability in His direction will be paramount as my wrist heals. That, accompanied by large doses of thankfulness and prayer, is the ultimate prescription.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” ~2 Corinthians 4:17

Holy Isolation

Every year at the start of the holiday season, I vow that I am not going to be overcome by “Christmas craziness” – the condition that occurs when the have-to-dos become more stressful than enjoyable.

With COVID-19 raging everywhere, one would think that with shelter-in-place restrictions, mask wearing requirements and travel warnings, it would be easier to maintain a calm outlook. With no holiday visitors anticipated, who cares if you leave a few Christmas decorations in the box this year?

Yet…technology is very good at providing diversions, even guilt trips, that gnaw away at my attempts to hang onto tranquility.

As each day passes, the promotional emails continue to bombard my inbox:

~Order today for Christmas delivery!

~24 hour access on new arrivals!

~Up to 50% off – these prices are HOT!

I start feeling anxious.

Some days I feel rebellious, wanting to escape what seem like holiday demands; other days I obsess, spending countless hours searching online for that perfect gift.

Here in New Mexico, there aren’t too many streams close by – but a dear friend blessed me with the devotional Streams In The Desert, which has been a source of inspiration and comfort each morning.

L.B. Cowman writes: “The one thing we need today more than anything else is to spend time alone with our Lord, sitting at His feet in the sacred privacy of His blessed presence.

Therein lies the answer to maintaining serenity – call it meditation, contemplative or centering prayer, or just plain old resting with and talking to God.

My favorite part of these mornings is turning on the Christmas tree lights and sitting down with coffee for some quiet time with God.

This time of sacred isolation feeds my soul like nothing else can.

During this time of year, it is important to remember the true meaning of Christmas, and to hold onto the gratitude and wonder of reflecting on the birth of Jesus – God’s gift to all mankind.

He saved the world – and He can save us from holiday madness, too.

God doesn’t flood our mental inboxes or pressure us.

He is always available, and warmly welcomes us when we reach out to Him; His gifts of peace and calm sustain us – not just through the holidays, but always.

What a joy it is to isolate with Him…

“Every life that desires to be strong must have its ‘Most Holy Place’ (Exodus 26:33) into which only God enters.” ~ L.B. Cowman, Streams In The Desert

Soulful Media

During my quiet time this morning, I reflected on the passing of our dear friend Owen, who lost his valiant battle with pancreatic cancer. He will be long remembered for his gentle spirit, his kindness, and his unwavering faith which sustained him through his illness. We will carry a piece of Owen in our hearts, always.

When a friend’s death occurs, we remember their character; status, possessions, and travelogues fade into obscurity.

It is the legacy of love we leave behind that is most important.

It’s funny how clearing out mindspace can open the window for more meaningful thoughts.

After deleting my Facebook account, I was pleasantly surprised at the arrival of the words for this post. At the outset of beWARM, my intention was to write only when thoughts from the Holy Spirit filtered in. The number of followers was never a high priority; I believe that God knew all along who should read my words.

From time to time, I wondered if I had any more to write. When I considered stopping, there would be a random message of affirmation that told me to continue.

In light of facing a friend’s end of life, I realize that this blog is my SoulBook.

Through beWARM, my desire is to continue to embrace realness, vulnerability and encouragement, while also sharing my faith. And one day, I hope my grandchildren will read my words, and know my heart.

We all need our foundations to be shored up along our life journeys, especially now with all the anxiety and unpredictability in the world.

Thankfully, our omnipotent God is always there for us to lean on, even in the worst of times.

My prayer is that you, dear readers, will find your own Soulful Media outlet – one that is an instant and direct line of communication with God, where you can express your heart to Him.

He will hit the “like” button on every one of your posts.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
    pour out your heart before him;
    God is a refuge for us. 
~ Psalm 62:8 (ESV)


beWARM celebrated it’s 10th birthday in October! My deepest thanks to my daughter Kristy for the gift of this blog on my 60th birthday. It is hard to believe that this is my 150th post! And I am ever grateful for you, dear readers. I appreciate how you have shared your SoulBook thoughts with me. Sending much love to all of you…

Gimme Shelter

Since the invasion of COVID-19, a new normal exists for everyone. The idea of infectious droplets floating in the atmosphere has us going about our daily tasks armed with masks, wipes, and sprays, which we use in hopes to eliminate those dangerous germs. The daily news is rife with reports of sickness, death, and an increasing variety of symptoms, some alarming, that accompany this disease. We thought children were protected from becoming infected – until recent reports show that they, too can be at risk.

Our minds can easily become fearful, confused, and weighed down with all of the what-ifs of the future.

When we think of how free and easy life was just a couple of short months ago, it seems an almost dreamlike existence. It has taken a pandemic to make us realize what a pleasurable life we took for granted.

The effects of the Coronavirus have been compounded by closures and restrictions that will have long lasting effects; all of us know someone who has been deeply affected financially – and who may never recoup their losses.

Now, our thoughts are consumed with prevention and recovery – and Personal Protective Equipment. Who knew that PPE would become an object of necessity – and desire?

While our main focus has been warding off this virus by protecting ourselves in every possible way,  this preoccupation has diverted our attention from other invasive pathogens that can so easily creep in.

Do we have adequate PPE on board to safeguard our hearts and minds? What is in place to deflect the infiltration of common diseases of the soul, such as fear, doubt, pride, and greed, to name a few?

We need clarity of mind – and connection with God’s Presence – to equip ourselves with the ammunition to keep these subtle invaders at bay.

God can provide the shelter and protection we need to ward off the disruption of negative thoughts and direct us back to the security and refuge He alone can provide.

There is never a shortage of His unending love – and His constant goodness and mercy never mutate.

Let’s run for shelter under God’s wings – and hope that with courage and strength that comes from Him, we will be equipped to deal with whatever life sends.

His shelves of comfort and repose are always stocked.

He will cover you with His wings. And under His wings you will be safe. He is faithful like a safe-covering and a strong wall. ~Psalm 91:4




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