Uncategorized

Does It Get Any Crazier? and Other Stuff, Too!

I don’t know anyone who is not busy this summer! It seems there are no long, lazy days of summer anymore. Even when people vacation, they come back and tell me, “we went here, we did this, we saw that, etc.” Not that I’m criticizing…it’s on my mind because my life is about to get even busier.

Tomorrow is July 1st and I will begin a 29 day writing challenge (the challenge is actually for the 31 days of July, but I will be leaving town on the 30th). The challenge is for me to establish a word goal and write that many words for a book during those 29/31 days. My word goal is 30,000. Divide that by 29 days and I have to write about 1,035 words a day. Piece of cake, right? NOT. This is on top of working full time, taking care of home and hubby, preparing for the conference I’m attending the end of July (hence only 29 days to write) and on and on and on. Everyone who has signed up for this challenge is in the same boat. We are all busy – some are employed full time, some are stay-at-home moms, some have vacation scheduled in the middle of July. But we are going to do it because we are called to write. Which brings me to my next point…

My church sponsored a healing conference this past weekend that just knocked my socks off! Archbishop Chuck Jones spoke for a total of four sessions and at the end of the Saturday afternoon session, we celebrated the Eucharist and prayed for those who needed healing. One of the first things Archbishop Chuck said on Friday night was like water to a dying, thirsty person. He said, “The story of what Jesus has done in your life is the most powerful story you can tell. We are called to tell our story.” WOW! That truth is probably obvious to everyone but oblivious me! Over the last couple of years, I’ve asked God time and again – “Are You sure I’m supposed to write? Whatever made You think I can write? I think when You were handing out the creative writing genes (or any creative genes) You forgot me. I can’t do this…I don’t know how!” I can see in my mind’s eye, God sitting on His throne as I’m lamenting and wailing and gnashing my teeth. Once I’ve wound down, He very quietly and gently reminds me that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” So in this new work, and every other story I write from now on, there will be a part of my story included. It may be so obscure that it will never be noticed. Or it may shout from the first page to the last. All I know is I am called to tell my story and it is the most powerful story I can tell.

So, blog postings may be few and far between during July – but I will be thinking of you all! I hope to write blogs on some of the “zingers” Archbishop Chuck hit us with and I’ve had another topic on my mind for several weeks.

I do hope to be back with you soon, and in the mean time, I would greatly appreciate your prayers!

Blessings to each and every one – and have a safe, Happy July 4th!!

© Edwina Cowgill 2010

Uncategorized

No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus

A dear, on-line friend posted this blog over the weekend. It comes from “Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions.” I asked Robin permission to post the blog, which she graciously granted and reminded me that she didn’t write it – the devotion came from the book.

Robin Hatcher writes wonderful blogs and wonderful books. Here is the link to her blog and I encourage you to become a follower:

Uncategorized

"God Said Not Yet"

“God Said Not Yet”
One Man’s Experience With “Terminal” Cancer
By
Daniel Edward Neff

God has a wonderful way of bringing friends and acquaintances back into our lives. I remember Dan, as we called him, from the time we both attended the same church. We were never close friends, but attended some of the same singles events as we were both single during that time. When I left that church, I lost touch with Dan but heard several years later through a mutual friend that Dan was fighting the battle of his life—he had the “C” word—“the most feared word in the English language,” as he describes it in his book. Now, nine years later, Dan contacted me to read and review his book and I jumped at the chance!

Here is the back cover synopsis:
“When I placed my faith in God many years earlier, He promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I would find out if that promise was true. From the initial diagnosis, to the time I died on the operating room table, to being faced with a (literally) life-or-death decision regarding the bone marrow transplant procedure, to the alternative treatment that He led me to, God never abandoned me. The doctors said my life was over, but God said, “Not Yet!”
This book is his journey through the time of his cancer. But it is so much more than that. The theme of the book is about his hope and trust in the living God who breathed life into Daniel at the moment of his conception and who breathed healing into Daniel when he needed it most. It is about the path he took to find God, the love story of finding his beautiful wife, Linda, and hearing and submitting to God’s calling on his life. Scriptures abound in Daniel’s story that encouraged him and Linda throughout the two-year period of Daniel’s cancer and treatments. It is a book that is an absolute praise report to God! Dan clearly gives all honor and glory to God for his healing. Finally, there are several books and websites recommended for reading and gaining knowledge on some of the treatments that Daniel experienced.
All of us are or have been affected by cancer. We either have a friend, a relative or perhaps even we’ve experienced cancer personally. This is a book that you will want to read and or share. You can order the book through www.Amazon.com or for bulk orders contact neffmoorebooks@yahoo.com.

Uncategorized

NEW PARENTS

Congratulations to the new parents…my sister and me!!

I have heard many people say that they have become parents to their parents – who, as they’ve grown older – begin to act like children. I pooh-poohed their comments. “My parents will never act like that.” I was wrong.

Before I go any further, let me make it perfectly clear: I love my parents very much. This post is not a criticism of them, it’s not a complaint; it’s an observation of what I’ve learned over the last several weeks.

Many years ago, I realized I needed to journal – write down events that happened to me, lessons that God showed me, even prayers that I prayed. So, I’m writing this down today just as much for me as for those of you who kindly take the time to read this post.

It will happen. As your parents grow older, they will become your children. They will act very much like five or six year old kids. Oh, they won’t get on the floor and kick their legs and scream at the top of their lungs, but they will get mad. They will pout. They will act and say things to you that you never thought you would hear them say or see them do.

I can remember my maternal grandmother as she got older and sicker. She had congestive heart failure and it slowed this very active woman down. She didn’t want to be sick. She didn’t want to be in the bed. And she certainly did not want to be in the hospital. She was a wonderful Christian woman, but there were times you would never have known it. She began cussing – sometimes worse than a sailor! She said things and did things we never thought we would hear her say or do!

It is obvious that my parents, especially my father, realize they are losing their independence. It’s harder for them to move around the house, much less, go outside. The last vestige of independence my father had—driving his car—has gone. Even though he might have driven only to the grocery store, purchased a few items and drove back home, it was an opportunity for him to leave the house for a short period. It is incredibly frustrating to him. He sees himself getting older, unable to do the things he could do—just a few months ago—and it irritates and upsets him to no end. I can’t imagine not being able to do what I want to do, go where and when I want to go. I’m sure if I live long enough to lose my car keys, my independence, I will be just as frustrated, even more so, than my dad is today.

Thus, the second thing you need to know is that you will need patience galore. Just about the time you think you’re running out of patience, you will need to pray for more. “But as for you, O man of God, flee from all these things; aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness), godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christlike), faith, love, steadfastness (patience), and gentleness of heart.” (I Timothy 6:11)

The verse that applies to all of us regarding our parents, of course, is the one we all know:
“Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” Deut. 5:16

When we honor our father and mother as God commands, I believe that not only will we live long and our life will go well for us, but we will have the patience, mercy and grace that we need as we “parent” our parents.

May God richly bless each of you this Father’s Day Weekend as you honor your father (and your mother).

Maranatha!

© Edwina E. Cowgill June 2010

Uncategorized

Work Anniversary Date

Yesterday was June 15 and it was my sixth year of employment at my present job.

I am called to be a writer and speaker; but my “day-time” job is a business administrator for a church. This is my sixth year at this particular church, but I have worked as a Church Business Administrator (CBA) for 15 ½ years.

I’ve had a lot of fun working as a CBA and I’ve had some sad times too. As in most jobs, there have been times of frustration and times of being so busy I couldn’t think straight by the end of the day. I’ve had some great times and great laughs and there’ve been hard times when I’ve shed many tears.

My first position as a CBA was for a church with a paid staff (at its largest) of seven people. I started there in November, 1987. Earlier that year in January, the church experienced a fire that gutted the sanctuary and most of the surrounding classrooms. When I came on staff, the congregation was meeting in the local high school across the street from its original location while the building was being rebuilt. The offices were located in a house at the back of the church property.

I was there for the remainder of the rebuilding, the building of a new sanctuary (we outgrew the old one), the MOVE across the county line to the new property/sanctuary, the start of a preschool and kindergarten, the changes in staff, etc. A lot can happen in nine years. We had some funny times there, although the laughs sometimes came after the fact…

… like the time I was completely alone in the building during lunch one hot, summer day. I don’t remember exactly where everyone was, but I do remember that the Senior Pastor had taken his youngest son to lunch. I went down the hall to the supply closet, got what I needed and was walking back up the hall, my mind completely focused on the next thing I needed to do. Out of the corner of my right eye, I spotted something on the floor. Thinking it was a rope, I headed in that direction to pick it up. However, the closer I got to the object, I realized it wasn’t a rope at all. It was a coiled snake. A live, coiled snake. I backed up, gave the snake a wide berth, and ran to my desk like the devil himself was after me. I paged the senior pastor and when he returned my call, the conversation went something like this:
Me: “You must get back here immediately! I don’t care where you are,
whether you’ve eaten or not, or where you’re heading next. GET BACK
HERE NOW!!!!!” (Of course, the first thing that pops into his mind is the
building is on fire.)
SP: “Why? What’s wrong? Is the building on fire?”
Me: “No, but there is a HUGE snake coiled up in the hallway.”
SP: “A snake? Is that all?”
Me: “IS THAT ALL?? YOU BETTER GET BACK HERE RIGHT
NOW AND KILL THIS THING OR I’M LEAVING AND I MAY
NOT BE BACK!”
He actually had the nerve to laugh before he hung up!
Thirty minutes later, the Senior Pastor and his son nonchalantly walked in. By that time, I was practically on top of my desk for fear of seeing that snake slither around the corner towards me. Upon seeing the size and type of snake, I was told it’s a harmless, 3-foot black snake. As far as I’m concerned, no snake is harmless, I don’t care what color it is. And it wasn’t 3 feet long; it was at least six feet long!

We had some sad times there…when some of our staff moved away, when members of the church passed away…and we had some hard times too – like most churches do.

But for the most part, it was a job I enjoyed. When the Senior Pastor left to start another church, I knew I’d be leaving soon too. I had been there just under nine years and I was burned out. Most people find it very hard to believe that church work can be so stressful. But it can be. I decided that I would never work as a CBA again. Never say “never” to God, unless you want to do exactly what you said you would not do. Eight years later, I was back working in a church as a CBA.

I’ve been the CBA at this church now for six years. It’s been a totally different experience because I don’t attend the church as a member—I’m just employed here. But I’ve never been made to feel as if I’m “just an employee.” The Sunday before I began work, I was welcomed by the entire congregation. They have supported me when I’ve been ill, when my husband had surgeries, and most recently, when my father was hospitalized and in a rehab center for a month. They have prayed with me and for me and my family. Try getting that kind of support and encouragement in a large corporation, like…the corporation whose motto is “Just Do It.”

I’ve had some fun times, and as in most jobs, there have been times of frustration and times of working hard. I’ve had some good laughs and I’ve shed some tears. I’ve made new friends. It is a great job and I’m thankful for it.

Uncategorized

Choosing Our Emotions

Yesterday, I posted my version of Psalm 118:24, which accurately states, “This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I’m not suggesting that the actual Bible verse be replaced with my version; however it was more direct and succinct: “This is the day that the Lord has made and I will CHOOSE to rejoice in it…regardless of what happens…and try not to forget my choice before day’s end!!!”

As I thought about that post throughout the day, choosing to rejoice no matter what, the Lord reminded me that we are responsible for choosing all of our emotions. We can choose to become angry at that driver who cut us off or we can choose to pray for him/her and bless them. We can choose to become bitter because we did not get that job/promotion/answer that we wanted or we can take the results of that situation and use it for our good. We can choose to be jealous of someone and resent them. Or we can choose to be glad for them and move forward with our own life. We can choose to be happy, to rejoice. We can choose to trust God and have faith.

God tells us in John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” One of the sneakiest ways the thief (Satan) wants to kill and destroy us is in our thoughts and minds. When we choose to be bitter, resentful, jealous or any negative emotion, we have just opened the door for the enemy to come in and wreak destruction.

When we choose the right emotion, (i.e. when we act like the Christians we claim to be) scripture tells us: “And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:7 Amplified Bible; emphasis mine) A garrison is a fort or stronghold. So this scripture tells us God’s peace builds a fort around us and He guards our hearts and minds.

How do we choose the right emotion for any situation rather than exhibiting negative emotions? Simple. We keep our eyes on Jesus – all the time. We give him permanent place inside the fort as a guard over our hearts and minds.

Maranatha!

Uncategorized

Various Stuff

Happy Weekend!!

In an earlier post, I mentioned that my sweet hubby and I went away for the long Memorial Day weekend. It was the first time in almost 4 years that we had a chance to get away. My husband had a number of hip/back/leg issues and several surgeries. Just about the time he recovered from one thing – something else came up! I also had a few health issues, and life’s interruptions were always happening. So for these reasons, we had not gotten away – even short trips – until last weekend.

I knew that both of us needed to get away, relax, spend time together and get to know one another again. I just didn’t realize how badly we needed that until we were in Savannah. Savannah is only a four-hour drive from home and we spent that time talking and laughing. The further away from home we got, I could feel the tension leaving my body. It was great!

If you and your spouse are so busy that you don’t talk very much (I’m talking deep conversations – not the surface stuff) and you don’t feel close, let me strongly encourage you to get away. I realize that finances are tight for many people right now, but there are creative ways for the two of you to get away from your house, your children, your everyday life – even if it’s just for 1 day/night. So find a way to do it – you won’t regret it!

I also want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your prayers your thoughts, emails and cards during the recent situation with my parents. My dad has been home from rehab for just over two weeks and seems to be getting back to “normal” for him. He now uses a walker or cane in the house and always a walker when he leaves the house. Because of the accident I had in his car, which was totaled, we no longer have to worry about him driving. He continues to receive physical therapy at home and a registered nurse visits at least once, usually twice a week. Finally, we met with a representative of the Southern Crescent Area Agency on Aging earlier this week and she has promised help and support in the area of housekeeping and freebies! She was kind enough to bring a lot of gifts which really blessed my parents!

Last, but not least, here is a link to a great blog where today, Julie Cave is being interviewed and you can register to win a copy of her book, Deadly Disclosures. http://giveawaygal.blogspot.com/2010/06/interview-with-julie-cave-and-book.html

MARANATHA!!