Archive for Daily Encouragements

No Less Beautiful

Some forty years ago, I was on Interstate 5, driving south past Mount Hood, as a full moon rose above it. I was looking out the driver’s-side window at the spectacle, when I hit a patch of black ice and started spinning. Miraculously, I went full circle and was facing forward when I reached the end of the ice.

That story pretty much parallels the events of the recent weeks for me and Sherry. On that morning, forty days ago, we were enjoying a morning in our peaceful, comfortable home. All was well and life was good. Then, in a matter of minutes, we found our lives spinning wildly out of control. We’re still in the spin, but we’re not afraid. The worst is behind us and we know at some point things will be back to the way they were. We will have changed—our lives will have changed—but we’ll be okay. In fact, we like to think we’ll come out of this spin better off than we were when we went into it. We will press on.

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I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:14

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The New Normal

My friend, Diana Preston, recently used the phrase “new normal” regarding life after her battle with cancer and life after my wife, Sherry’s, recent medical emergency. I didn’t like it. Another friend used it a few days later, then Diana said it again in a comment to one of my posts about Sherry’s road to recovery. The post is entitled, “The Same Thing… Only Different.” HA! Imagine my surprise when it hit me that “the new normal” was indeed, the same thing only different. The following is Diana’s comment, and my response:

Diana said

February 2, 2019 @ 8:33 am · Edit

I have a new normal after cancer. I think it’s true you can’t totally go back … as a person is changed after such an event…. As life is even more priceless… I have become more thankful…

charlesmashburn said

February 2, 2019 @ 8:47 am · Edit

I agree, Diana. Things like cancer and traumatic events change us–sometimes in an instant–and our lives will sometimes be altered forever. But I also believe the new normal can be an even better normal than the previous one. An example being your words, “I have become more thankful.” Sometimes the calamities of life bring us to a fuller appreciation of it, and we’re able to focus on our blessings. I’ve also learned that when we are on the outside watching our loved ones go through these things, we too are changed. We learn to appreciate the blessings of the friends and family we’ve been given to share our lives with, and we see them as the precious and valuable gifts they are.

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Yes, life throws us fastballs, curves and change-ups. The key is to know nothing can be thrown at us that we cannot handle. We might have to take a pitch or two, and we might sometimes swing and miss, but we must never give up.  We should dig in and get ready to knock the next pitch out of the park. And, hey, if your new normal is a single… nothing wrong with that. You’re on base and in the game. Maybe one of your friends/teammates/loved ones will knock it out of the park and you’ll both score.

wherever you are

 

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Special Delivery

For much of my life, I fought against a world I perceived to be unfair, and I had no peace within my soul. And, it was not on one sudden day I learned how to be at peace. Nor did I suddenly devise a battle plan to defeat my foes. God delivered me from my enemies—many of them imaginary—and He delivered His peace unto my soul. That’s not to say I am now in a constant state of peace. But I am learning to let go of things more readily than I once did. Nowadays, I am quick to turn to Him for relief from the battles—whether they be perceived or real—of this world. Peace is an addicting thing, and the more I have of it, the more of it I want. And the best part is, it is always available for the asking.

peace within

 

He has delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many against me. Psalms 55:18

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Ready, Set, GO!

When we waste our days—sometimes years—doing harm to ourselves and others, there is no do-over. But! There is “start over”. No matter how many times we fail, we can always turn to God and begin anew. He never gives up on us, and no matter how terrifying the things are that want to lure us back to their den, we can walk away and do so without fear of them.

5-6-17 3 quote

Whatever demons might be chasing you:

“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and I will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 1:8

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What? No! Wait!

I never smoked. I had asthma when I was young, and on my first attempt, I thought the old man’s Salems were gonna kill me. I tried it again in my early twenties but me and smoking were not to be. HOWEVER! I began using chewing tobacco, Red Man, when I was in my mid-twenties—it was the thing to do in Arizona—and I moved on to the cheek-and-gum variety, Copenhagen, when we relocated to Washington state, and used it heavily for almost twenty years.

I was working in Huntsville, Texas, building a one-million cubic foot refrigerator freezer at one of the prisons, when I finally quit. The project was one of the most interesting I’ve ever been involved with, but the way I quit using Copenhagen was just as interesting. I was ready to quit; the stuff gave me heartburn to beat the band, it was wearing holes in my teeth, and, to be completely honest, I simply didn’t enjoy it any more.

Anyway, I was talking to Mom on the phone one morning, telling her how I was sick of the tobacco, but just couldn’t quit. She told me about this natural stuff she’d read about, and said if I could find some in Huntsville, I should give it a try. At lunch time, I went to directionsthe local heathy-stuff store, and sure as you can say green tea, they had the stuff Mom had told me about. It was called, “Stop Smoking”, and its main ingredient was lobelia. I got back into my pickup, glanced at the directions on the bottle and promptly took two of the pills.

When I got back to my office, I read the rest of the instructions on the little piece of paper in the box, and when I got to the bottom my eyes about came out of their sockets. In big block letters, it said, DO NOT USE TOBACCO PRODUCTS OF ANY KIND WHILE TAKING THIS.

Holy crap! I thought. I was just going to slow down gradually. I also hadn’t read enough of the directions to see I’d have to take the pills twice daily for thirty days. What? No! Wait! Oh, man!

I stewed for several minutes, then decided, what the heck, I’ll just give it my best shot and see what happens. I’m telling you folks, what happened was a miracle. I took the pills for three more days—a total of eight pills—and my craving for tobacco vanished. I haven’t touched Copenhagen, or any other tobacco product in twenty-five years, and have never had the slightest desire to. Is that amazing, or what??

It’s never that easy to quit but never give up. Your miracle is out there!

 

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And I’m So Glad

just a man - cover quote

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Still…

I’m writing another book. It’s about love. And this morning, as I discussed what I’ve written so far with Sherry, an old country song slipped into my mind; “Still”, by Bill Anderson. As lines from the song began to drift through my mind, I told Sherry I felt as though God was singing them to me. Of course, I went straight to the internet and found the song, and as I listened to it, I cried. I cried because I can’t understand how God could still love me after all these years and all I’ve done. But He does.

clouds 1 Still

Still, by Bill Anderson. <— Click here to listen to the song

Just A Man <— My newest book of encouragement

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