I Got Subwoofers!

Have you ever heard of subwoofers? Subwoofers “enhance the sound system” according to Yahoo. Subwoofers help you hear the “boom boom boom”. Subwoofers help with volume, clarity and even background noise reduction.

Why would one need a subwoofer? Obviously, to enhance the sound that one is choosing to listen to. Kid’s sometimes put them in their trunk so everyone within a 5 mile radius can hear what they’re listening to while they’re driving.

On a spiritual level, a subwoofer would be the Holy Spirit, the one who comes along side us and gives us spiritual volume, clarity, and even background noise reduction. Or Jesus, the one who intercedes for us, who makes sense of our mumbling and presents it to God clearly and beautifully.

But why do we need someone to “come along side” or to “intercede” for us? We need that because in and of ourselves, we are inadequate. We need “enhancing”, we need someone who is able to give us clarity, understanding and spiritual volume; we need someone who can come along side us and drown out the background noise of the world, so we can more clearly hear God’s voice in our lives!

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I love that word “through”. Christ is the door “through” which we must walk in order to benefit from His enhancing. When we walk through that door, a transformation takes place and our ears are opened, the spiritual volume is turned up and we hear Jesus, and only Jesus. We walk through that door and we are plugged into the most powerful subwoofer of all time!

When I was the Dean of Students of a private school, we hosted exchange students from many different countries. Sometimes speaking to them was difficult because they couldn’t always comprehend what I was saying. English-speaking students frequently tended to think the exchange students were dumb because they didn’t understand. They were not dumb, they were probably smarter than some of us, they may have spoken 2 or 3 languages compared to my one, but they didn’t fully comprehend everything we said. They needed someone to come along side them, and translate for them.

I totally empathize with the exchange students. I have 85% hearing loss in one ear, and 55% in the other. I also have tinnitus. I sometimes feel  like I don’t hear a thing. I have managed, by continually asking “Say that again?” or just smiling and nodding when I don’t have a clue what someone said. Sometimes, if I can’t hear someone speaking to me, I cup my ear, trying desperately to funnel their words into my ear. When all else fails, I read lips.

Sometimes, when someone is talking to me, I hear sounds, usually just a bunch of consonants, so I add my own vowels to try to make sense of the sounds. I probably have a 50% success rate with that, which means a 50% failure rate as well. My family laughed at me more than once when I responded to a comment or question the way I THOUGHT I heard it. For example, after we watched a movie one night, Gary looked at me and said “Why are we still up?” I answered “No, but there’s Diet Pepsi. Do you want me to get you some?” It’s humiliating and frustrating beyond words.  It reminds me of that scene in Sleepless in Seattle where Meg Ryan sits next to a lady on the plane who says “I hate flying, don’t you?” and Meg says “Yes, and I just told the biggest one!”

Recently, I was fitted with my own personal little pea-sized subwoofers. When they were placed in my ears I heard clearly for the first time in many years. I was overwhelmed! I actually started sobbing, I couldn’t believe what I had been missing! The Doctor handed me a tissue and said “Welcome back!” And to top it off, now that I can hear, I am not so focused on the tinnitus, and barely notice it. Similarly, when our ears are opened spiritually we are not focused on the sounds of the world, we are focused on Jesus, and as we allow Him to turn up our spiritual volume, we hear Him say, “Welcome back!”

How’s your hearing, spiritually speaking? How’s your comprehension? Are you missing something? Do you need someone to come and turn up the volume? Are you reading lips and adding vowel sounds to the consonants to make up words? Do you need a subwoofer? I’d like to recommend a great subwoofer, His name is Jesus! And He loves you! He wants to come along side you and bring clarity and understanding to  your life!

“Blessed are those who HEAR the word of God and keep it.” What a blessing! What an honor! What a responsibility!

Ignorance is Bliss, or is it?

We’ve all heard the statement “Ignorance is bliss.” It implies “If it ain’t said, it ain’t so.”   It implies that what we don’t know won’t hurt us. 

So, what is it that we don’t know?  What don’t you know?  What are you NOT worried about, because you don’t know about it?  Is it that diagnosis?  You could have some terrible cancer right now, but you don’t know about it, so you’re not worried about it, and ignorance is bliss!  But once you receive the diagnosis, you have the knowledge of the disease, and that changes everything. Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge brings a healthy fear, and a call to action. Once you have knowledge, you can not continue to live in ignorance.

Recently, Honda recalled certain 2004 cars because of a faulty air bag. This is what the recall notice said:





Thousands of people have been cluelessly driving around for years completely ignorant of the fact that if their air bag deploys, shrapnel could be projectiled into their face killing them instantly. The very device installed to save their lives, could take their lives.  But ignorance is bliss. What you don’t know, won’t hurt you.

My mom drives a 2004 Honda CRV and when she heard about this recall, she immediately took her car to the Honda dealership.  The dealership had been so inundated with recalls, that they didn’t have the part.  They said to bring the car back in a couple of months when the part was in stock.

Do you think, after receiving the recall notice, and knowing what my mom knew about the danger, she was going to drive that car again without it being repaired?  Of course not!  After a little persuasive language from my dad, the Honda dealership kept Mom’s car and provided her with a rental car.  They told her they wouldn’t have the part for a few months, but they would cover the cost of the rental until the problem was fixed.

One day my mom was telling us the story about her Honda and the recall.  My son, Tony, said, “I drive a 2004 Honda Civic!”  My heart sank!  My son commutes from Carlsbad to Riverside and back at least 10 times per month!  What if he’s in a fender bender and the airbag deploys propelling shards of murderous metal right into his beautiful face, killing him instantly?

The truth of the matter is, the possibility of Tony being killed in his car by a faulty airbag was a reality since he bought the used 2004 Honda several years ago.  It didn’t happen, thank God, but when I knew it was a possibility, I pulled rank and played my Mama card on my adult son and insisted he take his car in immediately!  Being the good boy that he is, he drove straight to a Honda dealership, and drove away in a shiny new rental car! 

Ignorance is bliss, yes, but knowledge?  Knowledge brings fear.  A healthy fear. Fear of that airbag deploying sending virtual shards of death into your face. For years, my mom drove her 2004 Honda CRV with the exact same risk whether she knew it or not.  The risk of her airbag killing her was just as real in 2004 as it was when she received the recall!  Same with Tony, his airbag could have killed him years ago just as easily as it could have killed him the day he found out about the recall.  Once they received the recall, however, they had knowledge, and knowledge brings fear.  Fear that comes from knowledge is healthy, it’s a fear that is for our own good, for our well-being! It’s a fear that promises us a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)  And Proverbs 1:7 says “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge.”

When we fear (love, honor, respect, praise) the Lord, we are just beginning to tap the spring of knowledge He makes available to us.  With knowledge, we can avoid a face full of shrapnel from a faulty airbag.  In ignorance, we plod forward, not knowing or caring that we might have a face full of shrapnel in a second if the very thing whose purpose is to save us, betrays us.  Ignorance is, indeed bliss.  Bliss is not good. Knowledge is good, and wisdom is good. Fearing the Lord is good.

Proverbs 15:31 – 33 says:  “Whoever heeds life-giving correction (pays attention to that recall notice) will be at home among the wise.  Those who disregard discipline (ignore the recall) despise themselves,  but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord.”  We are called to be wise, to be knowledgeable, not ignorant. When we have knowledge, when we are given to know a thing, it’s completely unacceptable to continue to behave the way we did in ignorance, because now we KNOW!

As believers, we have been made aware of the dangers of complacency, and ignorance. We are called, no, we are required to ACT on what we know, we are required to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.

Once we know Jesus, we receive a recall notice – for each of us it may be different.  What is Jesus recalling in your life?  Is it that relationship you shouldn’t be in? Is it pornography? Is it drugs, alcohol? Is there a secret sin in your life?  What are you going to do with His recall in your life? Are you going to take action? Or are you going to risk getting hit in the face with shrapnel from Satan? Ignorance is bliss, but we are not ignorant anymore, we KNOW what He expects from us. And we are required to respond to that recall.

I don’t want to be ignorant.  I want knowledge. I want to fear God and adhere to His recall notice in my life. He has overcome, and He has the power to recall whatever Satan sends my way.

May we go though life with all knowledge and wisdom from God, and a clear understanding of what lies in wait for us. Check your spiritual inbox daily for a recall notice from the Lord. Then act on it.  Make the repairs.  Only then can we defend ourselves from Satan’s shrapnel shower.

Beautifully Broken

My husband Gary and I are nearing our 38th wedding anniversary.  For our 30th, we enjoyed an Alaskan cruise.  This was a wonderful cruise, beginning with a week on terra firma touring the beautiful Alaskan National Parks, including Denali.  The end of that week landed us in Whittier, where we boarded the beautiful floating vessel that carried us through the spectacular glaciers, as well as many wonderful ports of call.

This trip was particularly special to me, because we were celebrating a milestone anniversary.  On the cruise, I had the opportunity to attend a class where we learned to make a ceramic picture frame.  The process took several days, as the frame needed to be painted, and put in a kiln.  I was very happy with my handiwork, and in it, I placed a picture of my husband and me on our balcony in glacier bay.  How I love to look at that picture, and how I love remembering that trip, and the love I put into creating the frame that would hold the memory that was so dear to me.

The frame and picture had a place of honor in our living room, where I enjoyed looking at it every day, until the day it was accidentally knocked over, and broke into three pieces.  “Don’t worry!” I said to myself, “You can glue it together!”  And I did.  Carefully and lovingly, I glued the pieces of the frame together.  I held the broken pieces in my hands for several minutes as the glue dried.  When I was sure the frame was ready, I placed the picture back in it, and returned it to it’s place in the living room.

Not a month went by before my beloved frame was once again knocked over, and lay on the floor in several pieces.  This time, all the breaks were new, the glue held the old breaks together.  I was pretty impressed with the integrity of the glue, and knew that I could glue the frame together a second time.  Again, I held each of the broken pieces in my hands tightly as the glue dried, lovingly putting the little frame back together and back to it’s place in the living room.

You guessed it, I came home from an outing to find my frame on the ground, broken – in all new places – a third time.  They say “third time’s a charm”, so I got my trusty glue and once again glued the frame together.  While admiring my frame, and all the scars, uneven seams, and glued cracks,  it hit me.  That frame is me!

Life has a way of knocking us down sometimes.  Maybe it’s because we lost our job, or didn’t get the job we want. Maybe it’s financial problems that knock us for a loop. Maybe addiction, illness, loneliness, a wayward child, maybe unfaithfulness finds it’s way into our marriage, divorce, depression, death, and the list goes on.  These things happen and knock us all the way down, and we break.  Sometimes, we shatter.  Sadly, nobody is immune to the problems and pains of this world.  But be of good cheer!  He has overcome this world!

Our sweet Lord and Savior picks up each broken piece of our hearts, our marriages, our lives, and glues them together with holy glue that binds and repairs like only He can do!  His hands lovingly and gently hold us until the binding is complete and all the repairs are made.  Then He places us back in a special place of honor where He can enjoy His handiwork.  Over and over again, He patiently tends to our broken pieces, each time, making us stronger and stronger. Each time, investing more of Himself in us, making us beautiful because of the time spent in His hands.

My frame is now so glued together that when it fell for the fourth time, it did not break.  You see, there was so much glue, and so many repairs, that the frame is now stronger than when I first made it! My beloved frame spent hours in the hands of it’s maker as I lovingly repaired it and made it like new.  It is more beautiful to me now than it was the day I made it!

Just like my frame, we can be certain that our Maker, the Almighty Lord God, will always pick us up when life knocks us down, He will hold us together, and return us to a place of Honor, where He will enjoy His beautiful creation forever!

Waxing Nostalgic

This was originally written 9 years ago, much has happened since then, but I still want to share. Tony’s birthday is coming up again, and Jenniffer has been gone for 39 years now.  It’s a blessing to know that God is good, all the time.  Even when we are grieving our empty nest, God is good, and He is a good Father, and He has a plan for a future and a hope for His children!  Please enjoy:

After church this morning, Gary and I headed to Sears. Tony’s birthday is the 22nd, and we were shopping for his gift. We decided on a Craftsman 26 gallon Air Compressor and the air tools that go with it. We were happily shopping and comparing prices in the tool section, Gary was joyously grunting and scratching with the excitement of being around so many tools. Then it happened. I saw the photography studio.

Years and years of memories hit me like a tsunami! They flooded my heart and I drowned in them! I honestly could not stay afloat in all those memories! Just yesterday, the childhood lifetime of my kids was photographed in that studio! Just yesterday, I was telling my boys to “smile” for the camera, and to not crawl on the dirty floor.  Just yesterday!  I had a complete, unabashed meltdown! I was crying and blindly trying to find my way back to the Craftsman Tool section when Gary spotted me.  His first thought was that I’d been attacked and stabbed, and he was scanning my body for wounds.  I could not find the words to explain the attack on my heart in the photography studio.  Poor Gary just held me in the Craftsman Tool section of Sears. And I sobbed. I didn’t even care what other customers thought. I lost it.

How can it be that yesterday I sat with my babies in those very chairs waiting to have them photographed for birthdays, Easter and Christmas and the next day I find myself shopping for an Air Compressor for my man-son? It’s just too horrible. I am not recovering from this mornings episode very quickly.

As I write this, I’m still crying, my eyes are swollen, and I’m a disaster. The really pathetic thing is, I don’t even want to feel better. I want to wallow in my misery. Clearly,  I’m a weird, sick person.  Am I supposed to get used to the fact that the beautiful childhood of my children is history?  Why yes, yes I am! And I have to thank God for those days, and move on, thanking God and praying for more days with my sons.  More days with my sons . . . . my goodness gracious, I have so much to look forward to!

Two days ago was the anniversary of the death of my cousin. She was shot in the head by a stranger 30 years ago. She was only 8. My Aunt and Uncle will never “get used” to living without Jenniffer.  They would love to have been able to buy their adult daughter a birthday gift.  Oh how they would have loved to mourn an empty nest.  I thank God that I am not in their situation, but today, it feels like I am, and I am sad.



Mary’s Hands

Mary's hands
Old and new.
My sweet Mary
Mary’s hands have held hundreds of babies.

I was with Mary when Joe died, holding her hand as she held his. They’d been married for most of their lives. She was 15 and he was 16 when they got married. They lived through hard times, and they struggled to get by, but they did get by. They were both very hard-working Mexican born Americans. Joe was a Veteran of War, Mary was his beloved.

When Joe died, Mary’s life changed dramatically. Joe had taken care of everything. He paid the bills, he took care of the yard, Mary was beside herself and overwhelmed with the thought of her life without her beloved. But she did it.

The next 15 years brought changes to Mary’s life. She was a widow. She was alone. She had to work her hands to the bone to take care of the third of an acre property she and Joe called “home” for so many years. But she did it.

Looking back, I see that Mary began to die when Joe did. Don’t get me wrong, she fought valiantly to maintain the life Joe had set up for her. It was just too much. Mary’s health began to fail, her body became frail. Her bones were wrought with the effects of arthritis. Her mind was overtaken with the ugly disease called dementia. Sweet Mary lived a life of fear, suspicion, and loneliness. Even her fingers betrayed her with pain and uselessness.

One day, as Mary sat rubbing her painful hands, she told me how embarrassed she was that her hands were so ugly. I took her hands in mine, and reminded her of the good things her hands had accomplished, the beautiful things her hands had done. I reminded her of the day her beloved Joe took her hands into his and made her his own. I reminded her of the day her firstborn wrapped his little fist around her finger for the first time. I reminded her of all the love her hands had bestowed upon those lucky enough to call her “Mom”, “Aunt”, “Sister”, “Daughter”, “Wife” or “friend”. I reminded her of the tears of others that she had lovingly brushed away with her hands. I reminded her of whose hand Joe held as he breathed his last breath on earth, and inhaled heaven. I told her that when I grow up, I want my hands to look like hers. She wept. So did I, and she held my hands.

As Mary’s world disintegrated into a world of paranoia and fear, dementia slowly stealing our Mary away from us, I knew she was getting home-sick for heaven. As sad as that realization was, it was also beautiful. It was beautiful to know that Mary had the hope of heaven! She knew that her pain was temporary, and that she would soon be in heaven with her beloved Joe, Patsy and so many others, and she would have a new body with beautiful graceful hands!

Mary was not afraid of reaching the end of life on earth, in fact, I believe she was longing for heaven. That gives me great joy! Like a child longs for, and looks forward to a trip to Disneyland, Mary had nights when she was too excited to sleep because of the joy she knew was set before her – heaven!

Recently, Mary told me that Joe and Patsy had visited her and told her to come with them. She was ecstatic with joy and anticipation . . .  I told her that if they come again, she should go with them. She looked at me and smiled, and said “Yeah? Should I?” “Without a doubt, Mary,” I said, “without a doubt!”

Mary exhaled earth and inhaled heaven last night. My heart is shattered and rejoicing. Mary’s hands are busy hugging and loving on her family in heaven. She has a new body and beautiful hands in heaven! I find it hard to fathom, though, that Mary’s hands could be any more beautiful than when she was here with us, holding ours.

I find hope in this. Mary is home. She exhaled earth and breathed the breath of heaven. She has been reunited with the love of her life, and her daughter, sister, brother, parents and her God.

Are you kidding me? She’s in heaven . . . .  literally!

I rejoice in this, as my heart selfishly breaks.