Monday, September 16, 2013

Encouraging Words When It's Time to Change Course

Hello friends,

This is not good-by; it is, however, turning over a new leaf. I have loved this blog, but now, it is time for a change of course. Rivers and streams do it, and now it's time for me.  My new blog is still Encouraging Words, but it will be more upbeat. Hope, in a time when people, I think, are looking for hope. There is no need, no matter our life situation, to believe that this is the end, that this is all there is. 

The title of my new blog is "Entertaining Angels Encouraging Words Purely Healthy With Jaye Lewis."  That's quite a mouthful, so the URL has been shortened to 

Please come and join me as I talk about ways to pure health, in spite of illness, age, disability or ability, no matter our size or situation. We can all look for new ways to feel good about ourselves. None of us need give up on life or ourselves. We can find ways to be happy with ourselves, just the way we are.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Monday, May 20, 2013

Encouraging Words for Those Who Have Given Up On Love

Hello friends.

In the photo above, you see me smiling and holding my new little dachshund, Dixie Mae. Next to me is my good friend Gina Chapman of Chapman's Dachshund Rescue, in York, South Carolina. She rescues every unwanted dachshund, and many other dogs, who are unwanted, and she loves what she does. Gina has a heart full of love.

Dixie Mae was under weight at 9 pounds, heart worm positive, had seizures, and she was a puppy mill survivor.  She was three years old, and she had been over bred.  From the condition of her teats, our vet guesses she had been forced to have a litter every six months from the moment she was six months old. She'd been kept in a cage which was too small, and thank God for Gina, who saved her from all that.

We live in the Appalachian Mountains, and going to Gina's is quite a trek for a 67 year old senior like me, but God just kept pulling me there.  I already had a wonderful 15 year old dachshund, so what did I need new problems for?  But God led me on.  From the moment that Dixie jumped into my lap and covered my face with kisses, there wasn't another dog in the whole world for me.  With all the love in my heart, and the blessings of my sweet husband, Louie, I took Dixie Mae home.

When Dixie Mae first arrived at our home, she was immediately adopted by my sweet fifteen year old dachshund, Happydog. He just took her under his "paw." It was a sight to behold. But Dixie Mae knew that something was wrong, something that none of the rest of us understood. Happydog was dying, and he did. Happydog left this earth nine days later. He seemed like himself, and then overnight, he failed. With the gentle assistance of his favorite vet, Happydog left our arms, and he was carried to heaven by angels. I sang his favorite lullaby, as he gently fell asleep, although I don't know how I did it.

The grief I experienced cannot be described, except to say, not even the death of my mother could equal my grief over my little doxie boy. I can talk about it now.  It's been three months, and Dixie Mae is helping me to heal. Her love, and my love for her, is not replacing my love for Happydog. No. Nothing can replace a lost love. My love for her, and her love for me, is simply new. Dixie Mae is my new love.

After Happydog died, we discovered that Dixie Mae had problems.  She had a terrible fear of storms, to the point of horrible terror, and we did not know why.  And, living in the country, where people hunt, she would run terrified, if she heard a gunshot.  Why?  Our vet told us the story.

While doing a full body scan, after Dixie Mae had a seizure, because of what appeared to be neurological problems, our vet made a terrible discovery! Above her heart, lodged in her spine, Dixie Mae had a bullet, with fragments. A very large bullet! Some time in her past Dixie Mae had been shot! Oh my God! This sweet, gentle soul, had been done away with...but wait! The attempt had failed. With further investigation, I made a grisly discovery.

Dixie Mae originally had belonged to a North Carolina Amish Puppy Mill. The procedure there was to take "useless" dogs ~ in her case, one can only guess that the seizures would make her seem useless ~ to the "market" and sell them off. If they don't sell, for whatever reason, then they take them out back and shoot them! Somehow, Dixie Mae crawled away and survived. The rest of the story is sketchy, except that she was treated without anyone doing an x-ray and finding the bullet. She then wound up back in some kind of puppy trade as a breeder, had another seizure, and was surrendered ~ THANK GOD! ~ to Chapman's Dachshund Rescue, and into Gina Chapman's care, where Dixie chose me! Yes.  Dixie Mae chose me! She loved me first!

It wasn't long before Dixie Mae settled in and realized, she was and is home. She began to discover toys, especially squeaky toys. She slept. Oh how she slept.  I've seen recordings inside puppy mills. The noise is deafening, and in our home, well, there is peace, and doggies can sleep as long as they want. In fact, it's pretty darn peaceful for anyone.

Then one day, Dixie Mae discovered something wonderful! She discovered play!  She ran and jumped and barked on the deck with the other dogs. Her ruff was up, but she was dancing and she was having fun!

And begging for food together has become a favorite past time. Dixie Mae, Pixel and Peanut have become a family!

Dixie Mae has become a beautiful, healthy mini-dachshund. Sure, she's been wounded, but then, haven't we all been wounded in some way? Haven't we all had darts aimed at our hearts? Haven't we all had reasons to stop loving, to turn away from humanity? Yes we have. And Dixie Mae had been wounded terribly, yet, look at that face. That is a face which is filled with love. Look into those eyes and you are looking into the eyes of love.

So, my friends, when your life seems over and you've given up on love, remember that we have been there too. I was an abused child. I am also a rape survivor, and I was once in an abusive marriage, but I am now free. I never gave up on love, and neither did this little dog. Little Dixie Mae, the victim of an assassin's bullet that missed her heart. Jaye Lewis, abused in my past, and yet, I still love God, and I love human-kind. I love animals. I love my husband and my children. I love my friends. And wherever you are, in the midst of your sorrow, I love you.

Love is not only possible, it is a necessity. More than food, love makes your heart beat.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Encouraging Words for Those Who Are Depressed by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

It's been awhile, I know, but since I last wrote I lost my little dog, the dog of my life, and I've been grieving.  So, I've turned to compiling all the poems that I wrote during the years that he and I were together.  Most of my writing took place with my little Happydog at my side.  He was my best friend, and often my inspiration.

So, for those of you who are suffering from depression, for any reason, I would like to present to you, my three little E-books, which can be purchased through Amazon.  They can be downloaded to your Kindle or any other reader.  Amazon even has software that you can download to your PC, so that you can read them.

Each E-book only costs 99 cents USD.  I decided on this small amount, less than $1, because moments of joy, reflection, and surrender should not be costly. These are moments which should be shared with God.  Here are the books.

This collection of Poems is about those moments that would pass us by, were we not to seek them with our heart. By taking the time to reflect on these gentle reminders that you are not alone, may your heart be uplifted.  The link is here.

This collection of Poems is about those moments of reflection, those Moments of struggle and self exploration that bring us closer to our God. By taking the time to reflect on these reminders that you are not alone, may your heart be uplifted.
The link is here

This collection of poems is about those moments that happen, as we surrender to God those burdens that only He has the strength to bear. By taking the time to reflect on these reminders, that a power greater than ourselves guides and comforts us when we allow him, may your heart be uplifted. The link is here.

So, my dear friends, both old and new, these are the books so far, that have carried me through these dark days of grief over my little Happydog's passing.  I have cried a river of tears, because he is not here, but I understand about depression and grief.  That's what these books are about.  That's what all these poems are about ~ the joy of life, the reflection of that life, the surrender to God, even in the midst of sorrow.

Remember, my friends, Jesus wept.  He is God, but He was also human.  He understands.  We can turn to Him, in anger, in tears, in our depression, in our sorrow.  We can turn everything over to Him.  I hope you will click on the links above and see if you don't find something within these E-books to give you peace.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Encouraging Words for Those Who Are Growing Old

Hello friends,

Here is a photo of me, and my husband, from 1986, I believe. We are young, and we are so handsome. I was vivacious and totally unaware of my beauty, except in the eyes of my husband, and that was enough for me.  I was never one to think of myself as beautiful. I didn't even think I was pretty, but when he looked at me, I knew I was the loveliest woman alive.

That may seem unimportant to some people, but to me, at that time in my life, it was everything.  I came from an abusive background, and I was told every day just how unattractive I was.  So, when I fell in love with this kind, gentle, Tennessee Mountain man, who told me just how lovely he believed I was, well, I believed it, too.  One thing I knew for certain, I would never grow old.  But.......

Here we are today.  I am growing old.  We both are.  Even my dog is growing old.  Yes, that is my little Happydog, my little dachshund.  And here is that sweet, kind, gentle Tennessee Mountain man, who first told me that I was lovely, and he has told me that every day since.  You see, growing old for me is not easy, just as it is not for many people.  I don't have my health, and neither does he, but we do have something more important. We are both growing old with the loves of our lives.  And I am growing old with the dog of my life.

We have made a life together, here in the mountains, after twenty years in the Navy.  It's not been an easy life.  Life seldom is.  But we have looked for the joys, amidst the sorrows; and we have found triumph amidst defeat.  We've not done this alone. We have our two wonderful daughters, who have been a blessing to us, just as the Bible promised.  They have risen up and called us blessed.

The center of our lives is our faith; our love; laughter; intense interest in one another's desires and needs; and a focus not on selfishness, but on inclusiveness.  We are blessed, and we know it.

Selfishness is self-destructive, and there are many ways to serve, even if one is house bound.  I write, and I try not to be preachy. I have my good days, and I have my not so good days.  I have a Facebook page, and I'm selective in whom I let inside.  I also have an Author page, which is new.  I'm a Chicken Soup for the Soul contributing author, and I have a tendency to forget to share that.

I can be insecure, self-deprecating to a fault. I hate gossip. I don't drink or smoke, which keeps me from being invited to parties, and my health has kept me from Church going. However, I have a rich, deep relationship with God and the Bible. Some people say you can't do that outside of Church, but that's not true, at least it shouldn't be.  God tells me much in His Word, and He often chastises me, just like a good Father should.

I live in a beautiful world which is just outside my backdoor.  It is often the only world I see.  It can be lonely, but it changes daily.  My favorite times are just before the sun comes up or after a big snow.  God is all around me, always, and He is all around you, no matter where you are.  All you have to do is stop what you are doing, and listen, inside your heart.  You may not have this beautiful view, but with your eyes closed, you can see Him.  He is there with you, just as He is here with me.

So, I guess my message is this.  Growing old is not such a bad thing.  It actually can be delightful, joyful and meaningful, something to be embraced.  Growing old can be fun, just like it is for Happydog and me.  So go on!  Enjoy life and bless others, even if it's just your dog.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Encouraging Words When Disaster Strikes

One never knows when disaster will strike. The day dawns with a rosy sky. What can this beautiful dawn mean?  What portent awaits us? Will this merely be a sunrise beyond compare? Or will we be facing another storm in our life?

In the sailor's vernacular, it is said, "Red sky at night; sailor's delight. Red sky at morning; sailor take warning."  After viewing hundreds of these gorgeous pre-dawn elegant skies, I can tell you that I never know.  For me, as I stand out on my deck, it is like awaiting a rainbow, which can mean the end of a terrible storm or its beginning.  Life, with its many triumphs and disasters cannot be predicted.  We await whatever comes, and we are usually unprepared.  Or are we?

I have found that if I am prepared in the good times...if my heart and soul and mind are prepared, in an attitude of prayer, then when disaster strikes, I am able to turn to the One who will carry me through.  It may sound simplistic.  It may sound even ridiculous, but that is how I prepare.  I pray.  No, not necessarily on my knees, for these old knees no longer hold me nor allow me to stand once I get down.  But, as God has commanded in His Bible, my heart remains, in between my sinful self and my devotion to Him, ready for His will.  I always hope, and I pray, that His will contains mercy and deliverance from that awful day of disaster.

In 1999, I wrote a poem, which later God sent music to me, titled, "The Eye of the Storm."  Since then, I have faced so many storms in my life, so many disasters.  Yet, here I am.

As a family, we have faced, near death, and life; cancer scares, semi-coma, the death of precious pets, and the loss of friends. We have been abandoned by family and friends and church. We have suffered loss that we thought we could never endure. We have even had precious friends murdered. How can that be? How can that be endured? And yet we have seen those who were closest to tragedy triumph with love and forgiveness. We have even learned to forgive, when forgiveness seemed impossible.

We have not done these things of our own power.  Never.  You will not hear me say that I have done anything by my own power.  Even the greatest love of my life, my husband, Louie, and my dearest treasures, my daughters, Jenny and Helen, are gifts of God.  Their love and devotion are God's most precious gifts.

So, right now, I can only promise that before the day of disaster strikes, begin a relationship, daily, hourly, minute by minute with the God who will carry you through.  Prayer is not a formal declaration. It need not begin with Thee or Thou.  It can begin in any way.  I began as a child, something like this:

"You know, God, this is a beautiful day.  Thank you.  It makes my heart smile, and that makes my face smile."

There are so many ways to begin. You may have already begun. It may have begun with a complaint, for which you feel guilty. Don't.  If you are talking to God, you are acknowledging Him. But don't miss out on the sweet times, those moments of great love, those times when the sunrise is so beautiful you feel like singing. Take a moment to look around you and just say "Thank you."  

In fact, I give you this challenge, as we approach Christmas and the New Year. Once a day, perhaps whenever you think of it, thank God. Just thank Him, and smile when you do it. I promise it will change your life. Then, when the day of disaster strikes, you will feel Him carry you through. I promise.

With love,
Jaye Lewis 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Encouraging Words on Veterans Day

 Real Hero by Jaye Lewis

            I only noticed him out of the corner of my eye.  I knew he was a Marine from the cut of his uniform, with its tightly pressed military creases.  Then I heard him, speaking low, with a kind of hiss.  He was not speaking to me.  He was speaking to my sergeant, who was the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) in charge of the Military Information Booth at San Francisco International Airport.  I served with her there as a U.S Navy WAVE during the Vietnam War.
            I heard his tortured attempt to speak.  "Hep nee, peesss!" I understood him, “Help me, please!”  He struggled with every word.  I was grabbing my purse to take a much needed break, but I was caught by his struggle to make himself understood.  I could hear the irritation in the sergeant's voice as she demanded that he "speak up!"
            I paused as he began again, "I-nee-to-change-ny-tickek!"
            I understood every painful word he said.  He needed to change his ticket.  What was wrong with my NCO?
            "I CAN'T understand you!" she said, irritated.  "Speak up!"
            How rude! I thought, as I turned to put down my purse.  I then looked at him, as he again struggled to be understood.  No wonder he struggled.  Before me stood a tall, strong Marine officer, perfect in his pristine uniform, missing half his jaw!  My God, I thought!  What is she thinking?!
            "Excuse me, Sir.  I can help you," I said.  Without thinking, I shoved my sergeant aside and maneuvered my way in front of her.  I could see the man's teeth through the wire that held his face together.  I was of little importance, just a lowly seaman apprentice.  However, I knew what this man needed -- someone who cared enough to listen.  I studied his eyes.  I saw the pain, and I felt his humiliation.  Soul to soul, I knew what to do.  I smiled a big, welcoming smile.
            "Yes, Sir!  How can I help you?"
            Slowly and painfully the words, tortured and slurred, escaped from his wired mouth.  I listened with all my heart, and I watched his eyes.  I prayed to God to help me understand him.  And I did!  More than I can express.  I gave him the directions he needed, and his eyes smiled his thanks.  When he walked away I called a friend at one of the airlines who adopted him immediately, by personally attending to his needs.
            I thanked God for this opportunity to help a real hero; however, I also knew I was in trouble.  As I looked at my sergeant, I felt anger rise in me -- at her rudeness and total lack of sensitivity.  She studied me for a moment, her eyes narrowing.
"I could put you on report,"  she said, showing no emotion.
"…and, I could put YOU on report for insubordination to an officer," I retorted, my eyes spitting fire.  I hurled the stack of  blank “report sheets” towards her.  "Be my guest!" I said, as I grabbed my purse.  "I'll be on break." And I left.
            I went on to supper, because I knew it would be a long night.  I was troubled, now that my "dander" was down, at the thought of going before a “Captain's Mast”, or hearing, to explain my insubordination to an NCO.  I was certain it would be very unpleasant. 
As I neared the United Airlines counter, I saw him again.  His luggage was being checked, and his back was towards me.  Then, as though someone had told him where I was, he turned, and he looked at me.  Our eyes met for an eternity.  Then I smiled.
            This soldier and hero, in the United States Marine Corps, pulled himself up to his full height, and with all the military perfection in his being, he gave me a sharp, military salute.  I was thrilled!  WAVES did not salute indoors, especially when we were not wearing our cover or hat, but I pulled myself to attention and returned that salute.
            Moving on to the cafeteria, I walked a little taller, and I felt a little older.  In one small encounter I had grown from a twenty-one year old girl into a twenty-one year old woman.  And, truth be told, I felt more like a lady than I ever had before in my whole life!  I felt... just a little bit... like a hero.

© Jaye Lewis, 2001

Friday, November 02, 2012

Encouraging Words When All Else Fails by Jaye Lewis

Hurricane Sandy.  There it was, bearing down on us from the Atlantic, like some mythical dragon beast.  Surely it would swallow us up, and we would be consumed!  What could we do?  Prepare, they said.  Get supplies.  Water.  Non-perishable food -- they always show jars of peanut butter and white bread, and the inevitable box of crackers, as though you will somehow have enough to sustain you with that pittance.  What are they thinking?  Does that make them sleep better?  It was laughable and tragic, especially now, since even the most prepared provisions have floated out to sea.

So, what should we do, especially if we live near the coast?  Well, living near the coast requires preparation of a different kind.  It requires making friends with someone far from the coast.  If nothing else start a bank account far from the coast, and put regular deposits in it.  Be faithful in this.  Your life, and the lives of those you love could depend on it. Believe the weather reports.  Go far inland.  Flee farther than the storm front.  This storm covered a third of our country.  Even parts of Ohio had blizzards.  Lake Michigan had huge waves.  West Virginia had huge blizzards.  I believe people just didn't believe.  So, in the future, you'd better believe.

You know how on T.V., you always hear crime or storm victims say, "I never thought it could happen to me?"  Well, I am one of those people who believe, if it's going to happen, it's probably going to happen to me.  I'm a fatalist.  So, what do I depend on?  If it's going to happen, then why not give up?  Why not just stand on the beach and let the waves overtake me?  What do I do when all else fails?

I depend on God.  That's it.  It's as simple as that.  I pray.  I talk to God as I am talking to you.  I tell Him of my fears.  I tell Him of my sorrows.  I ask Him to protect me.  I ask Him to keep me safe, and if I am to die, I ask that He take care of those whom I love.  I ask Him to come for me, and to carry me home in His arms.  Then, because I am human; because I cannot help myself; because I know He never tires of me, I tell Him again.

Lord, I'm afraid.  Since we are on the cold side of the storm, in the mountains, I know we are going to get lots of snow.  You know that big tree that I love so much, Lord?  The one that I love to take pictures of?  Well, Lord, I'm afraid it's going to fall on us.  One good, stiff wind and it's going to fall on the house.  If it falls on the house, there goes the deck, and the roof, and the fireplace, and that whole end of the living room.  We could all be hurt, Lord.  We could die.  I'm not ready to die, Lord.  Lord, I'm afraid. Lord, I'm afraid. Lord, I'm afraid.  Help me, Lord.  Help me to be unafraid.  Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief.

I went on Facebook, and I asked my friends to pray for me, those who were in safe areas. They were already praying and sending messages.  Social media can be a good and positive thing.  Prayer works.  God is there.  He always has been.  He has never needed television. He has never needed email.  He has never needed social media.  He is THE social media.  I think all these things are great and helpful.  I depend on my friends.  I talk to them nearly every day.  I keep in touch with them, all over the world.  They are the friends of my heart.  We are connected through our love for one another.  That is a blessing.  But, when all else fails, I depend on Him.

For us in southwestern Virginia, the snowstorm was slight.  It began to melt very quickly.  The tree did not fall.  The wind was reasonable.  My fear, although noticeable, was manageable.  God did not fail me.  I'm sure I failed Him, but He did not fail me.  He is my hiding place.  He is my port in the storm.  He is the glue that holds me together, and He is my everything when all else fails.

I hope that as you read this, no matter your situation in life, that you will consider that nations and governments will fail you.  Family and friends will fail you.  You will even fail yourself.  But God will always be there to catch you when you fall.  He is the Father who stands in the deep end of the pool, and when you jump, He is waiting with outstretched arms to catch you and keep you safe, no matter what happens in the end.  I hope you will turn to Him in your fear and in your failings, and I hope you will believe in Him, the way He believes in You.

Father in heaven, there is much suffering now, throughout the northeastern United States, especially New Jersey and New York.  But each person who reads this has suffering in his or her life.  There is illness and loss of every kind.  I ask you now, Lord, to touch their lives in an intimate way, so that they may know you as I do, and they may know that they are not alone.  I pray, Lord, that they may turn to You when all else fails.  In Your Holy Name.  Amen.

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