Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Searching for Miracles by Jaye Lewis

Before God spoke the universe into existence He knew my name.

Before He created the atmosphere He held me in His heart.

Before He created the oceans, the land, the plants and creeping things He chose the color of my hair.

Before He created the animals and before He created the first man He loved me.

He placed within Adam’s body all of the DNA of every human being who would ever walk the earth, and within him he placed the color of my eyes.

Before He knit me together within my mother’s womb he cherished the sound of my laugh.

Before I shed my first tear he felt my pain.

Before my sin, my sorrow, and my stubborn disobedience, he chose to carry them to the Cross. He hung there His blood pouring out…for me.

Why he chose to do this I cannot comprehend. God wanted me to be his own child. How can that be? With all of my flaws and character defects He wanted me to believe in Him, and He gave me the grace to believe in myself.

God loves me with a fire that can never be quenched. I am special to him, even if I am not special to anyone else, including myself.

I have tried to perfect myself, and I have failed.

I have tried to believe the world’s message, but I have found no answers.

I have followed the paths forged by others only to find disaster at every bend in the road.

Only God has given me the answers that I have sought. Peace. Love. Fulfillment.

The change in my life is not a complicated one.

It’s not about how good I am or how I pray or how often I go to church. It’s not about money or fame or popularity.

I cannot speak for others. They must decide for themselves.

I only know that the world has given me no happiness.

After searching my entire life, I have only been able to find the answers to my questions, on my knees at the foot of the Cross.

© Jaye Lewis, 2003

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Encouraging Words for the New Year by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

I’ve been writing my Encouraging Words blog for nearly three years. I just checked today, and I’ll tell you, it surprised me. Has it really been that long? You’ve gone through a lot with me, and you have changed me. Because of you, little by little, I have begun to understand exactly what it means to give someone encouraging words. Because of you, I now understand that by using words of kindness and forgetting about myself, I am able to uplift and support. You have given that to me. But sometimes I just don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to say it. I try to reach out, yet, my reach is short, and I falter…even fail.

Jesus said, don’t worry about what you will say. The Holy Spirit will give you the right words to say. It is easier to believe that, than to practice it. I often feel inadequate, and the words just do not come. How can I let you down? How can I let God down. What do I do when the heavens seem silent? These are the things that are on my heart today.

We are between Christmas and New Years, either the most joyful or depressing time of the year, depending on the life you live. I can remember what it was like to be under the power of unrighteous human beings. I come from a strange and disturbing family. One never knows what will set them off. It’s impossible to measure the truth of their words, since all of their opinions are tinged with fabrication. I grew up in that atmosphere, and I did not fully escape until I was in my thirties, and my husband came to my rescue.

My husband. Kind. Righteous. Strong. Watchful. And protective. Oh how wonderful it is to hide from evil in his arms. I know I’m blessed by God with this good man. But what about those who do not have someone in their lives? What about those who have chosen to be single? Yes, that is a life-choice, even in this day and age. Well, what about them?

My friends, when I had no human comfort, and I had little girls to protect and defend, I still was not alone. There was God – and still is – and He was my defender in all things. It was within the feathers of His wings that I found my hiding place. Deep in His shadow, I knew I would remain safe. And it was He who gave me the strength to leave my situation, and He continued to defend and protect me, when I was a single mother. I could feel His presence deep into the night. Like a soft, summer breeze was His touch, to me.

So, knowing that words of encouragement come not from the mouth, but from the heart, I stumble. I do my best to listen to the Holy Spirit, and to speak the truth. I understand the needs that others have at this time of the year. I hope to speak to those needs. I understand the loneliness that this season can bring. I believe that God’s commission for me is to be as honest as I can, as clear as I can, as loving and as kind as I can. Lord knows I fail at this, but I’m trying.

Fear not! Scripture tells us. God is not only watching, but He is holding each of us in His arms. He tells us in Isaiah 49:15b,16a “Yet, will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven (written, carved, inscribed) you on the palms of my hands.”(KJV) Wow! He has written me upon the palms of His hands. I am permanently carved in his hands. God cannot stop thinking of me; nor will He throw me away, because I belong to Him.

So, my friends, I hope your Christmas was happy, and I pray that your New Year is filled with hope and possibilities. May you look for those unexpected blessings that we often overlook. Look on the New Year as a new beginning. The old year is past, and all things will be new again.

Lord, Father, this is the time of the year when much seems hopeless. What have we all accomplished? How have we let You and each other down? Help us to see and believe that heaven is not silent, and help us, oh Lord, to joyfully place our hand in Yours and, together, travel the road ahead.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Gift of Life by Jaye Lewis

One of the most difficult aspects of being a senior diabetic is stabilizing my diabetes. I can’t help but ask myself, which combination of medicines will maintain equilibrium, to help me control my glucose. Which combination will make me sicker, as Byetta did, especially with that whole vomit factor? It’s a delicate balance. I remain very aware that not all my medicines were especially made to go together.

For instance, I have high blood pressure, so I’m on a very effective blood pressure medication, Benecar HCT 40-12.5. This drug, which lowers my blood pressure, includes a mild diuretic that also reduces water weight gain, creating a delicate balance in my system. The down side is that I must intake more salt than I find palatable. This stimulates thirst, and thirst for a diabetic is an unpleasant experience.

Another question I have is which medicine, or combination, destroyed my sense of smell? And my sense of taste is fading also. I miss tasting food. A lot. I miss the smell. And I really miss the anticipation before I take that first bite.

I’m also on Coreg CR, a time-release beta blocker, which controls my heart arrhythmia problem, caused by my asthma drugs. My diabetes drugs are Januvia in the morning with breakfast, and Glumetza in the evening with supper. This does a pretty good job of control, while still allowing me enough blood sugar to get on my treadmill and walk for a mile, without feeling faint.

Coreg and Benecar, together, can be a great blessing. My blood pressure goes down to the level I was at in high school, and my heart-rate remains constant. But there can be a downside. If I do not take in enough salt, my blood pressure can plunge to dangerously low levels. I can faint, get dizzy, groggy, and even fall asleep. The sleep episodes can feel like dying, and if my blood pressure is extremely low, well, only God knows. Very scary.

All of these medications, and a myriad of other drugs, are necessary gifts of life to me. Not only do they promise me a longer life, but they also give me quality of life. I can exercise, work at my favorite chores, particularly gardening – all of the activities that make up my humanity. In the house, I can praise God as I precariously carry a load of towels down to the laundry. I can gaze out the window, at my beautiful mountains, as I wash another plate from breakfast.

I can run on our back deck, with our little dogs. I can play with them without tiring. I can pull weeds from my garden, rake the fallen leaves, and truly put my garden to bed. With my medications and my heart and mind in balance, I can find joy in each new day.

So, in each life, there must be made room for balance. Tears and laughter, clamor and silence, beauty and the commonplace, a walk in the fresh air and reading by a cozy fire ― all these things need balance or life can be unbearable. I have lived an unbearable life, before God gave me this one. I know what it is like to stare into nothingness and believe my life was not worth living. I’m so glad I did not choose that final answer that is so prevalent at this time of year, especially for the chronically ill.

Oh, how I remember, one particular time, when ending my life seemed my only answer. I sat on a kitchen chair, by the phone, alone. I had just called a Catholic priest, a Methodist minister, and some other cleric of another faith. Each was busy. Very busy. Could I please hurry up? Give them the short version? Moving right along. I finally hung up, and I sat in that chair, watching the stairs which led up to my bedroom.

In my hand I clutched a bottle of pills. It wouldn’t take much to swallow them. Just a glass of water. Lying down, it wouldn’t take long. Then I could drift off to sleep. It didn’t matter that I was a woman of faith. It didn’t matter that I had a child who needed me. It didn’t matter that I knew that suicide was spitting in the face of God. I was at the end of my rope, and I and my problems were the most important things in my life.

Pulling the glass of water closer, I began to unscrew the cap on the bottle of pills. Then, something extraordinary took place. I don’t know if it really happened, or if it was a dream. I don’t know if I had a vision, or if I saw only in my minds eye. I only know that it was God given.

Looking at the stairs, ready to take my own life, I suddenly saw my mother moving from the kitchen to the bottom step. Her face looked like sunlight, and on her lips was a smile. She was humming, and all at once a little laugh-bubble burst forth. She was happy. Then, I saw her climb the stairs, heading straight for my room. When she entered my room, playful mischief lit up her features. Inexplicably, I saw myself lying on my bed, an empty bottle laying open on the floor.

I could see my mother’s features change, as she tickled my toes. She could feel they were very cold. Then she felt my arm, then my face. She leaned down, laying her head upon my chest, then checking my pulse, as the full realization dawned upon her features. Her little girl was dead by her own hand.

I could hear her screaming and screaming. Then racking sobs were torn from some place deep within. Sorrow. A sense of helplessness. Questions. What had she done to cause this? How had she failed me? As I lived this hopelessness and felt my mother’s anguish, I lay my face upon the table, in the palms of my hands. I could not do it. I could not bear the thought of her grief and horror.

I immediately got up from my chair. Shaking the bottle of pills and looking at it for the last time, I walked into the bathroom, opened the medicine cabinet, and I placed the pills inside. As I closed the cabinet door, I heard the back door slam. My mother had been outside all along. Chills crept up my spine and into my scalp. What had just happened?

“Come out!” my mother called. “There are birds to see and sunshine to feel. Winter is over, and spring is finally here!” I could hear the joy in her voice, a rare delight.

“In a minute, Mom!” I cried. “I’m coming right now.”

My eyes traveled heavenward, and I gave a grateful sigh, for the dream or vision or wild imagination that I had just been given. I could now deal with my mother’s depression, and I could deal with mine. Perhaps I could even be a blessing to her from time to time. As I hurried out to join my mother in her celebration of spring, I thanked God, in my heart, for the realization that I finally understood. Life itself was precious, even mine.

Forty years later, I still cannot say what happened that day. I remember the moments as they happened. I see them clearly, and I believe that God sent that event, strange though it was, for a purpose beyond what I can understand. Perhaps He sent it, so that I might now tell this story to you, to give you hope that He holds your future in the palm of His hand.

Father in heaven, grant us the grace, no matter our situation, to understand that life is your precious gift to us. Help us to celebrate each of our lives, to look for and find the miracles in the day to day. Help us to understand that we have choices. We can reach out of our own suffering and look for those chances to help others, in circumstances more troubling than our own. Perhaps we’ll see the child angels on countless Christmas trees, across our land, who have childhood needs that we can fulfill. Perhaps as we take the microscope off of our own trivialities, we will see the opportunities offered to bring joy to others. For this we pray, this season, and always.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Knowing My Heart by Jaye Lewis

My hair. It’s my one vanity. At sixty-three, my hair is still a red gold. My pictures are not touched up. My hair has never changed. This certainty may soon be over, at least for awhile.
You see, I have been diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, and the only medication approved by the FDA to treat Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is Elmiron. One of Elmiron’s side effects is a type of hair loss called alopecia. Yes, in the not too far distant future, I will have a bald spot ― a nice and shiny bald spot.

I’m a pretty woman, with a warm smile and lovely expressive eyes; however time and disease (not to mention medications) have taken their toll on my body. I’m no longer slender, and after much whining and complaining to God, I have accepted it. Since my asthma requires high doses of prednisone, which plays havoc with my diabetes, I am subject to a plethora of side effects, like weight gain. Although I fight the pounds with exercise and diet, I’m no longer counting on losing weight. I try to comfort myself, that when I’m in heaven, I’ll be a lot taller.

I only just found out my new condition, so I spent yesterday looking up IC diets. I actually found one. It was filled with foods to avoid ― all my favorite foods, like coffee, chocolate, heavy cream, and a host of others. Now, believe it or not, I was encouraged to drink my favorite mint tea and I can eat my daughter’s oat bread ― yum ― and other whole grain breads.

I’m to run from butter, but not margarine and lard. Who wrote this diet, and when? I can’t believe that margarine and lard are still on a list of preferred foods, anywhere! Just when was this diet dreamed up? 1972?? To be fair, I was urged to avoid only one food at a time ― sort of trial and error ― until I find which foods have an effect on my IC.

I’ve decided to start eliminating grains I’ve never eaten, like quinoa, spelt, and amaranth. This list was definitely compiled by someone who’s stuck in the seventies. I can’t have cream, but I can have ice-cream and Cool Whip?? No offense to the brand name, but I prefer real food rather than fake.

The list of bladder friendly foods is not too bad. Some of my favorites are on it. All kinds of dried beans, which make great soups. And pumpkin, egg plant, and squash. I can eat coconut cream pie, pork chops, and chicken.

It’s not so bad, really. This is just one more thing that proves that we live in a fallen world, much like in the days of Noah. And just because I have one more thing to deal with, it’s no reason for me to give up. I’m quite certain, with the polluted air we breathe and our contaminated food supply, there will always be something.

I will not give up, no matter what my situation is. I will always have a plan of action. Banning citrus fruits is not the end of the world. Anything that affects the bladder must be eliminated for a time. The internet is a tool to seek out information, and I must use common sense when searching. I’m smarter than I think I am, and so are you. We are not victims.

So, now I wait, trusting in God and believing in His mercy. I can laugh at myself, and at my situation, because laughter is also a gift from Him. At these times, I can’t help but wonder about atheists. How can they endure the trials and tribulations of this life, without God? What do they do when all hope is lost? Call on Darwin? What nonsense! Darwin has no power to help anyone.

When all hope seems lost, I choose to find my strength in God. My faith assures me that He has a plan for me; that He will see me through every sorrow; that He will not forsake me; and that every blessing I have comes from Him. I can easily count my blessings: my wonderful husband, my beautiful daughters, my loveable pups, and my cat MeowMeow, who follows me around like a puppy, meowing all the way. God has given me my home, my garden, and my strength to carry on ― all of these gifts are because of Him and His grace.

So, I lose my hair! There are wigs and hats. I don’t have to look beautiful, to be beautiful. My blessings were truly evident in an offer from my youngest daughter. She has red-gold hair, that flows down her back and shimmers in the sunlight.

“I’ll give you my hair, Momma,” She offered, while tears streamed down her cheeks. We hugged as I told her what an angel she is.

So now, I will wait, with a laugh bubble in my throat, enjoying the ludicrous in life, even when the ludicrous is me. I’ll take my medicine and accept whatever comes. I will believe in remission, because God has promised to heal me. Whether my body or my soul, that is good enough for me.

Oh Father, I am so weak, but You are strong. I am filled with doubt, but You fill me with Your grace. Hold me, Father, and wipe away my tears. I can feel your comfort. I can feel your safety. Help me, Lord, to know my heart. Help me to be strong, so that others will seek their strength in You. Be my hiding place, as well as all who seek You. And to You be the praise, the honor, and the glory, forever. Amen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Veteran's Prayer: Remembering the Fallen by Jaye Lewis

Father help me remember;
May I recall to the very last.
As I set my eyes on the future,
May I not forget the past.

Help me recall the suffering,
And every sacrifice, too.
May I never forget each drop of blood
That was shed in the sight of You.

May I never forget the sorrow.
May I not erase the pain,
Of the ones who’ll not see tomorrow,
Because they were cruelly slain.

Father help me remember
Each and every face —
Of my sisters and my brothers
Who cannot be replaced.

In my heart I watch them go,
So young and unafraid.
Leaving behind their precious loves,
And the plans that they had made.

Father help me remember
The faces, voices, and lives,
Who sacrificed their future
For brothers, sisters, and wives.

How can it be that they should go
And I be left behind?
Perhaps, my child, so you can tell
These stories to the blind.

But who is blind, oh Father?
Those who will not see
The sacrifice of others,
So precious, now, to Me.

Now, yours is a sacred duty,
A chance to set things straight;
To tell their sacred story,
Before it grows too late.

I pondered all the whispered words.
I heard my Father say;
How He loved the fallen
Who abide with Him today.

My heart was broken as I thought
Of those who’d gone before;
Protecting those they do not know,
In a world that’s still at war.

And so, I made a promise;
One I strive to keep.
I’ll tell their stories one by one,
Until it’s time to sleep.

Father, I will not forget.
I’ll remember to the last;
As I set my eyes on the future,
I will not forsake the past.

Good-by, my precious brothers;
And to my sisters too.
Save a place at the Master’s table;
In time, I’ll dwell with you.

© Jaye Lewis, Veteran’s Day 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Good-By Little Boy by Jaye Lewis

Andy. He was my cousin. Disturbed and charming, even at the age of four, he stole my sixteen year old heart. I was wounded myself, and perhaps I saw a bit of myself in him. Also, I was born with a sense of the ludicrous, and though he annoyed me, even enraged me, he usually got me laughing, in spite of myself.

Andy’s father, my Uncle Donny, was tough on his boys, and Andy was one in a million, easily on his way to the church or prison. I don’t think his heart was evil, and Uncle Donny did so much to save me, so where did those lives fail to save themselves? When did everything go wrong for both of them?

Perhaps it was when Aunt Maggie died. Perhaps it was because my parents went through friends and relatives like water through a sieve, drawing battle lines in the sand and declaring evil, what once was good. I’ll never know. Out of necessity, I lost track long ago.

The only thing I know is that my Aunt died in childbirth when I was pregnant with my first child, more than 40 years ago. Then seven years later, Andy shot and killed his father. Was it an accident? Was it intentional? Did my uncle turn to drink, as was the habit of my family when anything went wrong? Did he beat Andy? Did he work long hours? Did he abandon the little boy, as he became a man? Again, I’ll never know.

Recently, I did an internet search to find them, and find them I did. It has become easier now, with all the competing websites. I suppose that I hoped that Andy had become a man, married, and had children. Perhaps he was a businessman, now, or a laborer, a craftsman, anything but what I found.

Andy is gone. Shot dead, by a bullet from his own weapon. All that potential, all that I loved, all that I remembered, the little boy who annoyed me and made me laugh, was no longer here. In my heart, he’s still alive, and still very much a little boy. As a wounded teen, from a very dysfunctional family, I was healed by my love for that little lost boy, and now he is gone.

I got out of the website, erased the history, shut down my computer, and I cried. Broken hearted and defeated, I sobbed for an hour, and then I gave Andy, my Uncle, and my Aunt to God. It was then that I was able to write the following poem.

Good-by Little Boy

Good-by little boy, who will never be
A man of honor and truth.
You had more strikes against you
And burdens that stole your youth.

And, yet, you chose to end your hopes
One day with a loaded gun;
It was your decision; remember that.
You could have turned and run.

I do not know the demons
That pushed you to your fate;
You made your awful decision
And now it’s just too late.

Good-by little boy, my cousin dear,
Wish I could have saved you somehow.
Perhaps you were given a time to repent,
And you’re in God’s arms right now.

Yet, through the years you’ll always be
The child I learned to love;
Filled with fire and promise;
I pray, now, with God above.

© Jaye Lewis, 2009

Father in Heaven, thank You for the lives that have touched ours and changed our hearts forever. Let us not lose hope when someone dies, even in the worst of circumstances. Let us understand that in that brief second before we step into the great divide, there still are choices. Angels abide in those moments, although unseen to the rest of us. We only see our grief and our hopes lost, but let us never assume that all is lost, for we have You, oh Lord, as the rock to which we cling.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Because I Can by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

Yesterday I found an expandable file that I had forgotten about. It was covered in dust, since I had not touched it for years. This time things were different, I opened it. Inside I discovered some illuminating things, notes from my husband, old poems that I’d written, first drafts of some of my stories, and memories, both good and bad.

Painful memories are not places that I want to visit frequently. I live a very happy life, and I’d rather not dwell on the heartaches of the past. However, as I looked at one of my stories, I saw the simply awful original title, and I remembered that I had submitted that story several times before it was finally published. That was nine years ago. The story was Entertaining Angels, which is the title of my website, and it has been published all over the world, in dozens of languages.

I bring this up, because we often have no idea what God wants of us. At that time I felt useless. I thought life had passed me by, and that no one would ever hear my voice. I was certain that I had let God down. How could I have known that God had a plan for me? How could I have known that my heart would touch so many other lives? And yet, on a cold winter’s morning, prompted by God, I wrote, for the first time, www. Like Abraham, I had no idea where I was going.

Computers terrified me. The internet seemed like the very spawn of the devil, and I just didn’t see how it could be of any use to me. I was very ill, in body and spirit, and the medicines that have since given me back my life, did not even exist. “WWW,” three letters that in nine years have taken me around the world, and touched the hearts and minds of people from many nations. If that is not a humbling thought, then I don’t know what is.

Along with this flood of memories, and the profound awareness of God’s hand, I found the evidence of those who had helped me achieve my dreams, simply because they could. These past nine years I have tried to do the same, and for that exact reason, simply because I can. Nothing feels better than doing something generous, simply because you can. No money or fame has as powerful a result as blessing someone ― giving of yourself, simply because you can. That is what I do today, with all my heart. Asking nothing in return, I’m passing on blessings, simply because I can.

So, today I challenge you to look within your own life, and recognize the blessings that others have given to you, simply because they could. A smile. A warm handshake. An introduction. A kind word. These are the things that can change lives, perhaps even save a life. You never know. These are the things that are the evidence, that we, just like Abraham, are entertaining angels.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Monday, August 17, 2009

An Unexpected Journey By Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

This past week-end I have achieved something that I have been thinking about for a long time. I have begun a new blog, which means that I have two blogs, both of which will be filled with thoughtful insight into the many aspects of my life.

However, the focus in my new blog is my journey with diabetes. It can be visited at Diabetes is a complicated disease, which can become even more complex when combined with other diseases, especially asthma. As an asthmatic I take this all very seriously, yet sometimes I find myself wondering ‘why me.’

Many people view diabetes as a death sentence, and they feel that they now have a downhill slide into an open grave. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that diabetes can often be overcome with diet and exercise, alone. I know, because I have done that very thing. However, if and when your condition changes, as mine did, there are a wealth of new drugs that do not have the same side effects as insulin. I, myself, am on such a drug. And, if someone’s diabetes can only be controlled with insulin, life can still be full and exciting.

At the very least, diabetes can be a launching pad to greater health and an understanding of just how precious life is. I hope to inspire diabetics, and anyone else who knows and loves a diabetic. I hope to encourage them to look beyond themselves so that they might see life’s treasures, whether family or friends or even themselves, to celebrate the life that God has given to them.

So, my friends, I also urge you to look around in your world and find the treasures awaiting you. May God grant you mercy and grace. May he fill your life with abundance, and may He, most of all, fill your heart with peace.

If you know a diabetic, or if you are a diabetic, please send or click on my Diabetes Diary blog at and join me in my journey.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Stealing Peace at Life's End by Jaye Lewis

  1. Hello friends,

    I found myself unable to get to sleep last night. You see, I was broadsided by some alarming news. My Senator, Mark Warner, whose programs, as Governor of the State of Virginia, enabled my children to finish their college education, is the spearhead of new legislation on end of life care.

    When I read the bill, on his website, I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. This program will “take care” of seniors like me, at the end of our lives, by encouraging us to hear sermons on “living wills and other planning tools.” Such as what? Suicide? Refusing treatment? Being a heck of a gal, by removing my wrinkled body from this earth, to make room for a younger, more valuable person?

    It’s called The Senior Navigation and Planning Act of 2009. The main points of the bill are these

Enhance Medicare and Medicaid coverage of advanced illness care management services;

Require doctors to provide patients with information on living wills and other planning tools

Give providers incentives to achieve accreditation and certification in hospice and palliative care

Encourage more comprehensive discharge planning

Increase public awareness about the importance of end-of-life planning

I just love the term “palliative care.” Palliative care sounds like a compassionate service to assist the aged to comfortably live out the rest of their lives. Well, it is actually an intrusion upon the beliefs and faith of the elderly person. Taken right from their website at, here are the facts:

A team of experts, including palliative care doctors, nurses and social workers, provide palliative care. Chaplains, massage therapists (massage therapists??) pharmacists, nutritionists and others might also be part of the team. Typically, you get non-hospice palliative care in the hospital through a palliative care program. Working in partnership with your primary doctor, the palliative care team provides:
• Expert treatment of pain and other symptoms
• Close, clear communication (yelling?)
• Help navigating the healthcare system
• Guidance with difficult and complex treatment choices
• Detailed practical information and assistance
• Emotional and spiritual support for you and your family

Yay! I get to spend the end of my life in a hospital surrounded by strangers! I’ll be guided or manipulated, whether I want it or not! I’ll be barraged with detailed, practical information, which should give me just enough time to do what I don’t want. And I and my family will receive “emotional and spiritual support.” This just sickens me.

First of all, my doctor and I already have a partnership. We have mapped out a program which manages my pain, diabetes, and the nausea that many medicines cause. We’ve had a close, clear communication for years, and she has earned my trust. She is not a stranger. Also, being a retired military family, believe me, we know about navigating the healthcare system.

Okay, here’s one of my favorites: “Guidance with difficult and complex treatment choices.” Oh, come on, like I’m not already doing that. Or like I’m going to trust some stranger. Do you know how many doctors I’ve fired who wanted, I guess, to buy a boat, or a pony, or a jet plane, or whatever, all centered around invasive, ridiculous, often dangerous procedures. Most of us, by the time we reach retirement age, know what our symptoms are, and if we’re computer friendly, we have memorized the list of available medicines for treatment, and their side effects.

Here is the bottom line for me. I receive emotional and spiritual support from my family, you know, my husband, children, dogs, cats, gardening, writing, keeping active, and a personal, intimate relationship with God! My husband loves me, adores me, and his sheltering arms are the comfort I need. My children cherish every moment they spend with me. Perhaps we are a special family, a blessed family, but I know many other families who hate the idea of having strangers make decisions or manipulate their beloved spouse, parent or grandparent.

So, now you know, if this bill is passed, I…and you…will have more interference than we ever wanted…near or at the end of our lives. And who gets to vote on just exactly what that is? According to this bill? Them. You know, the present day “them” and the unknown, future “them.” In Germany, 1931, the future “them” turned out to be Hitler.

Mark Warner is a good man, but “good” does not always translate into wisdom. This bill has no wisdom in it. It’s a callous device. Callousness is often cloaked in kindness, as in requiring a doctor to coerce an elderly person into signing a “living will.” Which is actually a “dying” will, prepared while you are still breathing. Let me see, do I want them to starve me or remove fluids, so that I die of thirst, experiencing that “blissful death” I’ve heard way too much about in recent years?

So, no. This is a bill that I hope will fail. I hope that God sends angels to the terminally ill, and to those who are aged and alone and dependent upon so-called “compassionate strangers.” And for those of us who resent intrusion, may God protect us and guide us into wisdom and strength.

Father in heaven, I know that none of us has wisdom, but You have given us intellects and hearts to understand right from wrong. Help us, Lord, to set apart partisan politics and work together for the good of our country. Help us to weed out the hysteria, which has overtaken our elective process. Lead us, dear God, into a righteous tomorrow. Grant us peace now, and at the end of our lives.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Come Let Us Reason Together by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

If you are anything like me, you are nearly comatose with boredom over the present proceedings that are doing their best to demonize the candidate for the Supreme Court. I’ve seen so much of this, and the tactics that are used just make me sick. Justice Thomas, Justice Roberts, others, and now Sotomayor. All have gone through pressures that would have me saying, “Okay folks, I’m for this, and I’m against that. Either choose me or don’t. I’m going home!” It’s ridiculous the hoops that candidates are made to jump through.

It’s not hard to see that Sotomayor has a name that I will never learn to spell correctly. However it is also clear that she is an honest woman, and one who has served as judge in many courts of law. What the heck is all this haranguing about? I don’t understand it. I think the Senators just like to hear themselves talk.

Whatever happened to reason? You know “reason.” To think logically, to analyze, to deduce, to use common sense. I wonder if that has left the universe. In the Book of Isaiah God says to His people, “Come, let us reason together.” This was a plea for understanding. I guess if the Creator of the Universe was ignored by a bunch of dunderheads, we can certainly expect our elected officials to put us to sleep.

You can probably tell this all annoys me. I just hate time, energy, common sense, and reason to be wasted by what appears to be a spitting contest. I love our country. I love our laws. I love that Justice is usually blind. I hate discrimination of any kind, even that silly expression, “reverse discrimination.” I’ve never identified myself with one group or another. I’ve never thought, nor have I spoken of myself as belonging to “the white race.” I’ve always, and will always, be a part of the human race.

I have many nationalities within me. Some of my ancestors I can trace back to before the Revolutionary War. Others were immigrants, like so many other people. I don’t understand hatred, prejudice, or overt ethnicity. I’m not a victim, nor am I superior to anyone. That was one thing that my father got right. He taught me to respect and honor everyone’s right to live free in this country, without prejudice.

If you have kept up with this blog of mine, then you know who and what I am. You know I love God, and that I have an intimate relationship with Him. He comes first. You know I love my husband. He is the love of my life. You know that I love and respect my daughters, and that I am in awe of their talents and intelligence. You know that I love to take intimate pictures of God’s creation. Yes, His creation. If you can gaze at a sunset or sunrise from beginning to the end, and you can still say this universe is an accident, then I will call you a fool. Nothing is so obvious as the reality of God’s love, nor His passion for beauty.

If there is no God, then why bother? Why bother getting that college degree? Why bother marrying? Why bother having children? Why bother becoming a better person today, than you were yesterday? Why bother, when the sands of time flow swiftly towards the end of one’s life? What happens after you close your eyes for the last time? Do you just sleep forever? That’s a scary thought. Do you simply cease to exist? That’s even scarier. Why bother?

So, I guess you could say that we are in an era where reason has ceased to exist. We hysterically follow this or that for reasons unknown. Well, I refuse. I’ve traveled those roads, and they lead to nowhere. The only place that I have ever found mercy, forgiveness, understanding, love, and yes, reason…is at the foot of the Cross of Christ. It is in Him that I trust. His grace orders my life. I can tell Him anything, and I know that I am heard, personally.

I don’t know if I have ever told you that it was my husband who led me to understand the grace of Christ, and to accept it. It is so hard to imagine a God who requires our hearts, and only that. Man keeps getting in the way of His grace. It has been said that God created man in His own image, and man has been trying to re-create God ever since.

So, as I listen to a bunch of pretenders —Jesus called them “hypocrites…” or actors in a play, I must retreat from the news channels. I choose to praise God instead, for every lovely thing I see, whether it is a sunset, or the arrival of my beautiful daughters, or the look in my husband’s eyes as he looks into mine. Yes, I praise him even for the little souls in my care, those little pups who bless my life each day.

Thank you, friends, for listening. I know that many of you have such thoughts as I have this day. It makes me feel better to know that many of you have hearts of understanding and love. Thank you with all my heart.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Dog Named Jessie by Jaye Lewis

They say love can cover a multitude of sins. I have seen it; yet never have I seen it more beautifully illustrated than in the life of a dog named Jessie.

Jessie came into our lives at the age of six or seven months. By that time he had already experienced the hard knocks of life. Found abandoned on the side of the road, along with his six siblings, Jessie and his siblings were rescued by a kind stranger who picked them up and brought them to the shelter, where we adopted him. With a promise that Jessie wouldn’t grow much bigger than his already forty pounds, we took him home.

Immediately, it was obvious, that Jessie had issues. Instead of the majestic cattle dog that we had been assured he was, he was, well, rather goofy. And he was afraid. Of the car. Of the door. Of the stairs. Of peanut butter. And even scraps of paper. And Jessie grew. Oh how he grew, topping out at eighty pounds.

Jessie was a wounded, terrified part of our family just a few months, when we became the foster parents of a sweet, young beagle-dachshund mix. Jessie’s adoration for my little dachshund, Happy Dog, was evident from the first day, so we believed he was socialized. Loving Happy Dog was one thing. Accepting this new dog was another.

The very first night there was a food fight between Jessie and this foster child. I started hollering, and my husband managed to get in between the two dogs, grabbing Jessie by his collar. Jessie screamed all the way down the hall and into the bedroom. I, quickly put the foster into her crate, grabbed Happy in my arms, and hurried down the hall. The crashing I heard in the bedroom, scared me to death. But nothing prepared me for the scene I witnessed as I opened the bedroom door.

There was my husband, on top of a terrified, snarling Jessie, holding back his head. Blood dripped from my husband’s arm and onto the rug. Lots of blood. From all we could figure out, when my husband grabbed his collar, Jessie thought he was going to be killed. Whatever his past, nothing had prepared us for a dog who was this kind of loose cannon. This was a dog whom every animal expert insisted ”should be put down.”

To tell you the truth, as I was sitting beside my husband in the emergency room, I just didn’t know what to do with Jessie. I was so angry at that dog. My husband had carried him up and down the stairs, coaxed him into a love affair with peanut butter, and sweet talked him out of his corner and down the hall. He slept by his side. Yet one step towards control, and Jessie mangled the hand that fed him.

I was angry with Jessie. I couldn’t imagine what was going through his head. Would he attack others? Would he attack Happy Dog? Would he even attack me? I didn’t trust him, and I wanted him gone! But my husband insisted, No.

No??!! No.

So Jessie stayed. Against all the expert advice, my husband blamed himself. I was not having any of it. Past, or no past, Jessie had crossed the line. You do not bite the hand, and Jessie had pretty much chewed up most of my husband’s arm.

For ten days, Jessie was quarantined. Then my husband began immediate training, and he bought a training collar. I had to learn to use it, and I had to learn the commands. Since Jessie’s trial by fire began with a dog fight and shouting, my husband began to train Jessie with soft commands and hand signals.

Day after day. Week after week, my husband faithfully trained a dog that others would have given up on. As his arm healed over the next months, something rare and beautiful began to take place. Jessie, under my husband’s gentle persuasion, began to understand and obey. And Jessie adored him. I could see, that no matter the tempest that ruled Jessie’s former life, affirmation and love had calmed the storm.

The storm within me also began to be healed. I learned to forgive. I didn’t know that was happening until one night as I was writing, I felt someone watching me. I turned around, and there was Jessie, standing in the hall looking at me. I saw a pleading expression in his eyes, and I seemed to hear his voice. “Mommy, please love me.”

At that moment, my heart broke for the little pup who had been abandoned in a cardboard box, by the side of the road. Then, love burst into my heart, as he came over to me, hesitantly, expecting rejection.

“Yes, Jessie, I love you.” I whispered into his neck, as my arms slipped around him. Jessie had found another home, in me.

Nine years later, things have changed. I’m older, and so is Jessie. Our relationship has grown, as my health has declined. In the house, I’m very much the one in charge, and Jessie, still timid in many ways, knows who is boss. When we go outside, however, Jessie takes over, like the noble watch dog he was born to be. His job, as he sees it, is to protect and defend me and our passel of little dogs. His vigilance is unmistakable. He sniffs the air, and he is exactly what God and fine breeding had made him to be. He is the one who keeps me safe.

Jessie has taught me many things about life, love, and forgiveness. He never was a bad dog. He was just afraid. I’m so glad that my husband insisted that Jessie’s life was worth saving. I’ve seen the animal shows, where a dog like Jessie is tested for sociability by jabbing at the poor creature with a fake hand, attached to a long stick. Then, when the dog fails he’s put down, without giving him a chance.

I don’t know how much longer God will allow us to have Jessie, before He calls him home. All I know is, that I love him. He is healthy, happy, and just a little bit goofy. He has taught me that all things are not necessarily absolute. Some things just have to be tested and felt in the heart. I also know one very important thing: that if you allow a lesson to really change you, it often will.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Friday, June 12, 2009

Matters of the Heart by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

I can’t believe that it has been over a month since I last wrote, but, then, this has been a bad flu season…a really bad one. I’ve had virus after virus, then relapse after relapse. When you’re gasping for air, I guess it doesn’t really matter what they call it. I just hope that your health has been better than mine. I hate the thought of anyone else being sick.

There are some other reasons that I haven’t written, also. I call them “matters of the heart.” I have found the world to be extremely disturbing, and I can’t help but wonder when a person makes that first decision to follow evil? Perhaps that decision is forged in an unhappy childhood, or perhaps one is simply born that way. One must have an element of shame in one’s character, in order to evaluate the right or wrong of an act, before it is committed. To do deliberate harm to another living being cannot be blamed upon a disappointing childhood. Doing evil is not a mistake, it is premeditated.

I grew up in the 1950’s south. My father was a chef, so I spent many of my days in restaurant kitchens. Most of the kitchen help were black, but I saw no difference, since my Dad also was “kitchen help.” Day after day I spent with the ladies of the kitchen, who spoiled me mercilessly. And I loved them passionately.

I could not grasp the meaning of prejudice. I could not bear to hear evil words spoken about or to those gentle, kind, and loving women, and I delivered many a bloody nose over it. I hated the “separate, but equal-ness” of the south in which I grew up. I could not comprehend why a person could not go to the bathroom, or drink from a water fountain, simply because they weren’t the right color. It hurt my heart to see the ladies that I loved, ordered to the back of the bus, or forced to give up their seat. I couldn’t understand then, as I can’t understand now. The absolute callousness of those who harbor such wickedness in their hearts is a mystery to me. I hope that I go to my grave without that understanding.

Perhaps you may wonder why I bring this up today? I usually prefer to avoid speaking about those who believe that it is all right to harbor hatred in their hearts, yet still maintain a “church face” on Sunday. I can only say, I marvel; just as Jesus “marveled” at the unbelief among his own people. Do you suppose He marvels at those of us who profess to be Christians, yet who gather together as a rabble of pretend believers, and stir up a crowd into a mob, all the while pretending “free speech?” Or worse − Christian duty?

One of my favorite scriptures is Luke 6:45. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

This scripture makes me wonder about our radio airwaves, and the
“performers” who are applauded by “good” people, who encourage a tirade of poorly veiled racism and even worse. I want to ask them “why?” And yet I cringe at the thought of exchanging any words with those “sounding brass” or “clanging cymbals,” who disturb me beyond belief.

For those who don’t know Christ or the Bible, I want to assure you that our Master did not sway His followers, then or now, with pretty words. He spoke plainly, and often He spoke things that chill the blood in ones veins. Do those mistaken Christians who follow those who speak evil, understand, or have they read the scripture?

For Jesus says:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21-23

Every time I think of this scripture, I have to look within myself, searching out the evil within my own heart. If I am truly humble, I allow God to pour out His light into my soul, chasing all the shadows and ugliness away. I dare not embrace those shadows. I must fight and resist the chains of hatred, prejudice, and anger within. I must not give into them. If I cannot forgive, I still can lay that burden at the foot of the Cross that held my Lord and Savior. I can heal, instead of hurt. I can walk away and wish no harm. I can even pray for the one who has hurt me. I can wash my hands in the blood that He shed for me. How can I not shed my petty selfishness, when Jesus sacrificed so much for me?

May I share with you, friends, a part of the interior journey I take?

All the Way to Calvary

All the way to Calvary,
He carried all my sin.
I followed Him with purpose.
The nails I pounded in.

I lashed with Herod’s soldiers,
And stripped Him to the bone.
I hung Him naked on a cross
And let Him die alone.

My sins were oh so evident…
The pride, the rage, the fears…
I watched in wonder as I saw
Jesus shed my tears.

I watched his blood come pouring out
And puddle on the ground.
And though He could have told my guilt,
He uttered not a sound.

I hurled my accusations:
“When I hurt, you weren’t there!”
“Where were you when I needed You?”
“I can see that You don’t care!!”

He looked at me so sadly,
As He hung upon that tree.
He willingly became my sin,
And set this captive free.

I had failed so many times,
So it was difficult to see,
How God could come from heaven
And choose to die for me.

Yet, I accept the mystery,
How Jesus from above,
Could take my unforgiveness,
And return to me His love.

© Jaye Lewis, 2006

So now, friends, you know the worst of me. I am human, just like anyone else. I have hated (it doesn’t matter who or why), and I have refused to forgive. I have fought the wrong fight, and I have battled the wrong wars. I have chosen so many wrong things, that I wonder how God can keep me in His care. Yet, though I have many sins still to give up, God loves me. With all my faults and imperfections, He has accepted me as His own. Why? I don’t know. I only know that without Him my life is empty, and with Him, I am full.

Father in heaven, forgive us for our sins of prejudice, bigotry, and pride. Grant us the grace to step away from the gossip, which strangles the soul. Compel us, Lord God, to desire the virtues of acceptance, forgiveness, and love. Give us hearts that are filled with generosity, and may we not shame you with our thoughts, words, or deeds.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Friday, May 08, 2009

Welcome Home by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

This is a true story from my childhood. It's not a perfect story, but it does have some beauty. It's a story of my mother, a woman who did the best she could with the life that she was given.

So, Mom, if you're listening, please believe me now. I love you. I always have. I'm glad that you are home.

Welcome Home by Jaye Lewis

It was not long after we moved from Florida to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1958, that my Dad was caught embezzling from his company. The story goes, that he had taken the money to move his family up to Louisville, and he was paying it back, little by little. When the company auditors arrived, my Dad, being the “honest” person he was, refused to doctor the books to save himself, and he just waited to “take a licking,” which meant the loss of his job and the impoverishment of his family. Supposedly, the authorities were so impressed with his honesty, that they decided to just “let him go,” without criminal charges.

At the age of eleven I found this very confusing. He was without a job, because he did something wrong, and he was too proud to go on welfare, so we went hungry. We ate until the food ran out. My Dad was able to find a job at a diner, but we had two weeks to wait before he would see a paycheck.

The food supplies were rationed for over a week. Each meal became smaller and smaller. We lost weight, especially my mother, and I can’t help but wonder just how much she sacrificed for me. I’ll never forget that last meal. Hard biscuits. Chicken gizzards and livers. I hated that stuff! And rice. Oh yes, there was that lovely dessert of canned pie cherries and chocolate syrup made with cocoa, water, and a small amount of spilled sugar that was brushed from a shelf. It was just awful! I refused to eat anything but the rice. My brother was glad to eat my gizzards and livers, but I had such a small amount of rice, that my plate was nearly empty.

My mother looked at my plate, and she quickly scooped up all her rice and put it onto my plate. Then she picked out all her chicken livers and gizzards and distributed them around the table to my father and brother. I was so aware of her pain, that I wish now that I could go back and tell her just how heroic I thought she was.

“I’m so stuffed!” she lied. “I picked while I was fixing supper, and now I’m just not hungry. You go ahead and eat this. I don’t want it.” It was our last meal for two days. We had already pulled in our belts, and now there was nothing left to pull in.

The next day, my Dad went to work. He ate at the diner, so that there would be one less mouth to feed, but there was still no food in our house. That was a hard day. I would have done anything for a sandwich. I didn’t understand, at the time, where the food went. I remember a terrible empty feeling and a stomach that ached to be filled. The ache turned into a gnawing pain, and my mother became terribly anxious. She begged my father to let her go to the church, so she could ask for money. But my father was proud. He wouldn’t accept charity, and I never understood.

Finally, after two days without food, my Dad agreed to ask his new boss for an advance on his pay. He came home with a five dollar bill. That would feed us inadequately for a week if we were careful. I believed that if I went with my mother and brother to buy the food, I could control the outcome. I begged and pleaded, but to no avail. So, when I was ignored, I flew into a rage. Perhaps it was the hunger speaking. Perhaps I thought I could control how the money was spent. My Dad drank, and everyone in my family smoked, except for me. In my childish ignorance about addiction, I resented every beer and cigarette that ever came into our house, and I guess I hated them a little for needing such things.

My Mom and brother returned with bologna, bread, milk, a jar of instant coffee, and a pack of cigarettes. I knew it! I just knew that they would buy cigarettes! I was so angry about that pack of cigarettes. In spite of warnings to eat slowly, I wolfed down a sandwich and a glass of milk. When that food hit my empty stomach, it recoiled. Instant agonizing pain! I screamed! I grabbed my stomach, and rolled on the floor, half blind with pain. I just kept screaming. I’ll never forget the terror in my mother’s eyes. Finally, I threw up all over the floor! There was relief as my stomach emptied, but I was in bed for days.

Somehow, miraculously, my mother got extra food. I was put on a diet consisting of soft boiled eggs and dry toast. I never knew if she went to the church or if angels showed up at our door. Knowing my mother, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised about either possibility. It took me over a week to recover.

One day, while I was still recovering, there was a knock at the front door. My mother hurried down the inside stairs and opened the door. My bedroom door was just above the landing.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” a man said, in a quavering voice. “Do you have some food you can spare for me? I’ve been walking and walking, and no one can spare even a piece of bread.” There was a long pause. Curious, I tiptoed out of bed and peeked down the stairs. My mother’s face looked pale, and she was so thin.

“I’m so sorry,” she said, shaking her head. “We don’t have any food to spare.” She pointed her finger, in the direction of town. “Try the restaurant, down the block. Surely, they will have enough to spare.”

The man shook his head, sadly, and turned away. I watched as my mother slowly shut the door. She stood there awhile, with her face pressed against the glass. Her shoulders began to shake. I thought she was laughing, but when she turned to come up the stairs, I saw her tears. I tiptoed back to bed, and I never breathed a word about it. I can still hear the sound of my mother’s sobbing, as she sat on the stairs.

“I’ve missed Jesus!” she sobbed. “I’ve missed my Lord. He came to my door begging, and I’ve turned him away!”

She sat there for a long time, my mother in her grief. I had never doubted her love for Jesus. I knew that whatever she did for the “least of these,” she did for Him, and now she had to turn the “least of these” away. I’d seen her in terrible circumstances. I’d seen her reach into empty pockets and give away all she had. I’d seen her angry. I’d seen her on her knees. But I had never seen her cry, until that day.

Something left my mother that day. I believe that it was hope. Little by little I watched her slip away from me through the years. She still loved Jesus, and she clung to Him, like a drowning woman. She could still be a force to reckon with, but she quit the fight too soon. I didn’t understand then, but I do now. When God’s grace began its pull upon my life, I remembered, and I decided to allow Him to change my course.

Years later, after I got tired of being battered in my own marriage, I made the choice to change my course, at first for my children, and then for me. Each time that I felt as though life would overcome me, I remembered my mother’s defeat, and I refused to give in. The best part of my journey is that God never gave up on me. He drew me to Him, and He convinced me that, as I trusted in Him, He would transform me. Somewhere inside of me, He found courage, and through His grace, I began to change.

By the grace of God, after two failed marriages, God stepped in, and He brought Louie and me together. It’s been a wonderful marriage. We’ve shared joys and sorrows, triumphs and defeats, but nothing could shake the love we have for each other. I’m amazed that God loves me so much that He would care enough to bring us together. But then, that is God ― He is a God of tender mercies.

I do not blame my mother for the defeat that she suffered on this earth. She was from another time, when women had few options. Knowing what I know of her life, I realize that she didn’t know she ever had any. My mother died in October of 1982. She would be the first to tell you that she never accomplished much. I disagree, because I would not be here without her, and I would not choose to miss my memories of her. There were no accolades. She was buried in a plain pine box. A woman of simple tastes, she would have wanted it that way. She made mistakes. She was not perfect, but she clung to her faith.

I have no doubt that my mother was joyful to be able to cast off the things of this world. She must have run into the arms of her Savior. I can almost hear His words as He greeted her. “You’re safe now, Margaret. Welcome home.” © Jaye Lewis, 2004

Monday, May 04, 2009

For the Love of God by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

I haven’t been keeping in touch as much as usual, due to some super bug that no one tested for in my region. It’s probably because most people (even those who live in Virginia) forget that our region exists. Strangely enough, our President came to our region several times on his campaign. His manner was warm, inclusive, and sensitive. I was astounded and pleased. The last candidate for President who visited us was John F. Kennedy, nearly fifty years ago.

I love where we live. I love the people, who are honest and outspoken, kind and generous, unspoiled and patient, and who have etched themselves upon my heart. Because of my health, we attend no celebrations, parties, or other functions. Not many people understand, but my gosh they are polite about it.

Church became an impossibility for me. Colds and flu can literally mean the death of me. Being an asthmatic and a diabetic is a little like playing Russian Roulette with a shot-gun. To survive, I must go on prednisone, which shoots my sugar up to 600 or more, a number which can mean coma, even death. So, I fight, by using my diabetes medication, not knowing which numbers are real. And finally, as I am now, I get well.

The thing we all missed most, about Church, was Bible study. Oh, how we missed that hour, immersed in the Word of God. One day, my husband suggested we do our own Bible study, right in our living room, sometimes at the table, and it has become such a blessing. We take as long as it takes, from one hour to three or so. We share wonderful things that God has done for us during the week, and, dear friends, God never sleeps. He is always busy blessing, correcting, and loving each of us.

One might think that since my daughters and I all have serious health problems, that we might resent God’s correction. Well, being human, sometimes we do. But gathered around the kitchen table, or ensconced on the couch, in our living room, we share all that God has done in our lives, and we know that we are truly blessed.

That relationship with God, is the best thing in my world. He has given to me, the best man, the kindest man, without guile or pretense, loving, unselfish and so very funny. I love his sense of humor. I would rather laugh than eat, and there is much laughter in our house.

God has been impressing new understanding to me, during this last illness, and I realize that everything we have comes directly from Him. Evidence of a loving God is written in the universe. In order to dismiss Him, we must close our ears, our eyes, and our hearts to the beauty around us, refusing to see that all the earth belongs to Him, and we are His caretakers. We haven’t been doing much caretaking in the last hundred years, or so. So my gift to God, are my gardens, just as my children’s and my husbands efforts to beautify our God’s little acre, is all because of their love for me and Him.

God is good. He delivered me from a hopeless life, and He gave me the best man I have ever known. My husband sees me through the eyes of love and devotion. He is a man who sacrifices every day, to make a home filled with laughter and caring. I can’t say enough about him, and he just hates when I write about the beauty of his soul, but I cannot help myself. I believe that with a little effort and will, any marriage can be a joyful thing.

I hope you know that I am not bragging. I just had so many hopeless years, that I can’t shake the newness of the love I’ve been given. I will never “get used to it” as I’ve heard people say. Each day is a miracle, knowing, to the best of my ability, a loving God, and seeing how evident is His love for me and my family. Knowing exactly from where my blessings come, is the greatest miracle of my life. And one of the blessings is sharing my heart with you.

Things are tough right now. I know that. I get scared every day about what could happen, but I also have evidence in my life before, that God is still with us, especially now. I wish I had a plan for you. Just writing to you, and sharing my life and loves, has been a blessing. Thank you with all my heart. Jesus said, that “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. I hope that you have seen abundance in my heart.

Many years ago, long before my beloved Louie, I was pregnant with my last child. It was a difficult pregnancy, and I was in a town where I was a stranger. I was a member of a church, but I was isolated. My health was so bad, that I was expected to die in child birth. The last six weeks of my pregnancy, I became very close to God. However, closeness to my Church family simply did not occur.

One day I had visitors. Two ladies from the Church were handing out pamphlets filled with the love of God, but love was not there. I staggered my way to the door, my heart uplifted. Somebody cared, and they were coming to visit me. I opened the door, dressed in my nightgown. When the door opened a crack, they pushed the pamphlets in to me.

“Oh, come in,” I cried, thrilled to see them. “I’ve been very ill,” I said.

“Uh-huh. Oh, we can’t come in, we have so many people to visit.”

What? This was a visit? “Please come in, I could use a friend.”

“Oh no, we can’t. I’m sure with your sweet spirit, you have lots of friends.” But I didn’t. I didn’t have a friend in the world, and if I did die, no one would know or care. It was one of the hardest days of my life. Through a crack in the door I received the gift of indifference, but I learned something very powerful. I made a promise to God. Lord, if you let me live, I will find a way to reach others and give them the hope and peace of your love. I will not turn away souls who simply need to know that someone cares.

I did my best in spite of my health, yet I felt I was not doing enough. Twenty-eight years ago, God led Louie into my life, and my life changed forever. One day, about ten years ago, I went before the Lord. I was so sick, and felt I couldn’t do what God laid on my heart twenty-four years before.

“Lord,” I again prayed, “why do you allow me to be housebound, so that I can’t go out and do what I promised you?”

I felt His answer, so clear in my heart. “I will bring souls to you.”

I was dumbfounded. Were people going to line up in our driveway? I couldn’t think of any way to reach anyone. Then we got our computer, an old one, and we discovered the world wide web. In spite of me being dragged kicking and screaming, I learned how to use the dad-blamed box, and a whole new world opened to me. People, whom I had never met, shared their hearts, and I to them. That was ten years ago, and much has changed, but I kept my promise, and God showed me how.

So, I want you to know I care about you. I pray for you, and I ask God to bless you with your daily needs. I beg Him for jobs and a government that does not forget whom they are working for. I pray for our President, that he will be given the wisdom of Solomon and the faithfulness of David. Yes, I disagree with him on some very important issues; however I believe that his heart is honest and faithful, not only, to those who voted for him, but also, for those who did not.

Father in heaven, bless every soul who reads this, every soul who is searching, and especially those who are suffering. Make yourself known, Lord, in each life, for we are strangers in a strange land. May we understand that we have the most powerful being in the universe on our side. May we walk with You, and when we stumble, may you pick us up in Your arms. Protect each of us, oh Lord, and grant us Your peace in our hearts.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gentler Time by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

We lived across the street from one another for nearly eight years. For two military families, that’s a lifetime of friendship. Like the blazing sunrise over Charleston, South Carolina, and the sunset in the west, I knew that no matter what, John and Pat would always be there, not only for me, but for my husband and children.

We celebrated one another’s birthdays and graduation parties, along with all of the surprises of life. When John was aboard ship’s deployment, I was there for Pat; and when my Louie was out to sea, she was there for me. I don’t remember a single fight that we had. We simply found ourselves on a different page than the rest of the world.

We dressed up for Halloween, and went to the mall, Pat as a six-foot tall, green faced witch, wearing a towering hat, and I, thinking I looked like a rock star, mistaken for a lady of the night. In many ways we were quite innocent, even naïve. You might say that in our late thirties and, in my case, early forties, we went through childhood together.

We watched each other’s children grow into adolescence and beyond, wondering who would wind up taller, Pat’s son or my daughter, since one year’s growth for the two of them leaped eight inches.

We went back to school together, driving through the Air Force base every day. Pat helped me to bear the insults of my father, who lived with us, and who had decided to make us as miserable as the last years of his life could muster. Pat made me laugh about tragic things, and in that gave me back half of my life.

John was always there, when his ship was in, either in the driveway chatting with Louie about guy stuff or planning a surprise party for somebody. He was a good man and a kind man. Unpretentious, John was down to earth and unspoiled by either the ups or downs of life. He was humorous, and a hard worker, a virtue not much admired these days, except for those who truly knew him. Now he is gone, and though miles have separated us, as we went our separate ways into retirement, the thought of that big man with an even bigger heart, not with us, breaks mine.

You would have liked John. He would have made you laugh. He would have surprised you with a glass of iced-tea or Pat’s to-die-for bean dip and chips. Things were simple to John. You were a friend, and that meant good things. I don’t think he had an enemy in the world. Oh, I remember so many things about John, that would mean nothing to anyone else. I guess my most revealing memory is that John was real — truly himself, unapologetic in true simplicity, he was a man without guile. Now he’s gone, and he will be sorely missed.

Pat and I went through hurricanes, separations, heartache, and wild laughter. We were always together, and always 100% in each other’s corner. We backed each other up through the serious and the ludicrous of life. My heart is with her right now, though we live thousands of miles apart. She was and still is my very best friend. We have one of those once in a lifetime friendships that neither time nor distance can separate. In fact, I think I can honestly state that we are forever friends. I just didn’t think that forever would come so swiftly.

Gentler Time

Sittin’ on the curb, Settin’ on the stoop,
Grilled cheese sandwiches.
Tomato soup.

Buffalo nickels and silver dimes,
Penny candy and church bell chimes.

Hop scotch, jacks, and skates with keys.
Kinder words, like “thanks” and “please.”

Hop-Scotch, Butterscotch, Cracker-Jacks,
Hopping home o’er sidewalk cracks.

“Simon Says.”
Walkin’ to school.
Greaser hair and being “cool.”

Jackie Gleason. Name that Tune.
“Alice, Pow! Right to the Moon!”

Licking “Eat-Ade” from your hand.
Dancing close with a dancing band.

Hoola Hoops and Poodle skirts.
Boys wore ties, and girls were “flirts.”

Chevys. Hot Rods. Thunderbirds.
Holding hands, no need for words.

Sunday chicken and mashed potatoes.
Lots o’ gravy and fried tomatoes.

Meat loaf night, sittin’ at the table.
T.V. night without a cable.

Taking a stroll instead of a jog.
Letter writing. Sittin’ on a log.

Simple pleasures, short and sweet.
Crossing in the middle of the street.

Saddle shoes and crinolines;
Eating tuna out of tins.

All those memories in my mind
Of a kinder and a gentler time.

Copyright Jaye Lewis, 2002

Good-by John. I'll see you in heaven.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Yes, Virginia, There is a God By Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

Last night, rather late, I received an email from someone whom I will call Virginia. She told me that I am a good man, which tells me she has read at least one of my works, without a picture. So she doesn’t even know that I am a woman.

Well, Virginia went on to say that my belief in God was, well, childish, when everyone else knows He does not exist. Her email was less than cohesive. She flipped from one thought to the next, without any connection to her claim. Her thoughts scattered all over my computer screen – Big Bang, God as Big Bang, Big Bang as God. Another interesting observation was in the form of a question: “If there is a God, who came before Him? Who created Him?”

That question stimulates my own reasoning:

If there is no God, then who or what came first?
If there is no God, then why are you so afraid of Him?
If there is no God, then why do you care so much to inform me?
If there is no God, then when my time is up on this earth, it won’t matter.
On the other hand, if there is a God, and you war against Him, you have an eternity to regret your decision.

Quite frankly, I don’t believe you. It would not occur to me to contact someone that I don’t know, and set them straight about their core faith. So, you are afraid that there is a God and you’re mad at Him for some reason, because He didn’t do what you wanted.

Anyhow, friends, these are the things that are on my heart today. There is a God. He loves us, and He doesn’t give us everything we want. He gives us what we need. For instance, my eyesight is failing. I have no depth perception. I hurt myself all the time, because what I think is there is really too close, and I can’t judge the distance.

If my macular degeneration continues to advance, there are many things that I will
miss. I will miss the sunsets and the sunrises, that I see from my back door. I can no longer distinguish one bird from another. I take pictures of everything, hoping that one day there will be a cure.

If not, then I understand. God has another plan. He always does. I love God, with an incredible passion. He makes me glad to be alive. He fills me as nothing on this earth can. He came to me, not because he needed me, but because I needed Him.

So, you see, Virginia, there is a God. You just have not taken the time to know Him, and blind or not, I will always see Him in the life that I lead. Without sight, I know that my husband’s love is there, because I will be in his loving arms. Even though I don’t see God, with my naked eyes, I know the touch of His hand on my life; I have felt his arms around me. Believe or not, Virginia, because I will keep on believing for you. I will believe, because that is what I do. It is who I am.

Father in heaven, I am well aware that there are those who do not know you. Maybe they don’t want to know you. How sad, for You are so well worth knowing. I know how these doubters, or non-believers, feel, because I was once one of them. They are afraid. I know that. Perhaps by reaching out to me, they will begin to understand the Scripture verse, “See the lilies of the field. They neither spin nor sew, yet not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these.”

We have a God who loves the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. If He loves them, then how much more He must love us, each of us. So, Virginia, as long as there are birds that sing and flowers that bloom, we can be assured that God is real and that He loves us.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Honor, Integrity, Trust By Jaye Leiws

Hello friends,

I’m reclining here on my messy bed, trying not to turn up the volume of my T.V. set. It’s on, simply because I haven’t had the gumption to turn it off, and every other channel either upsets me, or scares the heck out of me. Yes, I’m in T.V. hell.

I’m on my second relapse of an upper respiratory infection, which has thrown me into another asthma attack. I’m complicated, or so said a doctor of mine, several years ago, who, basically fired me.

“Get out of my office! You’re too complicated! Diabetic/asthmatics die!” His exact words.

Of course, my answer, had I been clever enough at the time, might have been, “Not without taking you with me, you quack!” Of course, that never came out of my mouth, but it might have felt good, for a moment. However, that doctor had already told me some upsetting news about himself. His doctor had just died, and now where was he going to go?

So, if truth be told, we just don’t know what other people, even doctors might be grieved about. I used to get so mad, that I was just furious, and I’d say anything, but now, I wonder. Isn’t that what this world is coming to? Just a kind of craziness that makes us watch endless T.V. programs that we simply don’t care about.

Even the decorating channel is simply unbelievable. Houses for $300,000 or more, for FIRST TIME BUYERS???? Payments of $2,000 or more?? And, since the bottom has fallen out of every market, how many people still have those homes? Also, why would anyone feel a need to spend $40,000 on a kitchen redo, with granite countertops? It is so unreal.

A home is more than real estate. It is where you go to feel safe. A home embraces you much like an old friend, and, as with people, one’s home should be treated with honor, integrity, and trust. My home is where my heart is, my husband, my children, and my God. Everything I think, and say, and do, is cleared through Him. We did not buy our home for the spa-like master suite bathroom. Bathrooms are functional, must work for the right reasons, and I’m not in competition for the extra sink. Bathrooms, for us, are private and not to be shared at the same time. That’s just my opinion.

We bought our house, because I fell in love with its 55 foot deck and its magnificent view of the mountains. We have planted and pruned and spent 11 years landscaping the outside. The inside keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I am what you might call a semi-invalid. I do what I can. And if I can do it outside, then that’s where I’ll be. The decorating shows give me some ideas, and that’s all, but I probably won’t go wild, and then wonder how we will pay things off. The market in this area has never been unaffordable; yet there are many homes in foreclosure. It’s sad.

So, I guess the message, today, both for you and me, is this: Let us all live our lives with honor, integrity, and trust, especially to ourselves. Honestly, can I afford the home-improvement? Does my integrity say, sure I can take out this unaffordable loan for a spa-like bathroom? Or anything else? Then trust. The most important virtue. Do I trust God to provide for my needs? Do I have integrity when I promise Him obedience. Do I have honor? Do I honor Him?

These are the things that are on my heart today, as I lay here in T.V. hell. Do I believe the foolish things I see, or do I simply marvel at the stupidity of my fellow human beings? I cannot hold myself up as a shining example, because I have been so foolish in my life; but I’m learning. I’m becoming a more obedient child of God. And I try to be honest in every aspect of my life, especially within, where no one else sees, except God and me.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In the Shadow of God's Wings by Jaye Lewis

It’s a subject that few people like to talk about. It can generate fear and denial, yet I live with it every day. Growing old. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was a knock-out in a bathing suit? Of course, my bathing suits were never that revealing, but I remember feeling good about my body. I don’t remember how or why my body changed. It just did. One day, I looked into the mirror, and I saw a person who was different than I had hoped to see. It really bothered me. And every time my husband told me that I was lovely or beautiful, I didn’t believe him.

It’s hard, growing old. A dear friend of mine says, “Growing old is not for wimps.” At nearly 63 I am intimately aware that more than two-thirds of my life is behind me, and a short path is before me. So I’ve been thinking about this a lot. What does it all mean, this growing old? To some people it means abandonment. To others it means a loss of productivity. A sense of no longer belonging. Perhaps even a feeling of uselessness.

To the very young, of course, old age will never happen, so many young souls waste the precious youth that God has given them, and one day, when they look in the mirror, someone older, and hopefully wiser will look back at them. In my heart I’m still the barefoot girl on the beach. I’m still the young mother sheltering my children from a stormy night. I’m still the late-blooming lover of my husband. And I’m still clinging to my sight that is failing; yet accepting the road ahead. Each day is a gift, and each breath is precious. Life is not a bathing suit, and happiness is not what once was, but what will be.

I believe that God lights my path. I see His light in every sunset. I hear His laugh in the brilliant flowers of spring. I feel his touch in the night, when my husband’s warm hand gently strokes mine. Many things change as we grow older, we may suffer from the breakdown of our bodies, as we age. Our eyes may grow dim, as mine have. Our bones may ache. Our feet may hurt. Oh there is a host of ills that come to the aged, but that too is not life.

Life takes place in our hearts and our minds. Life is what feeds the soul of those who will not give up, no matter their limitation. Life is a hand to hold in the autumn of your years. Life is the blessing of children, who still love and need you, as time and circumstance brings good-bys that much closer. Life is gathering together every good thing, and letting go of the bad. You may have lost family and friends, as I have. Yet, you still have much to give and receive, if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Life is laughter, smiles, and forgiveness, and when that is impossible, life is simply moving on and letting go.

For me, life is first my relationship with God. I often fail in that. He deserves so much more than I give, but I am trying to be better every day. Life is my love for my husband, and my thankfulness that he still loves me. Life is the joy I feel when I see my daughter’s lives entwined with mine…that first cup of coffee of a morning, when we are all together, wrapped in the warmth of our love and laughter. And often, when I am alone, life is the time I spend with our little dogs, and our great big one, whose soul is, perhaps, the tiniest and most vulnerable of all. All these things are life to me, and I hold them close in my heart.

And finally, I am very much aware of my mortality. I have diabetes, asthma, fibromyalgia, arthritis, neuropathy, and other complications of diabetes. Yet, my blood profile is perfect, thanks to new, almost miracle medications. So, life, for me is with limitations. But my heart loves fiercely, my generosity knows no bounds, except for the limitations of my pocket book. I have suffered from illness for a very long time. I have been face to face with my mortality many times. It’s not as awful as you might believe, this living in the shadow of God’s wings. It can be quite beautiful. It can be the best life of all.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Monday, March 23, 2009

Believing is Seeing by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

Today is a day when I have a dim view of the world. Oh, not in my heart or mind, but in my eyes. My eyes are failing, and sometimes it scares me. I hurt myself, because of having little or no depth perception. I'll reach for something, and totally miss the object. I have to turn on all the lights, sometimes, just to gather all the information as to where I may step or even to open a window. My eyes are very important to me. I love the natural world, with flowers, bees, birds, sunsets in the mountains, and the illusive sunrise. As a result, I am recording remarkable things on my digital camera, which my husband gave to me for our anniversary. I never thought that I could be so hooked on something that is so technical, and that I was sure was pretty much out of my league. How wrong I was.

I think I was first hooked when I took my first pictures of a rainbow. After my husband downloaded the pictures to our computer, I could see that they were breathtaking. I moved onto sunsets and sunrises, which are spectacular in the mountains where I live. I became transfixed with cloud patterns, the changes in the weather, and lovely celestial events, that I never want to forget. Even when I have no camera, I see the world in pictures. Right now, if I close my eyes and think of something beautiful, I can literally see it…flowers, blue skies, and sunshine. Most of the time I see flowers or simply colors. When I write, I see pictures in my brain. Like my camera, I have taken snapshots throughout my life, which are themes written upon my soul. You might say, that for me, believing is seeing.

It is the same, I believe, with faith in God. I believe, therefore I see. For some people, such as the man who wrote to me on Thursday night, there is not only a lack of faith, but also an unusual need to contact me. This gentleman let me know that I’m a very nice “guy,” (He obviously had no idea that I am a woman.) but I am "somewhat naïve." There is no God, he explained, there was only a “Big Bang.” God is not God, but Big Bang is God. Or God is Big Bang. Yes, it was confusing, but I understand where this person is coming from.

I once lived in the fear of not believing. It was a dark and lonely place. There was a strange need to reach out, and seek to make light of another’s faith. I once feared that this world was all there is. To justify a lack of faith, many people reach out to me and explain how stupid I am. That’s okay, though, because I have been there, too. I am ashamed of it, but I did it. What I found, however, is that one who is truly a believer can rarely be overcome by such an obvious attack. Grace is the answer, and the only answer. God placed this faith in my heart, after many years of running away from Him. I ran so far, that I bumped into myself. One day, I stopped running, and that was when His grace poured in. I wrote a poem that day, that I would like to share with you.

THE GIFT by Jaye Lewis

How many times have I run from Your Presence;
Sighting the target, yet, missing the mark?
How many times have I wandered the wasteland?
How many times have I run in the dark?

Over and over I failed You and failed You;
Yet, somehow or other, You never failed me.
Constantly looking over my shoulder;
The freedom before me I failed to see.

What made me blind, that I just couldn't find You?
Why was I so stubborn, I just wouldn't see?
Yet, now, here I am, so aware of Your Presence;
For the first time I feel so incredibly free.

Constantly Present; Constantly Guiding.
You never gave up on this vessel of clay.
Passionate, Loving, Your vision surrounds me;
I'll praise You and thank You the rest of my days.

Halleluiah to Jesus, Beloved of the Father.
Praise to the Spirit, three Persons, yet One.
I'm no longer my own, I belong, now, to Jesus.
He loves me in spite of all I have done.

My heart is so full of the blessings He's given.
I cannot contain all the joy that I feel.
God knows I have done nothing to earn this;
Yet, without a doubt His Salvation is real!

© Jaye Lewis, 1999

So, this is the truth. I finally understood what God had been telling me all along. I am His. Do I believe that the earth is only 5,000 years old or 50,000,000 years old? To tell you the truth, I don’t care. I believe that there are truths that science discovers every day. My new diabetes treatment is a perfect example. They discovered this drug in the saliva of a Gila Monster, which has a deadly bite. A synthetic of this element was then created in a laboratory, and now I take two shots a day. It is one more medicine which has given me back my life. I also believe that God is the Author of my life, and the inspiration for scientists who don’t even know Him or acknowledge Him. But, you see, I do. I believe, and in believing I see. Believing is seeing, at least in my life.

So to this man who was so needing to ridicule my faith, you asked who created God, the very person whom you say you don’t believe. If you don’t believe, why does it matter to you? You also said, if there is a God, why can we not have peace. Well, I say to you that He pours out His peace into our hearts, and it is our responsibility to bring peace about. Jesus gave us a command to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and embrace the stranger. He couldn’t be more clear.

Father in heaven, I know that many readers of this blog do not know You. There are also those who do. I thank You for Your gift of grace, and I ask you now, for a blessing for each soul who visits this site. Bless them, Lord, with your grace, in this uncertain time, when belief seems to slip through our grasp. Help us all, Lord, through our many adversities. And for those of us, who are still struggling to pay mortgages that have doubled, as well as keep up with the rest of our bills, grant us the grace to still reach out a helping hand to our neighbors. To You be the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Email Jaye