Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Reflections from the Home Team March 5, 2019

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1            

Let the Sunshine and Season Begin!

Greetings from the “frozen tundra” in Cedar Falls,

Over the past few months I’ve often found it hard to believe that spring is coming... With record snowfall and cold temperatures as well as the fact that winter appears to want to drag on, I’ve needed to generate some positive thoughts! It’s silly to doubt it, I know. In all my years watching the seasons pass, spring has never once failed us, no matter how tardy it may seem. The sun always comes home from a long vacation to melt the snow pack… The grass emerges, a little brown at first, then green and full of life. The birds return, making nests, whistling songs into a warm blue sky. No matter how long it takes, winter always comes to an end.

But even though I know it’s true—even though I’ve witnessed it year after year—I’m struggling to believe in spring right now.  My wintertime doldrums are about far more than winter itself. It’s the same doubt that overtakes me in my seasons of difficulty, setbacks and sorrows. No matter how many times I’ve seen God’s faithfulness in my life over the past number of years, each new and difficult challenge has been a “brush back” pitch, often taking me to the edge of my seat. I hold my breath, waiting and wondering if God’s grace could possibly come through yet again.

Not sure about you, but my memory is often so very short.... and I needed to remind myself of the blessings that have come my way over the past few years. I’ve had a little help from my “Home Team” friends with those reminders the past couple of weeks, and felt like sharing some of those thoughts with each of you today. 

One of our teaching team members at Nazareth, Laura Sohl-Cryer presented a wonderful message this past Sunday appropriately titled “Shine”. The focus was on Matthew 5:14-16. Laura talked about how we can “shine” a light onto others, helping provide them with hope… something we can all use given the duration of the winter of 2019 here in Iowa.  She also talked about the “baskets” that we often use to cover our own light, preventing our hope and positivity from shining on others. Three of those “baskets” included fear, which needs to be replaced with courage (thinking back to my cancer journey); busyness, which needs to be replaced by intentionality and self-centeredness, which needs to be replaced by selflessness. We need to remind ourselves to remove those baskets so that the light of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and self-control can shine on those we come in contact with. If interested in listening, Laura’s message can be accessed at:

A second reminder came from my favorite writer, Jon Gordon who shared the following post this week:

The words we speak matter. They help to shape the world around us. That’s why I believe we need to speak words of truth and hope not only to ourselves but to others as well. Here are 20 things we should say more often if we want to make the world more positive:
1. I love you.
2. I believe in you.
3. You are worthy. You deserve it.
4. The best is yet to come.
5. Stay positive.
6. I was wrong. I'm sorry.
7. Please.
8. How can I help?
9. I'm here for you when you want to talk.
10. You can do it.
11. You've got this and God's got you.
12. Please forgive me.
13. I forgive you.
14. I've got your back.
15. I'm open to your feedback. Make me better.
16. You're not alone.
17. Even if we disagree, we can still be friends.
18. You matter.
19. Thank You.
20. There is greatness inside you.
- Jon

Jon always seems to come through with thoughts that help me at just the right time. Wouldn’t the world be a much more positive place if we just used these words more often??  I’ll certainly plan to give it my best!

And finally, a good friend shared a book with me last week that has been a powerful read! I truly related as one of the ways I have kept a sense of hope and positivity throughout my cancer journey is through the “gift of reading”, reading stories of people who have overcome challenges in their lives with hope and positivity.  The Sun Does Shine is a memoir of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading, written by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn't commit!

In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free. 

But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence—full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty-seven years he was a beacon—transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates, fifty-four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell. With the help of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015. 

The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times. Hinton’s memoir tells his dramatic thirty-year journey and shows how you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor, or joy. 
When talking to his mother and good friend Lester who visited him regularly over those years, Anthony talked about his plan to get home someday.  “I had a plan. Lester knew it, I knew it. God knew it. And that was all that mattered! – There was no question how my sentencing would turn out, but I would still pray for a miracle and try not to criticize it if the miracle didn’t look like what I expected.”

What a powerful testimony!! This was a story that has helped teach me the impact hope and a sense of positivity can have on us despite any challenges or difficulties we may face!  I strongly recommend it!

I’m praying today for the grace of memory, reminding me of what spring feels like. I’m praying for a heart that rejoices in the delights and sorrows of each passing year, a heart that grows warmer with every winter it endures. I’m praying that my memory teaches me to believe in spring and all the freshness and positivity it brings…

As Ecclesiastes 3:1 states: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” 

Let the Sunshine and Season Begin!


Are you or someone you know fighting cancer... struggling with the physical, emotional and spiritual issues that accompany a cancer journey or other serious health issue? Making ourselves available to others can open up the doors of opportunity for deeper relationships, healing, and transformation. For many, time is one of the most valuable commodities in today's fast-paced world. Sharing time with others is a wonderful gift. It says, "Here I am. . . for you. To listen, to care, to serve." The power of presence should never be underestimated!  

Be an encourager in someone else’s life!

To learn more about being an encourager, and to view the Reflections blog and several video messages, visit the Reflections from the Home Team website at: