Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April Showers (and blooming trees and flowers) bring a high pollen count!

I have been feeling a bit "fuzzy" over the last couple of weeks - thanks to unrelenting allergies!  Yes, I love the blooming trees.  And yes, I am so thankful that all of those flowers are blooming!  But NO!  I do not appreciate all of the pollen that is floating in the air.   This is always a difficult time of year for me, but this year has been extremely bad.  It seems that I have had a constant headache that leaves me very tired by the end of the day.  Ken has been out enjoying the warm weather and taking photos of all this "beautiful" spring blooming.  I much prefer to sit inside and just contemplate the arrival of better weather (with much less pollen)!

This was my remedy for today!  I mean really, doesn't that little cutie just lift your spirit?  She is wearing the little shirt that was in her Easter Basket and a "TuTu" (which is what Lia, Ellie and Anna all call their skirts) that is a hand me down from Gwen's girls.  Being with Grace certainly did help me to feel a bit less fuzzy.  It is hard to believe that this little girl will soon be twelve weeks old!  I don't know where the last 3 months have gone.

For the most part, this April has not been quite as filled with memories of all those who I have lost in this month. (I have mentioned this often - my mom, dad, mother-in-law, father-in-law and sister all died during April).  I think this might actually be a bit of a benefit of all the fuzziness in my head this year! But then this happened......

I was sitting in my car in a drive through line, getting a quick cup of coffee.  I had my window down as I approached the window to pay for my drink.  There were a number of cars ahead of me so I was stopped for a number of minutes.  And then the aroma of this bush wafted into my car.  I was suddenly transported to the backyard of Ken's parents home.  There was a large spice bush in the corner of their yard that would just fill the entire place with this sweet smell.    I had not been thinking about Merv and JoAnne until that moment.  For the next couple of hours I just couldn't get them out of my mind.  So many memories in that backyard.  Isn't it interesting how powerful a smell can be?  This is one of my favorite pictures from that backyard.  It is Doug and Gwen with their Great Grandma Baker (Ken's favorite Grandma).
(When I found this picture I noticed how much Grace looks like Doug and Anna makes the expression that Gwen has in this picture!)  Looking at this picture, I can almost smell that bush!

On Sunday evening I had another experience of my senses reminding me of events from the past.  I have blogged many times about a powerful ministry that meets fairly close to my home - Chicago HUB.  I have been attending these meetings over the last twenty years on a fairly regular basis - much more often in the recent years.  And I can not begin to count how many conference events sponsored by HUB that have blessed me during that time. Something very unexpected happened last November.  The leader of HUB, Nancy Magiera,  became seriously ill.  Additionally, the conference center that had been the meeting place for HUB for several years, announced that they were closing as of January, 2017.  Suddenly I faced (like so many other people) the reality that HUB was not meeting each Sunday.  Have you heard the saying that you don't miss something until you don't have it anymore?  HUB is not an easily replaceable event.  There is something incredibly unique about this group of people who gather each week.  HUB stands for His United Body and that is exactly what it is.  There are people of every age from infants to grey heads.  There are people of many races and many creeds.  Nancy always says that there is one common denominator at HUB - the only one that matters - Jesus and His saving work on the cross.  Because of the unity, because of the love of Jesus, there is always powerful worship and amazing teaching.  Well, last Sunday evening, I (along with several hundred other people) celebrated the return of HUB.  It was a new location.  Nancy is still recovering, but doing better.  But hundreds - yes hundreds of us came together once again.  Standing in that crowd, just breathing in the atmosphere, I was flooded with reminders of past HUB events.
As I mentioned at the start of this blog, I have not been feeling great.  And this new location for HUB is farther from home for me.  Needless to say, Sunday evening HUB helped to clear the fuzziness from my head.  I was so thankful to be in that place once again.

The icing on the cake at HUB was the message from Dana Morey.  If you take a moment and click on this link, you will see just a bit of who Dana Morey is.  Yes, the man that speaks before MILLIONS, is a friend of HUB and we are blessed - so blessed - that he comes and shares with us.  On Sunday night he shared the beginning of a powerful message (the message will be completed over the next two Sunday nights) to encourage and teach us how to truly transform our thinking so that we can have the mind of Christ!   Boy did I ever need to hear this message, considering my fuzzy thinking over the past weeks!  I can hardly wait for the next two Sunday evenings to get the complete message!  The nugget from his message that I want to share with you, is that it IS possible to change the way we think!  It is physically possible to remove old thought patterns from our brains and build new ways of thinking.

If you are like me and feeling like your thinking is muddled and fuzzy, this is very good news. I've had a couple of great examples of Jesus reaching me through my senses, even when I felt really distant and covered in a veil of fog.  The smile of a sweet baby, a delight for my eyes.  The smell of a wonderful spring bloom, a pleasing aroma.  The press of a crowd of friends and the presence of the Holy Spirit, a refreshing balm.  Followed by the wisdom and inspiration of a great message.  Yep, allergies are no match for a loving and powerful God!

Jesus, thank you for your amazing wonderful creation that bursts forth in blooms each spring.  Thank you for getting your message through to me, in spite of my clouded brain.  Thank you for HUB, for Nancy and Hank Mageira, and for Dana Morey.  Pour out your abundant blessings on your servants.  Holy Spirit, thank you for drawing your people together in unity.  Amen

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