Opioids and the Affordable Care Act….

She is right: inightful and gut-twisting, “More people have now died from drug overdoses in just one year than were lost in the entirety of the Vietnam War. So, so many deaths, collateral damage from this broken system.”

See, there's this thing called biology...

person holding sunflower Photo by wendel moretti on Pexels.com

I really struggled when we started talking about passing the Affordable Care Act. I actually read the whole thing, all 700 pages. Now you know why I am quite crazy, I have never recovered from inflicting that document on myself. Our congresscritters were far wiser, most of them refused to even read it.

I wrote a lot of letters, I went to town hall meetings, I tried to reason with people. Perhaps it was just common sense or a prophetic eye, but I knew the issues, the cause and effect was going to be just devastating for so many people. And here in the midst of my little blue dot, all of my concerns just fell on deaf ears, in fact I was kind of dismissed as a hater of the poor.

I remember standing up at one meeting and saying, “but I am…

View original post 1,332 more words

How Does God Do That?

sav in ditch

Sometimes when I’m extremely tired and have life bullets zinging off me in a crazy pattern that doesn’t seem to make sense I have to dig deep into my store of faith to keep believing in God. I spent the first 20-plus years of my life thinking I was an atheist and when I got saved and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, my mother thought I was unbalanced and emotionally unstable.

Mom viewed everything strange in life as “coincidence.” Her favorite catch phrase when I tried to share something remarkable God had done in my life was, “That’s coincidence.”

God loves me so much that when I’m digging deep within my heart to rediscover my roots of faith—He sends me a Godincidence. He does something that only He could have done.

We live in a small house built on grounds where a gospel church used to stand. The church has been gone at least 10 years. Today we got a large envelope addressed to “Gospel Hall.”

We had no idea who to contact about the mail, or what to do with it. When I took our 11-week-old collie pup on a walk, she walked further than she usually does. On the way back I spotted an orange cat in a back yard. I stopped to show Savannah the cat. “That’s a cat,” I told her. As I stood there, a woman opened a second story window to throw birdseed down into her yard. She asked about Savannah’s name and age, and said she was on her way to the Gospel Hall in another village. I told her about the envelope I had received just a few hours earlier and she was as astonished as I was. We made plans to exchange the envelope. A Godincidence.

Why is it a Godincidence? I don’t usually walk Savannah at that time or in that direction. I had never walked her that far before. Had the timing not be orchestrated by God, I would not have been standing there at the precise moment the homeowner opened the window to dispense birdseed. Had we not spoken to one another—I would never have known she went to the Gospel Hall, and she would never have known that I had the envelope. Only God could have worked out all those details.

How does God do things like that? I don’t know, but I know He does. And knowing it’s a God thing holds my roots of faith firmly in place when the gale force winds of adversity strike.

IMG_4121

https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Headless Chickens & Collie Pups

11236435_957035944328026_7804502753530423158_n

Once a year folks flock to Fruita, Colorado, USA, to participate in a fun-filled festival celebrating a headless chicken named Mike. Really.

The Olsen family chose Mike for a dinner date for their family in September, 1945—but Mike survived the execution attempt. One of Mike’s ears was cut off and his brain stem was left only semi-attached. Mr. Olsen took pity on the headless chicken and fed him milk and water with an eyedropper. Mike learned to walk without eyes and without a head to help him balance. He wandered around the yard attempting to peck for food with his neck.

Mike traveled the country for the next 18 months and earned $4,500 a month in appearance fees for his family—more than the average U.S. citizen earned. Mike was featured in Time and Life magazines.

After Mike succumbed to a blot clot, he was immortalized by his home town in the annual Mike the Headless Chicken Festival—which is held every year in May.

Losing his head changed Mike (losing our heads changes us too!), but Mike was still a chicken. Even without a head, Mike scratched in the dirt and pecked with his headless neck because he was a chicken. God created him as a chicken and even without a head—Mike was still a chicken.

We brought home a rough collie puppy three weeks ago. She didn’t bark. Three weeks and never a bark. Because she isn’t old enough yet for her second set of puppy shots, Savannah has been isolated. She is not around other dogs and doesn’t hear them bark. We were overjoyed thinking that we had a quiet collie dog who would never disturb the peace barking. She barked today.

God created Savannah as a dog, and dogs bark. Even without the example of other dogs, Savannah learned to bark. Being isolated did not keep her from becoming what God created—a dog.

Mike and Savannah are good examples of the foolishness of people thumbing their noses at God and saying, “I don’t care what kind of equipment I have between my legs, I’m going to choose my own gender.”

A headless chicken is still a chicken.

An isolated collie puppy is still a dog.

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27.

savannah on concrete

https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Without Anesthesia….

Thanks to Insanity Bytes for this beautiful blog. Guard your heart like God guarded Adam.

See, there's this thing called biology...

Not sure who I’m talking to here, myself perhaps, but one of my favorite sayings is, “living through someone’s addiction is like going through surgery without anesthesia.”

In other words, it hurts, it is excruciatingly painful and really traumatic. Addicts are semi conscious, they are medicated, but those who love them are often wide awake and feeling every little thing.

I had a great revelation once about guarding my heart, about coping with the pain of watching someone slowly kill themselves. When God decides to take out Adam’s rib, He causes him to fall into a deep sleep. This was centuries before anesthesia was even a  concept, and yet God in His mercy did not want to traumatize or distress Adam. He kindly put him into a deep sleep and woke him up to a beautiful woman.

That really is the Lord’s heart for us, to wipe away every tear…

View original post 451 more words

Religion Made Me Feel Bad?

Another brilliant blog by “InsanityBytes.” No one can make us feel bad about ourselves unless we give them permission.

See, there's this thing called biology...

truthI need to push back just a tiny bit here. I’ve recently had several conversations with people who say, “religion made me feel bad about myself.” Or “why would I want to live in perpetual guilt, shame, and condemnation?”

Let me tell you, if you’re living in perpetual shame, guilt, and condemnation, you’re in the wrong religion and you’ve missed the entire message of grace, the gospel, the good news.

And that happens too, that is real enough. There are some appalling things being preached in the name of Jesus Christ, some toxic people within the church as a whole, but that is actually few and far between. That is not the norm, and the reason why we are so often outraged about it is because we know it is not the norm, it is a perversion, a distortion.

Religion made me feel bad about myself. Does anybody ever say…

View original post 720 more words

Sacrifice of Love

Luke's Bible

Love this Christian song, “We bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord.” Believe me—reading the words are far more enjoyable than listening to me sing them.

Having a puppy in the house again after so many years reminds me of having a baby: the same lack of sleep, the same getting up incredibly early, potty training, picking up after, vigilant for potential dangers inside and out. It’s exhausting.

It’s also fun. While our rough collie puppy Savannah has brought an increased workload into the house, she has also brought increased joy and laughter. Love is worth the sacrifice—and love always demands sacrifice.

Media in the physical world likes to portray love free from danger, sacrifice, and commitment.  “Free” love doesn’t exist.

The greatest love story of all time epitomizes the foundation of love, a foundation that never shifts regardless of how society shoves and beats against it in an effort to bully it into their agenda.

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for friends.” Jesus. (John 15:13)

Love is beautiful. Everyone needs love. Everyone wants love. Not everyone is willing to sacrifice for love.

DSCN0164

https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Always Adventure

Ange Joy looking up

Nothing and no one ever replaces a friend or family member who transfers their address from Earth to Heaven. We didn’t want another rough collie to replace Angel Joy—there is no replacement for her—but we did want another collie.

Our choice was a rescue collie. There were none. So we looked for collie puppies, which were scarce.

We knew God had selected the right puppy for us when we visited her in Edinburgh, held her, and told her she was Savannah. When we left, I said, “Savannah,” and out of all the puppies—she was the only one to look up.

savannah 2

Collecting her meant a ferry ride in such high winds and wild sea that they brought in big-boy ferry. That meant climbing up two flights of wet metal steps to get to the deck. It also meant getting soaked from the thrashing rain-snow mix. After disembarking, it meant taking a bus to Edinburgh. We wound up with a bus driver who was apparently adverse to windshield wipers. By the time he finally found the switch for the wipers, the windshield was so fogged up that the view was still obscured. The race-car-want-to-be driver had two mottos: never leave a vehicle unpassed, and test the brakes often.

We should have expected to get lost. Alan and I are directionally challenged. We got off the bus in plenty of time to meet the sweet lady who was going to take us to get our Savannah. Alan picked out that name and we both love it. To save money, we decided to walk the short distance from the bus stop to the park-and-ride instead of taking the tram. Rather than following the tram man’s directions, we followed the signs. We turned one street too soon and had to follow it to the end, back up again, then around the other side until we finally found the park-and-ride—which was huge. We had to walk to the back of the parking lot to get to the tram terminal. We got a lot of exercise. A. Lot.

Then we waited and Sweet Lady never came. We were getting desperate when she finally showed up. She wasn’t late. She wasn’t in the wrong place—we were.

After we put Savannah in the box for the trip home, Sweet Lady dropped us off at the tram terminal. Tickets come from boxes on stands. But we didn’t know how to get the tickets, so we watched trams passing us on both sides while we stood beside the tracks fiddling with said box on stand.

alan taking pic of Savannah

Once we finally got on the tram, we got off one stop too soon. That meant repeating the whole process while carrying puppy-in-a-box. When the tram dropped us off at the train, we discovered it ended at the wrong train station in Glasgow. That meant carrying puppy-in-a-box several blocks and down several streets to get to the right train station. Did I mention that we got a lot of exercise? A. Lot. Being on the right train was not the end of our adventure. We still had to catch the ferry back across the water, then carry poor-puppy-in-a-box in the car to our house. By the time we got home it was 8:30 p.m. We left home at 7:30 a.m., and hadn’t eaten since 11 a.m.

We didn’t notice until we were almost home with her that one of Savannah’s eyes is blue!

Lesson learned from this adventure: God cares about the little things in our lives that make us happy. Psalm 68:6 says that “God sets the solitary in families.” He did that, both for us, and for Savannah.

Savannah at home

https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Loving Rocks

rock wall six

I love rocks.

I’ve loved rocks since I was a toddler. This I know because one of my earliest memories is my mother’s command to put the rocks down and quit carrying them around before I drop them on my toes. Which I did. But silently, no matter how much it hurt, because Mom also said, “Don’t come crying to me when you drop that rock on your toes.”

rock wall three

Scotland is intriguing for rock lovers, with amazing rock walls which date back to the 17th century. They were built by hand without masonry cement, without modern tools, and on every landscape gradient. They were built with rocks gathered from the fields, not quarried or cut. Hundreds of years later, they stand.

rock wall five

I’d like my life to be like a Scottish rock wall and leave something enduring behind. But nothing I accomplish will cleave to history with the tenacity and durability of Scottish dry stone walls.

When my temporary life on earth ends, I will join the Rock of Ages in Heaven. “The LORD is my Rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength in whom I will trust…I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised.” 2 Samuel 22:47.

Jesus, the Rock of eternity, the whisper of the next breath.

Rock of Jesus

 

https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Riches in Waiting

savannah 1

Yesterday was a wild day, mostly spent on two different buses or at the bus station in between buses as we traveled from Dunoon to Glasgow, from Glasgow to Edinburgh, and then made the return journey.

First the purple, a deep vibrant purple more intense than a lavender field. A woman at the bus station was wearing it. She was tall and it reached from her neck down to her purple boots, so there was a lot of it. And her hair was purple—except where dark roots nudged through the head bouquet. The purple woman has absolutely nothing to do with this blog, except that some things once seen can’t be unseen and when I close my eyes, the inside of my eyelids are swathed in purple.

bunch purple

Then the revolving glass door. I ran into it. Twice. The first time I almost panicked because the people in the other two sections of the glass door had a way out, but I was in the middle of a glass tunnel with no escape route. That just reaffirmed what I already knew: I am not and will never be a “city” person. I belong in the country with birds, wildlife, trees, grass, wildflowers—even purple ones.

Finally, we arrived at our destination, after a short ride scrunched into the backseat of a car so tightly that no one could even fasten their seatbelt. And we met Savannah. We picked up the tiny merle rough collie puppy and told her we would be her new parents soon and that her name was Savannah. When we left, I called, “Savannah,” and out of the mix of swirling, climbing collie puppies, she was the only one who looked up. She looked up at us and watched us until we were out of sight. Some things are worth waiting for, worth an all-day bus ride, worth getting trapped inside revolving glass doors, worth purple on the inside of the eyelids. Savannah is one of those things.

“Those who wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

savannah 2

https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Blogging Valentine’s Day Style

I love you concrete not strong as God

I admire “River Girl” bestselling author Valerie Poore who faithfully pens a blog a week no matter how difficult and chaotic her life is—thanks for the inspiration, Val.

My writerly goal is to pen a blog a week. Once a week is perfect. When blogs come through one or more a day, they pile up in my email until I have time to read them.

A blog a week hasn’t happened this year. Excuses I can find: medical issues; burnout after writing six books last year; heartbrokenness, heartsickness and disbelief at the U.S. allowing abortion up to birth; fatigue from unending grey skies, rain, and cold temperatures here—laziness. Excuses aside, the truth is…that I’ve run out of ideas.

Not so for Valentine’s Day. It’s already been written for me. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13. Jesus willingly dying for our sins so we can go to Heaven is the greatest love story ever written. No book written by human hands can match it.

DSCN0164

I love my son Luke who has changed his address from earth to heaven. I love my granddaughter Dulcinea. I love my husband. I love many friends and family members. But my love can never match the unequalled love of Jesus who loves all of us enough to have suffered the death we deserve and called us to follow Him to Heaven.

63305_10152322844665495_1281380852_n

Happy Valentine’s Day, all of y’all. Y’all need Jesus.

https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1