Holidays didn’t go the way I had planned!


Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined I would find myself in the Emergency Room late at night the day after Christmas!  I had been experiencing sharp pains in my upper abdomen, right side, for four days but I brushed it off to the effect of a busy schedule, holiday foods, lots of lifting my precious grandchildren: I was sure it would go away “real soon”.   After four days the pain was really getting my attention!

After some discussion with my husband, he felt we ought to at least get it checked out so we headed for the Emergency Room.  The night didn’t unfold the way I had planned but rather it began a 2 night hospital stay with surgery to remover my gallbladder!  Seriously, not in my holiday plans!  I still had company at my house!!

After the surgery was complete and I enjoyed sweet visits, calls and responses from caring friends and family members, it was when I sent my husband home for the night that I lay there in the stillness of the hospital room surrounded with strange lights, beeps, and an occasional nurse coming in to check my blood pressure.   In the silence of that room I had an important opportunity to assess my life, to throw a wide gaze over my life and decide whether or not I am living the way I know is best in all my Life Accounts.

It’s interesting how vulnerable one can feel in a medical institution.  Being a patient is such a stark reality of how fast life (or health) can be taken.  In the Emergency Room when we arrived there had been numerous accidents on the icy streets of Bend.  A number of folks had passed away, numerous others were badly injured.  I couldn’t help but to be faced with the preciousness of “life”.

In the quite of my room I pondered the use of my time, my finances, my talents, and my energy.  I was forced to consider that if my situation had been more serious would I have had any regrets?  What would I change in the coming year?  How would I take better care of myself?  The opportunity to ponder my answers and make fresh committments was actually a gift to me.   Though I am not grateful for my gallbladder attack, I am grateful to have been given a little “wake up call”.

As a Life Coach I do try to live by the same values that I encourage my leaders to abide by: focus on health, priorities, relationships, self-care/growth, spiritual life, and being engaged in “cup-filling” activities.  However, it’s easy to say “well, this is just a busy season! I’ll get back to my good disciplines soon!”   And then one season runs into another and our busy, over-extended life becomes a life-style.  Right? We’ve all been there!

Having surgery was not even in my wheel-house of possibilities when I looked toward the coming holiday season; a total surprise!  With the help of amazing nurses (especially those precious gals who work the night shift) and caring and supportive family; I am on the mend.

As I assessed my life there were many areas that, frankly, I would not have changed; it felt good to lay there knowing that my family, friends, and colleagues do know that I care for them; they are a priority in my life and calendar.  Physically I need to be more mindful of myself and thus, I am putting key appointments on my calendar even now.  I always want to grow more in my relationship with God; as I lay there in the quiet I pondered all I still wanted to know and understand about God; I will dig deeper this year.

My opportunity to “take some time to ponder my life” was a little bit dramatic, but you have the chance to do the same as you enter this new year that is full of promise and possibilities!  Where are you in your key life accounts?  What’s lacking? What’s working?  Where do you want to be a year from now??  Take time to ponder these things by choice and not by a surprise crisis, as I experienced!

Wishing you a fruitful, impacting, balanced, healthy year ahead!

Happy New Year!





I had the privilege of being raised on a 54 acre apple ranch.  We had lots of fun hiding in apple bins, engaging in crazy rotten apple fights, and climbing trees. But being raised on a ranch also involves a lot of hard work: picking apples, clearing  poison oak from around the trees, and dragging pruned apple branches into large piles.  I’m sure I was a whiner and complained often about all the “hard work” in those formative years.

Dragging the pruned apple branches was always interesting to me as I would watch my father cutting off so many branches in each tree; leaving the tree looking a little oddly shaped.  He would explain that without cutting back the limbs the trees would only produce tiny apples and lots of them.  But if he annually cut away, pruned the branches the tree, it would produce healthy apples that would be larger, better tasting, and would have better color.  Dad was right, as Fall rolled around, those trees that had been pruned produced the best apples in the orchard.  Those pruned trees would have filled out again looking healthy rather than being oddly shaped, and they produced apples longer into the season than those that had been left to fend for themselves.

This principle is also very real as we walk out our lives as Christ followers.  Scripture says in John 15:2  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”   Pruning can be a very personal experience as God works with us to produce good fruit.  Pruning can mean that God will remove things in our lives that produce no fruit: Pointless or destructive habits, unproductive relationships, activities that sap our energy, or even areas where we’ve allowed a foothold of pride.

As unpleasant and confusing as pruning often is in hindsight we will be grateful because as Fall turns to Winter and then welcomes Spring you will reap a fresh harvest in your life for which you will be incredibly grateful.

imagesHere’s a simple prayer:

“Lord, I want to give you all of the Glory through my life – but I must admit, I don’t like to see you coming with the pruning shears, nevertheless, help me to trust you more–that you are the Master of the Orchard, the Lord of my life, and the One who Loves and knows me best. So come, by the Holy Spirit, and work in my life so I can be a more Fruitful Branch in your Kingdom.”


Hebrews 12:6