"Welcome to my blog space. I believe that God has carefully placed gems in our paths to fill our days with joy. The challenge for us is to take the time to notice them. My desire is to share the gems in my life so that, hopefully, you will see the ones He's placed in yours. I hope what you read here will be worth your time and you'll want to return often." - Cathy

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Meet Kimberly Rae, Author

My friend, author Kimberly Rae, has Addison’s disease, hypoglycemia, asthma and a cyst on her brain. She knows what it is like to grow tired of dependence on medication, feel guilty over needing help, and to be frustrated over fielding the frequent comment, “But you don’t look sick!” 

Her new book, Sick & Tired: Empathy, Encouragement, and Practical Help for those Suffering with Chronic Health Problems, along with its companion, Laughter for the Sick & Tired, are for the nearly 1 in 2 people in America who live with chronic illness.

When I asked why she wrote Sick and Tired, Kimberly responded, "After having health problems for over 15 years, I wanted a book that was funny, empathetic, encouraging, and a reminder that God loved me and had a purpose for me despite my limitations and pain. I couldn’t find that book, so I wrote it! I want others to read my book as a safe place where they feel believed, understood, and where they find a few reasons to smile!"
To get you started, Kimberly is giving my readers a free excerpt from Sick and Tired:

Sick & Tired: Empathy, Encouragement, and
Practical Help for those Suffering with Chronic Health Problems 

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. Mark Twain

            Sometimes I want to slap a sticky note on my forehead that says, “I am sick. No, I don’t look sick at this moment. But I am not faking having a disease just because I’m not in a wheelchair, and I am not a freak.”

            Now, I am aware walking around with a note like that on my head would actually put me in the freak category. Not to mention all those words would only fit on a Post-It note if I wrote it very, very small, and then people would have to get really close to me to read it, and that might just put me over the edge. I’m really into my personal space.

            The thing is, I don’t like talking about having chronic health problems that interfere with my life. I don’t like the way people look down, over, and around me when they realize I have a chronic illness. Or worse yet, the suspicious way their eyes narrow when they decide it’s all in my head, or I’m a hypochondriac.

            Why does it bother me to tell people I have health problems? Doesn’t everybody at some point? I suppose that’s the crux right there. For most people, the difference is in the “some point” part. They have a problem. They go to the doctor. Doctor fixes it. Life moves on. It was a small, annoying inconvenience.

            For me, and likely for you since you’re reading this, your problem is not so temporary. You’ve got it for life, or until science finds a cure, which for some diseases is as likely as winning the lottery when you haven’t even bought a ticket. So we make people nervous.

            Instead, Americans spend billions trying to avoid anything that even smells like sickness. Our country has enough pills, vitamins, and herbal remedies to make you sick even if you started out healthy, or at least to make your urine turn neon yellow—which is an interesting phenomenon—though likely not worth all the money it took to make it happen.

            I would like to trade in my health problems and be well again. I sometimes think that would be getting my life back. But the truth is, this is my life, and as I have come to (almost) accept that fact and make the best of it, I think there’s hope for me.

            Maybe not to cease being a freak to some, but to cease seeing myself as a victim, as a traumatic case, or even as a lesser being because of my illness.

            That being the goal, maybe I’ll remove the hypothetical Post-It note from my forehead and put it in my back pocket, to be removed periodically and waved in people’s faces only when I’m having a tough day.

            It’s a start anyway. 

Check out Sick & Tired today at www.Amazon.com  Also look for its companion book, Laughter for the Sick & Tired, on Amazon or on Kimberly’s website, www.kimberlyrae.com

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What Is That Smell?

         I am a member of the Encouragers Christian Writing Group. We meet monthly and are assigned a writing prompt for each meeting. At the meeting we each read what we’ve written and offer comments.

         The prompt for the most recent meeting was: I smelled it before I ever saw it. I have never fancied myself as a poet but when I sat down to compose my offering a freeform poem in four movements flowed out of my pen. I’d love to hear what you think. 

What is that Smell? 


Act One:
As I jumped off the bottom step of the school bus,
I smelled it before I ever saw it.
The tantalizing fragrance drew me
through the screen door
and into the kitchen.
There it was in all of its glory,
My sight confirming what my nose had hinted at,
A plate of peanut butter cookies.
My favorite, fresh from the oven.
Thanks, Mom! 

Act Two:
The fresh scent of baby powder
Surrounds the precious bundle in my arms.
Her wide-eyed, animated face
Struggling to produce her first soft coos.
With one almost unnoticeable, red-faced grunt
This idyllic scene morphs into something quite different.
I smell it before I ever see it,
But I know what will greet me
When I unwrap the baby to change her diaper.
How can one tiny human be responsible
For this man-sized odor? 

Act Three:
The meal was sinfully delicious,
The conversation lively,
The evening a satisfying success.
The trip home focused on highlights of the evening,
Until my nose hairs started burning,
And my gag reflex kicked in as I tried not to breathe.
I smelled it about a mile before I ever saw it,
The dead skunk splayed in the road.
I don’t know where he was headed or why,
But he didn’t get there.
He did make one last valiant effort
to leave his mark on the world and
that he accomplished. 

Act Four:
I entered the house after work that day
And took in the smell of it before I ever saw it:
The welcome home scent of apple pie,
With a faint compliment of cinnamon.
The cares of the day melted into thoughts
Of the comfort a warm slice of apple pie would bring.
I rounded the corner into the kitchen and there it was,
My eyes became laser points as I stared in unbelief,
The spray bottle of apple pie scented air freshener
Sat boldly on the counter, taunting me.
How rude!

Cathy Biggerstaff
June 17, 2013
Going out with joy today-

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fear No Evil

Rev. Brady Boyd
             Rev. Brady Boyd arrived at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO, to become their new Senior Pastor. A scandal had caused their former Pastor to resign, leaving a disillusioned and hurting church body. Rev. Boyd brought with him hopes and plans for the future of New Life Church that would move them out of the stagnant stage they were in.

              One hundred days after Rev. Boyd became their minister, another tragedy struck the church. On the afternoon of Sunday, December 9, 2007, a gunman drove onto the campus of the church spewing bullets and mayhem inside and outside the church. When he died inside the church that afternoon, the man had killed two teenage girls and injured several others.

Fear No Evil
by Rev. Brady Boyd
              It took more than two years but Rev. Boyd led the church to full recovery and it is now a vibrant, mission-minded body. He tells the churches’ story and his in Fear No Evil, A Test of Faith, A Courageous Church, and an Unfailing God. The book is filled with golden nuggets anyone who is going through a rough patch can use. My copy is underlined, starred, and hi-lited with gems for future reference.

              One chapter caught my eye in particular as pertains to this blog. Keeping the Lampstand Lit holds a section on four Joy Robbers.

1.       Errant Expectations

Rev. Boyd points out that “healing from life’s heartbreaking events always takes longer than I think.” He notes that impatience with the process keeps us from being kind to ourselves as we heal. He says, “To have expected out community of faith to get over the shooting quickly was a sure way to rob us of our joy. Instead, we had to leave room for healing even as we pursued the joy that was ours to reclaim. We had to allow folks to heal at their own pace.” 

2.       Isolation and Insulation

Rev. Boyd noted that after the tragedy, people wanted to isolate themselves from others and insulate themselves from the world at large. He experienced this himself for awhile. He says, “Fortunately, God would show me that by inviting others into my circumstances, I’d save myself boatloads of pain. By refusing to isolate and insulate over the long haul,” we can be far healthier in the end. 

3.       Fatigue

As the church ran headlong into storm after storm as it reached for recovery, exhaustion set in. Boyd says, “It pays bigger dividends to adopt a strategy of rest instead of trying to power your way through the pain.” As he counsels people who are experiencing losses (jobs, relationships, health, etc.) he tells them, “Unless you find a way to get rest during this ordeal, the pain will do you in.” 

4.       A Windshield that has Become Dangerously Small

There’s a reason why car manufacturers use a small rearview mirror and a big windshield. We are supposed to focus on what is in front of us rather than what we have just passed. According to Boyd, “Whenever we allow the backward-looking, past-oriented, rearview mirror images to eclipse the magnificent work being accomplished before us and all around us, we miss real blessings that God is trying to pass our way. What’s more, we give the enemy of our souls a foothold as he works to deflate our hearts.” 

I’d recommend this book and its gems to anyone who is reaching out to restore the joy in their lives or anyone who knows someone who is. It’s a great read.  

Going out with joy today-


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Saving for a Rainy Day

No one seems to know the origin of the phrase, “Saving for a rainy day,” but most of us have heard it. The basic premise is, though today is bright and sunny, a day will come when conditions are cloudy and gloomy. During the good times it is prudent to save something for the dark days ahead. This is generally applied to finances, but can apply to other resources.

              I am participating in the 90 Day Bible Challenge which involves reading the whole Bible from cover to cover in the ninety day period from June 1 to August 31. I did it once before but this time I asked the Lord to show me blog-worthy passages, ones that I can make fresh and relatable to my readers through current events or happenings in my life. Early in the process God is answering my prayers. Great and wonderful things happen when you read God’s Word.

              Saving for a rainy day is a Biblical principle. The first occurrence is in Genesis 41. Prior to this, Joseph, one of Jacob’s twelve sons, was a victim of sibling rivalry. His brothers sold him into slavery where he ended up belonging to Potifar, the Captain of the Palace Guard in Egypt. Potifar noticed that God’s hand was on Joseph and everything he did was successful so he made Joseph his personal servant. Potifar gave Joseph authority over his house and everything he owned. While Joseph lived there, everyone in the house benefitted from Joseph’s blessings from God.

              After a time, Potifar’s wife made advances toward Joseph but being the man he was, he refused her. Through some conniving on her part, she made a case against Joseph and he was thrown in prison. God continued to bless Joseph, even in prison, as he gave Joseph opportunity to interpret the dreams of two other prisoners.

Two years later, the King of Egypt had some troubling dreams. His Cupbearer remembered the time when Joseph told him the meaning of his dream while he was in prison. Joseph was called before the King to see if he could interpret the King’s dreams. God gave Joseph favor and allowed him to see the meaning of the dreams.

Joseph told the King his two dreams had the same meaning: there would be seven years of good crops and plenty to eat in Egypt, followed by seven years of famine in which people would be so hungry they would forget what plenty was like. Joseph gave the King the resolution to the problem, basically saying, “Save from the plentiful years for the famine to come.” He advised the King to appoint a man to oversee the saving and protecting of the food supply.

The King was so impressed with Joseph, he said, “Can we find a better man than Joseph to take this job? God’s spirit is truly in him.” It is amazing to me to see how these people could see God at work in Joseph’s life but didn’t accept Him as their own God. The story goes on. During the famine, Joseph is in a position to help his own father and brothers survive the famine. It’s an incredible story that comes full circle.

Are you saving for a rainy day? Will you share your stories about saving for a rainy day? They are bound to be a testimony of God in action.

Going out with joy today, praising God for His favor-


Joseph Tells the Dreams’ Meaning - Genesis 41:25-38 NCV

25 Then Joseph said to the king, “Both of these dreams mean the same thing. God is telling you what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows stand for seven years, and the seven good heads of grain stand for seven years. Both dreams mean the same thing. 27 The seven thin and ugly cows stand for seven years, and the seven thin heads of grain burned by the hot east wind stand for seven years of hunger. 28 This will happen as I told you. God is showing the king what he is about to do. 29 You will have seven years of good crops and plenty to eat in all the land of Egypt. 30 But after those seven years, there will come seven years of hunger, and all the food that grew in the land of Egypt will be forgotten. The time of hunger will eat up the land. 31 People will forget what it was like to have plenty of food, because the hunger that follows will be so great. 32 You had two dreams which mean the same thing. This shows that God has firmly decided that this will happen, and he will make it happen soon.
33 “So let the king choose a man who is very wise and understanding and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 And let the king also appoint officers over the land, who should take one-fifth of all the food that is grown during the seven good years. 35 They should gather all the food that is produced during the good years that are coming, and under the king’s authority they should store the grain in the cities and guard it. 36 That food should be saved to use during the seven years of hunger that will come on the land of Egypt. Then the people in Egypt will not die during the seven years of hunger." 37 This seemed like a very good idea to the king, and all his officers agreed. 38 And the king asked them, “Can we find a better man than Joseph to take this job? God’s spirit is truly in him!”