Most of the time, New Yorkers look after their elderly citizens

Photo credit by Ed Yourdon under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

A smile will do so much

   to brighten someone’s day.

And a hug will make such

   a warm difference in today.

You might send a card

   that says just what you feel.

And the receiver won’t find it hard

   to make the feeling lasting and real.

If you listen for awhile,

   you’ll show someone you care.

When you see that smile,

   you’ll know the problem’s easier to bear.

So let’s begin today

 and reach out in God’s love,

To brighten someone else’s day

   with graces from above.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
–1 John 4:7


Photo credit by BK under Creative Common License (CC BY-2.0)

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  –Galatians 6:3


Can you think of a time in your life when despite a rough, stressful season you could still see God working and helping you through it all? Maybe you would consider it a time of grace in your life?

In the last year and a half there have been three times where relatives have been in the hospital for extended times, as well as relatives being in the ER for various reasons. I’ve come to know my way around the hospital pretty well. Being there also brings back memories since it is the same hospital where I used to be a candy-striper/volunteer for many years back in the day! That was certainly a highlight in my life where I got to meet many people and help others.

Times when loved ones are in the hospital and there are so many unknowns of what is going to happen are tough. It is definitely an opportunity to pray for the person individually and to ask others to join you in prayer for your loved one.

During times like this, it can also be stressful to be there to support the person yet be there for your immediate family. But, they can also be times of experiencing God’s grace and love. This was definitely what I experienced this past April and May.

My father in law was in the hospital for a total of 32 days followed by 7 days in a local rehab place. He ended up having two abdominal surgeries within 9 days.


The first surgery seemed to go really well, and he was even up and walking the same day! But, as time went on, things weren’t progressing as expected internally, so they did the second surgery.

The second surgery did not go so well. The doctors were really only able to open him up, and shortly after, just stitched him up, because he started bleeding too much. The doctors were unable to see well enough to do anything. That was pretty devastating to think they couldn’t fix him anymore, and we were unsure where that would leave him.

We really thought we were going to lose my father-in-law this time because they couldn’t do the second surgery and because his mind was not functioning properly after that surgery. He was “seeing” things that weren’t there….like mashed potatoes hanging from the ceiling! He was not too coherent and couldn’t remember too much. He even thought he was on a boat! We really thought his mind was not going to be “normal” again. This went on for many days.

Thankfully, he gradually came back around to the guy we knew. It was really hard to see him struggle so much, lose his strength and especially his mind for so long. But, somehow he bounced back slowly. He was so weak that he had to go to rehab for a week to regain some strength. We were truly blessed that there was a local place that had an opening for him. Finally, he was ready to try returning to home with the help of a walker.

My in-laws have a total of seven kids, three of which are local, one about 1 1/2 hrs away and three in Massachusetts. It is always so remarkable to see all through the years that all the families get along well and support each other, especially in being there for their parents to aid them in whatever way they can.

With the local families around, it seemed people were always there to support my in laws and try to help pass the long days in the hospital. It seemed someone was always there visiting my father-in-law, trying to fill his time and eventually to try to get his mind working again. We would bring trivia questions to help stimulate his mind, ask him crossword puzzles, since he couldn’t even write at the time, and the likes.


Celebrating Mother’s Day 2014 at the Rehab Courtyard.

Things were slow going when he was finally able to come home, and we still wondered if he would return to a normal lifestyle, but we are so thankful that he was pretty much back to normal after a good three months. It has really amazed us all to see how far he came. Family members took up the mowing and house duties that he was not able to do.

For me, this time of grace seems magnified because I was able to share it with a friend as well. It was really one of those God-incidents that at the same time my father-in-law was in the hospital, I ended up finding out a friend’s mother, who I had never met, was in the same hospital. A little prompting inside me had me go visit her mom’s room once I found out. Quite the opposite from our situation that had lots of local people to support them, this friend was really the only one there for her mother. Her one sister lives out of town. So I really felt compelled to visit my friend most every time when I would visit my father-in-law. Being there to listen to my friend and share in her journey and show I cared really blessed me. It was kind of a special bond that strengthened our friendship. It was also a joy to meet her mother who was a very special, sweet lady. I felt blessed to have met her even for such a short time. Every time I would visit, she too, would ask about how my father in law was. Despite her condition, she cared about someone she never even met.

When my friend’s mother went to a nursing home for a few days before reentering the hospital a second time, it just didn’t feel the same not being able to visit her. It was hard to see my friend’s mom’s health decline before our eyes and at the beginning of May she ended up dying. But, I feel my life was enriched and graced through knowing her for such a short time. Meeting my friend’s sister was also a blessing and it seemed like we’d known each other forever. It was my privilege to attend the funeral for this family and try to show my love and support for what they were going through. The same day of the funeral, I was suppose to go out of town to attend a conference, but I knew I wanted to share in the funeral instead. I truly was so blessed through being there and the luncheon after with the family.

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Photo credit by DRAMOS19 under Creative Common License (CC BY 2.0)

It was special to see how my friend was there all the time for her mother….to see that special bond between a mother and her daughter. I know it was hard for my friend to leave her family and three children home so much during her mom’s hospitalization, but she did what she had to do at the time…be there for her mother. I know their Easter was not quite the same this year, but my friend was sharing in her mother’s journey at the time.

I am so thankful for this time of grace that accompanied the sharing of the hard struggles of seeing people suffer. Trying to be there to support one another and help in whatever small way are such blessings in our lives, and God is always there to provide what we need.

Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. –Hebrews 4:16


The Lord places special people in our path–whether it be members of our family, close friends or merely acquaintances.  I truly think some lessons can be learned from each one of our lives–every person is unique and has something to offer. 

It is always hard when we lose a loved one or even a dear friend to death, even if we know the person was a Christian. Their absence leaves a big void in our lives. I think it is always harder on us not being able to be in their presence anymore while on this earth or being able to share life as we know it with them.  But, I think it is important to keep their spirit alive in our hearts through our loving memories of them.   

Maybe you, too, can identify with some of the following thoughts, and reflect on some special people in your life who have gone before you, as I reflect on two special people in my life–my Grandma Palmiter and great aunt, Aunt Hazel.

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Great Aunt Hazel & Grandma Palmiter

I am filled with joy and happiness in knowing that they are spending eternity in heaven with God our Father and Jesus.  I have comfort in this fact since they proclaimed Jesus Christ as their Lord while on this earth, and their life also confirmed this.

Knowing that they are no longer suffering and in pain is a blessing and a prayer now answered.  I look forward to the day when their bodies will be transformed into the likeness and image of God.

The hardest part of losing them is the pain and loneliness that is a part of the lives of those of us who are left behind.  The memories of past years together are such a treasure that is indeed hard to measure.  I will always hold close to my heart the memories of all the Sunday dinners, games and outings, as well as listening to the music played to Jesus on the organ.

The most important memories to me are the ones of the way they lived their life which we can all benefit from.

–Faith in Jesus is most important–He is always with us and will help us.

–Whatever happens in life, we need to make the best of it without complaining.

–Our lives can be made happier in knowing that we helped someone–no matter how small the need may be.  Jesus would do the same.

–By truly listening to someone–whether an acquaintance or even a stranger–you can help ease their burdens.

–Having a good laugh every day is healthy!

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Grandma Palmiter

I thank the Lord for both of them and the inspiration their lives are to me.  They certainly helped me grow closer to the Lord and to become a better person!

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Great Aunt Hazel

The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot. –Proverbs 10:7


As another Christmas season is upon us, I wanted to try to share what is in my heart about Christmas.
For me, Christmas is the second most special time of year. Personally, Easter time would have to be #1 in specialness and sacredness.
Christmas is such a special time because it is the time when we celebrate Christ’s birth. God sent his only Son to earth, as a babe, to live like you and me, and eventually save us from all our sin.
My heart wants so much to capture that true meaning of Christmas each year rather than focusing on gift giving. In recent years, it seems I’ve struggled with how to make that happen, especially as my kids are now older.  It is almost like when Christmas Day arrives it is a let down because we just end up staying home together as a family; it feels like we should be out helping.
Even when my kids were little, we didn’t really promote Santa or extravagant gift giving.  Santa would bring one small gift for the kids, and they would get a few more. I realize for some people their “love language” is gift giving, but I’m sure you can guess that is not mine. For me, I think it’s that I don’t want “things” to get in the way of what is really important to me in life.  I don’t want to be rushing around all the time shopping and miss out on sharing the true spirit of sharing Christ.
Christmas is about PRESENCE, not presents.
It hit me this past Sunday as our pastor was talking about making people feel welcome at church so they want to return again. What hit me the most about what he was saying and finally clicked with me about how I feel, is that for me, Christmas is about being the voice and heart of Christ, through PRESENCE not presents . That is what makes my heart happy and sums up Christmas!
At Christmas, as well as year round, I find joy in focusing on sharing with those less fortunate and reaching out to help others in whatever way possible.
All of these thoughts really were solidified for me the Christmas of 2011, the year that Christmas had a big impact on me.  Our area was hit with a somewhat minor flood back in June of 2006, and then suffered a major flood in September of 2011 from Tropical Storm Lee.  It was the first day of school for two of my children, while my oldest was away at college, where he was spared from any storm experience.  Many people lost so many of their possessions and even worse was losing their physical houses.
We were blessed that our house is located on a slight hill, so our house did not take on water.  We did have a few trees at the far corner of our backyard, near our shed, that got uprooted and fell over into the creek.  Our shed is still standing, though the land underneath the one end of it, is still eroding away from the flood and now any rain. The major thing that was the hardest for us was being without electricity for a good four days. Considering we have a well, we did not have running water for the four days. We are thankful that a ways behind our house, probably a good 180 feet, is a creek, so we made many trips trying to haul water into the house so we could at least flush the toilets.

Destruction and flooding of streets was located as close as at the end of our road, so we could only walk or bike (yes, my youngest son was crazy enough to try to bike through the water!) to get out of the house for a good two days. Trying to find passable roads to finally get dry ice on the third day was quite a challenge. The normal ten minute drive took one and one-fourth hour!


All that to say, Christmas 2011 was a different year for sure. One of my son’s coaches through the years and his family, were one that ended up losing all their possessions, along with their house. That year, we spent my birthday trying to help clean up their house, but eventually they were told the house was too far gone to be livable. It was so hard to see all they endured losing everything they had, even the place where they lived, as well as the many years (actually three years!) of anguish trying to get money from the house that had to be demolished eventually and left a brownfield.
Christmas 2011 was the year that we did not put up a Christmas tree.  It just didn’t seem “right” when so many people truly were left with nothing.  Our family presents were kept simple, and we tried to help those that we could who lost all they had.
Christmas is about PRESENCE, not presents.

Even today, we know people who are so sick, confined to nursing homes or their homes, along with those who continue to be unemployed and seeking employment to help keep their families afloat.  With such hardship all around, it seems our voice and heart of being Christ for them, along with our PRESENCE is the best thing we can offer them.

I can honestly say this Christmas season seems like I am the most aware of the true Christmas spirit and feel I have been blessed with Christmas spirit personally.  I attribute this to the art of music being more meaningful in my life.

I have been blessed to be listening to a new, original Christmas EP that has helped me get more in tune with the Christmas spirit. Attending a “Home for the Holiday” musical as well as experiencing a wonderful production of Handel’s Messiah has also contributed to that experiencing the heart of Christ in my life. Taking time to also go to a Holiday museum to see various Christmas trees decorated in many different ways was very spirit filled as well.

Helping others in need continues to be a way we can be the voice and heart of Christ this holiday season.  Singing Christmas carols and praying for people at a nursing home and a shut-in’s house is always a blessing which helps my heart feel the true meaning of Christmas. I was blessed to be a part of that this year.  Bringing our PRESENCE more than presents is a joyous blessing.

Bethlehem in the  St. Anthony of Padua Church in Istanbul

 Photo credit by Pi Istavan Toth under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

And so this Christmas season, I am thankful to try to be the voice and heart of Christ, sharing PRESENCE more than presents, and for experiencing that through the gift of others.  I pray that you and your families may be abundantly blessed through the birth of Christ.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.  –Luke 2:7

Here is a link to one song on the Christmas EP that I am really blessed by.  It is called Joyful Eyes.


Often times in life we spend a lot of time waiting for things, especially during the hustle and bustle of preparations for Christmas.


-In line at the grocery store

-To get gas for your car

-For your car to be fixed

-For a friend to get off the phone

-For someone to stop and visit you

-For a repairman to fix something

-For the school day or the work day to end

-For vacation to start

-For the day you can get your license

-For the day you will get married

-For your first child to arrive

We can learn some things in our waiting.

Sometimes the Lord may be showing us

–that we need to slow down a little and

–shift our focus to Him.

We can do this, especially when we’re waiting in lines.

Have you ever said a little prayer for the cashier or taken a moment to talk to the person next to you in line? Try it next time you are waiting; you will be blessed as well as blessing another!


Photo credit by Tito & Eva Marie Balangue under Creative License (CC BY 2.0)

I think it is also interesting to think about how the Lord could also be calling us to reflect on how He waits for us so patiently…

–For us to recognize Him in our lives

–To surrender our lives to Him

–To talk to Him

–To spend time with Him

–To recognize Him in our lives

–To accept the great love He has for us.

“The LORD waits for you to come to Him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for Him to help them.” (Isaiah 30:18)


For anyone that kind of knows me, you probably know that I am a huge fan of Third Day, a Christian band.  Since first hearing them at a Women of Faith conference in Rochester, NY in Sept. of 2013, I have been blessed to attend six more concerts of theirs.  One even included a two day event at a Friend & Family Faith Camp in Atlanta, GA with my 13 year old son!  Their song’s messages seem to speak to my soul, encourage, and uplift me.  Yes, I admit I listen to them everyday and the songs always speak to my heart and never get old.


The most current adventure took my traveling buddy and friend, Mary-Jo and I to Youngstown, OH in mid November, which was a good 5 1/2 hr trip….one of our furthest treks together.
This writing was inspired by a friend wishing me a great trip and saying she was expecting I’d come back with some writing/learning experience from my trip. With her comment in mind, it made me stop and reflect on events as they were happening to see what I was inspired to write and share.
More inspiration came from our trip home when Mary-Jo and I were listening on CD to the book called “Lessons from the Road” by Nigel James, road pastor for Third Day.  So, I thought it would be neat to list some “Lessons from a Third Day Concert” that I thought about.
1-It can be a real blessing to get away for a day from the routine of life.
Most of our trips are only 24 hours long due to the fact we have kids at home and the different responsibilities that being wives, and mothers entails.  The traveling usually ends up taking longer than we expect, so there is usually just time to check out the hotel, grab a quick bite to eat somewhere, and head to the concert. But, our time is always blessed.  The car rides gives us a chance to catch up on what is happening in our lives and then to have some good, more in-depth conversations about faith, etc. as well as quality time listening to some great Third Day music. Having a quiet hotel room with no kids is always refreshing. Though short in time, we do come back refreshed and inspired once again.
Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  –2 Corinthians 4:16   
2-We need to trust the Lord in our travels.
As I said, this last adventure was in mid November, and of all years, what did we have here in the northeast that early?  Yes, cold and snow the day before our trip. Thanks to my oldest son’s advice, I had snow tires put on the car the day before in anticipation. When I checked in with Mary-Jo finalizing plans that day, and I told her about the snow tires, she said, “Are you expecting a blizzard or something?”
When we left for the trip, the sun was actually shining.  But, it wasn’t long into the trip when the clouds started coming, then some flurries, then more sun, snow showers, and eventually a period of snow covered roads with low visibility causing us to go 35-40 mph on the highway.  Mary-Jo & I couldn’t help but think of her comment the day before!  Later, we could chuckle about it! There was no choice but to continue on, slow and steady, even though it was difficult because each time the conditions got bad, we had no idea how long it would last.  We didn’t know what would be next. We did have our boots, hats, and gloves in the car just in case.
It comforted me knowing that we had people at home praying for our safe travels and that we were prepared as best we could be to brave the elements. It was also comforting having someone to share the adventure with. Together is better!
When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  –Psalm 56:3
3-Meeting “stars” can be intimidating, but they’re humans just like you and me!  We’re really all the same.
I have been thoroughly blessed to have been part of the VIP experiences with the four main guys of Third Day. Each time, I still get nervous, and feel that I probably appear scatter brained, but I also need to remember that they are really people just like you and me.  The guys are so down-to-earth that they make you feel comfortable, but it’s just that you see them for such a few seconds, it’s hard to say what you want to say, shake their hand, and get your picture with them. It is easy to put them on a pedestal, but they don’t look at it that way.  Their lives reflect that God created us all equal, though we do all have different talents or gifts.
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.”  –Acts 10:34
4-It is a blessing to meet the “behind the scenes” people too.
At this last concert in Ohio, I had the honor of having my picture taken with Third Day’s road pastor, Nigel James. Through social media, I have had the privilege of learning from his wisdom when he posts parts of the devotionals that he does with the guys.  I truly believe that Nigel is a humble, man of God.  It is so special that the guys have him to tour with them.


…All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. –1 Peter 5:5-6
5-It is a huge blessing to make others feel special.
The guys of Third Day are very good at making all their fans feel special and like they are important to them. It always amazes me to think about how often this group does these concerts.  At most of them, they take time to do meets & greets, and often, even signing autographs. The tour manager or road pastor will help get everyone organized so that things move right along. Doing this day after day must get so tiring, especially after an intense concert with no intermission, but the guys never let you feel less than special!  They introduce themselves, shake your hand, ask your name, and even thank you for coming.  They, too, are humble men of God.
One of the things that made me feel most special was at a concert in Lancaster, PA back in August 2014 when they were doing autographs.  Mac, the lead singer, put his hand out to shake my hand, and said “I know you from Twitter.” That blew me away.  From the many, many fans and followers that he has, he actually recognized little ole ME!  Since that time, he even calls me by my name. And, he has been gracious on two different occasions to let me get a picture with him.  Those things have really made me feel so special and appreciated.


Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  –Philippians 2:3-4
6-It is important to let others know how much you are blessed by them.
As a fan whose life has been touched by Third Day’s music, I always wish there was a way to convey to them how blessed my life has been through them and their music.  The first time I met them in person, I had the idea to share with each of them, including some “behind the scene” people of theirs, one of my verse books that I had recently printed up that I had written years ago.  It was fun to write each of them a personal message in the book.  I hope they were blessed in some small way through it.
I wish I knew what else would bless them, but the best I can come up with is to just try to convey to them with my words, whether in person or via social media, how much their music, and they bless my life.
It is more blessed to give than to receive.  –Acts 20:35
7-Third Day concerts are great times of worship.
Having front row seats or fairly close to front, certainly adds to the specialness of the concerts. You can just focus on the guys and their music, it becomes quite a time of worship.  I found this especially true at the last concert in Ohio.  I’m not really musical, but I was there singing along and trying to clap on beat!  I think I was actually doing it a little bit!
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.  –Psalm 95:1-2
8-Getting out of your comfort zone and sharing your faith with other fans can be such a blessing.
My life has also been enriched through meeting more long time fans of Third Day, called Gomers.  The reason I was originally going to the Ohio concert was to meet one such Gomer, who I had been friends with on social media, but never talked to in person. We had been conversing back and forth, and actually inspired each other to attend the concert.  Because she was going, I was going, and vice versa.  It was a great blessing meeting her in person, along with a few other Gomers at that show.  Doing something out of my comfort zone, like talking with these strangers over a late night dinner was a blast!  When we reach out to others and support one another, I think we are certainly blessed in ways we don’t expect.


For where two or three are come together in my name, there am I with them.  –Matthew 18:20
I am truly so thankful for the many ways my life has been enriched the last year and half since seeing Third Day in person for the first time.  It has truly had a ripple effect on my life…..
–Seeing Third Day for the first time
–Getting inspired with Third Day music
–Meeting Third Day in person
–Expanding horizons to more social media
–Meeting many wonderful people through social media
–Inspiration to write again and share what is in my heart
–Joining a Christian blogger group to spread joy
–Meeting and reading inspiring posts
I can’t help but be amazed and so thankful!!
So, to the guys of Third Day (Nigel included!), I end with this…..
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  –Philippians 1:3-6 
This is one of my favorite Third Day songs called “Offering.”


How can you spread a little kindness each and every day for Christ?  When we do any little act of kindness, we should do it freely, not counting the cost or looking for repayment–and, keeping in mind that our giving is unto the Lord.  Jesus gave himself so freely for each one of us–shouldn’t we, with His power, be able to do the same?

To help us spread a little kindness, we need to forget about ourselves and our trials, and put other people as a priority.  We also need to slow down a little in order to be aware of other people and their needs.  Think of how you can show some kindness toward the people that God puts in your path each day–be it family, friends, coworkers, or even complete strangers.

Your kindness might be:

  • Asking about a relative
  • Calling a neighbor who is home-bound
  • Giving a young mother a break from her children
  • Leaving a “surprise” note to brighten someone’s day
  • Defending someone you see being wronged
  • Giving some extra money to someone in need
  • Speaking a sincere “have a nice day” to the stressed cashier

Every person we meet is an opportunity to spread Jesus’ love through our kindness.  We just never know the circumstances or situation that someone is facing or experiencing.  By spreading a little kindness, we may ease their problems without ever knowing it while on this earth.


Photo courtesy of Barbara Mazz under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

We may not always feel like showing some kindness to someone and it might not always be easy, but it certainly is a blessing knowing that it is exactly what the Lord would do and expects from each of us.

Jesus’ life gave us  examples of spreading kindness to others.  It did not matter to Jesus whether the people were lowly or lofty. Jesus showed kindness in healing the ten, lowly, outcasts of leprosy and with acknowledging the rich Zacchaeus, who was in a tree trying to catch a glimpse of Jesus passing by.

In our reaching out to one another in Jesus’ name, we will be following in His footsteps, and our reward in heaven will be great!

He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy. –Proverbs 14:21


Photo courtesy of MTSO fan under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


Is there anyone in your life who you consider lives a truly inspirational life?  By this, I mean that their whole life is a true inspiration. I have found the people’s lives that have the greatest impact on me are the ones who endure lives filled with physical challenges.

As I was thinking about the people I have known through the years, two special people fall into that category of “Inspirational Living” for me.

When I was a young teen, I started volunteering at a local hospital delivering flowers to patients, working in the coffee shop and doing various other activities. As time progressed, I eventually got to help out on a patient floor as well.  During that time, I met a special lady, Veronica Dribnock, who ended up being a patient at the hospital for three and half years. She was soon nicknamed “The Sweetheart of North Tower 4.”

When I met Veronica, she was a quadriplegic and had lived that way for 18 years.  I had the blessing of knowing her for about 3 years before she died.  Here is a short synopsis of some of the physical challenges she faced so valiantly.

By the time Veronica was a senior in high school, they learned she had a disease that caused her to have a weakness in her arms and legs.  Eventually, she was diagnosed with Syringomyelia, which is the growth of tubular cysts in the spinal cord.  As the cysts grow in length, the nervous system’s messages to various parts of the body weaken and will eventually be shut off. Unfortunately, many times the cysts can not be removed surgically because of their location.

When Veronica was about 25 years old, she could no longer work due to the progression of the disease. She became completely paralyzed except for some movement in her hands.  Veronica was able to stay in her parent’s house for 18 years. They put her bed in the living room so she could see out the big picture window. When Veronica was 43 years old and developed pneumonia, it was decided she would stay permanently in the hospital because the weakened condition of her chest muscles made her very susceptible to respiratory infections.

By the time she was in the hospital, the disease had claimed the little movement she had in her hands. Veronica did not want to be a burden for anyone and wanted a little bit of independence.  It was such a blessing that a friend of hers who was also an electrician at the hospital invented a device that enabled Veronica to have a control box resting on her chest.  This control box had some tubes coming out of it which she could use her chin to activate.  In the beginning, there were three controls…one for the TV, one for the telephone, and one for the nurse’s call button. Shortly before Veronica died, the electrician had perfected a nine function device for her use.

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Veronica Dribnock
Photo credit:  Hi-Lights of Wilson Memorial Hospital-June 1980

 Despite being a quadriplegic for 21 years, Veronica’s life exemplified many things that we can all learn from.

  • Veronica always had a big smile on her face
  • Veronica was always positive no matter what her circumstances
  • Veronica always cared about others, asking about  them and their family
  • Veronica always made you feel special and like you truly mattered to her
  • Veronica faced life with courage and faith
What a wonderful example of a grace-filled life Veronica’s life on earth was for each of us that came in contact with her.  I am so blessed that I had the opportunity to meet her and to call her friend. For me, it was always a blessing to help her in whatever small way I could.  I am sure that her life and example to me when I was a young teen has helped shaped me into the person I am today.

It has been a distinct honor and privilege to have an inspirational couple in my life, who have really come to mean even more to me these past few years.. Dr. Gregorio Pedroza, and his wife Lilly.

It is amazing to think I met them about 31 years ago, but during the past 2 1/2 years, I have gotten to know them more personally through frequent visits to let them know how much we love and care for them, and to provide assistance in whatever small way we can.

Greg’s story began back in 1981 when he was 40 years old.  At that time, Greg & Lilly’s three children were ages 18, 17, and 16 years old.  Their middle child, Vince, was my husband’s best friend while growing up.

Greg was experiencing some tingling in his right hand. At this time in history, there were no MRI’s or CAT scans available, so he endured many difficult tests to determine the cause.  Greg ended up seeing 19 doctors before a Dr. in NYC (about 3 1/2 hrs from their home) finally discovered he had a tumor at the base of his brain inside the spinal cord.

Drs. told Greg if they operated, he would have a 99% of being a quadriplegic, and if they did not operate, they gave him six months to live.  The tumor was located near the area of the body that controls your heartbeat, functionality to breath, and other involuntary bodily functions.  The Dr. also said if they operated, whatever condition he woke up in, would be the way he would remain.

After this final diagnosis, Greg came home for a year at which time he basically slept all the time.  It took that long to find a Dr. who could operate using high frequency sound rather than a knife because the tumor was such a bad one, and in a location which made it even trickier to operate on.  The Dr. they finally found in NYC had actually only performed this procedure on children, never on an adult.

Sept. 7, 1982 was operation day for Greg.  He was in the hospital for two weeks, and then spent three months in rehab in NYC.  The result of the surgery was that Greg lost the use of his right arm, his balance was not too good, and he could walk only with assistance. His left side was left strong but numb. Greg arrived back to his home on Dec. 20, 1982. He endured both chemo and radiation as the tumor was cancerous. Jan 11, 1983, Greg returned to his job at IBM as an engineer manager.  When he returned to work, he used a scooter to start with and eventually he graduated to a walker, then cane. Greg was able to work for 10 more years before his health challenges forced him to retire.

The Dr. ended up “unroofing” Greg’s spinal cord, so in addition, he was left with continual, chronic pain, 24 hrs, 7 days a week, that he has now endured for 32 years.  This is called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome which is characterized by severe non-stop burning pain, and extreme sensitivity to touch. “Dante’s Inferno”, the feeling of constantly being on fire is another constant in Greg’s life.  Sleep is the only refuge he gets from this feeling of fire.

Two and half years ago, Greg & Lilly were at a friend’s cottage celebrating the Fourth of July holiday.  He was pretty much wheelchair bound as his condition was deteriorating his leg use even more.  He had an unfortunate accident where he ended up hitting the back of his head on three steps as he fell while in the wheelchair. This event paralyzed him, but he did recover some use of his left hand from the elbow down. He is now considered a limited functioning quadriplegic who is wheelchair bound.

Greg ended up in Syracuse, NY (about 1 1/2 hrs from their home) at a hospital for six weeks and then in a rehab unit  for another six weeks.   It was at this time, that we would go visit him and where I gained even a greater appreciation for what he and Lilly were going through. It was so hard to see what he was enduring after already living for so many years with such physical limitations.

It has been a long road for him and Lilly these past few years.  We were so happy they were able to bring Greg home after rehab despite the additional physical challenges and limitations.  With Greg’s great mind thinking of ways to do things and different inventions, my husband, and other people Greg knows have adapted different things in their house to allow him to stay at home, which has been a huge blessing.  It has helped Greg still be somewhat independent. Their house now sports a pretty amazing contraption they came up with to help Greg go to the bathroom by himself.

To help him forget about his pain, Greg, through the years, has turned to storytelling and writing.  He has traveled extensively sharing his stories, laughter and joy.  It helps him forget for a few moments the constant pain he endures. I think his poems of alliteration are pretty amazing. Greg has published the following:

“My Glow Days”-Book of poems about his pain

“Short Stories from the Heart”-Book of short stories

“We”-Love poems to his wife, Lilly

6 CD’s of Short Stories

Throughout Greg’s constant pain and health issues through these 32 years, Greg’s life is characterized by service to others and love for others.  I am always amazed to hear how he is tutoring someone in college, ministering to others who are suffering, calling shut-in’s to check on them, writing to inmates in prison, praying for people who send him cards, and the list goes on and on.  What a beautiful example of sharing Christ with others no matter what your circumstances!

In sharing Greg’s story, I can’t help but also say how much respect and credit that I have for his wife, Lilly. She, too, lives an inspirational life because she is always there to support Greg with his physical needs and in doing so many things around the house that Greg can not do.  She literally has become Greg’s hands and feet to keep their house still running. The patience, unconditional love and service she provides is exemplary. Another of Lilly’s gifts is her love of cooking to serve others.  But, thinking about how she does even all the cooking herself with such love, is also an inspiration.  Shopping, cooking, and cleaning up every single day, at every single meal with no break without complaining is a wonderful thing.  She too, is also always upbeat and loving.

 Dr. Gregorio and Lilly Pedroza

Despite the many health challenges and constant pain Greg has endured the past 32 years, Greg has also presented us with many positive examples of ways to live that we can benefit from:

  • Greg is always cheerful and has a great smile to share
  • Greg is so positive and finds the blessing in everything
  • Greg has a great faith which helps keep him going
  • Greg always cares about how others are doing
  • Greg is always expanding his knowledge and learning
  • Greg continues to help others no matter what his physical limitations might be
When I go to visit Greg and Lilly, I am always refreshed and inspired, leaving much more blessed than when I came.  Greg and Lilly are such wonderful examples of making YOU feel special, loved and cared for and how to not let anything stop you from doing what God has called you to do.

I am so thankful for the wonderful lessons that Veronica, Greg, and Lilly have taught me by their truly inspirational lives.  I wish they did not have to suffer, but some day they will be free of their physical limitations again.  In the meantime, it is a blessing to view the inspirational lessons their lives are and to try to be there to help others in whatever way we can.

…And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.  –Romans 5:2-5


I know a man who walked this earth a long time ago. His entire life was spent being a servant—serving everyone in love.

While on this earth, He continually served mankind by physically healing the sick, the lame, and blind—as well as restoring their souls and spirits.

This servant came for everyone. He did not discriminate. In His eyes, no matter how “good” or “bad”, all were equal. His love for each person was unconditional in every way.

His servanthood shone forth even on the night he was betrayed by a friend. He “lowered” himself and washed the feet of His friend with so much love and compassion.

The greatest way in which He served all of mankind was when he was hanging on a cross. This servant bore our sins and infirmities—He endured the suffering, agony, and pain in order to give eternal life to us.


Photo credit by Waiting for the Word under Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0)

This man’s life is a perfect guide for living the life of a true servant. May we serve one another in humbleness and love as we follow the example of the greatest servant—Jesus Christ.

…Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave–just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. –Matthew 20:27-28


Have you ever thought about the influence your words have on others? Your words have the ability to build others up in a positive way or tear them down in a negative way.

One weekend this summer, I was trying to decide whether to go on a long trip to a family reunion by myself or just stay home. The first night of the reunion, one of my sister-in-laws at the reunion called to jokingly ask what kind of toppings I wanted on the pizza, as they were ordering some.  It was a joke because they were five hours away!  But, it made me smile to think that she thought of me and called me.  She asked if I was coming the next day.

Truthfully, I was still feeling overwhelmed with finishing a long day of work with pressing deadlines, taking care of two kids who had wisdom teeth out, running to the store to get them more varieties of food they could eat and the list goes on. I told her I would wait and decide the next morning.

The next morning came, and I was still unsure what to do…whether to go or just stay home. Once again, this same sister-in-law texted me to say she thought I should come. Her words inspired me to really get ready and start on my journey. I felt she really wanted me  to be present and join in the festivities.


So, I started to pack up for the long ride. It was suppose to rain along the way, but thankfully the weather was just fine the whole way, I got to play lots of good music, and the traffic was not bad at all. It turns out I was very thankful to go, and everyone was very happy to see me.

At times, our words can have an adverse reaction on a person. Can you think of a time when someone said something to you that maybe was very cutting and hurtful? Maybe the comments even made you feel incompetent in some area of your life.  In many cases, it is very likely that the person did not even realize their comment hurt you.  It might be possible that now you totally alienate yourself from the person, but hopefully, you either told the person how  the comments made you feel, or you chose to forgive them and move on.


Living Waters by Len Matthews under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

It is important to remember that your words have the power to built someone up or tear them down. Try to think before you speak in the hopes of not tearing someone down, but rather encouraging them along this journey.

A simple statement or two can have a big influence on how someone views themselves or a situation.

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”  –Proverbs 16:24