Thursday, May 30, 2013


     I am trying to get one last post off before I move to our Minnesota lake cabin. Summer at the lake is the undisputed highlight of our year. We feel so blessed to have this little spot on earth that offers us more pleasure than any place we have ever lived or traveled. The days ahead will be filled with strawberry picking, newborn fawns scampering through our woods, lots of fishing, reading, canoeing, and long hours just sitting by the shore talking and watching the loons.

     It’s funny how every person knows there is a certain environment which satisfies their sense of wonder and belonging more than any other. Some people have mountain air in their souls. Others need a farm and wide open spaces. Oceanside living is embedded in others. It is a lake in the deep woods which feeds me. That is where I feel most at peace, most content. I simply love the simplicity and silence of the woods.
     I can’t wait to drop my crappie jig off the side of our boat. I can’t wait to give the local library my long summer reading list. I can’t wait to pick our wild raspberries and to see if the blackberry bushes are blooming. I can already smell our first campfire by the water. I can’t wait to lie on our dock at night and look up at, as F. Scott Fitzgerald says, “stars like silver pepper” in the navy blue sky. 

     In many ways, by this time of year, I have forgotten who I AM in the midst of what I DO. What I DO so often seems to be measuring stick for my identity. But when I get to our little pine cabin in the woods, without the usual demands on my time and without technology and the creature comforts that we all claim make our lives “better,” I meet up again with my real self. I find the parts of my spirit that many times are sacrificed because of "busyness." At the lake, I laugh more, play harder, sing louder. I am softer, looser, more patient.
     With no distractions, I seek God in prayer more consistently. I hear Him in the songbirds every morning at 5:00 AM and in the sound of waves as we fall asleep. I find Him in the moon’s reflection on the water and in the big, willowy balsam trees that blanket our woods.
     It is not that God is larger at the lake. It is that I am smaller. I am not filled full of “stuff to do.” I have larger spaces in my soul and in my days that are now empty and open to His voice. Be still, and know that I am God, the psalmist tells us. (Psalms 46:10) Be STILL.

     We do not take the privilege of summers off for granted. In that regard, teachers are a lucky bunch, and I am grateful beyond words for so many weeks to quiet my life. I hope that no matter how much vacation you are able to take this summer, you will find some chunks of time to still yourself….to simply BE….to jump off the treadmill and slow the pace of your family life. I hope you will reclaim those fragments of your spirit that “the daily grind” seems to beat down, and remind yourself that you are a great deal more than what you DO.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013


It is no wonder I never knew Truth until I started canvassing Scripture about healing. Truth about God, who He REALLY is, and what His will REALLY is, apart from what I have heard all my life. 

Somewhere along the line, Christians have come to believe that God sends us pain. He inflicts cancer, he breaks up marriages, he sends financial ruin, he tears apart families, he grabs our joy, peace and patience. He does it to refine our character. I hear it ALL. THE. TIME. 

It is such blasphemy.

That anyone, let alone one of His followers, believes that our amazing Creator wants us to suffer is so against everything Jesus came to earth to teach us. 

John 10:10 is key here. SATAN comes to kill, steal and destroy. JESUS came that we (believers) might have life and have it ABUNDANTLY! Where along the line have preachers, teachers, and believers in general gotten off the track and decided that God is the one who has come to destroy, steal and kill? What a heinous lie! And yet, I hear it all the time. "I  know God sent this into my life to make me more patient/loving/a better person (fill in the blank)."

It's a blessed result when people can take some good from the tough lessons in life. But the tough times are NEVER initiated by our Lord, our Father, our heavenly Dad. NEVER. And the only reason people can glean some good out of them is because God is ever present and ever willing to turn it all to good for us.(Rom 8:28) He has to come in and mop up Satan's messes every single day, every month, every season of our lives. 

If we persevere through the trials that Satan sends, can our faith and our character be developed? 

Sure it can. Because God is working in that trial as I said, to clean up Satan's mess. God can use trials in good ways, we all know that. But again, the problem is that too many Christians still think that if we are being refined in some way, then it must have come from God's hands.

If God sent evil and heartache into our lives, and yet says He is our comforter, our binder-of-wounds, our healer, our deliverer.......well, just how twisted is THAT? People believe that God sends the heartache, but is right around the corner to bandaid up what He sent? 


That's almost calling God narcissistic, isn't it?

Satan rides roughshod over the earth. He does a fine job of inflicting sin and sickness all by himself. He doesn't need any help to do his job.

Any of you who are there anything you desire more than to have your children increase in character and spiritual/emotional stature and integrity? Is there a parent who does not long for their child to live an abundant life with their needs met? Is there a parent (aside from an abusive parent) who would intentionally INFLICT their children with poverty, ill health, financial ruin, or evil to teach them lessons about living an abundant life? 

I don't think so.

Would our heavenly Father, who loved us enough to send His own beloved son to die for our sins, intentionally inflict His kids with grief and pain?

I KNOW He doesn't. Scripture is so clear on this.

Jesus paid the price for our abundant life and it was not cheap. The price He paid includes anything that we will ever need as long as we are on the earth, as well as eternal life. He paid the price for our joy and peace and health and prosperity and deliverance and wholeness. His death and resurrection delivered us who are believers from the power of darkness and set us into the kingdom of His son. (Col 1:13)

No matter how we look or feel, we are delivered from the authority of Satan. And that is why we have the right and authority to claim our abundance in the name of Jesus. It is already ours, but too many people are looking past that right and looking at God as if He is throwing heartache their way and wondering why. Too many Christians are believing they need to suffer for the Lord, suffer to be sanctified, suffer to offer up "sacrifices." 

People, we do not need to suffer for Christ. 


HE did the suffering. There is nothing more we need to do to be saved, least of all try to suffer enough to be "good enough" to earn God's love or His promises for this life.

Jesus is God manifested in the flesh, the visible representation of the invisible God. To know God's will is to look at Jesus and His ministry on earth. Was there even ONE instance in the Bible when someone asked Jesus for healing or forgiveness where He said, "Well, now, I gave that leprosy to you, lad, and I think it will help you develop patience and gratitude, so I'd like you to live with it for awhile. I'll consider healing you in a few years."

We see NO case studies in the gospels for Jesus wanting anything other than total healing and deliverance from evil and sin and lack. He pointed everyone toward abundant life through His miracles.

Further, Jesus, when He taught His disciples how to pray, giving them The Lord's Prayer, included a sentence that most people say mechanically, giving no thought to its profound truth. Jesus told them to pray, "THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN."

Oh. My. Goodness.

Jesus tells us that whatever God's will is in heaven, we are to claim it and call it down into our lives here on earth. Do you sense the import of that phrase? The amazing opportunity and blessing it really is? 

There is no cancer in heaven. Therefore cancer is not God's will. So I have claimed God's will for me here on earth is NOT to have cancer. And while I await the manifestation of that truth to the human eye through tests, I do not doubt for one second that it is truth. There is no stage 4 lung cancer in heaven. I refuse it here on earth.

There is no poverty in heaven. There is no anger, sadness, pain, sin, disease, marital problems, alcoholism, defeat, worry, doubt, or obstacles in heaven. None of these are God's will for us. Heaven is full of joy, health, victory, deliverance, love, and confidence. 

God dares us to take Him at His word. Pray, Jesus says, like this: Lord, you send me Your divine will for my life in heaven right down here to earth. I receive all you have for me in heaven to be mine here in this life on earth. 

Do you realize what a bold, amazing prayer that is?

That will is abundance. It is NOT pain and heartache. His will has never and will never be to infuse His kids with dysfunction and grief and fear and strife. That is Satan's realm.

I have put my stake in the spiritual land that I have discovered, and Satan can take lots of licks at me, but he cannot steal my land. I know who sends evil and sickness and sin and heartache. And I know Who the Healer and Comforter and Redeemer is. I know if the devil sends suffering my way that I have all power over all his power in Jesus' name because of Christ's victory over him. (Luke 10:19) And I know that my God wants my life to be one of blessing and health and joy and freedom, and nothing less. 

I thank God for showing me the Truth. 

And the Truth has set me free.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I am home for a few days, trying to reorganize my life before heading back to the lake. I had 3 boxes of things from my folks' move that I had to unpack and put somewhere, and in the process, found myself wanting to whittle down some of my own stuff, so I have piles everywhere. Back to the cabin. Find a place for. Goodwill. Downstairs storage. Sell on ebay next fall. You get the picture. It's a mess around here. Add to that, half my dining room is full of our major packing for the summer. I scrubbed down the lawn chairs today so I could escape outside where everything is neat.

I need to get everything resettled not just for the family that will be renting our home during the summer, but for my own mental health. My father and I share a gene that hates clutter. And I think the gene is reproducing this week as I look around and see clutter everywhere! 

Sam and I had 5 great days together at the lake before he moved to Minneapolis for the summer. He has an internship at the same sports radio station---KFAN---and got a part-time job at Casey's (convenience store/gas station). We are sure hoping he can come home for a weekend or two over the summer. He is well missed.

I went to the orthopedist today about my knee. He has no idea why it is so painful. He basically said that arthroscopic surgery would be the next step, if I can't live with it. It's my call. There is no diagnosis. Dick went with me and is advising me. The way I figure it, if God heals my knee over the summer, then surgery isn't needed. If it is still this bad, I will perhaps assume that God is going to use medical intervention to heal it. We'll see what happens over the next couple months. My sister-in-law and best friend have both had surgery (knee and back) in the past 3 weeks and see their 6-8 week recovery ahead and I do not really want to follow in their footsteps unless necessary.

My oncologist did not want to do another PET scan before I left for the summer, so it looks like we'll have to wait until September to see what the tumor is doing. IF it is still there. My faith bets on it being zapped out of there by then!

My goals for the summer are simple: listen to birds sing and loons call, read my Bible, pick blueberries and raspberries, read tons of books, fish, ski, enjoy our couple's Bible study, get a sunscreened tan, beat my husband at cribbage, and gain 6-8 pounds (I try so hard and just can't put the weight on......I have decided that chemo-constipation keeps one's weight up and when things are running smoothly in that regard and the colon is clean, the weight drops......I honestly have one pair of pants that fits me....Dick will verify that.....I have lost 4 inches on the waist and everything hangs down to my mid-thigh.....grrrrrr).

Wishing all of you who peek at this blog a very happy summer!!

Sunday, May 19, 2013


When I was diagnosed with cancer, I begged God to allow me to live. I wanted my son to have his mom, retire with my husband at the cabin someday, and help move my parents into a senior living situation. I saw the latter as rapidly approaching and I knew what a daunting task it would be going through a large home full of things and needing to decide what to do with everything. I pleaded with God for the honor of being able to help them do this.

My prayer was answered. After 5 months of actively reassigning their possessions, the process was completed---not without tears and anxiety ---last week. I, my family, and a mover finally got Mom and Dad settled in their new digs. (My brothers and sisters-in-law were rock stars. We could not have done it without them.) It is a big change for the folks, with much less space, but it offers any service they may need in the future, and my sweet mom can finally, after 92 years, step away from the stove and have every evening meal served to her on linen tablecloths and a smiling waiter to do her gustatory bidding! She SO deserves this now. They are adjusting and we all really love their cozy new apartment that looks a lot like home.

My best friend Susan reminds me all the time that as you face tough challenges, wondering if you have the physical and emotional energy to perform a needed task, you simply walk in the grace God gives you for that time, for that day and hour. You can do no more or less.

I've made several trips to Fargo in the past year to help them get the ball rolling on downsizing. God meted out generous portions of grace during this preparation and transition time with my parents:

When I didn't think my heart could hold the sadness in my mom's or dad's eyes as they had to throw/give away yet another piece of meaningful memorabilia, God gave me the grace to be strong for them, saving my own tears for bedtime.

When I didn't know if I could spend another hour vacillating between being Hitler-daughter ("No, you just do not have room to take that with you. It's gotta go.") and Comforter-daughter, God gave me the reserve for the next hour of pouring through drawers and cupboards.

I am so not a morning person, but I walked in the grace of supernatural energy, ready to get the day begun by 7:30 and often working 10 or more hours sorting and packing. Only God could have produced that in me.

When I started coughing up bright red blood the night before the move, I had the grace of my doc brother's presence ten minutes away for advice and treatment.

With pain 24/7 in my right knee, I worried about keeping up with the demands of all the running around that this sort of task requires. I walked in the grace of adrenalin that kept my knee pain from limiting me in any way.

This rite of passage requires perhaps more organizational, emotional, mental and physical energy than I have ever put out for one process/task before. But I was not overwhelmed in any way. Pure grace. It was such a privilege for us kids to do this with and for our parents. They have given so much love and support and encouragement to us over the years. It seems a tiny thing to give back.

What did this experience leave me with?

- I am purging my own home NOW.

- I was reminded I can't take anything with me to heaven except the love in my heart.

- I hope Sam will cherish these family heirlooms that I have been given, as I do and as my parents did, and realize that he is a member of the next generation who need to be "keeper of the stories." I hope he values them enough that his children someday can feel that special belonging to a history larger than themselves. Each old chair, each old diploma, each quilt, each Christmas ornament has a Hieb story that we need to be stewards of.

- I was reminded that when Jesus told us (Matthew 6:19-20) to store up treasures in heaven rather than treasures on earth, He knew that there is always a danger that what we own has the potential to own us. Jesus wants us to hold our possessions lightly and to keep ourselves tethered to the eternal, not the temporal.

- As I have taught hundreds of classes over the years about relocation stress in the elderly, I have been armed with anecdotes from my clinical work as well as academic knowledge. From this point on, my lectures on transition will be far far richer with personal experience and not without great emotion.

- I have learned that Mom and Dad gave the 3 of us a great gift when they chose to move to a city where one of their children lived. If not, the three of us would be traveling on a rotating basis attempting to help from afar. I don't know how elderly couples make it without family in town. Friends only go so far when it comes to essential help needed (like medical emergencies, medical advocacy, moves, etc.). What a relief we have knowing my younger brother and his wife are right there for them. They are amazing, and I so respect their commitment to my folks. And I know my older brother and I both rest easier at night knowing they are not stranded in a city by themselves without our help. Dick and I are committed to doing the same thing for Sam someday. We will someday relocate to where HE is so that when we need his help in our older age, he can give it without taking time away from his job and his family. 

- I told my family that after sleeping alone at their old condo the night of the move and walking around the large empty space, I realized that it suddenly was not "home" anymore. It was a vacuum, without laughter, without THEM, without a pulse. After one night, "going home" had already been transferred to the new place. The size and the shape of that space is meaningless. Home will always be where my mom and dad are.

- I have learned that God's grace is enough. 

For anything. 

For everything.

Friday, May 3, 2013


If excessive pride is a sin, then call me a sinner. My buttons were bursting tonight at Sam's documentary film. They filled the large science auditorium and the film was received with thunderous applause. So many people came up to the guys afterwards with compliments and thanks for documenting this extraordinary year of Dordt basketball. Sam, who produced and wrote the film, and Jake, who directed it, deserve high praise for such a professional, moving, (and humorous) piece of Dordt history. Since I couldn't say that in the auditorium, I will say it here!

These were the posters that were put up all over campus.

Sam, if you read this, know how proud your dad and I are of this accomplishment. We know how very hard you worked on this and the hours it took from sleep and "fun," but it paid off in a big way! Dad can't wait to see it! Oh the places you'll go..........


I have been home briefly after 5 days in Fargo helping Mom and Dad with the packing/sorting/discarding process. I will return on Sunday and they will make the actual move next next. I am being reminded of so many things which I will write about soon.

In the meantime, the days here at home have allowed me to re-group, sleep, take care of 3 medical appointments, and reconnect with friends. Today I get to drive over to Dordt (Dick has graduation activities from 9:30-5 and to his great disappoint can't go) to view the premiere of Sam's documentary film being shown to the student body. He's put in more hours on this than he ever thought he would, and I cannot wait to see the finished product. A proud mom I will be in that auditorium!

I am so excited for the week of the 11th of May. Sam and I are going to spend a week alone at the cabin before he moves his gear to Minneapolis for the summer. The ice may not be out, and we won't have a boat to tool around in, and any fish caught may have to be through a hole in the ice, but we will have 6 whole days to catch up after 2nd semester and hang out together. I can't wait. We will miss the Third Musketeer, but he is happy Sam and I get this time together.

Pray that my folks' move goes smoothly, that the transition will be positive, and that they would have no medical issues next week (we had a few emergencies last week and could do without any additional drama next week). Thanks for praying!