Yesterday I Saw A Miracle

Mary Cates
By Mary Cates

No names are mentioned in this article, but many readers will know of whom I write…

As the hours went by, breathing was getting more difficult. Hope hung in the air that soon the stress and pain of COVID-19 would subside and things would get better. But days later his oxygen level dropped to a critical low. Immediately he was whisked away in an ambulance and rushed into ICU.

The ventilator quickly assisted his lungs while plastic tubes were hooked into various veins, carrying hopeful liquids that would help support life. There was no miracle cure. Putting him into a highly sedated state, it was his body and God that would make the decision one way or another.

No family or visitors were allowed to see him. His wife and daughter were kept at home by strict government mandates and hospital quarantine procedures. Telephone reports from the nurses and doctors were all that was allowed to his wife. No one who loved him was there to comfort him.

This man and his family are not blood-related kin to me, but they are like my “family”. God put them in my life, and my husband’s life years ago. With each year our friendship has grown into something warm and wonderful. They have filled many sorrowful holes in our life. It was heart-wrenching for us to not be with this man and his wife and daughter during this crisis time.

And then, without mercy COVID-19 found its way to his wife. The picture seemed to be changing daily.

My husband and I had experienced many permanent goodbyes in our marriage – both in death and in hurtful shunning. Too many had already gone out of our lives. And now facing the horror of COVID-19 and it’s deadly power, one question kept coming to me again and again, would another be taken from us?

The days went by and the fight for his life kept on. We could do nothing but pray and wait. His wife was thankfully managing the virus at home, isolated from everyone except her loving daughter. The lock-down on all sides was like being in prison.

Where was God? Why was He allowing this pandemic and the nightmare that was following it?

Everyone that knew this family could only do one thing……trust God. That’s all we have sometimes – just to “trust”…..the best we know how to do.

Yesterday I saw two miracles sitting in front of me, as my husband and I sat around a patio able set with snacks and pizza, with this man and his wife sitting appropriately spaced from us. Everyone very much alive and laughing and enjoying each other again. The moments of fear and doubt behind us. The joy of life and living still ahead of us.

Trusting the best we knew how was all that was needed. God took care of the rest.

The Birds Keep Singing, My Heart’s At Their Sweet Song

It is “May 2020”. There will be no dancing around the maypole at school or the folklore of celebrating spring — well, not unless we put on our face mask and keep 6 feet away. Who would have guessed this terrible pandemic would come to steal our peace, our contacts of love and fellowship, and worst – the health of those we love!

Yet, in the sadness and our efforts to stay safe I see the robins on my lawn and hear the geese honking in the pond. Some have little babies already!

The animals as well as the birds are frolicking and performing as always. They know nothing of COVID-19. Tenderly I am reminded that not one sparrow falls to the ground without God’s care (Matthew 10:29). But still, I worry every time I pick up groceries that COVID-19 will float into my nostrils. I wear my mask with hopeful confidence that it will keep me safe. And while I slip the elastic around my ears, I am reminded again that we are more valued than many sparrows (verse 31).

In a world of almost 8 billion people, it is hard to fathom God knowing and watching over everyone – but He does! If even the hairs of our heads are numbered by God (verse 30), then everything about us is observed, and is cared for by Him. He is in control and we must trust Him with our lives. We are much more than many sparrows. No matter what comes, we must trust him. (See page 13 of my book: Take Charge of Your Destiny” – the story of my brother Robert.)

God bless and keep you!

Plants, Pets, and Vidalia Onions

There have been some interesting studies on pets and plants and the effect they have on their owners. Things like stress reduction, lowering blood pressure and in some cases, thought to lengthen life.

I think of my wonderful Jack Russel Terriers that were with me for 16 years. (Pictured) They were a handful. My husband and I were forced to rule them with an iron fist because they fought. I honestly believe they were by-polar – if dogs can have psychological problems. One day they loved each other and would cuddle in the same bed, the next day they were growling and fighting. The best thing about them was their loyalty and unconditional love toward us. Believe it or not, they were so smart we often spelled words so they wouldn’t know what we were up to.

As for plants… I love to work in my patio garden, but the green thumb belongs to my husband. He knows how to groom a lawn to perfection, and grow scrumptious vegetables. When we lived for a short while in the south, he grew the most delicious turnip greens and the sweetest Vidalia onions I’ve ever tasted.

Speaking of plants, my neighbor is on a cruise in the Mediterranean. She asked if I would take care of her Peace Lily for three weeks. Sure! No problem. So her husband brought it over just before the uber driver pulled onto their driveway. The pot was so heavy I had to ask him to come in and set it down for me. I was shocked! All along I had been expecting something small, like a little African Violet. After he left, I realized I was in charge of a prized plant. After all, nothing that large could be trivial! Oh gosh, what would I do if it died while they were enjoying Rome and Israel? It’s like babysitting a child — hoping while it’s in your care they don’t get hurt or sick.

Okay, I can do this  — two thirds of water a day. Maybe talk to it a little too.

Say Hello!

I’ve learned a lot in my lifetime….still need to learn more, but one thing that comes back to me time and time again is our mortality. What I’ve understood most in that area of thought is that only acceptance of our mortality makes us free to live and appreciate the wonder of life. After all, it is death that reminds us that we don’t have forever. So the point in this conversation is that if you and I are going to make our “statement” toward some worthy purpose or express our love for another person, or accomplish anything, we must do it now.

So many times I’ve sadly learned that there’s no holding back, because when I’ve done that – I lose. We must let go. Saying “hello” to something or someone will most often lead to a “goodbye” but the journey with the project or the person is what we call “life”. And in that “life” the light of you and I is brought forward in wonderful ways.

Never sit back thinking that you haven’t got what it takes. Grab today with all you’ve got! Say hello! Let God handle the goodbyes.

Love is Worth the Effort

To love is the greatest of human experiences and sooner or later we all realize that without it life is empty and meaningless. Love generally never disappoints, even if it seems refused and not worth our effort. Even if it brings uncertainties and confusion. Yes, even if we never get a response, because God sees our effort if no one else does.

Humans are such strange creatures at times. We want to be loved, but sometimes we get into a mood that reeks of emotional detachment. I’ve been there, where I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me or to show love toward me. It’s that: “leave me alone” mood. In this mood we consciously mute our emotions to protect ourselves.

In my book: “Take Charge of Your Destiny” I encourage the thought that it’s never too late for anything.  Never too late to grab a dream and run with it. Never too late to hope for something that seems impossible.

Most of all, it’s never too late to love.

Never too early to love.

Even when things get so messed up that we don’t know where to begin or where to end, it is love that eventually conquers it all.

I hope your bathroom never looks like this!

Let me share with you what I wrote in my book  “Take Charge of Your Destiny”: “Beautifully painted in all creation and nature we see God’s love. It is evident in the first cry of a newborn baby. It is there at the dinner table where our children and grandchildren gather like beautiful olive plants around our table. It is there when healing comes from the hands of a surgeon. It is there when restitution is made after years of shunning.”  It is there…….”  !!!!

Poet Annie Hall says it well in her poem “Through Thick and Thin”:

I don’t have to be with you to know you’re there.
We don’t have to see each other to know that we care.
We could be apart for years upon end
and still remain the best of friends.

Love is the most wonderful experience of all emotions.

****

Just 20+ days before Christmas. For that person you wonder what to give, consider giving one or both of my books.

The Novel: The Secret Hideaway on Bridgeton Hill.  Mystery, suspense, and romance throughout the pages. Special price: $10. Includes shipping.  Email me at:  macprod4@gmail.com

This non-fiction book is aggressively encouraging and spiritually inspirational:  Take Charge of Your Destiny, by Mary Cates. Get it on http://amazon.com

Just click into Amazon above and ask for Mary Cates Books.

Can You Hear The Opera in The Streets?

When you and I were babies there was undoubtedly someone declaring that we had our mother’s eyes, or our father’s determination, or Aunt Maggie’s dimples. Even so, there we lay with a face like none other, a voice that brought a brand new sound into the world, and a mind that would be our most unique contribution to the world.  The ogling and classified resemblances goes on, and without notice people create the first sign of “conformity” in our lives.

When we get right down to it, our individual value lies in the fact that we are, first of all, who we are…..even if others might struggle to make us something different.

I truly believe if people succumb to allowing others to put them into a mold, or we ourselves put people into our molds, we end up with no wonderful surprises. The laughter gets stifled. The joy of individual creativity is over-looked. There is no opera in the street. There is no wonder – no imagination.

We can’t deny that we live in a world that requires a measure of conformity in order to be popular or to simply survive. I’ll be honest – I concede to fashion, to buzz words, and to certain behaviors. And not without saying, there are customs to be respected, precedents to guide us, and rules we must follow.  But in all of this conformity there is plenty enough left for us to be the individual we were born to be, and to make our mark whatever it’s yet to be. And I encourage this for all of us, no matter what age!

A fascinating observance I’ve come across is that it takes less effort to know people in groups than it takes to know a person individually. Nothing wrong with that, but on the flip side, when we make an effort to get to know someone and we seek out their “special qualities”, the opera begins – the music starts. How many times have you casually known someone, and when suddenly it happens that you get to know them better, you are delighted? It’s happened to me many times. Suddenly the person comes out of the mold I have put them in and I’m astonished at how wonderful it is to know them. How beautiful they really are!

The opera is there. Music is in the street if we look for it and listen for it. In many ways we can be the “song” in someone’s life.  

 

NOTE: I am no longer on Facebook, so if you enjoy my website, I encourage you to press (click) my blogs to Facebook, and any other social media you are on. This gives me visibility that helps to offer my inspirational book to the public.

This book is available on http://amazon.com

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Isn’t it Interesting

In view of the division Americans are witnessing in our Government and how it is affecting our daily lives — meaning, the negative influences in our own spirits — I find it difficult to write about anything else.  But knowing that there is Someone Higher than problems or people creating problems, has inspired me to blog a narrative on “warm hugs” and happy faces.

Isn’t it interesting how we often reserve our embraces for intense emotional occasions of extreme happiness, tragedy or catastrophe?

Some people, and families, are natural huggie-bear, kissie-face people, but for most of us, we wait for the security of another’s arms after an earthquake, flood, accidents or death.

I know a few macho men who never hug or kiss a friend or relative because they think it’s trite to do this. However, they pat another’s back or slam a bear hug on someone over a “hail-Mary” win at a sports game.

In my opinion there’s no big deal to showing affection. I see it as human affirmation. It says I value you, and I cherish our friendship.

Some medical researchers have written articles confirming that a warm hug can be good for your health. I believe this, because I know how I feel when someone initiates a hug. I remember my mother, twenty years after my father passed away, standing in the middle of the greeting room at an Assisted Living facility with her arms held out to me, saying: “I need a hug…..I need to feel someone holding me.”

Hugs cost nothing, yet they are priceless to those who receive them.

Have fun today. Give a hug. Steel a kiss if you can!

First edition of the novel “The Secret Hideaway on Bridgeton Hill” is available for $12 (includes shipping and handling). Click into the CONTACT page at the top of your screen and post your request to me.

The non-fiction, inspirational book: “Take Charge of Your Destiny” is available on http://Amazon.com Request Mary Cates Books.

It’s Pure Magic

I believe there is something good, something beautiful, something positive in everyone. I recently heard of a man who saw an elderly lady with a saucy hat perched on her gorgeous gray hair. Her face was buried in a newspaper while she waited at the doctor’s office for her name to be called. The man decided to respond to his instinct and said to her, “You look lovely in that hat.” She put down the newspaper, smiled and said: “Women have lost the art and joy of wearing hats these days. I love them! Thank you for noticing.” And that was the start of a long animated conversation in which she became more radiant and even more lovely.

It cost the man nothing, and ended up  making a long wait for the doctor very pleasant.

This story makes me think of my sister-in-law, Barbara, who lives in Illinois. When we have the pleasure of shopping together at a mall, we never meet a stranger. She and I are “people persons”. We also respond to our instincts and never meet a stranger when we’re together. We’ve had so much fun meeting and talking to people we will never see again.

It really takes so little time and energy to do something like this. There’s pure magic in friendly words.

Check out another website: Terry Overton, Author

Terry Overton, author and friend.

REMINDER: Only 8 months left to order my book: “Take Charge of Your Destiny” by Mary Cates. Preview and order it on http://amazon.com

Twenty-four Years makes Little Difference

Strange how history repeats itself.

It was August 1995 and 3 months before America would go to the polls to vote in the November 1996 Presidential election. I was concerned, as I am now, that the world was slowly creeping toward a climax;   i.e. its highest point of culmination with tensions playing out in every arena.

 

 

Past history showed that wars and evil could change a nation, or the world, in quick time.

Here’s what I wrote in 1995 on the editorial page of a monthly publication I was privileged to be both writer and editor for:

“World events are rapidly changing history and blowing the musty seal off the Apocalypse. The presence of end time prophesy in world events is as conspicuous as a clown act in an opera house. No longer is there a timid tap on the heart’s door. The sound of God’s passion for the world almost suggests bruised and bloodied knuckles. Can you sense it?  In this year’s Presidential election, certainly “character” and “experience” should matter at the polls. But looking at the deeper picture of what’s at stake from our own safety advantage – and what is also predicted in prophesy – our choice should go beyond the personality, and be rationed with wisdom.”  (9/11 was just 6 years away when I wrote this. Terrorists completely changed our country and the world in a matter of one morning.) 

History often repeats itself to a point that the past is repeatable in similar ways. I believe I can write the 1995 editorial today and still be on the same target. For, the years that have flown by are but a wink to God, and I am still deeply concerned for the nations of the world, especially ours.

If I am held to the TRUTH (which I am), I truly believe there exists obligation to be sensitive and appropriately involved in the political state of our country….which is presently in division and a mode of dis-respectfulness. It is TRUTH that matters. “It matters above everything else and clearly demonstrates that it cannot be successfully fought. To fight it guarantees a frustrating blunder. (Quote from my book: Take Charge of Your Destiny, page 25.)

Shakespeare penned it superbly:

This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

May God bless America and continue to make us the shining star on a hill.

 

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Grandma Is Such A Ham!

It’s amazing how grandparents and parents pass down the “family traits” and some of them are actually laughable. Take for instance this hilarious story: A young wife went about cooking her first ham dinner for her husband.  Before she put the ham in the oven, she cut off both ends. When her husband asked her why she did that, she replied that her mother always cut both ends of the ham off before putting it in the oven.  Twenty years later, her daughter fixed a ham dinner for her husband, and cut off both ends of the ham before shoving it into the oven. Her husband asked why she did that. Her response was:  “My mother and grandmother always cut off both ends of the ham.”  

One day the granddaughter was visiting her grandmother and while both of them were in the kitchen, the granddaughter asked:  “Grandma, why do you cut the ends off the hams you cook?”  Waiting for a very scientific gourmet-type answer, Grandma said: “Because my baking dish is too small.”

I never knew my maternal or fraternal grandmothers because they passed away before I was born, but I remember when I was a little tyke, my Mom put dirty dishes in the oven. The answer to that weird habit was: “Company is coming and I don’t have time to wash them.” 

Thank goodness for our dishwashers! 

Please add to this post the funny things your family does (or did). We all love a good laugh.

 

Gift idea for the holidays coming up:

Order on http://Amazon.com my inspirational book: “Take Charge of Your Destiny” by Mary Cates. Let your loved ones know that there is more to them than they ever dreamed possible.

Also, the Novel: “The Secret Hideaway on Bridgeton Hill” is still available by contacting me. I will be happy to send it to you. Price is $12. Includes the postage. Click “Contact” at the right of the page.