Friday, October 28, 2016

Sunrise time lapse

A rare spectacle! Rare for me since I haven't been rising early these late October mornings. Rare because I confess that I haven't been walking faithfully for exercise while pushing self-imposed, almost unrealistic writing deadlines. Rare because it was a break in the rainy weather—but I made it this morning. We had a frost warning lately so I grabbed my winter coat and set off.

I was suddenly stopped in my tracks by an encounter unfolding in the sky. I stood in the middle of our country road and silently watched a spectacular drama. The sky had been overcast but all of a sudden first a pink then a deep ruddy glow appeared in the Eastern horizon. The sun peaked over the treetops, seemed to hesitate a moment, then the entire skyscape burst into a blush wine.

I turned around to the West toward the still shadowy dark Blue Ridge mountains which took but a moment to glow cherry-red in reflection of the rising sun. The entire mountain just as quickly was painted in carmine, then blood-red, then brilliant flame-red as I held my breath. Almost before I could take in the magnificent scene, the drama of the mountain began to dropped back into lavender then darkened into violet. Suddenly the whole mountain was clothed in deep purple, then reverted to shadowy black.

It all happened in a passing moment as the sun climbed higher but suddenly changed its mind deciding that today was a day to stay hidden behind the clouds. Then it disappeared. But of course the sun kept brilliantly shining, only not visible to me. The wind whipped up scattering dry, lifeless autumn leaves around me. I pulled up my collar and shivered.

The picture above doesn't do justice to God's real thing. Everything happened so fast and I was so mesmerized that I didn't give a thought to try capturing any of the drama on my smart phone camera. No camera lens or artist's brush would be adequate anyway.

The dramatic episode over, the mountain was back to unremarkable, murky, drab, somber. Did I dream the brilliant scene I had momentarily viewed? I kept standing, transfixed by what had transpired. I would never have anticipated that I would have such an encounter with nature when I set out in the semi-darkness of pre-dawn.

Was there meaning here to be understood? I believe there is nothing without meaning as we pass moment by moment through life. Was there some connection here to something else? Was there something meant just for me at this point in my life, in my day?

My thoughts went to my most recent manuscript spread all over my kitchen table in its final proof before my son Rick, my professional producer, would print out the pages in a camera-ready format to be sent to the publisher to schedule for the printing press. The title? *SELAH REFLECTIONS: Press the PAUSE Button. Was God demonstrating to me what that mysterious term “Selah” means, although biblical scholars are still not certain what its 71 times repetition in the Psalms is really all about? I settled on a composite definition and wrote my book around that thought: “be silent, think about, ponder over, meditate on, roll it over in your mind and spirit.”

What did my mountain spectacular drama mean? GOD WAS WHISPERING “SELAH” TO ME this morning! There are many Selah moments throughout my days if my heart and mind are open to recognize them. If I whisper back to God, “I notice! I notice!” If I take the time in my hurried, feverish, deadline oriented life to Press the PAUSE button. Only then am I able to hear God's voice, if I invite Him, “Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening.”

This morning's demonstration? “The heavens are telling of the glory of God and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” Psalm 19:1. Yes, King David the Psalmist, you probably marveled at the same sight and paused to praise God, as I do. Yes, Selah, Selah! You, Lord, are the same yesterday, today, and forever! You paint our sky today as You did in ages past from Your creation of the world. That's something to Selah! about!

*Note: This new book soon to be on the press, along with several others newly off the press, are due to be released before Christmas, Lord willing. Thank God, I'm meeting my self-deadlines with the prayer help of my “Praying Eagles.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Cobwebs of the Commonplace

A friend sent me this pithy quotation in a blog post this morning just as I was settling in for a "mostly nothing special" day, anticipating only the daily necessary routine of which most of our lives consist: 

"Our Work in life is to find the Sacred in the mundane; and failing that, our Work is to create, foster and build the Sacred within the mundane."

What, after all, is mundane? Was that what we would call the thirty long years, prime years of His manhood, that Jesus spent in a small village workshop which might have been known as "Joseph & Son Woodwork and Masonry" tucked away in an insignificant postage stamp size country

Do you wonder what Jesus might have answered if His Mother asked Him each evening until His 30th birthday, "How was your day?"

Is mundane the ordinary stuff that most of us are engaged in most every day of our lives whether gainfully employed or retired or as homemakers who are not members of the clergy or Religious?

Mundane is defined as "secular, temporal, earthly, pertaining to everyday cares and concerns of this world rather than to spiritual matters; common; ordinary; banal. Banal? That means "devoid of freshness or originality; hackneyed or trite." Synonym: commonplace. 

Just something to think about while you are "mundaning"....

Cobwebs of the Commonplace

Leona Choy

The haze of familiarity hangs heavy
on my personal horizon today.
I anticipate the ordinary
routine responsibilities
daily demands, humdrum happenings
cobwebs of the commonplace
the sameness of my surroundings.

O Lord, can it be
that you delight to step
into my ordinary?

You become real in my routines
and mirror Your majesty
in what I call my tedious monotony.
Are You pleased to be
present in my plodding
when You stoop to use my usual
to adorn Your Deity?

Accept, O Lord, my trifling tasks
which seem mundane to me
my day-by-day ordinary
as a humble sacrifice of praise
presented to Your Majesty
from my altar of mediocrity
to glorify Your Name.

Saturday, October 8, 2016


TODAY OCTOBER 8, I celebrate 26 years since my lung cancer surgery!

In fulfillment of my “Thank Offering to God,” I have already dropped in the mail a stack of signed FREE copies of my book HOSPITAL GOWNS DON'T HAVE POCKETS! as soon as your e-mail orders came to my inbox. You have a few more days to send me your order.

I have tried to lighten up serious subjects with a bit of humor and the antics of the little original characters, GG the bunny and Miss Meow, the nurse, which I created with my artist friend. The book has proven to be meaningful and user-friendly to many.

This occasion has given me the window of opportunity to pray for you and/or for the person to whom you intend to give the book. If you are giving the book away, I hope you will read it first. I would like to have had my own book to read to prepare me before I had my surgery, but of course I wrote it after recovery. We all need someone who understands and has gone through an illness/surgery to walk close to us in their bedroom slippers too. I want to be that person for you through my book.

I asked some questions on the cover of my book: “Why me? What now? Discovering meaning in physical distress.” Because we are all still learning, we discover more answers as life unfolds. I include an addendum with the book about some things I have been learning since my surgical adventure to offer you some options.

Even after this special offer is over on October 14th, the books are still available at my discounted price. We continually have folks around us becoming ill, having an accident, or going through tests or a surgery. You might like to have some of these books on hand as gifts rather than sending flowers that wilt.

An excerpt from my book follows from Chapter One:
“Are you curious about the title of this book? When we enter the hospital and shed our street clothes, we discover that most of the gowns don't have pockets. Apparently we don't need any. 

A sheet of instructions given before admission spells out: “Leave your valuables at home.” When I slip into my without-pockets hospital gown, it's obvious that I can't bring my personal, educational, or professional reputation with me. No one cares about my accomplishments and expertise. I'm literally stripped to bare essentials. My “designer gown” is the ultimate leveler of humanity!

"When I lie on the operating table, I'm an “equal opportunity” patient. What the surgical team does for me and to me doesn't depend on who I am, what I've done or what I still hope to do. My identity doesn't matter to them beyond checking, I hope, my plastic I.D. bracelet to see if I'm the right body to receive the scheduled surgery.

"Why is this piece of cloth called a “gown?” I usually think of gowns as fashionable attire for formal occasions. Surgery is about as informal as you can get.

"Gowns in doctors' exam rooms are often made of paper and disposable. They remind me that all things in life are temporary. My physical problem one way or another will pass too. Some gowns are like large vests with no sleeves. Sometimes the nurse tells me to put the unmanageable thing on with the opening at the back, sometimes at the front, depending on what the doctor wants to peer at or poke. Some are street length paper gowns without fasteners. Never with pockets.

"Gowns issued to us in the hospital are hardly more fashionable than exam room gowns, although made of cloth and more durable. Sometimes they are white, drab green or blue. Some have a tiny logo of the admitting hospital in an over all design. Hospital gowns apparently start out with strings to tie, but more often than not, at least one string is missing. (Are they treating patients so roughly?) In the shorty gowns I'm exposed and drafty on my backside.

"I confess that during my periodic x-rays as on outpatient during recovery years, I wore a gown or two that did have pockets. Never mind, they weren't hospital gowns. Sometimes there are special issue gowns with a pocket right in front center for carrying a heart monitor. I'll concede that exception, but I won't change my book title!

"The nurse instructed me to stuff my street clothes and shoes into what looked like a white garbage bag. I wondered, Will I ever wear my clothes again?

“Ready?” she asked cheerfully from outside the curtain.
I took a deep breath, pulled aside the curtain and emerged from my preparatory cubicle for better or for worse. I stood unsteadily in my terry cloth slippers with rubber soles. No way am I ready for what is coming!

"Likewise, I will stand before God, my Creator and Judge when I arrive in His presence on that Final Reckoning Day. I blink. What if it is today? For that event I must be ready.

"My gown on That Day will also be provided. That garment won't have pockets either. No place for valuables, credentials, bank books, business cards or property deeds. No place for a credit report or references documenting my character, accomplishments or proficiency. I'll leave everything behind. “Just as I am without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me. O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”

"I'll either be clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, my Redeemer, or I'll be spiritually naked without covering. My garment won't be earned or deserved, and I can't buy it at the door. It is made of clean, white linen, and I have to reserve it in advance.
The garment, the gown that God gives to those who belong to Him has a “whosoever” designer label and one size fits all.”

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Leona 's “Thanksgiving” anniversary gift to you FREE for the next 10 days ONLY!

What's the occasion?

I celebrate October 8 each year with gratitude to God for generously extending my life. On that date in 1990 I underwent lung cancer surgery with a third of my lung removed. When I asked my surgeon, Dr. Jack Curtis, what I might do to prevent a recurrence of the cancer, his reply was that it was in the hands of God. If He had a further plan for me to live and serve Him, I would make it to the 5 year milestone. It has been 26 years so far, praise God!

To express my thanks to God for His bountiful blessings, I want to give a gift to my friends. I journaled my learning process through surgery and recovery and I subsequently wrote and published a 314 page book, HOSPITAL GOWNS DON'T HAVE POCKETS! Why me? What now? Discovering Meaning in Physical Distress to offer emotional and spiritual and practical help to people who encounter some kind of illness or accident.

I candidly share my fears and tears, trauma and drama, questions and apprehensions, learnings, doubts, and joyful shouts all the way through surgery and the recovery minefield. I don't have all the answers, but I walk with the reader through the illness adventure, and the two of us walk with God to try to find His purpose in it all. The book costs $12.95.

But for the next 10 days ONLY I am giving that book FREE to anyone who (1) has recently gone through a serious illness or surgery himself or herself, or (2) has that adventure on the horizon, or (3) is concerned for someone in that situation who could profit by reading such a book and you wish to give a copy to that friend. It will be a privilege and joy to pray for you or for your friend.

As an EXTRA I'm including a second 80 page book ARE YOU MAD AT ME, GOD? Jumping Illness Hurdles, which identically repeats the contents of the first 5 chapters of the HOSPITAL GOWNS book as “a taste of...” the larger book. The book costs $8.00.
This is a $21.00 gift FREE to you 
just for the cost of postage $4.50.
I want to bless you in thankfulness for the generous blessing of longevity the Lord has given me.

Simply e-mail me with the address where you want the 2 books mailed. I'll drop them in the mail pronto. I won't wait for you to send me the postage before I send the books. At your convenience, I know you will send a check for the postage cost made payable to Leona Choy P.O. Box 2697 Winchester, VA 22604.

This offer is good ONLY for the next 10 days, from today October 5 through the 14th of October. DON'T DELAY to e-mail me your name and address to take advantage of this offer. After this special Thanks-Offer, the cost of each book reverts to the original price.

I don't hesitate to guarantee that you will find these books meaningful spiritually and practically and you will recommend them to others. I have plenty in stock. “Nobody doesn't need this book!”

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


I stood at the gas pump at the neighborhood Gas Mart waiting for the gasoline to go through the hose into my gas tank. I looked at the display of fuel choices I had. Hmm. I think there must be some spiritual lesson here.

But I confess my sheer ignorance not only about what I'm putting in my tank, but what is under the hood of my car, or how my engine works. All I know is that when a little icon of a gas pump appears on my dashboard, I better head to the Gas Mart and do something about it. 

I have four wonderful know-how sons and if I had an “oops” and ran out of gas somewhere and had to call for one of them to rescue me, I wouldn't hear the last of it. I'm so proud that they are all auto-savvy in a big way, as are most males. I hold their knowledge and skills in the highest esteem. That's why I leave it to them to take care of their mom's vehicle. I never figured that I need to know anything mechanical since I always say that "I grew up in a men's dormitory," that is, in a house with my husband and four sons. Therefore, I have no idea what all those numbers and choices on the gas pump meant. I simply press “Regular” and slide my credit card through.

Since I recall the “ancient times,” I remember the days when full-service was the norm. A smiling attendant ran toward your car at the pump and cleaned your windshield and checked your oil and all the other whatevers under your hood as your gas was being pumped and it didn't cost extra. You didn't need to leave your car. All that service came with the package. 

When I was a child, my Daddy “ran a filling station,” as they used to say, in addition to my parents' little lunchroom along a highway in the Iowa countryside when the first of Henry Ford's “horseless carriages” rolled off the assembly line. Gasoline was gasoline, only one kind so you had no choice nor was a choice needed. I grew up smelling gasoline and oil on his “coveralls.”

Even when I learned to drive as a teenager, of course you always said “Fill 'er up!” because gasoline was so cheap compared to today's prices. Then came self-service and now you have to pump your own gas and do everything yourself. Since I grew up during the austerity of the Great Depression, by long habit I always get only $20 worth at a time instead of a fill up—I really don't know why because then I'm obliged to go to the pump too often.

Anyway, I decided I'd go home and find out what “Mr. Google” could tell me online about this grand display of fuel choices before me at the pump. I had no idea what the numbers meant. Google led me to more tech info than I wanted to know, but I'm trying to ferret out some analogy to spiritual life from it all. That's what I do.

It seems that “octane” measures the performance of engine fuels. The name comes from the following fact: When you take crude oil and "crack" it in a refinery, you end up getting hydrocarbon chains of different lengths. These can then be separated from each other and blended to form different fuels. Octane has eight carbons chained together.

The lowest octane rating sold in most U.S. markets is 87. The highest is usually 91. (Ah ha! My Sonoco display goes up to Ultra 93—are they offering to service some aircraft?) Other ratings available include 88, 89, and 90. When I press Regular, I get gasoline that contains 87-percent octane and 13-percent heptide molecules. It spontaneously ignites at a given compression level, and can only be used in engines that do not exceed that compression ratio. Many vehicle manufacturers recommend which gasoline octane rating to use in a particular vehicle. High performance sports and luxury cars often have the need for higher octane fuels to maintain peak performance. 

Whoa! I'm already way above my pay grade in knowledge that I really don't need to simply turn the starter key and drive my 2001 Toyota Avalon which has seen better days. Let's see if I can pick up on a few spiritual lessons with this scant information. 

As I start my day in the morning, I too have a choice in how much power I think that I will need to make it through the unexpecteds of the day. I never know what's really ahead—some days are fairly predictable so I anticipate that “Regular” will do it. However, it may not. I might find that things don't go as planned and there are surprising, overwhelming demands on my wisdom and strength. I really need to call on God's “Plus.” When everything breaks loose and nothing goes well and I'm at my wits' end, I have to call on God's “Premium” help just to keep me from going over the edge.

 God's promise is that His grace is sufficient for us, available whatever our need. When the burden is heavy, He gives us more grace. But we have to call on Him—we have to press the button to obtain it. 

Our Maker and Designer told us what our human model requires for peak performance. God actually created us to be continually “filled with the Holy Spirit,” to “keep topped off” with His power so we can function as we were meant to. “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you,” Jesus promised. We are supposed to live in the realm of “exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think” even beyond the 91 Premium to the “ULTRA 93.” “I have come to give you life and that more abundantly,” Jesus declared. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be our “new normal” as a Christian when we confront the world's adversities or even the hassles and frustrations of everyday living. It is really our choice.

When we live in that normal, supernatural anointing with the Spirit which is available for every Christian, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, not depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).

That is ULTRA 93 Christian living! The gas pump has spoken!