Author Archives: Stephen Bowling

“God Always Remembers Us” by Chaplain Larry Limbaugh

Do you think for a moment that God will forget us?

No, He won’t forget us even if we get sick, lose our jobs, or die. Isn’t it funny how much we worry about, well everything. As I look back over 59 years, I haven’t lacked? Have you? The Lord would have us wave and shine like the flowers of the field and soar joyfully like the birds of the air. Isn’t it funny that in this land of plenty we worry most about lack? While in many areas of lack, worry is not as pronounced.

We seem to have faith as long as we have money coming in.

Our source is God, not things.

We have come this far. We will make it to the finish line whether or not we don’t have the things that we most worry about losing.

 

“Seeing the Soul” by Larry Limbaugh

They say that you can’t see the soul; they are wrong.

Here is how you can see it with your own eyes.

Take a pen filled with ink, grab paper and find a time when you feel as low as a parasite wedged into the lowest level of garbage dump and start writing. Write and write and then write some more, Scribble for your eyes only. Write about your feelings, your day, your relationships, your flops; stick it all on the page and then when you feel your shoulders begin to cramp and your hand freeze up, expect a spritz of calmness to wash over you. The spritz is a signal to answer this question “What am I like?”

I did it and now here is a sketch of my soul in underlined in bold: I am kind, calm, thoughtful (I love to think) longing to be less a star and more a candle, and funny.

Can we exchange sketches? I would love to see what your soul looks like. Who knows, we might share a family likeness.

Larry Limbaugh, Chaplain
Winter Park Care &
Rehabilitation Center

 

National Day of Prayer 2013 – A True Story

A National Day of Prayer True Story.

I have to tell this story. If I don’t, I will pop open and Snickers Bars and Slim Jims will fly everywhere.

So, at today’s Bible study a resident rolls in and says, “Today I want you to pray for me to stop smoking. I am quitting today. I want this addiction out of my life.” I have known her for four years and she has smoked everyday of those years and to my knowledge has never asked for help to stop smoking.

A minute, another resident whose word is trustworthy eases in and said that her private prayer request was for someone in the smoking break group would quit.

Her request had been placed into the “Outrageous Request Center” box five days ago. The pink prayer slips were anointed with Paul Newman’s extra virgin olive oil. Hands were placed on them and then a fire was lit and they slips were reduced to ashes.

I can’t wait to see what else is coming.

 

“God Is Good! Life Is Good!” by Chaplain Tim Hill

Ms. Thelma, who is over 95 years old, invited me into her room today to talk with her and to pray with her. She began to reminisce about when she was a young teenage girl working in the tobacco fields, and chasing rabbits in those fields that eventually ended up on their dining room table for supper.

As we talked about all kinds of “wild game” her and I both have eaten over the years, from Elk down to Frog Legs, we were both laughing and thanking God for great memories with our loved one’s that have gone on, and for the family, friends, and faith that we have while here today. This precious lady blessed her Chaplain today.

And by the way there is a rumor that she beat her family in Wii bowling a few days ago in our activity room! Haha.

God is good! Life is good!

Tim Hill (Director of Spirituality)
Signature HealthCare of Nashville Rehabilitation

 

“Marietta Miracles” by Chaplain Karen Bradwell

This week we have a resident who hasn’t walked in over a year. She’s walking now, mastered getting in and out of bed. No longer depressed-hopeless. She expressed her desire to quit smoking and she’s on her way to living with purpose!

On the long-term side, I stepped back and evaluated many of our residents then and now. Drastic changes! And it is wonderful! Their countenances have lit up! Smiles in the hallways! Purposes are being restored! God is moving!

Yesterday, we had a new admission, who is Chinese speaks no English, and I was led to find a translation website to introduce myself to him. Wow! wish you could have seen his face. He brightened up as if the sun was shining through him! He turned and extended His hands to shake mine as I responded to him with prayers and God’s love! I could go on! God is moving! Take up your bed and walk! God is moving! Heaven on Earth!

“Lights In The Parkway” by Chaplain Jerry Herauf

Our brand new Men’s Club was looking for things to do, especially during the holiday season. The “Lights in the Parkway” display in Allentown (PA) seemed like a natural.

As advertised on their website: “This spectacular drive-through light display transforms more than a mile of one of Allentown’s most beautiful parks, the Lehigh Parkway, into a winter wonderland. Featuring hundreds of thousands of brilliant lights – this attraction will brighten your holiday season. Visitors will experience tunnels, animated holiday scenes and more. “Lights” has become an annual tradition for many throughout the Lehigh Valley and beyond. Lights in the Parkway is fun for all ages.”

This seemed like just the right venue for our Club!

Bundling up eight club members in our van, in two trips just before Christmas, we headed off to see the “Lights!” It was a time of quiet chatting – we’re gradually just getting to know one another in the Club – and enthusiasm. Some commented they hadn’t been there in years and were looking forward to seeing the lights again.

Then, at last, the drive-through. ‘Oohs’ and ‘aahs’ were expressed as we passed by the many displays of bright lights and colors. The Wizard of Oz was a special attraction! All were delighted as they tuned in, for a few precious moments, to their boyhoods and Christmas. One of the elders remarked that it made his holiday – the chaplain who organized the trip was certainly one of his heroes that evening!

Already, we’re looking forward to next year’s “Lights” and Men’s Club Christmas event!

– Jerry Herauf, Chaplain, New Eastwood Care & Rehab

“I Agree”

Once a very upset lady stalked into my office twenty years ago and summarily and loudly announced “You sir, are the worst preacher that I have ever known!” I took a breath and said” You know, you are absolutely right.”

The Buddhists believe that there is no self to take offense. I like that idea and I am finding that it is a grace to apologize instead of fight. You may call me a doormat, but as the Buddhists say there is no set “Larry self” for that charge to stick and besides I would agree, “You are right; I am a door mat sometimes and……….?.”

My thought is that as in football when you play defense you don’t score that many points

Didn’t Jesus say for us to quickly agree with our adversaries?

What harm can it do?

 

“My View From The Garden” by Chaplain Basha Zackavich

I Give Up!

“Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. … If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? … What He gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It is common knowledge that ‘God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.’ So let God work his will in you. … Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet” (James 4:1-10, The Message).

“I give up!” I confessed. I don’t know what else to do. So much for my bountiful harvest from which I planned to feed a lot of others. My “dreams” for my garden had the purest of motives. I really wanted to do some good, – make a difference. I followed the directions [kind of]. … I planted them in good soil [kind of]. … I worked very hard to keep the bugs and weeds out [sort of]. … I only wanted the best for my garden. …

At this point, my garden is pretty much “caput!” … My largest watermelon grew to 2 inches in diameter. I only harvested two (2) zucchini from 8 plants with the largest zucchini measuring 5 inches. And my “Beefsteak” tomatoes maxed out at 2 inches in width – and only because two of them grew together! I’m useless as a farmer. The reality finally kicked in! … I’d missed the boat! … Have you ever felt like that? Can you relate?

I put a lot of effort into my garden this year. My generous motives became big dreams for making a difference. I thought I’d done it right. I thought I knew what I was doing. …

The problem was that while I really wanted to have a bountiful harvest, I planted too many seedlings in too small of a space [because I was being cheap]. … The soil was good, but I really didn’t by the “best.” … I did work hard at keeping the pests out, only to discover that I was overly zealous in my efforts and probably “burned” many of my plants. … And while I wanted the best for my garden, I was probably too lazy or cheap to water the plants regularly. … I finally just gave up.

Too often we run off with a plan, having no direction, seeking no help, wanting no rules, and yet expect God to work. We don’t want to listen, but we expect Him to listen. We don’t want to follow His “rules,” but we still expect great results, – we still expect God to do His part.

This part caught my attention from the excerpt above: “What He [God] gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It is common knowledge that ‘God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.’ So let God work His will in you. It’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.” God will never force His will on you; but our willingness to surrender to letting Him be the God who He is in our lives will yield results beyond our wildest dreams.

So, I’ll confess: “I Give Up!” … I want God’s best for my life.

Basha Zackavich, Chaplain

Anchor Care and Rehab Center, Palm Bay

AUGUST 2012

 

$30 for 2 Zucchini!!

“I think I need to stick to plants,” I confessed to my husband the other night. Looking forward to this summer’s expected “bumper crop” of zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and watermelon, I finally had to face up to a grave disappointment … I’m apparently not a farmer. [smile]

Having added up my investment in this year’s “harvest,” the actual cost per product equaled out to a horrendous price of $15.00 per zucchini. After all my hard work, constant care, planting and transplanting, and “dreams” of enjoying a huge crop, reality hit hard. … Out of 30+ plants, all I’ve been able to “harvest” yielded:

• two 6-inch zucchini,

• 6 beefsteak tomatoes that reached the maximum size of 1-1/8 inches,

• 8 watermelon of the average size of 1-1/2 inches (although one did grow to almost 2 inches in diameter), and

• my eggplants haven’t even flowered.

What happened! Where did I go wrong?

I apparently still have a lot to learn about vegetable gardening, especially hydroponic or potted plants. I’ve heard before that a plant (or even a fish) with grow to its fullest potential, if given the appropriate space in which to grow.

When I was younger, my father raised fancy-tail guppies. At one point he had twenty fish tanks! One summer he decided to build them a swimming pool in the back yard so that their tails would grow even larger than before. That bent us out of shape, I can promise you. “How come the fish get a swimming pool?” we asked. … A long story short, it worked. Giving them the space they needed, they produced and reproduced some of the most beautiful “fancy tails” I ever seen. My dad was quite pleased.

As I stood in my backyard last night, evaluating my lack of a “bumper crop,” I came to the realization that while I gave my plants a fair amount of space, – I didn’t give them enough space. So we all missed out. What I thought was “sufficient” (trying to keep my costs down), and even while trying to give them the nutrients and protection they needed in order to grow, I failed to give them the “space” they needed. Their pots were too crowded. In trying to “save,” I lost the opportunity to see what they could become.

Spiritual growth comes to us in many ways – either as the gardener, or as the “fruit.” Even Jesus, having come to complete what the Father needed Him to do, realized that unless He moved on, the Holy Spirit couldn’t make a difference in the lives of those choose to trust Him with their lives. Listen to what Jesus said, …

“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal” (John 12:23-25, The Message).

God’s plan is that everyone would come to know Him, to know His love and forgiveness in their lives. But we’ll never find Him if we don’t “let go” of what we think is right, and fail to give Him the space He needs to work in our lives. … My prayer is that you’ll move outside of the “box” of religion, and open yourselves up to a relationship with Him – enjoying all He has created you to be, … to the glory of His name. Oh, there are still general “rules” for gardening, certain “techniques” that serve to produce a “bumper crop.” … But the trick is allowing ourselves the “space” we need to grow into His likeness, the way He created to be.

—————————————–

Basha Zackavich, Chaplain
Anchor Care and Rehab Center, Palm Bay
JULY 2012

 

Nothing To Live For?

We had a resident here that said she had nothing to live for.

They came and told me.

I went and talked to her and asked her why she felt that way. She replied by saying would you want to live like this. We talked and I explained she was here for a purpose and God was leaving her here for a reason. After praying with her she felt better and said she was
going to therapy.

She just wanted to feel needed.

Judy Hensley, Chaplain
Sunrise Manor,
Hodgenville, KY