Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wise Men & Signs

There was only one group of Wise Men who searched for the infant King of the Jews.  There was a bright star, probably visible to the world, but only one group of men who understood the significance.  Only those few Magi comprehended the huge importance of this birth, and left their lives behind to worship this King. Perhaps the signs that seem ordinary coincidence to others are only visible to those whom God calls.  So many times, I have seen the fingerprints of God in the minuscule details of my day, so easily overlooked if I did not pay attention to the whisper of the Lord.  God sends an ever so gentle tap on the shoulder to accompany those signs.  The Magi felt that tap, and followed the star. Melissa felt that tap, and made a prayer journal for a friend, which later became the inspiration for the book, Melissa's Prayer Journal.  Melissa also knew that the rainbow balloon which hovered in our  home throughout the nine months of her first chemotherapy treatment was God's sign to her.  I passed it day in and day out, month after month, and never understood.  The sign was for Melissa, not me.   When the Lord sends you a sign, no one else may understand the significance but you.  So, you need to follow your own star, rely on your own sense of God's calling, and worship in the way you are being called, for we all have our own paths and our own purpose on this earth for worshiping our King of Kings.  Keep listening, pay attention to the signs, and encourage others to do the same. Wishing you all the  miracles of Christmas! - JBM

PS- I have a blog for nurses and others who are care givers. Please pass it along: The Heart Of A Nurse

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Divine Provision

I'm having some knee "issues" recently, which have dramatically decreased my mobility.  Nothing to complain about, but definitely a life-change.  I realized this morning that God had already provided for me before all this happened.  My recent job change brought a parking space in the same building as my office, on a small, lovely campus with little walking needed.  My old job had a large garage a long two block walk from my office building, which would have been difficult for me these past two months.  I marvel at how God provides for our needs, even before we know we have them!!   As Melissa said, "God takes care of the little things to show us we can trust Him with the big things".*  So, stay connected, and keep looking for the ways the Lord is taking care of you today, even before you know to ask!  Blessings on your day! ~ JBM

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sitting on the Sidelines

I've been watching some loved ones struggle these past few months.  Nothing major, like life and death, but definitely anxiety provoking for them.  I want so much to tell them what to do and how to approach everything. And when I try, my well-intentioned advice is not necessarily appreciated.  The Lord has helped me to see that struggle is a necessary part of life!  We learn the best lessons when we are stretched in ways we could not have imagined, and we grow to heights that are not possible otherwise. We actually learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes!  When people we care about are struggling with issues, they have a chance to see God and grow in faith in immeasurable degrees. Melissa speaks to struggling with issues and reports with joy the inspiration that came from it!   So, my role is to uncomfortably sit at the sidelines, and try to stay out of what God is doing in other people's lives!  I need to maintain a respectful distance, approachable silence, and prayerful support as the Lord does His work in the lives of others.  Meanwhile, God has given me plenty to keep me busy!  So, I will focus on doing my calling this week, and let the Lord give the orders to everyone else!  Wishing you times of clear sailing and spiritual hearing! Blessings ~ JBM

Monday, September 2, 2013

Arguing with God

I have the unfortunate habit of arguing with God.  I don't mean to be disrespectful or rude, difficult or rebellious, I just don't always appreciate the direction I'm being told to take.  I just don't want to do what the Lord is asking!  For example, this summer I felt I was suppose to write a note to one of my top superiors in my new job complimenting her on a bit of wisdom she shared at graduation.  Even though I believe passionately in the importance of spreading as much sincere, specific, positive thoughts as possible in the universe, I felt self-conscious and uncomfortable about this note. The individual has never even met me, and certainly would think I was simply flattering!  So, I didn't do it.  After about six times of having that person come to mind while I was reading a reflection or in prayer, I caved it.  I wrote the note many weeks later.  I don't know why God thought my little note would be meaningful to this person, but our role is to follow Jesus, not argue with him. Mind you, I have never won an argument with God, and I certainly do not recommend it!  Melissa struggled and questioned God in a prayer that she wrote in her cancer journal.  Questioning God's wisdom is the natural, human reaction to the difficult things in life. I used to feel badly about arguing with my Lord, but I just listened to a sermon that encouraged struggling, questioning and arguing with God.  The important thing is remaining in dialog with God!  As long as we keep talking and listening to Jesus, we will be OK!  When we turn away, we are in danger.  I also realized that God wants to help me with the difficulties in my life!  He can only do that when I bring them to Him, so I can realize HE is helping me!  So, pray today about the tough challenges in your life as well as the reasons to praise. And let our awesome Creator not only help you through those things, but also hold you and keep you and fill you with joy that goes far beyond our circumstances!  Blessings ~ JBM

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Envy can destroy relationships among even the best of friends. Envy creates ugly dynamics, petty comments, and back-stabbing gossip. People feel envy when they feel deprived of something they think they deserve that someone else has: they compare themselves to others and feel they come up short.  When I perceived others feeling envious of something I receive or experience, and I will do my best to hide that asset from their awareness in the future.  I want to avoid the poison darts, which can often be thrown unconsciously by even close friends.  No one wants to admit to themselves that they are envious! At the same time that others may envy some asset of mine, they ignore my continual pain. They focus on what I have, not what I do not have: my first born child, now in heaven.  If they really looked at the whole picture of my losses and gains, no one in their right mind would want to change places with me.  No matter what other blessings come into my life, and there are many, nothing can compensate for the loss of a part of myself and my future that is forever gone from this earth. I find the best way to deal with such distorted comparison is to focus on our blessings!  Reinforce the assets, talents, and positive aspects of others to build their own self-concept and lower their  need to compare themselves to others. The antidote to our own envy is avoid comparisons and remember that we can never see the whole picture of another person's life. People do a great job of hiding their vulnerabilities, but we all have them: the places of pain from our past. We can safely assume that the rosy picture portrayed by coworkers or friends is not the whole story.  Melissa appeared a healthy, thriving, and happy young woman in the last year of her battle with cancer.  But I know she envied others who had the promise of a full life, and that envy caused her more pain. Perhaps the more others envy, the greater their pain. When we feel envy, maybe we need to remember that everyone is carrying some heavy weight of self-doubt, threat to self-worth, difficult family situation, or deep psychological pain. Then focus on what assets we have and avoid all comparisons. We all have God-given gifts and blessings for the purpose of fulfilling our own unique calling on this earth. The more we focus on all that God has given us, the happier we will be under any circumstances. Hoping your day will be filled with counting your blessings! ~ JBM

Friday, June 14, 2013


Melissa made a cover for her personal prayer journal that said "Priority".   She made God her priority in her life.  I've failed miserably at this goal, especially in the last two weeks on vacation.  Being out of my routine and on a busy tour gave license to all my feeble excuses.  As a result, I had far more anxiety and much less joy than if I had simply   stayed connected!     Routine does help me stay focused and positive by building time with God into my daily life.  I have breakfast with Jesus.  I pray when I'm in the car.  I have cues that I associate with talking with God, reading a devotional, or reading God's Word.  So, when I'm out of my routine, I need to establish new ways or times or cues to keep me connected, so I can really  enjoy every minute relaxed and safe in the arms of my Heavenly Parent.  Thank you, Lord, that your mercy is never ending and that each day is a new beginning!  Wishing you all a joyful time of R&R this summer, staying connected.  JBM

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I was reading a refection (March 7) today that explained how we can feel joy even in the midst of difficulties and even sorrow.  The author explained that it is the tough parts of life that bring us close to God and help us really feel His love!   When we draw near the throne in times of pain, we are lifted above our circumstances in a way that gives us irrational joy, an exuberance in life, an exhilaration in feeling God's love for us! We are not joyful FOR the difficulty or even in spite of difficulty, we are joyful in the midst of difficulty! Why, because feeling God's love is SO amazing. When the Creator of the Universe says "I love you" in the small details of our lives, you feel a deep joy.  Melissa spoke of this joy when she wrote in the last months of her life, "I can hardly contain my joy in the Lord."  Now I finally get it!  She felt God next to her at a level of intimacy that was beyond description.  And so shall we, as we draw near to our loving Lord in all circumstances, knowing that He is big enough to lift us up above everything and anything!  May God bless you today! - JBM

Monday, February 18, 2013


One of the greatest gifts we can give another person is our full attention: our undivided focus when we really listen to their needs.  In our world of constant noise and endless wireless stimulation, pausing to concentrate on the felt needs of another human being is not only a challenge, but an exquisite treasure. You provide such gold when you look into the eyes of a co-worker, friend, or family member, really hearing the meaning behind the words, or even better, feeling  them.  Melissa knew this well, and asked for her friends to tell her their problems. Even during chemotherapy, she longed to be of help to others. We can easily miss the opportunity to help others because such self-less loss into the needs of another is emotionally and cognitively draining.  But please know, that no matter what other comfort you may provide, your full attention to the needs of another provides a priceless gift. Give it freely, and feel the deep satisfaction of the riches you have to offer this world.  Blessings, JBM

Friday, February 8, 2013


We all love something that is free!  So I couldn't resist downloading The Purpose Driven Life, the most widely sold book world-wide other than the Bible.  This book is newly published with an updated version, videos for each chapter, and tons of resources for individuals or groups, most of which are free online at Saddleback ChurchExplore the multiple webpages. I've been listening to each chapter by podcast while making dinner or cleaning up, a great dose of optimism in my day.  I feel renewed and re-energized by focusing on my purpose in life.  I feel boosted in my self-worth to be reminded that God has important work for me to do. No wonder this book sold so many copies!!  I've been trying to nudge my friends to listen to these resources, too, because when you find something really helpful, you want to share it!!  Melissa knew the power of this book, and bought it as a gift to a friend as her last purchase on this earth!  So, it must be good if the Holy Spirit included it for her end agenda!  Try listening or watching the teachings that go with it.  I'm hoping you will feel excited at all that God has in store for you as well. Blessings!  JBM

Saturday, January 5, 2013


When you obey God, miracles happen.  I learned that lesson decades ago, and I saw it again this year.  The Holy Spirit gave me a nudge to donate a part of my inheritance to my parent's church, more than a tithe.  I just got this feeling (not an emotion) that the Lord wanted a certain amount to go to my childhood church, St. Peter's Episcopal Church, in Peekskill, N.Y, a wonderfully elegant, historic stone church in need of repair.  We met with the Rector (Senior Pastor), a highly intelligent, disciple of Christ whose love for the Lord is evident in every sentence.  He graciously gave us a choice of which project in the church to tackle with our donation.  As God leads, we all agreed that the Parish Hall was the top priority, and this wonderful man declared it would be renamed, "Bell Hall", after my parents, Samuel and Bertha Bell.  To me, having a hall named after my parents is a miracle.  Not in my wildest dreams could I have thought of such a thing, certainly not in a church.  My parents loved St. Peter's and served God through that church until the day they died, so this honor is so fitting, a gift from God.  When you obey God, miracles happen.  Melissa knew this, and asked God to help her do His will (p.18-19). So, what is the Lord nudging you to do today? Is there someone you need to hug? or forgive? or ask forgiveness of?  Is the Holy Spirit asking you to return to your daily prayer?  Is there a habit you need to break or one you need to develop more?  Whatever God is asking you to do, do it!  When you obey God, miracles happen!!  Wishing you a new year filled with miracles! JBM