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Thanks, Gratitude and Remembrance!

Today, September 30th is a wonderful day for me!  It was 9 years ago today that I received my double lung transplant.  I am joyful and so very grateful for the chance I was given to live on.  It is a day of deep gratitude for the family of my lung donor and my lung donor himself!  It is also a day of thought and sadness that a family lost their loved one.  How do you thank someone who has given you the chance to live???

It reminds me of a Psalm:  How can I make a return to the Lord, for all the good he has done for me?

I think of my donor ~ what did he look like, what did he love and not love, did he have a wife or children???  Did he laugh lots and love more? Who were his favorite sports teams and what did he do for fun???  These are all questions that perhaps one day I will find the answer to.  But, if I don’t I can be sure that when I pass from this world I will meet him and give him my great thanks!

All I know about my donor is that he was a 29 year old male.  I received the lungs from the Charleston West Virginia Hospital.  I will be sending another letter to the donor family after a bit time has passed since the date of his death to let them know that the lungs I breathe with were his lungs and that I share a love for him.

I will be thinking and praying for him in a very special way today.

May his soul and the souls of the faithful departed rest in Peace!!!

 

Transplant Date:  September 30, 2005

Sandy Ozanich (c) September 30, 2014

 

 

The Best Time of My Life

I was just looking outside to my backyard and there was my Festival of Birds!!!  Well that’s what I call them!!!  I have 4 bird feeders and there were so many birds singing and chirping, eating and playing.  What a scene.  I love this stuff.  I love watching the birds play and eat and argue, feed their babies and others trying to mate with whoever will have him.

It reminds me of the days I used to sit on my back porch and watch the birds, the butterflies, the flowers and loving every minute of it.  This was during the time that I literally was dying from Emphysema.  Here I was in my early 50’s wearing oxygen all the time. . .my only activity then was sitting and watching the birds.  I could not do anything else.  My job was to just breathe.  That was job enough because my lungs were only functioning at 20%.  So I took my job seriously by breathing and witnessing this glory called nature.

This back porch sitting was the best time of my life!  I became what God calls us to be ~ alive, aware, and witness to this beautiful world we are given to enjoy.  It was a time for reflection for sure.  It was also a time to just sit quietly, breathe and soak in God’s love.  It was a time for deep prayer, for wondering what the future held, but more than that it was a time to be fully alive even though my life was slipping away at that moment.  I had no idea whether I would survive this illness, but I was content in knowing that God had me no matter how it evolved.

My wish for my friends is that they get to experience what I experienced during that time and it is my prayer that I will be able to stay there.  I am so grateful for the life I have been  given a second chance ~ and now that I had been given a second chance I want to live that life to the fullest.

Truth be told, I have to say that I seem to have fallen back into being too busy to sit on that porch and witness God’s creation, so as soon as I place the last period on this piece I am going out to my beloved back porch to just breathe!!!

 

Sandy Ozanich (c) August 6, 2014

Going to the Zoo

Going to the zoo was such a highlight of my week last week. Haven’t been there for years, since my children were little. How nice to see the new habitats and the animals wandering freely, unfettered by bars and cages too small for their pacing steps..

How wonderful it would be if we could free ourselves from the “prisons” of our own making.  How many of us are living within prisons of isolation, depression, anger and fear.  I pray that you be released and become free to follow your passion and true joy!

It was so enjoyable being there with my oldest daughter Megan and her two little children, Nathan 6 and Natalie 3. We walked and talked with the animals. Many pictures were taken and faux anthills were climbed. What more could one person ask? Family, good weather and lots of walking.   For us, or for me at least this was like a walk through the Garden of Eden without the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. . .pure joy!

These are the diamonds in our life that sparkle, shine like the sun and bring us life. Everyday experiences are divine experiences when we can recognize God in the midst of all that lives and breathes. . .

So today, open up your senses to the divine in your life, your family, in your surroundings, in your heart and soul. This is where we find God ~ in the whisper, the beauty, the struggles and joys of living.

Sandy Ozanich © August 4, 2014

Meditation on a Rainy Day

O Lord, how bountiful are your clouds, what a beauty is your painting in the sky.  I love to gaze upon your handiwork and ponder how mighty you are.

O Lord, how rich is the rain that falls from these creations of delight!  How powerful are the drops that fall to enrich the land, grow our plants and give water to drink.

O Lord, in my own country and other parts of the world they hunger and thirst for rain, the people call out to you, where is the rain that nourishes the fields and gives our children refreshment for their bodies, our cattle rain to drink?

O Lord, Creator of sky and sea, grace those lands that cry out to you for rain, for water, for nourishment!

May the healing drops of rain bring life to all who beseech You!

Amen!

Sandy Ozanich © July 28, 2014

Where Is the Joy???

I wonder if you remember the song from way back in 1972 ~ “Where Is the Love” sung by Roberta Flack and Donnie Hathaway? I just loved the sound of their voices together.

But now I wonder, where is the joy? I’m talking about the joy that people don’t seem to be feeling when they attend church services. What is it that leaves our congregations feeling bored, unfulfilled or mediocre?

I had been thinking about this for some time, especially in the Roman Catholic Church. I found that it seems to be something that is happening around our diocese. I also wondered if this is something that is affecting just the Roman Catholic Church or is it affecting other religions as well?

I was taking a break from something called “Worship Jam” a weekly worship service that uses the 4 Paths of Creation Spirituality to praise God. We were doing some sacred circle dancing and I began to feel so terribly sweaty and extremely warm, so I went outside to get some air. As it happened ~ (don’t you just love it when God points you in a direction that you didn’t know you were headed?) So, as it happened, I picked up a little newsletter from the WPAUMC.org, which is the site of the Western Pa. United Methodist Church

The lead article talks about parishioners just not feeling joy in their worship. . .

According to Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton of the Western PA United Methodist Church he was told by his superintendant, “After making the rounds to the churches in my district, I have come to a very disturbing conclusion. If I were a lay person I don’t know how many of them I would bother to attend.” And, “Many of my churches are dominated with internal and external politics. They are consumed with meetings that have no disciple-making consequences. The worship services are boring. Frankly, there’s a stark absence of joy.”

This is a big question and one for which I don’t have a complete answer. I believe we all know that sometimes we just don’t blend well with the personality at the pulpit.  It could be just a personality clash or a misunderstanding. Whatever the case, those things do happen. It is one of those things that some people use as an excuse to not go to church, and if that’s the case I would hope they would find another church community that more suits their taste. I hate to put it that way, but sometimes a person just needs a change of scenery to make worship better.

Getting back to Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, he said he calls himself “a self-professed music lover”. The night before his cabinet meeting he had seen Pharell Williams sing his Oscar nominated song from Despicable Me 2 ~ Happy.” He played that song at the cabinet meeting and here is what he writes: “Then a remarkable thing happened. My cabinet ~ my staid, professional, reserved bunch of Panera Bread eating, early to bed sleepy-headed group started dancing! It was a release of sorts, a chance at being given permission by a song to let it flow. Even the most reluctant of rug cutters got into the act.”

I find the Bishop’s remarks very encouraging. It seems that what the people need is a big dose of joy and “permission” to enjoy their worship. Doesn’t it say in scripture to “come before the Lord with dancing”?

Of course this isn’t the only thing that needs looking at or “fixing” to help the people of God find their worship more meaningful. And so I am asking all of you what does your worship service do to help your relationship with God??? For me, joy is a good sign that things are going well in your church community.

I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Sandy Ozanich © July 18, 2014

 

 

This is CHURCH! This is the mystery. . .

I want to share this short video with you.  It made me cry for joy at the relationship between this father and his ill daughter. Kenzie has mitochondrial disease and lives in her wheelchair.  You will see her smiling as the video goes on.

Life happens in all forms ~ I believe we are given this wonderful opportunity to live life as it happens with confidence, knowing that God is there in the midst of the mess or the beauty!  Can we accept the challenge that our life is?  Can we be human enough to admit our failings and offer gratitude for our successes?

Watch this video and witness how this father has embraced his own life and his daughter’s life as it is and in the embracing, embraces God and the people this video touches.

This is what God is all about. . .this is the mystery, this is the path we all walk. We walk it in love and in great fortitude. . .

THIS IS CHURCH! Not some building with stiff rules and regulations. . .this is LOVE!

If each of us treated others, no matter their condition or social standing, as this father treats his child, the world we live in would be a most peaceful and wonderful place everywhere!

May you be a blessing because you ARE blessed!

Sandy Ozanich (c) July 2, 2014

 

Giants in the Land by Clark Rich Burbidge (A Book Review)

Giants in the Land

Giants in the Land by Clark Rich Burbidge is a delightful story about a community of people who live in a rural land and are helped in their daily lives by giants who come every day to work with them.  Their presence in this town is a positive presence and the townspeople love them for helping them.

You will meet Forestmaster, Threadweaver, Mountainbiter, Bladesmelter and others.  Each with a name descriptive of their work life.  Interesting characters who will begin to teach what “TheWay of Things” are.

The day comes when the giants disappear.  How will the townspeople react?  Read this wonderful book and find out.

Sandy Ozanich (c) June 30, 2014