Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Yesterday I began updating the Speakers page on my website with new topics for events as well as adding referrals for other specific talks for which I've been requested. I hate my computer program for my website. Is "hate" too strong a word for a program that can't keep up with my typing on the page and I must sit and wait for words to fill in before making a line break? We're planning on revising my entire site this June--with a completely different program! But this has served me for several years. I guess I shouldn't complain . . .

I sat here typing and getting more and more frustrated with the program while the impending list of things I need to get done just underneath my notes beckoned me.

Where was the joy that began my day in a sweet time with God when I heard Him speak to my heart about His love for me? I was caught in the busy-ness and couldn't get out. My chagrin at 6 pm when I finally exited my office, exhausted, only verified my loss.

When Ray asked me if I accomplished what I wanted done, I said, "I wasted so much time. I just don't want to talk about it." And for once, I let go of energy-draining guilt and I enjoyed my evening by congratulating myself on not "guilting myself," which I can do too easily, being a recovering guiltaholic.

As deer surprise us in our backyard (and since they have come around since we moved here seven years ago, we shouldn't be surprised), we feel such delight.

When Jaz sits on my lap at my computer and purrs I feel a smile come over my face (and I love dogs, you dog-lovers!)

If I savor my apple at lunch I'm awakening my senses to another of God's gifts.

When someone calls, interrupting my work, if I'm kind I sense God's pleasure.

While I work, turning to the window and checking out the new spring blossoms cheers me up.

Ray's calls from work during the day and our ending each with, "I love you, baby," always warm my heart.

I read a ski magazine article that was titled, "Have You Heard a Mountain Laugh?"
Psalm 98:4 and 8 say: "Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music. . . Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy."

I just want to keep busy-ness in its place and sense the fullness of the life God has given me with joy! How about you?

Have a looking-for-joyful-moments kind of week and keep the busy-ness in check!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Being Honest to "How are you?"

How often are you asked, "How are you?" and you answer, "Fine" because you don't think you should be honest?

Yesterday, as I came out of the restroom at church--our first Sunday in many due to my speaking schedule taking me (or both of us) out of town or state--a guy from our home Bible study group asked me that.

I answered, "I'm tired and stiff! I believe in being honest." I laughed.
"You should be," he replied.

But do you really think you should be honest? Or can you be and still feel acceptable to the person to whom you are speaking? I remember during my second year of living with MS being asked by a woman at a potluck supper that same question. I looked her in the eye and asked--for some crazy reason I can't explain, "Do you really want to know?"

She answered, "Not really," and turned around to walk away! And this was a friend of mine . . .

Now you need to know that I wasn't a person who complained or told every symptom I felt, and I was often told, "You're such an inspiration and encouragement to others!"

Yet for the same reason you feel unable to answer that question, "How are you?" truthfully, because we all know it's just part of the greeting, I guess I wanted to know someone really cared. (I think I'm figuring it out right now why I said that years ago--I often do this during my ramblings on paper or to another person!)

After that conversation we walked, with Ray supporting my left arm, across our huge church foyer to say "Hi" and get a big hug from our women's ministry director who asked me the same thing.

"I haven't slept for several nights and I'm stiff, but like a Hillsong tune says, 'I get up, get up, get up and praise him!'" Judith laughed and nodded understandingly.

I'm so glad I am being honest about how I feel and letting the chips fall where they may. Just because I don't feel great doesn't mean I am not praising God because of who he is and how great it is to be loved by him!

If I could look you in the eye I would ask you right now, "How are you?" and really mean it. Think about your answer. Be honest with me. Can you be honest with yourself? It's okay to do so. It doesn't indicate negativity or a lack of faith. If you are complaining and griping or taking your physical or emotional feelings out on someone else, then you have reason to question your attitude, but not just for being honest.

I urge you, friend, to let people into your reality--where truth really lies for you. Let them come alongside and listen if you're having a bad or not-so-great day. Last night I slept better and today I'm not as stiff, but that doesn't mean yesterday I shouldn't be honest. The smiles I received and compassion helped!

Talk to you next week!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Like a Mother

Well, as you know, Sunday was Mother's Day. I had the wonderful privilege of speaking for a brunch honoring all women, with men and some children in attendance. I hope to do that every Mother's Day!

For many, this holiday brings warm, happy memories. But for others it brings sadness. There are so many families that aren't filled with happiness. For most of us, it is a "mixed bag!"

Often, we live far away from loved ones and a call is the most contact we have.

Some of us long to be mothers and never get the opportunity. I remember having a hysterectomy before having the privilege of having babies...and I was sad. But I had the blessing of becoming "an instant mom" to eight and ten-year old daughters a year later when I married Ray Franz.

Last Christmas I opened my gift from our daughter Lindsey as granddaughters Calysta and Maycn looked on with rapt attention. When I began to read the plaque, I tears blinded my eyes and Lins put her arm around me, saying, "I knew you'd cry when you read it." When my eyes cleared enough I could read again this is what I read:

"Like A Mother"

Although you're not my mother,
you mean as much to me as though you were,
as though you are,
and as though you'll always be.
for mothering is so much more than simply giving life.
It's loving understanding in times of pain and strife.
A love that is freely given and many sacrifices made
have made a debt that all my life shall never be repaid.
I know what good there is in me has come from knowing you.
And so, when counting mothers, I find that I have two.
(author unknown)

To all of you who love and care and support others, sacrificing, and leaving your mark of love, even though you feel you aren't really mothers, I give this to you!

Talk to you next week!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Hi, this is Jo Franz finally writing again!

It's been awhile since I've written--way too long! Let me explain...

Have you ever planned something so exciting, so worthwhile, so overly-time consuming you could hardly wait?

Well, that's what Ray and I were doing. Planning. Preparing. Scheduling. Then came getting a house sitter (and of course, since we have a cat who is totally a lover--I know, I know, you dog-lovers can't imagine a cat like Jaz, but he is a lover of being loved--the house sitter is also our Jaz-sitter.) Letting the neighbors know about it all. You know--all those details you have numbered on your "to-do" list.

Then comes the huge crashing disappointment of confusion as it all falls apart.

Our trip in the works since late November to Lagos, Nigeria, was cancelled the day we were to depart. All our packed bags had to be unpacked. All the calls made had to be remade, now with cancellations. All the conferees for the two conferences we were to speak at had to be notified that "due to logistics" it wasn't going to occur.

Needless to say, I cried out to God like Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:8 that he was "perplexed, but not in despair." I was certainly confused, but I trusted God to ultimately know what was going on and be able to work it "all together for good" as written by Paul in Romans 8:28. We thanked God "in all things" as Paul also wrote in Thessalonians 5:18 and "for all things" in Ephesians 5:20.

But we still felt sad. Again, like Paul, who was "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" (2Corinthians 6:10). We took the page off my website about going to Nigeria. We sent emails to our host, wondering how she was doing.

Guess what? God was doing a work in our lives, our host's life, her husband's (who paid for it all and was the one who cancelled it due to the agent who had taken their money while paying for our tickets with stolen US credit cards, which we were notified had been cancelled by the airline themselves!)

And within a few hours of emails back and forth we had replanned the entire event for August 2008 with a new vigor, a new excitement, and a new agenda--planned by God!
Nothing has been wasted. We have learned about how to make the flights now, and we're all so excited.

Maybe I'll be able to post more often like I had planned all along! I took last week off to make sure the stress of the prior week wouldn't deplete me too much. I even read a novel that absorbed and blessed me--I haven't taken time to do that in--well, I can't remember how long!

With multiple sclerosis a constant in our lives, we knew this trip to Africa would be a challenge anyway. But what is life without challenges? I want to live adventurously no matter what! I can hardly wait all over again!

Have a great week!