Friday, July 29, 2011

Life Lessons

I had an unfortunate encounter with a wasp the other day and he won. Started out innocently enough, I was bringing the dog in and on my way back to the house I spotted one of my mandevilla shooting out a tendril that was starting to wrap around a baluster on my deck. I was untangling the plant when, OUCH, it felt like I had been shocked. I quickly realized it was a wasp, he had been hiding under the hand rail. He did his deed then flew away.

Couldn't remember what you were supposed to do, husband checked WebMD, treatment for wasps and hornets. The advice was to dab the area with an acid based solution, like vinegar or lemon juice. Next apply ice or cold compress. I had a little swelling the next day, but not too bad, so I figured I was good. When I woke up yesterday morning my hand was beginning to look a little like the gloved hand of Mickey Mouse. (not good)

Decided to make a quick run to the doctor, this is the arm that had an axillary node removed, were we looking at the start of lymphadema or local reaction to the toxin of wasp sting? Doctor wasn't sure why the delayed swelling but gave me a script for steroids and instructions to ice, elevate and try some benadryl,  if not better in the morning start taking the steroids.

Good news, the hand is better, I can once again see the tendons (and I didn't have to start the steroids)

The thing that I was considering tonight was during all of this, we went to the web for advice, went to the doctor to have it checked out, all good things, but never went to the Lord. Never prayed for wisdom, for care or healing. Do we have to wait for things to be desperate before we start praying? Shouldn't praying be as natural as breathing. Shouldn't that have been my first response.

He continues to be faithful even when I am not, avaliable even when I am distracted. 

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness  Lamentations 3:22-23

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail  Isaiah 58:11

It's been dry here, plants and garden definitely sun scorched with temperatures staying high. Then we had rain, a wonderful thunderstorm. The next evening we had more rain, then the next, it rained once more. When I went outside this morning, it was green again, the dirt had that black richness of a well watered garden.

The verse above came to mind. When the "heat" of this life makes you feel sun scorched remember the Lord is there to meet your needs, his word water to your soul.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Road Trip

My husband and son are on the road, heading south, a little later than expected, things didn't go exactly as planned, something about a car, a repair shop that couldn't find a part, had to go three hours away to find it, too much money later, car is now on the road..

Husband is driving a big red pickup truck, you can't miss it, there is a mattress and box spring sticking out of the top of the truck bed, like a sail on a boat (actually this is a blessing in disguise, son won't have to buy a used mattress) They are not traveling together, the musician had to drop some stuff off before he left.

Because of the late start they will make the trip in two days, with a goal of stopping here for the night.

I was glad I stayed behind, good for them, (having father son time always good) and it's been good for me (had some time to read) but I am ready for my husband to be home. Don't really like them on the road at night...there goes that control thing again. OK Lord they are yours, keep them alert and bring them back safely. Help me Lord to put my trust in you.

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you  Isaiah 26:3

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day Alone

My husband is helping my son move this weekend, so I found myself not only alone but unable to go outside  and work in the garden because the temperature was well over 100 degrees. What to do? My schedule is usually pretty full, I know, kids are grown, so what's up with that? I don't know, I seem to have a knack for filling up my "white space"

I felt like I needed to use the time that my husband is gone to slow down, no running around, a time to "be still"

So today was a day of just hanging out. I got to catch up on some reading, actually a lot of reading. I spent most of my day reading various books.(I always seem to have more than one going) Started a new book by Elyse Fitzpatrick; Because He Loves Me.

My neighbor left some tomatoes on my front porch, I mixed them up with avocado, sprinkled the whole thing with cheese and a side of tortilla chips and and called it dinner.

Then more reading, a little puttering around the house, but basically a very low key day, one without noise(believe it or not no IPod today)

It has been nice to slow down. Tomorrow will be a little different, there will be church in the morning and then I will stop by and see Sweet Lady, maybe we will get some ice cream together. The rest of the day will be much like today. I miss my husband (he made it safely) but I have also enjoyed my time alone, it has been a time to get recharged, rested.. I think we all have a hard time slowing down, don't you?

Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you  Psalm 63:3

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Musician

Tomorrow morning before the sun is up my sweet husband will be on the road heading north. When he comes back home his rented pickup truck will be loaded with household goods, and will be followed by my youngest son, the musician  (also driving with a load of household goods) This will be an interim stop, a chance to visit, then he will be off again. (somehow all of these household goods will be making another trip back to his new home)

My husband had hoped that my other son could have joined them, it's rare when the three of them can get together alone, but time constraints didn't allow for that. I considered going with, I thought I might  keep my husband company on the long drive, but it is a long drive, and accommodations are going to be an air mattress on the floor of  the musicians apartment. My thoughts vetoed (I didn't protest, the thought of  sleeping on the floor, and then driving another eleven hours would not have been fun  )

The move should be fairly easy, the musician has sold most all his furniture and says he has been packing. We have been told there are boxes ready to be loaded . There is a bike, golf clubs, a guitar, a french horn, various small kitchen appliances (my son cooks) and who knows what else. Husband is taking boxes and tape...just in case. (I remember many a college pack out)

Still lots of details to work out, like finding a place to live, but that is hard to do remotely. Praying that he will be able to find something that will meet his needs (and pocketbook) Going from a small community in upstate New York to a large metropolitan area, cost of living significantly higher. Why is he moving? Grad school in the fall, he is going to continue with his music.

So prayers needed for safety for the long drive ahead, for wisdom, a sense of humor and lots of grace, for a place to live that my son can afford and meets his needs and a job or gigs. School money is not going to cover all his expenses. Sounds like a laundry list of needs. Perhaps I should have started with what we are thankful for.We are thankful that our son will be closer to home (only about four hours away)We are thankful that he has been given this opportunity, this is such a blessing.We are thankful he is able to do what he loves to do. (he will continue to play the french horn) We are thankful that he will be close by  family (my parents, siblings will be a short drive away) and friends that live even closer that will care for him like he was their son.

Yes there are needs, but there is also much to be thankful for.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future  Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

We Must Tell Them

"After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel"  Judges 2:10

This text was the basis for our sermon on Sunday. The generation this text was talking about was the "promise land generation" Their grandparents were the generation that was led out of Egypt, their parents were the conquers of the promised land led by Joshua. The "promise land" generation was the first generation who did not see first hand what the Lord had done.
How will the next generation know about the Lord if we do not tell our stories? We must tell them.

From my sermon notes:

1.We must tell them about God's character
2. We must tell them about our deep history (this would be speaking of our biblical heritage)
3.We must tell them the gospel of Jesus Christ
4. We must tell them about the history of the church
5.We must tell them our personal history (how did you come to Christ)
6.We must tell them of the mighty deeds of God in or life

I was a little discouraged at first, my children are grown and although we continue to tell them how God is working in our lives, they have heard our stories, but then the pastor reminded us it wasn't just our children that needed to hear the stories. Are there young people in your life? I have grandchildren. What young person do you have in your life that you can tell your story to. Is there a younger person you know that needs to hear about God's character, about  his mighty deeds? Do you know  a young person who needs to hear the gospel? The next generation needs to hear these things, it's up to us to tell them.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Home Sweet Home

The last picture has been hung! It has been two months since we moved Sweet Lady to be closer to us. She stayed in our home about a month, then we moved her to an Assisted Living Facility nearby.  The suggestion we were given when we made the move to the Assisted Living was to let Sweet Lady settle into the room a bit before we brought more stuff in. See what she needs, see what she wanted.

The move to the flat lands had been sudden, unplanned, and done in a matter of days. It would be a lot to ask of anyone to adjust to that kind of change, now add dementia. We give credit to God's grace alone that she has done as well as she has.

For the last several weekends we have been adding to the room, trying to make it feel more like home for her. Each weekend bringing in a little of this and a little of that. A fridge for snacks, pictures for the walls, photos of loved family members. Today we have finished, the last items to be brought in were her grandma's chest and a hanging shelf that belonged to her uncle. The room looks nice, she seems happy. She told me several times today, you did good.

This has been a learning process for us, and will continue to be.

First thing we had to learn, and have to continue to remind ourselves, it's not about us, it's not about what we like, it's about what works best for her.

We are still trying to figure out things she enjoys. She likes running errands with me, likes ice cream, visits from us and the little one's (her great nieces and nephew)

Her memory is bad but she remembers us. We try to keep a sense of humor about things. She reintroduces us to staff and friends each time we come by (and they are gracious enough to respond as if they were meeting us for the very first time) Finding things in her room can be challenging at times, you have to make things simple, avoid change.

Challenges or opportunities, guess it's the viewpoint you want to take. I pray the Lord will help me see this as an opportunity, not just to care for my sister in law but to touch other lives that may not have crossed my path had this not happened. Honestly, I do see this as a blessing with much potential.

"May the favor of  the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the works of our hands for us, yes, establish the work of our hands"  Psalm 90:17

Friday, July 15, 2011


Been an unusual gardening year for us. We dug up a new garden plot and things aren't doing so well. My flowers are OK, but my vegetable garden is struggling to survive. Maybe it's because we got things in so late,  maybe it's the lack of rain, or because of that hot spell we had in May (and continue to have) Probably a combination of all of the above.

Surprisingly I have a few "volunteers" that are doing quite well. Still trying to figure out where they came from, but I think the culprit is the compost. We have been trying to compost for about a year and a half now, kind of a new thing for me.  I'm wondering, did I miss a step, should I have waited longer before I used it, are you supposed to avoid putting anything with seeds in the bin or is this just something that happens?

This is one of my "volunteers" that came up in my flower bed. We had an old candelabra we found at a yard sale that we are using to "stake' it

 We know it's some type of melon

This one grew up around my clementis. I have no clue as to what this is. Any ideas? The leaves are large but nothing has set.

In our area of the country you do have time for a second planting of some veggies for a  fall harvest, so I will have another opportunity. I will have to admit though, I have enjoyed watching the mystery plants grow and bloom. We could have pulled them when they first started (maybe that's what your supposed to do) but they are green and kind of pretty and add just the right touch to my eclectic garden.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ordinary Blessings

Been quiet here lately. Summer in full swing and the temperature shows it. Son and his family adjusting to a fourth child. "Sweet Lady" has been in her new home a month now, and things are beginning to fall into place. Youngest son will be moving, husband will be making a road trip soon to help make that happen, but for right now things are routine.

We are enjoying the ordinary.Watering the garden in the evening, pulling weeds (for some reason I find satisfaction in doing that) sitting on the porch after dinner, watching the hummingbirds and listening to the cicada sing. Grateful for the mundane, aware of my many blessings.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever"  Psalm 136:1

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Keeping a "Fiver" in Your Wallet

I haven't been able to get that phrase out of my head for three days now. It was a comment a friend used when explaining the importance of  keeping a few scriptures memorized, ready to be used when needed. He was told growing up that you always needed to keep a "fiver" in your wallet in case of emergencies. Memorized scripture was like having that five dollar bill hidden away in your wallet. 

Simple analogy but it works. The Lord had been speaking to my heart lately about memorizing scripture so timing was perfect but, I am not always motivated and my follow through at times is lacking.

Well the Lord provided a friend who has been similarly convicted, so we have decided to hold each other accountable. We each wanted to memorize a Psalm, I wanted to memorize Psalm 121. I had already begun memorizing, so maybe I have an unfair advantage, but I also have twenty years on her, with a memory that is estrogen deprived. 

We have agreed to check on each other's progress during the next two weeks with the goal of having our Psalms memorized by next small group. It is a small step, but a discipline I hope we can continue to challenge each other with.

Are we memorizing for the sake of memorizing, no God's word is something I want imprinted on my heart, the "food" I want to feed my soul because I know there will always be days when I'll need that "fiver" in my wallet.

"Thy word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you"  Psalm 119:11

Thursday, July 7, 2011


We now have "official" results from the bone scan done almost two weeks ago and it is clear! Ironically it is almost a year ago to the day that I had the mammogram that was abnormal. Sense of relief yes, and another new appreciation on how quickly life can change.

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom"  Psalm 90:12

Oh, and the abnormal MRI (the reason I had to have the bone scan ) They can now say it is some type of degenerative change going on in my spine. I guess because I have a history of breast cancer, they had to rule out metastasis first.

Thanks to all who have been praying, it just blesses my heart.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever"  Psalm 107:1

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

To Walk In Freedom

I wanted to share a little excerpt taken from a book that I just finished reading by Tullian Tchividjian "Surprised by Grace, God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels"  This is  the final paragraph of the book and is such a great description of the freedom we have in Christ

To Walk in Freedom
There's a story told, from the Civil War days before America's slaves were freed, about a northerner who went to a slave auction and purchased a young slave girl. As they walked away from the auction, the man turned to the girl and said "You're free."
With amazement she responded, "You mean I am free to do whatever I want?"
"Yes" he said.
"And to say whatever I want to say?"
"Yes, anything."
"And to be whatever I want to be?"
"And even go wherever I want to go?"
"Yes," he answered with a smile. "You're free to go wherever you'd like."
She looked at him intently and replied, "then I will go with you'"
Jesus has come to the slave market. He came to us there because we could not go to him. He came and purchased us with his blood so we would no longer be a slave to sin but a slave to Christ , which is the essence of freedom. And now there's no freer place to be in life than going with him--with the One who is himself our true liberty.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Holiday Happenings

When my sons were growing up we spent most 4th of July weekends camping either in a rented pop-up or a tent. Campgrounds were fun, the boys could swim, ride their bikes, play miniature golf or even go fishing (depending on where we were) Haven't camped in ages, what did we do this year?

              Little swim time at the local pool. This is my son with two of my grandchildren.

Then back to our house for some "extreme" badminton. In addition to a racket you get a water gun, the idea is to distract your opponent. Grandson was particularly good at this.

Of course you can't play badminton without a crown.

We ended the day with pulled pork my husband had smoked the night before. (when you do this be prepared to have your neighbors at your door with plate in hand.

With all the festivities of the holiday, let's not forget what we are celebrating. Thankful that we live in a country that is free and thankful to all of those who sacrifice so much to keep it that way.

Hope you were able to make some memories this weekend.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bundle of Joy

Grandchildren are a true blessing from the Lord. This is a picture of our newest, a little girl. We arrived home the day she was born, so I did not have to wait long to hold her. Her dad and mom have been studying her hands and feet much like you do the paws of a puppy and have decided she will be tall. She has a  head full of strawberry blonde peach fuzz (really, she does) and eyes, that for now are blue. When she looks at you your heart melts, we are already in love. Thankful for God's continued blessings