Saturday, August 30, 2008

Vertigo

"a sensation of motion in which the individual or the individual's surroundings seem to whirl dizzily" definition from Miriam-Webster Online

That was me, last night. The worst case of vertigo I've ever had...and it lasted for hours - into the wee hours of this morning. Even now I'm cautious how I move lest I bring it back. It was awful and I was so, so sick. There was my Sweet Hubby, now helping me because I was a bone-breaking disaster just looking for a place to happen.

I just kept praying, "Lord - HELP please! How can I take care of my husband when I can't even walk on my own?" All through the restless night I cried out to Jesus in my thoughts...and sometime toward dawn I rolled over and my head didn't swim. I opened my eyes and the room wasn't revolving. Yes! Thank you Lord! I sat on the edge of the bed and tested my balance. Seemed shaky but steady. Good! Came downstairs on wobbly legs and just spent some time in the dark being thankful.
"I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah." Psalm 3:4
Ever wonder about the word "Selah?" We see it throughout the Book of Psalms. Here is one man's explanation:
"Selah, [celah], is from the primary Hebrew root word [calah] which means 'to hang,' and by implication to measure (weigh). This is readily understood because in Biblical history, money, food and other valuables were 'weighed' by hanging or suspending them on a type of balance (the equivalent of our measuring scale) to determine their value. We find an example of this word [calah] as it is literally translated 'valued,' in the book of Job, indicating that which is measured.

As we know, this word is extensively used in the Psalms. And the reason is because the psalms are a prayer book, divinely-inspired songs of the people of Israel, often messianic, allegorical, and historically parabolic. That is to say, history, replete with spiritual meanings. The Selah is there to signal the believer to 'measure' carefully the meaning of what has been said. i.e., here is wisdom, reflect and understand. Just as the Hebrew word Amen [amen] is an exclamation of confidence or truth and certainty of what has been said, so Selah [celah], is an exclamation that we should measure and reflect upon what has been said."
Copyright ©2003 Tony Warren
For other studies free for the Receiving, Visit our web Site
The Mountain Retreat! http://www.mountainretreatorg.net

Selah - what a beautiful word!

I wish you all a blessed weekend filled with love, laughter and the presence of the Lord! See you Monday!

Friday, August 29, 2008

A little rain

Yesterday was one of "those" days. Know the kind I mean - just feel out of sorts...can't really put your finger on it, but just a bit out of step?

It's been gloomy here since Tuesday. The skies threatening, gray and heavy. Finally the rain came yesterday. Not as much as I would have expected though. A lot of build up for little delivery. That's how I felt yesterday - like something was building.

My personal storm arrived at bedtime when I went to put on my pajamas and remembered the last time I had worn this particular set. Snoopy. I had carried him in my arms...he had been sick again. And that did me in. The dam burst and my own rainstorm came. I just hugged those jammies to me and cried my eyes out.

Today, the sun is back and the sky is once again clear and blue. The storm has passed. I found these beautiful words awaiting me in my study time this morning:
"Why am I so discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again -- my Savior and my God!" Psalm 43:5
God's grace is such an awesome thing, don't you think? He just loves us so much...Thank you Lord!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Truth Project, Week 9

If you've visited my blog before, you know that over the course of the summer our church has been sponsoring The Truth Project. If you'd like to learn more about it, you can do so here. Last week was Week 9 - "The State." And I have to say...I think this has been one of my favorite "tours!" If you ever have the opportunity to participate in TTP, I encourage you to do so - you will be richly blessed! Here's a tidbit from last night (remember to scroll down and pause my player first before playing the video!):

video
The Truth Project, Week 9 ~ "The State"

The tour began with a definition of the word "politics" as found in the 1828 edition of Webster's Dictionary:
"The science of government; that part of ethics which has to do with the regulation and government of a nation or state, the preservation of its safety, peace, and prosperity, the defense of its existence and rights against foreign control or conquest, the augmentation of its strength and resources, and the protection of its citizens in their rights, with the preservation and improvement of their morals."
Interesting how the definition has been altered in today's version:
"the art or science of government; the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy; the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government"
No mention of ethics, safety, peace, prosperity, rights, strength, resources. Also missing is any mention of morals. Somehow this does not surprise me. Writing that makes me sad.

In this current climate of "all politics, all the time" last night's lesson was even more relevant and timely. Dr. Tackett called it "The Rise of the State." When "government" or "the State" no longer recognizes the Sovereignty of God and decides that God, with His ethics, gets in the way and must be removed. I'm sure we can all come up with a multitude of examples...
"Without God, truth, or any higher moral standard, people are increasingly looking to the state as savior and the supplier of every human need. In the face of this trend, Bible-believing Christians must have the courage to resist "The Rise of the State" - to stand firm, draw a line in the sand, and say, "This far and no more."
As Christians, we need to remember WHO it is that goes before us. And it is not our government.
"It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8
Pray for our nation, pray for our leaders. Just pray.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chemo, Day 4 is now history!

My Sweet Hubby has passed the halfway mark of his first chemo cycle! Celebrate God's goodness! Here are a few of the things we are thankful for:

**White blood cell count up from last week but still normal: 7.4 to 9.7 (4.1-10.9 is normal)**

**Red blood cell count UP from last week: 2.96 to 3.51 (4.2-6.3 is normal) so he's still low but getting better!!**

**Hemoglobin (the molecule on the red blood cell that carries the oxygen) UP from last week: 7.2 to 8.9 (12-18 is normal...men usually run around 16) sooo low, but he's creeping up!**

**Hematocrit (the portion of your total blood volume made up of red blood cells) UP from last week: 24.2 to 29.6 (37-51% is normal...men usually run in the upper 40's)**

**Platelets (aids in clotting) UP from last week: 217 to 291 (140-440 is normal)**

**Edema is resolving WITHOUT the use of medication!! We are using compression, elevation and prayer...YAY - the fluid is leaving!!**

**NO weight loss except for fluid! My Sweet Hubby is eating well...still no appetite, but praise God, he's eating!!**

**NO pain!!**

**NO nausea!!**

**NO evidence of a bleed!!**

That's a lot to be thankful for, isn't it?! We are sooooo blessed!!! Our God is an awesome God!! Man, I just want to break out in song - lift my hands in praise! Join me? I know it's not Music Monday, but I'm making an exception this week! Remember to scroll down and pause my player first!

Medley: Awesome God/The Stand ~ Michael W. Smith and Hillsong

While we were at chemo, my Sweet Hubby and I were each reading our copy of "The Shack." Not to reveal any of the story, but I just wanted to share a piece that truly touched my heart today...Mack, the main character in the book, is having a conversation with Jesus :
"Jesus?" he whispered as his voice choked. "I feel so lost."

A hand reached out and squeezed his, and didn't let go. "I know, Mack. But it's not true. I am with you and I'm not lost. I'm sorry it feels that way, but hear me clearly. You are not lost."
Even now, that makes me cry - because sometimes don't we ALL feel lost? Granted, some of us more than others...but it is a very human feeling. I'm SO grateful that my Jesus isn't lost and by His blood, neither am I. And for that, we are eternally thankful.
"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."
Luke 19:10
Just makes you feel like singing, doesn't it??!! Go ahead...I'll join you!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Who's your biggest fan?

Last week while driving, I heard this story during a news report on my radio station. And it's been playing over and over again in my head. So today it's coming out of my brain and into the blog...and maybe I'll get some peace!

The story was about Anna Cummins, a member of the U.S. Olympic women's rowing team. Actually, she is a member of the 'eight' team as well as the 'pairs' team. This is her second time to the Olympics - she was in Athens in 2004 where she won a Silver in the eight. This time, Anna was all about the Gold!! It was America's first Gold in the eight since 1984 - a very good year, by the way (our youngest was born!).

So big deal you say? Am I really into rowing you ask? Nope. In fact, I didn't even see Anna and her teammates go for the Gold - although I'm glad they won! Go America! But the reason I can't get this story out of my head is something that Anna said.
"Because God gives me my worth and I can't earn it through rowing, I feel I am less prone to go through the ups and downs associated with my performance," Cummins said. "God is my biggest fan. He will always love me no matter how I do. And, He has the toughest expectations -– perfection -– so I'm always trying to improve."



Wow! There is a lot of truth in those 5 words. And they have been on an endless loop in my mind all week. It's just another way to speak about the unfathomable love that the Lord has for us. He really is our biggest fan. Let those words play in your mind this week...

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Redeemer Lives!!

What a wonderful day of worship we had yesterday! How about you? Since we have finished our First Principles classes, we are in the process of finding a Sunday School class at church. There are so many to choose from! We had received an invitation from a woman whose husband leads one of the small groups, so we attended that class yesterday and LOVED it! What a lovely group of people and they made us feel so welcome! Church was fantastic, Sunday School was a blessing...sigh...I LOVE Sundays!! Don't you just feel so recharged on Sunday? I know I do!

So my Old Testament reading this morning continued in the Book of Job. Ugh - poor Job!! He is being so sorely tested and to add insult to injury, his "friends" are full of accusations - "oh surely he brought this suffering upon himself" - don't people just love to point fingers??!! Job is in pure agony. It is painful to read his words...this is truly a man nearing the end of his rope. And then I saw these words:
"But as for me I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!" Job 19:25-27
Even in the midst of immense, intense suffering, Job professes his faith in the Lord! And as I read that first verse, the words "my Redeemer lives" stood out.

That song is today's Music Monday selection. There is a line in the song that moves me to tears...I'm sure you'll know it when you hear it. Be sure to scroll down and "pause" my player before you play today's song! By the way - how do you like the new addition? I have been working on it for a while now...I'd love your feedback! And as always, I wish you a truly blessed week!



Redeemer ~ Nicole C. Mullen

**By the way - I still have one copy of The Shack to give away...please see this post if you're interested in reading this amazing book!**

Saturday, August 23, 2008

When "life" gets in the way...

After my Sweet Hubby and our youngest son, Matthew, left this morning to attend "Man Camp" at our church, I settled into our sunny living room for my quiet time with the Lord. I treasure this time every day! It's usually so still that all I hear is the ticking of the clock and the sound of my own breathing. That silence is a double edged sword! Most days it allows me to fully focus on God's Word and my time with Him. Other days...well...let's just say that my mind becomes a playground of thoughts!

When I turned to today's reading in my devotional "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers I was excited to see this very subject addressed - and quite nicely!
"But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you." Matthew 6:6
"Jesus did not say, "Dream about your Father who is in the secret place," but He said, "...pray to your Father who is in the secret place..." Prayer is an effort of the will. After we have entered our secret place and shut the door, the most difficult thing to do is to pray. We cannot seem to get our minds into good working order, and the first thing we have to fight is wandering thoughts. The great battle in private prayer is overcoming this problem of our idle and wandering thinking. We have to learn to discipline our minds and concentrate on willful, deliberate prayer.

We must have a specially selected place for prayer, but once we get there this plague of wandering thoughts begins, as we begin to think to ourselves, "This needs to be done, and I have to do that today." Jesus says to "shut your door." Having a secret stillness before God means deliberately shutting the door on our emotions and remembering Him."
I love that he used the word "willful!" Webster's defines it as something done "deliberately, intentionally." It can have a negative connotation - "a willful child." (Like us in our relationship with the Lord!!)

As Christians, we know that the enemy loves nothing more than to come between us and our Heavenly Father. We struggle on a daily basis...Oh what a victory for Satan to disrupt our prayer life!

I'm getting better at catching myself wandering before I'm too far off course! And I've learned to start my quiet time with a prayer for the Holy Spirit to be with me and keep me present with the Lord. It helps. How do you keep yourself in "your inner room with the door closed" as Jesus said?

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Shack

My Sweet Hubby and I are currently reading The Shack by William P. Young. I can't remember how I first heard about this book but after visiting the website, I knew it was something that I would want to read. My Sweet Hubby agreed and I ended up buying two copies so that we would be able to read it together. We started it on Wednesday during chemo. Wow - what a book! We continued reading yesterday during the transfusions. I was in tears...

Here's one of the endorsements that caught my eye...
"An exceptional piece of writing that ushers you directly into the heart and nature of God in the midst of agonizing human suffering. This amazing story will challenge you to consider the person and the plan of God in more expansive terms than you may have ever dreamed."
David Gregory, author of
Dinner With a Perfect Stranger
If you've never read David Gregory's book "Dinner..." I can highly recommend that book as well! Unusual concept but really gets you thinking!

I would love to hear about some of your favorite Christian books! Have you read anything lately that stirred you? Moved you? Set you on fire for the Lord? C'mon - share!!

We'd love to do the same...in fact, my Sweet Hubby and I will pass our copies of The Shack on to the first two posters on today's blog...
But let him who is taught in the word share all good things with him who teaches. Galatians 6:6

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Encourage one another!

Today's blood transfusions went off without a hitch, praise God! I have to say - it was a much more efficient process having it done in the Medical Procedures Unit versus a 23 hour short stay admission! Kind of like the difference between flying first class and coach! For quite a while, my Sweet Hubby was the only patient in the unit and it was ALL about him! We arrived at 8 and were out by 2. Sweet!!! Much less fatiguing than the 12 hours we spent in the hospital last week to accomplish the very same thing!

Bonus: in the 6 hours we were there, my Sweet Hubby ate scrambled eggs, 2 sausage links, turkey, cornbread stuffing, green beans, a dinner roll and a few bites of apple pie! Plus, he had had a big bowl of oatmeal before we left the house this morning! Thank you Lord!

I know our prayer warriors are hard at work...and as you can see, it's bearing fruit! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Today's Bible study found me entering the Book of Job. Ahhhh - poor, poor Job...I'm sure everyone's heard the saying, "the patience of Job." Patience indeed. The trials Job endured are beyond belief. All at the hand of our enemy, Satan, who thought that by causing hardship to fall upon Job, he could make Job curse the Lord. But he was so wrong! Trial upon trial are recorded, including the deaths of all 10 of his children simultaneously when the house they were in collapsed...
'Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, "I came naked from my mother's womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!" In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.' Job 1:20-22
Yes. We WILL go through periods of hardship. Some will be very great and rock us to our core. It is precisely at those times that we need to have not only the patience of Job, but the faith of Job as well. Just keep our focus on Jesus...

Beth Moore said it perfectly in my devotional for today:
"Please bring strong believers into my life so that we may be mutually encouraged by one another's faith."
"that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine." Romans 1:12
Be blessed ~ you're in my prayers...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Still a quart low...

So today was Chemo Day 3...this visit incorporated some time with the oncologist. My Sweet Hubby was prepared with his binder of questions! Be verrrry afraid Dr. Clark!! (I think he's learning to fear "the binder!") Questions answered and exam complete, we moved to the infusion room.

The subsequent lab draw revealed that my Sweet Hubby still has a low hemoglobin level. Actually - he's extremely deficient in red blood cells period. Quite low. Which accounts for his extreme fatigue and shortness of breath. Not enough hemoglobin to carry the oxygen he needs. So, once his infusion was complete we headed over to the hospital so he could be "typed and crossed" and tomorrow morning at 8 we'll be back at the hospital so he can receive another 2 units of blood. I told him today I think he's on a personal mission to regain all the units he's donated to the Red Cross over the years...:)

I'm praying that these next blood transfusions will get him "over the hump" and finally afford my Sweet Hubby some much needed energy. He's very much a "do-er" - not a "watcher" and all this sitting on the sidelines is driving him crazy!

Things we are grateful for ~

On the positive side of his lab work today: White count is holding strong and steady as are his platelets! YAY!! Thank you Lord for this blessing!!

The Tarceva "rash" is resolving nicely and my Sweet Hubby's skin is almost back to normal (although a bit pale). Of course, he gets the benefit of my magic potions day and night!

No weight loss!!! Big Hooray!! My Sweet Hubby has no appetite and has lost most of his sense of taste - so not much in the way of food is appealing. And the spicy foods he used to enjoy are no longer on the menu. Looking forward to mealtime is something of the past...But he's a trooper and eats what I put before him because he knows how important it is NOT to lose weight, i.e., strength.

Church tonight! The Truth Project!! Each week just gets better and better...it's just what we need mid-week! Here's a taste of what we'll see tonight!

video
The Truth Project ~ Week 8 "Unio Mystica"

In closing...I leave you with some of the most beautiful verses of Scripture (in my opinion) that were a part of my reading today:
"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

"Three things will last forever -- faith, hope, and love -- and the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13
Amen.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Be still, and know that I am God

Have you ever really thought about that Scripture verse? Take a moment...
"Be still, and know that I am God;"
I love that verse. It contains such authority, such command, such...power! It makes me want to go to my knees in prayer and adoration. It makes me want to find a very quiet place and spend time in worship of my King. It makes me look all around me and see the beauty of His creation! It makes me feel safe...because He is GOD and I rest in the hollow of His mighty arm. Oh, I love that verse!

The entire verse reads as such:
"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10
I hope that you'll have some time today to think about what that verse means to you! Be blessed!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Romans 6:4

Yesterday was a very special day for my Sweet Hubby and I. Very special...

More than 4 months ago, we made the decision to become members of our church. Which for us meant not only joining this congregation but completely changing our denomination. It was something that we entered into thoughtfully and prayerfully. We asked the Lord's guidance and we truly believe He has placed us - and kept us - on this path.

Three things are necessary to fulfill the requirements of membership: a public profession of your desire to join the church, completion of the "First Principles" classes (a 10 week course in which you learn about the denomination and the church itself) and public baptism by full water immersion.

The first step we took, as I said, over 4 months ago as we walked to the altar during the invitation one Sunday to let the Pastor know of our desire. The following Sunday we began attending First Principles. What a great class it was! We enjoyed each and every session as well as the fellowship we had with others...we were sad to see it end.

In a post a few weeks ago, I mentioned how at Sunday service one week, our Music Minister had approached us and asked my Sweet Hubby if there was a song the choir could sing for him to encourage and uplift him. There was! Last Monday, I received a call from him letting me know that the song was ready...but that he and our Pastor had been talking and they had a request of us. Would we be willing to give our testimony - share it with the congregation? They would like to videotape it, show it at both services on Sunday and incorporate our Baptism at one of the services. They felt it would encourage and uplift everyone to see how the Lord is being glorified in the midst of our trial. Oh, and one more thing...they would like to have it ready for this Sunday if we were agreeable. HUH?? I'll admit I was speechless...but hallelujah!! I finally found my words (!) and told him that I would discuss it with my Sweet Hubby and we would call him back the next day. But I already knew what our answer would be. To God be ALL the glory!

Well...the next day saw my Sweet Hubby admitted to the hospital for blood transfusions so it was from his hospital bed that he had the conversation with our Music Minister and arrangements were made for us to videotape our testimony following "The Truth Project" at church Wednesday night. Unfortunately, my Sweet Hubby was quite ill that evening - he had just had another chemo treatment that day, and was still suffering from the internal bleed - so we sped home following church.

The following day, he was feeling a bit better and so we arrived at church in the afternoon for the taping. What a gift it was to talk about how good the Lord has been to us!! I wish I could convey to you how richly we are blessed each and every day...

So yesterday, August 17, 2008 in the witness of our congregation, my Sweet Hubby and I were baptized by our Pastor and one of our Associate Pastors. I can't even begin to tell you of all the love that flowed over us from our brothers and sisters in Christ!!! It was one of the most beautiful moments of our lives - one that we will never forget.
"We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just like Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty!! AMEN!


Friday, August 15, 2008

Man's best friend

In April of 1998, we brought home a new member of our family. We were fresh on the heels of grieving the loss of our precious Doberman, Shelby, and needed someone to shower with all the love we were so used to giving her. On a beautiful Thursday afternoon, we brought a filthy, matted 3 year old male Miniature Schnauzer mix home from the SPCA. He was not housebroken - had been an outside dog his entire life, in fact - and was not neutered. The "reason" his previous owner gave for putting him up for adoption was that he "kept jumping the fence." Go figure. Anyway, her loss was definitely our gain. As luck would have it, I arrived at the shelter to "look" at exactly the same time as she was surrendering her dog...Fate? No...

I'll never forget seeing him in that cage. I don't know that I've ever seen an animal so scared. He would make only the briefest eye contact and then look away. He was sitting ramrod stiff. He absolutely broke my heart. I just wanted to love this dog. The shelter has a policy that you have to fill out the adoption paperwork and be approved before you can even hold an animal. The approval process included them calling my Sweet Hubby at work to let him know that I had found a dog that I was interested in and to find out whether or not he would be in agreement with adoption. Wow! I could hear my Sweet Hubby chuckling on the other end of the phone!

I sat with him for more than half an hour. Him, stiff and unyielding - heart racing. Me, crooning and rocking - telling him all would be ok. I cried when I had them put him back in that cage. But I told them I would return in a couple of hours once my Sweet Hubby and I had picked our youngest son up from school and that if everyone got along, we would ALL be going home together. And of course, that's just what happened.

What a happy, happy addition Snoopy was to our home! Yes, he came with the name Snoopy. We thought about changing it - but you know what? It totally fit him! He was inquisitive about absolutely everything!! So Snoopy he remained. For a dog that had never been in a home before, he quickly learned his manners! We had him neutered and groomed and were amazed at how beautiful he was. He had toys galore but never destroyed a single one...it was like he treasured them. Precious. Everyone who met him, loved him. You just couldn't help yourself!

It was a journey of discovery with this pup who acquired many nicknames along the way...Moopy, Mr. Moop Dog, Mr. Jingles, Mr. JingJing, BrotherMan...He was deathly afraid of thunderstorms. He more than likely had been abused because he was "hand-shy" when we got him. And he had epilepsy. He was an absolutely wonderful dog. He loved and he loved being loved. Pure and simple.

Today, at 12:05 p.m. our Snoopy went to the Rainbow Bridge to meet, for the first time, his sister Shelby. I think they're gonna get along famously. He has been ill for a while, but this morning I knew the time had come. We are going to miss our little buddy. But we take great comfort in knowing that right now, at this moment, he can hear again...run again...play again...And he knows how very much we loved him and how thankful we are that we had him for these past 10 years.



Snoopy and one of his many, many babies...



Christmas 2007. Yet another new "baby" for Snoopy



Christmas 2007. Snoopy getting a prezzie from his Dad!

A DOG FOR JESUS
I wish someone had given Jesus a dog
As loyal and loving as mine
To sleep by His manger and gaze in His eyes
And adore Him for being divine.

As our Lord grew to manhood His faithful dog
Would have followed Him all through the day
While He preached to the crowds and made the sick well
And knelt in the garden to pray.

It is sad to remember that Christ went away
To face death alone and apart
With no tender dog following close behind
To comfort its Master's Heart.

And when Jesus rose on that Easter morn
How happy He would have been
As His dog kissed His hands and barked its delight
For The One who died for all men.

Well, the Lord has a dog now, I just sent Him mine
The old pal so dear to me
And I smile through my tears on this first day alone
Knowing they're in eternity.

Day after day, the whole day through
Wherever my road inclined
Four feet said, "I am coming with you!"
And trotted along behind.

Written By: Rudyard Kipling

Snoopy
"Ours"
April 1998 - August 15, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

...for the joy of the Lord is your strength!

This morning during my quiet time with the Lord, I was reflecting upon all the earthly troubles swirling about that I've been made aware of - either by friends or via requests for prayer through friends of friends...illness, marriages teetering on the brink, the lost and unsaved...just to name a few. Really, the list is endless. The enemy is very busy.

On Monday, I had someone ask me how I stand strong with what we're going through. She wondered how my belief had not faltered. For a moment I didn't know what to say...because that's really a pretty BIG question, no? And it came while we were at the oncologist's office in the middle of Monday's chaos. Of course it did. Because one of the things I do know for sure is that our Lord has a mighty sense of humor :) But it's not about me, or us...it's about HIM. So, I gave a brief answer and promised to call her back.

And here's what I know. All I know, really. I (WE!) stand strong because of the Lord! Oh - I don't even want to think about how we would be coping (not coping) without Him...He sustains us, refreshes us, carries us, lifts us and encourages us - always through His Word and so often through our brothers and sisters in Christ. He loves us and we feel His love and see it manifested 1000 different ways every day.

But here's the catch: if you are not looking for it, expecting it...you'll miss it every single time. As Christians, we read in God's Word that He wants to bless us richly.
"He will send blessings on the worshippers of the Lord, on the small and on the great." Psalm 115:13
"But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which comes forth from God, that we may know the blessings that have been so freely given to us by God." 1 Corinthians 2:12
As a parent, don't we want to do good and wonderful things for our children? Of course we do!! How much more then does our Heavenly Father - who created us - want to do good and wonderful things for us?
"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he won't give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Luke 11:11-13
But just as a stubborn child refuses to see the good a parent does for them, it's the same with us. If we're not open to God - if we cross our arms and stomp our foot at Him - we sadly miss out on all of those blessings he pours out. And just as we cry for our children...I believe He cries for us. The Bible says "Jesus wept." Yes, I believe He cries for us.

So I get through each and every day by the grace of God. The good days are a no-brainer!! Full of happiness and praise! The stormy days are tougher for sure. But they too are full of praise!

How has God blessed you today?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chemo, Day 2

Just a quick post this evening...my Sweet Hubby is not feeling very well today. I won't go into detail, but there is evidence that he has, indeed, had another bleed. We spoke with his oncologist for a bit today at chemo and will be adding an additional dose of one of his daily meds to see if that might help ward off another one.

The chemo itself went off without a hitch. In and out in two hours. But my Sweet Hubby is weak as a pup. And it's driving him nuts. He will work from home tomorrow - his company has hooked him up with a brand new laptop and all the accessories...another blessing!!

That's it for now. To God be the glory!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Deja vu

Today started out a bit rough...Right after the alarm had gone off and my Sweet Hubby had gone downstairs, I heard a "crash." Immediately my first concern was that he'd fallen. And he just about had. He was extremely dizzy - breaking out in a sweat. Memories came flooding back of a month ago when all of this started. I got him settled safely on the sofa. A former ER nurse, I present a calm, collected exterior - but my mind was racing a million miles an hour. Call the ambulance? Load him in the car and rush to the hospital? Are we dealing with another bleed?

I decided to call the oncologist and let him direct me. The answering service put me right through to the oncall physician. Nice. No endless (it seems anyway!) waiting for the phone to ring. I spoke with one of the partners in the group and described what was going on. I told him about the changes in my Sweet Hubby's lab work over the past couple of weeks. He advised us to come in to the office when they opened at 9 and that they would draw labs and evaluate him at that time. OK. Still uneasy, but now we had a plan. Good.

My Sweet Hubby was resting, so I decided to go into our living room and busy myself with my Bible study. As is my habit, I began with my devotionals. After a brief prayer for peace and the presence of the Holy Spirit, I started to read. When I tell you that I had to read it twice because I could not believe my eyes, I'm not kidding. This is what awaited me today - August 12th:
"Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Matthew 8:26
"When we are afraid, the least we can do is pray to God. But our Lord has a right to expect that those who name His name have an underlying confidence in Him. God expects His children to be so confident in Him that in any crisis they are the ones who are reliable."

It went on to say:

"There are times when there is no storm or crisis in our lives, and we do all that is humanly possible. But it is when a crisis arises that we instantly reveal upon whom we rely. If we have been learning to worship God and to place our trust in Him, the crisis will reveal that we can go to the point of breaking without breaking our confidence in Him.

Thank you, Jesus, for the reminder that YOU are in control here!!!! Fear - gone! Anxiety - gone!! Panic - gone!!! All that remained was the peace that surpasses all understanding. Blessed peace.

We saw the doctor and long story short, my Sweet Hubby's hemoglobin had tanked again and he would need to receive a couple of units of blood. So they arranged a direct 23 hour short stay admit to the hospital with discharge after the blood had been transfused. We got home right before 10 tonight - just in time for the dose of Tarceva!! God is good - all the time!

Once again, we had wonderful caregivers in the hospital who couldn't do enough for us. We are so blessed it is beyond belief...

Tomorrow is chemo day #2. If you would, please remember my Sweet Hubby in your prayers...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Our "other son!"

My Sweet Hubby and I listen to contemporary Christian music exclusively and have for years. It uplifts us and we just love to praise the Lord with song!

There is one artist that struck a cord with us several years ago...we had an opportunity to chit chat with him at a recent event and he was such a God filled, wonderful young man. He cruised with us on the K-LOVE Friends and Family cruise in 2006. He has written songs for some of the biggest "names" in the Christian music industry but you'd never know it because you'll never hear that from him. But the other artists sure speak highly of him! His Mom and Dad must be so proud of him! (They are - we saw it on their faces on the cruise!) And he has the sweetest wife and baby girl!

Anyway, my Sweet Hubby and I have jokingly taken to calling him "our other son Matthew." When one of his songs comes on the radio we say, "There's our other son, Matthew!"

I heard this song well before it was released. And absolutely loved what it said. So, for today's Music Monday selection I would like to introduce you to "our other son" - Matthew West!



You Are Everything ~ Matthew West

And because it's a beautiful, sunshiney morning - how about a "two fer?" Here's another Matthew song about the gift of God's grace. Isn't grace a wonderful thing? Where would we be without it?



Only Grace ~ Matthew West

For the law was given by Moses. But grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. John 1:17
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves -- it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

I pray that you all have a week where you know that you are held in the hollow of God's Almighty Hand. And that you know His grace is nothing you have earned - could EVER earn. It is a precious gift He gives freely through his Beloved Son, Jesus.

GRACE: God's Redemption At Christ's Expense

Saturday, August 9, 2008

It's the little things!

Today's entry will be brief...I have a lot to do and the day's a wastin'! Matthew is on his way home for the weekend, I have a lawn to mow, a pup to tend to...

My Sweet Hubby told me this morning that last night was the best night's sleep he's had in a long time! He has not been sleeping well at all, multiple awakenings with difficulty falling back to sleep. His oncologist has him on medication and it appears to be working - finally! I'm grateful! Sleep is restorative. Imperative and necessary.
I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me. Psalm 3:5
It may not seem like much, but it's the small things that count! Thank you Lord, for all our many blessings, both big AND small!

I wish you all a wonderful, blessed weekend ~ see you Monday!

Friday, August 8, 2008

...but joy comes with the morning!

Yesterday was not a good day. I felt a step behind from the time I got out of bed...Add to that the fact that we've had a sick pup and it just made for a miserable day altogether. By the end of the night I felt totally overwhelmed and ready to have a good cry. I think if I'd had to give Snoopy one more more bath, do one more load of towels or scrub one more floor, I'd have had to be committed...sigh...

Truth be told, I rolled out of bed this morning still feeling a bit discouraged. I got my Sweet Hubby off to work and went into our living room to spend some quiet time with the Lord. And boy oh boy did I pour my heart out to Him! I told Him all about how lousy yesterday was and how I knew there would be "hard" days, but oh please God, could today NOT be one of them? Because I didn't know if I could do another one so soon. I told Him that I didn't want to be sad. That what I really wanted to do was spend my time praising Him. And here's what I heard in that quiet voice...you know the one I mean...
"Choose to praise."
Wait! Could it be that simple? Yes, of course it is!! I get to choose every single day - every single moment of my life. So...today, this moment - I choose to praise the One who made me!

Then, feeling considerably lighter and totally refreshed, I turned to His Word. And found this waiting for me...
"O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you restored my health.
You brought me up from the grave, O Lord.
You kept me from falling into
the pit of death." Psalm 30:2-3
Ahh...reassurance that I can continue to NOT concern myself with my Sweet Hubby's diagnosis. All is well in the hands of God. And it was bolded in Scripture!

I continued reading...and there was this:
"Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones!
Praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning." Psalm 30:4-5
Joy truly does come with the morning! Thank you Lord for bringing me back to center today! I pray that all who read this are having a blessed day as well...Amen!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

One down...

So my Sweet Hubby's first chemo treatment was...uneventful! Praise God! We were there for two hours during which time they drew labs, started his IV, began a normal saline drip, infused dexamethasone and then... - "the magic beans" - Gemcitabine!!

Tonight will be my Sweet Hubby's 8th dose of Tarceva. The pharmacist mentioned the 8th dose seems to be the time when a lot of patients develop the "rash" that is a common side effect of this medicine. We'll see. The doctor mentioned that the rash is actually a "good sign" that the drug is getting to the receptors. The literature I've read said that the rash could develop over the first few weeks of treatment. Who ever thought you'd see the day when you WANTED a rash??!! Especially one that presents like acne...

We just thank God for the knowledge of our physician, the kindness of his nurses and office staff, the diligence of our pharmacy tech...They have all been wonderful. And as always, we are most grateful to all of you for your uplifting prayers - you have no idea how much they get us through each and every day!
"I will praise you, Lord my God, with my whole heart. I will glorify your name forevermore." Psalm 86:12

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Courageous Heart

"A Courageous Heart For Men" is the title of the daily devotional that my Sweet Hubby uses. He has a courageous heart. And a spirit on fire for the Lord! It is awesome to listen to him and watch him in his walk with Jesus...

I took a quick glance at the reading for today in his devotional. I was stunned by how timely it was given that today is Chemo, Day One. It read: "Need courage? God can handle it."
"Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord is the one who goes before you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:8
What a verse to carry in his heart today...Thank you Lord for your goodness!

I will try and post an update later today. Just received a call and they've moved my Sweet Hubby's appointment from 1 p.m. to 11 a.m. Please keep him in your prayers this morning - we thank you!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"Come and talk with me"

Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me."
And my heart responds, "Lord, I am coming."
Psalm 27:7-8
The above was how my Psalm reading for today began. And it got me to thinking about all the times my heart has heard the Lord calling to me. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He seeks me out - that He truly wants to spend time with me each and every day. A lot of time. I'm ashamed to admit that my heart doesn't always respond, "Lord, I am coming." Sometimes it responds, "Lord, not right now...I've got a lot going on at the moment. Can I get with you a little later?" I'm working on that one, praying on that one.

I picked up a new devotional before worship service on Sunday. It's an old one..."My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers. I just had to laugh when I read the title for today's devotion: The Bewildering Call of God. Isn't that so often the truth? We just don't understand what it is God's calling us for or to...And we want to know, don't we?! We're so human...and it's frustrating when we feel we're "in the dark" so to speak!

I find that just praying to be in His will goes a long way toward dealing with the angst and anxiety of the unknown. Oswald Chambers put it very succinctly today:
"If we are in fellowship and oneness with God and recognize that He is taking us into His purposes, then we will no longer strive to find out what His purposes are. As we grow in the Christian life, it becomes simpler to us, because we are less inclined to say, "I wonder why God allowed this or that?" And we begin to see that the compelling purpose of God lies behind everything in life, and that God is divinely shaping us into oneness with that purpose. A Christian is someone who trusts in the knowledge and wisdom of God, not in his own abilities. If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the calm, relaxed pace which should be characteristic of the children of God."
Yes - how true!! It is when I take myself out of the will of the Lord that I find myself swimming in a sea of anxiety! Actually - drowning would be a more accurate description!

So, I'm working on responding immediately to the voice of God tugging at my heart. It's so much easier to remain in a serene mindset when I am in constant communion with the One who made me! Do I hear an Amen?

Monday, August 4, 2008

In Christ Alone

I mentioned in an earlier post that while my Sweet Hubby was in the hospital, certain song lyrics kept playing over and over in my head..."on Christ the solid Rock I stand..."

So did I feel especially cherished by the Lord when those very lyrics were a part of my weekend? Absolutely YES!! I wanted to fall to my knees in worship and thanksgiving for His goodness! Such a small detail, but doesn't that make you see what a BIG God we serve - that He attends to the minutiae of our lives as easily and fully as He attends to the catastrophic?

I'm sharing the song with you today, as my Music Monday selection. Travis Cottrell leads the praise team for Beth Moore and his voice is so powerful. I hope you fall in love with this song and that it brings you as much hope and comfort as it always brings me!




In Christ Alone ~ Travis Cottrell

In closing, I'd like to share part of my Scripture reading from this morning...
"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
Did you notice that "hope" is mentioned twice in that one verse? I did! I pray that today and always you overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit! Be blessed!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Parable of the Sower

Can I just start by saying what a truly remarkable blessing the Beth Moore simulcast was? I have much to think about - pray about - as a result of the past two days.

Beth's focus was The Parable of the Sower, which can be found in the Book of Luke.

"A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown." When he said this, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, 'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'"

"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop." Luke 8:5-15

From the moment I discovered last night what Scripture Beth would be teaching to, I was convicted. You see, I remember very well reading this parable earlier this year during my Bible study. And I remember how I sat there afterward in prayer because I wasn't sure what kind of "soil" I was...of course I wanted to think I was good soil...but was I really??? Oh, I had so much turmoil and doubt. Because what if I was ROCK? What if my faith couldn't stand up to trial or temptation? What if??????


It was so reassuring to revisit this Parable that Jesus told and see it in a new light. The light of our current circumstances. And to know beyond any shadow of a doubt that I am, indeed, good soil. Thank you Lord for your goodness and mercy!


And then Beth spoke Psalm 126:5-6:

"Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him."
She said this is a promise from the Lord...if we go out and sow the seed of God (His Word) during our times of trial and crisis, watering that seed with our tears, we will reap the harvest with songs of joy!! What a promise to stand on!!

Oh - I could go on and on...I came away with such treasure! I'm sure I'll be sharing more over the coming days and weeks as I pray about what I learned and gain greater understanding.


To my good friend "M"...I love you and I'm so glad we had this time together to grow in our love for the Lord! What a blessing you are to me! See you in church tomorrow!


I wish you all a beautiful Sunday!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Girl Time!

Tonight and tomorrow our church is hosting a Living Proof Live simulcast. Living Proof Ministries is Beth Moore's ministry.
"Beth founded Living Proof Ministries in 1994 with the purpose of teaching women how to love and live on God’s Word."
This 2 day event is for ladies only and I am going with my good friend "M." We have been looking forward to it for weeks now! We spoke on the phone this morning and we're both so excited to see the Lord in action...we know women's lives will be touched and changed as we grow stronger in Him! Hallelujah!
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
Have any of you ever been to one of Beth's events? I'd love to know how the Lord blessed you...

It's going to be an awesome 2 days of praise and worship. And plain, good old fashioned girl time! I'm sure I'll have much to post about tomorrow afternoon...Until then ~ be blessed!