Tuesday, September 30, 2008

There's no place like home!

You may have noticed a brief hiatus here...

Unfortunately, my Sweet Hubby was hospitalized Friday morning. It was a bad GI bleed. The worst he's had so far. He's received 8 units of blood in the last week.

We just got home this afternoon. I'll hopefully be back with a new blog entry tomorrow. But for now, we're so grateful to be here...To God be ALL the glory!!!!!!!!

There's no place like home.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort;"
2 Corinthians 1:3

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Gale warnings

We lost power this morning. Before I had my coffee...an extra dose of badness! Something about a tree falling on a power line - anticipated repair time: 7 hours. They must have heard my caffeine deprived whining, because they had it repaired in 3! Happy dance!

We are in the middle of a nor'easter. Gale warnings are in effect, winds are gusting in excess of 50 mph. Patio furniture blew off the back deck early this morning and plants were toppled over. It's been raining all day and there are flood warning all around. We are a coastal city and depending on where exactly you live, your home is either at or below sea level. We are required to have flood insurance.

All that is going on outside. Inside is a different picture. Calm. As the gale blew outside, I read God's Word this morning...
"Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God's presence." Ephesians 3:12
Boldly and confidently we can enter the Throne Room of the Lord! Because we are expected!! Our presence has been purchased with a price: the blood of the Lamb and our faith in Him.

And there's more:
"When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:14-21
I'm praying for strong roots. Yes please Lord...strong roots.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Refuel Wednesday

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." Revelation 3:20
Tonight we begin another semester of Refuel classes at our church. I really like that word. Refuel: to be supplied with more fuel. Yeah - I like it!

So every Wednesday evening for the next 11 or 12 weeks my Sweet Hubby and I will be continuing the study of the Book of Revelation that we began in the Spring Refuel semester. (The Summer semester was filled with The Truth Project.)

This study takes the better part of a year to complete and truly goes in-depth into Revelation. Our Senior Associate Pastor teaches the class and he is just phenomenal in his insight and explanations. We use Dr. Jeremiah's study guide, Escape the Coming Night and it is fabulous in helping us study and understand God's Word on this final chapter...

Escape the Coming Night ~ Study Guide
Dr. David Jeremiah

On a personal note, my Sweet Hubby slept better last night. But he's just so weak...only able to be up for an hour or so at a time and then back to bed to rest. And he's supposed to start chemo again next Friday. Please continue to keep him in your prayers...I am so grateful to you all.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Playing the numbers game. Again.

No getting around it. Last week was rough. And it culminated with my Sweet Hubby being admitted to the hospital Sunday afternoon. I spoke with his oncologist who called orders to the ER to get the ball rolling with testing and pave the way for admission. We knew it would more than likely culminate with the need for blood. We know the signs. Unfortunately.

This was the lowest my Sweet Hubby has ever been. His hemoglobin was 5.5 upon arrival in the ER, hematocrit 17. I knew at that point that this would not be a two unit fix. And it wasn't.

Yesterday morning and two units later, labs showed the hemoglobin at 7.1. Two more unit followed. One of the other oncologists in the group was in yesterday morning and she told us that they would repeat the labs after the last two units had finished, but that my Sweet Hubby would not need to hang out for the results if he didn't want to...we could just go on home and follow up with Dr. Clark toward the end of this week. That sounded good to us. We should have anticipated the monkey wrench I guess..

The last of the blood finished infusing at 7 p.m. They redrew labs at 7:40. And we waited for discharge. And waited...and waited...and...well, you get the idea. At around 9 p.m. there was a lot of commotion and I heard the words, "I'm trying to page Dr. Clark..." Oh boy. That's never good. So I called the charge nurse in and asked what what going on. She was a bit hesitant, but I guess she could see that I was the dog and she was the bone upon which I would continue to gnaw, so she told me that the labs had come back and my Sweet Hubby's hemoglobin "was not where it should be." So I gnawed some more. 5.3. I questioned the result. It had been run twice. 5.3. Yes. It was now lower AFTER 4 units of blood than upon admission. Talk about feeling defeated. My poor, poor Sweet Hubby.

Needless to say, they could not discharge him with that lab value. And they were having trouble paging the doctor. At this point I'm thinking, "forget the oncologist, we need GI stat to the endoscopy lab to find (and hopefully stop) the source of this bleed." They came in and redrew the lab.

So my Sweet Hubby and I did the only thing we knew to do at this point:
"Lord, please be with us and give us your peace. We ask that you touch the source of this bleeding and stop it. In Jesus' name, Amen."
The lab redraw came back. 8.2. We got home at midnight. My Sweet Hubby and I slept in our own bed, side by side. No interruptions, no noise. Peace. Precious peace. Thank you Lord.
"For I hold you by your right hand -- I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, 'Don't be afraid. I am here to help you."
Isaiah 41:13

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A different "take" on temptation

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that I had an interesting devotional time Thursday morning. True. If you're a returning reader, you may remember that one of my daily devotionals is Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest.

Thursday's topic was "temptation." I'd like to share it with you, if you don't mind...
"Are you going on with Jesus?"

"You are those who have continued with Me in My trials." Luke 22:28

"It is true that Jesus Christ is with us through our temptations, but are we going on with Him through His temptations? Many of us turn back from going on with Jesus from the very moment we have an experience of what He can do. Watch when God changes your circumstances to see whether you are going on with Jesus, or siding with the world, the flesh, and the devil. We wear His name, but are we going on with Him?

"From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more." (John 6:66).

The temptation of Jesus continued throughout His earthly life, and they will continue throughout the life of the Son of God in us. Are we going on with Jesus in the life we are living right now?

We have the idea that we ought to shield ourselves from some of the things God brings around us. May it never be! It is God who engineers our circumstances, and whatever they may be we must see that we face them while continually abiding with Him in His temptations. They are His temptations, not temptations to us, but temptations to the life of the Son of God in us. Jesus Christ's honor is at stake in our bodily lives. Are we remaining faithful to the Son of God in everything that attacks His life in us?

Are you going on with Jesus? The way goes through Gethsemane, through the city gate, and on 'outside the camp' (Hebrews 13:13). The way is lonely and goes on until there is no longer even a trace of a footprint to follow -- but only the voice saying , 'Follow Me' (Matthew 4:19)."
That was a big "wow" moment for me! I had never thought about temptation quite that way before...never thought that it was actually the Spirit of Christ within me that was being tempted. And if I am truly serving Him, I need to be ever vigilant and steadfast in my resistance because it's not about me - it's all about Jesus. This one has really given me a lot to think about. Wow...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Yeah, I know...

It's not Music Monday! But today I'm breaking all my rules! Because I can...and because it's a beautiful, breezy, cool (Thank you Lord!) day and I just feel like singing! So I'm gonna! I hope you'll join me!

Was that enough exclamation points for you? (!)

How Can I Keep From Singing ~ Chris Tomlin

(Remember to scroll down and pause my player before playing this video!)

"I know I am loved by the King, and it makes my heart want to sing!!!!" YEAH!

Interesting devotional time this morning...perhaps I'll share that tomorrow. But right now, I just want to take delight in this day, give thanks for my many, many blessings...and SING!
"Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises." James 5:13

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A brief respite and a new book!

We're having a low-key celebration here! Yesterday marked the end of my Sweet Hubby's first round of chemo! Woohooooo! So now we'll enjoy a two week respite during which we'll be hard at work on recovering some of the strength and stamina that these past seven weeks have cost him. The effects of chemotherapy are cumulative and it sure has taken a heavy toll. To the point where even the stairs here at home are a challenge. Our goal is for my Sweet Hubby to be as strong as possible for Round 2!

The results from yesterday's labs were less than stellar, I'm afraid. His white count has now entered the "high" range, which could indicate he's beginning to brew an infection somewhere. His hemoglobin has been dropping again for the past two weeks; down from 9.0 two weeks ago, to 8.4 last week to 8.3 yesterday. His oncologist didn't feel that a transfusion (or two!) was necessary at this point in time...we'll just be watchful for any symptoms of a bleed. So far, so good.

It's going to be a bit nerve wracking - going these next two weeks without lab work to kind of let us know what's going on...but I'm determined to just leave that worry at the foot of the Cross. Thank you Jesus.

We are so grateful to all of you who have been in prayer with us through this time! As you can see, we're still standing!! Amen! (So don't stop, OK?!)
"I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:18-20

I'd like to tell you about a new book...in fact, it was just released on September 16th.

The Greatest Words Ever Spoken Everything Jesus said about you, your life, and everything else
Written by Steven K. Scott with a foreword by Gary Smalley
Over 1,900 statements of Jesus organized under more than 200 topics

It seems like this is a familiar concept, but the publishers researched it and found that this had never been done before! And it is awesome!! Here's an excerpt from the jacket:
"When you read The Greatest Words Ever Spoken, you come face-to-face with the truth and power of Jesus Christ. No matter what you are struggling with or what your question might be, Jesus provides wisdom and direction that will meet your need.

Reading Jesus' statements without the interruption or commentary or explanation intensifies the impact of His words on your life. This book is a unique guide for personal and family devotions, inspirational reading, and Bible study preparation. It is a valuable resource for pastors and other speakers, for Bible teachers, and for anyone who shares the power of the Savior's teachings with others."
Hey! How about that last line there..."and for anyone who shares the power of the Savior's teachings with others." That should be all of us, right?

Be blessed and be a blessing to others!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Join us?

I have such a heavy burden on my heart for the state of our Nation...

Everywhere I look - newspapers, magazines, TV - all I see speaks to the fact that we are a country in great turmoil. The upcoming elections have added gasoline to the fire, so to speak. I have seen friends turn on friends because their political views differ. I can't help but wonder if our citizens will be able to mend and heal when all is said and done. Because no matter which way the vote falls, there will be a lot of disappointed people when it's over. And words, once spoken, can't be taken back...

The other day, my Sweet Hubby and I were watching the program LIFE Today with James and Betty Robison. (I especially look forward to the Wednesday program because Beth Moore has a segment!) James spoke about a new book he has written and it really got my attention! Here it is:

The Soul of a Nation 30 Days, 30 Issues, 30 Prayers

I picked it up yesterday at Barnes and Noble and my Sweet Hubby and I included it in our prayer time this morning. What a great book!!

This morning I found this website as well:

The Soul of a Nation

We know the Lord hears and answers the prayers of His faithful. With God's help, we can impact our country's future for the good and get this downward spiral turned around. I know many of you share this burden with me, with us...so won't you join us as we spend the next 30 days in focused prayer for our Nation?

We'd love your company!

"Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:3-4

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What a wonderful gift!

Have you ever received a gift and thought to yourself, "Wow, that's a nice gift..." And then moved on, not really considering how truly wonderful a gift it is...or maybe not understanding the enormity of the gift until much later?

I had one of "those" moments today as I spent time with God's Word. Here's a reminder of the gift I've received:
"What's more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles to be righteous because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, "All nations will be blessed through you." So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith." Galatians 3:8-9
Did you see it?? God declared the Gentiles to be righteous because of their faith!! It wasn't always so...But now I can share in the same blessings as God's chosen people! That, my friends, is truly the most enormous gift I've ever received.

Hmm...I'm noticing a truth here. God gave, but I had to receive. A gift is of no benefit if the recipient doesn't accept it.

Thank you Lord, for loving me and blessing me so richly, so eternally, with the gift of your Son, Jesus!
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
Have you accepted your gift?

Monday, September 15, 2008

A little "girl time"

Sorry for the late blog today...

Yesterday was my friend Kimberly's birthday. So today was our little celebration! It was wonderful to have some time to chit chat, laugh, talk about everything and nothing...in other words -- "girl time!!"

My Sweet Hubby practically shuffled me out the door...hmm - what was that all about?! For those of you who know me personally - you know it's because I'm a "hoverer." Yeah...in the worst way...sigh...

Anyway, on the menu of fun for this afternoon was salad and pizza at ZPizza (do you have a ZPizza in your area? If so, lucky, lucky you!! Aren't they the BEST??!! Wheat crust and organic sauce - YUM!) followed by frozen yogurt at The Skinny Dip. Total girl fun without the dietary guilt ;)

And guess what? My Sweet Hubby was none the worse for wear when I got home 2 1/2 hours later. Although he did say he thought about me the whole time I was gone...Did I just hear a collective "awwwwww....."?!

I don't have a photo from today, but this is Kimberly and I, at "tea" in March.
Happy Birthday (plus 1!) Kimberly (aka "Ed") - and thanks for the fun afternoon! I hope this next year brings you much happiness ~ you deserve it! Love, G. (aka "Johnny") (Did you notice I put this in orange, just for you??!!)
"Because you have had a new birth, not from the seed of man, but from eternal seed, through the word of a living and unchanging God." 1 Peter 1:23

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Lesson of the Weedeater

Today's blog comes to you courtesy of my Sweet Hubby...kind of. You'll see what I mean as we go along!

Several weekends ago, our youngest son (Matthew) and I were doing yard work. Matthew was mowing and I was trimming and edging using our Weedeater (model TE-475). No, it's not important that you know the model number. But I know it and just felt like sharing that bit of trivia with you. You're welcome!

Anyway, we were in the back yard - working along at a pretty good clip. I was just about done with my trimming (edging was complete) when all of a sudden, I looked down and just saw a mass of green twine. I stopped the trimmer to check it out. Looked to me like I had come to the end of my twine supply and would need to replenish the spool. Which I do not know how to do. No worries I figured...my Sweet Hubby knows how to do it! But I was close enough to being done to call it done for the day and Matthew had finished up the mowing. So we put everything away for the weekend.

Fast forward to the following weekend and guess what time it is? That's right...So I reminded my Sweet Hubby that I needed to have new twine put on the spool and said that if he would tell me how to take it off the trimmer, I would bring it and the twine in to him. He gave me the instructions - "unscrew this nut, pull that..." So into the garage Matthew and I went. OK, I'm looking at this thing and I'm not really seeing a nut. I take off the safety shield so I can get a better look. Well - there's something that looks like a hex nut at the top of the spool. That must be what he was talking about. But good grief - it was so tight I couldn't unscrew it, even with a pair of vise grips. I finally told Matthew, "We're just gonna take this whole thing in to Dad and he can tell us what we're doing wrong." And that's just what we did.

Only instead of pointing to something obvious that we were doing wrong, my Sweet Hubby says, "Sweetheart, the whole end piece is missing. There's a knob that should be here and it's gone. It must have come off somewhere..." Oh good grief. So now the thing is broken because I lost a stupid piece of it.

No biggie, I think. It can't have gone far. It must have come off around the place where the mass of twine came off the spool, right?? Matthew and I conducted a thorough search outside (didn't we, son?) but we didn't find anything resembling a knob, nut, screw or anything else. I'll admit I was a little deflated...

Our trimming and edging has not been done since and it's been weighing heavily on my mind. I'm trying hard to keep up with the yard and that is a part of it. But I also didn't want to have to buy a new trimmer when this one is only a couple of years old and works beautifully. Except - it doesn't - but you know what I mean! Today, we tracked down replacement parts and ordered them. They would be delivered mid-week or sooner. Sweet!

I went out to mow the lawn and my Sweet Hubby decided he would take a look around outside himself to see if he could spot the missing part. **Confession** I didn't see him slip outside. When I finished mowing, I came in and couldn't find him. I searched the whole house. The garage. Closets. Looked out the windows into the back yard. I went back into the front yard...nope, no sign of him. For 10 minutes I looked for him, calling...Honest to Pete, I started thinking "RAPTURE." Honest. I did. What's worse - I was left behind!!!!! Talk about a racing heart! **Confession over**

I found my Sweet Hubby in the back yard. He had somehow slipped by me when I was mowing the front yard - don't ask me how! And even though he spent 45 minutes searching, he came up empty-handed as well. At that point, he re-entered the house via the garage and decided to take a look at the trimmer (he says for "no apparent reason"). Mmmhmmm...

And here's where God was having a big old HAR-DEE-HAR-HAR...there was nothing missing on the trimmer at all. Never had been. That's right...

My Sweet Hubby believes that his vision was purposely blocked the day he looked at it...so that he would spend time outside today. He has been praying for stamina and feels that this was the Lord's way of giving him a "purpose," a "tasking" and the drive, the motivation to do some physical labor. Even in his weakened state. Be careful what you pray for!

Parts order cancelled, I took my now fully functional trimmer outside and set to work. Only to have it run out of twine after 10 minutes....only in my world!
"On the first day you will have a holy meeting; you may do no sort of field-work." Leviticus 23:7
My Sweet Hubby and I wish you a blessed Sunday!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Clear as...mud?

Let me start by saying: This has been a week. I don't know why, but it has. I'm glad it's coming to an end and I'm excited by the opportunity of a "fresh week."

As I turned to my devotional "My Utmost for His Highest" this morning, I think I gained a little insight on why my week has been so...unsettled. I'd like to share it with you, if you don't mind. But you might want to settle in, because I think this is gonna be a long one!

The subject of today's devotion was "Going Through Spiritual Confusion" and the Scripture verse was Matthew 20:22:
"Jesus answered and said, 'You do not know what you ask'"
And the text of the devotion read as follows:
"There are times in your spiritual life when there is confusion, and the way out of it is not simply to say that you should not be confused. It is not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of God taking you through a way that you temporarily do not understand. And it is only by going through the spiritual confusion that you will come to the understanding of what God wants for you.
The Shrouding of His Friendship (see Luke 11:5-8). Jesus gave the illustration here of a man who appears not to care for his friend. He was saying, in effect, that is how the Heavenly Father will appear to you at times. You will think that He is an unkind friend, but remember -- He is not. The time will come when everything will be explained. There seems to be a cloud on the friendship of the heart, and often even love itself has to wait in pain and tears for the blessing of fuller fellowship and oneness. When God appears to be completely shrouded, will you hang on with confidence in Him?
The Shadow on His Fatherhood (see Luke 11:11-13). Jesus said that there are times when your Father will appear as if He were an unnatural Father -- as if He were callous and indifferent -- but remember, He is not. "Everyone who asks receives..." (Luke 11:10). If all you see is a shadow on the face of the Father right now, hang on to the fact that He will ultimately give you clear understanding and will fully justify Himself in everything that He has allowed into your life.
The Strangeness of His Faithfulness (see Luke 18:1-8). "When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8). Will He find the kind of faith that counts on Him in spite of the confusion? Stand firm in faith, believing that what Jesus said is true, although in the meantime you do not understand what God is doing. He has bigger issues at stake than the particular things you are asking of Him right now.
OK, convicted once again in my seat. As it became clear to me (well, clear as mud anyway!) that I have indeed felt adrift from the Father this week...like maybe He wasn't holding onto my hand as tightly as He had been. Oh no - because what's the saying? If we feel distanced from God, only one of us has moved...and it wasn't Him.

I have been struggling this week with my Sweet Hubby's diagnosis. He is so weak right now. I don't ask "why" because it doesn't matter, it's not important...but this week, every fiber of me has cried out "why?" Not why the diagnosis, but why does he have to suffer so...He is such a kind and gentle soul and it just hurts my heart to see him like this.

So. Thank you, Lord, for using the writing of Oswald Chambers to remind me that I won't always understand Your ways, I won't always "feel" Your friendship as closely as I do at other times. I need to let those feelings of "spiritual confusion" act as reminders to examine MY walk, MY faith, MY relationship with YOU. Because this morning, I realized that it was ME that let go of YOUR hand...But I'm holding on again, tight. And trusting with all my might. Even when I just don't understand.


Whew...I feel the need for a little fun now - how about you? Thanks to my friend, Tracy Cavelli Trussell at Tracywriting4him, I've been "tagged!" This is a little lighthearted game to learn some tidbits about your fellow bloggers.

The Rules: 1) Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves. 2) People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. 3) At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. 4) Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged and to read your blog.

So, I'm now to share 8 random things about myself and then the FUN part (for me anyway!)...I get to tag 8 of YOU to continue this madness! Ready? Here we go!

1) I hate cottage cheese. Blechhhhhhhh. Nasty, nasty. Somebody needs a spanking for inventing that stuff.
2) I never met a vegetable I didn't like. Well, maybe okra... ;)
3) I love dogs. I mean really, really love them. Cats are OK, but dogs...truly man's best friend.
4) I'm adopted. Thank you Jesus for blessing me with my Mom and Dad. What gifts they are!
5) My favorite color is red. I think. I really, really like pink though...
6) I think carrot cake is the perfect food. (J - are you laughing here?) Ask me to explain my theory one day...it makes perfect sense. Really, it does. Really, I mean it.
7) Working with HIV/AIDS patients was the best nursing job I had. I love that patient population. ER nursing is a close second. Greet 'em, treat 'em, street 'em. Gotta love it!
8) I wish we lived in a little tiny mountain town somewhere. Yeah, I could go for that.

Me, in a nutshell. Me, the nut, in a nutshell!

Ahh...now (rubbing my hands with glee!) who shall I choose?? Will the following bloggers please report to your comments section...you've been "tagged!"

Blessings From Above
I'm Thankful for the Thorns
Journaling for Growth
Lance's Soul Searching
LauraLee's Lifesong
Tamela's Place
The Jesus Filter
We Really Do Need Each Other

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Walled City

Because I am a Registered Nurse as well as a licensed Master Esthetician, I belong to quite a few private, professional message boards. These boards, not open to the general public, are a way to connect and network with my peers as well as exchange information and ideas; extra "tools" in my tool belt, if you will. Generally, I really enjoy the camaraderie found there and am an active participant.

I'm not enjoying it so much lately. The political climate of our country has turned my supportive networks into pools of hungry piranha - ready to devour those not "like minded" to the very bone. Free discourse, while touted, is not permitted...unless you're speaking the way left liberal party line, that is.

I do not post my political views on these boards as I feel that is a bit too personal and I prefer to remain on the professional side of the fence. But it pains me to see people with more conservative views mocked, insulted and ridiculed for sharing their beliefs. Hmm...that's starting to sound familiar, isn't it?!

As I was finishing up my Bible reading this morning, I found something very appropriate waiting for me. As usual!

"Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles. My enemies shout at me, making loud and wicked threats. They bring trouble on me and angrily hunt me down. My heart pounds in my chest. The terror of death assaults me. Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can't stop shaking. Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness. How quickly I would escape -- far from this wild storm of hatred. Confuse them, Lord, and frustrate their plans, for I see violence and conflict in the city. Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders, but the real danger is wickedness within the city. Everything is falling apart; threats and cheating are rampant in the streets. It is not an enemy who taunts me -- I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me -- I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you -- my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God." Psalm 55:1-14

My prayer is that once the election is over, the angry maelstrom will fade and not too many will have perished in the storm...

"But I will call on God, and the Lord will rescue me. Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice. He ransoms me and keeps me safe from the battle waged against me, though many still oppose me. God, who has ruled forever, will hear me and humble them. For my enemies refuse to change their ways; they do not fear God."
Psalm 55: 16-19
How have your lives been touched by the political frenzy all around us? I pray God's protection and strength over you, in Jesus' name...amen.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The eve of sorrow

Tomorrow is September 11th. Wikipedia states that 2,974 people died in the terrorist attacks, not counting the very terrorists that took those lives. Another 24 are missing and presumed dead. For most of the family members of those 2,998 people, today was the last day they shared with their loved one. The final dinner, the last bath and story time with the kids, the final goodnight kiss...

I'm sure most, if not all of us remember where we were and what we were doing when we first heard that an airplane had flown into one of the World Trade Towers. I, like many of you, had the TV on when that second plane flew into the other building. That was when the sinking realization hit that maybe, just maybe, this was no terrible accident after all...

Our country has been spared further attacks...our military is vigilant, our government watchful. I am grateful. My Sweet Hubby and I live in a military town. Many of our neighbors are fighter pilots. They leave their families behind for months on end in service to our great Nation. I am grateful. We listen to Navy jet noise throughout most of the day and night. They fly training missions over our house at all hours - sometimes waking us up. But they're ours and I'm grateful.

My Sweet Hubby and I will be flying the American flag tomorrow, in honor of those 2,998 men and women that died so abruptly and senselessly 7 years ago. I pray their families have found peace and comfort over the years.

I received the following in an email from my best friend this past week and decided to save it for today's blog. There is no credit for the author; it appears to be one of those random things that floats through cyberspace.


You say you will never forget where you were when
you heard the news On September 11, 2001.
Neither will I.

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room
with a man who called his wife to say 'Good-Bye.' I
held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the
peace to say, 'Honey, I am not going to make it, but it
is OK..I am ready to go.'

I was with his wife when he called as she fed
breakfast to their children. I held her up as she
tried to understand his words and as she realized
he wasn't coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a
woman cried out to Me for help. 'I have been
knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!' I said.
'Of course I will show you the way home - only
believe in Me now.'

I was at the base of the building with the Priest
ministering to the injured and devastated souls.
I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He
heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat,
with every prayer. I was with the crew as they
were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the
believers there, comforting and assuring them that their
faith has saved them.

I was in Texas , Virginia , California , Michigan , Afghanistan .
I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news.
Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew
every name - though not all know Me. Some met Me
for the first time on the 86th floor.

Some sought Me with their last breath.
Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the
smoke and flames; 'Come to Me... this way... take
my hand.' Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me.
But, I was there.

I did not place you in the Tower that day. You
may not know why, but I do. However, if you were
there in that explosive moment in time, would you have
reached for Me?

Sept. 11, 2001, was not the end of the journey
for you . But someday your journey will end. And I
will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may
be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are
'ready to go.'

I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.

I know you join me in praying for the families of those lost, the men and women who pledge their lives to protect us, their families who sacrifice so much and the leaders of our great country. May God bless them and keep His hand of protection on them all. Amen.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My get up and go...

that's right - got up and left! Ever have one of those days when you just can't seem to get with the program? I'm having one of "those" days today.

So, I don't have much to say...I know - SHOCKER!

I'm sure I'll be back in rare form tomorrow though (although my post will be late as it's Chemo Day 6!) so hang onto your hats!

Till then...I'm too blessed to be stressed...but too tired to think straight!
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

Monday, September 8, 2008

How Great Thou Art

When my Sweet Hubby and I made the decision several months ago to become members of our church, as part of the process we were each asked when we were saved. That is, when was it that we first accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. And you know - I couldn't remember. It seems I've always known Jesus...always tried to walk with Him, always had a real relationship with Him. I just could not for the life of me remember a "defining moment" when I made the decision to ask Him into my life.

And that bothered me. Every day. Because it seemed that I should be able to remember something so BIG. Other people remembered, why didn't I? I just couldn't understand it. So I prayed about it. I tried to remember a time when I didn't know Jesus. Nope, couldn't do it. He's always been in my life. I have no conscious thought without the Lord being present. Ugh - it was sooooo frustrating. I knew I had to have made the decision at some point. But WHEN??

A few weeks ago, my Sweet Hubby and I were asked if we would be willing to have our testimony videotaped for the church. It was THAT day, the day of the taping, that the memory of when I asked first Jesus to come into my life flooded back to me. And I do mean flooded...like it was yesterday! It all came rushing back, almost as if God had unlocked the door to that memory.

I'm not sure exactly how old I was, but I do know that I was young. 9, 10, 11...in that range. In my home, we loved Billy Graham. Whenever Billy Graham had a televised Crusade, our TV was tuned to that station and we watched. This particular night, we had watched Rev. Graham preach and then my parents left the room. I remember my Dad was in the dining room because he'd brought work home from the office...I think my Mom was in the kitchen. On the TV, Rev. Graham had issued the invitation. There in our living room, all alone, I was on my knees. And I asked Jesus to come into my heart, forgive my sins and be with me always. Praise God!!

It explains a lot. Why I love Billy Graham. Why I love the songs "How Great Thou Art" and "Just As I Am" and George Beverly Shea. They hold special places in my heart...they led me to a deeper relationship with my Jesus and I'm forever grateful. I hope I never lose that memory again.

Do you remember when you made your decision for Christ? Take a moment now and relive that precious memory...It was the best decision you EVER made! One that will have everlasting consequences! If you haven't made that decision...won't you? It really is as simple as the prayer I prayed as a child. "Jesus, I love you and want you with me always. Please come into my heart. Please forgive my sins. Amen."
"Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will not enter it at all." Luke 18:17
And because today is Music Monday, I'm posting this video clip of a Billy Graham crusade, circa 1969! I loved watching it all...but at the 6:00 minute mark is George Beverly Shea singing "How Great Thou Art" today's song choice. Remember to scroll down and mute my player before viewing the video!

How Great Thou Art ~ George Beverly Shea (6:00 mark)

My favorite verse to this song is one he didn't sing. But I'll post it here. Now granted, I cry easy. But I don't understand how you can read these words, let alone sing them, and remain dry-eyed.

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Oh yes Lord...How Great Thou Art!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Stormy weather

We awoke early this morning to the sound of howling wind. And we knew that the fingertips of Hanna had arrived. We've had some downpours as well and our power has flickered on and off...

It seems that the worst of it has passed us now and things are beginning to calm down. The sky is starting to lighten, although it's still very gray and overcast. The wind, for the most part, is calm with occasional gusts. And tomorrow the sun will be back.

But we were ready...gas for the generator, lanterns, oil lamps, flashlights, water, food, medication. All stood by in preparation should Hanna (or Ike, or Josephine, or...) decide to pummel us like Isabelle did a few years back when we were without power for nearly a week (and others in our area close to two weeks).

And so it is with life. There will come wind and rain. Big storms even...the Word tells us we are to be prepared, we are to immerse ourselves in Him prior to adversity so that we can (and will) turn to Him when disaster strikes.
"...when your dread comes like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but they will not find me, because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord."
Proverbs 1:27-29
But our God is mighty to save!! (I love that song, don't you?!)

"Yahweh, your God, is in the midst of you, a mighty one who will save. He will rejoice over you with joy. He will calm you in his love. He will rejoice over you with singing."
Zephaniah 3:17
I hope you're enjoying sunshine where you are - in one form or another! Be blessed ~ see you Monday!

Friday, September 5, 2008

For a reason, a season or a lifetime.

I don't know who wrote the following...but today, in my life, it is appropriate...
"People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON...It is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a Godsend and they are! They are there for the reason you need them to be.

The, without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. Sometimes they die. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. Your need has been answered, and now it is time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON...It is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant."
"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:13

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A quick update and then a question...

5 down, 2 to go. In this chemo round, that is! That's right - 2 more treatments and then my Sweet Hubby gets a couple of weeks of "chemo vacation" before starting the next treatment phase. Yesterday we got to meet with his oncologist, Dr. Clark, again before the "magic beans" infusion began. He noticed right away it was my Sweet Hubby's birthday! Kudos to you, Dr. Clark! Nice man, good doctor. We always walk out of there smiling and positive. I think he treasures that as much as we do...And my Sweet Hubby always throws this poor man for a loop! Did I tell you that two weeks ago, when Dr. Clark came in the room, he said to my Sweet Hubby, "So tell me what's going on..." I almost fell to the floor laughing when my Sweet Hubby replied, "Well, they tell me I have cancer...but I don't believe 'em." Oy. Vey. Never a dull one, I can tell you that...and so it goes!
"a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance;" Ecclesiastes 3:4
We will choose the laughter and dancing every single time.

Yesterday's lab work shows things are still looking good - white count is a bit higher than I'd like to see - still within normal, just a very high normal. No evidence of a new bleed! Thank you Jesus. And thank you to all our prayer warriors - you'll never know what you mean to us!


Now for my question...as I mentioned in a previous post, my Sweet Hubby and I are currently in the Book of Ecclesiastes for our Old Testament reading. It is widely accepted that King Solomon wrote this book. I'm sure practically everyone knows of Solomon's reputation as "the wisest, the wealthiest..." In reading Dr. McGee's Commentary, Thru the Bible, this morning, we found this:
"Solomon also wrote the Books of Proverbs and the song of Solomon. We will find Ecclesiastes to be quite different from the Book of Proverbs. In Proverbs we saw the wisdom of Solomon; here we shall see the foolishness of Solomon. Ecclesiastes is the dramatic autobiography of his life when he was away from God.

God showed Job, a righteous man, that he was a sinner in God's sight. In Ecclesiastes God showed Solomon, the wisest man, that he was a fool in God's sight."
I thought maybe I should look up the definition of the word "wise." Here it is:
"having or prompted by wisdom or discernment; marked by the exercise of good judgment or common sense in practical matters; evidencing the possession of inside information; able to take a broad view of negotiations between states; carefully considered"
from Webster's Online Dictionary
So here's my question for you: Who is the wisest person you know? Figuratively or literally...is it a parent? A spouse? A friend? A teacher? A name from the pages of history? I'm curious...and what is it in your eyes that makes (or made) them wise?
"I applied my heart to seek and to search out wisdom concerning all that is done under the sky. It is a heavy burden that God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with." Ecclesiastes 1:13

"For in much wisdom is much grief; and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow." Ecclesiastes 1:18

"Then I saw that wisdom excels folly, as far as light excels darkness." Ecclesiastes 2:13
I can't wait to read your answers...I'll be thinking about my own as well! Have a wonderful, blessed day!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Make a wish!

Today is a very special day! In fact, I think I feel a song coming on!!

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday my dear Sweet Hubby...
Happy birthday to you!!

And being Wednesday, it was also chemo day...so I baked my Sweet Hubby's favorite cupcakes last night (yellow with milk chocolate frosting), boxed them up and we took them to chemo to share with patients and staff.

Then it was home for a dinner of meatloaf, garlic mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy and corn. Because today is all about my Sweet Hubby and that sounded good to him - so good that he had seconds!

And guess what was for dessert? You got it!

Happy Birthday sweetheart...you are my everything and I love you with all my heart. Now, close your eyes and make a wish!

"Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth He has made mention of my name." Isaiah 49:1

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The planting

I hope you have all had a wonderful, restful, safe holiday weekend! In most parts of the country, today begins the new school year...I watched the little ones in our community make their way to the bus stop this morning - new clothes, new shoes, new backpacks! Everything fresh with the promise of a great year. I pray that it is so.

This morning as I settled in with my Bible, devotionals and cup of blueberry coffee, I had an interesting conversation with the Lord. I told him how hard it is to "know" if I'm staying in His will. It's not like I have a road map or a set of plans. When you're taking a trip you follow a map. You know pretty quickly when you start seeing things NOT on the map that you've made a wrong turn somewhere and need to double back. In my life as a Christian, my road map, if you will, is the Bible and my prayer life. And if I make an egregious error, then yes, I'll know I need to double back. But life is usually much more subtle than that. So my question to the Lord this morning was, "HOW do I know...?"

Are all of you as amazed and uplifted as I am when time and time again, God speaks to us directly through His Word? And the Holy Spirit ensures that our eyes and hearts are receptive...

As my Sweet Hubby and I continue on in our "One Year Bible" today's Old Testament reading brought us into the Book of Ecclesiastes, believed by many interpreters to have been written by King Solomon, son of King David. The Bible calls King Solomon a man of unsurpassed wisdom and unrivaled wealth.

And it was through Solomon's words that I received the answer to my question.
"Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11
Yes. My heart yearns to spend eternity together with the Father, so I desire to be in His will - not my own. I seek His way, His path. In this life I know I'll make wrong turns because I am a sinner. But through Jesus Christ I can know repentance and forgiveness.

But it was the last part of that verse that got my attention. The verbiage was a little different, but the meaning was clear. I may feel like there's no road map...but nothing could be further from the truth. My God sees the entire journey from Alpha to Omega and as long as I surrender control to Him, all is well with my soul.

I feel better now!

Monday, September 1, 2008

My role models...

I have been blessed with wonderful parents...I mean really -- they are the best! Always supportive, not too strict (although there were times I thought they were - teenagers!), never too lenient (although there were times I wished they had been - teenagers!) and faithful examples of Christian kindness. My Mom and Dad have always put others before themselves...always.

They taught me a lot about life, love...and marriage. Not so much by talking but by doing. They lived it and I learned by observing. My Mom has always put my Dad's needs ahead of her own and my Dad has done the same. Guess what that means? They have each given 100%! Amazing how that works, isn't it?! They are part of a pair, a coin - fused, but still having two sides, each different but making up a whole. Exactly as God intended.
"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall be as one flesh." Genesis 2:24
I can remember my Mom telling me that my husband should always come first in the home. And I watched my Dad always put my Mom before himself...So different from what we hear today - that the children should be the top priority. What my Mom said was that you start out as a couple and you will end as a couple and that foundation needs to be strong. And together you care for the children, each lending their own strengths.

It is her joy to do things for my Dad and it is his to do things for her. It is touching to watch and they teach me lessons still...

Yesterday, my Mom and Dad celebrated their 54th Anniversary ~ what an incredible blessing!! And I am beyond grateful to my God and Father that I am their daughter. Thank you, Mom and Dad...for all you are to our family and everyone whose life you have touched over the years. We love you!
"Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him." Genesis 2:18

And because it's Music Monday, I leave you with "their" song...

Harbor Lights ~ The Platters