Thursday, February 15, 2024

Disrespect is not nice!


I've been blogging since I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, that's 10 years! In that time, I've never dealt with anyone making unkind remarks or using profanity when posting a comment. But the other day, as I was checking comments (because I have moderations turned on), I found a very nasty comment filled with profanity. Immediately, I was hurt. I didn't understand why someone would be so unkind and use such filthy language. Needless to say, I deleted the comment and did not post it. 

My blog is mine. Everything I post contains my own personal thoughts and feelings. I don't force anyone to read it and I have never tried to post anything that would upset or wound another. I just don't understand why someone would feel the need to write such filth on my blog. Shame on them!

So, that one person's actions have caused me to resort to disabling the comments for any of my posts. I don't want to have to worry about being personally attacked by someone's stupidity in the future. 

You know what they say about opinions, and I won't share the quote here because it isn't very nice, but you can Google it, I'm sure. Everyone has their own opinion and since this is America, everyone has the freedom of speech, or so they say. 

I'm sorry if anything I've written has offended anyone. That has never been my intention. 

I am very thankful for the readers who consistently follow my blog. You're either family or friends I've treasured for years and for those I've never met, I love you, too. For me, it's an honor to have someone take the time to read what I write. There are so many things to read on the internet, and my little blog is just a tiny drop in that huge sea of information. 

Forgive the rant today. I won't mention that person's ugliness again, but let me tell you, the person was too chicken to leave a name when they made the comment. That tells me they're a spineless wimp filled with venom. 

I'm a firm believer in what goes around comes around. God doesn't reward unkindness. We will all be held responsible for every word we think, speak, or write. And I know when I stand before Him one day, I won't have to feel guilty about the words I've put forth into the universe. 

Words are powerful. They can kill or they can give life. I hope your words are edifying to others like I try to make mine be. 

Now, with that out of the way, I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day and I hope you felt loved.  My husband showered me with roses, a beautiful card, a bottle of champagne, and some chocolate covered strawberries. It was such a special day! I think we should celebrate love and happiness every day, don't you? 

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

I'm too old for this!

Moving stinks!!! I've never met anyone who loved moving, but I'm sure there are some folks out there who like to relocate. NOT ME! Packing is the pits. Now I know why some people hire professional movers, it's stressful doing it yourself. 

How do things multiply when you're not looking? I'd like to know! As I've been packing things up, it seems no matter how many boxes I've already done, there's so much more to do! 

If I could have a magic power, I'd have the power to transport me and all my stuff to our new home in the blink of an eye. It would instantly be set up exactly as I want it and all I'd have to do is walk in the front door and shout, "I'm home!" But you know what they say about wishes... "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." 

I've gotten about half of the house packed up already and hope to be done by the weekend, but I'm not sure it's going to happen. If not, I'll push it into next week. 

My husband and I have agreed this will be our LAST move until we're called home to heaven. We're too old for this! 

Needless to say, I'll be super busy over the next few days so I may not have a chance to post. I'll try, but I can't promise. 

I hope you'll have a wonderful Valentine's Day celebrating with the one/ones you love. A sweet friend of mine told me to celebrate with a bottle of champagne and some chocolate covered cherries. I think that's a great idea! Hopefully you can find a nice way to celebrate, too. 


Is it just me, or does the year seem like it's flying by already? Before we know it, it will be Christmas again! I've always heard it said that time goes by faster the older you get and I'm learning it's true. I guess that means after I'm all moved in, I'd better start my online Christmas shopping or maybe we'll just skip it this year, like the Kranks! That sounds pretty good to me! 

Friday, January 26, 2024

Cruise packer needed!

 

I wonder if there's such a thing as a professional cruise packer. I mean, we have personal shoppers for just about everything now, surely there's someone who's great at packing and is making money doing it, right? Well, if there is such a service, I wish I'd known about it and signed up for it months ago!

I am not a good packer. Usually, I tend to overpack. I want to make sure I have any and everything I could possibly need, no matter what. Thankfully, I have a suitcase scale, otherwise, I'd always be well over the 50-pound limit. Right now, I'm at 43 and have a couple more things to put in...

But this is supposed to be fun, they said. So why have I been running around like a chicken with her head cut off all morning trying to consider every tiny possibility that could come up and what I might need for it? Why is my husband's suitcase always so easy to pack? He never has to do anything to get ready for a trip except load the bags into the car. I wish I was so lucky!

I know it will all come together, it always does, but I wish I could revert to my camping days. Back then, I knew how to keep my pack light. I only took what I absolutely needed because I knew I was going to be hiking with that pack on my back. I think the heaviest pack I ever took was 35 pounds and part of that weight was from the backpack's frame, my tent, and sleeping bag. Very few of those pounds were actual clothing items or small essentials. 

Maybe I can breathe easy after we've boarded the ship. How I long to look out over the ocean and at a beautiful sunrise or sunset! 

This first cruise better be worth it! It's sure been a hassle getting ready for it. Too bad I didn't think about hiring a professional. And that little checklist up there in the corner of this post, it doesn't have half the things I think you need for a 7-day cruise. But that's just my opinion. We'll see. 

When we come back, I'll give an update. Maybe I packed way too much, maybe I packed just enough. Who knows?! At least I won't have to iron anything. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Color Oops!

Wow did I make a big mistake! I wanted to do something new to my hair in preparation for our upcoming trip, so I bought some hair dye. I used to dye my hair all the time but since my cancer diagnosis, I stopped. 

I don't even remember when I first started coloring my hair but it was about the age of fifteen. My mother went ballistic the first time I did it but it was my money and I didn't care. 

I've been every color imaginable except for those really wild mermaid shades. Coloring my hair always gave me a lift when I was feeling down. I loved being able to change my hair to suit my moods. 

It's been about 10 years since I colored my hair and I have no idea why I thought about doing it today, especially since I'm not sure if all those years of coloring might have contributed to my breast cancer. But, I got a wild hair (pun intended) and bought some color from Sally Beauty. 

When I got home, I excitedly opened the box, mixed the color with the developer, and waited. When it was time, I rinsed and shampooed my hair. After drying, I was shocked. My new hair wasn't what I expected. Instead of a beautiful caramel brown, it was a pale orangey color. Horror of horrors! I ran to the living room to show hubby. He was kind and said it didn't look bad. I wanted to scream, "Liar!" But I didn't. Instead, I asked if he'd mind running up to the drugstore for a box of Color Oops. It's supposed to be a quick fix for hair color errors. 

He jumped in the car and headed out. I cried as I questioned my decision to color my hair again. When he returned, I took the product, applied it to my hair and rinsed for the full 20 minutes as instructed. 

Getting out of the shower, I toweled off and looked in the mirror. The product failed miserably. My hair, once a beautiful silvery grey was now platinum around the edges and orangey blonde everywhere else. I was so upset, not only at the failed attempt to remove the color but also at the loss of money spent on both products. 

So tonight I head to bed looking like an albino Bozo the clown. Tomorrow, I'll buy another color to correct this mess. And, I'll make a mental note not to bother coloring my hair ever again! Now I remember why I stopped in the first place- it's a pain in the rear and a continuous process that I don't have time for anymore. 

Color Oops you suck! I should've thought twice about my initial decision. If I'd done that, I wouldn't be dealing with this mess now. 

Hopefully tomorrow I'll get this corrected and look decent for our trip, if not, I guess I'll pull out my wig. At least it's a beautiful silver and is made from human hair. I can take it on and off whenever I choose. 

Getting ready for the big day!

 

In just a few more days, we'll be on the open sea. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous. 

I never thought I'd take a cruise, but after hubby retired, that was one of the first things on his bucket list. 

I've perused websites to find packing lists and think I've gotten all of the essential cruise items. Now packing them will be a challenge, especially since the ship has specific requirements on luggage including weight, width, and depth. 

Thankfully, we won't be taking this trip alone! My youngest daughter and her fiancĂ© will be joining us. They've cruised before and know what to expect so we'll let them be our guides. 

It will be nice to leave the chilly, rainy weather here behind. We're looking forward to the warmer tropical climate ahead. And I can't wait to take hundreds of photos. I'm a huge photography buff and am excited about visiting places I've never been before and seeing things I've never seen before. 

I doubt if hubby and I will take part in all the party events offered on the ship. We'll probably spend more time relaxing on our balcony or sunning on the adults only Serenity deck while the younger ones socialize. 

This cruise is a test run. If we enjoy it, we'll more than likely take more cruises in the near future. Hubby wants us to return to Alaska. Last time we were there, we were working 14-hour days during a mission trip. We'd gone to Alaska during the long daylight time of year and had much to accomplish. There were only 2 days we got to enjoy sightseeing. One of those days was spent visiting the North Pole and the other was touring Denali National Park. 

Alaska is a gorgeous state and while I'd love to go back, I'm not sure I want to cruise through glaciers. When I think of that, my brain says, "Remember the Titanic?!" 

I'm trying hard to get excited, but it hasn't happened yet. Maybe after I've packed all the bags, checked off all my things on the to do list, and have a chance to breathe, the reality of the trip might sink in. Yikes! I said sink! I didn't mean to say that. 

If you think about it, say a little prayer for us. Pray for our safety as we travel to the port and for our safety as we travel abroad. I won't be able to post until we return, so hang in there. I promise I'll share pics and news when we return. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Getting used to Medicare

Well, so far, I'm finding Medicare may not be quite what we thought it to be, at least the advantage plan supplement we selected. Today, while checking on in network providers, I noticed a pending claim on our account. I couldn't remember any recent medical visits and had no idea what the charges were, so I opened the claim. Imagine my surprise when I read our part of a recently filled prescription under the new plan was $595.00! And that's only for a 30-day supply! Whoa!

Immediately, I called our pharmacy to ask if the medication was sitting there waiting for pickup. He said it was. I told him the situation and asked him to restock the pills and rescind the recently submitted claim. We can't afford to pay that amount of money for one medication every month. 

Next, I sent a message through the portal to my gastroenterologist explaining the situation to her. I asked if there might be another less expensive medication I could take or perhaps an over-the-counter remedy. I'm waiting to hear back from her. 

The medication has definitely been helpful for my situation but not for that huge amount. When we were still under my husband's employer plan, the medicine was only $25 a month. What a difference. 

I don't understand all the ins and outs of our Medicare Advantage plan yet but the sales rep who helped us pick the one that fit our needs best had warned us this one medication might be expensive. All of the others would be no cost and we were happy with that. 

I don't know what people do when they have medications that they depend on daily and aren't able to afford. And what a shame that the older generation has to suffer while on Medicare. 

We've paid into it all our lives and they don't tell you the nitty gritty facts about it, like you have to pay for plan B from your Social Security check and if you want prescription drug coverage, you have to buy plan D or an advantage plan that covers medicines and other things like dental care, glasses, etc. 

We have a pretty warped health care system if you ask me. It seems the government wants to pay out as little as possible. 

I wish I'd kept track of all the money that came out of my paychecks over the years for Medicare coverage. I'm sure those figures are well above what I'm receiving now. 

Monday, January 22, 2024

An Interesting Ministry Opportunity


We received a text late Sunday afternoon telling us about a service project. As soon as the text came in, I felt a tug at my heart strings. The project was to help sanitize a house for a single mother of five. Immediately, I replied, “Count us in!” While I knew it would be a challenging project, I had no idea how challenging it would be.
A few minutes later, I explained to my husband, Phil, that I’d signed us up. He was perfectly fine with it, which I knew he’d be. After 30 years of marriage, we know each other well.
That evening, we pulled out our work clothes, set the alarm so we’d get up early, and went to bed. We knew Monday would be a long, hard day and we needed our rest.
The house we worked on for the family.
I woke up before the alarm and jumped out of bed. I was excited for a chance to work on a worthwhile project. I showered and dressed then quietly went into the kitchen to have my devotional time. Shortly thereafter, Phil got up and put the coffee on.
Before we knew it, it was time to leave. As we drove to the address we’d been given, we made small talk. It was chilly outside, and we were thankful for the heated seat function in our car.
We arrived a few minutes before 10:00 a.m. and were about to pull in the driveway when Vicki walked up and told us it’d be better if we parked below the house in an open area. She mentioned there were nails in the driveway of the house and someone had already gotten a flat. Following her instructions, we moved down the street.
When we walked toward the house, my heart broke. I could tell the house was in worse shape than I imagined. Walking up the ramp, we were greeted by Luke Ayers of Hope Global Initiative. He gave Phi, Vicki, and I a quick briefing about the project and the family situation. Then, he told us where he’d like us to begin work.
The nasty stovetop
Vicki and I started in the kitchen. Luke explained the stove needed our attention.  Both she and I were dumbfounded by
what we found – the stove was encrusted in grease, dead roaches, and other buildup for years of neglect.
We did our best to clean it, but it was hard without running water. (A pipe had apparently frozen during the night leaving us to rely on 2 buckets of water Vicki had managed to collect.) I was so thankful we’d brought gloves. As we tried various cleaning products, eventually, we managed to release some of the grime.
While we were working on the stove, Denise was working on the tub, Phil was scraping the old wood tiles from the floor, Gary was assessing the plumbing situation, Dennis was working on other projects, and Luke was overseeing the team.

While we worked, we were reminded God’s immense blessings in our lives. Here we were, doing our best to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and that’s when I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to my heart – “Why are you really here?” Without saying a word, I thought about it. Why was I here? Was it just something to do? Did I want praise for joining in on a service project? What was the real reason? It didn’t take long for me to find my answer. I knew God had me there to understand how often and how easily I take many simple things in life for granted.

Filthy mattresses they slept on
As our team kept working, I noticed how focused each one was on their specific job. As I walked through the house, I took photos. I wanted to remember the squalor but also wanted to be remind how God wants us to serve others. Each member of our team was working for God’s glory, not for our own. It didn’t matter how many dead roaches were on the floor or how many spider webs or spiders were hanging from the ceiling. This family had been living here. They needed a clean, safe place to live.

I was amazed to see how they’d adapted to the conditions of the home. Things we’d normally be appalled by, they’d just accepted.

Little things hit me hard – a package of diapers on top of a nasty dresser, a football medal hung from a nail on the wall of a room without heat, a teen Bible covered in live roaches atop a shelf. They were doing the best they could with what they had.

A pack of new diapers in filth

The team leader from Hope Global explained to me that they’d had to remove so many of the family’s possessions because of their horrible condition, leaving them with only a few bags of clothing and some small possessions. He told me his organization had already reached out to
Habitat for Humanity for added help and he’d secured some good furniture and other items for the family.

I asked to be shown a photo of the family we were helping. I wanted to see their faces so I could pray for them. When Denise showed me their picture, I had to work hard to keep from crying. I was thankful I’d put on waterproof mascara this morning because I knew I’d probably cry over something and didn’t want to look like a raccoon.

It was a beautiful family. They were all happy and smiling in the photo even though they’d been through such tragic circumstances. I found out they’d originally lived in an apartment that had burned, then had moved into a home that was destroyed by the EF4 hurricane that hit Newnan in 2021. In dire need of housing, they found a place to stay through the Hope Global Initiative, but that home needed a lot of TLC due to the negligence of the previous owner who’d been an elderly man with a hoarding habit. Luke Ayers, of Hope Global Initiative, had become the landlord of the property and was doing his best to help this family use the home as temporary shelter until their application for subsidized housing was approved. Right now, according to Ayers, they’re number 5 on the list.

Luke Ayers, Hope Global
The team from Hope Global along with the hard-working members of our class, want this family to know God’s deep love for them. According to Luke, two of the older boys have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. If memory serves correctly, those two boys are twins.

The family

The children, aged 15-4, have a Mama who loves them dearly and is doing her best to support her family. She doesn’t make much money and must work long hours. Will you commit to pray for them in the future? Not only for their safety in this temporary shelter, but that God would make a way for them to be approved for housing quickly and for all of them to come to a saving knowledge of our Lord?

Our Sunday school class has recently been named Seekers, but while we were working, Vicki came up with a good idea – she said we should be called Seekers and Servers! I kind of like that idea! We should always seek those who are lost and seek to do the Lord’s will, but we should also be willing to serve in whatever role He’s blessed us to do. He supplies opportunities every day. We don’t have to go to a foreign country. Our mission field is in our backyards.

These days there are so many struggling. We need to pray and ask God how we can be a blessing to others. As we seek His will, I know He’ll show us what to do.

My prayer is that we’ll light a fire under our church. We can be a tiny spark that ignites Unity to band together to shine God’s light to all the community.

Thank you, Gary and Denise, for spreading the word about this need to us. It was our honor to serve alongside you, Dennis, Vicki, and the Hope Global Initiative team today.

My reminder

Before we left to go home, I got one last reminder from God. As I walked through a bedroom, I saw a plaque on a dresser. It said, “I am truly blessed.” In my heart, I shouted, “Yes, Lord! I get it! I am truly blessed beyond measure.”

Solo Deo Gloria! (May God alone be praised!)

***************************************

One of the Bibles 

A few more photos: 


This Bible was on a dresser in one of the bedrooms. It had roaches crawling on it. It made me so sad, but I was thankful someone had given the boys a Bible. 

The large garbage bags are filled with the only "usable" clothing the family had. There were only a couple of toys for the little boy. I hope Habitat can help provide replacements for all the things they lost. 

The photo of the plaque with the handprints was on the wall in the Mom's bedroom. You could tell she really treasures her family. 

Their only possessions are in these bags.


The kid's handprints


Disrespect is not nice!

I've been blogging since I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, that's 10 years! In that time, I've never dealt with anyone...