Friday, January 21, 2022

When the burdens are heavey

Almost everyone I know is going through something difficult right now, whether it's health related, facing grief or loss, financial burdens, marriage and family issues, or feelings of depression and loneliness, the heaviness is palpable. 

For the past two years, we've all been under a huge amount of mental anguish and none of us have been able to control many facets of our lives. It's been the most challenging event and although we can't yet see an end, we've managed to survive. But how much can we continue to take? All the stress has been detrimental to our health - emotionally and physically. Yet, we have the innate desire to survive. 

For those of us who believe in God, we know, even when things are completely out of control, nothing is a surprise to Him. He is Omniscient. That gives me great comfort and a deliberate hope. 

Sometimes, I wish I could glimpse what lies ahead but I don't spend much time thinking that. The things of this world are passing away and the hope of glory is just beyond our grasp. 

I'm looking forward to going to my eternal home. The older I get, the more I long for it, especially since I've lost so many recently who are dear to me.

Taking one day at a time, one minute at a time has become my personal "mantra" for the duration. It's a whole lot easier to take one little bite at a time rather than trying to devour the whole elephant! 

God is so good and I know the best is yet to come. Hope is the key to the future. If you haven't discovered that yet, I hope you will and soon!

Monday, January 17, 2022

The Snow is gone

We had a lovely snow yesterday. Although we didn't get as much as we expected, it was nice to see the soft, powdery flakes fall. Watching the snow come down was so peaceful. At times it was slow and steady. other times, there was barely any. As I watched it, I was reminded of verses from the Bible that speak about snow. (Those who know me well know I relate everything in life to Scripture. I can't help it. The Bible is my textbook and Jesus is my life.) 

A favorite verse about snow is found in the book of Psalms, chapter 51. If you're familiar with that chapter, you know it's about David feeling remorseful for his recent indiscretion with Bathsheba, Uriah the Hittite's wife. When David sinned, he knew what he was doing wrong, but did it anyway. After the dastardly deed was done, David, a man after God's own heart, knew He needed to make things right. His relationship with God had been broken so He asked God to purify him. In verse 7 he says, "Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." 

In Biblical times, hyssop, an herb similar to species of marjoram, grew in rocky crevices or stone walls. (I had a chance to see it while in Israel as I stood in front of the retaining wall of the Temple. I've attached some photos for your perusal.) The short, brushy stems were gathered into bunches and used in purification rituals. 

Hyssop is mentioned eleven times in the Bible, nine times in the Old Testament and twice in the New Testament. The most memorable reference can be found in John 19:29, when Jesus was given vinegar in a sponge attached to a branch of hyssop. It was also used to spread blood on the lintels and doorposts as the death angel passed. (The Israelites were told to stay in their homes and the sacrificial blood would protect them.) The biblical use of hyssop gives us a clear picture of the washing, cleansing, and saving that can only come from eternal God and this is the kind of cleansing David requested.

The snow David mentions would have been pure and bright, symbolic of an untouched snowfall. His desire was to be completely and utterly clean. 

In verse 10, the psalmist says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right and steadfast spirit within me." Not only did David want to be completely purified and washed clean, but he also wanted it to stick. He wanted a life changing cleanliness. 

We all want that don't we? Just like the lovely snow we had yesterday, I can completely understand David's desire. We all fight our flesh on a daily basis and when we're walking in our flesh, that ugliness of it is unChristlike. 

I'm thankful God is in the business of restoration! I think He takes great delight in cleaning up our messes when we make them. The power of sin is strong and that's why we must put on our armor every single day. Never forget to guard your heart, guard your mind and guard your eyes, that way, you'll be doing what you can to maintain your purity. And in the event you slip, know that your Heavenly Father is faithful! He's always ready to forgive our sin if we'll ask with a repentant heart. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

Sunday, January 16, 2022

The first Winter storm of the season

We knew a storm was coming. The weather forecasts had warned us, so we prepared the fireplace, pulled out the antique oil lamps, and made sure we had plenty of food. In our neck of the woods, you never know if a forecasted storm is going to be a big deal or not until stuff starts happening. Usually, when weathermen make a big deal of it, nothing happens and when they don't, everything goes awry. 

As I type this, snow is falling, and the temperatures are dropping. The birds are flitting from tree to tree, doing their best to find food and stay warm. We filled up the feeders yesterday with plenty of sunflower seed. We love our wildlife and try to help take care of them the best we can. 

If the snow continues to fall as the day goes on, we'll probably experience some freezing on powerlines and trees. We're praying our power stays on and no trees fall. We've had enough of falling trees from high winds and tornadoes in the past year to last a lifetime. Right now, in fact, there are 2 large pines leaning toward our house. They're resting on smaller trees and are basically what hunters call "widow makers" because of their precarious angle and potential for falling and killing someone. They're on our neighbor's property and yesterday, when we heard him outside with a chainsaw, we thought he was about to take them down, but that wasn't the case. It's challenging living in a rural area but we love it. 

We'll keep a close watch on the weather. If the roads freeze up and it's too dangerous to get out, hubby will stay home from work tomorrow. Our driveway is super steep and neither of us need to risk going down it. 

The weather, this year, has already been so unpredictable. We heard about a tsunami predicted to hit Hawaii yesterday and then today, as a result of the winter storm, several tornadoes hit the Ft. Meyers area. We're definitely in the end times! The Bible speaks of not being able to tell the seasons during the last days and I believe we're definitely seeing evidence of that now. 

I think I'm going to curl up with a good book now and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. Ya'll be safe! Catch ya on the flip side. 

Saturday, January 15, 2022

A storm's a comin"

Our phones have been going off all day with weather alerts. A winter storm is coming and we're expecting some snow and possible ice. When this happens in the South, we take it seriously. People hit the stores early for essentials like toilet paper, milk, and cereal. I've never understood that, though. Why buy milk when there's a good possibility the power will go out? When ice storms hit our area, the power lines freeze up or limbs fall from pine trees taking them out and we have no power. Some have learned over the years to buy back up generators, but those are expensive. Most of us rely on wood burning fireplaces, candles, oil lamps, flashlights, and heavy clothing. In any event, it will be interesting to see what happens. Usually, when the weathermen make a big deal of it, nothing happens conversely, when they don't make a big deal of an approaching storm, we get slammed. 

I remember an extreme ice storm we had back in 1973. I was in high school. Our entire neighborhood was frozen solid. No one had power for days, but we were lucky. My parents were old school and we had gas burning furnaces in our house. When the power went out, Daddy just lit the pilot lights on the heaters and we were warm and toasty. Our freezer, which was full of food at the time, was a chest type deep freezer so it thawed food slowly as long as it stayed shut. When neighbors came calling, Mama invited them to stay. My siblings and I squished together and shared beds. Every nook and cranny of our little cinder block home was packed with people. They slept on every available surface including the sofa, the recliner, and even the floor. It was an interesting time. It seemed like we were having a big party although we weren't. Everyone pitched in and got along well, probably because we were all in the same boat and had no choice, but it was fun. 

A particular family friend, Pat Shaw, made it extra joyful. Pat had a way of making everything fun. She was the most jovial person I ever had the pleasure of knowing. No matter what the situation, Pat could find humor in it. Her laughter was infectious, and I loved how she made everything better. 

In the middle of the day, my siblings, friends, and I would wander the neighborhood. Before we were allowed to go out, we were cautioned about the possibility of downed power lines. We donned several layers of clothing including plastic bread wrappers over our socks inside our shoes to keep our feet dry and warm. Even with our heavy winter coats, hats, and gloves, we'd come home frostbitten. I can still remember the uncomfortable feeling of my fingers and toes as they began to thaw while sitting by the heater or having my digits plunged into a large bowl of lukewarm water.  

I remember the trees coated in a beautiful layer of sheer ice. Like a second skin, they glistened in sunlight. Icicles hung from every surface. The neighborhood was eerily quiet - almost a holy reverence. As we carefully trod across the packed snow, my brother, sister, and I could hear the crunching beneath our feet. The snow and ice melded together quickly and became slick. More than once, one of us would fall and while the others tried to help the fallen one up, our feet would slide out from under us and we'd all fall into a heap, laughing so hard we were afraid we'd wet our pants! 

Those were the days! So many wonderful memories came from that challenging time. It was almost a shame when the power company got the power back on. All the board games got packed up, and one by one our neighbors said their goodbyes as they went home. 

The empty freezer would slowly be refilled, but whenever we'd go out to the garage and see it, we'd be reminded of the odd concoctions my mother and Pat came up with and how they'd cooked outside on the grill.  

This year, if we get snowed or iced in, Phil and I will sit by the fire and enjoy a good book if the power goes out. We aren't expecting anything severe, but you never can tell. We've already had several good snows since we moved here almost 8 years ago and we've had 2 ice events. Thankfully, our power was only out a couple of days. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that we don't lose power this time. I love my electric blanket and although I have tons of quilts I could pile on the bed, it's so much nicer to turn up the dial and slide beneath toasty sheets. 

Job 38:22

“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail?

Friday, January 14, 2022

What a difference a day makes!

Yesterday was rough. My knee was killing me! All I could hear, as I hobbled about the house, was "You're going to have to have a knee replacement surgery." Those were the words the orthopedic doctor had said to me early last year when I went to see him about my painfully swollen left knee. I didn't want to believe him and made up my mind, come hell or high water, I wasn't going to have one. I'd known too many people who'd had knee replacements done and every single one of them had either gotten bad infections or rejected the implant requiring another surgery. There was no way I was going to go through that. 

Staying off of my leg yesterday was hard. I'm not one to sit and do nothing all day, but I knew my poor knee needed rest, so I made myself sit and binge on Netflix. I found a good series by one of my favorite authors and it didn't take long to find myself immersed in the story. 

Today, I'm feeling much better. The swelling has gone down, and I've been a little more mobile thanks to an off-loading knee brace. Hopefully, tomorrow will be even better but there's a cold front coming in and the cold weather usually makes the bones ache. 

I guess it's all just part of getting old. I hate to admit that, but it's true. And I guess being old is better than being dead, huh? It's all in the way you look at things! 

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Old Gray Mare, She Ain't What She Used to Be...

Well, well, well - that's a deep subject for a shallow mind, isn't it? Lol. I just had to say that. My grandmother used to say that and I always thought it odd until I grew older and figured it out. Starting this post with a little humor seemed appropriate since I'm going to talk about pain in just a minute. 

When I got out of bed this morning, the pain was unbearable. As I stood and tried to make it into the bathroom, it felt as if there was no cushion between my bones and they were grating upon each other. Hobbling along, I finally made it but realized my gallant efforts at painting had come back to haunt me. Getting up and down from the step ladder wreaked havoc on my left knee. I'd already been having issues with that knee for months. It had been swelling and had caused difficulty walking. I did see an orthopedic doc and he'd given me a couple of shots of cortisone, and an off-loading knee brace (a brace that would shift the weight onto my good leg).  I thought that would solve everything but apparently not. The doctor said if the cortisone didn't do the trick, the next step would be a knee replacement surgery. I wasn't happy to hear that. I didn't want to have any more surgeries. 

Today, I pulled out the walker and knee brace. I'm popping Tylenol every 4 hours and hoping to stay off my feet as much as possible. Getting old sucks! When body parts start wearing out, you realize you aren't what you used to be. 

I remember laughing in grammar school when we'd sing the song, "The Old Gray Mare." I always thought it funny when we'd reach the line, "She ain't what she used to be." As I remember that song now, it's not quite as funny because I'm finding that song applies to me. 

Why do our body parts begin to fail as we grow older? Is it because they just wear out from use or is it because some of us don't have wonderful genes? I've seen videos of people in their 90s who're as fit as fiddles and here I am, at the ripe old age of 64, and I'm falling apart. 

There are so many things I want to do and I'm finding I'm having to pace myself as I age. I don't like it, not one little bit. 

Hubby told me this morning to try and stay off my leg, to just rest. That would seem like a dream to many but not me. I like to stay busy. It's hard for me to rest, but today, I'm going to try. I know my knee will thank me for it. Maybe I can finish reading one of my books while I sit. 

Thankfully, we don't get put out to pasture as we age, especially when we're well loved. This old gray mare ain't what she used to be but she's learning to temper her projects with her energy. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Silly Me

I've been wanting to put a fresh coat of paint on our front door for months, so I texted hubby the other day and asked him to stop by Lowe's and pick up a gallon of exterior paint for me. I'd done my research and had picked out a durable, weatherproof paint. I picked out the color and took a screenshot. I wanted to make sure he got the exact paint I wanted, and he did. He knows, after being married to me for almost 30 years, if there's something I decide to do, I'm going to do it no matter what. And so, this morning, I set out to paint. 

There was prep work to be done first. I taped down plastic to keep paint off the floor then gathered all my painting supplies, paint tray, rollers, brushes, stir stick, and of course paint. Then, I dragged the step ladder onto the front porch because I'm short and knew there was no way I'd reach the top of the door without it. I wasn't prepared for the cold weather. It was only 54 degrees outside and actually, this was the warmest day we'd had so far, but it was cold to me. I don't do cold. So, I came back inside, slipped on a polar fleece jacket and headed back out front. 

After opening the can of paint and stirring it well, I was ready to put on a thin first coat. Climbing up onto the step ladder, I prayed for God to protect me so I wouldn't fall. I knew there was no one around to help if I did and even though I had my trusty cell phone nearby, if I fell and knocked myself out, who would tell Siri to call 911? Thankfully, I didn't have to worry. I was very careful and managed to get the first coat on although my hands were freezing, and I was more than ready to come in after completing that task. 

While the paint was drying, and yes, it was going to take longer than normal because of the chilly weather, I had lunch and watched a movie on Netflix. I felt a little guilty for taking a "me" break, but figured I deserved it after all my hard work. 

Now it's time to lay down the second coat. The temperature has dropped a couple of degrees, but we've got snow coming in this weekend and I need to get another coat on today and one more tomorrow, so I'll have to brave the cold now or wait til Spring thaw to get it done. I'm impatient so that won't happen. 

Silly me! If I'd thought about it, I would have waited to paint in the Spring when the weather was nice and warm, and the paint would dry quickly but I didn't. I guess I'm still in full blown post cancer mode where I think I have to do everything with urgency just in case. One of these days, I'll manage to get past that, but for now, it is what it is. 

I'm thankful I'm still alive and I can do the things I want to do when I want to do them. Those little things mean a lot to me and even though others may think I'm just plain ridiculous, that's okay. I'm me and I'm happy about that. 

When the door is dry and I've hung my pretty wreath out front, our home will look warm and inviting. We may decide to stay here a while longer or maybe not. That remains to be seen! Until we decide, I'll be busy with little projects but hopefully, I'll give the next one a little more thought before beginning. 

When the burdens are heavey

Almost everyone I know is going through something difficult right now, whether it's health related, facing grief or loss, financial burd...