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


Sunday, January 21, 2024

Practice Hospitality


A couple of days ago, I got a text from a cousin. She was going to be in town and wanted to stop by for a visit. I was tickled she wanted to come see me and asked if she needed a place to stay for the night. Gratefully, she accepted my invitation. 

I worked hard to make sure her room was spic and span. I washed all the bedding, vacuumed the rug, dusted, and straightened all the knick knacks. I wanted her to feel welcomed. 

Wanting to do a little more, I ran to the store to gather things to make a nice gift bag for her. I tried to think of things that might be helpful while she was here. 

Strolling up and down the aisle of Hobby Lobby, I found cute things I thought she'd like. One by one I slipped them in my cart along with a pretty gift bag, a card, and some tissue paper. 

When I got home, I assembled the gift bag and placed it on the center of the bed in the guest room. I stood back and looked at it. I hoped she'd like it. 

The day of her arrival, I made a huge pot of vegetable soup and some homemade beer bread. It's been extremely cold outside, and I thought she might like a hot meal that stuck to the bones. As I cut and prepared the vegetables, I thought about special memories we'd shared since childhood. I'd always thought of her as a little sister. 

A text later in the day gave me her ETA. I was excited to see her but nervous, too. We don't have visitors often but when we do, they're usually relatives and relatives are more forgiving of my lack of hospitality skills. 

I did my best to help her feel at home. We had a nice visit and I think things went pretty well until this morning. I'd gotten up early to prepare a nice breakfast. I tried to be quiet because she was still sleeping, and I didn't want to wake her. 

I prayed, when I popped open the can of Grands Biscuits, that the sound wouldn't startle her. Working quickly, I slipped them in the oven, cracked the eggs, and sliced up the sausage. When the biscuits were done, I began cooking the other things. Then, I set the table, poured a bowl of fresh fruit and waited for everyone to rise. 

When my husband and guest were up, we sat down to eat. I had one last thing to put on the table and got up to get a bowl from my China cabinet. As I opened the glass door and pulled out the China bowl, somehow it slipped crashing into a China soup tureen and slicing open my finger. My cousin jumped up quickly to help with the mess while I ran to the sink to keep blood off the floor. What a fiasco, I thought! Here I am supposedly entertaining my guest and what do I do but show off my klutzy side. No wonder the Bible says practice hospitality! I need a lot of practice... Thankfully, she was gracious and understanding, never once mentioning my faux pas.  

After the incident, we sat down and enjoyed a nice meal, good conversation, and couple of rounds of laughter. 

I'm so glad she knows me well and knows I'm accident prone. I hate that I broke my China but more than that, I hate that she was the one to clean up the mess while I worked to take care of my injury. 

Love is a wonderful and complicated thing. If I hadn't loved her, I wouldn't have invited her to come stay with me. If she hadn't loved me, she wouldn't have accepted my offer and helped clean up my mess. 

The cut is still throbbing, and I feel embarrassed that things weren't perfect today, but I'm trying to give myself grace. They say practice makes perfect. Maybe one day, I'll attain that goal. Or maybe not! 


Scripture references: 

Romans 12:13: Share with the saints who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Hebrews 13:2: Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Isaiah 58:7: Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Saturday, January 20, 2024

The significance of bread


I love baking. It's usually relaxing for me. Measuring out the ingredients and mixing them together is satisfying. When it's time to pour the mixture into the pan, I smile knowing soon we'll have some yummy for our tummies. 

Today I decided to bake some bread. Normally this time of year, I bake my delicious sourdough bread, but today I was in a hurry. I hadn't kept my sourdough starter going since we moved, so I'd have resort to my next favorite - beer bread. 

Now don't freak out! I'm not an alcoholic, it's just a quick and easy way to make bread without the hassle of using yeast and allowing for a first and second rise. The alcohol in the beer cooks out so you can't taste it. I'm not lying, it's true. Try it yourself and see. 

It's a quick and yummy bread that can be zazzed up or eaten plain. Normally, we eat it plain, but sometimes, I add garlic and shredded cheddar or herbs. There are a variety of ways to use this recipe. 

Bread is filling. It can also be comforting if eaten while still warm from the oven with a big bowl of homemade vegetable soup or some chili. Since we're having company for dinner, I thought a hearty loaf of bread along with soup would hit the spot. 

Everytime I bake bread, I think about the Bible. Bread was a staple back then, just as it is today. Although their breads were vastly different than ours, they were an important part of every meal. 

All through Scripture, Jesus talks about bread. Just use a concordance and you'll find many references. My favorite one is found in the book of John-

"Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." John 6:35

Jesus knew the people could relate to bread so gave them a visual picture of what He was explaining. He wanted them to understand that if they'd allow Him to be all they needed, they'd never be hungry for anything - either physically or spiritually. I love that! 

The smell of the baked bread is wafting through the kitchen. Even though I've taken the bread out of the oven and have the loaves on cooling racks, the wonderful aroma fills the house reminding me that my bread is nothing compared to the Bread of Life. 

Jesus is all we need, every single day. I'm so thankful He has made provision for not only our flesh but more importantly, our spirits. 

If you'd like to try my quick, crusty beer bread, here's the recipe: 

Ingredients

3 cups King Arthur Self-Rising Flour
1 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, to taste
4 tablespoons butter, melted, divided*
1 1/2 cups beer or (you can use plain seltzer water if you don't want to use the beer. You can also use Sprite if you want a sweeter bread.)

*Substitute 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for the butter in the batter and omit the butter topping to make a vegan version.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.

Mix the flour, sugar, 3 tablespoons of the melted butter, and the beer, stirring until fairly smooth; don't worry about a scattering of small lumps.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Bake the bread for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted about 1/2" into the top of the loaf comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.

Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out onto a rack to cool.

Wait until the bread cools completely before slicing. Store airtight at room temperature.

Friday, January 19, 2024

The woodshed

 

Have you ever had God take you to the woodshed? If you're from the south, you know what I mean. 

The woodshed was a place on farms where tools were kept and work was done, especially during inclimate weather. It was also the place just far enough away from the homestead that kids knew could be dangerous. 

When I was growing up, woodsheds were common though not as popular as with previous generations, mine knew the woodshed was where spankings would often take place. A good whack on the butt could be done in private and if the offender got a good hard lickin', the woodshed afforded some privacy for the inevitable wailing that would come after a leather belt, bare hand, or wooden paddle slammed against a bare behind.

Although my parents never took me to the woodshed, because we didn't have one, I did often receive spankings with a very powerful hand or leather belt. I can still feel the welts those "lessons" left on the back of my legs or bottom. 

And while I'm not keen on using that type of punishment to steer kids in the right direction, the spankings did accomplish their goal of imprinting on my mind the definition of unacceptable behavior. 

But did you know, sometimes God takes us to the woodshed? Not a literal woodshed, but often as we read His Word, He'll give us a good spanking. 

This morning, as I was having my quiet time, the Holy Spirit took me to the woodshed. As I read several passages, while studying the word forbearance, I felt the sting of sorrow. I realized I'd failed to master my flesh woman and I'd certainly not extended the gift of forbearance to some of my loved ones. 

I love studying the Hebrew and Greek words in the Bible. They give so much deeper meaning to verses of Scripture. As I was studying today, God used the Greek word, anecho, to drive His point home. Anecho means to tolerate the unpleasant. Colossians 3:13 gives a good example of this word and how it should be used. 

In essence, God helped me see that I'd failed miserably. Without going into sensitive details, I'll humbly admit I reacted with my flesh and today, I could see clearly how ugly it was. 

It's extremely hard for a type A personality to lose control of a situation. When that happens, it's easy to feel insecure and unsure. God knows I struggle in this area, and I think that's why He has to remind me of my shortcomings now and then. 

If you've never studied the word forbearance, anecho (GK), you might learn a lot from taking the time to do it. I know I sure did. And, I'm very thankful God took the time to remind me of this behind His heavenly woodshed today. 

We're frail human beings. We don't always make right decisions, especially when we're walking in the flesh. I'm so thankful Our Loving Heavenly Father forgives us and I'm very glad He never runs out of patience with me. 

His unconditional love surrounds me, even after I get a "whoopin' (as my Granddaddy would say.)" And I'm so glad it does. Without that constant in my life, I'd surely be doomed to failure all the time. 

Thursday, January 18, 2024

How can something so small bring up such a good memory?

 

I'm always amazed how small things can trigger big memories. This morning, while dressing, I pulled out a pair of shoes I'd recently purchased. When I saw them on sale, I knew I had to get them. They were my favorite brand, Alegrias. They're unique shoes made to shift the majority of your weight backward, so it's distributed more on the heel than the ball of the foot. They make standing for long hours very tolerable. I think that's one reason nurses love them so much. 

After getting the shoes on, I walked across the floor to my dresser. As I did, my foot slipped, and I realized these shoes didn't have as much traction as my other Alegrias did. Maybe that's why they were on sale. In that instant, my mind traveled back to the early 70s. 

I'd just begun working for J C Penney. I was working the Junior's department; the place women and teens would shop for trendy clothes. I'd never much cared about clothes except for their comfort factor, but when I started being surrounded by clothing on a daily basis, I started to notice the trends. 

Back then, a lot of my friends from school were getting wooden clogs. They were a popular item that year and of course, I wanted some, too. Since I was working, I knew I could take money from my measly paycheck and buy a pair. If I really wanted them, I'd have to do that because my parents couldn't afford that extra expense. 

I weighed the pros and cons and decided they were worth the $11 I'd have to shell out. (That was a lot back then. My check was only $70 every 2 weeks!)

I bought the shoes and brought them home. Proudly, I strutted across our living room floor in them to show my parents. As I went to take another step, my foot went sliding out from under me and I did my first ever split! I was not only embarrassed, but it hurt. Daddy told me to let him see my shoes. I was afraid he was upset at me buying them, but that wasn't the case. He wanted to see why I had slid in them. 

Holding one of the clogs upside down in his hands, he inspected it. There was rubber on the bottom of the shoes, but it was a very thin layer, and it was smooth. Daddy said that was the problem. 

Taking them out to our garage, he dug in his toolbox for a large nail. As I watched, I wondered what in the world he was going to do. Next, he took his cigarette lighter and popped it into full flame. Holding the nail over it, I watched as the tip got red hot. Then, he took the nail and moved it along the sole of my shoe creating a deep ridge line. He did that over and over again, creating horizontal and vertical ridges. When he was done, he handed the shoes back to me and said, "TA DAH!" (That was his favorite expression for completing something and being pleased with it.)

I was shocked! My brand-new shoes had been branded forever... Holding my head down, I carried my shoes to my room and cried. But then, as I rubbed my fingers across the ridges, I was thankful. My Daddy had cared enough about my health to do what he could to keep me from slipping and breaking my neck. 

The next day at work, as I walked across the slick floors of the department store, I smiled. My Daddy was a smart guy! Who would have thought to have done what he did? 

Now shoes often come nonslip soles. Those are so nice and uniform, done by machines, but I would much rather have the ones my Daddy made. They weren't perfectly straight, but they were evidence of his love and care for me. That's what mattered most. 

Oh, how I wish he was still alive. He'd be surprised to see the various types of shoes people wear today and he'd be really impressed with the condition of the soles, too. 

I know another Father who's concerned about souls, (not soles as in shoes) - our Heavenly Father. And guess what, He's also an engraver. His Word tells us He's engraved us on the palms of His hands. Now that's something to think about. 

"Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me." Isaiah 49:16



Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Lessons in patience


Our Sunday School lesson this month revolves around the book of Genesis. We've been studying how God taught Noah patience as he waits with his family and all the animals on the ark. I'd never really thought about Noah's patience until we dug in a little deeper. 

Can you imagine being locked inside an ark full of rowdy animals for over a year? Can you imagine wondering why you weren't hearing God's voice during that time, especially when you'd followed His instructions implicitly in building an ark when no one had ever even heard of rain? The Bible never tells us God spoke to Noah while he was on the ark but surely, we assumed He had. 

Noah was found to righteous and obedient by God. Why wouldn't he have conversed with him daily, giving him encouragement or instruction about his future? We don't know. We're not God and we can't understand how He works. But I imagine, in his frail human state, Noah had to have gotten a little impatient now and then. I mean, who wouldn't have? I know I would have! 

If I'd been shut up on the ark for that length of time, I'd have been climbing the walls wondering when God was going to get me out of there. I'd have probably had a panic attack thinking I was never going to get out. I'm a bit of a control freak. I would never have done well closed up in an ark, or any space for even a few days, let alone over a year! 

Well, that's one of my biggest downfalls. I stink at waiting. I guess that's why, after 66 years of life, God is still working on me in that area. 

I don't know when I developed the sin of impatience, but somewhere along the way, I did, and it's stuck with me. If someone ever wanted to torture me, all they'd have to do is make me wait and wait and wait. I'd go mad in the process. 

But I can say, I've learned a few things over the past years ago how God can grow us in the waiting season. Over and over again, He's used periods of waiting to teach me to rely on Him, to trust in Him, and to depend on Him for every tiny detail. I can't say I like it, but I have grown during those times, and it's helped me be a little less impatient than I've been in the past. 

I wish I could say I don't have that problem with waiting anymore, but I'd be lying if I said that. I'm a work in progress and I imagine I will be until the day God calls me home. 

I can just imagine, when I get to heaven and stand outside the pearly gates, I'll be tapping my foot thinking, "What's taking so long??? Hurry up and let me in, for Pete's sake!"  And God will probably look my way and smile thinking, "There she is, the one I created. She still has much to learn." 

I'm in the midst of an important season of waiting right now. It's driving me crazy being unable to control my situation, but that's just the way it is. I'm praying for God to help me behave properly. I won't dare pray for patience, because when you do, He usually sends trials to emphasize our lack of patience. 

If you've ever been in a season of waiting, I empathize with you. And when you're waiting for something, you're really excited about, it's even harder, isn't it? But sometimes, we have to wait for God's best and when we trust Him, He always gives us abundantly more than we could ever ask or dream. 

Patience is definitely not a virtue I possess, but I'm working on it. One day, maybe things will change, but I won't guarantee it. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

I need a nose warmer!

 

This morning it's so cold I had trouble leaving the warmth of my bed. My electric blanket has kept me comfortable for the past several nights and I'm so thankful for it! 

On my way to the doctor's office, I noticed the temperature has dropped and the wind is getting stronger. I'm really wishing I had a nose warmer. 

Years ago, I made one for a dear friend. She always complained about her nose being cold. I'd never heard of one but wanted to help so I designed a crocheted one. She loved it and wore it all day long. It was so funny to walk into her office at work and see her with the bright yellow cap on her nose. 

I never knew they were a popular thing until a couple of days ago. I had remembered making the nose warmer for my friend, Margot, and wanted to make one for myself. Scouring the internet, I found many patterns. Now I would never be as bold as she was and wear one out in public, but I'd sure wear it inside the house. My feet, fingers, and toes stay constantly cold. 

They have all kinds of cute ones on Etsy and Pinterest (the photo in this post is an example) but if you're looking for a simple one, here's a free crochet pattern: 

Crochet nose warmer:

MATERIALS:
~size G hook
~worsted weight yarn in color of choice (I use red heart)

NOTE: I crochet in a spiral, you can join rounds if you prefer.

~ ch2 (or make magic ring if you prefer)
~ make 6 sc in 2nd chain from hook (or in magic ring)
~ 2 sc in first st, 1 sc in next 2 stitches (2 times)
~ 2 sc in first st, 2 sc in next st (2 times)
~ 2 sc in first st, 1 sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next 3 st (2 times)
~ 2 sc in first st, 1 sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next 7 st, 2 sc in first st, 1 sc in next st, 2 sc in next st,
~ 1 sc in each stitch around (20 stitches)
~ 1 sc in each of next 3 st, 1 slip st in next st, ch 50, 1 sl st in next st, 1 sc in each of next 10 sts, 1 sl st in next st, ch 50, 1 sl in next st, 1 sc in each of next 5 sts, 1 sl st in next st

bind off and weave in end.

you've just made a basic nose warmer!

you can add things to it, I put a mustache on the bottom of mine so it looks like a Groucho or Mr. Potato Head nose :)

Monday, January 15, 2024

When you get old, cold gets really cold!

I used to wonder why cold weather seemed to bother my grandmother more than it did me. Now I understand! The older you get, the thinner your skin and the more cold temperatures seem to affect you. 

And when did winters shift from November though January to January through March? When I was younger, our weather was pretty predictable. Now we don't know from one day to the next what it's going to be. That makes dressing a challenge. 

My heart goes out to the homeless, especially on these super cold days. I can't even imagine having to live in a car or underneath a bridge. We've camped in extremely cold temperatures before and even with layers of clothing, down sleeping bags, and tiny camping heaters, it's been unbearable. Can you imagine having none of that to keep you warm? 

Oh, these days are so hard for so many. Prices on everything have risen. Basic necessities are out of sight and those with very limited resources are one paycheck away from being homeless. 

Thank the good Lord that we're doing okay. Yes, living solely on Social Security is a challenge, but growing up poor has helped me understand the value of things. I know how to pinch a penny until it bleeds! 

Please keep the homeless in your prayers. Yes, some of them are homeless by bad choices they've made, but others have found themselves in that situation due to uncontrollable circumstances. 

Never take anything for granted. If you're blessed with a nice cozy home right now, give thanks. If you have warm clothing, consider looking through your closets and drawers and donating the things you no longer need or use. 

I did this several days ago. I looked in our coat closet and realized both my husband and I had several winter coats. We only need one each, so the rest went to shelters. 

The Bible tells us to love one another. We can do that in practical ways by helping take care of each other's needs. Let's remember we're the hands and feet of Christ here on Earth. We can help those less fortunate. 

"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?" 1 John 3:17

 

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Unity in the body of Christ

This afternoon, members of our church gathered together to extend the love of 
Christ to one of our sweet friends. Our meeting time was 2:30 p.m. We arrived a little before then.

As we exited our car, we quietly walked up the driveway. We weren't sure exactly how to proceed and were looking for the pastor. As we stood in the yard waiting, one by one other members of the church pulled up. We greeted each other and shifted to make room for more and more friends to arrive. Within fifteen minutes or so, about thirty people had gathered.  

Before we began, I noticed Mrs. Anderson had come out of the house and was standing in front of their covered carport. She looked frail but what a warrior. As she stood in her bright yellow shirt, she greeted one person after another as we patiently went up to her offering our support and love. 

The pastor entered the center of the group and explained today's gathering - an informal prayer walk. We were to spend time in prayer walking the property of Mr. and Mrs. Anderson's home. The pastor explained we could take our time, pray as we felt led, and leave when we were through. Members of the group began to spread out around the grounds. Before Phil and I moved from the driveway, I saw Mrs. Anderson standing alone, so I went up to her. Before I had a chance to speak to her, she extended her hand and spoke to me. "You're Denise's friend, aren't you?" I nodded and she said, "She showed me the sweet prayer you'd written for me several days ago, thank you." I was dumbfounded. While I remembered writing out a prayer and sharing it with my friend, I couldn't, for the life of me, remember what I'd written. 

I asked Mrs. Anderson if she minded us praying over her. At that time, Phil, Denise, and her husband, Gary, had joined me. She said she didn't mind at all so we began to pray. I led the prayer and Gary closed. It was a beautiful, sweet time of fellowship. 

After our intimate prayer time, Phil and I walked to the only open spot - the middle of the front yard, and began to pray more earnestly for Mr. and Mrs. Anderson's health. Since they both have cancer, we asked God to be merciful to them and if it was His will, that He might heal their bodies and extend their lives, just like He did for King Hezekiah in the Bible. But if it wasn't His will to heal them on this side of heaven, we knew He'd heal them on the other side of glory. 

Pancreatic cancer kills quickly. I lost a very dear friend to it a couple of years ago. It was so sad to watch his body decline, but even in the midst of his treatments, his faith was strong and he fought hard. The same thing with my brother after his cancer diagnosis. 

Oh, how I hate cancer. It's so hard to understand why some people survive and others don't. Sometimes I feel so guilty being a survivor. It's hard to explain to someone who's never experienced cancer before, but survivor's guilt is real. 

I'm so thankful our church is a unified body of believers. It's hard to find churches who follow Biblical principles these days. The Bible commands us to bear one another's burdens and the people at Unity Baptist certainly know how to do that. 

We were honored to participate today and hope Mr. and Mrs. Anderson felt our love. May God's peace comfort them in the days ahead and may He be merciful to them as they continue to fight the good fight. 
 

The faithful prayers of the righteous

It's early on this chilly winter morning and as I sit in my living room thinking about what lies ahead, I am in awe. This is the Lord's day, a new day he has created for us to enjoy. I will choose to rejoice and be glad in it!

As I was checking my emails this morning, I got a notification from a friend. I had recently sent her a card and she responded to thank me but also in her message told me she had recently been diagnosed with a severe disorder. While sad to hear it, I took a few minutes to pray for her and then shot off a quick email reminding her not to become discouraged or disappointed because God still loves her. I think it's so important for us to stand with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and one of the best ways we can do that is to offer the gift of encouragement.

This afternoon, after church, our Sunday school class is going to do a prayer walk. There is a dear lady in our church who has pancreatic cancer. She was given the diagnosis recently of being stage four. When she was given that diagnosis, she did not want to believe it as most of us wouldn't, so she sought a second opinion. The second opinion confirmed the first diagnosis and she was given more information - only 6 months to live. Can you imagine hearing that news? I know if I heard that news, I would spend every minute of every day trying to do everything possible before God called me home. One of the main things I would want to do is to make sure all of my loved ones had accepted Christ as their Savior.

I don't know how many people will show up for the prayer walk but I pray that the majority of our church will. Since it's so cold outside, and a lot of our members are older, there may not be many but we know the Bible says wherever two or three are gathered in My Name, there I am in the midst of them. God will be with us as we quietly march around her property praying for a miracle.

A lot of people don't believe that God is still in the business of doing miracles, but I am living proof that He still does. Almost 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with stage 2B invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer. My odds of living this long were not very good. In fact, I was only given the hope that I might make it 5 years past diagnosis. Every single day, I thank God for allowing me to continue to live my life. I'm so grateful to him and want to always honor him in all I say and do.

Our time on this Earth is so brief. Many days we take things for granted and I believe that is because we are human. We are frail and weak. Through trials, God often allows them as teaching tools to help us grow. And while suffering is extremely difficult, when we can look at it as a purposeful tool, we can thank God even for the difficult times.

Please remember Mrs Anderson in your prayers today. We will be circling her property at 2:30 this afternoon. She doesn't know we're going to do this. Pray that God will hear and answer our prayers. Just like King Hezekiah prayed to extend his life, we're going to ask God to extend Mrs Anderson's life.

Mr. Anderson also has cancer. He was diagnosed before his wife and his just completed his treatments. She has been caring for him all this time and now she has this dreadful diagnosis.

Oh, Lord, help us not take a single minute of a single day for granted. We know our days are numbered and our times are in your hands. Please help us to be thankful each day. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.






Friday, January 12, 2024

Something wicked this way comes

We're in for another round of stormy weather. Hopefully this one will pass without much damage. During the last round, on Tuesday, we were blessed to have only strong winds, heavy rain, and lots of thunder and lightning. 

This area is in the center of tornado alley and since we've lived here, we've only had a few come fairly close to our home. Two were minor storms. One was an EF4. Every time bad weather is expected, we pray asking God for a hedge of protection around our home. Some may think it silly to pray that way, but we know God cares about all things that pertain to us. We've seen over and over again His hand of protection shield us from danger. 

The beautiful Sea of Galilee
It seems the weather has grown more erratic over the past few years with more intense storms and temperature fluctuations. These are signs of the last days as spoken of in the Bible. But aren't we thankful, even in the midst of storms, God is present? He controls the wind and the waves. 

Sometimes I wonder how I would have reacted if I'd been in the boat with Jesus on the Sea of Galilee when the winds began to whip and the rain began to pour. Would I have freaked out as the disciples did as Jesus rested peacefully in the back of the boat? In my flesh, I imagine I would have. I'm sure as the boated rocked back and forth, the disciples were afraid the boat would fill with water or capsize. Naturally, they wondered how Jesus could sleep through all that, but He did! And He did because He had nothing to worry about. 

At times, I think Jesus allowed the storm to test the disciples' faith. Could He have purposefully planned it? I believe He could have. 

When Jesus was awakened by the disciples, as they exhibited their fear, He chides them on their lack of faith before speaking to the wind and telling it to be still. Instantly, as the storm stopped raging, the disciples were in awe. "Who is this, that the wind and the waves obey Him?" they asked each other. While they new Him as their friend, their rabbi, and their mentor, I wonder if they truly understood He was God in the flesh. That day, they probably got a huge wake up call. 

This was the type boat we sailed in on the sea. 
In 2018, when we were in Israel, our group was scheduled to spend a day on the Sea of Galilee. We'd booked a tour boat and were looking forward to the day our time on the sea came. We'd driven by the Sea of Galilee several times that week, before our scheduled boat ride. Each time we'd passed, the sea (which is actually a very large lake surrounded by mountainous terrain) was peaceful and calm. But one day, as we drove past on our way to our scheduled touring agenda, the sea was tumultuous. Our guide explained that storms in that area could be quite powerful and whip up suddenly. We were surprised to see whitecaps on the normally calm sea, but we were also thankful because it helped us understand the Scripture that talked about the disciples being in the boat with Jesus on that stormy day. 

Our boat ride had to be rescheduled as that storm raged. While we were sad that happened, we knew it was for the best. Thankfully, a few days later, we enjoyed the most peaceful and awe-inspiring trip across the sea. It was a highlight of our trip and one I'll never forget. 

Standing in the bow of the boat, I thought about Jesus. 
Sometimes, Jesus allows storms in our lives as teaching tools. I've faced many of those myself. Other times, He uses them to draw people closer to Himself. Today, as the storms move in, let's pray that those around us would be safe and also that they'd know God is always in control. Nothing ever takes Him by surprise. That should bring us great peace. 




I took this photo from the boat looking toward the mountains. 
Israel is a beautiful place. If you've never been, I hope one day you'll have the opportunity to go. I promise, it will change your life forever. Seeing the Bible come to life in front of your eyes is amazing. And, while there, you'll definitely have some Jesus encounters like I did. There were several places I could feel His presence so strongly I had to look around to make sure He wasn't standing right next to me. One of those places was on the Sea of Galilee, another was on the Gospel Trail. 

Jesus has promised never to leave or forsake us, so even if we can't feel Him near, He's there. Don't forget that! And as the stormy weather nears, know He's in complete control. Don't fear. Let your heart trust In Him. 



 

Thursday, January 11, 2024

We found a house!

They say the third time is the charm and that was definitely the case in our house hunting ventures. After viewing two others, we finally found the perfect home. 

The first home was a much older home but had been completely remodeled and looked wonderful inside. We loved it but the yard was the killer. It was large and very wooded. There were many trees that would need to be taken down immediately. While it was in a beautiful rural setting, we wouldn't have been able to deal with the lawn care and maintenance as we grew older. With much chagrin, we backed out of that one fast. 

The second home had apparently been a rental and had been abused. Outside it looked great. Inside, not so much. There was a lot of damage to the floors and other areas. It would take a lot of work to get it in shape and the house right across the street looked like a hoarder's home, so we told our agent that one was a definite no. 

We were looking for a home in a quiet and safe neighborhood. We needed a home without steps, so we won't have to worry about that as we grow older. 

On our way to see house number 2, which we had set up with our realtor, I saw this one out of the corner of my eye and wondered if we might be able to see it after seeing house #2. Surely, there was a home out there for us!

Our agent got on the phone and after several attempts to contact the seller and the builder, was able to get through to one of them and get permission for us to view the home. 

As soon as we walked inside, we knew. This was the house God had for us! The builder was the same one as the one who'd built our previous home and that tickled us! How funny, that 10 years after purchasing our first home in Newnan, we'd find another by the same builder in exactly what we wanted. God works in mysterious ways! 

We toured the home and decided to put a contract on it the same day. Our agent got busy writing up the contract, we delivered our earnest money, and we'll do the walk through on Friday! Everything is moving so fast but we're thankful. 

Next, we have the details of terminating our lease at our current place of residence, packing up again, hiring movers, and then, we'll have to buy some appliances and get utilities connected. 

It's daunting and stressful, but we're trusting God for each step of the journey. He's never failed us and we know He won't now. 

This new chapter in our lives is certainly taking us through some changes and challenges, but we know God works all things together for our good. He's such a loving and gracious Father! We are truly blessed!
 

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

House hunting

Yesterday we met with our real estate agent to view a home we were considering buying. Online, it looked like the perfect fit. We were excited to go see it, especially since it was situated in a rural part of our county.

Standing outside the home, it didn’t look like anything special. It was an older home that had been recently remodeled. Though plain, we hoped for the best. We knew from the online description it would be a smaller home and that was okay with us. Since the kids were all grown and gone, we didn’t need much space.

As we entered, our agent explained all the upgrades and recent remodeling efforts the owner had made. We were impressed with all of the amenities. They were beautiful! It looked like Joanna Gaines had come and done the house herself in the typical Magnolia style.

At only 1200 square feet, the home was very small, and we realized there wouldn’t be much storage. We didn’t know if we’d be able to fit our king size bedroom set in the tiny 12 x 12 master. But the house was cute. It felt cozy and warm.

We stood in the little living room talking with our agent. Both my husband and I were unsure if this was the perfect house for our forever home. He’d recently retired. We were pushing 70 and the yard was big. It would require a lot of physical work to keep it up. We noticed several large pine trees that would need to be taken down right away otherwise they might fall on the house. We tried to weigh the pros and cons as we listened to our agent talk.

We should have taken time to walk away and discuss our thoughts alone, but my husband and I would have been overheard anywhere in that little house. Trying to read each other’s body language was hard. Finally, I asked my husband point blank – “What do you think? Is this the home for us? Do you like it?” He was hard of hearing, so I wasn’t sure how much he’d heard as he nodded his head and smiled. Frustrated and unsure, I waited for his answer as the agent continued to give us details on what the owner was offering.

After about twenty or thirty minutes, I looked at my husband and said, “Should we go ahead and put a contract on the house?” He said we should. As I turned to the agent to give her the go ahead, I felt conflicted. I loved the inside of the home, even though it was small, but was worried about the yard. I’d seen my husband’s physical strength decline a good bit over the past few years and was very unsure about his abilities to cut down and haul off trees, cut the grass down by the street which had some deep drainage ditches, and get on a ladder to clean out gutters.

Standing outside the house, as we prepared to leave, I asked him again if he was sure this was the house we wanted. He said he liked it again, so the agent contacted the seller. The ball was rolling.

After saying our goodbyes, we headed back to our rental home. On the way, we discussed the house we’d just seen. We were on the same page about many of the qualities of the home but as we talked, I could hear concern in his voice too about the yard.

When we reached the rental house, we went inside and over dinner discussed the home we’d visited again. We loved the rural setting – seeing pastureland right outside the front door was so appealing. We loved hearing the lowing of the cows as we stood outside the home and talked with the agent. We also loved all the upgrades that had been made, but we both were concerned about the large trees that were in evident decay. They were so close to the house and there were a lot of them. They’d need to be taken down very quickly.

The more we talked, the more we realized we’d jumped the gun in our decision. I shot a quick text to our agent telling her we’d changed our mind and tacked on a lengthy apology. Before she had time to respond, I asked my husband to call and explain our decision to her. I wanted her to know how he felt.

She was gracious and honored our request to cancel proceedings on buying the home. While I’m sure she has these types of things happen all the time in her business, I was embarrassed and upset. I didn’t like making a fool of myself in front of others, especially someone I considered a friend.

I beat myself up most of the night. We should have told the agent we’d come home and think about the house before giving her our decision instead of making a rash one as we stood in the living room that day. I wouldn’t blame her if she decided not to keep us as clients.

That house, though completely remodeled on the inside, still had many flaws on the outside. It reminded me how Satan often baits us with seemingly innocent temptations to get us to do things against God’s will.

Today, since I have a clearer view of the situation, I can see our decision was a wise one. We would have regretted moving into such a small home with a huge yard. In my mind’s eye, I pictured us ten years from now. There’s no way we would have been able to maintain that property. Sure, we could hire someone, but that would eat into our meager income. Living on Social Security alone would be challenging. We’d be watching every penny.

So now we wait and pray. We are trusting God to provide the perfect home for us. We have no idea where it will be and we aren’t sure our agent will want to continue representing us, but we hope she will.

It’s hard to adult. Most times, we make decisions by stepping out in faith. But sometimes, I wish we had our parents around to bounce things off of. Their wisdom was priceless. Now that we don’t have that, we have to trust ourselves and lean hard on God.

I’m thankful our agent is a sister in Christ. She’s a kind hearted soul and is very understanding but even so, I’m sure she had to do a lot of back peddling to stop that ball we started rolling. I hate that we put her through that.

The next home we visit, we’re going to take a few days to think about unless we’re absolutely positively sure it’s the one for us.

House hunting is no fun. It can be an overwhelming and daunting task. I wish there was some sort of machine you could enter criteria into and have it spit out the perfect home at the perfect price, but there isn’t. All we can do is use the filters on Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin to see if we can find something that is close to what we want. And of course, our agent will be searching her MLS listings for us, too. (We hope! If she still wants to work with us…)

Please pray for us in the days ahead. We need the Lord’s guidance.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Stormy Tuesday

I woke up really early this morning to the sounds of thunder and lightning. It was storming outside. The weatherman had predicted we were going to have some very heavy rain and possible flooding. Taking a peek outside the window, I could see through flashes of lightning, ominous clouds hanging overhead. hey reminded me of another terrible storm we had here in Newnan.

in 2021, an EF 4 tornado struck our city and did tremendous damage. Many homes lost their roofs and nearly every building at Newnan High School sustained damage. In their initial survey, the NWS noted that widespread wind damage corresponding with winds of 111mph or higher was found. We were blessed. Our home only suffered minor damage, though many trees fell at that time.

I hate living in Tornado Alley. It's so scary when the weather turns tumultuous. We usually have these types of storms in Spring and early Summer, but lately the weather is unpredictable year round. 

It seems the weather is changing drastically each year that passes.The Bible said it'd be that way during the end times. I pray this year isn't filled with devastating tornadoes and hurricanes. So many suffer during those times. 



A small sample of the damage



Monday, January 8, 2024

Another blessed year of life

The first week of 2024 has come and gone. I meant to start writing this year's blog on the first day of the new year, but that didn't happen. You know what they say about good intentions...

This year seems to have started off with a great sense of urgency. Not only have I grown older, but I've also become wiser. I'm realizing there are more days behind me than ahead of me and I'd better get busy doing the things I want to do. 

I've checked in on many friends diagnosed the same year I was. Some of them are still around while others have gone on to glory. It's a sad thing to realize our personal choices in treatment options most likely contributed to our current state of health, but it's true. Those who chose conventional rounds of chemotherapy and radiation haven't fared as well as those who chose a more natural route. It makes me extremely sad to know, had they considered different options, they might still be around. But when you're in the thick of things, choices are often made under duress. 

I've decided, after almost 10 years of survivorship, that cancer will no longer dominate my life. Yes, it will still be part of it since I'll be making annual visits to the City of Hope for checkups, but I won't be allowing thoughts of a possible recurrence to dictate my days. In fact, I'm purposing in my heart to push all thoughts of cancer aside and have a great year. 

This year seems to be a year of big changes. Phil has retired and I'm getting used to the routine of having him home 24 hours a day. It's definitely an adjustment but it's also been nice, too. We can come and go as we please and it's nice to have a constant companion on outings. 

Later this month, we'll take our first cruise together. It will be exciting and scary at the same time. He's always wanted to go on a cruise. Me, not so much. Hopefully, it will be a great trip and I won't get seasick. We'll be heading toward a warmer climate which will be wonderful considering the chilly weather we've been experiencing here. 

Also, in the next few months, we'll be moving again. We've got our real estate agent looking for our perfect forever home. 

The yard at the old house was huge and hilly making it difficult for us to keep up with the yardwork as we grew older. Also, climbing up on a ladder to clean out gutters was becoming more of a challenge for Phil as he was pushing 70 and his knees were giving him problems. Yes, we could have hired someone to do the work but felt it was time to find a smaller home, and sale prices were at an all-time high, so we caved. We made a nice profit and now we're on to greener pastures. 

God has been so good to us and we know He has many blessings ahead. We can't wait to see how those unfold. We pray you have a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. 

Hopefully, I'll do better at keeping my blog up to date this year. One of my resolutions is to do that! 

Another Month is Almost Over

I was looking at the calendar today and realized we're halfway through the year already. Where has the time gone? It seems I blinked and...