Saturday, March 6, 2021

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from a bright day of sunshine here in our corner of the world.  There are hints of Spring as we head into a high of 60 tomorrow.  The snow is quickly disappearing even from the shadows of our yard.  I am so looking forward to Spring when we can open windows, air out the stale winter air, and spend time sitting on our little porch.  It is just around the corner........

This week our oldest, Beth, turned 51.  How did that happen?  Happy Birthday Beth!  When we called we reminisced with her about the 10 months I carried her, the unique birthing process in a Army hospital, and the first few weeks she had to survive with her young, naive parents at the helm!  We were living in New Mexico at the time, while Joel was stationed at the Air Force base.  It was a dry and dusty city, but we still fell in love with the West....the landscapes were beautiful once you left the city, and the mountains nearby gave us a taste of the winter life we left behind.  

An Airman did not make much at all, so we were without much money for sure.  Beth slept in a little "car bed" that was next to my side of the bed....or went in the car with us.  We paid for that when Joel took on an extra job to run the little coffee/snack shop on base.  He made an extra dollar a day so we could have a bit of change to pay for baby's needs. If I recall correctly, she did not have her own crib until she was several months old.  When the Air Force moved us to Salt Lake City Utah she slept on a double bed surrounded by pillows in our furnished apartment until we saved for a crib.  She never complained.....haha   Ahhhhhh the good old days!

It has been a quiet week here in our corner of the world.  Joel has been able to get out and bike a couple of times which puts an extra big smile on his face.  I am still walking 20-30 minutes a day.  I made Joel Snickerdoodles this week which reminded me of the first time I ever tasted one.....when we lived in the Philippines our maid liked to make cookies, and Snickerdoodles were a favorite of hers to bake. Those were the days.......Nora was our maid while we lived on base our second year at Clark.  She had five kids at home, so she came early in the morning and headed home after getting supper ready most days.  She worked so hard!  In her "spare time" she crocheted us beautiful afghans a bedspread and tablecloths! We were generous in her pay, but I sometimes would help her out because it seemed odd for me to be watching someone else do my work if I was sitting around!  It was very inexpensive for Americans to build or buy a cement or wood home in a third world country, so we built houses for three different people.  Nora was one of those people.  Her mom lived with them too.  We were so thankful we could help this Christian woman and her family.  I am not sure we ever got used to having a maid?  BUT I can say we were grateful for all she did in our home, including helping us out with our five year old, four year old and two babies.  

Thanks to my friend, Lana, I have been inspired to read the Bible cover to cover.....I have read whole books, I have been in Bible Studies where we read sections of course, but not since college have I read the Bible cover to cover.  I just finished the book of Genesis, and I have to say, I was disturbed by all the murder, lies, deceit, rape, and more that occurs during the time from the story of Adam and Eve to the death of Joseph.  I talked to our Beth about it some on her birthday since her Masters in Theology is in Old Testament and she has taught it at her church where she works.  I knew the stories.......but when you put them all together you have to wonder why God bothers with us at all!  He has to really love us to keep us around, don't you think?!  

Speaking of love, my sister Jan and her hubby Lanny just celebrated their 10th wedding Anniversary.  They were both widowers when they got together.  They knew each other for decades before as friends, but at just the right time God brought them together.  Happy Anniversary to you both!  Hope this year is full of amazing joy!

Speaking of joy, I was thinking about dogs lately....periodically I go back to missing and wanting a dog in our lives again.  They brought us so much joy.  Mayo Clinic did a study that showed that people who have dogs live longer overall.  They have healthier hearts....both physically AND emotionally which makes for overall better health in general.  I'm trying to use this info to shift my hubby's thinking (who actually loves animals). but so far.........

Speaking of animals, we have really enjoyed the new updated version of All Creatures Great and Small on the PBS Channel using our passport membership.  It is also on TV Sunday nights.  It is absolutely our favorite show right now!  What are you watching?  And what are you reading?  Besides the book of Genesis I am reading Ana Werner's new book and Joel's book again, too.

So this week I am grateful for memories of Nora, Snickerdoodles for Joel, warmer temperatures, so many Bibles to choose to read from, the two miniature Schnauzers that shared our home over the years, Beth and the joy she brings into our lives, a sister and brother-in-law's Anniversary, Lana inspiring me, "All Creatures Great and Small" and so much more...................

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Restoring More Than Camps

 


Recently Joel and I have gotten into watching Maine Cabin Masters on the DIY (do it yourself) channel.  It is a show about a few friends and family members who work together to restore what they in Maine call, "camps".  Many of these cabins are deep into the woods near or on a lake,  They have been neglected and are so beat up they appear unsalvageable.  We have said more than once in the beginning of a show that they should just tear them down and start over.  Yet by the end of the show they have created a great little camp that the owners are able to spend their summers and weekends enjoying.  It is amazing to see them after they have been renovated, rebuilt, and restored.

I could not help but think about us humans, as broken people who need a whole lot of Jesus.  We who need renovating and restoring!  And our Master Creator has the skills and desire to take us and mold us into Christ-like beings who radiate His love and kindness into the world.  We certainly need that in this present moment more than ever, don't we.  

God loves us so much that He not only sent His only son to die for us in every way, shape, and form, but He also wants us to hold on to the knowledge that Holy Spirit lives in us.  He is part of us.  That gives us the power and authority needed to release the fruits of the Spirit in us.  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, the fruits that are to pour out of us as we walk with Jesus and let our Creator mold and shape us into His likeness.

Just like those cabins/camps that look so beat up and unsalvageable........we too may look that way when we look in the mirror, look at our past, or look at our failings.  We may look at others and think they should just be forgotten....no hope for them!  But God looks at us, all of us, just like the cabin masters in Maine, and sees our potential.  He knows we have all sinned and fallen short, yet sees what we can be and cannot yet see,  and He loves us enough to lead us down "paths of righteousness".

Thankfully, God is in the business of restoring more than camps in Maine.  It is up to us to open ourselves to the possibilities He sees in us.  To open ourselves to forgiveness and forgiving...to open our hearts to others as we all rely on His promises and let Holy Spirit release His fruits within us, grateful for our Master Creator seeing in us potential, seeing what we cannot yet see.....Isn't He amazing?!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you on the last weekend of February 2021.  We are once again expecting a rain/snow mix tonight and tomorrow.  It has been a nice week weather wise, with temperatures in the high 30's. Nice enough for Joel to take some long walks outside, nice enough for our oldest son to come for a garage visit.  We heated up the garage, social distanced a good 6 feet, wore masks, and visited for a  long time!  We had not seen him since last April so it was just wonderful!  We are hopeful we'll be seeing our other kids in the near future too.

We sure miss our family. Just about the time I decide to put aside our vow to keep isolated as much as possible, something brings me back.  In the past 7-10 days family members had a friend die from Covid-19, another friend's wife die of Covid-19 and then a daughter-in-law's stepdad die of this nasty virus.  It is real.

Monday I headed to the dermatology clinic for a 6 mo. check up.  I thought about canceling until after my second vaccination, but this clinic is the most careful medical facility I go to. Temperature checks, questions to answer, only a few places open to sit (with each chair cleaned after someone sits in it).  The woman who saw me wears a mask and shield.  Yeah, they work hard to make it a safe environment.  Another clinic I go to requires masks worn but zip on anything else.  I'm waiting for that appointment until after my second dose.  

Last week a friend called to tell us she had been praying for us after receiving Joel's book in the mail, and God told her there is something wrong with one of the pipes in our house.  She talked about something not draining properly and leaking somewhere.  This friend, Helen, called us three years ago and told us that God had told her something was wrong in our house.  She said to me, "He said the word, radon.  Do you know what that is?" She did not so I explained what it was, told Joel and we had public health come out and check our house.  This part of Iowa is high in radon gas....... Sure enough when they checked the levels for three days, they were double what they should be and we were told they would be worse in the winter when things were closed up.  SO, when Helen called this time, we paid attention.  Joel searched and searched, checking things but with no luck.  Okay, then, people can get it wrong when they hear from God~ I certainly have.  Then Joel was moving something in the basement a few days later and there it was.....a leaking pipe....not draining properly.  We called Helen and let her know....and the next day she said, What you are looking for is deeper in...that's the word I get....deeper in.  Joel and I went on a quest looking in a storage area deeper in the laundry room.  Joel found another leaking pipe connected to the furnace and fixed it.  Helen got another thank you call from us!  I love how God uses others to speak to us.  

We have another powerful story related to hearing from God.  When we lived in The Philippines, we had our car shipped over by the military, as everyone does.  When we were leaving to go back to the states, we decided to sell our car so Joel put an add out locally.  We prayed for God to guide the process.  One day he heard from a man who wanted to see and test the car.  Joel drove up to outside the front gate of the base to pick up the Filipino man~~ he had a friend along.  One sat in front with Joel and one in back behind Joel. They wanted Joel to drive the vehicle and were telling him where to go in Angeles City. Turn here, turn there, etc.  Then the buyer wanted to drive it himself.  Even though he felt very uncomfortable about what was happening, he cautiously let him drive , sitting in the front seat with him.  During this time, the guy in the backseat snatched Joel's brand new calculator, but Joel saw him and told him to put it back.  Joel then had the guy park, and got back in the driver's seat.  The man then told Joel, "It is so busy here ~ I know a shortcut."   He directed Joel  to go down a road that led out into a desolate area away from people.  Joel was ready to turn when he heard a loud voice in his mind say, "NO.  Do NOT turn. "  Joel hesitated and he heard the voice speak again.  He immediately stopped the turn and drove into a busy area, parking the car and jumping out....telling the men to get out.   After they left he drove home pretty shaken up.  I found out in the next day or two that there was an airman in the hospital beaten up and with stab wounds after two guys "wanted to see how his car drove" and they had him go out on a long desolate road where they beat him, robbed him, stabbed, him, and stole the car.  Two other airmen had gone through something similar.  We were more than a little grateful for Joel hearing that loud voice......it probably saved his life.  

I was thinking I wished God would have used a loud voice with me this morning as I was making homemade whole wheat bread for the first time in decades.  I read the recipe on my phone three times but did not see to add honey to the yeast.......the yeast was not bubbling and I could not figure out why.  I finished making the bread anyway and left it to rise.....not realizing my mistake until I sat down and read the recipe for a 4th time.  Judas!  How could I miss that?!  I used to make ALL our bread when we lived in MN.  God's grace let the dough rise enough we could get it into a loaf pan and it raised a second time.....yippee....now we will see how it tastes!  I guess I needed God's voice to say, YOU forgot the honey in the yeast!

Speaking of voices, here is a cute story that had Joel and I cracking up.  A dear family member got in her car to drive her hubby to get a hair cut.  All of a sudden she feels her phone vibrating under her posterior......then a small police siren sound while the lights on her dashboard started blinking on and off.  Her phone rang and she answered it and a woman said, "You pushed the emergency call button and then hung up....are you okay?"  While she is talking to the woman her husband gets a text saying she is in an emergency situation.  When she hangs up she lets her son know it was an accident because he would have gotten the text too......In the big big city they are spending their winter in, I guess it is good to know the emergency button works, right?  But so funny to hear this story!!

So, today I am grateful for a great visit with our oldest son, a heated garage, a good report at the doctor's very clean and very careful office, homemade bread that is rising through my error, stories that make us laugh, God speaking to us through others, finishing the healing ministry online school, warmer weather, and so much more...........

Enjoy your weekend!



Saturday, February 20, 2021

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our corner of the world where we are "having a heat wave....a tropical heat wave".  It has been bitterly cold here this week, but I am NOT complaining.  After watching what has unfolded in Texas and other southern states, we have nothing to complain about.  I sit in my cozy house and enjoy my fireplace, access to water, and a full tummy.  I travel in a vehicle with heated seats.  Yep.  I cannot complain.  Today the temperatures are rising and by early next week we will be close to 40 degrees....a heat wave!

Speaking of weather, Texas has been slammed, hasn't it.  Yikes.  Our niece lives in one of the hardest hit areas.  She finally has power but still no water.  With a broken shoulder to deal with, and no water, she has moved herself to a hotel where she can rest well and have what she needs.  I also saw on Facebook the husband of someone we know who had gone to Texas for some sunshine and ended up in the midst of the storm.  He has been helping rescue sea turtles that are washing up on the gulf shore....stunned sea turtles who can't function in the cold.  There is a place trying to save them.  And the people who are suffering?  Oh, my.  We may have dealt with -40 wind chills here this week, BUT it is Iowa.  Our homes are build to handle it.  Our pipes are buried deep enough they seldom freeze.  Our power grid works well.  Grateful.

Speaking of grateful, I have not done an update on my cancer journey for a very long time, mostly because it is not necessary and mostly because I don't like to look back. But here goes.  Things are going well.  I have exams every three months and watching for signs of its return are part of the routine now.  I did have the two fractured ribs from radiation but they are nearly healed.  My toe nails are almost back to normal from the chemo which ended 15 months ago. My hair has come in everywhere but is sparse up front.  But I have hair!  Neuropathy comes and goes and energy could be better.  I take arimidex, which has its own cross to bear with side effects, but it is necessary so I do it.  Fear raises it's ugly head at times if I look over my shoulder too much, but mostly I give thanks for the day.  Right now.  I stand on God's promises and believe for healing to continue.

Speaking of God, a friend since 5th grade has inspired me to read my Bible cover to cover.  Inspiration is good, right?  We are still part of a class online on healing ministries.  Also watched a Bible study on Hebrews this week...and podcasts for Lent along with services on Wed night.  I've added another puzzle to the dining room table, am writing for my maybe book, and am walking 20 minutes a day.  Joel is writing almost daily, did get taxes ready this week, and is working on a very short wood project today for a neighbor.  He loves anything to do with wood.  I saw a T-shirt that I plan to get him......it says, "I build things from wood, what is your superpower?"  hahaha

It has been interesting to see the journey people are taking to get their vaccinations.  Out of necessity people have searched out vaccine hunters to help.  My sister was able to get appointments just that way and so were some of her friends.  It was much faster than being put on a lottery for vaccinations!  Joel and I were scheduled to have our second shot 42 days from the first one which bothered me.  I went to the CDC site and read that they prefer it be close to 28 days, but out to 42 is ok.  I just did not feel good about it so called our local public health twice....speaking the last time to someone who could check the availability of secure vaccines.  We were able to move our appointments up.  

We have been watching The Crown on Netflix.  The episode we watched last night had a very vulgar beginning which really upset us.  I just don't understand the need to add in crap to the screen.  Disappointing for sure.  Right now they are in the middle of Princess Diana and Prince Charles story and it is interesting to say the least..........sad too.  I can remember when they were married of course.  The world was infatuated with Diana and her wedding.  And now her son has walked away from his royal legacy, partly because he wanted to, partly because the Queen has given him consequences for his choices.  Interesting.

Interesting.  That is a word I have been using or hearing a lot lately.  I find it can be a word that has a hidden meaning.  Say, someone shares a story and the receiver of that story is skeptical....their response can be.......well that is "interesting".....in other words, I don't agree, or I just don't buy it, or I am skeptical on whether this really happened or not......It also can mean that something IS fascinating, interesting information you want to delve into.  Yeah.........so many hidden meanings in our words.  Maybe it is how we say them, Our tone, our body language.........?  Hmmmmm food for thought.  Food you may find "interesting" ?!

Speaking of food it was a week of homemade chicken soup for cold weather days and also pancakes for "Fat Tuesday".  Any excuse for pancakes I say.  Fat Tuesday being the day before Ash Wednesday of course.  We watched a service online to begin the Lenten Season.  Communion followed and it is nice to have a pastor in the family who has access to the wafers, wine, and juice.  You can use anything though.......crackers, bread, juice, even water.  God is with us in the sacrament.  

Joel has been taking the snow blower and clearing the walking path we have where we live.  He has managed a few walks outside~ one day when it was below zero he went 3 miles.  I walked around our cul-de-sac half way.........maybe four minutes and headed back to the house.  Too cold!  That fresh air is so important but not at the expense of my fingertips?!?!?

My Scribbles feel about as blah as this winter season, so I will close by adding my gratitude for warmer weather on the way, homemade soup, pancakes for Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday communion,  vaccine hunters, walks in the fresh air, a warm house, running water, and a fireplace, good health reports, God's promises, the healing school teachings, podcasts, phone visits with friends and family, laughter, tears, and lets not forget those things in life that have us saying...."interesting"!!!

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The "R" Words Of Lent

As we begin the Lenten season, I am drawn to the words that have swirled around in my head the past couple of months.  They may look like just a lot of words, but words shape us, and hold power, vision, hope, and so much more.  

 Repentance.....renewal..........restoration........regeneration.........revitalize.......rebirth...reflection.   

Ash Wednesday is observed today in some denominations.  It holds importance for us as Lutherans as it signifies the beginning of Lent.  Joel and I have graced the doors of many different denominational churches and we say often to ourselves, "Lutherans know how to do Lent".  

It always begins for me with repentance, then moves into renewal.  Certainly, reflection that brings about renewal.  It is a time to let go of who we are, to become someone new.  We, ourselves, do not fast from something like some do, but we usually add something to bring our focus more on what Jesus did for us.  This year we are adding Lutheran Church of Hope's daily Lenten podcast with Pastor Mike Householder.  

The "r" words that have been swirling around in my head showed themselves long before this day.  God just kept bringing them up over and over.......I am paying attention as we walk into this season of our faith journey.  As we hear the words, "ashes to ashes" and feel the gritty substance on our foreheads,  as we heed the desire for repentance and renewal in our hearts we are grateful.  Grateful for the sacrifice.  Aware of the need to be on bended knee.  This is how Ash Wednesday begins.  Whether it is with "r" words, or sacrifice, subtracting or adding....we are asking Holy to walk through this Lenten season with us all,  lighting and enlightening our journey as only He can.  


Monday, February 15, 2021

Saturday's Scribbles on Monday

Good Saturday or is it Monday to you from what undoubtedly is one of our coldest days of 2021 here in Iowa....Yesterday we woke up to -35 degree wind chills, today we woke to the regular temperature at a balmy -19 with wind chills around -38.  This is unusual in February, but it has been an unusual winter.   It is during these days that  I deeply long for warmer climates where my bones don't complain, and my hands and feet are not always cold!  Right?   Not only am I thankful for my fluffy wool comforter at night but my wool blend socks during the day.  We are also using our fireplace a lot more right now and so grateful for it!

This cold weather had me going back to the weekend our middle daughter was married.  Bitterly cold weather settled in with temperatures dipping to -37 where we lived then in Minnesota.  No clue what the wind chills were!  The "guys" got up at night to go out and start cars so that nothing would freeze up.  We had the wedding and reception at a church and the dance at the college.  It was sooooooo cold, not many came to the dance, but we still had a great time with family and friends.  Such a beautiful wedding that Epiphany evening.  

New adventures were part of last week.  This past Monday Joel and I got on our laptops, sitting side by side, in an attempt to get appointments for the Covid vaccine.  There were 1400 doses available for seniors in our county.  A lot of seniors here.  We did not expect to get two of the slots available, but alas as we persisted, refreshed, and persisted over and over, we both got appointments!  So last Friday we headed in to a local massive building that used to house Sears, where we joined dozens of others to get vaccinated.  It was well organized with several different stations to process through and appointments every ten minutes.   I was a bit apprehensive about it ~ I have not had a vaccination in at least 25 years, and the Lyme specialist told me at one time that I would not be a good candidate for vaccinations.  Avoid until I couldn't.  She also told me I would never tolerate chemo, BUT I did, so I decided if I could go through chemo with no severe reactions I could do this. Her words came during Lyme and since I no longer have Lyme, it did not apply so much anymore.   I also felt like this vaccination was well worth the risks.   Avoid until I couldn't.  

Joel and I were able to process through together so that was nice.  I signed up online to be part of the CDC study for side effects too.  I receive a text every afternoon that tells me to click on the provided link where I go and answer a few questions.  If your symptoms are severe you will receive a phone call.  I was really tired Friday evening and Saturday (thus no Saturday's Scribbles).  Joel was fine Friday but Saturday he was feeling "draggy" and took a morning and afternoon nap adding more chair time to his routine.  Another nap took place Sunday morning and again Sunday afternoon. He is pretty good now. I dealt first with a headache and full head, then feeling tired, and a bit of brain fog.  I am still dealing with a bit of feeling tired and foggy off and on but it is mild.  Our arms were somewhat achy, just like with tetanus shots.  Like I said, most of my symptoms have left.  We go back the end of March for our second dose. 

Yesterday was Valentine's Day as you know.  We have spent 54 of them together, two before we were married and 52 since.  We are not people who normally exchange gifts on that day, but cards are in order. Our celebration dinner was left over wraps for lunch and a "find your own Sunday night" supper as usual. Yep. I'm thinking we were both still a bit draggy as Joel defines it!

I saw a video from YouTube on Facebook this morning that had me laughing.....and Joel assures me is not sacriligious. And he is an authority.....right??!?  Ha    It definitely is an attempt to find humor in this bitter cold weather!  It is called a Minnesota Doxology but can apply over a lot of the Midwest today!

Minnesota Doxology

So today I am grateful our first vaccines are behind us and we are doing okay, the warm cozy house we live in, our fireplace, wool socks, wool comforter, wool blankets, (get the picture?).....Grateful for a laugh or two as we wait out the artic vortex, grateful for 54 years of Valentines together, for all those we love and care about.  So grateful for a sweet friend who has been checking on us daily since the shots.....grateful for old friendships refreshed and renewed, for our beautiful family, and grateful for so much more..................