Saturday, April 3, 2021

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from Iowa where we are enjoying warmer weather and abundant sunshine on this "in-between" day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  Sunday is a coming!  You can feel it in nature too.  Sunday is a coming........Spring has opened it's arms.............The birds are busy singing their own Hosanna's.  Everything is coming back to life......

Last night we worshiped from home with a local Lutheran Church and then livestreamed a service with Lutheran Church of Hope that was so moving and powerful.  We decided to finish the night by watching two more episodes of The Chosen.  Such a good way to walk through Good Friday.  Tomorrow we will tune in to two services again as we celebrate Easter and the Resurrection of Jesus.  It is a real blessing to be able to just go on Facebook, click on a church service, and watch and worship from home. It would be great to connect with others in person, but we are grateful that we can worship from our living room.  

Speaking of home, Joel has been busy this week insulating the garage cupboards with the hope that it will warm up the kitchen cupboards located on the wall next to the garage.  They are so so cold in the winter.  He loves to have a project going.  It will be a good day to ride again too.  My week was a bit boring ~ an eye shot and a long talk with the nurse about the "wrong word retrievals" and anxiety.  More tests to come of course as they are always looking for the worst.  We took a Sunday walk out to a Nature's Preserve close to town.  It was relaxing.  We have headed out for a couple other walks in the area aso.  I've spent some time visiting with family and friends, and praying.  You don't reach our age without the power of prayer!

We walk down to the river which is a couple minutes from our home.  Just take the association path down to the river road as we call it and you can walk in nature's best.  Unfortunately, this past Thursday our road was lined with at least 8 Iowa Patrol cars, 8 other vehicles, and yellow tape keeping us away as that is where they found human bone remains mid March.  They were back now to do a complete search of the area to look for more bones, etc.  It is sobering.............and the second body in 6 months along that area.  We cannot help but be reminded of Jodi Huisentruit vanishing from here 26 years ago.  She lived in an apartment on the river.  She was a news anchor for our local station ( we had watched her on a Minnesota channel near where we lived way back when) and on her way to work in the early hours she just disappeared never to be found.  We can't help but wonder if it is her every time remains show up.  And in our part of Iowa I think that is way too many times!  Hopefully a family will gain closure once these remains are identified.   

So, here we are in-between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  I have read a couple of great posts about how we often find ourselves in-between these two days on our own walk. This place of waiting.  The place between.  Having gone through a "dark" time, but not yet getting to our "Sunday" morning.  We just need to remember that Sunday is coming.  Don't give up.  Stay faithful, resting in God's arms and know that your Sunday is coming.  

Today I am grateful that Sunday is coming!  For the gift of salvation, the gift of healing, the hope for better days ahead.  I am grateful for phone calls, prayers, insulated garage cupboards, sunny and warm weather, an amazing Good Friday filled with impactful services and movies, a long talk with old friends, Spring opening it's arms, being able to walk and ride, being able to celebrate Easter, and so much more.

Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday morning to you from our corner of Iowa where a quiet steady rain is nourishing the earth, giving the birds a bath, and bringing us to the porch for a little enjoyment.  Soon we will go for a walk in the rain, one of my favorite things to do.  We have been watching the birds right out our window as the neighbor put up a new feeder and I just need to glance to the left from our sofa to enjoy the birds as they feed.  Delightful.

This past week we have walked more outside, making our trek to the doing so we cannot help but think about the remains of two bodies found months apart along the banks of this river right where we walk.  We never know where life will take us.......or death at times.  This has me scribbling back to this past week's massacres and from my mouth comes the words, "Lord have mercy...........Christ have mercy."

Speaking of words coming from my mouth, I have always tried to be transparent here when it comes to myself.......what I am dealing with, what comes our least within reason with the hope that someone else will be strengthened by my journey.  Let me start by saying that all my reports have been good news so far this year.  The Mayo radiology oncologist....good news.  The oncologist here in town....good news.  The dermatologist for melanoma check....good news. The other dermatologist for lichen sclerosis......good news.  The last eye appointment.....good news.  And this past week the urologist......good news.  (For a person who used to hate going to the doctor I sure see my fill of them).  Well a couple of things have come up lately that have been giving me a challenge.  Anxiety has been high this past year for several reasons, mostly dealing with the old spirit of fear and lack of trust........but the past six weeks I have noticed that I sometimes retrieve the wrong word when speaking.  I might want to say something about an x-ray and the word haircut comes up in my mind......yeah.....I know it is the wrong word and stop myself.  Also the wrong names of people. It is like the mind is throwing out the wrong word to me or I am losing my train of thought.   I have never had issues like this.  Joel?  on a daily basis as long as I have known him!  Me?  never.  It has given me high anxiety which is turn has made things worse.  Of course.  I did some research after this went away for a couple of weeks and then came back and I discovered a couple of studies that said the hormone inhibitor I am on, Arimidex, can cause memory issues like this which usually resolves when you go off the drug.  It is connected to lack of estrogen for 30-35% of women who take it.  This helped Joel with his understanding of what is going on but of course I just want it to go away.  It is nothing serious yet and from the message boards I went to on the site, some had real big issues while on the drug.  These seem pretty minor in comparison but I still can use prayers as I stand firm for this drug to NOT be a "weapon formed against me" but a weapon formed against the cancer returning!  Since the cancers I had were estrogen fueled, I am to stay on it for five years ~ one down and have four to go so will discuss it with my oncologist in April while still believing it will leave.  

As I always do I asked God for a word about this and He was gracious enough to send me some.  First a scripture and then a phrase I have said often over the years to others.

The scripture is from 2 Timothy 1:7,  "I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind."  

The phrase that came to me is "This too shall pass".  Thursday was an especially difficult day and that night my sister Jan sent me a text where she said, "This too shall pass".  Friday morning Joel came to give me a big hug and said to me, without knowing about Jan, "This too shall pass".......He told me to go down stairs and read the notecard that our son Matt had given us last April when the pandemic was in full swing....On it Matt had written a scripture for us and the words,  "This too shall pass".  I had taped it to the cupboard door and read it once in awhile.  So there it was.............three times.............a word from God.  "This too shall pass".  I hope and pray today as I write this that someone else takes comfort in this.  I feel like I am to share all this because someone needs to hear it, embrace it, believe it.  This too shall pass.  

Along with these words above, God gave me a vision while meditating a few days ago.  In my mind I was taking off these old sandals that were worn, no soles left, and difficult to walk in.  Jesus came up and bent down and when He stood up I had on new shoes woven of gold.  I asked Him what these were and He said, "Shoes of Peace".  He then took my hand and said, "Now walk with me through life".  It was short but powerful.  Shoes of today's world we all need them don't we.  Shoes of Peace and who is the One who IS Peace?  Our Jesus.  We can walk through life wearing the old worn shoes of worry and fear, or wearing the Peace that passes all understanding with the God of Peace.  Shalom, friends.  Shalom.......

Today Joel and I have been cleaning the main level of the house...dusting, vacuuming, dust mopping..  I don't think I am alone in enjoying a clean house!  I just love to get things all "spiffy" and am so grateful for the energy to do these things.  We also have a roomba we call "Nora" after the maid we had while living in the Philippines.  She is working right now upstairs as I type.  I find at times I talk to her.....okay maybe I should not be sharing that with the world!  She just seems to have her own mind at times like...ummmm Alexa??!  Haha   

We have now been fully vaccinated two weeks and yesterday we headed out to Target and to HyVee grocery store.  I had not been to HyVee in about a year we think.  Target 3-4 times in 14 months?  We still wear masks but it is nice to know we can go places with a sense of protection from a deadly virus.   

Well, my scribbling seems appropriate more than ever today with my brain "toots" !  So with gratitude I give thanks that I can write and share my story, for doctors, pills that work to suppress the estrogen that feeds cancer, for rain, for walking outside and getting fresh air, for texts, words and scriptures given by God through others, Nora the cleaning robot, the neighbor's bird feeders, hugs from my hubby, being able to go to the grocery store again, shoes of peace, and so much more!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

".....And He Believed In Jesus Christ"

This has been a tragic week for America.  Two mass killings ending the lives of 18 people. It is a never ending scenario that plays over and over again in our country.  Discouraging, disheartening, and so disturbing.  The last shooting happened when one lone man purchased a weapon created for war, and walked into a grocery store with the intention of taking the lives of complete strangers. 

Soon after the mass shooting in Boulder Colorado, the newscasters honed in on the officer that was shot and killed when he responded to a 9-1-1 call. In the early hours no one had any information about the victims or suspect but they had the name of the officer.  It was not long before someone talked to Officer Eric Talley's father who told them a bit about who his son was.  A second career officer, age 51, with seven children, etc......As I read the NPR article on Facebook about Officer Talley, I saw five words that stood out for me as if they were in bold print.  At the very end of the father's description of his son he said..........."And he believed in Jesus Christ".  

Later I watched a few stories on the TV about Boulder and the officer, but never heard those five words that the father had shared. I saw it in print, but I did not hear it come from the mouth of a newscaster.  These words shifted the atmosphere when released.   Officer Talley believed in Jesus Christ. He believed and he lived out His faith.  I hope his family finds comfort in knowing that Jesus welcomed him home.  I don't know anything about the victims lives, but I cannot help but believe that they were welcomed "home" too.  That is my prayer. 

The hatred, violence, and evil that has a grip on our country must end.  We need to know we are safe when we step into a grocery store, go to church, just walk down the street or answer the door.  Jesus must weep over the state of our nation and the suffering and senseless deaths of His people.  He asks us to reach out with love to others.  It is His command and our hope..........Love one another so another father does not have to speak with sadness about his murdered son..............

But Boulder's massacre is right before us and I cannot help but ponder what Officer Talley's father said about his doing so I hope for myself, for all of us, that when the day comes that we have breathed our last on earth, someone says,  "And she/he believed in Jesus Christ".  How many people have been welcomed home by Jesus this week?  

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our corner of Iowa where this past week's snow storm dumped six inches or so of the white stuff in our area.  But Spring returned and today, on this first day of a new season, the snow is already gone most everywhere.  

And speaking of gone most everywhere........the nasty side effects I experienced from my second vaccination for Covid are mostly gone.  On March 12 we went in for our shots and at 1:30 am Sat. I woke with chills, fever, aches and pains, headache, etc.  I don't remember the last time I felt so sick....maybe chemo?  The laundry list of symptoms had me in bed sleeping all day Saturday adding in 10 more hours of sleep Sat. night just for good measure?  Joel slept several hours on Saturday too and 10 hrs Sat. night.  He was still feeling "punk" Sunday but by late afternoon was doing much better.  For me, it was three days before I dressed and Tuesday the symptoms all left except for fatigue.  It just keeps hanging on...... slowly it is letting go one prayer at a time.   I don't like that I take so long to recover but this body is pretty beat up.  "It is what it is!"  I am just grateful I am vaccinated and can soon hug my family.  Hallelujah!  

Speaking of family, today is our daughter-in-law's birthday........Happy Birthday to M.  Hope your day and your year are filled with blessings! 

Speaking of birthdays, I also am celebrating~ my 73rd today.  Sometimes I ask how did I get here? The answer is by the grace of God, a lot of prayer, and some determination. Recently someone described me as a survivor but that is not a term I apply to myself.  I am more like a warrior....fighting my battles of which there have been a few.  Sometimes that warrior part of me gets in the way of letting God fight for me, but I am working on that!  So, today, I am just grateful to still be here to laugh, cry, ponder, grow, and live life with my Joel.  It doesn't mean I don't want "more".  I definitely do!  I still pray for and expect healing, I still dream about traveling and having more energy than I know what to do with.  Fear still wants to take up residence...........BUT I just try to stay grounded in gratitude.  

Speaking of Joel, he surprised me with this metal framed wall hanging of a country church for my birthday.  I love country churches and rustic artwork is my favorite right now.  This past Thursday I told Joel I thought i felt good enough to get out and go somewhere so we went to Hobby Lobby to look for puzzles for my birthday.  We saw this wall hanging and really liked it but it was not on sale and I don't buy when things are not on sale plus I told Joel even though I loved it we probably didn't need another thing for our walls.....This morning when I was putzing around I went into the dining room and stopped short as this wall hanging was sitting on a table leaning against the wall!  I had not noticed it! What a nice surprise!

Speaking of being grounded in gratitude, today I am thankful to be 73!  I am grateful for Joel, our family, our friends, our daughter-in-law celebrating another birthday, sunshine, texting, birthday greetings, being vaccinated, birthday surprises, melting snow, Amazon gift cards, the power of prayer, and so much more. 

Enjoy your weekend!

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 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 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?!