Medical Update

We had a fun Thanksgiving Day at the ocean!
I need to remember these moments and give thanks.
Medical update following today's hematologist appointment.
Here’s my latest report at this 11 week mark.

The good news is the hematology testing from the 18 tubes of blood came back fine, with the exception of the one clotting problem they found in Nashville.
I’m this doctor’s first patient with a plasminogen indicator PA1 problem. She called her colleagues in Pittsburg to confer on how to handle this situation.
They all feel it’s a 50/50 chance this had anything to do with the stroke and the only way would be if it was combined with a cardiac problem.
While the Plavix could be the culprit of the current headaches I’m battling they feel keeping me on it is the best stroke prevention for now. The other drug option has a 40% recorded reporting of causing headaches. Please pray for these to go away.

The headaches, dizziness and another stroke are the biggest concern right now. The doctor says I need to be aware there could be a slow bleed in the brain from the Plavix and I might want to consider another CTScan.  I think I will start charting the headaches and keep the option open of seeing the neurologist in Nashville over Christmas and get the CTscan there is necessary.  Our daughter in law nurse just emailed to not wait too long on the scan, so I’m praying for wisdom.  I've cancelled everything on my calendar for the next three days to see if total rest makes a difference.

The PA1 disorder does up my chances of throwing a veinous clot to my lungs. So she said, keep exercising and eating wisely.

Two more weeks of the heart monitor. Then it is mailed back and a report sent to the doctor. It will be after Christmas before I can get back to the cardiologist.  Unfortunately, I had to disconnect from it last night because the sticky pads have caused a rash on my chest and stomach.  UGH.

I’m growing a little weary, but need to focus on being Thankful. I bought a pair of I’m Joyful socks to go along with the “I am smart” socks someone gave me and I'll be wearing them the next three days!
Thanks for all your prayers, love and concern.
Love, Boo


Read to Me

November 30
This afternoon I'm to meet with the hematologist to discuss the 18 tubes of blood!  Also, I may throw out that I've been battling headaches for 3 days and suspect the Plavix is playing a role.  Thanks to my children for praying for these headaches to cease and for a sweet neighbor I saw while out walking yesterday, who laid his hand upon my head and prayed mightily in the name of Jesu for the headaches to be gone!  I've been enduring these instead of believing God can rid me of them.

Our oldest grandson turned seven on Saturday.  The picture above is of him reading to his younger sister and two of his cousins.  Special moments!  I want to share with you from something I've read.

Three people gave me Jill Bolte Taylor's bestseller, My Stroke of Insight. You may have seen her on television. At 37 years old, this Harvard trained brain scientist had a massive stroke to the left hemisphere of her brain. The book truly is insightful and has been a real comfort to me. The medical personnel who have attended to my care must have read this book at some point, for they were spot on with Taylor's suggestions for care!  In the back of the book is an Appendix titled "Forty Things I Need Most."  Definitely worth the read if you ever have to interact with a  stroke survivor.  I want to share some statements, from Chapter 13  "What I Needed the Most,"which really resonate with me.
1) I desperately needed people to treat me as though I would recover completely.
2) I needed the people around me to believe in the plasticity of my brain and its ability to grow, learn, and recover.
3) My brain needed to be protected, and isolated from obnoxious sensory stimulation, which is perceived as noise.
4) Honor the healing power of sleep.
5) I needed people to love me-not for the person I had been, but for who I might now become.
5) I needed those around me to be encouraging. I needed to know that I still had value.  I needed to have dreams to work toward.
6) It was essential that we challenge my brain systems immediately.
7) Offer me only multiple choice questions and never ask me Yes/No questions.
8) I had to define my priorities for what I wanted to get back the most and not waste energy on other things.
9) It was important we focus on my ability, not my disability.
10).  I needed people to celebrate the triumphs I made every day because my successes, no matter how small, inspired me.
11) I needed to welcome support, love and help from others.
12) I needed my caregivers to teach me with patience.
12) I needed people to come close and not be afraid of me.
13) I needed my visitors to bring me their positive energy.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12

Today, I stop to pray for caregivers.  It's not an easy task.

The Arrival of Advent

Reading The Night Before Thanksgiving with our grands.
November 29
The remains of turkey have been made into sandwiches, salads and soup. College football rivalries were played out across America yesterday leaving some elated and others saying, "Wait until next year."  Bags are being packed as relatives make their way back to their homes.  The transition of life continues and today is the first day of Advent 2015!

For this stroke surviver, four days of travel and family joy was probably too much stimulation. I had to head home a day early due to a headache and just plain feeling funky, but I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

Every Christmas season I profess to myself and Jesus that it will be more about him and less about the glitz!  Yesterday, we put on our Brandon Heath Christmas CD and pulled out a FEW decorations.  As the first notes tinkled out of the stereo system and my man walked by and kissed me, the tears dripped down my cheeks.  He said, "Oh, no!  Stroke emotions."  Honestly, I don't know for sure what the tears symbolized.  Love for such a kind man who has cared for me these past months with gentleness and compassion?  Thankfulness that I'm able to do as much I can? Maybe a little bit of wishing I was full speed again?  Or the Spirit moving me to reflect on the magnitude of God's love for me?

For Advent I'm digging deep into the She Reads Truth study called "Born is the King."

...at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:10-11

My Savior, Redeemer, Sustainer and Friend...all titles of which I often refer to Jesus, but King?
Having lived under a democracy all my life, I have little monarchy experience, so maybe that's why my mind doesn't gravitate in such a direction.  Jesus is our King and will rule throughout eternity.

A goal has been set in this study to challenge the readers to memorize Isaiah 9:6-7 during this season of Advent.

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it 
with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. 

The dictionary defines Advent as: "The arrival of a notable person, thing or event."
I pray each day we acknowledge the arrival of Christ in our lives and we allow him to rule our day.
I've also set a goal to see others I pass by as notable. for they are to God.  Randomly, I'm going to slip a note inscribed with Philippians 2:10-11 and one of our daughter's Christmas harp CDs to a stranger in my path each day!




Never Misunderstood


November 28
Spending this week with family was wonderful.  Possibly a bit much for my brain to take in at this point, but it was worth the overload.  A huge thanks to our son and daughter-in-love for hosting us with such graciousness in their beautiful new home.
Not feeling well at all yesterday morning, one family member inquired, "What's wrong?"  I realized these ailments (brain exhaustion) are so different that it's actually hard to describe.  Then I opened Psalm 139 and realized there is someone who knows all there is to know about me!  There is no need to describe any symptoms...physical or emotional.

Hopefully, you are still in thankful mode.  Join me in thanking the Lord for these characteristics of his:

Thank you for
...searching me and knowing me
...understanding my thoughts from far away
...observing my travels an my rest
...being aware of all my ways
...placing your hand on me
...having extraordinary knowledge
...knitting me together in my mother's womb
...writing all my days in Your book

We often misunderstood, but that's never the case with God!

Deer, Deer ...Envy NOT

Well, the stroke update is simply this. I went wireless for about 36 hours.  I called the cardiac monitoring system and told them I was unplugging my monitoring system for Thanksgiving.  I got a wonderful night's sleep Wednesday night without sleeping with the battery pack and all the wires!  I'm plugged back in for another 2 weeks!

We were blessed to house 4 young fathers and their 13 year old sons last Saturday night.
These deer boys and their dads gobbled up the pancakes I made Sunday morning!
November 27
Oh, how we loved the days when our home was filled with teens and twenty somethings.  But we are not envious of the job today's parents have of training up this younger generation.

Our pastor gave an excellent sermon on envy and the following day the same topic headlined one of the devotionals I read, so my ears perked up and I asked the Lord to reveal areas where I was allowing envy to get a foothold.  Pastor Stan stated, "Envy is a fatal distraction."

"Comparison is the thief of joy."
Theodore Roosevelt

Who's life or luxury have you wished for recently?

Paul David Tripp wrote: "Sadly, envy causes you to question the goodness, faithfulness, and wisdom of God.  Envy accuses God of not knowing what he's doing or of not being faithful to what he's promised to do...Today you'll envy the blessings of another or you'll bask in the wonder of the amazing grace you have been given."

The Pharisees are not Jesus fans. Actually, they are rather envious of the following surrounding him. Trying to trip Jesus us with some tricky questions, births only wisdom from Christ's mouth.
Jesus explains: For it is from within, out of a person's heart, that evil thoughts come-sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from inside and defile a person.  Mark 7:21-23

Sandwiched in with all those sinful behaviors sits envy defined as an evil.

Are you off with family this holiday and looking around wishing life looked differently for you?
Maybe you are totally alone and having twinges of jealousy towards those whom appear to have a Norman Rockwell picture perfect life.

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Proverbs 14:30

Instead of looking around, we benefit more from looking up to the Lord and then looking into our hearts and glance at the depth of love God has for us.  It is there we will find our peace, joy and contentment.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  Colossians 3:16


Give Thanks

Pictures to come
Give thanks to the Lord. For He is good;
His faithful love endures forever.
Psalm 118:1

November 26
On this Thanksgiving Day, which should really be everyday, I kiss the head of each precious family member who is with us and long to be in the presence of so many others.  I know this picture could look much, more different from what it does and while I'm thankful for this day, I know life changes.  God is constant though. His love is the same present, past and future.
We are his children and the sheep of his pasture.  

Check This Out-Psalm 40

November 25
Oh, how I hope you are able to more than gobble down turkey this week.  Take time to be thankful.
One of the SRT studies last week had me in Psalm 40 and was titled You Put a New Song in My Mouth.
Here are some Psalm highlights which are of so fitting for my stroke journey.

I waited patiently for the Lord.  v1
He brought me up from a desolate pit.  v 2
He put a new song in my mouth.   v3
How happy is the man who has put his trust in the Lord.  v4
Lord my God, You have done many things.    v5
Your constant love and truth will always guard me.  v.11
Lord, be pleases to deliver me; hurry to help me, Lord.  v.13
I am afflicted and needy; the Lord thinks of me. You are my helper and my deliverer; 
my God, do not delay. v17

My Response:
Lord, I wish I had this Psalm memorized and was able to recite it when in the presence of trouble. Thank You for guarding my mind from impatience and depression during this stroke recovery period. I pray for those whose battle is much bigger than mine and for those without You.  may others see me and say, "Happy is that woman, because her trust is in Jesus."  I do delight to do your will, so give me ears to hear and a heart to obey.

Dig Deeper.  This section asks that we dig deeper and reflect on life's dark valleys. Whew! The questions ask for vulnerability.

1) "When have you been in a desolate pit?"
         Lying on the floor at Betty Ashton's due to the stroke.
2) "How did the Lord set your feet on a rock?"
         Having those EMTs there in 3 minutes, lifting me up and taking me to receive excellent
         medical care in Nashville and by listening to the prayers of 100s of people for me.
3) "Are you in a desolate pit right now?"
        No, I'm in a mode of patiently waiting with the Lord. He's so close!
        I'm trusting the Lord to heal my brain.
4) "What has the Lord promised to do?"
       He will put a new song in my mouth.
       He will reveal fabulous plans for my life.
       He will deliver me from the troubles that will come into my life time and time again.
       

I am Smart



November 24 Add on
Who gave me these?  I just opened my drawer and found them!  What an encouragement.  I'm laughing so hard though because I am not "smart." The first picture I took had the word upside down!
Oh how I want a pair that says, "Jesus loves me!"  They are super comfy too. Now fess up clever gift giver!

Psalm 34


November 24
Psalm 34 sets us on the right path for praising the Lord.
I will praise the Lord at all times.    v.1
I will boast in the Lord.                    v.2
Let us exalt His name together.        v.3
Taste and see that the Lord is good. v.8
Come, children, listen to me.            v.11

Doing an exercise in SRT on Psalm 34, it calls upon us to...
                                "Make a list of how God cares for his children."
Verse 4           He answers me.  He delivers me.
Verse 5           He makes me radiant with joy.
Verse 6           He hears me and saves me.
Verse 7           He rescues me.
Verse 9 +10    He sees that I lack no good thing.
Verse 15         His ears are open to me.
Verse 18         He is near when I am broken hearted.
                       He saves me when my spirit is crushed.
Verse 20         He protects me.
Verse 22         He redeems me.

In part of the exercise we are to write a Response to God.  I wrote:
Father, to receive all these fabulous, relational provisions fro you requires action on our part.  We must taste and see that you are good, we must come and listen to you, and we must turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it.
In a world laden with illness and evil there are those too angry to turn to You.  How I pray that they change their hearts, fall on their faces and acknowledge the love of Christ that is waiting for them.

I thank You for delivering me from the depths of this stroke and for making me radiant (well, close) with joy in the simplicity of life right now.  Continue to heel my brain, renew my stamina  moment by moment ad equip me to serve you in the capacity which you have on the agenda for today.


Pretending to Be Normal

November 23
How perfect is this notepad gift from a girlfriend!
That's where I am, trying to figure out how to live day to day without getting exhausted.
The Lord's Day was amazing yesterday. This Meredith Andrews song was a perfect way for me to worship the Lord remembering, "Not For A Moment will He forsake me."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoh26pC2RT8

Coming home I stuck a turkey sandwich in my mouth and then sawed zzzzzzz's for 2 hours.  I laid low the remainder of the day knowing our church dedication service for our new building was at 6:30.  Words can't describe the worship and praise that took place in that building last night.  One of those unforgettable moments in the Presence of the Lord.
The heart monitor I wear is geared in a way that when I feel a change in my heart I push a button on the battery pack. Then on a separate communicator you select from an activity list what you were doing at that time.  They need to add...PRAISING THE LORD! My heart had to be all over the place.  After almost two hours there I was once again exhausted.

"Shout to the Lord, all the earth; be jubilant, shout for joy, an sing.
Psalm 98:4
Yesterday a doctor friend asked how I was doing. He said, whatever you are going to get back will happen in the first year. Then that's it, so work hard, but rest well too!

One of our house guests shared that his medical partner had a stroke of unknown cause at 62 years old.  Three months later he had another stroke.  That was a subtle reminder to stay cautiously aware of how I'm feeling.

As we enter this week of Thanksgiving consider C.H. Surgeon's quote:

"May gratitude to God permeate my entire life."

Father, I thank you for this new normal, for it has brought me closer to you than I have ever been.

Enter with the password: "Thank you!" Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.  For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever.
Psalm 100:4-5 

Sibling Support





November 22
Our spirits have been lifted the past couple days with my sister visiting from Florida and Deke's brother flying in from NY to surprise us!

We always thank God for all of you 
and continually mention you in our prayers.
1 Thessalonians 1:2 

Quirks and a Mini Meltdown


November 21
3:30AM
I'm messed up! This post stroke journeying process needs to be real for me to fulfill the purpose of looking back and being encouraged, so honestly, I've had a mini-meltdown. The past six days have been quite an adjustment having to wear the heart monitor 24 hours a day.  Just selecting outfits with sufficient pockets for the battery pack and communicator (phone) is a challenge; not to mention trying to sleep with wires all over your chest and a battery box clipped onto your nightgown!

Presently, I'm wide awake because the batteries just died at 3AM and a beeper went off awakening both me and my husband! I was ready to throw this contraption in the lake.

A couple of post stroke quirky comments have been realized by my husband and me. While we've laughed them off,  because they are random and out of the blue, they're not my usual personality and speak volumes to me that there's still a problem. (No, I'm not cussing.) I went from laughing with him over what I'd just said to tears dripping down my cheek and saying, "I just want to be me again."

Ugh, I'm crying again.  Bless his heart, he'd just shared deeply from his heart concerning the state of our nation.  Normally, we would have engaged in a conversational exchange, but my only comment was a quiet, "Wow."  My poor brain was just too tired to talk.  He looked at me and laughed, "Wow?  That moves up to the number two spot as some of your quirkiest post stroke comments."  The night before I'd stood up in the living room to say I was going to bed. He must not have heard me and a few minutes later, from our bed, I hollered in my good ole country twang, "You comin' in here?"  Guess I was just missing him.

Friday morning began with me making my first solo drive, further than the five miles run to the grocery store.  As I sat through Bible Study Fellowship, I was quite uncomfortable from one of the monitor line plugs pressing into my rib cage.  After two and a half hours, I was miserable and quite fatigued. A noon massage was on the schedule, curtesy of a sweet family member.  I looked forward to the hour of relaxation on that table, but when I arrived wearing a heart monitor it was a "NO GO."  The masseuse wouldn't touch me without a written order from my physician.

Dragging myself over to the grocery store, to pick up some much needed items.  I couldn't even get all the groceries unloaded at home and just crawled into bed.  When my husband arrived home from work, I told him I felt terrible.  Heading into the bathroom, I decided to remove the painful lead and sticky pad.  A gasp came out of my mouth as I looked at the bruised and blood blistered area!  No wonder I was in pain.  Calling the monitoring center, we were in agreement that lead needed to be moved.

Texting a friend, I exclaimed, "I want my joy back."  Knowing that could only come from Jesus, I turned back a few pages in a devotional of Paul David Tripp's where I had highlighted these words:

"There is a difference between a person in whom disappointment leads to reformation and someone in whom grief leads to heartfelt confession.  I think that we often confuse the two.  The first person believes in personal strength and the possibility of self-rescue, while the second has given up on his own righteousness and cries out for the help of another.  One gets up in the morning and tells himself that he'll do better today, but the other starts the day with a plea for grace.  One targets a change in behavior, and the other confesses to a wandering heart. One assesses that he has the power for personal change, while the other knows that he needs to be given strength for the battle. One has to hold on to the possibility of personal reformation, but the other has abandoned hope and therefore runs to God for help."

'Nuff said, Today (after I hopefully go back to sleep for a while) I will start my day on my knees and   stay plugged into more than this heart monitor!  I need the Lord.

"Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout around to the Rock of our salvation. 
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song."  
Psalm 95:1-2

The Word is Alive-Psalm 19

November 20
Hiding out in Psalm 19 the other day was a great follow up to the thoughts on perfection.  Afterwards I wrote:
"Oh, Precious Father, thank you for loving me. As I stare at your attributes in this Psalm I pray that I might live a life that is pleasing in your sight, but I'm not perfect like You.  Help me to live in a way that others see these attributes in me.  (Forget the first one...perfect.)
Trustworthy
Right
Radiant
Pure
Firm (Not physically, but as in reliable and enduring.)
Righteous 
Desirable
Precious
Sweeter than Honey
Thank You for the power in your Word. It changes lives. It confronts me with love and motivates me to repent.  Then it refreshes me after the process and fills me with joy.  You are for REAL God and your Word is living and active!

Psalm 19
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.
 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.
  Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
  It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
  like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
  It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other;
  nothing is deprived of its warmth.
 The law of the Lord is perfectrefreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthymaking wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,  giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
  The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold,  than much pure gold; 
they are sweeter than honeythan honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors?  Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,  innocent of great transgression.
 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."

 May each of your souls be refreshed, the wise made simple, your hearts given joy, and your eyes given light this weekend!

We're Not Perfect Yet



November 19
One of my brain exercises is an online site called Lumosity.  In the beginning, I got all stressed out because I wanted to do it perfectly.  Then I remembered what one therapist told me in relationship to all the exercises I was doing.  "Even it you don't do it perfectly, you are still helping the healing process by attempting the exercise.  You are training the brain to reroute from the injured area."

Now I'm able to to see the benefit in the process.  Also, at some point I recognized this site and the therapist intend to push me past the point of perfection for therein is the benefit.

As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord's word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.
Psalm 18:30

Remembering only God is perfect, I headed to Biblegateway for some verses on perfection.  
The number one selected verse stopped me in my tracks.

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  Matthew 5:48

Striving for perfection isn't a bad goal when it's done out of reverence for God and with reliance on the Holy Spirit. Reality is, we won't achieve perfection in this fallen world, but be made perfect upon entering our heavenly home.  Like the therapist with their physical goals for patients, God ups the level of intensity in his children's spiritual development.  Some of us are struggling to pass
"Jesus 101" because we can't accept that faith is just believing. For others at the graduate level of intensity that same basic faith is required to pass the tests which are tossed our way.

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.  2 Corinthians 7:1



Do You Believe?


November 18
A dear friend loaned us the movie, "Do You Believe?" to watch over the weekend.  The 1 Peter passage in The Message translation below could easily have precipitated the creation of this film.  This movie is the story of 12 lives and how God moves in those lives to bring them closes to Christ.

If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.
1 Peter 3:18 MSG

We had a good weekend.  My husband said sleeping with me wired to this heart monitor is like a flashback from "Jaws" where the beacon is flashing on the barrel noting the closing in of the shark.  The battery pack I wear has a green blinking light!  I leaned over to the young woman next to me in church to explain why there was a green flashing light under my white shirt. I didn't want her thinking I was wearing a bomb.

I believe God works all things together for the good of those who love him. I believe there is more to the story than we see in our day to day lives.

Gratitude




November 17
This time of year we really miss our five sons!  Our five acres of land are home to numerous trees.  The wooded area, where our scripture trails are, creates a challenge when it comes to removing the leaves.  My husband has calculate that is takes him 43 man hours to complete our leaf work each fall.  God has been amazing to provide help through our church and the Young Life ministry the past few years. At our ages it is no longer a one man job.  Seeing the magnitude of this project, these young people know that we are sincerely grateful.

I'm having the best time starting my morning with Psalms of Gratitude.  It is the current She Reads Truth study. As I began with Psalm 100, I did a self-check to see how many of these actions I'm carrying out.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.


An attitude of gratitude is such a healthy place to hangout.


Appreciate Difficult Days

Painting these fellows for our grandchildren.

November 16

From Jesus Calling on November 8:
"Learn to appreciate difficult days. Be stimulated by the challenges you encounter along your way.  As you journey through rough terrain with Me, gain confidence from your knowledge that together we can handle anything. This knowledge is comprises of three parts:
your relationship to Me,
promises in the Bible,
and past experiences of coping successfully during hard times."

Just as the Queen of Strokes told me when I was in the hospital,  "It's important to journal and look at how far I've come," Sarah Young is reminding us to reflect on a personal life walked with the Lord  and the examples of those who have gone before us.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Comfort


November 14-15
My husband is an early bird...we're talking... out of bed by 3:30-4:30AM every morning.  In an attempt to not awaken me, he takes pillows and stuffs them alongside me so that I think he is still there beside me.  Such a comfort and it works!

Listening to the news unfold concerning the attacks in Paris last night, comfort for the injured,  scared and grieving was in the forefront of my prayers.  Many of you know our daughter, Jiewon, who has lived in Paris, while working on her doctorate.  We are so thankful to be able to share that she returned to the US in August.  Her heart is heavy for the French people, whom she sincerely loves.  The neighborhood where the attack occurred on the cafe was right where she lived a few years ago.

Listening last night, to her explain her mindset, the reality of how our eternal destination can be established for us in an instance rang out.  She said it was surreal to be praying for the hostages in the theatre in real time.  A spiritual heart beat for Jesus is lacking in that nation. Jiewon digested the hard truth that not all those who died last night are in heaven.  The option for a last minute decision for Christ was not afforded to all.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4 


Words-The Living Word



November 13
A friend was toting me around to doctors' appointments Wednesday and also treated me to a delicious chicken, cranberry, pecan croissant for lunch at Sugar and Slice.  While the sandwich was delicious, it could not compare to the sea salt caramel mini cupcake I took home for an afternoon snack. (After visiting the cardiologist!  Ha!)

While using the restroom two words stared at me from a shelf and influenced my thought life in a positive way at that moment.

GRATITUDE and MIRACLE


Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs fro the Spirit, 
singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  
Colossians 3:16 

You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.
Psalm 77:14 

And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, 
"A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home."
And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
Matthew 13:57-58

One of my nephews called the other day and was sharing about a teaching he heard a couple weeks ago. The group he was with was studying the seven miracles mentioned in John.
If you want to check those out Jack Kelly has a simple article which might help.
https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/spiritual-life/the-seven-miracles-in-john/

The point made to my nephew is that everybody wants to experience a miracle in their life, but for a miracle to occur it  must be prefaced with a problem and very few people want to go through the problem.  Discussing this with my new friend behind the counter at Sugar and Slice, she added...there are miracles all around us, we just don't take the time to notice!

May God place a word on your heart today that changes the way your look at the world and also draws you closer to The Living Word!
Relevant Magazine has a good article on The Living Word.
http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/practical-faith/what-does-living-word-really-mean


Trolling

These shots were taken from our screened porch with me in my nightgown!
I don't think this fisherman knows he's been shot!
"He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also,
along with him, graciously give us all things?"
Romans 8:32
November 12
Looking out our bedroom window early this morning the pink sky was peeking over the mountain range, as I noticed a fisherman s-l-o-w-l-y trolling in our cove. I laughed!  That's it Lord!  I'm at trolling speed right now and that's ok!  I opened Jesus Calling and found these words:

"This is a time of abundance in your life.  Your cup runner over with blessings.  After plodding uphill for many weeks, you are  now traipsing through lush meadows drenched in warm sunshine. I want you to enjoy to the full this time of ease and refreshment.  I delight in providing it for you."

My mind raced ahead...hmm warm sunshine?  Maybe I'm supposed to hop on an Allegiant Airlines flight to Florida and visit our son and daughter in law?  No, its going to be 70 degrees here at Shiloh today with plenty of sunshine!  I do believe this is a time of abundance for me with the Lord and my cup has run way over with blessings these past two months for which I am so grateful.

Yesterday morning, I gave up 18 viles of blood to the hematologist lab. I looked at the sweet tech and said, "I'm I going to be able to walk out of here?"  The big hooray was my blood clotted fine afterwards, unlike in Nashville where I splattered the lab with crimson stripes.  So the mystery of "Why a stroke?" continues.  The cardiologist is just as baffled and wants me back on a monitor to try to find a clue.  Not thrilled, but I understand. I just won't be as cozy to cuddle up to over Thanksgiving with the grands.  I'll pull out my cashmere ruanas and maybe no one will notice.

What's That Smell

November 11
A group of pastors used Shiloh last Wednesday as the location for part of a seminary graduate course    concerning the importance of restoration for pastors.  Friends pitched in to help me with the cleaning, luncheon food, and serving.  Then we got out of the way and allowed these men to enjoy their day and time alone with the Lord.

As they were loading back onto the pontoon boat, on which they had arrived, one young pastor asked to speak to me.  He gave me his card and requested I pray for him. Asking if there was something specific, he teared up and replied, "No, there's just a sweet, sweet smell in this place."  Looking into his eyes, I said, "His name is the Holy Spirit."

Do you have a place where you can go and encounter God and recognize the presence of the Spirit?
Do you have people praying for your spiritual walk and that you will hear from the Lord?
Are you praying these things become real and vivid for others?

Jesus says to his disciples in Mark 6:31
Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:31

Health Update:
I'm still a mystery! The hematologist was wonderful, but does not think the genetic problem I have, which is only found in .05% of people (she's never seen anyone with it), is the cause of the stroke.  It would be more likely to cause a clot in the legs, which would go to the lungs.  So more detailed blood work today related to clotting studies and then I see her again November 30th. I see a cardiologist this afternoon.

More Than Anything

And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible,
like god refined seven times.
Psalm 12:6

November 10
While I intended to take on a full day yesterday with a couple friends, the Lord rearranged schedules and I had a day alone with Him.  Sitting at the piano I flipped through a song book and sang praise to the Lord. After five verses of Amazing Grace, I launched into the song As a Deer Pants for Water.
As a deer pants for water, so my soul longs after you.
You alone are my heart's desire and I long to worship you.

You alone are my strength my shield, to you alone will my spirit yield.
You alone are my heart's desire and I long to worship you.

I want you more than gold or silver, only you can satisfy.
You alone are the real joy giver and the apple of my eye.

You're my friend and you are my Father, even though you are my King
I love you more than any other, so much more than anything.

After singing I began to pray to the Lord.  My heart was so filled with joy, I told the Lord it would be ok if he beamed me up right that moment.  Then the true condition of my heart was revealed.  UGH.  He said, "You say you are ready for heaven, because life is a little tough right now.  I want you to long for  heaven simply because I alone am your heart's desire!"

Once again, getting alone and listening, I heard a needed message from the Lord.  Gently spoken in love, truth was poured out to show me how my spirit isn't totally yielded to Christ alone.  Heaven is appealing because there will be no sadness, no illness, no poverty or grief. The setting is supposed to be beyond the most magnificent site we've ever witnessed.  Brilliant colors, streets of gold, no darkness and intriguing, engaging brothers and sisters in Christ.  I want my relationship with Christ to be at the point where my greatest heavenly longing is to simply be in His Presence.
I'm singing this song to Him again this morning with a new depth of sincerity.

Today, I'm off to meet a hematologist and hope to gain insight into the mysteries of my blood.  My guess is she will want more of it!  Happy Tuesday to each of you.  May the Holy Spirit fill you up to be more than you ever thought you could be for the Kingdom.

Joy Complete

 Now this little fellow will get your day off to the right start with his enthusiasm and excitement.

November 9
Liz Curtis Higgs is a jolly ole soul and she's starting a weekly online study during this holiday season on "JOY."  Oh, how I love me a big scoop of joy during the day! Sign up for the weekly email at:
http://www.lizcurtishiggs.com 

On Thursday her post challenged me to be intentional in going to that deep place with Jesus during my prayer time.  My "fix this Jesus" list is long, and as she states,  "These are not bad prayers," but there's another aspect that should be in our prayer time. Check out what she says.  
She continues, "Jesus wants us to ask for things that glorify His name, proclaim His name, shine a spotlight on His name.  I'm fairly certain the things I've prayed for lately don't qualify. They're all about me or the people I love. Honestly? Focusing on Jesus doesn't even factor in.
Please, Lord, ease my brother’s pain.
  • Please, Lord, provide a new job for my son.
  • Please, Lord, help me finish this book.
  • These aren't bad prayers. Not at all. God is simply calling us to go deeper. To seek after the heart of His Son and listen to what He wants for us (not from us).  When our requests are all about honoring Him, we can be very sure of His response."
  • Ask and you will receive,...John 16:24
  • Not perhaps. Not might. You will receive.
  • "...and your joy will be complete." John 16:24

The morning I read this, I met Jesus in the shower.  It's such a great place for repenting and asking Him to wash my sins away.  In line with Liz's thoughts, I was realizing that since returning home I was missing the "depth of relationship" Jesus and I'd been experiencing walking through this valley called recovery.  Household chores, emails, doing therapy at home, trying to exist to the best of my ability in this new mode and Christmas catalogs in the mail were distorting the closeness we'd established.  I longed to be in His Presence, for that is where my joy is complete!

Yesterday, in church, we sang a Chris Tomlin song which was new to me, but rocked my soul to a sweet, sweet place.  It's called "You're a Good, Good Father."  If you don't have time to sing along, the lyrics are below.  As the lyrics mention, may He take you to a deeper place with him today.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBmwwwiHrOk
Lyrics
Oh, I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like but I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night You tell me that you're pleased and that I'm never alone Chorus You're a Good, Good Father It's who you are, It's who you are, It's who you are and I'm loved by you It's who I am, It's who I am, It's who I am I've seen many searching for answers far and wide But I know we're all searching for answers only you provide Because you know just what we need before we say a word Chorus x 2 You are perfect in all of your ways You are perfect in all of your ways You are perfect in all of your ways to us You are perfect in all of your ways You are perfect in all of your ways You are perfect in all of your ways to us Oh it's Love so undeniable I, I can hardly speak Peace so Unexplainable I, I can hardly think As you call me deeper still as you call me deeper still 
as you call me deeper still into love love love


Rain or Shine

Walking with my man in the rain yesterday.

He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.
Psalm 147:8


November 8
Rain or shine, being able to just get out and walk makes me feel fine!
I came home and started a Thomas Kinkade 2000 piece puzzle.  Now my man DOES not do puzzles, so I was on my own.  Probably a bit much for this brain right now, so if you are in the neighborhood, stop by and put in a piece or two!  I'm wavering on my never, never, never give up attitude with this puzzle. It may bite the dust and return to its box.

Reflecting back on the verse above I plugged it into The Message translation.  Check out how beautiful this is.  A godly reminder of what our God is looking for!

Sing to God a thanksgiving hymn, play music on your instruments to God,
who fills the sky with clouds, preparing rain for the earth,
then turning the mountains green with grass, feeding both cattle and cows.
He's not impressed with horsepower; 
the size of our muscles means little to him.
Those who fear God get God's attention;
they can depend on his strength.
Psalm 147:8-11