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Archive for July, 2012

Lemons

Thursday, I had a severe shooting pain from the top of my head radiating down behind my right eye to my nose and mouth. Horrible tingling and burning sensations have consumed my lips, tongue, nose, and all around my eye. I now have a line on that side of my face under my eye that looks like a scar and the whole side droops. This is more than numbness—there is muscle weakness and I’m having difficulty moving my eye and have problems blinking. There is little feeling in that side of my face but where there is feeling, it is awful. All around my eye there is reddish purple color like I have a black eye—scary.

My oldest daughter–what would I do without my daughters–went with me to see GP Friday. He thinks there might be a nerve issue but has no clue why. The neurosurgeon wondered if there was a brainstem issue but he was only called in to see about the AVM. These symptoms seem to mimic some of the same signs of MS. There is loss of feeling all on that side of my body but it is sporadic. I have been suffering from the face thing since 2008. The other numbness which I thought was because of my AVM has been going on for over 10 years.

I’m still waiting for a referral to a neurologist but there is this insurance hospital hang-up due to a contract dispute. If that doesn’t get worked out then not only is this situation affected but I will have to travel about 150 miles if/when my AVM bleeds. Most likely, it won’t do any good to go if that is the case. At this point, I’m not sure what is worse and don’t know what will happen.

I am sorry that I’m not filled with hope and joy today. I’m trying not to be self-absorbed with prayer and meditation but it is difficult to part with this pain–not that I want to hold on to it 🙂 . May your day be so much better!

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“Feed My Sheep” was a post from July 10, 2012 (link) which concluded on July 12 (link). With some luck, a new posting will appear here every week about Wednesday under the same heading. May each one be a blessing to someone. 🙂

  • What would you think if God called you to “Feed My Sheep?” Would you understand? Would you be like Peter? Would you have courage to answer? How would you respond? Would you know what to do?

Many of us have callings—usually they are little nudges or tugs at our heart. We see a couple who is struggling to purchase food so we buy groceries for them (usually without their knowing). We see someone in distress, pulled over to the side of the road so we either stop or call someone to come help. There is someone crying, alone, and distraught sitting in a hospital waiting room so we offer comfort, an ear, maybe a prayer. We could choose not to notice, being so caught up in life, but “something” calls us to pay attention. These nudges and tugs are one of the many ways God calls us into service. Most will agree that this is the Holy Spirit.

For years, my church congregation wasn’t reaching people in need–not pointing blame. Many of the members thought it was the pastor’s job and the pastor believed it wasn’t his job… Messy!

  • Plumbers…we need more plumbers…
  • Who is a plumber and why would you need one?

Anyone willing to stick their hand in the toilet (figurative and/or literal) is who I refer to as a plumber—no disrespect intended to anyone. Plumbers are people who will do the job no matter what it is. Often, it requires a good bit of courage. From personal experience, it sometimes takes a great deal of courage. We can talk ourselves into doing something or find excuses for us not to do it.

When there is a job to be done, call a plumber or better yet, become a plumber. Seriously, if there is a need, we should answer the call. Courage and knowledge play a big part in our callings, and sometimes we may wait our entire life to answer a call. Jesus told Peter to Feed His Sheep. Same applies today. If we see a need, something that is not being done, we should choose to answer the call whatever it is. If Jesus came today, He may not call for Fishers’ of Men. Did you ever think that He may call for plumbers?

  • Has God called you? Is there something on your heart that causes you to want to help someone? Do you have the courage to answer? Please answer the call—please Feed His Sheep.

Happy Gardening in all of your gardens and may they be forever beautiful! 🙂

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wikipedia

Back in my restaurant managing days, one of the many hats I have worn over the years, I learned that I often could not call someone to come fix something for me. I had to do many things myself. I usually did not shy away from things back then—I was much younger. I had a lot of responsibility and didn’t seem to mind.

I don’t think I could do many of those things today, but then again, I have had to do some really brave things along the way—not meaning to tout my horn, just that knowing something needs to be done and seeing no one else around to do it I knew I had to do something.

Courage…we need courage and self-confidence to do some things. We also need to know what to do and when to do it. A lot of that comes from common sense (and quick thinking on one’s feet) and/or role playing situations before they happen.

You are wondering where this is going, but tomorrow there will be a posting about courage. Sometimes we go our entire lives learning so many different things all to be able to use our wealth of knowledge for a certain job. It is key that we are paying attention.

May your gardens yield exquisite fruit and be suffice to your needs.  Happy Gardening! 🙂

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Canned Ham and Not…

wikipedia

I remember watching as my mom would twist off the key from the bottom of the can and carefully peel the strip of metal in order to release the top. She cut the chunk processed meat into thin slices while heating margarine in the skillet and then browned what I kindly refer to as Spam. I liked it on a slice of bread with a bit of Miracle Whip and a good smattering of ketchup. I repeated the same technique when my children were small but added a shake or two of onion powder for added flavor. This is definitely not a poor man’s meal as I could prepare dozens of meals that were healthier and more filling for less money. I still keep Spam on hand for when I am out of something or just for the taste.

I have had several email accounts for years. I have NEVER had real issues with spam—you know, unsolicited email. Every so often something would come through but for the most part, no issues. I was not hounded or what I considered attacked until now. For the past few weeks/months, I have been bombarded with an extraordinary amount of spam from a certain shell “company” with hundreds of fake domains. Almost all of these domains have sent me spam at least once—there is no such thing as ONE time—multiple, multiple times. I spend more time emptying my spam folder, oh and fishing out the occasional spam that gets through, than I do reading my mail lately. And, between email and newsletters, that is a lot of mail!

I began to block not only the domains that were sending the spam but also newly registered domains from this “company.” That was taking way too much time. I just wish I could make it stop. It is akin to the same telemarketer calling trying to sell me something different every 5 minutes—they have my information and they aren’t going to let go. Too bad I can’t cook the spam I receive every day… Here’s wishing.

Have a great day and Happy Gardening! 🙂

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I have been feeling lousy–no energy, dealing with drug side effects, then withdrawals… I try to tell myself and others that I am ok but that is not accurate. Wednesday morning, I discovered that I had lost about half of the feeling in my upper right leg. This is not counting the loss of feeling in my foot and lower leg that has been on the increase the past few weeks. These are not side effects.

wikipedia

Although I am having more issues lately, I know far too many people who are going through worse. These people are inspirations. Nary a peep do I hear. I didn’t want to talk about my issues in my blog but since I have opened up about my AVM and this is part of me, I feel that I need to give more info. I don’t know if there is someone else who is suffering similar situations.

I have friends and acquaintances who are battling cancer. Some are in remission and others are waging battle every day. I bet you know someone doing the same. A friend called last week to tell me about a man we know who appears to be in stage 3. I understand it is more likely to hear of this news when you cross over to this side of 50 (this is a given) but so many people I know are suffering from this dreaded disease. Cancer is not the only thing that people are suffering from but it is a major one. There are many in the web world who are suffering. I want you to know that I wish better days for you. Thank you for what you do to bring smiles to the rest of us.

Pain and suffering…it doesn’t last for eternity but can feel like it at times. Some people want to close the door and not be bothered until they feel better. Not me; I have the little girl syndrome again. When I was young, suffering from headaches or seizures (or both), one of my parents would sit with me until I was better. I’m like that today—that is after I realized that I cannot be completely independent any more. My husband used to sit with me when he was home but now one of my daughters is tasked with it. I am a burden and I don’t mean to be.  

I know my blessings are more than I can count and tomorrow…well, it will be a better day!

May your gardens be blessed. Happy Gardening!  🙂

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Saturday shopping

wikipedia

All week long I have been looking forward to today so I could treat myself to some things at Hancock Fabrics—some fabric including white flannel, thread, Ric-Rac, etc. One of the biggies was to get some wool (fabric)—not wool blend…real wool fabric. They didn’t have much wool blend but they didn’t have any 100% wool. That put me off my game so much that I only bought about 8 things—no fabric. My daughter was happy because the line around the cutting table looked more like a line for black Friday. My pocketbook was happier but this just means I have to hit more stores this week or order online and I don’t think I have that much time.

I hope your sewing garden is looking better than most outdoor gardens. Happy Gardening! 🙂

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Several people have referred to me as Job because of all of the many problems my family and I have been going through. I’m not a good person like Job was. I try but miss the mark too many times. If you do not know the story, Job was a Godly man whom God allowed the devil to tempt. By temptation, Job lost his livelihood, his family…all to see if Job would curse God. God told the devil he could do about anything to Job but take his life…anything could be touched—even sickness.

Job shaved his head and ripped his clothes. He sat in sackcloth and ashes. He called out to God wondering why God had turned against him. Job did not understand. One might wonder why God allowed this to happen to such a person, but God does not promise streets of gold here on earth or that we will not face hardships. God intends that good will come from bad. Think self-discipline and being reminded to be thankful for all things.

wikipedia – Grief

Job’s friends told him that he did some evil against God—that he deserved his situation, but Job said he had done no such thing. Job was the type of person who even tried to care for the souls of his family through cleansing and offering. He wanted the best for all people. He cared. He had a heart.

Job listened for God to speak but heard nothing. In fact, the book of Job tells of Job’s trials, what his friends believed—their opinions—Job’s responses, Elihu’s wisdom, and what God had to say. In the end, God admonished the friends who gave Job bad advice due to their lack of wisdom. God told the friends to repent and give sacrifice, asking prayers from Job. Imagine…these friends who “knew” they were correct in their beliefs had to approach the man they thought had wronged God in order to seek prayers. What a humbling experience. God told them that they had wronged Job. It was akin to them asking for forgiveness because they passed judgment on Job.

  • Do we do this today? Do we think others are deserving of their bad situations? Even Job’s wife mocked him and told Job to curse God and die.

After these trials and sufferings, Job flourished because he had not cursed God. In fact, he was doubly blessed because of his faithfulness. There are so many lessons in the book of Job, but one of the biggest is that no matter what happens, even if we do not understand our situation, we should continue to have faith.

Keeping the faith is not always easy. I can attest to that because my faith has been pushed to the limit. I am still being tested and evil is very strong. People wonder why a woman who seemed so devout and so steadfast in her beliefs is seeing such hardship—that surely I have done something to deserve these things. I may not live the best life but my faith is all I have. It is a gift. There are those who have mocked me and want nothing to do with me because I choose to let God guide me. I have to say that it is not easy to go against what seems to be common sense. Many think I am foolish. Sometimes I am but I have to trust in God. I have to have faith.

God gave advice and direction in the Bible (He still does so), but the people wouldn’t listen time after time. God didn’t give up on His people even when they turned away from Him. This is the sign of true love—someone who does not turn away. God could have easily said, “To heck with these people, these selfish, ungrateful lot.”

Isn’t this the story of true love—to love people especially if they are not lovable and loving people? It is easy to love people who reciprocate love back to us, but our real challenge is to love those who do not show love in return. 

  • Is there someone in your life who is difficult to love? Do you move on and dismiss them or do you love them more?

Happy Gardening in all of your gardens and may they be forever beautiful! 🙂

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Have you ever been so excited about something that you wanted to tell everyone but you knew that if you told it the wrong way that you would sound boastful? You didn’t want that. You just wanted to share something truly exciting in your life…

Several months ago, I had a fortune listed on my blog from a Chinese Fortune Cookie that said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” That says so much to me. At times, I think we need to do just that, but sometimes, a door appears and all we have to do is open it and walk through—and sometimes it opens right in front of us. Sounds easy, right?

There is an old friend who has been a guiding light so to speak—he is a minister. I told him what happened almost 2 weeks ago without going into details here. He said that he believes the Lord is truly opening a door and that he encourages me to walk through it. I believe he is correct—the door is open… This is about a calling—an opportunity. I have wanted to share this not because it happened to me (well, maybe a little because I am excited) but because of the wonder of God—His greatness. Let me say that the desire to help others is continually on my heart.

  • Out of darkness comes light, so shall it be.

Doors appear, they open, and all we have to do is walk through. Often, we lack the courage to do so. Plenty of times, we ignore the opportunities and pretend we don’t see them. I have done this many times, but I cannot pass this up. If I do, this becomes a MISSED OPPORTUNITY.

I share this not because I want attention about what happened and what I am trying to do (I have left that out for now), but so maybe someone will notice a door in his or her life and gain the courage to walk through it. We need encouragement to make those big decisions.

  • Is there a door in your life? Do you have the courage to step through?

Perhaps you do not understand the complete meaning. I know that feeling very well. That’s where faith comes in. Often we want to hear these words, “Take my hand and let us step through the door and walk out on faith together.”

  • Missed opportunities are doors we pass by or fail to open. Do you have the courage to walk through? I hope so!

May you notice the doors of opportunity along the way and have the courage to walk through them. Happy Gardening and may all of your gardens grow more beautiful every day! 🙂

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from webshots by cathyetta

I am a romantic–hopelessly romantic. What can I say?

This is the continuation of my bucket list.

  • 15.    Play handbells-and do it well.
  • 14.    Learn to paint with watercolor (well).
  • 13.    Canadian rail journey with the love of my life.
  • 12.    Have enough money to help those who are without and not think about how much something costs.
  • 11.    Finish ALL of my to-do lists.
  • 10.    Visit Abu Simbel (I’ve wanted to visit since I was 7).
  • 9.      Learn to tat and do it well.
  • 8.      Visit Switzerland and Austria.
  • 7.      Alaskan cruise with the love of my life.
  • 6.      See my girls married & happy.
That romantic part of me would like to vacation with the love of my life on an Alaskan cruise and take a rail journey (sleeping on the train) through Canada. As for the Abu Simbel temples, I remember the National Geographic magazine issue that featured the removal of the temples to higher ground due to the Aswan Dam construction. I think the issue came out in 1966 but I did not get really interested until the next year.
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Yes, I can do these other things without the love of my life, but there are some things that I want to save just for the two of us. And, if things don’t work out with my present situation, I will be taking applications…(I am half-way kidding 🙂 ).
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Happy Gardening in all of your adventures!
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There is a website entitled 225 things to do before you die (link). I went through all of them. Many, I have no interest in; some, I have done already like…

  • Help out a stranger in distress
  • Solve a Rubik’s cube (I had to have help from a book)
  • Do something that absolutely terrifies you (I actually do a lot of things that terrify me)
  • Finish a jigsaw puzzle
  • Lifelong collector of something (coins, stamps, snowmen, shot glasses, plus more)
  • Create your family tree
  • Work for tips
  • Piña Colada in San Juan, Puerto Rico (it has been a while)
  • Fast for 3 days (only a few times in my life-one earlier this year)
  • Collect favorite recipes
  • Eat a six course meal that you prepared
  • Learn CPR (as a Girl Scout leader)
  • Watch a drive-in movie
  • Get married (did that twice so far—maybe I won’t do that one again 🙂 )
  • Forgive and let go of grudges (sometimes that is difficult but I’m learning)
  • Write a book (just completed that one)
  • File your own taxes (used to do that all the time)
  • Walt Disney World
  • Help someone fulfill a goal (a very rewarding thing to do)
  • Buy a house (a joint effort)
  • Lunar eclipse & solar eclipse
  • Connect with teachers from your past (scary)
  • Build a bonfire and make S’mores (YUM!)
  • World Expo
  • Rescue an animal from a shelter (Simon)
  • Sleep in a hammock
  • Create a bucket list (in the process)
  • Pass on a family heirloom (in the works for several items)
That makes 28 things I have already done on someone’s list. When you get older, you find that there are a lot of things you have already done. Even if you list only 10 things, it is something to work toward. Mine is quite a bit more than 10… 🙂 .
Happy Gardening in all of your gardens and may they be forever beautiful! 🙂
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