A Day of Rest

I’m so interested in what we’re studying in the book of John right now that I hesitate to leave it even for a day, never mind two! But I’ve had a rough couple of days, physically, and my body is aching and weary. I think I’m going back to bed in a little while, and that’s probably where I’ll spend most of my day.

Getting older comes with a whole host of physical challenges that I never even thought about before.

I hope you, also, are enjoying this study in John. I’ve read the book many times, but never to teach it on a verse-by-verse scale. It’s a huge blessing to me. Every word that Jesus speaks is purposeful and profound.

This is a challenge: Every word! So many of the words we speak are anything BUT purposeful and profound.

Now I realize that God does not expect us to go around with folded hands and long, sad faces. There is nothing wrong with laughter. After all, a merry heart does good like a medicine ( Prov. 17:22). We just need to make sure the things we’re laughing at are not inappropriate, and not hurtful to others.

“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6). This is certainly a challenge for me. I have a very fast mouth. That’s nothing to be proud of. When one has a fast mouth, things come pouring out that really ought not, need not, be said at all. Has it improved over time? Yes, I think so. I hope so. I’ll be so glad when I get to heaven and God gives me a new body, including a sanctified mind and mouth!

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Well, this has turned into a ramble that I wasn’t planning to write–but that’s okay. Sometimes I just have to start typing, and let God take over.

Sunday Morning Coffee: This and That

Yup, it’s another one of those “stream of consciousness,” random, no particular goal or plan kinds of posts.

It’s been a different kind of week. I’ve been working on some physical issues that seem to be resolving positively now. I’m learning that aging has all kinds of surprises. I remember the first time I ever saw the picture below. I was young, newly married, and could hardly imagine being really old. Doesn’t seem so hard to believe any more 🙂

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About those surprises as we age; what do I mean? Well, here’s an example anyone who had very oily skin and acne as a teen will understand. I had that kind of skin, starting when I was just ten. By the time I was in high school, I was blotting the oil off my face several times each day. The acne was very bad. Back then, I never dreamed that a day would come when my skin would be so dry that I would be using Argan oil twice a day, all over my face and neck. It feels good, and it really does the job. Who knew, back when I was 15, that this day would ever come? Not me, that’s for sure!

Life changes. I was teaching my women’s Bible study class on Friday morning. We were in the 11th chapter of Ecclesiastes, in which the last couple of verses admonish us to rejoice in our youth. I wonder if any of us actually are wise enough to do that! We discussed it for a little bit, remembering how good we felt, how busy we were, how strong and active, never giving much thought to a time when those things would begin to fade.

I think we can rejoice in our age, whatever it is. We may lose things from one decade to another, but we also gain, if we’re walking with God, in faith, peace, hope, confidence, just knowing Him, and realizing that every day brings us one day closer to heaven.

I’m thankful for many things. I’m thankful to be retired, although I loved my work. I’m thankful I’m still in my right mind. No, really, I am! I’m thankful I’m not housebound yet, that I can still drive and participate in things I enjoy. I’m thankful I have the time to write. I’m thankful for Terry, who makes sure I don’t do anything to hurt my back, which has been in pretty good shape since my last injection in June. Even though I’m pretty sure the pain will return, for right now I’m comfortable most of the time.

I’m thankful for more time to be in the Word. I’m thankful for a pastor who challenged us to pray more this year. I’m thankful for the women in my class who share my love of the Word of God, who can weep with those who weep, and who can share a good belly laugh together.

I’m thankful for my kids and grandkids. They fill my heart and my thoughts all the time. I pray for each of them every single day.

See, the thing with aging is that the longer you live, the more you have for which to be thankful—and the more time you have to pray, study, grow in the Lord.

Philippians 4:11. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

Let’s Talk :)

I’m in the mood to write. It’s been a long and somewhat lonesome day, although I don’t usually mind that. Today, though, I did. Feeling a bit neglected, I guess, and that is also unusual for me. I don’t need to be surrounded by tons of people all the time. In fact, to recharge and stay sane, I NEED alone time. I think that technically makes me an introvert .

Anyway, the main thing on my mind today has been pain. Living with a lot of that lately; maybe if I write it I’ll be able to put it away.

I’ve read about people who have a condition called Congenital insensitivity to pain and anhydrosis (CIPA). They have no ability to feel pain. I used to think, well, if you have to have a “condition,” I’d like to have that one.

I wouldn’t. Neither would you. If you don’t feel pain, you don’t know you’re hurt, or cut, or burnt, or broken. You don’t know you need medical attention unless someone else notices that you’re in a lot of trouble. So be thankful for pain, says I to myself, because it’s better than losing all your teeth because you never had a toothache and didn’t know anything was wrong.

Still, pain is not fun. My husband took a fall seven years ago and crushed his left heel. Don’t ever do that. It has changed him. He’s in chronic pain every single day, and it’s wearing him out. It’s not easy to watch the changes. He’s always been so active and capable.

And then there’s my deteriorating back. I never realized, back when this all started in my 30’s, where it would eventually take me. That’s a good thing. I won’t bore you with the whole long history. Some of you already know what’s going on, because I’ve been pretty open about it here on this blog. It’s enough for my purposes tonight to say that it’s not going to get better. It won’t heal. There is no magical remedy that will repair the damage. It seems to run in the female branch of my family, although a couple of my sons have also had problems with back pain. The main thing we do is treat the pain, and so far that’s been working out fairly well.

What I really hate about it is that I feel so useless. I hate being useless. Terry does all “my” work now, while I sit here like a heffalump taking up space. Right now, walking is not even an option. He’s hurting too, yet he’s the one who makes me sit, rest, lie down, he’ll take care of it. . . .I used to think it would be nice to be pampered. It is, for about a day. After that, it’s just no fun.

Is there a spiritual application here? Of course there is. You knew I’d get there sooner or later 🙂

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Did you know that the word excruciating is from the same root word as cross? Crucifix, cruciform. It means the pain that comes from crucifixion.

I don’t have that. But Jesus did, and He bore it willingly because the Father asked it of Him, and because He loved the souls of all mankind. He knew He was the only worthy sacrifice to cleanse our sin. He suffered unbearable pain because He was the perfect, sinless, pure, holy, blameless Son of God.

Pain both hurts and changes those who bear it. It can be a positive change. Jesus offered Himself to give us that positive change, and whenever I compare what He endured to what I am living with, I am both grateful and ashamed.

It has changed me. I think I’m more patient. I know I’m not willing to criticize anyone who has some kind of condition that no one can see. You may not be able to see the bones in my back deconstructing, but you can see if I’m limping, using a cane or a walker, and you know there’s pain.

Some folks have no outward symptoms, and it’s easy for us to think they’re just drama hogs and are looking for ways to avoid work. Maybe those folks do exist, but I have some friends who have a terrible time with, for instance, fibromyalgia. You can’t see it, but it’s there. All. The. Time. And it hurts.

I hope my pain is teaching me to be more empathetic with others who are enduring pain, whether it is emotional, spiritual, mental, or physical. Grief is painful. Never minimize anyone’s grief, which we all experience differently. Loss is painful. Unavoidable life changes can be painful. Trust me, if you live long enough, something is going to start hurting.

I try to take the position that every day my pain keeps me immobile is just one day closer to heaven. No pain there, no loss, no tears, no sin, no sorrow.

I want to be there, but not until God says so. I still have so much to enjoy here. I have a wonderful life, full of friends and family and people who care about me.

I think it’s time to stop, because I actually do feel better. Writing can be quite cathartic.

So I’m done. For now.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Time

I spent some time with an old friend today. Hadn’t seen her since January, when she went to spend three months in Florida. This is the first time she’s been there alone. Her husband, our dear friend, went to heaven about a year ago. As those of you who have walked this path will understand, this has been a year of firsts. for her.

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Today we were together to help celebrate the birthday of one of my granddaughters. We didn’t spend a lot of time catching up, but we did have some time alone to just chat, as old friends do. And we talked about how the years have sped by so incredibly fast, from one perspective, but that when you start recounting memories you know you lived every single day of those years.

She had three sons; I had three sons and a daughter. She suffered a miscarriage not too long after my daughter was born, and that was so hard.

We have shared other life experiences, and it has been a good, solid friendship for 45 years. We learned how to quilt together. We share a love of knitting and crocheting. Even when we haven’t seen each other for a long time, it is easy to fall back into conversation. If you have friends like this, you know exactly what I mean.

She has a large extended family, and they all were there for her when her husband died. We were there as well, and I was so impressed with how she has handled this new phase of her life. Her husband was one of Terry’s very closest friends. We will always miss him.

But when we talked of the incredibly fast passage of time, we also remarked on how we treasure each memory as life passes and the minutes tick away into hours, days, months and years.

When you get to be our age, you realize how short life really is, and you understand the importance of holding each moment in your heart because those minutes do not give you a do-over.

On my other blog, I’ve begun to write the story of the beginning of my life with Terry. I’m calling it “Our Story: 50 Years.” I’ve done four short installments, and I need to hurry up and do another before my readers forget about me and lose interest 🙂 The writing has brought up so many memories that I hadn’t though about in years, and it has helped me realize again how incredibly blessed my life has been.

And something else I’m understanding better all the time is the importance of sharing those memories. If you don’t tell your grandkids your stories, they will not know you as you would want them to know you.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Time. It’s a gift. Don’t waste it.

My Back, Again!

Some of you may have noticed that my posts are going up later than usual. That’s because  the disease, Old Woman’s Back, has returned with a vengeance.  I’m not sleeping very well, and it has put my whole system off kilter. I’m not working this week, missed two out of my three days last week.

When I called to make an appointment with my pain doctor, I was told they couldn’t get me in until the 20th, this coming Monday.  I asked if the doc would renew my scrips in the meantime, and was told that he would not do that because it’s been so long (over a year) since I’ve needed them.  I have just enough pain pills to get me through to Monday if I take them only once a day, usually before I go to bed.Image result for no medication

So I’m hurting, and my life has once again gone off the rails. I’m sure the doctor will send me for another MRI, since that hasn’t been done in at least two years.

Now, it’s time for me to practice what I preach.  Being thankful is paramount, because if I don’t focus on the things for which I’m thankful, I will be flooded with resentment, anxiety, and fear.  Yes, fear. I don’t like pain, and I know this condition is not going away. The symptoms can be treated, but they cannot be cured.

So.  If you are a praying person, please add me to your prayer list.  Prayer is still the best healer.

Sloppalisa Saturday

One of the most irritating and embarrassing things that can come with aging is the dropsy. And no, I’m not talking about edema here.  That’s a whole different category.

I’m talking about my hands don’t work.  I pick something up, I drop it. I pick it up again, having to bend over to do so, and now my back aches.

You know, there’s just no justice. You work so hard to develop dexterity from the time you discover your own toes and shove them into your mouth, and then you get old, and you couldn’t reach your toes to save your life.  And it wouldn’t be cute, either, the way it was when you were a baby. Trust me.

This morning I’ve been cooking, preparing a casserole for the church luncheon tomorrow. It’s not a complicated dish. Hamburger, onion, red sauce, noodles, kidney beans, cheese. Easy.

Would you like to guess what all I dropped in the creation of this humble stew? Start with the can of tomato sauce that almost landed on my toes. The wooden spoon I used–after rinsing it off–to stir and break up the hamburger.  The onion, which rolled haughtily away from me, snickering until it bumped the wall.   I pounced!  “Gotcha!”  I hollered–and promptly dropped it again. Caught it in my apron, though, so it didn’t get too far.

Some people think aprons are too old-fashioned.  I couldn’t care less. They come in handy for all sort of things, including dropped objects.

While my goulash was simmering, I went into the bathroom to get out my daily allotment of medications and supplements.  Dropped two of the bottles before opening them (that’s a good thing!) and one of the pills.  Tiny little golden colored Vitamin D capsule.

And now we address another of the indignities of aging. I have graduated trifocal glasses.  I scanned the floor from a standing position, could not find tiny little golden pill. Bent over, eyeballing every inch of the floor, and still had no success. That’s partly because I have to keep moving my head up and down so I can see through the appropriate layer of stacked lenses in my glasses. Like this:

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Still no little golden pill.  Phooey.  I’ll just get another one.  This time, I opened it up right over the sink, which I had plugged, so that when I dropped it–and I did– it would have nowhere to hide. Victory!

Well, I completed my kitchen task with no further mishaps, but I still need to grate the cheese and sprinkle it over the top of the stew.  Should be interesting.

 

I Wish I Could Put a Bandaid on it!

I’ve just realized something.

Looks like I’m down for the count. Not sure what that means yet. I have an MRI scheduled on Monday the 10th, but I can’t get in to see the surgeon until Nov 14 and I have no idea how long before he schedules surgery, IF he schedules surgery.

Remember believing that putting a Band Aid on an owie made it feel better?  Does any have a very large Band-Aid?

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In the meantime, I can’t work. That’s not good for us at all, but there’s just no way I can climb stairs, sit in my chair several hours. I’m taking strong pain meds and muscle relaxers, and the doc gave me renewal indefinitely. I find that rather scary. The pain is in my sacroiliac joint, left side. So that involves the sciatic nerve, and basically i’m a little old woman tottering around with either my cane or a walker that Terry had stashed away in the attic. You need a tool? Come on over. Terry has one. Probably two or three 🙂

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So, for my praying friends, please pray:
1) Relief from the pain
2) The MRI, in which I will be entombed for around 30 min to an hour. It scares the tech when I scream and cry
3) I’m on a list for “if there’s a cancellation we’ll call you” for the appt. on Nov. 14. Please pray that I can get in sooner. Not that I want anyone to suffer, just that someone will miraculously grow stronger bones.
4)I can’t work with this kind of pain. I’m trying to figure out if there’s some way I could see my clients using Skype but there are difficulties with that.
5) Pray for Terry. He always takes such good care of me when I’m sick, but I worry about his own pain with his injured foot.
6) If I do have to sit out the next two or three months, pray that I will be inspired to use the time to write. I need to write “The Book” that’s been rolling around in my head for several years now. Maybe I could call it “Rolling Stone.” Oh, no. I can’t. Some rock group already has that name.

Finally, it would be really cool if I could delete the “celebrating a birthday” thingy. I have no idea what I did to get it there.

Well. It’s gone. Yay.