Sunday Morning Coffee: The Friendship of Women

When you’ve always moved around a lot, you don’t have those “best friends since kindergarten” relationships. You make friends you really love, but then you move again, and sometimes absence and distance just don’t make the heart grow fonder.

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Then your life changes, you stay in one place longer, you settle into wonderful friendships that started at church, so your bond is joined with faith, and you begin to hope that you won’t move ever again. But you do. Time passes, some friendships remain, but the years pass.

Then you get a phone call, and you go back. You find the old friends are still your friends, and you make new ones. But things happen, and you have to leave the church you loved. Some friendships are destroyed because leaving a church is always hurtful.

But you find a new place. It’s a little harder. You’re older, your kids are all grown up. It takes longer to start making connections that blossom into friendships, but slowly it does happen.

And then, one morning in a Bible study, the women in the classroom begin to share with each other. Some of these women have known each other a long time, but have never talked quite so openly. There are tears, there is laughter, there is bonding and a realization that all of us have stories that we don’t share with many other people.

Through our stories, we may hurt; we may cry; we may feel as if the world will never come right again. But slowly, as we walk with the Lord, stay in His Word, pray, and learn forgiveness, things do heal. We do go on. We’ll always have scars, but they won’t always be raw and painful.

One of the things we learn is that God’s got it, anyway. We don’t need to solve everything. We just need to be obedient, and trust His love and grace. He will show us how we can be a blessing to someone else.

There is something very special about the fellowship of women; godly women who don’t gossip, who don’t judge, but who share in grace and patience and understanding.

I hope the next move will be to heaven. But even if it’s not, I have confidence that these friendships will always have a special place in my heart–along with many others along the backtrail of my life. Rich in friends, rich in God’s love. Rich in my family. It’s all good.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Another Ramble

We’re having what we call a “wintry mix” of weather here in my corner of PA. That means scary, icy roads. We were notified last night that Sunday school was canceled this morning, but church would meet as usual unless we were notified otherwise. Apparently the salt trucks were out and the roads are safe. I hope. Terry took off around 9:30.

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Makes dangerous driving!

I, however, have had a couple of really lousy nights, and I’m worn out from not sleeping. I just didn’t have the energy to get showered, dressed, and fixed up for the public. I’m still in my jammies. Maybe I’ll stay that way all day. No law against it, right>

We had a lovely, quiet Thanksgiving. I hope you all enjoyed yours, however that looks for you. I was pleased to actually be able to prepare the meal this year. My daughter brought dessert, and my son-in-law brought a couple of sides that have become a tradition. We relaxed. No stress, no fuss. And turkey soup in our future. One of the best things about Thanksgiving is the leftovers 🙂

November was a challenging month for me. I made the decision, finally, to take on the challenge of National November Writer’s Month (NaNoWriMo). I’ve thought about it for maybe three or four years, but never felt I’d have the time to participate. This year, I took a deep breath and decided to go for it. The challenge is to write 50,000 words from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30.

I DID IT!! Yay, ME 🙂 That means I have probably a little over half of my book written. And, having come that far, I will continue until it’s finished. Then, of course, I have the huge job of trying to find someone to read it and decide it may be worth publishing. This could be a very long process, by the time I do whatever rewrites are necessary and find that willing publisher. Still, I’m actually doing what I’ve thought about and talked about for a very long time. It feels really good.

My Germany family will be here for nearly a week before Christmas, when they’ll fly to Ohio to be with her family for the holiday. It will be so good to have them here. Twice in one year–that doesn’t happen often.

Last summer seems like a very long time ago. But then, not really. We spent a couple of weeks in England celebrating our 50th anniversary, with our three sons and their families. So many cherished memories. And now we’ll get to see the oldest, Mike, along with his wife and son Connell. So–twice in one year.

I was going through my email a little while ago, and came across a poet/writer I’m following. He commented on being 51 today, “sliding” into the old age of life. Made me smile. I have over 20 years on him, and while I know I’ve already lived longer than I WILL live, I’m not bowing to old age. I still have some goals, and I hope to live long enough to accomplish them, and enjoy knowing that I did so.

I started a new book of the Bible here on this blog a couple of weeks ago. The Gospel of John has been on my mind for some time, and I finally decided to do it. What a blessing! I’m just getting into the wedding at Cana, where Jesus performed His first public miracle. I’m inviting you to join me on the journey,

And that’s about it for today. Have a blessed Sunday!

Sunday Morning Coffee: Age Changes Things

So we’re doing the Thanksgiving celebration here this year. Can’t remember what we did last year.

Another year added to my personal calendar has brought some relief from the chronic lower back pain, for which I am most thankful. I’ve learned, however, that I have to be careful if I want to maintain the improvement.

Last week, I think it was Thursday, I decided to do some deep cleaning in my bedroom. It looks much better! Cleaning off the dresser, finicky dusting, using my Swiffer under the bed, getting everything I could off the floor; then I put my Roomba, whom we have named “Bob,” into that room, closed the door, and let him clean the floor. I’d gotten under the dresser with my Swiffer duster, so there was a little pile of dust bunnies that I’m sure Bob enjoyed gobbling up. The room looks and feels more fresh.

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My aching back, however, let me know that I’d been less than intelligent. I’ve had to resort to taking a pain pill during the day, which I really haven’t had to do for at least three months. I was also relegated to my chair or my bed by the House Doctor, aka Terry, who was quite aggravated with me for not getting his help.

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“But I didn’t lift anything!” I tried to excuse myself.

“You were bending. I saw you. You know you can’t do that!”

Muttermumbleyeahyeahyeah.

“What’s that?”

“Nothing. Never mind.”

On Friday I had a couple of classes to teach, and when I came limping home he was waiting for me. Took my things out of my hands. Didn’t say, “I’m so happy to see you!” Oh, no. He said, “Why do you keep doing this to yourself?”

So the rest of Friday and all day yesterday, I developed a close relationship with my chair, which is just my size and backed up with pillows that support the lumbar area. Lazy me.

So this coming week, Terry will help me with some other cleaning, and he’ll lift Tom Turkey out of cold storage and help me in the kitchen. And he doesn’t mind doing any of that. I just feel bad about having to let him do it.

I remember when I could clean the whole house in a day and put a good meal on the table, do some laundry, maybe clean a drawer or window here and there. Not any more. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

And there’s something else that I never, ever had to worry about. I just had to go back and fix the spelling. I’d typed “the flesh is week.” Took me a second to realize what the problem was. I knew it looked funny, and finally got rid of that second “e.” Sigh. I’ve always been an excellent speller. Never mixed up to, too, two. Or there, they’re, their. Now? I’m proofreading as I type. Never used to have to do that, either.

So, Mrs. Doom and Gloom, is there an up side to any of this? Well, sure there is. I have more time to read. More time to write. I’ve written over 38,000 words on my book this month! More time to focus on my blogs. On going out for lunch. Yes, I’ve become one of those “ladies who do lunch.” Don’t knock it until you try it. It’s fun!

More time to be in the Word, to dig in and learn things I didn’t know. You never reach a point, in God’s Word, where you have nothing left to learn.

When one’s body slows down because of pain from something or the other—for me, degenerative bone disease, lumbar herniations, stenosis, and plain old arthritis–one has two choices. Sit and mope. (No thanks!) Or, focus on things you didn’t have time for when you could be physically active. Continue to learn, to grow, to enjoy God’s creation. Reconnect with friends, Do some Bible memory. Pray more.

Count each finished day as one step closer to heaven.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Migraines are Horrible

Sometime during the past week, I started to become aware of a nagging tension headache. You know what I mean if you have migraines. I used every relaxing technique I know. Used lavender essential oils , put a drop of peppermint oil in my soft palate. Thought I had chased it away, but last night it peeked around the corner, gave a sinister laugh, and dug its way into my head with its sharp talons.

No fair. No fair at all.

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When in agony, make a joke. Laughter, at this point, is the only medicine that has any impact.

I haven’t had one this bad in a very long time. Used to get them regularly, but once I got through menopause they went away—well, almost went away. I think one shows up every now and then just to remind me that I’m still vulnerable.

Last night, light hurt. Noise hurt. Walking from the living room to the bedroom hurt. The only thing that felt comfortable was letting my head sink into my wonderful My Pillows. Sleep was elusive for a while, but finally around 2 a.m. I felt myself drifting off. It’s better this morning, but if you have migraines, you know how weak you feel when it’s receding. A migraine never just quits. It hangs on for dear life, but slowly, the talons release their grip. I’m home, though, missing church for the first time in several weeks. Just getting up and getting dressed was as much as I could handle.

As I sank into my pillows last night, cocooned on my wonderful bed under my weighted blanket, I thought about some of my favorite verses. Psalm 91:4. “He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”

As I lay there thinking about God sheltering me under His wings, like a hen does for her chicks, I began thinking about all the protection surrounding me. My husband, who always does his best to take care of me. My warm, welcoming bed. My comfortable house. Friends. Family. A good church with a godly pastor. Effective medication. Hope for the next day, because I knew the crisis was passing.

The more I focused on my blessings, the more I could sense the protection of being under His wings.

Sunday Morning Coffee: A New Project

Finally, after all the years of thinking about it, putting it off, talking myself out of it—-finally, I’m writing. Seriously writing. Not just a blog post here and there

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Not that anyone is watching over my shoulder while I write 🙂 I just thought this was funny.

There is a challenge I’ve been considering for some time. It’s called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and it started Nov. 1 and ends on Nov. 30. The goal is to write 50,000 words by Nov. 30. Today I hit 20,000, which puts me about a week ahead of the required 1667 words per day to meet the mark.

The organization has been around for some time, I guess. Lots of people participate. Who knew how many hundreds of wannabe writers are out there! You can get involved in the community, have buddies and attend write-ins, etc. But I think I’m a loner when it comes to this. I know I’ll have to let others, like editors, have what I’ve written, but the idea of that makes my stomach hurt. Which is one of the things that’s kept me from trying.

I don’t deal well with rejection.

So there it is, out in cyberspace. The word is that we need to make a grand announcement in order to keep our commitment up and running. I hope so.

You know, I just started blogging on this site through the Book of John. Already, I’m seeing the beginning of the constant rejection Jesus experienced in His 33 years on this earth. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not,” for instance.

And I’ve been thinking, if I had lived then, a Jewish girl in Israel, what would I have thought? My nature being what it is, I’d have been curious but skeptical. I’d like to think I would have known right away that He was God’s Son, but maybe not.

Jesus didn’t let rejection stop Him, though; while just the fear of rejection stopped me for so long. Of course, the salvation of mankind is not dependent upon what I write 🙂 It’s a good thing!

The gospel of John is an amazing, wonderful book. I invite you to join me! I’m still in Chapter One, loving the verse-by-verse study of the book that presents Jesus as the Son of God. It’s a story that never grows old.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Proverbs 27:3-4

Sometimes I have an idea in mind all week for my Sunday morning post.

This is not one of those weeks. I don’t have heartburn about anything. I don’t have any soapbox messages. It’s been a pretty good week, actually, with incremental progress being made in a few areas.

When this happens, I usually turn to Proverbs. Today is the 27th of October, so I’m reading the 27th chapter of Proverbs. And the verses I chose are right at the beginning of the chapter: v. 3-4.

A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.

 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?

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None of us is able to carry such a heavy stone. It would crush anyone who tried to get under it.

Sand is used in bags to help hold back a flood. Wet sand is very heavy, and hard to handle.

But what is worse? The anger of a foolish person. Their anger is overwhelming because it is uncontrolled, and no one can bear to carry it.

In our wrath, we can be cruel and not care. In our anger, our behavior can be ridiculous, embarrassing, outrageous.

But the worst thing of all is envy. Jealousy. The green-eyed monster.

Why is it so awful? Well, that’s because it goes beyond wanting what we don’t have; it goes beyond wanting what someone else has. It becomes hatred of the person who has what you want, and it poisons every thought, every moment of the day.

Jealousy has destroyed marriages, ruined friendships, caused strife between family members; it has destroyed churches because one person wants the power and position that someone else has been given.

Jealousy is ugly.

Jealousy is sinful. God knew how serious it would be. He included it in the “thou shalt nots” in Exodus 20:17.

Dear Father, please show me if there is jealousy in my heart, and cleanse it from me; forgive me for the envy that can take me by surprise.

Sunday Morning Coffee: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball

I’m not a baseball fan. It bores me. Such long intervals between pitches leave me itching for something else to do.

I do understand, however, that there is art and athleticism to the game, and if you love it, then you’ll understand why I’ve chosen a curve ball as an analogy for this post.

Curve balls are tricky. They catch you off guard.

Life tossed us a curve ball this week. I’ll spare you the details, which are really private and personal. Just–to extend the analogy–understand that we weren’t sure how to bat it, and we’re still learning.

One of the things we learned is that we’d have to depend on the rest of the “team.” That would be legal and professional people, as well as family, and people we may never meet who have extended a hand of help toward us.

Never overlooking the teammates who are supporting us in prayer, we are also looking to the Coach, Who has promised to “uphold us with the right hand of His righteousness (Is. 41:10).

We’ve never been dealt this particular “pitch” before, and it did take us off guard. But as we began to makes contacts, gather information, get the help we need, we realized that there are many kind, helpful people out there who are willing to direct us and be on our team. It has been delightful, also, to reach out to people we’ve never met and find that they are believers, and so can understand more deeply how to help us.

It is just past 7 a.m. here, and I happened to glance out our front living room window. It faces north, and the sky is just cloudy enough to be an intense pink-orange shade fading to pastels as the sun rises east of us and paints the sky with glory. It’s as if God is saying, “Good morning, Dear One! I’m here, I love you, and it will all be well. Trust Me. Always trust Me. If I can control the universe, I can certainly control this curve ball you’re dealing with. Besides, I knew a long time ago that it was coming. Don’t be afraid.”

Life goes on. There will be other curve balls, fast balls, strikes, balls, outs, and home runs. Our job? Keep working, and trust God.