Sunday Morning Coffee: Recovery

For the last five months or so, I’ve been  pretty useless.  Terry’s had to take over the housekeeping while I sat or lay in bed, nursing my aching back.  I’m definitely better now, with one little setback three weeks ago, and this last few days I’ve resumed some chores as my strength and energy permit.

Do you know what happens to your muscles when you do nothing?  It isn’t pretty. They get flabby, and you don’t have a lot of get-up-and-go. If your lifestyle doesn’t include some purposeful physical activity,  your muscles are going to turn to mush.

It’s not pretty.

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We have a multi-purpose cable  gym downstairs, so I’ve put myself back on the track of better muscles, more strength, more energy.

Friday I did some leg lifts. Thought I was going to die.  But I did them again yesterday, and it was a little better. This is just for starters.  I need to work my arms, shoulders, my core–everything.  And I have to do it carefully so as not to wake the sleeping monster in my lower back.

Thinking about all that, I thought about how quickly we can become spiritually flabby. Skip your Bible reading and Bible study for a week, put aside prayer, miss church?  It’s going to be very easy for Satan to pay you a little visit and direct your thinking to an unhealthy place.  I hate missing church.  I’ve missed more church in the last five months than in my entire life up to now. Breaking that pattern of church attendance can cause a spiritual ennui that drives you right down into depression.

Combine all that spiritual neglect with chronic pain, poor sleep, lack of fellowship with other believers, and you have a recipe for disaster.  It’s time to put yourself back on a spiritual exercise regimen, because you can’t fight Satan if your spiritual armor is missing.

Am I saying this has happened to me?  Yes, absolutely, to a degree. Anyone who thinks that being physically inactive sounds like a wonderful vacation?  Has never been forced into physical inactivity.  Partly because of the work I do with people who are suffering depression, I’ve been aware of my own tendency in that direction.  I’ve been purposeful about keeping up with my Bible study blog because it helps me stay in the Word. I chose to spend more time in prayer, because–not much else to do, right?  Use the time wisely.

Some days it’s been a battle, and some days I’ve just given up and wallowed in the muck, Not often, though.  I don’t like muck.

I am keenly aware that it could–and probably will–happen again. The conditions in my lower back aren’t things that can be cured.  I don’t look forward to the next event, but I’ve learned a little bit about how to deal with it.

 

Sunday Morning Coffee: I Love to Teach

My church hosts a homeschool co-op every other Friday during the school year.  They draw on church members or parents of students who may not attend our church to teach whatever is their expertise. Lots of the students are from other like-minded churches in the area.  This semester, the students are getting science, Spanish, art, gym, and literature.

This is my second year of participating.  Last year, I taught about a dozen high school students how to write a research paper.

This year, we’re doing something a little outside the box, and it’s turning out to be a lot of fun. We’re learning about nursery rhymes and fairy tales, and how they relate to the history and/or politics of their origins.  Of course, many can’t be specifically nailed down, but we’ve had a lot of fun looking things up. The students have done some outstanding writing.

The best thing about this group is that they are all willing and enthusiastic participants. There is absolutely no negative attitude or disrespect. My hat is off to the parents mostly the moms, who have homeschooled these kids and have done an outstanding job of it. Even when we have to spend some time in the dreaded grammatical  corrections that appear in their papers, they are attentive and teachable.

All of this makes my job enjoyable, satisfying, and fulfilling. Any teacher who cares about teaching knows the pleasure of that “AHA!” moment when a student “gets it” after a struggle to do so. 69ee5e2d3c99a4b1f99f0827cfde4f38

The assignment to be turned in two weeks from now involves the parables in the New Testament gospels–the stories Jesus told to help His disciples understood Who He was and what He had come to do. The Master Teacher,  Jesus used stories  that His audience understood, and with which they could identify.

I’m looking forward to what the class has to offer me on this one.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Home Again

Way too many Sunday mornings at home this past few months.  I knew there would be another flare-up in my lower back; I just didn’t think it would come this soon. So here I am, taking pain meds again and waiting for my next steroid injection this coming Thursday. The doctor thinks it’s the sacroiliac joint on my right side.  At some point I’ll have a matched set of incisions.

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So.  I’ve been thinking about this passage:

James 1:2-4

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Here it is in my own words:  “Be  joyful when different trials come.  Know that testing helps you develop patience, and  that patience, when it is mature,  will help you to become mature and complete in your faith,  and content  in what you have. ”

Let me emphasize again that this is only  my own interpretation of the verses. You may disagree with the way I paraphrased it, and that’s okay.  I’m only sharing my own ideas on the passage.

I remember, when I was very young, thinking that when I was a grown-up, I would have all the answers to life’s problems and dilemmas.  Now that I’m all grown up, going to be 70 in July, I am very much aware that  I certainly don’t know all the answers. I will not know all the answers until I go to heaven, and I suspect that once I get there I won’t be terribly concerned with things I thought were so important here on earth.

I find these verses quite comforting. They remind me that God never, ever promised us that believers would have problem-free lives. He did promise that He will walk through the valley of the shadow of death with us; that He will never leave us or forsake us (Psalm 23:4; Hebrews 13:5).

The God Who created my back is still in control. He will give me the grace to endure, and to endure with joy instead of the “poor me” attitude I’ve been dealing with this week.  It is so much easier to descend into whining and complaining than it is to be joyful in spite of circumstances.

It is in reacting with joy, however, that we can mature in our faith.

 

 

Sunday Morning Coffee: The Nosebleed Section

So I had a nosebleed on Saturday morning.  It’s been years, and it took me by surprise.  It was a doozie, and reminded me of the ones I used to have when i was a kid, and even  into my college years.

I was a waitress in the campus dining hall for a while.  One night, I grabbed a bowl of vegetables that had been sitting on the warming shelf, and it was red HOT!  It burned my fingers pretty badly, partly because I took the time to set the bowl down instead of just dropping it.  One of the kitchen guys grabbed me and stuck my hand into some ice water, holding it there long after I wanted to take it out.  Smartest thing he could have done.

I went to the school nurse, who bandaged me up and gave me something a little stronger than aspirin.  I went back to my dorm room and flopped on my bed.  I fell asleep pretty quickly, and woke up when my roommates came in around 9:30. I went down the hall to the communal bathroom, fitted out with a long row of sinks. I turned on the cold water, using my good hand, and splashed my face.  My nose immediately gushed like Old Faithful, making an awful mess down the front of my robe and in the sink. Some of the other girls  turned a lovely shade of green, but one of them  tried to come to my aid.  I assured her it was just a nosebleed, and I knew what to do.  The thing  that was so upsetting to the others seemed to be my bandaged hand, which the nurse had urged me to wear in a sling to keep me from bumping it. They  thought I’d been in an accident or something.

Well, I guess I had.  It was one of the more memorable nosebleeds I’d ever had, for sure.

So why am I telling you all this?

It’s funny how normal events can turn one’s mind to spiritual things.

As I applied pressure to my nose and waited for the bleeding to stop, I thought about the life-giving  blood that we all depend upon, yet some of us get  a bit queasy when we see it  coming from someone else. I thought about all we’ve learned about blood, and all that we still don’t know.

And of course I thought about the blood of Jesus, shed so horribly and yet so lovingly in our behalf. The cleansing, eternal-life-giving blood that  paid the penalty for the sin of all mankind. The importance of His blood to our faith, because if He had not been able to die, to shed His blood, we could not be saved. If He had not come to earth as God in the flesh, He could not have died. The importance of His God/man status  cannot be overstressed, and the importance of His blood sacrifice  is equally vital.

We used to sing hymns about the blood of Jesus a lot more often than we do now.  Here’s one I learned as a child, still just as meaningful now as it was then:

Sunday Morning Coffee: After the Storm

We had a doozie of a storm yesterday, toward evening.It came on fast, wore itself out fast. We’ve had unusually warm temps for this time of year, but it’s back down to a more normal 33 degrees at this moment. Any tulips that were thinking of pushing through the soil have most likely pulled the covers back up and are catching a few more ZZZZZ’s.

As it raged and blew and dumped torrents of water yesterday, I was reminded of Hurricane Sandy that came through 4 1/2 years ago.  We just caught the tail end of that one, and still it uprooted huge trees and did a lot of other damage. We really have no control at all over the weather.

I love storms, always have. There’s just something about the unleashed power of wind, thunder, lightning, rain, or snow that makes me keenly aware of the mighty God Who governs it all, and reminds us every now and then that we are pretty puny.

And of course, as I always do during a storm, I thought of this great old gospel song:

Sunday Morning Coffee: Old Friends

Last night, we attended our annual Old Friends Valentine Party. This event has been taking place for close to 40 years now, when we were all a LOT younger. Faces come and go, depending on many factors, but many who were there last night have been there for a very long time. It is always good to see them, to catch up with them, just to enjoy the fun and fellowship of folks we’ve known and loved for so many years.

We all bring our trademark dishes.  Shepherd’s pie, corn casserole, macaroni and cheese, lasagna, spaghetti pie, ham in a crockpot–endless food, and that doesn’t count the desserts! We all enjoy the food, but the friendship is what really brings us back each year.

There’s always a program of some sort. Pastor Harris, in his 80’s now, is always a pleasure to hear as he brings a short devotional. There is music, there are some fun games, there’s lots of laughter.

I was reminded of this song:

I’m so thankful for old friends, and for newer friends who are quickly becoming  old friends. God has given us such a rich treasure to cherish.

Sunday Morning Coffee: A Random Ramble

Sunday mornings are usually the only days I’m up before Terry is.  Takes me longer to face the public than it does him. And it gives me time to enjoy a quiet hour, savoring my coffee, writing this post.

I didn’t look forward to early Sunday mornings so much back when he was up and gone to make sure all the buses got off on time at church. We had a big bus ministry, and he was the mechanic in charge. Huge job.  It left me, though, on my own to deal with four hungry kids,  two of whom needed help getting dressed. I also tried to get Sunday dinner under way because they’d all be starving by the time we got home from church.

Those were busy years. It was a big church, and I was involved in the music program. I also taught a Sunday school class of 9th grade girls back then, and we tried to have people in for Sunday dinner when we could.  I loved all of it.  I had the energy for it, and because i’m pretty organized by nature, things seemed to get done in a timely manner. We were never late. Terry would get back home for breakfast once the buses were all on their way, and he’d help with whatever chores remained.

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These days, I just take care of myself. We don’t usually eat a big Sunday dinner any more. I’m still up early, because the church we attend now is about 40 minutes away, but my Sunday mornings are quiet. Time for my coffee, time for my Bible, time for my blog. It’s a good things, because I don’t have the energy at 69 that I did at 29.

I’ve been thinking a lot about life changes lately.  We all know changes are coming, but we don’t expect them, often, to come quite the way they do.  I sure didn’t expect to have the physical difficulties that I live with now. Neither did Terry. When he broke his heel over four years ago, we certainly couldn’t predict how much it would change his life.

I’m reading in Genesis right now, and I’m taking my time going through the begats and the length of years those folks lived back then. We consider 80 or 90 to be a good long life. They were just getting started at that age. I’ve wondered what it was like to live for 500 years, 600, 800, sometimes even 900 and change. Did the women bear children when they were 500 years old?  Hmm.  Maybe I don’t want to think about that.

It was different, for sure. Life has certainly changed since then, as we see more and more the results of sin and depravity affecting the life span as well as the world around us.The wars in which we engage are far more costly than they used to be. Even the way we eat limits our lifespan, or at least the degree of good health we enjoy.

As you can see, I’m kind of random this morning.  Lots of things going through my mind and ending up coming out of my fingers.

The one constant for all of my life has been Jesus Christ. I trusted Him for salvation when I was only five.  I am, and always have been, keenly aware of His presence for almost 65 years.

The other constant, for over 47 years, has been Terry. Sometimes I allow myself to consider how my life will change if he dies before I do. I’m of a practical turn of mind, and I need to be prepared. The changes, though, are inevitable.

Of course my children and their children are other constants in my life. They are always running in the background of my days. They are changing, too. My oldest “child” will be 47 in August. His oldest child will be 20 in the fall.

Time seems to me to be condensing. I see it as all packed together tightly. As I approach 70, I am amazed at how quickly I reached this point.

Do I have a point this morning?  Apparently not 🙂

Praying you all have a blessed Sunday.  Enjoy church, if you’re a church-going person. Take some time to ponder on the God Who created all things, and be thankful.