Another Blue Winter

My usual winter blues have arrived in full force.  February has always been a very difficult month for me.  Obviously cold is not the problem.  We have had record warm temperatures for a while.  Is it the low sunlight?  Probably.

Compounding the problem is what my health care provider and I believe is fibromyalgia.  I started a prescription medication today.  The pain and fatigue is constant in different levels of intensity.  The kind of ache that occurs with fever or the flu.  All the time.  I have sought help for this several times over the years.  Most providers just dismiss my complaints as stress and depression.  I told this one I don’t care what she calls it.  Just give me something to help me feel better.  It will take a few weeks to get results.  Interestingly, this time my trip to the provider was not from a feeling of desperation.  I have a feeling of positive expectation to have my symptoms relieved.

Despite this problem, I think I finally have what I need to complete a long standing project.  Family photos.  I am certainly not a scrap booker. I have boxes of photos I want to put into regular photo albums.  Over the years I have sorted through the stacks. I have passed along and throw away stacks and stacks.

I want to state how I came upon the albums.  I was on the way to the doctor’s office.  I was thinking of the things I wanted to look for in the city shops.  Suddenly, I was impressed to pray over “my plans”.  I had photo albums on my list among other things.   About the only thing I purchased were the albums and additional pages to fill them.  The rest of this story is that they were on sale half price.  I got them at Hobby Lobby.  I picked up a sheet of pretty poster board paper for something else for a couple of dollars.  That was it.  Nothing else purchased despite stopping at several places looking for some things on my list.

A definite yes.  That is how I am trying to operate these days.  When shopping, when cleaning and sorting, when doing anything, I am seeking a definite yes.  If I have a maybe, it is a no.  For example, today I went to a department store to check for a pair of shoes.  No shoes found.  But, purses were seriously on sale.  Oh, my! Temptation.  Serious temptation.  I found a purse I liked.  I didn’t love it. But I could think of several positives with it.  I went so far as to have the sales clerk check the actual sale price and got in line with it.  Suddenly, I realized I didn’t have a definite yes decision.  I had reservations about the color and a couple of the details.  I had reservations about buying a purse I could do without.  It does not fit in my 2017 theme to reduce.

He has been intensely concerned and supportive, as usual.  One of my best blessings is him.  I don’t deserve him.  I am very grateful to Him for him.

This is where I am this week. Positive expectation.  Seeking a definite yes.  Reducing distractions.

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One More Week

I have one more week to complete my January plan to finish it or forget it.  I need to make a good push the next couple of evenings.  I need to make sure I haven’t missed anything that I wanted to get resolved.  It is unlikely I will get everything done as intended.

Those big frames are still causing a roadblock.  I haven’t done the project I planned.  It was actually about the third plan for one of three.  I like the idea of the project.  But, I don’t want that hanging on my wall.  What was I thinking? Back to square one.

If I do what I promised myself, the frames have to leave on February 1.  This late in the evening with the week I have had, I don’t know what the outcome will be regarding this matter.

Monday, I went in to the 9-5 in tears.  We have an upcoming audit and I was certain a critical portion of documentation was missing.  He knew of my dilemma and prayed all morning for me.  That afternoon, I found the documentation in my file right where I would have looked had I not been so certain I didn’t have it.  Not only was the paperwork there, it was complete.  That is the power of a praying man.  That is the mercy of a loving Father.

This evening, while riding home from church, I told him he has a red phone directly to Him.  It’s one of those that doesn’t even have a dial.  He just picks up and it rings in Heaven and He answers.  He told me I have the same.  I told him no.  I have to dial my phone.   Someday, perhaps I will have faith as large as his. Meanwhile, I am very grateful and blessed because of his direct red phone connection to Him.

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Her Name is Sally

Last week, he had me wait for him to go to town after work for some Christmas shopping. This may be normal for some husbands. Not mine.  First of all, he works in the town where we were going to shop.  It is about 30 miles for the round trip.  He doesn’t help me Christmas shop. In thirty years, he hasn’t helped me shop much at all.  He had the excuse for this time that he needed to bring the ice chest full of venison home rather than leave it in the back of the truck, and he thought he would help get something for our son-in-law.  So, I met him at the house. To be very clear, his behavior was out of character.

As we rode to town, we talked about what we could get our daughter’s champion and where we wanted to eat supper. He said he had forgotten his uniforms at work.  We made one stop at a clothing shop. Then, we went to the dealership where he is the service manager to get his uniforms. He went in and got his clothes.  After he locked the door, he motioned for me to come around to the front of the building.  I got out and walked around to look at whatever he wanted me to see.

He showed me a beautiful dark smoke gray Jeep. Big mud grips on 20s. Four doors with a big back seat for grandbabies.  He asked me what I thought about the color.  I told him I thought it was pretty. Better than the black I liked.  He said, “You’d better think it is more than pretty.  It’s yours.” He handed me the keys.  I was stunned and cried.  I still tear up at moments.

I asked him why he got it for me. What feelings were behind it?  He simply said, “I just want you to have it.”  That’s him.  He feels deeply. He cries when he talks about our children and their children and our Lord.  But, he doesn’t express his feelings directly with words easily.

Knowing him the way I know him, this is about the grandest show of love and affection ever. I can never repay with such an extravagant gift for him. I can only continue to do my best to take care of him in every way possible.

I did get a comment from him at some point about my never saying anything negative about his getting trucks or boats or cows or whatever he wants. I don’t. He is a grown man and makes his own money. He takes care of me and his family and contributes to the household expenses. What he does with the rest is none of my business. He is very successful in business.  He doesn’t need me telling him what to do.

I expressed praise at church tonight. He was in another room.  I work for the State of Texas.  I have been working on an audit.  I was a little concerned about locating some needed documents in the allotted time.  He called me on his lunch break the other day.  I told him my concerns.  The rest of the day and into the next day, the audit prep smoothed out and everything has fallen into place in half the allotted time. I have no doubt he lifted up me and the situation with the audit in prayer. My praise is about his relationship with our Lord and his great faith and the positive effect their relationship has in my life.

Why is my Jeep called Sally? When he and I married at age eighteen, we had nothing. No job, no money, no car. Nothing but our love and devotion for each other and a certainty that we belong together. One person in the whole world believed we would make it.  She believed we had that special something that would make our marriage last.  We have lasted almost 33 years.  We started dating 34 years ago next month.  We still like each other.  We still love each other.  I would say she was right.  She was my maternal grandmother, Sally.  The Jeep is a symbol of our success.  Our life, our marriage, our love. So, my Jeep is called Sally to remember that someone believed in us from the beginning.

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Centering

I was reading back over my summer journal. I have been really down recently.  I know the primary medicine for this problem is walking.

I have been walking at a local track. It sits beside a busy highway. It is a track.  Round and round.  Not much changes in the view.  Even over the course of weeks, there isn’t much new to notice.  I had become dependent on my iPod for music and checking Facebook or Instagram to battle the boredom and battle the distraction of the cars on the road.

I sometimes astound myself at how stupid I can behave.

Even closer than the track is my park. I always think of it as my park.  I grew up in it along the lake. My grandmother named it.  So much of my childhood and early adulthood was spent there.  I used to always walk there.  I don’t know why I stopped.  I don’t know why I decided the track would be a better choice.

The park has an ever changing view. The park has the lake to see.  That lake reflects light like no other I have ever experienced. There is a chance to see wildlife. There are always memories to meet me.

Today was my third consecutive day to walk it. Already my severe hip pain has lessened.  It is related to my lower back issue.  My inner turmoil seems lessened.  I am feeling centered.

I included a photo on my very first blog post of this circle of trees. I have spent about one minute on each of my three walks standing in the circle and lifting up a prayer to Him.  Standing in the circle, centering.

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Difficult Times

The past few weeks have been trying. Several areas of my life have been in turmoil.  I came home early from the 9 to 5 Monday.  I couldn’t stop crying.

I did what was needed to manage the situation. A little dinner, a little nap, a lot of Scripture and prayer. By the evening, I was better. Drained, but better.

Tuesday was better and today is going fine. Tomorrow is Friday Eve.  So all is well.

The weekend holds promise for a blessed time with the clowns…I mean the girls. Our party theme is clowns and our menu is salads.  I am going retro with a Jell-O molded shrimp salad.  I was thinking maybe my aunt’s Southwestern Salad would be a good one, too.

I should not have been so down after Saturday’s adventures. Fishing, breakfast at the lake, a nap, a buggy ride at the lease.  He and I had a great day.  I was feeling ill on and off all day Saturday, though.  I still don’t know if I was stressed and depressed or fighting a real illness.  That is the thing about the depression. It simulates the symptoms of a cold or the early stages of the flu.  Body aches, fatigue, fuzzy head.  I usually manage the thoughts and feelings pretty well.  Especially the thoughts.  The feelings and the body symptoms are the difficult part to manage.

A lot of prayer, some rest, some talking to golden friends, his nurturing love, His nurturing Love, all worked together to put me on track.

The cherry on top was a short video of a high-kicker from Cali! That made everything grand, again! Funny how grands will do that!

I cannot overstate how grateful I am for the healing I have experienced the past few years. Recovering from the devastating grief our family has suffered has been a slow process.  I still reel from it if I let myself think too much about who is missing in our lives.  But, the future is full of hope.  The future is full of beauty.  The future is full of love.  All the love from all the past loved ones will continue into the future through our generation to the next.

I recently read a book that asked what I would want to be remembered for at my passing. I hope I am remembered for believing in love and the power it holds to restore and renew and prosper the mind, heart and spirit.

My political statement: His Love Matters.

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Beginning, again.

Folks who know me personally will expect this to be about the news we recently received. I am not yet ready to put words to that.

New hope. That is what I want to talk about.  Sometimes we go along and things seem to be flat. Like a Coke sitting open on the counter overnight.  Still sweet, but no fizz.  Life needs some fizz to keep one from becoming flat in the soul.

I have a new hope. Someone who makes all the difference.  More than anything, I have been concentrating on the feeling of hope.  Not the kind of hope when one says “I hope so”.  But, the kind of hope that says the rescue ship is sitting at the shore.

Things have been challenging for us this year. I counted up a dozen crises he had to deal with in a couple of months or less.  His health, the children’s vehicles. A tree falling the wrong way.  He always says “the Good Lord takes care of it”.  And not casually, but with absolute unwavering conviction, he knows He is taking care of all the “its” in our lives.

Some things turned out to be blessings in ways we never imagined. Some things just turned out.  I have often felt my prayers hit the clouds and crashed back down.  He (the Father) showed me a specific and powerful proof that He is listening and working things for my good and His glory to use a cliché.  Truth, though.

Recently, I have been shown some things. I have asked for some things in prayer.  Not so much for something to happen or to be granted.  My salvation is secure and I am “forgiven” in the grand scheme.  I needed to ask His forgiveness for some other things and truly acknowledge in my own heart that He granted those petitions.  I asked Him to change my “heart-itude” about some issues.  I asked Him to let me pray for certain things with a pure and sincere heart.

Some special things have occurred that directly impact my outlook and my direction. He also reminded me of a truth I have let get too far from my thoughts.  If His plans agree with mine, I will retire in just over three years.  I am fairly young for that to happen.  But, in my heart of hearts I am a homemaker.  I enjoy taking care of the physical structure we call home.  Additionally, I am a writer.  Perhaps, someday I will even be an author.  Meanwhile, I have new hope growing in California.

My photo was taken late winter. The tree is still bare and the sun is setting.  But there is the hope of spring and the dawn of a new day very near.  So it is with me at this time.  Very near are He and he.  Very near is new hope.

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He Answers Prayers

Over the past few days, I have seen Him answer prayers. Some prayers are for newly developed situations.  Some prayers have been ongoing for many months.

Our friend recently became very critical from seizures. His father and mother are longtime friends of ours.  Our children and our ill friend played together when they were youngsters.  The prognosis was many long weeks of a medically induced coma.  But, He had him sitting in the chair, talking and eating ice cream after only a couple of weeks.

A man we go to church with also had a severe seizure but was home and back at church in a week or so.

Our friend who once was also our pastor has been seeking a pulpit for months. He has been given one by Him just this week.

My beloved cousin is scheduled for surgery tomorrow. (I hope you get to read this tonight.  I love you so dearly.  I expect another answer to our prayer for you.)  Miraculous recovery time from this crisis and I am also going to seek spontaneous permanent remission.  He does that sort of thing.

I have been struggling with anxiety. In the past, my circumstances would have me succumbing to the screaming memmies.  I have several things going on right now.  Not exactly negative, but trials none the less.

I am waiting for an answer about a business matter. I am in charge of a special event at our new church, not knowing even where things are stored.  I am trying to get back in the swing of teaching a Sunday School class.  Hunting season, festival season, the holiday season are all upon us.  Then, the previously mentioned health problems of people I care about concern me greatly.  My baby niece has not been well.  A dear friend is struggling with her marriage.

But, I have been praying. And He has been working on me. I don’t usually show my stress.  Years ago, one lady was shocked and surprised to hear me speak during a ladies’ meeting about my self-esteem, anxiety and depression issues.  She had spent quite a bit of time around me and had no idea I struggled so.

It has been many years since that time. Slowly but surely I have been healing.  From the inside out.  Praying and working on my thought patterns and feelings. Working through grief.  Working through pain.  Working through anxiety.  Praying for answers.  Praying for focus.  Praying for Him to heal people I care about.

Who can know what He is going to do? Why He allows certain things to happen?  Why He lets some things continue and some things end?  One thing is certain.  Most of the prayers I pray are for immediate things of this earth.  However He answers them, I rest in His assurance of my final healing, my final peace.  Complete in Christ.  Doesn’t get any better than that this side of the gates.

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