Humbled in the Face of Affliction

You are never too old to be humbled.

Isaiah 48:10 “See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”

Many of you might already know of my daughter’s upcoming open heart surgery on Thursday, December 14, 2017. As a child of the King, I know this is in His hands. I trust Him. But…as a mother, I must admit I hold some fear. Mother’s are supposed to take care of their children. That’s how God made us! Yet, even as my cherished child is facing this affliction, she has been praying for me! I am humbled.

She, too, is a mother, so she understands how a mother’s heart works. And she prays for me. And I am humbled. I am the mother. Praying is what I do. I pray for her, for her health, and for every aspect of her life. I have done this since I first knew of her existence, knit in my womb, placed into my care by God.

That’s what mothers do.

I cry when I realize I am the recipient of her prayers as she faces this operation which will save her life.

I’m puzzled when the doctors ask me if she ever had Rheumatic Fever. Never did any of her doctors diagnose her with this childhood disease. She was always struggling with health issues, troubled by multiple bouts of bronchitis, strep throat, and pneumonia, but never did I hear the words rheumatic fever. But rheumatic fever is what causes mitral valve stenosis.

I question how this happened. Did I miss something along the way? Ah, but this is Satan whispering in my ear. And I must not listen. Whatever happened, happened. And now she is now going through a fire.

God promises that even though He allows us to go into the fire, He will never leave our side. He will walk through it with us. If He brings us to it, He will bring us through it. And that is where my trust is tonight.

My daughter is being refined. She is being transformed. She is one of God’s miracles and He is going to do another miracle with her. When she comes out on the other side, it will be to His glory! She is a living testimony of how God prepares us to bring honor to Him.

Right now God is holding me up. I feel as if I’m riding on His wings, flying as the eagle flies through a storm. This, I believe, is not only about my faith, but about my daughter’s faith and her prayers for me.

I kneel in His presence…human, hopeful and humbled.

An Open Slate Lazy Kind of Saturday

I love a Saturday where I don’t have any outstanding obligations. There are so many things I need to get done on Friday and Saturday, I rarely have a day like today!

It doesn’t matter that it’s my day to sleep in, the cats know when they expect to be fed and refuse to acknowledge that Saturday is a day Mom can stay in bed a little later than usual. So at 6:30 this morning, I’m feeding three hungry cats. Once I’m out of bed, my eyes and body are wide awake, so going back to those warm covers is not an option.

Once the cats are fed they have no issues with taking a long nap! They each have found their preferred spot for the day.

Do you realize how difficult it is to scoot an office chair when you have a cat balanced on the back of it? It is definitely a challenge!

Wilbur prefers to sleep on the back of my office chair so he doesn’t miss anything I’m doing!

I really don’t mind the cats sleeping on my bed, but I do put a protective cover over the comforter. It’s especially nice when one does this just before I go to bed because they warm it up nicely!

Charlotte prefers my bed

Three beds…three cats…only one chooses to use this today. Bless his heart, Templeton is almost too big to fit!

Templeton likes his bed

With all of them snoozing, I can now plan my Saturday. First on the agenda was cleaning out two drawers of my desk. Check that off my list!

When I’m finished with my writing time, I want to do some coloring. I have some pages to finish shading and a new one to finish coloring. It’s very relaxing, especially if you listen to Christmas music!

The book I’m currently coloring

Picture to finish shading

new pic I’m working on

I will find time to squeeze in walking on the treadmill and listening to an audio book. This is my favorite way to exercise. Then I will find time on this Saturday to watch Hallmark channel.

Right now, I’m headed to the kitchen for another cup of tea! Hope your Saturday is filled with all things you “want” to do.

Wishing you a blessed day!


 

 

After Seventy Sunday

I’m not sure how your Sundays go, but mine are lovely. My cats always wake me up between 6 and 6:30 am. I’m lucky if I make it to 6:30. If you’ve never had a cat to act as an alarm, let me tell you, there is NO snooze button!!

So, this lovely fall Sunday morning, I was awakened at 6:15 am. The first item on the agenda is feeding the three starving cats clamoring around my feet. Then, my slippered feet lead me to the bathroom to clean out the cat litter. (Yeah, I never thought about the inconvenience of not having a basement to house the litter. Now there is a super large cat litter box in the utility room, which is off the spare bathroom.) This requires a constant vigil on my part, but I have digressed already.

I post on Facebook and watch for the sunrise. Some mornings it is spectacular, others a little less so, like this morning.

I head for church at 8:30 am. Sunday school with lively discussions takes place at 9:00 am, followed by church at 10:30 am.

Pastor always has those in the Narthex, gather together before service, hold hands and we pray. He did tell us he was going to do something that had never been done before in service today and to be prepared.

Let me tell you there is never a dull moment in church. Today our pastor was completely fired up and he even broke into song and dance with a song from The Police in the 80’s. I think it is called “Oh, Lord God”, but the chorus is a repetition of “Fill me Up!” Pastor sang the song, the congregation stood and clapped along. Oh, there is never a dull moment with Pastor Vaughn Cook! We were all fired up about being filled up by the Holy Spirit.

There is always a problem when Pastor forgets to follow the lineup in the bulletin. Thus he forgot to dismiss the children for Children’s church…and he forgot to kick off Operation Christmas Child Shoebox program. Not so bad, but when he forgot to tell the congregation there was a mistake in the bulletin and there was NOT going to be a potluck next Sunday, I began to panic. Especially when people began to leave after going up and placing their offerings in the plate. The band was about to launch into the last song, when I got brave and walked to the front and whispered in Pastor’s ear not to forget to announce there was no potluck next Sunday. He said he would do that.

So I watched as more people began to leave and then Pastor said, “We had two angels come to our church this week. An angel named Lee and one named Roger. They came with a truck bed filled with coldpatch. And I went out and was informed they had an extra shovel, so I helped fill all the potholes in our parking lot!”

Um, oh, no. I cringed. He had heard potholes instead of pot luck.

All the people left as he dismissed church and I was frantically wondering what we would do when people began arriving with pot luck dishes next Sunday. Only some might, because as I caught Pastor leaving the Sanctuary, I said, “Um, Pastor, I said pot luck, not pot holes.” You could read the panic in his face.

He began running through the Narthex yelling, “We are NOT having a potluck next Sunday!”

Sigh.

So I left knowing I will receive a lot of phone calls, and have a lot of explaining to do next week. Being a Pastor’s assistant is always…shall we say…interesting? And I’ll say a prayer or two that people will not just show up with food.

My afternoon was topped off by having lunch with my dear friend, Sharon, while we laughed and laughed about the service.

As I sit here on my front porch enjoying the breeze as the sun is hidden behind the clouds, I can honestly say Pastor Vaughn truly did have a service like we’d never experienced before!

Hey, that makes life very interesting when one is past seventy!

Two Old Ladies and a Futon

A futon seemed to be the best solution for a bed in my office/spare bedroom. Also, it would give me a place to be comfortable while reading or watching television until my living room furniture arrived.

So, I told my friend Sharon about my plans. “Hey, I saw a nice futon at Sam’s Club,” she said. “I can take you there. If you decide to buy it, I’ll help you put it together.”

Well, I knew it wouldn’t be as easy to put together as she thought, but I wanted to browse around and until I found the perfect futon. So, last Thursday after work, we headed out to shop.

The one at Sam’s was gorgeous. Leather (or look-alike) and big…and very heavy…and did I mention BIG? There was no way we could put that into my RAV4. Plus, I remembered how Wilbur had chewed the fake leather on my late hubby’s brand new reclining bike!

So I decided to look elsewhere, but before we left, I signed up for a card so I could shop there again. (Don’t ask me…I don’t know why. When you are over 70, you sometimes have to make spontaneous decisions. You know, to make you remember your youth. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

The next store we ransacked searched was Big Lots. Right in the middle of the store in full view as we entered, stood lots of furniture. My feet hurried to the center and immediately I spied the perfect futon. Well, except for the metal arms instead of wood. But one can’t always be picky. The mattress was perfect, well, the one I chose was perfect. A nice brown shade and 10 inches thick.

The clerk, a beefy young guy, said they had both pieces in stock. He assured us it would be easy to assemble. My response, “Look at me. Do you really think it will be easy?” Sharon asked if he would be willing to come along and assemble it for us. Needless to say, that humor fell on deaf ears.

After telling him we had two SUVs, the models, colors, size of wheels…no, just kidding. Only that mine was a RAV4, which he said his parents had and the futon would fit inside.

Purchase secured. Two young beefy guys loaded the futon in my SUV and the mattress in Sharon’s. Off we went to the condo for some easy assembling fun.

Did I mention this was Sharon’s idea?

We had no trouble carrying the actual futon, in it’s nice sturdy box, into the condo. (Sigh. Another box to break down and stack with the others for Monday’s trash pickup). Once we accomplished that piece, we stumbled, grunted, and lifted, slid the mattress into the condo.

I was already tired. But not Sharon. She began opening the box and pulling out all those pieces and parts, including a million screws, nuts, and bolts…and one tiny bolt wrench and two tiny allen wrenches.

Unlike most men, women go about things by following directions. We started by laying out all the parts and assuring we had the correct number of each. Then we looked at Step 1.

The problem we immediately deduced was the pictures were not at all like the parts. The assembly piece which seemed to be the one that would make the futon lay flat or fold upright was not flat like the picture showed. And it would not flatten out by our trying to manipulate it. So we made sure the spring was on the correct side and began inserting the screws and bolts.

The instructions said to use a specific wrench for the first screws, but that was incorrect. The smaller one didn’t fit at all. In fact, we never had to use the smaller one in the entire process!

I tried to put in some of the bolts/screws to give Sharon’s hand a rest, but when the wrench slipped and I only missed her eye by an inch, I noticed she took over completely while I just held things in place. Her comment afterward, “I didn’t think you’d notice that,” shows her sense of humor!


Getting down to the end, we couldn’t figure out how to raise the frame to complete the final pieces. So we decided we must have put one of the pieces on upside down. While Sharon began taking it apart, I moved to the opposite side, and…whoa! I just pushed in the right place and that side moved!


So after belly laughing and rolling on the floor, and then my making a run for the bathroom, Sharon put the piece back on…the way she had done so in the first place.

In only 2-1/2 hours of work, we’d done the impossible. The futon was complete! We did sit on it to test it out and decided even though we were now experts, we didn’t want to add this to our resume because we didn’t want to have a future in assembling futons!

Yes, we had earned a nice meal out, topped with a wonderful toffee cheesecake for dessert.

Who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks?

And the cats approved!


 

Living Among Packing Boxes

There are packing boxes in every room, except for my office. I’m sitting here right now and looking through the window at a beautiful full moon! It’s one joy of shorter days, when one can wake up and enjoy both a clear view of the moon and the beauty of a sunrise.

Wednesday afternoon I heard the news that closing date for both the house and the new condo were set for Friday (today)! I’d been slowly packing boxes, but just things that I don’t use on a regular basis.

So now the time to get serious had arrived! I called in and scheduled time off work, bought moving boxes and spent all day yesterday filling them.

My back is sore, my rooms are filled with boxes and I forget to look down and trip over them. So glad it is cool enough weather to wear long pants!

So, today is the day. I’ll sign all those papers and sleep in this house one more night. It has been nearly 8 weeks of inspections, appraisals, gathering paperwork, changing closing dates, and now the time has actually arrived! I think I’ll be a little sentimental when I walk out of the house for the final time. One doesn’t spend 33 years in one place and easily let go, but God has given me a lovely place to spend the rest of my earthly life and I’m ready to move those packing boxes and unload them again in a new destination.

I met the buyer yesterday by accident. They were supposed to do the final walk through at noon, but they showed up at 11:20 while I was vacuuming those stairs I’m so ready to leave behind. They came in and I could see how excited she was. Just as excited as I am about the condo! I hugged her and told her I hoped she would be as blessed in the house as I have been over the years. It made my heart happy to see how much she already loved my home.

So this morning we meet one more time over a table as we sign paperwork. It will be a bittersweet day, but one I’ve anticipated for a long time. Tomorrow my packing boxes will be loaded onto a truck and moved, along with some furniture and three cats who are wondering what is going on.

Life is an interesting journey. Especially life after 70. Talk to you soon from my new location and I’ll be sharing pictures. Until then, may God bless you and yours. Please remember to pray for those who have been and will be affected by the latest hurricanes.