Here’s To A Snowy Day

Sunday night snow began falling and we had several inches on the ground when I woke. As I was taking pictures through the storm door, Templeton saw the snow collected in the corners of the glass and tried to lick it. LOL! Poor little confused cat!

Monday was a perfect day to stay inside. I need to buy a filter for my house humidifier as the inside humidity has been 24 degrees. I so dislike getting shocked every time I reach for a light switch. But there was no way I was venturing out. Instead I nurtured a pan of boiling water on the stove throughout the day. Didn’t help much, so I will get that filter as soon as the weather allows.

I was able to Skype with my dear friend who is also my accountability writing buddy. We haven’t been able to visit face to face much in the past two years, so Skype is a wonderful tool for us.

Spent 30 minutes on the elliptical as well as working through another scene in the book. All in all it was a productive sort of day.

Snow days are kind of fun for me! I am thanking God for the beauty of the snowfall, the joy of watching a younger than me neighbor walking in the snow to look at the pond, and remembering the days when I used to shovel snow and enjoy it! God’s handiwork is always indescribably beautiful!

The Joy of Writing

When I felt led to come out of retirement and begin writing again, I admit there was trepidation. Doubt slithered in…it came from Satan. Though I knew this, I’m human and I harbored feelings about whether I could actually write a book.

So I turned to prayer. Whenever doubts arise, only God can provide the truth. If this was His calling, I wanted to answer yes. For several weeks, I sought God’s guidance. I’m sure He got tired of listening to the same old whiny cry.

Then I decided to step out in faith. If this was God’s will, He would provide everything I needed, including the confidence. I changed my prayer and asked instead if God would bring back the joy of writing again.

I remembered the hours I would lose myself in listening to my characters and seeing their story play like a movie in my mind. Finally, I took action. I opened the book I’d started several years ago. The story line and plot were solid. I knew it would be one of my best books ever.

As I read through the first two chapters, adding more depth to the scenes, I found myself immersed in the emotions the characters felt. I saw them as the scenes played out and lost myself in the joy of writing.

God gets the glory! This story is one He laid on my heart to write and I know He is revealing how it is to be written. I have a lot of cutting to do in the finished chapters and a lot of new chapters to take their place. God revealed where I had gone astray and how I needed to fix this.

Oh, how I’m enjoying the process of creating though writing. Isn’t God awesome?

The Little Faith Sheep

It is Thursday evening as I write this post for Friday morning. I returned home from my small group gathering a short time ago. We were finally able to have our little Christmas party which we postponed several times due to illnesses.

Oh, the wonderful food made by everyone! We had veggie pizza, banana muffins, chicken salad on croissants, cheeseball and crackers, grapes, pretzel candies, apple pie biscuit bombs, and vanilla ice cream. Needless to say we had plenty of delicious food to eat.

Our table conversation had many elements. We talked about fish. All kinds of fish and seafood, including sushi. Should say everyone else talked about fish they liked…shark, octopus, red snapper, crab, salmon…and I just shuddered. I am not a fish or seafood lover. Some of the things they talked about made me wish I hadn’t eaten prior! Like fish prepared with the head and tail intact, including eyeballs! Oh, no!!

Finally we switched to talking about our churchwide fasting and what each of us had decided to give up. We talked about our prayers and scriptures. We all shared different things and what we were doing. I told them about the more in-depth Bible studying I’m doing this year and about my verse mapping journal.

Then we decided to play our game with the presents we had brought. We picked numbers and chose a gift, opened it and then another person would choose, decide if they wanted to open the gift or exchange with someone who had already opened a gift. Not a single person chose to exchange. I was delighted with the little faith lamb I received.

It is sitting by my monitor on my desk to remind me to keep faith as I write. I know God is leading me and whenever Satan tries to place doubt, I will be reminded about having faith and trusting God when I look at the sheep.

It has been a wonderful day and a good week. I’m enjoying the evening quiet time so much. Why did I ever think television was a good thing? Until Monday…may your weekend be filled with God’s blessings.

Guess What I Learned Yesterday!

I had my annual ophthalmologist appointment yesterday morning at 8:00am. Why I keep scheduling all my appointments that early is a question even I can’t answer! Even if I set my alarm to get up at 6am, I have trouble sleeping. Even took a 2 hour nap yesterday afternoon!

So what did I learn that surprised me? He also does botox injections and eyelid lifts! So I don’t understand why my primary care doctor sent me to the other guy. I mean, my primary care doctor is the one who sent me to my regular eye doctor three years ago so I would get a diabetic eye exam yearly. Sigh.

But I learned more about how common the botox injections are for eye twitching problems. And why eyelid lifts are important if the peripheral vision is impaired. But since my eye twitch isn’t affecting my eyesight at all, there is no reason to even discuss it at this time. Same with the drooping eyelids.

My ophthalmologist, let’s call him Dr. M so I don’t have to keep typing that long word, is wonderful. He has a very pleasant manner and he takes time to listen and provide answers. I do have cataracts which he is watching and will require future removal. He explained they are part of the problem I’m having with extreme sensitivity to sunlight. He even suggested two things that may help. One is to get a darker tint on my glasses and the second is to buy sunglasses that completely encase my glasses and provide a tinted side window. They may not be pretty, but if they help I’m going for it. They didn’t have the right size yesterday, but Friday they will be in.

He also cautioned me about keeping my blood sugar numbers stabilized. While there is no arterial damage behind the eye caused by the diabetes, the changes in prescription have been caused by the diabetes. So I’m on a mission this year to lose weight and do a much better job of balancing my blood sugar.

As we age, so many things begin to give out. These earthly tents weren’t made to last. Sometimes it is hard to accept when we have an eternal soul. My mind still wants to think I’m young until my body screams “stop!” LOL!

I want to live each day to the fullest and with joy. This is how God wants our lives to be. I’m fasting along with my church for 21 days and I gave up eating after dinner and all evening television. I must say the evening quiet time is quite refreshing and relaxing. I’m spending more time in prayer and reading. Since I begin my day with Bible Study this seems to add a balance to my day. Start and end with Jesus!

Thanking God for the three wonderful doctors who are all willing to listen and have such a calming spirit. Until next time…

I Didn’t Expect It To Be Fun

…and it wasn’t! I spent most of the day working on my fiction writing. Well, not writing but setting everything up. First I had to finish the Books by Carol Ann Facebook page. That took most of the morning.

Next I wanted to update the Books page on this blogsite. I added the links to the books on Amazon and added blurbs about each book. That took most of the time right after lunch.

Since I’m fasting from watching television in the evenings, I decided to make sure I still had the partially written book from 2019. I searched and searched but couldn’t find it on my laptop, nor on the flash drive. I had moved the desktop computer into my bedroom for safekeeping so I decided to check it. Yay! I found it. I copied it to the flash drive, but then I began thinking how much I enjoyed writing on the desktop because of the larger monitor. The only problem is I need a pull-out drawer for the keyboard because my desk is a bit high for me to do a lot of writing without having issues.

I began thinking about a small portable table I have that slides under the sofa so I can color or diamond paint in the living room. It might be just the right size to hold the desktop and keyboard and at a good height. Oh, those thoughts we get when we want to make something work!

Actually, the all-in-one computer fit perfectly on the little table. The mouse, though, wouldn’t fit alongside the keyboard. Then I turned to look at the desk again. If only I had a pull-out drawer for the keyboard. I could also keep my laptop there. Sigh.

Then the brainstorm hit. I bet the table would slide under the desk and it would hold the laptop and the keyboard! So I moved the all-in-one desktop computer to my desk and plugged it in. Sure enough the table works perfectly underneath the desk. I just need to be a little careful when I slide it out.

Happy with the new setup, I turned on the computer so I could update to the newest version of my writing program. The download went great, but then I had trouble entering the license key. Part of the problem was trying to see around the cat who was insisting on sitting right in front of the monitor. After four tries, I was sure they would think I was trying to steal the license! On the fifth try I succeeded and was happy to see the notice that I could legally use the purchased software on more than one computer.

Now the book is ready to for me to complete. I’ve saved it on both computers and the flash drive just as a precaution. But looking at the clock I saw it was 9:30pm. I’m usually in bed around this time, but I had to write a blog. So here I am!

Thanking God for giving me patience to accomplish what was needed to get back to the business of writing!

Until next time…

Tribute to a Homeless Man

I think of the homeless often in the winter months and I pray for them. Knowing their plight could easily be mine, makes me even more grateful for my warm home.

A few years ago, I worked in the office of the church I attended. The biggest blessings I received were interacting with people of many different stages of life. One I want to tell you about today.

His name was Wayne and he was homeless. I’m not sure how he became homeless, but I know he preferred living like this. Wayne often helped out in our Food Pantry, and he often stopped in to ask me for a favor or to see if I had any work he could do.

I would look up addresses for him of people who lived in other states, usually Florida. I understood these to be members of his family. He was so kind and friendly and I enjoyed chatting with him.

Sometimes I would see him walking along the road and he’d wave at me. Eventually he received a bike and after that I’d see him riding from place to place. Wayne lived in a tent and provided for himself by doing odd jobs for people. I ran into him in a grocery store several times. One time he told me he’d been ill with a cold, so I prayed for him to get well.

One summer day, I locked myself out of my car at the local post office. Wayne walked by and stopped to see if I was all right. I explained I was waiting for AAA to come and help. We chatted for a few minutes and I asked what he was doing. He told me there was someone in the little housing area across the road who had a job for him. When the AAA truck showed up, Wayne waved goodbye and left.

One day Wayne came into the church and asked if he could borrow two dollars because he needed to do laundry. It was the first time he had ever asked for money. I felt led to help him. I gave him five dollars. He was so grateful and promised he would pay me back. I didn’t really care if he did or not. He was a friend in need.

Less than two hours later, Wayne returned and handed me five dollars. He had followed through on his word and wouldn’t keep the money when I told him it was okay.

Wayne considered himself a “watchman” for the Lord. He loved Jesus and wrote about how God had called him to be a watchman. He shared those writings with me. Carefully written text on yellowed paper testifying to his calling. Inside were warnings about retribution for sin.

Many people discounted Wayne and even made fun of him, but I believe he was called by God for a reason and he made an impact on my life. I learned not to judge another person because of how they looked or how they lived.

I learned this evening that Wayne passed away over the weekend. I have tears in my eyes as I write this because he will be missed. But I know he has made his final journey to heaven and will receive his crown.

Leaving you with a word to be kind to others and never look down on anyone. The greatest blessing you might receive could come from someone from whom you least expect. Until next time…

Botox? Um, No Way!

Since October, I’ve had problems with the muscle under my eye spasming – like jumping up and down. It hasn’t been painful, just a little offsetting every time I look in a mirror.

I visited my primary care doctor the middle of November and he had no idea what was causing it. He took a video to send off for consultation. I was referred to an ophthalmologist on the 21st of December. I left the visit with elevated blood pressure.

The doctor is part of an eye surgery practice. When he entered he looked at the paperwork, reading it out loud. Then he stood at a distance and perused my face. “I can see it,” he said. Next, he walked forward and put his hands on my eyelids lifting them. “I can fix the droopy eyelids. Medicare will pay for it.”

What? That isn’t why I’d come. So I replied, “Not interested in doing that. It isn’t why I’m here.”

“Okay,” he said. “I’ll be right back with a botox injection.”

“Wait! What? I’m not interested in getting botox, especially having a needle that close to my eye.”

“Medicare will pay for it. There’s nothing to it. The lady who just walked out had it done. Besides, I’m good at it.”

Can you tell my blood pressure was already rising? “What is botox going to do? It’s not a cure, right?” I asked.

“Well, no. We’ll schedule you back again in three months for another injection.”

“Right. You want me to come in on a regular basis for botox injections. What is causing this eye issue?”

“I don’t know.” He came closer and looked. “But botox will sometimes relax the muscle and it will ease.”

“But it will return and I’ll have to come back, right?”

“Right.”

“So there is no cure. Look, I’m not a vain person. I’m not interested in getting routine botox injections, especially if you don’t know what this is and there is no guarantee.”

“Suit yourself. Come back in a month after you have time to think about it.” And with that he walked out.

I left with my blood pressure at a point that my head was hurting. I mumbled to myself all the way home. He was so arrogant and I felt all he cared about was getting money from Medicare! No way am I ever going back. If I have to have any future eye surgery, like cataract removal, I will not go to this doctor.

My eye is still having spasms, but they have lessened. I’m sure stress causes the problem to worsen like Christmas stress and having a cat with special needs. Now that the holidays are over, I’m more calm.

This week I’ve begun my new yearly focus on Bible study. As such I only colored one picture. I worked on it a couple hours a day for six days. The book is called “The Baker’s Dozen.” I’m now past the halfway point of finishing. It’s an illustrated story book. This is the book I want to finish in 2022.

Looking forward to a quiet week, with the exception of visiting my regular ophthalmologist for my yearly exam. Wishing you all a healthy week filled with many things to smile about. Until next time…

Time For…The Dentist Visit

My dental visit was scheduled for 8:00am this morning, which happened to be the coldest morning of this winter. Snow on the ground, wind chills near zero, 13 degrees F. Roads were a little dicey, but navigable.

Last night I went to bed telling myself I would call and cancel the appointment. I’d use an excuse like “I am coughing, so I don’t think I should come in.”

I woke at 6:30am and decided to snuggle a little longer in the warm covers until the auto thermostat cued heat at 7:00am. I woke again at 7:15am. I really wanted to call and cancel the appointment, but I knew I couldn’t lie. So, I fed the cat, showered, brushed my teeth, dressed in my warmest clothes, and at 7:55am, I left.

I don’t like visiting the dentist. With Covid variants so rampant right now, the thought of sitting with my mouth open for any length of time in a dentist chair is not appealing.

The first thing my dental hygienist did was take me to a room to have a wrap around x-ray which occurs about every five years. Unexpected. Like having a mammogram, I had to hold onto the machine and place my chin (not my boob) on a small flat area that was too high for me to reach. She kept lowering it so I wouldn’t have to stand on tip-toe. Then I had to bite down on a plastic piece and smile! Really? The x-ray only took a few seconds, and I was happy to move to another room.

My hygienist is very friendly. And she likes to talk. After settling in, I mentioned I should take off my glasses so I wouldn’t get splatter marks. Know what she said? “I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but we are supposed to tell people to leave their glasses on in case I should slip and poke your eye.” What? So I asked, “What about the people who don’t wear glasses?” She said, “I don’t know! I suppose we should give them safety glasses or something.”

All my years of going to the dentist, I’ve never heard this before. She was treating it lightly and I’m sure no one in the office were given safety glasses! I decided to leave my glasses on.

My exam went smoothly as always. The part I dislike the most is when she measures the gum recession to see if there is any disease. The number 5 means disease is present. Thankfully, almost all my numbers were 1.

I returned home exactly one hour after I had left. Honestly, I was happy I went. And when we scheduled my six month visit, I asked for a later time of day, because the older I get, the more I enjoy sleeping in a little.

Next week I have my ophthalmologist yearly visit. Which reminds me I do need to fill you in on what happened at an eye specialist visit in December!

I’m grateful that I only see my primary care doctor twice a year, my dentist twice a year, my cardiologist twice a year, and my ophthalmologist once a year. I keep urging all my body parts to hang in there with me. I know things could be a lot worse. Overall, I’m healthy for my age and I thank God for this.

May your day be filled with beautiful things! Until next time…

My Verse Map Journal

For Christmas, my oldest daughter gifted me a Verse Map Journal. I had heard about Bible verse mapping and even watched a few videos. There were various was to do this, but I didn’t feel motivated to try.

I knew I wanted to spend more time reading God’s word. This year I chose a 3-year Bible reading plan. I needed more than to just read the Bible through again. Along with reading in a different Bible (The Jeremiah Study Bible by David Jeremiah), I would read several commentaries and research any questions arising from my reading for the day.

The first thing I learned was the Bible didn’t allow enough room for me to write all the information uncovered. So I ordered an interleaved Bible, something I’d been thinking about for a long time. This will allow me to record everything I want to remember. In just the first five chapters, I’ve written and gleaned lots of new information. Even though I’ve read the entire Bible several times, each time I learn something new! This year I’m taking time to not just read, but to actually study every single verse. It is very eye opening.

The verse mapping journal my daughter gave me is beautiful. It was designed by Lauren James and is using “The James Method.” You can learn more by visiting her website. The way I am going to use this journal is to look more deeply into a scripture that I want to remember and/or study deeper. I began with a familiar verse hoping it wouldn’t be too difficult. I decided not to worry if it didn’t turn out perfect because that wasn’t the purpose. I didn’t care to make it a showpiece, but to be a record I could turn to in the future.

“A person’s heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps.” (CSB)

My word for this year is Prayer. I know I need to pray before making any decisions instead of acting on an idea without seeking God’s guidance. This verse goes hand in hand with my word (derived after praying until I felt God revealing what I needed to do to change myself).

We are all at different stages in our Christian walk. I believe all the years of raising children, being a wife, a grandmother, and a great grandmother have been spent learning about myself and about God. No matter how many times I strayed, He waited for me to return. No matter the wrong roads I chose, He led me into a better place. He has always been with me, even when I didn’t feel Him there.

Now in these “golden years,” I realize how much I need Him and have always needed Him. He has never failed me. Looking back I see very clearly when He has saved me, not just spiritually, but physically. I am enjoying spending more time with Him in my daily walk this year.

May God smile upon you today. Don’t forget to smile back. Until next time…

Oh, Those Scrambled Words!

For Mother’s Day my youngest daughter gifted me a puzzle book filled with various types of Bible related puzzles. There are crosswords, word search, cryptograms, and so many more. The ones that are the hardest for me are word scrambles.

You’d think these should be the easiest for me since I’m a writer. Honestly it took me a week to solve this puzzle:

My mind struggles to find words that make sense. If each letter was on something tangibly moveable, I’d do much better. But something about doing this visually in my mind becomes very difficult. I want to solve it myself and not refer to the answers in the back. I only look after I’ve finished to make sure I’m right.

It’s my belief that no matter how old we are, we need to engage our thinking processes. I love to learn and I’ve always loved to solve puzzles. Maybe that’s why math was fun for me in school. I planned to be a college math teacher…but my path turned in a different direction. Today I couldn’t solve a calculus problem if I was promised a huge reward!

I love the scripture: “A person’s heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps.” (CSB) Every single day I have plans for what I want to accomplish. Sometimes they come to fruition, other times not. I believe one of the things we need to develop as we age is how to be flexible.

I have a routine to follow. Most of us do. But if we get frustrated when that routine is disrupted, we are not living life the way God would have us live. We need to learn patience, and how to find joy in the disruptions of life. Those can be great blessings in our day or not. In both cases, we need to turn to God and thank Him or to seek His guidance and comfort.

Aging is probably the hardest thing we live through. But we shouldn’t get upset about the wrinkles, the pull of gravity on the body, the gray hairs, and the aches and pains. Instead open a puzzle book, work a jigsaw puzzle, build a model, paint, knit, or find a new hobby to learn! Keep the brain active.

I have a suggestion. Try Bible verse mapping. That’s my newest venture for 2022. Don’t know what it is? Look it up or stay tuned for my next post!

Until next time…