faith, the friends

Doxology

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him above ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

If you know anything about Dixie, you know that she was diagnosed with colon cancer in February.

If you don’t know anything about her, it’s time to catch up:

There is no remedy for love but to love more.

We’re Not Just Whistling Dixie

One minute you’re getting your face bit off and the next minute you’re living in Hintzville.

Is this my new calling? ‘Cuz I’m gonna’ need superhuman strength.

Big Love & Fruit that Lasts

Stuck in the Kitchen Again…

McDonald’s has its pink slime, I have purple.

When I last wrote about my friend, I was cooking like her life depended on it.

And wondering whether she would be incontinent forever.

But then the blessings began to flow on two creatures here below.

On a little beagle and me.

Dixie is now pooping like a normal dog – well, almost like a normal dog. And that is a huge blessing right there.

But there’s more.

Wednesday morning I took her for the 4th of 6 chemo treatments – each 3 weeks apart.  As per the protocol, her oncologist did an ultrasound and some chest x-rays prior to the treatment to make sure the treatments have been working.  If not, he’d switch to something else.

The ultrasound results?

There is no sign of recurrence in her bowels or lymph nodes – lymph nodes are all of normal size.

The doc said a radiologist would look at her chest x-rays to confirm but he saw nothing obvious on them.

So he proceeded with injection number four.

And then yesterday his assistant called with the radiologist’s findings:

Her lungs are completely clear!

Good food, exercise and chemo are keeping the cancer at bay.

And Love. Lots of Love.

Love is healing her.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow…

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Stopping to smell the roses after this morning’s happy walk.

She’ll get the final two injections and then she’ll just be monitored from there.

Hopefully for many happy, healthy years to come…

#grateful #hopeful

 

 

 

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life

Doubly Blessed

 

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My daughter snapped a picture of her graduation cake before we headed to the ceremony. She posted it on Instagram and immediately got tons of likes and an occasional, “I don’t know if I should laugh or cringe.”

“Laugh!,” she replied, “it’s hilarious.”

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“It’s not every day you get hooded,” she said.

And she was right. It was a special day.  Seeing the procession of hooded faculty entering the arena and then watching my daughter exit wearing a hood of her own.

I felt grateful all day.

“Do you feel more important now?,” I asked on the way to the restaurant.

“Not more important,” she replied, “just more accomplished.”

Good distinction.

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Celebratory dinner at The Common Grill. So delicious.

This morning I said, “I get why being hooded yesterday felt special. It’s kind of like you’ve entered the realm of sages, like you’re Obe Wan Kenobe.”

So my daughter is now a Jedi Warrior therapist who will begin her brand new job at 6:00 tomorrow morning.

This morning she got up early to run an errand.

When she returned she presented me with a Mother’s Day card and a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

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I handed it right back to her.

“I didn’t get you flowers yesterday so these are for you.”

“We’ll both enjoy them then,” she said, as she put them in a vase.

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Happy Mother’s Day to me!

Happy Mother’s day to you!

 

 

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the friends

Rambunctious, Gorgeous & Free

As you know from my last post, my family and I are shopping for free and inexpensive Christmas spirit.

Saturday it was a big screen showing of White Christmas, where magic was in the air.

Sunday afternoon my daughter and I walked through a lovely Christmas market.

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Is it just me, or do the trees look like sparkling martini glasses? Though this is a photo of the market at night, we were there in the sunshine.

After dinner my daughter dressed the friends in sweaters and we all – the hub, my daughter, the friends and I – piled into the car, turned the radio to a Christmas music station and drove 20 miles to a drive-through live nativity.

The plan was a quick drive out there, a quick drive through the nativity and home in an hour. But when we crested the hill, we saw a line-up of headlights that looked over an hour long. We thought about aborting our mission, but we got in line instead.

The hour-and-a-half wait was a little hard on the beagle (the hound dog sat patiently in his seat like a good boy), but the program was well done and she was gifted with a dog biscuit by the people who were handing out free HOT (thank you) chocolate and cookies. The beagle tried-to-climb-out-the-window-LOVED the scene that included children and goats. Wish I had snapped a picture of the precious little boy who waved to her, but I was too busy wrestling 20 pounds of tail-wagging enthusiasm.

It was a memorable and completely free family outing – except for the donation, which was freely given.

Last week I was invited, sans family, to two beautiful Christmas events. First, Advent by Candlelight in a stunning setting.

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In a beautiful room filled with gorgeous tables.

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I arrived a little early in order to get a good parking space because my date uses a walker.

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My date: a little blurry, but beautiful inside and out.

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Our lovely hostess was still putting the finishing touches on her table when we arrived.

That gorgeous and soul-warming event was followed the next day by Christmas Tea at a very lovely country club.

I might have snapped a few photos of the posh beauty there, too, had I not been leery of embarrassing my hostess with a faux pas.

Tonight I’ll teach a final lesson before Christmas break and then there will be time to create some beauty right here at home. Lights and ornaments on the tree that is standing here bare and smelling wonderful.

And then it’s cookies to bake and brittles to make…presents to wrap, cocoa to drink and sappy Hallmark-Christmas-movies-that-always-end with-a-kiss to watch.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

P.S. If anyone has a brilliant suggestion for this weekend’s free or nearly free, I’d love to hear them. Christmas concerts at church are already on the list.

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life

It’s the Little Things

The wind has died down, the sun has finally come out and the hub has gone fishing.  But before he left he read to me.  From the Bible.

“Read some of Jesus’ words,” I said.  “I’ve heard enough from Paul.  Not that he didn’t have some good things to say, but he’s not God.”

You all know how I feel about that.

Anyway, with me still on crutches, that was our church today.

And then the hub hightailed it to the lake, leaving me here on the sofa, with a beagle snoring gently beside me, continuing worship by recalling some of the things for which I was grateful this week.

On Tuesday my cleaning lady came.  (Don’t judge me, she only comes EVERY OTHER week.)  She is a huge Slurpee fan and she often tells me about her latest favorite flavor.  This time it was Vernors.  I am not a Slurpee fan – brain freeze – but, what proper Detroit girl doesn’t love Vernors?

As she was leaving, she mentioned that she might stop for a Vernors Slurpee on her way home.

“Hey,” I said, “why don’t you stop at the 7-11 here, near me?  That way, if they have Vernors today, you can text me and  I’ll have the hub stop and get me one on his way home.”

Her eyes brightened and her mouth formed a smile.  She was clearly pleased and heartily agreed to do so.

About ten minutes later the garage door opened.

What’s the hub doing home so soon?

It wasn’t the hub, it was Becky.  Bearing a gift.

Yes, that's a Christmas coaster in June.

Yes, that’s a Christmas coaster in June.

Thanks God, for the little kindnesses that make life wonderful.

P.S.  My brain only froze once.  So that was good.   Momentarily very painful, but good.

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life

Gratifood

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Chilean Sea Bass with Cilantro Beurre Blanc (the silkiest, most delicious beurre blanc I’ve ever had – oh my, oh my), and Pico de Gallo. Oh yes, please.

They say our moods mellow with age.  I would add that the spiciness we enjoy in our foods does, too.  When I was young I liked it the hotter the better, with absolutely no repercussions the next day.

Beggar’s Banquet was a favorite in my college’s town.  They rated each day’s batch of chili according to the number of beers you would need to finish a bowl.  I think they called beer “sympathy for the devil.”  In my case sympathy was pepsi because I’ve never liked beer.  If they had served milk, I might have had that.  Because milk coats and fireproofs the tongue. But more likely I would have considered milk the drink of amateurs.

Now that I am gracefully mellowed, I no longer like my food hot and wild.  Nowadays I like it intelligently spiced:  A subtle kick; a slight warm heat at the very back of my tongue and palate; a perfect balance of flavors – of sweet and heat, warm and cool.

Palates, like people become more sophisticated as they age.  They appreciate the beauty and nuances of subtlety and balance.  And if they’ve been cooking all those mellowing years, they’ve been learning how to achieve it.

Today’s list of the gifts for which I am grateful is all about the food God has given us:  the variety of colors and flavor combinations; culinary artists who know how to extract amazing flavors and inspire us to do the same; flavors that burst in our mouths; stunning presentations of plates and platters.

You, God, could have made the nourishment of our bodies bland – mere utility eating.  But You didn’t, You made it glorious.  Like You.  Thank you.

Taste and see that the Lord is Good.

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faith

I Kinda’ Think My Heart Has Been Blessed.

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Paul Woods, Creative Commons

Movies about Jesus almost always portray Him sitting on the side of a mountain, surrounded by a listening crowd, quietly delivering His epic sermon in a monotone voice.  But that’s not the way my Bible reads.

“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down.  His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.”  Matthew 5:1-2 NIV

He went up on a mountainside.  He, not the crowds.  His disciples came and joined Him, not the crowds.  He began to teach them – His disciples, the subject of the sentence to whom the pronoun refers – not the crowds.

Jesus looked down at the dappled crowds – broken, mourning hearts here; meek spirits there; the pure-hearted and the peacemakers mingled with the persecuted and the poor – and He called them all blessed.

He wasn’t talking to the crowd, He was talking about the crowd.  He was giving His disciples a glimpse of His perspective on the people who were following them.  Most of them were needy and all of them were blessed.  Blessed because things were about to change.

Jesus wasn’t teaching crowds of people that if they did this or that they would be blessed with this or that.  He was teaching His disciples that the crowds were already blessed.  Blessed because He had plans and rewards they knew nothing about.

I wonder whether there was excitement in His voice as He swept His arm slowly above the crowds of followers below and declared them blessed.

“Look at them!  They are about to inherit heaven, and they have no idea.”

One of the things I love about God is that He always lets at least one person in on what He is going to do.  Sometimes it is hundreds of years before He does it, sometimes it is immediately before, but He always tells someone.

“For the LORD detests the perverse but takes the upright into His confidence.”  Proverbs 3:32

He takes the upright into His confidence!  I love, love, love that!  That day, on that mountainside, Jesus took His disciples into His confidence.

Some might think, “Who cares whether Jesus was talking to the crowd or about them?”  I care.  For one thing, Jesus deserves to have His story told accurately, and for another, I love the thought that He talks not only to me, but also about me:

“Look at that precious one, doing the best she can with her feeble faith; hungering and thirsting to understand what I really mean.  She has no idea how blessed she is.”

Then He turned to His disciples and said, you are blessed, too.  When people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me, you will be fine.  You will be more than fine because you are going to have a reward in heaven.  A really good reward.  A really good eternal reward.  All hardship and evil nonsense is temporary.

All of us who follow Jesus – the weak, the strong, the persecuted, those whose faith is old, those whose faith is new, the rich, the poor, the mourning and the dancing – we will all be fine.

This post was inspired by one I read yesterday, and especially by the author’s reply to my comment:  “I kinda’ think my heart has been blessed.”

Have a wonderful day.

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faith, life, restoration, Stories from the Island

Crossing the Water

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I was planning to tell you about June today.  But then my daughter shared her blog post with me, and she did a wonderful job of introducing Brenda.  So Brenda it is.  I would love to just reblog her post except that it would give away my identity.

So, with her permission, I am pasting it here, minus any identifying information:

Shelby and Lesley and I weren’t the only ones on the island this past weekend. We brought women with us. Women who deserved to be blessed. Women who needed to know how God felt about them and who He created them to be. Women who had stories to tell, stories that would allow us to learn from each other.

We brought former prostitutes and addicts. We brought women who used to work the streets, and women who currently go out and minister to those who still do.

Really, my mom brought them. She planned the whole retreat and listened when God told her who to invite. Perhaps I don’t know all the factors that were taken into consideration when she chose the hotel on the island as our location, but I don’t think any of us thought about the significance of crossing over water to get to an island until Brenda did.

Brenda was one of the women who came with us. When she shared her story last night, we found out she had been gang-raped at the age of fourteen, an incident that propelled her into prostitution, promiscuity, and drug use until she eventually surrendered her life to Jesus.

During introductions on the first morning Brenda said “I know that God brought us across the water to cleanse us from everything that happened over there. When we go back, it’s going to be over.”

I got chills. And I am just so thankful for everything that this weekend was, and a God who brings His children across the water.

Amen.

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