Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Beautiful Things...

I am a mess.  A T-Total mess!  Anyone who knows me knows this, and knows that I readily admit to it.  Having A.D.D. is my excuse, but frankly, I think I'd be a mess without it too.  There are days when my focus is controlled, I stay on-task, and get lots done.  Then there are days I can't seem to focus on one thing long enough to get anything done.  I drive my dear husband crazy during the times my mind noodles around like a huge pile of spaghetti, never-ending, winding around and around.  Only because I can't contain all the thoughts and have to get them out - all of them - as quickly as I can and not necessarily in any sensible order.  And the poor dear is usually the only one around for me to talk to.  He says he loves it, but I don't know how he could.  I'm an incessant talker, babbling on, and he nods, grins and says "uh-huh" and "oh" at all the right times.  He loves me in spite of my silly little self. 
Not only am I a mess, I'm good at creating a mess as well.  I decorated the house for Fall, and had it all cleaned up before he got home.  Which was a great feat on my part.  Especially since part of the decorating included creating outdoor decor for the front porch.  When I told my husband I was going to trim the bush by the kitchen window, he knew a mess would ensue.  And it did. 

The picture of the pile of branches on the ground, (with a little photo-bomb in the bottom right corner from Molli), shows the mess pretty well.  As I looked at the pile of discarded branches I thought - hmm...I could make something out of that.  I touched up some old pumpkins I had with some paint to make them look new, arranged the branches in two urns, added some artificial berry branches, and voila!  Instant Fall Decor for the front porch!  I intentionally made them look wild and untamed for a more natural feel.  And, maybe it is a little reflection of my personality - a little wild and untamed. 
Here they are, adorning the front windows of the house, with scarecrows resting on the chair.

Yes, those are Christmas lights hanging on the house.  And yes, they've been there since last Christmas.  Don't judge me.

Well, all this got me to thinking about God.  As God works in us, he trims off the 'branches' we don't need anymore in order to form us into His image.  We look at the old pile of 'branches' (sin, sorrow, unforgiveness, hardship, pain, etc.) and think they aren't of any use to us or God any longer.  So we toss them aside.  But then God reminds us of how He used those branches to help us grow in Him, and He creates the beauty from them in our testimony of life in Him.  He takes the mess we are, in whatever state we are in, all the dust that covers us and makes us think we're ugly, and somehow arranges it in only the way He can.  Then voila!  Out we come, beautiful little things he loves and calls His children.  Then He sets us out on the world's front porch for all to see, examples of how He can work in everyone's life to create beauty in every circumstance.
No matter what you are going through in your life, please know that God is right there with you, and can be the strength you need to endure.  If you are willing to let Him in, to let Him take control of your life, to guide you, direct you, and hold you, then you will be able to see the beauty He creates from your dusty circumstance on the other side of it.  It's hard to do.  You have to be honest, transparent, and it can be a struggle.  But it is SO worth it.  Let Him make you a new, 'beautiful thing'.
There's a song I love called "Beautiful Things" by Gungor.  It's perfect for this post.  Here it is for a listen: Musica.  
Love and peace to you all!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Side-tracked in the Hills

It's been a while since I've been able to get on here, but I wanted to finish sharing my War Eagle Mill day-trip experience.  If you know me, you know that I'm definitely a poster child for A.D.D., and am often distracted by what I see as we drive through the countryside.  This can lead to a number of detours along the way.  It's so easy for me to get side-tracked in the hills, because there's SO much to see there!

We were headed away from the Mill, when I saw a little 'house' stuck to the side of a tree at a 'Y' in the road.  I thought about it long enough to tell my husband that I thought it had books in it, and how it would be neat to see if it was what I thought it was.  So, a few more yards down the road, as I pondered the box out loud - much to my husbands amusement (and most likely annoyance) - my husband glanced at me and asked the question he already knew the answer to. 

Hubby:  "Do you want me to turn around so you can go see it?" 
(He knows I do.)
Me:  "No, it's okay.  There's really no good place to turn around here." 
(Yes - I do.)
Hubby:  "I can turn around right up here if you want to check it out." 
(He knows I want to - badly.)
Me:  "No.  It's not that important.  Just go on." 
(It's getting to me - I want to see it.)
Hubby:  "But you want to go see it, don't you?" 
(Oh how he knows me too well.)
Me:  "Kind of.  But I don't have to." 
(Well of course I want do!  And now I think I have to.)
Hubby:  "But you want to.  You want to touch it, don't you?" 
(At this point he's making fun of me.)
Me:  "Yeah.  I do.  Is it okay?" 
I'm all giddy with excitement by now and can hardly sit still.)
Hubby:  "Of course it's okay!  Turning now!"
(Insert sheepish grin here because he knew he was going to have to turn around anyway and wanted to see how antsy I'd get.)
Me:  "Oh thank you-thank you-thank you-thank you!" 
(I'm literally bouncing in my seat at this point.)

As he pulled far enough off the road to be safe, he waited in the car as I jumped out to see the little house.  At first glance from the car, all I could see was the sign that said "City of War Eagle Public Library".  I knew that the little house couldn't be the actual public library, when it dawned on me that it must be on of the "Little Free Library" houses I'd read about long ago. 

This may not excite you, but I'm an avid book lover, so the thought of a convenient place for people to share that same love is really cool to me.  As I mentioned, I'd read about the "Little Free Library" program before, and thought it was a clever idea, with people sharing books for free, all being exchanged through a clever little mini lending library.

Isn't it cute?!

If you are interested in finding out more about the "Little Free Library" program, you can read more about it at their website:

Traveling with me must be exhausting for my husband!  Ha!  But bless his heart, my wonderful hubby made me happy with that little side-track adventure.  Brownie points for him, and pure delight for me!

Now go enjoy a book!

Monday, September 2, 2013

This is the day which The LORD has made

"This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24 (NASB)

Today was Labor Day, and it was a beautiful, sunny, cooler (83 degrees F) summer day.  My wonderful husband decided to take half the day off with me.  Hooray!  We don't get much time off together, so we take it when we can.  Since he'd never been to the War Eagle Mill, we headed there to see the Mill, do some hiking and enjoy ourselves.

Let it be noted that I've received no remuneration for this post or any content therein, by War Eagle Mill or anyone else.  I just can't help but share this beautiful place!

If you've never been, you really need to go.  Of course as the water was running, so was the water wheel that allows the mill to grind the natural, organic grains they are famous for.  It's neat to see a working grist mill, and nice to see their support of healthy products.

For their Labor Day Celebration they had a wonderful country singer, Ronny Gibbons, on their front porch, entertaining everyone.  It made for a very nice atmosphere, and we made sure we tipped him for his hard work and talent.

War Eagle Mill also has a cute little restaurant on the third floor called "The Bean Palace Restaurant".  They boast freshly made, USDA organic food.  We had their Beans, Cornbread and Slaw meal.  After all, when the place is called "The Bean Palace", isn't it only courteous to have the beans?  You could tell that the cornbread was made with their own ground corn, and it was delicious - as were the beans.  Sorry there are no pictures of the restaurant or food.  I was too busy eating and enjoying conversation with my darling husband to take pictures.

Next to the Mill is a neat one lane bridge that's been there since 1908.  Here you can see it as you look over the Mill's water wheel.  Apparently the river water must have been wonderful, because there were people swimming, playing, and sitting in it, rejoicing in the day as well!

Of course, after we finished our delightful meal, we had to walk across it and see the incredible views up and down the river.  That handsome man is my amazing husband, and love of my life.  We held hands as we crossed and enjoyed the beauty like two young lovers exploring God's splendor.  Have I mentioned that I love this man? 

The beauty around us was so inspiring, and as we looked back over the river to the Mill, we were blessed with this view.

It was like having a piece of the New England countryside that I remember from years ago delivered right to me today!  So beautiful - yes?  Yes!

I hope that you have been able to get out and enjoy the splendor God has brought to you!  If not, do it soon!  Take that time.  Be glad!  Enjoy your life! 

For indeed, this is the day which the Lord has made, we certainly rejoiced in His might splendor, each other's company, and were quite glad in it!

Love and peace to you all!

(If you'd like more information about The War Eagle Mill you can find them online at

(While I don't profess to be a photographer by any means, I wanted to remind everyone that all pictures on my blog are my original work and thereby protected under copyright laws.)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Rough to Ruff!

A day where I had hoped to accomplish much before work, has turned into a less-than-productive one.  In the first few seconds of stretching before what was suppose to be my workout - a fun one with dancing involved - (in the privacy of my home because no one should have to see that!) - I pulled a muscle in my back.  In the same place I popped a rib out a few weeks ago.  If this would have happened on a Monday instead of today, I know I could get to the chiropractor and get some quick relief.  Unfortunately, it didn't, and the office isn't open until Tuesday of next week.  So ice and rest and taking it easy is in the works.  That's the Rough part.  Especially when I work in retail.  On a negative note - this makes it pretty hard to keep working on the weight loss and fitness.  :-(

On a positive note - I found a fun and very easy craft to do that wouldn't hurt my back while I did it!  :-)  I'm all about being frugal, recycling, up-cycling, re-purposing, whatever you choose to call it.  My husband was throwing out some tank tops he had that were too stained to wear for work, but nothing else was wrong with them.  I snagged them from the recycle box and decided to make doggy chew toys with them.  That's the Ruff part!

Here are the instructions:

1.  Cut the front, sides and back so you have four pieces of material.

 2.  Cut each piece from the bottom to the top in thirds, leaving the band that was sewn in the top to keep the fabric together.  Pull each band to stretch it.  I find that this makes for a longer, stronger rope.

3.  Simply, but very tightly, braid the pieces together, keeping the fabric pulled tight as you go.  The top part where the edging was on the shirt forms a nice little chewing end for your dog.

4.  When you get to the end, simply but very tightly tie knots, alternating each piece.  This provides another knot and chew surface for them to 'brush their gums and teeth'.

Voila!  You are done.

For my husband's lab Molli, (who happens to have extremely strong jaws and teeth like bolt cutters),  I braided three of these finished ropes together for a little bigger, stronger challenge.  For my daughter's mini dachshund Chloe, I left one of the small ropes made from the side of the shirt as-is for her little mouth.  As you can see by the pictures, they love them!
In case you are wondering, they aren't going to last forever, especially if you have a dog like Molli.  But they do last just as long as the chew toys I buy at the store, without having to spend an extra $5-$10.  Success!

Now it's time to ice the back, watch The Waltons, and rest before work tonight.   Enjoy your day and the blessings God provides therein!

Sunday, August 25, 2013


The highlight of our weekend was time spent with our son, daughter-in-law and beautiful granddaughter.  At a year old, she is the apple of our eyes.  And the delight of our hearts.  It's amazing to see how quickly she grows, especially since we only get up to visit them about once every three weeks.  We are blessed to have a beautiful, healthy granddaughter, and wonderful, healthy children.  For that we are eternally grateful and thankful.  This was the last trip there before the craziness of the Fall Season.
As the next few months come upon us, my schedule will get busier.  School will commence in two weeks, retreats and conferences begin, and time will be stretched.  My prayer life will increase, which is a good outcome of the busyness.  My reliance upon the Lord, His wisdom, and the strength He will offer will be in full force as well.
The reassurance is (and will be) knowing that amidst the chaos, my constant will be God.  I know that He will be there for me whenever, wherever, and however, to meet my needs.  As I navigate the newness of doing it all without meds to help with the pain, anxiety, and whatever else may come, I know that my protection from being overwhelmed with come from the Lord.  When I am exhausted and unable to do anything but sleep, I know He will be ever-aware, ever-vigilant, and ever-protective.  How do I know this?  Because the Bible tells me and I believe it's inerrant promises!
Psalm 121:3-4 (HCSB)
He will not allow your foot to slip;
your Protector will not slumber.
Indeed, the Protector of Israel
does not slumber or sleep.
Thank you Lord, my Protector, for your omnipotence and omniscience.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Stinks to be me?

My darling husband and I were talking earlier today, and he asked how I was doing.  As I gave him the run-down of how miserable I really felt, he hugged me and said, "I'm sorry.  If I could take the pain away for you I would."  I replied, "Thank you hun.  I know you would.  But you can't, so...stinks to be me." 
Then he chose to enlighten me on how awful it must be to be me, with an adoring husband, healthy children, all my needs met, etc.  Of course I had to let him know that I am deeply grateful for all of that, so it really doesn't stink to be me.  It just stinks to feel the way I feel today.  My lower back is killing me, for no reason I can think of.  My muscles hurt no matter what's going on.  My joints ache.  My stomach is queasy when I eat.  I'm tired, but can't get a decent nap.  I'm a little grumpy off and on.  My allergies have me sniffling and blowing my nose.  I have a dull headache constantly.  I have "power surges" (others label them 'hot flashes') that come and go throughout the day, leaving me drenched in sweat.  It hurts just to exist.
Now whether this is my body in detox from the prescription meds or just being my contrary body, I don't know.  All I know is that it stinks to live in my body right now.  When I go for my yearly checkup, it will be interesting to see the doctor's reaction to my own desire to eliminate all prescriptions, and to see if he'll be on board with my decision.  This process is like taking that proverbial one step forward - three steps back.
Amidst all of this, I can't help but to think of the 'affliction' that Paul had to endure his entire life.  Not to mention the beatings, starvation, imprisonment, and torture he endured in the name of Christ.  In 2 Corinthians Chapter 4, Paul wrote words that reflected his train of thought, and set focus on God's glory each day, regardless of what our flesh experiences.  It's these words that I look at on days like today.

2 Corinthians 4
 "16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."  (NASB)

I have no idea how my affliction will benefit the kingdom of God, but I know in His way, in His time, and according to His purpose, God's glory will shine as I continue to suffer.  So my train of thought must be like that of those saints in the Bible who've suffered and gone before me, leaving their written testimony as an example for me.  There are several other scriptures that refer to gaining strength, reassurance, comfort, grace, mercy, love, endurance, and much more from our Lord.  For these I'm thankful. 
God is at work in my life.  Not just on this fleshly body I'm in conflict with, but most importantly on my eternal soul, which is so much more important.  When I go to sleep tonight I can find my own comfort in knowing that while I am at rest, trying to give my body the chance to recover, the Lord is still awake, at my defense, and still working on me.  

Psalm 121:4 "Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep." (HSCB)

Thank You Lord for always working in my life.  Thank you for the many, many, many blessings You've gifted me.  Thank You for the wonderful husband You've blessed me with.
So...stinks to be me?  No.  As long as I have You, blessed to be me.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Slipping feet?

My husband is a hard-working man, for which I'm very grateful, but for which I sometimes get frustrated as well.  My concern is usually that he works too hard, and doesn't take enough time off.  Summer is his busiest time of year, so it's absolutely crazy.  For him, work weeks can be 6 and sometimes 7 days long.  Most days begin before dawn and end after dusk.  Sometimes he even comes in after it's been dark for a while, having worked with a headlamp clipped to his ball cap.
In an effort to get my husband to take time off every once in a while, we made the decision to purchase a used pontoon.  We saved up for it, and were able to get it this summer.  Having sat without being used for a year, the motor needed quite a bit of work, something that was unexpected and for which we weren't prepared.  If you've ever owned a boat, you know that any motor work on them quickly gets expensive.  When the boat was ready and I found out the amount of the bill, I didn't know how we'd get it paid.  We had cashed in our change jar and it wasn't the amount needed.  Then my husband remembered he had some tool-related items he no longer needed.  He asked if the boat repairman would barter for the difference.  The Lord answered again as the repairman said yes, and we were ready to go!
My husband spent most of the day on the boat, and we joined him for some much-needed family time in the afternoon.  It was nice to have that time for fun and relaxation on the lake, and it was wonderful to see him take time off for himself.  The investment has already been worthwhile, and it will continue to be each time we are on the lake.
When I was awakened this morning I didn't feel well, and began the day grumpy.  While at church, I found myself a bit emotional, as I worshiped our great God, and humbly thanked Him, feeling unworthy of His grace and provision.  During the invitation I spent time in prayer with Him, asking His forgiveness for the times I've failed him.  At the end of the day I found myself teary-eyed at the heart-tugging moments of a few television shows, not certain why they affected me so strongly. 
Each time the emotions swept over me, I'd ask the Lord to help me remember the joy, strength and peace He so willingly has available for me.  To say that I'm a bit emotional today is a bit of an understatement.  Whether it is the reduction in medication, or an overwhelming sense of humbled gratitude is a toss up.  Even though I don't know the exact reason, the Lord does, and I'm sure He has it all in the progression of His plan.  
You see, the Lord is always here for us, and when we rely on Him, He provides what we need to keep from falling down completely.  On this I rely, especially on emotional days like today.  While my feet may have slipped in the lake, my spiritual 'feet' were held steady by God.  He is our protector, our comforter, and remains vigilant at all times.
Psalm 121:3 (HSCB) "He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber."
Thank you Lord, for being my foothold, my Protector, and my ever-present, ever-vigilant God!

Friday, July 19, 2013

My Help Comes From The Lord

In the last post, I mentioned a situation I asked people to pray about.  The good news is that the Lord has worked it out, and all is well.  God is so good, even to lowly me.  When I cried out to the Lord, He not only heard me, He answered.   It may seem that my request was small, but to me it was enormous.

When we cry out to the Lord, we can be assured that He hears us.  If we pray according to His will, we know that our prayer will be answered.  When it comes to relationships, clarification and peace are definitely in accordance with His will.  Not only because of the evidence given in the testimony of those around us today, (and of mine above), but most importantly because of the promise God made to all of us in His Holy Word.

1 John 5:14-15 (HCSB)
14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.

How blessed are we?  Incredibly blessed beyond measure.  That is why I'm so thrilled that my help comes from the Lord!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I Lift My Eyes

While it's been a rough go of it these past few weeks, the Lord has helped me endure taking one of my medications every other day instead of every day.  At this point I'm not sure if my emotions have been heightened by this, or if they have been heightened by a long-standing issue of feeling rejected by someone close.  This weekend we hope to resolve that by revealing our emotions to see if they are justified or if we've misinterpreted the situation.  I don't want to go into details to keep you from being bored, and to save the relationship.  May the Lord be with us as we have the conversation.
With that out of the way, it's always a toss up to try to figure out why my pain level has increased, and what to do about it.  There are so many options, and so little clarity.  Since the goal is to get off of prescription medications, taking more of them to reduce pain would be counter-productive. 
This is where a LOT of prayer comes in.  Yes, I know that sometimes the Lord chooses not to heal people no matter how much they pray, I do know that praying helps emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.  My post on facebook this morning was an unspoken prayer request.  How very thankful I am that many of my friends lifted that to the Lord for me.  It's truly an honor when someone can pray with/for me, and truly humbling when they pray for me without even knowing the specifics.  My gratefulness for this can never be expressed in mere words.
As for me, with everything going on in our lives right now, I spent a good part of the day crying tears of confusion, hurt, sadness, frustration, and disappointment.  Through those tears I also cried out loud.  I began with recognizing and confessing my own sins, asking for forgiveness, and once again asking for His grace.  These are things I know without a doubt God is delighted to hear and extend.  Then I continued by explaining the situation, asking the Lord for clarity, healing, joy, peace and understanding (to name a few).  [Yes - I know God already knows the situation, but I also know that He wants to hear me explain it myself, so I own it and acknowledge it.  All a part of the healing process.]  Anyone who may have walked by the house and heard me probably thought I was losing my mind.  (Those of you who already know me know that's impossible because I lost my mind years ago!)
As the first line goes: "I lift my eyes to the mountains".  I lifted my eyes to the mountains set before me, not wondering, but KNOWING where my help comes from.  It most certainly comes from the Lord.  How blessed a reassurance that is.  So, onward toward those mountains I go, with God by my side, in front of me, and behind me.
By the way, I did stop crying.  Just so you know.  (Insert a wink and a smile here.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Prescription to All-Natural

Warning:  Very long beginning post.
Psalm 121
The Lord Our Protector
A song of ascents.

I lift my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
your Protector will not slumber.
Indeed, the Protector of Israel
does not slumber or sleep.
The Lord protects you;
the Lord is a shelter right by your side.
The sun will not strike you by day
or the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all harm;
He will protect your life.
The Lord will protect your coming and going
both now and forever.

It is in this psalm that I drew my strength as I studied "Stepping Up" by Beth Moore, five years ago, and recovered from cancer, stuck in bed for 12 weeks.  
Again I will draw my strength from it as I journey forward into focusing on my health.  For over ten years I've struggled with illness that for one reason or another the Lord has chosen not to remove.  In that course of time, the medical doctors prescribed medications to enable me to function on a relatively 'normal' basis each day.  (Those of you who know me may question the 'normalcy' part.)  
After knowing for many years that the very drugs that keep me functioning are a dangerous mix, I've decided to embark on a journey to wean myself off of them and try to go a more natural route.  How dangerous is this medicinal cocktail the doctors have me on?  When running a drug interaction classification analysis on them they rate Major and Moderate, none of them being minor.  What does that mean?  The definition of Major is: Highly clinically significant.  Avoid combinations; the risk of the interaction outweighs the benefit.  The definition of Moderate is: Moderately clinically significant.  Usually avoid combinations; use it only under special circumstances.  While the medication has for the most part worked to keep my pain level at a manageable level, allowed me to remain mobile, and allowed me to be coherent, I wonder when my body will no longer accept the medicinal abuse.  
Of course the cheapest route is to remain on the prescription medication.  What does the cost-factor look like?  Right now my insurance allows our out-of-pocket cost for medication to be around $20/month.  Insurance doesn't cover all-natural supplements.  The two I'm already on cost over $100/month, and we're looking at adding others to the mix.  Needless to say, we will be relying on the Lord's provisions to be able to afford all-natural treatments.  That, in itself, is a very frightening prospect for me.  Actually, the root of the fright is part insecurity and part pride.  I don't want to be a financial burden to my family, and I don't want to regress.  This is a common problem in America today.  Our doctors rely on drugs to treat the symptoms instead of getting to the root of the problem and working on all-natural means to cure it.  I won't open that can of worms here.  'Cause it's big. 
This journey would not be possible without the support of my wonderful husband, my family, and my chiropractor.  For them I am grateful.  For the strength, I am thankful to the Lord and the hope found in Him.