Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Lord is My Strength

Have mercy on me and be gracious to me,
O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord heal me…
Psalm 6:2

Pulling my self together this morning Joe took me over to my friend, Joyce’s house.  We gather, us group of ladies, each Wednesday, to lift each other in prayer, discuss a Scripture or two in Titus and eat lunch.

I try not to miss these Wednesdays as they lift my soul and give me a chance to focus on others and their needs as well. 

  I am so tired of feeling down, and sore and feeling sorry for myself.

When I arrived, a comfortable chair awaited me with soft cushions and blankets, a cold glass of water and many smiles. 

It’s so good to be loved.

Our dear friend, Rita Parker had made a beautiful butterfly quilt complete with a Scripture that I have been clinging to…mentioned above

It was made with loving prayerful stitches and I am once again amazed by the outpouring of love from my friends…

Mitzi came later and brought a delicious lunch; fajitas complete with every good thing, apple slices with almond butter and peach cobbler.  I actually had several bites….so good.

After a good nap at home Joe and I sat on the patio and discussed different treatment options with the nurse. 

 I am taking Tums, Mylanta and Omeprazole (acid reducer) as they are convinced my stomach pain is because of a PH imbalance. 

 I’m willing to try just about anything at this point.

Thank you for your continued prayers…I so covet them. Pray I don’t lose my focus on Him and that I don’t give in to this condition. 

 My real source of strength is the Lord.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Husbands Love Your Wives

I find myself cast into yet another role, writer of today’s blog.

This is totally out of my comfort zone, but loving my wife is not.

I’m reminded of what God’s word tells us in Ephesians; “ Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church, (all of us) and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word….”

So I march forward for her.

Linda is not feeling well today.

She has a new symptom, pain in her abdomen.
 This pain is not associated with the cramping she was having before but it is bothersome enough that she can’t get her thoughts together to write.

 I on the other hand can only think of her, and pray for God’s healing hands upon her.

We went to her doctor’s appointment today and both of them were in agreement to stop her treatments until next Tuesday.

This will give her a little time to recuperate and then finish up.

 This in no way will affect her treatment plan, and will not pose any danger with the cancer cells already treated.

It’s just a break from the side effects.

To all who are reading this Blog, thank you from the very bottom of my heart for your prayers and encouragements for me and my precious wife.

 Hopefully she will be back in front of the key board tomorrow.

May God Bless each and every one of you.

The Husband

Monday, August 29, 2011

Miracle Cream

It has become my respite, the front patio

 and I couldn’t wait to get out here this chilly morning.

All cuddled in a blanket, I listened as Joe read to me from the Bible.

Time in the morning with the Lord is so precious.  These sacred times with Him strengthens and prepares me to face whatever the day will bring.

His word draws my focus back on Him and takes me away,

(even if for just awhile)

 from this
pitiful condition.

My groin area is still very angry but I seem to get a little relief from
an aloe plant that Kelli brought me.

The fresh aloe gel has managed to keep it
to a low screaming level…aarghh.

Joe hopped on the motorcycle and headed for Murphy
for yet another ‘miracle’ burn gel…I opted to stay here on my patio and sleep.

Mikey, my nephew, came by and weed-eated around the yard. 

He wanted to do something for us,
 God bless him…and we are grateful. 

He is quite the entrepreneur….kudos to you, Mikey!  

One more visitation before I slept, my brother-in-law, Dave and his son, Jacob. 
They came to return Joe’s truck.

 He was kind and stayed for just a bit, sensing how tired I was.
  He even said I had a nicely shaped head… Ha!

Chester immediately took upon the role of a that I could nap uninterrupted.
I just love that dog…

My view of the trees when I awoke at around 3pm.
How beautiful is our Lord’s handiwork!

Concerned, I checked around to see if Joe returned…
he had been gone for a long time.

Getting ready for my doctor’s appointment, I tried not to worry, thinking he would pull up at any moment.

The familiar sound of Jack’s diesel truck and trailer pulled up, and as I peeked out I saw Joe’s motorcycle on the back.

In came my frazzled Joe with a McDonalds bag (my plain hamburger), a Zaxby’s chocolate milkshake and the ‘miracle’ cream from Walmart.

“My motorcycle blew a gasket and Jack came to rescue me”, he exclaimed…

and my heart swelled for him,

 knowing how quickly he wanted to get back to me.

We ran upstairs and gingerly applied the cream…it burned a bit at first, but then seemed to die down…and now…it’s calmer.

This could be it…I pray.

Thank you, precious Lord….Your face shines upon me.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Shepherd

When he bent down to give me a hug and kiss, I caught a whiff of his aftershave. Opening my eyes I saw that he was dressed and ready for church.

“I’m sorry I can’t go with you”, I said.  He sat down on the bed beside me and stroked my arm.  “I won’t be long”.

He didn’t want to go without me.

Shutting my eyes I reflected on the past several hours.

I’ve developed several white bumps within the folds of…..
that region, and I am miserable.

There isn’t a cream or gel that I haven’t tried…even Mylanta
(at the unorthodox advice of our pharmacist). 

Nothing has relieved the burning and itching sensations…

and they stayed with me throughout the day.

This being said, my daughter was still here with her girls. 

That’s a joyful thing. 

We even pulled up services on the Internet and had ‘church’. 

 I watched an old service of my brother, Chris, when he was an
assistant Pastor
 in Ft. Lauderdale sometime ago.

It was a beautiful teaching on the Lord, our Good Shepherd and how He loves us and yearns for us and it was soothing to my soul.

Friends, whom I haven’t seen in a long while, stopped by for a short visit along with my niece and nephew and we chatted as I lay on my patio lounger.

Dinner was provided once again, this time from a sweet and gentle woman, Bonnie and my Haley.  So good to be ministered to and loved on.

But it's evening now and I am a bit shaken.

My stomach is hurting and I am throbbing.

 I’m laying it all at the feet of my Shepherd, Jesus and am reaching out my hand and asking for prayer.

I want to feel the healing presence of my Lord

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hair today...Gone Tomorrow

One must face this head on, I determined to myself,
as I lay on my pillow in a pool of hair this morning.

Today is the day, we decided, to shop for scarves,
 as soon after... my daughter, Nicole,

will shave my remaining thin locks.

Enough of this clump here and clump there...
hair all over the pillows and everywhere,

I'm taking it off all at once and just be done with it!

My granddaughters, Tori and Ciara, came with us to lend their support...
my sister, Sandy, also.

We hit the 'mother lode' at Sharon's store in town....

plenty of beautiful scarves.


Joe didn't go, but lent his head for the there anything
this man will not put up with?

"What lies behind us,
And what lies before us,
Are tiny matters compared
To what lies within us."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

When one's head is shaved, you would think there would be
alot more hair on the ground than this pitiful display.


Hey,  that wasn't so bad!  Not a single shed tear...
what did I so boldly say's just hair?

I've lost my 'covering' of glorious hair, Biblically speaking...
(not that I could ever claim my thin hair as 'glorious')
but... it's'll grow back...

and maybe it'll be thick and even curly...hmmmm

 My husband is my head some new scarves :)

My support group sporting the new scarves.

All is good...back upstairs for a quick shower and then a nap.

Soon Joe will be home and I can't wait for his reaction.

The door crept open, and I turned to see who the intruder was
(as I shut myself off in the den to blog).

"How do you do it?", he asked as he leaned his hand on the bookshelves.

"How do you still manage to look so beautiful with your hair shaved off?"

As I bury my face in my hands, all restraint deserts me... and I cry

"I will be here, so you can cry on my shoulder
When the mirror tells us we're older, I will hold you
And I will be here to watch you grow in beauty,
And tell you all the things you are to me;
I will be here."

~ Steven Curtis Chapman ~

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lay it Down

Around and around goes the ceiling fan overhead...

I shut my eyes tighter, and it's no use...

I can't sleep.

Exhausted, I came upstairs for a nap,

because today has been hard.

The dizziness and fatigue seem to be constant, and there is something new...

The 'Itch'

One should have a healthy respect for what an itch can do to a person....

it can bring them down.

Of course, when you have 16 radiation treatments (and counting),

this is what to be expected.

My whole groin area seems to be on fire as several different maladies have
reared their ugly heads.

Feeling sorry for myself, I felt cursed like the Egyptians in Deuteronomy
when Moses warned them of disobedience. 

 They would be afflicted with boils, hemorrhoids, sores and

itching that won't go away.

OK, now I'm thinking crazy!

I reached over for my MP3 player chastising myself for not putting it on in the first place.

The beautiful voice of Charles Billingsley began to serenade me and I snuggled back under the covers.

Lord you know my heart
Lord you know my need
Every step I take
Lord I feel the weight
Of every burden on me...can I

Lay it down at the Altar
Lay it down at Your feet
I am desperate for mercy
I am desperate for peace
For you're the one that is Holy
And I'm the one who's in need...can I

Lay it down
Lay it down at the Altar

If you are one who needs mercy
If you are one who needs peace, come and
Lay it down, Lay it down, Lay t down
Lay it down at the altar.

Put everything, every burden at the feet of Jesus...He will carry you,

 even into blissful sleep

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dana's War

Entering her home, the warm scent of wood and spice instantly welcomed us.

Black bear motif, with beautiful wood floors, walls and ceilings;
Dana's home was enticing.

"Come on in, it's so good to see you", she said from her 
 position on the end of her couch. 

She looked comfortable reclined and typing away on her laptop. 

We greeted her children Seth (in 10th grade) and Sara Beth (in 6th)...

her husband, Bob, was still up at the 'shop'.

I leaned in for a hug and thought to myself...

she looks so radiant.

We didn't know what to expect when we went to visit and pray with Dana. 
 It had been awhile
since we had seen her and since then

she has been in the throws of yet...another...

aggressive cancer treatment. 

This cancer has been relentlessly aggressive
and is trying to take over her bones.

It has already spread through to her spine, her forehead, her hip and such.

and it has left her hurting...and sore...and weak.

You may remember ,on a previous blog, this picture I put up of the 'butterfly girl'.

  Dana had her made for me.

Even in the midst of her own personal war with this disease,

Dana thought of me.

That's who she is.

My situation pales in comparison to what she is going through
now and what she still faces down the road...and still

she cared about my crisis as if it were her own.

After talking with her for awhile it became clear to me that

Dana is a fighter.

Because of her strong faith in the Lord, she is a force to be reckoned with.

She's surrounded in prayer and with her loving family pulling for her,
 she's tough.

Dear ones...please join me in lifting Dana in prayer. 

She wants to live and see her children fall in love and get married.

Lift her to the Lord and be in agreement with us for her healing.

"Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church,
and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 
And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up."
James 5:14-15

"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace in time of need."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's Just Hair!

A discovery I thought I might not have to find.

After all, the Dr. said "maybe some thinning is possible."

But after I ran my comb through my freshly shampooed hair this morning,
clumps of strands were gathering.

Running my hand over the comb...and getting every last stray,
I threw them into the waster basket and started over...
carefully....from the top of my head to
the very ends...

same result.

I think I'm going to lose my hair.

God knows exactly how many hairs are on my head,
they are numbered.

I instantly pictured Him with a subtraction tablet in His hand,
marking off hair...after hair...after hair, counting
faster...and faster...and faster.

"Stop it! It's just hair'" I tell myself.

It's not like I had a luscious bunch of it anyways.
I mean...really...strings and threads; it's been thin all my life. will grow back.

Joe, being understanding and always the comforter, hugs me. 

 He kinda pooh-poohed the whole incident saying it didn't matter that much anyway...

I could get a couple of scarves.

I've actually been looking at a few of them...and then of course,
there are wigs.

Some of my friends have them and they have their own heads of hair.

This won't be so bad, I think.

As I stepped downstairs into the kitchen to put breakfast together,

I brushed away a tear starting to form. 

What did I expect was going to happen anyway? 

How did I think that I could dodge this side effect?

And, Joe, God bless him...he doesn't think like a woman...

but he hurts when I hurt  and he wants to shelter me. 

 And certainly didn't seem to bother him that I may be bald...
balder than him! 

He spoke my name and I looked up at him from the computer...and he stood there looking at me.

I didn't notice at first..but recognition started to set in and I saw that

he shaved his entire head!

I burst out laughing...he had done a pretty good job

(expect a small Mohawk-like patch in the very back)

There is nothing he wouldn't do for a show of support for me, I think. 

A song my brother Chris sang at our 20th anniversary celebration 16 years ago came to my mind;

Tomorrow morning if you wake up
And the sun does not appear,
I will be here

If in the dark we lose sight of love,
Hold my hand and have no fear,
'Cause I will be here.

I will be here when you feel like being quiet;
When you need to speak your mind I will listen.
And when I will be here when the laughter turns to crying;
Through the winning, losing and trying, we'll be together,
Cause I will be here.

~ I will be Here ~  Steven Curtis Chapman

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Patio Oasis

Sinking into the soft cushions on the lounge chair early this morning,
I was surrounded by the splendor of the morning...
 and all that it brings.

There is not one cloud in the sky, which is bright blue and a perfect backdrop
 to the stately green trees that loom overhead.

Their leaves are rustling as yet another cool breeze wafts over me. 

I am indulging in a 'Mediterranee' French vanilla yogurt, made by Liberte.  A small skinned peach, diced and mixed in adds the perfect flavor...
the results, divine.

Joe came out and joined me on the patio with our Bibles, our devotional
and the two dogs.

We took several moments of silence before beginning, just breathing in the fresh early morning air and I thanked God for the umpteenth time...
for bringing us up here to the mountains.

My focus has been on His many blessings.  What better place then out here, where I feel even closer to Him.  The many sounds of His creation are intoxicating, and once again I lay back in wonder at the goodness and the fullness of our God. legs are getting warmer and there is a bee buzzing somewhere by,
my eyes open and I notice how lopsided everything looks.
  I'm reclining....on my side.

What...I fell asleep out here? 
Joe saw me stir and came out to tell me it was 1:45 in the afternoon!

The whole morning was spent on the patio well into the afternoon.

After a quick bath, we went down to the radiation center for the daily zap,
over to the grocery store for a few items and then
 home the patio. 

 I don't want to leave it.

Friends came by with dinner. We lit torches and mosquito cans...
and then the pit fire and stayed out on the patio until well into the night.

From under the covers I observe the soft glow of the fires,
the warmth of friendly laughter
and the sounds of children playing nearby on the grass.

I am drifting off again and everyone makes ready to leave.

Afterwards, Joe and I stand outside in the dark looking back at our fire lit patio and the oasis it became for me today.

And I thanked God...
for the umpteenth time for bringing us up here to the mountains.

Dear friends, thank you for your prayers. 
 I did not suffer with much cramping today. 
The doctor has given me some new medication and it has helped tremendously.

Plus, I have a new friend..."Tucks".  Ever hear of this product?

  Think of cold water being drizzled over a hot skillet.

 Pssssst.... R-E-L-I-E-F!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bathtub Musings

Flitting across my mind as I soak

(one of my very favorite pastimes)

are random thoughts from the day.  Soothing my body and getting my intestinal spasms to calm down, my mind recalls bits and pieces;

Thank you, Lord, for this soaking tub (number one thought)

I wonder if at least one of the sunflowers will bloom before cold weather hits

The doctor's report today on my blood count...
it's really good, just below normal

'Jesus Calling' "Trust Me, and don't be afraid" (from today's devotion)

I need to mail those 'Thank You' cards

Should I pee in the tub...I don't want to get out just yet

How do you say bathtub in Russian...Haley would know

Joe's promise of a patio pit fire's supposed to get down to 59

Zaxby's makes a really tasty chocolate shake...and why don't I feel guilty

I wonder if Pam Jefferson is dancing with my mother in heaven right now

My blessings are as numerous as the sand on the shore

I'm going to borrow that shock collar from my niece...CHESTER!

Jesus is my strength, my song, my salvation!

His Spirit fills me with joy and peace.

Don't think I'll put hot sauce on Kelli's burritos tonight.

Blast....I need to get out of this tub

I love all of you so much.  Thank you for taking time and an interest in following along with me down this road.  Please pray for these stomach spasms to diminish.  My mouth sores are gone, however...Hallelujah!

Oh, and by the way, I didn't pee in the

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Faith, my Mustard Seed

After thinking about it for a few days, mulling it over in my head and mentioning it to a few others , I approached Joe on the subject of our upcoming mission trip to Belarus.

Operating  on my logic and reasoning... based on my physical limitations here lately... I've been leaning towards cancelling the trip.

In the bathroom every hour and bending over with cramps, and experiencing a  few other unmentionable symptoms had me going down that road.

Upon waking this morning and before we got out of bed, I asked him to listen to me about my concerns. 

 As I sat cross legged and rationally pleaded my case, laced with concerns and objections,

Joe lay quietly and politely, and listened intently as I went on and on.

My immune system will be vulnerable, and we can't even drink the water. 
I could slow the team down if I have a set back, and we're on a tight schedule.
What about the need to be near a bathroom? (I can't begin to ponder that one)
What about the money spent on airline tickets, could we get it back and then gift to someone else willing to go in our place?

Groaning, I rolled off the bed and into the bathroom.

When I returned, Joe sat up and took my arm in his.  "Linda...where is your faith?  You are giving into this without a fight.  I don't know for sure if we will be on that plane to Belarus in September, but I do know we need to put our faith in the hands of the Lord and He will decide."

It was a good reminder...what I needed to hear.  Even though the faith of a mustard seed is pretty powerful,

"So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."  Matthew 17:20

I looked at the actual size...and my faith was small, even tiny. 

I value my faith and I knew it had to be used...but not in my hands alone.  I needed this prompt from my husband, my 'armor bearer'.

I'm placing my mustard seed size faith in the hands of my Savior, so that He can strengthen and increase it.

Leaving on a jet could still happen.  I'm leaving it all up to Him.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Peaceful in the Recliner

Plans to attend the Women's Retreat at our church this morning were cancelled.

As much as I would like to have wouldn't be wise.

It's hard to execute wisdom.

Looking forward to at least a small part of it, my mind was changed when I realized I would be encircled by my sweet friends...

 and that I would not be able to resist hugging and kissing on them.

So many of these women have surrounded me with their love and hope.  They have covered me with their prayers, timely messages and sent numerous cards of encouragement during my ordeal.

However, my immune system is severely compromised and it wouldn't be good if I caught a cold or the flu at this point.

A picture of me on a cushioned lounge chair, enclosed in yellow caution tape, parked close to the 'Ladies' room with a mask on my face isn't exactly how I want to present myself.

But, my Joe is there.  He and many other men are working hard in the kitchen this weekend to see that the ladies are properly fed with good eats. It is their intention to make it special for them and to see that no woman has to lift a finger in the kitchen.

~ sigh ~

Love me a thoughtful man!

Not totally alone, my Tracy and her son, Justin, came up to stay with me for the weekend.

There is nothing like having your children come and hover over you with ever protective eyes, ready to serve in any capacity...sweet love.

Justin bathed Chester...

he looks so much better, not the tangled, mud-mop he was starting to look like.  After that he joined his Pop-Pop in the kitchen at church...

and all the while I slept in the recliner.

Busily cleaning bathrooms, washing sheets, making beds, and cleaning floors, Tracy makes it easier for me to rest.  She makes it easier for me to be indisposed.....

she comforts me and waits on me...

and loves on me.

Listening to my worship music on the MP3 player she busily works,
and I think...

God, you are amazing!  At every opportunity, You are there...

waiting to be heard.

And all the while, I lay peacefully...asleep.... in the recliner.

Glory to God!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sleeping With The MP3

Worship and praise music have become more and more...dear to me.

The beautiful words and haunting melodies are a lifeline I cling to...
when sleep and rest elude.

Stephanie downloaded scores of worship songs, suggested by many of you along with some of my personal favorites, onto my MP3 player
 (purchased specifically for this journey)

I cannot nap without it.

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there will be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus...bring the rain.

~ Mercy Me ~   "Bring the Rain"

My MP3 is packed with beautiful, uplifting music.  It's amazing how worship and praise music can bring one into the very throne room of God

....and away from painful circumstances.

You are my hiding place
You always fill my heart
With songs of deliverance
Whenever I am afraid
I will trust in you.

~ Selah ~   "You are my Hiding Place"

Even though I worry sometimes...and I get afraid sometimes....
He never let's go of me.  He is ever faithful and ever true....oh my soul. 

There is nothing too difficult or impossible for Him.  The cries of my heart are heard...and they are cared about.

I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are Who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm.

~ Casting Crowns ~   "Praise You in This Storm"

These are to name just a few of the songs I have been benefiting from....

I encourage you to find some 'alone time' and listen to these or any other worship songs you have...

and enter His throne room...

Praise Him, in your 'storm' and you will find peace...

you will not be disappointed.