God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
& all of Christmas, which is Christ.
--Wilda English

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas Cards - Anyone Want to Exchange with Me?

While looking online for a nice photo of a display of Christmas cards, I found this one.  Not as big a display as I had in mind, but wow!  I don't know whose house this is, but I want to be her when I grow up!  What a wonderful snowy view she gets to enjoy!  I can just see me sitting in my recliner across from that window, a cup of tea or hot chocolate in my hand, looking at all that snow!  I wonder if she appreciates it?  Maybe she longs for a home in The Devil's Playground.  I wish I knew who she was.  Maybe we could work out some kind of trade!

Sorry ... I got a bit off the subject of my post which is "Christmas Cards -Anyone Want to Exchange with Me?"  I am EXTREMELY late in posting this.  I had actually intended to post a while back to ask if anyone would be interested in a Christmas card exchange group.  No gifts, just cards.  I don't know about you but I LOVE Christmas cards.  I have childhood memories of all the relatives, all the neighbors, & all the business owners in town sending stacks & stacks of Christmas cards.  I miss those days.  I saw someone post recently that they had joined a Christmas card exchange group.  I asked if there was still time for another person to join, referring to myself of course, but I never received a response so I guess not.  So now I'm shamelessly asking ... would anyone care to exchange Christmas cards with me?  Again, no gifts ... just cards.  If you'd like to exchange cards with me, just send me an email with your mailing address & I will respond with mine.  

Next year I hope to be a little more organized.  I also hope whoever lives in the house above with that fabulous view will contact me about a trade  : )

Be Thankful

On Thursday, those of us in the US will be celebrating a day set aside to give thanks to God for all His blessings.  Sadly, many people seem to believe it's just a day to enjoy a good meal, watch endless football games on television, & prepare to "power shop" the Black Friday sales   : (  

I've been thinking all month about God's blessings. Don't get me wrong ... I think about them all through the year.  November, however, seems to make me think about them even more.  Is my life a bed of roses?  No.  None of us have a life like that. We can, however, focus on what's good in our lives rather than what's bad.  And there is always ... ALWAYS ... good to be found in our lives.

This coming Thursday ... while you're stuffing the turkey, baking the pies, setting the table, & cleaning up afterward ... really think about how God has blessed you.  And be thankful.  Be ever so thankful. A thankful heart is the best gift you can give to God, to the people around you, & to yourself.  

I wish you a very happy & blessed Thanksgiving day!   

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Final Eye Update

I apologize for not posting after my Wednesday followup with the eye doctor.  I'm behind in responding to emails & blog comments & my exchange mailings are going to be a wee bit late, but I've been trying to not overdo things.  I was actually given a good report.  Even though I was still experiencing some soreness & blurry vision in the injured eye, the inflammation & scarring were totally healed!  He said I would still experience a bit of soreness & blurriness for a few days, but he felt confident that all would be well.  I was able to stop using all but the steroid drops, & those I could decrease from 4 times a day to 2 times a day.  Tonight will be my final drop ... hooray!  He also suggested I not do any more yard work ... lol!  Don't know if I mentioned it but I injured this same eye in a mowing accident a couple years ago.  I was riding the mower around a small tree ... wearing goggles, mind you! ... when a little branch hit me at just the right angle to push up underneath the goggles & scratch my cornea! This eye doctor has a warped sense of humor just like I do, so we get along really well.  He had a good time teasing me & I laughed right along with him   : )

My thanks to everyone who said prayers for my healing & sent good wishes.  I appreciate them more than you know.

I'm just going to make this a short update.  I'll write about some other stuff in another day or two ... I hope   : )  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Joy Cometh in the Morning!!!!!

JOY COMETH IN THE MORNING!!!!!
Not a lot of joy,
but I'll take what I can get   : )

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Simplicity During the Christmas Season

Technically it's not the Christmas season yet, but yesterday I found myself thinking about all the things I need to do before Christmas gets here, & I suddenly realized that I was starting to feel a bit of stress.  Just a bit.  It occurred to me that if I'm starting to feel a bit of stress, others are probably starting to feel it too.  

When we become stressed, we lose our peace ... & when we lose our peace, we lose our joy.  We often find ourselves focusing on what we have determined to be the season's "Things That Need to Be Done" ... cleaning the house, buying the food, cooking the food, baking the cookies, decorating the tree, decorating the house, buying/making the gifts, wrapping the gifts, writing & mailing the cards, mailing the gifts that need to be mailed, hosting guests (maybe even housing them), visiting family & friends, attending church or school programs, going to seasonal parties, volunteering, etc.  We find ourselves over working, over committing, & over spending.  

How can we have peace & joy during the Christmas season?  Focus on the true meaning of Christmas.  God's Son.  He was born in a simple manger.  He lived a simple life.  Simplicity brings peace & joy.  When you complicate things, as we so often do during the Christmas season as well as during the rest of the year, we block that peace & joy.

I wish you all a blessed & simple week ... & blessed & simple weeks ... ahead.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Eye Update - Improvement!

My visit with the eye doctor yesterday morning went quite well!  He was happy to see that the irritation & inflammation was subsiding.  I am to continue the dilation/antibacterial drops 4 times/day but now have the steroid drops to add to the regimen.  I have another appointment to see him next Wednesday.

I had to continue to keep the eye closed yesterday, but today I am allowed to be a two-eyed person again   : )

The eye is still rather painful, & my vision with it is not very good.  I'm somewhat concerned about the vision.  Hopefully that will return to normal in due time.  If not, I may have to get a new glasses prescription.

Thank you all so much for your prayers!  Please keep at 'em, if you don't mind   : )

Friday, November 14, 2014

Eye Update - Please Pray

My eye doctor appointment yesterday did not go well.  He was dismayed to see that I had not improved as he expected.  Inflammation developed inside the eyeball along with some sort of irritation (I forget the term he used) around the injured area that was spreading across my eye.  He likened it to little hangnails which explained the reason I felt scratchiness & pain while wearing the patch.  Also, my iris, or retina, was spasming.  His words were "You are a mess."

In order to get the iris, or retina, to stop spasming, I had to have dilating drops placed in my eye.  It took three sets of drops before the spasming subsided.  He then gave me a prescription for dilating drops as well as antibacterial drops to place in my eye four times a day for 30 days.  Because of the need for drops he could not patch the eye again, so I had ... & still have ... to purposely keep the injured eye closed.  This takes some concentration, let me tell you   : )

He told me that the antibacterial drops are not the strongest he could prescribe for me, but they are the next best thing.  He said he did not want to prescribe the strongest drops right away because they would destroy the good as well as the bad bacteria in my eye.  He is hoping to avoid having to prescribe those.  He wants to see me again this morning, & if the eye hasn't improved to his liking, he will need to prescribe these stronger drops.

After things settle down a bit, I will then need to add steroid drops to the regimen.

Your prayers are deeply appreciated.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Eye-yi-yi!!!

Tuesday was a warm day ... sunny & dry. Temperatures after Tuesday were predicted to drop like a rock &, God willing, remain that way until spring.  I therefore decided it would be the perfect day to cut down the daylilies & irises & to put the Christmas lights on the little pine tree we bought a couple years ago to plant in the front yard.  I ran into a little problem while stringing the lights.  There were some dead branches on the bottom of the tree.  Not limbs, mind you. Branches. It was only after I put the lights on the tree that I thought I should trim these branches.  I walked back to the garage, took hold of the big pruner, & returned to the tree.  I knelt down & trimmed a few small dead pieces away from the trunk directly in front of me.  Then I don't know where my mind was, but seeing the dead branches to the right of me, I placed the pruner against the trunk of the tree & cut first the upper & then the lower "branch" & was heartsick as I saw the entire bottom right side of the tree collapse to the ground along with the lights that had been strung there.  I hadn't cut the branches ... I had cut the limbs!!!  Our cute little pine tree now looks as you it see in the photo below ... lol!  I can laugh about it now.  A permanent memorial to my stupidity!  
After composing myself ... & imagining John's horror over this when he returned home (he was out doing a bit of Christmas shopping) ... I carried the pieces I had cut from the tree back to where we put such things.  As I was was walking to this place where we put garden debris, I noticed how ratty it looked underneath our large myrtle bush, & so I decided to stop a moment & pull away this ratty growth.  So there I was, on my knees, making my way around the bush, bending closer to pull away this ratty growth, & suddenly a small branch which I did not see ... which was sticking up toward me ... met my eye.  I saw stars.  I blinked & blinked & blinked, then ... yes ... finished pulling away the remainder of the ratty growth, then disposed of it along with the cuttings from the tree.  I then headed into the house where I profusely rinsed my eye with eye drops, then showered & let the water rinse the eye further.  It felt like there was a little something in the eye, & I wasn't seeing very clearly with that eye, & what I was seeing kind of had a little aura around it.  I decided that if things weren't better in the morning, I'd call the eye doctor.  

When I woke up yesterday morning, the eye seemed to be okay at first, then started bothering me again.  I called the eye doctor's office & was told to come in at 10 o'clock.  It turns out that the point of that little branch had poked my cornea & then scraped upward a bit.  This is apparently a bad thing.  Not as bad as a fingernail poking you in the eye, but with what happened to me, there is a real concern for fungus.  Apparently fungus causes major problems with infections.  The debris & whatever else that was on the point of that branch takes a back seat to the fungus possibility.  My eye was slathered with antibiotic ointment & then a nurse put a huge patch on it to keep it shut for 24 hours.  I am seeing the doctor again this morning so he can take a look at the eye again.  I may have to be repatched for a couple days ... something I pray will NOT happen because this patch hurts!  After the patch is no longer necessary, I will then have to bathe my eye in antibiotic eye drops for a week or so.  I was useless yesterday as I couldn't read, couldn't knit, couldn't do anything because it caused pain.  This morning I'm a bit better.  I have my glasses spread open across the patch & I'm writing this post using only my "good" eye ... lol!

Incidentally, John took the tree damage amazingly well.  He said it doesn't look bad at all & that he could think of worst things that could have happened.  God bless him   : )

Monday, November 10, 2014

Luke 11:28

I am not a whiner, & therefore I will not whine about the difficulties that have come into my life over the past 3-4 weeks.  I shared some of them with you a while back.  Some of those things were resolved & then others took their place.  A friend likened them to a cloud hanging over me.  I thought that was a good description.

The things I experienced during this 3-4 week time frame were, of course, nothing compared to the problems that others experience.  Still, they were tiresome, bothersome, annoying, inconvenient, &/or painful.  The painful situation was the most difficult for me.  It involved another person.  Not a friend, but someone others think of very highly. This person, a professing Christian, betrayed my trust. When I told this person how disappointed I was in what they had done, their reaction was far from Christlike.  I was made to feel like the bad guy when I was the person who had been wronged!

I felt physically sick & very discouraged.  I immersed myself in prayer & reading God's Word, & God answered me in my distress.  Five times! The first word I received from Him was in a devotional reading one morning.  The reading focused on Philippians 2:3 ...

"Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy end] or prompted by conceit or empty arrogance.  Instead, in a true spirit of humility [lowliness of mind] let each regard the others as better than & superior to himself."

The reading talked about being obedient to the Holy Spirit, forgiving quickly & frequently, & how we must be generous in our mercy & patience. 

That same morning I also received a word via a Christian radio station.  Their "thought for the day" was Proverbs 23:7 ...

"As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."  

The voice on the radio talked about taking captive every thought & making it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) ... a scripture I had been focusing on for quite some time!  

Again that same morning, while I was praying, God spoke directly to my spirit & said "Don't let another person steal your joy."  I realized at that moment that that was exactly what I had been doing ... allowing this person to steal my joy.  Why was I giving this person such power when I had the power of the Living God on my side?!?!?

Later that same day, I was referred to an online devotional by a friend ... the subject being Romans 8:18 ...

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."

It is said that God speaks to us in a still, small voice.  I often tell Him that He knows how dense I am, & that when He wants to speak to me He needs to use a great, loud voice.  Well, these four words were, in essence, given to me in a great, loud voice!  There was no denying that He was answering my prayers ... that He was telling me how to get through this particular situation.  

As if His help up to this point wasn't enough, a few days ago I was re-reading one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 103, & when I got to verse 10, I immediately stopped.  

"he does not treat us as our sins deserve,
or repay us according to our iniquities."  

I must admit that, on occasion, a little nagging voice told me that this person should somehow have to pay for what they did to me.  I couldn't tell you the number of times I have read this Psalm, but verse 10 never jumped out at me like it did in this reading.  I immediately thought about how we are supposed to be like Christ ... & how Christ modeled Himself after His Father ... & how if God does not treat me as my sins deserve, or repay me for the things I have done ... then how could I have such thoughts against someone?  I know I'm "only human," but through His strength I am able to do anything (Philippians 4:13). 

This person's betrayal of my trust was devastating, but it ... combined with all the other raindrops this cloud brought into my life these weeks ... brought me even closer to God, & for that I can thank Him, & for that I can praise Him, & for that I can love Him even more.