Monday, July 16, 2018

I'm back!...and looking for more "simple gifts" from Jesus!

Hey Everybody,

I'm resurrecting this blog from internet oblivion! 

I have been on the pity pot more often than not just recently -- Just discouraged, frustrated, very tired of being limited and sick, weary and worn.  The last three years, I have taken a turn for the worse in my illness journey, and it has taken it's toll not only physically, but emotionally, and even spiritually as well.  

Usually, the warmer weather and sunshine of summer gives me more energy and I am able to do a bit better.  This year, however, I have been really still struggling, and it has just really got me down.

God has been reminding me to be grateful. (I will probably share more of this in future posts.) Therefore, it's time to start this old blog back up again, so I can look for and record God's simple gifts to me even during this time of struggle.  

Several months ago, I stumbled upon Mandy Meehan's vlog on youtube.  Like me, she has CFS.  Like me, she loves Jesus.  And like me, she desires to serve Him even during this time in her life.  (Fun side-track: a few months ago, David and I started attending a local church which ended up being an "open network" church  -- using resources from Life.Church,  including the video messages featuring Pastor Craig Groeschel.  We really have learned so much from him and love his style of preaching and leading.  We call him our "video pastor."  A few weeks after we started going, Pastor Craig mentioned in one of his messages, that his daughter struggles with a mysterious chronic illness -- of course, my ears pricked.  He then showed a picture of was Mandy!  I had no idea! But I don't think this is just a coincidence.) 

So anyway, yesterday afternoon, I decided to catch up with her youtube videos.  It had been a few months, so I guess you could say I had a "major Mandy marathon" binge-watching several of her vlogs.  She's quite a bit younger than me, but her honest sharing what God has been teaching her through "this season" touched my heart and reminded me of several truths I had let slip away from me.  Even her reference to "this season," was comforting, bringing to mind this is but a time, maybe not forever (even though her "season" has been much shorter than mine. 😉) But one vlog in particular, hit home.  She was talking about Galatians 6:9:  "Do not get weary in doing good..."  and reminding me/herself that we can't get weary in doing whatever we are called to do, even doing what we need to get better.  It's very easy for a person with chronic illness to become weary.  Just getting out of bed does it some days.  But I have become lazy and unmotivated to even do the things I *can* do to try and feel better, because I haven't seen any results.  God really used this young woman to speak into my heart and get me back on track.  So thankful!  Here is a link to her youtube channel if you'd like to check her out:

Moving forward, this blog is mostly just going to be a place for me to remember and record all the blessings...big and small... No pressure on myself.  I will be ok with not finding the perfect font, perfect picture, perfect phrasing, the perfect pithy title, for the perfect blog post.  I. will. be. ok. with. it. 😉 Some posts may just be a picture or two.  Some may be a line or two. On occasion, there may be a longer one.  We shall see.  By recording them here, I will be remembering them, which will make gratitude more intentional.  But also...if my meager words here can help someone else, then that would be an even bigger and better gift! 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Gift of Together

David and I celebrated 10 years of marriage!  10 years!  I can't hardly believe it.  God has truly blessed me with this man.  When I was walking down the aisle all those years ago, I knew God had prepared my husband for me, and vice-versa; I knew this was right, and had no doubts.  But there were still a lot of unknowns.  We were both older when we married and it was our first marriage.  When you're older, you have more set ways and patterns of doing things.  Would we be successful in blending them?  Would we be able to combine our belongings into his small two-bedroom house?  Would we get used to sharing a bed?  I had never lived on my own....would I be ready to take on the responsibilities of a house AND a husband?  David wondered what it would be like to have to share his space and life with someone when he had been used to living on his own so long, and he LOVED his independence....

God took us by the hand and led us into an amazing journey that continues to this day.  We adapted so well to life together, those concerns seem silly now.  Of course, there have been disagreements and conflicts, but we have worked through them, learning to give, compromise and sacrifice along the way.  We hate any unresolved conflict which as it turns out, is a wonderful gift to have in marriage.  We want to talk things out before they become huge obstacles.  I have had to forgive David, and he has had to forgive me.

My engagement ring is a trilliant is triangular in shape.  When David gave it to me, he said there will be three people in our marriage just like the three points of your ring....God, you and me.  I wear it on my finger positioned so one point sits at the top, and of the two bottom points, one is slightly higher than the other.  This is to remind me the top point is God, the slightly higher point is David and the slightly lower point is me.  That is our secret....God is top priority, our spouse is next and we are last.  We rely on God for everything, and we demonstrate our dependence on Him by praying to Him for each other every morning and night.  Have you ever tried to be angry or annoyed at someone while praying for them? Yeah, doesn't really work haha. He's helped us through the first decade of our marriage and He will be the only way we will thrive through more decades.

God's gift of love between us has been an unbelievable blessing.  Don't know where I would be today without David's love, support and encouragement.  He has nudged me when I needed it, has encouraged me to stretch myself farther than I thought possible, but has also held me when I've cried in discouragement that I couldn't do more physically.  He refuses to let me beat myself up.  And that is a full-time job sometimes. : )

Thank you Lord for the gift of David and our marriage!
I pray you strengthen it and continue to help it thrive for many years to come!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Snag of Perfect

Have you ever been snagged by perfectionism?  I am not really a perfectionist when it comes to other people.  I mean, I'm pretty laid-back.  But oh what a different story when it comes to myself.  I can be very hard on myself and lay out high expectations and drive and strive to meet them.  When I can't, I shut down.  And every time I think I've improved with it, something always rises up again to remind me I'm still not done with the journey.  This blog is one of those things.  It's been snagged in perfectionism.

You see, I've let so many countless opportunities to blog go by because I didn't have the time (or inclination) to blog about it "right."  The Lord has blessed me left and right, and I haven't been recording it here because I felt it wasn't good enough, or that I couldn't make a "full-length" blog about it.  Whatever that is?

Lord, forgive me.  I've been resisting writing and recording your blessings and gifts to me because I didn't think I could do it the right way.  How silly is that?  I have a real fear of failure.  If I fear I won't be able to do something, I am much more likely not to try in the first place.  So many simple gifts flown by and not remembered, not treasured forever in my heart by this written record because I was afraid to try to write it down the "right" way.

Well, God has given me a new vision for this blog.  I am now recording those simple gifts and blessings that happen around me, whenever they resonate in my heart.  Whether recording them here takes one sentence, or many paragraphs.  My writing may not be perfect, but that's not the point of this blog.  I've always wanted this place to be where I record God's goodness and inspire my gratitude to Him in the process.

It's a new journey, and I'm grateful even for these hard-to-learn lessons!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Please indulge me a few minutes while I gush about my husband.  After all, how can I write a blog about the gifts God gives me and not include him? Eleven years ago, we first "noticed" each other and began dating.  Actually, using his words..."I purposed in my heart to pursue you."  What woman doesn't love to be pursued?  And I'm thankful he still pursues me, even though he won my heart all those years ago.  We were married almost nine years ago, in April of 2003.  Each day I realize more things to love and respect and admire about him.

David is just the right combination of compassion, understanding, encouragement, nudge-me-when-I-need-it love and concern.  He is strong in conviction, principle, and justice.  He notices the out-cast and the forgotten among us.  He wants to be used by the Lord and leads our home in spiritual sincerity.  He is fun and makes me laugh.  Even when we have struggles, God has blessed us with the ability to talk it out and see things from the other's perspective.  And we continue to grow in our marriage with each other through the hard and good times.

I love to share experiences with him.  We go on anniversary trips most years, and just like to explore, whether it's hopping in the car and heading to "wherever," or going up to Chicago for a weekend.  Recently, we splurged on a wonderful dinner out at SilverCreek, and afterward a concert by our local symphony.  It was a little different for us, and we took full advantage, even dressing up fancy for our night on the town.   It was a wonderful feast for the eyes, ears, palate and soul!    

I truly believe that God designed David for me, and me for him.  It makes me feel so loved and special that God would put such an awesome guy in my life.  When I first  met him at out church, I remember thinking "Wow, great guy!  He must have a girlfriend around somewhere, because nobody that awesome, would still be unattached.  Some girl obviously has snatched him up."  As it turned out, I was the one who had the privilege! haha

David is the God could give me (apart from Himself) in my life, and I am truly blessed! 

 Thank you for indulging me and letting me share : )  David, I love you with all my heart!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The LIGHT in the Darkness

So, what do you do at 5 in the morning, after a whole night of not sleeping?  Besides wanting to tear your hair out and scream, I mean.  When you're too frustrated to stay in bed trying in vain to "trick" yourself into falling asleep, but you're too exhausted to really get up and do anything either.  Well, you work on your blog about God's goodness of course; because it's very important to remember...especially right now.  So bleary eyes and fuzzy brain aside....

Christmas....I love this time of year so much.  Christmas is my thing...always has been.  Some of my warmest memories of family togetherness and being joyful are of Christmas time -- getting together with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, singing Christmas carols, having our own family Christmas, the excitement of anticipation -- what's in that package? -- and experiencing it all with the wonder of childhood.  I know some people do not have those treasured memories or the loving family to share it with.  I know this is a blessing in and of itself.  And I am very thankful to the Lord for it.

One of the things I have always especially loved about Christmas is all the lights.  Lights on the trees, lights on the houses, candles in the windows, big lights, little lights, multi-colored and twinkly lights.  Both as a child and now, I love to sit in a dark room with only the Christmas lights shining. There is just something very warm and joyous about Christmas lights, like they are lighting the way for what is to come. Or whom. Even now, in the pre-dawn darkness, I see some Christmas lights left on here and there, and it brings me child-like joy and excitement (in spite of no sleep).  Light has always been important to me, so I guess it makes sense that I would love the extra-specialness of Christmas lights.

I really love the passage in Isaiah that says "Those people walking in darkness have seen a Great Light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a Light has dawned" (9:2).  I used to sleep with a night light  because it made my childhood bedroom less scary.  Some qualities of Light:  Light guides us and shows us the way to walk.  Light can bring us great comfort and hope.  Light always overcomes the darkness.  A single candle can light up a whole room.  Darkness can no longer envelope anything the Light has touched.

Now as an adult, I've had my share of dark times -- I've struggled with chronic illness, losing loved ones, being misunderstood, loneliness and even with the darkest of dark places, depression.  The idea of  Jesus, the Great Light gives me hope and expectation that eventually, in His timing, I will see a brighter day.    After a sleepless night in the darkness, after the especially long lonely and confusing hours, there is almost a relief when morning light comes with it's fresh perspective.  The Light is always there, even if I don't always see Him right away. And I don't have to worry about stumbling around in the darkness because the Light has dawned that first Christmas night.  May Jesus, the Light spark some hope in your heart as well.  Merry CHRISTmas!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Gift of Rest

Have you ever been so busy that you haven't had the time or inclination to see God's blessings in the every day? Unfortunately, that has been my case lately. Thus, the silence here.

I am very grateful that God has just given me a solid week of not leaving the house, not having to go anywhere. For some, that would drive them looney, but it was just what I needed! The last time I had a whole week free of demands, was probably about four or five months ago! I have really been struggling with my CFS, feeling like I have barely been surviving each day, just keeping my head above water. I've also been struggling with feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, discouraged, and spiritually blah too. So, this week was truly a gift to me.

During this week, I was able to rest, read for fun, watch some of my DVR list, catch up with a friend over the phone, have conservations with my husband, catch up with my online friends on Sparkpeople and facebook, do some things around the house in spurts, and spend some time with the Lord. The anniversary of my grandma's passing came and went (Nov. 2, 19 years ago), and I have been blessed with my first great nephew, (born Oct. 31). (More to come on these later.)

I wish I could say I feel fully rested. I don't. And the last few days I have been either fighting a cold, or a flare-up of my CFS. But I sure feel much better than I did, and that's progress. Anyone with chronic illness is acutely aware it takes time for recovery, but I have enjoyed and appreciated this week.

I know there's truth in the health of the whole being -- physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual -- being affected by the health of one or more parts. As I have tired physically, those other parts of me have suffered as well. Again, it takes time, but I have been given some additional insights into my relationship with God, and I don't feel quite so helpless and overwhelmed emotionally. The frustration and discouragement still lingers around the edges, especially at this time of the year, but I thank the Lord for the Gift of Rest, and will do all I can to make sure I have more of these opportunities to be still and lie down in green pastures.

One of my favorite passages is Matt: 11: 28-30, which includes these words "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." That's what this week has been for me.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Intangible Gifts

There will be no photo accompanying this post, because often the Lord shows me His love and blessing through intangible ways -- ways I can't see or touch, but ways that are deeply impactful in my spiritual life. I love it when He speaks to me and teaches me right where I am in life.

It's ironic that even though my body has been very weary recently, I have also been very restless in my mind and spirit. I recognize this comes from anxiety in my heart, which I struggle with quite often. I also struggle with probably the worst form of anxiety -- anxiety of getting too close to my Savior. I get afraid of what He may ask of me, or what He may "take away" from me. This has happened because of some ways that He has "disappointed" me in the past (at least according to my human perception). The truth is, whenever you get disappointed or hurt, your ability to trust gets damaged as well.

But you know, even through all this "stuff" in my rocky journey toward Him, He is faithful and patient. He has been the One to show me what my struggles are, what has caused them, and that the answer is to "Be still and know that I am God." (Ps. 46:10a) Being still has a lot to do with resting and trusting. So I ask myself how I trust people, when it should be so much easier to trust a perfect God than imperfect people. It must be that I know and love them. I know their character, and know they wouldn't do anything to hurt me intentionally. I know they would do everything in their power for my good. Therefore, I trust them.

Ahhh, says the Lord. That's the key. So, after being a "believer" so many years, I find myself still in need of REALLY KNOWING my Lord and therefore REALLY TRUSTING Him. And you know, just as He has been teaching me these things, I feel assured He will stay with me, ever faithful and patient along the way. And I know from past experience, it won't be an easy ride. I am left with the only response I can make. I am helpless. I am weak, but He is strong. I have only the ability to ask the most simple yet profound prayer my heart can make of Him: Help.