Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Day 18


What a morning! Woke up early to a message from our landlord that there will be no water for a couple of hours since a plumper was coming. He sent it last night and I was too tired to check my messages when I came home from work. That's alright, still had time to fill up all my pitchers, jugs, and large pots with water.

Found out last night at work we had a shutdown day for Good Friday with only a small crew coming in. Guess who is part of that small crew? My heart sank as I wanted to have that day off, too. I'm over it now, and looking forward to getting a nice check.

Emily reminded me she was spending her Easter weekend volunteering, so she wasn't going to be here either. Of course, with Good Friday service, Easter Egg Hunt and three services on Sunday, she will be extremely busy.

Friends, this Saturday will be my Mystery Marathon Weekend, so I am unavailable. I plan on locking myself in my room with the coffee machine, a bottle of red wine and a basket of yarn. I'll see ya on Sunday.

Plus, food holds no appeal to me right now. I know I'm crying like a big baby, but this is the hardest thing I've ever down. . . .literally. I'm staring at my breakfast of oatmeal with no sprinkle of sugar on top and a mug of coffee that tastes bitter.

Now for something  light and amusing. Found this in my e-mail box from Grandma Barb. Enjoy.


TODAY IS THE OLDEST YOU'VE EVER BEEN, YET THE YOUNGEST YOU'LL EVER BE, SO ENJOY THIS DAY WHILE IT LASTS  - AND, PONDER THE FOLLOWING:

Your kids are becoming you. 
But your grandchildren are perfect.
Going out is good,   
Coming home is better!
You forget names.  
But it's OK because other people forgot they even knew you!
You realize you're never going to be really good at anything,
Especially golf!
The things you used to care to do, you no longer care to do.
But you really do care that you don't care to do them anymore!
You sleep better on a lounge chair with the TV blaring than in bed. 
It's called "pre-sleep".
You miss the days when everything worked with, 
Just an "ON" and "OFF" switch.
You tend to use more 4 letter words
"What?" .. . . "When?". . . "????"
Now that you can afford expensive jewelry,
It's not safe to wear it anywhere.
You notice everything they sell in stores is,
Sleeveless!
What used to be freckles,
Are now liver spots.
You have 3 sizes of clothes in your closet.
2 of which you will never wear.
But Old is good in some things.
Old Songs, Old Movies, and best of all, OLD FRIENDS.

Have a Blessed day everyone.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Day 17

Once in a while, I have a strong desire to post a picture of flowers, especially if they are shown in  a Victorian or Vintage style. Isn't this picture lovely? So serene and calming. I'm just loving the cute little teacups.

It has been a very trying and difficult challenge these past two weeks with no sugar. This may sound silly to you, but I happen to really enjoy those two large mugs of coffee in the morning. Or at least I used to enjoy them.

That small simple pleasure, when taken away, feels gigantic. Isn't it the little things that keep us going? The longer I go into this challenge, the more I want to give in.

This morning, my sugar cop informed me that she wanted to make eclairs. I nearly died. I simply love anything custard filled like flan or puddings. I told her straight out that if she made them, I would definitely fail my challenge.

So what does she do instead? She makes bread. Gotta love my girl, she definitely takes care of me. Bread is not a sweet so I can enjoy that with dinner.

All of that got me thinking how much we women seek food for comfort. When we are stressed or upset, we turn to things that we find satisfying like chocolate, ice cream or pie. Sometimes, it can be an activity like alone time, crocheting or some other hobby.

What calms you? What provides you with the serenity that we often need? My mom would sit in the garden and enjoy the beautiful flowers. What brings you Joy? Sometimes, it's hard to find that Joy and then maintain it.

Whatever your peace and joy may look like, I hope you find it and cling to it for support. It's a new week, folks. A very Holy week. Let's keep that in mind as we go about our way. Let us remember in all we do this week, all that He did during this week.

Have a Blessed day everyone.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Day 16

There are 3 types of friendships.
Friends that stay for a reason
Friends that stay for a season
Friends that stay forever.
Holley Gerth.

Today was not a good day. It was one of those days where we want to chuck it all in and lay down in a heap, crying at how our life has turned out. I sat down and wrote a cold story with a dose of blunt reality sprinkled on top, with plans of running away. My plan was to post it when I get home from work. In truth, I believe God stepped in.  
 
As I went about my day, unhappy with everyone and everything, vowing to never speak to people again. I was tired of getting beaten down with life's troubles, especially the work kind. Why, Lord, why? kept echoing inside my head.
 
A funny thing happened along the way. For the rest of the day, every time I opened my devotion or verse or any scripture on my phone, they all ran along the lines of something like this:

He knows as long as we live in a fallen, broken world we will go through challenges, have hard days and face obstacles that seem insurmountable. Holley Gerth

It was both a reminder and a promise from Him to me. So I came home and deleted that story, posting  this one in place of it. The following I wanted to share with all of you in hopes of lifting anyone's spirit in the same way it has done for me. I believe that we all have those moments where we need to be reminded that we are not alone in  our struggles, especially if we cannot comfort ourselves with sugar.

If you have every planted a garden, you know that seed does not do well on hard ground. No matter how many seeds thrown to the ground, they will just bounce around until they are either eaten or blown away. In order for the seeds to take root and produce fruit, they must actually enter into the ground which means the ground must first be plowed.
Plowing is not easy. It takes time and energy to break open the dry ground in order to expose and prepare the soil underneath. The same is true with our hearts. Apart from God, our hearts are sun dried and barren, but when we begin honestly looking into the Word of God, the Holy Spirit begins plowing our heart so that we will receive the Truths of God. Just like gardening, it can be hard but it is worth the effort. The more we take God's Word to heart, the more God digs out rocks of sin and pride, while planting great promises. God desires to see our lives filled with the fruit of His Spirit, but we must first be willing to be broken. Don't fight it, embrace it, and you will find great joy awaiting the other end.
Life Lesson: The Word of God is our source for everything we need to know about God, ourselves and salvation.
Dear God,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the love that You have shown me and the promise that You can make me new. Give me the strength to trust You as you plow my heart. Open my heart to understanding and my mind to your Truth. Plant in me all that You desire and use me to be a vessel of your grace. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Living to tell what He died to say,
Pastor David McGee
Cross the Bridge
 
Have a Blessed day everyone.
 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Day 15

Never have I wanted to get into my car and run off somewhere far  where I don't know anyone, than I do today. Of course, it is Friday. No surprise there.

I am envious of anyone who works in a Christian environment, literally envious. How nice that must be , to be surrounded by people who are "well behaved". People who don't jump down your throat when  a situation arises. People have no idea on how to act in times of stress. People react with their emotions rather than their heads.

Sometimes, when I'm listening to people go on a rampage, I feel as if I'm speaking to satan. Every word is a bleep, bleep and a bleep. I will be honest! I have said some bleeps in my lifetime, but not Jerry Springer bleeps!

I never want to work in this type of environment again. Hundreds of people from all walks of life are here and I'm tired. Twenty years is too much!

Everyday, I pray for God to provide strength to make it through another work day. Twenty years is a lot to walk away from, so please pray for me everyone, because I don't know how much more I can take.

Okay, enough ranting! Have a blessed weekend everyone.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Day 14

If you are anything like the way I was in the past, you ignore aches and pains that our bodies provide to let us know something isn't so. I have learned the hard way to listen to my body and the signals it sends. Now, I don't mean for you to become a hypochondriac, but I do want you to be aware of any signs that are irregular.
 
By that I mean, go have regular checkups at your family doctor and dentist. If there is anything out of whack, they will provide the necessary biometric screenings or blood work to find out. This applies to women in particular regarding those dreaded pap smears and mammograms.
 
I cannot stress to you the importance of these tests. I am paying for my past lack of this advice. Even now, I'm guilty for postponing a visit to the podiatrists regarding my knee, which I plan on rectifying as soon as possible.
 
Believe me, I am dreading the multiple visits that I know will ensue following my initial visit. There will be x-rays and needles, probably even a few physical therapy sessions. All of which will take a lot of my vacation time from work, time that I would prefer saving.
 
When it comes to anything pertaining doctors and my health, I terribly miss my third shift. That shift allowed me to schedule my visits without missing a day of work. I know I have complained and looked forward to living like a normal person with normal work hours, but I can now see that it isn't  for me. I would go back to third shift in a heartbeat.
 
Sometimes, we have to learn the hard way.
 
Nowadays, when I'm tired, I take a nap. If something hurts, my doctor knows about it. I do all that I can to take better care of myself and you should, too.
 
Have a Blessed day everyone.
 
P.S.
I've been thinking of keeping this no sugar thing for good or at least another month. The only thing is the coffee, the coffee. I want good coffee!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Day 13

I've been to many funerals and each time I'm amazed it's not me laying there. Cancer can be a good thing and a bad thing. It brings one to their senses.
Thought of the day.

Everyone keeps asking me how I'm feeling or doing, expecting me to fall apart. Quite honestly, I myself, have expected the same. I have good days and bad days. It all depends on the emotions that I'm feeling at that moment. It will simply take time.

It has brought to my attention the thought of funerals. I have let my children know my feelings regarding a funeral. Basically, I have let them full control in what they may want to do.

I have to say, I was very impressed with the funerals of Lora and Linda. Lora was extremely prepared for her death even writing letters to her children and family members. Each funeral was special based on that person's lifestyle.

 I'd love to share with you a poem from Linda's funeral in honor of all our friends who have passed away.

The Cardinal

A cardinal is a representative of a loved one who has passed. When you see one, it means they are visiting you. They usually show up when you most need them or miss them. They also make an appearance during times of celebration as well as despair to let you know they will always be with you. Look for them, they'll appear.

Have a Blessed day everyone.

P.S.
Emily has been baking up a storm! I think she's trying to trick me up! The sugar cop/police drill sergeant is pulling all the tricks she has to test me. Pray for me!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Day 12

If you've been a regular reader on this blog, you know that work has been a challenge for me these past few years. I struggle on a daily basis to maintain a positive outlook. I'm not sure why. Is it because of the current uncertain atmosphere or is it because I have been there 20 years already? I'm forever looking for ways to improve my attitude regarding my job.

I came upon a familiar phrase I've heard and seen many times: God is at work. What if God really was at my work? What would that look like? Would it be visible or hidden? Throughout the day, I searched for signs of God being here.

Almost immediately, I found one. An associate told me of how her prayers were answered in the form of her vehicle being fixed for a mere fraction of the price. Her face radiated happiness among the Monday blues of everyone else.

Also, I was able to find a great parking spot instead of driving around halfway around the facility and then walking. As I parked, I saw another associate throwing snowballs, grinning boldly the entire time. Even during the Monday blues, we are able to find some fun.

Inside, I met up with a friend who looked pretty upset with herself. She had forgotten her smock or sweater to wear over her outfit. She felt self-conscious of her weight being visible, especially since the majority of her work was among other people. She felt exposed. I ran into her again a few minutes later, only to find her doing her backup position of sitting behind a desk. God took her discomfort in mind that day.

My day went by pretty quickly. I was so occupied with my work and in looking for these signs that my night was over in a flash. I looked up at the clock and it was almost time to leave. I had to smile, because God was really here with me today. He knew how hard it would be for me and He kept me busy, making sure I made it through my day.

Have a Blessed day everyone.

P.S.
 I've decided to weigh myself since it was Monday and it's been 12 days since my no sugar quest. I weighed in at 213lbs at the start and now I weighed in at 209.5lbs. It was a pretty darn good Monday!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Day 11

Staring out my window watching the snowplows coming through, I thought how easily things can change almost overnight. Only a week ago, I had huge plans for the weekend (like finally doing my taxes) only for everything to come to a complete halt.

We really aren't in control. We want to believe we are and that no one can tell us what to do or when to do it, but that is a lie. I can't even control whether I have a peaceful morning or not.

Life throws unexpected curveballs at us like funerals, emergency appointments and unexpectedly working overtime. As much as we complain, we are very adaptable people, making necessary adjustments to fit our lifestyle.

Did this happen to you this weekend? Were your plans changed at the last minute by life's ever changing sequence of events? Are you feeling tired after what was to be a time of rest?

That is how I feel this morning.

I can understand why Monday's seem so blah. When one is particularly weary, the week may seem extremely l-o-n-g. Do we have what it takes to make it through this week? Yes, but we are not aware of it yet. Maybe by Thursday night we will feel a renewed energy to tackle the end of this week, but until then our shoulders are droopy.

Our desire to call in a sick day bursting at the seams, but we go in anyway. Our energy levels depleting, we plough through this difficult Monday workday, coffee in hand for emergency refills. Some of us even have sugar in our coffee.

Are we ready? No.

Will we make it? Yes!

Have a blessed day everyone.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Day 10

It's only day 10, yet it feels like I've been doing this forever.
Feeling for the week.

It's Sunday and I feel  a total release from everything old and hurtful. I feel as if I was starting a brand new day completely fresh with a step in the right direction.

We carry around so much hurt and pain that it becomes excess baggage that gets heavier and heavier with time. You can feel the weight of it pushing you downward where eventually we fall to our knees unable to move in any direction.

I felt like that all of last year.

It was one of the worst obstacles I've had to overcome in a very long time. I've lost friendships, my position and even a work schedule. Everything changed whether I was prepared for it or not. The rug was swept under me and I fell hard.

That alone was difficult for me to muster since I have such a strong defensive resolve and that time it just crumbled as if sand. I guess I wasn't as strong as I thought myself to be.

I struggled to get up, falling over and over again, pain and bitterness trying its best to fill my soul. I fought  and fought, miserable each time. When the year closed, it was a deep breath of relief that I exhaled on New Years Eve.

I've made a resolution to stand firmly once again.

With the passing of my two friends, I've been thinking so much about the past, almost with envy that they left hand in hand together. In my mind, I can see them both running towards that beautiful light , hands clasped firmly and giggling as children.

Today during service, as my hands stretched upward, I felt free! I wanted to dance all around like a child, picking up wildflowers! I felt all that pain, bitterness and hurt leave my body.

I was finally free, standing firmly with my hands stretched wide.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Day 9

It began as another normal night after work. I came in, took off my shoes and coat. I looked around for a plate on the stove, but there was none, so I made myself a jelly sandwich.

In the morning, my drill sergeant Emily, informed me that I've cheated. Cheated? How? Jelly is nothing but sugar, just another form of something sweet. Yup, without even realizing what I was doing, I ate sugar.

That depressed me so much. I was so proud of myself for keeping this up and not giving in. I suffered through countless mornings of bad, unsatisfying coffee for nothing!

So what are you going to do now? The sugar police I'm living with wanted to know.

I'm going to admit it here on this blog and continue on. Disappointed. Not in a good mood, but I will move on.

Which brings me to my next point. All last week and this week, I have been a total grouch! Almost bitchy at times. When I began this sugar quest, the last thing I wanted is to name it a " fast" or something similar.

The minute I take on a cleanse or a fast, a tsunami hits and everything goes to hell. Yes, I said it. Remember the last time? The phone, the car, the computer ? This is no different, except it has hit me on my emotional side.

We, as women, turn to food for comfort when we are stressed or emotional, particularly something sweet like chocolate. It is no wonder that I am at my worst right now. The things that would soothe me in the past are no longer available to me. I can't even crochet right now, because of the lack of time.

Even preparing a meal for myself doesn't evoke any pleasure. My bowl of oatmeal stared up at me this morning, looking very boring. I didn't even want to eat it. The sugar police walked into the kitchen and took one look at my miserable face. She walked over to my bowl, added some butter, milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

It did taste a little better.

Have a Blessed day everyone.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Day 8

Death is not an easy subject to talk about, but if you have a chronic illness, it is something that you've frequently visited upon. I know I have. Back in 2011 when my cancer returned after a long spell in remission, I had to deal with the thought of dying. In fact, I was almost positive I was on the road to it pretty soon.

I was angry, threw many pity parties and even planned my own funeral. I began a blog, because I wanted to leave something of myself behind. I went into remission for a few months and the cancer came back again.

Yet, here I am.

We do not know when our time will come. People who have seen me eight years ago thought I was dying then. I've been living with cancer for so long, it has become my friend in a way. One would think I should be able to handle these emotions regarding death.

Yet, it isn't so.

Believe me, both Lora's and Linda's deaths have come as a total shock to me. I don't think we can ever become used to death, no matter how ill we may be. It is in us to fight until the end.

So I'm more than a little emotional this morning as I prepare for Linda's funeral. Almost afraid, because she was the other half of me. We had cancer together and we went into remission together every single time.

I have seen what cancer can do to someone physically in the last days. I don't want to see the pain and suffering she had to endure. You see, Linda was scared, very scared of dying and I've always prayed that if God needed to take her, it would be quick and peaceful for her.

I want to remember her the way she was . . . Linda smiled with her eyes, beautifully.

Have a Blessed day everyone.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

DAY 7

A job is a job, but once in a while, that job provides something really cool and useful. Every first quarter, we are provided with biometric screening by our workplace, all voluntary and free, if we choose to do so. This has been my third year in participating.

I was very curious to see how my levels were doing ever since I have given up my sugar. I know it has only been a week, but every small effort helps.

I went during my lunch hour and this test took a good chunk of it away, lasting a total of fifteen minutes. They took my weight, my height and pricked my finger to draw some blood.

I knew what the results would be like since basically they haven't changed much in the three years.
Total Cholesterol = 217 = borderline
HDL ( good cholesterol)= 45 = high risk
                      If I was 5 mg higher, I would have been average.
Tri-Glycerides = 130 = normal
LDL ( bad cholesterol ) = 145 = borderline
Glucose = 103 = normal
Blood Pressure = 117/88 = great
BMI = 39.1 = fatso
Weight = 212 = I actually lost a pound

After comparing it to the last two years, I have gown down in glucose  and tri-glycerides. I used to be borderline in  everything. If these 30 days do anything, I certainly hope they change some of these numbers for the better. I am definitely willing to try to do something about it, even though I am missing my coffee with sugar desperately.

My three day work project came to an end and I'm back to my regular schedule. Boy, am I glad! Yesterday, I was so tempted and drooling to have some sugar, even a lollipop would have sufficed.

These past three days were a huge test for me, surrounding me with muffins, cupcakes, donuts, cookies, potato chips and even granola bars. I did fine until the last day when a fellow associate brought in a Dunkin Donuts coffee for herself, one of my favorite types. She sat next to me and I drooled, but I never gave in. I thought about it for the rest of the day, which resulted in an early night for me.
 and many glasses of water.

Well, I'm baring my soul and shame with all of you. Not often that I share my weight. It's all about accountability!

Have a Blessed day everyone.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Day 6

Today is a very bittersweet day here. Two of our dear ladies have passed on to Heaven. My friend, Lora Dylong, whose birthday party we just celebrated this past Saturday, passed away last night. My other girlfriend, our very own Linda, passed this morning at 7:15 a.m.

If you have been a regular reader on this blog, you have heard many things regarding Linda. She and I go a long way, right to the first treatment. It is with a heavy heart that I post today. My fellow cancer friends have left for heaven. How do I feel about it? Not very sure. I am in total shock to find that both of them died within a few hours of each other.

Please keep both families in prayer as we both mourn and celebrate their passing. It is a huge comfort to know that both of them have followed Jesus and are with Him now in Heaven.

                                                 Lora Dylong

                                                            
                                                                    Linda Dunning

Have a Blessed day everyone.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Day 5

What is a smile? Someone once wrote:
“A smile costs nothing, but creates much good. It enriches those who receive it without impoverishing those who give it away. It happens in a flash, but the memory of it can last forever. No one is so rich that he can get along without it. No one is too poor to feel rich when receiving it. It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad and nature’s best anecdote for trouble. Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen.”
Adrian Rodgers

So it's Monday once again, folks! No matter how we are feeling or the kind of weekend we may have had, it's time to buckle up and roll up our sleeves  for work.

This morning I will be on first shift! I have been volunteered to partake in an event where a group of workers from various departments get together and work on a selected area and make necessary improvements.

I do have to admit that this is my first time and normally the rest of the associates look upon the finished " area " worked on as to say why even bother with it. Now the shoe will be on the other foot so to speak.

The only thing is that we will arrive at a different hour than the scheduled shift. Whereas they begin their day from 06:30 a.m. until 02:30 p.m., we will be there from 8a.m. until 4p.m. I am not happy with these hours since it falls directly upon rush hour. Ugh, wish me luck folks, since I have to do this for three whole days!

On the positive side, I have wanted to have a taste of working during the normal hours like everyone else in the world, being home in the evenings. That hasn't happened since I was 20 years old. It will be interesting to see how this will end. Emily is happy to have me home for supper. I told her, I expect to have it ready on the table when I walk in ( hehehehe ). I can't publish what happened next.

On the downside, the invitation stated that breakfast and lunch will be provided for all three days. My first instinct tells me it will be sweet rolls, muffins and bagels, but I'm hoping for the best. Lunch , I'm sure will be pizza.

What exactly we will be working on is a total mystery to me. Never done this before, so I have no clue. I thought it may provide a small excursion from the everyday blahs of work. Don't worry, folks, You will be hearing about this as the week progresses.

So put on those smiles and flash those grins as this new week unfolds.

Have a Blessed day everyone.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Day 4

The kind of love that God has for us is the kind of love that can change the world. It’s based on commitments more than feelings. If love were based on feelings, it would not have the power that it does. Love has the power to change everything. That’s the kind of love that God wants us to show the world around us.
Ed Young Devotional

Today was a day filled with all kinds of love. I felt the love in all I did and encountered. The happy kind, the sad kind and the friendly kind.

My day began with my Ministry's general meeting we hold every six months. We usually meet outside of the apartment so all can attend, even the ones that are allergic to cats, especially ours. This time we met at a Dunkin Donuts.

I guess, now you can see my agitated state from last night. Oh, but my friends, it doesn't end there. It will be like that for the remainder as there is a birthday party in the evening.

I hate going out into the world. If I could lock myself in and never venture out, it would be my ideal, but I force myself to mingle, because we need people in our life and they need us.

I love my ladies. We really enjoy the banter that goes on between us. This is that one type of love today. The love of true friendships that exist between individuals where trust resides. You know that what is said here, stays here.

As the day progressed, I spent majority of it with a dear friend who is going through a rough patch in her life. We all have them and we all need someone to hear us out and hold our hand during it. This friend has been in my life for many years and that kind of love is very difficult to find.

My evening was spent celebrating another kind of love, the kind that lives on even when we are no longer here. A family friend is at a stage of her cancer where doctors can no longer be of any use. It was her 54th birthday and all her friends and family came dressed in white to support her during this time.

It was a very dramatic and emotional week for me considering it was to end at this point. What does one say or do when your friend has only six months to live?

During my eight years with cancer, I have seen many people die from this disease and each time, it is heartbreaking to see the pain and deterioration of the human body we are born in. The spirit lives on and moves on, leaving only memories.

This is the way I will die one day.

At church it was Baptism Sunday, and as always, my favorite time. Only this time, I burst out crying, because life begins and life ends as we know it. I cried for my friend going through difficult times and the one who will be entering Heaven soon. I cried for myself, my own mortality and my children's acceptance of it.

I cried for the One who died on the Cross for us, His love so evident and our love covenant to Him as we submerge into Baptismal waters.

You see, it is a love day this weekend. There are all kinds of love around us. I'm glad to have these people  in my life. Suddenly, my love of sugar is nothing to the love I have been shown, adorned with and given.

I can do this.

Have a Blessed day everyone.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Day 3

So . . . . as great as yesterday was and ended, today was a mess. I'm not sure why things went downhill. Maybe, because my day was extremely full and my anxiety level went up multiple notches making me very stressed and irritable.

I lost my temper and took it out on Emily, slamming doors in the process. I'm sure this has never happened to any of you moms out there.

I brooded and fussed for the majority of the morning. A headache ensued, mostly because I didn't have my morning coffee. I almost cheated . . . .  a little.

While at Costco, I decided to buy flavored creamer ( French vanilla ) and my mouth literally watered at the prospect of having something so good. I didn't get very far before the spirit of conviction took over.

You see, this is why it's important to get Baptized. I mean, the minute the Holy Spirit enters our soul, we know when we are doing wrong. There's no way around it. That's what happened to me.

I turned around and replaced that delicious French vanilla with ordinary half 'n' half. Okay?

Drinking the coffee in the afternoon did absolutely nothing in the headache department. It stayed with me for the rest of the day. You know that saying "when it rains it pours" ? Well, it's more than a saying, it's truth.

Thinking of my busy weekend ahead and next week as well, brings my stress level to a peak. The older I become, the less I am able to handle stress or chaotic situations. The temptations will be in the red alert category during those days. Maybe, that's really why I'm so stressed. I may not be able to handle it.

I know it's only been three days, but honestly I haven't seen anything good come out of this no sugar thing yet.

Have a Blessed day everyone.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Day 2

Today went pretty well. I made it through the day with no sugar without any problems. I did weigh myself ( 213 lbs. ) just to see if there will be a reduction in that department upon the end of the 30 days.
 
I drank my coffee down pretty quickly, because I'm still having difficulty enjoying my cuppa without the sugar. Yuck! Someone suggested that I simply drink black coffee. The taste should be better. Emily seems to think I will grow to love the taste at the end. I, on the other hand, am not so sure. She gave up sugar during her bout with the wisdom teeth and now quite enjoys her tea with no sugar.
 
Somehow, I don't believe that will happen.
 
I have to admit, that I keep thinking of items that have sugar like hard candy, ice cream  and even a sweet dessert. I have this urge to taste the sweetness in my mouth. I know it all has to do with my sudden withdrawal and my mind is playing tricks on me.

Otherwise, things are going pretty well as can be expected. This sudden rise in temperatures with the arrival of Spring almost here, has brought a renewal of energy like never before.

I want to clean! Yes, clean every inch of our apartment to get rid of that muskiness of Winter blues. I want to run, okay walk, outside and hear the birds chirping. Is someone excited?

It's Friday, folks. Who wouldn't be excited. The weekend is here, the weather will be gorgeous and my ministry will be meeting. It can't get any better than this.

So go out there and enjoy God's creation. Have a Blessed day everyone.
 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Day 1

I woke up this morning fuming, with a huge frown and a scowl on my face, muttering obscenities under my breath. The kitchen needed a wiping down, the coffee to be made and the floor swept. Nothing new here. I do this every morning and yet, today it really bothered me. 

The coffee had to be made twice, the first time grounds seeped somehow through the filter. The prospect of my oatmeal without that sprinkle of sugar on top depressed me somehow. Even my coffee wasn't turning out the way I always enjoyed it. 

Coffee is important to  me. I've spent my life drinking coffee all day long. When I quit smoking years ago, coffee lost it's wonderful taste to me. Yet, when I tried altogether to quit drinking coffee, these headaches ensued and I wasn't strong enough to go cold turkey.

So now, every morning I have two huge mugs of coffee with cream and two teaspoons of sugar. I look forward to those two mugs. I need those two mugs, along with my bowl of oatmeal.

I guess, I woke up grumpy knowing it wouldn't taste good before I even dug in and it wasn't. I think that my coffee will be the hardest thing to muster. No sugar . . . . . who came up with that smart idea?

Have a blessed day everyone .

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

30 Days

Last night upon returning home from work, I sat down to enjoy a snack that  Emily prepared earlier. It was a decadent dessert consisting of a brownie base, with a layer of vanilla ice cream, sliced strawberries, whipped cream and topped with a chocolate ganache. It was simply delicious! All of it homemade!
 
As I sat there, enjoying this late night snack, I couldn't help, but feel quilty. I knew I would regret this very much so in the morning.
 
Lately, I have been feeling heavy, tired and winded. My weight has been the same with the occassional flipflop of five pounds going either up or down, but never more. My eating habits have changed drastically over the years by adding a diet of fruit and veggies. The only thing that has remained the same has been my sweets intake.
 
It's very difficult to say no when you have a daughter who bakes on a regular basis.
 
I thought of all the diets I have been on over the years. The same goes for any fasts that I have embarked on. I never chose anything too difficult and opted to go for fruits/veggies. I eat that everyday anyway.
 
What if I gave up sugar?
 
Immediately after saying it out loud, I wanted to take it all back. Eliminating sugar would be too much. I love sugar. What about my coffee in the morning? I can't drink coffee without cream and sugar. Yuck!

Already I'm suspecting it won't go well at all.

Have a Blessed day everyone.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Coffee, Tea Or None Of These

I
I have come to understand a simple truth:
 
Women need other women in their life.
 
It takes a woman to understand a woman and the complexity we share called hormonal emotions.
 
It was Erma Bombeck who said that the way to marital success was for the bride to have many girlfriends. How very true.
 
Girlfriends have a way of uplifting our moods like no one else. I can think of many occasions where a fellow sister came to my rescue, gathering all my shreds of dignity and making me smile through a difficult time.
 
Of course, it can go the other way, too. Women are known to be very catty, but we stay away from those and keep our cards very close to our chest. We're talking about women who encourage other women by just being there.
 
Just yesterday, Emily and I were in Auto Zone being served by a young woman. We laughed, more like giggled, the entire time. During those few moments, we have discovered she is a mom of two who recently needed the same adjustment done on her own car as I did. Plus, her car was even messier, because her children, aged 2 and 5, took over her vehicle with all of their toys.
 
There is no way that a man would have informed us of all that data. Only another woman understood why my car looked the way it did. She has been there and done that.
 
This week alone seems to be filled with more "blahs" than "ahs". As work began on Monday, the long faces filed in one by one. We just looked at each other and understood. Life is hard, filled with so many ups and downs, we need to support each other during the downs.
 
By the end of the night, we confided in one another all the deeds that happened to us, even the good ones. That's a great friend. That Erma Bombeck, she knew what she was talking about.
 
Have a Blessed day everyone.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Delusional Monday

I think I slept Sunday away. Never have I felt more tired and restless, no energy levels at all. I gave in to my bodies needs and slept.

It was that kind of day. I woke up, ate something and went back to lounge in bed, eventually taking a nap again. Isn't that what Sundays are typically like?

The problem is that all that laying around produced a mind that went in overdrive. I thought about everything from A to Z in my life. Things way back from my childhood leading to the "now".

I used to be such a realist and somewhere along the way, I began living in the fantasy world of my mind. Did it make it easier to handle my cancer, perhaps? Was I tired of fighting life all by myself? Was I dissatisfied with my own life and looked to escape into the fantasy world?

It doesn't matter the reason, the fact is, I'm in it already. My mind has been wrapped up in this fantasy life of how I think things will turn out that it cannot happen in the real world.

Well, I'm done with it. Done with living in a delusional life where my mind plays tricks on how great everything is or will be. Life is never the way we want it. Oh, sometimes things fall into place the way they should, but those moments are rare.

So plan A is being squashed. Now what? What is plan B? I have no idea. For now, I need to mourn the life I thought would happen. I need to absorb, cry about it and then discard it.

So here I am , Monday morning, facing the week feeling a little heartbroken and realizing that all those dreams were really just delusions. Reality just plain sucks, folks.

Have a blessed day everyone.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Confident Woman

Along with my order of Girl Scout's Cookies, came a pleasant surprise in the mail. For a lover of books, it couldn't get any better. Another book to add to my growing collection!

As I indulged myself in a large glass of milk and a whole box of cookies, I thought of the title itself. Don't we all wish we could consider ourselves as confident women? Yet, few of us have ever felt as such.

I believe no matter how high we reach on the career ladder or personal level, we as women are very tough on ourselves regarding our role. Maybe because we have so many of them?

We are so many things to so many people, that we forget to be something for ourselves. We become lost somewhere along the way as young women and spend our latter years trying to find ourselves or redefine who we are.

I believe that has happened to me. I've wondered for a very long time, why I didn't live out these past eight years sooner? What took me so long to find my purpose? The talents I use now, I've always had since childhood and yet they lay dormant until now.

It seems it has taken the threat of dying early for me to wake up and realize what is important to me. Before I die, I want to really live my life.

That confident woman lives in all of us, we just have to reach in and pull her out as we rediscover ourselves in our growing years. We age , we grow, and we learn.

Have a blessed day everyone and don't be so hard on yourself.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Finally, Someone Like Me


I like to read during my lunch hour at work. Last night, I came across this article and I just had to share it with you. This is so me that I burst out into a huge smile upon reading it.

Finally, someone understands me. It refers to the " meet and greet" your neighbor at Church. I have always found this to be a very awkward moment for me even in my own  home church of eight years!

For many years, I thought there was a serious issue with me and the ability to be warm and loving during this exchange. I would watch people go up and down aisle, hugging and kissing everyone without any problem. Why couldn't I feel the same way?

Emily would watch me from the Resource Desk and laugh inwardly as I struggled.

"You really looked like you were having a hard time, mom."

Joe would openly laugh and tease me knowing how much I dreaded this encounter.

"You want to come and join the rest of us, mom?"

I am thrilled to pieces to know there are others who feel the same. Don't get me wrong, if I personally know you , it's no problem. When it comes to new people, I just want to turn to the right and the left  and maybe behind me. That's all. How unchristian of me!


Blind Spots

by Dr. James Emery White

Every organization has them. Even ones that pride themselves on how intentionally they try to avoid them.
Like Meck.
When such areas are exposed, it’s a little embarrassing, but also very appreciated.
Our latest expose happened just last week. A friend of mine, Thom Rainer, wrote an article about an informal Twitter survey he conducted on what drove people away as first-time guests.
The number one answer – yes, the number one answer (prepare yourself) – was “stand-and-greet” times.
I kid you not. I’m still shaking my head.
Now granted, as Thom himself notes, it was not a very scientific survey.
But…
Meck is all about first-time guests. And we do a pretty good job at it (over seventy percent of our growth comes from the previously unchurched).
And every week we have a “stand-and-greet” moment! (We actually have called them “seat-and-greet” times because it was done right before sitting down after a time of standing.)
We’ve done it for years. And to be honest, for as much innovation as we’ve continually, ruthlessly brought to the weekend services through careful cultural study in terms of missional effectiveness, this one has never been evaluated. It’s just seemed such a short and innocuous moment.
But hating it came up more frequently than unsafe/unclean children’s areas, a bad website, a bad or boring service…even unfriendly members!
(Which tells you that stand-and-greet has nothing to do with elevating a church’s perceived friendliness.)
Here were some of the reasons given for the intense dislike:
1.  Many guests are introverts. "I would rather have a root canal than be subjected to a stand and greet time."
2.  Some guests perceive the members are not sincere during the time of greeting. "In most of the churches it should be called a stand and fake it time. The members weren't friendly at all except for ninety seconds."
3.  Many guests don't like the lack of hygiene that takes place during this time.  "Look, I'm not a germaphobe, but that guy wiped his nose right before he shook my hand."
4.  Many times the members only greet other members. "I went to one church where no one spoke to me the entire time of greeting. I could tell they were speaking to people they already knew."
5.  Both members and guests at some churches perceive the entire exercise as awkward. "Nowhere except churches do we have times that are so awkward and artificial. If members are going to be friendly, they would be friendly at other times as well. They're not."
6. In some churches, the people in the congregation are told to say something silly to one another. "So the pastor told us to tell someone near us that they are good looking. I couldn't find anyone who fit that description, so I left and didn't go back."
7. Not only do some guests dread the stand and greet time, so do some members. "I visited the church and went through the ritual of standing and greeting, but many of the members looked just as uncomfortable as I was. We were all doing a required activity that none of us liked.”
Wait. It gets worse. At least for me.
I had never, ever heard even a whisper of discomfort with this part of our service. Not a single first-time guest response card over Meck’s twenty-two years of existence had ever conveyed a dislike for those few moments.
So I sent out a quick email to a relatively diverse eight or ten of our staff – just a little sample survey of my own – to get their thoughts on the matter.
Wow.
Every one of them said they hated it.
They all said it was awkward, uncomfortable, and had nothing to do with what makes Meck have such a friendly atmosphere. One even wrote, “I am a complete extrovert and I still find [doing] this odd.”
Another wrote, “When I first attended Meck, despite the fact that I had a relationship with Christ, I did not want to approach anyone. I did not want the attention. I wanted to fly under the radar. I intentionally sat in the back, in the furthest corner from other people.”
And another added, “I completely agree with this article. It's awkward, artificial, and breaks the flow of the service. I've always dreaded this part of the service when I visited churches…it just seems to make new guests feel like outsiders.”
Why hadn’t this surfaced before?
Well, isn’t that what a “blind spot” is about? Something you don’t see? And if you don’t sense something, you don’t even think about asking about it.
That’s why a wide range of reading, continual learning, and an open, humble spirit is critical to the ongoing health and vitality of any enterprise.
So yes, it’s official.
No more “stand-and-greet” times at Meck.
Now I’m off to find the next area where I’ve been near-sighted.
I just hope it’s not with the message.
James Emery White
 
Have a Blessed day everyone.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Throwback Thursday

I've had many a pity parties in my time! I'm sure there will be many more. There is nothing wrong with having a good venting session nor a good cry. We all need to wash out our eyes once in a while.

What is wrong is when we fall into a deep depression and have no idea how to get back up. This is where my friend Linda is at right now. She is trying to get herself up and she can't. This is where we come in and pray for her. So please keep Linda in your prayers as she struggles with her own illness.

As for me, I am doing quite well right now, but I know when the time comes, I can count on my many prayer warriors to lift me back up.

Sometimes, it's okay to just cry. Have a Blessed day everyone.



My Pity Party
    My pity party started early in the morning . I woke up wanting nothing more than putting the covers over my head and not coming out . Alas , I had a doctor appointment  and Emily had to go to work ( its their busy season ).
   By the time afternoon came , my pity party turned into a bad attitude . Nothing worked today and I didn't care . At the doctors , I was there like two hours and most of that time I was kept waiting . Why ? Why do they keep us waiting as long as they do ? Seriously !
   I got on the scale and I gained weight . But of course ! What else would it say ?! That I lost weight ? End up buying some lounge pants and can't even get my behind into them !
  I just want to climb into my car and drive somewhere far , far away !

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Oh Starry Night


I have to admit that this has been one of the best weekends we have had in a long time. What did we do? We rested.

One part of the weekend was spent having friends over and the other relaxing doing absolutely nothing, but lounging on the couch with the remote in hand.

We were resting. . . . . and waiting.

We were waiting for that snow to come that never came. You see, that snow that comes unexpectedly while one is inside, almost looks beautiful. It can come then.

We just don't want the snow while caught right in the middle of it going to work and back or doing everyday errands.

It was the weekend and a perfect time for it to drop. Oh, starry night ,covered with snow. So pretty and peaceful looking while we  would be on the inside lounging on the couch.

Don't we wish we could choose when things happen? Make them happen when things are better suited to our needs? And wants? Wouldn't that be a tiny bit boring?

Don't get me wrong, snow is the last thing I'm looking for, but when I saw the forecast for the week and snow possibilities of snowfall, I'd rather it happened on the weekend when I was comfortably at home.

Honestly, I think we are done with any major snowstorms for now. Like I said, it's beautiful when looking through a window, but go out there in it and it's a different matter.

Still, it was a wonderfully peaceful weekend spent at home with friends and family. I certainly hope the trend continues.

Happy dreaming of the upcoming weekend and have a Blessed day everyone.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Giving Thanks

So once again, I'm having car difficulties. Nothing new here.
My first reaction was panic and then worry set in, followed by complaining.

Emily, of course, brought me down to earth quickly. She made me realize what I baby I have been, throwing a fit instead of counting my blessings. Yes, my blessings.

That day I went for a walk in the bitter cold. In truth, I needed change for the laundry. As I walked, I began to look around at all that was before me.

There was the gas station and the grocery store. The fruit market and the bank. The post office on the right and Walgreens to the left. There was the Church, a couple of restaurants and a currency exchange.

All these places right by me. Everything I may need, God placed within walking distance of me. It wouldn't be too difficult if I didn't have a car. It may not be easy at first since we are so used to being driven everywhere, but we would be just fine.

Suddenly, my heart felt lighter and happier. I began thanking Him for everything in my life. I knew then that everything would be okay, because He would take care of us.

That attitude changed my outlook for the remainder of the week as I awaited the outcome of my car. I'm such a worrywart about everything and I know I need to change that if I am to grow in my trust relationship with the Lord.

Am I completely there? No, this will take time, but I'm on my way. I do know that things will work out. When we go through our trials, no matter how small, our first reaction is panic.

Will I be able to make it? Can I survive? What will I do?

All these thoughts run through our mind. It's only natural to worry, but we need to ask ourselves another question.

Is there anything I can do about the situation?

Probably not. So why should I spend all this time worrying? I am very thankful for what I have. I'm able to eat, my bills are paid, I have a job and a place to live. What else do I need?

So I'm very thankful. There are so many out there with a lot less, we need to remember that.

Have a Blessed day everyone.

P.S.
My car troubles ended up being a loose cable on my battery, costing me nothing, but a tightening up.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday's Sunshine


It is cold out there, folks! I could certainly use some sunshine and flowers in my life. I don't mean any kind of sunshine. I want the sunshine that you can feel upon your face, the warmth of it slowly kissing your freckles.

As I headed out this morning to my dentist for my stitches to be removed, I shivered and shivered with the cold. The car needs a good washing, with the windows blurred from all the dirt of Winter. Not to mention, my fluids needed replenishing.

I'm so tired of this weather already. All that snow from the previous storm has turned to ice and not everyone shovels their sidewalks. For someone old as me, all this climbing over the ice is dangerous and tiresome.

One could wash the car every day and still it will be covered with Winter's filth. Even my cozy apartment no longer feels cozy, but drafty. I have a sneaky feeling my landlord has our heat on a timer.

I am done with this Season.

I want to open up my windows and air my place out. I want to change my curtains and watch them billowing in the breeze. I want to hear  birds chirping as they welcome each new morning.

Doesn't that sound wonderful?

I know, I know. We're almost there with March entering into the mix, but my impatience is running on low. For now, I can only look at pictures of sunflowers and hope it will be here soon.

Have a Blessed day everyone.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

That Perfect Ideal

 
Such a beautiful scene above, isn't it? When we picture our perfect world, that's what we see. A pristine scene of white, pure snow evenly distributed throughout the land.
 
Right smack in the middle lays a beautiful red house, boldly standing out among it's surroundings. That house symbolizing a perfect home for a perfect family who are living the perfect life.
 
Who wouldn't be envious of that?
 
I have been working on being grateful for what I have. Contentment the main goal to achieve. It is difficult, isn't it, to make an effort to be content with one's life?
 
One would think we would gladly accept happiness and contentment over strife. Yet, quite the opposite is true. We are never satisfied with the way things are going in our lives. One obstacle becomes solved and suddenly we think of another.
 
My children have a way of bringing me down to earth whenever I do the same. My son Joseph, for instance, reminds me constantly not to measure my level of success with someone else's. My daughter Emily, begins quoting past sermons and verses holding me accountable.
 
Of course, they're both right. When did they become so smart?
 
I know I have held onto my ideal for what I wanted in my life, but I have learned that what I want may not be necessarily the right thing for me. Yes, that beautiful home above looks perfect in every way, but it may not be the perfect one for what I need to do here.
 
Others may look upon my life and wish they were living in my shoes. I bet my dear friend Linda, wishes her health was as good as mine right now. She doesn't care if she's living in a beautiful home, she just wants to live in a healthy body.
 
So I'm learning to be content. Learning to love the road I'm on no matter the potholes I may encounter. Learning to accept God's guidance and the fact that He knows the right path to place me on. All I have to do is ask for His help and allow Him  to lead.
 
Who knows? Maybe one day, He will lead me to a similar scene like the one above.
 
Have a Blessed day everyone.

Yarn Bombing My Life

                            Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey. Some murmur if their sky is clear, And wholly bright ...