Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What's In A Strawberry Gelato?

                                                             Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                                everyday is a journey.


A funny, but true story.

Woman: "What is that?"
Girl: "Strawberry gelatto."
Woman: "What's in it?"
Girl: "Strawberries."
Woman: "What's that?"
Girl: "Lemon gelatto."
Woman: "What's in it?"
Girl: "Lemon."
Woman: "What's that one?"
Girl: "Chocolate."
Woman: "What's in it?"
Girl: "Chocolate."
Woman getting angry: "You need to speak English!"
Girl: "Ma'am, this is a strawberry gelatto and it has strawberries in it. This is a lemon gelatto and it has lemon in it. And this is a chocolate gelatto with chocolate in it."
Woman: "Forget it. I don't want anything."

Isn't this just how real life is? No real satisfaction, but full of total frustration! When Emily told me this story of how her work day went, I laughed out loud. Who wouldn't? Yet, there is so much truth and reality in it that we cannot avoid. Here is another person searching for something, living an unsatisfied life. I doubt if there was a gelatto (there are usually 8-10 flavors) that would fulfill a hunger she seems to have. 

Instead, not knowing what she wants, she takes it out on someone she probably won't see or recognize again. It's not her that is lacking, but the person serving her. How can anyone serve her, when she doesn't even know what she wants or needs the most?

How many people like this woman do we encounter every single day? HAVE YOU NOTICED how angry the world has become? One doesn't have to go far to experience another angry and dissatisfied individual that is venting their frustrations out on the innocent. Wait in line with someone at the Post Office and see how quickly annoyance occurs. Drive on the street and it won't be long when one hears the blaring horns. The waitress is way too slow. Immediate satisfaction is what society is looking for. Even I am in the wrong. I mentally cry inside when there is a price check or a brand new employee in training. 

 Oh, what israellites we are! Never happy. Never satisfied. The thirst is real, folks. The water is there for everyone. . . free! That's not the problem. The problem is bringing them to the water for a drink to quench that thirst. Would you like a cup of living water?

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Massage

                                                                       Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey.

It is astonishing how soon the whole 
conscience begins to unravel, 
if a single stitch drops;
 one little sin indulged makes a hole
 you could put your head through. 

When I turned fifty, my family gave me a surprise birthday party. One of the gifts, was a gift certificate to Massage Envy. Hey, nice gift! Now, as I have reported many times here, I have major arthritis in my legs and my right hand. 

Well, I quickly signed myself up thinking that maybe if I had a massage on a regular basis, it would help my situation. If it did or did not, I'm not really sure. It felt good while I was there, but the pain never really went away. There were times that the ache came back only hours later. Maybe, it did help in the long run, but I think, I was expecting quite a lot. I expected to be rid of the arthritis or at least, the majority of the pain.

Massages are not cheap. Like all things, they cost money. When the year was up, I decided there really wasn't much difference in my situation. Why waste money based on a want rather than a need? So nowadays, I go occasionally with my girlfriends. 

What I really need is to find a place that would offer a foot massage. That's a lot harder to find than one might think. For that, I would sign up for a monthly membership to help relieve some of the pain. Usually, places do a combo involving a foot massage along with the rest of the body. That's not what I'm looking for at all. 

When Joey was single and younger, he would always give me a foot massage. I remember those days well. I even considered marriage if that meant I would get a foot massage on demand, but there were no guarantees. 

I've been thinking of massages, because my poor feet are aching this weekend. I had such high expectations for this three day weekend. I had visions of the large piles of overdue tasks getting smaller with each day. Alas, to no avail. My poor feet have swelled up, ankle and knee. My toes taking on the appearance of tiny sausages, limiting my movements. Right now, I'm in need of a good foot rub.

Looking at the weather forecast for the week, I almost cried when I saw all that rain. It will not be a good one for me. It always seems to be the worst at night. Could it be, because our minds are still and so are our bodies? Nothing to preoccupy our thoughts we become attuned to every fiber in our body. Oh, Lord, have mercy on me.

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Love Your Enemies

                                                                               Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                                                everyday is a journey.

Old friends, old scenes, will lovelier be,
  As more of heaven in each we see:
  Some softening gleam of love and prayer
  Shall dawn on every cross and care.

One of the hardest thing on Earth is to love your enemy. People spend years trying to achieve this great feat. To be honest, I don't give them much thought. I know I don't pray for them nor reach out to them in any way. I just treat them as if they don't exist. Not exactly a pretty picture, eh?

If I don't like someone, I just don't like them. Loving my enemies isn't something I do. So how do I change that?

I've been thinking quite a lot about this as I find it's not easy to start. I mean, where or how do I begin? If we don't care for someone, it shows not just in our speech, but also in our body language. How do I come about being sincere on the outside when I'm not feeling it on the inside?

You wouldn't believe how long I've been writing this post. You see, if I'm going to write about it, I will have to do something about it. There is a part of me that has no desire to do so (love my enemies) and the other part doesn't know how. 

So please pray for me as I go forth in this new endeavor of mine. I would love to grow as a Christian in regards to the greatest command God asks of us. Can you imagine if we all were able to overcome this? How great we could be!

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Peach Guy

                                                                                      Everyday is a brand new day
                                                                                        everyday is a journey.

Make us of one heart and mind;
  Courteous, pitiful, and kind;
  Lowly, meek, in thought and word,
  Altogether like our Lord.

So how was work, Emily?

Uggh, customers were rude, demanding service right then and there. Couldn't wait for their turn, but then the Peach guy came in making me laugh. 

We all need a Peach Guy in our lives, don't we? Someone that can make us laugh or brighten our day by a kind word or action when we need to hear it the most. Sometimes, it's just a silly old joke.

Work can be a difficult place. We spend so much of our waking time there, it almost becomes our second home. Is it no wonder it can become a struggle? Many times I wonder to myself where did these people come from? I'm sure they're thinking the same about me.

I may get along with all of my co-workers, but only a few I would call my true buddies. These are the ones I visit at their homes. These are the ones that help me when I need help and I do the same for them. These are the ones that I sit down and eat lunch with, sharing more than just food, but our daily lives. These are the ones that forgive me when I'm not in the mood. These are the ones that understand that sometimes a week is just a bunch of Mondays grouped into one.

They are my Peach guy. We all need a Peach guy in our lives. We need someone to help ease that time work space away from home. Work relationships are special, because they see all sides of you, personal and the not so personal. So as we begin our work week tomorrow, let's not forget our Peach Guy. Buy him some lunch.

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Orchard Network

                                                 Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey.

They may not need me,
Yet they might;
I'll let my heart be
Just in sight--

The Orchard Network, growing spiritual leaders. Below is the Class of 2017.

                                                              Jeremy, fifth from left to right.

Maybe a year and a half ago, while still at our old Church, we received our weekly e-mail from our Pastor. Having seen and heard Jeremy preach, I always just assumed he was our Associate Pastor. I couldn't have been more wrong. 

He was really a Pastor-in-training. Jeremy was part of a program offered by The Orchard Network under the leadership of Pastor Colin Smith and the collaboration of my Church (his internship). The Orchard provides the training not only for Pastors, but also for anyone interested in evangelical mission work abroad.

The entire crew (seen above) were in need of financial sponsors. Now, this was the first time I've ever heard of The Orchard. I didn't know anything about them or their work. What made us consider sponsoring Jeremy had to do with two things.

 One, even though Jeremy never really knew us, we knew him. We saw him at Church preaching and being active in all Church activities. Two, I remembered when my own Joey was studying and gave up his full time job to go to school. He was a part-time Pastor-in-training in the Children's Church in Farmer City, Illinois. Money was extremely tight and there were many generous members of the congregation that helped out. I wanted to pay it forward with this young man. I wanted to do for him what others had done for my son.

Fast forward to now, an invitation arrives via e-mail to the graduation. Honestly, I was intrigued since I've never been to anything like this before. I'm also glad that I took the time to dress up, wear makeup and put on heels. It was held in the ritzy part of town and majority of the people there were wealthy. You could tell, because the rich have a way of looking rich without being vulgar. They may wear jeans with a polo shirt, but no sneakers there. No, loafers and dress socks, instead.

                                                                                 All primped up.

So I went and I'm glad I did. Each of the graduates came forward, did a small presentation about themselves and what they plan on doing. Two of them went to mission work abroad, one is opening a brand new Church, four are Pastoring at Churches of their selection. Pastor Colin Smith prayed over each graduate separately and over their calling. Afterwards, there was a small cake /coffee reception to mingle. 

We want to keep these seven in our prayers as they go forth professing the Word of God. 

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Thru The Bible Once Again

                                                             Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey.

What is really wanted is to light up the spirit that is within a child.
 In some sense and in some effectual degree there is in every
 child the material of good work in the world; and in every child,
 not only in those who are brilliant, 
not only in those who are quick, 
but in those who are stolid,
 and even in those who are dull.
--William Gladstone.

Many of you will remember a quest of mine involving going through the Bible chapter by chapter, verse by verse. All of this to take five years. That was last June. Well, since then my treatment took center stage. Then we were packing, moving and unpacking. Suddenly, a good six months went by and my Bible study was placed on a shelf gathering dust. 

I think I know why there was no desire inside of me for a New Year's resolution. I have way too much unfinished business that needs to be accomplished. This seems to be the year of finishing up. 

So here I am, picking up the Bible study once more and quite happy to report, I'm steadily working on it. In doing so, I'm finding out that the Bible is really a History of where we came from. When one reads it cover to cover, you begin to see a story line, a History lesson of how we came to be where we are today. It all began with Creation and I cannot wait until Revelation. 

I've learned my lesson. I don't want my relationships to become ritualistic where everything we say or do ends up being stale and predictable. Let's check it off the list type of scenario. I'm working this quest slow and steady, breathing in all the lessons of life. I want to enjoy all the things I'm involved with and that's something I've forgotten the first time around. 

Have a blessed day everyone.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What Not To Say

                                                    Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey.

This above all to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou can'st not then be false to any man.

Once in a while, I go on a rant. Majority of the time, I take in everyone's careless comments and move on. Eventually, these comments build up and I explode in pen. So here goes.

The things that people say to one another is unbelievable to me. We cannot be that insensitive, that careless, that ignorant to hurt people's feelings, especially when they have an illness. There are so many people out there with a chronic illness, that deal with all sorts of pain every single day.  Just because they don't complain or voice their struggles, doesn't mean they don't exist. 

So I'm having a conversation with a lady whom I know well. Let's keep names out of it. We're talking about Fmla and disability. I mention to her that my family is always bringing up disability with me as something to think about. She looks at me and says Why? There's nothing wrong with you now?

That coming from a woman with a handicap sticker, yet she practically runs instead of walking. I don't judge her nor assume why she has that sticker. I looked then at our fellow co-worker whom I know has neuropathy in her feet from her cancer treatments from a few years ago. She still has them. I can always recognize when she is in pain, because of how she walks. Yet, I've heard people call her lazy, because she sits a lot. I know why she sits. Maybe next time, they should ask her why she limps? I'm sure she would tell them. 

Lottie, you lost some weight since we last saw you. 
I'm only five pounds lighter. 
Oh, no, you were much heavier!

Hold me down, Jesus! Hold me down. Please someone tell me why every 90 lb. little thing out there assumes that we all should look like them? Did anyone ever consider that maybe I want to be fat? My weight gain seems to really bother people. That is the one thing that everyone makes comments about. Stop. You're not helping me.

Okay enough ranting. Thank you for listening. Have a Blessed day everyone. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Loving Me Some Fy Nyth

                                                                         Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                                          everyday is a journey.

One day, a long time ago, I was on Pinterest and I came across a Tiny House. The Tiny House shown above. I was enthralled and when I noticed the owner had a blog, I couldn't resist checking it out. That's how my love of Tiny Houses and Tiny Living came to fruition. It all began with a picture on Pinterest. 

Fy Nyth is Welsh for nest. This blog is about a young lady who decided to live in a Tiny House based in Wyoming. I love, love this blog. Everything I ever wanted to know about this type of lifestyle, she answers. Hers isn't the only blog I read, but it's the only one I'm still following. Whatever problems she may have faced in choosing this lifestyle, she has shared it with her readers. At times, even finding solutions to these problems so we may know the different options out there. 

This is what I hoped to find when it came to Rv living, but it seems that what is out there are travelers only. If anyone comes across a blog on stationary Rv living, give me a heads up. It will be appreciated. 

Back to Fy Nyth. The life this young lady is living is the one I would love for myself. I love to see how much smarter this younger generation has become in relation to ourselves. Not all, of course, but the majority. Here she is at this young age knowing her life's course and living it. It took me the latter part of my forties to realize my purpose. How could I not admire her for it?

If you have time, please visit her blog. Just go and google Fy Nyth for a great read on alternate living. 

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Weight Problem

                                                               Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                                everyday is a journey.

I think it's time for me to love myself. Embrace my chubbiness. It's so easy to say, but so very difficult to live out. For the last ten years, I have been fighting this weight gain of mine. I'm really tired of it. This weight gain has been thus far, my hardest struggle to overcome. Why? Why can't I accept this new version of me?

So what do I have to give up to get there? Everything. For someone who has given up a lot already, this seems a little too much to ask of me.

I've recently listened to a broadcast of a woman who lost 175 lbs. in ten years. During that time, she has gained it back and lost it several times. She laughs that most likely she has gained over 500 lbs. in all until she finally reached her goal. In order for her to do that, she had to give up all pleasures of food. Her menu regiment would make most people shudder, but she acknowledges this is the price she needs to pay to be where she is at. 

So what do I have to do to get there? Everything. It isn't a question of dieting and exercising. It is a question of dieting and exercising for life. Sigh. Life. 

So basically, if I'm tired of this . . . . 

I have to eat this . . . 

To look and feel like this . . . . 

But we know the following is more true!

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Give From Your Heart

                                                                  Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey.

O father! help us to resign 
Our hearts, our strength, our wills to Thee; 
Then even lowliest work of Thine 
Most noble, blest, and sweet will be. 

Not too long ago, I've been in a Bible study that dealt with loving everyone and showering them with kindness. It dealt with being hospitable to everyone, even when we don't feel like it. Believe it or not, this is extremely difficult. 

Joyce Meyers has always said that the worst selling book she ever wrote dealt with love. People will buy books on self help as long as it deals with working on themselves. Ask them to work on loving their enemies or showing forgiveness and we balk. It is very true. I noticed it with this Bible study as well. The discussion and participation was almost non-existent. 

Why do we balk at showing love and hospitality to others?

Maybe it has to do with loving the "easy" people versus the "messy" ones. Let me choose which ones I deem worthy of my love. Isn't that how it truly is out there? Or if I show love to people whom I dislike, I'd would have to first forgive them. And I'm not ready to do that. Don't ask me to do that, because you have no idea what they have done to me.

Giving from our hearts means giving wholeheartedly everything we have even if that means we get nothing back. That's tough, because we always expect something in return. 

I rarely speak of my Ministry to anyone. Many times as I collect my plastic bags, people ask me what I'm doing with all this plastic. When I tell them it's to make homeless mats, they look at me weird, never responding. They just look and walk away. Somehow, I feel as if I'm disappointing them with my answer. 

You have no idea how much satisfaction I feel inside with my Ministry. It brings me Joy. If it was taken away from me, I think I would die inside. This is what I like to do. This is how I give from the heart. It could be entirely different for you or anyone else. Either way, it has to come freely. What does that look like to you?

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Seed Packing

                                                              Everyday is a brand new ay, everyday is a journey.

For blessings of the fruitful season,
    For work and rest, for friends and home,
  For the great gifts of thought and reason,
    To praise and bless Thee, Lord, we come.
  Yes, and for weeping and for wailing,
For bitter hail and blighting frost,
For high hopes on the low earth trailing,
 For sweet joys missed, for pure aims crossed.

Two weeks ago, I had a free day off from work, so it was a no brainer when a volunteer opportunity presented itself. I volunteered taking my mom along as my co-pilot.

                                                    My mom Mary.

Every year in the month of April, my Church hosts Celebration of Hope. For the next four weeks, we volunteer ourselves and our checkbooks in helping globally. We have guest speakers that shouted with their voices their needs like wells, counseling for sex slave trafficking, seed packing, walking for refugees or building schools. 

One of those, seed packing, involved everyone getting together for a weekend of packing one million seed packets to send to Africa. Apparently, our tomatoes grow very well over there and the villagers call them Chicago tomatoes. 

It was for this volunteer opportunity that I brought my mom as my partner. I don't think she had any idea what she was getting herself into. To her, it was an outing spent with me. 

We sat at a table of eight. An accountant, a business woman of three restaurants with her daughter, a mother of two teenagers and a young mom with her tween daughter. Three were filling the packets with tomato seeds, two were sealing, two were packing and one was counting. 

My mom talked the entire time. She was entertaining everyone, full of vigor and life. The funny part was that everyone listened to her stories, laughing and encouraging her along the way. She loved every minute of it. She truly was in her limelight. So glad I brought her.

We spent two hours of our time there packing those seeds, but overall, the fellowship was even better. 

Have a Blessed day everyone. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Another Rv

                                                                                  Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey.

What asks our Father of His children save
    Justice and mercy and humility,
    A reasonable service of good deeds,
    Pure living, tenderness to human needs,
  Reverence, and trust, and prayer for light to see
    The Master's footprints in our daily ways?
      No knotted scourge, nor sacrificial knife,
      But the calm beauty of an ordered life
  Whose every breathing is unworded praise.

Let me tell you something. It has been very difficult to find blogs on Rv living. People travel full time in an Rv, but they do not live in one permanently stationed in spot. If they do, I haven't been able to find any. Totally opposite when it comes to Tiny Houses on Wheels. There are numerous blogs on that subject. Therefore, I find it difficult to do any research on Rv's.

 I did find another Rv for sale. You can tell that basically they all seem to have the same layout. I have to admit that I am in love with the space an Rv provides. They are also much cheaper if bought used. I don't mind used since I plan on being stationary. 

Everything you see has a hidden compartment from the space behind the couch to the seating benches at the table.

I love the space designed for the refrigerator and pantry.

                       Here's another version (see above) with the bedroom space set in an open concept. Not sure if I like that idea. Five years, peeps, five years. This could be mine. 

Have a blessed day everyone.  

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The World Vision Walk

                                                      Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                         everyday is a journey.

God keep us through the common days,
The level stretches white with dust,
When thought is tired, and hands upraise
Their burdens feebly since they must;
In days of slowly fretting care
Then most we need the strength of prayer.

I haven't done a Walk of any kind since Joey was in High School and that was well over 14 years ago. Not to mention that this one wasn't the usual 5K, but a 6K. Nevertheless, I anxiously signed up, looking forward to it. I may be sore  afterwards, but at least I tried.

                                           My kit, including a picture of Pali.

The morning of the race, I was extremely glad I had a partner to walk with, to hold me accountable. The entire week before held terrible weather, raining and cold. I was afraid that day would be the same. No one wants to walk in the rain and cold. To be honest, if it did rain, I wouldn't be too upset. The idea of sleeping in looked really tempting to me. 

                                               In front of the fountain.

Like I said earlier, I was glad for a partner. Somehow, when you have someone to walk through with, it just goes by faster. We talked, we laughed. The weather may have began cold, but it definitely ended with sunshine. The scenery wasn't bad either. There were many families out biking, running and even fishing. A group from my Church was there doing the 6K for Refugees. 

                                                                 My partner in crime, Cindy.

I felt extremely proud of myself for completing. Although, the last fifteen minutes were very hard. That's when I realized just how far we have walked. Of course, my young partner was ready for more, but not me. What started out as an ache in my calves quickly spread to my thighs and ending at my buttocks!  Yes, I said it. My behind hurt.

                                                                      A hearty brunch.

I was glad to finally sit down to a hearty meal (a burger and fries) with a great partner. Would we do it again? Yeah! Maybe, next time, more people can join us. 

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Oncologist 2017

                                                           Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey.

Lord, for the erring thought
Not into evil wrought;
Lord, for the wicked will
Betrayed and baffled still;
For the heart from itself kept,
Our Thanksgiving accept.

She hugged me. The minute she walked in, she hugged me. 

Miss Krol, that Ct. scan is looking beautiful! Just beautiful. I think we can safely not do another until next year.  You can come in for a checkup at the end of September to see how you're doing, but you can have the entire Summer off. How do you feel about that?

How do I feel about that? Great, really great!!!! Do you know what I'm most grateful for? I am very happy that I'm cancer free, but I've been cancer free before. Don't get me wrong, I'm extremely happy, but that's not why I'm doing the happy dance. I'm happy because I get a break!

You see, like I've said, I've been cancer free before, but even then I had to have a Ct. scan every three or four months. Without fail it had to happen. This is the absolute first time that my Oncologist is giving me time off from appointments, especially the Ct. scans! 

This changes everything. I can sleep in sometimes. No more break of dawn long drives into the city. No more putting in a full days work after these appointments. The Lord is providing rest for my weary soul. 

Now, I know, it's for a short while, but who cares. Summer is fast approaching and I intend to enjoy every minute of this mini vacay. Thank you, Jesus!

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

CT Scan 2017

                                                        Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                         everyday is a journey.

Sum up at night what thou hast done by day
And in the morning what thou hast to do:
Dress and undress thy soul: 
mark the decay
And growth of it; 
if with thy watch that too
Be dowl, then wind up both; 
since we shall be
Most surely judged, 
make thy accounts agree.

One thing I dislike is taking a Ct. scan all because of having to drink that disgusting liquid. I'll share a trick I've learned over the years. Gulp it down as fast as you can. Close your eyes, pinch your nose and chug a lug. I can't do it any other way.

It wasn't always like this. Maybe two years ago, my insurance refused to pay for a Petscan. Just plain refused. A Petscan is a scan devised specifically to check cancer. The whole procedure lasts about an hour and a half, but so worth it. I don't have to drink anything. Instead, they inject you with radioactive sugar. Then we rest for an hour in order for our muscles to relax. The scan itself, lasts about twenty minutes, but if there is any cancer, it will light up like a glow in the dark. 

I loved having a Petscan done. No awful liquid to drink, instead, I would read peacefully. Like I said, the insurance didn't want to pay for it anymore implying a Ct. scan was sufficient enough. So I ended up back in radiology at the hospital. Oh, did I forget to say that the Petscan was performed in a different office closer to home? Yeah, exactly. 

Every three or four months, I head out for a Ct. scan, dreading it all the way. Something happened to me last treatment. I became extremely tired of all the appointments and tests. It was no different this time around. I hate the long drive, the traffic, the waiting and the getting up early in the morning. I don't take the day off from work, so my day seems extremely long. 

Well, enough of the pity party. I went, I got scanned and now we just have to wait for the results. At least, I don't have to worry about another until three or four months from now. 

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 ...