Saturday, March 30, 2024

Conclusions on Easter Weekend 2024

 

screensaver mac OS Sonoma Version 14.4.1

You can see from the snapshot of my computer screen saver that I'm writing on Saturday, March 30 at 3:51pm. This week has been full with getting important matters addressed. 

Now that Saturday afternoon has arrived, it's good to be able to look back on the Lord's watch care, provision, protection, and absolute faithfulness. Truly, His mercies are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father.

Does this happen to you? I wake up when it's too early to get up and, immediately, troubling thoughts bombard me. 

Did I do ..... 
Have I taken care of ..... 
What if..... 
How can I possibly..... 
Why did .....
Can this be fixed .....

This disparaging train of thought had been going on for years, but it increased greatly after a loss blindsided me a few years ago, when more responsibilities were entrusted to me. I know I am not alone; this happens to many of us -- worries keeping us awake.

There were times when I felt as though I was sitting atop the handlebars of a bicycle with no control at all, terrified with not knowing where I was headed nor if I would get there safely.

Internet image

In my quiet times with the Lord this week, I learned fear is often based on ignorance -- not ignorance in the way of stupidity or foolishness. Fear comes out of not knowing the things we need to know, not understanding how things work, or how to approach circumstances and problems. At least, I know this has been true for me.

Most recently my early-hour-worries have been about updating my computer and responsible storage of documents. I have been fearful about even asking for help because in the past, sometimes the end result was that features valuable to me got lost. Lately, even though I had good sources to help me, I didn't know how to articulate the problems. 

The revelation that fear comes from ignorance helped me to understand the source of my worries. Nothing would help unless I sought to learn new things, to be teachable. And to be humble about it. Admit my need for help and just swallow it if I am criticized for it. 

I went to a class to listen and take notes. I made a call for help and showed up for the appointment. To my surprise (and great relief) help was given by those who know the subject thoroughly. They were kind in answering my questions. 

Sometimes we have to risk looking ignorant to get the answers we need. There is no shame in asking for help. The mistake is in knowing we need advice but not doing anything constructive about it.

birthday card from blog reader, Robin

Along the way, I've discovered the value in words of the Psalmist who meditates on his bed at night.

When I remember thee upon my bed,
And meditate on thee in the night watches.
Because thou hast been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of thy wings
will I rejoice.
Psalm 63:6-8

Often I will pray silently with my head on my pillow, my husband sleeping peacefully beside me. The outline for these prayers is The Lord's Prayer, personalized with the problems and the people who concern me:

Our Father in Heaven
Hallowed be Thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
Forgive us our debts as 
we forgive those indebted to us
Lead us not into temptation
Deliver us from evil
For Thine is the kingdom
and the power and the glory forever
Amen.

I insert my own words of praise, gratitude, needs, and confessions into the phrases.  

All Things New
by Big Daddy Weave

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_2aX_i4qpM



This practice works for me when I genuinely believe God hears me. And He does, but He requires my sincere belief. Hebrews 11:6 tells us "without faith, it is impossible to please Him."


On this Easter weekend, I am reminded of how God responded to man's need for help, for a way to connect with Him, for a way to be free from all the wrongdoing we've done, the messes we've created, the inadvertent mistakes, and just plain ignorance. 

Sam Pallot, World of Prayers

Both on a practical level and spiritually, God through Jesus Christ, reaches out to us. We have hope. This is our answer. This is what Easter says to me.

Until next time, grace and peace.




Saturday, March 23, 2024

That Particularly Engrossing Thing .....

 

card from me to Gary

In the closing remarks of my post on February 7th, titled "Fifteen Years of Blogging," I announced a "particularly engrossing thing on our calendar" that I thought would reduce the number of posts for the near future. But that expectation got re-scheduled. Now I am writing to say it came, went well, and recovery is in process.

a sign in Gary's office

Here's the story, some of which you may already know. But for those who are newer to my blog, I'll go back to the beginning. On our first date, literally as a twinkle in my eyes was forming for Gary, he let it be known that I "should know what you're getting yourself into," (his words). 😳

Of course there was the immediate thought along the lines that he didn't look like an ax murderer, but I brushed that thought aside. It was perhaps reckless of me to think that. But since the date was in mid-day's brightness, I thought I could take a chance on what he was going to reveal. 

By the way, that assumption worked out very well for me, but I don't recommend it since there is potential for disaster. 

Anyway, to get on with the story.

The "big revelation" had to do with his medical history from decades ago when he was advised that in his later years, he might have some issues and those problems could lead to corrective surgery.

Oh. Was that all? Sure, let's press on with this relationship!!

us in June 2022

By the way, some of you may be thinking what one of my neighbors said in expressing her opinion that what he told me was a lot of information for a first date. But we reasoned that since we are OLD, and another chance at romance during widowhood doesn't always come around, we had no time to waste! 


As time went on, it became clear the need for surgery had become a reality. We did thorough research on the subject, talked to a lot of people with similar experiences, had medical tests to confirm this to be the best option, and a surgeon was recommended. Before setting a date for the procedure, this doctor insisted we get a second opinion from a specialist in a neighboring city.  This second doctor was in agreement. The date for the surgery was scheduled here in our town. 

Then came the unexpected. Our surgeon had a heart attack and Gary's surgery was cancelled!

We decided to ask if the "second opinion" surgeon could do it for us, and got the necessary referral. Three weeks after the original surgery date here in town, we were having it done in Orlando.

art work in hospital dining room

The surgery was a success followed by three nights in the hospital. But what was really amazing is that this second surgeon accomplished the deed with laparoscopic incisions, whereas the first surgeon was going to make a lengthy vertical cut. The time in surgery as well as recovery at home is greatly reduced with these smaller incisions. We are thrilled!

hospital cafeteria

I had a major concern driving 90 miles from home for the surgery, and where I would spend those nights while Gary was hospitalized? Driving back and forth was not a pleasant option, nor was getting a hotel room by myself for those nights. The doctor must have read my mind because he told us I could stay in Gary's room, which I did. 

inside the Bistro

I loved that idea for not only the convenience and saving on cost and time, but for the advantage of being present during all doctor visits and the various specialists who would be coming and going. 

the Bistro's Orange Chicken was
WONDERFUL

We had all sorts of people stopping in Gary's room in addition to the nursing staff: a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a nutritionist, 2 social workers, several from housecleaning, and 2 wound care specialists who gave us special training (did I leave anybody out?). 

first walk with the
physical therapist

Since the surgery started well into the afternoon, we didn't get checked into his room until after 6pm, so Gary was not encouraged to walk until the next morning. After that successful venture, I got to be the one to walk with him during the remaining time we had at the hospital.

us with the IV tag-a-long

I've always had the impression that nurses have their own sense of humor, with the snapshot below demonstrating that. I'm not a fan of decorating with skeletons, but this did seem appropriate for the surroundings:

tomfoolery at one of the nurses' stations

While some people gave the hospital Bistro a weak review, I enjoyed everything and also ate some from Gary's plate. When you're pumped up with anesthesia and all sorts of meds, the appetite is not strong. Yeah, I may have gained a pound or two. (I'm not weighing myself to confirm that.)

my Bistro breakfast

I did try to make wise choices. Pictured above: a small bagel, cream cheese, hard boiled egg, grapes, and a small cheese slice with coffee.

hospital gift shop

I visited the hospital gift shop while Gary was in surgery. That is something I never would have done before cell phones -- leave the surgical waiting area. But the staff took my cell phone number so they could both text and call me with updates. I felt free to wander about the hospital with that provision.

gift shop purchase

I had packed reading material and my Sudoku puzzles but ended up reading about half of this book instead. A statement on the back cover convinced me this would be a good read: "When you're dealing with your emotions... God's Word should be the final word." (see Choice Books, info@choicebooks.com)

This hospital is based on Christian values, which was clearly evident by the tasteful art work and the real sense of concern and helpfulness by all of the staff. There was a framed Bible verse in the hall outside every patient's room. This was outside Gary's room:


While surgery is painful and accompanied by a number of stressors, this experience has been good for us. Another level of intimacy in our relationship has been created as we've experienced deeper reliance on each other and felt sweet comfort.

How can that not be a gift from God Himself?

Your Father knows the things you have need of 
before you ask Him.
Mattthew 6:8 NKJV

Until next time, grace and peace.

P.S. Gary is doing GREAT and is proof-reading this post!








Saturday, March 16, 2024

Birthday Blessings 2024

It's a big month for birthday celebrations, with one notable newcomer to the party! Gary is now Great-Grandpa to THREE cuties! The Minnesota Twins (boys) were born in October 2022 and now they have a sweet lil' girl cousin to play with! She made her entrance earlier this week.



Sister's Basset Hounds had doggie birthday cake on March 8th... yeah, how amazing it was that they sat still long enough for this picture to be taken!!


Would you believe I have 4 family members (some related by marriage) who all celebrate their birthday on the same day as me?!!! 

Last year's birthday cake from Gary.

When it's a birthday, my personal motto is, "Don't spare the frosting!" I'm pretty sure my cake from last year was yellow underneath all that gorgeous chocolate frosting. The bakery at Publix grocery store never disappoints!

For my Blog Birthday Party, I've been collecting some cartoons to include on this fun day:

from Linda (I think)

from Sue

To be honest, I could never manage a cartwheel, even somersaults made me feel sick.

But there is this one, which has a real element of truth to it:


While I won't divulge my exact age, I'll confirm what you surely suspect: I'm 70-something. Gary says I'm 32, which is one of the many reasons why I love this man! ❤️🥰

Gary began my party celebrations the day before (which was yesterday) with a trip to Weeki Wachee in Spring Hill, Florida to see the real live mermaid show! 

Here are some highlights:

the entrance fee is only $13 per person!

The park has the mermaid show, a teaching session on Florida wildlife, a river boat ride, lots of photo opportunities, and a water park, although on this day the water park had not yet opened for the summer season (which was a plus for those of us not wanting to mix in large crowds). We felt the admission fee was a real bargain for what we got. The mermaid show, especially, was excellent.

not exactly "The Little Mermaid"!!


(I texted this one to Jersey Girl who replied with, "Now I know why you married him 😄)

flat-bottomed boat trip 


Eagles' nest high above the river

On the boat trip we saw fish, birds, turtles and somebody saw a water snake. No gators here. The boat captain said gators are reclusive, choosing to hide in murky water. This spring water is very, very clear so this is not where people are likely to see a gator.

From the mermaid show, which is performed in the deepest spring water in all of Florida (over 400 feet deep!!):

the Mistress of Ceremonies

We sat in a below-ground theater that seated about 400 people, and every seat was taken! Viewing the mermaids through a very large glass window, I don't think anyone had a bad seat for the show.


A total of 5 mermaids entertained us, with swim acrobatics, singing, eating, and drinking all while deep under water, occasionally taking a breath from long hoses that did not distract from the performance at all. It was amazing. The program lasted 30 minutes and included tributes to several famous people who have been a part of the show over the past 47 years: Elvis, Jimmy Buffet, and more than I can remember.

As we were leaving, we saw Mr Peacock strutting around:


And he was successful in catching the eyes of the ladies:


But at the same time, about 4 of them got into a squabble over a pancake somebody had dropped on the ground, outside of the restaurant (no picture of that). 

"Been there,
done that,
got the T-shirt."

The gift shop was large, had a lot of merchandise and some snacks. A shirt was all I wanted and Gary got that for me.


We stopped on the way home at Culver's for lunch to get some of our favorite menu items: a hamburger combo with fries and sweet tea.
 
paper wrapping on my hamburger

All of the above happened on the day before my birthday, so the fun continued into Saturday. Our usual coffee in bed before breakfast came with a very special birthday card, a big box of my favorite candy, and a generous card for shopping.

a great beginning to my birthday 

At the breakfast table there was a stack of birthday cards to open, some with more opportunities to shop and eat out. 😊👍🏻😋

birthday cards on the dining table

The weather for our bike ride was perfect, which was good exercise because in addition to the box of candy, we enjoyed a pink and white ice cream cake with Jersey Girl and Jersey Boy.

my birthday wish is also a prayer

It's been a wonderful day with many newsy messages of friendship, love, and affection. So many of you reached me via emails, FaceBook, and text messages. Wow. I am so blessed and grateful. THANK YOU! 

The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places....

Psalm 16:6a

Until next time, grace and peace.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

The Wednesday Hodgepodge on a Tuesday Afternoon

Got a little time on my hands this afternoon, so I'm answering Joyce's Hodgepodge questions. Here's the link to the questions if you want to join in on your blog: http://www.fromthissideofthepond.com

 1. Thursday is National Pi Day...are you good at math? What was the last thing you had to calculate? Did you use your head or technology? Last slice of pie you ate? 

.The last slice of pie I had was Banana Cream. Any flavor of cream pie is Gary’s favorite. Me, I like any pie placed in front of me, with cherry being my favorite. 


As for calculating: most of the time, I use the calculator on my phone when dealing with my checkbook. Arithmetic was not my strong point in school.


2. What makes a house a home? 

.Living with someone I love who loves me and treats me with kindness, respect, and lots of affection. Comfy furniture and a full refrigerator help, too!


3. Your current favorite green thing? 

.I love being able to look out the windows of this house to see a lot of palm trees, grass, pine trees, bushes that flower.


4. How do you define achievement? .I define achievement as completing a job to the best of my abilities (even if not perfect) and in a timely manner, preferably in ways that don’t offend the innocent or make life harder for others. How does your personal definition look similar to, or different than, society's definition? .There’s a lot of anger and downright rudeness in today’s world, so consideration of others is lacking much of the time.  What's something you think is worth achieving in life? .People need to consider if it's better to be right or kind. In my opinion, the legalists press to be right while those who are more loving choose to be kind. Kindness wins people over while insistence on being right creates chasms.


5. What song is a good soundtrack for your life right now? 

.A chorus from my youth choir days, “My Lord Knows the Way Through the Wilderness.” Here’s a quick Youtube version of the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9w-n6D_im0 


I sing this to myself often and couple that with the prayer, “Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.”!!!


6. Insert your own random thought here. 

.This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24


Until next time, grace and peace.



Saturday, March 9, 2024

Learning From Process

 

as seen on Cindy's blog:
https://creationsbycindyphotography.blogspot.com/2024/02/where-has-month-gone.html

With thanks to Cindy (a sister Florida blogger), an illustration on her blog is perfect for my life of late, and I hope it works for you as well.

The big, consuming thing on my calendar that has slowed my writing for the past few weeks is that Gary needs to have intestinal surgery.

We have been very busy for months now preparing for both this and the recuperation period. Then just ten days before it was to actually begin, the surgeon had a heart attack! The surgery was cancelled.

from Linda on FaceBook

It had taken a lot of effort (including, time, travel, and yes, to be honest, genuine aggravation) to get to where we were. Everyone concerned was stunned. We just sat still for a time, waiting to see how this would play out. 

Beautiful Camelia bush in our front yard

Then as time went on, we determined the next move might be ours, so we gathered up what we thought might be the logical thing to do and proceeded ahead.

spent blooms;
letting go and moving forward

As of this writing, the surgery has been re-scheduled with another specialist in another city and with some different techniques. As my Gary likes to say, "That may happen; then again, it may not happen." Moving on .....

more wisdom from FaceBook

In the midst of all that, an especially delightful thing happened. One of my out-of-state readers contacted me to say she and her husband would be vacationing in my area soon. She asked if we would like to meet up! Could we get together? 

specialty napkins,
one of the gifts from Ona

Of course! We met them here in our community, ordering chicken salad sandwiches from our little deli and then walking over to a pavilion with picnic tables. It was a delightful visit with people of faith and genuine friendliness. She's been reading my post for several years, even managing the transfer from my former blog, Sweet Tea and Sandals, to this one, My Journal Memories. A new friendship was formed!

entertaining snack of 
popcorn with jelly beans

On another afternoon, my girlfriend, Jersey Girl, came over to visit at the new table on our front porch. Gary made his "world famous popcorn" 😉 (you remember that anything he cooks is "world famous"). After sharing his culinary skill, he left us to our girl talk. 

delivery truck from Lowe's

In previous posts I've told you about all the many things Gary has arranged in the way of home upkeep. Our house is 16 years old, so it's just been time to renew some things. Today was another one of those projects. 

a project begun

The one remaining item on my man's To Do List was to spread fresh bark mulch in the back yard. Due to the high cost of water here in Florida (yeah, surprising fact, I know!), last year we opted to replace a lot of our lawn with mulch and a few bushes. The HOA (homeowners' association) gave their approval.

Gary

So the delivery of the mulch was this morning and Gary got busy with his trusty sidekick (that would be me) hauling the 100+ bags to the back yard.

Bob

In time, a couple of neighbors, with nothing else to do out of the kindness of their hearts, came over to help us. Yes, of course, they had other things to do, but this is what good neighbors do and we are grateful.

another neighbor;
(look very closely to see Al)

Lunch was on the patio in the shade of the palms and pines. The Lord gave us perfect weather with a welcome windy breeze for such a huge project.

ham sandwiches, potato chips 
and lots of electrolyte water

When we were done, WE WERE DONE! With the neighbors' help it was completed in one day, which I did not expect. 

done!

We loaded up the empty mulch bags into the back of the truck and drove to the dump. After that, Gary suggested we celebrate this accomplishment with ice cream. I never turn down an idea like that!

Taste Freeze

As I wrap up this post, I'll share thoughts I wrote in my journal a few days ago. It has to do with the delay of this big thing going on in our lives:

Many things require a process. 
Seek to understand;
be patient with the process.

And I add to that the words from a last-century missionary to Asia, Amy Carmichael: 

"In acceptance there is peace."

Grace and peace to you, my good readers.



Anniversary Celebration on Jekyll Island

Our two-year anniversary celebration took us to Jekyll Island this week. Here is my album of memories. cover of free visitor guide If you do...