Do you remember that book by Judy Blume, Are You There, God? It's Me Margaret. It was one of my favorites when I was a teen. I related to Margaret in many ways.
Have you ever felt like maybe God had forgotten who you were or what was going on with you? I know I have! I use to think He didn't like me very much because things just never seem to go my way. However, as I've gotten older, I realize that He alone sees the BIG picture, while my view is very limited.
I've had many moments over the past few months when I thought, I can blog about that.... but I never did because I didn't want my blog to sound like a while-fest. Today, though, I'm going to let you in on what has been going on in this parsonage since the beginning of 2011. It may sound like whining at first, but hang with me.....there's blessings to come!
1. Our stove went out. This was a saga unto itself.....long-story-short......waited three weeks for new one which once installed didn't work. Had repairman come out, worked for two weeks, stopped working again. Steve launches campaign against Lowe's which results in new stove #2 being delivered and installed.
2. Our dryer went out.
3. Our big screen TV died.
4. I was diagnosed with lupus which resulted in a drastic diet change which to say has been difficult would be an understatement.
5. Steve was diagnosed with gout.
6. Our van went on the fritz again.
7. My library assistant had a stroke.
8. Luke pulled a tendon in his wrist.
9. We lost a friend to cancer.
So, where's the blessing in all of that, you ask?
Well, let me tell ya!
1. & 2. We live in the parsonage. So, the church obviously paid for the stove. The church doesn't have to provide a dryer, but they chose to anyway so we didn't have to come off any money to purchase the new one. All-in-all just inconveniencing.
3. We had just received our tax refund, and while we weren't planning on spending any of it on a new TV...or anything for that matter.....at least, we were able to replace it.....and we found a GREAT deal!
4. I need to lose weight anyway, and I am down ten pounds since this started. I am also learning to not beat myself up over little missteps along the way which has always been a downfall of mine when trying to lose.
5. Luke had to drive Steve to Urgent Care because I was out of town. The blessing in this is that Luke realized that hanging out with dad having a movie marathon could be a cool thing. They really enjoyed their time together.....just the guys.
6. Well, it's hard for me to find the blessing in this van, but it is paid for and something can be said for that! However, I do believe I will be purchasing a new car...maybe today.
7. Linda is showing the world how tough she is, and how much love plays a part in healing. Her family and friends are surrounding her with enough love to have her running marathons in the fall (but all she really wants is to go to her daughter's wedding in Oct.)
8. Okay, so maybe there's not a blessing in EVERYTHING! haha (could the blessing be a little less practicing trumpet, sax, and flute at midnight?)
9. Allen's life was a blessing as was evidenced at his service. He touched many, many people and while we miss him here....we all know he wouldn't come back for anything.
The Lord is our strength. He is our protector. He keeps His promises, and I am holding Him to that! I know that He has something BIG in store for us because Satan is trying to bring us down.
If things seem to be going in the wrong direction for you, remember that God sees what lies ahead, and His ways need to be our ways. He will never steer us wrong.
Stevie and I spent the weekend in Suwanee visiting the family......primarily to see Jack play baseball. We had a great visit with stops at a wonderful yogurt joint called Yogli Mogli....if you have one near by, check it out! We went twice in two days!! The peach is DEE-VINE!
We also browsed the shops at Discover Mills while the boys went to a birthday party. All-in-all, a relaxing and fun weekend which was great! I miss not getting to see them more often, but I guess that makes my time with them all the more special.
Today, we came home through Augusta and had lunch and did a little shopping with Shea before finally arriving at our "final destination" (that's GPS-ease for Cassatt) around 5:30.
While it was a nice to be away, unfortunately Steve had hurt his knee and had to go to urgent care to have it seen about. So, I kinda felt torn about being away.....he was in good hands, though, Luke took great care of him.
I also really enjoyed my one-on-one time with Stevie. We don't get to do that often enough, and it won't be long before she will fly the coop.....and we all know that once she starts flying, she might not stop for awhile. So, I better enjoy her company while I can.
Hope your weekend was wonderful too! What'd you do?
Today, we attended the funeral of a man who had too few years here on earth with us. Allen was a pastor in our local association, and also one of the pastors who participated with us in "the gathering". I remember the first time we ever met Allen, we were greeted with a huge smile and a gracious spirit. We had gone to welcome him to the community and introduce ourselves. We didn't get to know him nearly as well as we'd have liked, but each moment spent with him allowed us to walk away blessed.
Allen had melanoma. It struck with a vengeance, unexpectantly, and took him swiftly. Too swiftly. He touched a great many people, as was evidenced by the standing room only service today.
Sometimes we lose. We lose people we love, we lose battles hard-fought, and we lose perspective.
Our perspective is not God's perspective. Only He sees the big picture that we are unable to see. Only He knows what purpose this loss will have in the days to come. And only He will get his beautiful family through this nightmare they now walk.
Yes, sometimes we lose.......but, in Allen's case, he was the victor. He walks the streets of gold with Jesus; he sings in the choir of angels; and he feasts at the table with those who went before him. Allen is happy today because he served a Living Savior.
Knowing God sees the big picture can help us through our losses in life.....big or little......so, yes, sometimes we lose......but with God, we will always win.
The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner tells the story of Lauren, a young women from a wealthy family who desires to be free from the restrictions money places on her; and of Mercy, a young woman whose life takes a tragic turn--her story told through a diary that Lauren is transcribing for Mercy's distant relative, Abigail.
One finds themselves falling in love with Mercy and drawn into her story as she writes poignantly about the dark days during the Salem witch trials of which she becomes a victim. This book, like others of Meissners, takes the reader on a journey from present to past and back again, but without the confusion that some authors create. The tales are interwoven and yet parallel as each present day character learns lessons about themselves.
It's a great read, and I would definitely recommend that you find the time to read it!
I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review.
the diet wagon, that is. Yesterday, I attended the South Carolina Association of School Librarians conference, and you know what that means.....especially for teachers~ LUNCH OUT! We went to California Dreamin, and if you haven't ever been there......OH, THE GOODNESS of it all! It started out okay when I ordered the small salad....b/c, literally the big salad could feed the five thousand.....but then, I couldn't help myself and I ordered a side of.....FRIES! and Boy, were they good!! Every crunchy, salty one of them. So, today I must jump back on and carry on. Maybe the fries will keep me for awhile. But, I am attending the conference again today. So, please, please, please pray for strength. It's so very difficult when you get off of your schedule.
In other news, my assistant is making great progress, and they hired a long-term sub. So, maybe things can get back to semi-normal in the library.
There is no title for this post, because I seriously have nothing to say! I've been working on keeping up with this new restricted diet that I am on..........mostly raw vegetables and fruits, and finding a few protein choices that there's not been much time for anything else.
Oh, one thing, though. My assistant, Linda, had a stroke a week ago. She is doing remarkably well, but will probably be out the rest of the year. BOO :( You know how long I waited for her to be hired.....and now I will have a long-term sub. At least it's someone I know....I think! I guess I can't let the cat out of the bag, but it's discouraging to have to train someone else!
Other than that, my life has been uneventful. Looking forward to the rest of the week being spent at the Librarian's conference.......can't wait to learn some new stuff!!
FINALLY. It seems it was really only a matter of finding the right combination of doctors who knew what they were talking about.
So, I went back to the rheumotalogist in Charleston today. He had run some blood work when I was there 4 weeks ago and given me a prescription for prednisone. The steroid was GREAT, but he told me at that time that if being on them caused my blood levels to come up then he would definitely think I had lupus. Last Friday, I had to have a CBC done, and all of my counts were down. So, naturally, I assumed that I didn't have lupus.
However, when we got to the appointment today, he pulled out the labs from a month ago and began telling us that this was elevated and that was centric and something else was a low complement.......(can you tell he was speaking medicalese?) all that to say that he was 99% sure that I DO have lupus.
What is lupus? It presents itself in people in several different ways.....a skin rash, joint pain, and kidney disease are the most common. It does present in the blood in some people....like me! Basically, my immune system is in hyper overdrive and is killing the bad stuff (germs) and the good stuff (platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells). Our goal now is to try to calm it down.
How are we doing that? Well, first off I am starting a new medicine. It may take a while to get the dosage correct...yippee.....and it may cause me to become sick. Secondly, I have to completely change my diet because I can't have anything with preservatives. In his words, all fruits and veggies should be as close to raw as possible and meat should not contain all that stuff they pump into it. Why, you ask? Well, preservatives act as an antibody in the body and they will not allow my immune system to calm down because it will be working to remove those foreign substances from it. This is gonna be a hard one for me, because as you all know.....my favorite food group is cake! However, I'm going to have to be vigilant (do you know how much we eat contains preservatives?) like EVERYTHING! I also have to walk 10-15 minutes 4-5 times a week for now. That shouldn't be too bad.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around this thing so I am sure that I will have much more to say as I get started. So, for now, I am off to eat my dried vegetables (bleh) for dinner.
I am a Bible-believing, three kid-loving, elementary-teaching, nephew-doting, conservative-thinking, great book reading, friend-adoring, grad school-studying, two-mile walking, diet-trying, parsonage-dwelling, pro-life advocating,reality tv-watching, self-deprecating, doing the best I can woman who happens to be madly in love with and married to a pastor.