Welcome To My Green Pasture....

It is a place of quiet rest that I have found when I am writing. I hope that someone will find my musings helpful in some way.
Psalm 23:2 "He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restoreth my soul."


My Green Pasture....

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Power Outage

OK...two mornings in a row I have had to go without my Folger's in my cup first thing and have not been able to get on the computer. This really cramps my style! I love to have my quiet coffee time in the morning. I can't think straight until the first few sips. I just had to sit and wait a while and before not too long, the power came on and it was morning as usual. The coffee got made and on with my day I went. Back in the day it was no big deal to not have electricity, I suppose. It was a way of life for the pioneers. They made do with what they had, but for us today, when the power goes out ...nothing works! We are crippled, in a sense. I find myself without power when I forget to pray about things. When I tend to make things work on my own. I realize how much I need power in my everyday activities around the house here......the coffee pot...light switch in the dark bathroom...stove....on and on the list goes. How ridiculous it is for me to think I can make it through even one day without prayer, which really gives me the power  from God that I need.

2 Corinthians 12:9 "..My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thirsty As A Deer

Here in the Northwoods of Wisconsin there are plenty of deer. I prefer to admire their beauty... I don't shoot! We also seem to have our fair share of Apple trees. I never realized that deer eat apples, and perhaps you never knew that either. Yesterday, while out near some apple trees that are already being weighed down with many apples on their branches, I noticed this deer standing there. It was stretching forth its neck to grab the lowest branch in its teeth. I watched a few minutes and thought it was just eating the leaves but the longer I stood there, realized that this deer was actually struggling with picking an apple! It finally did get the apple after a few tries and munched away, oblivious to my nosiness! I thought to myself what a perfect place for deer to roam....apple trees...fields...woods...and yes even a stream running through the property! After eating a few apples I am sure that deer must have been thirsty. It brings to mind a verse I memorized a long time ago...Psalm 42:1"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Throw It Into The Fire

Camping just isn't camping without a campfire! Usually when I go camping I have one every night and of course bring along the marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey bars in order to make S'mores. It is just comforting to sit there in the glow of the orange and yellow flames and listen to the crackling of the wood as the flames lick it. It makes me think of something I heard once of writing down every care, every burden, every problem, everything that keeps me troubled.....fold it up, cast it into that fire and as you cast it ...tell God you are giving all of this care to Him....it is not mine to carry anymore... I release it . Get rid of the care or it will keep you underneath it. Maybe you need a good old fashioned campfire and a piece of paper....maybe you need to write down all of the junk that is weighing you down and then just cast it on God and throw it into the fire and don't pick it up again.
1Peter 5:7 "Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Life Is Better At The Cabin

"Life is better at the cabin"... a sign that is in my friend's cottage, and one that is indeed true! This past weekend we spent three and a half days of quiet and relaxing hours just listening to the sounds of nature and found it to be so much better than the alternative....stress! As I sat on the screened in porch of this cottage that overlooks the lake, I pondered what it was that made this place so different from home. Why is it so much easier to relax and just feel stress-free here? I soon got out a notepad and a pen and began to jot down all of the reasons why I thought this place was so peaceful. One of the very first things I noticed was how far back in the woods we were and away from the main road. I don't think I heard even one car or truck the entire time we were there! No phone ringing every so often there! As a matter of fact it didn't even ring once! The cell phone didn't ring either and that in itself is a miracle! There was no unwanted catalogs or overdue bills to worry about since there was no mail delivery! No neighbors... except for the ones going by in their boats slowly enjoying their fishing ... if you want to count those! No TV stressing me out with the bad reports on the nine O' clock news! Although there was a small flat screen TV, its purpose was for watching movies on. The morning time with my coffee was only interrupted by the songs of the Loons calling to each other from across the lake. Ahhh..I think I choose that.....I realized while enjoying the quietness of this place how much closer God seems when you are there.....but it also makes me realize that it is our own noisy lives for the reason we feel we cannot or do not hear from Him. Once more I am reminded...."Be still and know that I am God...."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Strength In Numbers

One strand of thread is not very sturdy and can be broken in half pretty easily. If you take three pieces and braid them together into one strand then it is a lot sturdier and harder to break. There is a certain strength in numbers. No one really wants to be all alone all of the time. I do admit that for the most part I am a loner by nature. Have always pretty much been an independent thinker and I don't allow other people to manipulate my thinking; or at least I resist it... I should say. There have been times a manipulator or two has slipped past me unawares. It is true however that there is strength in numbers. When people who have the same kinds of issues band together and work on these issues something gets accomplished. The age of the Internet has brought people together in ways that were never possible in previous generations. The things that can be accomplished are great. I am sure that when these social networks were begun, no one ever imagined how far reaching it would go. I was thinking on this today and realized that long before anyone ever set up a social media...God had one set in place. He already mentioned it.... "where two or three are gathered together in my name ... there I am in the midst of them"... also, "a three fold cord cannot easily be broken". Strength in numbers....when many people, together of one purpose, and one mind, pray ....there is strength. Something will be accomplished!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Just Words?

I see these words every time I sit on my toilet! You may think I am crass. No...just blunt and sometimes downright crude but I think if you would be honest with yourself for a few seconds you would have to admit too that there have been times you have thought these are just words. Are these only worthless words that have no meaning or significance? Does it really matter what or whom you believe in?  When all is said and done ... who really knows, and maybe it is all just made up to make us feel better about life in general? I know that I can "trust in the Lord with all of my heart" and He will work everything out ...I know this because.... I have seen Him do it for ME. It is usually after I have exhausted myself trying to "lean on my own understanding" of the matter! Which is pretty dumb...considering it says, " lean not on your own understanding"! Sometimes we just don't know what to do ...and it is at these times, we need to remind ourselves that He sees the overall picture and scheme of things. He can and will direct our path, and place the right people in our lives and arrange the proper circumstances. I am glad I have someone to rely on. It relieves me a great deal right now as I am facing this terminal illness of Sarcoidosis and Lymphoma. I don't have a clue what lies ahead from one day to the next or even what decisions I will need to make or even how to go about them. I have many different people giving me their many different opinions but in the end I know that it will all work out. So instead of fretting ... I choose to trust..not in myself, but in the Lord.  Instead of crying over having an illness that not many have.... I choose to think of myself as a rare gem....Instead of feeling lonely ...I choose to talk to my best friend who hears my every word. I will wait....trust... and thank Him for helping me through this journey.
                                                                                                                                                               Proverbs 3:5&6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Beautiful Colors....Beautiful People

I went to my first Pow Wow today.  I don't know why it has taken me so long to finally go to one when I live practically right next to the Ojibwe reservation and even taught some of the Ojibwe children a few years ago.The sounds of the drums beating and the vibrant variety of colors swirling around soon captured my attention and as I sat in the sweltering heat I was captivated at the apparent pride of these people before me. I was especially impressed with the fact that I not only saw one particular age group represented but pretty much there was every one from toddler on up to elders dressed in their traditional garb and dancing their traditional dance. I am so impressed that the young people are being taught to carry out the culture of their ancestors and are not just throwing it to the wind. I of course had to have my favorite fry bread while I was there. My own native pride began to swell up somewhere in my veins as I sat there and watched in amazement and wondered what it had been like for my great grandmother many moons ago. There were stories some of which I never quite got the full end of... but somewhere there was some Indian in our blood... well I was believing it as I listened to the beat of these drummers and watched as these people of many different ages with their terrific colors proudly strutted around the pow wow grounds... I had the urge to go out there and join them and hold my head up high! Not only were their colors beautiful but in all of my experiences, these Indian people are so very beautiful also. I tried not to be too obvious but the woman sitting next to me was passing the time by beading. It was so pretty. She was friendly also and had won a prize for her fry bread. Another was so gracious to let me take a picture with him and I just know God put him in my path...what are the odds....he told me he had battled cancer and won. It was what I needed to hear and I certainly wasn't expecting it from him. It was at just the right time. What a beautiful way to spend a hot summer day. These proud native Americans were an absolute beautiful reminder that life can be beautiful.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Choose Your Campsite Wisely

I love to go camping. Not really sure why...since it really is a lot of work when you think about it. I haven't been yet this summer due to my health and my surgery but I am determined that at some point before fall it will happen! I don't think an RV equipped with air conditioner and TV and DVD player is really camping... I enjoy sleeping in a tent and sitting around a campfire. Sleeping in a tent can be relaxing..if you pick your campsite carefully! If however you are not careful and you end up setting up your tent in the wrong place it can be nothing but trouble! I have had the experience of having my tent in the wrong place ...noisy campers, up all hours of the night, or maybe my tent was down in a rut and it rained all night and I ended up floating in a few inches of water by morning....not too fun! I have found out the hard way that raccoons and other nighttime critters love dumpsters so stay away from campsites that are near them! I certainly would not choose to put my tent down there on purpose! There are so many other campsites to choose from so why would I plant my tent in an unpleasant place when I could choose to be somewhere else? If you want your camping experience to be a relaxing and pleasant one then you need to be careful about choosing your campsite. Always check out the neighborhood before you build your campsite or you may be really sorry you pitched your tent there. There may be other critters living in the nearby woods that have been inhabiting it before you ever arrived on the site and they may not be so excited about you interrupting their life in the big woods. You may be wishing you had never built your campsite there. If you do not like bugs or bears or snakes or raccoons.... then stay out of their campsite!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Like A Butterfly

I hate losing things! It is so darn frustrating. Yesterday we ended up spending a good portion of our day looking for something that had been either misplaced or lost and it was not a fun way to spend the afternoon. Short term memory problems are not a fun thing to have either as you just can't recall what, when, where, or why,  and whoever is trying to help you recall, is just an annoyance! So I think that looking for something that is lost, is like trying to catch a butterfly that is fluttering all around your head. You keep trying to capture it with your hands and maybe go around in circles to ensnare it, but the more you swipe at it and try, the more you miss it! Our searching high and low everywhere for the item that was lost, resulted in no item retrieved; but I soon decided it was not worth getting upset over and was high time to just forget it! I am sure that the offending item will show up and land right smack in front of us somehow at a time when we no longer need it or are in want of it! I have had this experience with butterflies before.....I never have been too good at catching them but I do know that after a while if you just sit still and stop swiping at them they may just come quietly and land on you! Sometimes I think we search for other things like happiness this way too and look in all the wrong places. We sometimes need to just "Be Still".

Monday, July 11, 2011

That Stinks!

I hate to admit to some of you that I am human and feel like this but .... sometimes life feels like a stinky pile of dirty diapers! I have had my share of those and I have had my share of life! I know I am not supposed to ever think that life stinks, but you know what? Sometimes it just does! There are days that just go like this and you wonder if things will ever change or get better? Or maybe they will just get worse? Is there really any hope that I might ever be the slightest bit pain free again? Why is it that you see some people living a life of ease and sheer luxury and enjoyment and others struggle their entire lives and have misery every second until they die? I just heard about a really old couple separating! Just can't stand each other any more... they are in their eighties! Wow. Now that kind of stinks! Then people get fired without so much as a warning... no matter that there are bills to pay and mouths to feed. There is another stink! Some poor woman is abused her whole life and instead of the abuser dying, the woman ends up with cancer and leaves small children behind. That really stinks!!So many stinky diapers in this life. They can really pile up if we let them. I can easily let myself become overwhelmed with all of the stinky stuff surrounding me or I can one by one give them over to the only one who can do anything about it all.....sometimes I admit that when I give them to God they probably sound like a big complaint to Him... but I know He hears me and I also know He cares. He can clean out those stinky diapers and clean house quicker than I can even imagine. I just sometimes forget to take it all to Him...and say,"that really stinks God, can you PLEASE do something about that?"

Friday, July 8, 2011

MERCY

"MERCY"......what does it exactly mean anyway? For some weird reason it keeps on popping up everywhere around me... on TV, reading material, even on a license plate! I began really thinking on this word.... my dear southern friend always said..."Lord have Mercy" and I too have picked up on that habit. Mercy is compassion, favor, blessing. Thankfully, the Lord does have mercy. He does show compassion, that is for sure. I looked further into this mercy thing... it can also mean showing  kindness and benevolence to people who do not deserve it; a willingness to grant favors and not be rude! Wow I found this to be interesting. The opposite of "Mercy" then, is to be cold- hearted, pitiless, unsympathetic, merciless, unforgiving and holding a grudge. I realize more and more how much mercy has been shown me by my loving Father in Heaven, and am so thankful that He in no way is out to hurt me or do anything rude, vengeful, or manipulative in my life! I fully trust that He has my "Best" interest in mind whenever He allows anything in my life. I am so thankful for mercy . May I be willing to show mercy.
Psalm23:6 " Surely...goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Rare Disease?

I have always known I was different than everyone else! I have always felt sick... I mean my entire life! I kind of thought just maybe I had a small touch of being a hypochondriac or maybe a bit psychosomatic? But then I ended up having two sets of twins just a year apart..that in itself is a bit on the rare side if you ask me! Then another fairly rare occurrence was the sudden infant death of one of my babies. Soon after all of my babies were born I began having some weird neurological symptoms and was told I may have Multiple Sclerosis and went through literally years of doctor visits and tests to prove or disprove the theories of way too many doctors. At this time the doctors began throwing around the thought that I may indeed have a rare autoimmune disease but to figure out exactly which one would be a challenge!! The idea of Lupus came into play, I had a few surgeries thrown in the mix and a herniated disc in my neck out of the blue, which ended me up with a neck brace for about twelve weeks. About three years ago now, I began to lose weight for no apparent reason and lymph nodes were popping out here and there. Low grade fevers for no real reason and problems with my ears filling with fluid. Bone pain, joint pain, muscle spasms, extreme fatigue, severe headaches and migraines have been amongst the symptoms all along over the many years but especially this last year. I have never even so much as had pneumonia, so when I began to have severe chest pains this past April I was pretty surprised that it was my lungs. I went for a pulmonary function test and did not do well. I was then sent for a chest x- ray which showed a lung nodule and some enlarged lymph nodes in the chest. Immediately I was sent over to the hospital for a Cat scan with dye which showed two lung nodules and several lymph nodes enlarged. I was advised to have a PET Scan which is used to show up any cancer. Done. The lung nodule in the upper lobe of my right lung and fifteen lymph nodes all lit up brightly which I was told looked very suspicious of cancer. I would have to have biopsies done! First biopsies were done on some of the lymph nodes in my chest through an EUS fine needle aspiration and this showed Sarcoidosis, however it was the opinion of a few of my doctors that the lung nodule could be lung cancer and should be biopsied also and the only way to biopsy it was to do a thoracotomy. So here I am after this lung surgery, recovering, telling you about it... if you can ever avoid lung surgery.... do it!! But at least now I am sure that I do not have LUNG cancer. What I am not so sure about is the other lymph nodes that lit up in my lower abdomen and there is some confusion as to whether they all have Sarcoidosis or if some may be cancer? So .... I know about the one disease and will deal with that!  It is a rare disease just like me. Am I happy about it? Of course not... I am thankful that I do not have small cell lung cancer as that is one of the fastest growing cancers! However Sarcoidosis is a disease that affects all of the vital organs and it already is affecting my lungs! I have felt lousy for a reason for this past year... so to all who have felt that I have been lazy or faking .....look it up and you will see what a nice disease this is! There is no cure as of yet and really from what I have read most of the treatments have some pretty rough side effects and don't really help a whole lot, so I am in for a rough ride!  One day at a time .... that is all any of us have anyway!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

As I Walk...I Will NOT Fear

Okay, so last night I woke up several times in extreme pain...not that I want you to feel sorry for me but just so you will realize I am not out of the woods yet so to speak with this recovery process from this lung surgery. I have no idea what is normal for this or what is not,but today is the day when the waiting is over! I return today to the surgeon for repeat x-rays and lab work and for the pathology report on the lung nodule. Hopefully, today I will find out for sure if this culprit that is making me so very sick this past year is Sarcoidosis, Cancer, or Both (as is the theory of a few of my doctors). We shall see who is right. Anyway... more than a few people lately have asked me if I am afraid or nervous to find out the truth. Some have said they would Not want to know at all if it were them and others said they would. Well.. for me... I really can honestly say I am not nervous or afraid. I just would like to know what is going on in my body so I can at least understand the pain and sickness a little better and be able to make informed decisions regarding treatments and future plans. So as I walk or I should say begin this walk down this path today of the UNKNOWN... I think once again on my favorite Psalm...."Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for thou art with me... Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."~Psalm 23:4

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I Love A Parade!

Pain or no pain...I awoke on the fourth of July with good old American blood running through my veins and decided that I would not waste my holiday sitting on my behind listening to the phone for one more day! I have had it with this recovery process ...and anyway... it just is NOT the Fourth of July to me without... a parade, firetrucks, clowns, ice cream cones, and of course fireworks! Well... my search for a local parade turned out to be a bust...much to my disgust! We live at least a half hour from a decent sized town in all directions but I figured that someone nearby must be having a parade! How UN -American to NOT have a fourth of July parade! All across America little towns are doing away with it!! Our children and grandchildren are not being brought up with the same sense of love for our country and sense of pride for our flag as we had....what a shame is that! I ended up searching on the Internet and found a town north of us about an hours drive, and although I am in pain still from recent surgery I figured it would be worth it to me! I know you may think MY thinking is somewhat warped or morbid but in my own mind I think like this....if this was the very last fourth of July I ever get to celebrate then how would I want to celebrate it? This kind of thinking has been playing a large role lately in decisions about what I choose to do or not do.  Anyway... back to the fourth. We parked our chairs along a shady spot on the sidewalk next to a family eagerly awaiting the arrival of the parade. I sat down next to two little girls so excited to be there and so ready for all of the candy that was to be soon strewn all over the street! I have been to many a parade and have to say that this parade was very generous in their distribution of candy! These two little girls soon became my friends and decided that I was to join them and catch the candy too! Of course I had no objections to this! At least at first... but then... this parade... went on and on and on.... and the candy just kept on being thrown and there was enough candy for everyone! There  were flags flying and firetrucks sounding their sirens and bands playing and I was in seventh Heaven! For just a little while... I really forgot that I was fifty one... for just a little while I forgot I was recovering from surgery... for just a little while I had a blast! I was glad to see so many flags in this parade and tribute to our veterans. Thank God there are still places like this one all across America that do still take the time and effort to celebrate our freedom  and fly the flag!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Memories By The Sea

Ahh.. I do have many memories by the sea.....the 4th of July always joggles my brain and brings them back to the surface and I find my heart longing more than ever to be there on the edge of the world with the fog rolling in and the sound of the lighthouse  in the background. I am so jealous when I look and see all of my friends taking vacations to this favorite place of mine and here I sit on my sofa wishing I could be walking along that pebbly seashore combing the beach for sea glass to add to my collection or looking for driftwood or just plain old sitting and admiring the squawking seagulls! I can smell the salty air if I close my eyes and imagine. If I had a genie in a bottle I would definitely rub that bottle and make my three wishes.... ONE ...transport me to my favorite spot on Earth.....TWO....enough money to eat all of the fried clams and blueberry ice cream cones I want from all of the little roadside stands along route one.... and THREE...bring back all my cousins and friends from yesteryear and let's have a big picnic and good old time once again! I can't be there this weekend on this 4th of July... but in my heart and mind that's where I am and if I can ever get there on a 4th of July again in this lifetime... it will be like a dream come true!

Friday, July 1, 2011

How Do You Do IT?

You Just Do It! I was asked this question so many times over and over years ago as I carted my children along with me everywhere I went, especially in the summertime when there was no school; but even before that, when they were just babies. The oldest who really wasn't very old, now that I look back at this.... was such a "little Mommy" to the others. She would push one double baby stroller and I the other, and we would take a walk. I had twins twice! Plus ......Jen was only about 3 and 1/2 . She seemed so much older for her age! She thought she had her own little babies. We would get the strangest looks at the grocery store and now I realize why. Who wouldn't stare? Here I was...trying to push one stroller with two infants, and trying to push a grocery cart with the other hand at the same time, then Jen pushing the other stroller. Wow...no wonder people kept asking me.... "How do you do it?" And I never really knew what to tell them... I just did what I had to do... I had no choice. I didn't have help. There was no family around... no nanny, no best friend to call and say, " come on over I need to run out for a few minutes"....etc. It was me, myself, and I! So I did what any good mother would do.... I did it! Sometimes we are in situations that seem so impossible to bear  and other people may even look at it and say ... "how in the world do you do it?" All you can do is  "Do it"!  I was thinking on this as I await my test results and my diagnosis, and wonder how people with cancer cope with it? Duh! I just clunked myself on the head.... same answer, you big dummy! You Do what you have to Do, and  when the time comes to handle things, God gives wisdom and strength to cope. I have made a lot of wrong choices and suffered some pretty dire consequences because of them, but when I wait on God and make the choices He wants, I end up a lot better off. He always has a much better way of working things out than I do! I say to all of my faithful blog readers I could use a lot of prayer right now.... some of you know why and some maybe not, but I am in a situation that needs to be handled for my own health's sake and I have no clue what to do... so in such a situation.... I ask for  "God to be God" and do " Something"  because I am at the point of being able to do "nothing" about it....maybe this is just where He wants me so that when someone next time asks me ...."How do you do it?" .... I can say..."Only the grace of God..."

Psalm 9:9 "The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble."                                                                                                                                                                        Proverbs 1:33 "But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely and shall be quiet from fear of evil."

my prayer

my prayer

Psalm for the Day