Friday, September 23, 2016

When your heart hurts...

Image Credit:  Pinterest


Hello again friends.

I'm sorry that it has been so quiet on the blog.  We put down our sweet dog last Saturday, and our hearts have been heavy and sad.  Oh friends, if there is just one thing I could encourage you to do, it would be to sink your roots deep, deep into Christ and His precious Word.  
Learn about Him.  
Let the words of Scripture permeate your heart, and then 
make a commitment to trust Him and believe those words. 

Then, when everything looks black around you, you will know that He will never fail you.  
You will know that He will never forsake you.  
You will know that "Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning." 

And as you wait for the joy,  you will know that His everlasting arms are beneath you to hold you close, even though you may not be able to feel it right then.  It isn't wrong to grieve.  It isn't wrong to cry.  And, when the time is right, it isn't wrong to smile again for joy.

Hugs and blessings,

Tricia




Monday, September 12, 2016

28 Day Challenge - The End

Just joining me?  I'm currently taking GraceWorks' Beautiful Life Management 28 Day Challenge.  Read about my accomplishments, failures and adventures here!   Scroll to the end of the post to find the links of the series from the beginning. : )


Well here I am with my last installment of my 28 Day Challenge.  First a little recap of Friday through Sunday...

Friday was another "12 Things" day, with one of those things being to take our dog to the vet for his rabies shot.  Kolar is a schnoodle (mini schnauzer/mini poodle) - my daughter's birthday present thirteen and a half years ago.  Here's a picture of him a few years back...



Well, we came back from vet with the news that we need to put him down - sooner rather than later.  He has a tumor in his mouth and is in a lot of pain.  The vet was so sweet.  She cried right along with us, gave us pain meds for Kolar and said she'd talk to us sometime this week.

The "12 Things" list was really good for that situation.  I still completed most of it, barring folding a load of clothes, but since it was mixed - big and small things - I did the things I could process and then did some more, just because "I can do 12 things."

Saturday I spoke at a bridal shower. At 12:30 Paul asked what time I'd be done... "Let me look, it starts at 2:30 and goes til... OH NO! It starts at 1:30 and I haven't taken a shower yet!!" I took a quick shower, got my hair blown dry and curled, got my Bible and notes and glasses in a pile (couldn't forget those - can you imagine??) and the phone rang. It was the vet to talk to me about putting down our dog. Talked to her for 10 minutes... crying... then had to leave immediately to get to the shower. The shower was so sweet - friends that I hadn't seen for years and years - and I just loved the bride-to-be... soon to be daughter-in-law of one of my very best friends. Soooooo ... it's time to speak and I gathered all my notes and reached for my glasses, and they weren't there. ACCCKKKK!!!! Thankfully I had written out even the verses I was speaking from in my notes and they were just large enough and I had gone through them enough that I could see them, and it gave the perfect "ice breaker" story to start out!!

Saturday afternoon my sweet husband took me to the orchard to get fresh caramel apples.  Mmmmm.  That was a nice break.

Sunday morning I woke up exhausted - face swollen, throat swollen. No idea what I got into - possibly it was from touching the morphine the dog is on - but I texted the other pianist for church and asked her to play and I stayed home to rest.  

Around 5:30 I started to feel better, so I finished my 28 Days by making my Monday list, doing the dishes and eating supper.

What a journey this 28 Days has been!  God has taught me so much and it looks like I have more to learn.  I'm so thankful that He takes that much trouble for me!!  I am excited to find that a new approach to planning my day right now is very helpful for me.  I am going to experiment more with the "12 Things" and refine it, but so far it has been a blessing. 

Thank you - each of you - for participating and/or reading along each day.  Your words of encouragement have been such a blessing to me, and I hope that you have seen growth in your home management skills through our journey together.  I've heard lots of ideas for blog posts, so we will see what fits into my 12 Things... : )

Blessings, sweet friends!

Til next time,

Tricia


Find the Intro post HERE
Find Day One HERE
Find Day Two HERE
Find Day Three HERE
Find Day Four HERE
Find Day Five HERE
Find Day Six HERE
Find Day Seven HERE
Find Day Eight HERE
Find Day Nine and Ten HERE
Find Days Eleven and Twelve HERE
Find Days Thirteen and Fourteen HERE
Find Day Fifteen HERE
Find Day Sixteen HERE
Find Day Seventeen HERE
Find Day Eighteen through Twenty-one HERE
Find Day Twenty-two and Twenty-three HERE
Find Day Twenty-four HERE
Find Day Twenty-five HERE

Friday, September 9, 2016

28 Day Challenge - Day Twenty-Five

Just joining me?  I'm currently taking GraceWorks' Beautiful Life Management 28 Day Challenge.  Read about my accomplishments, failures and adventures here!   Scroll to the end of the post to find the links of the series from the beginning. : )


Hi again!

Thursday was a good day for me.  At the beginning of the day I chose twelve things that I wanted to get done that day.  Here is my list...

1. Make coffee
2. Transfer sheets to dryer
3. Prepare talk for Bridal Shower on Saturday
4. Remake Bed
5. Start Cube Steak for lunch
6. Clean up kitchen
7. Fill GW orders
8. Eat Lunch
9. Take out GW orders
10. Stamp
11. Stitch
12. GW Blog Post

By mid-afternoon I was thinking - I am TIRED.  I think I'll just leave the rest.  But then I thought, "There are only 12 things on this list, I can do 12 things."  Now, of course, I did more than this.  I picked up, I fed the dogs and took them outside.  I did another load of laundry, etc, etc.  But to finish the 12 Things felt SO good!!

I am realizing that I don't do well with too many big projects (or things that feel like big projects) on my list at one time.  When I only see one it is easier to carve out time for it.  I decided to try it again on Friday...  We'll see how it goes!

Blessings!

Tricia



Find the Intro post HERE
Find Day One HERE
Find Day Two HERE
Find Day Three HERE
Find Day Four HERE
Find Day Five HERE
Find Day Six HERE
Find Day Seven HERE
Find Day Eight HERE
Find Day Nine and Ten HERE
Find Days Eleven and Twelve HERE
Find Days Thirteen and Fourteen HERE
Find Day Fifteen HERE
Find Day Sixteen HERE
Find Day Seventeen HERE
Find Day Eighteen through Twenty-one HERE
Find Day Twenty-two and Twenty-three HERE
Find Day Twenty-four HERE

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The 28 Day Challenge - Day Twenty-four - Uh Oh!

Just joining me?  I'm currently taking GraceWorks' Beautiful Life Management 28 Day Challenge.  Read about my accomplishments, failures and adventures here!   Scroll to the end of the post to find the links of the series from the beginning. : )


Yesterday started pretty well - I did my First Things and then finished getting the orders ready to go out.   But then things went downhill...

I had decided to make lasagna for lunch because Paul and I needed to sign papers at the bank right at noon and I figured I could pull out the lasagna right as I left and it would still be warm in the 20-30 minutes or so that we would be gone. So we signed the papers and got home and I looked on the top of the oven for the lasagna and realized that I had forgotten to take it out of the oven. Oh.my.word. 

When I opened the oven the lasagna was black! Paul said the expression on my face was priceless. It was like "How did that get back in there???" He was such a good sport. He just scraped off as much as he could and it really wasn't too bad. The top was sort of crunchy and the bottom came out in one piece. It was not edible... sigh.


It really was not a big deal - but the surprise gave me an adrenaline surge that absolutely wiped me out for the rest of the day.  However, after a good night's sleep today is going splendidly.  Praise the Lord!!!  But more on that tomorrow. : )

Have a blessed day!

Tricia


Find the Intro post HERE
Find Day One HERE
Find Day Two HERE
Find Day Three HERE
Find Day Four HERE
Find Day Five HERE
Find Day Six HERE
Find Day Seven HERE
Find Day Eight HERE
Find Day Nine and Ten HERE
Find Days Eleven and Twelve HERE
Find Days Thirteen and Fourteen HERE
Find Day Fifteen HERE
Find Day Sixteen HERE
Find Day Seventeen HERE
Find Day Eighteen through Twenty-one HERE

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The 28 Day Challenge - Day Twenty-two and Twenty-three

Just joining me?  I'm currently taking GraceWorks' Beautiful Life Management 28 Day Challenge.  Read about my accomplishments, failures and adventures here!   Scroll to the end of the post to find the links of the series from the beginning. : )


Hello again!

Thank you so much for your sweet comments on my last post.  I do appreciate each and every one of you.  The Lord chose you to encourage me right now and I am so thankful!!

Let's see... Monday and Tuesday.

Well, Monday was almost all taken up with writing the epic post.  Honestly, it took me hours!  So other than the Basics and taking my husband water and food throughout the day as he worked to stain our deck, and then running to Menards to pick up extra stain, I really didn't get much else done.

Tuesday was a good day, but not a very productive one.  One of the things I am processing, and it is something that a number of you that are taking the challenge have mentioned that you are struggling with as well, is how to fit in major projects and keep up with the house as well.  Canning, homeschooling, being out of the house for a day (or two or three), or, for me, spending a day printing GraceWorks orders, or planning a talk for a Bridal Shower.  How do we "get it all done"??  I'm going to do some thinking and praying about this over the next few weeks - and see if I can make myself a "contigency plan".  As the Lord blesses me with ideas, I'll be sure to share!!

So Tuesday was taken up with printing - piano lessons - First Things and most of the Basics.  Then my dear one took me to the store for a few groceries and some ice cream after supper.  It was nice. : )

So onward and forward!  I'll see you back here tomorrow!

Blessings,

Tricia


Find the Intro post HERE
Find Day One HERE
Find Day Two HERE
Find Day Three HERE
Find Day Four HERE
Find Day Five HERE
Find Day Six HERE
Find Day Seven HERE
Find Day Eight HERE
Find Day Nine and Ten HERE
Find Days Eleven and Twelve HERE
Find Days Thirteen and Fourteen HERE
Find Day Fifteen HERE
Find Day Sixteen HERE
Find Day Seventeen HERE
Find Day Eighteen through Twenty-one HERE

Monday, September 5, 2016

The 28 Day Challenge - Days 18-21 - Pain and Blessing

Hello dear friends,

I'm sorry to have been gone so long!  This has been an interesting few days for me.  First I ended up at the chiropractor again on Friday for "round 2" on my neck and shoulders.  That meant that Friday afternoon and Saturday were basically spent resting.  First Things were done both days, but that's about it.

So that pretty much covers the pain part, now onto the blessings.  This will take some back story, so you might want to grab a cup of coffee and have a seat... : )

Most of you know that my husband had brain surgery last summer, that my Mom died the summer before that, and that I was in a car accident a couple of summers before that.  What you don't know is that during that time my husband's personality began to change drastically (because of the cyst in his brain, but we didn't know that at the time).  Since the beginning of our marriage he had sometimes had unexplainable behavior when he was under stress, but now he began to have pronounced mood swings, do some odd and frightening things, was always on the verge of anger, and often accused me of not remembering things that he had never told me.  He was never violent - God protected us - but you were never sure if it would escalate to that.  I learned to speak very cautiously and to try as much as possible to be sure the dogs wouldn't bark when he was home because that would cause a burst of anger.   During this time I was taking care of my Mom, apprehensive about our son and some choices he was making,  concerned about our daughter who was dealing with poor health and food allergies at college 1500 miles away and trying to place myself between my daughter that lived at home and my husband at all times.  My only hope was in God.  My only strength was in God.  I was physically and emotionally exhausted and I didn't know what to do.  "What can I share with GraceWorks ladies when my own home is such a mess?  When loving my husband has left me with this??  What can I write when I have failed in my own family?  What can I tell them when I can't even bring myself to use our pages for more than a week at a time?  Can I even make cards anymore?  Nothing matters!"  Everything seemed spiraling downward and I came to the point that I didn't care if one of us died.  I just knew that it would have to be something that big before I could find relief.

The morning I took my husband to the Urgent Care center for his horrendous headache, I already had my hospital bag packed.  I figured it would be a tumor of some sort and wondered if this would be God's answer and He would take my husband Home.  I had very little sorrow at the thought - only relief.  But God.  God instead did a miracle.  Inside my husband's head there had been a cyst growing since birth.   One that blocked the flow of his spinal fluid and caused the ventricles of his brain to swell.  Especially in times of stress, fluid would get pushed past the cyst into the ventricles, but then it couldn't escape.  So the pressure continued to build and build and build.  And when I looked at my husband's MRI my first thought was... "The Heart of God", and I knew that this was His plan all along. (The cyst is the white circle below the line.  The heart is formed by the swollen ventricles.  They should be much, much, much thinner than that.  In fact the doctor indicated that sudden death wasn't out of the question when my husband was admitted to the hospital.)


My husband came through surgery beautifully and the while he lay there helpless, the Lord planted in his heart a deep new love and appreciation for me and our family.  It was more than I could have hoped for.  More than I had had faith to pray for.  Exceeding abundantly above all that I could ask or think.  Oh, friends!  Our God is so amazing!!!

At 6:00 the next morning I woke up in the waiting room where I had stretched out around two.   As I came to consciousness, I realized that my legs were exceptionally weak and I wasn't sure if I could walk to the phone across the room, to say nothing of getting back to my husband.    I was so scared!   I wondered if maybe my blood sugar had dropped - I had had a tremendous headache during surgery the day before - so I crawled to the phone and called the nurses' station.  Within minutes they were there with a wheelchair and took me to the ER where I stayed for the next 9 hours.  My blood sugar was normal, but my heartrate was through the ceiling so they put me through countless tests on my heart and tried every possible means to calm it.  Of course, all I could think about - when I could think at all - was that I needed to be with Paul, who had said before he went into surgery that he needed me to be there for him.  Long story short, they didn't find anything wrong with my heart, and I checked myself out later that night, once rest and a bottle of fluids had kicked in to make me able to walk again.  My daughter became my caretaker and the next morning drove me to my long-time chiropractor (a 10 hour round trip) where he diagnosed me as having severe adrenal fatigue and worked on putting me back together.  It was a hard couple of weeks.  I spent as much time in the hospital as I could, then came home to rest - dealing with nightmares, panic attacks and a pounding heart daily.

When my husband came home from the hospital, we were both sort of fragile, and our time together was precious as we started to get to know one another - sort of for the first time.  His words and reactions were so unexpectedly gentle that they would make me start with surprise.  His love for me showed in his eyes and was conveyed in words to others.  His gratitude for what the Lord had done was immense.  He was a wonderful patient and my heart was full to the point of pain at the great thing that God had done for us.

But I was exhausted.   Unable to think.  Unable to write.  Unable to keep up around the house.  I didn't want to see anyone.  I was upset with myself for being like this - God had done such an amazing thing!  Why wasn't I able to tell others about it?? -  but I felt powerless to change.  I stayed in the Word, because I knew that always before God had  taken me to the very limits of my strength and trust in Him before answering my prayer and showing me His plan - whether it had been with my Mom's sickness or Paul's surgery - and I just needed to wait.  But waiting was so hard.  I dropped my two card making design teams -- I couldn't deal with the pressure.  I stopped writing on the GraceWorks blog -- I didn't feel I had anything constructive to say.  I dealt with reoccurring nightmares - one night even waking my husband up trying to yell in my sleep - and blamed them on foods I was eating.  And I cried with weariness and pain before the Lord often.  I felt like I was frozen in a block of ice - that nothing mattered - that there was no reason to expect anything else good in life.  We had used up our quota.  I didn't know "who I was" anymore.  I had no hope for the future.  No hope except Heaven.

A month or two ago I went out with a dear, dear friend for coffee.  We've been friends for over thirty years and the Lord has given us a friendship that simply picks up where it left off with no expectations or judgment.  We talked on the phone during my husband's brain surgery, me waiting to see if he would come through or not, and she, sitting at the bedside of her son while he received chemotherapy for aggressive cancer.  During our coffee meeting that morning we shared and laughed and cried.  She spoke truth into my heart as one who was traveling a similar exhausting road, and when I came home I felt like the ice around my heart had cracked just a little, but that there really was no hope of change on this earth.

Shortly after that meeting I read a book written by a priest in New York city whose wife had died from brain disease.   So many of the scenes that he described were etched in my memory as things that I had experienced with either my Mom or Paul.  I cried and cried as I read and the ice continued to melt.  I remember thinking that it had taken him a number of years before he wrote the book, and wondering if I would ever again have something to say.

Then, this week, the Lord led me to a book by an Australian doctor called Hope and Help for your Nerves.  Oh friends, it was exactly what I needed.  Exactly what God had been preparing my heart for for months and years.  It talked me through all the symptoms I had been having and fearing - some of them since I was a little girl.  It gave hope of recovery.  It assured me that "I" was still there and when my nerves and emotions were healed I would be able to function again and make decisions, but while I was healing I needed to go slowly and be a little more gentle with myself, realizing that I needed time to make good decisions and that I would also be dealing with the panic and fear and emotions for awhile because my body was accustomed to facing *everything* the same way now - good or bad.

Reading that paragraph, it sounds so casual.  I wish I could tell you how life changing it was.  Not because of the book, probably, but because I know that God put the book there.  It was the end of a long road of waiting and learning and I cannot tell you what a blessing this has been to me.  The joy in my heart right now is immense.  The world is brighter.  There is hope.  And, oh!, how unbearable life is without hope!  To have experienced the loss of it is both a memory that will make me shudder and one that is a gem of rare price.  To feel what so many have felt.  How can it help but change me??  How it will affect GraceWorks I don't know.  Perhaps it will take the form of a booklet that speaks to those of us that are fragile emotionally.  Grieving, fearing, suffering or just plain weary.  Perhaps it will lead to some new direction entirely.  I'm not sure.  For now it will mean that I am going to walk a little gentler through the rest of the challenge.  "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength" it says in Isaiah.  That is my goal for the rest of the challenge.  Quietly confident - trusting in the Lord who has never left me or forsaken me even when I was so weak that all I could do was cry.  He has seen fit to give me the oil of joy for mourning, He has rejoiced over me with love and He has given me a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness.  I know that I still have some rough patches ahead.  But He is enough.  May I overflow His love to others from now on.

So there you have it.  My coming from darkness to light, from sorrow to joy, from depression to praise.  I am so thankful that I "happened" to choose this time period to take the challenge and chronicle it on the blog.  Isn't it just like the Lord to prepare a platform for me to praise His Name??

"Trust in Him at all times, ye peoples!  God is a refuge for us."

I'll let you know how I modify the challenge for myself from here out.  Thank you for your prayers and praise to the Lord on my behalf.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate each one of you that are journeying with me.  You are each a precious gift from God.

Blessings,

Tricia











Thursday, September 1, 2016

The 28 Day Challenge - Day 17 - Wednesday

Just joining me?  I'm currently taking GraceWorks' Beautiful Life Management 28 Day Challenge.  Read about my accomplishments, failures and adventures here!   Scroll to the end of the post to find the links of the series from the beginning. : )


Wednesday already!

It's noon and my First Things First are done, Basic Blessings are finished and my Next Step as well.  YAY!  So after lunch I will run to the store for milk and then I'll have some time to work on a few cards and catch up a little on my cross stitch.  I do remember, though, the years that I homeschooled. It seemed like there was never any free time then!  So, if my day sounds too good to be true, just remember that I am in a season where I only have one adult child at home and she helps around the house.   It is good advice to remain thankful and flexible in each stage of life.  As our life changes there is always something that we will miss about earlier days, but there is always something to look forward to as well, and it helps us to remember that our life here is just for a little while.  Let's use it today to bless others!!

Find the Intro post HERE
Find Day One HERE
Find Day Two HERE
Find Day Three HERE
Find Day Four HERE
Find Day Five HERE
Find Day Six HERE
Find Day Seven HERE
Find Day Eight HERE
Find Day Nine and Ten HERE
Find Days Eleven and Twelve HERE
Find Days Thirteen and Fourteen HERE
Find Day Fifteen HERE
Find Day Sixteen HERE