Life ~ Hard at Times YET God Blesses Us!!!

Yesterday was a rough day.   Just as we were going into our weekly Regional Call Ron got word that our sweet Aunt Erma breathed her last here on earth shortly after 1 am yesterday morning.  We will miss her tons, especially her “I love you girl!”  
Aunt Erma w/me 2011

I don’t have enough words to say how special Aunt Erma was to me.  Over the past 40 years she has loved on me, encouraged me, read my stories & blog posts, loved on me, cried with me and laughed with me!  I will really miss her.  I am so thankful that last Fall as we prepared to move from Missouri out here to Oregon that Ron and I were able to make it work to spend a couple of days with Aunt Erma and Uncle Rex.  It was fun to see where they lived, see some of her treasures and her lovely yard and the beautiful flower garden and globes she had splattered throughout her back yard.  It is a time I will never forget.  
My last conversation with her was in early February,  we just wanted her to know we loved her more than words could say, that her love for me/us would never be forgotten and I thanked her for showing me/teaching me how to love those who have hurt us in the past.  I told her that day on the phone I didn’t see her as my aunt but as my Mommy Erma – she loved me in ways I always wanted my mom to love me.  
I love you Aunt Erma!!!  And I will miss you tons!!!
I am excited to know I will see you once again!!!
As you have loved on me, I know you are loving on our sweet baby Royce!!!
God’s Blessings are always surrounding us ~ we just have to open our eyes and acknowledge them!
Yesterday was Day 5 of this new journey to get healthy!  When the alarm went off yesterday morning I just couldn’t get up ~ I was so tired and so I switched off that first alarm and rolled over and went back to sleep.  Yes, I was feeling guilty when I crawled out of bed at 6:45 instead of 5:25 but that almost extra hour of sleep was just what I needed.  And I told myself it is what it is and swept the guilt away.  And went on with my day.
My “To Do List” was beginning to feel a bit overwhelming and being tired at the same time could have been the beginning of a disaster BUT I took the time to reprioritize the items on it, welcomed our Flex Managers, Viktor & Lydia just before lunch, had our regional conference call and then spent about 30 minutes with Viktor & Lydia – who were able to take a couple of items off my To Do List 🙂 knew that my feelings of being overwhelmed were disappearing!
Thank you Lord for providing Flex Managers who are really willing to help out!
And for the afternoon/evening off last night and this morning to just relax and not have to be on right off the bat!!!  
After getting off work yesterday afternoon we headed out to Fred Meyer to pick up some Mucinex for Ron ~ he is still coughing quite a bit and Danalyn suggested the Mucinex…it must have helped because he slept in our bed instead of the recliner and is still sleeping at 8:30 a.m.!!!  Also picked up some yogurt and granola for breakfast (we try not to eat in the community on our off time) and came home to relax.  About 5:15 I said to Ron I was going to sneak upstairs and do the bike while the residents were at dinner ~ so that’s just what I did

It felt good, YES good to do the bike, went farther than I have yet and that makes me 
by the way, the 4:55 is the 5 minute cool down time 🙂
Who knows, maybe one of these days I will enjoy exercising but right now it is still 
And one day I hope I am able to say
Yes today had its hard moments but through it all
God is Good!!!
God Loves Me!!!
And HE will never leave me!!!
Thank you Jesus for loving me
and for welcoming home 
my sweet Aunt/Mommy/Friend Erma!!!!

Love you ERM!!!


Dad ~ comes in many forms

Woke up this morning from a bad dream, dreamt someone I love very much had died, we were in a very familiar place yet very different yet those who I love dearly were there in the scene.  And some who I have not talked to in quite awhile were present and some who I didn’t even know.  
I sat up on the side of the bed and thought “I am just too tired to get up, I’m just going to lay back down for another hours sleep.  But nature called and as I walked across the room I found myself saying “Lord, it was only a dream, take those thoughts away.”  
And then I remembered today is my Dad’s birthday, he would have been 84 today.
This was taken Thanksgiving 1984.  During a very difficult time in my life and my Dad came to visit.  Timing was not great, we had some rough conversations but in the end I was so thankful my Dad came to see me, Ron and our boys.  Shown in the picture is Wanda, my dad’s funny, quirky girlfriend ~ she was a bit different but I knew my Dad loved her and that’s what mattered, my dad and Jamie and Brandon.  One thing that strikes me in this picture is how much Christopher looks like his daddy, Brandon and how much I can see Opal in her daddy’s face, Jamie.  Lots of memories in that picture.
I loved my Dad, some days I miss him terribly and just wish I could hear him say one more time “see ya later”  Happy Birthday Dad!!!!!  I love you and am thankful that even though we had some rough times you were able to meet and enjoy your grandsons and spend time with them over the years.  I am thankful we had a time to reconcile most of our differences before the dementia settled in and before your passing in 2001.  Can’t believe it has been almost 15 years since you have been gone.
For many years I struggled about calling God my father…though I loved my dad he was not always the best dad and my step-father was no dad at all.
I will never forget the weeks/months I spent sitting in Marla’s living room or Charles’ office being reminded that God is the BEST dad anyone could want, He loves me for me, he knows the good the bad, the pretty and the ugly but He LOVES me.  It took me a very long time to get to the place where I could call God my Abba Father.  The picture above reminds me of the day I sat in Marla’s living room and pictured myself reaching out to God, to come and surround me and love me the way a daddy should and as I snuggled into His arms I knew without a doubt HE was my Abba Father, my Abba Daddy and He would never hurt me the way I had been by my earthly dad and men who were in the position to be my dad…my Abba Dad loved me!!!!
I remember a phone call Ron made to Jamie one day to let him know his cousin had had a baby.  Ron started the conversation “Jamie I am so glad you are not in jail and I am so glad you don’t have a baby.”  Jamie said “I know who’s in jail, who had a baby.”  Ron told him and then Jamie replied “Dad I don’t ever want to be in jail and I am not a father and am not ready to be a dad.  There is a definite difference between a father and a Dad, a father is just there and a Dad is engaged and involved in their children’s lives.”
And that has stuck with me ~ I had a step-father ~ he definitely was not dad material.  I had a Dad ~ who did things that weren’t right but I know in my heart he loved me the way he knew how to love. More importantly though is that I know my Abba Dad loves me, has loved me through the hard times and celebrated the good times too.
So Happy Birthday Dad!!
After the rough start to my waking up I did get up and go and ride the bike…day 3 is in the books.  Rode 2.2 miles, did the course where you go up/down a couple of hills, sweated profusely but I did it.  And I am glad I did.  It fills good to say I did Day 3!!!
In my time with the Lord this morning I was shown
Isn’t this little guy a cutie!!! I love his look of determination ~ just keep being faithful ~ and that’s what I want to be faithful, not only to God, my hubby, but also to myself ~ only I can get myself healthy and God reminded me this morning to stick with Him, stay faithful and He will be right by my side.
When I started writing this post this morning my mind was thinking one thing but as I put my fingers on the keyboard things came out differently.  Yet I know I am writing from my heart and where and how the Lord leads me.
We continue to pray for Aunt Erma and Uncle Rex.  Just asking the Lord to keep Aunt Erma pain free and for the peace of God’s love to surround them both.  So thankful that Gary and Linda can be there to help them out when so many of us live so far away.
Thank y’all for the prayers for Ron; he slept most of yesterday, well when he wasn’t coughing and he slept most of the night with just a tad of coughing, his voice sounds better this morning which we are both thankful for.  He won’t be putting in a full day today but will be able to help serve coffee at meal times.  Yesterday our Enrichment Coordinator stepped in and helped with both lunch and supper and I am thankful for her and her help.
Today is the 3rd of 4 12-hour days…please pray for stamina and energy for me to stay positive.
The second part of my devotion was found here
and this is the encouragement I needed this morning!  So this is my prayer for today.
Have a blessed day!!!

The Battle is Not Mine Alone

Rough night last night…Ron has been coughing a lot and ended up sleeping in the recliner with the back almost straight up.  He was just at the doctor on Thursday and they both thought it was allergies but now I am not so sure.  This is not a good time for him to be sick but then again when is?? 
Today is Day 2 of our 12 hour shifts and of course I am concerned can we make it if Ron is sick  BUT alas God met me this morning and gave me the above scripture from 2 Chronicles 32.  

Be strong and courageous, do not be afriad or discouraged BECAUSE God is with me in each and every breath I take and I am not alone in this battle today…(Ali’s paraphrase)
Celebrate the positive…it’s Saturday, the phones are usually quieter on the weekend.  
Joseph and Marcia both work today, I can call on them for help.
Our residents are wonderful (most of the time 😉 ) 
And if it takes twice as long to serve coffee and tea so be it…its not the end of the world.
In 2 Kings 19:14 we are told to 
“spread it out in front of the Lord”

Give it all to Him; remember He can handle anything
and this battle is not mine alone.
And so I put one foot in front of the other,
move forward and do what I can do 
giving thanks to God for a job I love, wonderful people to work with,
blessings upon blessings
and have much to
Thank you Lord for encouraging me again this morning.
And Lord just as I am never alone as you are always with me I ask that today you be with Uncle Rex and Aunt Erma as the time is getting closer for Aunt Erma to be loved and hugged on by you and in your arms…be with Uncle Rex and those helping him out.  Thank you for Aunt Erma and the love she has shared with me over the past 40 years.  Comfort her and let her know she too is not alone but that you are holding her hand as she travels this journey to her heavenly home.  Amen.

Day One ~ it’s a Start

My plans don’t always go as planned but through it all I know Jesus has my back.

We were not on call last night and had just fallen asleep when the phone rang at 10:14; Ron got up and answered it and the grandson of one of the residents needed into the building (we lock the doors at 7:30 pm ~ residents have a key card to get in) so Ron got dressed and let him in.  While he was up he checked to see why we received the phone call and not George & Jackie…the switch was flipped to them but it still rang in our apartment…who knows why but it did.  Ron came back to bed and I rolled over into his arms and said I sure hope I fall back asleep quickly…he started to pray and I don’t even remember hearing an Amen.  Thank you Lord for answering prayers even before they are fnished.

Slept all night till about 4:17, got up for a few minutes and back to sleep I went.  My alarm went off at 5:25 and I sat right up, got on my exercise clothes, grabbed a bottle of water and headed up to the exercise room.  Thankfully no residents were up that early.  And I got on this monstrosity
Set it for Level 1, 15 minutes, turned on the news and began riding.  At one point I thought I can’t do this and looked and I had only been on the dang thing for less than 5 minutes.  How was I ever going to make 15 minutes.  At 11 minutes I checked my heart rate ~ good thing for my Fitbit ~ it was 128 and I was sweating…that’s all a good thing right.  I finished up my 15 minutes, watching the last 60 seconds crawl slowly down.  Whew ~ day one of exercising down!!!  1.87 miles, 1087 steps, and 16 oz of water drank!!

Not much but 

Made my way back to the apartment and grabbed my Bible and my pen.

And God didn’t surprise me ~ he met me right where I am …

For the month of March the theme is 

and that’s what I need most right now…hope that I can stick to a new eating plan, a new exercise plan and hope that I don’t feel discouraged when my blood sugar numbers are all over the board….this morning’s fasting 179 should be between 85 – 105…um lots of room for improvement…but God is faithful and I have hope that I  no, we can do this together.

So I began reading and verse 2 Chronicles 14:11 jumped out at me
Then Asa prayed to God, “O God, you aren’t impressed by numbers or intimidated by a show of force once you decide to help: Help us, O God; we have come out to meet this huge army because we trust in you and who you are. Don’t let mere mortals stand against you!”
Immediately I felt so encouraged!  I am not on this journey alone!  God is here to help me, he can wake me with the energetic jump out of bed attitude, he can encourage me when after 8 minutes riding the bike I just want to stop and crawl back into bed.  

Continuing in my quiet time with the Lord, I turned to James 1:2-4
and encouragement continued to fill my soul.
“In time of trouble say:
First, God brought me here.  It is by His will I am in this strait place.  In that I will rest.
Next, He will keep me in His love and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.
Then, He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn and working in me the grace He means to bestow.
Last, In His good time He can bring me out again ~ how and when He knows.
I am here by God’s appointment, in His keeping, under His training, for His time.”
by Andrew Murray, 1895
And today I am
that though I feel overwhelmed at the daunting task ahead,
exercising at least 3x a week,
eating a low carb/high protein diet,
eliminating sugar & refined flour from my diet,
drinking at least 64 ounces of water,
totally eliminating pop even when I just want it
I know I can do it

A New Day and a Familiar Reminder

What a difference a good night’s sleep makes.

Yesterday was a difficult day for me beginning with my appointment with Dr. Cadar…yes he shook me in my boots and I know it was a good thing.  I spent most of the day looking up carbs, carb counters, low carb foods and stressing about my health ~ yes it’s in pretty bad shape and no one to blame but myself.  

But after a good nights sleep, woke up only once 🙂 and feeling refreshed I got up to begin my day.  First thought was to cancel a lunch date with one of my Facebook friends.  Tauyna and I have been friends for at least 3 or 4 years thru Facebook, we have never met in person, we have very similar backgrounds and we started our friendship over a blog post 🙂  And then as I walked to the bathroom I saw my Bible, you know the one that hasn’t been picked up in a long while and thought “Satan,  you have been running pretty free with me lately and its going to stop!!!  And then a few minutes later I got a text from Taunya saying “I can make it!”  And so I wrote back – I will be there and now I am looking forward to meeting my new/old friend!!!

I checked my blood sugar, 166 – not good but not over 200 so that’s an improvement and then settled into my little spot with my Bible and asked the Lord to speak to me clearly this morning.  

And did He!!!

22 David sang<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-8604B" data-link="(B)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> to the Lord the words of this song when the Lorddelivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:
“The Lord is my rock,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-8605C" data-link="(C)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; color: blue; font-family: inherit; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> my fortress<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-8605D" data-link="(D)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; color: blue; font-family: inherit; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> and my deliverer;

    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,

    my shield<span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NIV-8606a" data-link="[a]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[a]<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-8606G" data-link="(G)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> and the horn<span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NIV-8606b" data-link="[b]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[b]<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-8606H" data-link="(H)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> of my salvation.

He is my stronghold,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-8606I" data-link="(I)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-family: inherit; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> my refuge and my savior—

    from violent people you save me.

“I called to the Lord, who is worthy<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-8607J" data-link="(J)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-family: inherit; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> of praise,

    and have been saved from my enemies.

The waves<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-8608K" data-link="(K)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-family: inherit; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> of death swirled about me;

    the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.

The cords of the grave<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-8609L" data-link="(L)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-family: inherit; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> coiled around me;

    the snares of death confronted me.

“In my distress<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-8610M" data-link="(M)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-family: inherit; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> I called<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-8610N" data-link="(N)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-family: inherit; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> to the Lord;

    I called out to my God.

From his temple he heard my voice;

    my cry came to his ears.
WOW!!  That’s all I could say…what a great reminder that God is with me always, He is my Rock!!! And He will never leave me!!!!

I started crying and said “Lord forgive me for my actions & behaviors – leaving you on the shelf instead of walking hand in hand with you!!!  And thank you for the reminder that no matter what I am dealing with, literally or in my mind that you are with me every day, every hour, every minute!!!

And then He led me to 
Just confirming what I had just read.  

Thank you Lord for loving me and meeting me, once again, right where I am at and leading me to just what I needed to be reminded of.

All the while I was reading scriptures I was playing the newest cd of New South, one of the groups we heard and saw over and over in Branson…4 godly men who bring Jesus into every song they sing.  Each and every time I listen to their cd I just feel the Lord speaking to me…How Great Thou Art, Living in Canaan, Give the World a Smile and many more just brings me to a place of peace and joy!!!

If you are ever in Branson, check them out at Grand Country.  And let Mike Patrick, Jamie Haage and the whole gang know we send our love and miss them tons!!!

Thank you Lord for loving me and giving me a morning of refreshing love!!  And sunshine to boot.


Rambling On

Once again it’s been awhile since I have spent time writing.  So I begin a new 🙂
Went to see my doctor today.
Not the most pleasant of  visits but nothing surprising as I was expecting a not so pleasant visit.  My A1C is 8.6 – way too high!!!  My weight is on the upswing instead of the downswing…no one’s fault but my own.  
As one of my friends like to say “it was a come to Jesus meeting with the doctor and myself.”  Ron is home sick in bed so it was truly just Dr. Cadar and myself ~ probably a good thing.  Anyway, bottom line is if I keep going the way I’m going its going to to kill me…something I really am not ready for.
So…here’s the new plan:
     1.  Call the dietician and meet with him/her.
     2.  Go on a low carb, high protein diet which means I will be doing a lot more cooking for myself and not eating so much what is cooked here in our community…lots of high carb foods.  So this means back to meal planning, healthy snack planning and no more candy binging!!!!
     3.  Get back to actual exercise; not just the 5000 to 8000 steps I take on days I work.  I did so well when I would get up and do the bike or go for walks…so here is the plan I have set for myself…something I know I can do and can stick with:  Days we start at 7:30 get up at 5:30, go do 30 minutes on the bike or treadmill and then spend 30 minutes with Jesus ~ I have slacked off on having my  morning quiet time with the Lord.
My days always go better if I am consistent in having my quiet time with Jesus. I just need to do it.  I have my little corner set up in our bedroom.  Just need to get up, fix my cup of tea or coffee, grab my Bible and devotional book and then spend time with Jesus.  And then get ready for work.  
4.  Dr. Cadar gave me a new schedule for when/how taking my medications.  I need to take my Metformin before breakfast and dinner, not first and last thing at night.  This will be a change for me but I think it will be easy to do; just means I need to redo my medication box.  Also he has changed how I take my Levemir (long lasting insulin) instead of all at night before bed, now taking first thing in the morning and at bedtime.
5. Checking my blood sugars and how to use those numbers for the better.  First thing in the morning, before lunch, 2 hours after beginning my meal and just before dinner.  Now to just remember all this.
Oh and he wants me to lose 5 lbs before I see him again on Wednesday, April 6 at 9:00 am.  It can be done, now just to do it.
Changing the topic, we have heard that our sweet Aunt Erma won’t be with us long here on earth…we are saddened about this news but know that she is ready to meet Jesus and be reunited with family who have gone before her.  Please keep our Uncle Rex, Aunt Erma and our whole family in your prayers during this time.