Life: Hard Yet Blessed

Oh what a couple of weeks it has been!!! But before I share what has been happening with us let me share two scriptures from my morning…

The Living... — 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV) - Humble yourselves,...

and

What Does 2 Corinthians 5:7 Mean?

And the word that kept coming up was

STABILITY

I was clearly reminded that no matter what is going on or not going on that God cares about me and He wants me to keep my focus on Him, to be honest and authentic with Him in all areas of my life. That my walk with Him is by Faith and nothing else! And with Him, he is my rock and foundation, he cares about every little and big thing (and aren’t most things little in the whole scheme of things?) that is happening in my life.

One of my Christmas gifts this year was Scripture Tea (thanks J, S & O ~ you will never know how meaningful these were for me!). I decided I would start each morning with a cup of tea, to use whatever scripture as a jumping off point for me. Like usual, God met me right where I am today and with just what I needed. 2 Corinthians 5:7 “Walk by Faith not by sight!” First I laughed because I thought how appropriate…I can’t see out of one eye so just keep trusting God! to show me what I need today!!! Isn’t God awesome like that…giving me just what I need!!!

1 Peter 5:6 came from my devotional and as some of you know my anxiety has been climbing up the wall at a pretty steady pace the past few weeks and the week of Christmas it seemed to be climbing at an exceptionally fast pace or should I say beats…Christmas Eve found me in the ER with all signs of a heart attack in the making: nausea, chest pain with the giant elephant trying to get comfy, lots of sweating (I just heard my mom say, girls don’t sweat they perspire….no Mom this was sweating at it’s finest!).

Two nights later and after numerous blood tests, a CT scan and an echocardiogram I was given the all clear…well not super clear…I have a 30% blockage in my heart but it’s treatable!!! Yep, diet and exercise!!! Two of my least favorite things to focus on BUT God had been preparing me as I have been making some small changes in our eating plan and had ventured into doing some walking around our sweet little campground. One good thing was that my A1C had gone from 8.2 (10/29/21) to 7.0 (12/24/21) and that is a really good thing!!!!

So life continues…I spent quite a bit of time praying while I was in the hospital and was reminded in many ways that God is my protector and provider. Oh…one more thing the doctor said on Sunday as he was discharging me…Ms Margaret you need to stop worrying about things you have no control over! I laughed and said right. Dr. Feliz said, “no you need to quit worrying about stuff…if a thought or fear comes to mind ask yourself “what can I do about XYZ” and if the answer is nothing then let it go…you didn’t have a heart attack but you came close, so deal with what you can and whatever you can’t, let it go.”

I was alone for about 30 minutes after he left my room and I just cried, cried because one of my things is that I must be in control and the reality is that I am not in control of much. Thank you Dr. F and Jesus for this strong reminder and then confirming them this morning with my devotional and scripture tea!!!

God doesn’t just say things to me once but over and over…I’m sure it has to do with my ability to go my own way and not pay attention. I say that because yesterday I got an email from a dear friend who calls it like she sees it (that’s why I love her so)!

She wrote “I think you need to have a time of self-reflection and try to find contentment with where you are in life. Instead of always looking for the next job or the next change, just “be” where you’re at. Be settled. Be content. Practice intentional gratitude. You have a home. You are near family. You both are “ok”, healthwise.”

Just BE! There’s those infamous words…and continuing with my devotional this morning STABILITY or BE STABLE kept coming to mind….

My goal for today is to JUST BE! Be in the moment! Be content…I have all I need! God has provided in ways I would never have thought possible…five angels sent us financial gifts that covered the bills that were left after all our auto~withdrawls were covered with enough money to cover our rent for January 2022!!

Ron is feeling so much better and we are so thankful for that!!! He made the comment the other day that when he started at Amazon on 11/11 he had to walk up 50 steps w/four landings and he was having to stop at every landing to catch. his breath…last Thursday when he worked he didn’t have to stop on a landing at all and he wasn’t even out of breath when he got to the top of the stairs! Thank you Jesus for his healing!!! Next week he goes back to his full schedule of 3 days on (well nights) and 4 days off. After doctor appointments in two weeks we are hoping to take a short road trip to Alabama to see friends!!! And then after doctor appointments the second week of February we hope to take another short road trip to see family in Georgia!!!

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Question of the day ~ do you set goals?
Short term, daily, long term?

I think I set goals most every day.
I call it my To Do List ~

My To Do List Today:
~ do laundry √
~ take morning meds √
~ spend time in the Word √
~ pack Ron’s lunch for work
~ make dinner
~ write a blog post √
~ untangle a skein of yarn ARG!!

Just Some Rambling & Being Authentic

I have started three different blog posts in the last week…just can’t seem to find the ump to finish them…which is sort of how my life is right now…I am so good at starting things but staying focused, not so well lately.

I will start by sharing what I wrote in a small support group that I belong to. We are five women, who love the Lord, live in 5 different states and have one friend in common…make that two! Jesus and Gina. I have been friends with Gina since moving to Branson in 2012. And through her I got to know and love on her daughter, Destiny…Destiny is in her first year of college, loves the Lord, got straight A’s her first semester and knows how to have fun…thankful for the two of them in my life. The other two ladies are pastors’ wives…Lori and Alice F. I don’t know either of them very well but it just feels good to be in a group with other Christian ladies who live authentic lives and just love on those the Lord brings into their lives…

Each day in our little group we read the Proverb for the day…today being the 18th day of the month we read Proverbs 18. We ask the Lord to show us what he wants us to learn, sharing what has spoken to us, we share a song or a line of a song, ask God a question and if we hear a response we share that too…

Proverbs 18…I woke up to the song “I’m Waiting for You” by Michael W. Smith And the words going through my mind..what are you waiting for? what are you waiting for? and I thought…no one can do it for me…I just need to do it…I laid in bed with those thoughts running through my mind and finally got up.

Opened my Bible and the devotion going along with Proverbs 18 was titled “Isolation Isn’t the Answer” taken from vs 1 “One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires, he rebels against all sound wisdom.” And so many pieces of the devotion were as if Jesus was talking right to me…stop isolating, get out of your head, the more you isolate the deeper I go…vs 10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected.”vs 24 “One with many friends (acquaintances)may be harmed but there is a friend (Abba my Poppa) who stays closer than a brother

My prayer: Lord you know I am struggling and maybe I just need to stop struggling and just be…just be in the moment but Lord I’m so scared…our finances are in the tank and I am just scared! I say I trust you Lord, help me to truly TRUST you and turn those worries and fears over to you. Help me to be in the moment of today and not worry about tomorrow or next week…hearing Ron only works one day next week and one day the following week scares me…how can we pay our bills…help me to say out loud…Lord you will provide, you always will…help me in my unbelief and fears to keep trusting you. Amen.

God’s answer: from the song: ALI you are not alone You will be free indeed The journey begins and ends With me One million miles It starts with a step or two What are you waiting for? I’m waiting for you. Jesus. I’m waiting for you!!!

~~~ I felt encouraged. I got up and did a load of wash, ate some yogurt with some granola and then BLA!!! I felt slammed so I have just vegged on the couch for the past four hours…reading Facebook, writing an email, ate some lunch of goat cheese, crackers and 3

York Peppermint Patties Bulk Candy

York Peppermint Patties in honor of my mom’s birthday today.

I’m sure that’s why I am a little blah today..hard to believe she has been gone over 16 years!!! We didn’t have the best of relationships but she was my mom and I loved her and I miss her. As well our anniversary is in two days so my mind goes back to our wedding day…it was raining, my step-dad was running late as usual, making us late to the church. Mother-in-law was pacing on the steps wondering if we were going to show up. Someone had messed with the music (cassette tape) so the wrong song started playing and I cried through the whole darn service !!! As we stepped out of the church a rainbow came out (it had rained while we were in the church ~ that’s a sign from God…all will be well!

We went back to my mom and step-dad’s home…those who were drinking were in the kitchen, those who were not were in the living room and Ron & I just sort of hung between the two. At one point, my step-dad got his smart mouth going and said “well now that you are married you don’t need the key to our house.” So what did I do? Yep, I went into my bedroom, got my house key out of my purse and handed it to him!! The look on people’s face said it all…how could I do such a thing BUT what about him…how could he say something like that to me?

So much has happened in our lives over the past 46 years!! Yes we will celebrate 46 years of marriage on Monday, 12/20!!!

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Below is one of the blog posts I started over a week ago. I had opened a devotion online…can’t remember which one but it was titled

“Willingly give and receive help from others.” OUCH! OUCH! Ouch!

It goes both ways. You have to be willing to give help when you see a need or to receive it when God brings the answers you need through the hands of friends. People don’t know what you have need of unless you tell them. You have to be vulnerable to share your need and give them the opportunity to help. 
 
Today’s One Thing If you know people in your community facing a challenge in some area of their life, offer your help and friendship this week. If you need a helping hand, be willing to reach out and ask for help.
 

Ouch!…it still stings to read that ~ why because I hate to ask for help. I love to help others and will in any way I possibly can. BUT asking for help…um not usually. Why? Because a few years back I was hurt by someone when I asked for help…I was told in no uncertain terms “you are an adult, you need to stop relying on others and do for yourself.” I have carried that in my heart for over 20 years…I know I’m an adult and I (we) try very hard not to rely on or ask others for help.

I can tell you the reason I feel like I need help…I’m scared, I’m feeling desperate, I’m scared on the unknown and I can’t see a way out of the situation we find ourselves in except through time BUT time is not my friend when bill collectors start calling, when gas is needed in the truck, when I look to see what we have in the trailer to fix a meal and the food I see is not the healthiest of things: lots of dry pasta, lots of crackers, lots of canned pasta, lots of not so healthy foods when you are trying to focus on clean eating, low carb type stuff.

I have much to be thankful for and that also hinders me from asking for help…I am so thankful that Ron is still with me, with us, with our family. I am thankful for all the prayers that were sent up when we didn’t know what was going on and when we found out he had a heart attack. I am thankful for his Medicare and his Amazon health benefits that started on his first day of work. I am thankful he only missed three weeks of work and that upon his return he is feeling good both physically and emotionally. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel…then yesterday he came home and said next week he will only work one day and the same for the next week (you know Christmas and New Year’s holidays). And that is a big hit for us financially. I’m trying not worry, I keep going to our banks websites and Quicken to see where we stand with auto withdrawals…so far so good but other things are looming: gas for the truck to get to work and to doctor’s appointments, buying medication, again thankful for the insurance to lower the cost of my diabetes medication and others as well but it is still a big chunk each. month, getting fresh fruit/veggies to go with all our canned stuff to make semi healthy meals and then my anxiety starts to climb and my mind races and I start to doubt and wonder where my trust and faith disappear to????

I listen to worship music, spend time in the Word, try to do things to keep me busy, that is when I can stay focused…today I have tried to watch TV but that’s not happening because the wifi here in the campground is acting up…probably because the campground is getting pretty full.

And now I am sitting here, wondering do I push the post button…and then I think about a young boy who told his dad many years ago that the one thing he liked about Aunti Ali is that she is authentic and if you know me, I don’t like to disappoint anyone!! So continuing to be authentic I will publish this post and then check to see if the dang internet is working enough for me to bury my mind in a good murder drama on Dateline!!!

Scared, Anxious & Afraid

Fear Not for I Am With You Print Isaiah 41:10 Sign Scripture | Etsy

As I sit here in our little home on wheels my heart is troubled…don’t get me wrong, I have lots to be thankful for and I am BUT I am scared, so full of anxiety and afraid about so many things…YET I know God tells me every day (365 different scripture verses, one for every day of the year say “Fear Not”) yet I am scared/worried/anxious ~ put any word in that you like and right now that’s what I’m feeling.

We are having issues getting doctors to complete forms for the Critical Care Insurance and for Short Term Disability. The doctor has released Ron, sort of for work ~ can only lift 25 lbs/push~pull 50 lbs through the month of December BUT we are waiting for Amazon to say if they have anything Ron can do with those accommodations or else he will be off work till 1/1/22. Which literally means no work means no income coming in the door. I don’t know how people make it living only on Social Security…Ron gets all of $1075 a month…I balanced the check book this morning…we have enough money in our two banks to cover all the auto withdrawals through the month of December.

Don't Worry About Tomorrow Bible Verse Card

I KNOW God’s word says over and over not to worry about tomorrow YET that is so hard. I feel like (and yes I know feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are) a fraud…I claim to be a Christian, I counsel others to TRUST God and yet here I sit, questioning do I really believe? Do I really trust? I thought I was being strong, even told an old friend she would be proud of me for how I have handled the past couple of weeks and yet here I sit thinking I shouldn’t have tooted my own horn…and the phrase “pride goeth before the fall” is running rampant through my mind…strong me, no way.

I just want to call my Mommy and Daddy ~ heck they have been gone 16 and 21 years ~ and why would I want to call them, they were hardly around when I needed them growing up and then I hear myself say “Lord, I can’t keep doing this, I can’t keep going, what are we supposed to do, how are we supposed to pay our bills”, once again we are in a financial pickle. Then I hear this voice say “whine, whine, whine!” Grow up and quit expecting others to jump in and take care of you!!!

Then my mind and words start down an ugly trail and the farther down the trail I go, the faster the thoughts come and I find myself screaming “GOD I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!”

After tumbling down the trail I come to a sign that says “Nope, you can’t go there! You took that off the table in 2009! There is no going back!” I sit in a puddle, wondering what to do? How do I stop? How do I get back to not being afraid, not being scared, not worrying about tomorrow? How???

Yesterday we walked into Bible study just as Pastor Fred was saying “there comes the old ways …

2 Corinthians 5:17 - Bible Quote - Sticker | TeePublic

And this verse came to mind…those thoughts I’ve been having are the old Alice, the new Ali keeps her faith and puts her trust in the Lord! And I do, but today it is hard!!! I find myself wanting to ask for help, but from who? I need to give thanks for the three people who have sent us some money, it covered our rent space for the month of December and filled the gas tank twice…and I am thankful and grateful.

Yet the little negative nellie voice says Yes, But, What about?, and I feel so alone and tears fall…I just want to scream…I can’t be strong anymore, I want someone to just fix everything …

… and then I think about all the people who wished me a happy birthday yesterday, for the grandson who bought me a Pop It, because he heard me say I wanted one ~ and he said “Grammy they didn’t have a pig and it wasn’t purple.” Oh Alex, you made this Grammy’s hearts swell and the tears fall…the love of a child is so precious and priceless. For the gift of a Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar – I wanted one, I almost bought it but thought “no, that’s not money I need to be spending” and YET God blessed me with a sweet friend, who has loved me through all the good and the difficult times who blessed me with the advent calendar…and I hadn’t even told her I was looking and wanting it. And a delightful healthy birthday dinner spent with our youngest son, his wife and three of the four grandsons, then a Facetime call with our oldest son, his wife and daughter…I loved seeing them…I don’t get to see them very often. All the while being with the best hubby a girl could ask for ~ who loves me in spite of all my outbursts, temper tantrums and screams…and so thankful that my hubby is still here and that the heart attack from last week was a mild one and God spared his life…as one friend wrote on Facebook…God still has work for Ron to do!!!

As I sit here with tears streaming down my face, after reading the advent reading for the day, to be honest for the past five days…life had gotten in the way, spending time chatting with God, crying out to him, I am reminded that

Have you experienced catastrophe? - Worthy Christian Devotions - Daily  Devotional

no matter what today brings God is in control and I just need to keep trusting Him!!!

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Do you have days like I wrote about?
Do you have thoughts of just giving up?
IF SO,
How do you turn from a down day to a great day?