Sunday Glory

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Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds.

Hebrews 10:24

Gail 

 

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Circle of Life

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I walk a lot in my quaint little neighborhood.  I guess you could say we live in a valley (our neighborhood name even has the word Valley in it).  It’s very hilly and woodsy and we live at sort of the bottom of the neighborhood valley.  So walking in this neighborhood gives me quite the work-out as I have two good hills to climb (three if I choose a different route which I alternate on).

There are several other “walkers” in this neighborhood—neighbors who walk dogs and stroll children and others who like me are just out to get the exercise.

We see lots of wildlife here— deer, turkeys, hawks, owls, foxes, raccoons, opossums, snakes, turtles, etc.  You get the picture.

I’ve come to know one elderly man up the street from me, Mr. M., who over the years has walked his many dogs.  Most of his sweet pooches have passed on and he was down to one cute little black schnauzer mix named Max.  I usually stop to chat with Mr. M. and to give little Max a pat on the head.  Mr. M.’s a nice man who just underwent a shoulder replacement and the surgery was hard on him.  He’s told me about the physical pain (he didn’t have to as I could see it in his eyes).  He’s told me about his physical therapy and in all frankness has told me that if he had to do it over again he would probably choose NOT to undergo such a horrendous surgery at his age (upper 70s).

I was thinking one day that I was grateful that Max has been there for Mr. M. during what has been a difficult time for him.  Max comforts him and gets him outside for those daily walks I’m sure.

But I was out walking one day last week and was passing Mr. M’s house.  He was at the end of his driveway doing some trimming and he stopped me as I went by.  He informed me that Max had escaped and gotten away from him a few days back and had run down in the little gully near the cul-de-sac next to where I live.  He said Max took off running into the woods next to the gully (Max even at his geriatric age of almost 16 liked to chase squirrels and cats) and he could hear his barking for about an hour.  And then Max’s barking went eerily and deadly silent.  Mr. M. had looked for Max for days and saw no sight of him.  He asked me to keep an eye out for him but then told me he was pretty sure a coyote had preyed upon Max.  He ran a missing ad in our local News Chronicle that week offering a reward for Max’s return.

My husband and I kept our eyes peeled opened for Max but never saw even a sign of him.

I was out walking yesterday and was stopped by another neighbor up the road who told me that Mr. M. had found Max’s remains in the woods he had run into.  I don’t know how he found Max as those woods are very dense.  Poor Mr. M. I know he’s devastated.  Poor Max. I’m afraid Mr. M’s fears about a coyote getting Max were spot-on.

My husband and another neighbor both spotted a coyote on our street recently.  The neighbor told me that it must be very hungry to be brave enough to be wandering in broad daylight right in a residential neighborhood.  The coyote crossed the road right in front of my husband’s truck and then hung around in somebody’s front yard for a while. There have been two other dogs I know of who have disappeared from our street in recent years, both geriatric, and who a coyote would most easily choose as prey.  My two kitties are strictly indoor cats but I do let them out several times daily on our screened-in porch to get fresh air and to play.  My husband recently put a stronger latch on the door to reinforce it some (mainly because little Nugget learned to open the door and was getting out— I finally caught him in the act, and though he was staying close to the porch we couldn’t have that).  Who says cats aren’t smart?  I find myself checking on the cats a little more frequently when they’re out on the porch because I know if a coyote REALLY wanted to, he could get through that screened porch with little to no effort and it makes me nervous.

I’ll sure miss seeing little Max on my walks and I’m so sad his life ended in the way it did. I’ll pray for Mr. M. during his time of grief.

Gail ♥

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Virtual Coffee

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If we were having coffee today, I’d welcome you into my messy house and probably tell you to excuse the dust and cat hair.  I’d tell you how grateful I am that the sun is shining today after too many rainy and gray days.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you I’m tired.  Tired of doctors and specialists and procedures.  And there’s more yet to come.  Tired of neck pain.  Tired of coughing.  Tired of not getting any answers.

If we were having coffee today, I’d probably tell you that my youngest son is starting a new job Monday and he is very happy and excited as he will be doing more of what he wants to do and feels this job will be a much better fit for him (and one in which he feels he will be using his engineering degree more than he was at his last position).  I’m so happy for him. I’d probably ask for prayers for him as he starts this new job and as he moves today because as you know, moving can be so stressful.

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If we were having coffee today, I’d ask you if you’ve read any good books lately.  I’d tell you that I’m still reading through Marianne Williamson’s book, A Course In Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons For Surrendering Your Weight Forever.  I’ve also started reading Grace for the Good Girl: letting go of the try-hard life by Emily Freeman and A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron.  I’d tell you I drive my own self crazy by having too many books going at the same time but that’s just how I am and I’ve always done it this way.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I’m struggling— struggling spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  I’d tell you that I’ve started visiting churches and I’m way out of my comfort zone doing this.  It’s very difficult for this introvert. I’ve attended the same church for 50+ years (since I was a child).  I’d tell you there’s grief in trying to make a decision about leaving a church one has attended for that long— grief like I never would have imagined.  So walking into other denominations that are well, so different than what I’m accustomed to is just hard. I’d tell you that I’ve grown up with and dearly love wooden pews and altars, church organs and traditional church hymns and I love liturgy and ritual and partaking in Holy Communion every week. So to walk into a building and see a live band with drums and electric guitars and singers up on a stage with all kinds of Broadway-type lighting and flashing colors, chairs instead of pews, and live-stream cameras in the back makes me feel like I’m fixing to watch a Broadway production instead of attending a church service.  It feels irreverent to me.  I don’t mean to offend anyone by saying that…. I’m just being honest here as it’s all so new and strange to me.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I’ve been doing good great on sticking to my regimen of healthier eating—eating more fruits, veggies and whole grains and knocking out sweets and snacking, drinking lots more water, and cutting way down on portion sizes.  I’m walking/exercising almost every day.  I’d also have to tell you that the weight is not coming off like I think it should and I’m frustrated.  And I’d be honest in telling you that sometimes I wonder why I bother and I feel like just going out and getting a big ole Shoney’s Hot Fudge Cake and stuffing it in my face.  But I’d gain 5 lbs. from doing that so I don’t.

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If we were having coffee today I’d tell you it absolutely made my day recently to meet in person my new favorite author, Robert J. Morgan.  I purchased a copy of his new book, Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation: Find True Peace in Jesus, and he signed it for me.  He was every bit as nice as I knew he would be.  I’d share with you that I’m still slowly reading his book 100 Bible Verses Everyone  Should Know by Heart  but I’m not doing too good in the memorization part and it’s very slow going for me.  I’d tell you that I’ve started a study of The Gospel of John and I pray for wisdom, knowledge and understanding every single night when I sit down to study John’s Gospel.

If we were having coffee today, I’d invite you outside to look at what’s left of my blooming irises, peonies and Clematis.  I’d more than likely show you my mother’s old Fiddler on the Roof bird house (that’s what I call it- it has a story with it) and how excited I am that new bird tenants have moved into it and are raising a family.  I’ve only had one other bird family move into it and lay eggs but a big ole chicken snake got both of them and their eggs.  Hopefully, this little family will make it.

I guess that’s all for now as I really must get back to housecleaning.  Thanks for having virtual coffee with me and I hope the rest of your weekend is great!  Happy Mother’s Day!

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Gail ♥

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Maze

Today’s daily WordPress one-word prompt is: Maze

I absolutely love to “do” the corn mazes that are so popular here in the fall around Halloween.  I’m not sure if this is a “southern thing” or not but they sure can be a lot of fun.  My husband and I used to take our kids to corn mazes when they were smaller.  It was always fun to walk through the maze, and then there were usually other fun things to do with children like hayrides and petting zoos, pumpkin patches and fun games to play.  Some of the mazes were educational where they gave you questions to answer  along the way.  You could choose what “themed” maze you wanted to do.

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When my kids grew up and went off to college, they used to tell me about going to “Haunted” Corn mazes at night with groups of friends.  You had to take a flashlight to make your way through the maze.  There was creepy music piped through the maze, fog machines and strobe lights, and spooky twists all along the way.  When you finally made it to the center of the maze, you were rewarded with food stands and soft drinks.

Several years ago there was a story circulating in our news that told about a couple with small children who took on a corn maze one late afternoon.  They couldn’t find their way out, their children were getting tired and hungry and so they actually called 911 to be rescued.  Then I heard the following year that people were actually using their GPS units to find their way out of these mazes?  I don’t know why, but that struck me as funny.  Isn’t part of the fun of going to a corn maze trying to find your way out?

When I was a child I remember going into one of those Fun House Mirror mazes at our state fair (it was called House of Mirrors or something like that).  I got lost and didn’t think I would ever find my way out of there!  I remember getting frightened.  I never wanted to go back into another one until someone told me that if you look down on the floor, they have little tiny arrows marked to point the way out.  

When I was six months pregnant with my second child, my husband and three-year old son and I took a trip to Panama City Beach Florida with my sister and her family.  I remember we went and played miniature golf and then did a maze.  This maze  was probably about the size of a football field and it was a lot of fun.  The walls were wooden but didn’t go all the way to the ground.  There were several towers to climb to get a viewpoint and an idea of just where you were in the maze which was helpful. The maze was actually quite harder than it appeared to be and it took us much longer to find our way out.   There were funny signs all throughout the maze about people getting lost or how seasonally they did a sweep to remove all the skeletons, and about a honeymoon couple who went into the maze and when they finally emerged, they had two children.  Even though I was only 6 months pregnant, I looked like I was 9 months pregnant and so everyone we came across told me I might be having the baby somewhere in the maze or they would ask my husband and me if we were SURE we wanted to do this.  It was in August and man was it hot in there. It probably wasn’t a good thing for a pregnant woman to be getting lost inside a maze in the middle of August in hot sunny Florida, but it sure was fun.

Gail ♥

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Pink

This post is in response to the WordPress daily one-word prompt:  pink

There are certain things that come to mind when I think of the color pink.

I love almost all pink flowers.  I particularly love pink hydrangeas, pink roses, pink daisies and pink azaleas. I have several hydrangea bushes but all are blue.  I did have one pink hydrangea but it never grew for some reason and finally died despite my best efforts to save it.  All my blue hydrangea bushes seem to thrive.  We have pink lilies that belonged to my husband’s grandfather.  When he passed away, my husband and father-in-law transplanted them into our yard.  My husband and I are always happy to see them bloom every year.  Sometimes they bloom more than once during the summer.

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I’ve always wanted to visit Washington D.C. in the spring when the cherry trees are in full bloom.  My oldest son visited there in college and it just happened to be peak cherry blossom time when he was there.  Maybe one day, I’ll see them in person.

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Aren’t pink skies lovely?

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I love pink lemonade.  It’s so refreshing on hot southern summer days.

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I think pink flamingos are such interesting creatures.  Did you know their color can be influenced by what they are fed?

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Everyone recognizes these two infamous pink medicines—  Pepto Bismol and Amoxicillin.

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My hubby makes the best homemade strawberry ice cream every summer.

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Strawberry milkshakes remind me of my dad.  He loved them.  When he was sick with his cancer, he developed horrible mouth ulcers as a side effect of his chemotherapy.  He cried and I felt so bad for him.  Even the doctor was horrified when he looked into my dad’s mouth.  I remember very gently spoon-feeding my father strawberry milkshakes.  It was all he could get down and the cold soothed his ulcers.

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I remember as a child, my friends and I would walk to Dipper Dan ice cream parlor. Pink lemonade and pink bubble gum were favorites.

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And who didn’t chew Bazooka Joe bubble gum when they were growing up?

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I love pink lipstick and pink lip gloss.

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And last but not least, I love my pink Women’s Devotional Bible.

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Gail 

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Sunday Glory

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And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.  Mark 11:25

Gail 

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April Reading

I didn’t get much reading done in the month of April and my goal of reading 4 books a month was not met.  I completed only two books this month.  It was a busy month filled with doctor appointments and medical procedures and I just didn’t seem to be in the mood to read.  A great deal of the reading I accomplish is at night in bed before turning out the light and the usual act of propping my head up on two pillows seems to be aggravating my neck pain.  So my bedtime reading has drastically decreased here lately. Here’s the two books I did read:

  1.  Falling Into Grace: Exploring Our Inner Life With God– by John Newton

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I was interested in reading this book after hearing about an Episcopal church book club in the area who was doing a study of the book.  I also read some about it on a blog I came across.  The author is an Episcopal priest in the diocese of Texas and serves as the Bishop’s Chief of Staff.  It’s  a short book, but don’t let that fool you.  I found it to be very deep and one I couldn’t read through quickly.  Each chapter had thought-provoking discussion questions at the end.

From the Amazon comment page: “Jesus was quite clear that we must lose our life before we find it. This book gives a hopeful and realistic look at what losing our life entails, articulating how “growth” in the Christian life is not our ascent to God but the process by which our eyes are opened to the beauty God has already given to us. It is a book about descending into God, and into our own inner depths, about the deep waters of the Christian faith. “Put out into the deep and let your nets down for a catch.”

In the introduction, John Newton says:

Grace is not some spiritual vitamin we take that helps us control our life, but the all-consuming experience of God’s Life taking over, which always leaves us more relinquished to God than before.  It is an experience that feels an awful lot like falling.  Like Jacob, we limp away from the encounter with God not quite sure what happened or what to make of the experience.

Jesus routinely told us that he came, not to teach us how to succeed, but rather how to fall, lose, and die.

This book extends the invitation to us to let ourselves fall.  I understood the grace and healing power of God a little better after reading this book.

I enjoyed this book but I think I would have liked it even more had I read it with a group in a book-study format with discussion.  Like I said, it was deep (or I thought it was anyway).

2.  Your Body’s Many Cries For Water: You’re Not Sick; You’re Thirsty                     Don’t Treat Thirst With Medication– by F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.

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From Amazon’s comment page (with some spelling and grammar correction by yours truly):  This is the third edition of Dr. F. Batmanghelidj’s classic water book! This book, based on a pioneering physician’s twenty years of clinical and scientific research into the role of water in the body, explains a breakthrough discovery that Unintentional Chronic Dehydration(UCD) produces stress, chronic pains and many painful degenerative diseases. Dry mouth is not the only sign of dehydration; waiting to get thirsty is wrong. You will learn the different signals of thirst when your body is calling for water. Simply adjusting your water intake – yes, water! Natural, pure water!- can help you to live a healthier, pain-free life. Learn: How to naturally prevent and reverse conditions such as asthma, allergies. How to naturally eliminate pains including heartburn, back pain, arthritis, colitis pain, migraine headaches. How to use water to prevent and combat premature aging. How to lose weight effortlessly, without strict dieting.”

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I’ll start off by saying this is a controversial book and I knew that before delving into it. The biggest problem is that there doesn’t seem to be much factual research provided by the author.  He provides lots of testimonials from people who believe in his claims and anecdotal evidence but it wasn’t backed by research.  So I did have a lot of “issues” with this book.

That being said, I think a lot of what this doctor says is true.  Most people DON’T drink enough water and most of us walk around in a chronically dehydrated state.  I certainly don’t think water is a cure-all for every disease but I do think drinking more water can help many medical conditions.  As a GERD sufferer myself, I was particularly interested in his claims that water can greatly help those who suffer with acid reflux.

So while I questioned a lot of what was written in this book, the big take-home message for me after reading it was that I was not drinking near enough water and I needed to start!  Soooo…. I’m giving up my sweet tea (believe me that might just kill this southern gal) and I’m incorporating more water drinking (much more) into my weight loss program.   Yesterday I drank 80 oz. of ice water which was quite an accomplishment for me as drinking plain water has always just been hard for me.  I’m discovering that as I drink more water, I don’t really want anything else in the way of beverages.

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Happy water drinking and happy reading!

Are you a big water drinker?  Did you read anything interesting in April?  Leave a comment if you so desire.

Gail ♥

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