Thursday, June 28, 2012

Life continues . . .

That's neither a "ho hum" heading, nor a fact I take for granted.  Being retired, living in the country, enjoying summer has given more time to contemplate, meditate and pray.  I constantly am amazed at how blessed my life has been and continues to be.  Seemingly ordinary things prompt prayers of thanksgiving.  Watching the peanuts and cotton growing up the road from our house gives pleasure and brings memories.  As a little girl I loved traveling with my daddy to the Mississippi Delta towns where the drug company he represented had customers.  The roads we traveled were surrounded by cotton fields.  Watching the different stages of growth always fascinated me--still does.  The peanuts remind me of Tom.  How he loved them!  He liked them parched and boiled and craved peanut brittle.  Often he would stop by the side of the road to buy boiled peanuts from the back of a pick up truck.  I even sent canned boiled ones to him in Vietnam.  He said they weren't the same as fresh, but were a fine taste of home. 

One amazing blessing that continues to give me pause for thanks is the way God has cared for me through the ups and downs of my health.  Yes, I do get tired the the endless routine of bloodwork, scans, doctors' visits, driving back and forth, and all the waiting at the Cancer Clinic.  Tom and I concluded one day that if we had a nickel for every hour we had waited in a health care place, we would have been far too wealthy for our own good.  My first oncology appoint this month was frustrating, to say the least.  Computer problems prevented proper procedure and I left the clinic knowing very little.  Later that week I received a call from the nurse who said that the complicatins that have been keeping me from getting Avastin had been cleared up for now and that the doctor wanted me to come the next week for treatment.  A thirty minute drip was accompanied by a four hour round trip and two hour wait for things to commence. 

A couple of days later a fund-raising letter arrived from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a place we have contributed since my breast cancer in the early eighties.  I was about to throw the letter away, when I looked on the back page and there was an encouraging paragraph concerning the positive results of using Avastin with ovarian cancer patients along with chemotherapy.  The letter stated that this advace in treating ovarian cancer "represents an important step toward the day when it can be managed and treated as a chronic disease."  I am grateful to be a "guinea pig" and have been considering my disease as chronic, not incurable for many months.  Please pray that the complications will stay away so that I can take this drug on a more consistent basis. 

After finishing a devotional book, Day by Day with John Calvin, I went to the shelf and pulled a book I read twelve years ago:  With Open Hands by Henri Nouwen.  His writings have done much to influence my spiritual life and rereading this particular book was just what I needed at this time.  I was especially drawn to the chapter on Prayer and Silence and I thought about silence and the way it affects me.  I thought of the impact of silence after the house has been full of children.  It's rather bittersweet.  When I had to take my cat to be spayed and she was gone for 24 hours, I realized how much noise one little kitty can make.  I thought how necessary it is to be silent as we wait for God.  I was sad as I thought of the silence without Tom.  That's painful silence.  Then, God brought to my mind that He is always in the silence.  I am never alone. Blessings continue.

Life is good because God is good.

Pastor Margaret

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ah . . . Summertime

It's hot, humid and laid back.  Summer produce is abundant, Gulf seafood is plentiful and we have plenty of folks to partake of all the abundance.  For instance: a favorite family from our church came out to swim this afternoon and brought food to put with what we have.  Jeff, being from New Orleans, has cooking in his blood!  In fact, he's the chef for the crawfish boils.  He and Tommy are pooling resources and cooking up a treat of bar-b-qued shrimp, something with crawfish and some leftover trout filets.  I can hardly wait.  Earlier in the week I froze a bushel of butterbeans and will put up another bushel of something else in a few days.  I am reminded of a verse in psalms that says:  "Enjoy God.  Cheer when you see Him."  I cheer inwardly every time I enjoy all the fresh abundance of our state!

A new computer system at the University Medical Center made for a long day Monday.  I waited over two and a half hours for lab results so I could be given dye for a scan.  The most annoying part was that they had called to ask me to come early, which I did.  Several people thanked me for my patience and I had to confess that I really wasn't all that patient.  Two days later a nurse called to report that the scan is stable and that the Avastin is being restarted.  That means another trip to Jackson this week for treatment--four hours on the road for a 30 minute infusion--a 30 minute infusion that keeps this nasty disease under control.  I'm not complaining. 

So many good things took place during the week!  Two different days I had lunch with friends, I met with the small group I started, took four of the children to the library on two different days, got back to my knitting group at the shop and visited with an old friend of Tommy's who I haven't seen in over ten years.  Tonight Jacob returns from a week long mission trip in Jamaica and tomorrow we celebrate his 16th birthday (a couple of days late).  This afternoon I feel so blessed and somewhat overwhelmed by God's gracious gifts.

On a sad note, we said goodbye to John Marlin this week.  We will miss him, but rejoice with Connie that he has been healed and is at rest in the arms of Jesus. 

"Enjoy God.  Cheer when you see Him."

Pastor Margaret

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Is it worth it?

It seems as if every time I get ready to post something, the blogger folks have changed the format and it's difficult for me to figure out how to post.  Am I really that technically deficient?  Facebook is the same.  Where did all those pictures at the top of the page come from?  I'm supposed to mark my "best friends."  Reminds me of my six year old granddaughter who designates almost everyone in her class as her "best friend."  It makes me wonder:  who exactly is a "best" friend?  All my friends are BEST--the best in all the world!  When I encounter all these changes, I am tempted to quit posting.  Then, when least expected, I run into someone who says:  "I read your blog."  So, I'll keep on for now.

I spent several days last week in Memphis with my cousin and had such a good time.  We talked into the wee hours, went through knitting patterns and yarn, ate at favorite places and just enjoyed being together.  Our church has had Vacation Bible School this week and the children came home with lots of new songs and verses they had learrned every day.  It will be fun in the morning to see their final program in the morning worship.  This afternoon T & E hosted a crawfish boil--the second of the season for the softball team and the young adult Sunday School class. The weather has been threatening all day, so much so that an older adult outing was postponed, but it cleared off this afternoon and lots of people came.  The pool was full of children and the carport was full of adults eating crawfish and all the trimmings.  If I were a bit more computer savvy, I would post picture for you to see.  Maybe next time.

The best part of the week for me was getting reinvolved with older adult ministry in a "hands on" kind of way.  I began a small group study one afternoon and did some home visits a couple of afternoons.  I can't tell you how it warms my heart to be involved!  I know that I am an example of what God does in the life of one who makes themself available.  Visiting used to scare my socks off!  It's sort of like Peter who kept falling all over himself until the Holy Spirit took over and made him bold and on fire to speak God's Word. 
God has given me a special love and concern for His oldest children and I love to be with them.  Never say never.  God can and will use you if you are open to His leading!!

Have a great day of worship tomorrow! 

Pastor Margaret