Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Finally, I got to the computer . . .

. . . to write a word or two.  It has been an interesting and busy few days for someone who has limited exposure to the outside world.  Last Thursday was a treatment day and what a good day it was!  My counts were a bit down, but not so much that I couldn't be treated.  Since the treatment my body has let me know that they have continued their downward turn.  I have been foggy, listless, fatigued and good for nothing.  Okay, that's natural for me, but lately, more than usual.  In the infusion room, I met and visited with three new folks, something I always enjoy. One was a gentleman, about my age and a fellow Presbyterian.  Another was the husband of a lady being treated for a "second time around" cancer and he was noticeably nervous and anxious for her.  The third was a beautiful young woman, thirty-three years old, married with two children, being treated for breast cancer.  It was encouraging to witness her attitude, her trust and her determination.  I also took a prayer shawl to leave for a man I met about a month ago and a fuzzy chemo hat for another friend I have made there.  Making friends, sharing stories, being able to tell of God's goodness make trips to the cancer center good days.

The last few days the  devotionals in Jesus Calling have emphasized trust more than usual--or maybe it just seems that way since trust needs underscoring in my life.  Getting close to the end of this year long regiment of chemo, I tend to get anxious, look ahead and plan what I can do next.  I know I drive my son crazy, complaining about being confined,  not being able to drive, go where I want to go.  This morning the devotional reminded the reader to be thankful, not complain.  Let God be in control of our circumstances. 

I really do complain a lot!  Instead of thanking God for gifts of sunshine and rain, plants and flowers, I complain about the weather that's not to my liking.  Instead of thanking God for the care my son provides, willingly, for me, I complain when I think he's overprotective.  Instead of thanking God for the wonderful life He has given me, I complain, complain, complain.  What I'm really doing is denying the Presence and the Peace of God.  I am putting my trust in myself, when I know full well that Peace only comes with His Presence!  Excuses are not acceptable, but I will say that the fatigue, the foggy brain, the listlessness all contribute to the complaints.  We must be alert, aware of God's faithfulness, God's unchanging love, care, healing; God's Presence. 

Give God the glory in all things!
Pastor Margaret

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A big  clap of thunder . . .

awoke me this morning about 4 a.m. We had had a steady rain most of the night, then came the thunder storms rolling through the area.  What started out to be nasty weather changed to a fairly nice day.  To say we are all ready for Spring is definitely an understatement!  Though it's not officially Spring until later in the week, the schools around here had Spring Break this past week.  Liz and the children got to spend a couple of days with her parents, Sarah went to Destin with a friend for a few days and we got some pruning and clean up done around the property.  I watched lots of SEC basketball and now look forward to the NCAA Tournament. 

Thursday also brought a checkup with the doctor and the start of the next to the last cycle of treatment in this regimen.  I seem to be tolerating things better and the tumor count is holding steady.  Our hope and prayer is that soon I will be able to take less medicine. 

I still have issues with technology.  One day this past week I spent a long time carefully putting my thoughts into words, only to hit publish and lose the blog.  I have no idea what happened.  I have been rereading Paul and the Self, a text required for a course in the Pauline Epistles in seminary.  The second time around is better than the first.  At times I feel as if I am staring at myself in the mirror, especially as I read about the sin of pride and I do not like what I see.  How many people have been hurt by my selfishness, my determination to be right, my opinions?  I wish I could go back, beg forgiveness, undo the things I've done, the words I've said that hurt--all those words and deeds that have not brought glory to God.  Thankfully, God is a God of forgiveness and second chances.  God never gives up on us.  Some give things up during Lent.  What better to give up than pride! What better focus can we have than to acknowledge the life, the freedom we have as believers in Christ! 

Pastor Margaret

Saturday, March 01, 2014

The day dawned . . .

. . . sunny and warm after beginning the previous two days to temps in the upper twenties.  With days like today and the presence of budding tulip trees and pretty yellow daffodils, it's hard not to try to hurry Spring.  Understand, I'm not complaining.  Too many people across the country are suffering with the bizarre weather we've had this winter.  Liz and I have tried to get herbs, but the nurseries are just now getting them planted themselves.  Our parsley, rosemary, oregano, mint and chives all survived being moved about, covered, etc. and are "happy" to be back outside enjoying the sun.  We have new baby chicks here, as does Marty in North Carolina.  I still chuckle to myself when I think of both my city grown children enjoying an aspect of country life.  Of course, having fresh eggs is nothing to chuckle about! 

I'm on a hiatus from chemo until March 13 when I see the doctor and begin the next to the last cycle of this regimen.  It's good to have energy!  Today, with the hint of Spring, I had to remind myself to not do too much.  I, who hate cleaning, even enjoyed the small amount of Spring cleaning I did. 

About two weeks ago I started reading the last two books of the Bible to complete this "read through:" I and II Chronicles.  They are the last two because of the system I've been using this time, but I also have to say that I have been only too happy to read them last, even though one of my favorite passages is in I Chronicles 29 where David addresses God.  Otherwise,  I find lists of names and numbers tedious to read, but know they have a place.  I remember the words of a favorite Old Testament professor reminding us often that there is theology in every passage and I reminded myself as I began Chronicles of his words.  That, coupled with Solomon's prayer asking for a "God listening heart," has made Chronicles come alive this time through and I am aware of how God is speaking to me at this time in my life.  If I live to be a hundred, I will continue to be amazed at the way God uses His Word in our lives. 

Pastor Margaret