Topping Up Your Faith

A well stocked pantry is essential for spontaneous bakers such as myself.  Not only is it important to have the essentials on hand, like flour and butter, but also an ecclectic array of the odd and unusual, such as saffron and vanilla beans.  It takes time to grow your stock necessary to whip up something special at a moment’s notice without having to make a grocery run.  You also have to learn to keep an ongoing mental list of how much you have on hand of each ingredient.   There is nothing more annoying than having to go to the store in the middle of a recipe because you don’t have enough of something to finish the job. Keeping your pantry topped up is important.  

Much like baking, faith needs a deep repository of ingredients that are grown over time in order to create a feast that will supply daily Bread, even during times of famine.  Basic faith, all that is needed to initially become a follower of Christ, is to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that by His death, burial, and resurrection He has overcome sin and death and has given us eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  Scripture was written by about 40 different men, as the Holy Spirit prompted them (2 Timothy 3:16), over 1,500 years and is a wellspring of history, personal experience, wisdom, prophecy, fulfillment of prophecy, law, gospel, poetry, and letters giving first-hand accounts by eyewitnesses who had dealings with our eternal God across time.  All of these were written for our learning (Romans 15:4) and can be mined to give us everything we need in order to grow our faith through hope, truth, love, peace, joy, patience, endurance, faithfulness, forgiveness, mercy, grace, obedience, submission, goodness, kindness, gentleness, self-control, understanding, wisdom… and so much more! 

The growth of faith is directly related to how much time, effort, thought, and personal devotion we put into topping it up.  Recognizing and experiencing God in one’s personal life with the aide of the Holy Spirit, when combined with listening to Him as you study scripture and talking to Him through prayer, combine to help us live our best and fullest life in Christ.  It is this fullness of faith, one that is constantly being filled and topped up, that shifts our viewpoint from life here below to that of the promises given about life above.

As we see every day on the news, bad things happen in the world. If you have lived very long at all, you know that unsolicited bad things will happen in the lives of the ones we love and even to ourselves.  Christians are not immune from failure, brokenness, loneliness, sorrow, or hardship of all kinds.  Accidents, illnesses, viruses, diseases, and death will touch and eventually take us all. 

BUT instead of despair and hopelessness when these things happen, we Christians can reach into our diligently topped up storehouse of faith and praise God through the storm instead of blaming Him.  We find ourselves resting in His ever present, faithful hands and feel a deep assurance that He has lovingly pressed us against His heart to keep us safe.  Not necessarily that He has removed the travails that happen to us in the flesh, though He certainly can do so if it is within His will! But, no, I mean the safety of our faith.  The promise of His love and His sovereignty alive and over our lives no matter what situation or diagnosis or trouble we find ourselves in. This kind of faith is possible because Jesus Christ has overcome sin and death by His resurrection and is the source of eternal life for all who call upon His name. He has overcome everything in this world and, as a result, there is now nothing that can harm those who believe in Him – not even death!

Paul says it this way in 1 Corinthians 8:34-39, “Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”.

To me, the promise that nothing can separate me from the love of God through Christ Jesus my Lord tops me up to overflowing! If you are already a Christian, don’t forget to keep topping up your faith each and every day through scripture and prayer. If you are not a Christian, but you want to know more about how to become one so you too can be filled to the “whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 3:19), then send me a message and I would count it a privilege to share the Gospel with you!

To the praise of His glory! ❤️Amy

Seven Current Things God is Greater Than

God is greater than all things.  But, since the number seven indicates completeness and perfection within the Bible, I chose it to represent current issues we can pray about with confidence that He is in control.

Dear Heavenly Father, with humbled hearts we pray You will fill us with joy and peace as we remember You are the great I AM.  You are in control of all things and are greater than…

…the Corona Virus with all it’s ensuing  unemployment, bankruptcy, evictions and foreclosures, businesses failing, schools resuming, and our anxiety for both the physical and mental health of ourselves and loved ones.  You are even greater than death by Christ’s victory over the grave!

Father, please help us remember you are greater than Nations and Politics, especially amidst the barrage of divisive and aggressive rhetoric, fear mongering, looming elections, and potential civic fallout. 

Lord our God, we may rest assured that You are greater than the Media that constantly fills our ears. You are greater than bias and intolerance on all sides, as well as our well-intentioned friends who’s social media posts break our hearts with aggressive, divisive, or judgmental words.

Holy One, we need Your presence to comfort and restore our weary minds with the knowledge that You have always been and will always be mightier than the Social Issues that have surrounded Your children through the ages.  You are greater than the current cancel culture, ANTIFA, riots, lootings, hate and intolerance, racism, and movements that plan destructive uprisings of any kind.      

Loving, compassionate Father, please restore us from the fatigue of living in a different and difficult new reality that seems to have no end in sight. You are greater than the Weariness of the past several months.

All-knowing Lord, we pray You will reassure our hearts that You are greater than all the Unknowns that surround our lives. We rejoice in knowing You will never leave us or forsake us through the trials, sorrows, or temptations of our journey here below.

And lastly, Almighty God, help us to remember You are greater than all our Fears. When we trust You hold us in Your mighty hands, fear dies and You are glorified.

Thank You, God our Father, for loving us with Your perfect love and for caring about each and every one of us. We ask and pray this prayer through Christ, our Savior’s name. Amen.

A Week Interrupted

There I was having a perfectly good day last Saturday riding around with my hubby as he ran into a couple of stores for our weekly shopping, when all of a sudden I felt a familiar pain in my lower tummy.  Within just a few minutes I felt the next stage of an all too familiar urge hit and I knew before we made it home I had a UTI.

Fun Fact: One of the most common symptoms of MS is bladder control problems.  The bladder has spasms and won’t empty completely causing frequency and urgency.  Because the bladder won’t empty completely, MSers get a UTI very easily.

Anyway, my suspicion was validated at urgent care that same Saturday afternoon and I came home with the usual round of antibiotics and some Azo to ease the pain.  I typically feel better within 24 hours, but when things felt worse by Sunday evening I knew we needed to go back to see what was going on. 

A kidney infection was what was going on.  I got a different script for a stronger antibiotic for the next seven days and then a thigh-full of another one.  They warned me it would hurt as they added Lidocaine to the concoction and said it would take about 30-40 seconds to give because it was “thick”.  I made it through the shot, but then nearly passed out 🥴.  My blood pressure dropped too low very suddenly, I got all sweaty, and felt myself going.  No big deal, I recovered and they let me go within another 30 minutes.  Passing out was nothing compared to the pain throbbing through my thigh! With hubby dragging me by one arm and my cane propping me up to stay vertical with the other, I limped and whimpered my way to the car and thought, “That shot better be worth it!”

I’ve had lots of UTIs, but this was my first kidney infection; I wasn’t quite ready for how hard it kept hitting and how long it took to feel better.  By Wednesday I knew I was going to live and felt back to my normal self on Thursday.

During the time it took to recover, I didn’t do much. I filled the lethargic days by hanging out with and generally loving around on the cats, reading an Inspector Morse mystery, listening to Dickens’ Bleak House, putting some puzzles together on my favorite puzzles app, and sleeping a lot.  Finally, on Thursday and Friday, I ventured back out on the patio for short bits in the mornings and evenings – to avoid the heat, another no-no when you have MS – and even managed to muster the energy to sew a cute little tunic with an adorable cat print for myself! 

There is a river just a mile and a half down the road from our house with a lovely bridge and trail from which to admire nature.  Hubby humoured me and took me for a while around noon on Friday.  Though I can’t walk the trail anymore, we traversed the bridge and took in all the special delights that fill the senses when around running water.  Birds chirping, breezes blowing, water rippling, the faint whiff of fish in the air, the sight and smell of earth and dirt eroding, tree roots erupting on trails down to the river banks, and the beauty of wildflowers clustered along the banks and in the undergrowth, or definitely blooming in solitary confidence and glory. 

It feels so good to feel better!  It was a good reminder to appreciate my general health, despite the MS.  I’d take a lot of crummy MS days over going through that again any time soon.  I hope you enjoy the pictures below and are able to get a sense of their feel and place for the ones not captioned.

A tired Laudy.
Waiting to be scratched…
… the progression of the scratch..
…finally leading to sleep in various positions.
Our handsome, big, chocolate Rex 😻😍❤️!
Those eyes!
Pip noticed this goldfinch at the window one morning. I snapped a quick pic with my phone.
Snickerdoodles 😋
Hubby got new tires, always an exciting day 🚴‍♂️.
It goes this way ➡️
I gave homemade tortillas a go…👍😋.
I took this a couple of weeks ago. What a beautiful universe God has made!

I hope you have a wonderful week ahead. God be with you! ❤️

If Only

The whole world is mad enough to chew nails and spit rivets at each other.  The wildfire of anxiety already fueled by a viral pandemic and financial hardships has roared into an inferno fanned by outrage over racial injustice.  Add all of this to an overly politicized, deeply divided, radically idealized, and seemingly diabolicaly opposed Left and Right presidential election year and, voila, here we are.  McCarthyism (“The practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigate techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism.” – Dictionary.com) turned into Cancel Culture (“The popular practice of withdrawing support for public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.” Dictionary.com).  Unsurprisingly, we (collectively as humans) have learned absolutely nothing from God or history on how to get along with each other.  Like sheep, we’ve all gone astray.  The only difference between us and sheep is that we like to point and call out the wrong courses everyone else has taken, but never look back at our own errors.

As a result, I’ve been rationing my news intake and limiting my time on social media platforms.  I can’t take all the lava-hot words and vitriol spewing out of the mouths on all sides of the world’s current, self-inflicted problems.  I don’t know how to heal or even understand the differences of opinion and the vast chasms that seem to lie between the logic and thinking of some of us.  So, with that admission, what can I do?  I have been and will continue to lay them down at my Father’s feet.  He is the answer to everything, always. God excels in doing what everyone says is impossible. 

I’m doing the same on a personal level.  While the huge fires of the world keep burning, so too do the little flames within my life.  I’m sure you understand because we’re all the same.  My personal fire is called MS but yours might be named such things as Furloughed, Job, Money, Stress, Anger, Divorce, Death, Parent, Child, Spouse, Cancer, Diabetes, Aging… just about anything, really.  For me, MS is constantly melting away tiny pieces of my own sovereignty.  It’s very difficult to let go of the things in life that make you feel like you have some control, such as driving, shopping, cooking, and walking. 

In much the same way that I realize I can’t put out the MS fire in my own life and deal with the destruction it leaves in it’s wake on my own, we, as a nation and even world, must understand we will have to work collectively to bring the flames of our society back under control.  The solution will not be conceived in fear of an unseen germ, worry over the next great depression, or riots that break our neighbors’ windows and loot their livelihoods because of injustice.  No, if it could then we would already have the answer.   The fix is to be found in love.  The kind of love the apostle Paul described in I Corinthians 13:4-7, the sort God has for us.  His love is patient, kind, happy for others instead of envious, lifts others up instead of boasting about self, is well mannered instead of rude, seeks the good of others instead of self, is slow to anger, keeps no records of wrongs, delights in holiness instead of evil, rejoices in the truth instead of sensationalism, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. 

I realize what I am about to say is very Pollyannish of me, but…  If every person would recognize the truthfulness and wisdom of this type of love and make it their own personal goal to practice it, without policing others and how they are doing as they attempt to do the same, all the infernos of the world would simply burn themselves out.  If only.

Joy Complete!

The dark scenes of Christ being in anguish and His sweat “like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Lk 22:44) in the Garden of Gethsemane, His gruesome torcher at the hands of Roman soldiers, and His agonizing, six hour crucifixion on Calvary are tenderly felt in the hearts and minds of every Christian.  We realize it was all suffered and done for us. For me. He died for me. We honor and commemorate His sacrifice each time we partake of the Lord’s Supper; the fruit of the vine representing his blood shed for us and the bread representing his body given in our stead.  

The intensity of what He knew and dreaded going through was so great that “an angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him” (Lk 22:43) just before he was arrested in the Garden.  And yet, finishing their meal before heading out to pray in the Garden, Jesus spoke candidly with the apostles about His impending death in chapters 15 and 16, which John recorded. Jesus always seemed to say astounding things, but His words in chapter 15, verses 9-14, when seen in light of what He was getting ready to go through are, to me, the most astonishing of all.  “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that MY JOY MAY BE COMPLETE IN YOU and THAT YOUR JOY MAY BE COMPLETE.  My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.”

Yes, despite His dread and anxiety about what He knew would happen in just a few short hours, He was still filled with JOY.  His joy was grounded in love, the state He always had by being obedient to and at one with the Father. But it didn’t stop there.  His ultimate joy would only be made complete when He brought us into the same oneness with the Father and Himself and He shared this joy with us.  That is the reason He said He would, “lay down His life for His friends.” His impending death would ultimately bring Him joy because He would be sharing the resultant benefit of His death, burial, and resurrection with His “friends” – and that benefit was SALVATION.

John had walked and talked and seen Jesus and knew He was the Son of God (1 John 1:1-2).  John said in verse 3 of I John that he proclaimed the Truth so that we could have fellowship with Christ.  Fellowship with Him creates “joy complete” (verse 4). Why? What makes fellowship with Christ the Son and God the Father so joyful?  For that answer we need to turn to 1 John 5:13-15, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that YOU MAY KNOW THAT YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.  This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” The promises of fellowship now and eternal life with the Godhead creates within the hearts of all believers “complete joy.”  Further down in verse 20 of chapter 5, John reiterates this by saying, “We KNOW also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may KNOW Him who is true – even in His Son Jesus Christ (fellowship).  He is the true God and eternal life.”  Christ said it this way in the Gospel of John 17:1-4 as He prayed just before going to the Garden of Gethsemane: “Father, the time has come.  Glorify your Son that your Son may glorify You. For you granted Him authority over all people, that HE MIGHT GIVE ETERNAL LIFE: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.  I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave Me to do.” Finally, back in 1 John chapter 2, verses 24- 25, “See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, YOU WILL REMAIN IN THE SON AND IN THE FATHER (fellowship). And this is what He promised us – EVEN ETERNAL LIFE.”

During this time of social distancing when even church gatherings have been shutdown, no one can take away my joy for it has been made complete!!

Free Advice

Here I lie in bed at 3:15 in the afternoon with one cat under the covers between my knees and the other curled up in a ball against me.  It’s been four days of pedal to the metal fatigue. My legs feel like they are made of lead and I can barely lift them to walk. This has resulted in an off-balance sort of shuffle more suited to some cartoon character than a human.  Everything is in slow motion, even my thoughts and ability to understand what others say. My hands feel disconnected from my brain and my bladder is in a state of anarchy. Somehow, both of my calves think they are supposed to spasm and tighten into painful, twisted knots while the rest of the muscles in my legs become like jelly when I try to stand up.

It’s as if a rogue telephone operator came in during the night and pulled half the plugs in my brain and spine and, with maniacal glee, replugged them all higgledy-piggledy just to see what would happen.  

It’s incredibly boring as well as frustrating not to be able to do the things I want to do.  It dawned on me that even though you probably aren’t laid up in bed with fiendish MS like I am, you’re possibly bored and frustrated too.  It’s hard to stay home and down for long stretches of time, especially when you don’t have a choice because of a nearly nationwide shutdown.  

So, I’ll share with you what I keep having to tell myself in order to keep from going crazy.  I apologize in advance if it sounds kinda bossy, but it’s the only way I can get my attitude in line.  Can you relate? Anyway, here it is. “This won’t last forever, it will get better. It’s okay if you don’t like your current situation, but don’t dwell endlessly on it. A negative circumstance doesn’t give you carte blanche to be grumpy, so be nice despite everything.”  If you are a Christian, then the last one is the most important one. “The One who is inside you is stronger than everything else. He has not abandoned you, He’s walking through this difficult time with you. In light of that fact, act like it and don’t forget it.”

Can’t Catch Me, ‘Rona

Hi everyone, I hope you are healthy and virus free. I may not know your name, but I have been praying for everyone to make it through this this pandemic and the extensive economic impact related to the shutdowns it has caused.

Like so many others, Hubby and I are living under a stay at home order from both our county and city. Hubby teaches at a local community college and got an extra week’s worth of spring break while officials and tech got their ducks in a row. He will be teaching all of his classes online from home starting Monday. He’s been working hard to get ready since making a shift from seated Physics classes with labs to an online platform for both has taken a lot of prep and creative thinking. As always, my brilliant, hardworking guy has it all in hand and is ready to go.

Meanwhile, I’ve been labeled “vulnerable” and the only “essential” thing I can do is help prop up the local economy. Hubby has been pitching in and we’re taking our duty very seriously. For example, we’ve driven through Andy’s Frozen Custard on three occasions in the last couple of weeks for Thin Mint concretes.

The following is a collage of snapshots showing how we’ve been riding out this unprecedented time in history.

Hubby’s days have included cycling and projects and then more projects and cycling. Oh, and probably like everyone else, a lot of surfing of both the inter-web and channel varieties.

I’ve been hobbling along with Salonpas pads stuck all over my legs trying to get my MS related muscle spasms under control. I’ve also managed to get some sewing done, including the cat-themed wall art, with a bit of help from my two favorite felines. Our new house has a lovely patio out back and I have been been putting some miles on my new rocking chair, “See-Saw”, every chance I get!

A lot of time has been devoted to loving and being loved by, well, CATS.

I love to bake and have taken advantage of having my favorite taste-tester home with me every day. Scones, bread, muffins, biscuits–we have more bread and baked goods in our freezers than Panera!

What joy it has been this spring to watch the birds come to our feeder and move into the three birdhouses we have in our backyard! I have enjoyed snapping pictures of all the different varieties and then editing them. We have a pair of Eastern Bluebirds nesting in one house, sparrows in another, and juncos in the third.

We’ve had a mild, rainy spring and the trees and shrubs have started blooming and budding everywhere. It is beautiful to see all the colors painted across the landscape, whether rain or shine. As the back of our house faces due east, it’s been a treat to watch the sun’s orange glow as it spreads across the sky in the mornings. We added some color ourselves this week with a few flowers for the beds.

I hope you have been able to find joy despite the ‘Rona fear that has gripped the hearts and minds of the world. I encourage you to turn off the constant news feed and find a way to enjoy the people in your home and your surroundings. Remember God’s promise after the flood, “As long as the earth endures, springtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease” (Ge 8:22). It’s true, regardless of ‘Rona, springtime has come just like God promised. May we all live in the light of God’s promises, not in the darkness of the fears in the world.

Undone

We placed our house on the market three weeks ago and every day since has been like living in some alternate reality.  The endless cycle of picking up, putting away, wiping down, and clearing out in order to hide the fact two cats and their humans live here had grown old by the second day. I’ve seen vlogs of people on YouTube who want you to believe they happily clean their house every day and offer advice on how you could learn to love to do the same. I like a clean house and I’m no slacker when it comes to actually doing the deed, but there is no way I want to adopt some ritual that forces me to scrub the toilet every morning in order to feel joyful.

Nevertheless, with the knowledge people could be coming over at the drop of a hat to see the house, I found myself in a state of constant tidiness not too far removed from the feeling you get just a couple of hours before hosting a dinner party. You have ten things to do at once and the pressure is on to get it all done before the first ring of the doorbell. We don’t host dinner parties anymore thanks to my MS. I don’t have the energy to clean, cook, AND be charming anymore. Most days it’s a struggle just to do one of these through to its completion. So, it wasn’t too far into the first week my prayers grew in fervor for God to intervene and make some way for me to survive this part of the process.

We had two open houses and several showings the first couple of weeks which resulted in one low-ball offer that was $40K below asking price and begged to be rejected. However, we received and accepted a second offer this past Monday, but it was contingent on the young couple’s house selling first. It was such a great offer we thought it was worth giving it a chance. For better or worse, a contingency does not stop your house from being shown, though it usually slows things down to a trickle. So, we were absolutely flabbergasted by the number of people who crawled out of the woodwork the day after Zillow and Realtor.com listed our house as “Contingent”. Our hearts and hopes soared that maybe something would come of it all, but my MS was absolutely seething and out to take revenge because I was not complying with its dictatorial demands for rest.

My prayers took on a begging tone asking Him to help me survive and to get another offer that would press the contingency to a precipice and conclusion. With each passing day my appeals intensified to the point they became more like chants than well-spoken prayers.

In addition to keeping things tidy, it grew harder and harder with each passing day to pack up the cats and put them in the car, move the litter boxes to the garage, stash the scratching posts and then drive somewhere to wait until the coast was clear before reversing the process when I got home. By Tuesday of this week I had become so tired I couldn’t walk or be up for more than five minutes at a time. Matter of fact, my energy didn’t even last long enough for the water to boil in the electric kettle for a cup of tea. The situation was dire!

That’s when it happened, right at the intersection of I Can’t Do This Anymore and God, Please Help Me. We got a full price offer on Friday that ended up being the one we got to keep. The young couple who made the contingency offer on Monday was not able to buy our house until theirs sold so they, unfortunately, fell victim to the standard kick-out clause when we got the second offer.

Our realtor, in the business for years, told me that she had never had a house with a contingency offer all of a sudden get so many people wanting to see it. She was still turning down requests to view our house over the weekend well after the ink on our contract was dry Friday.

My emotions have been all over the place through this whole experience. Excitement and anxiousness mixed with a healthy dose of hope, anticipation and nervousness. But when I saw the final full-price offer I thought I was seeing something wrong. I even looked our listing up online to make sure I had remembered our listing price correctly. Sure enough, I had seen it right the first time. That’s when I started sobbing uncontrollably as a flood of relief and gratitude to God completely made me feel undone by Him. Although I had begged God to intervene on our behalf with continuous pleas, I couldn’t take in how mightily He had answered. As the reality of it all slowly dawned on me, my continuous chant turned into millions of Thank You-s and You’re so good to me-s. I couldn’t stop saying it over and over as tears of joy and thanksgiving fell unashamedly down my cheeks. The fact that, once again like so many other times in my life, He had heard my prayers and intervened on my behalf, left me feeling completely and utterly undone and humbled before Him.

I am writing this in the middle of the afternoon while reclining in bed waiting for my MS to wear out its retaliation for doing too much this week. Let my MS do what it may, I don’t care. I am glowing in the ceaseless cascades of my Father’s love for me. I’d spend every hour of every day left in my life stuck here lying in my bed if I had to just to know and to feel His tender, caring, kind, reassuring love. Thankfully, I know I won’t have to do that. It is His nature to be just that good to me!

~ See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)

Waiting Is the Hardest Part

As the new year began, Hubby and I put our house on the market. We had been talking about it for a couple of years but never seemed to have the drive to get the house ready.

I turn 50 this year (😳) and have never lived in any other town than the one I was born and raised in. Hubby had lived in a couple of different places before we met and married. However, once he moved to my town it felt like home and we settled into 14 years of happiness here together. Suburban life is great but the everyday traffic and effort to get anywhere of consequence has gotten old. Not only do we work in the city, but we also go to church, do our banking, get groceries, go shopping, go to parks, exercise, and… pretty much everything in the city.

Over the Christmas holiday, we pushed and worked ourselves to the bone thinning the herd of things we had accumulated over the 12 years we have lived in our current house. Trying to do all of this with MS was a challenge every single step and hour along the way. There were days I couldn’t do anything at all, but most days were chopped up into various lengths within what felt like a never ending work-rest cycle.

Anytime we weren’t decluttering and purging we spent scouring real estate listings online. We went to several open houses within our target zone in the city but always kept coming back to the same house we had seen on the first day we started house hunting. It had been on the market for a few months and the owners had reduced the price to a point we felt like we could put in an offer. Since it had been on the market for a while we were sure the sellers would be interested in negotiating with us. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the very day we put our offer in, two more offers were submitted and the pressure was on to make sure ours was the one they accepted. It was an anxious 36 hour wait before we found out whose offer they settled on. I’m very happy to say we got the house! It’s everything we needed and were wanting and we hope we never have to move again.

We listed our current house and are praying it sells quickly, although one never knows about these things.  The weather has not been very cooperative so far.  I suppose January is not exactly the best time to put a house on the market–it just worked out that way for us.  We have had a lot of interest, but no offers yet.  It has proven to be a challenge to keep the house in a state of constant cleanliness and overall tidiness.  I’m so glad I can stay home and work at it as my energy ebbs and flows.  As you all know, I love our cats right up to the edge of being kinda freaky.  Whereas before I didn’t really care if they left pieces of litter here and there until I could sweep the floor every few days, now I’m virtually following them around with a dustpan and broom everywhere they go.  I clean the kitchen countertops at least five times a day trying to erase the evidence that we let them get up there in the first place.  I’ve even shaved (yes, really) the places on the couch where tell-tale signs of cat scratches made it look like we let them use it as a scratching post 😬.  Even though they increase the workload, which drains my limited energy all the faster, they’re worth it, but I don’t want to keep it up indefinitely.

I keep finding myself thinking of the old adage “a watched pot never boils” because it coincides perfectly with our current situation at the moment, a watched phone never receives a text that someone wants to look at our house. It’s become a daily exercise of faith to wait this little while without knowing the future regarding when our current home will sell. This has spurred me to think back across the span of my entire life, especially the parts that were hardest, and to see clearly how God worked for my best interest in each and every circumstance. I have absolutely no doubt that He is working to bring the right buyers to us at the right time, not a moment too soon nor a moment too late. Waiting for things to happen is indeed the hardest part while still clothed in this mortal flesh, but it only serves to heighten the ease with which one can find peace and hope for a future with Christ once we no longer need a fixed address on this earth.

Ringing Out the Old and Ringing In the New

As December slips into January, there is a distinct sense that, like a snake who sheds its skin, one can somehow shed themselves of their outgrown (sometimes quite literally 😉), unwanted self for the skin of a fresh, new hope and beginning. I suppose some people might feel this way on their birthday, but birthdays are typically associated with wishes, not resolutions.

This past year started with one of the largest, deepest dives into the underworld of MS that I have experienced thus far. There were times I felt like I didn’t have the breath to hang on until I broke the surface for a life-infusing gasp of even a few good hours strung together. I wrote about this experience back in February in my very first blog post, The Ocean. As hard as it was to get through, the benefit was intimately feeling the presence and comfort of God in profound ways hitherto unknown to me. I didn’t make a resolution for 2019 to be a year of spiritual growth, but as a direct result of how hard it was, it turned out to be exactly that. 

Resolutions denote a need for a change and a conscious effort to make the change happen. I’ve made a few New Year’s resolutions over the course of my life with varying degrees of success. They have always been about things over which I have control, like losing a few pounds, exercising more, being more circumspect about what I say, reading more and watching less TV…the usual stuff.

This year, 2020, marks my 30th anniversary of living with MS. After my initial diagnosis, and except for a couple of relapses, the first 10 years were relatively, blissfully easy.  I had absolutely no concept of what it would eventually be like to live with MS as my daily parasitic sidekick. Sometimes, even now, it still surprises me by how far down its tentacles have reached into my life.  

Most gratefully, as 2019 progressed, I recovered enough to have some good days sown in among the bad. This too was a lesson from God about gratitude and hope.

The lessons learned and the spiritual growth God has blessed me with will serve as a lifeline, like pure oxygen, to whatever the New Year throws at me. So, I resolve to take each day of 2020 as it comes, resting upon the One who created time but is not bound by it.

I hope you take the time to look back over your experiences of 2019 with a view to how God has worked in your life. If you don’t see Him there, then there’s no better time to invite Him to share not only 2020 with you but the rest of your life! Get in contact with me and I will gladly help you get started.

May God be with you in the new year, my friends!