July 28, 2011

All-Around Defense

Dark storm clouds prowled the western horizon, while the new day's sun ascended in the east. Summer bugs were buzzing about as I settled to do my current favorite thing, Peace for the Journey by Elaine Olsen.

The weather man gave me an hour at best to beat the rain. Jimmy and Dani were sitting on the front stoop waiting for her bus, so I scurried onto the deck with my coffee, Bible, Bible study, and 3 x 5 scripture memory verse cards. Thunder rumbled overhead announcing my time was swiftly whittling away, so I hustled through the study as fast as my little beetle brain could manage. Pausing to sit back and chew on a point Elaine brought to surface, I couldn't help but notice the many fortresses surrounding me on all sides.

The picture doesn't show, but Ecclesiates and Cocoa Bean were both sitting next to me, snug at my feet. I love studying on the deck with them at my side because, like personal body guards, they alarm without hesitation at anything out of place. With a natural instinct to protection their home and family, I leave them to filter the surrounding so I can concentrate.

With the dogs as my first layer of defense, another barrier stood tall in a planter just an arm's length in front of me, our citronella plant. Did you even know such a thing existed? I'd never before stopped to ponder where citronella came from until the day we went tomato plant shopping and stumbled upon this green guard. I snatched it up at lightening speed, with full intent on placing it on the deck to wart off summer's vexing mosquitos. I'm happy to report it's proven to be a very affective repellent. When I sit on the deck at night I go to the plant, rub the greenery between my fingers, and wipe the citronella scent on my ankles and arms. I've not been bitten once thus far. I love it!

Dark clouds continued to invade, the table umbrella was unfurled, nature's bushy mosquito repellent sat inches from my face, and two canine body guards rested on each foot, leaving me physically quite safe. Another citadel, however, was also in place, the very reason I'd gone out on the deck in the first place, God's holy Word. Poised and ready to feed my spirit, scripture was at the ready to protect me from an invisible enemy. While outer protection tends to be a more natural instinct, we must never underestimate the hidden battles that await us each new day. After all, balance is key to success and what good is physical health if our spirit is helpless and vulnerable?

Stormy weather, chiggers, and intruders don't hold a candle to our unseen enemy, which is why daily time with God is of utmost importance. What a privilege to hold the word of God in our hands and hearts as we walk through life, for it is with this wisdom our enemy is defeated.

I'm truly enjoy Elaine's Peace on the Journey. Now please share. What study are you enjoying this summer and how is it teaching and touching your heart?

July 18, 2011

Your Sista's Havin' a Hysta - Conclusion

It's been seven weeks post hysterectomy and what a pleasure it is to say things are finally feeling normal once again. I can bend over to tie my tenny runners without bouncing back up due to a bulging uterine ball or a post surgical swollen belly, the bathroom has ceased to be my primary destination every 30 minutes now that my bladder is no longer a victim of "vibroidian" bullies, I can sneeze or cough without wincing in pain, the left over prescribed pain medications have fallen into disuse and are stored away in the linen closet, and the slow hunched over gate I adopted post surgery that gave our dog Ecclesiastes the creeps, has given way to my normal more familiar stride.

All the advise I received before the procedure proved to be ever true and I'm so glad I took it to heart. A hysterectomy is not defined as major surgery for no good reason, you really do need at least six weeks off to rest, recover, and recuperate, it takes months to get back to speed both physically and mentally, and in the end, it's every bit worth it.

It hasn't fully sunk in yet, but in time I'm sure I'll appreciate the absence of my monthly visitor, even though I'll still be seen traipsing through Wal Mart with Kotex pads hitching a ride in my cart, on behalf of our little Dani. Plus, let's not overlook the hilarious thought that it's only a matter of time when the humbling day nudges it's way into reality of which I'll not only be purchasing Kotex in my post menapausal years, but eventually succumb to tossing Depends into the buggy as well. I only pray my future clerks will be gifted with exceptional oblivion on the days I saunter in to stock up on perplexing personal paraphernalia, lest I be driven from the super mart on a blast jocularity.

So there we have it. The journey with your sista who had a hysta has come to a close. I've learned a lot through the endeavor and hope you have too. Thanks for joining me on my hike to renewed health but though it's been a joy, let's not do it again anytime soon.


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July 2, 2011

Your Sista's Havin' a Hysta - Part 8

Benevolent Tote

It's interesting to see who offers what during times of need. Each friend is so creatively different that it's a bit like Let's Make a Deal whenever time the door bell rings. The week after I had surgery my brother and sister-in-law dropped off dinner with a few gifts. The picnic basket was carefully packed with enchiladas, rice, and brownies, while the gift tote weighed heavy with a host of goodies. I was so impressed with her thoughtfulness I thought I'd share it with you!

Treats for the body:
  • Blistex: Rasberry Lemonade Blast
  • Pocket size facial tissue
  • Johnson's Body Care lotion: Melt Away Stress Lavender & Chamomile
  • One box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (one of my childhood favorites)
  • Bag of plain M&M's with snack size zip lock bags so I could ration my portions
  • One small bag of FritoLay Deluxe Mixed Nuts (protein to counter the sugar rush)
Food for the mind:
  • Polka dot journal that's cute as a bug's ear
  • Word search games (I'm not smart enough for the crossword type)
  • Book: Mentalpause...and Other Midlife Laughs, by Laura Jensen Walker
  • Book: The Lighkeeper's Daughter, by Colleen Coble
  • Book: Twelve Extraordinary Women, by John MacArthur
  • Book: Redeaming Love, by Francine Rivers
  • Game: Sit and Solve Frame Games (you can't miss this one, it's shaped like a toilet seat)
  • Three retractable ball point pens
  • Movie: Pride and Prejudice with Coline Firth and Jennifer Ehle
Sustenance for the soul:
  • 3x5 index cards for scripture memory verses
  • Booklet: A Sketch of Things to Come Based on God's Promise to Abraham, by Dr. Stanley V. Udd

My brother and his wife also brought a daisy plant which contained something we'd never seen before, a Siamese daisy bloom. These are not two daisies squeezed together but actually two in one, a fine freak of nature that gave us all a kick.

The day my brother and sister-in-law brought the meal and goodies happened to be during my second week post-op and a time I was a little down. Life had ground to a halt and I was a bit lonesome. Their visit not only lifted my spirits but also reiterated the importance of remembering those who are ill and out of touch. I hadn't been far from the couch and certainly not out of the house for over a week, leaving me dependent on whatever came my way. Every email, get well card, phone call, and visit was so precious during that time, leaving me to wonder how many forsaken souls are out there in need of care, compassion, and company.

Whether it's surgery, chronic illness, the birth of a child, someone going through a divorce, missionaries in another country, or a friend you have not heard from in a while, consider reaching out to someone today. Put yourself in their shoes and ask God how you could brighten their day. After my recent experience, I now have a whole new appreciation for those who sit on the quiet fringe of society.

Now it's your turn. What are your favorite ways to encourage a friend in need?