Tag Archives: God

Infectious Bacteria Stalkers-My Summer Saga

Seven

After nearly two months of illness, on Sunday July 11th I felt well enough to attend a church service.  The pastor who spoke that day read Psalm 23 and challenged others to read and ponder over a weeks’ time what God might be saying individually.

I took up the challenge and my regular journal recorded… after my first reading, the 4th verse jumped out at me, “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death – fearing no evil…  my immediate reaction is fear. Perhaps because I’ve been ill for 2 months and that’s been terrible enough. I would struggle greatly with a “death sentence.”

I’m not finished here yet but often I wonder what I’m doing – what’s of value – what’s not.  Too often I believe I’m simply coasting, putting in time – wondering, waiting, – not living the life intended for me…I then recalled some areas of my life where I’d struggled by not fulfilling my own life’s dreams and the current journey to rectify that.

My journal ended with, Now what? What’s it all meant? How am I moving forward?

It was weeks before I made it back to my journal as my body let me know it had been through a battle and needed some more assistance.

With all the antibiotics and pain medications going into me my gut ran out of good bacteria and the nasty bacteria called Clostridium Difficile decided to take over. Was it already there? Had I picked it up somewhere else? Why me?  I’ll never know…

The bacteria were in control and with a bare minimum of details, I stayed home, I stayed close to the bathroom and I stayed in bed.  It was the amount of blood passing through me that sent me back to plunk myself down in the doc’s chair once again.

So, one might ask, how does C Difficile get treated?  The crazy answer is with yet another antibiotic.

In my Gratitude Journal July 22 – Grateful for “more” antibiotics to kill off the C Difficile bug in my body.  I will hopefully be on the mend. 

On that day, I continued my Psalm 23 reflections and in my regular journal, recorded some notes…Bang – right off the top – The LORD is my shepherd, not life, not hubby, not the things about me.  “I shall not be in want”

He will satisfy me – as I think about what to write, what to paint, where to spend time…if I go to my Shepherd and ask for his direction he will guide me, show me and lead me because “his rod and staff” they will comfort me. In him, amid his presence I am surrounded by his cloud of protection.  Whatever it is I do; it will be right.

The following day in a continued somber mood Psalm 23’s reflections met mine and my pen flowed with ink over several pages in my regular journal.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.”

The water runs out of the spout in my garden fountain, into a bowl and trickles below only to cycle through the system again, and again.

This is how God is leading me beside quiet waters.

I’ve sat many hours this summer, listening to the water, waiting to be well while one strange infection after another attacks my body.

I live in a Modular Home Park – AKA (also known as) a mobile home park where a typical impression might be one of lower class, poor and unkempt – a TV view of what I’ve often heard called, ‘white trailer trash’.

I love it here, when I can put aside my own biased views of my home location. Out my back door is the deck designed by hubby who then enlisted the services of his talented brother to build.

Surrounding our little yard is the wood fence designed and built by hubby earlier this spring just as the garden was coming to life and I became ill. My daughter and I had assisted just enough one day to get bragging rights that ‘we’ built the fence together.

The fence keeps Thomas the Cat within, who graciously chooses not to jump and run and is the perfect backdrop for the multitude of seasonal pops of color that have entertained me.

I feel protected and contained within my boundaries – it reminds me of ‘walking with Jesus’ along the narrow path – completely free within.

So, I sit, I think, I pray…

I wish I were well, I fight with the frustration and anger that rises within me.  I have little choice but to relax, accept that I feel fatigued, have little energy and I cannot control this current situation. I can instead, enjoy watching my cat enjoy being outside with me looking at the birds and listen to their songs.  Like him, I can stretch out my legs and lift my face to the warmth of the sun and simply… be beside quiet waters.

This is my moment to be grateful for all I have and which is being provided for me.

On Monday, August 1st I wrote in my Grateful Journal, Grateful. Feel better/off medication.

On Monday, August 22nd I wrote in my Grateful Journal, Grateful.  Sunshine. Feel Healthy.  Have options. Have a future to enjoy.

 

Please look for my next and last entry on …my summer saga…after all, summer came and went, fall rains arrived and it is nearly time for Christmas trees and snowfalls.

 

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As Darkness Falls

Recently I spent 17 days in Mesa, Arizona at Val Vista, (http://www.cal-am.com/resorts/resorts_details.php?resorts_id=2&search=quick) among hundreds, possibly thousands of Snowbirds – the name given to people of the retired age who fly or drive to live or vacation in the many Southern parts of the world.  Sitting around the pool, or riding my borrowed bike to a local Pickleball court to join up with a friendly group of women that I met, or simply bundling up at night for a stroll around the park, (the temperatures do drop) made it a challenge to even think about the vacation coming to an end.

Waking up to the nearly every day sunshine and an overhead blue ceiling produced an abundance of energy, which was needed to accomplish all the bike riding, Pickleball, walking, swimming, exploring and shopping that I and my husband Ross managed to do.

One evening, after a full day of play and entertaining myself and while Ross was still out on some golf course, or rather traveling home from one, the sun was setting and I happened to look outside our rental unit to see the sky change from blue to pink to shadows.  Of course I grabbed my camera and captured the moment.  I remember a sense of calm which came over me, the belief that all was well with my world, the awe of a day closing and feeling safe, secure and at peace. I nested within myself and as I think about it now, it was as though a warm blanket covered me, protected somehow as I watched darkness fall.

Sunset @ Val Vista

Sunset @ Val Vista

I do love that cozy feeling of the sun setting and my adjustment as evening takes over and I turn lights on but it wasn’t always like that as darkness covered me.  I often wrestled with darkness when I was young.  As a child, I dreaded the night for that was when I listened to arguments, when shadows revealed scary wind, branches that scratched at the window, the fear of being alone and various behaviors of others that tore off my security.  Instead of sleep, too often my mind remained occupied with thoughts of being robbed, of my parents marriage breakup and my splintered family.  Under the weight of darkness evil lurked at every corner of my imagination which produced a wild and uncontrolled panic within.  I took all those realities and imagined fears with me into my teenage and young adult life, until one by one I was able to look at them in the daylight and dismantle their power.

As a young adult and a new spiritual awareness of God, who became my strength and healer; with family, friends and a long process of support, my unstable childhood receded into the shadows – still there but lacking power to control.

So that one vacation sunset day stands out among others as I took pictures and listened to the hum of days end, as lights blinked on and the smell of barbecues cooked up an evening meal.   I absorbed all that my senses could take in, then settled onto a couch to read a book until my man arrived ‘home.’

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End and Begin

Here it is again, the end of a year and the beginning of a new one. Last year I chose a word to live by rather than making a list of New Year’s resolutions which I may or may not have followed.  I came across ONEWORD THREE SIXTY FIVE and adopted the idea.

Last years Word of the Year was Surrender and here I’ve hit yet another learning curve in my older age of navigating being a writer, connecting with social media, and trying to stay current with developing computer skills. Surrender to the fact that I’ve much to learn, must ask for help, must yield to instruction, follow instructions, then retain all that information to repeat actions in the future.

In order to finish what I originally set out to do: write about my word for this year, I had to teach myself a new skill which was to find the title of a previous post and insert it correctly with a title and not a long list of… what is the computer word for a bunch of letters, symbols and ….ahh…yes ‘code’?  This was definitely a ‘learn as I go’ post.

I read Claire De Boer’s  article on her chosen word and I borrowed her plan to think, pray and toss around ideas for what my word would be…several options presented themselves until it became clear. It wasn’t until after I’d chosen my word, gone back and read Claire’s article again that I spotted my word right there in the middle of her writing. Thank you Claire. It was confirmation somehow that I was on the right path.

I am currently reading The Inheritance by John and Lyza Clarke who share several of their sailing excursions along with spiritual truths of travelers from the Old Testament. In one particular chapter John was telling about the time he and his son were on the boat together, stuck at dock waiting for some stormy weather of wind and rain to end so they could continue sailing.

John says, “Two things are especially important to remember on a sailboat voyage. One is you need a destination to head for and the second is you have to keep moving. If you stay in one place too long, its charm diminishes and restlessness sets in. A destination gives you a direction, a distance to cover, and a sense of accomplishment. When our children were young, we headed for Desolation Sound and back to Seattle on our summer vacations. They anticipate the special places along the way, like good old Sydney Spit, Hawkins Island, Bucaneer Bay, or Harmony Island, but we always hauled anchor and moved on to the next spot before they grew tired of each place’s uniqueness. By the end of the trip we looked forward to the routines of home and were ready to get off the boat. But then we repeated the same cycle the next year and the kids never tired of it as long as we kept moving.”

I was prompted to read that paragraph several times and then continued to read, “Life, too, needs a purpose or destination to keep progressing toward. We are meant to keep moving toward the inheritance through the lessons God has prepared, to a place where the intimate knowledge of God and a mature character are the goals.”  While John and his son were stuck waiting out the storm they explored the beaches and kept moving and as John says, “talking about life.”

It was during those repeated readings the word FORWARD came to settle upon me as the focus for upcoming year. FORWARD is significant for me because it clarifies how to set goals and ask myself if any particular thought, book, activity or habit will move me or not.

Over my life journey I’ve needed to look back a lot, to sort out where I came from, heal from wounds and discover who I was – a tendency though is to emotionally live back there if I’m not careful. To let go and look FORWARD is wise and good inner advice for me to follow. As I approach my 60th birthday – oh right, that happened in October…as my husband Ross approaches his 60th birthday in February and we anticipate our 35th wedding anniversary in March we’ve planned a fun holiday for ourselves.

A few ideas of putting my word into daily life plan means I can prioritize my writing activities and decide whether they are moving me in the direction I want or need.  I may even dig my paint brushes out of confinement and get creativity going again.

I can focus on the big dream I have of one day walking the Pacific Coast Trail which runs from the Canada/US border all the way to the Mexico border which I’ve loosely read about. In looking toward that walking trek I can make choices about how much I will walk this month, this week, this day. I can choose how I treat my feet, my health, my attitudes about fitness and how I will use my mind while out walking.

I enjoy my family and friends, the game of Pickleball, the recovery/discipleship ministry called Freedom Session and I anticipate what will come in this next year as I keep my word in front of me as a guide. I want to step in the direction of my destination as it unfolds before me.

Oh, and after several hours of experimenting with how to ‘simply’ insert a link from another website I accidentally did it right one time and after that…well, I managed, with help to do it again.   I am moving FORWARD.

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Gold and God – A Winning Match

In exhaustion and exhilaration I climbed in bed for a good night’s sleep.

Earlier in the day I and my female partner had participated in the women’s doubles in the game of Pickleball at the BC Senior Summer Games in Kamloops, BC.  http://www.2013kamloopsbcseniorsgames.org/

This is the first year of going to a rating system of 2.75, 3. 3.25, 3.5, 3.75, 4 and 4.5 and in our category of 3.25 we were in a mix of 4 teams and played each team twice.  We ended up in a 3 way tie with 4 wins and 2 losses each.  It came down to points for and against and we were able to squeak out a Gold medal with 7 points separating Gold, Silver and Bronze.   We were proud of our win.

Laying in bed in my tiny motel room, with my husband snoring beside me, he was nearly drowned out by the fridge whose motor kicked in randomly which sounded like a car motor revving.  On and off, on and off the fridge roared and I eventually put a pillow over my head to assist my ear plugs to do their job of silencing my space so I could sleep.

With the fridge on and off is how I slept, on and off, reliving my day, and to quote my partners description of a restless sleep, “pickling all night.”  I could see myself make great shots, watch balls drop at my feet, sometimes unable, or at other times not even trying to hit it, taking huge sweeps to slam the ball over and across the net – yet miss it completely.  I was feeling the emotions of winning a game and losing a game and my adrenaline simply kept me going in sleep cycles throughout the night until I became fully awake at 5am and began to write.

It reminds of the night my son was born.  There was a 4 hour burst of energy, intensity, focus and full attention to the task at hand of birthing.  Shortly after midnight my prize was born and I was high on adrenaline for the remainder of the night reliving each moment, snippets of conversation and the thrill of knowing I had participated in doing something wonderful – in this case giving birth though I had the assistance of my husband, nursing staff and months of preparation.

My Pickleball games also came with help, lessons, 3 years of learning the game,  months of practice, teamed up with my partner as we chatted about our areas of strengths and areas we needed to work on and asking for tips from others along the way.

My musings of the night took me further as I reflected about my journey through marriage.  Ongoing training, staying focused and to press on toward the goal, to reach my reward reminds me of  the scripture reference from THE MESSAGE in Philippians 3:12-14, “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made.  But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.  Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus.  I’m off and running and I’m not turning back.”

I remembered saying to myself through my various games, “okay, stay focused, watch the ball, and keep your eye on the ball” then feel my body take a readying position to receive whatever came my way.  I was trained to this point, at my level and I was giving it my best shot, literally.

This is a revelation of what Paul (THE MESSAGE) teaches about life, in my spiritual pursuit of living life according to Gods word and his purposes whether it be in play, work or marriage.  To be filled with zeal, train for it, find my strengths, be aware of pitfalls, weaknesses, work on improving and stay focused on the path to my reward, communicate and actively work as a team member with my partner – pick up the slack for each other, yet at the same time, strive for my individual best.

My Pickleball partner and I are well matched each bringing our particular strength to the game and spots where we may have to help each other out of a tough spot, encouraging and strategizing – consoling – spurring one another on.

So like birthing.  So like marriage.  So like the game of life.

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Life and Death and Respect

I’ve shared in some life altering experiences in the past several months that have both closed me up inside so I can reflect and opened me up to live life fully so I don’t miss the purpose of my being here.  I want to tell the whole story yet feel resistant so others are protected because it isn’t just about me.

I now understand the conflict within when writing memoir, the unwillingness to expose, hurt or make public that which may cause problems relationally while at the same time story within keeps banging the ‘walls’ to come out.

Thus, I have not been writing.  I’ve been walking, running, playing Pickleball and sitting staring into space. Even my journal hasn’t seen much of me.  A big rolling ball of words have been stuck inside waiting for the right moment to spit out into story form.  For now it is titles and opening lines.

A friends elderly father passed away and I was honored to be a small part of this journey for his last month at home.  A daughters love and respect for her father is forever imprinted on my heart.

An extended family member – a young man, died suddenly. His funeral was both terribly sad yet filled with life, stories of his life and what God can do with it, if one lets that happen.

On a gym floor, a man drops with a heart attack and I am there. The staff put their training to action. I see, hear, react and act. I become part of a team and watch a wonder woman give life giving support. I pray.

The AED machine is used. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automated_external_defibrillator)

Medical help arrives.  Today this man lives.

I have three and a half hours of training, then three days of work for Elections BC, in care homes which gives its residents the right to vote. For many this is the end of life and I am left confused with the blur of walkers, wheelchairs, happy or grumpy greetings and in some cases questions of ‘why am I here?’

Indeed…this is my question too.    Life and death and death and life – speaking to me.

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