Archives

Thank you, Joyce Meyers.

Last week turned out to be very interesting.

After dealing with an upper respiratory thing for a week, I decided to visit the doctor to be sure my lungs were clear. They were. Whew!

But while there, I mentioned I had been feeling lethargic for a few months and more importantly, getting out of breath while climbing stairs or exerting myself.

The doctor immediately did an in-office finger prick and discovered my iron was super low. I mean, REALLY low. From there I went straight to the lab for further testing and by the next day had the results that confirmed I would need iron by IV infusion.

I was able to get in to the hematology office on Friday, where it was confirmed I needed the iron to “top off my tank.” A total of 6 weekly infusions should get me back where I need to be.

It will take 2-3 weeks to actually begin feeling better, but I’m very grateful to have begun the path to fixing the issue. Of course, that still leaves figuring out the reason my iron was depleted, but the doctor suspects my ulcers have reappeared. So, a trip to the gastroenterologist is up next.

I’m a person who generally takes action.

I try to be on top of things. And I get things done. But I have to admit, I also tend to be more conservative with my health. I’m not an alarmist and often take a wait and see approach. Hence the reason I’ve been feeling “off” for several months without visiting my doctor. But at 66, it’s probably time to make a change to that approach and be a little more pro-active.

I hear you, Joyce.

But it wasn’t only the cold that brought me to the doctor last week. It was actually something Joyce Meyers said. While listing to one of her YouTube videos where she talks about making decisions, she used an illustration that made the lightbulb over my head start blinking as I realized she was talking about me.

To illustrate how not making decisions or following through on a decision can have disastrous consequences, she mentioned a person with a medical issue who instead of taking care of it while it was a small problem, puts it off for years. By the time they finally see the doctor the small issue has become a big deal.

That’s all it took.

Yup, that’s literally all it took. After hearing Joyce’s example, the next day I was seeing the doctor, after deciding it was time to find out why I wasn’t feeling well rather than delaying further with the possibility it would become a bigger problem.

And if you read up on severe iron loss, you find it really is a big deal. It can even lead to a heart attack. Of course, it’s also important to know the cause and address that as well.

Decisions and Follow-Through

Here I am, a take-charge kind of person, who still put off seeing the doctor for much too long. So, imagine the person who has a hard time with decision-making and follow-through.

It was a wake-up call for me and I share my experience with you, too. I know decision-making can be difficult. I know following through on those decisions can be even more difficult but it can be so worth it.

Joyce does such a good job with this, that I’m sharing a link to her 28-minute video. She has a great way of using plain English, vivid illustrations, and lots of humor to enable the listener to really hear the message. LISTEN IN and see if you agree.

What decision have you been putting off? Or is it the follow-through that has you stuck? Dare to make a change. Consider moving ahead. May my example and Joyce’s teaching be an encouragement to you.

Love, Mimi

His legacy lives on…

In the past, I’ve shared a few posts from Joshua Rogers, whose blog is entitled “Finding God in the ordinary.” He’s a wonderful writer but more importantly using every day happenings, he is able to point to God in simple, yet often profound ways.

On Facebook, he recently shared the obituary of Ken Fuson, a man I had never heard of. Typically, I would not take the time to read something like this, but because it was a post from Joshua, and based on some of the comments, I decided to read on. And boy, am I glad I did!

It’s a bit of a long obituary but it reads quickly because you are captured from the start. It’s witty, intriguing, encouraging, uplifting, somber and written by Ken himself before his death. I rarely comment on Facebook posts, especially about someone I don’t know. But after reading this, I just had to leave my thoughts: Never heard of him but can’t wait to meet him in heaven. This was amazing and had me crying. I’m sharing it on my own blog. One word says it. Wow.

I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did.

KEN’S OBITUARY

Love, Mimi

Out with the old and in with the new!

(Originally published December 30, 2015)

What’s Mimi up to with those trash cans? you might be thinking. Well, Orange County, Florida recently switched things up a bit. Beginning January 1 we go from twice weekly trash pick-up with regular old trash cans to once weekly pick-ups in huge trash cans on wheels.

Change is not always easy…

…and Orange County has been trying their best to get us ready. Lots of info came our way throughout the fall along with two new rolling containers (one for trash, one for recycling). Each household has received specific instructions on exactly how and when to use them, too.

So we’re in for some change: new pick-up days, larger containers that hold a lot of stuff (yay) but that also take up a lot of room in the garage (boo), and while currently a green container holds recyclables, the new ones are blue. (I betcha lots of recyclables are going to end up in the wrong container for a while.)

There’s been a little griping here and there but no doubt things will work themselves out over time and soon the old ways will fade away, replaced by the new system.

At the start of the new year, some of us may be desperately looking for something new—a new adventure, a new job, a fresh start while others may be lamenting change and just as desperate to hold on to the familiar.

On any given day I may lay claim to any of the above thoughts but as Greek philosopher Heraclitus states “There is nothing permanent except change.” While I can argue that some things don’t change such as God’s love and provision for us, his statement with a little tongue in cheek drives home a good point.

My prayer.

So, my prayer for the coming year is that I will treasure what has been a blessing in my life, hold tight to precious memories, and at the same time I will boldly and courageously accept new challenges and look forward to what God has in store.

Blessings and love to all.

Mimi

Jesus, where are you?

Christmas 1991. If you ask me to tell you something about that particular Christmas, I’ll come up empty. The best I can do is use my kids as a reference and see if that triggers any memories.

Tim was 12 and Kate 11. That means 5th and 6th grades. Hmm, what else? I’m sure I can pull out pictures which will jog some memories. But no matter what job I held, no matter what church we attended, and no matter what was going on in the world, it must have been a crazy busy year. And it must have really gotten to me.

Why you ask?

Because I wrote a poem. I found myself wide awake in the middle of the night adding more and more things to my mental to-do list…the Christmas to-do list. The list that would ensure Christmas would be perfect for all my loved ones.

This list was supposed to keep me on track and stress-free. Instead, the opposite happened. I became filled with stress over how much there seemed to do. And in the wee hours of that morning, after this realization struck me, another reality presented itself ever so clearly. In the middle of trying so hard to have a wonderful Christmas for everyone, I had completely missed the reason for the holiday…Jesus.

Jesus was nowhere to be found.

Shopping, baking, concerts, get-togethers all took up time. They became the centerpiece of all my efforts. I was stressed out, tired, melancholy, and certainly not enjoying this beautiful time of year. I didn’t even understand why I was feeling this way. But for some reason, I put a pen in my hand and began writing. I don’t think I had written a poem since grade school. But I wrote and wrote and what you see below is what I wrote that night in 1991.

I poured my heart out. I had been so busy, that I took my eyes off of Jesus, the one who gave me new life. The one I was supposed to be celebrating. With tears streaming down my face, I realized I was the problem. Jesus wasn’t missing. I had left him out.

I learned a lot that night.

Christmases are not always perfect. And I don’t always do the best job at keeping Jesus at the center. But I learned that it’s up to me to find him. And the truth is that he’s right there. I had just covered him up with my to-do list. Once I could set it aside, I was able to uncover the greatest gift of all.

My prayer for you this year, is the one I have for me and my family as well: that amidst the Christmas joy we share with others, we will clearly be able to experience the joy of Jesus.

Jesus, Where Are You?

In the still of the night my mind cluttered with thoughts

Of the approaching season and the gifts to be bought.

There are lists to be made and things to be done,

Never enough time—certainly no fun.

 

Jumbled thoughts steal my time and my plans go awry.

I meant to be with You Lord—I did! my heart cries.

Yet somehow the busy-ness and crowds came right in

And took up the space where You should have been.

 

“Jesus, where are you?” my heart longs to shout.

Do You have anything to do with all that’s about?

We say it’s because of You that we rush and we spend

Vast amounts of money, much more than we intend.

 

A gift for Sally and Susan and John.

One more for Mary and Alice and Tom.

Quick bake a cookie, trim a tree, tie a bow.

Christmas will be here before you know.

 

Christmas day dawns, everything is all set.

The presents are bought—wrapped all pretty and yet

As I look through each room and the preparations I’ve done.

There’s just one thing still missing—Jesus, God’s Son!

 

It seems I made time for the pies, gifts, and friends.

But what it boils down to right in the end

In the midst of the rush and the gifts and the carols

I left out the One whose birth angels herald.

 

It is this One who the season should be about.

Let’s forget all the rest and His praises shout!

Yes, the presents are fine and the food is great, too,

But Jesus was born—for me and for you!

 

Let’s remember His birth at Christmas this year

Let’s remember God’s gift to us—Jesus is here!

Let’s not get caught up in all the ways of the Earth

But rejoice that in Jesus we have second birth!

Mimi

I’m not an idiot, Greg!

We have an unspoken agreement here. I break glass things such as dishes; Greg vacuums up the broken glass.

In one of those crazy everyday happenings, I dropped a glass bowl while drying it with a hand towel. It shattered but thankfully, it stayed pretty much in my small, galley-like kitchen which meant clean-up wouldn’t be a big chore.

Because Greg does all the weekly vacuuming here, it’s natural for him to be on clean-up duty. I let him know I broke the bowl and needed his help. I was in the middle of baking two different items, in my socks, no shoes, as is usual, and needed to continue on. There was no time out while the clean-up happened. That being said, at 65, I know a thing or two about broken glass. You need to be careful so you don’t cut yourself. Therefore, it is imperative to be cautious while wearing socks near the broken glass. It’s really a no-brainer.

My dilemma

…was that I was in the middle of thickening the broth on some homemade creamy chicken soup when this happened. I felt I couldn’t just walk away during the vacuuming. I decided to stick around, turn down the heat, and be nearby should anything else require my immediate attention.

While taking care of that, Greg happened to be using the handheld vacuum to get under the cabinets and it seemed there were still a few obvious pieces of glass on the floor that were in my way. So, I stooped down, picked them up, and tossed them in the trash.

And that opened the gates to things from Greg such as “I’m not done yet. I’ll get it.” While that’s what he said with his mouth, what I heard in his tone was that I was being a complete idiot for picking up the glass by hand when he stood ready to take care of things his own way.

My immediate response at being judged like this (or perceiving I was being judged as incompetent) was to shout (twice I might add), “I’m not an idiot Greg. I’m not an idiot!”

What followed was an eyeroll from him along with a tsk-tsk of being fed up with me and how stupid and foolish I was to not let him finish.

So, in my best kindergarten voice (or grown up angry woman voice) I retorted, “I’m going to write a blog about this.” And that’s just what I’m doing. Boy, do I feel better already.

In hindsight, I see many things that went wrong. (1) I broke a glass bowl. (2) It just happened to be in the middle of a cooking session. (3) I called for Greg’s help rather than do it myself because we’ve fallen into that pattern of him cleaning up my messes. (4) He has his way of doing things which often is different from mine. Not better, not worse. Just different. (5) I needed to attend to my cooking and didn’t clearly convey that. (6) Greg was being protective and didn’t want me to get hurt. (7) Greg didn’t realize how important it was to me to finish my soup. (8) I was offended that Greg thought I would be careless and possibly cut myself while picking up those two pieces. (9) I also felt severely judged that in his eyes he thought my behavior in picking up glass was idiotic. (10). Greg probably thought he could do a better job cleaning up than I could. (11) And that definitely bothered me. (12) I wasn’t seeing his perspective. (12) He certainly wasn’t seeing mine.

Whew, makes me tired thinking about all this.

So, what’s the lesson?

Well…I don’t think it’s a particularly deep one. In hindsight, I’m not even sure we could have avoided the tiff. It all happened so quickly. After all, there was indeed lots of broken glass on the floor right in the middle of my work area. And my work couldn’t easily stop at that point, but neither could the clean-up be put on hold.

What did happen, which was good (for me) was that I calmed myself down by simply putting on paper what I was feeling inside. After my brief two-sentence outburst, I didn’t say anything else until after I cleared my thoughts by starting this post.

I was able to then approach Greg with both a thanks for coming quickly to my request for help and an apology for getting upset during the process. I really don’t think either of us did much wrong. I believe the biggest issue was in our perceptions of what each other was thinking. I perceived Greg thought I was being idiotic and he perceived I was (he admitted so later). But in reality, it was just one of those things that happens with couples who have been together a long time (45 years in our case!).

The horrible thing is that often we want to wallow in being the offended party rather than fixing what went wrong. Even after writing the first draft of this post yesterday, it was difficult to go tell Greg how much I appreciated him. I wanted him to come to me apologizing for his own judgment of me. But when we play that game, where we are more content to remain in our misery rather than have a brief discussion and move on, we really let our spiritual enemy win. And that truly is a lose/lose situation for the couple.

I really hate being in discord with Greg but the reality is life happens, we say things we don’t mean to say (or maybe we do), and then after offense has been taken and hurt experienced, we can make it worse by sometimes refusing to do what will truly make it better…apologize.

My hope…

…that in the future I’ll be even quicker to try to fix things, to apologize, to make things right. Despite loving my man with all of my heart, we will continue to disagree on things. We will continue to get on each other’s nerves. But my hope is that I will be more and more willing to put down my flesh (let go of my offenses) as quickly as possible and restore the peace between us.

At this most wonderful time of year, we may find stress coming into play even more than usual. Let’s be on guard and be aware so that when those offenses arise, we can swiftly forgive without allowing them to fester.

Parting thoughts, from God’s Word.

Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool. (Ecclesiastes 7:9)

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. (Proverbs 15:1)

Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. (Ephesians 4:26-27, The Message)

Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31 The Message)

Mimi

Dealing with a puzzling situation.

As you know, the hubster and I really enjoy working on jigsaw puzzles. They’re relaxing, fun, use parts of our brains we want to keep active, and they often teach us lessons, which I’ve shared with you in the past.

Today, another lesson stared me in the face, so I’m sharing it with you.

Notice anything?

We finished the top puzzle just before Thanksgiving. Extra-large pieces, vibrant colors, and a beautiful end result. Of course, if you zoom in you might be able to see that two pieces were missing from this previously new, unopened box. Despite that, we pressed on and really enjoyed ourselves with the remaining 998 pieces! (Note: The manufacturer offered great customer service and a new one will soon be mailed to us.)

Having completed that one, it was time to move on to our annual Christmas puzzle.

Notice the difference between the two rows? The top pieces are from the Thanksgiving puzzle. Normal pieces shaped as you would expect them to be shaped. But when we opened the Christmas puzzle, the first thing we noticed was how tiny the pieces were.

But even more than the size of the pieces were the shapes. They’re crazy. There’s not a good way to sort them, other than by color. And they take much longer to fit together since the odd shapes mean you have to be very precise in finding the correct piece it connects to.

Needless to say, this puzzle requires longer work times, much patience, lots of Christmas music in the background, and frequent breaks for energy snacks. While it will definitely be completed in a week or less, it’s much more time-consuming than the last one.

The Lesson

So, what’s the lesson in all this? It’s to remind us that sometimes life can get messy. And if we’re not prepared for that messiness, it can turn our worlds upside down and possibly make us doubt God.

After walking through a predictable, stable period of time, if we find ourselves confronted with something unexpected, we may feel out of balance. And feeling out of balance may lead to inaction as we become unsure of decisions. Despair at being stagnant may even set in. And then instead of running to God, we may turn inward instead, becoming paralyzed and unable to have a godly perspective.

When I saw those crazy puzzle shapes in the Christmas puzzle, I wanted to pack up the pieces and donate the puzzle to a charity—letting someone else deal with it. But instead, I worked the edge pieces, then Greg started sorting by color. Soon, we had three birds and a big part of the snowman. And that seemed to spur us on to continue, even if we’re at a slower pace than with our prior puzzle.

Now, if only I can remember this…

Those crazy puzzle pieces actually do more to remind me of God’s trustworthiness, than the traditional pieces do. They remind me there’s still a beautiful picture being created and that the journey, even when difficult, will be worth it.

When confronted with less than ideal circumstances, or unexpected events, that’s the time to dig in. That’s the time to turn our focus to God, asking for His perspective, His wisdom. Realizing we can still completely trust God—that He’s in control and that this will be used for our good (Romans 8:28).

If life has you puzzled at the moment, if the pieces no longer seem to fit together in order, don’t despair. Instead, turn to God, the author and finisher of your life. His perspective is all that matters. Trust that things will work out as you abide in Christ. Yes, it might not happen immediately, but know that the One who created you, has every intention of finishing what He started. And though this present circumstance may have caught you off-guard, it definitely hasn’t caught Him off-guard.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Let’s Pray

Father, I admit I like it better when my life is more orderly. But I know in my journey to becoming more like you, there will be times life takes turns I’m not expecting. In those times, may I run to You for Your comfort, Your reassurance, Your love, and Your affirmation. Amen.

Mimi

A penguin project to brighten your day.

Each year, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, my loved ones come to our house where we all enjoy our annual Family Fun Craft Day (FFCD).

It entails crafting, sharing a meal, whiffle baseball or soccer in the backyard, cornhole, and often times a swim in the community pool. Even Poppy, our family’s patriarch at age 93, joins in the fun and at day’s end we finish by decorating his apartment door in his nearby residence.

The crafts are up to me and since I’m not a crafty person by nature, it’s often a bit of trial and error. Ideas are gathered, supplies purchased, and a week or two prior to FFCD, Greg will assemble the men’s project while I tackle the ladies’—just to be sure we have everything we need and to figure out if the proposed crafts actually are doable.

This year for the men: Project Penguin

The men this year are making a light bulb penguin. I’ve seen these for years and it turns out they’re relatively easy to make. And if you know you’re going to be making them, just save your burned-out traditional light bulbs throughout the year and you can cross that item off the supply list. Pictures and instructions are below. Give them a try and be sure to let me know how they turn out. (You can attach a hanging cord to turn them into tree ornaments or skip the cord and make them in several sizes to display as a penguin family. The ones we made this year are rather traditional, but you can get creative with different hats or outfits. Have fun!)

And be sure to share your own family Christmas traditions in the comment section below.

Light Bulb Penguins

Brought to you courtesy of: 66 Craft Happy Summer on YouTube (https://youtu.be/7HrmbGBOEMA)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Light bulb
  • Wooden (or cardboard) heart for feet (a little bigger than 1” square)
  • Red pom-pom (1)
  • Googly eyes (2)
  • Orange triangle for nose (we made ours out of felt)
  • Glue gun/glue
  • Ribbon for scarf
  • Thinner ribbon for hanger (if using as hanging ornament)
  • Paint: white, black, orange, red

Creating the Penguin:

  1. Paint feet orange and set aside.
  2. On light bulb, outline the front face/belly and paint white. Two coats.
  3. Paint the rest black. Two coats.
  4. Glue light bulb onto the feet.
  5. Paint the top socket red for hat. While drying, glue on two googly eyes.
  6. Glue on a triangular piece of orange felt for nose.
  7. Add ribbon around neck for scarf and glue into place. (One drop will do.)
  8. Glue red pom-pom on top for hat topper. If making into a tree ornament, first glue on thin ribbon for hanging. Then add the pom-pom.

Great results or better luck next time?

How did your penguin turn out? Comment and include a picture. Would love to see what you came up with. Our son-in-law Chris got creative and made a University of Florida penguin. Check out his right hand. Very cute.

Mimi