I wasn’t exactly thinking of baking a blueberry dessert when the little rascals from my Big Box Store shopping extravaganza were scrambling all over our driveway the other day! Oh dear. My beloved will probably be reading this. I washed them off Steve, truly I did!
Such is the caper of the rogue blueberries: I opened the passenger side door of my truck to a splash of little purple berries spilling out onto the concrete beneath my feet. I ended up stepping on one or two as I stepped back to figure out what had happened. Squish! They had rolled underneath the truck, in front of the door, all around my feet, down the driveway, and even past the sidewalk 20 feet away. Geez oh man! Good thing for cracks in the sidewalk or the courtyard would be a “hazy shade of Winter” too! Maybe they wanted the freedom from their cramped clam shell cave into the cloud-covered, 30+ degree air? I dunno. I was getting cold so I set myself to rescue all that I could quickly without crushing them . . . two by three. Blueberries on the loose are not easy catch you know!
Two days later I had figured out that the day AFTER Valentines Day would be a perfect occasion for putting my little treasures to good use. I didn’t even use a recipe and yet I was able to concoct a gluten-free wonder made with a stick of butter, chopped pecans, and slightly sweetened coconut cream topping that would seem to get along well together. Yes! It was yummy!
So let this be a lesson for bakers everywhere. If you want a great homemade treat for a special holiday and exceedingly wonderful someone, rough up the ingredients on the pavement first. The beating will soften them and you just enough to get your creative juices flowing. The delectable dessert prize surely will soothe your taste buds long enough to make you forget about your sore knees and the blue stains under your fingernails!
In my very early contacts with who would become my Intended Beloved, I realized that I had not seen any close-up pictures of him. We had met online after Steve had found me in the database of the dating website Yahoo Personals. He certainly spoke and wrote like a God-fearing man yet I could not yet see it in his eyes! “Could you send me a picture that includes a look into your eyes closer-up?” I asked. Here is one that he sent me.
I was tickled that he took the time (long before the convenience of smart phones, by the way) to set up his tripod, take and upload the photos, then send them to me via email! Wow. He must have liked my profile photo a bit more than I thought already?
Flash forward less than a year and the look we have as we gaze at each other at our wedding probably tells its own story . . .
How could I possibly know that this gaze would only deepen, soften, and grow to a bond impervious to the tempestuous trials that came our way four years later? Only the Lord knew what was ahead of us. Only the Lord and the workings of the Holy Spirit could move this love to such a tender place built to last.
Funny thing is that I do not have a recent picture to show you what I mean. We just haven’t been able to go out as much to make memories worthy of recording. A photo taken on our recent anniversary may show a bit of weariness for me. Yet if you look closely, that’s a mighty strong arm holding me closely to his side. The joy on Steve’s face is unmistakable. That’s an arm of protection, of leadership, of devotion like no other wrapped tightly around me on a cool wintry night.
I am so very grateful to see the eyes of Christ in my precious Steve. Like my Lord Jesus, Steve is even more wonderful than the day I met him. His love has transformed my heart for sure.
Ever look into the eyes of someone like that, Gentle Reader? Was it long ago? Oh I hope that if it has not yet happened then it will someday soon! When it does I hope that you will tell the world about it. Maybe with a song like this one, in celebration of the eyes of love tonight:
Sometimes the person out front is the leader of the pack, charting a course for others to follow.
Other times, the one in back of you controls the rudder of your life and you have no other choice than to give into his lead.
The paddler beyond the stern of your boat may be drafting off your lead, riding your wake, resting to overtake the lead at any moment thus determining your fate.
But when matched up together in the same tandem kayak or outrigger canoe, it’s tough to see who is really steering the craft. Is it the gal in front? The guy in the back? The force of the wind shifting them about? The unseen forces of nature?
I submit to you that on the water, the average bloke cannot really tell what is going on unless you know a bit about the sport of paddling, the features of the watercraft, the paddlers therein, and the goal of the voyage.
Here we have dual controls on our tandem outrigger (OC-2), controlled by the pair of foot pedals in either the cockpit of the front or the back of the hull. We decided a long time ago that Steve would be situated in the back of the boat and control the rudder to steer us from there. My role would be to alert him to hidden rocks or logs and only change the arrangement in the event of an imminent crash! Even if he took a different line down a river or around a lake than I would, it would be his responsibility to guide the boat. And so it was for our first outing in the OC-2 since last year . . .
Blue Lake is one of the cleaner yet smaller lakes in Northeastern Indiana: about the same distance from our home as the 3 rivers that intersect downtown and south of us. It’s about a mile long and a few miles to paddle around, inside the shoreline. We decided that this would be the best place to go for a brief outing on Saturday. The water was cool, the air was warm, and the sun was setting a fiery glow in the distance. Fireworks spouted off all around us with smoke from these and summer cookouts that characterize the celebration of Independence Day in America. The haze reminded us of the battles fought for the freedom of our nation in 1776! This time the declaration on shore included everything cooked on the BBQ; the boaters under power and paddle on the water were friendly too. Even the dad of the family that lived across the street from the boat launch who has befriended my hubby during prior outings, stopped by to say “hello.” The best of our freedoms was all around us. No one cared who was out front, in control, or taking charge of anything. Everyone seemed out to have some good summer fun and that was all, including us!
I really enjoyed our 60 minutes canoeing yesterday. Both Steve and I prayed in thanksgiving for the chance we had to be together sharing an activity that has characterized much of our marriage these past 7 1/2 years. I joke that every summer I become a “kayaking widow” as Steve practices then races his surf ski in the northern Indiana circuit of the United States Canoe Association competitions. But I didn’t use to be so alone. Until the Fall of 2011, I usually went out with him in my own kayak and the Fort Wayne kayaking group on Tuesday nights. On the weekends I loved cheering for Steve from the side of the river for as many Saturday events as I could get out myself out of bed in wee hours of the morning to attend. He has continued to race all of our married life together, and race well. I wouldn’t have it any other way. And yesterday we were together again; last month I got to attend one of his races. Lord willing both will happen again next weekend at a new event-with-festival. Lord willing indeed.
The price to pay for participating in these events is very high. I go to them when there is a break in the convulsive episodes and usually pay my dues with bed rest and intermittent episodes the following day. This has been my routine for over 3 years. This past weekend was no different. And yet we still praised the Lord. Jesus Christ was the One who once walked on water, carried the apostles to safety in raging seas from shore to shore, preached from the beach to the multitudes, and created the beauty we all enjoy. He also led the two of us to a wonderful moment of recreation: just me and my beloved River Bear. I am grateful for this gift. Period.
I am also grateful for the man the Lord has designed in Steve. My Stevers waited all day long until I could leave the house after 6:00 p.m. to pack up the boat on the car racks and load up all of our supplies. He had cleaned his car for me earlier, “just in case” I would be able to make it. He changed up his usual workout once we were on the water to make the day meaningful for both of us. And he led us through the entire experience as if the day was just like any other: a warm summer afternoon on the water together in July. Oh how I love you my River Bear! I really don’t mind letting you steer us from behind. It really doesn’t matter who is in the lead all as long as we can be together again like this.
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. 7 Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned. [Song of Songs 8:6-7]
So whether you are waiting for inspiration, the man in your life to make a decision, the Lord to whisper His voice into your darkness, or for the rushing waves of illness to calm down in your tender vessel: take heart. The one, the One who leads will take you through the right waters at just the right time in just the right way to get you exactly where you know you really want to be anyways. I don’t know if there will be fireworks to celebrate that moment in time like there was for me? I do know that there will be a celebration in heaven for the faithful who have waited upon the Lord who loves you more than you know.
And He will bring you to that special place, Gentle Reader, where the sailing will be Divine. Just look at how cool it can be! JJ
I love Patrick Klein’s words from the Vision Beyond Borders newsletter this week:
Psalm 143:10-12 says, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.” Doing God’s will does not come naturally; our natural tendency is to satisfy our fleshly and worldly desires. We must be taught and transformed by God to do His will. When His Spirit leads us, it is on level ground. He alone can make crooked paths straight. Our duty is to remember that what we do is for His name’s sake. It is not about us. He alone can best determine how He desires for us to bring glory to His name. It is not for us to determine. Despite hardships, trials or persecution that may be allowed in our lives, God can preserve us and bring us out of our trouble.
Our only responsibility in all of this is to simply remember our role. We are to be servants of Christ. Often we grow weary because we are trying to do His part. We are trying to figure out where He is taking us rather than allowing Him to lead us. We are trying to figure out how to preserve our lives and bring ourselves out of trouble rather than allowing Him to bring us out. We are trying to silence our enemies and destroy our foes when that is not our work. We are not made for those things, and it is exhausting. Our duty is simply to look to God and serve Him, allowing Him to do these things for His servants! We don’t have to strive, we simply have to come to Him. His yoke is easy and His burden is light; we will find rest for our souls. May we faithfully seek Him, serve Him and remain completely in Him, trusting Him to show us each step!
Thank you Patrick. Last night I started using yet another binding agent (Zeolite) to try to encapsulate and detox mercury from my weakened frame. Afterwards I felt very weird! We were Skyping with my husband’s daughter in Thailand and it was all I could do to chat a bit, smile a bit, and keep my shoulders from hiking up to my ears! The nightly seizure attack episode was significantly shorter and I fell asleep at a more reasonable time, around 1:30 a.m. Hell was waiting for me this morning and returned with more violence a couple of hours later. Can you say “mad as a hatter?” Well if you were a hatmaker in the 19th century you might be more familiar with mercury poisoning than the current medical profession. So let’s see if we can figure this one out, eh?
#1 Trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
#2 Follow the clues and think about how chelation works for mercury and heavy metals. Most protocols require regular treatments for a given interval of time, sometimes as often as every 4 hours. (See the Cutler protocol.) The rebound occurred about 12 hours after the first dose of a true chelating agent.
#3 Consider a repeat, low level dose at regular intervals to bind and remove the newly circulating toxins.
#4 Relief came within minutes when the detox agent was consumed with lots of water.
And after resting, eating, sitting out in the lovely Fall sunshine, I am upright. This is good. I am also extraordinarily humbled by some incredible blessings this week and will end with four to match the points enumerated above:
#1 Unfailing love in the eyes of my intended beloved, Steve. When I am in his arms no matter what the circumstances, I feel the love, care, and compassion of my Heavenly Husband too. Thank you Jesus for Steve. Please love and bless Him. Cover our marriage with your grace. May others see a good work in all of this for your glory Lord.
#2 Treatment options that provide some relief. I believe that the pattern of suffering is about to change for the better and we are exceedingly grateful.
#3 Wisdom that ultimately comes from the Lord. I have learned so much these past 3 years and have received blessings, gained new skills, met new people, cleared out some excess baggage, and found a voice that I pray will glorify you here.
#4 Hope. No matter what the burden may be (and we both need not look far to see horrific burdens that our brothers and sisters in Christ must bear for their belief in Him), He will prevail. As a new friend, Karan Gleddie, brought to light this week we are to “set (our) minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Col. 3:2) Therein we too will find our hope, our peace, our happiness. And as Patrick reminded me, we are to serve with the strength of Christ for His namesake. With our eyes on Christ all things are possible.
Devastated by unanswered prayers and sorrows so deep
I lie awake my body tossing, trembling
Such are the storms of night: unending.
From wherest does my help come from
When prayers bring no relief with each day’s sun?
The hopes are dashed, the relief doesn’t last
And the damage, the pain continues no less.
So many nights where nightmares became reality
So much suffering sends off all memories of normalcy.
People leave your life even when they like you
For fear, for powerlessness, for horror of what is your truth.
New sojourners may come only to wallow awhile with you
Should you happen to find a way out they will be long gone too.
Choose wisely your inner circle my friend
Make sure the Lord is closest-in when the nightmare ends.
He will never leave: His love will fill the gaps
Where others must fail, supernatural strength is what lasts.
You can call Him near, like a salve to the wounds of war
Then peace will come . . . you can carry on from there, dear one.
Now here’s a love song that reminds me of these times with my beloved Steve: he holds me close while the Lord is still “on the line,” listening to our hearts and holding both of us near to His own. From a simpler time: