What would suit her best?

That funny bush with the orange berries

That I found tucked in a nursery corner

Was her birthday gift many decades ago

And became another treasure of uniqueness, much like that of her own.

Or the specimen discovered from the zoo

When she found the groundskeeper

And pleaded to give her a cutting

To grow with her collection of rare finds and vagabond species too.

Perhaps the devil’s tongue would be it

That bloomed in the closet each Winter

With a stink much worse than her smokes

And a tropical canopy outside in summer:  uniquely placed in the Midwest.

Surely she would be planted on the hill

Where the orange pavers from Woodstock days

Used to mark the side door to the home

Laden with so many memories and metal trash cans covering some of them too.

Oh I’ll bet she’s still out there somewhere

For her ashes got sprinkled into the earth

Forever mixed with the fruit of her hands

And beautiful gardens, a spa, some whimsy, all in squared borders of suburban fare.

Oh mom, how I miss you this day

As I tend to my own soil and dig

Preparing for Spring flowers and food

Adding amendments, turning it over again until everything crumbles just right.

One plant in particular we share

From your garden and mine:

Those “bee bush” perennial sedum

That you made me edge around in the hot summer sun by back-breaking hand!

Oh how you would love

To see me hail a sharpened spade

Defining my borders so clean with

Just one more bed added most years ’cause it’s also a passion for me borne from you.

Maybe the climbing Baffin rose

I will dedicate to you, Rose Anne:

A rambler, a bit wild yet beautiful

Yes this you shall be in my garden scrapbook come alive where you and me will always meet.

JJ

William Baffin, roses, fuscia, pink, red, climbing, vines, fence, garden

Fuscia William Baffin Climbing Roses

 

For this I have seen

The darkest time of night

Brings hope in ways not the norm:

When breathing is restored and the room stands still

My mind clears and my Lord speaks in ways never heard before.

He knows my frame

And delivers me once again

With less pain overall these days

And more wisdom than trauma for all the suffering.

For alas I can go

To such a wretched place

Time and again whilst wondering “why?”

Only to find hidden answers just for me, in the those tender places.

Not all makes sense

And that can be o.k. in the end

When I know the Lord is at the helm

And uses my suffering for His glory, my healing, to bring light, and more.

No, it was not wasted

When I found you who came along

This way with me where the blackest times of night

Served to shine streams of sunshine into days once lived in shades of gray.

Oh to keep mediocrity!

That would be dreadful indeed.

To never see beyond vanilla, boring landscapes

Creeping traffic in the middle lane when the Audubon beckons in a Ferrari 458.

Mach 1 with your hair aflame

Is bound to singe your eyebrows too

But how will you know if you are truly alive my dear

If you have not seen, tasted death along the edges of life truly lived whoot, whoot?

Because when it is over

A job will be waiting for you as me:

To tell our stories to those stuck in the dark

Or on an exit ramp on the wrong road they once thought went nowhere too.

There is always more

Even when our breaths are numbered

When we each see the door to the last destination

And can no longer wonder if we did too much or too little when our past cannot change.

The door to eternity awaits us both dear one:

With adventure of which we cannot conceive;

A place filled with wonder and no more tears

Where our heart will be home, finally, at last.

Will you risk this to be true and come to Him?

Will you lay down your fight, the need to know

To let Jesus Christ be your true reason to live:

The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end.

Even when in our hearts we must let Him reign

Leading our thoughts and quieting all our fears

Adding His increase when no strength remains.

Finding this kind of peace transcends all we see:

We will find more than the mind can imagine for

We will live at peace I tell you for this I have seen.

:JJ

 

diaperthongGotcha!  ;J

 

It’s only a matter of time

hellLet’s see.  If I had a timer going for a few events these past few days, this is how I would measure up:

  • Friday:  Made dinner.  1 1/2 hours.
  • Saturday:  Unloaded compost with hubby and tinkered with a few garden tasks.  Made dinner.  3 hours.
  • Sunday:  Sat outside.  Posted some new jewelry on Etsy and surfed the net.  All day.

The rest of the time was characterized by self care, supreme sickness and recovery.  Who knew that seizure attack episodes on Friday and Saturday could take on a violent, writhing character for 10 minutes straight of unbelievable hell?  I am so very glad that the other episode of 2 hours of non-stop seizing plus aftermath would not take me to the emergency room in the middle of the night, early Saturday morning.  Alas, my beloved got a few hours of sleep.  But today it’s just sad that I missed my husband’s shooting class.  All of this is a really big bite in the shorts, I tell ya.

As it turns out the most difficult issue for me to face during these last almost 3 years of illness is a “waste of time.”  I value the meaningful use of my time more than money, people, places, and things.  It’s just how I am wired and I don’t want to spend a 60-minute counseling session trying to figure out WHY!  This aspect of illness really cuts to the core of my being.  I will, however, submit my will to the wisdom of my Heavenly Father.  Perhaps it is a supreme opportunity to soften this issue of time measuring value for me.  Value is not measured by time in the eyes of the Lord.  Value is measured by simply being.  (Now that’s another topic for another time!)  Maybe today I should explore the topic of time in a walk through His Word?

God created time.  Genesis 1:14  14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years,

Time will end, thereby increasing its value.  Revelation 10:6  King James Version (KJV) And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:

There is a time for everything, good and bad.  Ecclesiastes 3:1  There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

Time is measured by God.  All things happen in His appointed time.  We are to wait patiently for His divine timing of both the events of our lives and the events prophesized in the Bible.  Daniel 12And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?

And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

We have no idea when things will really happen or not happen.  Better to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord our God.  The most important event is His return in glory.  Mark 1332 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”

God ordains certain tasks in the lives of believers at certain times until our days are over.  When in doubt we are to fast and pray that the Holy Spirit may counsel us, lead us, comfort us through our days.  Esther Chapter 4.  14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

Our time is to be spent gaining wisdom among other tasks He ordains for us to do.  Psalm 90:12  12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom

We are to spend our time in meditation on the things that matter most.  This requires  inactivity!  Philippians 4:8  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Time spent with the Lord is infinitely multiplied as He is timeless.  2 Peter 3:8  But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

God orders the steps, the events of our lives for His divine purposes.  They are not random.  They are not without meaning or purpose.  Proverbs 16  In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. 

His plans include blessing, a future and a hope.  In this promise we can find rest.  Jeremiah 29.  11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

And yet we are to live fully in the moment and consider the future according to His will.  James 4  13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

Not only are the events and timing of our lives planned as part of His will.  They are ordained for His glory!  Ephesians 1.  11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

 O.k.  I think I’m getting a better perspective on things!  Not only does my Lord and Savior care for all of the details of my life (Psalm 139), He carefully constructs the timing of everything as well.  When I am up late at night writing this blog I remind myself that it is an honor when someone reads what I have written.  You, Gentle Reader, have chosen to spend some of your valuable time with me.  And if I have succeeded at any level to bring each of us closer to the throne of grace, the love of Jesus Christ, well that is time well spent indeed for both of us.  To Him be the glory.  May He mark our time for His purposes.  After all, it’s only a matter of time.  There is so very much more . . .  JJ

heaven

Flowers for Algernon?

Flowers for Algernon

Another temporary setback in my health tonight ended by a couple of drops of tea tree oil masking the noxious scent of perfume.  I don’t do perfume very well and am grateful for this suggestion of a friend familiar with essential oils.  Thank you Lord for Cindy and tea tree oil!

Sigh.  How am I supposed to be around people when the scent of any products they might wear with fragrances can trigger seizures?  I feel like a prisoner in my own home.  If I linger away from my cocoon then I am at risk.  And if a guest visits our home not wearing perfume but carrying a coat or wearing clothing scented from another day, BINGO.  I get sick.

I endured three major setbacks including last night and three other times this past week.  Setbacks that is, from significant improvements that came from taking high CBD hemp oil.  I was enjoying some sweet moments of near-normalcy!  At least the overall episodes are shorter.  I guess there is something else going on that is preventing the treatment from holding . . . .

Is it diet?  How can it be when consuming a strict Candida, mold-free, and low oxalate diet?  Could it be methylation or residual biotoxin illness issues?  Perhaps and I’ll be pursuing these at a new clinic next week.  Is neuro-Lyme the culprit after all and I need to get back into antibiotic therapy?  The Rife machine made me worse.  I’m not so sure about Lyme disease anymore as my genetic markers are more significant for mold illness than Lyme disease.  Still:  who knows?

In the 1966 novel Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes portrays a mentally disabled man who gains intelligence after being selected for an experimental brain surgery.  The surgery was shown to be successful in a laboratory rat whose intelligence increases 3x after the procedure.  Charlie, the main character, undergoes the procedure himself as the story follows him from his menial janitorial position to falling in love with one of the teachers at the school in which he works.  Charlie quits his job about the time that the rat begins to decline.  The improvements did not last.  Charlie buries his little friend in a cheese box in the backyard near the close of the story.

I worked on the set of the stage play of Flowers for Algernon at my high school.  The sorrow of the scene pictured above when played out even by a wiry teenager was very emotional for all of us backstage.  I will never forget it.  For me it represented finding hope then moving forward in life with new skills and possibilities.  My life was already very painful at age 15.  The story touched my heart as we brought it to life for our peers and parents.  My tears had no where to go as I stood in the dark backstage, waiting to bring out props for the next scene.  When I got home the lockdown continued in the chaotic and unsafe environment of my childhood.  My sorrow was locked away for many years.  After much healing and decades of living, the Lord brought back this particular story to mind recently with the frustration of the illness that I am enduring:  I came upon a reason to have hope from seizures only to have that hope dashed against the wall.  Again.  It feels like death.

Sadness fills my eyes.  Of course I want to be well.  Every time I grasp for air, stabilize my neck for fear of my head breaking off, emit some guttural utterance from the forceful involuntary movements of every appendage in rotation or unison from a seizure attack I become very aware that I could die from them.  I stare blankly into space or hold my eyes closed to keep the room from moving.  Keeping my eyes open brings dizziness and nausea; keeping my eyes closed brings increased fear and a lost sense of time.  While still awake I sometimes can talk.  The words are strained and speaking (like trying to move) runs the risk of exacerbating the attacks further.  If the episode goes on too long then neurological collapse follows.  I either have to lie motionless until function returns or my beloved Steve transfers me out of bed and carries me to the bathroom or bed.  This more severe level of seizure occurs late at night when he needs to be getting ready for bed to be able to work the next morning.  It’s my private hell.  It’s his private hell.  It’s the private hell on earth that is our burden to endure at this time.  (See my non-epileptic seizure video for more information.)

To see a loved one losing the battle over illness, over injury is one of life’s greatest sorrows.  Even for a Christian, experiencing it yourself will challenge everything you know about grace, endurance, meaning, and more.  Flowers for Algernon is a fictional tale about a rat and a man who found answers but those answers did not last.  The story touches a cord deep within me.  Oh to taste the goodness of life and have it taken away!  I have searched for goodness for a long time.  One of the great opportunities of this life is to seize the sweetness that abounds, hold it lightly as it shines for a time, then let it go gracefully when we must either move on or the script of our lives writes it off the page.  It must be the Lord’s plan but why?  Such answers often never come.  Moving on can be the reward for grieving well.  Then there’s the fruit of living with loss that is ongoing:  when the disappointment never really goes away.  This is when you really know who you are.  This is when you really know Whose you are.  It can be the time when you are truly ALIVE.

I am a child of the King held in the shadow of His wings, His loving arms just like I quoted yesterday in Psalm 139.  This night I bring forth an invitation for my Lord to:

23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

My Lord sees me!  Even so, this illness is one of my greatest mysteries from all of the events that have transpired in my life.  In the past my Lord has graced me with seeing some good come from the evil, some divine plans that have emerged from the chaos through which the deepest desires of my heart have come true.  I will hold onto His words that:

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

At every turn, with each moment of sorrow I no longer ask:

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

Indeed you have led me through it all.  I can trust from Psalm 142 that:

When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who watch over my way.

And as it reads in Psalm 100 we will all:

Know that the Lord is God.   It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

We will:

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Rest will come for you, Gentle Reader and me too as we read in Psalm 121 that: 

The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

With that I bid you good night.  I’ll be fine.  Join me in trusting the Lord that you will be too, eh?

He knows

Whenever I am down and out

Instead of rising up and giving a shout,

I’ve learned to keep my big mouth shut

And hold my poker face to save my gut.

I used to sputter and blurt out a reply

And earned a reputation like that of an un-nice guy;

They called me “bold” but it got me no where

Just too many nights right here alone in my under____.

Well not really but it rhymed you see

‘Cause appearances were all the rage back then to me;

All the while He waited in silence

Beckoning me with hope and a promise.

Decades flew by and it weren’t too pretty

My youth faded:  I lost more than an itty bitty:

My husband, my mom, my brother, my dad

I had more than enough reasons to be quite sad.

So where did I land when the fires took it all

The shell of a woman who once spoke a little too proud and tall?

****************

Hmf.  This broken child crawled before the throne

Put down my sword and picked up His own.

The dragons we slew:  the Christ Jesus and I

My strength now His, my voice that of One on high.

My steps softened, tears sweetened at last and for better reasons

Even the fruit of my labors grew differently in the coming seasons.

I have not any idea where all this will go

Will I ever “get there” or find the answers I need to know?

It almost doesn’t matter ’cause even one bummer leads to the next joy

So ‘just hold on Little Julie, this next chapter’s gonna be quite a ride!

DSCF2424