This but that, but this!

The plan began with a desire to see my husband’s family for an upcoming holiday.  But gathering in Texas would require 2 very long days of driving for us, pulling a travel trailer.  One family member suggested we meet in Arkansas instead which would be closer to the university where a younger family member is studying.  Cut off one full day of driving for us?  Yes, let’s go to Hot Springs, Arkansas instead.

This plan continued with the hope that we could camp at the RV Park inside Hot Springs Village.  My Mother-in-Law has a house in the Village and we would be closer together.  But the campground will be under construction for the months of November and December to have sewer hook-up lines installed.  It’s going to be closed!  Yes, let’s go to an RV Park about 30 minutes away on top of a picturesque mountain top instead.

The plan originally included having Steve’s daughter travel with us then the idea popped up to have both of Steve’s daughters stay with us in our travel trailer.  Oh what a blast that would be!  We now have the room to accommodate them but I simply cannot do so at this time.  I was devastatingly sick for 4 days this past week when some new fragrances triggered my worst symptoms of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.  Geez, we don’t even know how we will have family over during the Christmas holiday let alone have them visit overnight when both are back in town.  (Our attempt in September failed.)  But to stay in closer quarters of a travel trailer while away from home in a less-controlled environment?  Yes, we want to be together but no, let’s at least travel and stay separately this time.  Again really.

This plan got even more complicated when planning our trip scheduled for departure not long after that horrific flare up last week.  I saw my newer Functional Medicine Doctor who spoke frankly and clearly:  I don’t think you should travel now.  What?  She said it would set me back even further, even if she could find a replacement for a treatment that contributed to the flare-up last week.  So her recommendation posed a dilemma for my saint of a husband who wants to see his elderly parents-n-family AND be with me.  Did I mention that our wedding anniversary is coming up?  But I really don’t want to be alone on a holiday much less our anniversary!  Yes, we want it all and may need to split up the holiday into a shorter trip, a shorter anniversary celebration.  We are used to compromises.

The planning behind the scenes for this month involved a recall notice for our new-to-us travel trailer.  We bought it after the original owner had it for about 3 months so we never got the national recall notice; it was for a safety feature that could pose a grave threat if not corrected.  We found out about the recall in a Facebook group!  Nineteen phone calls over the past 15 days resulted in a plan to have the recall work done at a local RV repair shop.  But it got too close to our potential departure date to get the trailer to the shop-and-back:  2 trips of 3-hours of travel each time.  Yes, we are no longer travelling with the travel trailer so we have more time now to get it fixed!

This trip required me to get the oil change and tire rotation for my truck that was coming due.  We just figured out that we were not travelling cross-country but I decided to get the maintenance done anyways.  On the way to dropping off my truck at the shop last night I HIT A DEER!  The impact trashed the right-front quarter panel and headlamp of my Nissan Frontier.  The turn signal stopped functioning correctly.  There is no way we could travel cross-country (which always includes nighttime travel for us) with a damaged headlamp.  Yes, you can see now that the door to travelling this holiday is now fully closed.

Nissan Frontier, deer, impact, hit, accident, crossed the road, Coldwater Rd., Fort Wayne, Indiana, white, truck

The plan may change to include my hubby travelling alone for a shorter time while I rest up; we are holding our breath for now.  But what if it snows?  He needs new tires on his car before the next time it snows, according to the professionals.  Yes, we will find $800 for tires if we need to . . . That’s about how much a longer trip would have cost anyways, if we helped with housing for Steve’s daughters.  Which we would offer, of course.

This but that, but this!  Such is life in this fallen world in which we find ourselves.  Many times I have said that when the trials have come, seemingly often of late, that I am holding out for the hope of heaven.  Heaven indeed.  The late Pastor Billy Graham wrote:

Paul wrote, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Corinthians 15:19). But our hope isn’t only for this life! In the midst of life’s storms, our hope in God’s promise of heaven is “an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19).

He said that if we are ever going to live for Christ, then do it now.  I was reflecting on these themes when I was emptying the trash the other day.  I hit my head leaning over to remove the top of the can as the can was positioned between the toilet and the bathroom sink cabinet.  The top slid back behind the toilet, my head brushed against the toilet paper dispenser, and something fell back there too.  I wondered if in heaven things like emptying the trash would always go smoothly?  Then I realized that there is no trash in heaven!  We know this from Revelation 21:4 that tells us:

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

I imagine that there will be no long days of driving with cracked headlamps, recall notices, endless phone calls to make things right, separation from loved ones, suffering, cramped bathrooms or travel trailers, worn tires from roads traveled, nor heartache in the dwelling place of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  This is a plan upon which we can depend for those of us who believe.  Now that’s a trip I’m already on.  How about you Gentle Reader?  JJ

A Matter of Perspective

humor, bathing suit, top, insert, perspective

Alone on the beach I lain

Broken-hearted and abandoned,

Missing my other half

A bit humbled in the warm sun.

She left me here all alone

Doesn’t she miss me or know I’m gone?

Maybe she broke free from the tyranny

Who needs a padded insert to swim in the surf anyways?

I suppose you all figured out the item in the picture by now?  I found it to be hilarious finding it on the sand of the beach at Port Canaveral, Florida earlier this month!  My beloved and I were there to witness a rocket launch a mile away to the south along Playalinda Beach.  It was surreal.  I wonder if the gal missing part of her bathing suit top felt the same way?  🙂

That day was a bit of an oasis in the middle of a medical trip that continues to change my life for the better.  I was exceedingly exhausted just 1 week after treatment began and felt out of place sitting on a sandy beach with large, acrylic dental appliances in my mouth.  I was unable to eat without changing out appliances (which meant rinsing them in a Ziploc plastic bag with paper towels to soak up the mouthwash) and was nearly nauseous with a lot of head-jaw-neck pain from the aggressive dynamics achieved by the splints.  On the other hand, Steve was geared up to hit the waves in our outrigger canoe!  We both slathered on the sunscreen and lugged our stuff up a long flight of wooden steps, over the berm, and down onto the beach.  With a big umbrella in-hand, I was going to make the best of things that 86-degree day  . . .

And so we did.  I sat in front of the most majestic view you would never find in our home State of Indiana (note new cover photo above!) munching on my lunch, brushing dental appliances, and taking pictures of the coolest dude on the shoreline.  A few hours later I witnessed the magical sight of a rocket being launched into space:  a satellite developed by the same company that Steve works for in Indiana.  Steve had gotten an inside scoop from co-workers at the Melbourne headquarters of how to get the best view.  (Incredibly Harris allowed him to work there remotely between my medical visits and before we would return home.)  The launch was spectacular!

Harris, rocket launch, Cape Canaveral, March, 2018, sky, trails, space

 

I have come to believe that the Lord cares for everything in our lives from the mundane to the big, spectacular moments in time.  He attends to every detail, crafts them for our best good.  I am thinking that many of the rewards in life generally come in some way or another when I am able to move off my limited view and trust that my Lord, Jesus Christ has a bigger plan.  It just might be a good one.  My change in perspective will help to find it.  The fact that so many years have held me captive with much agony in the past is really no predictor of what the future holds.  I simply do not know.

This leap of faith to pursue a new treatment approach 1,000 miles from home is changing my life day by day.  The minor setbacks are easier to take than in the past and don’t last very long, gratefully.  My perspective on most things in life, my expectations, my faith, and so much more have changed accordingly.  One of the sweetest rewards is sharing this  newness of life with my hero, my Stevers.  I love him so!  And I am so proud of him, grateful for him, and in awe of his strength, faith, and love during our eleven years together.  The anniversary of our first date is coming up soon!  Oh I could go on . . .

How about if I just end with another awesome sight from the beach that day.  Isn’t he just the coolest dude ya ever did see?  I love you Stevers!  :JJ

outrigger canoe, beach, surf, OC-1, carry, carbon fiber, racing, Mocke, life vest, life jacket,

My River Bear carrying our OC-1 out from the surf as the tide rolls in onto Playalinda Beach, north of Cape Canaveral, March 1, 2018

As you consider Holy Yoga: Part 1

Holy Yoga, pose, woman, mat, Christian, blog, evaluate, discernment

As an occupational therapist trained in therapeutic exercise and as someone who taught aerobic exercise in clinical settings years ago, I have always watched the trending in the health and fitness industry.  I recently explored various fitness certification opportunities as part of my continuing education requirements as an OT, including those oriented toward low impact dance and yoga.  ROM Dance  was part of my repertoire years ago when working in mental health settings.  Match these interests with keeping a close eye on the alternative health industry that came on the heels of the New Age movement of the 1990s.  Early on I decided to match all of these observations against the available clinical research and especially the truth of Biblical scripture as guiding lights.

So is there a back-story?  Yes, there’s more!  I am seeking a gentle, supportive movement  practice, ideally consistent with my Christian faith, to aid in my recovery from serious illness.  The trauma of this serious illness has left me with several medical complications, deconditioning, weakness, physical limitations, and an altered body awareness that I believe can get better.  I had been exploring and pursuing some possibilities in the world of dance, exercise, massage, and traditional occupational and physical therapies when along came Holy Yoga:  a “community of believers on mission to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth through the modality of yoga.”

In a few blog posts, I will explore Holy Yoga and come to a personal decision about whether or not I will pursue it at this time.  I started my research at the Holy Yoga website then jumped right into some challenging viewpoints but not from the Christian or even medical communities.  Instead I listened to a lengthy YouTube video of Hindu philosopher, Rajiv Malhotra’s, interview of Holy Yoga Founder Brook Boon.  Talk about what the political world calls “opposition research!”  Below is the feedback I posted after viewing the interview.  My next steps will be to research the response of the Christian community and probably attend a class locally.

Here’s Part 1.  Stay tuned for Part 2!

Nice job Brooke Boon!  I might clarify to Mr. Malhotra that Jesus is God, the Holy Spirit is God, the Father is God:  the God of the Bible and NOT a manifestation of God.  Each person of the Trinity is one God, 3 persons.  Liken this to the fact that I am one human being but a wife, sister, and daughter or 3 person-alities.  Not an exact analogy but it can help understand that the one true God is a clear, Biblical distinction from the plethora of Hindu gods that are dead, powerless manifestations of their “god.”  But more on that theology is a discussion for another time.

Further, I really wish Mr. Malhotra would have had the decency to give Ms. Boon his interview questions beforehand, especially if he intended to debate the nuances of Hinduism and Islam in contrast to Christianity.  He said the interview was to be a “dialogue” however his theological questioning and word choices indicated otherwise.  His agenda to discredit Holy Yoga was polite yet clear.  For example, he said at the end of the video that Hindus must “be aware” and essentially wake up to what Christians were doing with Holy Yoga; he also claimed that Holy Yoga’s purpose was to evangelize.  Seems like evangelism may come with the Foundation’s outreach to victims of sex trafficking but wasn’t this an interview about the story, benefits and beliefs of Holy Yoga classes not the Foundation?  Might want to differentiate the two sir.

It was important for me as a born-again believer in Jesus Christ who is exploring Holy Yoga, to view this interview.  I saw clearly how someone who is not a Christian cannot fully understand the tenants of the Christian faith from, for example, literal translations of scripture.  These literal interpretations weaken Mr. Malhotra’s subtle challenges, arguments, and warnings about Holy Yoga.  Specifically, his references to “the law” were not about Roman law as he claimed but God’s law given to Moses (as documented in the God-inspired Old Testament) to help guide the nation of Israel.  The Mosaic law helped define right and wrong to a lost people, lost society, and provide guidance as to how to live.  It also instructed them on how to relate to God and atone for sins or wrongdoing.  This law was later replaced with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and New Testament teachings from Christ and His disciples.  Persons of various “religious affiliations” or “denominations” outside of Christianity seem to like to focus on “the law” concept instead of Christ’s concept of grace because they are used to the structure and constraints of rituals . . . as if it is the rituals themselves that make them somehow right or wrong:  better people or worse yet, right before their definition of God.  And their definition does not match that of the single God of the whole Bible.  Christians who are born-again believers are free to express themselves with various traditions, cultural garb, etc. (and even try on the dressings of others) but never look to them for salvation.  Cultural traditions/trappings have no inherent power.  Only faith in Jesus Christ alone can save:  bring us eternally into a right relationship with The One True God and eternal life.  It’s simple really:

John 3:16 New International Version (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Of course we want to share our faith with others as our joy and calling as believers in Jesus Christ.  (Matthew 28:19-20).    Looks like a lot of fun to me, to find an established method of breathing an exercise while praising God!  Wish they didn’t use the Hindu words though, as it will be confusing to many who think that Holy Yoga is completely Bible-based.  There are gray areas for sure.  Holy Yoga borrows many traditions of Hinduism.  I hope that the classes clarify this for participants.  But is that enough to avoid it?  Or not find a way to enjoy its benefits?  Perhaps the earthly “gurus” of Hindu yoga could view the adaptation of the breathing and exercises of their yoga traditions as more of a compliment than a threat.  Such is the nature of humanity to not want their invention changed.  I am sure that the major drug companies don’t like competitors making generic copies of their drugs either!  But hey, children often imitate the characteristics of their parents and hopefully a lot of times this is a good thingy!  Imitation can be an expression of flattery, friendship, even love.

Because of the prevailing pull of the world on Jesus’ own disciples and their need to overcome it, Christ petitioned for divine intercession to keep his disciples “not of the world” by being sanctified through the word of God, which is truth (see John 17:16–17 below*).  Believers must guard our hearts in all pursuits with the truth of Scripture, spiritual armor (Ephesians 6), prayer, heeding the conviction/discernment of the Holy Spirit.  Mr. Malhotra quoted the apostle Paul extensively in his post-interview analysis.  Perhaps the apostle Paul just wanted to be friendly as he adopted some behaviors and garb of the people groups he was trying to reach out to with the hope found in Jesus Christ?  Surely we can understand this today.  Don’t we bring a gift a friend would like to his or her birthday party even if it is not our own favorite hobby, taste, brand, or preference?  Or let a co-worker listen to a CD of our music in hopes he or she will enjoy it and share it with others?  Let’s be clear, however, that the  lovely cultural trappings or activities that make life sweet are never equal to the incredible gift of salvation that comes from belief in Jesus Christ.

Please look beyond the rituals, the cultural trappings, the methods of exercise and breathing, the physical stuff of this world as you evaluate the practice of Holy Yoga.  Each believer in Jesus Christ must decide for him or herself, how to apply the real substance of the Bible (and of life for the believer) is the Word and the truth it professes to our daily lives.  Explore Holy Yoga with knowledgeable believers.  Pray about it.  Examine the world view of your particular instructor too.  And if everything checks out o.k., enjoy a really cool exercise/meditation class in the meantime.

JJ

*John 17:16-17 New International Version (NIV)

16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

The Life of Dogs

She probably thinks I don’t want to go with her today but I do.  I always do.

Put me near water or mud and I’m a happy pup:  the messier, the splashier, the better dontcha know?

When my paddler goes off without me my heart just sinks like I’m GONNA DIE . . .

Until the ground rumbles, that big door opens, and here she comes in the little door just to see meeeeeee!

I try to be good but I just can’t help myself sometimes

Things need to be chewed, mailmen scared off (especially that one in shorts dressed in BROWN), and anything soft covered with my furry bum.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I have it good and all that

“But why can’t I go with you like all the time?” say my big brown-n-black eyes.

“Or give me a bite of that hamburger that smells so good?”

You big people just aren’t as nice as those little people like me who drop crumbs all the time.  Yum!  Yum!

I’ll wait for you here, I’ll wait for you there, I’ll wait for you anywhere.

‘Cause you are just the best, scratch my ears some more, and give me one of those crunchy things in that bag you just opened, k?

You think I don’t know what you are up to but I do . . . I watch you all the time and it’s not even weird.

Just bring me with you in the car, on the boat, in the tractor, or maybe for a ride!

Thank you for being my bestie.  Sniff, sniff.  I love you more,

Your dog

Pictures are from the 2017 United States Canoe Association Nationals in Dubuque, Iowa except Gary and his German shepherd in the kayak.  Paddlers love their dogs!

 

A matter of perspective

Monday’s perspective:

The level of sunlight raises up then down in the hallway beyond my bed
Like a child playing with a dimmer switch, how I know where these thoughts have led!
How can I get up and face the world one more, yes one more day?
When so much suffering met me here or there, no matter where the level of light has shone along the way?
Still one cannot judge the next moment based upon the past
You just cannot predict when joy, when peace, when hope will come at last?
Simmer down inner child and let the sovereignty of your Lord speak.
You must remember how He delivered you in the past when you were so weak.


Your fears, your toils were measured by My drops of blood while I hung on that cross
I saw, I see, I weep, and I am always right there when you feel lost.
Hitch your heart to Mine choosing faith that freedom will come in due time
Watch for My answers, My leadings, My deliverance some now, some beyond a simple rhyme.


There is hope. There is more. There is a heaven, I promise as I know you have seen.
Walk towards My light dear one: what’s coming is greater than what has been . . .

Friday’s perspective:

In time the beatings diminish

And you catch your breath to finish

The week that held too much, oh dear

Gave way to Friday and better news to hear.

Things moved forward:  medical tests and even some healing

Living more in the facts by golly with less in the “fearful feelings.”

I might even go out soon:  making plans for the days ahead Lord willing

Better get the pup.  It’s time for a ride to pick up the bacon, the drugs, the groceries:  excuses good enough to put off another day the cleaning!

May the Lord bless your weekend, Gentle Reader.  JJ