The times inbetween

Tis a time for more resting than doing

And it is unusual for me to give into the slower pace

But give in I must.

The rain garden project awaits an instructor’s touch

While our own landscape decides if bushes or an Amilsh “mini garage”

Will grace the outer banks of our bedroom.

Shall I attempt to rip out the red twig dogwoods,

My fav in garden beds here and the ‘burbs of Chicago

That don’t really like their sunny home but delight the view out the bedroom window til late summer?

The dog days of hot weather have sapped my zest for projects, most anything green

Or maybe it’s from having to stay home when hubby got to go without me

To his National paddling competition afar; yeah I was too tired to even go.

Yeah, I’m kinda down about all the failures these past 2 months —

Alas the Lord spoke to my heart; now maybe they shall give rise to something better for me?

The times in between the hills n valleys can bring a fresh new look

If I but heed the call to slow things down a bit, to rest

There are but a few tic zips here and there so I do believe something is going right at last!

Thank you Lord for seeing me through to this day

For allowing me to pass through the fiery tests, the times of despair, and hopelessness too

I may even get to go paddle locally tomorrow with my beloved River Bear.  Now won’t that just be saweet if I do?  JJ

When I look up

From my truck I see kayak racks:  looks like it’s time for a road trip South.

From our flagstone patio I see the bluest hue of sky that comes with the chill of this season.

From my jewelry studio comes the reflections of many table lamps bouncing off the walls as I strain to create, to sew, to knot into the night.

From our bed I ponder this life as the hours pass in the dark, in the light since the popcorn ceiling never made any sense when I tried to connect the dots up there anyways.

From lying on the kitchen floor I cover my eyes and cradle my head to minimize the brightness of the nickel light fixture, the damage from the internal unrest tossing me about, and the discomfort from not making it to the bed in time.  The pup sniffing my hair is sweet indeed.

And when I look up from my heart to my mind’s eye I see my Lord who whispers His words of comfort that this strife too shall pass.  He makes all things new don’t you know and this happens whether we can see it, feel it, find it in this fleeting moment of a day.  This is where I must persevere as I never cease to look beyond today to a better tomorrow.  It must come.  It will come!  Oh yes, it does.

Psalm 121 (NIV)

A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

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.

puffy clouds

 

The Next Step is Sideways

Sometimes you move forward.  Sometimes you move backward.  And most of the time you just go sideways or don’t move at all!  Know what I mean?

When I worked in rehabilitation we had another phrase:  recovery is always a jagged line.  A person makes progress then might regress a step or two before making the “big gains” in strength, walking, functioning, and the like.  Many times my patients would not believe me when I said this to them.  I understood their frustration.  In our fast-paced, achievement and results-oriented American society, it is really tough not to be getting ahead in some way every day.  Well as the old Starkist tuna commercial used to say, “Sorry Charlie.”  Sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.

Not only does every person not always get where they want to go, not every person gets selected to try for his or her dreams.  These can be a real bummer for sure.  How we handle these delays or changes in the course of our lives may likely determine our character.  Certainly how we respond reflects our maturity as adults, or for Christians, whether or not we are trusting in the Lord who promises a plan an purpose for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11).  While there are probably other reasons we could explore ad nauseum, I’m going to leave it right here.  Ultimately we must get over the failure to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves when it just isn’t going to happen.  You just never know.  Something better might be on the horizon . . .

Several times I have planned to complete a special project and was never able to start it.  (This has happened a lot over the past two years!)  In general, the main reason wasn’t even procrastination.  The reason often has had to do with the reality that something better is waiting for me in the future.  Take my decorating idea folder, for example.  About twenty years ago when our drapery panels in our living room became damaged from the sun, I really wanted to create a custom window treatment that I’d seen in a magazine.  Somehow I would need to design a tracking system where the wall met the ceiling before such systems were even available.  We didn’t have any wood shop tools at the time and I was unfamiliar with the fine art of making draperies.  However I did know how to sew and had a creative streak so that was enough for me to move forward and figure it out.  Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be.

The townhome got sold with the sun bleached draperies pinned from behind to hide the sections that were threadbare.  The problem?  My former husband doubted my ability to complete the project.  Where would we get the materials?  How would we install it?  Where would I find the time to make everything?  All of the ongoing questions discouraged me from trying to find the answers.  A creative person makes something happen along the happy journey of figuring it out.  He or she doesn’t have everything worked out at the start unless there is a pattern or kit with instructions.  This decorating project simply was too much for the two of us to come to an agreement.  It wasn’t meant to be back then.

Flash forward about ten years later and it was meant to be.  Through unfortunate circumstances I found myself single and rebuilding my life in another city; so much had changed.  To pursue a creative project would become “occupational therapy” for me and help me to make my new place a home.  I knew exactly what window treatment would adorn the sunny sliding glass door that overlooked the lush courtyard beyond my balcony.  This time the time was right.

A co-worker told me about a textile company that sold unbleached muslin by the pound.  Yeah, that’s right!  Yards and yards of fabric would be super cheap and just right the right color and style for my project.  I even found material to line the panels all through that poorly marked, rusted back door entrance to the factory.  There were huge bolts of fabric everywhere!  “Yeah God,” I said to myself.  This is good!

The next challenge would be measuring and cutting an inordinate amount of material on the laminate floor of my 3rd floor condominium.  To say my knees were hurting from crawling around cutting all that fabric, would be an understatement.  Then I wondered how was I going to sew all this yardage at my modest kitchen table?  The answer soon came when I was house-sitting in a lovely home a short time later.  The man of the house was a contractor and had a HUGE desk in his office for viewing his drafting plans.  That desk was perfect for sewing yards and yards of fabric too:  spilling all over the place in their spacious loft.  Cool beans.  I sewed and sewed to my heart’s content.  Cool beans again.

Now to make the tracking system to suspend the panels next to the ceiling.  Somehow I stumbled upon a lumber store just off the railroad tracks in an industrial area of a neighboring town.  The guys at Owl Lumber in Lombard, Illinois were great.  Not only did they help me configure the crown-molding style curtain rod, they metered the corners and pre-drilled the holes for the mounting pegs for me as well.  I installed about a dozen pegs into the crown molding, sanded, painted it white, and coated it with polyurethane.  Now all I had to do was mount it on the wall . . . without a ladder . . .

Gratefully I had an extremely sturdy coffee table that became a suitable platform for the installation.  (You simply could not kill that wooden beast so it followed me through 8 moves over the years.  Finally it got sold on Craig’s List 5 years ago!)  I got all the tools and supplies together, my friend Jeannie came over for dinner and a little window treatment project, and we gals went to work on a Friday night.  The only problem was that the building was over 30 years old and there was concrete not wood studs underneath the drywall!  My wood screws would never hold the weight of the solid wooden rod that measured about 8 feet long.  Oh well.  Back to the hardware store I would go for mega concrete bolts and a new drill bit.  Of course I had a darn good drill that would handle the job.  🙂

The next hurdle was the fact that Jeannie was not available the next weekend to jump back into the project again.  What was I do to?  How could I possibly wait when I was this close to pulling it all together?  This thing was massively heavy and I was hoping to mount it at a height that would require me to hold it at a height near the end of the reach of my arms overhead.   How could I do this alone without dropping it on my head?  By sheer will power and determination, that is!  I figured out the measurements of the holes for both the wall and crown-molding rod and pre-drilled the holes.  I figured that if I could slip in a few bolts by hand and tighten them, they would hold enough for me to get the rest of the bolts in as well.  I also used my head . . . literally!  And with only one close call, Lord willing, I gotter done!  Success!

The finishing touches to hang the panels were beautiful silky-type cording that I found at a local drapery supply store.  Wow:  so cool to live in a large city at the time where I found a place where practically half of the store was drapery trims and tassels!  I made a loop and tied it with a Josephine macramé knot, reminiscent of 20 years earlier when it was first vogue to macramé.  I was single then too and had macrame’d lotsa stuff!  Hand sewing the loops to the panels was a labor of love, quite meaningful for me.  Then I was ready for my big reveal to, er, myself.  Would it all come together?  You be the judge.  I loved it!  To open it each morning I gently draped a loops hidden on the backside of the middle of the bottom of each panel to hooks on the wall along the outer sides of the panels.  At night I released the loops and the panels closed like the massive curtains at the end of a theater stage play.  Yeah, it was cool.  Yeah, it was worth the wait.  I was stoked and thanked the Lord for restoring the years the “locusts had eaten” once again.  (Joel 2:25)

That's me in 2007

That’s me in 2007

This is an important story for me to remember years later.  I’m in a situation now where I can’t do projects like this as I recover from a serious illness.  I am grateful for the Lord’s gift of writing and the warm reception to my eBook released a couple of weeks ago (see side panel for details).  Just this morning I was wondering what would be next?  Then I realized that I really can’t do anything more right now.  The book got finished because I had some better days; those days are gone for now.  I’m hoping to catch up on some long overdue regular medical appointments like an eye exam tomorrow morning.  EEEEK!  Will ya look at the time?  Anyways, these next few weeks I won’t be moving forward.  I’ll be taking care of the stuff on the back roads, so to speak.  Perhaps there will be other types of meaningful discoveries along the way, perhaps not.  For now, the stuff of life has my time and attention.

Maybe you can relate?  Whatcha got going on this week, Gentle Reader?  Do take care, k?  JJ

Sneak Peak: Hope Beyond Lyme: The First Year

HOPE eBook Cover

Here’s an important peek into the eBook borne out of this online blog with updated material, bonuses, and references.  Stay tuned for publication information, coming soon!  Thanks a bunch,  Just Julie

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

Final Thoughts

August 24, 2013

“Life is like a box of chocolates.  Sometimes you don’t know what you’re gonna get.” 

Remember this famous line from the movie, Forrest Gump?  (Paramount Pictures, 1994)  Yeah, I “get” this message when the day begins with renewed hope and generally ends, well, somewhere else!  Gratefully, the day is never without hope at some level.

Perhaps you have wondered what you would “get” when you were beginning to read this eBook.  Maybe you downloaded it because of the words, “Lyme disease” in the title.  I appreciate you wanting to learn more about it as it seems I too can never learn enough about this complex and almost sinister disease process that is so difficult to diagnose and treat successfully.  If you would like more information on Lyme disease see the About Lyme Disease chapter at the beginning of this eBook.  I also encourage you to go to the websites of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society and Mercola.com

By now you realize that you have gotten something quite different from me than a Wikipedia description of this and other serious illnesses.  I am hoping that as we close here, you have seen how there can be more to a journey colored by a chronic sickness than the illness itself. 

Most importantly, I hope that you can see how much of a difference it can make to have a personal relationship with God through His son, Jesus Christ, when enduring a serious illness.  He has changed my perspective and transcended my experience over and over again in a way that continues to make a difference.  I could not go on without Him!  Life is just too difficult otherwise.

I hope that you have come to understand that you too can have this personal relationship with God by coming before the Father in prayer and supplication, in the name of Jesus Christ.  As we each approach the “throne of grace,” we must first acknowledge that we are imperfect, live in an imperfect world, and have an imperfect life.  The world is imperfect not because of our mistakes but because of its falleness and that is due to the presence of sin.  Sin in turn affects us no matter who we are as a part of our human condition (Romans 3:23).  We come to understand that we can overcome sin by admitting our brokenness, asking for forgiveness from the Giver of life, and accepting the gift of saving grace to wipe the slate clean:  He then restores us to a right relationship with God.  We are forgiven and free, now and forevermore.  (John 3:16)

The faith needed to believe this truth and go forth comes from reading and hearing His inerrant Word, the Bible.  (Romans 10:17)  When we do make a decision to believe, we enter into a relationship with the God of the universe (and with fellow believers too) that can never be taken away unless we denounce that Jesus is Lord.  We are saved from the guilt of our sin and our perspective in life changes.  We are never, ever alone again as we receive the indwelling gift of His Holy Spirit:  our Counselor, Our Guide.  We also embark on an amazing journey that brings peace, love, joy, spiritual gifts, blessings, and promises that will take us through everything and anything that happens on this earth.  We will not truly know what this is like until we make a decision for Christ.

And one day when our time on this earth is over, we will enter into His presence to live with Him forevermore.  We cannot even fathom the infinite glory of heaven in our finite earthly minds.  In heaven there will be no more suffering, no more tears.  Wow.  None! 

If you have not already done so, and would like to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I encourage you to pray a prayer of repentance and submission right now.  In doing so, you surely will receive:   Hope Beyond Lyme.  And if you do, would you send me an email and tell me about?  I’d like to be among the first to welcome you into the family of Christ.

Take care, Gentle Reader.  Just Julie

One step closer to something good

HOPE eBook Cover

So grateful to release the cover of my upcoming eBook!  Enjoy the most encouraging and meaningful blogs updated and all in one place with Bonus Pages too.  Preorders will be available FOR FREE for a few days before it goes live!

Gentle Readers always get da best ya know.

Be sure to watch this blog for upcoming announcements and just a little enthusiasm coming from my home to yours soon!

Take care, Just Julie