The knife in the soup pot

Just when I thought I could get my act together and get a little cooking done, some absent-mindedness took over.

It’s not that I meant to cook the paring knife in my stock pot filled with bone broth.   Oh no, that would not enhance the flavor or nutrition at all! Tee hee.  It’s just how it goes sometimes.  It fell in after cutting up the one carrot allowed on my low oxalate diet and I was too foggy in the head to pull it out.  “I’ll do it later,” was my thinking and later came in about 5 hours.  Sish.

Ever have a day like this?  Sure, we all have.   You find the salt shaker in the frig or your boots in the car.  After travelling with TWO 15+ hour stretches  plus another 10+ hour jaunt these past 8 days, this issue was actually our “new normal!”  Where is the hair blow dryer?  Well it’s behind the driver’s seat in the truck of course, attached to an extension cord.  (And this saved everything when multiple locks froze on the camper more than once!)

Sometimes a little insanity is just what a person needs.  Keeps things fresh, right?  Here’s an extreme example that is my reality today.  When I start convulsing it might just be due to a need to clear some satanic warfare and not the mold residuals from my husband’s breath and trip to a known water-damaged building.  After all, when the convulsions continued this afternoon it wasn’t long before we discerned that he had already de-contaminated and more was going on here.  We probably had chatted a little too soon after the exposure to the mycotoxins I cannot tolerate.  Yet I love talking with my beloved River Bear!  It’s so easy to forget the insane myriad of details that must be followed  in the normalcy of everyday life actvities.

This time there was a battle going on.  Not just at stake was a fluke of mismatched tasks in following our protocol.  This was real.  We knew from other episodes that Satan has used this illness to temp us with divisiveness, to misplace anger and bitterness, to doubt God’s soveignty and more.  Praying through it, keeping me from harm in the process, citing scripture verses, and singing hymns set me free once again.  We deal with this NOT because I am not indwelt the Holy Spirit by the way.  I belong to Jesus.  The Lord will always be the victor for those who believe.  Even Satan cannot snatch us out of His hand.

Spiritual warfare can sway us from the hope we have in Jesus Christ. So that is the test here.  Yet I will never be moved.  (Ephesians 6:13)  No amount of hassle, suffering, horror, or weirdness will ever change my mind. Such is the power of faith in the One who will trash Satan and his demons into the lake of fire someday.  Jesus remains THE VICTOR on the throne and delivers us from evil.  I just get extra doses that strengthen this spiritual gift needed for the life crafted for me.  And then you get to read about it!

Hey thanks, Gentle Reader.  And be encouraged.   THERE IS NOTHING that can separate you from your Heavenly Father’s love either:  no matter what happens on this earth.  (Romans 8:38-39)  Come into a personal relationship, a closer relationship with Him through His Son and dwell in His house forever.  And don’t worry.   While things will never be perfect here, they will be in heaven.  No knives in the soup pot!  Just bliss, joy, peace, love, happiness, and the spiritual food of the angels as we sit at the feet of Jesus taking in His glory.

Oh yeah.   And the Bear who loves me will be there too.  So glad.  :j

It is enough

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We had decided to pack four gallons of water just in case something went awry during our second cold weather camping trip this season.  The related online blogs recommended this among other tips such as purchasing a heated hose and waiting to un-winterize the travel trailer until we had traveled enough south to avoid freezing temperatures overnight.  And so we prepared accordingly reviewing our long “To Do” list of stuff over and over again before heading out the door.  Check!

Just before our departure, arctic temperatures plagued the entire country east of the Mississippi River from Michigan to northern Florida!  Who knew that after driving nearly 800 miles due south we would still be facing weather more characteristic of Indiana than our first destination in the deep south of Fort Rucker, Alabama?  We had run the propane heater in the Camp Lite a few times back home to minimize the out-gassing of the relatively new-used mini furnace.  We intended to fire up both heaters (propane and electric) soon after hooking up everything upon arrival so we could sleep comfortably.  Check!  After all it would be about 5:00 in the morning when we got to stop number one.

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace . . .  (1 Cor 14:33)

We did not count on the entire camper freezing over along the way!  I grabbed the hair dryer and extension cord from the cab of the truck and proceeded to thaw out both door locks.  Once inside I discovered that the four “emergency” one-gallon jugs of water were frozen solid as was the entire water system “winterized” with special RV antifreeze!  We had our two sport-sized bottles of water 1/2 filled with us in the car and that was it.  Closer investigation found some frigid water sloshing around in one of the gallon jugs so we gave it to our pup figuring she would not mind the temp.  (Sure would hate to have to choose between man and beast on such a night!)  Steve used a, er, warm water stream to punch a hole in the toilet ice seal to make it operational for the night.  Check!

Hooking up the water and electric did not go well either.  The water spicket had frozen beneath the towel that our southern/Aussie host (formerly from Indiana) had prepared before our arrival.   Hmmmmm.  When the crochety 30 amp electrical hook-up proved to be broken, Steve plugged us into the standard outlet to get us through the night, thus preventing draining our battery overnight.   Oh well, we could live without hot drinks in the microwave:  we had the warmth of each other after all . . .

But our bedding felt like it had just come off the train from Siberia!  Steve bundled up head-to-toe in Smart Wool and collapsed into bed.  I tried to join him but the nighttime unpleasantries I often face reared their ugly head first. Eventually the buzzed feeling I had from the late night excitement, convulsions and checking of Facebook yielded enough fatigue to turn everything off in my head for a few hours.  Even the sound of street noise 50 feet from our pillows drifted into the distance.  We had made it to see my hubby’s darling youngest son and his wife the next day and I was glad.  Check!

Many are the plans in a person’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.  (Proverbs 19:21)

Who knows why our lives are so difficult these days.  The last two times this past year we gratefully were able to camp with the conveniences of a travel trailer in colder weather we certainly prepared as best we could.  It’s not like we did not know what we were doing!  I perused and posted questions on multiple camping forums to learn from more seasoned travelers.  We purchased some special gadgets and kept snow pants, hats and gloves nearby; Steve donned his biking/paddling headlamp upon arrival like a pro to keep his hands free during the late night procedures.  I had enough food prepared in individual and meal-sized portions to keep me compliant with my special diet and the skilled driver nourished for most of our first few days away from home.  We did the best we could to avoid disaster and this is just how it goes sometimes!

The next day was a blur for me.  Yes, we said hello to Daniel and Elizabeth when they stopped by in their Honda Fit (everything is so cute about these two!) midday.  I had not eaten breakfast yet and needed some more recovery/rest time so Steve took off with them while I headed back to the tin can ranch.  What happened next can only be called a near-death experience!  That one deserved its own blog story so I won’t go into it here.

What is clear is that my writing block of late is definitely broken with some new experiences ordained by my Jesus albeit AFGE if you will (aka “another fun growth experience”)!  As in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy turns to her dog Toto after the great tornado, I’ll say it here, “Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore” and that is good.  My social and geographical isolation enduring illness at home is now broken for a time.  What matters now is faith in the Lord and obedience for His will and I know that His goodness shall prevail.  Yeah God!

. . . keeping the commandments of God is what matters.  Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called.  (1 Corinthians 7:19b-20)

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God to those who are the called according to His purpose.  (Romans 8:18; 28)

Be encouraged Gentle Reader.  The two partial bottles of water were all we needed that night anyways.  It was enough and in our hearts we knew it all along.  JJ

Camper mascot Kermit the Frog here!
Camper mascot Kermit the Frog here!

The How Long Song

11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.  2Thessalonians

You just never know who might be praying for you at this very moment.  If you have let your needs be known to anyone who is faithful to pray on occasion, it is very likely that at some point in time you are being lifted up before the God of the universe for His gracious care.  We might never know when that moment occurred or what was said.  We might feel a lightness in our human spirit or we just many never feel much of anything except our suffering.  But we can know this for certain:  that the God of the universe, the one Who made you and me, was listening at that moment.  His heart moved with compassion as your name came before His throne of grace that day.  And His thoughts towards you then and now outnumber the grains of sand on the earth (Psalm 139:18).  He loves you and me so much more than we can ever, ever imagine . . .

Our Heavenly Father has His hand on us.  His hand both reaches out to us and carries us through the mire in our lives.  We know that all things work together for good for His own, even the suffering.  Sometimes we get to see this in our lifetimes and sometimes we do not.  Our awareness doesn’t change the truth of the matter.  He is in charge and will use our suffering for His glory:  a greater purpose than our own lives (Romans 8:28).  Wow.  We may be relieved, blessed, redeemed, or justified too as he pours out His goodness.  We must hang in there for we cannot know what the next moment or next day may bring.  Even when the troubles continue on and on, in the words of Job to the Lord,

“I know that you can do all things;
    no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
    Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
    but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.”

This is such an incredible witness of humility coming from a man covered in oozing boils, having lost all of his earthly possessions and children as well.  I cannot imagine such suffering even on my worst days.  Despite the episodes of wretchedness that continue to plague most of my mornings, afternoons, and evenings  I will remain faithful to my call to love Jesus and trust in His plan for my life.  Otherwise this journey of mine could be deemed meaningless.  Suffering for nothing is the alternative.  Holy cow, that would never get me out of bed in the morning!  A searing post-seizure neck headache and global pain puts the creamy taste of even the best bulletproof coffee down the drain every time.  NO WAY!  Only the promises and reassurance of my Lord and Savior are enough at these times.

The only way for me to endure the stress of my life at the moment is to let Jesus take the wheel.  Sometimes I just sit and stare for many minutes at a time.  Sometimes I am not “productive” in a day until what others would call dinnertime.  And sometimes I get a few things done then go back to bed for a long time.  Graciously there are a few other times of late when I can get up earlier while it is still morning and remain out of bed for the rest of the day.  Hey, I might be getting better after all!  I used to go to bed between 3 and 5 in the morning!  That pattern is generally broken and for that I am grateful.  Like my Grandma used to say, I’m getting there, “slow but sure.”

The How Long Song must leave my vocabulary.  Like the Ann Lander’s article quoting Robert Hasting’s article called The Station, we will “get there” when it is time.  Life is about the journey dontcha know?  Further, we will “get there” when the Lord wills it.  My job is to endure well, the journey I am called to take, seeking His will and keeping an eye out for His fingerprints along the way.  Let me not miss any measure of His sweetness in the sound of a calling bird or the bloom of a wildflower in unexpected places.  He will never lead me astray (Hebrews 13:5) and never require more of me than I can handle (1 Cor 10:12) with His grace.  He is with me now and until the end of the ages (Matthew 28:20), the end of my life.  That is reassuring indeed.

I’ll close with an unexpected blessing that has come right in the thick of all things stressful over here.  Twenty minutes of bliss.  Cool beans, eh?

Julie and Kinsey cruising along in the tandem  outrigger canoe!
Julie and Kinsey cruising along in the tandem outrigger canoe!

So much to say, so few words

Taking a cross country trip this past week when weak was an optimistic undertaking.  Of course there were trials and ongoing mayhem.  And in the midst of it all, there were unexpected blessings too.

Relax, I won’t go on here with a long blah, blah, blog about our recent 3000 mile journey from Indiana to Texas and back!  I’m sure it will unfold in the days and blogs to come.  Let’s just say that overall, the dog had a great time!  She played in the wide open spaces of my sister and brother- in-law’s 5 acre ranch teasing the Golden Retriever, taunting the snarls of the old Chocolate Lab, and skirting the advancement of Armani (the spirited mare and companion of Buddy, pictured below).   Our pup Elle looks depressed at home alone today.  I must say that I understand completely.

Today begins the first day of a new treatment regime for a serious systemic infection.  As you can see by the time of this writing, I have avoided my second dose for a few hours now.  Sish.  I’m such a weenie sometimes.  But hey, can you blame me?  After 2 years of promising treatment approaches and wretched responses to virtually all of them, I am less than brave anymore.  So in a few words as promised:  I’m leaning on the Lord today, grateful for surviving 8 days away from home with some precious memories as a bonus, and slowly getting all of the laundry done.  The rest of the last bag of Beanitos chips is well on its way to my tummy as I say goodbye to one of my few remaining treats to prepare for Candida warfare.  From here and for at least the next month, I’m hitting this beast head-on.  The first few days are usually the hardest.  So what:  it’s time you met your match you fungus among us!

My spiritual preparation comes from the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4.  My prayers are for merciful endurance, victory, strength for my husband, and glory to The King:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Seeya when I can.  Take care all, Just Julie

Steve and Julie with Buddy
Steve and Julie with Buddy

Sometimes you spin your wheels

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .”  Charles Dickens

I have so much for which to be grateful this day.  Despite the absolute insanity of my days, I can still rise above the mud and muck and see the sun shine on a few blessings.  I get to see that the Lord goes before me, ordering my steps even before I realize that I am not stumbling but walking humbly in His grace.  I am so glad that He is gentle with me.  After a rough night there is usually a great nap within a day.  After much confusion, the Lord uses a new friend to point me in the right direction.  After a very long wait to see a medical professional, there is a sweet phone call to another dear friend while waiting in the lobby.  After contracting a serious illness, there are new sojourners to acknowledge me, walk with me, light the way to hope.  And after so much unrest there are peaceful moments that transcend my understanding!

Nothing is truly wasted in God’s economy if we but keep our eyes focused on Him.  We must press on.

If your situation stinks, get your mind out of the muck and consider coming to Jesus.  Get into His Word, the Bible, and you will find what you need.  He is waiting.  You can have an eternal focus that will transcend this day.  Seriously.  Psalm 23 lifts me up every time.

Nissan Frontier on a bad day!
Some serious mud on a bad day!

 

Now that's better!
Now that’s better!