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Day six of the week of love

When looking at the Bible there are 686 references to love inside this wonderful book.
That is powerful and obviously it means a lot for us because nothing was put in the word that God did not want.
[Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5] .
There are commandments and then there are affirmations on the ‘word love’ for us to pay attention to and act upon.
[So be very careful to love the Lord your God. Joshua 23:11]
There are instructions on how to love others, how to love our families and how to even love our selves.
[You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Psalm 86:5]
There are so many wonderful verses to pick and choose from I am not sure where to begin.
I am hoping you understand and follow by now that our God is a wonderful, loving and respectful God.
[But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Psalm 86:15]
He is always faithful, always waiting, always loving no matter what we do.
[When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. Psalm 94:18]
It is comforting to know HE cares always, is never too busy, although that is hard to imagine as He is God.
[ For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 11:5]
He stay with us throughout every generation and every span of time.
[But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— Psalm 103:17]
Oh I pray we grasp the depth and the width and the wonderful powerful love HE gives us over and over and over.
[For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Psalm 108:4]
It is good to remember and give thanks, it is good to remember and feel grateful. It is good to hold onto the promise, HE is not ever leaving.
[Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. Psalm 119:165]
I pray we all in this time ‘of love’, remember God loves us. US that is You who are reading this, and ME who is writing this. Loves US.
[I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. proverbs 8:17]
[He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8]
[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. John 3:16]
There are many more verses I could share with you, I think the point has been made.
God’s love is always, available for us whenever we decide to seek him.
[God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
Psalm 53:2]
On this Valentine weekend I pray we remember ‘the one Valentine,’ who gives us peace and hope and joy forever
and loves us with an unconditional love.

Day five of the love week

Tonight in a restaurant my husband and I saw an old friend of ours.
It was a bitter sweet moment because he and his wife were good friends of ours.
He was a Pastor, had a small church, a great ‘wife’ who loved him and who also was diagnosed with breast cancer.
No fault of her own. It is just something that came to her.
In time, after a year or two, she had surgery to restore what was lost. Not a lot of chemo. Just a new look.
When you marry one of the vows are ‘for better or for worse’. She saw the worse. Parts of her body ‘removed’ and new parts aligned with the ‘old spaces’ left empty.
There was choice he made to ‘discontinue’ his vow. He lost his marriage, his church and He lost his first love.
He left her alone, without insurance, she was still medically ‘fragile’, he said she was not ‘perfect’, no one is.
It was no fault of her own, the scars spoke of courage, of bravery, of letting something go and replacing it with a healing  better place.
He chose. He left her alone. I would encourage her, tell her she was brave. She was beautiful.
So tonight I am struggling with the news he shared. She is in last stage of dying, on hospice. Perhaps tonight.
He complained that family would not let him see her. Then he went to sit down with a lady I didn’t know and eat a meal. Is that right?
Eat a meal with someone who is not ‘your wife’… when she perhaps is dying?
It is not about HIM. NEVER has been.
In first Corinthians a book of the new testament, it says in chapter 13: 13
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
So when someone is dying. Someone you loved at one point in time, is leaving, I miss her already.
Her courage. Her stamina. Her resilience. Her love for HER God.
I have no way of finding out how to find her or see her. She was beautiful, a survivor. A warrior on many fronts.
How should I react? I am sad. She fought hard, then it came back, she fought more and I don’t know the final results. I heard it moved into the bone. The deep and dark and spreading place between morrow and cell giving birth to the wrong cells structure.
Love is NOT conditional. Love is ‘now’, right now.
I am sad for my good friend I know she loves the Lord, but I wish I could hold her hand and tell her ‘you are so beautiful, special and loved.’
Love is a choice. Some choose to not do the very hard.

Day four of the love week

A life restored by the power of love.
February 11th is my sister’s birthday. This year will be her 63rd… this picture was of her 60th.
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Every year I wish her happy birthday knowing in my heart, it is a miracle we thought would never happen.
In 2006 after visiting with her on many occasions, and realizing she was going down a fast road of fading away, I consulted with the doctor, and after pleading my case with great emotion
I said to him, “if she will not allow anyone to take her to the doctor, then let the doctor come to her.”
She was placed into hospice care, the diagnosis was death pending, within six months to live or sooner.
She had liver failure with a score of over 800, hepatitis C and starvation more like failure to thrive.
She was wheelchair bound with her 90 pound frame barely fitting into the leather seat. Mary-in-new-outfit
The pictures stored in her photo album paint a picture of her reality in ways that words never could, in fact I took it every where I went so I could plead her case more effectively. No one can grasp the depth of the situation unless one was there to witness it, like we were.
I remember the early morning call when her daughter said to me, “dad is dead.” I could hardly hear the words as I was barely awake and trying to focus.
Her husband died in the early morning hours on July 29th, 2006. He was her caregiver. I know it was hard as he was watching her die right in front of him, day in and day out.
It was shocking, sad, numbing, unexpected and a very horrible day for all of us in the family, when I received the phone call.
At first I thought it might be my sister. Then she repeated, “dad is dead.”
Oh my goodness that means ‘she is alone.’  My sister, who was dying just became a widow.
When I heard the news I knew I could never leave her there to die alone.
They lived in a small ‘5th wheel trailer’, and I knew I had to move her to a safer and more caring environment for her last days till she passed away from us.
When my husband and I arrived at their home, 14 miles from ours, the police, and coroner car, fire truck and chaos was all around the surrounding area.
When I saw her, she looked so fragile and broken and scared and maybe not even understanding.
I remember hugging her for a very long time.
He was gone, forever gone. A very big ‘family loss’ and a very deep one for her.
We loaded her into our car and drove the 14 mile drive in silence back to our house.
My husband and I in our own thoughts, as she slept in the back seat with her head pressed against the car window.
The hours ahead of us seemed surreal, what we were experiencing was like a very bad dream, only it was real and we were awake.
There were many things to do when we brought her home. I had to call my work and let my boss know I would not be back till she passed away, then call hospice, and family.
Our family room would become a resting place for the dying and we would sit with her as we watched and waited for her to die.
We started her out in a loveseat hide-a-bed then moved her into a hospital bed for the final journey of her hospice care.
The hospice team told us she had just a few weeks left so we were just keeping her comfortable.
We began a journey none of us would ever want to repeat.
She was drowning in a sea of alcoholism and like life guards, we jumped in and rescued her.
For me it was especially exhausting as I didn’t know how to swim or navigate this care taking process.
There were many things to deal with and it was physically and emotionally taxing on all who were involved.
The care taking team consisted of my husband and I, our older sister and her husband, the hospice team and most important the doctor who helped us.
I will forever be grateful to him for his patience and knowledge of this addiction process.
Days moved into weeks as we gave her round the clock care, as her thin body laid on the sheet of the hospital bed. Detoxing the demons out of her was a balance between medications every two hours, monitoring the seizures and praying the hallucinations would leave. I slept on a cot giving medications to her every two hours.  You cannot believe the horrible effects detox has on a person, tremors take place, nausea and unsettled behavior. Seeing things that are not there are all a part of the detox cycle.
She had to have specific drugs to ease the discomfort and chaos inside her body and brain.
In the midst of the really hard, there were a few really funny moments of comedy relief.
Remembering the middle of the night when I was so exhausted to take her outside for a smoke, I gave her one that was unlit and told her to smoke it.
This was breaking my rule to never have cigarettes in my home, but she had no idea it wasn’t lit and I would hold the ash tray near her bed telling her to dump the ashes and she would do as she was told. I would watch her inhale and exhale pretend smoke, while feeling relieved I didn’t have to get her in her chair to go outside.
She smoked the same cigarette for four days before I had to start over with a new one.
The hospice team was amazed and we all laughed about my crazy idea of an unlit cigarette.
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Everyone involved in the process with us was amazed at our ability to work together on this very difficult journey.
We realized her tolerance was very high, she was drinking a fifth of vodka daily, so in order for that to be removed one has to taper down slowly, or the body will crash in a violent way.
The doctor was amazing along with the hospice team and especially the chaplain, who helped us create a memorial service for her husband out in our courtyard, as she was too ill to go anywhere outside of our home. We sang songs, shared a few words and remembered the very special person that he was to us.
Day in and day out we took care of her and loved her through her wrecked life.
Soon her strength began to come back to her as we removed the alcohol from her system.
We were giving her three ounce doses of vodka two times daily and that seemed to keep the detox process comfortable for her.
She had to have help to eat, walk and move around the house. I remember feeding her like a mom would feed her toddler.
She slowly began to wall walk holding onto the walls for stability and a bit of independence.
In seven weeks were able to move her out of our home and into an adult foster home setting.
When that setting didn’t work well, we were able to move her into an assisted living facility not far from my home.
The day she chose to live was the day she quit dying.
The journey was long, hard and would we ever do it again?
No, I have told her many times. It was very hard. Too hard and too exhausting.
Today she is alive and living in an assisted living home. A place of safety for her.
Her brain is slowly coming back to her and she is thriving, she is enjoying life and enjoying family.
It is a story of love, sacrifice, sisterhood and hope.
healing It is a story of family, a journey of life and death and then life again.
IT IS A STORY OF SISTER’S …
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There is so much more to this story I could share and someday I will when the time is right.
We brought her home to die in a safe and loving place. By caring for her, praying for her, and giving her hope.
Her life was restored from a wrecked life going no where to a place of healing with a new future.
Each year I am thankful she can have another birthday to enjoy her grand children and her family.
Because I will always remember the year she almost didn’t.

Day three of the love week

When my son was a little boy we went to a care home setting for his little class to sing to the seniors.
It was uncomfortable. I didn’t like it at all.
They were in wheelchairs, rocking chairs, some hung their heads downward, some smiled what seemed like faraway smiles, with empty darkened eyes when they looked at you.
The little kids didn’t seem scared or uncomfortable, but I was for sure.
I didn’t know what to think or how to react, if they grabbed me.
I wanted out of there as fast as I could get out. I was way out of my comfort zone.
Now that it’s been many years since then and we have been in the setting of care homes, assisted living homes and even foster home settings.
As I have learned to spend time with ‘relatives’ who live there, I was able to move from uncomfortable to, “I am ok with this.”
The elderly are one group of people who are very forgotten in our ‘current’ society. In the old days ma and pa lived with the kids like on the Walton show.
It was a group setting where they all shared meals, and home and relationships. It was very caring and loving and safe, and it was family.
This doesn’t happen anymore. Most older folk are now in care homes being cared for by others who ‘do it’ as a job not as a relationship.
I remember when my husbands dad went into a nice setting, he was fearful, we would put him in there and forget about him.
It is a valid fear. Many who live there are forgotten or rarely visited. Families do not make the time for the seniors.
It was not a valid worry for him, as his kids saw him all the time. Only when his memory became worse was it a problem because he wouldn’t remember who was there.
This could be a ‘think out of the box’ idea for Valentines day. Go visit a senior.
Take a bouquet of flowers to someone living alone, make some homemade cookies if they can have them.
Write a thank you note to the caregivers if you have any, and thank them for making your loved ones comfort level safe and nice.
Little things are so easy to do yet we avoid them. Because of our own comfort level.
I was very uncomfortable the first few times I went into a ‘senior care home.’ It was hard for me to imagine, what they used to do, before age took them away.
My sister lives in an assisted living home. It is safe and good for her to be there. It keeps her from harm and keeps her healthy.
I challenge you one more time, to do something new, different and kind as we head into the ‘Valentine’ weekend.
Perhaps it could even mean, write a note to your child’s teacher at school and say, “thank you,” for all you do all day long.
It is a time for what I call, ‘thinking out of the box’ and expressing thought and feelings, on this ‘day three’ of what we call ‘love week’.

Day two of the love week

I had minor surgery today. Guess who showed up without telling me? yes my hubby.
That is what I am talking about, support without ‘feeling I must’, support because I want to.
I am recovering. The doctor did great I asked him to numb it before he numbed it and it worked wonderful.
I felt nothing other than a few ‘little’ pokes that didn’t hurt.
Tonight I am feeling the tugging and pulling of stitches. Tomorrow might be worse as the numbing drug wears off.
It should be good and heal well and we will know the results in a few days.
But this is what I am talking about. Without planning or discussing he showed up.
I was supported because he worried and cared, and he couldn’t find me when the doctor’s office ran later, and I should have been home when he called me.
Isn’t that better than a bouquet of roses that you would throw away after a few days?
YES it’s a constant ‘knowing,’ we care for each other.
I didn’t expect him to come to the doctor’s office and when the nurse came to the room and said, “your husband is here, do you want him in the room?”
It was a nice surprise. He even watched the doctor do the biopsy.
I would not do that for him…I am not a medical type person and he does not want me on the floor.
Do you have a way to surprise someone you love and care for?
The challenge continues, do something out of the ‘normal’ and create a surprise.
If you don’t have a husband, find a good friend, child or co-worker, everyone needs and appreciates
a ‘I care for you moment’.
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The love week

So this is the official LOVE WEEK.
Yes every Florist shop in town is busy this week creating beautiful bouquets, chocolate baskets, and gift items for the ‘love of your life.’
Pizza parlor’s are readying themselves for requests for heart shaped pizza’s. Groupon has been advertising for the ‘best place’ to take your loved one.
It is a week to celebrate. My preference as I have told my husband many times.
Don’t give me something on Valentines day just because Hallmark says you should, do it.
Give me something when I am least expecting it.
For example after my husband had a knee replacement surgery a year ago, I was running around in total exhaustion and worry and the door bell rang.
I opened the door up and there stood a delivery lady with a large vase of flowers. He had thought of me, when I needed a ‘lift’, and a bit of encouragement.
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A beautiful bouquet with a nice little note. Now that was better than a Valentine gift because it was out of the blue and caught me by surprise.
Totally different from what you are expected to do, on days like Valentines day.
I didn’t expect a bouquet, in fact he was pretty dopey with the medications and the recovery I was very surprised he even thought about it.
What I am getting at is this.
Every day of the week, we have opportunity and choices to tell others how we feel about them.
We don’t need to wait for Valentine’s day or even other holidays.
It is more special when it is a heart felt ‘decision’ without a reason.
When you least expect it, not looking for it. Surprise.
So on this ‘love week’ I challenge you to do something different and unique.
Who knows… it might become a new tradition.

Friday’s word prompt

Today’s word prompt is again an easy one for me to write about since it hits home with me on many levels.
The word for the day is: FOCUS
As we are heading into our retirement years and the months move quickly towards my husbands last day at work.
I am keeping busy cleaning and purging and revamping closets and clutter.
The other day I spent a few hours adding items to my Etsy store in hopes of decluttering a book case that has old antique books in it and assorted collectible items.
I am going through my closet and deciding, do I like it, love it or do I really need to keep it?
Since being retired about six years ago I have discovered the nice clothes I wore daily to work, are not being worn.
So I don’t really need to keep them right? They don’t need to take space in the closet anymore.
Also it is hard to FOCUS when as a writer, I have personal writing deadlines and then chores, and then cleaning and the list continues.
I have been helping our daughter keep her FOCUS on her home and job and kids and just life’s stresses when one is a single mom.
It is an every day thing, on going and although it is good, it is hard sometimes to stay on track.
As a couple we have to say, sometimes it is hard to FOCUS on what is ahead for us.
What we need to do as far as financial decisions, do we sell our home? do we get a motor home?
do we find a new car or keep what we already have? many decisions to be made.
Then to add all that together with staying in a direction where we FOCUS our goals together, it is challenging.
The meaning of FOCUS is to be clear and sharply defined, to direct one’s attention or efforts. To concentrate.
As we head into the next six months we will be moving more and more into a new direction.
To FOCUS our thoughts on what we need to do, how we need to do it, and when do we want this goal to be done.
We have talked about paying bills off, and planning a vacation of travel and sightseeing.
It takes a concentrated FOCUS to reach any goal.
That could mean retirement, or raising children, or exercising and getting healthy, going to college and getting a better job for ones future.
We all have had times in our lives when we must FOCUS on a plan and see it through to the end.
It takes effort, goal making, no distractions, and a mindset that we will FOCUS till it is done.
I like the word for the day. Let us FOCUS and do good and never let go of our goal.

Friday’s word prompt

I saw the word prompt for today and it is what I have been learning to value for the last year or two.
Quiet. The word for the day is quiet.
I am in quiet most of the time, on some days I watch home shows on tv as I love to watch the buying and selling and remodeling ones.
It is fun to imagine the people who want to purchase a vacation home at a price of $1.1 million?
What is important to know and realize whether you live in a tiny house or a big house, it won’t solve the quiet inside your heart.
Peace comes from making peace deep within your heart and your spirit.
Quiet is a gift we give ourselves. It is breathing room for your soul.
Quiet allows us to listen to the whispers of the Lord.
He won’t shout. He won’t push. He won’t yell or intimidate. He whispers quietly and if we are too busy listening to the noise we will miss the gentle quiet lesson or words spoken.
Do I think He speaks to us, yes absolutely.
Have you ever stood at the beach and listened? the seagulls call is almost mournful as they fly over the roar of the loud ocean.
The waves sound in the rhythmic movements inward to the sand then out back to the depths of the ocean.
I stand mesmerized by the quiet and yet it is noise similar to a symphony. Each movement necessary.
I am by nature one who loves the quiet. I get very tired and very irritable with noise.
The years lately have taught me quiet is peace. Quiet is healing.
Psalm 119: [You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me.]
Matthew 5:1-2 [When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him.
Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions.]
Matthew 6:6 [“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage.
The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.”]
Jesus knew we could not focus when there is other noise around us. The word quiet is used 114 times in the bible.
I think that should be something important for us to remember.
It is good to be in quiet. Colossians 3:12 [So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:
compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.] Do we get it yet?
Be quiet so we can have a teachable moment and listen.
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A new direction

It’s hard to imagine us being retired. Soon my husband will be home, every day.
What will be our new normal? I don’t think too much will change for us. He will still get up early and I will sleep in.
He will still find time for some yard work till we find a home with no yard in a few years.
Our hope is to move to a new ‘place’ with less grass and maintenance.
We haven’t found that place yet but we are actively looking and being very selective where and when.
We want to find a ‘motor home’ for traveling in, so we can ‘decide in the morning’…let’s go to the beach.
It will be a new direction and freedom for us.
It will be good after all these years of working and getting mentally tired of the demands placed on him.
I have been home ‘retired’ for over six years and it has been a good place to be.
No the chore list has not been finished, yes it is easy to get distracted, no I have not gotten my purging and cleaning done.
In time it will be finished and then the new freedom of less will be our ‘breathing room’.
I am by nature a keeper and saver, he is a thrower so we will see what takes place in the months to come for us.
It will be a good nice challenge, I think.
I am sure there will be moments when we will be frustrated with each other.
Retirement will be a new direction for us and it will be good and positive.
It is time. We both feel it is very important to spend time together and enjoying the life we have while we have it.
There have been friends who worked long many years, then retire and in six months they pass away.
What a sad thing to experience. We are hoping that this ‘new’ era of our life will be rich and rewarding for us.
Many changes will take place, and many details must be taken care of and once that is all done.
We can relax as we explore new beaches and new scenes all around the area where we live, it will be good.
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Friday’s word prompt

Today is my husbands birthday. He is 62 and ready to retire.
The word prompt today was for: Present
Isn’t that fitting since it is his birthday and usually you get a present for that special day?
Now that we are at a point of getting what we want anytime we need something, we stopped buying presents for each other years ago.
Everyone likes to get presents, but to think of it differently, I think this word could also mean, ‘be present’ right where you are.
Be alert and be fully alive. Breathe in and enjoy the air in your lungs and the life that God has given to you.
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God has given all of us, one life to live and what we do with it is our gift back to him.
A present and a moment of time and for the rest of the days a head of us, as long as HE allows us to live.
I have known my husband close to 45 years. We have grown up together.
I want us to be present with each other, to be fully in the relationship and fully knowing we are so blessed.
Tomorrow we will go to the beach, which is our favorite thing to do.
We will walk on the oceans edge and listen to the waves roar around us.
Perhaps the haunting call of the seagull will be over us as we walk and talk.
Life is a gift, a present to unwrap and enjoy. Each day is a new day and each experience a new one.
“Life is a great and wondrous mystery, and the only thing we know that we have for sure is what is right here right now. Don’t miss it.”
— Leo Buscaglia —
Today is a new day. Breathe, be thankful, be aware, be present and enjoy another day of living.
Papa-O-and-samson