Why You Will Want to Read All The Pretty Things

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Edie Rudder Wadsworth writes words that burn deep into your soul. Her book, All The Pretty Things launches today. It needs to be on your must read list.

Here’s Why:

  1.  You will Love the chapter titles
  2.  You will experience all the emotions
  3.  You will see grace in action
  4.  You will find redemption
  5.  You will not be able to put the book down
  6.  You will recognize yourself
  7.  You will find hope
  8.  You will cry and sometimes laugh
  9.  You will forget to breathe, finally letting out a sigh of relief
  10.   You will be changed

It’s the story of a young girl’s journey into womanhood and how through everything  love, grace, forgiveness and redemption were the threads that held it all together resulting in a beautiful tapestry only God could weave.

It’s the first book in a long time that I couldn’t put down until every last word was savored. Edie’s voice draws you in and compels you to stay.  You will come away with your heart full and a new resolve to embrace your life and live it with grace.

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Reading in grace,

Teresa

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Backstory (health journey part 2)

When I shared a little with you last week about my health journey, I wasn’t sure how much more to share or where to go next.  I know some people like more details.  I know that I need to see how it all fits together, so I write it down.  Everything I have written so far was too much for one post, and there is a summarizing or going forward element to all of this that I also need to share; therefore today’s post will be part two of four parts. Today goes back a few years to give you some backstory that some of you already know, but I’ve not written about it much.  In part three I’ll give you a little more specifics on my journey last year (which started late 2014).  Then, I’ll wrap up this impromptu series with part four, which I still need to write. If you don’t mind indulging this foray into my health, I think I need to process before I can move forward if that makes sense.  And I want to go forward.  To read part one first, click here.

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In 2011, I contracted double pneumonia that almost wiped me out.  I was in the hospital for nearly three weeks.  My understanding, after the fact, is that I’m blessed to be alive.  My kidneys were beginning to shut down, which resulted in a couple of dialysis treatments and my heart was going into Afib.  I was in ICU for the first week and don’t remember all the details, mostly just impressions. I ended up with plasma and blood transfusions.  I had a thoracentesis to draw fluid off my right lung.  I was too sick to pray for myself, but I kept getting reports that others were praying for me, and that was what sustained me.  I knew God was with me, and I wasn’t scared.  I felt safe like I was in good hands.

The fear came later after I was home. I was sent home on a bitterly cold night.  Rocky’s mom was with us and between the two of them – one pulling and the other pushing – they managed to get me up the steps from the parking lot and into our apartment.  It took me several days (ok weeks) to adjust to being home and trusting that I would be alright without around the clock care.

Rocky’s mom stayed with us a few days; my sister came after that, followed by my parents.  I remember the day my parents left, my dad knew I was apprehensive about being alone while Rocky was in classes.  He reminded me that God would be with me and that I had to be on my own sometime.  In other words, he was telling me the time was now, get on with it already (but in a nice way).  So, I did for the most part.  We still had a few people who sat with me on the evenings Rocky had to be away, but eventually, I got used to being by myself again.

And, finally, I made it back to work.  I didn’t want to go back to work.  Not because of my workplace – they were wonderful to me and very supportive- but because I was so drained.  I don’t think I realized until some time later just how much the pneumonia had slowed me down.  I’m sure I didn’t pull my full weight at work, but still, they were gracious and showed me Christian kindness.  Everybody pulled together to help me.

After the pneumonia, everything in my life became defined by pre or post pneumonia.  My whole life became measured by that event.  The year before the pneumonia I had been through surgery and had finally been feeling like I was back on track, and then the pneumonia hit.  After the pneumonia, I assumed that I’d feel like myself again soon enough.  But I didn’t.  I had good days, but they seemed few and far between. My tolerance for almost everything was on a short leash.  The simplest of things seemed more than I could handle.  And I was suffocated by fear.

Fear of everything.  I became more aware of death and getting older and how short life was.  I lived life waiting for the next bad thing to happen.  I remember in the winter of 2012 holding my breath hoping I wouldn’t succumb once again to pneumonia because I wasn’t sure I’d survive it a second time.  I started questioning my faith and my salvation and whether or not I’d done everything right to be accepted by God.  (Knowing full well that it is all about his grace and my faith).

Quite honestly, I believe I was under attack from the enemy, he was trying to push me to the depths of despair while I was in such a weakened state.  I prayed a lot and clung to the scriptures that had sustained me while I was sick.  I put on a brave face and tried my best to muddle through.  And, I must just say here, that God was and is faithful to me.  He has been my rock through everything.

I lasted about a year after returning to work. Then we moved.  I haven’t worked public work since.  The day I knew it was time to leave, was such a liberating day.  My job was our primary source of income while my husband was finishing school, but I knew God was telling me it was time, and I knew he would provide.

We moved back to my hometown to the little house we’d been fixing up next door to my parents.  My mother was battling Alzheimer’s, and my father was no longer driving due to Macular Degeneration; it was becoming more apparent that my parents needed me.

The first few months back home were filled with good days and some pretty bad days as we all adjusted to the new normal of living with Alzheimer’s.  It was very taxing mentally more so than physically.  I still had days that I felt wiped out and barely had the energy I needed for essential tasks.

My husband would shake his head that something as simple as basic housework or going to the grocery could make my whole body ache.  I couldn’t explain it.  The simple everyday things that most people do like cooking, dishes, laundry, scrubbing the toilet, running errands, etc. became overwhelming to me.  There were many times that I didn’t want to go out or attend events because the effort just seemed like too much.  I struggled with feelings of guilt, inadequacy and wondering if I was just lazy, or was I really that tired.

I had known for several years, long before the pneumonia, that I sometimes got tired easily and that I ached quite a lot.  I would have good energy days that everything seemed to flow. I managed most days to function.  But, if I had an especially tiring or busy day, or if we’d go on a trip, even just a day trip, I’d pay for it later.  It would sometimes take me several days to bounce back.

I had even suspected that I might have something going on with my autoimmune system, but for whatever reason, that route was never pursued.  I also had a lot of hormonal issues, so I chalked a lot of my tiredness to that.  No matter how tired, overwhelmed or depressed I became, it got better sooner or later.  So, I naturally assumed after the pneumonia that things would eventually get back to normal.  And, although I did see improvements and even had some excellent days,  almost four years later, I was still floundering, and I was still aware that I had not bounced back to my pre-pneumonia state of health.

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Come back tomorrow (or soonish) for the rest of the story?

Relying on grace,

Teresa

Standing In Grace

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Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access through faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5 NIV

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May we find God’s peace today for all our needs.  The world may be swirling around us in all directions, but he is still our hope and his grace is sufficient for all that we need. He stands ready to pour all his love into our hearts.

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Thank You, Heavenly Father, for Your Grace.  We rely on you today to meet our needs and to sustain us.  You are our hope of glory.

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Standing in Grace,

Teresa

What I Learned In March

I always think I’ll keep a list of things I learned. But, of course, I don’t.  Then at the end of the month, I’m left wondering just what I learned, or even if I learned anything.  I search the depths of my mind for any morsel that will prove that I do pay attention to what is happening in my world. 100_2932 Evidently, this month a few things stuck (mostly from the past few days, hours even), so here goes in no particular order:

1.  I learned that I like the taste of Trader Joe’s chocolate chips better than the store brand or that popular brand (you know the one with the cookie recipe).

2.  I learned that Homes.com has vastly overestimated the value of my humble little cottage.  I mean, I don’t live in California.  If I did, it would be worth what they say it is. 100_2871 100_2879 3.  I learned that I love, love, love the newest DQ Blizzard, the Fanniversary Blizzard in honor of their 75th anniversary.  Go get you one now or as soon as possible. Thanks, Gwen for making me want one.

4.  I learned that Conway Twitty’s real name is Harold Jenkins (I may have known this before, but forgot – it sounded familiar when I was reading about him).

5.  I further learned that the name Conway Twitty was a compilation of two cities – Conway, Arkansas and Twitty, Texas.  Nowadays people seem to use their own names, but back in the day it was very popular to have a stage name, especially if your original moniker was deemed uninspiring.  I heard one time that the way to choose your name if you were a country singer was to choose the name of your first pet and your Mother’s maiden name.  In case you were wondering mine would be Mittens Maddox.  (A gray cat with four white paws named Mittens at my grandmothers that I claimed.) If you’re interested, my husband’s would have been Boots Logan. Ok…moving on.

6.  I further learned that during his 35-year career, Conway had over 100 albums and 55 number one singles.

7.  One time a lady was having a heart attack at one of his concerts and refused to leave with the paramedics until she heard Conway sing Hello, Darlin’.  Seems someone got a message to him, and he sang the song for her so she’d go to the hospital.

All the info in numbers 4-7 came from this website where you can find much more information about him.  Click on over to read the rest.

8.  I was getting a little scared about my blogging break and the fact that words wouldn’t come, but then a couple of other bloggers (here and here) really encouraged me to embrace this time and see what God is teaching me and to journal with pen and paper.  I’ve been slowly, but surely taking their advice.  Thanks, Barbie and Deidra for your encouragement it is helping.  I’m learning to take this season in stride and let God set the pace. 100_2797 9. I’ve also been more intentional the past few days about making time to be in the word.  For me, it seems to sink in better at night, so I’m learning it’s ok for me not to be a morning person.  I’m learning that it’s ok to fit my mold and not everyone else’s.

10.  Just tonight, I became aware of some thoughts I have about my writing and how I want it to impact others.  There is more to learn here as the thoughts are written down and processed.  As I was praying about my writing, one thing I realized is that I want my writing to make people feel like they have come home.

11.  I also realized that I love the sound of a pencil scratching across paper.  I usually write in my journal with a pen.  Tonight I wanted to jot down a thought before I forgot, and a pencil was all that was available, so that is what I used.  It was so satisfying to actually hear my thoughts glide across the page.  That means I need to get my bouquet of pencils sharpened and ready.

12.  In case you didn’t know, that bouquet of pencils comment in number 11 is a reference to a quote from You’ve Got Mail,  probably my most favorite movie ever. Ever. I knew that, but you might not have. Now you do. Go watch it, and you can thank me later. Although I can’t imagine why you haven’t already seen the movie.  Also, this reminds me of my friend Cindy who once got me a bouquet of pencils for my birthday because she knew I loved that quote from the movie. That is a good friend. PM.mail.quote 13.  I discovered that a bunch of supermarket Roses can be arranged in Blue Mason jars and give days of enjoyment, and they are even more enjoyable when you share two of your three bunches with friends. 100_4258     100_4278   What about you?  What have you been learning – please feel free to share in the comments.

Would you like to join the party?  Go on over to Chatting At The Sky and see what other people are learning in March.

Learning Takes Grace,

Teresa

Prompted By Forgiveness

Today’s post on Forgiveness, is the last in the Write 31 Days series, Prompted to Write.  My first post in this series was about my mother, so it is only fitting that I end the series with a post about her.  If you have followed along, I hope you have enjoyed the journey and I hope you have extended grace on the few days I missed or gave you a bunch of pictures.  I will continue writing going forward, but it won’t be every day.  I hope you come back and please leave a comment to let me know you were here.  God Bless!

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Forgiving and being forgiven is a wonderful thing.  When we live in fear that we aren’t forgiven it weighs heavily on our spirit.  Likewise, when we have an unforgiving attitude towards others it kills our peace.  I’ve been on both sides of that coin and I remember the relief I felt when I realized I was forgiven and also when I was able to extend forgiveness.  It definitely lightens our load.

I was reminded recently of the gift of forgiveness when I ran across a letter my mom sent me years ago, long before the Alzheimer’s began to set in.  I had felt the need to write her and ask forgiveness for a time in my life when I felt that I had broken her trust.

We were living in Florida at the time and so I wrote her a letter as I have always preferred to write down what I want to say in order to make sure I say what needs to be said.  And, also because sometimes it is easier to hide behind the pen rather than talk directly to someone.

I’ll never forget the day I received her letter in the mail offering forgiveness.  The tears flowed and I realized that her love for me was stronger than any sin I could commit.  When I read the letter again, just yesterday, it still brought comfort to me and it reminded me that she has always loved me unconditionally, and does so even now, on days when she barely knows who I am.

Mom, right before I was born.  I was a winter baby.
Mom, right before I was born. I was a winter baby.

In her letter she used an acrostic of my name and the word forgiven to write out her message.  I’d like to share her words with you:

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With those words she offered me hope and she reminded me of one who loves me even more than she.  I thought of her line that said “intense moments of pain cannot destroy that love,” and how that is true of Jesus’s love for us as well.  Our sin caused him intense physical pain as well as intense emotional pain. Yet, he still went to the cross for us.  Even now, as redeemed children, we still cause him pain when we ignore him or doubt his power to forgive.

Won’t you join me in accepting the fact that he loves us unconditionally and we can never out sin his love.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

We don’t need to live under the bondage of sin and guilt. If we are in him, then we are free.  My mother ended her letter by saying, “A contrite spirit is always rewarded with God’s forgiveness and healing.”

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Healed by grace,

Teresa

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me, with normal ears…

PS – if you are wondering about the “ears taped securely in place”  it is a well-known fact in our family that my mother taped our ears with small band-aids when we were babies so that when we rolled over they would not get bent, thus avoiding ears that stick out.  Does this really work?  Who knows, but our ears did not stick out…