Chapter 7, page 2190.

Happy anniversary, Sam. This honeymoon is perpetual, and I am so very grateful.

Sometimes, my world seems suffocating, but you walk into the room, and you are the oxygen mask to my overwhelm.

When I am overwhelmed with the world around us – the political anger, the work-related stresses, the medical keeping up, the worry and concern regarding our children – you hold my hand and wrap your arms around me and pass on fresh air with a sense of security for my inner panic and distress.

Your sense of calm in a storm allows me to step back and breathe deep, recognizing our many blessings.

When we made this commitment to each other six years ago, we had no idea that we would face a major life-changing move, a world-shattering medical diagnosis, job crises, and re-entry into active parenting. Through it all, our commitment and our relationship has been rock solid.

I will never ever forget your resolve to make this marriage an equal partnership, to walk beside me, not in front of me, to include me in the decision-making and ask my opinion when it comes to all things important. You patiently taught me about finances, about simple home repair, about growing wealth, about abandoning the drama and living life intentionally because life is too short, and you encouraged my new-found independence and cheered me on as I discovered a forgotten Rhonda.

I am so very grateful that you hold my hand during prayer. I am so very grateful that you treasure your faith in God and it is a priority in our marriage. I am so very grateful that certain hymns cause your eyes to well up with tears. I am so very grateful that attending church is important to you. I am so very grateful that you put up with my reading out loud so that you can learn what I am also learning.

I love you, Sam. Chapter 7 is going to be exciting, and I am ready to turn the page and write it with you.

I’ll take a side of Romans 8 with that piece of fruit, thank you.

Yesterday was a whirlwind of emotions. One thing happened that rocked us, and then another thing happened that shook us, and then another thing happened that made us want to turtle.

Last night, heads on pillows, staring at the ceiling in the darkness, I quoted Romans 8:28 to Sam:

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

All day long, we felt like we were in a scary, dark fog. Nothing was going as planned, and was happening too quickly for us to sort it all out. It was a sick feeling.

I reached out to a chosen few and asked for specific prayer, and it was as if by 8 pm, the fog began to subtly dissipate. The peace that surpasses our understanding began to lift our shoulders and allow us to process the day without dread and fear.

And as we attempted to untangle the emotions, He gave me the verse I know all too well, the verse that is sometimes overused to reassure.

“Sam. We KNOW that God causes everything to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to HIS purpose for them. Right? So, maybe just maybe, what we think is horrible timing and awfulness we are facing – maybe…it is perfect timing for what He has for us next. Just a thought…” (Or something like that.)

This morning, Connie sent this to me in a text:

Just read the verses before and after Romans 8:28. If God is for us, who can be against us…in all these things we are more than conquerors!!

Then, Geri sent this to me in a text a couple of hours later:

We can see hope in the midst of hopelessness. We can see peace in the midst of chaos. We have a hope that the world does not have. We can see clearly that all things work together for the good of them that love Him and are called according to His purpose. – Priscilla Shirer

And then, Ellen sent this to me in an email this afternoon:

Romans 8:38 is one of the verses I cling to—in good times and in bad—

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”

So this evening, I am incredibly grateful for God’s frying pan on the head through the prayers of good friends who share insight as they pray for us.

I am grateful for Romans 8. Over and over and over again, Romans 8.

I am grateful for peace in the middle of a storm.

I am grateful that our devotions this week are spurring us to count the blessings and pass them on to others.

I am grateful for opportunities to grow – fruit is grown in the valleys, not on top of the mountains.

And I am grateful for a husband who prays with me, learns with me, grows with me.

What to eat, what to eat. That is the question.

I am grateful for room fresheners to mask the smell of cooked cauliflower and broccoli.

I am grateful for carrots. Not beets. Carrots.

I am grateful for green beans. Not asparagus. Green beans.

I am grateful for people who attempt to invent some normal food out of what is not considered normal in my books. Maybe if I pinch my nose and pretend it is high carb comfort food…

I am grateful for the fun of growing broccoli sprouts, but I need to work on being grateful for the actual ingesting of broccoli sprouts.

And I am grateful for all the people in the universe who have sent me links and websites and recipes to try, but you can stop now.

Needed:


One miracle. That’s all. One particular miracle, actually.

This morning’s drive was silent with the exception of an Audible book telling us all about toxins in our home and how exercise is important for healing. All the information is heavy on our shoulders. But…

Our pre-dawn view was a miracle in itself, a low wispy blanket of deep pink clouds that seemed so close, if we had been standing on a hillside, we could’ve reached up and touched them.

Sam drove in silence, holding my hand and sighing heavily to break the quiet.

After the truck was parked and it was time to go inside, we held hands and I prayed for him:

Father, we’re asking for a miracle for Sam today. He needs a miracle. He needs…peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I need to be grateful today:

  • for pink cloud blankets
  • for alpaca socks
  • for a husband who holds my hand and prays with me and tells me many times a day he loves me – he is the strongest man I know, climbing this mountain to show others it can be done
  • for being blanketed with prayer
  • for Geri cards and Chris and Connie smiles
  • for the generosity of my employers who allow me to work from a laptop on days like today
  • for another congregational care minister who is now on board and holding Sam up in prayer
  • for heated blankets
  • for treatment #30 and the end of treatment #30

Tonight will be a quiet night in front of a warm fire, wrapped up securely in a blanket, knowing without a doubt we are held tightly in God’s hand.

That’s the miracle for today.

Take my life and let it be.

  • for the ability and fortitude to recognize the blessings in the midst of the stress and overwhelm.
  • for the warmth of a fire on a frigid evening.
  • for encouraging messages from the closest ones who care enough to stay close when all I can do is hang on.
  • for purring that calms.
  • for the desire to try new things, if not for me, for Sam.
  • for snow sparkle and beams of sunlight.
  • for being in love and being loved back.
  • for trash day.
  • for the Veggie Tales theme song – thank you, Chris.

For these things this evening, I am grateful.

Huh?

I bit the bullet.

I took a dive.

I joined the club.

After almost 40 years of not being able to hear much out of my right ear due to an accident, today, I can hear again.

Just in time to listen to the crowd roar tonight.

Go Blue Devils.

This evening, I am grateful for enough in the bank to get a new ear.

I am grateful for the whatever it is that is making it not so rough to accept this new season.

I am grateful for hair over my ears.

And I am grateful for cute shoes.

I double dog dare you.

Good honk.

It is what my cousins Debbie and Sheri used to say instead of the typical Charlie Brownism, “good grief.”

It is fitting right now. Part of this new plant-based eating plan we have undertaken includes the addition of Indian Gooseberry.

I can almost guarantee you haven’t ever had one. But I double dog dare you.

Good honk it is not for the faint of heart.

Good honk it is not for the wimps who throw in towels easily.

Good honk.

It is so bitter and tart, it has to be consumed in powder form, called amla powder. A daily dose is 1 teaspoon, I kid you not. And 1 teaspoon is DI.FIH.COLT. to get down.

This berry has the highest antioxidant content of any food known to man, 200 times more than blueberries.

This berry has the 2nd highest content of Vitamin C, right behind camu camu fruit, whatever THAT is.

The average American meal has 25-100 units of antioxidants. One tiny teaspoon of this honker has nearly 800 units of antioxidants.

On this Friday evening, I am grateful for a few things.

  1. My work family ordered a bag of amla powder and did a test kitchen yesterday, sending us the video so we could see them try it before we did. And they are going to do this with us. I love them all.
  2. Sara was here with us as we attempted this bitter nastiness, so she has an idea of what SACRIFICES we are making to change our lifestyle and get Sam to healing.
  3. Sam didn’t throw it ALL up.
  4. I didn’t throw ANY of it up.
  5. We are now 4 teaspoons down. Just 47,000 more to go.