Drying Out

The rain finally ended! Today was my grocery-shopping day. It was somewhat easier since I don’t have quite so many to shop for or any big holiday dinners coming up.

Mercy and Daniel came for lunch and I had a nice chat on the phone with my mom. She and my dad are currently vacationing in Williamsburg, Virginia, thanks to the kindness of some friends.

This afternoon Lina and I planned to go to the yarn store—the one I sometimes call the Realm of Perpetual Bliss and Serenity. They always have a sale for the months of January and July, so those are the two months I am most likely to go. Well, we got up there and the store was closed. More alarmingly, the sale banner was not hanging up in the window. Now I am worried about the serene sisters. Are they okay? We will have to call Tuesday (they are closed Mondays) and see if we can find out what’s going on.

After that disappointment, we stopped at Walmart for a few supplies and headed on home. I made a big pot of spaghetti sauce so the family could have spaghetti for supper while I headed to the gym and went walking. I am experiencing some physical issues which make walking rather less enjoyable at the moment, but I got through it and even survived the music the basketball team was playing.

Rain

It rained yesterday. It rained last night. It rained most of the day today. I do love rain, but not, you know, continuously!

Today I did some sorting and organizing and threw a lot of stuff away! A drop in the bucket, but every little bit helps.

I also cut out Lucy’s Christmas gift, a weighted blanket that I hope to make over the next couple of days. It’s a big project that requires taking over the dining room table for the duration of construction.

Mercy and Daniel got the thumbs up on their apartment, but they can’t move in until the 15th. They came back into town this evening and had supper with us. They’ll do more packing and organizing this weekend before going back to Dallas so Mercy can start work on Monday.

Lina got to test-drive a prospective vehicle this afternoon. Tomorrow she will look into her financing options. She needs a car as soon as possible.

No one is sick right now. Daniel appears to be the only family member who escaped the plague.

Scattered

To our relief, Mary and Jordan felt well enough to drive home to Memphis today. They left right after lunch and have arrived safely! Jade also took the bus home to Waco.

Meanwhile, Walter was back at work this morning and Lucy went to work at the library this afternoon. The house felt so empty!

It was not a very productive day for me, although I did do some sorting and organizing. I was fighting another headache and indulged in a nice long nap this afternoon.

We are waiting for Mercy and Daniel to be accepted by an apartment complex so we can help them move. Currently they are still staying with friends in Dallas. Mercy’s new job starts on Monday, so it would be really great if they could move before then.

And please pray that Lina will soon be able to find a reliable and affordable vehicle, as this is a prerequisite if she is to find a job.

Happy New Year!

After our late night last night, we went to bed while the guns were still going off and then slept in this morning. “Sleeping in” for my husband and me means getting up at 8:00. By the time I had breakfast ready, Lina had joined us for a leisurely meal.

I worked on a sewing project this morning—making a storage bag for Mercy’s and Daniel’s Christmas stockings, since they will no doubt want to have them at their own place now. I also worked on organizing my sewing room a little more, since I have several projects I’d like to do before I get busy with school again.

My husband did a few projects around the house, after being the hero of the day yesterday and getting the bathroom sink fixed at last! It’s such a treat to be able to wash my face at the sink again instead of leaning over the bathtub!

Mary and Jordan showed up with Jordan feeling somewhat better and Mary looking pretty miserable. She has spent most of the day in a chair working on her computer as she is able. Jordan, Jasper and Spencer spent several hours playing a computer game together and it sounded like they had a good time.

Meanwhile, I enjoyed a nice long phone chat with another brother and got caught up on his life. I miss my brothers.

Our New Year’s Day is pretty low key (especially when people are sick!), but I do try to make a good meal. Since we had turkey for Christmas, I roasted a ham today. I also made some keto broccoli gratin, a fresh pineapple/strawberry/coconut salad, some cheesy spinach puffs, rice, and of course the obligatory blackeyed peas. We had plenty of desserts left over so I didn’t have to make anything new.

Spencer and Jade came over for one last meal with us. Jade returns home to Waco tomorrow and Spencer and Walter will both be back at work. We are praying Mary and Jordan will be well enough to travel.

Parting Shot:


I realized recently that I have no photos of myself with my autoharp; no visual evidence that I even own and play this instrument. So I asked Mary to help me rectify that situation. This is me with my beloved autoharp.

Goodbye, 2018

Yesterday (Sunday) we were delighted by a visit from Spencer’s lifelong best buddy, Britton, with his wife and adorable baby daughter. They drove over from Dallas for a late supper and little Ember provided our entertainment for the evening.

This morning Walter and Lina had to go to the daycare one more time to reset everything back to where it belongs. Meanwhile, we had some very unwelcome news: Jordan had succumbed to the stomach bug during the night. Mary brought him over here and set him up on the couch where he’d be near medication and sustenance. I went out to Walmart and picked up some medicine and Gatorade for him too.

Since Spencer had to work for part of the day, Jade hung out here for a while. During the afternoon I made a run to Hobby Lobby to pick up a few things, like candles for our candelabra so we can use them at dinner tomorrow (the old candles had burned down too low).

I also managed to steal a few minutes to take Mary out to Starbucks before supper—but by the time we drove home, she was starting to feel a little under the weather. That stomach virus is the gift that keeps on taking . . .

So, I didn’t have a big crowd to eat our Zambian supper. Jordan was still too sick to eat. Mary stuck with crackers and a banana. And Spencer and Jade were out with friends. We watched a movie after supper and then progressed to our traditional New Year’s Eve activities. Jasper got a fire going in our fire pit. I made chocolate fondue for everyone to enjoy.

We sat around the fire outside for a while and the kids fired off some roman candles with our neighbor Sam. It was a little nerve-wracking sitting out on our patio with all the gunfire going off. Lots and lots of semi-automatic weapons were being fired almost constantly—so much so, that as midnight approached and we thought about sending up our sky lantern, we did not feel safe doing so in the field behind our house because it would take us closer to the gunfire.

So instead, we went into the front yard. Most years the hardest part of sending up the sky lantern is getting the fuel lit. This year Jasper had a blowtorch. It did the job with impressive speed and thoroughness! We watched as the lantern shot up into the sky and then hung in the air like a reddish star before finally blinking out as it fell.

Most years we have a tradition of shooting the calendar to express our opinion of the outgoing year. This year, with two weddings, I did not feel I could in good conscience be so negative about it—let alone add to all the gunfire. But it has been a very difficult year for some members of our family, and I can only hope and pray that 2019 will be a fresh start that will lead to better things.

Mary and Jordan’s illness has had some unfortunate repercussions already, and I’m sure they’d appreciate your prayers for a swift recovery. They will not be able to drive home tomorrow morning as planned. And a friend of Lina’s, who planned to come for a visit tomorrow, and whom we were so eager to see, will not be coming now to this house of doom. It’s just not worth the risk!

Happy 2019, everyone! May you be richly blessed in the coming months, and may you also find ways to bless others.

My Diabetes Miracle #21: What Rosacea?

For at least ten years now (maybe more like fifteen), I have suffered from increasingly severe rosacea. At first it was just a little redness on my cheeks. I looked a little sunburnt—all the time. If I actually went out into the sun and heat, my face basically caught fire. People were constantly asking me if I had a sunburn or a fever.

Then it got worse. It progressed to severe “pustular” rosacea, which means that I had zit-like pustules on my face all the time. It was like teenage acne, only worse. I tried a succession of ointments, including one that had worked very well for my dad. Nothing worked. After several months of faithful use, my face was worse. The pustules were so numerous and so ugly. They took weeks to heal and fade away, by which time they were succeeded by many more.

I couldn’t bear to look at my face in the mirror. I was so repulsed by my own visage that I often burst into tears when I saw it. I avoided being photographed even more assiduously than before. I had never thought of myself as particularly vain, but this condition exposed my vanity in a most painful way. I had accepted the natural consequences of my advancing age, but I couldn’t accept the ravages of rosacea.

Then, a little over a year ago, I discovered by accident that the soap I had been using in hopes of ameliorating the rosacea was actually making it worse. I immediately stopped using that soap! And to my everlasting relief, the rosacea improved to where it had been several years earlier.

Since then, I have seen my rosacea continue to fade. I wish I could tell you what specific thing I’ve done to achieve this. I think the big thing is that my keto diet and fasting have successfully eliminated most of the inflammation in my body—including my face. In terms of what I put on it, I use a gentle cleanser and then follow up with moisturizer, to which I add a dollop of Prosacea ointment and three drops of frankincense essential oil. I don’t know if the Prosacea is actually doing anything at all, but I’m afraid to stop! The frankincense has been very helpful and in addition to treating my rosacea it has eliminated a couple of skin tags that appeared on my face.

Now, looking in the mirror no longer reduces me to despair. Every now and then, I’ll get a little spot, but it goes away within a few hours with no intervention from me. I actually get compliments on my complexion now. If you’re my friend on Facebook, you’ve seen this photo of me that Mary took on Christmas morning:

When I saw this photo, the first thing that struck me was this: where is my rosacea? Do you see any sign of rosacea? I don’t. I am not wearing any makeup in this photo. That is just my real face—a face I think I can live with!

And finally, since we have reached the turning of the year and tomorrow will be a new one, I just want to look back on what I have achieved in 2018. I worked very very hard and learned to deny myself more than I ever thought possible—and succeeded in losing another 50 pounds, bringing my total weight lost to 120. I wish I could have the quick and easy success that others seem to enjoy, but I am just so thrilled to be where I am. A couple of years ago, I would never have believed this was possible. I had gotten rid of all my “thin” clothes—which would now be way too big for me. In this year, I have gone from wearing size 20 to size 14 (I started as a size 24 two years ago). I have increased my fitness and decreased my joint pain. I freed myself from my last diabetes medication and am now medication free.

As I look forward to 2019, I know I still have plenty of hard work and self-denial ahead of me. I still have 30 pounds to lose and based on my experiences so far, I expect it to take all year—but the big thing is that I believe it is possible and that I can do it.

No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus

No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus

Charles Weigle

I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus,
Since I found in Him a friend so strong and true;
I would tell you how He changed my life completely,
He did something that no other friend could do.
No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There’s no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,
O how much He cared for me.


All my life was full of sin when Jesus found me,
All my heart was full of misery and woe;
Jesus placed His strong and loving arms about me,
And He led me in the way I ought to go.
No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There’s no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,
O how much He cared for me.

Ev’ry day He comes to me with new assurance,
More and more I understand His words of love;
But I’ll never know just why He came to save me,
Till some day I see His blessed face above.
No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There’s no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,
O how much He cared for me.

Lit

Today might be Saturday, but my husband still had to get up early and go to the daycare to start laying wax. This is the “easiest” day of the job but it is still tedious because you have to wait for the wax to dry between coats.

The rest of us got a somewhat slower start, although I was up earlier than the rest and made a trip to Walmart to pick up some donuts. Mostly I puttered around the house, trying to get some things organized so I can get a few more projects done before school starts again. I especially want to make Lucy’s Christmas present, but that will have to wait until there are fewer people in the house as it will require the entire dining room table for a while.

Later in the afternoon, Lina and I went calendar shopping, even though I already have several. I love calendars. They’re such an affordable way to have new art on your walls every month! Most years we have one in just about every room of the house. I also picked up a few other sale items.

After all the food we’ve had this week, today seemed like a good day for a simple supper of tomato soup and quesadillas. Afterward, we climbed into two vehicles and drove to the north side of town to see the Christmas lights in the “Mini Santa Land.” There is a bigger Santa Land an hour’s drive away, but the local one is beautiful—and free! And going a few days after Christmas means no long waiting in line on the highway.

It was an enjoyable outing, and we topped off the evening by watching a nature show. We are enjoying the Africa episodes of the BBC’s Planet Earth.

If It’s Not One Thing . . .

This morning, after my husband got up, I was unable to fall back asleep because there was so much walking to and from the bathroom. I finally asked what was going on, only to find out that the bathroom sink valve was leaking and had flooded out the cabinet underneath.

I wish that was the only bad news, but it wasn’t. The kitchen sink was also leaking, and that cabinet also had to be evacuated. All day while Walter was at work, there were containers under the sinks which had to be emptied as the constant dripping filled them up. So my husband knew that as soon as he got done at the daycare, he’d be doing some plumbing.

Meanwhile, word came from Dallas that Mercy has succumbed to a stomach bug. Whether it was the same one that plagued us or a different one, it’s certainly not welcome! What a thing to have to deal with in the middle of a move.

I went to Aldi for my regular weekly shopping and picked up some half-price German Christmas goodies for the family to enjoy also. After lunch, I took Jade out to spend her gift card at Ross and she was able to find a couple of things she liked. We drove back to the house, picked up Lina and Mary, and headed to Kilgore, where I hoped to take them all to my favorite bookstore/coffeeshop.

However, to my dismay the place is closed until after New Year’s. I had Mary search for any nearby coffee shops (since I was driving) and she found one just a few blocks away, so we went to try it out. It was very cozy and deserted so we made ourselves at home. They even had a padded rocking chair I could sit in, and the tea was not too bad. We stayed for quite a while and Mary got some work done on her computer.

When we returned, my intention was to start making pizza for supper, but the kitchen sink was torn apart and all the water to the house had been shut off. I could not imagine trying to cook supper with no water, so I made the decision to go buy the pizza when the time came. Mary went out right away to buy drinks as everyone was thirsty.

So the family still had their pizza supper—it just wasn’t good homemade pizza. The water got turned on after the kitchen sink was fixed. The sink in the master bathroom was a different story, however. Ever since we returned from Colorado we have had no hot water in that sink, which means I have to bend over the bathtub to wash my face every day. I had high hopes that this situation would be rectified, but alas that was not the urgent problem. While fixing the problem that was urgent, another leak developed in the cold water line. So essentially we are back to where we were in terms of functionality. We can use the cold water in the sink, but if I want hot water I still have to resort to the bathtub. Maybe tomorrow some more progress can be made.

A Trip to the Cinema

When I posted last night’s entry, we were in the middle of a severe thunderstorm, and the tornado sirens were sounding. (For those not in tornado territory, this means that actual tornadoes have been detected in the immediate vicinity.) Obviously I am still here! And today was glorious, sunny, and breezy.

For the second day in a row, I slept in. I get to do it so rarely and I find I am needing the extra sleep after the intensity of the last month. My brother called me later in the morning and we had a nice long chat before I had to go to Walmart to buy supplies for Jasper’s little party.

Walter and Lina came home from work at noon for a quick lunch before the five of us headed to the theater to see They Shall Not Grow Old, Peter Jackson’s tour de force documentary about World War I. If you ever get a chance to see it, you really should. It’s all narrated by World War I veterans talking about their own experiences.

After the movie, we rushed home so Jasper could get together with his buddies for an airsoft battle (the first stage of their Christmas party). Jade was here hanging out, and I went for a walk on campus. It’s the first day since I got sick that I have felt up to walking, and it was such a beautiful day for it.

I got some coals going in a couple small grills and grilled hot dogs for everyone for supper. Jasper and his buddies ate out on the patio and the rest of us stayed inside. Afterward, I sent everyone outside to roast marshmallows and make some s’mores. I stayed in because roasted marshmallows are very tempting to me and it’s best to keep my distance.

I think the boys had a good time. Jasper is so fortunate to have three friends who all live in our neighborhood. I think that is quite rare these days.

Mercy and Daniel made it safely to Dallas and toured two different apartment complexes today. One of them looked quite promising.