Sunday, March 22, 2015

An Uninvited Guest

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An uninvited guest came to visit a few years ago. At first he would come for short visits and then leave. But, this past year he became more persistent and was determined to stay. I really didn't want him here. I even demanded that he leave. Nothing seemed to discourage him. He really is a bother and a big nuisance and only thinks about himself.  I have way too much work to get done but he really doesn't care and tries to take up all my time. I have prayed so often for God to make him leave but as of today he is still here.

This little grandson was definitely INVITED into our lives. He is now in high school.

I've tried to handle his presence in different ways. Sometimes I ignored him. Sometimes I focused on him way too much. I studied how to get rid of him which only seemed to make him presence stronger. Lately, I've settled down to the fact that since he is here today then I must learn how to go on with my life in spite of his annoying presence. I have a great life to lead, you know! So, the question then became.. how do I live for God's glory with this uninvited guest?

Well, if you haven't guessed it by now, my uninvited guest is chronic pain and his feeble companion known otherwise as fatigue.

I'm feeling nostalgic. Another old picture of two of my grandbabies who are now teenagers.

I recently finished two books that have been so helpful in learning how to deal with this new uninvited guest. Think it not Strange is a quick and easy read but I found some treasures of encouragement from this author. Claudette and her husband were new missionaries to Russia when an accidental slip on ice left her bedridden and sent back to the United states. There is very little written about her actual life but mainly the lessons she learned when dreams were cancelled and her new life was not what she had expected. The book is filled with verse after verse of Scripture to exhort the reader.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

 "Pain is certainly not rest, as some sturdy folks think. Pain involves hard labor. This toil includes the responsibility to "bear fruit" in our lives, even while bearing pain."
"The fruit that should be evident in our lives (though not fully ripe till we are in glory ourselves) includes: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5;22-23). They can miraculously survive our pain levels and break through our moods, to bless others far more than any manual labor would. But we cannot do it without the Spirit of God!"

The second book titled, Pain: The Plight of Fallen Man  was a more in depth read but definitely worth it. The author (who is a Rheumatologist) explains the process of how the body processes and then interprets pain. It's fascinating to discover how thoughtfully and detailed our Creator designed these amazing bodies when dealing with pain. Dr. Halla scientifically supports how our interpretation of the pain actually determines whether our pain decreases or increases. There are several chapters that teach about the purpose of our relationship with Christ and how God works our trials into a plan for our good to make us more like Jesus. I took a lot of notes from one of the final chapters called, "Practical ways to get victory in the midst of pain".

 Here are a few great quotes:
~ "What a person thinks about pain and the condition he has are crucial ingredients. For example, focusing on pain and pain relief only intensifies pain."
~ "I have hope. I don't have to stop hurting to be able to accomplish something, especially pleasing God. When I do hurt it is very different to sit down and ask myself, "what fruit of the Spirit is God wanting to produce?" I get busy doing that and find that I don't hurt as much or that getting relief is not as important as pleasing God."

These new lessons are really no different than the lessons I continue to learn about contentment and living with less. My days rarely go as I plan and my daily work list has gotten shorter out of necessity. My floors are not as clean as I want them and some days my bed doesn't get made. But by God's grace, I am learning to turn to the Lord more and more each day and He is teaching me to die more to self so that the fruit of His Spirit will be manifested in my life. Important lessons. Good lessons. Hard lessons.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  Romans 8:28-29 ESV
*my emphasis*

A 'Selfie' of my sweet mama and me!


A Typical Frugal Day in my Home

A few things I accomplished in my home this past month:

1. Last month I eliminated one bowl of canned dog food by moistening dry dog food instead. My dog likes her warm bowl of food in the morning. This month I did the same thing for half her evening meal. This is making a big difference in stretching her canned food which ultimately will stretch my grocery money.

The grands made 'chalk rockets' when they spent the night this month.

2. I have a handled scrub brush I use to clean the dog and cat food dishes. They were looking really awful so I made a note on my 'dollar' store list to buy 2 new brushes. Instead, I soaked them in bleach for half a day. They look like new and it saved $2.

I made a nursing cover for a gift.
3. I refilled my spray bottle in the bathroom with half white vinegar and half water to clean my toilet and sink. 

4.  I soaked orange peels in a jar of vinegar for 2 weeks. The vinegar is for cleaning my bathrooms and it smells nice with the orange scent.

5. I go through a lot of dish soap since I wash my dishes by hand. This month I added water to the second half of dish soap left in the bottle. This helped stretch the dish soap. I do this with liquid hand soap, too.  

 We covered our artichoke plants this winter and they survived the frost.

6. I needed to wash one of my blouses on delicate cycle. Instead, I put it in the bathtub and washed it before I took a shower. I used a lot less water. I hung it on a hanger to dry in the shower.

7. I like to do my baking on cold mornings so I can open the oven door to warm up the kitchen.

8.  I buy the sugar free Altoids in the little tin box. I always save the tin box to use for all kinds of things such as holding buttons, homemade lip balm or holding safety pins. Last week I realized my laptop computer was getting too warm underneath so I took 4 of the tins to prop it up. Problem solved because the air was able to flow underneath the computer.

Happy birthday to my grandson! He is the blonde haired baby in the picture towards the top.

9. I bought pork ribs in bulk on sale for $1.49 a pound. Each bulk package costs around $20. I bought 3 packages which was a big chunk out of the grocery budget but meat rarely goes on sale that low these days. I cut the ribs down to smaller portions and froze them for future meals. Hams should be going on sale soon for Easter and I hope to stock up on a few.

10. I love the whole roasted chickens at Costco for a quick meal. Leftovers are made into soup and chicken salad for sandwiches/lettuce wraps. The extras are frozen for lunches. I also bought 5 pounds of chopped ham for $2 a pound and sliced it in thin slices to freeze. This price is cheaper than the lunch meat packages which normally run double that price.

My dog plopped right in the middle of my board game with the grands.

~ Glass jars to store old grease in before it goes in the garbage.
~  Chicken carcass from Costco is used to make chicken broth.
~ Chicken liver from whole chicken (saved until I get enough for a meal).
~ Compost pile: egg shells, toilet paper holder, newspaper, veggie scraps
~ Coffee grounds buried around the roses.
~ Plastic bags (no dairy or meat) washed and reused.

Are you ladies doing any extra cleaning for Spring? I've started a list of a few things I do yearly:

~ Spray paint my front door screen.
~ Paint the wood threshold for the front door.
~ Wash all my windows, inside and out.
~ Wash winter blankets and rugs at the laundromat.
~ Spot paint my kitchen cabinets and in the bathroom.
~ Finish working on organizing 'hot spots' in the garage. 

We'll see how long this takes me! :-) How about you?

Blessed to be home,


  1. You are one thrifty Proverbs 31 lady! Good ideas here! I must get my coffee grounds to the garden again! Thank you for the reminder.

    1. I was praying for you the other day, Laurie, and thought about how YOU are being a Proverbs 31 lady, too. You are loving your husband through his deepest trial. You are helping your family financially through your painting. Different out workings of the same passage but the same results. Isn't God good?

  2. I loved reading this post. Yes, I suffer from pain and have done so for almost 3 decades. I learned a long time ago that the pain was worse if I retreated into bed and coddled myself. I decided to do what I needed to do no matter the pain. Amazingly, I still got ( and get ) things done and the physical work leaves me tired enough to sleep in spite of the pain ! Sometimes though the pain just plain wears me out and then I do sleep a little longer or maybe take naps.

    Love the way you've budgeted and especially the meat bargains and ways to plan on using them. Now I'll be looking for hams and such. When we were younger and living on a very , VERY, limited budget I was pretty good at making 3 meals out of a whole chicken for a growing family of 5 ,and am still able to do that.

    I hope you keep up with this blog and will be checking out the books in the links soon. Thank-you.

    1. I'm so sorry you deal with daily pain, Kathy. It's wonderful that you have found a way to manage it through working. My situation may be a bit different. One way to manage the pain in my situation is to not overdo but instead take breaks throughout the day. I am finding an enjoyment in doing so. I've never been a 'break taker'. :-) God is good to reach each of us how to stand under our own individual trials.

      Don't you just love those roasted chickens? They are such a great bargain! I used to say I could stretch the meat of a chicken until it squawked. :-)

  3. Hello Georgene, I always enjoy reading your posts. I could really relate to the pain and CFS as that is exactly what I suffer from. I have learned over the years not to push myself beyond my limits and I do have limits. In fact I've just come through an especially difficult time of low energy. In that period, I just did the very basics and sometimes not even that. It really does make you lean on God more because one is basically helpless to help themselves. I've always admired those that can be gracious through it all/

    I save and reuse my tin cans. Mostly I have tin cans from tomatoes and sometimes soup. I rinse them and stack them on my kitchen counter as I odn't really have another place to keep them. The grease and liquids from cooking go in there if they cannot be used for soups. since the lids are not sealed, it means I have an added step of putting the can in the freezer before I throw it away to ensure no spills are involved. I also save the glass jars but usually these are put to use in the dry goods storage.

    For Spring the only extra cleaning I will do is around the windows and window seals where dirt and cobwebs and dead insects always accumulate. Also the mirrors in my entry and the bedrooms and bathrooms need a good sparkling. I declutter clothing and other stuff throughout the year so this isn't really a task for Spring. I do have a lot of work on the patio garden though as I need to replace my patio umbrella and re-do all the container pots as well as wash the patio table and dust all the cushions. First I have to wait for it to stop raining every week. Happy Spring!

    1. Thank you for your wise counsel, Joyful! I'm so sorry to hear that you suffer from pain and CFS. I'm so thankful that God's grace is so sufficient to meet our needs.

      It sounds like you will be busy with all of your Spring cleaning. I've yet to tackle one Spring project yet. Still trying to keep up with the dailies. The garden and watering are taking more time and I have a few sewing projects going on. I was hoping to get to my front screen door today and touch it up with some spray but it's not going to happen. Oh, well! There is always tomorrow. :-) I'm still getting quite a few things done today.
      Nice to hear from you!

  4. P.S. Your grandchildren are very sweet :-)

  5. Great, inspiring post Georgene ~ Your frugal ways are inspiring. I need to use my coffee grounds for roses and gardenias.

    I have started to have a lot of constant pain in my right hand lately, overuse, and have started some simple exercises that I hope will help. The pain has made me have more empathy with all who are dealing with chronic pain.

    Thanks for the links to the two books. They sound very good.

    For spring, I am pressure washing the house and painting it on the outside. Putting up faux bead board paneling in the bedroom (with help from brother-in-law) and working in gardens.

    You are a blessing to many.

    Happy Spring ~ FlowerLady

    1. Hi Lorraine,
      I need to head over to your blog and catch up. It's been too long.
      You are so right that our own experience with pain helps us to have more empathy for those who suffer. I feel that God has given me compassion for those suffering but I'm learning so many new lessons on what to say and not say. I can think of many times I've failed in that area.
      You are going to be very busy this Spring. What a big job. I'm glad your BIL will help you with the bedroom paneling and garden. I bet that will be so pretty.
      Thank you for your kind words, Lorraine! I need to come visit you, too!

  6. Awe sweet lady I hope that the pain becomes manageable or even disappears. Great list on watching on your pennies. Hope you have a wonderful pain free week. Will pray!

    1. Hi Scrappy!
      I'm having a much better week. God is good no matter what and I'm always in His school and learning new lessons. I hope your week was wonderful!

  7. Always love to see a new post from you. I don't deal with pain and fatigue but have a digestive condition called collagenous colitis that requires me to eat only certain specific things to help keep from getting a flare up. But from time to time the flare-ups do come. This keeps me very close to the bathroom and home :) I too have the washing of all my windows on the list of spring chores, some yard work and then getting the garden ready for planting. Early garden vegetables in April and then the later vegetables after Mother's day. I really feel for you and your pain issues. Before I found out I had celiac disease and was still eating gluten my joints hurt something awful. After I was off gluten for a while I noticed I no longer was in pain. What a relief. May our sweet lord give the grace to live with your pain and fatigue. Nannie

    1. hi Nannie,
      I've heard others report the same results by going off gluten. I've been off gluten for 3 or more years. I recently am trying a low oxalate diet to see if that will help. We will see. :-)
      I bet your garden will be lovely. What will you plant this year?

  8. Hi Georgene! This is silly, I just wrote you on facebook and said I hope you have a new post soon--and I had not actually checked-- you DO have one. :)

    Reading is marvelous. I want to blog again and I love the one you do. I'm back and forth about my old blog.. I have a title I like for a new one; but not sure I should do that--will I lose old friends. I suppose I can just leave a note. on one page of the old one for a while.

    About hands-- My sister told me to find a child's eraser--I think she means the pink ones. And put some oil on your hands then use the eraser to massage them as if you are erasing them. I have not tried it yet--just got the tip-- but she is a massage therapist so I think it may be useful.

    I started a new diet this week 1200 calories-- not much but I am determined to lose weight I've gained a lot I think partly due to steroids and gabapentin. Anyhow I found out that one flank steak on sale makes enough beef for 7 salads for me! I can have about 3 ounces. I got 2 steaks yesterday when I was shopping and this morning I cut them all up and I put each portion in a cheap sandwhich baggie then I put them all in one gallon zip top freezer bag--I use a straw to suck out the extra air. I have a food saver but the bags are very spendy and I have zero counter space so it is currently 'on hold' in the attic until I move to the big house and consider if I want to keep it. I put one portion of the beef in a little bag with some ponzo sauce it is soy sauce with lime --got it on sale. I added just a little honey & ginger & garlic. We are having salad for supper so I will have my 3 oz flank steak and hubby will have chicken on his.

    Hubby told me today that I should not have a big garden anymore period. I knew that but every now and then I get that spring garden fever. I am going to grow my herbs and maybe a few other things but I will plant them on the sides of my shed/studio so they won't get out of control. Our hose hook up is next to the shed. I think this will be easy.

    I am glad you wrote about chronic pain and fatigue. The same verses you quoted have been useful to me too--and lately have been on my mind more.

    Especially the phrase "think it not strange"

    My memory has taken a toll from seizures and meds; so I still only recall verses by phrases--which I use to do a quick google search. When I have the verse "address" I look it up on Bible Gateway usually. I got a new lovely Bible for Christmas but somehow I still find it much easier to look on my pc.

    What do you think of this title for a new blog "A Small Economy" it is just in my head a lot, maybe I will just go ahead and use that.

    Love you Friend!

    1. Hi Mary,
      Interesting fact about the eraser. Please let me know if it works.
      How is your diet going? You are so disciplined! Good for you!
      You are blessed that your husband watches over you and helps direct you in what is best for you. Praise God for that. My sweetheart does the same thing.
      I love your new blog and the title. It's going to be very helpful.

    2. Hi again.. the diet is a struggle. I do good a few days then lapse. but pick up again. discipline is never perfect It seems. I did get hubby to agree to a different type of gardening, talked about it on my blog this evening. It will fit what I can do. My thoughts on pain-- it is real and like you I have found that not trying to over do, but to pace, is much better. Having my simple schedule is also good. If I do miss something I can decide if it can wait a week, or do it the next day.

  9. Both my grandpas, you lived into their mid and upper 90's, suffered with chronic pain for the last several years of their lives. But we never knew it. They never complained. Their eyes always had a twinkle and they loved having grandkids and great grands around them. I had such examples in them. But like my grandmas who lived into their 80's...I do not suffer in silence. I do need to improve this as a 50 year old mother of a 5 year old boy, my pain can not take a front row seat!

    1. It's hard to suffer in silence, Desiree. It always helps to have someone care about whether you are suffering. I have found that most people really don't want to hear about your aches and pains except one that I know.... and He is all ears... that is my Jesus. Every time I want to talk about my pain I go to Him. I'm a slower learner and sometimes I will open my mouth to others and then regret it later. It has become quite a blessing to know that He WANTS me to come and talk to Him. Such grace. I hope you feel better this week.

  10. You inspire me! I, too, am blessed to be home! We have 7 young children and I love reading your posts! They remind me to be thankful, enjoy life, lift up my husband and be content! God bless you and praying for you!

    1. All praise to our God. I'm so thankful He can use my feeble efforts to bless someone! He is so worthy of all our praise.

      It sounds like you have your hands full. What a blessing to have 7 children!

      So glad to hear from you!

  11. Georgene, I plant all the traditional vegs: Peas, beets, kohlrabi, onion, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, spinach, cucumber and dill, green beans, winter squash-butternut, spaghetti and pumpkins for the grandkids mostly, potatoes, garlic, cabbage, and cantaloupe. I think that's about it. Keeps me busy :) Nannie

  12. Hi Georgene,

    Spring has arrived up here on the Montana prairie and spring up here is synonymous with busy. Thus, I've been away from the blogging world but found a little extra time today.

    I am so sorry to hear that you are experiencing chronic pain. I will pray that you are able to find solutions and relief.

    As always, I 've enjoyed your recent posts and look forward to checking back in soon.



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