Sunday, March 22, 2015

An Uninvited Guest

(This post contains affiliate links. This means that I may make a small commission if you click on that link but it doesn't increase your price. Thank you so much!)

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,