Sunday, August 31, 2014

HYMN: Trusting Jesus

Edgar P. Stites was not a famous preacher, and he wasn't considered to be one of the most popular hymn writers. He was an ordinary man (yes, ordinary, like most of us in this world) whom the Lord used throughout his lifetime. He was faithful in serving in his church for many years - serving because of his TRUST in the Lord. One of his hymns, Trusting Jesus, conveys the type of trust he had, and it continues to encourage Christians today to have that same kind of trust.

Just put your TRUST in Him, that is all. Sometimes its easy to say, but hard to do. Sometimes MY faith is small and I question "Why?" But, trusting in Him is what we NEED to do in order to accept that everything we go through in life happens for a reason. Trusting in Him helps bring us peace.

Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him... (NASB)

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

The lyr­ics to Trusting Jesus first ap­peared as a po­em in a news­pa­per. The words were giv­en to Dwight L. Moo­dy, who then asked his ministry partner, Ira Sank­ey, to write the mu­sic for them. A beautiful hymn was the result...

Words by:  Edgar P. Stites
Music by:  Ira D. Sankey
Simply trusting every day,
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.
Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.
Brightly does His Spirit shine
Into this poor heart of mine;
While He leads I cannot fall;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.
Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger for Him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.
Trusting Him while life shall last,
Trusting Him till earth be past;
Till within the jasper wall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ANOTHER GOOD CHECKUP - Anything is Possible With God

I had another checkup today with my Oncologist, and everything is going well! My energy level is mostly back to normal, my bloodwork was good, and I am tolerating the Tamoxifen well. The doctor was happy to see I had NO swelling in my left arm where the arm port was placed, and where a blood clot had previously developed. He told us today that he was inwardly worried about that arm, and was afraid the swelling would not go down. But, it did, praise the Lord. Anything is possible with God! 

Matthew 19:26 - Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (NIV)

My next checkup is in 3 months. I will continue going back every 3 months until it has been 2 years post chemo. Then, it will change to every 6 months.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

HYMN: My Anchor Holds

William Clark Martin was a Baptist minister in the late 1800's and early 1900's. This hymn is one of several he wrote. It is about how our Anchor holds, and is based on Hebrews 6:19:  This hope we have as an anchor of the soul...

We all know what an anchor is - a heavy metal hook used to secure an object, such as a boat, so it won't sink or float off to sea when it isn't supposed to. The anchor, when hooked to a sturdy rock, provides support, stability, and security for the boat. 

In this hymn, my anchor is a symbolic picture of Jesus Christ who, when we are attached to Him, provides the same type of support, stability, and security in our lives, especially in the midst of dark and stormy seas.

When the angry waves (Satan and his demons) are trying to cause us to shipwreck, we can be at peace, knowing our Anchor will give us the support we need to remain intact. He is there to help us in our time of need. 

But, remember... it only works when we are ATTACHED to the Anchor.

Are you attached to Him? Are you trusting in the only One who can keep your boat secure? If not, I encourage you to take that step of faith today. 

Words by:  William C. Martin
Music by:  Daniel B. Towner
Thou' the angry surges roll
On my tempest driven soul,
I am peaceful, for I know,
Wildly though the winds may blow,
I've an anchor safe and sure,
That can evermore endure. 
And it holds, my anchor holds:
Blow your wildest, then, O gale,
On my bark so small and frail;
By His grace I shall not fail,
For my anchor holds, my anchor holds.
Mighty tides about me sweep,
Perils lurk within the deep,
Angry clouds o'er shade the sky,
And the tempest rises high;
Still I stand the tempest's shock,
For my anchor grips the rock.
I can feel the anchor fast
As I meet each sudden blast,
And the cable, though unseen,
Bears the heavy strain between;
Through the storm I safely ride,
Till the turning of the tide. 
Troubles almost 'whelm the soul;
Griefs like billows o'er me roll;
Tempters seek to lure astray;
Storms obscure the light of day:
But in Christ I can be bold,
I've an anchor that shall hold.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Our New Rock Garden

The area around our air conditioner was not in the best shape. It was bare, muddy, and mossy in various areas, and filled with twigs and other debris. So, over the Summer, David and I worked on getting the area cleaned up. We wanted to change the appearance without spending a lot of money, and without it needing a lot of upkeep. Neither of us has much time to keep a flower garden in decent shape, so we decided to use a pile of river rocks we already had in another section of our yard, and transplant them to make a rock garden. Here is the progression of our project... 

The way it was before we started working on it.

We removed the large rocks and debris,
then laid out some paving bricks where we wanted them to be.

The grass and dirt was dug out, and the pavers put in place.
Black weed barrier was laid down.

River rocks were transplanted and the larger rocks put back in place. We may eventually add some decorative garden ornaments or artificial flowers, but this is what it looks like for now.

Every time I look at our new rock garden, I will be reminded to put my trust in the "everlasting rock." Isn't it great that we have a God who is our refuge and strength? He is the only "rock" that can truly take care of us in our times of need. 

Psalm 18:2 - The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Isaiah 26:4 Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, [we have] an everlasting Rock. (NASB)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

HYMN: Under His Wings

I have started going through various hymns for some of my quiet times with the Lord. I know, in these days, hymns are considered old-fashioned and outdated by some; but, if you take a closer look at them, you will see how full and rich they are of words that comfort, encourage, strengthen, worship, praise, and bless the soul.

Any hymnal and Bible version can be used, but for my own research and study, I am using the following:

If you would like to know which hymns I am studying, I am hoping to post a new one each Sunday. Today's hymn is Under His Wings, written by William Orcutt Cushing. Af­ter William's wife died in 1870, he re­tired from the mi­nis­try and be­gan writ­ing hymns. Under His Wings is one of the 300 he wrote. It coincides with these three verses (I'm sure there are more, but these are the three that stand out to me the most.):

Psalm 91:4 - He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. (NKJV)

Psalm 17:8 - Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,

Psalm 46:1 - God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

Words byWilliam O. Cushing
Music by Ira D. Sankey
Under His wings I am safely abiding,
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.
Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.
Under His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.
Be encouraged today, knowing that in your fear, worry or distress, you can run under the Lord's wings for refuge and strength. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Good Reports for EL, and a Sleep Apnea Update

In the past 3 weeks, we have had 4 different appointments for EL. Three of them were follow-up appointments, and one was a new consult...

(1) She had a checkup with the Sleep Clinic, and we discussed the results of her recent Sleep Study. Apparently, when the doctor previously called us with the results, she did not explain everything to us over the phone. We found out more details, and the results showed EL's obstructive sleep apnea is a bit more severe than we had originally thought. So, we were referred to an ENT (Eye, Nose, Throat doctor) to evaluate her tonsils and adenoids.

(2) At the ENT appointment, the doctor said EL's tonsils are small, and are not the cause of her sleep apnea. He also took an X-ray of her airway/nasal passages, and those are fine. He also cleaned wax out of her ears and did a hearing test. Her hearing is also fine. So, all went well with the ENT, and we shouldn't need to be seeing him again. We are glad for the good report, and happy she does not need surgery to remove her tonsils. However, there is still the issue of how to treat her sleep apnea. We will probably be trying SINGULAIR, a prescription allergy medicine to reduce inflammation in the nasal passages. It is supposed to help with mild sleep apnea. If it doesn't help, then we will need to consider a CPAP machine. 

(3) After the Sleep Clinic, she saw the Ophthalmologist for an eye check. Thankfully, they did not need to dilate her eyes this time to get a good look inside. Her vision is good and she does not need glasses; but, most important, the optic nerve is in good shape, which means her pituitary tumor has not caused any irritation to the nearby optic nerve. That is great news!

(4) The Endocrinologist also saw her. We mostly just discussed whether or not we have seen any changes since we last saw him. Then, we were sent to the lab for a blood draw. It is always stressful to hear EL scream through a needle stick. She doesn't understand why she is being hurt, why they need to take her blood. This time around, it was especially difficult because her blood was coming out very slowly so it took a lot longer before they could remove the needle. Even if it doesn't hurt, she still screams at the sight of them sticking a needle in her arm. Her anger burned at us, and it was very stressful, but we made it through it. We were thankful to find out the lab results are all normal. Again, this shows the pituitary tumor is not causing any problems. Great news again, thank the Lord!

As far as it looks right now, we should not need to return for any more check-ups until the end of November, although I am waiting for a call from the Neuro-Oncologist to see when we should see him again, and also when to schedule the next MRI. The LAST ONE one was done in November 2013. I do not look forward to another one, but I know we will get through it, just like we always do.