Monthly Archives: November 2013

Oh Man, I’m Going Down…When You Think You May Faint…(Part 3 of 5 on Help from Fear, Faith and a Fistful of Chocolates

The phone rang mid-afternoon.  Usually ignoring it, I decided I’d better answer it, as it was from our surgeon’s office.

A very matter-of-fact nurse asked for my husband, John.  “He’s at the office. Would you like his number?” I asked.

“Are you his wife?” She quickly inquired.

“Yes, I am.” I replied.

“I’d rather speak with you.  Seems you-wives listen better.”  Alrighty then…

I began jotting down our marching papers for John’s upcoming knee surgery for a torn meniscus. Friday morning came all too fast.  The next thing I knew the doctor was ready to see me, surgery already complete.

Doc smiled and reported the surgery was a success.  He gave me pictures, sending us home with a DVD of the procedure.  (Now there’s a “Future Family Movie Night” if there ever was one!)

For a huge change, I wasn’t fearful of the surgery because I trust our extremely brilliant and gifted orthopedic surgeon. He’s a dear friend as well.  He’s put many of us back together again.

Don’t miss this parallel:  There’s no fear when you trust the one who’s in charge of your loved one.  Hello?…As my friend Liz keeps reminding me, “God’s got this!”

We got John home, on crutches, fed him, iced the knee, and even got him up the stairs on crutches, ready for bed.  I was more than bleary-eyed as John never napped, all day…

bigstock-Tired-Woman-Yawning-6503572

Amazingly, next thing I knew it was morning time and John was about to get up. The next phrase that came out of his mouth is not what you’d want to hear:  “Oh, no!”

Lump in my throat, I could barely utter, “Wwwwhat’s wrong?”

“There’s blood everywhere!” he groaned.

Very official-like, I ordered, “Don’t move!”

I whipped on my glasses, and ran around to John’s side of the bed to assess the situation.  Trying to make us both feel better, I said, “Well, the instructions did say the bandage may ooze.”  Eesh.

Ill-prepared for what I was about to witness, I tried to put on a happy face.  Blood was all over the sheets, all over his ace bandage, everywhere. It did appear to be dried blood, however, not fresh blood. But to me, blood is blood.

bigstock-Medical-Ace-Bandage-With-Profe-46250743

Blind as a bat without my glasses for distance, I can see up-close pretty well.  I guess I kept looking over and under my glasses, getting way too close to the wound.

I unwrapped it and just as the bandage unraveled and fell to the floor, I realized things were becoming very, very dark, as if someone had dimmed the lights.

“Oh man, I’m goin’ down…” I said.  John could tell I was weaving and this time he barked the orders, “Sit down!”

But…I knew if I sat on the bench at the end of the bed, I could crash and burn, fainting head first onto the floor.  So, I pushed it and ran back to my side, hurriedly diving back in bed.  Flat. Whew!

bigstock-Barefoot-couple-lying-down-on--46208287

John quipped, “Well now, we are quite the pair!”

“Just give me a minute, I’ll be fine.”  I said in a rather faint voice, yet forever grateful I did not faint.  What a total wimp…. A tailspin of toxic conversation ensued

Now how funny is the timing of this series on fear?!!!  I had to have quite a conversation/prayer pleading with The Lord. I kept quoting Psalm 56:3 – “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” And Psalm 46:1 –  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (NIV)

This week, we’ll explore more of Debora M. Coty’s wonderful book, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolates–Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life’s Worries.  One of many chapters I especially relate to is “Toxic Voices-Detox for Negative Self-Talk.” Another deals with”Soul-Suckers”. I once heard Erwin McManus call such folks “emotional leeches”.   They are those who suck the life out of you. (Bet you’re making a mental list….)

291696_w185

Debora not only addresses our own self-talk, she addresses others’ toxic tirades. One of a gazillion laugh out loud instances involves a gal who approached Deborah and pretty much pulled the rug out from under her, spewing a not-so-nice venomous statement.

Debora says, “I don’t know why some people think that by blowing out someone’s candle their own burns brighterMy point is that we get enough negativity from the world; we don’t need to pile any more on ourselves.”

She expounds on this in another one of her books, Too Blessed to be Stressed in the chapter called “Can I Hear Me Now?”  She offers tips on how to control our inner soundtrack. (Yes, that book is next on my nightstand.)

263461

Debora shows us several Biblical characters who struggled with this crazy self-talk:  Saul (See I Samuel 19), Jonah (See Jonah 4), Peter (See Matthew 14), and my future BFF in Heaven, Martha (See Luke 10). Ditching toxic selftalk is thesame principle in dealing with fear.”

She adds, “By remembering what Papa God has already done for us through Christ, we’ll develop miracle memory. He’s defeated the instigator of fear at the cross, and He’ll do it again.”

bigstock-Man-kneeling-at-the-Cross-of-J-8053908

“With practice, our miracle memory will kick in, and we’ll automatically default to faith rather than fear when difficulties come our way.”  (Debora recommends journaling our many blessings to boost that “miracle memory”.)

She gives us, the readers, twenty-five emotions that are potential triggers to those toxic voices. (These are found on page 202.) We could spend weeks on this valuable chapter!  Here are just five of the twenty-five to be aware of:  anxiety, doubt, resentment, needing to be right (oh, I sooo wanted to skip that one!), and our biggie: fear.

Bottom lineJesus is not glorified when we paralyze ourselves in fear. And worse, Satan is delighted.  We do not want that!

Finally let’s close with a plaque Debora saw recently. Tell all your friends about this:  “I may not be perfect, but Jesus thinks I’m to die for.”

She adds, “Understand you are wanted,

                                                            cherished,

                                                                    and loved without limits.

 At this moment, you may feel abandoned,

                                                            or forsaken,

                                                                        or betrayed,

                                                                                   but feelings are not trustworthy.

NOW is the time to overrule your heart with your head.”

Notice Debora says, now is the time.  Not next week. NOW!  What a gift of encouragement you and I have just received. I’m praying we all get this.

Let’s close with an excellent reminder from Psalm 139:15, 17-18:

“You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb…How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.  They cannot be numbered!  I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!  And when I wake up, you are still with me!” (NLT)

I pray you and your families have a Most Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!  And safe travels if you’re in the air or on the road…(Might as well throw patience in there too…)

This week’s chocolate recommendation comes from Trader Joe’s. Try their Dark  Chocolate Covered Almonds. Checkout the description:  “Roasted almonds drenched (love that) in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt and turbinado sugar.”  (Ours have a safe hiding place in the back corner of the pantry.  Shhhh, don’t tell…)

IMG_0865

‘Til next time!

This week’s post is dedicated to our favorite orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Scott Kuiper. I wasn’t kidding when I said he’s put many of us back together again and some of us more than once. As we age, I’m tempted to ask if Louisville Orthopaedic may offer frequent visitor discounts….Scott is blessed with a fantastic family, has virtually adopted our Gordy, and I’ve had a blast with his wife, Mary Jude, in Bible study.  You all have really blessed our lives in so many ways. Hugs across town!

 IMG_9131

 

Advertisements

15 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Friends, Life Lessons

Please Join Us for Next Week’s Book Club: Monday,11/25

You are all invited for fun, food, and fellowship to discuss a neat little Christmas book, The Christmas Quilt, by Vanetta Chapman.  If you live close to Louisville, KY grab a friend and head on over to join us! 

The Christmas Quilt

We’ll meet in the Connections Center @ Middletown United Methodist Church, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.  We bring treats to eat and share and enjoy great discussion on our book selection. (For more information on book club, click on…)

outside

www.MiddletownUMC.org

If you’ve not read the book yet, no worries. I’ve heard more than one gal say she wants to hear the discussion first before deciding whether or not to read it! You’ll have fun regardless.

A compelling read, author Vanetta Chapman draws you into the Amish life with characters you’ll love and others you’d like to have a good talkin’ to…a wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee kind of talk.

bigstock-Amish-horse-and-buggy-Chester-18523754

This book is part of the Quilts of Love novels from Abingdon Press. This spring we read another one of these, Beyond The Storm, by Carolyn Zane. These books offer a variety of topics, characters, you-name-it. (There are currently twelve.)

The common threads, by God’s grace, are elements of faith, and strengths from struggles infused in these characters. Power from His Word is known by some and discovered by others.

bigstock-colorful-Cathedral-Window-quil-44474701

Although we are meeting the week of Thanksgiving , we’ll prepare our hearts for Christmas. This Christmas selection will show us what’s most important to focus on:  our many blessings and the relevance of God’s Word.

Our book encircles, via a quilt-making, one of my favorite verses from Galatians 5:22-23 on the fruit of the Spirit:  “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness,  and self-control…”  You’ll love how the author weaves stories around each of the fruits. Charming.

We hope to see you on Monday the 25th!  If you have any questions, feel free to call Nancy Tinnell at (502) 245-8839.

We’ll pick up with Part 3 of 5 in our Series on Fear with more fun excerpts from Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolates by Debora M. Coty next week.

Til next time!

1 Comment

Filed under Book Clubs, Book Reviews

Calling All Worrywarts…(Part 2 of 5: Help from Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate)

“Honey, I have a surprise for you!!!”, my husband hollered to me from the other room.  “I’ve booked us on the trip of a lifetime!  We’re going to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary in Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands!

He continued, “This resort was just written up in Gourmet magazine.  The owners are gourmet chefs!  We’ll eat delicious food, enjoy beautiful views of that breath-taking water, and finally rest for a whole week!”

Ahhhh, music to my ears.  John couldn’t have told me anything better.  And in the middle of a ferocious February winter, the balmy Caribbean was just what the doctor ordered.

bigstock-Beach-Bungalows-On-A-Tropical--4500025

Off we went.  Great flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico, followed by a smaller-but-not-too-small plane which hovered smoothly over those beautiful waters.  There’s something about that water that flat soothes my soul.  It’s truly one of God’s best creations.

Prior to our departure, we’d received a call from American Airlines telling us our return flight from Tortola to San Juan had been cancelled, but that another airline, Cape Air, had picked us up and would get us back to San Juan.  We wrote down the information, not thinking anything about it….

Until….we landed in Tortola, and there on the tarmac, sat a very petite, and I mean very petite airplane with the lovely words “Cape Air” emblazoned across the side of it.  “Surely,” I said, “that is not the plane to take us back to San Juan?”

our-story-provincetown-monument-plane

John burst out laughing.  I saw no humor in this whatsoever.  Whatsoever.  Teensy planes don’t entice me at all.  At  all.

Not the best way to start out a romantic getaway, huh?  And guess what?  I kept that visual, of that teensy plane, on my brain all week.  While we did enjoy ourselves and have a great week, I confess that worry over that plane waged wars for real estate in my brain.

“Cape Fear” was a more appropo’ name for that silly thing.  And, sure enough, upon arrival at the airport, things went from bad to worse.

The gate agent who took our ticket was God’s-gift-to-women, or so he thought.  Same guy took us out onto the tarmac.  Same guy loaded our luggage into the belly of the plane.  Same guy sized us up, literally, placing us in strategic seats on the plane to balance the weight.  There were only eight of us, total.

Worse, the very same guy posed the question, “Which of you would like to be my co-pilot????” Are you kidding me?

bigstock-Two-airline-pilot-wearing-unif-42700846Even worse (could it be??), GUESS WHO VOLUNTEERED???  Yep, none other than my husband.  If looks could kill, he’d have been smote on the spot.

 I was so consumed with fear, I couldn’t possibly enjoy the flight back.  To add fuel to the fire, the very self-confident pilot kept turning around facing us and talking to us. I sooooo wanted to say, “Buddy, turn around, face the windshield and fly this plane!” Especially given my husband, our co-pilot, had never flown a plane.

So here’s my confession:  I have struggled with fear for as long as I can remember.  How ‘bout you?

Good news!  We will seek help from a fun author, along with empowering Scripture, and eat some chocolate on this journey…

Imagine my delight upon the discovery of a wonderful book.  It grabbed my attention for two reasons:  1 – It deals with fear and 2 – It has something to do with chocolate!  Debora M. Coty authored Fear, Faith and a Fistful of Chocolate—Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life’s Worries.

15103243

Debora says, “Welcome to the sisterhood of worrywarts!”  She adds, “I wrote Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate because it’s time we treat fear like the unwanted gift it is and exchange it at heaven’s customer service desk for something we can really use:  power, love, and self-discipline.”

“The hope-filled news is there’s something more powerful than fear.  Someone, actually, who can break the hold fear has over us.”

She reminds us of Psalm 34:4 that says, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (NASB)

Debora equips the reader with numerous Scriptures such as the above and each chapter has discussion questions she dubs, “More Pluck, Less Chicken”.  Her gift of humor is just the release we worrywarts need. For starters, Chapter One is entitled, “I’m a lean, mean, frightened machine…”

bigstock-Worried-Woman-15468278Over the next few weeks we’ll tackle fear of all kinds.   I’ve about worn this little book out.  I showed it to my buddy Liz recently and she noticed its’ pretty little pink-with-white-polka-dotted-pages.  Not only is it helpful in many ways, it’s very cute.

Another favorite chapter happens to be identical to a sign hanging in our kitchen:  “Fear Not Tomorrow…God’s Already There.”  Deborah talks about our need to put on the Shield of Faith, with perseverance.  The verse that talks about the Shield of Faith (from putting on the Armor of God) is a powerful visual. Ephesians 6:16 says, “..take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

Debora tackles tough subjects such as what to do when unforeseen trauma occurs.  She has a friend named Elizabeth who suffered a stroke and is dealing with living a “new normal”.  She gives us readers several suggestions you won’t want to miss.

It’s a very humbling portrait that will help your outlook on life.  So as not to give away her tidbits, (ceratin you’ll want to read this book!), allow me to give you a favorite quote from this section:  “Depend on God’s grace to calm your fears.  Keep your mind active and your spirit growing—that’s the key to hope and a positive outlook.”

IMG_0518Deborah also steps on my toes a tad and I suspect she will with you as well.  (That’s a good thing tho’!)  Look at this:  “Fear is really a control issue.” Hope you can hear me groaning on that one.  Any control freaks out there?!!!

She points out, “…being in control is just an illusion.  We’ve never been in control.  And we never will be.”  Why?  Because  God is Sovereign.  He is in control.  Period.  I hope I hear a sigh of relief coming from every single one of you!

Debora gives us a great quote by Elisabeth Elliott on “gripping too tightly to control:  Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business.  If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now.”  In other words, we are in no way glorifying God with fretful minds.

Good news:  There’s plenty more great tips and Scripture I’ll be sharing with you in the next posts to help us cope with fear.  You’ll love this book!

IMG_3194

This week’s chocolate recommendation (Well, Debora says, “a fistful of chocolate” in her book title!!!) comes from a fabulous discovery my friend Elizabeth Jeffries found at The Fresh Market.  She gave it to me while we were solving the world’s problems at Starbucks last week:  Try the Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Almonds from the Endangered Species series.  Mouth watering…

‘Til next time!

Meanwhile, cling to Deuteronomy 31:8, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you.  He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (NLT)

3 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Travel