do not stop praying

Intentional: I Will Not Stop Praying

Stop Praying? No Way

My Word of the Year is Intentional. As I began looking for a verse that I might claim, I kept finding verses where messengers of God said, “But as for me…” I thought, “These people are intentional in their lives. I want that”. So we will start looking at these scriptures. I have some friends helping me out and they are already stepping on my toes.”

Have you ever looked at a prayer warrior and thought, “I could never pray like that?” Friends, you have the same power of prayer in you that she has. Please read on as my friend Bettie Gilbert explains and expounds on 1 Samuel 12:23

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Why I Believe: Part Three

This week we continue our journey with Chip Ingram’s book “Why I Believe”. If you haven’t invested in the book and the study book, YOU SHOULD. Maybe you can start a book club or Bible study using this book.

Give your Pastor a jingle, or contact your small group coordinator and bend their ear! You can get those here, https://livingontheedge.org/broadcast-series/why-i-believe/?media=daily. Be sure to listen to his sermons on “Why I Believe”, print off the sermon notes, and download the free MP3!

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Preparedness Kit for the Storms of Life

Originally published October 3, 2016

Hurricane PReparedness

Everyone knows that you must be prepared for a hurricane. More than one storm will inevitably come sometime every fall, it’s just how it is.

Most assuredly, no matter where you live, there are natural storms or disasters that you need to be prepared for. There are certain things that you always have ready for when the storm hits. When I lived up north, we carried certain things in the trunk of our car in case of emergency in the deep cold winters.

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light and temporary

No Light at the End of the Tunnel for Chronic Pain

Interviews with Chronic Pain Warriors #4

I know! It’s strange to write these words “light and momentary” when talking about chronic pain. I have been in an R.A. flair most of the past year and now facing some heart issues. I sometimes wonder just how much more I can take. Not that I want to end it all, but when I look at myself at 58 and then (judging from my family history) look forward to maybe 30 more years, it’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. And I wonder,

“Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?” #chronicpain #endurance #lightandmomentarytrouble Click To Tweet

“Light and momentary” comes from the scriptures where the Apostle Paul shares that when we arrive in heaven this will all seem small and insignificant. (2 Corinthians 4:17) He shares that one of the purposes of our trials is that when we get through them we can encourage and comfort others who are experiencing the same type of pain.

So this year, I’d like to offer a series of interviews with chronic pain warriors. I would like us to all share and encourage one another so that we can “all patiently endure as we suffer.” (2 Corinthians 1:6)

 And then though “we were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” Even when we expect that we will die, we will stop relying on ourselves and learn to rely only on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8,9)

And now Interview #4 with Terri Sutula.

Originally published June 9, 2020

light at the end of the tunnel

Terri is a certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach who also lives with fibromyalgia and IBS. She has made it her mission to walk alongside others with fibromyalgia to help them find what works for them to help them thrive. Find our interview below.

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay

Would you share the short story of your chronic pain journey? Share some about the journey to this diagnosis.

This is a little tough because I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have pain. Even as a child, I suffered debilitating headaches on a regular basis. Fast forward a few years, and I started having migraines in addition to regular headaches.

Finally, when I was around 30, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. These things made my life difficult at times, but I retired after 20 years in the US Air Force, then went on to work as a Finance Officer in a small town, then as a Personal Trainer for about 6 years.

Where’s the Light at the End of the Tunnel?

In 2011, I started having widespread pain (as in, everything hurt, all over my body), severe abdominal pain, and lots of other strange symptoms. I could no longer work. Some lab results caused concern, but then when repeated, the labs came back normal. I just couldn’t understand how I could feel this horrible and not have something seriously wrong with me. At one point, I was spending my days in bed, just waiting for each day to be over.

Eventually, in 2012, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and IBS. It was actually a relief to have a name for what was going on. Once I realized I didn’t have something that was going to kill me, I got on with learning how to live my best life in spite of my illnesses.

What a long journey. Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get stronger?

When I was at my worst with my fibromyalgia symptoms, my relationship with the Lord was the closest it’s ever been. I had absolutely no strength of my own; I had to depend on His strength to even get through the day. The longer I live with it, the more I’ve learned to lean on Him for even the mundane things in life. He’s always there for us, through the big things and the small ones.

What scripture has become a comfort for you in this journey?

The scripture I mentioned below, Romans 8:28, has been a huge comfort for me because it reminds me that God is using this for my good in some way, but the one I cling to the most is Isaiah 41:10,

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

isaiah 41:10

One thing that has been especially difficult for me on this fibromyalgia journey has been the weakness I experience sometimes. There have been times that I wasn’t even sure my legs would hold me up, but I always know that when I’m weak, God is strong, and He will hold me up when I can’t hold myself up.

How do you find comfort during these ‘ light and momentary’ painful days?

I remember that God is going to use this in some way. He never wastes any experience or difficulty we have. Romans 8:28 tells us,

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

I firmly believe that, and that’s what helps me get through the really tough days.

What are some things that your family and friends do that bring comfort in your pain?

I’m fortunate to have family and friends who try to understand and make accommodations when my symptoms are not cooperating. My husband has really been a Godsend through all of this. He does everything he can to make my life as easy as possible.


Are you involved in any ministries or community service to reach out to others with chronic pain? Share about this?

I consider my blog to be my ministry. When I first started experiencing all these weird symptoms and right after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I wanted some real, actionable tips for getting on with my life and I needed to reclaim my hope that I could still have a good life. Once I started figuring things out, I wanted to be that resource for others, Olive Tree Saints was born.

In conclusion, can you offer some words of encouragement to those who may be searching for comfort in their own chronic pain journey?

Sweet friend, I know this isn’t easy. I know there are some days that you feel you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but you are not alone. You have others who have been where you are and who are willing to walk alongside you as you go through this.

And know that God is always there with you. He’s promised us in His Word that he’ll never leave us or forsake us. Life may not ever go back to the way it was, but you can still thrive in spite of your circumstances. You’ve got this!

Offering a light at the end of the tunnel,

~Terri

certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach 

Thank you, Terri, for sharing your story and these encouraging words.

Readers, I encourage you to comment below or connect with Terri on social media or her blog.

Mandy Farmer

Wellness: Becoming Intentionally Evergreen

It’s Your Turn

legacy link-ups

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Are you a Chronic Pain Warrior? Can you offer a light at the End of the Tunnel?

Would you be willing to share your faith story and encourage others? Contact Mandy for more details about an interview for this blog. See Guidelines Here

Fibro Blogger Directory

Cookie Favorites!

Image by Petra from Pixabay

Well, friends, I am down to my last two articles. I’m not going to lie; I will miss writing to you. It has been fun researching topics, writing kitchen gadget reviews, looking through old recipe books and church cookbooks, and sharing some of my favorite recipes with you. Before I sign off, I wanted to share some cookie favorites.

Grab yourself a cookie and a cup of coffee or tea as I thank you for allowing me the privilege to write. It was a pleasure to share my stories from life in Friesland. From running the train tracks to smoking cigarettes behind graves and scaring the daylights out of my brother- it was fun! Not to mention the cousins that played Dutch Bingo, trying to figure out who I was. Hello California and Iowa!

I hope someday to return to the paper to write, but if not, that’s how God meant it to be! Maybe you enjoy cooking and baking? You might want to think about writing for the paper. This is not a hard job. It is fun, and the opportunities and food subjects to write about are endless. So, kick it around and give Jill a call!

And now… Cookie Favorites!

Cookies for all season

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

This week and next, I will bring you some fun cookie recipes. Today we have recipes from the New WASECA County Cook Book, “Favorite Recipes of 350 Homemakers”, Circa 1964. This cookbook was previously owned by the precious soul of Winifred Anderson. Winifred took the Waseca Short Course- not sure what that was. Does anybody have an idea? Anyway, I got this at a local rummage sale in a stack of 5 cookbooks for seventy-five cents! WOO! Enjoy!

Jumbo Raisin Cookies- Mrs. Harold Smith

Ingredients

  • 1 c. water
  • 2 c. raisins
  • 1 c. shortening- butter is better!-M
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. chopped nuts
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. soda
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 11/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1.4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 c. cocoanut*

*- Easy grammarians! They spelled coconut as cocoanut throughout the ENTIRE cookbook. You can give the Mother Cabrini Circle of Scared Heart Church, Waseca, MN a call for this grievous error. Those girls were old school. You can’t blame them! 🙂

Image by pixel1 from Pixabay

Directions

Add water to raisins and boil for 5 minutes. Cool. Cream shortening, add sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat well. Add raisin mixture, add nuts, then sifted dry ingredients. Drop on greased cookie sheet. Bake 375° for 12-15 minutes. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Orange Cookie- Mrs. O. Kenneth Deike

Ingredients

  • 1 c. shortening
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 c. mashed carrots
  • 3/4 c. cocoanut- WHOOP, there it is!

Frosting

  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • grated rind of 1 orange
  • 5 tbsp. orange juice
  • confectioners’ sugar

Directions

Cream shortening, add sugar, then egg. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder, and add carrots, and cocoanut. Chill. Bake 350 ° for 15 minutes. FOR FROSTING, mix butter, orange rind, and juice, adding sufficient confectioners sugar for spreading consistency.

Strawberry Cookies-Mrs. Roger Wilkowske, Mrs. Jon Greeney

Image by sanan israyilli from Pixabay

Ingredients

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 lb. cocoanut
  • 1/4 blanched almonds
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 pkg. strawberry Jell-O®
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. red food coloring

Directions

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT 1/2 pkg. Jell-O® Chill for at least two hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Form balls of dough into strawberry shapes with hands* and roll in the 1/2 pkg. Jell-O®. Decorate with green frosting leaf made with powdered sugar frosting and a cake decorator*, or insert strawberry leaves and stems. Makes 100 small berries. (Eye catchers on cookie plates- nice for wedding receptions).

  • I got to laughing so hard… strawberry shapes with hands- I sure hope you use your hands, but… and then they wanted you to use a cake decorator… hahaha, this is becoming an expensive cookie! I am sure they meant “use a cake decorator tip”… too cute.

We will have to stop here, but I have more recipes next week. Till then! Here is to good food, great friends, and delicious cookies!

Not your IDentity

Your Identity is More Than Your Chronic Pain

These Light & Momentary Trials are Not Your Identity

I know! It’s strange to write these words [light and momentary] when talking about chronic pain. I have been in an R.A. flair most of the last year and have arrived at the place where I wonder just how much more I can take. Not that I want to end it all, but when I look at my young life and then look forward to my future, it’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. And I wonder,

“Is this all I have to look forward to?” #lightandmomentarytrouble #interviewwithachronicpainwarrior #chronicpainawareness Click To Tweet

“Light and momentary” comes from the scriptures where the Apostle Paul shares that when we arrive in heaven this will all seem small and insignificant. (2 Corinthians 4:17) He shares that one of the purposes of our trials is that when we get through them we can encourage and comfort others who are experiencing the same type of pain.

Interviews with Chronic Pain Warriors

So this year, I’d like to offer a series of interviews with chronic pain warriors. I would like us to all share and encourage one another so that we can “all patiently endure as we suffer.” (2 Corinthians 1:6)

 And then though “we were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” Even when we expect that we will die, we will stop relying on ourselves and learn to rely only on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8,9)

And now Interview #2 with Stacey Shannon. Stacey struggles with “light and momentary pain” due to fibromyalgia and other UTI issues. Shannon shared on our Legacy Link-up about our father last summer. Greatest Legacy. She is a freelance writer and has her own blog Families with Grace. Find our interview below.

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different

We Are Called to Be Different

We are called to be different.

These days many of us would prefer to melt into the crowd than to stand out as different. We would rather not stand out or bring attention to ourselves. But in truth, as Christians, we really should be different. Our lives should attract others to us. No, rather it should attract others to Christ.

 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10

I recently read these scriptures from 1 Peter. They always prick my heart and cause me to look deep to see if my life is indeed different. However, this time it seemed to have even more meaning. The reason is that it was brought to my attention to whom and when this was originally written.

Perspective Changes Things

It was written by Peter to the Christians in Rome around 60 AD. The emperor of Rome at that time was none other than Nero. You know, the guy who let Rome burn. The guy who persecuted Christians horribly by placing animals skins on them and throwing them in with wild dogs to watch the dogs attack and devour them alive. Other times he dipped the Christians in wax, tied them to trees, and burned them alive as candles for his evening parties.

When I think about the fact that Peter gave these strong instructions to persecuted Christians, I am ashamed that we are so timid to stand up for Christ because it may cost us something. We give in to the tiniest of temptations because we don’t want to be different or called out.

10 Ways to be Different

different
  1. Rid yourselves of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. (1 Peter 2:1)
  2. Crave the Word of God. (2:2-3)
  3. Abstain from sinful desires (2:11)
  4. Submit to EVERY human authority. (2:13-14) Notice it doesn’t say “If you agree with them”.
  5. Love the family of believers. (2:17)
  6. Fear God.
  7. Honor the emperor. (This was Nero remember?) Are we honoring our president?
  8. Submit to your masters. (2:18) Can we change the wording to ‘Submit to your boss?’ even when they are harsh
  9. It’s commendable to suffer for doing good. Persevere! (2:20-21)
  10. Don’t retaliate when threatened or insulted. (2:23)

This is the first of Peter’s instructions to the Christian in Rome.

He goes on to address the way we treat our husbands and wives. Peter tells us how we should treat one another, being kind and compassionate and understanding. And then there is the idea that we shouldn’t repay evil for evil. He tells us that Christ gave us the perfect example and we should follow His example giving up all of our so-called rights just as He did for us. He took on suffering and we should do the same.

That is how we stand out. We stand up for what is right paying the price no matter the cost just as Christ did. Let’s make a pact to start be different from the world. Ask God to help you live more like Him in the coming year. If we all join together to live different lives think of the difference it will make!

From one Christian to another, let’s do this!

Called to be #different! Let's Do this! Click To Tweet
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notes of comfort

Light and Momentary Pain? I’m Not So Sure

Interviews with Chronic Pain Warriors

I know! It’s strange to write these words [light and momentary] when talking about chronic pain. I have been in an R.A. flair most of the last year and have arrived at the place where I wonder just how much more I can take. Not that I want to end it all, but when I look at my young life and then look forward to my future, it’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

And I wonder, “Is this all I have to look forward to?” #lightandmomentarytrouble #interviewwithachronicpainwarrior Click To Tweet

“Light and momentary” comes from the scriptures where the Apostle Paul shares that when we arrive in heaven this will all seem small and insignificant. (2 Corinthians 4:17) He shares that one of the purposes of our trials is that when we get through them we can encourage and comfort others who are experiencing the same type of pain.

So this year, I’d like to offer a series of interviews with chronic pain warriors. I would like us to all share and encourage one another so that we can “all patiently endure as we suffer.” (2 Corinthians 1:6)

 And then though “we were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” Even when we expect that we will die, we will stop relying on ourselves and learn to rely only on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8,9)

Here is the first interview with my dear friend, Bettie Gilbert. Bettie struggles with “light and momentary pain” due to RA, fibromyalgia, and a host of other diagnoses. Keep reading to learn about her struggles and her faith.

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay
interviews with chronic pain warriors; notes of comfort
image created at Canva.com with free images

Bettie, Thank you for sharing your story. You are always such an encouragement to me so I know this is going to encourage many others.

Share the short story of your chronic pain journey. Share some about the journey to this diagnosis.


In the late summer of 2014, I noticed that my fingers and thumb had some strange swelling and aching, but did not think anything about it until later that fall. I had been helping my neighbor in her garden and I woke up with my right hand locked up in a fiery pain that was unlike anything I had ever experienced. This happened three more times before my yearly physical in December of that year. My G.P. sent through the blood work for Rheumatoid testing, and sure enough, 3 of the 4 markers came back positive for Rheumatoid Arthritis. They rushed me to the Rheumatologist the very next week, and I began this journey of chronic pain.
A year later I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Osteoporosis. Then 3 years later I was also diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome and Occipital Neuralgia.

Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get stronger?

I ran to God with my questions and my doubts. I didn’t have anywhere else to turn, because the doctors gave me very little information about what was happening with my body. But I am actually thankful for that because the Lord has become even more intimate and close to me than He was before my diagnosis.

Was there a specific event that became a turning point in your faith during this journey?


Early in my diagnosis, I found myself apologizing to everyone that I had gotten sick. It became such a constant response in me that one day I realized I had begun speaking that to the Lord also: “Jesus, I am so sorry I got sick. I am sorry I need Your help again. Forgive me for being so weak.” About a year into my diagnosis, I began to hear Him calling me, “Come to me, come inside (The Kingdom of God is within you.) I am already here, and I am not offended by your pain.” That whisper from the Lord began such a process of surrender and fellowship with the Lord that is continuing to grow to this day.

What scripture has become a comfort for you in this journey?

notes of comfort; chronic pain warriors
image created at Canva.com free images


But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor. 12:9

How do you find comfort during these ‘ light and momentary’ painful days?


Listening to Christian music with a heating pad wrapped around my wrist and arm has become a calming time for me. Reading books is so helpful, and I am blessed to check out the resources of hope offered at the Chronic Joy Ministry Website too.
Sometimes I watch silly YouTube videos when my mind is so foggy that I can’t keep track of anything. And on other days, when my pain level allows, writing and journaling help me to process what is happening inside of me. I try to begin every day by moving very slowly and taking the time to read the Scriptures. Even if I can only read one verse, just to know that His Word is still my solid ground brings me such help.

What are some things that your family and friends do that bring comfort in your pain?


Calling to check on me, and offering to pray with and for me is a huge blessing for me. Receiving and sending note cards in the mail has brought amazing blessings from God to me. When someone brings me a pot of soup, it feels like a gigantic gift! And my husband fills in so many things for me that I cannot do any longer. I am so grateful for each gift offered to me.

Are you participating in any ministries that encourage other chronic pain warriors?

Over the last year, I have joined the team at Chronic Joy Ministry as their Volunteer Prayer Coordinator. I am so blessed to be able to pray for requests as they are shared at the Prayer Pond and send out #PenToPaper notes and emails in response to those prayer requests. Writing posts on Scriptures and Prayer is a blessing to me as well.

Offer some words of encouragement to those who may be searching for comfort in their own chronic pain journey.


Our Lord has told us that He would never leave us or forsake us. So I would encourage you to put that Scripture to the test. Cry out to Him, ask Him for His mercy on your darkest day. And when you pause to listen, He will meet you right there to bring encouragement. Keep your eyes open to watch for moments of His beauty. What seemed small in the past, during your busy days, will shine so much brighter now, bringing God’s grace to you.

Bettie, thank you so much for this encouragement. It will help many of us as we face these ‘ light and momentary ‘ struggles. You are a wonderful reminder that one day, we are promised ‘no more pain’ (Revelation 21:4)

Readers, I encourage you to join Bettie at Chronic Joy. Click here for her latest Prayer Prompt. You can also respond to Bettie here on the blog by commenting below.

Mandy Farmer

Are you a Chronic Pain Warrior?

Would you be willing to share your faith story and encourage others? Contact Mandy for more details about an interview for this blog. See Guidelines Here

#painawarenessmonth #PainAwareness #fibroPainAwareness

Fibro Blogger Directory

Oh, Honey!

Image by Hans Benn from Pixabay

Welcome back! Before we start the series Oh, Honey, I wanted to let you know September will be my last month hosting The Spice of Life. I enjoyed entertaining you and learned so much about writing.

Seasons come and go into our life, and right now, I am in a season where my attention is required elsewhere. Lord willing, I will be allowed to come back at some point, but if not, that is how it is to be.

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