Practice what you speak

Practice What You Speak

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,

but only such as is good for building up,

as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:29-30 (NLT)

A Godly Woman

I’m inspired by a godly woman from our church, Delores. A year or so before my illness, she lost her fight with stage 4 brain cancer. She was a vivacious lady around 60 years old living life to the full. She and her husband ran the local annual rodeo and a western store. 

One Saturday evening, she laid down because she had a headache. The next thing you know, she was having a full-blown seizure. Soon afterward, we learned it was cancer. I have never seen someone have such a positive attitude. It was the most beautiful thing to see. She spoke life to the entire church during her journey to heaven. She would always tell us, Continue reading

Cancer What's Lacking

Cancer: What Can a Friend Do?

I lack the words to tell you the effect this weekend has had on me. I went to visit my dear friend, Debra at the nursing home. She is fighting Stage 4 Brain Cancer. Besides the chemotherapy and some kind of radiation cap that she had to wear all the time, Debra has had two brain surgeries to try to stop the swelling and the growth of cancer. The doctors give her less than six months to live.

I entered the nursing home at the far end of the facility. It was a long walk down to Debra’s room but it gave me a chance to see the whole facility. It all looked nice. I was comforted to see that she was in a clean facility. There were seating areas everywhere and visiting rooms and dining areas. There were wonderful helpful workers all along the way. My hat is off to the nursing staff that works with these precious people suffering from such debilitating diseases. I am thankful for every one of them.

I could give you a discourse of the next two hours but for my friend’s sake, I’ll just share a few things I have found lacking as I go through this trial with my friend. I’m just a bystander in this matter. Although, being a pastor’s wife, I have gone alongside many time.

The Greatest Need is Support For the Caregivers

My husband and I found that what is really lacking is support for the caregiver. Awareness is rising of late but we really need to become more aware of people with chronic illness, cancer or not. I would like to see churches create a team of people that make sure our sick do not fall through the cracks. Sadly, the sick become “Out of Sight: Out of Mind”. I recently read this article about How Can the Church Better Serve Chronically Ill by Shona Smith. Shona had some wonderful advice for churches. Even the sick could take this information and share it with their chur leaders.

The Caregiver is Lost and Alone

We have found that outside of caring for their loved one, they are also holding down a job, trying to keep the house/family together, dealing with financial issues, and they often are completely ignoring their own health. I recently read Sarah Beckman’s new book Hope for the Hard Places (my review here) which gives excellent step by step advice for when trouble comes our way. Many of us would do ourselves a favor to read this book and prepare our own families for the inevitable Hard Place.

My friend Anita Ojeda has experienced caregiving for her husband who had cancer and survived. There are many things she learned along the way and after the fact. She is now trying to encourage caregivers to take care of themselves. You will find her website, Blessed: But Stressed, very helpful. There is also a facebook page, Self-care for Caregivers.

What is Lacking for Cancer Patients

  • Core friends that stick around. We’re all guilty of this. The first month we do whatever we can for the patient and family. But somehow we tend to fall back into our routine of life and completely forget about our friends. Let’s admit it, I am guilty. You may be guilty as well. We need to be calling or dropping by frequently, doing simple household jobs, cooking a meal, etc. I have a downloadable list of ideas to get started on. The aforementioned author, Sarah Beckman has another book called, Alongside: A Practical Guide for Loving Your Neighbor in their Time of Trial. I haven’t read this one yet. But possibly, we all could learn a few things from her book.
  • Prayer. Real true “I see it and feel it” prayer. Facebook is a place to start where you can tell them you are thinking of them. But we need to visit them and pray over them. Call them and pray with them over the phone. I had a friend once that rose early every morning before work and walked around a friend’s home praying for them. Every day for months until her death. Now THAT is visible prayer.
  • Encouragement through cards, flowers. Debra’s room was not only dim but void of cards. Again, I’m guilty as I have not sent her one card. 🙁 There was one small flower arrangement and that is it. (live flowers might not be good, as some patients cannot handle the smells.) I would like to get a card shower going and have everyone I know sent her a card. If you want to get involved send me a note through our “contact us”. I’ll send you an address.

Other Great Things Lacking

  • Providing other needs. If you visit on a regular basis, take notice of needs like is she cold? Does she need a blanket? Drinks and snacks so they don’t need to buy them? Don’t go empty-handed when you visit. grab a bag or basket and place a few ready to eat items in it. Maybe a book to read or puzzle books. You can get many items like this at a dollar store. Speaking of blankets, I know of two churches that make quilts to send to cancer patients and others. I received one when I first was hit with chronic pain. Not only does it keep me warm, but it also encourages and reminds me that someone cares.
  • Lastly, and importantly, an illness like cancer is terribly expensive. Even with great insurance, the bills begin to rise beyond what a person can fathom. And just when you think you have a way to figure it out, there is another surgery or issue that arises. In Debra’s case, they are still trying to get hospice care or a way for someone to sit with her and tend to her needs. This comes with a $250/day copay. Think of it, where would you be if this were you?
caregiversprayer
Photo Credit: Rena Raines Monholland @Caregivers Prayer Page

Here’s my challenge

I imagine we all know of someone who is struggling with a serious illness. Donate to their cause, even if it is just $10. Maybe you can add it to your monthly budget. Just 10 bucks. Give up a cappuccino. You will brighten their day and make a difference in their lives. Imagine if everyone would give just $10. The bills would be taken care of quickly. Find their GoFundMe page and donate today.

Don’t Forget The Least of These

Cancer and Chronic Illness Patients are Out of Sight Out of Mind. Don't Forget them. Click To Tweet

Thanks

Mandy Farmer

If you don’t know of anyone to donate to, here is the link to my dear friends, Paul and Debra’s GoFundme.

What a friend to do
photo credit: Truthseeker08 @ pixabay modified by Mandy

true value

What Has True Value in this Life

VALUE

noun. – the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

This post is inspired by the PROMPT: VALUE from Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday crew. The challenge is to write for five minutes. No editing. I encourage you to go to the link-up and read what others were inspired to write.

Value Re-defined.

Our world has re-defined what has value. Today, according to the world we have value because we have stuff, we have amazing talents, we know people. King Solomon said that life has no meaning or value.

But God values us as His children. Actually, He gives us our value.  We are His children.  And because of this, we have great value. We are nothing without him. We can do nothing without Him.

Continue reading

Five Minute Friday Prompt

When He Saw the Crowds

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them,

[FMF Prompt: Crowd START]

Matthew 9:36

I get disturbed when I watch the news these days. Whether you look at the protesting crowds or the ones they are protesting against, you see so much that is not of God.

But recently, I did a study about kindness and goodness. It has caused me to look with a different lens upon the crowds. Jesus looked at the crowds and had compassion on them. He saw that they were lost and wandering and had no true leadership.

MORE THAN COMPASSION

But He had more than just compassion and kindness; He also delivered goodness to them. He did whatever was in His power to help them. In this instance, we read further and see him instruct his disciples to pray to the Lord that He bring workers into the fields to bring in the harvest. In others instances, he healed the people. Another time, he fed them. And another time He taught them.

WHAT ABOUT US?

So I am wondering when we see the crowds, do we feel compassion or disgust? Do we reach out and give them a hug, or try to teach them or offer a cup of cold water, whatever it is we have in our hands to give?

[STOP]

THE CHALLENGE

My challenge to myself today. Begin looking at the crowds through God’s eyes. Ask God to show us the need and begin to work by showing the love of God.

I’ve put together a page of scriptures to help us divert our eyes to look at the crowds as God does. Maybe it will cause our hearts to become more compassionate. CLICK HERE for a free printable.

Seeing others with a different light,

Mandy Farmer

 

 

 

 

 

When He Looked out on the crowd, He had compassion on them. #fmf #crowd Click To Tweet

I’m maybe linking up with these other groups today.

LINK-UPS in which I participate

Literacy Musing Mondays

Inspire Me Monday

Five Minute Friday

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Loved or Unloved – That is the Question

Are you feeling loved today?

FMF: Loved

photo credit: Five Minute Friday: Loved

Consider Roman’s 8:38

What can come between us and

the love of God’s Anointed?

Can troubles, hardships, persecution,

hunger, poverty, danger, or even death? 

 

The answer is, absolutely nothing.

 

 

In this mean and evil world, it’s hard to keep our hearts and souls from becoming singed by the fire. I recall times when the mud has been slung at me. Keeping the awful words from repeating over and over again in my mind became a difficult task. I had to continually throw these words out and replace them with God’s Word. Continue reading

Have You Settled the Question?

I Have Settled the Question, Hallelujah!

Prompt: Settle

Five Minute Friday

When I heard this week’s Five Minute Friday Prompt, I was reminded of an old hymn of the church, “I Have Settled the Question“.  I settled the question with the Lord in July of 1970 at Sebring, Ohio Holiness Family Campmeeting.

My family had spent the week at family camp. Mom was running the little bookshop. My friends and I sat in the back of the tabernacle for most of the services. We didn’t particularly like the one preacher. We thought his cadence was choppy and boring. I remember that we called him “Popcorn” because we thought his speech jumped around.

But on the final night, that voice caught our attention. He spoke of the fiery lake of hell and how if we weren’t right with God, we would end up in this very horrible place. I’m not sure if it was because I have recently lost my grandfather, but death had somehow become a real thing to me. So my friend and I both walked the aisle, down to the altar to receive Christ as our Savior.’ You can read more about it on my memoirs blog, Raised in a Barn.

There were other times when I stepped even closer and more committed to my relationship but this was the day that I settled the question. I placed my life under His control that day. And things have never been the same since.

I wonder, have you settled the question? Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Friend? He’s waiting for you to come to him, confess your sins, and allow Him to take control of your life. If you want to know more just click here.

Have a Blessed Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy this old hymn from the GaitherVEVO


 

Have you Settled Your Account with God?

I would love to hear about it in the comments.

signs of fibro, fibromyalgia

What Were Your First Signs of Fibro

First Signs of Fibro

Dear Sis,

Thanks for checking on me the other day. You asked about my first signs of Fibro. As you know, I acquired disembarkment disorder after our cruise to the Bahamas in February 2011 (which has never gone away), follow by neck pain and then I was hit suddenly with extreme, contracting back pain in September.

Earlier Signs

fibro symtpoms

photo credit Jolette Calabrese

But as I have learned more about Fibromyalgia, it seems there have been several signs of it from early in my life. Do you remember all those chest pains I had in middle school and high school? They could never find anything wrong so they called it growing pains. Ha! If that were so I’d be about 6 foot tall! Anyway, it turns out that many of us fibro warriors have experienced “growing pains” at puberty. So my first signs of fibro were probably chest pains at 11 or 12 years of age.

Always Just so Tired

It has also dawned on me that one major symptom of fibromyalgia is fatigue, tired for no particular reason. You know, I have always been tired. I get so tired from a shopping trip or band event. I would fall into a deep sleep immediately after arriving home from any kind of event. Really, I would fall asleep as soon as I got still. Remember the jokes about me not be a good co-pilot when we moved from Ohio to Wisconsin? I would sleep the entire way! When they finally realized I had thyroid issues, I thought that was the answer. And while the medication does keep everything stable, I still feel like there are more issues than what is being addressed.

All My Life

So evidently, I have had fibromyalgia nearly all my life. It’s just that the cruise somehow awakened the monster.

Thanks so much for taking an interest in my life. I know you feel that your hands are tied because you live so far away, but believe me, your frustration would be the same if you lived next door. Your prayers and calls mean so much to me. It would certainly be nice though if we were closer. Then at least you could come to visit. But I would miss that even if I weren’t ill.

With Love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

prompt : tired

photo credit: Five MInute Friday

 

This is the second in a series of letters written to friends to explain the issues of fibromyalgia. Go to the introductory page for Letters to Friends to read what you have missed by clicking here.

 

This letter was inspired by Kate Motaung’s prompt this week, “TIRED” at Five Minute Fridays.

When You Don’t Get What You Expect

FMF : Expect

 

This week’s Five Minute Friday   prompt is: EXPECT

Setting my timer for five minutes, and … GO.

 

 

 

 

Have you ever tried to say something nice and it came out different than you expect?

I have lost count of the times I have done it. I call it, “Foot-in-Mouth” disease. Yep! Open mouth, insert foot.

Sometimes, I do it in my writing too,

Continue reading

Getting Kicked in the Shins

It’s Friday! It’s Sunday! Time for the Five Minute Friday Writing Challenge. 🙂

FMF Purpose

Five Minutes Fridays

 

Time to write for five minutes on a prompt.

Click on the image to see what bloggers came up with.

The Prompt is Purpose.

 

“He kicked me on purpose!”

As a preschooler, my son often said these words or words like them coming off the soccer field. He didn’t seem to understand that when playing soccer, you are bound to get kicked in the shins occasionally. The players are not trying to kick you on purpose, but rather they are trying to kick the ball away from you. Sometimes, that results in getting kicked in the shins.

Some of us have never learned this simple lesson:

Why?

The Bible says “In this life, you will have trouble…” (John 16:33) We live in a fallen world, full of sin at every turn.  God allows each of us to make our own choices.

  • Many people are out only for themselves. But their choices affect the lives of others.
  • It may be that a person is reacting to their own demise. Possibly they just got kicked. Maybe they are sick or grieving causing them to react to life negatively.
  • Other times it is merely an accident, such as in a soccer game.

But regardless of the “why” behind our injury, the question should really be, “How do we respond?”

The answer is to respond “with a purpose”.

In other words, make a plan to respond positively when you get kicked in the shins.

And then follow through with it.

Christ had a purpose.

His purpose was to treat others with humility and love.  We are instructed to treat others as we would want to be treated. We should have the same attitude as Christ. His purpose was to bring all people to Him. (see Philippians 2 and Matthew 7:12).

What is your purpose?

  • Do you think of yourself as better than others?
  • Do you care only about your own interests?

In Conclusion, let’s follow the Apostle Paul’s instruction:

“Work hard to show the results of our salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.” Philippians 2:12

 

Finding Purpose;

Mandy Farmer

 

hymn of week

Safe in His Arms Living by Faith

The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.
 
 

 Life has sure been throwing me some curves lately.

There’s been illness, job loss, and interruption of ministry and just life in general.

But God has been right there with us. 

Continue reading