Thursday, June 24, 2021

Follow Me

 


"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." ~Matthew 4:19

As many of you already know, Blogger's use of Feed Burner, the service that has allowed people to subscribe to blogs by email, is going away in July.  Why?  Beats me!  But thankfully, there is a way around this dilemma for all of you amazing readers out there.

A site called Follow It is graciously stepping in to save the day.  With the help of another blogging friend (thanks a million, Marja!), I've managed to provide a way for you all to keep receiving email notifications.

Simply copy this link and paste it in your browser:

https://follow.it/marthaorlando?action=followPub

Then, follow the simple directions.  You'll be signed up in no time!

Now, there may be some instances, before Feed Burner disappears, that you will be doubly emailed, but that shouldn't last long.  Additionally, since I'm not on social media, I would appreciate you all sharing this particular blog post to your feed on Facebook, Twitter, etc.  I would love to add more readers to my blog!

This new connection should work for you all, but if for some reason it doesn't, simply Google Meditations of My Heart, and my blog will show up.  With few exceptions, I post on Tuesdays and Fridays, so you can jot down a reminder note to yourself.

I do so love all of you, my followers, here at the blog, and would be heartbroken to lose any of you.

But you know what I love most of all?  Being a follower of Jesus!  No clicks, no links required.  We only have to respond with willingness and submission to heed His call to our hearts.

If you've not yet decided to follow Jesus, to ask Him into your life, I hope and pray that today is the day you do!

Amen!

Mom Update:  She will be transported to a truly lovely assisted living home tomorrow.  We've been in an absolute tizzy this week making all the necessary arrangements, but it's paid off.  Mom does understand, at least at this point, why she had to go there instead of coming home.  Your continued prayers for her adjustment and further healing are so very greatly appreciated!

Monday, June 21, 2021

Falling Short

 


For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God ~Romans 3:23

I'm not going to lie to you.  Traveling down to Oxford, GA, every other week to check on my mother, and to spend time with her in the rehab facility, is taking its toll on my patience and peace of mind.  I'm so grateful to my brother, Bill, who is alternating weeks with my husband, Danny, and me.  Without this respite, being allowed to return home for a breath of normalcy, I do think my mental and emotional health would be in jeopardy.

As much as I love my mother, and desire to serve her with the best I can offer, I'm anything but perfect in this endeavor.

I sin and fall short of the glory of God.

Yes, I'm selfish.  I want my own routine, my own priorities, my own needs to take precedence.

But that's not what Jesus teaches.

We are to take up our cross, all the negatives of our lives, and walk with Jesus to Golgotha, willing to sacrifice everything we are for everything He is.  How can we ever expect to tackle the challenges of life without our Lord there, willing to share in our burdens?  How can we not be grateful for all He has done?

There is no room for selfish desires.  There is no room for pride.

There is only humble surrender in light of all that transpires in our lives.

And even though we will always fall short of God's glory, we can know that Jesus still loves us, warts and all.  He wants to be our friend, our confidant.

Our Savior.

May the Lord banish all our selfish thoughts, and help us to live in His love alone.

Amen!

Update on Mom:  Due to Medicare issues at the rehab facility, we have to move Mom to an assisted living place this week.  Thank the Lord we found a stellar one right here in town!  We will meet with a rep there tomorrow afternoon and get the ball rolling.  Mom had two good days over the weekend, but wasn't really with it on Monday when we last visited.  We will have to break the news to her about the transition on Wednesday, so prayers are greatly appreciated, my friends.  Thanks!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Face to Face

 


For now, we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:12

So many of us miss out on so many commonplace activities during the pandemic lockdown, pre-vaccination.  These are moments we can never reclaim.  Yet, I find that, after going through the nightmare of isolation, I've developed a whole new appreciation for things I once took for granted.

Before the lockdown, my husband, Danny, and I usually eat out once a week.  That habit comes to a screeching halt, and lasts for endless months.  Now?  Oh, what joy we take in sharing a meal in an actual restaurant!  And since Mom's been in the hospital, eating out has become so frequent, we almost grow weary of it.  That's how much I love Danny's cooking!

Shopping in person is another milestone to celebrate.  Going to Publix or Costco, to see and touch the items we choose to purchase, feels as heady as a trip to Disneyworld.  Danny and I are in hog heaven!  What used to be regarded as a chore is now a delight.

But my favorite part of all?  Ditching the masks!!!  I've so missed seeing people's expressions, sharing a smile with a stranger, breathing freely once again.  Of course, we still have to put up with the facade that is mask-wearing when we enter the hospital, but once in Mom's room, we are free to take them off.  Does that make any sense to you?  Doesn't to me, either, but I imagine that may be the norm for hospitals for a good long while.

I'm not going to debate here whether the masks and social distancing make any real difference during the Covid, but I am convinced that staying hidden behind a face covering, and keeping people six feet apart, certainly provoked the feelings of depression and loneliness so many folks suffer during this time.  God created us to be in fellowship with Him and with each other.  That has always been the "normal," and it will forever be so.

It's about time, way beyond time, that we see each other face to face!

Amen!

P. S.  I'm attempting to switch to Follow It for all my readers who subscribe by email.  Please use this link to see if you can access it.  Thanks!

https://follow.it/marthaorlando?action=followPub 

Update on Mom:  Unfortunately, she is about the same, and certainly not doing enough PT to make regular walking a possibility.  She is uncomfortable as she has developed some bed sores.  My brother has to leave for Albany, GA, tomorrow, and we won't be able to travel to Oxford until Saturday.  We've asked the nurses to make sure Mom's cell phone is charged up so we can at least call one another and give encouragement over the phone.  These are crazy times, and your prayers are so very appreciated!

Monday, June 14, 2021

By Any Other Name

 


Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna.  I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. ~Revelation 2:17

Mom's rehab hospital is located in the quaint and quiet town of Monticello (the "c" is pronounced like an "s"), Georgia.  Before we embark on our first journey to visit with Mom, my husband, Danny, researches the various eateries located there.  Yes!  There is, amazingly, a restaurant called Martha Jane's!  With a name like that, you know we have to try it out.



Good ol' Southern cooking, downhome and unpretentious.



The meals are so delicious, we make several repeat visits, and aren't disappointed once.  I even introduce myself to the manager and staff, who can't get over the fact that my name is the same as the establishment's.  It's also a great opportunity for me to hand out bookmarks, with my name on them, of course, to anyone interested in ordering books from The Glade Series and Adventures in The Glade.*

Truth be told, it's taken many years for me to actually warm up to and actually like my given name.  My parents and relatives always call me by both names, though I insist my friends call me either Martha or Marty.  Seems a bit foolish now.  Does it really matter what earthly name we bear?

One day, when we are reunited with the Lord, we will be given the name by which He has always known us.  Do you ever wonder what that name might be?  Whatever it is, I'm convinced it will bring a closeness to God that we have never before imagined, or could have possibly realized on this earth.

What could be better than that?

Amen!

*If you are not familiar with my novels, you can email me through my  website with your mailing address.  I will be happy to send you the first two books for free!

Update on Mom:  She has been fluctuating between feeling/doing well and sliding backwards.  As of Monday, she is doing remarkably well, having walked, with assistance, down the ward hall and back to her room.  If Mom can continue on this path, she should be able to come home sooner than later, with constant help, of course.  A lot also depends on if she can stay hydrated without the aid of an IV; her recent bout with that infusion caused the pneumonia to make a comeback, as her lungs began to fill up.  We are also facing some insurance issues, so your continued prayers are truly appreciated!

Monday, June 7, 2021

By Streams of Water

 


That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither - whatever they do prospers. ~Psalm 1:3

Do you recall the photo above?  It's taken when our deck plants are first given their new homes with as much love and care as we can muster.  We hope that all our efforts will be a blessing for these newbies who simply long for a chance to live and flourish.

To prosper.  Just as the Lord intended.

A week spent at Oxford, away from our plant babies, produces so much new growth, we can hardly believe it.

The impatiens plants are busting out all over.  Nothing is keeping them down!



And remember how we were promised possible blooms on the sedum?  Well, here they are!


Our other sedum, we think, is a male plant because no blossoms are forming on it.  Still, it's gorgeous in this photo taken by Danny, with raindrops adorning its fronds.


The Petunia Amore has come back to resonating life after a heavy rainstorm damaged its blossoms.



And are you ready for the hydrangea's gender reveal?  Yes?  Well, here it is!


A gorgeous blue to add even more color to the pink/magenta/yellow floral displays on our deck.

After a long, tough week of residing in Oxford in order to be able to visit my mother, coming home to these welcoming blooms gives us much comfort and joy.  I am reminded that when God plants us by streams of His living water, we will all yield fruit in due season, and our leaves that spread the love of His kingdom will neither wither nor fade.

God is always there, willing and able to help us move forward in hope in spite of the seemingly hopeless moments we face.  It is in the moment, the one right there before us, that we can best realize His love for us, and His eternal care.

May each and every one of us bloom where God has planted us.  May His streams of mercy never fail.

Amen!

Update on Mom:  My brother and his daughter visited with Mom for the last several days.  She had her lucid moments, but was also imagining people who weren't there in the room.  When Danny and I visited with her today, Mom was still sleepy from the Benedryl she was given the night before to help her rest.  We couldn't manage to carry on any conversation.  The doctor called us later today and said she is taking Mom off any sleep-inducing drugs for the time being.  We also learned that she has developed shingles, and is on antibiotics for that now.  The pneumonia has disappeared, and that's good news, but she is facing an uphill battle if she is ever to be able to come home.  Your prayers are so appreciated, my friends!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Her Salvation

 


Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. ~Psalm 42:5

We are all familiar with the statement, "God works in mysterious ways."  This is a phenomenon I recently encounter.  The poem below is composed weeks before my mother's fall and consequent hospitalization/rehabilitation.  It gives me "God-bumps" to reflect on the Lord's divine inspiration at a time when I would need it the most.

She is a relic, almost ruined, spent

By what she cannot understand or know

No voice of reason pierces veil, no light

Prevails to lift the shadow's darkness

Life goes on around her, yet she's blind

Life goes on around her, yet she's deaf

Living in the past, her only hope

For the future, day by day by day

Comes in moments, not monthly plans

For promises are empty as the road

Rises to meet and greet eternity

With her salvation ever in mind

Amen


Update:  My brother, Bill, is now at Mom's house until Sunday when we will travel down there again.  He visited with Mom today; they have lowered her oxygen level, which is good, and is through with her antibiotics.  She is able to carry on a conversation somewhat, but she drifts into the past, and imagines that our father is still alive and talks about seeing family members who are long gone.  Of course, this is a hard blow to all of us.  We are praying that as time goes on, the dementia will lessen, and she will be more like her old self.  Thanks so much for all of your prayers, too!

Blessings!

Monday, May 31, 2021

Renewing Her Strength


 But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. ~Isaiah 40:31

As I write this post, my husband, Danny, and I are still at my mother's house in Oxford so we can see her on a daily basis as she attempts to recover from her fall last week and battles an unexpected case of pneumonia at the same time.  The latter is, as you can imagine, our biggest worry at the moment, although the antibiotics seem to be kicking in quite nicely.

Mom should be able to actually start PT tomorrow after she is officially assessed by a specialist.  As she struggles with early onset of dementia, we are hoping and praying that she will be able to follow directions and stay determined to get well enough to return home.  Until we are assured she is making positive progress, we won't be budging from Oxford, as it's only about 40 minutes away from the rehab hospital.  We may get a break this week if my brother, Bill, is able to drive up from Brunswick to relieve us for a couple of days.  And that would be so welcome!

I think we are looking at some long weeks of recovery ahead.  At 92, and with her declining mental state, we're praying for the best, but trying to be realistic about her future, too.  The longer she is confined to bed, the weaker her muscles are becoming, and physical therapy will take a concerted effort on her part.

Your continued prayers are cherished and welcomed, dear friends.  Not just for Mom to renew her strength, but for Danny and me to stay the course with hope and trust in the Lord.  This is our time to run and not be weary, to walk and not be faint.

Your prayers will make all the difference.

Amen!

Follow Me

  "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." ~Matthew 4:19 As many of you already know...