. . . a crown of beauty instead of ashes . . . –Isaiah 61:3 NIV
At 8:32 a.m. on May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted in a violent blast that blew out the north side of the mountain. Everything within eight miles—man, beast, and vegetation—met with instant death and destruction. Shock waves leveled everything within their path, including centuries-old trees, for another 19 miles. Beyond that, the trees that remained were nothing more than standing matchsticks, seared of leaves and life.
Fifty-seven people lost their lives in what was the most destructive volcanic eruption in U.S. history. Miles of roads and railroad tracks were destroyed. Ash spewed 12 miles high, then mushroomed out, eventually dumping an estimated 500 million tons in 11 states and five Canadian provinces.
The blast, and the accompanying earthquake, altered the landscape and forever changed the ecosystem.
In July Dean and I visited the…
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Since arthritis grabbed my attention a few years ago, I’ve been searching for materials which bring faith in God into the equation. I bought one booklet, but kept looking.
Recently I came across Chronic Illness—Walking By Faith. After reading an online excerpt, I realized this 31-day devotional by Esther Smith is more what I had in mind, so I ordered it. Esther Smith was diagnosed with lupus and hypermobility syndrome; she knows what it’s like to live with chronic illness. She knows how one day you can be fine, and the next day you can barely function, or are somewhere in between. She knows how people say you look fine, but you know you’re not. She knows how symptoms can vary from one day to the next, or even from one hour to the next hour.
Esther writes with compassion and empathy, tempered with a dose of reality. While you won’t find quick answers or guarantees of healing, you will find much encouragement.
Each two-page devotional begins with a Scripture verse, followed by a reading relating to the verse. The devotionals end with questions for reflection and an action prompt, whether to pray for renewed faith, or another suggestion.
I am a week into this devotional, and am glad I found it. I recommend it to anyone fighting a battle with chronic illness who wonders where God is, if He knows, or if He even cares.
Back in July, our area had a bout of rainy, humid weather. The weather aggravated my arthritis to the point that I spent some days on my back, with ice packs on various aching joints.
Since then, wanting to get a handle on chronic pain, I’ve come to some conclusions which I believe will help me deal with the self-pity which comes calling along with the pain. I offer them here for any one of the millions of people who live with chronic pain:
Chronic pain can’t keep God from loving me. It cannot and does not keep God from seeing me as a person of inestimable value.
Chronic pain cannot keep me from returning God’s love. It cannot keep me from finding ways to express that love. It may change the ways I do it; it cannot keep me from doing it.
Chronic pain cannot keep me from serving others; it may change the ways I do it; it cannot keep me from doing it.
Scripture passages to consider: Romans 5:1-8; Romans 8:35-39; Hebrews 13:5 (which quotes Deuteronomy 31:6)
Jill shows how we can change the world by sharing the burdens of others. We can, by helping, relieve, at least in part, someone’s struggles.
“Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.”
Office Worker Found Dead at His Desk After 5 Days!
“Bosses of a publishing firm are trying to understand why no one noticed that one of their employees had been sitting, dead, at his desk for 5 days before anyone realised. George Turklebaum, 51, who had been employed as a proof-reader at a New York firm for 30 years, had a heart attack in the open-plan office he shared with 23 other workers. He must have quietly passed away on Monday, according to the post mortem results, but nobody noticed until Saturday morning when an office cleaner wondered why he was working at the weekend. She approached him to ask if he was okay and discovered he had died.
His boss said: “George was always the first…
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This spring and summer have been the most challenging and stressful I have ever experienced. But in the middle of it all, God gave me times of refreshment.
- In July, I signed up for a seven-week Bible study held at a couple’s house a few miles away from my home. Our small group sat on their patio, prayed for requests, read God’s Word, and discussed the topics. I particularly remember one evening. Before going, I prayed for the Lord’s Presence to be manifested in a special way. It was hot and humid that evening, which had a way of adding to the stress I felt over household responsibilities. When I sat down on the patio, to my surprise and delight a pleasant breeze met me and wafted its way through our small group. It remained so the whole hour. It was refreshing and that time soothed and uplifted my spirit. God did come—in the form of a cooling breeze, and in the fellowship with the group.
- One Sunday morning I walked into church. The week had been hard, and I felt much anxiety over the way things were going. As I sat down, I noticed a sweet Spirit of Love—that’s the only way I know to describe the sense—in the church. That sweet, sweet Spirit remained through the whole service. I left feeling calmed and renewed. God knew I needed that time of comfort and the sense of His love. The next day I made the hard decision to have our cat Abby put to sleep. Four days later a close relative was admitted to the hospital for a bleeding ulcer.
“The times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19 (KJV)
Since our household has plant enthusiasts, we have a large assortment of flower pots. Some are clay; some ceramic; some are plastic.
I like clay, but it has two drawbacks: weight, and deterioration over time and use. The layers flake off, and eventually water seeps out of the pot so it can’t be used for its original purpose.
Rather than throw the whole pot out, I take a hammer, set the pot in the grass, and give the pot a good smack. The pot falls apart and I can put the pieces on the bottom of other pots to act as drainage.
If you are going to give a clay pot this new job, some safety precautions are called for: wear safety goggles, put the pot in the grass so the grass can absorb the impact, and don’t lean over too close when you smack the pot.
For awhile I was feeling taken for granted as I did household chores. I do various tasks because they need done, and sometimes my mother doesn’t seem to notice or care. I know—once a person gets to be an adult, you shouldn’t require affirmation. Nevertheless, it bothered me.
One morning as I took the garbage and recycling containers out for the weekly pick-up, God spoke in my mind. He said that even when my mother doesn’t notice, He does. He notices when I do the little, mundane, unpleasant tasks needed to keep the house—ultimately, His house—looking better and smelling cleaner.
Knowing God sees what I do and appreciates it gives me a bigger perspective and peace. Now, it doesn’t matter if my mother says anything or not; God notices, and that’s all that matters.
Many people work in menial, low-paying jobs. They may feel taken for granted by their employers, and by other people. But they need to know—they are not taken for granted by God. As long as their work is honest, God notices their labors, and He appreciates it.
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Colossians 3:23, NLT)
- I provide a massage service to my humans—I knead them. This habit I picked up when I was a kitten at my mom’s side.
- The younger human says I have a “rumbly” purr. She says she likes my rumbly purr.
- Sometimes the younger human calls me “Fluffy Tail” or “Fluff Tail”. Other times, she calls me “Big A”. She greets me with “Hi, Big A!” Every now and then she calls me “Her Furriness”. I have no idea why she gives me nicknames—it’s a weird thing she does. (Have you ever noticed how many weird things humans do?)
P. Booher, secretary
This is the last issue of “The Abby Chronicles” I am posting.
Abby, our wonderful Companion Cat and the inspiration for “The Abby Chronicles” died. She had major problems and was going downhill. As I posted at “The Younger Human and I Fight!” she resisted vigorously as I gave her medicine or food through a syringe. She turned her head every which way. She batted the syringe out of my hand. Both of us got stressed out.
After consultation with the vet, I made the appointment no pet owner wants to make.
My heart feels as though it is breaking into a thousand pieces. Those who’ve let an animal into their hearts will understand; those who say, “Oh, come on! You’re being a bit too dramatic! It’s just a cat!” have never known the joy, fun, and yes, pain, of sharing their lives with a cat.
Abby brought so much joy and laughter into our lives, as when she chased her tail (rarely, catching it); when she pounced and swatted at her toy as one of us held it; when she used the litterbox and then came running out so fast you nearly got knocked over, as though she had to get away from the stinky thing that came out of her.
Abby gave our house an air of dignity, with the way she carried herself, fluffy tail held high.
Most of all, Abby was a great Companion Cat. Three weeks ago my mother had a tooth removed. As soon as my mother got settled on the recliner, Abby jumped up on her lap. She spent her time there or perched on the arm of the recliner. She sensed my mother needed comfort, and she gave comfort the best she could.
Abby was a beautiful, wonderful cat, and I miss her so much.
I hope you have enjoyed reading Abby’s views on living with humans.