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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 363 - The Living Years

"Get things done yesterday; tomorrow may be too late." - Jocko Clark

So true. I have waited too long for too much, and the things I thought I would have time for have slipped through my fingers.

I could have done this, built that, traveled there...

...but mostly, I could have been kinder.

Please pardon the short post. Been experiencing severe chest pain over the past couple of days, and 36 hours ago was bitten by a rattlesnake.



I do ask that you be patient with my slow replies to your comments (which we treasure). I'm trying to stay caught up.

Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).



I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.






Thursday, September 14, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 362 - A Letter To Death {FMF}

Dear Death,

I tried to see this differently. To everything there is a season...going home...the natural order of things...a kind of Heaven Can Wait scenario (without the "oops, we took the wrong dude!"...have you seen that delightful film?).

But you pushed too hard this week, and your mask slipped.
'
You're feeling that you're all that. You've brought the unremitting chest pain, and the uncontrollable bowels, the new lymphoma symptoms, and the impossibility of sleep.

You've delivered the blood in the urine and the hard breaths, every time, and the agony that every movement brings, that rising to my feet is like getting off the mat after a hard right from Iron Mike Tyson. (Wait one...do I still have both ears?)

This has taken me four days to write. Why not go easy on myself, and let it go?

You're telling me that it's ok to give up.

You think you have the support from the loved ones and friends who can't bear to see this go on.

You think you have all the cards.

But a Smith and Wesson beats four aces. I am well-trained to survive, but missed the lesson on how to surrender. My bad.

You think it's over now. You're wrong.

My people want to see me free of pain, yes. But they will support me to the hilt. They will pick me up when I fall, and use rigging tape to strap my weapons to my hands.

I'm not going gently into that good night. This is where the war begins, and you will regret trying me.

I will pile the wreckage so high that you will fear my very name, and you will cry out for mercy to the God that defeated you before.

You picked on the wrong dude, and now I am coming for you.

I do not fear you, Death. Not anymore. But you had better fear me. You lost in Round One, with the Big Fella. Round Two, now we're getting serious.

Don't bother running. You'll only (haha!) die tired.

Yours truly,

Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

You should know that in its original form, the body of the letter contained but two words, and the second one was you. But hey, I'm feeling chatty.

I can't even pretend to try to hew to the Five Minute Friday guidelines now. I'm sorry. But The Word is there. It's support.

For the video clip, Barb says that this is me. Not something I can judge, but here it is, her call.


As for a musical theme, how about Flatfoot 56 with some high-energy and high-fun Christian Celtic rock? This, I know is me!





I do ask that you be patient with my slow replies to your comments (which we treasure). I'm trying to stay caught up.

Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).



I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.






Thursday, September 7, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 360 - Faith And Hope And Charity, Oh My!

First, the good stuff. Marie Gregg reviewed my novel Emerald Isle. You can read the review here.

This is getting to be beyond a joke. A few weeks ago I developed a persistent rash and swelling that follows, ominously, my lymph nodes. Some other symptoms cropped up as well.

Which may very possibly be a form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I mean, really? (And yes, this is Five Minute Friday, written ahead of time by necessity.)

But hey, I'll make it through this, too. I'm strong and flexible, and have terrific endurance.

Until, one day, I won't. But when that day comes, I'll have something even better.

Faith, hope, and love.

My physical strength will one day fail me. I work at keeping it up, and work hard, but the writing's on the wall. There are cliffs you can't climb.

And you do get used up.

But the strength of my faith need not depart. It's something you can exercise as well, and it doesn't get used up...when you build a firm foundation for it, both in study and practice, you can build the 'tower' ever-higher, secure in the knowledge that it won't collapse of some unseen weakness, or topple in a storm.

I'm pretty flexible; I can adapt to uncomfortable situations, and when life hands me a lemon I aim to whip up a lemon meringue pie. (Yes, I CAN make a fluffy meringue, though my first efforts were closer to edible frisbees...which the dogs loved.)

I am the master of the dodge-and-weave paradigm of avoiding trouble.

But sometimes you can't dodge and weave fast enough, and when trouble just comes straight through your defenses, your final act of flexibility has to be to turn to hope.

Hope is the ultimate flexibility, because it charts a path to the future, a future that, with the help of the Almighty, will be yours.

It's not the hope for riches or worldly favour; it's the hope that this life, fettered by critics and clocks and calamity, can actually be transformed into the transcendent, heaven writ before our eyes in letters far too large to see.

And I can endure a lot. I did, last night, having severe chills in a room that never got below 85 degrees. Yes, I was crying out in pain, but I made sure to keep the screams a bit muffled, because Barb had to work today.

But endurance has to have an object, a goal. You can hang on for the principle of the thing...for awhile.

You can hang on in the hope that things will get better...for a while longer.

You can hang on because you're afraid of what will happen if you give up...longer still.

But in the end, none of those reasons for endurance will outlast the need for endurance.

The only thing that will is love.

Not the romantic, clingy kind ("I can't bear to let her go, even though I die!"), nor the sloppily sentimental kind ("...they clung to each other, weeping..."). Those are kind of creepy, if you ask me. (Did you ask me?)

The kind of love that endures is the kind that has something to give, the love that is closer to the older word, 'charity'. It's the kind of love that says, "I'm still important...I'm still able...and as long as I draw breath I can help make this corner of the world a bit better."

And charity draws the other virtues into itself, in keeping the faith that there is hope for a better tomorrow, when love is mobilized.

For those of you who missed an earlier post this week...it contained a picture of Barbara with her new haircut. Rather than make you shuffle back to visit it, here's the picture of my lovely wife...


To provide a bit of balance, here's a picture of me (I'm the one on the right). It was taken several years ago, but is still a good likeness. The dog is Emily (sadly no longer with us), a deaf Heeler who knew American Sign Language, but who didn't hesitate to use her teeth when signing was too slow.


The musical selection is First Time from Lifehouse, and the colourization that takes place in the video is a pretty good fit for Barb's glasses and my shirt!


I do ask that you be patient with my slow replies to your comments (which we treasure). I'm trying to stay caught up.

Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).



I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.











Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 359 - God Give Me Strength

Can't believe it can be getting worse, but it is.

Nonetheless, God gives me the strength to stand in the fires of hell and spit flame back into the devil's face.

With interest.

This is really getting tiresome, but as long as God wants me to stand, I guess that is what I will have to do.

It does get harder to reinvent reasons and methodology to keep up my morale. It used to be, I can beat this and get well.

Then it was I can fight this for as long as I have to, and cope with the pain.

The next step back from the line in th sand was I can live honourably with this,and push myself hard to use the time I have left to good effect.

Now I spend a lot of my time doing...well, not much of anything. Blog posts are getting shorter, and participation in the blogging community more limited, because I run out of energy too fast.

There are walls that you can't scale.

I can be defiant, as related above, but that's almost all I can do.

It really does come down to Ephesians 6:13:

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Our faith in God's promise is our only armour, the only thing standing between us and the despair of the abyss.

It's the promise that our lives have meaning, our pain has a purpose, and that there will be a reckoning, a healing of harms.

The promise can be diluted in so many ways, by the secular messages we choose to heed, by the covetous comparison that rises in our hearts when we see others effortlessly surpassing us in the fulfillment of dreams, and in the twisted messages of some churchmen, who would have us believe that the Bible is a dynamic entity, growing to meet modern times, and that it's a support for our prosperity in this world.

So much for Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The truth is that evil was, and evil is, and that we need the full support of the Almighty to face it. We can't do this alone; we never could, and all of the modern messages and relevancy and re-interpretation don't add up to a hill of beans.

And it's not a cute game for children, with wooden swords and plastic shields and sharing on Facebook and Instagram.

It's not something for dealing with nasty bosses and wilfully malicious co-workers and malingering employees.

There's real evil out there, the kind that seeks to murder us in our homes, the kind that will invade our bodies in the form of cancer and far worse, the kind that will defeat our despairing souls.

And there is only one way to resist.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God...


I do ask that you be patient with my slow replies to your comments (which we treasure). I'm trying to stay caught up.

Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).



I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.











Sunday, September 3, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 358 - A Hope In Hell

This will be very short, because the weekend folded, spindled and mutilated me...and not in the 'Boy, was THAT a cool weekend!" way.

Barbara got a really cool haircut, and for part of the weekend I was so far gone I did not recognize her.


Not recognize THIS lovely face?????


It was really the kind of thing that, when you're lucid, makes you want to give up. Barb says that I did wonder how long I could keep this up.

But I'm still here, and it's partially thanks to a symbol of hope, a small red rock that I found in the yard last week, and plaed next to my computer. It's a deep red, and is startlingly heart-shaped.

A long time ago, I prayed to God to send signs to give me hope, and there was this voice in my ear..."What kind of signs?"

Oh, He wants me to specific! "Well, I said, aloud, something red."

"Something RED?"

"Yeah. Bright red, not New-Mexico-rust red."

Huge supernatural sigh.

And then red things started turning up, off things where I would not expect them.

Once I saw a piece of plasticized paper, a really small one, and for a reason I couldn't tell bent down to pick it up. It was part of a label from a water bottle, and when I spread it out..."Red Rock Bottling".

God apparently has a sense of humour, and I still have the label.

And now there is this heart-shaped rock.

It's not yet time to quit.



I do ask that you be patient with my slow replies to your comments (which we treasure). I'm trying to stay caught up.

Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).



I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.










Thursday, August 31, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 357 - A Fine Sense Of Abandon {FMF}

And, yeah, another personal worst last night. My screaming brought poor Barb running, and she stayed by my side until the spasms in my gut passed. She said I was screaming loud enough to wake the dead, or at least our not-close neighbours.

And she had to go to work today. She wonders how long I can keep going.

I, in turn, wondered "How much more will I have to give up? What's the final cost here gonna be?"

The answer is, everything. (And yes, this is Five Minute Friday. The prompt is neighbour. It's in the first paragraph.)

We give everything, especially our hearts, to Jesus, and in return we gain a kingdom.

Thing is, if Someone hands you a kingdom, you've really got to take hold of it with both hands. It would kind of hurt if you let it slip, and a whole complete kingdom landed on your little toe.

And embarrassing. Imagine all those angels laughing.

So we have to come to Him empty handed. We have to let go of the things we would most like to keep hold of, and trust Him when He says that nothing good will be lost.

We can let go. He's got this.

But what are we really releasing? I think it's our sense of control. The nagging back-of-the-mind thought that, well, just in case God's busy elsewhere, we' better fill His shoes.

So we worry about our spouses and our health, our children and our parents and our dogs (my hand raised, here!) and the hobbies we love.

We worry about our ministries and our friends and our jobs.

And did my daughter really just get a nose-piercing???

I believe that God wants us to let go the control, and live with a sense of the abandon that it implies. You can't undo the piercing (is that a BONE through your nose, young lady?) and you can't worry yourself to health.

You do your best, but after your due diligence, you've got to let God handle things.

And no looking over His shoulder, either.

It's easier for me, I think; it becomes ever-clearer that I'm not going to see the golden years of retirement (and just as well, I'm not made for that stuff). My hands are being forced open by circumstance...I have to let go of so many things.

I have to let go of the books I'll never finish writing...and I can. Instead of "I've got to get this into the world!" I figure, well, God read it already, He knows how it'll end, and He's the reviewer I want to please anyway.

I have to let go of the aeroplane whose parts surround me. In the past I imagined it complete, and imagined the thrill of flying it...but now the greater thrill is in the completion of one more bracket, one more rib, as an end in itself...and a worthwhile one, because Jesus, after all, was a craftsman of wood before He turned to crafting Salvation.

I have to hope my wife will meet a good man, and soon, and find love that will help her ride through the sorrow.

I hope the dogs will, in that man, find a kind and loving friend.

And so on.

I know now that I could never control a desired ending...and in letting go of control I am finding that, like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes.

I can love Barbara more, love the dogs more, by putting into God's hands what's best for them.

I can't be their Saviour; Someone Else already has that job.

And He is pretty good at it.

The musical accompaniment today is inspired by by friend (and FMF colleague) Leigh and her wonderful blog, Tokens of Goodness.

Aside from a wonderful sense of faith and brilliant writing, she's also got a picture of one my favourite singers, who will now perform for us...



I do ask that you be patient with my slow replies to your comments (which we treasure). I'm trying to stay caught up.

Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).



I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.