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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 326 - It's Not About Courage

You can deal 'bravely' with terminal illness, up to a point.

But you reach that watershed where the thing you want most of all is for everything to stop. The pain, the incontinence, the weakness, the fatigue.

The dread.

No one is brave at three o'clock in the morning, when the pain makes dawn seem a million miles away and your body's weakness makes the bathroom...which you desperately need...seem not much closer.

There is no room for posturing or attitude, no room for the moto posters...NO FEAR!...which are balled up and set alight in the burn pit.

There's only room for the most basic kind of faith.

"Father, into Your Hands I commend My Spirit."

Sorry for the short post. Things are just not going well.

We're linked with Messy Marriage's From Messes To Messages - please drop by for some terrific marriage resources.

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, June 18, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 325 - Don't Look Back

This is going to be another short one. I'm sorry. Days are getting quite a bit worse.

Today (June 18) I watched the final round of the US Open golf tournament; decades ago I was an avid golfer.

Watching the thing seemed like a good idea att the time, but it did me some damage.

Way back when, my life was not at all pleasant, but what kept me going was the hope for a better future. There were possibilities, and the road ahead, though dark, was still wide.

Not so now. The future from here looks like today, only it' going to hurt worse, and the energy to develop new ideas, or revitalize old plans still isn't there.

In other words, looking back into my past dimmed my present, and it's going to take some time to recover the equilibrium.

So this is advice to caregivers and patients...don't look back.

It may seem like a strol down memory lane will bring remembered happiness...it will, but it can come at a terrible cost to now.

When there's no tomorrow, there's no yesterday.

There's only now.

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, June 15, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 324 - The Gates Of Mordor {FMF}

Yes, I'll admit it. I watch This Is Us.

Probably be drummed out of the League Of Hard Men for that.

(And this is my post for Five Minute Friday, written ahead. If I am able I will try to work in the keyword.)

(It's WORTH. And it's in there.)

My first thought on seeing bits of some of the initial episodes (Barb watched from the beginning) was..."OK, 'this is us', and so what? Why do I care if this is you or not?"

It seemed at first glance like waterboarding. A drip, drip, drip of drippy crises in the lives of a bunch of thirtysomething drips.

But I realized after awhile that I was starting to care about these fictional people; why?

The answer is that it's instructive even this late in the day to see art reflecting a life I never knew. I missed the family ties and the personal drama and the wavering but still treasured friendships.

The crises are perhaps forced, but they speak to relationships that are real. (Yes, Barbara did have to do some coaching, and she patiently explained a lot to me.)

Standing before the Gates of Mordor, it's kind of good to take a long last look back. I'm going where monsters gather for the next stage of my fight, and I won't be coming back, barring a miracle.

So it's good to carry a picture of normalcy (TV-land normalcy, to be sure) into the fight, even if it wasn't me.

I live in a world of black and white, life and death, pain and more pain. It narrows the focus, and makes one rather a bore...sometimes, even to oneself.

Black is becoming blacker, and the white of God's presence in my fight is becoming incandescent.

My life has been good preparation. Happiness for me has been largely rooted in being alive to greet the dawn. Everything else was a bonus.

So it wasn't a hard change, to be terminally ill. Death wasn't an unfamiliar face.

But I like the fact that people can be concerned with smaller things. I like looking through a window into a more nuanced and graceful life, a life of colours both pastel and vibrant.

Those gates will soon close behind me, and I won't be able to look back into a land of life and warm spring sunshine.

But I will remember, and the monsters will wonder, as I turn to face them, why I am smiling.

It'll be worth it just to see their faces ere they face my blade in this last of battles.

But I still do have some questions about This Is Us.
  • None of the characters seem to carry guns; why is that?
  • None of them seems to go to church either.
  • Where are the dogs? (Though the dying dude does have a cat.)
  • And why don't any of them drive muscle cars? Not the modern faux-cool junk...why doesn't anyone have a '64 GTO?
I asked Barbara this. After putting her head in her hands and moaning softly (I didn't realize she had a headache) she said, "Perhaps that is why they are so troubled."

Yep...get an Uzi and go to church. Have a houseful of Pit Bulls, and drive a Goat. No worries then mate, you'll be right!

Oh, dear, Barbara's face just turned a very unusual colour.

Clearly, the only musical accompaniment can come from Middle Earth...



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, June 13, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 323 - Handholding

This is going to be another short one. Things are a bit dreadful. (And if you've left a comment on an earlier post to which I haven't yet responded, I ask your patience.)

If you're a caregiver, there is one thing you can do that may be more important than anything else.

Hold the hand of your terminally ill husband or wife.

Hugs may be too painful now, but a gentle touch to the hand is almost never a problem...and it's both welcome, and needed.

Dying is terribly isolating, terribly lonely. The world goes on, and the patient is leaving it. Slowly. The connexions to the wider world are torn away one by one.

Leaving the workforce.

Having to quit driving.

Having to quit going out, because it's just too painful and tiring.

Friends stop coming by, because they don't know what to say.

Conversation becomes hard, because it hurts to talk, and it's too tiring to think.

Pretty soon all that's left is sitting with the pain nd the heartache.

And, dear caregiver, that is where you come in. Take the hand that is empty, and just sit at the foot of that cross.

Touch is the final, and most important communication.

There can only be one musical theme today...



We're linked with Messy Marriage's From Messes To Messages - please visit for some great marriage resources!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 322 - And I Was Almost Glad

Short post. Feeling awful.

Two days ago my computer went nuts, and I could find none of my user directories. I thought they were deleted, gone, poof.

I had backed them up spottily; when my external hard drive failed I began emailing manuscripts to myself after every writing session. But I wasn't very consistent, and a lot of stuff would have been lost.

And I was almost glad.

Not because I don't think it was good work...some wass, some wasn't...but because I am so very, very tired.

I don't want to muscle through this stuff, and try to make it part of my legacy. I should, but I've had more than enough.

And that is a warning from me to me. If I allow myself to stop caring, pretty soon I will allow myself to stop living.

The ending was happy; the files were merely hidden, and it was the work of a moment to unhide them

Is that a word? Unhide?

The drama was for nothing.

But for a moment, I was glad.

Just for fun, here's a musical blast from the past...


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 321 - Humility, Through Others' Eyes {FMF}

Sometimes you realize that the life-script in your head may not be correct.

I lately had the opportunity to see myself through other eyes, and boy, was it an experience.

(This is being written in advance for Five Minute Friday; when I learn the keyword I will try to work it in.)

(The word is EXPECT, and you'll find it below, I expect.)

The story I had built to help me survive was one of keeping faith against hard odds, and keeping optimism and joy in what is a painful and frightening situation.

But what I thought was vulnerability was chalked up to vanity.

What I counted as hope was counted as my self-produced hagiography.

What I viewed as sincerity was labeled 'spin', and a play for sympathy.

What I considered - God forgive me - as muscular faith was dismissed as macho melodrama.

I am a self-styled guru with bad teeth (no money for a dentist) and a long beard who, were he not living off the efforts of another, might otherwise be residing in a cardboard box under a bridge.

Email's really wonderful. You can get feedback so quickly. And you never really know what to expect. (Got the word in!)

It was an eye-opener, and since it came from sources I both trust and respect, may be correct.

Perhaps this is the opening of a window unto the real world, exposing my terminal-illness playroom.

I don't know.

However.

What I do know is this, that two thousand years ago a Man names Jesus took my sins, the ones I did not yet commit, onto His own Heart.

And He was tortured and brutally killed - for me.

He endured three days of death - for me.

The critics may be right; perhaps I have built a Potemkin village of meaning to boost my ego. Maybe it's all self-serving tosh, to make me feel like I can still play the man when every vestige of manhood has been stripped away.

But I still believe the He is the resurrection and the life.

That may, in the end, be all I have to offer.

The musical theme is courtesy For King And Country, with Shoulders. I hope you'll watch the video, and enjoy the song.



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, June 6, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 320 - At The End Of All Things

And now I am past bravado, and past surrender.

There are simply no words for these days save that they have to be endured, and I have to pull myself to my feet when I least want to.

There are so many cliches. I'm Jim Bowie at the Alamo, waiting for the Mexicans to come through the door to my sickroom.

I'm John Basilone on the edge of the Guadalcanal perimeter, waiting for the Japanese in the night.

And I'm Jesus on the Via Dolorosa.

But the reality is that I'm none of this. I'm just me, trying to keep my bearings and my balance, and trying to remember what I need to do next.

Until I can sit down again, on the floor, my back propped against a wall.

Or lie on the floor, on my side, knees clutched to my chest.

There is no grandeur here, no far-reaching honourifics.

It's a horrible, vile mess, and it must be a mistake on someone's part, somewhere.

This was not supposed to be my life.

But actually, it was, and it is.

At the end of all things, all we're left with is our faith, and our hope, and our love. These are the imperishables, but they're ours to throw away if we choose.

It comes down to a choice, reinforced now, and reinforced again as I finish typing this sentence.

I believe in God, and in my salvation through Christ's atonement for my sins.

I have hope because Christ went before me, and rose from the dead, something witnessed by dudes who had no reason to lie...just the opposite, claiming to see a risen Lord signed their death warrants.

And I will love others as Christ loves me, to the end of my physical being and beyond. I will heedlessly spend my energy and life in handing out love, without restraint or any quid pro quo. I will become love.

The musical theme is courtesy Jim Croce, whom I suppose I shall soon meet.


We're linked with Messy Marriage's superb From Messes To Messages - please visit for some great marriage resources!

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, June 4, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 319 - To Pass Through Heaven's Gates

This weekend was definitely too much. Too much pain, too much dread, too much fatigue, too much nausea...and so on.

It was as much s I could do, sitting upright and getting from minute to minute...and sometimes I could not even do that.

Only, lying down I couldn't breathe.

And I re-learned a very important lesson - sometimes all you can do really IS all you can do.

I was once a high achiever, and considered relaxation, not to mention vacations, a waste of time. Four hours of sleep was plenty, and I could go, go, go for the rest of the day.

Things have changed. I sleep less, but pain and tiredness proscribe movement to the point where just being able to pay attention for a full houir-long Star Trek rerun is quite an achievement.

I was tempted to compare me-now with me-then, and there were times when I felt so very diminished in my worth.

But then came the epiphany - and it is re-delivered from On High when needed.

As long as I am doing my best, it's enough.

There are no winners and losers here; he who dies with the most toys, or the most completed projects, doesn't win.

He dies.

And what he takes with him is the love that was given and returned.

The love that had to start with a gentleness to himself.

Love thy neighbour as thyself is not an empty phrase.

It may well be a requirement for being able to appreciate Heaven.


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, June 1, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 318 - Pain, Glory, and Rugby {FMF}

Oh, how I wish I could banish the pain!

Well, not really.

(We're here with Five Minute Friday, and as usual I have to write ahead of the keyword reveal, but I'll include the word if I can...later.) (It's FUTURE, and I worked it in.)

Where was I? Oh, yes. Masochism. Bring the pain, I love it.

Well, not really that, either.

It's severe enough now (and coupled with fatigue) to keep me flat to the floor for long hours. Getting up to write and comment is becoming difficult. Sitting up to watch a DVD is difficult.

It's a 'nasty' pain, like an infection, or a very bad bruise, not a nicely satisfying discomfort like you get from exercise...the 'feel the burn' thing so beloved of Nike and Reebok commercials. (Oh, you think that's baloney, too?)

Anyway, pain hurts, and the conventional wisdom is that we should do what we can to alleviate it. But I don't want to.

Not because it's fun, but because it's leading me to understand something. I have to work my mind around a mass of pain that is both solid and dynamic; I can't escape it, but I can train my body and mind to react in a way that allows me to keep functioning (sort of), and to keep thinking clearly (mostly).

And I can identify, just a bit, with the Saviour who endured agony for me. For me, personally.

That is the main thing pain has taught, and I stand in deep gratitude, even though pain is my future.

For salvation by Jesus' paying my debt of sin - inherited and gleefully practiced by yours truly in his worse moments - that atonement can be nothing else but personal, because I'm not 'one of the mass'. There's no connexion between me and any other person, that links us in some kind of Vulcan mind-meld.

I'm an individual - and I own my sin, and Jesus' owns the payment of my debt.

And He chose to own the pain that went with it.

So I want to own this pain. Not to think I'm evening the score, but to gain some appreciation that the scourging and the walk up the Via Dolorosa and the Crucifixion were made all the harder, because He was carrying me on His back.

And how does rugby come into all this?

Well, I figure that Jesus plays rugby, and when I get to Heaven, I'm thinking I'm gonna find out just how hard the dude tackles.

It's going to be fun.

And it's gonna hurt.

The good kind of pain!

 (All of the above is quite aside from the fact that every pain med I've tried had side-effects that were eventually worse than the pain itself.)

And for some reason, I think the best musical accompaniment is Kenny Chesney's Young. What do you think?



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.