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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.











45 comments:

  1. Love the photo of Barb! She looks like a lady you can ride the river with (I'm a Louis L'Amour fan ;)). You both remain in my prayers. May you continue to feel the peace that the God of green hope offers you.

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    1. Anita, I'll pass that on to her...she'll love it!

      We sure appreciate the prayers. They are very needed, especially in the last 24 hours!

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  2. Andrew, again...so much truth in your words here. This: "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."

    Made me think. You're right, choosing hope requires flexibility, because almost always, God is going to bend us if we choose to keep our hope in Him.

    My friend, I continue to pray for you and Barb.

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    1. Jeanne, yes...God WILL bend us. But if we don't keep our trust in Him, life will break us.

      Better to be God-bent!

      We so appreciate your prayers!

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  3. I am listening to your chosen song while composing my comment. I appreciate your words and your sentiment. I appreciate Barb, who I don't know. My wonderful mother in law, who passed in 2013, was a "Barb" and she was magnificent. I suspect your Barb is too. <3

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    1. Paula, yes...Barb is truly magnificent!

      I hope you enjoyed the song. It's one of my favourites, with its cheerful beat and lyrics.

      Thank you so much for being here!

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  4. indeed a lovely wife, the dog Emily reminds me of our old blue heeler. EXCELLENT dog. :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Annette! I love Heelers. We have three at the moment, two reds and a blue. HUGE personalities.

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    1. Lisa, coming from you that is high praise indeed...thank you so much!

      And so glad you enjoyed the pictures!

      I'm very grateful for your stopping by.

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  6. I like her hair and her glasses. Praying for you.

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    1. Cathy, I will tell her! She's really happy with the haircut, and she took a LOT of time in selecting just the right glasses.

      We're so very grateful for your prayers.

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  7. "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." Makes me think of the verse in Eph. 6 (I think) about how God is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine. He jumps in front of us and is our strong defender. Praying for you.

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    1. Janyre, you're so right...He CAN do way more than we could dream possible (even dream possible for HIM, because our minds aren't God-sized).

      Thank you so much for the prayers!

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  8. Andrew, thank you for displaying courage. No words. And I love that rather than make lemonade, you go above and beyond and make lemon meringue pie! Goes to show that with the Lord's help and strength, we can do things we never thought possible. Lovely photos of Barb, and you. May God continue to keep you both, giving you each all you need. Praying.

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    1. Joanne, thank you so much for this lovely comment...you've really lifted my spirits on a tough evening. And we're so glad you liked the pictures!

      And we are very, very grateful for your prayers.

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  9. You kind of amaze me. I mean, like really. Barb is cute and so are you...lots of love and scooby do. That's a poem for you guys. xo

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    1. Susan, I LOVE this! Thank you so much!!!

      XOXOWaggyWaggyWAGGYWOOF!!!!

      Delete
  10. Do you know American Sign Language? (I do.)
    As usual, your post is extremely inspiring. There are few people in the world who could endure what you're dealing with and still keep such a positive attitude.

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    1. Jan, I used to know it pretty well (Barb still does).

      I'm so grateful for your kind thoughts; this has been an extremely hard day, and your words are a lifesaver.

      Delete
  11. Lemon Meringue pie oh my! One of Shane's very favorites! I love Barb's glasses! So cute! I can imagine these pictures together and if I knew something about photoshop I'd make a fake picture of u two, whoops three of you, under the tree together.

    Charity yes! Real love that sticks with us through all the ugly. I'm so sorry for your struggle. But almost jealous of the better that's on its way for you.

    You and Barb are never far from my thoughts.

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    1. Christy, lemon meringue is one of my favourites as well...right up there with Key Lime.

      I'll tell Barb you like her glasses. She took a lot of care, picking them out.

      We so appreciate your thoughts and prayers; you are in ours, Christy, my friend.

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  12. Thank you for sharing your photos, amongst the many other lovely and invaluable things you share with us. You are both brave and beautiful. Wishing you both as well as well can be.

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    1. Leon, I truly appreciate this...your words and good wishes mean more to us than I can say.

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  13. Thank you for reminding us of the endurance of love when everything else we thought would endure has gone. That is a powerful thing to know and cling to. Thanks also for the photos. (I love your wife's glasses!)

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    1. Jeannie, thank you so much for these lovely thoughts, and I will pass on your appreciation of the glasses...Barb took great effort in picking them out.

      Delete
  14. With the lemons you've been handed, you certainly make a good lemon meringue pie! Thank you for continuing to inspire us. I love this: "hope is the ultimate flexibility" and I'm glad we have that hope, whatever we face.

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    1. Lesley, I figure that the Israelites' manna HAD to taste like lemon meringue pie...or Key Lime, another favourite.

      Thank you so much for this wonderful comment. You've lifted my spirits on a frightening evening.

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  15. Friend, THIS: "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." I'm so amazed by the way you live each day friend. I'm in the 33 spot this week.

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    1. Tara, I have no words for the graciousness of your comment except...thank you. Truly.

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  16. You use beautiful, rich words that let the reader peek into your heart. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post! I'm at #37.

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    1. Vicki, thank you for this...you've made a writer's day!

      And thank you so very much for being here.

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  17. hi andrew:) glad you're still here. also enjoyed meeting barbara. blessings as you face another week. trusting that GOD's presence will be with you.

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    1. Martha, thank you so much. Not sure how long I can last, but will keep trying. And glad you enjoyed meeting Barbara. Blessings back from us both.

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  18. My quiet time study this morning was on Heb. 10:23-27 and verse 23 talks about holding on "unswervingly" to the hope we profess in Christ. I know that's the kind of hope you are talking about, Andrew. It shines through in every post you share.

    I love the new glasses on Barbara! They make her look "smart and sassy!" And thanks for giving us a peek at your blurry mug as well. You two make a handsome pair!

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    1. Beth, yes, you're absolutely right - the solid unswerving hope in Christ is everything.

      So glad you liked the pictures.

      Starting to feel like this will be winding down, but I will keep going long as possible.

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  19. Very inspired you can share your love with others while you are in such a scary and difficult place in a way you call charity. It is such a nice way to give to others because so many of us are suffering in different ways as well and your help so much. It is really something you make the lemon meringue pie (one of my favorites) as a way to find happy. The meringue can be a challenge (if I remember correctly, don't add the sugar until the egg whites are pretty foamy). I also use more egg whites than recommended. Love Barbara's red glasses! Very stylish. Nice picture of you and the dog too in the red shirt. Sad he is no longer with you. Lastly, thanks for including the interesting song. I enjoyed the way the red was added to the video. Sure hope today was a better day for you! Nice to hear from you again! Stay strong!

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    1. Sophia, thank you so much! Things are kind of bad now and the end may be in sight, but I'll keep going.

      You're right about the trick to making a good meringue. And yes, more egg white helps.

      I'll pass on your compliments on Barb's glasses. She likes them a lot.

      Ake ake kia kaha - forever, and be strong!

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  20. I continue to pray, Andrew. Love this post about faith, hope, and love. And how fitting you shared a pic of Barb and one of you! Love indeed.

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    1. Julie, your prayers are so very appreciated. Today was, well, rough beyond description.

      And so glad you liked the pictures...yes, love indeed! :)

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  21. I continue to pray, Andrew. Love this post about faith, hope, and love. And how fitting you shared a pic of Barb and one of you! Love indeed.

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  22. Andrew, I always thought there could only be one book with a certain title, but just to let you know on Amazon.com there are two others named Emerald Isle. Just so you and your fans know.....

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  23. Sorry I'm late to this party, Jerry's aunt died last Saturday. She had suffered for months from sepsis, now is healed and in Jesus' arms. No funeral (she's being cremated), will only be a memorial service on the 23rd, so will see rest of family when they come from other states then.

    I remember Barb's haircut photo from your previous post. Tell her she looks smashing! I can imagine her dressing it up at Christmas with some sort of elegant holiday hair finery!

    I figured that was you in the sunglasses. Haha! Emily looks like she had a mischievous grin going there! Isn't it amazing how animals can be taught to master – or even just learn on their own! – such a wide variety of skills?

    Since I happen to be commenting on this National Day of Encouragement... come on, Andrew, you CAN do it. Whatever "it" is. If it's trying to continue on bravely, you will. We all know you well enough by now to see that braveness in you. Or maybe it will one day be your courageous decision to step back and say, "I must relax my hold on this life." Faith, hope, and love will get you to wherever you need to be in each moment.

    And our prayers are still right there with you guys along the way!

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  24. "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." Great thoughts, Andrew. Many blessings.

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  25. "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." These words have such a profound meaning coming from your context in life. Despite knowing your earthly life is coming to a close, you embrace hope because there's more to come.

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