Sixty-Seven

The birthday selfie

1 Corinthians 2:6-7 New King James Version (NKJV)

Spiritual Wisdom

However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,

I celebrated my birthday last week and turning sixty-seven is another milestone a lot closer to 70, and growing in wisdom. With age come health issues. If I sit for a long period of time,  I have to ease into getting up, so I make small talk with whoever is with me, and then start moving. Mornings for my precious husband have became recitals of what is out of alignment: it could be my knee, my hips, or my back or a combination of all three. These types of pains have become a norm, but then something foreign came upon me.

My problem started the day before I left for the Holy Land. I rushed over to CVS to get a flu shot to set my mind at ease. Halfway through the trip I felt an uncomfortable sensation on the inside of my right cheek; it was red and sore. I prayed at the holy sites for a healing, but it lingered; I never got any relief.

As soon as I got home I made an appointment with the doctor. The doctor asked me if I had bitten my cheek. I may have but I wasn’t really sure. He told me to call in two weeks if it did not go away. It got worst, and the pain was very uncomfortable. In the meantime Dr. Google and I did some research; we both came up with the same diagnosis: oral cancer. I prayed against this, but I was preoccupied with worry. My daughter suggested that I should see the dentist. I did and, after the examination, he suggested that I go for a biopsy, but he suspected it was lichen plantus.

I’m grateful to God that I have coverage with Medicare, plus a great supplement, but it was nearly impossible to find an oral surgeon who would take my insurance. Finally, after 12 referrals, I found a wonderful Iranian doctor. This doctor told me it would take a week before the results were in. We were planning to meet some friends in the wine country and I still had this looming condition. I wanted results before we went on the trip.

Our wine country getaway
Our wine country getaway

In the meantime I had developed several small mosquito like bites on my hands and arms. Thinking that a spider did a slow waltz on my body while I was sleeping. I said to Mike, “I’m tired of getting eaten up by bugs! We need to have the house sprayed!”  Mike’s response was, ” Well if you insist on using an eco-friendly company, we will always have bugs!” We got into a little cat fight over the matter, and then dropped it. My hands and arms were itchy, but it looked different from a mosquito bite; it more like a rash.

I was so apprehensive to call the doctor about results, but I wanted to travel without having to think about this problem. The biopsy came back with what the dentist suspected: lichen plantus.

Lichen plantus is an autoimmune disorder: it is not contagious, I did not pick it from traveling to the Holy Land nor from  feeding the homeless on Skid Row, as Mike believes.  It is not life-threatening and there is no cure. There is no exact cause for lichen plantus. It may be related to allergies or an immune reaction. This could include certain medicines, dyes, or antibiotics. As a result I have hundreds of mosquito-like bites throughout my body. This miserable disorder is unsightly and it itches badly. My back resembles a constellation of stars, some bigger than the others.

For as long as I can remember, I have always suffered from allergies. For years I have taken daily doses of an antihistamines; now with this new quandary, I get no relief.

The light box

 

Since lichen plantus is not life-threatening, there are no support groups. No one wants to hear of the new lesions that I’ve developed overnight, or that I’m always itching.  So the only support I have is Mike, and he has grown tired of all the complaining with all my lamenting. I am taking the homeopathic route to keep my disorder at bay, and I recently went into the “light box” that the dermatologist suggested. The light box is using phototherapy to expose the skin to ultraviolet light. I’m praying this will help. This disorder can last up to nine months and go away and never return, or it could come back with a vengeance. Of course I’m praying for the latter.

There is a light at the end of this winding tunnel. I have asked God, “Why did I get this disorder? Why didn’t you give this to someone who is really evil and hateful, and not serving You?” He did not answer me, but I figured it out. I’ve experienced two miracles during the duration of this illness. Receiving these miracles was part of  God plan. He was testing me to understand that these miracles were the center of the prayers and the disorder (lichen plantus ) is just a distraction to keep me from praying. To me, it is worth the suffering in seeing these miracles come to fruition. Nothing is going to keep me from serving the Lord, and it is through this trial that I call on Him more. The Devil hates people like me because I make a difference – not because I’m so special, but because I’ve learn to battle and understand that the victory belongs to the Lord.

Romans 5:3-5 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

I have read and researched this disorder, and it could have been triggered by getting the flu shot. We will never know, but God knows, and I trust Him!

 

Hold your tongue or else you'll be called out John 8:44
My High Adventure days During my sabbatical from the Catholic Church,
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Satan’s Gag Order

Hold your tongue or else you’ll be called out

John 8:44 New King James Version (NKJV)

44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources,for he is a liar and the father of it.

I always tell my grandson to tell the truth

The only thing we have is the truth. I recently caught a preview of the news involving a popular television host, Mario Lopez. I’ve always liked this young man, and wanted to see what the news story was about. It turns out that Mario gave an honest opinion about a subject matter that he felt strongly about. The subject was about “transgender” children and all Mario Lopez said was, that he did not believe that 3 year-olds knew anything about sexuality, and that kids should be allowed  to be kids.

Mario Lopez was the guest of Candace Owen, a conservative, black young woman. To be black and conservative in today’s society is unacceptable to many,  but to be black, conservative, and have your own show is dangerous, because if you appear as a guest, you’re going to be noticed for the wrong reasons.

Mario Lopez was called out by the usual watchdogs that prey on any misguided words that do not agree with their beliefs. Of course, Mario sent out a tweet extending his apologies for being ignorant and  insensitive, which may have worked to keep the ravaging sharks at bay for awhile; we shall see.  This is the modern- day reaction we live with for giving our honest opinions.

The interesting thing about this entire scenario is the fact that we know who owns the airwaves. Satan has a way of controlling and calling into judgment  anything that is godly, true, and just; he wants every fiber of truth to be distorted. This battleground has become a dangerous, uneven playing field. Do not step into those shark-infested waters, as you will pay a price.

I, along with everyone else, see the direction where these deceptions lead.

During the same newsfeed, a story of Jussie Smollett surfaced. Jussie Smollett is the young, black actor who created a web of lies to get attention. It is a fact that everything he staged was proven false. From beating himself up to making a noose to make it seen as if some hateful white supremacist attacked him, Jussie  layered his lies on thick, but in the end the truth prevailed. Smollett was flanked by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Why? Because if these two black “leaders” did not take the side of a gay black man, they would be considered homophobic and racist against their own race. So to save face, they appease the masses. I honestly felt sad for Jesse Jackson because I saw something in his eyes that spoke conviction. How can good, honest, black people have respect for these two men? To me they have lost all credibility. The city of Chicago spent over $130,000.00 investigating this false hate crime, but everyone knows the truth, including Rev.Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Proverbs 17:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

15 He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just,
Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.

But now back to Mario Lopez. In the eyes of those who believe they were wronged, Mario did two unthinkable things: He was interviewed by Candace Owen, and he told the truth.

I’m sorry to say this, but Mario Lopez is now a moving target, and is branded with the infamous “Scarlet Letter.” Mario spoke what was in his heart, but to those of us who still believe in the sanctity of marriage, family and protecting our religious rights, Mario Lopez gained our respect. Mario Lopez will be included in many of our prayers, and our prayers are more powerful than any fiery darts the Enemy throws at us.

My heart goes out to those parents who have bought into the lies of our society and the way children should be taught and raised. We all have our crosses to bear, but please leave our children/grandchildren out of this confusion of “transgenderism.” Children are innocent and too young to be exposed to this complicated matter. Children don’t need to know about, he, she, them, they; children just want to play and be loved. Allow parents to parent, as their  children are a gift of God and He will give parents the right tools and discernment to guide them, and when to expose them to the things of the world.

I agree with Mario Lopez, and even though he had to apologize, we all know that he was telling the truth.

This is one of my favorite Bible passages, every day I fall short, but every day I try to become a better person… pray for me.

Philippians 4:8 New King James Version (NKJV)

Meditate on These Things

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Through an epiphany, with the help of loved ones, I realized that all this hatred was affecting me. I was half way down the shaft of anger, when I saw a rope to help me climb out of this mindset. I, yes me! who is always praying, always going to church, got tangled up in anger about the injustices. I had little tolerance for others who did not agree with me, and my anger stirred malevolence. I started to develop a “mad at the world” attitude. I was praying a lot, but something was amiss. On the way down that dark narrow shaft I could no longer see the light, and I lost sight of the most important element, LOVE.

Only God can set us straight, and I thank Him for showing me the ropes and helping me navigate my way out of this pit that I dug out for myself. I have cleaned all the muck out of my fingernails and am ready to operate in love once again. Thanks to my husband and daughter, and friends who cared enough to shed the light of God’s love over me. Now, I can put on my breastplate of righteousness, and my helmet of salvation, to fight the good fight! My heart and mind are protected by the precious blood of the Lamb! Praise be to God!

 

The birthday selfie 1 Corinthians 2:6-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
My High Adventure days During my sabbatical from the Catholic Church,
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Banished to Patmos

image
The only picture taken from the boat from the not-so-calm sea

This was one of my first Blogs. This adventure to Patmos took place back in 2008, I added to the original story.

Our boat ride to Patmos was anything but uneventful. We were Izmir, Turkey, experiencing a different type of thunder storm, one that sounded more like an air raid with the loud popping sound of lightning shaking our hotel. We had to be up by 4:00 AM to allow for clearing customs for the departure to Patmos. My mind was filled with doubt about this trip. The unfamiliar weather played into my fear; we did, after all, have to pay a little extra to charter a boat off season to the remote island; things just did not feel right. As we approached the dock, a small, older boat was waiting for us to board. The vessel was bobbing wildly like a whale caught in a fishing net. I could not imagine how we could board the boat, let alone sail in it. We all needed assistance to get on the boat but not our leader Joanne. It seemed that as soon as she placed her jewel-studded shoes on the dock, it calmed down, like Jesus walking on water she was in. No sooner did the rage continue with waves splashing all over the deck. By the time I boarded, the ramp was being violently whipped up and down with huge swells beating the boat, Mother Nature’s heavy hand showed no mercy. We were told that instead of the usual three hours it was going to take five, and the theme song from “Gilligan’s Island” quickly flooded my brain,”A three-hour tour.” I found a spot to sit and started to pray, “Dear Lord, please forgive me for all the bad things I said about of some of the people on this trip.” It was not even 20 minutes when the dread of motion sickness set in. Like a chameleon, my color tone changed from yellow to green, and ridding myself  of the small morsel of breakfast was too much to bear. The W/C was located on the deck. Nothing about this boat was use- friendly. The Aegean Sea made me drunk, and like an inebriated sailor I struggled to go outside to free my stomach of the queasiness. As returned I wanted to check on an older lady from our team, but I dared not disturb her near-death experience. My roommate Alida, a nurse, needed to use the facilities, but she insisted on taking her personal toilet seat cover to the bathroom, I had to take a rain check on laughing.

Where the apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation
Entrance to the monastery

By the time we finally docked the boat, I honestly felt like I got beat up by a strong man and lost the fight.

We were quickly ushered to the top the hill to St. John’s Monsatery,  where an unfriendly Greek Orthodox priest was guarding the door as we passed. He told us that we only had an hour because he was scheduled to teach a class. We all wanted to get the most out of the experience, and were taking in all of what our tour guide was explaining. I was in complete awe, touching the spot where St. John laid his head to rest, the makeshift granite table he used for writing. I was trying so hard to imagine what it must have been like, to be in the presence of God. The old apostle wrote the Book of Revelation in this cave, Jesus instructed him to write down these words. This was Jesus speaking to him! The voice so powerful that it cracked the granite overhead in three directions.

The strict Greek priest forbade us to take pictures, but we were not going to be denied. We hid our cameras and took pictures without flash. This was before phones had good cameras. For a special blessing I placed rosaries and handkerchiefs that I purchased in Ephesus on the table, where the apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation.  We prayed and could have stayed there for hours but the priest ushered us out and locked the doors behind him.

Patmos icons

We had only a few hours before we boarded the boat from the nether world. Many of the shops were closed but I managed to find a store with original artwork. The only thing I could afford was a painted egg and an icon of John. The artist was out running an errand, so her husband, not realizing, sold me the egg with wet paint. When I got home, the gold frame came off along with the Greek newspaper it was wrapped in.

Our Greek lunch

My roommate Alida wanted to experience Greek food, but we only had a half an hour to eat. By the time our food arrived, my head was still spinning from the ride down to Patmos. I did not enjoy one bite of the beautiful feast set before me, so I can never say how great the food was, just that it looked amazing.

We all boarded the small boat…well not all of us. Jane was missing. Other than the monastery, I could not remember seeing her after that. An hour went by and still no Jane. This is a small island, and for a person to go missing is really unusual. We needed to get back to Izmir before dark, so the last thing we wanted to experience was the bad attitude of the sea at night. We were well into the second hour of looking for Jane, when Joanne, the head of the ministry, decided to call the authorities. I volunteered to go up and down the streets of the smallest village one more time. I yelled, “Jane, Jane, we need to leave, where are you?” Suddenly, just a stone’s throw away from the boat, I found her. Jane was so sick that just like Rip Van Winkle, she  fell into a deep sleep. The bench where Jane was sleeping was hidden behind a shady tree. Jane never heard the commotion we made, yelling her name and nervously running around to find her.

The ride back was smooth sailing. I will always remember this wonderful experience. Years later, we returned but this time we had the cave all to ourselves for hours.

“On  the Lord’s Day I was in the spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and sent it to the seven churches…” Rev. 1:10-11

 

Me, Maddie, Wil, Lucas and Jacob 2 Timothy 3:15 New King
Everyone looks forward to a wedding, right? Well, maybe not so much the men, but
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