The Musings of Ruth

Main Entry: muse
Function: verb
Pronunciation: 'myüz
Form(s): mused ; mus·ing
1 : to become absorbed in thought ; especially : to turn something over in the mind meditatively and often inconclusively
2 : to think or say reflectively synonym : PONDER

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

really? that long?

I can't believe it's been 9 months since I've posted anything! I could've had a baby in that amount of time! Well, not me physically, with the way the plumbing is breaking down in this old body, but still, you get the idea. It's been a long time. In some ways it seems much longer.

I often say that nothing really happens in life, but when nine whole months go past me, I guess I could say a few things had happened. Things with my health (oh, that's a never-ending subject, isn't it?!), emotions, jobs, friends, family, loss of family, babies, weddings, and my Peanut (that's what I call Kirsten, in case you forgot).

I don't really know where to jump in at, so I'm just jumping in with this.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Closer to Love

Our church recently did a series on Habakkuk. We talked about how we all experience "dips" in our lives in one way or another, where we encounter something that either causes us to take pause or sometimes even causes us to complete stop in our tracks of life. Habakkuk shows us how that even in those dips, God is wanting us to press in closer to Him (not just turning to Him during the good times). It's in those moments where we can really learn to trust Him. Of course, there's not always an easy answer to our situations. There won't always seem to be a way out. Sometimes it's something we have to continue to live with. God knows that. He understands that we don't always understand, that we ask why, that we even get upset with Him at times. And that's okay. Our Father loves us deeply, and wants to help us grow, just like us parents want for our children.

In the first week of the series, we showed a video of a couple from Paradox that had lost their youngest son to SIDS when he was only 5 months old. They shared their thoughts and feelings, how they reacted at the time, and how they're still coping. They also shared how they've found some peace from God, even though this is something that will stay with their family forever. The second week, another couple shared their encounter with cancer this year. My friend Marie spoke of how she just felt honored that God had trusted her with this, knowing that He would be glorified through it somehow. Now, to many of us, we can't even begin to understand how she came to that conclusion, but you'd have to know Marie to get a glimpse of how that was even possible for her to see. As of today, she is cancer free and growing stronger day by day.

The last week of the series, we showed a video of some other people at Paradox who have gone through various dips in life. The stories share their dip, some of their heartache, and where they are at now. Some are past those moments, and some are still in the thick of it, trying their best to cling to Christ. Since Matt & I are both in this video, I wanted to share it with you...

Thursday, June 04, 2009

crashing to a halt

Matt called me at work later on Monday to tell me that an old friend of ours, Wes, had passed away. This has effected me in a big way this week so far, and I just can't seem to snap out of it yet. I stopped thinking about the fast, and I stopped my reading. I have done a lot of praying, though, and even more-so for Wes's family and friends. I was talking to Matt about this last night. I think I feel bad that I don't really feel bad for stopping the fast...? I mean, it's not even entering my mind that I'm not continuing with what I had been so eagerly working on. I just feel like I'm going thru each day in a fog - going through the motions of work and such. I'm interacting with Kirsten & Matt & others, but my focus is completely lost. I'm even struggling to remember little things about my job at work, things that are second-nature to me there.

I'm not sure if it's because Wes was so young (only 32), or if it's just that I have so many memories of him in our lives... I just feel numb about things.

For as rough as this is on me, I know it's so much harder on Matt. They were good friends, did so many things together (including work at one point - and it wasn't a bad thing!). This has been really hard for him to grasp. I know this weekend will be so rough at the viewing/funeral.

Anyway, I'll try my best to continue however I can with the fast & reading, but I don't know how diligent I will be. Maybe I'll just plan to do it over again later in the month, when things are settled and my ability to focus returns. I'm just way too scattered in my thoughts right now.

For those who knew Wesley Atwood, please be in prayer for his family. His wife's name is Stephanie, and they have 2 kids, Madison (8 yrs) and Zane (7 yrs). Wes has a younger sister & brother (both in their 20's), and his parents are mourning, too. His best friend Virgil is coming in town from Texas to be with them until next week.

"Every man dies. Not every man really lives. words my brother lived by." (A post by Wes's brother JT.)

Monday, June 01, 2009

day something-or-other

Been a rough few days since Friday as far as the fasting & prayer is concerned. Just been very busy & distracted - I really am longing for my quiet alone time with God. I need my focus back. Trying to see if I can drink my coffee black, but am settling for some sugar-free flavored creamer instead. Maybe by next week I can do it! Hopefully I can catch up on my reading tonight and be back on track.

Heading off to my 10-hr. Monday at work & planning to come home for lunch. Have some hummus and boiled eggs and fruit waiting for me. And my Bible! :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

day 4

I know I started this on Tuesday instead of Monday, but as to not keep confusing myself, I'm going with the date the rest of Paradox is using! This helps me with the handout we received (it's on the forums, too) of what to read each day.

This morning was so nice here at home. I don't go to work until this afternoon, so this was my first long moment of some great quality time with me & God. I got Kirsten off to school, doodled around online for a bit while waking up, then sat down to spend my time with God. I often have problems with prayer. Usually when I pray in my mind, I find myself getting easily distracted, with my thoughts going elsewhere. This time I was able to pray out loud, and it was wonderful! I was able to stay focused, and had a really long talk with God! I then took the time to re-read chapters 1-4 of John, to refresh & catch myself up on the devotionals. A little more prayer, some blog reading, and I feel great!

My friend Rebecca shared a great blog with me, one that I find very encouraging for what I'm living through right now. I don't know much about her, but Lysa TerKeurst is part of Proverbs 31 Ministries, which is geared towards women. Right now she's in the midst of a challenge to not eat any sugar, and she's been posting some of her thoughts through this. This quote stuck out to me, "The more I crave food and seek unhealthy satisfaction from food, the less I crave true satisfaction from Jesus." So often I find myself craving foods, and doing so when I'm not even hungry! It seems for the past few days I've been almost searching out the things I'm trying to keep from eating, and that's just been wasting time & focus, when I should be searching out moments with my Father instead! "So, how does one tap into God’s strength? Certainly prayer. Definitely reading the Bible. But there’s another part to it. Getting to a place where our lack of strength disgusts us. It’s found at the bottom of our excuses and rationalizations. It’s found when our efforts fail time and time again. It’s found in the humility of admission, “I need God.” One good choice later, we taste the empowerment of possibility and we start reaching forward from there."

One final quote from one of her posts...
"But for the others of you, who know exactly what I'm talking about in this post, I want to be that friend sitting across from you today saying, 'If you do this out of obedience to God, it will work.' Physically. Emotionally. And best of all, spiritually. 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, IN ALL YOUR WAYS, acknowledge him and he will make your path straight,' Proverbs 3: 5-6."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

day 1

I think I survived the first day! I didn't get to start out with my devotional, only because I woke up late. I decided to do that at lunchtime instead. I had a sensible breakfast, and made sure to bring carrots and deviled eggs and water to work with me for snacking. For lunch I picked up some soup & milk, and sat in my car to do my devotions and pray while eating. The first main scent of temptation came at that time, though... there's a donut shop around the corner from us, and when I walked out the back door of work, I could smell it! I practically drooled! LOL I did drink a big thing of water (of which I haven't been consuming much water at all for months now), so that was an interesting change. I sometimes thought I wish it was a Coke or Sprite, just for that sweet factor, and I used those moments to say a quick little prayer while working. That was kind of neat!

Another temptation came after work when I went to Kroger. I needed to pick up some more cottage cheese (on a good sale!) and good foods (I even got little pita pockets & some hummus and spinach dip for me & Kirsten!). But shopping after work, when it's time for dinner & I'm hungry - I should've known! I laughed a lot through the store, and had a fun little dialog running with God during my attempts of avoiding the candy & bakery & ice cream isles! (But Bryers was on sale!!!)

I was able to talk with Kirsten about this some tonight. She seemed receptive to the idea, and even a little interested in what I'm doing. I told her that when her sweet snacks run out, I won't be buying any more for a while, that she'll just have to keep eating the fruits for sweets. She said I can buy more in 3 weeks! LOL I guess she did listen to me! :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

the decision has been made

I realized tonight that I need to mark down, commit in writing and put it out there, what my commitment will be during this time of fasting. Today I found myself saying "I think" in regards to it, but I know I need to just write it as "I will" instead! So, here's what I've decided to keep away from... sugar. To me, this means no pop, no ice cream, no sherbet, no candy bars, no chocolate... (I can't believe I just said no chocolate!)... this will truly be a sacrifice for me! I may not be absolute on it (for example, I may eat a flavored yogurt & see later that a small amount of sugar was in the ingredients), but this will definitely be a change. I'll try looking at the labels (yes, Ruth, there are such things on what you consume!) to see what I'm putting in my body. I'll be more aware of what I'm eating and drinking. I know this will also force me to buy more "natural" sweets - fruits! And I'll be eating more veggies, too! (I know this will surprise my Mom!)

I'm going to try to incorporate this into Kirsten's diet for the next 3 weeks as well. This weekend was very stimulating to her (we did a lot & went visiting a lot), so her mood wasn't the best for having a discussion about this. I'm hoping tomorrow night she'll be more alert & able to listen to what I have to share with her about this. Sure, she won't understand the depth of the idea of fasting, but I'll make it something that she can grasp and hopefully remember.

Matt's sacrifice will be different from mine. He can already go weeks without sugar, if needed (his snacking habits are different from mine). He decided he'll drink nothing but water. I'll be the first to tell you - this will be hard for him! He does not enjoy drinking just plain 'ol water! But this is what he decided to do.

Today as I spent a few hours in the kitchen cleaning a bunch of fruits and vegetables, I realized that this is actually going to force me to change my eating habits and make them better for my body. Then I got excited to realize that this will also effect my family - all 3 of us will be eating healthier! I may have to ask my sis-in-law Jenn for some ideas (she recently changed their family's eating habits drastically, and they've been loving it!)!

Anyway, I also need to remember to do my daily Bible reading throughout this fasting time. I'm so excited to see what God will be doing in my life through this!!!

(Again, I did say no chocolate, didn't I?!?)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

the fasting challenge

Paradox, the church we attend, is starting a church-wide challenge right now. The challenge is to fast. Now, for me this will not be a literal fasting of all foods. I just don't think that physically I can do this. I know the initial thought may be that I'm just not giving God enough credit that He can pull me through it, but that's not the case. For some medical reasons, it just wouldn't be a smart idea to attempt it. But what I am going to do is give up something that I daily think about or crave. I could say it's coffee, because I sure do love it, but I often skip days on my own. Just a month ago when I had a bad cold, I went over a week without it, just because I knew it wasn't going to taste as good to me. So, coffee's not the thing. I just have to come up with a decision here. Chocolate, perhaps? I know I've been eating that or thinking of that on a more regular basis lately. Sugar? As in sweets and pop and such? I have been on a huge ice cream kick the last several weeks. It has to be a sacrifice. It has to be something that won't be easy to do. I want, and I really do want, to see what happens during this. I've never attempted this in any way before. I want to see this get difficult for me, and for me to remember during those times to turn to God and pray about it. I want to pray for Him to use these moments to draw me closer to Him, to increase my desire and hunger for Him.

Throughout the next few weeks, I'm going to attempt the daily reading, too. I picked up a copy of it at church today, but they'll also be posted on our forums in case I forget. I'm eager to see how this goes for me. I challenged Matt to do it, too, and we'll probably talk more tomorrow when we have the time. This could be a really good thing for the both of us. I'm excited to see what happens!

Monday, May 11, 2009

in the clear

I had my follow-up with my doctor this morning about my surgery. I'm surprised the scale there didn't show that I gained 10 pounds - I feel like I should've, considering all I did was lay around for a whole week, and the eating didn't subside! She said the incision area looks good & seems to be healing well. Only setback is that I have a bit of an infection in the area. Got meds for that & it should improve soon. She wanted me to stay home another week if I could, and I asked if I could go back to work today! She asked for a few more days, and I asked about tomorrow... we settled on tomorrow! (Hooray!) So, I'll just keep taking it easy & not lifting much (looks like I need Matt's help for laundry still! LOL). Oh, the doctor said the mass was definitely endometriosis, and it was about 2 inches by 2 inches by 2 inches (? did I say too many 2's there?!? LOL) - larger than a golf ball.

I'm excited to return to work tomorrow and get back to some sense of normality around here again! It'll be good for Matt & Kirsten, too. I'm sure they've been thrown off their regular routines with me home all the time! They've been good at helping out during all of this, and I have to say it again - Matt's been an excellent husband and caretaker of mine while I've been recovering. We even had our anniversary (14 years!) last Wednesday, and it was good to just spend time relaxing together. More than words!

Thanks for the prayers and well-wishes during this... I love you all!
xoxo - Ruth

Saturday, May 09, 2009

one week down

It's been a full week since my surgery, and I'll have to admit that I'm going a little stir crazy at home here! Yesterday was literally my first day out and about a bit... I went to a meeting in the morning & then out to lunch with my sister & Mom. Those two events wiped me out! It was odd - I felt a little light-headed while driving at first... wonder if it was all the fresh air?!? I noticed that gas prices went up a quarter since I've been on lock-down! Today I'm back to being grounded, tomorrow I'll be out for Mother's Day (church & hopefully some time out for me & my girlie, if I'm feeling well enough), then Monday morning I get my follow-up visit with my doctor.

For the past few days, I think I've been getting a little paranoid about my recovery. I've been behaving myself, really! I mean, how much trouble can I get into by laying on the couch, getting up occasionally to wander to another room, and laying back down? The doctor was so right, though - she said I'll feel like I can do things, but I'll need to rest. I kind of feel normal, not really in pain much at all. I guess the rest is so that I don't keep using my stomach muscles, which happens every time I go from a sitting/laying position to standing. Anyway, the paranoia started a few nights ago when I saw a few blood spots on the paper towel (I didn't have any gauze to use!) I put on the wound. There was a little bit of yellow, too, but not as much as the blood. Since then, there's been more. They're just tiny spots, but bright red. There's a part on the incision that I'm wondering if it wasn't closed up properly - I really wish she would've used stitches or something, just to make sure it healed closed well. That's the part I'm getting paranoid about. I hope it is healing correctly - I'd hate to lose any more time of work! (I miss work, actually! I miss my co-workers, the patients, and the getting away from home part!) Oh, one thing that's been bad is the itching!!! Of course, things need to be clean & shaved when there's surgery, and when hair starts to grow back in... IT ITCHES HORRIBLY!!! Ugh! LOL It's been really hard for me to restrain myself, to be honest! There's one patch of skin that I guess I'd been itching at - it's an inch or two from the incision, and I guess I'd been inadvertently scratching there instead. Now it's a huge red patch the size of a 1/2 dollar coin! I've gotta stop this!!! *twitch, twitch*

Matt's been excellent at taking care of me and making sure I don't do too much. I even thought maybe I could sneak out to see a movie with a friend on Wednesday, but the warden layed down the law and said no way! He's been great, and Kirsten's been pretty good, too.

So, I wait. I wait to see what news the doctor has for me Monday. I wait and heal up a little more in the meantime. And I rest.