Coffee Chat: Sunshine and Shadow
Hello Hello and come on in...but keep your distance too. I'd offer up a spot outdoors but here's where my summer seating arrangements prove to be less than cool season friendly. Not one spot to sit where the sun is shining and that is so necessary just at the moment because otherwise it's a tiny bit cool for sitting in the shade even with a cup of coffee in hand. Ah well, we'll have it here indoors and consider it just as well since everything outdoors is still wet as can be. The sun has only shown an hour today and I'm afraid it won't do much about drying things up before it goes off to bed.
I am hoping there's a temporary glitch with blogger...I went to load up a photo for this chat and it tells me I have no photos. Oddly enough I had plenty last night when I was looking for something new and fresh to put up as a header on the blog.
So I'm still coughing. It only happens if I get the tiniest bit too cool or the least little bit warm. In other words, I am coughing nearly all the time. I seem to have a good day and then a tough one and then a good one which is an improvement. There for the first 8 or 9 days of this mess it was all one long very bad day every day.
I went out this morning to pay bills, deposit a check, get our pay period cash for groceries and allowances and run by CVS. I still had those Extra Cash Bucks I hadn't cashed out and we were down to the dregs of the shampoo bottle. I looked long and hard at the sales ad, used coupons, printed off more store coupons at the kiosk and did rather well overall. My first total was $34, coupons and ECBS lowered that to $19 and I earned $7 more in ECBS. I felt I'd done rather well. That netted me two toothpaste, two big bottles of shampoo, two bottles of Magnesium citrate, a big bottle of store brand coated low dosage aspirin, a card, and a gallon of milk. I had $9.50 in ECBS when I walked in so to come out with $7 seemed fair enough to me.
I coughed myself silly while in CVS. I guess I was on the too warm side, so I slipped off my jacket and loosened my scarf and soon calmed down. I felt like such a heel though, really, because I appeared to have come away from home while deeply sick and all too willing to spread about my germs. Truth was when I left home this morning I'd barely coughed in 5 hours!
I was interested to watch the two Hispanic women ahead of me. I'd noted them earlier when I was getting my kiosk coupons printed out. Their hands were full of coupons, kiosk coupons, lists and ECBs. Now both women did rather well overall but I think that the slightly older woman seemed to be instructing the younger one in how to work CVS deals. Both women had some really good end results from what I could tell and they both earned quite a few ECBS to use on their next trip.
Yes, I bought a gallon of milk at CVS. I don't normally but the price was $3.49 with a $1ECB earned and I figured that was close enough to Aldi prices to suit me. I am cautious on this because I've discovered that all milk is not the same. The brand I bought here at the local store just does not taste as well as Aldi brand milk. I can't tell you why the difference but there is a definite difference. Now I bought two gallons while Bess and Josh were here because it was marked down for a quick sale as it neared sell by date. None of the milk went 'off'. I put one in the fridge, froze the other. Both have tasted the exact same as did the last jugs I bought at the same store (same brand, etc). I suppose it's the difference in dairies and that's about all I can put it down to. I can easily use the store brand in cooking or pudding etc, but for straight up drinking it's just not my favorite...so much so that last night I had to mask the flavor with a drop of vanilla.
I didn't linger today while I was out. The weather man had promised clear skies and temperatures in the mid 70's by 10...ha. I got rained on while I was out and the sky was as stubbornly gray and cloudy as it had been. Somewhere about 2:30 I saw the first hint of sunlight. I left the shades open on the western side of the house because the sunlight is so lovely and I was so very glad to see it once more.
I had left my bed bare to air out. This cold has come with drenching night sweats and frankly the bed felt dank and nasty to me. I'd stripped it down and left it sitting bare to air out entirely and washed sheets this morning. I'd so hoped the sunshine would come out and hit that mattress a bit. Sun is a wonderful deodorizer and killer of germs. When I got home this afternoon and set about getting my room back in order the opportunity to sun the mattress had not arrived. I just made the bed up fresh and determined it would have to be good enough. At least I had let some fresh air in the room. I'd hung my pillow out to air as well but came home to find it hanging damply upon the line because it has misted rain on it, sigh. Into the dryer that went and I hope that things will feel fresher and make for an easier night.
I have a discipline problem with the Blossom Beagle. When I leave home she follows me. I've been so hoarse and miserable that I can't yell at her because all I can do is a high squeak. I can't get near enough her to punish her when she's running (that little girl is one fast doggy!). I've turned around and headed back home and she won't follow me there. No, she stays in the road until I am off again and then tries to chase me down. I watched this morning to make sure she didn't come into the main road into the place but I told John I think I shall have to confine her when I'm leaving from now on. Where and how is the present problem.
She must have access to shelter, to water and be able to potty somewhere if I'm to be gone for an extended period. I hesitate to leave her on the porch for fear she'll hang herself trying to go down the steps. Until we can provide some sort of shelter and be assured that the perimeter of the shed is blocked off so she can't go under it, I can't put her in the kennel. I would put her under the carport but it can flood if it rains and that is sort of Maddie's territory which at present I'd think she'd likely not share well with Blossom. But I must do something and that part is the one fact I am absolutely sure of.
Yes, she's been right here at home on the front porch each time I've returned but what if she didn't return for some reason? And today, Maddie followed her out...Now Maddie does indeed know better. She doesn't typically come out of the drive at all except for a really quick sniff about and then right back in to run to the house. I knew by how Maddie laid her ears back and looked at the driveway she'd just left that she knew she was in the wrong. But Blossom hasn't a clue. Sigh. Pets are no different than children in some ways, you know?
I had a crazy sort of week last week. For all that John and I both were ill (sick and temperamental, too), we received quite a number of unexpected blessings. I sat down Saturday morning and wrote them all out and my list filled a page and a half. I don't find gratitude hard anyway, but honestly these were some good sized blessings, more than worthy of remembering. So I wrote them all out and thanked God for each and every one. Do you know that by day's end I was as sick as I'd been when this cold first took hold? I mean fever and chills and coughs and sniffles and eyes burning so I couldn't read and didn't want to do a thing but sit with my eyes closed. All. Day. Long. And passed a pretty miserable night as well just to follow up the rotten day.
Now I know there are folks who will tell you the devil is trying to steal their joy and take away their blessings and then they share that they broke a fingernail or lost a quarter at the store. Well, I'm not saying satan wasn't trying to rob them of joy and if that is all it took, well he did it...but I truly felt that satan was attempting to snatch away my victories from the previous week. Now I admit that we didn't win a new car, a Caribbean vacation or Publisher's Clearing House, but these were substantial enough blessings, big enough to make a real difference for us in several areas and some fun little ones that amused us as much as pleased us. But I struggled to hold on to my joy later that morning and afternoon and through the dark watch of night, let me tell you. I wanted so badly to give in to a good hard cry but I knew that would only fuel my misery further, so I fought back tears and tried to swallow as many complaints as I could (I did get a little full of swallowed up complaints and so a few slipped out). It was a battle all day long.
This is the second bad cold I've had since I left the hospital. I thought how nearly I died twice while in the hospital and marvelled at the circumstances that came together just in time each time to prevent it. I felt weary just thinking about how hard summer had been with my sense of overwhelm heavy upon me as I learned dozens of new things.
It seemed tiredness went clean down into my bones. I felt ready to let go and move on, just for that moment of time as I let the weariness take over. It was so devastatingly hard to face the family crisis we'd faced, and watch the children move away and deal with difficult relationships that suck me dry. I was so aware, yet again, of how fragile my health is for all that I feel well. I got mad and curious, too. Mad because we all know what satan is: a liar and a thief and a killer and destroyer. Who wants to listen to him? And curious, because I've been told many times that when a person has a mighty mission they are mighty attacked. I couldn't for the life of me see what important mission I had that would cause such a determined effort to halt me. Then I realized that I have been halted in many ways all summer long. I've been fighting back and pushing ahead only to lose ground all over again. I've been so focused on getting well, and coping with crisis and trying to balance on the beam with the bad relationships, I've hardly focused on the two small ministry areas I do have: this blog and what I refer to as 'my girls', V, Amie, Bess, Katie. That left me feeling deflated. If I had only small ministries and that was all it took to sideline me, what was the use? Then I reflected on the importance of reaching just one person. If I can touch just one...but oh how futile it seemed!
John slipped out of the room to play some worship and praise music and honestly it was that which helped me through most of all. It was powerful stuff he was playing and how he managed it I'm not quite sure because he barely felt better than me. That man can preach a wonderful and mighty sermon when he starts putting songs together. He spoke of redemption and healing and God's wonder and mighty power. And while he played I tried to catch up every word, and capture them for comfort.
But my mind would drift. I thought about the place I was in when first I knew Christ was calling to me and how hard I refused His invitation. I thought of the passage of time and the journey I set out upon after seeing that blinding light in my room late one winter night when I was as sick and weary and hopeless as I'd been when John left the room to play his music. I thought about being lifted up out of dark depression and never again feeling that sense of intense despair. I wondered at how long and short the time has been on this awesome journey and yet how it all falls into place, piece by piece, like a puzzle, an awesome and wonderfully beautiful puzzle, when I start to lay it out before me.
And that helped me to get perspective. This is a season. A season. True, if you live in the South you will be too well aware that some seasons seem to have a way of ignoring what season it is and remaining the same for far too long, but they end, they always end and a new season does begin. So yes, it's been a hard year and it seems to have been a cloudy, heavy year at that but the sun will shine and the moon will rise and the season will change and the purpose of this season will be seen as clearly as those other pieces I lay out in my mind and note how they fit just so together to bring me to this moment.
Now my dear ones, it has turned off dark...That is the thing about this time of year. We stop for a chat and a bit of coffee and the afternoon quickly turns into evening and it's time to hurry away. But I'm awfully glad you came by and I do hope we can chat again shortly.