Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Cultivating Gratitude in the Midst of Suffering

Hello all my lovely friends in the Lord!
I pray you have had a blessed week. Mine has been busy and also full of unexpected news. Last week I met with a new primary physician, due to some physical issues I have continued to deal with. She was very thorough and did several blood tests, most of which came back negative. But one of the test results surprisingly(and yet, not surprisingly) came back positive. It was a test for antibodies that are found with a disease called "Lupus". I had heard of Lupus, but was not aware of what it was. Upon some studying, I found that this can potentially be a very serious disease.  The reason I was not surprised by the test results was that all of my symptoms have been identical to the symptoms experienced with Lupus. I have an appointment in a few weeks to see a specialist, who will confirm whether I do have Lupus or not. With my symptoms, I would be surprised, though, if I don't have it. There is no cure, but thankfully symptoms can be treated with medications. I am praying for relief of my symptoms and for healing. I also am awaiting and preparing for my scheduled hysterectomy surgery at the end of September. This definitely will be a busy month! Please continue to hold me up in prayer!
As I wait for my medical issues to be addressed, I continue to care for my mother, who has dementia. I spend lots of time just being with her, which allows me to catch up on my reading. I have already started reading the book, Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor's Personal Journey through Depression by Michelle Bengtson. I hope to share a review of this book very soon.

Until then, I wanted to continue to share from my gratitude list. This list continues to grow and has helped me stay focused on the blessings God has provided each day of my life, in spite of much hardship and pain.
 This list and the photos I share remind me of the joy and goodness that springs up from God Himself, of which I so often miss in the day to day business and struggles of life. May you enjoy and be blessed by what I share. 
"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." 
William Arthur Ward

#1861 - Finding beauty in the small, and seemingly insignificant.
#1862 - Being able to take regular walks through our neighborhood and being able to feel safe for the most part.
#1863 - A tree loaded down with pinecones...upone reading about the pinecone, I learned that there are many evil symbols related to it (read about it here). But, as I looked upon this pine tree with its profusion of pinecones, it reminded me of the multiple blessings in the Lord and how creative He is to come up with such a unique plant. I also learned these things about pinecones:
  • Pine cones are the reproductive parts of pine trees
  • There are both male and female pine cones.
  • Male pine cones are soft and small.
  • Female cones are the ones we generally associate with pine cones.
  • Maine’s state flower is the White Pine Cone & Tassel.
  • Many species of birds and squirrels feed on pine cones, including crossbills, woodpeckers and the gray and red varieties of squirrels.
  • Humans also eat parts of the pine cones: Pine Nuts! People usually toast pine nuts to improve flavor and texture.There are around 20 types of pine nuts that are edible by people.
#1864 - A lovely pathway through some trees that my hubby and I take on our walks. Unfortunately, this path will be closed off in the near future, as someone recently purchased the land next to it and built on it. 
#1865 - My hubby's expression whenever we walk by this neighboring house. I think he dreams about one day catching a fish this big...no it's not real, but still...LOL!!!
 A close-up of the fake fish hanging above this house porch.
#1866 - Watching my hubby, who recently obtained a metal detector as a gift, searching for something of great value in the lake. Due to having our pontoon boat out for some repairs, this has been his recent hobby.

#1867 - Even when I come across something scary, the amazing beauty of God's creation amazes me. This GIANT hornet(holding onto a dead cicada) landed on the back of my chair, while I was sitting out on my patio. The size and sound of his buzzing frightened me. 
 Because of his size and threatening appearance, he was definitely not what I wanted to see!! I immediately found a different place to sit, after getting this snapshot, of course!
#1868 - I was also reminded, though, that even in these situations, we need not be afraid, for God is with us. His love truly does cast out all fear!!

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  1. Gratitude in the midst of trials is often difficult, but it is so beneficial, even life-changing. I began a gratitude list when my husband was 8 months in to what turned out to be 25 months of unemployment (we are a single income family). Giving thanks for what I had got me through those bleak days. I blogged about that a couple weeks ago.

    Back in 1994, I was having physical symptoms which prompted me to go to the doctor. My bloodwork revealed "anti-nuclear" antibodies over 320 (normal is about 20). My doctor told me I was "looking at a lupus diagnosis." So, believe me, I know how you are feeling. I am praying for you.


    1. Wow! Your Lupus story sounds so familiar. I am truly right where you were. I'm also praying for a good outcome. Gratitude has helped me get through several tough situations that seemed hopeless...it gave me hope, when there seemed to be none. Thanks for sharing and for your encouraging words, Patti!

  2. Ann...I loved your gratitude list. Gratitude does change our heart perspective when struggles arise. So glad to have your share this wisdom at Monday's Musings.

    1. The hardships of life will come and go. I am reminded of this fact when I look at all I have to be grateful for each day. Nothing lasts forever, except for God's everlasting love. Thanks for stopping by, Naomi.

  3. Gratitude is a gift for us to find joy even in Difficulties
    Your snapshots are amazing😘

    Blessings to you

    1. So true, Ifeoma. When I am grateful, I feel blessed.

  4. Ann so nice to visit your site today. Praying for God's healing as you deal with the health issues. Those can be unsettling at times. People look at me funny when I say that my stroke was the best thing that happened to me. It reminded me of my dependence on Jesus. I am grateful for His love and He continues to heal me each day. I love your beautiful pictures but I do my best to stay away from hornets...yikes! I hope you have a wonderful week and may God richly bless you and yours!

  5. Ann, praying for your healing today and for God to give you grace to meet each moment with your mom. Counting our blessings is such a beautiful way to re-align our thoughts to His loving reign over every sweet detail of our lives.


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