Monday, September 29, 2014

Chronic Illness and Friendship

Chronic Illness and Friendship


I have received many questions from readers wondering how they can reach out to friends with chronic illness and help them in practical and realistic ways. It has been so encouraging to me to hear about the desires you have to love and serve those you know with chronic illness. Because this is a question I have heard so much lately, I have decided to write a blog post series on friendship and chronic illness.

If you have a friend with a chronic illness, one simple, but significant, thing you can do is believe them. Want to do more? Over the next few weeks I will be writing about five specific ways you can reach out to friends with chronic illness:
  • Visit with your friend.
  • Give encouragement.
  • Pray for your friend.
  • Offer practical help.
  • Give support for the family.

There are some fun things planned for this Chronic Illness and Friendship series. Later on in October there will be a giveaway! If you have a friend with a chronic illness, you will be interested in this. There will also be a special guest here in a few weeks! Friendship goes both ways, and I have asked a friend of mine to share some ideas for how those of us who are ill can reach out in friendship to our healthy friends.

If you have specific questions or something else you want to know about chronic illness and friendship, please leave a comment and let me know. I hope that this series on friendship and chronic illness will be beneficial for both the healthy and the chronically ill as we seek to be good friends to those whom God has placed in our lives.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Beside Bethesda: 31 Days Toward Deeper Healing

Beside Bethesda: 31 Days Toward Deeper Healing

Beside Bethesda is a new devotion book by Joni Eareckson Tada. In this book she shares about her suffering with quadriplegia, and she takes the reader on a 31 day journey of discovering the ways God uses our suffering to bring about what she calls “a deeper healing.”

The title of the book comes from the story in John 5 of the man who lay beside the pool of Bethesda for 38 years, longing for healing. When Jesus saw him, He knew that he had been there for a long time. Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be well, and then He healed him.

Following her diving accident, Joni longed for healing. She would picture herself by the pool of Bethesda, waiting for Jesus to come. She longed for Jesus to see her and not pass her by. Though the physical healing that Joni sought never came, in time she learned that she had received a deeper healing. Jesus had not passed her by. He did not grant her desire for immediate physical healing, but He began a process of healing her deep within, giving her peace and joy, and transforming her through suffering to make her more like Christ.

In Beside Bethesda, Joni takes the reader on a journey through what she has learned about this deeper healing. She shows through her personal testimony and through God’s Word that suffering is not in vain. With the gentleness and wisdom of someone who has suffered, Joni explains how God uses the hard things in life to make us more like Christ. The reader will learn how to live with joy, find hope, and have peace in the hard times. The reader is challenged to walk more closely with Jesus, to see the inner transformation that God brings about through trials, and to trust in God’s sovereign plan for his or her life.

Beside Bethesda is a book that will be encouraging and refreshing for a Christian who is suffering. This book would make a wonderful gift for someone who is living with an illness or disability and struggling to understand why God has not granted physical healing. I heartily recommend this book!

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of Beside Bethesda. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cranberry Tea Recipe

cranberry tea

When fall comes the cooler weather makes me think of cranberry picking and cranberry tea. When I lived in Alaska, my friend, Dorina, and I would pick a gallon or two of wild low bush cranberries in the fall. We then froze the cranberries and used them throughout the year to make cranberry oatmeal cookies and a lots of cranberry tea. Dorina and I, along with other girls in the college dorm, spent many hours together drinking cranberry tea. It was our girl time, our time to talk about anything and everything. It was our Cranberry Tea Time.

My Cranberry Tea Time has now expanded to include many in-real-life friends as well as internet friends. You are my Cranberry Tea Time friends! I wish I could have you all over for cranberry tea, but for now a recipe will have to do. You can make cranberry tea at home and join me virtually for teatime. :)


Cranberry Tea

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries                           
4 cups water
3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup honey or sugar (more or less to taste)

Put cranberries, water, and cinnamon sticks in a large pot. Boil uncovered for 20-30 minutes. After all of the cranberries have burst, pour the juice through a strainer and into a new pot.  If desired, also strain through a cheese cloth to remove the fine pulp.

Put juice back into pot and boil for about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat. Add honey or sugar and mix well.

You now have cranberry juice concentrate. This can be stored in the refrigerator or canned for later use.

To serve: Boil water and pour into teacups or mugs. Add cranberry juice concentrate to taste (about 3/4 hot water and 1/4 cranberry juice concentrate).


*This is a re-make of a post from January 2012*

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Hold

Today I am joining joining the Five Minute Friday blogging community. We write for five minutes on the same writing prompt, and then we gather at Kate Motaung's blog to share our words. It is quick and simple blogging, no over-thinking, no strict editing. This week the prompt is: Hold.



Hold

Not quite two years. That is how long Will and I had as a young married couple to walk together holding hands. At first it took us some practice to get in step with one another. One person would walk a bit fast or have too long of a stride. But soon we learned to walk together hand in hand. It became second nature, and we could immediately fall in stride with each other. Hand in hand.

Until ten years ago. Ten years ago I could no longer go for long walks. I became so sick that I soon became primarily homebound. Holding hands while walking became a thing of the past, and we bought a wheelchair to make getting out of the house a little easier for me.

I love getting out of the house with my husband whenever I am able, but it has been ten years since we have gone for a walk hand in hand. Usually I don’t think about it because it has become so normal to go out in a wheelchair. And then every once in a while I remember what it used to be like. There is a twinge of sadness. I miss holding Will’s hand while we walk.

But the sadness doesn’t stay for long. Will may not be able to hold my hand on a walk, but for nearly twelve years he has held fast to me as his wife. In sickness and in more sickness. He holds on. He stays by my side. It is a beautiful thing.

Photo Credit: Darin11111

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Though You Slay Me

A song that I have enjoyed listening to this year is "Though You Slay Me" by Shane & Shane. It is a song that tells of suffering, joy, hope, and praise, all mixed together. Today I would like to share the music video of the song with you. (If you are reading in an email, please click over to my blog to view the video).

Within the video there is clip from a conference message by John Piper. You can hear the entire message here: The Glory of God in the Sight of EternityIn this message, John Piper teaches on 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, and he shares the secret for not losing heart. The message is encouraging, challenging, and full of good teaching.




Though You Slay Me 
I come, God, I come
I return to the Lord
The one who's broken
The one who's torn me apart
You struck down to bind me up
You say You do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who's all I need

My heart and flesh may fail
The earth below give way
But with my eyes, with my eyes I'll see the Lord
Lifted high on that day
Behold, the Lamb that was slain
And I'll know every tear was worth it all

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who's all I need

Though tonight I'm crying out
Let this cup pass from me now
You're still all that I need
You're enough for me
You're enough for me

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who's all I need
Sing a song to the One who's all I need
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