Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Book Review - Words of Hope for Women


ABOUT THIS BOOK:

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

In the face of our trials, it is easy to become discouraged. We can only see the pain of the past and the challenges of the present, leaving no room for hope for the future. But God is not limited by the confines of time as we are, and he is working all things out for our good and his glory.

Words of Hope for Women offers you ninety inspiring devotional readings that will remind you that God has a plan and a purpose in everything--even the hard stuff--and you can trust him to keep his promises.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Carolyn Larsen is the bestselling author of more than 50 books for children and adults. She has been a speaker for women's events and classes around the world, bringing scriptural messages filled with humor and tenderness.

MY REVIEW:

This lovely little book really spoke to my heart - especially now as I am battling cancer. Each devotion is so encouraging and uplifting! I was reading them one after another because they reminded me that there is hope when we trust the Lord with our circumstances.

Each devotion is short but so powerful. They begin with a Scripture regarding the topic which include trust, attitudes, silence, giving and more. The author then has an encouraging devotional that uplifts the spirit and gives a feeling of peace. The devotions are Biblical and because they are, they bring about a sense of comfort that only God can give.

I highly recommend this devotional. It's such an encouragement and will bring about hope and comfort in your quiet time or when you need to be reminded of the hope of Christ. I give this 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Revell.  I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.


As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. When you click on my Amazon link, I will earn a small fee on this item or anything else you purchase while clicked in on this link. I appreciate your support for my blog, More Of Him.

Blessings - Julie

Saturday, February 8, 2020

A Good and Holy Purpose


I awaken and in those first few moments of morning light, everything feels normal in my life. Then I remember that things are out of my control. I remember that I have cancer and that my dear husband has been in the hospital for over six weeks now.  It’s a jolt to my heart and mind when I realize this each day. It’s then that I also remember I have a choice. I can rely on my own strength and wisdom or I can rely on the strength and wisdom of God. This seems like a simple choice really, but my first inclination is that I need to fix things and figure things out myself. Why do we do this when we have a great God who reminded us over and over in His beautiful Word that He is our rock, our strength and our shield? There is still that pride within ourselves that we know best. However, only God’s way is perfect and only He can make my way perfect. So, after a few moments of the inner struggle, I bow my heart and head to give it all over to the Lord. 

As of today, my husband is still in the hospital. I believe the issue we took him in for has finally been addressed but it’s been an up hill battle (literally) to get anything done.  They are so focused on his age that they didn’t even look at the obvious. It was only after he had a bleeding episode that they finally got him in for the colonoscopy that we had been asking (demanding) be done. That was when they found 3 ulcers in his colon and an open, bleeding blood vessel! The doctor cauterized them and fixed the blood vessel and we are all so happy to see my husband improving day by day. That being said, because they waited so long to deal with this, he has a long road of recovery before him. We are most anxious to get him home and help him regain his strength and health. He longs to be home, too, and talks about it all the time with all of us.  Of course, since I’m in the process of doing chemo, I haven’t been to the hospital to see him.  My immune system is too compromised, and with all these horrible viruses going around in my area, it would be foolhardy to do so.  I have talked to him on the phone so I’m thankful we have been able to do that. 

Speaking of my immune system, this last blood test showed my white blood count dangerously low so now I'm even more compromised and being more careful than ever. The shocking thing is that I cannot eat any fresh veg or fruit because of the chance of bacteria being on them even after being washed.  I miss the fresh stuff but am making sure to eat my frozen veg, which has a lot of good stuff in it.

I have one more chemo treatment before surgery I am so anxious to get it over with as I am getting sicker and weaker with each treatment. My fingers are so numb now that I can barely type this. There are so many side effects to chemotherapy that we don't even realize until we're in it. I thought going into this that I would be able to get a lot of cross stitch and crochet done but my hands won't work well enough to do so.  I am trying to do other things, but honestly, I'm getting to the point where I sleep a lot because of the weakness and exhaustion.

The hardest part of all this is that some don't understand. I have been judged because of my husband being in the hospital so long. I have been judged for not being able to visit him. It's not easy to walk this road but it's even harder when you feel the judgement of others over things you can't control. This is when knowing Jesus is with me makes all the difference. He understands and has my circumstances under control and I have to trust Him in this journey. It's the same for you in your circumstances, whatever they may be.


I long for the normal days again. I long for days when I'm not so exhausted that walking from my bedroom to the kitchen feels like a marathon run. I long for feeling my fingers and toes again. I long to hold a needle in my hands without dropping it. I just long to feel like ME again. This person with cancer doesn't feel like me but it is.

God has a purpose in all this. He has brought other cancer survivors into my life to comfort me and I know that I will turn around and be a comfort to others on their journey. It's what we do. Our purpose is to know these hardships, just as Jesus did, so we can stand beside others, just as He does us. That, my friends, is a great and holy purpose that brings good out of the bad. In that, I can find joy.

Blessings - Julie 

Friday, December 27, 2019

My Heart Is Overwhelmed


It's been a difficult week during what should have been a week of joy and celebration. We didn't have our Christmas as a family this year and the presents are still unopened. My heart is overwhelmed and my body is weak.

The dramas started with my CT scan that was scheduled for December 16th.  I got there an hour early as I have to drink that contrast liquid that helps them to see things. It's not very good and it's really hard on the kidneys but a girl has to do what a girl has to do. I was called back and then the tech went to put the IV in for the iodine that allows them to see the organs (and the cancer on the organs). She could not get the IV in! She then called another tech and she couldn't get the IV in either! Now, I've never had anyone not be able to put an IV in my two veins that are very prominent, but neither could do it. So guess what? They sent me home! I was in tears and just devastated that my test wasn't going to be done. As I went out, I stopped at the desk to see if I could have it done the next day at their other clinic.  Thankfully, they had one appointment left and I was able to take it. I went the next day and it was like a totally different experience. This tech got the IV in immediately and we got the scan done. What an experience!

The next day my husband started getting sick. Not like a cold or flu, but just not feeling good and we couldn't figure out what was wrong. He would be fine one minute and the next not. He is a diabetic and his sugars were all over the place. He wasn't eating well or drinking enough water and I thought it was a reaction to all the stress that we have been under with the cancer and then the two days of trying to get my CT scans. We were also waiting with bated breath for the results of my scan and that was stressful.

I didn't hear and I didn't hear and finally called the nurse, who is my contact for getting results or for getting help if I'm having chemo side effects and such. Let me start this by saying that I have called this nurse infrequently as I only call if I really need help. The problem is, she NEVER calls me back.  I tried calling her the Thursday after my scan to ask if they had gotten the results. No call back. I tried again on Friday morning as I was scheduled to do my chemo the following Monday and I needed to know if that was still going forward. No call back. I finally called the office manager and complained about her. I really don't like doing that but it's not good when I'm two hours away from my doctor's office and I can't get her to call me back. Anyway, the office manager said she was very sorry and that she would look into it. I got a call back twenty minutes later from my doctor's PA and was told that the cancer was gone from my lungs but that I still had a spot on my liver.  It has gone down a lot but I will have to continue with the next three chemo treatments.  I was kind of disappointed but I know that the Lord knows what is best and I'm trusting that He is working this out for my best. My PA also thought it would be good for me to have Christmas with my family and have a relaxing week so she said we would put off my chemo for one week to the 30th of December so I could have a good Christmas. Little did we know then that that was not going to happen but that it was a blessing that she put it off one week anyway!

On the 23rd, my husband took a turn for the worst and my oldest son took him to the ER. They couldn't figure out what was wrong and admitted him.  They did all kinds of tests and his white blood cell count was high, his red blood cells low, and everything just seemed out of whack. Unfortunately, the doctor they have at this hospital doesn't seem all that competent and we were never sure what was going on. They did give him antibiotics, which seemed to help him, but we were not told why. Also, I have not been able to go and visit him at the hospital because of my own immune system being compromised by the chemo. Thankfully, both my sons have been there taking turns to be with my husband. Yesterday, the 26th, they moved him to the hospital in the next town over. They told us they thought it was a cardio issue and that hospital specializes in that. When my son got there, the doctor immediately said to him, "He has pneumonia, we see." Evidently, they knew this at the hospital but no one ever told us! They gave him antibiotics for this and he sounded so much better when I talked to him last night. However, my husband has high anxiety when it comes to being in the hospital and he had a rough night. They called me to talk to him during the night but he was too anxious for it to make a difference. Finally, they were able to give him something for this and he did fall asleep but not before my son had to go up there and try and help him feel better. It makes for a very stressful situation for us all - especially me as I'm not able to go to him and be with him. We have no idea how long he will be there but I'm sure it's going to be at least a few more days.

We decided we didn't want to have Christmas without him so all our presents are still wrapped and waiting. We have all been exhausted and, while I know the reason for Christmas is still the most important thing, the sadness we have all felt as we go through not only my illness, but my husbands, has been very difficult. Let's be honest - we all have such high expectations of Christmas and spending it together. I have no idea at this point when we will actually have our family time together.

I go for my next chemo treatment on Monday and it's stressing me out because I know that not only will my sons have to help my husband, they will have to help me. There will be times that they can't be in two places at once and they both work so I'm trusting God to work it all out.

Would you please keep us all in prayer? I am clinging to the Rock with all my might and trusting Him because I know that He will take care of us. My heart knows this truth but my mind doesn't always follow what my heart knows and fear creeps in. I truly need your prayers and thank you for them!

Blessings - Julie

Monday, December 9, 2019

Counting Our Blessings - Linkup


Hello friends.  I hope you had a wonderful week full of blessings!

I was sent these beautiful flowers that my friend made me. They are made of paper! She is such an amazing artist and I am so blessed to have some of her gorgeous flowers. My arrangement does not do them justice but no matter how I put them in the vase, they just shine beauty! This is my very best friend who sent these to me and every time I look at them, I remember how blessed I am to have a friend like her. Thank you, Joyce, for blessing me with not only these flowers but a beautiful, soft wrap, turban and card. I love them all so much!!


This just makes me happy...


This is my planner and journal for 2020.  I love the new Wonder Woman movie and can't wait to see the new one next year. It makes me smile every time I look at these and will be cheerful as I go into the new year.

**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**
I had my third chemo treatment last week and it has been a tough week.  I've had some side effects, some not so bad,  and others are worse or new. They gave me a shot to boost my white blood cell count the day after my treatment and it has made everything worse. I won't do that again unless my life depends on it.

Since I have the third treatment done, I will be doing a CT scan next.  It's scheduled for Monday, December 16th at 11:00 mountain time. I would so appreciate you praying that the cancer spots on my liver and lung are gone so I can have my hysterectomy. She said that if it is clear, they would do the surgery at the end of this year or the beginning of 2020. I am so hoping and praying that the chemo has done it's job and that the spots are gone! Thank you so much for praying with me on this!

**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**

Now it's your turn to share your blessings! Please share on the linky below...


Blessings - Julie

Overcomer Movie Releases on DVD and BluRay

Overcomer

ABOUT THE MOVIE:

Award-winning actor/writer/director Alex Kendrick (WAR ROOM, COURAGEOUS)delivers aninspirational victoryin the family-friendly sports drama OVERCOMER debuting on digital November 26 and coming to Blu-ray™ and DVD December 17, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, AFFIRM Films and Provident Films. 

The third Kendrick Brothers film to earn a rare A+ CinemaScore®,OVERCOMER also stars Priscilla Shirer (WAR ROOM, I CAN ONLY IMAGINE), Shari Rigby (OCTOBER BABY, WILDFLOWER), Cameron Arnett (MEET THE BROWNS, STAND YOUR GROUND) and newcomer Aryn Wright-Thompson.

OVERCOMER is from the creators of the #1 box-office hit War Room. Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison (Kendrick) after he loses his basketball team and is challenged by the school’s principal, Olivia (Shirer), to coach a new sport he doesn’t know or like. As John questions his own worth, he dares to help the least likely runner take on the biggest race of the year. Filled with a powerful mix of faith, humor and heart, this inspirational story will have you on the edge of your seat. 

The Blu-ray, DVD and digital release come with an extensive array of bonus material, including 10 minutes of extended and deleted scenes, fun bloopers, exclusive commentary by the Kendrick Brothers, moving in-depth looks at the power of forgiveness, identity and more.
Church site licenses are available for pre-purchase November 4 and will begin shipping the week of December 9.
A special Kendrick Brothers Six Movie DVD Gift Set will also be available exclusively at Walmart beginning December 17. The set will contain fan-favorite films OVERCOMER, WAR ROOM, COURAGEOUS, FIREPROOF, FACING THE GIANTS, and FLYWHEEL.

OVERCOMER has runtime of approximately 119 minutes and is rated PG for some thematic elements

MY REVIEW:

I saw Overcomer in the theater and it was such a wonderful, inspiring movie! It was #1 Inspirational Family Film of 2019 and I can understand why.  Like all the Kendrick Brother films, I had tears in my eyes several times because the story and the characters are so heartwarming.  I also love how they always emphasize the love God has for us and that He is always there for us, no mater what.


I love how they emphasize praying about everything and everyone. It's something I love to see encouraged as prayer is so vital to the Christian life. It brings us together as family and friends like nothing else.


This movie shows what happens when we invest in others and do things that we may not necessarily want to do but are being called to do. When we do things to the best of our ability and love others in the same way, amazing things happen!


It's so wonderful to see what happens when we care about others and try our hardest to love them even when they may be unlovable at times. Encouragement and love to others can make such a huge difference!

As I said, be prepared to shed a few tears, be inspired, and be reminded of how much you have and can overcome all life's circumstances when you have God by your side.

I highly recommend this as the perfect Christmas gift for anyone! In fact, get one for yourself as it will end up being one the best loved Christmas gifts you or anyone could ever receive! Overcomer has a 98% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and I rate this move with 5 stars!

*I was provided with theater tickets to see Overcomer and will receive my own copy of the DVD from FlyBy Promotions.  I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations of the movie.

BLU-RAY AND DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE BONUS MATERIALS

The Heart of Overcomer:See how the heart of Overcomeris grounded in personal growth, faith and identity.
Creating the Opening DroneShot: See how the stunning opening drone shot of the film was realized with a lot of ingenuity and a well-organized crew.
Working with the Kendricks:Watch how Alex, Stephen and Shannon Kendrick found their path to filmmaking through authenticity and faith.
Looks Behind-the-Scenes of: Editing, Composing, Coloring and Sound Design
“Enough” (Lyric Video) Featuring Koryn Hawthorne
Don’t Mess with the Editors: Check out what the editors of Overcomercreated on the side for a little fun.


BONUS FEATURES AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY, DVD AND DIGITAL
Feature Audio Commentary with Director Alex Kendrick and Producer Stephen Kendrick
Bloopers& Outtakes
10 Minutes of Additional Sceneswith an introduction from the Kendrick Brothers.
The Making of Overcomer:Learn about how the crew worked together with faith and prayer to create this incredible film.
The Theme of Identity: In this piece the cast and crew discuss what the theme of identity means to them.
The Power of Forgiveness:  Describes why forgiveness is such an important theme of this film.
“Overcomer” (Lip Sync Music Video) Featuring Mandisa
Overcomer in 60 Seconds: a quick fun film recap.

There are also lots of great resources for you and your church at the Overcomer Website HERE 





As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. When you click on my Amazon link, I will earn a small fee on this item or anything else you purchase while clicked in on this link. I appreciate your support for my blog, More Of Him.

Blessings - Julie