Archive for March, 2012

At the start of this year, I shared with you my aims for this year (Welcome to 2012) – not my new year resolutions, but what I aim to achieve this year. Then at the end of both January and February, I gave you a monthly update on how I was doing. So now it’s time for my March update:

  • Eat healthier
    • As I was on a couple of courses at work during this last month, I didn’t manage to eat quite as healthily as previous months while at work
    • Having said that, overall I still think I’m doing ok with this one, as I’m still eating healthier both at home and in the office, including eating lots more fruit that I used to!
  • Lose some weight
    • As I said against my previous aim, I was on a couple of courses at work during this last month, so didn’t manage to eat as healthily at work as I had been previously, so I thought it unlikely I would have lost any weight this month
    • Much to my surprise though I found I had lost some more weight…not as much as previous months, but it was still another pound! So very happy to still be moving in the right direction
  • Spend more time reading my bible
    • Struggled a bit with this in this last month, mainly do to the amount of pre course work and homework we got on the training courses I attended at work in the last month.
    • I know I should manage my time better to ensure I am still able to spend time reading my bible each day, but between homework and struggling physically quite a bit in this last month, it’s just not been possible
  • Don’t let pain rule my life
    • I’ve had quite a few days this last month where I’ve really struggled to cope with pain levels, however I’ve managed to keep going each day even although it was really difficult to find the physical and emotional energy to keep going at times…but I managed it!
  • Get back to playing tennis as stopped playing in 2003 when I first wasn’t well
    • Still managing to go for about a half hour walk most days (apart when on my two training courses), so I’m happy with my progress on this, and have noticed a difference in my stamina levels.
    • This nice warm weather in the last few days has even got me feeling like I want to play tennis again which is good news
    • My plan at present is to hopefully go and hit a ball around for no more than 15 minutes the first time, hopefully sometime in the next 2-3 weeks…I’ll let you know in my next update whether I manage this
  • Put aside a minimum of 5 minutes each day to spend some quiet-time with God
    • As with reading my bible more, I’ve not managed this much this last month. Agin this is mainly due to the amount of pre course work and homework I had to do for my two training course, as well as because I was struggling with pain levels
  • Get back to playing the piano regularly as it’s been a while
    • Still not managed this one!
  • Go on holiday – we’ve not been away anywhere since 2002
    • Again, no progress on this one yet!
  • Keep on top of the housework (especially the ironing mountain!)
    • Definitely not getting anywhere with this one either as still too many other demands on my time any my energy these days
  • More patience and understanding of others
    • Definitely one of my most challenging aims, but I am finding that when I’m getting impatience I am reminding myself not to become impatient…it’s definitely not working all the time, but has helped a little!
    • More prayer for patience is still required I think!
  • Stop procrastinating
    • Managing a bit better with this one both in February and March, so definite progress being made

So there you go, there’s my honest answers to how I’m getting on with my aims for 2012 – To summarise my progress to date…it’s going OK so far, as I’m continuing in the right direction with a number of my aims. However there are still some which I haven’t made any progress on to-date, so there’s still room for improvement in the coming months.

How about you, are you succeeding with your aims for 2012 so far?

Whatever your aims for this year, I pray you may be making progress in your aims for 2012, and that come the end of the year you will have achieved all God had planned for you this year!

The last few days I’ve been talking about friendship, and some of the qualities we find when we have Jesus as our friend. Having now considered what we get when we accept Jesus as our friend, would it surprise you if I say Jesus was my forever friend.

Romans 5:11 (The Message)

Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!

If Jesus is your forever friend, let Him know that by praising Him and telling others about His amazing love for us all!

When you read the title of my blog post today, what did you think about? A meeting that never happened because the other person didn’t turn up; A date when you were stood-up; A time when a close friend failed you and you felt let down.

Well, the last example above was actually what I was thinking of when I wrote the title of this blog post. It’s a real horrible and empty feeling you get when someone you love and trust lets you down, no matter the way in which they let you down – Shared something with others that you shared with them in confidence; Weren’t there for you when you needed them most; etc.

Being let down is something I hope you never have to experience as it really can be very heartbreaking. However I can recommend a friend to you who will never let you down, who is trustworthy and honest, and who will always be faithful to youGod!

Beautiful Friend by Rita Springer
 
I have a friend, a beautiful Friend
His love for me will never end
All that I do and all that I’ve done
Will never change His love or affections

He is Jesus, Jesus, Lover of my soul
My beginning and end all that I am
Oh what a beautiful friend

 

I know I’ve said it before, but I make no apology for saying again, that no matter what you do or say, God will always love you!

God knows and understands that we are only human, and as such we fail Him, simply because we do not put our full trust in Him for all we need. God considers us to be beautiful in His eyes, so make His friendship a beautiful friendship in your life.

 

My Closest Friend
 
I place my hope in you
For you alone are Lord
There could never be another
I could ever love more
 
There’s no-one who comes closer
To you in my life
For you are my closest friend
In whom I can confide
 
And share my deepest longings
My hurts and my fears
Knowing you will understand
And wipe away my tears
 
Knowing I can come to you
Morning, noon or night
You will never turn me away
But give ear to my plight
 
And you will not condemn me
Nor judge what I say
For you are full of constant love
And listen when I pray
 
You love was such that you died
My soul you came to save
From certain eternal misery
Awaiting beyond the grave
 
But now in you I can be sure
Of eternity with you
Freed from pain and misery
With eternal joy too
 
by M.S.Lowndes

 

So who is “my closest friend”? It’s God!

You’ll see some of the statements in the above poem reflect some of the things I’ve been talking about over the last while. e.g. This poem talks about how my closest friend will not judge me…I spoke about not judging us in Don’t Judge Me; It talks about how eternity and how God will be with us always…I spoke about this in Prepare For The Future and also in other posts.

Who else can we rely on not to judge us but remain our friend forever?

God is my closest friend today and forever! Let Him be your closest friend too.

Befriended by Matt Redman sums up my relationship with God:

In yesterday’s blog post Always Special I asked you to think about the special people in your life who have had a big impact on your life.

How many special people have you had in your life? Personally I’ve had a few.

However there is one person who has been a very special friend to me for many years now, and despite all my faults and the many times I’ve let them down or disappointed them, they still love me, support me and help me, and even better than that, they are always there for me no matter where I am or what time of day or night it is.

You may know my special friend…it is Jesus!

Yes, I’ve turned away from Jesus many times and refused to do what He’s asked me to do, but He keeps on loving me, and He never lets me down. I can honestly say I have never had another friend like Him, and I know I will never find anyone else just as loving and forgiving as Him.

They say it takes a minute
to find a special person
an hour to appreciate them
a day to love them
but then an entire life
to forget them.

 

Do you agree with those words?

How many people from your past who weren’t special to you, do you actually remember much about?

But then there’s the people who have a huge impact on your life, who influence you and make a huge impression on you, do you ever forget about them? I’m sure even if they are people who are long gone, they still come to your mind sometimes, and I’m sure you still love them for being that special to you.

Are there people in your life who are special to you? Have you told them how special they are to you?

Share your happiness, share you joy, tell those special people in your life just how much they mean to you.

In Wednesday’s paper, the Herald, there was a very poignant article by Sally Magnusson entitled Magnusson’s torment at mother’s dementia battle. It really hit home for both Mum and me, and I’m sure many other’s who have family members or friends, who are suffering from dementia.

As you’ll know if you’ve been following my blog for a while, my Dad was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago, and over the last couple of years his condition has deteriorated very rapid. My Dad is still living at home with my Mum, with my Mum caring for him 24/7.

As Sally Magnusson says in her article in the Herald this week

Caring for my mother at home, even only part-time in my case with the help of my sisters and latterly a team of wonderful carers, has been psychologically gruelling and physically draining,” she said.

“How much worse for those who are caring alone and cannot afford extra help.”

when you’re caring for someone with dementia, it’s not something which just takes up a small part of your time, it is a 24/7 job, one which is not just physically exhausting, but also emotionally draining.

Please don’t think dementia is just about forgetting a few things, it’s not, it’s a horrendous disease which sucks out the person you know from their body and leaves an empty, helpless shell. It’s a disease which not only affects the person with the disease but also those who care for them, as there’s no remission for them from looking after the sufferer.

The person I know my Dad to be isn’t here anymore, yes, when I look at him I see my Dad, but that’s about the only part of him which is still recognisable as Dad:

  • He is no longer able to dress himself – Mum has to help him do that
  • He no longer knows or understands how to wash himself – Mum does that 6 days a week with a carer coming in to give Dad a bath once a week
  • He doesn’t recognise family members…including me which was very upsetting when it first happened. Although I’m now used to him not knowing me, it still is very upsetting
  • He doesn’t recognise or know people he’s known for years, such as neighbours and friends
  • When outside the house, he doesn’t know where he is
  • He sleeps most of the time

One of the saddest things watching Dad’s condition worsen, was when he went through a stage of bursting out crying for no apparent reason, other than just simply frustration at what was happening to him. I know how upsetting it was for Mum and me to see, but imagine how my Dad must have felt!

I do my best to support my Mum as she cares for Dad 24/7, however I never feel as though I’m able to do enough because I can see how difficult it is for Mum. On the plus side, Dad’s been into a local care hom,e a couple of time in the last 4/5 months for a week’s respite care, which has allowed Mum to get a bit of a break and a rest. In the last few weeks Mum’s talked about how she’s not sure how much longer she will be able to look after Dad at home.

It’s sad it’s come to this for Dad, but for the sake of my Mum, and her health, I was pleased when Mum told me she had asked her social worker to put Dad’s name down on the waiting list for the local care home. It’s upsetting to think of Dad not being at home, but ultimately he doesn’t really know where he is or who he’s with anymore, so as long as he’s comfortable and being looked after well, that is all I can ask.

If you are a praying person, can I ask you to pray for all those suffering from dementia and also for those caring for them. Thank you.

In this last weeks, I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I’ve been hurt and upset about some things that were said to me. Things which were completely unfair and founded in nothing but guesswork, and that hurt! (see my earlier blog post entitled Why Oh Why and People!)

If you follow me on Twitter you may also have read one of my tweets from Monday evening when I stated that I’d had a really crappy day on Monday and hoped that my week would only get better…well I am glad to tell you that it did get better!

I just love how when you’re down and feeling really low, friends are there to pick you up and raise your spirits, helping you to see things from a different, more positive perspective. Thanks you my friends…you know who you are!

My working week was rounded off today by meeting up with a friend I’ve not seen for a while, for lunch. We had a good blether and a good laugh. It was just what I needed after some of recent events. Thank you my friend…you know who you are!

What I want to say about this is that I truly believe that having friends come along and lift you up when you’re at your lowest, is God‘s doing. He knows when we’re hurting, He knows when we’re in need, He knows when we need help and He alone is able to send us the help we need. Thank you God, for all you do for me.

A couple of weeks ago I spoke a few times about how people like to put labels on things…objects and people!

In this last week I become all to aware once again that people are very quick to put labels on others. What has become very visible to me is that people tend to put labels of others that they know very little about. In other words, it’s as if the impression they get of someone is based on nothing more than what they see or hear, rather than on actually getting to know and understand the person in question.

As I said in Labels Can Stick, once people put a label on you, it can be difficult to get rid of it, not least because the person who gave you that label already has a preconceived idea of who/what you are and can often be unwilling to consider their initial thoughts are incorrect, and that can really hurt deeply.

So what do you do when you find out you have been mislabeled?

The first thing I would say is, does it matter that you’ve been mislabeled?

Secondly, does it matter to you that a particular person has mislabeled you?

Whatever your answer to these questions, you’ve got a difficult job ahead, trying to change someone’s opinion of you. Having said that though, if the label was definitely inaccurate, the real you should shine through and show that person that they got you wrong – Please note, this make take some time!

In conclusion, can I urge you not to label others, particularly those you know very little about other than in a specific situation. e.g. member of a sports club, work, school, church etc. We must never judge others, so please join me in trying to stop mislabeling!