Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Cuckoos of Batch-Magna by Peter Maughan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Peter Maughan, a writer from the UK, contacted me and asked me to read and then review his book –which I agreed to do.  Once I started reading the book I found that it moved quite slowly…like the lazy river where the book takes place. However once I really gave it the opportunity to shine by spending time reading…it became engrossing rather than plodding. Peter has the gift of description and often it is poetic…lyrical.
The book takes place on the river banks near the border of England and Wales.  The written images made me feel as if I was there right alongside “Sir Humphry”- an American who had inherited an estate on this property. On his riverbank were a number of houseboats inhabited by characters, who, if nothing else loved each other in a communal sense. 
“Humph” (as he liked to be called) settled in while assessing the manor house which he and his cohorts in the U.S. were planning on transforming into a hotel --which sadly meant the displacement of his river friends.
What ensues is at times hilarious and at times unbelievable and at other times, sad as Humph had to face some delusions about himself and his family.  We get to watch him “grow up” and to see the development of his character as he is burdened with the responsibility of deciding the future of his friends on the river.
I fully enjoyed this book.  I gave it four stars on Goodreads because of the slow beginning….which really was probably necessary in order to explain the backdrop of the story that ensued as well as to flesh out the characters.
If you want an education in Welsh/English culture this book is a treasure trove.  All in all I recommend it to anyone who is hungering for a good read.

View all my reviews

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Review of Treasures From Darkness

The following review of my book Treasures from Darkness, was written by an author in the UK. Peter Maughan.  I was honored to have him read my book and review it...Here it is:

A story of a fractured life, a life that for the author, an intelligent and talented young woman, ran more or less along the same sort of lines as other lives, until while still in college (winning art and academic scholarships to get there) the depression and the voices that had started to speak to her alone were diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia. What follows is a painful and sometimes harrowing journey for the reader – the author’s writing ability ensures that – carrying as it does the smell and frantic distortions of mental illness and the horrors of the places it took the author, but it is also, in its demonstration of that bright flame, undimmed and undimmable, the human spirit, an inspiring one. Cynthia Lott Vogel’s life has been – and to some extent still is – a heavily burdened one. But it is one in which, sometimes despite herself, or rather her illness, a grace note of faith, of hope, has survived – the ‘treasures hidden in the darkness.’
 Thank  you Peter for your review!

Thursday, August 27, 2015


This week  I had the sad job of telling my pastor that my health will no longer allow me to attend church.  I went last week and Wed. was the first day I had any relief at all from the severe neck/spine pain that resulted from sitting in church on Sunday.A sore neck was not the only way that my being in church hurt me.  One lady, God bless her heart. came up behind me in my seat, grabbed me and kissed me twice on the cheek.  It warmed my heart.  Now some people said hi. "Hi" like I-see-you-every-week "HI"...not acknowledging that i've only been their twice in about 6 months.  One lady said "Have you lost weight? Just below the shoulders that is" - her way of acknowledging my fat steroid face.  Made me want to cry.  Or hit her.

I was considering buying a prayer book for the chronically ill by Lisa Copen and one of the things she addresses is our feeling that we are unmissed at church.  This is something I really struggle with.

(BTW if you are interested in her book. here is the link: Refresh me Lord 

And then I went to my  Bible Memory program and clicked on this verse:

Psalm 103:15, 16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,
And its place acknowledges it no longer.

(I am memorizing all of the "Fearing God" verses in the Bible.)  But that is not why this caught my eye.  Note verse  16.   When the storms of life pass over the beautiful flower that God has made us to be, the storm roars over...and we are torn from our "PLACE" --  the place from where we serve. The place from where we worship.  The place where we do just about anything.   And then what happens?  


NOW, we can cry.  we can punch pillows.  We can kick the dog.  But that will change nothing.  Chronic illness is forever --aside from miraculous intervention.

NOW I want you to look at the verse preceding this one

Psalm 103 : 13,14

Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
14 For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.

Here are verses of hope and comfort. God has compassion on you. He cares about your pain.  He understands  your weakness.  He identifies with your helplessness. He made himself to be all these things so that HE could know YOU and understand what you are going through.

He knows.

He Understands

He is mindful

He has compassion

And our response must ALWAYS be to fear him.  He can blow us away.  He can pick us up and replant us.   He can bury us in the hospital. It's in his  hands what he will do with us.  But always we must acknowledge his fearsome strength and power.  No matter where He puts us when the wind pauses....HE IS THERE WITH US.  Submit to this process. Acknowledge his power and strength.  LOVE Him with all  your heart.  Because that is how He loves you.  YOU are his beloved.  His bride.  His unique creation. You have value to God. He has not forgotten you --even if your church has.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Can I not See?

I see that the number of visitors has dropped off on my blog.  You have probably checked and checked and there were no new posts ...I apologize...Now that my life has gotten back to some semblance of normal, I will try to get back to a regular writing schedule.

Yesterday my father took me (among other places) to the ophthalmologist (eye doctor) for a checkup on my glaucoma.  During the exam the doctor seemed worried and concerned.  He said my eye pressures were very high and that likely this was a result of being on such a high dose of steroids for so long in the hospital and out.  I am to go back in three weeks to have a recheck.  I  do not know what the next course of action will be.  Surgery? I do not know.  I got the impression that for this period of time ---walking around with such high pressures, I am at risk: at risk for sudden blindness. Honestly I do not think about my future and the fact that chances are high that I will be blind.  I can't even grasp that.  How will I live ? I have no one to help me.  Will I spend the rest of my life sitting in my recliner and groping my way to the bathroom?  People who are blind from birth have such a great advantage over those newly blind.  How can I prepare?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Prayer Answered!

In my last post (which was way too long ago, I know) I asked you to pray about the insurance snaffoo that had threatened my infusions and also threatened us with an impossible bill for past infusions.....Well the other day I was on the phone with the insurance company....and they told me that that very day the issue was being addressed.  Last that day I got a call from the insurance company telling me that the problem was no longer a problem...that past and future bills were being taken care of --at no cost to me!! PRAISE Y'shua!!  Thank you --each one of you-- who prayed for me.

This week we had another answer to prayer.  Our fourth member of our family is  a silver/gray Russian Blue kitty named "Mayo"....Several years ago Mayo was deathly ill --we found out she had stones in her bladder.  It required a very expensive surgery....and as she is our beloved friend, we felt we had no choice but to try to save her life.  At that time, there were funds available--it was something we had to strain our finances to provide...but it all worked well.  Mayo recovered...but was severely traumatized ....every time since then that we have had to take her too the vet ....she hyperventilates and vomits out of her distress....So we have tried to avoid taking her, even though she probably should be checked.

Well this week she had urinated on the floor -- which she never does (except when she had stones) and seemed to be ill..was hiding under my bed  and just wasn't herself.  I prayed for her --and God heard...she has seemed to recover...possibly she passed a stone...or maybe God healed her.  It is also possible that there was nothing seriously wrong with her.  But  at any rate...she seems to be okay now. And my heart rejoices that once more God's eyes were on the sparrow....there is no need too small for my Lord.

I apologize for the length of time between entries.  I got out of the hospital on the 10th of July with a total of one month between the month and a half in June and July when i was hospitalized.  I half been struggling with confusion and memory loss--maybe caused by the meds, but my husband feels that is it deterioration caused by SZ (schizophrenia).. i don't know about that: which is worse? Dementia or SZ?  I feel that even more likely it is the result of being on massive doses of many types of medicines.  Anyway.  I've had my head buried in the sand.  i have begun to write a daily log...not really a journal  but a daily accounting of where I've been and what has happened to me. A chronology of medicines, doctors, hospital stays and ailments not meant for any the eyes of  anyone  but just for me to remind me of things that i need to recall.

Right now I am considering terminating the home care ---I do not really need it any more. I am not using the O2 as much and I know I am extremely weak but need to just push myself to do more and more....maybe to resume the driveway walk.....although this week...on monday I had to walk the length of the driveway to move the garage cans from the middle of the drive...and I barely made it in...VERY winded...so I will have to be very careful about attempting that. Maybe I will ask my PT person, before I dismiss them,, to help me walk the driveway...slowly and see how I do.

that's the external.
The Internal?  - the spiritual?

I have fallen two months behind in my 'Bible in 90 days" ...I do not know why...it is so easy to miss one day...and then another...and then another and before i know it I'm hopelessly lost.    And too the same with prayer. SO easy to only come to the feet of Jesus when I need something.  I drag myself like the bleeding woman. and desperately touch his robe.....When really, had I been walking with him all along, there would be no need to such desperation.  Isn't that the way it is? Our Source: our very breath--are rooted in Him and when we cut off the supply...when we follow diversions....when we seeks other things, then we find ourselves to be fallen sparrows rather than mighty warriors; no less recipients of his grace and love....but how much more useful might we be were we carrying out our position as His warriors....how much more good might we do in the spiritual realms?

So that is where I find myself.  Falling and scrambling to grasp his hand and  to  be pulled once more to my feel and once more to his side and to receive his healing and his embrace....
...Won't you join me there?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Come Quickly!!

I have been struggling constantly with breathlessness....my  home care nurses and physical therapists all feel that I should have portable oxygen made available to me.  So yesterday I went to my cardiologist and wouldn't you know it: my oxygen saturation --which had been 85% (extremely, critically low) was 95% and my heart rate which has been 150 was 99.  This danged body!  I think it's a  conspiracy run by my body against my body.  And then in the car on the way home I started to be short of breath...and when we stopped at the mail room to get the mail I was gasping and completely short of breath.  I could barely make it up my steps into my house.

The doctor wants to see me again next week to do an echocardiagram and to see how I have been faring with the change in dosage of Cardizem.  I don't know if I should bother going. True: it gives me one more chance to hopefully have my doctor see what I've been telling him.  It also could be another nail in the coffin of my case if, once more. I go and am completely fine. Maybe I could get the two PT workers and the nurse to write down what they saw when I was breathless and my SAT was 85%.  Or maybe the problem is pulmonary and needs a pulmonary doctor?

Also, I would request prayer from you to the Father on my behalf.  There is a snaffoo between the insurance company and the hospital where I go to have my infusion every four weeks for my autoimmune diseases....and the hospital is trying to get me to pay over $12,000  for my infusions. This is terrifying to me as there is NO way I could come up with that much money. Not only that but at the very least, I may not be able to have any further infusions....and I badly need these infusions. Please please pray that this gets resolved in my favor.

I'm so very tired of this sick body and of doctors hospitals, insurance companies  and all things medical.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Come QUICKLY Lord Jesus!!