Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wisemen Still Seek Him

Our Christmas giving has taken an entirely new twist this year, due to hubby's inability to stand for long. Not being a dyed-in-the-wool shopper myself, I didn't make an extraordinary effort to get out on my own. Therefore, we gave each of our children and grandchildren cash this year as their gift from us. We got together with them all last night to exchange gifts (they got us a GPS, and hubby is like a little kid with a new toy), and spend some quality time together. Tomorrow night, Christmas Eve, we're having my mom and our daughter over for dinner (J & J have special times with their own family on Christmas Eve), then Mom, daughter and we are attending church for a beautiful communion/candlelight service -- daughter is going to her favorite Lutheran church, and the other three of us will be going to Calvary Life. Christmas Day, we plan to go to J & J's for lunch and to see the gifts that the children have received. What blessed times and wonderful memory making events. I'm saddened by all those who are running around aimlessly looking for gifts to please their loved ones, when the only real peace and joy come from the Peacemaker. I'm so thankful I know Him, especially in this time of my life. The wise man isn't the one with wealth or fame, but a wise man is the one who has invested his life in serving Christ and serving others. Wisemen still seek Him.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Little Things

At this stage in life, I'm learning that some of the most precious things are the little daily things that we take for granted. So, in light of niece's "Thankful Thursdays", I'm offering my two cents' worth.

1. I'm thankful I can walk without aid. Hubby is now past that point.
2. I'm thankful I can run (albeit it, slowly and carefully), jump (in moderation), and dance (if I choose). Hubby often mentions how he misses running now that he can't do it.
3. I'm thankful I can speak above a hoarse whisper, sing and even yell if I have a need to. Hubby's paralyzed vocal chord keeps him from doing any of the above.
4. I'm thankful that I can see clearly out of both eyes, although I do wear a contact lens. Hubby now has a damaged cornea and has very blurry vision out of his left eye.
5. I'm thankful that I've spent 42 years with the best man that could have ever come into my life. He truly fulfills me.
6. I'm thankful for laughter. We've learned that, even on difficult days, there are little nuggets of glee.

My list could honestly go on and on, but I think you get the drift. I wrote down a little quip a while back that says, "Take your focus off what you're going through and put it on what you're headed to!" I think that's good advice.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It Keeps Getting Better and Better

A sweet niece blogged so beautifully recently about wishing she could stop the clock, because her two children were at such wonderful stages of their lives at this very moment. She wanted to hold on tightly to where they were. I totally understand, but I'm looking at life several more years down the road than she.

Every stage of life has some very special things to offer. When you look back, there isn't an age or time that has more gold to glean than the other. I loved being a newlywed. Life was an adventure, and I had a new partner to share it with. We dreamed together, laughed together, and even cried together. But I love babies. So, when our two little ones came, I had totally found my niche. I loved being a mom, albeit a very young and stupid one sometimes. Then my babies were toddlers, tweens, teens and beyond. There were, of course, problems to be dealt with, tears to wipe, and achievements to cheer - but every single year brought wonderful packages to put in my memory box. Then came the grandchildren. Wow! Nothing like it.

We're aging. We walk more slowly, not as much bounce in our step. We creak a little when we bend, and hubby is requiring more of my time than I feel like I have time to give. But I still wouldn't trade where I am right now, right here for anything. There have been so many lessons to learn. I pray I've learned them well. There has been so much wisdom to pass on (I can hardly type the word without personal doubts). I pray I haven't dropped the baton. One thing is for certain. I've loved the time shared with friends and family more than I could ever tell. Don't stop the clock. The best is yet to come!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thanks for the Memories

Last night and today were the annual Christmas craft days with the grandkids. We had Stephen last night and the girls today (the girls had a sleepover last night to attend, and he had a party to attend this afternoon). Usually, they all come together, but Stephen always likes his exclusive time with us.

Dondra had, as usual, come up with some cute crafts for the kids to do for their parents, and it was a fun time. I worked with Stephen on the songs that he's going to do at Aunt Carolyn's for the Christmas performance. As I listened to him working on "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" my mind wandered back to a little boy and girl that used to live in our house. Jeff would pick up his guitar almost as soon as he walked in the door, and we couldn't keep Dondra off the piano. As a result, they're both very gifted musicians. I see the same talent in Stephen. He catches on so quickly and seems to have a natural knack for it. He loves the time I spend with him learning new songs, or the time Pa spends with him in the garage teaching him how to bend sheet metal. In general, he just loves the time he spends with us doing special things together.

It's always been important to us, since our grandkids moved to this area, to make memories with them. We've tried to make each visit with them special in some way. And often they'll recall to us things that they especially enjoyed from years back. It's working. We're making memories for them to carry for the rest of their lives. But it's a two-way street. While we're making memories for them, they're also filling a whole treasure chest full of memories for Pa and me. Sometimes we pool them all together -- our own two precious children, and the five grandchildren. All the stories seem to entwine with the passing of years. Instead of being two separate lifetimes, it's all a big storybook filled with laughter, joy, sorrow and, most of all, family. I hope Don and I leave a wonderful heritage full of memories for all of them that my mom and dad left for me. It's, indeed, a wonderful life.

Monday, December 8, 2008

You Gotta Laugh!

If I've learned anything at all this past year while dealing with hubby's illness, it's this: sometimes you've just gotta laugh! The progression of Don's disease has caused him to be extremely weak in his legs. Sometimes he can barely bear the weight of his own body, and certainly no added weight. This morning, I was in the bathroom fixing my hair, and Don was taking a shower. He finished and was drying off a bit in the tub before stepping out. I heard a loud kerplunk, and looked up to see he had slipped and fallen. When he landed, though, he landed cross-wise instead of length-wise, and was folded in half with one leg up over the side of the tub and his little tushie fully exposed. Once I had confirmed that he wasn't hurt, I started trying to help him out, but he was rather wedged in. We both started laughing. He commented, "Wouldn't it be awful to have to call 911 to come help when you're stuck like this with your hiney all up in the air?" The laughter rolled. It's true. A merry heart doeth good like a medicine!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

All Things Work Together

Today was the second day of Don's treatment. Outside of having to stick him three times to get the IV in, he did well. He decided to have them leave the stent (or shunt, or whatever it's called) in so he wouldn't have to be re-stuck tomorrow. The stent is very uncomfortable, though, because they wrapped it pretty tight and evidently pulled it to the side or something. Anyway, he's doing fine but thinks he'll have them go ahead and take it out again tomorrow.

Our Pastor called the two of us up for special prayer Sunday morning. He said he felt like that day was a turning point for us (or words similar to that). When we got home from church, I had an e-mail from my former boss, a Catholic man. The title line read "Concerned." The e-mail said, simply, "I've had a concerned feeling for you lately. Is everything okay?" I opened the book we're studying in our Sunday School class, and the next chapter is "The High Value of Trials." We turned on Joel Osteen, and his topic was something like, "Getting the Best Out of Adversity." I looked at Don, and both our jaws dropped. What was God trying to tell us? Are we about to be finished with this trial we've been going through, or is there another trial around the corner that He's preparing us for. On top of all that, both days that Don has gone in for treatment, one of the volunteers has spent almost the entire time out in the waiting room talking to me. She was raised Catholic, but gave her life to the Lord in 2005 (and actually attends the church we attended in East Alton for nearly 20 years). She's still like a baby in her faith and has had a lot of really hard times in her life. I feel like God has been right there with me each day as I speak to her about God's plan for her specifically.

I'm amazed at how we're always in the right place at the right time if we're walking in the will of God. Things have been difficult this week - especially difficult. But, time after time, God has given us His assurance that He knows where we are, and we're not walking this path alone. What a precious thought.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Another Day - Another Hurdle

We received word today that they'll start Don's IVIG (intravaneous immuno-globulin) infusions tomorrow. He'll go in each morning this week as an outpatient at Alton Memorial Hospital, about 15 miles from us. The procedure should only take two or three hours, but it will be Tuesday - Friday of this week, then Monday of next week. I have no idea how many of these sessions he'll have to have; it may well depend upon the success or failure of the first series. Anyway, we're "girding our loins" for another battle.

I've been fragile emotionally the last few days, and I hate that. I'm attempting to think good thoughts and not get too caught up in the other problems life presents. I need my energy just to keep it together for Don right now. He's been so strong through this whole ordeal that he makes me ashamed for ever feeling down. Thank God for a sweet, positive husband!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Poor Baby

I had blogged earlier about the "performances" the great-grand kids were going to do for Thanksgiving. Our Little Buddy was going to do a crawling demonstration. As it turns out, he wasn't fully prepared. Here's how it turned out (in reverse order, for some reason)-

Great Day in the Morning!

I had a great aunt on my dad's side (she and her sister helped raise my dad and his siblings when their mother died. The children were aged 6, 4 and 2.)who used to use the phrase, "Great day in the morning!" any time she was excited about something. It quickly caught on in our family, especially if she had just visited. She was from the south and had a deep southern accent. She drew the syllables out to where, by the time she was finished saying it, you were excited yourself!

That's the way yesterday was. The grandkids had helped me set up tables the day before Thanksgiving. We put an 8-foot table in the garage for the kids to do their annual craft on, then we set up the 6-foot table in the basement and had to open up the kitchen table enough to insert four leafs. It was a lot of work, and Don wasn't able to help. We've found out, though, that he's quite good at supervising!

My sis and her hubby arrived first, and she was all about helping out. I had things nearly finished, but the offer made my load feel lighter. Then the rest of the family started arriving. Let me just say, I have a TERRIFIC family. My mom, at 82 years of age, had made a huge pot of chicken and dumplings (along with other yummy things). The nieces and nephews and their little ones began showing up, as well as our own kids, grandkids, and my brother and his family. By the time everyone was there, we had about 30 people at the house. It was wonderful. There's never any bickering or arguing. Everyone gets along beautifully. The older kids love helping the little ones. Even the little ones seem to enjoy the atmosphere and excitement.

When people began to leave, our son and his wife began to throw themselves into getting things put back in order, putting tables and chairs away and picking up trash. They have no idea how much I was dreading the thought of having to get it done. Before they left, the house looked like OUR house again. Sis and her hubby stayed around after everyone else had left. She helped straighten the kitchen, then we sat and chatted for a while. I felt like I should jump up, clap my hands and shout, "Great day in the morning!" Just like Aunt Betty used to do. Nothing beats having a good family. And I'm certainly one of the most blessed in that area.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my 61st birthday, and that seems impossible. Yesterday I was a kid, riding my bike or rollerskating all over the neighborhood. I think it was last night that I was a teenage girl. Feisty. Outgoing. Loving to sing with my sis and our friend. Going to Youth Camp and Campmeeting at Sunset Hills. After graduation, working at Johnson's Music Store in downtown Granite before marrying my sweetie the next summer. And wasn't it this morning that I was cradling a precious baby boy in my arms? Such fun. A child raising a child. This afternoon it was a beautiful, olive-skinned, black-haired baby girl. A few hours ago, that baby boy joined the military, met a lovely young woman, and began a family of his own. My precious baby girl married, divorced and began making her mark in the world as a sophisticated young woman. So, when did I get old? Not that 61 is "old", in the most accurate sense of the word, but I used to THINK it was. No more. I remember all the yesterdays, and sometimes long for them. Dating that dark-haired young man who always treated me with such courtesy and decorum was exciting. Now he's balding and paunchy, but he still loves me supremely. And we still have such fun being together. Our children have grown into wonderful people. Our son brought a lovely daughter-in-law into our lives, and we have five grandchildren who bring such sunshine to every day (and two granddogs!). So, happy birthday to me. Life is good. I'm content where I am. My 61st year is going to be a great one!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Waiting for Thanksgiving Day

We're going to have SO much fun on Thanksgiving Day. I always plan a craft for the children, because our house isn't very large, and, unless the weather is unusually nice (which it rarely is), we're stuck inside all day. This year, besides the craft, I decided to have all my mom's great-grandchildren (except for Jordan, who is almost 19 and doesn't want to "perform") do something. It's going to be quite a soiree. Our oldest granddaughter plays flute, the next girl plays violin, and the youngest triplet plays clarinet. Their younger brother plays piano. They've been preparing for their Christmas concert at school, so we're going to turn that into a Thanksgiving performance for the captive family that will be coming to the house thinking they're going to get to eat, veg and leave! One niece's children will be giving an art demonstration, break dancing and yodeling (unless they change their minds and come up with something else equally entertaining). The second niece's little girls will be reciting their ABCs, counting in Spanish and singing Joshua Fought the Battle. Our little guy, whose performance skills aren't honed as yet, will be giving a crawling demonstration (we hope).

Hope your Thanksgiving Day is half as much fun as ours is going to be.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Well, That Was Easy

We're already home, and things worked out quite well - for me, at least. There were 300 people there, and it was going to be a long wait in a long line. Since hubby is having problems standing for long periods (or short periods, for that matter) of time, we didn't feel like he could probably stand in line as long as it would take to get seated, get our food, etc. So, we opted for a nice dinner at Ravanelli's. Only thing, I baked a Pig'Lickin' cake to take along, and I won't be getting one piece of it. It's one of my very favorites. The coconut cream pie I had at Rav's was a nice alternative, though.

What's that scripture about "all things work together . . ."?

I Don't Wanna!

Tonight is the annual Thanksgiving dinner at our church. I should be excited about that, anxious to see all my friends. But I'm not. For some reason, I'm experiencing all those old feelings of not wanting to be around large groups of people. That horrible feeling of insecurity. Not sure I belong anywhere - especially HERE. Rationally, I know this is all a bunch of bunk. I should suck it up and have a wonderful evening. Wish it was that easy. In fact, maybe it is. I'll spend the next few minutes preparing myself emotionally (spiritually?) and do my best to spend the evening with a smile on my face, even if I can't muster that glow in my heart. I've learned in the past few years that, if I can fake it well enough, I can sometimes fool even myself.

A change of attitude. A change of heart. A change of perspective. A wonderful outcome. I won't settle for less.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm Proud to be an American

My patriotism is a near spiritual experience for me. I love my country. I revere and honor the men who have given their lives for our freedom; I respect the men and women who are now serving. I am not too shy to approach service men and women in public places and thank them for their service to our country. I don't pretend to be well-versed or overly bright about our American history (or anything else, for that matter), but I've read the books of Peter Marshall and others that cause me to think our forefathers were men who acknowledged God and were intent upon keeping His precepts and laws as they knew them to be. If you don't agree with me, please don't expect me to discuss the matter rationally. I'm almost as passionate about my country as I am about my God and my family. Do I think we've made perfect decisions? Hardly. Do I think we live in a eutopia? Not in the least. Am I thankful I'm an American? You betcha!

A friend sent me the following link. It's a children's and high school choir along with the school orchestra. I was touched. If we could get our kids and young people as passionate about allegiance to their God and country as they need to be, we'd avoid a lot of problems that loom in our future -- no matter who is President!

Please take time to listen and thank God you're an American. Not everyone has our freedom or prosperity, even though we're experiencing hard times. We have not yet resisted unto blood. http://www.greatdanepromilitary.com:80/Battle%20Hymn/index.htm

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We're Blessed

Don's last few days have been very difficult for him. His legs are increasingly weak. So much so, in fact, that he couldn't even walk up the steps from the garage to the kitchen carrying a McDonald's bag and soda the other day. He had to set everything down, get himself up the stairs, then let me go back and get the stuff. His voice is no better, and that's beginning to frustrate him as well. He's mentioned the surgery a couple times lately, but I'm not ready to go there yet. I was so weary and teary Sunday and had stopped in the vestibule of church to chat with a couple lady friends. I was immediately humbled. One of the ladies, several years younger than I, had lost her husband a while back to a several years' fight with diabetes. She, herself, is legally blind from the same illness. But spunky! My goodness, she's spunky. The other lady's husband was injured in a motorcycle accident and lay in a coma for three months before passing from this earth. She faced all kinds of ups and downs during that three-month period. As I talked with them, I felt so blessed. I'm weary. Don's weary. But, he's functioning, and I'm still able to live a somewhat normal life. We've had to greatly limit our activities, but we're still able to spend wonderful time together. In fact, I believe we've become closer than ever, if that's possible.

I turned my heart God-ward after my time talking to my friends. I asked God to bless each of them, as only He can, and to give them the strength they need to face every day. I'm sure either of them would give all they own to spend one more day with their loved one, even if he couldn't walk and talked with a raspy hoarse voice. Don and I are going through a trial, but we're blessed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A New Day

It's raining outside, but it's amazing how much brighter a day looks after a good night's sleep. We spent yesterday morning in the doctor's office again, and I was done-in yesterday afternoon. But, by yesterday evening, I could feel myself getting stronger - in every way. I know from personal experience how much our physical affects the mental and spiritual (and all combinations thereof). When I'm so exhausted that my bones ache (been there?), I should know to expect a collapse in the other areas of my life as well.

But I'm now seeing the sunshine again, and I feel like I can actually get on with my housecleaning today without having to push myself to get it done. Hubby's outlook is always so bright; I need to aspire to be more like him.

Let the raindrops fall. Today I have sunshine in my heart!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I'm Tired!

I probably shouldn't even be posting tonight, because I feel exhausted - physically, mentally and spiritually. Don's condition has worsened the last few days, and he's fallen twice. The first time he wasn't hurt, but the second time he was going out on Saturday morning to get the paper and fell in the driveway. He hit his head in the left eyebrow area and bled quite a bit, but it isn't serious. The grands were here, and it was a bit upsetting to them to see him hurt, but they handled it well.

I don't mean to complain, because I'm thankful that he isn't in pain and that his illness isn't terminal. But I'm feeling so physically drained. Seems like I have twice the work to do, because I have to help him with everything. He can barely get up the stairs empty-handed, and it's nearly impossible for him to go up stairs with anything at all in his hands. Therefore, I'm having to tote everything that either comes or goes. His spirits are good, but mine are sagging.

We go to the doctor tomorrow for lots of blood work. They're intending to start him on a new treatment since he's worsened since his thymectomy (a disappointment to us and the doctor). It's a bit radical, but it's kind of our last straw. It's called IVIG. We'll go to the hospital for five days in a row for 5 - 7 hours each day. He'll be transfused with immunoglobulin for those hours. They're hoping this treatment will help kill off all the extra antibodies he has in his blood. We'll see.

Okay, I'm done. Now it's time to go upstairs and try to get a good night's sleep (which has been increasingly difficult because he has leg cramps all night long). Tomorrow will surely be a brighter day, and I'll feel stronger. Just needed to unload a bit.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Great Post

Please check out the "Bring the Rain" blogspot that I have referenced on my site. She has an excellent post about "Seven Prayers a Day." It would be worth any mother's time to read it and practice it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Life Is a Hoot!

Last evening, hubby had two different music gigs to go to, so Mom and I decided to go to the funeral home for the visitation of a friend who had died recently. The crowd was huge, so we waited in line for quite a while. I love seeing old friends and chatting, though, so that wasn't a problem.

On our way home, I noticed Mom start digging in her purse about 1/2 a mile from her house. I knew she was probably looking for her keys. She continued digging, but wasn't coming up with anything. I pulled into the driveway and said, "What's wrong, Mom? Can't you find your keys?" She said, "No, and it shouldn't be that hard. I pinned my key to one of my zipper pulls, but I can't find it anywhere!" She continued rummaging in the purse, getting more frantic all the time. I finally looked down to see if I could help. I could. She was trying to find HER keys in MY purse!! We laughed to hard we nearly peed our pants (you'll understand that reaction when you get a bit older). It's been a while since I've had a good belly laugh like that, and it felt plumb good!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Kids Say the Oddest Things!

Today was a very busy day for hubby and me. First of all, our younger grandson spent the night. We love having him with us, but he didn't know what kind of Sunday he was going to be in for! To get the day off to the perfect start, we forgot to change our clocks. I was slipping out of bed at what I thought was 7:30 to shower and get ready for church. Grandson lifted his head and looked at me, and I knew he was already raring to go. About the time I was getting myself ready for a good wake-up shower, I realized that it was actually 6:30 in the morning. Whew! That's early for an old lady! Oh, well. Too late to worry about it by then.

We never eat at home on Sunday mornings, because we pick up donuts for our class at Farm Fresh on the way to church, and someone else always brings goodies (we have a sign-up list). So grandson had a perfectly nutritious (?) breakfast of donuts and milk. After he spilled his entire cup of hot chocolate on the carpet in our classroom, we settled in for the lesson (which he dutifully took notes on during the whole class!). We left our church right after class and headed to my mom's church for Reunion Sunday. The singing and preaching were good, and we enjoyed the service. After a wonderful dinner with Mom and her church folks (including some of our pastors from ages ago and my sis and her husband), we headed for home. Don was there about 15 minutes before he had to leave for Nursing Home Sunday. He arrived home from the nursing home in time to rest about 45 minutes, and we had to go to the funeral home to pay our respects to the family of a 42-year-old man who had taken his life by overdosing on drugs. Pretty sad.

I didn't realize that our grandson had never been to a viewing before. When we walked in, we told him to sit on the back pew and that we would join him in just a few minutes. We walked up to the casket (grandson informed us that MOST people call them coffins), spoke to members of the family that we knew, and went back to the pew to join grandson. He was very polite and quiet and seemed to not be disturbed in the least by what was going on.

We got in the car to go to Culvers before taking him home, and the questions started.

GS: Granny, that was kinda weird.

ME: Why, honey?

GS: Well, I could see that guy's head, and it looked like he was smiling.

ME: Oh, really? I didn't notice that.

GS: Granny, did he have any clothes on?

ME: Sure, honey. He had on a nice white shirt, a tie and a dark jacket.

GS: Where'd he get them?

ME: His family probably picked them out for him.

GS: What if they didn't pick him out anything. Would they just bury him naked?

ME: I never thought about it, but I don't think anyone would be buried naked.

GS: Then, is it against the law?

ME: Well, I don't know that's it's really against the law, but I've never heard of it.

GS: Then, somebody really COULD be buried totally naked?

ME: (Conceding defeat) I guess they could, but it would be kind of sad.

GS: Why would it be sad?

ME: Because it would mean their family must not have loved them very much.

GS: Do you have to pay money for the clothes?

Well, as you can see, this conversation ended up being a rather lengthy one. I couldn't believe it. He's visiting a funeral home and seeing a dead body for the first time in his life, and all he's worried about is making sure the guy had clothes on! Kids never fail to amuse me (and amaze me).

Friday, October 31, 2008

You Find What You're Looking For

I've posted in the past about the disease hubby has. Every single time we go to a doctor (ANY doctor) the first question out of his/her mouth is, "Do you have any trouble swallowing?" MG typically attacks the eyes, throat and lungs. So, it's something I'm keenly aware of.

Tuesday, hubby was sitting at the computer when he suddenly began to choke. Not just a few little coughs, but he was really choking. Since, in our 42 years of marriage, he's never done that before, I definitely took notice. He eventually got his breath and I put it out of my mind. I had a hair appointment, and, while I was gone, he apparently had yet another choking spell. When I got in from my appointment, he was lying on the couch, and I could tell he was exhausted. I questioned him about it, and he told me about the second bout of choking and said it was actually worse than the first time. Well, that time I got a bit concerned. Since I'm aware of the nature of his illness, I wondered if he was beginning to have problems with his throat. I voiced my concerns and urged him to chew thoroughly before swallowing and to tell me immediately if he sensed any problems.

But the whole incident got me to thinking. He's had a lot of sinus drainage going on. His vocal chord is beginning to "come back", so maybe some of the other nerves, etc. in his throat are finally waking up. In other words, I was seeing what I was looking for. The choking was probably no more than a fluke, and I was worrying needlessly. I would like to tell you that I immediately put it out of my mind and never thought (or worried) about it again. But I can't. I can tell you, however, that he was fine all day yesterday and so far today he's been fine.

Have you ever "labeled" someone, and, from that time on, you only saw things in that person's behavior or personality that supported your label? I have - especially when I was younger and hadn't yet begun to mellow. We even do it with our children and grandchildren. This one's the sweet one, that one's the rebellious one, the other one's the sassy one, etc. I'm asking God to help me seek out the good. It will make the not-so-good much easier to deal with if (and when) it comes. I certainly don't advocate sticking your head in the sand and becoming oblivous to the bad behavior of others (including your children), but simply try to find as many or more positive things to praise than you do negative things to chide. I believe, and you may come to agree, that you'll find what you're looking for!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Better Perspective

Okay, I'm feeling a little better about my fashion sense, but the reason isn't exactly laudable. I was on my way into Wal-Mart today when a vehicle pulled up in front of the store and the passenger-side door opened. When I saw this lady getting out, I at first thought (and I'm being honest) that she was dressed up for Halloween. Her cheeks had these huge, red (BRIGHT RED) circles on them, just like a clown. The eylids were smeared from lashes to brow with baby blue sparkly eye shadow. She had drawn on eyebrows with very dark eyebrow pencil. But they weren't the skinny little eyebrows you see sometimes. I mean, these things were HUGE. She either had penciled over very bushy eyebrows, or she intentionally drew them to look bushy. Her lipstick was very exaggerated and the same color as her rouge (believe me, this was much more than "blush"). Her foundation was nearly white, or at least very, very light. To top the look off, she had on a wig that was very obviously a wig. I would have laughed, but I realized right away that the lady wasn't joking around. She seriously thought she looked good! It was a major make-up disaster. So, the next time I go to Wal-Mart, I'm definitely wearing my long jeans (heels or no heels), cuffed at the bottom and a striped top. No one would dare say a word!

Another Fashion Faux Pas?

I have another fashion dilemma. I pulled out my winter wardrobe and put away my summer things. Much to my dismay, I discovered that most of my winter tops are striped. Somewhere between last winter and this winter, I heard that women 60 and over shouldn't wear stripes. Oh, no!! Now, what am I going to do. I'm thinking they meant stripes over two inches wide or something, because I honestly don't think ALL of my striped tops need to be replaced. Getting older and trying to dress "with it" (at least a little) seems to present a major problem for me.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Thanks to all you fashion freaks out there for straightening me out. I've now invested in two pair of jeans that I'll probably only wear half a dozen times all season -- but, you know, it's worth it to be fashionable!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

THe Flip Side

I'm older, so I know my parenting methods don't mesh with many today. However, I was interested to read the blog from Making Home. Check out the link: http://makinghome.blogspot.com/2008/10/psychobabble-parenting.html

Saturday, October 25, 2008

So, am I eclectic or just plain weird?

Okay, I'll admit it. My fashion sense leaves a bit to be desired. But I definitely know what I like and what I don't like. Problem is, my taste is often either outdated or not in step with the fashion gurus of this present day (my daughter, for instance). Which brings me to my dilemma.

I'm between an AVG. and a L. when it comes to my jeans. When I'm wearing flats, that's no big deal. But, if I want to wear heels with my jeans, I'm afrad that some who are on top of the fashion scene might think my jeans are too short. I had visited my favorite ladies shoppe recently (Wal-Mart) and had purchased a couple pair of jeans in AVG. to supplement my winter wardrobe. As I was checking out, there was a young woman in front of me who, I thought at least, was fashionably dressed. You know - jeans, t-shirt and some kind of cute, funky shoes. Anyway, I noticed that she had cuffed her jeans on the bottom. Not two or three turns up, but one turned-up cuff. This isn't the first time I've seen this hep fashion trend either. So, when I got in my car in the parking lot, I called my daughter. I told her my dilemma bout jean length, then I told her about the young girl I'd seen. I ended the coversation saying, "Do you think it would look okay, if I buy the longs and they're too long, if I would just cuff them on the bottom?" At first she was a bit confused, thinking I meant those big, huge cuffs that were in style this summer where girls turn their jeans into capris by rolling them up about 10 inches. But I only want about a 2-inch cuff. Being the sweet, loving daughter she is, she didn't want to come right out and tell me that I would be committing a tremendous fashion breach by cuffing my pants two inches at the bottom. Instead, she assured me that, if I thought it looked good, then it MUST look okay! W-R-O-N-G!!

Later that afternoon, daughter joined us at the neurologist's office for my husband's first visit since his surgery. While we were sitting there chatting, the door opened, and in walked one of the most unique individuals I've seen in a while. He was over-the-top friendly. Flashing a huge smile at everyone. You could tell right away that he really thought he had it going on. But that's not what caught my attention. It was the way he was dressed. He had on a short-sleeved t-shirt. (No problem there.) Wide brightly multi-colored suspenders. (I can take it.) His pants were obviously several sizes too large, so he had belted them, causing that "grocery sack" effect of gathering all around the top. (Now I'm about to lose it.) But the clincher was his jean cuffs. Neatly rolled - not once but several times - into a very neat 2-inch cuff. (A mirror image of what I'm going to look like!) I was about to roar in laughter, and daughter was doing no better keeping herself in check.

So, now I'm confused. Is my fashion sense acceptably eclectic, or am I just weird? I STILL know what I like. And I know I absolutely DO NOT want to look like that fine gentleman in the doctor's office! Oh, my. Back to sweatshirts and sweatpants. There are no hard fashion decisions there.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Different, but the Same

We have family visiting from out of state, and I love it! Hubby's niece is with her mom this trip, and I am thoroughly enjoying her company. We're very different. In fact, there's probably little about us that you could say resembles in the slightest. She's young and single. I'm not. She's tiny. I'm not. She's blonde. I'm not. She's very adventure-seeking. I'm not. She's intelligent and curious, and I'm not (at least, not very). And the list of differences could go on and on. However, there's one thing we have in common. We each hold a mutual respect and love for the other. I admire her free spirit (to a point anyway), and she admires the fact that she can talk openly with me without fear of retribution. On some issues, we agree implicitly. On others, we probably stand poles apart. But it doesn't matter. That's what family (and some friendships) is all about. You may not be in the same political arena, but that doesn't keep you from talking about the funny people at the last family reunion. Her view of world affairs is much more inclusive (and exclusive) than mine, but I love hearing her tell of her experiences abroad and the passion she has for other nations and people. She loves hearing my time-worn stories of the grandchildren, and I think she sincerely finds them amusing. Is it true opposites attract? It was certainly the case in my marriage relationship. Maybe it's also true of bonds between friends. One thing is for certain, people don't have to agree on every point to have a relationship. They can agree to disagree. In some cases, as with this niece, it isn't difficult at all to pull off. Come again, sweet niece. You can tell me about your expansive view of the world and people in other countries, and I'll tell you about my husband, children and grandchildren (might even throw in a Piper story or two), and we'll have a great time together!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Don and I were watching a movie last night on TV called "Living Proof." It was a good movie about the doctor who invented one of the leading medicines for treating cancer. Anyway, the doctor in the movie ran to relieve stress. As Don was watching, he said very softly, "I sure wish I could run again." My heart ached. How very different our lives are today than they were one year ago. Change comes. Problems arise. Health fails. Dreams are crushed and plans have to be remade. But there are some constants - God's love for us, our love for each other, the love of our family and friends. The list goes on and on. So, while we may have lost some things, we're still rich. And, someday, Don will run again!

Inspiring Church Service

We had a young family (husband, wife, and two girls, ages 15 and 16) at our church tonight. He is actually the nephew of one of our deacons. This couple has felt for at least 20 years that they were called to the mission field, but it seemed like God was taking them down lots of gravel roads before getting them on the superhighway of their dreams. Looking back, they see how every single life change they encountered was preparing them for where they are right now - preparing to go to the Sudan. They're not allowed in as missionaries, so they'll be going in as businessmen. (Thus, the reason God had them start their own small business 8 years ago.) Their presentation was very well prepared, and all four family members participated. It was wonderful to see these two beautifully articulate and eloquent teenage girls speak with such passion about their calling. To be honest, it was a humbling experience just to meet them and listen to them speak. God bless them and all like them who are making such timely commitments. They will be befriending the Arab Muslims there, and God has given them such a heart of love for the people. Don and I both left the service uplifted in our spirits and feeling blessed to have met this special family.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Trip Up the River Road

Don and I took a drive up the River Road today. Although it still isn't peak for the colors, it was a beautiful day. Here are some of the pictures from the drive. I took these out the car window, so they're not "1st Niece" perfect, but they turned out looking pretty good.


Okay, I joined Facebook. Why? I don't really know! Sounded like fun, I guess. But, so far, I'm not impressed. Can anyone tell me why my profile doesn't show up on any of my friends' sites when they've already accepted me? They show up on mine, but I don't show up on theirs. Many of the requests I sent out went to my friends, but gave them no option whether to approve me or not and didn't send a pic with it. Also, I created an album, but the only way I can see the pictures is if I go in to edit it. When I tried to send a direct question to Facebook, it sent me clear around the world -- and I don't like that. I like direct answers to direct questions. So, if any of you "techies" out there can help me out, please do so. If you think I'm hopeless, you can tell me that, too!! At this point, FACEBOOK STINKS!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Painted Fly

Since some of the blogs have been about bugs lately, I decided to add my "fly in the paint" story. Today, two of the grands were painting at their craft table in the basement when one of them yelled, "Granny, come here and see this! Come quick!" The other two grands and I went running in there to see the sight you see pictured here. A "drunk" fly had landed in the white paint. One of the girls fished him out and put him on the table, where he continued to walk around. A white fly. A white PAINTED fly! He even walked through some of the other colors and "painted" with his hairy little legs on the paper. Gross!
So, what's our method of "outing" this white fly? Do we squish him? Do we let him continue as the only white fly we know? Or do we frame him and put him out for the general public to gawk at? Maybe he'll still be around at Thanksgiving for your viewing pleasure!

I Can't Remember What I Forgot!

I know. It sounds like a circular statement, doesn't it? Rather senseless. But that's exactly where some folks find themselves in their golden (?) years.

We've had guests in our home since Friday evening. They left this morning to return to their home in KY. This dear lady has always been brilliant, and continues to be in certain ways. But she has the beginnings of Alzheimer's, and carrying on a normal conversation is a challenge. Every time she would see our little dog she would comment, "What a pretty little dog? Now where did you get him?" I would retell the story that I had told at least 10 times before, but it always seemed new to her. She asked about the welfare of our kids and grandkids more times than I care to remember. But one incident struck me as especially sad. This lady has always been a nice dresser and well-kept. When they came in on Friday evening (coming to our house straight from the funeral home, where they were paying their respects to the family of a young woman who died recently) I noticed right away that the lady had a run in her hose that was halfway around her leg. This wasn't a run, it was total deterioration! I didn't want to mention it, because I didn't want to embarrass her. When they came in from the funeral on Saturday (her husband officiated), I noticed that she had the same hose on again. Her husband noticed it when she sat down and pointed it out to her, asking her to be sure she changed into something better before going out again. She looked down at her leg in genuine shock saying, "Oh, yes. I just did that a few minutes ago!" I didn't say anything, but I knew she had been wearing that same pair of ruined hose since arriving at our house the day before. Sadly, she got out of the house Sunday morning in the same pair of hose! This time, when they got home, her husband followed her into the bedroom, making sure that she disposed of the "holey" hose. She was a little miffed at him, because I think she thought he was pointing out flaws. That wasn't his intention at all.

I listen to their interchanges and watch her trying to remember what has been said 15 minutes before, and my heart aches. Why do bad things happen to good people? I don't know - but they do. She left to return home in a dress that was badly soiled down the front of the bodice. That never would have happened five years ago. She had too much pride. Maybe that's the sadness in this whole thing. She has been totally stripped of pride. It doesn't matter anymore, because she doesn't remember from one minute until the next what she's said or done, where she's been or who she's seen. Her long-term memory is still surprisingly sharp most times, but that doesn't help her in carrying on conversations with her family and friends. Her husband said he prays daily for patience in answering her questions time and time again -- the same questions, the same answers. One thing this visit has taught me, friendship transcends all problems. Lasting friendships aren't broken when one becomes "less" than they were before. In some ways, it may even strengthen the relationship. Isn't that a precious thought?

So, someday I may not be able to remember what I forgot. But will you still like me? Will you continue to be my friend? I'm worth it!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

This Stinks!

Don continues to struggle with the paralyzed vocal chord, so he isn't able to project. I'm getting as deaf as a board, so we're having some real problems communicating. If we aren't in the same room, forget it! Even talking to him on the phone is a challenge. He's doing great in his recovery from the surgery itself, but this stinks!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How Much Is Too Much?

I'm now 60 years old, and it's amazing how you begin to look back and reevaluate your life at this age. What did I do that was really important and what was done for vain reasons? I'm surprised at how my list tallies out.
As a young mother, I was strict with my children. I don't regret that, and I don't regret the methods of correction I used, as a general rule. However, I do regret my attitude with them at times. If I could change some things, I would spank less and empathize more. Yet, God was faithful to honor my efforts, and we raised two amazing children.
As a servant of God, I could always be counted on to do my best. I gave 110%, but often I was just as concerned about how it sounded or how it looked as I was about Holy Spirit anointing. I listen to old tapes of the choir I directed, and it sounds really good. And many times the Spirit of the Lord flooded the place as the congregation worshipped during the choir song. But I REALLY wanted it to sound the very best we could make it sound. Was that wrong?
I taught Children's Church for many years, and I didn't let those kids get by with anything! However, I look back and see how many of those same children are now involved in some kind of ministry, and I honestly feel like I fed into their little lives. If I did anything right, it was in having them work very hard at memorizing scripture. They'll never regret what they learned.
I have, at times, been a difficult wife. I'm strong and opinionated - even more so when I was young than I am now. But Don wasn't perfect either. He was, for years, very wrapped up in himself. Most of the child rearing was left to me in the early years. So, we banged heads on a regular basis. Wish I had been more mellow back then. We worked through those difficult years, though, and have one of the best marriages I know anything about at this stage in life.
I was always busy. Maybe too busy. Even after I started working full time outside the home, I continued to direct the choir, lead Children's Church, play the piano, sing, homeschool our daughter, etc. Could I have done some of those jobs better if I had laid the others aside? Looking back, I don't know what I would have wanted to do without. Each facet of my life has been rewarding, and I would hate to have missed any of those special moments.
How much is too much? That depends upon your motives and methods. In hindsight, I've had a wonderfully full and extremely busy life -- and I don't regret a minute of it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

He That Is Without Sin . . .

Our open forum topic in our class today was divorce. What a touchy subject in this day and time! As it happens, we have some in our class who have experienced the tragedy of divorce firsthand. No one ever comes out of divorce unscathed. That's why God sets such high goals for His kids. He doesn't want any of us to have to endure the heartbreak and sadness that comes with the break up of a relationship. But it happens. So how do we deal with it in our own circle of family and friends. Often, God's grace and forgiveness far exceeds ours. In the case where I'm the grateful receipient of that grace and forgiveness, I'm thankful He's God. But that's not all there is to it. I must also be gracious and forgiving to others who have made mistakes, bad decisions and wrong choices.

I also spoke at length with a young woman this morning before class that is struggling emotionally. She's sad and angry all the time and doesn't want to be around people. She doesn't understand what's happening to her, and, when asked to explain her feelings to her husband or someone else, she's at a complete loss for a plausible explanation. Having suffered from depression for a number of years myself, I was able to love her and minister to her without judging her. I know how lost and hopeless a person can feel sometimes.

Finally, I went early today to practice with a group of young folks (well, most of them in their 20's) who were singing for Morning Worship. Four of them sing together. As it turned out, one of the boys had received a call from another young man in church saying he needed a ride to Sunday School. Instead of the young man coming on to practice and picking his friend up after practice was finished, he opted to go pick up his friend and miss the practice. It was quite frustrating to those of us who had sacrificed to go to church early to get this final practice under our belts before the service. It was so frustrating to the other young man in the group that he has chosen not to sing with them again for a period of time. I got to thinking about that. The first young man definitely should have honored his commitment to come practice. However, that doesn't justify the second young man. We can really control no one but ourselves (and sometimes that's a job in itself), so we're just wasting time in trying to control someone else by punishing them by our actions. The second young man loves to sing. So , who is he really hurting? He was upset; that's a given. But everyone will be better off if he chooses to lay his anger aside and continue singing with the group. The first young man sincerely apologized to me for not attending, and that's good enough for me.

An eventful morning. So many lives. So many problems. So many choices. So many needs. I've botched things up too many times to sit in judgment of anyone else. Lord, let me be there when someone needs my help, my encouragement, or the comfort of Your precious Holy Spirit.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Our Little Dog

Some wanted to see a picture of our little Papillon, Piper. Here he is. We adopted him in February. He's a good little dog, but he LOVES to lick.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Love of Family and Friends

This has been a good day. The weather has been beautiful for the last couple days, and that always helps my mood. I love the sun.

I've been playing at being a kid again. One of the grands aspires to be a chef. Some time back, I found a little chef's jacket at the Goodwill, so I bought it. I was going to make white pants to go with it, but daughter suggested I make black and white tiny houndstooth pants (she's seen chefs wear them somewhere - probably on Hell's Kitchen on TV or something). So, I bought the appropriate material and made the pants. Finished them earlier today.

Then I went down to my handy dandy computer and got to work. I made a sign that reads, "Miss Hootie Patootie's Fine Dining." I put a picture of an owl on it. In case you're wondering about the relevance, when this particular granddaughter was tiny, she would shape her mouth in a little "o" and make a hooting sound. She picked up the nickname "Hootie" as an infant, and it wasn't long until her daddy added the "Patootie" portion. After I made the sign, I put together a menu. My trip to Dollar Tree and Wal-Mart came next. I bought some aprons, chef hats, utensils, plates, bowls and cups (mostly disposable to cut down on the cost), some receipt books and some play money. I also bought some food items - single bags of chips, soup, lunch cakes, and a couple kinds of juice. When I brought everything home, I updated the menu to include the items I had purchased. I don't know if the kids will like it or not, but I had a ball!

A niece on hubby's side called from Washington D.C., where she now lives, and we chatted for quite a while. I've always loved this sweet girl, and it seems that we're always able to find things to talk about. She affirms me, and Lord only knows how much I need that sometime!

I just got off the phone with niece when the phone rang again. This time it was my mom saying she and my sis were on their way over to see how hubby was doing. They came bearing dessert - fresh peach cobbler and Cool Whip. Yummy! So, I put on a fresh pot of coffee, and we sat around the table and talked for quite a while.

It doesn't get any better than that, does it? Spending time letting the "child" in you take over, and then visiting with loved friends and family. Some probably think I let the child in me take over too often, but I've always been pretty animated, and I don't usually have much trouble developing a rapport with children. Maybe I'm saying that acting the fool is something I occasionally enjoy! (Imagine that!) No matter. I've had a good day. Hope the grandkids enjoy my creations as much as I did!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Proud as Punch

While Don was in ICU at MO Bap, we were quite surprised to learn that they had no age restrictions on visitors. Therefore, our younger grandchildren (aged 10 and 8) were allowed to go in and visit with him. That might be a problem with some children who haven't been taught properly how to behave in that type of setting or are too young to understand that they must be quiet, but our kids were exemplary. The nurses were all commenting on how well they were behaving, and Don and I were about to pop our buttons!! Our favorite nurse, Katie, went on and on about what sweet children they were. Just what a grandparent longs to hear. Of course, they might not have been so quick with the praise if they knew that our grandchildren are all quite shy and never step out of the box very far. Doesn't matter. We were smiling anyway.

Then, of course, the night before I brought Don home, D came by with my grand-dogs. (I'm told I NEVER mention them, so I must make things right.) Our little dog, Piper, absolutely loves playing with Bella. Livvy, who is actually the cuter of the two, doesn't excite Piper nearly as much as his first cousin. They ran and romped and played - almost like watching children interact with each other. A release for the dogs, and a release for me as well - which is much needed after spending several days in a hospital setting.

Don continues to improve. He did have one leg cramp last night, but that's a huge improvement. It's not unusual for him to have 10 or more a night. He rested better and is still going very lightly on the pain meds. He took one tablet (he's supposed to take two) just before bedtime last night, and he felt like it helped. We go to our family doctor today to discuss Don's problems with his blood pressure while he was in the hospital. They may prescribe something for that. All in all, he's beating all the odds. We stand before God with thankful hearts.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Home, Sweet Home

A house is not a home without the ones you love safely ensconced there. My little bungalow has only been a "house" for the last few days. This afternoon, it become a "home" again!

Don is home and doing amazingly well. Some minor issues -- unusually high blood pressure (for him) and a paralyzed left vocal chord -- but nothing we can't deal with. The hospital staff was wonderful to him, and they've all been quite surprised at his speedy upswing. We met several believers on the staff, and that's always refreshing. One of our favorite nurses in ICU, a precious Catholic woman, has had some unfortunate experiences with so-called believers (preachers, but not practicers), but she was genuinely drawn to Don and me. I pray we were able in some way to speak into her life. All in all, we've seen positive things come out of a rather traumatic event. To God be the glory!

Coming Home!

My honey just called to say the doctor released him to come home this afternoon. They want to do two tests on him before he leaves, so the release is contingent upon the outcome of those tests. But we're not worried. The one is a chest x-ray, and he's had no major problems with congestion at all since he's been in there. He has, in fact, had a chest x-ray every day since arriving. Secondly, they want to do a test to determine if his vocal chords are paralyzed. Again, we feel certain he's fine. His voice is still very hoarse and raspy, but we do feel that it's improved the last day or so. Anyway, what are they going to do? Keep him in the hospital because he can't speak loudly? I don't think so! So, I am on my way to the hospital. It will be a tiring day, because once they tell you you're going to be released, you can think of little else all day long!

Thanks, again, for the precious thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What a difference a day makes!

I called the ICU unit at the hospital this morning before I went over there. I wanted to see how Don had done during the night. They actually let him talk to me, and I knew immediately that he had improved. They had him up sitting in a chair before I went in, and they had removed the two garden hose-sized drains that they had inserted in his lower chest after surgery. He couldn't eat breakfast, because he was nauseous, but he was hungry and ready to go by lunch. He ordered a cajun spiced grilled chicken sandwich with pepper jack cheese! He ate it and really enjoyed it. Dondra came over a little after I got there. J & J brought the four younger kids over, and Pa really enjoyed his time with the grands. Because it's the weekend and the doctor had said hubby could be moved from ICU as soon as a room's available, they loosened the rules a bit for us today. While the rest of us went down to the cafeteria for a snack, the nurses got D. up and walked him just a bit. He ordered tilapia for supper and sat up in a chair to eat. The doctors are very surprised at his speedy progress. They're hoping to have a free bed in the step-down area by Monday, and we're looking forward to that. Actually, Don's been telling people that he expects to be sent home on Monday. I asked him if the doctor had told him that, and he said, "No, but I'm STILL expecting to go home on Monday!" His voice is still quite weak and hoarse, but he's getting stronger by the hour. I married a wonderful guy, and God has proven Himself faithful to us once again.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Done

Don's surgery took just under three hours and went successfully. They were not, however, able to do it the "simple" way and had to open his chest. He is now in ICU, in a lot of pain, but lucid and hoping tomorrow will be a bit better. He insisted our son, daughter and I go on home, and I was secretly glad, because I'm exhausted. Since he's in ICU, they'll only let us visit for half an hour every two hours. That doesn't seem like much time, but he needs to rest. They hope to move him into a private room tomorrow, and that will be good.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers. I hate to see him suffering the way he was this afternoon, but we're praying that the results make it worthwhile.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


We've finally spoken with the surgeon, and surgery is scheduled for Friday. We have to go to the hospital tomorrow for pre-operative testing and an interview with the nurse, but can come home for the night. We have to return on Friday for surgery. If they're able to do things through the incision at the base of the throat, hubby will only have to spend one night in the hospital. If they have to do it by splitting the sternum, he'll be in longer. We're praying for the best of all things!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hurry Up and Wait

We've been waiting for the thoracic surgeon to call and schedule Don's thymectomy for 1 1/2 weeks now, and I'm tired of waiting!! If I didn't think the surgery might improve his symptoms (which have worsened a little in recent days), I'd just vote for scratching the whole thing. After all, we have no promise of improvement - just a hope. I wonder what would have happened if, on Don's consultation day, we had called and said we were busy with other things and probably wouldn't be able to get back to him for, ohhhhh, about two weeks! Don't think that would fly.

This teaches me something about myself (AGAIN!). I let myself get too impatient with people and circumstances over which I have no control. Why waste the energy? If I'm going to get upset, why not let it be over things that I can actually change? If I've learned anything in the last five years, it's that my thinking affects my attitude more than I might have realized. Oh, yes, I know the Bible says that (for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. . .), but now I'm finally learning to apply the concept. What relief! I find I'm much less stressed and have fewer bad headaches than ever before in my life. In fact, when I actually "lose it", I'm miserable - both physically and spiritually.

So, as I not-so-patiently wait for the call from the surgeon to schedule Don's procedure, I'll try to do so without getting myself in a turmoil. I don't like it. I wish things were different. But, I'll deal with it.

Until then . . .

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Hard Pill to Swallow

We taught on "submission" and "loving your wife as your own body" yesterday in our Young Married Sunday School class. Actually, we did an open forum, with Jeff & Elizabeth Connor, my honey and I on a panel. I'm a fairly strong-willed person, and I definitely have a stronger personality than my husband. However, he is the one with the stronger will when push comes to shove. Some of the young women in the class who have exceptionally dominant personalities struggle big time with the "submission" issue. They want their own way ALL the time. At least I've outgrown that by this stage in my life. However, even the most submissive of us find that there are certain issues that, when we disagree with hubby, we find it very hard to acquiesce. Like issues concerning the children, for instance. Some young men in the class said they gave in rather than have a confrontation with their wives, because the women were so strong (and "strong" equals "cruel" sometimes). Sorry, guys, but that's wrong, too. One reason women want to take the dominant role is that they don't feel their husbands can be trusted to make a wise decision. Maybe history has proven that he's prone to jump in with both feet before he has really thought things through. But does this excuse a rebellious wife? I don't think so. The Bible didn't make exceptive verses for women with domineering personalities (believe me, there have been times I've wished It did). Men only become leaders in their home by actively accepting the position and loving their wife and family as Christ loved the church. That's huge!

It would be wonderful if, in every home, the husband assumed his place as the loving, caring, Godly head, and the woman, with total honor and respect, moved in right beside him on the authority chain. Unfortunately, most of us struggle a bit more with the positions than that. We're all somewhat egotistical. We all want our own way. And marriage is never an equal 50/50. Often, it's 100/0! But God's plan works, when we care enough about our marriage and our home to put it into practice.

Every home goes through stages, like chapters in a book. Often, the first few years are times of insecurity because you're just getting to know each other, you're getting established in your career(s), and you're adjusting to paying lots of bills. Then the children come, and you're adjusting to life with some little people to guide, train and care for - very time consuming. The children grow up and leave, and you're, once again, learning to live with your lifetime love - just the two of you. As you age, more changes come. You aren't as healthy as you were yesterday, and things have to slow down a bit. Concessions must be made. Patience must be practiced. So, wherever you are in your life and in your marriage, there are adjustments. As Gary Smalley says, "The only one you can change is yourself." Be a good "changer". Don't stop growing. For people like me who are stubborn, opinionated and resistant to change, that's a hard pill to swallow. But I'm learning that life goes much better when I do things God's way. Now, that doesn't mean that I do things exactly YOUR way, but I'm following God's voice and His Word in my own life and in my own circumstance.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Time for Remembering

My baby boy is now 41 years old. We were reminiscing about the night I went to the hospital and the morning he was born while he and his family and our daughter were all here for dinner tonight. Good memories. Precious memories. Delightful memories. I know you young people consider this a cliche', but, honestly, it does seem like just yesterday he was our darling little boy. Now he's our darling grown man! He was always an enchanting child: bright, easy-going, and extremely gifted in many areas. It's so wonderful to see the man/husband/father he's become.

Hubby and I definitely made mistakes in raising our children, but we must have done some things very right. Though they both went through some shaky times establishing who they were and what mattered in their lives, they've turned out to be a young man and woman we take great pride in. People of extreme integrity, love and thoughtfulness. What more can a parent ask?

As they all loaded into their cars to leave after supper and a visit, hubby and I couldn't help but beam. Two children, a God-chosen daughter-in-law, five grandchildren. A blessed heritage. We love them. They love us. Getting older isn't nearly so hard when your showered with lots and lots of love along the way. We are. And we're thankful.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lookin' Good

Don's head looks really good this morning. The gash with staples is closing nicely, the swelling is down, and there's minimal bruising. He had some bleeding through the evening, but nothing major. He said he knows it's there, but he's in no bad pain. Oddly, he seems to have taken most of the trauma to the head. One of his sides is bruised, but he has no bruising at all on his arms or legs. Strange. It's almost as if he didn't try to catch himself at all. He said he's learned a lesson from this: when he feels excessively weak, he's going to sit down immediately instead of trying to push himself. I think that's a great idea!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ouch! My Head!

We just returned from a couple hours at the Emergency Room. Don nas been doing an a/c and furnace installation this week for a friend. He was heading to their basement and knew his legs felt weak. Unfortunately, he didn't realize how weak they were until they crumpled beneath him, sending him plummeting down the concrete stairs head first. He ended the fall by crashing against the corner of a concrete wall with his head. He has some nasty bruising and several lacerations - one that required four staples to close. Poor guy. This has happened several times within the last few days. His legs just suddenly lose all their strength and down he goes. We're thankful that he hasn't hurt himself seriously, but today shook us both up just a bit. Still waiting for the call from the surgeon to set up his surgery. We're hoping that will make these awful symptoms ease up or go away completely.

Time Marches On

Our son will be turning 41 this Saturday. How can that possibly be? I'm barely older than that myself! Seems that I realize the passing of time with the birthdays of my children and grandchildren more than with my own birthdays. It's just a number to me (a number that keeps getting bigger!), but as they age, I look back and remember myself and where I was in my life at that age.

When I was 41, our son had left college and joined the Air Force the year before and had not too long after married the girl of his dreams. They were about to inform us that we were going to be grandparents for the first time. I was just 42 when our grandson was born. I can't imagine our son being a grandparent. He seems so young for that sort of thing. I was, too. But I was thrilled at the prospect.

Way back then, our daughter had just started working at A.G. Edwards and was recovering from mono. She had begun working there the year before and was planning to stay for a long time. As it turned out, she has been there about 15 years.

We stlled lived in our mobile home, next door to hubby's mom. I thought we would probably live there forever. But we didn't.

So, son will be 41. The grands are going to spend Friday night and help me prepare the birthday dinner on Saturday. I'm going to try a new recipe my mom gave me - chicken spaghetti. I think they'll love it. Dinner will take twice as long to prepare, because I will be supervising four kids in the kitchen. They want fudge for dessert - so fudge it will be!

Time changes a lot of things. I have some wrinkles and that horrible turkey wattle under my chin, and I certainly don't have the grace and stamina I did yesterday. There are now bulges where there used to be bones. My once sleek body doesn't resemble the one I had 41 years ago. But hidden beneath all that flab is the young girl I used to be.

Some things will never change. My love for my husband has deepened with the years, as has the love for my children, grandchildren, and family and friends in general. I believe I appreciate them more. I've mellowed a great deal (can I have a witness?). I still love hearing people laugh - especially if it isn't at my expense. I still love sitting unobserved and listening to children interact as they play. Life still fascinates me. People still frustrate me. I continue to believe Mom and Dad had my younger brother just for my enjoyment, because I still find him delightful. And I still see an occasional flicker from the fire of ambition I had as a young thing.

Time marches on, but I'm no longer marching in cadence. Now my gait is slower and my steps a bit more uncertain. I'm marching nonetheless. I have no choice. One thing is certain, at every age and in every chapter there are new delights, wonders and pleasures. I'm going to grab them while I can.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Check It Out

Check out this song entitled, "Let Them Be Little." Love it! Makes me remember when my own two were wee ones.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Looking for the ark!

My goodness, didn't it rain? We awoke a little after 5 a.m. to pounding, torrential rain, the likes of which I haven't seen but one time before. When I was about 8 years old, it rained until the street in front of our house looked like a small river.

Though the rain was over the curb and our front sidewalk, we decided to get the Expedition out and do our best to make it to Sunday School. We managed to navigate the small lakes fairly well, but we saw a number of stranded vehicles. Wouldn't you think people would be smart enough not to attempt to cross water that's deeper than the hubs on their wheels?

A couple guys from church left to go get some milk for one of the classes. They said they saw a small car stranded, and the water was up to the door windshield. When they passed, the water actually went over the roof!

I'm telling you, I was looking left, right and over my shoulder for the ark. Looking for the animals marching two by two as they loaded onto Noah's floating zoo!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Old dogs - New tricks

I feel like I've been running for two days. Yesterday, Don got up early and went with a friend to Sam's to pick up supplies for a taco dinner the men of the church are hosting today. He had been home about an hour when we turned around and went back to St. Louis for his doctor appointment. We were home by 3:30, but had to be at the church at 5:30 to head over to St. Peters for the "I Promise" Marriage Seminar. We were home about 11:45, back up at 5:30 a.m. and heading back over to St. Peters by 7 a.m. Home about 1:30 p.m., stopped at Si Senor for lunch (which a young couple who had attended the seminar graciously bought for us), then Don headed back to the church to help with the taco dinner. Following that, he has to go play his banjo for a friend's anniversary celebration. I, at least, was able to grab a short nap this afternoon, but Don's been in a constant run.

The Seminar was great, but much of it was a repeat for Don and myself. We've taught on "Love is a Decision", "Keys to a Loving Relationship", and "The DNA of Relationships" - all by Smalley, and probably more, which I've forgotten. What surprised me was how much of it I still haven't applied to my life and our marriage. Oh, I'll be circumspect for a few days and very careful of my words, attitude and actions, but I still have my slip-ups. The wonderful thing about that is the fact that I AM still working on being better. I haven't given up on myself. And every time we attend something like this, I realize that I have made progress. I'm certainly not what I was at 30 years of age. I'm definitely a better wife in many ways. So that gives me hope.

Don and I have been married 42 years now, and I can tell you, speaking from experience, that a marriage can improve with the years. In fact, it SHOULD improve with the years. We've worked hard on growing together instead of apart. We've each learned to value the other for who they are. I appreciate his graces and do my best to minimize his faults (of which there are few, believe me), and he's kind enough to do the same for me.

I'll be the first to admit that some problems jump up out of nowhere and bite you in the rear. But most altercations can be avoided, especially if you have a good man. I was only 18 when we married, and surprisingly naive - and, okay I'll admit it, stupid. But life with my best friend and honey has proven to me that it's possible to get it right the first time. Thank heavens, because I'd sure hate to think all these years of trying to improve myself were for nothing!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"I Promise"

We have 33 people registered to attend the "I Promise" Marriage Seminar with Gary Smalley and his son Greg this Friday evening and Saturday morning. I'm thrilled with the response! I know we'll come away from there with lots of tips to make our relationships better.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

About Face!

My doctor called me this evening just before church. I told him I was upset and explained why. He told me that, honestly, my numbers weren't high enough to make me "officially" diabetic, but I was headed in that direction. Can you believe that? I think there's a huge difference, and it isn't just the difference in semantics. I've had the tendency for my sugar to be a bit high ever since my first pregnancy 41 years ago. If it takes another 40 years for me to become a full-fledged diabetic, I won't even care by then. I did my best to state my feelings about his having put the phrase "non-insulin dependent diabetic" on my records when it isn't true. Although he keeps insisting it WILL be true someday, I stood my ground. He finally changed the word "diabetic" to "hyperglycemic". Now, I don't know exactly what difference it will make in getting new (cheaper) insurance, but the insurance broker assures me it WILL make a difference. I think my doctor has a better understanding of me as a person now. I told him not to ever beat around the bush with me - be straightforward and blunt, if necessary. Just tell me the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!

I thought it was nice of him to call and even nicer for him to do an about face on what he had written. Now I'm hoping it's helpful in my quest for a cheaper insurance company. Good luck to me!

Roller Coaster Ride

Talk about life taking its ups and downs!

My medical insurance costs me an arm and a leg, but I feel like it's my responsibility to be insured. Well, I'm about to change my mind. I'm paying so much (more than our house payment used to be), the I decided to check into a different company. I currently have Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which I love, but my cost will go up in November (birthday bonus!) and again in January (New Year's present). The first of the year, my family physician put me on a medication for sugar. My numbers have been a bit higher than normal for a long time. In fact, I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my son 40 years ago. The insurance broker who is looking at new companies for me, asked me if my doctor had declared me diabetic. I was sure he hadn't, even though he had put me on the meds, but told her I would call to find out. When I called the doctor's office and left my message, they called back saying I had been diagnosed as non-insulin dependent diabetic. I was livid! Why hadn't the doctor ever told me that? As to the meds he prescribed, they're as big as horse pills, and I haven't taken them for months! So, I had to call the insurance lady and tell her, "Yes, they do say I'm diabetic!" Needless to say, that's going to greatly lessen my options, and I may not be able to get insured at all! What makes me so angry is that the doctor that I had placed confidence in to safeguard my health had never, in plain words, told me that he considered me non-insulin dependent diabetic. That's a HUGE thing, as far as I'm concerned. I simply cannot afford to keep paying the huge premium that I pay monthly to keep my present policy. What to do? What to do?

On a positive note, as you know, I've been spearheading the effort to get a group together to attend the Smalley "I Promise" Marriage Seminar this weekend. We've had so many register that I've had to call and order more tickets twice. When I called the Smalley Center today, they told me that they're going to send my last ticket order free of charge because we've done so well with our response. We also qualify for a free lesson DVD and Gary Smalley's new book. I thought that was nice.

So, my emotions have been up to the sky and down in the cellar today. Life brings some huge problems along with it. It seems that, the older one gets, the more prolific the decisions become. One right or wrong decision can change the rest of your life! Guess that's true when you're younger, too, but you at least have the optimism of youth. As you age, reality seems to jump right up and slap you in the face.

Gotta look on the bright side. Gotta keep my chin up. Gotta count my blessings. Gotta get off this roller coaster!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Great Day

Isn't it funny how you can have an absolutely bummer day, then turn right around and enjoy the next day to the fullest? That's the way my week has been.

Today the JoyPals from church (ladies 55 and older) took two vans and went to Ste. Genevieve for lunch and "shop hopping" for a while. The food at the restaurant wasn't the best - but who cares?? The fellowship was great. One of the ladies who is 83 years old, the Pastor's sister and I toured an absolutely beautiful, old Catholic church. The gorgeous stained glass windows were honestly awesome, especially considering how old the church was. Then we visited an old, two-story home built by one of the French founders of the city. Afterward, most of us treated ourselves to an ice cream (in one form or another) and headed back home.

The weather could not have been nicer. It was a great day of fun, food and fellowship. So different from yesterday. That's what's so great about life - there's SUCH variety!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Just One of Those Days

It's been a very busy and somewhat stressful day for me. I have no kids pulling at my dresstail and begging for time and attention. I don't have dirty diapers to launder or bottles to wash. No one has a runny nose or diarrhea. But it's been a difficult day.

We spent several hours at the hospital this morning while Don was put through a couple tests in preparation for an upcoming surgery. I came home to some problems that I had to deal with in other areas of my life. I'm feeling a bit guilty about some problems a friend has. The dog pooped in the floor while I was on the phone. Don had his monthly "bluegrass night" and I was left alone for the evening. It's made me a bit melancholy.

So, let's think this whole day through. Don came through his tests quite well, no ill-effects at all that we can see. I'm involved in a couple projects through church that are, after all the problems and hair-pulling, very rewarding and fulfilling projects. I'm not responsible for the decisions my friends make or don't make, so I shouldn't feel guilty about them. Don has found something that he absolutely loves in interacting and playing music with some friends each month.

In other words, what, exactly, has made this day difficult? Maybe my response to things? I don't enjoy sitting for long periods of time with little to do. I especially don't enjoy things that don't run smoothly. (Does ANY project run totally glitch-free?) When I'm feeling melancholy, I don't really like being left alone (although I'm certain that I'm not good company then). I need to get past taking on responsibility for everyone else's problems. It's a matter of perspective. Thanks to this post, I'm going to stop the negative, draining thinking about the day and begin appreciating the good things that happened.

Thank you, blogspot!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Of much worth -

Today was our annual Reunion on my mom's side. Although it wasn't as well attended as it has been some years, it was fun seeing everyone. The children are all growing much too quickly. A couple cousins had new wives to show off. And it was simply good fellowship - all the way around.

One of my nieces has two little girls, one three and one two. My granddaughters are 10 and my younger grandson is eight. They all think these two little girls (and their baby brother) are fascinating. I was trying to get my grandchildren to be more comfortable in assuming responsibility for the little ones, so I took my four and the two little girls over to the larger playground at the park. (I've found that children are much more asserting when they don't have a battery of parental eyes trained on them.) The older children were talking to the little girls in baby talk, which was especially funny since the three-year-old can talk almost as plainly as they do! Even the two-year-old is talking very maturely for her age. But it was a new experience for my grandchildren, and they were loving the opportunity it afforded them to "mommy" these little girls. After the daddy came to pick the little ones up, my grandchildren kept saying, "Granny, aren't they cute? They're so sweet." They were mesmermized.

That's the way it always is with little ones. People, in general, are drawn to them. We want to protect them. We want to make them smile, and we like to feel that, in some way, they're drawn to us.

I'm finding that true with the young married couples we're dealing with, too. When we have new ones that come into the class that are so open and willing to be taught, it makes me want to protect that innocence. I want to see them smile and feel that I have, in some small way, added value to their life. The Bible talks about the older women teaching the younger, and that doesn't happen by mouthing words. Our former pastor's wife used to say often, "Some things are caught more than taught." That's what discipling is all about. Not only giving someone the foundation of the Word, but showing them by our everyday living that walking with God is so very worth it!

While my grandchildren today longed for the little girls to trust them, feel comfortable with them, and even seek them out, they hardly knew what steps to take to make that happen. If they could spend more time with their little cousins (without the parents present), it would certainly make for a comfortable atmosphere for bonding. While I, too, long for my young friends to trust me, feel comfortable with me and even seek me out, it will only come as I cultivate my friendship with them. As they get to know me and I get to know them, real friendship will be birthed.

God doesn't put us where we are for no reason. There are people around you everyday that you can touch in a positive way for Him. It may sound trite, but it's true -- there are people you can touch that no one else would be able to reach. Make an effort to be a friend. Be faithful to go the second mile. Don't be upset when you have to spend a little extra time with someone who is reaching out. The pay-off is great. I've said for years that, when you make a friend of a child, you have a friend for life. The same is true with God's little ones. When you take the time to be a true friend, you'll have a friendship that will last a lifetime. It's worth every effort.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Check it out!

Hey, guys. Check out http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1766638341

I like what I'm seeing and hearing!

Sick of Being Sick

We had our consultation with the thoracic surgeon today. The trick to being able to do the simpler method for Don's surgery will hinge upon how far back Don can lean his head. He has to put his head back far enough that they can put the instruments straight into an incision at the base of his throat (that soft area) to his heart. Try it. It isn't easy to bend your head that far back. If they can't do it that way, they will have to split his sternum, and we both hate the thought of that. The doctor had asked Don initially to lean his head back as far as he could, and it didn't go far. Then he explained how they would to the procedure and the options, and it was amazing how much farther back Don could lean his head, with just that little incentive!! He has to go to the hospital Monday for a chemical stress test and a lung function/capacity test. So, we'll be at the hospital all day. If he aces both those tests (which we have no reason to believe he won't), they'll probably schedule his thymectomy right away.

On top of his usual problems, he's been plagued with allergies the last few days. The mold count had been quite high, and we think that's what triggers him. This only happens about once a year, so it isn't something serious. Just bothersome. He's better today because it's pouring rain and that has helped all the allergen counts.

Don and I were talking on the way home about how very thankful we are for God's benefits toward us. We are His children, and He is committed to us. Although he is having problems, many people are worse off. Even the surgeon we spoke with today was amazed that, given Don's high antibody counts, he's having no problems breathing, swallowing or with slurred speech. That's wonderful! We continue to appreciate where we are in the whole scheme of things. Life is good; God is faithful.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Big Decision

Don and I go tomorrow to have a conference with a thoracic surgeon at Barnes/St. Peters. The neurologist thinks it's imperative for Don to have his thymus gland removed. It won't cure the illness he has, but it may impede the progress. If it would help, we're for it. However, in order to remove the thymus gland (which is a sheath over the heart), they have to split the sternum, just like they do in major heart surgery. We're NOT for that. So, our neurologist has found a thoracic surgeon who does the surgery arthroscopically (is that how you spell it?). Anyway, through little incisions in the chest to insert instruments. We would be more in favor of that procedure, but it's still a major surgery. This surgeon is one of a mere handful that does the surgery this new way, and Don may not even be a candidate. So - big decision tomorrow. I would love to see Don's symptoms ease up some. By the end of most days, walking is such a labor for him. However, I don't want to have him suffer through a procedure that isn't going to be beneficial in the long run. I would love for God to just flash the answer to this dilemma across the sky or write it on the wall like He did in Bible days, but my suspicion is that it will be that still small voice of assurance that we're doing the right thing. Just hope we're quiet enough to hear it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

All's Right with the World

I've been busily preparing for the Smalley "I Promise" Marriage Seminar that's going to be in St. Peters, MO on the 12th and 13th of September. I was in charge of registration, purchasing tickets, etc. I've been surprised at the number of couples who, despite the fact that their marriages are floundering, are not interested in help. My honey and I have been married 42 years, and we find that it can get better and better if you keep working on it. So, if you're satisfied with the status quo, I guess you can just remain in the same quagmire you've been in for ages. If not, things can change -- for the better.

We had the kids and grandkids all for dinner yesterday afternoon, and I never have them but that I spend the rest of the evening after they leave thanking God for each and every one of them. The oldest grandchild doesn't always get to come, because he's now a college student and working man. But he was here yesterday. It was a wonderful day.

The small caption that I used for my title kept coming to mind all morning. You remember it don't you? From Pippa's Song by Robert Browning

THE year 's at the spring,
And day 's at the morn;
Morning 's at seven;
The hill-side 's dew-pearl'd;
The lark 's on the wing; 5
The snail 's on the thorn;
God 's in His heaven—
All 's right with the world!

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

More from 8-08

Pics from August 8, 2008

Fun days with the young'uns.

Sunshiny Day

It was a wonderful day -- our annual photo session with the grands. Today I took them to the park in town, and then we went up to Grafton for a few more shots. The weather was perfect (maybe just a little warm). Today was full of the things that memories are made of.

Friday, August 29, 2008

What's a Person to Do?

I was just wondering . . .

What's an old man supposed to do when his butt gets too small to hold his trousers up and he doesn't like wearing suspenders? You know, it's trendy with the younger set to have droopy drawers, but an old codger just can't pull it off.

Why do we treat animals like people and people like animals?

What's a person to do whose ears are crooked and he has to wear his glasses lopsided on his head?

How come we see everyone else's shortcomings but not our own?

What's an older woman to do when she has to lift her bosom to fasten her belt?

Why is it cute when our kids act out, but terrible if someone else's kid does it?

What else do we expect a youngster to do with his runny nose when he doesn't have a Kleenex or a long-sleeved shirt?

I was just wondering . . .

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Can See Clearly Now . . .

For several weeks now, I've fully intended to find time to take all my screens down and wash them. The job involved also washing the inside and outside of all the windows. Fortunately, when we built the house, Don was interested in making it cost efficient, so he didn't have a lot of windows put in. Usually, I crab about that, because I love the light. Today, however, I was thankful. It was about 90 degrees outside, and I overheat easily. He and I persevered and got the job done. I didn't realize how dirty the windows were until I sat down in the livingroom to rest after the job was done. It looked so bright outside (and it's actually cloudy and overcast, because it's getting ready to rain).

I wonder if that isn't how my life is sometimes. I don't realize how "cluttered" I've allowed my life to become or how "grimy" my outlook is. Then I'll have a good time in the Word, watch an uplifting show on TV or hear a good sermon, and it squirts a little Windex on the windows of my soul. Everything looks bright and sunny again. Unless we're taking daily account of our lives, we often don't realize how far we've slipped from where we need to be.

Since I'm not a very deep person intellectually, God uses simple things to teach me. I love that. I learned something today from His little object lesson. I'm going to try to keep the Windex and rag ready in case my soul starts getting a bit smudged. Happy day!