Sunday, July 26, 2009

Permission Denied!

Don and I were recently conducting some business at the bank. The young lady taking care of us left the office for a few minutes, and I noticed a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt hanging, framed, on her wall. Mrs. Roosevelt was quoted as saying, "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." I've thought of that quote several times since.

For as long as I can remember, I've had an inferiority complex. Yes, I know I'm a God's Kid, fashioned in His image, and that God doesn't make junk. I know all that in my head, but, some days, I have a hard time getting it in my heart. My love gift is words of affirmation, and if someone offers even constructive criticism, it's almost like a slap in the face to me. I'm not going to pschoanalyze myself, but I simply know it's been something I've dealt with all my life. People tell me I don't come across as insecure, and I'm thankful for that, because I would often rather crawl in a hole somewhere than put myself forward.

But that quote started a motor whirring in my spirit. No one can make me feel inferior unless I give them permission to do so. If they have problems, I don't have to take them on as my own. Even if they're unable to relate to me in a positive way, that isn't necessarily my fault - so I don't have to make it such. I'm going to mull it over some more, but I think I'm going to do better with this little quirk of mine in the future. I'm as secure as I allow myself to be. Wow! What a revelation!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It was just a joke!

Almost a month ago, we had our first appointment at the ALS Clinic at St. Louis University. While there, one of the therapists measured Don for a foot brace (his left foot drops, and his toes will catch, causing him to fall). She had approached me slyly and said, "How about we tell Don that this brace only comes in this butterfly design, just to see what he says." They had already caught on that Don is very much a manly man. So, we pulled the joke on him, trying to convince him that his brace could only come enhanced with lots of pastel-colored butterflies. Let me just say, he was glad it was a joke.

This morning, I received a call from the same therapist before our 2:30 p.m. appointment to get the brace fitted in St. Louis. She said, "Mrs. Stewart, you simply are NOT going to believe this. Do you know what design they sent Mr. Stewart's brace in? Butterflies!" She had obviously pushed the wrong button when ordering. The irony of the situation was just too much to let her off lightly. She asked me to break the news gently to Don, but I told her I wasn't going to tell him anything. She would just have to explain it when we got over there!

But, you know, all things DO work together for good . . . Don's sleep is often interrupted by his calf cramping. He has long thought it's because he can't lift his foot, and that muscle gets over-tired from being in the same position all the time. He was anxious to wear the brace at night, hoping to help the calf cramping. The therapist said we could only get one brace, so we would just have to put this one in and out of his shoe each time he wore it. After the order error, she said she would overlook the "only one per family" rule and let us have both the butterfly brace and the new black one she's ordering. Our younger grandson got a lot of enjoyment out of seeing Pa with his butterfly brace! But all's well that ends well.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Boy, Was My Face Red!

I've had a bit too much excitement for one day! We have two hummingbird feeders at our house, one in the front and one in the back. The little stinkers have been drinking from them like crazy, so I'm having to refill them every two or three days. This morning, I decided to get my "brew" ready for the feeder in the back. The process involves mixing 1/4 cup sugar with 1 cup water, then bringing the mixture to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, I pour it into another container and add a few drops of red food coloring. When it cools, I put it into the feeder and mount it where it belongs.

This morning was different. I had put my mixture on the stove and was bringing it to a boil when something else (who knows what) took my attention. I ended up on the computer downstairs, probably on Facebook. (I AM somewhat addicted - but just somewhat.) Anyway, the next thing I know, this odd alarm sound is going off in the house. I ran upstairs to find the problem and was met by smoke and an acrid smell coming from my little pan on the stove that held the now charcoaled water/sugar mixture. I quickly went in to our alarm and turned it off. It came on again. Again, I turned it off. What I didn't know at the time is that you have to turn it off twice in quick succession to get the fire alarm to actually deactivate. Next thing I know, a fire engine has pulled up in front and two garbed firemen are approaching the house. I ran out explaining that it was false alarm. I don't think they were amused.

I've learned two things from this episode today: (1) Try to keep a watch on the boiling pan of hummingbird syrup. If it's left unattended, it WILL turn to charcoal and badly smoke up your house setting off the alarm; (2) To turn the fire alarm off, you have to go through the "off" process twice in quick succession. Let all who read be warned!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Sights and Smells of Home

I just finished putting my sixth loaf of zucchini bread in the oven. The scent of warm cinnamon is floating on the breeze, and I started thinking. . .

Sights and smells I love:
1. Seeing Don interact and play with the grandkids or seeing them put their arms around him and give him a smooch.
2. The smell of a fresh pot of coffee in the morning.
3. Watching Don and our grown son and daughter exchange hugs and back pats.
4. The fresh smell of my sweetheart after a hot shower.
5. Seeing the tiny hummingbirds at our feeders in the front and back.
6. Breathing the "baby" smell of lotion when I love on little people.
7. Crawling into a freshly changed bed.
8. The toothless smile of a baby.
9. The scent of something good in the oven.
10. Seeing an old friend.

Makes me smile just thinking about all these things!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

. . . And a Wonderful Time Was Had by All

Tonight was such a wonderfully fun night! It was music night, and we hosted. I had spent most of the day yesterday preparing yeast dough for homemade pizza tonight. I also had potato salad and strawberry shortcake. Mom and a couple of the Stewart sisters-in-law brought goodies as well. We had about 25 people in and out during the evening. A new couple came who was visiting with one of the couples who comes all the time. It's always great to make new friendships with good people. The music was enjoyable. The company couldn't be beat. The food was yummy. I'm exhausted - but it's a happy kind of exhausted.

My life has changed completely in the last year. I rarely do things just for or by myself anymore; Don and I nearly always do things together. It matters a great deal to me that he spends time doing things he enjoys. And he enjoys playing music! Right now, my life is seeing Don smile as he's surrounded by his friends and family. Can't beat it!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Is It Thanksgiving Yet?

The past few days have been some of our busiest for a while, but I've been overwhelmingly thankful for my life - where I am, who I'm with, and why I'm here - several times.

1. They ran a special segment on CBS News last night about ALS. The man they interviewed was clearly more advanced than my honey. I'm thankful Don's where he is and no worse. If a miracle doesn't come, we know what to expect. But I'm thankful for the here and now. I love having him be able to go places with me, even if it is on a rollator or scooter. His company is priceless.

2. On Sunday evening, we met with a number of our very dearest friends and family to celebrate our time at Bethel, when Bro. and Sis. Brand pastored there. What a joy to see old friends. Sis. Brand often says, "Make new friends, but keep the old. The new are silver, but the old are gold." We spent time with golden friends on Sunday.

3. Tuesday night was bluegrass night. Our guys aren't dyed-in-the-wool bluegrassers. They play some oldtime gospel, some honky-tonk, and other music as well. We had a great time socializing, and Don enjoyed being with his music playing buddies. All except one of the Stewart siblings were there. What a treat!

4. We got the four younger grands yesterday and kept them overnight. They're always delightful. While we were at Dollar Tree today letting them each spend their dollar, I noticed a woman at the checkout. She had a whole troop of little people with her. I asked her if they were siblings, and she replied that they were sextuplets! I knew exactly who she was. Before the babies were born (there are two older girls as well), Don helped put the air-conditioning in the home friends and family were renovating for this young couple who were, at the time she was pregnant, living in a two-bedroom home. All six little people, who are now five, are healthy and as cute as little bugs. I somehow felt connected to her, since Don had played an important part in preparing their home for them. Friends I didn't even know I had!

5. This evening, Don's sister, who is visiting from Tulsa, and his mom came over to spend some time. I've always greatly admired this particular sister-in-law. Maybe because we were friends even before I started dating her big brother. She's been an inspiration to me, and her faith and genuine experience with God always encourage me. Some people SAY they have it, but this woman really does! I love having her as my sister-in-law.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. We have absolutely NOTHING on the calendar. We're getting with our kids on Sunday evening, so there will be lots of cooking and planning for me to do before then. But, for the moment, I think I'll bask in the good memories and blessings that God has given me. They're many. They're sweet. And they're undeserved.