Friday, May 27, 2011

Making Each Day Count

My uncle died this past week. That's sad in itself. But his life was sadder than most.

Much of his life he was an alcoholic. He and my aunt had seven children. Much of the years when the kids were small, he spent in a bar somewhere. But, in his son's eulogy to his father, I was struck by one thing. While my uncle had been drunk a lot of the time, he still took his boys hunting with him. He taught them to fish. He sang little ditties and jingles, and his son sang one to us word for word. He taught them to laugh. He taught them to have fun.

But, I think, most of all, he taught them that real love is unconditional. Some of his children have made mistakes. Serious mistakes. Maybe it was because he had been there himself, but he never let his love flow be dammed by disapproval or criticism. At his death, they honored that.

My uncle found peace with God a couple years before he died. He would call my aunt and uncle, who pastor a church here in town, and have them pray with him. They sent him CDs of my uncle preaching. Quite a turnaround. But, oh, the wasted years!

There are a lot of things in my life, even right now, that I wish were different. But at the moment, I don't want anything that seems to be disappointing or upsetting to deter me from doing what's right. I don't want others to affect my relationship with God. When it's all said and done, what have I left behind? I certainly won't have material goods, but I hope I leave a good name, beautiful memories, and a testimony that I loved my God, my family, and my friends. Let it be said that I made a difference.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bulldog Tenacity


I don't use the word "awesome" thoughtlessly. To me, few things are really awe-inspiring, outside of God. But I think my husband may qualify.

Don's younger brother, Tom, is over-the-top good to us,but he's also good to a lot of other folks. His time is taken by many different people in many different directions. So, as much as we can do things on our own, we try. We still need our sense of independence (especially Don), and we may HAVE to have more help at some point

This year, getting onto his riding mower has been a near impossibility for my honey. We've learned that, if we use the transfer board, I can actually help him in getting out of his powerchair and onto the mower. But it's a job - for both of us. Mowing the lawn is something that's especially important to him, though. And he doesn't want to give it up. Sort of a line he's drawn in the sand.

So, we decided that today would be the day that we would make the extra effort and mow the yard. He has to work so hard for ANYTHING he does anymore, and I absolutely stand in awe of his perseverance. I used to get upset at what I called his stubborness. He always insisted that it was a little incongruous that I considered HIM stubborn (he lives with me, you know). No matter my previous thoughts and attitudes, his willingness to hang in there despite the huge inconveniences has proven to be such a blessing. He puts me to shame.

I'm made aware every day of the things that we take for granted: walking, getting our own snacks, fixing our own meals, turning over in bed, languishing in a hot bath. When those are gone and you have to make do with whatever new circumstances present themselves, what's your attitude then? Don's is to attack the problem and find a solution. Think outside the box - sometimes WAY outside. Works for us!

Monday, May 9, 2011

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Isn't it great to wake up with a sunny outlook? That's what happened to me today. I've been counting my blessings all day long.
1. Despite a few sprinkles, it was a beautifully warm, sunny day.
2. Don and I were able to get out and do some things together. I LOVE being with him.
3. I'm almost finished with my laundry.
4. Sat on the back deck as the afternoon came to close, eating blueberry yum yum and drinking hot coffee. Makes me smile to think about it.
5. Reminded myself over and over how blessed I am to be who I am, where I am, and HOW I am!

I can go to bed feeling that it's the close of a blessed day, with many more to follow.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Turning Over a New Leaf

I've been plagued through my life with depression. Many think depression is nothing more than a spiritual issue. I disagree, but it doesn't matter. Spiritual or not, I've wrestled with it most of my adult life and much of my younger years.

One thing my "thought life" has done to me has been to make me feel inadequate in most areas. As much as I might like to simply turn over a new leaf and wake up tomorrow with different thoughts in my brain, it's apparently much more involved than that. I do know one thing for certain, though. My thoughts very much determine my mood and self-criticism.

The one area that I've felt most feeble in is parenting (and I'm almost in tears just writing it). Maybe I was too young. I know I was too self-centered. I also know I wasn't selfless enough to give the time and effort I should have given. I was rigid and expected perfection. As an older adult, it's one of my deepest regrets.

On the bright side (I AM talking about turning over a new leaf, you know), both of our children turned out to be wonderful adults. Our daughter is generous to a fault. More thoughtful than I ever was. And working to deal with her own insecurities more successfully than I feel I did. Our son has achieved more than we could have ever dreamed. He is affluent, focused and a man of great integrity. He is a wonderful husband, father, and son. I'm amazed at the juggling act he has to do to keep all his balls in the air.

Looking at them, I'm less critical of myself. I could not have been a total failure for them to have turned out as beautifully as they have.

So, what did I do right? I spent countless hours reading to them, singing with them (teaching them harmony and helping Dondra learn her chords on the piano), taking them to the park and on picnics. We took them camping and on fun family vacations. I always tried to model integrity and uprightness. And it was very important to me that they knew God's ways and were aware of Him in their lives.

I'm intent on not beating myself up this Mother's Day. I want to appreciate the blessings I've received by having my children. The joy they've given me (and I hope I've given them), and the pride I feel when I look at them. I'm believing it isn't about perfection at the task, but the end result. In that regard, I've been a HUGE success!

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm Sandwiched In!

I've heard of those who are in the "tween" generation, and I'm finding myself fitting that description more and more.

Life dealt us an unfortunate blow when Don was diagnosed with ALS 3 1/2 years ago. Recently, there has been some slight digression in his condition. I'm having to help him more and more when it comes to getting his pants up, and today he even asked me to use the lift to help him stand long enough to pull his jeans up and fasten them. So, I'm finding myself having to share a bit more time with him, simply to make life as satisfying and fulfilling as it can be.

A couple days ago, Mom fell and injured her knee. She didn't let me know anything about it until the next day. Since I live the closest of the three kids (and Gary's on a cruise anyway, so he couldn't help), it often falls my lot to take care of minor situations that may arise with my mom. In this case, I went over on Saturday evening and decided, after looking at her knee, that we should at least have it x-rayed. She agreed (much to my surprise), and I spent the evening sitting in the E.R. with her. As it turned out, the knee was not broken. That was good news. They wrapped it and sent her home.

Yesterday, we picked up dinner for her when we were out with our two grandsons and Kristen for lunch. I called again yesterday evening to check on her. This morning, she had a couple things she asked me to do for her "if I happened to be out." So I shook her rugs, swept the house, ran the little hand sweeper on the livingroom carpet and mopped while I was there. Said my quick goodbyes as soon as I finished and came back home.

It's laundry day at my house, so I'm doing that as well as trying to keep up with the daily things that require my attention.

I would be lying if I said I never feel like I'm overwhelmed and need a bit more breathing space. On the flipside, I'm so blessed to be able to care for two of the sweetest people in the world. They're neither one complainers, and they're each one grateful for anything you do for them.

So, yes. I'm definitely sandwiched in. But it must be a BLT (one of my favorites), because it only tastes good!