Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Little Step Back

Much of my blogging has been about our dealings with Don's ALS.  I suppose that's because this illness has practically consumed our lives - eaten us alive.

Don has done amazingly well for months now.  However, the last couple of weeks have brought some changes.  He has weakened, so I'm having to use the EZ/Stand lift to transport him from powerchair to bed, bed to powerchair, etc.  Two weeks ago, he bristled every time I asked him if he wanted me to use the lift.  Now, he asks for it.

Also, a number of weeks ago, Don had the hiccups for three days running.  He was miserable.  Once they finally went away, they hadn't returned - until today.  He hasn't had them continually, but he's had them intermittently all day long.  I deal well with much of what's going on in our lives, but I hate seeing him uncomfortable or in pain.  This has been a very uncomfortable day for him.  On top of the hiccups, he has noticed that his breathing has been a bit more labored the last couple days.  What next?

I remind myself often, by reading God's Word, a song, or some author's inspired writings, that God is with us through all of this.  Sometimes, I wish He would stand a bit closer.  I feel like I'm groping for His hand when the days are dark. 

I love looking at pictures of Don when the days were better and the sun shone a bit brighter.  I have lots of pictures of him with the grandkids, playing music, or generally enjoying life.  I treasure them.  In fact, I treasure HIM!  He has made every day worth living for the last 45 years.  So, despite these little steps backward he's been taking lately, we're in it - together - for the long haul.  We're winners, no matter how you look at it!

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Lasting Heritage

My children happen to be fifth generation Christian believers (many of which are Pentecostal). I've always felt an element of pride about that. My great-grandfather was one of the first Pentecostals in his part of the country. I don't think I ever met a sweeter or more humble man in all my life than my Grandpa Robinson.

My memories of my grandparents (particularly my maternal grandparents) are of being with them in church, sharing hours and hours of music - singing and playing, and great family integrity. My parents continued that legacy with their children. I and both my siblings played music and sang in church all our lives. We've also been active in children's ministry and the governing body of the church.

Don's parents, while not having the Christian heritage to draw from that my family had, made their own history. Mom and Dad Stewart raised their seven children to know and love God at an early age. They made it clear that they loved each of their family, but their love of the Savior was all-encompassing. All seven children have continued to pass that love of God on to their children.

Don and I tried to continue that heritage with our own family. I know we made many mistakes, but as I look at our son and daughter, my heart swells with pride. Dondra has taken many reverses and backsets and has turned them into life lessons. She's one of the most gifted and caring people I know. Jeff and Julie have raised their family with the same integrity that I've seen for generations. Consequently, we have five grandchildren that are loving, caring, conscientious and (if I do say so myself) quite smart! Each time I'm with them, I marvel at the wonderful job Jeff and Julie have done. They've led by example. That's, of course, the best way.

Think my great-grandpa would be proud of where we've all come from and where we are. Life brings change, but some things are eternal. I'm thankful that we've remembered to pass along those things.