Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Don't be Lame

"And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word." I Kings 18:21

I'm wrestling with some things. Trying to settle some things in my heart… my head… my life. I was reading some verses in my Bible that applied and I remembered this one. Something struck me this time that I had never thought of before. That word "halt" is the same word that often is used as a biblical synonym for lame. Elijah asked the people how long they were going to limp back and forth between two opinions.

Several years ago, I experienced a series of events that were difficult. In seeking Bible answers that time, I clung to Hebrews 12, especially verse 13: "And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed." I worked on following straight ways while I regained my strength. Much like a sprained ankle, my heart was wounded and needed support while it healed.

I don't want to be lame. I don't want to be turned out of the way. I don't want to halt between two opinions. I want to follow the LORD.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Family Traits

My grandfather was the king of yarn-spinners. Everyone, even us grandkids called him Sug because he was so sweet but he could tell a tale. Do you know that once he once drove from his home in Kansas City, Missouri to our home in Texas (a trip of 730 miles) without stopping ONCE!? Every traffic light on the way was green! Then there was the time at he was the cook at Boy Scout camp and they ran out of food so he had to go hunting. They had lion and bear and.... There is definitely a "lyin" in that story.

My mom picked up the tradition where Sug left off. She swore to her dying day that there was a crow in her neighborhood that had a 5-foot wingspan. (The common crow has a wingspan maximum of about two feet.)

So it was, that my mother was so very excited when the mantle of yarn-spinner fell on her grandson. My nephew Bryan was about 5 when we took him and his younger brother Chris on an outing in the country. We went to a blueberry patch and picked blueberries. After that we drove around and looking at scenery. We passed a side road and Bryan asked why we couldn't go down that road. My Hero was teasing him and told him it was dangerous to go down that road because there were cows that ate cars.

The story exploded from there. When we got home, Bryan ran to his Nanny and told her that he saw cows eating cars. This one cow even ate a minivan! Upon hearing the story, my mother embraced him and declared "My boy!!!"

Who knew that Bryan was right and somewhere, there really must be car-eating cows?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I have a scar

On the inside of my upper right arm, there is a tiny little scar. It's only about a centimeter across. Three years ago today, I joyfully left the hospital in time to go home for Christmas. After cheating death a couple of times in the previous three weeks, I was so happy to go home.

But I went home with a PIC line. It's a semi-permanent IV. Twice a day, I had to hook myself up to IV medication to continue to fight the fungal buggies and infection that had invaded my body and my blood.

It seems like such a long time ago now but for almost two months, I had that tube in my arm. I learned to clean it and care for it and avoid pulling on it accidentally.

Now there is only the scar. It is a reminder of so many things. Most of all, it reminds me to be thankful for each and every day.

My car got smacked in the parking lot of the grocery store this weekend. You know what? It's only a car. With the winter weather, my knee has been killing me. You know what? I am thankful I can walk!

Like anyone, I can allow myself to focus on the annoyances and inconveniences of life, but I have scars to remind me otherwise. Scars can be good.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Hero is FIFTY today


1. Kidnappers are not very interested in you.

2. In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.

3. No one expects you to run into a burning building.

4. People call at 9 p.m. and ask, "Did I wake you?"

5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

6. There's nothing left to learn the hard way.

7. Things you buy now won't wear out.

8. You can eat dinner at 4:00 p.m.

9. You enjoy hearing about other people's operations.

10. You get into a heated argument about pension claims.

11. You have a party and the neighbors don't even realize it.

12. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.

13. You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.

14. You sing along with the elevator music.

15. Your eyes won't get much worse.

16. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

17. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the National Weather Service.

18. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.

19. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Long Way From Home

I was bundling Beau up to go outside the other day: longjohns, winter socks, snow pants, mittens, hat, scarf, boots. I was struck with wonder. What was "I" doing here? I'm from the West Texas desert. Cold is below 40°!

The Christmas that I was 9, my Nanny sent us a box of presents. I excitedly opened mine and was instantly confused. I had no idea what this strange item was.

After several minute of examining the gift from every angle, I finally asked Mom. "Oh," she exclaimed, "those are ear muffs!"

"Ear what?"

"Ear muffs."

"What are they for?"

"They are for keeping your ears warm?"

"Why? Why would you need to keep your ears warm?"

I think I used them once.

Once a week, I volunteer at Beau's school in a literacy program. I have a couple of second graders who I read with. We sit in the hallway and read and play some word games.

This morning, I looked down the hall and this is what I saw:

And again, I was struck. Where I'm from, this is seasonal footwear!

I really am a long way from home.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Dogs

Brody, my 17-month old Lab/Golden Retriever mix

Birdie, my six-year-old mutt who hogs the space heater!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Who will vacuum?

Surgery had been 5 days earlier. I wasn't recovering as quickly as I hoped, but then again I had been so sick for so long… Now I couldn't hold down food and I was running a fever. The doctor ordered a couple of tests and then they appeared in my room. She told me I needed surgery and gave me papers to sign. When I asked when, the answer was now. The orderlies wheeled me out into the hall and into an elevator while I was on my cell phone calling my Hero to tell him what was going on.

A perforated bowel… surgery… right now… get here when you can… I love you. The doctor took my phone out of my hand and talked to him for a minute.

Into the operating room we whisked. I listened to the clattering of the equipment as it was manuevered into place and watched the competent team go about their preparation. When the other doctors arrived, they called my Hero again. They muttered into the phone and then let me talk to him once more. "I love you, too."

Everything was almost ready and in those final moments before the anesthesia mask was placed over my face, I understood that this might be it. My chances of waking up in heaven were 90%.

I used to wonder what thoughts raced through your mind if you were facing death. I'm probably not normal (watch the snickering!) but I wondered if Beau would even remember me. I wondered who would take care of my Hero. I wondered who would vacuum. I also talked to Jesus for a couple of minutes. I had sinned—probably way more than my share, but I dont' konw, it just seemed insincere to go through a bunch of confession right then. I told Him I loved Him. I told Him I was ready if He was but I'd really like to stay here a bit longer.

He let me stay (obviously). Three years ago today, the anesthesia mask descended on my face and I fell asleep singing "My Lord knows the way through the wilderness…" I take so much less for granted now. Every joy, every sorrow, every smile, every tear—all are precious because every one is a bonus.

And when I vacuum, I smile.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Half Empty or Half Full?

View from my back door, Wednesday, December 9 about 7 am.

There are few things that cause me to suffer more criticism than the fact that I love the snow! Family, friends, co-workers, and even random strangers are aghast when they find out that I want it to snow in winter.

Don't get me wrong, I know the downside of the snow. I've shoveled. I've inched my way to work over snow-packed roads. Last year, I even fell and left a body mark in the snow against the side of my car and wound up under the car. But I still love it. I love every snowflake—the more the better.

I love the muffled quiet as the snow falls.

I love the sparkling sunshine when the storm is over and the sun comes out.

I love the piles of white covering the deadness of the winter grass.

I love the joy on my Beau's face when he looks out the window and sees the snow.

I love the Bible verses about snow:

Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?
Job 38:22
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than SNOW.
Psalms 51:7

She is not afraid of the SNOW for her household: for all her household [are] clothed with scarlet.
Proverbs 31:21

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as SNOW; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Isaiah 1:18

For as the rain cometh down, and the SNOW from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
Isaiah 55:10

I love the snow because I choose to remember the things about it that I love. I don't watch the first snowflake fall and begin to worry about driving, or shoveling, or falling. My glass isn't even half full… it's overflowing!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Honest, I write lots of posts…

… in my head!

I just haven't seem to find the time to come here and type them out.

It's not even that I live some frantically busy life either. I've just been slacking.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We went to Chicago to the McDonald's Thanksgiving Day parade. We rode the Metra into downtown and Beau had the time of his life. Then on our way back home, we stopped at Popeye's Chicken and had "Thanksgiving Dinner"! We love Popeye's and there isn't one where we live.

No, really, I made turkey and all the trimmings on Friday and we just enjoyed a quiet day. No Black Friday shopping for us. We had even DVR'd the Macy's parade so we could watch it on Friday while dinner was cooking.

It snowing and freezing here today. I need to post pictures of all our adventures, but the computer I use to do that is in the basement office and it's COLD down there today. Hopefully, I'll do that when the wind isn't blasting through the cracks.

I'm going to try to post regularly. I'm still here.