Saturday, November 28, 2020

Crossing Jordon Hand in Hand

 Yesterday I met my friend Myung at the park. She was looking for a fellow Christian, someone with whom to share her inner struggles, and a friend with which to pray. We walked along the lake shore, into the park, and up the hill to the picnic area filled with old gnarled sycamore trees, stopping every so often to talk. I wasn't sure how to answer, but know that very often I am simply looking for a listening ear and an understanding heart. 

Our struggles are vastly different, and yet similar all at the same time. We have each been held captive in prisons of our own making. Shackled by our own emotions, held in chains of the past. She shared how she has been reading the book of Deuteronomy and thinking on the children of Israel crossing the Jordon River into Canaan, leaving the wilderness forever behind. We stood face to face, eyes closed, each simultaneously praying for the other and ourselves. When we'd finished praying we symbolically crossed the River Jordon hand in hand. We are moving forward. No looking back. No more living in the past or allowing it to control the future.

I was back home again when she sent me a text. One of the quotes she sent was The bee fertilizes the flower it robs. "I love this word," she said, "It is for me," and it fit her situation perfectly. Honestly, it fits mine too.

Below this quote was another, When it is dark enough you can see the stars, and I recalled how five years ago a deep darkness had descended upon my soul. The darkness was so thick that I was emotionally paralyzed. Every time I lay down, I could literally hear the sound of my own blood rushing through my ears. Every time I sat down my knee bounced up and down. I wasn't sure the world could ever be bright and carefree ever again... but I am learning that in the darkness the light of Christ shines even brighter. I don't have to be afraid and I don't have to stand still because he holds my hand and His word lights the path before me. My part is to trust Him, hold tight to His hand, and keep walking.

My friend is praying for me and I am praying for her. I am in awe of how God has brought us together.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020 and Other Musings

Sappy. That's me. Forever totally sappy. Excessively sentimental. Perhaps this okay. But maybe it stands in the way of me being emotionally healthy and whole. The thing is I'm not sure how to be anything different. Aside from recent years of numbness and being overwhelmed, I've always been excessively and deeply emotional. I try to keep a lid on it, but sometimes it leaks out. Something to work on in the coming year. Finding balance so I don't get thrown off kilter or unintentionally knock a loved one over.

I wonder what the emotions are doing deep inside my body, because how we think affects our health and well being. Most of these deep emotions start out high in my chest, just below my neck and flow outward toward my shoulders and down my arms, or up into my neck where they tie little knots in all my neck muscles. Crying helps release tension, but it has other unpleasant side effects life puffy, swollen eyes and headaches. In my imagination, long, tight hugs drain the tension and my body is able to relax. This is one reason a job with little people is so rewarding. They need hugs and so do I. It's also one reason I return to the chiropractor again and again. He hugs me. One hug can get me through the week.

Thanksgiving 2020 was unlike any Thanksgiving in my past, with the exception of one spent in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1981. Back then I was far, far away from the only family I'd ever known, spending the holiday instead with part of the family I'd married into. Most of that day is just a blur of faded memories. What I recall most is that is hardly felt like Thanksgiving. Yesterday I was with my family, a very small portion of it, and my sweet daughter's extended family. It was a very nice day but it was hard not to let my mind wander back to the past and linger there. The rest of my local family, except for Nathan and Sabrina, were at Bethany's house with James. I chose this year to be with Hannah, who is not ready for a holiday party with her dad. Honestly, I'm not ready either. Every year I am less ready than the year previous...

So, how to live in grateful anticipation? How do I wire my brain to think positively about the future when it is so accustomed to dwelling on the past, even the good past? Memories are wonderful encouragers and great teachers, and while they can help shape the future, living in them is pointless if they aren't making a positive impact on today. *sigh* There must be some great scripture verses out there for all of this...

Today, if the weather holds, I have a "socially distanced walk" planned with my friend Myung from the pottery studio. Just a walk at Webster Park. I still have  my key to the pottery studio, even if they are in the middle of Rochester's current orange zone. One day I'll go back and maybe I will find my pottery friends there too.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

It's Almost Friday

The month of November caught up with me this week. Exhausted and threadbare, a deep desire to call my mom descended. I found myself teary and tired, but God came through like He always does. A couple of friends reached out through text messages and I went to sleep at night feeling relieved.


My grandson, Number 1, has had surgery to put his collarbone back together. Pain killers will keep him comfortable during this initial stage of healing, and hopefully he'll ride his bike a little slower in the future.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the living room. I'm glad my daughter is picking up on doing Christmas early. Wish I hadn't been such a stickler for waiting until after Thanksgiving when my kiddos were small. Probably could have saved myself some aggravation. If we can't celebrate Christmas and be thankful at the same time then something is desperately wrong in our hearts. 

It's almost Friday and I'm ready for the weekend.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Bits and Pieces

 It's been quite the week and I'm not sure I can remember half of it.

* Friends, family, and strangers have stepped up all week long to help my daughter and her family. There have been meals, babysitters, donations of diapers and breast milk, and a multitude of prayers. As a mom who works full time I have felt overwhelmed and relieved all at the same time. I never doubted God would provide for each and every need, I only doubted my own ability to follow through on my part.

* I went back to work on Monday, back to the little ones who call my name, ask for hugs, and inquire about lunch. It is therapy at its best. I never tire of hearing little ones say, "I need a hug!" There are times I need a hug too, and didn't I, just the other day, tell a friend to save one for me?

* On Wednesday Bethany sent me a text that read, "I may have begged, and even cried a little... But the nurse gave permission. You can come and visit me." She was scheduled for a procedure and so it was decided that I would come on Thursday. The good news is she didn't need the procedure after all.

* There was bad news on Wednesday too. My oldest grandson crashed his bicycle and fractured his clavicle. This is Bethany's oldest son. Now she was the mom unable to comfort or see her child. At the height of his pain on Thursday he Facetimed his mom, tears streaming down his face. He'd tried to change his shirt unassisted. His break is bad and he will be having surgery on Tuesday.

* I went to the hospital Thursday night, hugged my daughter long and tight, and helped her wash her "ten days ripe" hair. She is a trooper. We both laughed when the shower head went rogue and streamed over her face. I visited again on Friday while Adam stayed home with the kids and attempted to catch up with himself.

* Yesterday I drove an hour south to pick up a recliner/lift chair at the home of my brother in law's sister. It just fit into my car. Not an inch to spare. And I had a nice long visit with Laurie too.

* The best news of all is that my girl is scheduled to come home today. She still has her appendix. That will need to come out in a couple of months when her insides are healed and the inflammation has subsided. Everyone asks me about this. I am not a medical professional and must trust they are doing everything they can to help her body heal and maintain its integrity. I am relieved to see my daughter smile again.

Monday, November 09, 2020

My Girl

For those wondering, and my future self, yes, she is still in the hospital. It was bad, guys, really bad. It's still bad, but she's improving in little ways each day, even if progress is painfully slow. Who would have thought we'd celebrate the passing of gas? Life is full of surprises.

I went back to work today. My mind was half there and half at Bethany's house, but I made it through and passed out more hugs than I can remember. After work I went to Beth's so Adam could go to the hospital. We're going to love each other in a whole new way when this is done.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Just Keep Praying

I'm barely sure what day it is anymore... Actually, I know it's Thursday, it just doesn't feel normal because it's anything but. My girl had surgery on Tuesday evening, but they did not take her appendix yet. Too much inflammation in other places. I don't understand all of it, but I know she is getting the best care possible. She sounded so very sick on the phone last night that after we hung up I cried. The helpless feeling washed over and my heart was aching. She may be halfway to 70, but she is still my baby. As a family we are all angry that the hospital she went to on Saturday sent her home with a probable stomach ulcer, stating if she had appendicitis she would be a lot sicker. We are thanking God for sparing her life and pray for a full recovery. She said she was feeling a little better this morning and I am so grateful, although I know she is far from all better.

I am able to be here with the kids until returning to work Monday morning. A friend has found donors of breast milk for Henry and set up a Meal Train. What is needed next are friends to come here to help after she returns home from the hospital. She can not be expected to keep up with four children when she is released. Please pray we are able to find available friends and family members who are willing to give of their time for the next several weeks.

The weather has turned from winter back to summer. I had the door open for much of the day and even carried the baby around the block mid afternoon. When Adam returned home I asked him where a stroller might be hiding. Of course it was right there in the closet next to my jacket which I hung there yesterday morning. The weather is forecast to remain warm the next few days so we'll definitely be going for a walk.

I guess there's an election battle going on, but I'm trying not to notice. God knows all about that fiasco and He is ultimately in control no matter what the outcome. 

Thank you for your prayers on all fronts.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

What Moms Do

 I spent a several hours taking in the a rare sunshine filled day walking the woods once again this past weekend. I was planning on the emotional floodgates bursting open, but the woods is too therapeutic for that. Once enveloped by the trees, all negative emotion dissipates and I am lost in the wonder of creation and capturing it's beauty.

I went from the woods to the lake shore and gathered another pocketful of beach glass. The wind was cold and biting. Even so quite a few people came and went while I picked through stones along the water's edge. The angle of the sun was perfect for finding brown and amber pieces, although I picked up plenty of green and clear too. I met Kelly, also there to look for glass. When my pocket was bulging with treasures, I decided to head for home.

As I drove toward home, my phone began to ring and I pulled over to answer it. On the other end was my daughter, struggling with a severe pain in her tummy. She felt the need to see a doctor and couldn't get a hold of her husband whose phone was dead, so I went to stay with the kids and took pictures of Henry. They eventually sent her home without any definite diagnosis, and not many tests. Today she had was back, at a different hospital, and this time they took her symptoms serious. She's still there.


Tomorrow I will get up early, shower, dress, and get ready for my day, but I will not go to work. Instead I am going to stay with my grandchildren. This is what moms do.