Friday, December 23, 2011
"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19
Thursday, December 15, 2011
These "firsts" are really interesting now that I'm the grandmother. You never know what a kid is really like until they're in front of an audience. Like any bunch of kids, these were a smorgasbord of personalities from the toddlers on up to the five year old preschoolers.
Priming these innocents for a program begins at home, of course. Since our daughter and husband have four in ages six, four, two, and eight months, we went early (like mid-afternoon) to lend a helping hand in getting the family all pulled together to be there in time. Actually, Papa and I mostly did a little housekeeping, diapering, making a tomato soup and salad supper, and then cleaning all that up.
While we were getting supper on the table, Amy laid out goodies on the dining room table for teacher gifts. I'm not sure of the total number of gifts she had to put together for all the teachers encompassing church and school. Each of the three olders have a couple of Sunday School teachers, several Wednesday night church teachers because there's a lot of part-time sharing, and the first grader has a couple of teachers in public school. I'm out of breath just thinking about it! Amazingly, they got them done without eating all of the M & Ms.
Gone are the days when, with only a couple of kids, Amy baked up dozens of different kinds of cookies. She's learning the freedom of keeping things simple. I tell her once all of these babies are in school her time will be more her own again. From the look of her arched eyebrows I get the distinct impression she doesn't believe me. Or, perhaps she considers her sanity will be gone by then. Na, "you're going to be just fine, dear daughter."
But I digressed. Back to our grandson's first really public performance. I didn't think it was very nice that his teacher singled him out to complain that he hadn't talked to her this Fall, but at least she prefaced it with "Derek is soft-spoken," which was an understatement in a kind of flattering way.
Papa and I were wondering if he would be too shy to even walk onstage with the rest of his class. He looked really snazzy in black slacks, a crisp white shirt, a plaid red, white, and black vest, and red cowboy boots like his daddy always wears (altho' Daddy's aren't red). Oh, and I don't want to forget that he wore a black tie that peeked out the top of his vest. He enjoyed the compliments we all gave him before we left home.
He did really well, even singing the "Twelve Days of Christmas," in which a couple of students took their turn with each day--he and a buddy sang the 11th day together. The song got pretty long, and when he sat down in place I got to thinking that might not be a good sign. Finally, it was finished and it was announced the boys and some of the girls had to get their angel and shepherd attire on.
I got to wondering why Derek didn't leave the stage with the other little guys. Finally, one of the teachers noticed it too and escorted him out. When he didn't return with the other "shepherds," Papa looked at me and said, "bathroom." I wasn't sure because the teacher had made a point of mentioning Derek's name when she dismissed the boys to get their costumes on.
After that, it kind of fell apart. I'm assuming Derek refused to dress up like a shepherd 'cause he was dressed to the nines, and he wanted to keep it that way. The teacher came back with him, and had to pick him up and put him on stage. He promptly walked to the edge of the stage and sat down. Teacher put him back up. He walked to the risers and stepped down to the front row (2 rows ahead of us) and sat down like any other spectator. He was so deliberate about it all, so serious and "adult" about it, neither laughing or crying. Maybe in a few days he'll share with me what was going on in that towhead of his.
Through all this, his daddy was trying to get his attention to stay and stand, but Derek wasn't cooperating. Finally, his older sis, Alana, sat down with him on the front row and tried to talk him into returning to the program. Not even she could persuade him and finally gave up. In the meantime his class had finished the song and gotten off stage.
Now, the program was over, the stage empty. Except for one little four-year-old in red cowboy boots who had finally climbed back up the steps and looked ready for the next number. He finally came down with coaxing from his oldest AND younger sisters.
When everyone was trying to get Derek to stand with his class, his 2-yr. old sis fussed because she wanted to go up there and sing with him. She was ready to show him how it was done. It's going to be interesting next Christmas when she'll also be in pre-school.
The best of this, is that there's one more program to get through--the children's program at church this Sunday evening. We'll get to watch the three oldest shine. Last year Derek wasn't about to do anything, not even for his paternal grandmother whose class he was in. Nothing is going to keep me away from Sunday night's program unless I'm running a fever. Oops! pretend I didn't say that--don't want to jinx it).
Did I mention that it's so much more fun being a grandparent than a parent?
Monday, December 12, 2011
What if this post leaves the reader less than hopeful? It would probably be no worse than what most readers are struggling with this time of year. I still have hope...barely! Having hope is not something I manufacture out of the lonely recesses of my heart. Only by the grace of God and His Word, with faith, do I lay claim to hope.
Certainly my faith and hope are, at times, as fragile as a spider's single shimmering thread that trails behind. Having thrown caution to the wind the spider flings itself out into an uncertain space to land on the first thing that stands in its way--another tree, a bush, a fence post, a person. I've had the experience of walking into one of those sticky strands, admiring the four to six foot span, seeing from where it started and where it landed. A ton of faith from such a small package.
I wouldn't make a very good spider. For one thing, I'm too cautious. I would spend everyday of my short life in the same place, too afraid to venture into the unknown. (Altho' I haven't always been that way). For another thing, I have an innate fear/hatred of spiders and their webs. If I were one, would I hate myself? Are humans the only creatures with an ability to hate oneself and express that hate in deplorable and terminal ways?
One of the advantages of having a cane is that I can wave it back and forth in front of me, wrecking spider webs before I walk into one. Hopefully, the spider itself will have been diverted by my cane so that I don't have the horror of walking into it face to face, as has happened to me (shivering). I have repeated dreams of spiders vaulting off ceilings, with me trying to divert them from my bed, too horrified to move and escape the room. I usually wake up before the dreams end, left with the pictures of my dreams and a feeling of dread. There have been occasions where a spider really will drop down in front of my face--what a sense of humor!
On occasion, I've been awakened by my husband because I was moaning in my sleep, when in my dream I was having a terrible time trying to call for help and couldn't scream. I'm sure most of us have experienced that, like the dream when we're falling and wake up with a jerk without ever hitting bottom. That's what I'm talking about.
So, by now, you're probably wondering what spiderwebs, fear of spiders, and waking from a frightful dream have to do with grace, faith, and hope, and why am I choosing to bring this all up now?
1) First, does our normal life take a break during this sacred time of year. In fact, we're in the middle of the bluest time of year when the skies are mostly cloudy and gray. Life itself can be pretty gray, what with all the colds and flu bugs going around. No doubt, we need something to remind us of hope, giving us a thread to hang onto.
2) Aren't the Silver Bells and songs about Sleigh Rides all a publicity stunt for shop-owners to get their greedy little fingers in our wallets. I'm ashamed to admit those gimmicks worked on me to make a Merry Christmas from consumable or non-consumable litter, and other stuff I thought made others or me happy.
Now, that I'm 65 (gasp, I just gave away my age!), I still try to make others happy because they give me a list of stuff they say will make them happy. Harrumph! Just call me Mrs. Scrooge. If my retirement allows for the extra money needed to buy those items, than I'll be happy to buy and give. Can any-thing I choose to buy or make out of my small means compete with Smart Phones, Wii's, and iPads, or Ipods?
3) Perhaps it will be the thoughts and heart of the giver that will make the difference. Of course the receiver has to be careful of their reaction (excluding anyone from one to ten who find it impossible to lie). I can read several different languages: English, emotional response, those windows of the soul--the eyes, to a certain extent--the mind, and whole-body language. Of course, how I react is most likely read by the gift-giver as well. Reaction is more truthful than words--that's what I'm talking about.
Have I made any sense at all? If you say 'yes,' you get an A. If you disagree or find fault with any or all of it, well you still get an A for staying and reading my stuff and nonsense.
The Love of God, Jesus and His Spirit, and the Word be with you.
P.S. I'm not to be cynical about Christmas music. I love to listen to it anytime of the year. I especially love the ones with the real message of Christmas.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
I thought I would light a candle on my site to increase my hope, and yours, that I will be back to resume my conversation. I've enjoyed catching up on the posts of some of my favorite bloggers who have been much more faithful to their readers than I.
Right now I'm trying to write in spite of a certain orange tabby cat, who came to live with me after my sister died last March, trying to jump on the keyboard. It wasn't possible for me to adopt the calico that lived in the same house with Sam E. I'm wondering if that's why he continues to be restless--he misses Teira.
Our calico, Bunny, refuses to allow Sam E. a place in our house, having a hissy fit if they chance to meet face to face. I had hoped they would grow used to one another by this time, but they sound like they're killing each other. I truly believe Sam E. would be her friend if she would let him. She was enjoying her singleness after our Siamese, Koko, died last year.
I hadn't planned on going on about cats, but they're influencing our life on a daily basis. I can't seem to part with either one. Bunny would have to be put to sleep as she has been imprinted exclusively by humans, namely me, since she was a tiny precocious kitten. And, though Sam E. hated me at my sis's house, he's imprinted me on his mind now because he didn't have any other choice. Besides, to me, he's an extension of my sis's life and he's a gentle giant as long as Bunny stays in the basement when he's out roaming, and in the office when Bunny is allowed upstairs to roam. The extra attention I've given him because of his fate has undoubtedly spoiled him and made him a needy-feline extraordinaire.
What a tangled web we (I) weave! Any kind of natural life has always been more to me than "just" a cat, or a bird, or a deer, or a tree (I'm a borderline tree-hugger). They're as real to me as any human, and I delight in them when they're alive and mourn them when they die. I personify them because I "see" their individual personalities which delights me.
Ah, well, I haven't alluded to the grand-kids which are one of my greatest joys. Need to update my sidebar pictures as well. Perhaps this isn't the best time to update a blogspot, with Christmas whirling closer and me not near ready.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. If I make it back before all the holidays are past, I will surprise myself. Till next time, God bless.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Every time I go to a doctor I am subjected to another test or two which results in another diagnosis or two. My mother-in-law attributed her health and long life (103 yrs.) to the fact that she stayed away from doctors. She may have been right!
Now, I say, if I had a preference I would not choose Celiac Disease, which makes me change my diet--no gluten allowed. I must avoid all wheat, barley, and rye products. But there it is, and it's best I claim it before I suffer the worst consequences, which is a long list of illnesses I don't want, and including some of the things I already have that could get worse. Honestly, I was almost sure I didn't have Celiac as I have few of the symptoms.
When I was in my twenties I was diagnosed with Grave's Disease, an autoimmune thyroid disorder, which caused me to keep losing weight until I was down to 98 pounds. (You would not believe it now!) I chose RAI (radioactive iodine) treatment instead of surgery. Sometimes I wonder if that was a good decision. With hardly nothing left of my thyroid gland, I'm totally dependent on the correct dose of prescription thyroid hormone replacement.
Some doctors consider symptoms of low thyroid, others depend solely on the TSH test which shows how much thyroid hormone is circulating in my body. It's only after I've gained an extra 10-15 pounds and feel a real lack of energy (an honest couch potato), that the endocrinologist will finally increase the thyroid hormone replacement. Sometimes the pounds will start going back down, but often I have to starve myself a little to get it going.
It's a real roller coaster ride! Up, down, up, down. Am I having fun yet? Not!
So here I sit, a real conglomeration of autoimmune disorders: thyroid disorder, fibromyalgia (which I think is the result of a malfunctioning thyroid), diabetes II, peripheral neuropathy (the painful, rather than the numbing, kind--not caused by my diabetes II, but by autoimmune something), a striated muscle antibody, which could be another autoimmune disorder, or when added to other symptoms could be Myasthenia Gravis--what Onassis had--or a marker for cancer. Most recent discoveries are GERD (yep they found that too), and Celiac.
At least I can be thankful for one or several things. Most of these autoimmune symptoms are mild enough that it's been several years since I've had a full-blown -- darn, what's the word I'm looking for here? -- Anyway, my ANA, when last taken, was almost normal compared to a high 1-1280 ten years ago, which probably means nothing to some people.
I spend a lot of time trying to keep track of what I can or can't eat, taking my blood sugar; and trying to keep myself from giving in to depression. I keep telling myself, I can do this, I'll be okay, God is in control...but when can I get to a "normal" place in my life?
Thank God for the health of the rest of my family, and that I can still enjoy our grandkids, and our daughter and son. Yes, thank God for all the health I do have left.
I sometimes read the obituaries of many who have died that are younger than me. I check to see if my name is there, and once I know it's not, I count my blessings and keep going.
"But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed." I Corinthians 15:51-52
Monday, September 05, 2011
Apparently, I need to do some in-depth examination to see what I'm not doing right and what the heck I'm doing wrong to bring on this bad stuff. But, wasn't it in-depth stuff that got me here in the first place?
How about an appeal for deliverance, "Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is distressed?" Psalm 143:4; and then in Psalm 131:1, "Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with the things too profound for me."
If I must not concern myself with great matters nor with things too profound for me--although if it applies to you that's fine too...Having read and said that: I need to make a commitment to stop watching TV, reading too many books, writing too many books (obviously even one would be too much, since I haven't written any: Ecc. 12:12), trying to figure out economics and politics, trying to figure out the mind of a woman...Oh, oops, that would bring me right back to me when I'm not s'posed to concern myself with anything profound~~Ohhh, I'm getting dizzy.
There you have it. Already, I'm weary of having just said as much or as little as possible without getting into some kind of philosophy or theology of what it means to be alive or a woman. So, do I or do I not concern myself?
"Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his/her mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me." Ps. 131:2. If only...
If only I would simplify my life by getting rid of stuff (mostly books) and the idea that I need to be concerned with things too lofty for me, and do my duties as a woman without thought or complaint, not only my life, but the lives of those around me would be simpler, right?
If only I could get a grip. I'm 65, feeble and frail, synonym intended, and still haven't got figured out why I'm here. Or, I've been in rebellion for almost a hundred years. If only someone would tell me why I'm still around, although I've been tugged in several different directions--too bad I've only got 2 hands and 2 feet.
While I'm entertaining the "if onlies" I've gotta get away from this perplexing situation and indulge in some of that everyday busy-ness of making meals, doing laundry, washing dishes, cleaning up after myself, my man, and a couple of useless house cats. Altho' the cats are a nice soft landing for banging my head when I have a day like today. Poor kitties. Innocent animals often have the big job of being sympathizers to ruthless humans.
We are experiencing beautiful weather here in Central Kansas. Daytime temps in the 70's, nighttime in the 50's. It looks as if we're going to have to get out our sweaters and jackets. Probably not as Kansas weather has a reputation for being willy-nilly. Really! We could possibly see another 3-digit-temperature day or week, but the current heat-cycle totaling over 50 days of 100-plus degrees has been broken.
Temps in the 70's, low 80's, is feeling just right.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I've not been alone because God has been with me, even when I wasn't sure. He IS faithful.
Since my sister died last March, we attended an uncle's funeral just three or four days after my sis's. He lead a long, rich life on his farm. He died after barely a year in the nursing home.
Since then we said farewell to three cousins. My uncle and three cousins were all from my mother's family. I was beginning to wonder what the Lord is trying to tell me. But then I remembered that at last count, many years ago, I listed at least 50 first cousins from both my mother's and father's families. Quite a few of us are still living, and we're all getting older.
So why should I wonder at these multiple deaths? It will be sometime before the final earthly pages have been written for all of us. One last uncle from my maternal side, and an aunt from the paternal side are still living. I grew up rich in family relationships and annual reunions, and a plethora of memories.
Recently I've been meeting with one of my double cousins. We had grown apart by miles, by raising kids, and by jobs. But now that we're both mostly retired from working outside the home we have more time...well, a little more time, to get together and share our memories, some of which are mutual, and many of which we individually experienced differently. Our relatedness runs deep because her mother and father were sister and brother to my parents (in case you wondered what a double cousin is).
Perhaps I will share some of these memories here for my grandchildren to find someday. But for now, I have to run because a couple of those grandkids are coming to spend the afternoon and I have to prepare a light dinner for this evening.
Hoping to be back soon.
Friday, April 29, 2011
The Saturday before Easter (23rd) we went to our oldest granddaughter's soccer game. She certainly has fun being mostly-the-goalee, but she has a mean kick too. We took younger brother with us. He was mostly on my lap, hiding his face and hands from the chilly wind. It was pretty cold, and I was so glad I wore my winter coat instead of the spring jacket I thought would be warm enough.
For lunch we met with my niece from Las Vegas--she was working at her mom's house this past week, painting and putting up new curtains, refreshing it for a renter. I certainly admire her for getting around so soon after her mom's, my sister's, death. She flew home later in the afternoon to be at home with her family for Easter.
We got manipulated into staying for supper with Amy and family, when she said it was waffle and sausage night. Now, her waffles are the best, and the German sausage is made in Hillsboro, KS. It's not spicy, but has a smoked flavor like a lot of us around the area grew up with when our parent's did their own butchering.
It was so unusual not to have my family's annual Easter get together. There aren't that many of us in this area anymore, and we had all just been together for our sister's funeral. Our daughter and her family came to our house. This was Baby Abigail's first big outing--going to church, coming here for dinner, and letting her parents shop at Walmart for necessities.
The girls were so cute in their matching dresses, with Easter hats for Alana and April. April is so cute in what she says: In church she asked her mom, "What in the world is going on here?" For while she was telling me, "I've got an idea." or "I've got a plan." Never found out what the idea or plan was.
Our dinner was baked ham and baked potatoes, Black Cherry jello with applesauce for filling, Zwiebach (two-bun rolls), roasted corn cobs, and Spring decorated cake for dessert. I made it easy by not making the traditional Graham Cracker Fluff. Our son, Mark, and Tammy couldn't make it from Topeka. They took Tammy's mom out so she could have some away-time from the nursing home where she's recovering from a stroke.
I've been having problems loading pictures. I'll try and see what I can do. It used be so easy to use the Picasa program for the blog, but after the changes made here Picasa doesn't seem to work as well. Or at all!
Monday, March 28, 2011
Of course, my sis's death is what keeps one end down with heaviness of heart where I don't mind lingering awhile as I process and learn to accept the circumstances of her death. Yet, I must climb up from the sadness to the anticipation and bittersweet joy that will come with the birth of a healthy granddaughter.
There is that place which, if I can manage it, I will learn to balance between those two apposing aspects of my existence. Only through God's grace and His mercy have I been able to begin celebrating my sister's life and death. Her death came suddenly yet mercifully before she became progressively debilitated by MS. Yes, for the past year she was in remission and happier, less burdened, and more at peace than she had been in a long while. I have precious memories of the last couple of times we were together. Having seen her contentment makes the burden of sorrow lighter.
I'm almost certain that my sis has already met our granddaughter, which gives me peace. I pause to think about how close to each other are life and death. Out with my older sister, in with our infant baby girl, both passing through the Light. It's exciting to think they've met along the way. Heaven is as close to me now as any other time in my life.
"And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain for the former things have passed away." Rev. 21:4