Off With the Old, On With the New

20 05 2008

I got my cast off today, one day shy of two weeks post surgery.  It felt so good to be able to wiggle my toes just a little, not to mention giving my lower leg a bath!  I am now in a fracture boot.  It’s a big, bulky, space-age looking thing, but, I can remove it at my will to air out my leg, scratch the itch that was previously unreachable, and take sort of a real shower!  Semi-freedom at last.  I still can’t put much weight on it at all, but the doctor says that I’m on track and healing nicely.  Thanks for all your prayers and good wishes.


Happy Mother’s Day!

11 05 2008

Happy Mother’s Day to all those moms out there.  New, Grand, Foster, Adopted, or Borrowed.  It doesn’t matter.  Celebrate the gift God has given you in your children today.  Motherhood is a wonderful thing (even at 2am with a colicy baby) and even though I celebrated from my bed most of the day, it was a good day.

My youngest, Mary, presented me with breakfast in bed this morning.  Toast with butter and cinnamon sugar.  YUM!  She brought me a hand wrapped gift next.  A small watering can filled with silk flowers and tied with a ribbon she made.  She’d printed “Happy Mother’s Day 2008” on the side of the can.  I tied the ribbon in her hair for church today and she was absolutely adorable!

I must share with you the card she gave me this morning.  I will cherish it forever; just as I do her.  I’m using her spelling too.

The front cover is a flower pot with a flower in it.  Each petal has a different word:  Great, pretty, special, funny, nice, loving, fameous, the best mom.

Each page follows:

If I could, I’d give my mother:  a neclic with reall dimends and a solid gold bracelet

The things I do that make my mother happy are:  telling really funny jokes and sometimes I tickle her

I can tell my mother cares about me by the way she:  talks to me and how she looks at me

The most special times with my mother are:  all holidays and times just for us.

I’d like to thank my mother for:  Loveing me and careing about me.

The most important things my mother does for me are:  buying me cloths and giving me food when I need it.

The End.

Isn’t that just about the most precious thing you’ve ever read in your whole life?

My husband made a wonderful steak and shrimp dinner for the whole family tonight and completed it with a DQ cake.  Yes, I’m blessed beyond measure.

I took time today to remember my mom.  A blessing she was to me and my family too.  She was orphaned at the age of 3 so she didn’t have a mother to show her how to be a good mother.  She was though.  Not perfect, but exactly the mother I needed.  God is wise for sure.  Thank you mom.  Thank you for everything.  Thank you for being mom.  I wish she was still her on this earth to share my life and my kids.  Glory is hers now and I look forward to sharing heaven with her one day.

Do shoes come in EXXXXXXXTRA Wide?

7 05 2008

I had surgery on my foot this morning.  I’ve been living with a fairly constant pain in my right foot for over a year now and it was finally determined that the culprut was a large accessory bone.  The bone is now gone and a ligament fused and strengthened.  I am sporting a lovely rigid half-cast/ace-wrap contraption that, coupled with the swelling, lends great credence to the recent big foot sightings in the mid-west.

I am brushing up on my assisted walking with crutches too.  I nearly had a coronary coming up the stairs.  This does NOT mean I’m out of shape at all.  AM in shape.  Round is a shape after all.

Right now the plan is for me to be in a “non-weight-bearing” status for approximately 4 weeks.  This status will undoubtedly lead to the improvement of my already wonderfully round shape!  Isn’t that geat?  I’m such a multi-tasker; which is not the same as a Nathan Tasker, but handy none the less.

I have stocked up on reading materials and dusted off my DVD collection so I should be prepared for the shape-building routine I’m in for during the next few weeks.  Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes.  They were all greatly appreciated!

I Think I’m About to Be Angry.

27 04 2008

My friend Shaun has been in the Dominican Republic this week, shooting videos for use with Compassion International.   These videos will be used at concerts and festivals to share what Compassion does for children and their families.  In the process of all this video production, he’s had the opportunity to visit homes and villages of children who are in Compassion projects.  He’s also seen some very disturbing problems, such as this and this.  Like him, I don’t know what to do about it all either, but something MUST be done.  These precious children suffer enough with poverty without having birth defects heaped on them for the sake of cheap U.S. goods.  Please pray for wisdom, discernment, understanding, and perseverance.

Just a Little Bite?

19 04 2008

Spring has finally made it’s appearance here in North Dakota. It’s been here for a few days and seems to have overpowered winter for the time being. The first year we lived here, it snowed on Mother’s Day, so it’s not out of the question, but the white fluffy stuff seems to have retreated for now. With the arrival of Spring, and then of course summer (otherwise known as “road repair” here) brings the inevitable; the flying pests; mosquitoes.

I am not particularly bothered by mosquitoes most of the time. They don’t usually bother to bite me for whatever reason. Maybe it’s because they know that even though I’m old, I can still swat with a vengeance that will surely leave them dead. Maybe I’m just not “sweet” enough. On second thought, I’m sure that’s not it because I am indeed sweet. My girls, however, are another story. Not in the sweet department ’cause they are Webster’s definition of sweet; but in the “bothered by mosquitoes” department; they are especially prone to attacks.

They can spend 10 minutes outside and come in looking like they have the chicken pox. I’m not kidding. One, small bite swells until it is 3 to 4 inches in diameter and it spreads from there. We purchase Calamine lotion and Aveeno Oatmeal bath by the case during the summer. They itch and complain and itch some more and look like walking polka dots afterward. It’s a bother to say the least, but it ends there.

The CDC reports that there were 1,337 cases of Malaria in the US in 2002. All but 5 of those cases were imported from Malaria invested countries. Those 1, 337 cases resulted in 8 deaths. Officially, Malaria has been eradicated in the US, but because the variety of mosquito that carries the parasite causing Malaria still lives in the US, an outbreak is possible. It’s not likely though and not a worry or even a thought for most Americans unless they travel.

41% of the world population isn’t so worry-free. Each year, 350 to 500 MILLION cases of Malaria are reported worldwide resulting in over 1,000,000 deaths. The vast majority of these deaths occur in young children living in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria kills more people every year than AIDS.

In areas of Africa with high malaria transmission, an estimated 990,000 people died of malaria in 1995 – over 2700 deaths per day, or 2 deaths per minute.

Do you think if something was killing over 1 million of America’s children each year, something would be done to stop it? How would our government respond? How would the health care system respond? How would the church respond? How would YOU respond?

While it’s true that the children affected by Malaria are not American, they ARE God’s children. Created in His image and loved as much by Him as all others He created. These children, the least of these, are dying by the millions, and we MUST do something in response. God has mandated that we ALL care for the least of these. A mandate is not an option; it’s a command. We either obey or disobey. There’s no in between with a mandate.

First, pray. Seek the answer to exactly how God is calling you to carry out this mandate. Maybe He is calling you to go into the mission field and work with those suffering from Malaria. Maybe He’s calling you seek out new treatments or preventions. For sure He’s calling you to pray for those who deal with this disease in any way. He may be asking you to do this:

Click Malaria Intervention Fund and find out what you can do to help intervene where it’s needed most. This is one small, but extremely powerful impact that you can have on those who are affected by this deadly disease. I hear lots of people say “I’m just one person. I can’t change the world.” Maybe not, but just one person can start to change the world. If even just one person choses to be obedient and fight the spread of Malaria, that same person CAN change the world of someone who could otherwise die from this preventable disease. Let that one person be YOU! I promise you won’t be disappointed. Click on the link, give to the Malaria Intervention Fund, change the world. Then add the link to your site so others can be a part of the change too.

“Any Day Above Dirt Is A Good Day”

8 04 2008

That’s the reply I heard from a client yesterday as he was asked by my receptionist, “how are you today?”  I stopped to think about that response for a minute and realized how an outlook such as this can really determine the direction of one’s day.

He was simply saying that just being alive (and therefore not “beneath dirt”) is enough to make it a good day.  The success of his day was not being determined by how much money he had, or didn’t have, what he ate or if he ate, what the weather was like, or any other material thing.  After all, this man was in a tax office picking up his return.  He was not at Disneyland or Bonanzaville.  He was some place people do not generally visit when seeking out excitement, fulfillment or overall “having a good day” feelings.  Circumstances are not what determines this person’s outlook.  Do circumstances determine yours?  I admit they do determine mine more often than I’d like.

I’d like to be able to respond to each day with the same outlook as this client, but some days I am just too caught up in my temporal wants and comforts, my shoulda, coulda, woulda’s to be content in my did’s can’s and will’s.

I battle clinical depression, and have done so most of my adult life.  So much of my battle is waged in faith and lack of faith; between contentment and desire.  I’m not unique by any standard in this respect, but sometimes my battles leave me feeling so tired, lost, and just plain lonely and hopeless.  I can tell myself that God will see me through (He ALWAYS does), but living like He will is way harder.  I had a pastor tell me one time to “fake it ’till I make it.”  He was saying that walk my walk as if it matched my talk.  In God’s time, they actually would match, or at least look very similar.  Right now, I’m faking it, and the walk and the talk are miles apart in many ways.  Is it possible to be “genuinely fake?”  I think so.  I hope so.  If not, I’m not sure what I am right now.


Tough Day?

26 03 2008

I’ve spent this week doing an internal audit of my company’s offices here in my city.  They are random audits of returns to ensure accuracy, compliance with company, bank and IRS directives, etc.  They’re not difficult to accomplish, but pretty mundane and boring none the less.  Not to mention that they make my eyes hurt after staring at all those numbers and signatures.  The little excel boxes they want everything neatly written in don’t exactly help either.  They went very well though and I was very happy (but not at all surprised) that everything was “A-OK.”

The last office today was located in a Wal-Mart, so when I finished up, I took a stroll through the aisles.  After all, that place is filled with so many things that I really “need”.  I must preface my next statement by telling you that to “not know something” in complete detail is as close to torture as I ever want to be.  Especially when it comes to my children.  So when I received a phone call from my 18 year old son today, asking me when I was planning to be home, it piqued my interest.  When I asked why he wanted to know, he said “something big happened today.  Really big, and I need to tell you about it.”  After being reassured that he was physically OK,  I asked again if he was OK (moms tend to ask that A LOT) and he said that “his conscience hurt.”

I tried not to break any speed records getting home.  I even managed to remember to pray FIRST as I was driving home and sort of succeeded in not letting my imagination run too far down the road.  I was only 5 minutes from home so how far could it run(accident, smoking, drugs, cult, sex)?  I pulled into the driveway and realized that my husband was already home.  I came in to the both of them sitting in the living room with very serious looks on their faces and my son doing everything in his power to not to burst into tears.

He proceeded to tell about an incident at school today involving him and our 15 year old daughter, Kelly and two of her friends.  He said that he’d already told Kelly that he was going to tell us what happened.  That’s when I really started to let the old imagination go.  I hadn’t considered it might involve her in my earlier romp through “what if….land.”

He said that Kelly’s friend “A” was very upset with her today and they had some “loud, angry, words” after school about Kelly’s borrowing of friend “B’s” car earlier today.  BORROWING A CAR?!  That would not generally be a good thing, but not earth shaking, except for the fact the Kelly does NOT have a driver’s license.  This obvious faux paux  didn’t slip by “A” either, but for reasons known only to teen girls, she decided this particular slip warranted a physical to-do.  She in fact stated such and even named the place and time.  Our front yard, after school.

Sure enough, upon arrival of Alex and Kelly at home, they were greeted by “A” and “B”.  “A” exited previously borrowed “B’s” car, and began a shoving match.  It escalated to a slapping match  and Kelly was slapped hard in the face, causing her glasses to fly off and her to fall down.  This immediately sent my son into “big brother protection mode” and he grabbed  “A’s” neck and shoved her against the car.  This stopped the fight, dead in it’s tracks.  “A” and “B” departed without further altercation.  “A’s” boyfriend called afterward to let Alex know that he wasn’t going to stand by while his girlfriend got shoved around.  They both decided however, to talk rather than fight.  I was proud of them  for being able to see all sides and determine that no one was wearing their “thinking caps” today.  Both boys decided that further fighting wouldn’t solve anything.  No threats, no angry words, no shouting.  Good, constructive, conversation.  Quick learners!

My son’s conscience-hurting-quandary was this; he’d reacted violently to violence.  While he didn’t injure the girl who’d just knocked his sister to the ground, he could have; seriously.  He did not regret coming to his sister’s aide, but he deeply regretted his choice of “aide”.   After coming inside, he began to ponder the possible consequences of his (re)action, and they really scared him.  He was very disappointed in himself; very disappointed.  He wondered why he didn’t just make his sister go inside, stand between them, anything non-violent.  He is seriously considering full time mission work and he loves the Lord deeply.  This was HUGE for him.  He didn’t know he would react that way at all.  He needed us to know that he’d screwed up.  He need us to know that he realized the seriousness of the situation.  Mostly, he needed us.  He needed us to be there, to talk through things, to see all sides.  He needed us to say “we still love you.”

Kelly needed to hear “we still love you” too and she heard it; several times.  She also needed to hear that borrowing her friend’s car to go get a coke at the gas station was undoubtedly NOT the best decision she’s ever made.  It resulted in a physical fight with a friend.  It put her brother, and the friend who’s car she borrowed, in a potentially bad situation.  It was a very expensive coke.  It cost her dearly.  She’s now without a learner’s permit, and will be for the foreseeable future.  She is without the same level of trust in her she enjoyed before today.  She has spent the evening trying to reconcile with “A” and “B” and getting assurance from “A’s” parents that charges would not be pressed against any parties.  (Alex was very scared he’d end up in jail tonight for his actions).  We got the assurance directly from the parents.

They both learned some valuable lessons today though.  Kelly learned that doing the wrong thing hurts more than herself sometimes.  The cost is borne by more than her at times too.  She learned trust is something that once lost, will take time to regain.  She also learned that the brother she picks on a lot is always going to be there for her.  He will sacrifice for her.  She learned, deep in her inmost heart, that he loves her like no one else can.

Alex learned that things can go wrong very quickly.  He learned that being a pacifist is much harder when defending someone you love.  Pacifism involves much more than not picking up a weapon.  He learned how to talk through and settle things in an adult manner.  He learned about a part of himself he didn’t know was there before.

My husband and I both learned something too.  All in all, even with today’s events, our kids are pretty good ones.  Not perfect, but pretty good none the less.  They still need us; and today they could admit that.  For teenagers, that’s a miracle in itself!

I realize that I’m making light of this situation (and failing miserably), but bear with me here.  It’s been a tough day.