Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On My Heart Today

Up North Countdown

Just a few more days and we're headed Up North! Leaving Friday and more than ready to hit the road. I've got my library books borrowed, a few more loads of laundry to do and I'm finishing up the fresh fruit and veggies out of the fridge today for lunch. I have finished all my projects at work and it's smooth sailing from here. Dean's sister will be arriving in Michigan from Alabama this weekend so we can truly be off the clock. His dad remains at Wyandotte Hospital awaiting transfer.
So if I don't post again, I will see you in a week or so. Have a safe and wonderful 4th of July!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Holding Tight

My parents had us all over today for our month of June celebrations; birthdays for the Mr., Jay and Amy and Father's day all rolled into one party. Mom made a delicious dinner and all of the above were showered with gifts. Ahh. Love it.
On the way out Mac was eating schnitzel out of the pan and Jay was scooping apple sauce up with the serving spoon for one more bite. I know, I know. Ugh, right? Yeah. And yet, not. They know who they are and that it is more than fine for them to munch their way through their grandparents' kitchen.
It's not to be taken lightly, family. Someday there will be no grandma and grandpa for them to visit and then no mom and dad either. But they will always know who they are. As long as they are first and foremost in their own minds a part of this family, they will never be lost.
Hold tight to each other.
Ecclesiastes 2:24
There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Don't let summer go by without...

1. Watermelon
2. A picnic
3. A morning outside
4. Wearing shorts
5. Walking barefoot on grass
6. Waking up early
7. At least one pot of flowers
8. Fresh veggies
9. Staying outside after dark
10.Ice cream

Friday, June 25, 2010


The air conditioning is finally off! It's been running around the clock for two days with steamy hot weather and a Mr. who works in a hot factory all day and wants the house cool. But this morning the temperature is 56 degrees and I just walked through the house opening all the windows. Mr. Ben Baily on the Fox 2 News says it will be about 83 degrees today. I could keep the air off altogether but I've got a suspicion Dean will have it back on this evening.
After today I've got four work days next week and we'll be on the road for Up North. That means a week of almost-cold mornings on the porch swing with a blanket and a cup of coffee while everyone else sleeps. It also means reading in bed at night with crisp breezes blowing in the windows and the sounds of the Mr. & Daboyz staying up late. We are ready. Lumberjack breakfasts, comfortable clothes and campfires at night are what 4th of July week is all about.
This morning is a little bit like an Up North morning and it puts me in a good mood. I'm ready for the day. It's Dean's last day working at Auto Alliance where he's been for 23 years, since his first day as an automotive worker. The guys are giving him a potluck lunch. I may just go out to lunch myself today.
Wherever your Friday takes you, for heaven's sake, turn off the air conditioning and enjoy the fresh summer air!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


A quick fly-by to say hi!
Praise the Lord, the Mr.'s prayers were answered and he will be transferring to the new factory on July 12 and so he'll get his two weeks off. Hallelujah! His dad remains hospitalized. He'll need to be stable enough not to have a one to one staff before he can be moved to the nursing home. Probably next week some time.
Dean & I are going out for a quick bite then he'll go to practice and I'll come home for my Thursday chores. I'm off this weekend so I'm looking forward to one more day of work and before you know it, July 2 and vacation!
Thank you all for your prayers and support. Have a great evening!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You Are Eternal

This morning my work husband, Kevin, received a terrible phone call. (And yes, I do have a work husband.) The call was from the husband of one of Kevin's staff. The employee had committed suicide on Monday night.
What a terrible day we've had.
Suicide is beyond words, there are none awful enough to describe it. This is the fourth person I know who has taken their own life who was not a patient. And when you are a mental health professional whose co-worker suicides, you have a different kind of grief in addition to the loss. It's an accusatory voice that says, "What did I miss?
And, "If someone in our field can't find their way through, are we all just wasting our time? Is it hopeless?"
It never makes sense to the survivors, never. It's beyond comprehension because anyone who is alive never got there, all the way there.
I spend hours and hours every day trying to impact depression, mental illness and violence. I don't think there is anyone more compassionate than I am toward those trapped within their own anguish. That said, I want to say a word to survivors today. I've been talking to them since 9:00 this morning you see. So I figured I would take this time to tell them to you as well.

1. Suicide is mean. There are multiple victims of suicide. The ones who are still breathing will carry their scars forever. They will always wonder why they weren't enough.
2. Suicide is smart. Most people who are truly suicidal will succeed. They will not seem much different than usual. They might even seem happier because they have it figured out and they believe their pain is going to end. No matter how hard we try, sometimes it will out smart us.
3. Suicide is angry. It's vengeful and spiteful. It takes everyone down with it. It leaves an empty shell for someone to find and questions that will never have enough answers. It deprives us of our rights and decides the pain it inflicts is a reasonable price for its agenda.
4. Suicide is violent. There is no gentle and painless suicide. Life always pushes toward survival, the breath of God demands its exhale and inhale. It is the suffocation of creation.
5. Suicide is a liar. It sucks the color and light from everything. It whispers that your marriage is hopeless, your children are hopeless, your home is hopeless, your job is hopeless. Nothing is good. Nothing will change. No one will care no one will care no one will care.
6. Suicide is preventable. If you know someone that you think is in danger, throw dignity and offense to the wind. Call 911, call their parents, their children, their doctor, their boss. Make suicide impossible if you have to stand on their hands. Remember it's a mean, smart, angry, violent liar. It doesn't deserve respect. It deserves to be wrestled into submission. Make amends later.
7. Suicide is not escape, whether you believe in hell or the possibility of redemption, there is no escape. At the first spark of life we are eternal. There is no shortening of days.

Only a fool would lay down in the hands of a mean, smart, angry violent liar. Fight ugly and unfairly. Pull out all the stops. And if you are thinking the unthinkable, take the next breath and use it to say "No."

You are eternal.

...the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. Matthew 11:11

The Season of This

Good Tuesday! Our day off went much too quickly but I believe that it did the Mr. some good. Although our early morning agreement, not to discuss nursing homes and finances and elder care, didn't hold up. By afternoon he was back on the phone and back with his nose in the Medicaid handbook. I reminded him that all of that could wait but he insisted that a little bit of time spent on it would allow him to relax better. In the process of this he called his uncle in Tennessee who is coming next week for a visit. Dean's grandmother is needing to move from her home and of course, this adds to the concerns of everyone. His uncle told the Mr. how much he has blessed his parents and that he has accomplished in a very short time things for his folks that never would have happened in Alabama. He needed to hear that, so the break from the break was a blessing in disguise.
Today we're back to real life. Dean will work ten hours, come home and shower and then go take his mother to the hospital to visit until 8:00 p.m. Then home for a late dinner and bed. And so goes the daily routine. Ben will probably be transferring to a nursing home during the last half of the week. It will take about three more months for Dean's mom to qualify for additional assistance and then we will settle her into her new home in a seniors apartment. And then? Slowly we'll settle into whatever this will be.

Mac has applied for a nursing assistant position at Wyandotte Hospital. Please pray for God's will. He will be finishing up pre-requisites this year and then entering the nursing program next Autumn. He's never worked in health care before so the application is a long-shot but God will make the way if it is right for Mac. Because he doesn't need to attend school full-time this year, it would be nice to be working at a hospital and getting his feet wet while he finishes out a few more classes. Not to mention the potential for tuition assistance! Like many young people he has spent the first few years out of high school trying to figure out the best path for his life and changed his major from math to nursing. He's excited now about the direction the Lord is leading him.

Jay just bought a new car, an Escape. Again, God gives good things. To be so young and to already have been established in his adult life through the generosity of the Lord and more than a little help from his grandparents, his dad and I are able feel a sense that he is on the right track as well as his brother.

That's what I really want to say today. This blog has turned into a journal of elder-care with a side of poor pitiful us sometimes. God, never giving us more than we can bear, has given us more than we can imagine. More good things. It doesn't escape me that many parents of children in their early twenties spend sleepless nights pacing the floor with worry. Our day off yesterday concluded with the four of us gathering after daboyz got off of work for steaks grilled by the Mr. and a quiet evening at home. Despite the busyness, this is how most of our evenings end up. The four of us still eat dinner together most every day. In fact, sometimes we look at these kids and ask them if they can't find somewhere else to go once in a while! On Friday we told Mac, "Why don't you get together with your girlfriend instead of hanging out here?" The result, he and his girlfriend and Jay joined us for dinner out! If that's our biggest issue with our young adult boys, I can't complain.

On Sunday Dean spent the day at the hospital while I worked and he called to ask if I could meet him and his mom for dinner. I called Mac to find out what he was doing. He was at this brother's house hanging out. They came to dinner and then went back to Jay's for a bit. Then the two of them joined us at our house for ice cream. Simple? Yes. But my kids are best friends. My husband is a good son. If we fail to see the simple wonders in the midst of our days, life can seem difficult indeed.

This morning the Mr. has left for work, I'm getting going shortly. Mac is still asleep, will be headed out to his landscaping job in about an hour. Jay is probably just waking up and will be on the road to his desk at the bank soon. My parents are safe and healthy in their own home, although I suspect they are not up and about yet! :) Dean's mom is sound asleep in her little apartment that has become her home and place of refuge and his dad is safe and well-cared for by wonderful people in the hospital, sparing us worry about wandering or falls or who knows what else.

Although it's just starting, it's a good day. I haven't seen the details yet, God made it for us. And he is the giver of good things.

Grace & love~

Monday, June 21, 2010

Lunch On the Porch

Sttrretch! I love mornings and especially the ones when I don't have to work! The sun is shining, it's cool and bright out. Perfect open-window weather, which I also love. It has to be pretty warm for me to prefer air conditioning to fresh air. The coffee is on and the first load of laundry is in. The dog has gone out, come in, eaten breakfast and returned to bed.
The Mr. is also still asleep. He's transferring to a new plant with better job security and handling his parent's transition and frankly, he's done worn out. The early bedtimes and trying to relax here and there aren't cutting it. He needs a plain old day off. I mean a day off with nothing to do, not a day off to run errands and tour nursing homes and spend two hours trying to explain to his dad why he can't come home. Off, home and relaxing with nothing on the to-do. Well, of course there's stuff on the to-do but we'll give him a break for the day. I fear without a break he'll end up, well, broken. Please add the move to the new factory to your prayer list? The plant he works at now will start shut-down next Monday for two weeks. The new one only has one week off, the week of the fourth. He truly needs the two weeks. Please pray for the transfer to be scheduled for after shut-down? Thanks.
We're planning our annual Up North week the week of July 4th. Dean's sister happened to plan her vacation here to visit with his parents quite a while ago for a week earlier and then had to change her plans to the same week as our trip Up North. That's a good thing, he'll be able to hand the folks off for a week without wondering if he should cancel that much needed vacation. The Lord works it out even when we don't know we'll need it!
I have an at-home day with the Mr. in my plans. Quiet, an old movie and maybe BLTs on the back porch for lunch. I'm going to make a pitcher of lemonade and we'll probably grill swordfish for dinner to go with fresh corn on the cob. Might sound boring but sounds downright perfect to me.
Oh, and did I mention my favorite surprise of last week? I got a real old fashioned letter from Mrs. Mac! Pages and pages long! We really must start writing letters by hand on wonderful stationary. It's proof that there are real people out there somewhere! Thanks Mrs. Mac! I will be finding some lovely stationary and writing you back!
Happy quiet busy whatever-you-need Monday!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Season of Getting Ready

How much trouble do we bring upon ourselves by being not ready? Avoidable difficulties, those are the ones that really get me.
In the last week for instance, I have not been ready to eat properly by not defrosting food or not going to the market or not having a plan. The result? Another week of not losing a single pound.
I have not been ready in time for work because I hit snooze a few too many times.
And so on.
Failing to plan is planning to fail and all that.
Several years ago I was working with my friend Becky and she was so bothered by her parents' decision to purchase long-term care insurance. It was lots of money every month to prepare for a someday (you know about those somedays) that was so far away it could hardly be imagined. And there was every chance her parents wouldn't even need such extensive care and that money would be wasted. That was about ten years ago. Becky's mom died of Alzheimer's disease almost a year ago, and her dad passed a few months later. They lived until the end in a beautiful retirement community that was able to provide for them from independence to total care. They were ready.
I'm usually all about being ready so I can't wait for tomorrow when I'm off work and I can get to the market. I'm already planning my meals, not going to have another week figuring it out as I go. I'm the person who always has her laundry caught up and the housework gets done on schedule. I make my hair cut appointments way ahead of time. I have extra shampoo, canned goods and flashlights stashed away. My gas tank? Never less than 1/4 full. That'll get me pretty much anywhere. Even my coffee pot gets set up every evening for the next morning.
As life goes on, we need to look even farther than a week or a month ahead and be ready. Be careful not to burn bridges or take other people for granted. If payday comes with $0 left in the bank, something needs to happen.
And when someday arrives, no one will think it's a bit charming if we say, "Oh I have always been a procrastinator!" Nor will it stop the hands of time to insist, "I'm not ready!"
Ready or not, life will be wonderful sometimes. There will be passion. There will be storms. If there are babies, there will be teenagers. And tomorrow will come. Ready or not.
I'm planning on nurturing and guarding my marriage with everything in my being. I'm planning on guiding daboyz without dominating them. I'm planning on holding my grandchildren, inhaling deeply and remembering when their dads were babies.
I'm planning on being healthy and engaged with life. I'm planning on adding perennials to my yard every year until it becomes a blaze of color and beauty for the springs of my retirement. I plan on having my house paid off in ten years.
I plan for the Mr. and I to retire and still have some years left to enjoy all of the above.
I plan to close my eyes one day and open them in heaven.
If I'm going to have any of these dreams, I have to be ready.
Day by day, I'm doing what has to be done for just that reason.

Psalm 74:16-17
The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun. Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

10 Wonderful Things Happening RIGHT NOW

1. We need prayer and don't have to ask for it because we know you're praying.
2. My flowers are boo-tee-full!
3. Coffee is consistently wonderful.
4. We don't have to deal with snow and ice to go work or the hospital.
5. My housework is done.
6. The chimes on my deck sound like church bells.
7. No power outage or damage from last night's storm.
8. My parents are healthy.
9. I know and trust the people taking care of Dean's dad.
10. Blogs!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Season of Waiting for the Morning

This morning we attended the family meeting for Dean's dad, Ben. The final decision is that he must now go to a nursing home. It wasn't an easy meeting and his mom is having a very hard time of it. To ease the transition, the doctor will request short-term placement first to give Mrs. Smith a little time to see if she can organize the proper care to have him at home but it's understood that this is just a stop-gap. He will never come home again. He now requires 24 hour care so even bringing him home with us wouldn't be possible. The cost for that kind of in-home assistance would be about $4,000/month. Even in assisted living.
It's hard on a lot of levels. There is the financial aspect which we might like to think is the least of the issues but in truth, it's a very important issue. There's worry about him in general and what his life is going to be like. And of course there is the very real fact that this is the end of life. The best case would be three more years but given his age and his health, there is likely a year left to him.
Dean is fast asleep on the couch now, emotionally exhausted. It's doubly draining to deal with his own sadness for his dad and then to add concern for his mom and needing to guide her into decisions that she doesn't want to make. Naturally he is also the recipient of constant phone calls from relatives wanting to know what's happening and to give their opinions.
I wonder if this isn't the most difficult time we'll have? Transition is so hard. Figuring out where to move his mom and how to budget for her care and his father's. Once this part is done, the likely next step will be funeral arrangements. Somehow I think it will be a different kind of sadness though, because for us grief is for a moment only.
Difficult days are ahead, but joy will come in the morning. Some morning in a better someday.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Season of Hats

Today is the Mr.'s birthday. He is spending it at the hospital taking his mom to visit his father. Ten hours in a factory, a quick shower and off again. We'll try to find some time later in the week for a nice dinner out.
As for me, I've found my niche is keeping the home fires burning. Keeping the house orderly, making comfort food dinners and being a listening ear (even though sometimes I'm listening to a rather loud and frustrated voice.) Shoulder rubs and a place to land for a moment seems to be what's needed and I'm happy to provide.
I've worn lots of hats since this adventure began in the Fall. Traveling companion and nurse on the road. Housekeeper to the folks. Occasional grocery shopper, baker of bread and shopping consultant for shoes & such. I became the administrative assistant a few months ago creating a Smith File and researching resources. I'm the Personal Assistant who makes sure there are clean socks in the drawer and the calendar stay updated. I'm the planner who figures out the options and presents the pros and cons. I'm the inside-source to medical care sometimes. Sometimes I'm the one calling doctors when things aren't looking quite right. I'm the nurse consultant who is learning as she goes how to give her opinion and not be hurt if it isn't heeded. I'm the prayer warrior at the throne during crises and the quiet prayer over my husband while he's sleeping. I'm the giver of extra long hugs when there are no words. I'm the speaker of the occasionally inappropriate joke when we just can't stands it no more (hence rectum stories.) I'm the nutritionist making sure we aren't living on fast food.
I'm the Smith Front Desk, keeping in touch with everybody and exchanging information and updates.I'm the woman who can't wait to go to work and take a break from all this!I don't spend all that much time fulfilling what I thought my role would be-side by side with the Mr. There for doctor's appointments and sitting at the hospital. Turns out he's fine with all of the hands-on and it means a lot to his mom, I think, to have her son there to herself. No, my job is supportive. I make a space in the world for Dean to recharge and hopefully, to escape for a little while. That's my favorite job.
P.S. Check out the scripture of the day at the right! Isn't God amazing?

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Season Of The Missing Rectum

So last Sunday off to the emergency room we went with Ben, the Mr.'s dad, to begin this drama. His mom had called us over because Ben was out of it, even more than usual. Waayyy out of it. A 911 call and ambulance ride later, there we were in the corridor of a very busy emergency room with Ben on a gurney and the Mr. and I at either end like fat gargoyles or something.

There was a very tiny very old woman curled up on the stretcher across from Ben. I don't know if you've ever had such an experience, but some very tiny very old women are VERY VERY LOUD in a screechy blood curdling kind of way. Below is what transpired. I will call the very tiny very old lady Agnes. Her sister, I shall call Ragnes.

Agnes: I NEED SOMETHIN' FER PAIN!!! (please use a Southern drawl for Agnes' voice.)



Not that this went on constantly, only when a nurse, housekeeper doctor, patient, security guard, visitor or the Holy Spirit passed by.


Please be aware that nurses were stopping in to check on Agnes to inform her that she wasn't due yet for her pain medicine. However, you'll understand Agnes' situation when you understand the following...


Ragnes: Your rectum still hurting? (Ragnes was roughly 114 years old, clearly Agnes' baby sister.)


Ben:(Oh it's getting fun now!) SHE NEEDS SOMETHING FOR PAIN!



Agnes: (Hold on to your hats ladies & gentlemen!) They took my rectum for tests hours ago and never gave it back! WHEN ARE THEY BRINGING BACK MA RECTUM?





Ben: (to housekeeper), Do you have this lady's rectum?

Housekeeper: Um, no sir. I, uh, don't have that. I'll get the nurse.




Ragnes: (Standing up with her cane and turning to leave) I gotta get outta here. Call me when you know what's going on.


Ragnes: (over her shoulder as she hobbles down the emergency room corridor) Yeah? ME TOO!


This only lasted seven hours. It's not like it was ridiculous or anything.

Such is our life.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Those In-Laws of mine. Oh dear.
My father-in-law, Ben, is in the geriatric psych unit at Wyandotte Hospital. He'll be there a week at least. Oh dear. As it all turns out, it's impossible to say whether last Sunday's episode was a slight stroke or a very bad dementia day. All the tests and symptoms run together too closely to tell. Between us, I think not a stroke.
My mother-in-law, Marthena, is on her own in their little apartment where she seems to be doing fine. There was some drama with herself, the Mr. and the hospital staff on Thursday evening when she discovered that Ben was being moved to a psychiatric unit and not a physical rehab unit. She dug her heels in and got rather not so nice. She told Dean she was taking Ben back to Alabama. Dean told her she better charge up her scooter battery because Alabama is a long way. In the end, there was no choice but to let things happen because it is what it is.
Since it's just you and me, I'll tell you that I get frustrated. You see, Dean's parents have not lived cautiously. They have lived in the moment and for the moment whether it was their finances or their health that was in question. That's why today at 82 and 67 years old a bad situation is even harder than it has to be.
Marthena has always proudly stated that she intended to spend every penny she had and enjoy having whatever she wanted. She has always obstinately insisted she would live life to the fullest, eat without a second thought and if she ended up disabled in a nursing home with nothing to her name, it was fine with her.
The problem with such boldness is that eventually, someday always comes.
Someday is here with dementia, strokes, blindness, two people who can no longer walk and living social security check to social security check. Pension? Well, part of that enjoying life philosophy included multiple job changes and a couple of businesses and moving around and never quite getting around to the pension and retirement planning part of life.
But someday has come.
And I get frustrated because it means a lot of stress for the Mr., it means arguments with his mom in hospital rooms because someday is here and still she insists she can have it all her way. And her way, by the way, doesn't include nursing homes or long-term hospitalizations or assisted living fees. Her way is planning on new furniture and catalog shopping.
I need to take special care to pay attention because our someday is coming too. We have retirement plans and budgets and goals that aren't perfect but they make sense. We don't chase dreams in exchange for somedays that we hope will never come. And I state here with all sincerity that I do not want to end up disabled in a nursing home. I want a different someday.
My someday thoughts are growing old together, wiser, gentler and ever closer to Jesus until death is just the final step in a journey we've been on for many years. I envision not wealth, but enough. We live now in the house of our retirement and if all goes as planned, it will be paid for before we leave our jobs. We try to be careful with our health but we really do need to be more diligent in that area.
My someday is made of mornings on the deck admiring our flowers with the privacy hedge we planted in 2010 tall and full and fragrant. Drives here or there and out to lunch. Family dinners and grandchildren. And the two of us, full circle back to where we started. Just the two of us together.
Maybe someday sneaks up faster than we realize it will and we always believe that we'll be ready when it arrives. What surprises await us? What pain might be just beyond the next turn in the road? We can only learn from the good and poor examples we see and put our lives in the hands of God.
As long as there is family, there is hope. As long as there is Jesus to soften our hearts and draw us to one another, there is enough. As long as the sun rises, there is another someday to hold.

Psalm 51:6
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Makes stressful times a little easier...

1. Taking a drive in the country. Rarely is the situation so dire that you can't spare an hour.
2. Turning off the television and sitting outside in the quiet.
3. Talking to someone who isn't experiencing it with you. That way you aren't adding to the stress of someone else, just sharing the load for a moment.
4. Keeping the pantry stocked and eating right.
5. Believe it or not, staying hydrated!
6. Blogging.
7. Keeping the house neat.
8. Keeping a normal schedule or something close to it. No all nighters!
9. Laughing. Yes, no matter how bad it is, laughter is appropriate.
10. All things that draw us toward the Holy Spirit in whatever form it takes: prayer, worship, music, The Word, a long walk, watching the stars come out, sitting at a river or lake or pond, reading...and now I need to know...

What's on your list?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Season of "I want....!"

Yes, it is a season of I want___________. I have grown up in the Lord and realized that God likes it when I say to him, "I want a privacy fence and a patio and a fire pit and some more flowers and a big garden and a wild flower meadow and new living room furniture and to build a dining room on to the house and a new bra and to lose weight and for my hair to grow and laser surgery on my eyes and a day off."

That's right, the mature Christian knows that God loves those kind of conversations. You disagree? I believe that God loves hearing this from me because for a long time I prayed for global issues and salvation and protection for my kids and healing for others and to be bailed out of whatever my current crisis was and a pure heart and wisdom and all sorts of very important things. All things that made good solid sense and nothing frivolous and foolish. Sort of like Amish prayers. Well, you know what I mean.

Now I pray for all of those things but I also pray at Target, God I want that bedspread! I pray while blogging, God I want to live in that house! I pray at Lowe's, God I want peonies! Isn't this really just a way of acknowledging that everything comes from him?

The difference is that prayer is really just a conversation and I didn't always know how to have those with God. I felt I needed to be somehow holy with the things I brought to him, so he would be pleased and hear my prayers. But now, hallelujah, I have figured something out! God wants to hear every single thing! So now, I tell him.

God, I want to punch that person right in the head. God, why can't these boyz clean up after themselves? God, I'm fat. God, I really want apple pie. God, this traffic is ridiculous. God, I am way too tired to get out of bed this early.

Here's what I think; I think that if I would say it to my husband, my kids, my friends, it is insulting not to talk about it to God. Like a child, confidant enough to ask her dad for an ice cream cone. I'm not afraid he'll be angry at me for the asking. What kind of father would that be? Now, he might tell me "no." That happens on occasion. And in truth, the more I ask him for , the more nos I accumulate. But we talked about it. I revealed every silly selfish immature heartfelt desire of my heart.

That's not religion, it's a relationship. I like it much better.

P.S. I want new siding on my house and a new bathrobe and a glass of lemonade and sunny weather and a pair of yoga pants.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Right now...

Right now we're having a busy and not-too-easy week. On Sunday we had to call 911 for the Mr.'s dad and it seems he's had a slight stroke. He was admitted to ICU and will be moved to a general medical floor shortly and then to the rehab unit for a few more days. His success there will dictate what comes next.
In the meantime, their care team, the Mr. and I are working at convincing his mother that the expense of assisted living is a necessity to guard their safety and ensure a greater quality of life for whatever time remains to them. We don't know at what point returning home will no longer be an option for him. Please pray that the right living situation would be made clear.
Pray also, of course for my father-in-law and mother-in-law and finally, please pray for the Mr. It's harder than one imagines it will be when the turns for the worse finally come. Working 10 hour days, spending the rest of his time at the hospital and being a comfort and help to his disabled mom getting her back and forth to visit is quickly exhausting and leaves little opportunity to take care of himself and deal with his own emotions. I convinced him to apply for an FMLA so at least when these times come again (and they will), he will not have the worry of work to add to the load.
Thanks for the love and intercession. Will keep you updated.
P.S. Pray for Mac too, he is serving on a jury for a murder trial. He's asking for wisdom and insight and he is honored to be a part of such an important moment for so many people.
Update: The F-I-L has been moved to a general medical floor and the hope is to move him on to the rehab floor next. Tomorrow he is have a cystoscope done because he has blood in his urine (seems like it's always coming and going and really, he's not able to report accurately.) He'll be checked for bladder cancer. The best news of the day? He was admitted to my sister, Amy's, floor!

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Season of Praying

I don't know for certain that today's world is scarier than what my grandmothers experienced, or their mothers before them. I think a little perspective is in order now and again. My great great grandparents, for example, were murdered in Armenia during the Turkish holocaust. In fact, their entire family except for two sons died at bayonet point and the entire town lost their homes and farms fleeing for their lives. Dare I say my world is more frightening? What is of concern is that I wonder if we pray like the generations before us prayed or do we sit by shaking our heads at the CNN crawl while we watch the gulf become thick with oil. Maybe there's too much breaking news to watch to have time for a prayer closet.
Do you remember prayer closets? I don't have one. Do you?
A prayer closet is a place where someone, often the woman of the house, went and closed one's self in with God. Children knew that the prayer closet was sacred and not to be disturbed. If you were very very blessed as a child, you have stood in the hallway and listened to weeping and calling out to God from within. And lots of times, the weeping gave way to singing.
I think the prayer closet being usually the territory of women makes sense. They did have jobs, as homemakers and mothers, true. But they also considered it their job to do spiritual warfare having the time at home. And then you know what they did? It's utterly wonderfully simple. Every time you saw those women, Sunday School teachers or grandmas or distant relatives, they would hug you very hard and look you in the eye before they let you go and say quietly, "I pray for you every single day." What more fantastic thing can be given to anyone? To be prayed for every single day. The Mr.'s grandmother is 92 years old. She has five children, 11 grandchildren and lots of great grands. She is nearly deaf and now losing her sight. She has terrible arthritis. And every time she sees any of the four of us she hugs us hard, looks us in the eye before she lets go and says, "I pray for you every single day."
Maybe we are so disturbed not because of the state of the world but for lack of a prayer closet. And maybe our children are so confused for lack of hearing mom or grandma calling out to God from behind a door. And Jesus forgive us, do we still tell our children that we pray for them every single day?
Do we?
We need to. We need to pray quietly and earnestly and out loud for so long that it ends with worship and song. And we need to tell them that we have prayed for them and they need to know it's true because they have heard the weeping and seen the tearfully joyous face that emerges from the prayer closet.
Listen to me, Ladies. Don't let the generation of praying women end with you.
Or we really will live in a world worthy of fear.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

I am Natasha (in a Russian accent)

It's been just about a week since I de-Facedbooked myself. I have missed it a little bit. But just a little bit, and I'm quickly over it.
I'm surprised at the number of people who have commented (in person of course) on my de-Facebookification. And, get this; the most commonly used word? Brave! Brave? As in, "Man, I wish I was brave enough to get off of Facebook." "Good for you, you're braver than me." Seriously? Brave? I feel like I should set the record straight that it took zero bravery. Bravery would seem to indicate facing something one is afraid of and I am not afraid of the Facebook. Although I kind of want to ask, what do you think Facebook is going to do to me? Is there something I should know?
Oh! And I discovered another tidbit. You probably already know this but I find it fascinating in a I-thought-about-this-twice-today kind of fascinating. People are now creating...


That's right! People who Facebooked and then didn't like being so easily found (which is the very reason for which Facebook gets out of bed in the morning) are in the Facebook Witness Protection Program. I've had three people suggest I create a secret identity and then send them a Friend Request with a note explaining who I really am. I am thinking of calling myself Natasha Boop but you have to say it with a Russian accent or it's ridiculous. And then, what, do you use a real picture since you're under an assumed name so it won't identify you? Do you use a picture off of Google? A pencil drawing of a stick figure? A silhouette like Alfred Hitchcock?
Now you're destined to feverishly fire up the Facebook daily to see if you have a Friend Request from Natasha Boop (in a Russian accent) and then when you don't, wondering, is Natasha dis'ing you?
Or was she never out there in the first place?
(In a Russian accent dah'ling.)

Psalm 37:4
Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

I like

1. The smell of freshly mowed grass and tomato plant leaves and dirt.
2. Dogs.
3. Being home alone.
4. Old movies in general or new movies with fabulous houses. 5. To read blogs every morning, books every night and the Old Testament.
6. Sitting on my deck.
7. Making plans for now, in a little while and someday.
8. Road trips with the Mr.
9. Rivers more than lakes, lakes more than oceans.
10. Lemonade.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

God shed His grace on thee

I miss the old America. I'm not exactly sure what that means. I would say I miss the simpler and more innocent time of my childhood, but were the 1970s really that innocent and simple? Post Vietnam, surging drug culture, oil shortage, unemployment? I think what I actually miss is the being a child itself. When I was a little kid, for instance, summer was years and years long. I had no concept of 6 more weeks, one more wasn't about a calendar, it was about living full on without dread of school because school was gone for a moment. And then a week before school, time to start the back-to-school schedule, time for heavier clothes and long jeans on the bed from K-Marts to try on. Can't imagine it'll ever be cold enough to wear those tights but, ok, whatever.
So maybe I miss something else. Do I miss the 1950s? I never actually lived during the 1950s, but according to Happy Days, it looks pretty awesome. Intact families, poodle skirts and sodas at Arnold's. Bomb shelters, air raid sirens and nuclear bomb drills notwithstanding, I think it must be the 1950s I miss.
Or maybe the 1940s? Carey Grant and Irene Dunne were fabulously happy then! Everyone lived in a white sided colonial with a privacy hedge and roses bushes. And the ladies of the house wore flowing organza robes over satin nightgowns and high-heeled feather slippers. That was when they were not strolling with their fat happy babies wearing high heals, a hat and pearls. Yes, I miss the 1940s. What's that? What about World War II? Shut up.
My Grandma Trent was a wife and mother of all of those decades. And you know what I remember most about her? Patriotism. I think I might miss patriotism. There is patriotism now, but it's an angry sort. It's right vs. left; conservative vs. liberal, democrat vs. republican patriotism. It's the wonderfulness of a black president against a background of fear; don't you dare criticize that black president or you are a racist. It's not you and me against the world any longer. It's you and me against each other.
I don't like politics. I'm grateful for the people who are called to a passion for politics because we need you. But I don't like politics in the way someone else might not like hound dogs or being a nurse. It's about how God wired us to do his will in specific areas of life. But patriotism? I think that's different. And it's becoming frighteningly admirable to hate the United States. I'll venture off into political incorrectness and sneak in my opinion on that. If you hate the United States, you're an idiot and you need to move to a country that you can love and support and be...patriotic...there.
My Grandma had eagles, flags and red, white and blue everywhere. Bicentennial year? 1776 wall paper in the kitchen. Liberty bell lamp? I'll take one to match my bald eagle lamp. Sofa? Red, white & blue with the eagle motif to match the wallpaper and the lamps. Red, white and blue scarves around her neck and Time magazine on the end table. American flag on the house? Nope. That's for the average citizen. She had a 25 foot tall flag pole in her yard. Like a school! With a giant heavy flag that we raised and lowered with this rope and pulley thing. And if it got cloudy you bet we were sent out to lower that flag! That's what a miss. National pride. Love of country. Gratitude that the immigrants who came before you came here to this wonderful miraculous place. Ancestors who told you that it was terrible there (the truth) and who believed and trusted that things were better here and they could work hard for something wonderful (justice) and that living here while maintaining ethnic traditions was perfection (the American Way.)
I think the things I miss are things that people stopped doing. Adults truly celebrating Memorial Day and Fourth of July as moments of courage and patriotism instead of a day off. That's what I miss. American flags not only flown every day, but respectfully taken down during rain and properly destroyed when they aged. Thinking any symbol of America was the prettiest thing a person could could imagine and surrounding yourself with bald eagles. That's what I miss.
Refusing to pray for and respect a leader we dislike is stupidity. Compromising the borders that keep us safe and free is lunacy. Shooting off our mouths against our home instead of working and voting and influencing this nation in a dignified and loyal way is disgraceful.
I am an American.
Spoiled, privileged, honored, grateful, lazy, smart, foolish, determined...Hungarian, German, Armenian, English...Female, mother, wife, daughter, sister, nurse...Religious, Christian, supporter of Israel, wary of the Middle East....
I am an American.
It's time we stop making fools of ourselves and fly the flag that represents who we are supposed to be.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Season of Building

What is a wise woman?
Proverbs 14:1 says this; The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down...
This, I think, could be the scripture that could save this country. The United States of America has very little applause for the woman who is building her own house. However, you may see a standing ovation for the one who proclaims that making her self happy will make her a better mother or she deserves better than______________and she is demanding her due. We have made womanhood so complicated and in the process, we've lost the value that God placed on our heads when he created us.
We've almost become worthless.
What if we all lived life with one goal and every decision we make was in pursuit of that one goal. Just one. Choose your goal. But be forewarned that anything that does not build our house tears it down. Imagine a house, a neighborhood, a city, a nation of women with a singular passion I WILL BUILD MY HOUSE.
Her career choice is the one that will build her house. For the single woman, she will only date (even a single cup of coffee date) a man who will build her house. A married woman will deal with her husband only in a manner that will build her house. She will manage her finances, her body and her spirit only in ways that will build her house. Wow.
All of this house building reveals a scary question. Does this wonderful, kind and good-intentioned woman even know what kind of house she wants to build? Any architect must first sketch his plan. Who wants to live in a house built by moment to moment impulse? "I don't feel like doing plumbing today. If it turns out that we need plumbing, I can just build an outhouse later. I won't mind." Silly and yet, how many women have compromised, avoided the harder work, done the thing that seemed most pleasant for the moment or pursued the thing that seemed to reflect their own belief in their worth only to find themselves living in a house built without indoor plumbing?
Don't just agree with me. Oh yes, let's build a house! Hooray, I am going to build a house! Be the architect if you're serious about it. Sketch the plan the Holy Spirit reveals to you and let that blueprint guide your life.
And then, go build your house.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


Good morning friends! Hoping your Memorial Day was peaceful but more than that, praying that it was a day of gratitude. We had the Mr.'s folks over for brunch and after they left we planned on yard work. However, 'round here the rain rolled in and we ended up catnapping.
Today I'm off of work and planning on doing some weeding, which really should be called un-weeding, shouldn't it?
I have a few errands to run and some photographs to transfer and that will likely be the day for me. Days off generally contain less hours than the working ones. It's true.
Oh, I forgot! I deactivated my Facebook account. Glad that's done and the process reinforced my feeling. First they require a specific reason you are deactivating with a little drop down once you choose as to why you shouldn't deactivate just for that! Then you can deactivate, however, you are not deleted. I'm sure that there was note about that in the process of starting my Facebook that I ignored but now it kind of bothers me. All of my information remains in the Facebook universe. The good news is that the FB people tell me I can reactivate any moment by simply signing in!
Well, lesson learned for me that will make me think twice about future social networking sites.
And now, on to a day of hot coffee, yard work and general enjoyment.