Monthly Archives: June 2014

Projects of late

102

Painted front steps last July

 

Just thought I’d make a quick post of what I’ve been up to the last couple weeks.  Of course, physical therapy remains part of our regular routine, so we work our lives around it.  The kids and I continue to go three days a week.  We definitely can see progress as it’s been five weeks now since our auto accident.  But, we’re looking forward with great anticipation to the day when we can say we are without pain!  And, so, we press on …

And now to the projects …

Our house was built in 1977, thus projects abound!  So much of our house has received cosmetic updates, however I think with an older house, projects will continue until kingdom come!

We renovated the kitchen last month and are still waiting for one last cabinet to be installed above the refrigerator.  They ordered the wrong size initially, so once that’s done, the installation will be complete.  We plan on painting at some point down the road when our shoulders and backs no longer hurt.  We want to paint a taupe color.  The sickly salmon color that adorns the walls now is awful.

In the spring, we replaced 3 of the 4 – 1977 colored toilets.  Who knew such a menial update could mean so much?!

Last week our A/C decided to flare up and had to have some maintenance and repairs done.  Thankfully, it wasn’t huge.

Over the weekend, my dear husband scraped up all the old caulk in the upstairs master bath and applied fresh caulk.  What a transformation!  Why is it that we delay such routine tasks?  I don’t know, but I like the finished product!  He also fixed my daughter’s closet door knob, which has been broken for nearly four years!  He fixed my son’s closet door knobs last month.  It’s the little things in life that mean so much!  I cannot stand things that don’t function properly, so these little things are significant!!

Dear husband and I made a “Projects To Do List” over the weekend and we plan to divide and conquer.  Some of the smaller tasks, the kids and I can handle; whereas some things only my husband can do … Such as: re-grout our bathroom tile, caulk the crown molding and repair the porch door screen.

The kids and I cleaned up the back porch and replaced the pillows (we’d stored away until post-pollen season) on the wicker furniture.  We’ve enjoyed eating dinner out there the last two nights under the ceiling fans.  Very peaceful.

005

Back porch – I’ve updated pillows since this pic but you get the idea.

 

Yesterday the kids and I organized the garage!  Whew, what a lot of work!  How I thank God for the kids’ help and, in particular, my son’s strong muscles and height to lift things and reach the high shelves! (My right elbow is still hurting so that limits my movement, which is challenging because I want to do so much!)  We loaded up donations for the Salvation Army, donations for a family of eight and filled a large trash can!  After playing Tetris with boxes and the garage shelves, my son used the blower to clean out the garage floor.  I watched this YouTube video on applying an epoxy coating to the garage floor and was so tempted to do that here!  Dear husband and I have talked about it in years’ past, but one day we might just do it …  It would be so much easier to keep clean, thus minimizing dirt and dust getting tracked in the house.  There are definite benefits.  That’s one idea for the back burner…

We have this huge outdoor Rubbermaid bin that was completely filled with balls of every sport, most of which the kids no longer play with.  So, we filled a large black trash bag last Friday with an assortment of balls and outdoor toys and donated to another large family we’re good friends with.  Their kids were overjoyed!  That makes cleaning up so worth it right there!  My son even gave them a couple Nerf dart guns he doesn’t need.  Happiness all around!

While Operation Organize Garage is complete for now, there is further room for improvement.  Phase II will be in progress soon…

Today’s mission is to spray weed killer and power wash the front porch and brick paver sidewalk.  The back patio will be for another day.  I painted the front steps last July so I think power washing them will brighten them up a bit.  They were a drab color before we moved in and I painted them a taupe color, which looks really nice.  The two pots of red geraniums on either side of the front steps are thriving nicely.  They must be hearty!  I haven’t killed them yet!  😉

Does anyone else have four, large artificial trees in their home?  We have three Ficus and one banana tree!  That’s a lot to contend with!  They’re spread out in different rooms but dusting them seems to be a task I’d rather postpone.  That’s one of our next projects…to take them outside and dust thoroughly!  Dusting the blinds in each room is also on our list… Oh, how I do not like to dust!  Haha!  Divide and conquer …

Speaking of which, I better get to conquering!

 

Past projects:

 

115114

Painted 2 sets of back steps last July

 

And, to see the before and after pictures of our recent kitchen renovation, check them out here:

 

https://englishrose2014.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/our-kitchen-remodeling/

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Home Improvements

Sowing and Reaping

406

My son and I had a little chat about the topic of sowing and reaping yesterday.  He’ll turn 15 next month, which is very hard to fathom.  My baby’s almost grown!  He has expressed some personal concerns lately, which led to this discussion.  I explained to him that if you desire a different harvest, you have to plant different seeds.

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” ~ Genesis 1:11

If you want a life of peace, love and joy, you must plant those kinds of seeds.  If you plant seeds of anger, hatred and violence, you cannot expect to reap a harvest of peace, love and joy.  It’s a kingdom principle: Everything reproduces after its own kind.  I explained to my son that you can’t plant tomato seeds and expect to harvest a pumpkin.  It’s not going to happen.  I asked a rhetorical question that I really wanted him to ponder:  “What kind of life do you want to live … 5, 10 or even 15 years from now?”  The seeds you plant today will dictate the type of harvests you will reap in the future.  If you want a successful future, you need to plant seeds of responsibility, punctuality, hard work, prayer and studying the Word of God today.  This applies to all of us.

“My son, attend to my words;
incline thine ear unto my sayings.
 Let them not depart from thine eyes;
keep them in the midst of thine heart.
 For they are life unto those that find them,
and health to all their flesh.

 Keep thy heart with all diligence;
for out of it are the issues of life.” ~ Proverbs 4:20-23

What goes into the mind comes out in a life.  We must be careful what we place before our eyes and into our ears.  Before long, we will begin to express those very things.  As Proverbs says, we must guard our heart will all diligence.  With every ounce of self control, we must not conform to the evils of this world but follow Christ’s example in all things.  We will only know what it means to follow Christ if we engage in His Word on a regular basis.  We must make steady deposits of the Word of God into our souls so when temptations, tests and trials come (and they will come), that we are able to withstand them.  Conversely, when the tests and trials come and our account has a zero balance of God’s Word, how then will we ward off the evil one?  God’s will is not that we live defeated lives, but rather that we are able, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to conquer sin in our lives.

What seeds are you planting today?

If you desire to have positive, uplifting and encouraging thoughts, you cannot constantly dwell on negative, contentious and pessimistic lines of thinking.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever thingsare just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  ~ Philippians 4:8

We must be deliberate and intentional regarding the influences in our lives.  In the end, they will produce a harvest.

The question is – Is it the harvest you planned?

7 Comments

Filed under Christian Living

Cause and Effect

264

Ever since dad came over to our house for lunch last Sunday, I’ve been very concerned about his gait and equilibrium.  So many factors come into play with this issue.  Is he overmedicated?  Is the UTI that caused the recent sepsis returning?  Is his fractured foot not healing properly?  He’s also on a blood thinner, which means a fall could prove fatal.  And if not fatal, could mean months in a rehab facility.  The other thought I had was he’s been at home for three months recovering whereas normally he’d be busy with his volunteer work at the church.  So, he has severely lacked extensive mobility in recent months.

So, off to the Dr. we went yesterday.  I guess there’s a reason I’m not a doctor.  Actually, there are many!  First of all, I can’t stand the sight of blood or yucky bodily fluids!  They’d have to pick me up off the floor.  Haha.  I wouldn’t be of much use.  That said, my “honorary” nursing skills were put to the test yesterday at the doctor’s office.  Apparently, when my dad showed the Dr. what he thought was a mole on his back, the usually stoic Dr. was duly impressed by the infected cyst.  *Ewww*

I stood beside dad on the one side of the examination table while the Dr. was on the other during this procedure.  The Dr. excitedly motioned for me to take a look at the area when I explained that I might wind up on the floor if I did.  A few minutes later, I thought I was hearing things when the Dr. asked me to put on a pair of gloves and apply pressure to the area until the nurse came in to dress the wound.  (He graciously covered the area so I didn’t have to see anything. ) Excuse me?  They don’t pay me around here.  Is this the new norm?  Fewer staff.  Trained professionals have even less time to spend with the patient.  *Sigh*  I really didn’t mind (too much) helping out, but I must admit, I was taken aback.  The nurse finally made it into the room about ten to fifteen minutes later, much to my dad’s joy.  His left arm had fallen asleep as they had him turned almost on his stomach in an awkward position.  Poor fella.  The examination table is fairly narrow and my dad’s a big guy.  He’s over six feet tall and a healthy weight.  I don’t know how the Dr. got him over on his side, but I was of little to no help with my injured elbow.  The Dr. said the infection could be a cause of his weakness, but that physical therapy would be helpful to regain strength in his legs.  He said dad’s at the “use it or lose it” stage with walking.  As one ages, it’s incredible how quickly muscle tone can be lost when no demand is placed on it.  Well, that’s all dad had to hear and he is totally on board with the physical therapy!

The question is, is there life outside of physical therapy??  We’re all still doing physical therapy from our car accident three days a week.  Next week, we’ll be re-evaluated and go from there.  I guess on our “off” days, I’ll take dad to his therapy.  The chiropractor showed me some neck stretches to do to help ease the intense trapezoid muscle knots I have, particularly after driving so much.  Those will definitely be needed.  And this is the time I wish I had a twin.

Dad has so many needs.  He needs to see the podiatrist, urologist, now the physical therapist and the lab for routine blood work every 1-2 weeks lately.  My three siblings all live many miles away and this caregiver is feeling a little stretched.  Okay, a lot.  I’ve been down this path before with him.  This is when I remind myself to take things one day at a time.  Don’t get too far ahead of myself thinking about all that needs attending to.  One day.  One step.  God’s grace will be there to meet me every inch of the journey.  He’s never failed me yet.  Nor will He ever.  It’s not in His character, nor in His realm.  Ever faithful is He.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

The other take-away from all of this is … Always, always, ever always … Drink lots of water!

What?  What does H2O have to do with this topic?  Well, you see, my dad’s primary source of fluids prior to his hospitalization was Pepsi.  To him, water was something you drink to take medicine with and that’s it.  I honestly don’t know how his system has endured all of the neglect.  Oh, and he drank iced tea too.  Both of which contain caffeine, which are diuretics.  Not good.  This is the cause of his urinary tract infection that resulted in sepsis, which is fatal in many cases.  This is when bacteria gets into the blood stream and your body is in shock and nearly begins to shut down.  Fortunately, the hospital has a very aggressive approach to responding to sepsis and he was able to recover.

He fractured his foot because he was so weak from the sepsis.  And now, here we are with his walking issues because of poor hydration.  It’s a life lesson.  Always drink lots of water!!  Learn from another’s mistake, please.  Our bodies are not as invincible as we tend to believe, and particularly as we age.  They’re far less forgiving.  Good nutrition and hydration habits when you’re young will greatly help you in every stage of your life.  Afterall, our bodies consist of more than sixty percent water!

I think I’m going to get a tall glass of water …

7 Comments

Filed under Caregiver

Healing Process

rose

Photo Credit: Darling & Talented Daughter

So today was Day I lost count of physical therapy.  I never knew cracking my neck and back could feel so liberating!  My trapezoids have been in the tightest of knots and with a couple movements, the chiropractor set my muscles free!  Well, most of them anyway.  I must admit I came into this therapy process with some apprehension of being worked on by a chiropractor.  But, today changed all of that.  🙂  I had a throbbing headache last night and this morning because of the tense muscles, so hopefully it eases.

As the tech was doing an ultrasound on my elbow, we began to talk.  She’s usually the receptionist and exceptionally pleasant and kind.  I was surprised to see her in the back doing physical therapy until she explained that she’s worked there for many years and has trained quite a few of the staff as well.  She showed me pictures of her four beautiful children, who are stair steps beginning with age nine on down.  It must be my age showing but I could hardly believe she’s a mother of four!  She looks so young!  Bless her heart!  She also shared that she’s in school to become a psychologist and wants to help abused women and children.  She escaped a decade long abusive marriage and wants to offer hope to other women.  Wow.  I was blown away that all of this was inside of this young woman!  She’s beautiful and appears happy.  I guess she is.  I’m sure she feels like she has a new lease on life.  Well, now I know how to further pray for her, along with the other staff.

I was really glad this lady performed the ultrasound as there’s one tech who I think would rather be anywhere but at work.  There’s a third tech who usually works with my kids while I get the unfriendly gal.  She’s not just unfriendly; she has zero facial expression and is almost as if she’s floating around but no one is home emotionally.  I just think that if you’re dealing with people in pain, which is why they’re doing physical therapy, that one should have a compassionate and caring disposition.  Call me old school, I guess.  I told my husband about there being two techs, one is awesome and the other one… well, you’ll see what I mean when you get there.  He came home last night and he told me right away that he knew exactly what I meant.

The chiropractor and physical therapy staff almost feel like family since we’ve been going three days a week for three weeks now.  I love how positive and cheerful the chiropractor’s demeanor is.  It’s almost as if his disposition promotes healing in and of itself.  How dreadful it would be if his attitude was like that tech!  I’m not sure we’d be progressing as well.  There are so many facets to physical healing.  I think faith has a lot to do with it.  Expectation.  Attitude.  Gratitude for even the smallest strides of progress.  Grace – giving yourself copious amounts as you heal, taking things slowly.  Peace in the midst of the storm.  If you have all sorts of inner turmoil, that can’t help your body heal as well, especially tense muscles and ligaments.

I’m so thankful to God for His healing power that is at work within our entire family!  So grateful for His matchless peace and grace.  There’s nothing like it.  Nothing in this world compares to knowing Him, to walking with Him.  We can search out the pleasures of this world, but they all lead to paths of destruction.  The things this world calls exciting and enticing are selfish and unfulfilling pursuits.  Nothing can satisfy like a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  He loves us so!  We are the objects of His affection, the reason He sent Jesus to die on a cruel Cross, to be a propitiation for our sin, to stand in our place.  Salvation is a gift.  All we have to do is receive it.

There was a lady in the waiting area today that was in severe neck pain due to a recent car accident.  She spoke with a husky, smoker’s voice.  Apparently, she was relaying the details of her accident to one of the staff and my daughter was listening intently as I joined her in the lobby after my therapy.  Once again, we are reminded of God’s grace in sparing us from a more tragic accident.  As much pain as we’ve endured, we often see how much worse it could have been and our hearts are flooded with thankfulness to God!

God is a good God!  That’s all I have to say.  He’s good.  He’s merciful.  He’s the friend who sticks closer than a brother.  “Though weeping endures for a night; joy comes in the morning!” (Psalm 30:5)  His favor lasts a lifetime!

Only God knows why these things happen.  I surely don’t.  My daughter said today that between the accident and a recent workshop put on by an insurance company about teen driving, safety, etc. that she will be a much safer and mindful driver.  I know she will be.  She shared this statistic about teen driving –

“80% of teens involved in fatal accidents were not wearing seat belts.”

Wow!  That’s unbelievable.  So preventable.  She also told me that she recently told some friends they should really put their seat belts on when they got in the car from school.  She said it in a friendly way as to not appear bossy, but was surprised how complacent they were about it initially.  It’s typical for teens to be casual about these things, but the adults in their lives must insist on this basic safety measure!  The fatality statistics involving teens and driving are staggering, and now with the added distractions of smart phones and texting, it’s only increasing sadly.

Saturday marked one year since my darling daughter’s friend, Emily, died in a tragic car accident.  I don’t know the details aside from the fact that she hit a tree and it fell on her car.  I can’t imagine the pain her family has endured these last twelve months.  The blessing is that one day they will be reunited in heaven.

Today on the way home from physical therapy, the driver of a burgundy sedan wanted to become attached to my rear bumper as I drove along a small country road with a speed limit of 35.  My first thought was – “I was just rear ended by a drunk driver.  Can I tell you how uncomfortable your lack of distance feels?”  My second thought was – “We just got the SUV back from the auto body shop yesterday.  Don’t send it back!”  And thirdly – “You’re so young, fella.  Life will teach you to slow down and how fragile life really is.”

Vulnerable is what I feel when I’m driving these days, but also safe at the same time.  You know why?  I’m safe in God’s hands.  Nothing happens in my life or my family’s life (or yours) without His notice.  God is in control, even when I am not.  In that, I will trust and give thanks.

“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

 ~ I Thessalonians 5:18

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Health Stuff

Ministry Opportunities Abound

254

As Christians we often pray for the Lord to use us to reach the lost and to bless others, but I’m afraid sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees.  Too often we think ministry is something that only occurs within the confines of a church building.  Nothing could be further from reality, however.  This world is full of so many practical needs.  If each one of us met just one of those needs today, wouldn’t this world be a better place because of it?

My father is 77 years old, and, as many of you already know, I’m very involved with his medical care, etc.  He has a friend, who is about my age, who has adopted my dad as a ministry opportunity.  My dad volunteers five days a week at his church and has for the last thirty-one years.  This gentleman often gives him a ride home, despite the fact that it’s entirely out of his way to do so.  Last week was his first week returning to volunteer work post hospitalization in March.  They went to lunch and he even offered to take him grocery shopping.  Apparently, he declined as he didn’t have his shopping list with him.  *Sigh*

I recently was pondering this “adoption” of sorts and, although I do not know a whole lot about this friend, I know a bit.  I’ve heard him say that he grew up without a father.  He’s also mentioned that his “spiritual father”, another older gentlemen, recently went to be with the Lord.  And, so he has now broadened his outreach to my dad, which I greatly appreciate, especially during this season of recovery for my family!  I find it interesting that sometimes our ministry “bent” is birthed out of a deep need within ourselves.  While he is being a vessel of the Lord, the Lord is also using the ministry to bring healing and wholeness to him.  Interesting, isn’t it?  Of course, I’m sure his motive is not purely to receive.  It just happens to be a by-product of God’s grace.

My father’s needs are many.  He doesn’t drive, so I take him to medical appointments, pick up prescriptions, the barber and grocery shopping, etc.  I wash his clothes.  I help him make all sorts of decisions.  My father is one in a sea of the older generation.  So many needs just to carry on with everyday life.  There are millions just like my father who could use help on a daily basis or even just a listening ear.  Most of the telephone conversations my dad and I share are close to an hour long.  He usually has a lot to say since our last chat.  He has to tell me what’s going on at the church, although lately he’s been most concerned about our family’s health.  So, he’s asked everyone he comes in contact with to pray for us, which is very thoughtful and kind.  He has so many churches praying for us and I know God is answering!

My dad lives alone and I’m a large slice of his world, I realize.  Sometimes this part of his world gets tired and my ears get droopy, but it’s then I realize one day, I’ll wish I could hear him drone on one more time.  I’ll long for our lengthy conversations about this and that, long to take him grocery shopping one more time as he slowly and carefully selects chocolate chip cookies or frozen dinners.  Life is made up of all the little things … little, monotonous, trite details that can easily distract us from the larger picture.  We are here for a purpose and that purpose is to be a blessing in whatever situation, vocation and location the Lord places us in.

Perhaps there is someone in your world who is in need.  None of us need look very far …

“Oh, to be His hands extended, reaching out to the oppressed.  Let me touch Him; let me touch Jesus; that others may know and be blessed.”

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Caregiver, Christian Living

Physical Therapy & Recovery

cherry blossom

Photo Credit: My Darling & Talented Daughter

Today was Day #Umpteen of physical therapy since our auto accident three weeks ago.  It was a good day overall, one where we didn’t feel like we were totally falling apart, so life is improving all the time!  The chiropractor had me do exercises on a large exercise ball to kind of work the knots and kinks out of my lower back.  It’s a precarious thing balancing on that ball, but not bad once you get used to it.  As always, the electrotherapy and heat feel so good on my neck, shoulders and back, as does the ice on my elbow.  I’m just a mess!  😉  But today was a relatively good one.  I’ve developed headaches over the last few days but hopefully that passes soon.  Hubby begins physical therapy this week.  Can’t wait to hear his fun tales.

The chiropractor tickles me.  He has a French last name, so I assume he has some French lineage; but he has this affinity for style (of sorts).  For instance, today he was sporting a pair of white slacks with some sort of dress shirt (I can’t recall).  But, his shoes…those I remember.  They were snazzy … well, when they were in their prime, that is.  Who knows?  Maybe they’re new and are a throw-back style.  They had the Italian flag on them and were brown loafer type of shoes.  Definitely very European looking.  And, as my daughter so keenly pointed out, he always dons this brown, braided leather belt.  So, he’s stylin’.  He marches to his own drummer, let’s just say.  He looks very dignified and nice, just a little unique is all.  I noticed he had his shirt cuff turned over once and it had some snazzy design on the underside to complement the shirt pattern.  Interesting.  Can’t say I’ve seen a shirt with that design before.  But, his wardrobe makes our visits interesting if nothing else.  Haha!  … That said, since we do have to see a Dr. three times a week, he is a very nice person to deal with, thankfully.

The kids did their neck rotations on the occipital float (like a bean bag of sorts) and then had their electrotherapy as well on their necks, shoulders and backs.  After a painful weekend, today was one of my daughter’s better days also, which was a blessing.  Some days it feels like we take one step forward and two steps backward.

We had my dad over for lunch yesterday and it probably was too soon to do as much as we did, but it was good to see him after being away.  He has two Dr. appointments this week that I’ll be working into my schedule.  If they weren’t so necessary, I’d definitely postpone them.  His equilibrium seems to be way off and I want to get him in to see his regular Dr. to see about this.

The kids and I have a Dr. appointment next week and we’ll assess how much more physical therapy we require at that point.  I really don’t know what he’ll suggest, but I know we’re a long way from normal at this point.  We can be going along okay and then we try to do regular things and it flares up the injuries.  Just to do grocery shopping and laundry is a herculean effort.  Such as today … My darling daughter is attending a co-worker’s baby shower this weekend and needed to buy a gift.  It was all we could do to select diapers, wipes, and some onesies, along with our groceries without being totally exhausted and in major pain.  She will likely only stay at the baby shower for a little while as sitting too long is painful.  She’s also invited to her bff’s birthday party this weekend and will only stay a short while there also.  She was in so much pain on Saturday that she almost contemplated not even attending, which to a 16 year old is a huge deal!  I know she wants to see her friends, though.  The party is scheduled from 4-9p.m.!  That’s one long party!  There’s no way she’d make it that long.  She needs to pin a little sign to her shirt, “Please no hugs.  Air hugs only!”

I made a tuna casserole and peas for our lunch with dad yesterday.  And today I made meatloaf and my darling daughter made home fries.  We usually have a vegetable with dinner, but at this point, we’re doing well to prepare something that resembles dinner.  Two nights in a row!  We are making progress.  And, today I bought some chicken breasts and sour cream to make a Mexican casserole tomorrow night.  (I already had the tortillas, beans, cheese, salsa and corn on hand.)  Tic-tac-toe … three in a row!  Life is improving all the time!  One thing I know is that we can’t keep eating carry out and rotisserie chicken from the grocery store!

I finally took an inventory of our freezer and organized it last night.  You wouldn’t believe how much frozen fruit we have!  Three bags of strawberries, three bags of peaches, and some other fruit in a bag.  Darling daughter loves making fruit smoothies in the blender, but has been slacking off of late.  So, our stash has really accumulated and I guess I kept buying more not realizing how many we had!  We have one package of turkey burgers, four trays of ground beef, one box of shrimp that is begging to be eaten, some veggies, and a bag of mussels that is pleading to be tossed!  I nearly threw them away for the hundredth time, but my husband promises me that he’ll cook and eat them!  (Eww!)  At least now I know exactly what lives in our freezer (which usually is very hard to determine!) so I can plan meals to use it up.  We have a side-by-side refrigerator and the freezer space is very limited!  You might think there’s quite a bit of space, but if food comes in boxes of any sort, it consumes way too much valuable real estate!

And so it seems life is slowly but surely returning to somewhat normal.  We just have to bear in mind to be good to ourselves, take naps when possible, and take things slow.  It’s really difficult sometimes to not get ahead of ourselves and exercise patience with our rate of healing.  We’ve come so far since three weeks ago and are convinced our progress up to this point is a direct result of an incredible amount of believers interceding on our behalf!!  God is so faithful!

I am constantly reminded that as bad as our injuries are, they could be so much worse.  The four of us are true testimonies of God’s mercy and grace.  We will praise Him, even through the pain, because He’s so worthy!  He spared our lives and as far as we know, all of the others involved were spared also.  Mercy.

During times of great tests and trials, we often see God’s hand at work the most.  It is during these times that God’s power is on display and His presence evident.  In our weakness, He is strong.

I’d like to think of myself as pretty compassionate toward others, but after our car accident, I think my empathy toward others in pain has increased.  I’ve learned an important lesson through my pain.  I’ve been reminded that folks can look okay on the outside, but you have no idea of the battles that are raging on the inside.  They may be physical.  They may be mental.  Emotional.  Or otherwise.  The fact is, don’t judge a book by its cover.  Masks are everywhere and sometimes … many times … folks are fighting a war we may know nothing about.  People need love, no matter their appearance.  They may seem to have it all together or they may look like they’re falling apart.  Both may be in dire need of hope, grace, patience, and most of all Christ’s love.

And the greatest of these is love.  (I Corinthians 13)

Prayer – “Dear God, empty us of ourselves and fill us up with You so we can offer hope to a lost and dying world.  Help us to see others through the lens of your love.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

5 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, Health Stuff

Buried Treasure

We’ve been looking for a few things since we returned from our big trip visiting our older son almost three weeks ago (and recovering from our accident).  I knew we’d eventually find them, but today was a true red letter day as I found all three!  Yay!

Because I’m so ridiculously Type A, I write out a “To do” list every day generally.  Well, post-accident I get tired really easily and am combating pain, so I have to take it easy (which is so hard!); and most days I feel like I’m merely chasing my tail as my to-do list spills over to the following day.  But, today I accomplished one task anyway!  I organized our master closet.  It wasn’t horrible; it just felt that way.  Out of control.  In the process of corraling the dirty laundry, winter clothes, shoes, etc., I found the three items we’d been searching for!  A postcard from our trip that we bought for our neighbor; my husband’s dearly loved flip flops; and my elbow brace.

When you find something that’s been missing for a while, somehow it validates one’s mental capabilities.  It does for me anyway.  It reaffirms the truth I cling to:  I am not going bonkers!  Trying to keep up with everyone’s “stuff” can be a mother’s greatest challenge and particularly when you’re busy!  You know, the unspoken assumption is that mothers know where everything is in a household at any given point in time.  I’m not sure how we got burdened with such a thing, but it’s true.  Whenever anyone is missing something, they turn to me for answers. (Whhhyyy?)  🙂

After sifting and sorting through our closet, I began to fill a bag of donations for the Salvation Army once more.  We’re always purging it seems, so it’s pretty amazing that we still have more to part with.  It really should be the standing rule that if I buy three new shirts, I part with three.  Things have a way of sneaking into our house and somehow it’s easier to bring things in than carry them out!  Why is that?  We like to amass stuff, but we’re far more hesitant to part with it.  The thing is holding onto things that are unnecessary only leads to more clutter and disorganization.

Another area I will be conquering soon is boxing up last school year’s books and papers.  As a longtime homeschooler, we can quickly clutter up a space with all of our textbooks, teaching aids, educational DVD’s, notebooks, pencils, highlighters, etc.  I have to remind my Type A self that educational clutter (within reason) is OKAY and is a sign of good things happening around here!!  Haha!  As my kids are getting older, I bear in mind that it won’t be this way too much longer, so enjoy the ride!  😉  That said, we do have a designated area for school stuff, even though they may not always land there.

The kids have unpacked their suitcases and their rooms are actually tidy (as of this writing anyway!).  Haha.  They are teenagers, afterall.  My daughter showed me how she’d organized her dresser drawers so nicely the other day and I thought someone else’s daughter was speaking to me, for sure!  My daughter?  Wow.  She must be growing up!  😉  She did a super fantastic job and is learning how nice proper organization is.  She can actually find things now instead of digging through piles of clothes on the floor!  And, as for my son… Well, a little parental bribery works like a charm!  If he wants time on his tablet, he has to take care of his chores and clean his room.  Once it’s been inspected, he can have the tablet.  It’s a wonderful motivator!  And he even takes care of most of his laundry himself.  My daughter has been doing her own laundry for several years now, which is very helpful.  I think I’m working myself right out of a job … But, that’s the whole point, isn’t it?  😉

And, so, here’s to optimal organization on an ongoing basis!  Have a blessed day!  🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Organizing

Praise Report! … and food for thought

“I am confident to see the goodness of the Lord”  ~  Psalm 37

This has been my mantra since our car accident a little over two weeks ago.  I will see God’s grace and mercy revealed even in this!  What the enemy intended for evil, God will turn it around and cause it to be a blessing and a testimony for His glory and His alone!

Well, in previous posts I have outlined other praise reports related to the accident, but today I have two more!

1.) The drunk driver was underinsured to cover all of the losses (of course) and so we filed the claim through our insurance company.  Well, our insurance co. has decided to waive our deductible since the other insurance company has assumed liability!  Let me tell you what a huge blessing this is to our family!  We were looking at paying up to a $500 deductible when we pick up our SUV from the repair shop.  While it would’ve been reimbursed down the road, it’s a blessing not to have to pay it at all!!  So, this is a tremendous relief!  (Good news, my teenagers, you get to eat for the next two weeks!  Haha!)  God is good!

2.) Our vehicle was the only one out of the four involved that was not a total loss.  This is amazing considering our vehicle is the oldest (12 yrs. old!) out of all of them!  One was a shiny 2014, with a value of $30,000 at least; yet it was totaled.  That means three other families are shopping for vehicles.  Again, we are just thankful that our SUV is repairable and I always say that it will last until we’re ready to buy another vehicle.  The night of the accident, my husband was joking that it would last ten more years.  We both laughed, but, who knows?

We all stand in awe at the goodness of God in protecting us that night!  I believe the Lord dispatched angels from heaven to guard us and keep us safe.  There’s no human explanation of how our vehicle absorbed so much of the damage, yet totaled the mini van in front of us.  We were rear ended by a car and the offending SUV with an impact of at least 65 miles per hour!  It was the loudest crash you ever heard and the most unexpected!  We were sitting at a red light.  Everyone is supposed to stop.  Except those who cannot because they’re so impaired due to alcohol that they no longer have appropriate reflexes and are unable to process what red means, that is.

… I just searched online how many beers it takes for a 200 lb. man to exceed the legal limit.  It appears to be 4.  Wow.  Of course, many factors can affect this number.  For instance, interactions with prescription drugs, etc.  But, how one can decide it’s safe to climb behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming that much alcohol is beyond me.  Of course, I do not know the weight/size of the man who plowed into us, but am merely offering an example.  The greater the body weight, the more alcohol it requires to exceed the legal limit.  So, the scenario worsens.

According to the U.S. CDC, every 48 minutes someone dies as a result of a drunk driver.  It said that in “2010 nearly 1/3 of all automobile deaths were related to alcohol impaired driving.”  Those are staggering statistics.  Thankfully and mercifully, we lived.  Many don’t.

My daughter brought up an interesting note … She said, “Do you know how many people this one accident has affected?”  I’d been talking about the decision of one man to drink injured ten other people, in addition to himself.  She added: the first responders (who were so awesome that night!!), the helicopter pilot, hospital staff at two hospitals, those who were re-routed on the highway after it was shut down for hours, law enforcement, judges/staff, jurors, replacements in jobs that may have been hired while the injured recovered, families and friends of those injured, insurance agents/adjusters/staff, auto body shops, towing companies, Dr. offices, physical therapy and radiology facilities, churches, and the list is possibly endless.  I mention churches because during our recovery, we are unable to continue our volunteer work at our church.  Think of this replicated ten times over, potentially.  One alcohol related accident.  Affects hundreds of people, maybe a thousand.

This is an intriguing path because it demonstrates how no man is an island unto himself.  Truly.  Our decisions in life greatly impact others, even when we don’t realize it.  Perhaps none so dramatic, but influence nonetheless.  Now, that’s food for thought.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Health Stuff

A Little Perspective

…is all it takes sometimes.  We’ve had a rough few days around here with all our aches and pains.  What am I saying?  We’ve had a painful two weeks.  But it has reached the point where we’re tired of it!  Frustrated that we’re still in pain, tired of taking pain meds, Epsom baths, applying Biofreeze gel … and don’t get me started about the seemingly endless Dr. and physical therapy appointments!! … And, then she walked past us on her way out of the physical therapy office today…

She had some sort of brace around her rib cage and a cast on her arm as she spoke in a raspy voice.  Clearly she was in a worse accident than we were and her pain has got to be more severe.  I knew from the beginning of our ordeal how blessed we were not to have sustained far greater injuries and we are infinitely grateful to God for that!  But, today was an especially painful day for me where it hurts to sit.  It doesn’t feel a whole lot better standing.  And I didn’t sleep well and I have a lot of issues on my mind at the moment… And, and, and… Blah, blah, blah, blah… Well, you get the idea.  Not a stellar day for me.

But, when I saw this poor woman today, I couldn’t help but thank God once more for His grace and mercy over our lives!  Yes, we are all in pain from the accident still, but the good news is that we will recover in time.  Pain does crazy things to you.  Not only does it make one grumpy, but it also blurs the reality that the pain will pass in time.

I was sharing my accident story with the dermatologist this morning at my follow up appointment and she concurred how fortunate we all are that it was no worse.  That fact alone fills my heart with immense gratitute.  From the outside, we all appear to be just fine, but on the inside, not only are we still in a great deal of pain, we are also still processing the trauma of the accident.  That takes time too.  Since this was the first real accident I’ve ever been in, I never realized the anxiety that can follow a major accident.  I’ve gotten better each time I’ve driven or been a passenger since the accident, but I’m definitely uber cautious and aware that anything can happen.

My husband went to the orthopedic Dr. this morning and will begin his physical therapy routine this week.  He mentioned how much time all of these appointments are consuming and the fact that we have to get back to living our normal lives!  I couldn’t agree more.  I got to thinking how the actions of one person affected ten other people that night!  Because one man decided to consume entirely too much alcohol and get behind the wheel, he and his passenger were flown by helicopter to a shock and trauma unit.  The remaining nine of us were taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.  He even still had alcohol in his vehicle, which I’m sure is one reason he attempted to flee the scene of the accident.  He received five citations.

This week alone I will have had six medical appointments, two on Mon. and Wed. and will have two more on Fri.  There have been no quiet moments since the accident.  The phrase, “No rest for the weary” comes to mind.  We just want normal life to resume.  Now.  Isn’t that our way?  We want everything instantly.  Apparently part of the reason for much of my pain is inflammation.  The Dr. advised to limit wheat and take fish oil (which I already do) to help.  I also came home and researched this a little and found out green tea, spices, almonds and many fruits can also help.

And, so my pep talk to myself today is that I will continue to take this healing journey one day at a time.  I will resist the urge to complain (too much anyway!).  I will count my blessings every day!  I will look to the hills from whence comes my help.  My help comes from the Lord!  I will do my part to help the healing process and trust God to do the rest.  And I will continually seek out the good that will come from this accident.  I know there’s more good that hasn’t been revealed just yet.  I don’t believe God wastes pain, so I believe there’s a purpose even in this.  And I will yet praise Him!

Signed,

Just Me Being Real

4 Comments

Filed under Health Stuff

Our Kitchen Remodeling

Before Remodeling

Before Renovations …

If you’ve been following my blogging journey for a while here, you already know that we live in an older home.  It was built in 1977 to be exact.  The house really has a lot of character and charm, but the kitchen really needed updating.  The cabinets and drawers were self-destructing and our silverware drawer had taken up residence on our kitchen counter for a couple years.  The kitchen faucet recently began to leak and the kitchen was just screaming for attention!  Ah!  We’d been wanting to update ever since we moved in a little over three years ago, but finally, it was time!  Yay!

 

kitchen 1

Our New Improved Kitchen!  Real wood cabinets and granite countertops.  We reused the cabinet handles and drawer pulls we had since they had recently been replaced.

 

kitchen sink

Stainless steel sink w/pull out sprayer faucet.  The installers have to come back soon to install soap dispenser into granite.  (They forgot.)  Loving the deep sink on the left, especially for baking dishes, etc.  No more caulking around the sink.  Love the undermount!

kitchen granite

Close up of granite & cabinets.  Love how easy it is to wipe up messes on the counters and it just looks fabulous!  This old house deserved a stellar kitchen!

We scheduled the remodeling to take place the day after we returned from visiting our son.  The kitchen cabinets were delayed by a day, however, so they began work on that Tuesday.  The timing could not have been worse as we had a serious car accident that Sunday night and all of us were in a great deal of pain, but the end result sure is lovely.  We were without a kitchen sink for several days, which meant lots of paper plates and carry out.  The kitchen was a bit discombobulated.  We emptied all of the kitchen cabinets and drawers before we left for our trip.  We had boxes of dishes and pans in the dining and laundry rooms.  Our dining room table was completely covered with yet more dishes.  It looked like we were moving!  You don’t realize what you have until you remove everything from the cabinets!  (A few items went in a box for the Salvation Army.) Finally, it was all worth it, in the end!!

Next project is painting the kitchen a taupe color and removing that hideous black fruit border.  Lastly, our thoughts are to replace our bisque appliances with stainless steel.  We’ve priced them at a number of places, but have decided we’ve spent enough money for the moment and will wait.  We also have the thought to search out (minimally) scratched appliances that have been marked down.  We’ve done that in the past (and been pleased).

I’ve lined most of the new cabinets with Duck brand chocolate colored non-adhesive shelf liner:

non adhesive shelf liner

The installers also have to return to install the cabinet pull outs for the pan and Tupperware cabinets.  We had those in a former house and I love the ease of use.  We added several cabinets so this will increase our storage space, which was much needed as our kitchen is small to begin with.  No pantry here, except that I do have a closet in the laundry room (next door to the kitchen) that we use to store large appliances and some pantry items.

A really neat feature of the new drawers is the “soft close” design.  You can push them most of the way closed and they will close the rest of the way gently and quietly, thus less wear and tear on the drawer.  This is especially helpful with kids!  😉

One thing I recently learned is that I can’t use my nifty vinegar and water household cleaner on the granite!  Apparently since granite is porous, the acid will remove the sealant and cause etching.  So, I’m going to mix up a spray bottle of dish detergent and water to use for now.  I refuse to pay $7 for a bottle of special granite cleaner when soap and water will do the trick just fine! We are going to apply a granite sealer to provide a waterproof barrier and help preserve the shine.

It is a good feeling knowing that we paid cash for our kitchen renovations.  We will definitely enjoy our new kitchen for as long as we live here and future owners will as well.  One benefit of a new kitchen is that we don’t want dirty dishes to sit in the sink at all.  We quickly load them in the dishwasher or wash them by hand.  I love it!  🙂

9 Comments

Filed under Home Improvements