Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve "Bang"!

Fireworks are exploding all over the world tonight, resulting in spectacular colors and loud bangs bringing laughter and well wishers ushering in another year. Traditionally, Hunter and I have a quiet evening with some delicious food and maybe a movie or a good book to read then retire by 10:00 p.m.
This year was going to be no different until I had my own personal "bang"-quite literally I must say! 
After successfully making, from scratch mind you, Chinese pot-stickers (or jiaozi in Mandarin) which I was going to serve for dinner fried with spicey dipping sauce (yummy), I clipped on my shuffle with my favorite Christian music and embarked on a time of devotion as I briskly walked the roads around the RV park, hoping to get a little exercise before I began dinner preparations. 
I was thoroughly engulfed in songs of praise one moment then flat on my face "eating" the pavement the next! What exactly just happened? To this moment I can't quite describe the details only to guess I may have drug my left foot, which is my weaker side, causing my shoe to catch on a slight rise in the road propelling me violently foreward. The knees and palms slowed the downward ascent but the chin actually took most of the force of the "bang"! I laid there a moment trying to assess the situation when I heard a man yell, "Are you alright, miss?" The voice shook me to my senses and I slowly got up clutching my chin while blood oozed between my fingers. I assured the kind gentleman I was OK and slowly made my way back to the RV. Hunter and Tommy's card game was suddenly interrupted by my "grand" entrance. Hunter jumped into action with towels, ice, and questions to determine the extent of "damage". As it turns out I was blessed with only a twisted and swollen ankle, bruised and skinned knees and palms, a cut and bruises to the chin, which butterfly strips could handle, and a sore jaw to accompany the broken tooth. The tooth being the issue needing professional attention. We located a 24 hour emergency dentist who examined the injury. He said I would need two days of healing the chin before he would put on a temporary crown, so a return visit is scheduled for Friday morning. In the meantime I started antibiotics, a necessary procedure when you have an artificial implant, such as the one in my knee. My dinner consisted of soup and very soft fruit. I imagine I will have a few days of a liquid type diet before my jaw stops hurting. Thankfully the dentist did x-rays to be certain there were no broken bones. I am most grateful nothing was serioiusly damaged and I can slowly recover from my New Year's Eve fall. Since 2014 went out with a bang for me I am looking forward to 2015 coming in quieter please! Think I will pick up that good book and relax tomorrow and sip on soup-rather a boring New Year's Day but a safe one!
Hope yours is more exciting and less painful. 
May God truly bless each and everyone of you during 2015 with His unconditional love and opportunities to share it with others!  John 3:16 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Surprise!

Have you ever wanted to "pull off" that perfect surprise, catch someone totally unware? Well, I did it, a memory making moment! On December 18th around 6:30 p.m. I totally surprised my mother with an unexpected appearance. She was definately astonished and filled with "wonder", as Webster defined a true surprise! She was not expecting to see me until the summer of 2015. But I decided I didn't want to wait that long to spend time with her so I arranged with my sister (my partner in "crime") to pick me up at the airport. Previously she had told mom she would pick her up and go to a church dinner event that evening, so when we pulled up in front of her building and I jumped out of the car she was a bit confused, to say the least. What fun it was for me to give her a hug and explain that since I didn't know what to give her for Christmas I decided to give her myself-a WEEK of me for her Christmas gift! Marlene and I wisked her away to a salad supper and all the while I think she was still trying to process the event. Ha! Ha!
We did have a wonderful time together; talking, reading, praying, cooking, shopping, attending church, going to the movies, and visiting with my sister and her family. Thanks, Mom, for being the happy recipient of a joyful holiday "event"!


Saturday, December 6, 2014

"Imagination!"

In November of this year Hunter and I had the privilege of spending a week with some of our grandchildren at Disney World. We parked our motorhome in their convenient campground and met Jacob, Stacia, Keaton, and Beckham everyday at varioius locations around the gigantic park. Years ago we had taken our three chldren there so it was fun to see the changes. Yet the most magical times for me were watching the two grandsons engage their imagination and giggle with delight as their minds were bombarded with "big" characters, joyful dancing parades, and new entertainment around every corner. Disney must be experienced through the imagination of a child!





















I am ending this blog with a question for the grownups: Where is your imagination? Is it dried up like I fear mine is sometimes? Just spend a few moments on the floor with blocks and plastic zoo animals and you will discover that there are still a few drops of imagination left in the shriveling brain!
In reading my Bible recently I reflected on the fact that God does want us to keep alive a bit of that imagination gift He gave us until the "very" end. How else can we picture heaven without some imagination? I love to imagine the design of the mansion Jesus promised me in John 14:2. And, wow, I often imagine and long for my new body (2 Corinthians 5:1-3),  especially as this one is in need of many repairs!
I guess the lesson here is enjoy and continue to cultivate God's gift of imagination!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Transitions!

I have a grandson who has trouble transitioning from one activity to another. He becomes so comfortable doing "one thing" that to stop that activity and change "gears" brings out the "uglies" in him. I am beginning to think he inherited that trait from his Nani. Now I know what many of you might be saying about now, "You have got to be kidding. Who has transitioned into and out of more places and situations than you have in the 6 years of living full time in an RV, not to mention previous years living in China, as well as now having children you visit around the globe?" My comeback to you would be that yes, I have been through many transitions but it has not always been comfortable. If it were not for Hunter, the true adventurer, and his constant positive attitude and daily encouragement you might have seen more "uglies" coming out of me. I have come face to face with this truth just recently when I had to tackle the task of moving back into the RV. My new little home in Indiana has become so comfortable, like a soft warm sweater, a cup of hot tea, and a fall sunset. Why change that? Why transition back into tight quarters, little counterspace, no friendly neighbors? As Hunter would respond: WARM SUNSHINE!
Now that we are officiallly in Florida and enjoying that warm sunshine I would agree that the work of moving and the transition itself was well worth it. 
I am struggling, though, with a transition that is much harder than moving clothes from one place to another or endurin jet lag or even adjusting to living in another culture. That is the transition from being in the "middle age" bracket to entering the "old age" category of life. It is, of course, inevitable for us all but that does not mean it is easy or even welcomed! What happened to the body that could play racquetball, memorize parts in a play, watch movies until 11:00, eat greasy pizza and sugary pop without a stomach ache?
Are those days really gone? What manual gives us a step by step procedure to make this transition easier? Bo Caldwell writes in his book, City of Tranquil Light, "This growing old is the great test, you know-the challenge we've been preparing for all along." If that is the case I need to "rise to the occasion." Look into God's word, feast on it and apply its truth. 
Isaiah 43:18-21 speaks directly to this struggle: 
"Forget the former things, do not dwell in the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Now, it is springing up. Do  you not see it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert to give drink to my people, the chosen ones, the ones I have formed for myself, so that they may proclaim my praise."
OK. The purpose in entering that "old age" group is, through aches, pains, foggy brain, sore joints, through no matter what the body can or can not do - to give God praise!
1 Corinthians 1:3
"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Home

There is an old saying: "Home is where the heart is." I believe there is much truth to this adage. When we lived full time in our RV we used to say:"Home is where we park it". Living in the various houses of our children for some period of time caused me to coin the phrase: "Home is where the grandchildren live". But now that we finally have a small house in a retirement community I am beginning to feel that home is once again a stationary building with walls, a cement driveway, and a red front door with a welcome mat. I invite all my blog friends to visit us in Indianapolis but in case you never travel this way here are a few photos.






Our home is not very big but it feels so comfortable and fills me with a real sense of warmth and peace. It is a special gift from God. It is like the peace that only He can offer His children. Jesus said to his disciples before he returned to heaven; "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid. " John 14:27

As the sun streams through my bedroom window while I do my morning devotions I feel His peace and know I do not have to be troubled about anything because HIs peace covers me. 

"Pilgrim was taken to a large upper room that faced the sunrise. And the name of the room was Peace." from Pilgrim's Progress

Friday, October 3, 2014

Powerful quote!

I recently completed a novel of historical fiction called "The Preacher's Bride" written by Jody Headlund. It is the tale of the second wife of John Bunyan, author of "Pilgrim's Progress". The story, although fiction in nature, is based on historical facts gleaned from the authors's hours of pain staking searching out and reading a variety of historical records. Elizabeth Bunyan was the step-mother of four small children left motherless by the early death of Mary Bunyan. Elizabeth labored for 7 days, yes 7 days, giving birth to John's still born son. She had to provide a meager living for these children and herself while John was imprisoned for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, during which he wrote "Pilgrims's Progress", one of literature's greatest works! Elizabeth suffered much but kept her eyes on Jesus, her Lord and Savior. One quote from this book has had a profound impact on my view of hardships:
"Hardships are the Lord’s greatest blessing to the believer. Without them we would love the Lord only for what He does for us. Our troubles teach us to love Him for who He is.”

I would recommend this novel as an enjoyable read but even more so to take to heart the quote above, whose truth echoes through the pages of God's word!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Struggling through gravel...


Recently Hunter and I rode our tandem in southern France on a bike/boat tour through the Provence area; dotted with the white horses of Carmague, winding river canals, fields of sunflowers, tiny French villages, and traces of Van Gough and Nostradamus. It was an enjoyable week of bike riding during the day and fellow shipping with other bikers on the boat in the evenings while feasting on French and Italian cuisine.
(Note the photos below)
One insident on the first day's ride was less than favorable and reminded me of aspects of my spiritual and physical journey.
Hunter and I ride a road bike, translated means one fit with "skinny" tires best suited for paved roads. We avoid dirt and rough roads for stability reasons and to protect our tires as well as to maintain a cleaner chain to prevent shifting problems. In fact, we own individual dirt bikes for just such occasions. But in traveling we only take our road tandem. Therefore, when our tour guide led us on a "new" route the first day, one NOT advertised in the trip description, which consisted of miles of gravel we were not, shall we say, "happy campers"! It was a struggle to ride resulting in long distances of simply getting off the bike and pushing it over the large gravel areas. Have you ever walked for a distance on gravel in clip-in bike shoes? If not, you have missed a special kind of torture! I distinctly remember trudging along with sweat running down my jersey gazing down the road thinking will this never end? It only complicated the problem when we realized we were lost with no guide "up ahead"! We had little choice but to forge ahead and finally did locate a small paved road that eventually connected our "lost" party with the main group, much to our relief. 
Some days I feel like I am "walking through gravel" as I try to cope with scoliosis back pain and tremors that NEVER stop! What happened to the smooth paved roads of youth or even middle age when I could dive for a racquet ball, bounce babies on my hip, chase little boys through the park? I mourn the loss of energy and an agile, pain free body. There are moments when I admit I just want to lie down in the gravel and feel sorry for myself but then I remember that verse in Isaiah 41:13-
"For I am The Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, "Do not fear (or be discouraged, or give up, or feel sorry for yourself) I will help you.""
 In contrast to the guide on our bike ride who did not do his job of planning the perfect route or of preventing us from getting lost, Jesus DOES plan the perfect route for each of our lives and we can be assured we will never get lost following his leading. 
God is sovereign. Whatever circumstance He allows to cross our path is another brush stroke on our life canvas. He truly knows what is best for His children. We may someday see the reason for the struggle or we may not. Our gravel experience on the bike certainly made our tour guide more aware of the future road surfaces and taught him to keep his group together to avoid any more "lost sheep"! So, I guess it was all for the best!
My Parkinson's struggle or whatever struggle you are facing will "work together for good" in God's timing  and for His glory. Our heavenly tour guide knows the perfect route for each of us and He is trustworthy!


















Sunday, August 17, 2014

One on One


Recently I had the opportunity to spend a few hours "one on one" with one of my eight grandchildren, Aiden. He spent the night at our home. Together we went swimming at the club's pool. Since he is just learning to swim he clings on to me pretty tightly but I am still able to teach him a few important swimming "tips". There was another 5 year old at the pool and she had diving sticks and loaned some to Aiden. Caustiously he watched her drop them and swim down to the bottom and retrieve them. This he wanted to do but has not mastered the "technique" of overcoming the water's bouancy by using your arms to propel you to the bottom. So I explained that if he wanted I could push him to the bottom and he could grab a diving stick then the water would pop him up to the surface. At first mention of this idea he was fearful. But his desire to "get the treasure" overwhelmed his fear, as well as the fact that he trusted me to protect him and get him safely to the surface. So finally he agreed to allow me to push him deeper and when I did he grabbed the diving stick and popped to the surface wearing a huge grin and eyes that said "I did it!"
As I have spent "one on one" time with Jesus lately He has shown me that He wants to push me deeper to grab spiritual truths. Do I trust Him enough? That question has been echoing in my mind lately as I face continued health issues. "Do I trust you enough, Jesus, to let you "push" me through the dark waters? Will you be there to pull me up so I can breath?" I know the answer to that question. Of course He will be there. He loves me and wants only the best for me. I know that "My flesh and my heart may (will) fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Ps. 73:26
But I still struggle with fear so I guess, like Aiden, I just need to take the plunge and remember Isaah 43:2 "When you pass through the water I will be with you, and through the rivers they shall NOT overflow you."! 

Some of the greatest treasures in my life are my 8 grandchildren. Thank-you, Jesus!








P.S. My heart was so heavy as I learned of the death of Robin Williams, especially as I learned that we "shared" as early diagnosis of Parkiinson's Disease. I wish I could have shared two Bible passages with him:
"And God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tested beyond what you can bear but will with the testing provide a way to escape that you will bear up under it."  1 Cor. 10:13

"Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:27-28


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hands!


Have you ever stopped to just look at your hands? They reveal a few of our "secrets". Age spots, wrinkles, and occasional crooked fingers tell us we are aging. Wedding bands proclaim our lasting relationships. For me resting hand tremors whisper "you have Parkinson's Disease". Generally I can ignore the annoying shaking but recently I have had to do psycological battle with the reality that these tremors will be my lifelong companions whether or not I have invited them to stay! Like unwanted house guests they have gone from being just annoying, to frustrating, and on to causing me to scream: "How can I get rid of them?" Aside from trying mind altering drugs the tremors are "forever"! OK. Now how to cope with the shaking everytime you rest in front of the TV, or pick up a novel to read, or try to concentrate on a church sermon, or hold hands, or the most difficult-fall asleep at night while the pillow shakes under your head. I have tried sitting on them, crossing my arms, clenching my fists. Nothing stops their relentless shaking. If it is a battle I can't win can I then just learn to survive?

God has been speaking to me through this trial. He wants me to grow in my level of perseverance: "Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trails of many kinds. Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:2-3
But He does not just leave me to figure it out on my own. Just the other day during a low period I simply wrote in my prayer journal, "Help me!" He used the kind words of a friend in a wheel chair who struggles with MS to encourage me.. He used my husband's big shoulders to allow me a good cry. He "showed" me how to raise my hands during my prayer time to worship. (It is amazing but the hands don't shake if I raise them high reaching out to God.) Finally, He gently explained that at night when I lay down to sleep concentrate not on the shaking hands but rather concentrate on reciting as many Bible verses as I can and then pray for others. In doing that I have found my body relaxing and I am more able to fall asleep. (The hands stop their tremors when I sleep, thankfully!) 

Now, when I look at my shaking hands I think of God's steady hands. The Bible tells me HIs hands are mighty, all sufficient, protecting and supporting. Above all, I can hold his hand and not fear knowing He will help me!
Isaiah 41:13 "For I am The Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you."

P.S. On a lighter side I just love this quote from the mother of a special needs child:
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming, "Whew, what a ride!"

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Photo of the "perfect" caregiver!


During my recovery from knee replacement surgery Hunter has been a model caregiver. Before my surgery we discussed our "roles" and he claimed peanut butter and jelly would be the "special of the day" MOST meals with an occasional boiled hot dog thrown in for variety as he took over the kitchen. The bed would go unmade but he would be around for emotional support. 
In reality I was served meals like the one you see pictured!

He was always available for much needed advice and emotional encouragement, running errands, assisting with changing clothes, around the clock pain med and ice pack "runs", and taxi service to PT and Dr. appointments. 
The kitchen, in fact the entire house, was kept in immaculate condition. He became the ultimate "butler". 
Now that I am mobile I have reclaimed the kitchen but I miss his special "touches". He did enjoy trying his hand at creating with food so now I am finding him more often wanting to try out an "idea". His expertise is the grill but today found him perfecting his noodle making skills.
He will always be the master of CLEAN, thankfully. 

Thank-you, dear, for making my recovery tolerable and continuing to be my God-given helpmate walking through life hand in hand. I couldn't "do it" without you! Love you!

"Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails!" 
1 Corinthians 13:7-8


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Two weeks post-op and I can go around!!


The drugs are finally out of my system, the staples were removed this morning and by afternoon I was on a stationary bike at my fitness club with my leg actually going all the way around! I am giving thanks for small steps forward. For me it has been a tough two weeks. Drug withdrawal, knee pain, insomnia, Parkinson's symptoms exacerbated have all combined to throw me into a state of "suffering" I have never before experienced.
 I must admit God has allowed me to live a fairly sheltered life filled with more than my share of joys and comforts. Until now I have never been able to identify with those with chronic pain and other forms of suffering. I also humbly realize there are those who suffer much worse on a daily basis than I can understand or even imagine. Honestly, I used to think one deserves to feel good all the time or at least most of it. After all, we serve a God who heals-right? 
I am currently reading a book about several generations of women. Throughout the book there is a theme that crops up continually: "Joy and suffering come and go, like the ebb and flow." There is truth in that statement yet as a Christian should joy ever leave us? 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says" Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." How could it be God's will for someone to suffer??
 From Romans 12:12 we read " Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."  OK, if I patiently pray and am joyfully hopeful will the suffering stop?
Do these questions ever haunt your midnight waking hours or am I the only one? In pondering these questions and going to God with them I have arrived at, for me, a comfortable or for the lack of a better word, suitable explanation. By substituting happiness for joy the phrase: "Joy and suffering come and go, like the ebb and flow" becomes more real. Sometimes we experience happiness and sometimes suffering but joy is the constant undercurrent that NEVER goes away in a Christian's life. 
Jesus brings that joy even when we are hurting. 
Gloria Gaither put it very well, "God walks with us. He scoops us up in HIs arms or simply sits with us in silent strength until we cannot avoid the awesome recognition that yes, even now, He is here."
I personally experienced this truth and have grown spirtually because I know Jesus is Joy personified and is always there wrapping His arms around my shoulders and lending me that necessary tissue!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Blessings and curses of pain killers!

After having surgery you are sent home with a folder of instructions and definately a prescription or two to fill on your way home or that becomes your spouse's task after you are situated somewhat comfortably in bed or your favorite recliner. For me it was only one script for tramadol, (Ultram), a synthetic narcotic pain reliever.  In the past I have had trouble with narcotics. My stomach does not tolerate meds very well and especially narcotics! Supposedly tramadol was a good alternative, I was told at the hospital. I could use Tylenol in between doses of the prescription. 
For the next three days I felt good and couldn't understand why others complained about knee pain when doing home exercise because I had none. I was even becoming so "cocky" that I contemplated not using a walker. Blessings of narcotics: really does take away the pain!
By Friday afternoon the nausea starts to set in and by mid-day Saturday I am feeling worse than after the surgery. It is time to get off the so called "fake" narcotic but was never told there could be withdrawal symptoms. Guess what? Saturday night and into Sunday morning were hours of nausea and other digestive distresses. It wasn't until mid-day Sunday that my body was able to tolerate food.
Thankfully that was over but without the drug I experienced a new level of pain in the knee! 
Curses of narcotics: poisons the body!
Tomorrow I begin physical therapy and know it will be painful without the prescribed narcotic BUT I will "tough" it out rather than go through the detox again!
Everyone reacts differently to medication but I choose pain over nausea any day!

I am using Romans 12:12 as my verse to meditate on tomorrow:
"Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer."

Love this quote by Lloyd John Ogilvie:
"Sometimes The Lord rides out the storm with us and other times He calms the restless sea around us. Most of all, He calms the storm inside us in our deepest inner soul."

I will be praying He calms the restless sea of physical therapy tomorrow!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

At home...

During surgery recovery at home there is:

A time to bleed and a time to heal,
A time to rest and a time to exercise,
A time to take meds and a time to "gut it out",
A time to eat and a time to drink,
A time to watch TV and a time to read,
A time to reflect and a time to act,
A time to call friends and a time to sit quietly waiting for the Lord's whisper,
A time to move slowly and a time to pick up the "walker" speed,
A time to be patient and a time to "forge" ahead,
A time to sing hymns and a time to pray,
A time to be awake and a time to nap.

Yes, during recovery there is time for God's plans to "play" out in your life for His glory!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The surgery and hospital stay

"Blessed is the man who trusts in The Lord, and whose hope is The Lord. for he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes, but her leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of the drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit." Jeremiah 17:718

Surgery went well with only a partial knee replacement performed, resulting in a shorter rehab time, hopefully. The doctors, nurses, and other staff at the hospital were not only highly skilled but extremely friendly and helpful. I was blessed as I interacted with them. God spoke through me as I talked about prayer and blessings! He showed me how to trust him more and be less fearful and anxious through this hospital experience. Physical therapy is unpleasant but necessary and I had a brief setback with extra bleeding requiring another stitch but still going home later today.
I know my journey will not always be easy, as I continue PT, but I am encouraged to forge ahead and be amazed at what The Lord is doing all along the way!

He has even brought me a bit of sunshine into my hospital room with flowers from my children-what a special treat!


Friday, June 13, 2014

"'Twas the night before surgery..."

Twas the night before surgery, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse;
The suitcase was packed, resting by the front door
Alarm clock was set, shoes and socks on the floor. 

The husband was nestled all snug in his bed,
While visions of scalpels danced in my head;
And papa in boxers and I in my tee,
Had just kissed goodnight; hearing he loved me.

When into my mind arose such a clatter,
An onslaught of fears, could I be sadder?
Away to the Bible I flew like a flash,
Stumbling in darkness as I made a quick dash.

Tumbling into my favorite chair,
Waking my adorable, sleeping bear,
The snoring soon stopped and eyes opened wide,
As I innocently smiled not trying to hide.

He turned slowly over as I reached for “my” book,
Knowing I needed a long, quiet look,
The night lights dimmed as I began to search,
Where do I go? What comes first?

Now Psalms, now Proverbs, now Gospels I read,
On Philippians, on Romans, on Isaiah I feed,
To the end of the chapter, to the end of the verse!
Anxiety still there, but not any worse!

And then in a twinkling I heard from above,
A whisper of comfort, a whisper of love.
His peace surrounded me head to toe.
Jesus was present, this I know!

Words from the pages now becoming most real,
"The Lord goes before you, ready to heal.
Be strong and take courage, do not fear,
Your cries have reached my eternal ear.”

“Your Word is a lamp unto my feet,
A light to my path…oh so sweet!”
The joy of the Lord comforts my mind,
Now I can rest and sleep I’ll soon find.

So I crawled back to bed and enjoyed a brief rest,
Secure in the knowledge that Jesus knows best,
He’ll guide and protect; His plans are just right,
Surgery’s coming but I’m IN His sight!!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

My "joint" class, Muncie, Moments at soccer

My "joint" class:

Surgery is fast approaching and this week was yet another reminder as I attended a suggested Joint Class at Ortho Indianapolis Hospital. The facilitator was a nurse who herself had experienced knee replacement surgery, which made her comments and suggestions credible! There were several apprehensive "students" who found some level of relief as she explained the procedures we were all to face and the aftermath of recovery. For me, just the tour of the orthopaedic hospital, with its state of the art equipment, friendly staff, and walls of windows letting in rays of warm sunshine revealing a clean and well managed environment gave me hope that this total experience would be "doable" and in fact maybe even good. I now have lists, (which I love), of what to bring to the hospital, people to contact ahead, items I yet need to purchase, and things to accomplish before June 16th. In other words, I feel organized, which for me is a huge factor in calming anxious thoughts. I have also chosen four Bible verses to meditate on during the hospital "event".

Deuteronomy 31:8 (The Lord goes before me and will never leave me!)
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.

Isaiah 41:10 (He will give me strength and help me!)
Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

John 14:27 (He will give me peace!)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.

Joshua 1:9 (He is with me, wherever I go-even into the hospital!)
Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, do not be dismayed, for The Lord your God is with you wherever you go. 


Muncie:

Yesterday Hunter and I took a bike ride on a lovely trail called the Cardinal Greenway, which is a part of the National Rail to Trail network, meaning it was an old train bed. The section we rode connects Muncie, Indiana to Richmond, a 45 mile stretch. We did not ride the entire section, only doing 30 miles total but it was a fun ride which we plan to do again when my knee can handle longer distances. 



Moments at soccer:

Thought you would enjoy these delightful photos:










May God bless you with "delightful" moments today!




Saturday, May 24, 2014

Surgery "Saga"

After years and years of "postponing" the inevitable I have a surgery date of June 16th for knee, or partial knee, replacement. One day I am happy about it because the pain definitely limits my activity level. On another day I'm fearful of the process, especially the aftermath of pain, since I can not take narcotic medications! Yet on another day I can identify my feelings as simply a case of "nervousness". On those days my hands tremor more violently than usual. On the day of surgery I'll need to wear a straight jacket to remain still enough to sedate! 
I saw my anesthesia doctor this week who said, after I shared with him my PD tremors, that not to worry, "All the ladies tremor when he's around!" Love his sense of humor and feel confident in his ability to keep me "asleep" for the necessary time and appreciate his concern for prescribing me pain meds that will not cause me extreme nausea!
God has led me to a place of high quality medical care with caring and competent doctors and for this I give Him praise! I am reminded of the verse in Deuteronomy 31:8 which says:
"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged."
Also the verse in Philippians 4:19
"My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."

He know my needs and He knows your needs today. Give them all over to the one who can actually to something about them!!

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Better Perspective

A frequent flyer's advice: avoid the JFK airport in your travels like you'd a car crash, a rotten tooth, or as the cliche goes-the plague!
It's dirty!
It's crowded!
It's confusing!
It's "time-saving"  new procedures border on asinine & ridiculous!
It's directional signs are non-existent!
It's airtrain system archaic!
It's plane maintenance system poor with little to no passenger communication!
It's restrooms unkept!

I could go on but I think you "get the picture". 

Ater a long overseas flight from Venice I arrived at JFK airport around 4:00 p.m. (US time, 11:00 p.m. Italian time).; tired as usual but ready for the customs regime and locating my connecting flight.
What I found was an hour and 1/2 herded in long lines through a new and "more efficient" check-in system, with NO restroom access!
Following that torture was riding an airtrain system for 30 minutes the WRONG way until I finally located the train's schedule.
Getting off the airtrain I found terminal 2, which was the location of my gate, could be accessed only through a torrential downpour, since construction was not done on any connecting building. I then ran through 6 inch deep puddles resulting in soaked feet!
Arriving at my gate I discovered an hour delay. OK, that was normal. After boarding the plane I dozed in and out of light sleep as I waited for take off. After 2 1/2 hours sitting on the tarmack the flight was canceled sighting engine problems!
My body clock now was registering 5:00 a.m. Somewhere I had lost a day! Like sheep, we were then led to a help desk where we waited our turn to locate another flight to our final destinations. Mine was not until the next late afternoon so I was given a hotel voucher and directed to the exit door, where I could find a taxi in the torrential downpour! I was told my checked bag would be forwarded to my flight the following day. For some strange reason I failed to trust their reassurance that I would eventually see that bag!
A half an hour later I was again in a long line, this time at the hotel waiting for room availability. By this time I felt like the "walking dead" and had trouble focusing on answering questions when it was my turn to register. Finally, at 1:00 am US time and 8:00 am Italian time I wearily claimed a room, a hot bath, and clean sheets, ( I think or who even cares)!

Now, sitting and reflecting on this experience, I am wondering how, as a Christian, could I view this two/three day journey to get home in a better "light".
Were there blessings I could attribute to God.? Yes!
1. I was able to make it to a restroom after the 1 1/2 hour custom lines!
2. I had a long layover allowing me the necessary time to ride the airtrain the wrong way!
3. My arthritic knee held out well through miles of walking.
4. Last minute decision to take my rain/wind jacket along, which I desperately needed several times!
5. Kind assistant who rebooked my flight and gave me careful instructions about locating a taxi.
6. A stranger who helped me hail a taxi.
7. A hotel room with a Hot Bath, (a real luxury I love)
8. Restful night's sleep.
9. Time to read a good Christian novel about Job, of all people. (Now THAT guy had troubles!)
10. A loving husband always available by phone to be a listening ear and jolly on the spot for pick-up!
11. My luggage arrived on an earlier flight, ahead of me and was just waiting for me to arrive and pick it up!!

Notice my blessings are a longer list than my troubles. Isn't that God's way? I now feel so much better about my return trip and have learned a valuable lesson. God provides more than we can imagine if we will just open our eyes to His blessings and give Him the credit He deserves! That brings to mind the following verse:
"Do everything without complaining  or arguing so that no one can criticize you,
Live clean innocent lives as children of God, shining like stars in the universe,
In this crooked and perverse generation, holding firm to the Word of God."
Philippians 2: 14-16

So next time you have the "opportunity" to fly through JFK on your travels remember God may have some real blessings in store for you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Friends

Recently Rebecca had the privilege of playing tour guide for her two best friends visiting from California for 9 days. I also had the awesome opportunity to get better acquainted with these lovely Christian women. God has blessed my daughter with awesome friend relationships and for this I am so grateful to Him! (As an army wife friendships play a vital role in your "sanity" when husbands are deployed.) As I watched these ladies interact I was reminded of the special gift God gives each of us in friends and how often we take them for granted. 
Solomon wrote about friends in several proverbs: Pro. 17:17 (A friend loves at all times), Pro. 18:24 (..there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.), Pro. 27:10 (Do not forsake your friends..)
God has blessed me with rich friendships throughout the world and I pray I will never "forsake" them but continually nurture the relationships and lift them up in prayer as God lays them and their needs on my heart. So for those of you reading this blog, thank-you for being my friend and may God richly bless you as you serve Him. Today, thank God for friends!


These three brothers are becoming "fast" friends!



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Update on physical challenges & spiritual goals.

Current physical challenges:

PD (Parkinson's Disease) is a slow degenerative disease of the mind and body. The first identifying symptoms are generally motor related and in my case are resting hand tremors. Although there is no cure as of yet there are a truck load of various medications to manage the symptoms. Unfortunately these meds all carry adverse side effects. Thankfully, at this point, I do not have to jump on the med wagon. I manage the hand tremors well, except at night when they often keep me awake longer than I'd like. Currently my struggle is more with the non-motor PD caused difficulties, which often can not be managed with meds; such as loss of smell, (a minor one but frustrating when you like to cook!), sleeping struggles (many groggy days), and an overactive bladder (leave this to your imagination!)

Current spiritual goals:

In reading 2 Peter 1:5-11 I have been challenged with 8 spiritual qualities I want to more thoroughly cultivate in this season of my life:
1. Faith (especially in what God wants for me through this disease)
2. Goodness
3. Knowledge of the scriptures
4. Self-control (of emotions, diet, tongue)
5. Perseverance (especially with exercise regime related to my disease & keeping my body a clean temple for the Holy Spirit)
6. Godliness (in what I watch and read and participate in)
7. Kindness
8. Love 

"For if you do these things, you will never stumble and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:10-11

I want to hear "well done, good and faithful servant" from the lips of Jesus!



Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Good, Bad, & Best of spring in Italy!

The Good!

The sun is shining.
The 70 degree sunshine pulls you outside to play.
The blooming flowers are gorgeous.



The Bad!

Allergies: head feels like it is stuffed with cotton (probably true since cotton wood trees are everywhere!)

The Best!
Home school outings with the grandchildren: The Butterfly Park









Psalm 104:24
"How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures."