Monday, May 30, 2016

New Look

My Spring cleaning was a little late this year, what with March and April gone in a blur of hospital stay with my husband, then May busy with his care. Still, I usually managed to get the "public" rooms in order in time for the varied home health workers' visits. I had been making some inroads recently, tackling chores piece-meal and a little at a time.

My kids were urging me to get a cleaning woman, even offering to help with that.  The other day when I mentioned again to my husband that I needed the windows cleaned, curtains washed, and venetian blinds scoured, he said he would call his friend.  This guy usually does our lawns, but he also is a house man for some folks, doing chores like cleaning fridges, vacuuming and organizing cupboards.

I agreed, since we knew him and he was economical.  He was a life-saver! I now have clean windows and sills, billowing clean curtains, vacuumed floors and freshened AC units!  When it was time to put the curtains back up, I was a little reluctant.  I  had forgotten how fresh and charming the white-painted woodwork was against our brown-painted walls, sans curtains. The bare, double living-room windows looking out on the screened porch set off the view beautifully!

Suddenly my living room felt bigger, enlarged with the view of porch furniture, hanging baskets of flowers and dripping vines on the lattice of  a porch étagère, all framed by the windows like a picture. I did put the curtains back up, but every morning I pull them back and raise the blinds, treating myself to the restful scene shaded by the woven porch blinds outside. It's like I have an enlarged room!

It's funny how a few small changes can make a difference, both in our outlook and attitude! Sometimes I get stuck in a rut, doing the same things the same way day after day.  I started to make a cake yesterday, pouring the mix into a bowl and thinking about the can of frosting I had.  Then my eyes fell on a recipe at the bottom of the box, changing the plain chocolate cake into a bundt-style cake. It called for  sour cream, which I had, instant chocolate pudding (I had that, too) and I remembered a fluted cake pan I never use!   The result was a beautiful, luscious cake--an improvement over what I would usually make! Oh yes, the frosting spreading down the cake in scallops added just the right touch!

Jesus obviously doesn't want us to get bored. He paints a different sunrise and sunset for us every day. When we are tired of one season, He gives us another.  His Word tells us to sing a new song. Change is good for the soul!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I knew we had to go to the grocery store, but how was I going to manage? Howard had used his walker to go into the restaurant for a seniors' breakfast that morning, but that wouldn't do to buy groceries, and he wanted to go in.  I parked the car and went inside for a wheelchair cart. I'd done this before, but it was heavy to push with both him and the groceries.  Then I spotted a motorized cart across the store, and buried my apprehensions about operating one.  But in a few moments I was victoriously headed to the car to collect my husband!

Whew, these groceries were piling high in the cart.  How would I bag them and transport them to the  car?  Just then we saw a friend from our Bible study, and he came over, helped bag them, loaded the cart and pushed them to the car, then loaded them for us. We had already arranged for our son Greg to be at the house to take them in.  He and his son showed up and effortlessly took them all to the kitchen.

All through Howard's recent hospital stay and recuperation at home, God had gone before us and smoothed the way that I was so concerned about.  Our daughter Julie and husband Steve had come from Tennessee to take us home from the hospital, then stayed two weeks to assist me in Howard's care.  They left on a Thursday evening, and daughter Amy flew in that night to help me for several days.  The day after she left, Greg flew home from his job in Canada and has been invaluable in loading the wheelchair and taking us to church and doing errands.  Everything has just dove-tailed into place as if choreographed by heaven itself!

Before we could go home, it was a requirement that we have a hand rail to our door.  Our son Mark offered to build one.  On a quick overnight journey home, he would attempt this while our daughter-in-law Rhonda and I would go call for our mail and take care of other details.  The whole venture would hinge on Mark's getting tools from Greg's garage, getting the parked truck to start, (providing I had the right keys to gate, car and garage) and getting the materials before our 12:00 noon deadline when they had to head home! Miraculously, everything fell into place in time!  Only God!

This whole experience has been a journey of faith and a lesson in trust.  I didn't think I could stay in rehab with my husband 24 hours a day and cope with the rigors of  a huge hospital.  But by God's grace I got through every day!  Our first room assignment, while adequate for Howard, required me to shower on the 10th floor and use restroom facilities on the 5th floor! The very next day, though, we were offered a much larger room with all private facilities!  It was like a tastefully decorated little apartment, our home for the next three weeks!

I often felt like a conjoined twin as I assisted my husband with everything.  I couldn't risk his falling after surgery and a small stroke, so I have been at his side day and night.  But I think I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel! He is walking better every day and his strength is increasing. Feeling ill from allergies and sinuses,  I actually slept in a different bedroom last night for the first time.  I think we both rested better.

This scripture was shared with us as an encouragement from Howard's  heart surgery: "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he will strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord." Psalm 27:14.

Monday, May 16, 2016

New Horizons!

"Mimi, I'm in the Horizon program!" my third-grade granddaughter said proudly on Face Time. I knew this was the gifted class. Our son had already told us about it, and I knew they at first thought her scores weren't high enough, but they could appeal, and upon teacher's recommendation, she would be admitted. "My daddy appealed!" she finished. 

But of course!  Anne-Marie is a very bright child.  "She probably just overthought something," I had said, as Jamie chuckled in agreement at the thought of his conscientious daughter.  Anne-Marie had someone to appeal her case! It reminded me of how the Bible speaks of Jesus.  It says in I John 2:1 that we have an advocate with the father. 

"And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." A defense attorney!   The Bible also says that he intercedes for us!  "Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." Hebrews 7:25.

Who hasn't gone to bats for their child? As parents, we know our children, their strengths and abilities, and if we feel a decision isn't right, we speak up! Hopefully not in the obnoxious ways of some sports fathers, but as an advocate, or go-between.

The Bible says in Jeremiah 1:29 that God knows the plans he has for us. In Psalm 139:17, the psalmist David writes, "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! (18) If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee."

Jesus valued and highly esteemed children, taking them on his lap and saying in Matthew 19:14 that "of such is the kingdom of heaven.." He said of them in Matthew 18:10, "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."

We may not know the plans He has for our children and grandchildren, but we can make sure they take advantage of positive opportunities! Who knows what is on their horizon?