Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Extremely Random Thoughts



  • I do not fully understand Pinterest.
  • I am glad that, because of my foot surgery, I can no longer wear heels. Never liked wearing them anyway.
  • I don't waste time regretting anything. It is not productive. Just get busy.
  • Here in Virginia, they are Lightning bugs.
  • I do not like the new style of flat-billed baseball caps.
  • I am ready for a major change.
  • I am losing patience and gaining patience at the same time.
  • I have no more time to waste on mean people.
  • I fear having to choose between Nutella and ___________.
  • Just tell the truth.
  • I am totally addicted to Zillow.
  • I wish someone in my family had a British accent so I could just listen to them talk.
  • If I remember something that should have been on a list, I write it down so I can scratch it off.
  • I have never had a pedicure. Never will.
  • I still hold on to hope that I have not ridden a horse for the last time.
  • Not all old people are wise.
  • All my life I have tried to like eggnog. I have tried it for the last time. It had its chance.
  • I have grown tired of the internet.
  • Biggest pet peeve: being interrupted.
  • There are some things that I am so passionate about that I cannot even talk about it.
  • Now, on a bad day, I can say, "Well at least I don't have a rod in my foot."
  • I am a history nerd.
  • It's not just what you say, it's how you say it. (whole blog on this coming soon)
  • Puppies are the best.
  • Also horses.
  • The threat of having to be on the ground being handcuffed is enough of a deterrent to me. Have you actually looked in a gutter? Oh so gross.
  • Stop trying to please people and just please God.
  • Think--THINK-- before you speak.
  • Everyone has issues. You are not alone and they are not perfect.
  • I am a loyal friend.
  • I am so patriotic it can cause me physical pain.
  • I am a Virginian.
  • I am always speechless at the first glimpse of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
And with that vision in mind I will end for now. Whoever you are, wherever you are, may God bless you by meeting your every need and may He show you His love right now. He is waiting for you to draw near.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Reflections after seven weeks on a sofa...




Part 1- Blessings
  • I have so much to be thankful for. My life, here and later. My constant companion, Jesus. My husband. My family. My friends. My foot's progress.
  • Air-conditioning. Oh my gracious- I cannot imagine this without it. In the early days/weeks, my body temp would go from cold to hot in a second. Freeze, burn up. Repeat. Thank you Lord for a cool home. And limited power outages. Summertime in Coastal Virginia. You never know.
  • Friends who cook. No kidding, the first weeks when I couldn't really be thinking about how to organize food for three men, my friends showed up. With MEALS. Not just easy stuff- I'm talking The Real Deal. New definition of Comfort Food.
  • Modern. Day. Medicine. Nerve blocks, pain medication, alternatives to medications that do not work, Benadryl (for when you become allergic to the fancy paper gown they make you wear for the surgery). Anesthesia. Oxygen. Antibiotic that you are NOT allergic to. All of it. Every bit. Good stuff, the stuff we have these days.
  • Netflix. Pain meds tend to blur your vision. Big TVs compensate for that and offer you endless British dramas and series. Steady on.


Part 2- Things to have on hand if you ever have foot surgery
  • The walker bag ( if you use a walker) This invention was already sweet because it was a gift from a dear friend, and sweeter because it was made by her aunt who is now with the Lord, but y'all I cannot possibly say all the words needed to tell you how much easier this made my life! Things in there right now: tissues, lip gloss, jewelry (b/c I want it on to make me feel normal but then it gets on my nerves), hair brush, crackers, hand sanitizer. More stuff that I am too embarrassed to tell you about. I stuff my phone into its pocket when I go from room to room just in case I fall and have to call for help. I am nothing if not realistic. In the morning it holds magazines or books; by lunchtime it becomes a picnic basket. I slide my cup into it when I go to the kitchen. While there I load it with the yogurt or the cookies or the apple. Yes, I slid cookies in there. Don't judge until you've hobbled a mile on my walker. See what I did there? 
 But honestly this thing is a must-have item.

  • The shower chair. Didn't know if/when I would need it but Divine Intervention led me to it at Bed Bath and Beyond. It was the best $35 investment I made in a long time. I use it to get in and out of the house because crutches=instant death. I use it at the top of the stairs to initiate descent and landing. Oh, yeah, and I use it for what it is actually intended for. I'm thinking of keeping it around because it's just been so helpful. I am not graceful; I cannot be too prepared.
  • The Bible. Print, apps, online. Have them all. You will reach for them often. Amen.
  • Soft pillows. Lots of them.
  • Freshening wipes. Preferably cold.
  • Hand sanitizer. Not only for your hands but for the walker grips. Ew.
  • A good cross-body bag. I am using one from Blue Avocado. It's made from recycled t-shirts by previously impoverished and exploited women. I may be down, but I can still do my part. Here's the link: http://www.blueavocado.org/
  • And if your little girl ever shows an interest in gymnastics or dance-- feed that! Sign her up! And while you are sitting and waiting for her to finish yet another practice/performance/recital, know that one day if she has foot surgery she will whisper thanks while washing her hands, brushing her teeth, and getting dressed. The skill of balancing on one leg for an inordinate length of time will become invaluable. Friends, flamingoes have nothing on me at this point.

I got this.
Part 3- Lessons Learned
  • Rely on God. He is your strength. Philippians 4:13 has never been more true in my life. He is my "Walker." I lean on Him when I rise and when I rest. He is my Firm Foundation. He is my Rock. He is my source of peace and discernment. Draw near, friend.
  • Do not underestimate yourself. Refer to above. Literally and figuratively.
  • You will become stronger. Not just spiritually, I mean. Being non-weight bearing means that something is going to be bearing the weight, just not that foot. So, it's a choice between your good foot and your arms. Basically, you need to be prepared to lift yourself every time you take a step. Yeah. Good for the carpal tunnel issue. Ha! Not really.
  • This changed me. This hiatus, I mean. People had said to me "Well, maybe this will help you slow down a little." Are you kidding me?? I didn't SLOW DOWN, I flat-out STOPPED. In my Sketchers at 5:30 AM and on the sofa by 1:30 PM. For the next month and a half. That does weird things to you, when you are used to going ANYWHERE YOU WANT ALL THE TIME. Now I understand how the monks feel when they are silent. No, I'm not alone all the time or silent all the time, but there is an element of solitude to life when you are limited. I thought I would become stir-crazy. I thought I would be anxious and edgy and impatient. And there are times when I have felt that way. But there is a greater sense of...calm. A peace. I see all the things happening around me and I...observe. The recent series of Big Storms that we have had greatly affected me. Dark skies, gusty winds, hail and sharp lightning are reasons for caution. Now greet them in a room alone with your walker as your only means of immediate escape. Tends to make a person become more introspective.
        James tells us to be "slow to speak" and I know I will. But I will also be
       less reluctant. I am more concerned with things like truth. Kindness. Joy.
Part 4- Things to Do
  • Follow instructions. Not only from your doctor, but from those you love and who love you.
  • Take your pain medication. Don't worry about becoming addicted. You won't need it that long and it will help you rest and not drive everyone around you insane.
  • Ask for help. I am so bad at this. At least I was. Not now.
  • Be honest. If it hurts, say so. If you want to have quiet, ask for it. No one minds. If they do, they are able to get up and go to another place; you can't, therefore you win for now.
  • Gather all the comfy clothes and prepare to wear them for a long time. It's not a fashion show--it's time to be relaxed.
  • Blog.
  • Pray. Pray for your own healing. Pray for those who are caring for you. Just spend time with the Father because you need to and He wants it. Take prayer requests; nothing helps you heal more than focusing on the needs of others.
Part 5- Things Not to Do
  • Don't use lotion on your hands before you need to use the walker.  
  • Don't use the walker on a wet floor.
Some of these things I know first-hand; others I just think are logical conclusions. You can decide which is which.

  • Don't try to rush things.
  • Don't take yourself too seriously. You will be reduced to needing help with almost everything. Hear me again, ALMOST EVERYTHING. Remember, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18 (KJV) The last thing you need is destruction or a fall.
So as my week comes to a close and I anticipate my next doctor's appointment, I am hopeful that I will get the green light on Partial Weight Bearing. That term concerns me a bit, since I am not really a "partial" kind of person.
As one friend put it when I voiced my concerns to her: "Ya don't say."
I mean, tell me to sit and I'll sit. Tell me to get up and I'm up. But partial?? 
YouTube isn't a whole lot of help either. Seems everyone understands the application of this but me. I know, I just KNOW, that I am going to put all the weight on this thing. But if I do I'll remember that there is One Who wants, even desires all of my burdens. All of the things that weigh me down.
Matthew 11:28-30
28 “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
When I lean on Jesus, He always holds me up.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Two Blogs Merged at a Point of Forgiveness

Old Wounds

I broke my toe two years ago. Actually, it was Election Day, 2012, to be exact. I know this because, not only was it Election Day, it was the day before I was to leave for Nashville to attend the Lifeway Women's Forum. Crashing into a suitcase in the wee hours of the morning turned into a bit of an inconvenience. After dragging my foot around town in search of a boot, then to the doctor for x-rays, then to be fitted for the by then much-needed boot, (somehow managing to squeeze in standing in line to vote) then back to the podiatrist for a deeper inspection of the multiple breaks, I headed home and limped my way to Nashville the next day. You see, I was determined. I was not going to let the injury keep me from the blessings that were waiting for me in this gathering of Christian women from all over the country. The injury would not prevail-- the glory would be given to the Lord for the ability to...go. In hindsight, I probably should have stayed home. And healed. I was injured.

As time marched on, or in my case, limped, the toe and foot began to give me...issues. Pain and such. It continued to swell, to ache, and it caused me to change the way I walk. Having kept the boot, I dug it out a few months ago and reluctantly eased into it. I didn't want to wear it. It was like taking a step backward. Admitting defeat. Opening an old wound. Here we go again.

The boot and the pampering didn't work. As much as I wanted to avoid it, I needed to take action. But it would mean multiple processes applied to my foot-- breaking bones, inserting metal pieces and parts, A ROD STICKING OUT OF IT! Did you hear me?? A ROD!

There are certain things that you see in life that Other People have to endure. Some are things that you know you could handle easily. Others leave you wondering. Then there are those things that make you cringe. The things that make you whisper a prayer asking the Lord to never let you go through because you know, you just KNOW that you will throw up the minute you have to see it.
That's how I am about rods sticking out of conscious people. I am so very sorry that they are having to go through this and so sad that they had whatever accident has led to this and so scared that I would bump into them if I even got close and so many other things that I don't even know because every time I see them I avoid eye contact because Ow and it's A LONG PIECE OF METAL COMING OUT OF THEM. So you can imagine my reaction when the surgeon told me that I would have to have one. The very thing. The grossest. I know I must have shocked him (big understatement) when I freaked out recoiled the way I did. He had no idea. None. He knows now. (now I worry when that ad about the lawsuit for some device called the "bladder sling" comes on; doesn't it make you just cringe?)

So here I am six weeks later. Six weeks. SIX. I know I have been not been easy to live with. Oh, I admit that right off the bat. I'd rather admit it first before anyone who has had to put up with me does. I beat them to it! But I have tried my best to be a good patient. I have done everything the doctor told me to do. I have not put even a little bit of pressure on this poor foot. Who would want to? It hurt like crazy! I took pain meds when I needed them and stopped taking them when I didn't need them any more. I elevated it (the real kind of elevation--above my heart) so that I would minimize swelling, and even though I really really wanted to ice it I didn't because I was told I was a risk for frostbite. What? Ok, whatever. I trust you. And I did ice it once I was allowed. I did what I was told. Ok. One thing. I took the splint off at night. There. Honesty. Why did I take the splint off, you ask? Velcro. Across the scars. You try to sleep. No more explanation necessary.

In all of this recovery I have received the Best Care. The very best. I can't say enough wonderful things about my sweet, patient, caring, amazing husband. He has had to see me sad and scared and weak and frustrated more in the past six weeks than in all 30 years combined. Only God has seen me like that before. Only God gave him the strength and patience to endure...me. The rod is out (according to the surgeon, the removal procedure was uncomfortable.) Yeah. I am now counting the days until my next appointment where I will possibly be allowed to begin to bear some weight on my foot. I know it will hurt. I know it will probably cause more swelling. But it will be necessary, much like addressing the old wounds. But this time, I am allowing them to heal properly.

Life is never without trauma. We endure pain and disappointment and hurt from the time we are born because we are not perfect and we are living in an imperfect world. This isn't heaven. Hear me again, I'll say it to you like you are mine:
 
THIS ISN'T HEAVEN.

We are going to have pain. There are going to be wounds. And sometimes the wounds don't heal well. Sometimes it's because we keep them from healing. We don't follow doctors orders or we don't follow Jesus' instruction and offer the other cheek. (Matthew 5:39) Sometimes it's because others won't let our wounds heal. When an old wound is opened up it reminds us of the past hurt. The ache becomes fresh and almost worse than the original offense, for it is a reminder of all we went through as well as the fact that-

 here we are again.
 
Still not healed. But we can heal, if we allow the power of the Living God to let us.

To keep perpetuating the pain of old wounds is to take the healing power away from the Lord and take it upon ourselves to control it. And when we do that, we always mess things up. Folks, seek Him first. In all things. When you do that you are led to places you cannot find on your own. You will find forgiveness, grace, mercy, and the clarity that only He can fill you with. His love will consume all the voids in your heart. You will not have room for the pain.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a choice. It's a choice we all face at some point in our lives, some of us more than others. I have been told that I am a very forgiving person. I should be. Not only have I had to do a lot of it in my life, I've also had to ask for forgiveness more often than I wish.  

One insight into forgiveness that I have learned is that we don't have to wait until we feel like forgiving in order to forgive. In fact, if we wait until we "feel" like it, we're probably in for a long wait. Forgiveness requires conscious thought and action. It necessitates that the  wounded party act upon the choice that was made, in this case to forgive. If you only say that you forgive someone, it's empty and hollow. You must follow through on your decision.

The more you leave emotions out of forgiveness, the better. Your emotions will tell you to stand your ground and wait until an apology is offered and, even then, not to give in. The enemy wants you to think that forgiving someone is a sign of weakness, losing the battle; the real battle is with the enemy!

For the Christian, forgiveness must occur. Like love, it is not an option.
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32NIV  I have several Bibles in many translations and none of them say "when you feel like it." Believe me, I've searched.

Nor should we force ourselves to say the words, "I forgive you." It's like forcing an apology. Unless it is true and heartfelt, it is meaningless. So what does forgiveness really mean? And do we have to "forgive and forget?"

I don't think we have the capability to forgive and forget. Not in the way most people interpret it. Only Jesus does that. Psalm 103:12 tells us that, through the mercy of our Redeemer, our confessed sins are cast as far as the east is from the west. He can do that. He's God. What we can do is ask Him to help us to be like that. We can beg Him to release us from the pain that makes us pick up where we left off when we are confronted with something that reminds us of the hurt. We have to rely on His strength to keep us from bringing up the past. And He will. Because He's God.

Conversely, when you encounter someone who is hurting, you need to validate their heartache. Often you have no idea what has led them to this point. None. Only the Lord knows their heart like only He knows yours. Therefore you must be as kind and as loving and as forgiving as you would want them to be to you.

 
Do unto others...
 
 
 
Or you could just delete them. Or hide their posts. Or unfriend them. After all, they're not saying what you want them to say. They don't agree with you. So, why bother? If they can't see fit to agree with you, then just eliminate them from your electronic life. There. One click and you are free from a differing opinion. No time for that in your tidy little life. Now everything is just fine. And they are as far from you as the east is from the west. And so is their hurting heart.
 
Aren't you glad He doesn't unfriend us?
 
 
 
 
 
 






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