Monday, February 19, 2018

Monday, Muffins, and Back Pain

Happy Monday, y'all!

I somehow jacked up my back last week. I don't know how I did it. It wasn't an "ah-HA" moment, where I did something, and felt it immediately. I just kind of woke up with it messed up.

I've tried to do the stretching exercises my P/T friend recommended. Of course, she told me that, since I have a history of back problems, I should be doing them every day...and not just when it starts hurting.

And I SAY that I'm going to do them every day, but then I don't. I'm a slow learner, I guess.

Anyway, I was supposed to keep my baby grandson today, and I was praying that my back would be "good enough" for that. With Joshua here to help me, I wasn't too worried.

I typically don't sleep a lot. I am usually awake once during the night, for no reason at all...and then I wake up very early. I always try to go back to sleep, but I'm not always successful.

This morning, I woke up at 3:30, or something outrageous like that. I finally started settling down, and then my husband got up a little after 4 to go run. I mean, seriously? I stayed awake while he was gone. I planned on getting up when he left for work at 6:10, but Holly texted me that she'd been canceled for the day, because their census was up (she's a nurse in the NICU)...so that meant I wouldn't keep Rhodie today.

Jim told me to look at it as a gift, because this would "give me the whole day to rest my back and take it easy."

Which, we've been married for almost 38 years, and I'm realizing that he STILL has no idea what it takes to run a home and all of that.

Because I HAVE tried to rest my back, and use the heating pad...but I've also done 4 loads of laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher, and changed the sheets on two beds (so far). I warmed up and served lunch to Joshua and Holly and baby Rhodie...and cleaned up after. Not because I'm some sort of martyr...but because it needed to be done.

I gave the housekeeping fairies the week off.

Every time I've sat down in the chair to rest my back with my heating pad, all I can think of is, "I need to touch up the paint on that trim," and "I wonder if these shelves would look good painted gray," and "if I moved that small china cabinet into the entryway, I might have room for the pictures of the kids on that wall."

Oh, and "the dryer just stopped."

Which, none of this is really the point of my story.

I rarely have a point to any of my stories.

If you've read here long, or followed me on Facebook or IG, you know that Joshua is a creature of habit. He loves routine, and his routine is that we have muffins on Mondays. Nothing fancy, or anything. Just blueberry muffins from a box. NBD.

But we must have them on Mondays. Or some kind of muffins.

Well, after Holly told me she got canceled, that meant I wouldn't keep the baby. Jim told me to go back to bed, and try to rest. So I did. I went back to lie down. I had the lamp on, and the TV on. I was not asleep.

In about 30 minutes, Joshua peeked his head in the door, and asked me where the baby was...and if I had made muffins. I told him we weren't keeping the baby today, and that I would make the muffins in a minute.

He said, "do you need my help getting out of bed?"

Um. NO, I DO NOT. PLEASE GO AWAY...is what I THOUGHT about saying, but I responded in a much nicer way. Please don't think he was worried about me and my sore back. He might have been...but it was a teensy-tiny bit. He was mainly concerned about the muffins: where were they, and when could he expect them to arrive on his plate.

Ha.

He left, and I thought he had gone back upstairs to his room...but in a minute, he was back at the side of my bed. He said, "I got the muffin pan out for you."

REALLY?

And then he kissed me on my head.

And then he went back upstairs.

A few minutes later, I heard him at the top of the stairs. He was sniffing the air...trying to see if he could smell anything cooking. He came back downstairs. I was in the kitchen, making the muffins. I told myself, "don't look at him...don't make eye-contact...just see what he does." He walked in the kitchen, and surveyed the situation for a minute. Then he turned around, and went back upstairs, muttering the whole way...ithoughtthemuffinswouldbereadybynowbutiguessnotiwonderwhy...

It was at this point when I started wondering if he had put me on his small group's prayer list.

Apparently, his small group, at church, has a group text, where they share their needs and concerns with everyone in their class. We found out about it last week, when Rhodie was sick. Joshua disappeared up to his room for a long time. When he came down, he said, "I put Rhodie on my small group's prayer list." I said, "you did?" He said, "yes," and looked all proud about it. He said, "right now, there are 2 people praying for Rhodie...as we speak."

His phone goes, "ding!" He read it, looked up at me, and smiled. "Make that THREE people praying for Rhodie."

We were all thinking, "OHHHHHMYYYYYWORRRRRRD what has he been sharing about us?" Because Joshua doesn't always get the "gist" (or the facts) of some things we talk about at home, and he tends to blow things out of proportion.

I told Jim I could just see him, in his room, with his phone, "tick...tick...tick...please pray for my mom she is still in bed and won't make my muffins and I'm starving to death thank you."

This guy...I love him. He keeps us all on our toes.

And now I must go and fix dinner, because I KID YOU NOT...I'm sitting at the kitchen table, doing some writing, and he came in here, and started putting out plates, napkins, and silverware.

It is 5:18 p.m.

"Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." Colossians 4: 6

Monday, February 12, 2018

I Don't Know About You...But Clark is 22!

Twenty-two years ago, I gave birth to our 4th child. 

He was 12 1/2 weeks early, and he weighed just over 3 lbs. He spent 7 1/2 weeks in the NICU, and then we brought him home to live happily ever after with us. 

But, at age 2, he was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a form of cancer. He had surgery to remove the tumor and part of his liver, and, within a couple of days, he started his chemo regimen. 

People who know Clark's story may get tired of me rehashing it every year, but that's okay. I just never want to forget what God did in our lives...what He did for Clark. 

Because, by God's plan and provision, Clark turns 22 today. 

I've seen God's hand on his life every step of the way. 

So now, when rough or uncertain times come...and they have, and they will, I go back. I go back to the tiny baby who was born way too early...and to the toddler who endured what no child should. 

I go back to the fear and the unknown and the sleepless nights of crying out to God...and I remember the faithfulness of God. 

And I remember the love, attention, and constant support of family and friends from near and far away. 

I am grateful to everyone who has walked, and continues to walk, this journey of life with us. You are a part of this day, because God used your prayers to sustain us on many occasions, and I never want to forget that. 

Psalms 139 reminds us that the number of our days was planned, before we were even born...so none of what happened to Clark came as a surprise to God. 

And I remind myself that, before the foundation of the earth, God made a plan to send His own Son to die for me. And for Clark. 

And for you. 

It's because of this, if you know Him, that any of us are able to face the difficulties and challenges of life. Amiright? 

Jesus alone gives us strength when we are weak. Jesus alone gives us peace in the midst of trials. And Jesus alone fills us up when we are empty. 

So, I will keep telling Clark's story, every year of his life. Really, it's God's story of what He's done in Clark's life, and in ours. 

It's a story He continues to write. 

Happy 22 years of life to Clark! So thankful to be his Mom. 

"You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." Psalm 139:16

Monday, December 11, 2017

Back in the Saddle (but probably just for today)!

I can't believe it's been a MONTH since I've posted on here. MAN...I'm slacking.

I started this blog to kind of journal our experiences with raising Joshua...to have something to share with my children, and their children, one day. This technology will probably be obsolete in 10 years...SO WHAT AM I EVEN DOING?

We're doing well...just busy, I guess.

We had a great Thanksgiving. Our middle son, Logan, and his wife, Morgan, were home for nearly a week. We had to share them with her family, but we still got to see them a LOT!

Since they'd had a traditional Thanksgiving meal with her family Thursday morning, I decided to make a NON-traditional meal for us on Thursday night: marinated flank steak, roasted green beans, mac'n'cheese...stuff like that.

It was good.

Also? SIDE NOTE: I can hardly type the word, "traditional" anymore. Joshua calls it, "TRANditional," so that's what we say here at home...and probably will say it forever.

I catch myself all the time...saying things the way he says them. Like, it's just normal to me...but I'm sure everyone else thinks I'm from the hills.

We tried to get a family picture for our annual Christmas card, and it was every bit as fun as you can imagine...when one of the 9 people needed their nap, and another one wanted to hold our crazy dog, Beelzebub, minion of the realm of darkness.

After several attempts, background changes, etc...I'm happy to say we ended up with...NOTHING.

We ended up with NOTHING.

NO PICTURE.

It's a first for our family.

I mean, as homely and cheesey as we are...as wild as the stages of life have been...as many times as the weather hasn't cooperated, or one person has been sick, or another one was picking leaves off the tree and throwing them on their brother during the picture...we have always managed to get SOMETHING.

Not this year.

I'm kind of sad about it.

But thankful? OH MY WORD, I am so thankful. These 9 people mean the world to me.

So undeserving of the blessings God gives me each day.

"Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done." (Psalm 105:1)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Day 11: Thankful for My Dad (Veteran's Day)

Went to see my favorite veteran today: my Dad. 

I told him "Happy Veteran's Day," and tried to make him understand. I even wrote it down for him. I don't think he *got* it, because all he said was, "very nice." 

He recognized me right away, which was great, but then, even tho Clara said he had been asking for me all week, he goes, "where's Leanne (one of my sisters)?" Ha! I told him that she would come another time. 

He seemed a little confused, so I said, "but look who I brought!" I took Clark's hand, and pulled him over. I said, "Dad, this is Clark." He looked at me like I was crazy, and said, "I know."  

God made our minds so beautifully complex. One minute, my Dad was talking clearly about current events, and people he knows...and the next minute, he wasn't making any sense (to us). Or, he would make a random comment about a conversation we'd had an hour ago. Like, it took his mind that long to process what we were talking about earlier. It's all in there, he's just not firing on all cylinders, and not everything is connecting properly. 

He perked up when his "mobility meds" kicked in, and he was excited to eat lunch. 

My Dad, my veteran, is 100% disabled now. He needs help with everything, and relies heavily on Clara. He has fallen hard several times in the last couple of weeks. Altho doctors say nothing is broken, his left shoulder is swollen, and it's black and blue all the way down to his hand. 

He told me that things had really gone downhill for him, physically. 

He spends most of his days in his recliner. He can't hear well, and he's confused a lot of the time. He enjoys getting out and going to church on Sundays. And while he may not remember a lot of things, or even most things, Clara says he remembers everyone from church. How sweet is that? 

I wish he could go to church every day.  

He got emotional when he talked about our family. He said, "I love my family, and I love my kids." He told me we should come again real soon, and bring Rhodie. 

As we left, I gave him a kiss, and rubbed his head. I said, "I love you, Dad." He said, "I love you, too, Marty." And then he said this: "you've been a real nice addition to our family." 

WHAAAAT? 

I mean, I guess that's good, Dad...SINCE YOU MADE ME.

What in the world?

My Dad...humble, faithful, quiet, kind. Knows my imperfections, and loves me anyway. Loves all of us, my siblings and me, unconditionally. Served our country, his church, our family, and others. He prays for us every day. Always sees the good in others. 

Points us to an amazing God. 

I am thankful for every second with him.

"Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim Your power to this new generation, Your mighty miracles to all who come after me." Psalm 71: 18

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Day 10: Thankful for the Blessing of Adoption

About a year ago, I was sitting in church, when the pastor asked for everyone whose life had been touched by adoption, to stand. 

I sat there, and let my eyes look all around the room. I saw young people, old people...and families. I remember thinking, "WOW! This is amazing!" 

I have a heart for adoption. I have friends who are adopted, and friends who have grown their family by adoption. 

To me, adoption is the perfect picture of what Jesus does for us, when we choose to follow Him. He takes us out of our broken state, and brings us into His family. He takes us from a place of no hope...and He becomes our hope. 

As with any adoption, there is sacrifice. There is the death of what was, or of what could've been...and it is replaced by something new: a new life...a new family. 

And it is permanent and binding. 

Likewise, when we join the family of God, our names are written in His book of life (Rev 3:5), and they can never be removed. 

When there is an adoption of a child, the state will issue a new and amended birth certificate, with the adoptive parents' names on it...and they are forevermore that child's parents. 

Back to that Sunday in church: after everyone sat down, Jim elbowed me, and whispered, "Uhh...HELLO?" I said, "what?" He mouthed the name of a family member, and I said, "oh yeah...I forgot!" 

I mean, it never even crossed my mind. 

Which is kind of like it should be, huh?  

There's no difference in any of us, in the eyes of Christ. 

My life has been touched by adoption, and I'm so very thankful.

"God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure." Ephesians 1:5