Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spring is almost here

No these are not blooming yet in our yard but the weather has been incredibly warm in fact the weather man has stated we might even be getting a seventy degree day soon.
I am not ready for this warmth. Although it is nice.
We didn't really have a cold winter and you know how bad the bugs are going to be since they didn't get frozen during the cold spell?
Yeah I am not sure I will enjoy it.
Spring is pretty. It is cheerful.
It is almost my favorite time of year as it creates beauty and newness all around as leaves and buds are forming new 'flowers'.
I say almost because my most favorite time of the year is the fall.
Now you can see the dead fall like 'leaves' begin to bloom into a new blossoms, daffodils are emerging from cold and damp grounds along with the crocus bulbs.
I remember as a young person one house we used to always drive by had placed the crocus bulbs in the context of the words, "It's spring". So when they bloomed one could see and read those words.
It's spring where new life is taking place and birds begin to build nests and baby lambs are born.
Found this photo on google as a free stock photo and it shows so much sweetness.
Spring really shouldn't be here yet, it seems way too soon for bulbs growing and baby animals being born.
I love the awakening from the dark of the earth to the fresh sunny skies of blue and soft clouds.
The master plan of our master gardener created seasons for life and abundance, 
 after a time of winter rest and darkness.
Just as our hearts and souls need the rest in winter, and a time for hunkering down under blankets, good books and hot cups of coffee.
We also need the freshness spring brings with new awareness that life again begins at a new level.
That hope of new adventures and experiences will take place and we will be warmed by the warmth of the sun and crisp breezes.
I am not ready for this warmth but I am ready for some change.
While we watch flowers growing and little lambs with wobbly legs, let us be reminded that we are in a new season for a new time and hope brings a new sense of anticipation.  
Are you anticipating anything fun or exciting in this season of change? Spring is almost here.
Let us wait with great patience for new adventures to begin.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Recovering take time

My husband is getting better slowly.
Recovering from major surgery is always hard on the body.
It is challenging on many levels.
He has done well within the midst of a few set backs... he is back to work part time.
He is also driving now, which I am sure he is happy about.
Any time we recover from any trauma it is a hard painstaking journey.
Physically and mentally it is a relearning of what was once 'easy'.
A full knee replacement requires a major 'amputation' of the leg on the upper and lower with a knee removal, then a new knee is fitted in and around the old 'space'.
The doctor has done many and knows what he is doing but it still sounds awful.
Yes it sounds horrible and the scar is really rough it is close to 14 inches long.
He was bruised from hip to ankle then we had a trip to the ultrasound room for blood clot checks.
We all know how serious that is.
His surgery was on January 20th and he is very tired.
We both are and it has been draining and hard and worrisome for me, to watch him struggle to stand, then walk and navigate the stairs going up to our room.
He is getting better slowly.
He is trying to do what the doctor tells him and yet they might have to go in for more 'adjustment'.
Meaning he will be knocked out with loopy drugs and they will realign the leg and shake loose the tightness.
It has been hard. One step forward and then a few back.
Some day we will look back on this and know it was worth it.
For now we are not over this 'recovery hump.'

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Friday's word

The word for today is open.
You write for five minutes with little editing and deep thought.
Random writing about the word open...
it is deep and wide and we can do this.
With arms open wide... and hearts ready to receive we 'open' ourselves to what the Lord can do for and with us.
He is strength and song. he is our salvation and he is OUR God and our father.
We will praise him and extol him... worship and proclaim his love to all who will hear, and all who will listen with an open attitude and a willing heart.
We stand in silence ready to receive.
We raise our hands to worship. To give honor.
To adore and thank our Lord God.
When we are open we are ready to accept, we are ready to find something new and exciting.
The doors are not shut to our hearts, or spirits or emotions.
With arms open wide.
We wait with anticipation to receive of 'our Lords' gift to us.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Five minute writing on Friday.

The new word of the day is When.
We write for five minutes with no editing and no proof reading.
Spontaneous, word choosing, thought provoking five minutes.
To my husband.
We always talk about the future as if it will come, I pray it does but we talk in terms of 'when we retire' we are going to get the motor home, pay off bills, re-do the house, then sell it.
We talk of plans to England and to other places of unknown new 'memories' to share for us.
We talk of times of relaxation and little rules.
We share what we would like to do when the time is free and there are no obligations to tie us down.
I often wonder would we really like to be free with no accountability.
Will we enjoy visiting different places on different day of the month.
Will we like driving and chatting and finding new restaurants or hiking trails, new adventures to take pictures of for photo albums.
Will we like sleeping in and not having to worry as much.
Will we enjoy the freedom that retirement gives.
I often wonder how will you do when you have no yard to mow and few things to tinker with in the garage.
Will you be totally bored or will you be able to relax and enjoy the carefree life.
I wonder what our new hobbies will be or will we just walk and talk and enjoy our days together.
When we retire it will be very different on many levels.
Insurance will be on us, that is scary. The checks every two weeks will not be as predictable.
Scary too.
But the flip side is the time we can spend together.
It will be good, and sweet and maybe sometimes boring but that is ok, I like being bored with someone I care for.
When we retire it will be us together with our kitties.
And that will be good.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A wrecked life restored by love

February 11th is my sister's birthday.
This year will be her 62nd... this picture was of her 60th.
Every year I wish her happy birthday knowing in my heart,
it is a miracle we thought would never happen.
In 2006 after visiting with her on many occasions, consulting with the doctor, and pleading my case, she was put on hospice.
The diagnosis was death pending, within six months or sooner.
She had liver failure, hepatitis C and starvation.
She was wheelchair bound with her 90 pound frame barely fitting into the leather seat.
The pictures stored in her photo album paint a picture of her reality in ways that words never could.
No one can grasp the depth of the situation unless one was there to witness it, like we were.
Her husband died in the early morning hours on July 26th, 2006.
He was her caregiver.
It was shocking, sad, numbing, unexpected and a very horrible day for all of us in the family, when I received the phone call in the early morning hour telling me, he was dead.
My sister, who was dying just became a widow.
When I heard the news I knew I could never leave her there to die alone, they lived in a small '5th wheel trailer' and I knew I had to move her to a safer and more caring environment for her last days.
When my husband and I arrived at their home, 14 miles from ours, there were police, and coroner car, fire truck and chaos all around the surrounding area.
When I saw her, she looked so fragile and broken and scared and maybe not even understanding.
He was gone.
We loaded her into our car and drove in silence with my husband and I in our own thoughts, as she slept in the back seat with her head pressed against the car window.
The hours ahead of us seemed surreal, what we were experiencing was like a very bad dream, only it was real and we were awake.
There were many things to do when we brought her home. I had to call my work and let my boss know I would not be back till she passed away, then call hospice, and family.
Our family room would become a resting place for the dying and we would sit with her as we watched and waited for her to die.
We started her out in a loveseat hideabed then moved her into a hospital bed for the final journey of her hospice care. The hospice team told us she had just a few weeks left so we were just keeping her comfortable. 
We began a journey none of us would ever want to repeat.
She was drowning in a sea of alcoholism and like life guards, we jumped in and rescued her.
For me it was especially exhausting as I didn't know how to swim or navigate this care taking process.
There were many things to deal with and it was physically and emotionally taxing on all who were involved.
The care taking team consisted of my husband and I, our older sister and her husband, the hospice team and most important the doctor who helped us. I will forever be grateful to him for his patience.
Days moved into weeks as we gave her round the clock care, as her thin body laid on the sheet of the hospital bed.
Detoxing the demons out of her was a balance between medications every two hours, monitoring the seizures and praying the hallucinations would leave.
You cannot believe the horrible effects detox has on a person.
She had to have specific drugs to ease the discomfort and chaos inside her body and brain.
In the midst of the really hard, there were a few really funny moments of comedy relief.
Remembering the middle of the night when I was so exhausted to take her outside for a smoke, I gave her one that was unlit and told her to smoke it.
This was breaking my rule to never have cigarettes in my home, but she had no idea it wasn't lit and I would hold the ash tray near her bed telling her to dump the ashes and she would.
I would watch her inhale and exhale pretend smoke, while feeling relieved I didn't have to get her in her chair to go outside. She smoked the same cigarette for four days before I had to start over with a new one.
The hospice team was amazed and we all laughed about my crazy idea of an unlit cigarette.
Everyone involved in the process with us was amazed at our ability to work together on this very difficult journey.
We realized her tolerance was very high, she was drinking a fifth of vodka daily, so in order for that to be removed one has to taper down slowly, or the body will crash in a violent way. 
The doctor was amazing along with the hospice team and especially the chaplain, who helped us create a memorial service for her husband out in our courtyard, as she was too ill to go anywhere outside of our home. 
Day in and day out we took care of her and loved her through her wrecked life.
Soon her strength began to come back to her as we removed the alcohol from her system.
We were giving her three oz doses of vodka two times daily and that seemed to keep the detox process comfortable for her.
She had to have help to eat, walk and move around the house.
She slowly began to wall walk holding onto the walls for stability and a bit of independence.
In seven weeks were able to move her out of our home and into an adult foster home setting.
When that setting didn't work well, we were able to move her into an assisted living facility not far from my home. 
The day she chose to live was the day she quit dying.
The journey was long, hard and would we ever do it again?
No, I have told her many times. It was very hard.
Today she is alive and living in an assisted living home.
Her brain is slowly coming back to her and she is thriving.
It is a story of love, sacrifice, sisterhood and hope.
It is a story of family, a journey of life and death and then life again.
It is a story of sisters.
There is so much more to this story I could share and someday I will when the time is right.
We brought her home to die in a safe and loving place.
By caring for her, praying for her, and giving hope, her life was restored from a wrecked life going no where to a place of healing with a new future.
Each year I am thankful she can have another birthday.
Because I will always remember the year she almost didn't.  

Saturday, February 7, 2015

One more funny post

When my oldest grand daughter was in pre-school I would take her to school and pick her up every day.
She was with me all the time as her mom worked.
One day we were running a bit late, and we got in to the car, she was buckled in to the car seat and I drove down the road.
After coming to a stop, I turned left and began driving while I noticed blinking lights behind me.
Wondering what that was about I pulled over and the officers car pulled over behind me.
Now I couldn't believe anything could have gone wrong having been in the car less than five minutes.
I rolled down my window and the officer said to me, "do you know why I pulled you over?"
I honestly could not so I told him I had no idea.
He said that I pulled out in front of him.
Anyone who knows me and knows how I drive, also knows I would not ever 'pull' out in front of a police car.
At this point while he was talking to me my grand daughter in the back seat lost her patience.
She said, "I am going to be late for school. We need to get going."
I calmly told her to let the nice gentlemen talk to us.
She again reminded me it was a school day and she was going to be late and she didn't like to be late for school.
I tried my best to get her to be more quiet, while not looking to obvious with a police man standing by my window.
He then said to her, "let me talk to your mommy and then you can leave for school,"
I thanked him and let him know I was grandma.
He then looked at my license and told me to be more careful before he walked away.
A verbal warning was wonderful and I was free to continue driving.
It was a crazy morning and even more crazy to be stopped.
Then I as we walked her into the pre-school room she excitedly told everyone about grandma and the police and how they stopped us and the lights were flashing and it was so exciting.
Another funny moment in the small town in Oregon.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A different kind of loss

There was a time in years past, when I could sing and carry a decent tune, in fact in high school there were a few 'choir recitals and solo contests', even won a few of them.
In our early married lives my husband and I used to sing together in church and on occasional wedding settings, remembering the one wedding where we were asked to sing endless love and evergreen.
The one wedding where for some reason the piano player and the singers were not 'so together', yet she rescued us and made us sound very good in the end.
That my friends, is a gifted musician.
I sang solos in church and concert settings, with a friend of mine.
It was very comical because she was tall and very large and I was short and very petite, she stood beside me while I was on a chair.
It has been a great grief of mine to lose my voice.
I warble out a tune now in the key of a mans voice and I can sing really well with our music pastor at church.
High notes and myself do not meet anymore on any song.
Too many throat infections have taken the tones away.
I have grieved this loss. It was very hard because music has always been a comfort to me.
In prayer one day I had to give it to God and ask him to bless my attempt of a joyful noise.
The alto notes that were once my 'scale' is now lower and rarely do I sound like I once did.
Harmony used to be a 'go to' for me.  So love to listen to the voices blending with different notes.
On Saturday afternoons we sit in our family room and listen to the Gaither's as they sing their southern gospel songs, and we do join in and sing, but when I do it is clear the voice has changed.
Along with many other parts of the aging process that have changed me in the last few years.
God knows this has been a deep grief to me.
So much scar tissue surrounds the vocal cords and my 'sound'.
When we had the opportunity to sing to the dying.
I listened as others sang the beautiful hymns as we comforted those who were leaving us.
My normal role it to be the observer and that time was no exception.
I had to observe and listen and experience this very different kind of loss on many levels.
The beautiful part of singing is gone now, but that doesn't stop me from singing.
Oh believe me, I sing and I sing to my heart's joy... but not where any one can hear.
God knows my heart and that is enough for me.
He really is the only audience I need these days.