Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Quick Update

Very quick!

I worked yesterday—per Nelson’s instructions. There was plenty going on to keep my mind occupied. He finally saw the doc about 2pm—not very long before surgery. I was wanting to get to the hospital right away, but of course I was stopped on my out of the building.

I did meet with my PO and she did approve the NASCAR race! I’m so excited—Now we have to get Nelson ready and able. While I was in her office the sky opened up and down came the rain. The storm rumbled through the area and the warning came out for “dangerous lightening.”

I decided not to drive to the hospital in pouring rain and rush hour traffic so I spent a little time checking things on the computer before I left. I arrived at the Surgery Waiting Room desk just as the doc did to give me the details.

Nelson did have the initial operation where they “stretched” him back out. He has a rod through his heel and one at his knee. Rhonda had tried to prepare me for all the hardware, but there’s no way to be ready for that. Nelson was hurting really badly. He will have the hardware for at least 10 days. He has an appointment next Tuesday at the Doc's office. The next surgery will be for the reconstruction of the ankle...Yehaw!

I stayed for a few hours, but he barely knew I was there so shortly after 9pm I left. I got lost in downtown Akron coming home, but was able to trust my pitiful sense of direction to get me back to the freeway. It worked!

I’m tired and would really rather go back to bad, but it’s not in the cards today. Have to work and then Annie and Penelope will be here later and Nelson may come home today.

Thanks for all your prayers!!! They mean so much to me as does all your support, care, and encouragement. Have a Wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, June 27, 2005

A Few More Answers...A Little More ControlI

I went to work for a couple hours this morning. It went well. I had a chance to talk with Buddy for a few minutes. When I started talking about Nelson’s constant pain I just broke down. I must have known that he would understand.

I got to the Medina hospital around 10:15. PT came and got Nelson up and he hopped toward the door. Just as he got close the door his nurse walked in. She announced to us that the ambulance would be there in a half hour to take him to Akron General Hospital and his surgery was scheduled for tomorrow at 4:30. Finally, something definite.

I got Nelson bathed and dressed and we were wondering how late they would be when they walked into the room—early! Imagine that. I was able to get to the new hospital, even though the directions were incorrect. As I walked down the hall to Nelson’s room I saw him laying on the gurney in the hall. That seemed a little odd, but not compared to how odd it was that there wasn’t a bed in the room—and the way the nurses kept apologizing since they had been asking for a bed for hours since they knew he was coming. Sure would have been nice if someone would have let us know. Sheesh. But the fun continued when the bed arrived and then didn’t work. Can you say comedy of errors.

They had quite a bit of trouble finding a vein for an IV and then later for one for the vampire to get bloodwork before surgery. Took 3 nurses each time. We giggled all the way trough it He looked so silly laying there in bed with his Ernie (of Sesame Street) t-shirt on.

We don’t know anynmore details, but it feels good to have him there and know that his surgery is scheduled.

Nelson has insisted that I go to work tomorrow. He says he doesn’t understand why I would want to just sit there with him. I guess it’s a guy thing…at least that’s what some of the guys at work said. They said they’d feel the same way. So I’ll be working. and then heading to the hospital after work—well really, after I stop for a visit with my PO. Gotta get that permission to go to the race.

A couple of things I’ve noticed….First, I want to apologize for ranting on the way I did. I had to sit back and think about where all the frustration was coming from. And I think what got to me the most was the total lack of control. I have never done well when I don’t feel any control. If this was a test I don’t think I did very well. Sigh. I started out okay, but the longer it seemed to with uncertainty I just crumbled. Definitely need to work here.

Then, I scared myself this morning. I used to find my totally identity in my work. I worked myself to death: spiritually and emotionally. I got to the plant at 6:15am this morning. I went in that early to get started on correcting the packaging problem from Friday. As I stood there with sweat dripping off me, working in the half-lit area, I just stopped. There was only so much I could do…there was only so much I was going to try to do. I was going to line things out and delegate it out. Work would go on without me. I needed to be with my husband—whether he wanted me to be there or not. As I stood there in the dark with the truth dawning on me, I also began to feel a much deeper sense of relief and peace.

There’s one more thing I’ve really been wrestling with the past few days, since Nelson fell. The whole reason we moved up here was for Nelson to supervise the building of this huge house. We felt so strongly that we were to move here and it has been nothing but difficult from the get go. And now this? It’s hard not to wonder if we misread. It’s hard not to question. By the end of the day, I heard myself say to a couple different people that this was sure a round about way to get me to my factory job. Is that what this really was all about? Lots of questions…and hopefully a lot of time to answer them.

Well, how’s that for an update? I’ll let you know how surgery goes. Until then, sweet dreams.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

What Plans?

I’m home and I’m miffed. I am in full-blown stressed out mode. I spent the day at the hospital with Nelson. We watched the race together. I was getting ready to leave when the orthopedic doc who was referring us out stopped by. Here’s his plan:
-I will go to work to fix a problem that I found right at quitting time on Friday that has to be done first thing so that it can be shipped out (this involves unpacking 2 skids of packed parts that didn’t get a sticker on them designed for all shipments going to Mexico…a horrible oversight by the people running the line, but thankfully caught before they shipped). I will also line out the work for the day and make sure that it is done correctly.
-Nelson will have a session with PT in the morning to teach him how to walk. In his three sessions with PT he has stood up twice taken a couple of sideways scooch steps and then today moved over to sit in the chair. So in a session they are going to teach him how walk, get up a couple steps, and get in and out of a car.
-I will call the doctor’s office in Akron to see when I get a doctor’s appointment. I am hoping that I can get one where I go straight from the hospital to the clinic. If I can’t get him in until Tuesday, I will then bring him home.
-While I’m either at work or in the process of transporting Nelson, Dave, Steve, and Mook will deliver the hospital bed to my house.
-Nelson will hopefully be seen by the surgeon and some type of work will be done on his leg and ankle.

My head hurts with all the maybes and hopefullies. I want to stomp my foot and tell someone to just give me a straight answer and not all these uncertainties. Why is that so much to ask for?

I had to call Ed to tell him about my situation. I called his cell, but obviously he and his wife had exchanged phones. He is on his way to his dad’s in West Virginia because his dad is dying. So I had to call Buddy. I feel badly because I’m having to miss work, but more so because I can’t tell them how much I’m going to have to miss because I can’t get anyone to give an answer on that.

So now I’ve vented a little to the daughter and she’s ready to rush over, but I told her that I need her here when Nelson gets home. I think it will be way too difficult to move him about and keep Penelope corralled. She wasn’t really happy with my way of thinking, but I think I was forceful enough to keep her from jumping in the car right that minute.

I ranted a little to Rhonda, who immediately wanted to fix everything. It can’t be fixed. I am at the mercy of a doc who hasn’t even seen the x-rays and his very busy schedule (show me a doc who doesn’t have a busy schedule and I’ll immediately ask why and doubt his ability). She works for an orthopedic group and is trying to get me to bring Nelson to them. I just don’t feel good about that. It’s not that I don’t trust her or her docs---but think about how it would be if something went wrong. I don’t want to leave a foothold for resentment. Does that make any sense?

I need to go to bed, but my mind is racing. I think I’m going to go get a glass of milk and play a couple scrabble boards and drift off into sleep. Tomorrow could be a very long day.

Hope your dreams are sweet and your plans clear!

Ankle Update

Told you I’d be back with an update…It’s not much, but here we go with what I know…

I was supposed to get tires before I went to the hospital. I went to the tire place, but they already had a line and the guy told me that it would be AT LEAST an hour and a half. Too long. I decided to chance another trip on the iffy tire.

I got to the hospital a little after 9am. Nelson was in pain and grumpy from not sleeping. The respiratory tech said that she couldn’t authorize giving him a machine set to his high of a setting without a doctor’s verification. I started asking about them providing a C-Pap before we went to Nelson’s room. They assured me the hospital would provide. Grrr. If they would have told me early enough I would have run home and got it—it didn’t matter that it would be a 2hr round trip. Needless to say he didn’t sleep well and it was like someone sucked all his humor out of him.

PT arrived at about 9:45am. The problem with this was Nelson’s pain meds had worn off and he was counting minutes until his next dose. The poor gal from PT was the recipient of some unanticipated ire from Nelson. He hadn’t slept, he was hurting pretty bad, and he couldn’t imagine how he was going to stand up and walk. It took three of us and all Nelson’s strength to get to him scooted to the edge of the bed and then get him upright. I was starting to get really nervous. How in the world was I going to be able to do that?

Our friends, Steve and Rhonda, showed up a little after noon. We visited for a while and then they took me to lunch in the cafeteria. We talked so long that we missed Nelson’s second go around with the PT lady. This one went a little better since he had some pain meds about 15min before the torture session.

We got a call from Dave (Nelson’s boss). Linda, his wife, had gotten a hospital bed when her dad lived with them before he died. So they’re going to bring it down on Monday evening. It’ll be quite a blessing to have that.

I finally came home after Nelson ate his dinner. It was very cold in the room. I was wrapped up in one of the hospital blankets. Tomorrow I’m going to dress a little warmer. Even saying that sounds crazy since it was near 100 degrees here yesterday. We had a storm in the evening and thankfully it cooled things down quite nicely!

I think I’ve mentioned with sufficient repetition that Nelson is quite the special guy. He’s not a constant romantic, but he makes a darn good effort and I appreciate all he does. From the beginning of marriage we have celebrated three anniversaries a year: the anniversary of our first date (Oct 8), the anniversary of our engagement (July 15) and our wedding anniversary (Feb 17). He never forgets these dates and always does something very sweet to commemorate them.

For about the last few weeks he’s had this sheepish grin on and kept telling me that he couldn’t wait till the July anniversary, that I was just going to love my gift. Over and over I heard this. Thursday right after dinner, we were sitting in the living room talking with our friend Mook (guy who used to work with me who got fired and now works with Nelson building the house—I feed him dinner every night…or did). All of a sudden, Nelson blurts out that he just can’t keep it a secret anymore and he hands me an envelope. I open it up and there are two tickets to the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis (a NASCAR race) for August 6. I’m so excited!!!! I hope he’s better enough by then to go. More importantly: I hope my PO will let me go.

About church…Nelson and I had decided on Thursday that we were going to “check out” the church near us that we’ve been watching on TV together. We live in Ashland, Ohio. This just happens to be headquarters for a couple different brands of Brethren Churches. The church we were going to go to is a Brethren Church. Several people associated with the Transformation Network attend there as do several people from work, so I was thinking it would be a good place to start our search. It offers traditional, contemporary, and way contemporary services. The pastor has some thought provoking messages. Several of my seminary (and two of my most favorite) profs attend there. And it’s only a couple blocks from home—I like the idea of being able to walk to church. But….with everything that went down on Friday I didn’t get a chance to call the pastor or my PO so I will try for next Sunday and just worship from my living room before I head to the hospital.

Have a super Sunday!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Bad Break

Just got home a little bit ago…from the hospital. This afternoon Nelson fell off a ladder at work. They were putting up the roof trusses. They were on the next to the last one. He was only 4’ up the ladder. He came down on his left ankle, pile driving it into the ground and spinning, shattering the ankle and breaking the tibia (back leg bone) right below the knee. He couldn’t move. They took him to the ER in the squad. The ER Dr. decided to admit Nelson. Nelson is severely obese (5’9” and nearly 350#), so there’s no way he’d be mobile.

When we finally got to Nelson’s room, we finally saw the orthopedic specialist. He said that there was no way he wanted to touch Nelson’s ankle. It was that bad. He recommended a foot and ankle specialist within his group—the doc he’d want to cut on him. So Nelson is going to meet with PT in the morning to see if he can get mobile. If he can then he’ll come home and we’ll see the specialist on Monday.

The probably course of treatment will be to do some kind of stretcher thing on Nelson’s leg and ankle while they wait for the swelling to come down (about a week) and then do surgery to repair the damage the following week. Surgery will include pins and plates.

Here’s the thing… I don’t see Nelson being mobile. There is no way for him to put any weight on that ankle. So will they keep him until that doc can see him? Questions I have no answers for.

When he does finally get home, what am I going to do with him? Our bedroom is upstairs. I’m trying to figure out how to get a bed for him to sleep in. We’ll bring down the AC from our room and hang blankets on the door to the back of the house and the one going upstairs and he can just live in the living room…if I can find a bed. Beth suggested that we call a rental place. We’ll see.

Saturday morning…At midnight last night, I was finally getting tired. I was falling asleep while trying to type this so I went to bed. I didn’t sleep well—I never do when Nelson isn’t there. I woke up at my weekday-work time of 5am. And here I am trying to finish this.

When I drove home from the hospital last night, I shut the radio off and just followed my thoughts. I like to do that…I may have lots of time to do that if Nelson has to spend much time in the hospital. Right now, he’s an hour away. He’ll be farther when he has the surgery.

But back to the thoughts…It was one of those weirdly ironic things that this should happen yesterday. Buddy came back to work yesterday. I was very happy to see him. I had so many work related questions. I also had lots of wonderments as to how he was. My heart ached though to see how deflated he was. We got a few minutes to talk. He’s lost 18 pounds, he’s not sleeping, he didn’t want to be at work, but he didn’t want to stay home. The kids are doing better than he is in his opinion.

I tried to imagine what it would be like without Nelson. Nelson has been in chronic, recurringly severe, pain since August 1983 when he first injured his back. That injury just seemed to open the door to everything else getting worse. I will confess that there have been times when I told God it would be ok to take him home. I didn’t say those things with a mean spirit, but with a broken heart. It just hurts so much to see him hurt so bad.

And now this. This wound feels like a blow to me. Is that selfish? So be it. It’s where I am and how I’m feeling right now. And here’s why: Nelson doesn’t heal well—if at all. In my mind’s eye, I’m seeing Walter Brennon walking with that side hitch of his. I don’t know if he hurt, but I know Nelson will. When I think about this injury I just see another source of constant pain for my husband. And here’s another admission: I want to know why?

Well, I need to get a shower and get some things done before going to the hospital. I have to go buy a new tire for the car so that I don’t have a blowout on my way to the hospital. I wasn’t too worried driving around town until today because I knew I was going to get it replaced. But I was sure praying I’d make it home last night. I did.

If you think about it, I could use a prayer for wisdom and patience—I don’t do well with the slow “we’ll-get-around-to-it” pace that hospitals and doctors have. Steve and Rhonda are going to come help me either move Nelson home or move him to the other hospital. Thank God for friends…especially good friends with vans!

I’ll be back later to bring you an update..

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Time Flies

My how time flies. Yesterday I had my 90 day review at work. I mean I knew it was coming—I’ve been watching to see how soon I get insurance. Evaluations have also been hard for me. I’m a perfectionist. To receive negative feedback was tantamount to failure to me. That is, in my former life…

Ed explained to me that the review is based on a lickert scale (0 to 5, 5 being the best you can get). He then went on to say that he never gives out 5’s and only rarely gives out a 4. Ok. I took a deep breath and told myself that a three was probably the best rating I would receive in any area. I was pleased that Ed expressed significant approval and appreciation and gave me several 3.5. When it was all averaged out, I was at about a 3.27. Not bad, not bad at all. I actually left Ed’s office feeling good about my performance and really good about how appreciated my work is.

Before the day was done I was back in Ed’s office. I had a materials dilemma and I needed to do some creative resourcing. I was out of bags and the only way to get some for Tuesday’s work was to drive to B-town to get some.

Today was just stressful. The company I order my packaging materials from just isn’t able to keep up with my needs. I did some calling and questioning and it appears that the person I deal with had been ordering based on last years figures. It seems that no one bothered to really update her on all our increases in production and packaging. Hopefully this is going to be fixed. But in the meantime I’m going to have to drive to the warehouse tomorrow (about 90minutes away) to get more bags. I’ll still be backordered but at least I’ll have bags to start the day with on Thursday.

On less stressful notes…I finished a very interesting book: Philip Yancey’s “The Bible Jesus Read.” My focus in seminary was always on the New Testament. Yancey gives some interesting viewpoints on the importance and impact of the Old Testament. Bottom line: it made me want to read more.

Food section: I have found a new yummy breakfast. I have always loved bagels and cream cheese. Yesterday at Aldi’s I found whipped cream cheese that is honey and nut (pecan) flavored. And I rediscovered a wonderful salad dressing: Marzetti’s Sweet Italian. It’s so good I ate a salad as a snack! I’m also quite pleased at another food purchase I made last night. Nelson wanted watermelon. I stood at the bins of watermelons and asked out loud, “How do you know if it’s a good one?” Fortunately, my daughter was with me to answer so that I didn’t look totally daft. We finally just grabbed one. Oh my! It was so sweet and juicy. I nibbled at little pieces while I was cutting it up and then had a few chunks for dessert. I love watermelon…but it does not love me. I spent a little time in the reading room (aka the bathroom) paying for that indulgence!

And some really good news! Last week I saw my PO. I updated her on the situation with T-Net church dissolving. She was surprised. Then she told me that I should pick a church and go. She felt that she knew me well enough to support my going to church. I was sooooo excited! So was Nelson. But we were so busy all week we didn’t sit down and discuss where we wanted to go so we ended up just watching TV church again on Sunday. We’ve talked a little more about it this week—we just don’t know what we want to do.

I guess that’s not exactly true. There are certain denominations where we wouldn’t feel comfortable theologically. We know we want to find a medium size church. Nelson just wants to be fed for a while and not feel pressured to lead. We are both in agreement about our desire for strong preaching and teaching ministries, followed by anointed worship (aka good music). Oh, and we want it here in town. We believe that we’ll be more likely to participate if we’re not having to travel to far (especially given gas prices and winter weather). And that way the people that we hope to befriend will also be close for fellowshipping purposes.

I’m thinking the first thing to do is make a list of potential churches and just start visiting. It’s not a process I relish, but it’s also a process that holds some possible excitement as we truly begin to sense God leading us again.

So, time is flying by…and that’s okay. Or at least I’m okay with it. Now if you’ll excuse me I think I’ll go finish another book…a friend in Canada sent it and it’s really quite good! I’ll review it more when I’m done.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Quite a Day

I wish I had a pedometer. I walked so much today, it would be interesting to see how far I went. I spent quite a bit of time this afternoon walking between my office, the shipping dock, the front office and the work area. I was doing the “legwork” to solve a couple mysteries. I had questions and no one in house had answers. But tenacity and openness paid off and I got all my answers!

I want to report that I have been practicing and working on the forklift. I’m still having trouble judging, but I’m getting better. Yesterday I confronted one of my fears and pulled a top stack pallet. It seemed so high up there. I sat and looked at the stack and prayed. It felt so good to accomplish that. With that feeling under my belt I decided to try something else that I had been afraid to do. I decided to try and put a basket in the stand. Sounds really easy, but it’s a struggle for even experienced forklift drivers at work. I needed a lot of spotting, but I did it! Yay!

There was a kind of dark cloud at work today. Remember the other day when I went to the shipping guy, B, who was filling in for the production manager, Ed? B is a hoot. He’s always playing tricks. He has a wonderful sense of humor and is pure orneriness. B's wife (a beautiful woman according to the picture on B’s desk and well-liked by everyone who knew her at the plant) has been battling with breast cancer for the past 7 years. Last night she finally lost the fight. My heart just aches for B. I never met his wife but I saw his eyes light up when he talked about her. The whole day I just wanted to drive out to Nelson’s work site and give him a great big hug and kiss. Instead I fixed his favorite dinner and baked chocolate chunk brownies. Sometimes it’s better to show it than just to say it.

It reminds me of a time in the last church I pastored. There was a man who had lost two wives to cancer. When he married the third woman she agreed to have a physical prior to getting married. They were quite cute together. They were married a couple months when it was discovered that she too had cancer. For a while she was in remission. They were older, in their 70’s. Their love was so obvious. They would winter in Florida and come back to our Ohio town for the summer. Her last spring the cancer came back with a vengence. They came home for a visit.

At the end of the service, people were filing out, shaking my hand and tell me how they liked the sermon. The man walked up and asked for prayer for his wife. What would you have done? There were still many people in the sanctuary, milling and talking. I gathered them together. We huddled around the couple and we prayed. I remember in that prayer praying, begging God for a miracle…even if that miracle was helping us to accept the death of this woman. I prayed that we would understand healing, and how it’s not always what we want or expect. I prayed that no matter what happened that no one, not one person, would question God, his power or his love. It was one of those times where I got lost in the praying—where I really believe the Spirit was doing the job of directing the prayer.

After she died the man sold his house and moved away. He came back to visit and he talked to me about how powerful that time, that prayer had been to both of them. I’m glad. I’m glad there was a nudge in my back and thump on my heart that prompted me to move beyond the conventional hand shake and lame promise to pray. When someone asks for prayer I pray right then. What do you do?

Would you do me a favor? Will you, right now, right there at your computer, invite the God of all comfort and consolation to envelope Buddy and his kids, and his family? They’re confused and hurting right now. Will you pray that God will keep their hearts tender and that they will find Him to be a God who will be with them in their pain, and who can not only handle, but answer all their questions?


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Abundant Blessings

I just came out to sit on the front porch to cool down. It hasn’t been like this for weeks now. The thermometer says it’s 79 degrees, but the humidity is way down and that’s so nice. Around here that’s the sarcastic retort: it’s not the heat it’s the humidity that’ll kill you. Whatever.

Annie and Penelope left yesterday afternoon. I miss the laughter already. We went to several garage sales yesterday morning. Annie was quite excited to find a bentwood rocker for only $8. It’s in really good shape and has a pad. She never had a rocker when Penelope was little and believe me, I groused a lot about that one! She loves this one and swears to use it now and with the new baby. We got some other good buys, too.

Later in the evening Beth, Nelson and I did yard work. It turned into a way for Beth to earn some gas money. She’s still between paychecks. She worked really hard mowing and trimming bushes. I was really proud of her and totally appreciated her hard work in the killer heat, er, humidity.

This morning I was sitting by the front door, listening to the birds singing. One was singing loudly, but all of a sudden got much louder. Teasingly, I told Nelson that it must be on the front porch. I stood up to look out the door and there not 10 feet in front of me was the most beautiful cardinal perched on the wrought iron pillar of the porch.

I may have to find an extension cord and sit out back on the swing to write. One of the bushes that Beth and I worked on last night is a huge honeysuckle bush beside our garage. The smell is divine. If I found a cord I sit out on the lawn swing and inhale the heavenly aroma and gaze at my gorgeous climbing roses. Oh, and my hostas have taken wonderfully! And the flowers I bought last week are thriving and beautiful. I may actually have developed a teeny tiny green thumb. Yay!

Friday was truly a no drama day at work and that made me very happy. We put 50% more production on the new line! I was very pleased. We’re still not where I want us to be—or where we need to be, but it was a significant improvement and one that we can totally build on!

It’s so still sitting here on my front porch. My Pooh flags are barely moving. A robin just ran right up to the edge of the porch and stood and looked at me. It was a very brief encounter. She nabbed a worm by one of the hostas and ran off to the tree lawn. Sitting here in the stillness, listening to the birds I am just flooded with contentment. Life is so far from what I dreamed it would be, or could be. But right now, for some totally inexplicable reason, none of that really matters. I’m totally okay with what I have.

I did something a week ago Friday that has made me smile all week long. Many of you read my entry about finding the $20 in my jeans pocket (“Way Cool God Thing” Jan. 12, 2005). Well, one of the women I work with has really been struggling financially. She came to work with us originally as a work-for-foodstamps program and was hired on full time because she’s such a good worker. She was recently released from prison after a five year sentence. She’s been wearing the clumsy toe protectors. And in spite of the challenges life had been throwing at her she maintained a really positive attitude.

Well, I asked her a week ago Thursday why she hadn’t purchased any steel toe shoes yet. She looked a bit embarrassed, so I followed up by asking if it was a money thing. She nodded. I then got even bolder. I asked her if she had the money, would she buy the shoes? She then told me definitely yes! The boots she had been wearing had been issued to her while she was in prison working on the loading docks. They had no shoes in her exact size and nothing big enough with steel toes. She wore boots that didn’t really fit, that looked like they could be steel toed to appease anyone who might do an audit of the area. So even though she might have continued the deception now, she chose to be honest and wear the toe protectors.

I proceeded to tell her the story about finding the money in my jeans and receiving a refund check at the very same time which enabled me to purchase my own steel toed shoes. Since Nelson and I are now both bringing home paychecks, I felt a real need to pay forward the $20 blessing I found in my jeans. So I asked if she’d buy the shoes. She stood there looking at me like I offered her a million bucks. We both got all teary. I brought the money in on Friday. She could barely take it when I offered it to her. Nelson was a little skeptical, but I just believed.

Monday morning she bepopped into the work area with her brand new work shoes. She came in a few minutes early to show me and give a thank you card. There was such a spring in her step all week long. When we started the new packaging plan right off the line, she was one of the people I assigned to the job. She was nervous at first, but gained confidence each day.

Life is so full of crap to bring us down. Challenges come at us right and left. Dreams go unfulfilled. Amid all that, it takes so very little to build people up. I want to be a people builder. There’s such a neat feeling that comes from seeing someone’s confidence lift.

Can I challenge you? Look for a way, a small way to build someone up this week. It’s awesome…really awesome!

Oh, and I want to report that Nelson bought me two pairs of steel toed shoes off ebay. We were able to get them for a really good price. They fit better and my feet are much happier! Just another blessing that I’m totally thankful for!

Friday, June 10, 2005


I went to bed around 10pm. Fitful, fish-flopping, unable to shut my brain off kind of sleep followed. It’s been horrible. So here I am at 2:45am wide awake. Not a good thing with a full day of work ahead and my last evening with Annie and Penelope.

I’m sitting here, praying and reflecting. At first, I was praying that God would just help me to sleep. Then I started asking, “Why am I awake?” I think it’s a combination of things. First, we met Rhonda (my best friend and wife of Steve who is now working with Nelson building the house) halfway between our homes/towns for dinner. I picked a Burger King in the halfway town that has a large play area so that Penelope would have a place to play. I was laughing so hard my cheeks and head hurt. But while we were enjoying all her antics I downed a couple large raspberry ice teas. So caffeine could be a part of the problem.

Another thing it could be is too much drama at work. There seems to be, inherent to the clientele I work with, a natural bent toward creating drama. But it’s not just the workers, it’s the director of the program as well. And I’ve been replaying yesterday’s drama over and over in my head—and I should be able to sleep because I’m exhausted by the whole thing.

The day started with the director of T-Net chewing the team out during their opening devotion time and then me out for production being too low, and venting about some other problems (that I had no control over). Venting barely describes the intensity of his anger (complete with a finger wagging at me—and way too close at that). He did come back and apologize, and yet even that felt like part of the drama.

I ended up talking with the acting Plant Production Manager (Ed is away this week—of course) and the CFO. They gave me a clear reality check: I am their employee and if Dan has a problem with the way things are being done, he needs to take it to the Production Manager. Their support went a long way to help get my head back into the job. Unfortunately, even though I was able to get my head back together a few team members were just not able and I felt like I spent a lot of the day “putting out fires.”

The good news is that we boosted our production yesterday, the bad news is that we may have overextended ourselves and made it hard to work today. We’ll just have to see what happens today.

Ok, I was able to go back and sleep for another hour. I think that was because I began to realize two things while I was typing this. First, Dan is bringing back the one guy who walked out in a fit of anger last month (or in April), who’s already worked here twice and not worked out. I began to wonder while I was typing if that move wasn’t a male territory kind of thing. This guy is the one that the really hard worker that Dan fired a few weeks back got into a fight with at the ministry’s transitional living apartment. A couple of the girls have a “thing” for the fired hardworking guy and Dan knows it. He and the FHG are really “pissing in each other’s oatmeal” and this has the icky feel of being another piece of that DRAMA! Ugh.

Another thing that dawned on me as dawn was quickly approaching was the possible meaning of a dream. I had been thinking about what I was going to have to do as soon as I get to work this morning: I have to set up to get a hot part out. Oh, wait I forgot to explain. In the midst of my firefighting in the afternoon, I checked my work email and found a request to get a part out because it’s “hot.” Great. So I talked it out with the team and we planned how to get it out first thing without too much disruption to our system. But in the dream I was having, I was building the wrong boxes. Now, you may have your own interpretation of the dream. What I realized and my answer came in association to the Drama of the day: I was focusing on the wrong thing and it was negatively affecting my ability to do my job.

So today, the drama gets parked at the door, no better, in the parking lot! We’re here to work. I refuse to get sucked in. I’m choosing to not go there. We WILL focus on the job!

I feel better right now. I’m still a little tired, but I think I’ll be ok. Annie and Penelope are coming for lunch today so I can show them the plant and show of my source of laughter these days. The very thought just put a huge smile on my face! So unlike yesterday when it was Dramaville and I didn’t really get any breaks or lunch—today Tina is taking lunch! Wish you all could join me.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Living in the Moment

I’m not mad, blue, pouting or hiding. I’m living in the moment. Ann and Penelope came to visit this week. It’s a whirlwind of activity once I get home and I barely fall into bed with an ounce of energy to spare!

Mom came home from the hospital this afternoon. Things are looking really good for her.

Work is hot, Hot, HOT!

Home isn’t much better, thought Nelson just put the window air conditioner in our bedroom window. If he gets the cable hooked up this could seriously become my favorite room in the house.

TTFN…Pnel just woke up from her after dinner snooze…that’s my cue to live for the moment…and play, play, play!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Surgery Update

I received a call from Mom's husband. She was done in less time than usually expected for the procedure. My aunt stopped by to visit her and said she looked pretty good and sounded well.
Thanks for the thoughts and prayers!!!

Full Plate

It has been an interesting, challenging, frustrating, fear-full, and exhausting kind of week.

Thursday after work I got a call from my sis who got a call from my uncle that my mother had fallen and perhaps had a brain aneurysm. After a couple of days and many, many phone calls between my siblings, children, and ex-SIL, and finally with my mother’s husband, I learned that Mom hadn’t had an aneurysm. The fall may have been the result of extreme low BP. So they have decided to put in a pacemaker. We don’t know when yet, hopefully early in the week. The really frustrating—no infuriating thing is that when she fell, she was unconscious for 10-12 minutes and during that time her husband (not my dad) and he didn’t call the squad. I nearly lost my mother and he didn’t call.

Friday was a very important day at work. We had a meeting with the company who holds the contract for our packaging—big company. Important people came to the meeting. We had done a major cleaning at the end of work on Thursday. I told them to clean like their grandma was coming to visit. They understood and the area looked great when they were done. One of the first things that happened was a tour of the plant and when the group descended on our area our work team really shone! I was so proud of them!!! And made sure they knew it.

At the end of the meeting Mr. R tried to explain how important this contract is to the team and the community. I spoke up and gave personal testimony to what a blessing this job really is. Later the HR manager stopped me to tell me how powerfully I spoke. I thanked him. Just a few minutes later Mr. R stopped me and assured me that both our company and the contract company were extremely pleased with the job we’ve been doing. Mr. R went on to tell me how much he appreciates what I’ve been doing, and what I did in that meeting. He told me that the company was not going to waste my talents. He said I would go far for the company. I wanted to ask what he meant, but just accepted the compliment and went home. It really felt good: both to be complimented, but also to just have that meeting over with!!!

Saturday I worked with 4 others. We got a lot accomplished today. We finished packaging a part and prepped for Monday. I was very pleased.

After work Nelson and I had lunch and then did some shopping. I ended up with some sandals that fit, a couple of flowers for my front porch and a trellis for the climbing rose I resurrected in the back yard. We had a good time together.

This morning I got an email from my uncle stating that Mom will be getting her pacemaker today (10:30 their time/1:30 my time). He also sent an email with an addy that explains the procedure. It’s a “minor” operation. Of course, I’ve always felt that minor surgery is what happens to someone else, not someone you love.

You know when things fly at you as fast as things have been flying here, it’s hard to reflect. At least it is for me. I’ve had some fleeting thoughts about stuff. Like, wouldn’t we all be better off if we had a spiritual pacemaker inserted? Then, like with my mom, when our spiritual life dips low we would get a zap to bring it back into line.

As for the meeting…I was really uncomfortable going into the meeting. I used to spend a lot of time in meetings. I was very active in supervision and management. My opinion was sought and respected. I never really enjoyed the meetings…I’m way to restless to sit still. This was the first time in 4 years I was invited to a meeting. The first time in 4 years my opinion was truly sought and respected. Then to run into Mr. R and have him put his arm around me and tell me what he did. I remember feeling nervous throughout the day, undeserving of the attention, and fortunate to have the opportunity to share. Then there was a moment in the midst of it all when deep in my heart, in that inner spot where God speaks to me, that I sensed not a word from God, but a smile—that kind of parental pride smile when your child gets it and love is overwhelming. I think that was the bestest moment of the day.

Then this morning, I was sitting alone when I read the email from my uncle. And I was overwhelmed with a sense of the seriousness of these days with mom. My dad died in 89 and since that time my relationship with my mom has become very, very special to me—to us both. My family is extremely dysfunctional, not close at all. My grandparents are all gone, My dad was an only child and I don’t know anyone on his side of the family. I’m really only “close” to Mom’s sis and BIL, and they have no children. I was sort of hit by a feeling of aloneness—a sort of orphan-type feeling. That was icky…and the lowest part of my weekend.

So that’s how things are going here. My plate is full. And hopefully, things will slow down soon enough to let me catch my breath and reflect a little more.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Friends Don't

I like cappuccino. I like it enough to stop and get the gas station knock off. We aren’t important enough to have Starbucks and the two coffee cafes in town are rich for my pocket.

Something happened yesterday that reminded me of a cappuccino moment from a few years ago. I had drunk a cappuccino from a gas station early in the morning. The cup had one of those tabs on the lid that you flip up and secure to the rest of the lid. There was foam on my tab and unbeknownst to me, I walked around all day with cappuccino foam on the end of my nose. I didn’t find it until it was almost time to go home when I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror. I couldn’t believe my “friends” let me go around that way all day. Fortunately, I didn’t have any important meetings that day. Just several clients and a couple groups.

I remembered that time yesterday when I bent down to pick up some boxes and realized that my zipper fly was totally gaping open. I had used the bathroom at lunch and didn’t find my gapingness until nearly 2:30 in the afternoon. I was embarrassed. And I was a little hurt.

Now, it’s a given that I’m a little weird, but if I notice that someone has cappuccino foam on their nose or their fly is open, I’m going to let them know. I don’t derive any twisted pleasure from someone else’s goof.

What would you do?

Okay, here’s another question. Someone actually asked me this question on Sunday. What authors of this current time/age will make enough of an impact that they will still be quoted and impacting people in 2500AD? I thought it was a good question. Who do you think?

Well, I’m going to do a little stuff around the house…I’ll be back to check out your answers.