Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Reason to Celebrate

Write everyday.
That’s not easy. And not always very interesting.
Monday night: It’s been a good evening. Nelson was so proud of himself. He took a shower without his walker. It’s unseasonably warm here (nearly 70degrees) so Nelson wanted to wear his flip flops. Prior to this accident anytime he wasn’t wearing workboots he had on flops. He’s hurting now. The combination of the extra walking without his boot and getting worked over at therapy took a painful toll. The interesting thing is that he’s smiling. He needed this boost, to see what he could do, to regain just a bit of independence.

Son went home a couple days early. I think he got tired of sleeping on the couch. Much as I love him, I wasn’t unhappy for him to go home. Beth’s out tonight, too. So it’s just me and the big guy.

Fell asleep in the chair…went to bed early.

Tuesday night: It was a good day. I had to look busy all day long. I’m good at looking busy. I had no workers today because I had no parts to package. I hated telling the crew there would be no work, but not near as bad as I felt calling in and telling them there wouldn’t be any work again tomorrow.

Tonight I joined an exercise group at church. It’s a women’s group that follows the Leslie Sansone aerobic walking program. My hips were burning for a while, but I persevered through and was able to complete the whole workout. Yay for me! The group works out on Tuesday and Thursday—and I’m going to do them both!!!!

But wait…there’s more!!!!

Nelson peed in the bathroom!!!!!!!!!! I offered to burn that stupid urinal jug, but I was told no. Drat. Oh well, I’m going to celebrate the end of pee dumping.

It was a very, very good day.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A Better Picture of Nelson

(After reading some of your notes, I felt that I owed it to Nelson to give you a fuller picture of his situation.)

More times than I care to admit, I can relate to Job’s wife. Now, I would never tell Nelson to curse God and die, but I have, weary of watching him suffer, asked God to just take him home. I love my husband dearly and would be lost for quite some time without him, but I ache so deeply in my heart watching him suffer.

To merely say that Nelson gets depressed is to only paint part of a picture for you. I sat across the room looking at my beloved as we got ready for church this morning and I couldn’t see much of the handsome man I married. The day of our wedding, Nelson weighed in (fully clothed) just under 160lbs. Today, he tips the scale at around 350lbs. His sparkling blue eyes have lost their luster and his smile is very rare.

In 1983 Nelson was injured in an accident at work. While carrying a very large and heavy steal pipe the person on the other end dropped their end and a disc was ruptured in Nelson’s back. Paperwork was not filled out properly and neither insurance nor Worker’s Comp would pay for surgery so all these years he has suffered from back pain that has fluctuated between chronic to debilitating. He has added a couple of bulging discs to the mix and spurs up and down his spine.

From the early days of dating I dreaded Nelson falling asleep, he snored horribly and would stop breathing. Finally, at a retreat in 1993 a doctor insisted that Nelson get a sleep study done. He’s had several since then and sleeps with a C-Pap machine set at such a high setting that the respiratory therapist refused to set it that high when he was in the hospital this summer for his ankle.

Even with the C-Pap Nelson doesn’t sleep well. He was on an anti-depressant, but the medication was for depression related to his lack of sleep. You see, it’s all pretty cyclical. He needs to lose weight so that he will sleep better, but he can’t exercise because of the back problems, so he eats out of depression (and to console himself) and he gains weight but he needs to lose weight to sleep better….

He’s been diagnosed with Epstein Barr Syndrome and then had it retracted. He’s been diagnosed with thyroid problems and taken medication, and then had another doctor take him off the meds because it wasn’t really a problem. He’s been diagnosed with high cholesterol and put on meds only to have that taken away because he really didn’t have that high of a cholesterol problem. He’s been told he could develop diabetes, but given no guidance to avoid it. He’s been told his blood pressure is high but not so that it needs medication. He has reduced lung capacity. He can’t put on his own shoes and socks or walk across the room without breaking into a sweat and losing his breath.

And now his ankle is being held together with plates of titanium, screws, and wires. He wants to walk, but he’s terrified (not spoken just felt) that something is going to go wrong with this.

Nelson has been on several different meds. He has been in counseling. He actually does better when he admits that he’s losing it and just works his way out. That’s what he’s doing now and in the past couple days I can really sense the difference. I think Beth has too.

So this will go on for a season and then we’ll deal with the next thing to come along and I hope when I look at the man across the room I can still remember the sparkle. I cherish him. I just feel helpless at times. But I refuse to be hopeless. So in my weariness I moan for a bit, pray quite a bit, bite my lip, and remember how much I love this man. And how much he loves me.

Friday, November 25, 2005


Defined by dictionary.com

The act of depressing.
The condition of being depressed.
An area that is sunk below its surroundings; a hollow.
The condition of feeling sad or despondent.
Psychology. A psychiatric disorder characterized by an inability to concentrate, insomnia, loss of appetite, anhedonia, feelings of extreme sadness, guilt, helplessness and hopelessness, and thoughts of death. Also called clinical depression.
This morning Nelson asked if I had a good Thanksgiving. I said for the most part. It’s as honest as I could be. He said something about sleeping better last night. I said it looked like he slept better (his affect was much brighter). I shared the conclusion that perhaps his recent lack of sleep might explain his sour mood and negativity. He owned that he could feel himself slipping into depression, that he has a lot to be depressed about. He thinks he should create a holiday for depressed people: No Thanks Giving Day.

I knew he was slipping into depression. While he lives with a sort of low grade depression all the time (an Eeyore mentality/personality), there are times when he cycles into deeper quagmires. This is one of those times.

The really difficult thing about the down times is that he says really hurtful things. I am able to attribute the comments to his depression. They sting at first and maybe hurt like a deep bruise for a couple days, but I can move beyond them. Love does that.

My deeper ache is for the hurt he inflicts upon the girls. Now I’ll admit they aren’t perfect and can be frustrating in their own unique ways at times, but they don’t deserve some of the venom filled quips and barbs that are hurled against them. For Nelson, however, depression removes all ability to be diplomatic and takes it straight to hurtful. When you adore your dad, those comments can’t brushed away with the wave of the magic “Oh it’s just depression talking” wand.

So we’ll ride this wave and hope it doesn’t last too long. If it could melt as fast as yesterday’s snow, I’d be an even happier camper.

Thanks Giving

Wednesday night and Thursday (Thanksgiving) were times that definitely enhanced my prayer life.

When I got home from work on Wednesday, I began to prepare for Nelson and the crew to head over to Annie’s. Nelson announced that since he and Ann had words, they weren’t going. He was only going over there to make a turkey on Thursday morning and since she didn’t care about that…so I had to call her and tell her that plans had changed—yet again.

Then the dilemma became how I was going to Sis not to come up. I couldn’t imagine three more people in my already too populated house. She covered me and informed me by phone call that she wasn’t going to come up because she wanted to cook her stuffing at home. Well, that was an answer to prayer.

Thursday morning began sweetly and that lasted about two minutes. Nelson was in a mood. We’ve been married nearly 27 years now. And I love him dearly, but whenever he knows he’s going to be around his parents he gets negative. His comments were negative and hurtful. At one point he looked at me and with all seriousness said, “I was trying to think of what I was thankful for, and I couldn’t come up with anything.” That definitely sent me to my room in tears and I took him and the hurt to prayer. It wasn’t just me he was being that way to, it was both the girls as well.

Aside from Nelson’s surliness, the day went well—even with snow predictions that made me quiver. Sis did arrive and I drove her car over to Annie’s. It was blowy snow most of the way. There was only one spot where the car seriously fishtailed and I kept it under control.

We got to Annie’s and put the final preparations on the meal. I had made sweet potato casserole and much to everyone’s surprise it was quite good. (My cooking is more generally the fodder for excessive joking rather than praise.) I even made the gravy! First time I’ve ever done that. And it was pretty good too. MIL and FIL were an hour and a half late. We started without them. And basically finished without them—except for Nelson who sat at the table and waited for MIL to show up with her pecan pie. Since there was pecan pie and pumpkin pie, my pumpkin bars were untouched. (We ate some when we got home and Nelson said they were even better than the sweet potato casserole. Now there was a comment I didn’t expect.)

Coming home I rode with Nelson, Jon, and Beth. It was a tight squeeze, but it went pretty fast. Once home I put away the food, played a couple of online scrabble boards, and toddled off to bed. That’s where I am now. I love snuggling under my quilts and typing on my laptop. But I will take the laptop downstairs in a bit so that Nelson has access to the internet there in his hospital bed.

I have three days off. Three. I know that one thing I’m not going to do is shop. I refuse to go out into the insanity of the holiday shopping masses this weekend. I may see if Rhonda wants to do something. I’m planning on little to nothing else. And it sounds wonderful to me. Cleaning will be to a minimum. Writing and reading will be front burner. Massive quantities of tea and turkey will be consumed. I am a happy camper.

So, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Isn’t it interesting? I make a commitment to be consciously thankful and life jumps in my lap and dares me to continue.

Work has had its challenges this week. The stamping machine has given me fits. If it’s not one thing it’s another. I had a guy really challenge me when I said he and couple other people wouldn’t be working on Monday, because we were going with a short crew due to the number of pieces we had to work with. But I’m still thankful I have a job and the job I have. I was so blessed at the end of the day yesterday. They told us they were going to give us a turkey. I expected a 10 pounder. Nope: over 16 pounds!

Home has its challenges. Nel still can’t make it to the bathroom quickly enough to pee, so I’m still dumping a pee jug. Some days it makes me gag and it’s hard to do with a smile. But dump I do. Our son, Jon is with us for a week. This might not be so bad if we had space, but he’s sleeping on the couch. An extra person with all their “stuff” (including a PS2 game station and all its cords strewn across my living room) is a real challenge to my new resolve for orderliness. And Jon is EXTREMELY anxious. This is in part due to his paranoid schizophrenia and partly due to the meds for the disorder. He paces a lot or stands and rocks from foot to foot. It’s as if he can’t relax. That kind of tension charges the air and makes it hard for me to relax. It makes me thankful for work and the peaceful space that I have created in my bedroom.

And tomorrow. Nelson, Jon, and Beth will be leaving early this evening to go to Ann’s. That’s where we’re gathering for dinner tomorrow. Nelson’s parents are coming. They’re bringing green bean casserole and pecan pie. Nelson’s sister and husband are coming. They’re bringing cranberry stuff (several items with cranberries in them—SIL’s specialties). Nelson will be taking a turkey with him (already cooked). I’ll be going tomorrow with my sister and her two boys. They’re bringing relish tray, dressing, rolls, and a pumpkin pie. Tonight after work, I’m going to make the second turkey, sweet potato casserole, and pumpkin bars. My sis has an Aztec so we’ll be putting the food, a fold up table, and chairs in the back of it. The only thing Annie has to make is mashed potatoes. I think we’ll have enough to eat and plenty for leftovers! The good news is that I think I have everything so I won’t have to go out with the other last minute shoppers.

So tonight I have the house to myself. Just me and my stove. Part of me thinks that would be a delectable way to spend an evening. But some crazy-needs-to-be-smacked part of me is actually considering sending my sis an email and inviting her up to cook and spend the night. I really am torn on this one. My nephews could crash in the living room. Julie and I could play scrabble and cook and clean. So far I’ve been able to resist the urge to send the email. I may consult Nelson. Perhaps a little of the chaos at work will cure me of this extroverted urge and my craving for serenity will override my fear of being alone in the kitchen. We’ll see.

Ok, it’s later. I talked with Nelson and he thought it would be good for my sis and nephews to come tonight. So I sent them an email invite. We’ll see.

I had an interesting lunch. Another challenge so to speak. We had homemade tacos for dinner last night and I put the leftovers in a bowl and crunched up some tortilla chips. I knew I had a packet of Bob Evan’s Wildfire Ranch dressing in my desk at work. I was really looking forward to lunch. Well, dopey me failed to read the packet of dressing: it needs to be refridgerated and no matter how cold I think my office is, it’s not a fridge! So there I sat with a yummy looking salad and no dressing. For a moment I thought lunch was ruined. To my absolute delight and appetite it was great. I tasted everything (and continue to taste the onions, sorry) and it was so good.

I need to quit anticipating the worst. I need to be more joyfully accepting. It (whatever life throws my way) is what I have and I need to enjoy it…to truly count it all joy.

I started out the day tired and negatively anticipating today and tomorrow. It’s amazing to me the attitude adjustment that has come my way. I feel good. I feel blessed. And I am thank-full!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

40 Minutes Later

I took Nelson for his second therapy session. He’s made some progress in regaining range of motion. He’s worked diligently on his exercises. I would expect no less from him!

As soon as we got there I checked again that it was really okay to walk through the building. The receptionist assured me. I was walking through two separate workout/therapy areas and down two different halls. I found Nelson’s CD player and popped in a peppy CD and donned my headphones. I felt sort of conspicuous and downright weird, but I pushed through and got in a 40 minute workout. It felt good!

The ability to just go ahead and do this comes from some thinking I’ve been doing this week. At one point I was feeling sort of overwhelmed by my life. It wasn’t a good feeling. I started to sense a pity party coming on. My house was a mess, dirty dishes overflowed the sink, the recyclables were taking over my kitchen. I got to work and my desk was a horrible mess of “stuff” I hadn’t filed or pitched. I cried out to God in my discouragement and the very clear message I got was: So do something about it. And so I did. The misery was my choice, my own making. So I started making better choices. Dishes are done every night, no matter how tired I am. Trash is no longer is in control of kitchen.

And I’m eating SO much better. Beth bought a gift for me: a salad shaker. It’s a cool gizmo where I put the dressing in the lid and then when I’m ready to eat I push on the lid and it then dispenses, so my salad stays fresh and I still only have one container in my lunchbox. So it’s been salad every day for lunch. And I’m drinking water again. It’s amazing how that one little thing makes me feel so much better.

Since today was Beth’s birthday we offered to take her out to dinner. Some friends from work took her out to an early movie. They went to see Chicken Little. Crack me up!!!! She’s 22 and that’s what she wanted to see. When we asked her what she wanted for dinner she said pancakes. And not just any pancakes: Bob Evans pancakes. So that’s where we went for dinner. I decided to try the salmon: excellent choice, even if do say so myself!

Choices. Making good ones has made this a better week for me. They may not seem large in the grand scheme of life where debates over war, life and death loom large. But this is my life, right where I live.

I’ve been noticing lately that there have been a lot more people taking time to be thankful in their writing. I found this while reading this week: “Theologian Henri Nouwen says in his book Return of the Prodigal Son that gratitude is more than a mere ‘thank you.’ It is a discipline to be practiced each day in a conscious way.”

So, since I’m working on becoming more disciplined, here is a list of some things I’m thankful for (in no particular order):
-I’m thankful that I have a husband who loves me, even at my most unloviliest.
-I’m thankful that we have a comfortable house to live in.
-I’m thankful for my job…where I work, that I work, that I work with and for some great people.
-I’m thankful for two incredible daughters.
-I’m thankful for the friends and encouragers I have found through this experience!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Mario Laughter

It is the evening of my baby’s birthday. At this time 22 years ago I was starting into some serious labor and she was born at nine minutes after one in the wee hours of the morning.

Right now, Nelson and Beth are enjoying Beth’s birthday present. Not long ago she told her dad that she wanted a Nintendo Gamecube. Nelson saw in Sunday’s ads that Target had this system (bundled with extra controller and cool Mario games) was on sale. He had purchased some Target gift cards on Ebay so we got the system for a greatly reduced price. If I didn’t know better I would think that there are two giggly adolescents in my living room right now! It’s wonderful to hear their laughter.

I have worked extra hard the last two days. We’ve had a couple new people start so I wanted to keep an eye on them, make sure they were trained right, and were able to see the level of work I expected—and who better to show them than me? I was heaving parts and boxes. I was setting the pace by stamping parts at a killer pace. I just hope I can move tomorrow.

As much as I may be enjoying the laughter, I’m afraid I’m going to have to mosey my weariest of bodies off to bed. Adieu!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Reading, Trusting, and Walking

This evening I was doing some more reading in Foster’s “Celebration of Discipline.”

I read so much more differently than I used to. Growing up, books opened the world to me. Several books and a few authors became my friends. I grew in those relationships. Later, with school and on into all my Master’s work ( I have three Master’s degrees…) I read mostly because “pages” were required or for an assignment. The only relationship was a ticking off of pages read. When I moved into ministry and later counseling, too, reading was to meet an immediate need, whether it be for a message or related to understanding someone’s need at the moment. I read very few complete books, just chunks here and there—and I read quickly!

Now, it’s very different. I read to grow, to understand, to search, to journey, to stretch, and I read slowly. I mull. I ponder. I reflect. I am also very picky about what I read. I like this phase.

So tonight I was reading in Foster’s book, the chapter on prayer and then some in the chapter on fasting. He spoke quite a bit about the way a child so openly comes to the Father. And I began to wonder and ponder about that relationship with my Father. Perhaps that is why I’ve been doing so much thinking lately about this child thing. Perhaps I need to work on my openness, trust, and receptivity with regards to my relationship to the Father. My earthly relationship with my dad wasn’t good. He wasn’t really emotionally available to me. His travels and alcoholism made him less than trustworthy. I confess that has tainted my ability to move even more deeply in relationship with my Father. There’s definitely work to be done here.

And tonight I was reading because I was sitting at the rehab clinic while Nelson was in his initial physical therapy visit. It took an hour. Appointments for the next couple months will be either a half hour or forty-five minutes. Teasingly, I told the receptionist that it was a shame there wasn’t a track there that I could walk on. She told me that the building has a loop that I could walk while Nelson is in therapy. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do! For the next couple months I’m going to use my time wisely and get my feet moving. I’ll either listen to some good music on CD or maybe listen to some books on CD…ooh, I like that idea. Then I can listen slow while I move fast.

Well, right now the fast moving I’m going to do is to toward bed. That storm last night kept me awake. Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

From the Little Girl I Am

A couple of “quotes” or comments have really caught my mind and heart recently.

The other night we were watching a television program that we’ve only caught a couple times, “Ghostwhisperer.” The theme for the week was forgiveness, or better put: the consequences of unforgiveness. Here’s the quote:

Being unforgiving is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

One of the largest issues people seemed to be dealing with when I was a counselor was the issue of not forgiving, whether it was not forgiving someone else or not forgiving one’s self.

Then this morning in ABF(Adult Bible Fellowship, aka Sunday School) the teacher was leading us to think about the discipline of service. She played a recorded piece that featured Tony Compolo. It was a very thought provoking piece—and tear producing. Here’s the quote:

…the poor and oppressed are sacramental. Christ comes through them to us.

Compolo tells a story about meeting a man on the street (an extremely dirty, psychotic, scary sort of guy). The guy offers Tony a drink of his coffee, from the grimy cup in his filthy hand. Compolo accepted the offer, but then suspecting that the man wanted something asked why he offered him some of his precious coffee. The man responded with this: it tasted so good I just wanted to share it. The only thing I want in return is a hug.

“As often as you did it unto the least of these, you did it unto me.” That’s what Jesus told his followers, and it’s the word for us as followers today.

The teacher then prompted us to think about how we were either servants or the recipients of service this past week. I was surprised by what came to my mind as I sat there in the class. Work. And more specifically the people I work with. My thoughts were reinforced today when I stumbled across an article about the denial of voting rights to felons even though they have served their time and their community control or probation/parole. They are disenfranchised for life.

The article hit me hard. Thankfully, I don’t live in one of the five states that denies for life the basic right of citizens.

I had another thought creep up on me yesterday at work. I was carrying on one of those internal dialogues that I often have, when in my head I identified myself as a girl. Excuse me? I’m nearly 50. (I know I have a year and a half to go, but I figure I better start warming up to the reality of that number!) I’m a grandmother—almost three times! I’m a mother-in-law. I have adult children. I am not a girl….I’m a woman. But I don’t see myself as a nearly 50 year old woman.

Now here’s a couple implications of this faulty thinking:
I am always working to be taken seriously.
I lack confidence that others my age seem to experience quite naturally.
(This one is sort of embarrassing to admit) This is probably why I have never been able to fully experience sexual pleasure.

With this “new” awareness, I was pondering what, if anything, I need to do to grow up. I guess that’s a part of the dilemma. I need to really plum this one and find out if I’m merely young at heart and have a slightly distorted self image, or if I’m pathetically underdeveloped emotionally and in other ways as well. I’ll keep you posted on how that pans out.

And FYI: we spent Saturday with the babies. Grammy fulfilled her duty with about four poopy diapers. Sunday was a nice day with friends and good food. And Monday I started drinking water and rededicated myself to shedding some of this excess poundage!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

T time

What a week.

Sunday, Annie called. She thought maybe her water broke. I had to have my broken so I couldn’t really tell her what it was like—just what I had been told. I did tell her to call the hospital. The nurse she talked to talked her out of coming in. So I didn’t go racing over. I did go into work and get things ready IN CASE I did get to make a special trip.

Well, while I was on my way home, Annie called and said she wasn’t in labor. Two hours later she called again and she was having contractions that were about 5min apart. I started packing my bag. I left at 8pm. The contractions were at 3 min. I called from a half hour out and she was getting ready to head to the hospital.

I drove my typical 5mi over the speed limit. I made the trip in just 2 hours. As I walked off the elevator the OB nurse told me that Annie had just delivered. I just missed it. She had her father in law in with her and she had him cut the cord. He was so excited–it was his first grandchild.
Caden Andrew was born at 10:18 and weighed in at 7lb12oz. He was 20in long. He had lots of dark hair. He is absolutely beautiful!!!!!

I stayed with Annie at the hospital on Sunday and Monday night. When they were ready to go home on Tuesday I fought the urge to tag along and headed home instead. I felt they needed to go home and spend some time just as a family.

I drove home, but stopped at work first. I had taken Nelson’s cell phone with me on my trip and had been in contact with the work crew several times throughout Monday and Tuesday. I should have gone home. Problems out the whazoo. I was so frustrated. We ended up pulling 30 pallets off the truck because three workers chose to not do what they absolutely knew needed to be done. The standard phrase is "fill the void" with bubble wrap and these orders had big voids, requiring large amounts of bubble wrap. And they put none in–NONE! I was livid. The good news was that Dan fired two of the problem people and the third one quit. The work area was also a total shamble and no materials had been ordered. By the end of today things are under better control...translated: I have things back under control!

Yesterday after work Nelson and Beth drove over to Annie’s so that they could see the new baby and spend time with Penelope. I was excited about having a quiet evening. I got cozy in the chair, with my computer and promptly fell asleep before 8:30pm. I’ve enjoyed a little quiet since I got home from work tonight, but they’re on their way home as I type. The little bit I’ve had has reminded me that I need to figure out how to find some me/quiet time.

Well, I need to clear out the laundry room so that Beth can do some laundry when they get home. Then I’m going to just soak in the silence, breathe in the sweetness of my scented candle, and listen to some Kenny G. Ah, sweet tranquility.

Friday, November 04, 2005


How many people do you know who can change the desktop properties and start crying? I make myself laugh…and cry.

I’ve had yellow tulips on my desktop since I went full-time with the R-company in March. I figured it was time for a change, so I decided to check out what was available to me. I started at the bottom of the list. I almost stopped at “home” because I really like that one, but decided to check out the rest. I got to the top of the list and found “ascent.” I clicked on it. I applied it. I sat and cried.

When I went to jail, way back in February of 2002, several different people, totally independent of one another, directed me to hold on to Psalm 121:
A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

I used to think that the “watching” was a very detached thing. I most likely got this from my “growing up place.” We were watched, sometimes when we were unaware, but the watching was usually to catch us doing something wrong. There was very little praise, and I never really felt protected. (I know there’s a real difference between the reality of the protection I received and what I perceived.) It was very easy (translate: natural) to shift that perception to God. You might say that the “theme song” for me growing into adulthood was: Be careful little eyes what you see.

I guess that’s why I continue to be surprised when I detect God’s loving care and protection. I had another one of those revelatory moments earlier this week when I was taking my shower. It was that I was taking a shower and that so can Nelson. Let me explain.

When we moved here to Ashland, we had a difficult time trying to find a house. Landlords and rental agencies don’t rent to felons (especially with my classification), nor do they like to rent to people who have filed bankruptcy (something about liking to get the money). We found one house that we absolutely fell in love with. It was the kind of house that I have dreamt of living in: older with lots of character, knotty pine paneling in the kitchen, nooks and crannies, built ins, and lots of windows. And we could afford it! I wanted it so bad I ached---never a good sign, in my experience. We didn’t get it. They didn’t want to rent to my kind of people.

We weren’t near as enthused about our current house, but it met our needs, was in our budget, and they were willing to rent to us. Perfect. The house has a bath with an old fashioned claw foot tub upstairs and a bath with a shower downstairs. The downstairs bath appears to have been an afterthought. The shower is an inexpensive shower. It’s not a “pretty” room, but it functions wonderfully and is especially appreciated since there is no water pressure in the upstairs—oh, and no hot water.

Now here’s the blessing…we didn’t know when we were looking for a house that Nelson was going to fall and destroy his ankle and not be able to go up stairs. We didn’t know how much we were going to need a first floor bathroom with a shower that he could walk into with his walker. I’m sure we even groused about the poorly constructed, aesthetically unpleasant bathroom when we first moved in not realizing how much of a blessing and provision it would become.

I could go on and on, but let me just say this: yes, it’s been a tough year. I haven’t understood most of what has happened, but this I know for sure: God is lovingly watching out for me and no matter what (and I mean that with the sincerity of the three Hebrew children as they faced the fiery furnace [Daniel 3:17-18]) and I will continue to walk in that truth. Makes me kind of excited to see what’s around the corner—isn’t perspective an amazing thing!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Going Deeper

Monday we were working, but it didn't feel right. It reminded me of my car a while back. I pulled out of the R-company parking lot and put pressure on the gas pedal and my car didn't take off. I was still moving down the road, but I couldn't get any faster than 10mph. I decided to keep driving, hoping it would kick into gear, but even if it didn't I knew I was moving closer to home.

Cars were passing me as I putted down the road. I was afraid the next time I looked up that I was going to be passed by a horse and buggy I was moving that slowly. I neared a parking lot and began the internal debate of whether to pull over. I bit the bullet and headed my car into the lot. I shut the car off. I laid my head on the steering wheel. All the way to that point I had been praying: Come on car. Come on God, please get me home. Come on car. I turned the key and the engine engaged with a much better sound. I pulled out of the lot onto the road and zipped on home. And since that day, I haven’t had any similar incidents with the car.

So Tuesday morning as we were getting ready to start the day I told the crew the story about my car. I was trying to cover up my disappointment over three workers not showing up or calling in sick. (Insert big sigh) I wanted them to have a clean start, after all, it was a new day! I would like to think that I’m really quite motivation, but it might sound a bit braggish to try and take credit for their increased output.

Today, one of the three absentee workers returned. I was very, very happy to have him back! Yesterday while we were working I realized that all the workers were relatively knew. The reality of this dawned clearly on me as my head began to feel like it was being tied in multiple knots. I felt as if I was thinking for everyone. It was exhausting.

Another thing at work has made the week quite challenging and frustrating for me. We now have to stamp the part number, company initials, and date (month/year) on every part. Well, that’s not quite exactly true. We don’t HAVE to until Monday, so this week we have been "practicing" and working out the bugs. And let me tell you: there have been lots and lots of bugs, a couple times I began to wonder if the machine was down more than it was working.

A couple times I found myself just dropping my head and praying. I am so unmechanical and there I was trying to get my hands to work pliers and wrenches, working with air hoses, moving supports, and trouble shooting. I was ten times worse than the proverbial duck out of water. It was awful. Every time I went to change the part numbers my hands would cramp up. I kept dropping tools. I wasn’t able to control any part of the whole process–it was totally frustrating to me.

We were able to package over 1400 parts today. It’s not enough but it’s better. We’ll have a full day on Friday and will be working on Saturday to be able to get orders out on time. The bad thing will be if we don’t get parts next week. I have work through next Tuesday. Hopefully more parts will come in.

As I reflect on the day, I marvel at how life has changed for me. I spent most of my life using my brain and my mouth, now I work with my hands and keep things going by organizing things with my mind–but on days like today it seems very secondary. I find it very hard to be patient with myself, but I am trying very hard to be patient and grace-full. I mean, I’m everybody else’s cheerleader: shouldn’t I be mine, too?

To feed my brain this week, I picked up my copy of Foster’s "Spirit of the Disciplines." Much of my life feels shallow, craving something deeper. I’ve read it before...but there’s still gems to mine. So I think I’ll wrap this up, do some dishes, check the laundry, and grab my book on the way to bed. TTFN