Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

 Christmas is here. All of the decorating,
 the cooking and crafting,
 business that even the dog notices,
 the tree and it's packages
 all ready to celebrate. My computer sits ready for me to think of you. To remember friends seen and not seen, to reminisce on the changes that one year has made.
 We have both come a LONG way. The puppy is maturing and perhaps still growing a little. He will be two in April he is definitely a royal poodle.
 Ahhh to sit and just enjoy--it feels good to me too buddy so sweet.
 Such a face, I'm smitten with my pooda pony. He has so many colors in his coat. A blond muzzle, black and white ears, chocolate and black on the rest, his DNA just couldn't decide on one color so it splurged.  What he does have is size and stature. He is one well built dog.
 I always digress when it comes to the bear. Back to Christmas.
 I think that one of the projects after Christmas will be to put that painting back in the attic. Heather Lynn wants it.
 My soft wonderful couch, Merry Christmas to me from God above. I say that because finding this at the Goodwill was a miracle. Both end recline and the leather is very high quality with that soft touch.
It is enjoyed by all of us.  Look at this cuteness. Seriously cute cheeks on each one.
 Really it is all about this isn't it? Family
 and friends? We had a birthday party for the baby Jesus. The children loved it.
 My baby loved her bunny pajamas when she was a girl. I think her last one was when she was 12. She got a cheetah suit with soft feet in the bottom. She is short so it needs some altering but she loved it. We opened a few things on Christmas eve because mom knew that the present was new pajamas. It's 45 degrees and raining so the cozy sleeper is welcome.
 Boo boo got Eeyore pj's and her mom bought her this furry hat. We had fun.
 The grandson got some new bey blades his favorite toy. I bought him a camo bunny suit thinking it would be alright but it wasn't. He came out of his room in it and his sister said, "oh Ralphie". It was too small and he looked so silly. We said go ahead and take it off and the boy said, "Do I have to put it back on"?
At least it wasn't pink. I imagined a leg lamp with a fishnet stocking in my living room window. It would go well with the painting.
 Oblivious. What leg lamp?
Adorable. All the cooking was done today so tomorrow for Christmas day all we have to do is relax and enjoy. We are going to church and then I might just get back into my pajamas and cuddle up on the couch. I am so grateful for all these blessings and the health and strength to enjoy them all.

I wish YOU and your families a blessed Christmas and a toast with your favorite beverage to the New Year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Buyers Remorse

Tomorrow I have a day off and I plan to take a few pictures of all the Christmas decorations that my daughter has done. You know how plans go though, mostly awry. I am sooooo spoiled to have a daughter who did all this work and made everything gorgeous. You haven't seenmy couch either. What a score that is!

 I have a new computer and I am having so much trouble with blogger,is it them or the computer? Hard to know. I say this after trying to add a few colors to my template so that my blog is not black on black at Christmas. I don't know how it all went black anyway when I picked out that pretty star. I thought I was going to have a total crash adding colors. Good grief Charlie Brown, you never got to enjoy technology. Those would have been some great cartoons. Charlie Brown and a Smart phone. Snoopy and a Smart phone. Beethoven and a lap top. Lucy selling advice for 50 bucks?

Did you see the news tonight about how many people have been returning things even before Christmas?
I have to put my hand up. I ordered a Dyson vacuum from HSN on easy pay. I started thinking about how hard easy pay is and how long 5 months is. I sent it back and went to Walmart. In front of the vacuums was a family buying a filter for a vacuum they like. I asked them if they had pets, yes they did. They had 2 big dogs that shed tons of hair and cats. I asked about their carpet, it is a thick shag=frieze. OK this is going well it may even be a divine appointment a sign and how does the vacuum work? Great. How long?  A year. Sold. One vacuum for $79.95 less than even one easy pay. For that much if it only lasts one year I won't care. Came home and it did a great job and I have been relieved of the anxiety of easy pay.

In fact just about everything I bought on credit I returned. It's too much stress and really in this economy it's crazy. I'm still thinking how much better it would be for me to give to the really poor.
Then the rubber hits the road and my husband hands me a hundred dollar bill. The exact price of that pet spot bot I want to try and keep this stupid carpet in one piece for longer than the less than the two years I have had sentence ever I had to keep the last dumb carpet for ten years. After ten years of complaining about carpet when my husband finally agreed to put in laminate, what did I do?

I bought another carpet.

Temporary insanity---no maybe ever present insanity.
Isn't the definition of insanity doing things the same way and expecting different results?

Yeah, I thought so.


I did have my reasons. We have too many different kinds of flooring already. Three different kinds of linoleum. When I mentioned how far I wanted the laminate to go taking out some of the linoleum my hubs vetoed that. A not budging from the veto kind of veto. Then there was all the noise on the stairs. Stairs without carpet are REALLY noisy and I am half deaf. So how noisy is that? Have you ever heard 70 pounds of dog running up and down stairs?
Then I had mental images of my 74 year old husband on his hands and knees installing this flooring board by board and I just threw in the proverbial towel. I would buy carpet. A nice thick carpet that would feel good under our feet and be pretty to look at. I wouldn't get a solid color. I wouldn't get a plush. I'd search until I found the perfect thing. Sounds good right?

The problem is this carpet looks 20 years old already and it's not even two. I tried to file a claim because its GUARANTEED. My foot. It is not guaranteed, not by Lowe's and not by Mohawk. No it's tough luck lady so sorry you have an ugly rug. We got your money and neener neener neener @#$%
raspberries blowing----

OK I have been suckered so plan B right? (Sic Chris H on them) New vacuum and maybe the spot bot. At least if it's clean it may be better. Professional shampooing hasn't helped it just mattes and looks just like it did before, like a carpet of dreadlocks. Rastafarian flooring baby!

The new cheap vacuum is helping a lot, a whole lot. I really want the Spot Bot and now I have the money but there is a problem.

Like "Houston we have a problem", wasn't that a great movie? Are you still here?

I keep thinking about the winter I got locked outside and nearly froze to death--for real. I have PTSD about getting cold. I cannot handle getting cold, I become instantly neurotic. The World Vision mail came asking for the coats for freezing children. I felt sick. Sick as in nauseous and faint.

I keep thinking about the clean water filtration systems that Gospel for Asia have invented. They are amazing! $30 can  buy a filtration system that gives people clean pure water. I wouldn't want to drink muddy water. I think all of us take for granted that we have clean water from our taps. Instead we buy even better water! Google it. You'll be amazed. I mean really the water in our toilets is more drinkable. How is that for perspective?

I keep thinking about chickens, ducks, and baby goats, cows, bicycles, and mosquito netting, sewing machines, medicines, and on and on. One thing can change the course for the poorest of the poor to a better life. Just one thing.

I have pockets.

I keep thinking about whose birthday it really is and why should I get a present? Why shouldn't the birthday baby get the presents? If Jesus would leave heaven and all glory and humble himself to be born and experience everything we do, because of His great love for us---then shouldn't He receive some gifts? The kind of gifts he would want, like feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. Don't I love Him? Forget the "shouldest" isn't it the right thing to do? Isn't it about love? About sacrificial love? What is a gift that doesn't cost us anything?

I wanted to run to Walmart at ten o'clock tonight and buy my Spot Bot.
I knew it was a losing battle. I didn't go. Now I have talked about it.
Blogged about it on the WWW. I've picked up a megaphone to the whole world.
Now I can't buy a stupid Spot Bot without thinking of this post forever.
How can I even think of choosing between the baby Jesus and a shag carpet?
It's the nature of being a human and having warts. Wart wart wart.
Mostly we hide ugly stuff but tonight I felt like showing some warts and then removing those nasty buggers.

Tomorrow I'm going to buy some coats, and do some shopping.
Tomorrow I'm going to buy without remorse in honor of the sweet little 8 pound baby Jesus.
...and forget about the stupid  rastafarian dreadlock carpet. that the dawg has had diarreah on and the cats have puked hairballs on, etc...etc...etc...

I think I'll be feeling a lot more of the real magic of Christmas after that shopping gets done.
I am looking forward to the joy of giving.
After which I'll probably spill red wine on that oatmeal colored dreadlocked mess;
and bust up laughing.

Merry Christmas indeed!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

One Day At A Time

 Life never happens exactly like we expect and dying doesn't either. Over the years I have seen such a strong comparison to birth in death. Adeline has been having her share of "Braxton Hicks" all the signs of impending real labor. She is declining, and interpreting what is going on to her family can be a real challenge. She has good days and bad days. There are beautiful moments where she is so lucid it is as if her dementia is gone. That is an amazing blessing.

The signs are all there. She is losing her appetite. She has disengaged from all the activities that she enjoyed. I was going to set her up in her bed and put on Jack Benny and she said , NO! I tell you what that no meant no. I was a bit disappointed because I have yet to finish the Jack Benny DVD and he is hilarious! I just might get a few of those old time comedians. They aren't grossly nasty and they are really funny. One of the things that has endeared me to Adeline is her love of laughter.

This woman has given me so much. You know as a culture we are so busy and so self absorbed that we are really missing out on what other human beings have to share with us. Our old and infirm that get shuffled off to institutions have a lot to share with us if we interact with them calmly and with patience. My experience with Adeline has been a lesson in patience. Sometimes it would take her mind quite a few minutes to process a task, but as she worked at it her brain began to engage again.
We played cards. What we did was take UNO cards and I would lay down about three numbers at a time in the same color and say what they were, for example, "Blue zero, one two and three." Then I would hand her a red zero and ask her to match the number. At first she just matched and didn't speak but as we continued she began to count and remember early childhood rhymes like, "One two buckle my....and she would say "shoe", and laugh.

 I think I stumbled onto something that helps dementia. My doctor told me that this is actually the direction that research for dementia and Alzheimer's is going.  Bummer I thought I made a scientific discovery! The brain is so interesting because the two halves work so so differently. The right brain is more intuitive and it is connected with physical motions. All the songs we sing as little kids when we are playing games stay in our minds. Jump rope songs, or for men military marching to ....well shoot fire whatever it is that they call that marching cadence. Whatever it is they don't forget it. It's right brain learning.

Excuse me while I blow off steam that somehow a big chunk of what I was writing just went into cyberspace and now I have to regroup and try to to get back to where I was to do it again. Did you follow that? OK that is when I want to slam down the lid of a laptop and forget it.
Of course you would never get frustrated like that right? Which is where I was going but in a different way.

Adeline has a very long fuse. She has the ability to trust and be flexible. If she is not hurried, if things are explained to her she just trusts and goes with the program. What a lesson! I have a long way to go to be even close. I get frustrated easily. I am not sure I have the slightest inclination to growing old gracefully. My mother used to tell me that.

I heard a man telling a story of his childhood with his grandfather. They used to ride the bus together. It didn't matter where they went. They picked a place to go walked around the terminal and rode back. They ate toffees and they talked. His grandfather shared with him about life. He told him stories and he taught him important lessons. The boy loved it. He didn't need a Nintendo as much as he needed the time and the human connection.

Sometimes I ask myself what on earth are we doing to ourselves with the culture we participate in. Why do agree to be in a frantic state of stress to achieve WHAT? A collection of belongings that we will later dispose of? A pile of toys for both child and adult that keep us active independently of each other until boredom sets in? At what price?

Next year my Christmas is going to be different. Next year my presents are going to be to the baby Jesus. What would Jesus want? When we look at his life he went about expressing compassion, healing the sick, multiplying loaves and fishes, feeding people comforting people, teaching them.
I think Jesus would like it if I gave a poor family a goat, or some chickens. If I bought coats for freezing children, or helped a village get clean water. There are a lot of agencies now that let you do just that. World Vision, Samaritans Purse, Gospel for Asia.  We can change other peoples lives that are in dire need for so little. I don't want to be so self absorbed with one part of my brain and the other part is saying  gimme gimme.

Not to long ago my daughter and I had a fight. Mothers and daughters do that from time to time.
OCD. I can be a freak, I confess. That scares me because what kind of old lady am I going to be? One of those that bites or spits? GAW! God forbid.

Do you remember in the Christmas Carol when Jacob Marley appears in the chains he forged through life? That is a good analogy for us in regards to our personalities and character. What kind of character are we building? When we are old the camouflage comes off and what we are is exposed. I want to be sweet, flexible and trusting. I want to laugh easy and accept my food without complaining. To be like Adeline. she might have dementia but she has shown me how to be endearing in spite of a difficulty.
What a legacy to leave, what an incredible gift. I am so blessed.

These last days I will keep and treasure in my heart forever. Do you remember where I was last year at this time? Hurt hardly able to do anything. I needed help with everything getting dressed, bathing, you know EVERYTHING. I could mange to wipe my own whohah. I became very fearful after that injury. I stayed home for a long time. This little job with Adeline has been therapy for me. I'm stronger and have more confidence. I don't worry about my arm all the time anymore. I have developed more stamina. By serving her I am being healed. We rescued each other and that is the hand of God directly working to touch his children's lives and bring them good.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Going Home

Sweet Adeline is getting ready to leave us. Wednesday began in the ordinary way with our usual routine of bath day. After breakfast she was accelerating into another place. I have seen this before but I always marvel how those who aren't medicated seem to see into the afterlife while they are still here. Whatever she was looking at was making her want to get up and go.

We have been so careful helping her to sit and to walk and on this day she wasn't needing any help! If I didn't have her up to the table she would have stood up and gone some where. I asked her where she was going and she said, "Somewhere else from here"!  Bless her heart she saw angels and spoke wildly all that day and all night lone until Thursday morning. Then she was just quiet and worn out and she quit eatting. Friday when I came she couldn't get up, didn't want to eat, and appeared to be actively dying.
We called the doctor and arranged for hospice to come to the house. They will provide a lot of support and they handle the details of the death so gently. It will be better with them involved. Last night I stayed with her all night in my recliner lounger, listening to her breathe and praying.

There are so many parallels to birth in death. I felt like a new mother does listening to her newborn breathe. I was listening too. Awake and ready if she became distressed or the breathing stopped. Neither happened she had a quiet night. It seems her leaving slowed down for now. Her other daughter arrives today and I think she is waiting for her.

Last night her grandson and his wife came over and after they left she woke up and her eyes returned to clear blue from the opaque cloudiness they had become. She gazed into my face and then her daughters going back and forth between us giving us both so much of her love in those sweet tender smiles. She is amazing. What a testimony to be so full of grace and trust.  She said to me," I don't understand this," and one tear rolled down the side of her cheek tearing into my heart. I told her, 'You said you want to go to Jesus, isn't that right"? She answered, "Yes". I continued, "That's what's happening your getting ready to go, and we will be right her taking care of you just like always". That settled it for her. She was reassured enough to relax and go back to sleep. A sleep of trusting.

I wonder if I will ever be able to give up control like that. I am told she was quite a controlling person in her day so there is HOPE.

There is hope today for her going home. We will miss her. We all did our share of crying as the realization of what was happening set in. But God who is able to keep us in perfecr peace is doing His job.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Monthly Blogger?

Have I really become a monthly blogger? It seems so. I'm not sure how this happened exactly. There are people out there in bloggy land that I have come to love. Your the ones who share ideas, jokes, your families and struggles. My kind of people and really I do miss you.

I'm in a period of my life where getting things done is just hard to do. It seems my lists of jobs are much longer than the days and my ability to get a job accomplished isn't what it used to be.
For months I have been working on getting rid of excess stuff. I had a garage sale and did pretty well.
I still have 6 bins of books a huge train set an extra couch and a couple bins of just stuff. I'm trying to get the honey to get rid of some of the junk up in the shed too. It almost feels impossible. I could use a crew of helpers.

On the other hand I love my little old lady to death. She is the most adorable old lady I have ever had the joy of caring for. My love for her nearly brings me to tears. She is the one that is helping me. I hope that I can become like her. She  has the best disposition she just smiles and laughs. She can't remember too much and she is very demented but she is happy. She trusts, and she's flexible with changes, incredible traits in a human being. I want to be like her. She has qualities I admire so much.
Taking care of people like this always teaches me the VALUE of each human life. Just because someone has some kind of handicap does not mean they don't have a contribution of some kind. Many of them are here to teach us to have a greater capacity for love.

It was Hitler who thought that anyone who was not young, athletic and part of his program should die. Before the Jews were sent to the camps he systematically euthanized everyone who was "defected", more than 5 million people. Did you know that some schools are refusing to teach about the holocaust? Teenagers are not learning who Adolf Hitler is. What is forgotten can be repeated!

I had no intention of writing this. It's funny how writing can take on a life of it's own. My mind went down that path because I was thinking about handicapped people. I was thinking about how they are treated. A friend of mine used to call it being treated like an eggplant. Vegetables.  That whole term repulses me. A human being is never a plant. A human being needs to be treated as such for their entire life. The problem is it takes more TIME, and it takes more ENERGY and above all else it takes LOVE. People respond to love.

I have been busy with teaching my class on Sunday morning. I think that takes a lot of my writing energy. Some weeks I am so excited with what God has given me to give to the women. I have a little group. I have to confess that I have dreamed of being a conference speaker and teaching large groups, making a change in the world, but God has given me a few. I am content and grateful for them! I love them. It is a humbling thing to try and present the KING OF KINGS to others. It is a huge responsibility and I take that very seriously. Each week it is my goal to bring them something that will enlarge their vision of who Jesus is. Each week my own vision is changed. I am the one who is being taught. God is amazing. My love for Jesus is being rekindled with a new fire in my belly. I want Him to be my first thought and my last thought. I want to know Him deeper. I want everything He has for me.  I want Him to heal my body.

My bones hurt all the time, especially my hips. Even typing on a laptop in bed is very painful. I really don't blog as much because each post is written with pain. You know how I am. I don't like to talk about it. Both of my hips are affected and I have a lot of difficulty with everything.  It's even hard to sleep. After awhile turning from side to side just doesn't work anymore and I wake up. It's usually some awful hour like 4am. Yuk. I turn on my TV and listen to encouraging messages. A good thing that has come from this is I found Joseph Prince. What a teacher!!!! I can't get enough of his teaching he is brilliant and anointed by God in a most powerful way. My heart and mind expand with every message, my faith is growing. I praise God for this. God is using the pain in my hips to create in me a deeper capacity for Him. So you see it is true that God uses ALL things for good to those he has called. Amen!

Our house is decorated for Christmas. Jennifer and the children did all the work. I found a gorgeous leather couch at the Good will for $160. It looks fabulous.  So now my other couch is out in the carport sitting on a table with all the bins. The laundry room is so full of stuff you can't walk in there. Someone deliver me. I feel like that commercial

My daughter just came up to talk and I lost my train of thought. I'm looking at my cat. Big fat fur ball that loves my bed. He is so cute. My dog is cute my cat is cute my old lady is cute, I'm surrounded by cuteness. I've got cute people too. So much to enjoy. My goal today is to not stress over all the work that remains undone. My goal is to be thankful to enjoy this day as if it's the only one I have and to be gracious, and laugh. Life is so great with laughter.

My wish for you today is that you also have a heart of gratitude and ready laughter. I pray we all avoid the stress of this season and instead find ways to enjoy it. The music, the lights, the blessings and the promises. If not for the sweet baby Jesus their would be no Christmas at all. Enjoy this time, enjoy your families. For the young mommies who are tired and work so hard, tuck away into your hearts these times because the day will come when you look back and can see that these days are the best in your life.   May all of us do something to relieve the misery of others in less fortunate countries. buy coats for the freezing, food for the starving, buy someone a goat or some chickens or help provide clean water for a community. I wish that at Christmas instead of buying each other a lot more stuff we don't need we would focus on those whose needs are dire and do something for them. We could do a lot for the world each one of us.

 God bless you all! Merry Christmas!