Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

If you're a regular reader to my blog, you'll understand I haven't been doing any thrift store shopping for several weeks. Oh, how I miss it! Just before Dad's accident, I had prepared a post of recent finds. Now, they aren't so recent, but still definitely worth sharing. Enjoy...

Who says save the best for last? I say... let's start with the best! After watching for this forever, I was positively THRILLED to find it! Winterberry by Pfalzgraff...service for 4! Now for the really incredible part...the price! Believe it or not, it was $10.00!!! (Retail value online...anywhere from $40 - $69.00!) It's in brand new condition, as if never used. It will be perfect for Christmas morning breakfast with Tom, Brennan, Breezy and I. What a pretty table it will be!

Since we're talking Christmas, here's another great find. I adore snowmen and these brand new spreaders stole my heart in a hurry. The price...$1.25!

This is the exact coffee carafe I've been looking for...$2.00! (A perfect compliment to my china and those Christmas dishes!)

Last but not least, this cheese grater from Pampered Chef. It was in its original packaging and according to their website, it's valued at $19.50. Would you believe, it was $.50? It's true! I was giddy to find such a great deal. It works beautifully and it's dishwasher safe! (Yay!)

Hope you enjoyed seeing my newest treasures. If you'd like to see more, stop by and visit
Leigh and Holly!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Heartfelt wishes to all you Father's for a very special day! Whether it's with kisses, cards, phone calls, special meals, visits or gifts, I pray you feel especially loved and honored. We'll be honoring my Dad and my father-in-law, Bob with special visits, cards, small gifts and favorite foods. Brennan and I will also be celebrating Tom throughout the day, as well! I feel incredibly blessed.

For those who find this day to be a difficult one for any number of reasons, please know I am praying for you.

I found a beautiful story written a number of years ago by Chuck Swindoll about parenthood. Today seems a perfect time to share it. For those who may may be unfamiliar, he is a Pastor, Author, Husband, Father and Grandfather. He's also a masterful storyteller and I couldn't help but hear this in his voice as I read. It's entitled "SOMEDAY."

SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, things are going to be a lot different. The garage won't be full of bikes, electric train tracks on plywood, sawhorses surrounded by chunks of two-by-fours, nails, a hammer and saw, unfinished "experimental projects," and the rabbit cage. I'll be able to park both cars neatly in just the right places, and never again stumble over skateboards, a pile of papers (saved for the school fund drive), or the bag of rabbit food--now split and spilled.

SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, the kitchen will be incredibly neat. The sink will be free of sticky dishes, the garbage disposal won't get choked on rubber bands or paper cups, the refrigerator won't be clogged with nine bottles of milk, and we won't lose the tops to jelly jars, catsup bottles, the peanut butter, the margarine, or the mustard. The water jar won't be put back empty, the ice trays won't be left out overnight, the blender won't stand for six hours coated with the remains of a midnight malt, and the honey will stay inside the container.

SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, my lovely wife will actually have time to get dressed leisurely. A long, hot bath (without three panic interruptions), time to do her nails (even toenails if she pleases!) without answering a dozen questions and reviewing spelling words, having had her hair done that afternoon without trying to squeeze it in between racing a sick dog to the vet and a trip to the orthodontist with a kid in a bad mood because she lost her headgear.

SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, the instrument called a "telephone" will actually be available. It won't look like it's growing from a teenager's ear. It will simply hang there...silently and amazingly available! It will be free of lipstick, human saliva, mayonnaise, corn chip crumbs, and toothpicks stuck in those little holes.

SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, I'll be able to see through the car windows. Fingerprints, tongue licks, sneaker footprints and dog tracks (nobody knows how) will be conspicuous by their absence. The back seat won't be a disaster area, we won't sit on jacks or crayons anymore, the tank will not always be somewhere between empty and fumes, and (glory to God!) I won't have to clean up dog messes another time.

SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, we will return to normal conversations. You know, just plain American talk. "Gross" won't punctuate every sentence seven times. "Yuk!" will not be heard. "Hurry up, I gotta go!" will not accompany the banging of fists on the bathroom door. "It's my turn" won't call for a referee. And a magazine article will be read in full without interruption, then discussed at length without mom and dad having to hide in the attic to finish the conversation.

SOMEDAY WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN, we won't run out of toilet tissue. My wife won't lose her keys. We won't forget to shut the refrigerator door. I won't have to dream up new ways of diverting attention from the gumball machine...or have to answer "Daddy, is it a sin that you're driving forty-seven in a thirty-mile-per-hour zone?"...or promise to kiss the rabbit goodnight...or wait up forever until they get home from dates...or have to take a number to get a word in at the supper table...or endure the pious pounding of one Keith Green just below the level of acute pain.

Yes, someday when the kids are grown, things are going to be a lot different. One by one they'll leave our nest, and the place will begin to resemble order and maybe even a touch of elegance. The clink of china and silver will be heard on occasion. The crackling of the fireplace will echo through the hallway. The phone will be strangely silent. The house will be quiet...and calm...and always clean...and empty...and we'll spend our time not looking forward to Someday but looking back to Yesterday...and thinking, "Maybe we can baby-sit the grandkids and get some life back in this place for a change!"

from Stories For The Heart
compiled by Alice Gray

Saturday, June 20, 2009

52 years ago today...

…that sweet hubby of mine was born. What an amazing gift and blessing! I’m privileged to have shared this day with him for 26 of those years (exactly half his life so far!)

One of many things I’ve learned in all that time is how much he dislikes being the center of attention for occasions such as this. He gets great joy in celebrating others, but when it comes to his special day, nothing makes him happier than a quiet, low-key celebration at home. In keeping with his wishes, I will see that he is showered (in an understated ways, of course) with much love and many blessings all throughout the day. It’s a joy and privilege that I eagerly anticipate each year. = )

To my dear husband and most cherished friend,

How I love you, Sweetheart! I thank God for the gift of your life and the immeasurable joy it brings to me. I pray your day is filled to overflowing with love and the sweetest of blessings.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Encouragement for your Friday

Hello sweet friends! How I have missed you! There is such sweet encouragement that comes to the soul from knowing others are praying on your behalf. Thank you so very much for lifting my family (and for reminding me that you are).

There has not been much change since the last update. Dad is trying to adjust to life at home. He was a very active man before his accident, so he is bored and frustrated by all the things he isn’t able to do. Two different therapists come each week to help maintain his body strength while he waits for his bones to heal. We’re doing our best to keep his spirits up, and Mom is doing well looking after him. I won’t give so many updates from here on out, but please do keep him (and my Mom) in your prayers as God brings them to mind.

My niece, Brooke sees the orthopedic doctor again next week to determine whether or not she will need surgery to repair her collar bone. I saw her a few days ago. The difference in her shoulders is quite evident, yet this is an improvement over how it appeared initially. I would appreciate your continued prayers for her, as well.

Not surprisingly, my devotional messages (from Streams in the Desert) over the last couple of weeks have been so incredibly fitting to our situation and delivered such peace to my soul. I’d love to share them all. I’ve opted to share one that's a bit lighter and based on a passage you’ve perhaps heard hundreds of times. If you’re in the midst of your own storm, I pray it falls fresh on your soul this day.

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)

What a tremendous claim Paul makes in this verse! He does not say, “We know that in some things,” “most things,” or even “joyful things” but “ALL things.” This promise spans from the very smallest detail of life to the most important, and from the most humbling of daily tasks to God’s greatest works of grace performed during a crisis.

Paul states this in the present tense: “God works.” He does not say, “worked” or “will work.” It is a continuing operation.

We also know from Scripture that God’s “justice [is] like the great deep” (Ps. 36:6); at this very moment the angels in heaven, as they watch with folded wings the development of God’s greatest plan, are undoubtedly proclaiming, “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made” (Psalm 145:17).

Then when God orchestrates “all things…for the good,” it is a beautiful blending. He requires many different colors, which individually may be quite drab, to weave into the harmonious pattern.

Separate tones, notes, and even discords are required to compose melodious music anthems; a piece of machinery requires many separate wheels, parts, and connections. One part from a machine may be useless, or one note from an anthem may never be considered beautiful, but taken together, combined and completed, they lead to perfect balance and harmony.

We can learn a lesson of faith from this: “You do not realize what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (John 13:7) J.R. Macduff

In a thousand trials, it is not just give hundred of them that work “for the good” of the believer, but nine hundred and ninety-nine, plus one. George Mueller

Thursday, June 11, 2009

From the "It's Almost Funny" File...

Well, there have been quite a few twists and turns since my last update. It feels as though we’re moving into “this is so crazy, it’s almost funny” category…

It’s been nearly a week since my last report, so please forgive the information overload. If you have a few moments to read what’s been going on, I think you’ll understand why I’ve titled my post in this way.

Last Saturday, Tom, Brennan and I visited my Dad at the rehab hospital. He was in an exceptionally good mood and it was a terrific visit. We left to do a couple of other things, but Mom was spending the remainder of the day with him. At dinner time, he was able to go to the dining room in his wheelchair, and Mom was eating with him. At some point, his chair tipped forward sending him onto the floor (I should explain that when he is in his wheelchair, he has to sit with his feet extended straight in front of him and we know now it should have been weighted in the back to compensate for that.) Needless to say, it shook everyone up. In addition, it resulted in added bruising to one of his feet and a lot more pain in both of them. The rehab hospital apologized and said this is the first time anything like that has ever happened.

Monday was Dad’s long-awaited appointment with the orthopedic doctor. My sister, Marcia (a hairdresser) graciously moved her clients for 3 hours to the following day so that she could be with my Dad when he met with the doctor (he doesn’t hear well so another set of ears is always a good thing). First, Dad was late because the van transporting him overheated. Once they got him there (in a different van), and the doctor examined and re-x-rayed him, he explained he could not do surgery. Both heels are shattered. He explained he would need to be able to anchor screws in order to do surgery and there is simply not enough unbroken area with which to do that. Instead, it’s casts and time…lots of time. He placed him in casts which he’ll have for 8 weeks, during which no weight whatsoever can be placed on his feet. Additional casts may follow, as well as continuing therapy at various intervals. All totaled, his recovery is projected to take 9 months. We were told he would most likely be in the rehab hospital for the rest of the week while they continue to work on upper body strength, etc. The van took Dad back to rehab and Marcia went back to work.

That night, while she was working with her last client, she received a phone call that her oldest daughter (my 17-year-old niece, Brooke) had fallen and most likely broken her collarbone. She finished with the client and hurried home, took her daughter to the ER and sure enough, it was broken. They prescribed pain meds, put her in a sling and sent her home. By this time, it was around midnight. When she attempted to take her first pain pill, she began choking, which caused her to cough pretty intensely. Immediately, she’s screaming that something is “stabbing” (this is not a dramatic kind of kid). They try to get her in the car to go back to the hospital and she is in so much pain, she can’t even do that. My brother-in-law attempts to lift her and she’s literally screaming. They had to call the ambulance to get her back to the hospital. When the doctor x-rays her again, he finds a substantial worsening to the injury. He kept her on an IV drip overnight of pain med, wrapped her, placed her in a sling and at 6:00 am said she could go home (with a referral to an orthopedic doctor).

Back at home with no sleep, my sister gets Brooke settled, makes arrangements for the neighbor to check on her and starts preparing for work (to take care of the clients she moved from the day before). Just then, my Mom (who doesn’t drive) calls her to say they’re releasing my Dad from the rehab hospital! Marcia calls me at work, understandably in meltdown mode. Because of my surgery earlier this year, I had only one remaining day off, and I had been saving it for Dad’s surgery day. Since learning the day before he couldn’t have surgery, it was obvious this was the time to use it. I made arrangements at work, took a bus home, then drove straight to the rehab hospital.

I have to admit, I was really angry at them because they hadn’t yet taught us how to even get Dad in and out of a car, we hadn’t moved any furniture or made the necessary preparations at home or anything! When I arrived, the discharge process was well underway. A nurse was going over a long list of medications with Dad & Mom (a neighbor brought her). Another nurse came in with
other information and I asked if they were going to show us how to get him in/out car, etc. I explained that we weren’t expecting this and weren’t prepared, etc. She apologizes, saying “I’m sorry this seems so disorganized, we normally have more time to do this” and then (looking at my Dad) she says “but you were the one who wanted to leave today, so we’re doing our best…” at which point my Mom and I realize what has lead to this whole flurry of activity. When the nurse walks out of the room, Dad stammers a bit and says, “that’s not what happened…it was the therapist who said they have done all they can do for me until my next set of casts, etc…” Knowing Dad was very anxious to get home, we really weren’t sure what to think, but at that point, it didn’t really change anything. They showed us how to get him in and then out of the car from his wheelchair, we took him home where he sat on the porch while we moved the necessary furniture in the house. We finally got him settled and I left to fill his 12 prescriptions, pick up other needed items and make some phone calls for my Mom.

By the time all this was complete, it was late afternoon. I left to pick up Tom from the bus stop, prepared a very quick dinner, went back to get Mom (while my brother stayed with Dad) and the three of us went to the funeral visitation for my Uncle. He had passed away on Saturday after a very lengthy illness.

Yesterday, my niece had the appointment with the orthopedic doctor. He’s placed her in a different type of sling and indicated he believes (in addition to her broken collarbone), she has possibly displaced her shoulder. She goes back in two weeks at which time he will determine if she needs surgery. You can bet we’re all praying she won’t -- first for her sake, but also of course for my sister. I can only imagine how much that could complicate this whole scenario.

Besides a couple of minor issues, Dad seems to be doing alright at home. Mom’s hanging in there, too.

If this weren't quite enough to push me to the point of almost laughter, add in a car in the shop, plumbing problems and a broken washing machine (no kidding). Yes, we're in the midst of quite a season here. Praise God we can trust (despite appearances) He does indeed have things under control.

Maybe you too find yourself in the midst of a storm. Can I share a passage of scripture that resides at the forefront of my thoughts these days? It’s 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 from “The Message.” I've made this my 2009 Scripture Memory Challenge for the entire month of June...

So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.

Once again, I’m so grateful for (and humbled by) your prayers and encouragement. I’m so blessed to count you as friends. I’m hoping to be back to blogging more regularly very soon. I really miss visiting with you! Take care.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Update on my Dad

Hey guys, Thank you so much for your kind prayers and words of encouragement for my Dad. I wanted to give you an update. Believe it or not, he still has not had surgery due to swelling. Yesterday, he was moved to a local rehabilitation hospital where he will remain while they continue to work on that. They are also trying to help him build his upper body strength in preparation for his recovery. He's so much happier to be out of the original hospital. His treatment there seemed to be progressing at a snail's pace and he had developed all sorts of complications from the pain medications. They finally changed it on Wednesday and by that night, there was some improvement. Yesterday, the improvements continued and they were able to move him to the rehab hospital. Once he was settled there, they placed him in a boot that circulates ice water all around your foot/ankle continually for 2 hours at a time. They alternate the boot on one foot, then the other. By last night, you could already see a reduction in swelling. Even more encouraging was the change in his overall demeanor. (He was starting to get depressed by the lack of progress and complications.) Last night, he really looked like a "new man." The orthopedic doctor will see him again on Monday and determine when to schedule the surgery. If you would, please continue to keep him in your prayers. Thank you so very much.