Monday, February 1, 2016


I'm sitting in the kitchen with my laptop thinking of all the things still to do tonight. It's been a good day, a bittersweet day, and a thought-provoking day.

This morning I noticed a truck parked on the road. Around 8am a guy finally got out, swinging his machete in a haphazard manner through the path the surveyors had cut late last year. By 8:30am there were more trucks and surveyors in our yard. We now have stakes up marking our property line (two of my crepe myrtles are past the the stakes, but my chicken pen is on the right side!!!), a small bobcat in the field, and a port-a-john on the side of the road in front of our neighbor Arrin's house.  In the last 17 years I've watched this property go from a nicely mowed pasture, to a poorly kept horse corral (where the horses often got out and ruined more than one of our trees), to an overgrown field. We've watched foxes, coyotes, dogs, deer, and my chickens create paths; listened to teenagers party in the weeds on the weekend. And now, in two more days, nature will give way to machines and become a monstrous three story elementary school. I know that change always comes, and there's no reason why it shouldn't happen in my lifetime instead of someone else's. But a small part of me will always ponder what could have been.  And that, we will never know.

After the freezing ice storm from two weekends ago, this was an absolutely beautiful day. I spent most of the morning inside, waiting on a phone call that never came, cleaning light fixtures that I never got around to cleaning last month. (That was my January project...halfway done now!) By afternoon we spent some time outside starting clean-up on the debris from the ice storm. It doesn't look like I got much done, unless you go out in the woods and see the pile I made there. I'll need some extra hands to get some of the branches out of the pond/off the slopes, but that will have to wait until another week. As always, we talked more about how we'd love to clean that area out (as I'm dumping more limbs and brush into it) all the way to the property line. I'm not sure that will ever happen, though. I spent all my free time one summer cleaning one small section, and then DOT came through and took that entire section for road frontage. 

Today we received word that a dear friend found out his cancer has returned. My heart hurts so bad for this family. There's never a convenient time to be sick, but a sickness of this magnitude is truly life-altering.

And life moves on. February is bringing for us another hospital stay, election classes (both me teaching and some me being the student), church activities, and life in general. I am so thankful that the Creator who made the world around us and blesses us with wisdom and friends and salvation is the same God who sustains through every minute of our life. That's truly an amazing thought, especially when everything around us is so fragile.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


This past week one of the cardiologist PA's chatted for a few minutes before finishing rounds. A few years ago this PA had a patient whose spinal cord injury was one level above Bobby's (meaning paralyzed neck down instead of chest down), and was not only young, but in very bad shape. He was paralyzed at a young age while jumping on a trampoline. He was placed in a nursing home. This part of the story actually doesn't surprise me. An injury that high would require a lot of care and time, and if the Mom was single or working, there would simply not be the time or energy needed to do what this child would need. Even many adults who are Bobby's level or higher wind up in nursing homes because of the cost and time involved in caregiving. But what horrified us both was when she said no one came to see all. Not for meetings with the doctors, not for a five minute visit....nothing. This young man had no one.  The PA was concerned enough to call the nursing home and see if they would call the boy's mother, just to make sure she was aware of the hospitalization. The nursing home replied they had called the mother and would call again, but not to expect anything. She never visited the nursing home either.

The PA talked with the young man, and found out that early on a lot of his friends would visit, but as they entered their teen years and beyond, their interests took them elsewhere and they simply forgot about him.

I know there are at least two sides to every story. I understand friends falling away. That happens even with moves or life in general without their being a health complication in the mix. But I cannot understand not having a visit from family during the weekend or even a phone call. There may be more to the story and some valid reasons for why she doesn't visit. But it's simply beyond me.

I pray that when the day comes that we need outside help for Bobby that God will bless us with health aides we can afford. I know many people can't, and nursing homes are the only option. But should that ever be the case for us, I will do my utmost to make sure that the above story will never be said of our family.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


I had all these plans for our big snow. I even went to the fabric store so I could spend half of my inside time working on a quilt.  And then we lost power. And had two roof leaks. Then Bobby got sick. I am very grateful for our generator, as much as I've griped every year about it. (It was one of those marriage situations where "this is happening and it really doesn't matter that I've not consulted you", and for the first nine years we had it I complained every time I had to take off work for the maintenance guy to come or with every bill we've had to pay on it.) But I cannot imagine having to look after someone who is sick without lights, heat, water, or the microwave to heat things. More than once this week I've felt more than a little chagrin for all my griping.

Last night, in the midst of Bobby's fever spike, and in one of those "I simply cannot do this again; I just want to sleep one hour" moments,  I headed to the bathroom for a cold washcloth. Outside the bathroom window, the clouds had parted and the full moon was finally shining through. It was hitting the ice on the upper branches of two trees, making it look like the tree tops were illuminated with little white Christmas lights. It took my breath away. After I got Bobby settled, I tried to get a picture so he could see, but it was a no go. Later, the sight was gone as the clouds had come back. I was more than a little happy when it happened again around 5am. I know such circumstances are not unusual, but for me, the timing of that sight was a breath of fresh air, a gentle reminder from God that I am not alone and His grace is sufficient. Sometimes it's the little things that give me the strength to keep going.

And as I know everyone wants to know - Bobby's heart is doing well. We'll start with the urologist tomorrow to try and see what is causing the fever and weakness. Praying they can work us in.