Saturday, March 3, 2018

Sharing my books

When I was enroute to WI last November, sitting on the plane in Atlanta, I got an email message from one of our newer members, Kathy. She wrote brieftly: "On the way to OPMC. Baby Lucas was found blue and unresponsive. No more information. Prayers please." Wow! Lucas was her infant grandson, born in August just after our pastor's son was born. Quickly I typed out a prayer chain prayer and sent it off before it was time for our flight to leave. After I'd hit SEND, I looked and another email had arrived from Kathy saying "Lucas is with Jesus." I gasped, and quickly wrote to those same folks that Lucas had passed away. And I wept, apologizing to the man next to me. I explained what happened and he was most sympathetic. He got it. 

Lucas' parents are not members of our church but his brother is in our preschool. Kathy came to our church through her grands being in our preschool. She started out by attending chapel with the kids twice a month and liking what she heard. A life-long Baptist, she took classes and converted to Lutheranism. She even wore a white gown for her confirmation day, something she brought from home. That was the only time I'd seen that done in our church body. It was so special to her to join us. 

I have never heard the official cause of death, am guessing that it was SIDS. Because the young family had no other church affiliation, our pastor did a funeral service for Lucas at the funeral home. Several of our members attended which was helpful for Kathy and for Pastor. 

The next day I called Pastor to see how he was doing and he said he was okay, but that one was a tough one, on the list of hardest things to do in the ministry. Early in his time here with us I gave him one of Timmy's funeral service folders to use as a reference, and I hoped he never needed it. Since this situation was quite different than Timmy's, he really didn't need to do much more than what was in the hymnal. I told him how I wished to have been there for Kathy and he assured me that she will need our help long after the service. Yes, I surely do know that!

A couple days ago I was going through some of my books on the shelf near my desk and chose several to pass along to Kathy. I am sad to report that many went without being read though I am so grateful for the sentiment with which they were given to us/me. Some have messages written inside the covers which made me feel funny about giving away, but did so anyway. Some of the books about loss and grieving were from our church publishing house and others were from secular sources. I boxed them up and took them along to church to share with Kathy and her family. She said she was glad to have them and her family was making their way through some of them, together. 

Now there are empty spaces on my shelves and Kathy's family is benefited by the comforts in the books. Maybe a year ago, if someone suggested I get rid of those books, I'd have been aghast at the idea. They were special to me! Even if I hadn't read them, they were a gift to me/us to help us through our loss. The blessing of having a church family around to offer needed comfort makes a huge difference in dealing with our loss. I've managed without opening even one book for these many years, and now they are being devoured by someone else's family who needs the comfort. That makes me glad and allows me to offer my support even in that small way. 

A few times since Lucas died, their family has joined Kathy in church, even her husband! It would be wonderful to have them become more regular and even to become members some day. I know that would bring Kathy much joy and added comfort after this loss to their family. In the meanwhile, they can read my books and perhaps find some comfort in the Word and words. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

How sad is this?

I recently spent some time with a lady who has a dark storm cloud over her head. When a person talks with her, they automatically are put on defense. Here is a portion of our conversation:

Me: Hey, I was alongside of you on Wells Road today.
She: You were? When? 
Me: We were both waiting for the train but I was further back from you then. Later I was alongside but didn't get your attention.
She: I just hate those people who go 35 miles an hour in a 45 zone!
Me: I wasn't in that big of a hurry, hope I wasn't holding anyone up
She: You know how it is on that road
Me: I stopped at Chick-Fil-A to get a free bowl of soup. Justin gave me a card to use for it
She: I can't eat this late at night, I'd have indigestion
(A little one let loose with a shriek as his family tried to quiet him)
She: That kid needs a pop in the mouth!
Me: Yes, that will certainly quiet him...
She: Well, did your parents let you do that? 
Me: I don't remember, that was a long time ago (trying to lighten the mood) 
She: You know who else I haven't seen in a while? Mary.
Me: I saw her at a funeral here a couple months back
She: I know she's working as a food demonstrator in a store
Me: I'll have to reach out to her and encourage her to come. I'm friends with her on Facebook and she checks in on my postings now and again.
She: I am NOT involved with any social media AT ALL
Me: Well, I am so I can reach out to Mary to see how she's doing and encourage her.
She: Well, (dangling conversation)

Don't we all know someone who is like this, someone who struggles to see even a little bit of brightness in life? In conversation, jumping from subject to subject to find a cause for which to be alarmed, usually from the news. Militant attitude about most everything instead of weighing and measuring things; rather than calmly discussing pros and cons...and so on. Wow, it really leaves a bad feeling after spending time in that realm of upset. Not good for a person's spirit, to hear it, or to have to live in that fashion. There is nothing I can do to change this lady, as long as I've known her, it's been this way. I wonder if she'd come to our Monday Bible study...

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Deep Bible study

Earlier this year we began a study on Mondays called "Christians In Conflict". This is a timely subject as there is rarely a shortage of conflict in our little congregation. This class will hopefully get some of us on the road to being more helpful in healing the rifts and schisms, personal disagreements humans seem to attract. The study is based on a book "A Heart at Peace" which is a greatly appealing subject. 

Over the holidays I was looking at the website of another church and saw that this subject was being covered in a ladies Bible study, a joint study with another congregation. I brought it to my pastor's attention and he made the executive decision (giving us three choices but putting his thumb on the scale for this subject) to use this study. I was thinking my heart was pretty much at peace---it was until we got into this class! Whew, it is powerful and makes a person really think deeply about our interactions with folks.

We are not progressing quickly, which is good, because there is much to discuss, real life scenarios about which to ask questions (abusive spouses, etc.). We got through Part One of the study, talking about the 4 Stages of Conflict, and ending with the reminder to not allow the sun to go down on our conflict, from Ephesians. Oh, so easily said, more difficultly done! 

The next chapter brought to the forefront the topic of envy and how pervasive it is in our society, the root of many of our conflicts. This seems to be exacerbated by the use of social media communications. Everything becomes a contest, or against something to measure ourselves.  It's so interesting to observe and most difficult to not participate in the game of measuring oneself against another. 

Pastor said if he could he would make this study mandatory for the congregation. Might even introduce this in his pre-martial and post-martial counseling. It might require some editing to allow it to flow more quickly. In the meanwhile, we dig deeply into what makes ourselves tick, and what ticks others off!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Scratching my head

Have you ever had this happen to you? I'd had a conversation with someone and thought of something that could be a blessing for them, but not remembered with whom the conversation took place? It happened to me just recently and it was making me batty. I did the whole re-trace my steps thing, putting dates and people together, racking my brain for who it was I spoke with at some length, remembering I had something to share with them. Hmmm....who was that?

Most of my time is spent with the church family and Justin, and I was fairly confident it was not them. Terri is my most frequent dining partner but it was not with her that I had this conversation. Today I was using my scanner and discovered a piece of paper I had been in search of for this friend. Just who in the world was it???

Then, when I least expected it, my memory came back to me who it was with whom I ate dinner. It was my neighbor, Debbie! And she can make good use, I hope, of this piece of paper I found in my scanner. Man, that was driving me wild, trying to figure out who I discussed this subject with (acts of kindness) and who I thought would benefit from a list of 100 such acts. The list was a special gift to me from Gus, my sweet downstairs neighbor, on my birthday, no less. Now I will share it with my upstairs neighbor, to the benefit of the young people in the program for teens she runs for our County. 

Debbie's and my meal together was memorable, just not enough to click what I was thinking of to give her. I get a pass because it was the same night as my tumble in the bedroom. That is my story, and I am sticking to it! 

Now my brain can rest until another such a cramp takes place and I have to exercise my memory once again. Oh, boy, I hate having that happen and hope to not make a practice of it! 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Humpty Dumpty

...had a great fall. Yup, I've joined the club of which my sister, Lynn, is President. In rushing about in my room/bathroom, I believe one of my slippers jumped out in front me and I began my fancy, graceful dance toward my bed, missing my mark. Bang! Down I went on the floor after hitting against my bed and moving it over about 10".  I listened for my ornate fused glass lamp to hit the floor, being pushed over by my bed, but neither the table nor the lamp were knocked over. From the floor I was able to reach up and grab my phone from the lap desk on the bed and message Justin that I had fallen. He texted back that he was almost home and asked if I was okay. I told him to not rush, I was okay. I text Linda, too, who was waiting for me on the chat. (I'd quickly dashed to the bathroom during a commercial when Linda and I were chatting during The Five). She asked if I was okay, and I said I was. At least, I thought I was. 

I decided that nothing was broken and managed to get myself up on my sore knees. From there I pulled myself up to standing, assessed my situation, and then got myself situated back on my bed where I belonged, chatting with Linda! I texted Justin again, telling him I was up and on the bed, but he was nearly home. I am sure he was glad (and a bit scared) that he didn't have to try to get me up, or that I was injured. He is always worried about my tripping over the cord for my computer which runs between the bed and the wall outlet. Nine times out of 10 my foot grabs that cord, or I step on the junction box, causing a fancy two-step or something....Plus, I have a rug that has lost its grip over the years and slides underfoot. He brought that up as well, saying I'm too cheap to replace that rug with one that won't slip. I'd say he was a bit upset. I assured him I was fine, only broke one finger nail.

I'd made plans to have dinner with my neighbor, Debbie, and he had opted to stay in since he was so tired from working. When I got home again after dinner, he came in my room and together we moved my bed back to where it belonged in the room. I'm sure tomorrow I will be achy and sore from all this, my left knee already is, but I am thanking the Lord for the soft, relatively, landing I made. I think that if the bed was not there to stop my running dance trying to regain my footing, I would have ended up in the river, going head first out the window! The last time I fell, that I can recall, was when I was expecting Timmy, which was nearly 23 years ago. Please let it be at least that long before anything like this happens again. I must find a new place to put my slippers! 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Back, by popular demand

Perhaps to a lesser degree than in the past, but I'll make attempts to be faithful in posting here. My friend, Judy VSL, a fellow Manitowocian as well as Floridian, has expressed that she misses reading my blog postings. I am touched by that!

For about a week now I've been battling a malady which might or might not be the flu. Starting with a scratchy throat and then developing into hot/cold fluctuations, coughing, and bone weariness. Most of the symptoms have subsided or, at least, lessened in severity. 

Saturday I had to miss seeing a stage show "The Lion King" with Justin. The way it hit me, like a ton of bricks, left us short of time to find a replacement for me (I know, impossible!) so he ended up going by himself. He is fine with that, goes to Disney and the movies by himself without a problem.  He did enjoy his box seat which was visited by characters from the show but said I would not have made it from being dropped off and then up to our seats. It was quite the climb! And it was freezing cold in the theater, I imagine for the comfort of the performers in their heavy animal gear. 

Sunday I stayed home from Bible study and worship for obvious reasons. Hated missing those things but even had to miss our Ladies' Group meeting. I sent the necessary paperwork with Justin and arranged for someone to take Minutes for me. Also Kristi was enlisted to take attendance so all my bases were covered. I stayed home and felt sorry for myself...Not really, I knew I had to not infect others and not wear myself out. Not done lightly does this girl miss church. 

When Justin got home, he went to the grocery store and got the items I wanted plus ingredients to make pea soup. He was embarrassed to buy the things I had on my list but made up for it by buying veggies and such. I had a crazy taste for coffee cake or cookies instead of 'real food' and ice cream felt good on my throat. He blessed me with Haagen Dazs ice cream bars, BO/GO, and less expensive than Dilly Bars. I still have every one of those left, however, since Sunday! Guess I just thought I wanted ice cream (I really AM sick!).

Sleeping was a nightmare, ha ha, because the coughing was worse when lying down. Both Saturday and Sunday I spent the day in my desk chair so I wouldn't sleep all day and not be able to sleep at night, plus I felt better there than lying down. Justin got me a night time cold reliever which helped the first night but not as much the other nights. I started taking less, thinking it might be too strong and have the wrong effect on me. Less and less coughing every day, which is a blessing. At one point I felt like a muscle might have been pulled in my side, and I had to hold my side when I coughed. Because of that, I was not able to cover my mouth, which is it's own problem. Justin, that hero of mine, even offered to help me get my old surgical corset on to hold my side but I declined. Might have choked me to death since I've grown some since 2001. That pain has subsided for the most part. 

Just last week at Bible study we talked about how we didn't really know of anyone who might have the flu or those symptoms and now both Terri and I have a form of the cold/flu, hers affecting the sinuses. She was afraid she infected me but it seems to me that we likely caught our bug in the same place, possibly while at Metro Diner. Both of us are on the mend and are hopefully over the top of this malady. I'm thankful for Justin and his care for me. He did all he could for my comfort and care. God bless him! And God bless you all as you sleep tonight! 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

From the past!

I found this on Facebook, in my Memories from 2009. Some of my answers made me chuckle and some brought tears. I was more clever those many years ago....

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE: 
Nope, I am unique 

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? 
Tonight, hearing someone sing the Lords' Prayers

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? 
Yes, although I print instead of use cursive

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? 
Spam

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? 
Yes, a 21 year old son on earth, and one in heaven

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? 
Oh, yes, I am not too choosy!

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM? 
Yes, too much probably

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? 
No, somebody took them!

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? 
Sure, that is why one of my legs is longer than the other.......

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? 
Honey Nut Cheerios

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? 
Nope, too far away

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? 
Mint Chocolate Chip

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? 
Their height

15. RED OR PINK? 
Red, for vibrancy

16. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? 
My weight

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? 
My son, Timmy

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO COMPLETE THIS LIST? 
No, this is not that much fun

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? 
A purple nightie and blue slippers

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? 
A re-run of House

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? 
Red

23. FAVORITE SMELLS? 
Bacon. bread baking, food being cooked with wine, hamburgers on the grille

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? 
My son. Making plans for tomorrow

25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? 
I most certainly do!

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? 
Pro-football (is it August yet????)

27. HAIR COLOR? 
Dark brown with silver highlights

28. EYE COLOR? 
Brown

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? 
No

30. FAVORITE FOOD? 
Italian or "comfort foods"

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS MOVIES? 
Happy endings

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? 
Last Chance Harvey

33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? 
Purple nightie

34 FAVORITE SEASON? 
Summer!!!

35. HUGS OR KISSES? 
Yes!

36. FAVORITE DESSERT?
Cherry cheesecake

37. IF YOU COULD MAKE A WISH.. 
I could simply die in my sleep and wake up in heaven

38. WHAT (in general) IRRITATES YOU? 
Being cold

39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? 
Grandma Speaks

40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? 
Greek scenery

41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? 
House re-runs, Seinfeld at bedtime

42. FAVORITE SOUND(S)? 
My doorbell, which means someone is here!

43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? 
I do not own a Beatles 'album' but have a couple Stones lps

44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? 
Alexandria, Egypt

45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? 
I like to sing, and write

46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? 
Smalltown, WI

47. FAVORITE TIME OF DAY: 
Morning, because it starts all over again!

48. WHERE DID YOU MEET YOUR SPOUSE/SIGNIFICANT OTHER? 
On the school bus in 1970, when he thought I should give up my seat---no way!
He was no match for me!

49. Monty Python or SNL? 
"'tis merely a flesh wound.."

50. Would you take an around the world cruise if money were no object? 
I'm already packed and ready to go!!!