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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

A close friend spent this past week at the hospital bedside of his brother.  Happiest of all possible endings to a long week!  Not only was his brother released to go home yesterday, but he accepted Christ as his savior!  Angels rejoiced!

I tell you that, to tell you this…Holding Hands with Elderly Patient

Thinking about the scenario of sitting at a loved one’s hospital bedside took me back.  A couple of years ago (has it been that long?!) my mom was in the hospital with congestive heart failure.  She’d been extremely restless so they sedated her deeply enough that she was basically in a medical coma.  I sat at her side for a week.  Watching her on a ventilator and unaware that I was there.  I touched her and talked to her.

I was approached by medical and hospital staff who did not expect her to survive.  I was asked end-of-life questions and asked to make final decisions.  I had no signed document stating that it was MY decision to make.  I felt it was not only my decision.  We haven’t had a very strong relationship for many many years.  I felt it was the decision of my brother and my uncle (mom’s brother).  But rarely were we in the room together when these people came to call with their questions.

About Thursday of that week, they decided to take her off the ventilator and allow her to slowly “wake up”.  Leaving her survival uncertain.  On Friday I went to visit again.  She was slowing coming around.  She was talking and answering the nurse’s questions appropriately.  They were amazed!

As the nurse questioned her about her children she named me and my brother.  And then, my other brother.  She recounted to the nurse how he was born with the cord around his neck and had died.  And how sad she was and how she still misses him.  Her speech was very slurred and she was still in and out of sleep.  But I understood every word and repeated it to the nurse so she knew mom was making sense. (why are my hands shaking as I type this?)  It was a precious day.  A day mom does not remember.

I live about 45 minutes away from mom and the hospital   So, knowing she was waking up and having been assured the staff would call me if needed, I chose to stay home that weekend.

When I returned on Monday she was fully awake and surprised to see me.  I said “look at you!” as she smiled.  “Yeah, look at me”, and then said something about how she’d been there for a while.  “I know”, I told her, “I was here all week”.  She had no idea, but seemed to gain a little comfort even after the fact.

I don’t remember if it was the Friday or that following Monday, but there was a day when a hospital Chaplain came to mom’s room to visit.  I have no idea what religious denomination she is affiliated with.  I don’t even remember her name.  I do remember she had some kind of little book with her…a small New Testament maybe?  What I DO remember is that my mother requested that she read her the 23rd Psalm.  You know the one…

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. KJV

It wouldn’t be my first choice, but it’s what gives mom comfort.  In fact, when my grandmother (mom’s mom) was dying she requested this verse also.  Grandma passed away shortly after.

I probably wouldn’t even remember this if it weren’t for the fact that this hospital chaplain DID NOT HAVE THE PSALM WITH HER TO READ!  Whatever little book or Bible she carried with her was not complete and she couldn’t recite it.

Daughter and technology to the rescue!  I picked up my trusty Blackberry smart phone and opened my You Version Bible app and read her the Psalm she requested.

Now, approximately two years later, mom is in a nursing home.  She shares a very small room with another resident.  It’s basically a long-term hospital environment.  I still don’t visit often.  In fact, much to my regret, I didn’t go see her this past Mother’s Day.  I have some physical issues of my own that stopped me.  Mom doesn’t have a phone so I can’t even call her.

I begin to digress so I’ll stop there.  I just wanted to share that precious memory with you all.  Thanks for stopping by and “listening”.

WEEKEND PLANS

It’s Friday and we’re hoping that the weather cooperates this weekend so we can FINALLY get our garden planted!!  See these previous posts for garden construction pictures: How Does Your Garden Grow? and This and That.  Have a great weekend everyone!

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Why don't YOU tell me some of the things you've learning in your lifetime.  Share with us the good, the bad, and the ugly things that have built you into the person you are today.


Why don’t YOU tell me some of the things you’ve learning in your lifetime. Share the good, the bad, and the ugly things that have built you into the person you are today.

Well here we are.  Tomorrow is the day.  The dreaded birthday.  I’ve tried and tried to think of something important and philosophical to say.  Certainly at this advanced age

I’ve gained some wisdom I can share with you all.  And what kind of writer am I if I give you nothing?!  GASP!

I really don’t have a clue what to tell you.  Looking back I can clearly see my mistakes and successes. Mistakes that hurt me and others.  Those that led to an entirely different life that what God probably had planned for me.  Those that continue to hurt me (see Ch-Ch-Changes).  But what has been learned from the mistakes and the successes?

Let’s see if I can come up with a short list…in no particular order:

1) Use your brain! My mom used to say “If in doubt…don’t”.  Damn if she wasn’t right (oh that hurts).  If your gut and your brain are telling you “NOOOO!” then it’s wrong and you should not even go there.  It’s your conscience, your built-in sense of right and wrong.  It’s God.  Teenagers are good at ignoring that inner voice that screams NO and listening to the outer voices that say “go for it”.  Pause and think, and most often you’ll hear the voice telling you it’s wrong.  Listen to it.  In 30 years you’ll be glad you did.

2) Take good care of yourself physically!  If you are going to eat whatever you want while you’re young…we all do… then keep active.  Work it off.  And don’t stop as you get older.  KEEP MOVING!

3) Never stop saying “I love you” to those closest to you.  Even when you hate your parents…and we all do…suck it up and say “I love you”.  Something I’m still learning.

4) Have faith. No matter what your family background, find a place to learn and worship God.  It matters.  It matters to your spirit and soul.  It matters to your family.  It matters to your community.

5) In connection to point number four, never stop studying.  My church holds a weekly Bible study.  Most who attend the morning class are older folks.  We have one dear old soul who is 88-years-old.  This week she didn’t attend the church Bible study because she was leading a different study at her retirement residence.  It made me wonder what this women who was a pastor’s wife, a foreign missionary, is a regular church attender, and an every day Bible reader could possibly have left to learn.  Maybe that’s why she chose to teach that day?  I’ll have to ask her and see what wise words she offers us.  Stay tuned!

6) Separate from point number five, keep learning.  Someone once said “you learn something new every day”.  You really do.  Or you should.  Life has a way of teaching us lessons when we least expect it.  We learn from life experiences, from our parents, from our children, from our friends.  We learn in organized ways like school or reading.  Keep learning.

7) Be nice and use your manners!  Smile, say “please” and “thank you”, be polite.  No matter how crappy  your day is, or how awful you feel.  First, it makes you feel a little better.  Second, the person you’re dealing with may very well be having a much worse day.  Nice matters!

8) Don’t take yourself or life too seriously.  Lighten up.  Unclench. Life is messy and you’re going to look foolish now and again.  At this stage of the game even my granddaughter laughs at my forgetfulness.  If I don’t laugh with her, I’m doomed.

THERE’S MORE – PLENTY MORE!   But this is getting to be a long blog.  Why don’t YOU tell me some of the things you’ve learning in your lifetime.  Share with us the good, the bad, and the ugly things that have built you into the person you are today.

You won’t see me tomorrow.  It’s the big day and I have to find my black clothing to wear to dinner.  Juuuust kidding.  Have a great weekend!

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You’ll remember her because I’ve blogged about her before.  (Being Used and HE Did it Again)

We will remember her for the never-failing smiles, hugs, kind words and unconditional love.

This week our church family and community let go of a dear woman.  “Grandma” Ruth loved us like Jesus and went to be with Him on Saturday.  Thursday, April 21st would be her 96th birthday.  Instead, we will gather together without her physical presence to honor her memory and legacy.

There are so few words to express the amazing warmth and love this woman gave so freely to EVERYONE she met.  Little children, middle-agers like me and other older folks.  The little children would literally line up at her side on Sunday mornings for their “Grandma hug”!  So would we for that matter.

"Remember, God loves you unconditionally and so do I."

One of the things she was known for was the birthday and anniversary phone calls.  She’d call bright and early in the morning and usually wake you.  But what an awesome way to start a day!  Once in a while she’d call a wrong number.  Whether it was local or across the country, that person would be blessed like the rest of us and receive her signature “Remember, God loves you unconditionally, and so do I”.

“Grandma” Ruth will be missed like no other because she lived and loved like no other.  Today, I urge you to tell at least one person you meet that GOD LOVES THEM UNCONDITIONALLY!  Whether they be friend, family or stranger.  Then come back here and tell us about your experience.

Thank you “Grandma”, for loving us like Jesus…unconditionally.


But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Read a little more about RUTH L. WOODARD

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No, no, no… Being “used” in a GOOD WAY! 

At our church we are blessed to have a 95-year-old woman who calls herself “grandma” to us all.  She is truly a minister and an inspiration.  She seeks to live every moment for God and takes any chance He provides to share His love with everyone.  She’s the one who calls you bright and early in the morning on every birthday or anniversary.  Anyone who has ever met her knows her tag-line “God loves you unconditionally and so do I”.  She is a precious blessing.

Today she called the church (where I work as the secretary) asking for news of our pastor’s wife who had surgery yesterday.  I told her what I knew and she was glad to hear that Mrs. Pastor is home and recovering.  But then it happened…as it has so many times before…the real reason God meant for her to call.  She ministered to ME!

She began to share with me how one night recently she lay awake throughout the night, unable to sleep.  Thinking, as so many of us do, and worrying about things in the past.  I couldn’t imagine that this Angel of Love has the same problem I do!  Night after night I can lay awake worrying and rehashing things that happened 30 years ago.  As we talked she read from a booklet she keeps for scriptural support.  She read me the following:

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand  your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13

This is very familiar scripture to many of us and I’ve interpretted it in various ways over the years.  She then went on to read the author’s commentary and that it tells her that instead of laying awake in worry she should give her troubles over to God.  To understand that she has done all she can and to “after you have done everything”, to stand firm in the strength of God. 

As she read I began to cry.  It was such a beautiful precious moment as God spoke to me through this 95-year-old woman.  It’s not the first time this has happened and I hope it’s not the last.

Thank you God for speaking to me so clearly today.  I know that there are too many battles in this life for me to fight.  There is no way that I can.  Whether they are my battles or those of my children.  Thank you for taking on these battles for us.  You are our strength and our victor!  Amen.

When was the last time YOU WERE USED by God?  Please share with us.

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Buh-Bye! Whew...glad 2010 is almost over.

 

I have been thinking for months about doing a “Year in Review” blog.  I even began composing it a few weeks ago.  It didn’t take long to realize that 1) This was going to be a ginormous blog, 2) No one wants to read a ginormous narrative blog and 3) I did NOT want to relive this year even in writing.

Then came a Tweet from @melissa_rae, better known to the blog world as Melissa Brotherton .  She shared that another blog writer was inviting us all to repost a blog that we really wished more people had read.  A huge THANK YOU to The Gypsy Mama for that opportunity.  It’s a generous person who allows others to share her space.  🙂  It also inspired me to repost at least this one blog from 2010. 

Here is why I chose this blog to repost…

My husband had the flu this Wednesday-Thursday (12/15-16). I said to him on Thursday night “I am so grateful that you had the flu!” He gave me that frowning questioning look as if asking “why would you like me to be sick?”.  My answer to that look was, “Because the last time you had “the flu”, you didn’t…it was hepatitis!

This is the longest most narrative blog I’ve written to date. Not a fan of long blogs myself, but it was such an important event in our lives that I felt the need to share. I hope you have a few minutes to walk with me back in time to August 2010 as I re-share “What is the Moral of the Story?”.

 

WHAT IS THE MORAL OF THE STORY?
From August 3, 2010

I know the subject of this blog, but have no idea how my tired brain is going to get it through my finger tips and on to this page.  Nor, do I know what the moral of the story will be.  Buckle up and ride along on what promises to be a LONG story…

My husband has been very sick and just came home from approximately three days in the hospital.  Last Monday he started to show some serious flu symptoms.  Vomiting, fever, chills, dizziness, body aches. Typical bad flu stuff.  By Wednesday he wasn’t keeping much down at all.  Solid or liquid.  He got very weak and we were concerned about dehydration.  By Thursday I officially became worried.  That’s just too long to go on so sick.

On Friday we went to a walk-in clinic.  One where you sign in, do the paperwork and wait your turn.  No appointments taken.  The doctor was only going to be there half a day and was leaving town for the weekend.  He seemed hurried.  They drew blood but Hubby was unable to give a urine sample (sorry about the TMI, there may be more).  The doctor decided that was OK.  After doing an ear, nose & throat exam, pushing on his belly a bit and listening to his chest the doctor wrote the on a work excuse “viral syndrome” and prescribed an antibiotic.  What?  For the flu?  For something viral?  Yep.  Wham, bam…that’ll be mega-bucks please.  NEXT!

Saturday came and life was complicated and busy.  Hubby was still just as sick and getting weaker.  He was unable to keep anything good down most of the day.  I’d gotten him some Pedialyte on Friday and thought that was perking him up some.  Come Saturday evening I noticed a change in his color.  I thought perhaps he looked…yellow.  Because I was tired, stressed and just generally doubted myself, I dismissed it and wondered what Friday’s blood test would reveal.

On Sunday it was clear that he was, in fact, becoming quite yellow!  Head to toe and eye balls too.  He’d been so sick he hadn’t even noticed.  Early Sunday afternoon we decided that a trip to the ER was in order.  I gotta tell ya’, my hands were shaking as we got ready and drove to the hospital.  We had pretty darn good care at our little local ER which is not always a safe bet.  We had a very good Physician Assistant and nurse. 

SIDE NOTE:  We never did see an actual doctor in the ER.  Even though he was said to be sitting at the desk.  Gotta wonder if his fee will be on the statement.

They hooked him up to an IV and gave meds for the nausea which both helped a great deal.  Blood was drawn.  Then came the pee-in-a-cup.  (TMI alert!  Look away!)  People…the man’s pee was a dark dark amber rust color!  I have never seen anything like it!  Makes my stomach flop to think about it.  Shocking really.  Those test results took a little while because they had to manipulate that rusty pee so it would test right.  His liver enzymes through the roof as well as some other very elevated results.  An ultrasound of his liver and gallbladder was ordered.  That happened quickly even for a Sunday afternoon.  The results showed he had gallstones but did not clearly indicate if  there was a blockage.  So the on-duty Hospitalist (never knew there was such a thing) ordered a CT Scan and admitted Hubby to the hospital.  The staff Gastroenterologist was consulted by phone and the wait began.

It was super hard to leave him and come home that night.  He was so tired and the yellow, which had semi-subsided due to IV fluids was returning. 

Needless to say, sleep wasn’t much of an option for either of us!  I got to bed around midnight and was awake again at 4:00.  I started getting ready to go back to the hospital at 6:30 a.m. so I could be there when the Gastroenterologist came around.  However, I didn’t get out the door until 10:30!  In-coming phone calls, things that needed to be done at home, emails to send so the phone calls would stop and just moving too slow, all kept me from leaving. 

Hubby called while I was still trying to put on a little make up.  I’d missed the doctor already as he was very early.  CT Scan results showed that there was not a gallstone blockage.  We later found out it also determined that there were no gallstones after all.  The gallbladder was just inflamed.  So the doctor ordered Hepatitis tests.

Getting a little more worried now, we literally sat all day on Monday waiting as the blood work was sent out-of-town for testing.  Bits of good information came though.  All those super-elevated levels and counts had gone down.  Not where they should be, but not 40 times normal anymore either!  Friends and family came to visit.  Our amazing Pastor and his wife came a few times and prayed with us.  Monday night it was very hard to leave again. 

I got to bed after midnight again due to a long purging conversation and prayer with a sweet girlfriend.  So busy in her own life, but took the time so late at night to listen and comfort.  I’m told there was a very loud and bright thunder-storm over night.  I didn’t even notice!  Before I knew it my alarm was going off.  Up-and-at-it and back to the hospital.  We had no guarantee that the hepatitis test results would come on Tuesday, so more waiting was in our future.

ANOTHER SIDE NOTE:  Super great day nurse both days.  Very knowledgeable and was so good at explaining things to us so we’d understand.  We could ask her any stupid question and she was just great.  Hubby said all his staff had been good.

As is the case with a lot of small town hospitals, they are constantly under construction and/or renovation.  So mid-day he was moved a room over due to having no water.  Just after we settled in to a new room, the doctor called Hubby with his test results. 

Let me just tell you, we were RELIEVED to find that he has Hepatitis A.  Yes, relieved!  First of all, if you have to have Hepatitis, that’s the one to have.  It pretty much just has to run it’s course until you are recovered with no permanent liver damage.  Secondly, if he’d have said “no hepatitis” then we would have begun to worry further about things like cancer.  I’ve seen what late-stage liver cancer does and how quickly  it takes its inevitable toll.  So now he’s home and just has to wait for this to run it’s course.  It takes at least a couple weeks.  In the mean time, he’s yellow, tired and can’t eat much.  Yes, he’s contagious, but not quarantined.  There’ll be no smoochin’ for a while.  We also have to be sure that those of us in the immediate family who have been exposed are tested.  That will begin tomorrow.

We are so grateful for family and friends who prayed, called, texted, emailed and supported those few days.  Some on Facebook who barely know us, or maybe don’t know Hubby, gave their well-wishes.  A few even posted a prayer request for him as their own Facebook status.  Perfect strangers all over the social network were praying and giving their verbal support!!  How awesome is THAT?!  The Body of Christ at work for strangers.  That just ROCKS!!

Maybe there are many morals to this story:

1) WASH your hands!  Whether at home, in public or at work.  Always wash your hands at all the common sense times.  He may have very well contracted the virus due to someone handling food without washing and then infecting the food or area.  We have not yet heard of any other local cases, but are told that the Health Department will be contacting him.  They’ll want to know every where he’s eaten in the last few months.  We will probably never know the source.

2) Don’t live such a secret life that the Body of Christ, family and friends can’t be there for you!  Hepatitis isn’t necessarily something you want to broadcast on Facebook.  However, up until he got home from the hospital I sure did post just general concerns and updates.  And see what blessings of love we received?!  Did I mention how that ROCKS?!  🙂

3) Listen to your gut instincts!  Don’t settle for one doctor’s opinion. On Friday he was given a not-needed antibiotic for flu/viral syndrome and dismissed.  Had he not turned yellow the next night we would have waited until Monday to go back to the same Doctor!  He would have continued to have all the flu symptoms and wound up in even worse shape, and recovery would have been more difficult.  We never did hear back from Friday’s doctor with any results of that blood test and today is Tuesday!

4) Listen to your body!  Hubby now believes that he’s been fighting this virus for around three weeks.  Which means he probably contracted it months ago.  Which means there’s been more of a chance he’s infected the family.  His early symptoms didn’t concern him too much; until the “flu” hit and he was knocked out.

We are just so blessed tonight that this illness isn’t more serious and that he will completely recover. 

What are the other morals of such a LOOOONG story?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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What do you see and hear on Facebook, Twitter and emails on Friday?  A whole bunch of TGIFs!  Everyone is so thankful to God that it’s Friday!  Why?  Because then it’s the weekend right?  And who doesn’t love the weekend? 

So then on Monday…we all come dragging our sorry selves in to work or begin the daily grind at home and have nothing good to say for Monday.  Over the same social media offerings we all moan and complain about Monday! 

On this particular Monday it seems that there is more Monday grumbling than usual.  Myself included!  I did, however, “forgive” Monday as it’s a beautiful morning and payday! 😀

One Facebook friend gave us this reminder of why we dislike Mondays:

Please allow me to offer a few reasons we really NEED to be saying TGIM … or T, W, Tr, F, Sa, Su!!

Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:6 (The Message)
 6-7Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Deuteronomy 4:39 (NIV)
Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

Psalm 118:24 (The Message)
 21-25 Thank you for responding to me;
you’ve truly become my salvation!
The stone the masons discarded as flawed
is now the capstone!
This is God’s work.
We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it!
This is the very day God acted—
let’s celebrate and be festive!
Salvation now, God. Salvation now!
Oh yes, God—a free and full life!

Or the more familiar…

Psalm 118:24 (New King James Version)
 24 This is the day the LORD has made;
     We will rejoice and be glad in it.

It’s all about perspective…It’s a new day given to us as a gift from God.  Whether Monday, Friday or Sunday.

HAVE A WONDERFUL AND BLESSED WEEK!

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This is kind of a cheat blog.  I’m basically just posting song lyrics!  But that’s OK…it’s been a stormy year:

Praise You In This Storm
By Casting Crowns
From the Album Lifesong 
Hear a Sample

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

Chorus:
I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

Chorus:
(2x’s)
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The maker of Heaven and Earth

Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NIV)
 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
   and he will make your paths straight.

Thank you, Casting Crowns, for KNOWING and touching so many hearts with your words.

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