Friday, November 27, 2009

What a Difference a Year Makes....

What a difference a year makes!
Thanksgiving Day 2009 was such a happier occasion than Thanksgiving Day 2008.
Last year Thanksgiving Day came one week after Dad's stroke and found him in the Rehab Center, unable to speak hardly any words or form any intelligble thoughts.
It was majorly frustrating for him and for all of us to see him this way. Despite all that, most days Dad managed to keep a fairly bright outlook on things and to remain surprisingly optimistic considering how greatly things had changed for him.
However, on Thanksgiving Day last year, understandably Dad was deeply down in the dumps with discouragement and nothing Mother or I could say or do brought him any encouragement. So it was a dismal and sad day for all of us.

We were living out the irony that happens when, on a day meant to be festive and joyous/a holiday/one is struggling with negative changes in their life and finding it difficult, if not impossible to celebrate. It doesn't mean that we didn't find gratitude and thanksgiving in our hearts, but it was tough to express because of the "big elephant in the room": all that had been so recently lost.

But thanks be to God, Dad has come such a long way in this past year! The therapists who were working with him this time last year were telling us we'd be surprised how much he'd gain over time, given 6 months to a year; that they expected he'd gain back much of what he'd lost. And he HAS! Dad came home from the Rehab Center the week of Christmas and had already made much process by that time, and has continued to do so. Today he carries on conversations very well, drives the van, plays his guitars, tunes pianos and sings specials in church occasionally. It's a beautiful thing! Miraculous to see!

So it is with great joy and thankfulness in my heart that I reflect on the differences from one Thanksgiving Day to the next!

Yesterday, even though I would have loved to have celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents in Florida, instead I spend it here in Michigan with Tim, Tyler, Emily and Tim's parents and siblings. But I am grateful that Mom and Dad were able to celebrate a happy Thanksgiving Day, with a bountiful feast at their home, shared by my Uncle John and Aunt Carol, and dear friend and angel-in-residence, Gail.
And it was a joy to speak with Mom and Dad on the phone in the evening and recount the good parts about our day and the blessings we feel to be 'family'.

I hope all of you had a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Counting My Blessings...

Well, alphabetizing them actually...

I am thankful for

A: America, Abundance
B: Bed, Bible, Beauty
C: (Aunt) Carol, Coffee, Creativity
D: Dad: who is healthy and well! he's had a great recovery following stroke in 11/08
E: Emily: my precious, beautiful daughter... sweet gift of God
F: Faith: my best weapon against fear, Family, Friends
G: GOD, Grace
H: Home, Health
I: Ideas, Identity, Ice cream
J: JESUS, and Jake (my dog*), (Uncle) John
K: Kingdom of Heaven
L: Laughter, Love
M: Mom: who is reasonably well; and such a dear mother she is!.....and Music!
N: Nice neighbors, Nachos, 'Normal'
O: Opportunities
P: Piano
Q: Quirks which make me "me", and you "you"
R: Relationships
S: Showers...warm, cleansing water
T: Tim, my dear husband of 20 years AND Tyler, most wonderful son a mom could have!
U: Unfailing, unconditional love of God
V: Van: a new van!
W: Water: fresh, plenteous, clean, readily available
X: eXtras
Y: Youth being renewed like the eagle's
Z: Zoos: well, I am thankful for them...and how many other Z words can YOU think of!?

This list is certainly not all-inclusive, but it's a start.
Count your many blessings; name them one by one. Count your many blessings, see what God has done!
What are YOU thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Today's Adventures....

Later this afternoon we are going to be getting a new van! Yippee. New to us anyway. :)
The older one we are trading in is 1999 Town and Country van with 180k miles, and the new one we are getting is a 2005 Town and Country with 87k miles. We're going to enjoy the upgrade and are thankful for it.

So ... this morning after a somewhat stressful hour or so at the car dealership,(stressful simply because doing car deals is WAY out of my comfort zone!), after we had settled on a trade in value for the old van and a good price for the new van, Emily (my 15 year old student driver in training) was driving us home in the 'old' van. Let me quickly state that she is doing an outstanding job as a new driver and I am very impressed with her skills and attentiveness this early on. So what I am about to relate to you is NOT (emphasis NOT) a fault of her driving!!
BUT be that as it may....we were making a left turn from the left turn lane at a very busy intersection, going left on OUR green arrow, when, as we were almost to the middle of the intersection, a car driven by an elderly lady came at us from the right, and she was also making a left turn and we nearly collided!
The lady we nearly hit didn't even look phased or like she even noticed that we were almost going to hit her. Like I'm not sure she was in touch with reality....or what was going through her mind at that moment. I looked up quickly to reassure myself that we did have the green arrow! (and we did!) while at the same time firmly saying to Emily, "Stop!" and thankfully she stopped then, immediately. We let the precious little lady go by first, and then we continued on with our left turn. :) Whew!

I was pleased at how well my dear daughter handled driving in this extremely tense situation, and I was very grateful to God for watching over us and keeping us from an accident.

It was only after we had passed through the intersection, and had processed together how fortunate we were to have not had an accident, that we were then thinking of how different an accident would have caused our new van deal to be. Certainly the trade in value of our van with the front left side totally crashed in would not have been what they are giving us for it now, as it is in its good condition!!!

So, who but God can ever know what a day will bring forth? The fun, the adventure, the close calls?! I feel like I've used up my adrenaline quota for a few days...! But all is well!
It's a great day!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Dreaded H1N1...

So it has come upon me. One week ago today....I was so so so tired I couldn't stay awake, couldn't hold my head up. I slept as much as I could even though we were traveling back from Indiana. Then I went to bed early and slept all day Sunday. Then again all day Monday. Achy, fever, chills, cough, yuk. I'd get in the shower and the warm water would feel SO SO SO good, so comforting on my achy body, and then I'd get a wave of weakness and feel like I was going to pass out right then and there.
On Tuesday I started feeling better...aches, chills and fever were gone and I was only left with the cough. So I got up and did a few things and realized that was not the right thing to do. Overdid. Didn't feel quite as good as I had thought. :)
I went to Dr. Lewis on Wednesday morning and he confirmed that I do have the H1N1 flu. Whaddya know? And being the great doctor that he is, he gave me a breathing treatment right then and there in his office to start to clear my lungs (quite congested I was) and to help the cough get better. (I have a great doctor by the way; he and God saved my life in December 2006! - Honestly!). That's the good news: the bad news is that he confined me to my home for one week - for obviously, not spreading this to everyone else, and also to rest and get better. While I do not do this "rest at home for a week thing" very well, I am finding that the doctor knows what he is talking about. My strength is not back yet that's for sure - and the cough is still here - and it wears me out to do the littlest things.
I'm so thankful that the rest of my family has escaped this and I hope and believe that they will continue to do so!
I'm trying hard to be patient and to know that "for everything there is a purpose and a season under heaven", and I guess that must include the H1N1. :)
I'm getting better every day....
Stay healthy!