Thursday, November 29, 2012

She's Down!

Apparently the bah humbug is trying to work it's way into my Christmas back decided to tell me it's a bit overworked after a  weekend of Christmas decorating. With a little bit of a warning, it quit on me. Kaput. And I wasn't even finished with all I had to do. Not a whole lot I could do about it but go directly to the couch and get off my feet. Which meant someone else had to pick up my regular workload. This could prove to be very interesting.

I didn't really need to be doing anything for the afternoon, so it wasn't hard to be laid out on the couch doing nothing for a while. But come around 5 pm, that's when the real work would begin. Derek would be coming home and dinner was going to have to be started.  I was only allowed to get up for a bathroom break, according to Bob. So it was going to be up to him to now take over for me after his day of working. Mom is here too, but she isn't capable of helping out much anymore. Like I said, this could get very interesting....

I had planned on making soup with the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, so when Bob asked what dinner was supposed to be, I told him he'd have to make the soup. He just looked at me like I was speaking Chinese. "I don't know how to make soup", I heard him say. And so it began.

It wasn't a difficult recipe, but that's relative. Relative to who is preparing it.  I would read him the steps and he would do the work. But that would also mean he would have to find the ingredients. And Bob's eyes don't work too well when it comes to looking for something and actually finding it. It could be right in front of him and he'd never see it. Except for when you put a computer screen in front of him with a program that has a "bug" in it...he has no problem seeing that. But look in the fridge or the pantry for something? Not gonna happen. I was pre-hyperventilating with the thoughts of how Bob was going to find the ingredients he was going to need. Without me actually getting up off the couch. Which he would not let me do. Get me a paper bag, please....

To make a long story short, the soup got made. And it was delicious. And we both survived the ordeal. But something interesting happened in the midst of this ordeal. I learned a big lesson. You see, I'm the kind of person who would just rather do something myself instead of asking someone else to do it. Or to ask for help. It's just easier that way. This situation reminded me of a Survivor episode I saw on TV. The team members were blindfolded while another team member, who was not, called out directions to the members to get them to get through a maze  BY LISTENING.I learned to sit back, let someone else help ME, and that it was OK to let that happen. It didn't make me weak - it humbled me, and gave me a picture of what it's like to have to totally depend on someone else. Like how my mom must feel sometimes. Her independence has been slowly taken away and it hurts. I guess I'm alot like her in that way, not wanting to depend on anyone else and doing everything for myself. Maybe now I have a little more empathy for how she feels, what it's like to ask me for help when she can't do something. I don't want her to ever feel she's a burden, which is how I felt even for a short time. But an even greater reminder came to me: to trust God. Don't take over for God, let Him take care of things. Totally depend on Him for all things. LISTEN to Him, listen for Him. And He will take care of me, of you. So many times I get in the way, and He can't get through to me. Ha, it's amazing how life's lessons come through.

So over the next day and a half, Bob did everything I would have normally done. From making dinner, cleaning up, taking care of Derek (not an easy task!) and getting him off to school and then managing him when he came home; to helping mom out, to making sure the crew got all their treats at bedtime, to turning off the Christmas lights outside and an uncountable number of other things, he did them all. Without complaining. Oh, I heard a few huffs & puffs; but he never said a word. Until I was back up and was able to make dinner and clean up last night. And then he said, "Thank God!".

So I'm back in action again, but am definitely taking it easy on the ol' back. I jokingly said to Bob, in the  midst of him waiting on me, cooking, cleaning up, etc., that "I'm not sure how long it's going to take my back to get better...could be at least a week..."; he didn't that was too funny. Guess he lost his sense of humor for a little while! Anyway, I'm reminded once again, of the many reasons I love this man. Thank you honey, for taking such good care of me, always.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, My ET

Twenty nine years ago today, my life was drastically altered. My son was born. All 8 lbs 10 oz of him. Normal & healthy is what I was hoping for. But God had other plans.

From birth to 16 months of age, Derek fought for his life. With every ounce of his little being. If he had listened to the doctors, he would have perished. Given up. But being the redhead that he is, his will to live was much stronger than the doctors predictions that he would die. And God had plans for Derek.

He  is 29 today. He is a walking miracle. He's been transplanted now 27 years. Again, a  miracle. Derek is a force to be reckoned with. Everything he is, everything he does, is with all of his being. He loves big. He laughs big. He enjoys life big. But his body is little. And he's still my eternal toddler. Disney World will always be real to him. I know him like he's just an extension of my own body. I guess he is, in more ways than one. It's not every day a child gets a second chance at living with a kidney from his mom. Only God could have made me an almost perfect, almost exact, match for him. Again, a miracle.

He makes other people happy. He somehow knows, when meeting someone, if they need an extra hug that day. He's deaf, but he loves music. I believe he has a special connection with God. I believe God has used him in more ways than I could ever know, to touch people's lives in ways I don't understand. But they do.

Sometimes its very difficult having a special needs child. But the blessings outweigh the hardships, and I would never wish for things to be different for myself or for him. Since he was born, I've cried more tears than I could ever even think of counting, but I've also laughed more than the sum of all those tears because of the joy he has brought me.

Happy Birthday to you, Derek, my Eternal Toddler. I love you more than words could ever say.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tis the Season

Well, I do believe we are officially underway on the countdown to Christmas. Thanksgiving came and went so quickly, I almost missed it!

I always try to put my Christmas decorations up on the weekend following Thanksgiving. I love decorating for this holiday, and it usually takes me up to a week to finish putting everything up. But this year, I think I'll scale it back a little bit.  This year, things are going to be a little different - my daughter & her husband and my only grandchild will be out of town. They usually come on Christmas Eve, we have a wonderful dinner, open presents; then on Christmas Day, we all go to my husband's sister's house for dinner. But not this year.....

I'm really trying to adjust to this, as the time has come for things to be different now. Brooke is married, and now has a child. It's probably time we, as grandparents, make the trek over to THEIR house for Christmas. Things don't stay the same forever, you know. And change can be good. Except I CAN'T go to their house, as they won't be there EITHER! Waaahhhhh! (Sniff, sniff.)

Brooke keeps trying to assuage my hysteria by saying, "NEXT year will be the fun year with Christian!" He'll be 6-1/2 months old at Christmas this year, and yes, she's right. This year, he really doesn't have a clue about it. But still, NONE of them will be here. Waaahhhhh!

However grim the thought of their absence may be, I do believe I am beginning to feel the Christmas spirit. I did get my tree up - we have an artificial tree - with no thanks to bad Louie. Every year, he and the tree are double trouble, and this year will probably be no exception. As I was fixing the branches and making it look beautiful, I happened to see something underneath the tree. And it was looking up at me. With eyeballs. Yep, BAD LOUIE was just sitting there, looking up at me even though he KNEW I really couldn't see him. He was hiding, you see. He just cracks me up!

And then there's my husband. My bah humbug, when it comes to Christmas. It just wouldn't be the Christmas season if I didn't hear, at least a hundred times, "Christmas has become a trick of the devil!" You see, he just HATES that he has to put up lights on the house. It's one of his worse things. But he does it because it makes me happy. That's just the kind of guy he is. And if I have to hear "it's a trick of the devil" a hundred times, so be it. At least my lights get put up.

So, even though Christmas will be different this year for me, some things will be the same. And that's a good thing. I guess I'll live after all.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day. A day to be with family & friends; a day to express our gratitude; a day to eat ourselves silly. To all of my family and friends, many of whom I can't be with today, I miss you so much and would love nothing better than if we were all together.

I have so many reasons to be grateful, and it would take forever for me to list them all. Let me just list a few that are on the very top of my list:

I'm thankful for:
A God who loves me, died for me, and saved me.
An awesome husband.
Two incredible children, and son-in-law.
One miraculous grandson.
A beautiful home & plenty of food to eat.
That my mom is not alone at this stage in her life.
My wonderful family, whom I miss so much.
The two most loving families that God brought into my life through marriage.
That God always provides for me, cares for me, and will never forsake me.

May you each have a day that will be filled with the most wonderful blessings, and may you make wonderful new memories that will be forever cherished in your hearts.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Review

I have recently discovered a hidden treasure in my neighborhood: the county library! It's only a few minutes from my house, and it's full of books! And DVD's! That you don't have to pay for!

I have always been an avid reader, but just have not had the spare time to spend on reading. I devour books whenever I go away on a trip or vacation, as it's a sweet treat for me to spend time reading.

The local library is new to my neighborhood. And while mom could still read, it was a great way to get her some of her favorite books, anything by James Patterson. She is no longer able to read books, as she forget what she's reading and it's very difficult to sound out the words. So now, I take her there to check out the DVD's. And found myself perusing through the aisles and aisles of books.

The other day I came across a book just kind of laying on a shelf, certainly out of place. It caught my attention with its cover, titled "One Thousand White Women, The Journals of May Dodd". After reading the reviews on the back cover, I immediately knew I had to read it. I love reading about the old American West.

The author's note states this book is entirely a work of fiction. But the idea for the book was inspired by an actual historical event: in 1854 at a peace conference at Fort Laramie, a prominent Northern Cheyenne chief requested of the US Army authorities the gift of one thousand white women as brides for his young warriors. A terrifying new world was being forced on the Native Americans in 1854, and they clearly recognized this world held no place for them. They believed that the children born out of these marriages would be the perfect means of assimilation into the white man's world.

Of course in reality, the Cheyenne's request was not well received by the authorities, the peace conference collapsed, the Cheyennes went home and the white women did not come. But in this novel they do.

The author, Jim Fergus, brings to life an American West like I've never read before. His portrayal of the women, their conversations, their emotions, are so realistic, so true to how women think, speak, feel. And again, this was written as if it was 1854. I could feel their joy, sorrow & heartbreak when they did. I loved how the Native American characters were portrayed, and felt such shame, as though I had a part in it, as they experienced the betrayal of the white man. He actually traveled extensively in the northern Great Plains and really got to know the country he was writing about. He felt a tremendous responsibility to be as accurate as possible when it came to first learning about the cultures and histories of the Northern Cheyennes and Apaches, and then writing this into his story.

I did not want to put this book down once I started reading it. And at the end, I was sad it was finished. It touched my heart in so many ways. I went back to the author's note after I was finished, just to be sure I had read that this was a work of fiction. I felt it surely must be a true story!

If you have some time to spare and like to read, I highly recommend this book. It's actually a book I would like to have on my own bookshelf. Go check it out at your local library!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bob the Chef

It's a beautiful Saturday morning, and in my book, there's no better way to start my day than to have my husband cook breakfast. He doesn't do alot of cooking, so when he does it's usually breakfast and it's always eggs. Bob's Special Eggs. And that's ok, because they're really delicious and they have a special ingredient that only comes from him: Love. Love is definitely an ingredient, and food prepared without  a touch of it just doesn't taste the same!

I don't know exactly what goes into these eggs, so I can't post the recipe. He never makes them the exact same way and won't let me in the kitchen when he's cooking. He said it's better if I don't know! From start to finish, he's in control. Even the clean up. Well, most of the clean up. It's a real treat for me to have him cook breakfast. And Derek loves Bob' Special Eggs too, and always devours them.

I'll be in the kitchen later today, making Pumpkin Bread for the Thanksgiving baskets our church will be giving away; homemade chicken soup for dinner, and homemade wheat bread. Check out "Yummy-In-The-Tummy" section later on today where I'll be posting these recipes.

I hope you enjoy your Saturday as much as I plan on doing! Except I think I have a head start on everyone else, as I've got Bob's Special Eggs to get me going!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

We've had a cat-nabbing here at our house. Not a kidnapping, because there were no children involved. But a cat was. Smitty. (Read more about him in "The Crew.") Abducted. Sometime during the night. He is being held for ransom. The perpetrators: the local pound. Yep, it's true.  They posted his proof-of-life picture on the web.

All day Tuesday I was frantically searching for him. He stays outside at night, but usually sleeps in the barn. First thing in the morning when I wake up, he's at the back door ready to come in and get some grub. But he never showed up. And still wasn't home by time I went to bed. I knew something had happened to him, as he's older now and very predictable. We do have our share of wild critters out in this area, so I was very worried something may have gotten the best of him. A wild dog? A gator? Gators have been seen taking a stroll down our dirt road at night. I was very upset to say the least. This is a member of my family!

My daughter suggested I check the local pound. But knowing Smitty, I knew he wouldn't have let anyone near enough to catch him. But just before I went to bed, I remembered that traps are set out here to catch feral cats. Hmm, maybe he got caught in a trap? So just before I went to bed, I checked the lost & found and saw a picture of a cat that looked just like him, but the description didn't really match.

First thing Wednesday morning, off to the pound I went, and when the info was checked about where he was found, it was true. I had found my Smitty! But, he hadn't been caught in a trap set by the pound. He was brought in by a neighbor! What?? We know most of our neighbors, at least the ones directly around my house, and I knew it wouldn't have been one of them. We live in an area where each home has some property, from 1-2 acres. Our neighbors are not directly "on top" of us. Smitty had been roaming around here for 11 years, and doesn't cause anyone any harm. So who would trap him and dump him off?? Apparently a neighbor on the street off my back yard, three houses down.

So $60 later, I had my traumatized Smitty in the car and we were headed home. I went for a visit to this person's home later on in the afternoon, and found out she works at a veterinarian office and had decided she had had enough of all the feral cats roaming around so she set a trap. Of course she didn't catch the big black tom cat that's been fighting with everything in sight. She caught my Smitty, who is no trouble to anyone. I didn't get to speak directly to her, but to her mother, who said she would let her know what happened. She did feel badly. Probably not as bad as my poor Smitty felt being in jail.