Tag Archives: winter

In all things…

This is what I wish my attitude resembled towards this year’s winter weather: “I like snow! It is pretty and this morning I woke up early to yet more fluttering flakes dropping from the sky. Snow makes the earth cheerful and bright. Almost makes me want to sing Irving Berlin’s song, ‘Snow’ as performed in the classic movie White Christmas.

Sounds pretty enthusiastic, doesn’t it? Well, allow me to show you my honest feelings towards winter this year:

Grumpy Cat kulfoto.com

Yep. This is just about it.

I have been grumpy towards this winter. The weather makes me even more dependent: In reality, it is not all the weather–it’s me…my health. The weather doesn’t help it any and the conditions surrounding daily activities, but I need something to blame. So, I have chosen the weather.

I get stuck in my winter jacket and can’t get my seatbelt on because of that fact. I blurt out, “NOT A FAN!!” And feel more like a little kid because someone buckles it for me. Maybe that is why this winter is bugging me. The more my health declines, the more I physically feel old yet like a live like a child. I struggle putting on my socks and boots; I can’t zip my winter jacket; I was only able to get out on my own once last week for an errand to Wal Mart, because most of the snow and ice had melted from the parking lots. The next day, it snowed again. Basically, I can’t go outside on my own. I can, but even with my walker, it is just difficult. Not to mention, a little dangerous with the ice. I fear falling.

There it is: winter is like fear. I think it’s the darkness…which is why I like Christmas lights. Light penetrates the darkness. Light brings joy.

Yesterday at church, the message was from James 1:2-4:

Count it all joy, my brothers,  when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

“Trials of various kinds”–I seem to be feeling the weight of these words this winter. And I have tried to remain in Joy. It’s hard. In those moments of trying to live on my own, I find that my own joy is not equivalent to God’s Joy. At Christmas, we celebrate and remember the joy of a Savior born. Jesus, his life and death and resurrection, conquered fear and death. If it is conquered, then why do I fear the road ahead? Uncertainty is darkness…but being certain of my future in God’s hands is light. And although it doesn’t make my current physical living conditions any easier, I can depend on God like a child. I am His child. And I can find Joy in all things…

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:11-14

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2

From the Inside Out

I was really tempted this morning to come in the kitchen singing a Christmas song or two…after all, I am cozy warm in my extra-large sweatshirt, featuring the Grinch putting the antler on his dog Max.

GrinchAndDoghttp://lh4.ggpht.com/

And we got a blanket of snow last night. Not much, but it covers the ground and the way I figure, it will linger as the temperatures show no sign of much warmth and the sun is nowhere to be found. Snow–just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday travels. It always seems to happen that way. Maybe it is coming from living in Colorado for most of my life, but I would rather have a grey day with snow over just a dull day (though I love rain too.) Snow brightens the grey….have you ever noticed this? It is like nature’s fluorescent lights to the darkness; It is beautiful.

I sit here at the kitchen table, coffee freshly brewed (no grinds today!) and gaze out the kitchen windows towards the trees at the end of the farmer’s property. The bald branches that normally go un-noticed after the leaves fall are now outlined with bold white streaks that reveal how far they stretch. Just a few minutes ago, there were birds bouncing around on the end of the patio–another sign to me that winter is nearing…time to get bird seed! I look forward to watching them take shelter in the butterfly bush outside my window.

I am not sure what these little birds were doing today, but in my mind I thought, “They should be safe,” as I see Muffy sitting in his patio chair on his warm green blanket with his paws tucked in tight under his winter-coated furry belly. I had just fed him anyway. No sooner as I think this, I see a dash of black race across the snow-coated patio; then three birds flutter off in the sky. Snow doesn’t give much camouflage coverage for Muffy’s black fur. I think he felt defeated; he turned around and retraced his tracks in the paw prints he had just made during his dash. In his pathetic cuteness, I couldn’t help but smile at the morning action. He is now back inside his little house, where no doubt it is warm on the inside.

As much as I love different aspects of the winter months, there are others that I am not so fond of–mostly the early darkness, ice and the way my hands quit functioning when they are blistering cold. I would rather view winter from the inside out–where it is light and warm. My morning readings this past week have been through parts of the Old Testament: King Saul, David and Solomon, the Chronicles of the kings and prophets that followed, and the exile/return of the Israelites to Jerusalem. You start to notice a reoccurrence of the major problem in these passages–the attitude, desire and focus of the heart.

From the outside, no one sees the heart physically. But you can see the heart from the inside out. When I think only on the darkness, ice and cold around me (metaphorically speaking), my actions most often reflect my heart: my attitude gets grumpy, my desires turn selfish, and my focus is not on the Lord. But God sends little reminders to remain in His Love; and today it is the snow–it has restarted to fall…not in mass amounts, but one snowflake at a time.

Love of my life, carry me to Your Light

Every breath that I breathe

All of me…

Snow falling light, tumbling down

Soft and white, it’s so clean

Such a sweet rhapsody

All of me

“All of Me.” Performed by B. B. Winans. My Utmost for His Highest. Word Music, 1996.

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I used to be a Shopaholic

In college, my roommates and I went often to the movies. After seeing Confessions of a Shopaholic, I felt much like the main character, Rebecca Bloomwood. Not that I racked up almost $20 grand in debt, got a job that I knew nothing about, lied to a debt collector, or bought a green scarf for $120 on maxed out credit cards, but the movie made my conscience weary–because I did love to shop. And I was good at impulse buying.

I have always been one for fashion. It was why I wanted to be popular..they wore cool clothes. With my sister visiting this past week, we discussed the 90’s fashion and what we used to wear. Much laughter later, there is just no way it was fashionable, though at the time it seemed so. (I still dig 80’s fashion.) 🙂

Back to Denver days, or as I term–my “glory days”–I loved the city life! I lived with college roommates, had a great job (who doesn’t love Target attached to a mall?), lived in a great neighborhood–across the street from the public library and a park, and was only a few blocks from the best tea and coffee shops. I was in great shape, attended an awesome church and Bible study, volunteered with an after-school street church in downtown Denver, and was surrounded by friends. And I loved to shop.

It is hard not to when you are surrounded like this with so much. It was mostly clothes and, not to blame, but when you are a cashier seeing things fly past your nose all day..sometimes it gets to your brain. Brainwashed. It was better than magazines: I saw the newest products and prices, plus I had an employee discount. But not all shopping was for me. I like to give gifts; giving gifts brings me joy. Getting unexpected gifts gives me joy. To give you must also receive.

It wasn’t until we moved to Ohio that I got really serious about sorting my belongings. Growing up, we did have a thrift store run by our church and we gave our un-needed items to them for others to use. I am all for thrift stores…I shop at Goodwill, but I have always been one to want new in clothes. Fresh. I don’t think it is bad to shop that way, but I have to watch the impulse buys and motives when doing so.

I stopped shopping like Denver days when we moved out here. Yes, I still shop, just not as often. Before August, when my driving ordeal started and then draining health, I would run my errands after church. Coming in the house, I would try to hide a majority of my things in my disposable bags on my way past the kitchen, through the living room and to my bedroom. Parents always seemed to be in the kitchen; I don’t know…something like parents eyeing you makes you feel accountable for what you buy even though I don’t think they cared. Some Sundays it was just food anyway.

Times change. I still like fashion…I follow a few fashion blogs and still stand in front of my closet making “outfits” for different days or upcoming events. But shopping is now mainly for the needs. Most of it is now OT needs. I bought a set of plastic bowls, plates and cups the other day as it is something I need for the kitchen. They have better gripping edges; Me holding glass is getting dangerous. The OT list is for needs that will help me function and be safe, like a shower chair. And the walker I have is just genius!

Because I have been on steroids for almost a whole year, I have gained some weight. With my body the way it is, there are times when just getting ready in the morning or putting away my laundry feels like an exercise. Even today, putting on my socks, ankle braces and shoes took fifteen minutes; I hadn’t even done any PT yet but was breathing as if I did. My body is not its Denver “glory days,” and accepting that has been a long process of faith.

I did have some wardrobe needs now that winter is around the corner: pants and sweaters (among the top of the list.) I don’t think I have met anyone who is excited to go pant shopping. And in my case, I was looking for specifics. Mom recommended J.C. Penny as first stop. I had asked her to join me as I was uncertain of exactly what I was going for–basically, comfortable pants with no buttons. Slacks. I still have jeans and will wear them, but I needed something that was less harsh on the stomach.

We found what we were looking for in the petites section and I was pretty excited. There were some fun colored ones and a corduroy pair. Those didn’t work and fashion was thrown out the window. I try on the others and say, “I look like an old lady in these.” Then quickly blurt out loudly, “No offense if anyone heard that.” I just didn’t want to offend an elderly lady in the dressing room, happen that there would be one. It was exciting to get these pants but I have to admit, it was and is a bit embarrassing to wear them. Just not the fashion I am accustomed to, but they meet my need.

Sweater shopping was more normal–of course, Target just feels normal. 🙂 Marcia helped me find some sweaters. I am so glad she was there, because the last long sleeve shirt I try on, I get stuck. By this time, my arms are pudding and I had to ask for help to take it off. In other words, I may love fashion and shopping but it is now a very exhausting experience. Let alone when I get home I can’t carry my bags up the stairs anymore either.

I am still accepting the wholeness of these past few months–the changes in my body and image overall, but I feel I am reaching a point where I see significance in more important things other than fashion. You will still see me planning outfits or making a “new look” out of the clothes…just rearranging colors and patterns in ways I haven’t worn them before; I will still read the fashion blogs and comment on stranger’s cute shoes, but I am seeking to be content. Fashion is fleeting, but a thankful heart is what I desire most of all.

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

I Timothy 6:6-8 ESV

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times

Waiting for Spring.

Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.*

I am sitting drinking a hot cup of plum tea, wearing a cozy sweater and my feet adorned with my slippers. The fireplace was just on and I think, “This is not spring-like weather.” Even today at lunch, snow frillies fell randomly from the sky and I said out loud, “Winter [has met] its death!!” Well, not quite. But slowly, it is changing.

This afternoon, I worked on sorting through my pictures from vacation. Some I have set out for cards and the rest I put in order and placed them in the photo album. The day we were at Grandfather Mountain, my mind thought of Narnia. It felt like winter…”Always winter but never Christmas.”* The hoarfrost on the trees, fog and gray skies just added to my imagination: This is what Narnia must have felt like.

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Winter in Narnia did not end overnight either. And while I am not waiting for magic to weaken, I do just have to be patient–spring will come.

Thinking these hopeful thoughts–I have good news!

I am finally able to wear my left hearing aid!!!! 🙂 For the first time in over a month! It still is not all the way back to normal, but I hear a little. The tunnel feeling is still there when I speak, but I turned the aid up to the highest setting–then put it into the second setting where the background noise is eliminated, and that helps. However, I do not think this is the best option–so I need to get in to have my hearing aid adjusted.

Since some of the fluid is out from behind the ear drum, now my ear is taking small steps back to where it was (I hope)! I have some fluid in my right ear as well, but so far have not noticed a change in hearing too much. The only thing is that I have extensive loud ringing noises all the time in my ears, and so I almost didn’t test the left ear yesterday. I had just changed my battery in the right hearing aid on Tuesday, and figured it would be a waste of a battery. But, I was wrong. I was instead filled with joy even at the smallest sounds.

Another praise is that I no longer have to go to the doctor’s office for weekly INRatio tests. INRatio is a small finger poke test that determines my blood count, due to being on the Warfarin blood thinners. I received my own home machine and kit on Friday and went through the training session. Monday’s test was an epic fail. The plan was to compare my home results with the doctor office results–I went and sat in the waiting room frustrated that morning. But not today! Because my blood count was high Monday, I had another test today. My INR was a success (thank you Mom for your help!) and my number matched the number at the doctor’s office. Now I am on my own!

While we were on spring break, I had a faxed order from my doctor for an INR test (just in case I needed one!) If I did, we would have had to find a medical facility to have the test done–which means registration, paperwork, waiting rooms–you get the point. Not something you want to do while on vacation! Having my own machine now will also eliminate this type of activity. The machine is not very big. I think my make-up bag is bigger, HAHA! So this is just one example I have thought of that makes having a personal INR machine a huge blessing!

On most days, spring may still seems a long way off. March seems to have come “in like a lion” but can’t decide whether it wants to leave “like a lamb.”

‘He’ll be coming and going,’ he had said. ‘One day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down–and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.’*

In whatever way winter leaves or spring comes, I am learning to find hope, joy and blessings in both the cold and warmer days.

*C.S. Lewis The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

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