I like to think I am a person who is pretty self aware. I know that I like baths over showers. No matter what others think, wearing orange makes me feel happy ( I was once told I looked like one of those road construction barrels). I realized long ago that I can do the same thing over and over for quite a long time (think crochet). I know that I am a hard worker but deep down I really want to be lazy. I could go on and on but really, I also know that I am not a terribly fascinating person. I don't mean that in a bad way; I am ok with that.
So, I was surprised by myself this week. I was surprised that I had any surprises left in me! It was a pretty big shock, as a matter of fact. Something I had always known about myself turned out to be untrue. For over 50 years I have known that I strongly prefer red Tootsie Roll Pops, with the brown ones coming in second. This week, I suddenly realized my favorite Tootsie Roll Pop is grape!
So, now I am trying to come to terms with this. What does it mean? Am I even still me?
In Wyoming I pretty much appreciate any tree with the gumption to grow. The cotton-less cottonwood in our front yard has charmed me now for eleven seasons. It is a lot older than that but this is our 11th Fall in this home.
Each Fall I look forward to that afternoon I walk down the hall and see the golden glow in our living room. That magnificent tree can really put on a show and the afternoon sun pushes all that beauty through our front window. It can be absolutely dazzling! This is how it looked two years ago, although the photo doesn't really give the dazzle effect quite as I remember it. Where you see leaves that look bigger, that is because they were falling and were closer to the camera. It does give you an idea of what it was like to stand under it during the showering of the leaves. They were raining down on me as I took this photo.
Last October, though, nature did a brutal pruning of that tree.
I think it must feel a bit embarrassed by it's diminished glowing capacity now. I try not to talk about it where the tree can hear me. That tree is a fighter, though! It hasn't given up! As I've been resting in bed quite a bit these last few days, I've enjoyed hearing big leaves whack into the window. Yes, the wind is blowing. It is Wyoming. Anyway, sometimes I look up and the wind is holding one of those big leaves against the window for me for a few seconds. I kind of like that; its a little treat for me.
I think there is a lesson in all that somewhere. One of the things about life is that nothing is constant. A person may be strong and healthy but we all age, we are all vulnerable to accidents and illnesses. I think we are still responsible to do the best we can with what we have left. That sounds kind of preachy, but it is Sunday and I am married to the pastor. What do you expect?
I had the sweetest get well cards in the mail today!
I think this one looks like Cordelia and Elise bringing flowers. I especially enjoy the sun with the streaks of blue sky between each ray. Also, I notice they are both wearing orange. They know I appreciate a happy orange color!
Delightful little two-year-old Elise likes to share her optimism. I love that!
This sick stuff is getting old already. I just got up to do a little experiment and was surprised at how exhausting it was. One advantage to being at this stage in my life is that when sick, I don't have to take care of little kids or anything. I can just focus on getting past the fever, aches, cough, etc. without wearing myself out around the house. For all you young parents out there without that advantage... sorry. Want to hear about the experiment?
I have my phone, my Kindle and my laptop all on or by the bed. Mostly I just had Netflix playing episode after episode of "Bones" but last night I looked at Pinterest. I saw a pin about lighting oranges to burn as candles. Doesn't that sound refreshing! This morning I started breathing a little through my nose again (progress!) and realized that this little room could use some freshening up. I remembered the Orange idea.
I tried and I tried to light my orange but nothing happened. It was a waste of some good Vitamin C if you ask me. Maybe I missed a vital instruction from the Pin. Maybe I was supposed to pour gasoline on it first or something.
I had a brainstorm!
I suddenly knew what I could burn like a candle, something with a lovely smell... one of my many candles! That works. I am eating the rest of that orange!
When I was hospital-hopping with my Mom last week we both noticed there were a lot of sick people around us. It was almost like sick people were drawn to places like that. Anyway, I prayed that I wouldn't get ill. I washed my hands and used the alcohol gels so much my knuckles started to bleed. That wasn't so bad as it gave me an excuse to run to Bath and Body Works for yummy lotions. I knew that in order to be helpful to Mom I needed to stay healthy, and I did. For that, I was very grateful.
Today is a different story. Tuesday night I felt like I was developing a sinus infection but by last night I was sick all over. I had to take today off so I don't share this with coworkers and patients. I have taken up residence in our guest room, trying not to share this with Mike. People need him, you know.
So, what to blog about when you are sick in bed? I looked around me this morning and was enjoying the art in this room. I may have shared some of these with you before but if so, they are worth the repeat.
My mom painted this first one when I was a teenager. I loved how she used a palette knife, giving it a lot of texture. I don't think she actually ever gave me this painting but I pretty much just claimed it. It was probably the first piece in my now extensive family art collection. Possession is 90 percent of the law, right?
This piece is a photograph taken by our son-in-law. I purchased it way back when he was not yet our son-in-law because I loved it. I still do.
This is another of my Mom's paintings. I expect I borrowEd it and just didn't give it back. She painted it from a photograph of my Grandma Rose. Grandma always, always kept her hair pretty but she really outdid herself when she was wearing it like that. Mom did such a nice job as this looks just like Grandma, right down to that dimple on her cheek. Below the painting is a plate I found in a thrift store in Denver. I just felt happy when I saw it so now it is mine.
The last wall in my sick room is this watercolor by our daughter, Maria. I think she produced this when she was in high school. I was drawn to it! I make up stories about this lady. She is a young singer, still kind of nervous, who is wondering if the audience can tell she is in early pregnancy. By the way, she has a tremendous voice, sweet but powerful.
So, there you have it, the view from my sick bed. Now, I need to rest.
Last week, when my Mom was hospitalized, I cut my hair... in the hotel bathroom...with pretty scissors I bought at Target
...without a comb or a hand mirror.
Just so you know, I did clean up the hairy mess in the hotel bathroom.
This is not the first time I have done such a thing but it is the first time I wondered if it is my own little form of stress relief.
In my defense, I did go to a hairdresser first. I showed her a photo. She glanced briefly at it and then told me she didn't need to see it anymore. Then, she gave me a haircut that she thought I would like, with not much regard to that photo. Later, back with Mom, we found long hairs hanging out that she hadn't cut and big chunks of hair she'd attacked with one chop, leaving the hair looking rather weird in the back. I was going to try to live with it but it was so uneven! And I desperately need "even"!
Sometimes, you just have to take things into your own hands!
Last week my Mom had some adventures. It isn't my story so I won't go into details but I will say that my Mom has a funny way of vacationing. Some people enjoy special attention at a spa but Mom received her special care in an ER followed by some days in ICU. She didn't have to cook or clean or even choose her own clothing each day. That must have been relaxing. When Mom seemed to be getting kind of tired of the fun she was having at one hospital, she accepted an offer for a 2 hour ride with a comedian in the back of an ambulance. It was actually a trip out of state. Again, she got a lot of special attention. Again, she had people waiting on her hand and foot. They brought her injections, bags of fluid as well as special drinks that she usually did not get to enjoy at home... barium, potassium, etc. While I was doing the tag-along thing on my mother's vacation, my family at home tried to get their own special attention. At least 3 other family members during that week required medical attention, including 2 trips to the ER. Talk about trying to steal Mom's thunder! We received word of the most recent one just as Mom was finally discharged from the hospital. It upset us both and kind of took the "fun" out of the whole experience. You can read about that situation right here. It is actually kind of a horrible/sweet story so I hope you will hop on over to my daughter's blog for a second. Anyway. I think the drama may be over. Mom is recovering well, although a bit worn out. You know how vacations can do that to a person. I am home. Life is getting back to normal. I am doing laundry and it just does not get any more normal than that! When I first returned to town yesterday I went directly to check on the little granddaughters. I was so sweet to get hugs from Cordelia and Elise. Elise greeted me with, "I'm okay!" She told me the doctor made her all better. I noticed that she pretty much just ignored her broken arm and did fine with just one.
As a special bonus, my niece, Stephanie, and her boyfriend stopped in as well. That was a nice surprise!
So, what did you all do last week? What do you like to do for a little time away from it all?
Philippians 4:4-7 is a scripture I have read many times and even memorized in the past. This week, however, it is like a stabilizing anchor.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything. But in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (NIV)
This is a difficult week, not so much for me but for my Mom, who is sick and suffering. I came upon these verses again and decided I needed to memorize them and keep them right on the tip of my tongue while also tucked deep into my heart.
It is hard to think about rejoicing during the bitter days of life but that is what we are called to do so I am going to try.
I rejoice that God is God and no matter what is happening He is in charge. That's a big deal! He loves us and he is... Well, he is God.
I rejoice in the fact that we are living in a place and a time with medical care available. I especially rejoice in choices, specifically the choice to go where better care is available.
I rejoice that God has me wrapped in a loving web of family and friends who give me the support and assistance I need to better offer support to my Mom.
I rejoice in small things that bring her comfort...warm water, heated blankets and soft pillows. We know that many sick people don't get even that much.
I rejoice in technology so that I can remain in touch, even from Mom's hospital room.
I rejoice that Mom has so many people who care about her. She knows she is loved by family and friends. (If you are one of her NutriSystem Friends, know that she gave permission for this post mainly so you would know she had not dropped off the face of the Earth.)
I rejoice in big hospital windows and sunshiney days.
I rejoice in hope. I know there will be better days.
I'm still at my Mom's house and I am currently unsupervised. I needed to use my Mom's computer to do some work and having finished that, I decided to look through her photos on her computer. I'm pretty sure she won't mind that I did that.
She may mind that I'm posting a photo I found of her. I love my Mom and this photo make me feel happy so I'm posting them... She looks so pretty, don't you think? She won't mind my snoopiness and illegal use of her photographs (or whoever's photographs), will she?
I am at my Mom's home today and I woke up to admire this pretty quilt. It was one made by my Grandma Rose many, many years ago. I love it!
As pretty as it is, the fabrics aren't typical quilt type fabrics. There is a reason for that.
Although there were five girls in my Mom's family, I don't remember hearing that any had been cheerleaders. Nevertheless, my Grandma was the cheerleader seamstress. I guess she made their uniforms for a long time. She was a talented lady. Anyway, this quilt is made from scraps from those uniforms. Grandma never left anything to waste!
I enjoy anything that brings Grandma Rose to my mind.
Mike and I had business in Cheyenne today so before we came home, we took time to wander through our Capitol building. Did you know you could do that?
We thought it was quite well maintained and such a pretty building. Nothing is in session right now and there weren't many other visitors around but we did keep coming upon this couple. It seems they had just gotten married and their photographer was taking their photograph throughout the building. I didn't realize that they were actually standing on those stairs posing for the photographer until Mike made the suggestion we photo bomb them. Thankfully, I was able to stop him.
I did zip around so I could take their photograph from above as they came on down those stairs. I'm always on the look-out for a blog post opportunity! Well, really, how often does a person happen upon a wedding on a Thursday afternoon in the Wyoming State Capitol Building?
We had company this week-end and were busy. Yesterday afternoon, though, Mike and Our guest went on an adventure with some friends so I took my favorite little girls to the mall. It was our own little fun adventure!
It was Cordelia's to do the photo booth thing.
We stopped to see Alaysha, Sam's girlfriend. She took a lunch break with us which was short but nice.
Maria met us at the mall later and she took the girls home from there. When they pulled into their place she sent these photos...
One of the things I did this past week was to post a healing service for my parish nursing class. We were instructed to incorporate from our own denominational traditions. It was one of our assignments and I spent a lot of time on it, partly because I experienced technical difficulties but also because I wanted it to be meaningful. I kept thinking about my Mom as I did it. She is deep into her radiation treatments right now. She is not a complainer. I believe the resulting symptoms are rather brutal and exhausting her, but this is what she said when I asked how it was going, "Well, it's not fun." That is it. That shows what a complainer my Mom is. Still, I know she is suffering.
Anyway, I decided I would post mine for my Mom. Perhaps someone else out there feels in need of healing today as well, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual.
Leader: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Leader: Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Leader: Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another. Most merciful God...
All: We confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.
Leader: In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for his sake God forgives us all our sins.
Leader: Let us pray. O Almighty and most Merciful God, through your bountiful goodness, keep us from all things that may hurt us. Heal us both in body and soul so that we may accomplish all that you would have us do. Grant us wisdom, courage and patience as we seek your will in all things. Grant this, we pray, though you Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Reader: Psalm 107:19-21 (NIV): Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Please feel free to come to the altar for communion. As you leave the communion station you are welcome to go to the side stations where you will be anointed with oil as you receive words of healing.
Reader: Psalm 103:2-4 ESV
Bless the Lord, O My Soul, and forget not all his benefits.
Who forgives all your iniquity,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.
Prayers of Intercession
Leader: Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs. Father in Heaven, to You we lift up our hearts and our souls. We put our trust in you and we look to you for guidance and wisdom. We ask that you teach us your paths and give us the strength to follow your will. You have led us down trails of love and faithfulness, enveloping us in your tender mercy. Lord in your mercy,
All: Hear Our Prayer.
Leader: Lord we seek your grace, your mercy and your tenderness during our times of trial. We ask that you also wrap your compassion around those in pain who do not yet realize they need your presence. Lord in your mercy,
All: Hear Our Prayer.
Leader: God of all kindness, protect us today from calamities and distresses. We pray that you bring health where there is no health, peace where there is no peace, and joy where there is no joy, Lord in your mercy,
All: Hear Our Prayer.
Reader: Psalm 46:10 (New Living Translation)
Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.
Leader: May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May he look upon you with favor and grant you peace.
Sorry I've been gone a few days. I've been busy crazy out of my mind. That may be an exaggeration. I do have the Parish Nurse Class overlapping with my 4 volunteer positions right now, and then this job thing as well. I have been overwhelmed.
I wanted to go see my Mom this week-end but we have a church-related visitor coming for the week-end so I am home and plan to spend the day cooking and cleaning... If I can make myself out down this new phone!
Yes, I have a new phone and I have a new blogging app and right now it is typing for me while I am speaking. Isn't that weird? It's not exactly perfect though. It's kind a like when word correct helps you text. It is kind of fun, even if I have to make a lot of corrections. It types something about the infant with me... That would have caused some questions!
Here's a funny story (not). I put this app on my blog and did an entire post with cute photos like this one...
Then, when I posted it I discovered I had apparently made a brand new blog and I do not even know where it went. So, I started over. At least it gave me the chance to use that funny face emoticon.
So, this is my second post today, and apparently I have another blog out there in blog land. If you find it, let me know.
The following is my parish nurse article for our church's newsletter this month. I thought maybe some of you would find it helpful.
Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Recently I learned that my cousin’s daughter in Gillette had
come down with whooping cough, also known as pertussis. Due to an allergic reaction to her first dose
of the pertussis vaccine, she is not able to maintain that protection. A growing number of parents have opted to
avoid vaccines for their children over the last decade and many adults do not
realize the vaccine needs to be boosted every 5 years or so. Those are just two
of the reasons pertussis is making a comeback in our country, even here in
Pertussis is an airborne disease and is likely transferred
to others when an infected person coughs or sneezes, perhaps well before they
are aware of their own illness. When a
person is exposed, they may develop symptoms within 5 days but it can also take
up to 3 weeks. The vaccine is not 100%
effective but those vaccinated, if they do develop symptoms, usually have a
less severe case of this disease. In the
case of my cousin’s daughter, the entire household had to go on antibiotics,
even though they were all immunized. People
of all ages can catch pertussis but it is often much more dangerous to the very
Do you know the symptoms of pertussis? Early pertussis usually
begins much like a common cold with the usual runny nose, mild cough and low
fever. After a few weeks the cough can
become much more severe. During this
time a patient has paroxysmal coughing, making it hard to catch their breath
between coughs. This is when the “whooping” sound begins, as the patient struggles
to quickly inhale during the fits of coughing.
The coughing can be exhausting and so severe as to cause vomiting. This critical time can last 6 weeks,
occasionally even longer. 2-3 more weeks of convalescence occur once the patient starts
to recover. The coughing lessens but can
continue to occur for weeks. It is a
slow process to recover from pertussis.
We expect my cousin’s daughter to fully recover. She is a high school senior and strong enough
to get through this. Even so, she is at
risk for complications such as broken ribs or passing out from the
coughing. Infants and young children are
at greatest risk for the most severe complications such as convulsions,
pneumonia, infections spreading to the brain or even death. Persons with underlying respiratory or
immunity problems also have an increased risk or complications. Approximately half of infants with pertussis
will require hospitalization.
Pertussis can be treated with antibiotics to lessen the
severity and to help reduce the risk of an infected person spreading the
disease. Besides the regularly
recommended childhood vaccinations for this disease, adults can receive booster
vaccines as well. It is believed that
pregnant women who receive a booster may be able to transmit that protection to
So, now you know a bit about pertussis. It is a disease to be taken seriously but
thankfully there are steps to take to prevent or treat this disease. If you want to read more about it I’d direct
you to seek out websites such as the Wyoming Department of Health, Mayo Clinic,
or Medline Plus. I found much of the
information in this article from the Center for Disease Control at http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/ .
We've had a fun several days celebrating Cordelia's 5th birthday. I so love that girl! It seems those 5 years went by so quickly but on the other hand, it is hard to think of a time when we didn't even know her. Tonight, I feel such gratitude. I was standing behind Cordelia and looking across at Maria as we sang Happy Birthday. Suddenly, I was reminded of how I stood by Cordelia in the hospital right after she was born and I looked across her to Maria. I remember being very aware that Maria was bleeding. She was bleeding much more than what is normal. I so clearly remember looking at that new baby girl and realizing she might be raised without her mother. It was an awful moment. Still, I think it is important to remember it as it just makes me so, so grateful for how that story went. The doctor saved Maria's life. Her wonderful body was designed to rebuild the lost blood. She recovered and she has been an absolute wonderful mother to her beautiful girls. OK, enough of that. Now, enjoy photos from Cordelia's birthday party.
Cordy invited her preschool teachers, who were so gracious to attend.
Kylie and Gwen were her teachers from previous years.
Amanda is her current teacher.
Cordelia really, really loves her teachers!
The cupcake pinata was a hit.
One of Cordelia's guests was a little boy who lives across the street.
He and Cordelia were born on the same day,
in the same hospital,
delivered by the same doctor.
Isn't it strange/cool that they ended up living
across the street from each other?
Maria and Eric did such a nice job with this party.
They didn't spend a stupid amount of money.
They got out all their fun stuff, spread
it around the backyard and let the kids
just be kids.
It was great!
As the party progressed, the
play got a bit more wild and crazy.
The kids had so much fun!
The kids loved all piling into the tent and rolling!