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Showing posts from February, 2016

Cataracts, Part I

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This is a really bad image, but I suppose that takes down the gross factor, right?
I'm sitting in the eye clinic, watching my dad's eye surgery.  They have a monitor all set up so I can watch the live feed of everything they are doing.  It's pretty interesting... to anyone who didn't get squeamish during high school biology classes.  Fortunately, I never did.  I poked through the pig carcasses and cut apart the earthworms and dissected the crayfish while my partner gagged. Not even the field trip to the university cadaver lab got me down,  although the smell threatened to do me in as we approached the building.  Formaldehyde and I don't get along well. So a bloodless eye surgery is no problem for me - I watched it while munching on my breakfast muffins.
I've learned some good life lessons while working with my dad and his failing eyesight these last few months. After his retina surgeries in December and January,  his cataracts got worse.  He can barely see sha…

Mission Monday

Not long now until Alec comes home!  That seems really wild to me. Has it really been two years?  And at the same time, hasn't it been nearly forever since I last saw him? There are a dozen emotions running in and over this mother heart of mine, but mostly love. 
I love this boy and am so grateful for the chance I've had to be his mother and to learn the lessons the Lord had for me through him. I'm definitely a better person because this boy, my strong-willed firstborn, has been part of my life. I'm looking forward to getting to know him as an adult.
And while I'm thinking about boys coming home, I got the official on Ben's plans. He had been thinking about extending his mission and staying for the summer. It's been a tough decision to make, with lots of pros and cons. This boy has always had a hard time making choices. He was the one who would cry at the toy store because he knew that choosing the toy he really wanted meant he had to not choose all the …

Where Do You Put Your Feet?

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I play the organ every week at church.  I'm proficient, but not splendiferous at it.  My mother, who had a 40-year tenure as the ward organist, taught me that the two most important parts of accompanying hymns were to begin the song together, and end when they end.  So I do, and anyting more than that is icing.


Now that's not to say that I am a terrible organist who is limping along.  On the contrary, I have played for many years myself and am quite comfortable with most of the hymns in the book.  Most, but not all.  So I practice.

I know what the hymns are at the beginning of the week, more or less.  The idea is that I practice them a bit every day and then I'm ready when Sunday rolls around.  Reality lives in a different world from my ideas, unfortunately.  I think about my songs at the beginning of the week, and then forget in the busyness of daily life.  About Thursday I start feeling panicky and by Friday I actually haul out the hymnbook.  I practice a lot on Friday,…

Mission Monday

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We've had some bad weather lately.  It's been murky and foggy and the air has been bad.  I'd rather not have to chew my air before I breathe it, thanks.  After about a week of this, it snowed lightly for a day, and then the sun came out!  We hadn't had sunshine for a while, so the sunshine felt so good!  Sometimes we have feel our way around in the dark before we appreciate the light again.


Ben wrote this week about how we can shine in the dark and be an example for each other.  It's a good lesson, and a good reminder.

Catch up on our missionary rambles from Madagascar and South Africa!

Happy Valentine's Day

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We were cleaning out some storage areas, where my mom had kept all her holiday decorations.  I'm not sure what happened to the valentine wreath, but we found Christmas wreaths in this box.  Most importantly, we found this love note on the box.


My parents were married nearly 45 years before she passed away.  As I'm helping my dad with his history, he glosses over tough areas (whether intentionally or he really can't remember, I don't know) and highlights his love for my mother.  I know there were hard times - some I witnessed, and some my mom told me about later.  I remember going to my bedroom at night after there had been some negative feelings and pressing my ear to their door in an attempt to see if their murmured voices were having an argument.  I couldn't ever tell.  They never fought in front of us.  
No relationship is without its ups and downs, but I'm glad they stuck it out together.  Still in love is an inspiration.  
Happy Valentine's Day, you s…

Desire and the Dangerous Doughnuts

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I ate a doughnut last week.  No, that isn't telling the whole truth.  I think I ate four or five of them.  Trent brought home a whole tray full of day-old doughnuts as a treat for the family.  There were so many that we  - I mean the kids - oh, and my dad - and Trent too - couldn't eat them all up in a day.  So he put the leftovers in the garage, where it was cooler than the kitchen and there were more places to put a big old tray full of doughnuts.  I am grateful that he didn't leave them on the kitchen counter, but in the garage wasn't much better.

You see, they were calling to me.  They know my name.  And they whisper and cajole and tempt and sing siren songs of sticky sweetness to me.  It is so hard to resist!

I am on a special diet because my body isn't functioning properly right now.  I CAN eat fruits and vegetables and whole grains and a little meat every now and then.  I can even eat a tiny bit of fat occasionally!  That's new and I'm happy about i…

Making Faces

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I was laying on the couch this afternoon when Freddie said he wanted to snuggle with me.  Normally I welcome such offers, but at that particular moment I was just getting up for a little trip to the restroom.  No, it isn't a restroom - the room I was resting in was the rest room.  It isn't a little girl's room either, because there are so many more boys around these parts.  No powder in there either, so it's not a powder room.  There is a bathtub, so I guess it's a bathroom, but it doesn't sound as nice.  Boy, we have a lot of euphemisms for our waste system requirements, don't we?

Anyway, Freddie insisted that we snuggle.  I told him I'd be happy to - for 10 seconds.  He laughed and then we started counting.  (Together) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5...  But when I said 6, he went back to 1 to start over.  Silly boy!  Guess he wanted more snuggles!


After I got back - and after the snuggles - Georgie brought up a game to play.  I got them this game for their last birth…

Living With Parkinson's Disease

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It's been eighteen months since we moved in with my dad to help him out.  He's got Parkinson's Disease, and his neurologist said he couldn't live alone.  My mom was here, but she passed away three and a half years ago.  My brother and his family lived here, and now it's our turn.  
I've learned so much about this disease, and about my dad, and about myself, and about my sweet husband.  I haven't written much about our experience here, because I wanted to respect my dad and not have him feel bad about something I wrote.  I don't think I have much to worry about now - he doesn't get online anymore.  I do want to be careful and respectful of our challenges here.  I do feel a bit compelled to include our Parkinson's adventures on this blog, because maybe it would help someone else who has similar experiences and feelings.  Sometimes I feel so alone and misunderstood and I wish there were others who know what it is like to be a Parkinson's caregi…

Mission Monday

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I love January.  After the hustle of the holidays, I'm ready to spend a month snowed in with a cup of warm ginger tea by the fireplace.  Or cinnamon tea - I'm not picky.  I could just sit and watch the storms blow in, comfortable as long as there is food in the pantry and I have a warm blanket around my shoulders.  At least, that's how I spent this January, and it was nice.  But now it's February and there is still snow.  It is still cold outside and I have to go out in it.  It's still winter, but I'm done.
My boys, however, are enjoying summertime.  Alec is sitting in sunshine and 83 degrees, while Ben is sweating it out in 94 degrees.  I could do without their humidity (70% and 63%, respectively), and I do have plenty of sunshine here, but it's not the warm kind of sun.  I'm ready for warm.

Look at that sunshine.  You don't know whether it is warm, and the drifting clouds provide a bit of a respite from the heat, or if the blue sky is reflecting o…

Going on a Field Trip

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I'm going on a junior high field trip. I'm not sure what got intro me, or what happened to my sanity. When Eddie came home with the permission slip for me to sign, there was a check box for "I would like to go as a chaperone."  What the heck. I've gone on field trip with my other boys, but never with Eddie, so I marked it.  And then I forgot all about it. 
Two days ago, I got a phone call from a desperate junior high teacher, acknowledging that it was short notice, but was there any way I could come and help out?  Sure!   I can hang out with a few kids for a few hours. Surely I'm capable of at least that much.
I made arrangements for my kindergartners, and planned to go. I packed my sack lunch (an apple and a handful of raisins and almonds), put on my best walking shoes (which isn't saying much), and got myself to the room at the junior high where the parents were meeting.   To my surprise, the room was packed. I didn't realize that there were six …

Look for the Good

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I love my family.  I am appreciative that we have a roof over our heads and sturdy walls to keep out the cold.  I have so many blessings!  That said, our living arrangements have been challenging.  Living with my dad has been two or three castes below renting, and I'm so fiercely independent that it is pathetically hard for me to have such boundaries.  I get it - this is my dad's house, and I can't make changes and improvements to it.  And he still lives here, so there is a lot of even the decor that I don't feel like I can change.  It made him crazy that I moved the silverware to a different drawer.
So I can keep sniveling about the things I can't change, or I can look somewhere else.  I get a kick out of the design blogs that show us a gorgeous homescape, and then turn around and photograph the other side of the room - where they have kicked the old papers and the dirty socks and last night's dessert dishes and the two blankets that don't match.  Thanks …