Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Candy Night for Dean

Finally some people have been coming to our door tonight to trick-or-treat. I debated whether or not to invite trick-or-treaters to the house this year by leaving the porch light on. But so far, the only problem is keeping Dean out of the candy. Having the dog in the bedroom, so her yapping along with the doorbell doesn't drive him to distraction, has helped.

I went earlier to our church to help with the Halloween event they had there called Light up the Dark, but let them know I would have to be home by dark, in case trick-or-treaters came to our house. Didn't want Dean going to the door on his own. I'm not big on celebrating Halloween, you understand. (See my blogpost on Halloween last year.) But the event at our church tonight was pretty special. It was a chance for children to hear Bible stories, and I'm sure some of them in the community don't get to hear them very often.

I'm glad I arranged for Dean to partake in Halloween at home though. He loves children and doesn't get to be around them much lately. The logistics were hard though. I had to hide the candy all week. And then make sure he was clothed properly when the kids showed up. And figure out what to do about the dog. But it has come together pretty nicely. After the one bag of candy is gone, I'll just turn out the light. Certainly don't want a lot of leftover candy sitting around. Not that it would sit long with Dean on the prowl for it.

Dean has often quoted the Bible where it says we must become like little children. And he says he's working full-time on that. Just hoping next year, Dean won't want to be going out trick-or-treating himself! I think I'll work on a list of friends with candy we can "visit" that night, just in case. Any takers?

King Nebuchanezzar, about to order the 3 Hebrews thrown into the fiery furnace. This young man, dressed up like a king, did an excellent job telling that story tonight!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Warm and Toasty

My daughter felt really bad about leaving her husband with a broken clothes dryer before we left for women's retreat this past weekend. The day we left she discovered that it wasn't drying things right. But he found out the problem and fixed it while we were gone, good handyman that he is.

On her return, after he left for work the next morning, she was feeling bad about having to inform him that the toaster wasn't working either. It was a recently-bought, four-piece toaster, but the bread would just not go down like it should.

Then she noticed that it was unplugged. Here was something even she could fix. She just plugged it in and voila! The bread not only went down, but it started to heat up and toast. Prior to that, she was thinking that even if it wasn't plugged in, at least the bread would go down when you pushed on the lever. But evidently, toasters are mere counter decorations if you don't plug them in. They won't do a thing but look pretty.

And we are just here for decoration too, if we aren't plugged in to the Power of the Universe. Without God, we literally can't do anything. At least not anything of a useful nature. I hope I can remember to stay plugged in, so God can use me. And if He allows me to be pushed down, He will also let me heat up and warm someone else. We'll be warm and toasty together.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dental Chair Humor

While the rest of the world is seriously consumed with a presidential election and a late-season hurricane, I was entertained today by taking my husband to the university dental school for an evaluation.

It wasn't long before the nurse called me back to his examination room to answer questions about medications and any changes in his health. She did ask Dean if his mouth had been sore. He reported, "Yes, but I keep it filled with candy." I silently laughed at his playful, but sadly truthful, retort, while the two dental students began to lecture him about the harm of eating candy.

After the specialist asked some more questions, she told Dean she'd just like to look in his mouth. He politely replied, "Sure, if that's what you're getting paid for."

When she found the area of his mouth that's been sore, she instructed a dental student to get the camera, and asked Dean if they could take a photo. Trying to keep his mouth open while the student focused the camera, Dean asked them, "Are you going to frame it?" By now, I had a really hard time holding my composure and not shaking with laughter, but didn't want to stand in the way of science, so I kept my mirth to a minimum.

As you can see, there is something to laugh about, even in the midst of a storm. Didn't the Bible say that laughter is good medicine? Nothing like a good dose of laughter to make me glad to be home by the side of my lighthearted, loving husband again, after an equally joyful and relaxing time at Women's Retreat.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Born Again--Daily

My daughter and I returned from Women's Retreat this afternoon. It seems both husbands were happy to see us home. And it is good to be home. We both feel recharged and renewed, spiritually and physically. Hopefully our families will see such a difference in us that they will be glad to see us go next year as well!

Noticing the amount of food that was consumed by Dean while I was gone, he wasn't missing any meals. Besides all the microwaveable freezer food I left him and several pounds of fresh grapes, he helped eat a whole crock pot of chilli that my nephew made. Dean admitted he had six bowls of it himself. His appetite was not waning while I was gone. But one of the first things he asked me when I walked in the door was what could I fix him to eat. Maybe eating reminds him of me. Or I remind him of eating?

Right now my appetite for God is right on par with Dean's appetite for food. We learned from the main speaker just today that to be born again, we need to admit to God we need to change, ask Him to fix it, and then hold onto Him to keep us from doing it again. No matter how long we've been a Christian, we need to do this on a continual basis. If Paul said he died daily, then he must surely mean that he would be born again daily too.

I need food daily, at set intervals. I needed the reminder this weekend that I need God just as often. May my appetite for Him never languish.

Kayla and I at breakfast--Women's Retreat 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Daughter's Humor

The presentation about caregiving that I have been looking forward to giving for the last year is over now. It was gratifying to see over twenty women at our church's Kansas-Nebraska Women's Retreat attend, the majority of them caregivers themselves.

The one caregiver woman that I was most interested in this weekend was my daughter. This is the first women's retreat we have attended together.

Last night I was rehearsing my seminar presentation alone in our motel room with Kayla as my practice audience. My nervousness was seriously reduced by one of her comments, because it brought about such a good laugh for both of us. At one place in the PowerPoint I ask what a highly mobile society means to caregiving today. She quipped "We are on the phone all the time?"

All I can say is, she has her daddy's sense of humor. And when I needed it the most. She also had prayer for me just before the seminar began. Just when I needed it most.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dean's Memory

I have a list and a thousand things to remember and do tomorrow to get ready for Women's Retreat this weekend. In addition to remembering my oxygen equipment, the Bi-pap machine, tubing, and portable container, I will have my laptop and notes for conducting a seminar on Sabbath/Saturday about caregiving.

Then there are things to remember for Dean while I'm gone. Even though he won't be totally alone in the house, my nephew is here, I'm sure Dean will feel alone with me gone. I will be making frequent phone calls, so he won't feel so lost. I really am his "memory" these days.

I just pray that God will use me in this seminar. Non-caregivers don't have a clue about what it's like to be a caregiver. I will probably mostly have caregivers come to my "break-out" session, but I'm hoping the information will spread out, even from the few who will attend.

I will report back next week. Keep me in your prayers.

Getting a Lift

I was wondering what the physical therapist would be recommending for Dean today. Last year when he was here he didn't get much accomplished because of Dean's foot fracture.

After he went through some exercises with him today, I began telling him of Dean's lack of activity and how I end up waiting on him, probably too much. But when I said it was mostly because it was so hard for Dean to get out of his recliner these days, he said he might qualify for a lift chair.

That would really be nice. Hopefully it would mean that he would get up more often, which would be good for him. And it would be less wear and tear on my old body by grabbing his hand and pulling him up all the time, or just waiting on him hand and foot. So it would be good for me too.

God can grab our hand too to help us up. Or He can give us a "lift chair" to help us up. Even though it feels like we are getting up on our own, God is still doing the work. Let's not forget the source of all our efforts and activities. Whether we are pulled from the front or pushed from the back, God is doing the pushing and pulling. It is God, all the way.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Salting the Table

I was noticing tonight at supper how fast condiments have been disappearing in our house. After seeing how much soy sauce Dean poured on his rice and stir-fry vegetables, it wasn't hard to know who the culprit is. He saturates almost all his food with Tabasco, Frank's Red Hot Sauce, ketchup, or steak sauce. Either that or he salts and peppers it to death.

I don't know if he really intends to get that much flavorings and seasonings on his food. Maybe he's just slow about knowing when to stop pouring, or he doesn't see well enough to know when he's got enough on the food. I have noticed that the whole dining room table looks like it's been salted when he's done. But the main reason seems to be that he wants his food to taste the way he's trying to season it.

In the same vein, we can think of all kinds of reasons why we sin. But the main reason is most likely that we just want to. We like the pleasure it gives us. Let's not forget the price we pay for that pleasure though. Someone is paying for our indulgences, just like I'm having to buy more condiments and clean the whole table of spilled salt. And ultimately Dean will pay with loss of health. But more importantly, he's losing out on the real taste of the food. Life is just so much better, without our attempts to spice it up on our own.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My One-year Journey

It's been one year today since I started this blog. I have obviously taken some vacation days here and there, but I'm getting close to the 365 blogposts that was my goal. This is # 327. Thank you, readers, for joining me on this spiritual journey.

It's been a big faith builder for me to see how all the little things I experience in my day relate in some way to a bigger picture, which includes the whole universe. So many things can teach us lessons of faith. Whether you are a caregiver, a teacher, a parent, or anyone concerned about someone other than yourself, you too have the opportunity to learn about God from the daily events of your life.

I have some ideas for the future of my blog. Perhaps taking Bible stories and seeing how they point to the life and death of Jesus. Or exploring the inside of the temple and seeing how it illustrates the ministry of Jesus as well. These longer stories might be less frequent, but I hope someone will gain a blessing by my sharing of them too. I welcome your ideas.

I promise to keep everyone up to date on Dean's health too though. I'm sure his antics and quips are what keep some of you coming back to my blog from time to time. Dean has always had the ability to make me laugh. That's one of the qualities I married him for. It's what has helped keep both of us going through even the roughest times.

Thank you again for spending time with this blog, my thoughts and ideas openly expressed.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wasting the Day

A little while ago Dean asked me to walk with him to deliver a child's Bible story magazine from church to a little girl who lives across the street. He's been giving her one almost every week for over a year now. Her grandma says she looks forward to Dean and the stories every weekend.

It was the first time I had stepped outside all day, except for our short drive to the library, and as we stopped and sat in our front yard swing for awhile on the way back, I couldn't help but lament that I hadn't spent more time outdoors today. I had really wasted some beautiful fall weather. Who knows how many days this nice are left till winter.

And who knows how many days we have left before Jesus comes. Have I done all I could in the Master's service today? Or have I wasted valuable time just thinking of and taking care of myself? Lord, help me not waste another day, another moment of life, by not declaring your love strongly to all who will hear. The time is perfect for sharing the Word. It is just something we have to do, and it should be as enjoyable as sitting on the front yard swing.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Scrambled Eggs on the Floor

I was getting ready for church this morning when Dean asked me what I was fixing him for breakfast. When I said steel-cut oatmeal (which just needed heated up), he said he wanted to fix himself some scrambled eggs instead. Knowing I wouldn't be leaving for a little while, I said for him to go ahead then and do the eggs himself.

That's when disaster struck. As he was taking the eggs out of the refrigerator, the carton, almost full of eggs, made a nosedive out of his hands and onto the floor. What a mess! I don't know what he would have done, if I hadn't been there to clean up the gooey remains. I managed to salvage five or six cracked eggs, which I broke into a frying pan for him to start scrambling for us both to eat. Then I threw out or mopped up the rest of the eggs.

He felt bad enough already, so I refrained from yelling at him for his carelessness. (Wish I had that much patience when I was a young mother.) But then Dean, halfway serious, told me it was really MY fault, since I had told him to fix his own breakfast.

When trials come, do I tend to point my finger at God, even a little too? Even though God has given me freedom to choose, and all the basic necessities of life, I still want to throw the blame onto Him, because He's supposed to be in charge. I hope I can remember that it's our loving, patient God, after all, who cleans up the messes I've pretty much made on my own. Even the accidental ones.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Breaking Bread

I'm so glad we have a small gathering to go to on most Friday nights, the beginning of the Sabbath. A place for Dean to be with some of his church friends and a time to share the study of God's Word. Dean has been missing that at church the last few months due to his dementia issues, so I'm thankful he still gets a small taste of church life at our friends' house most weeks. They are so special for providing us with that, for being supportive of Dean's needs, and for letting us both have a taste of Christian social life again. Some nights we even share a meal together, usually something simple like soup or "haystacks", and that is extra special.

The book of Acts tells of the early Christians "breaking bread from house to house" (Acts 2:46). And they did it "with gladness and singleness of heart."

I would encourage all church members to not be shy about inviting people into your homes. Your house doesn't have to qualify for a Better Homes and Gardens photo op. And your cooking doesn't have to match the chef of a quality high-class restaurant. Your guests will feel special just because you invited them.

I know we do.

Dad's Desk

A much overdue "to-do list" task got completed yesterday. I totally cleaned my dad's desk area. It was surprising all the office supplies I discovered I had available. When my dad, who passed away two years ago, went to the office store, he purchased enough to last, well, for more than his lifetime.

I keep the top of his desk for mementos of my dad. So many memories came rushing back as I rearranged and dusted the items. He spent many happy hours at his desk, getting to know his computer, but more importantly, keeping in touch with friends and family. Eventually their dining room turned into his computer room, much to my mom's dismay. But she was willing to sacrifice it for the worthy cause of keeping dad happy.

No matter how hard I try, I will never think of it as anything other than "dad's desk". In my mind, it will always belong to him. And shouldn't I likewise view all my possessions as belonging to God? It makes me pause to thank God for entrusting me with so much. And that's why I try to have "mementos" of God in every room too. Pictures of Jesus or books about Him on every shelf, even a framed poem about Him in my bathroom, to remind me of the real owner. I don't want my earthly father's influence forgotten, and the same goes for God's, the Giver of it all.

Dad's corner

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Getting Dressed

This morning as I was helping Dean get dressed, I thought of my granddaughters. Especially the two-year-old, who is at the age when she can do most of the dressing, but still needs some help. Just like Dean.

The difference between them is the dialogue that takes place during the process. Julia is always saying, "Me do it, me do it." But Dean says, "You do it, you do it." You get the idea. It's rather humorous when you think about it.

But isn't that how we are when we are young? Striving for independence, wanting to do everything for ourselves. As we get older, we are more likely to recognize our limitations and appreciate help from others.

I hope my spiritual striving follows this logic. The older I get, the more dependent I hope to be on God. After all, didn't God dress Adam and Eve with animal skins after they sinned? And isn't He the one who covers us with His robe of righteousness? When it comes to getting dressed for heaven, we'd better be saying to God, "You do it, you do it." Or we aren't going anywhere.

Her mom reports it took 45 minutes to get this outfit get the picture.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Debating my Father

I'm getting excited about the presidential debate coming up this evening. All this political talk reminds me of my dad. He was so patriotic and encouraged me to stay on top of the issues and to get out and vote intelligently every year. As a World War II veteran, he felt it was his American duty to know the candidates and to keep democracy alive by participating in the election process, as much as possible.

It was a source of amusement to me though that we always ended up supporting different candidates. He tried so hard to convince me of his party's merits and just couldn't understand how a daughter of his could think so opposite of him politically. I really wish it hadn't ended up that way. I would have loved sharing his views and opinions. But after all, part of the democratic ideal is the freedom to choose our leaders.

I'm glad for my heavenly Father too and the freedom He gives us to choose whom we will follow. It must pain Him when we choose the enemy's side, but His love is still there for the sinner. And, just like my dad, God will continue to persuade us to His way of thinking, right up to the very end.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Key to Peace

When we got back to the car after a dental appointment today, Dean had to go down some steps and almost stumbled. He caught himself by grabbing onto the car just as our car horn went off for seemingly no reason, except maybe it didn't like being pounded on by a 240-lb. man.

 I hurriedly put the key in the ignition, thinking that would turn off the anti-theft system. After trying several other things to stop the honking and start the car, I finally thought to put the key into the door lock, and thankfully that solved the problem. Whew...peace and quiet again. I just wasn't putting the key in the right place.

I am always happy to find peace and quiet in my tumultuous life. I just have to remember to put my key in the right place.

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27

I can put my "key" in the world or in Jesus. I'll take Jesus' peace any day.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Today was a day of small victories on the caregiving front. I finally talked my husband into getting his Meals on Wheels changed to vegetarian. I hope he likes the meals, but he decided he'd try it with the caveat that he could have it changed if he becomes dissatisfied with the new menu items. He grew up in a vegetarian family, and only took up meat-eating as an adult. It's just that change comes so hard for him with his dementia.

After talking with the dietician, I think Dean will be pleased with the offerings they have developed. We got a letter in the mail about some changes with the Meals program. They are attempting to make modifications to comply with the new guidelines of "My Plate", which has replaced the former "Food Pyramid". I think there will be a demand for healthier fare in the future, as more people are becoming aware of the importance of healthy eating choices in combating many of the diseases of our Western diet.

People sometimes wonder why I have been a vegetarian for so many years. It wasn't the hippie, love-the-animals movement of the 60s, the environmental consciousness of the 70s and 80s, or the health-conscious, jogging, exercise gym freaks of the 90s that sold me on the idea. Although I see merit in all those concerns.

My Seventh-day Adventist religion has been encouraging vegetarianism for well over a hundred years now. Through my church's influence, I have therefore come to the conclusion that we owe it to our Creator God to take care of our bodies so we can better serve Him. It's a personal choice we all make, and is not at all a mandate for church membership. But for me, the choice I made when I was 21 was not difficult. It was based on love for God and a desire to serve Him as well and as long as possible.

Please don't get the impression that my diet is perfect though. With vegans now on the scene, I continue to strive to eat as healthy as I can. I can't blame dementia on my unwillingness to change, now can I?

Here's a couple of "My Plate" suppers in the Thompson household.

Peas and carrots, sweet potatoes (sweetened with pineapple)

rice and stir-fry

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Dentist

Last week I accompanied my daughter to the dentist's office for a checkup for my two granddaughters. It was a very kid-friendly dentist, so both girls, just 2 and 4, were allowed to sit in small dentist chairs in the same room, just a few feet from each other, with a TV screen to occupy their minds. I'm sure this was to help reduce the anxiety and fear that small children feel at the dentist.

When it was found that Jenna, the oldest, would require some follow-up work, I overheard the dentist telling her momma not to overburden her with the details of the procedures, even though he explained to my daughter just what would transpire on their next visit. The dentist himself would fill her in on just what was going to happen when they arrived for their next appointment. Once again the fear and anxiety factor was taken into account, even in how information was given to these pint-sized patients.

Our heavenly Father is just as mindful of our potential fears about what will happen at the end of time. As these troublesome events approach, He admonishes us to press together, just as sheep in a flock will do when a predator is near. And He is careful to give us just enough information through the prophets as we need to make it through the hard times. We, as children ourselves, would be much too fearful if we knew all the details too soon. But He will tell us just what we need to know, when we need to know it. I'm glad we live in a people-friendly world. God, like a kid-friendly dentist, will do all He can for His children.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Old Computers

Not sure if my blogposts have been missed the last couple of days. But I've sure missed doing them. The problem is my laptop gave out on me and I'm waiting for someone to check the cooling system (i.e. the fan) to see if it needs replaced or what. Not wanting to use it for fear of overheating.

I'm resorting to plogging away with a clunky, old desktop to write this post. I can definitely type faster than this thing can think. But it's better than nothing, so I'll make the attempt. I'm sure it will get the job done, but with less speed and agility.

To be honest, that's pretty similar to how I work these days. With less speed and agility. Anyone who's experienced shortness of breath can understand my plight. Walking across the room and I sound like I've just come in from a mile-long jog around the neighborhood. And please don't let my body get too close to the floor (besides my feet), because I am not very graceful getting to a prone position from that depth.

I have just talked myself into a new appreciation of this old computer. Even my husband, with his dementia issues, can still get some jobs done. I need to tell him so more often. If nothing, he keeps ME going, because of the activity his caregiving requires. I need the exercise to stay strong.

Maybe I'll use this old computer more often. Praying all the while that God will also use me...til I'm all used up.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Clean House...Not

Today has been a blur of household chores and dreaded phone calls, as most Mondays are. I make out the proverbial "to-do list" on Sunday, and then start digging in with all the things I want to accomplish in the coming week. Things like washing the bedding, sorting and organizing Dean's recliner "area", cleaning the bird cage, and scrubbing behind the kitchen sink. But these things are on top of the everyday, basic tasks of washing dishes, clothes, cooking meals, and emptying trash cans.

Any more, my shortness of breath never allows me to finish a "to-do list". I have learned to be content with a house that is never sparkling clean everywhere. But that has fleeting bright spots scattered about that I can be proud of and that gives it a look of orderliness that tricks you into thinking it's clean under the surface.

In a way, this mirrors my spiritual life. I will never have a complete and virtuous character that I would desire. But God has covered me with his perfect robe of righteousness. And with His touch of love, I can be perceived as having a form of Christianity that perhaps someone would wish to emulate.

How wonderful it will be to shed these mortal bodies someday and put on our glorious, immortal robes. Then I will be truly clean everywhere, even under the surface.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Serve Me NOW

This morning when I got to church I went straight to my granddaughter's Sabbath School class to let the leader there know that I would be willing to tell the Bible story with the felts as part of their program. He had asked me a couple of weeks ago if I was interested in doing that, and I wasn't sure then. But after some thought and prayer, it made sense to go ahead and accept the invitation, thinking they would add me to their schedule for some future week.

Well, the leader was a substitute today and she asked if I would like to do it TODAY. Not quite prepared to be used so soon, I agreed and busily started pulling out the felts and looking over the story. I didn't notice till it was almost time for my story that my granddaughter had slipped into class a little late. For once she sat up right close to me, her teacher, instead of sitting on the fringes like she usually does. She looked so happy to see her grandma telling the story.

Not only that, but a little girl I didn't even know grinned at me during the fellowship meal later, and said I was her teacher. It was such a good, familiar feeling to be recognized by the children in church again. I have missed that since retiring from being a school librarian.

From this experience, I've learned that when God calls us to do something, even with just a simple request from a church member like I was given, don't hesitate to say yes. God doesn't call the prepared. He calls the willing. And you might be needed sooner than you think!

Jenna in red--last year's Christmas program--love them all!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Super-caregiver Sister

There's only one kind of stress that equals that of a caregiver that I can think of, and that's the stress of an educator. Especially a teacher in the middle grades. My sister-in-law falls in this category, but she also has the distinction of being a caregiver. I don't see how she copes with all life is handing her right now. Throw in almost an hour commute each way to school and you can see why I look up to her as a super-caregiver. She and my brother both have enormous family and job responsibilities, and I know it can only be by the grace of God that they can make it through each day.

The reason they are on my mind particularly this evening is that today my sister was hurt at school, trying to break up a fight among some students. She's not seriously injured, but will have to wear a half-cast on her left arm till the tendons heal. She was bruised up enough to be sent to the hospital for evaluation. How tedious it will be for her to type and do many of her teaching tasks after this mishap. We're just thankful she wasn't hurt more seriously.

Whenever any of us feel that our life is spinning out of control, it is often only our faith that keeps us going. This is the main theme of my blog. I want people to know that when we are in the middle of trying times, God is there with us. Sometimes it's even easier to see Him then than when things are going smoothly. We seem to lose sight of Him in the good times. But God is everywhere.

And that's why I will never run out of material for this blog. Look for Him in your life. He is always as close as you will have Him.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Caregiving Team

Today I discovered that my chore provider, helping me with Dean, is also going to be helping me! Of course, my biggest chore is taking Dean places, which I have come to really detest and avoid, when possible. An ex-truck driver, who feels his wife, at least, still needs driving instruction after almost 40 years, is not my idea of an ideal passenger. Neither of us are at our best by the time we arrive at our destination. So getting some more assistance with getting Dean out or just away from his recliner will be nice.

She will also be providing us with some needed housekeeping chores. Some of those deep cleaning tasks that I'm not so good at since my pulmonary failure six years ago. Dusting and getting cobwebs, cleaning the tub and floors, and just anything that requires a lot of bending over will be welcome help too.

I've thought of myself as Dean's sole caregiver up until about a year ago, but that just isn't true any more. With nurses and bath aides and now chore providers coming in and out of our lives, I'm now just part of the team. But it's nice to know that my caregiving teammates are looking out for me too.

I think this is also how God wants our church teams to function. We work as a team to keep each other spiritually uplifted and growing in the Lord. All of us need caregiving from each other and need to become involved in each others' lives as much as possible.

I'm glad there are so many people in my life who care enough to get involved. It keeps me going. And that keeps Dean going.

No Blocks Left Behind

The Scrabble game has been left out on my kitchen table for about a week now. And numerous times the board has been filled with words, with any passersby able to offer words and fit them in the crossword puzzle it creates.

It's been easy to spot Dean's words. Most of them don't make sense, or don't fit in correctly to make words from all directions. I've noticed that the more nonsensical words on the board, the harder it is to use all the blocks and finish the game. Isn't this how life is though? The more dysfunctional our life becomes, the harder it is to get to the finish line?

I find it helpful to use the dictionary or ask someone, when I'm playing Scrabble, when I'm not sure about the spelling or meaning of a word. But some people are not comfortable seeking help. It is an admission of failure, of not knowing something.

Let's don't ever be hesitant to ask our Bible and our heavenly Father though. They can give us answers and help us get to the end of the "game", with no "blocks" left behind.

I think you can guess which side of the board Dean filled!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Help in the Fire

3 fire fighters, reaching out to "library kids"

This morning I attended the story time at a public library with my granddaughters. The special feature this week was a visit by three fire fighters, who's fire station is right across the street from the library.

They read a couple of books for the mostly 2-4 year-old crowd. But then one of the men put on his uniform with the special mask, tank, boots, gloves, etc. He was quite unrecognizable, even as a human being, when he got all decked out for fire duty.

I was surprised that several of the children were quite scared of him and retreated to the arms of their mothers. I thought at first that it was not very wise to make these toddlers feel so insecure, but then the men explained that if they had a fire at their house, they didn't have to be afraid of someone who looked like this. There was no need to run away from him. Instead he was there to help them. He kept saying through the mask, "See, I'm still Fireman Bob." After "high-fiving" several of the kids and letting them touch the uniform and get close if they wanted, he took the uniform off so they could see he was still who he was before.

There are many things in life that frighten all of us. How many times do we run away from what we perceive is danger or hard trials, but it turns out to be our salvation? That's why it's so important to get to know God, just like the children needed to know it was really Fireman Bob under all that garb. Because God is a real, caring Being too...and we shouldn't run away from Him, even when there's not a fire.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Clean Heart

I hate it when I let too many meals pass without doing the dishes. This afternoon I looked at the huge piles of dirty dishes in both sinks, and knew I'd have to tackle them right away, so I could enjoy the women's dinner at church tonight without visions of a dirty kitchen plaguing me the whole evening.

While I was administering the cleaning touch to the dishes, I pondered how hard it was, doing a lot of dishes compared to doing them when there are just a few. Even though that means doing it more often. It's like another task most people don't like. Namely, asking forgiveness. Or even offering forgiveness.

Because the longer you wait to ask forgiveness, the harder it is to do. And likewise, the longer you wait to grant forgiveness, the harder it is to accomplish. Sometimes, I let the little hurts and annoyances that come with taking care of a man like mine just pile up too high. So I need to consciously be forgiving him a little at a time.

Fortunately as a reminder for me, Dean asks for forgiveness many times during the day. Does it count when he can't remember what I'm forgiving him for? You bet it does. I think it counts even more, because I know it's coming from his heart, and not just his mind. And it's easy to forgive when it's a heartfelt apology like his.

I like a clean kitchen, but I probably like a clean heart even more.