Sunday, September 22, 2013

Still talking to me

Having lived with the hub for 39 years, and being his friend 4 years more, I was accustomed to sharing information with this man as I shared my life.

Now, as I clean out our home, I continue to learn more about him, and from him, in what were hidden messages and treasures.

Here and there: 18 tubes of lip pockets and drawers

17 small Mag lights…a favorite check-out purchase at home improvement stores

 12 nail clippers, 10 tweezers, 6 scissors…He was my love; he was NOT prone to put things back. He’d take what he needed, walk away, and then lay things down, wherever, when he was done.

Many, many bottles and cylinders of various extra strength OTC pain meds. He SO wanted to postpone those potent narcotics.

(I’ve yet to uncover extra forks and spoons. I believe these have left the building)

Then, at the bottom of a bathroom cabinet, I found one still-wrapped mouth sponge. There came a time when Mike would not get out of bed, ever again. One of my new tasks was to use sponges, soaked in water, to moisten his mouth. It was at this time that I became so very protective of his privacy and care…he did not want people to see him when this time came.

His pain medication took him to that state he had talked about so often…bedfast, no longer able to talk, not really aware of much. At the urging of the hospice people, I would sit at his side, stroke his arm or forehead, urge him to take some liquid, and talk to him quietly.

It was a brief, sweet, sad time we shared.

I turned the sponge over and over in my hand and remembered. Tears. And also joy that I could serve my husband I this way.

Another find, this time as I was sorting through books: God’s Inspirational Promises, by Max Lucado. It’s a small book, consisting of one-page excerpts from Lucado’s teaching. These are paired with several scripture verses.

I had picked this little book up, taking it with me when I had to get my brakes replaced. I planned to sit in the lounge and wait for my car. I figured that the short bits of wisdom would fill the time.

I started through the book, scripture on the left-hand side and excerpts on the right. I noticed, haphazardly, yellow scribbles through one of the verses on each page. The mark looked like a design.

On I moved. Again, the squiggled mark through one of the verse. The highlighted verse, by the way, was not the first passage on the page…sometimes the second; sometimes the fourth.

It wasn’t until I had read through 10 pages that I realized that the squiggles were Mike’s marks. Not the heavy, lined marks he usually made when he highlighted text. I was accustomed to seeing that. These marks were back and forth, scribbled.

And I realized that Mike had read through this booklet, one of many that gave him comfort and guidance, and had marked verses that spoke to him. God had ministered to my husband as he read this book.

And so, it was time to read again, much more slowly. Deliberate. And so, through this find, my dear sends forth a message to me.

And, since many of you loved my husband, I will share these with you, the topic and the highlighted verse.

Max Lucado’s God’s Inspirational Promises

COURAGE: Don’t worry because I am with you. Don’t be afraid because I am your God. I will make you know who holds your right hand, and I tell you, “Don’t be afraid. I will help you.”  Isaiah 41:10, 13

LOVE: The Father himself loves you; He loves you because you loved me and believed that I came from God.  John 16:27

HOPE: If God is with us, no one can defeat us. He did not spare his own Son but gave him for us all. So with Jesus, God will surely give us all things. Who can accuse the people God has chosen? No one, for God is the one who makes them right.   Romans 8:31-33

STRENGTH: Come to me, all who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept my teachings and learn from me because I am gentle and humble in spirit and you will find rest for your lives. The teaching that I ask you accept is easy and the load I give you to carry is light.  Matthew 11:28  29

GOD’S LOVE: Lord God All-Powerful, who is like you? Lord, you are powerful and completely trustworthy. Your kingdom is built on what is right and fair. Love and truth is in all you do.  Psalm 89: 8, 14

GOD’S FAITHFULNESS: Jesus will keep you strong until the end so that there will be no wrong in you on the day that our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God, who has called you to share everything with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.   I Cor 1:8-9

GOD’S FORGIVENESS: If we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all wrongs we have done.  I John 1:9

   and:  When the Lord All Powerful makes a plan, no one can stop it. When the Lord raises his Hand to punish people, no one can stop is.   Isa. 14:27

SUFFERING: I leave you peace my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world does. So don’t let your hearts be troubled or afraid      John 14:27

DOUBT: But if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to all people so he will give you wisdom.   James 1:5

GOD’S COMFORT: Even if I walk in the very dark valley, I will not be afraid because you are with me. Your rod and your walking stick comfort me.          Psalms 23:4

GOD’S GRACE: You have been saved through faith by believing. You did not save yourself; it was a gift from God. It is not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it.  Eph. 2:8-9

 GOD’S POWER: I praise your greatness, my God the King. I will praise you forever and ever. I will praise you every day; I will praise you forever and ever. The Lord is great and worthy of our praise; no one can understand how great he is.  Psm 145:1-3

I can attest that Mike struggled. I know that he found peace. And, these verses give me the same peace. Our prayer would be that you will find peace today, too.



Saturday, September 14, 2013


I've seen toddlers engaged in what their parents label a "meltdown." Back in the day, we used to call a temper tantrum...the child loses it and his control evaporates and he melts.....kick, scream, cry...all uncontrollably.

I'm a little old for a temper tantrum, but I know about a different kind of meltdown.

I took a little trip to New York. My plan was to walk all over Manhattan and then attend a play in the evening. My right foot had been bothering me...not too much, but enough that I noted that a trip to the doctor should happen in the future.

However, I stepped off a curb and turned my foot. Instantly, my little aggravation became a huge disabling injury. I was only a block from my hotel; I limped back and reported to the hotel medical guy. Yes, they had a team of EMTs at the Marriott.

One, Greg, helped me back to my room and examined my foot. "It's not bruised or swollen," he said. "You can go to the emergency room but I doubt that they'll do anything more than have you ice it and keep it elevated." As it turns out, I wouldn't have received all the TLC I got at the hotel.

He retrieved some ice in a blue plastic glove, wrapped my foot in a towel and arranged the ice bag. THIS would be my day in Manhattan....sitting in a very nice room with my foot up. the EMTs kept checking on me and bringing me coffee. By show time, my foot hurt less so I grabbed a cab and went to my play.

The next day, it was time to fly home and the NEXT day I was at the doctor when they unlocked the door. Yes, my foot is fractured. Yes, it should heal. Yes, I have an air cast. The doctor was quite curt in his discussion of my choice of footwear. I need less flexible soles.

My foot hurt but I needed to get to the lake. Up there, my nephew is in the process of building a new deck for the cottage. He was at the end of the 'tear down' phase. I'm not bothered by mess; I think it was the difference.

Back home and hobbling around on a hurting foot, I sat down to tackle my pile o' stuff: bills, correspondence, thank-you notes, and etc. I sorted it all out in front of me.

Then came the meltdown: I looked at an estimate bill that was to be paid in June. It's really not a big deal that I missed this. But I stared at DUE JUNE 15 and then my brain came crashing in.

A tear. Another, Then some sobs. Then some big sobs. And through all the precipitation, my mind went blank. I looked at my piles and went blank. I couldn't think what I should do. What are these? What am I supposed to do.

Sob sob sob............and a shudder that I was losing it....

I needed 2 minutes to drain all those tear ducts.....splashed some cold water on my face and sat back down. "Ok, I can pay the bills," I thought. "Maybe the rest will make sense after I finish that task."

I wrote checks and slip them into their envelopes, stamped them and piled them in the MAIL pile. I called my financial guy about the estimated payments. "No big deal," he said.

Finally the rest of the pile made sense and I could get caught up.

This a pride thing: I am not the all competent woman of my fantasy. And that's ok.