Saturday, June 28, 2014

"Going to Church"

When I was little, we went to "church."  "Going to church" meant Sunday morning or maybe a Wednesday-evening Lenten service.  It didn't mean dropping by the building to pick up the sweater you left there yesterday.

In recent years, friends talk about going to "Divine Service" or to "worship" or to "Mass" or to "prayers" or even to "celebration service."

[that moment when the light bulb clicks on]

Augsburg Confession, Article 7:  The holy Christian church is
the assembly of all believers among whom the Gospel is preached in its purity and the holy sacraments are administered according to the Gospel.

If you look at it that way, "going to church" doesn't sound any different from "Divine Service"!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Asking for Help

... also known as "bossing people."

I had to gather all my gumption to order-around little kids, to make them pick up their toys, to make them stop hitting a sibling, to write a thank-you note, to do their chores.  I kept making myself do it, for their sakes.  But boy, oh boy, I was not one of those moms who thought it would be realistic to have the kids doing all the housework for me by the time I was 40. 

This week I discovered why.

I can ask people to work alongside me.

I cannot ask people to do something for me if I am goofing off, resting, lying on the couch watching tv letting my brain heal.  I cannot ask people to clean house while I sit on the deck and read a book.  Even if they goofed off earlier while I worked, I can't seem to flip the scenario and ask them to work now while I rest.   

Last night, I asked for help.  There were groceries to be unpacked, hamburger to be repackaged and labeled and frozen, recycling and trash to be hauled to the curb, dishes to be washed, cat box to be cleaned.  All four of us pitched in, and the chores were done in about 15-20 minutes.  If I'd tried it myself it would have been more like two hours. 

I have to learn to request people to work while I don't. 
It's hard.
But I'm going to need to learn to do it before I'm 95.

(By the way, my mom will totally understand this dilemma.)

Hair Growth

7 weeks after the surgeons shaved it bare
17 days after surgery
It's growing.  Slowly.

I was mistaken for a man (by a friend!) last week.  And someone told me on Sunday that he much preferred the "babushka look" to the ... uh ... the "other." 

Yes!  Me too!

It's nice that Alia no longer seems afraid of me with my "boy hair."

Gary has encouraged me to take weekly pictures of the hair growth.  Because I have been frustrated by the changes in my hair as I age, he figured that evening out a huge bald patch on my scalp would be the perfect time to see what my hair did at different lengths.  When I came home from the hospital, Rachel cut my longer hair to match the fuzz over the surgery site.  When I'm in public, I usually wear a scarf or a baseball cap. 

The fact that I'm blogging about this probably betrays way more vanity in me than I want to own up to.

The scar site on my scalp doesn't show any more.  I think (I hope!) that my hair is long enough now to protect the scar from sunburn.  But I'm still being careful during midday; Pam warned me to watch out for sun on the scar tissue.

I do not think my hair will be long enough by the time of the wedding [just one month!] to go bare-headed yet.  Andrew asked Gary to keep his beard, even though it's summer, so that Gary would "look like Dad" in the wedding pictures.  Well, that lady ain't gonna "look like Mom."  But what are you going to do?!  LOL.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Strawberry Picking

Katie has done a LOT to tend the garden since I crashed.  When it comes to picking sweet berries, the girls are quite happy to help.  Alia loves it when we find insects or other small critters in the garden for her; she and I have different opinions, however, as to which of those creatures/pests should live or die.

I am SO glad we changed the strawberries last year, transplanting berries into a raised bed and putting grass seed in the former berry plot.  It's made the mowing much easier because we [well, they] are no longer mowing around an odd-shaped plot.  And I can help with picking/tending berries as they're easier to reach, and I can even sit on the boards at the edge of the bed.  Besides, the number of weeds is minimal in a raised bed compared to the ground-level plot.

Those worker-gals (in the photo above) forgot to take their berries home with them yesterday. So instead we are going to hog the benefits of their work.  We will enjoy strawberry shortcake for somebody's "birthday" today.  We'll have to pick some berries and drop them off for Katie's family another day.  Unless one of the other kids beats us to the next pickin' ....

Whoever Denies Me Before Men

Pastor has often heard me (and possibly others) moan about the verse in Matthew 10:
Whoever denies Me before men, 
him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
In Sunday's sermon he pointed out what happened the night when Jesus was betrayed.  Peter denied Him.  Repeatedly.  Shortly after he swore he'd never do it.  

Did Jesus deny Peter?  No.

No.  He didn't deny Peter!!  
"When we are faithless, He is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself."

So it is true what the preceding verse says: 
Whoever confesses Me before men, 
him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
And that promise trumps the damning word of law.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dear Diary ...

Discharged from outpatient speech therapy last week.
Discharged from outpatient physical therapy yesterday.

Borrowed Maggie's bike yesterday and rode back and forth in front of the house for two or three whole minutes, in yet another attempt to put a smidgeon of muscle back into my legs.  I did not topple over.  I did, however, get off the bike and walk it up the steeper inclines. 

The therapists warned me against overdoing; they said I must do a lot of "nothing."  They said that's when my brain does its healing.  I don't know how to do nothing.  I watch tv and read and do Sudoku's.  I drag myself through an easy chore or two.  I'm to the point of needing naps only when I overdo a bit. 

I've been watching Call the Midwife.  So many friends have raved about the series.  I have mixed feelings.  At the beginning, it seemed like the longest one-hour show I'd ever watched.  But after we got to know the characters and the setting, that aspect improved.  Overall, I get to liking the show, and then an episode pops up that infuriates me.  It's one thing to have a story about a brother and sister committing adultery, and then her committing suicide.  It's another thing altogether to have this relationship extolled as the right kind of love and passion and fulfillment.  Similarly, I can understand the reason why this series would set forth a story about a woman with "too many children" and her attempts to abort the next baby.  But that story takes on a completely different aspect when the narrator bookends the story with commentary on the Pill and the need for safe abortion to protect women from the Burdens Of Childbearing.  Then, when I've calmed down, I decide to give the series "one more chance" and the next episode gets me hooked again.

Andrew drove me to therapy the other day.  A soap opera was playing in the waiting room.  He was reading, but he caught glimpses of his first soap.  On the way home, he commented on the vengeance and hatred.  At my last haircut [no, I mean, the last regular haircut, y'know, in the salon, not the post-surgery head-shaving] I was sickened to see what was on soap operas today.  I remember people telling me when I was in college that they were inappropriate for Christians (or even decent people) to watch.  I thought that was overly legalistic.  I don't know if I've changed or if soap operas have worsened that much.  But now I'm inclined to agree: watching soaps today is submitting to the brainwashing of the culture.  (Oh, man, I'm gonna get hate-mail now....)

The strawberries are coming in abundantly.  I think we should replant healthy babies again this year, late in summer.  The difference in berry-size is significant.  And last fall it looked like those spindly, frail starters couldn't possibly produce anything.  I had to freeze some berries because we're bringing in more than we can eat ... and jam-making seems too risky right now with my brain-scrambles and my lack of physical strength.

God is certainly doing my garden-watering for me.  I did not get around to pruning the grapes, the cherries, or the apples.  Right now, the grapes vines look to be producing plenty of fruit and jam and juice.   The apples trees --which produced NOTHING the last three summers-- have baby apples.  I must have been pruning the wrong twigs in previous years.  Now, how do I figure out what I did wrong so that I don't repeat my mistake ... because these trees desperately need pruning as soon as fall's cool weather sets in.

I have not touched a lawn-mower since before my crash.  Gary has borne the brunt of that chore, with some help from Rachel.  We are deeply thankful that the neighbors have helped mow, and one has offered to loan his riding lawnmower to Gary occasionally!

Gary drove Maggie and me to the library last night.  First trip since my crash.  The library had notices about a town meeting that would deeply impact that future of the library.  Turned out the meeting was due to start just a few minutes before we left the library.  We drove straight over to town hall.  Both Gary and I ended up testifying briefly.  I'm glad we went.  Most of the citizens there were of the opposite viewpoint.  I think it was encouraging to the town board to hear us few taxpayers/voters in agreement with them.  It's probably also good that ALL the citizens attending were not of the one opinion, but that some of us agreed with the board's decision.  (I'm kind of scared to see how the local weekly paper quotes me: it's not exactly the most accurate news-reporting I've ever seen.)

We have lots of new members at church.  It is such an encouragement to see them arrive to visit, and revel in the liturgy and the preached gospel, to see their eager attendance at Bible class.  And they come back and bring friends.  Lovely!

You know what?  If you don't dust for long enough, you can't dust.  You have to use a wet, soapy cloth to scrub dirt off the furniture.  Each day I tell myself that I'm going to do a little housecleaning.  Just a little.  And it's harder to clean stuff than I expect.  Partly because I'm weak.  Partly because the dirt is thicker.  Ick.  (Thing is, before my daughters get any bright ideas to come over and help, I have to sort and file and toss and eliminate ... so that cleaners can find the horizontal surfaces in need of cleaning.)

At symposium last week, I found myself boasting to out-of-towners about the people at church.  We have done very little cooking since I arrived home from the hospital.  Our fellow-saints are preparing meals and bringing them to us.  I am absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity.  And the delicious cooking. 

I began weaning off the shingles drug (the one for nerve pain, aka my arachnoiditis).  Going from 3 pills daily to 2 was okay.  Going from 2 to 1 pill has been a bit much.  I thought I'd be weaned off the drug entirely before seeing the neurologist for my follow-up visit.  I doubt it now.  I'm too whiny about the nerve pain again.  I look like a dope, carrying a pillow around with me, so I don't have to sit on a hard pew or chair at church.  Too bad.  Dopey-looking is better than whiny and suffering.

That's enough update. 
I have all these scribbled notes for things I want to put on my blog/diary.
But there's only so much sitting at the computer that my body can take. 
So now I'm stopping and heading off to find a pain-pill.  
Have a happy day!