God’s Celery

That title may have originated from VeggieTales, not my subconscious, though these are very closely linked. I’ve seen all the shows (old ones, not new ones) so much it is easy to speak veggie.

I’m on a sort of diet, inspired by the book Why We Get Fat. I’m eating a lot more vegetables, and today was really looking forward to a celery snack. When I went to the fridge for some celery to put in tonight’s meatloaf (yes, in that, too), I saw that my bunch of celery was gone, and a bunch of that had been purchased by someone else was unopened but obviously old, yellow and rubbery. And it might have even been purchased that way, in haste. I fumed to Aliyah that I should take it back to the store, but I didn’t have all day to start dinner. I took a stalk and diced it up, grumbling why people had to eat MY celery.

If you’ve read any devotionals ever, you know where this is going. No, it wasn’t my celery, it was God’s celery. I have no claim to anything on this planet, not even my next breath. So thoughts like this began to calm me down.

Later I had the chance to run to Walmart to get, wait for it…celery. And milk and half and half and clif bars and nuts. God is so generous with me that I can afford these things. But you know what I was thinking as I packed the car? “I should tell (the person who bought that bad celery) to take it back and exchange it so they can get some more celery.” Immediately I thought, wait. I just bought celery. What would Jesus do? He would go home, throw away the bad celery, and tell the family to help themselves to the celery He just bought. There would be plenty more where that came from when we needed more.

Remember, God made you special and He loves you very much.

With Him We Rise

“Want you outside, Mama.”

And that is how I am found here on our new porch, typing away. I don’t think I have talked about Luke’s masterpiece yet. We recognized the need for Carol to have an easier way up the stairs a while ago, but just over Christmas was Luke able to do something about it. He built a long ramp that follows the length of the house, then turns to the spot in the driveway where she parks. It is really nice. He had his new Christmas grill set up here where I am sitting, until it blew off, twice (no railings yet). It seems the cover of the grill turned it into a kite and pulled it into the air like Mary Poppins. While the grill was still in place, a stray cat would take up residence under the cover and on the shelf of the grill. I don’t think I have talked about Luke’s nemesis yet. This cat shows up on a weeknight, peeking in the screen door and meowing. I quickly took a picture on my phone and sent it to my cat loving neice. This cat looked a lot like her cat, Fixie, so I named it Tuxie, as it was all black with a white triangle down its chest. We knew never to feed it, and didn’t expect it to stay around long. But after a few weeks it was wearing out its welcome. Wednesday night of last week we came home from church to find it had gotten in the basement. The boys and Luke had a bit of an adventure getting that cat out of our house, and Luke was now ready to put it to sleep. A few days later, he did the deed carefully enough that most of the kids didn’t know. Over the next week he would make comments about his recent kill and how much he missed the little guy, chuckle. I told him gloating must not be as exciting because not enough people know what he is talking about. He pointed out its final resting place to me on the way to church and I didn’t know what I was looking for. A hunter? A bird? A piece of litter?

I heard this morning about someone, actually a few someones, needing prayer and encouragement. It is good to be reminded that we are all struggling, and good for those struggling to be reminded that we are all in this together. I have some ideas for ways I can encourage these folks. Hopefully I can pull it off during this busy week. Bible Study, church, track practice, a dentist appointment, a birthday party (not ours), and a field trip. Should be wild.

Be Mine

And a lovely Valentine’s Day it is, too. Temperatures have to be in the fifties outside, and the sun is so welcome. I cannot complain about this mild winter, although a rough one was much more expected after the multiple mild ones we have had in recent years. One of these days in September, that Indian will show up at the feed and seed, warning us about what is to come. You just wait.

Yesterday Luke was home sick from school. During our time of study, we again broached the subject of “why isn’t this going more smoothly?” since Carol is here and helps out, and since I am well past the postpartum excuses for lack of progress. Luke has especially been concerned with our lack of writing, and the kids’ consequent lack of writing skills. He admonished me that I should be going through the different writing styles with them and helping them get familiar and capable in writing. Aliyah is planning on taking the ACT soon, and will need some confidence writing-wise, as that is one area of the test that is looked at more closely. I complained how it would be difficult to take more time, looking up these things on the phone, and was about to go into (again) how inadequate of a teacher of writing I would be, anyway, except Luke cut me off with, “Well, that’s your job. I don’t necessarily like everything about my job, but I go and do it each day.” If I wasn’t immediately mortified, I might have laughed at the irony of him sitting in his pjs, home from work, saying this. But it was a timely rebuke.

I had just been reading over some notes from a Bible study lecture that said when we are troubled, like Christ, we should say, “Father, glorify Your name.” Now, I am not certain of all I could do to respond correctly, but I did know it would include picking up the phone and looking up some good writing websites, and planning future times of putting together good instruction for the kids. This would glorify God and not myself.

Today went okay; we brainstormed a thesis statement for an essay. I think the kids had a pretty good handle on how to do it, to where we should be ready to write the essay soon. There is a whisper of fear here, though, as I feel like I’ll come to a place I don’t know how to move forward. Consulting Luke will be my first stop, as he is sure to be able to help.

 

Tuesdays With Kenan

Ay yi yi. Last night, Luke and I  settled back on our pillows at 8:45, 8:45, and grinned at each other. How nice to be going to bed so early! We proceeded to watch about 3/4 of an episode of Monk, then the night began to unravel. First, Julia woke up. I went to get her out of bed and, since it was dark, only dimly saw big red splotches on her sheet. Is that the set with the polka dots, I wondered to myself. But when I got her where I could change her diaper, I saw her face was covered in blood! Earlier that evening she had fallen against my leg, and her upper lip bled a bit after the mishap. But since then she had nursed, took a pacifier, and gone to sleep just fine. Now, she was bleeding heavily. Luke helped keep me calm and instructed me on what to do (so thankful for his authority and first aid knowledge!), and we got her cleaned up and nursing again, to curb the blood flow.

Only then did Kenan wake up, crying that his ear really hurt. He had just taken medicine an hour prior, so we were at a loss as to what to do. I remembered something about olive oil to put in the ear, but lacking that, I went for the coconut oil and warmed up some. It did seem to help, for a short time. Luke then volunteered to go to Walmart for some of the alternate pain meds we could try in another hour. So, on the bed that only recently held two tired parents happy with their bed-early fortune, sat me nursing a bloody Julia, and Kenan wailing beside me. I’m so glad Walmart is close.

Once Kenan was tucked away with more meds and ear drops, and Julia tucked away with fresh sheets, at 11:00, we were able to finish Monk. Our night wasn’t funny, but we had the wisdom to laugh about it.

This morning I took Kenan to the doctor, and, sure enough, he had an ear infection. He was so cute on the drive there. I hadn’t heard him say so much before, and for a while I kept the music playing, but when I realized he wouldn’t stop anytime soon, I turned it off so I could hear him. First he asked what the numbers on the dashboard were. I started with the radio and the heating/cooling controls, hoping that would satisfy him. Then at Meijer for the prescription, he wanted to know what the numbers in the parking lot were. They were letters, I said, to help people remember where they are parked. Inside Meijer he wanted to ride in the cart, but at four years of age he is way too big. So, we found a cart with a bench on the back. It was like driving a semi through the store aisles; I constantly had to re-judge the distance ahead of me not to knock into displays or people. At the pharmacy, an older lady got in line behind Kenan’s semi, and asked aloud whose child this was, as I was up at the window. I turned and responded, and she proceeded to talk to him, about as much as he’d been talking to me. But now he didn’t feel much like talking, and was on the verge of being rude. The lady then turned to the girl behind her, and started saying something about how evil the world is getting and how she asks everyone if they are born again and they look at her funny. I  thought about how it is good she is so bold, but that she may come off as ‘that crazy lady’ more often than not. Hey, David and Paul were willing to look undignified and foolish, so I shouldn’t look down on her efforts.

Days like this are par for the course, with so many children, but I don’t like the beating our schooling takes every time it happens. Oh, well. The best we can do is try to get to bed tonight, early, and make the best of tomorrow.

In Good Health

Julia came down with something this afternoon. The illness was almost instant in its ferocity, where she was fine one minute and feverish the next. I gave her the decongestant first, because there wasn’t any apparent elevation in her temperature. Then, an hour later, I gave her fever meds because she was so miserable. Her eyes would roll back in her head and she could hardly stay awake. That shallow breathing, that stillness. Many sick children, but it never gets easier. I think of how I will do anything to make them feel better. Anything.

A lady whose blog I read wrote about having tests run and how expensive that is, along with the many treatments for disease and major illness we have now. Things like this have been on my mind a lot lately, too, not because I am sick, but because it seems like after every diagnosis follows a fundraiser for the medical expenses. What am I not getting about this scenario if I think there is something weird about that? Add to it that a man was in the news because he faked having cancer so he could take money from everyone. This past year, our two biggest medical expenses- Sam’s MRI and Julia’s birth- were ‘covered’ when I applied for charity with the hospital. So, how is it that illness bankrupts some and not others? Is it ever the case that someone chooses against the expensive treatment because it would not be a good use of (everyone’s) money? Should we act as if God wants us to choose chemo, every time? All of these are good questions to meditate on when I am not in a desperate position to answer them. One thing has come to mind so far, I believe from the LORD. My job is to treasure and to preserve life as far as it is in my power to do so. I suppose that would be a guiding factor in situations where I had to make a decision of treatment for one of my children. When Sam’s neurosurgeon was strongly recommending a surgery at a very young age, we decided for it because it would give him the best chances at a good quality of life. Of course, it had its risks, and its expenses. But the decision wasn’t hard.

Now, if I had cancer. That is tougher, because how far do I go to treasure and preserve my own life? Selfishly, I go all the way, no expense spared. If I am thinking of children still to raise and a husband still to belong to, I still go pretty far to take those chances at a better quality of life. I think. There’s Heaven to consider, though. How much should Heaven factor into this? Not that I am eager to get there like I should be. I mean, there’s still much to be done here in this city, right Chris Tomlin?

What a burden it is for parents of sick children and people of sick selves to make these choices. God is faithful, I know, and will pave the way for us as we go, and bear us up on His wings when we can’t go further.

He found Jacob in a desert land, and in the howling waste of a wilderness. He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as the apple of His eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young, so He spread His wings and caught  him, and carried him on His pinions.

-Moses

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burdens.

-a Psalmist

Steps

This book about habits that I am reading is really hard to finish! I think there is a psycological component to it, as if I don’t finish it, then I don’t have to put any of the good things I have learned into practice. Plus, I’m having no trouble analyzing other people and their different habit tendencies, but am not as quick to judge myself and the areas I need to improve. A question in my BSF lesson this week asked, “What truth (of Jesus) have you ignored or rejected this year and how might you begin now to act on it?” Ouch. Judging others and not treating it like disobedience and repenting of it. That is what I do very well. Right now I feel like I am in a crucible of sorts, where I daily, even hourly, must let go of my expectations, not judge according to them, and even forgive when those expectations not being met. The latter must happen because there is wrong being committed, but it is not up to me to fix it. Only God can fix this. I need to love and give. This is easy to say and hard to do.  I learned from this habits book that I am particularly affected by disappointment. It can often make me angry, and even make me bitter, if I let it. Relationships are the important thing- with God, with others. Disappointments will come, but my response can build up in love or tear down in hate.

Luke changed my blog some, but kept enough of it the same to let me still use it easily, ha. I hope to try to get in the habit of blogging again. We’ll see how I do.