Saturday, November 26, 2016

Not a Contest

At the close of the wonderful meal we had on Thursday with our friends and some of their friends (one couple we did not know), one of the other guests started asking us to tell what we were thankful for.

Like us, she has no family in the area, and so we have had Thanksgiving dinner there with her on several occasions. She has done this in the past. Richard was prepared, and so he pointed at me, and said "I am thankful for her...."

I was next in line, and I was not prepared. I was scrambling to think of what to say, and the first thing that popped into my mind was how I thankful I was that we had a new roof over our heads and that God had provided the finances for us to pay for it. I did not go into the details of just how much stress our leaking roof had caused in connection with Richard's ADD and his paralysis in making a decision -- so his ability to pick up the phone and arrange for this was such an incredible relief.

As she went around the table asking everybody, the responses started to become more and more spiritual, which was perfectly fine, but we both began to feel uncomfortable and almost embarrassed that our responses were mostly material than spiritual.

Richard commented today that it almost felt like it was a contest. I absolutely don't want to discount anybody else's response about what they said they were thankful -- I absolutely believe these were genuine and accurate reflections of how they were feeling inside -- but doggone it, I really am thankful for my new roof!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Roof Over Our Heads

Very early on Thanksgiving morning, Dad would set up the metal food grinder and get out fruit and sugar – I think it was oranges, apples, and cranberries – and into the top of the grinder they would go. I got to turn the handle, and what a wonderful popping sound it made as the fruit was ground up for Thanksgiving relish (I get quite the same satisfying feeling when I put a blood-filled tick in a bowl of water and crush it with a pair of pliers, but that’s a story for another time). That special time with my Dad is one I cherish. Since we moved here, it has been “Friendsgiving,” and we have indeed been blessed with friends who have opened their homes to us for a day of food and fellowship.

I am so thankful for all of these people that God has put in our path.

I am also very thankful that we have a new roof over our heads. The crew came out on Monday. They had to do more than just replace old shingles with new ones. They replaced rotten boards, removed a chimney, and removed two skylights. Even so, they managed to finish the job in the early afternoon on Tuesday – just in time – because by late afternoon, it began to rain.

For the first time in quite a while we were able to stand by the front door (which is actually the back door) without watching water drip from the ceiling and pour down the wall. It is wonderful to once again be able to close a door that opens and shuts without having to be forced and to walk on a carpet that is not wet.

He has already ripped out some of the ruined drywall, and the carpet will have to replaced eventually, along with the insulation on two of the walls, but … it’s dry.

I am also very thankful that I have been able to earn the money (at this stage in our lives, I earn more money than he does) without worrying about “how are we going to pay for this?”

We heard a sermon last week on being thankful in all circumstances (give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus, I Thess 5:18)..

Sometimes it seems hard to do this – obviously we are not always thankful "for" the circumstance we find ourselves in, but keeping our focus where it belongs allows us to be thankful no matter what (OK, sermon over).

I am trying to cultivate an attitude of Thanksgiving every day -- not just on one special day in the year

At any rate, happy Thanksgiving!
I think that is a better thing than thanksgiving: thanks-living. How is this to be done? By a general cheerfulness of manner, by an obedience to the command of Him by whose mercy we live, by a perpetual, constant delighting of ourselves in the Lord, and by a submission of our desires to His will
Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

It is truly lovely when none of the stressful things one anticipates might happen actually happen.

All of the flights both coming and going were on time, and there were no unexpected gate changes at Dallas-Ft. Worth. The airline failed to provide a wheelchair when I got off the airplane at Dallas-Ft Worth, but I was able to get to the departure gate under my own power without difficulty and was allowed to pre-board the plane going to Los Angeles. That meant I could get myself and my carry-on down the aisle without whacking anybody on the way.

When I told a friend I was going to see my brothers and sister, she wanted to know if we got along.

Yes. We do get along. When our mother was alive, she frequently reminded us not to let the occasional flare-up between us get out of control, not to feed it and let it turn into a root of bitterness. “We’re not a-havin’ that in our family,” she’d say. We did have our moments when we were younger, though. The boys were sort of ornery and they teased me quite a bit. They reminded me of the time they got on my last nerve when I was doing the dishes. I came after them brandishing a cast-iron skillet and chased them down the sidewalk. What must the neighbors have thought? Fortunately for all of us, they were fast runners and I was not, and we all ended up laughing hysterically at the spectacle of ourselves.

My brother’s granddaughter turned 1 year old last Friday,

  and on Sunday our dad turned 92.

 So we had parties on Saturday and Sunday, and a good time was had by all.

 We went places and saw amazing things...

and beautiful vistas...

ate good food, and had wonderful fellowship.

It was just about perfect.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Sprouting Wings

My heart leaps up when I think about seeing Dad and my brothers and sister. I haven’t seen them or their spouses, or my nieces and their spouses for 2 years. I have never met my brother’s granddaughter. We will celebrate her first birthday next Saturday.

I leave tomorrow morning for Los Angeles. And then all of that anticipated joy is tempered with the apprehension I am trying to keep at bay about traveling there. I am not sure when traveling on an airplane stopped being fun and became so stressful and unpleasant—probably when they stopped direct flights from smaller airports and put the “hub system” in place.

I am not afraid of flying—of being in the air in the silver tube with wings—the source of stress is what happens in the terminals before the flight actually takes off.

On one trip to Los Angeles, I was allowed to board a plane in Springfield, and then was told to get off the plane because the passengers and baggage exceeded the plane’s weight limit and that I would be put an another flight. Why me? I wondered at the time. I am not morbidly obese. And then they changed their minds and let me back on the plane.

And then there is the huge Dallas-Ft. Worth terminal. I have been through that airport many times. I know how to get on the shuttles that whir around the perimeter of the terminal and get to the departure gate. But what I have found at Dallas-Ft. Worth is there is a disturbingly frequent problem of the departure gate being changed without any announcement being made. Several times I have sat at the proper gate blissfully unaware that my flight had been moved to another gate until I happened to look up and notice that I was suddenly sitting at the gate for flights to Kansas… or Louisiana… or North Carolina (take your pick) instead of Missouri. One must be constantly vigilant about watching the monitors to make sure the gate hasn’t changed and then be prepared to gallop off to the new gate. This time around, there will be no galloping.

I am not in very fast on my feet these days. Recovering from the foot operation has taken much longer than I realized it would. I will be able to manage the Springfield airport without a problem, but I have arranged for a wheelchair to meet me at the gate in Dallas.

I am so thankful I have this verse to remind me to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

He took marvelous care of me the time I had to spend the night at Dallas-Ft. Worth.

It will be fine this time around too. And if things do go wrong, He will take care of me again.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

That’s the Way the Crust Crumbles

Yesterday was the birthday of my friend’s husband. He likes apple pie, but she is coping with life-threatening illness and all that goes with it—chemotherapy, heavy-duty pain meds, exhaustion—and doesn’t feel like cooking, so I made him an apple pie.

Bought the apples and two crusts. I am not that good with homemade crust on my best day. The apples made a huge mound, and I had trouble keeping them in the tin as I began to fit the other crust over them. Then, the crust that was supposed to go on top did not come out of the pan like it was supposed to, and a big chunk of it tore off.

I patched it together as best I could on top of the mound of apples. It looked awful.

And then I discovered that one of the apples that was supposed to go in the pie had sprouted legs and walked off. I didn’t see it until after I had cobbled together the pieces of the top crust.

So I put the pie on a cookie sheet and stuck it in the oven and ate the runaway apple.

I managed not to burn the pie. However, once the pie had cooled, the crust on top collapsed and broke because apples underneath had shrunk (and a lot of the juice had bubbled out onto the cookie sheet).

I am sure the pie tasted just fine, but it looked terrible. I did not take a picture of the pie to memorialize the occasion.

I was rather embarrassed when I knocked on their door to deliver it, but deliver it I did.

While her husband got ready to go out for a celebratory late lunch with their son, I had a nice visit with her at the kitchen island while she ate some pineapple and cottage cheese for her own lunch, tiny and frail, her face still beautiful and her greenish eyes luminous, looking very Sinead O’Connor-ish with her nearly bald head, but I noticed the silvery peach fuzz was a bit longer than it was two weeks ago when I saw her last.

Richard said he admired me for continuing to plod on in the face of ongoing cooking disasters—biscuits like hockey pucks, baguettes that turned out like truncheons—and yesterday, a pie that looked like someone stepped on it. 

Sometimes I think the thought really does count, even if the result isn't quite what one expected. I hope they enjoy the pie.