Sunday, December 7, 2014

Day 552

December 7, 2014

Day 552

Pearl Harbor Day...73 years ago today a whole lot of other women became sudden widows.  See - that's what I think of now.  My first thought is not the terrible loss of life that day, the parents who opened their doors to military personnel informing them that their sons had just been consigned to a murky graves in the Pacific Ocean, but for all the wives who were suddenly thrust into widowhood.

A friend at church was talking to me tonight.  She's older than me by probably twenty years.  Her brother-in-law succumbed to cancer three months ago.  His wife, my friend's sister, died yesterday morning after being diagnosed with cancer just three weeks ago.  I told my friend that I was sorry for the loss of her sister, but I couldn't find any reason to feel bad for her sister.  What a relief it  must have been to discover that she was going to get to rejoin her husband so quickly!  I'm envious. 

I've felt like I've been on the verge of tears all day.  Maybe it's the season.  Maybe I'm just tired.  Maybe it's my head.  Thursday I was awakened at 6 am with a terrible migraine.  I popped a prescription pill but it didn't do the trick.  That day I had the worst migraine I have had in years and years.  It's not  my sinuses like I had thought earlier that same week.    It was so terrible I was nauseated for most of the day and I had to forget my to-do list and crawl into my bed for awhile.

By evening it had lifted somewhat and I was able to keep my plans to go out with some ladies from church.  That was special.  The ladies treated three of us to supper in Des Moines and I was given a wonderful Christmas present that really touched me.  But that migraine was terrible. That morning I had to take David to the dermatologist and then I had to spend an hour and half at the bank with the mayor.  I thought I was just going to pass out, right in both offices.  It's four days later and the headache has not completely left yet.  I have taken way too many pills and I'm going to have to get a refill soon.  This morning I awoke kind of dizzy and that hasn't gone away, either, although it's not as bad.

Are these just hormone issues? Am I on the verge of menopause?  Or, should I call my neurologist?  But he'll want to see me and I do not have time for a visit.  And then he'll want to put me on a daily headache pill and I've tried those and I don't like them because they have some bothersome side effects.   But in the back of mind (the part that's not in pain) I am very cognizant of the fact that often migraines precede strokes.  I don't have time for that, either.  Maybe I'll feel better by tomorrow morning.

I need to feel better by tomorrow.  I have an absolutely insane week ahead.  Will and two, potentially, three, hunting buddies are spending the weekend here.  That means I have to cook and clean like a madwoman all week.  Hunters get awfully  hungry after traipsing through the woods all day long.  I was planning to get up at 4 to make them breakfast both mornings but Will told me he'd rather take care of that because he's not overly fond of my pancakes.  I'm so relieved that I don't have to get up that early that I'm not even going to be offended by the fact he doesn't want my pancakes!

I also have a city council meeting this week which will involve a full day up at City Hall.  Plus, I have to go to the dentist and I can't reschedule that because I already did one time already.  And I have a Bible study with Marcia. Tomorrow, Ben's new SCL worker is coming over for the first time so I need to write some things out for her and Ben has his school Christmas program tomorrow night.   Too, too much...

Plus, it's Christmas and I'm struggling.  I've probably mentioned that once before.  Or twice. 

But, I'm typing out all this emotion and recognizing that I sound like a real whiner.  Good things are still evident in my life, despite all the complaining I do.

I'm starting to develop some clarity on my life plans - what needs to happen to make the rest of my life tolerable and to be in a position to provide for my family.  That actually scares me a bit because it's going to involve huge life changes that I really don't want to make.  But it's an answer to prayer because I've been praying that God would show me what to do.   I need to seek some more counsel before totally committing to what I'm thinking, but the wheels are turning - mentally, anyway, at this point.  It's good.

I got to go to Council Bluffs on Friday and spend the whole day with Kathy.  That's always a good thing!  I pulled off at the Underwood exit to program my GPS before driving into Council Bluffs.  Then, Will called me at the same time.  So I'm talking to him and backing out of my parking spot to get back on the interstate when two Subway employees come running out of the building and tell me my van is overheating and I need to not drive.  What?  I can see a little steam or something coming out of my hood, but my temperature guage isn't showing I'm overheating.  I know there's plenty of antifreeze and water in the thing.  I pop the hood and the one employee tells me my fan isn't going.  Of course, by this point my heart is hammering.  Being stranded - especially two hours from home - is right at the top of my Things to Worry About list.  I'm talking to Will and he's asking me questions and the employees are telling me to go to this mechanic place that's  not too far away.  Will has me drive around for a bit and says, "Mom, I don't know what those people were smoking, but you're not overheating!"

I wasn't.  So the whole thing made me later getting into town to meet with Kathy.  It also made me kind of paranoid.  All the way home that night I kept my eye on the temperature gauge which never went above what it was supposed to - to the point that I neglected to watch the gas guage.  I was 30 miles from empty when I suddenly realized that the needle was clear down in the red zone!  I had no idea when the next exit would be coming and if I could get gas.  Fortunately, about 5 miles down the road I was able to get off and a new Kum and Go was right off the interstate.  All was well.

Kathy and I enjoyed our day together, of course.  I found a beautiful big, red, wooden "H" for the front porch.  Well, actually, I bought that in Des Moines.  I found them at a Kirkland's in Omaha but they didn't have an H.  So I stopped at Jordan Creek on my way home and bought they only H they had.  It makes me happy.  I positioned it on the bench I bought 16 years ago with Kathy.  We still talk about that bench!  We went to a huge craft show that fall in Omaha.  Kathy had her 4 month old daughter with her that day.  I bought this bench made out of fence boards - it's probably 4 feet across and very, very solid.  I remember I paid $50 for it. This craft show was on the outskirts of Omaha and very, very well-attended.  Parking was at a premium  and we had to park blocks and blocks away.  It was so cold.  We had the stroller stuffed with all our other purchases and then we had to haul this bench and push the stroller for blocks.  And I was newly pregnant and very sick with the pregnancy.  A lot of memories are attached to that bench -  not all good ones!  But my H will look nice on it.

Yesterday I took the  Littles to the Amanda the Panda party.  The kids loved it.  They had a scavenger hunt for the kids and at each location the kids got nice presents.  Then, we won a brand new teddy bear that was a table decoration.  We got to make an ornament to honor Paul.  The kids had fun stuffing it with tinsel.  There was a dessert buffet, although, surprisingly, my kiddos were more interested in the fruit bowl carved out of a watermelon. They each got to light a candle to honor their dad's memory.  Amanda the Panda is such a neat organization.

We got home, picked up Ben and David, and headed out to Jordan Creek.  Will met us there and we saw Kirk Cameron's new movie, "Saving Christmas."  I thought this movie was about how saying "Christmas" is becoming more and more politically incorrect and how we're expected to honor ALL December holidays with the same amount of enthusiasm we typically and historically have reserved for Christmas.  But it wasn't.  This movie addressed something else and I was so pleased about it.

I have been homeschooling since 2003 and I've met tons and tons of homeschoolers along the way.  Most are normal people, but there are some real nut jobs that homeschool, too.  In recent years, I've met a number of these nuts that are anti-Christmas.  They spout on about how Christmas trees are "pagan" and how Christmas itself is just a fancified version of the pagan holiday honoring the winter solstice.  They talk about how the Bible doesn't tell us to celebrate Christmas and in doing so, we honor Satan.  Plus, if you think about it, S-A-T-A-N is just like S-A-N-T-A - coincidence?  Not to them, it's not.  Some of these people won't celebrate Easter, which I don't quite understand, either. 

And then there are some Christians that aren't quite so extreme in their anti-Christmas stance, but they draw a clear line between what is acceptable at Christmas and what is not.  Baby Jesus is good.  Santa is bad.  Wise men and shepherds are good.  Reindeer are bad.  One twinkling star is good.  Stockings stuffed with goodies are bad.  There's "Christian" Christmas and there's the "secular" Christmas.

I remember talking with Paul about this and he would always say that Christmas must be pretty important if Satan and the world have worked so hard to get rid of it.  How delighted he must be that some Christians are now getting rid of it voluntarily!

This is what Kirk Cameron addresses.  The movie features his actual real-life sister (not the famous one, another one) and her husband.  The brother-in-law is a bah humbug type of guy, spouting all the reasons he thinks celebrating Christmas is just wrong for Christians - everything from how Christmas trees are just a form of idolatry to the fact that all the money we spend would be better used if given to the poor.  Methodically, Kirk addresses each objection.  The movie is both funny and very informative.  I learned things about Saint Nicholas I didn't know and I thought I knew that story.  His main point is that everything we do at Christmas - the lights, tree, gifts, Santa, stockings - ALL point back to Christ.  Granted, the unsaved and even many saved don't understand this. 

Anyway, I really appreciated the film.  Even though this particular holiday season is harder on me because of Paul's death, watching it made me want to embrace the holiday more than I have, typically.  It makes me want to be like my Grandma Daniels, who was crazy about Christmas when I was little.   She didn't even understand what she was celebrating.  I want to enter into it with her enthusiasm and desire to create magic for my children and future grandchildren.  But I can do it with the ability to teach them how each and everything we do at Christmas points to a tiny baby in a manger.

All week long, even before we saw the movie, Sam has been commenting to me that "we give gifts at Christmas because God gave us the best Gift!"  He picked that up somewhere and has been pretty excited to repeat it over and over.  He's right.  As Christians, we have the best reason of all to totally celebrate Christmas, to the best extent of our abilities and resources.

Sam has  also started adding two digit numbers in head, for no reason at all, other than he figured out how to do it.  So when he wasn't talking about gifts, he was saying things like, "Hey, Mom, want to know what 17 plus 32 is?"  He is definitely Paul's boy.

Afterwards, we went to Chik-fil-A, which was a treat.  They can get a little pricey, but we managed to get out of there for less than $30, which was really good.  My appetite hasn't been the greatest since Thursday, so Will and Sam got most of my chicken sandwich, but that was fine.

It was a good family night.


As we were driving home today, I was appalled to see a police car and ambulance at my friends, James and Charlotte's house.  I stopped my van and ran into their house to see what was going on.  Of course, seeing the rescue vehicles brought back memories.  As I watched the paramedics work, I found myself wondering if they were the same ones who came to my house 18 months ago.  Charlotte had called an ambulance because she was fearful James was having a heart attack.  They took him away.  I texted their son tonight and it's just pneumonia, which is a relief.  But all that is a bit disconcerting.


Last week I wrote on thankfulness.  I completely forgot about a quote from my pastor I wanted to sum up my thoughts with.  This is what he said last week:

"Anything that causes us to need God more is a blessing."

That really resonated with me, to the point that I wrote it in the flyleaf of my Bible.  There's so much truth to that statement.  Losing Paul has caused me to need God more than I have ever felt like I needed Him in my entire life.  That means that his death is a good thing.

It's something I've been chewing on all week.  I'm still not thankful he died.  But, without reservation, I am very, very thankful for the things I have learned the past year and a half.


Well, I am sitting here, shaking.  I'm not sure if it's because my house is cold (Will is determined to make me save money and keeps the thermostat at a ridiculously low number.  I usually crank it up when he's not home, but he was home today so it's probably back down in the sub-arctic range) or if it has to do with this headache.  I've been kind of shaky since Thursday. I just found some Excedrine migraine in the medicine cabinet and popped one to give my brain a break from my Butabital pills.  It could be that, too.   I think I need to take a warm (boiling) bath and crawl under my electric blanket.  Some extra sleep wouldn't hurt, either.

Goodnight, World.













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