Saturday, August 13, 2022

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you on this mid August day!  It is a bit cloudy, a bit sticky, and a bit cooler...unusual temps for August.  A week ago we got nearly 6 inches of rain during the night.  It was greatly needed.  Yesterday it felt a bit like fall had arrived with the cool temps, winds and dryer air, but alas today we are back to the hazy, lazy days of summer.  

I just have to ask the question....does anyone have lazy hazy days of summer anymore?  When we were kids it mean freedom from the pressures of school....making your own entertainment, enjoying the outdoors.  It appears to me now that many kids have their days so scheduled and planned that they have no idea what to do with free time or even have any to think about.  What is that?  Our bodies and minds were created for rest too.  Just say'ln......

After talking about lazy hazy days of summer, I'm reporting here that Joel painted our renovated bathroom this week. Hard tedious work!   First the trim and cabinet and around doors before tackling 2 coats on the walls.  We decided I best not help after my reactions to laminate.  Painting is on the bottom of his list, along with vacuuming, but he got the painting done and it looks great.  Our bathroom should be finished completely the first part of the week.  Yay!  He helped our carpenter some and managed a couple bike rides.  He is now off to his Sat. morning "Gabby Grandpas" coffee group that meets outside.  

Speaking of painting, we went with Sherwin-Williams and have been frustrated with their service.  First of all our whole house was painted with Harmony Paint 18 years ago.  It is a zero VOC paint which they told us they are phasing out......okay so they told us about another paint that was similar.  We trusted the man's word, paying a sale price for it.  We ended up needing more and when Joel went back they didn't have any in stock.  What?  We drove 1/2 hr away to another store to pick it up and paid $22 more for a gallon because it was not on sale at that store.  I did some research when we got home ( after the fact) and discovered we were not told the truth and the paint we have is not zero VOC.  It will be fine, it is just a bathroom and will outgas but this store in town is now off our list.  So costly, and so not honest.  I should have done my own research before putting down the cash, right?    BUT, it is supposed to have some air purifying formula and we both love the color so that is good, right?  The rest is just part of the messiness of life.  We can let our focus be on the messy moments or on the great ones.  

Speaking of great, I waited a whole month for the results of a test I needed to have done and it was "normal", so we are thinking this is one of the great moments to celebrate! After so many battles with cancer and years of Lyme before that, we celebrate all the "normal" medical moments that come my way.  Thank you Jesus!  I also am dealing with a bit of swelling in my right palm, and just love that I can email my "team" at Mayo in the Lymphedema Clinic and have them respond quickly...and eventually my PT Jenny called me and we discussed a couple of options and possibilities.  She shared that many of her patients are having lymphedema troubles increasing this summer due to humidity.  So I now have a plan!  I am always grateful for the fast and caring service I receive from Mayo Clinic.  Another Thank you Jesus!  

Well, our  10 lbs of blueberries are finally coming to an end......I made blueberry cobbler and blueberry quick bread this week.  Along with homemade bread and oatmeal cookies for Joel..  I have been walking 25-30 minutes daily but mostly inside this week with sticky weather.  

Speaking the reno, besides the front porch,  I have been "hiding" in the family room in the basement or a half-down bedroom since the rest of our house is open and sounds and smells drift throughout.  Our house is really too big for two people, but we have appreciated it's footage during the reno!  We are blessed! 

Today the police talked to Joel and other neighbors because of an incident that took place this morning.  It took me back to a time when the police stopped outside and asked Joel if he had seen a WHITE GOAT!  Evidently a goat had gotten away from a local farm and was seen in our neighborhood association.  It cracked us both us.  A white goat?!?  I figured it was a slow day for our local policeman when he was out searching for a goat!   giggle......

So, today, I am giving thanks for the reno almost being done, for the places to "hide" within our home!  Grateful for all the blueberry concoctions, for the smell of homemade bread, the kitchen stove that makes cooking and baking so easy.  Grateful Joel got the painting done.  Grateful for Wordle, Quordle, and Octordle that give my brain exercise.  Grateful for hearing the word normal and getting help from Jenny so quickly.  Grateful for gift cards ( I just used up my last one from Christmas).  Grateful for the police who cover all kinds of incidents.  Grateful for social media that keeps me connected to so many friends and family near and far.  Grateful for phone calls, texts, emails, and so much more.............

Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Saturday's Scribbles


Good Saturday to you on yet, another hot and humid day in our corner of the world.  August is here to bless us and also give us an earnest desire for fall to come!  Ha   Yet we first have august, with it's gifts of hot days and lovely sunsets.  Days of gratitude for early mornings in a cooler atmosphere, and afternoons inside when the heat rises.  And then there are the animals, including the deer who have come at night and devoured our front garden hosta and day lily blooms.  We were hoping that they had passed us by, but alas, they just saved their grazing in our yard until August!  

Speaking of nights.....the bathroom reno continues.  Our contractor has been working hard to get things done.  Last Monday Joel came downstairs at midnight to use the bathroom and stepped in water on the bottom step and then on the large braided rug.  What???  He turned on the light switch and looked up to see water dripped fast out of the ceiling light!  Yikes!  I woke up to Joel running up and down the stairs to the bathroom to see where the leak was coming from.  He discovered that the turn off valve under the sink had decided to stop working at midnight on a Monday night.  Of course it did!  He worked to turn it off but with a broken seal, the leak continued with about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the cabinet and coming out the light.  He finally called our contractor who came right over to take care of it.  He had been using the valve to get water for tiling, it was an original valve to the house and just wore out.  Luckily (?) he had a valve to replace it with and was willing to come over.  What a blessing that was!   

Tuesday was filled with a dental appointment, a birthday lunch at a local pizza place for my sister K. and a nighttime visit from a woman whose husband Joel had been friends with.  A late night and then an hour drive north on Wednesday to find new toilets for two of the three bathrooms here.  Thursday Joel and I painted the closet doors and cabinet doors and drawer fronts,  and Joel painted the baseboards.  And I had no issues with the paint.  But...........

Friday brought a glitch and a bit of drama.....we realized the composite quartz countertop we bought was 3/4 in too long for the space.  Ordering one to fit the space would take weeks, so we decided to purchase a laminate countertop we could cut down.....and when Joel set it up in the garage to look at it I had a strong reaction.  My tongue started swelling up and my lungs got very tight.  I asked a few people to pray and then added Benadryl to the prayers.  It made me sleepy for the afternoon but between the two, all the reactions left.  It has been years since I had a reaction like that to chemicals.  Pooh!  

Needless to say the laminate went back and our contractor and Joel talked over options of which there were two.  Wait weeks for a special order or make the one we had fit.  There is a wall between the toilet and counter and he opened up that wall and about 3/4 inch of the countertop is set in there.  He'll sheetrock up to that and you won't even notice.  Lessons learned:  give yourself a lot of time to order what you need....measure twice......and be flexible!  Also as our oldest said, "NEVER have laminate anywhere in your house!"

I do confess, we are happy to have weekends free from the hammering, pounding, saws and tile cutting, etc.  And talk radio?   Our contractor listens to a radio station that shares more than just music...opinions spill out all over.  Now I am grateful he listens to a Christian radio station, but I am not into yelling, or fear tactics.  I told Joel, he could be listening to heavy metal, or rap or any other music these oldsters would cringe at.  Still, today I am enjoying the quiet.......while truly  thankful our contractor is a believer in Jesus.  Bless him, and his radio!

We have been deep into blueberries here.  We have been putting blueberries in yogurt, on cereal, French toast, and more.  I have made blueberry muffins and blueberry cobbler.  Yep.  The 10 lb of blueberries go a long way!  And of course it is watermelon season.  They are spendy this year, but good.  Veggies are taking a backseat to fruit right now!  Haha

So today I am grateful for blueberries and more blueberries.  Grateful for a contractor willing to make house calls after midnight, and a contractor who believes in Jesus and is good at his job! Grateful for birthday lunches, social visits, walks outside, painting, getting our counter top to work, the reno soon done, Benadryl, air conditioning, phone calls, texts, photos that come on our phone, and so much more..

Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Saturday's Scribbles


Good Morning!  It has been a beautiful end to the week here in Iowa where nature has been giving us temperatures in the 70's, low humidity and mostly sunshine. It is a wonderful time of year in the upper Midwest.  This weather has been a nice reprieve before the heat and humidity return by Monday.  

Speaking of beautiful, this past Wednesday 20,000 riders came in to town on Ragbrai.  Ragbrai is a non-competitive bike ride going west to east across Iowa for 8 days, and people come from all over the country to ride their bikes.  The ride to Mason City was 105 miles for the one day!  The town has places for everyone to eat if they wish including local churches, etc.  Our large East Park was covered in tents, people, and bikes!   Many have "support vehicles"  (RV'[s) that they stay in and they keep extra bike supplies, etc. on board.  Joel likes to go down and chat with a few which he did again this year.  He has never had an interest to ride with 20,000 other bikers but is interested in their stories! One guy from out east was so impressed with how "green and beautiful" it was here in Iowa.  Seeing our place of residence through someone else's eyes makes us more grateful for our Midwest roots.  

This past Tuesday the contractor began working on our upstairs bathroom.  In one day he had the demo mostly done, removing the big ol' jacuzzi tub the next morning.  He is here by 8 am and leaves by 4.  I am spending most of my time in the basement family room or on the front porch.  Joel finds his own "spaces" to retreat into but he is also curious about what they are doing!   So excited to have it happening! 

It is no surprise to any of you when I say demolition is swift and destructive!  When we watch HGTV or DIY neither of us like the demo part of the show.  Renovations are slower and more precise.  More intentional and restorative.   It is kind of like our words...........If we speak negatively and with anger, it is so destructive and quickly tears people down.  Destroys relationships, sickens our bodies.  But if we are intentionally more constructive....building up others and yes, ourselves?  It is soooo good.....

This was blueberry week for us.  We only ordered 10 lb this year from the Mennonites,  as we won't freeze any. They are so delicious!  I already made blueberry muffins and will be thinking of other ways to enjoy them besides in our yogurt, cereals, and on top of  French toast! We loooooove blueberries!

My siblings and I were texting this week about a house we lived in while Joel was going to seminary in St. Paul, MN.  It has been called "the bat house" because we killed around 20-25 bats that came into our living spaces from the attic during the two years we lived there.  H.o.r.r.i.b.l.e.  An inspector told us there were around 200 in the attic and by law we could not exterminate them.  Joel used to sit down the basement with his BB gun and shoot them as they came out of the walls...we learned where they came from and plugged those entrances but YUK!  One time we came home from somewhere and the kids and my niece Debbie were with us.  A bat started flying around and I screamed, "BAT" and ran outside.  Debbie was soooo upset with me as I left all 4 of the kids inside.  Needless to say it was not my finest parenting moment. My hubby and brother did the same thing once...ran outside!  But they bravely went back in with tennis rackets and killed the thing.  Ugh.... That two year adventure with bats has made it impossible for me to move into a house without checking the attic for residents first.  

That memory took me back the the Philippines where we had huge flying roaches. (Besides bats outside).  The roaches were in our house no matter how clean it was.  One night not long after we moved in Joel asked me if I had added a door handle to the kids bedroom closet because it looked like I had........until the handle moved.  It was a roach.  We ran and got the RAID and sprayed and sprayed but it kept going across the floor.  Joel got a dixie cup to put over it and it dragged the cup across the floor.  I never got used to them and can't tell you how many cans of RAID we used to kill ants and bugs of all shapes and sizes.  We grew to love the Gecko lizards that lived in our house because they took care of a lot of bugs!

Thinking back on The Philippines had me dragging out our USB port that is filled with Joel's years of slides, thanks to Bethany and Abbi.  We have enjoyed looking back not only at our FIlipino slides but all are two pics of us engaged and soon to be married,  taken 55 years ago with Joel's motorcycle at Golden Valley Lutheran College where we met.  Who are these people and where did they go?  Ha.....

So today I am grateful for a house without bats or flying roaches!  Grateful for memories of so very long ago and pics to look at.  Grateful for the bathroom reno going on, for a young man of faith who is working on our bathroom.  Grateful for nice weather, Ragbrai coming through, walks outside this week.  Grateful for places to retreat at home while the work is being done!  Grateful for blueberries and more blueberries to enjoy, for phone calls, texts, emails, that connect us to family and friends.  Grateful for God bringing Joel into my life 55 1/2 years ago.....Grateful for open windows, breezes, birds singing, and so much more.

Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Saturday's Scribbles


Good Saturday!  It is a sticky hot day here in Iowa with storms on their way.  Must be July in the Midwest.  Ugh...Our plants seem to like it although the pansies are droopy in the afternoon heat.  We try to get things done in the mornings that require us being outside, spending the rest of the day in air conditioning. 

Speaking of air conditioning, we lived in 4 different parsonages during Joel's ministry and not one had central air.  In Montana that was not an issue, but in Minnesota?  Not fun at all.  Growing up we did not have air, and there were a few summer nights we spent laying on sheets on the floor with a lone fan blowing on us while we tried to sleep.  I remember one night in Minnesota in our early years of ministry that Joel was so hot he put a sheet on the large picnic table and slept outside on it on the top deck. When we were moving here and buying our own home, my main requirements were a basement (storms) and A/C.  Now, after having central A/C for 26 years, I would never want to live without it and am grateful I don't have to.

Speaking of houses, has anyone else experienced frustration when it comes to getting renovations done in your home?  When we decided to redo our upstairs black and white 1980's bathroom (with a high sided jacuzzi tub we have never used) the pandemic hit so we we feel it is time and the people we have hired have called and changed the starting date 3 times.  While we wait.........while we don't make any summer plans........We are only doing a partial renovation so it will not take long if we can pinpoint them to a date.  And you kinda feel your hands are tied because it is not easy to find anyone who has the time to do it!  Monday is the day they promised......well, Tuesday at the latest.  So we will see....we will see.....Eventually it will be done!

This past Monday Joel and I went to his primary doctor as a follow up from the TIA he experienced.  We heard again, "you are so healthy and active".  There was a nurse, doctor, Joel and myself in the room and the doctor said......"I think you are probably the healthiest person in this room!"  So using some caution, proactive blood pressure checks at home ( it's normal now), educating but not dwelling on the risks now that he had a TIA, he moves forward.  We move forward.  He is back to his usual self and I am trying not to hover over him like a helicopter worry wort!  

Speaking of Joel, the past 10 days have caused us pause as I have said.  When Joel was healed over 10 years ago in the middle of the night of every condition and disease he had. we saw only a strong healthy man for a decade.  Even the arthritic bumps on his hands disappeared.  Our doctor was not sure what to make of it.  She said, "Well, he is a pastor, so if God was going to heal anyone it would be him."  Okay then?  So  over the years he just speaks to what tries to come on him and for the most part it goes.  If you had lined 10 guys up in front of all of us no one would pick Joel as the likely one to have  a TIA.  If you had put the two of us in front of our family it would be me as the one.  So this has given us pause. Please don't think we feel he is super human and can't get sick.  We just haven't seen it for a long time.  Then he had Covid and of course the TIA could be linked to that.  At this point we don't know.  We just know it happened and there was no damage.

But we know we are all going to die some day.  We will each step over into the heavenly realm where we will be welcomed home.  No doubt about it.  But from now to then?  How do we live more alive?  How do we fill each day with purpose and joy?    I told someone recently, "I would rather wear out than rust out".....I feel a bit rusty and I don't like it.  I never get my hands "dirty".  In other words my serving God is pretty minimal and I want more.  

During the past week the co-founder of a large ministry in California died of cancer that returned in her lungs.  She had started her journey the same time I did, but chose different treatments at first.  She and her husband believe strongly in healing and we have been to their church ( five years ago) and witnessed the power of God in so many ways.  I would guess at least a million people around the globe were praying for healing, standing firm in the belief she would be healed while here on earth.  And she died.  The healing came when she went to Heaven.  Three days later her grieving husband got up and preached to several thousand people about the goodness of God because, yes, no matter what comes or doesn't come, God is a good good Father.

I think I wrote most of my scribbles to say, the past 10 days have given us a somewhat different perspective on life and on living and dying.  And, yes, the mysteries of God.   Kinda like this kitten below.....And we ask God to use it.  He always does!  And we ask God to use us as we wake to each sunrise to give thanks for another day.  

So, today I am giving thanks for the different perspective that we are viewing life and people from.  Giving thanks that Joel is still "so healthy and active".  Grateful for A/C.  Grateful for B. Johnson's life and legacy.  Giving thanks for doctors, and healing miracles.  Giving thanks for family, friends, and the love we have felt from them all. So thankful for the mystery of God that reminds us that He IS God and we are not.  Giving thanks for the opportunities to serve God, get our hands "dirty" and wear out instead of rust out.  Giving thanks for all this and so much more...........
Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from the Upper Midwest which really shows off it's beauty this time of year.  Just plenty of sunshine, breezes, and colors to enjoy, whether you are on a lake or sitting on your front porch.  It's all good here in our corner of the world.

Speaking of all good, it has been quite a week. It has been quite a month actually.  Looking back we made three trips to Minnesota in around a month, going to a funeral, 2 graduation parties, and a baby shower.  In between we had Covid, and then a few weeks later we were exposed to it again.  Then this past Tuesday Joel experienced what doctor's are calling a TIA, which is a mini stroke where a small clot goes through the brain but does not cause any lasting damage. He is home and right back to normal, but it still seems surreal to write this.  My Joel.  The Energizer Bunny. The guy that does not need any medications.  The guy that runs up and down stairs in our home daily.  The guy who rides 10 miles at a time, eats mostly healthy, has no other health issues.

He was at the store talking on the phone to one of our daughters when he suddenly could not get the words in his brain to come out of his mouth....just garbled sounds.  It passed after a few minutes so of course he finished shopping and drove home with groceries!  He told me I would need to keep an eye on him but he had other symptoms coming up so I said, we need to call the doctor.  They sent us to ER.  We spent 7 hrs in ER with a stroke nurse, regular nurse, ER doctor, Internal Medicine Dr. and Neurologist who stopped by. He saw physical therapists and an OP too.  Plus a social worker and a spiritual care "advisor".  He passed every test with flying colors and the CT and MRI of brain was all normal and good.  His EKG and Echocardiogram were good too.  He spent the night in the hospital finally getting a room around 7pm....and some food!  Our oldest son drove 2 hrs up and spent 2 nights here.. The other kids were keeping in contact. 

We have talked about how efficient all the staff was in ER.  We have pondered the fact that Joel had NO risk factors they could find for this to happen except for having had COVID.  And that can put you at higher risk.  It is great he has no health issues!  Cholesterol is 108! But he still could have had a piece of placque break off, too..... He is super active.  No meds.  It also means there is nothing he can do to prevent it from happening again, except for taking baby aspirin.  AND praying.  

Life can spin on a dime can't it.  Everything is going great and then it isn't.  But nothing surprises God.  Nothing.  And we are more than grateful that God was with Joel.  Joel skipped out of that hospital on Wed. afternoon, and I mean he literally skipped off the floor while the nurses laughed.  They told him he was the healthiest patient up there!  

Speaking of healthy, Joel has been my "super-human" for so long..........Always good reports.  Just had a clean bill of health 2 weeks ago!  He has been the one sitting on a chair watching me in a hospital bed.  And this time the roles were reversed........and I did not like it.  Not one bit.  I will say, with his permission of course, that he is not always the most patient patient.  When he had not eaten all day under orders, he kept persisting until finally at 6 he got a sandwich.  And Wednesday when we waited several hours for test results and the doctor's okay to go home?  Yeah.........Out of the blue he said to Matt and I.  "I am NOT staying here another night.  I DON"T need to be here.  IF they want more tests, I'll come back tomorrow!  I am going home!"  Okay then.  Hmmmm  We may have other kids in the family that lean this way too!  Ha.. My thought was, Matt is seeing the future with dad as an "old guy"......Joel later called it being independent.  I told him I am thinking more like..........stubborn.  He did kept his sense of humor throughout, and since the symptoms resolved so quickly there was peace most of the time.  We knew people were praying.  We knew he was getting good care.  I do feel for people who don't depend on God or are on their own with no loved ones that give their support, love and prayers.  

On this note, I am closing my Saturday Scribbles with all I am grateful for.  The list could go on forever regarding Joel.  So so so grateful it was only a TIA.  So grateful for the great care he got at our local hospital.  So grateful Kay and Danny gave us a ride to the ER.  So grateful his levels of health and activity helped resolve this quickly ( we were told so several times).  So grateful for Matt coming up to be here.  So grateful for the love and support of our kids and in-loves.  So grateful for extended family and their love and prayers.  Yes, grateful.  So very very grateful that I am able to hold Joel's hand, watch him laugh at a funny show, or at his own silly jokes.  So very grateful we woke up to another day when so many did not.  Thankful for prayers, texts, phone calls, and more................

This has given us it should.   

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Saturday's Scribbles


Good Saturday to you from our corner of the world this 4th of July weekend!  It is a beautiful day here with partly cloudy skies, temps heading to a nice 82 with gentle winds.  Joel is off riding and I just put my energy into making homemade honey whole wheat bread.  It's a rising!  Planning on a walk outside soon.

Speaking of bike riding, the other day Joel called me while out riding....he was laughing when I answered, as he told me that a turkey had just "anointed" him.  He was riding down a hill and saw a big turkey in the road along with several young ones.  He whistled and hollered to get them to move and had to slow down and swerve to the side as they took off flying.  One left him with an anointing of turkey poop on his leg!  He had to pull over and find some grass to wipe it off.  He got a kick out of it.  A beautiful day and a beautiful ride when.......splat.  A little crap was sent his way.  My friend Lana said she was interested in how I was going to weave this turkey story into my Scribbles.   

You gotta admit it is too good to pass up.  An example fell into our lap just a couple days ago when we went over to say good-bye to our neighbors who sold their home and are moving farther south to live by their family.  We spent about an hour visiting and gave hugs good-bye. The next morning we got a text from them asking if we had an extra rapid test as the wife had some symptoms that could be Covid.....but we were out of tests and could not help her. We found out the next day that she had tested positive.  Here they were, all excited by their move...and Covid came to call....for a second time.  So we are exposed to Covid again and hoping that since we had it 4 weeks ago we are going to avoid a second round.  Still, on this holiday weekend we are once again in quarantine.  Remember the turkey crapping on Joel's beautiful ride?  Yeah.  Sometimes keeping our focus on the "beautiful days" takes more effort.  It is a good thing we enjoy each other's company cuz we won't be going anywhere.   On a positive note we can watch the fireworks from our living room window!  Yes, they are that close.

Speaking of enjoying each other's company,  Joel and I celebrated 54 years of marriage this week.  It was a quiet celebration with a trip to a near by lake a great coffee place....then because it was so full of vacationers we took our morning drinks to a nearby state park to sit and watch the water.  A trip to Target on the way home, grilled turkey bacon wraps for supper, a phone call from our oldest son, and a good new series we started on Acorn TV rounded off the day.  We are so very very blessed to have so many years together and pray for many more to come!  

We talked a bit about our wedding and how hard it was not to be able to visit with everyone who came.  Back then pictures were done AFTER the ceremony, so by the time we got downstairs many had left. Otherwise it was a good day!  We were young.......I was 20 and Joel had just turned 22.  It was only a couple months later that Joel got his draft notice and our 8 years in the military began.  .....and the rest is history?!

Speaking of the military makes me think about the 4th and our country!  The flags will be waving, fireworks will be set off, and parades will greet the day.  Of course there will be family or friend gatherings with grilling involved!  A time to celebrate........and a time to give thanks for America.  She may be a bit broken right now, she may be more divided than in a long time, but she is still America, land of the FREE, home of the BRAVE.  God bless America!

Giving thanks today for 54 years of married life, for love and commitment, for small celebrations and big.  Grateful for laughter that comes when a turkey craps on your leg, for God's promises to lean on when life craps on you.  Grateful for phone calls with friends and family, texts, nice summer days, birds singing loudly, neighbors who will be missed, British Acorn TV,  a family surgery that went well, turkeys, America,  and so much more!

Enjoy your weekend!