Saturday, September 18, 2021

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our corner of the world where beautiful Fall days have graced us this past week.  Loving those Autumn days with dryer air, cooler nighttime temperatures, and all the sounds, smells, and colors of Fall beginning to arrive.  There is nothing not to like about Fall except that it goes by too quickly!

 Thursday we drove to a nearby town to see our youngest get another fitting for her wedding dress.  She is getting married in a few weeks.  So happy for her and her fiancĂ©.  Was fun to see her in the beautiful!  Both her and the dress!

This past week has had me at too many doctor appointments, although we have had mostly good news! I finally did get the results of the biopsies in the stomach and the colon polyp.  All were benign and normal.  Yay! The eye shot went well, and things are "holding steady".  I did end up at the oncologist again due to fluid building up in my arm, wrist and hand.  An ultrasound followed to rule out any blood clots.  There were none, so now I head to the Lymphedema people at the therapy center.  There is one more test she wants me to have ~ a CT on the chest wall to once again "rule out" cancer.  That will happen after the wedding, but when I told here I was so weary of all the tests she replied, "We are trying to take care of you the best way we can and you have had breast cancer twice, the second time very advanced."  Reality bites.  So, I am trying to be grateful for their continual watchdog attitude while trusting God with my healing, my life.  Sometimes practicing "each day is a gift" takes some effort when you want the whole package. 

After the doctors call in Friday afternoon we were both feeling a bit down.  While surfing the TV we ran across one of my favorite movies, "The Proposal" with Sandra Bullock.  It cracks me up no matter how often I watch it.  We laughed ourselves silly, which was a good way to end the day!

I have been stepping up the walking to 25, 30, and sometimes 40 minutes a day.  Joel has gotten in some biking, and is "putzing" on projects outside and in the garage. He is off to "Gabby Grandpas" this morning for an outside coffee chat with a few guys he knows.  I spent countless hours online again looking for something to wear to the wedding ~ just saying, it seems to me Covid has affected everything including available clothing to purchase!  Not much inventory.....

Speaking of that virus, all I can say is "Judas Priest"...(an expression my mom used).  It is over the top once again and we know so many people with breakthrough cases.  People vaccinated who are so thankful because they have gotten sick anyway, but able to stay at home for the most part.  Someone I know says it is a 5 hr wait to be seen in ER in large hospitals south of here.   Our county's numbers have risen greatly, and we are definitely more cautious now when going out and about.  "Lord.....listen to your people praying...." 

Speaking of the Lord, last Sunday we became members of a local church.  We hope to get involved more now that Joel is "officially" retired and not feeling the desire to be working in ministry.  Oh, I know that could change, but for now we sit together in a pew on Sunday mornings and I like that after 41 years!

We watched the movie, "Red Joan" this past week.  It was based on the oldest and longest active spy for Russia in Great Britain.  It was interesting and we had to look up a bit of info on her ourselves.  She was in her 80's when arrested.  We always look forward to the new fall TV schedule, but I am not sure why, as most shows we find un-watchable!  I guess we are always hoping for something light and upbeat that has clean humor or something without nightmare-producing drama or terror!   So thinking back on TV, I can't help but remember some of our favorite family shows like "Happy Days", "Laverne and Shirley", "Cagney and Lacy", "The Carol Burnett Show", "The Wonderful World of Disney" (Sunday nights with popcorn and pop), the original "Magnum P.I.", "The Waltons","The Partridge Family", "Little House on the Prairie",  "The Brady Bunch", "The Rockford Files", etc. etc.  What favorite TV shows come up for you?  

 I have struggled this week with people's reactions to wearing masks.  It just blows my mind.  Not that people have feelings about wearing them, but their responses to the "rules" set up by states, or businesses concerning wearing them.  I think about the many who have physically attacked airline attendants for enforcing a rule the companies have set up for protection of others.  I can't help but shake my head over the three women from Texas who physically attacked and punched a young woman who asked them for their vaccination cards before they could eat inside at a NYC restaurant.  Here is the thing, they KNOW the rules are there, they KNOW they will enforce them so as far as I am concerned they should be charged with premeditated assault.  The rules apply to everyone.  No one is exempt.  Don't want to follow them?  Don't fly.  Don't eat inside.  And for heaven's sake, why is your response violent!?!  There is such a sense of entitlement in our country. We all need more checks and balances in our lives.  Such anger.  We definitely need God more than ever, don't we.  

So this week I am thankful for persistent doctors who annoy me but want me healthy, for walking more, for seeing our youngest in her wedding dress, for texts, phone calls, funny movies that make us laugh,  for Fall colors, smells and sounds, for the power of prayer, for good news, for a church membership, for Joel's loved and support, for rules that protect, for each day, and so much more.........

Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our corner of the world where Fall is gracing us with cooler temps at night and a bit of color here and there in the leaves.  We are not seeing or hearing many birds ~ just crows and Blue Jays now, but soon we will be able to hear the ducks and geese as they gather to fly south.  Fall is slowly beginning to grace us.  I only wish the season was longer....much longer.

Today is September 11th, and the 20th anniversary of 9-11.  I am sure we all can remember what we were doing that morning....where we were when terrorist attacks shook up our country.  I was sitting in our living room recliner watching Good Morning America when it was interrupted by the report of a plane hitting one of the World Trade Center towers.  I called Joel to tell him as he was already at work.  He said "okay, see you for lunch".  I don't think he realized it was a very large plane.....and only a few minutes later I watched the second plane hit the second tower.  I called Joel and again and he said he would be home in a short while......and then the Pentagon was hit......and this time when I called him he said, I am on my way home.  We all realized quickly that our country was under attack, didn't we.  I remember talking to our oldest in Chicago and asking her where her husband was, was he who knew where these terrorists were going to hit next.  I prayed for our son working as a police officer in a big city....I could not pull myself away from the TV that day......or the next.........or for so many days after that.  It shook our country, the world, to the core.  

Joel had served in the Air Force for 8 years, and when we knew that President Bush was declaring war, Joel and I discussed him going back in as a Chaplain.  Turns out he was too old at age 55.  They needed priests but not protestant pastors.  And that was okay.  

There have been several shows this week on the TV about 9-11 and one that Joel and I watched was called "Women of 9-11" with Robin Roberts.  It was difficult for us to watch so I cannot imagine what those who lived through it feel...........those who lost loved ones........those who experienced the weight of it all as they relive that day and what followed.  We did see a program last night on Minnesotans who experienced 9-11 first hand or in the war that followed.

Six months after 9-11 Joel went with other Lutheran pastors across the country to NYC and the surrounding state to help out by giving pastors a break from what they had been dealing with.  Joel (and our son Matt) went out to New York for 5 days.  Joel ended up going to the oldest Lutheran church in the whole state to give that pastor a rest.  Being there and going to NYC itself, seeing "Ground Zero", and the city six months after this horrific event, was sobering and raw and Joel felt, a privilege.  

In 2013 we drove to a Lutheran Healing Conference in Connecticut.  While search for a whole foods one day we asked a woman if she could help us out..  She was very cautious until she saw our plates that said Iowa....then she talked to us.  We told her we were heading to NYC soon and planned to see "Ground Zero, the museum, and the place where the names were etched in granite.  She told me that she and her husband knew several people who died that day and they had never been down there.  Too painful.  Back here in Iowa we knew of no one who died or was affected.  It is sad and held some emotional from a distance memories, but certainly nothing like those whose lives were centered around the East Coast.  Some of the stories shared are sad and painful to hear, and yet they are the stories of people who have mostly picked their lives back up and moved forward as best they could to be grateful for each day.  And is that not all we get?  One day at a time....

We headed to Rochester MN this week to shop.  So many stores have closed down here in our city that it is difficult to find any dressy clothes.  We have our youngest getting married this fall and I have found it very difficult to find anything to wear.  Seriously.  I have not shopped for a few years and wow...there is zippo out there.  And buying on line is not so easy either!  Anyone else struggle with shopping for clothes?  I keep telling myself something will come up but oh boy time is a wasting!

Joel is off biking this morning with a group from Trinity Lutheran Church.  We become members there tomorrow.  It is a bit strange to be in a church where Joel is not the pastor.  We are adjusting..........(grin)  It took me a few days to get back to myself after the procedures.  I just don't do so well with meds used I guess.  

Today I am grateful for how our country came together after 9-11 as it gives me hope for the future.....grateful for the peace that comes from knowing where our loved ones reside after death, grateful for the clothes I will (future tense) soon find for the wedding!  Grateful for Fall colors, smells, and weather, texting, phone calls, hugs, laughter, tears, and gift of life!  

Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from a cloudy, gray day here in Iowa.  Low temps and high humidity are making this a  "I want to curl up with a book" day.  Our resident baby squirrels are out and about now making their way into the world.  They are fun to watch as they cautiously scamper across our loose rock around the tree and house out back.  Exploring the world away from the nest!

Speaking of that, three of our grands are off to college again, one for the first time.  Cautiously they make their ways into the world away from their home "nest".  Often challenging for the parents, especially if they are just sending them off for the first time.  Lots of prayers lifted I am sure, as they make their way in this world.  We remember it well,  And surprisingly enough, I remember 55 years ago going off on my own to college and how much I missed the family.  I was both excited, scared, and wondering just what was ahead for my life.  I do remember after I had been there a couple of weeks, calling home and crying.  My family got up from the Sunday dinner table put away the leftover food and took off to drive two hours up to see me.  That was a long distance "in those days" and I always remembered that day as special!

On Tuesday we were able to spend nearly 3 hours on Skype catching up with dear friends.  They are such a blessing!

Earlier this week was spent preparing for two procedures I had on Thursday morning.....the Oncologist wanted to rule out problems with my stomach or intestines because of the Iron Deficiency took 4 months to get in because of Covid back up.  I was quite nervous about it, but they found nothing in my stomach or duodenum and the intestines were clear except for 1 tiny polyp in the colon,.  Yay.....Hopefully we are done with tests for awhile.........When I woke up Friday morning I realized that I did not remember getting dressed, eating applesauce, or getting to the car after the procedures Thursday.  I did not remember the ride home either.  I guess I asked Joel at least 6 times what the doctor had said.  He kept a close eye as I slept the afternoon away on the sofa.....Don't you wonder what we say to the doctors and nurses while under "conscious sedation"?  When Joel came out of his two years ago he started talking about how much he wanted a cheeseburger!  Every time he woke up he would say.....BURGER!!!  I want a burger!  Finally after a half hour of it I said, "Joel you are annoying me!  Stop asking for a burger!"  Haha......On the way home my brother-in-law stopped at McDonalds and bought him a burger.  When we got home he ate the burger and then slept 4 hours...........We still laugh about that.

It is Labor Day weekend and as we were chatting with one of our sons  this morning we asked him if he remembered what we used to do on Labor Day.  He said no, and we said ~ clean out the garage!  We were not always very good at having fun I'm afraid.  We had to chuckle because he was doing the same the garage.  Subconsciously ingrained?  Hmmmm  

We thought about going somewhere this weekend once we realized it actually was Labor Day weekend......but with Covid rearing its ugly head and cases multiplying in our area and medical procedures this week we figure maybe a ride to a nearby lake may be our only venture out.  Although tomorrow there is an antiques in the park event in a nearby town.  We went a few years ago and bought a church pew that sits in our entry way.  We love it!  I guess we could watch a movie.........or maybe we should ~ clean the garage~?!  There's a novel idea!

We have an extended family member going through a tough time.......and tough surgery and recovery.  What I love about our family is that they are a praying family!  We know the power of prayer and I love that we share requests with each other and send them off to our kids, and we have generations of family praying for each other.  What a powerful gift!  What a privilege to pray!  Spending time talking with Jesus about our needs and desires.  Of course He already knows what we need, but He tells us to knock.  He tells us to pray always and constantly.........about everything.  I am loving our praying family!  So thankful for them all.

Speaking of thankful. today I am grateful for medical procedures that rule out....that bring answers...I am thankful for the rain we have had, the baby squirrels that are growing up, the grands who are blessed to go to college and their parents who support and love them, thankful for the privilege to pray, for the prayers of family and friends, for a long Skype talk with dear friends,  for texts, phone calls, and emails, for our own church pew that speaks of our long history in ministry, and for so much more!

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Where Is Your Happy Place?

When I was a eleven years old, I lived in the front half of a small house with my mother.  Off of the bedroom was a small storage closet area with a window and attic access.  I kept my dolls and doll bed in that attic area and when I was home alone I would often go upstairs into the bedroom storage space and pull my dolls out of the attic to play with.  I loved the sunshine filling the cozy space with light, and I loved talking and playing with my dolls when I felt lonely.  I had seven of different shapes and sizes.  I still have one of those dolls and recently Joel pulled the doll bed out of our attic over the garage. Seeing it once again brought back memories of me in my "happy place".  

One of our children talks about a happy place they go to.. it is a bit bigger than the small storage space of my childhood,  it is a relaxing place that brings into the atmosphere a sense of peace, joy, and "all good things".  We visited there in May, and the sense of peace and contentment we felt there gave more definition to their description of this "happy place".  It could be felt by both Joel and myself.

One of our children lives in the country and Joel and I love sitting on their porch any time of the day or night.  There is such a sense of history and generations of the past that comes through.  It is quiet and nature is at it's best when we sit on this porch.  Another "happy place" that brings a sense of calm and peace to quiet the soul.

I expect that Heaven will be such a place.  Recently I watched a brief teaching by a philosopher that mentioned that those people who believe they will go to Heaven really DON'T believe that they will...they just use that to comfort themselves about what happens after they die.  At first it angered me and then it saddened me that this great "mind" was so lost.  Certainly when I think of my sister Jo now, I see her smiling, laughing and healthy with her bright blue eyes sparkling.  She is in a "happy place".  

I am not so sure that our secular world understands what is slowly ebbing away.  I just read that the chief chaplain at Harvard is an atheist.  That cannot even compute in my brain...chaplain....and atheist?  Something is so wrong about that......he would not be who I would turn to in time of need.

Getting back to happy places, I expect you all can think of one or two.  And if you cannot I suggest you create them in your imagination.....or right in your home.  God invites us into His "happy place" as He dwells in our hearts.  That peace that passes understanding.........or that Heavenly realm that awaits. We used to sing a song as a family called, "Heaven is a Wonderful Place"...........

Heaven is a wonderful place.............filled with glory and grace

I'm gonna see my Savior's face.....Heaven is a wonderful place.

I'm going there!

I am learning to quiet my soul by going back in my mind to places that bring me calm and peace.  That front porch, or that cabin, etc.  Places where my soul is quieted down and God's presence sustains.  I am hoping to create more of those places!  So, I ask again, Where is your happy place/

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Saturday's Scribbles on Sunday

 Good Saturday/Sunday to you from our corner of the world where weather has been and continues to be the topic of conversation.  A lot of rain came this week, a few storms, and a tornado damaged crops southeast of us.  East of us an hour they had 11 inches of rain in 24 hours?!  Flooding followed in some areas and there are still a few flood watches being forecast.  Definitely needed the moisture but it came hard and fast.  We missed the storm and tornado warnings on Friday as we had packed up and left to go to the Twin Cities for an overnight stay.

That leads in to another more important topic of conversation~~ We were able to gather family outside for the inurnment service for my sister Jo who died last December.  It was extremely hot and humid, her favorite kind of weather!  About 50-60 of us came together.  The pastor did a wonderful job, we sang two of her favorite hymns, and were able to put her urn into it's spot overlooking nature at it's best.  Everyone then went with their "kids" and grands to eat at their favorite places before heading to my niece and her husband's beautiful backyard to have a celebration of her life.  Everyone who wanted brought photos, there were two beautiful cakes and some of Gr. Jo's favorite Starbucks, besides soft drinks that kept everyone nourished.  We all shared some wonderful stories that captured her essence.  She was a faith-filled, family loving, fiercely passionate woman who loved to talk politics and religion. She loved staying connected with her family.  Whenever one of the grands was dating someone, she would want to know two things.....are they Lutheran?  and what political party did they line up with~ hers being the right one of course!!!  After sharing stories that had us all laughing and wiping a few tears, we sang the extended family "song"....the chorus of You Are My Sunshine", and the song she sang when she called or was with family for everyone's birthdays....Her kids, their spouses, the grands, their spouses, etc.  She sang this song until the last month of her life when she was too weak to do so.  Some of us are carrying the tradition on for her....

"A happy birthday to you.....a happy birthday to you..

Every day of the year, may you feel Jesus near....

A happy birthday to you....a happy birthday to you...

The BEST that you ever did have. "  

I know some in my family have kept recordings of her singing that song on their phones to play back.  They are even more precious now. 

We stayed in a hotel Friday night with two of our kids and their families.  It was the first time we had been in hotel since Dec. 2019 and most of the time we wore a mask when out of our room and sometimes we didn't.  It was a mixed bag on what to do with the variant causing so much havoc.  We all wore masks at the memorial service, but in the spacious back yard we gathered in we did not.  Although a lot of hugging went on.  It was the first time we saw our son Mark and his Noah in 20 months!  Sooooo good to be with some of our kids.  Sad for those who could not come.  It was a true gift to see so many extended family!  Some flew in from AZ, Boston, South Dakota, and Texas. Others came from Iowa, Wisconsin, and around MN.  What a blessing!

We came home last night, unpacked, found something to eat, and were in bed and asleep by 9:30.  This morning we watched church from our living room sofa and recliner cuz...........I think we are feeling the trip!  Aren't we blessed to be able to do that!  I go to Facebook, get the service on their and cast it onto our TV and there it is on a big screen and in living color!  When I get complacent about worshiping or listen to others complain about having to mask up, etc. to go to church I cannot help but think about all those who have an "underground" church so they will not be killed for believing in Jesus.  And here we are.............Wake up people!  Stop the entitlement attitude and make it a gratitude attitude for this country~ flaws and all!

So, what am I grateful for today?  For being able to travel and have this service for this precious complicated, passionate, caring, woman who loved her family and her Lord Jesus.  I am grateful she took me in with her hubby and raised me with her family giving me what I longed for.  I am grateful for what she taught me about God, for sending me off to Bible College, and for praying Joel into my life~ literally.  I am grateful for being with my extended family, hugging again on my sister Jan and others, and for being with some of our kids.  I am grateful for the legacy, Gr. Jo leaves behind and is now moving through the next generations.  Grateful for a beautiful service, a wonderful celebration.  So grateful.  

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you on this beautiful weekend here in our small corner of the world.  This week we have enjoyed a hummingbird that has come to visit more than one day while we were porch sitting.  Also, loving the cooler weather and grateful for the  good rain that came last night.  It is very dry here, just like so many other places,  The land is thirsty....

Speaking of land, it has been hard this week not to be thinking about Afghanistan and the horrific crisis that is going on there with the Taliban taking over the country.  Lord have mercy on the Afghan people who are wanting out........those Christian Afghans who are expecting to die, and the women and girls who will be once again without any freedoms or rights.  And then there is Haiti.....a suffering country in more ways than one, their leader assassinated, hurricane, devastating earthquake.  Again, Lord have mercy! 

Seeing the images on TV of the airport and the streets of Kabul, took me right back to when Saigon fell in the late seventies.  So many images of people trying to leave the country, images of desperate parents trying to get their children out of the country. Begging soldiers to take their babies....because what they would be facing would be so horrific.  It took me back to when I helped with Operation Baby Lift while we were stationed in The Philippines at Clark Air Base. It took place a few weeks before the fall of Saigon.   Joel was forecasting the weather for pilots that flew everywhere including in and out of Viet Nam. This was his job as a meteorologist.  I signed up to help care for one of the many orphan children that were being airlifted out of Nam.  I was picked up by a military bus from the base (our home was off base) and taken to a place to be given information on our "duties", then we went to the airport where we all waited for the first plane to arrive.  It was not too long before we were told that the first plane had crashed while returning to the airport due to mechanical problems.  Sadly many children and adults died or were injured.  After receiving that news, we were taken somewhere on the base to wait and see what was happening next.  It was after midnight when we were once again taken to the airport to meet the next plane to arrive.  We walked in single file onto the plane picking up and carrying the first child available to us.  We carried them back to the bus and drove with them to a place that was well equipped for us to care for them for the 12 hour shift we were assigned to.  I will never forget this experience and felt so blessed to be a part of it.  I did not realize how much those Saigon images or the plane crash affected me until I saw what was going on at Kabul.  I was mostly an observer of all that was going on, but it impacted me enough to bring strong emotions to the surface.  I believe that we in America have little idea what the Afghans are going through. We take so much for granted.  Our prayers are with all those trying to leave....those trying to save their children.  Lord, have mercy.

 And as long a we are lifting up our hearts to God let us not forget the Covid-19 crisis here that has once again reared its ugly head, trying to swallow up not only the elderly, but the children and younger adults too.   Lord have mercy.  

All of this and more can keep a person in a high state of anxiety and apprehension,  It is not a good place to do you all cope with it?  I am now limiting once again the news and who I listen to, when, and questioning how much info I really need.  We are doing a lot of porch sitting!  Praying!  Giving thanks....And remembering who is in control........who is our provider, protector, healer,  Amen and Amen,

The good news here this week is that my oncology exam and blood work was all good.  Yay......The DNRS does give me more energy even though at times other things talk louder.  I am still walking daily, and getting house "stuff" done.   The new med I have been on for a month is giving me less cognitive issues, less fatigue, and less joint pain.  All good......

Joel is working at Habitat today to help build a house here in Mason City, he has gotten in some biking, and more projects done.   He likes to make things out of scraps and made both this easel tool holder and this table in the picture for when he is working on something like our back window.  Very creative.........and practical too!

We watched an interesting movie this week called "Fisherman's Friends" on Netflix.  It is based on a true story of a group of fishermen "discovered" by a guy seeking out new groups to record music.  They sang "sea shanties" and he helped them get a contract for their music when no one else would believe in them!   It was quite entertaining, although a bit slow moving at first.  

This weekend I am watching a live stream Pentecostal conference put on by a couple teachers/speakers I follow.  Joel and I watched a service last night that had us both saying..........well, this is definitely out of our comfort zone!  Haha  It was definitely more than a little different than our Lutheran services of worship.  It is good to experience new things! 

So, today I am thankful for memories of Operation Baby Lift, the young boy I cared for and what he shared with me, for good reports, for walking and biking, for porch sitting, open windows, movies to distract, texts, phone calls and emails, rain, hummingbirds, stepping out of our comfort zone, and so much more.......

Enjoy your weekend!