November 30, 2008

Sunday Rest

The mountains and hills will burst into song
before You, and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
Isaiah 55:12b

November 24, 2008

Tone Check

Have you ever been around someone that speaks harshly to their children?
My first encounter was in the grocery store when I was a teenager.  I could hear a mom, on the next aisle over, spewing ugliness to her 3 year old.  It physically made me sick.  It was one of those moments in life that I thought, "I will never..."

Fast forward 20 years.  It still makes me sick to hear moms speak harshly to their children.  Now before you start thinking that I've got it all together (snicker), let me be real.  There are times that I reach the end of my rope and use a tone of voice that makes even the dog cower. 

But, how are you doing on a regular basis.  Does your tone speak love or weariness?  Do your words nurture and heal, or rebuke and break?  Of course there is a time for correcting.  Some days, more than others.  But in the quietness of the evening, after I've tucked them into bed, I need to examine my heart and voice.

1. Would I speak to strangers in this tone of voice?
2. If someone recorded my voice, and played it back for me in 20 years, would I have regrets?
3. What is my tone of voice teaching my children about parenting? 
4. Does volume and a harsh tone get the results I am wanting?  Would consistency and composure be more beneficial to all?
5. Do my children think that being a mom is a special job?  One that I rejoice in?

A fool gives full vent to his anger,
but a wise man keeps 
himself under control.
Proverbs 29:11

Now for some reality from our household:
Over the weekend I told my daughter to clean out her closet.
This is what I found:
She cleaned it OUT. 
Out into her room.  
Wow.  I need to be more specific in my directions!

A couple of years ago, my girls came running downstairs screaming,  "Mom, mom, you're not going to believe what our brother just did!"  I took a deep breath, and went upstairs to find this on my bedroom wall:
  My gut reaction was frustration.  But I took a deep breath and told him that it made me very sad that he didn't take care of my wall.  We discussed that pencils are only for paper.  Fortunately, it was behind the door, and out of constant view. 
 But now, it is a masterpiece.  One day, when we need to repaint the room, I'll request that the part behind the door stays green.  It is a memory of a time that I will never get back.

Remember my girls' reaction to him coloring on the wall?  Well, we recently had another little masterpiece show up on the hall wall.  But this time the girls didn't come running.  In fact, they never said a word.  I just happened to find it on my own.  
This is why:

Uh-huh.  That's what you think it is.  Two perfectly practiced kiss marks that just happen to be the same height of said girls' lips.  
My hubby and I had to correct, but we sure had a good laugh about it.  

Isn't parenting fun?!

November 23, 2008

Sunday Rest

Whenever anyone turns to the Lord,
the veil is taken away.
2 Corinthians 3:16

November 22, 2008

Annoying Adage

Do you have some phrases that get under your skin?
Maybe like:

I'll be honest with you...
Really?  Like you're not usually?  So this is the only time I should believe you?  

And God showed up...
No kidding.   He's already here, and there, and everywhere; you just happened to acknowledge Him.  Finally.

Do you have 20 cent?
SSS!  It is plural.  More than one cent. 

LOL.  Blah, blah, blah, LOL.
Do you really laugh out loud that often?

Up to 70% off.
Uh huh. I've got your number.  That really means that most things are 20% off. But, if you happen to work here and find the things marked 50% off before the store opens, plus your employee discount, then ... yes, UP TO 70% off.

Same difference.
Umm... what does this mean?!  Aren't those opposites?

Reality TV.
It is so normal for me to be dropped off on an island with complete strangers.  How about you?Maybe your reality is to travel the entire world with your spouse in 4 weeks.

Fresh Fish.
Scary.  The last restaurant I visited didn't post this sign.  Hope I didn't eat old fish.

What phrase annoys you the most?
C'mon give me a good LOL.

November 21, 2008

Makin' My List

I've been making my list and checking it twice.
And it is much bigger than my budget.
So it was time to get creative.

I decided to make these fun coasters.

It is just rough bath tile. Stamped with a permanent ink called Stayzon. This will keep the design from washing away when the cups sweat.
Then add a few bumper pads to protect the table.
The possibilities are endless. A name. A monogram. A verse.

I'm thinking teachers, sunday school teachers, family, friends. Yes, the list is long, but in one afternoon, I knocked out 8 sets of 4 coasters.

November 19, 2008

Table Topping Finale

Thank you for your sweet comments yesterday. Since you're so kind, I'll share these last two tables with you. For starters, I loved the simplicity of this table.
The pears were real ... what an elegant favor, spun in a web of green organza ribbon and highlighted with a pheasant feather.
Each pear had a different conversation starter. Isn't that so ... hospitable?!
The table was total elegance with green, brown and gold. I loved the feathery grapevine wreath in the center. The roses were real, and smelled heavenly.

The next table was my own. I had so much fun putting it together, on a very tight budget. I found these leopard plates at the dollar store!!! Can you believe it?! I didn't know such fabulousness resided there.
On my quest to find all things red and chocolate, I ran across these little reindeer, at the Dollar Tree. But they were copper, not chocolate. So grabbed my trusty spraypaint can and created this:
I wanted to use some natural elements along with the sparkle and animal print, so the cranberries, cinnamon sticks and my grapevine bowl were added. I heart this bowl. It was a present from a dear friend. I had admired her XXL bowl for a long time and on her last visit, she gave it to me. What a true friend.
I have 3 of these shiny brown frames around my house. I just exchanged the pictures for Christmas verses that I printed from my computer. Another idea is to frame christmas cards.
These were my little favors (Along with some dark chocolate, wrapped in brown foil). Aren't these place holders adorable? 2 for $1 at Michaels! You know me, I'm all about cheap! I chose this verse because it is very hard to BE STILL during this time of year. Just a sweet reminder for the ladies to take home.
This is the table in full. The red 'table cloth' is actually my tree skirt. The balls in the basket go on our tree every year, so they will stay in the basket only until next week. Oh, well, I'll have a fun dining room centerpiece for 2 weeks. Then I'll have to get creative. Again.

Thank you for bearing with me all week. I wish I could have taken each of you with me last Saturday and enjoyed the morning together.
Let this be an encouragement, not pressure to make everything perfect.
Just enjoy this time of year!

November 18, 2008

Table Toppings 4

Greetings to those of you visiting from The Inspired Room! I have a total of 5 posts in this Table Topping series. Just click on the 'blog archive' to see the rest.

I couldn't resist showing this yummy morsel of Christmas splendor.
When I walked into the room of decorated tables, it was as if a spotlight was shining on this one. It sparkled and glistened and beckoned me to come nibble just like Hansel and his little sister.
I think the hostess knew that everyone would want to nibble, so she provided these delicious favors. Needless to say, it was a very popular table.
That is bubble gum from Pottery Barn rolled up to look like a giant piece of candy. Real, homemade gingerbread men and a Lindt chocolate (in a pink wrapper, of course) to top it all off.
This is the centerpiece in all of its luscious wonder. Everything was glittery and sparkling. Even the snow was glistening.
Michelle made these beautiful gingerbread houses. The foundation is a wooden birdhouse.
Genius! The candy is ... real. The detail is amazing!
Here is the table in all of its pink-n-green glory.
I watched the women flock to this table. All of the seats were taken in a matter of minutes. It was like an after-christmas-sale. Those women staked their claim and didn't budge. Most of the women at the event mingled and chatted for the first 15 minutes; but not these ladies. They weren't risking losing the sweetest spot in the house!

I have a couple more tables to show (one is my own, that I hosted). Are you interested, or tired of this week's event?

Table Toppings 3

Today we are going to look at some FUN holiday tables.
For other great ideas, scroll down.
This first one is so 'outside the box.' I would have never thought to use hot pink and orange for Christmas, but it works!
Katie loves orange ... had it in her wedding and it was gorgeous. So this table fits her to a tee. The plates and mugs are china, not paper this time.
I know my picture isn't the clearest, but she had ball ornaments filled with Jelly Bellies. Isn't that a fun favor? Kids would love it! The ornaments are sort of flat, so they don't roll off the plates. (Michael's has them, I think)

This next table has me wanting to be a kid again.
Marshmallows and candy canes = F.U.N.
I love the light blue polka dots. Wintery-fresh! Laura just used fabric glue to add this fun ribbon to the fabric to make the table cloth. Love-it!
She made the delightful peppermint trees, too. Wouldn't that be fun to make during Christmas break? She told me she found these washable, kid-friendly plastic plates after Christmas last year at one of the drugstore chains. Aren't they fun?!
I love these red chargers!

This little picture (above) is just a teaser...
What is pink and green, sparkly, and yummy?

November 16, 2008

Table Toppings 2

This week I am sharing some great holiday table ideas that came from a women's event at our church. (Go here to start)
Each table was decorated differently, by a different hostess. The only requirements were that it had to seat 8, and it had to have a holiday theme (Thanksgiving or Christmas).

There were about 30 tables.
Talk about brain overload ... I'm so glad I brought my camera!

The first table is full of autumn warmth. It just beckoned me to come sit down and enjoy!
I loved the little bird-nest favors with the verse attached.
The simple brown satin ribbon added such a nice touch!

Want another great idea for your Thanksgiving table?
I loved this one! My friend is very musical, so I guessed it was hers immediately. I thought the pumpkin was real, but it is actually a plastic carvable one. Is 'carvable' a word? Well, it is now.
She painted the music notes and the words to the doxology around the bottom. Everything was gold and orange. Brilliant!

The next table was GORGEOUS!
Very eye catching from across the room.
Black, white and silver. Dazzling!
The centerpiece was a black and silver wrapped package, holding live red roses and white carnations. I loved the silver chargers on the black tablecloth! Can you believe the plate and cup is disposable? I'd volunteer to dishes.
Each place setting had a little box wrapped in a cloth napkin, tied with a bow to match the wrapping paper on the box. Any guesses on what was inside the box? Chocolate, of course!

On Tuesday I'll have some funky-fun, kid-friendly table toppings to enjoy.

Sunday Rest

Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgements he has pronounced.
1 Chronicles 16:11-12

November 15, 2008

Table Toppings

Are you ready for some fabulous holiday ideas?
This week I will be featuring some tablescapes.
Today we will look at some brown beauties.

I love this autumn one.
Who says you have to use fine china to make a beautiful place setting?
Both of the tables today used paper plates on gold chargers.

Here is another beautiful idea that could be used year around:
Isn't that little favor box adorable? Something yummy was hiding inside.
Here is the whole table, but my picture doesn't do it justice. The orange roses were gorgeous in real life.
I love how she used natural elements (oranges, nuts and roses) with the brown and silver. See that flatware? It's plastic!

All of the tables I will feature this week came from an event held at my church this morning. I came home ready to decorate for Christmas. Well, aside from my personal conviction of not leaving Thanksgiving out in the cold.

Come back on Monday for some more great table ideas!

November 14, 2008

The Chicken

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Barack Obabma:
The chicken crossed the road, okay, because it was time for a change. The chicken wanted a change!

John McCain:
My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to in engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side.

Sarah Palin:
You betcha he crossed that road, because he knew how hard it is for middle class American chickens to get across the road. Especially with a lipstick wearin' pit bull hockey mom at their heels.

Hillary Clinton:
When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road.

Dick Cheney:
Where's my gun?

Colin Powell:
Now to the left of the screen you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

Bill Clinton:
I didn't cross the road with that chicken ... uh, what is your definition of crossing-the-road?

Al Gore:
I'm gonna make the world a safer place for that chicken ... no more cars allowed on roads.

Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, so instead of having him learn from his mistakes and get hit, I am going to give this chicken a car so he can just drive across the road.

Al Sharpton:
Why are all the chickens white?! We need some black chickens around here!

Anderson Cooper, CNN:
We have reason to believe there is a chicken trying to cross the road, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

Geraldo Rivera:
I am secretly embedded with the chicken, but I'd like to tell you all of his tactical maneuvers.

Dr. Seuss:
Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad?
Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

Ernest Hemingway:
To die in the rain ... alone.

Jerry Falwell:
Because that chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth? If you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media whitewashes with phrases like "to the other side."

In my day, we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. He just said he was going to do it, and that was good enough.

It is the nature of the chicken to cross the road.

John Lennon:
Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing the roads together in peace.

Albert Einstein:
Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

Colonel Sanders:
Did I miss one?

November 13, 2008

24 Hour Mom

If you are a mom, or for that matter, have a mom, you will get a laugh out of this one!

November 11, 2008


Do you ever feel like this?  The only house standing, wondering when the next storm will hit?  I have been feeling this way for a couple of weeks.  There have been great storms all around me.  On days, I have felt battered and bruised by those howling winds.  Sometimes the rain beats on the door of my heart and I give way to fear, frustration, and doubt.  Though I know He is right there, but I allow the dark clouds of trials to cover my view of His light.  

I feel as though I am in that house (pictured above) and I can hear and see all of the destruction around me.  I feel faint because it seems impossible to hang on.  And yet, my Father knows where I am.  He sees the calm after the storm.  He knows how long it will last.  He is still in control.  

 A friend of mine is going through an enormous storm right now.  She has been crushed by the waves.  I am still standing, but feel helpless in what to say or do.  Please pray for her today.  Her name is Ginger.  As she wrote in an email, "my Word tells me God is in control, but my heart is faint."  

Oh that we may trust the Lord with all of our storms.  The little wind storms that blow in and out of our day, as well as the hurricanes that leave destruction in their path.

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble.
He knows them that trust in Him.
Nahum 1:7

On a lighter note...
Memoirs of a Southern Domestic Goddess is having a giveaway, so go check her out.

November 10, 2008

Collision of Holidays

Poor November. It's become the little month that could. After the Weeny frenzy of October and the rush to bring on the glories of December, it kinda has an identity crisis.
Often it is just combined with Christmas and referred to as 'the holidays.'
Not this year. We are going to savor the month of November and all that it has to offer.
The one word that comes to mind, for many is:

Are we full-of-thanks?
Our family is really going to focus on giving thanks this month. I saw several cute ideas on the internet, but I'm liking the thankful tree. We are going to try it, and then I'll post pictures. Each family member comes up with something they are thankful for, and then writes it on a little leaf (or other cut out) and attaches it to the tree. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, we will read all of them aloud.

Just to keep it real, you know what I'm thankful for today?
Here is a hint:
We went from this
to this in one afternoon:
No, I didn't put my fall stuff away and haul the Christmas stuff from the attic.
But I did change all of our CD's ...

I'm thankful for Christmas music!!!

November 9, 2008

Sunday Rest

And the glory of the Lord will be revealed
and all mankind together will see it...
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever.
Isaiah 40:5,8 

November 6, 2008

Feathering my Nest

I recently received this photo in my in-box from my dear friend.  She is the one who took me on an adventure this summer to find the perfect black fabric .  She bought me my fabulous black mirror, and she found this adorable fabric that day.  It has elegant little green frogs with red dots.  It is perfect for her bonus room windows.  

She has a knack for details and I always get such great ideas from her.  Take for instance this wreath she added to the window.  Nice touch!
So I stole her idea and did this:

I added this feather wreath.  
I had been eyeing them for several months but I wasn't willing (or able) to spend $20 on it.  But I happened upon this one (on sale!) at Micheals.  I added the weekly 40% off coupon and paid pennies for it.  Since the mirror was so large and heavy, I wanted to soften it a bit.
To hang it, I simply added some ribbon and tacked it to the wall with a pin.  Yes, a simple dress pin did the trick.  Brawny little thing!
The black ribbon is just looped around the whole wreath:
I just love the softness and texture it adds to the bold black framed mirror.  
The best ideas are borrowed from good friends!

November 4, 2008

Whew! (3)

I'm celebrating a week of 'whew, we made it through October', so if you've just joined me, start here.

It had been a long 11 months.  My Manly Man had endured more pain than I had thought imaginable.  Our lives had been turned upside down.  But things were starting to even out.  By summer's end he was walking and getting strong.  

He had lost almost 40 lbs. in  the first 2 months.  We joked that if I had been the one sitting in a recliner for that long, I would have gained 40 lbs!  Even though he had lost that much weight, his arms were 'big guns' from using crutches for 4 months.  The human body is an amazing creation.  Time heals so much ... usually.

To celebrate Labor Day Weekend, we had taken a trip to (our favorite place) the NC mountains with some friends.  We were excited, as this was the first time we were able to go and enjoy the fun stuff that we usually do, since the accident.  We knew he wasn't ready for hiking, but we still enjoyed other things like kayaking and picnicing on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
As we strolled along the streets of a quaint little mountain town I happened to be walking behind my husband.  It occurred to me that his limp was getting worse.  I brushed it off as fatigue until my friend, who was walking beside me mentioned it.  
Oh, no!  

After 11 months, he was tired of people asking if he was okay.  He just wanted to be normal again.  So, I gently asked him if he was in any pain.  "No, I feel great!"
But within 24 hours his leg was worse.  While he was experiencing no pain, the area that had been 'fixed' was now curved.  From front to back.  A distinct curve where it should be stick-straight!  We decided to make an appointment with the surgeon as soon as we returned home.

Although limping, my husband walked into the appointment pain free.  The doctor took one look and said, "We need x-rays."
As we waited for him to return with the results, we tried not to think of what was ahead.
He returned, with a very grim expression.
"It appears that your leg is broken again.  You are a medical mystery.  You should be in severe pain and it is inexplainable that you can walk on it."

Broken again?!  How did this happen?!  He's been so careful!  He has followed the doctor's instructions to the letter.  I looked at my husband's stricken face and knew we were about to face another mountain.  "Is it something I did?" he asked.

"No," replied the doctor, "after comparing the x-rays, it appears that when I released you to begin putting pressure on your leg and start walking again, the original x-ray did not reveal the strength of the bone.  Basically, rather than healing in a solid mass, which is usually how bones heal, it was more like Swiss cheese.  The x-ray could not detect that.  So, for 5 months, all of your weight has been basically supported by the thin metal plates.  While they are made to act as a support to bones, they are not designed to withstand movement.  It is similar to a paperclip.  You can bend a paperclip several times, but eventually it is going to snap.  That is what has happened with the plate.  The plate itself has broken in half and now your 'swiss cheese' bone cannot support the weight of your body."

"This is very critical.  We need to do surgery now.  We will need to do a bone graft from your hip to give your leg the support it needs. Let's plan on next week."

W-w-wait!!!  This cannot be happening!  It will be October next week.  We just did this a year ago.  Please.  Not again!

Obviously my husband was having the same thoughts because he said, "what will happen if we don't do the surgery?"

"I don't think you understand the gravity of this.  If the blood does not flow correctly and we don't fix this, we will have to consider amputation."

The word screamed in my head.
I was in a vortex again.  That place I never wanted to be again. 

"We are going to do all that is in our power to correct this, but you need to face the fact that we may not be able to save the leg."

No, no, no.  You don't understand.  My husband is a builder.  He can't miss another month of work.  He has to walk.  He needs his leg to support our family.  

If I thought my husband was broken before, this was shattered.  "I can't do this again."
We held on to each other and cried out to God.  We spent the evening in a fog.  Tomorrow we would deal with all the logistics.  Together we prayed, "We don't know your plan right now. We don't understand it, and if we are honest, we don't like it.  But we know that You see the whole book and we are only looking at one paragraph.  We trust your will.  Give us strength and peace as we face the unknown."

The next few days were spent arranging childcare, bringing the extra bed back in, rearranging the family room.  I had learned many things from the first go-around.  This time, we put a cooler with ice next to his chair, now, when he needed a drink, he could help himself.  We had a large piece of foam for him to put under his leg at night.  We gratefully accepted meals and offers of help.  This time, we had a little time to prepare.

Once again, my parents were out of town (Alaska) when we got the news about the surgery.  We told them they may never leave the area again. Hehe!  My husband mourned the fact that he would miss yet another hunting season.

On the day of his surgery, we knew that SO many were praying for us.  We could feel God's comfort, love, and most of all, peace.  We knew that no matter what the outcome of the surgery, He was still in control.

As I sat in the waiting room with friends and family, I realized that THIS is what life is all about.  It's not always mountain tops and smooth sailing.  Life has valleys.  Lots of them.  But it is in the valleys that we look up and see the glory and majesty of the mountains.  While the view is great from the top of the mountain, we don't appreciate the grandeur of the peak.
The best part:  my heavenly Father is with me in the valley and on the mountain top. Sometimes He walks beside me, sometimes He has to carry me.  But that's what daddy's do, don't they?

The surgery was supposed to take 6 hours and it lasted 8. The surgeon came out with a smile. The surgery had been successful!  He was very pleased with the bone graft and overall details. (Lots of words I didn't understand).

Because there wasn't 'trauma' to the leg as had been the year before, the healing process was faster.  He still spent Christmas with his beloved crutches. :0)

We had a goal in mind.  Our family was planning a trip to Disney World in March.  That gave him almost 6 months to be off the crutches and cane.  I think goals are good for the soul.

By the time we saw Cinderella's castle, he was able to walk down Main Street on his own. While he was busy watching our children's faces, I was captured by his.  I rejoiced and shed a few tears. He was back.  Happy and healthy.  Whole.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you.   
Jeremiah 29:11-12

We have now made it an entire year without surgery.  My Manly Man has enjoyed hunting season to the fullest this year.  Although, he defied the odds and went on crutches last year... you can't keep a good man down.   A defining moment for him was climbing up in the tree stand where the original accident happened two years ago.  I really didn't want to know.  But it was something he needed to do ... with a safety strap.  

So, WHEW! we made it through October without a visit to the orthopedic surgeon! Yipppeeee!!!

November 3, 2008

Whew! (2)

I am celebrating a week of
"Whew, we made it through October!"
If you haven't read the beginning of the story, start here.

My father-in-law and I returned to my husband's hospital room after hearing that the condition of his 'broken' leg was very serious.  It was obvious that we had both been crying. My husband had a look of fear on his face.  He was envisioning the worst.  After all, they had done every kind of test imaginable.  

After we explained that he was going to have to be transported to another hospital, a look of relief spread across his face.  "Okay!  I can deal with that!  After the two of you came in crying I thought I had cancer or something."  Ever the optimist! 

By this point, it was 1 a.m. and I found myself driving across town to 'the mac daddy' hospital, which housed the best orthopedic staff in the world... hopefully.

As Murphy's Law would have it, the ENTIRE hospital was full.  By 3 a.m. we were finally given a room.  
In the neurosurgical wing.  
That poor nurse.  She was as sweet as pie, but knew nothing about pain management.  My dear husband was writhing in pain and she wasn't figuring out that Morphine doesn't do it for him.
My father-in-law had gone home to help with the kids and trade places with my mother-in-law.
My husband's dear aunt and uncle were sitting with me.  It was surreal.
The surgeon-of-the-century arrived to give us 'the plan.'

Apparently, falling 10 feet out of a treestand can do a lot more damage than well-trained actors acquire from falling out of buildings.  
The good news: the ankle joint was fine.
The bad news: both bones in the lower leg (doncha love my medical terminology?) were shattered

This would mean 2 major surgeries.  
First, they would need to stabilize the leg.  This would mean an external fixator.  
Do you know what that is?  Let me explain.  
This is a metal apparatus that wraps around the outside of the leg and is held in place by two metal rods that are screwed into the tibia bone.
Uh-huh.  That's right.  He had metal pieces coming out of his leg. 
For 2 weeks, he had to endure it and I had to look at it.  Gag.

Second, he would have another surgery to reconstruct the bones.  This meant he would have metal plates permanently inserted in his leg to provide stability for the bone loss.
For a man that hates the hospital, this was terrible news.  However, the alternative ... well you know.

The first surgery went very well.  He came out happy and ready to go home, aside from the fact that he had this THING on his leg.  By this point, my parents had cut their trip short and were home, ready to help out.  Before we left the hospital, the nurse informed us that I would have to give him a daily shot of blood thinner to reduce the risk of blood clots for the upcoming surgery.  A shot.  Really.  Like, in his skin?

I really wanted to be a good wife.  So I sucked it up and agreed to a demonstration.   Before I knew it, I was on the floor out in the hall with my head between my knees, and black spots dancing before my eyes.  Oh, honey, I tried.  I wanted to do be a good nurse-wife.  Fortunately, my mother was a nurse and she lives next door.  Otherwise we'd have to pay for in-home care.

From this point on, I began to realize the complete chaos that comes with an injured husband. It began with how to get him into the house, where to let him sit and sleep comfortably.  We brought in a bed (since ours was upstairs), moved the old recliner back into the family room, and borrowed a walker.

At the time, our children were 3, 5, and 7.  Still a very needy age.  I was suddenly thrust into caregiver and single parenthood.  While my husband was there physically, he couldn't help with the little things I had taken for granted.  I never realized how much I appreciated his evening help.  Carrying laundry upstairs, bathing the kids, cleaning up dinner.  

Oh how my prayer life changed!  While there were lots of 'Lord, I need...'  there were also lots of 'Lord, thank you for a husband that usually does all this stuff that I'm doing right now; he is the best... I want him back."  Oh, the little things.  Funny how we don't notice them until they are gone.

Meanwhile, my Manly Man was facing enormous challenges.  This is a man who thrives on manual labor, fixing things, building things, working on projects and playing outside.  All of these were taken away.  Not to mention the rest of hunting season (his passion) was ruined.
I watched him be humbled and broken.  Not to the point of no return.  We knew the Lord was in control.  We trusted Him.  We knew that no matter what the outcome or how long it took, God already had a plan for our lives.  He knew this plan long before we ever met and began our lives together.  He knew and He held us in the palm of His hand.

So after 7 months of rehabilitation, physical therapy, a walker, crutches and then a cane,  the doctor released him to walk on his own free will.   Oh the lessons we learned during those 7 months.  We learned that our marriage is strong enough to face giants.  We both learned patience and sacrifice.  We learned that we have many friends willing to step in and provide meals, comfort and encouragement.  
We were ready to move on.  We were willing to accept the fact that he might always have a limp and scars.  But then, scars are not there to remind us of the pain, but how much we've healed.

As the summer progressed, so did my husband's strength.  We knew he wouldn't be able to run for at least another year, but his walking was stable.  

His limp was diminishing until ...

November 2, 2008

Sunday Rest

Let us then approach the throne of GRACE
with confidence, so that we may receive 
mercy and find grace to help us
in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

November 1, 2008


This week I am celebrating:
"Whew, we made it through October without a visit to the hospital!"

I've alluded to the fact that we had a life-changing ordeal a couple of years ago.  I've finally found time to sit down and put it into words.  It's long, so I won't be offended if you have better things to do.  If you've got a few minutes, brew up some java, add a little Gingerbread creamer and join me.

It was a cool October Saturday and we had a fun evening planned.  My Manly Man was headed over to his parents' house with the kids.  He was going to hunt while the kids spent some time with Grandma and Gran-gran.
I was headed to the grocery to buy enough food for my friend Julie and I to try the 'once a month cooking' thing.  I was standing in the checkout line with my cart loaded to the top when my cell phone rang. 
It was my dear mother-in-law and she said:
"There's been an accident."  

My heart was in my throat.
My whole world could be changing at this very moment.  My husband?  My children?
"Your father-in-law is with the paramedics trying to get your Manly Man (okay, she used his real name) out of the woods.  I've got the kids with me.  I'll call you when I know more."

Remember I said he was going HUNTING?  

I started crying as the lady was ringing up my Oreos and chicken breasts.  I didn't know what to do.  Do I just walk out and let them decided what to do with a half rung up cart of groceries?
It's funny how we behave when the world is crashing down.  I just stood there and waited until she was done.  I paid for the food with a trembling hand and left. 
I called Julie and told her what was going on.  As we were trying to decide where to meet for her to rescue the mountain of perishable food, my husband's cell phone beeped in.  

It was his sweet voice.  
His tender, loving voice that I had feared I might never hear again.
"I'm okay."  That's all it took for the dam of emotions to break free.  I was sobbing.
"It's okay, honey.  I slipped coming down from the tree stand.  I fell about 10 feet and I messed up my ankle.  The paramedics (two females) couldn't carry me that far out of the woods so they had to put me on a stretcher in the back of my dad's 4-wheel drive truck to get me out. They are going to take me to the hospital, so you can just meet me there."

What a blessing that my kids were already at my in-laws' house.  I didn't have to worry about arranging a safe place for them to go.  My parents were out of town.  We have a running joke that every time they go out of town, something big happens.  This was big.

I met my father-in-law and my husband's hunting buddy, Joel, at the hospital.  We watched as they rolled my husband in on a stretcher.  He was all smiles and joking with the hospital staff.
The paramedics had (wisely) chosen to leave his boot on in an attempt to keep it stable.
As the nurse cut the boot off (much to my husband's dismay, after all, they were his favorite huntin' boots!) I nearly passed out.  His foot was going the wrong direction.  
If you know me, you know that even though I come from a family of medical minded people, that gene skipped me.  I cannot handle blood, teeth, bones, eyes etc...

"Oh!  Let me get the doctor.  Yes. You messed that one up pretty good."
Such tact.
You might want to bring the smelling salts for me, too.

We settled down for the night in the ER.  CAT scans, x-rays, blood work.  Hours of tests.
Meanwhile, the kids were having a ball.  Grandma took them to Target to get new pajamas and a movie.  They thought it was great fun to have an impromptu sleepover. 

By this point the Manly Man was tired of being poked and prodded.  If he weren't in so much pain, I think he would have tried to hobble out of there.  Forget the cast.  Duct tape will work just fine.

As I sat in the family waiting room (thank goodness it wasn't the ER waiting room with blood and broken bones n' such) the tallest doctor in the world came in and introduced himself.  He was the orthopedic surgeon for the hospital.  He also takes care of the local football and hockey teams.  We felt like we were in good hands.

He pulled my father-in-law and me aside and said,
"His leg is in grave condition.  After looking at the x-rays, we realize that it is much more serious than we thought.  I have spoken with my colleagues and we do not feel that we have the ability to perform the kind of surgery he needs."

What?!  We live in one of the biggest cities in NC.  We are at one of the best hospitals in the area.  It's not like we are out in Podunkville!

"If the surgery is not done correctly, he has a high probability of loosing his leg."

Did you say he could loose his leg?!
Suddenly I was standing in a vortex.  I couldn't breathe. 
 My father-in-law was crying.  In the 13 years that I had known him, I had never seen him cry. 
In an instant we went from joking about having to find tall crutches to the reality that he may have to use them.  Forever.

The worst moment was yet to come.  We had to go tell my Manly Man what we had just heard...

(Come back Monday for more of the story)