Friday, September 30, 2011

Mental Health Day

When I was working, the time would come when I would become sick...sick of being at work.  (Okay - I wasn't always the MOST dedicated employee.  The truth can now come out!)  I would call in sick and consider it a "mental health" day.   We're taking one today...Tom and retirees.

I've been dealing with a lot of stuff lately.  You too?  Seems to be going around. 

We are going to a place my son told me about.  He visited it when he was working at Zion Ponderosa .  He was pretty impressed.  So we are going to Best Friends Animal Society.  I will take my camera and post pictures later.


Autumn comes on silent feet;
You hardly know it's there.
Until one day you chance to meet
A crispness in the air.

Attitude Can Change Everything

So many of my blog entries seems to deal with my struggles with accepting current situations.  I seem to have such a hard time keeping a positive attitude. 

I watched this video today.  I was overwhelmed.

If someone with so many limitations can live so fully, so happily....what's wrong with me??? 

My body is not the body I had 20 years ago. As I age, my body reacts.  And, still, I have more physical blessings to work with than this man.  But I am not enjoying HIS quality of life.

What makes the difference?  What made it possible for him to go from being suicidal at the age of eight to being a motivational speaker now?  He changed his attitude.    He subscribes to the belief that "Your attitude, not your aptitude, determines your altitude."

I need to work on mine.  A lot.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

30 Uses For a Wire Hanger

Tonight I am bored out of my mind.  I found a creative writing prompt - and here we have the result!

1.  Hanging clothes

2,  A back scratcher

3.  Hot dog skewer

4.  Make-shift marshmallow roaster - I hate them because the wire heats up and melts the marshmallow from the inside before it get toasty brown on the outside.  It slips off into the coals.

5.  I made a replacement hook for my recliner out of one when the original hook broke and flew across the room.

6.  Framework for butterfly wings on a child's Halloween costume

7.  Framework for angel wings on child's Christmas costume

8.  Framework for a flower garland

9.  Framework for a wreath

10.  A tool for unlocking your car door - desperate times call for desperate measures!

11.  Sometimes fatal abortion tool - we're going old school here

12.  Hook for reaching ceiling fan chain

13.  Slip a nylon stocking over it, bend it a little bit, and it makes a good cleaner for rain gutters

14.  A electric outlet circuit tester - ask my son about the time the lights all dimmed and his hair stood on end

15.  Cleaning out a clogged drain - take it apart and put a little hook in the end.

16.  By rounding out the big opening, leaving the hook intact , cover it in aluminum foil and you can use it as a frying pan.

17.  a radio or TV antenna

18.  Repair a sagging car seat spring - cut the wire, and use it to retie the springs together.

19.  A poster hanger

20.  Temporary cotter pin

21.  Paper-mache frame

22.  Using the same pattern as #16, you can use it to make big bubbles to keep your kids entertained

23.  A means to secure your trunk lid when you have to drive your too-long Christmas tree home

24.  Repairing a chain-link fence

25.  Make shift toilet paper holder

26.  Row markers in a garden - put seed packet on them to show what's planted where

27.  Gun-cleaning rod - straightened out, with cloth wad on the tip

28.  Replacement hinge pin

28.  Mobile hanger - one of those Sunday School teaching aids

29.  Make-shift IV bottle hanger

30,  To hold up a broker muffler until you can get it replaced

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Charity Begins at Home

It's taken me a year to start to blog about my son being in prison.  I think they call that denial.  It's always on my mind, but I don't talk about it much.  There is an amount of shame that goes with it.  The loss of his company and ease of contact has been very difficult for me.  I have a hard time with the fact that most of the family doesn't seem to grieve his absence.  His behavior and treatment of others bred this.  He is not an innocent victim. 

What I have learned through this process, so far, is the meaning of true charity.  In our religion, we see the definition of charity as the "pure love of Christ."  Think about that.  To love as Christ loves.  I pair that definition with the old motto - "Charity begins at home."  I DON'T interpret that as meaning we have to GIVE to family first.   I take it to mean we should love as Christ loves, judge as Christ judges - and begin this practice within our own family first.  That doesn't always happen, does it?  We tend to treat (and judge) our family members harder and with less compassion than those outside our home.  Our defenses are down and it's easy to snap out a harsh judgement, a less-than-flattering comment, or be short tempered and selfish.  Our home is our training ground in so MANY areas.  Of course it would be the place to practice selfless love!

Have I always done that?  Do I do it every day now?  No.  Am I aware of the task before me, the challenge the Lord was placed in my development?  Absolutely.  The only TRUE success I have had so far is in seeing my son as a child of God rather than the accumulation of his actions, choices, and past history.  Through is experience, I can now see the child of God in each matter how despicable.  I KNOW how the Lord views each of us.  Despite all our choices, actions, and deaf ears.  That love has no bounds.  He loves Hitler as much as he loves Christ.  Chew on that one a while.  He LOVES each and every one of his children, no matter how they feel about Him.  Or if they recognize Him.  Of if they blaspheme His name. 

He doesn't approve of their actions.  He doesn't excuse their choices.  He mourns them.  He aches over the loss of their company in the eternities ahead.  He sees them for what they are - and LOVES them - and hopes, beyond hope, that they will change and come back to His way.  And I think His process goes way beyond what I can even conceive or communicate.  I know, in a small mother's way, the depth of His love and concern for those who do not walk  in His footsteps.  And it overwhelms me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Favorite Old Record!

I can't believe I found this song!  When I was in 4th grade, my mom taught me to dance with this record!  So fun to hear again!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Running the Gauntlet

This is what my September has felt like so far.

Challenge #1:  My Mom's health is declining.  She has Alzheimer's and is in an assisted living facility.  She is more confused, not wanting to eat and staying in bed most of the day.  She has been fighting nausea and diarrhea the past several weeks.  Her doctor feels she will benefit from going into hospice care.  He feels she is very frail and may not last more than six months.  I had to evaluate the information, talk to family members and make a decision.

Challenge #2:  Tom began having health issues.  There are now concerns with the condition of his heart.  He is on oxygen now.  We are doing tests to see exactly what is going on with his heart.  This is on-going.

Challenge #3:  I went for a bike ride and took a small fall.  Didn't brake or skin-up anything.  My right knee (which is the better one) took a HARD hit in the area below my kneecap.  It flat part of that knee (the area you kneel on) has been numb since the fall.  Totally no feeling on the surface.  I'm walking fine - I can weight-bear.  Mostly soft tissue damage, probably irritated the heck out of that bursa and it is healing slowly.

Challenge #4:  Came from dealing with Challenge #3.  After a week of my knee not getting better and being scared about having no feeling there, I went to the doctor.  (I have no insurance, so going to the doctor is a last resort situation.  Tom has VA  to help him, thank God!)  In taking my history, the doctor learned I hadn't had a mammogram for two years.  She told me about a program that offered free mammograms to those who met the criteria.  I met it.  I got one. 

I got a call the next morning that they had found a spot in my right breast and they wanted to take another mammogram to double check it.  Of course they called on a Friday and couldn't get me in until Monday.  WHY does bad news always come on a Friday??  And you have all weekend to stew and worry before you can actually DO anything about it??? 

It was a very LONG weekend - but by Saturday I had turned it over to the Lord.  I figured He already knew the outcome of the test.  He knew what was in store for me.  Me worrying wouldn't do anything to change the situation.  I decided to put myself in His hands (again) and through His strength I would be able to handle whatever the outcome would be.  It worked out wonderfully.  Turns out what they saw was a lymph node and it was perfectly normal.  Amazing how a scare like that puts everything into perspective...

All of that within the same two weeks! 

Walls Do Not a Prison Make

I spend last weekend visiting my son.  (Hadn't realized that I hadn't posted since my last visit with him.)  This visit went much better!  I still learned a lot of things, without the car problems.

I flew down alone and got a rental car.  I stayed in the town where the prison is located and got to have three eight-hour visits with him, over the weekend.

I can't tell how much these visits mean to me.  I don't get to go down as often as I would like, but know that the frequency would be much further apart if i were still living in Oregon.  Every other month is better than once a year.  I look forward to the visits, relish the time I have with him and then mourn the separation all over again.  Leaving is like loosing him all over again.

This time I got a clearer picture of his day-to-day existence.  It is so bleak, so boring, so limited.  He has been incarcerated over a year now.  He has seven more ahead of him.  I don't see how he copes.  the boredom factor.  The lack of privacy.  The deprivation.  The loneliness.  The isolation from family.  I have no illusions as to his innocence.  This is his restitution.  As his mother, this is hard to watch.

His only break is getting mail and having visits.  Those are his only touch with the outside world.  That is his only touch with family.  And it happens SO does he cope?  He almost never complains.  He promotes a positive attitude and works to feel close to the Lord.  he makes me laugh when I visit.  HOW does he do it??

I have less confinement and more freedom and feel oppressed.  I have more connection with people, and feel alone.  I have transportation and funds, but mostly sit in the house.  I have phones, computers and  test messaging but seldom reach out.  Do we make our own prisons?