Monthly Archives: November 2009

Hi! This is Pieces of Rainbows (BEG’s daughter) and I’m just posting to let you know that Mom’s surgery went well, and the doctor is pleased with the result. She is in good spirits, but sounds pretty tired right now.

Thanks for all your prayers, and please keep on praying!!!



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Grandpa and Grandma and Charis
(picture by Polly Heatwole)

And so, I await the morning . . .

Hundreds of things undone, but time doesn’t hold still for anyone.  And when people ask me if I’m “ready” I have to say that I am just not thinking about it.  Tonight, when it is dark, and Certain Man sleeps beside me, I have a feeling that I will think and think and THINK, and maybe not sleep so well.

I still need to pack, need to do the few little things that I cannot just put off, so that will fill the time.

Nothing to eat or drink after midnight.  No jewelry, blah, blah, blah.  And be there at 10:45AM.  (What???  I can’t come in at 5:00 and get it over with?)

There is this little place somewhere in my stomach that feels as cold as ice.

I will trust and not be afraid. 

Thank you for all the encouragement and support.  Most of all, thank you for the prayers.

I would be so afraid without them. 




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Tonight I am so thankful for our Middle Daughter — Deborah — or Beeba — or just plain Beebs.  It’s her birthday today, and she has been helping get ready for the packing of Thanksgiving Boxes at church tonight.  I am sure there are ways that she would have rather spent this evening, but she has been a really good sport.

Beebs 2
This is Rachel and Beeba at the Manchester United Game that they attended while on their European trip this summer.

I don’t know what I would do these days without her.  She runs errands for me, keeps me from having to go too many steps, just does things over and over again that I can hardly manage to do any more.  She has so many dreams, so many talents, so many plans — and often I listen to her talk and enjoy so many ideas and experiences vicariously.  She has gone places I will never go.  She has opportunities that are forever out of my sphere.  She has always been far smarter than her mama and daddy, and yet she puts up with us, choosing to live at home when it would be far more interesting somewhere else.

So my Thankful Blog for this day is for Deborah.  I am so very thankful for you, girlie.  I am so glad God sent you to our house!  You’ve been an incredible blessing to our family.  Just so you know– We love you!


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Today begins a countdown — of sorts.

Beginning today, there will be no ibuprofen allowed until surgery is over.  800 milligrams 3Xdaily will definitely be missed . . .

But this is the season of Grateful Praise, and I have learned that practicing the development of a thankful spirit is a great antidote against a heavy heart.  Not that there is no place for mourning.  I’ve done my share over the last few weeks after reading the following powerful words in a post from one of my Xanga friends:   

” . . . Then we wrestle with His sovereignty. Knowing that He allowed it.
We wrestle with His providence. Wondering on a good-bad day, but demanding on a bad-bad day; why on earth this was considered wisdom in management, love and care for His children, or provision for the future?!
We wrestle with guilt. Measuring ourselves among ourselves, we come up with some kind of pain-o-meter, feeling bad that we hurt when so and so is…you fill in the blanks.
God does not minimize heartbreak, people do. (Beth Moore)
He is not scared by how big something is, we are.
“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Not, “blessed are they that cope, by deciding someone else has more pain”.
How can He bind our wounds, if we try to believe that we’re not really that wounded?”

(Thank-you, down_onthefarm  for these words.  I’ve been encouraged because of them!)

And so, I took a day after reading this, and MOURNED.  And there were plenty of things to mourn about.    Some of the choices made within my physical family give me grief, but there are a host of unspoken things, private things and Family of God things that had caused my heart to feel “unwhole”.  I don’t know if my eyes were really dry for an entire day.  My family worried.  But it was cathartic.  And I felt like God was mourning with me.  And I felt comforted.

And then I felt like God was nudging me again to praise Him.  To acknowlege that though I had reasons to mourn, The time for thanksgiving was now at hand, and I needed to not “get stuck” in the mourning.

I may not always make this, but I am hoping to blog a thankful blog at the end of each day this week.  Specific things for specific days.  I have a challenging week ahead of me.  Pray that God would give me eyes of Grateful Praise, and that I would be faithful to his call.



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This is our precious grandbaby, Charis.
She is almost seven months old.
She just got her second tooth
And she started crawling two weeks ago.

She lights up our lives.
Thanks be to God for this gift.



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The flower beds were put to sleep tonight.  Certain Man had off from work today and he helped me dump the hanging baskets and clean out the beds.  He trimmed back the vinca vine that is threatening to take over, and trimmed roses until it was too dark to see any more.  On my kitchen cupboard are some branches of brilliant roses that he couldn’t bear to just throw away.

“Gotta’ save some of these,” he said, as he brought them over to me while he was trimming.  “They look really pretty!”

“They certainly do,” I say, squinting against the headlights of the tractor which hardly does them justice.  “We do need to save some!”  I think about them brightening the kitchen in the days ahead and it brings a squiggle of joy to my heart.

For some reason, the air invigorated and energized me.  I enjoyed his sweet company and helping hands while I pulled weeds, worked on clearing the peonies, and pulled out the begonias that were wilted.  It was comfortably companionable, and the team that is “us” moved alot of work this afternoon.  He is trying to get the stuff cleaned up around the new sun room, and it is so gratifying to see things take order under his capable and strong hands. 

In front of the house, beneath the picture window, the flowers were still colorful, but I didn’t know if there would be a time when I would feel this good again for a long time, so I cleared the bed and put the flowers into the bucket of the tractor that Certain Man had pulled up for me.  I remember that Vicente planted them for me this past spring, and all summer long their brave blooms reminded me of a golden day he spent helping me before things went so awry with this young friend and his life and his future.  Ah, Vicente.  Do you read these posts?  Do you know how often I think of you and pray for you? 

The leaves lie in a thick blanket on the lawn, and I love dragging my feet as I walk through them, listening to them crunch under foot, thinking of the days when I was a child.  The colors are incredible, and I tried to remember if I had actually seen them at their peak.  The reds are brilliant and varigated, and mostly fallen.  Many of the yellows still cling to their branches.  We’ve been away, and there’s been so much rain that it is no wonder that I don’t really remember seeing them at their best.  I have seen some wonderful leaves this year, just not in my own yard.

The Winter is coming.  I love the times of being together and the fire in the pellet stove and candles burning and soup cooking.  I love the gathering in of friends and the times of praying together and sharing together. We’ve started Christmas music and there is a puzzle on the dining room table.  It is a severe master.  3000 pieces, and baffling and fascinating and — well– puzzling!!!  Come on down and help if you get an inclination.  I’ll make you some hot chocolate and put some whipped cream on top and we can talk while you work on the puzzle — and I’ll put this old knee up for a spell.  I plan to baby it along here for a while.  I only have two more weeks to coddle it.

Oh, yes.  One more thing.  Today at the surgeon’s office, I scheduled the second replacement.  My doctor is over three months out in scheduling, and I was afraid if I waited until after the first knee was better, I wouldn’t do it.  Especially if I had to wait.  So I asked about scheduling the second one now, and the first date he has available is March 11.  I can change it if I want to, but I can’t make it sooner.

The next six months look really exciting!!!



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Today my doctor’s office called and said that I was on the list for cancelations, and an opening has come up for November 30th.  Did I want it???

Suddenly, I didn’t know if I wanted to move it up or not.  I had my plans laid, and I have been wrapping my mind around December 14th.  But I really want to get it over with —  And so does my family — especially my husband.

And so (drum roll here!)  the current plans are to replace the first of my troublesome knees three weeks from today. . .

HELP!!!!  It feels like that’s too soon!

But wait!  It feels like that’s not soon enough!

There are lots of you out there that will identify with this, but there are so many things to dislike about the current situation.  I dislike the medication fog that is always with me.  I dislike that my balance is so off — just accidently bumping up against an unmoveable object can throw me off enough to cause me to fall.  I dislike the limping, make-do gait that I can’t seem to conquer.  I dislike having an aversion to steps.  I dislike getting into a bathing suit and sneaking into a semi-public place where there are old and infirm people (like me!) trying to regain what has been lost.  I dislike having to think about whether there is something to get a firm grip on so that I can get out of a chair.  (The worst is armless folding chairs — and I never noticed before how many gatherings are held on those unhandy things.)  I dislike having everything take me so much longer than it ever did before.  I dislike the pitying glances of people (who all seem to be doing what I would like to do at a much faster rate than I could muster even before all this )  I dislike that sinking, desperate feeling that reminds me that I MUST sit down and the day’s work isn’t finished yet.  I DISLIKE THE PAIN.

Pain.  It is the thing we try so hard to get rid of.  I told someone the other day that I believe that we should do what we can to alleviate our pain.  I am not against procedures, pain killers, etc, that are strictly for the relief of pain.  I am more than “not against them” — I’m FOR THEM!!!  But the truth is, there just is some pain that nothing can touch.  There is pain that is inescapable.

This is hard for me to accept.  I’ve always had a high pain tolerance, and usually there has been something that would fix things and I could just go on doing what I always have done.  But things have changed, and I find myself suddenly stripped of all the things that were mine to cling to, mine to rely on, mine to use to fix whatever was wrong.

And that is when I crash into those Everlasting Arms.  Jesus suffered so much for me.  He understands the pain.  He holds me then and comforts me like only He can.  Sometimes I feel like a wee one on His lap.  Sometimes I feel like He tells me to be strong and get going or keep going on.  Sometimes He leads me through it like a Shepherd through a storm.  I fail Him, but He does not fail me.  A Faithful Shepherd is my Lord.

And so, I’m probably never going to really be “ready” for this surgery.  But by God’s incredible Grace, and the help of my family and friends, I am going to try to be brave and do my part. 

The rest is in His Hands.  And He is worthy of my Trust.



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Some random pictures from our week in Ohio–


If you want to know the truth, this looked pretty good for the way it looked a great deal of the time.  We worked hard, and got it done, though.  In this picture, in the foreground, is Daniel’s oldest sister, Lena.  She is the boss of us all, and we love her intensely.  This week would not have happened without her.  In the background, on the right, is Daniel’s sister, Rachel.  She will hate me for putting this picture on, but the truth is, I took all of five pictures, all on the first morning, and this is the only one I have of her.  She hates to be away from home, and it was a supreme sacrifice for her to come to Ohio and stay for a whole week.  And we needed her!!! She was so very, very needed, we couldn’t have made it without her – at least not nearly as well.  On the left is Rachel’s daughter in law, Virginia, married to Rachel’s second son, Philip.  They came down with Andrew and Ruth on Sunday night and left again on Monday morning.  Philip bought his grandpa’s mini-van, and they packed it with things that were ready to go, and left immediately for New York.



This is my sister in law, Ruby.  She came to spend the week with us, help us and HONESTLY!!!  I don’t think we would ever have made it without her, either.  She brought optimism, energy, food and incredible good sense to a situation that was lacking in all four areas.  She was totally God’s gift to this family for this time and in this place.



This is Rachel’s husband, Ivan, being his usual crazy self.  We found this hat, cobwebs and all, and when he proceeded to put it on, it made us all laugh.  He wasn’t caught unawares by the camera, though.  I didn’t get around in time to snap the picture before he took it off, and he, in an unusual show of compliancy, put it back on so I could take the picture.  He and his brother Andrew (married to Daniel’s sister, Ruth) were the hands and feet and strong arms that Daniel and his sisters needed to get furniture moved, shoved and loaded.  They got the boxes out of the attic, took down Martin Bird houses, carried, lugged heavy stuff, and helped and helped and helped.  We couldn’t have made it without Ivan and Andrew, either.  They were a most welcome and necessary part of our cleaning out week.



Ruby and Ivan have always had a somewhat adversarial relationship.  One afternoon, after donning Grandpa’s night cap and grabbing Grandma’s oven mitts, she decided to pick a fight.  It was obvious that Ivan didn’t know quite what to do with her, and she finally had mercy on him and quit picking on him.  For a little bit. 

I didn’t get any pictures of Ruth and Andrew.  Ruthie struggles with crippling Rheumatoid Arthritis, and she also made a great sacrifice to be with us for the week.  It was an incredibly hard struggle for her, and I am so proud of her for making the effort to be with us.  I was also so touched and encouraged by an exchange that she had with Daniel’s father while at the nursing home one afternoon.  Grandpa was interested in how things were being divided up.  There wasn’t much that he responded to, or that he said that was lucid, but on that afternoon, he questioned Ruth closely as to who got what.

Suddenly he said, “Well, what do Mom and I get???”

Ruth was taken aback for a minute, but then she said, “Well, Daddy, we brought you each your chairs — Mom’s glider, your lift chair, we brought you lamps and a magazine rack . . . “

He dropped his head and said in a small and sad voice, “We’re as poor as church mice!”

Ruthie, thinking quick, and by God’s grace said gently, “Daddy, you have a roof over your head, food to eat and everything you need to live.  You have people to wait on you hand and foot and to take care of you.  You have it pretty good!”  And that made him chuckle a little and he was over that particular pity-party.

Some of you have heard me say this, and I don’t mean to belabor a point, but as I was going through the desk that was given to Daniel, I had to clean out the many, many records of the enterprises that Daniel’s father has been in over the years.  He farmed, he raised Chinchillas for their fur, he had an egg production enterprise (that he hated), was Business Manager at Rosedale Bible Institute, dealt with Hilcoa and Herbal Life products, he sold Magic Mills and hard red wheat and Bosch Kitchen machines, he bought into the phone booth scam and there were papers for another enterprise that I had never heard about, but something about some sort of Spa Resort.  I suspect that there were far more things that I (and the rest of the family) will never know about. 

But the thing that impressed me most in my week there was this:  Daniel’s father never meant for things to end this way.

He wanted to provide for his sunset years in ways that would mean that he and his wife would have nothing to worry about.  He planned to have resources and safety nets and that things would be comfortable for them.  I believe that he truly hoped that he would have substantial amounts to leave to his children. Instead, what they took home from the divided furniture and possessions at the end of last week is the probable sum total of their material inheritance. I looked at him, asleep in the bed at the nursing home and wept for the things that have gone so terribly wrong, not only in his finances, but also in his relationships and sense of self worth.  He never indicated that he knew that Daniel and I were there the last time we stopped in, and Daniel’s step-mother did not want us to waken him.  I felt such a sense of something that was hard for me to put my finger on until I talked to my sister in law, Ruby, who was then on her way home to Virginia.

“As I went on down the interstate,” she said in her straightforward way, “I had myself a time of hard grieving.  But I’m better now.  I’m going to be alright.  It’s been a good week, but it’s been hard. It’s the closing of a chapter.”

 And that is what it really is — the closing of a chapter.  There is no longer a “home” to go home to when the family goes back to Plain City.  The home as they knew it is no longer there, and their parents are in such different surroundings.  The nursing home is a good place, and we have some family connection on staff there, but it is, after all, a totally different living situation than what they and we’ve been accustomed to, and it will take some real getting used to on all our parts.  Daniel’s stepmother is determined to adjust and be happy, and we think she will be just fine.  It is still to early to tell about his father.  Both of them need your prayers, as do we all.


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