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Archive for the ‘Family Stuff’ Category

On Fridays I post FFF to intentionally recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1.Small town I love living in a small town. It’s not perfect, but people tend to look out for each other, greet each other, and rally together to support local causes. This week a very popular restaurant in town posted on their facebook page that they would trade baked goods for any extra mint from area residents’ gardens. How fun is that! Since my summer has been rerouted from regular activities to recovery, I have not been able to poke around in my garden, and had plenty of mint to share. Even though the baked goods were not gluten free, my family enjoyed the delicious breads, rolls and muffins given in trade for the mint.

2.More local stuff Two of my daughters are involved in the local arts council, one representing drama and one voice. Recently my daughter became aware that even though there are many families with young children in our town, there is no community children’s choir. She has taught voice lessons and coached musical theater for several years and decided to start a kids’ choir this fall. The local newspaper did a full-page piece on her which has generated even more interest than what she was already getting. This is very nostalgic for me as most of my kids participated in a community choir years ago.

3.Drive in the country Yesterday my husband took me for a drive in the country. I haven’t been out much since the surgery, which made this jaunt particularly enjoyable. We capped the drive with a take-out meal from Edo Japan. Though I could not get out and walk around, I was able to get a few photos from my seat in the car. What a refreshing afternoon!

4.Short lived flu Our youngest daughter had a flu last weekend which I picked up mid-week. Because I am still recovering from surgery I was concerned at first that the pounding headache was some sort of surgical side effect, but after talking with my daughter I realized I had identical symptoms that she did. Thankfully the headache dissipated after 24 hours.

5.Paring down on meds The past few days I have been able to significantly cut back on my pain meds. Though they have been necessary, they affect my mental state and I will be very glad to be off them altogether. Yay for clear thinking and a healing body! My next post-surgical check-up is Wednesday and I am praying for a good report.

Here are a few of those photos from yesterday.

Summer on the prairie

Roadside purple

Fading canola

Anybody home?

Prairie simplicity

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On Fridays I post FFF to intentionally recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too! (Yes, I’m late again and posting on Saturday!)

1.Green beans I love green beans! My little raised-bed garden has produced a bumper crop of tasty green beans this month. Last night we enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner with garden-fresh green beans. Family and extended family joined us for an evening of food, fellowship, and games. Good memories!!

2.Kids Camping A co-worker of our son and his family flew in this week to go camping with some of my family in the Canadian Rockies. They had good weather and an enjoyable time of camping, hiking, and visiting special sites my children remember from their youth. Paul brought back some wonderful pictures so that even though I could not go with them, I was able to enjoy some of their experiences through photos.

3.Visits I’m still not getting out and about much since my surgery and hopefully will get the green light to move around more at my next check-up in mid-August. This week several young friends brought their little ones by for a visit with Purple Grandma, which was a blessing to me.

4.Improving mobility I am grateful that physio continues to go well and that I am feeling stronger overall. My mobility restrictions remain in place but I am getting better and more comfortable about moving from place to place in the house.

5.Peach tea I enjoy almost anything peach. Peach tea is a favorite beverage and I have collected peach green, peach rooibos, peach black, peach fruit, and peach herbal teas. I can’t drink black tea very often, but had some delicious peach black tea this week and really enjoyed it.

The last of my June beach vacation pictures are here.

Holden Beach waterway

Marsh sunset

Surf at Holden Beach

Contrast

Stillness

Marsh visitor

Here are some favorite family pics from the past couple of weeks.

Cozy

‘Hi, Sis!”

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On Fridays I post FFF to intentionally recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1.Beautiful fields Yesterday my husband drove me to my post-surgical check up. We drove out of our small town, through the countryside, and into Edmonton. The fields outside our town are beautiful! Canola, wheat, and other crops undulated in the summer breeze. So lovely!

2.Improvement and doing ok At my appointment yesterday I had four dozen staples removed from my incision. During the hip replacement surgery, the surgeon followed the previous incision as closely as possible to prevent my hip and leg looking any more Frankenstein-ish than it already does. He was pleased with the healing of the incision and with my x-rays but reminded me that since this was a correction of a previous surgery, healing would take longer. He also wants me to continue featherweight weight bearing for at least another month when I next see him. I have been hopping around using my walker but decided today that I would also work on using my crutches. For a couple of weeks after surgery, I was so weak, dizzy, shaky, uncoordinated, and nauseous that using crutches was not advisable. I think working on using them a little each day will give me more choices in getting around.

3.Sweet kisses from grandchildren How wonderful to have my grandchildren here for these few weeks and to enjoy their sweet little kisses and enthusiastic take on life!

4.Helpful supportive family My family continues to be amazingly helpful and supportive as I recover and am still very limited in what I am able to do. Each one of them has helped, blessed, and encouraged me on this unexpected journey. My church family and the broader Christian community has also blessed me in amazing ways. I am so very grateful for every one of these blessings.

5.God’s promises At these times of illness and emergency I sometimes struggle with fear. I am deeply grateful for God’s words which are truth and for those who speak them to me in my times of doubt and struggle. I have been frequently quoting Psalm 94:19, a verse I recently learned. “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” Amen!

I have not been out to take pictures since my emergency surgery so here are a few more photos from our June vacation in Holden Beach, North Carolina.

Askew

Marsh friend

Lovely lilies

Sunset reflections

Beauty all around

Sea oats on the waterway

 

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Suzanne hosts Friday Fave Five at Living to Tell the Story to encourage us to count our blessings each week.

Outside I was able to sit outside on a specially rigged chair on Monday night when the family was all here to celebrate my birthday. Since I was in hospital for my actual birthday, Monday was a special celebration for me. My daughter-in-law, Desiree, made a delicious Caprese salad using the basil from my herb garden and Anna made her fabulous berry pavlova for my birthday ‘cake’. Yum!!

Grandchildren Precious moments of time spent with my grandchildren are a wonderful gift. James sits still long enough for me to get some pictures!

Sweet sleep

Funny faces

Church family Our church family has been so loving and caring during my emergency. I am blessed and grateful for their continuing support.

Post-surgical progress My goal of getting off the opioids is closer to being met. I am down to one tramacet a day, and I have cut them in half to divide that one into a smaller morning and evening dose. My pain is manageable this way and the mental fog is lifting.

It’s been hard to know exactly how much to move and how much to avoid moving when on featherweight weight bearing restriction. I am neither consistent nor confident in my ability to meet the weight restriction goal every time I move from being seated or reclined to my walker. I will be glad for my post surgical appointment with x-rays on Thursday to see exactly how things stand with my bone graft and fracture.

Vacation photos This week I was able to sort and edit more photos from our Holden Beach vacation. Here are a few more from that trip.

Sunset over the marsh

Bird’s eye view

Marsh life

Waterway

Hydrangeas

Avian solitude

 

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I have been home since Monday evening. I cannot remember a time when I was more exhausted than I was on Monday night. My meager post-surgery strength did not match the demands my body required of me. That night I deeply second-guessed coming home instead of going into rehab. I could barely move, much less properly engage the specific mechanics required of me to consistently keep the weight off my right leg.

My week was filled with focus, practice, adjustment, and caution. I had little to no pain in hospital, but as my previous painkillers worked their way out of my system and I reduced the amount of new painkiller I was taking, my pain increased slightly. Was this a bad sign? Was I doing something wrong? Should I cut back on physio? Increase it? More meds? Less? Not sure.

The surgeon wanted to see me two weeks after my surgery. After returning home I called to make the appointment. I discover that the ortho clinic will be closed two weeks after my surgery, and closed for the entire week. My follow up is now 3.5 weeks after surgery. Will this be ok? Will my dressing last? What about my staples?

As the meds work their way out of my system, I struggle with fatigue, ennui, enervation, and depression. I hesitated to write about this, but it is my reality. When we share what is going on in our lives with the body of Christ, we do not share only the blessings, but also the struggles. The love and prayers of God’s people are a great encouragement in times of struggle.

Slowly I am seeing improvement. I am better able to hop using my walker and keep most of the weight off my injured leg. I discovered I tend to hold my breath when I am concentrating. I need to talk myself through the steps. Remember to hold in my abs, breathe, hold my arms straight, and move forward, keeping my foot barely on the ground for balance. And again. And again.

How did my appliance fail? How did I go so long without knowing it? Did the doctor do something wrong? Was it something I did wrong? Am I doing something wrong now? Is it even possible to find the truth about this?

Why hadn’t my hip itself hurt? The last month before the x-rays I felt crooked and was unable to stand straight. I felt the tightness in the muscles of my back and in the thigh of my right leg, but when I poked the hip area, nothing hurt. I thought it was my fibromyalgia. I now realize that not every muscle pain is fibromyalgia.

I become aware of many others who are struggling physically, emotionally, spiritually, and I pray for them. Sin has touched and cursed us all. We all need Christ and His truth and His salvation. We need to speak truth to each other in times of sorrow and in times of joy. We are family. We rejoice and we weep with each other.

Today as I heal and continue to work to strengthen, I am enjoying some special blessings. My family has arrived from China and I get to hold and talk with my grandchildren, listen to their dreams, join in their imaginings. This morning my grandchildren picked the first of my garden peas to share with me. Well-formed, sweet and delicious, they are consumed with gratitude and satisfaction.

I am abundantly blessed through this ordeal to have my daughters living nearby ready to sacrifice to help in any way possible. God has also blessed me with many children of the heart who visit and write and stop by to help. They bring their little ones, my ‘adopted’ grandchildren, to visit Purple Grandma and hand me sweaty fistfuls of flowers or grasses or other treasures selected just to cheer me.

Truth is, just like many others who suffer unexpectedly, I may never know why this happened. God chose it for me for His glory and my good. I do not understand what that looks like right now or how it helps me and the body of Christ overall. I struggle to rejoice in infirmity. I struggle against self-focus and negative thinking. I struggle to rejoice in the Lord always, but by God’s grace, I am not content to be disobedient.

The prayers and love of God’s people are very precious to me. Thank you to each of you who have prayed for me and continues to pray with me. I pray God will bless you for your love and concern.

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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Suzanne hosts Friday Fave Five at Living to Tell the Story to encourage us to count our blessings each week. This week I am coupling my Titus 2 Thoughts with FFF.

To be honest, I did not expect to be writing a FFF today. When my doctor called on Tuesday and told me my x-ray shows my most recent hip replacement has is broken and I will be scheduled for emergency surgery in the next day or two, I literally believed a day or two. The latest word is ‘sometime this weekend.’ My son asked if that means they have downgraded me from emergency to urgent. Maybe, but for now, I am supposed to ‘just use crutches’ and keep weight off that leg.

Just use crutches. Hmmm. Part of what I have been experiencing the last few weeks involves balance issues and motion sickness. Partner that with my natural lack of coordination and that little phrase ‘just use crutches’ is fraught with potential disaster galore. “Here, poor sick, sometimes-dizzy, out-of-shape lady with a wonky hip, just hobble around on these two little sticks. Keep your leg off the ground, oh, and press those crutches into your ribs. No, no! do NOT jam the pad into your armpits! Stand up straight! Grasp those hand grips and use your arms to hold your lumpy self up! No slumping! Simply follow these 25 easy illustrated steps to master the art of using crutches for any occasion.” It may sound crazy, but having to use crutches post-surgically is probably the thing I dread most about this surgery.

After my last hip replacement, I told myself I never wanted to go through hip replacement surgery again. A congenital condition, both hips replaced now, we’re done. Guess what? I’m not in charge. I can do ‘everything right’ and still not be in the position to control whether or not I have to endure something once or a dozen times. God is in control, and He orchestrates every part of my life for my good and His glory.

I’m an introvert and do a lot of self-talk. This can get me in trouble when I do not filter my thoughts through the truth of God’s Word. Lugubrious, self-focused Eyore thinking does not glorify God and is not helpful to me or to those around me.

My self-talk: anxiety and fear. God’s truth: Be anxious for nothing. God has not given us a spirit of fear. I will never leave you or forsake you.

My self-talk: What about the unknowns? How am I going to get through this arduous surgery and recovery again? God’s truth: My grace is sufficient for you.

Remember the children of Israel in the desert? God provided manna daily for them. If they tried to save up for the next day (with the exception of the Sabbath) the manna would spoil and not be fit to eat. In a similar way, God provides grace to help in our time of need. It’s not saved up like money in a bank but is instantly provided for each situation. That is a promise we can rest on.

So here are five blessings among many from the past week.

1. Protection from a potentially life-threatening situation because of my broken prosthesis. I’m not sure how long it has been broken, but I have had symptoms (that I thought was a flare up of my fibromyalgia) for at least 6 weeks

2. Loving family, church, family, and friends. I have blessed with flowers, cards, and the promise of prayer from many friends from around the world. My husband and daughters have helped in so many ways. My son and his family arrive in 2 weeks ready to help, too.

3. Getting my desk work caught up while waiting for the call about surgery. I finished some reports, organized some photos, filed some papers, and set up some automatic payments in preparation for my time in hospital.

4. Living at a time and in a place where I can be helped medically. Such a blessing!

5. All the wonderful ministry friends I met and fellowshipped with at the conference we recently attended in North Carolina. It was a joy to spend time with many who serve God faithfully across the globe, hear their stories, and learn of their hearts for the places where God has called them to minister.

Update! I just got the phone call. I will be admitted through emergency today and surgery is scheduled for tomorrow.

Here are a few more pictures from our recent vacation to Holden Beach in North Carolina.

Beautiful hydrangeas

Reflection

Marsh visitor

Sunset on marsh

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I am awaiting surgery to have yet another hip replacement. My most recent replacement (2014) has recently failed and broken pieces are protruding into my pelvis. There is concern that an artery could be poked so I am on crutches and waiting for ‘the call’ to go into hospital.

Since I am not going to be able to minister in traditional ways as a pastor’s wife (such as having group Bible studies at the church) I will be writing posts to share things God is teaching me. God commands the older women to teach the younger in Titus 2. There are many things I am still learning or have learned the hard way over the years. By God’s grace, and with His leading, I hope to encourage you in your walk with God. I am calling these posts Titus 2 Thoughts. I will be posting these on my blog, PurpleGrandma.com. Please sign up to receive these in your e-mail feed if you are interested in receiving these directly.

I wrote the following recently with ministry women in mind, but the principles apply to us all. Do what God has given you to do for now. Do it with all your heart. Do it as unto the Lord. Do not always be wishing you could be in a different place doing different things than what God has allowed for now.

I would appreciate your prayers for both the surgery and the writing.

As a young ministry wife and mother of five small children, I often felt dissatisfied with all the maintenance work that fell to me just to keep our family functioning. This was not what I had envisioned as ministry efforts! Cooking, cleaning, laundry, and, in the years that we homeschooled, teaching, wore me out and consumed most of my days. Yes, I taught Sunday School, held ladies’ Bible studies, organized ladies’ retreats, showed hospitality to travelers and church families, and helped with many details of our church plant, but I was exhausted, miserable, and felt that God could not possibly want His workers to be occupied with what I thought of as busy work. If I could just hurry through my responsibilities surrounding my family, then I would have more time to ‘do ministry work.’

God in His wonderful sovereignty allowed me to became ill. No one could accurately diagnose what was wrong with me. I grew weaker and could do less and less of the things I thought would please God. I could barely get out of bed, much less teach or evangelize. What must He think of me? I felt my limited service and the continuous encumbrance of mundane matters meant I wasn’t doing my job and so God must be sighing with displeasure at my deficiencies.

I struggled from my bed one Wednesday night to prepare for the mid-week service held in our home. Bud was teaching through Romans. He opened the Scriptures and began reading chapter 8,“There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.”  The words pierced my struggling soul like an arrow from my Maker. ‘No condemnation.’ Years ago I had accepted His sacrifice as payment for my sins and understood now that I was positionally without sin – without condemnation because of the work of Christ on my behalf. There was absolutely nothing I could do to make God love me any more or any less than He already did. I was ‘accepted in the beloved’ and had ‘peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ!’

Soon after God allowed me to see that the most important ministry I had was with my children. We only have one opportunity to rear them for the Lord. No retakes on childrearing! If, by God’s grace, we could point these five little sinners to Christ, if we could proffer them God’s Word and embody authentic humility, grace, and forgiveness, this would be ministry work just as important as any other.

Sometimes I am amazed that our five children are all from the same parents. Such a diversity of personalities, abilities, and interests! It grieved my soul that I never worked to get along with my sister, and I was determined to teach my children to prefer one another in love. There are so many biblical principles that must be followed to foster this in a family. Every conflict, every argument, every disagreement provided an opportunity to grow in sanctification. Love bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.  Be quick to listen but slow to speak and slow to wrath. In love prefer one another. A soft answer turns away wrath. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. By God’s grace, a regular application of Scriptures and spiritual principles over many years has worked in the lives of our children so that each loves God and they all love each other. And as adults, they all love and serve the body of Christ.

Ministry work may not look like you expect it to. Allow God to direct your life of service and praise Him for every opportunity He allows for you to serve Him.

 

 

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