Green Progress

May 30, 2013 | My Jottings

As I shared a couple of days ago, I’ve never been a fan of green, grassy-tasting juices, even though I love vegetables and all manner of green salads. A huge pile of romaine and field greens and butter lettuce with chopped asparagus and broccoli florets and sprouts and raw sunnies and red cabbage? Yes, please. But a glass with the juice from any of those things? Uhhh, I think I have to go clean my toilets.

But I’m trying. I’m trying because Michael loves green juices and I know they’re a wonderful way to flood our bodies with vitamins, minerals and enzymes. So my goal has been to try to make one good-sized green juice for us per day. Yesterday that didn’t happen and Michael reminded me of that last night. So today I’ll be making us a juice that is so delicious it’s my favorite so far. I got the recipe from my niece Savannah, who got the recipe off of this website.

All items are organic.

2 large carrots (I hate carrot juice but in this I can’t taste it)
2 large handfuls of Kale leaves (or Swiss chard, which is a bit milder)
1 red apple
1 Granny Smith apple
1 orange (the peel zested off, but white pith remaining)
1 lime (the peel zested off, but white pith remaining)

To me, this is more of a morning juice because of the fruit in it. I made the recipe above for Michael, and when I made my own I only put in one apple, and I enjoyed it just as much.

Here’s a picture of this juice:

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Today we have a carpenter friend coming over to do some work for us. Michael has requested a handrail in our shower, and a short one in our entry, where three steps lead to this hallway where a bathroom, the office and all the bedrooms are.

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Things seem like they’re changing quickly, and “one day at a time” has taken on new meaning for me.

Also, I have decided I need a mentor and I’ve actually been praying that the Lord would bring one to me. I may be too old in some people’s minds to have a mentor, but I am missing the presence of an older, wiser woman in my life, so I’m asking.

This week I will spend some time with my dear friend Carey before she heads off to a large island in the South Pacific for a month. I also get to meet with my SAGgy girlfriends for our monthly dinner. In a day or two I’m going to try a new recipe for veggie and quinoa pilaf. I have a lovely appointment for a preoperative physical exam with my new doctor. I will be caring for and smooching my eighth grandchild Louisa. And I have several dates with a few piles of paperwork.

What will you be doing for the next couple of days?

Wednesday’s Word-Edition 102

May 29, 2013 | My Jottings

plank-n-speck

“The only way we can be impatient with human frailty is by remaining stubbornly blind to our own.”

J.J. Seid

*       *       *       *       *       *

 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Jesus
(Matthew 7:3-5)

*         *         *         *         *         *         *

Three Sisters and a Mom’s Excellent Segway Adventure

May 27, 2013 | My Jottings

Yesterday my three grown daughters and I had lunch together before going on our first Segway tour. We all had delicious salads at a great place by the Lake, talked and laughed about how potentially embarrassing going on a two-hour long tour of our city on Segways could be, and then headed on over to the Segway tour office. It’s a fairly new thing in our city.

We had to watch a Segway safety and training video first, and the longer I watched the more my confidence faded. Although no one would know by observing me today, I was a fairly athletic and coordinated person when I was young (I played basketball, softball and volleyball, and was a cheerleader), so I felt certain that riding a Segway would be no prob. But the video showed a dozen examples of how if you go over a bump like this, you could fall backward and hit your head, or if you try turning like that, you could cause serious injury or even death, and if you tried to dismount your Segway in this fashion, it could get away from you and attack the person ahead of you. And before we got there, Sharon kindly informed us that the owner of the Segway company actually died after driving his over a cliff. Yikes.

During the video, Sharon, Carolyn, Sara and I sat there silently with our exceedingly fashionable helmets on, and looked at each other sideways not saying what we were thinking, “What have we gotten ourselves into?” Or more accurately, “What has Mom gotten us into?” Because this Excellent Segway Adventure was my choice. I want this summer to be a good memory-making summer for my girls and me, and we’re each going to choose something we four can do together. Sharon says she wants us to canoe the Brule River in Wisconsin, and that sounds very fun. Carolyn is thinking we might go horseback riding, and Sara is toying with the idea that we’d take some rowing lessons. Whew!

So once we signed our lives away on waiver forms, we went outside to take lessons on our Segways before heading out on the tour. There were six of us — one guide named Joe at the front with a microphone, four of us following him with earpieces on to hear facts about the sites of interest we were to see, and one guide named Travis in the rear.

Here’s a picture of Carolyn being shown how to get on her Segway:

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Once we all demonstrated that we could go forward and backward, turn a 360 degree circle, drive in figure eights between some orange cones, and stop, we all lined up like Segway ducklings following their mama, and tootled down the sidewalk in single file. We drove/rode/scooted for literally miles. We saw the sights in our beautiful city from a new perspective, and we kept grinning at each other as we realized we were actually Segwaying and not falling off! It was so fun.

Here’s a picture of Sara, Sharon and Carolyn driving their Segways (and yes, they are moving) in a park by Lake Superior. Every once in a while when we’d reach a large open space, the guides would say, “Why don’t you just tool around now wherever you like?” and the four of us would. By this time we were getting more confident and we zipped along pretty fast, and stopped quite smoothly. The Segway is amazingly intuitive; the slightest lean in one direction will send you off, and you can stop from a brisk pace by ever-so-slightly leaning back.

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After passing through this park, we traveled a few miles on the Lakewalk, and once we arrived in the fairly crowded Canal Park where the Aerial Bridge is located, people were pointing and smiling and you could see others stop and stare as we tootled by. I think I’m going to keep using that word, because tootled seems more apt than wheeled or drove or trundled or moseyed.

We reached Canal Park just in time to see the 767 foot-long Arthur M. Anderson ore boat coming under the Aerial Lift Bridge, heading out into Lake Superior on its way to Lake Erie. The Arthur M. Anderson sailed on Lake Superior during the same storm that sunk the Edmund Fitzgerald in November of 1975. In fact, the Anderson was the last vessel to have contact with the Fitzgerald. If you don’t know the song by Gordon Lightfoot, you’ve apparently been living in a cave and might like to click here.

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See our six Segways lined up against the wall of the pier there?

Here are my beloveds…Sharon, Carolyn and Sara:

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And here’s a view of our lovely city which sits on the shores of Lake Superior:

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What do you see in those clouds above? I see a heart with two snakes trying to attack it. No! In Jesus’ name no! (Sorry, I do get carried away sometimes.)

We still had miles to tootle on our Segways after seeing the ship go out. By the time we returned to the Segway place, the arches of our feet were sore, but we all agreed riding the Segways was so much fun. “Mom, are you going to buy one?” asked one of my daughters. Ha. I don’t think so. But I don’t think it’s out of the question that I might drive one again someday.

I’m so thankful my three daughters were willing to make this good memory with me.

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How about you? Have you ever ridden (or tootled) on a Segway?

Changes, Choices and Chickadees

May 23, 2013 | My Jottings

When I woke up this morning around 4:50, the sun was already beginning to come up over Lake Superior. The weather forecast says the rain is gone for a while and sunny days are ahead. Literally, at least. Figuratively? I’m not sure about that one.

The birds start their singing right at sunrise, and several times this month I’ve heard a cardinal in the distance, but haven’t seen him yet. We have a couple of feeders on our front deck, and one with suction cups stuck to our front window, so several times during the day we can watch birds feed there just two feet from us.

black-capped-chickadee-at-feederThe chickadees are the frequent flyers, closely followed by many variations of sparrows. We had a blue jay at our pole feeder yesterday. We love how polite the chickadees are. While other birds just fly right to the suction cup feeder and cause the bird already there to quickly fly off, the chickadees perch on the deck railing and watch, only taking their turn when their friend has gotten his seed and flown out. They seem to have it timed perfectly; just as the chickadee in the feeder finds his seed and secures it in his tiny bill, he flies out and the next one on the railing flutters in that very same second. Maybe there’s a tiny manual out there called The Chickadee Book of Etiquette. 🙂

We’ve also had many purple finches. I’m not sure why they’re named purple finches since they seem reddish to me, but we love to see them. They look like common sparrows with a blush of red painted transparently over their top brown feathers. Do you have purple finches in your area?

purple-finch-on-evergreenIn a little over two weeks I’ll be having my knee replacement surgery, and I’m doing my quadriceps-strengthening exercises and making plans and lists for those who’ll be here caring for Michael and our Fosters while I’m away for three days and two nights. Dear friends have offered to bring some meals and I could cry from gratitude and relief.

Our original plan was for Michael to come down to Stillwater, MN with my friend Su’s husband Danny, and they would stay in a hotel together and come and visit Su and me in the hospital during the day. Now we’ve changed our plans and Michael will be staying home. He is becoming more confused with each passing day, and even though there’s no definitive test for this, his neurologist has implied that he is also developing Parkinson’s Dementia. Just this morning when I gave him a tall glass of ice water with fresh lemon juice squeezed into it, rather than take his morning meds with it like he usually does, he began to drop his pills into the glass first. I was able to reach out and intercept them, but when I told Michael to put them in his mouth instead of in his water, he said, “I sometimes do it like this too.” But he doesn’t.

I don’t know if any of you have ever seen a Parkinson’s patient festinate (another word for it is fenestrate) but it’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever witnessed. My husband used to be the epitome of the Minnesota outdoor man. He loved to hunt and fish, he was strong and active and had energy that never flagged. He was up and down ladders a hundred times a week, walking with perfect balance on scaffolding and roofs many stories high. He grew a beard for half the year and with his plaid flannel shirts, jeans and work boots, I often thought he looked like Grizzly Adams. Now Michael’s brain lies to him and tells him a normal doorway is too narrow for him to pass through, and he does the awful rapid shuffling called festinating as he tries to get into a room. Click here if you want to see what what a mild form of it looks like.

I read recently that relatives of Alzheimer’s patients say their loved one no longer recognizes them, but relatives of Parkinson’s patients say they no longer recognize their loved one. It’s horribly true. Michael’s personality seems to be fading away, and who I see every day is not a lot like the man I married in 1981 after only having met him one time. 

His face is often blank, his head sometimes bobs grotesquely, his torso dips and sways from the side effects of the only medicine there is for him, and his speech is almost impossible to understand. I know my Michael is in there somewhere, that his spirit is alive and thriving, but unfortunately I don’t have spiritual eyes to see that yet. I believe it in faith. He and I used to read the Bible together almost every morning, and pray together for our children and friends. When I used to share a burden with him, he would take my hand and pray with such strong and quiet faith that I almost always felt better, and certainly didn’t feel alone. But it’s not like that anymore. I haven’t felt like reading with him much. And I have asked him to pray with me, but he forgets that we’ve prayed before an hour has passed, so I don’t ask so much anymore. And I often feel alone.

Doctors say that PD patients are impaired in the executive functioning part of their brain, the part that helps them look at a suitcase that needs to be carried and carry it, or a drawer that needs closing and close it, or feel a stomach that’s growling and feed it. It’s the part of the brain that helps us make decisions and gives a person the initiative to do what comes next. Michael began to lose that a long time ago. So now when I have to tell him to put on his jacket or eat an apple or drink some water or brush his teeth or wipe his nose, it makes me feel like his mother. And even though I’m working hard on not complaining and regularly counting my blessings (of which there are so many), I hate having to tell him when and how to do basic things. And I can tell he doesn’t like it either.

So when I woke up this morning I thought to myself, is this living? And the answer I gave myself was, yes it is. It may not be what you would choose, but you are alive and Michael is alive and God has given you this day to love, to be loved, and to experience His sufficiency and grace. 

So today I resolve to watch the birds that come to our feeder and rejoice in how beautiful and miraculous they are. I will hug and kiss my husband and treat him like he’s still in there, no matter how much this ugly disease has masked and stolen from him. I will make us each a pineapple and almond milk smoothie and close my eyes while I’m tasting it, and thank God for food and taste buds and pleasure. I will turn on some music that will help me lift my heart up to the Lord, and I will sing along with it and dance a little bad-knee-jig for a minute or two.

And if we are headed into the desert, I will remember that Jesus has been in the desert before us, and that with Him we have nothing to fear.

Juicing and Malapropisms

May 21, 2013 | My Jottings

We’ve had some very heavy rain lately, with flash flood warnings. That seems like nothing compared to the devastation we watched on the news this morning in Oklahoma. As I sat there in my plaid flannel nightgown with a hot cup of tea in warmth and safety, I prayed for the people there, especially those who have lost children. What can people like Michael and me do for those who are suffering? At this stage of our lives, all I know to do is pray and send money. And to not take for granted this day we’re given, because there are no guarantees that we won’t be the ones needing help and comfort another time.

On to more trivial things — Michael and I bought a juicer recently. We’ve watched several mind-blowing movies that have opened the door of my previously tightly closed mind just a crack, and I’m incorporating a few new things into our days that I would never have considered before.

Part of my motivation stems from some obvious signs in past years that my immune system is lagging. I’ve written before about how I was diagnosed with an immune system disease in 2002 called Sarcoidosis, which thankfully went into remission (or disappeared completely!) after about a year. But now when I can’t get over a cold without it turning into a weeks-long infection that needs major pharmaceutical intervention? Not good.

When my children were very young I was a whole foods kind of mom, and they didn’t eat sugar and most refined foods. We ate lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. When we moved to Minnesota I began to let things slide because the food culture here was so different from Southern California. And I guess it has been downhill ever since. We still eat fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, love salads and eat whole grains, but I have become lax in many ways regarding meal prep.

After watching this, this, this, and (be forewarned there’s a bit of language in this,), I’m trying to make one green juice a day for Michael and me. I love green vegetables and crave salads, but drinking anything green and grassy smelling has always made me gag. To successfully down a green drink would usually take me thirty minutes and lots of begging God. Michael used to drink Barley Green every day and loved it — he’s not put off by the agricultural fragrance or flavor of green drinks at all.

But I got me some people I need to take care of. And I got me-my-own-self I need to take care of. So I squinched my eyes shut and clicked on the “buy” button on amazon, and our juicer arrived a couple of days later.

Here’s what we’ve been having, and because of the fruit in it, I can actually drink it down within three minutes (Michael guzzles his) and still be standing upright and smiling afterward:

Organic Green Juice

4-6 large kale or Swiss chard leaves (I cannot believe I am actually typing those words)
1 peeled cucumber
4 stalks celery
1 cup strawberries
1 Granny Smith apple
1 piece ginger root
1 handful fresh parsley

I have added the juice of a lemon at times and have also used organic romaine, which is a bit milder than the kale. Today I’m actually soaking some chia seeds to use in tomorrow’s juice.

I also still eat pizza, drink milk very occasionally, and had a Culver’s Butterburger last week, so the changes I’m making are very slow changes. But it can’t hurt us to add an enzyme-rich, vitamin and mineral-rich green drink to our diets, and we’ll see how it makes us feel and whether or not we experience any really noticeable health differences.

I’ve also read many times from different sources that our American diets cause our bodies to be very acidic, and eating foods that are alkalizing is a good thing. So Michael and I have been drinking melon smoothies, and we LOVE them. Three ingredient yumminess!

Honeydew Smoothie

Honeydew Smoothie1.  I cut up a ripe honeydew melon into ice-cube sized chunks and freeze them.

2.  When it’s time for a smoothie I let the honeydew chunks thaw for about 15-20 minutes, just until they’re not rock hard anymore.

3.  In a blender or Nutribullet (we have both and the latter works better for this) I pour unsweetened almond milk and a little honey, and blend it for a few seconds.

4. Then the honeydew chunks can be thrown in and blended until completely smooth, and more almond milk can be added until the mixture is pourable.

I can’t tell you how rich and refreshing this tastes to us.

So enough about juices and smoothies, now I want to tell you something cute and funny. We had our 10 year-old grandson Mr. McBoy over for two nights recently, and we had such a good time with him. I taught him how to play Gin Rummy, he beat me at Farkle, we read books together, listened to G.T. and the Halo Express CDs while the rain beat against the windows, and just enjoyed each other’s company. On Saturday evening I asked Mr. McBoy if he would massage my feet for me (he is known for his strong hands and cheerful willingness to give hand and foot rubs), and he readily agreed. I thought five minutes would be generous of him, but he rubbed my hands and forearms, ankles and neck, and then offered to rub my back if I would lay down on the floor while Grandpa watched Gunsmoke nearby. I did. After a few minutes of my teetering on the edge of a blissful coma, Mr. McBoy said, “Grandma, I don’t mean to be gross but if you want, I can massage lower on your back, near your gelatinous magnus.”

Oh yes. How apt.

You know what he was trying to say, don’t you? I chuckled and said, “You mean my gluteus maximus?” and he giggled when he realized his mispronunciation and said, “Oh yeah, I meant that.”

I declined his offer, but I think I’ll always remember what he said. It will be something we’ll get a kick over many years from now. I told Mr. McBoy that gelatinous magnus is probably a much more accurate term for my backside than the correct anatomical term. 🙂

I love a good malapropism (the act of using an incorrect word in place of one that is similar in pronunciation), don’t you?

I know a little girl who used to say “I don’t want to take anything for granite.” I have a friend who heard someone else comment in a theater while watching Schindler’s List: “Oh how sad, look at all those emancipated people!” I have someone in my own home who says, “It’s cold outside and I need to get all bumbled up!”

How about you? Can you think of a malapropism you’ve heard or one you’ve said yourself? If yes, why don’t you sit right down on your gelatinous magnus and leave a comment telling us what it is?

I can’t wait to read all the perpendiculars! 😉

Ten Things My Mom Taught Me

May 15, 2013 | My Jottings

Did you have a nice Mother’s Day on Sunday? If you’re a mom, did someone give you a card or a hug? If your mom is still living, did you spend time with her or give her a call?

My daughters blessed me on Mother’s Day with cards, a soup/salad cookbook, lip gloss, and some home-fried corn tortilla chips, homemade salsa and homemade guacamole to munch on while we visited. That was my mouthwatering Mother’s Day dinner — piles of fresh salsa with cilantro or chunky guac balanced on still-warm chips, about seventy-nine of them, with some iced tea. Yum.

sc000fc163My own beautiful mama died in February of 1993, so it’s been a long time since I’ve picked out a Mother’s Day card. I think of her so often, and thought in her honor I’d share some things she taught me:

1.  Always cook twice as much food as you need at every meal, just in case an army stops by unannounced. I think Tupperware was invented for my mom, because she was unable to make a meal without a huge heap of leftovers. She was definitely one of those 1950s/1960s moms who showed her love by serving good food, with second and third helpings urged.

2.  One of the joys in life is to take a drive in the cool of the evening while eating an ice cream cone from 31 Flavors. I was the youngest of three children, but I was born late in life to my parents, and I thought going for a drive was totally boring. What does a seven year old want to do with her free time? Probably not sit in the backseat of a behemoth Buick LeSabre station wagon for two hours while her parents gawk at fields, trees, houses and flowers. I think that’s why ice cream was always involved, so they could bribe me to go along without pouting. Now that I’m older, I love taking drives too. It’s always a treat for Michael and me to take a drive up the North Shore of Lake Superior — the blue splendor never gets old.

3.  Little girls’ hair looks best without bangs. My mother could have started a rabid anti-bang movement had her personality been a little more fiery. You can see here and here how her “foreheads should been seen and not covered” philosophy was enforced with her only daughter.

4.  Blues and greens are classic, soothing colors to decorate with. mdXjfXWkpgklY5hPfz8piaAIn our home we had avocado green carpeting, a blue and green floral couch, a deep blue velvet chair and ottoman, dark green painted kitchen cabinets, blue and green kitchen wallpaper, textured blue wallpaper in our foyer, blue and green glass grapes on our coffee table, and a dark green recliner in the living room. I didn’t pay much attention then, but those colors must have seeped by osmosis into my bone marrow because to this day they’re my favorites.

5.  Always buy Duncan Hines cake mixes, never Betty Crocker or Pillsbury. I rarely make a cake with a mix, but when I do, I’m a total Duncan Hines snob, turning my nose up at the other brands in the baking aisle. There really is a difference. 🙂

6.  Doing something artistic or creative each week feeds the soul. My mother had creativity oozing from her pores. She was musical, artistic, and crafty. She had long slender fingers that danced over our Hammond B-3 organ keyboard and she could of course read music but never needed to. Once she played a song, it was in her brain forever and she could play it thereafter in any key. She loved taking classes to learn how to china paint, macrame, decoupage, and knit. I still have china plates hanging in my house that were her first attempt at painting, that look like a master did them. She loved needlepoint and rug hooking and sewing. I didn’t know it then, but I can see now that my mother loved beauty, and was innately drawn to create beauty in our home.

7.  Morro Bay, California, with its huge, brooding rock and morning fog, is one of the best places on earth. While my friends who had younger parents were being taken on water-skiing vacations to Lake Nacimiento or to beach houses in San Diego, my parents loved the little central coastal town of Morro Bay. It was sleepy, foggy, cooler than our city in Los Angeles County, and they dreamed of living there someday. They both eventually did, but only after they divorced.

8.  A clean, clutter-free house really does make life easier in the long run. I was not a fan of my mother’s clean-up-a-mess-as-you-go policy when I was little, preferring instead to “store” things under my bed or in the back of my closet. Today, clutter-free is what I crave, and I think a little maintenance every day is better than an exhausting overhaul once a month.

9.  Grandchildren are some of the greatest treasures God gives. Had there been such a title, my mom would have worn the sash and crown awarded to The Ultimate Grandmother Supreme of the Universe. She loved her grandbabies, sacrificially devoted her time to them, taught them how to cook and bake, powdered their bottoms with Estee Lauder dusting powder after a bath (“because they’ll sleep better if they’re dry and powdered!”), and had them spend the night often. I wish I were half the grandma she was.

10. Being a good friend means listening, laughing, encouraging, sharing, remembering, and being real. In spite of her many gifts, my mom wasn’t an overly confident person. It’s like she was unaware of how deeply she was affecting peoples’ lives. I thought having 100 friends was a normal thing when I was a little girl, because both my parents knew how to be loyal friends and were sought out by many people. I look back in my memories now and see that my mother somehow always made her friends feel as though they were her favorites. And she wasn’t duplicitous at all so it’s not like she planned this. I think each friend truly was her favorite friend; she knew them well and made time for them and laughed and cried with them. After my parents’ divorce and my mother’s nine-month emotional collapse, my mom’s loving and generous employer Helen Hasabales hosted a Virginia Sooter Day, to help welcome Mom back to work as an organist, and to the land of the living, basically. Over one-thousand people signed the guest book on that day. I will never forget how my humble mama touched lives, mostly without ever knowing it.

So I guess I have a few of these lessons my mom taught me down pat. I have tested her Duncan Hines theory numerous times and totally agree. Morro Bay is truly a wonderful little town and I wish I could visit more often. Have any of you been to Morro Bay? And having grandchildren is one of the happiest things that has ever happened to me.

But many things my mother demonstrated I am only now beginning to learn. Hopefully.

How about you? What are some things your mom taught you?

Ancient Words

May 14, 2013 | My Jottings

Today is Sharing Day at Community Bible Study, the final day and celebration that closes 30 weeks of study. We studied Mark and Ephesians this year, and it has been marvelous. Next year we’ll be spending our 30 weeks in Daniel, Job and 1 & 2 Peter.

The leadership from our class will do a song at Sharing Day that I can barely get through without sobbing. Tears stream down my face every time we sing it. I don’t think any song better depicts what CBS is all about.

It’s called “Ancient Words” and is sung by one of my favorites, Robin Mark.

Have you heard the song? It makes me want to take up my Bible with more reverence and awe than I do.

If you have never attended CBS, you can click here to see if there’s a class near you. This fall will begin my 16th year and nothing has ever affected my spiritual life more.

Have a blessed week!

Keep on praying for all the Lord’s people…

May 12, 2013 | My Jottings

If you have visited my blog regularly, you may have come to recognize some of the names of the friends who comment here. It always makes me happy when a commenter acknowledges another person’s comments or offers encouragement. I’ve seen this happen on other blogs as well, as if a tiny community of people who haven’t met springs up under His name and love.

prayergroupToday I’m going to share a prayer request with you, from my dear friend Kay who lives in Cornwall, in the south of England. She and her husband Alan are sincere believers who live a quiet life, face some serious health problems with cheerfulness and trust in God, and who have recently gone through a very difficult thing. With her permission, here are Kay’s words:

‘I believe that the enemy strikes out at us in various ways. In my experience I’ve found that he tends to spot my weak points and attacks them one-by-one. In the past I’ve been attacked financially, through bullying at work, health issues and loneliness, to name a few.

However the latest attack is related to a tradesman who has taken £865 from us and has not done the work. He has given us EIGHTEEN excuses and has had three phone calls from the police about this matter, and still he continues to dangle us on a string, so to speak.

Because this is basically a civil matter, we could take months pursuing this debt and still end up with nothing in return.

We have lost a large amount of money and although we are not rich, to be totally frank, God has indeed provided us with all we need. So, in a way, it’s not so much the amount of money that hurts, it’s more that I feel that my husband and I have been taken for fools. And I know that is a pride matter which is sin. But, even though I know my error, it feels like my ‘spark’, my joy, has been taken from me. I have suffered depression in the past and right now I can feel it’s trying to overcome me again.

I don’t ask for prayer for the return of the money, I ask for prayer for protection against depression.’

So, dear readers, will you pray for Kay and Alan? I am praying not only for what Kay has requested — that her joy and spark would return, but that this money stolen from them will be repaid.

I invite you to leave a comment to let Kay know you’ll be praying, even if it’s just a word or two. Or maybe God will impress a scripture on your heart to share with her….

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.  Ephesians 6:18

Thank you and God bless you all….

Knee News and/or New Knees Near

May 9, 2013 | My Jottings

Last week Michael and I drove 2 1/2 hours south to Stillwater, Minnesota to do several things. One thing was to have a special templated MRI for my upcoming minimally invasive total knee replacement surgery on June 10th. I laid absolutely still in a huge noisy donut for ten minutes and then the MRI was completed. Since my dear friend Su and I are on this Knee Adventure together, she and her husband Danny also drove down because her MRI appointment was right before mine.

After those appointments the four of us grabbed a quick dinner at Chipotle Mexican Grill, which was delicious. For those who might still say TACK-o for taco, Chipotle is pronounced chi-POTE-lay and not chi-PO-tul. 🙂

Then we checked into our gracious and beautiful bed and breakfast room at The Aurora Staples Inn, where we were warmly greeted at the door by the proprietor, Cathy. Cathy gave us a short tour of this elegant manse, saw us to our rooms, and invited us downstairs to the library where yummy appetizers were waiting for us.

Michael and I stayed in the lovely Giverny Suite, and below is a photo taken from the doorway. Whenever we stay someplace new I like to walk around the place and take in all the details, the views from the windows, the paintings on the walls, the books on the mantel or the magazines on the coffee table, the cleanliness of the bathroom (yes, it’s true). The first order of the day for Michael is to immediately try out the bed and pronounce whether or not it will give us a good night’s sleep. Neither of us were disappointed. There were so many things to appreciate in this inn and in our room, and the bed was great. You can click to enlarge the photos if you like.

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Just to the right in the picture above was a corner gas fireplace, and since the weather in Stillwater was not what we expected for May, we enjoyed the warmth of a fire most of the time we were in our room. If you check out the website to the inn and look at the different rooms, you can see The St. Croix Suite, which is where Danny and Su stayed, right across the hall from us.

Here’s a photo of the inn, but you’ll have to picture it in different weather — while we were there it snowed a bit overnight, sleeted and rained, and the wind blew the chill into our bones, so the strolling we had planned for quaint downtown Stillwater was cut short.

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Su and I were scheduled to attend a two-hour exercise and informational class from 5:30 – 7:30 that evening, so we all went downstairs to the library for our welcome appetizer before we headed out.

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Since we had just eaten an early dinner we weren’t very hungry and I felt bad for wasting Cathy’s efforts for us, but to sit with friends we’ve known and loved for decades and to enjoy this serene and beautifully appointed setting seemed like such a gift.

Spouses were encouraged to attend the class, so Danny and Michael came with us. The room was filled with over-55 folks who were scheduled for either knee or hip surgeries. I was so glad we went, because I learned a lot and felt even more certain about my decision to have this particular surgeon and hospital for my ordeal. Su felt very reassured too. A Physical Therapist and an ortho nurse went through all the details of what we can expect, how we can prepare for surgery, and what recovery will be like.

The contraption in the distance at the right in the photo below is a CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) machine, and when we’re not doing physical therapy, walking up and down the aisles of the hospital (within hours of surgery) and occupational therapy, our legs and knees will be bent and straightened while we’re resting in bed. For a photo of how it looks, click here.

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I’ve been doing my exercises and a few of them make my right knee burn like fire, but in this very short time I can actually feel a difference. There’s less pain and more stability, and more range of motion. With such dramatic results, I might have been tempted to just do the exercises for a month and forego the surgery, except for the icky-looking deformity that makes my lower leg splay away from the center now. My valgus angle isn’t as bad as this photo, but this will give you an idea what I’m trying to describe.

Back at the inn, this is a picture of the landing on the second floor right outside our suite. I thought it was so nice that they keep that little corner refrigerator filled with treats for their guests.

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The Aurora Staples Inn has handsome woodwork everywhere, and wallpaper that makes a guest feel like they’ve taken a step back in time. Or a thousand steps back in time. This view below was on the landing. Look at the gorgeous inlaid floors too.

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Breakfast was at 9:00, so we got to sleep in — yay! Out of habit Michael and I woke very early, but to be able to stay in bed and read by the warmth of our fire was divine. I read a Psalm out loud and we talked about how grateful we are to know the Lord is always with us, how He sustains us, opposes our enemies for us, and draws us to Himself.

When we came down to the dining room our places were set and Cathy served us the most delectable fresh fruit parfaits with yogurt and granola, and then a baked French toast dish with blueberry sauce. I had no room for the petite dessert offered but I’m sure it was a delight to the eyes and the taste buds.

It’s just so nice to be expected, isn’t it? Cathy took every care to make us not only feel welcome, but expected. A Keurig coffee maker with fresh water set up in the parlor, books and games for the borrowing, a generous appetizer, friendly sharing during breakfast, the fridge stocked with treats, a tray with a pot of coffee placed quietly outside our door each morning…we felt tenderly pampered.

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Su and I have been friends since 1980. She was the matron of honor when I married Michael, and I was the matron of honor when she married Danny. There’s a peaceful comfort that often comes in friendships that have lasted so long. I never feel like I have to be super perky and well-behaved around Su, because she loves me no matter what. And I think she feels the same kind of ease with me. We have known each other during some very unperky times, and the Lord’s faithfulness to us has been great.

Danny will be Su’s caregiver when her surgery is over and she’s recuperating at home. He’s one of the best men we know.

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Michael and I slept later than usual, but I think both of us look permanently ty-ode. Nights can be challenging these days, especially in unfamiliar places.

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Su and I have 32 days until our surgeries. Will our hospital rooms be right next to each other? Will we race our walkers down the hall together? Will we text each other about how bad the hospital food is? Will our pain meds make us goofy and foster some giggly memories?

Stay tuned, and I just might share about it here. Exciting stuff, people. 🙂

God bless your weekend, dear friends and family….

Wednesday’s Word-Edition 101

May 8, 2013 | My Jottings

“If you cannot find time to pray, ask for forgiveness. Ask to be cleansed of the sin of having no time to pray…

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…it could be that Satan is pushing you into too much work so that you cannot take time to pray.”

– Corrie Ten Boom

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