Flowers, Femurs and Flying First Class

July 31, 2013 | My Jottings

It’s the first time in several days we haven’t had nine people in the house. Last night Jeremy and Carolyn returned from their trip to Yew Nork (a la five year-old Audrey), and their four little ones went home with them. It was sweet to see the children (ages 11 to 5) run at them and get swept up in hugs and kisses and whispers about how much they were missed. We tracked each of their flights with a live flight tracker online to see what kind of progress they were making, “Oh look, they’re over Lake Michigan right now!” “It looks like the plane is circling before landing!”– and at one point Audrey looked at the little airplane moving every-so-slowly over the map of the US and said, “Are mama and daddy in that plane?” It’s hard to explain representation to a little one.  🙂

The children know that Grandma had an operation on her knee and were very considerate. One afternoon as they were all playing in our bedroom and I was elevating and icing my knee on a pile of pillows, Vivienne and Audrey offered to massage my knee for me, and were very gentle. After about five minutes Vivie said in her sing-songy voice, “It feels just like I’m massaging a cactus.” I love the unfiltered thoughts of children! We did one thing each day, things like visiting a wonderful park down by Lake Superior, and driving through a fast food place to get soft-serve cones, and visiting the cemetery so we could feed the dozens of ducks and geese that live near the ponds there, and going to the library. We knew from past visits that a blue heron can sometimes be seen in a distant pond at the cemetery, and Clara wanted to drive past as we were leaving to see if we could spy him. What a happy thrill — he was there! Standing very still amongst the tall reeds at the very edge of a large pond, long neck curved with his head down near the water waiting for a fish. The wonder and excitement of the children lifted my heart. We pulled over and watched for a while, and when he saw us he flew to another part of the pond. This video is not of our heron, but the scene and the bird look almost identical to what we saw.

My friend Denel and I are getting excited about our upcoming Second Annual Lupi-Soo Convention. In a couple of months we’ll be flying to Seattle (she from Southern California and me from Northern Minnesota) and staying there and on Bainbridge Island. I’m obsessing about how I’m going to manage a nearly four-hour flight with my knee, since sitting at the dinner table for 30 minutes is an exercise in endurance and pain management. I’m a Long-Femured Woman and haven’t enjoyed flying since 1981 when I was on a flight so horrible from Los Angeles to Denver even the flight attendants were strapped in and looking terrified. I hadn’t known planes could actually gallop until then. Anyway, if you add long femurs to minimal leg room on a plane so that the knees are just touching the seat in front of you and then that passenger decides to recline her seat for the duration of the flight, and throw in a post-surgical knee that won’t quite bend like its supposed to yet, you have a recipe for misery. So I did what I’ve never done in 55 years. I actually cringed as I did it too. It seemed so wasteful. So gentry. So la-dee-dah.

I bought a first class ticket.

I even have to grit my teeth as I’m typing it here, to say I spent an extra $300+ so I can have enough leg room in a first class seat on a 767 that will (hopefully safely) fly from Minneapolis to Seattle this fall. But it’s done, and I’m determined to enjoy it. As much as an anxious flyer can enjoy being strapped into a hollow metal tube that screams through the sky at 600 miles per hour almost seven miles above the earth.

Anyway, Denel and I are going to read three books before we meet for our long Lupi-Soo weekend, books that are either about Seattle or Bainbridge Island. We have no idea if they’ll be any good, but we thought while we sat relaxing and catching up with each other just a few feet from Puget sound in our beautiful cottage each evening, we’d have our own little book club and discuss the three books we read. The books are this one, this one and this one.

Today I’m going to call the chimney guy and tell him to schedule us for getting our chimney and flue ready for a gas insert installation this fall. We just might have cozy fires in our dining room hearth this winter. I’m also going to ice my knee. I’ll do a load of laundry and spend about 30 minutes on some paperwork. And then I might elevate and ice my knee again. Then I’ll pick up one of our Fosters and take her for a hair cut. Then I’ll come home and sit for a few minutes on the leather recliner and drum my fingers on the rolled arm and dream about what it would be like to have a personal chef so that I had a year off from cooking. Right about that time guilt will kick in because I’ll realize I’m not being grateful for food and a stove and a home and mobility and the abundance that we in the west take for granted. Three other grandchildren will be coming for a visit this afternoon, and I think I can foresee a game of Farkle or Gin Rummy in our future. And there’s a book I’ve read aloud to them that needs to be finished. Then I’ll get up and go to the kitchen and start rummaging around for what to prepare. At the close of the day I’ll do my Gideon study and then ice my knee again.

Next, if you had a small elegant bathroom decorated with black and white toile wallpaper (which, sadly, we don’t), what kind of floral arrangement do you think would look nice there?

How about this one?


I thought so too.

And if you had a large, grand foyer with two tables and mirrors to the right and to the left as you came in (which we don’t), and you thought two tall arrangements that mirrored each other would be nice for those tables, do you think these two would do?


I couldn’t agree more.

These are some floral arrangements Sara did for a family hosting a very fancy dinner party recently. They have nothing to do with this post but since I’m getting ready to do a post called “Knee Replacement Journal — Part Five,” I thought you’d already seen enough pictures of scarred and swollen knees and piled pillows and bandages and such.

Even so, my latest x-ray spotlighting my new titanium tibia will be forthcoming.

He’s Only Eleven

July 24, 2013 | My Jottings

My oldest grandson Mr. McBoy turned eleven in May. For his gift I gave him the checklist tucked into a card I give to all my grands on their birthdays, which reads something like this:

Dear Mr. McBoy,

Grandpa and I are so proud of you — happy, happy birthday! For your gift, please select three from the following list:

___Spend the night at Grandpa and Grandma’s

___Go on the Timber Twister with Grandma

___Go to Barnes and Nobel for a $25 gift of your choice

___Pick up Edith and Millie’s poop in the front yard

___See a movie with Grandpa and Grandma

___Go out to lunch with Grandpa and Grandma


I think all the children enjoy getting something like this. They don’t all choose the same things, but so far no one has chosen to pick up the dog poop.

Anyway, because of my knee surgery in early June, the redemption of Mr. McBoy’s gift has had to wait a bit, until today. He’ll be coming over this morning and the three things he chose were spending the night, seeing a movie and going on the Timber Twister. I think I can do the first two, but I’m not sure about my knee’s inability to bend very far, and boarding and unboarding the Timber Twister yet. (Click here to see how a ride on the Timber Twister is, although the man in this video goes much slower than we do when we ride.) Mr. McBoy was fine with taking a rain-check on that third item. Or he might switch his choice to picking up poop, who knows?

Sharon recently took these beautiful pictures of Mr. McBoy.

Duluth MN Family Photographer-10

Duluth MN Family Photographer-4

Since both of his parents are so tall, it’s no surprise that he is too, and because of that people often think he’s a teenager. But this wonderful boy is only eleven years old. Yesterday he took his one year-old sister for a walk in her stroller, which they both enjoy. He’s a loving and attentive big brother to Louiser. Most people passing by smile and comment on how sweet it is to see a big brother walking his smiling and waving little sister. But one older man stopped Mr. McBoy on the path and accused gruffly, “You’re a little young to be a father, aren’t you?” Mr. McBoy said, “This is my sister. I’m eleven.”

I don’t know what it was about this situation that made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. I wondered if the older man had some vision issues, because even though my grandson is tall for his age, he doesn’t look to me like he could be a teenage father as this man was inferring. But he is growing up right before our very eyes, and I want the world to be kind to him. I want him to be happy and adventurous and kind and loved and diligent and secure and brave and upright and confident. I don’t want him to experience the pain of peoples’ meanness. I don’t want anyone to break his heart or tempt him to make life-ruining choices. I know how unrealistic putting him in a cave until he’s thirty years old is, but if I could get away with it I would.

I guess the next best thing to a grandboy in a cave is a Grandma’s prayers.

Knee Replaclement Journal — Part Four

July 22, 2013 | My Jottings

Monday, July 1, 2013 — After tending to all the typical Monday morning things, I sit for two hours at the computer with my right leg outstretched, working on a large annual report for one of our Fosters that will be due soon. I document each of her medical visits, social activities, outcomes, and any progress or regression she’s made. It’s always a daunting thing to write, but feels harder now because of the sitting. That’s one thing I guess I didn’t realize about knee replacement recovery — sitting for any length of time is difficult, since the leg can’t be bent much yet. At least my leg can’t be bent much. I know others who are at this stage of their recovery and they’re bending, but I take that thought captive and replace it immediately, because it will do me no good. After lunch I drive Michael to his dental appointment, and for the first time since he lost his driver’s license, I don’t go in with him. I know there might come a day when he isn’t able to go in by himself, taking the elevator to the fourth floor, but he can today. It’s warm out, so I lower all the windows in the car, and then decide to see if I can elevate my leg while I wait. This takes some doing, and I realize that if anyone is watching through the ground-level windows of the business building I’m parked near, they’re wondering what it is I’m trying to do. I lower the seat back all the way down, then push my body as far back on it as possible. I can’t bend my knee over the mid console area to get my knee up on the dash board, so I do it this way. Finally with scooting and grimacing I’m able to get my right leg gingerly up over the console and propped up on the dash, and then as I’m bringing the seat back up again, a man in a truck parked next to me rolls down his window and watches me with mild interest. He gets out, leans toward my passenger open window and says tentatively, “I hope you’re having a nice day?” I reply, “I had some knee surgery recently and I’m just making myself comfortable,” and he smiles and tips his baseball cap as he goes into the building. I play Words With Friends on my iPhone for a while, close my eyes and enjoy the warm but not too hot sun, and in 55 minutes Michael returns to the car with gleaming teeth. We drive home and I grab the ubiquitous ice packs and head to our bedroom to put up my leg on some pillows and apply the ice. I’m almost finished with Herriot’s All Things Wise and Wonderful and even though familiar, each chapter is like a mini-vacation. And his writing still makes me laugh.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013 — Our second Gideon Bible study is this morning, and is fabulous. I love how just a few verses in scripture can be mined and untold riches pour out into a shining pile in your heart. Sharon and Chris’s third child, six year-old Li’l Gleegirl, wants to come spend a night to be Grandma’s helper, and I welcome her cheerful presence. She spends a lot of time building clever buildings on wheels with the Magformers. She loves the leftover spaghetti I serve for dinner, and chooses to have her blanket pallet set up in the walk-in closet instead of near the bookcase in our room. She takes a pile of books with her and I kiss her good night and pray for her. She is a child of 10,000 words, and I hope someday she’ll use all that goodwill and huge vocabulary for His purposes. Maybe she’ll be a chatty cheerful mother. Or a smiling speaker. Or a verbose veterinarian.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 — Today I have paperwork to do and as usual, try to parcel it out, 30 minutes here and 30 minutes there, along with my icing and elevating. Li’l Gleegirl’s daddy comes to pick her up and she proudly shows him her rolling buildings, and asks me if I’d like to keep them assembled and display them for a long time in our living room. I smile and tell her I might have to take them down eventually, but her happiness makes me happy. If only lives were as easy to build and to roll along as Magformer creations are. I see my Physical Therapist Suzanne in the afternoon and she is gentle and encouraging as always. She doesn’t act too concerned when she measures and sees that my range of motion has gone from 4 and 104 degrees to 12 and 95 — not good. I hold back tears and I don’t think she sees. At the end of my session she takes me to the gym and has me half pedal the recumbant bike, because I can’t do a full revolution yet. My knee will not bend that far yet. Suzanne assures me that she sees many people who take a while to be able to fully pedal the bike and she thinks I’ll be able to do it soon. Uh-huh, I think to myself. I hope so. My grey mood isn’t helping and I know this.

Thursday, July 4, 2013 — It’s a national holiday and our Fosters are home and happy to be relaxing. Our city has a huge fireworks celebration each year and in times past we’ve driven down by the Lake to see them, and we’ve tuned our radio to the local station that plays patriotic songs and John Philip Sousa while the fireworks explode and boom and sizzle and fall. But today isn’t a great day knee-wise, and I feel guilty that I know I won’t be able to stay up late to take them to the fireworks, and apologetically tell our gals so. They are both so kind and understanding, and one says, “Next year!” and I agree wholeheartedly and thank God for the grace. We are close enough to the fireworks to hear the thunderous booms, and the show lasts a good 20-30 minutes. Edith and Mildred are a little nervous and come close to stare at us when the whistling ones go off. We can tell when the finale is, and then I turn out the nightstand light and say goodnight to Michael.

Friday, July 5, 2013 — It’s a hot, humid morning and I turn on the central air conditioner and ask Michael again if he’s thankful we have central air, and he smiles at me. We are so well suited to each other weather-wise. We love crisp, cool air, temperatures in the sixties during the day and in the forties at night. We both detest humidity and anything approaching eighty degrees. I’m a little more vocal about it than he is. 🙂 I make two sausage patties and two over-easy eggs for Michael for breakfast, and cut up a pear for him. I have a golden delicious apple, a spoonful of peanut butter and a cup of tea. I don’t feel that hungry in the mornings, but I know I should be eating better, larger breakfasts. At least that’s what all the “experts” say. I have Physical Therapy again today, and since Suzanne is at her new house closing, I have Jana. Jana is great and knows just what part of the quadriceps muscle to work on, just like Suzanne does. Apparently my right quad is tight and like a rope. Jello and rope, metal and plastic, that’s what I’m comprised of these days. W60165BE_01_SpiderTech-Knee-Upper-BeigeJana shares about her family, her go-getter daughter who’s a little bossy and we share a laugh together, and then she applies an odd formation of Kinesiotape to my leg before I leave. It looks a little like this, except mine was more intricate and wound around to the back of my thigh as well. Once again, these are not my knees. (Darn.) It’s supposed to help control swelling.  I return home and show Michael my oddly taped up leg and he studies it for a minute and then says, “Wow.” For dinner I have no inspiration so we order burritos from Burrito Union and have them delivered. They are huge and make two meals, and are filled with simmered and pulled pork, rice and beans, spicy salsa and cheese. I feel bad that I’m not cooking each and every night yet, but I’m so grateful we have the means to order out when I need to. Michael and I watch another episode of “All Creatures Great and Small” by Netflix DVD, and I sit in the recliner with my knee up and iced while I knit a little too. Edith snores at Michael’s feet and Millie is sprawled out on her back on the plaid chair with her furry tummy exposed to the world. That reminds me that I need to call The Bad Lady soon to make a grooming appointment for the schnauzers.

Saturday, July 6, 2013 — I realize that I forgot to do my exercises yesterday and set to them this morning before I get out of bed. I’m anxious to see Dr. Palmer in Stillwater to ask him what in tarnation is going on with my kneecap. Quad sets and Hell Sleds (Heel Slides) hurt enough to make me want to curl up and cry. Clearly I have started the day in a bad frame of mind. I pray and ask the Lord to help me keep my eyes on Him, and I ask Him to continue to heal me and help me wait patiently on Him. Why my patience runs out after about two days after a word of encouragement, I have no idea. Maybe my Encouragement Cork is loose or something, and whenever a fresh supply of encouragement is poured in, it leaks out faster than it should. I get breakfast for everyone and both Fosters have fun plans today, so I see them off. Michael has begun using the cane I discarded a few days after my surgery, but he isn’t using it correctly. I show him what I learned and he tries, but can’t retain it. I let it go. Most of the time he just carries it around with him and doesn’t use it for support. I look at my calendar and breathe a sigh of relief that today and tomorrow there is nothing written there. That means I’ll be able to ice and elevate, read, take Michael for an ice cream cone since that’s his favorite treat lately, and maybe even nap. I take a good long time in my Gideon study and wrap my prayer shawl around me, the black and white one that Sharon knitted for a Christmas present a couple of years ago. After lunch Michael, Edith, Mildred and I lie down on the big bed and I’m planning on reading while I know they’ll all sleep. Lo and behold I fall asleep and when I wake up I realize I’ve slept for an hour and a half. I’m stunned and rather pleased. I’ve been a non-napper for so long it feels very nice.

Sunday, July 7, 2013 — It feels luxurious to stay in bed past seven and to know I don’t have to prepare breakfasts and get meds ready until 8:00. I remember that today is my oldest brother’s 71st birthday and marvel that we are as old as we are. I have no desire to live until my seventies, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. If the Lord decides I should live into my eighties, my 30-year knee should still be good, if I haven’t beaten it to death by then. I limp a lot today because my knee feels so tight and inwardly swollen. Same old, same old, I’m thinking. I remind myself that progress may take months and that this is normal for many people. Keep at it, keep at it. I wonder if having the surgery was the wrong thing, because the results are certainly not what I expected they would be. But when I think about still having my burning, grinding, sometimes crippling pain from before, along with the weird valgus splaying that was happening, I would not go back. So for the meantime I feel a bit trapped, somewhere in between a horribly worn-out knee I couldn’t live with (not from life, but from an injury in 2007 and the resulting meniscus-shaving surgery), and a horrible new knee that I’m not sure I can live with. Yikes. That’s what I have to say today. The woman of many words narrows it down to this today: Yikes. Ouch. Help. Lord. Thank You.

II Chronicles 20:12b — We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.

Pearls Slipping Off A String

July 17, 2013 | My Jottings

“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”

~L.M. Montgomery — Anne of Avonlea


I love that quote above. I love the Anne of Green Gables books. And I sort of feel like that’s the way our days are going lately — nothing splendid or exciting is happening, but if we look carefully, there are many simple pleasures bestowed upon us as the quiet summer days pass, and they seem very much like pearls slipping off a string.

By necessity, I am doing only the bare minimum. I get our gals ready for their jobs each morning, make simple meals for everyone, let Edith and Mildred outside when needed, and do a lot of resting. I found a wonderful site online called which has given me good and heartening information about how long recovery from a total knee replacement can take. It has given me the permission I need to ice and elevate, ice and elevate, take a nap once in a while, do my paperwork in bed, make no plans.

So as I heal, much, much more slowly than I had hoped, and not as comfortably either, I find solace in being at home. I gaze at Lake Superior out of all the front windows you see above. I soak in the color and beauty of the flowers Sara planted around our house. I watch an occasional British series in the evenings with Michael. I do my Gideon Bible study and am surprised at the richness found in the book of Judges. I listen to a couple of new CDs we have — Audrey Assad and Amy’s newest. And I’m learning patience, one day at a time.

The pearls are slipping off the string.

And they are lovely.

Kidquips 13

July 15, 2013 | My Jottings

Carolyn texted me yesterday morning with something cute their five year-old Audrey said. It made me laugh out loud. I love how children think and express themselves!


I hope your week is peaceful and blessed, dear friends and family….

Knee Replacement Journal — Part Three

July 11, 2013 | My Jottings

Monday, June 24, 2013 — I wake at 5:50 this morning and clump to the kitchen to get things started for the day. My knee is stiff, stiff, stiff, but the scar has healed pretty well and I never got an infection. Yay! Tomorrow is our first day of summer Bible study in my home. I’ve been hosting this for 11-12 years now, I can’t remember. Twelve women will be gathering for seven weeks, going through Priscilla Shirer’s newest study entitled “Gideon — Your Weakness, God’s Strength.” Well, that is timely for me, wouldn’t you say? I’ve definitely got some weakness going on, which is the point of the daily exercises I’m doing. Or supposed to be doing. Sometimes I can face them and sometimes not, because to do a quad set, which is to lay with legs outstretched and then contract your quadriceps muscles as tight as you can, moving the knee cap up and down, is to invite four hot nails to be shot into the four corners of my knee in an instant. I can do ten easily. Fifteen okay. Twenty and the nails get shot in by an invisible nailgun someone is holding. Gah. I tell myself that if my floors are not swept and furniture dusted, the women who come tomorrow will not care. And I believe it when I tell myself that, so all I do is pick up, set out some extra folding chairs, and pray that God will be with us. After dinner I fall into bed and realize I might have done a bit too much, because even though my knee doesn’t look very swollen anymore, it feels swollen. The nurse in my surgeon’s office says all the internal structures of the knee are still very inflamed and swollen, and it’s time to start taking Ibuprofen three times a day, as well as the mild narcotic I’m still taking for pain at night. I have learned the correct way to pile pillows underneath your leg when you’re recovering from knee replacement surgery.


In case you were wondering, these are not my legs. My legs are much longer than the ones in the picture, and my thighs are a little more flabby and dimpled than these. (Actually they’re a lot more flabby and dimpled than these.) These are also not my feet — mine are longer and narrower. Nor is that flat belly mine. But I do stack my pillows in this manner every night now, and it’s comfortable and helpful. It’s actually hard to foresee a night when I don’t obsessively pile some pillows under the covers and gingerly position my right leg on top.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 — The Bible study was wonderful today and it was such a treat to see the women who mean so much to me. I have a sense that God will use Gideon’s story to speak deep things into my life this summer. After dinner I drive to the salon where I’ve been having my hair cut for years now, and Bobbie gives me the Judi Dench look. I also have the twice a year highlights put in, and my eyes have adjusted to it and I no longer think it looks orange. If you never read about the trauma I endured when I thought my daughters had talked me into getting my hair dyed the color of a baby tiger, you can click here to read about it if you like. When I return home my knee is swollen and painful from perhaps doing too much today, and I grab the ice packs from the freezer, and after settling everyone else in for the night, I go to bed with my summer read: the whole series of James Herriot’s life as a vet in Yorkshire, England. Utterly transporting.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 — I take one of our Fosters to the doctor’s office this morning for her annual boob-squishing. She laughs when I call her mammogram by that name. “Okay gals, it’s time to go get your boobs squished,” I always say, and they both giggle. Driving is okay, but there’s a numb spot on the right side of my right knee that feels more numb (if that’s possible) when I drive for very long. I take our gal to work after her appointment and return home, giving thanks that there’s nothing else on the calendar for today. I come home and Michael and I lay down for a morning rest, and I ice and elevate, ice and elevate. It makes a difference. It feels like the rhythm of my life has changed dramatically, and if I have one thing on the calendar that’s a lot. I am focusing on healing. In the afternoon I go to my Physical Therapy appointment and close my eyes and sigh when she massages the tight quadriceps and around the knee. When she starts in on the recovering kneecap of my right knee, my left leg shoots up in the air involuntarily and a sharp inhale and an “OH MY GOSH!!” escapes from my mouth. She apologizes and avoids the kneecap from then on. We have fast food for dinner, because I am out of energy and ideas.

Thursday, June 27, 2013 — Tonight is SAGs, and I’m so looking forward to going. Instead of meeting at a restaurant for our monthly get-together, we’re going to Pat’s new house. She bought a charming little bungalow in a lovely neighborhood a few miles from my house, and we’ll have pizza and salad and strawberry shortcake. Gail, who has her doctorate in Physical Therapy, thinks my knee looks amazing and says what I’m doing for a person only 2.5 weeks post op is truly great. She asks me to walk for her, and notices right away I’m swinging my leg out a little, and reminds me to deliberately avoid that. I do not want to train my brain that way. I’m retraining my brain as well as my knee. I’m encouraged. To the point of tears. Thank you Lord, for Gail. And for Pat. And for Lorna. These beautiful women who have been blessing my life for over ten years now.

Friday, June 28, 2013 — Michael and I have been married 32 years today. We would normally go away for a weekend to celebrate, but not this year. It’s totally okay with both of us. We reminisce a little bit, and he and I go back and forth, sharing highlights and beloved memories. “The day Sara was born,” Michael says. And we go over her home birth all over again. “Remember how we had to turn the furnace up to 90 degrees since there was no incubator?” Other things we say to each other in gratitude for 32 years: buying our first home, Michael making our first home a place of peace and beauty when I thought it was almost uninhabitable when we bought it, walks in the beautiful Lester Woods just two blocks from our house, weekend trips alone, visiting Scotland, England and Ireland in January of 2007, making it through parenthood and having our children still on speaking terms with us, the wonder of grandbabies, our cherished pets, knowing each one of us has never touched another, praying together and the intimacy that brings, harsh words forgiven, stubborn hearts softened, diseases diagnosed, and God’s love and faithfulness through it all. This reminds me that He will be faithful to my knee. He will be faithful to me and He will be faithful to my knee. I decide today to entrust my knee to Him.

Saturday, June 29, 2013 — I am supposed to attend a bridal shower today for the only daughter of a long-loved friend and pastor’s wife, but woke up knowing I can not. I’m sad not to go but my day will be, can anyone guess…icing and elevating. It’s unsettling to me how quickly my knee begins to swell (not visibly so much, but inwardly I can feel it acutely) and how much this impairs even simple bending. I turn to the internet to see if others are saying the same and am relieved once again when I see how normal this is. One woman shares on a message board that her swelling wasn’t really gone until she hit the one year mark. My friend and knee partner Su and I talk at least once each day, checking on each other’s progress or regression. What a blessing it is to go through this together. I thank God for a dear friend for this journey like no other. After a rest and some reading, I make a birthday cake for a little celebration we’ll be having tomorrow.

Sunday, June 30, 2013 — Laying low yesterday is making today a bit easier. I don’t think if you saw me walking down the street you would discern that I had a knee replacement 20 days ago, but you might say, “That woman is not in a hurry to go anywhere, and is very deliberate with her steps.” Today our family is celebrating Jeremy and Carolyn’s son Elijah’s 10th birthday. We meet in the late afternoon at Lester Park under the pavilion. There are hot dogs and brats with other picnic foods, and I take the birthday cake I made for Elijah. He requested chocolate cake with Virginia Sooter’s Peanut Butter and Chocolate frosting. Michael and I sit at the picnic table and watch the little ones run around in their bathing suits, splashing in the river, enjoying the playground slide, and I give thanks for these eight grandchildren the Lord has blessed me with. Michael and I decide to go out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary two days late, since we aren’t going away this year. We decide to go someplace close by, a nice Italian restaurant we don’t frequent that often. He has the parmesan encrusted walleye fillet and I have their special, which is a small Filet Mignon and their version of panzanella. Since my knee won’t bend like a normal knee yet, I have to keep my leg stretched out under the booth, and by the time our dinner is over my knee stops murmuring and starts hollering. I’m surprised no one else in the restaurant can hear her complain. We drive home and I get evening meds ready for our fosters (who’ve been away overnight), then clump back to our bedroom to put on my plaid flannel nightgown. Ice and pillows. Ice and pillows. Sighs and prayers. Sighs and prayers. I meditate on the two verses from Psalm 40 I have sitting by my bed, and remember that recovery from knee replacement surgery can take months. I tell myself that this vice-like grip will loosen someday. I thank the Lord that my leg is completely straight now, no more Valgus deformity, and no more deep achy arthritis pain. I tell the Lord I trust Him and with His help I will be patient and I know He will eventually set my feet on a rock and make my steps secure. I take my Bayer aspirin (to prevent blood clots), fluff the pillow underneath my head so I can read a couple of beautifully written chapters in All Things Wise and Wonderful, help Michael with his covers and kiss him goodnight, smile at Edith and Mildred as they circle and get settled at our feet, and turn out the light.

Wednesday’s Word-Edition 104

July 10, 2013 | My Jottings


 “The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”

–C. S. Lewis

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A Bit of a Rant

July 6, 2013 | My Jottings

I subscribe to a couple of magazines. I like Better Homes and Gardens and Relevant. And recently I received a nice gift subscription for Real Simple, and I’m enjoying that. So I have no idea why, when an ad came in the mail asking if I’d like to subscribe to Good Housekeeping magazine, I said yes and sent off the check. Probably because I remembered that my mom loved Good Housekeeping, and probably because the subscription price for one year was only $7.50.

3968845964_98d9627543_oWell. July’s issue of Good Housekeeping arrived with three hot dogs on the cover, and I saved it for later to leaf through. Later that evening when I sat down to see if there were any good recipes or decorating ideas, I stopped at the article that said, “So go ahead. Be your bad self.” And here are the ten things I was encouraged to do (verbatim).

1. Gossip (next time an acquaintance does something selfish or even unethical, spill every gnarly detail.)
2. Flirt with a man who’s not your husband (make eyes at the waiter when your mate’s in the loo, etc.)
3. Read erotica
4. Spend the day in your PJ’s
5. Procrastinate, then tell yourself you’re being creative
6. Don’t censor yourself (using colorful language may even help you bond with others. Plus, sometimes you just have to toss an F-bomb!)
7. Eat two desserts, or have a third cocktail.
8. Be gleefully grabby (taking the last cookie, not donating to charity)
9. Be selfish in bed.
10. Get mad and stay mad. (instead of adhering to the adage “Forgive and forget,” it’s sometimes wiser to remember)

Okay. I could go on about each one of these but won’t, because I have about ten minutes before my knee starts to ache and I have to go lay down and (you’ve read this before here) ice and elevate.

But I was a little stunned. The article wasn’t in jest. It was really encouraging the women who read this old, respected magazine to just sow destruction at every possible turn. I have been known (especially lately) to stay in my nightgown, and to eat two desserts. And I’m a procrastinator when it comes to paperwork and it doesn’t feel very creative. But some of these items of advice are astounding to me. I thought of my granddaughters who come over frequently, and what they might have thought if they’d picked up Grandma’s Good Housekeeping magazine and read what adults say should be a part of your life.

What came to mind right away after reading the Good Housekeeping list was my desire to allow the Holy Spirit to empower and change my life more, so that true fruit will grow. Here’s another list to consider: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

I’m not a prude, and I can’t claim to have always used the proper language in my life. But this article got me a little bit miffed. I read the ten points to Michael and he surprised me by saying quietly, “Cancel your subscription.” I blinked back at him and then thought to myself, “I believe I’ll do just that.”

And I did. I got my refund check for $5.45 in the mail last week.

Are you familiar with Good Housekeeping magazine? What are your thoughts? I’d also love to know what magazines you subscribe to.

Off for my date with some ice….

Scripture for a knee replacement recovery

July 3, 2013 | My Jottings

Wednesday greetings, friends! I hope your week is blessed and that your coming weekend gives you some things to give thanks for.

I am now 23 days post op, my body is calling the shots like a drill sergeant, and I’m obeying. I actually have no choice. Most of the time my body says, “You have no plans today other than to lie in bed and get that knee up in the air on a pile of pillows with ice packs. Make breakfast and get meds ready if you must, get up to go to the bathroom, but that’s all you’ll be doing today.”

I have been discouraged a few times because even though everything has healed up well, there’s the overwhelming sensation of the tightest vice around my knee, making it difficult to bend. But bending it, doing those Hell Sleds, is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. My friend Gail, who is brilliant and kind and has her doctorate in Physical Therapy, showed me a new way to do Hell Sleds (Heel Slides) using a plastic grocery bag with handles, and that has made a huge difference.

I have had a day or three with energy to do laundry, make a short trip to the grocery store, cook a decent meal, but most days I do the minimum and make icing and elevating a priority. I’ve read online how common this vice-like feeling is for most knee replacement patients, and that has been truly helpful. To know that it might take a year to feel okay is daunting, but it’s also comforting since I know what I’m going through is pretty normal.

The other morning I was feeling a bit low and I was seeking God’s help and comfort, and He led me to a scripture that jumped out at me and made me cry and take hope all at once. I believe the Holy Spirit gave me these verses for my knee replacement recovery time, and I’ve memorized them and meditate on them often. This is from the ESV:


I also like these two verses in other Bible translations…the NIV says this:

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.

And the Message says it this way:

I waited and waited and waited for God.
    At last he looked; finally he listened.
He lifted me out of the ditch,
    pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock
    to make sure I wouldn’t slip.

What’s really special is that my dear friend and knee surgery companion Su wrote those very same verses down the day before I did. So we’re thanking the Lord that we are walking (limping?) this parallel journey together.

Thank you for your prayers, dear friends and family. I’m praying for you as well….