April 1, 2009 | My Jottings
Aside from the handful of blogs I like to visit fairly often because I know the people who write them, there are also a couple I read because, well, I’m not sure why I read them. I don’t know the bloggers personally. I guess it’s interesting to have a peek into someone else’s life and thoughts once in a while. It’s funny, because there are people out there who use their blogs as a place to publicly chronicle their days, in a play by play format, and in spite of how boring that might sound, I don’t usually find those blogs boring at all. If I posted similarly on this blog, it might read something like this.
Yesterday, on the last day of March when heartening signs of spring are supposed to be popping up everywhere, we sat at home in yet another blizzard. The snow fell from the sky horizontally all day, and the dry patches of grass that had begun to show in the yard are now all covered by at least six inches of newly fallen snow. It’s magical and beautiful in November, and enough to make you groan and pull your hair out on the first of April.
I have been battling a sinus infection for weeks now, and woke feeling blechy, and did not go to Community Bible Study, which is such an important and beloved part of my life. But I didn’t feel sick enough to stay in bed, which I haven’t done for years anyway. After Michael and I made breakfasts, visited with and administered medications for the women we care for, I put the dogs outside. Mildred leaps through the snow all over the back yard like a curious and happy gazelle. Edith takes two tentative steps into the white stuff and then turns back to the door and wants back in, looking tragic. We have to go outside and close the door behind us and yell, “Get out there Edith! Go potty! Now!” And she will eventually comply, but never without our verbal encouragement.
Then Michael and I went upstairs to our comfy chairs in our bedroom, and sipped hot, brisk tea and had two shortbread cookies each while we read aloud from our Bibles. We are reading through the whole Bible together, slowly, and independent from our own reading. We’ve almost made it through each book. Yesterday we read a chapter each from Leviticus, 1 Samuel, and Acts. And we read Psalm 31 aloud. Even though Leviticus can be hard reading, I ended up crying when I realized that I am not required to offer a drink, grain or wave offering to the Lord as His people were before Christ – but that of my own accord I can offer Him something each day. I am not compelled in the way the Israelites were, thousands of years ago, yet I am still compelled, by my heart, to offer gifts to Him today. Yesterday I wanted to give Him a sacrifice of praise, because to do so was harder for me than usual, and it cost me something. I wanted to give Him my attention and obedience, out of a free and willing heart, because He is worthy of that and so much more. It’s pretty amazing how reading through Leviticus can touch my life. It doesn’t always happen that way, but even if lightning doesn’t flash when I read His Word, I know I’m being fed. I don’t remember what I had for lunch sixteen days ago, but whatever it was nourished me. I read and meditate on the Bible for much the same reasons, spiritually speaking. Sometimes I have wow and aha moments as I read, but if I don’t, I know something nourishing and powerful is happening anyway.
Then we went downstairs and I did some laundry and then we cleaned the kitchen, and I got a huge pot of chili started. Then I got out my kitchen step-stool and pulled out my automatic bread maker from the back of a top cupboard, and started a loaf of sour dough bread baking. I looked forward to the aromas that simmering chili and baking bread would bring, especially on a stormy day, but because of my infection, my sense of smell is completely gone. I’ve never had this happen before, and it seems sort of serious to me. I can put my face right up to the fresh ground coffee I’m getting ready to spoon into the pot in the morning, and can’t smell one thing. I can’t smell perfume, bleach, soap, nothing. I know there are problems so much bigger than that (like Parkinson’s Disease and unemployment and family heartaches) but I’m starting to wonder if my ability to smell is gone for good. I can’t taste food correctly, either. I can discern if something is sweet or bitter or salty, but there are no flavors for me. But I digress from the important details of yesterday.
Michael decided since the roads were bad and numerous accidents were being reported, he wasn’t going anywhere either. I thought I would quit procrastinating and start working on a pile of paperwork in my office at least one foot high. I asked Michael if he would keep me company while I worked, to help me just do it. Pathetic, I know. But he agreed, and I carried the pile into the den and began.
I began separating the huge pile into four smaller piles, one for each woman we care for. That took a long time and the den floor was covered. Then I punched three holes in all of those piles, because each paper goes in a specific place in a ridiculously thick notebook, which will be scrutinized with a fine-tooth comb by an agent of the State of Minnesota every other year, and if one thing is missing or out of place a citation will be issued. I am serious.
In between all of this, I kept the laundry going, stirred the chili, let the dogs out and in, out and in, answered phone calls, visited with patient and gracious Michael, blew my nose every few minutes, occasionally glanced at whatever cable cooking or remodeling show was on to keep us company, and watched the snow fall from the grey sky and pile up outside.
I worked on the paperwork for five and a half hours, straight, and then exhaled and called it a paperwork day. I estimate that I was able to complete 3/4 of one person’s paperwork (out of four). Today I hope to finish that one person’s paperwork and start on a second. That’s how much there is. I’ve said it before – my piles look like the Alps to me. I think I’ve learned a lesson about procrastinating though. I don’t ever want to face these mountains again.
Michael commented on the savory smells off and on all day, and I smelled nothing. I am taking Amoxicillin (ten days’ worth!) for my infection, and I can tell it’s not knocking it out. A friend at church asked me what I was taking and said “Oh, that’s the weakest antibiotic there is! It doesn’t help for sinus infections – you need to go back and get _____.” And now I’m wondering if she’s right. And wondering if my sense of smell will ever return. I used to be able to smell if there was a mouse outside my back door, and a dirty sock near the bed. Now I can’t smell anything. But I think I said that already.
So then I visited with the women we live with, and their conversation was pretty much all about how sick and tired they are of living in a place where it can snow a foot in spring, while other places in the country have cherry blossoms and daffodils. “I hate this snow, I want summer!” one gal kept saying, and I couldn’t have said it any better.
We all enjoyed a hearty dinner, I finished the laundry, chatted some more with our gals, tended to medications, answered e-mails and marveled at how funny and interesting other peoples’ blogs are, and as the darkness of night began to fall, I started to yawn, which is the norm for me. I always turn into a pumpkin as soon as the sun goes down, so in winter I often head upstairs before 8:00 p.m.
Michael was watching the Timberwolves on TV, and I sat with him for a few minutes while he scratched the ridges in my ankles made by my SmartWool socks, and I sipped my necessary nightly concoction, a “Cappuccino Cooler” I could make in my sleep. It has caffeine yet I can fall asleep in no time after drinking it.
Then the snowplow guys came and I put on shoes and went out to move Michael’s truck out of the driveway so they could plow it unhindered. I drove around the block and sat and pondered the day and the ways of God (and the seeming slowness of His timing) while I watched the two guys clear our large driveway with a truck and blade, and shovel a path to our front porch. Our back yard, full of tall trees and a small winding creek, looked like Narnia to me. I’ve asked my grandchildren what they would think if we walked back into those snowy woods someday and found a lamppost. We always smile at the thought of that.
When the snow guys were done, I parked the truck in its now snow-free spot, went back inside, said goodnight to Michael. I read a wonderful book in bed on my new Kindle. It’s a book on prayer, so while I read I prayed and cried, prayed and cried. And I asked God to teach me to pray – so much differently than I do.
Michael came to bed just as I was finishing the book, and the dogs took their places – Edith curled in a tight canine circle in my black plaid bedroom chair, and Millie stretched out on her side on the bed in between Michael and me.
The snow was still falling, but not as heavily. I thought about the next day, which is today, April 1st, and knew I would try to say Rabbit to all my family members first thing, hopefully beating them to it. I thought about how Michael will be 60 years old on April 2nd, and how grateful I am for his love and steadfastness. I thought about how much I want God to bring Ginger the lost cat home to my daughter and her family. I thought about how I will pick up my granddaughter Clara from school on Wednesday and take her to her dance class, and how sweet my time will be with her. I thought about how much I long for my daughters to have peace and joy and purpose and wholeness. And how I want those very things for myself.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m making any difference at all.
And in no time, I slept.
Hey, Mike didn’t mention it was his birthday today.
It is also my daughter Abigail’s birthday. She’s 5. I’m going to miss my little 4 year old girl.
Your day sounded very picturesque (sp) and even though I have never been in your new home, could see you working through the day. Your descriptions make a person feel like they are experiencing what you are doing. You have a ‘gift’ Julie, and I am so pleased that I can experience your life through your writings. Please wish Michael ‘Happy Birthday’ for me.
I called Jim (he turned 48 today) and sang to him. I use to only sing to the grandchildren but now I sing to all of them.
God Bless, Love, Dorothy