Every twist, every turn, every moment laid out.

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THIS is what I am experiencing this week just outside my office window. This is not an exaggeration. My eyes sometimes cannot believe what they are seeing. My gratitude overflows.

Don’t let artificial light and city streets keep you from noticing sunsets and sunrises, from experiencing the spring of new life and the harvest of fall. – M. Basil Pennington

I am so grateful for the new experiences God has given to us. Good and not so good. Every day is an adventure, like a new chapter of a really great book. Some experiences are quiet and reflective, some are panic-inducing. Some are like a great carnival ride, and some are like walking through a haunted house.

You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed. – Psalm 139:16

I am grateful beyond grateful that God orders my steps and knows what tomorrow will be. He’s the operator. I am just along for the ride.

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The things that fill my day.

 

Walking in Leaves

When Natia and I took a mid-morning walk around my office building, I was grateful for the sound of walking in a pile of autumn leaves.

When the ballgame is over and I-70 doesn’t have a lot to offer when it comes to radio programming on a Sunday late afternoon, I am grateful to have listened to a really good interview on Focus on the Family while I was driving.

When it makes me ill to my stomach to hear Christian leaders support and defend what I believe goes against Jesus’ teaching, I am grateful for a pastor who includes rather than excludes.

When it is hard to be here and not home one week post surgery, I am grateful for a dozen deep orange roses that my boss brought to my desk this morning because she feels bad that I am away from Sam this week.

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Don’t think that the details of your day are too insignificant to bring before God. If He cares enough about the hairs on your head to number them, then surely He cares about the things that fill your day. – Stormie Omartian

When my eyes cannot stop gazing at the trees, I am grateful for the privilege of being in Kansas City this last week of October to enjoy the incredible beauty of fall here that is unlike any place I have ever lived.

When I feel insignificant in my job, I am grateful when CEOs of biotech companies agree to connect with me on Linkedin.

When there is a minor ostomy crisis on a Monday morning, I am grateful for tutorial videos and the people who are not too self-conscious to create them – videos that help us when we have no clue what we are doing in this new adventure.

When I stand underneath a great shower, I am grateful for water pressure.

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When I have a fairly needy canine who doesn’t just go to anyone anymore in her old, slightly dementia-ed, hearing-impaired, seeing-impaired age, I am grateful for Dad, the rat-dog sitter.

When I am pretty dependent on the love of said canine, I am grateful that Natia the rat-dog is such a good dog and is allowed to come to the office with me every day.

When we feel isolated at times in this new adventure we are on and don’t know how to respond to “Let me know if there is anything I can do’s,” I am grateful for our stretcher-bearers who just do without asking or offering.

When my phone is about to die because I forgot my charger, I am grateful for the reminder that I do not need that phone in order to function.

When there is so much that needs to get done, I am grateful that Sam doesn’t just talk about doing things but acts on his talk. He always surprises me on these weeks away with projects happening at the house, so that when I come back home, things are much changed and much improved. This week, almost the entire interior is getting a paint job.

Painting walls in room with ladder during renovation. 3d rendering

TMI, I know.

TMI

TMI: Too Much Information – way more than you need/want to know about someone.

I am grateful for good attitudes. Sam has one. I am not sure I would have one if I were dealing with all he has to handle these days.

My boss was a caregiver for her mom many years ago, and I am grateful that her mom experienced the same thing Sam is experiencing, because my boss told me stories before we experienced first-hand, so I was a little more prepared.

I am grateful that my boss shares so freely and doesn’t keep her experiences to herself. We should all be more like my boss. There’s no reason to keep things to ourselves. Our story may help someone else, just like her stories are helping us.

She shared that even after all these years, she can walk into a restroom and know that someone had to empty their ostomy bag. The smell is unique. It isn’t a bad smell, it is just different. Anyway, what empathy, and for something so private. But just that knowing look, that sympathetic giving of privacy and space…it could go a long way to making someone feel a little less awkward.

She shared that her mom had a closet full of overalls, and at her funeral, everyone wore overalls. Isn’t that COOL? Overalls hide an abundance of bulges. Sam has one pair – overalls, not bulges – but he really isn’t an overall kind of guy anyway. And ostomy supplies have advanced over the years, so they don’t bulge as much, at least not if you check them constantly.

However, they still crinkle.

My boss was walking to the restroom one day, right past my desk. She’s pretty funny, and she puts her lady supplies in a discreet location, but they were crinkling, and so of course, instead of pretending she wasn’t carrying lady supplies, she just blurted out, “Those are my lady supplies. Don’t mind my crinkling.”

Oh dear. I don’t think Sam will say anything like that; he’ll just crinkle on occasion and I will smile.

Most ostomy bags come with a built-in charcoal filter at the top of the bag. They are awesome. I am a huge fan of built-in charcoal filters.

We were visiting with a couple in the hospital and were fascinated with their experience with cancer treatments, so much so, that we lost track of time. Sam was in his hospital bed, I was sitting in the recliner. We were on Day 1 of self-care without having to push the red call light. The conversation was so fascinating, I didn’t notice Sam growing a balloon under the covers. Just in time, I got his attention. We scrambled to the restroom, as major surgery hospital patients can scramble to take care of emptying the bag, only to discover there was very little inside. It was mostly air.

Air that almost popped a bag.

This hospital-issued supply had no filter. And apparently, humans produce gas no matter where the exit happens to be.

We shall order built-in charcoal filter bags. No smell, no air trappage. We are grateful for built-in charcoal filter bags and for a beginner’s box of the right kind.

It has been a good week. Life goes on, and a crinkle here and there is nothing in the grand plan. I am grateful today for a husband who continues to heal, for God’s touch on his life, for these ridiculous experiences we are having together that make us laugh. Who woulda thought…

99 problems

 

 

 

Surely you can’t be serious?!

shadows on the lawn

 

I am grateful for shadows on the afternoon lawn. It means the sun is peeking through for the first time today.

I am grateful for crunchy peanut butter that goes with celery for lunch.

I am grateful for the beginning of fall color outside my window, finally.

I am grateful for a kind postman.

I am grateful that memories I have of my mom are good ones, and the unpleasant ones have mostly vanished.

I am grateful for a huge surprise on the porch a few minutes ago.

Not the same kind of surprise, but I am grateful we have a big yard for dogs who use it to poop.

I am grateful for stupidness that makes me giggle. I was never ever a fan of those “Airplane” movies, however.

funny movie quotes airplane New 409 Airplane Quotes QuotePrism

 

I am grateful for easy-to-change toilet paper holders, because we have one certain guest, not mentioning any names, who likes to put the toilet paper UNDER every time he goes to the bathroom, and during his visits, I change it back to OVER no less than a half a dozen times.

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I am grateful that we get to go to a football game tonight, one more time before surgery.

I am grateful that I have birdseed for Dad’s bird feeder.

I am grateful for a vacuum cleaner, much needed this week.

I am grateful that I have learned to wear jeans more than once before laundering.

I am grateful for all of the people who are giving Sam their advice, their gadgets and potions, and written word on faith healing and cancer cures. He has a small arsenal.

I am grateful for the tears that are flowing from an email that he just received from Soon-to-be-Author-Linda, and the one who sent us that box of blue bracelets last year. She has the best way with words and makes me either cry from laughter or cry from love. This one is from love, and so much of it:

I just wanted to drop you a note and let you know that the blue bracelet is back on, the prayers that never ceased have been changed up a bit, and that you and your beautiful wife are in my thoughts daily.  
When a friend becomes ill, I always question why.  Why do these things happen to the nicest of nice instead of the prisoner awaiting execution?  Why haven’t they found cures for diseases that have been around forever?  They’ve found immunizations against polio, tuberculosis, mumps and measles.  What is the hold up on diabetes, arthritis and cancer?  I soon realize that the answer to my whys are not in my hands.  I am not a scientist. I am not a doctor. But I am a believer and so instead of petri dishes and test tubes I turn to my faith.  I know God.  God is good all the time and all the time God is good.  That is something that is not unfamiliar to you. I have visited with God about you Sam. I have asked Him for your healing.  I have asked Him to blur the memories of your last battle so that you may forge ahead with a fresh vision of hope and confidence.  I have asked Him to give you additional strength.  I have asked Him to let you realize the importance of you letting people do for you.  I think one of the greatest gifts someone can give another person is letting them serve and cater to them without being too proud to accept the offers. 
So in the days ahead Sam, remember you are never alone.  Remember to set your pride and stubbornness aside and ask for help.  Lean on those around you.  In doing so it makes you and them stronger.  What I want you to know most is that you are loved by many, myself included…
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I am grateful for angels that God sends to us in the form of Lindas and Joyces and Karens and Chantals and Amys and Kathys and Kims and Carols and Roxannes and Melissas and Cindys and Julies and Deloreses and Michelles and Angelas and Jessies and Danas and Dennises and Cosmos and Mikes and Johns and Brians and Randys and Daves and Dads and and and…they are all around us.

I am grateful for color.

I am grateful for a good friend who brings me back to reality when I begin to panic, and she points out passive aggressive behaviors and subtle manipulation that still cause knots down deep.

I am grateful for the will power to turn down hash browns and cake.

And I am grateful for deep conversation with my husband who knows my heart and is so cautious to protect it.

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When, then.

in spite of it all

When my back aches and I just want the day to be over,

I am grateful that I have medicine.

When my feet are cold because there is no heat in the house,

I am grateful for alpaca socks given to me by my boss.

When I just need a word of encouragement because, blah,

I am a grateful for a little card that fell out of Dad’s and Aunt Patsy’s devotion book today that says, “Relax…God has it covered.”

When my work is monotonous and I find myself zoning out,

I am grateful for occasional emails with directives for something different to do.

When I see all the dust that has been created in the last four days with more projects,

I am grateful that towel rods are hung, new shelves are in a walk-in closet, the new furnace will be up and running just in time for a cold weekend, there is crown molding in the master bedroom and dining room…

When I miss teaching and all the activity that goes with it,

I am grateful for school fundraisers that prompt neighbor kids to hit us up for donations, and I am grateful our local school posts videos of classrooms in session so I can see music happening.

When I miss my piano,

I am grateful that it is out there somewhere and just waiting on the floors to be refinished.

When I cannot think of anything good to make for dinner,

I am grateful for leftovers.

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He’s all around us.

God's Hand

I am grateful for the warmth of a fire on a cold day.

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I am grateful for a Saturday afternoon football game and watching Sam enjoy it.

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I am grateful for the sense of calm and joy this little dog gives me.

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I am grateful for sunny days.

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And I am grateful for respectful young men who have hearts of gold and make a difference in our lives, like this guy. One of the best.

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Seattle, meet Kansas.

galoshes

Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need;
Mercy drops ’round us are falling, 
But for the showers we plead. 

As I watch the rain fall for the fourth day without reprieve, I don’t mind it because I don’t have to be out in it.

I am grateful for the reminder to consider these showers of blessings.

I am grateful for an inside job, in my home.

I am grateful for a space heater at my feet to warm me and Natia all day long.

I am grateful for electricity to power that space heater.

I am grateful for a blanket that covers my legs, and a nice warm sweater that keeps my arms warm.

I am grateful once again for the sound of nail gun and drills and saws, indications that things are happening and more progress is being made on our home.

I am grateful that Sam’s daughter came to visit last weekend. There’s nothing like company to prompt some good, focused cleaning.

I am grateful for a little box of conversation questions that spur discussions on random topics.

I am grateful for my first shower in our new master bathroom – once I am in, I don’t want to exit, it is so nice.

I am grateful for our pizza friends, Mark and Susan.

I am grateful for a surprise phone call from my son-in-law. He was calling HIS mom and dialed me by mistake. It was a very nice surprise.

I am grateful for lots of new cards ordered from Etsy that keep arriving in my mailbox – it’s almost an addiction, but at least I use them and share my addiction with others?

I am grateful for plans being made for our Blessings Breakfast. Better now than in a few weeks when we will have our hands full.

I am grateful for a good friend who has offered her home to us at Christmas, if we need a place to be.

And I am grateful for the word “galoshes.”

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