Dancing With Dolls

Life is full of surprises. And sometimes you get a blessing from a place you least expect it.

That happened to me today.

My husband and I–along with a friend–visited an older man from our church at the VA Medical Center in Salisbury, North Carolina. We’d never met him before.

We entered his tidy room with an attractive wood floor. He sat in his computer chair while we made our introductions. Jesus hats were placed on a display shelf along with pictures of his family.

“I’ve had three different kinds of cancer. The last one took my arm.”

The hour and a half flew by. He smiled a lot. So did we. We laughed and prayed, too.

“When I was six years old, a preacher visited my father in the field at our dairy farm and asked if I could attend Bible School at his church. At first, Dad said no but after 45 minutes he agreed just so he could get back to work. The catch was the preacher had to pick me up and take me home.”

He went on to tell of how his family ended up that attending church and coming to know the Lord. I wondered if the preacher that spent 45 minutes in a field ever knew the little boy who he picked up from Bible School went on to be both a preacher and a missionary.

The older man went on, “I try to enjoy myself and be involved. I’ve figured out how to move this thing around in circles, and back and forth.” He pointed to the motorized wheelchair. “So the other night, a little girl visited, along with her doll, Marianne.”

He smiled and leaned forward. “I had them attach the doll to my chair and I pretended to dance with her all around the hall. Everyone laughed and clapped.”

“But when Marianne the doll winked at me, that just cracked me up!” He threw his head back and cackled. So did we.

Soon it was time to go. As we walked out, he stopped us.

“I just want to tell you one more thing. At first, when they took off my arm, I had trouble, but then, I felt the Lord wanted me to praise Him for the loss of my arm. It took a while, but when I did, I got my joy back.”

I’ve paraphrased his words but I won’t forget them. In fact, when I arrived home, I shared them with my 94-year-old mama. We figured we should praise Him, too. Not just because we have two arms, but for all of God’s blessings and trials–which are blessings in disguise.

And we did.

And we had joy.

Thanks for that blessing, Ron.

 

The Terrible Two’s

We’re heading into our third year of farming. I think we’re out of the terrible two’s. I’m counting on the thrilling threes. Otherwise, I might have to be a greeter at “you know where.” Visit at the Grit site and add a comment… Or better yet, email me!

http://www.grit.com/community/humor/the-terrible-twos.aspx

 

 

Caregiving is Servant Boot Camp

Don’t you just hate the way God answers prayers sometimes?

Just because I’m praying to be more of a servant doesn’t really mean I want to be more of a servant.

At least, that’s what I’m finding out. Praying for holiness isn’t the same as actually being holy. And no, I don’t mean by works, I mean by practice.

You see, my desire is to be more like Christ but my flesh is weak.

Take yesterday for instance. Because in the Tar Heel State when it snows more than an inch, it’s an emergency, I’ve been shut in for almost two weeks. Sure, I’ve been to the store and a few other errands, but our society as we know it took a two week break. Schools included.

Mom’s caregivers have come most of the time, but there’ve been times when it’s been just me. And Mom. And Tom. (Do you feel the tension?)

So yesterday, when Mom called for the fifth time after going in several times, I told her I couldn’t come every time she called.

She cried. So did I.

It spilled over into today. I called my sister. We both cried.

Caring for a parent in your home is tough. Being the one cared for is tougher.

I can see that and sometimes that makes it harder for me when I look at my mother, because I see me in a few decades.

It’s intense.

So after I cried in my room and to my sister, my mom called me in.

“Sorry I called you in and made you,” great sniffling, blowing of nose, wiping of chin, “feel bad.”

“I’m sorry too Mom.” More crying and nose-blowing on my part. “I sometimes just need time to myself so I don’t go crazy.”

“I know.”

There were other words said and tears wiped. Then Tom prayed.

Knowing there is a God Who cares and gives me strength when I need it and joy when there is none is comforting.

Humbling.

Most people would say I’m a servant. I know better. The Lord knows better. Yet, it’s my prayer.

I know my blogs are usually short, but I have to add a few more lines.

I’ve been studying the Exodus. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, God does not take kindly to complaining. And that’s what I’ve been doing and I’m ashamed.

Because God’s Word teaches that He has me right where He wants me and I need to be content.

And really, my deepest heart desire is to want what He wants.

So it’s back to boot camp.

As Gibbs would say–Hoorah!

 

 

It’s Lent, and I’m thinking About Sheep

Goats and sheep look quite a bit alike from far away, but you can usually tell them apart if you examine them.

Here’s a blog I posted on cbn.com about the difference:

http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/devotions/hylton-sheep.aspx

 

It’s a Starbucks Day

The downside of moving to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to a pristine 66-acre-parcel of land is that the nearest Starbucks is 35 miles away.

Really.

It keeps my adult children away. Or when they visit it’s only for a few days.

Because Starbucks represents civilization–the emblem of America.

Even Gibbs shows off his java on NCIS.

So my question for the day is; Is there life after Starbucks?

I’ve wondered that over the last 21 months.

Here are my conclusions…

Yes, but it’s way different. At Starbucks, people carry designer bags and wear grown-up clothes. They speak Starbuckian–an alternative coffee language involving 17 syllables to order one coffee drink. They conduct meetings around said coffee and order fancy pastries while composing spreadsheets on their computers and texting clients.

On the farm, I pull on the same clothes each day appropriately designed with red clay and often laced with chicken manure. We drink black coffee and conduct our meetings on the front porch, on the way to the dump, or at our rustic pine table.

It’s a simpler life. Presented with fewer choices of what to wear, (Tom and I share a small closet and my dresser sits in our living room since our bedroom is too small to house it.) clothes become a tool–useful or not useful. My Livestock Guardian Dogs don’t care what shoes I have on when I visit them. They are equal opportunity shoe ruiners. Their large paws often step on my feet, swipe my jeans, or end up planted on my shirt.

It’s a harder life. During the winter our schedule slows down immensely. It has to since our bodies couldn’t stand up to 16-hour-out-in-the-field-days. I gain weight but Tom doesn’t. (I’m kind of bitter about that.)

But when the time changes, our lives change, too. More light means more work. There are weeds to pull, animals to feed, crops to plant, markets to attend, eggs to collect and sell, and jellies to make.

Sometimes I long for a 9-5 job. Especially one with benefits. With lunch dates and coffee breaks.

So once a week I make the trek to civilization and drink black coffee. Starbucks isn’t the only reason I come since I attend a Bible study and visit possible customers. But it’s important to me.

Right now, I’m sitting by a gas fireplace writing and people watching. And I realize something, people are the same whether in Mayberry or Winston-Salem.

They work hard but long for a connection with others. Sometimes, it’s over a lunch date or movie. Or sometimes, it’s just over a cup of java. Whether it’s in a trendy shop with a gas fireplace, or my front porch.

Come visit. The view is marvelous! But could you bring the Starbucks?